Lay of the Land Weekly Newsletter- 17 April 2022

Unveiling the contours and contrasts of an ever-changing Middle East landscape

Reliable reportage and insightful commentary on the Middle East by seasoned journalists from the region and beyond

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What’s happening in Israel today? See every Monday Thursday LOTL’s “The Israel Brief” broadcasts on our Facebook page and  YouTube by seasoned TV & radio broadcaster, Rolene Marks familiar to Chai FM listeners in South Africa and millions of American listeners to the News/Talk/Sports radio station  WINA, broadcasting out of Virginia, USA.

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While we are now in Chol Hamoed  – that “intermediate period” of the 8 days of Passover that celebrates our eternal breakaway from bondage – this is the perfect time for more relaxed ‘breakaways” enjoying fun family outings. Lay of the Land will return after Chol Hamoed on Sunday 24 April 2022

Chag Pesach Sameach



Articles

(1)

Celebrating Passover

From a people to a nation we relive the long journey to freedom

By Justin Amler

One People. Leaving Egypt, we were not white, black or brown. Mizrachi or Ashkenazim; we were Israelites – Jews.

Celebrating Passover

(Click on the blue title)



(2)

Is it any Wonder?

From messaging to targeting – Jews in the firing line

By David E. Kaplan

Terror in Tel Aviv. Israelis light candles for the victims of the terrorist attack in Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv.

Is it any Wonder?

(Click on the blue title)



(3)

From Paralysis to Pragmatism

Revising the peacemaking modality between Israel and the Palestinians from resolving to reducing

By Samuel Hyde

Unsettling Situation. The sharp split in a society divided by opposing visions is captured in this visual faceoff.

From those fixated that the Israeli-Palestine conflict “can be solved” to those resolved that  it can only be “be managed”, the writer jettisons dreams for reality by arguing less ambitiously for REDUCING rather than SOLVING.

From Paralysis to Pragmatism

(Click on the blue title)




(4)

He Died so that Others may Live

Remembering Christian Arab-Israeli officer Amir Khoury who bravely gave his life to save Jews

By Jonathan Feldstein

Face of a Hero. Police officer Amir Khoury from Nof Hagalil put himself in the firing line without hesitation in Bnei Brak 

It may be rare to pay a condolence call on the family of a deceased who are all personally unknown but that is what this writer did. Driving hours across Israel to pay his respects to the Arab family of Police officer Amir Khoury who died a hero in a terrorist attack in Bnei Brak, the writer reveals from his visit, illuminating intimacies and insights.

He Died so that Others may Live

(Click on the blue title)




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LOTL Co-founders David E. Kaplan (Editor), Rolene Marks and Yair Chelouche

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While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

The Israel Brief- 11-14 April 2022

The Israel Brief – 11 April 2022 – Israel cracks down on terror following another attack. Tomb of Joseph desecrated twice in 2 days. Palestinian woman killed after charging at soldiers. President Herzog chats to Eytan Stibbe in space.



The Israel Brief – 12 April 2022 – IDF troops clash with Palestinians in Jenin. Republican Senators draft bill to with hold funding from Amnesty International. Essawi Frej in Kosovo. Ukrainian barmitzvahs at Kotel.



The Israel Brief – 13 April 2022 – Heavy clashes as Tomb of Joseph renovated. Cyber Unit reports 800% increase in online incitement. Chinese gift controversy – storm in a coffee cup? Update from space.



The Israel Brief – 14 April 2022 – Clashes between Palestinians and Security forces. Turkish FM on relations with Israel. Pres Herzog hosts Iftar. Israel prepares for Pesach.






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

Celebrating Passover

From a people to a nation we relive the long journey to freedom

By Justin Amler

The greatest story in history is upon once again.

And oh… what a story it is.

It is a story about a people who went from slavery to freedom, from hopelessness to belief, from an uncertain future to one filled with destiny.

It is a story about courage, about faith, about belief and about miracles – one that took the natural order of life and flipped it around.

And even though many others will try to culturally appropriate it, as they do with everything else about us, and claim it’s about all humankind, it was and is and remains a quintessential Jewish story.

For it is our story – perhaps our greatest story – of a time when we grew from a people into a nation.

About 3500 years ago, we were slaves in Egypt, condemned to a life of hardship and bondage, a seemingly bleak existence. And if it wasn’t for the actions of one man, guided by God, the story of the Jewish people might have ended right there.

But it didn’t end.

Instead, it led to the greatest adventure in all of Jewish history – an adventure continuing today.

And through all the wanderings in the desert, the many miracles Hashem performed, the gift of the Ten Commandments, and of course the ultimate return to our land of Israel – where we remain today.

Pesach is a story of such inspiration, because although thousands of years have passed, we continue to celebrate it as if it just happened.

And in a way it did. Because every single moment of every single day, Jews continue to fight for their homeland, their identity, their culture, and their history. And we have to fight, because every single moment of every single day there are those who continue to try take it from us, to uproot us from our land, to appropriate our history as if it’s their own, to rob us of our past, of our stories, of our nationhood and of our identity.

We cannot afford to remain silent.

But the Jews, while few in number, are a strong people whose foundations are built on stronger things than crumbling empires and dusty buildings. Our foundations are built on almost 4000 years of a promise, of a mission, and of a shared destiny among us.

And even though there are some, even among us, who continue to try spread division through arbitrary things like skin colour and food, they will fail in the end, because we, as a people, are far stronger than the petty divisiveness they sow.

When we left Egypt, we were not white or black or brown and we were not Mizrachi or Ashkenazim or any other designated identity that some are overly obsessed about these days.

We were Israelites.

We were Jews.

We were a people forged in the sands of time and held together by a promise of a God we could not see – a promise without an expiry date. A promise that, despite the many differing views among us, has held us together.

 We don’t need to get ‘woke,’ because we’ve been awake for a very long time.

So, on this Pesach and on every other day, let’s celebrate our freedom, our history, our culture and all the things that make us who we are.

In this world in which we are constantly under attack, let’s stand together and keep our Jewish identity alive, for it is one we should all hold onto proudly.



About the writer:

Justin Amler is a noted South African-born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues affecting Israel and the Jewish world.






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

Is it any Wonder?

From messaging to targeting – Jews in the firing line

By David E. Kaplan

Its hunting season – and the prey are Jews!

Hardly a day goes by that Jews around the world – and over the last month on streets across Israel – are not in the deadly ‘crosshairs’ of some raving antisemite or raging jihadist terrorist.

Last Thursday there was blood on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street with three young Israelis shot dead at a popular pub; and several days ago there was a knife attack – thankfully not fatal –  in the port city of Ashkelon.

Should we be surprised?

Sadly no when a soundtrack of hate against Jews is being played over and over by murderous messages ranging from ‘finishing Hitler’s job’ to doing ‘God’s work’.

FROM THE DEVIL TO THE DIVINE

So who are the “VOICES” sending these messages?

Crazed Cleric. Considered one of the most influential Islamic scholars of his generation, the preeminent Egyptian scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi  advocates for completing Hitler’s job against the Jews and supports suicide booming against Israelis.

With over 120 books under his belt and sometimes described as a “moderate Islamist”, Sunni religious authority Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars called  in one of his recent sermons for his flock to finish what:

HITLER HAD STARTED“.

Based in Doha, Qatar, this Egyptian-born spiritual leader publicly advocates for the extermination of Jews.

His defenders will point out that he is a “moderate” referring to  his cautionary dissertation on the danger of extremist groups of Islam, but then will ignore that Al-Qaradawi has condoned Palestinian suicide bombings against Israelis.

One of the deadliest “voices” inspiring violence against Jews is Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Iran-backed Hezbollah, the most powerful group in Lebanon who has said that it was good that Jews congregated in Israel because:

there will be no need to chase them around the globe, and in Israel, the final solution could be implemented to the end.”

In other words – ‘easier to kill’

‘Dead’ set on Killing Jews. The fiery leader of Iran-backed Hezbollah,  Hassan Nasrallah, that has praised the recent terrorist attacks in Israel.

Nasrallah’s choice of the Nazi parlance of “Final Solution” is chilling as it is revealing and a reminder that Israel needs to be strong and resolute. His message is to expunge any Jewish presence on earth and coming from him, it is perceived by his Shia followers as doing “God’s work”.

CAPITALISING ON CRISES

Whatever the current crisis is in the world  – economic, pandemic or presently Ukraine –  it always provides the ‘perfect platform’ to attack Jews. Only last month, the director of the Jewish community  of the city of Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine where many refugees have fled to escape Russian attacks, Igor Perelman, was stabbed while delivering aid by an assailant yelling antisemitic obscenities. A few days later in Turkey, on April 3, leading Palestinian Muslim scholar claimed on Turkish TV that Jews started the “Ukraine-Russian war” to establish “a second Jewish state in Ukraine”.

Rid the world of Jews. Back in February 10, 2021, Palestinian Islamic Scholar, Mraweh Nassar said on Turkey’s Channel 9 that the Jews are the most dangerous enemies of the Muslims and that if Muslims really want to live in peace and security, they must get rid of this enemy. He explained that the Muslims will experience their “best days” after they kill the Jews, as described in the Hadith.

The scholar was the Secretary-General of the Jerusalem Committee of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Mraweh Nassar, who made the statements on Turkey’s Channel 9, an Arabic-language outlet affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Towards the end of his maniacal rant, the ‘scholar’ could not resist adding that the Holocaust was a Jewish hoax:

Even in the false Holocaust… There is a book written by a Jew, which asks ‘Who killed the Jews?” 

Blame the Jews. On 3 April, 2022, Palestinian Muslim scholar Mraweh Nassar denies the Holocaust on Turkish television after blaming the Jews for causing the Russian-Ukraine war. (Photo: MEMRI)

ANTISEMITISM IN VOGUE

When not gracing the pages of Vogue and other fashion magazines, supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid  – with a combined 125 million Instagram followers – are quick to vilify Jews and Israel on social media. Far more plunging than her necklines, Gigi Hadid reached an all-time low in March 6, 2022, when she posted on Instagram that she was pledging to donate her earnings “to aid those suffering from the war in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support those experiencing THE SAME IN PALESTINE.” In other words, she was equating the massacres of civilians in Europe not seen since the Second World War to what the Palestinians experienced in Gaza during Israel’s defensive war in 2021. While Israel was trying to stop unprovoked rocket attacks aimed at her civilian population, supermodel Gigi saw this as the same as Putin set on destroying a country and mass-murdering its civilian population. The false comparison is not only obscene – its antisemitic. 

Hardly Model Behaviour. Having made thirty-five appearances on international Vogue  magazine covers, Gigi Hadid is well familiar with make-up. She is also a master at making-up facts as she equates the situation in Ukraine with Gaza.

Should the Hadid sisters ever parade their scantily clad bodies in Gaza as they  do on runways and magazines, they would unlikely ever again have the opportunity to ‘parade’ their warped ideas.  With Gaza patrolled by the “modesty police”, Gigi and Bella may well find themselves arrested or far worse!

And what of our local “voices” in Israel?

Cover Girls Uncovered. Critical of Israel’s justifiable defense against rockets from Gaza, supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid would hardly be welcome on the streets of Gaza, patrolled by the “modesty Police”.

LETHAL LEADERSHIP

What message did  Knesset Member Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List send when he called on Arabs serving in security forces to give up their weapons and quit?

In a Ramadan video that he posted from Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate – a flashpoint of ongoing clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police – he said:

 “It is humiliating for our sons to join the security forces of the occupation… The young people must not join the occupation forces. Throw their weapons in their faces and tell them that our place is not with you.”

Call to Quite. Joint List party leader Ayman Odeh speaks in a video on April 10, 2022  in which he calls on Arab Israeli officers to quit the security forces, saying they ‘humiliate’ their people. (Screencapture/Facebook)

To say this during a period when. Israel is facing the deadliest wave of terror in recent years, is inflammatory.

To say this when one of the victims of the recent attack in Bnei Brak included an Arab police officer, Amir Khoury, who was fatally wounded as he shot the terrorist in a firefight, shows insensitivity and a message to fellow Arabs to not integrate into Israeli society nor join  its civil service.

To say this when there have been constant appeals from the Arab community and its leaders to the Israeli government to fight the escalating crime in Arab areas is hypocritical.

National Hero vs Toxic Politician. While the ultra-orthodox city of Bnei Brak will be naming a street after Amir Khoury, the Arab policeman who died a hero in a terror attack, Joint List party leader Ayman Odeh dismisses this bravery and calls on his fellow Arabs not to join hands with Jewish Israelis in protecting the entire population.

To say this from the same man when he once said when he served on the Haifa Council that “Arabs and Jews must work together”, shows he is not a man of his word nor of principle.

Is it any wonder that Odeh’s  calling triggered outrage.

Instead of acting as a responsible member of the opposition, Ayman Odeh’s calling joins all the other VOICES  in weaponizing their rhetoric aimed at harming Jews.

If there is to be any fighting, we need to fight hate!




*Feature picture courtesy: Avshalom Shoshoni




While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

He Died so that Others may Live

Remembering Christian Arab-Israeli officer Amir Khoury who bravely gave his life to save Jews

By Jonathan Feldstein

Normally, when one goes to express condolences to a family mourning a deceased relative, you know one of the family members, if not the deceased.  At a certain age, one goes to console a friend whose parent died, but with whom you didn’t have a personal relationship, if at all.  It’s rare to show up at the home of someone you don’t know, grieving over the loss of a loved one who you also didn’t know either.  But that’s what I just did.  Here’s why.  

During my last week of nearly a month’s trip throughout the US, there were four terror attacks in Israel. Eleven people were killed, and dozens injured. There have been many more attacks in which, thank God, there were no injuries, and as many as fifteen others reportedly prevented due to good intelligence followed by swift military operations.

With too many Israeli families in mourning and many more suffering injuries and trauma, I took a full day to visit one of them.

Face of a Hero. Police officer Amir Khoury from Nof Hagalil put himself in the firing line without hesitation in Bnei Brak on March 29, 2022 (Courtesy of the family)

As of this writing, the deadliest recent terror attack took place in Bnei Brak, a city in central Israel with a large ultra-Orthodox population.  Five people were killed including two Jewish Israelis, two Ukrainians, and a Christian Arab Israeli police officer, Amir Khoury. Some may be confused by the idea of a Christian Arab Israeli being a victim, much less a hero as one of the security forces that stopped the terrorist. Amir is credited with racing to the scene of the terror attack, opening fire and neutralizing the terrorist. But he was also mortally wounded in the process.  His partner, who finally killed the gunman, would later eulogize his fallen comrade with these shining words:

My children will grow up and remember your name because you were my flak jacket, dear brother.”

This week, I visited Amir’s family. Hailed as a national hero, this Christian Arab family were receiving visitors from all over the country in tents outside their home adorned with Israeli flags.  Had Amir not acted as decisively as he did, the carnage would have been much worse. 

In Jewish tradition, mourners remain seated on low chairs and visitors approach them.  As soon as I walked into the larger of the two tents, Amir’s father rose and embraced me, speaking to me with warmth, wanting to know who I was, were I came from, and why. As we spoke, we stood together, hands clasped.  He pegged my American accented Hebrew and asked where I was born, when I immigrated to Israel, and about my family. If one didn’t know that he was mourning the murder of his son, one would never imagine that he was not just being a gracious host. As I sat down, I was served strong black coffee.

I spent considerable time speaking with Amir’s father, mother, brother, sister, and brother-in-law.  As we sat together, I couldn’t help but recall the verse from Psalm 133:

 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.”

The original Hebrew says “shevet achim gam yachad” which can be interpreted as dwelling, but also sitting.  There we sat together, mourning a victim of a hate-inspired terrorist who wanted anything but for us – Jew and Arab –  to dwell together in unity.

The terrorist failed.

Visitors came from across the country to pay tribute to this hero – Amir Khouri. There was one person who drove six hours from Eilat, visited for thirty minutes, and then drove back. There were Jews of every background, Arabs, government cabinet members, present and former ambassadors and rabbis. People emerged from the family’s distant past like a former neighbor in Tel Aviv from decades earlier when he was first married.

While I didn’t come from the furthest distance, the family was impressed that I came from Gush Etzion in the Judean mountains south of Jerusalem, because there is a stereotype about “settlers” and Arabs. That’s part of the political baggage with which we live and, like many stereotypes, is built on myths.  We didn’t talk politics at all. It was a wide-ranging visit about Amir, about them, and about our shared society.

They were moved that Bnei Brak, a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city, will be naming a street after their Amir, a Christian Arab. I sensed that all the family wanted was for Amir to be remembered.

He undoubtedly will be and by you reading this, you’re contributing to Amir’s remembrance and ensuring his legacy.

Final Journey. Casket draped with the flag of Israel, Amir Khoury is carried to his burial site by his fellow police officers. (Getty Images)

I didn’t just go visit myself, but brought with me dozens of condolences and prayers from others.  The night before, I posted through my social media and chat groups that I was going to visit the Khoury family. I invited others to send notes. In just a few hours, dozens of people sent their condolences and prayers, along with donations, so we can do something meaningful in Amir’s memory. That so many people sent their condolences in writing was a comfort.  More continue to do so.

A person I spoke to wept while recounting how the family found out about Amir’s death.  They were watching the news with live reports of the terror attack.  They had a bad feeling because calls and text messages to Amir went unanswered.  Each shared how they dealt with this, but that they had each lost it when seeing the police outside their front door a little after 10:00pm, two hours after initial reports of the attack. At that moment, all their fears were realized. As they were recounting, I held back the tears seeing the dark circles under their eyes testifying to their endless tears and lack or sleep. 

Condolence Call. Khoury’s father Jereis (center) and Amir Khouri’s fiancée Shani with Police officers paying a condolence call on March 30, 2022. (Channel 12 screenshot)

While hailed a national hero, the sad tragedy is that by the enemies of peace he is not considered a hero to all! There are those extremists who look at him as a traitor. It’s hardly a public secret that Christian Arabs live under threat from Muslim extremism and another visitor confided in me that Amir’s death was being celebrated amongst some within the Palestinian Authority and among extremists in Israel. There was fear to talk too much about this because with Amir’s heroism being cast into the spotlight, there was a concern that others in the Khouri family might find themselves possible targets.

Sitting with this family of devout Christians, I couldn’t help but think that Amir, like Queen Esther, was put in a situation “for such a time as this.”(Esther 4.14)

I couldn’t bring myself to pose this thought to Amir’s family. Both saved lives and I wondered if like Esther (Esther 4:16), Amir raced to the scene of the terror attack thinking:

If I perish, I perish

One thing for sure is that Amir was an angel for a whole community.  Had it not been for Amir, it’s unthinkable how many more people would have been killed. 

In meeting and speaking with people, I avoided saying “nice to meet you” but rather “it’s an honour to meet you”. I’d have preferred that I never had the occasion to know them, or know of them for it was brought about by personal loss. However, the reality is that tragedy brough us together and in parting, an Amir  family member poignantly expressed:

We not just friends; somehow God ordained it.”

Mourning a Hero. Thousands including ultra-Orthodox residents of Bnei Brak were among the mourners at the funeral of 32-year-old Christian Arab Amir Khoury from Nof Hagalil. “He gave his life for others,” said Yaakov, an ultra-Orthodox Bnei Brak resident interviewed on Channel 13. One of the buses transporting ultra-Orthodox Israelis from Bnei Brak to the funeral. displayed the message: “Amir Khoury, hero of Israel.”

While the formal mourning period has ended, the grief and loss have not and anyone who wishes to send a note to Amir’s family can do so at https://genesis123.co/blessasoldier and send condolences, prayers, and words of comfort which will be delivered to them directly.  A donation of any size will go toward a project in Amir’s memory.  For further information, please be in touch at Gen123Fdn@gmail.com.

Please join us to be a blessing to Amir’s family, honor his memory, and pray that he will be the last victim of hate-inspired terror.


EPILOGUE

I would later learn that on the previous Sunday, Amir Khoury had sat at home with his fiancée Shani Yashar watching the news of a terror attack in Hadera, in which two police officers were killed.

He had said to her “If I see a terrorist in front of my eyes, I’m going to crush him. I’m not going to let anyone get hurt; that’s why I’m a cop.”

Shani recalled pleading with her beloved to “not be a hero”.

He could be nothing else – he lived and died a hero.

  • At the time of publishing this, another attack took place in Tel Aviv and three Israelis were killed.



“Hero of Israel”. Amir Khoury’s grieving comrades at the funeral.  
 



About the writer:

Jonathan Feldstein ­­­­- President of the US based non-profit Genesis123 Foundation whose mission is to build bridges between Jews and Christians – is a freelance writer whose articles appear in The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Townhall, NorthJersey.com, Algemeiner Jornal, The Jewish Press, major Christian websites and more.





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

From Paralysis to Pragmatism

Revising the peacemaking modality between Israel and the Palestinians from resolving to reducing

By Samuel Hyde

On one side, there are those within Israel and the International community who are still fixated on the idea that the conflict can be solved – an aspiration that many Israelis believe is currently unrealistic. On the other hand, some think the conflict must be managed, and the status quo must be sustained indefinitely – an equally problematic aspiration.

So perhaps it’s time for something new.

To move forward, I will argue that this approach must begin with breaking free from the two dreams birthed within Israel post our victory in the 1967, Six-Day War. I unpacked these two dreams in the first part of this article series, titled “Israel From Within: From Dreams to Fears and Back Again”. However, I will still provide necessary context on these two opposing dreams in this piece as we advance. From the onset, I will also clarify that this concept will not solve the conflict. It won’t help manage it. However, it has the potential to reduce it.

Any proposal for reducing the conflict must meet the following criteria:

  • occupation redirection over the Palestinians with no settlement expansion, while at the same time leaving Israel’s security firmly intact, and
  • re-directing Western funding policies which have enabled Palestinian rejection.

A BREAKAWAY FROM TWO DREAMS

After the Six-Day War, Israelis were blinded by two dreams of certainty. The first dream, known as “Land for Peace” was centered around Israel’s peace-seekers who woke up after the war, looked at the country’s new borders, and saw for the first time that the Jewish people held solid bargaining chips: The idea was that these territories could be exchanged for a peace treaty. In other words, Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War presented a golden opportunity to end war.

The second dream is known as “Settlement for Redemption”. Instead of bargaining away the captured territories, the state could settle them. According to the great ideologue of the settlement movement, Rav Kook, the Hebrew Bible contains a series of prophecies that the Jewish people will return to their land, and by settling the hills of Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank, Jews would fulfill these prophecies and provoke a chain of events leading to the messianic dream.

These camps of dreamers did not achieve their intended goals, which today has led to an oddly paralyzing consensus within Israel. Today most Israelis do not want to control the lives of the 2.6 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. At the same time, most Israelis don’t want to withdraw from this territory for fear of making their country so geographically small as to be indefensible. They agree on a paradox, and therefore the certainty behind the two dreams has only led to confusion and stagnation.

In truth, the current paralysis in Israel, if mobilized correctly, can lead to fresh thinking and a new course of action. Philosopher Karl Popper once observed that:

 “new ideas are not born in ideological spaces paralyzed by certainty, but in places where doubt fills the human mind.”

So, how do we replace paralysis with pragmatism?

OCCUPATION REDIRECTION AND SETTLEMENTS

The 1993 Oslo Accords birthed the Palestinian Authority (PA) and granted it control over 40% of the West Bank. The Palestinian zones are called Area A and Area B. Area A covers the main Palestinian towns, where the PA has total civilian and security control; Area B encompasses the outlying areas and villages, where the PA has only civilian control. The remaining 60%, called Area C, remains under the control of the Israeli army.

Therefore, a Palestinian resident of Ramallah does not directly experience the Israeli occupation daily. The authority that governs him is Palestinian, and the police force protecting him is Palestinian. However this is only true as long as he remains inside Ramallah and does not venture out to other areas that do not share continuity.

Al-Manarah Square in central Ramallah, the Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 km north of Jerusalem and which serves as the administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority.

Addressing this situation does not require a peace accord. The solution is neither strategic nor political but infrastructural. In the early 2000s, the Israeli Central Command and IDF Planning Directorate drew up a plan dubbed ‘Keep It Flowing’ to pave roads that would bypass the settlements and join the different parts of the Palestinian Authority. Over the years, civilian bodies have continued developing and upgrading this plan. It would not be cheap to implement because it involves tunnels and bridges, but it would create transportational continuity for Palestinians. Senior officials in the IDF Central Command are clear that the Israeli security apparatus already has the technological solutions to facilitate this development – without reducing Israel’s level of security. If Israel were to pave this network of roads, giving the Palestinian Authority autonomous control, freedom of movement would be completely transformed.

If this is so simple, why has it not been done yet? The hard-right opposes any territorial concessions to the Palestinians because it believes the land is holy and must not be conceded. But many members of the hard left are also against it because they think policies that make life easier for Palestinians in the territories will normalize the occupation and thereby legitimize it. The center’s emergence in today’s political scene comes at such a vital time – allowing Israelis to break free from years of left and right polarization.

Next, to facilitate no settlement expansion, Israel would have to refrain from expanding its settlements outside the major blocs and allocate land in Area C for Palestinian economic initiatives. One annex of the 1995 Oslo Accords is the Paris Protocol, making the Palestinian economy entirely dependent on the Israeli economy and the State of Israel. The Palestinian tax, customs, import, and export systems rely on and are effectively controlled by Israel. The Paris Protocol can and must be revised to end this dependence. Recent years have seen a creeping annexation in the territories. The ideas above would propel Israel in the opposite direction— necessary separation. In other words, yes to the occupation redirection, no to settlement expansion.

End Expansion. The writer advocates no Israeli expansion of settlements outside the major blocs and that land in Area C be allocated to Palestinians for economic initiatives.

Some 120,000 Palestinians work in Israel, bringing large sums of money to the Palestinian territories and providing a livelihood for 600,000 people. There is a significant pay differential between employment in the PA and Israel – for the same job. The IDF’s top brass have concluded that permits for Palestinians to work in Israel can be dramatically boosted. These employment opportunities can be opened to women and older men with clean records, with a supervised but minimal risk to Israel. If 400,000 Palestinian workers entered Israel every day, this would significantly improve the Palestinian economy. More than 1 million Palestinians would directly enjoy the fruits of working in Israel.

Note the complementary process here. Alongside political separation is economic independence. These policies would not produce a two-state solution but will create a two-state reality. These small and cumulative steps are not to end the conflict but to change its nature; paving the way with pragmatic caution.

SECURING SECURITY

In 2005, Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip, a unilateral move many describe as a failed experiment. As a result of the disengagement, Israel may have gained a sizeable demographic bump. Still, it also saw the birth of Hamas, an Iranian terror proxy with a founding charter that calls for the genocide of Jews and destruction of the Jewish State.

When it comes to Palestinian terrorism, Israel’s security is based on its forces’ ability to foil the formation of terror cells in the West Bank. Their great success stems from Israel’s wide-reaching intelligence network in Palestinian towns and villages. To guarantee the effectiveness of this intelligence, Israel needs to maintain free military access to every part of the Palestinian autonomous areas. Here are the five principles that will guarantee Israelis’ continued security. Note that Israel conceded three of these five points in the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

-The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) will remain in place, and Israeli intelligence will  continue to operate in all parts of the West Bank.

-The IDF will continue to conduct pursuits and arrests in all parts of the Palestinian autonomous area.

-Israel will retain a permanent military force in the Jordan Valley.

-The airspace will remain under full Israeli control.

-The electromagnetic field will remain under full Israeli control.

WESTERN FUNDING

With western countries providing the bulk of the funds for UNRWA’s operations, it unwittingly bolstered the Palestinian idea  that it is better to struggle for a “return of refugees” rather than come to terms with the legitimacy of Israel and build a new life of prosperity in the West Bank and Gaza. UNRWA undermines peace by reinforcing to the more than 70% of Gaza inhabitants registered as refugees that Gaza is not their true home. It does so by providing the political infrastructure that grants Palestinians the status of “refugees”, which they would not otherwise merit if international standards were applied. UNRWA cannot be a meaningful partner in Gaza’s reconstruction. On the contrary, UNRWA remaining a major actor in any attempts to rebuild Gaza assures its failure.

School for Scandal. UNRWA launches probe  in 2021 into 10 staffers amid allegations of antisemitism.

Israel should insist that UNRWA’s donor countries – the United States, Australia, Britain, and the European Union – cease its support. Countries that officially support the two-state solution should not underwrite an organization such as UNRWA, whose transparent aim is that the Jewish people will not have a sovereign state. Dissolving UNRWA is essentially dissolving a structure that only further enables the root cause of this conflict – Palestinian rejection of a Jewish State in any part of the land between the river to the sea.

Walk on By. Palestinians walk past the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City in 2021. (Photo by AFP)

By redirecting the billions of dollars from UNWRA, foreign governments could instead aid the already developed yet highly under-funded education and public health systems of the PA. Those supporting a two-state solution or those invested in creating a ‘two-state reality’ must send a clear message:

One that simultaneously enables Palestinian enrichment but erases the cause that denies Israel’s existence.

Furthermore, countless independent NGOs and research bodies have found that UNWRA’s school curricula are entrenched with antisemitic propaganda. Many of UNWRA’s teachers have been found guilty of engaging in antisemitism. When we talk about terrorism in Israel, we focus on the individual or individuals committing the attack to remain “polite” and not generalize. The truth remains that terror attacks in Israel are the product of deliberate, systemic, and ongoing incitement, often from within the UNWRA education system. It might be the time to dispense with political ettringite and replace it by holding those responsible for this incitement accountable.

Teaching Hatred. An image of a girl smiling as ‘heretics’ are burned in a Palestinian textbook. Donor counties frequently  threaten to withhold funding due to textbooks being used to promote hate and violence against Jews and Israelis..(IMPACT-SE)

LAST WORD

I am not advocating a complete divorce between Israel and the Palestinians. These changes would not produce a two-state solution but, if handled effectively, would lead to a two-state reality that would best provide for Israel’s vital interests, notably security and dramatically improve day-to-day life for Palestinians.

If this approach to ‘reduce the conflict’ is undertaken, the future could prove more promising. History is dynamic and surprising, and so is the Middle East. We can assume that new opportunities will arise. Ten years ago, people would have shrugged, looked to the sky, and rolled their eyes at the thought of the Abraham Accords becoming part of the Middle East’s reality. A revised approach for conflict reduction, will reposition Israel to always spot arising opportunities to favourably remodel a more prosperous and peaceful future for all in the region.



About the writer:

Samuel Hyde is a political writer and commentator based in Tel Aviv, Israel. As a columnist he has been published throughout Israel, the U.S and South Africa in esteemed publications, focusing on topics such as Israel’s political climate, antisemitism, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Jewish world, and Jewish Pluralism. He also works in field related organizations.






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

Lay of the Land Weekly Newsletter- 10 April 2021

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What’s happening in Israel today? See every Monday Thursday LOTL’s “The Israel Brief” broadcasts on our Facebook page and  YouTube by seasoned TV & radio broadcaster, Rolene Marks familiar to Chai FM listeners in South Africa and millions of American listeners to the News/Talk/Sports radio station  WINA, broadcasting out of Virginia, USA.

The Israel Brief

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Happy Passover from Israel

Passover doesn’t let us forget! Each year we sit and retell the story of the journey from slavery to freedom, an existential experience without end. If then it was Pharoah, today we are compelled to raise our shields against a threatening Iran and terrorist killers on our streets. After thousands of years, the four questions remain the same as is our message:

WE ARE HERE FOREVER



Articles

(1)

The Takeaways of the Breakaways of Berenson and Bernstein

Why did the founders  of Human Rights organizations denounce their progenies?

By David E. Kaplan

Lethal Libel. The lies in this Amnesty report are feared likely to fuel attacks on Jewish targets around the world.

For Peter Berenson and Robert Bernstein walking away from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch must have been painful, however the alternative would have been untenable. From such grandiose visions, they saw the agencies they founded, infused with the oldest prejudice in history – antisemitism!

The Takeaways of the Breakaways of Berenson and Bernstein

(Click on the blue title)



(2)

We will not be Broken!

Israel endures a wave of terror and like many times before, we will prevail

By Rolene Marks

Shaken but not Broken. Scenes like this terror attack in Bnei Brak have not dented the resolve of Israelis.

Overwrought  by the tragedy playing out on streets across Israel, this article was written one day before the latest terror attack in Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv, claiming two more innocent lives. The writer’s message is heartfelt and clear – we are one family and we mourn their loss as family.

We will not be Broken!

(Click on the blue title)



(3)

Killing President Sadat Again

Dreams and visions do not also have to die

By Jonathan Feldstein

The Three Peacemakers. Today’s Egyptians and Israelis continue to reap the benefits of “No more war”

“Carter didn’t pull the trigger that killed Sadat” but by “empowering Iran, he provided the ammunition,” asserts the writer. Is it now the late Egyptian President’s VISION if no longer the body that may be ‘assassinated’  by again senselessly “empowering Iran”?

Killing President Sadat Again

(Click on the blue title)



(4)

Foreign Affairs

Finding love in Israel but also finding oneself in a new country – help offered!

By Oren Ben-Arieh

Mixed Signals. An online meeting place for cross-cultural lovers in the Land of Milk and Honey.

There are no shortage of “helping hands” to assist “lonely hearts”. But what of those who have found love – foreigners in Israel who have partnered with locals – and now need to find oneself within a foreign culture. Time to – MIX IT UP!

Foreign Affairs

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LOTL Co-founders David E. Kaplan (Editor), Rolene Marks and Yair Chelouche

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While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

The Israel Brief- 04-07 April 2022

The Israel Brief – 04 April 2022 – Update on Operation Breaking Waves. Lapid condemns Bucha atrocities. UNHRC passes 4 resolutions against Israel. Amnesty International teaches anti-Israel course.



The Israel Brief – 05 April 2022 – Israeli woman sentenced to death in UAE. Polio vaccination drive. Zelensky to address UN Security Council. FM Lapid in Greece.



The Israel Brief – 06 April 2022 – Coalition shocker. DM Gantz speaks to President Abbas. Death penalty follow up. Israel mulls sending vests/flak jackets to Ukraine.



The Israel Brief – 07 April 2022 – Coalition updates. UN to vote on suspending Russia from UNHRC. Jewish Agency assists widow of terror victim. Israeli astronaut heads to space!





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

The Takeaways of the Breakaways of Berenson and Bernstein

Why did the founders  – both Jews – of Human Rights organizations denounce their progenies?

By David E. Kaplan

It takes something for the founders of internationally respected organizations; whom they served with conviction and passion; to later denounce them.  It is as unthinkable as a parent walking away from a child. Well, that is what the founders – both Jews – of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch did. 

Why?

Nurturing their creations from the proverbial cradle to best serve the interests of humanity, they saw them morph into wayward offspring, infected with the very maladies it was designed to oppose.

Organisations founded to counter hate, would mutate instead to incite and champion hate – against Jews!

Focus Fractured. From May 28, 1961 when The London Observer published Peter Berenson’s article “The Forgotten Prisoners” launching the Appeal for Amnesty 1961 – a campaign calling for the release of all people imprisoned in various parts of the world because of the peaceful expression of their beliefs emerging later as Amnesty International, today it is fixated on Israel.

Both founders lived long to see the moral downfall of their “babies”. A modest man who refused all honors for most of his life including a Knighthood (he did accept in 2001 the Pride of Britain Award for Lifetime Achievement largely to please his family), the founder of Amnesty International (AI) Peter Berenson was born in London to a large Jewish family. The future lawyer began his political activism at an early age. At Eton, a complaint he made to the headmaster  about the poor quality of the school’s food  prompted a letter warning his mother of the boy’s “revolutionary tendencies”. At sixteen, Berenson helped establish a relief fund with other schoolboys for children orphaned by the Spanish Civil War and raised £4,000 from his school friends and their families to bring two young Jews to Britain from Nazi Germany. While still at Eton in 1938,  he helped with the rescued Jewish children in the aftermath of Kristallnacht. He emerged a strong supporter of a Jewish national homeland, reinforced by the horrors of the Holocaust, a vision and sentiment not shared later by the organisation he founded. The impetus for the founding of Amnesty International was a newspaper article Berenson read, when travelling on the London Underground in November 1960. He was aghast reading of two Portuguese students who had been arrested and sentenced to seven years’ in jail for drinking a toast to liberty in a cafe in Lisbon during the period of Portugal being ruled by the dictator Antonio Salazar. Incensed, Berenson came up with the idea of a one-year campaign to draw public attention to the plight of the world’s political and religious prisoners. 

From such noble beginnings, Berenson would later denounce Amnesty International for its fixation on undermining the Jewish State of Israel. It was a fixation that only hardened after his passing culminating in February 2022  when the UK branch of Amnesty International, a once reputable London-based global human rights group, issued a 280-page report bashing Israel accusing it of practicing “Apartheid”. Riddled with lies and distortions, this infamous report was dissentious endeavouring to show (or rather mislead) that Israeli Arabs – who enjoy full citizenship alongside their Jewish peers serving as doctors, professors, ambassadors, Supreme Court judges and politicians, some of whom are currently serving in a government coalition – are subject to what Amnesty claims is “apartheid.”

To equate the liberal democratic State of Israel with the system of apartheid in South Africa is nothing short of a canard, a libel,” responded AJC CEO David Harris in a video message.

One can only wonder what Berenson were he alive today have to say about the report that drew denouncements from British, German, and U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C.

Amnesty International is behaving so devious in true Machiavellian fashion.  Aware that it cannot make the case against Israel being an Apartheid state, it instead tries to change and appropriate the definition of Apartheid in order to delegitimise the world’s only Jewish state. So that when Amnesty labels Israel an Apartheid regime, it’s not accusing Israel of creating the racist laws that characterised South Africa’s white supremacist regime; but rather seeks to contrive Israel as meeting its newly fabricated broadened definition of the term that has no resemblance to what horribly transpired in South Africa. 

This amounts to a theft of South Africa’s past to undermine Israel’s future.

Amnesty International’s nefarious intent was emphatically exposed when its Executive Director of its USA chapter, Paul O’Brian said that the organization is opposed to Israel continuing to exist as a Jewish state.

Speaking last month at a luncheon of the Women’s National Democratic Club in Washington D.C. O’Brian said:

We are opposed to the idea …. that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people.”

O’Brian’s Bias. Amnesty International USA director Paul O’Brien expressed that Israel shouldn’t exist ‘as a state for the Jewish people’ (Screen capture/YouTube)

Revealing his true colours and that of the agency he leads in the USA, O’Brian also expressed that  he did not believe the polls showing that the vast majority of American Jews support Israel. Calling on O’Brian to apologise,  Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted:

Your obsessive, relentless focus on Israel, and the erasure of the Jewish right to self-determination illustrates a dangerous degree of bias.”

It was for these same reasons that Peter Berenson, the founder of the agency that O’Brian now represents, walked away from it.

It no different than the experience of the late Robert Bernstein,  who founded Human Rights Watch (HRW) and later slammed its anti-Israel bias.

Justice for All. Later founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert Bernstein demonstrates on behalf of jailed writer Vladimir Bukovsky, on the sidewalk outside the Soviet Consulate in New York, 1978.

The ardent American defender of political dissent and freedom of expression who founded Human Rights Watch in 1978 during the Cold War, turned against it, accusing the organization in 2009 of being biased against Israel.

He said the group had condemned “far more” human rights abuses in Israel than in other countries in the Middle East ruled by “authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records.”

Writing in the Times,  Berenson wrote:

When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.”

In April 2021, Human Rights Watch released a similar batch to Amnesty International of lies authored in a report by a longtime anti-Israel activist.  Amazing how these organisations don’t even try to appear unbiased. They accept the gullibility of their audience as a given banking on ingrained antisemitism.

The man behind the HRW’s report is none other than its primary author, Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel/Palestine director, who signed a pledge in 2015 to:

 “honour the BDS call”. 

And what is the “BDS call”?

One has to look no further that its flagbearer Omar Barghouti who has stated openly that his movement aims to see Israel dismantled as a Jewish state.

Villainy Unveiled. Despite the protestations of Secretary-General of Amnesty International Agnès Callamard speaking during a press conference in Jerusalem on February 1 2022, it is now clearer than ever that the goal of Amnesty International’s report is the exact opposite of recognising the right of Israel to exist as the world’s only Jewish state. (photo credit: FLASH90)
 

An analysis of Shakir’s Twitter activity by the watchdog group NGO Monitor between June 2018 and February 2019 showed 970 tweets on issues relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Of those 970 tweets, 18 condemned alleged Israeli attacks on Palestinians, but not one condemned terrorist attacks against Israel. 

The animus of organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch is a return to the mindset that fueled the 1975 resolution declaring that Zionism = racism.

Neither consider antisemitism a human rights priority.

When antisemitism violently spiked in the second decade of the new millennium across Europe as Jews were hunted down in a series of traumatic attacks, Amnesty’s main UK branch took a vote in 2016 to not push the British government to combat antisemitism.

Amnesty’s explanation revealed its bias and its hypocrisy.

While it explained that it did not want to single out any form of religious discrimination, several years earlier however, it had no such encumbrance to author a report examining anti-Muslim discrimination.

In other words, Amnesty has a problem with Jews.

A Lethal Libel. The lies in these copies of Amnesty International’s report are feared likely to fuel further attacks, both on Israelis and on Jews as well as Jewish targets around the world. The apartheid libel is not only a lie but a dangerous one. (AP/Maya Alleruzzo)

For Peter Berenson and Robert Bernstein walking away from the organisations they founded must have been painful, however the alternative would have been untenable. From such grandiose visions, they saw, as Jews, their agencies infused with the oldest prejudice in history – antisemitism.

They realized that in the end that for Amnesty Intranational and Human Rights Watch, the greatest blight on earth was Israel.

And what was Israel’s gravest sin?

Being Jewish!

We can live with it; but for sure we are no more going to die for it!

As another Jew, Ukraine’s defiant President Vladimir Zelensky said today:

 “We will not retreat; this is our land.”





While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

We will not be Broken!

Israel endures a wave of terror and like many times before, we will prevail

By Rolene Marks

Once again Israelis have bowed our heads in sorrow. Once more our hearts have been broken.

Over these past two weeks, Israel has endured another wave of terror that resulted in the loss of 11 lives. Terror waves are not a new phenomenon but they bring with them a whole gamut of emotions. Fear, overwhelm and heartbreak are just some of them.

I don’t know about you but I am angry. I am angry. I am angry at a world that has ridiculous expectations of Israel while ignoring the unique security challenges that we face on a daily basis. I am angry at the world that expects Israel to do everything in our power to supply military weapons in a conflict that has nothing to do with us. The fact that the weapons that people are demanding we send may not be the right kind for this particular war; or that their own countries have yet to provide military aid says more about the critics than Israel. Israel is already making an enormous contribution and will continue to, despite our own precarious security situation, which we have been reminded of yet again this week.

While it is greatly appreciated that foreign ministers have condemned the recent wave of terror, the hypocrisy of those that proclaim to be social justice activists but stay silent when our citizens, including a Druze soldier and Arab Christian police officer, are murdered is staggering.  Who cares about some dead Israelis right?

I am angry at a world consumed with the slap of one self-absorbed actor of his peer at an awards ceremony that is so out of touch with reality; but cannot spare a thought for victims of terror. I am angry, so angry that those who consume their days with sham “human rights” reports, which contains the bitter language that whitewashes terror, stay silent about the murders of our civilians. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others who denigrate Israel can shove their accusations of Apartheid. Israelis live, work and die together. These past two weeks, Jews, Arabs and Druze and two Ukrainian refugees were murdered. We have mourned them, together. At the funeral of slain Druze officer, Yazan Falah, which was attended by thousands, his uncle spoke about how he left behind “an army of friends”. This was evident in the sea of people holding their mobile phones with the torches lit up in tribute to him. Falah had insisted on joining the Border Police, despite being exempt from combat service as an only son.

Taken in their Prime. Seen here at their base are Border Police officers both 19, a Druze Yazan Falah (left) and Shirel Aboukrat, a French immigrant who were killed a few hours later in a terror attack in Hadera, on March 27, 2022. (Israel Police)

During the mourning period that followed, a group of Jewish school children on a trip took time out to pay a visit to his family. The message was simple. Yazan was a son of Israel – and all of us mourn his loss.

The same respect and love was exhibited for murdered police officer Amir Khoury. Several busloads of Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox) departed from Bnei Brak, the scene of a horrendous terror attack where 5 people, including Khoury who had tried to eliminate the terrorist were murdered. The buses were emblazoned with signs that read “Khoury is an Israeli hero” in Hebrew and were filled with scores of Haredim, bound for Nazareth to pay their respects to the slain officer. Khoury was buried in a Christian ceremony, with his coffin draped with the Israeli flag, bearing a wreath in the shape of a cross and surrounded by thousands, including his fellow police officers, United Hatzalah rescue workers and heartbroken Haredim.

Nation that stands Together. Israeli police officers carry the coffin of comrade Amir Khoury, 32-year-old Christian Arab motorcycle cop during his funeral service in Nazareth, after he was killed in a terrorist shooting in Bnei Brak when he drove straight into the line of fire with his partner.(photo credit: David Cohen/Flash90)

This is the Israel that the Amnesty Internationals and Human Rights Watches don’t want you to see. There is no Apartheid here, no separation, just unity in grief.

 I am angry at the disproportionate obsession of the media, global institutions and political pundits who gleefully point fingers at Israel but are silent when our citizens are murdered. The UN Human Rights Council just passed four resolutions against Israel but barely managed to scrape any together to excoriate Iran, Syria or Belarus!

I am angry at the forces of evil who want to derail the sincere, hard work by many towards peace in our region that has seen far too much bloodshed and sorrow. One of the stated intentions of the terrorists who carried out the Hadera attack that killed two 19-year-old Border Guards, Yazan Faleh and Shirel Abukart, stated that they wanted to disrupt the historic Negev Summit that was taking place at Sde Boker. This historic summit, hosted by Israel and attended by the foreign ministers of the USA, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Morocco was a seminal moment for the advancement peace efforts and increased cooperation in the region. The terror attacks were roundly condemned by all the visiting dignitaries.

Terrorists cannot and MUST NOT win! I am angry and filled with sorrow that there are now 11 families that in the space of one week have been shattered forever. They will never be the same.

Terrorism is nothing new. Israelis have experienced waves of terror before and two intifadas and even though every attack and every incident feels very personal, we will not let it break us.

Shaken but not Broken. Scenes like this at the shooting terror attack in Bnei Brak on March 29, 2022 that took place across Israel have not dented the resolve of Israelis – never has; never will. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Israelis have bowed their heads as victims were laid to eternal rest. We have cried rivers of tears.

But we will remain hopeful for peace to prevail. We will remain resilient.  We will remain unbroken. Because that is how we win. That is how we defeat terror. We will hang our blue and white flags, the symbol of hope of thousands of years, proudly. We will stand strong. We will let the anger and sorrow wash over us and we will triumph over terror. We will remain resolute, resilient and grateful for our security forces working around the clock to ensure our protection and stamp out terror.

May the memories of all who have been killed by terror be blessed. Am Yisrael Chai!






While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).