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16.01.2018

America could learn from Israel’s proud patriotism.

Here’s my favorite joke from a week in Israel. What’s the difference between secular, liberal Jews and Donald Trump? Trump has Jewish grandchildren. From a distance, the politics of Israel look even more hopelessly fractured than our own. With 14 parties, including secular Jews, ultra orthodox and Arabs, vying for 120 seats in the Knesset,...
Time: 22:41     Date: 12.12.2017
Last US News - Opinion: America could learn from Israel’s proud patriotism. NY Post 24 - US News

Trump has Jewish grandchildren.

From a distance, the politics of Israel look even more hopelessly fractured than our own. With 14 parties, including secular Jews, ultra orthodox and Arabs, vying for 120 seats in the Knesset, coalition governments are the norm and minor parties with a handful of seats become kingmakers.

But seen up close, those differences largely fade on the issue of national security. Because their tiny nation faces existential threats from Iran and its proxies on three borders, Israelis are united in their commitment to protecting their country.

Patriotism is borne of necessity and forged with near-universal military service. Parents speak with more pride than fear about their children getting ready to serve.

Self-defense is an Israeli founding virtue because Jews learned over thousands of years that “history can turn on you at any moment,” as one academic put it.

A shared realization that there is no place to run to was evident everywhere we went. A mother on a kibbutz near Gaza told of the dangers of life along the border, where Hamas rockets fall from the sky and terrorists try to tunnel underneath the fence.

She evacuated during the 2014 war, but soon came back, children in tow. Why doesn’t she leave for good?

“I was born on this kibbutz,” she says. “This is our land. It was always part of Israel.”

Another Israeli mother we met lives only a few miles from the Syria and Lebanon borders, putting her family on the front lines. She, too, wouldn’t leave, saying “this is home.”

A human rights leader was methodical in his criticism of his government’s treatment of Israeli Arabs, but passionate in defense of the Jewish state’s right to exist with secure borders.

“The idea that Zionism is racism is outrageous,” he declared.

Each time we heard a version of the love of country, I wondered whether Americans can recover their common ground. That’s not to suggest we lack patriots; it’s just that the left and right define patriotism as differently as night and day.

Our national security has become almost as partisan as taxes and abortion.

I was with a group of educators traveling with Project Interchange, a program of the American Jewish Committee. The aim was to show us Israel in all its complexity and progress, and to meet people from across the spectrum.

We were there when President Trump made the historic declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his plan to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. He was condemned in Europe and throughout the Mideast, but “Israel loves Trump” signs appeared in Jerusalem, with even left-wing dissent muted.

“It’s that way for every Israeli,” said Avital Leibovich, formerly the chief spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces and now head of the AJC there.

Although virtually every American presidential candidate for the last 30 years promised the move that Trump made, many Israelis were OK with delaying it until there was peace with the Palestinians. But the eagerness for Trump to deliver on his promise now reflects the fact that most Israelis have given up on a deal with the Palestinians.

Believing Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza are neither willing nor capable of making a deal and sticking to it, they’ve moved on to improving relations with Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia and forging ties with China and India.

Those changes in Israeli society led a Palestinian leader from the West Bank to tell us he was neither shocked nor dispirited by Trump’s move.

“It’s been clear to Palestinians since the Oslo Accords that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” said Elias Zananiri. He said he “admired Trump’s careful approach” in making it clear that Jerusalem is holy to three religions and that the announcement does not preclude East Jerusalem from becoming a Palestinian capital.

He is also optimistic that, in his next move, Trump will tilt toward the Palestinians and Israelis will have to go along.

Zananiri, a Christian and former journalist, also surprised some in our group by suggesting former President Barack Obama made things worse in his bid to forge a peace deal. He said Obama “went too far and too fast” and that his focus on stopping Israeli settlements before talks could start “put Abbas in a squeeze.”

“Abbas couldn’t become less Palestinian than Obama,” and so negotiations were frozen, he said.

Naturally, sentiments such as Zananiri’s are nowhere to be found in the lockstep praise of Obama and criticism of Trump by most American media. The “sky is falling” chorus was so certain that widespread violence was inevitable that correspondents donned their flak jackets and combat helmets, eager to have their bias confirmed that Trump had provoked mayhem.

When a relative handful of demonstrators showed up, and even fewer engaged in violence, the journalists were crestfallen.

The scene gave rise to the second funniest thing I heard. It came from a government official who said, “I almost expected the media to start setting their own tires on fire so they would have something to film.”

Is it a Bitcoin ‘sell’ game?

Headline: “People mortgaging their homes to buy Bitcoin”

What a great idea. What could go wrong?

Sloppy news disservice

Amid the many media mistakes lately, an AP dispatch from Boston wins the prize for most errors per word. In four paragraphs containing just 139 words, the wire service made three significant errors.

According to a correction, top NPR host Tom Ashbrook has been placed on leave, not suspended; station WBUR-FM is not calling the allegations sexual misconduct; and the station and ownership, not NPR, are investigating.

Otherwise, heckuva job.

NY can’t rely on luck

New York was lucky that Monday’s would-be suicide bomber couldn’t detonate his bomb properly, but luck is not a strategy. Neither are platitudes.

What are they waiting for?

Starting with the Chelsea bombing in September of 2016 and the truck attack on the downtown bike path in October, Monday’s attack is the third in 15 months. That’s more than got through the dragnet in the previous 15 years.

Something’s changing, and the pols better figure out what it is, and tighten the screws. Pronto.

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: Abbas proves to be nothing more than a two-faced, anti-Semite. NY Post 24 - US News
Abbas proves to be nothing more than a two-faced, anti-Semite.
Now in the 14th year of a four-year term, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been something of a riddle. His modest,...
Last US News - Opinion: Trump’s right about the need to pick immigrants for skills. NY Post 24 - US News
Trump’s right about the need to pick immigrants for skills.
The world fell on Donald Trump’s head — yet again — when he said in a White House meeting that we should be trying...
Last US News - Opinion: The only way to ‘negotiate’ a North Korean solution. NY Post 24 - US News
The only way to ‘negotiate’ a North Korean solution.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chaired a meeting in Vancouver Tuesday of foreign ministers to strategize allied diplomacy...
Last US News - Opinion: Why work requirements are good for Medicaid. NY Post 24 - US News
Why work requirements are good for Medicaid.
Last week the Trump administration announced it’ll allow states to impose a “community engagement” requirement on healthy...

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: Abbas proves to be nothing more than a two-faced, anti-Semite. NY Post 24 - US News
Abbas proves to be nothing more than a two-faced, anti-Semite.
Now in the 14th year of a four-year term, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been something of a riddle. His modest,...
Last US News - Opinion: Trump’s right about the need to pick immigrants for skills. NY Post 24 - US News
Trump’s right about the need to pick immigrants for skills.
The world fell on Donald Trump’s head — yet again — when he said in a White House meeting that we should be trying...
Last US News - Opinion: The only way to ‘negotiate’ a North Korean solution. NY Post 24 - US News
The only way to ‘negotiate’ a North Korean solution.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chaired a meeting in Vancouver Tuesday of foreign ministers to strategize allied diplomacy...
Last US News - Opinion: Why work requirements are good for Medicaid. NY Post 24 - US News
Why work requirements are good for Medicaid.
Last week the Trump administration announced it’ll allow states to impose a “community engagement” requirement on healthy...
Last US News - Opinion: One (small) step toward firing bad-apple teachers. NY Post 24 - US News
One (small) step toward firing bad-apple teachers.
New York’s highest court last week reversed three lower-court rulings that had reinstated bad-apple teachers fired by the...

Living

US Living News: 7 things you shouldn’t touch if you want to avoid the flu. NY Post 24 - US News
7 things you shouldn’t touch if you want to avoid the flu.
This year, all Americans six months and older should get a flu vaccine shot, according to an official health advisory released...
US Living News: Don’t bother bringing cash if you’re flying American Airlines. NY Post 24 - US News
Don’t bother bringing cash if you’re flying American Airlines.
If you’re planning on flying American Airlines out of Miami International Airport, don’t forget your debit card. Starting...
US Living News: Drinking tea makes people more creative. NY Post 24 - US News
Drinking tea makes people more creative.
Drinking tea makes people more creative, a study found. Just half a cup was enough to inspire great ideas after a few minutes....
US Living News: Takeout food is creating a trash epidemic. NY Post 24 - US News
Takeout food is creating a trash epidemic.
Taking your meal to go has some serious consequences. McDonald’s announced Tuesday that by 2025 it will make 100% of its...
US Living News: How junk food commercials are making teens fat. NY Post 24 - US News
How junk food commercials are making teens fat.
Binge-watching with ads leads to binge-noshing crap. A new study from Cancer Research UK finds that teenagers who watched...
US Living News: The terrifying secrets behind your favorite foods. NY Post 24 - US News
The terrifying secrets behind your favorite foods.
The issues raised in the new Neflix documentary series “Rotten” are a concern — but only if you eat food, as one talking...
US Living News: Why Restaurant Week has such bad desserts. NY Post 24 - US News
Why Restaurant Week has such bad desserts.
Ah, Restaurant Week. The dishes! The deals! The disappointments! The inaccurately named three-week gimmick asks chefs to...
US Living News: The Met’s Dining Room is worth the price of admission. NY Post 24 - US News
The Met’s Dining Room is worth the price of admission.
If you manage to brave the crowds to see the Michelangelo masterpieces now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you...

Business

Last US Business News: Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel. NY Post 24 - US News
Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel.
Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into...
Last US Business News: Don’t bother bringing cash if you’re flying American Airlines. NY Post 24 - US News
Don’t bother bringing cash if you’re flying American Airlines.
If you’re planning on flying American Airlines out of Miami International Airport, don’t forget your debit card. Starting...
Last US Business News: Nelson Peltz hopes he can turn things around for GE. NY Post 24 - US News
Nelson Peltz hopes he can turn things around for GE.
Nelson Peltz is hoping his well-worn activist-investor playbook will bring good things to life at GE. Peltz’s Trian Fund...
Last US Business News: Ackman reaches $290M settlement with Valeant. NY Post 24 - US News
Ackman reaches $290M settlement with Valeant.
Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals can breathe a sigh of relief — for now. A federal judge in California indicated...
Last US Business News: Einhorn’s hedge fund gained only 1.6% last year. NY Post 24 - US News
Einhorn’s hedge fund gained only 1.6% last year.
David Einhorn’s investors aren’t the only ones upset by his hedge fund’s lagging performance — the hedgie himself...
Last US Business News: AT&T urged to cut commercial ties with Chinese phone maker. NY Post 24 - US News
AT&T urged to cut commercial ties with Chinese phone maker.
US lawmakers are urging AT&T, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut all commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies...
Last US Business News: Moonlite Bunny Ranch considers accepting bitcoin. NY Post 24 - US News
Moonlite Bunny Ranch considers accepting bitcoin.
The Moonlite Bunny Ranch, the famous Las Vegas brothel that was the setting for the HBO series “Cathouse,” is looking...
Last US Business News: Consumer businesses help Citigroup top Wall Street estimates. NY Post 24 - US News
Consumer businesses help Citigroup top Wall Street estimates.
Citigroup on Tuesday reported quarterly profit that topped Wall Street expectations as consumer businesses made up for lower...

Metro

Metro News: Cuomo proposes state tax overhaul to counteract federal reforms. NY Post 24 - US News
Cuomo proposes state tax overhaul to counteract federal reforms.
In a desperate move to “thwart” the federal tax overhaul, Gov. Cuomo said Tuesday he wants to make sweeping changes to...
Metro News: DOE boss punished me for not carrying out her vendetta: suit. NY Post 24 - US News
DOE boss punished me for not carrying out her vendetta: suit.
A Department of Education administrator refused to carry out a career hit on two teachers — and was demoted by her controversial...
Metro News: Chelsea bomber has tried to radicalize inmates, made light of attacks: prosecutors. NY Post 24 - US News
Chelsea bomber has tried to radicalize inmates, made light of attacks: prosecutors.
Convicted Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi has been unrepentant while locked up, according to federal prosecutors who argue...
Metro News: Judge will decide whether immigrant activist will be brought back to NYC. NY Post 24 - US News
Judge will decide whether immigrant activist will be brought back to NYC.
A Manhattan federal judge said Tuesday that she will decide whether the immigrants-rights activist who was detained last...
Metro News: Ex-CIA officer arrested, charged with keeping classified docs. NY Post 24 - US News
Ex-CIA officer arrested, charged with keeping classified docs.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A former CIA officer has been arrested and charged with illegally retaining classified records, including...
Metro News: Oakley’s suit against Dolan is a long shot: judge. NY Post 24 - US News
Oakley’s suit against Dolan is a long shot: judge.
Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley has an “uphill climb” in trying to win his defamation suit against team owner...
Metro News: Sleazy holiday party had gingerbread house with gummy bear orgy: suit. NY Post 24 - US News
Sleazy holiday party had gingerbread house with gummy bear orgy: suit.
A Long Island volunteer ambulance service held a holiday party that featured a smutty gingerbread house — complete...
Metro News: 10-year-old boy dies of complications from the flu. NY Post 24 - US News
10-year-old boy dies of complications from the flu.
A 10-year-old boy died over the weekend of complications from the flu as he was returning home from a hockey tournament in...

Sport

Last US Sport News: Amed Rosario already working on fixing his biggest weakness. NY Post 24 - US News
Amed Rosario already working on fixing his biggest weakness.
At 22 years old, Amed Rosario has the brightest of futures because he takes nothing for granted in the present. To that end,...
Last US Sport News: Knicks’ bench is turning into a strength. NY Post 24 - US News
Knicks’ bench is turning into a strength.
The Knicks’ bench has earned some praise. In the past eight games, Knicks subs have outscored the opposition by more than...
Last US Sport News: Marc Staal exits with hip-flexor injury. NY Post 24 - US News
Marc Staal exits with hip-flexor injury.
One defenseman back, and another gone. As captain Ryan McDonagh returned from a one-game absence because of back spasms in...
Last US Sport News: Islanders about to get back a key piece. NY Post 24 - US News
Islanders about to get back a key piece.
There was a glimmer of good news on the Islanders’ injury front Tuesday for the first time in a while. Josh Bailey will...
Last US Sport News: Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski dies in apparent suicide. NY Post 24 - US News
Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski dies in apparent suicide.
Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, 21, was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday, according to police. Hilinski...