03/29 Links Pt2: Glick: Israel’s democratic collapse; The Always Reliable United Nations; The EU Can Go to Hell
Caroline Glick: Israel’s democratic collapse
Israeli democracy is in critical condition.
Sunday, the High Court of Justice ruled that the government’s natural gas policy is unlawful. The policy, which was negotiated with foreign energy companies, was to be the basis for developing the massive offshore Leviathan gas field. It was supposed to anchor future gas prices, ensure gas revenues for the government and energy security for the country in the coming decades. On the basis of this policy outline, the government negotiated deals to supply natural gas to Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.
Given the enormous cost of developing offshore gas fields, the policy, which was determined in close consultations with legal experts and regulators, determined a base price for natural gas that would be frozen for 10 years. The point of the price freeze was to encourage investors to take the financial risk of exploring and developing Israeli fields. The price freeze guaranteed them a minimal profit on their investment.
In a healthy democracy, the court would never have agreed to adjudicate the populist petition against the government’s gas policy submitted by a consortium of radical NGOs.
Under normal rules of standing that apply in every other mature democracy in the world, the petitioners would have had no right to submit their petition.
In states not controlled by a legal junta, as the people’s elected representative it is the government’s sole prerogative to determine the state’s energy policy and to sign deals with foreign governments and investors.
For the first several decades of its existence, the state of Israel was the butt of the old Jewish joke about Moses leading the Jews to the one place in the Middle East without natural resources. But after the discovery of vast natural gas fields off its coast (as well as shale oil on land), the jest no longer made sense. As Arthur Herman wrote in a feature in the March 2014 issue of COMMENTARY, the potential bounty from the Tamar field that has already begun producing natural gas and the far bigger Leviathan site on which development has not yet begun had the potential to make Israel the world’s next energy superpower. The prospect of not only energy independence but also of a large export business that would not only enrich the Jewish state but enable economic ties that would create new relationships and alliances that would make it far more secure.
The only worry about all this was not whether the gas could be brought out or whether it would play a part in transforming Israel’s economy. The only problem was whether Israel’s fractious political system and over-regulated economy and a judiciary and bureaucracy that seem most comfortable when stifling innovation and growth rather than enabling it would find a way to gum up the works and stop the gas fields from being exploited. Unfortunately, we now have the answer to that question.
Yesterday’s ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice struck down a deal that Prime Minister Netanyahu had brokered between the government and Texas-based Noble Energy – which has taken the lead in developing Israel’s big energy project —and an Israeli firm that would have allowed work on Leviathan to begin.
This decision is the culmination of years of maneuvering that pitted Netanyahu’s government against a coalition of left-wing opponents determined to stop the project.
Michael Lumish: The European Union Can Go Straight to Hell
Jihadi violence in Europe, we are to understand, is because the Europeans have failed to suckle Arab-Muslim immigrants close enough to their breasts and if only they would be more open and gracious then the Jihadi immigrants would become harmless accountants and fishermen and shoemakers.
The truth, of course, is that Arab-Muslim imperial ambitions, grounded in hatred of the infidel – particularly the Jew – is what drives their violence throughout the world upon non-Muslims. It is due to western and American racism that the West blames itself for Muslim violence against its own people. It is because western “liberals” think of non-whites as inferior creatures in need of protection that they refuse to assign agency to their “little brown brothers” who are in need of protection against the allegedly aggressive West.
The current western-left attitude toward non-western people “of color” is reminiscent of, and in part derived from, nineteenth-century notions of “white man’s burden.” The condescension is so rich that the western-left refuses to even acknowledge that it is not their culture, but the Arab culture that has been the most successful imperialist-colonialist power within recorded human history, since the Romans.
The Europeans, in their ideological blinkertude, pay lip-service to Palestinian-Arab responsibility for the long Arab war against the Jews, but they always pressure and blame the Jews.
At the very least, the boycott movement “would swing into virtually nothing” if there was no Israeli-Palestinian conflict “to tag unto,” he argued.
I have to say, I love these European geniuses. What he is saying – if I can figure the math correctly – is that if there were no Arab-Israel conflict there would be no BDS movement against the Jews of the Middle East to begin with.
Elliott Abrams: The Always Reliable United Nations
The United Nations, always fully reliable when it comes to hating Israel, has done it again. On March 14, I wrote at National Review Online about the coming selection at the U.N. Human Rights Council of a new “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” The selection has now been made, and the honor — as it were — goes to a Canadian named Michael Lynk.
Now, in the U.N., these hate-Israel jobs are important. You cannot take the risk that a selectee will be fair or balanced or unbiased. So you go for someone like Lynk.
For example, Lynk is a member of the advisory board of the “Canadian–Palestinian Education Exchange” (CEPAL), which promotes the “Annual Israeli Apartheid Week.” Three days after 9/11, he blamed the attacks on “global inequalities” and “disregard by Western nations for the international rule of law.” He signed a 2009 statement condemning Israel for alleged “war crimes” in Gaza. At the Group of 78’s annual policy conference in 2009, he said, as summarized in the group’s report, that he “used to think the critical date in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict was 1967, the start of the occupation.” Now he thinks that “the solution to the problem must go back to 1948, the date of partition and the start of ethnic cleansing.” In other words, Israel should not exist and its mere existence is a harbinger of ethnic cleansing and other crimes.
U.N. Watch’s director correctly said last week that “the U.N.’s selection of a manifestly partisan candidate — someone who three days after 9/11 blamed the West for provoking the attacks on the World Trade Center — constitutes a travesty of justice and a breach of the world body’s own rules.”
According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is Israel.
On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet – Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women.
On the same day, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session in Geneva by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states.
There were five Council resolutions on Israel. One each on the likes of hellish countries like Syria, North Korea and Iran. Libya got an offer of “technical assistance.” And countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and China were among the 95 percent of states that were never mentioned.
No slander is deemed too vile for the U.N. human rights bodies that routinely listen to highly orchestrated Palestinian versions of the ancient blood libel against the Jews.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regrets a “misunderstanding” over his use of the word “occupation” to describe Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara, which led to Morocco expelling dozens of United Nations staff, his spokesman said on Monday.
Earlier this month Ban used the word “occupation” to describe Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara in 1975, when it took over the arid territory along the Atlantic Ocean from colonial power Spain.
“His use of the word was not planned, nor was it deliberate, it was a spontaneous, personal reaction. We regret the misunderstandings and consequences that this personal expression of solicitude provoked,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
The controversy over Ban’s comments is Morocco’s worst dispute with the United Nations since 1991, when the U.N. brokered a ceasefire to end a war over Western Sahara and established a peacekeeping mission, known as MINURSO.
Ban said the word during a visit to refugee camps in southern Algeria for the Sahrawi people, who contend Western Sahara belongs to them.
A REFUGEE and poster-boy for asylum-seeker activists who became a jetsetting invalid pensioner has had his payments slashed after being found ineligible.
Palestinian-Kuwaiti Aladdin Sisalem told the Administrative Appeals Tribunal last month that he funded 16 overseas trips in the past six years with his disability support pension.
However at the same time Sisalem, 37, told his doctors that he found it “difficult to sit, stand, use my hands or arms for more than a few minutes” and he “has difficulty coping with … travel by public transport”….
Sisalem’s 16 overseas trips since 2010 included two months indulging in massages, herbal treatments, physical exercises, acupressure and meditation at a “clinic” in Thailand last year as well as jaunts to China, Indonesia, Russia and a second trip to Thailand, the tribunal heard.
Dr Cremean stated in his decision that it “did not seem to be credible” that Sisalem paid for the trips “by saving up his … DSP (pension)”….
Sisalem told Dr Cremean during the hearing that he suffered from a serious neck and back injury called “cervical canal stenosis” and PTSD.
But Dr Cremean found this didn’t appear to hinder him lifting luggage.
And note: this “refugee” is actually a Palestinian from Kuwait.
Shmuley Boteach: No Holds Barred: When Bill Clinton blurbed Beinart’s boycott
Even more concerning is the fact that Hillary Clinton has portrayed herself as Obama’s successor – someone who will continue this administration’s policies.
In her released emails it was revealed that she was a big fan of Beinart and versed in his writings against Israel. In one of her emails, Sid Blumenthal sent her an anti-Israel article from Beinart called “Obama Betrayed Ideals on Israel” with the subject line: “FYI, article from book, which Bill blurbed. Sid.”
Hillary forwarded the article to her aide Jake Sullivan, writing, “Pls read so we can discuss.” “Fascinating,” Sullivan responded after reading the article.
Of course, the blurb Sid was referring to was the fact that Bill Clinton gave significant praise to Beinart’s Crisis of Zionism book. In the blurb Bill wrote: “Peter Beinart has written a deeply important book for anyone who cares about Israel, its security, its democracy, and its prospects for a just and lasting peace. Beinart explains the roots of the current political and religious debates within Israel, raises the tough questions that can’t be avoided, and offers a new way forward to achieve Zionism’s founding ideals, both in Israel and among the diaspora Jews in the United States and elsewhere.”
It is deeply concerning that former president Bill Clinton would call Beinart’s ideas “a new way forward” and so strongly praise a book that calls for boycotting Israel in any way. And it is equally concerning that Hillary would also hold Beinart’s writing in such high esteem.
In response to my last piece with the Times of Israel, I received a number of angry responses from supporters of Bernie Sanders as well as supporters of Socialism, many of whom mistakenly viewed my critique of Bernie Sanders’ Middle East Policy speech as a general critique of Socialism or “Democratic Socialism.” While I personally happen to be a big fan of free markets and think that economic freedom is a necessary ingredient to personal freedom, my objection to Bernie Sanders’ Middle East Policy speech focused on his speech and how false, misleading and anti-Israel were so many of the statements Bernie Sanders made in that speech.
As should be expected, my most vociferous objections have come from self-identified American Jewish Zionists who are also Bernie Sanders’ supporters. One ardent Bernie Sanders supporter from Los Angeles (that also professed to be an ardent Zionist), took great umbrage with my article about Bernie Sanders’ Middle East Policy Speech and his critique of my article encapsulated much of the criticism I received from other Sanders’ supporters. He attacked me as falsely presenting in my piece my opinions about Sanders’ speech as facts. He defended Bernie Sanders as being a genuine Zionist and friend of Israel. He claimed that my article misrepresented the things Bernie Sanders actually said in his speech. He defended Bernie Sanders’ claim that peace will require every Jew being removed from the so-called “West Bank” (and he did not like my references to Judea and Samaria). And he argued that many of the issues I took exception to in Bernie Sanders’ speech were simply not that important. Below is my response to this supporter of Sanders – and in effect to others like him – that so badly wants their support of Bernie Sanders to not affect their own standing as a friend of Israel:
IsraellyCool: Mark Pellegrino Sounds Off On The Arab-Israeli Conflict
Mark Pellegrino is an American actor of film and television, best known for his work as Lucifer in Supernatural, Paul Bennett in Dexter, and Jacob in Lost. He is co-founder of The American Capitalist Party.
The summer of 2014 changed my relationship to social media forever. That was the summer that agents of Hamas kidnapped three Israeli youths and brutally murdered them. What followed was an Israeli incursion into Gaza which resulted in approx. 2,220 dead Palestinians and 72 dead Israelis.
To me, the issue seemed clear: Innocent civilians of a pluralistic society were murdered by agents of an authoritarian government. A government that deprives its own people for political and material gain, and murders political dissidents regularly. When the incursion uncovered a massive network of ‘terror tunnels’ (used in innumerable crimes against the civilian and military populations of Israel) it seemed like the icing had been spread on the proverbial moral cake. We were witnessing a no-brainer in the realm of moral culpability here….or so I thought.
It turns out, what seems obvious isn’t so much these days. First, Hollywood circulated a petition condemning Israel. Then college students protested Israeli war tactics, and the news piled on, reporting casualties (mostly Palestinian) on a daily basis.
Before long, maps began to accompany narratives on social media which accused the Jewish state of a concerted genocide against the Palestinian people. Watching this insanity unravel from the sidelines became an impossibility, so I finally waded into the fray.
The Palestinian Authority has no intention of recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Methodists are laboring under the false hope that “peace and justice” is possible if only Israel would be more accommodating.
The United Methodist Kairos Response Committee has adopted “apartheid” and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) strategies, without considering how this may instead actually increase friction, strife and division.
The Methodists and other Christian groups with “peace and justice” interests such as the Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, Scottish Presbyterian Church and the members of the World Council of Churches need to accept some responsibility for aggravating the anti-Semitism energizing the popular imagination today.
The Methodist Church could instead consider actions of a kind designed to help rather than undermine peace — projects envisioned by a variety of goodhearted and resourceful people, who see opportunities where others clearly appear to be more interested in hurting Israel and the Jews than in actually helping the Palestinians.
I’m privileged to write this post from the Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth anti-BDS conference taking place in Jerusalem where I spoke on HonestReporting’s unique insights to countering BDS. President Reuven Rivlin addressed the opening of the conference, and it is a great credit to the State of Israel and the organizers at Ynet and their production partner StandWithUs that so many have come together to give serious exploration and direction to a common task: fighting back against a movement of hatred that remains in flight, and many feel continues to soar higher with time.
My address today focused on two easily overlooked ingredients that give flight to hateful movements: The increasingly visual nature of social media and the fashionable ease with which peers mimic and adopt the views and opinions of friends with little independent thought given to the integrity of those ideas.
What is novel in the context of BDS is the perfect storm that brings a simplistic and emotionally compelling narrative together with highly visual communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The inherent falsehood of the narrative that frames Israel as the oppressor goes unnoticed at first because the iconic representations are powerful and often emotionally jarring.
Ronald Lauder, the head of the World Jewish Congress, spoke out against BDS at the Ynet conference on Tuesday. “There is a real threat, and it’s called BDS,” he began.
“What was [BDS leader Omar Barghouti’s] goal?” he asked. “To destroy the Jewish homeland. And BDS is the international campaign to incite hostility against Israel and the Jewish people.”
As proof, Lauder pointed out that those who push for boycotts often discount the damage they do to the very Palestinians they claim to be helping. “BDS has no interest in peace and no interest in improving the daily lives of the Palestinian people.”
However, he noted that it is easy for innocent Jewish youths entering universities.
“On the legal front we are winning. The next fight is at colleges and universities. I have long believed that our greatest asset is our children and their education. And yet, from the moment our children arrive at schools, at universities, at colleges, they face a barrage of anti-Semitic lies.
Jewish comedian Roseanne Barr slammed members of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as “right-wing fascists” and “naked bigots” who only pretend to be leftwing.
“BDS doesn’t want peace, nor do they want peace negotiations. They use code words like ‘occupation’ and use it a lot to get all the mileage they can out of it,” Barr said.
Barr delivered her damning speech against BDS at the Yedioth Aharonot and Ynet Conference held in Jerusalem on Monday.
Barr’s views on Israel took a dramatic turn following a failed run for the U.S. presidency as a Green Party candidate in 2012. Prior to that, the actress and activist routinely condemned the Jewish state – even going so far as to refer to it as the Nazi state – but now admits that her reasons for doing so were faulty.
Israeli basketball legend Tal Brody, a Goodwill Ambassador of Israel, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Monday about the fight against the BDS movement which seeks to economically harm the Jewish state.
“We’re the underdogs,” emphasized Brody, speaking at the sidelines of a Yedioth Aharonoth conference on the struggle against BDS. “We don’t have as many Jews and as many Christians who are for us in this world, but there are.”
He noted the importance of fighting BDS on university campuses, because that’s where “it’s the most radical” and visible. At the same time, he pointed out that he sees student organizations opposing BDS on campuses, in addition to the actions of state legislatures.
As for whether enough is being done to defeat the boycott movement, he said, “there’s never enough, but I think it’s much more than was before.”
“Though the Prime Minister of Israel continues to express his concern that Israel not become a binational state, he is sending as his envoy to New York a man who served for years as chairman of the settlers’ council and who revels in predicting the demise of the two-state solution,” J street said in a statement.
“Dayan is but the latest appointment to a senior diplomatic post of an adamant opponent of the two-state solution, whose posting will serve to inflame opponents of Israel’s policies rather than signal a desire to heal the growing divisions between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.”
J street pointed out that In the last year several Israeli officials in the US have “sent the message that Israel’s government is far more serious about legitimizing and entrenching settlements than they are about the two-state solution.”
The organization cited the appointment of Danny Danon as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Ron Dermer’s decision to send out gift packages filled with settlement products to officials and Tzipi Hotovely’s call for Israeli diplomats to tell the world that “this country is all ours. We didn’t come here to apologize for that” as examples.
Dani Dayan, Israel’s just-designated consul-general to New York, last week called the dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street “un-Jewish” over its ostensible support for US politicians critical of Israeli policies.
“I prefer the attitude of AIPAC to that of J Street that endorses all the anti-Israel candidates — the more anti-Israel you are the more you are endorsed by J Street. That’s un-Jewish,” he said during a television interview conducted Thursday and aired Saturday.
Dayan, a former settler leader, had made comments critical of J Street in the past. The animosity was mutual: J Street has repeatedly voiced concerns over Israel’s intention to appoint him to diplomatic positions abroad due to his vocal opposition to a two-state solution.
Daphne Anson: In London, Trying to Hijack the Bard for BDS (video)
The usual suspects demonstrating here on 25 March are unhappy about the Globe Theatre company’s upcoming performance of Hamlet on 30 March in Tel Aviv at the Cameri Theatre.
To quote the uploader, Inminds.com, chaired by Abbas Ali:
‘A letter to the Globe’s artistic director Dominic Dromgoole, written on the day of the protest, by senior British theatre figures, and Palestinian theatre and cultural groups, asking Shakespeare’s Globe theatre not to perform at the Cameri Theatre was read out at the protest along with speeches and street theatre’.
On the day I was scheduled to speak at USC this week, a column appeared in the Daily Trojan, titled “David Horowitz Does Not Belong On Campus.” The author, an Iranian student named Lida Dianti, justified her desire to ban me from speaking by claiming that I was a racist and anti-Muslim, and that I “vilified Palestinians.”
In fact, I have been a lifelong defender of minorities and particularly African Americans, having been in my first civil rights march 68 years ago, during the Truman administration, almost half a century before Lida Dianti was born. Dianti justifies her claim that I am an anti-black racist with these words: “He has refuted the prevalence of institutionalized racism,” and “[dismissed] the systems that actively oppress black Americans.” Well, if I’ve “refuted” the claim that there is institutional racism then what is the complaint? Apparently, the complaint is that the truth is racist. This actually captures my view of the protests against conservative speakers on this and other campuses: The protesters can’t handle the truth.
I do believe that institutionalized racism is a myth. Despite protests at the University of Missouri and Yale about “racism,” for example, these institutions spend millions of dollars to recruit minority students and rig admissions requirements to benefit those that can’t meet their standards. Those are facts, not opinions, which leftists can’t refute and therefore want to suppress.
Israel has rejected as “delusional” a claim that superstar Elton John was asked to declare loyalty to the Jewish state before an upcoming concert.
The “Rocket Man” singer’s Israeli concert organizer Shuki Weiss issued the claim on Monday, saying the Interior Ministry initially made the demand as a condition for getting a visa.
“Only two weeks ago Elton John was asked to sign a declaration of loyalty. That insane idea has been dropped,” he said, according to Israeli media reports.
His office pointed to a supposedly problematic clause in the visa form which reads: “I declare that I have never acted against the Jewish people or the security of the state of Israel,” the Haaretz newspaper reported.
The Interior Ministry denied that was anything unusual, and said it would consider suing Weiss for defamation.
A group of 13 pro-Israel organizations has written to Hillel, International — the world’s largest Jewish campus organization — urging it not to host the left-wing Israeli “whistleblowing” group Breaking the Silence (BtS) in its spaces, as the next such event is slated for Thursday at the Columbia/Barnard Hillel, sponsored by the campus branch of J Street U.
According to the letter, addressed to Hillel’s president, Eric Fingerhut, and obtained by The Algemeiner, by hosting BtS, Hillel is violating is own “standards of partnership,” which preclude the organization from working with groups that “delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel.”
BtS, the letter continues,
seeks to portray a distorted, demonized view of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with slanted, one-sided and misleading claims of “crimes against humanity” and claims of “ethnic cleansing.” Like many similar groups, Breaking the Silence presents itself as being simply “against the occupation.” However, the imagery and signage that they use presents all of Israel, including the 1949 armistice lines, or pre-1967 lines, as being “occupied territory.”
The letter continues by quoting Major General (res.) Eitan Dangot — who has served four years as IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, stating that BtS does great harm to Israel by releasing unsubstantiated allegations of soldiers’ abuses — Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, who wrote in a recent op-ed that “[BtS] uses unproven allegations peddled as truths to credulous foreigners in order to override the decisions of a democratic government.”
But implants can be tough on patients. It takes as long as six months for an implant to “take” and integrate itself to the jawbone (a process known as osseointegration), and success is not at all guaranteed. In many patients, the jawbone that the implant has to integrate into is too weak or does not have sufficient mass to enable successful integration.
To help things along, an Israeli medical technology firm called Magdent has developed an electromagnetic-based technology that, according to studies by the company and research in the bone field, can considerably speed up the osseointegration process and improve bone quality in patients who are having trouble getting their implants in place.
The company, a portfolio start-up of the Misgav-based Trendlines venture capital firm and incubator, announced Sunday that it had raised its first $800,000 from private investors. The money, the company said, will go towards further development of its solution, as well as to getting approval from the various regulatory authorities for commercial sale of the system.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems signed a cooperation agreement with India’s Reliance Defense firm on Tuesday that will encompass future deals worth 10 billion dollars, the companies announced in Goa, where the 2016 Defexpo exhibition is taking place.
The agreement covers cooperation in the production, development, and supply of air defense systems, air-to-air missiles, and surveillance balloons, Rafael said.
The ceremony was attended by Israel’s Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, and Rafael Director-General Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Har-Even.
The Reliance company is one of the five largest conglomerate holding companies in India, with assets worth 15 billion dollars, and business activities related to infrastructure, media, and energy.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has granted $150,000 to Jerusalem-based RespiDx to further refine its Respimometer for diagnosing childhood pneumonia in low-resource regions.
Respimometer is a cross between a pacifier and a digital oral thermometer, embedded with sensors to measure breathing as a way of detecting pneumonia on the spot. Pneumonia is a serious health problem among infants in the developing world.
The grant will cover manufacturing up to 200 Respimometers and performing a trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo coordinated by Dr. Michael Hawkes of Alberta University (Canada) under the auspices of a local research NGO, the Association for Health Innovation in Africa.
The grant follows the awarding of a Grand Challenges seed grant to RespiDx and a pilot trial of the prototype Respimometer during December 2015.
A mega acquisition deal worth roughly $929 million of Israeli replacement heart valve maker Valtech Cardio by HeartWare International has Israel’s startup sector buzzing with excitement.
The US-based heart technology company announced late yesterday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the privately held Or Yehuda company, which employs just 40 people, and specializes in the development of devices for mitral and tricuspid valve repair and replacement.
It is the biggest buy-out of an Israeli medical device company ever, and one of the biggest deals in any industry in Israel. It comes in the wake of a bumper year when in one week alone in January acquisitions of companies including Annapurna Labs, Red Bend Software, CloudOn and others reached $900 million.
“By joining HeartWare, we can more quickly and fully realize the potential of our pipeline technologies and further influence the underpenetrated markets that we serve,” said Amir Gross, founder and CEO of Valtech.
The Swedish Tax Authority said it is ready to declare Raoul Wallenberg dead, more than 70 years after the diplomat, who helped rescue thousands of Hungarian Jews at the end of the Second World War, was captured by Soviet forces in Budapest.
The fate of Wallenberg, who would be 104 years old this year, has been shrouded in mystery since he was captured in 1945. He had helped save thousands of Jews from the Nazis by issuing them provisional Swedish passports so they could flee to Sweden.
A Russian report claimed he died in the infamous Lubyanka prison in 1947, but no definitive proof has been put forward.
Wallenberg, from one of Sweden’s most powerful business family dynasties, has been made an honorary citizen of the United States, Canada, Hungary, Austria and Israel, and he was awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.
The idea of a Zionist memorial to the victims of Hitler’s war against the Jews came to Mordechai Shenhavi (1900– 1983) before anyone even grasped the horrifying scale of the Holocaust.
In August 1942, Shenhavi, a member of Kibbutz Beit Alfa in the Jezreel Valley, had a terrifying dream. In it, he saw millions of Nazi victims marching toward Zion, carrying tombstones on their shoulders. Gripped by this vision, he struggled to persuade the prestate Zionist institutions to take up the proposal.
The genocide in Europe would continue until April 1945. Even afterward, the British kept the gates of Mandatory Palestine closed to Holocaust survivors lest their arrival antagonize the Arabs.
In a May 1945 article in Davar, a Hebrew-language newspaper and the powerful workers-union mouthpiece, Shenhavi presented the nuts and bolts of his ideas for how the Holocaust should be memorialized. Finally, in August 1945, three months after World War II ended in Europe, delegates to the General Zionist Council meeting in London embraced his vision.
After Israel fought its way into existence in 1948, the concept for a Holocaust memorial took further shape. Ben Zion Dinur (1884–1973), who had political clout as education minister in Israel’s fledgling government, championed the concept.
In 1950, hundreds of Jerusalemites, led by the country’s chief rabbi, Isaac Herzog (his grandson Isaac is the current Labor Party leader), gathered at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl— the site of Yad Vashem today—to remember the dead. By 1953, Dinur had shepherded legislation through the Knesset that established Yad Vashem’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority and declared the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan (following Passover in the spring) as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
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