Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Does Ofer Cassif belong in the Knesset?

by Victor Rosenthal

You shall do no injustice in judgment: you shall not be partial to the poor, nor show favoritism to the great; but you shall judge your neighbor in righteousness. – Lev. 19:15

From Israel’s Basic Law: The Knesset,
  1. A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
  2. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
  3. incitement to racism;
  4. support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel.
a1. For the purposes of this section, a candidate that was at a hostile state unlawfully within the seven years preceding the date for submitting the candidates’ list, is deemed a person whose actions express support of armed struggle against the State of Israel, as long as he has not proven otherwise.

b. The decision of the Central Elections Committee that a candidate is prevented from participating in the elections requires the affirmation of the Supreme Court of Israel. …

The Elections Committee ruled on several petitions prior to the upcoming election. It rejected a petition against the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party which accused its members of anti-Arab racism, and it disqualified the Balad-Ra’am party, a joint list composed of the Balad (land) party and several other Arab parties. It also ruled against the candidacy of Ofer Cassif, a Jewish member of the mostly Arab Hadash(Communist) party.

To nobody’s surprise, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the committee. It decided to disqualify Michael Ben Ari of Otzma Yehudit, and to reinstate Balad-Ra’am and Cassif.

The Supreme Court has always been loath to allow the disqualification of candidates, and has always reversed such decisions, with only a few exceptions. In 1988, Meir Kahane’s Kach party was disqualified for racism (as well as its successor, Kahane Chai in 1992), and in 1965 a far-left Arab party was ruled out for negating the State of Israel. On several other occasions, the Election Committee tried to disqualify various Arab or right-wing Jewish parties, but it was always overruled.

I’m not going to discuss the case of Michael Ben Ari in detail. He has certainly made anti-Arab statements, as Arabs often make anti-Jewish ones. But I believe the concept of “racism” is vague and unclear, especially in the context of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs (and I would have said the same about Meir Kahane, whose ideas Ben Ari embraces), and it’s unfortunate that it is included in the law.

I am also going to leave aside the case of the Arab parties, which do their best to skirt the letter of the law while at the same time vying with each other to present themselves to the Arab public as the most anti-Zionist. Balad, in my opinion, has crossed very far over the line, including having members of the Knesset who engaged in criminally subversive activities (and have even been imprisoned for it).

But I do want to talk about the Jewish communist, Ofer Cassif.

Cassif is a teacher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who also lectures at several other Israeli colleges and universities. He enjoys insulting his political enemies:

Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.”

On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.”

His insults may rise to the level of incitement to violence, which warrants criminal prosecution.

An anti-Zionist, he considers Zionism a “racist” and “colonialist” movement. He compares Israel to Nazi Germany on a regular basis, and accuses it of genocide and ethnic cleansing. “Israel commits murder on a daily basis,” he says. He favors the “return” of Palestinian Arab “refugees” – that is, those approximately 5 million Arabs recognized by the UN as descendants of those who lived in the area that became Israel for at least 2 years prior to 1948, and fled before and during the war – to “their homes” in what is today Israel, even if it means that Jews will have to leave. He favors the division of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan into two states, one a Palestinian Arab state (which would be Jew-free), and the other a “state of all its citizens,” with a right of return for millions of Arabs.

He is not opposed to the existence of the state called Israel, but he is opposed to its character as the nation-state of the Jewish people. He would annul the Law of Return for Jews, but favors such a law for Arabs, whom he sees as the true “natives” of the place, the ones whose homeland it is. He would change the national anthem, the flag, and other symbols, “to belong to all the state’s residents.” Chances are it wouldn’t continue to be called “Israel” for long.

Cassif opposes terrorism against civilians, but calls attacks on Israeli soldiers by Palestinian Arabs legitimate “guerrilla warfare.” When an interviewer asked him if “today’s Hamas commanders who are carrying out attacks on soldiers will be heroes of the future Palestinian state,” his answer was “of course.”

At the Supreme Court hearing, several justices questioned him about this. His lawyer – Hassan Jabareen, the director of Adalah, an NGO concerned with the rights of Arabs in Israel – said “that Kassif was explaining the academic debate about whether attacking soldiers is terrorism or part of armed conflict between two warring sides, but that on a personal level, Kassif opposes all violence.” His statements, however, were not in the context of an academic debate, but rather an interview with Ha’aretz.

Does Cassif meet the criteria for disqualification? It seems incontrovertible. He explicitly opposes the Jewish nature of the state, and the implications of his support of a right of return for Arab “refugees” cannot be imagined as anything but a call for the “negation of the existence” of the state. He supports terrorism directed at soldiers in the territories, which certainly counts as “armed struggle” by an enemy of the state. And yet, the Supreme Court – by a majority of 8 to 1 – does not feel that there is sufficient evidence to keep him out of the Knesset!

I see these events as a manifestation of the Oslo Syndrome, the Jewish internalization of our antisemitic enemies’ representation of our nature and our motives. In particular, left-leaning Israelis act as though the moral high ground is held by the Palestinian Arabs, that – even though objective historical accounts show that our narrative of the founding of the state is far closer to reality than that of the Arabs – we are guilty, guilty of the horrible nakba, almost as bad as the Holocaust, and that in fact we are today’s Nazis. In order to expiate their feelings of guilt, syndrome sufferers like the judges of the Supreme Court bend over backwards to give the Arabs more than true justice demands. At the same time, the harshest treatment is reserved for Jews.

Our legal system, and especially the Supreme Court, applies a double standard to Jews and Arabs. Precisely as is forbidden in the Torah, our judges lean toward those that they (wrongly) believe to be oppressed.

The Shalsheles

by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

He [Moshe] slaughtered it. Moshe took some of its blood, and put it on the tip of Aharon’s right ear… (Vayikra 8:23)

IT WAS HIS third time practicing it. He got it right the second time, but there was something special about singing a note that only occurs FOUR times in the Torah. Some people barely articulate the “Shalsheles,” but HE makes a point of it…up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down.

To the person chanting a Shalsheles, it is no big deal to hear it over-and-over again. But to a person listening in, especially if they are trying to concentrate on something else, it can be somewhat annoying. Once, for sure. Twice, perhaps. But, three times? Go somewhere else!

Ephraim Volke would never have told this to the ba’al koreh preparing the parsha for Shabbos, but he certainly thought it. He was trying to learn a Tosfos on a complicated Gemora, and it was hard enough for him already without the added distraction. But, he kept his peace and pretended as if he wasn’t noticing at all.

Then came the FOURTH time. Ephraim was far too much of a mentsch to offend anyone, especially someone who is involved in a mitzvah. But for his OWN sake, he had to do something about the situation, so that he could continue with his own assignment, and not have an anxiety attack in the process.

So he casually got up to not attract Yoel Bloom’s attention, and took his Gemora further away from the center of the storm. But Yoel noticed the movement, stopped cantillating, and turned to the stranger moving away.

“I’m sorry,” Yoel said. “Did I bother you?”

Ephraim stopped in his tracks and turned around. Now he had a new predicament: tell the truth and possibly offend the source of his disturbance, or not tell the truth and let sleeping dogs “lie.” A moment of uncertainty resulted in a moment of hesitation, and the question was answered on its own.

“No problem,” Yoel said, “I’ll move. Why should you have to go somewhere else…I’m the one making the noise.”

Of course Yoel’s considerate response made Ephraim feel like a heel. “Why did I have to do anything at all?” he asked himself. “What a kvetch I can be sometimes!” His only choice now was to be cordial back.

“Are you a ba’al koreh?” Ephraim asked, now just making conversation.

“How could you guess?” Yoel answered back, sarcastically.

“You have a nice voice,” he told him. “Where do you lain?”

“The Hashkamah Minyan at Floral Park Shul.”

“Nice,” Ephraim said. “For a long time? I used to doven there, and I don’t remember you.”

“Just the last six months,” Yoel said.

“Ya, I haven’t been there for a while.”

“I don’t remember you either.”

Yoel started to say, “On that note…” when Ephraim cut it and joked, “Pun intended?”

“Ah…I guess…Actually I’m not that quick,” Yoel finally admitted. “Anyhow, I’m Yoel Bloom.”

“Nice to meet you, Yoel Bloom. Ephraim Volke,” he said, extending his hand. Yoel shook it and said, “Pleasure.”

“Likewise,” Ephraim said. Then he added, “Now that we’re on a first name basis, what’s with the Shalsheles?”

Yoel laughed. “I was wondering if that was the straw that broke your camel’s back.”

Now Ephraim smiled. “It was just out of rhythm with Tosfos,” he explained.

“It depends upon the Tosfos,” Yoel kidded.

“Maybe,” Ephraim responded.

“It’s like this,” Yoel began to explain. “There are only four in the ENTIRE Torah, so when one comes around, I kind of get into it.”

“I can personally verify that,” Ephraim quipped.

“I apologize again,” Yoel said. “I’m almost done, but in the meantime, I don’t mind continuing in the Ezras Nashim.”

“I really appreciate that. But before you go, did you ever learn why a Shalsheles is used in the Torah?”

Yoel thought for a moment and then said, “The first three are kind of obvious. It’s the fourth one in THIS week’s parsha that I can’t figure out.”

“What do you know about the first three?”

“Well, I know that each time a Shalsheles is used it indicates a hesitation that might not be obvious from the posuk, or even apparent to the person who has it. However, in the case of the first one in the Torah, it’s pretty obvious to EVERYONE. The note itself is even over the word that MEANS ‘hesitation’.”

“You’re talking about Lot on his way out of Sdom.”

“Yes,” Yoel confirmed. “When the angel pressed Lot to flee Sdom before God rained down destruction, the Torah says Lot hesitated.” For effect, Yoel cantillated the actual Hebrew word, “‘VayismamaAAAaaaAAAaaaAAAaaah.’”

“Yup, that’s it…” Ephraim joked.

“Rashi explains that Lot had a hard time leaving Sdom, even though he was being guided by an angel to safety. He was so invested in Sdom that he just couldn’t walk away from it, in spite of the danger of staying.”

“Sounds familiar,” Ephraim said.

“Ya, well, it seems to be a Jewish problem THROUGHOUT the ages,” Yoel agreed.

“And once AGAIN!”

“Unfortunately yes.”

“The next Shalsheles is more subtle.”

“The one by Eliezer?” Ephraim asked.

“Right,” Yoel answered, “when he was sent by Avraham to find a wife for Yitzchak. After miraculously arriving at his destination in record time, Eliezer asked God to give him a sign if and when he would find the right girl for Yitzchak. Now, from the posuk, everything seems normal, except for the Shalsheles over the word, ‘And he said,’ indicating some kind of hesitation on Eliezer’s part.”

“Okay,” Ephraim said.

“But why,” Yoel asked rhetorically, “would Eliezer, Avraham’s most loyal servant, hesitate to do the will of his master?”

“Okay, nu, why did he hesitate?”

“Perhaps he didn’t,” Yoel offered, “at least not CONSCIOUSLY.”

“Ahah,” Ephraim exclaimed, as if uncovering an important clue. “You refer to the Midrash that says that Eliezer had wrongly hoped that his OWN daughter would be able to marry Yitzchak…”

Yoel cut in, “but couldn’t because Eliezer descended from Canaan, who had been cursed by Noach, and someone who is cursed cannot marry someone who has been blessed.”

“But, the Shalsheles tells us,” Ephraim cut back in, “that this did not mean that Eliezer was no longer disappointed, at least on SOME level, and therefore subconsciously hesitant to find another match for Yitzchak…”

“Exactly,” Yoel said, “and YET…and this is the IMPORTANT part, he STILL carried out his mission scrupulously.”

“Nicccccce,” Ephraim said.

They both took a short breather.

“That’s TWO,” said Ephraim. “What about the third?”

“Like Lot’s,” Yoel told him.

This time it was Ephraim’s turn. “You mean, ‘vayamaiAIaiAIaiAIain.’

“Yup, that’s the one…when Yosef is trying to refuse the advances of his master’s wife. From the Torah it looks as if Yosef realized the danger of the situation immediately, and then hightailed it out of there right away like any tzaddik would. The Shalsheles however tells us otherwise, that he had to battle himself to refuse her.”

“Ya, well,” Ephraim interjected, “that whole episode is a story unto itself, especially given what the Gemora has to say about it…”

“Then there is the fourth and final Shelsheles, in this week’s parsha.” Since Yoel still had the Tikun open to the proper page, he lained the entire posuk, “‘He slaughtered it…’” Then he looked at Ephraim and said, “Moshe Rabbeinu was initiating Aharon HaKohen and his sons into the service of God. What hesitation could he possibly have had, on ANY level? It had to be one of the most joyous occasions, not to mention that they were not only the first kohanim, but his own brothers and nephews! It had to be a happy day for ALL of them!”

Ephraim just sat there, smiling.

“Judging by that smile, you obviously have an answer.”

“I do,” Ephraim said. “But to be totally honest, it is not my own. I heard it from a drash given at my shul a couple of years ago, by someone who had also asked your question.”

“So what did he say?”

“The answer is actually in a Rashi in an earlier parsha…Parashas Tetzaveh…”

“Tetzaveh? Rashi?”

“May I?” Ephraim asked, signaling that he wanted to use the Tikun for a moment.

“All yours,” Yoel said, passing it to him.

Ephraim flipped through the pages, back to Parashas Tetzaveh, and locating the verse he wanted, he read the Hebrew.

“‘It shall be a continual burnt offering for your generations, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before God, where I will arrange meetings with you, to speak to you there. There I will arrange meetings with the Children of Israel, and it will be sanctified by My glory.’ So, on the second verse Rashi brings the Midrash which says: ‘Do not read “bichvodi—My glory,” but ‘bimchubadi—My honored ones.’ The Midrash says that God hinted to Moshe here about the future death of Aharon’s sons, on the day the Mishkan would finally be assembled. This is what Moshe meant when he said, in NEXT week’s parsha…”

Now he flipped ahead to Parashas Shemini, and finding the posuk, he read it, and explained it, “That’s what Moshe Rabbeinu told Aharon HaKohen after Nadav and Avinu died in next week’s parsha. He said that God had already alluded to their deaths back in Parashas Tetzaveh. He said that He would be sanctified by those close to Him, except that Moshe Rabbeinu had thought, at the time, that the sanctification would come through his and Aharon’s death, not Nadav’s and Avihu’s death.”

“Rightttt,” Yoel recalled.

“So,” Ephraim said, “let me ask you a question. If you were shechting the animal that was part of an initiation process that you had been forewarned was going to lead to your death, and the death of the your beloved brother…”

“Which you knew,” Yoel added, “would have an incredibly NEGATIVE impact on your nation at one of the most IMPORTANT moments in history…”

“Also true,” Ephraim agreed, “would it not impact you on SOME level?”

“I would HOPE so!” Yoel said.

“Well,” Ephraim continued, “your Shalsheles reveals that it DID impact Moshe Rabbeinu, and gave him pause to think…”

“And YET…” Yoel started to say.

“And YET,” Ephraim finished, “Moshe did his job EXACTLY as commanded, without the slightest hint to anyone else about what he knew, and as if everything was going to unfold in the happiest of ways!”

Yoel whistled, indicating that he was impressed. The smile on his face showed just how pleased he was to have unraveled an ongoing mystery, and he let Ephraim know it. Then he joked, “It can pay to be annoying…”

“Sometimes,” Ephraim jumped in, smiling.

“I’m sorry about that Tosfos,” Yoel said, realizing how much time the entire exchange had taken up.

“Me too,” Ephraim bemoaned. “But it’s not every day that you meet a nice guy and make a new friend. I can probably make up the time somewhere else, but you can’t always do the same with a new friend.”

Yoel was deeply touched, and after shaking Ephraim’s hands and exchanging numbers, he looked forward to what could only become a long and close relationship. Ephraim too, and years later, it was clear that they had been right.

Rav Kook on Purim: "Go Gather All The Jews"

Rav Kook wrote the following article in HaTor (the weekly periodical of the Mizrahi) in 1934, during the rise of Nazism in Germany.
During these days of Purim, in this difficult time, we are besieged by many troubles from without, sufferings that afflict the entire Jewish people.

But our greatest pain comes from our troubles within. We lack unity, shalom bayit in the House of Israel. Let us recall the days and events recorded in the Scroll of Esther, written with prophetic inspiration. For God’s spirit transcends the passage of time and transient ideologies. Esther’s eternal words - “Go gather all of the Jews” - must rejuvenate us and elevate us from our lowly state.

Is Unity Possible?

One may ask: Is it really possible nowadays to gather all of the Jews together? Is it possible to unite all of the different factions and parties? How will the bones, scattered across the vast valley of exile - both material and spiritual - once again form that entity known as Klal Yisrael, and set forth its demands for renewal and redemption?

The answer is that there is a place where this dispersion, both physical and spiritual, cannot rule over us. But you object: We see with our own eyes the terrible internal strife. Jews rise up against Jews, brothers turn against each other like wolves and snakes. How can we say, “Go gather all of the Jews”?

Whoever thinks that Haman erred when he said, “There is one nation scattered and divided” (Esther 3:8), is mistaken. Indeed, the Jewish people is scattered and divided. But, nevertheless, it is one nation. You may wonder how a nation may be simultaneously united and divided. The world is full of wonders. This nation, whose very survival throughout history is replete with wonders and miracles, demonstrates by its very existence that it is, in its essence, one nation, despite its dispersion and disunity.

True, the afflictions of exile have divided us. But “the Eternal One of Israel will not lie.” The exile and all of its horrors must come to an end. The wind has begun to blow from the four corners of the earth, from the troubles surrounding us, and from the spiritual revelation which stirs us to return and be rebuilt in our homeland. Now we are nearing the realization that there is a cure for the malady of our dispersion and division. In the final analysis, we are, and will always be, a united nation. Israel shall once again rise to the eternal words, “Go gather all of the Jews.”

Our Hidden Spirit

Yet the difficult barrier obstructing the path of redemption remains: the divisive discord that consumes us. The answer is that a person has two aspects. Medical procedures utilize the body’s inner resources of vitality and health. This inner spirit is so hidden that even the patient is unaware of its existence.

Spiritual maladies and their physical manifestations only infect our lower aspect, the side which we see. But our hidden, unknown side always bursts with energy. It is brimming with life and strength. This hidden repository of health has the power to heal the outer self, which can mislead us into thinking that we are sick and feeble, when in fact we possess a healthy soul, full of life and vigor.

That which is true for the individual applies to a much greater degree to the entire collective. Klal Yisrael in particular is truly one nation: “And who is like Your people, Israel, one nation in the land?” (I Sam. 15:19) We must admit our error in identifying ourselves, the essence of Israel, with the nation’s superficial appearance, with its outer, baser side. This self-image makes us cringe and tremble. We judge ourselves solely on the basis of our dispersion and inner strife.

The Hamans of every generation strike at us with their venom and hatred. Especially in this period of transition, they perceive our weak side, for it is visible and recognizable. But precisely through these tribulations we will come to the realization that we possess a previously unknown, collective soul - a great national spirit whose existence we had forgotten. It abounds with vitality; it has the strength to renew our lives as of old, and repel all of the Amalekites who wish to assault our weak and feeble.

This hidden Judaism, unknown even to ourselves, this great soul of a great nation, bearing both the suffering and the light of the world within it, will become known to us during these portentous times. The blessing of “Go gather all of the Jews” will emerge from its hidden place inside the nation’s soul. Every Purim we must appreciate the great inner repository of our blessedness and our essential trait of unity, which will vanquish our divided side.

From a state of being unable to “distinguish between cursed Haman and blessed Mordechai” we will attain a higher awareness: the ability to uncover the hidden traits of Israel within us. Fellow Jews will recognize one another and join hands. And a mighty voice will be heard, “Let us rise up and ascend to Zion, to the house of our God” (Jer. 31:5).

(Adapted from Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah, pp. 155-157, and Celebration of the Soul by R. Pesach Jaffe, pp. 126-129.)

The Shamrak Report: What Ceasefire - Another 'Hit and Run' and more...

Two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip on Thursday!
Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system detected the incoming rockets around 9 p.m. and sounded alarms that were heard across metropolitan Tel Aviv on a rainy night.
Hamas, the militant group which controls Gaza, denied involvement in the attack, as did Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed armed organisation which also possesses a formidable rocket arsenal.
Israeli warplanes and helicopters bombed dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip in response.
According to the IDF Spokesperson, among the terrorist targets hit overnight were the offices of the Hamas headquarters in the Rimal neighborhood in central Gaza City responsible for directing Hamas terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria.
In addition, the IDF attacked the main, underground rocket production site in the Gaza Strip; and a Hamas military training compound which is used as the center for Hamas’ unmanned drones in the southern Gaza Strip. (Enemies strike Israel at any time they want! Deny responsibility later and ask for another useless ceasefire! Even if Hamas is gone, it will be replaced by another anti-Israel terrorist group, with support of the so-called Palestinian population!)
Israeli citizens are forced to deal with on a daily basis. In the seven day period, from March 7-14, there were 51 terror attacks in the last week alone, including 2 shootings, 2 attempted stabbings, and 11 firebomb attacks - 411 terror attacks in 2019. The attacks included two shootings, two attempted stabbings, 36 stone-throwing incidents, and 11 firebomb attacks. The shots were fired by terrorists from the Arab village of Jelazoun on Thursday night at the Jewish community of Beit El, in the Binyamin region of Samaria. (Enemy population must be removed from the Jewish ancestral land - this is the only way to stop terror attacks against Jews in their homeland!)
Happy and Joyful Purim!
Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak
Two major political issues are not freely discussed, actually often are censored and almost forbidden to raise, by the Western, supposingly, democracies:
1. What is behind the Islamic terror of Al Qaida, ISIS and other groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah? And, why are the majority of members of “the peaceful religion”, over 1.3 billion of them, not protesting against their barbaric Islamist terror?
2. What was the motivation and reason for attack committed by Anders Breivik on 22 July 2011 in Norway? And, why did Australian Brenton Tarrant attack two mosques a week ago, killing dozens of Muslim worshipers?
The Western world needs to start to face these questions honestly. Problems are never resolved and solved if they are not clearly identified!
Please, read and forward this article!
IDF fighter jets, attack helicopters and other aircraft struck approximately 100 military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. Among the terror targets struck was an office complex of the Judea and Samaria headquarters in the neighborhood of Rimal in the central Gaza Strip. The main manufacturing site of standard-grade rockets in the Gaza Strip was struck. (As usual, Israel has fired at empty buildings - no terrorists were killed - Bombing 100 empty terror sites won’t deter Hamas from its next rocket assault!)
Satellite images taken by Israeli intelligence firm ISI on Tuesday seem to confirm suspicions that a missile factory is being constructed in the Syrian town of Safita, east of Tartus. It appears that the site does not produce missile engines and warheads yet.
The streets of the capital of Israel were overflowed as the annual Jerusalem Winner Marathon was held for the ninth time, with some 40,000 runners from 80 countries participating in the event. They ran a breathtaking route, passing through the Old City walls, the Sultan’s Pool, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Mount Zion, the German Colony, Rehavia, the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, Ammunition Hill, Mount Scopus, Mount of Olives and other sites. (This was not reported by 'Jew-loving' - Israel-hating media!)
The people of Efrat in Judea have had enough. They're tired of watching the illegal Arab construction that is choking the northern neighborhoods of Efrat and threatening the safety of motorists on the roads that lead to their homes. They're tired of filing unanswered complaints with the authorities.
A senior Israeli official said the army has opened criminal investigations into the deaths of 11 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire during protests along the Israel-Gaza border over the past year. UN human rights report alleges Israeli soldiers intentionally fired on civilians and could have committed crimes against humanity. Israel immediately denounced the report as biased and rejected its findings. (Therefore, why are they opening the investigation? Israel must stop paying attention to anti-Semitic rhetoric of 'Ugly Nazi'! Jewish solders must not fear of legal proceedings during military operations or terror attacks!)
Two new judges were appointed to Israel’s appeals court by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (New Right Party), bringing the total number of judges chosen throughout Shaked’s tenure to 334. That number comprises approximately 30 percent of all judges in Israel, and is expected to cause a marked right-wing(Zionist) shift in judicial verdicts.
For the first time ever, the US State Department dropped the term “occupied territories” from its headline referring to the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria and Gaza in its annual global human rights report. The text was changed from “Israel-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son sniped at President Reuven Rivlin on Twitter after the latter criticized the premier over recent statements about Arab Israelis. Gantz’s Blue and White party calls on Netanyahu to rein in his son Yair, denounces ‘incitement’ against the president. (Once again, the anti-Zionist Left is pretending to be the centrist party! Will Israeli voters be fooled again?)
Israel’s Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has agreed to hold the pre-indictment hearing for a possible indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges until after the upcoming April 9 national elections.
Quote of the Week:
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” - George Bernard Shaw For how long is Israel going to pretend that Arabs and so-called Palestinians want peace and tolerate terror, as well as international humiliation? The Jewish state needs to decisively reunite Jewish ancestral land – only then will Eretz-Israel gain due respect from international bigots!
True Respect for Democracy.
by Steven Shamrak.
Maybe because I was born and raised in a dictatorial Communist country, the Soviet Union, I feel a special admiration and respect for the ideals of democracy that are practiced in the USA and, to a degree, in Israel. I have the same respect for the executive offices of the President and the PM. Unfortunately, the people who are elected to these offices quite often do not reach the level of integrity these positions demand! 
Every day of my life I used to live surrounded by political propaganda in a country where brainwashing of the population was the principal survival preoccupation of the government. Every member of Soviet society was an active or silent participant of this dehumanisation machinery which affected 270 million people.
Therefore, I am able to see and feel with heightened sensitivity the abuse of the power, manipulation of the public and enormous level of corruption that are being perpetrated by unscrupulous officials, who are only serving the self- and special-interest groups which put them in the office of power: the United State, Europe and Israel! Fortunately, Muslim and Arab states have not reached a level of such hideous sophistication.
It is my high level of respect for democracy that compels me to speak out and expose corruption. Democracy demands free expression of opinion and accountability of the leadership. It was practiced freely during the early days of French revolution and even during the Russian revolution in 1917, but was lost because public allowed self-serving opportunists to take over of their lives!
It is a moral duty of any self-respecting person, especially those living in a democratic society and who cherish its values (where they are not at the risk of losing their life and the right of freedom of speech is supported, so far, by actionable laws) to speak out and defend their rights and keep political hypocrisy and corruption accountable. Capitulation to the abuse of power and corruption results in a high level of apathy and feeling of personal insignificance among the public. It ultimately destroys democracy!
True democracy not only requires freedom of expression and accountability, it needs them for self-preservation! Silence, apathy and false political correctness are disrespectful and mortally dangerous to democracy!

Zionism is Jewish National Independence Movement!
(Year 2019: total donations = $18)
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Rabbi Ari Kahn on Purim: May Haman be Blessed

Friday, March 15, 2019

Spiritual Leadership and Political Leadership

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

From the dawn of the history of the Jewish People in their land, already in the days of the First Temple, the national leadership was composed of both spiritual and political leadership. Sometimes, the political leader was also a spiritual person, like Joshua ben Nun or King David. At other times, the leadership was divided up between political leadership and spiritual leadership, as in the days of King Saul and the Prophet Samuel, or King Hezekiah and the Prophet Isaiah.

Right now, Israel is undergoing crystallization and rebirth after two thousand years of exile, and the national leadership is likewise changing from the religious-spiritual leadership which led the nation in the exile, when we had no state or army.

We have switched to political leadership, whose main preoccupations are the existential, military and economic aspects of the State of Israel. In years past, and most particularly in recent times, we bear witness to the renewed strengthening of the religious, spiritual leadership, with tens of thousands of Jews heeding the rabbis more and more. Also, some of the politicians understand that the way to the hearts of the masses must pass via the rabbis.

Indeed, a change has taken place in Israeli society. Vast numbers are returning to tradition, returning to the synagogue, returning to the Sabbath and to the weekly portion, returning to the sources, returning to themselves, and as a result of all this, they are returning to G-d. Also the political leadership, which desires to be elected and which takes public opinion polls in order to sense in which direction the wind is blowing, understands very well that they have to take into account the view of the spiritual leadership. The day is not far off when our nation will return to the natural, normal, state of affairs that existed in Biblical times, when the political leadership will occupy itself not just with existential, military and economic issues, but will take responsibility as well for the spiritual state of the nation. Noble leaders will rise up and will bestow upon us some of their pristine spirit. They will exalt and strengthen the spirit of the people and our eternal request will be fulfilled: “Return us to You, O L-rd, and we will return. Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21).

Looking forward to complete redemption,
Purim Sameach,
Shabbat Shalom.

Rav Kook's Ein Ayah

Torah of this World Relevant in the Next
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:6)

Gemara: One should not miss the beit midrash(study hall) and words of Torah even at the time of death, as it says: “This is the Torah: Should a person die in a tent” (Bamidbar 19:14). We see that even at the time of death, he should be involved in Torah.

Ein Ayah: The purpose of normal ethical teachings in the world, within which Torah excels in its power and sanctity, is to fix social life so that people will interact in a good way. Therefore, general teachings of morality are based on their impact on “temporary life.” As long as a person is connected to life, these teachings have value.

In contrast, the teachings of Hashem are loftier than that. Even matters of Torah that are indeed connected to the improvement of society are founded in such a way that the spirit of the community and individual citizens will be prepared for the World to Come. Therefore the Torah is just as relevant for one who is about to die and join eternal life as it is for one who will be living in this world for the foreseeable future.

This relevance applies not just to the Torah itself, but also to those things that surround and supplement it – the “tent” in which it is studied, the learned study partner, and the intellectually elevating atmosphere of the study hall. While these appear to only be important for the value of friendship during one’s lifetime, they are actually significant deep in the “fabric” of eternity and sanctity that they elevate. That is why one can derive from the pasuk, “This is the Torah: Should a person die in a tent,” that one should strive to be in the beit midrash, fully involved in Torah study right up to his death. The words of the Torah bring light and sanctity to the practical life at the “bottom of the land.” Therefore, it is proper to be in the partnership with scholarly friends who love and desire His Torah with all their vitality, for in the light of the life of eternity they will go continually from strength to strength.

Connected at the Highest Point
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:7)

Gemara: The words of Torah will last only for one who “kills himself” over them, as the Torah says: “This is the Torah: Should a person die in a tent” (Bamidbar 19:14).

Ein Ayah: The absolute connection that the loftiest spiritual content can have with the spirit of one who strives for it depends on the highest point of the lofty matter. When a person turns toward this high point, he elevates himself to the highest level that he can perceive. Then every element of his personality, from the large to the small, is dedicated to this holy goal.

If the value of Torah finds expression only in the realm of life, it will not succeed in actualizing sufficient aspirations to be willing to roll back his involvement in the physical world needed to reach the highest levels. Torah will not take permanent hold of him as long as his interest in it is limited to the lower level of Torah – that in which it improves the life of society, whether by personal attributes or by actions. In contrast, things are much greater when one connects his internal desire to the highest element of Torah. This element is more special than all of life itself and allows a person to limit his physical world because Torah fills his heart. This is done with recognition that this high Torah is the treasure of the lofty life, which is more profound than that of this life of finite time. This recognition connects all of the details of the Torah in a broad light, so that it forms one torch along with the spirit of the person who learns, and it is this that stays with him. When this person “dies in the tent,” he constantly lives a complete life – “for he who finds Me has found life” (Mishlei 8:35).

Rav Kook on Parashat Zachor: The Assault of Amalek

Amalek attacked the Israelites at Rephidim, intentionally targeting the weak and those lagging behind. Joshua engaged Amalek in battle, successfully defending Israel against this merciless enemy. Then God instructed Moses:

“Write this as a reminder in the book, and recite it in Joshua’s ears: I will completely obliterate the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.” (Ex. 17:14)

Why did God command Moses to write down His promise to obliterate Amalek in the Torah? And why did Joshua need to be told verbally? Couldn’t Joshua just read what was written in the Torah?

Two Missions

The people of Israel have two national missions. At Mount Sinai, God informed them that they would be a mamlechet kohanim (‘kingdom of priests’) as well as a goy kadosh (‘holy nation’) (Ex. 19:6). What is the difference between these two goals?

Mamlechet kohanim refers to the aspiration to uplift the entire world, so that all will recognize God. The people of Israel will fulfill this mission when they function as kohanim for the world, teaching them God’s ways.

But the Jewish people are not just a tool to elevate the rest of the world. They have their own intrinsic value, and they need to perfect themselves on their own special level. The central mission of Israel is to fulfill its spiritual potential and become a goy kadosh. If Israel’s sole function was to uplift the rest of the world, they would not have been commanded with mitzvot that isolate them from the other nations, such as the laws of kashrut and circumcision.

Two Torahs

God divided the Torah, our guide to fulfill our spiritual missions, into two components: the Written Law and the Oral Law. The written Torah was revealed to the entire world; all nations can access these teachings. God commanded that the Torah be written ‘in a clear script’ (Deut. 27:8) — in seventy languages, so that it would be accessible to all peoples (Sotah 7:5). The Written Torah was meant to enlighten the entire world.

The Oral Law, on the other hand, belongs solely to the Jewish people. Since this part of Torah was not meant to be committed to writing, it is of a more concealed and less universal nature. In truth, the Oral Law is simply the received explanation of the Written Law, transmitted over the generations. Thus even the Written Torah is only fully accessible to Israel through the Oral Torah. But the other nations nevertheless merit a limited understanding of the Written Torah.

God’s Name and Throne

Amalek rejected both missions of Israel. Amalek cannot accept Israel as a mamlechet kohanim instructing the world, nor as a goy kadosh, separate from the other nations with its own unique spiritual aspirations. God promised to ‘completely obliterate’ ("macho emcheh") Amalek. In Hebrew, the verb is repeated, indicating that God will blot out both aspects of Amalek’s rejection of Israel.

Why did God command that His promise to destroy Amalek be written down and also transmitted orally? Since Amalek rejects Israel’s mission to elevate humanity, God commanded that His promise to obliterate Amalek be recorded in the Written Torah. The Written Law is, after all, the primary source of Israel’s moral influence on the world. And since Amalek also denies Israel’s unique spiritual heritage, God commanded that this promise be transmitted verbally, corresponding to the Oral Law, the exclusive Torah of Israel.

When Amalek has been utterly destroyed, the Jewish nation will be able to fulfill both of its missions. This is the significance of the statement of the Sages:

“God vowed that His Name and His Throne are not complete until Amalek’s name will be totally obliterated.” (Tanchuma Ki Teitzei 11; Rashi on Ex. 17:16)

What are ‘God’s Name’ and ‘God’s Throne’? They are metaphors for Israel’s two missions: spreading knowledge of God — His Name — and creating a special dwelling place for God’s Presence in the world — His Throne. Amalek and its obstructionist worldview must be eradicated before these two goals can be accomplished.

(Silver from the Land of Israel, pp. 135-137. Adapted from Midbar Shur, pp. 312-316.)

Effort and Reward

by Rabbi Ben Tzion Spitz

The secret of making something work in your lives is, first of all, the deep desire to make it work: then the faith and belief that it can work: then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working out step by step, without one thought of doubt or disbelief. -Eileen Caddy

The Book of Leviticus and the Torah portion of Vayikra launches a long list of a variety of sacrifices that can and should be offered in the Tabernacle (and later on, in the Temple).

The Berdichever examines some of the deeper aspects of the symbolism of these sacrifices. The typical sacrifice is made up of more than one element. There’s the animal that is sacrificed, which is the most massive, substantive and expensive part of the sacrifice ritual. A relatively minor and often overlooked aspect of the sacrifices are the accompanying wine libations.

These two aspects of the sacrifice reflect two different ways that God bestows blessings on us. The first aspect, the massive aspect of the living creature being offered, represents Gods kindness to us based on His complete benevolence, disconnected from anything any of us mortal beings may or may not have done. Just as we had really nothing to do with the creation of the animal, we have nothing to do with that aspect of God’s lovingkindness in our lives.

The second aspect, the aspect of the wine libations, represents the fact that God will also reward us for our actions. Getting wine requires a significant amount of human effort: plowing the field, planting the vines, tending the vineyard, gathering the grapes, pressing them and storing the resulting liquid are just a few of the needed steps to create wine. Just as we get wine from serious effort, so too, there is an aspect of God’s goodness and bounty which is a direct result of our own efforts. Wine symbolizes the plenty which God bestows upon us.

There is a specific, intrinsic connection between wine and celebration. Ritually, we only “sing” and celebrate with wine. Wine represents the abundance which God gives us due to our work, to our own efforts, and there are few things that are as joyous to a person as receiving a justly earned reward. Hence, the appropriateness of celebrating specifically with wine.

May we work and do what we’re meant to do and taste the sweet fruit of our labors.

Shabbat Shalom.

Yediot Aharonot: The Feiglin Phenomenon in my Neighborhood

Yediot Reporter Gil Ribo went to hear Feiglin in Ra’anana, and was astonished to find his son there.

The last time that we met was six years ago. It was in Karnei Shomron, when I was sent to check out what stood behind the puzzling identity of one of the most fascinating politicians in the political arena. A man who is a mixture. Almost an extremist and a real liberal.

Last night, he came to speak in my home town of Ra’anana. I try to imagine who will attend the event. I was sent by the newspaper to find out. The crowd (more than 100 people) sat on plastic chairs or stood in the entrance. As I try to make my way toward a seatbetween all the people, I see my eldest son with his ‘cool’ friends. He is very politically aware and will soon be able to vote. He was there of his own free will.

And then Feiglin entered. He was very to the point. He went to the center of the hall and simply started talking, from the middle, the simplest and most connecting place. “We can leave the race,” he joked, “we have already accomplished something.” Then he immediately explained that “When the Likud adopts the voucher method and is willing to re-examine legalization of cannabis, we have already made an impact.”The diverse crowd makes him happy. The majority is secular. Feiglin says that as opposed to the two major blocs who say exactly the same thing, ZEHUT has something else to say: “A free state, one state for one nation.” He says that ZEHUT is a “political Chabad House.”My son’s friends explain to me that “Feiglin is the height ofthe trend. Something like Neta Barzilai at last year’s Eurovision. A unique, special unicorn. Spectacularly authentic. A man whose platform interests him more than playing politics. A person who knows how to speak his platform.”Feiglin speaks to them and his voters in modern language, calling for a “reset of the old concepts”. He explains that “this rickety concept cabinet is imploding. The drawers are getting stuck on each other.” When I ask him if there is room for Arabs in his concept cabinet, he answers: “You would be surprised. The Arabs have to know that you know who you are, in order to feel safe.


Yes, not long ago, an Arab MK said to me, “I don’t care what you want, from the Nile to the Euphrates. We know that the Koran says that the Land of Israel is yours. I can manage with you. But never with the Zionists. They are not Jews. They are European colonialists for whom I am transparent.” Once I asked a Druze MK if it doesn’t bother him that my nephew comes from Australia and immediately becomes a citizen, while that would not be possible for his nephew. He told me it doesn’t bother him. He knows that only in a Jewish state will he enjoy his freedom.

My son has already made his choice. Now it is your turn.

ZEHUT Knesset Candidate Libby Molad on Education

Straight Talk from Zehut Candidate Rabbi Haim Amsallem

ZEHUT Means What it Says

Moshe Feiglin dispels Disinformation on Ynet Interview

Why Doesn't the Rightist Bloc Interest Moshe Feiglin?

Moshe Feiglin on Channel 12 Morning Show: Still Dreaming of the Temple

What does Moshe Feiglin REALLY say about religious coercion?

Channel 12: The Feiglin Effect

Peace with the Arab States and the Palestinians Must be Delinked

by Prof. Hillel Frisch

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US officials and envoys dangle the prospect of peace with Arab states in front of Israel as bait to encourage it to make painful concessions on the Palestinian issue. It would be a grave strategic mistake for Israel to fall for this gambit. As the Oslo Accords proved, peace is not made on the White House lawn but in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Middle East reality and the Palestinian issue

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

In 2019, the national security policy of all pro-US Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, other Gulf States, Egypt and Jordan – including their burgeoning ties with Israel – is a byproduct of the rapidly intensifying lethal threat posed to them by the still-raging Arab Tsunami, Iran’s Ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism.

The tectonic reality of the Middle East, in general, and the intensifying lethal threats to every Arab regime, in particular, compelled the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain to convene in Amman, Jordan during January 30-31, 2019. They discussed the top priorities on their national security agenda: the clear and present threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose subversive/terroristic/military involvement is expanding beyond Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia), the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. No Palestinian representative was invited, nor was there a discussion of the Palestinian issue, which has always ranked at the bottom of inter-Arab priorities.

In fact, these six countries, in addition to Oman, respect Israel’s posture of deterrence (which would be abandoned if Israel were to retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria), and therefore they perceive Israel as the most effective “life insurance agent” in the region. In addition, they consider Israel a source of essential and advanced irrigation, agricultural, health, medical, telecommunications and cyber technologies and systems. Consequently, their defense, intelligence and commercial ties with Israel have expanded unprecedentedly.

In 2019, the pro-US Arab countries have realized that the well-documented Palestinian track record (e.g., intra-Arab betrayal, subversion and terrorism, collaboration with international terrorism, Saddam Hussein, the USSR, No. Korea and Nazi Germany) would produce a Palestinian state, which would exacerbate regional instability. A Palestinian state would provide a tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism, escalating the deadly threats to their own regimes, while advancing the national security interests of Russia, China and Turkey’s Erdogan, at the expense of vital US national security and homeland security interests.

Similarly, in 1977-79 and 1994, Egypt’s President Sadat and Jordan’s King Hussein were well-aware of the disruptive features of the Palestinian issue. Therefore, they did not succumb to the US State Department pressure to subordinate their own national security interest, and their peace treaties with Israel, to the promotion of the Palestinian issue.

Middle East policy, in general, and peace initiatives, in particular, must adhere to Middle East reality, as violently unpredictable, complicated and frustrating as it is. They must overcome the well-intentioned temptation of oversimplification, wishful-thinking, misperceptions and short-term gratification, which doomed to failure all previous US, European and international peace initiatives.

In defiance of Middle East reality, Western policy-makers and public opinion shapers tend to interpret the systematic torrent of philo-Palestinian Arab rhetoric as a reflection of the supposed centrality of the Palestinian issue on the Arab agenda. Therefore, they tend to erroneously conclude that the resolution of the Palestinian issue is a prerequisite to the reduction of Middle East turbulence.

Most Westerners fail to examine Arab rhetoric against Middle Eastern Arab reality, which documents the absence of military and/or substantial Arab financial commitment to the Palestinians (dramatically less than the 1979-1989 Saudi support of the anti-USSR Muslim rebels in Afghanistan). In fact, the geo-strategic Arab silence on the Palestinian issue has been deafening, as was demonstrated by the Arab inaction during the large-scale Palestinian-Israeli military confrontations in Gaza (2014, 2012 and 2009), in Judea & Samaria (2000-2005 and 1987-1992) and Lebanon (1982).

Furthermore, none of the Arab wars against Israel (1948-49, 1956, 1967 and 1973) evolved around the Palestinian issue. For example, Israel’s 1948-49 War of Independence was concluded with Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian occupation of Samaria, Judea (West Bank) and Gaza, respectively; but they did not transfer these areas to the Palestinians, and prohibited any Palestinian national activity there.

While the Arab talk has portrayed the Palestinian issue as if it were a pivotal, unifying Arab priority, the inter-Arab crown-jewel, the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and a core cause of regional turbulence, the Arab walk has demonstrated deep Arab suspicion of the Palestinian leadership and the marginalization of the Palestinian issue, compared to the top geo-strategic Middle East priorities, including clear and present lethal threats such as the Ayatollahs’ machete at the throat of each pro-US Arab regime.

In 2019, Arab regimes shower Palestinians with supportive talk – because “on words one does not pay custom” – but they do not forget, nor do they forgive the Palestinians’ 1990 betrayal of Kuwait (assisting Saddam Hussein’s destruction of Kuwait, which was their most generous host); triggering civil wars and fueling domestic terrorism in Lebanon during 1970-1982; provoking the 1970 civil war in Jordan in an attempt to topple the Hashemite regime; and subverting and terrorizing Syria in 1966 and Egypt in 1955.

Well-intentioned US Presidents, advisors and other formulators of Middle East policy and peace initiatives should heed the well-documented Middle East reality, not Western-driven impulses and norms. They should learn from the systematic failure of all past US and international peace initiatives by avoiding – not repeating – the litany of past errors.

Hamas Is Willing to Risk War to Avoid Economic Collapse

by Yaakov Lappin

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Tensions between Israel and Hamas are surging again following a string of attacks from Gaza and Israeli retaliatory airstrikes. The reason is simple: Hamas is struggling to manage Gaza economically, it refuses to divert funds from its military wing to civilian needs, and the Strip’s infrastructure is eroding at an alarming rate. Only brinksmanship with Israel can extricate Hamas from the disarray it has created.

Continue to full article ->

Palestinian Attempt to Conquer the Temple Mount With Corpses

by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz

You must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is an affront to Hashem: you shall not defile the land that Hashem your God is giving you to possess.” Deuteronomy 21:23 (The Israel Bible™)

Israeli border police offices guard at the entrance to the Temple mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the police point inside the Temple mount compound. (Credit: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
While the world watches tensions grow on the Temple Mount a side aspect of the conflict is going unnoticed, a “war” for the Temple Mount that is being fought with dead bodies.

On Tuesday, a Palestinian terrorist threw a firebombinto a police post next to the Dome of the Rock. A policeman was seriously wounded and riots ensued after police arrested the terrorist. The police responded by closing all entrances to the site and ordering everyone to leave.

The confrontationcomes at a time when tensions are high at the Temple Mount. Almost three weeks ago, Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount, breaking into an area adjacent to Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate)in the Temple Mount compound. The site was locked 16 years ago by court order after it was used as a meeting place for a Hamas-affiliated organization.

The Israeli police have allowed Muslim prayers at the site and have thus far avoided confrontations. The Waqf (Muslim authority) requested permission from the Israeli police to bring in materials to convert the site to a Mosque and their request has not been rejected.

An Israeli delegation journeyed to Jordanlast Thursday to discuss a solution with the government. In the wake of the failed talks, King Abdullahof Jordan traveled to the U.S. over the weekend to meet with members of Congress.

But the riots that took place near Sha’ar HaRachamim were not the only ones that occurred in the Old City. Late in the afternoon, a Palestinian funeral procession was prevented from entering the Temple Mount by the Israeli police, since the site had been closed off due to the firebomb attack. A riot ensued.

Someone died and they wanted to bury him in the old city. The mourners attacked the soldiers when they were told to bury him somewhere else or to wait.They did not like that idea. But they all got 'headaches' from the resulting disagreement

Posted by Alan Silveron Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Assaf Fried, the spokesman for the Temple Organizations, explained that the Palestinians routinely bring their dead into the Dome of the Rock before burial.

“It is indeed very strange to bring a dead body to the Temple Mount but this happens almost every day,” Fried told Breaking Israel News. “It should be noted that the Yusifa Cemetery outside of Sha’ar HaRachamim is technically closed and has been so by court order for 20 years. But the Palestinians continue to bury there unhindered.”

According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will arrive via the Sha’ar HaRachamim. The Ottomans built the cemetery in front of the gate in order to prevent the Jewish Messiah from arriving.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar,a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, explained that the cemetery was established out of the Muslims misunderstanding Jewish eschatology.

“They believed that the Jewish Messiah would be a Kohen (man of the priestly caste) but this is not correct,” Dr. Kedar explained to Breaking Israel News. “Also, a cemetery of non-Jews does not have ritual impurity. So the Muslim cemetery outside of Sha’ar HaRachamim will not pose any problem for the Jewish Messiah.”

Dr. Kedar explained that according to Islamic law, it was not problematic to bring a dead body into the Dome of the Rock.

“The Temple Mount really has no sanctity or special status for them,” Dr. Kedar explained. “They do not bring the bodies into al-Aqsa (the silver-domed structure on the Temple Mount) because that is a mosque, a place of prayer.”

“But the Arabs have a different perception of how death fits into their service of God. The concept of shahid (martyrdom) is to die for Allah. For them, death is part of life, but not in the way that we see it.”

Dr. Kedar noted that even though the practice of bring a dead body into the Dome of the Rock seems bizarre to Jews and Christians, it is not so for Muslims. He told an anecdote to illustrate his point.

Kedar has a colleague in Jordan whom he occasionally consults regarding translations from Arabic. One time, he (Kedar) was searching for the Arabic word for ‘normal’ as it pertained to human behavior. He was not successful in finding a suitable word that suited his needs; so he asked his friend. She informed him that there was no such word in Arabic. He was perplexed but she offered an explanation.

“I’d like to see someone spend 30 days in Mecca for Ramadan and come out of it ‘normal’,” she told Dr. Kedar.

Bibi and Rotem

by Victor Rosenthal

Thanks to Rotem Sela, an Israeli actress, model, and TV personality, we can learn a lesson about Zionism, nationalism, racism, and the Israeli and American Jewish Left.

Here is what happened: Miri Regev, Likud loyalist and Minister of Culture and Sport, noted that if Netanyahu’s main opponent, Benny Gantz, were to form a government, he would have to include anti-Zionist Arab parties in his coalition. Sela, on her Instagram page (because that is how actresses, models, and TV personalities communicate), said, in part (Hebrew link, my translation):

My God, there are also Arab citizens in this country! When the hell will someone in this government broadcast to the public that Israel is a state of all of its citizens? Every person was born equal. Even Arabs, God save us, are people.

PM Netanyahu responded as follows (also my translation):

Rotem my dear, an important correction: Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the Nation-State Law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – and only them. As you wrote, there is no problem with Arab citizens of Israel – they have equal rights with everyone…

In Israel, the reaction to Sela’s comment was predictable – anger on the Right and agreement on the Left (and yes, Gal Gadot expressed her support for her friend Sela in a relatively non-political way).

The usual suspects in America, J Street, If Not Now, the New Israel Fund, the Israel Policy Forum, and others, were on it like one of those Israeli hopping spiders on a cockroach. “Racist,” “undemocratic,” “cynical,” “morally repugnant,” and on and on. If Not Now referred to “racism” not once but twice in their statement.

I wouldn’t have called Sela “my dear,” but Netanyahu’s response was otherwise entirely correct. Even without the Nation-State Law, Israel has never been a “state of all its citizens” as Sela, who is supposed to be well-educated, asserted. Like Japan and numerous other countries, but unlike the US, Israel is a nation-state, a state in which – or by which – a particular people or culture expresses its right of self-determination.

The USA was defined by its founding fathers to be a state of all its citizens (although it took some time before it was ready to accept all of its legal inhabitants as citizens with full rights). Israel, on the other hand, was created to be “the state of the Jewish people,” while at the same time it endeavored to provide equal rights to all of its citizens. One way to understand this is to say that there are “civil rights” – the right to vote and hold office, education and employment, and so on, and “national rights,” which include the symbols, languages, and religions of the state, and – particularly important in the case of Israel – the objectives of encouraging immigration from the national diaspora and maintaining a national majority.

The nation-state law explicitly affirms the intention of the founders that national rights in the State of Israel belong to the Jewish people, and to nobody else. It does not limit the civil rights of national minorities. Rotem Sela doesn’t seem to understand this distinction. Netanyahu does, which may be one of the reasons he is PM and she is a fashion model.

This is nothing new, and it is neither racist, undemocratic, fascist, or morally repugnant. Nationalism and nation-states are out of fashion today, particularly in Europe, whose European Union is a (failing) attempt to replace those things with a universal government, and among the American Left, which is in the grip of the pathological ideology of “intersectionalism” (this will require a dedicated post).

There is a reason that Israel’s founding fathers defined it as the nation-state of the Jewish people and not something else, and that is the Zionist understanding that only in a majority Jewish state with Jewish symbols, culture, institutions, government, police, military, and so on can Jews be guaranteed a normal life and freedom from oppression without giving up their Jewishness.

This was the conclusion drawn by the early Zionists, from on the historical experiences of their people. It was further confirmed by the Holocaust, and the mass expulsions of Jews from Muslim countries following 1948. Today it is being confirmed yet again by the worldwide resurgence of antisemitism, even in places like the US and the UK where it had been thought to be dead. And it should also be clear that even without anti-Jewish violence, in places where Jews are a minority, they will be silently swallowed up by assimilation.

The definition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people has both symbolic and highly practical consequences. It justifies the use of Jewish symbolism in the flag, the national anthem, the symbol of the state, and so forth. It justifies the decision to observe Jewish holidays as national holidays, and to use the Hebrew language. But most important, the Law of Return for Jews (and no one else) is grounded in the understanding that Israel is the state of the Jewish people. It is the most concrete expression of national rights possible.

This isn’t “racism” (although by current American standards, who knows what that means?). It is nationalism, in particular Jewish nationalism, or in short, Zionism.

If Israel were to be redefined as a state of all its citizens, as the extreme Left and many Arab citizens want (and Rotem Sela appears to believe has already happened), what would be the justification for a Law of Return for Jews? Why shouldn’t there be one for Arabs? Why should Israel act as a place of refuge for persecuted Jews such as the Jews of Ethiopia, or even European Jews fleeing antisemitism? Why would it be important to have our capital in Jerusalem?

Israeli critics of the Nation-State Law (including Benny Gantz) have said that they would like to add a statement to it guaranteeing “equality” to all citizens of Israel. This is a bad idea. Equal civil rights for all are guaranteed by other basic laws. The Nation-State Law is the only one that specifically deals with national rights, and adding a statement about equality to it could be interpreted as diluting its force. It would be like the recent action of the American Congress, which diluted-to-death a resolution about antisemitism by making it a catch-all statement against every kind of bigotry. Even the antisemites were then able to vote for it.

The reactions of J Street, et al., illustrate that they are not only critical of Israel’s actions, but that they are critical of the most basic foundation of the Jewish state, the Zionist idea itself.

Thank you for helping clarify that, Rotem.