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November 10, 2016: And Now?

November 10, 2015

One of Israel’s many significant medical developments:
Assistant Professor Dr. Daphne Weihs, of the Technion in Haifa, has developed a unique biomechanical method for the early detection of metastatic (secondary) cancer – a cancer that has already spread.  It can also identify where the cancer has spread to and enable early treatment.

Credit: Technion
In a year, a full twenty-five percent of all of the blood donated to Magen David Adom (“MADA” – national emergency health service) comes from soldiers.  “You officers and soldiers are an example for pure and significant giving,” said MDA blood services director Prof. Eilat Shinar.
Bloomberg media outlet has just done a ranking of countries for health, based on a number of parameters such as life expectancy and rate of vaccination.  Israel is ranked sixth in the world.  The US is 33rd.
And now?
What happened at the much touted Netanyahu-Obama meeting at the White House, which took place yesterday?
Well, not a whole lot, really.  At least as far as we know.  It was a virtual love fest, compared to some of the former meetings between the two heads of state.  They were trying to generate a friendly atmosphere, complete with appropriate body language; this serves the interests of both parties, each for his own reasons.  

Credit: AFP/Saul Loeb
It should be noted that there was no press conference after the meeting – with a declaration of issues resolved or commitments made  – and no official photo op.  Journalists were invited into the Oval Office before the meeting began, to hear informal statements and take pictures.
Netanyahu, for his part, declared that he still had hope of seeing “two states for two peoples.”  I wince every time he says this, but understand that it is part of what he believes he has to do now (more on this below). 
Obama had previously said that he recognized that there would not be peace achieved before the end of his term; he even said he doubted that the two parties would even come to the table during this time.  And so, Netanyahu knew demands on him would be less than on other occasions.  And the prime minister did qualify his support for two states by speaking of “a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state.”  He knows full well that these conditions will be rejected out of hand by the PA.
As for the PA, I was happy to know that Obama “condemned in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens.”   
It is key is that Obama declared that “the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities. And that’s expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds.” (Emphasis added.)
If Obama were truly concerned about Israel’s security, he would not have negotiated the deal with Iran that he did. And so, one is inclined to tell him, “Get real!”  But of course Bibi did nothing of the sort.  He instead expressed gratitude, speaking of “shared values, buttressed by shared interests.”
The most must be made of Obama’s declaration of commitment to Israel’s security. 
But anyone who is truly familiar with the situation knows that it is often the Pentagon and Congress who push for concern for Israel to be expressed in real actions. Some of the best friends we have in the US are military people in the Pentagon, who truly understand our situation.  Obama has been considerably less forthcoming, and has on occasion been a stumbling block to military assistance.  But he’s not adverse to taking full credit for military and intelligence cooperation between the US and Israel.
Right now, Israel’s position is that the deal with Iran mitigates increased military assistance to Israel, to offset increased risks that have been generated.  This is not just with regard to the threat of Iran’s  nuclear capacity, but increased terrorism to our north because of lifting of sanctions on Iran.
But when Obama says, as he did, that both nations stand together in their commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it is beyond laughable. 
While in principle it seems Obama has agreed to an increase in security assistance for Israel, no specifics were mentioned, nor was it at all clear that Bibi will get everything he is asking for.
The current security arrangements between the US and Israel expire in 2017.  It was agreed that a US team will come to Israel in December to assess needs and begin to negotiate a new deal, which could take months to complete.
There was no statement made by Obama regarding “settlements” – he left that to his press secretary (following).  Nor did Obama speak to the press about US readiness to support Israel by vetoing Security Council motions that the PA might promote – via a member of the SC such as France – to recognize a “Palestinian state.”
And I remind my readers that we do not know what was said between the two during the meeting.  We don’t know if Obama demanded a quid pro quo – some sort of so-called “good faith gestures” to the PA, for example – for increased military assistance or for support in the UN.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest held a briefing as the talks in the oval office were winding down. 

Credit: The Blaze
He said that he did not see Netanyahu’s stated commitment to “two-states” as hollow, but indicated that the best way to measure the prime minister’s sincerity was to “see the degree to which his administration is willing to follow through on those comments.

“That is certainly what the Obama Administration will be doing…”

Clarifying, Earnest indicated that “settlement building” has been harmful to attempts to resume talks.  “Continued Israeli settlement construction is counter-productive to that process.”  This is hardly a new American position.
However, Earnest also added that disagreements over the peace process or Iran, “have not effected the commitment of this administration to Israel’s security.”
I would like to hope not.
Present at the Obama-Netanyahu meeting were Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the US (pictured), Dan Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel, Vice President Biden, and US national security advisor Susan Rice.

Credit:  abcnews
The Russians have announced that after years of delay, Russian and Iran have signed a deal paving the way for delivery to Iran of the Russian S-300 missile defense system.  One of the most sophisticated anti-aircraft systems in the world, it is a source of real concern to Israel.
Undated photo of a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system on display in an undisclosed location in Russia (photo credit: AP, File)
Credit: AP file
For this reason, increased military assistance to Israel takes on a new dimension. The F-35 is the only aircraft able to counter the S-300 surface-to-air missile system. Israel is slated to receive 33 of these American planes, which have been ordered, in 2016.  It might be that more of them will be sought, along with V-22 Ospreys and other weapons systems .
Let’s take a quick look at what’s happening with the Palestinian Authority as its officials continue to demonstrate their moderation, their readiness for compromise, and their love of peace:
On November 3, after Israel had returned the bodies of terrorists to the PA, PA representative to the UN,  Riyad Mansour, wrote a letter to the president of the UN Security Council claiming that:
Matthew Rycroft, president of the U.N. Security Council
Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/04/us-israel-palestinians-un-idUSKCN0ST32420151104#GJ9Qy9q3lHfGRc6A.99
“…following medical examinations, it has been reported that the bodies were returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ harvesting by the occupying power…”
This is classic blood libel and Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has registered protest.
The standard PA line is that Judea and Samaria are “occupied” by Israel and constitute what should be the “Palestinian state.”  Many people buy this line.
But now and again – and it seems to be happening more frequently of late, perhaps because the PA is bolder – the truth slips out: They see ALL of the land between the river and the sea as “occupied,” and belonging to their state.
Abbas slipped in his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 30, when he said, “Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, haven’t you wondered: For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years, how long?”  The State of Israel was founded 67 years ago.
Shortly after, two posts on the Facebook page of the PA Security Forces referred to the Israeli cities of Haifa and Acre as “occupied.”
This is important because the truth of the PA must be exposed.
Abbas continues with his standard, varied threats: to cut off from cooperation with Israel, to bring charges against Israel in the ICC, etc.  On Sunday, he visited Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Sisi and asked him to use his influence with international parties to pressure Israel to stop “provocations and assaults” against the Aksa mosque.
Very recently, the current Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, who was appointed by Abbas, made the claim that there have never been Jewish temples on the Temple Mount: A mosque has been on the Mount “since the creation of the world,” he said.  It was built by angels in Adam’s time.
Go argue with this.  There is a strain of a-historical Muslim religious thinking that maintains there was Islam before Islam was founded.
My friends, this is an intolerable situation that cannot go on – and yet which IS going on:
Sunday morning, at Tapuah Junction in Samaria, a terrorist drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians – one a pregnant woman; four were injured, including one seriously.  The driver was shot dead by Border Police.
Scene of attack at Tapuah junction
Credit: YNet
Two hours later, a security guard was injured in a stabbing attack outside of Beitar Illit in Gush Etzion.  The terrorist was shot and wounded.
Please see the startling video of the terrorist, a woman of apparently innocent appearance, as she suddenly pulls out her knife:
Just shortly after that, a man was stabbed and seriously wounded when he was attacked by two terrorists in Nabi Ilyas; it is situated near a busy road – not far from the community of Alfei Menashe in Samaria – and many Jews stop to shop at stalls there.  
Binyamin Ya’akobowitz, a Border Police officer critically wounded in a car terror attack last week died of his injuries.  He was 19.
Binyamin Ya’akobovitz
Credit: Israel police
Sergeant Orel Azuri had a story similar to that of Binyamin, but hers thankfully had a happy ending: A terrorist rammed into her with a car and sent her flying; she was then brought to the hospital in critical condition and lay unconscious for 13 days, “sedated and ventilated, teetering between life and death.”  And then she says, about the fact that she woke up, “A miracle happened to me.”
Sergeant Orel Azuri in the hospital. (Photo: Dana Kopel)
Credit: Dana Kopel
On Monday morning a terrorist was shot dead after attempting a stabbing at Eliyahu Crossing near Alfei Menashe (very close to where a man was stabbed on Sunday). 
Now today, there has been terror here in Jerusalem again.  A security guard was stabbed on the light rail, at a station in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.
While near the Damascus Gate of the Old City, an attempt was made to stab a police officer and the terrorist was shot dead. 
But as we’re speaking of Jerusalem, a smile:
The elephants at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo are Asian elephants – from Thailand, actually, accompanied by Thai trainers/keepers. 

Credit: Wikipedia
Now the Zoo has presented Thailand’s Ambassador to Israel, Angsana Sihapitak, with $1,500 raised via small donations, for an elephant hospital in Lampang, Thailand.  The check was delivered to the ambassador by an elephant named Tamar, who handed it to him with her trunk.
Love it!  But then, I love elephants.
Something neat, and different, to end today:  Israeli cantor/entertainer Dudu Fisher, singing “Jerusalem is mine.”

Credit: kumah
The visual you see in the video is a dynamic sand painting – really remarkable.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.



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