15 January 2016
By Ted Lapkin
Per usual, the news this week has been mixed so we’ll go from bad to good in the hopes of concluding on an upbeat note that will help you usher in Shabbat with a smile.
On Thursday a Muslim teenager took a machete to Jewish teacher in the French Mediterranean port city of Marseille. After his arrest, the 15-year-old wanna-be slasher was utterly unrepentant, boasting how proud he was to have carried out an attack “in the name of Allah and the Islamic State”. Of course this unambiguous admission of religious motivation kinda sucked wind from the sails of the usual chorus of know-nothings eager to deny that there’s anything Islamic about the Islamic State.
35 year-old Jewish educator Benjamin Amsellem used the Tanach he was carrying to parry most of his assailant’s blows and was only lightly wounded in this attack. Much to the dissatisfaction of the juvenile jihadi whose sole regret was his failure to kill his target.
This terrorist incident prompted a statement from the leader of the Marseille Jewish community urging Jews to refrain from wearing kippot (yarmulkes) in public on grounds of Pikuach Nefesh. This is the doctrine of Jewish law mandating that 610 Talmudic commandments must be violated if human life is at stake.
“Not wearing the kippa can save lives and nothing is more important”, said Marseille Jewish Community President Rabbi Zvi Ammar to local French media. “It really hurts to reach that point but I don’t want anyone to die in Marseille because they have a kippa on their head.”
And while it surprises no one that Aliya from France has spiked over recent months, an interesting piece in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency argued that emigration from Toulouse to Tel Aviv is not directly spurred by Islamic terrorism.
In an article entitled “French Jews leaving in record numbers – but not for the reason you think”, writer Cnaan Liphshiz argues that, not fear, but Jewish nationalism is the prime mover behind Aliya. In the words of Rudy Abecassis, who arrived in Israel with his family last month:
“We’re not fleeing. Our lives here have been good and we love France for it. We’re leaving with sorrow, but we want to live in a Jewish country of our own, where we are not outsiders who need to be tolerated.”
This phenomenon is further explained by Daniel Benjamin, who heads the French desk at the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). He notes that a large majority French Olim come from middle-class backgrounds or better because less affluent Jews are loath to forego relatively generous government benefits.
“Those who leave can afford to let go of the French welfare system. Mostly they live where anti-Semitic attacks are relatively rare, and in many cases, anti-Semitism is not a primary catalyst for moving but a sort of a background presence.”
In other words, Zionism pure and simple.
Of course that hasn’t stopped self-flagellating idiots of Israel’s far-Left doing their best (or should I say worst) to sabotage this wise and welcome influx. Writing in the house organ of this particular strain of imbecility, Ha’aretz columnist Rogel Alpher dispensed the following pearls of far-Left wisdom shortly after last November’s terrorist atrocity in Paris:
“Jews of France, stay in France. There is no God, he did not appoint you as the chosen people and he did not promise you the land of Israel. You have no rights here. Israel has stopped being the Jewish state. It is a bi-national apartheid state in which Palestinians live under an occupation that denies them their basic human rights. The Zionist enterprise is dead. Committed suicide. Israeli leaders who call on you to make aliyah are using outmoded slogans. You will not be any safer here. The opposite, in fact. To emigrate from France to Israel now is like emigrating from Palestine to Nazi Germany in 1933.”
Writing of this sort from the resident anti-Zionists at Ha’aretz – Alpher, Gideon Levy and Amira Hass – has always brought to mind one of my all-time fave movie lines.
At one point in the film Shooter, bad guy Danny Glover stands exposed as a mass murderer. But because Glover’s crimes took place on foreign soil the U.S. Government has no jurisdiction to prosecute. In frustration the Attorney General declares:
“Colonel, your moral compass is so f’ed up I’d be shocked if you manage to find your way back to the parking lot.”
The moral compass of Alpher and his far-Left fellow travellers is so warped by pathological self-loathing that it shows east where it should show west and wrong where it should show right.
Like any other human enterprise, Israel is flawed and imperfect. But an op-ed likening Israel to Nazi Germany (Hitler became Chancellor on 30 January 1933) is clearly a symptom of political derangement on the part of its author and poor editorial judgement on the part of its publishers.
But on that promised positive note, in the ‘peace through superior firepower’ department I’m pleased to report that the Israeli Navy’s fifth Dolphin-class submarine – the INS Rahav – entered service this week. Like its immediate predecessor INS Tanin, the Rahav features the advanced independent propulsion (AIP) system that allows subs to travel submerged for longer periods without recharging their batteries.
When the sixth German-built vessel joins the fleet in 2017, the Israeli Navy sub force will feature three AIP-equipped Dolphin 2 boats and three conventional diesel-electric – and still very stealthy and deadly – Dolphin 1 boats. On the subject of submarine warfare, the Tremelos were spot on – silence is indeed golden.
The arrival of the Rahav is all the more significant in light of the ‘thumb-in-the-eye’ strategy of deliberate belligerence the Iranians have adopted of late. Those illegal ballistic missile tests conducted over recent months are bad enough. Add to the mix a transparently deliberate attempt this week to humiliate Barak Obama by seizing two US Navy patrol boats in the Persian Gulf just hours before the president’s final State of the Union Address. Hard on the heels of that incident, an Iranian naval vessel fired live rockets that flew within 1,500 metres of a US carrier task force.
And this is the regime soon scheduled to be rewarded by the receipt of over $100 billion in frozen funds through the Iran nuclear deal? Go figure.
Even more demeaning was Secretary of State John Kerry’s lame attempt to turn lemons into lemonade by proclaiming the US Navy sailors’ release as a triumph of American diplomacy. If you believe that, there’s a bridge over Sydney Harbour I’d like to sell you.
As of this writing, the Obama Administration has only 298 days remaining in office – but who’s counting?
All of which brings us back to the Israel’s ‘silent service’. In the memorable words of Roman military writer Vegetius (yes, I took Latin at school) “si vis pacem, para bellum” – ‘If you desire peace, prepare for war’.
There are those who postulate that the Israel’s submarine force substantially enhances the Jewish state’s nuclear deterrent posture by providing a second-strike capability in the event of a surprise enemy attack.
The only appropriate response to such speculation would be to invoke the words of the Right Honourable Francis Urquhart from original BBC version of House of Cards: “you might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.”
That’s all for now.