Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

First they came to expel the Jews of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron

Many years ago I spoke to a group of children in Manhattan Day School on or near Israel Independence Day.

One message I left them with (one that I try to give over whenever I talk about the importance of Israel and living in Israel) was that when I was a soldier in the Israeli army I knew that I was not just protecting the Jews living in the State of Israel,but I was a Jewish soldier protecting Jews worldwide. I felt this because the I knew that the existence and the strength of the State of Israel is world Jewry's best protection.

I firmly believe that the worldwide rise of anti-semitism today is directly linked to the submisive diplomatic stance and military doctrine (no military solution to situation - military to keep the terror on a low flame) that Israel has taken vis a vis our sworn enemies who continue to kill us.

The ultimate climax of this situation is that Israel has begun to train its own army on how to confront fellow Jews with the aim of expelling them from their homes. Regardless of whether you agree with Sharon's policy or not, it is a sad day that the protectors of world Jewry are being trained to turn against their fellow Jews. It is therefore no surprise to me that anti-semitism worldwide is on the rise - one is a direct link of the other.

Below I have adapted a famous poem from the days of WWII Europe (that I believe also applies to today) with a few minor changes. I believe it is a testament to the denial of Jews, in Israel and abroad, to the underlying process that is taking place in Israel today that is fundamentally aimed at Jewry (with Israel being Jewry's major symbol), just like the denial that was back then.

The poem is called "First they came for the Jews"

First they came to expel the Jews of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron
And I did not speak out –
Because I did not live in Gush Katif or the Northern Shomron.
Then they came to expel the Jews of Yehuda and Shomron
And I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew of Yehudah or Shomron.
Then they came to expel the Jews of the Golan
And I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew of the Golan.
Then they came to expel the Jews of the Galil and the Negev
And I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew of the Galil and the Negev.
Then they came to expel the Jews of Yafo and Acco
And I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew of Yafo and Acco.
Then they came to expel all the other Jews who lived in Israel's auschwitz borders
And I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew of Israel's auschwitz borders.
Then they came for me –
And there was no-one left
To speak out for me.

With it all, I'm very optomistic that even Sharon's Gaza expulsion plan will not come to fruition and I firmly believe we will stop this process - I just wish more of my fellow brethren would wake up from their slumber of denial.

Shabbat Shalom,

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Sharon's Hypocrisy

How sad, but true.

This is why Sharon's end as an Israeli political leader is on the horizon - he has fallen into the same trap as Rabin, the other "Mr. Security", that Israelis followed blindly into today's oslo war.

A good read....

Look who’s Talking about Defeating Terror

By Israel Harel

Haaretz 09/09/2004

"You cannot make compromises with terror," Ariel Sharon told the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. "It must be fought and defeated."

And the sorrowing guest - this revolutionary lesson being taught to him at a time when most of the victims had not yet been laid to rest - did not respond, at least according to the communique that reported the above lesson, "Look who's talking about defeating terrorism." But if not publicly, than at least during their private conversation, it would nevertheless have been proper for the guest to put his host in his place."If one cannot make compromises with terror," Lavrov might have asked (though he apparently did not), "why did you declare, at the height of the terrorist war against Israel, that Israel recognizes the Palestinians' right to a state? No prime minister before you ever said that, and so from the Palestinians' point of view, that statement was not merely a compromise - it was capitulation. And from the standpoint of those who are fighting Islamic terror worldwide, Israel, who gave the terrorists a state before defeating them militarily, thereby encouraged terrorism against us, however unintentionally."And even when the terrorists continued their atrocities, thereby proving that they were not fighting only for a state - since if they had been, they would have stopped blowing up buses and started establishing their state - you compromised, in defiance of the lesson you just taught me, with the ongoing terror."Fact: Instead of defeating them, as per your own doctrine, you began to build a fence. And even before the fence had been completed, you hastened to announce an additional compromise: the `unilateral disengagement.' And the disengagement, in addition to being a compromise with terror, is also causing an internal rift in your nation and your party the likes of which have never been seen before."In the past, Israel acquired a reputation - in Operation Jonathan in Entebbe, for instance - as a country that does not give in to terrorism. And in a world in which countries many times larger than Israel, such as Germany and France, did give in to terror and even paid it protection money in various forms, your uncompromising stance aroused admiration and constituted a strategic asset."No longer. And, though it pains me to say so, this process of Israel losing its deterrent power in the face of terror has occurred precisely at a time when someone like you, who contributed perhaps more than any other Israeli to your country's deterrent image, is at its helm. The fact that you, of all people, are the one who decided to grant the Palestinians a state in response to terrorism, and to hide from terrorism by means of a fence, and who afterward chose the already tested option known as `unilateral disengagement,' has caused a vast erosion - whose negative ramifications are hard to exaggerate - in your country's deterrent power vis-a-vis other, `conventional' enemies as well.Moreover, instead of waging the offensive war that previously characterized your army, and particularly your own military leadership, you are putting your people and your army into a narrow ghetto, both mental and territorial, and turning the Arabs, the originators of suicide terrorism, into the victors and heroes of the Muslim world. And that fact also impacts on us: We assume that the Palestinians' impressive achievements - yes, impressive - will also encourage our terrorists and increase their motivation."You know that we oppose the settlements. But tell me: What is the rationale behind packing them up now, before you have defeated the terror? If that is the conclusion you draw from the rule you advised us to adopt - that `one cannot make compromises with terror' - then I must say, with all due respect, that this capitulation is a negative contribution to the war that we and the rest of the world are waging against terror. And don't be impressed by the compliments you receive - including, publicly, from us - for uprooting settlements: That is part of the verbal protection money that we also pay to buy a little quiet. But, as was proven in Beslan, to no avail."Despite the flattering articles in favor of disengagement that have appeared both in Israel and the rest of the world - articles whose purpose is to push you into additional concessions - you will never achieve the rehabilitation for which you long so greatly. Even now, they are saying that the fence is an act of apartheid and that you should be put on trial, along with the defense minister and senior Israeli officers, on charges of crimes against humanity. And such things were never said before, even when you controlled all the territory, when you built settlements on it, when you declared that it was the inheritance of your forefathers and that a Palestinian state would never arise upon it."Your excessive concessions have led the Palestinians, and all Muslims, to reach one clear conclusion: Terrorism pays. And that is what worries us. Just as international public opinion justifies terror against you, it is liable to justify terror against us, even though we are a great power. And we are liable to lose all the autonomous Muslim republics, not just Chechnya."Presumably, these things were not said. But there is no doubt that Russians, Americans, Britons and even Frenchmen who are engaged in the war on terror are indeed astonished by what has happened to Israel, which has lost its self-confidence - a development that, as noted, also impacts negatively on the entire world's ability to fight Islamic terrorism.
The Tide Is Continuing to Build Up

Enjoy the read....

Right-wing petition calls for refusal to evacuate settlements

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

Haaretz 09/09/2004

A right wing petition signed by 185 officers, former MKs, scholars and other public figures is calling on police and Israel Defense Forces troops to "listen to the voice of their personal and national conscience" and refuse to take part in the evacuation of settlements, an act they define as a crime against humanity, a national crime and an explicitly illegal act.

The petition, the first of a series of advertisements published starting Thursday in the Besheva newspaper, will be seen on other papers on Friday. It was signed by Ben Zion Netanyahu, the finance minister's father, as well as by Netanyahu's brother and uncle. The petition was also signed by Meir Har Zion of the renowned IDF unit 101, former Prime Minister's Office director-general Yossi Ben Aharon, senior IDF reserve officers, scientists, municipal council heads, former MKs, as well as writer Naomi Frenkel and Ezra Cohen.

The petition states that "in light of the Sharon government's intention to destroy settlements in the land of Israel and hand them over to the enemy, uprooting their residents and violently expelling them, we hereby declare that expulsion and uprooting are a national crime and a crime against humanity, constitute evil, arbitrary, dictatorial behavior, aimed at depriving Jews of their right to live in their country. We declare that the Israel Defense Forces' purpose is to defend against an enemy and not to act against Jewish civilians. The IDF is the people's army and does not belong to any political group."

"Therefore," the petitioners call on "public officials who are called upon to lay out the groundwork for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their homeland, as well as on all of the officers, troops and policemen, to listen to the voice of their personal and national conscience and refrain from taking part in acts that will cast a mark upon them, and which they will regret for the remainder of their lives."

The petitioners also call on the "future victims of the expulsion not to cooperate with the expulsion machinery, not to receive compensation, to resist the uprooting but to refrain from harming the people of their nation, even though they come to demolish their homes."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A surprisingly refreshing read from Haaretz - written by a Left wing writer!

On terror and hypocrisy

By Yoel Marcus

September is steadily gaining a name for itself as the most damned month of the year. World War II broke out in September. In "Black September," King Hussein confronted Arafat and his cronies, and exiled them to Lebanon. The Al-Aqsa intifada, in which 4,000 Israelis and Palestinians lost their lives, began in September. The assault on the Twin Towers, which exposed America's vulnerability to foreign aggression for the first time since Pearl Harbor, took place in September. This September will be remembered for the terror attack in North Ossetia - one of the cruelest, bloodiest rampages the human eye has ever seen on live TV.
Unlike September 1939, when Europe quickly realized that it was looking at a world war, it's not clear whether Europe today realizes what America grasped long ago - that World War III is in full swing. This war is different from all the wars in history. It's not countries fighting countries. It's not a war that can be won by conquest or some cut-and-dried military victory. Because the enemy is terror. It's everywhere and nowhere.Terror is not bound by the Geneva Convention. Not only is harming civilians not a problem, but those are precisely the targets it seeks out - women, children, old people. Ordinary folk are murdered just because they happen to be there. To make it hurt more. If the Al-Qaida pilots had settled into the cockpit two hours later, the casualty figures for 9/11 would have hit 30,000.The world has known all kinds of terror since World War II: anarchists like Danny the Red and Carlos; the Irish, the Basques and the Palestinians, spurred on by nationalism. But those who have inflated terror to its current proportions - murdering indiscriminately, shooting helpless children, choosing random targets - are the Muslims, and to what aim no one has entirely figured out.In his book "What Went Wrong," Prof. Bernard Lewis speculates that it is connected to the backwardness of Muslim society since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and Islam's inability to keep pace with Western modernization. Islamic regimes have contributed nothing since then to world culture or the advancement of their people.President Bush is the only one who hasn't beaten around the bush. He says there's an Axis of Evil out there. A war without rules and borders, a war that must be stopped before the worst happens, which could be anything from a biological holocaust to a nuclear showdown. The terror organizations and those who harbor them must be fought wherever they are, using every ounce of strength the world can muster. But the strength of Monsieur le President de la Republique and Herr Chancellor lies in condolence telegrams.Europe has donned kid gloves and is playing UN. It decides which terror is justified and which isn't. When the attack is in Israel, it's because we're being tough on the Palestinians. As if terror will stop as soon as an agreement is signed. President Putin enjoys great respect in Europe even when 100,000 people are massacred in Chechnya as it battles for independence. To paraphrase Skinny in "The Teahouse of the August Moon," political pornography is also a matter of geography.In the European Union, hypocrisy and double standards are the name of the game. When it comes to gathering intelligence, the countries of Europe may help America here and there, but they won't physically participate in the war on terror or those who harbor terrorists. They won't raise a finger against Syria, which shelters Hezbollah and Hamas, or against Saudi Arabia, which supplies manpower for the most gruesome attacks, for fear of an oil embargo. They won't say boo to Iran, despite definite proof that it has been involved in mega-attacks in recent years and is building itself up as a nuclear power with missiles capable of reaching the very heart of Europe.Israel is both a victim and a member of the Bush brigade, a tiny link in a family of nations determined to defend itself against the scourge of terror. In the eyes of this family, there is no such thing as justified and unjustified terror. Terror is terror. The entire Western world is a potential target. One day, when someone decides in the hallowed name of Allah to carry out the ultimate attack-to-end-all-attacks, even Europe will not be spared.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Tide is Turning, But...

It might sound weird, but even with all the media hype surronding the future implementation of Sharon's Gaza expulsion plan, I'm not so worried anymore that Sharon will actually be able to implement it.

The more anti-democratic and dictatorial that Sharon acts in his zeal to implement this plan the more desperate he is actually becoming in trying to overcome the obstacles within his own party to implement it.

The truth is that today I'm more worried and distraught about the state of much of Am Yisrael - who have come to believe and trust Sharon that it is in Israel's best interests to destory Jewish settlements and expel Jewish residents from their homes.

I have to give credit to Sharon for one major accomplishment over the past 4 years - he convinced most Jews and the world that "peace" today can not be achieved with the Arab murderers who live in our midst.

But his accomplishments end there. Unfortunately, he has managed to also convince a whole lot of people that defeatism is in our best interests - even staunch Likudnikim and strong supporters of Israel, who would have never dared accept that theory before his leadership.

And that worries me a lot.

How can people believe that destroying settlements and expelling Jews from their homes will help Israel?

Expeling our own brothers and sisters from their homes will only raise the moral of our enemies to continue their war against us.

In addition to that, it will be even easier for them to attack us (easier access to weapons, no Israeli army in the area to stop them, much harder to gather intelligence information, rockets over the fence and tunnels under the fence etc.). Especially with yesterday's statement from the Israeli Attorney General who said that any attack by Israel on Gaza (after the Gaza expulsion) will probably be considered a war crime by the international community. So how will we exactly defend ourselves when attacked from our enemies in Gaza?

The world pressure won't let up either. After we run out of Gaza the pressure will be on to run away from Yehuda and Shomron, then East Jerusalem, and then the Galil and the Negev (in case you missed it in the news - just last week Peres said to a Labor gathering that one day we will have to come to an agreement with the Arabs in the Negev and the Galil. - something to think about)

Domgaphic difference for Israel? You must be kidding! Gaza will be a ticking time bomb of Arabs waiting to overflow somewhere, at some time. I do not think Egypt will allow them to extend into the Sinai so so the only place they can extend into will be into Israel - with world pressure. Ditto for the West Bank after we run from there as well (specially since nothing will stop millions of Arabs from migrating to the West Bank which would quadruple the number of Arabs living in the West Bank - to then overflow into Israel).

This expulsion plan is a dangerous slope to start sliding on if you really want Israel to continue to exist.

No, acts of defeatism - giving away our land and expeling fellow Jews - are not the answer to our ills, just a symptom of our weakness and tidings of even worse to come.

Our weekness is big, very big and it is in not realizing that our biggest nemesis are not the Arabs, but our fellow Jews/Israelis who are excited about getting rid of Jewish land and expelling Jewish residents. They have been preaching this attitude for years, and now it has become mainstream, but they still remain a minority of the population.

As long as that attittude remains dominant, even after a Gaza expulsion, our problems will continue.

The solution to our situation lies in neutralizing the voices and the influence of those people within Jewish/Israeli society who weaken our resolve and our cause. Only then will Israel be able to truly cure its ills (not just security but society ills as well). Once the people of Israel once again feel justice in our cause to live in the land of our forefathers, our enemies power will decrease.

Sound simple? It might, but it is reality. Unfortunately, most people place their faith on so-called leaders and their promises and predictions that in reality are futile.

You would think that after trusting Rabin, Peres, Clinton, Barak, Netanyahu, Bush etc that Jews would wake up and realize that their promises of peace and/or security are futile words all based on Israeli steps of defeatism. After 12 years of an attitude of defeatim, we are still considerred the major impediment to peace.

Sharon started to change this with Operation Defensive Shield and we all thought he would continue in this direction, but he too fell into the pit of defeatism and brought many of us down with him - since it must be true if the most right wing PM of Isreal follows this path as well.

Maybe soon we can wake up and realize that it is actually the attitude of defeatism that is defeating us, and that to change our situation we must begins to change our thinking and the Jews/Israelis with influence in Israel and the US before we can win this war against our enemies.

Am Yisrael will prevail as will Eretz Yisrael. Have faith in your own intellect in disecting the reality around you and not blind faith in promises of leaders who tell us to trust them.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Food for Thought this Tisha Ba'av

I was forwarded this email and I thought it pertinant for Tisha Ba'av as well.

A meaningful fast to all.


BS”D Bayn Ha’me’tzarim 5764

Today is the 17th of Tamuz, which ushers in a three week period of mourning, concluding with the ninth day of Av. The period is called Bayn Ha’metzorim, meaning “between the straits”, for the dangers and tragedies which befell our nation over the generations in this period are likened to a light ship being tossed from boulder to boulder in treacherous waters, with each blow ripping apart another piece of the ship.

As I walk around the walls of the Old City, I can visualize the moment when the northern side was breached by the Roman troops on this day 1934 years ago, and according to some, was breached on this very day 500 years earlier by the troops of Nevuchadnetzer, King of Bavel.

What marks the intimate, exclusive relationship between Am Yisrael and the Creator is not the suffering we have endured to this very day, but the fact that with it all Hashem has caused this impossible little ship to survive the straits. For me, all our history was reduced today to a simple act. I walked near the City’s walls with the blue-white flag of Medinat Yisrael over the old city and waved to a Jewish boy in uniform and spoke to each other in the language our fathers spoke in the bet hamikdash.

And it occurred to me:

The prophet Zecharia says in chapter 8,19:

“Thus says the L-ord of hosts, “the fast of the fourth (month 17th of Tamuz) and the fast of the fifth (month 9th of Av) and the fast of the seventh (month Tzom Gedalia on the 3rd of Tishrei) and the fast of the tenth (month the 10th of Tevet) will be (in the future) for the House of Yehuda for joy and gladness and for holidays and truth and peace shall exist together in love”.

It is enlightening that this year the 17th of Tamuz falls out in the week of the Fourth of July, the 228th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America. The 17th of Tamuz called the “fast of the fourth” which marks the beginning of our long exile, falls out in the week of July fourth, the day of independence of that land which became home to so many Jews. There is a message here, as there is in everything a Jew sees and does.

Zecharia’s sees that these fast days will one day turn into days of rejoicing. How can one eradicate the raging sounds of the 17th of Tamuz when the walls came crashing down and the enemy charged into the city to vent their rage on the Jews of Yerushalayim!? How can we sing on the 9th of Av when so many bitter things happened; the worst being the destruction of the bet hamikdash and the beginning of our 2000 year exile!?

But the words of the prophet are torah and hence true. Indeed, we see them becoming a reality today in many parts of the world. In the Jewish communities of Antwerp, London, Jo-berg SA., Sidney, Sao Paolo, the “Five Towns”, Teaneck, Boca, Beverly Hills (don’t feel left out if I didn’t mention your spot). In all these places, the fasts of the “fourth” and the “fifth” have become days of “joy and gladness”, because what occurred on them caused all these Jews to be where they are today.

If not for the 17th of Tamuz in the year 70 CE, the big palatial home in Silver Springs would not have a beautifully designed mezuza near the entrance, but a little statuette of the “savior” of some goyishe family in the garden.

If not for Tish’ah Be’Av, Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights Brooklyn, would have several hundred more black families rather than wide brim hatted young Jewish men proclaiming a holy Jewish soul now residing in Olam Haba as still alive and waiting to answer your questions - just write it on a note and put it into the sefer.

If not for these days of strife, which have like the Prophet’s prediction, turned into days of joy for their contribution in giving our brothers in galut the comforts they enjoy, we would all be here in Eretz Yisrael having to struggle together to maintain a Jewish presence in the Holy Land.

So let us give praise to these days of joy!

I propose that in recognition of the simcha of the “fourth” and “fifth” fasts, that a new greeting be instituted. On Shabbat you say “gut shabbas”, on yom tov you say “gut yomtov”, from now on greet your fellow Jew in galut on the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av etc., with the words “a freilicha churban”.

I can very well imagine the reaction of many people to what I have written. Let me explain.

My brother, Rav Meir z”l, and I, very often discussed how we can bring about the return of Jews to Eretz Yisrael. He claimed that the most potent way is through fear. So he raised the flag of fear in his talks and writings: fear of anti-Semitism; fear that your son will one day bring home a shiksa, fear that after all your efforts your children will depart from yiddishkeit. I would answer Meir, that he might be correct that fear is the most potent method, but I don’t think Hashem wants His children to come home because of fear. My way is different.

I want my brothers and sisters to recognize the absolute incompatibility with a torah way of life in chutz La’aretz when the gates of Eretz Yisrael are open. I want to show that the communities in the galut today are in a state of voluntary exile - a sin of the highest order.

A serious pious Jew has to ask himself, free of the influences of his rabbi etc.: I have one life to lead, and a day gone by can never be > regained. Where does my Jewish conscience lead me. To make myself the center of my world or to make Hashem the center of my life.

G-d gave us the freedom to make choices in our lives, and we are responsible for what we choose. Life is like a super-market. When you enter you get a cart into which you can put any assortment of items. No one will limit your choices. But at the end of the day, the cashier will take out, register and charge you for every item you chose. So too, when we are born we get a proverbial cart. You can put into it mitzvot, avayrot, foolishness, arrogance - whatever+ you wisht. But at the end of the line the angel will withdraw every act and thought of your essence, weigh it, register it, and charge you. And up above there are no credit cards or checks - it'’s cash on the line.

The way for a Jew to go is to escape the siren’s song of the galut. To take advantage of the huge zechut Hashem has given us - to return home to Eretz Yisrael. It is here where by our concerted efforts we will bring the ge’ula ha’she’layma and indeed turn the days of fasting into holidays-holydays. Here and only here, can we close the historical circle which began in agony and terror and will end in joy, gladness and thanksgiving to Hashem for being born Jews and sharing in the bounty of eternity.

Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Food for Thought: Imagine If...

Imagine if Shimon Peres was Prime Minister and he would announce a plan to annex the Gaza Strip against the wishes of the Labor party and his parties platform - would the media stay silent about this behavior?

Imagine if the Labor party central committee passed a resolution against such an action - yet he pushes through the annexation plan anyway - would the media stay silent about this behavior?

Imagine if a referendum was held for Labor party members that Prime Minister Peres morally committed to honoring and it came out against the annexation plan, yet he pushes through the annexation plan anyway - would the media stay silent about this behavior?

Imagine if he fires government ministers just to secure himself a supportive ministerial vote to support the annexation plan - would the media stay silent about this behavior?

Imagine if part of the plan called for transferring Arabs from their homes - would the media stay silent about this behavior?

Imagine if famous Left wing personalities started speaking out against the plan and calling upon citizens to stand up against the plan - Has the media/government and justice offices stayed silent?

*Yossi Sarid and former MK Ya'ir Tzaban wrote in Yediot Acharonot (June 27, 1990), in response to a proposal to temporarily move several Arab villages until the end of the grape harvest: "Let there be no misunderstandings amongst us, and let it not be said that you were not warned in advance: We shall not obey the transfer order, nor will our children or our students obey it. The day that the transfer order - a patently illegal order - is given, shall be the day of refusal to obey an order."
*Yehonatan Gefen, 1998: "Secular Israel is the occupied territories of the religious parties. If the secular desire to live here, they have no choice but to start an intifada. Yes, I am prepared to throw the first stone."

*An article in the Ha-Kibbutz newsletter, August 1995: "They [the settlers] are not my brothers. [...] A civil war will be a war [...] I will run to it [...] and I will crush their flesh with mighty blows, to rout them. [...] I will go forth to the foe in order to fight, for once, a justified war. [...] Much blood will be shed."

*Zeev Sternhal, in the Davar newspaper, 1988: "Fascism cannot be stopped with rational arguments. This can be stopped only by force, and when there is willingness to risk a civil war. When necessary, we shall have to forcibly deal with the settlers in Ofrah or in Elon Moreh. Only a person who is willing to advance against Ofrah with tanks will be capable of curbing the fascist drift that threatens to inundate Israeli democracy."

*In an article in the Ha'Aretz newspaper in 2001, this same Sternhal incited the Arabs to murder settlers, advising the terrorist organizations to place explosive charges only on the eastern side of the Green Line. "There is no doubt regarding the legitimacy of the [Arab] armed resistance in the territories themselves. If the Palestinians had a bit of sense, they would concentrate their struggle against the settlements. [...] They would similarly refrain from placing explosive charges on the western side of the Green Line."

*Minister Yosef Lapid himself has publicly supported refusal to serve in the IDF in any capacity as a form of protest, "I am merely calling for soldiers to refuse to carry out an illegal order - a principle taught to every IDF soldier during basic training." Elitzur quoted Lapid as having written, "The shame of exempting yeshiva students from IDF service will not end until a draft refusal movement arises in Israel ... Only if hundreds and thousands of draftees return their service orders will the political establishment be compelled to come to the IDF's aid."

This message is sponsored by the wake-up-already-if-you-still-think-Israel-is-a-functioning-Democracy-committee.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Israel, Judaism and Democracy - Does it Exist Today? No. Can they Coexist? Yes

The Situation in Israel today is very sad. The democratic process has been bulldozed by the current Prime Minister and Israelis and Jews worldwide don't even care!

Not only do they not care, many actually even support his undemocratic actions because they have been convinced that it is for the best.

Whether his plan is for the best or not is irrelevant. A democratic process is one a democratic country and leadership is supposed to follow regardless of the intentions of this or that plan.

Or am I wrong?

Would all you Jews (American/Israeli) who support Sharon's expulsion plan support President Bush (or any American President) if he signed a bill into law that would have no party support, no majority for it in the Senate or the Congress, but only various public opinion polls to support his plan? Would that fly in the States? Would the press remain silent?

Reading the world and Jewish press you would think that I'm wrong, that bulldozing the democratic process is ok - considering hardly any publication is questioning the undemocratic actions of Sharon and his government.

Hum, whatever happened to the press being the gaurdian of democracy?

Democracy lovers should be having a very hard time morally accepting the events that have taken place in the State of Israel lately. Sharon's Gaza expulsion plan is in the planning stages, not becuase of democracy and the democratic process, but in spite of it.

Don't expect simple citizens like me to sit quietly while the fate of thousands of Jews who live in the Gaza strip, specifically, and the fate of the millions of Jews who live in the rest of Israel, are tied to the strong-armed, anti-democratic tactics of a leader without a supportive party or government.

Maybe it's me, but either the steps Prime Minister Sharon has taken the past few years (going against his party's institutional decisions - against establishing another Arab State West of the Jordan and against the Gaza expulsion plan - and using termination as a weapon to pressure government ministers to vote a certain way etc.) are undemocratic and therefore unbecoming a democratic society......

or Israel has a democratic governance model that must be changed.... yesterday!

I have had enough of democratically elected Israeli leaders "sic" who do whatever they want in power even when it totally goes against their election platforms, against the mandates given them by their voters upon being elected and against the party platform!

I will not sit quietly anymore while our country and our rights are bulldozed by an undemocratic process and undemocratic leaders, definately not when they take undemocratic action of expulsion against my fellow Jews in Gush Katif. (And why should we believing Jews accept the undemocratic action of expulsion of Jews from their homes, while left wing Israelis do not accept the action of expelling Arabs from their homes. Only transfer of Jews is moral but transfer of Arabs is immoral? Or today's understanding of morality is all screwed up!)

Will you?


The government practices of the Oslo decade have placed the whole debate of Israel, Judaism and Democracy in a whole new light.

Read the following article for an insightful pespective on the issue.

Democratic Because it's Jewish

By Moshe Feiglin

The motto, "a Jewish and democratic State", has become meaningless.
Aharon Barak,
with an abundance of tortuous explanations, has drained its Jewish
aspect of
significance and has in fact declared that what (in his opinion) is
democratic is Jewish.

The Haredim and the national religious Jews who are trying to face the
issue are going
wrong in the opposite direction. They are giving up democracy (as it
were) in favor of
Judaism. In other words, they are accepting the interpretation of the
head of the
Supreme Court and are in fact saying that if democracy means the end of
they want no part of it. Give us a king, who will enforce the wishes of
the Almighty.

Belief-based people who adopt this approach are falling into the trap
twice. The first
time, because they are abandoning the most basic principle in Judaism –
freedom. The
second time, because they are giving up the sole brake that can halt
Israel's current
slide into violent totalitarianism, a process that we are now

To be a Jew is to be a free man. The Jewish people brought the message
of liberty to
the entire world. All human progress from slavery to a flesh and body
king, towards
human liberty, starting with the English Magna Charta, continuing with
the American
constitution, and ending with the French Revolution – Judaism formed
the source of
inspiration for them all, as they publicly declared.

The division of authority, the recognition that the king is not the
source of authority
but the representative of the sovereignty, and that he is subject to
constant criticism by
the parallel institutions of clarifications and direction (Sanhedrin,
kehuna), and that all
of them – the king, the institutions, and the people, are equally
subject to the same
rules, are the fundamental elements of the modern free regime, or in
other words, the
foundations of democracy.

However, the term democracy has been made meaningless by the extremist
Left that
has compared the democratic method to its values. Aharon Barak's test
of a "civilized
person" is an outstanding example of the way in which the concept of
democracy is
distorted. It is not surprising that many people currently tend to
throw out the baby
with the bathwater. The term democracy may well have become so
distorted that it
can it can no longer be used, just as happened to the term "Israeli" in
its original
meaning. It may well be preferable to return to the term "liberty", but
it would be a
grave error to abandon the real values forming the basis of the term.

It is not easy to understand the meaning of democracy. Hundreds of
definitions have
been given, and all kinds of people (including mass murderers) have
drawn legitimacy
from the term for their own needs. (examples are the People's Democracy
of China, or
the democratic elections held by Arafat's murder gangs.) However,
before trying to
understand why the belief-based public is the sole chance for democracy
in Israel, or,
if you wish, why Israel can be democratic only as a Jewish State, and
why, if it
abandons its Jewish character, it inevitably acquires totalitarian
characteristics, let us
examine Israeli reality.

It is difficult to call the first days of the State of Israel
democracy. Ben-Gurion's
regime after the establishment of the state was very centralized, the
opposition was
persecuted with the aid of close cooperation between the defense
establishment and
the ruling party, and great courage and an independent income were
required to
oppose the regime.

Let us therefore focus on the four decades that have elapsed since the
Six Day War (in
which the Herut party first entered Eshkol's unity government). It can
be said that
during this period Israel began really progressing towards a regime
based on the
fundamentals of democracy. Since 1967 we have been relatively

However, it is easy to point to two occasions during this period in
which Israeli
democracy retreated towards dictatorship in the guise of democracy.

The separation fence between a free state and a totalitarian one has no
color, nor can it
be felt. It can only be discovered using the sense of smell. And just
like any stench,
those lying inside it don't feel it. There have been numerous examples
in the 20th
Century of free societies that crossed the fence without noticing it,
and continued to
believe that they were free and advanced, even when the atmosphere of
freedom was
replaced by the stench of dictatorship.

As we have said, this fence has been crossed twice since the Six Day
War. The first
person to lie on it was Yitzhak Rabin, and the second, Ariel Sharon, is
doing so now.

These leaders were not the first to wish to hand over parts of the
country to the enemy,
to destroy entire settlements and drive out their residents. The first
to do so was
Menahem Begin, to his everlasting ignominy. But Begin didn't do this
terrible deed
while crossing the fence. He possessed public legitimacy for his
action. The majority
of the nation, hypnotized by Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, supported him.
Begin didn't
change the rules of the game and fit them to his needs, but acted in
accordance with
them. His opponents were opposed to the retreat, but not to Begin.
They could not contest Begin's legitimacy as the elected democratic
prime minister.

Rabin and Sharon crossed the fence quite blatantly. The hypnotizing
spell of the first
Camp David Conference had faded away, and the public had already
developed the
intellectual antibodies needed to understand what it was really
getting. In order to
overcome the basic Jewish values, the fundamental loyalty to Eretz
Israel, and Jewish
identity, that again played a key role in the public consciousness,
Rabin at that time,
and Sharon now, had to cross the fence separating democracy and
between those people whom Rabin discounted, and his voters, whom he had
there would be no talks with the PLO. His government was a minority
one, and he
achieved the majority necessary for these fateful steps by bribing
people such as
Segev and Goldfarb. In this way, with a fragile coalition, a leader of
a free state
initiated a major national decision that split the nation over
fundamental issues. Broad
popular protest was suppressed with great violence, and the media, as
in every
dictatorship, supported the regime. Only in this way could the Oslo
Process, whose
results are well known, be sold to Israeli society.

The current situation is far more serious. The intensity of the
controversy is
unchanged, but the hopes planted at the time of the Oslo process no
longer exist. But
the fence crossed by Sharon has exactly the same smell.

There is no argument about the nature of the majority achieved by
Sharon. He lost in
the referendum and doesn't deny this. As long as he has the support of
the Left, he is
not obligated to observe any rules, not even those he himself fixed. He
no longer
attempts to bribe his ministers, but fires them. The human rights of
those planned to
be evicted no longer exist. Now, just as then, the media have been
recruited to support
the regime. "We shall not only evict you and destroy your homes" (in
the name of the
new democracy), "we shall also fix the rules governing how you will be
permitted to
resist, what language you may use, and perhaps even the thoughts you
will be
permitted to think… If you don't obey, you will be responsible for a
civil war…"

Not only the media but the courts and the Public Prosecutor's
department have been
recruited. The idea of trying to halt this madness through an appeal to
the High Court
of Justice, based on the law, "The dignity and freedom of man", is just

Israeli totalitarianism is now advancing, and all the media are in a
count-down to the
day when thousands of citizens will be called on to pack up their
belongings and move
to a new place, and every morning on the State radio Arieh Golan comes
up with a
new idea for implementing the new democracy, such as a unit of
deployed on the roofs and equipped with live ammunition. In such a
state of affairs it
will not be surprising if at some stage they start hanging people from
the lamp posts,
naturally in the name of the law for dignity and freedom of man, and in
order to
protect the values of civilized persons.

This sounds far-fetched?

How many Arab collaborators were hanged on the lamp posts as a
sacrifice for the
Oslo process? Not only the Left looked aside, but also the Right. The
High Court of
Justice did not intervene, but accepted Rabin's declaration that "this
is a political issue
and not a judicial one".

During the Rabin era the emperor thought he was dressed and attempted
to persuade
the nation of this. At least there was some kind of plan, and an
attempt was made to
create the impression of democracy. However, Sharon now knows that he
is naked,
but doesn't care. "The referendum was morally but not legally binding."
All this in the
name of the "rule of law". And I am the law.

This is a time to keep one's distance from the lamp posts.

Without noticing it, we have fallen into a situation of dictatorship
whose stench is
already making itself felt.

Let us now try and understand what democracy is, and why only a Jewish
State can be

The most important feature of democracy is the subservience of both the
ruler and the
ruled to the same set of rules. This has been clearly violated by both
Rabin and

There are several viewpoints of democracy and I shall only address two
of them: the
liberal and the community approaches.

The liberal tradition supports a single fundamental criterion, a
universal standpoint
that does not recognize a different culture, tradition, or values. It
believes in the values
of equality and freedom of the individual, where the state is intended
to serve the
individual only. The state has no purpose and does not represent the
values of its

The second viewpoint is the community one, according to which a person
recognition by society in order to achieve self awareness, and in this
way express his
opinion regarding the issues of morality and values. Consequently the
plays a decisive role, and through it the individual identifies with
his country. The
community and the state are assigned an important role in the
realization of the values
and identities of the citizens.

According to this interpretation, democracy is a method of government
permitting the
_expression of the basic values of the society. Every society whose
basic values are
those of freedom can and must be democratic, but it must fit the lid to
the pot, and
adopt its form of democracy to its nature and its unique values.
Those who understand democracy using this approach can also understand
that the
first democratic approach described, as adopted in Israel, must
inevitably lead to

The dispute regarding Eretz Israel is not about territory or security.
The issue of
national identity currently finds _expression through Eretz Israel.
Those who wish to
abandon parts of the country in fact want to sever the links with their
Jewish identity.

"The Jews defeated the Israelis", explained Shimon Peres in an
interview for Ha'aretz
after he lost to Netanyahu. The argument is between those holding on to
their Jewish
identity and those who wish to disengage from it and replace it with a
new Israeli one.

The process of disengagement is one of enforcing the new identity on
the vast
majority of the nation. Consequently it must inevitably lead to a
dictatorship, as is
actually happening. Only if Israel lives in harmony with its Jewish
identity, and tries
to serve this identity instead of fighting it, will it also be really

Monday, June 14, 2004

A response to a further comparison of Manhigut Yehudit to Gush Emunim

I believe that considering the infancy of Manhigut Yehudit it has been extremely successful. Its goal at the moment is to gain political power within the Likud party in order to then influence the value changes necessary in Israeli society. It has also been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is in the process of happening, even though the movement is only in its infancy and only a mere 5% of the Likud central committee membership. The reason it has succeeded is because it has harnessed the idealogues of the Likud who have been leaderless. (it just so happens that currently the Land of Israel issue is the hot potato political issue that has actually assisted MY in gaining more of a leadership role within the Likud, but that is not its whole agenda).

Also, they don't believe that the silent majority of Israelis believe with their values, they believe that the silent majority of Israelis want a more Jewish identity for the State of Israel (proven in numerous surveys and polls) yet have no leadership leading them in the direction to accomlish that goal. It will take much time in harnessing the desire of that silent majority to support MY in its agenda. We are not deluded as the greatness of this goal. Will it succeed? It might and it might not. But I'm surprised at a position that negates even giving it a chance because of a fear of failure. Is this fear based on the fear of further erosion for the stature of the Dati Leumi community in Israeli society? That I also negate since, with our assistance or without, that erosion is steadily proceeding without any activities of Manhigut Yehudit.

I believe that MY's endeavors should be given a chance - doubts and all. The current political environment hasn't done the Dati Leumi community any good, only harm.

As for the doubt that developing communities in YESHA without selective acceptance would have amde a change - Yes, the goal of 2 million Jews in Yesha would probably have come to fruition if those selective committees were not established in the YESHA communities - Ariel and Maale Adumim are full with a diversified group of Israelis. If more communities like that would have been created in the beggining as well, it would have made a huge difference. Let us not forget that it is due to the fact that most of the yishuvim are selectively all religious that the Dati Leumi community, with Gush Emunim, created an elitism and stigma that might not have been created if most settlements followed the same mold as Ariel and Maale Adumin.

In response to your feeling that Manhigut Yehudit is reading the map incorrectly just to reinforce the feeling of its members that it is succeeding - I don't believe they are viewing the map incorrectly at all. They do not believe that the silent majority of Israelis currently believe in their cause, but they do know that the silent majority of Israelis want the State of Israel to have a more Jewish identity and the current religious parties are failing to accomplish any change in this realm because they are sectoral parties after their own interests (a very big chilul Hashem that continues day by day). Therefore they are building upon this silent majority to either continue supporting the Likud or join the Likud because only the Likud has the power to work towards successfully strengthening the Jewish character of the State, as its constitution says it is supposed to. Also, as opposed to public perception, MY does not want to flood the Likud with new members to take over the party - it only wants to make up a substantial, but relatively small, percentage of the party membership - larger than 5% but much lower than 40%-50% because it does not want to take over the party numberswise, but ratehr work together with the existing Likud faithful.

Will MY be vilified for true or untrue statements and positions? Will some Likud faithful be afraid of associating with them and attack them? Of course that will happen, it already it. But I don't believe it will harm it or the Likud in the long run.

The MY train has left the station. It will take a long time to reach its destination, but it is not turning back. The Likud might have its ups and downs - due to MY's identification with the party or not. But most Likud members/voters won't be running to any other party because of them and, over time, they will see the true face of MY and support it in its endeavors in the Likud party.

I leave you with the following thoughts and then I think this should be continued at the debate between you and Moti Karpel.

1. Meimad tried a number of ways to influence the Jewish character of Israeli society at the political level and failed in all of them.
2. The existing political structure does not allow the Dati Leumi community to influence, only to disgrace itself (personal belief).
3. The right wing/religious non-parliamentary groups have tried a numer of times to unify over the past 12 years (Prof. Hillel Weiss tried twice with Hatikvah in 1993 and again in 1995 under another name) in order to pressure the right wing/religious political parties to unify for the good of the nation - all failed endeavors.
4. The religious parties tried to secretly unify in 1996 - a failed endavor.
5. Social action without political actioin will not change Israel - not when the establishment (press, politics, beaurocrats etc) are all pursuing a different agenda.

A new direction needs to be tried and MY is currently the only political option open to us, and so far they are succeeding. Especially when we look at the history of failed endeavors to change the direction the State of Israel is going, I think we should give MY a chance to succeed.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

What Makes Manhigut Yehudit Different?

This write up is my response to somebody's question on how Manhigut Yehudit differs from Gush Emunim, which failed in its goal of achieving public support in changing Israeli society to have a more Jewish orientation.

Gush Emunim focused its attention on establishing settlements - with the perspective that with those actions and the consequences of those actions, the rest of Israeli society would be influenced. However, GE made one major mistake - the settlements that they established became almost all religiously occupied due to the strict communal rules established for acceptance to those settlements. This was a fatal mistake that alone was instrumental in cutting off whole populations from taking part in the societal change that they wanted to institute. Hence, in hindsight, they now realize that they should have focused on establishing more city like settlements like Ariel and Maale Adumim with no acceptance committees. They didn't and we are now suffering the consequences.

In addition, GE (which turned into moetzet Yesha) turned into a political body subservient to the establishment - not in a position to change society, but only in the position to look after its own interests, haggling for budgets like every other political body. This was another fateful mistake that made it impossible for them to fulfill their societal mission.

MY on the other hand is focused on becoming the establishment, by working within a party of the amcha that stands up for the same ideals. The key issue is that we are in the Likud to strengthen it because the emuni aspect is missing, even though the ideals are there. As we have all seen, the ideals themselves have not helped the Likud leaders lead according to them. Without the emuni basis for those ideals, the minute they attain leadership, the ideals they say they stand for are dropped. We have strengthened those within the Likud who hold these ideals dear and they are very happy that we are there saving the party from self-destruction.

MY has set itself the goal to become the political establishement because only then will we have a chance to make real change happen. At the same time we must spread our messages of societal values and change at the personal level so that the public pressure would exist for the political realm to institute the changes. One can not exist without the other, otherwise certain failure will result. This is a long process that does not happen overnight and MY can't be judged now for what can only be accomplished after a number of years.
It can only be judge now on the steps it has taken to be in a position to attain its goals, and if we use that as a measuring stick it has been extremely successful in a very short period of time.

Gush Emunim failed because of mistakes it made. That does not mean that learning from those mistakes and making another go at accomplishing societal change should be scrapped.

Finally, after being involved with MY and meeting many of its members that include secular Israelis, veteran masorati Likudnikim and Russians, I know that many Israelis are thirsting for the values that we stand for. They just have never been approached before by religious people wanting to work WITH them to accomplish it. Up until know the religious political establishment has always acted in a sectoral fashion only looking after its own interests. Here is finally a group that is acting within a diversified group together with all the other groups.

The age of the sectoral religious/right-wing parties is ending, Baruch Hashem, and it is MY that is making it happen - in a few more elections the Likud will be the natural home for all Jews who have a strong Jewish identity, regardless of their religious observance - and in my eyes, that is the way it should be and it is only being accomplished because of MY's efforts today.

Please look over the attached articles for some interesting views of veteran Likudnikim, who are not MY members.

Let me know if that debate takes place between Moti Karpel and Rabbi Finkelman, I would love to attend as well.


A non-MY Likudnik writing about MY:

An article articulating the values of the Likud, that have been squashed over the last few years, that are exactly those promoted by MY:

Friday, June 11, 2004

Democracy and Judaism

The fact that consecutive Israeli governments (left and right) have dealt with our control over YESHA, Yerushalayim and Har Habayit irresponsibly does not mean that we must give up our right to live there, it means we finally must take full responsability for YESHA and deal with the issues connected to the Arabs who live in all of Israel.

The starting point of left and right are the same, that the current situation vis a vis the Arabs is wrong. It is the steps afterwards that we take different directions.

I do not believe it is right nor wise to formulate a solution for our situation seperating the Arabs who live in YESHA and the Arabs who live in Israel - in the end they will all work towards the same goal - the annihalation of the Jewish State - in one way shape of form, regardless of all the "practical" seperation plans implemented. Whether by continous intifadas within Israel (Galil and Negev) with support from YESHA Arabs, or through the "demographic" demon one day rearing its head (regardless of a "border" between Israel and YESHA) and turning Israel into a bi-national state en-route to an Islamic/Arab state.

In addition, the Arabs are not our problem, we are the problem. If we would establish the Jewish society we are supposed to in Israel, then the Arabs will get off our backs. Our cultures are in some ways more similar than Western society. Many of our values are similar - modesty in dress/speech, respect for elders, family, an overall tribal responsability, religion as a communal way of lfe etc. as opposed to the individualistic "rights" based values of the western cultures.

We are hated here in Israel by the Arabs because we currently symbolize the Western culture in the Middle East. But Jewish society is not equivalent to Western culture. If we would just become more of a Jewish culture stressing the Jewish values over Western individualistic values, we would probably be pleasantly surprised to see our relations with the Arabs change. Now we are truly acting like colonists, western colonists, who happen to be Jews.

Domgraphics is not the problem. It is the substance of the Jewish State that is the problem.

The Torah is very clear on the issue of Ger Toshav as a way to deal with "others" who live within the Land of Israel. The Torah did not promote this solution as a form of discrimination. It is a a just solution that limits the influence that the "others" can have on Israeli society - which is exactly what is needed today. Any society with unique cultures need ways to preserve those cultures. Today, the world values equal rights for everybody and everything, but that doesn't make it correct that everyone must have the right to vote in a society with a unique culture different than theirs. There are countries in this world that make it extremely hard, even almost impossible, for "others" to become citizens of their countries for the simple reason of limiting the impact on the host countries culture/society (Japan is just one example).

In any case, Ger Toshav is the most practical solution that deals with the core problem - the substance of the State. Just because the democratic ethos causes problems for some Jews to think that the Ger Toshav solution is not a possile solution with today's world value system, does not make it wrong or inapplicable. It just means we have to reintroduce the concept, why it is correct and why it is right - to ourselves and the world. A democratic system with a vote for all is not necessarily a Jewish value, just the best governing model that has worked to this day - but that doesn't mean that we have to adapt our governing model, our citizenship rules and our value vis a vis the Land of Israel because of the way others view democracy.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Questionable Organization

I have just heard of a group called Tzionut Datit Realit (Realistic Religious Zionism) and I just took a few minutes to read up on them.

Two major issues bother me about this organization.
Their mission statement includes the following (from their website):

“We hereby call upon the Religious Zionist public to recognize the necessity of relinquishing our rule over the Territories and to turn its efforts to dealing with the urgent problems affecting Israeli society in general, and the religious public in particular."

"We hereby call upon every Religious Zionist Jew, who is touched by our words, who desires the renewal of the authentic spirit of Religious Zionism, who is anxious for the future of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth, and who holds dear the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people – to join us in a shared effort for the reshaping of Religious Zionism”

First of all, I don't understand why they have the need to take a stand on relinquishing our control over YESHA in the same breath as the need to refocus the communal discourse and attention on essential Jewish values to improve Israeli society? One is not connected to the other! The need to refocus communal discourse to include other extremely important issues is a totally seperate issue, one that I totally agree with, but it does not mean that our community must distance itself from our right to live in all of Eretz Yisrael.

If the communal discourse is the burning issue for them they could have stated as follows:
“We hereby call upon the Religious Zionist public to increase its efforts to dealing with the urgent problems affecting Israeli society in general, and the religious public in particular.”

But they don’t state that.

The fact that they believe in this connection is a huge red flag for me.

As I mentioned in my last email, the mistake of the dati leumi community is not the attention it has given to the Land of Israel issue, but the neglect of all other issues.

Without this stand of theirs I would be a supporter of their organization.

Once I saw that this is an essential part of their plaform I was interested in looking up what groups financially support their activities and I visited the New Israel Fund website. This leads me to the second issue that bothers me - that this organization gets funds from the New Israel Fund - a problematic philanthropy with regards to Israel.

New Israel Fund website on Tzionut Datit Realit

Problems with the New Israel Fund and it's philanthropy vis a vis Israel:

An article on the Ford foundation and it's recipient groups including the NIF

An article on the partnership between the Ford foundation and the NIF

I wholeheartedly agree with the dire need to reintroduce other Jewish values into the daily communal discourse in order for the Dati Leumi community to influence Israeli society on these issues, not instead of, but in addition to the Land of Israel issue. I do not believe in dividing one Jewish value from all the others. That is why I support Manhigut Yehudit which is for stregthening all Jewish values in Israeli society and not just the ones that the New Israel Fund supports.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Real Issue that the Religious Zionist Community in Israel Must Face

I think that most people today agree with the analysis that the Religious Zionist community in Israel has become a one-issue community – The Land of Israel – and has neglected all other issues from its communal agenda. Some might not like to hear this analysis, but it can't be denied. (The problem isn't the attention given to the to the issue of the Land of Israel but the almost complete neglect of all other issues from the communal agenda).

The question is how do we get out of this situation?

How does this community reinvigorate itself to begin letting its voice be heard on social issues, Jewish identity issues (not just the 'who is a Jew' issue), the issue of public institutions/companies activities on Shabbat, environmental issues, judicial issues, societal ethical/moral norms related issues etc. - all issues that our Torah has guidelines for?

The good news is twofold:

1. More and more efforts are taking place all over the country by groups and individuals from the Dati Leumi community that are connected to the above - i.e - yeshivot and kollels being set up in the middle of cities/towns developing programs with the outside communities, Rav Moti Elon's Mibrasheit program that is spreading in the Mamlachti Dati elementary school system, local tzedakah initiatives, local social justice initiatives etc.

2. A movement aimed at developing an overall Jewish society in Israel, based on Jewish values in every area of life, is growing little by little - Manhigut Yehudit. This movement is still in its infancy and mostly only heard of with regards to the 'Land of Israel' issue, but it is growing. This movement is based upon the premise that in order to make the above change all happen, the Dati Leumi community can no longer just lead itself and look out for its own interests on the communal level, but must work and lead together with the rest of Am Yisrael.

We have much work to do to accomplish this turnaround in the Religious Zionist community, but the key to making it work is the realization that we must work hand in hand together with the other Jews in this country who also care about these issues - only then will we make it work. Once we, as a community, realize that there are other Jews in this country, maybe not as religious as us, who also care about these issues and we are willing to work together with them to place those issues on the communal-Israeli agenda than half the battle will be won.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

An Interview Arafat Does Not Want the World to Hear

An Interview with Walid Shoebat - an Arab Terrorist from Beit Lechem area turned Zionist

After a few minutes of a news report, the interview begins (around 5 minutes and 40 seconds into the recording).

How Can we Trust Any Other Party Other than Ourselves?

Video of armed Arabs in Gaza using UN ambulances to travel to and from battles

Have we heard a peep about this from the UN? The US? Does anybody remember the scandal of the UN involvement in the kidnapping of the three Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border in the year 2000?

We all know this fact about the UN, and it is sad and scary, but true. The Jewish State is on its own in this world to defend itself. It can't trust outside powers (UN, EU or even the US) to defend us, regardless of the pacts signed. They all have their own geo-political interests - and that leaves Israel as their pawn. We must trust ourselves, and as soon as the other powers realize that, we will be in a better position than we are today.

The world loves the Jewish people as victims, but not as leaders of their own country, their own destiny, a position of strength.

Now Sharon is talking to Mubarek about helping out with bringing security to Gaza. Something stinks here - since Egytpt is obviously not doing the job of preventing weaponry from getting into Gaza in the first place so why trust them to help us secure Gaza if we are not there? Why does Sharon even entertain the thought?

In anycase, =tThis Gaza plan of Sharon is only the beginning of the world-powers planned land give-away that they have planned for us anyways - regardless of Sharon's plan that pulling out of Gaza would give us diplomatic quiet from the world. What is he thinking??

The following article spells this out quite well

Pressure begins: Disengagement from Gaza is not Enough


Monday, May 31, 2004

A Sad Sad State of Affairs For Am Yisrael

Pinui Mitzpeh Yitzhar Video Link

The above video includes raw footage of the destruction of the "illegal" caravan site of Mitzpeh Yitzhar.

It is so sad to see Jews beating up fellow Jews, all by order of a Jewish government, in order to appease the world and our enemies, just so that they could be appeased to continue to kill us.

The world is topsy turvy - settlements are not an obstacle to peace, their
continued development ensures that one day true peace will envelop us!! Their
continued develpment will make sure the Arabs and the world know that we belong
on this land, and all of this land - that is part of the moral antidote
necessary for true peace to develop.

This is pragmatic and realistic. Destorying Jewish homes in the Land of Israel does just the opposite. Thinking that it is constructive towards achieving peace is a fantasy.

The Jewish people are strong and getting stronger. We will outlive this government and the next and the next, we will passively resist all home destructions and expulsions of Jews, and we will then return and rebuild and resettle. Am Yisrael will overcome.

Here Comes the Cavalry....
Prominent US Jews, Israel blamed for start of Iraq War

The heat is about to be turned up on Israel to do anything to make the world a safer place (sic). It's just that the things we will be asked to do will do just the opposite!!

How sad that US Jews will now start to hear more and more anti-Israel, anti-Jewish sentiments from their own countrymen, their own public servants.

The anti-Israel, anti-Jewish public statements and write-ups in the press that we have taken for granted as coming from Europe will now start coming more and more from the US.

Things might get a little uncomfortable for US Jews.

When will they realize that they really don't belong there? When will they realize that the most realistic solution for peace (in the world and in Israel) is actually if they pick up, move to Israel, and help us make Israel into the moral bedrock of society that it is supposed to be. Then and only then will true peace develop. That is pragmatism and that is reality. All the band-aid/diplomatic solutions forced upon us are not realistic and not pragmatic, they are forced appeasement and they will only prolong the period of terrorism in Israel and around the world - because appeasement does not work, not in the short run or in the long run.

Help us bring true peace by coming home and helping us make Israel into the society it is supposed to be.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

How Silly We Are

What Europe Wants (From Israel)

There are so many Jews who honestly believe, deep in their hearts, that as long as Israel does what is necessary - gives in to world pressures, leaves its biblical heartland, expels Jews from their homes or anything else that it is pressured to do - that the world will get off our backs, allow us to live peacefully and allow us to defend ourselves from our enemies on the other side of an internationally "approved" border (sic).

How silly are they?

Don't they read between the lines when they read the news? Don't they listen to what world personalities are actually saying - verbatim? The truth of the matter is that many of these world personalities do not want us here!

No border changes, expulsions or house destroying will appease our global friends. The Arabs don't want us here, the Europeans don't want us here, the liberals don't want us here etc. I could go on.

Don't the Jews see that the reason we are not wanted here is because we symbolize a return of the chosen people to the Holyland? The Holyland being run and lead by the one and only chosen people!

Don't they see that this is the basis of all the animosity towards us.

So lets say that we leave Gaza. Lets even say that we leave Yehuda and Shomron. We even leave half of Jerusalem!! Do these Jews really think that we will be left in peace?

What it boils down to is that in order for us to succeed here in the Holy Land we must act like the chosen people who are supposed to inherit this Holyland.

We are currently acting like imposters - exactly as our enemies say - and we are unable to stand up to others because we can't even look ourselves in the mirror and recognize who we are and why we are here!!

We are weak in our national character, weak in our national resolve and weak in our own identity!!!

Of course the world is pressuring us to give it all up, we are in the perfect position to actually do it!!

But the situation does not have to be so bleak.

The solution to our situation lies very nearby - within each and everyone of us.

The sooner we realize who we are as a people and why we are supposed to live in this Holyland (after realizing that we ARE supposed to be living in this land and moving here), the sooner we will be able to poo-poo the anti-semitic/anti-Israel attitude of so many of our global "friends".

It is at that point in time that we will gain the fear and respect of our global "friends" to be able to live in the Holyland in true peace. Not a peace based on promises and signatures on a piece of paper, but a peace based on upholding common holy values of life, respect and a true eternal appreciation and love for the world's creator and creations.

As Chazal teaches us - true peace will only come tothe world when we have true peace in the Holyland.


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Food For Thought

The quote below was taken from an article titled "It's a Fight for Survival - Pull Out All Stops" posted in the Los Angelos Times on May 12th written by Bruce Herschenson.

It applies to the US, thousands of miles away from Iraq, and it definately applies to Israel as well.

It says everything I have been saying (sounding very extreme and fanatic - which you all know I'm not) in a very profound way...

"Our victory in World War II was not achieved by trying to win the hearts and minds of Germans and Japanese. We did not dominate the newsreels with pictures of those things a few American troops did to captured enemies. Instead of all that, we bombed our enemies to submission with all the power and weaponry we had available.",1,7863582.story

My little addition - Think about what the world, and Jewry, might be like today if the Allies did NOT bomb Germany and Japan to submission. Back then there also were innocent German and Japanese civilians who were not all evil.

Food for thought.......................................

May humanity quickly return to 100% believing in its fight for the value of life instead of doubting itself and easily surrendering to the despicable ones who value death and martyrdom, may we all assist in developing Isreal to be a light unto the nations, as we should be doing, and may we all have a Shabbat Shalom.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Morality of Fighting Against Our Enemies Today

In response to my last posting I received the following comment from a reader:
"One of our "secret" weapon against 300 million arabs who hate us is
that we have a higher morality than they do, when we stoop down to there level
wer'e lost."

What follows below was my reply:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain my point better,
because I think it is a crucial issue that is not brought up in todays
diaogue about the "matzav".

Is ALLOWING a society to celebrate killing and martyrdom moral
That is what we are practically doing by not declaring all out war
against the Palestinians and the PA.

If I'm not mistaken an important lesson in Judaism is 'kill your enemy
before he kills you'. Another lesson is not to have pity on your

I firmly believe that by treating our enemy with kid gloves - by ONLY
using pinpoint bombings on individuals or floors of buildings - we are
being immoral!

There is nothing moral in allowing a sick society to become sicker,
despicable and kill more. By calling for all out war (and not just a
'war on terrorists' - which is a euphamism for a fight against a bunch
of crazy individuals) and destroying their culture of hate, murder and
shahidism we will be doing the Arab world a favor.

"There is a time for war and a time for peace..." No, killing is not
nice and it is usually wrong, but if we have to kill in order to defend
ourselves and simultaneously save them from morally destructing
themselves even more, then we have to kill. Not be prooud of it, not
want to do it, but do it because it is the right thing to do to end the
situation - in both of our interests.

Yes, our higher morality is our secret weapon, too bad we are not using
it. Just because the "enlightened world" thinks our inaction today is
moral does not make it so.


Destroy Them

We must destroy the culture of hatred and murder of our enemies and win this war.

That means killing our enemies without taking into consideration public relations and world opinion.

That means that we must accept that even though we have no intention of killing civilians, they might get killed too.

We can't think twice of killing shooters because they are surrounded by civilians. We can't think twice about bombing a building filled with terrorists because civilians are in or around the building. Whether willingly or not, these civilians are "soldiers" in this war against us, used stegically against our moral weakness of not trying to harm civilians. The only way to destroy their culture of hatred and murder, the Arabs must be shown that we will not hold back from attacking anyone just because they are hiding behind civilians.

That is the solution.

If we feel uncomfortable with that then that means that we are human, a good thing, but we must do it anyway, otherwise we will continue to pay the price for pitying our enemies.

Yesterday one of the army officers explained that they sent the soldiers into Gaza instead of bombing buildings from the air because they didn't want to hurt innocent civilians.

Please make sure our media and politicians know that we have had enough of their misguided leadership and messages - those 6 holy soldiers did not die defending Jews in Gush Katif, they died defending Arabs living in Gaza!!

Unethical leadership - we have had enough!


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

This is What it is Really About: An Arab Campaign of Denial to Disinherit the Jews


This is a must read article in today's Haaretz that clearly shows us what the Arab war against us is really about.  All the creative solutions for borders and refugees won't help until we face up to the real issues and deal with them, after winning the war, of course.




Printed on Tuesday May 11th, 2004


By Nadav Shragai


Years ago, a group of archaeology students from Bar-Ilan University went to Jerusalem's Kidron Valley, hoping to save archaeological remnants from earth the Waqf [Muslim religious trust] had dug up on the Temple Mount and dumped in the riverbed. A Waqf official who noticed the students began yelling at them. One sentence struck them in particular: "You have nothing to look for here, just as the Crusaders had nothing to look for here. Jerusalem is Muslim."


In the past, such comments could be seen as the exception. All of that changed at the Camp David Conference of June 2002: it was then that senior Israeli officials became aware that the claim that the Jews have no real connection to Jerusalem and the holy sites had not only been disseminated and become entrenched in Arab and Muslim communities and part of the public discourse, but was also been adopted by the Palestinian leadership.

Indeed, a new study by Dr. Yitzhak Reiter, conducted for the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies states: "In the last generation, the Islamic and Arab history of
Jerusalem has gradually been rewritten. At the heart of this new version is the Arabs' historic right to Jerusalem and Palestine. The main argument is that the Arabs ruled Jerusalem thousands of years before the children of Israel. In addition to building the Arab-Muslim case, the Muslim thinkers are formulating a denial and negation of the Jewish-Zionist narrative. Included in that effort is the de-Judaizing of the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and Jerusalem as a whole.

Palestine is Al-Aqsa

Reiter, of the
Hebrew University's Truman Institute, is a long-time specialist in the modern

history of the Middle East. He reviewed a collection of religious rulings by key muftis in the Muslim world and Internet sites of Islamic movements; he pored over many of the popular theoretical books in Arabic that deal with Jerusalem and sifted through reports and articles on the issue, dating back to 1967; and he says: "New myths, some of them fictitious and some of them based on facts on the ground, transform the stories about Al-Aqsa into furious struggle"; Yasser Arafat and Sheikh Raed Salah, like the grand mufti of Jerusalem at the turn of the previous century, Sheikh Haj Amin al-Husseini, along with many others "are using the religious symbols of Jerusalem to enlist the entire Muslim world in its struggle," and this is being done in several ways.

The Muslims are slowly dropping use of the name given to the
Temple Mount complex - Haram al-Sharif, which gave it its status as the third holiest site in Islam and reverting to exclusive use of the earlier name, Al-Aqsa, which appears in the Koran.

"Al-Aqsa" now refers to the entire
Temple Mount complex, including the Western Wall, and not just the mosque. The tradition connecting the three mosques in Mecca, Medina and Al-Aqsa is being used by the Palestinians to exert pressure on Muslim states by saying that "making a mockery of Al-Aqsa will lead to a mockery of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, because there is a connection between that must not be broken" (the Palestinian minister of Waqf affairs, Sheikh Yusef Salameh, in November 2002).

At the same time there is growing use of the term "Al-Aqsa" as a symbol and a name for different institutions and organizations, be it a Jordanian army journal, a Palestinian police unit established by the Palestinian Authority in Jericho, the Fatah terrorist cells known as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade or Internet sites of the northern and southern branches of the Islamic Movement and organizations they have set up and, of course, in the current intifada and the Arab summit convened in its wake.

Contrary to the standard history whereby the Al-Aqsa mosque was built in the seventh century, in recent years an ancient tradition from the beginning of Islam has been gaining ground. According to it, the Al-Aqsa mosque was built 40 years after the construction of the mosque in Mecca by Adam (i.e., close to the seven days of creation). Other traditions that appear in the Waqf administration offices in Jerusalem attribute the building of the mosque to Abraham and Solomon, as Islamic figures, with no connection to Judaism. The former Jordanian minister of Waqf affairs, Abed al-Salaam al-Abadi, Sheikh Raed Salah and Islamic Internet sites refer to Abraham as the builder of the Al-Aqsa mosque 4,000 years ago.

For hundreds of years,
Jerusalem has been known in Islam as a sanctified place first and foremost for having been designated as the place where prayers should be directed (kabila) before Mohammed adopted the Kaaba in Mecca as the kabila. In general, Jerusalem was the direction of prayers for 16 months. However, now the view that Jerusalem served this purpose for some four years and four months is experiencing a revival. The Palestinian Authority-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Akram Sabri and Sheikh Yusef Kardawi, the most popular mufti in the Muslim world, who currently lives in Qatar, are only two heralds of this message. The verse in the Koran that mentions Al-Aqsa mosque and goes on to explain "whose surroundings we have blessed" is meriting an expanded interpretation. The surroundings of Al-Aqsa mosque are not narrowly defined, as was the case in the past, and they are now providing an opening for the interpretation that Al-Aqsa refers to all of Jerusalem, and most recently, it refers to all of Palestine.

Members of the Saudi royal family, Palestinian archaeologists (such as Dr. Dimitri Baramki), Sheikh Kardawi, Syrian clerics and others all identify the Jebusites as an ancient Arab tribe that wandered from the Arabian peninsula, together with the Canaanites, around 3,000 years B.C.E. and therefore predated the children of Israel in the land.


The "fabricated" Temple

The new history most jarring to Jewish hearers is that the First and
Second Temple are lies fabricated by the Jews. In public discourse among Arabs, participants regularly add the word "al-maz'um" - that is, the presumptive or fabricated - when referring to the Jewish Temple. Mufti Sabri says that there are no remnants proving the Jews' claim that there was a temple on the site.

The current Jordanian minister of Waqf affairs, Ahmed Khalil, said last year that
Israel is trying to intervene in Al-Aqsa affairs and conduct excavations beneath the mosque in order to build the fabricated temple there. Arafat Hajazi, a member of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, asks in an article published in 2002 on the movement's Web site why the Jews did not build their Temple during the longer than 500-year period between the time it was destroyed a second time by Titus and Abed el-Malik built Al-Aqsa mosque; he also notes that hundreds of archaeological delegations have conducted excavations in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa and not one of them has found remnants of the Temple.

In another article, which recently appeared on the Internet site of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Egyptian archaeologist Abed al-Rahim Rihan Barakat, the manager of the archaeological site at Dahab in Sinai, writes, "The myth of the fabricated
Temple is the greatest crime of historical forgery."

A fatwa on the Internet site of the Waqf in
Jerusalem states that David, Solomon and Herod did not build the Temple, rather they repaired something that had been there since the time of Adam.

There is a similar campaign of denial with regard to the Western Wall and it has two aspects: one is the identification of the Western Wall as a sacred place for Muslims because the prophet Mohammed tethered his horse Al-Buraq there and that it is part of the Al-Aqsa mosque; and the other is the argument that the Jews fabricated the Western Wall as a place that is sacred to them, and they have no historical connection to it. Palestinian and Egyptian religious authorities have issued fatwas to that effect.

"Al-Aqsa is in danger" continues to be the motto of articles by Muslim figures and the focus of mass rallies organized each year by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. "The most far-flung Muslim communities hear the stories about the Palestinian struggle over their sacred site and through the political tale the revised religious traditions are also internalized," says Reiter. The fact that
Israel's official policy - as embodied in the decisions of the Chief Rabbinate Council, the government and the High Court of Justice - leaves the administration of the Temple Mount in the hands of the Muslim Waqf is not recognized in the contemporary Muslim world. On the contrary, "the activities of extremist Jewish entities, some of them minuscule, to revive the [First] Temple ritual, is perceived and disseminated by Palestinian sources as if it is a reflection of official policy," says Reiter.

Reiter's work was delivered as a position paper to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was discussed yesterday at a seminar at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. Two main conclusions emerged from the discussion. One is that
Jerusalem, today, more than in the past, is a pan-Muslim Arab issue and therefore a decision regarding it cannot be made by the Palestinians alone. Secondly, any Arab official seeking to work out an arrangement for Jerusalem and the holy sites is constrained by the Islamic religious world and thus as a negotiator has little room to maneuver.