“Eight to Ten Million Migrants Are Still on the Way” Soeren Kern

At a press conference in Brussels on May 2, the EU Commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, called on Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden—among the wealthiest and most sought after destinations in Europe for migrants—to phase out the temporary controls currently in place at their internal Schengen borders over the next six months.

The so-called Schengen Agreement, which took effect in March 1995, abolished many of the EU’s internal borders, enabling passport-free movement across most of the bloc. The Schengen Agreement, along with the single European currency, are fundamental pillars of the European Union and essential building-blocks for constructing a United States of Europe. With the long-term sustainability of the single currency and open borders in question, advocates of European federalism are keen to preserve both.

Avramopoulos, who argued that border controls are “not in the European spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” said: “The time has come to take the last concrete steps to gradually return to a normal functioning of the Schengen Area. This is our goal, and it remains unchanged. A fully functioning Schengen area, free from internal border controls. Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European project. We must do everything to protect it.”

Border Check

The temporary border controls were established in September 2015, after hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Europe, and when EU member states, led by Germany, gave special permission to some EU countries to impose emergency controls for up to two years. Since then, the European Union has approved six-month extensions of controls at the German-Austrian border, at Austria’s frontiers with Hungary and Slovenia and at Danish, Swedish and Norwegian borders. (Norway is a member of Schengen but not the EU.) Since then, several countries have argued that they need border controls to combat the threat of Islamic militancy.

On May 2, Sweden, which claims to conduct the most border checks among the EU countries, announced that it will lift controls at its border with Denmark. Sweden received 81,000 asylum seekers in 2014; 163,000 in 2015; 29,000 in 2016, and the same is expected for 2017.

On April 26, Austria called for an indefinite extension of border controls. “In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country,” Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said. Austria, which accepted some 90,000 migrants in 2015, also called for a “postponement” of the EU refugee distribution program, which requires EU member states to accept a mandatory and proportional distribution of asylum-seekers who arrive in other member nations.

On March 9, Norway extended border controls for another three months.

On January 26, Denmark extended border controls for another four months. Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said that his government would extend its border controls “until European borders are under control.”

On January 19, Germany and Austria announced that border controls between their countries would continue indefinitely, “as long as the EU external border is not adequately protected.”

Meanwhile, the number of migrants making their way to Europe is once again trending higher. Of the 30,465 migrants who reached Europe during the first quarter of 2017, 24,292 (80%) arrived in Italy, 4,407 arrived in Greece, 1,510 arrived in Spain and 256 arrived in Bulgaria, according to the International Office for Migration (IOM).

By way of comparison, the number of arrivals to Europe during each of the first three months of 2017 exceeded those who arrived during the same time period in 2015, the year in which migration to Europe reached unprecedented levels.

The trend is expected to continue throughout 2017. Better weather is already bringing about a surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. During just one week in April, for example, a total of 9,661 migrants reached the shores of Italy.

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Coddling Hamas on Campus While Trampling the First Amendment by Sara Dogan

Editor’s note: UCLA and the University of Chicago are the latest schools to join David Horowitz’s Freedom Center’s list of the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.

At the beginning of May, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Hamas terrorists on the UCLA campus. UCLA administrators such as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Jerry Kang have previously labeled similar Freedom Center posters “ethnic slander” and an effort to “trigger racially-tinged fear.” These posters pose a challenge to the UCLA administration to abandon these attacks on speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism, and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to uphold the First Amendment on campus.

Vice Chancellor Kang has undergone extreme intellectual and political contortions in defending the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as “an officially recognized student organization, based on political commitments, that is also in good standing” despite SJP’s constant manifestation of Jew hatred on the Los Angeles campus.

In one widely noted expression of the group’s anti Semitism, SJP members illegally questioned student government candidate Rachel Beyda about whether her status as a Jew would bias her decisions on campus matters. It also attempted to create a litmus test for student government candidates by introducing an initiative that would require them to sign a pledge to not take trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.

Such incidents violate UCLA’s Principles of Community which state, in part, “We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue, in a respectful and civil manner, on the spectrum of views held by our varied and diverse campus communities.”

Despite his title as the UCLA administrator in charge of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Vice Chancellor Kang has ignored SJP’s continual violation of these Principles of Community, disregarding the harassment of Jewish students forced to endure SJP’s mock “apartheid walls” plastered with Hamas propaganda and its rallies decrying the founding of the Jewish state as “Al-nakba” or “the catastrophe.” But when the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on campus exposing SJP’s ties to anti-Israel terror group Hamas, and naming campus activists who had worked to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, both Kang and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block were quick to condemn them. In an email to the entire 50,000 member UCLA community, Kang said the posters were “designed to shock and terrify,” and accused the Freedom Center of using “the tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially-tinged fear.” In a second diatribe, he claimed the posters caused “chilling psychological harm” and “focused, personalized intimidation.”

University Chancellor Gene Block also reacted to the posters by stating “Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, in complete disregard of our Principles of Community and the dignity of our Muslim students. But we can, and we will, do our best to hold ourselves to the standards of integrity, inclusion, fairness and compassion that are the hallmarks of a healthy community.”

Quick to defend SJP and its violent rhetoric, Kang and Block have been missing in action when Jewish students faced intimidation and harassment from anti-Semitic speakers and Hamas propaganda plastered across campus.

Full Story »

Capital Losses by Ruth King

Promises! Promises! One cannot count the number of times that our leaders, from the White House to Congress, have issued the call to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem. Those empty words fill the air during election cycles. Nonetheless the American Embassy remains in Tel Aviv.

What is an American Embassy on foreign soil? Here is how the State Department describes it:

“The mission of the United States Embassy is to advance the interests of the United States, and to serve and protect U.S. citizens. An embassy is the nerve center for a country’s diplomatic affairs within the borders of another nation, serving as the headquarters of the chief of mission, staff and other agencies. …

“Embassy staff interact with host governments, local business and nongovernmental organizations, the media and educational institutions, and private citizens to create positive responses to U.S. policy and the U.S. in general.”

There is absolutely nothing here that precludes placing the American embassy in Israel’s capital. Moreover, an embassy implies recognition of a country’s sovereignty and its status as a nation.

The United States currently does not have embassies in North Korea, Iran, and Bhutan. In Taiwan, there is no longer an embassy, but, rather, an “American Institute in Taiwan” located in the capital Taipei. Here hangs a cautionary tale for Israel, demonstrating how an embassy’s location impacts a host nation’s legitimacy.

In order to appease China’s tyrants, heeding Henry Kissinger’s advice, Nixon visited China in 1972, accepted mass murderer Mao’s “one China” policy and opened the door to more diplomatic ties. These were fully implemented in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan and moved our embassy in Taipei to Beijing. In short order Taiwan lost its seat on the Security Council and was ousted from the United Nations. Its security and sovereignty have thus been weakened.

Out of the 192 UN member states, 161 currently recognize Israel. Thirty-one Arab/Moslem nations have no diplomatic exchanges with Israel.

There are currently over 86 embassies in Tel Aviv (not including honorary consulates). Due to America’s implied pressure, of the thirteen nations (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Netherlands, Panama, Uruguay , Venezuela) that had earlier established embassies in Jerusalem, none remain.

As justification, the U.S. State Department claims that Jerusalem is “disputed territory.” This is balderdash, and the fully staffed United States embassy in Kosovo proves the hypocrisy of this argument.

In Kosovo, although 114 nations offered recognition in 2008, there are only 21 embassies in Pristina, the U.S. among them. Many nations question the legitimacy of Kosovo which was historically part of Serbia, and is considered “disputed territory.” Accordingly, Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations.

Why does the U.S. have an embassy in Pristina and not in Jerusalem? This upside-down diplomacy can only be explained by a stubborn anti-Israel bias that has always existed in the State Department swamps.

Full Story »

MIDEAST OUTPOST MAY 2017

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

In Memoriam: Paul Schnek

AFSI mourns the loss of longtime member and committed Zionist Paul Schnek. Paul stood outside the Israeli Consulate in NYC, every day from 12-2 PM, to protest the Oslo Accords. He did this for many years, until his legs would no longer allow him to stand for such long periods.

Zionism101

Chaim Weizmann Part 4: War and Statehood” is now available. You can see it via the following link:

http://zionism101.org/NewestVideoVimeo.aspx

Or log in at www.zionism101.org.

“Chaim Weizmann Part 4: War and Statehood” depicts Weizmann’s activities from World War ll until his death as Israel’s first President. In the post-war years, he is sidelined by Zionists disillusioned with British policy, but brought back when his diplomatic skills are needed to help usher through the partition plan at the UN..

If you haven’t already, please watch our completed video courses.

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Move it! William Mehlman

“President Trump and the U.S. Embassy in Israel,” blared the headline over a CNBC report by Justina Crabtree. “What’s going on?”

What, indeed, is going on? The relocation of his embassy to Jerusalem, among the 45th president’s “top” priorities, according to election campaign co-manager Kellyanne Conway, has, eleven weeks into his administration, been reduced to an afterthought. Only Conway insists on its continued importance. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer replies to queries about it with the dismissive assertion that “we are only at the very beginning of even discussing this subject,” an apparent invitation to “get lost.” President Trump, on the same subject, informs us, albeit less testily, that “it’s too early” to speculate on an issue he’s been thumping since the primaries or that “we will see what happens.”

Too early? Barely fit for discussion? We’ll see what happens? Granted, the subject was bound to raise Chicken Little consternation from Amman and Riyadh to Paris and Brussels. But having made a promise he repeatedly promised to keep, Mr. Trump owes us more than the back of Sean Spicer’s hand. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, currently overseeing the president’s cyber intelligence operations, seems suddenly overwhelmed by the complexities of hanging a “U.S. Embassy” banner on a building waiting to be employed in western Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu is being accused of caving in to President Trump’s apparent fixation on the “greatest peace deal” that isn’t ever going to be made with a money-grubbing charlatan solely interested in the disappearance of Israel. If health care, tax reform, immigration control, the taming of North Korea and the defanging of a nuclear-bent Iran are to share precious time and attention with the blind alley pursuit of Mahmoud Abbas’ consent to live in peace with a Jewish state, they could all terminate in the dustbin along with Trump’s Congressional majorities and his hopes for a second term.

The best of all reasons for moving that embassy out of Tel Aviv and doing it now are staring the president in the face. If there is to be the new order in the Middle East hinted at by his missile strike against Assad and the massive cave bunker buster directed against ISIS’s attempt to set up shop in Afghanistan, it must begin with the de-isolation of Israel, the region’s prime military and economic power. There’s nowhere else to turn. However impressed Mr. Trump may have been with King Abdullah’s Ivy League English, his majesty and his economic and political train wreck of a government would have been gone years ago were it not for Israel’s support. It is at least partial reliance on that same support that has underlined Sisi’s strategy in Egypt, confronted as he is by a deposed but not defeated Moslem Brotherhood and an increasingly radicalized Sinai Bedouin population. Saudi Arabia remains a corrupt oil oligarchy under a national flag incapable of dealing with a two-bit foe in Yemen. They’ll all carry on for the TV cameras over the embassy move even as they go to ground over their vulnerability to a Shia arc of power–Teheran to Sanaa and most everything in between–that could relegate Sunni primacy to the history books. Israel, its strengths and its links with the U.S., is their lynchpin, not a Palestinian nightmare.

Full Story »

From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

Democrats Against Ambassador David Friedman

As Daniel Greenfield sums up: “On March 23, 2017 Senators had a simple choice to make. On one side was J Street, an anti-Israel pressure group that had hosted BDS activists and opposed Israel’s right to defend itself. On the other was Ambassador David Friedman, the first pro-Israel nominee in decades.” With only two exceptions, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Democratic Senators (including Chuck Schumer to his everlasting disgrace) voted monolithically for J Street and against Ambassador Friedman. To quote Greenfield: “There could hardly be a better demonstration of the descent into the fever swamps of anti-Israel politics than their decision to stand with an anti-Israel hate group whose Muslim-led student arm is waging war on campuses against the Zionist ‘occupation.’“

Thanks to firm Republican support, Friedman’s appointment was confirmed. But, as Greenfield says, Senate Democrats ought to be made to answer why they stand with George Soros (major funder of J Street who described his role in the Holocaust as “the most exciting time of my life”) and the PLO against Israel.

A Pioneering Israeli Blood Test

In this space we often provide examples of Israeli medical advances, usually culled from Michael Ordman’s blog Amazing Israel. Now Israeli researchers have come up with a blood test that holds out hope of saving the lives of victims of one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Every year roughly 1.8 million new lung cancer patients are diagnosed, 1.59 million of whom will die within a year. The problem is that most cases are discovered by chance and too late to alter the outcome. The new test diagnoses the disease long before it spreads, greatly improving the odds. Within two years it is hoped the test will be marketed and available to those at high risk (e.g. heavy smokers, those with family histories of the disease). Dr. Elon Ganor, one of the developers of the test, told YNet Daily: “We developed the test here in Israel. We dreamed of making a significant contribution to humanity and saving lives, and we are convinced that this test will indeed save hundreds of thousands of people every year worldwide.”

Campus Morality Morphs into Antisemitism

British public affairs analyst Douglas Murray points out the inevitable destination of the new form of “morality in education” that is sweeping the academy, based on the notion that the truth of an opinion is determined by who utters it. On this view, “privileges” exist that preclude some from being worth listening to, while minorities merit special protection from their speech.

Writes Murray: “When you consistently break down a society along racial and sectarian lines…there is bound to be a group that must in the end lose out…Sure enough, the same month that [far left] Angela Davis was applauded [on campus] and [Canadian psychology professor Jordan] Peterson and [Charles] Murray were silenced, some pamphlets turned up on campus at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Like so many leaflets before them, these talked about the scourge of ‘privilege.’ And who did these pamphlets identify as the people with the most privilege? Why, the Jews of course. Or, as the pamphlets put it, ‘Ending white privilege…starts with ending Jewish privilege.’ As with the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years ago, which also ended up with anti-Semitism at its core, who could seriously not have seen that this would be where all this would end? At present, the people who preach tolerance in the United States and Canada are turning out to be the least tolerant. And the people who complain of discrimination turn out to be opening the door to practitioners of the oldest discrimination of all.”

Whither French Jews?

Full Story »

We Did Not Come to Australia to Have Burqas Mohammad Tawhidi

Editor’s note: As a result of his forthright (and immensely courageous) stance, Shiite Imam Mohammed Tawhidi, a graduate of the Islamic seminary in Qom, Iran and Imam of the Islamic Association of South Australia, is now in hiding. Following this lecture a posting was made to his Facebook page “The Islamic ruling for this infidel is beheading” along with a promise of $5000 to anyone who would provide his whereabouts. The inability of outspoken Muslim dissenters to lead normal lives is obviously one reason there are so few of them. Tawhidi’s lecture was posted on the YouTube channel for the Adelaide (Australia) Rotary club on March 21. The excerpts below are courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

My father made the choice—and he was an Imam himself and still is. He made the choice to come to Australia because it is a non-Muslim country.

Now, if we knew that after 30 years, we were going to have burqas running around, mosques being erected in every corner, and people proposing shari’a law against democracy in this country, we would not have come.

I believe that the entire religion needs a review. I believe that there are certain books that need to be banned from this country. There’s a book regarded as the second book after the Quran. All mainstream Muslims believe in this book–The Bukhari, a very famous book. It’s present in, at least, the majority of Muslim homes. It is everywhere. It is put on the shelf right beside the Quran. Every act of terrorism is taught from that book, yet that book is widely available, sold, and published in Australia.

I don’t understand how Muslims believe–well, radical Muslims are the main issue here–how they believe that if you blow yourself up you go and have lunch with the Prophet Muhammad in Heaven. I didn’t know my prophet was running a restaurant up there. I honestly never knew. And then you have other very attractive statements that they make–that you go and you get 72 virgins–but what kind of a virgin is she that I would have to blow myself up for her?

I also oppose the construction of mosques. We have a big problem. Changing this country is something I am against. You can have one mosque in Adelaide–which is the oldest mosque–and then you can have centers. You can have educational centers. You can rent out university theaters, community centers. There is no need to be building mosques that later on are led by radical Muslim leaders. Some of them don’t find success in radicalizing the youth that come to the mosque to worship God. So what do they do? They drive their cars with their boats, from Western Australia–as you may have heard–all the way to Queensland, because they wanted to join ISIS through Malaysia. And I have always called on ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organization) to check the bank accounts of Muslim imams and who is funding them. Do these people that fund them have expectations from them to brainwash these children? What is going on with genital mutilation and child brides? What is happening in this country?

Now, I know that there are politicians, in recent times, who have stood up, and they are very against Islam. They want to tell people that Islam is a very dangerous religion. Why do they say that, now? I don’t oppose these politicians because I know exactly what filth is in my religion. I know exactly what is going on, which is why I don’t speak out against them. I’m against generalizing because there are good Muslims, but the main message behind it–I agree with.

Full Story »

Amona and Israel’s Hobbled Sovereignty Moshe Dann

The destruction of fifty-one Jewish homes in Ofra and Amona in February by order of the High Court raises questions about Israel’s claim to be “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” The evictions made no sense, and, although Prime Minister Netanyahu signed an agreement on behalf of the government with the residents of Amona to provide alternative housing in a new community, he has failed to honor his commitment. The families remain in distress, helpless and homeless.

Absurdly, this destruction and others served no one. Jews were traumatized; Arabs can’t use the land for security reasons and because they cannot prove ownership; most Israelis perceived it as a national disgrace; it alienated many and undermined trust in the High Court and the government; and it wasted money and resources. No one benefited!

Although Jews were accused of building on “private Palestinian land,” the question of who owned the land was never heard by an Israeli civilian court. No valid proof of ownership was presented. The destruction, moreover, violated the law in Israel and all other democratic countries: someone who has built in good faith on land which he/she later discovers belongs to someone else is entitled to pay compensation to the legal owner when the value of the building is worth more than the land.

Touted as “the rule of law,” the destruction was intended to demonstrate the power of the High Court regardless of any government decision, or legal issue. The High Court’s decision was meant as a clear political message to the government: it, not the government, would decide the fate of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, “the settlements.” The High Court’s assertion, therefore, challenges the basis of Israeli democracy, the role of its judiciary, and its definition as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The struggle over that definition arose in 2011, when MK Avi Dichter proposed a Basic Law: “Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.” The purpose of his bill was to codify the nature and values of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and to prevent Israel from becoming a binational state. Although supported by the government coalition, including PM Netanyahu and opposition MKs, it did not pass a preliminary reading.

Nation-states, however, are more than national cultures; they are primarily responsible for expressing sovereignty, protecting their citizens, and establishing and defending its borders. In Israel’s case, the status of Judea and Samaria, and especially Area C in which Jewish communities exist, is still in question. Since Israel gave up Areas A and B to the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip to Hamas, only Area C remains under IDF military occupation. Because Israel has refused to extend its laws to this area, the question persists: are settlements part of Israel, or not?

Although Jews living in settlements are citizens—they pay taxes, serve in the army, and are required to follow Israeli laws—in disputes over land ownership they are subject to the IDF’s judicial administration and have no access to civilian courts. When Arabs or NGOs petition the High Court claiming that Jews have built on privately-owned land, there is no way to examine or challenge the evidence or High Court decisions, since those decisions are final. The system is rigged.

Full Story »

Geert Wilders and the Suicide of Europe Guy Millière

Even if the Dutch politician Geert Wilders had won and if the Party for Freedom (PVV) he established eleven years ago had become the first party in the country, he would not have been able to become the head of the government. The heads of all the other political parties said they would reject any alliance with him; they maintain this position to this day.

For years, the Dutch mainstream media have spread hatred and defamation against Wilders for trying to warn the Dutch people–and Europe–about what their future will be if they continue their current immigration policies; in exchange, last December, a panel of three judges found him guilty of “inciting discrimination.” Newspapers and politicians all over Europe unceasingly describe him as a dangerous man and a rightist firebrand. Sometimes they call him a “fascist.”

What did Geert Wilders ever do to deserve that? None of his remarks ever incriminated any person or group because of their race or ethnicity. To charge him, the Dutch justice system had excessively and abusively to interpret words he used during a rally in which he asked if the Dutch wanted “fewer Moroccans.” None of Wilders’ speeches incites violence against anyone; the violence that surrounds him is directed only at him. He defends human rights and democratic principles and he is a resolute enemy of all forms of anti-Semitism.

His only “crime” is to denounce the danger represented by the Islamization of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe and to claim that Islam represents a mortal threat to freedom. Unfortunately, he has good empirical reasons to say that. Also unfortunately, the Netherlands is a country where criticism of Islam is particularly dangerous: Theo van Gogh made an “Islamically incorrect” film in 2004 and was savagely murdered by an Islamist who said he would kill again if he could. Two years earlier, Pim Fortuyn, who had hoped to stand for election, defined Islam as a “hostile religion;” he was killed by a leftist Islamophile animal-rights activist. Geert Wilders is alive only because he is under around-the-clock police protection graciously provided by the Dutch government.

More broadly, the Netherlands is a country where the Muslim community shows few signs of integration. There are now forty no-go zones in the country; riots easily erupt, recently in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Nijmegen. People recently from other countries repeatedly attack Dutch-born citizens. Some are so sure of their impunity that they publish online videos of their crimes. Throughout the country, an ethnic cleansing that Europeans are too scared to name is taking place in the suburbs, and non-Muslim residents often say they feel harassed.

Non-Muslim women are encouraged by local authorities to dress “modestly.” As in Islam dogs are haram (impure), dog owners are asked to keep their pets indoors. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Islamists demonstrated and shouted slogans in support of Hamas and the Islamic State.

Daily life has become particularly difficult for the 40,000 Jews still living in the country; districts long inhabited by members of the Jewish community have become almost entirely Muslim. Authorities recommend that Jews avoid any “visible sign” of Jewishness to avoid creating “unrest.” Muslim delinquency is high; the percentage of Muslims sent to jail for various crimes is notably higher than the percentage of Muslims in the population. Six percent of the country’s population is Muslim; about 20% of all inmates are Muslim. None of this is secret.

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Latrun Bill Slott

Topography is history. As long as there has been a Jerusalem, there has been an ascent to Jerusalem, and that ascent begins at Latrun. Whoever holds that hill holds the road to Jerusalem. Today Latrun is a battlefield museum and memorial. The site contains an out-door display of tanks dating from World War I through to the present. It is also home to the Wall of Memory, listing the names of soldiers of the tank corps (but not their rank) who died in Israel’s wars. Looming above it all is the bullet-pocked British fortress that itself sits atop the ruins of fortresses of every empire that has sought to hold this strategic spot. As a tour guide, I often bring visitors to Latrun to take in the beautiful views from the top of the fortress, let the kids climb on the tanks for photo ops, and pay respects to the fallen soldiers.

But last week I was there as a father, watching the ceremony in which my daughter marked the completion of her training as a non-commissioned officer. My slight, sweet, cheerful youngest, who has never raised her voice in anger to anyone, is going to be drilling new recruits in the Israeli Army.

It was a raucous affair, with thousands in attendance, a bizarre combination of sporting event, award ceremony and mass picnic. Many of the families brought specially made t-shirts, banners, and hats celebrating their son or daughter. I was not so well prepared, and while I shared in the general sense of merriment, and brought a basket of goodies and a van full of friends and family, I could not escape the gravity of the moment. The large outdoor stage on which the 350 newly-trained officers were awarded their stripes has as its backdrop the massive fortress. The British had handed over the fortress to the Arab Legion in May of 1948 and the Israeli Army tried and failed five times to conquer it. Among the soldiers who were sent

Ceremony at Latrun

into those battles were survivors of the holocaust, newly minted Israelis straight off the boat from the D.P. camps of Europe. They spoke a Babel of languages, and could not always communicate with each other. They knew very little Hebrew and often could not understand their officers during the fighting. In this catastrophe, men who had miraculously survived Auschwitz died on the field of battle in the newly independent Jewish state. This too is part of the story of the birth of Israel.

While I take pride in my daughter’s accomplishments as a soldier, I wish more than anything that she did not have to do this at all. It would give me great joy if she had the luxury of studying literature at some liberal arts college instead of running around with an M16. But she has grown up in a time and a place where that is not an option. Not yet and not here. There is much work to be done in this country. Peace, social justice, education, dialogue with our neighbors, dialogue with each other, becoming a “light unto the nations.” Someday my daughter will be a soldier in these battles as well. But last week she stood in the shadow of the fortress where others lost their lives so that she could have a home, and swore allegiance to the Israeli Army. I am not a big fan of military pageantry or nationalistic symbols, but at that moment, I choked back tears. Many of the soldiers memorialized at Latrun were as small and as sweet as my daughter, and some were even younger. She is, in her own way, carrying on their mission, and I am certain that she will continue to do so long after she has ceased to wear a uniform. As the event drew to a close, I stood and sang the national anthem, “Hatikva” (the hope) as loud as anyone there. I was not embarrassed. My hopes for my daughter and my hopes for this country were one and the same.

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Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

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