David Ben-Gurion and the rebirth of Israel

In the Gregorian calendar, which we Catholics use, May 14th marks the anniversary of the rebirth of Israel. On that day, in 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel at Dizengoff House (now known as Independence Hall) on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

Few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting this historical building. For any friend and supporter of Israel, this is a very humbling and profound experience. Mostly when you understand that, from there, Israel directly went to war against the Arab armies to guarantee its very survival.

Whatever your political inclinations (he was a left-winger and I’m a conservative), you can’t be indifferent to that giant of history. Ben-Gurion certainly was not the only one who contributed to the rebirth of Israel. But he was the man who paved the way to Independence Hall.

Jabotinsky and Gallipoli

I just started reading Bruce Hoffman’s recent book, Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947

Here’s what I found on page 8: Jabotinsky

“His [Jabotinsky] efforts resulted in the formation of the Zion Mule Corps, which participated in the ill-fated invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli in 1915.”

For the record, Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky was a Zionist leader and he was co-responsible of the creation of the Jewish Legion during World War I.

While I was aware of the existence of the Jewish Legion, I ignored the Gallipoli component of its involvement for King and Country (or, I should write Empire). Modest as this contribution might have been, it is nevertheless an excellent example that Israel – even before it was reborn under this name in 1948 – stood with the Allies (I think we can call them the West) when the going got tough.

Enough for now. I’ll publish a review of the book when I finish the last page of it. But I can already say that this is a very enjoyable read and a good investment.

The Heroes of the Israel Defense Force (IDF)

I’ve been blessed to travel to Israel on several occasions for professional purposes. Every time, I was always amazed and impressed by those young men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

While other young people go to University, travel the world with friends, find a good job or establish a family, young Israelis devote an important part of their life to be on the vanguard of protecting and defending their homeland. For your information, “Males serve for three years and females for just less than two years.

So this video has it all right. It’s not a metaphor. The heroes of the IDF really have Israel’s back. And they’re the first line of defence of the values that are important for us – freedom and democracy.

RT’s article about ISIS

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ISIS-occupied territory in the Middle East source: http://snipurl.com/29uu75t

I don’t know about you, but I like to read news reports and analysis from RT (Russia Today). I like their unconventional way of doing things. Their journalists sometimes irk me, but, overall, this is a very interesting News Agency. They may have an agenda, but which news media doesn’t?

All of this to say that RT reported today the revelations contained in an article from Der Spiegel with some interesting revelations supporting the fact that ISIS is an offspring of the miscalculations and mistakes of the US intervention in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

According to RT’s article:

“The reason why ISIS are so successful as a terrorist organization is partly because many of their founding members, including the top strategist, were part of Saddam Hussein’s professional security apparatus. By shattering the well-trained army of Saddam, the US apparently created a group of very intelligent enemies.

Bakr [ISIS mastermind Haji Bakr, whose real name was Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi] was a “highly intelligent, firm and an excellent logistician,” as an Iraqi journalist described the former officer. But when the US suddenly dissolved the Iraqi army after the 2003 invasion he became “bitter and unemployed.””

Here is a powerful reminder to Western leaders and military planners that one needs to be very careful when approaching the Middle East. It’s also a reminder that we should stick even closer to our friends – lsrael being at the top of that list, but there are others like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for example – who are our best allies to confront these threats.

They might not be perfect, but they are reliable, unlike Iran. In a context like this, a staunch friend is 100 times better than a would-be, potential, circumstantial ally.

Heeding the Pope’s call

(photo credit: AP Photo/STR) Times of Israel
(photo credit: AP Photo/STR) Times of Israel

Let’s now venture into the Catholic world. Since I’m myself a practicing Catholic, it is a real pleasure of writing about Pope Francis. I don’t want to get too much into the nitty-gritty of the Catholic traditions, but some of you may find it informative. During the Easter season, the Regina Coeli prayer replaces the Angelus. Yesterday, Pope Francis took the opportunity presented to himself by the Regina Coeli prayer to call upon the international community to act, in a concrete way, against the murderous persecution of Christians around the world:

“They are our martyrs of today and there are many of them, we can say that there are more of them now than there were in other times. I hope that the International Community will not stand by, silent and inert, as we witness this unacceptable crime, which represents a worrying violation of the most basic human rights. I earnestly hope that the International Community will not turn a blind eye.”

The Pope is right. We must not stand idle while these atrocities are committed. Not standing idle means taking action. And the actions taken can only be conducted through military actions.

Some of my fellow Catholics might be tempted to agitate the white flags of blind pacifism, arguing that military actions diverge from the Catholic philosophy and traditions. But there’s a whole body of doctrine to support the actions that are now required, as St. Augustine – theoretician of the just war concept – demonstrates.