Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, February 21, 2011
The Knesset just passed legislation (40-34) that will require all NGOs to reveal their foreign funding, and declare on their website and advertisements that they receive money from foreign governments.

This is a different law than the one that would have called for investigations of primarily leftwing groups, based on their attacks on IDF soldiers or actions taken on behalf of foreign governments.

(It's perhaps not as tough as US laws for foreign agent funding reporting for NGOs to the government, but it's a good start).

I'm sure Israel's citizens will be smart enough to understand that when it says on their ads and websites that these NGO are supported by foreign governments it means these NGOs are actually acting as foreign agents for these foreign governments who are interfering with our internal politics.

That's good enough for me.

The downside of this legislation, as I understand it so far, is that it is limited to funding from foreign governments. It's possibly leaves open a gaping loophole of funneling in money first through local intermediaries (even though it does seem to imply that ignorance of the true source will be no excuse). I'll try to find out more about this.

Regarding the delayed investigation legislation, the Leftwing NGOs (and MKs) are opposing it because they claim it exclusively targets Leftwing NGOs by demanding investigations into their funding based on their anti-Israeli activities.

In reality the law is in effect targeting foreign governments who are using local Israeli citizens as agents to infiltrate and influence internal politics. The NGOs are simply the tool being used to investigate and expose how these foreign governments are attacking Israel. The investigation would show they are tools, and not true grassroots organizations.

Speaking of targeted legislation, I'm quite uncomfortable with the talk of trying to pass a law that gives Rabbis immunity for their Torah-connected statements.

Yes, there are those that feel its necessary because only Rabbis are being called in for investigations of their statements and writings, while Leftist professors, artists, journalist and writers who openly incite against settlers, Rabbis, chareidim, or others they disagree with are completely ignored by the authorities.

But the solution isn't a special law for Rabbis.

The solution is explaining to (and retraining) the authorities so they understand what the concept of free speech actually means.

No one group should have special protection under the law for free speech. Everyone should have it - equally and fully.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
The headline for this post is a bit misleading, but potentially true none the less.

Scientists have been studying villagers of a town in Ecuador. Many of the residents have a genetic mutation that results in dwarfism.

But the mutation that causes their short stature also prevents them from getting cancer or diabetes. They apparently don't produce enough of a hormone called IGF-1 and their cells have a defective growth hormone receptor.

In laboratory experiments on mice, this defect results in extended lifespans.

Studying these villagers has helped pharmaceutical companies produce a drug (called Pegvisomant or Somavert) for helping treat a disease called acromegaly - and it might also extend lifespan.

And the Jewish connection?

Apparently these villagers are descendants of Sephardi Conversos from Portugal and Spain!
The big talk in Israel (besides the incredible 7.8% growth of Israel’s GDP last quarter) are the Iranian warships coming down the Suez Canal and traveling to Syria to spend a year docked in their port.

They’re not really very impressive warships from what I hear (a supply ship and a converted frigate).

But attacking Israel with them is hardly the point.

They’re not even trying to demonstrate a quid pro quo after Israel sent a submarine (allegedly nuclear armed) through the Suez and towards Iranian waters last year.

Perhaps at best they have a secondary mission of getting some arms to the Palestinian (Hamas) terrorists in Gaza.

And I guess one could reasonably worry they’ve got a dirty bomb on board.

But, I think it’s about something else entirely.

A few days ago these same Iranian ships docked in Saudi Arabia. Now they are on their way to Syria (and Lebanon).

This isn’t an Iranian show of Power – how strong their fleet is.

This is an Iranian show of Influence.

This is about how long their tentacles are growing, how influential their country is becoming, and what countries the US might soon be losing.

This “flotilla” is a message to the US that Iran views itself as a waxing global superpower untouchable by waning US influence.

Iran will have nuclear weapons, satellites, ICBMs, naval fleets, and military industries. It doesn’t matter if they are all third rate now (and likely to blow up at any point). Their point is that they are on the rise and the US can’t do anything about that.

In terms of global perceptions, Saudi Arabia is more likely to align now with Iran in the long term – despite the comments on Wikileaks – because Iran’s sphere of influence is growing and replacing America’s wishy-washy, unreliable alliance.

There are other messages in these ships, not all to Israel or the US either. Because that’s what these ships are about, not an attack, just a warning shot over the bow.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The JPost is reporting that PA president Abbas (and his children) and Palestinian strongman Dahlan have taken out citizenship and passports from Jordan.

In fact, many PA leaders have taken on Jordanian citizenship and passports.

This is happening as Jordan has been busy trying to strip citizenship of many of it Palestinian citizens, who in fact make up some 80% of the Jordanian population.

Now, it could be that these PA leaders are expecting to be exiled at some point by their citizens for their corruption and are using their dual citizenship as a backup plan.

But the question really is, is it really dual citizenship?

With "Palestinians" making up the vast majority of the Jordanian population, Jordan is actually a de facto Palestinian state under occupation by a dictatorial colonially established minority government.

True, it's a government that made peace with Israel, but isn't democracy so much more important than a peace treaty?

So in reality, Abbas, Qurei and the rest are simply taking on citizenship in the real Palestinian state currently under occupation.

I personally don't see any contradiction
Monday, February 07, 2011
So why aren't they really protesting in "Palestine" (the 2 parts on this side of the Jordan, not the one on the East Bank).

It's not exactly a question with a simple answer. I was talking with Jameel and we came up with a number of explanations.

The first one is economics. Egypt is dirt poor, Tunis is dirt poor. But Jordan is only regular poor, while, as Palestinian Authority officials have stated, life isn't bad in Palestine. Whatever their flaws and corruption, the Arabs under PA/Fatah/Hamas rule aren't starving, they have jobs (some in the settlements), and they have a growing economy.

No democracy? Obviously that's not the end of the world.

The second explanation is where it gets more more complex.

In Gaza, they actually had their revolution. Hamas took over. The people got Sharia law. It seems they got in Gaza exactly what they wanted. They don't need a second revolution.

In Judea/Samaria the desire for Hamas/Islamic rule exists, perhaps just as strong, but the PA/Fatah is actively suppressing any organized attempts by Hamas to raise its head through use of its military, by controlling the content in the mosques, and presumably torture (see below).

Alternatively, the West Bankers may not want Hamas, so why rise up, if that will be what you get instead?

Another point to consider is that the Egyptian government is not the Palestinian government. And the Egyptian people's culture is not Palestinian culture.

Relatively speaking, while Egypt is a repressive third world government, it is still (relatively speaking to "Palestine") a civilized country/government.

Hamas and Fatah on the other hand are in reality brutal regimes (like Syria) that have no compunction against torturing or killing as many people as they need to maintain control. We saw what Hamas did to Fatah members in the Gaza revolution and during Cast Lead, and stories come out all the time of Fatah secret prisons where civilians are tortured.

It's one thing to blow yourself up or get yourself killed trying to kill the Jews. But it's another thing to risk dying for a vague concept like democracy that isn't even an ideology for you.

Last, is that the many "spontaneous" Palestinian protests we see against Israel are instigated by and involve the Israeli Left. For a variety of reasons, you're simply not likely to see Israeli leftists instigating Palestinian crowds and working them up to demand democracy.

I suspect it's going to take a lot more to get the "Palestinians" on this side of the Jordan to start rioting for change than a domino effect that may perhaps be petering off.

(I hope to remember to revisit this post in 3 months time and see if I'm right).

In the meantime, watch this video of a small protest in Ramallah against Abbas. You can see PA security people in the middle arresting protesters.

It does make you wonder if there perhaps are more small protests like this happening in "Palestine" and the news of them isn't getting out.

So perhaps there aren't many large protests yet, but could they be just around the corner?
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