Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sitting Outside, Looking In - My First Blog Post for Times of Israel

It's so easy to sit in America and look at Israel and pontificate. Currently sitting at my desk, with my laptop, I am not threatened. I have no bombs flying over head. I fear for my brother, living in Tel Aviv; my friends sprinkled throughout Israel, but I am safe at home.

Yet, I remain seated in New York, my frustration building daily and I can't understand why.

As I read through article after article on Facebook, Twitter, and other shared news sources, it dawns on me that I, in fact, am doing nothing. I can write and repost and make comments on pictures, but what am I doing?

France. Seattle. Atlanta. Morocco. Sharia Law in parts of the UK. ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Diaspora is dying. The once beautiful communities of Aleppo, Baghdad, Provence are no longer. Prague is but a shadow of its former glory. With the increase in anti-Semitism in America and Europe, what is keeping us here?

My frustration is that I am doing nothing tangible to help Israel and my extended family that live there. Sure, its all well and good to give money to an organization (I prefer One Israel Fund, tell them Simon sent you) but that is passing. So what can I, or for that matter, you, the Reader do?

A lot of my friends (which you can see on Facebook) will tell you: " Make Aliyah!! G-d will provide!" Very nice. So when my daughter needs formula, G-d will magically send it to my kitchen table? Probably not, I am not that holy that miracles happen to me. You have to put your work in too. Life is not a handout.

"Israel has a lot of jobs now! Its different now then it was 10 years ago." Also very nice. Most jobs in Israel now are tech related. Or Medical. Or Research and Development. What about me? I work in the Kosher Food industry. Where is my opportunity? For that matter, what about those in the construction industry? Film industry? Education?

Israel excels in many high range industries. Thank G-d for that, but I believe that a strong economy leads to many things: National Security, desire for immigration, new trade partners and a stronger international standing.

Israel must be too big to fail. Unfortunately, it's not enough to be a light unto nations, we must be too big to fail. When Hamas or Hezbollah, May their names and memories be eradicated, attack Israel, Russia must say enough. America must say enough. China, Japan, India, the UN, South Africa all must say that Israel is their greatest ally. Not only because Israel sends herculean humanitarian teams to areas that need, but because an existential threat to Israel is an existential threat to them by proxy.

So, for those who are in my shoes, who cannot make Aliyah at this moment, but want to do something: Invest. Grow. Build branches of your business in Israel if possible. Real Estate developers, start building commercial spaces for businesses to come. Build them in areas that the government is forgetting! One new office building, with one new business equals more taxes for infrastructure. It means growth. It means new communities to help ease the over-stuffed housing issues in the main cities like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. The growth of these communities then require amenities such as restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, banks, coffee shops, nail salons. All which can bring more jobs and more security for an area.

How do I know this works? If Israel were to give the "West Bank" away, one of the towns it would probably annex is Ariel. It is too big to give away. With a hospital, University, many businesses with a population of over 30,000 (residents and students), it produces too much tax income and is too important to give to the Palestinian Authority. If this is the case with Ariel, imagine what could be done in Karmiel, Rishon l'Tzion, Be'er Sheva?

With the growth in jobs, the growth in Aliyah comes. It opens up the opportunity for the regular Jew to make Aliyah a reality without worrying about where his paycheck will come from.
As I have often said, governments don’t produce economic growth, people do.” - Ronald Reagan
There is a story told of HaRav Kook ZTZ"L I heard from Rav Berel Wein. Rav Kook was sitting with his kids and his daughter bit into a bitter olive, making a face, she said "this tastes awful." Rav Kook said you cannot say that about produce grown in Israel, you can only say you don't like it.

My sincere hope for part of this blog is to strengthen Israel's security through a strong economy. In the future, I would like to highlight businesses that are either starting in Israel or opening branches in Israel to make Aliyah more accessible. When I hear "Its too hard to live in Israel, how am I going to make a living?" It kills me. You can't say that about Israel, you can only say that you need to figure it out. This one nation, so divided throughout the world, has to make it work.

If you are a business owner, or know of one, that is opening in Israel, please contact me. I would love to get the word out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ANALYSIS: Israel and Gaza

Israel handed the control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Soon thereafter, there was an election, which placed Hamas as the governing body. Israel gave this small strip of land for peace. Are you following?

Hamas, the terrorist organization, who has vowed to obliterate and annihilate Israel, is now running the autonomous tract of land of Gaza. Israel uprooted its citizens in Israeli controlled Gaza, approximately 10,000 Israelis in total. Since 2005, cities like Sderot, in the south of Israel, are bombarded daily with mortars and rockets launched from Gaza. The same place given over for "peace."

Fast forward, July 8, 2014. It is now 4:51pm EST. Since this morning, almost 200 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, reaching Tel Aviv, Herziliyah, Rishon L'Tziyon and yes, even Jerusalem, where there was a direct hit of a house. Thankfully, the owners were not home at the time. Hamas has stepped up its bombardment of shooting rockets, from within civilian areas into Israel. At the same time, Hamas has given a list of demands to stop firing INTO civilian occupied areas.

Within recollection, this type of volley between Hamas/PLO and Israel is relatively common. However, something has changed. Hamas has become more brazen. The list of demands are almost nonsensical in nature. They haven't stopped lobbing rockets since the ceasefire agreement of 2012, but insist that Israel not respond to the attacks. If this makes your head hurt in its absurdity, join the club.

Israel now has begun Operation Protective Edge, and with Benjamin Netanyahu's vow to "take off the gloves," Israelis are wondering what is really going to happen as Netanyahu, a decorated Israeli War Veteran himself, has become awfully dovish in his later years.
"In recent days, Hamas terrorists have fired hundreds of rockets at Israel's civilians. No other country lives under such a threat, and no country would accept such a threat.

Israel will not tolerate the firing of rockets on our cities and towns.
We have therefore significantly expanded our operations against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.
This comes after our repeated efforts to restore calm were met with increased Hamas rocket fire.
Israel is not eager for war, but the security of our citizens is our primary consideration.
Israel targets Hamas terrorists and not innocent civilians. By contrast, Hamas targets Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Hamas, therefore, bears full responsibility for any harm that comes to Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike.
We are determined to give our citizens the safety and security they deserve." Benjamin Netanyahu
Time will tell what is going to happen. All I can ask, no matter what religion you are, pray.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why the EU is Worthless and Why the US Should be Concerned

via Haaretz
In response to the ongoing violence in Israel, the European Union's Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, has shown the utter incompetence of the EU to the Middle East.
"As promised in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, it would immediately lead to Israel’s recognition by the Arab world."
Has anyone ever believed an Arab country in regards to recognition of Israel? Considering that that Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, PLO, ISIS and other "Israel-friendly" terror group all openly call for terrorist activities toward Israel, as well as a complete annihilation of the State.

To further the problem, the EU has recognized a Palestinian state, when no such entity exists, offering it a MEMBERSHIP in the European Union.
"The EU understands that it is essential for Israel to ensure that the future Palestinian state will not be a failed state. Therefore, all 28 EU foreign ministers have offered an unprecedented and tailor-made package of support for a peace agreement in the form of a Special Privileged Partnership. This could include, depending on Israeli aspirations, enhanced market access or even progressive market integration, security cooperation or institutionalized political dialogue. In short, it could take EU-Israel relations to a level that is next to EU membership, similar to the EU’s relations with Norway or Switzerland. The EU extended a similar offer to the Palestinians, fully aware that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that the future partnership would be negotiated with both partners according to needs and ambitions, in order to stretch the potential for cooperation to the maximum, including trilateral European-Israeli-Palestinian cooperation."
In essence, the European Union has made the decision for the UN, United States and Israel that "Palestine" exists. It's good to know. Except it doesn't. The governing body known as the Palestinian Authority is autonomous within Israel and it's borders (Israel's borders to be discussed in a later article). It self governs parts of Israel. As of now, there is no disastrous Two-State Solution. Israel's security is at major risk.

The reader may ask, "Why should the US be concerned?" Excellent question. When other governing bodies make rash decisions and offer recognition to terrorist backed non-States, its gives the legitimacy to terrorists. As well, when the EU offered this "package" deal, the US has no choice but to comply. Does the US really want to start trading with a terrorist country, threatening its only ally in the Middle East? What happens with the American-Israel relationship when a fully fledged entity known as "Palestine" actually exists?

As Americans, this path should concern you. As human beings, this path should make you cry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Say What???!??! Look Who is holding Israel Accountable Now?

As the nation of Israel mourns the murders of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, is holding Israel accountable to find the murderer of 17 year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
"Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel was being held responsible for the death and called on it to "find the killers and hold them accountable," according to the Palestinian official news agency Wafa." via Yahoo! News
While its a tragedy that Abu Khdeir was murdered, where has Mahmoud Abbas, or the Palestinain Authority, been since the abductions and murders of numerous Israel citizens? To add insult to injury, terrorist group Fatah, who formed a unity government with Hamas, the abductors and murderers of the three Israel teenagers, have castigated Israel.
"Abbas's Fatah movement likewise on Wednesday blamed Israel for "the cold blooded abduction and murder of the Arab youth by settlers."
Fatah went on to condemn the murder as a "war crime and organized crime," adding it was "a direct result of the continued incitement by the right-wing occupation (Israeli) government and its complete support for settler terror." via Israel National News
With chutzpah like this, why is the United States still funding the Palestinian Authority and terrorism? Time to wake up world, the terrorists will not make peace with you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Legal Case for Israel



 No words can describe this genius video. Please watch, spread the word!

Wanton Destruction in Mitzpeh Yericho



I think what's most shocking is not the lack of response from the Israeli government, which is deplorable, but the lack of response from the Jewish community, in Israel and the Diaspora. Its almost as if we have become complacent, waiting for these things to happen and then shrugging out shoulders as if to say "what can you do?"

Here is a list to some of the articles about this attack:

Ignoring the Desecration Why should Israeli residents feel this way?
By Way of Miracle... It is a miracle that these vandals didn't hurt, maim or kill any of the Yeshiva Bochurim or Rebbeim.
"Where is Peres?"  I think we all know this answer...
No Arabs Hired Until peace is secured all over, I don't think Arabs should work anywhere in Israel with the main population. Some people may scream apartheid, but security and safety trump political correctness, or does that only work when NOT dealing with Israel and Jews?

Security Money While I am in no way shocked that this is happening, I also don't condone the desecration of Mosques or Monasteries. Judaism doesn't call for such behavior.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The High Holidays and Israel

As we are in the midsts of the highest, most spiritual days on the Jewish calendar, days of retrospection and repentance, Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, I would be remiss if I didn't post something.

The longer I go without posting on Supporting Our Israel, the harder it becomes to write again. Whether right or wrong, I have had to put the site on the side. I would like to say that it is no more and that I will be returning to posting often. I fervently pray that this is the case (which is actually true, I did insert some type of prayer for my renewed attention to this project.) I have no answers on the matter, only to say I have so much to write about, and when I do, you will see the old Simon back, with new articles, showing the positive sides of Israel and their place in the world, but also a side which I wasn't sure if I wanted to bring out.

As many of my friends and family know, world events are an obsession of mine. More pointedly, how they are to affect the United States and Israel. My iPhone has email after email, RSS feed after RSS feed, apps and bookmarks of everything from Arutz 7 to Haaretz, Fox News to CNN, and things I should say I am ashamed to read as a lover of Israel, like +972 Magazine.

Since my last post, I have been watching in awe and amazement, good and bad, at the events unfolding worldwide. Iran is closer than ever to becoming a nuclear monster, President Obama is up for reelection and I seriously doubt if he'll pull it off. A US Ambassador was murdered by Muslims and barely a sigh of aggravation was let out from the administration or Mitt Romney. The so called Arab Springs have turned the heat into Arab Summers, sweltering to every country, while the leaders and funders, Iran, would like to make the infidel countries experience the Arab/Nuclear Winter. The President of the United States has repeatedly made a fool of the the Prime Minister of Israel, the only ally in the region, at the same time, pandering to the animals still running amok in the World, angry at nothing other than the rest of the world isn't Muslim.

On the flip side, even though Israel brought home nothing in the Olympics, Jews around the world were proud to see Israel walk with their heads held high through the 1972/2012 Munich Controversy. Our little country remains strong on the forefront of Medical development in the world, working tirelessly to treat all diseases and maladies.

I have seen a few friends make Aliyah, which brings a happy and healthy jealousy into my life. My own brother, who made aliyah a few years ago, tells me that Israel is THE place to be. Yet, we have seen some of the giants of the Jewish religion, HaRav HaGaon Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv ztz"l, HaRav HaGaon Pinchas Sheinberg ztz"l, HaRav HaGaon Nosson Tzvi Finkel ztz"l and many others, be called to the heavenly Beis Medrash.

The year has had tremendous ups and downs. For myself, my family and friends and for the Jewish nation as a whole and as we come upon Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance, it is important for all of us, yes, myself included, to look deep down. What can we change to better ourselves? How can we bring more positive "vibes" into the world? Maybe some more charity can be given or we can begin to stop slandering others.

We are coming upon some very perilous times in this world. The least we can do is to strengthen our resolve. We can strengthen our unity and work together to defeat the evil in this world to make it safe for us all.

I wish you all a G'mar Chatima Tova, a Gut Gebentche Yuhr, Shana Tova. I look forward to striking up a discussion with all of my readers again, soon.

Simon


Monday, March 12, 2012

Sitting and Waiting

As of late, it hasn't been enough to advocate for Israel. The reality of the situations with Iran and Gaza, the erroneous claims of Apartheid and other such examples of the insane goings on in the world against Israel is maddening. The world sits idly by while Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons, even people like Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad, thinks that "we have more time."

Watch this video: Can you imagine what type of mixed message this exudes to the enemies of, not only Israel, but of the United States and our ways of life? Unfortunately, Meir Dagan, who believes he is doing and saying the right things is wrong. He fails to take history into account. Since when have sanctions stopped the undeniably insane from carrying out their missions? Has Hamas stopped their terror campaigns? How about Hezbollah? al-Qaeda? The obvious answer is no. Even in the time that Meir Dagan acted as the spymaster, when his hit squads succeeded, retaliation was quick to come, dropping missles on the south of Israel or sparking violent riots and/or homicides.

In regards to Iran, Israel should not act alone. Not because Israel couldn't handle it, because it is widely believed they could. Israel shouldn't act alone because the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and any other country with interests in not being attacked should act in a unified action. Iran has been responsible, either by themselves, or by proxy, for untold amounts of terrorist activities. They back the Assad regime in Syria, notorious recently for murdering their own citizens to quash "rebellions." They fund Hezbollah, Hamas and many offshoots in and out of Israel.

Iran's main goal is to destabilize and to rebuild this world under a global caliphate. Through the sword, through the "bazaar culture" of negotiating,it doesn't make a difference, until we all claim a fealty to the so-called "Religion of Peace."

How can the world not see the writing on the wall? With President Obama not willing to "get Israel's back," the world has seen the cracks in friendship and relations and has acted with unprecedented vigor to make up for the time that was lost when Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush and Reagan were in office.

"The episode reached a climax when, after failed attempts to negotiate a release, the United States military attempted a rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, which resulted in a failed mission, the deaths of eight American servicemen, one Iranian civilian, and the destruction of two aircraft. It ended with the signing of the Algiers Accords in Algeria on January 19, 1981. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the following day, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn into office." (Iran Hostage Crisis).

This example of what these mindsets respond to should act as a rule of thumb today. President Carter, who up until recently, is referred to as the worst president in American history, was weak in the defense of the United States and its values. When he was finally voted out of office, the Iranians knew they couldn't get away with any more shenanigans. Fast forward to today. President Obama, often equated to President Carter, is currently dealing with a crisis exponentially bigger than 52 American hostages being held. The world is worried sick and his response is to disrespect Prime Minister Netanyahu, ask for "tougher sanctions" against Iran and wait.

As an oil dependent country, we are at the mercy of Iran and OPEC. What sanctions can really be effective in this case? This is folly, pure and simple.

The only way to fight fire is with fire. By banding together, the United States, the European Union and other entities and countries can eradicate these threats with Israel. If Meir Dagan is right and we have "more time," great, but who wants it? Who wants to let them get closer to their goals of destruction and subjugation? Military action, as well as crippling sanctions, must be imposed. Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Iranian regimes (not to mention any other terror based regimes such as Syria) must not be able to send homicide bombers, missiles from Gaza into Israel, nor should they be able to reach into Asia or Europe with their bully tactics and senseless crimes.

The longer we let this madness go on, the more the madness multiplies. Claims of Apartheid in Israel are becoming louder and louder. Insanity begets insanity. The only country where a Muslim doesn't have to worry about losing their lives if they decide to be less religious, or where women can drive, or where the Muslims of the lesser branches have freedom to practice their religion, is in Israel. Yet, I do not see a Jew in Saudi Arabia. What happened to the Jews in Iraq? Yemen? Syria? Lebanon? Libya? Surprisingly, Iran has a Jewish community of 25,000, but with many reports over the last few years, many are trying to leave. Who could blame them?

It is really time that the world wake up.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

History's Unfortunate Lessons

One of the most frustrating things about blogging for me is the inability to write when I have an idea to write about. When I am finally able to sit down and write, the idea has escaped me and I don't touch my site.

I don't feel it necessary, right now, to discuss how great Israel is. I think it does a pretty good job of doing that itself. I do feel, however, that it is important to see the bigger picture. What could potentially hurt and what could potentially help Israel.

As we could all see from a mile away, the "Arab Spring" was not going to bode well for peace in the Middle east. The civil war in Libya, Syria killing its citizens, Egypt being Egypt...it is really a heightened version of business as usual in these countries. This is why there will never be a last peace in the Middle east. The fundamentalist Islamic groups, which may or may not be the majority, we will never know, are the loudest and the most violent. This "lovely" bunch has less regard for people than I do the trash I throw out after Shabbat.

Then, the disgusting Liberal rag, TIME magazine, decides to lump the Occupy Wall Street protesters with the Arab Spring protesters and name the the "Person/People of the Year," as if this is something to strive to. Civil unrest is never something to strive towards, nor is a protest, it is something that should be avoided at all costs.

At the same time as these protests are happening worldwide, the European Union, a horrible experiment to say the least is crumbling, throwing all economies into a tailspin, inducing fear and MORE riots in its wake. Yet, as Haaretz has reported:

"The Parliament's decision to block the agreements with Israel stems from the lack of progress in the peace process and from our ambition to pressure the Israeli government to alter this situation. If Israel would seriously act to get out of the dead end, the European Parliament would respond accordingly. As president, I will work to find compromises. Right now, it is my impression that the desire to find these sorts of compromises is greater in the European Parliament than in the government of Israel."

 How does one in his position say these comments without retribution? If anyone but President Obama were in office, you better believe that Martin Schulz would be reprimanded by one of the truest allies Israel has ever known. Since, however, we live in a world where America and its fearless leader have, on numerous occasions, slighted Israel, tried to embarrass its Prime Minister, asked Israel to return to pre-1967 borders, something America promised it would never ask Israel to do and left Israel questioning is America really in their corner. In this same world, Nikolas Sarkozy can "unintentionlly" slight PM Netanyahu with President Obama agreeing.

This sounds like a bad dream. This tiny country is considered the root of everyone else's problems. It couldn't possibly be that the Muslim religion is not one of peace, or at least those practicing it are not peaceful people. Failed Socialist policies, such as Universal Health Care, Robin Hood economics, Entitlement states, should have died when Communism fell, yet Greece, Italy, Ireland, and coming soon, America, are all falling hard, blaming everyone but themselves. Obviously, it must be Israel's fault. I mean, how can it not??!

It is not just Israel that is coming up onto a world of hurt. The entire world is suffering. The signs have been there for years. As they say, however, hindsight is 20/20. When Islam attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, it was basically considered an isolated incident by a lone wolf fundamentalist group, no different than Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma. It would have been impossible to know the ramifications of those acts then.

It would also not be wise to continue to play the blame game of who and what caused the financial crises nationally and internationally. It does no good now.

We are in unprecedented times and looking into our collective history to assign blame is pointless. However, looking at the history to help the future is imperative. Seeing that Socialism does not work, we shouldn't try to implement it again.

With regards to Israel, however, looking back at the history, a proper history, not one sullied and changed by the Liberal media, we can see who truly walked away from the peace talks, balked on peace treaties, went back on their words and continued campaigns of Terrorism against a country that would love nothing more than just to be left alone.

The sad truth is we will never learn. History proves this time and time again. I can only pray that we prove history wrong this time.