Ariel Center for Policy Research


NATIV  ■ Volume Twenty  ■ No. 2 (115)  ■ March 2007 ■ Nisan 5767 ■ Ariel Center for Policy Research


David Bukay

Islamic Propoganda (Da`Wah) Towards the West


Louis René Beres

After the Falling Rockets from Lebanon


Azriel Lorber

On Technological Failures and Future Wars

Bernard Smith

Deter a War – Or Win It (2)

Erez Uriely

Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Norwegian Caricatures


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism:
Common Characteristics and Motifs

Eli Maislish

The Establishment of Trans-Jordan in 1922: An Eternal “Kingdom” or an Artificial Regime Lacking a Basis for Existence

The Middle East

Xu Xin

The Jewish Community in Kaifeng China,
An Island of Relative Tranquility in the Diaspora


Steven Plaut on Jewish Divide over Israel by Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor Shulamit Geva on Studies in Hebrew Poetry and Jewish Heritage, in Memory of Aharon Mirsky

Book Reviews

Literature and Art Supplement - Dror Eydar, Editor

Peter S. Hawkins

Dante, the Bible and the New Covenant


Alexander Rofe

The History of Israel and its Beliefs

Chava Pinchas-Cohen Aliza Reuveni


Dror Pimentel

Poetry in Prose

Dante Alighiery, The Divine Comedy, The Inferno, The Third Canto, translation: Arieh Stav

Translated Poetry

Miri Tzachi – Photos from this year’s Venetian Carnival of Masks


Prof. Edward Alexander ■ Dr. Yoram Beck ■ Dr. Aharon Ben-Ami ■ Ephraim Ben-Haim ■ Prof. Yosef Ben-Shlomo ■ Prof. Louis René Beres ■ Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover ■ Dr. David Bukay ■ Dr. Netta Kohn Dor-Shav ■ Prof. Paul Eidelberg ■ Dr. Raya Epstein ■ Naomi Frenkl ■ Dr. Giora Goldberg ■ Prof. Raphael Israeli ■ Shmuel Katz ■ Dr. Mordechai Nisan ■ Aron Pappo ■ Prof. Shlomo Sharan ■ Dr. Martin Sherman ■ Prof. Eliav Shochetman ■ Prof. Ezra Sohar ■ Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto ■ Dr. Laurence Weinbaum ■ Prof. Hillel Weiss

Editorial Board

NATIV Website in Hebrew:

Editor: Arieh Stav Associate Editor: Michael Or Managing Editor: Itta Horol
Publishing Director: Leah Kochanowitz ■ Subscription Manager: Eli Maislish
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Islamic propoganda (da`wah) towards the west

David Bukay
For the complete text of this article (in English), click here.

Islamic Propaganda (da`wah) towards the West is the most sophisticated, precisely because it takes the extreme outlook of: We are the best in all spheres of life. From this high level of pretentiousness, it is hard to argue with all its absurdities. Can you argue with assertions like: “In time of war, Islam decreed humane rules of war many centuries before such ideas were put into conventions and agreements in the West?” Or:

Islam set an unprecedented standard for the ethics of dealing with captured enemies, and treated prisoners of war in a manner that has yet to be imitated in history. The whole system of Islamic ethics places utmost importance on the preservation of human dignity and rights. For that, all forms of barbarism, unnecessary acts of violence are forbidden. “Jihad” for acts of aggression against innocent people is terror and by that is unjust and a great distortion;

or: “Islam was the first institution ever to advocate and implement human rights as universal equality. In fact, Islam promoted the universality of the human experience over 1300 years before the United Nations.”

Such claims appear in many Islamic formal websites. Why all these efforts? The answer lies in the da`wah realm: to prove that Islam is the best and the perfect of all religions; that Islam deserves its ambitions to convert the infidels as a missionary religion; and to attain global hegemony and to win over dar al-harb.

Precisely for that reasons the article brings the Islamic propaganda machinery’s claims and their quotations from the Qur`an and refutes them one by one using the same Islamic sources.

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Louis René Beres

Following the recent war in Lebanon, Israel will have to draw certain major lessons to ensure its long-term strategic survival. What is needed now, immediately and urgently, are thoughtful and coherent guidelines concerning national defense, deterrence, targeting and even preemption (anticipatory self-defense). It is no longer adequate for Israel (more or less capably) to merely stumble from one war to the next without an appropriate “master plan” for direction. Armed with such a framework of expanded conceptual understanding, the Jewish state could quickly begin to deduce pertinent tactics and policy options to match particular situations and crises. In the near-term, of course, the need for such a plan will be especially plain in matters of both nuclear war avoidance and counter-WMD terrorism.

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Azriel Lorber

The 2nd Lebanon War unearthed three technological failures in the conduct of the Israeli defense establishment. A technological failure consists of one of the following:

a.  A new technology or device is available to our forces, but for various reasons is not adopted.

b.  The enemy acquired a new weapon system but our “decision-makers” ignore it and its possible effects.

The first of these negates the full utilization of the country’s scientific and technological potential, while the second may result in a technological surprise, either on the battlefield or as means of political coercion.

Two such failures were the vulnerability of Israeli armor to anti-tank weapons and the defenselessness of Israel’s hinterland to short-range rockets. Both were known for years but ignored.

In 1978, a group of armor servicemen proposed a system for the interception of AT missiles, but were rebuffed. General Tal arranged for feasibility testing of the proposed concept, and it proved successful. However, for over a decade nothing was done. Then RAFAEL (Armament Development Authority) and TA’AS (Israel Military Industries) started work and both developed successful systems, which were not adopted because of budgetary considerations. This approach was further fueled by the idea that “conventional” wars are passé. If production of the Merkava is to stop, then there is no point in spending money to protect the remaining tanks.

During the war, the Israeli rear came under attack. This potential threat was acknowledged when Israel participated in the feasibility study of the “Nautilus” high-power laser, but the “decision makers” flinched at the high cost of development and acquisition. So, the rear was abandoned to its own devices and Israel was lucky that a stray Katyusha didn’t cause a mass loss of life or hit a high-value economic target.

While Israel often claims that its scientific and technological prowess keeps its enemies at bay, it appears that Israeli “decision-makers” are often swayed by financial considerations, but that most such economically influenced decisions were mistaken.

Here lurks a future third technological failure: Israel’s neighbors own a varied arsenal of chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems. But instead of preparing for this threat, the government collects the chemical warfare kits which were already distributed. One often hears that Israeli deterrence prevents chemical (or for that matter nuclear) warfare against Israel. Unfortunately, deterrence will work only if both sides to a conflict adhere to similar mores and values, which patently is not the case here.

In the last two decades the IDF made a shift from conventional warfare to long-range missile warfare, then to anti-terror operations and back to conventional warfare. Development of the required technologies for the various scenarios is expensive, but history shows that lack of preparedness costs more, in blood and monies, than the most extravagant expenditure for this purpose. The case of the AT missiles and Katyusha defenses proves this point.

So we will conclude with the old Roman saying: “Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.”

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Bernard Smith

The Arabs have not given up the dream of a Jewish state disappearing following a defeat, or turning it into a bi-national state. For many in the Arab street, Israel is a deadly tumor that must be excised. Arab countries and Iran are building conventional weapons as well as weapons of mass destruction capabilities. If Israel grows weak militarily, economically and its societal morale continues to weaken while the Arabs grow stronger militarily, an inducement will exist for an Arab/Muslim coalition to attack.

Israel should be preparing to deter such an eventuality. And, if deterrence fails – to win on the battlefield. Instead, under the influence of, to borrow a phrase from American history, an “Era of Good Feeling”, Israelis dreamed that peace was at hand. Egypt signed a peace treaty, followed by Mauritania and Jordan. Some years later, the PLO and Israel signed the Oslo Accords. Relations with Gulf and North African countries looked promising. It appeared that Israel could start shifting its heavy defense investment into social expenditures. Or, whenever a problem exists balancing the national budget, Treasury officials sought to cut the defense budget.

The effects of the cuts damaged important segments of Israel’s defense preparations. Planning was harmed by loss of the five-year plan. Compulsory service was shortened (the more complex the weaponry, tactics and operational concepts, the less time required to master them?). Downsizing of personnel and platforms were thought of as necessities as were delays or suspension of essential weapons and projects.

The Palestinian war, allowed to continue for six years under a policy of containment, turned the IDF into experts in urban warfare. However, this resulted in a shameful curtailment of regular Army and reserve training year after year.

For some, there was a fear that the IDF was losing its primacy in the Middle East. Others assuaged that worry with the notion that the IDF was becoming a “smaller and smarter” military force. In fact, Israel was in the process of taking “risks for [keeping the] peace”, as well as giving up strategic land for the promise of peace. It was entering into a very dangerous experiment.

To eliminate the experiment and the risk, it will be necessary to enlarge Israel’s gross national product, necessitating structural changes in the economy and government.

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Erez Uriely

Jewish mainstream media associate Norway with efforts to bring peace to Israel and the Middle East. Accordingly, we would expect the Norwegian media to propagate tolerance towards Jews. But in reality, the Norwegian media (and its politicians!) imprint in the public mind the ideas that Jews are a negative and arrogant people who care little for others; that they steal and cheat; that they are the source of violence, the cause of wars and therefore a danger to world peace. This anti-Jewish propaganda must be taken seriously, since everybody knows that pests must be eliminated – a central idea that enabled the Holocaust and other persecutions of Jews throughout history.

As usual these days, rather than blaming the “Jews”, the target is defined as “Israel” – the land and the country of the Jews. This propaganda is served in a sophisticated manner: packed in nice words, moral motives and love for humanity. Thus, the old attitude towards the Jews continues its venomous life, more intensive and stronger than ever. Contrary to the common myth, anti-Judaism does not originate from the masses, but from leading politicians, major church leaders and leaders of major state-sponsored organizations, who expend vast efforts to present “Israel”, i.e., the Jews, as evil.

The most active anti-Jewish campaigners in Norway are of the “left-wing”, including politicians and the journalists who control the mass communication media. The mainstream newspapers demonize the Jews of Israel, creating sympathy for their enemies. The fastest and most effective means to spread that message is through caricatures.

Norwegian caricatures are not as crude and grotesque as the anti-Jewish caricatures that are so common in the Muslim world, but they are worse than the caricatures spread by the Nazi Germans. We must wake up and resolutely stop anti-Judaism propaganda from being distributed by the main Norwegian communication channels to the people. This propaganda was spread before the Holocaust and it must not be allowed again, against those who survived.

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Manfred Gerstenfeld

Anti-Semitism’s core theme is that Jews embody absolute evil. It has been propagated intensely for many centuries. This extreme fallacy and its principal sub-motifs have remained largely the same over the ages. Their representation, however, has evolved according to circumstances. The three main permutations of the core theme are religious anti-Semitism – one might call it more precisely anti-Judaism, ethnic (racist) anti-Semitism, and anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism.

These have a number of common characteristics, which include an ongoing, powerful promotion of a discourse of Jew-hatred. The main motif of the Jew constituting absolute evil expresses itself according to the prevailing worldviews at a given time.

The Jew is denounced as the quintessential other as perceived at that moment. When Christianity dominated the mindset, the Jew was presented as the killer of God, the Antichrist, and Satan. In periods of strong nationalism, Jews are portrayed as radically alien elements. When the societal emphasis is on race, Jews are depicted as an extremely inferior one. When ideological currents promote universalism, the State of Israel is demonized as nationalist, racist, and post colonialist.

The core accusation of the Jew being evil splits into submotifs. A central one is the desire for power. Other permutations include a thirst for blood, infanticide, having a subhuman nature, and a lust for money. These originated in the worlds of Christian or racist anti-Semitism. Many have been rejected and discredited but have not disappeared in the West, or are now recurring with respect to Israel.

Verbal or physical attacks are often against both Jews and Israelis. Jews, and nowadays Israel, are judged by standards applied to them but not to others. In its extreme form, the anti-Semitic process has three stages: Demonization, Isolation and Elimination.

The anti-Semitic character of anti-Israelism can be proven through the analysis of cartoons, the findings of polls, scientific analysis as well as semantics. During the 2006 Lebanon War further proof came that anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism go hand in hand.

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Eli Maislish

This article, deals with the entanglement of irrational reasons and the default option that led the then British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Sir Winston Churchill, to establish Trans-Jordan as an entity independent and separate from the West Bank of Palestine (Land of Israel).

The entire Middle East at that time, including Palestine (Land of Israel) – the official name of the Land of Israel on both banks of the Jordan River – was under the rule of British and French occupation. France had no previous commitments to the Arabs regarding the granting of independence to nations liberated from the Ottoman yoke; however, Britain was subject to an entanglement of commitments to several opposing parties.

Originally, there was a commitment to the ruler of Hejaz, the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein Ibn-Ali, due to the participation of his son Faisal in the “Arab Revolutionary Army” – under the guidance of Lawrence, to a large portion of the Turkish spoils. Two years later, Britain committed to the Zionist Movement to the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel”, the implication of which was the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.

However, it also had a mutual commitment with the French regarding the distribution of oilfields in Iraq and territorial interests – like, for example, French control of Syria and Lebanon. In addition to all that, the Arabs rioted in the Land of Israel and engaged in acts of violence against the Balfour Declaration from 1920-1921.

The British, who thought that they could bring their soldiers home after the war, were required to once again draft an army, which posed a heavy burden on His Majesty’s government’s budget, which was in a bad state after the war.

However, the decisive factor in overcoming the British tolerance and patience, originated in a place that no one anticipated. It was Abdullah, Faisal’s brother, who emerged from the Hejaz desert and went to south Trans-Jordan with several hundred camel riders and threatened to invade Damascus (that was already under French control) as revenge for the removal of his brother Faisal from the throne.

The name of the game in the Middle East, and especially in the Hashemite family, was one: “I want to be king, no matter what.” It began with the then head of the family, the Sharif of Mecca, who did everything in his power, for decades, to be at least the Emir of Mecca (still) under Ottoman auspices.

Already at the beginning of World War I, he found an opportunity, when he approached the “Arab Office in Cairo”, that was, for all intents and purposes, a British commissionership in Cairo, at least in the revolt against the Turks. In exchange for his services he was to receive territorial spoils to distribute among his three sons: Abdullah, Faisal and Ali. Ali in the Arabian Peninsula, Abdullah in Baghdad and Faisal in Damascus, and he himself was granted the title “King of Kings”. This megalomania eventually led him to be forced into exile by the Wahabi Ibn-Saud (1926).

The war began and the British were in a panic regarding the jihad declared by the Sultan-Caliph in Istanbul. By means of letters and promises, and with the assistance of Lawrence (of Arabia), the desert Arabs were directed to Damascus to crown Faisal as king. However, Faisal’s reign in Damascus lasted only two years and ended when the French received the mandate over Syria and Lebanon.

However, at the same time, the Arabs in the Land of Israel began disturbing the peace and Churchill, who had just been appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies, pressed for a swift solution in the Land of Israel in general and a means to silence Abdullah in particular. This was Lawrence’s great moment as he whispered in the ear of the celebrated minister to kill three birds with one stone: Faisal to Baghdad, Abdullah to Trans-Jordan and the mandate coated with the Balfour Declaration to the Jews. And so it was.

For that purpose they established the “1921 Cairo Conference”, invited Abdullah to Jerusalem and entrusted him with Trans-Jordan temporarily for six months (with fixed financial support). The question is: Until when?

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Xu Xin

The Jewish experience in Kaifeng China is unique and meaningful. The so-called Kaifeng Jews have the most documented history among all Jewish communities in pre-modern China. Available information, though fragmentary, indicates that Kaifeng Jewry was predominantly of Persian origin around the end of the11th century. It seems certain that the Silk Road, a major thoroughfare between China and Persia at the time, was the route, and business opportunities was one of the attractions

The Kaifeng Jewish community has a consecutive history of about 800 years as an observant society. No doubt it was the most dynamic, active, and important Jewish community in Chinese as well as in world Jewish history. It is also one of best known single Jewish communities worldwide. It has drawn attention ever since the meeting between a Kaifeng Jew named Ai Tien and an Italian Jesuit priest, Matteo Ricci in China, which took place in Beijing, in 1605. The report of the meeting reached Europe and European Society has remembered the incident.

This article attempts to tell the story of the Kaifeng Jews; its development, growth, and fall against the social environment of the city of residence.

The history of Kaifeng Jewry is certainly a part of the history of world Jewry. It is both dramatic and colorful and offers many profound lessons. If it is ignored, our knowledge of the many byroads and possibilities of Jewish existence would be not merely be incomplete but seriously impoverished.  

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