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

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Few Facts to Ponder

"Oslo - the Original Sin"

FACT - In 1987 Arabs stoned Israeli cars.

FACT - Before/during the Oslo process the Israeli right warned the Rabin government not to give the Arabs guns lest they be turned on Israelis.

FACT - Rabin hoped the guns would be turned on the Hamas.

FACT - Before the Oslo process the Isreali right warned the Rabin government that the Oslo process will bring rocket attacks to Sderot and Ashkelon

FACT - Suicide bombings in Israel only began after the Oslo process

QUESTION - Should Israel continue to make public policies based on false hopes?

QUESTION - If the Oslo process is the original sin that caused Israel to be terrified into giving up more and more of its own land to a sworn enemy (look at current PLO mandate that was never changed) then why are we continuing the process where it left off in 2000?

"Peace" Talks - again?

FACT - Just over a week ago the Israeli government was finally talking about a massive operation in the Gaza strip to crush the Gaza militias in order to stop the rockets flying over the fence into Sderot.

FACT - Step one of the infamous American Road Map is for the Palestinians to unarm all the armed militias. (A step that, according to the RM, must be fulfilled before any negotiations -Have you heard any Israeli demand for this step?)

QUESTION - If the euphoria of Oslo is returning and peace talks begin, why do Jews need to be transferred from their homes? Is that how peace is defined?

QUESTION - Or, if no peace is on the horizon then why are we giving the Arabs a prize for their 4 year terrorism? And why even sit down and "talk" (sic) peace with them without geting rid of their armed militias first?

The Israeli Supreme Court/Human Rights Activists Showing their True Face

FACT - The Israeli Supreme Court ruled against the State of Israel transfering the family of a terrorist from Shechem to Gaza to act as a deterent for future suicide bombers.

FACT - The Israeli Supreme Court ruled against transferring Beduin who illegaly built homes on State/army land.

FACT - The Israeli Supreme Court ruled against the planned route of the seperation wall because it cut off the path between some Arabs families and their farmlands.

QUESTION - Is the Israeli Supreme Court protecting the rights of 8,000 Israelis about to be forcefully transferred from their homes?

QUESTION - Are human rights activists protesting the planned human rights abuse of 8,000 Israeli citizens?

QUESTION - What would happen if Israel decided to transfer only 8! Arab families from their homes in the Galil to the Negev (within Israel)?

Would the world sit quietly?
Would human rights activists sit quietly?
Would human rights activists refuse orders?
Would human rights activists try to stop the soldiers?
Would the Israeli Supreme Court allow it?

Regardless of where you stand on the issue - the situation today with regards to the possible transfer of 8,000 Israeli citizens from their homes stinks and people better start focusing on the facts instead of the spins, media hype and Oslo eupohoria....

...haven't we been here before?

Here's to a better tomorrow when Jews begin to believe in themselves, their faith and their abilities as a nation to stick to their beliefs.

Human Rights for all and justice for all.....will only be accomplished when we turn the State of the Jews into a true Jewish State. Here's praying and working towards a future Jewish leadership for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.

What are you doing to change the situation?

Avi Abelow

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Scary Times - but hold on to your hope

Last week the Israeli public was awakened to horrifying statements from prominent society members. The maddening thing about it was that they were all reported by the press in passing without any discussion, revulsion or any reactions of any kind!!!!

The first statement was made by Yair Lapid, the son of Tommy Lapid (leader of the Shinui party). He said that he is not afraid of a civil war in Israel because the settlers are not "our" brothers. --- Another nail in the coffin deligitimizing the settlers.

The second statement was made by Ehud Olmert, Sharon's right hand man in the government. He said that the army has to break the settlers bones. ---One step further in painting us to be the enemy.

The third statement was made by Ephraim Sneh, a prominent MK from the Labor party, who said that a little blood spilt in a civil war is better than more blood spilt later.

The fourth statement was made by Ami Ayalon, a past head of Shabak, Israeli intelligence, and now a contender for the Labor party leadership. He said that it is about time for Israel to have another Altalena. (The story of the Altalena is when David Ben-Gurion ordered Hagana soldiers to fire upon Menachem Begin's Irgun soldiers who were on a boat bringing in weapons to Israel). Ami Ayalon was refering to it being about time for Jews to once again shoot at fellow Jews.

These are extremely scary comments made by prominent people and reported in the press - none of them cause any uproar in Israel, none whatsoever!!! Don't you think that something is a little wrong with that?

For those who understand the real nature of the conflict in Israel it makes perfect sense because the real conflict in Israel today is not between Arabs and Jews, but between Jews and Jews -Those Jews who want to be Israelis without any connection to their Jewish heritage and those Jews who want to be Jews who live in a state connected to its Jewish heritage.

This is the reason our enlightened brothers are psychologically preparing Israels to acept the phenomenon of shooting at fellow Jews, even though these same enlightened Israelis are the ones who vehemently disagree with excesive violence used against our true enemies who kill us everyday.

Expelling Jews from YESHA is part of this fight against the Jews who want an Israel connected to its Jewish heritage.

The truth is that expelling Jews from their homes, anywhere in Israel, will not solve our problem with the Arabs around us. Furthermore, Israel will never be able to solve its conflict with the Arabs until it first solves theburning cultural conflict of Jew versus Israeli.

We are about to go through some scary times - where Jews are actually endorsing the need to shoot at fellow Jews.

Beezrat Hashem we will overcome this, and make sure Sharon and the most evil government the State of Israel has ever had goes down in Jewish history as a sad footnote.


The article below in today's Haaretz is worth your time to read.
Genuine alarm
By Nadav Shragai
Civil war is no longer a theoretical possibility. The subject is not a matter of hollow threats or baseless horror scenarios. True, there have been an abundance of these, up until a few weeks ago, whose sole purpose was to deter the prime minister from uprooting the settlements of Gush Katif. But now it is a genuine alarm. Some of the nightmare scenarios are now based on reality, even if it may be masking tactics of intimidation and deterrence.
Thousands of Israelis are signing petitions in which they proclaim their refusal to abet the disengagement. Thousands more are declining to sign, but make it clear that they will not cooperate when the day of disengagement comes. They represent not only the religious public, which defers to rabbinic halakhic authority, but also many others - religious and secular Jews - who wish to remain loyal to the dictates of their conscience. Immediate danger is posed by a handful of Yitzhar-type zealots, who are liable to strike at evacuating forces. Former head of the Central Command Yitzhak Eitan speaks of the possible use of live ammunition.But the real rupture that is developing is the chasm between a significant group in the Israeli public and a regime that is perceived as illegitimate, as deceiving its voting public, as carrying out an expulsion and "transfer" of its citizens, without having received any mandate from the public.The prime minister makes life easy for himself by throwing responsibility for the great conflagration that is arising before his eyes solely on the opponents of disengagement. He bears supreme responsibility for what is unfolding. It is he who wrought a situation that has brought us to the brink of the abyss, where refusal to follow orders in the army has ceased to be a marginal phenomenon and is gradually becoming the mainstream view among opponents of disengagement.This process occurred because Sharon has for months stubbornly refused to let the people make the historic decision, as is only right. Sharon could have neutralized this dangerous wave many months ago, and he can still cut it short simply by giving the people the right to decide.This would not only be moral and right; it is also the smart move. The mainstream among opponents of disengagement - the Yesha Council of settlers and the majority of extra-parliamentary rightist organizations, including most of the rabbis - have already announced their readiness to accept whatever decision is made. They believe that they will be able to persuade the public that Sharon is making an awful mistake. They have to be granted the opportunity to prove it, not only because Sharon's style of governance - firing ministers, threatening MKs and ignoring decisions reached by the institutions of his own party and its members - is undemocratic, but mainly because he has deceived his voters.Sharon - who declared prior to the elections that "so long as Palestinian terror continues, there will be no progress on even the beginning of an agreement," who promised "not to evacuate settlements when I am in office," who said that "any such withdrawal would only encourage terror," who spoke of "painful concessions only in exchange for true peace"; Sharon who showed Amram Mitzna the door, when the latter spoke of a unilateral evacuation of settlements - refuses to put his plan to the broad public test, for one simple reason: He is afraid of losing.Somebody has to tell the prime minister - and the president of Israel would be a suitable candidate - that at a time when civil war threatens to break out among us, he should put aside his political accounts and do all he can to prevent it. If he loses, it means that there truly was no legitimization for the unilateral uprooting of individuals from their homes. If he wins, he can carry out his plan, without the danger of a civil war. It is so simple. In fact, the knights of democracy from the left should have subdued their burning passion to evacuate settlements and said this to Sharon.Instead, supporters of Peace Now and the kibbutz movement, whose eyes are sometimes blinded by hatred, are now pouring oil on the burning campfire and enlisting battalions of volunteers for the evacuation. This draft, which Yoel Maharshak, one of the leaders of the kibbutz movement, says is being done with the blessing of the Prime Minister's Office, is a surefire recipe for civil war.However, most worrisome of all, the prime minister who bears the supreme responsibility to prevent a civil war promises he will not let the opponents of disengagement "win" and does not understand that in the internal dispute between Jews, there are only losers. The past few days show that Sharon and his close aides are panicking when it comes to the opponents of disengagement. Evidence is provided by recent statements about "breaking hands and legs."Logic also dictates that Sharon now maintain open channels of dialogue with the public that opposes the course he has taken, but Sharon, in his fervor to "disengage," has also been blinded by the light and has instructed the chief of staff and the defense minister to cease meeting with Jewish settlement leaders in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.The prime minister, it turns out, has not plumbed the depths of the rupture taking place among broad sections of the public, who feel more insulted and bitter with every passing day. This large public is only a step away from the Yitzhar-type extremists, but Sharon the Disengager is widening the circles of fanaticism instead of narrowing them. The president of Israel, who has in the past expressed his support for turning the decision over to the people, is well aware of the danger of internal conflict, but awareness is inadequate. If he wishes to prevent bloodshed between brothers, he must immediately throw his full weight behind an attempt to refer the decision to the public.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Have Hope - Hard to Believe but the seeds for a better tomorrow are being planted today

There are two sides to every coin and at least three opinions for every two Jews....

In the same vien I want to give over to you a more positive perspective on all the chaos that is engulfing the lives of Am Yisrael and the existence of Eretz Yisrael today.

On the one hand, it seems that the seams of Israeli society are coming apart bit by bit.
1. In the eyes of many the settlers and their supporters have become the enemy of the state
2. the threat of disobeying orders is tearing the army apart
3. the charedim have turned their backs on their fellow religious Jews who live in YESHA and the on the land of Israel
4. the Israeli political system is all topsy turvy (left wing parties supporting Sharon, right wing parties not, Likud MKs acting as if they belong in Meretz etc.)
and on and on and on.

Some days I really feel that I'm going to cry of utter sadness at what we are doing to ourselves.

However, there is another way to look at what is going on. To put it simply, I think that the process of chaos we are now going through is actually going to help us become a better, more solid society. A very very good thing that is necessary for the continued existence of the State of Israel.

It may be that the seams of Israeli society are coming apart right now because those seams aren't that strong enough to begin with or because they aren't made out of a strong enough foundation??

Think about it, is the "status quo" (that politicians love to talk about when refering to the religious/secular silent agreement on how we are supposed to live together) really the healthiest bond that is supposed to hold the Jewish people together in our own land?

I really don't think so, not at all.

The status quo has every type of Jew looking out for his own interests. Our political system has always been sectarian. The secular look after their interests, the national-religious look after their interests, the charedim look after their interests, the Russians look after their interests, the Arabs etc. Each and every group looks our for itself, but no group looks our for all of our interests as a society! They might preach that their interests are for the good of the state and all its citizens but that is just retoric, In reality, over the years, these "interests" have split our society further and further apart.

The irony is that the one actual set off values that tie us all together, the values of Judaism, are used by each and every group to tear us apart!

This is no way to bring a society together and no way to rebuild a Jewish society in the Holyland. It is actually the current status quo that has been lingering silently all these years that has lad to all the chaos now surrounding us. It just so happens that Sharon's expulsion plan is the straw that has broken the camels back and brought these issues to the fore.

The process taking place before our eyes is a direct consequence of the weak bonds that currently hold Israeli society together.

However, the good news is that due to the chaos taking place around us, and between us, a stronger more appropriate bond will take shape, bring us together and make us a stronger nation.

What I'm saying is that the chaotic process we are now going is actually going to help us rebuild the society around us based on more solid bonds, which is a good thing.

To say such a thing with all the craziness here in our holyland - with petitions flying around to refuse orders to expel fellow Jews, and politicians, army brass and Justice ministers coming up with every punishment in the books to punish those who are protesting against Sharon's expulsion plan - you must think I get my news from somewhere else. But I don't.

I'm just looking through the symptoms of today's chaos and focusing in on the illness.

Only with a correct diagnosis can a cure be found.

Our continued focus on the symptoms paints a very depressing picture, but a focus on the diagnosis is actaully a cause for gret hope.

I can't tell you exactly how this healing process will happen or how the common bonds will be strengthened between us after all this chaos that is tearing us further apart.

However I can tell you that I firmly believe it will happen because a majority of Israeli society believe, as I do, that we are closer and more connected to one another than our politicians and media make us out to be.

Most Jews in Israel feel a bond to each other and to the Land of Israel. We just lack leaders who take advantage of this bond to make these connections stronger. Instead we have leaders who use the differences between us to strengthen themselves politically. Most of the people see this hypocrisy.

The current chaos is the process that will bring the more appropriate leadership to the fore.

As a very relevant aside, I believe in the right of a soldier to refuse an army order to expel Jews from their homes, just as I believe in the right of a soldier to refuse an army order to expel Arabs from their homes or refuse an army order to serve in YESHA, if the order goes against his or her conscience. Each and every refusal should be accompanied by its appropriate punishment, but the right to refuse an immoral army order should not be delegitimized. It is our G-d given right to obey our conscience not the army, not even the Israeli army.

The time has come for the Jewish people to respect each others values, even if they conflict. I believe this because basically they are all the same moral values that deserve all of our respect even if we might disagree with the application of those values. I do not advocate agreeing with the application of those values but only respecting the right of ones judegement according to his or her values.

Contrary to what many of our (sic) leaders - political, community and even Rabbinic -are warning us about a rift in our society due to the right of soldiers to refuse the order of expulsion, I believe that our country, our people and our army will be stronger when we allow each soldier to refuse those orders he/she believes to be immoral and wrong. Otherwise how are we really different then those soliders that defended their actions against our grandparents and great grandparents with the claim that they were just following orders of a democraticly elected government?

From darkness will come light. Hold on to your faith, your hope, your prayers and your love for all of Am Yisrael. We will get out of this crisis in better shape, hopefully together with the families of Gush Katif and the Shomron still living in their homes.

Oh yeah, and with it all, this is our home and this is where we all belong as soon as we can get here because it is here that we are building our Jewish homeland.

Shabbat Shalom,

PS - For a good read on why Sharon's expulsion plan still is not realistic read this Letter to Heroes of Gush Katif...