Archive for category Israel

The Baby Wants to Hold its Head Underwater Until it Turns Blue

The al-Aksa Mosque, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa,  just came back from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he prayed in the Al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount.   He entered Israel from the Jordanian side, by arrangement with the Jordanians, at the invitation and welcome of the Palestinian Authority, and he did not meet a single Israeli.

The newly democratic Egyptian Parliament has responded by condemning him and voting to ask him to submit his resignation and to apologize to Arabs and Muslims everywhere.  What is most entertaining are some of the direct quotes coming out of the incident:

“There is a mutual agreement among Muslims and Christians that visiting Jerusalem shall remain prohibited as long as Israel continues to occupy it, ” said Qaradawi, who is president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and who is also a popular regular contributor to the Al Jazeera satellite network.  Qaradawi told the AFP news agency, “We must feel as though we are banned from Jerusalem and fight for it until it is ours.”

So in one breath he admits that they are in fact not banned, but wish to maintain a fiction that they are!   The baby wants to blame the water for holding its head under.   And the Egyptian Parliament will condemn any realist who points out that the emperor has no clothes.  Even their own Grand Mufti.

Jerusalem, by the way, is the capital of Israel.  And it is open to everyone of any faith and from any country.  (Except that Israel still bars Jews from their own Temple Mount, in deference to Arab sensibilities.)  This openness has been only under Israeli sovereignty; it was not true during the period of Jordanian rule.

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More Antisemitism at Northeastern University

Stephen Director, apologist for anti-semitism at Northeastern

Stephen Director, apologist for antisemitism at Northeastern

Americans for Peace and Tolerance has released a documentary on Northeastern’s Holocaust Awareness Week, and Charles Jacobs has published a column in the Jewish Advocate summarizing his criticisms of it.  In response, Northeastern Provost Stephen Director has complained that Jacobs “cherry-picked his examples”:

In dismissing a dozen examples of intellectual and moral abuse of the Holocaust program at Northeastern as “cherry-picked,” Director expresses either a lack of awareness or a dishonesty about the nature of the intellectual and moral stakes.  That Jacobs could “cherry-pick” any examples of people using this venue at Northeastern to make the morally sadistic comparison of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews represents a failure of judgment on a colossal scale.

How can an occupation which systematically exterminated millions of innocent civilians in a matter of three years be compared with one in which the “target” population both grew in number and in prosperity over the course of 40 years?

How can one make such a comparison without including a comparison of how Israel treats its “occupied” Palestinians with how the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war have been treated by their Arab hosts?  They have been and continue to be far more ruthless and cruel with their own people than the “Nazi-like” Israelis are with the Palestinians.

Comparisons of Israelis with Nazis are not sober assessments of empirical reality — the hallmark of good history and journalism.  They are wild and intentionally debasing accusations — Israel-baiting — made in a moral and intellectual fog.  This represents a disorientation of empirical reality so radical that its prominence on campus needs to be addressed, explained, and corrected, and not covered up with claims of “academic freedom.”

Academics are not “free” to make things up, and universities are not required to give those who do a pulpit.  That, as Stephen Director should in principle know, is a crucial component of the “pursuit of knowledge.”  Instead, in his apologetics, he sounds like the FBI after Waco: “We didn’t do anything wrong, and we won’t do it again.”

We can’t learn from mistakes we don’t admit.

Far from an example of “academic freedom,” this situation is actually the opposite.  The radical voice that compares Israel to the Nazis and tars as “right-wing” those Jews who object has essentially driven the entire political spectrum off-kilter. What Northeastern calls diversity and vigorous debate “in pursuit of knowledge” actually represents the shutting down of precisely the kind of debate that must take place, replacing it with unchallenged intellectual and moral abuse.

Northeastern University - source of holocaust distortionModerate vs. extremist.  Left vs. right.  Dove vs. hawk.  None of these ranges mean anything anymore as a result of the skew those running the Holocaust program at Northeastern bring to the university community.  This skew is reflected in many places, including the news media.  A “moderate” in the Palestinian system (e.g., Mahmoud Abbas) does not translate into a moderate in ours; and a “hardliner” in ours is a (way too) soft-liner in theirs.  Someone who promises his people the land from river to the sea, who demands the ethnic transfer and cleansing of a religious minority from territory he rules, who wants to keep his own people stateless, whose “authorities” bully and intimidate the press, who uses torture against his own opposition?  This is not a “moderate.”

Any Israeli leader with such a record would be immediately branded — by Jews and other Westerners alike — as a vicious fascist.  Of course, in comparison with the genocidal Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Abbas is at least willing to say he’s willing to (maybe) negotiate, and therefore appears on our current skewed political register as a “moderate.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, who allows a much wider range of dissent and lives by far more demanding democratic principles, is branded a “hawkish” right-wing extremist when he resists pressure to compromise with foes.  But since holding Palestinians responsible for their choices — suicide bombing, hate propaganda, river-to-the-sea ambitions — would be blaming the victim, it’s so much easier for the politically correct to blame the “hardliner” Netanyahu for the failure of negotiations rather than the “moderate” Abbas.

As a result of this skew of the political spectrum, for nearly a decade Northeastern’s hijacked Holocaust program repeatedly invited highly politicized, intellectually dishonest, morally hysterical people who demonized Israel and who tried to exclude, silence, and intimidate anyone who defended her.

This is a widespread phenomenon on American and Canadian campuses.  It occurred partly on a public stage — see the attacks on people like Nonie DarwishNetanyahuDavid Horowitz, and Michael Oren – and partly in a private way:  scholars who might challenge these accusations were pointedly disinvited from the discussion.

Northeastern apparently mistakes a situation in which defenders of Israel were systematically intimidated and denied a voice, while rabble-rousers with revolutionary agendas controlled the stage, for a “vigorous exchange of diverse opinion.”

Michael Oren - scholar at Columbia and Princeton, then professor at Harvard and Yale, then Israeli Ambassador to the USA.

Michael Oren - scholar at Columbia and Princeton, then professor at Harvard and Yale. Israeli Ambassador to the USA.

Nothing better illustrates this off-kilter political register than Provost Director’s pointing to Northeastern’s invite of Michael Oren — a scholar of impeccable credentials both as an academic and as a public intellectual — as a balance to Alice Rothschild.  You’d need a Kahanist who wanted to ethnically cleanse the West Bank of Arabs to match her unhinged radical ideas.  And yet, no one at Northeastern is going to defend such a racist “right-wing” speaker on the basis of academic freedom.  So we end up with a spectrum that goes from radical left to a mild, even timid, center – moderates who rather than challenge shrill and dishonest accusations, plead “can’t we all just get along?”

Meanwhile, no one at Northeastern is exposed to anything that is not “peace” oriented.  Heaven forbid students be exposed to evidence that points out how the peace movement has been hijacked in the service of war.

Indeed, one might conjecture about the reason this “vigorous” voice has become so rhetorically extravagant in its insults against Israel and her defenders.  Branding those who object as “racists, fascists, and Islamophobes” serves to intimidate and marginalize an opposition which, if sane people could hear their voice, would lead them to walk away from this deranged anti-Zionist, anti-democratic discourse.

That’s what’s so disturbing about the typical “university” response to objections from Jews regarding the demonizing of Israel: administrators are in total denial about a serious — some of us think urgent — problem on our campuses today.  The voice of a loyal opposition has been banished by the voice of a hostile opposition which uses a discourse that violates so many of the rules of the “public sphere.”

Empirical evidence, disciplined reasoning, honest use of analogies, open and un-coercive consent: these are key elements of the public sphere.  And the public sphere is where a discourse of fairness and empathy takes place, the oxygen supply of our experiment in freedom and prosperity.  Our many “cherry-picked” case studies violate this not on occasion, but as a matter of principle.

Northeastern administrators should consider themselves co-defendants in the recent findings on the administrators at the University of California.  Far from performing their role as the university’s quality control mechanism, they now routinely function as the enablers, protectors, and even apologists for the politicized university and its degraded scholarly and educational standards.

This is not a slip or a stumble.  This is a catastrophic failure of the last generation.  Under the guise of “cutting-edge scholarship” in “theories” (post-modern, post-colonial, queer, etc.), they bring us dishonest, accusing voices that demonize and scapegoat and never self-criticize.  They demand that we believe the voices of the “subaltern” Palestinian “other”; they insist that to question that testimony would be cruel, would be “blaming the victim.”  Accordingly, they pump our information system with poisoned lethal narratives, with icons of hatred which they proudly claim will help make the world a better place.   They represent an insane marriage of pre-modern sadism and post-modern masochism: while Palestinians make the most terrible accusations against Israel, “good Jews” like Alice Rothschild say: “Yes, you’re right, we are terrible.”

(Indeed, one has to wonder what happened to Alice as a “child” according to her own “psycho”-analysis of the abuse syndrome: i.e., Jews, having been abused by Nazis, now abuse Palestinians.  What abuse has Rothschild experienced that she so abuses her own people?  Was it at the hand of her fellow “progressives”?)

This is not just a Jewish question.  What the “Left” has done to Israel, it does to every other Western nation and culture: it insists we liberals, in order to prove our good will, adopt Islamism’s demonizing narratives about the infidel, especially the Jew.  The consequences are terrible for those like we Jewish and non-Jewish liberals who, in a paroxysm of self-critical good will, accept this dishonest and vicious story about ourselves.  But they are in some ways worse for Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim culture, where our acceptance of these hate- and violence-filled lethal narratives strengthens the grip that the producers of this war-mongering propaganda have on their own people.  And in the process, peace is the first and last casualty.

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Honoring All Who Saved Jews

By EVA WEISEL
Khaled Abdul Wahab in 1936

Khaled Abdul Wahab in 1936

IN December 1942, when I was 13 years old, German troops occupied my hometown. Within days, our house was commandeered as an officers’ mess hall. I soon had a yellow star on my dress, setting me apart from many of my childhood friends. The men of our family were ordered into forced labor. My happy life had vanished.

Luckily, an influential local man knew of our difficult straits and generously offered his protection. One night, he ferried the women, children and old men in our family to a farm he owned about 20 miles outside of town. There, he said, we would be safe. Though the stables he provided us for lodging were modest, with just a drape across the door to protect against the elements, we were relieved to be behind the thick, high walls of his property. We were deeply grateful.

As luck would have it, however, a German unit arrived in the area not long after we did. Our host told us to get rid of our yellow stars, stay inside the farm walls and keep far away from the main house. He had his own strategy for dealing with the Germans. A bon vivant and world traveler, he invited German officers for evenings filled with food and drink. While nearly two dozen of us were hiding in one part of the farm, he protected himself from the prying eyes of the Germans by entertaining them on the other side of the farm.

Our host’s strategy worked well, until the night a couple of drunken German officers wandered away from the main house.

In the courtyard outside the stables, they started banging on the courtyard door and shouting, “We know you are Jews and we’re coming to get you!”

My grandmother started screaming “Cachez les filles!” — “Hide the girls!” I remember being shoved under the bed, trembling and sobbing as I tried to hide under a blanket.

At that moment of unspeakable fear, as our hearts pounded and tears poured from our eyes, a guardian angel came to the rescue. Out of nowhere, our host appeared. A strong, powerful man who projected authority and commanded respect, he stopped the Germans and managed to lead them away.

The next day, our host came to the stables. We rushed to express our thanks to him, but he was more eager to apologize to us. He said he was sorry that we had to face the terrifying ordeal of the Germans’ threats, expressed relief that he had intervened in time to prevent a horrible tragedy, and promised that it would never happen again. We never found out how he fulfilled his promise — perhaps he bribed the Germans — but he did. We passed the rest of the German occupation at our host’s farm, without incident.

During the horrors of the Holocaust, non-Jews saved many thousands of Jews from death and depravity at the hands of Germans and their allies. Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial museum, has recognized more than 23,000 of these brave men and women as “The Righteous Among the Nations.” Our family’s rescuer deserves to be among that number. And in his case, the impact of recognition would have powerful reverberations, striking a blow against Holocaust denial in a part of the world where such denial is widespread.

That is because my hometown is Mahdia, on the eastern shore of Tunisia, and our rescuer, Khaled Abdul Wahab, was an Arab Muslim. (He passed away in 1997.)

So far, however, Abdul Wahab has been denied the recognition he deserves. Nearly five years ago, in January 2007, the Department of the Righteous at Yad Vashem nominated him to be a “righteous,” the first Arab ever to be formally considered for this honor. This nomination was based on witness testimony from my late sister, Anny Boukris. In March of that year, however, the official Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, a body presided over by a retired Israeli judge and created by Israeli law to decide who merits recognition as a “righteous,” voted to reject the nomination. That decision was kept secret for two years.

In 2010, that same jurist, Justice Jacob Tuerkel, sent the Abdul Wahab file back to the commission for a second review. This time, the case was bolstered by two fresh testimonies — a video interview of my cousin Edmee Masliah, who was with me at the farm and now lives outside Paris, and a notarized letter I wrote recounting my own experience. Yad Vashem now had three firsthand accounts of the story. But to my complete dismay, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous once again voted to reject the nomination. Abdul Wahab was a noble man, I was told by Yad Vashem, but his actions did not rise to the statutory level required to merit the “righteous” designation — that is, he didn’t “risk his life” to save Jewish lives.

While that may be the wording of the law, I am told by experts that Abdul Wahab would not be the first rescuer of Jews not to have suffered physical harm, let alone life-threatening danger. Many in France who have won that designation were honored because they acted to save Jews without knowing for sure what fate would await them if they were caught. In addition, some of the famous diplomats honored as righteous were never arrested, injured or threatened with death for aiding Jews.

I refuse to believe that Yad Vashem has one standard for “righteous” in Europe and another for “righteous” who performed their sacred duty on the other side of the Mediterranean, in an Arab country.

Sixty-nine years after pinning a yellow star to my chest in my native land, I know that I was able to enjoy a long, full life because Abdul Wahab confronted evil and saved me, as he saved other fortunate members of my family. I hope that Yad Vashem reconsiders his case before no one is left to tell his story.

Eva Weisel lives in Los Angeles. She is retired from the banking industry.

 

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Dovid Efune’s Top Ten List

Rabbi Dovin Efune, Director of the Algemeiner Journal, New YorkTop Ten Non-Jews Positively Influencing Jewish Future
By: Rabbi Dovid Efune, Director of the Algemeiner Journal

(The Algemeiner Journal is a weekly Jewish current events newspaper published in New York.  Dovid Efune, originally from Brighton, England, now lives in New York.  He is credited with building the Algemeiner into the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America.  He received his rabbinic ordination from Machon Lehoroah in Pretoria, South Africa and Machon Ariel in Jerusalem.)

10. Julie Burchill
Columnist and novelist
Currently a columnist for The Independent, she has written for newspapers such as The Sunday Times and The Guardian. The Jewish Chronicle described her in 2008 as ” Israel ‘s staunchest supporter in the UK media.”

9. Jon Voight
Actor
Supporter of Jewish causes, most notably Chabad, Voight is also a prolific spokesman for Israel . A rarity in Hollywood circles, he has advocated for Jewish values, consistently reaching an often indifferent audience.

8. Patrick Debois
Founder, Yahad-In Unum
A Roman Catholic priest, Debois is head of the Commission for Relations with Judaism of the French Bishops’ Conference and Consultant to the Vatican . He is the co-founder and president of Yahad-In Unum, an organization whose mission is to document the murder of the 1.5 million Jews of Ukraine , shot dead by the Nazis and buried throughout the country. This work is vital in ensuring that the memory of these victims will not fade with the death of the last witnesses.

7. John Hagee
Founder, Christians United for Israel
Hagee’s Christians United for Israel continues to experience rapid growth, now boasting upwards of 600,000 members. The group makes significant contributions to Jewish causes, and has become a potent political force in support of Israel . Author of ” Jerusalem Countdown” and “In Defense of Israel ,” the pastor from San Antonio has met with every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin and his ministries have given more than $8.5 million to bring Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel .

6. Warren Buffet
Investor
The famed investor has been a strong supporter of Israeli innovation, and has bought into it significantly. Last year, while visiting the country, he famously said that ” Israel has shown that it has a disproportionate amount of brains and energy.” Buffet’s strong statement of confidence has gone a long way in encouraging significant foreign investment in the Jewish State.

5. Jose Maria Aznar
Former Prime Minister of Spain
In 2010, Aznar founded the Friends of Israel Initiative, with the stated goal to “counter the attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders.” Referring to the ill-fated takeover of the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos, Aznar said in 2010 that the world must support Israel because “if it goes down, we all go down.” His unique organization provides a strong voice of reason in circles where it might otherwise not be heard. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stationed on the Egyptian Border

Aron Adler, IDF ReservistJust received at Jewish Jihad, and reprinted verbatim:

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Shalom,

The letter below was sent to us by our son Aron who is doing IDF reserve duty on the Egyptian border. I would humbly comment that it would be a Kiddush Hashem for the world to see this. Please feel free to pass it on to whomever you please, including to the editors of newspapers.

Thank you,
Marilyn & Josh Adler

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My name is Aron Adler. I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in Efrat Israel. Though very busy, I don’t view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service. At night, I’m in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit.

15-20 days out of every year, I’m called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve whenever responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24 year old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight.

This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called “Kerem Shalom.” Above and beyond the “typical” things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., this year we were confronted by a new challenge. Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur. What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin “guides,” these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea, and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.

We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder, and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt’s soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It’s an almost nightly event. Read the rest of this entry »

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Denis MacEoin Weighs In

Dennis MacEoinDenis MacEoin – Open Letter to the Edinburgh University Student Association on Boycotting Israel
July 27, 2011

Denis MacEoin. In March of 2011 Mr. MacEoin, wrote an open letter to Edinburgh University Student Association.
Middle East Forum – he is a senior editor of the Forum’s flagship publication Middle East Quarterly

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Around 270 students at Edinburgh University voted in favour of a motion which described Israel as an apartheid state and called for a boycott of goods. However, the Jewish Chronicle reports that the Edinburgh University Students’ Association has confirmed a proposed boycott of Israeli products will not be enforced.

Here is a strong argument against the boycott, written by an Edinburgh University alumnus:

The Committee
Edinburgh University Student Association

May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain’s great Middle East experts in their day.  I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University.  Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sharansky: “I don’t miss Mubarak and I won’t miss Assad”

Natan Sharansky on Syria's Assad and Egypt's MubarekLast week, Natan Sharansky (now the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel) was asked: “The ‘Arab Spring’ may turn out to be less stable than non-democratic regimes. What impact will this have on Israel’s prospects for peace?”

Sharansky responded strongly: “I’m very glad about what’s happening. I don’t miss Mubarak and I won’t miss Assad.”

“I prefer to deal with democracy. Democratic leaders depend on the people, who want peace, good economy, a good education. Dictators need an external enemy to control the people. Mubarak turned Egypt into the most anti-Semitic country in the Middle East. Syria didn’t make peace so that it could have emergency laws.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Support the “Wall of Lies” when it is Displayed on Your Campus

To see the full Palestinian Wall of Lies, learn how to relate to it, and find out when and where it’s coming to a college near you, visit http://WallOfLies.org/

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An Assault on Israel’s Borders

Syrian infiltrators pour past Israel's bordersLess than two hours before Palestinians broke through the Syrian border into the Golan Heights yesterday, President Shimon Peres called for the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations and expressed Israel’s strong desire for a two state solution and peace:  “The United Nations made a decision in 1947 to establish two states, one Jewish and one Arab,” said Peres.  “We accepted the decision.  The Arabs rejected the decision and attacked us.  The Nakba began then.  If the Arabs had accepted, the situation would be different and we would live today in peace.” It is the very birth of Israel, its very existence, that some who hope for its elimination refer to as the “Nakba” – the “catastrophe.”

During the last sixty-three years, those who continue to reject Israel’s right to exist have subjected it to various forms of assault, from invasions to rocket attacks to suicide bombings to economic boycotts to de-legitimatization campaigns.  Yesterday’s assaults on Israel’s borders are a continuation of this effort.   Their purpose was summed up by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, now a partner in the Palestinian Authority.  The actions, he said, “will eventually lead to the end of the Zionist enterprise and the victory of the Islamic nation.”

That the Palestinian Authority has chosen to form a partnership with a group that continues to reject Israel’s right to exist, ought to be extremely troubling to all those who care about an end to this conflict and those who pray for peace. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mahmoud Abbas on Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian Real Estate

Mahmoud Abbas on Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian Real Estate

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Palestinian Authority on Land Distribution in Israel

Palestinian Apartheid, comments by Palestinian Authority on land distribution in Israel

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Hail to the Chief

Majalli Wahabi, Acting President of Israel

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