The Hedgehog Blog
Political and social observations from two aspiring hedgehogs who love the Isaiah Berlin essay.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
And a Word About Israeli "Disproportionate Responses" to Arab Attacks
Whenever Israel defends itself against attacks from Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists, or from Hezbollah in Lebanon, she is criticized for her "disproportionate response." It would appear that Hamas, which is so proud of the 1,177:1 rate of exchange in the Gilad Shalit ransom, has now itself established the appropriate level of a proportionate response to an Arab attack. From now on, for each Israeli killed or injured by Arabs (victims of terror such as the Fogel family pictured on the left or Ido Zoldan, pictured prior to his murder with his widow and orphan child on the right), Hamas must surely deem Israel to be reacting proportionately so long as it kills or injures less than 1177 Arabs in return.
Please do not think that I am advocating mass murder or accuse me of racism. In Jewish belief, the taking of a single human life, regardless of nationality or religion, is equated to the destruction of a world. But Jews are not pacifists, and taking the life of an enemy in wartime or self-defense is permitted.
I merely am pointing to the logical conclusion to be reached using the moral values of Hamas.
I first noticed what was going on when Al Jazeera interviewed released Palestinian prisoners as they arrived in Egypt. One after another, they thanked the Egyptian government for their release. Not one even mentioned Hamas. Very strange. It occurred to me that the Egyptian Information Ministry was putting on a propaganda show.
That was less of a concern with the Arab releasees, because they had been well-treated and well-fed during their terms in Israeli prisons. They could worship in mosques in the prisons, fraternize with fellow prisoners and receive visitors.
Gilad Shalit had no such advantages. He has been in solitary confinement for over 4 years, with no one to talk to but his guards. He has not been allowed visitors, even from the Red Cross. The Israeli doctors who examined him upon his arrival in Israel said he was suffering from malnutrition and lack of sunlight. He also is obviously suffering from the mental effects of lack of human contact.
But, as reported in this AP story, that didn't stop the Egyptian Information Ministry from staging a propaganda interview with Shalit even before he was allowed to call his parents. Blinking, obviously dazed and near fainting, he was subjected to ridiculous questions from an Egyptian television "journalist," Shahira Amin, such as the following:
"You have known what it is like to be in captivity. There are more than 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. Will you help campaign for their release?" [Shalit was kidnapped. The prisonres in Israei jails are convicted terrorists and criminals.]
Amin also asked Shalit why he only gave one interview while in captivity, ignoring the fact that Hamas had kept him in solitary confinement.
Throughout the interview, armed Hamas militants surrounded Shalit, including one wearing a black knit mask over his face. Shalit must have been terrified that the entire interview was a prelude to returning him to his Hamas captors.
One would think that Arabs would be ashamed of the contrast between the levels of humanity in Israel and in the Arab world.
Monday, October 17, 2011
In the Washington Post, the Kosher Hedgehog's co-religionist, Senator Joe Lieberman, the first Jew to be nominated by a major party for the Vice Presidency of the United States, explains why the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney, Lowell's co-religionist, should not be a bar to his candidacy for the U.S. Presidency.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
God bless Gilad Shavit. God willing, may he soon be reunited with his family. May he marry, have children, build a bayit neeman, a faithful house, in Israel. May he prosper and live until 120 years.
That having been said, is Israel paying too high a price for his freedom? Reportedly, Israel will release some 1000 Palestinian Arab prisoners from Israeli jails, many of whom are serving time for murder, and some of them for multiple murders. The Israeli victims were mostly civilians, non-combatants, including women and small children. The perpetrators committed the killings deliberately, and in cold blood. Corporal Gilad Shalit, in contrast, was guilty only of being captured by Hamas thugs while on patrol duty in Israel.
This afternoon, Dennis Prager, speaking on the Hugh Hewitt Show, said that he feared that the Israeli government was making a huge mistake. John R. Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, expressed a similar opinion.
Yes, it is a religious obligation in Judaism to ransom Jewish captives. However, it is also the halacha, Jewish law, that one does not pay too exorbinant a ransom price, lest the ransom encourage more kidnappings of Jews.
Someone, and it may have been Dennis Prager, once said that if he were Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, he would put unrelenting pressure on the Israeli government to pay whatever price was necessary to free his son; but that if he were an Israeli citizen, he would hope that the Israeli Prime Minister had sufficient moral strength to look Noam Shalit in the eye and say, "No, the price is too high."
May God erase from human memory those wicked persons whose evil deeds compel such a difficult choice.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Thursday, October 06, 2011
The Palestinian Authority (the "PA") is seeking recognition of the State of Palestine from the United Nations. One of the legal attributes of national sovereignty is control over the territory the state purports to govern. So what territory does the Palestinian Authority claim? Well, here (courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch, whose logo appears in the lower left-hand corner) is a graphic broadcast by PA TV, the official PA television broadcasting station, controlled directly by the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, commemorating the application to the United Nations for recognition of the State of Palestine. It shows the Palestinian flag wrapped around the entirety of Israel, with a key symbolizing ownership.
As documented by photographs at the Palestinian Media Watch website, this is only one of many official PA maps that depict the boundaries of the future Palestine as covering all of present-day Israel.
The PA does not view its application for UN recognition and membership as the means to achieve sovereignty over only Gaza, Yehuda and Shomron (the so-called West Bank). It wants the whole cheese blintz, so to speak. It views the creation of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank to be just another step toward its ultimate goal of eliminating the State of Israel. That is why the PA refuses to engage in face-to-face negotiations--any peace treaty emerging from such negotiations, even if it gave the Palestinians all of the West Bank and Gaza, and East Jerusalem as its capital, G-d forbid, would also require the Palestinians to give up any territorial claims on what remained of Israel, and to give up the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the lands within the 1949 armstice lines. That goes against the PA's fundamental objective, the entire reason for its existence--the eradication of the world's only Jewish state.