Friday, July 29, 2016

The Torah’s Peace Plan

A Torah Thought for Parshat Matot             
By Moshe Feiglin

“And you shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land and you shall dwell in it. And if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you and it will come to pass that those that you leave will be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and they will harass you in the Land in which you dwell.” (From this week's Torah portion in Israel, Matot, Numbers 33:53-55)   

If you were looking for a peace plan, here it is. Israel must move forward toward the reality in which all the Land is in our hands. No foreign nation should have a foothold in our Land. If they do, we will lose our own hold on the Land and evaporate. Any peace plan that does not take this into account is pure deception.

Shabbat Shalom.

I Agree With Cornel West

Professor Cornel West. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Professor Cornel West. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
I never thought I would find myself writing those words. West, a leading African-American author and intellectual, is a vicious critic of Israel. He supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He says Israel’s leaders are “war criminals.” In a speech at Princeton last year, he made the wildly absurd claim that the Israelis “are killing hundreds [of Palestinians] daily.”
But even a broken clock gives the right time twice a day, so on the rare occasion that West utters words of truth about the Palestinians or Israel, I must acknowledge that.
Speaking to a Jerusalem Post reporter on July 26, on the floor of the Democratic convention, West said that he was disappointed the platform did not go further, but he vowed to continue his struggle. He declared: “The Palestinians will be free, brother. Ain’t no doubt about that.”
And that’s where Cornel and I agree.
Since 1995, more than 98 percent of the Palestinians have been living under the occupation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) (and, since 2007, 100 percent of the residents of Gaza have been living under the occupation of Hamas). Ain’t no doubt in my mind: one day, brother, the Palestinians will be free of the cruel totalitarian Palestinian regimes that occupy and oppress them.
One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the freedom to democratically choose their leaders. Mahmoud Abbas was elected head of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005 for a four year term.  Yet somehow he is still in office, seven and a half years since his term expired. And Hamas has not held a democratic election since taking over the Gaza Strip nine years ago.
One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the right to freedom of speech.  Najat Abu Baker, a member of the Palestinian parliament, recently hid out in the parliament building for seventeen days to avoid being arrested by the PA police. The warrant for arrest was issued because — as the New York Times put it — “Ms. Abu Baker said Mr. Abbas should resign and suggested that there would be money to pay educators if ministers were not so corrupt.”
One day, brother, the Palestinians will have the right to free assembly. Earlier this year, 20,000 Palestinian public school teachers went on strike because they had not been paid (those were the unpaid educators to whom Ms. Abu Baker was referring). When some dissidents tried to hold a rally in support of the strikers, “the PA security services set up rings of checkpoints to prevent the teachers from attending the demonstration,” according to Ha’aretz. Twenty teachers and two school principals who did manage to reach the rally were arrested for doing so.
One day, brother, the Palestinians will no longer have their basic human rights violated by the Palestinian occupation regime. According to the State Department’s most recent report on human rights around the world, the PA is guilty of”abuse and mistreatment of detainees, poor and overcrowded detention facilities, prolonged detention, and infringements on privacy rights;” “restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly;” “limits on freedom of association and movement;” “discrimination against persons with disabilities” and “discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status;” and “limits on worker rights,” including “forced labor.”
So, I agree with Cornel West: one day, the Palestinians will be free. The question is — how long will it take Professor West to acknowledge just who it is that the Palestinians need to be liberated from?
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

Israel’s economy – an island of stability

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

1. According to a study conducted by the University of Lausanne, Israel is one of the top five world high-tech powers, as indicated by a 2015 $1bn investment, in Israel, by Apple, creating a hardware development center. The USA, China, Russia and India are, actively, soliciting high-tech cooperation with Israel. India and Israel negotiate a free trade zone, which would increase their current $5bn trade balance. Israel is second only to Russia in the exportation of military systems to India (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2016).

2.  $245mn raised by Israeli companies in July, 2016; $2.9bn raised, so far, in 2016 ($1.7bn in the 2nd quarter and$1.1bn in the 1st quarter). For example, SafeBreach (cyber) raised $15mn from HP, Deutsche Telecomm, etc.; Prospera (agricultural tech) raised $7mn from the Silicon Valley-headquartered Bessemer Venture Partners; PowerLinx (business matching) raised $7mn from Dun & Bradstreet, France; and Engie (car maintenance) raised $3.5mn from the San Francisco-based 8Partners, the San Francisco Peninsula-based Motus Ventures. (Globes Business Daily, July 27, 2016), etc..

3.  Israel’s Emefcy raised $24mn from US, Chinese, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australian investors (GE Ventures was one of the initial investors), in order to advance its 44 sewage-recycling projects in the US, Israel, Latin America, Ethiopia and, mostly, in China (Globes, July 26). GuardiCore raised $20mn from Cisco, the London and Israel-based 83North, and the Silicon Valley and Israel-based Battery Ventures. SkyCure raised $16.5mn from the Silicon Valley-based Foundation Capital (Globes, July 20). 

4. The Israeli gambling websites giant, 888, is negotiating a merger with the British giant, Rank, in order to acquire the $3.6bn British giant, William Hill (Globes), July 25). 

5.  A US-Israel cyber cooperation in the protection of financial payments from malicious hacker attacks – which could result in mega billion dollar catastrophes - was announced in Atlanta, GA. Israeli companies excel in the development of firewalls (Globes, July 3).

6. The following is a sample of vital data featured in Adam Reuter’s (Financial Immunities) and Noga Kainan’s (Company Leaders Forum) “Against all odds – Israel is an Island of success:

*Israel’s economy has expanded by 180% during the past 20 years, while the population (8.4mn) has grown by 45%;

*Israel’s GDP is in excess of $300bn compared to $1.2bn in 1949 and $155bn in 2006, GDP per capita is $35,000 (24th in the world);

*Israel’s foreign exchange reserves reached $90bn, an indication of financial stability, bolstered by a highly diversified, high-quality commercial and defense exports, thus minimizing the impact of global slowdown;

*Israel’s ratio of public debt to GDP is systematically shrinking (64%), unlike most OECD;

*Israel’s unemployment rate is decreasing (5%), while labor force participation rate is expanding (77%);

*Israel is among the only 8 countries launching space satellites, a global co-leader with the US in the areas of research, development, manufacturing and launching mini, small and medium-size space satellites;

*Israel is the world leader in the area of per capita research & development: 140 per 10,000 employees;

*86 Israeli companies are traded on NASDAQ, third following the USA and China.

*About 300 global high-tech giants established research & development centers in Israel, leveraging Israel’s brainpower;

*Israel’s population is the youngest in the OECD – median age 31 (OECD – 42), featuring the highest fertility rate (number of births per woman), including an unprecedented surge in secular fertility.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Islamist Terrorism, European Denial

By Yves Mamou

  • Europeans have delegated to the State the exclusive right to use violence against criminals. But Europeans, especially in France and Germany, are discovering that some kind of "misunderstanding" seems actually to be at work. Their State, the one that has the monopoly on violence, does not want to be at war with its Islamist citizens and residents. Worse, the State gives off the feeling that it is afraid of its Muslim citizens.
  • "The concept of the rule of law means that the citizen is protected from the arbitrariness of the State. ... Currently, the rule of law protects the attackers above all". — Yves Michaud, French author and philosopher.
After a Muslim suicide bomber injured 15 people on July 24 in Germany, many media outlets rushed to portray the terrorist as the victim.
If a group of Jewish or Christian terrorists in Algeria, Egypt or Saudi Arabia had committed the same kind of stabbings, car-rammings, throat-slittings and shootings that France and Germany are suffering now, they would have provoked an immediate reaction. Tens of thousands -- maybe hundreds of thousands -- of enraged Muslims would have rushed into the streets to kill, stab or eviscerate the first group of Jews or Christians they met. Within 24 hours, no church or synagogue would be able to open its doors: all of them would have been burned to cinders.

The Three Weeks – a Time for National Soul-Searching

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

During the Three Weeks, between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, the Jewish People mourn the bad things that occurred to Israel during this period. On the 17th of Tamuz, five troubles befell Israel: the tablets were broken in the Golden Calf Incident; the Daily “Tamid” offering of the First Temple was cancelled; Jerusalem’s wall was breeched during the Second Temple period; the Torah was burnt by wicked Apostomos, and an idol was installed in the Temple Sanctuary. On the 9th of Av, the First and Second Temples were destroyed; it was decreed that our ancestors in the desert would not enter the Land; Beitar was captured and tens of thousands were murdered by the Romans. On this day, the Temple Sanctuary and its environs were ploughed, thereby fulfilling the verse, “Zion shall be ploughed as a field” (Jeremiah 26:18). 

At this time of year, we have to arouse our hearts and look for ways to repent; to think about our own deeds and those of our ancestors. Their deeds were like ours, and those deeds brought both them and us suffering. Recalling these things will make us repent and become better…. Therefore, every Jew must repent during this period, examining his own deeds and making amends” (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:1). Today, we must search our souls not just as individuals but as a nation as regards our relationship to the People, Torah and Land of Israel. 

Regarding our relationship to Eretz Yisrael, we must return to ourselves. We must learn and recognize, study and make ourselves aware, become acquainted and inform others of what we are, what our destiny is and what our specialness consists of. We are not like all the nations, we are set apart from them. We are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Our historic task on earth is to shower light upon the world and to bring goodness to mankind, in accordance with G-d’s command to Abraham: “I will make you a great nation…. and you shall be for a blessing…. All the families of the earth shall be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3). As Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook taught in Orot 55: “We are greater than any other people; if we recognize this greatness, we will recognize ourselves, and if we forget it, then we will forget ourselves. A people that forgets itself is small and lowly… Forgetting ourselves constitutes forgetting our greatness.” 

As far as our relationship to the Torah of Israel, our sages long ago said, “Each day, a heavenly voice resounds from Mount Sinai proclaiming, ‘Woe to the people for their disregard of the Torah!’ (Avot 6:2). Rav Kook adds, “We must study Torah and give it the appropriate respect, and we must relate to it reverently. Surely when one ponders the Torah, one finds that everything is contained within it, every delight and every splendor” (Orot HaTeshuva 4:9). Our holy Torah is a living Torah for us and for the entire world, as we say in our prayers, “Everlasting life did He plant in our midst”. We, as a nation, must repent, and bring ourselves and our children once more to study Torah lovingly. By such means, we will merit that our people, rising to rebirth in Zion, will have a new heart and a new spirit. As far as our relationship to Eretz Yisrael, we must rid ourselves of the fundamentally erroneous assumption that Eretz Yisrael is just a means towards achieving existential goals such as security, prosperity or even spiritual and religious goals. (Eretz Yisrael is not an external acquisition of our nation. It is “an independent entity tied to the nation by a living bond, enveloped in inner virtues inherent to it” – Orot 9). Eretz Yisrael is not a topic for negotiations. It cannot be handed over to any individual or people on earth. Just as one does not concede his own life, so are we forbidden to concede our land, not one single millimeter. 

Unfortunately, our present political leadership, and portions of the public, are suffering from a kind of confusion, and a weakness of faith, that have brought them to unprecedented effeteness and lowliness in their relationship to Eretz Yisrael. That relationship is expressed by the plan for expelling Jews from our land and for establishing a state for the Arabs who long to destroy us. By repenting nationally and as individuals vis-à-vis the people, Torah and Land, we will merit that these days will be transformed from a time of mourning and pain to a time of joy and gladness. As Zechariah said, “The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons. Therefore love truth and peace” (Zechariah 8:19). 

Looking forward to complete salvation, 
Shabbat Shalom.

"Chavot Yair" and "Novach"

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

"And Yair Ben Menasheh went and captured their villages, and he called them Chavot Yair. And Novach went and captured Kenat and its suburbs, and he named it Novach, in his name." [Bamidbar 32:41-42]. Rashi notes, "'He called them Chavot Yair' – Since he did not have any children, he named the area in his own name, in memory. 'He named it Novach' – There is no dot in the 'heh' of the word 'lah' – it. I saw in the writings of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan that since this name did not continue to exist it is written in such a way that it could imply the word 'lo' – a negative."

What did the Torah want to teach us by writing the word "lah" in this way, implying an additional meaning of a negative? In addition, we might ask why the name "Chavot Yair" did continue to exist, as is written, "they are called Chavot Yair, to this day" [Shoftim 10:4].

A person's possessions are not his or her essence. And that is why the villages are called "Yair's villages" – that is, Yair owns some property. But they are not the same as Yair himself. When Novach tried to name the area after himself, he implied that both he and the property were one and the same. When a person and his property are identical, they will not exist for all eternity. This is what the sages taught us about the tribes of Gad and Reuven – since they loved their money it did not remain in their hands forever.

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsh writes as follows: "Perhaps this is a harsh scolding of Novach. He wanted to make an eternal monument for himself out of buildings made of wood and stone. But that is not the proper path for a true Jew who wants to memorialize himself on the earth. The only way his name will be remembered for all generations is the great flights of the spirit, through moral dedication to Divine obligations, and through a noble life."

Two basic mitzvot can be considered the essence of man – the Torah and prayer. When a person starts out, "He desires the Torah of G-d" [Tehillim 1:2]. As time goes on and the person becomes dedicated to the Torah, it becomes his own possession: "And he will study his Torah day and night" [ibid]. Torah and the man become one and the same. Therefore, the sages wrote, "How silly other people are – they stand up before a Torah scroll, but they do not stand up for a great man."

The same is true for prayer, as is written by David: "And I am my prayer... [Tehillim 69:14].

With respect to the verse about Nevuchadnezer, "And he burnt down every great house with fire" [Melachim II 25:9], the Talmud quotes a dispute – "One says this is a place where Torah becomes great, and the other says it is a place where prayer becomes great." [Megillah 27a].

The Master of the World promised Avraham that "I will make you into a great nation" [Bereishit 12:2]. The sages explain that He said to him that he would be the father of the nation about which it is written, "For who is such a great nation who has G-d so close to it, like our G-d, whenever we call out to Him? And who is such a great nation which has such righteous laws and decrees, like this entire Torah?" [Devarim 4:7-8]. This is a promise that we will be a "great nation," and it is also a promise about a "great home," where both Torah and prayer will be enhanced. The synagogues and the Batei Midrash display the greatness of Bnei Yisrael. The sages teach us that when Nevuchadnezer burned "a great house," he was burning synagogues and Batei Midrash, which reveal the great characteristic of Yisrael.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


And the lying didn’t take too long to get started.

By Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

“Hillary Clinton took me through Hell.”

Those were the words of a woman who was raped and beaten into a coma when she was twelve years old. Instead of helping that twelve year old girl, Hillary Clinton aided her rapist. She falsely accused the abused child who would never be able to have a family of her own after the assault of “a tendency to seek out older men”. Then Hillary Clinton was recorded on tape laughing at how her client had failed a lie detector test while relishing describing how she had gotten him off.

Tonight’s Democratic National Convention theme was "A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families". But this was how Hillary Clinton’s “fight” for children and families really began. And Tuesday’s highlight was an address by a career sexual predator whom she covered up for and whose victims she smeared.

That sexual predator was her husband, Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton put even more women through hell than Hillary did. And he isn’t done just yet. Amid the freakshow of the Carter mummy phoning in, the mothers of criminals, random mildly famous celebrities, the Sandernista walkout and Howard Dean doing the scream that ended his career one more time, the other Clinton took the stage.

In an evening featuring discussions about sex trafficking, the highlight was a sexual predator. In an evening that featured 9/11 victims, the highlight was the man who left America vulnerable to 9/11 and refused to take out Osama bin Laden.

And Bill being Bill, the lying didn’t take too long to get started.

Bill Clinton told the hooting and yapping DNC audience that Hillary Clinton wanted to help child abuse victims. But a child rape victim back home knows the truth and we know the truth. He got up on stage and lied again about the Children’s Health Insurance Program, one of those things which, like bringing peace to Northern Ireland and landing under fire in Bosnia, Hillary Clinton can’t stop lying about.

In Bill Clinton’s new version, Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch didn’t exist and Hillary Clinton got it all done.

But the Clintons always have a thousand new versions of every lie that they tell. And Bill’s entire speech was one big lie. The version of Hillary Clinton that he describes, an obsessive crusader for children who is also a devoted wife and mother has only one tiny problem with it. It’s an expert work of fiction.

The real Hillary Clinton hit up the Boys and Girls Club for $200K to speak for them. The real Hillary saw every non-profit organization working for education, children and any combination of the two as a piggy bank to loot for her greedy husband and herself. The real Hillary, the one revealed by the emails, is incapable of doing basic tasks and requires a horde of assistants to do anything for her.

The image of Hillary Clinton on her “hands and knees” putting liner paper in Chelsea’s dorm drawers is as real as Bill Clinton’s family values. The real Hillary Clinton requires people to pose before she steps into the picture so they don’t waste her time. The real Hillary Clinton laughed at the thought of a rapist beating a child into a coma and then getting off. The real Hillary Clinton has never met a charity she didn’t steal from. The real Hillary Clinton dislikes people and has her assistant elbow them out of the way.

Bill Clinton claimed that they never intended for Hillary to run for office in New York until New York Democrats “urged Hillary to run”. Then they offered to sell her the Brooklyn Bridge at a discount.

The Clintons didn’t move to New York for their health. They did it as part of a long term plan to get back into the White House. Tonight was a major step in the fulfillment of that plan.

Bill’s version of the Clintons, who moved to New York without ever giving thought to a political career plan, are as real as the “loving and caring” Hillary who just couldn’t stop trying to help children. When she wasn’t ripping off their charities or aiding their rapists.

It’s an insulting lie that treats the DNC audience like chumps. And it’s not the only one.

Bill claimed that Hillary “worked for farmers, for winemakers, for small businesses and manufacturers”. Hillary’s idea of a small business is a major bank or a multinational corporation. Hillary wouldn’t use a small business to clean between her toes. Not unless it could pony up a six figure check for her use.

He reeled off the usual lies about her foreign policy experience. The Iran sanctions. The worthless deal with Russia. And the even more worthless cease fire with Hamas in which the firing did not cease.

But we are told that she “put climate change at the center of our foreign policy”. That would explain why we’re losing the War on Terror.

The truth is that the Clintons are liars. That Hillary’s only qualifications for her current nomination are that she was Bill Clinton’s wife. And her only qualification to be his wife was her willingness to cover for his crimes.

Everything else is a lie.

Bill Clinton spoke one truth in his entire speech as he had Hillary suggest that “nobody would ever vote for me”. That much is true. Hillary Clinton doesn’t win votes. She wins rigged elections.

And that’s what this was.

Even in a night in which Chuck Schumer and Jimmy Carter did their best to put the DNC audience to sleep, they are still more charismatic and better speakers than Hillary Clinton.

The walkout during Hillary Clinton’s nomination left hundreds of empty seats aptly symbolizing her appeal. It doesn’t exist. It never did. America loves Hillary Clinton as much as Bill ever did.

Not even other Democrats like her.

Hillary Clinton has ruthlessly clawed her way to power. She has supporters, but no friends. After decades of victimizing women on behalf of a career sexual predator, she brought that predator up on stage to tell the world how much she loves families and children.

The best thing that can be said about the convention is that, like the rest of the Clinton campaign, it’s unremarkable. It’s bland and it’s boring. It’s full of the expected politicians and celebrities saying all the expected things about Hillary. But that’s what alibis look like. And that’s what this convention is. An alibi.

The Clintons are criminals who pretend to be activists. They’re greedy thieves who claim to want to make things better. They maintain a thin façade of normalcy as an alibi. It fooled some people a few decades ago. But it’s fooling fewer and fewer people. Even fewer and fewer Democrats.

Tonight was about making Democrats feel better about the unlikable candidate that they’re stuck with. And it didn’t work. No amount of lies about how much Hillary loves children and 9/11 victims will fix that. No amount of celebrities taking cheap shots at Trump will do it either.

Hillary barely eked out a win in a rigged election. Now she’s about to face a real one.

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Matot 5776: Unexpected Agents of HaShem

Parashat Matot 5776
HaRav Nachman Kahana

Unexpected agents of HaShem

Megilat Esther 3,10:

ויסר המלך את טבעתו מעל ידו ויתנה להמן בן המדתא האגגי צרר היהודים:
And the king (Achashverosh) removed his ring from his finger and presented it to Haman son of Hamdata, descendant of king Agag (the Amaleki) nemeses of the Jews.

The Gemara (Megila 14a) records a conclusion drawn by Rabbi Abba bar Kahana from this pasuk:

גדולה הסרת טבעת יותר מארבעים ושמונה נביאים ושבע נביאות שנתנבאו להן לישראל, שכולן לא החזירום למוטב, ואילו הסרת הטבעת החזירתן למוטב.
The ring’s removal was more effective in drawing the Jews to do tshuva than the 48 prophets and 7 prophetesses who prophesied to the Jewish nation; none of the prophets succeeded in influencing them to do tshuva, whereas the ring’s removal moved the Jews to do tshuva.

A phrase that frequently appears in our Torah sources:

הרבה שלוחים למקום
HaShem has many agents (to do his bidding)

The phrase is usually cited to point out an unexpected, inappropriate, even evil person who unknowingly and by his own free will served as HaShem’s agent to influence Jewish history. Beginning with Nimrod who threw Avraham and his belief in HaShem into a furnace, on to Paro of Egypt and to Haman whose authority was vested upon him when receiving the King’s ring.

Just as the 55 prophets sent by HaShem did not succeed in restoring the Jews of their times to the Torah way of life, whereas Haman did motivate the Jews to do tshuva, so too in our time we have witnessed unexpected agents of HaShem who have brought us to our senses.

Were it not for Hitler, the German nation and the Shoah, there would not be today a Medinat Yisrael, because the Jewish people were not interested in establishing one; neither the majority of spiritual leaders, nor the rank and file of world Jewry. The Shoah created a situation where close to 2 million Jews in post war Europe and in Arab lands had nowhere to go. The Shoah proved to many Jews that there is no future for us in the galut, and for one instant at Lake Success on the 29th of November, 1947, two thirds of the member states of the UN were gripped with compassion for the down-trodden Jewish nation.

The millions of Moslems in Europe today are playing the role of HaShem’s unwitting agents in bringing European Jewry home. Many will come home, but most will settle in the UK, Canada or any of the other great Jewish havens in the galut.

What about the Jews in the United States, who will show them the way home?

Mr. Donald Trump has a message which could make him, his daughter and son-in-law benevolent agents for aliya of American Jewry. Their message should resonate with the Jews there.

Mr. Trump believes and says: “Globalization – No! America – Yes!” The American people have to strive for what is good for America and not carry the entire free world on their backs. Make America great again – rebuild the diminished army, strengthen homeland security, reconstruction of the outdated infrastructure and distancing of internal potential enemies.

Those in the American rabbinate who have not yet sold their souls to the seduction and temptation of American comforts and who really believe in the Torah can use Mr. Trump’s message to save whatever can yet be saved of the vanishing Jews of the US.

The message is “Galutization – No!  Eretz Yisrael – Yes!”

Whosoever has a spark of Yiddishkeit left in him, come forward to make Eretz Yisrael great again as it was in the time of King David, Solomon and the Maccabim. Strengthen the Jewish army, enhance home security, infrastructure building, distancing of our internal enemies and universal compulsory Torah study.

Mr. Trump’s message could be HaShem’s last wake-up call to American Jewry to come home before they will no longer be able to do so. “Make Israel Great” means to live in the Land. To feel its hallowed soil under your feet. To smell the beautiful aroma of Yerushalayim. To become part of the eternal bond that unites your brother and sister Jews from 100 different lands, despite our differences which are hugely out-weighed by what we have in common.

As far as the US election is concerned: no one knows what the outcome will be, but I pray “may the best man win”.

Whoever is Closer to the Land

In Devarim chapter 8 Moshe describes the richness and blessing of the Holy Land. Verse 8 states:

ארץ חטה ושערה וגפן ותאנה ורמון ארץ זית שמן ודבש:
Land of (1) wheat and (2) barley and (3) grapevines and (4) fig trees (5) and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and date honey.

The Gemara (Brachot 41,a) establishes two halachic principles regarding the preferential order of reciting a brachot (blessings):

כל המוקדם בפסוק זה מוקדם לברכה, שנאמר: ארץ חטה ושעורה וגפן ותאנה ורמון ארץ זית שמן ודבש.
1- the product (fruit) which is mentioned earlier in the verse has precedent in the bracha over a product which is mentioned after it, i.e. the bracha over wheat precedes the bracha over barley.
2- The critical factors in the verse are the two words “Land”, meaning: despite the fact that date honey appears last in the verse its blessing precedes that over grapes, because grapes appear third after the word “land” whereas date honey appears second after the second word “land”.

There is a profound principle underlying this halacha that reflects far and beyond the matter of blessings. Simply stated: whoever is closer to the “Land” is closer to God and closer to HaShem’s blessings.

No more need be said.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5776/2016 Nachman Kahana

Is Europe Helpless?

A civilization that believes in nothing will ultimately submit to anything.

By Bret Stephens, WSJ
At last count, members of the European Union spent more than $200 billion a year on defense, fielded more than 2,000 jet fighters and 500 naval ships, and employed some 1.4 million military personnel. More than a million police officers also walk Europe’s streets. Yet in the face of an Islamist menace the Continent seems helpless. Is it?
Was France helpless in May 1940?
Let’s stipulate that a van barreling down a seaside promenade isn’t a Panzer division, and that a few thousand ISIS fighters scattered from Mosul to Marseilles aren’t another Wehrmacht. But as in France in 1940, Europe today displays the same combination of doctrinal rigidity and loss of will that allowed an Allied army of 144 divisions to be routed by the Germans in six weeks. The Maginot Line of “European values” won’t prevail over people who recognize none of those values.
So much was made clear by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who remarked after the Nice attack that “France is going to have to live with terrorism.” This may have been intended as a statement of fact but it came across as an admission that his government isn’t about to rally the public to a campaign of blood, toil, tears and sweat against ISIS—another premature capitulation in a country that has known them before.
Mr. Valls was later booed at a memorial service for the Nice victims. It would be heartening to think this was because he and his boss, President François Hollande, have failed to forge a strategy to destroy ISIS. But the public’s objection was that there hadn’t been enough cops along the Promenade des Anglais to stop the attack. In soccer terms, it’s a complaint about the failure of defense, not the lack of a proper offense.
Then there is Germany, site of three terror attacks in a week. It seems almost like a past epoch that Germans welcomed a million Middle Eastern migrants in an ecstasy of moral self-congratulation, led by Angela Merkel’s chant of “We can do it!” Last summer’s slogan now sounds as dated and hollow as Barack Obama’s “Yes we can!”
Now Germany will have to confront a terror threat that will make the Baader-Meinhof gang of the 1970s seem trivial. The German state is stronger and smarter than the French one, but it also surrenders more easily to moral intimidation. The idea of national self-preservation at all costs will always be debatable in a country seeking to expiate an inexpiatable sin.
Thus the question of whether Europe is helpless. At its 1980s peak, under François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, the European project combined German economic strength and French confidence in power politics. Today, it mixes French political weakness with German moral solipsism. This is a formula for rapid civilizational decline, however many economic or military resources the EU may have at its disposal.
Can the decline be stopped? Yes, but that would require a great unlearning of the political mythologies on which modern Europe was built.
Among those mythologies: that the European Union is the result of a postwar moral commitment to peace; that Christianity is of merely historical importance to European identity; that there’s no such thing as a military solution; that one’s country isn’t worth fighting for; that honor is atavistic and tolerance is the supreme value. People who believe in nothing, including themselves, will ultimately submit to anything.
The alternative is a recognition that Europe’s long peace depended on the presence of American military power, and that the retreat of that power will require Europeans to defend themselves. Europe will also have to figure out how to apply power not symbolically, as it now does, but strategically, in pursuit of difficult objectives. That could start with the destruction of ISIS in Libya.
More important, Europeans will have to learn that powerlessness can be as corrupting as power—and much more dangerous. The storm of terror that is descending on Europe will not end in some new politics of inclusion, community outreach, more foreign aid or one of Mrs. Merkel’s diplomatic Rube Goldbergs. It will end in rivers of blood. Theirs or yours?
In all this, the best guide to how Europe can find its way to safety is the country it has spent the best part of the last 50 years lecturing and vilifying: Israel. For now, it’s the only country in the West that refuses to risk the safety of its citizens on someone else’s notion of human rights or altar of peace.
Europeans will no doubt look to Israel for tactical tips in the battle against terrorism—crowd management techniques and so on—but what they really need to learn from the Jewish state is the moral lesson. Namely, that identity can be a great preserver of liberty, and that free societies cannot survive through progressive accommodations to barbarians.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why is Israel Chained to the Diplomatic Process

By Moshe Feiglin
We are used to thinking that the goal of the State of Israel is to achieve peace and that the problems our state faces are security, demographics, Palestinian nationalism, international pressure and economics.

But “peace” cannot be the defined goal of a state. Peace is the result of the proper definition and achievement of the goal. If peace were the goal, it would be easier to achieve it in another place, by surrendering our sovereignty, or by assimilation.

‘Security’ is not really the problem. The more that we progress in the ‘peace process’, the more that the security situation deteriorates. Buses and restaurants blown up by Islamic suicide bombers and missiles slamming into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were unheard of before the ‘peace process’. Years of experience have shown us that any quest for security should distance us from all diplomatic processes. So if we continue to sacrifice our families and friends ‘for the sake of ‘peace’, our problem is not ‘security’.

‘Demography’ is no longer the problem, either. The average Tel Aviv woman has as many children as her neighbor in Ramallah. According to the American/Israeli Demographic Institute the Jewish majority between the Jordan and the Sea – including the Arabs of Judea and Samaria - is expected to reach 80% in the next twenty years. National upheavals like those in the Middle East and Ukraine can certainly speed up the process – all without ‘peace talks’.

The “Palestinian” nationalism problem was an artificially created reaction to Zionism. There is no “Palestinian” problem in any of the lands in which there is Arab sovereignty: Jordan, Egypt, Syira or Lebanon. At the moment that Israel would G-d forbid disappear from the map, “Palestinian” Nationalism would disappear, as well.

“The goal of the Jews in the Land of Israel is to establish a Jewish state there. The goal of the Arabs in the Land of Israel is to prevent the Jews from doing so.” (British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, pinpointing the foundation of the conflict in a speech before the UN, 1947). Not much has changed since Bevin’s succinct explanation. There really is no “Palestinian” nationalism. There is the Arab nation, which does not accept Jewish sovereignty over Israel. This is also the reason why a “Palestinian” state has not yet been established and never will be established - despite the fact that no other group has ever received more international aid to create their potential state. The ‘Palestinians’ simply do not want a state. All they want is to prevent Israel from having a sovereign state.

‘International pressure’ is not the problem, as it always increases when Israel enters a diplomatic process. The economic boycott of Israel was largely an Arab boycott before Israel recognized the existence of the “Palestinian” nation and its rights to Israel’s heartland. But since the Oslo process, it has become a largely European boycott of Israeli products. Before the Oslo Accords, a large question mark hovered over the legitimacy of the PLO and its leaders. No such question mark hovered over the right of the Jews to their own state. Today, after twenty years of ‘diplomatic process’, the situation has reversed. We recognize them, but they do not recognize us and the world does not require them to do so. In other words, international pressure is exacerbated by the diplomatic process and cannot be used as an excuse to engage in it.

The diplomatic process does not solve the ‘economic’ problem, either. On the contrary: The Oslo Accords siphon off 10.5% of the national budget every year. They have cost Israel over one trillion (1,000,000,000) shekels since they were signed, not including items that cannot be calculated, such as the influence of the process on the cost of housing. Israel’s economic success is not in the merit of the diplomatic process, but despite it.

So if it is not ‘peace’, not ‘security’, not ‘demographics’, not ‘Palestinian nationalism’ not ‘diplomatic pressure’ and not the economy – why is Israel constantly pursuing a diplomatic process? The true and deep answer is that we seek legitimacy for our Israeli identity. This is explained by none other than the architect of the Oslo process, Dr. Ron Pundak:

“Peace is not a goal in and of itself. It is the means to bring Israel from one era to the next; to the era that I consider the era of the normal state. ‘Israelization’ of society instead of its ‘Judaization’ will foster the synthesis of Jewish nationalism, flourishing of Israeli culture, separation of religion and state and complete equality for the Arab minority in Israel.” (Ron Pundak, Jan. ’14)

Simply put, we strive for Israeli-ness instead of Jewishness. As long as our neighbors fight us and do not accept this new Israeli-ness as legitimate, we are thrown again and again to the Jewish-ness from which we started (and fled). That is why we desperately need a peace accord with the Arabs. Not because of security or demographics. We need an agreement with the Arabs at all costs in order to fulfill the dream of Israeli normalcy. The Israeli needs the Arab in order to forget that he is a Jew.

Thousands of victims of terror, surrender of vast tracts of our Homeland, the uprooting of settlements and their residents, missiles in Tel Aviv, loss of our existential legitimacy, loss of more than 10% of our national budget annually and much more damage –Dr. Pundak admits, are not the price of ‘peace’ nor the solution for the ‘demographic problem’. They are the price that we must pay for the internal conflict over the identity of the State of Israel.

Israel Deserves Better

By Yleem D.S. Poblete

  • The German intelligence service recently reported many clandestine Iranian attempts to obtain dual-use chemical, biological and nuclear technology.
  • In the Iran nuclear deal, the parties decided to engage "in different areas of civil nuclear co-operation," including construction and modernization of Iranian light water reactors, provision of technical assistance and on-the-job training. Meanwhile, Israel has been denied a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement with the US.
  • Israel's reported MOU requests on security assistance, missile defense, and regional qualitative military advantage are justified.
  • The terms of any U.S.-Israel agreement must withstand comparison to the concessions offered Iran in the JCPOA and show unequivocally that Israel, a trusted ally and major strategic partner, fared better in negotiations than an unconstrained enemy.
Israel is a major strategic partner, as declared in the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, enacted on December 19, 2014. The new law laid the foundation for expanded bilateral cooperation in a wide variety of spheres including defense, intelligence, and homeland- and cyber-security. Above, Israeli PM Netanyahu meets President Obama at the White House, May 20, 2011. (Image source: Israel PM office)
The one-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Western powers and Iran focused public attention on the regime's activities and Obama Administration policies and actions regarding this avowed enemy. Virtually unnoticed, despite the linkage to Iran-related developments, were reports that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is being pressured to set aside reservations and accept the terms the White House is offering for the Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S.
As recent developments show, such an acquiescence would be mistake. There is cause for concern.

Islamism Rises from Europe's Secularism

By Giulio Meotti 

  • In France, the Socialist government imposed a "secularism charter" in every school, banning Christianity from the educational system. Municipalities have already changed the enrollment form for schoolchildren by eliminating the words "father" and "mother", replacing them with "legal manager 1" and "legal manager 2". It is George Orwell's "Newspeak".
  • After two major terror attacks in 2015, France, instead of promoting a cultural "jihad" based on Western values, responded to Islamic fundamentalism with a ridiculous "Day of Secularism" to be celebrated every 9th of December.
  • This narrow secularism has also prevented France from openly supporting Eastern Christians under Islamist oppression.
  • The empty 13th century Oude Kerk church in Amsterdam is now used for exhibitions and can be rented for gala dinners. In front of it there is "Sexyland", offering "Live F*ck Shows", a coffee shop for drugs and an "Erotic Supermarket" for dildos. For seven euros one can also visit the church.
The symbol of Euro-Secularism is the 13th century Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. The empty church is now used for exhibitions and can be rented for gala dinners. In front of it there is "Sexyland", offering "Live F*ck Shows", a coffee shop for drugs and an "Erotic Supermarket" for dildos. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
On October 2000, in the sunny French city of Nice, the 105-member European Convention drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Drawn up by the committee of former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the document only referred to the "cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe". The European Parliament had rejected a proposal from Christian Democrat MEPs and Pope John Paul II, to include in the text Europe's "Judaeo-Christian roots".
In the 75,000-word Charter there is not a single mention of Christianity. Since then, a wind of aggressive secularism has pervaded all EU policies. The European Court of Human Rights, for example, asked to remove crucifixes from classrooms: they were allegedly a threat to democracy.

Monday, July 25, 2016

France: After the Third Jihadist Attack

By Guy Millière

  • Successive French governments have built a trap; the French people, who are in it, are thinking only of how to escape. The situation is more serious than many imagine. Whole areas of France are under the control of gangs and radical imams.
  • Prime Minister Manuel Valls repeated what he already said 18 months ago: "France is at war." He named an enemy, "radical Islamism," but he was quick to add that "radical Islamism" has "nothing to do with Islam." He then repeated that the French will have to get used to living with "violence and attacks."
  • The French are increasingly tired of attempts to exonerate Islam. They know perfectly well that all Muslims are not guilty. But they also know that all those who committed attacks in France in recent years were Muslims. The French have no desire to get used to "violence and attacks." They do not want to be on the losing side and they feel that we are losing.
The French army is at the limit of its capacity for action: it already patrols the streets of France and is deployed in Africa and the Middle East. Pictured above: French soldiers guard a Jewish school in Strasbourg, February 2015. (Image source: Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons)
Nice, July 14, 2016: Bastille Day. The evening festivities were ending. As the crowd watching fireworks was beginning to disperse, the driver of a 19-ton truck, zig-zagging, mowed down everyone in his way. Ten minutes and 84 dead persons later, the driver was shot and killed. Dozens were wounded; many will be crippled for life. Dazed survivors wandered the streets of the city for hours.
French television news anchors quickly said that what happened was almost certainly an "accident," or when the French authorities started to speak of terrorism, that the driver could just be a madman. When the police disclosed the killer's name and identity, and that he had been depressed in the past, they suggested that he had acted in a moment of "high anxiety." They found witnesses who testified that he was "not a devout Muslim" -- maybe not a Muslim at all.
President François Hollande spoke a few hours later and affirmed his determination to "protect the populace."

The Beauty of Israel

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

Our Sages taught us (Kiddushin 49b) that “ten measures of wisdom descended to the world; the Land of Israel took nine, and the rest of the world took one. Ten measures of beauty descended to the world; Yerushalayim took nine and the rest of the world took one.” Other nations have a disproportionate share of wealth, poverty, arrogance, and might – all as the Creator saw fit to apportion.

Certainly faithful Jews accept the words of our Sages without question or hesitation, even if the notion of the pervasive wisdom in the land of Israel is not always obvious at first glance. Indeed, things happen here daily that cast doubt on that dictum. Even the beauty of Yerushalayim is not always apparent, unless the dictum refers to spiritual beauty, which it probably does.

Without being too brazen, I would edit the words of the Sages as follows: “Ten measures of beauty descended to the world; the Land of Israel took nine and the rest of the world took one.”

That seems about right.

There are many beautiful places across the globe, scenes of the majesty of nature, locations of such astonishing splendor that they serve as testimony to our Sages’ comment (Berachot 10a) “there is no Artist like our G-d.” I have been fortunate to visit many of them and even recite the blessing that acknowledges G-d “who made the works of creation.” I hope to visit others. But the Land of Israel is unique in the sheer number of stunning vistas that are compacted into what is, after all, a relative tiny country, barely the size of New Jersey.

I thought of this while gazing at three particular sites. To look out at the Mediterranean Sea as the sun is setting is to glimpse eternity, serenity and the infinite wonders of G-d’s world. The sea does not stop; it is as if there is nothing beyond it. It is exquisite in its tranquility. All the worries of life, all the turmoil around the globe –even in some of the countries that border on the Mediterranean – fade into nothingness. The Mediterranean, dubbed by our Sages the “Great Sea” because it borders the Land of Israel, has seen so much history and been at the center of civilization. Yet, its peace is undisturbed.

We spent two days in Mitzpe Ramon that overlooks the Machtesh Ramon, the Ramon Crater, Israel’s version of the Grand Canyon. (Yes, I know it is not technically a crater.) It was formed not by the impact of a meteorite or a volcanic eruption but by the receding of the ocean waters that once covered the Negev and receded during the third “day” of creation when G-d separated between the waters and formed dry land. It was essentially untouched since then, giving rise to rock formations of dazzling colors – and right in the middle of the desert. The canyon, the cliffs, the stark beauty of the hills and valleys all engender a profound sense of humility in the person who happens upon it. “A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth endures forever” (Kohelet 1:4). That earth, that endures forever, is on spectacular display in Machtesh Ramon.

Just a few kilometers north of the town (which is less than 20 miles from the Sinai border) is the Kerem Ramon, the Ramon Vineyard, one of the largest vineyards in Israel. It encompasses hundreds of acres – and smack in the middle of the desert. The pioneers of early Israel vowed to make the desert bloom, in the famous cliché, and they largely succeeded. And here, modern pioneers, graduates of the Yeshivat Hesder in Mitzpe Ramon, have done it again. Across the street, literally, is desert, untended brown earth that has been barren for millennia. In the near horizon the mountains of the desert loom large, austere and forbidding in appearance. And that is what this vineyard looked like just a few years ago – bleak, brown earth – until faithful Jews acted on G-d’s promise to the Jews who would return to Israel after a long and bitter exile: “For G-d will comfort Zion and console all its ruins. He will turn its desert into Eden, and its dry places like G-d’s garden” (Yeshayahu 51:3). Indeed.

Perhaps the most striking feature that comprises the beauty of the land of Israel is the eye-catching array of colors. The blue of the sea and the blue of the sky; the greenery of the fields and the blue of the sky; the oases in the desert – the lush greenery set off against the austere brown - that offer  hope and suggest limitless possibilities. It is a panoply of rich and vibrant colors that bring nature, and the human imagination, to life, and invariably to appreciation for the handiwork of the Creator.

When I was a teenager, a Rebbe assigned our class a project in tefila (prayer). Each student was asked to choose a verse from the prayers and depict that verse in pictures. I chose a verse from Hallel: “The heavens are the heavens for G-d and the earth was given to man” (Tehillim 115:16). My pictures contrasted G-d’s domain with that of man and compiled them for my project. “The heavens are the heavens for G-d” – the azure sky with tufts of clouds lazily ambling about, the infinity of space where all is calm and peaceful, the sunsets that fill us with awe. “And the earth was given to man” – scenes of violence, terror, war and hatred (even then!). Scenes of the brutality of man to his fellow man that seemingly has no limits, no boundaries, and no end. Scenes of vulgarity and coarseness that belie the image of G-d with which every human being is endowed.

Of course, the Rebbe told me that I misconstrued the verse, which is just as well, but nonetheless. When will the beauty of the natural world – especially of the Land of Israel – be appreciated by mankind enough to call a halt to man’s volcanic eruptions of hatred, anger and violence?

Perhaps when, despite my emendation above, the Land of Israel also reclaims the nine measures of wisdom with which it was blessed and shares its conclusions with willing listeners across the world. Then the beauty above will be matched by beauty below as well and He who has made peace in the heavens will bring peace upon us, all Israel and His troubled world.

Europe is not Israel - Israel HaYom

“France must live with terrorism,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after the massive terrorist ‎attack in Nice last week. Understandably, his statement infuriated the French, who took to social ‎media to express their opprobrium.‎

And French President Francois Hollande, sounding almost as if he was being forced to speak, said, “We cannot deny that it was a terrorist ‎attack.”‎

After the massive Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015, political leaders proclaimed ‎themselves “shocked.” Whether this shock was feigned or genuine, at least they made a point, pitiful ‎as it was, of pretending that these massive terrorist attacks were something extraordinary that did not ‎have a habitual place in Europe.

Valls’ resigned declaration of tired surrender after the Nice attack, on the other hand, ‎amounts to the waving of a white flag in submission to the jihadis and is an indication that France ‎has little will to fight.‎

Valls and Hollande sounded like bewildered children at the helm of a ship that they are too ‎clueless to navigate. Imagine Winston Churchill declaring, “Britain must live with ‎Nazism.” ‎

Under its current government, France has busied itself with meddling in Israeli affairs ‎and organizing Middle East peace conferences, instead of spending every waking moment ensuring ‎the proper protection of its own population. It is not ready to fight against the jihad that has been ‎launched against it.

One major factor in this is that its elites blame France.‎ French Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud, for example, wrote on Twitter: “Why is France ‎targeted? History (former colonial power), geography (proximity), first Muslim community of Arab ‎origin sensitive to M.E. issues.”‎

In other words: Colonialism and Middle Eastern “issues” — a diplomatic euphemism for the Israeli-Arab conflict — ‎are to blame, not the Muslims who commit the atrocities and certainly not Islam. A ‎Twitter user from India responded to Araud: “We Indians have been colonized by all European powers ‎including your country. Ever heard of Indian terrorists? Shame on you.” Indeed.‎
One of the best indicators of how massive terrorist attacks have become the “new normal” is the financial markets, famously and hysterically sensitive as they are. One ‎observer concluded after the Nice attack, “Gold is down and the euro is up. Financial markets ‎don’t care because it’s no longer an extraordinary event. Even European travel stocks and French hotel ‎stocks are only down a couple of percent. Because continued terror attacks for years are already ‘priced ‎in.’ According to the stock market, France has now become Israel.”‎

The sentiment that France and Europe have “now become Israel” has become something of a trend on ‎social media in the wake of Nice. But it is very far from the truth.‎

Europe is a dying continent, one that is walking toward its own cultural suicide with eyes wide shut. ‎In Europe, self-loathing began to gain ground over most traditional Judeo-Christian ‎values as long as a century ago. We see the results of that long process today: Official Europe does not ‎believe in anything. The main European project in recent history has as its goal only a vague ‎multiculturalism and the working toward “an ever closer union,” a self-referential and self-serving ‎empty shell of a vision. Ostensibly, the EU was meant to prevent future wars in Europe, but while ‎Europe has lost its taste for war, war — now in jihad style — has not lost interest in ‎Europe. The problem is that Europe cannot fight jihadis — people who believe so strongly in their ‎cause that they will die for it — if it believes in nothing, least of all the legitimacy of its own fight against ‎them. This will not change, regardless how many reservist forces France now calls up to help ‎protect the country. The fight becomes especially tricky, tragicomically so, when it is fought while ‎intensely fearing the causing of any offense.‎

In contrast, Israel is a vibrant place of almost endless faith. Not just in the traditional and religious ‎sense but a general and secular faith in the worth and the future of the country pervades Israeli ‎society. Israel believes in itself and is more than willing to fight for itself, and this belief manifests itself in ‎myriad ways, not only in its military prowess and in the countless innovations for which it has become ‎so famous, but in its celebrations of its Jewish past, present and future at every given ‎opportunity. It is also evident in the high birth rate in the country, while Europeans are not having enough children to maintain their own populations.

Israel may be located in a neighborhood that is full of enemies and terrorists, but Israel is also ‎committed to dealing with those security issues, whatever it takes. Israel is here to stay, ‎and Israelis are determined to keep it that way, never even contemplating resigning themselves to whatever ‎malignant plans others may have in store for them.‎

No, Europe is not Israel. Not even close.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

Palestinian Demographic Manipulation

By Ambassador (ret) Yoram Ettinger

The July 11, 2016 statistics, published by the Palestinian Authority - claiming that Jews are a minority west of the Jordan River – is a classic case of “lies, damn lies and statistics.” This practice – which manipulates statistics in order to misrepresent reality and mislead observers - has been employed, deliberately and systematically, by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), despite a powerful Jewish demographic tailwind and a rapid Westernization of Muslim demography west of the Jordan River, and throughout the Muslim World other than the Sub-Sahara region.

The misuse of statistics, by the Palestinian Authority, has afflicted Israel and its supporters with unwarranted demographic pessimism/fatalism. The aim has been to cajole Israeli policy-makers into a false assumption that conceding the Jewish geography of the over-towering mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, is a prerequisite to securing Jewish demography.

In spite of Palestinian statistics, and the display of gross negligence by the international establishment - which accepts the PCBS and all other central bureaus of statistics at face-value without proper auditing – in July, 2016, there is a solid, long-term, 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefitting from an unprecedented robust tailwind of Jewish fertility and migration. Moreover, in July, 2016, there is a gap of 1.15 million people between the PCBS contended number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria (2.9 million) and the well-documented number (1.75 million).

How has the PCBS manipulated its population statistics?  

The initial Palestinian smoke and mirror performance occurred during the June, 1997 (first) Palestinian census in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with the artificial addition of 648,000 people. The census was conducted by the Palestinian Authority, which was concerned that the arrival in Israel of one million Soviet Jews, could dispel the myth of “the Arab demographic time bomb,” thus ending the Jewish nightmare of becoming a minority west of the Jordan River.

The 1997 Palestinian population census in Judea, Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza was puffed by the inclusion of 325,000 overseas residents, as documented by the PCBS’ website; the double-count of 210,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who were also included in the Israeli census; and the documented inconsistencies (of 113,000 people) between the PCBS, on the one hand, and the Palestinian departments of health, education and the Central Election Commission, on the other hand.

Moreover, in 1996, the population data of the Palestinian Central Election Commission (2.146 million) and Departments of Health and Education (2.270 million) were dramatically lower than the 1997 census (2.783 million), but almost identical to those of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (2.111 million), which validated its numbers against the number of newly-issued ID cards and the immunization of all ages.

Demonstrating the creativity of Palestinian statistics, the Head of the PCBS, Hassan Abu Libdeh, admitted at a February 26, 1998 press conference in El-Bireh that – in violation of international standards – “we counted 325,000 people (13% of the total population!) living outside the Palestinian lands for more than one year.”

Furthermore, the inclusion of overseas residents in official counts has been also practiced by other Palestinian agencies. For instance, according to an October 14, 2004 press release by the Central Election Commission, 200,000 overseas residents were included in the (last) Palestinian election in 2005. 350,000 overseas residents were included in the Palestinian statistics, according to a 1993 study by the World Bank.

Explaining the inconsistencies between the PCBS and other Palestinian departments, Louie Shabanah, a former Head of the PCBS stated during a June 8, 2005 debate at Haifa’s Technion: “The Palestinian Health Department accounts for less births because – unlike the PCBS – it excludes overseas births….”

The aforementioned statistical bloats expand annually due to births, hence the widening 1.15 million gap in Judea and Samaria in 2016, which consists of:

*400,000 overseas residents, as reaffirmed by Hassan Ilwi, the Palestinian Undersecretary of the Interior: “Since 1995, we have registered about 100,000 children born abroad.”
*300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who bear Israeli ID cards are doubly-counted as Israelis and as West Bankers.
*240,000 net-emigration of Judea and Samaria Arabs has been documented by Israel’s Border Police since the 1997 Palestinian census.
*Over 100,000 (mostly Judea and Samaria) Arabs have married Israeli Arabs since 1997, receiving Israeli ID cards, but are still (doubly) counted as West Bankers. In November, 2003, the Knesset passed a statue, terminating the automatic receipt of Israeli ID cards upon marrying an Israeli citizen.
*110,000 result from an inherent under-documentation of deaths (represented by the inclusion of Arabs born in 1847 in the June 2007 census…) and over-documentation of births (represented by a World Bank study, documenting a 32% gap between its own births documentation and the PCBS’ births statistics).

In 2016, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate (3.15 births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries, other than Sudan, Yemen and Iraq, reflected in a unique 75% increase in the number of births from 1995 (80,400) to 2015 (139,000), irrespective of the moderate decline in the fertility of the ultra-orthodox women, but due to the unprecedentedly robust secular (Yuppie) fertility. The norm of 1-2 births per woman among secular folks, twenty years ago, has now shifted into a norm of 3-4 births!

Recent demographic trends expose the unreliability of Palestinian statistics.  They bode-well for Israel’s posture in the negotiation process with the Palestinian Authority, but mostly for Israel’s economy and national security, which will benefit from an exceptionally high natural growth (quantitatively and qualitatively), compared to all other advanced economies, which may have to rely on foreign workers in order to sustain their economic growth.