Today is Nakba (catastrophe) Day, commemorated by Palestinians to mourn the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The IDF has deployed extra troops along the border with Gaza in anticipation of violent riots. Tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators are expected to arrive at the Gaza border fence after noon prayers today. In accordance with the recent ceasefire agreement, Hamas is expected to restrain the riots and act as a barrier between the security fence and the demonstrators [but that doesn’t always work out so well].
The Israel Police is also preparing for the possibility that the confrontations in Gaza will spill over into Jerusalem and the West Bank, following a call by the various Palestinian organizations for protests in those areas as well. Hundreds of extra police and Border Police officers were to be deployed to three locations in the capital – the Old City, neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and the crossings between Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In addition to protests by Palestinians in the territories, Israeli Arabs also take part in demonstrations, some of which occasionally turn violent. The Nakba demonstrations are expressions of the aspirations of the Arabs (in and out of Israel) to take back control of the lands that some of their ancestors left in Israel. Nakba highlights the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not based on Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but rather the essence of the conflict relates to Israel’s right to sovereignty in any part of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
The Arabs believe that the entire land belongs to them and that the Jews have no legitimate right to be there. In their point of view, there is really no difference between Jews living in Beit El and Efrat, and Jews living in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem.
And the point they make is true: the right of Jews to live in Tel Aviv is based on the same premise as the right of Jews to live in Beit El (West Bank). The Arabs consider the entirety of Israel as occupied territory, while we believe that it is (all) our biblical homeland. They believe that the Jews stole Jaffa and Haifa and Beersheva (etc) and built an illegal settlement on empty sand dunes, called Tel Aviv. That’s why giving away parts of the land will not solve the conflict.
The only true solution is for the Arabs to accept the right of Jews to live in the land between the Jordan and Mediterranean (the Land of Israel). Only then can there be true peace between the Arab and Jewish inhabitants of the land.
Singing icon Madonna arrived in Israel last night ahead of her upcoming performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv this weekend. She arrived despite calls by pro Palestinian groups for her to boycott the event.
She said, “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be. My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace.”
For further reading click here.
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the New York University chaplain, will be the first chief rabbi of the United Arab Emirates. Sarna told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the position is unpaid, and that he will travel four times a year to Dubai, where the UAE recently installed a synagogue, to lead services during holidays and life-cycle ceremonies. He said he will stay on as chaplain at NYU and as the executive director of the university’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. There are apparently hundreds of Jews in the UAE, there for business reasons.
For further reading click here.