Monday, April 30, 2007

The 3% Solution and A Conversation With Mr. Israeli Leftist

By Jason Gold

Mr. Israeli Leftist (MIL) looks over my knitted kippa, and techeilet-laden tzizzit and comes to the obvious conclusion. "Ah, you are a religious Zionist Kitzoni!". Where are you from? Hebron, no doubt, eh?"

I respond that no, I am not from Hebron although I will be spending a visit there for a number of days including Shabbat. He starts to visibly cringe at the thought.

"You seem like a nice guy, he says. Why would you go to a place with a few hundred Jews surrounded by thousands of Arabs? To pray at a shrine? What, are the patriarchs helping us today with what's going on? Please. Let them have the Machpela and the freedom house and the whole thing and all the other shtachim where the trouble originates from."

I look at MIL and ask in an amused way does he really still buy into the notion that the shtachim and mitnachalim who live there are the answer to the world's problems with Islamofascism and that giving it all away will soothe the Arab breast and make peace break out in our time? Didn't he learn that we tried the giveback experience multiple times only to meet with abject failure?

"Well, then," he asks me, "What is your solution?"

I patiently begin to explain about the moral bankruptcy of all of Israel's secular leadership from year 1 through year 59. How each generation has gotten worse and worse leading to our current gang of Sharon's thugs and bunglers. How the erstwhile PM with a 3% approval rating and his Karl Marx look-alike DM are circling the wagons post-Winograd report in a pathetic effort to hang on to the throne rather than doing the fall-on-the sword routine for honor and all that. I also explain how every problem this country has can be traced to a lack of faith-based leadership and why secular leadership no longer works here.

"So what, do we put the Mafdal or the Chreidim in charge?" he says looking at me in horror and beginning to tremble and appear physically ill. "I mean I know the 3% solution isn't really working but come on now!!!"

No, I say soothingly. We need faith-based non-coercive leadership that everyone can be comfortable with and that will eventually inspire people like you to start thinking seriously about Jewish Identity rather than reviling it.

I reach into my pocket and pull out a Manhigut Yehudit card and it is as though I have aimed the sun into the vampire's tomb.

"FEIGLIN???!!!" He screams out. "Oh my Gd. That extremist??!!! "No, no, no" he says as he as he appears ready to either retch or pass out. But then he suddenly becomes serious and looks at me expecting another volley.

I ask him them what is his solution might be aside from the tired old leftist slogans we've heard before. Where is your leadership? Ayalon? Barak? Peres? Beilin? How about the Hadash party?

He laughs. "Labor? Meretz? Please they are almost irrelevant even with a bright young guy like Ayalon who has bought into the fantasy of withdrawal to the green line and peace will be ours. The others? Ha! Ready for embalming. "

"Even the so-called right, what a choice. Bibi? Please, is that the best you guys can do? Mafdal? National Union? Shas? Special interest groups, all of them." And besides, a kippa-wearing PM? C'mon, really? Like we need a theocracy here?"

I patiently explain that Feiglin and Manhigut are not about coerced religion or theocracy but then it hits me. I tell him it's not religion or a kippa-wearing candidate that he objects to, but it's something else isn't it?

"Of course, he admits. "I am worried a kippa-wearing or faith based government as you call it will do to people like me what we have been doing to you datiim all along."

I smile and tell him quite frankly, vengeance is Gd's domain and also we will be too busy cleaning up your mess to worry about petty revenge issues. So I put the question to him again on who would he vote for?

He smiles.

"Feiglin," he replies clearly enjoying the look of shock on my face. "Why? Because at least here is an intelligent man, untainted by corruption, with ideology, with a plan, a vision. I may not agree with it, I may spend every night at his home protesting his plans when he becomes PM, but at least I know I can have an intelligent dialog with someone honest and forthright."

We shake hands to part and I ask him if I'll see him in Hebron soon.

"Not so fast," he replies. "what did Einstein say before he became nominally respectful? "I am not ready to be delivered into the hands of the priests"?

I smile and nod. OK, I tell him, then I guess Har Habayit will have to do for now.

Climbing For Independence In Chomesh

By Michael Fuah

homesh march
The march to Homesh on Israel's Independence Day was tough, but it was a genuine march of independence. The estimated 13,000 marchers did not wait for the authorization of the government, the Defense Minister, the army or the police. They marched. Abandoning their vehicles at whatever point they were blocked by the army or the police, these loyal Jews -- religious, secular and ultra-Orthodox -- hiked through the fields, up the sides of mountains, down steep slopes, across kilometers of green hills and winding roads and finally made it -- exhausted -- to Homesh. There were lots of teenagers, an impressive amount of "golden-agers," parents, little children trying to keep up with their older siblings and an amazing amount of babies in carriages who were half-pushed and half carried over terrain patently inaccessible to anything other than 4x4 wheels. Even a blind man, a man on crutches and a teenager in a wheelchair managed to make the climb.
The sight was reminiscent of the prophet Isaiah's comforting words to the Land of Israel, "Raise your eyes and see, they are all gathering and returning to you." (Isaiah 60:4). People were marching across the Shomron from every direction. And nobody was going to stop them.
"Hey, what is a State Supremacist (Mamlachti in local jargon) like you doing here?" a famous rabbi from a Mamlachti yeshiva laughingly asked me.
"You tell me," I answered him with a smile, as it was clear that he wanted to explain himself.
"I am only where the army authorizes us to be," he answered, trying to convince himself that he didn't cross the lines.
"Rabbi," I said to him, "today you are a criminal, along with me. No excuses will help. The Expulsion Law from the days of the "Disengagement" prohibits Israeli citizens from being here. But enjoy yourself. This is true independence."
The above conversation took place at the foot of Homesh. The Rabbi, who undoubtedly understood that he was violating the "Israeli" law, made it up to Homesh nevertheless, and joined us for the Mincha prayer on the ruins of the Homesh synagogue.
For years, we have been used to events that are completely organized, with busses to shuttle us to and from our destination, a route that is appropriate for all ages, designated parking areas and people whose job it is to keep order everywhere. Even at Kfar Maimon, where a tremendous crowd had gathered to revolt against the evil Expulsion decree, the Yesha leaders -- fully coordinated with the army and police -- managed to gag the revolutionary energies there until they completely dissipated.
True, the built in disobedience of the organizers of the march to Homesh had a price. There was no official route. No grandstand with flags and huge amplifiers awaited the thousands that arrived. No famous cultural icons performed on the makeshift stage. And the only way to get back to our abandoned vehicles was by foot. So as darkness descended, the thousands began the trek down from Homesh.
The three hour march in the dark wasn't easy for the teenagers, or for the seniors, the parents of small kids or the people with the baby carriages. But it was worth it. Groups of teenagers sang Jewish songs of joy and rebuilding the Temple all along the way. Liberation was in the air; freedom from the laws of the "Israeli" government and from the old leadership that is emotionally and economically subservient it.
The revolutionary consciousness that Manhigut Yehudit encourages has made a major public breakthrough. With G-d's help, the great success in Homesh will help to propel the leadership revolution forward, full steam ahead. Manhigut Yehudit is about building the nation's will for leadership that will foster Israel's ultimate redemption. That is our purpose and the goal that makes successes like Homesh so significant.
A hearty yashar koach to all the Manhigut Yehudit members who made it to Homesh, and made Manhigut Yehudit's presence there very visible. May we all be privileged to merit Israel's redemption soon!

No Need For Coercion

By Moshe Feiglin

road thoughtsLast night, the siren announcing the commencement of Israel's Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers and terror victims caught me in the middle of Road # 60, in Wadi Haramiyah. Like Israelis throughout the country, I got out of my car and stood in silence for the duration of the siren. But I was not in the middle of a major highway. I happened to be alone on the road that winds all the way from the hills of Judea, through Binyamin and north through the hills of the Shomron. Wadi Haramiyah, where I stopped my car, is the place where -- just five years ago -- ten Israeli citizens and soldiers were murdered by an Arab sniper.
The siren on my car radio was a bit distant. Israel's official radio station, the Voice of Israel, doesn't exactly broadcast to Judea and the Shomron. But when I got back in my car and began the winding climb through the hills of Binyamin, the reception cleared and I was able to hear Israel's official Memorial Day ceremony. The solemn and dignified Master of Ceremonies invited the Honorable Acting President, Mrs. Daliah Itzik, to speak in memory of the fallen soldiers. At that point, I turned off my radio. The darkness and quiet of the Binyamin hills seemed more appropriate to the gravity of the evening than the voice of the Honorable Acting President.
It is easy and natural for a Jew to identify with the Nation of Israel, its pain and its fallen heroes. We should not make light of that solidarity. It may be the only expression we have of an all encompassing Israeli culture. On the other hand, though, identification with the State's official symbols and ceremonies is extremely problematic.
When people ask me if there will be "religious coercion" in the Manhigut Yehudit-led Jewish State, I use the Memorial Day siren as an example. Is there any law in Israel that requires one to stand during the Memorial Day siren? Of course not. And if there were such a law, I would probably not have stopped my car in the middle of the dark, lonely road in Wadi Haramiyah to stand in silence. But the Memorial Day siren is an inseparable part of my culture. In an authentic Jewish State, a person eating falafel on Passover would feel just as uncomfortable as a person who would walk down the street whistling a tune during the Memorial Day siren. Laws and coercion will not make Israel's public space Jewish. What we need is a cultural revolution that will transform our Torah into our culture.

The State of Israel: Obstacle or Key to Jewish Destiny?

By Moshe Feiglin

Translated from the Ma'ariv NRG website.
keyOn the morning of Holocaust Memorial Day, Israel announced that it would allow the transfer of fifty million dollars worth of weapons and military aid to the Presidential Guard of Abu Mazen. Does anybody doubt that these weapons will ultimately be used against us? Reality has proven time and again that Jews are murdered as a result of these weapons transfers. So why do we allow them to continue?
"How did the Jews of the Holocaust era allow the Germans to do what they did?" the brave Israelis arrogantly proclaimed. "After all, they knew where they were leading them. Weak-kneed pushovers!"
And what about us? We clearly understand that Jews will be killed with these weapons. What are we doing about it? It seems that as we mark the 59th year of Israel's independence, the blood of the Jewish People is still cheap. It is only natural that the Arabs of Gaza must be supplied with weapons and that in half a year or so those weapons will kill Jews. Then we will supply them with more weapons to protect us from the weapons that we gave them today, that were supposed to protect us from the weapons that we gave them yesterday. That's just the way it is; we have no control over it. We must come to terms with this Russian roulette, absolve ourselves of any responsibility and hope that we or our loved ones will not pay the price.
Luckily, we can still demonstrate. And there actually were demonstrations just before Holocaust Memorial Day. They were even stormy. Proud and strong Israelis blocked traffic, burned tires and even got arrested. They are not pushovers -- why should they pay almost one thousand shekels per month for their university tuition? But demonstrations against the weapons being transferred to Gaza? About the Jews that will die? Why demonstrate? It is a fact of life that a certain percentage of Jews will be killed in terrorist attacks. It is like the sun that rises in the east. Have you ever seen a demonstration against the rising of the sun?
After Israel's news announced the weapons transfer, Holocaust survivor and former Knesset Speaker of the House Dov Shilanski was interviewed. "For me," he said, "the State of Israel is the guarantee that the Holocaust will never happen again." I deeply respect Dov Shilanski, but I could not understand the basis of his opinion: Israel's military strength? That has turned out to be disappointing, at the very least. Anybody who can't figure out why should drive over to Sderot. The exile mentality that has changed? It has only gotten worse. We have recently encountered a new mass-murderer who unabashedly announces his intentions to destroy Israel. "Let the Germans give you a state," he says. "Why do the Arabs have to pay the price of your Holocaust?" And the brave, new Israelis have no answer. They are helpless. Just like the Holocaust Jews whom they ridicule, they desperately wait for the redemptive strike on Israel's crowded population center.
According to all logic, Shilanski is wrong. The State of Israel that denies itself to death is leading us toward another Holocaust. If I did not believe in G-d, I would get my family out of Israel post haste. But I believe in the G-d of Israel and His Nation. I believe that G-d's will is that we remain in Israel. I believe in the Bible and in the prophecies that reassure us that the final redemption will be eternal.
The question is not if we will survive, but what will be the price. And that depends on us. When we flee our Jewish identity and destiny, our enemies flourish. I believe that when we connect to our national identity, new, fresh forces of life will awaken within our Nation. It is then that we will understand the importance and power of our State. We will understand that although the State of Israel had been used to deny Jewish destiny, it is actually the tool that expresses it. When we connect to our destiny, we will do much more than merely exist or survive. And nobody will dare dream of destroying Israel.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Manhigut Divrei Torah

Ed. Note- Each week we will try to send out selected Divrei Torah on the parasha that is consistent with the Jewish Leadership theme. Below are two from Yeshivat Machon Meir, Shabbat Shalom.

3rd of Iyar 5767 21/04/07

Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “Despite Everything – the State of Israel, Foundation of G-d’s Throne on Earth”

A hundred years ago, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, zt”l wrote about the difference between the State of Israel (which at the time was still just a vision) and the rest of the nations of the world:
“A normal country is like a large insurance company. It is not the source of its citizen’s supreme joy. Ideals, which are the crowning glory of mankind, hover above a country and do not touch it.
“Not so a country founded on ideals and inherently based on the most lofty message. Such countries truly constitute their citizen’s greatest joy. Therefore, the State of Israel is truly the most supreme on the scale of joy, and it constitutes the foundation of G-d’s throne on earth. Its entire purpose is that G-d should be one and His name one, truly the greatest source of joy.” (see Orot 160)

Indeed, we daily conclude our prayers with the words, “The L-rd shall be King over all the earth. On that day shall the L-rd be One and His name one” (Zechariah 14:9). In the future, people will be so happy that even in response to strict divine justice [i.e., bad tidings], for which we presently recite, “Blessed is the Judge of Truth” – they will recite, “Blessed is He who is good and benevolent” [presently recited in response to good tidings]. (See Pesachim 50a). And all this will be when the State of Israel appears and is revealed in all its greatness and glory.

Today, Rav Kook’s vision of the State of Israel which has to serve as a light to the nations, and in which a person has to find his supreme joy, is seemingly crumbling before our eyes, as we witness the spiritual and moral deterioration occurring amongst the governmental authorities and some of its leaders. True, we rejoice on the fifty-ninth birthday of our beloved country, and we rejoice over the millions of Jews who are being gathered in from the world over to the land of our life’s blood.

We rejoice over the enormous economic development. Yet we ask ourselves, seeing the nadir to which we have fallen: Shall we ever emerge from the moral and spiritual crisis visiting our country, and if so, how? We know with full certainty that all this is a descent for the sake of ascent, as Rav Kook said:
“All those building up the nation will arrive at the depths of this truth, that our nation will be build and consolidated, and will be restored to its strength, to all the foundations of its life by way of its faith and its fear of G-d, its hallowed noble content spreading and becoming stronger and more developed. Then, with a voice full of valor and might they will proclaim with a loud cry, ‘Come, let us return to G-d!’” (Orot HaTeshuva 15:11)

Quite the contrary, the present crisis will quickly lead to a great movement of return to ourselves, our Torah, our roots, our Father in Heaven. Through this, we will merit to see not only the physical building of our country, but also the revealed benevolent soul of our nation which will shine on the entire world. As Rav Kook said, “The State of Israel is the foundation of G-d’s throne on earth.” And as the prophets of Israel said, “For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:4). Speedily in our day, Amen!
With blessings for a joyous Independence Day,

Looking forward to complete salvation,

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Yaakov Halevy Filber- Guest Lecturer at Machon Meir

"In the Land You Inherit” (Leviticus 14:34)

(Wishing a complete recovery to Professor Yosef Ben Shlomo)

The three components comprising Jewishness are the People, Torah and Land of Israel. The people are the human component of the People of Israel, the Torah constitutes the moral-spiritual content of the people, and Eretz Yisrael is the piece of land, and the only place, where the Jewish People can fulfill their complete destiny.

From the Temple’s destruction until today, we have not yet merited the complete unity of these three components. When they are totally and completely united, then will come the complete redemption of the Jewish People. In our day, we are in the midst of a process on the way to an encounter with this triumvirate. We call this process “Atchalta DeGeula” [the start of redemption]. It is a stage that Israel has reached after suffering much evil in our long exilic journey.

Since Israel’s emergence on the stage of history, the nations have tried to harm each of these three components, discerning in their blindness that these constitute the secret to Jewish survival. We have seen their attempt to destroy us physically since the days when Abraham was thrown into the fiery furnace by wicked Nimrod. Then came Esau, who sought to smite Jacob, with his children. In his heart he wanted to uproot everything. Then there was Pharaoh, who killed the males, and Amalek, who attacked the weak as Israel were leaving Egypt. So did it go on from then until now, as we say in the Pesach Haggadah: “In every generation, they rise up to destroy us.”

Another way to harm and to destroy the Jewish People was to harm their spiritual stamina by imposing decrees to make them abandon their religion. Regarding these two attempts Isaiah said (54:17), “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment thou shall condemn.” Rambam in Igeret Teiman interpreted this verse the same way.

The attempt at physical and spiritual annihilation was chiefly the lot of our people in exile. Since our people’s return to their land 100 years ago, a new front has been started by the nations in their hatred of Israel, chiefly focusing on their opposition to recognizing the right of the Jewish People to Eretz Yisrael, land of their forefathers.

There were two beacons of light that shined up our people regarding Eretz Yisrael. The first was the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the right of the Jewish People to the two sides of the Jordan. In time, however, nothing remained of that declaration. The second was the decision of the U.N. to partition the half that remained from Eretz Yisrael. Yet even the limited decision regarding the partition borders encountered the opposition of all the Arab countries, which began a war against us to drive us out of our homeland. Here as well, G-d did not abandon His people, granting us victory over our enemies. Through G-d’s kindness, we established the State of Israel, albeit on a small part of our land. Regarding this victory, we mustn’t belittle our own contribution either, our human effort. In fact I heard this idea from Rav Abramsky (after the I.D.F.’s victory in the Six Day War (see my book “Ayelet HaShachar”, page 231). Rav Abramsky said that our victory in the Six Day War was by virtue of the self-sacrifice of the I.D.F.’s soldiers. We can say the same thing about the Israeli War of Independence as well, that the solid faith in the rightness of their path that beat in the people’s heart, and the profound recognition of our right to this land were what gave Israeli society, which was small in quantity, the staying power and the devotion to confront the large numbers that rose up against us to destroy us.

Yet our national memory has been weakened, precisely now, after our becoming consolidated in the Land. Perhaps due to the higher standard of living of Israel’s citizens, a weakening in the connection to Jewish sources has occurred, and an erosion in their belief in the rightness of our path. The weakest amongst us deny our right to our ancestral land. It is interesting that these deniers do not concentrate on just one component. Rather, they try to harm each of these three components making up the completeness of the Jewish nation. They try to diminish the Torah, to hurt the Jewish People by distorting the concept of “Who is a Jew?”, and they fight to disengage from sections of our homeland that have come into our hands, and to uproot Jewish settlements from there and to hand them over to foreigners. The Jewish People are waging a two-pronged battle, a war against the Ishmaelites from without and a war against our denying brothers from within. Truthfully, the erosion from within poses the greater danger for us. That is the true threat that endangers our staying power more than the threat from the external enemy, as it says, “Your destroyers and annihilators shall go forth from you” (Isaiah 49:17). Using all the tools available to us, we must increase our work to influence public opinion. We must place at the top of our agenda “the rightness of our path”. Moreover, we must help our generation, in particular the young, to encounter our sources that deal with the historic, eternal covenant of the Jewish People with Eretz Yisrael, starting with Torah sources, on through historical and literary sources, and including poetry, art, and even games, songs of Eretz Yisrael, etc. We must make use of every educational means we can to introduce into the awareness of the citizens of Israel the supreme value of Eretz Yisrael for the Jewish People.

Israel's Broken And Bleeding Heart; Stalled Halfway Up The Mountain; Shabtai Ben Dov On Independence Day; Back To Chomesh

Israel's (Broken Bleeding) Jewish Heart: By Moshe Feiglin
Translated from the Ma'ariv NRG website.
24 Nissan, 5767
(April 12)
broken heartThe Prime Minister categorically denied the existence of any secret addendum to the agreement with the Hamas. But then again, nobody understood why supervisors from the Nature Society now mysteriously joined the security guards at the entrance to Israel's shops, restaurants and busses. One way or another, Israelis quickly got used to two inspections at the entrance to all public places: One by the security officer and the other by the nature supervisor. Shortly, another inspector joined the two already guarding Israel's doorways. It was a policewoman from the Sexual Assault Department. It seemed a bit strange at first, but in light of the frequent assaults on women -- the police officer quickly became part of the familiar scene. After all, what doesn't the State do to protect the security of its citizens?
When the Israeli POWs finally returned to their overjoyed families, a wave of happiness engulfed the country. Time and again, the pictures of the families embracing their loved ones were broadcast on Israeli television and the entire nation collectively shed tears of relief and joy. Even the Prime Minister's popularity began to show signs of resuscitation.
But then it was time to release the terrorists. Nobody was surprised by the familiar sight of the rows of new busses carrying the "Palestinian freedom fighters" to their homes, brandishing the V for victory sign from the bus windows. The Arab Knesset members that insisted on photo ops with the murderous heroes didn't surprise anyone either. "Just as I claimed in the past," said MK Bashara upon his return from his shuttle between Bin Laden and Nasrallah, "the Hizbollah won, and for the first time since 1967 we have experienced the taste of victory." (A true quote from Bashara's speech in sovereign Israel's Um El Fahm, on June, 5, 2000).
The Israelis get used to everything. Nothing can surprise them anymore. Just like their ancestors who got used to Pharaoh and Chmelnitzki and attempted to get used to Hitler, they got used to the current blow.
But the last bus in the row managed to break through even the most impervious walls of Israeli apathy. It wasn't exactly a bus. It was an armored truck. The driver looked nervous, the guards seemed frightened and even the Arab MKs didn't run to be photographed with the newly liberated heroes. And then, out of the armored truck, the lions, just now freed from the Safari Zoo in Ramat Gan, descended. "We insisted on eliminating any signs of occupation," the Hamas spokesman explained. "The Israelis must understand that they cannot imprison entire populations behind bars and then expect us to release their captives."
"What could we do?" the government spokesman groaned as he rolled his eyes toward heaven. "The commandment to free captives outweighs all other commandments."
"I don't remember why, the spokesman added, "but they demanded that we also release him, so we did".
"Who???" the reporters clamored.
"Him!" the spokesman answered and pointed at (convicted serial rapist) Benny Selah, broadly smiling at a frightened camerawoman as he descended from a Prison Service vehicle. "But don't worry; preventative professional forces are already in place throughout the country. Today we have proven that we have a true, Jewish heart."

Stalled Halfway Up the Mountain?
mountain climbingYom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, which will be celebrated this year on Tuesday, Iyar 6 (April 24) leaves many Israelis feeling ambivalent. On the one hand, we are all genuinely thankful to G-d for the miraculous rebirth of the State of Israel. On the other hand though, pessimism and despair prevail; recent polls show that most Israelis do not believe that the State of Israel will exist in thirty years from now.
So should we be happy, or should we despair? To answer that question, we have to take an honest look at what the State of Israel means to us. Throughout the long years of exile, the Land of Israel was the dream destination of all Jews. But that dream had other components, as well. In essence, when the Jews fervently prayed, "Next Year in Jerusalem" they imagined a Jerusalem complete with the rebuilt holy Temple, the Mashiach, the Sanhedrin, Jewish values and joy, all basking in the glow of G-d's Divine Presence. That dream is still the dream of the Jewish People. It is the peak of the mountain that we collectively climb throughout the generations.
Upon arriving in the Holy Land, of course, we collided with reality. Jerusalem and most of the Land of Israel were desolate and a far cry from the dreams of the millennia. With G-d's miraculous help and with the determination of the Jewish People, the State of Israel was established. It was the fulfillment of a dream. But it was no more than an important step toward the fulfillment of Judaism's ultimate dream of redemption.
True, the State of Israel does afford Jews at least some measure of protection. It did provide a safe haven for the Holocaust survivors. On the other hand, though, it presents itself as the summit of the Jewish -- or rather the Israeli -- dream. No more Temple, no more Mashiach and no more Sanhedrin. The modern State of Israel poses as the ultimate substitute for Jewish destiny. For its secular leaders and ideologues, we have already reached the summit; there is nothing more to strive for. (Except for some sort of inaccessible and elusive "normalcy.") Even worse, those who still dare to dream the dream have become the enemy.
With no dream, there is no way to reach the top of the mountain. Not only that, but there is no way to remain mid-point in the grueling climb. If the mountain climber deludes himself that the steep side of the slope is actually the summit, he is doomed to fall.
So how can we celebrate the establishment of a State that has essentially created a roadblock on the way to the peak of the mountain? How can we celebrate when we see the police preventing Jews from praying on the Temple Mount? The black uniformed Expulsion squads? The corruption, immorality and cynicism?
My answer to those questions is very simple. When I celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, I sincerely thank G-d for the miracles of the past. But more than that, I thank Him for the potential that the State of Israel holds for the future. For although in the present, the State of Israel has mutated into an obstacle to redemption, I believe with all my heart that it is the tool that the People of Israel will use to ultimately merit the Mashiach, the Temple, the Sanhedrin and the holy glow of G-d's Divine Presence throughout Israel and the entire world. In other words, we must measure the State of Israel with the yardstick of Israel's destiny -- not merely its existence. By the way, that is the only yardstick used by much of our youth.
Manhigut Yehudit has its sights set on the Jewish peak of the mountain. We are doing our utmost to make that dream a reality. May we all meet soon at the summit!
With blessings for a meaningful and optimistic
Yom Ha'atzmaut,
Moshe Feiglin
You can turn the State of Jews
into the Jewish State.
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Shabtai Ben Dov on Independence Day
flagThe famous Jewish philosopher Shabtai Ben Dov lived the rebirth of Israel. He was born in Europe, orphaned, made aliyah to Israel during the British mandate, joined the underground Lechi organization, fought the British, spent six years in a prison camp in Africa, returned to Israel in 1948, and fought against the invading Arab armies, losing many friends in the process.

Shabtai Ben Dov did not experience the current despair; he was an integral part of the Zionist euphoria of renaissance. Nevertheless, his writings reflect the condition of the State of Israel and the way that we relate to Yom Ha'atzmaut today:

"Independence Day is a decisive day. Not because it renewed our nation's sovereign tools and not because it solved the need for a Jewish state. The State represents something far more important: It established a state of Jews just hundreds of meters from the Temple Mount. The hearts of at least some of those Jews are filled with courage, knowledge of Israel's destiny and the feeling of complete ownership of this Land, while the rest are nurtured at least partially by the fountains of longing for the liberation of Jerusalem.

The Nation, though, does not heed the fact that the newly born State of Israel is nothing more than a way station. It relates to it as the end goal. Thus, not only has Independence Day become a tool to divert the Nation from its imperative future, it also creates a barrier between it and its past, from which its future is born."

Back to Homesh!

Homesh returnOn Tuesday, Yom Ha'atzmaut, thousands of lovers of the Land of Israel will once again make the climb to Homesh, one of the settlements destroyed in the Expulsion. Although returning to Homesh alone does not deal with the root of Israel's problems, it is an important expression of the brave new Jewish spirit of faithfulness sweeping through our country, and our youth, in particular. So get out your backpacks, your hiking boots and your faith in the G-d and People of Israel. The meeting place is at Shavei Shomron on Tuesday morning. Manhigut Yehudit will be there. The first Manhigut Yehudit group will set out from the back gate of Shavei Shomron at 8:45 a.m. and will visit the ruins of Sebastia and ancient Shomron on the way to Homesh. The second Manhigut Yehudit group will set out from the back gate of Shavei Shomron at 10:30 a.m., under the guidance of Shaul Cohen. For those coming later, meet near the Homesh water tower. The main Homesh event will take place at 4 p.m. Looking forward to seeing you!
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