Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Party’s Over for Pro-Israel Dems

The Soldier Who Fired a Defense Minister

By Moshe Feiglin

Who lost the elections?” (1996)

“We, the Israelis.”

“And who won?”

“The Jews. The Jews defeated the Israelis”.

(Shimon Peres in an interview after losing Israel’s 1996 elections)

Peres was wrong. The “Jews” did not exactly win. And the “Israelis” did not lose at all. In the twenty years that have ensued, an ongoing, low intensity, cold war has been waged between the Jews and the Israelis.

On Rosh Hashana 2016, Alexander Levlovitz was murdered by an Arab, signaling the beginning of a new kind of intifada. Every few hours, a lone terrorist would attempt to kill Jews with whatever weapon he had at hand.

The goal of the terror of the first and second Intifadas was to force the IDF to retreat from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It was a ‘nationalist’ struggle. In the new Intifada, all the ‘nationalist’ masks were removed. The goal was simply to kill Jews.

But there was another statement here, last heard 70 years ago: I will kill you no matter how you define yourself: Israeli, secular, Tel-Avivian or New Yorker – because you are really just a Jew. This created a serious problem for Peres’ “Israelis”. When confronted with the new Nazism, they preferred to deny their Jewish identity. There is nothing unique about the Jews and everyone can be a Nazi.

The IDF soldiers killed the attacking terrorists. This was a healthy, Jewish response. It was the spontaneous reaction of a nation that identifies the monster and has no intention of allowing it to reawaken. It declared that there is indeed a unique, Jewish identity.

The bullet shot in Hebron by soldier Elor Azariah into a neutralized terrorist, turned the cold war between the Jews and the Israelis into an overt war that is getting hotter all the time. It obligated the “Israelis” to stand up and defend their right to blur their identity. The entire justice system, media and other power resources in the hands of the First Israel – Ashkenazic, leftist, secular, hegemonic – activated an orchestrated campaign to delegitimize his act.

But a frightening surprise was waiting for the First Israel. Social media allowed the Second Israel – Eastern, traditional, far- removed from power – to stand up for the soldier. The division was very clear. The Israeli minority will do all in its power to convict the soldier, while the Jewish majority supports him.

The war intensified. The many local protests for the soldier melded into a major rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, boycotted and scorned by the media and political establishment

The First Israel fought back. At the Holocaust memorial ceremony, Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan hinted that Elor Azariah and his supporters are Israel’s Nazis. The Prime Minister condemned the speech. But Defense Minister Yaalon supported Golan unreservedly.

The judge’s suggested compromise in the shooting trial was rejected by the military prosecution. After all, this is not a private case: It is a war between Israelis and Jews. Elor has become a symbol and the First Israel has no intention of giving up.

And then the war progressed to a new, much more frightening phase.

A Ha’aretz article called “Toward a Military Coup” called upon the IDF to impose the will of the Israeli minority upon the Jewish majority. The Defense Minister again praised the scandalous speech of Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan and even encouraged every soldier to learn from him and follow in his footsteps. It was a military coup in the making, with the Defense Minister as the Left’s point man.

When the Defense Minister was ousted, journalist Yigal Sarna wrote that “the ouster is a civilian putsch against the army”. The radical Left, despairing of ever winning democratic elections, turned to the IDF to save its ideology. Now it decries the ‘putsch’ carried out by the citizens against its army…

Who will win this war? The Jews? Or the Israelis?

Just like the elections of 1996, the Jews will win on the tactical plane. But just like those elections, on the strategic plane – the Israelis will win again. For the Jews to really win, they need leadership that can create a completely new strategy, informed by its Jewish identity.

To create real change, the new Defense Minister must say:

“The security strategy of the Jewish Nation and the State of Israel is ‘Kill those who come to kill you – first’. Any soldier who does not accept this principle should remove his uniform and release the IDF from the attitudes that are preventing it from doing its job.”

Obviously, that will not happen. Netanyahu will never face off directly against the First Israel. The IDF will continue to clone its senior command according to the values of the radical Left. All of us will continue to be perceived as the new Nazis of the world, Israel’s legitimacy and diplomatic and security options will continue to contract – until the Jews realize that they must do more than win the elections: they must also lead the Nation according to their values.

And what about the soldier, Elor Azariah? Has this entire episode brought us nothing more than a meaningless change of personnel in the Defense Ministry?

Not exactly…

Nobody in the media will say this, but the undeniable fact is that immediately following the shooting in Hebron, the new intifada disappeared into thin air.

It is impossible to know how much time will pass until the monster will rear its head once again. But one thing is clear. With the one moral bullet that Elor Azariah shot into reality, he has – at least temporarily – neutralized the venom of the new Nazism. And that is a lot more than Netanyahu, Ya’alon, the IDF and its generals managed to do in an entire half a year of violent terror.

How to Live Longer

By Shmuel Sackett

It’s official! The World Health Organization just released its “Global Health Observatory” report and Japan is the #1 country with the longest life expectancy on Planet Earth! Yey… I always knew sushi was healthy!! According to the report, people tend to live to the ripe old age of 83.7 in Japan. Switzerland is in second place at 83.4, then comes Singapore at 83.1, Italy is next at 82.7 and in 5th place it’s… Israel at 82.5!!!

I must admit that while my personal goal is 120, I’m sure that Israel surprised a lot of people with 82.5, since every time I visit America, people ask me; “Is it safe there?” My conclusion is that people who ask this question are intravenously connected to internet news sites, Facebook groups and Twitter tweets (is that the way you say that??). These online groups post every rock that is thrown and make it seem as though we play “Russian Roulette” when we shop for milk. Believe me, I don’t have blinders on and I realize perfectly well what is happening here but when all is said and done, the facts don’t lie and people live longer in Israel than in 99% of the world!!

In case you are wondering, the average life span in the USA is 79.3 which is 3.2 years less than Israel (that’s 803 less days of life!!) Hey, the USA is better than Russia (70.5) and especially Nigeria (54.5) but all kidding aside, 3.2 years less of life is a serious number… and it started me thinking.

I made Aliyah back in 1990 and for the last 26 years I have heard hundreds of complaints. People tell me all the time how the medical system is better in America. Yet if that’s true, why do people live longer in Israel than in America? My friends back in New York laugh at the Israeli school system, yet I will put my money 10 out of 10 times on an average religious Israeli kid vs an average NY yeshiva kid in a scholastic contest any day of the week. Note: If that contest is in Tanach (Bible studies), then I will mortgage my house to wage that bet!

I think what needs to be done is simple. We need to stop making lame excuses and start being honest with ourselves. Israel is not a backwards, third-world country. We don’t use donkeys for transportation nor draw water from the town well. By now you know that Israel is a world leader in every field and that wouldn’t be possible if the people living here would be dying of malaria and drowning in swamps. So, please, let’s be honest.

Baruch Hashem, life is wonderful in Israel. Yes, we have our challenges, but who doesn’t? We need to look at the positive. At 7 years old, my granddaughter already speaks a better Hebrew than me… and I love it!! My daughter is about to move into a brand new apartment in Migdal Ha’emek – with 5 young, frum couples who bought apartments in that same new building – and that beautiful apartment cost her HALF of what a 2 bedroom apartment would cost in some old building in New York, Melbourne or London. My youngest daughter starts “Sherut Leumi” (national service) next year where she will spend an entire year giving to others in Shaarei Zedek hospital. She will not earn college credits nor go on fun trips but she will learn the priceless lesson of building a nation and contributing to a growing society.

The rat race of going to fancy camps and expensive Pesach programs needs to stop. They are not adding to your life one single day. On the contrary, I seriously believe that they are shortening it.

Dearest brothers and sisters, please focus and realize that we are in incredible times. After 2,000 years Hashem returned us to our land. This wonderful land is waiting for you to run on its streets and climb its trees (or take its elevators). There is nothing lacking here and I assure you, it is possible to move here and be successful. Don’t listen to the “Erev Rav” or “Yetzer Hara” who tell you otherwise. There are jobs here, fantastic schools, amazing communities to raise a family and a quality of life that will – literally – add 803 days to your life!

Remember the old story about the peddler who was screaming; “Who wants life?” and then told people that the secret was to avoid speaking Lashon Hara? Well, now we can add a PART II. One day, Shmuel Sackett was peddling his wares and screaming; “Who wants life?” and then he told the people that the secret was to… move to Israel!

I’ll be waiting for you at the airport.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Europe: Allah Takes over Churches, Synagogues

By Giulio Meotti 

  • In the Dutch province of Friesland, 250 of 720 existing churches have been transformed or closed. The Fatih Camii Mosque in Amsterdam once was the Saint Ignatius Church. A synagogue in The Hague was turned into the Al Aqsa Mosque. In Flanders, in place of a famous church, a luxury hotel now stands. Catholic arches, columns and windows still soar between menus and tables for customers.
  • "The French will not wake up until Notre Dame becomes a mosque." — Emile Cioran, author.
  • Germany is literally selling its churches. Between 1990 and 2010, the German Evangelical Church closed 340 churches. Recently in Hamburg, a Lutheran church was purchased by the Muslim community.
  • "History teaches us that these transformations are rarely innocent." — Bertrand Dutheil de La Rochère, assistant to Marine Le Pen.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was the grandest cathedral in the Christian world, until it was captured and converted to a mosque by the Muslim Ottoman Turks in 1453. The Middle East is full of churches and synagogues turned into Islamic sites. Today, every traveler in a modern European city can notice the new mosques being built alongside abandoned and secularized churches, some converted into museums. (Image source: Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia Commons)
Last year, at the famous Biennale artistic festival in Venice, Swiss artist Christian Büchel took the ancient Catholic Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia and converted it into a mosque. The church had not been used for Christian worship for more than forty years. Büchel decorated the baroque walls with Arabic writing, covered the floor with a prayer rug, and hid the crucifix behind a prayer niche indicating the direction of Mecca, the holy city of Islam. It was a provocation.
But everywhere else in Europe, the practice of Islam really is outstripping Christianity, while Jews are leaving -- not only France but the old continent -- en masse.

Combating Anti-Israelism and Boycotts; Who Should Do What?

By Malcolm Lowe

  • Up to now, most of the anti-boycott activity has been basically defensive. It assumes that Israel can be vindicated by providing relevant information.
  • Regarding the anti-Israel activists themselves, however, defensive strategies are ineffective. These people have no intention whatsoever to be fair; they treat information offered on behalf of Israel with derision. To deter them and drive them off, one must use strategies that fall under the rubric "This is going to hurt you more than us!"
  • So there are two principal questions. What activities are best carried out by government itself and what are best delegated to private organizations? And should organizations specialize in particular strategies or can a given single organization draw upon all the available strategies?
Image source: CC BY-SA, flickr/Clover Autrey
An earlier article defined and classified various strategies for combating both boycotts directed against Israel other kinds of hostile activity. Not discussed, however, were questions about who or what bodies should be implementing which strategies.
Such questions have become more acute, now that the Israeli government has designated substantial means for defending Israel from boycotts. We shall consider these questions after briefly reviewing the range of available strategies.

Video: The myth of Palestinian Arab refugees exposed

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

#11:; the entire mini-seminar:

1. The circumstances and numbers of the 1948/49 Palestinian refugees have been dramatically distorted, in order to de-legitimize Israel. 

2. In March, 1976, Mahmoud Abbas told the PLO newspaper, Filastin A-Thawra: “Arab armies forced Palestinians to leave their homes.”  On October 2, 1948, The London Economist wrote: “the most potent factor [triggering the Arab flight] were the announcements by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to evacuate… and that Arabs accepting Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades….” 

3. On June 8, 1951, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha told the Lebanese daily, Al Hoda: “In 1948, the Arab leadership advised Arabs in Palestine to leave their homes temporarily.”  Syria’s Prime Minister, Khaled al-Azam, admitted, in his 1973 memoirs: “We brought destruction upon the refugees, by calling on them to leave their homes.”  

4. On April 28, 1948, Sir Alan Cunningham, the last British High Commissioner in Palestine stated: A total evacuation was urged by higher Arab quarters. John Troutbeck, Head of the British Middle East Office, in Cairo (June 1949): “The refugees know who their enemies are – their Arab brothers who persuaded them to leave their homes…”

5.  Ismayil Safwat, Commander-in–Chief of the Arab Liberation Army (March 23, 1948): “The Jews have not attacked any Arab village, unless attacked first.”  

6. The Palestinian leadership - e.g., Haj Amin Al-Husseini and Hassan Bey Salameh - collaborated with Hitler, seeking Nazi support to settle “the Jewish problem” in Palestine in accordance with the practice employed in Europe. On January 9, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas stated: “We pledge to continue on the path of the martyrs…. We must remember the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al-Husseini….” 

7. The Commander-in-Chief of the Arab Liberation Army, Fawzi el-Kaukji, a notorious Nazi collaborator, threatened in August, 1947 threatened: “Should the UN vote the wrong way, we will initiate a total war… murder, wreck and ruin everything….”  On Nov. 24, 1947, the Acting Chairman of the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee, Jamal Al-Husseini, threatened: “Palestine shall be consumed with fire and blood if the Jews get any part of it.”   

8. Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, the first Secretary General of the Arab League told the Egyptian daily Akhbar al Yom on October 11, 1947: “…This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacres, or the Crusaders’ wars…. Each fighter deems death on behalf of Palestine as the shortest road to paradise….The war will be an opportunity for vast plunder… ” 

9. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the Arabs in Palestine terrorized their Jewish neighbors in order to abort the establishment of the Jewish State.  They defied the November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181;  Article 80 of the 1945 U.N. Charter (that includes the “Mandate of Palestine,” which stipulates a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River); the July 24, 1922 League of Nations’ “Mandate for Palestine,”; the April 1920 San Remo Conference of the First World War Allied Powers, which resolved to establish a Jewish national home on both sides of the Jordan River; and the November, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was the basis for San Remo.

10.  In 135 CE, the Roman Empire renamed/misrepresented Judea as Palestina - a derivative of Phillistia/Phillistines, who were not Arabs, but an Aegian (Greek) Sea tribe – in an attempt to eradicate Judaism from human memory. In 2016, the issue of the Palestinian Arab refugees, is dramatically misrepresented, as a tool to eradicate the Jewish State.

11. The Palestinian claims of dispossession fail every reality test.  The next 6-minute video of the mini-seminar will expose the startling misrepresentation of the number of the 1948/9 Palestinian refugees.

Please share with your e-mail pals; more data:

YouTube/Facebook video-seminar on US-Israel and the Mideast:
#1 The two-way-street, mutually-beneficial US-Israel: 
#2 The Jewish-Arab demographic balance: 
#3 The US-Israel strategic partnership: 
#4 The 400-year-old foundations of the US-Israel covenant: 
#5 Is the Palestinian issue a crown-jewel of the Arabs? 
#6 Is the Palest’n issue the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict? 
#7 The precariousness of Israel’s narrow waistline: 
#8 America, be wary of a Palestinian state: 
#9 Palestinian terrorism – Lone Wolves or institutional? 
#10 Has the Palestinian issue triggered anti-US terrorism? 
#11 The myth of Palestinian Arab refugees exposed:

VIDEO: Anti-Semitism in Britain's Labour Party

Rotting from the head down

Anti-Semitism isn't new to the UK Labour Party, and its recent anti-Semitic outbursts shouldn't surprise anyone. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered an "independent inquiry" into the party's anti-Semitism. Douglas Murray, a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Gatestone Institute, explains in the video below how Labour's anti-Semitism problem starts at top of the party, and why this inquiry won't solve anything.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hybrid Economics, Torah Style

By Moshe Feiglin

And if your brother becomes poor, and his means fail with you, and you shall uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with you.

Take no interest from him or increase; but fear your G-d; so that your brother may live with you.

You shall not give him your money with interest, or give your food for increase. I am Hashem your G-d, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your G-d. 
(From this week’s Torah portion, Behar, Leviticus 25:35-38)

The Torah portion of Behar holds the keys to the Jewish answer to the socialism vs. capitalism debate.

In this Torah portion we learn of the sanctity of a Jew’s portion of land in Israel and the obligation of the landowner to leave the produce in the corners of his field (and what was forgotten or dropped) for the poor. The landowner is not giving anything up. The produce that he leaves for the poor does not belong to him, in the first place. If he does not leave it in the manner specified in the Torah, he has robbed the poor of what was rightfully theirs. This can be misunderstood as a socialistic approach to economics.

On the other hand, the Torah is acutely capitalistic about property. Even if a person sold his field to others, it must be returned to its original owner in the Jubilee year. A Jew’s land (in the Land of Israel, of course) is not real estate. It is sanctified unto him and if necessary, must be redeemed. But the landowner is not allowed to do business with his sanctified property as he pleases. In essence, the landowner is leasing the property from G-d – according to G-d’s rules.

This is how the Torah maintains the balance between capitalistic liberty and the concern for human well-being professed by socialism: The liberty of private ownership and the exclusive rights of the individual over his life and property on one hand, and the servitude to G-d – and not to a person or system that will forcibly reallocate property to others, on the other.

How do we translate these ideas to our times? Liberty from servitude is G-d’s will – but the only way to acquire it is to accept G-d’s mastery over all.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bye Bye Bogy

By Moshe Feiglin

The best thing that has resulted from the political storm churning through Israel is the ouster of current Defense Minister Bogy Ya’alon. That was not Netanyahu’s original intent. He wanted to bring the Left into the government, and it is a good thing that Labor MK Shelly Yehimovitz prevented that from happening. My assessment is that the new government will not be qualitatively different from its predecessor and except for a change of style, it will be more of the same. But all of that is behind us now. The most important thing is that Ya’alon was ousted. We can only hope that it is not too late.

Bogy Ya’alon, trumpeted as the new savior by the Right and settlers, turned out to be (surprise, surprise) a strategic disaster for Israel’s security – and no less than that – for the state of its democracy and liberty. I believe Ehud Barak’s testimony that Ya’alon was the man who tipped the scales against an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such an attack – even if it had failed to achieve its tactical goal – would have restored Israel’s strategic stance according to which the State of Israel was not established to once again rely on US or British pilots. Even if an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities had failed, it would have made it crystal clear that Israel’s strategy is based on the adage of our Sages, “If someone rises to kill you, kill him first” – whether the attacker is a powerful country overseas or a knife-wielding terrorist in Hebron. But Ya’alon preferred the strategy of containment upon which he was raised in his youth on a leftist kibbutz. He upgraded Iran’s world status and opened the door for its great victory over Israel.

Two years ago, during Operation Protective Edge, Ya’alon led the strategy of containment of the Hamas. The political-security echelon, headed by Ya’alon, emitted confused orders, laden with concepts that included everything – except victory. The result was that after almost two months of goal-less fighting, the IDF had suffered 70 casualties in the tunnels and alleyways of Gaza, left two bodies of Israeli soldiers behind – and retreated. Bugy Ya’alon is leaving behind an army that has become the most sophisticated junkyard of modern arms and advanced technology that exists. He leaves behind the largest, strongest and most inflated army that Israel has ever seen. But it is an army that is incapable of winning any battle. Except for the real battle that Ya’alon introduced: the battle against the settlers.

Under the instruction and with the encouragement of Ya’alon, a new stage in Israel’s history has unfolded. Under pressure from the media and the Left, tens of minors were arrested and severely tortured (with the full support of the Jewish Home party) for no reason other than to keep the Left happy with Bogy. The absolute majority of the youth were released without an indictment – but they did suffer serious emotional damage that will likely haunt them the rest of their lives. (Apparently, the house in Duma was burned by the Arab locals, as was the case before and after the event in question).

But worst of all was Ya’alon’s participation in the quiet ‘trend’ of the military coup that was beginning to take form in Israel.

The shooting of the terrorist in Hebron presented Israeli society with a choice between two approaches: The Jewish perspective, according to which the elimination of a terrorist willing to die in order to murder Jews is ethical and imperative – and the European approach, lacking morality, seamlessly equating between good and evil: The type of approach that turns Nazis into victims and the Jews into the new Nazis.

The upper echelons of the IDF, educated and advanced over the years on the basis of loyalty to these ideas, suddenly became the great hope of the Left. The soldier from Hebron was turned into a national enemy. The Chief of Staff explained that “If someone rises to kill you, kill him first” is not the IDF’s strategy. The Deputy Chief of Staff equated those who subscribe to that value with Nazis. The radical Left Ha’aretz newspaper rather openly called for a military coup and the Defense Minister, Moshe Bogey Ya’alon, backed up and encouraged this entire process on every stage and at every ceremony.

I have no great expectations of Lieberman. Rightist ideology and power bereft of clear purpose always becomes a double-edged sword. It would behoove us all to remember former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was no less rightist and forceful than Lieberman. But all that we can say to Ya’alon is good-bye and good riddance.

For the Land is Mine

By: HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

Parshat Behar contains many halachot regarding Eretz Yisrael. It contains the laws of Shmitah and Yovel, as well as the laws relating to the selling and repurchase of fields and houses in Israel. The reason given in the pasuk for these laws, which are all unique to the Land of Israel, is the fact that "the land is Mine" (Vayikra 25:23). This is not merely a statement of legal ownership, but one attesting to the inherent value of Israel. The Ramban writes in parshat Acharei Mot (Vayikra 18:25), "The Land of Israel is the Nachala [heritage] of G-d." Similarly, R. Yehuda HaLevi speaks at length about the significance of Israel as "the land before G-d" (Kuzari 2:9-24).

In the second paragraph of Birkat HaMazon [grace after meals], we thank G-d for giving us the good Land of Israel and for taking us out of Egypt. This order, though, seems backwards. After all, G-d first took us out of Egypt, and only later gave us the Land of Israel. R. Yaakov Emden, in his siddur, explains that although Israel was second chronologically, it is primary in importance. The entire exodus was oriented toward reaching Israel, as is evident from the four phrases of redemption: "I will free you ... I will save you ... I will redeem you ... I will take you...," all for the purpose of "I will bring you to the land" (Shemot 6:6-8).

Although it appears that the exodus had another goal, to "worship G-d on this mountain [of Sinai]" (Shemot 3:12), the two goals are not at all contradictory, and in fact complement one another. R. Yaakov Emden explains (in the introduction to his Beit Yaakov siddur) that both the Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel are referred to as the heritage of G-d. Just as the Torah says regarding the land, "The land is Mine," so too it says regarding the nation, "the Israelites are My servants" (Vayikra 25:55). The glory of the Torah depends on the linkage of the two - the Nation of Israel in the Land of Israel. Conversely, the greatest cause of Bittul Torah is the exile of Israel from their land. (Hagiga 5b)

The connection between the Nation of Israel and their land is spiritual, and is unlike that of all other nations and their lands. History teaches that a nation becomes attached to its land through a three-stage process. First, a large group of people gathers in a certain place to settle in a permanent manner. Then, over the course of time, they jointly experience many events. This creates within them a historical love for the area, and thereby an emotional bond is formed to their country. This is not the case, however, regarding the Nation of Israel, who forged a bond with their land even before becoming a nation. Our forefathers went to Egypt as only seventy people. They settled there for merely three generations, and even there they were only foreigners. Still, they left Egypt with their eyes and hearts set on the Land of Israel.

Israel's uniqueness is not limited to spiritual matters, but even applies to physical activities, in that everything that is done in it is holy. For this reason the Gra (the Vilna Gaon) used to pray, "May G-d grant me the merit to plant with my own hands fruit trees around Jerusalem, to fulfill the mitzvah of, 'When you enter the land and plant fruit trees'" (Vayikra 19:23). Similarly, the Chatam Sofer writes that manual labor in Israel is included in the Mitzvah of settling the land and bringing forth its holy fruit. The Torah therefore commands, "Gather your grain" (Devarim 11:14). Even Boaz winnows his grain at night as a Mitzvah (Ruth 3:2). Just as one would not say, "I will not lay Tefillin because I am learning Torah," so too one should not say, "I will not gather my grain because of involvement in Torah." It is even possible that other professions that have a societal value are included in this mitzvah. (see Hiddushim of Chatam Sofer to Sukkah, s.v. Etrog hakushi)

This importance of the Land of Israel in the worship of G-d is highlighted in the conclusion of our parsha, "I am the Lord, your G-d, who took you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your G-d" (25:38). Rashi comments, "Anyone who lives in the land of Israel - I will be his G-d. Anyone who leaves it - is like one who worships idols!"

From Political Freedom to Spiritual Freedom

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

The counting of the Omer comes between two Minchah offerings, the barley offering brought on the second day of Pesach, and the wheat offering brought on Shavuot. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook explains that these two offerings hint to us about man’s gradual spiritual improvement. That is, the Rabbis viewed barley as an animal food, alluding to man on a bestial level, and they viewed wheat as a food for human beings, alluding to the highest spiritual level man has ever achieved, that of the Sinai Revelation. 

When an infant is born, we ask how much he weighed. By the time he comes under the marriage canopy, however, we have other questions. We want to know if he is a good person with good traits and good deeds. It is the same during the counting of the Omer. At the start of Pesach we are preoccupied with the Jews’ material and physical survival, and at the end, when we get to Shavuot, we are more concerned with the spiritual level of the indidual Jew and the Jewish People. 

Right now, our national rebirth is undergoing a similar process. In our prayers we beseech G-d to “bring us speedily to our land, with our heads held high [komemiyut].” Based on the word “komemiyut,” which appears in Leviticus 26:13, our sages (Bava Batra 75a) teach that redemption will come in two “komot” or stages. In the first stage, we are occupied with the physical construction of a state, but we are advancing on to the next stage, involving the spiritual status of the nation, as at the Revelation. 

Similarly in the past, we left Egyptian servitude for political freedom, and from there we marched on towards the Sinai Revelation, fifty days after the Exodus, where we achieved everlasting spiritual freedom. 

Through achievement of this political and spiritual freedom together, with the People of Israel living in the Land of Israel, may we merit to see all mankind enjoying material plenty and spiritual light and everything that is good, as indeed G-d promised Abraham: “Go away from your land... to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation... You shall become a blessing. All the families of the earth shall be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3). 

Looking forward to complete salvation, 
Shabbat Shalom.

Senior IDF Officers Wake Up on the "Left" Side of the Bed

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute

Stepping to the Left

What do the following have in common, aside from the fact that they were all Chief or Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF, heads of the Security Services or the Mossad (or something similar): Shaul Mofaz, Gabi Ashkanazi, Benny Gantz, Amnon Lipkin, Dan Chalutz, Yair Golan, Ami Ayalon, Meir Dagan, Yaacov Perry, Yuval Diskin. Some people would add Boogie Yaalon to the list and others who we left out, and my apologies to them. (And what about Ezer Weizmann or David Ivri?) The answer to this question is: pulling the "security policy" to the left, often to the very margins of public opinion and sometimes in a zigzag – but definitely to the left... Some of this respected list of people actually joined the leftist camp in Israel after they removed their uniforms or are currently being given offers to join this camp. Some of them identify with the left in their ideas and their social relationships. All of them have made declarations at various times which attacked the rightist side of the spectrum, each in their own way and at their own time.

I can just see how I will be vilified for this statement: "What did you, a very minor figure, contribute to the security of our nation? What medals decorate your chest (except for the medals of the Six Day and the Yom Kippur Wars which were distributed to all the soldiers who participated in them)? What right do you have to speak up, a tiny midget in the face of the giants of the security enterprise?" My reply to these claims is simple: I am not trying to say anything at all in the realm of professional security matters. My criticism is in the realm of nationalism, with respect to the concept of "occupation," concerning the lack of faith in the righteousness of our path, having to do with exaggerated understanding of the rights of our enemies, and defense of post-Zionism. I have every right to sound the alarm bell about these matters!

The most prominent and recent example of this effect is the speech by the current Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF, who in my opinion stirred up the vast majority of our nation, except perhaps for the readers of Haaretz. (This newspaper marches to the tune and the joy of our oppressors and those who would boycott us. As far as I know, it appears to me that this paper is distributed to every general in the IDF, while its English translation is sent to all of our international enemies.) On Memorial Day for Heroes and Martyrs, General Yair Golan declared that he identifies within the current society in Israel the existence of "sickening processes which took place in Europe in general and in Germany in particular seventy or eighty years ago." He feels that there is in Israel today "incitement which will lead to moral deterioration, since after all nothing is easier than to hate a stranger..." It is not very clear what he means, and to which incitement he is referring, with some reasonable proportion. Evidently his superior combat skills leave something to be desired when he is standing at a microphone or sitting at a keyboard preparing a speech. In any case, even if he "didn't mean it" and his words "were taken out of context," as he quickly noted in an apology, they remain in my eyes symptomatic of the typical approach in the leadership of the IDF staff.

Socialist Left and Nationalistic Left

We must in any case admit the truth: The IDF, the Palmach, the "illegal" Aliyah, and other clandestine operations were born in the bosoms of the socialistic left, and we clearly owe them our thanks for this debt. The kibbutzim and historical Mapai were part of the leftist side, opposing the Revisionists, followers of Jabotinsky and his colleagues, and the security experts grew up from among their ranks. The State of Israel grew up "on the left, " and at the time this was the support which carried Zionist ideology, the settlement movement, security enterprises, and the challenges of Aliyah and absorption. David Ben Gurion, Yisrael Galili, Yigal Yadin, Moshe Dayan, and many other stalwarts of security before and after them stemmed from these roots, from the socialistic left, which was also deeply involved in settlement activity. The youth movements which contributed most at the national level tended to be on the leftist side. With respect to security matters, they were identified with activist nationalism and with a strong belief in the path of waging war leading to conquest of the Arabic enemy, which was competing with us for the land which belonged to our fathers, the land which served as the cradle of the Tanach.

Among all the transformations which the State of Israel went through, the generals of the IDF and the heads of the security establishment experienced a reversal between leftist socialism and leftist politics. This phenomenon is linked by the umbilical cord to the "post-" generation, which by definition justifies the side of the enemy, and has serious doubts about our own righteousness. Such phrases as "the burden of the occupation" and "the rights of the stranger" are common today. "The land of our fathers and the cradle of the Tanach" are archaic words which no longer seem relevant.

Americanization and Legal Excess

I am afraid that the national devaluation which has taken root among the leaders of the IDF and the security forces stems from two other sources, both of which are very serious in my eyes. First is the career path of the senior officers, in the American style. Just look at the machinations and intrigue before every senior appointment in the IDF, and the subsequent resignations of the unsatisfied people. "Professionalism" of the military has replaced the challenge of a national mission and the goal of defeating the Palestinian enemy. Second, I fear that the security "left-face" is advancing in tandem with excess legalism which has taken over the security forces. It would seem that such questions as "What will the foreign nations say?" and "What about the international court in the Hague?" are on the minds of the heads of our security forces. Is there anybody who still remembers the once-famous quote from Ben Gurion: "What the Gentiles say does not matter. What matters is what the Jews do."

Is there any possibility that we will experience "enhanced religion" leading to greater faith within the IDF, as a solution to these problems? I am not talking about the questions of women singing or growing beards, but rather a return to faith as it appears within the Tanach. It seems clear that the Education Division of the IDF will not rise up to this challenge! Rather, it will discard any such idea with contempt!

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Behar 5776: Disputes Between Jews and Gentiles

Parashat Behar 5776
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

The Parsha and Current Events: Disputes Between Jews and Gentiles

Religious disputations between Jews and gentiles have a long and mostly tragic history for the Jewish side, especially when we came out victorious in the debates.

The first religious disputation is recorded in the book of Shemot, when Moshe in the name of HaShem demanded that Paro permit the Jews to worship HaShem in the desert (Shemot 5,1-2):
(א) ואחר באו משה ואהרן ויאמרו אל פרעה כה אמר ה’ אלהי ישראל שלח את עמי ויחגו לי במדבר:

(ב) ויאמר פרעה מי ה’ אשר אשמע בקלו לשלח את ישראל לא ידעתי את ה’ וגם את ישראל לא אשלח:

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

Another early recorded disputation took place at Alexandria about 150 B.C.E., under Ptolemy Philometor, between Andronicus ben Meshullam and the Samaritans Sabbeus and Dositheus.

The Byzantine empire, Basil I (9th century) disputations, usually resulted in expulsion and persecution of the Jews.

Pope Innocent III initiated the Inquisition into Christendom, and the Dominicans began their war against dissenters, the disputations became associated with persecution of the Jews.

The most famous disputation took place at Barcelona on July 20, 1263, in the presence of James I of Aragon and his court, between the Ramban and Pablo Christiani.

Rabbi Judah ha-Levi’s “Cuzari” is based on the religious disputation between Bulan, the king of the Chazars and the rabbi.

Our responsibility in this world

Whether one wishes to admit it or not, in the eyes of the world the State of Israel is the acknowledged representative of world Jewry. Those anti-Semites who are reluctant to “come out of the closet” with virulent anti-Jewish sentiments redirect their antagonism from Jews to the Jewish State, and the code words are understood by their fellow anti-Semites.

As the recognized representative of the Jewish nation, the Medina’s present interaction with the gentile world is political and financial. The action is being played out in political arenas, i.e. the United Nations, Washington, the EU and in the political mass media.

They judge us by our conduct in the liberated areas of Judea, Samaria and the Golan, as viewed according to their interpretation of International law and agreements.

The Medina’s present political and financial interaction with the gentile world is a total distortion of why HaShem has placed us in this world!

Our fathers: Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov were not the Creator’s ambassadors to function under the jurisdiction of man-made international rules. Our fathers were spiritual individuals whose roles in history, and thereafter to their descendants, was to meet the gentile not in the political arena but on the spiritual platform of monotheistic thought and morality. It is the Jewish mission to forge humanity into one-world of מלכות שדי – under the Kingdom of Heaven.

How are we to achieve our stated goal of מלכות שדי when HaShem is not part of the discourse between the Jewish State and the world’s nations?

If we are to advance to a one-world under the rule of HaShem we must wean away our orientation to the gentile world from political and economics to a meeting ground based on spirituality.

To this end, I suggest that the Chief Rabbinate gather our renowned scholars, well versed in Torah and in the classic sources and philosophies of Christianity and Islam, and invite the leading gentile religious leaders to religious disputations in the holy city of Yerushalayim. To which they would be hard pressed to refuse, especially when we promise that in contrast to our past history, no harm will come to them.

This would be a reversal of the religious disputations initiated and forced upon us by the gentiles throughout the ages.

We would invite the Papal representatives in Israel and beyond as well as Islamic scholars, to open public discussion on the validity of their beliefs. While keeping in mind the prophetic words of Yirmiyahu chapter 16,19-20:
(יט) ה’ עזי ומעזי ומנוסי ביום צרה אליך גוים יבאו מאפסי ארץ ויאמרו אך שקר נחלו אבותינו הבל ואין בם מועיל:
(כ) היעשה לו אדם אלהים והמה לא אלהים:

19) Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.
20) Shall man contrive his own gods – which are not gods?

Our side would be easily able to point out the many idolatrous features contained in the basic tenets of Christianity and Islam. The trinity is a renunciation of Monotheism, and the many religious rites practiced in Moslem Mecca have been adopted from known idolatrous practices.

When this will occur, the interactive discourse between the Jewish State and nation vis-à-vis the gentile world would be on the desired religious track not on politics.

The disputations might not increase the gentiles’ love for Am Yisrael and might even increase their ages old anti-Jewish feelings. Nevertheless, it is our Godly calling to wean men of good faith and sincere spiritual feeling from the falsehoods they were indoctrinated with, in the spirit and conduct of our fathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov.

The interest which would be generated by these disputations would influence great numbers of people to begin investigating the beliefs that they accepted blindly from their parents and surroundings.

The “one dead Jew” that Christianity so loved prompted them to embark on a 2000-year campaign to make many dead Jews. When their “dead Jew” is presented together with the real persona of Mohammed, the analphabetic, murderer, pedophile and more, it could move great numbers of humanity to gain interest in the mother of religions – Judaism.

This could create an avalanche of interest among the gentiles which would require us to educate the gentiles in the Seven Noachide mitzvot on a mass scale.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5776/2016 Nachman Kahana

Israel, Gaza and "Proportionality"

By Louis René Beres 

  • It appears that several major Palestinian terror groups have begun to prepare for mega-terror attacks on Israel.
  • The authoritative rules of war do not equate "proportionality" with how many people die in each side of a conflict. In war, no side is ever required to respond to aggression with only the equivalent measure of force. Rather, the obligations of proportionality require that no side employ any level of force that is greater than what is needed to achieve a legitimate political and operational objective.
  • Under pertinent international law, the use of one's own people as "human shields" -- because such firing from populated areas is intended to deter Israeli reprisals, or to elicit injuries to Palestinian civilians -- represents a codified war crime. More specifically, this crime is known as "perfidy." This is plainly an attempt to make the IDF appear murderous when it is compelled to retaliate, but it is simply a Palestinian manipulation of legal responsibility. Under law, those Arab residents who suffer from Israeli retaliations are incurring the consequences of their own government's war crimes.
  • International law is not a suicide pact. Instead, it offers a universally binding body of rules and procedures that allows all states to act on behalf of their "inherent right of self-defense."
In its most recent defensive operations, Israel accomplished an impressively high rate of "Iron Dome" interceptions against incoming rockets from Gaza. Still, it would be a mistake to extrapolate from any such relatively limited successes to the vastly more complex hazards of strategic danger from Iran. (Image source: IDF)
Already, calls from various directions have begun to condemn Israel for its recent retaliatory strikes in self-defense at Gaza.[1] The carefully-rehearsed refrain is all-too familiar. Gazan terrorists fire rockets and mortars at Israel; then, the world calls upon the Israel Air Force (IAF) not to respond.
Although Israel is plainly the victim in these ritualistic cycles of Arab terror and required Israeli retaliations, the "civilized world" usually comes to the defense of the victimizers. Inexplicably, in the European Union, and even sometimes with the current U.S. president, the Israeli response is reflexively, without thought, described as "excessive" or "disproportionate."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dozens of Haredi Rabbis Call on Israel to Kill Every Terrorist ‘As Soon As He Leaves the House’

Several dozen rabbis, many of them Haredi and Hasidic, on Sunday attended an emergency conference at the study hall of the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Meir Alter Horowitz, in the neighborhood of Har Nof in Jerusalem, Kippa reported. Dubbed "emergency conference for the security of Israel in the Holy Land," the assembly ended with a uniform call against a national unity government with the Zionist Camp (Labor) or with any other politicians who declare openly that they want to hand over areas of historic Israel.

Besides the host, the Bostoner Rebbe, the conference included Haredi "celebrities" such as the Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Moshe Landau, the Chief Rabbi of Tsfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and the head of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel.

The statement the assembled rabbis issued after their conference said in no uncertain terms that there must be no negotiations over territory across the "green line," nor any mention of the "two state solution." The announcement suggested that "the only way to uproot the wave of terror by Arab murderers in the Holy Land would by through a firm stand of the Israeli government that there will never be a negotiation over parts of the Holy Land, by expressing regret for past withdrawals and regret for the 'miserable declaration' of two states for two peoples."

The assembled Haredi rabbis also said that "the areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem are all part of the Land of Israel and we must continue to build there in accordance with the needs of the population without interruption. The rabbis have ruled according to Halakha that maintaining the security forces' deterrence is more important than any holy object."

The Haredi rabbis also mentioned what they called "stupid" statements by senior officials in government and the military which, they said, dishonor the nation of Israel and the IDF soldiers—referring to Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan who compared the behavior of some IDF soldiers to that of German Nazis in the 1930s.

The rabbis added that every Arab terrorist must be executed. "Every Arab terrorist who leaves his house with the intent to hurt Jews has lost his right to live and must be shot without needless calculations," they stated. They noted that whomever refuses to follow their directions should not be placed in charge of the security of Israel, citing Deut. 20:8 — "What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart."

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Iran's Anti-Semitism

By Majid Rafizadeh

  • Thanks to the lifting of sanctions, the prize for best Holocaust cartoon was lifted as well. Iran is now offering $50,000 for the best Holocaust cartoon, more than quadruple last year's prize, which was $12,000.
  • The competition is expected to draw participants from more than 50 countries. It is sponsored by two organizations which are directly or indirectly linked to the Iranian regime: the Owj Media and Cultural Institute, funded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the Sarsheshmeh Cultural Center, which is supported by the Islamic Development Organization (IDO). The Iranian parliament provides the IDO's budget.
  • These kinds of Holocaust events and conferences in Iran are based on the notion that Holocaust did not occur.
By denying the Iranian regime's official involvement in the Holocaust cartoon contest, President Rouhani (right) and FM Zarif are feigning a softer tone on the international stage, while keeping the fundamentals of Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards's policy intact.
This week, Iran is hosting its second annual Holocaust Cartoon Competition, even as some politicians and world leaders continue to argue that Iran is becoming a stabilizing force because it is re-joining the international community, by implementing the nuclear agreement and integrating into the global financial system.
The exhibition of Holocaust cartoons will open on May 14. Iran's Holocaust Cartoon Competition reflects the Iranian regimes' attempts to expand its efforts to promote anti-Semitism beyond the borders of its nation.
As Iran's revenues are rising, thanks to the lifting of sanctions, the prize for the best Holocaust cartoon was lifted, as well. Iran is now offering $50,000 for the best Holocaust cartoon, more than quadruple last year's prize, which was $12,000. According to Iran's semi-official IRNA news agency, the conference is expected to draw participants from more than 50 countries.

A Visit to the Old and New Hells of Europe Provides a Reminder of Israel's Importance

By Alan M. Dershowitz

Left: Supporters of Greece's fascist Golden Dawn party. Right: Supporters of Hungary's fascist Jobbik party.
I just returned from a week-long journey through Hell! It began with a visit to the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps in Poland, as a participant of the March of the Living, following a conference commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Nuremberg Laws and the 70thanniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. My week was consumed with recurring evidence of the worst crime ever perpetrated by human beings on other human beings – the Holocaust.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Something to Learn from the Enemy

By Shmuel Sackett

Last week, Israel held its annual “Israel Prize” ceremony. It is a very emotional ceremony with prizes awarded to distinguished individuals in all fields. I must admit that I was not familiar with most of the winners but when I read about what these people have accomplished, achieved and in many cases overcome, it was tremendously motivating.

And then, every few years, comes the rotten apple… the guy who can’t keep his political views to himself. He thinks that the “Israel Prize” is his opportunity to spew forth his sick and radical views, even though nobody asked for his opinion. This year I am proud to say that we “broke the bank” with one of the worst of them all; Professor David Shulman.

Professionally, David Shulman is known as the leading world expert in the field of religion, literature and culture of southern India. He is fluent in many languages including Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam. (Note: Did you ever hear of those languages before??!!) He recently retired from being a professor in Hebrew University after 40 years in the Department of Indian and Armenian studies and the Israel Prize he won was for Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Sounds like a pretty smart guy, no??? Well, academically, the guy is a genius but when he opens his mouth to comment on the current political situation in Israel, he shows just how little he really knows. He is very active with the Ta’ayush organization which assists Arabs in the South Hebron Hills area. According to the Ta’ayush website, it is an organization whose goal is “to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The thing that I want to focus on in this article, is not about this organization nor the damage it causes. I want to focus on what Professor Shulman did the day after winning the Israel Prize. Here is a direct quote from Yeshiva World News; “Israel Prize Laureate Professor David Shulman announced that the 75,000 shekel award money he received with the Israel Prize would be donated to the Ta’ayush organization.”

In my opinion, this is simply incredible. Here is a retired professor, who was just handed a check for 75,000 shekel – around $20,000 – and instead of putting it into his retirement fund, he donated it to an organization that works night and day against Israel. I must admit that while I am not aware of the salary that professors make, I’m sure it is respectable, but far from making any of them wealthy. And here is a guy, who was handed a $20,000 check and what does he do with it? He hands the entire check – every penny of that money – to some evil, horrible organization that works nonstop to destroy the very country in which he lives!

What can we learn from Professor Shulman? Well, since I have no desire to speak Malayalam or Telegu nor do I plan on attending his lecture at the Ta’ayush national convention, I propose that there is one thing (and probably just this one thing) that we can learn from him; to put your money where your mouth is!

So many of us have opinions on what needs to be done in Israel; more Jews in Hebron, better security in Jerusalem, less children going to bed hungry, new settlements etc… but are we prepared to make the same contribution to these positive causes as Shulman did to his negative one? Lots of noise was made about whether or not he should have received the prize in the first place but that is behind us… and he received the prize… and the check. The thing that amazes me is what he did afterwards and I say – loud and clear – that we must learn from him and not just complain about the guy.

It is sad to think this way but I consider Professor David Shulman an enemy. I certainly do not feel that way about the overwhelming majority of leftists who are either misguided (“they do not know nor do they understand, in darkness they walk” Psalms 82) or are total boors (“a boor cannot know, nor can a fool understand” Psalms 92). Those verses in Tehillim apply to 90% of my leftist brothers who – after all these years – are still rooting for the peace process to work. I get along with most of these guys and some of them are actually good friends! The problem is with the remaining 10% who are not misguided nor are they boors or fools. These people are simply evil. They are the enemy. They come in all shapes and sizes from streimel-wearing Neturei Karta to secular professors, like David Shulman, in Hebrew University. The reason I consider them the enemy is because they have “crossed the line”. They have taken their views and turned them into actions against everything I consider holy. They assist those who kill us, they steal Jewish land and they cause irreparable damage.

Yet, with all the evil they do, there is a lesson for us. We need to use their methods against them. We must learn from their bad and use it for good. If a retired professor gives $20,000 towards helping the “poor Palestinians in the southern Hebron Hills”, then we must give $20,000 towards helping “the heroic and wonderful Jews in the southern Hebron Hills – in settlements such as Otniel, Maon, Carmel, Sussya and much more”. They are dedicated to their cause so we must be doubly as dedicated since they are destroying (which is easy) and we are building (much harder to do). Let’s stop complaining and start acting and very soon – if we are as serious as they are – we can send a letter to Professor Shulman, written in perfect Sanskrit, thanking him for his personal example.

For great ideas how you can help Otniel and other projects in the Southern Hebron Hills, please go