For the first time in a while, I am reporting on the situation of Noam Jay ben Inbar, the nine-year-old boy with cancer around his heart, whom I've been asking you to pray for -- and for whom I continue to ask you to pray, please!
The situation was horribly grim when I started writing about him. He had been discovered to have an extensive and aggressive cancer growing around his heart, which was said to be inoperable. The doctors considered him terminal and he was put in hospice care.
But when the doctors did an MRI recently they found the cancer had stopped advancing, and they decided he would be a candidate for an experimental treatment. That treatment has just begun and I know next to nothing about it -- it is not chemotherapy. Noam is the first child in Israel to receive this treatment.
It is too soon to see any results from the treatment. But even before it had begun, the boy was showing improvement -- in the sense of increased energy, better morale, some renewal of appetite, etc. With the grace of the Almighty, miracles do happen.
What I ask now, beyond prayers, is financial assistance for this treatment, from anyone who might be inclined to help. We live in a country with socialized medicine, but there is a "basket" of drugs that is included for coverage within the system.
The drug that Noam is receiving is not covered because it is experimental. It's going to cost the family over $5,000 per month (I do not know for how long -- and perhaps even the doctors don't know yet).
If you are interested in helping, please let me know and I'll send details. There are a number of ways to transmit funds. Donations -- I believe tax-deductible -- can be made via check, credit card, bank transfer, etc., including in dollars.
This may be a new record for brevity in terms of the length of time that a party has participated in a coalition. Today the Kadima party took a vote and decided, 24 MKs to three (Avi Dichter, Otniel Schneller and Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich), to quit the government.
The issue was the legal replacement for the Tal Law, with Likud and Kadima unable to find a satisfactory compromise: The most recent attempt at forging an agreement had just failed, and that was it.
Shaul Mofaz has submitted his resignation.
Here is an excerpt from the response Prime Minister Netanyahu sent to Mofaz:
"I regret your decision to give up on an opportunity to make an historic change. After 64 years, we were very close to a substantial change in the division of the burden. I gave you a proposal that would have led to the conscription of ultra-orthodox and Arabs from the age of 18. I explained to you that the only way to implement this on the ground is gradually and without tearing Israeli society apart, especially at a time when the State of Israel is facing many significant challenges. I will continue to work toward the responsible solution that Israeli society expects."
Sounding good to me.
There is talk about instability in the coalition that will develop with Kadima gone. But remember that a savvy Netanyahu managed until nine weeks ago without Kadima; the coalition will still have 65 members. So this situation is not clear-cut at all. Before the merger with Kadima, Netanyahu had been contemplating early elections (to take advantage of the situation while he was in a place of political strength), and he may revert to this thinking.
There will be much to write about with regard to political dynamics -- what happens in the government; what happens in terms of replacement for the Tal Law; what happens to a badly divided Kadima, which may truly split apart.
But that's for another day. Here I simply wanted to share what I consider to be good news.
Regarding the reported request that Clinton made to Israel yesterday, that "small arms" be provided as an incentive to the PA to come to the table:
There is every reason to believe that she did make that request, for it seems that when she met with Abbas a couple of weeks ago in Paris, he asked her to deliver the message that this is what the PA is looking for, and she promised to do so. The PA claim, at least in part, is that older weapons are now obsolete or no longer in good working condition, and need to be replaced. But there is also a sense that they are looking for updated equipment that extends beyond mere replacement.
But this is not really a request for "incentives," as the news structured it. What Clinton has done is to deliver Abbas's ultimatum: If Israel doesn't do thus and such -- provide small arms, release prisoners, etc. -- he's not coming to the table.
And so, however it's framed, she has essentially asked Israel to bow to PA demands for concessions.
And Netanyahu's response? Formula, I'm told by my most reliable expert on such matters: "We'll look into it," etc. No serious expectation that Israel will act on this request, at least not now. But, said my source, "you never know..." My source also was intrigued by the fact that YNet pulled the information about an arms request from its news report on Clinton's meeting with Netanyahu.
Two other matters to be noted in passing with regard to that meeting:
Clinton indicated that she had "no expectation" that Pollard would be released: "...he was convicted of spying in 1987. He was sentenced to life in prison, he is serving that sentence..."
No acknowledgement, of course, that the government reneged on a deal it had with Pollard (to avoid a trial the prosecution had secured a guilty plea from Pollard in return for a promise that sentencing would be lenient), or that his sentence was quite excessive compared with that of others who spied for an ally of the US.
And she advised Netanyahu to mend fences with Turkey.
While Clinton was here, she met with PA prime minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem -- who gave her the standard line about no meetings until Israel makes the appropriate "gestures." But she did not travel to Ramallah to meet with Abbas, whom she had just seen, or with others.
Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that more than 10 terrorist networks based in the Sinai have been destroyed recently.
He gave no indication of how the destruction was accomplished -- I do not believe the IDF crosses over the border into Sinai these days. What he did say is that Islamist groups operating in the Sinai would continue in their attempts create political crises.
An enormously troubling aspect of the unrest and violence in Syria concerns the fact that Assad has huge supplies of non-conventional weapons -- biological and chemical. The fear has been that these would fall into the hands of Hezbollah or other radical terrorists, and so Israel, the US and Europe have all been keeping a close watch on this.
Just days ago, a report surfaced regarding movement of some of those supplies, although there were conflicting indications of where the weapons had been placed.
This is, quite bluntly, scary as hell. See:
Now there is talk about Assad's possible readiness to use such weapons against Syrian rebels, with some suggestion that he may already have done so.
I have read repeatedly over time that if a problem with regard to these weapons was anticipated, forces -- US, European -- would move in to secure the weapons cache. Now it's hard to know what's happening, and I sense a hedging on this.
But it is difficult if not impossible for me to believe that Israeli forces would fail to act if those weapons were about to be transferred in a manner that presented a threat to us.
"Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said last Thursday that Israel is preparing for the possibility of military action in Syria, in case its chemical weapons were to end up in the hands of Hezbollah or other terrorist organizations in the region.
"Yatom spoke to the British Sky News, which reported that Israel is deeply concerned that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad may deliberately give Hezbollah chemical weapons or that they could end up in the hands of other terror groups..
"'The conventional wisdom should be that we cannot exclude a non-conventional attack on Israel,' he said. 'We would have to pre-empt in order to prevent it. We need to be prepared to launch even military attacks…'"
Israel Hayom reports that the Syrian and Lebanese armies are preparing for the possibility of an IDF attack to prevent transfer of chemical weapons to Hezbollah.
I write often about the miserable state of the world, but it would be difficult to find a more damning condemnation than what Minister of Defense Ehud Barak has now said about Syria:
"...there is a disturbing lesson in the fact that the entire world, even when these grave events unfold before all of our eyes, cannot manage to gather the fortitude, legitimacy or the unity required to… put an end to this bloodbath."
But let me end on an upbeat note:
The second meeting of the Lobby to Implement Israeli Law in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria), which is chaired by MK Miri Regev (Likud), was held in the Knesset today.
It is not that a definitive action was taken at this meeting. It wasn't: One major thrust of the meeting, for example, was a clear legal explanation of the thinking of the Levy Committee by Attorney Alan Baker, who was on that committee.
My point here is that the tide is shifting. I feel the currents and I am cautiously hopeful that a new time is on its way. In the coming days and weeks and months, there is going to be a great deal more to write about with regard to activism that promotes the rights of Israel.
See this, from the JPost:
"The Defense Ministry has legalized the Givat Salit outpost by making it part of the nearby Mehola settlement, according to Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Lahiani.
"He told The Jerusalem Post that the outpost had been authorized several months ago.
"...Givat Salit is at least the fifth outpost which has been authorized since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office in March 2009."
Who announced it to the press, right before our "friend" Hillary came to visit? Why, Peace Now, of course.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.