29 December 2008

The Fixer


Copyright ©, R. Kossover, 2008
Published originally as part of an article at Desicritics.org

29 December, 2008

Tzvi ben Gedalyahu writes at Arutz Sheva, Tanks Deployed at Gaza Barrier; Barak: War to the Death.

In this article, Barak gets plenty of exposure as the tough grim-faced leader, the man who is serious at defeating his enemies. Since he is the Security Minister, and the IDF is sitting at the lip of another military campaign, it is hard to describe him otherwise.

This is how Ehud Barak likes to see himself portrayed; the man who is decisive, the man who is determined. He is a very typical Israeli, a back-slapper, who likes to see himself as the man with the solution - hamisadér is the Hebrew term - the fixer.

Before our young boys go into battle, before they die, before the wailing of mothers, fathers and wives having lost young heroes makes it too hard to criticize, lets take a closer look at this "fixer". Like many Israeli politicians, he was a career officer with the IDF, and because he was affiliated with Labor, and not a religiously observant Jew, he was able to advance to the top ranks in the IDF (Efraim Eitam, who is a religiously observant Jew, hit the ceiling of discrimination in the IDF, and quit as a result).

On the way up, Barak was in command of soldiers fighting in Lebanon a quarter century ago. One group of soldiers he commanded was a unit of religiously observant Jews. He had them advance into the pass near Sultan Yukub, where Arab forces were waiting to ambush them, and where 23 of our kids died as a result. It is widely believed that he knew of the presence of the Arab soldiers and was willing to see religious Jews die - that way they could not father kids who would vote against someone like Barak - or vote against Barak themselves.

Later, he was responsible for presenting recommendations on the purchase of three German submarines, submarines that could possibly carry nuclear weapons. He recommended against the purchase of these submarines. Wiser heads prevailed at the Security Ministry, and they are now in our hands.

When he became prime minister, the hand picked choice of Bill Clinton, he tried to negotiate a fast-track "peace" deal with the Syrians - and failed. But he managed to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon, a withdrawal that looked like a rout, and which made HizbAllah look like a far more serious force than it was at the time. And of course we know that all the Jews and Arabs who died in the eight years subsequent in Arab terror attacks from HizbAllah, or in fighting in Lebanon are therefore on Barak's head.

When Yassir Arafat began an intifada in September 2000, Barak was unwilling to crush it, as he should have. Arab leaders got to calling him a "lemon" - give a squeeze, and get more juice. So the so-called "hard-liner", Ariel Sharon replaced him, and immediately attempted to recruit him as External Affairs Minister. Barak turned Sharon down, so Sharon recruited instead, Shim'on Peres. And while Sharon looked like a bully and had the (deserved) reputation as a butcher among the Arabs, Sharon was like Barak; he wanted to make money with the PLO and cut back-room deals while publicly excoriating Arafat.

But getting back to "The Fixer", Barak, he made his way slowly back to the top in Labor, and when he finally became Security Minister, one of Barak's priorities was to use the IDF to bully Jews. We saw an example of this only two months ago, when the High Court of "Justice" (another oxymoron) decided to seriously question the purchase of Bet haShalóm along the Worshipers Way between Qiryat 'Arba and Hebron and allow for the expulsion of the Jewish residents (who had paid serious money and obtained mortgages based on a video taped sale; the Arab who made the sale, reneged because in the "Palestinian" Authority, sale of land to a Jew is a capital crime).

Barak, looking for a way to demonize Jews living in Judea, insisted that he was going to expel the residents, and did so. One considers how close to civil war he brought the country with his massive ego.

And now, running for office, he seeks to wipe away the stink of his actions in Hebron. So good Jewish soldiers will die, and likely, many innocent Arabs as well as terrorist/rebels will die.

So much for The Fixer.

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27 December 2008

Israel Air Corps Catches Terrorists with Their Pants Down - Kills 200 in Air Strikes


Originally published at Desicritics.org
27 December 2008
Copyright © R. Kossover, 2008

On Saturday, striking Arab terrorists on the Jewish Sabbath, the Israel Air Corps attacked the Hamas compounds in Gaza City. According to Debkafiles the attacks began a half hour before noon, Israel Winter Time, and have continued throughout the day, with the latest attack occurring this evening (27 December) as a vehicle was bombed in Khan Yunis in the southern portion of the Gaza Strip. This came after Arab terrorists launched over 200 rockets at Israel's south after the conclusion of a so-called "truce". It should also be noted here that Arab terrorists from various groups have fired over 6,000 rockets and missiles at Israel since the unilateral Israeli destruction of Gush Qatif and withdrawal from the Strip in 2005.

Latest casualty figures in Gaza are 205 dead, over 300 wounded and thousands of shock victims. According to Israeli officials this is "just the beginning" but past experience with such statements from the IDF of late have proven to be more bluster than reality although no Israeli news source will come out and say this openly. According to the Debkfiles report, Egypt condemned Israel for the attack, but on the other hand condemned Hamas for failing to protect the Arab population under its control and for failing to heed its warnings.

Arab retaliation has already begun. A man was killed by a rocket launched at Netivot this evening and it can be expected that if the Arabs follow through with their threats, rockets will be launched to hit targets in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Yavne and other towns and cities extending all the way to Be'ersheva. According to Arutz Sheva, during the day in Jerusalem there were a number of rock throwing incidents in Arab neighborhoods and in the Old City, and this evening, an Arab driver attempted to run over a policeman.

If one can attempt to analyze the events cold-heartedly, the Israel regime is trying to eliminate Hamas as a political factor in the region because it has had reasonably good relations with the PLO in the past and Hamas is getting in the way of a good business deal. It should not be forgotten that the same man who was Ariel Sharon's personal advisor, Avi Weissglass, also was the attorney for the Arab firm handling business for the late Yassir Arafat. There has been an on-going civil war in the Arab controlled portions of Judea and Samaria, with PLO operatives arresting and torturing Hamas operatives with the backing of the IDF and the Israel government.

However, the far more relevant question for residents of South Asia is this: Is Israel providing India a model for what it should do in the wake of Mumbai?

16 December 2008

An Open Letter to the Officials of Minnesota Concerning Security at the Mall of America in Light of the Attack on Mumbai

I wrote this letter to the following individuals:

The Governor of Minnesota
The Sheriff of Hennepin County, MN
The office if the Adjutant General of Minnesota
The Board Clerk of Hennepin County, MN
State Senator Sandra Pappas
The City Manager of Bloomington, MN
The Chief of Police of Bloomington, MN
The Fire Department of Bloomington, MN

Here's hoping that in the light of the attack on Mumbai by terrorists in late November, they pay attention.

Dear gentlemen (and ladies),
My name is Reuven Kossover, and I used to live in the Twin Cities for about two decades before moving with my family to Israel to live.

I'm writing this to you because my wife has family in St. Paul and suburbs, and they commonly go to the Mall of America to shop, dine out, what have you. So, this is a personal matter for me, rather than some citizen wagging his finger at you with public concerns and time-wasting whining.

I notice this because this was sent out by Tamar Yonah, a host on the internet radio station Israel National Radio, otherwise known by its Hebrew name " 'Arutz Sheva". This is the link to the article found at Israel National News.com. This is a live link. Click on it and you will go the article itself.

I'm also sending this out because I have a relative who might be in a position to do something to protect his own family, not to mention the millions who visit the Mall of America yearly, a captain with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. I'm also writing this out of concern for the Jews who live in the Twin Cities area, who would, as Jews in Mumbai were, be targeted in a terrorist attack.

The Twin Cities and Bloomington are inland ports, unlike Mumbai. Americans will have already been alerted to the possibility of a major terrorist attack on a seaport - for example the shopping mall near 25th Avenue (Bay Parkway) in Brooklyn.

The Mall of America is a major tourist attraction for the state of Minnesota, not to mention the city of Bloomington. Unlike the Minnesota State Fair, which runs for ten days at the end of summer, the Mall of America is open nearly 365 days a year. I will confine my concerns here to the security of Minnesotans and tourists to Minnesota.

According to the article below, Director of the Northeast Intelligence
Network Douglass L. Hagmann was interviewed on Israel National
Radio's Weekend Edition and said that attacks like those in Mumbai
will happen again. From the article:

"Hagmann is a private investigator and security and surveillance
expert who provides information for the FBI, Homeland Security and
other agencies. He's also the author of "Tactical Surveillance" an
investigative manual that is used at Henley-Putnam University as one
of the core texts in the criminal justice program.

Hagmann wants the public to know, "I've personally investigated
potential terrorists who are in this country [USA] that appear to be
training for just such scenarios." He went on to explain that he has
evidence of Muslim groups training in the Catskills. They train with
automatic weapons and the loud spats of gunfire are unsettling and
disturbing to those neighbors who reside nearby. The most disturbing
thing Hagmann says is that during surveillance of this Muslim group
it was discovered that they have video of them practicing shooting up
a yellow school bus they had brought onto their property. The school
bus target shooting is disturbing because it could be a sign to come
of a future terror attack on American school children.

What about immediate targets?

Hagmann states that the Mall of America is a prime target for Islamic
terrorists. "The terrorists have published their desires to create an
attack against American civilians in a retail shopping outlet. Number
one, for the body count, number two, for the ease of the target and
thirdly, they don't care if they kill women and children, in fact,
all the better, and number four, it would have a serious economic
effect on the country."

Now, let's examine the possibilities for such an attack. There is in the Twin Cities a large Somali population that could be recruited for such an operation. Bear in mind that only ten individuals attacked Mumbai, a city of 18 million souls. Somalis are preferable to others simply because being black, they are not appreciably different in appearance from the native-born black-Americans. Profiling them would create an outcry of bigotry from politically correct Minnesotans, of whom there appear to be a large number.

So, that is the best recruiting pool. The second best recruiting pool would be Arabs who bear a strong resemblance to Mexicans - of whom there are many in the Twin Cities area. The same issues regarding racial profiling would apply to Arabs as would apply to Somalis, for the same reasons.

This would a suicide attack, because once the terrorist attackers engaged the acquisition of hostages and targets, the chance of their negotiating their live exit from target areas would be slim to none. So the concentration must be on swift liberation of target areas seized., as murdering hostages would not be an issue for the terrorists. There would be no hostages in the real sense of the word, merely prisoners seized for execution by terrorists, for the purpose of spreading terror and fear.

Now let's look at some of the security issues. Please do not think that I am trying to tell you how to do your jobs here. But having shopped numerous times at the Mall of America, I know just how easy it was to get in and get out. But the last time I went to shop there was in August, 2001. I do not know how easy approach to the Mall of America is today - whether there is real security presence there or not, whether entrants are checked for weapons, etc. But my memory tells me that there were at least four entrances and exits and all of them need to be covered - as well as motels in the vicinity and transit hubs (like the stations for the light rail that now runs there). This would be to cover the potential targeting of the general population of Minnesota, considering how the general population of Mumbai was targeted in much the same way.

But we come to an additional issue here, the likely targeting of the Haba"d House in the Twin Cities, or of major synagogues either in St. Paul or its immediate suburbs. It must not be forgotten that while Kashmir may have been a "screen issue" for the terrorists in Mumbai, the real goals were to bring Mumbai to its knees - and to torture and kill Jews.

So, the rabbis in charge of the Haba"d House and its associated institutions in the Twin Cities must be consulted with as to seeing to it that the security of those associated with it is safeguarded. I mention the Haba"d House and its affiliated institutions because they are the most obvious targets - but two conservative synagogues, a day school and perhaps one office in the Highland area of St. Paul are also likely targets. In this communication, I will not mention names. This communication is not encrypted.

I realize that Mumbai is far, far away. and for the most part, aside from commercial or family considerations, what occurs on the Indian subcontinent or the Middle East is of little concern for the average Minnesotan. I certainly felt that way myself for most of the time that I lived in the Twin Cities. Whether the Vikes make it to the Superbowl, or whether the firm one works for is healthy in a very difficult economic climate is a far more relevant concern - until terrorists, well organized and well trained, strike and kill innocents in your midst.

It is for this reason that I beg you, that I implore you to pay close attention to this letter. I myself can only address the security issues you face in the most skeletal way. But I still have family in Minnesota, and I do not want to see them die as a result of a terror attack that could be prevented.

May you all have a pleasant and safe holiday season.
R. Kossover
Samaria, Israel

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06 December 2008

Honoring Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rebbetzin Rivka Holtzberg, Martyrs of the Jewish People Who Died in Mumbai

Copyright © 2008, R. Kossover
Originally published in Desicritics.org,
3 December 2008

As Mumbaikars mourn their many dead and comfort their many injured, Rabbi Holtzberg and his pregnant wife were buried in Jerusalem today.

It may not be clear what the Haba"d does or why. Let this tale from my own life be an illustration.

When I was living on the streets of Saint Paul twenty-five years ago, there were barely any Jewish agencies to help homeless Jews. But there was the Haba"d House. On a cold winter day I walked from downtown to a large residence in the Highland Park neighborhood and knocked on the door. I was tired and hungry. I was welcomed in as though I were a lost son.

The rabbi didn't care that I didn't know what blessings to say over the food (I do now). The rabbi didn't care whether I was dressed as he deemed a Jew ought to dress. He didn't care that I had not said the afternoon prayer or the evening prayer. None of this interested him. The Rabbi offered me food. He was concerned that I had not eaten a decent meal, and insisted on feeding me a decent meal. He asked how it was that I came to be homeless. The story was simple and I told it to him.

I ate, drank some soda. I ate some more. When I was satisfied and full he made his proposition: if I wanted, he would pay for my transport to study Torah, Talmud and all the things a Jew should concentrate on learning. This would be either in Jerusalem or in Brooklyn. I was interested. I wanted very much to go to Israel. But I didn't want to grow the beard I had shaven off in law school; I already had a streak of white hair in my beard from the spot I had pulled at and pulled at in tension trying to comprehend principles in case law. I had forgotten how to wrap tefillin around my arm and head and it embarrassed me terribly (I know now). And most of all, as nice as this guy was, I didn't want to lose my intellectual independence.

So I thanked the rabbi, and told him I would get back to him with an answer in a few days. I never did. He knew he had not made his sale. But, nevertheless, he paid for a motel room for me to sleep in. I showered, and shaved and cleaned all the dirt from the street off of me. I watched cable TV. The next morning I was a homeless bum again.

This rabbi did for me what Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, z"l, hy"d (may their souls be remembered for blessings and may G-d avenge their blood), did for thousands and thousands of Jews passing through Mumbai. They served kosher meals, they explained Torah and Law and tried to do with each of these Jews what the rabbi at the St. Paul Haba"d House had attempted to do with me - to draw me closer to G-d. They gave them a place to sleep and rest their weary heads.

That is their mission. That is the mission the Lubavicher Rebbe gave them many years ago - to reach out and get Jews to perform mitzvót - commandments and good deeds - and thus draw them to G-d bit by bit. If asked, they will explain to non-Jews the Seven laws of Noah, which we Jews believe to be universal laws binding all of mankind. But they will not proselytize nor attempt to convince a non-Jew to become a Jew, nor will they preach the Seven Laws of Noah.

Last week, terrorists, whose actual aims remain unclear, tortured and murdered Rebbetzin Rivka Holtzberg along with seven other Jews at the Haba"d headquarters in the Nariman House in Mumbai, a place they had carefully targeted. Just before Indian Commandos liberated the Nariman House, they murdered Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg. His body was found still warm. And that is why they were buried today. Another couple will continue their work in Mumbai. The Haba"d will not be deterred by the evil of a terrorist. They will light not merely a candle in the darkness, they will light a torch to drive away the darkness.

This link is a You tube video of an Israel National News report of the funeral of Rav Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivka Holtzberg, zikhronám l'brakhá v'HASHEM y'nakém damám. It is about eight minutes long. I ask you to watch. It says more than this Jew in the mountains of Samaria can, no matter how hard he tries. Rav Holtzberg and his wife Rivka are survived by their son Moshe; may he become a great man in Israel.

ברוך דיין האמת


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