Cartoon: I’m so proud of my son
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the alleged shooter of a Temple Mount activist a “martyr.”
Muataz Hijazi “will go to heaven as a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places,” Abbas wrote in a condolence letter sent Saturday to Hijazi’s family.
Hijazi is alleged to have shot activist Yehuda Glick three times outside the Begin Center in Jerusalem after Glick addressed a conference on Jewish rights on the Temple Mount. Hijazi and an alleged accomplice both worked at the center’s restaurant. Hijazi was killed in a shootout with Israel Police.
Glick remains in serious condition and on a respirator at Shaarey Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he underwent a third surgery on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the letter.
“When we are trying to calm the situation, Abu Mazen sends condolences over the death of one who tried to perpetrate a reprehensible murder,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued Saturday night, using Abbas’ nom de guerre. “The time has come for the international community to condemn him for such actions.”
Israelis Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a Facebook post that Abbas’ letter shows he is “a partner for terror, a partner to terrorists, a partner of murderers.”
The letter, he wrote, amounts to “open support for terror and encouragement of further murders.”
I remember my kindergarten graduation. We wore crowns on our heads and had big smiles on our faces. We sang songs, cute songs about the changing seasons and growing up. And then we received our diplomas, had an ice cream party and were hugged and kissed by our loved ones.
It was a traditional early childhood graduation, replayed over and over, year after year, in almost every school.
But then, I didn’t grow up in the Palestinian Authority or Gaza.
Traditions are different in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. In Gaza this graduation season like in years past, three, four and five year old children marked their big day with ceremonies depicting Palestinians becoming martyrs and by dressing up as Israelis who torture Palestinian men, women and children. Certainly, an educational message was being presented, as it should be at every graduation, but not a positive message. Here it is a message of murder.
These young Palestinian graduates performed plays about slaughter, marched with weapons and wore traditional bandanas. They sang songs of love and they glorified murder. No Palestinian graduation from pre-school through high school is complete without stories, performances and songs about the killing of Israelis.
It is a part of the general Palestinian curriculum and it is a major theme at graduation time. In one school a teacher was quoted as saying: “At every kindergarten graduation ceremony we focus on the children to represent the role of struggling and resistance in the way of Allah so they will grow up to love the resistance and serve the cause of Palestine and Holy Jihad, as well as to make them leaders and fighters to defend the holy soil of Palestine.” That same school’s kindergarten director took it even further: “It is our obligation to educate the children to love the resistance, Palestine and Jerusalem, so they will recognize the importance of Palestine and who its enemy is.”
Even at a tender age, the message is not lost on the students. In their own, translated, words from Ynet (http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-4241588,00. html we hear children saying: “When I grow up I’ll join Islamic Jihad and the al-Quds Brigades. I’ll fight the Zionist enemy and fire missiles at it until I die as a shahid and join my father in heaven.’ And: “I love the resistance and the martyrs and Palestine, and I want to blow myself up on Zionists and kill them on a bus in a suicide bombing.”
That’s just one example. The internet and Youtube are full of other examples, some posted by media outlets like Ynet, others posted with pride by Hamas and by general Palestinian Authority sources.
Kindergartens in Gaza are sponsored by Islamic Jihad. But it would be wrong and narrow minded to believe that only Hamas and Islamic Jihad engage in this kind of war mongering cum education, wrong to think that only they transmit this hateful educational message. PA sponsored schools in the West Bank are on board with Muslim extremists when it comes to glorifying resistance and martyrdom – catch phrases for murderous attacks against Israelis and Jews. It is a part of their curriculum, too, it is enshrined in their school books.
Israelis teach about peace and coexistence as a formal part of their curriculum. But for the Palestinian educator, it is easier to teach hatred than to talk about peace. Idealizing mass murderers and calling them defenders packs much more emotional punch than does talk about co-existence. And when Palestinian children march with toy guns and accompany mock coffins, when during their ceremonies they play ‘Kidnap an Israeli Soldier’ they are cheered on by older children they admire and by adults they respect.
It is hardly education. It is indoctrination. And what happens when these educational goals and objectives are challenged? What happens to the
Palestinian family that does not think that the only good Israeli is a dead Israeli? They are labeled as collaborators, as people who have sold their heritage for money. They often have to seek refuge and sanctuary outside the Palestinian Authority, they are no longer welcome within.
Graduations, we are told, do not signify the end, they embrace a new beginning. We do not conclude, we commence. How frightening.
Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. His latest book is “Thugs: How History’s Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder” (Thomas Nelson)
Israel Reports Bird Flu Cases
Israel confirmed its first contagion by a deadly strain of avian flu. The Agriculture Ministry officially announced Monday that a virus that killed turkeys and chickens at three Negev farms was H5N1, a virulent strain that has spread across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia over the past three years.
The virus can kill humans if contracted from poultry, and scientists fear it could mutate and become directly communicable between people. However, the ministry said the outbreak, which prompted mass culling of poultry, was under control.
Families of Palestinian ‘Martyrs’ Receive UAE Funds
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has given money to families of Palestinian “martyrs” killed or injured in the intifada. The money to the families of both civilians and militants was provided through the UAE’s Red Crescent Society, The New York Times reported.
In at least one case, the money went to the family of a member of Islamic Jihad who was killed in clashes with Israel. The documents were provided to The Times by Gary Osen, a U.S. lawyer who is working on legal cases for U.S. victims of Palestinian terrorism.
The UAE is a federation of states that includes Dubai, where a government-owned company recently said it would sell its port-security operations to a U.S. firm, following an outcry about allowing a UAE-owned company to oversee security at U.S. ports.
EU Donates $78 Million for Palestinian Relief
The European Union donated $78 million for Palestinian relief. The sum, given to the United Nations on Monday for disbursement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was cast by the EU as an ad-hoc gesture that was not meant to undermine the 25-nation bloc’s calls for Hamas, which won a majority in January’s Palestinian Authority elections, to moderate its stance on Israel.
The EU has said its annual aid program of hundreds of millions of dollars for the Palestinians could be curbed or cut completely unless Hamas renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts past Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.
Lithuanian Trial of Accused Nazi Collaborator Begins
The L.A.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center called upon Lithuanian authorities to expedite the trial of Nazi collaborator Algimantas Dailide, which began Sunday in Vilnius.
The center’s Israel director, Efraim Zuroff, expressed hope that “the delay of justice and absence of punishment that characterized the cases of Dailide’s superiors” in the Lithuanian security police, Alexandras Lileikis and Kazys Gimzauskas, would not recur in this case.
Dailide moved to the United States in 1950 and lived here until he was ordered deported in 2002 for his service in the Saugumas, the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian security police for the Vilna Ghetto. No one has been convicted of Nazi-era war crimes in Lithuania since the country became independent in 1991.
Pollard Loses Court Bid for Access to Classified Data
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Jonathan Pollard’s petition for access to classified information used to convict him. A former U.S. Navy analyst, Pollard is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel.
On Monday, the high court rejected Pollard’s request for a hearing on a petition for his attorneys to receive access to the evidence to bolster Pollard’s argument for clemency. A hearing would not have affected Pollard’s conviction.
Rabbi Calls for Creation of World Religions Organization
One of Israel’s chief rabbis called for an international organization of religions. Yona Metzger, Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, called Sunday for a “United Nations of religious groups” as the second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace opened in Seville, Spain, the BBC reported. About 150 rabbis and imams are taking part in the conference.
Also speaking at the three-day meeting, Rabbi Israel Singer of the World Jewish Congress’ Policy Council rejected the idea that Jewish-Muslim tensions lie at the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He added that “religious crusaders” like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “must be exposed for what they are: impostors.”
Meanwhile, a group of Jews, Muslims and Christians is making a solidarity trek across North Africa. The 10-member interfaith team, sponsored by the peacemaking group, Breaking the Ice, set off from Jerusalem on March 7 for a four-week journey scheduled to end in Tripoli, Libya. Among those taking part in the 3,400-mile trek is a retired Israeli fighter pilot; a former body double for Saddam Hussein’s late son, Udai; a Palestinian accounting student; a New York firefighter, and a representative from Iran.
Michigan University Group Urges Israel Divestment
More than 40 professors and staff members at the University of Michigan presented a letter supporting divestment from Israel. Submitted online and to university regents last Friday, the letter argued that the school’s financial involvements in Israel posed “serious moral or ethical questions.”
During South Africa’s apartheid, university regents voted to divest stock of companies doing business with the nation, and some Jewish observers worry that they will do the same now with Israel-related stocks.
Backers of divestment say the move will pressure Israel not to violate Palestinian human rights, but opponents say it ignores the reality that Israel is responding to Palestinian terrorist attacks.
3 Beat Jew in Paris; Police Arrest Suspects in Attack
A Jewish man was attacked in his car in a Paris suburb. Sunday’s attack was carried out by three men of African and North African origin, according to the Office of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism.
The three forced the man to stop his car and forcibly removed him from the vehicle, allegedly calling him a Jew in Arabic. The man was thrown to the ground and beaten. His attackers fled when another car passed by.
The victim managed to get his attackers’ license plate number and go to the police station to press charges. The three men were then located and arrested.
Israeli Boxer Wins Prize
An Israeli boxer won a world heavyweight prize. Russian-born Roman Greenberg, 23, defeated Alex Vassilev in six rounds last Saturday at the IBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship in Monte Carlo. Now based in London, Greenberg has enjoyed 22 straight wins in his mostly amateur career.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Center Launches Appeal on 12Jews Missing in Iran
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is asking concerned peoplearound the world to join in a Passover appeal for 12 Jews missing in Iran, someup to 10 years.
Eleven of the men, ranging in age from 15 to 57 at the timeof their disappearances, were detained by Iranian authorities while trying tocross the border into Pakistan between 1994 and 1997. In addition, a Jewishbusinessman living in Tehran disappeared in 1997 while visiting a provincialcapital.
“The 12 Jews are believed to be alive, but their familieshave never heard from them and have been unable to get any information from thegovernment,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.”This is a humanitarian appeal, cutting across political lines.”
A Web site has been established that includes photos of nineof the missing men and a petition for assistance addressed to U.N. SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan, Secretary of State Colin Powell, British Foreign SecretaryJack Straw and the Iranian U.N. representative, Dr. Mohammad Zarif.
For information and participation in the humanitariancampaign, go to www.wiesenthal.com/mailings_swc/swc_mar1604.htm. — Tom Tugend,Contributing Editor
Arab Americans Stage Protest atIsraeli Consulate
About 200 Arab American activists, students, parents andchildren converged for a three-hour protest March 27 in front of the ConsulateGeneral of Israel in Los Angeles, with small children chanting Palestinianslogans and speakers praising the assassinated Hamas terrorist leader, SheikhAhmad Yassin.
“We’re here to celebrate Sheikh Yassin’s life,” said anOakland-based Muslim cleric to the Wilshire Boulevard crowd. “We’re kindajealous. He’s a martyr. Sheikh Yassin gets a level of paradise that is [only]below the prophets. We got the truth, and that’s all we need.”
Israel’s targeted assassination of Yassin on March 22 fueledthe rally’s rage. One protester held up a wheelchair in honor of thewheelchair-bound terrorist leader, while the Muslim cleric described Hamas as,”our heroes — not terrorists, they are our freedom fighters.”
Several teenage boys covered their faces with kaffiyehs,apparently mimicking the kaffiyeh-covered faces of Hamas terrorists at Yassinmemorials on the West Bank. Standing among the protesters was a staffrepresentative of the Southern California chapter of the Council of AmericanIslamic Relations; a few feet from her at the curb were five Arab-Americanchildren under age 10 chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will befree!”
The chant refers to the Hamas ideology that some dayPalestinians will control all Israeli and West Bank land from the Jordan Riverto the Mediterranean Sea.
The noisy event was peaceful, except for some shoutingbetween the pro-Palestinian demonstrators and about 20 pro-Israel counterdemonstratorsacross the street, where homeless activist Ted Hayes held a U.S. flag alongsideJewish activists with Israeli flags.
The consulate protest was organized by the far-left antiwargroup Answer (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) and its ally, the FreePalestine Alliance. There were also speakers from the Muslim StudentAssociation and two Jewish speakers who condemned Israel for what one saidwas, “state terrorism perpetrated by the Jewish State.”
References to Israel as a Nazi-like power were evident invarious swastikas on placards and two large photos showing Israeli PrimeMinister Ariel Sharon with a Hitler mustache. A speaker from the local chapterof the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee denounced Israel asterrorist state.
On April 10, some UCLA student activists will launch”Palestine Awareness Week” with films and lectures. On April 23 in Whittier,activists opposed to Israeli demolition of suspected terrorist homes willprotest the bulldozer manufacturer Caterpillar. — David Finnigan, ContributingWriter
Did Daniel Pearl die as a martyr, proudly proclaiming his Jewishness, or did his abductors force a reluctant admission from him at gunpoint shortly before they killed him?
Neither scenario fits the journalist’s personality and the truth is more complex, said his father, Dr. Judea Pearl.
"Danny never lied about being Jewish," said the elder Pearl. "All the kidnappers had to do was ask him and he would tell him that he was a Jew."
The parents have never seen the videotape of his final statements, which ended in Daniel Pearl’s decapitation, but according to detailed transcripts and a description by the U.S. consul in Karachi, Daniel Pearl’s statements fell into two categories.
The first consisted of the affirmation of his Jewishness, and though they appear to be in one piece, were actually given in three different takes.
In the first statement, Daniel Pearl said, "I am American, I am Jewish [some unintelligible words] my family on my father’s side is Zionist."
In the next segment, Pearl said, "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish."
In the third statement, he said, "My family follows Judaism. We made numerous family visits to Israel. A street in B’nai Brak is named for my great-grandfather."
Judea Pearl believes that the three statements were made freely by his son, and delivered willingly and with relative ease.
According to many reports, Daniel Pearl conveyed a certain sense of pride while affirming his Jewishness, and his father believes that the reference to the street in B’nai Brak, which the captors could not possibly have known about, was meant as a signal to Daniel Pearl’s parents that he was in good condition.
On the other hand, a subsequent monologue in which Daniel Pearl denounced U.S. policies and the killing of Palestinians by Israelis (against background TV footage of the intifada) was clearly made under duress.
"He was purposely mispronouncing words, such as ‘Amrica’ instead of ‘America’ and inserted long ‘uuhhs’ between words," observes the father.
Judea, or Yehuda, to give his given Israeli name, was raised in an Orthodox family, but he and his son rarely practiced their religion, except for holiday observances.
Nevertheless, "Danny loved Judaism," said his father. Daniel Pearl was curious about it, and the two engaged in a self-invented game in which they challenged each other’s knowledge of Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers).
Videoclips of Daniel Pearl’s life, screened at a memorial service in March, showed him celebrating his bar mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and a trip to Moscow in 1986, where he met with Russian Jewish refuseniks and was instrumental in bringing one family to the United States.
Also chronicled was a journey on the Trans-Siberian railroad to China, where Daniel Pearl conducted an impromptu Passover seder, using rice cake for lack of matzah. He remembered the ritual from his own boyhood, when he recited the traditional Four Questions at family seders.
The great-grandfather mentioned on the abductors’ tape was Chaim Pearl, who grew up in Ostrowitz, Poland. According to family history, Chaim was attacked one day by a peasant with an iron bar, went straight home and told his wife, "Start packing, we’re leaving."
The couple was one of 26 families, all gur Chasidim, who founded the fervently Orthodox enclave of B’nai Brak, near Tel Aviv, where Chaim changed his occupation from merchant to farmer.
Daniel met and married his wife, Mariane, the daughter of a Dutch Jewish father and Cuban Catholic mother, in Paris. At age 16, she converted to Buddhism.
Mariane Pearl spoke movingly of her life with Daniel at a Los Angeles memorial service in March and is slated for a visit to her in-laws, including an introduction of her 4-month-old son Adam, later this month.
Mariane and Daniel Pearl had agreed to circumcise Adam, and Daniel told his parents that he hoped to raise the boy with all the Jewishness he could muster.
Questioned on this point when she was interviewed by Larry King, Mariane Pearl said that she wanted to raise Adam without any religious indoctrination.