Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who is the Religious Fanatic?

By Moshe Feiglin

For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still, behold, the hand of G-d is upon your cattle which are in the field, upon the horses, upon the donkeys, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks; there shall be a very grievous disease. And G-d shall make a division between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt; and there nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.. And G-d appointed a set time, saying: 'Tomorrow G-d shall do this thing in the land.' And G-d did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel not one died. (From this week's Torah portion, Va'eirah, Exodus 9:2-6)

We can easily understand Pharaoh's insistence on keeping the Jewish slave-nation in Egypt as the determination of a dictator intent on maintaining the existing regime's order. The liberation of the Nation of Israel would certainly destabilize the entire Egyptian hierarchy and would eventually cost him his throne and probably, his head. Archeological research points to the fact that this is indeed what happened to Pharaoh after the Jews were liberated from Egypt.

The verses, however, point to a more underlying struggle; a conflict over the very recognition of the G-d of Israel.

"And Pharaoh sent and behold, not one of Israel's livestock had died." (Exodus 9:7)

Pharaoh remains obstinate, but nevertheless wants to know if the plague really did skip over the Jews. In other words, not only is Pharaoh determined not to follow G-d's orders, he is also determined not to believe in Him!

One could possibly think that Pharaoh's ruling position had made him so obstinate. But as the story unfolds, we see that even among the simple Egyptians, some believed in G-d and others did not - despite the plagues that they endured. Some of the Egyptians were so blindly stubborn that they did not even heed an exact, time-defined warning issued by the man who had foreseen all the previous plagues. These Egyptians were willing to endanger all their possessions when they could have easily brought them indoors.

Those of Pharaoh's servants who feared G-d made his servants and flocks scurry into the houses. But those who did not heed the word of G-d, left their servants and flocks in the field. (Exodus 9:20-21)

How can this lack of faith be explained? Would anybody we know today be willing to endanger his life and possessions in the face of explicit warnings issued by those who have already proven that they are connected to reality?

The Egyptians continued to believe in their religion. They attached some sort of idolatrous explanation to each of the plagues. They had their own magicians to face off against Moses' staff. True, Moses' staff defeated the Egyptian staffs, but the bottom line was that the idolatry belief system emerged unscathed in their eyes.

There are Israelis today who "do not heed G-d's word" and continue to believe in their own religion. They are determined to continue with the diplomatic process. It makes no difference at all that all the plagues foreseen by those who "fear G-d's word" were completely fulfilled. It does not matter that they see with their very own eyes how their belief system has shattered on the hard rocks of reality, bringing with it a Palestinian state on the one hand and the loss of Israel's existential legitimacy on the other. All this, mind you, without "peace." It simply makes no difference. Their religious fanaticism is strong enough to allow them to continue to suffer and to bring this suffering on their Nation.

To understand the Egyptians, all that you have to do is listen to the news.

Shabbat Shalom

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jonathan Pollard and Jewish Identity

All 109 Jewish Knesset members signed the letter to Obama. The Arab MKs did not sign. Why not? Isn't this is a humanitarian issue? After all, Pollard did not spy in an Arab state!

It makes no difference. The root of the Pollard story is not security-based or political. Pollard is still in prison because of the identity crisis that he unearthed. He chose to endanger himself and to save us because he is a Jew and we are Jews. Arabs really have no relevance to this story at all.

Pollard was not an Israeli citizen then. He was an American. In other words, the Jewish American saved the Jewish Israeli - from America that was concealing information that would have endangered the lives of all the Jews in the Land of Israel.

Pollard may be the only issue that unites all the Jews in Israel without exception - and leaves outside, also without exception - all the Arabs to whom we so desperately tried to bequeath our coerced mutual identity.

This is not the first letter signed by all the Jewish MKs. But until now, all of Israel's Prime Ministers refused to give it to the US President. They refused to understand that first and foremost - they are Jews.

Rivlin Deserves Credit

In an unprecedented move, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin sent the US president and the heads of the two houses of Congress a letter signed by all the Jewish Knesset members requesting Pollard's release from prison. Apparently, Rivlin filled a crucial role in breaking the PM's silence on Jonathan Pollard.

It is well known that Rivlin has a warm Jewish heart. Possibly the merit of his ancestors, illustrious students of the Vilna Gaon and builders of Jerusalem, stood him in good measure at the right moment to redeem himself and make this dramatic move.

Netanyahu's decision proves Esther Pollard's claim - repeatedly denied by government spokespersons - that until today, Israel has never issued a formal request for Jonathan's release.

Who Let the Arab Genie Out of the Bottle?

By Moshe Feiglin

23 Tevet, 5771
Dec. 29, '10

Translated from the NRG website

When I turned on the internet last Saturday night, I was horrified - although not surprised - to see that two women hikers had been brutally stabbed by Arabs in the Jerusalem hills. Hundreds of talkbacks condemned the Arabs and all of Israel's "peacemakers." But Sunday morning, when I checked to see what became of the women (one was abducted and found later, murdered) something had changed.

The hundreds of angry talkbacks were replaced by tens of non-nationalist responses. Just like the simultaneous arson fires that sprang up throughout Israel's forests and went largely unreported while the Carmel blaze raged, there is also a "thought policeman" working behind the scenes with this story, trying to re-fashion reality by censoring it. This tyranny makes it necessary for us to analyze and explain the entire issue of Israel's foreign relations in general and particularly, our relations with our Arab neighbors.

Jewish national awakening and the return of the Nation of Israel to its Land were the culmination of 2,000 years in which the Jewish People in the Diaspora conducted itself on a community-by-community basis. Suddenly, we were faced with a new reality and had to quickly learn how to deal with the nations of the world. Foreign relations were not the only challenge. We also had to agree upon a mode of conduct toward the non-Jewish minority living in our midst. Suddenly we were the sovereign in our Land. No more British here to sort things out.

True, we have an ancient culture that equips us with all the tools that we need for a balanced position toward the non-Jews in our Land. But just as with every other issue, we preferred to ignore our own culture and adopt a foreign values system totally irrelevant to our reality. The result is complete imbalance that creates a dangerous gap between what the public feels and knows and what the thought police allow it to express. This produces a time bomb that will eventually explode in the faces of both sides.

Judaism presents us with two, seemingly contradictory approaches toward the non-Jews in our midst. On one hand, Judaism clearly takes a non-Jewish minority living in our Land into account. The entire Talmud is filled with legal discussions revolving around this reality, which seems to be normative and self-understood. On the other hand, the Torah explicitly directs us to conquer the Land and to expel the foreigners living here.

I do not pretend to explain this topic from a Jewish-law perspective. But it is quite obvious that Jewish law relates to two separate situations: The first - to non-Jews who live in Israel as individuals; the second - to non-Jews who live in Israel as a nation. We are obligated to respect those non-Jews living among us as individuals and to accord them their full human rights. However, when these foreigners no longer identify as individuals who accept our sovereignty, but rather demand national rights in our Land - our entire approach must change.

Human rights and political rights are two separate issues. We are committed to the human rights of all those created in G-d's image, but not to their political rights. This is already accepted practice in much of the democratic world. America, for example, regularly sends US soldiers who do not have voting rights to fight in Afghanistan. Even children of immigrants from three generations ago will not necessarily merit citizenship in Japan or Switzerland.

The desire to create an Israeli identity that, instead of building on the foundation of Jewish identity, would replace it - makes Israel completely dependent on the Arab public. We censor the war being waged against us internally because this war is the most definitive proof of the failure of the new Israeli nationality concept. The Arabs are not willing to be "Israelis." They even rebel against us. "We are not Israelis," they say to us. "We are Arabs and you are not even a nation." They have left us suspended in the air - bereft of our new identity and dispossessed of the identity from which we are trying to flee.

The solution, of course, is to ignore reality. We will not allow the facts to confuse us; we will break the mirror that reflects the truth. In other words, we will censor the talkbacks and eliminate all those who dare reveal the facts.

How then, should we relate to the Arabs who live among us?

First, we must understand that the Arabs are not the problem, but rather, its symptom. "If I am I because you are you," said the Rebbe of Kotzk, "and you are you because I am I - then I am not I and you are not you." The Arabs act the way they do because we have forgotten our own identity. And since it is we who are the sovereign here, this mess really is our fault - not theirs. By fleeing our identity, we have fanned the flames of the new "Palestinian" identity that is being drawn into the vacuum that we created.

Like all human beings, the Arabs are generally good people. Personally, I have met many wonderful Arabs who have cared for my son with dedication and I will always be grateful for their kindness. We are obligated to preserve the honor and human rights of every person in the world. It is forbidden to damage their property - and certainly forbidden to harm them. But if any of those foreigners living among us objects to our sovereignty or to the fact that we are a Jewish state and chooses instead to fight us on nationalist grounds, he is much more than a simple criminal. A person like that is a national enemy. When MKs Chanin Zuabi, Ahmad Tibi, Azmi Bashara and other Arab leaders take sides in the conflict between Israel and its neighbors on the basis of their Arab nationality, they push the entire Arab public directly into the arms of that definition.

When we lost the ability to differentiate between the two types of reality - the individual and the national - we lost the ability to truly respect non-Jews. Just as a person who does not respect himself cannot really respect another, so our approach to the nations of the world fluctuates between groveling and betrayal. We grovel before those stronger than us and betray those weaker than us.

When we surrendered our Land to Arafat and his murderous gangs, he wasted no time and hung all those who had cooperated with Israel on the electric poles in Kabatiya. Their sons were murdered, their daughters defiled and their homes burned while we looked on in silence - within spitting distance from where the horrors were being perpetrated. Suddenly, we were willing to sacrifice human rights on the altar of the "peace process," a.k.a. the process of melting our identity away.

This is also how we treated the soldiers of the South Lebanese Army who made a treaty with us. We abandoned them to the Hezbollah. A person who does not honor his identity, cannot honor his neighbor. No admired author or liberal thinker troubled himself to defend the lives and property of those South Lebanese who unwisely believed in the Israeli essence and entrusted it with their lives.

A Jew must protect human rights throughout the world. We are, after all, a treasured nation unto whom the eyes of humanity are raised. When I joined the demonstration outside the Chinese embassy, demanding of Israel to cancel its participation in the Olympics that were to be held in a country that imprisons its political opponents and harvests their organs, there were no liberals to be found. When human rights serve the process of dissolving our Jewish identity, their voices can be heard loud and clear. But when human rights dovetail with an autonomous Jewish identity, our "knights of human rights" fall resoundingly silent.

In the meantime, under the severe tyranny of the thought police, a big, censored fire is burning. The nationalist genie that we let out of the local Arab bottle darkens all that is beautiful and good in this public. Standing off against the flames are those who cannot afford to leave their homes for rock bottom prices and flee Israel's peripheral towns and mixed neighborhoods. The dead body of the elderly woman found bound and murdered over the weekend in her Jaffa home will tell no tales. But the statistics do not lie.

When we once again stand on our own two cultural and ethical feet, when we will rise and become a truly free and Jewish state, we will be able to truly respect our neighbors. When we truncate the Arab national aspirations on our Land and put the nationalist genie back into the bottle, they will be able to be themselves, express their human goodness - and depend upon us. And we will also be ourselves and fulfill our destiny to make the world a G-dly place.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Carrot, the Stick, Temptation and Leadership

By Moshe Feiglin

"And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said unto Pharaoh: 'Thus says Hashem, the G-d of Israel: Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness.'
And the king of Egypt said to them, 'Why, Moses and Aaron, do you disturb the nation from its work? Go to your burdens.'"
(From this week's Torah portion, Shmot, Exodus 5: 1 and 4)

Pharaoh employs an unusual choice of words when he attempts to discourage Moses and Aaron from bothering him any further. "Stop 'disturbing' the 'happy' Jews", he tells them. "Go back to your private lives."

Pharaoh uses the carrot and stick tactic and throws in a temptation for good measure.

The stick: I am Pharaoh, the mighty king of Egypt. With just the nod of my head I can kill you. You have, after all, entered the lion's den.

The carrot: I am willing to differentiate between your fate and the fate of the rest of the Jews if you will just forget about the responsibility that you have taken upon yourselves when you decided to lead the Nation. "Go to your burdens" - in other words, go back to being private people who are focused on their personal lives.

The temptation: You have simply misunderstood reality. There is really nothing that you can do. This is the way of the world, and the Jews are actually happy to be living like this. You are disturbing them for no good reason. Let us just agree that there was a misunderstanding between us, and we will part as friends.

During the Holocaust, we experienced Jewish leaders who did not know how to overcome the type of temptation faced by the Jewish leadership in the Egyptian Holocaust. We can all learn what true leadership is from the Jewish midwives in this week's Torah portion, the Jewish police of Egypt and of course, the ultimate Jewish leader, Moses.

This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to accept Jonathan Pollard's request and issue an official call for his release. We commend Netanyahu for agreeing to make this request. Until now, Israel's successive leaders had dealt with the Pollard case in the leadership mode preferred by Pharaoh - leadership that is estranged from its nation. Netanyahu has done more for Pollard's release than any other Israeli prime minister. With this week's decision he has shown that he has not forgotten his connection to the Jewish majority that voted him into office.

If Netanyahu will continue to lead Israel with the leadership mode of Moses and Aaron; if he will always remember who he represents - a brilliant future awaits him and his nation.

But when a leader prefers to "go to his burdens," salvation and relief emerge for the Jews from elsewhere - and his leadership is lost in disgrace.

Shabbat Shalom

Press Release: Feiglin Commends PM for Request to Release Pollard

Moshe Feiglin warmly commends Prime Minister Netanyahu for his decision to officially request Jonathan Pollard's release from prison: "The heart of every Jew skipped a beat upon hearing of the PM's decision that atones - at least a bit - for the 25 year-long betrayal of our brother, Jonathan," said Feiglin.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Interest Prohibition: The Key to Brotherhood

By Baruch Erez

What is the connection between interest and brotherhood? Interest is what my money does while I'm sleeping soundly in my bed, or walking along the beach. Brotherhood is the strong black coffee that reserve soldiers drink together or the cigarettes that they share. Why does this economic phenomenon, that seems so far removed from human relations, influence my relations with my neighbor, my army commander and the stranger in the street?

From among the entire gamut of social interaction, Jewish tradition identified an economic weak spot - interest - as a highly potent menace to national brotherhood. What lies behind Judaism's interest prohibition?

We can find a clue in the Torah. In Deuteronomy 23:20-21, the Torah says: You shall not lend upon interest to your brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest. Unto a foreigner you may lend upon interest; but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest; so that G-d, your G-d may bless you in all the pursuits of your hand, in the Land to which you are going to possess it.

A strong sense of racism and separatism emanates from these verses. If interest is not moral, why is it permissible to take interest from a non-Jew?

The conclusion is that it is not immoral to take interest. It is a natural economic measure that is completely in line with the way the free market works. The prohibition on interest, then, is based on a different principle: Brotherhood. It is forbidden to charge your brother - specifically - interest. Interest is detrimental to the brotherhood that exists between one Jew and the next. The brotherhood clause is not relevant to the non-Jew (whom we must treat graciously, but not as a brother). The interest prohibition is the DNA of Jewish brotherhood. It is the basic social code that preserves the feeling of true kinship.

Why is the interest-prohibition the key to a society that boasts true brotherhood?
We can find the answer to this question in Leviticus 25. This entire Torah section depicts the process of individual economic deterioration in ancient society. First a person loses his possessions and is forced to sell his field. (This is parallel in our times to losing one's job). After that, he loses his home. When his situation worsens, he is forced to rent a place to live and to work for someone else until the ultimate downfall, when he is forced to sell himself into slavery.

At every stage of a person's financial downfall, the Torah commands his relatives to "redeem" his possessions, or the person, himself, to prevent his downhill slide. This responsibility is not couched in justice or pity. It is an expression of brotherhood and loyalty to which the brothers and relatives of the hard-on-his-luck individual are committed.

At the heart of this section, the Torah describes the case of a man who had to sell his possessions. He is not a slave, but he does have to depend on the kindness of others. The 'others' described here are not his blood relatives, but rather those people who feel kindred and fraternity toward him by virtue of the fact that they are all Jews:
And if your brother becomes poor, and his means fail with you; then you shall uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with you. Take no interest from him or increase; but fear your G-d; so that your brother may live with you. You shall not give him your money with interest, nor give him your victuals for increase. (Leviticus 25:35-37)

Interest-carrying loans are so undesirable because they make competitive and creative capitalism cold and cruel - engendering a social climate that propels the decline of the weak. This ultimately creates a situation in which the rich get richer - not because they are producing anything but simply because they already have money - while the poor become incrementally poorer. The social gaps widen and the weak are aggressively subdued. This social climate creates basic estrangement from the needs of the other. The individual feels that he is living among strangers - not among brothers. Nobody will catch him if he falls and it is even possible that somebody is lurking in the shadows, just waiting to push him into the abyss.

Brotherhood makes a person feel at home. He senses that the people who surround him are his brothers; that he is there for them as they are there for him. Interest is the "dog eat dog" aspect of capitalism. It creates a sub-current of hostility in society, turning a "brother" into "another." A society that does not charge interest will ease the aggressiveness of the free market. This may very well be the key to the new spirit of brotherhood that we seek.

From Gluttonous Capitalism to Enlightened Capitalism

By Hagit Klein

The rhythm of economic life in Israel is good for everybody. Well, almost everybody. The current situation is very comfortable for the venture capitalists, the tycoons, and the bank executives. The problem is, there are hundreds of thousands of families holding accounts in commercial banks that are forced to pay high fees, unfair interest rates on loans, and earn low interest rates on savings deposits.

Despite this, it remains clear to everyone that the system should continue as it is, as this is how a modern state functions: Commercial banks, essentially financiers doing business and increasing economic growth, while private accounts are actually supporting the banking system. Indeed, contrary to what it seems at first glance, private households serve as a significant source of profit for commercial banks, so we can understand why the banks are fighting in the halls of the Knesset as well as against the Bank of Israel in order to stem the lowering of interest rates and banking fees. Given this situation, the question may be asked: Is it possible to establish an interest-free banking system in Israel, at least for private household accounts?

Interest-free Banking
Islam forbids taking interest, and quite a few Muslim states manage their economies without this basic financial tool of the West. In countries like Pakistan, the whole financial system is customized to fit the value of the prohibition against interest. Malaysia and Indonesia have a normal banking system that runs parallel to an interest-free financial system. It turns out that dozens of countries in the world run interest-free banking in various ways. Malaysia is an example of a country that has one of the highest rates of growth while running an interest-free banking system in parallel with "normal" banking.

One Israeli bank, the Postal Bank, does not exact interest on a credit balance, but on the other hand it isn't possible to overdraw or obtain interest-free loans from them. It turns out that their service fees are higher than the average rate on the market, and even this bank has lately begun to join the market by offering interest-based loans to small businesses. Another model for interest-free banking is the Israel Free Loan Society.

Economic Feasibility
Erel Ben Dov Segal of the Haifa Technion examined the issue of the feasibility of the existence of an interest-free banking system and even built a model for the establishment of such a bank (see below). According to his model, the institution will be a non profit organization, combining the advantages of the Postal Bank with charity funds.

Banking services would be based on a core group of customers with liquid deposits, who obtain financial credit beyond their credit balance. Along with them, those who take out loans would present either collateral or a monetary sum from a guarantor who holds an account at the bank. If he can't provide either, he would still be able to obtain a group loan along the lines of the Grameen banking model (See below). These loans will assist in breaking the poverty cycle. According to this method, the bank will work in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and with local and national charity organizations like "Pa'amonim" (an organization that assists families in becoming financially stable and teaches household budget management). These loans would only be available to private individuals, not business clients, and the bank would run under the supervision of the State banking Superintendent.

Why would people deposit money into this bank? Segal reasons that many Israelis have an objection in principle to the instrument of usury due to the fact that Jewish tradition prohibits taking interest. Additionally, there have been recent exposures of more and more abuses of commercial banks bordering on fraud and robbery. People with a keen financial consciousness would rather go to a bank that is not infected with such corruption. Another reason is simply kindness; the willingness of people to do good just as they do in their daily lives by making voluntary charitable donations.

"Beyond that, there is a point-system here," Segal says. "If I have money and I allow others to use it for free, I gain rights in the bank, so in the future when I need money for myself, I could take out a free loan. In my opinion a law should be enacted whereby interest-free bank deposits would receive a tax refund just as if the depositor had contributed to a non-profit."

According to Segal, there would indeed be fees - possibly even higher than other banks - but the bank would earn from investments; real estate, businesses, and stocks. In order to do this, he says, the bank would have to determine which of its assets would be directed towards investments and which towards interest-free loans in advance, so that the earnings would be sufficient to cover expenses. Of course, there is also the possibility that the bank would lose money.

"Even today," he says, "there are banks that lose and even go bankrupt."

Here the question arises as to whether a bank that is built solely on a high risk stock portfolio and real estate investments would have sufficient cash flow and the ability to provide immediate and safe returns to investors. Additionally, what would happen if the bank invests in interest-based transactions to business owners and financial institutions, collects fees which may actually be higher than other banks, but on the other hand wouldn't receive interest on private accounts? Could such a bank actually make money?

Professor Eliezer Yaffa, Chairman of the Organization for Interest-Free Loans warns that we shouldn't expect any bank to administer interest free transactions "for the simple reason that a bank wants to profit." He goes on to point out another difficulty related to the registration of a bank as a non-profit organization: "I find it hard to believe that they would get approval as a non-profit if they manage private accounts and operate as a business service provider."

Ben Zion Levy, economist and investment consultant, raises an additional problem: "Because of the high operating costs due to government regulations and wage requirements in the banking system, it is impossible to establish an interest-free bank. Especially when the service is intended for lower income groups in which a certain percentage are unable to repay their debts, and there is a relatively small percentage of idealists relative to the scope of economic activity in the market. An institution like this would only fit into the realm of philanthropy and charity as a complementary product to the banking world."

Worth Looking Into
The system of large banks holding private household accounts that earn those banks the majority of their profits must change. The first step in this long process should be the establishment of a steering committee to examine the economic feasibility of establishing an interest-free bank that would run parallel to the normal banking system. This bank, if it is indeed established, would not harm Israel's financial activity, but it would put those struggling to make ends meet and buckling under the pressure of overdraft and high interest loans back on their feet.

Bank Grameen, Bangladesh - Loans at 0% Interest
On a tour conducted by economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus during the Bangladesh famine there, he met a woman who manufactured small wooden stools. She told him that in order to purchase the required raw material, she took a weekly interest rate loan of 10%, which left her with hardly any profit to make a living. Yunus loaned money to her and others interest-free to help them extricate themselves from poverty. He founded a bank he named Grameen based on a model of "microloans" which he had developed. The model is based on providing small loans of about $50-$100 to small groups of five women who together manage the loan. The shame of not repaying the loan and the concern of the women for one another serve as the guarantees that the loans are repaid, and in the end the percentage of repaid loans topped 98%. The bank took interest from those who could afford to repay loans on a regular basis, but those with no ability to work received zero-interest loans. This method caught on and has been copied in 58 countries worldwide. Bank "Grameen" and Muhammed Yunus won a Nobel Peace Prize together in 2006.

Interest-Free Bank Rules and Regulations


The bank will be a non-profit institution, and will encourage people to deposit money (interest-free) and use these funds to lend interest-free to the needy. This bank will combine the benefits of the Postal Bank with charity funds.

Account Management

1. Processes of opening an account, depositing money, and attracting funds to this bank will be identical to a regular bank.
2. Depositors can withdraw some of their money (up to a daily limit) with a magnetic card, in any ATM.
3. Depositors who deposit over a certain sum are eligible for a credit card and cheque book.
Receiving Loans

1. Each customer account that has been active for a certain period (ie: a salary went into the account, there were deposits, standing orders, etc.) will automatically receive a high credit limit to be determined in advance; this credit limit will allow him to have a negative balance without interest.
2. Customers who want to get a loan over the credit limit can get a loan without the guarantors, in exchange for a mortgage (car, apartment or securities).
3. Customers who have no property to mortgage, can get a loan with a guarantor who is one of the bank's other clients (ie, a customer who has a positive balance, could be the guarantor for another customer who wants a loan).
4. Customers without guarantors can get a loan of several groups of borrowers - according to the formula of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.
5. The bank will hold a collection mechanism similar to commercial banks, but use it only to collect the debt collection and reimbursement of expenses, not to collect interest. The bank will be allowed to foreclose the borrower's property, but will not be allowed to imprison him.
6. The loans will be granted only for certain purposes to be determined in advance, such as rent, medical care, tuition. Loans will not be provided for the purpose of luxury. The purpose of the loan is to enable a borrower to get out of poverty, and reach a state where he could make a living on his own.
7. The Bank will work in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, local charity organizations, national charity organizations (such as "Pa'amonim") to determine the eligibility for a loan.
8. Whoever has deposited a large, long-term sum, and after a certain time has encountered serious difficulties and needs a loan will receive priority over other borrowers who are in a similar situation.

The bank will operate under the supervision of the Bank Supervisor of the Ministry of Finance in order to secure proper management and to protect the money of the depositors.

Tomorrow is Here Today!

Our new Hebrew magazine, Tomorrow was distributed two weeks ago in Israel. In each edition, the magazine will analyze a particular facet of life or society: brotherhood, foreign relations, education, leadership, traffic accidents, Israel's army, housing and more. The ideas that we propose are not meant to be the final word. Instead, we would like to open up a lively discussion on how a truly Jewish state should function in the particular area being discussed. Although we may not yet have come up with the perfect formula on all the issues, the very discussion is revolutionary.

With G-d's help, there will soon be an English version of Tomorrow on the web. The Hebrew website is:

How will Israel Look Tomorrow?

The first issue of Tomorrow has been born, and with it, great hopes and relentless doubts. For after all, this magazine represents a new concept: A magazine that deals with the future and not with the present. Like every new thing, it can become part of our lives or, by the same, token, nothing more than a fleeting episode.

Tomorrow will present a prototype of the Jewish State as those loyal to the spirit of Judaism would like to see it. Tomorrow will present an alternative to the State of Israel as we know it today. It will explore topics like regime, foreign policy, security, morality and justice, economics and society and all the other factors that go into a state's identity and mold its image.

Tomorrow will explore the future - both near and distant. It will be more in favor and less opposed; more practical and less theoretical; more tomorrow and less today. The goal is to bring about a change of consciousness in Israeli society towards a state that is more Jewish and more ethical.

The ideas will be presented as proposals for discussion. We would like to open the floor to anyone who sees himself part of the wondrous return of the Nation of Israel to its historical homeland. This return requires us to think out of the box and to propose breakthroughs in various fields. To accomplish this, we need all the stores of our creativity from all facets of Israeli society.

We are an old nation and we carry our ancient wisdom inside. This wisdom is a treasure chest of potential for new, inspired life. It can be actualized if we are committed to authenticity, creativity, attentiveness and honesty. In this way we can create an open and comfortable space on which to hold receptive and profound discussions. We will present the questions, contend with the doubts, break stereotypes, listen to our hearts and be in tune with our logic. And with G-d's help, we will succeed.

The Editors

Foreign Policy for the Future

By Moshe Feiglin

16 Tevet, 5771
Dec. 23, '10

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper

The request to lecture two weeks ago before a delegation of rightist European parliament members visiting Israel took me by surprise. I do not even buy German products, the very sound of spoken German gives me the chills, I have never set foot and never will set foot on German soil, and I oppose the Israeli high-school Holocaust tours. What possible connection can there be between me and this delegation?

Not only that. This was a nationalist, rightist parliament delegation - politicians that the media like to portray as Nazis. My natural instincts dovetailed with political expedience and my logical conclusion was to keep my distance. What do I need this for? Wouldn't it be wiser for me to follow the example of all the other politicians in Israel and evade any dialogue with this delegation?

But there is a rule that I always follow: When a hot potato comes your way, it is always worthwhile to see how the Left relates to the issue. Then, after a thorough investigation, do the opposite of what the Left does. So if the Left is demonstrating against this delegation - the same Left that trumpets every legal or illegal meeting with the most diabolical murderers of Jews in our generation - if it is so important to the Left to distance this delegation from here, then there must be something important and positive about them that deserves my attention. Boycotting everybody and everything is a childish privilege affordable only to those who are not interested in taking responsibility and leading.

A thorough investigation showed that these parliamentarians are not Nazis. On the contrary, they are the best friends that Israel and the Jewish Nation have today in Europe. But this fact alone would not convince me to meet with Germans. There is another, more significant reason.

The world-wide public that is loyal to its identity is buried deep in the dungeons of the world - the world that was once called "the free world." Officialdom is completely controlled by the despots of disintegration: the Left. It is an all-out post-modern war against anything of substance; nationality, family, G-d - everything.

There is no nationality. The Arabs did not set our forests on fire. The hookah did.

Pass the hookah, filter out all the incriminating news and stuff the entire arson war that raged through Israel's forests on Chanukah into its hollow pipe.

Pass the hookah, and let us hide the national war that is searing Israel deep inside, where it cannot be seen. Let us cram the Jewish Nation into there for good measure, as well.

Just put out the fire, get the Ministry of Truth back into control and make sure that all the doors to the dungeons in which we are buried are locked shut.

But above dungeon-level, everything is collapsing. Here in Israel, in Europe and in America. In all these places there are forces that strive to return to their essence. Amalek is not the only player in Europe. There are also noble values there. Our role as Jews who are entrusted with perfecting the world is to filter out the good, guard it, nurture it and yes - with proper care - even find values worth adopting. We do not endeavor to destroy the world in the name of Allah, but to perfect the world in the Name of G-d.

When everything collapses both here and there - and it will collapse, for a fire cannot be doused without water - we will have to emerge from the dungeon and build a new world.

This is already happening. It is hard for me to describe in words the distress signals that these parliament members were communicating. They are all strong and successful. But to me, they seemed as if they were reaching out from amidst the flames. They understand that their children - not their grandchildren, their children! - will either have to become Moslem or die. No exaggeration.

What should we do? Should we ignore all the forces that, parallel to us, are emerging from the dungeons of the world? Or should we begin now, with caution and true national pride, to weave the bonds of the future and plant them on the proper values system? After all, that is exactly why the Left defames all those who meet with them - so that it can continue to divide and conquer.

The delegation did not have an easy time with me. As opposed to other voices that they heard, I was careful not to ask for anything and not to try to convince them of anything. Our status is that of the giver - not of the potential receiver.

"You are the last true obstacle in the face of Islam," I told them. "Jerusalem belongs only to the Jews - including the Temple Mount, where we will ultimately build our Holy Temple."

When one of the representatives asked how there could be peace without negotiations on Jerusalem, I responded with such shock that he immediately apologized for even thinking to ask such a question.

I explained my feelings toward them honestly - including the need to express our stinging historical memories of Europe in political and practical terms. They did not have an easy time with me. But nevertheless, they heard the real truth, which is what they sought. My words starkly contrasted what they heard from others: empty overviews and pathetic attempts to convince them that we are really the pitiful underdogs of the world.

I do not think that Europe and America have much of a chance. Most likely, these healthy forces have woken up after the horses have fled the stables. But nobody knows how the history of the once-free world will develop. If rising leaders in Europe and America who share common values and a common enemy will be willing to come en masse to Israel and declare that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong and are holy exclusively to the Jewish Nation, we must stretch out our hand to them in friendship.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Teach Your Children Well

By Moshe Feiglin

"And the brothers of Joseph saw that their father had died and they said: Perhaps Joseph will hate us and desire to pay us back for all the evil that we did to him." (From this week's Torah portion, Vayechi, Genesis 50:15)

It seems a bit strange. After the emotional reunion, the public display of forgiveness, the shared lives - suddenly the brothers fear that it was all just a show? That Joseph was nice to them only superficially and was just waiting for their father to die?

We are not usually aware of the power of parents' influence on their children. We think that after the children get older and leave their parents' nest, they are already completely independent. But children have a natural need to look back and get the parental ok for their path in life. Children study and integrate all of a parent's actions. Always. Even the most rebellious of children. Even when the parents are very old. One never knows how much influence he has on his descendants and how much influence he will continue to have - even after he is no longer living among them in this world.

Joseph's brothers apparently feared a deep change in Joseph after their father's death. But what does Joseph answer them? Do not worry; my relationship with you is not dependant on changing moods or proper education. Our brotherhood is solidly based on faith and fear of G-d.

"And Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, am I instead of G-d? You thought to do evil to me, G-d thought to do good in order to do as this day, to give life to a vast people." (Genesis 19, 20)

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Moshe Feiglin Speaks to European Leaders

This past Sunday, Moshe Feiglin met with top European political leaders in Ashkelon.
He delivered a key address at their meeting and stated his positions very clearly. Instead of being horrified that he was not speaking about peace, the Europeans were extremely impressed with his bold analysis of Israel's - and Europe's - position vis a vis Islam. Sometimes, Moshe Feiglin's critics say that his positions would never be acceptable to Europe or America. But Sunday's meeting was an excellent example of what happens when an Israeli representative dares tell the Jewish truth.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who Set the Fire and Why?

By Moshe Feiglin

6 Tevet, 5771
Dec. 13, '10

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

This article is being written two hours before Shabbat. The radio is incessantly reporting on the fire raging in the Carmel Mountains. The focus of the reports is twofold: The heartwarming response of the Israeli public to the victims of the fire, with families from around the country volunteering to open their homes to those people who have lost or had to leave theirs. The second focus is on finding the guilty party or parties. Who is guilty for the fact that Israel doesn't have amphibian planes? Whose fault is it that Israel doesn't have more fire fighters? Who is to blame for their lack of basic equipment? The finger-pointing is gathering steam. Just one question is not being asked: Maybe the guilty party is he who struck the match?

There is no question that Israel must better prepare itself for fires. Perhaps G-d is giving us a "fire drill" in advance of a strategic attack. Perhaps somebody will finally remove the dangerous chemicals being stored in Haifa Bay to storage areas far from population centers. Maybe Israel will finally buy amphibian planes, capable of filling huge amounts of sea water within minutes and releasing them on the flames before they get out of control. There are certainly many technical lessons to be learned and implemented from this Chanukah tragedy. But when all is said and done, we are looking for all those responsible everywhere but where they really are. The question is not, 'Why wasn't the fire extinguished sooner?' but rather, 'Who lit it?'

This time the fire started in the illegal Asufiya garbage dump?
And no proof of arson has been found for the fires that broke out simultaneously in nearby Kiryat Bialik?
And no perpetrators have been found for the fires that broke out at the same time in the south, even closing down some train service there?
Also true.

Nevertheless, it was clear to me - and to all the other people who are afraid to talk about this openly - that the huge blaze in the Carmel Mountains would kindle all sorts of other fires far away from the range of its sparks. It makes no difference if it started in a garbage dump or by arson. It makes no difference because we all know that most of the fires in Israel are caused by arson. Arson perpetrated by Arabs. Not by nut-jobs, not by criminals. Arson motivated by nationalism. Arson by Arab citizens of Israel.

Everyone is busy figuring out how many tons of fire extinguisher we have to keep in storage, but they are afraid to touch upon the real reason for the fires. Please allow me to address an issue that is extremely non-politically-correct: Who is setting these fires, and why?

Arson in Israel is generally perpetrated by Israeli Arabs. Not all of them, of course. But somehow, those guilty of arson are generally from the Arab sector.

Why would they do it? After all, life is good for Arabs in Israel. There is no Arab state in which they can enjoy absolute freedom and economic well-being like in Israel. Why do they hate us so much? Why do they burn the Land that is showering them with so much good?

I do not think that they do it because they are bad people. I have gotten to know quite a few Arabs with hearts of gold. They also do not do it because of some dark primitivism. And they are not stupid.

But they have a problem with the Islamic religion and culture.

When a doctor from Kfar Saba's Meir Hospital murders his sister for "family honor," he is motivated by a very problematic cultural background.

"The Arab is not the son of the desert, but its progenitor," said the first British Commissioner of the Sinai, Sir Charles Darvis. Wherever the Arab goes, he brings the desert with him. Now he has brought the desert to the ever-green Carmel Mountains.

Why did Arab MK Azmi Basharah feel the need to guide the incoming enemy missiles into Haifa? After all, if his dream comes true and Israel is defeated, he will lose his fat salary and the other benefits that he has. Why is he cutting off the branch upon which he sits?

The answer is that questions like that are irrelevant in a culture of robbers. In Arab countries, there is no middle class. In the Middle East, either you are one of the lucky few who sit down to the feast, or you belong to the masses that are part of the menu. For this reason, there is not and there never will be democracy in the Arab states - and their economies will never flourish. Israel produces more than all its neighbors combined. That is not because we are extremely industrious. It is because true economic vitality cannot exist in a culture of robbery.

"The Jews' goal is to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel," explained British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin to the UN, "while the goal of the Arabs is that there should not be a Jewish state in the Land of Israel." Bevin cannot be counted as a friend of Israel. But he, like Darvis thirty years before him, understood that there is no struggle taking place here between nations and cultures that desire to settle and develop the Land. Not at all. There is only one side that wants to do so - while the other side has no positive intentions. Its only goal is the elimination of the first side's goals.

Arab culture is anti-productive. It has no good and bad, only strong and weak. If you have given me something, it is a sign that you are weak; in other words, morally inferior to me - and that makes you my prey.

Currently, Israel is the main course on the Arab menu. If we want to live, we will have to wake up and deal with the Arab enemy. Sadly, we have plenty of experience.

Tomorrow is Here!

Thank G-d, the first edition of "Tomorrow" magazine is now being distributed in universities and synagogues throughout Israel.
Check it out the Hebrew version at:
In next week's MY update, with G-d's help, we will have a link for an English version of the magazine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Leadership and Brotherhood

By Moshe Feiglin

"And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph, does my father still live?" And his brothers could not answer him because they were afraid of him." (From this week's Torah portion, Vayigash, Genesis 45:3)

Why didn't the brothers recognize Joseph earlier? True, he had grown a beard. He was also in a completely unexpected place, boasting a completely unexpected status and wearing unexpected attire. But still - the eyes are the same eyes, it is the same forehead, the same tone of speech. Wouldn't you identify your brother in his old kindergarten picture? Or your father in an old black and white photo from when he was a young boy of 17?

Still, Joseph's brothers - who are certainly not stupid - come face to face with their brother, speak with him, focus on him - and not one of them catches on? Not one of them thinks, "What is going on here? This guy reminds me of somebody. Where do I know him from?" Nothing?

Nothing. Because in their minds and hearts, Joseph was no longer their brother. When they threw Joseph into the pit, the brothers buried the brotherhood that was in their hearts. Even when the brothers were face to face with Joseph, they did not recognize him, because they had erased him from their consciousness.

How can such a complete rift ever be mended? Two conditions must be met:

First, Joseph must become a leader. Instead of his fate being in the hands of his brothers, their fate must be in his hands. But that is not enough. It does not bring the brothers to the point at which they remember that they actually have another brother. For that, the second condition must be fulfilled.

The second condition is that Joseph will remember their common roots - in this case, their father. "Does my father still live?" Joseph asks immediately upon revealing himself to his brothers. It is a strange question. Throughout Joseph's dialogue with the brothers, their father is mentioned time and again. It is obvious that he is alive. But Joseph does not ask if our father still lives. He does not address his question to his brothers, at all. He addresses it to himself. Does my father still live within me? After all these years of distance and pain am I capable of becoming once again a son of the same father as these other men? Do I have the fortitude to once again become part of the family - a brother to the people who hurt me so badly?

It is nice to go door to door giving out lettuce and talking about the glories of Gush Katif. But it doesn't heal a torn family. Blocking roads alone is also not enough.

Leadership and brotherhood are the secret of mending the gaping hole.
And specifically in that order.

It is no coincidence that the first issue of the "Tomorrow" magazine focuses on the subject of brotherhood. May the new way of thinking that "Tomorrow" heralds enter the hearts of the Jewish People and kindle the faith-based revolution that the Nation of Israel is waiting for.

Shabbat Shalom

Tomorrow is Here!

Thank G-d, the first edition of "Tomorrow" magazine is now available in universities and synagogues throughout Israel. Check it out the Hebrew version at: In next week's update, with G-d's help, we will have a link for an English version
of the magazine.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Thou Shall Not Steal: Not Even from Rich Oil Tycoons

By Moshe Feiglin

Translated from the NRG website

Editor's note:
A number of months ago, the Noble Gas Company discovered vast stores of natural gas in Israel's territorial waters. According to a prior agreement with the Israeli government, the royalties from the discovery were supposed to have been substantial. But after politicians mixed in, the government appointed the Sheshinski Committee, which advised Israel to re-adjust its tax/royalties structure on hydrocarbons. This proposal means that Israel will renege on its initial agreement with the drilling company and significantly lower the sum of the royalties.

First, proper disclosure. I have never met oil tycoon Yitzchak Teshuvah and I do not have any stocks or interests in Noble Energy. I have no reason to support them. On the contrary - as a politician, it is worthwhile for me to ride the populist wave and vociferously align with the witch hunt against the tycoons who "steal" the public's wealth.

But I have a small problem. Theft is theft and robbery is robbery - even when the victims are wealthy. True, many aspects of the Israeli version of capitalism are avaricious. The huge profits pocketed by Israel's banks are mostly based on interest gained on private accounts - not from actual business deals. This totally contradicts Jewish law and the Jewish spirit. This means that the banks are a motor of servitude - not of economic growth, as they are supposed to be.

The banks are only one glaring example. The salary gap in Israel is among the highest in the world. It's a dog eat dog world out there and the cunning chap who amasses power uses it to trample the person beneath him - without blinking an eye.

The solution for our problem with capitalism is not to institute socialism. Socialism is simply a sophisticated form of robbery that makes everybody poor. An ideology that rejects the sanctity of one's possessions will ultimately lead to a complete contempt for the sanctity of life. It is no coincidence that Stalin and Mao were the greatest murderers in the history of mankind. For some reason, we also seem to have forgotten that "Nazism" is a shortened version of "National Socialism." Socialism is the last thing we need.

We suffer from an exploitative form of capitalism because we have adopted it without our Jewish culture that would refine and restrain it. Jewish economics is based on a triangle. Its base is the sanctity of life and possessions, a.k.a. capitalism. But the triangle has two other sides: faith and kindness. The three Forefathers of the Nation of Israel; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were billionaires. The approach that associates property with immorality is Christian. But if you remove capitalism from the ethical envelope of Jewish faith and kindness - you are left with the jungle that we experience today.

Back to the gas royalties. It is sad to see the transformation of politicians who espouse capitalism at every opportunity into populist Robin Hoods, robbing the rich to feed the poor. What usually happens in these cases is that if the Robin Hood doesn't know when to stop when he gets into power, the rich flee and he proceeds to rob the next layer of society.

Let us assume that a moment before the gas discovery, Yitzchak Teshuvah and Nobel Energy had given up and turned to Israel's Treasury with a demand to return the millions that they had invested in searching for gas fields. What would the Finance Minister have answered? Would he have fought for their right to get their money back? Ridiculous. He would have summarily told them that business is business - and justifiably so.

Yitzchak Teshuva took a huge risk and brought Noble Energy and hundreds of private investors to Israel. Until Teshuva's discovery, all the other exploratory dills had failed, distancing the large drilling companies from Israel. Teshuva and Noble Energy came nevertheless - largely thanks to the special conditions granted them - conditions that correspond to the risk that they were willing to take. If not for these special conditions, nobody would have royalties today - not Teshuva and not the citizens of Israel. Thanks to his financial daring, major oil and gas fields were finally discovered in Israel, absolving us of dependence on others for our energy needs.

Of all the drilling concessions that Israel can distribute, Teshuva and Noble Energy got less than ten percent. Now that Teshuva and Noble have paved the way, Israel clearly has to demand more royalties in future tenders. But to lower the royalties that Teshuva and Noble get after they have already taken the financial risk and discovered the gas fields is simply highway robbery.

Whoever thinks that this exploitation will add money to his pocket, does not understand the dynamics that will take place. The money will not go to education, health or anything else useful. On the contrary; it will only do harm.

How do I know that? Very simple. Israel already has plenty of money today, but the problems are not being solved. Israel is a rich country, but nevertheless, it lacks money for education and health. Our foreign debt is the lowest in the world, our currency the most stable in the Western world and our gross national product is rising all the time. This did not happen because we got lucky and discovered oil. It is because of a much more precious treasure that fell into our laps in the 90s - the industrious and intelligent immigration to Israel from the former Soviet Union that met an economy that was emerging from socialism. Yes, Netanyahu has a share in this.

We became wealthy and with G-d's help, will continue to become wealthy irregardless of oil discoveries. The fact that the money does not go where it should is an issue of culture and preferences. What is certain is that newly discovered oil will not solve the problem - and if we lapse into populist socialism - we will lose what we have already achieved.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Fear of G-d Barometer

By Moshe Feiglin

And Joseph said to them on the third day, 'Do this and live, I fear G-d.' (From this week's Torah portion, Mikeitz, Genesis 42:18)

"For I said, there is no fear of G-d in this place, and they will kill me."
(Abraham in Genesis 20:11)

Joseph understood the same thing understood by his great-grandfather, Abraham. Joseph's brothers have nothing to worry about. They can leave Simon with the stern Egyptian ruler and be sure that no harm will befall him, for he has a G-d: "I fear G-d."

True fear of G-d is the foundation upon which everything rests. There are people who fear G-d, but are unaware of it. There are people who declare that they have fear of G-d, but in truth, it is non-existent. Only G-d knows what is in our hearts. But ultimately, without fear of G-d, everything collapses. There are no borders to separate between good and bad. There is no permissible and forbidden, no moral coordinates with which to navigate the challenges of life. Reality sinks into confusion, into chaos and disarray - into death.

The greater the potential, the greater the sensitivity. A state of the art fighter jet is much more sensitive and can be ruined much more easily than a simple rifle. Regular countries can survive for long periods of time even if their leadership lacks fear of G-d. But the State of Israel is different. Without fear of G-d, the amount of time it takes for it to lose the legitimacy for its very existence - is very short.

The Nation senses this and is seeking G-d.
With His help, we will soon have leaders who reflect the will of the Nation.

Happy Chanukah

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The American Honey Trap

By Moshe Feiglin

24 Kislev, 5771
Dec. 1, '10

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

Did you hear what Obama is offering?


F-35 Stealth Bombers!

And why do we need them?

Are you serious?

I'm entirely serious. Why do we need the American jets?

Have you forgotten that Israel is under an existential threat? That our neighbors seek to destroy us?

And what is the greatest threat?

Iran, of course!

And why haven't we bombed Iran's nuclear facilities with the American jets that we already have?

What do you think? That Israel can do whatever it wants? We have international pressure. Luckily, the Americans still stand by our side.

And what will they do if we bomb, nevertheless?

They will stop selling us spare parts for the planes.

They will stop selling spare parts for the planes that they have already supplied?

Yes. That is what the experts explain. We have not bombed Iran because if we do so, the Americans will not sell us the spare parts for their fighter jets.

So you are saying that we cannot defend ourselves against the greatest threat against us because we have American jets.


And now you want us to add more American jets to our military hangars so that we will have even less room to maneuver in dealing with the most serious existential threat that we face.

Just a minute. Are you proposing that we throw all the American jets in the garbage?

The sooner the better. There is nothing as detrimental to Israel's security as American weapons. I think that the little exercise that we just did explains that clearly.

And how will you fight? With sticks and stones?

Until 1967, Israel did not have American weapons. In the War of Independence, the Sinai War and the War of Miracles that is called the Six Day War, Israel achieved a far more convincing result without them than in all the battles that followed – when we were already equipped with American weapons.

Today, Israel bases its military capabilities on American military hardware, and we cannot eliminate that in one day. But the State of Israel can develop and produce the most advanced weapons in the world. We have already proven our capabilities. We must enter an accelerated process of production of Israeli weapons systems – including fighter jets. Why do you think that the Americans are not willing to allow Israel to equip the F-35s with Israeli systems? They know that Israeli avionics are better than what they have to offer and they wish to stop local development. They want to make sure that we do not do exactly what we need to do. They want to protect their own weapons industry from competition and maintain Israel's complete dependence on them, as well.

Israel can produce a platform for a stealth bomber together with the aeronautics industries of other nations that are eager for this type of partnership. Alternately, Israel can produce the platform itself, as it did with the Lavi project. What is certain is that the F-35 deal is leading us in the opposite direction: More dependence on American weapons, another obstacle in the face of Israeli weapons production and most important of all – another obstacle in the face of our ability to defend ourselves from the most serious existential threats that we face.