Every Picture Tells a Story: Fire

The summer of 2018 was a story of fire.

Fires raged through California, consuming thousands of acres. Fires raged in Greece, killing scores.

The front pages of The New York Times featured color photographs of these horrible incidents. The pictures captured the roaring flames, the burnt forests, the exhausted firefighters.

The daily front page articles showed the destruction. The captions under the pictures gave readers a sense of the unfolding efforts to contain the blaze, even as it updated the daily loss of life.

But not in Israel.

Every day for the length of the summer, Palestinian Arab arsonists sent firebombs aloft into Israel. Using kites and healium filled balloons and condoms, the terrorists sought to inflict damage to Israelis with a new approach that let the masses participate in the battle against Israel.

Yet despite the thousands of acres burned, The New York Times never posted a front page picture of the Arab arsonists. It never broadcast clearly the terrible damage of the scorched fields which Israelis had cultivated.

It never posted a caption clearly describing the terrorist and the victim.

For the New York Times, tragedy is a dish best served among friends.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Every Picture Tells a Story: Anti-Semitism

Every Picture Tells a Story: No Need for #MeToo for Palestinians

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Killed Terrorists

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It?

The United Nations’ Select Concern for Arson in the Middle East

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Turkey’s Erdogan Likely Sending Military Towards Gaza

There is arguably no greater authoritarian leader today than Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. He has cemented his powers over the last dozen years, quashing the press and anyone that stands opposed to him.

That authoritarian leader is now under serious threat.

The Turkish economy has become incredibly weakened over the past several weeks due to various economic decisions by Erdogan and a series of tariffs imposed against Turkey by US President Donald Trump. The Turkish lira is in a state of serious decline and there is a real risk of the country’s economy collapsing.

It is very doubtful that the Turkish egomaniac will accede to the demands of Trump to release an American pastor that Turkey arrested. It is unlikely that Turkey will stop buying weapons from Russia. It is also unlikely that Turkey will only “look for other friends and allies” as Erdogan headlined in his op-ed on the online edition of the New York Times on August 10.

Erdogan is too crafty and mean-spirited to simply “look for friends.” He will provoke. Aggressively.

Erdogan knows that he cannot combat the United States either militarily or economically, so will only resort to some bad-mouthing, when it comes to the U.S.

However, Erdogan will enjoy provoking a war against an American ally, particularly one close to Trump: Israel.

Erdogan has long been allied with the Palestinian Arab terrorist group Hamas that controls Gaza. He has allowed his Turkish ports to be used for “flotillas” to break the Israeli blockade of the region in the past. He is likely to use his current weak economic situation to take a much more aggressive stance to gather support from the greater Arab and Muslim world.

Erdogan had an interview on Al Jazeera in 2011 where he made indirect threats against Israel in relation to Israel’s work with the government of Cyprus in extracting oil, and for the situation in Gaza. Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s claims in Cyprus (which no country in the world believes), and his concern for the people of Gaza. He stated that he would begin using his navy ships to protect Turkey’s interests in both Cyprus and Gaza.


Recep Erdogan interview on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
against the United States

He did not send military vessels into the eastern Mediterranean Sea at that time nor to Cyprus, as Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for killing attackers on the Mavi Marmara boat in 2010 at the urging of US President Barack Obama. But Erdogan’s situation today is much more precarious.

In his August 2018 NY Times Op-Ed, Erdogan said “Turkey has established time and again that it will take care of its own business if the United States refuses to listen.” It is not far-fetched to imagine that an authoritarian leader with his back to the wall, will now come after Israel in a real concerted way.

It will not be surprising to see Turkish military ships off the coast of Cyprus and/or Gaza in the coming months. The only question is whether this be the start of a broader war.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Turkish Hypocrisy – Erdogan’s Line of Defense

Obama’s Friendly Pass to Turkey’s Erdogan

The United Nations Absolves Turkey’s Erdogan

Names and Narrative: Genocide / Intifada

The Churlish Turkish Leadership

New York Times Talking Turkey

Related First.One.Through video:

Netanyahu apology to Erdogan (Joe Cocker)

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Shut UNRWA in Gaza Immediately

The arguments to defund and shut UNRWA are plentiful, but as the established and embedded “way of living,” (to quote Queen Rania of Jordan) of Palestinian Arabs in the five regions in which it operates, the process of closing the organization may take some time to implement.

But the time is now in Gaza.

  1. There is no basis for calling anyone in Gaza a “refugee.”

While the United Nations long ago abused the definition of “refugee” as something that can be passed down through generations like an inheritance uniquely for Palestinian Arabs, the situation in Gaza is all the more ridiculous. A “refugee” is not defined as someone that left a specific house. It refers to leaving a country.

Even under UNRWA’s contorted definition of a refugee, the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza are living in the same land and country that their parents and grandparents left at the time of the Jewish State’s reestablishment in 1948, as defined by UNRWA:

“persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

“Palestine” between June 1946 and May 1948 included the areas now known as Israel, Gaza and the area commonly known as the “West Bank,” which was seized and annexed illegally by the Jordanians at the end of the 1948 conflict.

At best, the “refugees” in Gaza can be described as “internally-displaced” people.

  1. Independent

While the Arabs in the West Bank are also only descendants of internally-displaced people like those in Gaza, they have limited autonomy in much of the region. Only in Area A is the Palestinian Authority in charge of both the civilian and military life.

However, the situation is completely different in Gaza. Israel removed every Israeli civilian and soldier in 2005. For the first time in history, local Arabs in Gaza control their own territory. The Gazans held elections for president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005 and for parliament in 2006.

But UNRWA has stayed put in Gaza anyway.

  1. Taking Sides in an Armed Conflict

While the United Nations adoption of the Palestinian cause has long made the organization a biased actor in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab dispute, the situation is much more problematic in a war zone.

Hamas, the ruling government in Gaza is a designated terrorist organization according to many countries in the world including Israel, the United States, Canada and the European Union. Hamas has launched three full-blown wars against Israel since it took over the region: in 2008, 2012 and 2014. And the group has continued to incite and launch terrorist attacks against Israel during intervening “ceasefires.”

UNRWA does not sit in the middle as a neutral party in these battles. Over 99% of UNRWA employees are the local Palestinian Arabs, not European peace forces. UNRWA teachers have been active in the terrorism against a UN member state, building bombs for terrorist groups. They have allowed the schools to be used to store weapons and as missile launching sites.

And many of the students and their family members are part of the terrorist infrastructure itself, belonging to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups.


Rocket launcher next to UN building in Hamas’s 2014 war against Israel
(source: UNWatch)

How can the United Nations continue to take an active – or at a minimum, abetting – role in terrorism and violence against a member state?

The world is finally waking up to the travesty that is UNRWA. The UN should take immediate action to close down all of the facilities that it operates in Gaza. #ShutUNRWA


Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

The UN Must Pay to Repair the Gaza Fence

The United Nations Can Hear the Songs of Gazans, but Cannot See Their Rockets

The UN Wants “Real Stories on REAL Refugees”

The UN Fails on its Own Measures to address the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

Ban Ki Moon Stands with Gaza

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

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Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law Advances a Two-State Solution

In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved a plan (UNGA Resolution 181) to be implemented in the Holy Land for when the British ended their administration of Palestine. The resolution proposed that two states be established in the area west of the Jordan River: a Jewish State and an Arab State. The resolution mentioned the term “Jewish State” a full 27 times.

But the world never quite understood what a “Jewish State” meant. The modern world never had witnessed such a thing.

Conversely, an “Arab State” seemed clear. There already were many Arab countries in the world. There were also many Muslim countries. People had a pretty good understanding of what such countries looked like and how they operated. The number of both Arab and Muslim countries would grow over the following decades.

After the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, the Palestinian Arabs would begin to define what their proposed Arab State would look like. In the waning days of the five year transition period that began in September 1995, Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him), ordered a draft Palestinian Constitution be prepared. The initial draft Palestinian constitution was completed in 2001.

It made a few points abundantly clear: a State of Palestine would be Arab and be Muslim.

  • This constitution is based on the will of the Arab Palestinian people.” (Article 1)
  • The Arab Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice, liberty, equality, human dignity, and their right to practice self-determination and sovereignty over their land.” (Article 2)
  • The Palestinian people are a part of the Arab and Islamic nations.” (Article 3)
  • Arabic shall be the official language.” (Article 5)
  • Islam shall be the official religion of the state. The monotheistic religions shall be respected.” (Article 6)
  • The principles of the Islamic Shari`a are a primary source for legislation. The legislative branch shall determine personal status law under the authority of the monotheistic religions according to their denominations, in keeping with the provisions of the constitution and the preservation of unity, stability, and advancement of the Palestinian people.” (Article 7)
  • Sovereignty belongs to the Palestinian Arab people. Its prerogatives shall be exercised by the people directly, by means of elected representatives, by referendum, and through their constitutional institutions.” (Article 10)

It goes on, and the point is underscored: a new Palestinian State would be Arab and Islamic.

Even without a state, the Palestinian Authority created a framework of what it meant to be a Palestinian State. Yet, Israel, which had been a country since May 1948, never defined what it meant to be a Jewish State.

Until 2018.

Israel – like the United Kingdom and New Zealand – does not have a constitution. Instead, it issues a series of “Basic Laws.” These laws enumerate key principles of the country. Until July 2018, the government of Israel did not declare what it meant to be a Jewish State in any of the Basic Laws, even while it enumerated other key attributes such as human dignity and liberty. There were Jewish symbols and Jewish holidays used in Israel, but those could easily be replaced with any new law. The State of Israel was only de facto a Jewish State. Nothing more.


Emblem of Israel, the seven branched menorah, as depicted in the Arch of Titus in Rome, celebrating the sacking of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.

That de facto existence has been more than enough for Arabs and anti-Zionists. Thirty Arab and Muslim countries still refuse to recognize the existence of Israel. For his part, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has stated that Palestinian Arabs “will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.” The PA would make peace with the government of Israel simply as a counter-party to an agreement. However, it still objected to the basic formula laid out since 1947 of two states for two people: a Jewish State and an Arab State.

And Abbas could comfortably delude himself into that reality because Israel never proclaimed itself in its own Basic Laws that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people. The country operated like a Jewish man wearing a baseball cap instead of a kippah, acting religiously without the public declaration of being Jewish. The Jew and anti-Semite could play the farce of doing business and getting along with each other with the fig leaf of deniability.

No longer. The public declaration has been made. The Jew is out of the closet. Deal with your anti-Semitism if you want to live next to Israel, and strike treaties and do business with the Jewish State.

In 2018, the State of Israel declared itself the Nation-State of the Jewish people. For anyone that held out hope for a two state solution built on a solid foundation, there is only cause for optimism and joy.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People

The Basic Law’s “Unique” Problem

Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law is Not Based on Religion

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Palestinian State I Oppose

No Jews Allowed in Palestine

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

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Denying Entry and Citizenship

In 1950, Israel enacted the Law of Return which enabled all Jews from around the world to move to Israel and quickly obtain citizenship. In that declaration, the law gave the state room to exclude certain kinds of individuals, specifically any Jew who:

“(1) is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or

(2) is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.”

The threshold for deciding on granting citizenship was left to the Minister of Immigration. Presumably there were many people who were denied citizenship over the decades since the law was enacted.

The government of Israel does not limit its scrutiny of Jews who arrive in Israel to make aliyah to become citizens, but also deciding who should be granted entry to the country at all.

In January 2018, the Knesset decided to bar entry to members of 20 organizations that threaten the state through calls for BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) of the Jewish State. Those organizations included:

From Europe

  • AFPS (France-Palestine Solidarity Association)
  • BDS France
  • BDS Italy
  • ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
  • FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
  • IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • Norge Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
  • Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS-Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden)
  • PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • War on Want
  • BDS Kampagne

From the United States

  • AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
  • AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
  • Code Pink
  • JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
  • NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
  • USCPR (U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights)

Other groups

  • BDS Chile
  • BDS South Africa
  • BDS National Committee

In July 2018, a prominent voice for Code Pink and BDS activist, Ariel Gold, was denied entry into Israel. After being denied entry, she said that she would entertain making aliyah to the country she was lobbying against. She was perhaps not aware of the caveat in the Law of Return that would prohibit her being granted citizenship.

Ariel Gold of Code Pink at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
The Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan saidThe policy I have set is clear: anyone who acts consistently to boycott us will not enter the country. The rules have changed and the State of Israel will not hold back anymore against those who try to harm us.

Another BDS promoter from Netherlands was similarly denied entry in July 2018.

In August 2018, a leftist activist was detained at the Sinai border with Israel. She belonged to a group called Gisha which advocates for Gazans, but was not on the BDS list. She was eventually allowed entry after a few hours of questioning.

The trend of denying people entry to a country because of the perception that they will foment hatred or violence is occurring in several democracies.

The United Kingdom has barred several right-wing journalists. Since 2009, the UK has prohibited the conservative talk show host Michael Savage from entering the country. In March 2018, the UK denied entry to Canadian right-wing journalist Lauren Southern, and some other YouTubers from Austria. Both Savage and Southern were denied entry because of their comments about Islam. The UK stated “Border Force has the power to refuse entry to an individual if it is considered that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.” The UK phrase of “public good” seems to have a much lower threshold than Israel’s “harm.”

Under the Obama administration, the United States prevented journalists from entering the country with little information as to the reason. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol denied Canadian journalist Ed Ou entry in 2016. The CBP said that it examined Ou’s files and phones because “keeping America safe and enforcing our nation’s laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully examine all materials entering the U.S.” Under the Trump administration, several journalists have been denied visas to enter the country, including Afrah Nasser from Yemen, as her country was on a travel ban.

Many countries – including the U.S.A., the United Kingdom and Israel – deny both citizenship and visitation rights to people who are deemed to be not conducive to the public good / promoters of harm. Activists and journalists from both the right-wing and left-wing have been caught in these nets for decades. But one can be sure that American and British Jews have only called out Israel for such activity, while remaining silent on activities executed by their own governments.


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J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

Journalists in the Middle East

The United Nations’ Incitement to Violence

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The Basic Law’s “Unique” Problem

After Israel announced its 2018 Basic Law of the Nation State of the Jewish People, many people became incensed. Some were the usual suspects who hate anything that Israel does such as the President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan. Others were parties that say they are pro-Israel while they attack the State, like the left-wing group J Street, which declared on its website that it was “a sad day for Israel and all who care about its democracy and its future.” Other left-wing groups and non-Orthodox rabbis made similar comments.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not care much about the complaints from these left-wing groups and non-Orthodox rabbis. It was a somewhat surprising reaction to chose to ignore them considering that one of the points in the 2018 Nation-State Law stated clearly that Israel was the nation state of all Jews, including the left-wing Jews that despise his administration.

However, Netanyahu did become upset when he learned that the Law upset the Druze minority that account for roughly 1.7% of Israeli citizens. The Druze have always been loyal Israeli patriots and are found in every aspect of Israeli society. When Netanyahu learned of the Druze protest, he announced that he would review the language of the law.


Druze protest in Tel Aviv, August 2018

Much of the Basic Law did not break new ground. For example, the national symbols of Israel have always been Jewish symbols. Jerusalem has always been the nation’s capital, and was already so noted in a Basic Law in 1980.

So why did the Druze protest? Why have so many non-Orthodox Jewish rabbis denounced the declaration?

The major reason for the controversy surrounds clause 1c, and the use of the word “unique.”

“The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

The other statements the law’s items 1a and 1b were simply factual statements for anyone that understands Israel and history. International law in 1920 (San Remo Conference Declaration) and 1922 (Mandate of Palestine) underscored that the land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, and it is there that the Jewish people fulfill their “natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.

Item 1c went a step further, declaring that ONLY Jews had the right to national self-determination.

Those in favor of the law saw nothing exceptional about the clause. There was no threat to the nation’s democratic ideals as every citizen – Jew and non-Jew – still had an individual rights to self-determination and full protection under the country’s laws.

However, the Druze and non-Orthodox Jewish community saw things very differently.

The Druze Community

The Druze community came about in the 11th century as an offshoot to Islam. Most of the Druze view themselves as predominantly connected to other Druze, while still remaining loyal to the country in which they reside. The majority live in Syria and Lebanon, with roughly 15% living in northern Israel. Today, the Druze number roughly 1 million people in total.

Like the Kurds, the Druze never had an independent country, and the global powers did not carve out a space for them when the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of World War I. Unlike the Arabs in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, they did not seek to destroy the Jewish State at its founding in 1948.

The Israeli Druze view themselves as completely part of the Israel. Roughly 60% of Druze have served or are serving in the Israeli military, just slightly less than the 75% of Israeli men that have served or are serving. That compares to fewer than 1% of Israeli Arabs who serve in the Israeli army.

The Druze’s proud participation in Israeli society is drastically different than Israeli Arabs. They have no qualms in calling themselves “Israeli Druze,” in sharp contrast to many Israeli Arabs that prefer to call themselves “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” leading with their allegiance to a combatant entity that has warred against the Jewish State since its inception.

For many Druze, the Nation-State Basic Law made them question the nature of patriotism: was it a one way street? Several Druze army officers resigned in protest.

Non-Orthodox rabbis and Left-Wing Groups

For the non-Orthodox rabbis in the United States, the issue was philosophical. Their approach to Judaism and Israel is about universalism and not particularism as detailed in this article. As such, the word “unique” produced a knee-jerk protest.

Left-wing groups (which have more than a few non-Orthodox rabbis in leadership positions) claim their own version of universalism: a world in which everyone and everything is the same. That means no special rights or preferences for anyone that is in the majority or position of power, especially if they are white men. Any move to create rights and protections issued by such powerful white men on behalf of the majority must be inherently bigoted and racist.

Most fundamentally, the Basic Law calling for a “unique” right for the Jewish people in Israel undermines the far left’s two-state solution of 1.5  states for Arabs and 0.5 state for Jews, instead promoting a single state for Jews and a single state for Arabs.

Next Steps

As Netanyahu considers making alterations to the law, he might be able to satisfy both the Druze community and left-wing groups by dropping the word “unique” in statement 1c, but that would make it redundant with clause 1b.

However Netanyahu must know that the Druze have never fought for an independent state and never had one, let alone in northern Israel.

Netanyahu certainly realizes that the Druze did not protest the 1950 Law of Return which only granted Jews an expedited pathway to citizenship.

Israeli leaders can see that the Syrian Druze are loyal citizens to the Syria Arab Republic which has stated in its constitution that it opposes the very existence of Israel and is only an Islamic state. Did Druze loyalty in Syria collapse because of its warring stance and its view of religious hegemony? Not at all.

The handful of protests by Israeli Druze are sparked by the knowledge that the Jewish left and European funded-NGOs will embrace its cause and fight side-by-side in the streets. In Syria, disloyalty is addressed with expulsion and extinction. But in the Jewish State there is a left-wing army that is willing to join their protests in a manner that never existed in 1920, 1948, 1950, 1967 or 1980. The far left-wing will now combat the Israeli government in the streets of Israel, throughout the parliaments of Europe and in the halls of the United Nations.

Perhaps Netanyahu could replace clause 1c with a declaration that Judaism is the official religion of the State of Israel, just as many other democracies have official national religions. It would be interesting to see if the Basic Law opponents would be more comfortable with such declaration.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People

Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law is Not Based on Religion

Israel’s Colonial Neighbors from Arabia

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

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Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law is Not Based on Religion

There are a few democratic countries that do not have formalized constitutions such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the State of Israel. These governments occasionally issue broad laws to outline the basic principles of government. Israel did just that in July 2018.

Israel’s 2018 Basic Law of the Nation-State of the Jewish People was interesting for what it omitted as much as for what it included.

The focus of the law was about the connection between the nation, the land and the people. Specifically, the law outlined the connection between the modern state of Israel, the Jewish people and the Jewish Holy Land.

But the law clearly omitted the religion of the Jews, Judaism.

The law had no preamble about the God of Judaism’s forefathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the way that Ireland begins its constitution about Jesus and the Trinity.

The law did not declare Judaism as the State of Israel’s official religion, nor did it declare that there was an official “church” or head rabbi in the country. Such laws are found in several democracies such as for Roman Catholicism in Costa Rica and for the Eastern Orthodox Church in Greece.

Israel’s Basic Law did not declare that the leader of the country needed to belong to the official government church. Such a law can be found in Denmark’s constitution regarding the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The law did not mandate that Judaism must be taught in school, a law that is found about Catholicism in Malta.

The law did not even state that Israel’s laws are based on Jewish values and inspired by the Jewish prophets as was stated in the country’s Declaration of Independence. Such a statement about Christianity features prominently in the constitution of Norway. Panama’a constitution mentions “Christian morality,” while Peru’s constitution calls out the “Catholic Church as an important element in the historical, cultural, and moral formation” of the country.

As a matter of fact, the Basic Law seemed to go to pains to not even refer to religion.

The law refrained from using the words “God,” “Judaism,” “Holy Land,” “sacred,” or “religion” anywhere in the text. While the law declared the “Hatikvah” as the national anthem, that anthem similarly avoids using any religious language. That’s in sharp contrast to 34 democracies that use “God” or “Lord” in their anthems including Canada, Italy and Switzerland, and others that specifically refer to Christianity such as in the Netherlands and Romania .

The 2018 Basic Law simply detailed that the Jewish people were connected to the land of Israel because of history. Yet in doing so, the law opted to not also underscore the deep religious and unique connection that Jews have for all of the land of Israel, and particularly for Judaism’s holiest city of Jerusalem.


Seal of King Hezekiah found at the southern Temple Mount in Jerusalem
who reigned c.715 – 686 BCE

The emphasis of Israel’s 2018 Basic Law related to the essence of Jews are a people, not adherents to a religion. International law in 1920 recognized “the historical connexion of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” In 2018, Israel took that same step of laying out the long and deep connection between the Jewish people to the land of Israel, realized in the modern state of Israel.


Tel Dan Stele from c.840 BCE found in southern Syria referring to the “House of David”

Jews are the modern Israelites that had kingdoms in Canaan, Israel and Judah. Israel’s 2018 Basic Law affirmed that historical connection between the people and the land, and laid out the initial markings which characterize the reincarnation of the indigenous people in the modern State of Israel.

It is remarkable that Israel chose not to define itself by religion when so many democracies do so.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

From the Balfour Declaration to the San Remo Conference

In Defense of Foundation Principles

Squeezing Zionism

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

Gimme that Old-Time Religion

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Religious Democracies (music by Bob Marley)

God is a Zionist (music by Joan Osborne)

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When Power Talks the Truth

The expression of “talking truth to power,” has a ring of empowerment in certain circles. It portrays weak or disenfranchised people challenging powerful people and/ or interests. The activity is often described as bold and risky and deserving of widespread support and admiration.

Liberals are most frequently heard using the expression due to their desire to flatten society by both promoting the weak and pulling down the powerful. They tend to distrust all forms of authority, according to the Cato Institute. Not surprisingly, stabbing a finger into the eye of powerful groups is a celebrated event.

However, the far lefts’ desire for equality has little to do with “truth.” The goal of equality – whether gender or income or racial – is of primary importance. Truth can be bent, altered or ignored to advance the liberal agenda.

As such, listening to extreme progressives’ use the phrase “talking truth to power,” has an awful dissonance. They doctored truth long ago.

When Power Talks Truth

Truth has the greatest impact when proclaimed by the powerful, especially on a global stage. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley used several opportunities during the week of July 23, 2018, to educate the world not just of certain facts, but about the importance of standing for and shedding light on important truths.

Nikki Haley told the ministerial group about the importance of religious freedom, not just for human rights, but for the basic foundation of peace. “The fact is, real peace cannot be achieved in isolation from human rights,” she told the audience, as she noted the countries of Burma, China, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan had been called out in 1999 for suppressing religious freedom. They would go on to become security threats killing thousands of their own people.

Nikki Haley called out the terrorist actions of Hamas and the destructive and hateful actions of Palestinian Arabs from Gaza destroying enormous swaths of Israel with arson attacks. She called out the Arab states for saying nothing:

“Where are the Arab countries when it comes to denouncing Hamas terrorism? Where are the Arab countries when it comes to supporting compromises that are necessary for peace?”

Haley called out the hypocrisy of the Arab world that claims to care about Palestinians, yet give zero or virtually no monies to UNRWA:

“Talk is cheap…

Last year, Iran’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Algeria’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Tunisia’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Other countries did provide some funding. Pakistan gave 20,000. Egypt gave 20,000. Oman gave 668,000. Moving up the list, Turkey gave 6.7 million. Kuwait gave nine million dollars. United Arab Emirates gave 12.8 million dollars.

Again, if you judge a nation’s commitment to the Palestinian people by the words heard in this chamber, you might come to the conclusion that the United States has been less generous, simply because we stand proudly with our ally Israel here at the UN.

But once again, this conclusion would be entirely false.

Last year, while Algeria was providing nothing to UNRWA, and Turkey was providing 6.7 million dollars, the United States gave 364 million dollars. That’s ten times the combined amounts from every country I just named.

And that’s on top of what the American people give annually to the Palestinians in bilateral assistance. That is another 300 million dollars just last year, and it averages to more than a quarter of a billion dollars every year since 1993.

Since that year, the United States has provided over six billion – with a B – dollars in bilateral assistance to Palestinians. How much have the Arab countries – some of whom are wealthy countries – how much have they given to the Palestinians? It does not come anywhere close to what the United States has done.

To drive her point home, she made clear that America would not continue to play the Arab world’s farce:

The Palestinian leadership has been allowed to live a false reality for too long because Arab leaders are afraid to tell them the truth. The United States is telling the truth because we do care about the Palestinian people.

But we should all recognize that Palestinian needs are not an American problem any more than a Russian problem or a French problem. And they are certainly not more of an American problem than an Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, or Turkish problem.

So the next time we have a meeting like this in the Security Council or in the General Assembly, and we hear speech after speech about the plight of the Palestinian people, I would ask those who are making the speeches to examine what your country is doing to help – other than speechmaking.

It is time for the regional states in particular to step up and really help the Palestinian people, instead of just making speeches thousands of miles away.”

That’s talking some real truth at the UN Security Council.


US Ambassador to the UN  Nikki Haley addressing the UN Security Council
on July 24, 2018

But Haley had more truths.

Haley spoke for 30 minutes at the 2018 CUFI conference and called out many facts about Israel and the state of the world:

  • “We live in a world in which anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
  • “We live in a world in which terrorist groups and even some countries openly call for Israel’s destruction.”
  • “On many college campuses, the anti-Semitic BDS movement has become a trendy cause for students and professors who should know better.”
  • “Last September, when Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the UN, he said that for too long, the “epicenter of global anti-Semitism was the UN itself.” That’s an amazing statement. But unfortunately, it’s true.”
  • “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That’s a fact. And President Trump had the courage to recognize that fact when others would not.”
  • “Many of the protesters in Gaza are anything but peaceful. If they were peaceful, there would be no burning tires, there would be no Molotov cocktails, there would be no flaming swastika kites flying into Israel burning thousands of acres of land.”
  • “When I heard country after country in the UN Security Council hypocritically standing in judgment of Israel, I spoke out. What I said shocked the people at the UN; but I’ll say it again, because it’s the truth: Israel has acted with more restraint than just about any other country would under those same conditions. It’s true.”
  • ” in the history of the UN General Assembly there has been over 600 resolutions on the Israel-Palestinian issue alone – and not one of them has ever mentioned Hamas. Not one in 600.”
  • “It’s very important to me that we represent truths and reality at the UN, even if it makes other countries uncomfortable.”
  • “UNESCO has the outrageous distinction of attempting to change ancient history. UNESCO declared one of Judaism’s holiest sites, The Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a Palestinian Heritage Site, in need of protection from Israel. That was enough. Ten months into this administration, the United States withdrew from UNESCO.”
  • “we don’t even need to talk about Israel to conclude that the Human Rights Council is a sham. But we should talk about Israel, because Israel is a special case that proves the moral bankruptcy of the organization.”
  • “The United States has no moral duty to be neutral between right and wrong. On the contrary, we have a moral duty to take sides, even when that means standing alone.”
  • “We demand that Israel not be treated like some sort of temporary provisional entity or pariah.”
  • “It cannot be the case that only one country in the world doesn’t get to choose its capital city.”
  • “It cannot be the case that the Human Rights Council has a standing agenda item for only one country.”
  • “It cannot be the case that only one set of refugees throughout the world is counted in a way that causes the number to grow literally forever.”
  • “It cannot be the case that in an organization with 193 countries, the United Nations spends half of its time attacking only one country.”
  • “Our demand for fairness for Israel is actually a demand for peace. The UN’s bias against Israel has long undermined peace, by encouraging an illusion that Israel will go away.”
  • Fantasies encourage absolutist demands. When realities are accepted, then compromise becomes possible. When the reality of Israel’s existence is accepted, both sides will become freed to achieve a durable peace.”

A truly incredible dissertation about the importance of truth.

Past US administrations were both too concerned with angering the 50+ oil-rich Muslim and Arab nations, and with upsetting the impoverished (morally and financially) Palestinian Authority. No longer.


The world has been caught up with #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts over the past few years. Extreme Liberals have added to the tempest with alternate realities of “my truths” as they attempt to enforce their worldview on the public. Reality was discarded as everyone fought for the mantle of the underdog.

Fortunately, truth has returned with a powerful champion. And her name is Nikki Haley.


Related First.One.Through articles:

When Only Republicans Trust the Police

In The Margins

Fake Definitions: Pluralism and Progressive / Liberalism

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

Journalists Killed in 2016 #AlternativeFacts

From Eyes Wide Shut (11/13/16):

Today, the world has declared that truth can be ignored, openly and honestly. Fixed facts fold before the fantasy of personal belief. People shout their gestating gospels as the thoughts enter their minds and are blessed in their echo chambers on social media and in the streets.

Opinions no longer need an anchor in fact. People need not see nor hear a matter to declare it untrue or irrelevant. The world has become unhinged as the mind emerges as the sole arbiter of the firmament. Society has quickly moved beyond goggles of virtual reality to worship in the chapel of blind delusions.

In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.

Will we pass judgment solely on which party seems the most sympathetic because they feel the most injured? Does that foretell a future of balms for the pain, rather than solutions for the problems?

We are carrying our emotions across the threshold to deflower our intelligence. That is a marriage that will end poorly for civilization.”

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The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been bloating its staff and wards since 1949. Tasked with taking care of displaced Arab people from the 1948-9 Arab war against Israel’s creation, the agency has continued to provide services for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original refugees who continue to live in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

To examine the staffing of UNRWA is to gain insight into the gross misuse of the world’s generosity.

UNRWA’s own 2017 statistics revealed the following:

 Jordan   Lebanon   Syria   West Bank   Gaza   Amman HQ   Total 
 Registered Refugees        2,175,491        463,664        543,014        809,738        1,348,536        5,340,443
 Other Registered Persons            111,152           50,131           75,114        187,435              87,080            510,912
 Total Registered Persons (RR)        2,286,643        513,795        618,128        997,173        1,435,616        5,851,355

UNRWA gives services to nearly 5.9 million people today, even though only 711,000 “refugees” existed in 1949. Of those 711,000 people, only about 25,000 real refugees are alive today.

The numbers continue to show further abuse:

 Jordan   Lebanon   Syria   West Bank   Gaza   Amman HQ   Total 
 UNRWA Staff                6,642             3,096             3,003             4,635              13,037                  386              30,799
 International Staff                      15                  15                  17                  19                      27                    85                   178
 RR / Staff                   344                166                206                215                   110                   190

As of December 31, 2017, there were close to 31,000 employees of UNRWA – more than the number of ACTUAL refugees alive today.

Further, almost all of the 31,000 employees are local Palestinian Arabs – only 178 people are “international.” UNRWA is simply a vehicle to employ local Arabs.

The most aggressive employment happens in Gaza, where there is an UNRWA Staff person for every 110 Registered Refugees (RR). That is almost twice the level in the other regions, and three times the staffing level as in Jordan.


UNRWA offices in Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

Most of the staffing is for UNRWA’s schools. As shown in the chart below, roughly 71% of the overall staffing is for the schools.

 Staff Detail   Jordan   Lebanon   Syria   West Bank   Gaza   Total 
 Educational Staff                5,090             2,082             2,193             2,671                9,910              21,946
 Pupil enrollment            121,368           36,088           46,733           48,959            262,112            515,260
 Pupil / Educational Staff                      24                  17                  21                  18                      26                      23
 Educational Staff as % Staff 77% 67% 73% 58% 76% 71%

To get an appreciation for  staffing levels of the schools, consider that UNRWA has a student-to-staff ratio of approximately 23:1. By way of comparison, the student-to-staff ratio in the schools in the United States is 32:1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. There is a wide disparity in the ratio, ranging from 15:1 in Virginia to 136:1 in Kansas. But on average, UNRWA over-staffs its schools by roughly 40% compared to the United States.

There are various arguments against the existence of UNRWA which keeps Arabs in a perpetual state of statelessness and hopelessness (SAPs). There are additional arguments against the funding of the schools which promote antisemitism and intolerance.

It is worth taking note of the gross over-staffing of the organization as another component in assessing the funding of UNRWA.


Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

The UN Wants “Real Stories on REAL Refugees”

Related First.One.Through video:

Jordan’s Hypocrisy about UNRWA

The Hamas Theme Song (CSNY)

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Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People

On July 19, 2018, Israel signed a new Basic Law called “The Nation-State of the Jewish People.” It has been called controversial by many liberal media outlets in what it purports to do with minority rights.

The notion that there is a major curtailment of Israeli Arabs’ rights is a gross exaggeration. However, what should be discussed is the novel stance whereby Israel has now assumed the responsibility for the security and the “cultural, historical and religious legacy” of Jews in the diaspora.

Below is the text of the latest Basic Law in Israel, with a review below each point.

  1. The State of Israel
    a) Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people in which the state of Israel was established.
    b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it actualizes its natural, religious, and historical right for self-determination.
    c) The actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

Review:

The comments in parts 1a and 1b are actually found in international law, in both the San Remo Conference Resolution of 1920 and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine. Specifically, international law acknowledged the historic ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and the goal to reconstitute such national home:

  • in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”
  • “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country”

It’s an established fact that Jews have a long history in the land of Israel going back thousands of years. For over 100 years, Jews and the international community have been working to re-actualize the Jewish right to self-determination in that homeland. Sections 1a and 1b are seemingly innocuous and superfluous.

However, section 1c went a step further. It states that the national right of self-determination is ONLY for Jews. While the clause does not limit the INDIVIDUAL rights of non-Jews to live openly and freely in Israel, the intention of the clause is seemingly that non-Jews have no NATIONAL right of self-determination. Non-Jews in Israel have personal rights of self-determination as citizens of the state, while Jews have an added right as a people.

Why:

The State of Israel has very few Basic Laws. As such, why would the country opt to state the obvious points of 1a and 1b in a new Basic Law, and add the additional point of the uniqueness of Jewish self-determination in section 1c?

For the past several years, Palestinian Arab leaders have voiced their belief that Jews are not native to Israel and that only Palestinian Arabs are indigenous to the region. They have turned a blind eye to history and have been effective in getting various United Nations’ bodies to similarly cut off the deep historic and religious ties between Jews and their holy land. They have gotten the UN to decry that Jews are eliminating the natural and historic “Arab character” of Judaism’s holiest city and capital of Jerusalem where Jews have been a majority for over 150 years.

Further, Arabs contend that Jews are not even a people and therefore cannot have a claim of national self-determination. Jews are simply people that believe in a religion – Judaism – and are a diverse mix of cultures and nationalities from around the world, who descended on Palestine as tools of global powers to insert a foreign democracy in the heart of the Arab world. The Arabs have promoted the notion that these Israeli Jews are simply foreign interlopers, who are negating the Palestinian Arab right of self-determination. The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas gave a long lecture to this effect in April 2018.

If the rants of these wild fools would have been given no ear, perhaps this Basic Law would not have been drafted as is. But the mean and angry words have no longer just been echoed in the Muslim and Arab world, but are repeated in European capitals and at the United Nations. Consequently, Israel felt compelled to declare that the land of Israel has always been the homeland of the Jewish people and that the country of Israel is uniquely the nation-state of the Jewish people.

That the liberal press would be shocked at this section of the Basic Law is particularly surprising, noting how much they championed the idea of “two states for two people: one for Jews and one for Arabs,” for so many years.

  1. National symbols of the State of Israel
    a) The name of the state is Israel.
    b) The flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the center.
    c) The symbol of the state is the Menorah with seven branches, olive leaves on each side, and the word Israel at the bottom.
    d) The national anthem of the state is “Hatikvah”
    e) [Further] details concerning the issue of state symbols will be determined by law.

Review:

None of the items listed in section 2 is news to anyone that has ever been to Israel or knows anything about the country. These are all established facts.

Yet, it is curious that nowhere in this section is there a specific reference to Jews or Judaism. The symbols that are highlighted – Israel (Jews are known as the Children of Israel in the Bible); Star of David (King David was a leading unifying king in Jewish history); the Menorah (a symbol of religious Judaism from the Temple); the “Hatikvah” (a song of modern Jewish longing for a return to self-determination in the Jewish holy land) – are all based on Judaism and Jewish history, yet “Jews” and “Judaism” are absent in this section.

Why:

While section 1 underscored historical facts and repudiated the Arab narrative about Jews in Israel, section 2 put forward some modern manifestations of the Jewish State. As symbols, each item is simply a marker and note of Jewish pride. Each item does nothing to impact the day-to-day lives of Jew or non-Jew living in Israel.

Perhaps section 2e leaves open the idea that new state symbols might include items that are not inherently Jewish, such as a state bird.

  1. [The] unified and complete [city of] Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Review:

Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel, and Israel enshrined this fact in the 1980 Basic Law about Jerusalem that was issued solely for such purpose. This section is seemingly wholly redundant.

Why:

While much of the world has not recognized Israel’s annexation of the eastern part of Jerusalem, the United Nations took additional steps against part of Israel’s capital in December 2017. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 declared that all lands that Israel won in its defensive war against Jordan in 1967 were illegally obtained, including the eastern part of Jerusalem.

It would appear that Israel opted to repeat its claim on the entirety of Jerusalem because of the recent action of the United Nations. If there were broader goals such as declaring the city as the holiest site for Jews, the statement would have been broader and discussed the holy sites in the city. Perhaps the drafters of the Law decided that they did not want to provoke the Muslim world, despite the Arabs’ constant belittling of Jewish sites and rights in Jerusalem.

  1. The Language of the State of Israel
    a) Hebrew is the language of the state.
    b) The Arabic language has a special status in the state; the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be regulated by law.
    c) This clause does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created.

Review:

Since the Mandate of Palestine of 1922, English, Arabic and Hebrew have been the official languages in Palestine (Article 22). When Israel declared itself a state in 1948, it continued to give preference to the Arabic language. This Basic law’s section 4b is seemingly a demotion of Arabic as an “official” language, but section 4c seems to ensure that there is no practical impact of such demotion, as Arabic will continue to be used in all governmental items such as monies, stamps and signage.

Why:

Section 4 can best be viewed through the same lens as section 2 – a symbolic note that has no practical impact on day-to-day life. Only the Hebrew language was called out with pride by David Ben Gurion in the country’s Declaration of Independence in May 1948. This section is seemingly another marker of the Jewishness of the State of Israel, even while it makes accommodations for people who speak Arabic.

  1. The state will be open to Jewish immigration and to the gathering of the exiled.

Review:

This statement is seemingly WEAKER than international law laid out in the Mandate of Palestine. In Article 6, that document specifically sought to “facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” The word “facilitate” is an active verb compared to simply being “open” to Jewish immigration.

More specifically, section 5 is completely redundant with the country’s Declaration of Independence which stated “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles.”

Why:

Once again, this Basic Law is seemingly redundant with international law and the country’s foundation document. Which might give a clue as to why the country’s lawmakers decided to issue such clauses in a rare new Basic Law.

The United Nations acted against its own international laws as it related to Jews and the Jewish homeland. The Mandate of Palestine clearly stated that no person could be excluded from living anywhere in the Mandate because of their religion (Article 15), but the British promptly separated half of the Mandate region into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and allowed the country to become Jew-free. When Jordan attacked Israel in 1948 and subsequently banned all Jews from the west bank of the Jordan River, including eastern Jerusalem, and then gave citizenship only to Arabs – specifically excluding Jews – the United Nations said nothing. The UN continues to declare that the vast majority of the Mandate – Jordan, the “West Bank” and Gaza – should be Jew-free today.

Israel clearly felt the need to state in its own laws that it is going to welcome the Jewish exiles from around the world, as it has for years, and not rely on the neutered international laws from 1922, nor its own foundation document.

  1. The Diaspora
    a) The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in trouble and captivity due to their Jewishness or their citizenship.
    b) The state will act to preservethe cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora.

Review:

Of the eleven sections in the 2018 Basic Law on The Nation State of the Jewish People, this is the only one that is truly new. It is not found in international law (1920 and 1922) nor in Israel’s Declaration of Independence (1948). It has no appearance in any of the country’s prior Basic Laws. It is extraordinary in every facet.

That a sovereign country would extend its safety net to a select group of non-citizens around the world is remarkable. It is without parallel.

The second underlying rationale of this new Basic Law becomes clear in this section. It is not only about echoing facts and laws that the world has chosen to ignore, but establishing this new one. The notion of a nation-state is a two-way street: Israel is the Jewish State, and the Jewish State is there for all Jews around the world.

This language stands against the carefully worded text of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 that specifically did not bias the Jewish communities outside of Palestine, that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights… or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

While Jews are not in jeopardy of losing their “political status” as citizens of countries around the world, they now seemingly have a foreign country protecting them and their culture.

Why:

The 2014 War from Gaza unleashed waves of antisemitism around the world, particularly in Europe. Jews were attacked and killed in capital cities and small towns. It reached such a point that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Paris in early 2015 and asked the Jewish community whether it was time to leave France and move to Israel. It was an outrageous act, but also effective: the number of people from France making Aliya (moving to Israel) tripled after the events and Netanyahu’s visit.

Many people in France were angry at Netanyahu’s statement. The government of France appealed to its Jews that France would be considered a failure if it could not protect its Jewish population, but in fact, the Jewish community in France was broadly resentful that France was no longer a secure home for them.

Netanyahu came to Europe to state that times are different: the 1939 British White Paper which prevented Jews from fleeing the Holocaust to come to Israel was no more. Israel was a reality and ready to welcome anyone fleeing persecution as the nation-state for all Jews around the world.

It perhaps comes at a moment of security and smugness that Israel now offers its help to world Jewry, after decades of calling on world Jewry to help the nascent state. As Ben Gurion said on that fateful day in May 1948, “WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.” Israel has now turned the table and is assuming the role of the guardian for world Jewry as opposed to the other way around.

But Jewish memory extends beyond the 1940s.

In 1917, British Jews made sure that the Balfour Declaration did not ensnare Jews outside of Palestine. However in 2018, Israel did not consult with world Jewry when it extended its sheltering tabernacle over their homes in the diaspora.

A very awkward step for a government that stated it had the interests of world Jewry in mind.

 

  1. The state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.

Review:

Section 7 is a repeat of international law as mentioned above in Article 6 of the Mandate of Palestine.

Why:

Settling the land has always been a priority of Zionists. It was true in the 1890s and remains true in the 21st century. The tie between the Jewish people and the Jewish holy land has been true for thousands of years, and no law that sought to connect the nation-state of Jews and Israel could possibly ignore the land of Israel. The Jewish ties to the Jewish holy land existed before the Modern State of Israel, and the government of Israel would be failing its basic mission of self-determination if it did not wholeheartedly promote the development of the land itself.

  1. The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the secular calendar will serve as an official calendar. The usage of the Hebrew calendar and of the secular calendar will be determined by law.

Review:

Not news for anyone living in, or doing business in Israel.

Why:

As with the other items in this Basic Law, it seeks to affirm particular Jewishness of how the state operates. Like many of the sections, it does nothing to harm not-Jewish citizens, any more than some countries declaring Christmas a national holiday harms non-Christians.

  1. National Holidays
    a) Independence Day is the official holiday of the state.
    b) The Memorial Day for those who fell in the wars of Israel and the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and heroism are official memorial days of the state.

Review:

Beyond stating that the holidays and calendar of Judaism will be officially recognized in Israel’s calendar (sections 8 and 10), section 9 ascribes important moments in Israel’s history as national holidays in a typical fashion of any country, but adds a new dimension. Placing a historic event that occurred OUTSIDE of the country’s borders, which impacted a subset of its citizens is highly unusual. The Holocaust did not just have minimal impact on the non-Jews in Israel, but it had little direct impact on the majority Mizrachi Jews from countries including Iraq, Yemen, Egypt and Morocco.

But the Holocaust stands apart from the terrible persecutions suffered by Jews in Arab lands. The Holocaust was so evil and heinous, that it forced the world to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even the United Nations marks the day and encourages all member nations to remember the Nazi atrocities.

Of course the Jewish State would be one of those countries to recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day.

  1. Saturday and the Jewish Holidays are the official days of rest in the state. Those who are not Jewish have the right to honor their days of rest and their holidays. Details concerning these matters will be determined by law.

Review:

See section 8 above.

  1. This Basic Law may not be altered except by a Basic Law that gained the approval of the majority of the Knesset members.

Review:

Self explanatory.


The 2018 Basic Law is seemingly a reaction to world events since early 2014. While Israel has had to contend with an Arab world that rejects coexistence in favor of terrorism for decades, it has been the world’s more recent embrace of fake history and vile antisemitism that necessitated the Basic Law of the Nation State of the Jewish People at this time.

That the Basic Law would include language that Israel will act to protect Jews around the world, gives some insight of how Israel expects antisemitism to play out in the years ahead.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Jewish Holy Land

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Related First.One.Through videos:

Ethiopian Jews Come Home (Phillip Phillips)

The Anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

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