Friday, October 28, 2011

Into the Ark

By Rav Erez Nir

"And G-d said to Noah, the end of all living flesh has come before me, for the land is filled with violence through them and behold I will destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; with rooms you shall make the ark, and you shall pitch it within and without with pitch." (From this week's Torah portion, Noah, Genesis 6:13-14).

This week's Torah portion, Noah, describes a terrible breakdown of humanity; total bankruptcy of all G-d's expectations and aspirations for man, leading to the destruction of the earth.

Reality and the world will always be whatever we make of them and however we perceive them. But the reality that we produce can jail us inside it and not allow us to change and certainly not to change it. In the Torah portion of Noah we discover that sometimes we have to cut off our connection to reality and enter the isolated ark, where we can reconnect to our original dreams.

It is we who have created today's reality in Israel. It is a reality of a Sisyphean and goal-less battle for survival; a reality devoid of an inspiring past and barren of any significant future to which to aspire; it is a reality divested of spirit and dreams. We are so enslaved within this reality that we cannot even strive to create a different situation. To exit this vicious cycle we must liberate ourselves from the current events that strangle us and create a new consciousness; the consciousness of tomorrow, a Jewish consciousness with a past and a future from which we can emerge refreshed, when the flood waters subside.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, October 27, 2011

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Bereisheet/Noach 5772

BS"D Bereisheet and Noah 5772


In the wake of the monstrous sin of fratricide, HaShem appeared to Kayin with the horrendous, devastating cry that reverberates to this day in the subconscious of every murderer (Beraisheet 4:10)

קול דמי אחיך צעקים אלי מן האדמה

"... Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground."

"Your brother’s blood", Rashi explains, refers to all the generations which could have been born to Hevel had he not murdered.

From that time on, the decline in individual and societal morality continued unimpeded for the following ten generations until the time of Noach, when HaShem decided that this was not the world He intended to create.

HaShem’s decision to destroy every breathing entity on earth (except for Noach, his immediate family and some chosen species of fauna) was undoubtedly influenced by the collective chorus of the billions of people who could have been born from Hevel. These voices called out from the depths of the ground where Hevel was buried, reverberated before the heavenly throne of justice, together with the voices of the victims of the cumulative sins of the generations demanding divine retribution for what had been perpetrated upon them.

The Creator had no choice but to descend from the Throne of Compassion and ascend the Throne of Harsh Justice to declare that all life would cease to exist after 120 years, if humanity does not change its direction.

Now, if HaShem was responsive to the yet unborn pagan descendants of one man - Hevel, son of Adam and Chava - how much more is HaShem responsive to the unborn offspring of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Germans and their willing allies in the Second World War. To this great chorus of voices, we should add the Jews who were slaughtered in the name of the Church and in the name of Muchammad in the 2000 years of our exile.

How many talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars) could have come forth from these poor murdered souls?

The goyim, in their orgy of murder, abdicated their chance for a better world by murdering the intellectual elite of the Jews in their midst. The hate ridden anti-Semites surrendered their chance for a speedy cure for debilitating diseases such as cancer and diabetes for a better life in all areas. They destroyed millions of God’s chosen people, and in return HaShem is punishing them with the malignant presence of over 20 million backward Moslems in their midst.

The world’s Islamic population is approximately 1.2 billion people or 20% of the world's population. This huge number has produced 7 Nobel Prize winners. The Jewish nation is approximately ten million (after subtracting half the number of Jews in the US who are non-halachic) or about 0.02% of the world's population, but our sons have received, to date, over 130 Nobel Prizes, with ten going to Medinat Yisrael.

The continent of Europe is in decline. It is being dragged down by the PIGS nations - Portugal, Ireland-Italy, Greece and Spain. The voices of all the Jewish souls murdered in the Shoah, and now resting in the earth of those lands, resonate clearly in the shamayim calling for retribution. But not only the voices of the murdered call out to Hashem, but also the voices of their unborn descendants. Retribution is being delayed as long as these nations support and make restitution to the Jewish nation. But they will soon stumble.

The day is not far off when Germany - who has been walking on egg shells in their relations with the Jews - will renounce their special relationship with the State of Israel, and that will signal Europe’s descent into social and financial decay.

The US will be dragged down with it, causing anti-Semitism to raise its ugly head and take control of the public will. At that time - which has all the signs of not being far off - the only thing that will interest the Jews of Europe and the US will not be their homes or cars, but to escape the deluge of gentile hatred and enter the Noach’s Ark of salvation - Medinat Yisrael.

Not all will escape. But those who have "eyes in their head" will leave before the pending Kristallnachts, and will succeed in saving themselves and their loved ones.


The College for National Security is Israel’s most prestigious school for the training of our future military and other security organization leaders. It is here where the participants are trained to thinking "out of the box"; where people who are used to think in terms of "millions" are trained to think in terms of "trillions".

One cannot apply to attend this course. The participants are recommended by their superiors based on mental acumen and accomplishments in their respective fields.

We now have a very close relative presently in the course.

On Monday of this week, the entire course came to the Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City, where I serve as the rabbi.

They were dressed casually. No no one could have guest that among them were high-ranking soldiers, as well as men whose activities will never be revealed. Several wore kippot and others requested kippot. They had very intense looks on their faces, and their questions showed that every detail of my talk was being carefully scrutinized.

It is at times like this and with people like these, where I perceive the great distinction between religious practice and faith.

A religious person is one who goes through all the movements and motions of the halacha. Yet it is possible that he or she possesses little or no faith in HaShem. And the opposite is also true. One can maintain a huge degree of faith in HaShem, yet not practice the do’s and do not’s of the Torah.

Most of the men who were sitting in the bet knesset are not "religious" in the accepted sense; yet each and every one believes in the God of Israel, and has immutable faith in the eternal future of th Jewish people in Medinat Yisrael.

On the other side of the spiritual spectrum, many "religious" Jews in the galut, including well-known rabbinic figures, are halachic practitioners, but they question the miracles occurring in front of their eyes. They have little faith in HaShem’s promise as stated in the words of the prophets that He will return the scattered of Am Yisrael home to Eretz Yisrael. They prefer the warmth and comfort of the galut rather than expose their family and students to the unsure and "dangerous" realities of life in the Holy Land. They are religious but have no faith. There are very many people in the Medina who are not "religious" for a myriad of reasons, but 99% carry in their heart the unexplainable faith that we have miraculously returned home never to be exiled again.

My message to the unique men attending this course was one that they will take with them in the future.

The message was that they come with a broad perspective of Medinat Yisrael from a security, governmental and international point of view, while I come from a Torah perspective. But at the end of the day we will meet at the point of agreement. As with a circle, where the further the two sides deviate from the starting point, they ultimately meet.

I told them that at the end of the course, when the circumstances, details, facts, figures and statistics of the Medina will be evident to them, they will conclude that the establishment of the Medina, its history and development to this very day cannot be understood in rationale political, economic, military and social terms. But are the obvious results of an "Invisible Hand" that hovers over the people in Eretz Yisrael.

I call that hand Hashem, others call it the unique forces of Jewish history, but we will all conclude that the establishment, survival and advancement of the State is unprecedented in human history, and the development of Israel to this day has no logical explanation.

All the men sitting in the bet knesset have total faith in the God of the Jewish nation, though most were not religious practitioners.

I believe that in the eyes of our Father in Heaven, their spiritual level is far, far higher than those who practice the Halacha but without absolute faith in HaShem.

A short story to demonstrate religion without faith:

A man was climbing a high mountain, when night fell and the pouring rain resulted in zero visibility. He slipped and began falling to certain death. Suddenly he put out his hand and grabbed a branch jutting out from the mountainside, and found himself suspended between heaven and earth.

He began to pray or salvation. A thunderous voice emerged from nowhere. "Do you believe in Me?" HaShem asked."I believe with every sinew in my body that You can save me", he answered.

"In that case," thundered the voice, "LET GO!"

The following morning, they found the man dead, hanging from the branch. He had died of hypothermia, when between him and solid ground was a distance of only one meter.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5771-2011 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Muslim Heritage in America

Barack Obama, during his Cairo speech, said: "I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story."


Dear Mr. Obama:

Were those Muslims that were in America when the Pilgrims first landed? Funny, I thought they were Native American Indians.

Were those Muslims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving day? Sorry again, those were Pilgrims and Native American Indians.

Can you show me one Muslim signature on the United States Constitution?

Declaration of Independence ?

Bill of Rights?

Didn't think so.

Did Muslims fight for this country's freedom from England ? No.

Did Muslims fight during the Civil War to free the slaves in America ? No, they did not. In fact, Muslims to this day are still the largest traffickers in human slavery.. Your own half brother, a devout Muslim, still advocates slavery himself, even though Muslims of Arabic descent refer to black Muslims as "pug nosed slaves." Says a lot of what the Muslim world really thinks of your family's "rich Islamic heritage," doesn't it Mr. Obama?

Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this country? Not present.

There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.

Where were Muslims during this country's Woman's Suffrage era? Again, not present. In fact, devout Muslims demand that women are subservient to men in the Islamic culture. So much so, that often they are beaten for not wearing the 'hajib' or for talking to a man who is not a direct family member or their husband. Yep, the Muslims are all for women's rights, aren't they?

Where were Muslims during World War II? They were aligned with Adolf Hitler. The Muslim grand mufti himself met with Adolf Hitler, reviewed the troops and accepted support from the Nazi's in killing Jews.Finally, Mr. Obama, where were Muslims on Sept. 11th, 2001? If they weren't flying planes into the World Trade Center , the Pentagon or a field in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people on our own soil, they were rejoicing in the Middle East . No one can dispute the pictures shown from all parts of the Muslim world celebrating on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other cable news networks that day. Strangely, the very "moderate" Muslims who you bent over backwards to kiss in Cairo, Egypt on June 4th were stone cold silent post 9-11. To many Americans, their silence has meant approval for the acts of that day.

And THAT, Mr. Obama, is the "rich heritage" Muslims have here in America ..

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention the Barbary Pirates. They were Muslim.

And now we can add November 5, 2009 - the slaughter of American soldiers at Fort Hood by a Muslim major who is a doctor and a psychiatrist who was supposed to be counseling soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan ..

That, Mr. Obama is the "Muslim heritage" in America.

Truth and Consequences in the Public Domain

By Tuvia Brodie

Last week, Israel’s media was euphoric. Gilad was free! The Jerusalem Post published a report that 79% of Israelis backed the prisoner exchange deal that freed both Gilad and 1,027 Arab terror prisoners. Eighty-six per cent of women were said to back the deal. A second poll reported that 69% of Israelis supported this exchange. Gilad’s home!

Have 69% -79% of Israelis ever agreed on anything? It’s wonderful, isn’t it? According to the media, the face of our national identity could not contain its smile. There was joy everywhere. Gilad’s parents waited to hug him. All of Israel waited to hug him.

This was the happiest day of Gilad’s life. It was the happiest day for his parents. All of Israel felt their happiness. Gilad’s five years and four-months of imprisonment and isolation had ended. Israel’s national psyche, having been exhausted by the ordeal of the Shalit family’s pain, now sighed with relief. Finally, it was finished. Jews everywhere celebrated. The Jerusalem Post even ran an editorial linking the joy of the current Jewish holiday of Succot with the national joy over Gilad’s release. Could there have been greater national joy than that moment?

But wait. Not everyone was so happy. Not everyone shared the media’s joy—and not everyone believed that 79% of Israelis--or 86% of women-- thought this deal was a good one. The media had been very quick to present a picture that a supermajority supported this prisoner exchange. But the feeling on the Israeli street was different. What was going on here? Were the naysayers simply professional grumps, the kind who find something wrong even at their own birthday parties?

Maybe. But then, maybe not. There is a real—but troubling--problem here: the Post headline had misled us, for underneath the Post’s exuberance lurked an ugly truth. If you looked deep enough into the article about the poll (‘Between 70 and 80 per cent of Israelis, 86 per cent of women, support prisoner swap’, Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2011), you would have discovered that 62% of respondents thought that this deal would ‘worsen Israel’s security’—a euphemism for a national fear that, with this thousand-killer trade for one soldier, Jews would suffer.

Such a concern was only enhanced by pictures of Arabs celebrating the release of the terror prisoners--and calling for more kidnappings.

So what were the polls telling us? Could our nation simultaneously support this ‘deal’ and fear its consequences? That’s like saying, ‘happy birthday-- you’re sad!’ Isn’t that contradictory? If this is what the polls showed, shouldn’t the Post have analysed the apparent contradiction? Interestingly, instead of discussing, highlighting or analysing the negative side of the poll response, the Post chose to headline ‘support prisoner swap’ and to ignore what might be the most important public significance of the poll results—fear, not happiness (yes, the Post mentioned the negative numbers; but simply mentioning them does not release the Post from the responsibility to analyse such an unusual result).

Do we have a problem in this country? Are we so afraid of the truth that we have to lie to ourselves—or distort reality like a Reality TV producer? The statement that 79 per cent of us are happy with this prisoner exchange is so extraordinary that it suggests that survey questions were either badly written or purposely structured to elicit a manipulated response. Either way, a result this unusual should have prompted a ‘red flag’ for the Post. Instead, they ran it as news--that is, as ‘truth’. But like all lies, this story distorted what was correct and distracted us from the truth. In the existential war we fight, that is dangerous. Do you know what happens to college students who lie to themselves about their study skills? Do you know what happens to dieters who distort facts? They fail. Is that what we want—to fail?

In case you have forgotten, we cannot afford to fail. We must fight to win--and as we fight, we must remember our Jewish values: be very careful how you deal with truth.

Does the Post not realize that truth and consequences are related—that ignoring public truths has too often led to disaster for Jews? Ask the Jews in Germany in the 1930s what happened when they ignored the truths of Hitler’s public speeches. Ask the Jews in the years leading up to the destruction of the First Temple about the consequences of ignoring the public truth of G-d’s prohibitions against idol worship.

To understand fully the role of the media in proactively slanting Israel’s public policy issues—instead of reporting and analysing those issues--take a look at Caroline Glick’s essay, ‘Column One: marketing Gilad Schalit’, Jerusalem Post, October 21, 2011; if you want a look at how Israel’s news has been continuously manipulated, read, ‘Another tack: A sacrifice in vain, Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, October 21, 2011.

The Jerusalem Post has a problem. By focusing so exclusively on Gilad’s release while ignoring its consequences, the Post has neglected its ethical and/or jpournalistic responsibility to its reading public, and surrendered to a concerted marketing campaign to free Gilad (Glick, ibid). The media’s role in this effort had nothing to do with truth or public welfare. The Jerusalem Post can play an important role in Israel’s future. But it is not doing that right now. Relegating ‘truth-telling’ to opinion-pieces (see the Glick and Honig essays above) doesn’t cut it. The truth is not an 'opinion'. The truth starts in the news department and today, the Post’s headline-writing, editorial oversight of article content, editorial policy—and activist philosophy-- do not present the truth about Israel's reality or Arab intention. Right now, the Post is behind the proverbial curve, not ahead of it. Right now, the Post is just another activist gunslinger in the business of slanting and marketing public policy in Israel ( Honig and Glick, ibid).

This country deserves better. We are Jews. We are supposed to know the difference between lies and truth. We invented the codified morality that supports the Western world. Where in our Torah does it say we are to lie to ourselves? Does the Post know we have a Torah? We are obligated to be sensitized to truth, in order to assure that our human relations—and our relationship with G-d—remain intact. Self-lying does not make the grade. Manipulating the public does not pass muster.

This country deserves better because we as Jews do not survive by lying to ourselves. Want proof of this? Ask the Jews of Germany, 1933-38, about Jewish public lies. Is this the road the Post wants to travel?

The Jerusalem Post is an important newspaper. It has a role to play here—and an ethical obligation to fulfil. It should be the voice of our nation, not a shill for the highest-paying marketing firm. Its obligation is to tell the truth about the realities we face.

Today, our Gilad is free. But killers are also free. Arabs dance in the street. They call for more kidnappings. Do we have the courage now to speak the truth? Does the Post?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Shalit Capitulation

By Steven Plaut

“Those released will return to armed struggle. It is a great national achievement.” Khaled Mashal, Chairman, Hamas Political Bureau, Damascus, Syria

I think that the best definition of leadership is where a political leader is willing to resist populist pressure to do “popular” things whenever those “popular” things are harmful. Real leadership is someone capable of resisting the temptation to act as demagogue and play to the crowd.

In the massive release of mass murderers that took place to “buy” back from the Hamas terrorists Israel’s kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, the current leadership has revealed itself to be the very opposite of what true leadership should be. This is cheap demagoguery playing to the crowd for transient popularity. And the people of Israel will pay the price for the theatrics.

The release of the Palestinian mass murderers is popular in Israel at the moment, according to public opinion surveys. Israeli governments and particular this leadership has a long track record of doing whatever the caprices of the public happen to favor at the moment. So I suppose in some ways it was not surprising that they agreed to this atrocity. A government that does not have the backbone to stare down and dismiss summer Woodstock-on-the-Yarkon “social justice” protesters cannot be expected to resist the passionate Israeli public desire to see Gilad Shalit released.

The release of the murderers is fleetingly popular this week. Negotiating with Palestinians is also generally popular in Israel. So are price controls on housing and raising the minimum wage. So is (depending on wording of question) creating a Palestinian state. True leadership means refusing to create disasters just because the public this week happens to feel that it is a nice idea to create them.

There is a general and deeply-felt desire for Shalit’s release among all Israelis. The media have kept the plight of his family in the headlines for five years. Shalit has been in captivity for longer than the US soldiers who survived the Bataan death march in the Philippines or British troops captured in Hong Kong and Singapore. But it is now clear that the main effect of the organizations in Israel drumming up support for “Let’s get Shalit Released,” and “We demand Shalit’s Freedom,” was to increase the number of murderers released in the exchange, from a couple of hundred to over a thousand.

It was obvious all along that the protests “on behalf of Gilad” had no effect whatsoever on the Hamas other than persuading it to hold out longer for greater and greater levels of appeasement. The protests simply weakened the resolve of the already weak Israeli political leadership to resist the extortion.

The first of the atrocious massive releases of terrorists by Israel took place in 1985, when the National Unity Government of the Labor Party and Likud released terrorists in the “Ahmed Jibril Deal,” to the PFLP terrorist leader Jibril. 1150 prisoners were released in exchange for three Israeli POWs, who had been captured during the first Lebanese War. Many of the terrorists released resumed their careers in terrorism and led the “First Intifada.”

That moronic “deal” served as precedent. Thereafter Israel paid in the currency of murderers in every “deal” in which captive Israelis were taken, and even in exchange for the release of the corpses of Israeli soldiers murdered by the terrorists. The massive release of murderers naturally always served as incentive for the terrorists to kidnap more Israelis. There is some serious doubt as to whether Shalit would have been kidnapped in the first place had it not been for those precedents.

In those repeated wholesale releases of terrorists, Israel always attempted to maintain a figleaf of self-respect, setting some limits on who could be released. There was Israeli reluctance to releasing murderers of children, or those who had actually pulled the triggers in killing civilians, or those involved in suicide bombings.

No longer.

The Shalit capitulation has at long last put an end to all pretense. The very worst mass murderers of children and civilians are about to be released. The litany of their crimes is too long and horrendous to be reproduced here. You can see more details here:

But they involve those who murdered multiple members of the same families, those who placed bombs in the Jerusalem Sbarro pizza restaurant murdering children, those who lured a 15 year old boy into the West Bank with internet flirting and murdered him, and too many other murders. Some of the atrocities sound more like events that took place in Nazi-conquered Europe than in the independent Jewish state. A surviving member of the family destroyed in the Sbarro attack is in the news this week for having vandalized the grave this week of Yitzhak Rabin, whom he blames for the murders of his family and the release of the murderers. (See

As in all cases of mind-numbing stupidity being perpetrated by Israel’s government, Netanyahu came in right on cue and defended the capitulation on grounds of “What choice was there?” Whenever Israeli politicians choose the stupidest choice possible, they always insist there is no other choice. What choice was there? The choice was not to agree to the capitulation. Just say no.

Of the terrorists released, many will revert to their careers of murder, as did so many released terrorists before them. They will be celebrated by the barbarians as heroes and role models. It should not take long before the cost of saving the life of one Jew will turn out to be the deaths of many Jews. The deal is popular because the Israeli public is familiar with the faces of Gilad Shalit and his family. The people who will now be murdered or kidnapped by the terrorists newly inspired by the capitulation do not have faces. Nor do THEIR families. Yet.

It was clear all along that there were other ways in which Israel and its government could have dealt with the Shalit kidnapping and captivity. Israel could have assassinated 30 terrorists a day and announce that the targeting would continue every day until Shalit was released. Or Israel could have kidnapped the family members of Hamas leaders and held THEM in captivity until Shalit was free. Or Israel could have executed 30 imprisoned terrorists inside Israeli prison each day.

Better yet, Israel could have eliminated the terrorist “bait” that drives kidnapping in the first place -- by executing terrorists. No one has ever been murdered by a terrorist who has already been executed. Every time anyone brings up the idea of capital punishment for terrorism, Israel’s politicians wring their hands and whine about how “unethical” it is, how it violates Jewish ethics. All this coming from politicians who do not have the slightest idea of what Jewish ethics has to say about anything. Suffice it to say that capital punishment is as fundamentally grounded in Torah and Jewish ethics as are bans on incest and adultery. Jewish ethics explicitly prohibits abandoning other randomly chosen Jews to be killed in order to obtain the release of one Jew being threatened.

The current government may soon be learning how ephemeral “popularity” is and how capricious the throng can be. It may not take long for their cowardice to reap what it has sown, in the form of buses exploding on Israeli streets or suicide bombing attacks on Israeli restaurants. And those victims of the Shalit capitulation will have faces and families.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gilad Shalit, a Terrorist Prisoner Release and Jewish Leadership

By Tuvia Brodie

More than five years and 1,900 days ago, Hamas terrorists from Gaza executed a brilliant plan: they ambushed Israeli soldiers at the Gaza border and kidnapped one of them, Gilad Shalit. Their goal was cunning: use this lone soldier to barter the release of hundreds of their fellow-killers from Israeli jails. They understood their adversaries. They believed they would win. What they had no way of knowing, however, was how grandly they would win.

They won three ways. First, they achieved their goal of prisoner release. But, under the law of unintended consequences, they also achieved two other goals. You see, at the moment of the kidnapping, Hamas could not predict how Gilad Shalit’s parents would weaken the fabric of Israel’s political resolve with their campaign to win their son’s release. The Shalits’ behavior proved perfect for Hamas because their protest became the straw that broke the back of Israeli resolve: Netanyahu’s government might well resist the attacks of Leftist professionals in NGOs and the media, but the Shalits were different. In the politicized enterprise called, ‘attack Netanyahu’, the Shalits were non-political. They were not professionals. They were ordinary. Their pain appealed to every Jewish parent. Their attacks were wonderful because they were innocent and appealing—and they clawed relentlessly at the emotional underbelly of Israel’s body-politic. Through the Shalits, in other words, Hamas would not only free terrorists, it would also inject into Israel’s civic lifeblood a toxin called fear, anguish, guilt and confusion, the consequences of which would delight Israel-haters everywhere.

The third unexpected win came with the timing of the agreement. Israel could not have given Hamas a more propitious moment: Fatah, engaged in statehood discussions with the Quartet, could offer the ‘Palestinian’ people no comparable victory, for by agreeing to talk, the most obvious potential outcome they were creating was compromise. Hamas, on the other hand, could now stand triumphant before their people—uncompromising, dedicated absolutely to their cause, and victorious. Thanks to the Shalits, this victory was a true gift to Hamas from the gods of hate.

In America, October 12 is the day the entire population celebrates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Among Arabs immediately surrounding Israel, October 12 will now become the day entire cities celebrate yet another victory of Hamas over Fatah, and the unalloyed victory of unrelenting and uncompromising Jihadist rejection.

For Israelis, October 12 will not be a day to celebrate. Instead, it could become a day remembered as one that brought death and woe to the Jewish nation. But it may also be the day the Jewish nation finally began to understand that a Torah-based Jewish leadership gives us a better chance to survive than the status quo.

Let’s be honest here. This war with Hamas-Fatah is not about territory or borders. There have been by now dozens of essays that have reminded us that, if land was the issue, we could have had peace long ago. The Jews have made that many offers. This war is about hate. It is a war to purify the land, to rid the land of infidels, to remove the cockroach Jew so that there will be cleanliness for Islam. It is a war of belief—and the Muslim is strong because his belief is strong.

A recent survey may tell Israelis that 58% of us are mildly-strongly religious. But the truth is, we support our current Jewish leadership as if only 5% are religious. While we say we are religious, we expect our leadership to be pagan. The Arab has no such problem. The Arab votes for Hamas and gets what he wants—a religious-based leadership based on clear values. Yes, those values are not Torah-values. But these people are not Jews. They hate Jews—and their leadership, their religion and their values all unite on this one focal-point. They are strong because of it.

Israelis, meanwhile, are clueless. Even though 58% say that believe in their religion, they also seem to believe that any Torah-based national leadership that focuses on Jewish values will lead to oppression. Why do they believe this? Because they see daily in Israeli media the subliminal—and often not so subliminal--message that a Jewish Israel would be a disaster. The Israel media is, like Hamas, unrelenting: Judaism spells darkness and, surely, public stoning. Israeli Jews, meanwhile, forget their religion and behave as if they believe what they see in this anti-religious drumbeat. By apparently believing the religious self-hatred of the media, Israelis weaken their leadership by demanding that their leaders commit to non-Jewish values; and to make sure that their fellow citizens tow this line, we have politicians like Livni, Barak and Peres showing us how wonderful political pagan-worship is. For 63 years, this country has delightfully embraced G-d-denying leadership—and look where it has gotten us. Can any Prime Minister really do his job if he has to swim against this stream? Ask the tent protesters, B’Tselem, Peace Now and the Shalits. They’ll tell you. Israelis are clueless.

But the release of hundreds of Jew-killers might be a wake-up call. Remember, we have been to this movie before. After a similar 1985 release, we got the first Intifada—and we had no answers. But this time might be different because these times are different. Increasingly, Jews in Israel are waking up to the fact that we see religious Jews every day—and they are not devils. More and more Jews in Israel are beginning to understand that Judaism is not a religion of darkness because they see too many bright smiles on the street. More and more of us realize that religious Jews are productive and energized, working beside us as scientists, soldiers, doctors and entrepreneurs; we have seen too many religious Jews in the light of day to believe that our religion is darkness. We can see clearly that Judaism is compatible with modernity.

Israelis might be clueless. But we are not stupid. We see productive Torah-Jews everywhere. We also see God-denying leadership, the nations of the world gathering against us—and 1,000 angry Jew-haters about to go free. We might look like we are clueless, but many of us do remember that our 3,300 year-old Heritage has told us that these days of trial would come—just as our Torah has told us that we would be scattered, persecuted and then ingathered as we experience a resurgence of belief. We may act like we’re clueless, but some of us are starting to re-think the promised benefits and actual results of G-d-less leadership. More and more of us are starting to think about something else: Torah-based leadership for our Jewish nation; and make no mistake-- a leadership based on Torah values would not take us to surrender and humiliation before our enemies.

We will see what these 1,000 prisoners bring to us. As this is written (October 16, 2011), we have seen no evidence that Israeli officials have confirmed Gilad’s condition. We will see what that means. We will also see what these 1,000 prisoners teach us about the fruits of leadership that appears to deny our Torah.

Because of Gilad, this might indeed be the year we change our values.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Rosh Hashanah I Will Never Forget

By Moshe Feiglin

8 Tishrei, 5772
Oct. 6, 2011

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

Rosh Hashanah is the time for introspection. Where was I one year ago, where am I today, what is the state of my spiritual balance sheet, the curses of the past year and its blessings.

Last Rosh Hashanah, 5771, I walked with a heavy heart to the small synagogue in the Tel Hashomer hospital. Two and a half months had passed since the terrible accident and my son, David, was still unconscious. After five weeks in intensive care in the Schneider hospital, the devoted staff that had saved his life transferred him for continued care to the wonderful people in the rehab ward of Tel Hashomer. They set out to preserve his physical functions; keeping the hole carved out in his neck to allow him to breath uncompromised, feeding him through tubes, moving his limbs, caring for his eyes – they did it all. And we waited and prayed that he would wake up.

The doctors remained split. Some tried to explain that this type of injury did not leave room for optimism. The days, weeks and months that passed seemed to bite away at our hope.

"Stay at home with the children," Tzippy said to me. But I insisted on praying the prayers of the Day of Judgment with David. Not really with him, of course, for he was laying motionless in his bed, at the very most being rolled down the halls of the ward in a chair that would support his listless head along with all the tubes entering and exiting his body.

The first day of prayers passed unremarkably. I arrived at the hospital synagogue early, chose an inconspicuous place in the back row, hid myself in my prayer shawl and attempted to concentrate on the words in the small prayer book. Unlike an ordinary synagogue, a hospital synagogue does not have an organized congregation. Nobody goes there by choice and most of the worshippers do not know each other. The services were conducted by somebody up front. The line of people waiting to be called up to the Torah was long. Everybody wanted to recite the special blessing for the hospitalized patient with whom they were spending the holiday. It didn't look to me like I had a chance to be called up to the Torah, and that was fine with me.

From the anonymity of the crowd and my general distress, I was able to feel alone with my Maker and to verbalize my supplications. Nobody paid any attention to me. That, at least, is what I wanted to think.

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, I once again set out for the synagogue at the same time and with the same heavy heart. Once again I took my place at the back of the small synagogue and once again the services were conducted in the same manner. But as the time for the blowing of the shofar approached, a murmur wafted through the congregation. Everyone turned around, calling my attention to the large wheelchair that was cumbersomely making its way to the front of the synagogue. At the first moment, I did not understand why everybody was looking at me until I realized that it was David laying/sitting in the chair and that the person pushing him was Tzippy, who had decided to set out on the difficult trek with the unwieldy chair from one end of the hospital to the other – so that David would hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. I quickly approached them. Suddenly, I realized that I had not been alone in my prayers, at all. Everybody in the synagogue knew and was praying with me. I found myself standing with David at the front of the room and when the time came to read the Torah, I was called up to make the blessings.

In an obvious act of Heaven, the part of the Torah to which I was called up was exactly the portion of the Akedat Yitzchak, the binding of Isaac, read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. I recited the blessing of the Torah and read along in a whisper straight from the Torah with the man reading aloud for the entire congregation.

"Take your son, your only one, whom you love," the holy letters crashed into my being straight from the parchment, and my whole body began to tingle. "And the two of them walked together."

At that moment, I felt that the letters were talking about the father and son standing right there; my son at my side and I were now being brought to the akedah. Tears that I had repressed deep inside me since the accident welled up and out of my eyes, straight onto the holy Torah scroll.

Tzippy had to bring David back for some treatments before the end of the prayers and I returned to the back row of the synagogue for the Mussaf prayers.

At the end of the prayers, I walked lightly to the rehab ward. My heart was no longer heavy. I felt that with this prayer session I had entered the same plane, the same point of accepting G-d's judgment that leaves no room for fear. Perhaps this is also how Abraham and Isaac felt during those fateful moments. All the prayers, blessings and acts of kindness of the Nation of Israel, big and small, more observant and less observant that had flooded us since the accident enveloped me. I felt that everybody had prayed for David, I had prayed as hard as I could and now it was in G-d's hands. Whatever He decided, I would accept. That was a huge relief.

Rosh Hashanah 5771 ended. The Ten Days of Repentance flew quickly by. Three months had already passed since the accident and David was still unconscious. I decided to spend Yom Kippur with our other children, at home. Just moments before the sun set on Yom Kippur eve, Tzippy called from the hospital. "David is talking!" she shouted almost hysterically. "Talk to him and hear for yourself!"

"Shalom," I heard the familiar voice of my son, weak but clear.

At the end of the conversation I wrapped myself in my prayer shawl and turned toward the synagogue for the Kol Nidrei prayers.

HaRav Chanan Porat, z"l

Manhigut Yehudit joins the entire Nation of Israel in mourning the passing of HaRav Chanan Porat z"l. Chanan Porat was the personality most identified with the renewed settlement of Judea and Samaria. Without Chanan and the settlement movement that he pioneered in Yesha, Israel would have lost Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria long ago and would be in a very difficult situation today. We all bow our heads in memory of this exemplary personality. May he be a righteous advocate for the Land of Israel and the Nation of Israel before the Heavenly Throne.

Comment from Dovid Shirel, Educational Director of Manhigut Yehudit:
“Coming from America as a young student, I moved immediately to Hebron. I remember Chanan Porat well. He used to come to our Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba to talk about the situation in Yamit and Yehuda ve’Shomron. Each time, during his talk he would do an incredible thing. He would suddenly stop, turn to one of the Yeshiva students and ask him what page in the Talmud he was learning. The student would answer and then, with no books in front of him, Chanan Porat would start explaining the Gemara complete with Rashi and Tosafot! He would then tie that particular Gemara into what he was talking about! It was simply incredible! The man was not only a great activist for the Land of Israel, he was truly a Talmid Chacham! While I did not always agree with his opinions, I always held him in the highest regard. He was humble, simple and a great leader. Am Yisrael will miss him.”

A Yom Kippur Message from Moshe Feiglin

May You be King, Hashem, our G-d, over all of Your creations, speedily, on Mount Zion, the dwelling place of Your glory and in Jerusalem, the city of Your Temple.
(From the Yom Kippur prayers).

Manhigut Yehudit wishes all of our friends, readers and supporters a gmar chatimah tovah. May our deeds and prayers find favor in G-d's eyes. May we merit to sanctify His Name and to make our will His will. May we restore the honor of Israel this year by actualizing our sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and by making Israel a moral lighthouse for all the peoples of the world.

Illustration Courtesy of the Temple Institute

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Yom Kippur 5772

BS"D Yom Kippur 5772

There is some confusion regarding the respective functions of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.

1- Rosh HaShana is Yom HaDin - the Day of Judgement - when HaShem passes judgement of who will live and who will die in the coming year. Yet there is no more than a mere hint of sins and tshuva (repentance) in the tfilot (prayers) on Rosh HaShana; while the major thrust of repentance is on Yom Kippur. On Rosh HaShana we proclaim HaShem’s kingship and mastery over all that exists, but the three cardinal principles of tshuva: vidui (confession), charata (regret) and kabala le’atid (resolutions for the future) are strangely absent. Isn’t this bizarre for people standing before the High Court of Heaven whose very lives are in the balance?

2- The Gemara (Rosh Hashana 16b) states:

אמר רבי כרוספדאי אמר רבי יוחנן: שלשה ספרים נפתחין בראש השנה, אחד של רשעים גמורין, ואחד של צדיקים גמורין, ואחד של בינוניים. צדיקים גמורין - נכתבין ונחתמין לאלתר לחיים, רשעים גמורין - נכתבין ונחתמין לאלתר למיתה, בינוניים - תלויין ועומדין מראש השנה ועד יום הכפורים

Rabbi Kruspedai said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: Three books are opened on Rosh HaShana. One for the arch-sinners, one for the righteous and one for the yet undefined. The righteous are immediately signed and sealed to live, the arch-sinners are immediately signed and sealed to die, and the judgement of the yet undefined is postponed until Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Yochanan’s teaching is problematic:

1- If arch-sinners are condemned to die in the coming year, why are so many still with us in this world?

2- If the righteous are signed and sealed for life, why do so many righteous people die at a young age?

I submit:

HaShem created an unfinished world, into which He implanted stimuli designed to evolve all the world’s entities into future stages of development. The process of evolution is the most powerful force inherent in all that exists.

The Big Bang produced the rudimentary elements of hydrogen, helium and the mysterious, theoretical photon, and from that time on, our universe has been busy creating galaxies and their stars which explode as supernovas, producing the complex elements we now find in the atomic table.

Human beings and the societies we create are the essential part of the evolutionary process. Societies which men create produce great evils, which in turn are replaced by seemingly better ones, which in time produce their own evils until they too are replaced with a better set of circumstances which creates their evils, ad infinitum.

Channeling the direction and momentum of all things, ever so subtly, is the invisible Hand of HaShem. The Creator has an overriding plan for his creations, which will in time achieve the predetermined goals which are the most hidden secrets of the Creator.

Rosh HaShana is not a day for repentance. It is the time when HaShem assesses what has been achieved towards realizing His predetermined plan and what is yet left to be accomplished. He then turns to the highest of His creations - man - to determine who among us will contribute to advancing the world to in its next level in the evolutionary process.

Tzadikim (righteous) are signed and sealed on Rosh HaShana to live, because they certainly contribute to the world’s perfection. But there are tzaddikim who HaShem has determined that they have reached the pinnacle of their contribution and He brings them to another dimension where they receive their eternal reward.

The evildoers die because their presence here would cause the world to regress into the more primitive levels of immorality rather than to advance it. However, there are evildoers who HaShem requires to be alive in order to advance the world to its next level. As the Gemara (Sukka 52b) says:

אמר רב חנא בר אחא, אמרי בי רב: ארבעה מתחרט עליהן הקדוש ברוך הוא שבראם, ואלו הן: גלות, כשדים, וישמעאלים, ויצר הרע

There are four things that HaShem regrets creating: galut (exile), Kasdim (Babylonians), Yishmaelim (descendants of Yishmael) and the yetzer hara (man’s evil inclination).

This is a thought provoking idea. Why did HaShem bring these four into the world and then regret doing so? Just don’t create them and have no regrets!

But the Gemara is telling us that these four evils are necessary for the world to advance in the evolutionary process aimed at achieving the goals HaShem set for us. Think of a catalyst whose presence in a chemical reaction does not add anything substantial to the result, but merely increases the speed of the reaction.

In contrast, on Yom Kippur, HaShem examines the individual not in terms of his potential contribution to the goals of creation, but how he has conducted himself in the tiny kingdom of his private world. On this day, we confess and regret our wrong doings, and resolve not to repeat them.

Or to put it plainly: On Rosh HaShana HaShem, as it would be, looks inwardly to see how His predestined plan is progressing; on Yom Kippur HaShem observes the most minute details in the lives of every man, and then weighs and balances all the determinants of that life and hands down judgement for the coming year.

This sheds light on the unusual term used by Avraham Aveinu when replying to HaShem’s sudden call to him at the beginning of the Akaida (the binding of Yitzchak) episode.

In Beresheet 22:1 the Torah relates:

ויהי אחר הדברים האלה והאלהים נסה את אברהם ויאמר אליו אברהם ויאמר הנני

And it came to pass after these things, that HaShem tested Avraham and called to him, "Avraham," and he (Avraham replied) "hinaini" (I am here).

"I am here," is a strange reply when the accepted one would have been a simple "yes".

Tradition has it that the Akaida occurred on Rosh Hashana, which is the basis of the mitzvah to sound a ram’s horn (shofar) to bring before HaShem the merit of the Akaida when a ram was sacrificed in place of Yitzchak. Hence, HaShem’s call to Avraham occurred three days prior to Rosh HaShana.

Avraham was aware of the essence of Rosh HaShana when HaShem focuses on those individuals who would be essential in bring to fruition the goals for which the world was created.

Avraham replies, "Hinaini" meaning: I am here at Your service to fulfill any and all missions which You place upon me.

HaShem is the King, and Eretz Yisrael His palace.

And as with a king who appoints ministers to serve him closely in the palace, and others who do not enter the palace but serve the king as caretakers, gardeners, cleaners, etc., HaShem has His personal palace personalities who assist him in realizing the goals of the kingdom, and others who fulfill more mundane tasks.

The major goals of HaShem are being realized by His chosen people in Eretz Yisrael, while the Jews in the galut also serve the King, albeit in secondary roles.

So, let us pray for a year when all Jews will be aroused to realize the greatness of the times in which we merit to live, and fill the Holy Land with HaShem’s children. This would indeed be a major step in realizing the yet hidden goals of HaShem the Creator.

Gemar Chatima Tova

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5771-2011 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Over our dead bodies

By Ben Caspit
Honorable Vice President of the United States of America, Mr. Joseph Biden:

Shalom and a happy Jewish New Year!

Up until several days ago, you, Mr. Biden, were considered "Israel's closest and truest friend in the White House."

As such, we here in Israel are wondering what exactly was going through your mind when you declared that Jonathan Pollard would be given clemency over your "dead body."

It's important to us, here in Israel, to understand. To all of us: to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's supporters and detractors, to the far right and the far left, to the rich and the poor, the Ashkenazi and the Sephardic.

Anyone with eyes in their head and hearts thumping in their chests would like to know what led you to issue that unhinged statement. Are there things that you know that the rest of the world does not? What has changed since 2007, when you declared that Jonathan Pollard’s bid for clemency was justified? I’ll tell you what has changed: Pollard has spent five more years in prison, in solitary confinement. His health has worsened (I recommend you use your influence to verify to what extent), his chances of starting a family have been decimated, his father died and he was barred from accompanying him on his final journey. In the meanwhile, more and more respectable people have stepped forward and declared that the time has come for his release.

That’s what has changed.

IS IT possible, Mr. Biden, that you know something that James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, and Dennis DeConcini, former chairman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, do not? Because both of them are both in favor of releasing him. Do you know something that Henry Kissinger, George Shultz or John McCain don’t? All of them, esteemed American patriots, are in favor of clemency. How about former US Attorney-General Michael Mukasey? Do you know something he doesn’t? Have you got intelligence that Lawrence Korb, assistant defense secretary under Casper Weinberger, was not privy to? Korb was there, in real time, but Korb, an honest and decent man, felt his conscience claw at him, and today he leads the call to free Pollard, who next month will mark his twenty-sixth year in American prison.

On Wednesday, you, Mr. Biden, will host a Rosh Hashana party at your residence for American Jewish leaders. As I said, you are considered to be our closest friend among President Barack Obama’s inner circle. Now, as the race toward the presidential elections picks up pace, you have taken upon yourself to serve as the president’s ambassador to the Jewish community.

I suggest that during the festive celebration at your residence, you ask Abe Foxman, a man whose integrity cannot be called into question, or Malcolm Hoenlein, one of the most astute watchers of American politics and a man whose finger is always on the pulse of the American Jewish community, why they support Pollard’s urgent release.

Foremost, though, I ask that you examine your own conscience. Ask yourself, Mr. Biden, why Pollard has been in prison for 26 years for a crime that generally receives a two-to-four year sentence in America.

Ask yourself why spies who have committed far graver sins, betrayals that led to the killing of American agents on foreign soil, received far lesser sentences? Ask yourself why it is that the blood libel of attributing those murders to Pollard was circulated so widely. Ask yourself why, once those allegations were proven to be false, his sentence was not commuted.

Ask yourself why the United States of America, a society governed by law and order, did not honor its plea bargain with Pollard. Ask yourself where the limits of human suffering lie. Ask yourself about the nature of compassion.

What, in your eyes, are its dimensions? Mr. Biden, look at the list of honorable names, the American leaders and officials who are calling for Pollard’s release.

All of them believe that his continued incarceration is an outrage that flies in the face of American justice.

America, Mr. Biden, is regarded as the world’s preeminent superpower not only on account of your weapons and military might. You are the leaders of the free world also on account of your values: liberty, equality, human rights, justice and compassion. Where have those morals gone, Mr. Biden, when assessing Pollard’s case? Are 26 years behind bars, many of which have been served in solitary confinement, an insufficient punishment for what remains a relatively minor crime? Does a man who has expressed remorse and already paid a terrible price not deserve to live out his days in freedom? Until now, Mr. Vice President, you have made a name for yourself as someone with a quick tongue and a short fuse. No responsible parties have charged you with being cruel, evil, or bloodthirsty. Henceforth, Mr. Biden, the notorious slips of your tongue are the least of your problems. The message you conveyed to those rabbis in Florida, that if it were up to you, Pollard would “stay in jail for life,” put you in a whole different league. A league that you don’t want to be playing in and one I don’t believe you belong in.

We Jews, Mr. Vice President, have begun the Ten Days of Repentance leading up to the Day of Atonement. If what was said in Florida was merely a slip of the tongue, this is the time, Mr. Biden, to take it back. We will forgive and we will forget. All of us make mistakes. It can happen to the vice president, too.

But if you really stand by the statement that “over my dead body” will he be released, then it’s important to understand that the dead body is likely to be his. Jonathan Pollard’s release, after 26 years, is not a matter of politics, diplomacy or national security. It should not be linked to current events. We Israelis, along with many American Jews and other honorable Americans, believe that Jonathan Pollard’s release, in late 2011, is a matter of morality, justice and compassion.

Those values are at the heart of President Obama’s beliefs; they are also the very lifeblood of the great American democracy and of humanity at large.

And so, if justice is to be done, Joe Biden, help us make it happen now!

International Politics and Yom Kippur, 5772

By Tuvia Brodie

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, Jews around the world celebrate Yom Kippur, Judaism’s Holiest day of the year. We approach this twenty-five hour fast with fear and trepidation, for we know that, on this day, we have no excuses. We have no control. We must stand before the Supreme One—alone. We will acknowledge our sins and confess before the Master. Worse, on this day, we realize that man is not who he thinks he is because on this day, past, present and future converge before the All-Powerful G-d. Suddenly, on this singular day, we control nothing. We understand nothing. Time, we suddenly realize, does not belong to us. This convergence of Time before the Power of the Almighty is a concept we cannot easily understand because we—orderly man—must control, order and compartmentalize our existence. We must arrange our lives. History must be a time-line. Time itself must be organized. We must be the masters of our world. Except, of course, on Yom Kippur we cannot master anything. On Yom Kippur, we understand that all Power belongs to G-d.

On this Day, with no food or water, we think: What have we done? How can we change course? If we are wise, we will understand on this day that G-d alone is Truth. Truth is not controlled by man. It is not defined by man. It is not manufactured by man. It is not voted upon by man. Truth is G-d’s alone.

If we are unwise, we reject what we cannot understand. After all, we reason, we are created in the image of G-d. Therefore, if we cannot understand something, then it is worthless, right? If we cannot see it, it is worthless. If we cannot control it, it is worthless. If we are unwise, Truth becomes worthless.

We see this at the United Nations—the world’s house of international understanding, where man organizes and controls and creates. Here, at the center of man’s worship of his own inalienability, Israel is a pariah. She is an outcast--a criminal. She dares be a democracy in a sea of tyranny. Because of some kind of apostasy, she demands to be recognized as the people of the Bible even as she stands accused of denying inalienable rights to an invented, fictitious ‘people’. Her repulsiveness has made her a symbol of the ‘untruth’—and for that, she is worthless. Put another way, Israel’s existence casts a shadow of shame. She is an embarrassment for the world. She is, like G-d’s Truth, an ugly blot. She is the unwanted orphan.

G-d’s Torah predicts the ingathering of His Chosen people to His Holy Land. Modern Israel is a testimony to Holy Words written more than 3,300 years ago. Jews around the world call out, ‘Look, look: G-d’s Word is visible!’ But the nations of the world cry out, ‘Injustice, injustice!’ They are indifferent to G-d as they empower the enemies of G-d.

G-d’s Word created His Holy nation—the Jewish people. Men of hate have created a no-people who hate Israel. When the nations gather in their house of nations, they turn to the Holy nation and say, ‘evil evil.’ They turn to the no-nation and say, ‘we applaud you, we applaud you!’ They give honor to darkness.

G-d’s Torah describes his beloved, Jerusalem. Jews world-over have faced Jerusalem in prayer for nearly two thousand years. The enemies of the Jews turn their backsides to Jerusalem when they pray. But to the world they cry, ‘She in mine, she is mine!’ The nations of the world respond, ‘Amen, amen! Take her, take her!’ They have developed a lust for darkness.

How strange. The Supreme One gave to the nations their inheritance and their borders. He gave to them all they have. But today, these nations demand that the border markers of the Chosen be moved because in their eyes, the Jews do not belong. To the nations of the world, the truth is simple: the land of the Holy belongs to those who would desecrate and then destroy it.

The Truth is worthless. Israel is worthless. Will their peace also be worthless? Is this what the nations of the world, in their house of nations united, will bring to our world—a worthless peace? What will the price for that be? In this year 5772, the world unites. The nations will vote. Who will stand for Israel? Who will stand for Truth?

This Saturday, October 8, 2011, Jews around the world will stand before the Master of the Universe. With neither food nor water, we will afflict our souls. We will recognize that our humanity condemns us to stumble (see The Complete ArtScroll Machzor, Yom Kippur, trans Rabbi Nosson Scherman, Mesorah Pub, New York, pp xiv-xxii). We will recognize Truth. We will tremble at the thought of G-d’s Power. We will recognize that our Creator waits for us (ibid).

How strange is this poetry we call life: just as the nations of the world seek to take from us what belongs to G-d--our land-- our G-d asks us to return to Him. Perhaps this is our Yom Kippur lesson for the year 5772--that this is indeed the time to return to G-d.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The peace process will be the death of Israel

(from Israpundit)

By Ted Belman

US Secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, just came to town and warned that Israel is becoming “increasingly isolated” and must restart negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey. Why? According to Fox News, he said the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East makes it critical for the Israelis to find ways to communicate with other nations in the region in order to have stability.

His remarks come on the heels of Bill Clintons attack on Netanyahu for the failure of the peace process and Gates’ parting shot according to Elliot Abrams

    “Gates argued to the president directly that Netanyahu is not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank.”

This pressure being put on the Netanyahu government reflects the actual Obama policy towards Israel rather than his UN speech which was much fairer to Israel than he had been in the past. Obama wants Israel to give in to his demands for |negotiations based on ’67 lines with swaps and to appease all her neighbours.

Obama obviously wants to appear as Israel’s friend with his reelection foremost in his mind and therefor gets others to do his dirty work. Another example of this is getting Biden to take the hit for not releasing Pollard. In addition Hillary Clinton filed a brief in the Court in the birth certificate case, which alleges that any American action that “symbolically or concretely” signals it recognizes Jerusalem being in Israel would “critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.” Sounds like an over-statement to me.

No one really believes that if Israel were to appease its neighbors, she will find peace. Quite the contrary, Appeasement by Israel begets more demands. Even now the PA is referencing the borders suggested by the Partition Plan as their goal while at the same time acknowledging that even the 49 armistice lines would leave Israel defenseless.

More than anything, Israel’s isolation is due to the peace process. It is the peace process that empowers the Arabs to make demands and enables the US and the EU to make demands. As such the peace process will be the death of Israel. By focusing all this attention on the peace process and blaming Israel for its failure, the Arab street becomes fixated on hatred for Israel and paradoxically on the US for not delivering Israel.

After Israel’s miraculous victory in the Six Day War in ’67, there was no need for any process, not even for Res 242. This resolution had its genesis in three things.

    1) President Johnson did not want to force Israel to withdraw without an agreement, as Eisenhower had done after the Sinai Campaign in ’56.

    2) Israel was worried about the demographic threat inherent in having all the Arabs in the acquired territories within her borders and preferred to withdraw to secure and recognized borders.

    3) The Arab demand that the US government force Israel to withdraw.

Even so, the Arabs rejected this resolution because it didn’t require Israel to withdraw from “all” territories.

In 1975 Secretary of State Kissinger confided to an Arab diplomat

    Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world

    We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel but we can reduce its size to historical proportions.

    If the issue is the existence of Israe1, we can’t cooperate. But if the issue is more normal borders, we can cooperate.

    Aide: Your Excellency, do you think a settlement would come through the Palestinians in the area? ‘How do you read it? Is it in your power to create such a thing?

    Kissinger: Not in 1976. I have to be perfectly frank with you. I think the Palestinian identity has to be recognized in some form. But we need the thoughtful cooperation of the Arabs.

This is still the American policy. It’s not about achieving peace. It is about shrinking Israel to “historical proportions”. The Palestinian people are only a tool created to bring this about. Does that mean the armistice lines or the Partition lines?

By participating in the peace process, Israel is allowing this to take place. Every step along the way and every concession Israel has made have left her weaker and with less rights. When Israel entered into the Oslo Accords, she foolishly thought she was in control. And she would have been but for the interference of the international community. In the result Israel is not in control and is reacting to the control and initiatives of others. The process keeps changing to her detriment without her consent.

So far Israel has elected to continue the process, probably believing that by doing so she is forcing the PA to play its hand. Her victory of getting the Quartet to demand “negotiations without preconditions” will be short lived because the first thing to be negotiated is the conditions or framework for negotiations. To show they mean business, the Quartet introduced timelines which are as meaningless as the timelines set out in the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap. They will simply be ignored.

Had the US not attempted to shrink Israel, there would have peace now. Had the US not supported the policy of keeping the original refugees and their descendants in despicable camps, there would be no refugee problem now. If Israel had been allowed to keep the Sinai and Judea and Samaria (West Bank), Israel would not be isolated but would be dominant. Had the US not insisted that Israel abandon the Philadelphi Corridor when she was leaving Gaza, Hamas wouldn’t be in power there, armed to the teeth. Had the US not built up the Egyptian army and put the Moslem Brotherhood in charge of it, Israel would have nothing to fear from Egypt. She no doubt would have used the Sinai or part of it to create a Palestinian state large enough to accommodate the Palestinians.

The sooner Israel abandons the peace process the better.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Haredi and Israel’s High-Tech Industry

By Tuvia Brodie

Let us begin the Jewish New Year 5772 with thoughts about the ultra-orthodox (called the ‘Haredi’ Jewish community) in Israel:

Six months ago, the Jerusalem Post reported on Israel’s rank in the world of internet economics. It was a positive report. But ‘Internet sector will reach 8.5% of GDP by 2015’, March 10, 2011, by Nadav Shemer, suggested a problem: e-commerce (and high-tech) in Israel were growing so rapidly, Israel would soon run out of intelligent and talented e-workers to help grow Israel’s e-commerce/high-tech businesses. Nevertheless, based on a survey by McKinsey Company, the report suggested that a solution sits right in front of us, one that promises to promote employment among Israel’s highest unemployment communities—a benefit for both the economy and the unemployed: train both Arab and Haredi for the e-commerce/ high-tech workplace. Israel will need these workers to man high-tech activities, McKinsey suggested, and the relatively high unemployment rates among these two groups seemed an obvious place to turn in order to find needed future manpower. The article specifically identified both Arab and Haredi as potential high-tech employees.

About a month before the survey was published, Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, announced a new national initiative, maantech, aimed exclusively at developing trained future employees for Israel’s high-tech world. But the President’s plan focused only on Arabs. Haredi were not included.

While at first blush this omission seemed discriminatory, it may not be so because the Haredi and the Arab have different employment issues. A single program to meet the needs of both groups (so as to provide Israel’s high-tech industry with a future stream of qualified workers) would probably not work. For example, according to the Jerusalem Post (Peres, high-tech leaders work to integrate Arabs in workforce, by Greer Fay Cashman, February 9, 2011), the greatest issue for Arab workers is not training, but post-training employment search. Therefore, the maantech initiative appears aimed at assisting qualified Arab school graduates to integrate into the Israeli high-tech workforce. By contrast, the problem for the Haredi is not post-education employment search. Their issue focuses on cultural attitudes towards both the workplace and the training needed to enter the workplace. While it seems certain that the Haredi represent a vast, available and concentrated reservoir of intelligent workers, they will not, for religious reasons, interface with a traditional educational format, and they will not seek employment in the traditional workplace environment. Intensely held cultural barriers keep them separated. Because of those barriers, one of the greatest workplace deterrents to the Haredi is the workplace itself, with its out-of-neighborhood setting, melting pot atmosphere and secular influences. The Haredi appear hesitant to cross a cultural line to go to work even as some wish to work. The same would be true for Haredi wishing an education.

So if President Peres develops a program to help the Arab unemployed, what can he do for the Haredi? Many in Israel take the position that the Haredi should just ‘suck it up’ and do what everyone else does—go to school and get a job. The result of these attitudes, however, is simply a hardening of Haredi reluctance to work in that melting pot arena; and as the McKinsey report suggests, with their growing population, Israel cannot afford to be so cavalier towards them: this population segment will soon represent 20% of the country’s workforce, and with an almost 70% unemployment rate, this group could have a seriously negative impact on the country’s economy if their unemployment continues unabated. The Haredi have to work, both for their own needs and because of the nation’s needs. The question is, how to promote their employment without creating religious-based civil strife?

The good news here is that the e-commerce and high-tech sectors do not, and need not, require an employee to leave his or her neighbourhood to go to work. President Peres can turn to High Tech companies for the Haredi just as easily as he turned to them for the Arab: these industries can build much of the industrial network they need through small workplace environments (perfectly matched to Haredi neighbourhood lifestyle), and/or though home-based workstations. In addition, non-traditional (but effective) training programs can be developed to address similar Haredi concerns about education.

Naturally, not all Haredi will sign on to these ideas. But we do not need to start with a solution for all Haredi. We need to start first with a small, pre-selected group. These Haredi can then be educated and employed. Their cultural and religious standards can be protected. They can stay within their own enclaves. An initiative can even be created for young men to work—and continue their religious studies—in the same environment at the same location. Then, once this first Haredi group has succeeded, we can work with a second pre-selected group, then a third, etc.

As MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) points out in a recent Jerusalem Post story (United Torah Judaism chairman slams Trajtenberg report, by Jeremy Sharon, September 27, 2011), current Israeli education requirements completely discount Haredi religious education in favor of, say, Humanities when, in fact, a degree in Humanities is often no more relevant to the workplace than religious education. He has a point. This type of purely secular and monolithic national education policy does not completely match the realities of the modern workplace. A religiously trained Haredi who has completed both religious education and a specifically designed high-tech program, will contribute as much as or more than a Humanities or Social Science graduate. The key to success is not what degree one has, but what type of analytic skills one has learned, and what kind of technical-specific training one has completed.

Israel’s future economic well-being requires the Haredi to contribute to the workplace. But forcing them to work will fail. Rather, we should work with them. At first, we will need to form a coalition of MK members, government representatives, educational leaders and respected Haredi religious leaders who are willing to participate, to join together, to seek common ground.

Through the participation, influence and leadership of specific religious leaders in the Haredi world and with education and work rules that are sensitive to Haredi culture, an army of talented Hardei workers can be identified, recruited, trained and employed—all under the guiding wisdom of pre-selected religious leaders who will shape the rules for participating Haredi workers. These religious leaders can play a central role in guiding their followers according to standards they help to create and implement.

There is more. This is just the beginning. A concerted and properly-formed initiative can generate substantial economic benefits for everyone. Joining with the Haredi sector serves Israel in three ways: first, it helps provide the intelligence-rich talent our High-tech industry will desperately need; second, it brings needed income to Haredi families; and third, it reduces Israel’s welfare roles. It is a shidduch (marriage arrangement) that will work.