Eyes of A Soldier: First Person View of the IDF

Eyes of A Soldier: First Person View of the IDF

    Israel Defense Forces


 


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Jak Iran planuje przejęcie Gazy

Jak Iran planuje przejęcie Gazy

Khaled Abu Toameh
Tłumaczenie: Małgorzata Koraszewska


Drugą co do wielkości grupą terrorystyczną w Gazie po Hamasie jest finansowany przez Iran Palestyński Islamski Dżihad (PIJ), który ma tysiące zwolenników i bojówkarzy. Na zdjęciu: zamaskowani członkowie PIJ na szkoleniu w Strefie Gazy (Zdjęcie: Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Jeśli ktokolwiek ma nadzieję, że usunięcie Hamasu od władzy w Strefie Gazy polepszy tam sytuację i podniesie szanse na pokój między Palestyńczykami i Izraelem, czeka go wielkie rozczarowanie. Hamas, który siłą przejął panowanie nad Strefą Gazy latem 2007 r., nie jest jedyną grupa terrorystyczną w tej nadbrzeżnej enklawie, mieszczącej niemal dwa miliony Palestyńczyków.

W dodatku do Hamasu w Strefie Gazy jest kilka innych palestyńskich grup terrorystycznych.

Drugą największa po Hamasie grupą jest Palestyński Islamski Dżihad (PIJ), który ma tysiące zwolenników i bojówkarzy. Jeśli Hamas zostanie kiedykolwiek odsunięty od władzy, PIJ ma największą szansę na zajęcie powstałej próżni.

Jeśli usuniesz Hamas od władzy, najprawdopodobniej będziesz mieć do czynienia z PIJ – grupą, która nie jest bardziej umiarkowana. Choć Hamas może być uznawany za “dobry” wyłącznie w jakiejś alternatywnej rzeczywistości, jego następcy nie będą lepsi. Islamistyczny fundamentalizm jest wyryty w sercach i umysłach dziesiątków tysięcy Palestyńczyków w Strefie Gazy.

Te dwie grupy islamistyczne — Hamas i PIJ – są jak dwie krople wody. Obie nie uznają prawa Izraela do istnienia i wzywają do walki zbrojnej dla “wyzwolenia całej Palestyny”, od Morza Śródziemnego do rzeki Jordan.

Podobnie jak Hamas, finansowany przez Iran PIJ także ma zbrojne skrzydło o nazwie Saraya Al-Quds (Brygady Jerozolimskie). Brygady Jerozolimskie, założone w 1981 r. przez przywódców PIJ, Fathiego Szakakiego i Abeda Al-Aziz Awdę w Strefie Gazy, są odpowiedzialne za setki ataków terrorystycznych na Izrael, w tym zamachy samobójcze. W ostatnich latach grupa ostrzeliwała Izrael rakietami i ogniem z moździerzy.

Chociaż PIJ uważa się za niezależną grupę, często działa w koordynacji z Hamasem. Te dwie grupy mają nawet wspólne “dowództwo operacyjne do koordynowania ataków na Izrael. Czasami przeprowadzają wspólne ataki.

Brygady Jerozolimskie lubią wychodzić na ulice w pokazach siły skierowanych wobec innych palestyńskich grup terrorystycznych w szczególności, a palestyńskiej społeczności w Strefie Gazy w ogólności. Normalnie Hamas nie toleruje konkurencji ze strony innych zbrojnych grup w Strefie Gazy, ale jeśli chodzi o PIJ i jego zbrojne skrzydło, sprawa wygląda zupełnie inaczej. Kiedy PIJ pokazuje swoją siłę i broń na ulicach Gazy, Hamas milczy.

Najwyraźniej Hamas wie, że PIJ jest dużą i wpływową grupą, z którą niebezpiecznie jest zadzierać. Hamas wydaje się także świadomy, że wtrącanie się do PIJ oznacza kłopoty z mocodawcami tej grupy w Iranie. Podobnie jak PIJ, także Hamas zależy od politycznego, finansowego i militarnego wsparcia Iranu. Iran uważa PIJ za swojego głównego sojusznika i marionetkę w Strefie Gazy. Dzięki PIJ Iran zapuszcza swoje macki w wewnętrzne sprawy Palestyńczyków, ku wielkiemu niezadowoleniu prezydenta Mahmouda Abbasa i jego popieranej przez Zachód Autonomii Palestyńskiej.

Stosunki między Iranem a Hamasem nie były stabilne w ostatnich latach, w znacznej mierze z powodu odmowy Hamasu popierania reżimu syryjskiego dyktatora Baszara Assada, którego wspiera Iran. Ostatnio jednak w niektórych arabskich mediach pojawiły się doniesienia, że Iran i Hamas zgodzili się na zapomnienie swoich różnic.

W ostatnich kilku latach szereg delegacji Hamasu odwiedziło Teheran w ramach starań tej grupy o naprawienie stosunków z Iranem. Ostatnia wizyta miała miejsce w październiku 2017r., kiedy delegacja Hamasu, w skład której wchodzili Ezzat Al-Riszek, Sami Abu Zuhri, Chaled Kaddoumi, Mohammed Nasr i Zaher Dżabarin, odwiedziła Teheran, by poinformować przywódców irańskich o rozwoju sytuacji w sprawie starań zakończenia konfliktu między Hamasem a frakcją Fatahu Abbasa.

Mimo widomego zbliżenia Iran nadal niezbyt ufa Hamasowi. Ten sceptycyzm wydaje się opierać na obawie Iranu, że Hamas jest gotowy do pojednania z Fatahem i do zawieszenia broni z Izraelem. Taki sojusz, w oczach Iranu, stanowiłby zdradę ze strony Hamasu. Każde porozumienie z Fatahem znaczyłoby, że Hamas jest gotowy połączyć siły z Abbasem, a co gorsza, zgodzić się na przyszłe rozmowy pokojowe z Izraelem. Każde porozumienie o zawieszeniu broni z Izraelem znaczyłoby, że Hamas jest gotowy złożyć broń i porzucić walkę zbrojną przeciwko “syjonistycznemu wrogowi”. To “poddanie się” jest anatemą dla mułłów w Teheranie, których zadeklarowanym celem jest eliminacja Izraela.

Dla Iranu prawdziwym sojusznikiem na palestyńskiej arenie jest PIJ. Iran zawsze będzie widział PIJ jako naturalne zastąpienie Hamasu w Strefie Gazy, jeśli Hamas kiedykolwiek zawrze umowę z Fatahem lub Izraelem.

PIJ tymczasem robi wszystko, co w jego mocy, by dowieść panom w Teheranie swojej wiarygodności. W zeszłym tygodniu militarne skrzydło PIJ wyprawiło swoich ciężko uzbrojonych wojowników na ulice Strefy Gazy w pokazie siły dla Hamasu, Iranu i reszty świata.

Abu Hamzeh, rzecznik Brygad Jerozolimskich, dumnie oświadczył podczas paramilitarnego marszu, że jego grupa “nigdy nie pójdzie na kompromis ani nie odda ani jednego centymetra ziemi Palestyny – całej Palestyny”. Dodał: “Nasza broń jest symbolem naszej dumy i siły naszego narodu. Oprzemy się wszystkim spiskom i udaremnimy wszystkie spiski, które mają na celu zlikwidowanie naszej sprawy”.

Co więc to wszystko znaczy dla Gazy?

Po pierwsze, jest mało prawdopodobne, by nastąpiły tam jakieś pozytywne zmiany. Nawet gdyby Hamas został usunięty od władzy, Palestyńczycy nadal cierpieliby pod rządami innych radykalnych grup, takich jak PIJ.

Po drugie, nawet gdyby Hamas miał się obudzić jutro rano i całkowicie zmienić, zawierając autentyczne zawieszenie broni z Izraelem, zawsze będą tam inne grupy terrorystyczne, które są gotowe złamać to porozumienie w każdym momencie.

Po trzecie, Strefa Gazy nadal będzie pełna ciężko uzbrojonych grup, które będą kontynuować ataki terrorystyczne na Izrael i narzucać reżim terroru i zastraszania na palestyńską populację.

Po czwarte, ani Abbas, ani nikt inny nie będzie w stanie wejść do Strefy Gazy, narzucić prawo i porządek i skonfiskować broń terrorystycznych grup.

To są kluczowe czynniki, które musi brać pod uwagę każdy aktor międzynarodowy, starający się znaleźć rozwiązanie dla katastrofy o nazwie Gaza. Alternatywnie, można nadal zamieszkiwać jakąś alternatywną rzeczywistość, w której wszystko byłoby dobrze, gdyby tylko Izrael złagodził restrykcje nałożone na Strefę Gazy.


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CELEBRATING ISRAELS REVIVAL ON YOM HAALIYAH

CELEBRATING ISRAELS REVIVAL ON YOM HAALIYAH

YAAKOV HAGOEL


Throughout history, no other people has held so strongly to the memory of their homeland no matter what country they lived in.

59 lone soldiers make Aliyah on the August 17 Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah flight from New York. (photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)

I was born in Israel to parents who were also born in Israel. However my grandparents had the merit to make Aliyah to Israel.

Like many who are now reading this article, my grandparents left behind a house, a culture, and a language. Unfortunately, I will never experience the amazing challenge of liberating myself from exile and returning home to the promised land.

I will never deal with the difficulties of learning a new/old language and adapting to a new culture – an integral part of immigration.

The phenomenon of aliyah, which means to “arise to Israel,” began nearly 4,000 years ago.

Under divine command, the patriarch of the Jewish nation was called to “leave thy country, and thy people, and thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show you” as it states in the book of Genesis. He embarked on a long journey, a journey that has not yet come to an end.

It is not at all simple to leave a land of plenty and come to a land that seems lacking. However Abraham’s complete faith in making this huge step has deepened within our people the importance of taking this step ourselves. The essence of our life is here and this is where we can fulfill the aspiration to establish a “model society” as described by the Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl.

Throughout history, no other people has held so strongly to the memory of their homeland no matter what country they lived in. With prayer books in front of their eyes, Jews have been praying for thousands of years facing the direction of Jerusalem. Despite not living in the land, Jews have always studied the laws that pertain to the land such as shmittah and the Jubilee year. Every year the Passover seder ends with the words “next year in rebuilt Jerusalem.”

The renewed Zionist idea contains two basic concepts which cannot be separated: immigration and resettlement.

As Theodor Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization wrote, “throughout the long night of their exile, Jews have never ceased dreaming of their kingdom. We read ‘next year in Jerusalem’ throughout all generations. Now the time has come to make that dream a reality.”

Yom HaAliyah was formalized as a national holiday in Israel to be marked on the 7th of Cheshvan. However according to tradition, Joshua led the children of Israel into the holy land on a different date, the 27th of Nissan. But it was no accident that the 7th of Cheshvan was chosen to mark the Aliyah Day. It is on this week every year, that we read Parshat Lech Lecha in synagogue on Shabbat. It is in this Torah portion that Abraham hears the divine call to leave the land of his birth and forge a new path to the land of Israel.

Yom HaAliyah, or Aliyah Day, reinforces the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. This date reminds us that despite the expulsion of the majority of the Jewish people from their homeland nearly 2,000 years ago, they remained faithful to the land throughout their Dispersion.

Throughout the generations, our ancestors aspired to immigrate to Israel. Many of us grew up seeing old photographs of immigrants ships, of Jews kissing the ground as they arrived in Israel, and of the Ma’abarot or transit camps with their rows of tents for homeless immigrant families.

Immigration to Israel in the days of our parents and grandparents was accompanied by a difficult transition. They came with little material possessions or money and lived in tent cities or development towns. They became a symbol both of the difficulty of making aliyah yet the importance of doing it in spite of everything.

With the development of the State of Israel and its prosperity, the procedure of aliyah and absorption has improved beyond recognition. The transit camps were replaced by apartments, poverty was replaced by an Absorption Basket, and language difficulties were replaced by the Hebrew Ulpan system.

From refugees of the Spanish Inquisition to those escaping the hardships in Africa and survivors from war-torn Europe steeped in blood, Israel has become the home of the Jewish people from all different walks of life.

In this new/old land, we have seen a new generation of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, military experts, lawmakers, intellectuals, and religious leaders from countless different countries. They are now all part of this innovation nation called the State of Israel where immigrants from around the world share their talents in development, economics, high-tech and medical breakthroughs.

There are numerous challenges when it comes to being an immigrant. We must all recognize the importance of both absorption and integration into Israeli society, the removal of obstacles to success as well as maintaining ties with our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.

The State of Israel is looking forward to the continued ingathering of the exiles from around the world, from South America from Australia from Europe from North America from Ethiopia and from all over the world.

Today, organizations and movements around Israel are marking Aliyah Day in their own way. World Likud has chosen to mark this day with an event that unites all immigrants who were touched by the Betar youth movement. Members of Betar young and old, and anyone raised with the teachings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, learned the value of aliyah. They left behind the culture of their host country, learned Hebrew and arrived in Israel to set down their roots and establish a new generation of Zionist families.

As the vice-chairman of the World Zionist Organization, I consider it crucial to continue encouraging aliyah. We must remove any existing barriers for new immigrants and continue to raise awareness among Diaspora Jews with the truth that Israel is my home, your home, and a home for all of us.

Happy Aliyah Day!


Yaakov Hagoel is the Vice-Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Chairman of World Likud.


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Jewish Democrats increasingly anti-Israel

Jewish Democrats increasingly anti-Israel

Caroline Glick


Jewish Democrats have long taken pride in the high number of American Jews serving as Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Given that the Jewish community in the United States constitutes less than two percent of the general population, the fact that nearly two dozen American Jews serve in the House and Senate is a legitimate source of pride, regardless of party.

For the past fifity years, Democratic Jewish lawmakers like Representatives Tom Lantos, Howard Berman, Steven Solarz, Shelley Berkley, Jane Harman, Nita Lowy and Elliot Engel; and Senators like Joe Lieberman and Frank Lautenberg; played key roles in forging and maintaining their party’s strong support for Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance.

In recent years, however, things have changed. As Democratic voters and leaders have become more hostile to Israel, and as Republican voters and leaders have become more supportive of Israel, Jewish Democratic lawmakers have increasingly adopted policies and accepted support from organizations that are harmful to Israel’s national security.

The current election cycle makes this point very clearly. As JTA reported this week, there are 36 Jewish candidates running as Democrats in House races. Half are incumbents, and half are challengers.

Over two-thirds of the Jewish Democratic incumbents (13 of 18) supported President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the most outspoken critic of the deal, arguing that it posed an existential danger to Israel by giving Iran an open path to a nuclear arsenal. Three-quarters of Israeli Jews agreed with him.

Nearly half of the Jewish Democratic incumbents (7 of 18) have received contributions from J Street, the anti-Israel Jewish political group founded with help from George Soros. Throughout Obama’s years in office, J Street served as the administration’s Jewish fig leaf.

J Street was a central actor in the campaign to block a Senate veto of the Iran deal. It has placed the blame for the failure of the Israel-Palestinian peace process squarely on Israel’s shoulders, and campus chapters of J Street have reportedly aided anti-Israel activists in attempts to support the antisemitic “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) campaign against Israel. The organization is considered so hostile to Israel that Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, refuses to meet with its representatives.

Among the Democratic challengers, five of 18 have received funding from J Street, according to JTA’s report. Ten have received money from other far-left PACs or were endorsed by Obama.

One of the Democratic candidates, Dan Kohl, who is running in Wisconsin’s 6th District against two-term Republican incumbent Glenn Grothman, is one of J Street’s founders, and its first political director. His uncle, Herb Kohl, served as a Senator from Wisconsin for four terms and was staunchly supportive of Israel.

Dan Kohl is the scion of his family’s retail empire. His only recorded private sector experience was a stint as assistant general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, which his family owned.

According to campaign financing site opensecrets.org, Kohl had a 30 percent funding advantage over Grothman at the end of July. Kohl’s single largest donor was J Street, which contributed $175,320 to his campaign.

Kohl oversaw J Street PAC and turned it into a national fundraising organization that came under scrutiny almost as soon as it was established. Although J Street PAC touts itself as a Jewish organization, it received money from Arab and Iranian lobbies and individuals. Some J Street officials have been registered foreign agents for Arab countries.
Grothman, in contrast, is an enthusiastic and consistent supporter of Israel. He celebrated President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. J Street opposed the move.

Despite Kohl’s anti-Israel extremism, and lack of experience in other endeavors, he is running as a moderate, and claims that, if elected, he will seek bipartisanship. Kohl seeks to distinguish himself from Grothman by accusing Grothman of eschewing bipartisanship. According to Grothman’s campaign, he is running four times as many television ads as Grothman, as the gap in funding between the two candidates continues to grow in Kohl’s favor.

Also running for the House of Representatives in the current cycle are 15 Jewish Republicans. Two are incumbents, the rest are challengers.

One of the interesting races on the Republican side is Lena Epstein’s bid to win an open seat vacated by pro-Israel Republican Rep. David Trott in Michaigan’s 11th district. Unlike most of the other seats with Jewish Republican challengers, which are viewed as long shots for Republicans, Michigan’s 11th district is considered a toss-up.

Trump won the district in 2016 by 4 points. Epstein’s Democratic opponent, Haley Stevens, is running at a 7-point advantage with 17 percent of voters undecided. Both women are in their late 30s.

Epstein, who is staunchly pro-Israel, ran her family automotive and industrial lubricants business, Vesco Oil, with mother and sister before entering politics as a co-chairman of Trump’s Michigan campaign in 2016.

Stevens served in the Obama administration as the chief of staff of the auto rescue task force.

According to Epstein’s supporters, her campaign has been subjected to stiff opposition by Jewish liberals from inside and outside her district. For instance, in June, the Franklin Hills Country Club, with a heavily Jewish membership, cancelled a fundraiser for Epstein. The cancellation was reportedly caused by a Facebook posting by Michael Simon, the son of one of the club’s former presidents.

In his post, Simon compared Trump’s immigration policies to Nazi policies. He called Epstein “a neo fascist” and said the values of the Jewish candidate, whose family members have been members of the club for four generations, are “incongruous with the moral center of the Jewish community.”

Epstein’s event was cancelled within hours of Simon’s posting (which he subsequently deleted).

This week, a Democratic polling firm, the Mellman Group, published a survey of American Jewish opinion regarding President Trump’s policies towards Israel. In a signal of the profound shift of liberal Jewish opinion on Israel, a bare majority of 51 percent of American Jews supported Trump’s policies towards Israel, despite the fact that he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and has staunchly backed Israel against its enemies while defunding the Palestinian Authority and shutting the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, DC.

Only 6 percent said that they would vote for him due to his Israel policies despite disagreements with him on other issues. That is, only 6 percent of liberal American Jews believe that support for Israel is a primary voting issue. 20 percent said they agree with Trump on Israel and still will not vote for him.

75 percent of the poll’s respondents said they plan to vote Democrat in next month’s Congressional elections. 68 percent identified as Democrats.

The numbers indicate that liberal American Jews place a far higher priority on their partisan identity than on their Jewish identity. Moreover, as Simon’s attack on Epstein shows, for many liberal Jews, partisan identities are increasingly viewed as part and parcel of their Jewish identities. As a consequence, liberal American Jews can be expected to be the most outspoken critics of the slowly growing minority of Republican Jews.

So, too, if current trends continue, pro-Israel American Jews, as well as Israeli leaders, should not expect Democratic lawmakers to stand with Israel when doing so puts them in conflict with the party’s activists.

Indeed, as time goes by, the dozens of Jewish Democratic lawmakers in Congress may serve not as Israel’s defenders in their party, but as fig leaves that hide and whitewash the growing hostility of their party and its voters towards the Jewish state and its supporters in the United States.


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Klezmoret i Muzyka Żydowska w Giżyckim Centrum Kultury

Klezmoret i Muzyka Żydowska w Giżyckim Centrum Kultury

GTV


 


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