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.