Tuesday, 22 June 2021

With the Election of Raisi, It’s Time to Get Real with Iran.

If you thought that Iran could not get more extreme. Think again. It just did.

Remember the name Ebrahim Raisi. He is the new leader of Iran.

His ambitions were clear for decades. He marks himself out from the rest by wearing a black turban. This is significant. It is a personal statement, as well as a commitment of faith, in which he declares himself (wrongly) as a descendent of the Prophet Mohammad. In other words, his words, his orders, come from Allah himself.

He is omnipotent.

He was there, as a student, protesting the overthrow of the Shah of Persia in 1979 that led to the Islamic Revolution.

After the Revolution, he joined the judiciary and became the Deputy Prosecutor in Tehran at the age of 25.

In that capacity, he sat as one of four judges in a secret tribunal set up in 1988 that became known as the “Death Committee.”

This committee of judges retried political prisoners who had already been sentenced but instead of commuting their sentences they decreed death on what human rights groups have described as thousands of men and women.

After execution, they were buried in unmarked graves.

After Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, considered a moderate, complained about the mass executions calling them “the biggest crime in the history of the Islamic Republic” he lost his position as the successor of Khomeini. That went to hardliner Ayatollah Khamenei who became Supreme Leader after Khomeini’s death.

Raisi went on to serve as the chief prosecutor of Tehran before becoming the State Inspectorate Organization head and later in 2014 the Iranian Prosecutor General.

In 2016, he became the custodian of Iran’s most influential religious foundations, the Astan-e Quds-e Razavi, the wealthiest organization in Iran, a multi-billion domestic empire, with holdings in real estate, construction, agriculture, energy, telecommunications and financial services, according to the United States.

Although, as judiciary chief, he reduced the death sentences of people sentenced for drug-related crimes, the number of executed political prisoners increased.

Iran continues to execute more people than any other country except for China.

Despite running on a campaign “to fight poverty, corruption, humiliation and discrimination,” the recent election was shadowed by the disqualification by the hardline Guardian Council of several prominent moderate and reformist candidates.

In protest, the turnout was a low 49%, but Raisi won 62% of the vote, winning eighteen million votes.

This new position as President of Iran places him in a leading position to become the overarching Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic when Ayatollah Khamenei dies.

In a 130-page report, written by the London-based human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, Q.C., during the killing spree of Raisi’s ‘Death Commission’ people were hung from cranes “four at a time, or in groups of six with ropes hanging from the front of the stage in an assembly hall.”

In Israel, an HaAretz analysis called Raisi, “An Executioner Fond of the Gallows,” pointing out that he preferred hanging to shooting political prisoners because it took longer to die.

Raisi said that Iran’s ballistic missiles program is “non-negotiable.”

The introduction of Raisi as Iranian President should force a naïve Western leadership to remove their blinkers and look at Iran as it really is, what their future intentions really are, and stop pussy-footing around the issue.

Barry Shaw, Senior Associate at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. 

Friday, 18 June 2021

Putin Ate Biden's Lunch in Geneva.

Vladimir Putin held a long press conference in Geneva after his meeting with Biden, answering questions from many of the world's media.

When asked about the atmosphere of his meeting with Biden he said he felt no pressure.
In response to an American reporter's question about political prisoners in Russia, referring to Alexei
Navalny, Putin spoke about the 400 American political prisoners being held under "criminal persecution" in solitary confinement by the US Government who are referring to their own citizens "domestic terrorists."

Putin also questioned dubious American governmental actions by speaking about Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed woman who, on January 6, threatened no one but was shot dead by a US official who has not been named or arrested.
He also contrasted the BLM riots as being in violation of US law yet they allowed to burn and destroy many American cities.
He rhetorically asked the reporters if they thought that he should tolerate such wholesale violence in Russia in the name of democracy.

Dubious Democrat actions are coming back to bite them internationally.

When they tried to put a mirror up to Russia, Putin artfully turned the mirror around into America's political face.

Putin answered more questions in under an hour than Biden and Harris combined have done in six months.

It was a major diplomatic mistake by the United States to allow Putin go first with his press conference. Biden's press meet was subsequently reactive.

They didn't hold a joint press conference because the Biden camp was afraid their guy wouldn't be able to hold a candle to Putin. The optics would have looked bad.
They were right.

The Putin conference went on for 55 minutes. Biden's 24. Putin answered eighteen hardball questions. Biden answered just seven pre-arranged questions from pro-selected reporters, although Peter Doocey of Fox News managed to sneak in a question as Biden was walking off the stage.

In this non-Summit, America got nothing in return for two major Russian cyber attacks for which Putin got away scot-free. Putin came gift less after Biden inexplicably lifted the sanctions on the Russian pipeline to Europe that boosts their economy for decades and increases its power and influence in Europe.
Biden gave Putin trillions of Euros with this pipeline while paying NATO billions of dollars to protect them from Russia.
Welcome to American weakness.

Biden couldn't even get the return of Americans lingering in Russian jails.

America surrendered the moral high ground on human rights. Biden was trapped by the Democrats lying narrative of "systemic racism" in America.
It was played back to them by the Chinese delegation in their meeting the Biden's foreign policy and national security teams in Alaska in March.
It was played back to them by Putin in Geneva in June.

A weak America is on the back foot and disrespected globally.

Putin ate Biden's lunch in Geneva.

Barry Shaw,
Senior Associate at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Israel is at war with itself.


Let’s be brutally honest. Let’s call it out for what it is. We have a full blown race war playing out on the streets of Israel. We'd better get on top of it before it destroys us.

It’s easy to take sides. It’s easy to blame ourselves out of a sense of decency hoping the other side will bear their share of the guilt. The problem is it’s easy to be decent and apologize out of a sense of moral decency, even though the other side is as guilty as sin for what they are doing, in order to hopefully restore peace. But that doesn’t cut it, as we see in America.

Believe me, it’s easy to tot up the score and point red cards at the other side. That’s an easy game to win, but that won’t cut it if we want to restore calm and unite the country. The other side must shape up as well.

You can’t solve a race problem until both sides own their guilt. Not one side. Both sides. That didn’t happen in America. And they won’t find peace and absolution until that happens. The other side simply smells weakness and goes further on the offensive.

So let’s not follow the American route. In their case the blacks, for whatever justification, have gone on the rampage and are taking their hate out on the whites as if they, the blacks are innocent victims. and the whites are sucking it up and behaving as if they are guilty as sin even if they don’t have a racist bone in their body. That’s not the way to solve their problem. They are being fed wholesale lies and they are sucking it up and, in too many cases, claiming sins they do not possess.

That is not being honest. That does not solve the problem. It merely exacerbates it.

This must not happen in Israel. It must not happen in Israel for existential reasons. Here, in Israel, most people, on both sides of the divide, are decent, hard-working people, now struggling with a problem in which both sides have their share of guilt, maybe one side far more than the other. But you don’t solve the problem by duking it out on the street. You don’t solve the problem by letting mobs torch other people’s property. You certainly don’t solve the problem by taking the law into your own hands and go hunting for the vulnerable other in order to lynch them. You don’t solve the problem by destroying the other’s places of worship. And you don’t solve the problem by going after the men and women in uniform who are there to restore calm by isolating the violent instigators and, if necessary, arresting them for their crimes against society. And you certainly don’t solve the problem by elevating the violent on one side into some sort of social justice warrior while denigrating the other side as racist.

There are Israeli Arabs steeped in the religious anti-Semitism of their faith. Though barely educated, they express their emotions with a hatred of Jews and a desire for glory by attacking them. They have been brainwashed into believing this is an act of a higher calling. It brings them one step closer to an Islamic heaven as a hero and a martyr.

Sadly, Israel has an underclass of loud-mouthed louts who think it’s powerful to scream “Death to Arabs” at football games, as if that would inspire their team to score more goals. They strut as if they control the street. They are nothing but ignorant hooligans that shame Judaism.

These do not represent the majority of their clan. They do represent a danger that must be called out, condemned and punished. Not excused or justified. Because if we allow it to grow, to gain respectability, if we do not reject and destroy this disease, it will explode and destroy our country from within.

Here in Israel we must call both sides of this thuggery the racists that they are. Let’s not be America. Let’s be honest here. Let’s call the spade the bloody shovel that it is. There is racism going on on both sides of the street war here in Israel. This is not a one sided battle between good and evil. Both are evil. And it will take affirmative actors on both sides of the divide to put their differences aside and address the problem together.

This is the only way we can get on top of it and eradicate it. With brutal, non-violent honesty. Even if it means we have to be as brutally honest with ourselves as with the other. If we allow them to fester they will rot the soul out of our body.

We have existential threats from those who hate us and want to kill us based on race, and who are now exploiting our domestic vulnerabilities. This has been exacerbated by a minority of Israeli Arabs who see themselves as the spearhead of a wider Jewish hatred. Regrettably, and damagingly, elected Knesset members chosen to represent the best interests of Israeli Arabs, those quick to noisily criticize rare acts of violence against Arabs within Israel, have been dangerously silent over the eruption of Arab initiated thuggery and mob lynching against Jews.

This makes it all the more imperative to get on top of our internal problem swiftly and effectively by calling on both sides to sit together and control their side of the street. 

It’s time for unity for the sake of our soul. For the sake of our country.

Barry Shaw, International Public Diplomacy Director. Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.


Thursday, 13 May 2021

Sheikh Jarrah is Shimon HatZadik. Historic Facts. Not White House and Media Fallacies.

First. The weeks of violence in Jerusalem between Arabs and Jews were initiated in Jaffa where Arab youths brutally attacked a rabbi. They filmed it on Tik Tok and videoed another attack beating up two teenage Torah students. Their videos went viral and attacks were copied by other Arab gangs in Hebron and Jerusalem who reveled in beating up isolated Jews even to the incidents of Jews being rescued from lynching by alert police officers.

The Palestinian leadership both in Ramallah and in Gaza were quick to exploit these anti-Semitic attacks by linking them to the outcome of yet another failed attempt to hold Palestinian elections.

Mahmoud Abbas understood that the results of this election would result in embarrassment for him and his party, so he cancelled them, blaming Israel for the cancellation.

He and Hamas separately began to incite the Palestinian street to attack the Jews for the failure of a non- election. This occurred at the critically sensitive period of Ramadan which, in the past, has been exploited for political purposes.

And so Arab violence against Jews escalated. Every issue, large and small, was exploited by a divided Palestinian leadership to bring the Arab street to boiling point.

Added to the tinderbox was a court case in which the Jerusalem courts had ordered the eviction of certain Arab families from the homes they had been illegally occupying for years. These homes were located in what is called the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem. It is today, a predominantly, though not exclusively, Arab area in which the majority of the Arabs see themselves as Palestinians rather than Israeli. They reject Israeli citizenship while enjoying Jerusalem residency status.

The issue of the pending eviction has wrongly been interpreted by the foreign media, and even by the Biden White House, as a case of Israeli aggressive occupation policy.  This is untrue, and we need to dig into the originals to understand that justice and law is on the side of the Jews.

Long ago, there was a revered Jewish sage by the name of Shimon. His learned reputation earned him the title of Shimon HatZadik – Shimon the Righteous.  

Shimon was the High Priest during the Hellenic period of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. He is mentioned in the Talmud as a person of high position who welcomed Alexander the Great on his arrival into the Land of Israel in the 4th Century BCE.

On this death, Shimon was buried and his burial place became a place of pilgrimage for Jews. The grave area was further revered when it became the burial ground for the Sanhedrin, the religious judges of the Temple period.

Arabs, during the Ottoman period, called this place “Al Yahudiyyah,” the place of the Jews.

In 1876, the Sephardi Jewish Council and the Ashkenazi General Council came together and, for 16,000 francs, jointly purchased the site of the holy tombs as well as an additional 17.5 dunams, and the purchase was registered with the Ottoman authorities under the names of Rabbi Avraham Ashkenazi who, despite his name, was born in Turkey. Other signatories were representatives of both the Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewish communities.

In 1890, a cornerstone was laid for the start of construction of the residential neighborhood of Shimon HatZadik and, in 1891, more Jewish construction began to the west of the Nablus road and the tomb of Shimon the Righteous. This neighborhood was called Nahalat Shimon and the area became populated with an initial 260 residents and four synagogues by 1916.

Two years later, in 1918, the Zionist delegation headed by Chaim Weizmann, who was to become the first President of the State of Israel, funded the development of the compound surrounding the tomb as well as the new residential area.

The developing area attracted the attention of non-Jews and many prominent Arabs purchased land to build their houses. Among those Arabs was Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and, infamously, the greatest anti-Semite in the Middle East and a close ally of Adolph Hitler under whom he planned the final solution of the Jewish People in the Middle East.

When the Jordanians joined with four other Arab armies to execute the annihilation of the newly formed Jewish State, they attacked Israel from across the River Jordan, reeling back the weak and nascent Jewish army.

They captured and occupied Jerusalem including the Old City and the area of Shimon HatZadik. They and the local Arabs drove out the Jewish residents under pain of death, and Arabs occupied their homes under Jordanian protection.

Until the arrival of the Jordanians, Jerusalem had a Jewish majority, but the Jordanians marched all the Jews out of the Old City and destroyed all the synagogues and the yeshivas within the Old City.

They ripped up the Jewish gravestone on the Mount of Olives and used them as paving stones. The passageway by the Wailing Wall, now called the Western Wall, the retention wall that supports the Temple Mount, was used as a urinal.

No Jews were allowed to visit the Jewish holy sites within the Old City, not even on the important Jewish days of prayer and pilgrimage.

The area of Shimon HatZadik became known as Sheikh Jarrah. No Jews were allowed to come and worship at the tomb. Arabs occupied Jewish owned properties until the Jordanians foolishly decided to join with Egypt and Syria in a second war of annihilation against what was left of the State of Israel in 1967.

It must be noted that, between 1948 and 1967, the Jordanians, occupying all the territory from the River Jordan to Jerusalem, failed to hand this territory to the Palestinians for statehood. They could have, but it was never their intention, just as Egypt failed to hand territory they had wrestled from Israel in 1948 to the local Arabs. The same with Syria. They all captured and occupied territory for themselves. The Palestinians were never an entity or an issue until three Arab nations were dealt a decisive defeat by Israel in the war imposed on the Jewish State by other Arab states.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Palestinians became a national entity.

Now, after 1967 and the return of the Jews to a liberated Jerusalem, the houses illegally occupied by Arabs, but owned by Jews, became an issue.

It took until 1982 for two Jewish trusts, who legally owned the properties now occupied by Arabs, to demand the removal of twenty-three families who had lived in houses not purchased by them and in which they had paid no rent.

The lawyers for the families argued that they be allowed to live there as protected tenants claiming that their clients had long term rights born out of their occupation despite the fact they had paid no rent to the Jewish owners.

The trusts filed claims with the Jerusalem Magistrate Court that these people were living in a place not theirs and had refused to pay rent, not that the trusts wanted them to pay rent. The trusts wanted their properties back for their own purposes. The court found in favor of the trusts.

The legal battle raged on for decades. In 1999, the Court was given hard evidence of Jewish ownership and ordered the eviction of an Arab family who was living illegally within the compound of Shimon HatZadik in what was now called Sheikh Jarrah.  

This legal battle is going on today, twenty-two years later, and anti-Israel antagonists, including too many people in the diplomatic community who should know better, continue to tout the lie that this is evidence of a cruel Israel “occupation policy.”

Nothing is further from the truth, and we need to demand that the historic and legitimate rights of Jews and of Israel have precedent over the illegal behavior of the Arabs of Sheikh Jarrah, originally known as Shimon HatZadik. 

Barry Shaw, Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. Author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’



Friday, 30 April 2021

Who was Shimon Bar Yochai.


An Israeli national disaster occurred at the Lag B’Omer festival on Mount Meron in northern Israel on 28 April when 45 people were killed and 155 were injured when thousands people gathered in the tightly packed confines of a compound surrounding the grave of a Jewish saint.

The tragic incident threw new light on why a hundred thousand mainly Haredi Jews from Israel and abroad would make their way to this isolated site at this special time.

They go to pray and pay their respects at the grave of Shimon Bar Yochai, considered a Tzadik, a spiritual inspirational figure.

Such rare individuals are considered to be a bridge between man and G-d, where one’s prayers reach the Almighty through the spirit of the departed leaders. Many journey to this holy grave throughout the year to get closer to G-d.

So who was Shimon Bar Yochai?

Shimon was born in the Galilee of northern Israel. He was a religious student of the revered Rabbi Akiva who contributed to the Jewish holy book, the Mishnah, and who transcribed biblical   Abraham’s Book of Creation, dealing with the creation of the universe from a spiritual perspective.

Shimon was ordained by Rabbi Akiva.  Even as Shimon made his own way in life as a religious leader, he returned frequently to Rabbi Akiva for guidance and learning. His love for Rabbi Akiva was so profound that when Rabbi Akiva was thrown in prison by Hadrian, Shimon found a way to enter the prison and have Akiva teach him the ways and depths of Judaic spiritualism.

Rabbi Akiva was executed by the Romans following the failure of the Bar Kochba Revolt against Roman rule in the Holy Land.

The persecution of the Jews under Hadrian, and the death of Rabbi Akiva, drove Shimon Bar Yochai to protest against the cruel Roman oppression of the Jews in their conquered land.

Word of his anti-Roman sentiments reached the attention of the Roman governor who sentenced Shimon to death.

Shimon fled for his life and, for thirteen years, he and his son, Eleazer, hid in a cave near Gadera, surviving on a diet of dates and carob fruit.  Apparently, they were other Jews hiding in this remote spot. Shimon watched a bird escape the net of another Jew and fly away. He looked on this as an omen to leave and, as they left, so tradition says, he heard a voice saying, “You are free!”

He discovered that Hadrian had died.  He made his way north to Tiberias by the western waters of the Sea of Galilee where he soaked his body which had become festered with infections and disease from a decade and more of cave living.

In Tiberias, Shimon found the people had turned away from Jewish learning to spend their time totally dedicated to labor and work. He chastised them and undertook the spiritual purification of the people of the Galilee by teaching them the Torah and the words of the Jewish sages.

He established schools of learning and study.

In the later stages of his life, he journeyed to Rome to plead with the Roman emperor to lift the abolition of the Jews to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath and their holy festivals.

It is said that the emperor’s daughter was suffering from bad spirits. Some said she was possessed by demons. Shimon Bar Yochai cured the daughter and was rewarded by the emperor for his miracle by taking him to his treasury and invited him to take whatever he wanted. Instead of taking gold and jewelry, Shimon found the scrolls on which the anti-Jewish decree was written and tore them up in front of the emperor.

Shimon Ben Yochai returned to the Galilee and dedicated the rest of his life to biblical study and teaching.  He declared that not even prayer should interrupt the study of the holy Torah.

He was a voice for the spirit of repentance, saying that, “So great is the power of repentance that a man who has been wicked his whole life if he repented before the end is considered a perfectly righteous man.”

He declared that snobbery or a superior attitude to others is like idolatry of self. He raged against the public shaming of a neighbor. “One should rather throw oneself into a burning furnace than shame a neighbor in public.”

One warning by Shimon Bar Yochai strikes us as a possible modern premonition. Referring to his detestation of the Romans, and mindful of the Parthian War which broke out at the time of Antonius, Shimon Bar Yochai wrote, “If you have seen a Persian (Parthian) horse tied in Palestine, then hope for the arrival of the Messiah!”

Shimon Bar Yochai was the spirit of Jewish mysticism and Kabballah. Zohar first appeared under the name Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

It is believed that Bar Yochai died on the 33rd day of the Hebrew month of Omer, now known as the Jewish festival of Lag B’Omer when Jews make the pilgrimage to his grave on Mount Meron.

Believers say that Shimon Bar Yochai gave spiritual light to the world. Bonfires and candles are lit to symbolize the light and impact of his teachings, especially on the anniversary of his death. 

That is why devout Jews, in their thousands, were drawn to his grave at the time of the tragic events.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s teachings include;

There are three crowns. The crown of law. The crown of the priesthood. The crown of kingship. But the crown of a good name excels them all.

The Holy One, blessed be He, has given three gifts to Israel. Torah, the Land of Israel, and the world to come.

Barry Shaw,

International Public Diplomacy Director,

Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Ilhan Omar. The most hypocritical person ever elected to power.

This is what Ilhan Omar tweeted after the killing of 18-year-old police officer William Evans.

“Heartbroken to learn another CP was killed while protecting the Capitol. My thoughts and prayers go out to the officer’s family and the entire Capitol Police force. The death toll would have been worse if the assailant had an AR-15 instead of a knife.”

What pretentious opportunism. How dare she politicize his tragic death before the young policeman was buried.

This woman is not “heartbroken” at all. She has been leading the charge brutalizing police officers, particularly white police officers, for over a year.

She has attended protests at which police have been spat at, physically attacked and sent to hospital. She is the one leading the charge to defund the police.

She insults the police every day, and then she comes on all sympathetic to the police to gain points for her demented followers.

Give me a break!

To counter her foolish remark about the death toll being worse if the assailant had an AR-15 instead of a knife, this form of murder is known in Israel as a vehicular terror attack. We are familiar with this form of terror and we know immediately who the perpetrators are and the insanity of their cause.

If Omar was honest, which she isn’t, she would admit that the attack would not have happened at all if the assailant had not been indoctrinated by Louis Farrakhan and the House of Islam.

This is something Omar knows intimately. She is admired by Farrakhan and is a fund-raiser for CAIR, the American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, implicated in aiding Hamas, the Gaza-based Palestinian terror organization. Ilhan Omar is familiar with this type of un-American belief having been raised by a father and grandfather serving a Marxist Islamist dictator, Said Barre, in Somalia before coming to an America that she hates.

This woman values Somalia more than she values America, and yet they put her on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

You don’t have a gun problem in America. You have an Islamic terror problem in America. Remember 9/11, when some folk did something, according to a smiling Omar. This statement should have marked her out, but it didn't.

The big difference between 9/11 and what occurred outside the Capitol Building was that 9/11 was perpetrated by foreign terrorists. Officer Evans' killer was home-grown and domestically indoctrinated.

Truth be told, Ilhan Omar values Islam more than she values America. But even this is fake with her.

She married a white guy after divorcing her own brother. Her personal actions are an affront to devout Muslims and to regular Americans. She has proven herself to be an out and out anti-Semite and she hates Israel.

Yet she still sits in Congress. Shame on the Democrat Party.

When will American Democrats realize that they have an enemy of the state and an anti-Semite in their Congress spilling crocodile tears over a dead cop?

She has no right to speak about the problem. She is part of the problem.

The Democrats are silent. They are liars and cheats by protecting this person and her actions that weaken America. 

Omar and others sit in their temple and want America destroyed.

And now they are dictating policy in the Biden Administration.


Barry Shaw,

Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.


Thursday, 25 March 2021

The Problem with the Biden Administration.

The central problem with the Biden Administration is that people are not being selected for top jobs based on merit but on gender and race preferences.

This will rapidly lead to gross, even dangerous, ineffectiveness and abuse when linked primarily to advancing woke ideology rather than cost benefit service for the American people.

We are seeing appointees pushing radical agendas in positions and ministries that should be disconnected to issues of race and gender.

The latest in a long list of questionable appointees is the elevation of Rachel Levine to become the US Health Secretary.

Levine has a more lethal record than NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo for the crime of forcibly inserting Covid infected patients into elderly nursing homes leading to the death of thousands.

Pennsylvania is the most populous state for Covid deaths in nursing homes. At least 50% or more occurred in Levine’s elderly facilities under Levine’s direct orders. These figures are considered to be under-recorded and there are ongoing demands for more transparency by the state.

In Levine's case, she removed her own mother before admitting infected patients into her mother's Pennsylvania facility, a luxury she did not afford other concerned families.

Where Cuomo is, rightly, being investigated and hopefully punished and demoted for his crime, Levine is not only getting away scot free, she has been promoted as top honcho in the nation's health elite.

Reading through Levine’s CV it seems she was more involved with gender, race and transgender awareness in her state yet failed with central issues such as the pandemic in which her state has an appalling record.

The risk to the public of a Health Secretary putting an obsessive trans agenda ahead of other vital needs has been overlooked in their rush to appoints the first trans minister.

In an exchange with Senator Rand Paul in a Senate hearing, Levine refused to admit or deny that she favors indoctrinating children to reimagine themselves becoming a member of the other sex, or assisting them with medical and surgical "benefits" of a physical transition out of their natural sex and into an adopted gender. She parried his searching questions with non-answers.

This brings me to my central point.

The celebration of the advance of people of differing race, culture and gender should not be considered the prime qualification for any nationally responsible position.

It is merit based on actual accomplishments that must be the first qualification, not the second.

Particularly in the service of a country, race, gender and culture must always follow, not lead, the list of priorities required to be a leader. The jury is still out on Rachel Levine. 

This balance is vitally important for the physical and psychological health of any country. 

Israel seems to have got that balance right. The jury is still out on America, but the omens are not good.

Barry Shaw,

Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.