(1) A Rabbi’s Response, published on Tish’a B’Av; (2) Iran fomented Palestinian Temple Mount Riots

  1.  Yashar Koach to Rabbi Levertov, in the Letters to the Editor in the Santa Fe New Mexican, August 1, 2017, as we remember on this Tish’a B’Av:

A grandfather, his son and daughter, Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon, are butchered to death in their home, while peacefully celebrating the birth of a new baby with their family. The wife quickly rushes with her five children to another room holding the door closed with all her might to protect her family. A fresh, young family is left fatherless, because he stood in the way of a ruthless terrorist.

But The New Mexican doesn’t see the victims. Instead, the article headlines “3 Palestinians, 3 Israelis, die in renewed violence,” July 22). (This was not the headline that ran with the story in The New York Times.)

Is there any moral equivalency between rioters who die while hurling rocks, firebombs and fireworks at police (as the article states), and a family murdered while sitting peacefully in their home? We do read the names of the rioters who died, but we never get the names, or hear any more about the Salomons. Aren’t the terrorist attacks the crux of the violence, not the metal detectors that are there to save lives?

Rabbi Berel Levertov, Jewish Center-Chabad, Santa Fe

2.  “Iran’s role in Temple Mount clashes revealed”

(quote is headline by Israel Hayom – full article quoted below)

President Obama sold the Senate on not denying him his diplomatic efforts with the JCPOA (“Iran Deal”) by claiming the “Deal” would help bring Iran “into the community of nations.”  The Obama Administration (and many supporting Democratic senators) argued that by relieving Iranian sanctions related to nuclear weapons development Iran would “see the light” and ease up on their support for terrorism, ballistic missile development, and human rights abuses.  This was a paradoxical argument, because at the same time they were insisting the Iran Deal was only about nuclear weapons, and not about these other issues.  As the saying goes, advocates wanted to eat their cake and have it too.  Further there were a number of secret agreements (see here and here) between the Obama Administration and the Mullahs that didn’t come to light until long after the Dems refused to stifle the deal.

Two years later the great majority of Members of Congress, including most Senators who effectively voted for the Iran Deal (by denying filibuster cloture), are showing some of their remorse regarding those arguments by voting once again to tighten sanctions on Iran.  This is a welcome development, though it did let quite a few horses out of the barn before closing the barn doors (multiple ballistic missile tests; increased funding for Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houtis in the Yemen war, continued domestic human rights abuses).

Last week the House (419-3) and Senate (98-2) voted overwhelmingly to approve the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” sending it to the President for signature.  All of New Mexico’s representatives/senators voted for this Act.  Take a moment to send an email thanking our Members of Congress for voting for this Act (consolidated under HR 3364).  Contact information is available here.

In the Senate the only “nay” votes were by Rand Paul (R-KY), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  In the House the three votes against the bill came from Republicans — Justin Amash (MI), Tom Massie (KY), and John Duncan (TN).  

While this Act includes sanctions on Russia and North Korea, the relevant Middle East portion was related to Iran’s ongoing acts of terrorism, hegemony, and ballistic missile development.  A summary of the Iran portion states:

Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017

This bill directs the President to impose sanctions against: (1) Iran’s ballistic missile or weapons of mass destruction programs, (2) the sale or transfer to Iran of military equipment or the provision of related technical or financial assistance, and (3) Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated foreign persons.

The President may impose sanctions against persons responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in Iran.

The President may temporarily waive the imposition or continuation of sanctions under specified circumstances.


Here is Israel Hayom’s report today (August 1, 2017) that the Temple Mount riots over the past two weeks were actively supported and encouraged by Iran:

Tens of thousands of Temple Mount protesters were given prepackaged meals with notes saying: “With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours” • PA official: It is obvious Iran was behind this effort, which cost millions of shekels.

by Daniel Siryoti


The recent clashes in and around the Temple Mount were fueled in part by the Iranian government, Palestinian sources told Israel Hayom this week.

The clashes erupted after Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at entry points to the site in response to a deadly terrorist attack there on July 14. Many Muslims locally and around the world viewed the Israeli security measure as a bid to usurp control. Israel insisted the measure was meant only to prevent further attacks, and removed the devices less than two weeks later.

According to the Palestinian sources, tens of thousands of Muslim protesters received prepackaged meals along with notes in each one citing a famous quote attributed to 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: “With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours.” The note also depicted the Dome of the Rock and the Palestinian flag.

According to reports in the Palestinian media, a nongovernmental organization run by Iranian youth movements was in charge of distributing the meals. Arabic news sites affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps also pointed to Iranian NGOs as being behind the “supply of food to the heroes fighting for the liberation of the besieged Al-Aqsa mosque until victory is achieved over the Zionist occupier.”

Despite those reports, a senior official in the Palestinian security forces told Israel Hayom that such a large logistical effort could not have been single-handedly managed and funded by a youth movement.

“It is plainly obvious that the government in Tehran, by way of its long tentacles, was behind these efforts,” the official said. “This involves millions of shekels, and it appears that the Iranians have found a way to cash in on this and to make it clear to the Palestinians that Iran is taking care of them.”

“The leaflet was included in every prepackaged meal and made it abundantly clear where it originated,” the official says.

Another Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that the Palestinian Authority knew in advance about the Iranian involvement, but chose to withhold the information from Israel when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to freeze security ties with Israel. The decision, made in the wake of the Temple Mount crisis, has since been reversed.

“This would have not taken place in areas under Palestinian control. We would have never let Iran establish such a foothold because this would have hit us like a boomerang, by prompting action from Arab states,” the official said.

“Perhaps the Iranians understood they could undertake this effort without Israeli authorities asking too many questions. We obtained intelligence of their intention to spend heavily on the meal distribution, but we received orders to stop cooperating [with Israel] and we acted accordingly.”

The Iranian influence has been met with Palestinian concern, with senior Palestinian officials in Abbas’ inner circle saying he was outraged when he found out about the Iranian intervention.

“Nothing is past the Iranians. Their tentacles are everywhere and it would be a big mistake to let them make such inroads,” a senior official in Abbas’ office said.

Iran is not the only player fanning the flames in the conflict. Israel Hayom has previously reported on Turkish-led efforts to inflame the region and on ongoing incitement by Israeli Arab clerics.

SFMEW is a beneficiary organization of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico