Earlier this week, two jets filled with most of the Knesset Members and their assistants took off for a visit in Auschwitz. I stayed here in Israel.
When the Jews were driven out of Spain during the Inquisition, we vowed never again to step foot in that cursed land. We kept that promise for hundreds of years.
Undoubtedly, the experience of standing at the mouth of the crematoria is not something that can be replicated. But there is an essence – much more important – lost when the memory becomes a museum expedition. The memory of the Holocaust must continue to be a living memory that is constantly there, influencing our lives and our approach to the nation that slaughtered our brethren.
If I were to land in Poland, who would guard me? Who is responsible for my security? In whom do I put my trust? What message does my presence there project to me and my surroundings? The implicit message is that what happened there is relevant to other worlds that no longer exist – just like a tour of the Pyramids. There is no connection between then and now. Now I rely on the Poles. Now there is a different ethical reality. They are not responsible.
On the 9th of Av, I do not go to museums. I fast. I take the memory to a place of action for me. I am in a state of personal mourning.
There is no significance to the memory of the Holocaust if we do not make it a personal accounting – for ourselves and our surroundings.
Deputy Knesset Chairman Moshe Feiglin (Likud) slammed reports of a deep chasm between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) Wednesday, calling the conflict “ridiculous” and a distraction from important national issues.
“The clashes between Netanyahu and Bennett are ridiculous,” Feiglin stated to Arutz Sheva. “The discussion should not be on who insulted whom or who needs to ask forgiveness, but focus instead on the negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“Livni has already declared that she will begin negotiating over Jerusalem,” the MK continued. “I recommend to Netanyahu that he stop using the arguments with Bennett as a smokescreen and approach the people over the real issues at stake.”
Feiglin called on Netanyahu – who is not only the Prime Minister but the head of his party, Likud – to turn to the people over the outcome of the ongoing negotiations.
“Go to the public like a man and issue a referendum [over dividing Jerusalem],” he stated, in a public call to the Prime Minister. “If you win, you’ll be able to do whatever you want – and, of course, I’ll leave the coalition.
“If you lose, you’ll end up going to elections – and I call on all in the nationalist camp to choose an alternative to the leadership of Netanyahu,” Feiglin continued.
Feiglin also attacked the policies of Jewish Home, insisting not only that mistakes have been made by the party, but also that they have caused real damage.
“Senior members of Jewish Home capitulated to Netanyahu by allowing him to negotiate over the heart of our country,” Feiglin declared, referring to talks of giving away Judea and Samaria. “I claim, unlike Naftali Bennett and other Jewish Home leaders, that negotiation over the land in the first place undermines the legitimacy of establishing a Jewish homeland in the entire Land of Israel.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s controversial suggestion to leave Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria under Palestinian Authority (PA) control caused the breakdown between the two parties. Sources close to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated that the suggestion – which was allegedly an unauthorized leak – was an intentional ruse to expose the “true face” of the PA to the international community.
Feiglin was not impressed.
“I am against negotiations and will not accept the concept of a Palestinian state, as well as those who enter into negotiations and then try to escape,” he said. “I hope it’s not too late.”
A Torah Though on Parashat Terumah by Moshe Feiglin
And they will make me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst. (From this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, Exodus 25:8)
Last week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, deals mostly with “regular” laws. The French also know that a son must not hit his father and the Russians know that a person who digs a pit that causes damage must take responsibility and pay. On the surface, Mishpatim would need only cosmetic changes to serve as a codex for every nation on earth. Last week we pointed out that the entirety of Jewish law creates an essential difference between it and other national law systems: the complete liberty of the Jew.
In this week’s Torah portion, we no longer need to search for the liberty peeking out from the forest of laws. The entire ebb and flow of life, from laws of the individual until the Jewish holidays described in Mishpatim now come together in the dimension beyond the physical world. In Mishpatim, G-d instructs us as to how to live our lives throughout the year. But the routine cannot end up as eternal, pointless subjugation to life’s cycles. In Terumah, we connect to eternity.
“And they will make me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.” The proper, balanced and precise way of life that we learned in Mishpatim – as individuals and as a nation – allows us to connect between the physical and the meta-physical in this week’s Torah portion. It allows us to pour eternal meaning into our lives, to crown the Creator as King upon us and to be liberated from any and all human subjugation. The place that G-d chose for this connection, the Divine royal palace from which His Presence dwells in the entire world – is the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount.
Building the Holy Temple is not an optional privilege. The King of the world desires to infuse the world with His Presence and to rule over His world – specifically in this manner. Our entire existence here in Israel draws its strength from this destiny. The more that we deny it, the more our existence loses its significance and legitimacy.
“He who rules over the Mount rules over the Land,” explained the poet of rebuke and faith, Uri Tzvi Greenberg.
When we establish true Jewish leadership for Israel, we will restore our control over the Mount, and as a result, over the Land.
This week’s news from Israel revealed that Israel President Shimon Peres has been arguing in private against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, Peres’ private comments have found their way into the public domain: his conflict with Netanyahu is now public.
First, a news report claimed that Peres believes Israel doesn’t have to be ‘Jewish’ to sign a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) (“Peres: PA Recognition of Jewish State 'Unnecessary'”,Arutz Sheva, January 22, 2014). He is reported to have felt this way for some time.
Then a follow-up report appeared to intensify Peres’ criticism of Netanyahu. It re-formulated Peres’ comments as saying that “Netanyahu was ‘stubbornly’ making ‘unnecessary’ demands that were impeding the peace process” (“Likud Ministers: Peres 'Shooting His Mouth Off Again'”, Arutz Sheva, January 23, 2014).
Mr Netanyahu, meanwhile, has said that he will sign no peace deal unless the PA accepts Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state. As if to explain Netanyahu’s position, Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz (Likud) has said that “all negotiations for peace begin with mutual recognition (ibid)”.
Steinitz makes an interesting point: the PA demands emphatically that Israel recognize the PA as an independent Arab state; Israel cannot therefore demand to be recognized as a. Jewish state?
The PA rejects this recognition. Yes, it demands recognition for itself. But it refuses Israel its recognition.
This is not the behaviour of a ‘peace partner’. It is the behaviour of an unrepentant enemy.
Peres is wrong to suggest that demanding recognition for a ‘Jewish’ Israel is bad for peace. In fact, such recognition is crucial if Israel is to survive as the world’s home for Jews.
Look at recent Arab announcements and declarations. As you’ll see in a moment, if Israel does not demand a ‘Jewish’ recognition, then all that Jews cherish in Israel will disappear. That’s not peace. It’s surrender. Actually, it’s defeat.
We learn all of this from a single headline, one that reveals the Arab aim for our Israel. This headline appeared the day before Peres was quoted as saying Israel’s being Jewish was unnecessary. The headline read, “Islamic Waqf Revises History: 'Temple Mount, Kotel are Muslim'”, Arutz Sheva, January 21, 2014). The story behind the headline told us exactly how the Waqf—the Muslim administrator of the Temple Mount—sees Israel, Jews and Judaism. It also explained why ‘Jewish’ is necessary for Israel to survive.
As you may know, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site. The Jordanians (who officially control the Waqf) have signed a Peace Treaty (1993) with Israel to guarantee access and freedom of worship to all holy sites in Israel, to all religions. The Waqf rejects this commitment. The Waqf works actively to undermine all Jewish connection to the Temple Mount—and to other Jewish religious sites in Israel.
The Arutz Sheva article above reported that the Waqf has been distributing a pamphlet to visitors on the Temple Mount. The pamphlet denies that the Jewish King Solomon built a Jewish Temple on the Mount. Instead, the pamphlet calls Solomon, ‘another prophet of Islam’—even though the Jewish Solomon lived more than 1,600 years before Islam began.
The claim that Solomon was Muslim is repeated in the pamphlet.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has stated repeatedly that the Kotel (the Western Wall) is not Jewish and has never been Jewish (see “Palestinian Authority Denies Jewish Right to Western Wall,Arutz Sheva, August, 8, 2013). Jordan and the Waqf, meanwhile, have repeatedly sought to deny Jews access to the Temple Mount (see “Report: Jordan vetoes Israeli request to allow Jewish prayer on Temple Mount”, Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2013; “Islamic Movement Leader: Temple Mount for Muslims Only”, Arutz Sheva, December 8, 2013).
Muslims have also worked aggressively to deny Jerusalem is Jewish (see “Mufti: Jerusalem is 'Islamic”, Arutz Sheva, November 12, 2013).
In addition, the Waqf has been caught repeatedly trying to destroy Jewish archaeological sites on the Mount (a crime in Israel). The Waqf has been also been caught doing illegal construction on the Mount (changing a Holy site without specific, written permission is illegal in Israel—see, for example, “Exposed: Waqf Illegally Drilling on Temple Mount”, Arutz Sheva, January 8, 2014).
The Arab war against Jerusalem and Israel’s Holy sites is aggressive and on-going. Peres ignores these efforts to erase all that is Jewish in Israel. His suggestion gives the Arab the opening he needs to deny all that is Jewish. His suggestion has nothing to do with peace—but everything to do with destroying Jewish Israel.
The Arab waits for us to put aside our identity as a Jewish State. So far as the Arab is concerned, the moment we agree that Israel does not have to be recognized as ‘Jewish’ is the moment that the Islamicization of Israel begins. Why in the world would we want to facilitate that?
Peres may not feel very Jewish himself. He is entitled to feel that way. But he is still the President of the Jewish State. He should put aside his personal feelings. His should put aside his personal agenda.
Mr Peres, you represent the State of Israel. When your sworn enemy tries to erase all that is Jewish from your nation, you shouldn’t go around saying that ‘Jewish’ isn’t necessary.
Mr Peres, you are President of our Jewish State. If you do not stand up to fight for Israel to be Jewish, the Arab will make sure we become Muslim.
Mr Peres, if your conscience tells you that you cannot stand up to fight for the Jewish State to be Jewish, then you are obviously no longer qualified to be President of the Jewish State of Israel.
BS”D Parashat Teruma 5774 Part One: Make for Me a Sanctuary Shemot 25:8 states:
ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם
Make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell within them
There is a problem with this verse. Should it not rather say?
ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכו
Make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell within it
I suggest: Tractate Yoma 69b relates that Ezra the Scribe, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) of the time and builder of the Second Temple, acted to eradicate the obsession for avoda zara(idolatry), which was the root cause of the first Temple’s destruction and the exile of the majority of the Jewish nation. Ezra and his colleagues fasted for three days and nights, after which they saw the fiery form of a lion cub exiting from the Kodesh K’doshim (the Holy of Holies) of the Temple. It was the corporeal form of human compulsion for avoda zara, which from that time on, although present, was very much weakened. This requires an explanation: 1). Why was the habitat of avoda zara in the Kodesh K’doshim? 2). How did the escape of the drive for avoda zara from the Kodesh K’doshim influence the Jewish national psyche? For the answers to these questions we have to turn to our parasha, Teruma. Hashem commands Moshe to construct a portable Beit Mikdash – the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its accompanying vessels. The basic structure of the Mishkan was two rooms: the Kodesh K’doshim (Inner Sanctum, Holy of Holies), which was off limits to all except the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, and the Sanctum, the Kodesh. This two-room structure was enclosed in a courtyard called the azara. These three elements – Kodesh K’doshim, Kodesh and Azara, were present in the Beit Mikdash (Temple) of Shlomo Ha’melech and of Ezra Ha’sofer, and will be present again in the next Beit Mikdash we will soon build, with the aid of HaShem. At the time of the Mishkan and first Mikdash, the Kadosh K’doshim contained the Holy Ark. However, towards the end of the second Temple period, King Yoshiyahu removed the Ark and concealed it in the depths of the Temple Mount. So the Kadosh K’doshim in the subsequent Temple was an empty room. In all the sacred structures, the Kodesh area contained three vessels: the Menorah, the Altar for burning of the aromatic Ketoret (spices), and a Table for the Lechem Ha’panim (show bread). Upon leaving the Kodesh and passing through a vestibule (the Ulam), one exited into the courtyard (the Azara), which contained the large altar for burning of the innards of the respective sacrifices. The higher level sacrifices (Kodshei Kadashim) such as the Olah, Chatat and Asham sacrifices are required to be slaughtered, and their blood collected in the northern area of the Azara. Stand now in front of a mirror. What do you see? Your head, two eyes, a nose and a mouth. Look down and you will see your neck and throat which lead to the internal areas of your chest and abdomen. You are looking at a human being. But, in fact, if you look closer you will see one of the most profound creations in HaShem’s world – a miniature Beit Hamikdash, for all of the elements of the Bet Hamikdash are contained in your physical structure. The uppermost part of your body, the head, contains two areas: an inner sanctum – yourkodesh k’doshim, and an outer sanctum. Your kodesh k’doshim is your brain and private, hidden thoughts. And just as in the Kodesh K’doshim of the Mishkan and Beit Hamikdash, no one can enter your thoughts without your permission. (It is interesting to note that the brain is enclosed within a double membrane, and the entrance to the Kodesh K’doshim in the second Temple was through a double curtain). Now view your face. You are in your outer sanctum or kodesh; for it contains all the elements of the Temple’s Kodesh: Your eyes parallel the Menora. Your nose with its sense of smell parallels the Altar for the aromatic Ketoret. And your mouth is the Table of the “show bread.” We leave your Kodesh and pass through the big doors (throat and neck) leading to your Azara (courtyard), which contains your digestive organs. Just as the altars of the Mishkan and Batei Hamikdash burn and digest the flesh placed upon it by the Kohanim to give sustenance and nourishment and to the world, so do your internal organs. When one exits the Beit Hamikdash, he faces east with his back to the west; and in order to get to the north where the higher korbanot (sacrifices) are slaughtered, one must turn to the left. When you proceed from your face to your chest, your heart is to your left. It is in your heart that the upper korbanot and higher emotional feelings are processed. However, there was an area in the Temples which was holier even than the Kodesh K’doshim. Atop the Kodesh K’dashim was a room called the “Aliya” which was totally empty, and a kohen ascended to it only once every seven years to examine the structure of the walls. So what is the parallel of the Aliya room in our physical structure? The answer is: Tefillin of the head, which is placed above our personal Kodesh K’doshim. Tefillin of the head contains four separate compartments; each one containing a different section of the Torah written on a small piece of parchment. The brain’s cerebral cortex too is divided into four sections: The frontal lobe associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language, the parietal lobe associated with processing tactile sensory information such as pressure, touch, and pain, the temporal lobe for interpreting sounds and the language we hear, and the occipital lobe associated with interpreting visual stimuli. Yes; we are all virtual, living, walking, breathing Batei Mikdash (Holy Temples)! But there is more. The Kadosh K’doshim (minds and inner thoughts) of all Jews are connected by invisible conduits to the Kadosh K’doshim of the Heavenly Beit Hamikdash, and the outer sanctums indelibly forged on our faces are connected to the Kodesh area of the heavenly Beit Hamikdash. When Ezra Hasofer removed the yetzer hara of avoda zara from the inner sanctum of the Beit Hamikdash, the effect was its removal from all our “work stations” connected to the “main frame” in the Kodesh K’doshim in Yerushalayim. The implications are far reaching. Something died within us when the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed. Our connection to the earthly Beit Hamikdash was deleted and we are now connected only to the heavenly one. How can we restore the earthy Beit Hamikdash? It can be achieved by purifying our inner and outer sanctums, and all our other organs. But it is only in Eretz Yisrael that this re-connection can be forged, because it is only here that HaShem and the Jewish nation maintain a continuous dialogue, as stated in the Torah (Devarim 11,12):
ארץ אשר ה’ א-להיך דרש אתה תמיד עיני ה’ א-להיך בה מרשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה:
It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end…
Part Two: Excerpt from my book “With All Your Might” Parashat Teruma 5767 (2007) I have just returned to my home in the Old City of Yerushalayim, having had to pass the David’s Citadel Hotel. The hotel is in virtual siege, because the United States Secretary of State, was meeting there with our Prime Minister. What gripped me as I was passing, was the convergence of so many TV and satellite vehicles parked along King David Street. I counted 20 from different countries in that area alone, with more on the side streets. The entire world was here to see what is happening in Eretz Yisrael. I approached a Tzahal soldier from Ethiopia and said to him, “Look! a little country of 6 million Jews and the whole world is here.” He said to me “Am Yisrael Chai” (the nation of Israel lives on) and spontaneously we embraced each other. I advanced about 50 meters and stood before two soldiers, a young man and woman, and repeated to them my feelings that the whole world is here to see the Jewish people. The girl soldier said to me, “Eretz Hakodesh”. During the rest of my trek home I was under a sad cloud. How is it that the Gentiles of the world feel the intrinsic importance of Am Yisrael and Eretz Ha’kodesh, while many of the religious leaders in the galut disregard – and even disdain- its sanctity? How can it be that their minds are centered more on the Talmud’s analysis of when an ox gores a cow, than in the return of the Jewish nation to the Holy Land after 2000 years of exile?! One who is not elated at the renaissance of our people today in Eretz Yisrael is one who, on the night of the seder, is troubled in the thought that the marror might not be thechumra size, rather then being elated at our exodus from Egypt and nationhood. My heart hurts for the students and congregants who have fallen victim to the sweet song of aloofness and escape from national and religious responsibility being sung to them in many yeshivot and shuls, as I was as a youth when learning in yeshivot of the US. May HaShem grant us all to understand who we are, and what the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael is, at least to the degree of understanding of the gentile news media. Shabbat Shalom!
I filed two official complaints against MK Ahmad Tibi with the Ethics Committee of the Knesset. For years, Tibi acted as personal adviser to Arafat, enemy of the State of Israel and responsible for the most murdered Jews in the last fifty years.
Tibi’s lies about the State of Israel at the official and internationally covered Knesset reception for Canadian PM Harper, in which he took advantage of the Knesset floor and his status as an MK, are a ballistic missile directed at the heart of Israel’s international legitimacy.
Tibi’s missile does much more damage than a Kassam or Grad.
Don’t get me wrong: far-right Likud MK Moshe Feiglin is one of the most dangerous men in Israeli politics. Even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recognizes this – to the extent that he has resorted in the past to banning his parliamentary colleague from visiting the Temple Mount, declaring such a visit a real threat to national security.
Feiglin is also a threat to Netanyahu politically. President of the Jewish Leadership faction within the Likud, a group which gains its support primarily from settlement activists and which originated from the violently anti-Oslo Zo Artzeinu protest movement, Feiglin has repeatedly challenged Netanyahu’s leadership of the Likud.
Despite his extremist views – for example, only Jews deserve to be full citizens of Israel and that Israel should annex the West Bank and expel the Wakf Muslim Religious Trust from the Temple Mount – Feiglin succeeded in capturing almost a quarter of the votes in the 2012 Likud leadership elections, and his base inside the Likud continues to grow. Senior Likud ministers such as Limor Livnat have accused Feiglin and his supporters of being a fifth column inside the party, seeking to take it over despite not sharing its democratic values or even voting for it come election day.
And yet, one has to admire Feiglin’s day-to-day work in the Knesset. Unlike serial provocateur Miri Regev, Feiglin is a serious legislator who succeeds, most of the time, in keeping his Temple Mount obsession in check.
While the Likud’s Regev goes in search of the next day’s headlines with publicity stunts such as tabling bills calling for the annexation of the Jordan Valley; demanding that 61 MKs would have to preapprove any negotiations on Jerusalem or the status of Palestinian refugees; or her latest and most ridiculous, a bill that would prohibit supporters of the Israeli-Arab Bnei Sakhnin soccer team from waving Palestinian flags during games, Feiglin ignores the daily chatter about the peace process and works diligently on matters that might actually improve Israeli citizens’ daily lives.
His most noteworthy, although ultimately unsuccessful, contribution in this Knesset has been his lobbying in favor of expanding access to medical marijuana. At present, around 14,000 Israelis have prescriptions for medical marijuana to help them combat chronic pain, but until recently only 20 doctors countrywide had the authority to prescribe the drug.
Feiglin tabled a bill that would allow all general practitioners to prescribe medical marijuana, arguing that such a step would prevent great suffering as well as a situation in which patients “are turned into criminals against their will,” due to having to resort to getting the drug from illegal suppliers.
Unfortunately, Health Minister Yael German scuppered Feiglin’s proposed legislation, on the grounds that as there are no clear prescription protocols for doctors when it comes to marijuana, Feiglin’s bill would, in effect, pressure doctors “to write a cannabis prescription for any bump, headache or toothache,” and turn physicians into licensed cannabis dealers. Instead, the cabinet approved new regulations merely increasing the number of physicians authorized to prescribe the drug to their patients to 31, which will do next to nothing to help the many thousands who need quick access to a medication that can relieve their pain.
Feiglin is not alone in the Knesset in terms of representing a beyond-the-consensus political view on the one hand, while working hard on unglamorous issues on the other.
On the other side of political spectrum Dov Henin, from the Arab-Jewish party Hadash, is another such politician, whose serious work as the co-chair of the Knesset’s Socio-Environmental Caucus has made him one of the country’s most impressive legislators.
But regrettably, Feiglin and Henin are in the minority when it comes to working hard on issues that are not guaranteed to raise a headline. As the recent case of Netanyahu’s Jersey bank account shows, most of our politicians are more interested in jumping on a bandwagon than seeking to make a positive difference on anything that could actually improve Israeli citizens’ lives.
If, as Netanyahu maintains, he held a Jersey bank account as a private citizen between 1999 and 2002, and reported the existence of this account to the tax authorities and state comptroller as required by law, then there is no scandal – and yet, Labor’s Shelly Yacimovich and Itzik Shmuli both felt duty-bound to jump into the fray with demands that politicians publicly reveal their financial affairs at the beginning of each Knesset term.
Such populism is wearisome; our political leaders already have to lodge a full report of their wealth with the state comptroller as a defense against corruption, and there is no public interest to be served in making these reports public. Instead of sticking their noses into other people’s bank accounts, Yacimovich and Shmuli would be better off keeping their noses to the grindstone and seeking to promote legislation, a la Feiglin, that could affect people’s lives for the better.
The writer is a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.
At the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee meeting on Wednesday, Moshe Feiglin presented the regulations for the medical company, Sarel. The Health Ministry had refused to publicize the regulations. Contrary to the claim made by the Health Ministry that the Sarel Medical Company, which is exempt from tenders and control in a market worth 3 billion shekels annually, is supervised by the Health Ministry, Feiglin exposed that the company’s regulations allow for the circumvention of all the accepted procedures in any normative public company.
According to the Sarel regulations, any person, including the company’s CEO, can fill the place of members of the company directorate and make any decision, including decisions on salary and the like. Most of the company’s senior members were or currently are public servants.
“The fact that a company that acts as the implementer of a government ministry brazenly circumvents all the rules of proper administration is pure lawlessness,” said Feiglin.
It is important to note that Health Ministry CEO Dr. Gimzo refused to reveal the top five salaries paid out in the company, as is standard practice in government companies.
In answer to Moshe Feiglin’s query at the Knesset committee last week, the CEO revealed the company’s internal inspection mechanisms. These include Sarel’s amazing innovation, which allows the same person to be chairman of the company’s monetary committee, chairman of its internal inspection committee and the representative of the State Treasurer’s regulator. This is a huge savings for Sarel. When the chairman of the internal inspection committee discovers that the monetary committee, chaired by himself, is out of order, he can efficiently report on his conclusions to himself, the representative of the Regulator.
Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people. It has been the Jewish national centrepiece for more than 3,000 years. Almost 1,900 years ago, Jews were exiled from Israel, their national homeland. The flower of their nationhood—the Temple and the Temple Mount—lay in smouldering ruin. Jerusalem was leveled.
The Romans raped Israel. They ploughed under the Temple Mount. By the year 135, the Roman conquest was complete. The Holy Temple disappeared. Rome had wiped Israel off the map. They renamed Israel, ‘Palestina.’ The land was laid barren. Judaism was devastated.
For almost 1,900 years, Jews wandered. They were hunted. They were persecuted. They were driven away.
Always, someone had reason to kill Jews. Always, Jews died because they were Jews.
But if the Jewish homeland was destroyed, Jewish hearts were not. In each of those almost 1,900 years of exile, Jews prayed to return to their homeland.
Even Jews who were allowed to remain behind in Israel prayed. Every Jew prayed. They would not forget the flower of their life: Jerusalem, the home of the Temple Mount-- and the Holy Temple.
Jews everywhere prayed to return. They prayed more than three times a day—every day. They never stopped praying for their Holy city, their Zion—their Jerusalem. Millions of Jews individually prayed specifically for Jerusalem more than a thousand times a year. For 1,900 years, millions of Jews prayed millions of times for just one thing--Jerusalem.
The Jewish people prayed a million million times: in Heaven, the din must have been ear-splitting: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. There was never relief from it. It never stopped. Because of time-zone differences, Jews prayed literally every hour of every day. Heaven got little rest.
It was always the same for the Heavenly Hosts. Jews in the lower world never gave up. It was always Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem.
No one in history has prayed for a city the way Jews have prayed for their Holy Jerusalem. Today, Muslims tell the world that Jews must be forbidden to ascend to the Temple Mount. Muslims say the Temple Mount is holy to Muslims. Jews, they say, defile it.
Muslims say Jerusalem cannot be ‘judaicized’.
But Muslims don’t face Jerusalem to pray. They don’t face the Temple Mount the way Jews do. Muslims pray with their behinds facing Jerusalem. They turn their backs to the Temple Mount.
They say the Temple Mount is too holy for Jews to step upon. Then they send their children there to play soccer.
That’s what the Muslim thinks of the Temple Mount.
On January 19, 2014, a Jewish woman in Jerusalem decided she wanted to ascend to the Temple Mount. In Israel, she is entitled to do that. But she couldn’t do it. She was refused entrance by Muslims officials. They told her that her dress did not meet Muslim standards.
As reported on Arutz Sheva (“Temple Mount: Jewish Woman Barred Over 'Muslim' Dress Code”, January 19, 2014), an Israeli police officer at the site explained to the woman that while her clothing was sufficiently modest under Jewish law (halacha), and while the Israel Police saw no problem with her attire, the authority to enforce dress codes belonged to the Islamic Waqf –not to Jews.
It had been an official representing the Muslim Waqf who had decided that the woman’s dress was not acceptable. The Israeli police enforced his decision.
The Waqf (Muslim authority) wages war against Jews on the Temple Mount. It works to deny Jewish history on the Mount—and to deny Jews entry there.
But in 1993, Jordan and Israel signed a Treaty. In that Treaty both Jordan (which manages the Waqf) and Israel committed to provide freedom of access to all holy sites in Israel—and freedom of worship to all religions at those sites.
The Waqf violates that Treaty. Why does Israel tolerate that violation?
Here’s a suggestion: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should tell US Secretary of State John Kerry that if Jordan does not enforce its own Treaty with Israel, then Israel cannot even begin to consider a Treaty with Abbas, whose rhetoric and behaviour have always been far more hostile than Jordan’s.
If the less aggressive Jordan won’t abide by a Treaty with Israel, why should anyone believe that the far more hostile Abbas would?
It is disrespectful for the Waqf to stop Jews from visiting Judaism’s Holiest site. But it is absolutely unconscionable for the government of Israel to allow such blatant violation of a standing Treaty.
Mr Netanyahu, if you don’t show any respect for what is yours, no one else will. If you don’t defend what you have a right to defend, no one else will.
If you do not stand up for yourself, you will be isolated and delegitimized.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is a straight-shooter. To understand last week’s brouhaha over Ya’alon’s private remarks on Secretary of State John Kerry, one must re-read Ya’alon’s book, The Long Short Path. Ya’alon, born and bred in Israel’s Left, understood that there really is nobody to talk to on the Arab side of the Israel-Arab conflict because “they do not recognize us,” and thus Israel must safeguard its security assets. From there it is just a hop, skip and jump to the Likud, which does not allow itself the luxury of the Left’s peace dreams. Bogey does not negate surrendering parts of the Land of Israel; he simply doesn’t think it is the pragmatic thing to do.
Last week, when Deputy Minister Okinus responded from the Knesset podium to the Opposition’s no-confidence motion, he emphasize that “There is not one member of the Coalition who opposes the fact that negotiations are taking place.” I hurried to raise my hand and to clarify to the entire plenum that there certainly is at least one Coalition MK who opposes negotiations over even one grain of sand in the Land of Israel – and not because of security concerns.
Why are we blaming the Americans and John Kerry? After all, we have put our country’s heartland up for sale on the auction block – now, apparently, in exchange for money. All that Kerry is doing is negotiation over the price of the merchandise.
When MK Litzman’s proposal to require the agreement of 80 MKs before negotiations on Jerusalem could be conducted was brought to the Knesset, all the Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and Jewish Home MKs left the Knesset plenum. The Likud whips even urged the Left’s MKs to return to the plenum and vote against the proposal – and to save the Likud from itself…
I remained alone between the empty seats, listening to Minister Tzippy Livni explaining why the Knesset must reject the proposed legislation: “If this law passes, there will be no negotiation over Jerusalem,” Livni said, “and then there will be no negotiations at all…” Obviously, I voted in favor of the proposal, in keeping with my opposition to any negotiations over the Land of Israel, whatsoever.
What Livni, who heads the ‘peace’ negotiations said in simple and clear language, directly from the Knesset podium is that at this very moment, negotiations are being held over Jerusalem. All the ministers and deputy ministers are equally responsible for the government’s actions – including the Defense Minister. If you are conducting negotiations over Jerusalem, why exactly are you complaining about Kerry for attempting to solve the Jordan Valley problem?
There are two points in reality that can currently turn back the tide: one is a geographical point and the other is a political point. Both are interconnected.
The geographical point is the Temple Mount. “He who controls the Mount controls the Land,” explained renowned poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg. The Defense Minister is not the first person in the Right to think that we can safeguard the Land of Israel with nothing more than security claims. Begin promised to build his home in the Sinai, Sharon declared that the fate of Netzarim in Gush Katif would be the same as the fate of Tel Aviv and Ya’alon makes declarations, as well. I have no doubt that as a person of integrity he does so with complete honesty. But as we saw in Eish Kodesh two weeks ago when the IDF, brandishing a Disruptive Use Order , uprooted Jewish-owned olive groves, the voice is the voice of the Right, but the hands are the hands of Taliah Sasson – and that is just the appetizer.
If additional MKs and public figures join the struggle for the Temple Mount with the full knowledge that they will pay a political price, they can certainly stop the collapse that is accelerating, full steam ahead.
The political point is the urgent need to establish a faith-based alternative for the leadership of Israel. The Left is correct when it asks, “So what do you propose?” As long as Israel’s leaders are guided by security concerns alone – existence instead of destiny – we will continue to find ourselves losing ground in an unwinnable rear-guard war.
On Monday, January 20, 2014, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to Israel’s Knesset. We can see from the speech that, clearly, he supports Israel. He believes in Israel. He is not afraid to defend Israel. He is not ashamed to praise Israel.
Except for two Arab MK’s who hate Israel—and who stomped out in protest during Harper’s pro-Israel speech--the Knesset responded warmly--perhaps even enthusiastically-- to Harper’s words. His support was a welcome change from the scolding Israel has become accustomed to receiving from foreign leaders.
Harper challenges us. His spirited support reminds us that we should defend ourselves. We shouldn’t have to rely on others.
If we do not defend ourselves vigorously, who will? Our so-called ‘peace partners’ won’t. They attack us without mercy.
If we do not defend ourselves today, how many Harpers will Israel need tomorrow? If we do not defend ourselves now, how long with Canada’s Prime Minister be willing to stick out his neck for us?
The more silent we are in the face of Arab attacks, the more aggressive the Arab will become; and the more aggressive the Arab, the stronger will be the support he gets from those who ennoble him. The more ennobled the Arab becomes, the more wicked and guilty we become.
That’s how life works for Jews: when our enemy ascends, we decline. When our enemy grows strong, we grow weak.
We stop the enemy’s ascent by defending ourselves. We become strong by fighting back.
Everybody loves the ‘comeback kid.’ Nobody loves a coward.
We control our Destiny. When we speak out, we influence our friends. A vigorous defense will strengthen our friends’ resolve. Silence will weaken that resolve.
If we remain silent we will become isolated, sanctioned and demonized. We will be isolated because our silence will fuel our enemy’s aggression. We will be sanctioned because our silence will confirm our guilt. We will be demonized because our silence will validate the accusations that we are demonic.
Silence will kill us. Prime Minister Harper’s vocal defense pushes us to confront who we are. Are we Jews who belong on this land or are we guilty as charged?
Many say, we are guilty. They say we don’t belong in the Middle East. They say we are European—and have only come here because we could. They say it is time for us to leave—and any defense we give for our presence here is offensive and vulgar, even illegal.
We should ignore those voices. Those who argue this way have no knowledge of history. They have no idea what Zion is and what it means to Judaism.
The future of Israel does not lie with these voices. They are the voices of the anti-Israel. They promote the un-Israel. They seek the non-Israel.
Others say they believe in Israel. But they dare not speak out lest we offend the powerful. We should ignore these voices, too. They are the voices of cowardice—or worse.
Anyone in Israel who believes that attacks against Israel are so scurrilous they don’t deserve a response, is wrong. The entire world watches us. They listen to the Arab verbal assault—and wait for us to defend ourselves. They are hungry for truth.
But if we remain silent, our silence condemns us. Everyone knows that the wicked are silent in the face of Truth. If we answer every lie with silence, then the lie become the truth.
Our silence marks us as wicked. It tells the world that we are indeed as evil as the Arab says we are.
Look! The Arab calls us, ‘Apartheid’. What do we say to that? Nothing.
Look! The Arab calls us ‘occupier’. What do we say to that? Nothing.
Our silence is a confession: we appear guilty as charged.
Our Prime Minister’s Office should form a team similar to the cyberwar team that defends Israel against cyberwar attack. This new team should identify every anti-Israel attack from Europe, America, Abbas, Erekat and all other Fatah and Hamas officials.
After every attack, the team should pound out a vigorous response. Then, using the influence and attention-gathering power of the Prime Minister’s Office, the team should produce headline stories to attack the attackers.
For example, the next time Abbas says, ‘no Jews in Palestine’, the team should publish, ‘Abbas promises war crimes!’, ‘Abbas violates humanitarian law,’ ‘Abbas violates international law’ and ‘No state for war criminals.’
The world needs to see these defences. The world needs to see who is the liar, who promotes murder, who builds a case for statehood upon lies, misrepresentation and war crimes.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) on Wednesday confronted MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al) at the Knesset over his behavior during Canadian Prime MinisterStephen Harper’s visit earlier this week.
Feiglin got up during a Knesset debate, which Tibi was chairing in his capacity as Deputy Knesset Speaker, and told Tibi that his outburst during Harper’s speech had shamed the Knesset.
“You lied, you shamed the plenum, you acted like a man without respect. You were disrespectful towards this house and towards yourself,” Feiglin told Tibi, who responded by having Feiglin removed from the plenum.
Tibi shouted down the Canadian Prime Minister as he expressed his affection for Israel and the Jewish people during his speech on Monday, shouting that Israel was an “apartheid state” before storming out.
Tibi also pointed out to fellow Arab MK Taleb Abu Arar and told Harper that “there was no water or electricity in his village.”
The Regavim movement, an NGO watchdog group for Jewish national property rights, later exposed Tibi’s lie when it uploaded video images of Abu Arar’s village and showed his home which includes an air-conditioning unit, satellite TV dish, electric lines and an electric meter.
Feiglin related to Wednesday’s incident on his Facebook page and wrote, “Today I told Tibi what every sane Israeli feels for him – especially after his lying outburst during the speech of the Knesset’s guest, the Prime Ministerof Canada.”
He added, “When I – with G-d’s help – will be prime minister, this advisor to the murderer Arafat will be in prison and not in the Israeli Knesset.”
Video from the Knesset: Moshe Feiglin to Ahmad Tibi: ”You Lied"
A Torah Thought for Parshat Mishpatim by Moshe Feiglin
“And six years you shall sow your land and you will gather its produce. And the seventh let it rest and lie fallow. Six days you shall do your work and on the seventh day you shall rest.” (From this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, Exodus 23: 10-12)
The Land of Israel was given to us so that we could establish a ‘kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ that would crown the Creator over His world. That is the purpose of the Land of Israel, of Jerusalem and of the royal palace, the Temple on the Temple Mount. Those who renounce their connection to the Temple and to the Mount renounce the foundation on which the entire Jewish home is built. Without the Mount, there is no home. Without the Temple Mount, we are losing the Land of Israel. Without the destiny for which the Nation of Israel exists and for which we received the Land, there is no meaning, reason or validity for Jewish sovereignty. And as we see with our very own eyes, the State of Israel continues its free fall.
When we let the Land rest during the seventh, Shmittah year, we remember that this is our Land, but that there are definitely conditions that we must meet. First and foremost, we must remember the true Master of the Land. We have received His authority to plant and to reap. But during the Shmittah year, this authority is revoked. A Jew who continues to work the Chosen Land during the Shmittah year somehow does not accept the Divine sovereignty of the Master of the World.
The Divine Sovereignty principle in space is parallel to the Divine Sovereignty principle in time. Just as we accept G-d’s sovereignty over the Land by allowing it to rest during the Shmittah year, so, when we refrain from work on the Holy Shabbat, we declare that we accept Divine Sovereignty over time. It is our acknowledgement that all the work that we do during the other six days of the week is only with G-d’s authority.
If we don’t accept Divine Sovereignty over the Land of Israel, we certainly cannot expect to enjoy Jewish sovereignty, either.
BS”D Parashat Mishpatim 5774 Techelet: Raising Our Sites to the Higher Realms
Our parasha relates (Shemot 24,10):
ויראו את א-להי ישראל ותחת רגליו כמעשה לבנת הספיר וכעצם השמים לטהר
And they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a sapir (the gemstone lapis lazuli) as bright blue as the sky
And the Yerushalmi (Berachot chapter 1) quotes R. Meir who said regarding the blue (techelet) of the tzitzit:
שהת והכסא דומה לספיר דכתיב [יחזקאל י א] ואראה והנה על הרקיע אשר על ראש הכרוב כלת דומה לים והים דומה לעשבים ועשבים דומין לרקיע ורקיע דומה לכסא הכבוד כאבן ספיר
The (color of) techelet is as the ocean, and the ocean is as the green grass, and the grass is as the sky, and the sky is like the color of the holy throne, and the holy throne is like the gemstone (lapis lazuli) as it says (Yechezkel 10,1) ‘I looked and I saw above the raki’a (emptiness of space) the likeness of a throne of sapir that was over the heads of the cherubim
What are the rabbis teaching us with the idea that tzitzit initiate a chain reaction of sight and thought leading up to the Holy Throne and the cherubim? Tzitzit are plain woolen fringes hanging at the bottom of a four-cornered garment, but they guide us through five ascending stages – ocean, grass, sky, Holy Throne and cherubim? The function of tzitzit is to raise man’s eyes and perspective from the routine and mundane to perceive the exalted spiritual essence of the Creator. In Ivrit, the simpleton is called “rosh katan” (a small head) and the intelligent, enterprising person is called “rosh gadol”. Hashem gave the Torah to those who are called rosh gadol, and He expects His chosen nation to strive to be rosh gadol. As the Jewish People Go, So Goes the Holy Torah A kabalistic concept states that when the Jewish people are in galut (exile), the Shechina (holy spirit of Hashem) also is in galut. I do not understand this concept, but it obviously refers to a time when the Jewish nation in galut is in an inferior, discredited, disparaged and diminished state in relation to what we were in Eretz Yisrael. One need not be an astute student of history to know that this was our fate during the 2000 years of our galut experience, until we the Jewish people were able to raise up our eyes in pride with the establishment of Medinat Yisrael after the horrific Shoah. As the Jewish people go, so goes the holy Torah. When the Jews are honored and venerated, so is the holy Torah. When we are degraded, then our Torah and its way of life are disparaged and mocked. Solving Modern Complex Halachic Issues The Talmud is divided into six sections: Zera’im (agricultural laws), Mo’ed (holidays), Nashim (personal status – marriage, divorce etc.), Nezi’kim (torts and financial matters), Kodshim (the Temple service) and Taharot (purity and impurity). During the 2000 years of galut, the realities of our existence impelled the talmidei chachamim (scholars) of Am Yisrael to diminish themselves into a status less than “rosh gadol”. Three of the six sections of the Talmud – Moed, Nashim and Nezi’kim – were studied, analyzed and contemplated, but the remaining three – Zera’im, Kodshim and Taharot – were relegated to the sole domain of individual gedolim. With the establishment of the Medina and the new realities of our national renaissance, our talmidei chachamim have rescued the Shechina from its sorry state in the imprisoned and strangling galut. Here in Eretz Yisrael, the Talmud is studied in its entirety, bringing the three neglected sections back to life. Our religious farmers – and there are very many – till the soil, plant and harvest and set aside teruma and ma’asrot, according to the Halachot of the section of Zera’im. There is a renaissance in our yeshivot regarding the study of Kodshim with its accompanying initiatives – the increased interest in the Temple Mount and the future Bet Hamikdash – and the laws of tuma and tahara are studied in a much wider timeframe. Our rabbis have to deal with issues which were never brought to the table in any beit din or yeshiva in galut:
How to manage a modern army according to Halacha: aircraft, submarines, electronic warfare, ad infinitum.
The vast world of medicine, including human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research.
Shemita and the need to keep our farmers solvent during the year of rest from work. The prohibition against exporting sanctified Shemita produce.
The great problem of conversion.
Prevention of prohibited marriages.
The halachic status of laws passed by the Knesset.
Implications of the presence of the majority of halachic Jews now in the land.
Treatment of minorities including religions defined as avoda zara.
Drafting of yeshiva students for military service in this time of milchemet mitzva.
Incorporation of Halacha into the Israeli legal system.
The prohibition against giving hallowed lands to gentiles.