Here Are the Best News Bloopers of 2014

With 2014 officially coming to a close, YouTube channel NewsBeFunny has put together and extensive compilation of the best news bloopers of the entire year.

Some of the bloopers are accidentally vulgar, some are just cringe-inducing and others are just funny.

Watch the video below (Warning: Some strong content/language):

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10 worst global anti-Semitic/anti-Israel incidents of 2014

Anti-semitism. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Anti-semitism. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Jerusalem Post (Dec 29) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center has ranked the 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in 2014. Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the human rights organization, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that this year’s list seeks to show how anti-Semitic “rhetoric at the top has filtered down to average people.”

Hier said the center deliberately chose not to include principal Arab leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because the ranking system reveals the spread of hate on a grassroots level.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, told the Post that Europe dominated the list of incidents of Israel hatred and anti-Semitic violence, with six mentions.

The No. 1 slot went to a doctor in Belgium who refused to provide medical care to a 90-year-old Jewish woman with a fractured rib. He told her son, who had requested the care: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she will get rid of the pain. I’m not coming,” and hung up.

Hershy Taffel, Bertha Klein’s grandson, filed a formal discrimination complaint with the authorities, according to the paper Joods Actueel.

“It reminds me of what happened in Europe 70 years ago,” Taffel said. “I never thought those days would be repeated.”

Parts of Jordan’s government and the Palestinian Fatah party in Israel’s disputed territories garnered the second spot. After Palestinian terrorists murdered four rabbis in the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue in west Jerusalem, Jordanian MPs organized a moment of silence for the terrorists and read Koran verses aloud, stating their purpose was to “glorify their pure souls and the souls of all the martyrs in the Arab and Muslim nations.”

The Wiesenthal Center’s list noted that Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour sent a condolence letter to the families of the terrorists, writing, “I ask God to envelope them with mercy and to grant you patience, comfort and recovery from your grief…” In response to Palestinian acts of vehicular terrorism, which included the death of a baby at a Jerusalem light rail stop, and the murder of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped from a bus stop, Fatah depicted the boys as rats in a cartoon on its official website.

The brutal assault on a Jewish couple, including the rape of a woman, in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris, resulted in ranking No. 3.

Assailants tied up the couple and demanded, “Tell us where you hide the money. You Jews always have money.”

MPs from the radical anti-Israel wing of Germany’s Left Party secured the No. 4 spot. Annette Groth, Inge Höger, Claudia Haydt and Heike Hänsel fomented hatred of the Jewish state during a talk in the Bundestag. Höger and Groth invited two obscure anti-Israel extremists, Max Blumenthal and David Sheen, to deliver talks against Israel.

According to the center, “On November 10, the Left Party invited notorious Israel-bashers… in the party’s meeting room in the Bundestag, the day after commemoration of the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the 1938 pogrom when the Nazis burned Jewish synagogues across Germany. Blumenthal often casts Zionism as racism and conflates alleged Israeli misdeeds with Nazi imagery.”

The center wrote, “That was too much for top party leader Gregor Gysi, who canceled the usage of the party’s meeting room. The incident came to be known as ‘Toiletgate,’ because Gysi was forced to barricade himself in a bathroom to escape the wrath of Blumenthal and Sheen.

“It highlighted the ongoing efforts to demonize Israel by a group of extreme anti-Israel MPs, led by Inge Höger and Annette Groth. Both of these parliamentarians were onboard the controversial 2010 Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla and upon their return to Berlin, were hailed by many of their party’s MPs.”

In response to the Toiletgate scandal, a petition signed by reform Left Party MPs, local politicians and members directed at but not limited to Haydt, Hänsel, Höger and Groth, states: “By stoking obsessive hatred of and demonizing Israel, members of our party in positions of responsibility are promoting anti-Semitic patterns of argument and a relativization of the Holocaust and the German responsibility for the extermination of millions of European Jews.”

The fifth ranking went to Turkish columnist Faruk Köse, who in his column in Yeni Akit, a newspaper with closes ties to President Erdogan’s government, wrote that Turkish Jews should pay a special tax for damages during Operation Protective Edge this past summer.

Köse also sought to convince Erdogan that the Jewish community should apologize for Israel’s self-defense measures during the operation.

“You came here after being banished from Spain. You have lived comfortably among us for 500 years and gotten rich at our expense. Is this your gratitude – killing Muslims? Erdogan, demand that the community leader apologize. “So of course one feels like saying, ‘God bless that Hitler!’”

The spread of right-wing anti-Semitism by Björn Söder, a Sweden Democrats Party politician, resulted in a sixth-place ranking. He said in an interview, “Most [people] of Jewish origin who have become Swedes leave their Jewish identity,” and that it is important to distinguish between “citizenship and nationhood.”

The Wiesenthal Center blasted Sweden’s government for failing to combat Jew hatred, saying, “Swedish Jews have been targets of hate crimes from Muslim extremists, but authorities have rarely, if ever, taken action against the perpetrators.”

The neo-fascist Mayor Mihaly Zoltan Orosz of Erpatek in eastern Hungary garnered the seventh slot, for his hanging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former president Shimon Peres in effigy at a public display in early August. According to the Wiesenthal entry, he told reporters “the Jewish terror state” was trying to annihilate the Palestinians, and he opposed “the efforts of Freemasons to rule the world.”

The sign hanging above the “body” of Peres reads: “I am a war criminal, bastard genocider, that’s why I get my rightful punishment, death by hanging! I am going to my master, to Satan, because hellfire awaits me! – Simón Peresz.”

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Nearly 2,000 people executed by ISIS in six months

ISISJerusalem Post (Dec 28) — The Islamic State militant group has killed 1,878 people in Syria during the past six months, the majority of them civilians, a British-based Syrian monitoring organization said on Sunday.

Islamic State also killed 120 of its own members, most of them foreign fighters trying to return home, in the last two months, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The militant group has taken vast parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in territory under its control in June. Since then it has fought the Syrian and Iraqi governments, other insurgents and Kurdish forces.

Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Syrian monitoring group, told Reuters that Islamic State killed 1,175 civilians, including eight women and four children.

He said 930 of the civilians were members of the Sheitaat, a Sunni Muslim tribe from eastern Syria which fought Islamic State for control of two oilfields in August.

Reuters cannot independently verify the figures but Islamic State has publicized beheadings and stoning of many people in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. These are for actions it sees as violating its reading of Islamic law, such as adultery, homosexuality, stealing and blasphemy.

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The top 12 Israel stories of 2014

From the first blood test for cancer to inventions that can save your life, and a reinvented wheel, we look back at some of our most exciting stories of the year.

I-Love-IsraelIsrael21c (Dec 26) — To say goodbye to the old year, and to celebrate the new, we’ve brought you our most popular 12 stories of the year. It’s a significant list that demonstrates the incredible diversity and innovation of Israeli life even during the most difficult of times.

  1. Israelis develop the first blood test for cancer

After eight years of painstaking research, Israeli life-sciences company Eventus Diagnostics  has produced a blood test for the early detection of breast cancer.

  1. 18 Israeli inventions that could save your life

ISRAEL21c takes a look at 18 lifesaving innovations from the startup nation.

  1. 10 extraordinary places to stay in Israel

If you’re looking for something a little different from luxury chain hotels, B&Bs and youth hostels, then check out these unusual places to lay your head for the night.

  1. 15 things you didn’t know about the Iron Dome

Israel’s anti-missile defense system was the unexpected hero of this summer’s conflict. Betcha didn’t know there are toy car parts in its history

  1. The surprising duo behind the Hamas missile map

A Belgian-Israeli Jew and a Dutch Muslim developed Israel Under Attack, a new computer tool for mapping rocket trajectories from Gaza.

  1. Revolutionary stem-cell ALS treatment begins advanced trials

BrainStorm’s NurOwn enhanced adult stem cells seem to halt the progression of incurable neurodegenerative diseases.

  1. Israel goes vegan

‘What is going on here is really remarkable. I don’t think this took hold so quickly and intensely in any other place in the world,’ says Israeli food writer Ori Shavit.

  1. A 2 inch computer for $55

CuBox, the smallest computer ever, is made in Israel by an Arab-Israeli company aiming to power the Internet of Things.

  1. 12 hot apps from Israel

Want to be better organized, make music with distant friends, avoid your ex, socialize your shopping experience? Israelis have made an app for that.

10.  Leave it to Israelis to reinvent the wheel

Revolutionary shock-absorbing SoftWheel technology is rolling out for wheelchairs, bicycles and eventually everything else on wheels

11.  ‘Children are children. They are not our enemies’

While her hometown is under constant missile attack from Gaza, pediatric ICU head nurse Irena Nosel cares for critically ill Gazans in an Israeli hospital.

    12.  11 top Israeli innovations to treat, seal and heal wounds

New wound-care products are easing patients’ pain and winning fans among healthcare providers worldwide.

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If N.Korea Is Upset About Theaters Showing ‘The Interview,’ It’s Really Not Going to Like This Group’s Plans

TheBlaze (Dec 18) — A human rights group plans to airdrop copies of “The Interview” over North Korea when the movie is released onto DVD.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Fighters for a Free North Korea will use hydrogen balloons to distribute copies of the controversial movie to those living in the communist country.

“North Koreans risk their lives to watch Hollywood films … and ‘The Interview’ is tremendously threatening to the Kims,” organization founder Thor Halvorssen said. “They cannot abide by anything that portrays them as anything other than a god. This movie destroys the narrative.”

This photo released by Sony Pictures Entertainment shows James Franco, left, as Dave, and Seth Rogen as Aaron, in a scene from Columbia Pictures’ “The Interview.” The movie opens in theaters Dec. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Entertainment, Ed Araquel)

This photo released by Sony Pictures Entertainment shows James Franco, left, as Dave, and Seth Rogen as Aaron, in a scene from Columbia Pictures’ “The Interview.” The movie opens in theaters Dec. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Entertainment, Ed Araquel)

The group, also headed by a former government propagandist who escaped, has smuggled DVD players and other movies into North Korea in the past.

News of the planned airdrops come as some theaters in the U.S. announce that they have elected not to show “The Interview” amid a Tuesday terror threat warning there would be consequences for screening the movie.

“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the terror threat warned. “Remember the 11th of September 2001.”

The individuals behind the threat appeared to belong to the same group of hackers that recently executed a devastating cyber attack against Sony. U.S. officials suspect North Korea to be behind the cyberattack.

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To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman

‘You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes’

A protest led by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

A protest led by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

TabletMag — The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.

If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation—you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”

If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”

If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate—you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.

If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive—whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition—you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.

If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.

You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.

You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, traveling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews—and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities—and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.

You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.

• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.

Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.

A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.

Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.

Count Basie was a Zionist.

Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. was a Zionist.

Indeed, they and many more men and women signed a letter in 1975 that stated: “We condemn the anti-Jewish blacklist. We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry to America. Having suffered so greatly from such prejudice, we consider most repugnant the efforts by Arab states to use the economic power of their newly-acquired oil wealth to boycott business firms that deal with Israel or that have Jewish owners, directors, or executives, and to impose anti-Jewish preconditions for investments in this country.”

You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed. So, you most certainly do not get to culturally appropriate my people’s history for your own. You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes and you do not get to feign victimhood in our name. You do not have the right to slander my people’s good name and link your cause to that of Dr. King’s. Our two causes are diametrically opposed to each other.

Your cause is the antithesis of freedom. It has cost hundreds of thousands of lives of both Arabs and Jews. It has separated these peoples, and has fomented animosity between them. It has led to heartache, torment, death and destruction.

It is of course your prerogative to continue to utilize platitudes for your cause. You are entirely within your rights to chant words like “equality” “justice” and “freedom fighter.”

You can keep using those words for as long as you like. But I do not think you know what they mean.

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Shin Bet, police foil ‘pregnant’ suicide bomber plot in Tel Aviv

Palestinians planned to infiltrate Israel by obtaining medical permit for female suspect and dressing her as pregnant woman

Weapons uncovered by a joint Shin Bet, Police, and IDF sweep in October and November 2014 of a West Bank cell planning to use a female suicide bomber in Tel Aviv (Courtesy: Shin Bet)

Weapons uncovered by a joint Shin Bet, Police, and IDF sweep in October and November 2014 of a West Bank cell planning to use a female suicide bomber in Tel Aviv (Courtesy: Shin Bet)

Times of Israel (Dec 16) — Palestinian terror cell planning a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and other attacks was thwarted over the last several months, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

Five suspects hailing from Jenin and the village Attil in the Tulkarem area of the West Bank planned to infiltrate into Israel by acquiring a permit for the female member of their group to receive medical care in Israel.

She was then to dress as a pregnant Jewish woman and detonate an explosive belt in Tel Aviv, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

The cell members admitted under Shin Bet interrogation to planning to carry out shooting attacks, detonate a mine next to a bus carrying soldiers, and kidnap a soldier as well, according to the internal security agency.

The five were arrested between October and November by IDF forces working with the Shin Bet and police, but the information was only cleared for release Monday.

The names of the suspects were listed as Yasmin Shaban, 31, from Jenin; Munadil Takaz, 22, from Attil; his brother Muatez Takaz, 20, from Attil; Abd al-Haleq Masimi, 22, from Attil; and Marwan Tzadki, 20, from Attil.

The Shin Bet said that the suspects planned to use a safe house inside of Israel to dress Yasmin and prepare her for the attack.

They admitted to being in touch with a terror operative in the Gaza Strip, who told the cell that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad would take credit for the attack.

Security forces found during the arrests an improvised M-16, hunting rifle, ammunition, and explosive material.

Click here for full article.

Four of the Fundamental Reasons Russia’s Economy Is Circling the Drain

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

TheBlaze (Dec 16) — It’s a familiar specter of the Americans psyche: The Russian bear looming threateningly, with a tough military exterior…and a sickly economic underbelly.

Is modern-day Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, barreling toward a meltdown?

Here’s a look at four of the major economic challenges Russia is facing:

1. Low oil prices

Russia is hugely dependent on the price of oil. As Morgan Stanley’s Jacob Nell put it, “Since oil and gas account for 67 [percent] of Russia’s exports and 50 [percent] of federal budget revenues, oil prices drive the country’s economic cycle.”

With oil prices dropping nearly 50 percent in the second half of 2014, Russia’s government has been hard-pressed to make up the lost revenue. One solution: pretend the problem doesn’t exist, as the Russian parliament did in October when it passed a budget ”based on an alternate reality.”

2. Western sanctions

Russia’s finance minister has said the country is losing roughly $40 billion annually as a result of international sanctions, which came as a response to Russia’s military adventuring in Ukraine.

In some cases, sanctions have had truly bizarre fallout effects.

As TheBlaze reported in October, Russia responded to sanctions by clamping an embargo on Western food imports, resulting in dramatically higher food prices in Russia and ultimately leading Russian authorities to O.K. crocodile meat as a replacement for Western protein.

3. A crummy currency

The value of the rouble tumbled on Monday, reaching 64 roubles to the dollar for the first time on record. Russia’s central bank apparently attempted to halt the decline, Business Insider reported, but the $350 million move did little to bolster the rouble’s value.

4. Capital flight

As the situation inside Russia deteriorates, individuals have been yanking their money out of the country.

The Bank of Russia estimates capital outflows will hit $128 billion this year and $120 billion in 2015, the Telegraph reported.

In a December bid to stem the bleeding, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced tax amnesty for capital repatriated to Russia and a four-year freeze on corporate tax rates.

The fundamental woes of modern-day Russia are not unlike the problems that faced the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Then, the price of oil fell from $66 per barrel in 1980 to $20 per barrel in 1986.

Now, the price of oil has fallen from $115 per barrel in June to around $60 per barrel now — and for every sustained $10 drop in the price of a barrel of oil, Russia’s GDP will take an estimated 1.5 percent hit.

Then, the Soviet Union faced protracted bloodshed and global condemnation for its 1979 invasion of — and subsequent decade-long war in — Afghanistan.

Now, much of the world has condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea and suspected continued military involvement in eastern Ukraine.

Then, the situation became untenable and the Soviet Union broke apart.

Now … ?

The 1980s were rough on the USSR, and with the Russian government predicting a recession to hit early next year, it looks like the 2010s could be another rotten decade for Russia.

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Childhood in Gaza Under Hamas’ Rule

IDF blog (Dec 15) —  For years, Hamas has brainwashed and manipulated people in Gaza, and they start young. While students their age around the world make friends, learn and expand their horizons, the children of Gaza are subjected to Hamas’ oppressive authoritarian rule that deprives them of a real education and teaches them violence and hatred.

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Poll: 80% of Palestinians support jihad terror attacks on Israeli civilians

Palestinians-celebrate-jihad-terrorThey’re approving of hit-and-run attacks on Israeli civilians, and of stabbing whole families to death in the homes in the middle of the night. They’re glorifying and celebrating savagery.

“Poll shows strong Palestinian support for attacks,” The Associated Press, December 9, 2014:

JERUSALEM (AP) — An overwhelming majority of Palestinians support a recent spate of attacks on Israelis amid heightened tensions over the most sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, according to an opinion poll released Tuesday.

The poll also found that more than half of Palestinians support a new uprising against Israel, and that the Hamas militant group would win presidential elections if they were held today.

Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki said the results reflected Palestinian anger over Israeli statements about the Jerusalem holy site, which is revered by Jews and Muslims, as well as a loss of hope following the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks and Israel’s recent war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research interviewed 1,270 people in the West Bank and Gaza last week. The poll had an error margin of 3 percentage points.

“There is an environment in which violence is becoming a dominant issue,” said Shikaki. “This seems to be one of the most important driving forces.”

There has been a spate of attacks in Jerusalem over the past month and a half, at a time of rising tensions over the contested holy site, revered by Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Prominent members of Israel’s government have become more vocal in recent months about demands that Jews be allowed to pray at the Muslim-run site, which is home to the Al Aqsa Mosque and iconic Dome of the Rock.

Many Palestinians fear this is a pretext for a gradual Jewish takeover — a claim Israel denies.

The poll found 86 percent of respondents believe the shrine is in grave danger from Israel. It said 80 percent supported individual attacks by Palestinians who have stabbed Israelis or rammed cars into crowded train stations….

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Israel’s secular elite commits treason with “Palestine” letter

Israeli-flag-burning-reuterspngMembers of Israel’s secular elite–including renowned authors and former diplomats–have signed a letter that encourages European parliaments to recognize a Palestinian state. The letter, which was reportedly sent to the Belgian parliament on Sunday, comes after deadly Palestinian terror attacks, incitement by Palestinian leaders, and the collapse of the Palestinian unity government. It is self-deluded–and treasonous in effect, if not intent.

By Joel B. Pollak for Breitbart (Dec 10) — There is no other way to describe a gesture that is so callously indifferent to the lives of innocent fellow citizens, even if some of the signatories are among those who have sacrificed the most for Israel’s security in the past.

The letter relies on a fatally flawed premise: “Your initiative to recognize a Palestinian state will advance the peace prospects, and encourage Israelis and Palestinians to reach a resolution to the conflict,” it says.

History suggests the opposite. The actual response of Palestinians to Israeli concessions–whether bilateral, as in the 1993 Oslo accords, or unilateral, as in the 2005 Gaza disengagement–has been an increase in terror. The rise of international pressure on Israel has only encouraged Palestinians to harden their demands–and has also convinced many ordinary Israelis that world opinion is implacably biased against them and must be ignored.

Given that evidence, why are these leading Israelis encouraging foreign governments to recognize Palestine prematurely?

Some are opportunists, who have cashed in their Israeli careers for international acclaim. And some have simply despaired of prevailing in Israeli politics, where conservative parties are in the ascendant. Rather than make their case to fellow citizens, they now seek to trump them through international pressure.

It might be easy to draw the conclusion that Israel’s abandonment by its secular elite marks a serious threat to the future of the state. However, despite foreign threats and internal political turmoil, Israel has continued to enjoy both social cohesion and economic success. Israelis whose careers and self-image do not depend on the favor of international media and academia have learned to manage, and thrive, in the midst of uncertainty.

What the letter does indicate, however, is that secular nationalism, once the bedrock of the Zionist movement, is no longer sufficient to sustain Israel’s future. Without some religious component, Israeli national identity is ephemeral. The best case the secular elite can make for the country is that its enemies are bent on destroying it–and from the letter, it seems that the elite has stopped caring and is prepared to sacrifice the country for itself.

Religious nationalism offers a positive reason for Israelis to feel an attachment to the state: namely, that Israel is the land promised by God to the Jewish people, and that Jewish religious life finds its best expression there.

But religious nationalism brings its own challenges, as exemplified in the recent debate about a bill to define the country formally as a “Jewish state.” It is Israel’s secular institutions that have helped it thrive against the odds.

So the country faces a paradox: the values that helped make Israel a success are now among the greatest threats to its survival, while the faith that nurtures Israeli identity could become an obstacle to its future vibrancy.

That paradox is the result of decades of de-legitimization, and will not be resolved easily, much less with one Israeli election–still less by letters to foreign parliaments that serve only to isolate and endanger Israelis even more.

Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.

Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak

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What about the Jewish refugees?

Palestinians mark Nakba Day in Gaza Strip (Photo: Reuters)

Palestinians mark Nakba Day in Gaza Strip (Photo: Reuters)

By Ben-Dror Yemini for Ynet — Op-ed: For decades, the Palestinians have nurtured the ethos of the Nakba [catastrophe] while Israel chose to downplay the persecutions and expulsion of the Arab Jews. It is time to set the record straight.

  • “If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea.” This statement was made by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, about a month and a half after Israel’s declaration of the independence.
  • The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, explained in his memoirs: “Our fundamental condition for cooperating with [Nazi] Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world.”
  • And the Arab League at the time also adopted two decisions, which materialized into a bill designed to seize the bank accounts of Jews and strip them of their possessions, which was subsequently put into practice among well-established and wealthy Jewish communities in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq. Entire communities were destroyed.
  • According to economist Sidney Zabludoff, assets abandoned by Arab refugees amount to $3.9 billion, as opposed to $6 billion in assets abandoned by Jewish refugees (in 2007 terms).
  • There were huge waves of population transfers, beginning in 1912 and through to the years following World War II. Around 52 million people underwent the experience, including tens of millions in the period after the war. These population exchanges also saw hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled and dispossessed.
  • We need to know that overplaying the Palestinian Nakba has actually become a factor that is holding back the chance for an agreement and understanding, and that recognizing the broad picture will make it clear to all that there’s no turning back the clock.

Click here for full article.

Abbas Shuts the Door to Negotiations with Israel

By Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Dec 5):

  • On Nov. 29, the Arab League approved a political action plan by PA President Mahmoud Abbas aimed at imposing the establishment of a Palestinian state without any political compromise on the Palestinians’ part. Jordan, currently the only Arab member of the UN Security Council, will submit a resolution to the Council along the lines of Abbas’ plan in the coming days.
  • The plan involves internationalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by having the Security Council fix a date for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
  • Abbas, who claimed there was no longer an Israeli partner for a political settlement, said his plan includes having the “state of Palestine” join international conventions and organizations, particularly the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and requesting the UN to provide protection to the Palestinian people.
  • Abbas’ political plan shuts the door to any possibility of reaching a political settlement through negotiations with Israel. The conditions he has presented for resuming negotiations impose terms on Israel with no reciprocity from the Palestinians in the context of a political compromise.
  • Abbas is trying to exert pressure on the U.S., the international community, and Israel simultaneously. Abbas hopes to goad the international community into forcing Israel to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines without a peace agreement being signed.
  • The Palestinian Authority is determined, even at the price of a run-in with the U.S. and Israel, to advance a unilateral political process that is aimed against Israel. The rioting and terror in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which are being encouraged by the Palestinian Authority, serve as a form of pressure on Israel and are also aimed at spurring the international community’s intervention.

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US Congress passes Israel strategic partnership bill

Democrat Eliot Engel

Democrat Eliot Engel

AFP (Dec 4) — U.S. lawmakers voted Wednesday to make Israel a “major strategic partner.” The House unanimously approved the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which expands cooperation in defense and security, energy, research and development, business, agriculture, water management and academics. The measure declares Washington’s “unwavering support” for Israel as a Jewish state. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in September.

The legislation would expand the US weapons stockpile in Israel by some $200 million in value, to a total of $1.8 billion, so that the Pentagon can be better prepared to conduct military operations in the volatile Middle East.

It also crucially allows Israel to use the weapons in the event of an emergency, as it did this summer during its operation “Protective Edge” in Gaza.

Earlier this year Congress dramatically increased US funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, to $351 million for fiscal year 2015 from $235 million the previous year.

“Israel is a bright light in a very, very dark region,” veteran Democrat Eliot Engel said on the House floor shortly before the vote.

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What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel

10428091_10152531838247689_8506865217398126978_nThe Atlantic (Dec 1) — Based on my experiences between 2006 and 2011 as a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, I wrote for Tablet of the disproportionate media attention devoted to the conflict between Jews and Arabs relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones.

Last November at Al-Quds University, a mainstream Palestinian institution in east Jerusalem, a rally in support of the armed fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad featured a row of masked men whose stiff-armed salute was returned by some of the hundreds of students in attendance. The rally is interesting for the connection it makes between radical Islam here and elsewhere in the region. It could help explain why many perfectly rational Israelis fear withdrawing their military from east Jerusalem or the West Bank. The images from the demonstration were, as photo editors like to say, “strong.” The rally had all the necessary elements of a powerful news story.

The Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press was in possession of photos of the event a day later. Jerusalem editors decided that the images, and the rally, were not newsworthy. I mention such instances to show the way in which the pipeline of information is intentionally plugged.

Mark Lavie, who has reported from the region since 1972 until his retirement last year, recently told me the AP Jerusalem bureau’s editorial line was still that the conflict was Israel’s fault, and the Palestinians and the Arab world were blameless.

The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office – and AP wouldn’t report it, not even in articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff – and AP wouldn’t report it. Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying.

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