EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Nearly a half-century after the Yom Kippur War, it is instructive to note how the war is remembered and understood by the chief protagonists.
To Israelis, it is the Yom Kippur War. To Egyptians, it is the October (Tishrin), Ramadan, or Freedom War. Fought 45 years ago, the war retains a significance in both societies far beyond many other wars. In Israel, the 1973 War is a source of both contention and pride. In Egypt, too, it is a source of pride – and more importantly, it is a source of justification for Cairo’s decision to stop making war against Israel from that point on.
Nearly a half-century later, it is instructive to note how the war is remembered and understood by the chief protagonists. A comparison between the well-written and well-documented Wikipedia entries on the war, one in Hebrew and one in Arabic, is a good way to gauge the basic assessments of the war in Jewish and Arab societies.
Of course, the comparison is only valid if the two entries are not mere translations of one another. They are not, as can be easily ascertained by the different sources they cite. The Hebrew entry cites works in Hebrew and English, including sources like the memoirs of Sa’ad al-Din Shazli, the Egyptian chief-of-staff, written in Arabic and subsequently translated into English. The Arabic entry cites sources in English and Arabic, including sources written in Hebrew and subsequently translated into English. The Arabic entry includes one source in Russian.
Frequently, Shiite Islamic preachers and leaders can be heard stating that Islam recognized “People of the Book,” which refers to Christians and Jews. This assertion sounds as if Islam gives Christian and Jews the same level of status and respect as their Muslim counterparts.
That argument was recently confirmed when the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, claimed that “Christians have the same rights as others do.” With that confirmation, it might be easy to assume that Christians are relatively safe in Iran. But are they?
In speeches, and on paper, these words probably give the impression that Christians are not only welcome in Iran, but given equal rights and protections. However, the everyday experiences of Christians in Iran, tell a very different story.
Violence and persecution against Christians have, under the sharia law of Iran, increased significantly. One recent case documents the traumatic experiences of Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz and his wife Shamiram Issavi, ethnic Assyrian Christians, along with Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Asgari, who converted to Christianity from Islam. Each were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to a combined total of 45 years in prison. Despite Iran’s claims that they have equal rights and protections, they may never see freedom again.
The Palestinian Arab youth and the families desiring a solid future are the ones who will lose the most. Currently, if a Palestinian Arab family living in Gaza or under the Palestinian Authority (PA) wishes to relocate, perhaps near relatives in Egypt or anywhere else in the world, they are not permitted to do so. Israel would have no problem allowing their relocating and if many had their way within Israel, we would aid them by giving them money to assist with their move. The United States might even consider joining in assisting Palestinian Arabs to relocate somewhere else in the world simply to end a conflict, which legally can only be decided in Israel’s favor. The problem they face is their own leadership who has security details which prevent any of them from leaving, ever. They are literally captives of their own people who are getting sickeningly wealthy off…
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Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Pakistan: A Muslim man set a Christian woman on fire because she refused to convert to Islam and marry him. Asma Yaqoob, 25, with burns covering nearly 90 percent of her body, died five days later. According to her father, his son and he were waiting for Asma, a domestic servant, at the home of her employer, when she answered a knock on the door. “After some time we heard her screaming in pain,” he said. They “rushed outside to see what had happened” and saw Rizwan Gujjar, 30, a onetime family friend, fleeing “while Asma was engulfed in flames.” Three months earlier Gujjar had begun pressuring Asma to marry him. She, “not wanting to recant her Christian faith,” politely declined and tried to avoided him, says another report. So, on April 17, when she answered the door, he doused her with gasoline and set her aflame. According to her mother:
“Asma told us that on the night of the attack, Gujjar had come to Zaman’s [her employer’s] house and told her that she has no other choice but to renounce her faith and marry him in court the next morning. My daughter refused, upon which he emptied a bottle of petrol on her body and set her alight… My daughter is a staunch Protestant Christian and had been resisting Gujjar’s pressure for a long time. She was not interested in him and had repeatedly complained about his misbehavior. When all efforts failed to convince Asma to cave in to his demand, Gujjar attempted to kill her.”
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is proving to be a blessing in disguise for cash-strapped Pakistani PM Imran Khan. Khan’s blessing is also likely to offer Saudi Arabia geopolitical advantage.
Pakistani PM Imran Khan struck gold on his second visit to the Saudi kingdom since coming to office in August.
He was rewarded for having attended Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s investors’ conference in Riyadh, a showcase dubbed Davos in the Desert. The event was shunned by numerous CEOs of Western financial institutions, tech entrepreneurs, and media moguls as well as senior Western government officials because of the Khashoggi affair.
In talks with King Salman and the crown prince, Khan managed to secure a promise from Saudi Arabia to deposit $3 billion in Pakistan’s central bank as balance of payments support and to defer up to $3 billion in payments for oil imports for a year.
In the Jewish laws that apply to mourning the dead, there is a concept called aninut. It means intense grieving, and according to halacha it lasts from the moment a mourner has learned of a death until the end of the burial. In that in-between time, he or she is exempt from all commandments that require action and attention, including praying or even reciting any blessings at all. Some rabbis will go further and in fact forbid any action that involves expressions of faith or fealty to God. We are not simply allowed to be angry in the immediate aftermath of loss; we are strongly discouraged from even trying to force ourselves out of that pain.
The Jews of Pittsburgh—and, we would argue, many people around the world whose eyes and hearts are turned to them—are currently in aninut. Under normal circumstances, Jewish burials must happen within 24 hours of death. But the Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 people were murdered while praying this past Sabbath, remains a cordoned-off, and by all accounts spectacularly gruesome, crime scene. The first funerals are being held today.