Putting the Bible to Use in Israeli Diplomacy

In a historic ceremony on Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, gathered at Entebbe to commemorate Israel’s 1976 hostage rescue there. Musevini not only commended Israel for carrying out the raid—despite the fact that IDF commandos killed a number of Ugandan soldiers—but compared it with various events in the Bible and even with a passage from the Quran. Speaking of his hopes for warm relations with the Jewish state, Musevini added that “on the issue of Israel/Palestine, we in Uganda are guided by the Bible.” Dror Eydar points to some important lessons Israeli diplomats can learn from this speech:

Museveni used Abraham’s two wives, Sarah the matriarch of the Jews and Hagar the matriarch of the Muslims, to propose a solution for the conflict between [Israel] and the Arabs. Both peoples, he said, belong to the region. He asserted that attempts to compare Israel with South Africa under apartheid rule were nonsense, that the two countries had “totally different stories,” and offered his services as a go-between on the mission to achieve peace.

The same parts of Israeli media (and politics) that are devoid of knowledge of Jewish texts and religious issues scorned what looked like a mixture of politics and myth. . . .

But anyone who is well-versed in our people’s ancient knowledge and spirit realizes the great potential that lies before Israeli statesmen (and also people in trade) if they appeal to religion as a source of common ground with their counterparts abroad. Israel’s renewing of its relations with African nations is a crucial historic event that could help break down the diplomatic wall that Israel’s enemies have worked to build around it. The Israelis came [primarily to commemorate the raid at] Entebbe, but the president of Uganda and many Africans along with him saw the representatives of the historic Jewish people, the people of the Bible. Only a blind person could miss this opportunity.

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More about: Africa, Bible, Entebbe, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Quran

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict