Saturday, December 28

Religious Intolerance in Jerusalem

An ultra-Orthodox Jew spitting

A disturbing phenomenon is occurring in Jerusalem, which should ring alarm bells in the minds of all who value democracy and freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion.
An ugly trend is raising its head in Jerusalem - a city holy to the three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The sooner the cancer of intolerance is nipped in the bud the better.
It is become fashionable in Jerusalem amongst various fanatic ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects to spit on priests, monks and nuns of the various Christian denominations, who have been part of Jerusalem's community for centuries. The Christian and Muslim communities have every right to live in Jerusalem no less than the Jewish community.
This awful phenomenon was aired on Israel Arutz 2 Channel this Friday night.(I apologize that it is not in English but the clip will illustrate my point) It left me with a sense of disgust and shame! Apart from that, Price-Tag - a horrible mutant of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community of fanatics whose origins are in the hills of the Occupied West Bank, many of whom are descendents of religious illegal settler fanatics.

The slogan on the church wall says "Death to Christians" Price Tag

The Israeli Government, which is representative of the fanatic settler movement and its entrails have not come out strongly enough in its condemnation of the hooliganism of Price-Tag and its Allies - the kippa-cladded, long ear-lock (payot), fringed (tzitzit) young hooligans, who carry out this thuggish behaviour against non-Jews in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. They desecrate Christian Holy Sites as well as vandalizing their cemeteries. All this seems to be done with the stamp of kashrut by their fanatic rabbis who teach them "Jewish values". This loutish behavior is nothing more than religious hooliganism of the worst kind. The reason - “we are doing to the goyim (non-Jews) what they have been doing to the Jews!” It is unacceptable and the perpetrators of these loutish deeds must be arrested and held accountable. Unfortunately, these deeds are overlooked by the police who seem to be caught off guard.These deeds are also overlooked by the Orthodox Establishment.
The slogans of hate graffiti on the walls of churches and monasteries, as well as cars is on the increase. Signs of apathy by many Israelis only encourage this cancer to proliferate even further. Why have there been no arrests? This kind of behavior is no less contemptible than the desecration of synagogues and mosques.
Hate of non-Jews is on the rise and, as a secular Israeli Jew, I hang my head in shame! Ultra- Orthodox intolerance for other faiths is not limited to that sect alone. Establishment Orthodoxy is hardly any less to blame. Their hegemony over the Jewish faith is absolute and this plays its part in every day life in Israel. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is also no paragon of virtue. It has played its part to estrange many Jews from the fold including Yours Truly. Pluralism in Judaism is condemned by the ruling Orthodox Jewish Establishment. It has its tentacles in all the ruling governments since Israel's establishment. This includes zero tolerance and non-recognition of Reform (Progressive) and Conservative Judaism, which they see as a threat to their system of corruption, bribery and total monopoly on Halacha (Jewish Law). It makes me want to puke, and I am sure there are many Israelis who feel the same way - possibly the impotent silent majority. Non-orthodox Jewish rabbis cannot marry couples, who do not wish to be married by Orthodox Rabbis. The Orthodox Establishment also creates difficulties for Jews and non-Jews to marry. There is no civil marriage in Israel. If there is no civil marriage – only religious marriage then there is no religious freedom. Those Jews, who were converted to Judaism by Reform or Conservative rabbis, are not recognized as Jews by the ruling Orthodox Jewish Establishment and have to marry overseas in a civil marriage ceremony. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts completely and this is true of the ruling Orthodox Jewish Establishment as embodied by its Chief Rabbinate that has deviated from Jewish values only to be replaced by corruption, bribery and “jobs for pals” in order to increase their power in religious Jewish matters pertaining to marriage, divorce, archaic Sabbath laws and burials where the disgusting practices reach their zenith. It is all money, money and more money as well as stakes that has nothing to do with Judaism.
It is little wonder that groups like Price-Tag ( Tag Machir) and their fanatic, self- righteous allies are on the increase, spitting on Christian members of the clergy, vandalizing non-Jewish property, including cemeteries and getting away with it. If this would occur in Jewish cemeteries and synagogues, the heavy hand of the police would soon be felt.
This hate of the non-Jew is on the rise in Jerusalem. It does not bode well for Israel's already battered world image. Is this freedom of religion when Price-Tag and their illegal settler-oriented supporters are given almost free reign on vandalizing Arab and non-Jewish property with impunity? Are we becoming a nation of self-righteous religious bigots with zero tolerance for those who are different?

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Saturday, December 21

Israel's Democracy is being Compromised

There are signs that Israel's democracy is not as healthy as it seems. The lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is an indication that nothing will be achieved despite the pressure of the US and the EU. On the Israeli side remains a hard-core right-wing illegal settlement group who have more influence on Israeli Government policy than befits their numbers.

The Bayit Hayehudi Party under right winger Naftali Bennet has replaced the ultra-Orthodox religious parties in the coalition. He is a warmonger with right-wing, religious Zionist overtones that is hawkish and against giving up occupied territory for peace. Israel and the Palestinians have much to gain if the peace process moves forward. The EU have pledged a large amount of aid if both parties to the conflict get their act together and move towards peace. At present nothing is being achieved. Israel is not prepared to freeze illegal settlements in the occupied territories which is one of the conditions for making progress. Why? Netanyahu is afraid to upset the vitriolic settler apple-cart as his Likud Party moves more from right to extreme right.

This is illustrated in a number of ways. The illegal settlers, who are a vociferous minority, have more influence on government policy than they deserve. They have never had it so good since Netanyahu's coalition has great sympathy for them. They get taxpayer's money allotted to the illegal settlement enterprise at the expense of other projects that are more urgent. Housing in the territories are cheaper beyond the green-line, while within the green-line, young couples are unable to get inexpensive housing. The settler movement is having their hey-day under the present government.

Who are the illegal settlers? Most of them are religious, right-wing Zionists, who claim that their right to "Judea and Samaria" is not debatable. "Judea and Samaria" is their name for the occupied West Bank and this adds to its legitimacy for settlement in their eyes. The Tanach is their eternal contract or claim to these lands.

Those, who disagree and do not accept their claims, are considered self-hating Jews or even anti-Semites. They are ostracized by an ever increasing religious, extremist right-wing Orthodox Jewish population. These people relish their sanctimoniousness as they tolerate close to zero opposition. It is obvious that this vociferous group of religious fanatics and their offspring - the violent Hilltop Youth and Price Tag have been nurtured by previous right wing Government Coalitions. The vandalism that these extremist movements have caused against mosques, churches and private property in places like Abu Ghosh have gone unpunished. Nobody has been arrested and now it is business as usual.

Israel is peace posturing, but there is no substance. Israel knows that settlements will not be frozen so that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian will just not occur. The minority settler movements are laying the grounds for further violence against the Palestinians as well as enhancing Israel's poor image as an occupier even further. By their actions, they are also eroding Israel's democracy turning it into an exclusive democracy for Jewish citizens only. We may not have reached that stage yet, but we are are going down that road at a more rapid pace than meets the eye.

The second part of this article, while not connected with the first part, also illustrates some evidence of Israel's democratic erosion. I have a gut feeling that many readers will be asking "What is the writer doing in Israel? Why does he not pack up and leave?". My answer is simple. If I did not care and become indifferent to what is happening in Israel this means that I would not be true to myself. Our Jewish history should make us more sensitive to the suffering of others as our people had been refugees from the Nazi Holocaust and we despised the countries who were insensitive to the plight of Jews who sought refuge. There were countries that forbade Jews from seeking a new home there.

As a Jew, we must never forget our historical suffering. If we do forget and treat refugees and call them "infiltrators", which has negative connotations, we lose our humanity. Is this the reason why I should leave Israel because I disagree with the way it treats foreign workers as well as refugees? Perhaps this is what the right-wing Zionists want. They want more homogenuous thinking when it comes to the stranger who is viewed as a danger to Israel's Jewish identity ( quote the Biblical passage we were strangers in a strange land). The reason why I remain is because I care for Israel. I do not care for those who have lost their Jewish soul and have become racists and intolerant to those who are different. If this is the new Israel that is obssesive about Judaism and its preservation by having stringent laws enforced by the Migration Police then we have lost our soul.

We should welcome the stranger in our midst even if he does not belong to the "Chosen People" Israel is NOT like other countries and the Jewish experience over generations should allow more sensitivity towards the stranger irrespective of race, color or creed.

In a previous article, I wrote about the problems of caregivers, who care for our aged with devotion. If a caregiver falls pregnant she has to make a choice either to remain a caregiver in which case her baby is deported to the country of origin of the mother and cannot be with its mother, or the mother and child are both deported. Is this the mercy shown to the stranger according to Shas Party Jewish morality and mercy.

Democracy is alive and kicking for Jews, but less so for non-Jews. Eventually democracy for all Israel's citizens will be compromised for all Israel's citizens whether they are Jews or not.

We witnessed the treatment of African refugees - those who fled their countries of origin where their lives are endangered and are incarcerated in deportation camps awaiting their deportation to a certain death in the Sudan.
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Wednesday, December 11

The Deal is Done

English: Ruhollah Khomeini فارسی: امام خمینی (...
English: Ruhollah Khomeini فارسی: امام خمینی (احتمالاً هنگام معرفی دولت موقت) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As was written in a previous post the P5 +1 signed an agreement with Iran. Many of us have no problems with that. Just before the deal was signed, Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, went into a tirade against Israel. His choice of language left us all in no doubt about his hate for Israel and his desire to see Israel "the Zionist Entity" wiped off the face of the earth. The agreement signed did not stipulate any constraint about threatening neighbor states with annihilation.

If we examine the agreement, we notice that it is concerned with the nuclear disarmament of Iran. It has nothing to do with Israel. If we look at it from a broader perspective, we see that the agreement has advantages for Israel and the surrounding Arab States. This does not mean that Iran can be trusted and that we should be aware of possible clandestine activity in Iran's nuclear programme. Iran must be closely monitored.

Netanyahu must cease his ranting and raving and concentrate on curbing his good life at the expense of tax-payers as well as freezing settlements.His constant attacking the P5+1 is not constructive.The deal is done and crying over spilt milk is never a solution. A solution is to adopt a different strategy of where to go from there. Netanyahu is unable to do that. He is an expert at digressing from essential matters that are important. There is nothing more important to Israel than freezing settlement activity and preventing the breakdown of peace negotiations between Israel and their Palestinian counterparts. Netanyahu is marking time with his constant harping on the nuclear disarmament agreement between Iran and the P5+1.
Nelson Mandela in his final years

Israel's only true friend is the US. The US is looking after Israel's interests and has always been at Israel's side in times of crisis. What is Bibi Netanyahu trying to achieve? The US  agreement with Iran needs time to assess. It is in Israel' s interests to be low key and get on with a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Netanyahu must cease pandering to the whims of the vitriolic settlers and their right wing extremist allies in the government. A serious effort must be made on all sides to find a solution. Beating about the bush is no solution nor is Bibi-style Iranphobia.

Netanyahu has also played his part in allowing the Iran deal to become a hot potato. He is doing this by trying to distract the West from the urgency of solving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. In the long run this tactic will boomerang on Israel. At present there are many doubts of the viability of the two state solution. The peace talks must be intensified and the hope of an agreement must be realized.

Meanwhile, during Netanyahu's anti-Iranian posturings, Nelson Mandela, South Africa's greatest statesman and humanitarian, passed away, leaving a terrible void not only in South Africa but in the world. Many world leaders attended the funeral ceremony in Johannesburg, but Israel was conspicuous by its absence. A very low level Israeli delegation was sent to represent Israel.The reason was political and not the expense as the Netanyahu Government claimed.

Israel's low level representation was its loss and not its gain. Is it because those leaders present at the funeral are persona non grata in Netanyahu and his coalition partner's eyes? This could very well be the reason. Netanyahu could not afford to be seen with Iran's leaders, Palestinian leaders and a host of others who considered hostile. Even Israel's relationship with South Africa is problematic. This sleight by Netanyahu is his weakness and not his strength. He could have used this opportunity to improve relationships with South Africa and other states to Israel's advantage. Unfortunately another opportunity was missed because of narrow right wing coalition interests.

We ought to hang our heads in shame at the antics of the right wing Netanyahu Coalition. They bring no honor to Israel internationally. Does Israel forget that it is a member of the World Community? Are we withdrawing into ourselves, shedding tears over our self-righteousness, claiming that the world hates us?
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Saturday, December 7

The Passing of Nelson Mandela (Madiba) A Great South African and World Statesman

Robben Island South Africa
Robben Island South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Joh...
English: Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela (Photo credit: Festival Karsh Ottawa)
English: Nelson Mandela, former President of S...
English: Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo date...
English: Young Nelson Mandela. This photo dates from 1937. South Africa protect the copyright of photographs for 50 years from their first publication. See . Since this image would have been PD in South Africa in 1996, when the URAA took effect, this image is PD in the U.S. Image source: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Pile of rocks started by Nelson Mande...
English: Pile of rocks started by Nelson Mandela and added to by former prisoners of Robben Island Prison, South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...
English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nelson Mandela
Cover of Nelson Mandela

We have lost a great South African leader and statesman, who with great personal sacrifices, found it incumbent upon himself to serve his people that had suffered the injustices of the evil apartheid regime. As a South African Israeli, who grew up in South Africa, vehemently opposed apartheid, and seen many of my parents' friends detained without trial, will never forget the courage of this great man who was and always will be a role model for many of us to follow. I wish to convey deepest heartfelt sympathies to the Mandela family. 

Nelson Mandela now belongs to the ages but the example of this great man must live on as we have much to learn from him in problem solving. Much is still wrong in Israel, where racism is still a scourge. Our attitudes to our fellow Palestinians and foreign workers has many flaws and needs to be addressed seriously rather than being evaded so that Israel could be an example to the world rather than the polecat of occupation that it is today with the government's pandering to the illegal settlers in occupied Palestinian lands.

We have no leaders in Israel with the vision and motivation of Nelson Mandela, who could end the painful conflict between Israel and Palestine.

My memories of the apartheid regime goes back a long way. My family in South Africa was opposed to apartheid and the values that our parents gave us were against race discrimination in all its forms. Those, who were in opposition to apartheid in the 1950s, 60's and 70's, were hounded. This was really a dark period in South Africa's history. The evil white National Party took power in 1948 and even before that, while not official, there was always discrimination towards the black people based only on the colour of their skins. This was really so abhorrent to my family and like most white people, Jews were scared to express opposition to this evil system that was taking over the institutions of South Africa. Those who opposed apartheid were Jews who were non religious or atheists.

Schools and universities were for whites only and the blacks had inferior education. Even political parties were declared white's only parties and blacks were not allowed to be part of the white political scene. Brutal and evil acts were declared by the white government such as the evil Immorality Act, Group Areas Act, impoverished homelands or Bantustans for the black population where"they could develop according to their own traditional customs and where they would have equal rights". It was a cruel divide and rule situation.

Nelson Mandela showed incredible leadership qualities during this period and was detained and imprisoned numerous times. The notorious Treason Trial from 1956 until 1961 in which many of my parents friends were placed on trial with Nelson Mandela only to be acquitted in 1961. This did not prevent the evil white government from hounding Nelson Mandela and his numerous supporters outstanding of whom were Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki (the father of Thabo Mbeki who was South Africa's president after Nelson Mandela in 1999), Walter Sisulu and a host of other names of people who had served sentences in Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.

I had already left South Africa in 1974 for Israel where I felt a certain déjà vu , especially during the right wing coalitions of the last decade.

We are all saddened by the death of this great human being whose feelings of forgiveness towards those who oppressed his people is a shining example of all that a leader of a country should be. He prevented a revolution and racial strife between whites and blacks in South Africa and succeeded in uniting a country torn by racial strife for generations. His spirit teaches us that no conflict lacks a solution that is peaceful and all embracing. It would be a great tribute to Nelson Mandela if we, in Israel and Palestine, can follow his shining and unique example of reconciliation as human beings making peace that is the interests of every human soul in the Middle East.

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Wednesday, November 27

Israel and the Foreign Workers

“For use by white persons” – sign from the apa...
“For use by white persons” – sign from the apartheid era Español: “Sólo para blancos” – letrero de la era del apartheid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jewish Law of Return passport stamp
Jewish Law of Return passport stamp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a healthy development for people to integrate in their adopted countries. Many foreign workers arrived in Israel as refugees, or because of economic reasons in their countries of origin. Both groups seek a better life for their families. It is a natural phenomenon for people to leave their land of birth for other countries. 

They seek a livelihood and a better quality of life in another country. Naturally every group has its "rotten apples". Israel has received its fair share of "rotten apples" in every group that arrived, including many Jewish immigrants - yes - I mean it - Jewish immigrants! They are not the "Chosen People". Such a concept does not really exist except in the mind of racist, rabbinical bigots of which there is no shortage in Israel. Their influence on the Ministry of the Interior is great. The various "who is a Jew?" issues are still alive and kicking, even though it is dormant now. If your Jewishness is in question and you decide to come to live here, it is a hellish experience under the tentacles of the Ministry of the Interior and it’s "Holy Rabbinical Establishment Allies (HREA)” I think we should change the abbreviation from HREA to UREA, the U standing for “Ugly”! This does not mean that one must generalize or demonize any group that arrives here for whatever reason, irrespective of race, color or religion. If the Israeli Authorities accept them, it is irrelevant whether they are refugees or foreign workers. They must be given every opportunity to work and their offspring given the right to a decent education.

I think of Filipino caregivers who look after our aged and are devoted to them. At the end of the day, they are deported if they stay beyond 5 years and do not manage to find another job when their employer passes away - a true cruel "swinging-door policy created by the Interior Ministry, who view the Foreign Worker as a threat to Jewish identity and a move towards assimilation in the Jewish State. Why can we not be more accommodating and not be paranoiac over the danger of assimilation if there is any danger at all. The danger is in the mind of religious rabbinical bigots of the ruling Orthodox persuasion who creates division amongst Israel's citizens. After all, assimilation is healthy for the gene pool. Let us stop thinking in "national socialist terms" of racial purity.We,as Jews, have been down that road not so long ago. Many of us had close family murdered in the Nazi holocaust because they were Jews and a threat to the "herrenvolk" of Germany.

If Israel views itself as a democracy, and expects the world to see them as such, it must cease to hound foreigners by using the notorious Immigration Police that instills fear into these people by demanding them to show them their permits on demand to be in Israel. There are many informers (“stinkers” or “shtinkerim” in Hebrew) working for the Immiigration Police that ferret out foreign workers whose permits have expired.

This reminds me of apartheid South Africa, where I was born and educated. In those dark days, Black People had to have passes (the “dompas”) to work in white areas of South Africa. I remember as a teenager visiting Johannesburg and hearing an ear-splitting siren at 9.00 pm every evening. I asked my host what was the reason for the siren. I was told that after 9.00 pm the Blacks must disappear off the streets of the White areas or be arrested and if they did have a pass with their employers address, the employer would come to the police station to bail them out from the over night prison cells.

Many foreign workers in Israel have jobs that Israelis refuse to do. The caregivers, most of whom are Filipinos, care for our aged for many years until they pass away. They are on duty 24 hours a day and bear a great responsibility for their well-being as many are unable to help or feed themselves. The devotion of the caregiver is absolute in most cases. They never complain and are amazing. They perform jobs such as changing diapers of the aged that are incontinent, bathing them and doing so with love and care.

When the aged people under their care pass away, they have a problem. Apart from mourning the person they loved, they face deportation.  This can occur after a month. Is this the rewards these people, who have sacrificed their personal freedom for those under their care, deserve?

Care-givers do deserve more freedom to go out to visit their friends and get refreshed. Many work all day every day without even a day off or even being aloud the company of friends where they are living. Of course, everybody needs friends in his environment especially when off-duty. This hardly occurs in the case of the Filipino care-giver. There does seem to be a lack of sensitivity of the guardian of the aged towards this vital issue. The result is a form of indentured labor without freedom.

Many care-givers “burn out” because of stress. Some guardians or members of family install cameras in the homes of the aged and there are cases of violence against the aged under the care-giver. They take out their frustrations because of their situation of stress under their rigorous 24 hour schedule. Situations like this could be avoided if the employers of care-givers show more sensitivity to their needs. Unfortunately many care-givers are exploited by family of the aged under the care-givers care. They often use these care-givers to do housework. This is not in their contract.

What has happened to Israel? Instead of welcoming the stranger into their midst they are great at public exercises to show how great they are. They gave aid to the Philippines to areas stricken by the typhoon Orlanda. However, in Israel the foreigners are exploited and fear deportation. The Law of Return is applicable to Jews only. Why can we not be like other countries? Nobody says that Israel must take in everybody. No country on earth takes in potential immigrant indiscriminately. Foreigners, who are suffering in their home countries, and whose lives are endangered, are offered asylum in Israel. Many of these people are forbidden to work. They turn to crime. South Tel Aviv is an example of the severe problem created and the Israeli Authorities must share the blame.

Care-givers deserve better and they should have committees that attend to their rights in a more serious way than at present. The exploitation of these good and devoted people is a severe problem that has been overlooked by the government. Is this because they are not considered the “Chosen People”?

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Wednesday, November 20

Iran Nuclear Deal and Israel

Iran's history of hate for Israel since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah, and the policy of the first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, has continued unabated until this day. It is a paradox that the P5+1 are about to sign a treaty with Iran in order to ease the crippling sanctions imposed on it. Iran has not been brought to its knees yet and the P5+1 are showing signs of weakness towards Iran when it really should not.

Israel and all the Arab States including the Palestinians are under threat of a possible nuclear conflagration with Iran. Iran's policy of dominating the Middle East cannot be ruled out. It is unlikely that the Sunni Arab States will support Shiite Iran's quest for more influence and domination.

I wish that I could say that the Iranian regime hates Israel because of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. This is clearly not the case. Iran does not care about the Palestinians and makes cynical use of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for their own political agenda of domination and influence in the Middle East.

History has a cruel habit of repeating itself in different contexts. If one were to re-examine history, we see that the same mistakes are made. An evil power will try and woo its potential enemy to make peace so that their evil agenda can be carried out unabated. An example of a big mistake occurred just prior to the World War 2. On 30th September 1938, Prime Minister of Britain at the time, Neville Chamberlain stepped off a plane after having signed a peace treaty with Adolf Hitler. He delivered his famous "Peace in Our Time Speech". Hitler had already embarked on his policies of annihilating the Jewish People, Gypsies and other peoples whom he considered inferior and needed to be exterminated to keep the Aryan race pure. This was a miserable period in British history - appeasement of an evil dictator, by a "peace treaty" that was not worth the paper on which it was written. Britain had embarked on a policy of allowing Germany to carve up Europe "for the sake of peace". There was no discussion about cessation of murder of so-called "inferior races". This was conveniently overlooked by Chamberlain. The parallel here is that Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, has made a courtesy call to President Hassan Rouhani (who is Khamenei's puppet) of Iran. Is Britain, like the US and EU, going to be a partner to repeat the same mistake of Neville Chamberlain in 1938? Khamanei is no paragon of human rights in Iran. Have we forgotten Iran's Green Revolution of 2009 when the opposition to the autocratic Khamanei regime was cruelly crushed by his puppet, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the Holocaust denier? Nothing has changed for the Iranian People in improving human rights.

The anti-Israel rhetoric has not ceased. Israel has every right not to trust Iran.  The purpose of the Rohani tactic is to ease the sanctions on Iran. However Iran will continue its nuclear programme clandestinely. This can be viewed as a danger to Israel and the Arab World. It is hoped that the soft-serve, pleasant rhetoric of President Rohani is not a cover for something more sinister in the mind of his boss, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. His word is the law and President Rohani's placating talk is music to President Obama's ears and the P5+1. Another hint of Iran's "peaceful intentions" is the unveiling of a new drone with claims that it can reach Israel. This drone called "Fotros" is claimed by Iran to have a range of 2000 Km enough to reach Israel and most of the Middle East. A country producing these drones does not do so unless it has an ulterior motive apart from a psychological one. It may be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Who knows? Can Israel and Saudi Arabia trust a country like Iran? It has nothing to do with Netanyahu's serious disagreement with the US. It goes far beyond that. If Iran showed signs of compromise and its attitude towards Israel would change to one of recognition, we would be the first to say to the P5+1 "Go for signing an agreement with Iran"! However, this is not the case.

There is a temporary problem in the signing of a treaty with Iran but at the end of the day they will sign. Iran wants to have its cake and eat it. It wants sanctions lifted as well as continue its nuclear programme to produce a bomb. Iran has secret enrichment facilities which will not be open for inspection. We cannot afford to be bluffed by Iran. If Khamenei and his evil secret police organization - SAVAK - are ruling Iran then we have every reason to doubt Iran's "peaceful" intentions. Iran is far from being a paragon of human rights. Its agenda is far from being open. We cannot afford to pander to Iran's whims and fancies.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, is the most powerful authority in Iran. The previous president,  Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, was more blunt in expressing his hate for Israel. All the presidents of Iran are subordinate to the Supreme Leader. This is no less true of Rohani. He has to carry out orders from Khamanei even though his tactics differ.

Time will tell whether Iran is trustworthy or not. It is not beyond our suspicion that Iran will hide some of their nuclear facilities from inspectors if there will be an investigation.

It looks as if Iran, EU and the US are on the eve of embarking on a honeymoon in untested waters. Iran still remains hostile to Israel and is engaged in rhetoric against Israel's right to exist.

According to reports in Haaretz, Israel's allies are softening towards Iran, Britain and Italy are examples and this will snowball to include France as well. Naturally this is a worry not only for Israel but for Saudia as well. It could create an interesting scenario of bringing some form rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, with possible military cooperation between them against Iran.

One of the conditions that should be insisted in the Geneva talks should be Iran's recognition of Israel's right to exist as well as the cessation of nuclear activity before sanctions against Iran are lifted. Unfortunately, this has not been achieved and the policy of appeasement reminiscent of the "Peace in our Time" era of Chamberlain on 30th September 1938. 
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