Saturday, November 29, 2008
I am not one to usually write a political commentary inspired by the weekly parasha but for better or worse, the events in this week's Torah reading along with the tragedy in Mumbai fairly screams off both the holy and secular pages that we will all be reading. Perhaps one of the most famous statements in the Torah occurs when Yaakov, disguising himself as his hirsute brother Esav in order to rightfully claim the blessing of Avraham from his now blind father Isaac, elicits this puzzled response, "the voice is the voice of Yaakov but the hands are the hands of Esav". It is that statement that has defined the failure of the Israel both as a nation and as a people to establish themselves as leaders of Gd's kingdom on earth. The master plan as envisioned by Yitzchak was to have Esav working (the hands) to support Yaakov's Torah learning (the voice). Either one by itself would not be enough. But Esav, despite having the seeds of greatness in him (witness his primal reaction to loss of the blessing for he knows that Gd will not allow him to succeed without his righteous father's prayer to Gd on his behalf), perverts the mission of his hands and rather than working to help Yaakov establish Gd's nation, he becomes a hunter, a thief, a murderer who gladly sells his birthright to his twin brother.
It is difficult to look in the mirror after the tragedy in Mumbai and know that we all bear responsibility for this tragedy. And when I say "we" I mean all of Klal Yisrael, for is it not axiomatic that "kol yisrael areivim zeh et zeh"? Yet you ask, what could we have done? How could we have prevented this? We were not the terrorist savages that pulled the triggers. Perhaps not. But, we still enabled them. How? By not having the hands and the voice working in unison.
It is only the voice and the hands together and in balance that can bring greatness and peace to Israel. Either one by itself is not enough. We see glimpses of it through history and indeed, where the roles interchange. Witness Esav's voice through his filial devotion that was able to deceive Yitzchak and Yaakov's disguised hands that turned the tables. Or Yaakov using his hands to defeat Esav's guardian angel and forcing the angel to bless Yakkov with his voice. Moshe using hands and voice to help the Jews defeat Amalek in their first battle (which will be the prototype for the last). The Kohanim in the Temple, using hands and voice to bless the Jewish nation. And finally, King David, our greatest warrior and a Torah scholar, from whom Moshiach will come forth, finding the site of the Beit Hamikdash. And conversely, we see how in two thousand years of exile, the voice grew great with Torah pouring out of the galut. Yet, it was not enough as we were exiled, chased, tortured and murdered by the nations; by Esav and his cohorts. And then 60 years ago, we finally return to the land and we find our hands again but then the balance shifts in the wrong direction as the hands dominate the state of Israel and dominate the leadership in a corrupt path while the voice is content to have money for its yeshivas and social programs and forget about leadership and the nation as a whole.
This is where we find ourselves now. Israel is reeling aimlessly with criminals in charge of its leadership. Criminals, hunters and yes even murderers whose pathetic, obsequious policies towards the Arabs and the terrorists they breed have encouraged the murder of thousands of Jews including Rav Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, perverting the use of their hands in ways that would make Esav proud. And the Torah voices? Also perverted, propping up these miserable governments in exchange for money. Look in the mirror. We are all responsible for allowing this travesty in Mumbai like the travesty of Gush Katif, Sderot, Hebron, and others. After all, we started this destructive path by rescuing and then dressing up the murderer Arafat as a statesmen and allowing him and his terrorist thugs into Israel proper. All this because of the hands that are out of control with the proper voice nowhere to be found.
Next Monday is the Likud primary and Likud voters will have a chance to begin correcting this imbalance. The polls show that the Likud will be the next ruling party in Israel, yet anyone expecting a change because of Bibi will be severely disappointed. It will only happen if the Likud voters choose a voice to balance Bibi's hands. A voice the will restore the balance between voice and hands by keeping the Likud on the right nationalist path that it needs to take. A voice that stands for true Jewish Leadership in Israel. Faith-based leadership that will unite the voice and hands of the secular and the observant to begin to make a proud Jewish state. So I say to you Likudniks, there are five Jewish Leadership candidates on your voting slate next Monday. When you use your hands to choose, choose those that will unite your hands with the right voice for all our sakes.
(With Hakoret HaTov, I acknowledge the tremendous Torah insights of Rav Ari Kahn SHLITA and Rav Yaakov Zelinger SHLITA. If I have distorted or misrepresented anything they have given over, the fault is mine).
Translated from the Hebrew article on the NRG website.
If a Martian would land in Israel and see men dressed in black uniform sneaking up on the home of a sleeping family in the middle of the night, breaking into the home, beating the parents and throwing them out into the cold night in their pajamas, what would he think? If he would see the black uniformed men bringing bulldozers and tractors and destroying the house - with all the family's possessions still inside - and destroying the goat pen with the goats inside, where would he think that he had landed?
Our Martian sees the shocked family, standing on the ruins of their home. They are not acting very nicely. They are even cursing the black-unformed men that destroyed their home. Not nice. Unpleasant to hear. But on the backdrop of the destruction, it is understandable.
At this point, the already strange scenario takes an unexpected twist. The media and public opinion spinners focus their cameras, microphones and public interest on the curses and not on what evoked them. Everybody shakes their heads in disgust at the children driven from their home and at the parents who built it with love and devotion. Nobody remembers that human beings are supposed to have elementary human rights. Would these warriors of home-destruction etiquette say the same about a woman cursing a man while he cruelly rapes her? Would they ignore the rape and focus on her less than complimentary description of her attacker?
If our Martian has a bit of human intelligence, he will understand that he has landed in a society that cultivates a faade of democracy with a tyrannical predisposition. There is no law here, certainly no equality and a complete lack of elementary human rights. A society that is brainwashed to believe that a particular sector does not have the basic human rights afforded to all other citizens is anything but a democracy.
The nave Jews who paid a huge sum of money to buy the building in Hebron in the most legal of procedures thought that the law would uphold their purchase. They didn't understand that the sector to which they belong has been stripped of its basic human rights long ago. Their property rights turned to dust in Gush Katif. Now they have also been stripped of their right to protest.
Whoever sits in his home in Petach Tikva or Rishon Letzion and thinks that this 'democratic' totalitarianism is the problem of the settlers alone does not understand what is transpiring. Elections are just around the corner. You can certainly choose between candidates. But not between ideas. The one and only national agenda is dictated by the tyranny. And every candidate had better understand that.
Our Martian has re-entered his spaceship to continue his search for a free country elsewhere. But we don't have that privilege. We must free the State of Israel from the clutches of the tyranny.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Translated from the Hebrew article in the Makor Rishon newspaper.
What did you think, dear Hebronites? That if you paid an outrageous price, photographed and filmed the transaction for the 'Peace House' and the Arab seller standing on his head and swearing by the tail of the horse of Muhammad that the building is his and he is selling of his own free will - that you could rest easy? Did you think that the law would be on your side? That the Supreme Court would answer Amen? What, beloved brothers, did you think?
You simply do not understand that we are currently facing destruction. As far as Israel's decision makers are concerned, Hebron and all of Judea and Samaria no longer exist. Israel's 'leaders' are completely subservient to the legal/media/cultural/financial/security/academic elite that vigorously clutches the steering wheel of our Titanic.
In the good old days of Gush Emunim, Zionism still existed. There were forces in the Zionist Left that supported settlement throughout Israel. Gush Emunim took full advantage of that breach and with a combination of determined settlement of the land and legal and bureaucratic toil - it dotted Yesha with Jewish settlements.
But today we are on a completely different page. The elites have conquered the country and closed all the breaches. Gush Katif - established by the Labor party in the most legal of procedures - is dust. The elites are just waiting for their next opportunity. After Amona, Kadimah's popularity took a plunge and Olmert withdrew his Convergence plan and the continued struggle against the settlers. But it seems that the period of grace is drawing to an end. What is happening now at the Peace House is the awakening of the monster.
So now what do we do?
First, we must understand that the main objective of the government mechanism today is the destruction of all the settlements in Judea and Samaria. Our Sages teach that in times of shmad, destruction, we must not make the slightest retreat. It is a zero sum game and every retreat will be used to facilitate further destruction.
Second - and much more important. There is no relevant political arena outside the Likud. The Likud is not just another party. It is the national battle field. The rightist parties that were and that will be are completely irrelevant. We saw solid proof of that last week, when former head of the National Religious Party Eitam knocked on the door of the Likud and was not accepted.
The faith based public must connect to the large national camp and make its voice heard inside the Likud. The direction that the Likud takes is determined by its members. If just a fraction of the energies of the faith based public was redirected from struggling over every house to making its influence felt in the Likud - we could have been assured an impressive number of faith based Likud MKs and a much more Jewish-values oriented Israel.
Now you will remind me that the Likud destroyed Yamit and that the Likud destroyed Gush Katif. That is completely true. But the responsibility for that is on the shoulders of those people who ran off to hide in their sector-based parties instead of joining up with the broad national camp and wielding their influence there. Just think of the Likud as the parliament of the entire national camp. Everybody is welcome to join and to vote. Instead, we prefer to stay outside and demonstrate.
The monster that has awakened now in Hebron may wait until after the elections to rear its head again. It doesn't even care who wins.
What to do now? Run to register for the Likud!
Friday, November 14, 2008
There is something we need to talk about, you and me. Sometime ago in that bygone era known as the 60’s, Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created a brilliant television satire of the James Bond genre movies called “Get Smart”. Starring Don Adams as secret agent Maxwell Smart, the show spawned a rabid following for years (even as it changed networks, a move unheard of in those days) and gave birth to a number of catch phrases, such as “would you believe”, or “that’s the second biggest_________ I’ve ever seen”, “the cone of silence” and “missed it by that much” among others. The latter was usually used by Max when someone trying to escape out a window or other perilous route met their end, but not by that much of a distance.
Hello Caroline? You
and the religious right have
it by that much
Why am I telling this to you Caroline? No, not just because I saw the "Get Smart" movie with Steve Carell doing a poor Maxwell Smart on a recent flight to Israel. No, it's because I believe you can be the charter member of a new club that I will call the Missed It By That Much’s. You see, you typify the unique qualities of this club better than anyone here in Israel. How so? Because you are a brilliant writer who rails against the idiocy, corruption, and suicidal tendencies of the Israeli government almost better than anyone I know. And yet, you come so close but you just don’t get it in the end. For example, some time ago, you wrote a great column (“Olmert’s Parting Blows”) decrying how Israel’s leaders give away lands that were fought for and paid for in Israeli blood. Why? Because they just need to or so they believe it will lead to peace, a great legacy etc. Yes you mention them all: Barak, Sharon, Rabin and yet you also say “with the exception of Netanyahu.” Excuse me, but who was it exactly that gave up the hills in Chevron? Who is already on record as saying he is willing to make “painful concessions” for a “real” peace that will never come. Who stayed in Sharon’s government and voted for the disengagement from Gush Katif and then left the Likud (only to return) after he had stuck his finger in the air to determine which way the political winds were blowing?
Caroline, Caroline, Caroline. Your infatuation with Bibi truly blinds you. It is the worst kept secret in Israel that you are Bibi’s personal press/media relations person (I don’t even want to think about why) but it really tarnishes your stellar writing ability. Look, I make no bones about the fact that I am a Feiglinite through and through. However, I have one thing going for me that unfortunately you may never have.
It’s all about faith, Caroline. Faith in Gd. Faith in the fact that the Jews returned to Israel after two thousand years to be more than just a cheap copy of European and American glam culture. Faith that we really are different and are not meant just to be “A Place Among The Nations” as Bibi’s pseudo-Utopian vision would have us believe. For better or worse we are meant to be out in front as Gd’s duly appointed representatives on Earth. That is something that Bibi (another charter club member) and you cannot grasp. Because of that, you will never take the final step of recognizing that only a faith-based leader like Feiglin can reverse the decay in Israel. That it is Feiglin that truly stands for the Likud ideals and charter. That Bibi does not have an ounce of Likud DNA in him. Proof? If he really cared about this country, he would have marched into Livni’s office, tell her to forget the groveling in front of Shas and Yahadut HaTorah and he will bring Likud in with Bibi as finance minister, a job at which he does excel. But he can’t do that because it’s not good for Bibi. And if it’s not good for Bibi, even it is good for the country, it doesn’t happen. But don’t worry. I'm grateful Bibi didn't do this as it would have given him credibility and you justification in what you write.
By the way, you have plenty of company in the club from the dysfunctional religious right who will vote for Bibi again even as they know he will sell them out in the end and they will do the dance of bringing down the government (or not depending if the check is big enough). I always wondered which is worse; someone on the left who you really have to start from scratch with or someone like you who is almost there but can’t move any farther because they believe they are firmly planted in the right’s court. Probably the latter because I think it is easier to overturn a completely empty and flawed ideology rather than a misplaced one that both you and the religious right harbor. Missed it by that much indeed. I don't know. Maybe you all just need a little quality time with Max to put things in perspective before the upcoming Likud primaries. Personally, I think you would make a great "99". Now if we could only get Bibi to accept his role as Larabee and Olmert as Zigfried (head of KAOS, appropriate, no?) we're all set. Keep up the excellent writing and we'll talk again soon. How long you will all continue to miss it by that much is unknown to me. Maybe you all need some quality time with Maxwell Smart to put things in perspective.
How long you will all continue to miss it by that much is unknown to me. Maybe you all need some quality time with Maxwell Smart to put things in perspective.
How long you will all continue to miss it by that much is unknown to me. Maybe you all need some quality time with Maxwell Smart to put things in perspective.
Friday, November 07, 2008
For some reason, it is always the Jews who are deeply involved and sometimes responsible for the revolutions in the world. It is the Jews who are inexplicably driven to perfect the world in the name of some cause. If they are not busy perfecting the world for the Kingdom of the One G-d of Israel, then they will throw themselves into the perfection business in the name of communism, liberalism or some other ism. Whenever you peek behind a real revolution, you will discover a Jew pulling the strings.
Barack Obama's meteoric rise to power is a revolution. It is difficult to describe this revolution because it has gone to great lengths not to describe itself. Time will tell exactly what revolution we dove into this week. But one thing is for sure it is a revolution, indeed.
Who are the Jews who got Obama elected?
On the surface, the answer is simple. Obama's campaign manager - the brains behind the brilliant campaign of the young candidate who has never filled an executive position in his life belong, of course, to a Jew - David Plouffe. Jews were prominent at every level of the Obama campaign, as well.
But I do not think that it is the Jews on Obama's staff who created the revolution. The two Jews who got Obama elected are in completely different places. They are two Prisoners of Zion.
The Jew more responsible than any other person for Obama's victory is my friend, Natan Sharansky. Sharansky is a man to be admired. His personal biography, captivating personality and uncompromising integrity have won him wide acclaim. If given the choice, Sharansky may not have chosen the path onto which G-d put him, but his image has become synonymous with the small man whose courage broke the Iron Curtain. Whether he intended to or not, Sharansky has become a cultural icon in the U S a beloved hero. He is the man who defeated America's challenger the USSR and proved that the human spirit can triumph against evil. Sharansky promotes traditional American values - the values that inform the Republicans in general, and Bush in particular.
Bush and Sharansky became close friends. It was easy for Bush to adopt the former Prisoner of Zion's doctrine as the resounding proof of the wisdom of his world view. Sharansky's book "The Case for Democracy," became Bush's second bible. According to Bush, the book became a permanent fixture on his night table and he referred to it often. Sharansky became a frequent and welcomed guest at the White House. Admirably, this modest man did not publicize the many meetings and personal relationship that he had with the US president.
What does this have to do with Obama?
Bush seems to have received the inspiration or reinforcement for his ill-advised quest to democratize Iraq from Sharansky. Bush Senior understood that the US could not enforce its values on a Muslim society. He made some serious mistakes in the First Gulf War but he did not entangle his country in an attempt to create an impossible reality on the basis of an appealing, but patently unrealistic theory.
There is not and will never be democracy in Arab Muslim society. Democratic and Muslim values are mutually exclusive. America's embroilment in Iraq is not the result of poor military planning (although that is party of the problem) as the American Right attempted to claim. America's embroilment in Iraq stems from an unfounded and even childish world view. The mis-attempt to democratize Iraq is the point at which Bush's presidency began to collapse. Barack Obama's rise is just the flip side of the large shadow of Bush that hovered over McCain's campaign.
There is another Jew a Prisoner of Zion who also has a hand in Bush's collapse. When Bush was elected to his second term, I sent him a letter that was personally delivered into his hands. I addressed him as a believing Jew writing to an American of deep faith. I congratulated him on his victory and wrote that I believed that the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard a righteous Jew who acted to save his brethren when they were in danger would result in a catastrophic term for Bush.
The Biblical verse "and I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you, I will curse" is a guiding light for many believing Americans. George Bush forgot that verse and placed himself on the side of the cursed.
But there is still a chance to rectify the situation. Jonathan Pollard has been rotting in a US prison more than double the time that Natan Sharansky was imprisoned in the USSR. Pollard's actions to save his brethren do not go down well with Israeli politics or with American politics, either. But now that Bush is leaving office, he can be motivated by his conscience instead of by politics, and pardon Pollard. We must do all that we can to put Pollard back on Bush's agenda. We must also be on the side of the blessed.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
This article is translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper.
If you have despaired of influencing your future and the future of your country through politics, if you dream of a strictly supernatural redemption, then this article is not for you. This article is for those of you who plan to vote in the upcoming elections.
If you plan to vote, please note the following:
The first piece of political wisdom is that your vote in the upcoming elections will determine who will form the next government. If you are part of the national camp, the decision that you have to make is very simple. What is more important to you? That the Right/religious party that you prefer will have more seats and remain in the opposition? Or that your favorite Right/religious party will have one or two less seats but that the Likud will form the government and possibly include it in the coalition?
It is almost certain that the head of the party that receives the most votes will form the next government. If you don't vote Likud, you are giving that privilege to Tzippi Livni. "Aha!" you say, "but Netanyahu has already said that he prefers a unity government and furthermore, he will just make fools out of the National Union party." That may be his aspiration. But it is not at all certain that he will succeed. What is certain is that Livni will not make a coalition offer to the National Union, and they probably wouldn't want to be part of her government, anyway.
Yes, we have many misgivings about the Likud and what damage it can do when it is in power. But the only real way to make a change is to join the Likud, to vote for the MKs and the Likud chairman and to make your voice heard.
So what do you prefer? A Kadimah government with a National Union party with 8 seats in the opposition? Or a Likud government with a National Union party with 6 seats possibly in the coalition? The choice is in your hands.
The second piece of political wisdom is as follows: The Likud has proven that the notion that if the opposition sits passively and is careful not to make any mistakes, it will necessarily rise to power - is completely wrong. The public has rejected Olmert but not his ideas. In other words, the Likud has not managed to convince anybody that it has a better alternative. That is why as soon as Olmert was replaced by a person who ironically has a clean image, Kadimah once again leads in the polls.
The opposition in Israel has never had a better opportunity to replace the incumbent government. The destruction of Gush Katif, followed by the defeat and humiliation in Lebanon, all topped off with Kadimah scandals of every shape and form had given the Likud a boost of tens of percentage points in the polls. But suddenly, the sure win is not so sure. The Likud has not yet distinguished itself from Kadimah. If it does not delineate its own policies and appeal to its natural pool of voters, we are liable to find ourselves saddled with another Kadimah government.
The potential Likud voters are not in the Center. The Center is occupied by Kadimah and is subject to the manipulations of a plethora of leftist power and financial elites. A survey taken by Dr. Asher Cohen a number of months ago revealed that more than one third of the Israeli public identifies itself as "right of the Likud." 22% even consider themselves extreme right. But the Likud's policy of intentionally blurring its positions distances these potential voters.
That is how the Likud found itself in the opposition and the third of Israelis who define themselves as right of the Likud found themselves in Olmert's government with Lieberman and Shas. Those who voted for the National Union or did not vote at all remained equally irrelevant.
If the Likud wants to win the next elections, it must forget the notion that the race is determined by the Center. Every time that the Likud negates its own policies and tries to be more "centrist", its voters leave in droves and it loses the elections.
Today, Israelis are more rightist than before. But they do not identify the Likud as a party capable of actualizing its values. The Likud must make a sharp right turn, make a commitment that no Jew will be expelled from his home, prepare for the leftist smear campaign and win!