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90,000 Muslims will pray on the Temple Mount on the occasion of Ramadan.

Since Israel liberated the Temple Mount in 1967, no Jew is allowed to pray, there lest we disturb the Muslims.

After discussing the settlement freeze with Angela Merkel, Netanyahu was presented with Auschwitz blueprints from the German archives. He also toured the site of Berlin’s Wannsee Conference, which defined the goal of annihilating all the Jews.

Given Obama’s demands, Netanyahu needs all the experience he can get.

The IAEA lamented the lack of clarification from Iran on the “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program. As before, Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA is limited to weasel answers.

Israel should be the last country to criticize Iran’s efforts to evade the IAEA’s inspections. Bomb Iran, yes; but let’s not be so hypocritical as to condemn it for behavior that is after all similar to Israel’s over the last forty years.

Eleven haredim were arrested as crowds protested the municipality’s desecration of the Sabbath. In contrast to this crackdown, only four Arabs were arrested on Friday, when 90,000 Palestinians swarmed the Temple Mount.

For the first time since the allegedly rigged elections, Ahmadinejad came out strongly for prosecuting the opposition leaders who organized the riots.

Ahmadinejad’s escalation comes as Ayatollah Khamenei is trying to scale back the repressions. Khamenei wants to demolish the infamous Kahrizak jail, and has defended the opposition leaders against accusations that they are American puppets (they are closer to Britain, actually).

Having recovered from the shock of the riots, Ahmedinejad’s backers from the Revolutionary Guards want blood. Ayatollah Khamenei, on other hand, cannot clash head-on with the other grand ayatollahs, who support the opposition and can impeach him through the Rafsanjani-led Council of Experts.

The Israeli government reportedly issued Hamas an ultimatum: accept the Israeli list of terrorists for exchange, or Israel will break off the talks.

Under Netanyahu, Barak can offer Hamas slightly less than he could have in Olmert’s government—he probably cannot free the murderers. Like Olmert, Netanyahu wants to confine the released terrorists to Gaza.

Hamas needs the prisoner release to happen before the January elections in order to prove that their tactics are superior to Abbas’. For that very reason Abbas and Obama would rather break the deal.

Hamas, however, would find it very hard to explain to its voters and prisoners why it scaled back its demands for the exchange.

A report by the Taub Center shows that haredim and Arabs constitute 48% of the pupils in Israel’s public schools. Due to the dismal quality of public education (teachers often lack a university degree), many parents prefer private schools.

Haredim and Arabs, to all purposes, do not study in schools. Arabs pass specially crafted exams with extremely low requirements, and haredim have most exams omitted for them.

The Saudis expressed their disapproval of Obama’s inaction on Iran in a free-market way—by purchasing $2 billion worth of armaments from Russia. The Saudis have exclusively purchased US weapons since the Gulf War, as a way of repaying their American saviors.

Sales of S-400 SAM batteries are on the agenda. Since Saudi Arabia is a stable country, it can purchase a scaled-down export version of the S-400 with no trouble.

Israel cannot follow the Saudi example. Unlike in Saudi Arabia, where the decision to approach the Russians is made by a single ruler, in Israel thousands of corrupt officials depend on American military manufacturers for their living, and would torpedo any deal with Russia.

UNRWA denied Hamas’ accusations that it is teaching “Zionist lies” in its Gaza schools, and claims the curriculum has not changed.

Education Minister Saar ordered references to Naqba to be removed from school textbooks.

The previous minister, Peace Now founder Tamir, very sensibly included a short account of Naqba in textbooks for Arab students. The term Naqba—catastropherefers to the founding of Israel. The idea is embedded in the Palestinian conscience anyway, and Tamir merely tried to offer a balanced account of the event.

Saar’s order cannot be implemented because the textbooks which mention Naqba have already been printed for this school year.

At the Shalit talks, Hamas demanded the release of Israeli Arab prisoners. The only legal basis for their release would be to treat them as POWs, enemy soldiers.

Which is indeed true about Israeli Arabs.

The Obama administration reacted angrily to Syria’s tolerance of Al Qaeda fighters  crossing into Iraq from its territory to stage a string of major bombings.

Syria’s policy is a repeat of its actions in Lebanon in the 1990s, multiplied by Assad Jr’s adventurism. When Israel scaled back her military effort in Lebanon, Syria immediately stepped in to occupy the power vacuum. Just as in Iraq today, Syria acted in cooperation with Iran.

Young Assad converted Hezbollah from a religious fundamentalist organization into a Lebanese nationalist one, and similarly reoriented Iraqi Al Qaeda.

After America created a power vacuum in Iraq, it was foolish to hope that the country would be left alone.

An arab employee of a hostel in Jerusalem’s Keren Avraham neighborhood stabbed one of its Jewish guests to death.

Police at the scene dispersed Jewish protesters with tear gas grenades.

Suffering from cancer, Israel’s ex-PM has finally been indicted. The charges are weak: victimless fraud (donors do not object to double-billing), technically illegal but commonplace reimbursement of his travel expenses by private donors, and foreign funding for his decade-old electoral campaign.

The Israeli establishment does not need a precedent set of criminal punishment for illegal funding of elections, so those charges will be downplayed.

Given the Supreme Court’s aggressive behavior toward Olmert, sentencing is not impossible and technically cannot be light. The situation is unpredictable, but the court would not like the embarrassment of an ex-PM dying in prison.

Shrugging at Falash Mura African Christian immigrants, rabbis demanded that all of them undergo conversion to Judaism. Well and good, but that means their children must attend religious schools as a proof of their parents’ intention to convert.

Religious schools, of course, refuse to admit fake converts.

The Education Ministry has promised to revoke government funding of schools that seek to protect Jewish pupils from black migrants.

August 2009
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