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

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