Monthly Archives: August 2009

Viva Berlusconi, Viva Italia!: The Italians Are Healing the Israel Sweden Rift

Under Berlusconi Italians Are Strong Friends of Israel

Berlusconi is a valued friend of Israel

Berlusconi - a valued friend

I’ve posted about Italy previously, in relation mostly to Italian elections out of concern that the election of Prodi over Berlusconi would harm Israeli / Italian relations.. That’s precisely what happened when Prodi won. His large Communist block was viciously anti-Israel and Italian Anti-Semitism spiked. My efforts then got me onto the frontpage of Libero.it, Italy’s largest web portal, a nice honor which warmed my heart further.


Thankfully for Italian Israeli relations Prodi is gonzo, and Berlusconi is once again leading Italy.

Which means we have a close friend restored to the Italian driver’s seat. Both commercial & military cooperation will continue to flourish benefiting both countries. But now via Haaretz we are learning that there are added benefits to this strong relationship & they are far from trivial. Specifically in the form of Italy stepping forward to heal the massive rift that has opened between Israel & Sweden over the libelous, absurd, world famous, and very anti-semitic ‘Organ Harvesting’ article in the Aftonbladet Swedish tabloid (I refuse to link to this trash).

Is the crisis in relations between Israel and Sweden coming to an end? That is what Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, would like to believe.

In a telephone conversation with Haaretz, Frattini said he recently met with his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, and the two agreed that at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers later this week, they will work to pass a resolution making it clear that the EU, under the Swedish presidency, strongly condemns anti-Semitism and will take action against any manifestation of it on the continent.

Frattini said he intends to demand that the meeting’s summary statement explicitly condemn the article published in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, which claimed that Israeli soldiers harvested the organs of dead Palestinians. He said his proposed statement would declare articles of this sort to be “acts of blatant anti-Semitism.” “There are limits to freedom of the press that stem from respect for the truth and the duty of every journalist to prove his claims,” Frattini explained.

The accusations in the Aftonbladet article are “terrible conclusions, lying and hurtful, and they have the power to assist all those who seek to incite against Jews or who oppose the existence of the State of Israel,” he added. However, Frattini stressed, “the state cannot intervene in the work of the press. The journalists are the ones who must set limits for themselves and must find the right balance within the framework of the journalistic code of behavior.” [...]

This Italian initiative is the strongest European condemnation we have seen of this affair to date, and make no mistake – Our friends in Italy have gone to bat for us here in Israel in a big way. Nothing remotely of the sort has come out of Sweden, they’ve been on the fence for far too long.

If Italy’s Foreign Minister in conjunction with Sweden can pull this off, the affair will hopefully be behind us all. This will benefit both Israel & Sweden, and the friendship we have come to rely on from Italy especially under Berlusconi is solid & valued. We are short on allies, Italy is one of them.

Grazie Berlusconi, Grazie tanto Italy!
(I hope I got that right..)

Enough Already: Rioting in Mea Shearim & Jerusalem is Not Kosher

Sympathy is now all rioted out..

Every week, now seemingly every day. Rioting, stoning police, setting fires to police cars, garbage bins, buildings. Over what? A parking lot. A mentally unstable woman who abused her child!? An autopsy for a Haredi man murdered? Where does it end exactly.

The crime scene in Jerusalem’s Geula neighborhood has turned into a battleground between police and haredim. A few dozen ultra-Orthodox people threw stones at police officers dispatched to the hostel on Tsfaniya Street, where a 50-year-old man was murdered Sunday night during a fight. The protesters tried to block removal of the murdered man’s body from the scene.

In the Mea Shearim neighborhood intense clashes broke out between the two sides. Haredim threw stones and metal objects at police officers, who responded with stun grenades. Eight police officers and an ultra-Orthodox man were lightly wounded. Three police officers were evacuated to the hospital for medical attention. The rest of the wounded were treated by ambulance crews on the spot. Damage was caused to a police patrol car and two motorcycles.

Haredim started fires at a number of different locations throughout the city. A police cruiser was set ablaze on David Yellin Street [...]

I had some sympathy at first. Yes it’s true that being beyond ultra Orthodox to the point of removal from modern day society at every level is certainly a challenge in a modern state, even if it is the Jewish state. Personally it is a bit absurd for me, but to each his own - To a limit. This is not 150 BCE. Nor do we live in the Shtetl in some remote part of Poland or Lithuania. Polling originally done in Israel by Channel 2 of religious & haredi populations showed they overwhelmingly did not support this rioting. Most polled did not see any benefit, only continued detriment to Haredi & non Haredi relations within Israel. Many called it Hillul Hashem - Those are the understatements of the year!

Rioting in Mea Shearim & Jerusalem

Lack of respect

These rioters are extremists beyond normal definition of the word, Mea Shearim has become an alien landscape. They claim that the state does not respect them, but to date they have given very little reason for the state or anyone else to accord them very much respect, as they do not respect others in any shape manner or form & they seem to relish this fact. They seemingly do not respect law, be it biblical or state law for that matter. Throwing stones, lighting fires, all on Shabbat? This is not a siege & the Romans are not at the gate. For many it seems this has become a game, we see many smiling & laughing in the TV footage as they hurl stones at security forces.

There must be accommodation for all, these extremists do not own title to Jerusalem or Israel. They are citizens like all others even though many do not recognize themselves as such. They must respect the rule of law. Their customs & beliefs are already very much respected within areas of the city with massive Haredi populations, if that is not enough that is simply too bad. They are behaving like animals and destroying the image & reputation of hundreds & thousands of peaceful law abiding and valued Haredi Israeli citizens for what can only be described as absurdity.

Rioting in Mea Shearim & Jerusalem (AFP)

No one will win here, least of all this minority of the Haredi population.

Personally, I’ve had enough and I am very late to the party. The vast majority of Israel had enough weeks ago. The Hezbollah has created a terrorist state within a state in Lebanon. That is totally unacceptable. It is just as unacceptable that a group of extremist nutcases should venture to do the same in the heart of Israel. I find it particularly distasteful that like the Palestinians many of these anti-Israel protesters are using not only violence, but sending their children out to do so in their stead. Just like the Arabs in the territories & the Hamas.

We should react in kind, enough is enough. Bring out the water cannons, start arresting everyone & put it down like an Intifada because that is exactly what this is. I asked my Haredi neighbor here in Tel Aviv what he thought about all this as we met taking out the trash. He’s fully Orthodox with 8 kids, aside from the fact that he is raising chickens in my backyard (lol) I consider them model citizens. As an example the Rooster, which I was fully prepared to slaughter in the kosher manner has been removed in favor of accommodation. He answered “Busha” – Embarrassment  / Shame, and he was not referring to the State.

Rotor Fury: IAF Upgrading Blackhawks for ‘Mini Pave Low’ Offensive Capabilities

Extra Curricular Activities: Beyond Tefen

Two years into Israel’s multi-year wide ranging future procurement plan known as TEFEN, some additional details have emerged regarding Israel’s non fixed wing aircraft priorities. Public TEFEN details released at the time made no mention of major procurement moves for choppers, but the loss of several Apaches from mid air collisions and mechanical failure have clearly spurred the need for additional purchases beyond TEFEN.

Deep Freeze

This past year Israel looked to the Boeing Company to pick up additional Apache Ds for replacements, but has met with resistance from the Obama administration pending ‘review of Israeli actions in the recent Gaza conflict’. This embarrassing reality has been smoothed right over by a described ‘likely year long negotiation & procurement process’ with Boeing, for a whopping 6 helicopters! Because we all know it takes a year plus to negotiate price and particulars on picking up additional Apache Longbows. Especially when both the Apache A, and advanced Longbow D model both already fly with the IAF.

That’s cute, but to date we have yet to see a single major purchase finalized or even a delivery on previous purchases to Israel since Obama came to office more than 7 months ago. Instead, Israel has been clearly working over time to make up the differences locally pushing forward with internal weapons development & advances, including Trophy, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, the Namer APC and now according to Yaakov Katz at the Post an upgraded Blackhawk with offensive Air to Surface missiles & cannons. Katz also mentions that the IDF is hopeful the Apache procurement efforts are nearing ‘finalization’, but mentions only upgrades of existing IAF Model As to Longbow D versions as opposed to additional replacements..

In an effort to upgrade its attack helicopter fleet, the Israel Air Force is conducting flight tests with a new version of the Black Hawk utility helicopter that has been equipped with offensive air-to-surface missile launchers.

Israel has several dozen Black Hawk helicopters – called Yanshuf – which it began receiving in the 1990s. Made by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the helicopter was designed in the 1970s as a utility tactical transport aircraft for the United States Air Force. The helicopter can carry a squad of a dozen troops with equipment or alternatively carry over one ton of equipment. The US has a variant of the Black Hawk that is used for special operations and is equipped with Hellfire missiles, an automatic cannon as well as 70mm rockets.

The arming of the Black Hawk is being done jointly by the IAF, Sikorsky and several local defense contractors. One of the helicopters has already successfully test-fired an air-to-surface missile. The helicopter has also been equipped with a rapid-fire cannon that sits under the aircraft’s belly.

The IAF, sources said, does not plan at this stage to equip all of its Black Hawk helicopters with offensive capabilities but is conducting the tests to see if the possibility exists should a decision to do so be made in the future. At the same time, the IAF is close to finalizing negotiations with Boeing to upgrade at least six additional Apache attack helicopters in an effort to bolster the air support the IAF is able to provide ground forces in future operations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. [...]

Contingency

Yeah, we’re not planning on equipping many dozens of Blackhawks for ‘PaveLow’ type capabilities just yet, but should ‘unforseen circumstances’ call for it, oh like say inability to procure additional US attack helicopters & weapons in general arise we need to be prepared to bolster IAF capabilities.

You just never know what kind of unfriendly atmosphere may prevail in Washington in the ‘future’. Not under this administration per say which is VERY friendly (Obama & CO love Israel, just ask US Jewish Democrats), but in the ‘future’ – Or say after flattening the Iranian nuclear program.

After all it’s not as if delaying these helicopters affects that in any way, seeing as we employ them against Hamas & Hezbollah where tensions are sure to flare should we defend ourselves by taking on Iran. It would be presumptuous to claim that the Obama admin is trying to tie Israel’s hands every way it can from derailing the US appeasement (I meant engagement) efforts.

The US MH-53 PaveLow, MH60L Attack Blackhawk & HH-60 Pave Hawk

Whenever you see US Blackhawks in the movies, you are more often than not likely seeing a Pave or Attack variant for ‘cool effect’ (MH60L). They are a lot meaner looking and jacked up with weapons, stubby wings, sensors & the like. Sometimes you’ll also see the massive US special forces Pave Low choppers, which are based on the much bigger Sikorsky SeaStallion Helicopters  – The workshorse of the US Navy. Sadly, the US Special Forces PaveLow program with the bigger Sikorskys has now been cancelled & replaced by the controversial US Osprey. Leaving the smaller attack Blackhawks like the MH60L & HH-60 Pave Hawks as mainstays for US Special Forces operations.

MH-60L Defensive Armed Penetrators - US Attack BlackHawks courtesy of SpecialOperations.com

MH-60L Defensive Armed Penetrators - US Attack BlackHawks courtesy of SpecialOperations.com

The new IAF variant & the Colombian AH-60 Arpia III

All these attack choppers and variants sporting ‘Pave’ monikers refer to advanced sensor packages like night time FLIR & radars which produce the green / night time low light effect commonly seen.

It is interesting to note that Israel already has experience outfitting US Blackhawks for offensive capabilities. One of the US Blackhawk export variants developed specifically with Israel for the Colombian Armed Forces sports electronics & sensors developed by Elbit Systems Israel, it’s known as the AH-60L Arpia III and is equippped with FLIR, machine guns, sensors packages & rocket pods – Jointly produced by Sikorsky & Elbit Israel.

The Joint US / Israeli developed Arpia III Attack Blackhawk for Colombian Forces; Used in counter terror & anti-narcotic operations against such notables as FARC Terrorists

The Joint US / Israeli developed Arpia III Attack Blackhawk for Colombian Forces; Used in counter terror & anti-narcotic operations against such notables as FARC Terrorists

It is of high likelyhood the new upgraded IAF Blackhawks will be heavily based on this variant, only with additional Israeli armaments to complement the Israeli Elbit electronics & sensor packages. The Arpia can carry US ‘fire & forget’ anti-tank Hellfire Missiles, however the Colombians do not have access to this weapon. Israel on the other hand delivers plenty of ‘Hellfire’ as required, notably in the airborne chopper based liquidation of terrorists.

*Update Note: I didn’t mention that Israel also flies a large number of CH-53D Sea Stallion variants (like the cancelled Pave Low described above). We call them Yasurs and they are used primarily as lift & troop tansports. They are undergoing a new modernization program called Yasur-2025 & can also be armed with missiles for attack roles.

Occupation Vocation: Palestinian Peace of the Not So Brave

Only The Right Can Make Peace

That’s a well known secret in these parts borne out by fact. Contrary to conventional thinking, the Palestinians themselves most probably prefer Israeli right wing governments too. The reasoning is simple enough, Israeli right wing governments are the only ones that can bring stability, the possibility of peace, and a normal life for Arabs in the territories through stable economics and some sense of security to stave off at least partially, lawlessness & corruption.

Netanyahu through his right wing government is the only man that can bring about the chance for peace, and it is Netanyahu’s ‘Economic Peace Plan’ which is the only one which even so much as stands a remote chance of success. For all the realists now so popular in America under Obama, they offer up a surprising lack of realism.

You’re going the WRONG waaaay!

You cannot proceed Top Down as the Palestinians, Quartet & US have been for the most part proposing. We must proceed Bottom Up, as the big bad Likud & Israel have maintained for many years. This reality has been sinking in for the Palestinians but not via Abbas, rather from Fayyad the Palestinian PM & economic / fiscal chief. Without law & order, without institutions, without basic governing infrastructure & efforts toward joint security cooperation no peace plan no matter how wonderful or hyped can bypass reality.

In fact, this bottom up approach makes life so good for established Palestinians many seemingly don’t even want to progress to the stage of Statehood, with all the responsibilities and work that would entail. It is much easier to simply sponge off economic aid & Israeli assistance, while maintaining world wide sympathy and simultaneously stoking international animosity toward Israel. This has been the Palestinian reality for a long time now.

Let the good times roll..

Under this formula, Palestinian elite enrich themselves, goods flow, the standard of living catapults upward. Contrast that with Top Down peace efforts such as those under Arafat -Where the leadership steals from the people, nothing gets done, terror causes closures with Israel stifling economic output, gangs of criminals and militants rule the streets, Israel is forced to carry out night time raids & arrests, and civilians are killed in the clashes. Meanwhile the international community loses its mind and suffers full on conniption.

Daled Amos does a great job outlining the economic realities in the territories, and why Abbas himself is seemingly content to sit & do nothing on multiple fronts, from Gaza to the West Bank..

Meanwhile, in the West Bank there is perhaps a growing realization that Netanyahu’s ‘economic peace’ may be succeeding where others–including Obama–have failed:

Fayyad told Haaretz this month that he realized that “security was the glue between a thriving economy and proper government and achieving liberty for the Palestinian people.” (On the question of whether or not Israel is a “Jewish state” — an admission Netanyahu has been adamant about getting from the Palestinians and which he has hitherto been denied officially — Fayyad sounded more Zionist-friendly than the New York Review of Books typically is: “The character of Israel, as the total character that Israel would like to have, is Israel’s own choice.”)

Back in May, Abbas said in his interview with Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post:

“I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,” he said. “Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.” In the Obama administration, so far, it’s easy being Palestinian.

Abbas will continue waiting, assuming that everything he wants will fall into his hands. However, if it is not Israeli concessions but rather Israeli contributions to the reemerging Palestinian that make the news, Abbas will find that the Palestinian Arabs of the West Bank are growing tired of waiting for him.

On a cautionary note, George Gilder writes in The Israel Test that historically foreign aid intended for economic recovery is conducive to corruption and failure, rather than economic growth. When I emailed him about the apparent challenge that the West Bank poses to that rule, he responded:

Hey, when you have a 40 to 60 percent drop in output in the midst of violence, it is relatively easy to get a rebound when calm returns and you have Netanyahu both standing firm against more concessions to terrorists and declaring his determination to open new opportunities for enterprise in the territories.

If Netanyahu’s broad based economic recovery for the Palestinian Arabs is successful–and Gilder is a big admirer of Netanyahu’s economic know-how–then maybe this time around the apparent Palestinian economic renaissance will be permanent, and auger better times to come in the region.

Indeed, there may be growing pressure between Fayyad & Abbas. Abbas seemingly gets a pass from the USA & Quartet on everything. The world speaks day after day about propping up Abbas, supporting Abbas, helping Abbas.. Poor Abbas – the powerless victim. Meanwhile Fayyad is the one who has to get things done & face the music as the functionary and representative in the 2nd tier meetings with international working groups & players.

As Daled Amos writes, soon enough the Palestinians may begin to tire of having a perennial victim at the helm, especially if pressure mounts internationally and the good times start coming to an end, with yet another failed peace plan sure to usher in the same factors that existed under the Top Down Arafat years. Stifling the good life Abbas & the Palestinians now enjoy in Judea & Samaria. Doubly so if the chance at statehood slips right through their fingers yet again, through their leader’s obstinacy & weakness to concede for the benefit of his people and peace.

Peace & Security is the platform of the right

It was the right wing Likud leader Begin who delivered Peace with Egypt, in Israel itself center left voters feel much safer entrusting Netanyahu & the right to secure peace, while clearly right wing voters will entrust no one else. On the Palestinian side the Israeli right brings prosperity and the chance for peace. Tony Blair, Quartet special envoy to the region is a solid backer of Netanyahu’s bottom up plans having seen the realities himself these past 2-3 years. He professed as much in testimony to the US House of Congress at Obama’s behest. The question remains, when will the ideologues in America & the new American President come around too?

One prays it isn’t only after their own plans & ideas fail as have so many others before. Instead of bullying Netanyahu & Israel, instead of undermining the Likud and indirectly Israel itself which via majority supports the party & government, it is high time Rahm, Obama, and the rest of the National Security Council team face these realities.

It is not a few housing units here or there, or a kindergarten under construction which is holding back peace. It’s failed ideology both within the Palestinian camp itself, and from America’s eager but erroneous left wing & leadership. That is not to say peace will be easy or forthcoming, only that failure to acknowledge these realities means it will never come at all.

Jewish Support Craters: Now 4% of Israelis View Obama as “Pro-Israel” (Update: Left Laments)

J-Street crowd called last poll lies.. (*Updated Below*)

In June, Smith Research polling found that only 6% of Israelis thought Obama was Pro-Israel. Reaction from American left wing Jewish groups whom are doing their own ‘ junk polling’ in order to sway issues and policy through their close ties to the Obama administration was fierce. From Ira Forman at the NJDC to J-Street to DNC operatives, they reacted bitterly at the time..

Matt Dorf, who did Jewish outreach for the Democratic National Committee during the presidential campaign, was more blunt when it came to the survey results. “I don’t trust the poll,” he said, calling the Post a newspaper that has “not been friendly toward Obama.”

Personally, I lashed out at the administration and American Jewry for their dereliction of duty maintaining the historic American-Israeli alliance. When the Administration absurdly ordered Israel to halt construction in the Sheik Jarrah area of Jerusalem I predicted Obama’s numbers in Israel would hit 2% support. Seems like both American left wing groups & I were wrong, because the latest polling confirms the previous brutal numbers for Obama in Israel making the J-Street crew the most likely liars..

But, he hasn’t hit 2% as I predicted - He’s doing much better at a whopping 4%.

My bad.

div

Update: This time the Left is in Lament Mode!

As stated above last time it was all ‘lies’, but now the Obama realities are a little too ‘real’ to simply deny for the left, both in Israel & in America. It is time instead to rip our clothing, throw some ashes in the air and begin a long drawn out period of lament lol. Hoffman who’s been the point man on these issues for the Post gives it to us and it’s a dooosie!

The Israeli Left reacted with dismay over the weekend to the results of a Jerusalem Post-sponsored Smith Research poll published on Friday that found only 4 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that US President Barack Obama’s policies are more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. [...]

Meretz and Peace Now said the survey indicated that Israelis did not yet realize the potential benefits of the regional peace initiative that Obama was advocating, but they expressed confidence that they eventually would. “It is terrific for Israel that there is an American president with vision, and it is a pity that most Israelis don’t realize that,” Meretz faction chairman MK Ilan Gilon said. “Israelis think that Christian evangelists who rubber-stamp everything Israel does are the only Americans who are pro-Israel. But what is really good for Israel is a solution to the conflict, and Obama is doing what it takes to bring it about.”

Hey, he said it not me. Damn straight it’s nice to have friends in the Christian community, Gd bless them. We need our friends despite all this talk about Obama the Seer & his great visions. So far he’s fallen flat on his face as a visionary because reality is a much crueler mistress than dreamland. Neither Israelis, Palestinians or the Arab world is bitting. Go fish Mr. President.

The ‘Scary Christians’ threat alert level is now Yellow..

At least we can note a shift here, the dynamic in Israel has swung so violently away from the far left that the usual slurs will no longer fly. Notice that all of a sudden Evangelicals are not the scary boogieman as has been the usual chorus from the radical left? All of a sudden a different tune emerges and the left is on the defensive - ‘Israelis love our Christian Allies & their support – But it’s not good for us!’ I guess that makes Evangelicals something akin to Pizza or Steak as opposed to previously.. Radiation!? What yokels these leftists are.

It gets better, Peace Now chimes in too..

Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer said what mattered more at this stage of the peace process was Obama’s reputation in the Arab world, and not in Israel.

“Despite the results of the poll, the Israeli interest is that Obama will be popular in the Arab world, so he could bring about a peace agreement with Israel,” Oppenheimer said. “Bush was popular in Israel and hated around the world, and his policies did not help Israel end the Palestinian conflict or quell the Iranian threat. If he succeeds in his goals of advancing Middle East peace, I am sure he will become much more popular with Israelis.” [...]

Peace Now is cheering on the anti-Israel Obama actions, can you believe this? It is in our ‘best interests’ to be placed on the altar of appeasement he says! As if this will actually lead to anything but wasted concessions, pressure, and ever growing Israel animosity around the world. How convenient, Obama appeases the Muslim world at Israel’s expense and we get the blame for not seeing how altruistic & wonderful he is. It’s no wonder Oppenheimer is about as popular in Israel as Obama is..

Meanwhile the Zionist Organization of America is on the warpath..

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein, who was excluded from a recent meeting of US Jewish leaders with Obama, issued a press release saying that the poll confirmed a high degree of Israeli concern with and disapproval of the US leader’s policies.

“It is clear that the Obama administration’s relentless pressure upon America’s ally Israel to not permit even one additional Jew to move into eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, demanding virtually the unilateral establishment of a Palestinian state that will certainly be a terrorist state antagonistic to Israel, while putting no serious pressure on the Palestinians to arrest terrorists or end incitement against Jews and Israelis, has led most Israelis to now believe that Barack Obama is friend of Arabs and not of the Israelis,” Klein said.

Damn straight. Which theory is most applicable here - A, B or C? You decide. Either way props to Gil Hoffman, this story has twice now made international waves & headlines and he’s all over it like Obama on Islam.

Fresh & Fearless: Malkin, Rubin, Palin; American Conservative Women Are A Model For Israel We Need to Follow

Not So Secret Weapons – The Americans are onto something.

In America the liberals rule the roost these days. Obama (or more likely Axelrod) is busy trying to destitute the US under piles of debt by pushing the New Democrat’s social legislative agenda of massive government, spending and socialism – ‘We’re going to change the world!’ they famously intoned.

I first heard that phrase in a radio ad during the primary campaigns while I was visiting far from Tel Aviv in LA. It sent chills down my spine and not the excited tingles that Chrissy Mathews tends to suffer from either. Over in the US House & Senate Liberals again hold the power, for the netroots crowd these jingles and the majorities they hold should spell clear open road for the social progressive agenda.. But, it isn’t working out that way so far is it?

Resistance

Despite a temporary profound lack of leadership in the GOP itself, the American conservative right is putting up a heck of a fight. Dominating where possible Obama infatuated airwaves, whipping up grassroots fervor & generally raising townhall hell. The crazy thing is, I’m noticing something at the root of all this resistance. There’s a surprising amount of very effective, and eloquent Girl Power at the heart of this. It’s coming from both prominent in the media and regular wives & mothers, whether they are pundits, bloggers, or just concerned citizens and online site commenters at blogs and news sites.

I see them everywhere, they are informed, passionate, and unlike guys somewhat less vitriolic in general. They aren’t cursing, making personal attacks. Instead they are cool headed, logical and as such I gather very effective at pounding home their message and stirring others to get involved. Overall these American conservatives are onto something, and have harnessed a powerful tool missing here in Israel and I’ll get to that soon enough below.

All this flies somewhat in the face of conventional wisdom, or generalization. After all, shouldn’t guys be the driving force on the conservative side in the ‘Grand Old Party’? It is after all according to that same conventional wisdom an old boys club. The times it seems, they are a changing. Let me highlight a few prominent examples of what I am getting at here, and then pull some lessons learned we can benefit from in Israel. 

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Talks with Beck on FNC

Michelle Talks with Beck on FNC

Gals like Michelle Malkin, who has her latest book sitting 4 weeks a top the NY Times best seller list are more than ever powering their way onto the scene. She’s upped her profile on the massive leading cable news ratings monster FNC of late in a big way. Multiple visits on Sean Hannity’ show (including last night), a visit with Glen Beck’s show the night before, among other big Fox News appearances. She’s also done multiple stints on other media networks like NBC’s Today, even a gutsy showing at ABC’s the View. In each showing (and I’ve caught many of them) Malkin resonates with conservatives, I know because I am one. She’s setting the agenda.

Much of this is related to promoting her new book. But hey, Capitalism is healthy, forget broccoli.. Everyone should have at least three servings of Capitalism a day to stay fit & healthy so I certainly don’t begrudge her efforts. Beyond TV of late, her own websites including Hotair where I’ve been a happy commenter since its opening a few years ago, definitely dominate a nice slice of the conservative blog arena.

On the whole this represents a surprising amount of leadership the way I see it, she is helping set the conservative agenda offline and on. Now in all honesty, I’m not neutral here. My now American brother ribs me about the fact I am a Malkin fan often. But that doesn’t take away from the realities here, the hatred she engenders from aptly titled ‘unhinged’ Liberals are testament to her influence. While Michelle doesn’t often stray into Israel related topics, she is however a bulwark on the Anti Jihad front, and Allahpundit & Ed Morissey over at her site Hotair more than pick up any Israel related slack bless their good souls.

Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin on Washington Journal (C-Span)

Jennifer Rubin on Washington Journal (C-Span)

Between what can only be described as prolific writing of a scale I’ve rarely seen, both at Contentions (Commentary’s online blogging forum) & PJM, where she is also the online Washington Editor; Rubin is swiftly becoming a conservative online powerhouse in my opinion, and that’s not to say she hasn’t had a long career as a writer earlier. Whether it be picking apart Obama’s abundant hypocrisies, or placing herself squarely in the mix on American Israeli relations, she’s often just ahead of the curve. Hitting the issue just as it is about to bloom to full fledged blogging net-wide frenzy.

It doesn’t hurt that she can bounce her writing off a cadre of other very strong thinkers at Contentions, but it is certainly noteworthy that she is yet another woman pushing the conservative agenda most effectively. I know that specifically speaking in the small but often loud and passionately conservative Pro-Israel blogging community, she is extremely well respected and with good reason. These women are inspiring conservatives, engendering thought, and ultimately enriching the conservative arena in a big way.

Sarah Palin

Two Charmers: Palin & Shimon Peres meet during the '08 Campaign

Two Charmers: Palin & Shimon Peres meet during the '08 Campaign

Beyond running on the recent GOP ticket for Vice President of the United States, no one currently strikes fear into the hearts of Liberals like Sarah Palin. She makes them literally lose their marbles, the response is predictably vicious from these same Liberals & their affectionate American media. Now let’s be honest, Palin is not a writer, she’s not an issue machine schooled in the arts of conservative or independent thought, and she’s certainly not setting the intellectual agenda in the same manner that say a Malkin or Rubin can through their insight & eloquence.

But, she most definitely resonates strongly with social conservatives, and more than anything the masses of conservative women I mentioned above - Whom are speaking out, commenting, and making their voices heard across America in resistance to the progressive agenda, they identify with her like no other it seems. Her strengths on values, energy, and social issues in general resonate & inspire in a different but certainly just as, if not even more powerful manner than many conservative female pundits & writers can.

I’m not a big fan of the manner in which she recently handled her resignation as Alaska’s Governor – But I’m certainly not betting against the fact that Sarah Palin will continue to grow her conservative & commenting chops and be a force to be reckoned with for some time to come. Maybe not as an editor or groundbreaking author, but as a role model and speaker conservatives naturally gravitate to through her values, beauty & easy going charm. The loyalty and masses of women she has inspired are astounding, she deserves much credit in this female conservative awakening I have observed on in this post.

Apart from the energized masses of conservative women we are now seeing offline & on, there are many other prominent conservative women whom are inspiring these masses & contributing to this awakening, Monica Crowleys, Ann Coulters, Laura Ingrahms etc. I could go on.

Back to Israel, another beautiful woman in her own right.

By contrast to America, here in Israel ‘right is might’ currently. The far left may have wrestled control of America for now but in Israel the left is struggling to stay above water politically. That is not the only contrast however. In Israel there are also many prominent women in media, commentary and politics. The contrast is found in the fact that in Israel prominent women by and large hail from the center left or very far left. Quick examples would obviously include Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former Foreign Minister and current Kadima party leader, Dalia Itzik – former speaker of Israel’s Knesset / house.

In media, Israeli women are also prominent on TV as anchors & pundits, in Newspapers and on Radio – But just as is the case politically, many if not the vast majority are not conservative but quite liberal. Their agendas and the issues they canvas for are the issues of the left in general. In conservative politics, on conservative issues, in conservative media we are lagging greatly compared to the Israeli left & American right with prominent, outspoken, intelligent & inspirational women who can effectively harness and inspire both effective media messaging, and powerful grass roots activism to fuel conservative thought & issues.

Is it religion?

Is it because traditional & fully observant Judaism generally dominate the Israeli right? I’m not sure, the upsurge of the American right by women in America of late as I mentioned is powered by wives, mothers and concerned women of all conservative stripes. Many are religious Christians themselves, how come Israel’s religious women and right are not more prominent speakers and agenda setters?

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely

More importantly how do we make it so they are. This not so secret weapon the American right has unleashed is one to covet. Political fortunes change quickly in Israel, to stem the left we will need to evolve and harness this untapped vast resource on the right going forward in a big way. We need to figure out how to be more inclusive and how on the right we can empower our mothers, wives & sisters to contribute & inspire in the manner Americans have and Israel’s left is.

There are exceptions, Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) has had popular female radio commenters / hosts. But this is a drop in the Med so to speak. In politics, the fresh Knesset representative Tzipi Hotovely from Likud (I swear, I didn’t name her for the purposes of this post lol) is a good start. She made waves on Israeli TV as a pundit, which propelled her to be elected to our Knesset. She is young, intelligent & dynamic. She is exactly what I am talking about and we need many many more.

A strong, vibrant Israel & Israeli right

Why is Hotlovely Hotovely so rare? Where are the other religious & even not religious conservative women and how can we get them heard? How can we get them to inspire, and how can we ensure Israel stays conservative, strong and firmly empowered on the right going forward? Beyond the natives, Israel is rich in American & Russian immigrants. They are passionate people to the core and by and large of the right. Beyond native born Israelis we need to also empower the wives, daughters & sisters of this rich immigrant population. Propel them through language barriers and get them involved more & more as well. This is a rich resource, we need them to blog, we need them to become activists, we need them to be prolific writers and idea women like the Americans have successfully done.

Israel is legendary for its secret weapons. This is a not so secret weapon we need to nurture badly on the right. Our non religious women already serve in the IDF & National Service. They are already admired the world over for being strong and effective, we by default build into them leadership qualities. We entrust our security and our future to them in Israel without a moments hesitation such is our confidence in their abilities. But, somehow we are failing to elevate them to the next level.

The Americans will be able to reverse their current sad state of affairs politically, and I am convinced their conservative women are leading the way. Here in Israel we must also reverse this different sad state of affairs, and allow our women of the right room to lead as well. I don’t know how, but I suspect a new way of thinking & evolution in valued traditional & Orthodox Judaism may be the key, though resistance may be equally strong. Israel’s controversial ‘hilltop’  & settler communities as an example feature some pretty strong women. We saw them prominently during the traumatic Gaza withdrawal wearing their orange colors with pride. How is it that like our American sisters they often become wives & mothers, but never take the next step to becoming inspirational leaders as well?