Sunday, February 18, 2007

MichaelOnIsrael replaces KIC

The KICblog has done its duty. I am now sending out a Weekly Israel Report by email to my subscribers. You too can subscribe by sending a blank email to michaelonisrael-subscribe@googlegroups.com and then follow the instructions.
It is not a discussion list so no need to sweat about inbox flooding. It is just one Israel Report each week from me.

I'm still speaking to many groups visiting Israel - family, community and student groups.
Contact me at: michaelonisrael@gmail.com or skype: mikeejl to order a session.

Wherever you are, Chodesh Tov from Eretz Yisrael!
Michael Lawrence

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Burger King from Beirut to Tel Aviv

Amusing way to make light of a harrowing reality...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Shabbat of Trepidation

As we stand at the entry of the Shabbat that precedes the fifth anniversary of September 11, is Israel playing the role of light unto the nations in respect of the war on terror. Are we standing tough or stepping back from our own self-created obligations and conditions for quiet? Are we doing any better than the world that claims to defend our right to exist in peace and security?
Here my view on this Shabbat - click below.

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Yesterday... Olmert & His Troubles

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away - and so did those of Ehud Olmert. How the dice has landed differently of late. Click below and hear my KICview on our Prime Minister's sudden change of priorities in the face of the widespread reevaluation of national security.

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Prisoner Exchange - Pleasure or Pain?

I can not for a moment imagine the pain of the families of IDF soldiers who remain in the cruel hands of Hezbollah and Hamas enemies. Surely I have no right to deny the pleasure of a homecoming for their husbands, sons, brothers and themselves.

But at what price? Where do we strike a balance? Is it possible to find such a balance? Must we reward terror regardless and encourage it - for the sake of bringing our boys home?

Click below and hear my view on the issue and leave your comments. What would you do if you were sitting in Olmert's chair?

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, August 31, 2006

We Can Agree - Bring Our Boys Home!

Israelis can stand together, united and determined. Tonight in Kikar Rabin (Tel Aviv) at 730pm, we'll see a huge display of support for our kidnapped IDF soldiers, Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. I encourage all Israel-based KICreaders to go and join the 100000s of others.

There's are a few things all Israelis agree on. Hear my view in the KICaudio post below.

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ron Arad alive?


With the return of kidnapped IDF soldiers scolding hot on the mind of every Israeli, suddenly photos are revealed and a video appears and rumors are rife of a full video to show on Lebanese TV shortly. Is the most well-known of Israeli missing sons alive?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Austrian Miracle Girl

A quite incredible true story broadcast on Sky News UK. You can watch the clip here and be amazed, saddened, angered and relieved. After being held for eight years in a basement in Austria, a teenage girl escapes and is remarkably reunited with her family.

It's stories like these that make you question humanity and yet thank G-d for small (and large!) mercies. When you see the father crying, one can't help but think of the tremendous pain and loss in our part of the world - of the Fox reporter and cameraman (a New Zealand citizen) held hostage currently by Gazan terrorists., for example.

Then of course I think of our Israeli soldiers (sons, brothers, husbands) who are, contrary to international law and all notions of human rights, being held, tortured no doubt, by Hamas or Nasrallah and their Iranian and Syrian cronies.

May we merit His mercy so that more families like these Austrians can live and laugh again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dead Sea Lessons

A day soaking in the minerals of the Dead Sea has taught me a thing or two about the good we must take from hard times and life's challenges. Listen to my evaluation of life after death...

this is a KICaudio post - click to play
And once you've listened, have a read of this - it perfectly illustrates what I was explaining in the above KICaudio post.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mohammed, Horses & Heaven - 22nd August?

With Iran expected to give its response to the demands of the UN tomorrow, Tuesday 22nd August, some analysts have begun to play up the signifcance of Ahmadinejad's choice of date. This from Ha'aretz today:

While a response was required quickly, Tehran said that it would give its answer on August 22. Analysts originally explained the choice of dates as marking the month's end according to the Persian calendar.

However, the date has also led to speculation regarding its apocalyptic significance - this is the date on which Muslims commemorate Mohammed's ascention to heaven on a horse. The significance lies in the site where this supposedly took place: Jerusalem. The combination of the religious symbolism, the vitriolic statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regarding the "surprises" his country is preparing, his messianic statements and beliefs in ridding Jerusalem of infidels, and the ongoing five-week-long military exercise have led some to attribute earth-shattering significance to this date.


DEBKAfile has had its run with this Aug 22nd Apocalyptic speculation too:


DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that information rated “highly credible” has reached US undercover agencies of a secret report presented to Iran’s supreme ruler Ali Khamenei by Abdollah Shabhazi, one of the heads of the Supreme National Security Council. He claims to expose a mega-terror plot against Jerusalem scheduled for August 22, which aims at killing large numbers of Jews, Arabs and Christians.

This atrocity will reportedly arm the United States and Israel with the pretext for hitting Iran’s nuclear installations, as well its capital, Tehran, and other big cities.

Shabhazi says the US and Israel need to launch a military campaign to restore the deterrent strength they lost in the Lebanon war.

The massive attack will reportedly focus on the Old City of Jerusalem and its eastern suburbs. The Iranian report claims that the plotters, who are not identified, are eager to recreate the divine white light whish spread over Jerusalem in the year 632. It does not rule out the use of a non-conventional weapon.



Any thoughts? In these days of no hand luggage flights...
Read more about Aug 22nd in this Haaretz article and in this Debka report

Sunday, August 20, 2006

UNIFIL & Lebanon unwilling - let's blame Israel!

The Europeans haven't turned up for duty and the Lebanese have made it clear that Hezbollah are their brothers-in-arms. It all makes the UN Resolution look like a bit of a joke in my mind. But maybe I'm a bit peculiar and in fact Israel still shouldn't have a right to stop the rearming of Hezbollah while world leaders and Lebanon decide which side of the 'war on terror' bed to get out of this morning.

Here's my audio view on the whole issue...

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Jewish Hatred

Neturei Karta... arghh! We have tanks and F-16s, but how do we deal with Jews who spew forth more anti-Israel hatred than the average Iranian-backed Hezbollah boy? Read their latest filth and then dive straight in for more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And in the blue & white corner...


The Mike Tyson matches against Evander Holyfield always made a good Sunday afternoon's viewing in New Zealand. I can't help thinking that we've just witnessed a boxing match with all the twists and talk that could only possibly exist in the Middle East. Like so often in boxing, we're amazed at the decision of the ringside judges... and then we're shocked by the post-match interviews with the managers.

Hear my KICaudio analysis on the local boxing match that hurt us so much over the last month.

this is a KICaudio post - click to play

Monday, August 14, 2006

1 Wedding and 30 Funerals

As the region stands on the slippery doorstep to the Israel-Hizbollah ceasefire, my dancing at a Jerusalem wedding this evening had me contemplating far more than expected.

Have a listen to my thoughts on that uncomfortable Israeli fusion of mourning versus the need to continue life and to truly live.

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dershowitz & the United Nations

Jewish World Review July 26, 2006 / 1 Menachem-Av, 5766

How the UN legitimizes terrorists

By Alan M. Dershowitz

If the UN cannot or will not distinguish between terrorists who target civilians and a democracy that seeks to stop the terrorism while minimizing civilian casualties, it has become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

from --- http://www.JewishWorldReview.com

If anyone wonders why the UN has rendered itself worse than irrelevant in the Arab-Israeli conflict, all he or she need do is read UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's July 20 statement. Annan goes to great pains to suggest equal fault and moral equivalence between the rockets of Hezbollah and Hamas that specifically target innocent civilians and the self-defense efforts by Israel, which tries desperately, though not always successfully, to avoid causing civilian casualties. In his statement, Annan never condemns, or even mentions, terrorism, which is a root cause and precipitator of the conflict.

Even Annan was forced to acknowledge that "Hezbollah's provocative attack on July 12 was the trigger of this particular crisis"; that Hezbollah is "deliberate[ly] targeting ... Israeli population centers with hundreds of indiscriminate weapons"; and that Israel has the "right to defend itself under Article 51 of the UN charter." But he doesn't stop there. He goes out of his way to insist on equating Hezbollah's terrorists with Israeli military response, which he labels "disproportionate" and "collective punishment." He condemns both Hezbollah and Israel. He also criticizes Israel for its efforts at preventing Qassam rocket attacks against its civilian populations, noting that the Hamas rockets have produced no "casualties in the past month." (This, of course, is not for lack of trying.) He ignores Hamas' long history of terrorism against innocent civilians.

Annan then calls for an "immediate cessation of indiscriminate and disproportionate violence" on both sides, again suggesting a moral equivalence. Among the most immoral positions anyone can take is to suggest a moral equivalence between morally different actions.

Part of the goal of organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas is to gain moral legitimacy for their terrorist tactics by having them equated with the conventional military tactics used by democratic regimes. Only the morally obtuse or perverse cannot recognize the difference between a terrorist group that targets civilian population centers with anti-personnel weapons designed to maximize civilian casualties and a democracy that seeks to prevent terrorism by employing smart bombs designed to minimize civilian casualties.

Annan knows better than to suggest a moral equivalence. He is fully aware of the tactic employed by terrorists of launching their rockets from, and hiding behind, civilian shields, so as to make democracies have to kill some civilians to get at the terrorists.

But Annan heads an organization that is so anti-Israel that as the late Abba Eban, the early Israeli ambassador to the UN, once put it: "If Algeria proposed a resolution that the Earth was flat and that Israel has flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 120 to 3, with 27 abstentions."

Many such resolutions have been passed by the General Assembly, including the notorious one equating the Jewish national liberation movement with "racism." Other one-sided resolutions have been passed by the General Assembly legitimating terrorism. Only the U.S. veto — which does not operate in the UN General Assembly — has prevented one-sided resolutions by the Security Council.

If a space alien from a distant planet were to land at the UN, he would come away with the impression that Israel is not only the sole offender in the Middle East, but the worst offender in the entire world. He would single out Israel for condemnation and exclude it from membership on many UN bodies, on which Syria, Lebanon and Iran serve in positions of honor.

Annan himself has a long history of one-sided condemnations of Israel. In March 2004, Annan "strongly condemned" Israel's targeted killing of Sheik Ahmad Yassin, the terrorist leader of Hamas, without condemning Yassin for his murderous actions or his organization for the murder of Jewish civilians. In December 2003, Annan "strongly condemned" Israel's assault on a Palestinian refugee camp where two gunmen were thought to be hiding. And in 2005, he issued the most tepid of statements expressing "dismay" at threats by Iran's president to "eliminate" Israel, a member nation of the UN. The list goes on and on.

And even worse than the one-sided condemnations that ignore Hezbollah and Hamas are the numerous statements that perversely suggest moral equivalence.

The UN peacekeepers on the Lebanese border have turned out to be collaborators with Hezbollah, videotaping the Hezbollah kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers in 2000 and then refusing to release the video which could have helped in the rescue on the grounds that it might compromise their "neutrality."

This is a real test for the UN. If it cannot or will not distinguish between terrorists who target civilians and a democracy that seeks to stop the terrorism while minimizing civilian casualties, it has become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Shavua Tov?

To the satisfaction of some and the dismay of others, the United Nations Security Council passed a ceasefire resolution on Friday night. Olmert's office expresses satisfaction at its wording. Yet does the resolution resolve any of the basic causes of the Israeli-Hizbullah conflict and where does that leave battered Israeli people and a capable IDF which is finally making progress?

Listen to the KICreport as recorded by Michael Lawrence shortly after Shabbat.

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, August 11, 2006

KIC returns


After almost 8 weeks away from home, I am back at the KIC computer. I have been working full time for the Koby Mandell Foundation so time for KICing has been limited. I apologize to the faithful readers who were left KICless for so long.

Of course, there hasn't been a shortish of breaking news and controversy to keep you current when it comes to Israeli Current Affairs. Similarly, we've all had to work overtime to advocate strongly for Israel during this unwanted Hizbollah war.

From Friday, this KICblog will begin to broadcast again from Israel through KICaudio. We invite you to visit often, listen to my view on things and then leave us your comments.

Of course, you're always welcome to tell your friends about us so that they too can benefit from keeping it current - either here online or by inviting me to run a session for their group in Israel.

Let's continue to pray for better news,

Michael

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Where are our politicians hearts??

Twice in the last couple of days our senior politicians, ministers no less, have shown absolute callousness for people that they should be worrying about.
First came Shimon Peres' statement about Sderot. “What's the big deal? Kiryat Shmonah was shelled for years," said the veteran politician, "Kassams, shmassams, we're not leaving."
This is insensitivity at its highest! Firstly, because there are thousands of people who have to run to bomb-shelters every day and are living in a nightmare that the government doesn't seem willing or able to solve. However, more importantly last year a 17 year old girl Ella Abuksis died from a rocket that was fired from the Gaza strip. The Abuksis family should demand an apology immediately from the thoughtless and emotionless minister.
Some other good op-eds on this subject are from Ynet News and Ha'aretz.
Yesterday, Interior Minister Roni Bar-On told the Jerusalem Post bringing the remaining Falash Mura to Israel is not necessarily a priority and the delay of their immigration is not simply a matter of money. This is one of the biggest tragedies in Zionist history. There are Jews out there who are being brought to Israel in a drip-drip manner with a few hundred at a time while many die waiting.
Israel has brought many other communities to Israel regardless of the cost or accumulation process. During the early years of the state, Israel brought hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab lands without a thought for the cost or anything else. Then when the "Iron Curtain" fell and the Soviet Union let the Jews go Israel stepped up and took them in.
Why isn't the government responding the same way to the Falasha Mura?
Our politicians have forgotten who they are. They are there to serve the people's interests, not mock or dismiss the rason d'etre of their office. Israel is a safe-haven and home for all Jews, some of our politicians need to be reminded of that.

Sderot and the Zionist Congress

As the leaders of world Zionist organizations debate resolutions and make plans for the coming years, Israeli leadership has appeared to tied its own hands. Meanwhile, Sderot residents live in fear.

Michael Lawrence (KIC Founder) gives his view on the Zionist Congress irony. Listen now and leave your comment on the KICblog - www.kicisrael.blogspot.com

this is an KICaudio post - click to play

Sunday, June 18, 2006

KICaudio launched

Tonight we have launched KICaudio - our new way to Keep It Current for worldwide KICblog readers. Whether you've been in a KICsession in Israel or you're just a KICfan, now you can hear KICupdates on Israeli news and Israeli Current Affairs whenever you want.

We invite you to listen in and leave us a KICcomment with your opinion.

this is a KICaudio post - click to play

Enjoy!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Un-Annan-Believable

I'd laugh it it wasn't so tragically amusing. It's unbelievable in fact and something so unbelievable could only come out of the mouth of someone so UNbelievable, so United Nations!

What Kofi has Annan been drinking? Not the Israeli Elite that's for sure. Mr Annan finds it hard to believe that Hamas would plant mines or bombs on a beach populated by Palestinian civilians. What is so hard to believe about that, Secretary-General, sir?

For years, Hamas, Arafat and friendly others have placed their women, children and non-combatants on the frontlines and often used them cynically as human shields and protection of their own backsides from IDF anti-terror operations. Hamas the terror government, like Hamas the terror group have ruined the minds of a generation of young people and educated only toward hate, violence and martyrdom. Arafat did the same, only more quietly. Hamas follows the Iranian loud mouth theory of diplomacy.

So what's wrong with Kofi? It's hard to believe Olmert tour of Western capitals last week meant much even if we did witness of the backslapping, smiles and agreement on some issues. Should we all be excited that polls in Europe have done a flip-flop from 2004 when Europeans voted Israel (not Iran, North Korea etc) as the biggest threat to world peace? They say Europeans like Israel more now. They realize Hamas and the Palestinians have squandered a chance for peace or separation or agreement or something...

The 'protect the world from war" organization has again, via its leadership, failed once again to understand or to admit their understanding of Israel's enemies. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah - they all do it. They expose their friends and family to war for the sake of Palestine - a cause that loses more hope each day as a result. Whether its the smuggling of weapons into civilian homes through underground tunnels, shooting missiles from civilian areas, hiding in schools, ambulances and the like, transporting missiles (destined for Ashkelon) through crowded city streets or laying anti-IDF bombs across civilian beaches.

Whatever means, whatever it takes, Hamas has no problem sending families to die. Oh yes, for Palestine, a state that those dead civilians will never see. Their cowardice has never impressed me - pleased to pay 12-year olds twenty shekels to blow themselves up but never running for martyrdom themselves.

I am lying aren't I? KIC, lies and videotape? I must be lying because a man as intelligent as Kofi Annan couldn't really be as wrong and as naive (or skewed) as all this.

I wish I was wrong.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can one be British and Jewish?


Here is an op-ed I wrote for the Jerusalem Post. The interesting thing is part of my article was picked up by the Independent newspaper. However, contrary to how it looks I was never interviewed or questioned for this article. The journalist merely took parts of the original article and inserted it into his article to make it look like I was being interviewed.
Very Cheeky!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Patience Exhausted

We moaned and we groaned about him and his lack of experience but let's face it – having a left-wing 'land for anything' man as Defense Minister can be rather helpful. It does rather restrict the extent of the criticism heaved at Israel by other countries and by Israelis themselves.

Even when the Israeli Air Force has killed Palestinian civilians along with terrorists, like today, it's more difficult to waive the peace and human rights finger at Peretz and Olmert than it was once when Ariel Sharon (not a word about him anymore) and Shaul Mofaz (still kept tragically busy in the far less honorable, no less important Transportation Ministry).

Our Prime Minister is traveling Europe openly advocating Israeli withdrawal (bilaterally or unilaterally) from 90% of the West Bank. He is not promoting continued control over the lives of the Palestinians. He even approved weapons to Mahmoud Abbas as recently as last night. On Sunday, Amir Peretz rejected the IDF recommendation to "let the IDF win", wanting to give Hamas more time to come to its senses. I am sure they appreciated the extra time to mull things over. Iran's President is enjoying similar time to think. If only thinking was all these people do when we go into extra time.

All this, an Israeli leadership for separation and less confrontation and yet still a leadership, it appears… finally, that does want to fulfill its role of protecting the Jewish people from those who wish to hurt us. It's not an easy role and whether we are in fact the most moral army in the world as Olmert claims and whether we try our best to avoid civilian casualties – regardless - Israel, the IDF and Israelis will stand judged on the world stage by the harshest critics, the same armchair and other experts who judge American, British and other anti-terror action on a different diplomatic playing field.

Guilty before being heard? In the sad death of the family on the Gaza beach – yes! And now, when the media damage is done, will those who accused us stand up to withdraw those claims or at least pause and put away their knives until the case is closed? Muhammed al-Dura and Jenin revealed a world that requires no evidence in the court of world opinion. Will the world believe us when we say that only one IAF missie was fired, that the Kaytusha rockets themselves caused the civilian injuries after medics and civilians surrounded the van? Don't bet on retractions or apologies.

There are going to be more civilian deaths among Palestinians. It's unavoidable when terror cells transport, store and produce Qassam rockets and Kaytusha missiles in residential neighborhoods. We still have an obligation to do our utmost to strike only at those who wish to kill, injure and frighten our people. Those who do in fact threaten us should understand that even the Israeli left's patience has come to an end and that they, the terrorists will be responsible for the harm caused to innocent people, both in Israel and in their own hometowns.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Zionist Parties Awakening

Quite the academics aren't they! Terror stars of the Palestinian Authority have come up with a new line recently. "You see", they exclaim, "there's no difference between the Likud, Kadima and Labor. They're all occupying killers and murderers".
Duh! Why did it take you so long to come up with that prognosis guys?

Though in fact there are significant differences between these three Israeli political parties, those differences can appear to disappear more or less when what Israel faces is a renewal of 2002-like terror actions and warnings across the state. Already tonight we've seen the murder of an Jerusalem Arab near the main highway between Jerusalem and Modiin (injuring 4 other Arabs too). With at least part of Hamas deciding to end its peculiar ("let's spend the time building up an arsenal") 'calm time', Israelis await the very worst and hope for the best.

On Friday night, while cruising through the OU's Torah Tidbits, (this being before I knew of the tragic events in Gaza), I was rather taken aback by a notice inviting people to show solidarity through visits to Sderot and other Western Negev communities. Suddenly it struck me. The right were right.

Here we are, almost a year after Disengagement and now we're invited to solidarity trips for Sderot? Last year it was Netzarim and Neve Dekalim that we were asked to show sympathy for. Now the kibbutzim and small towns in the Negev. Ummm... oops! There's something wrong with this picture.

And Kadima and Labor (the foundations of the new government) recognize this picture very well. They've been having nightmares about it for some time but woken each morning happy to discover that it was all just a bad dream. Dream no longer...

There's room for criticizing the Sharon and Olmert governments' lethargic almost timid response to the constant Qassam and Katusha fire. That's not to say they've done nothing but Sderot and environs are now living a frightening existence. Hamas has declared its ultimate aim to make Sderot a ghost town and they are matching words with actions.

It's a shame that we are faced with an enemy again, the same enemy as 2002, that horrible year. Still, this realization may have finally awoken the Zionist giant and confirmed for the Palestinians what we pro-Israel folk always hoped was true - that is, that when it comes to Israel's right to exist in peace and security, each and every Zionist party will stand and deliver. While maintaining a sensible respect for Palestinian human rights, let's hope that Amir Peretz and crew let the IDF win - once and for all.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Confirmation, Panic Stations, Irritation

When I went to bed at 2am last night, it had become rather clear that indeed an Israeli had been kidnapped and taken away to Shechem (Nablus), terror town of the northern West Bank. Apparently the Hebrew University student had been statched from Jerusalem which was a touch worrying but not particularly surprising.

More shocking was to awake not only to the news that US citizen (non-Israeli) Benjamin Bright-Fishbein had been released and that he'd actually created this whole saga himself by visiting Nablus on his own volition, apparently with kippah (skullcap) and all. He sat happily(!) in a Nablus cafe smoking Nargila before being invited to make a video to the world, with special guest star, Mr Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

Should I refrain from further cynicism?

Which side of his brain convinced him that Nablus is nice at this time of year? No Palestinian town is nice for any Jew or Israeli (or really for any Westerner) even on a nice day. While it's not illegal for non-Israelis to visit there, one must say that Benjamin's latter admission that he made a horrid mistake doesn't quite cover the explitives that the security forces are saying under their breath right now.

What kind of 'orientation' and introduction to Israel do they give to foreign Jewish students at Hebrew Uni. How could it be that he had no inkling of what awaited him?

He's a lucky boy and as someone noted in a ynet comment, thank G-d no IDF soldiers were injured in having to rescue him and that no Palestinian terrorists had to be exchanged for him.
I do hope he'll be asked to pay some of the bills for his adventure - a little deterrent for others considering visiting our friendly neighbors.

I've had contact with other foreign born Israeli Jews who venture to Ramallah and other pretty towns for social activities and even to have their haircuts and the like. When they end up starring in the next Zarqawi-style video, I'll feel bad for them but I'm unsure that wilful stupidity deserves IDF risk & rescue.

One thing that did come out of all this is just how disorganized and splintered these terror gangs are and in fact how frightened they can become. Though controversial in the eyes of some, I maintain that the assaisinations of Palestinian terror leaders does in fact make terrorists think twice or three times before carrying out an action. Additionally, international pressure appears to take its toll at times. As has been noted several times in past hours, it appears the tough terror guys suddenly crawled into a hole when realizing Benjamin was an American. As one Israeli official put it, maybe Zarqawi's end might have made the cafe kidnappers imagine their own 72 virginless fate.