Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yoel Meltzer in Ynet: Will Netanyahu Err Again?,7340,L-4192772,00.html

Op-ed: Prime minister would be wise to stay away from Ehud Barak, stop Likud’s slide leftward

Yoel Meltzer
Published: 02.21.12, 12:23 / Israel Opinion

Following the recent announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will run for president of the Likud Convention, the future of the current Likud has suddenly been thrown in the air. For in spite of its somewhat colorful history, this is the first time that a current Likud PM has attempted to grab control of this key decision-making institution, a move that in effect further neutralizes the influence of Likud Central Committee members.

The motive given by Netanyahu for this unprecedented move is to thwart the alleged intention of the newly elected Central Committee to cancel Likud primaries and in doing so restore the task of selecting Knesset members to the Central Committee itself.

However, this assumption is tenuous. Central Committee members clearly understand that any move aimed at allowing internal party hacks to once again have the power to choose MKs is akin to political suicide: Rival parties will portray the Likud as going back to its corrupt old ways; Likud rank and file members will feel bitter for being pushed aside and losing their recently acquired power to decide; the Israeli media will have a field day ripping apart the Likud.

Thus it's far more likely that the real reason for the unorthodox move by the PM has nothing to do with the Likud primaries and everything to do with the highly unpopular Ehud Barak. More specifically, it appears that Netanyahu wants to use the convention to pass a resolution that will allow him to have a few reserved slots for the people of his choice in the next party list.

This way, should Likud win the next national election, Netanyahu can bring these people – assumed by nearly everyone to be either Ehud Barak and his small Independence Party or Ehud Barak and some anticipated Kadima defectors – unimpeded into the Likud.

Such a plan, however, is certain to backfire as outside of the PM himself, most members in the current right-wing nationalist coalition, including the majority of Netanyahu's own Likud party, are not exactly fans of Ehud Barak. His Oslo ideology and harsh stance against Jews living in Judea and Samaria perpetually irks nearly every Likud MK and, by extension, most Likud voters.

Hence, for many people it is both perplexing and irritating that Netanyahu not only continues to support Barak but even gives him free reign to do as he pleases, rather than simply ousting him as defense minister and giving the position to someone like former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon.

In a similar vein, albeit in the opposite direction, three years ago many potential Likud voters were turned off by Netanyahu's incessant attacks on Moshe Feiglin and the apparent monkey business in having Feiglin knocked down from the 20th to 36th slot following the 2009 primaries. This in turn was one of the reasons that led to the Likud plummeting in the polls prior to the last elections, as the average Likud voter prefers a party that is full of genuine right-wing candidates to one that is constantly trying to improve its image by moving leftward.

Will Netanyahu make the same mistake again, in this case by doing everything possible to magically transform Ehud Barak into a Likudnik and in the process ostracize many potential voters? If so, it's doubtful that this time around he will be rewarded with a second chance in the same manner as he was in 2009 when he was asked to form a coalition only after Tzipi Livni and the victorious Kadima party failed in their own attempt.

In the final analysis, it's only Bibi, and not Tzipi or Yair or anyone else, who can stop the Likud and the Right from winning the next election and forming another right-wing nationalist coalition. Which way will he go?

The People's Army Ethos and the Ultra-Orthodox Media Carnival

By Moshe Feiglin

6 Adar, 5772
Feb. 29, '12

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper

Early Friday morning. The permanently clogged highways of greater Tel Aviv had not yet woken up. A slight drizzle, plenty of parking on the street into which you can usually not even fit a straight pin. I had been invited for an hour of relaxed, weekend conversation on the Nechama Duek show on Radio Tel Aviv. The studio shines with glass and chrome. Everything is modern and sparkling and everybody is nice.

The broadcast begins and Nechama interviews the "suckers" in the protest tent. These are the reserve soldiers, self-proclaimed "pushovers", unhappy with their reserve duty while many ultra-Orthodox men do not serve in the army. The anonymous "sucker" repeats the hackneyed mantras against the Haredim, draft evasion, et al. It reminds me of a tasteless piece of gum that has been chewed here for sixty years; every so often somebody decides to blow a bubble and pop it. "Here we go again," I say to myself. "The next hate-fest is upon us."

I wonder who planned and funded this performance; probably the same people who produced the Haredi bus scandal and before that, the "mosque burning" scandal. After all, how would we possibly survive here without our monthly hate-fest?

The "sucker" keeps talking and Nechama emotionally calls for all the Tel Avivians to go out now – NOW – to join up with the "suckers". She then turns to me and asks, "What is your opinion?" I take advantage of the opportunity to praise the settlers in Judea and Samaria, reminding the listeners that the settlers boast the highest percentage of enlistment, among other facts. "Yes, but what about the Haredim?" Nechama asks. I then explain the solution. "A terrible idea!" Nechama counters, and goes on to the next topic.

My proposed solution follows below. But first I will preface by saying that I always tell my children that when they turn on the radio to hear the news, they must first understand that they are actually hearing what the person who wrote the news thinks is the news; what he decides will be on the national agenda. In other words, when I turn on the news, I am selling myself to mental servitude; I am depositing the decision on where my consciousness should be – and more important, where it should not be - in the hands of the news editor.

Two days later, I turned on the radio; 7 a.m., channel 2, Aryeh Golan. What is on the news? That's right. It is the "pushovers." The picture is clear: Big money, probably European, cynical strategists, tents, news editors, the High Court and some "pushovers" for good measure. That is the end of the Tal Law that attempted to regulate the conscription of Haredim into the IDF. When the law is repealed this summer, all those Haredim who do not serve in the army will become criminals.

The army does not conscript Haredim now, even though it is currently obligated to do so. It cannot and does not want to. The Haredim refuse to be conscripted against their will, no matter what. Mix them together and we get a smooth blend of hatred. Wonderful. We have something to look forward to.

What is the solution for the conscription of Haredim? As always, the solution is to deal with the real problem and not the problem conjured up by the news editors. The real problem is the "People's Army" ethos. Mandatory conscription was instituted to serve that ethos and indirectly, to empower minority sectors to, among other things, create discord; to divide and conquer.

Mandatory conscription has nothing to do with security. On the contrary, it is detrimental to security. But in a state founded on the security ethos, the power to forcibly conscript or excuse from conscription is the power to determine who is the insider and who is the outsider. They will never give up this absolute power. Nechama Duek's decisive "no" did not stem from her concern for Israel's security; it stemmed from her fear of losing this power.

The IDF has not been the 'people's army' for a very long time. Less than one third of able-bodied men serve the full three years of mandatory service. Even more amazing, less than 4% of able-bodied men serve significantly in the reserves.

A graded and judicious transition to a professional volunteer army based on ample compensation and a valued social status would allow the army to choose the best and brightest and to fine tune their skills. This would include academic training. The IDF would be able to extensively prepare for the battlefield of the future.

I know, religious Zionists do not like this idea. They think that their army service will pave their way into the heart of Israeli legitimacy. But that is not the case. Army service is a very important value. But those holding the reins will never let go in exchange for religious Zionist cannon fodder.

Mandatory conscription contradicts the concept of liberty that is at the base of Judaism. Yes, provisions must be made for basic training for all draft-aged men in preparation for emergency. This includes Haredim – under the most strict Jewish-law guidelines, as per their needs. But it is specifically the Religious Zionists that must think out of the box and lead with the ethos of liberty. Ultimately, Gush Katif was destroyed by a severe shortage of liberty – not of religious soldiers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Threshold of Greatness: Who Speaks to Israel?

By Tuvia Brodie

Today, five voices speak to Israel: Edom, Yaacov, Yishmael, Persia and ONE. Each voice is distinct. Each reveals a truth. Do you understand these voices? More important, can you see the truth revealed?

Edom, whom we commonly identify as Europe and America, calls upon Israel to abandon ancestral Jewish homeland. Edom speaks with a singular voice. She is firm: Israel must give land to the Arab. Edom knows what she wants. She wants peace.

Yaacov, whom we commonly identify as the Jew, has two voices. One voice agrees with Edom: we must give away land. We have no choice. We must do as Edom demands. The other voice says we cannot do that. We cannot obey Edom. We cannot give land away, this voice says, because that land does not belong to us. It belongs to the LandLord—G-d.

Edom hears these two voices of Yaacov. She grows angry: give land, she demands, so we can have our peace.

The third voice which Israel hears belongs to Yishmael, whom we commonly identify as the Arab. Yishmael, like Yaacov, also speaks with two voices. But his voices are consistent. They do not conflict. They are like music--two melodies within the same song. The first voice of Yishmael agrees with Edom. Yaacov must give to Yishmael. That is justice. Edom says there must be two states between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This first voice of Yishmael, speaking in English, tells the world that Edom speaks the truth.

Edom hears the first voice of Yishmael. Edom is pleased.

But Yishmael has a second voice. It is a voice, in Arabic, that says there cannot be two states. There can be only one state-- ‘Palestine’. There is no place for Yaacov. This voice calls for only one people to populate the land between the River and the Sea—the Arab people. Yaacov, this second voice of Yishmael sings, must be cleansed from the land.

Edom hears this second voice. She remains silent. She turns to Yaacov and says, ‘Why do you delay? Who do you think you are to say no to Yishmael? Because of you we have no peace.’

The fourth voice that calls to Israel is the voice of Persia, whom we commonly identify as modern Iran. Today’s Persia is angry. Yaacov, she says, is a cancer. He must be removed. Persia will excise this cancer--with an atom bomb.

Edom tells Persia she cannot have a nuclear weapon. Persia laughs. She threatens. Yishmael hears the threat. He fears Persia’s wrath. Yishmael asks Edom for help. Edom understands. She sends Abraham Lincoln—one of the world’s most powerful warships—to sit at Persia’s shoreline. In response, Persia threatens Edom. She will cut off Europe’s oil; she will drive oil prices so high as to destroy Europe’s already weak economies; and she will send suicide ships after Abraham Lincoln. Her rockets can reach Europe. They will soon reach America.

For Yaacov, Edom threatens. Yishmael threatens. Persia threatens. Nations with hating hordes and atomic weapons-to-be—all threaten. Incredibly, they threaten each other because they threaten Yaacov.

The fifth voice that calls to Israel is the voice of ONE. It is a different voice—abstract and difficult to grasp. Yaacov recalls this Voice every day in his prayer—‘Hear oh Israel, HaShem our G-d, HaShem is ONE.’ In this prayer, we find the Name of G-d (‘HaShem’), who is called, simply, ONE. Our heritage teaches that, within this Holy ONE, we discover G-d’s name, His Voice, His Mercy-- and (as we learn in our written and oral texts) our Destiny in the land called Israel. It’s not simple. But it’s all there—past, present, future; and this future, our Destiny, does not depend upon obeying Edom, Yishmael or Persia. It depends upon the ONE.

For Yaacov, ONE stands alone. There is no other. Edom, Yishmael and Persia do not accept that. They choose others. They want to separate Yaacov from Israel, to demonstrate that G-d-is-ONE lied when He claimed that the bond between Himself-Israel-Yaacov is eternal. They may even believe that if they destroy Yaacov, they remove the non-visible ONE from existence; for without Yaacov, who will speak of ONE? With Yaacov gone, there would be no ONE to distract the nations of the world.

Will Edom then have her peace? Will Persia and Yishmael?

Five voices: which do you believe? Each appears in the Jewish Heritage [Mesorah]. This 3,800 year-old inheritance predicts how this story unfolds—and to this date, if you keep score, the predictions are eleven-for-eleven (see, “The MOST important video about Israel you’ll ever see”). The ONE is complete, eleven-for-eleven-with-no-imperfection. He is perfect—and He is wedded to Yaacov.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Temple: The Flavor of Life

By Moshe Feiglin

And they shall make Me a sanctuary so that I will dwell among them. According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its vessels, and so you shall do. (From this week's Torah portion, Terumah, Exodus 25:8-9)

"The Temple somehow connects to my soul in an unbelievable way. It is something that I do not understand, but it is my Jewish essence that is connected to it. I don't know, I don't think about it. I simply want and anticipate and hope that I will also participate, with G-d's help, in the building of the Temple." (Manhigut Yehudit supporter, Emmanuel Gertel, in the film "Awakenings". Gertel is not an "Orthodox" Jew.)

"Yes, it has to be budgeted and it must be done. What is the problem? When I go to the Kotel with my son, I explain to him that it is like being outside, in the parking lot." (Manhigut Yehudit supporter Uri Noi, answering the question: Do you support the building of the Third Temple now? In an interview (Hebrew) on Israeli television. Noi is not an "Orthodox" Jew.)

What is the pull of the Temple? What are they connecting to? It is not only the 'crazy' seculars of Manhigut Yehudit who are connected to the Temple. Herzl also spoke about the Temple, as did Yair Stern, who insisted on making the building of the Temple part of his 13 principles, despite the fact that he knew that it would distance many of his fighters. Why do we need such a primitive and bizarre thing in our modern times?

For Emmanuel, the Temple Mount plucks on heartstrings so deep that he cannot even describe them. Uri the intellectual reaches the same point through the dimension of national pride; we also need a Buckingham Palace we can call our own; the Prime Minister's residence simply does not fit the bill.

Both of them are right. But as someone who for years has been going up to the Temple Mount and trying to understand why it mesmerizes the world, I would like to add another dimension.

From the day that the Temple was destroyed, our Sages explain, the taste of life was taken from us and given to the idol worshippers. In other words, since the Temple was destroyed, we really don't have much of a life. We are like zombies, walking shadows, not people who are really alive. We can choose between living a life of recluse, sequestering ourselves from the world and its temptations; the Christian method, or we can choose the Moslem, animal method of living a life of physical lust. But to synthesize between the physical and spiritual, between body and soul; to create a life of harmony between the two, is not possible without the Temple. The flavor of life has been lost.

How is the Temple connected to all of this?

The Temple on the Temple Mount is a physical point that can be located on a map. It is the place chosen by the Creator to manifest His Divine Presence and from which to spread it across the entire earth. In other words, the Temple is the connection point between the physical and the meta-physical. It is like the human brain that while it has grey matter, it is also the seat of thoughts and emotions. The Temple is the brain of the universe. It is the place where the physical and meta-physical meet and create life. When the Temple was destroyed, it was as if our brain was taken and replaced by a robot; not really life at all. A robot cannot enjoy life; its flavor is irrelevant to it.

Longing for the Temple is longing for life, for the renewed connection between body and soul in both the individual and universal dimensions. Humanity, in its entirety, anticipates the fountain of life that will burst forth from Jerusalem. Ultimately, it will force it upon us. In the meantime, the world is angry at us for not supplying the merchandise; and rightfully so.

Shabbat Shalom

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Terumah and Rosh Chodesh Adar 5772


Parashat Terumah Rosh Chodesh Adar 5772

We find in our holy sources a much quoted principle:

יש קונה עולמו בשעה אחת

One may acquire his place in the next world through one dramatic act (of kiddush HaShem, sanctification of the Holy Name).

And its reverse:

ויש מאבד את עולמו בשעה אחת

One can lose his place in the next world through one dramatic act (of chillul HaShem (desecration of the Holy Name).

The following is an incident in the life of one man who had in his hands the opportunity to acquire a huge portion in the world to come with one single act, but faltered at the last leap of faith.

I was informed by e-mail of a prominent rav in the galut of America who called his congregation to a "non-scheduled" mid-week meeting to discuss the silence of American orthodox Jews in the face of a potential war with Iran.

I was told that the rabbi is a good man, frum and dedicated to his calling. But after reading his message, I believe, that he and many other religious leaders there have, unfortunately, "missed the boat".

The rabbi’s words are in color, my comments are in black.

The good rabbi said:

"Why are we quiet? Where is the awakening? Why is everyone so apathetic?... Everyone is busy with narishkeiten (foolishness), we don't hear the alarm? We don't know that we have to pierce the heavens for rachamim (pity) from the Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the universe)?"

"Everyone knows that there is currently a growing danger from Iran - and it is a great error for whoever does not know this. "Why should a Yid (a Jew) not know what is happening to [other] Yidden? Everyone must know what is happening in regard to other Yidden. Everyone must know what is happening in Eretz Yisrael."

Indeed, we must pray to HaShem. But I don’t take seriously the idea that the tefilos (prayers) coming out of 13th Avenue in Boro Park, or President Street in Crown Heights or even Forest Ave. in Lakewood N.J. have an iota of influence in the Shamayim (heavens) on the fate of the holy Jews in Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisrael.

The person who sent me the speech added that the rabbi, "began talking this past Shabbos about the dangers from the Iran crisis, when he stopped and said that it was not a subject to discuss on Shabbos. He said he would continue the topic during the week.

That postponement certainly contributed to emphasizing before the congregation the "clear and present danger" to Am Yisrael.

The letter writer continued, "The last time he (the rabbi) called for a special asifah (gathering) during the week to discuss current events was in 1991, prior to the Gulf War. Rav... started his address, which was carried live by Kol Halashon, with the famous Rambam, who writes that it is a mitzvah to daven during troubled times. "If you don't daven," the Rambam says, "then it is a cruelty, since it will get worse."

I am happy to learn that from 1991 until the present there was peace and serenity in the Holy Land, with no major issues, in the rabbi’s view, to bring before the community consciousness.

"The leader in Iran says clearly - he repeated it this week - that he wants to kill, Rachmana litzlan (God forbid), every Yid in the world, just like Haman... If he will be successful, chas v'shalom (God forbid), in getting the nuclear bomb - and experts says he will have it by the summer - it will be a great danger for Klal Yisrael."

"A good part of the world's Jews live in Israel, and the government there says that they will attack Iran first, before they could get the nuclear bomb. If that happens, everyone knows that that will cause a world war." The rabbi quoted Harav Yosef Rosenblum, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Shaarei Yosher who said, "... that during this eis tzarah (dangerous times), Hashem is judging us on every klal and on every prat (every principle and every detail)".

The rabbi continues:

"We don't have to be in a panic... Hashem will perform miracles for us. But efsher takeh (indeed). Maybe the time for the Geulah (redemption) has arrived. We must prepare for the Geulah. Hashem has performed great miracles for the Yidden. Eretz Yisrael, which today hosts most of the world's Yidden and most of the Torah world, merited supernatural siyatta diShmaya (Godly help) during its wars. When the Palestinians shoot missiles from Gaza, they land mostly in empty areas and cause little damage. When then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein shot 39 Scud missiles during the Gulf War, only one Yid was killed - that man had previously received a klalah (curse) from the Chazon Ish.

I can’t verify that the man who was killed was cursed by the Chazon Ish; I believe that he was born after the Chazon Ish passed away. But the rabbi is correct that it was a time of great miracles for the the holy Jews in Eretz Yisrael. I know. I, my wife, children and grandchildren lived through it, as we have done with all the wars here in the past 50 years.

The rabbi continues:

"This a hashgachah niflaah (wonderous care) that is reserved only for Yidden who learn Torah, who keep the mitzvos and who will ultimately do teshuvah,"

Correct. HaShem blessed the Yidden who "learn Torah, who keep the mitzvos," etc., so much so, that the nearest missile to the yeshivos in the USA was 10,000 kilometers away.

The rabbi said, "Hashem wants to do nissim for us. Israel is surrounded by 300 million Arabs and WE are still there; that means Hashem wants to do yeshuos (salvation). We must prepare for yeshuos."

"Israel is surrounded by 300 million Arabs and WE are still there". Interesting that the rabbi is capable of being in two places at one time.

But just like Eliyahu had to daven on Har Hacarmel even though Hashem had already promised to bring rain, Hashem still wants the tefillos of Klal Yisrael today, even though He had promised to bring yeshuos. In order to qualify for these miracles, the Rav... said, "We must strengthen in Torah, tefillah and chessed. He specifically suggested saying Tehillim 46 every day, adding that he is asking his own kehillah to have the kapitel (chapter) printed out and stuck to the back of every siddur. During the Suez campaign in 1956, the Belzer Rebbe asked that people say that particular kapitel, since it is a segulah to prevent warfare.

I wonder. In the year leading up to the military miracle of the Megila, when the Jews had to defend themselves on the 13th and 14th of Adar, did they just say Tehillim 46 or did they also train for warfare?

"Everyone has to be mispallel (pray) that Klal Yisrael should be saved from chevlei Moshiach, that he and his family should be saved".

Here lies the great divide. I also pray for my family. But my family includes not only our son who is a senior officer in Tzahal and our grandchildren who are soldiers. It also includes Shimon, the son of a good friend who is in a tank battalion, and Yankele, the grandson of another friend who pilots an F-15I, and all the other holy soldiers defending our Jewish homeland in the air, on the land, on the sea and below.

The rabbi continued, "Yidden should keep in mind that we live in momentous times, and we should prepare for the upcoming era with emunah and bitachon (belief and trust). In the next couple of weeks there will be news," Rav... said, "and with the help of Hashem, it will be good news for Yidden".

In these tumultuous times of danger to world Jewry, can any erudite and sincere Torah person believe that HaShem will bring about huge miracles in order to permit the Jewish communities in the galos to continue in their ignorant bliss? The miracles will be directed to bringing the confused people of the galos back to Eretz Yisrael.

As the prophet Yecheskel states (36:22-24):

לכן אמר לבית ישראל כה אמר ה' ה' לא למענכם אני עשה בית ישראל כי אם לשם קדשי אשר חללתם בגוים אשר באתם שם:

וקדשתי את שמי הגדול המחלל בגוים אשר חללתם בתוכם וידעו הגוים כי אני ה' נאם ה' ה' בהקדשי בכם לעיניהם:

ולקחתי אתכם מן הגוים וקבצתי אתכם מכל הארצות והבאתי אתכם אל אדמתכם:

"Therefore say to the House of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.

I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I sanctify through you before their eyes.

For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.


Now, had the rabbi concluded his address by stating, "Our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael are facing enormous dangers on the scale of a modern day Purim. Therefore, dear students and congregants, I and my family are leaving this week to join the Yidden in Eretz Yisrael. As Moshe Rabbeinu when he said to the tribes of Reuven and Gad (Bamidbar 32:6)

... האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה:

Will your brothers come out to war while you remain here?

Had the good rabbi taken that leap of faith, he and his family would have been among the heroes of our people whom our rabbis qualified as:

יש קונה עולמו בשעה אחת

One may acquire his place in the next world through one dramatic act (of kiddush HaShem, sanctification of the Holy Name).

משנכנס אדר מרבים בזשמחה

With the advent of the month of Adar we increase the joy in our lives

May we merit to see the destruction of our enemies, who are also the enemies of people of good will the world over.

And just as the miracles at the time of Mordechai and Esther paved the way for the Second Bet Hamikdash, so too may the present events in our lives result in the building of the Bet Hamikdash on the Temple Mount, the restoration of the Davidic Monarchy, the reconvention of the Sanhedrin, the return of all Jews to Eretz Yisrael and the possession of all Eretz Yisrael according to the Biblical boundaries.

Shabbat Shalom ve’Chodesh Tov ve’Samaiach

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana

The Hay, the Straw and the Redemption

By Moshe Feiglin

30 Shvat, 5772
Feb. 23, '12

Translated from the "Olam Katan" magazine

As the votes for chairman of the Likud were being counted, a new picture emerged. The number of people who voted for me increased by 70% from the previous elections, while the number of voters in Judea and Samaria decreased. The vast majority of the votes that I received came from anonymous voters throughout Israel.

"Today Feiglin is the mainstream in the Likud" said the influential Nadav Peri on Israel's Channel 10. "If the Likud members in Judea and Samaria had all voted Feiglin, he would have gotten 40% of the vote, and not 25%."

My feelings were mixed. Objectively, 25% of the vote was an extraordinary achievement that promises even greater achievements in the future. I ran against a strong and popular incumbent who sprung the elections by surprise. Nobody else was willing to run against him. All the government ministers and many Knesset members gave Netanyahu their full support. The party machine and the mayors were all aggressively at his service. When despite all this, one in every four (without taking all the stolen votes into account) Likud members votes Feiglin, it means that their hearts have been opened and the path to faith-based leadership is paved. It means that we can continue to progress until we will have the merit to finally lead the National Camp and the country.

"Feiglin crossed the green line" (the 1967 borders) Israel's Channel 1's Boaz Shapira declared, "and that is the entire story."

But these elections have left a bad taste in my mouth. 25% of the vote is not enough to undermine the absolute hegemony that Netanyahu enjoys in the party. Despite our achievement and great progress, there are still No MKs or ministers who, after the election, draw their political power, and more importantly, their legitimacy, from a different pole in the movement. If Netanyahu does not wish to legalize Migron, it will not be legalized. If he decides to take the settlements out of the list of areas eligible for special benefits, they will be removed. The political power of the loyal ministers and MKs has mainly remained tactical and limited. They can oppose Netanyahu until the moment that he will have them removed. Even though I received 25% of the vote, they are still in Netanyahu's pocket. They can irritate him, but not much more than that. Their position as they face off against Netanyahu is ominously similar to their situation before the Expulsion. Everyone loves the settlements and will help them as much as they can – just like they all visited Gush Katif and tried to help out.

Ze'ev Ben Yosef is one of the founders of the Likud and a senior Beitar member. In the past, he has opposed my candidacy. In these elections, he called upon his friends to come and vote for me. After the telephone poll in which the ministers decided to remove the settlements from their preferred status, Ze'ev wrote the following to my opponents in Judea and Samaria.

"I was shocked by your advertisement. I warned you before the primaries that the only way to prevent what happened (ed: the diminished status of the settlements) from actually taking place would be for the National Headquarters to recommend voting for Feiglin. Netanyahu and his ministers would see that we have important combined power and it is very possible that we could have prevented further destruction and tragedy."

How can we explain this phenomenon? Not only did the National Headquarters not endorse me, but they went to great lengths and spent a lot of money to campaign against me while I was struggling against the PM.

At every historic juncture, when the Jews must enter a new plane of consciousness – a redemption situation, the majority will prefer to cling to the old order and will be lost. They will prefer to beg Pharaoh for just a bit more straw than to ask for redemption. Only one fifth of the Jews in Egypt was redeemed. The rest were lost. Those Jews who do leave Egypt will prefer to remain in the desert and not to experience the revolutionary consciousness necessary to enter the Land of Israel. Only two giants of that generation were endowed with a different spirit. And the rest of the generation died in the desert.

When in the 1920's the British opened the gates of the Land of Israel and anticipated a huge wave of aliyah, the nation remained in the Diaspora, waiting for its horrifying annihilation. When we could have liberated Jerusalem in 1948, the government abstained. When the Temple Mount fell into our hands in 1967, we returned it to the wakf. That is just the way we are – genuine "redemption refusers". We recite the requests for the Temple day and night and mouth our longing to rebuild it. But we don't really mean it at all.

Today, when we have returned to our country, settlement is not the goal, but the means. The goal is to perfect the world in the kingdom of Heaven. To accomplish that, we must direct the Return to Zion. For that, we need to lead.

The faith-based public seems to be emotionally incapable of establishing an alternative to lead the country. We must fulfill our destiny to take Zionism out of its current consciousness and enter a faith-based redemption consciousness. Our unwillingness to shoulder the responsibility to transfer Israel from existential Zionism to destiny Zionism turns the religious Zionist public into sectoral extra baggage. It is not a coincidence that the settlers often find that they do not have the rights taken for granted by every citizen in Israel. Just as Israel, when it refuses to connect with its destiny loses its legitimacy in the world, so the settlers who negate their destiny, lose their legitimacy in Israeli society.

It is simply an illness. They will bring ministers to Migron who "had no choice" but to vote in favor of the Expulsion and will vote for further retreats. They will drive full gas in neutral while the road is wide open – just to avoid taking the necessary leap of faith into the new consciousness.

The door is open! Just start marching toward leadership, toward liberty, toward destiny. It is not easy, but it is do-able. That is what we proved in these elections. The Nation is waiting! It is yearning for a life of national meaning and anticipates your leadership! But you do not believe in yourselves. You are afraid of victory, for if we win, Netanyahu and his ministers will leave us. Do you understand? You are afraid that someone who announces that he intends to give the Land to our enemies will leave you. You really have nothing to lose – the results of this game are already clear. Every kindergarten or building that you will get – will ultimately be lost – just like in Yamit and Neveh Dekalim. They also had devoted community organizers who brought in money and building permits. You have no choice: Lead or be lost.

The choice is in your hands.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Betrayed by the IDF?

By Tuvia Brodie

This is a story about three soldiers--Benny Gantz, Orna Barbivai and Eran Niv. You may not know them. But you should know who they are because they help run—and could ruin—the IDF.

Our story starts in January 2011 with two unrelated events. The first was a decision by Israel’s Cabinet to increase dramatically IDF recruitment of ultra-religious (Haredi) youth. They had two reasons for that decision. First, IDF recruitment was dropping; and second, the army had reported that, with proper accommodation, ultra-religious—and other religious—youth would indeed enlist. That accommodation included time for daily Torah study and prayer, special attention to dietary requirements and reduced exposure to women. These accommodations had been designed specifically for the Haredi, but everyone understood that when the needs of all religious soldiers were met, morale and recruitment rose. The Cabinet’s decision was simple and clear: accommodate the religious, recruit, build the IDF.

The second event that affects our story was a report in Haaretz, “A wise move”, (Asher Pfeffer, January 7, 2011). This essay introduced us to Colonel Eran Niv, who had been appointed in 2010 to Command the Officer training school, Bahad 1. The report praised Niv as a leader who promoted a ‘return’ to secular values in the army.

The next month—and unrelated to Colonel Niv—Lt. General Benny Gantz became Chief of General Staff (COS), Israel’s top military officer. In May, Gantz promoted Orna Barbivai and appointed her Director of IDF Manpower. At the time of their appointments, nothing was reported about the attitudes of Gantz and Barbivai towards the religious in the IDF.

By the beginning of June, 2011, the players were in place--Gantz, Barbavai and Niv. Our story was ready to begin:

-July 2011: a report commissioned by the Advisor to the Chief of Staff on Women’s Affairs concluded that, “soldiers who refuse to hear women sing out of Halakhic [religious] considerations should not serve as officers in the IDF.”

-September, 2011: on orders from Colonel Niv, nine religious officer-training-cadets were expelled from their training program because they refused to stay at a ceremony where a woman sang. Five of these soldiers were readmitted after they had officially ‘apologized’.

-November, 2011: when Rabbis objected to the expulsions, General Gantz spoke of the ‘victims’ of this incident. He did not mean the expelled soldiers. He meant the singing woman.

-A report appeared that General Gantz had given General Barbivai the task of “integrating females with religious male soldiers in the same unit”, something that had been specifically prohibited by agreement between the IDF and Israeli religious leaders.

-December, 2011: Major General Barbivai announced that religious soldiers can be excused from ceremonies where women sing only if their commanders allowed; the Jerusalem Post announced, “Barbivai says that commanders’ authority comes before Halacha” (Jewish religious law).

-January, 2012: Arutz Sheva reported that Haredi soldiers had been ordered to clean toilets in women’s barracks. This order, Arutz Sheva reported, “clearly contradicts the terms of service [not to enter women’s quarters] to which the IDF committed itself when” recruiting religious soldiers.

-General Gantz announced that “no soldier will be allowed to absent himself from official military ceremonies, even if it conflicts with his religious observance.”

-One day later, the IAF (Israel Air Force) Chief Rabbi resigned from a special Haredi-religious soldier program because these anti-religious actions were, he claimed, a “breach of the IDF commitment” to religious soldiers.

-The day after the resignation, MK (Member of Knesset) Moshe Gafni announced that the women-singing ruling by General Gantz “flies directly in the face of previous agreements.”

-Retired Judge Tzvi Tal, a respected Jurist who had worked on Haredi-IDF enlistment issues, spoke on Voice of Israel radio and said, "I think this matter of women's singing is strange. No one forbids women's singing. There is a group that thinks that for religious reasons, it must not listen to women's singing. So why force it upon them? Why do the 'knights' of freedom of expression and the 'knights' of minority rights want to force this upon a minority?"

- Responding to criticism of IDF treatment of ultra-religious soldiers, the IDF said, “the scope of integrating haredim in the IDF has grown, and the intention is to double their numbers every year…Unique frameworks have been defined for haredi soldiers” [emphasis mine].

- Eliyahu Lax, Chairman of the Organization for the Religious Soldier, declared that public promises by the IDF “to make army service more religious-friendly do not materialize on the ground”.

-February: two religious (non-haredi) officer-cadets-in-training were expelled from their training program for praying morning prayers. MK Zevulun Orlev called Gantz and Barbivai directly responsible for IDF treatment of religious soldiers.

-Religious soldiers file a formal complaint against Training Commander Eran Niv for hostile treatment of religious officer-cadets.

Today, forty-two per cent of officer-cadets are religious. Their numbers are growing. The enlistment rate of religious youth from the so-called ‘settlements’ is almost double the rate of secular youth from Tel Aviv. Religious enlistment is going up as secular enlistment stagnates or drops. This is today’s reality in the IDF: the religious have become increasingly important in both military command and elite combat units. It seems that every year the IDF depends more on observant Jews and less on disbelieving Jews. Leaders who create a hostile environment for religious soldiers not only behave in a manner that is unprofessional (religious belief has nothing to do with fighting competence), their behaviour is against the explicit decisions of their civilian superiors. Their behaviour is unacceptable. It endangers our military preparedness because it is the religious (not the secular) who aggressively volunteer for combat.

This story focuses on three soldiers--Gantz, Barbivai and Niv. It is a story of betrayal: promises to the religious--betrayed; decisions by superiors to accommodate religious soldiers, to build the IDF--betrayed.

Are these the military leaders that Israel can afford to have?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Mishpatim 5772


Parashat Mishpatim


Our parasha begins with the issue of an indentured servant, who is under contract to work for six years or until the Jubilee year. One can voluntarily enter into such an agreement, but usually it is the bet din (court) that orders the arrangement to permit a thief to repay the capital value of the theft through the money he receives from his master-employer.

The Torah continues to inform us that towards the end of the sixth year, the servant who was sold because of theft can make a declaration before the bet din that he does not wish to be a free man and prefers to remain an indentured servant. If the master-employer agrees, he then perforates the right ear of the servant with a metal awl.

The Yerushalmi (Kidushin chapter 1 Mishna 2) quotes Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai’s answer to his students’ question about why the Torah specifies the ear as the organ to be blemished:

אזן ששמעה על הר סיני לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים והלך זה ופרק מעליו עול מלכות שמים וקבל עליו עול בשר ודם - ירצע

The ear that heard at Mount Sinai "You shall not have any other God over you," and this man voluntarily removed from himself the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven to be replaced with the yoke of a human being - let it be perforated.


King Shlomo states (Kohelet chapter 3)

לכל זמן ועת לכל חפץ תחת השמים

עת ללדת ועת למות עת לטעת ועת לעקור נטוע

עת להרוג ועת לרפוא עת לפרוץ ועת לבנות

עת לבכות ועת לשחוק עת ספוד ועת רקוד

עת להשליך אבנים ועת כנוס אבנים עת לחבוק ועת לרחק מחבק

עת לבקש ועת לאבד עת לשמור ועת להשליך

עת לקרוע ועת לתפור עת לחשות ועת לדבר

עת לאהב ועת לשנא עת מלחמה ועת שלום

There is a time for everything, and a season for every desire under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

At first glance, King Shlomo is informing us that there are conflicting human desires and actions that, because of their incompatible and irreconcilable essences, require separate times and places.

But that is not necessarily true, for King Shlomo’s list contains desires and actions which are compatible and even necessary to be performed in unison.

A farmer can uproot weeds and thorns while he is planting a seed in their place.

To rid the world of an evil person is, in its essence, an act of healing for the world.

Parents weep for happiness as they laugh and dance at a child’s wedding.

At times, when silence speaks louder than words, silence and speaking share the same moment.

I love my fellow Jew at the same time that I hate our enemies.

I go to milchemet mitzva (an halachically-sanctioned war) and feel peace within myself.

Breathtaking events of epoch proportions contain within them the opportunity for brilliant and gifted individuals to act contrary to the flow of the times and change the direction of history - for good or for evil.

The creation of Man and Woman - the most dramatic of the Creator’s handiwork - gave rise to Adam and Chava’s sin, which in Kabbalic terms subverted every iota of creation by imparting imperfection into what was then a perfect world.

The monumental achievements of King Shlomo himself - including the national unification of the people of Israel under the monarchy of the House of David, their spiritual unification centered around the Holy Temple, and political and economic stability - gave rise to the super egos of two men: Rechav’am ben (son of) King Shlomo and Yeravam ben Navat, both of whom designed the blueprint for the nation’s future disasters.

The imminent destruction of world Jewry at the time of Achashverosh and Haman gave rise to the greatness of Mordechai and Esther and paved the way for the rebuilding of the second Temple.

The callous disregard by the Seleucid Greeks for all that was holy to the Jewish people brought forth the heroic rebellion led by Mattityahu and his sons in defense of our Torah way of life.

Indeed, great events propel individuals and groups to perform good or evil historic deeds, as David’s slingshot propelled the stone that felled the giant Galiot.

The most breathtaking, climactic, electrifying drama of the last 2000 years is, in the view of anyone who possesses a feel for world history, the return of the Jewish people to our Biblical God-given homeland. Its enormity serves as undeniable proof that the God of Israel is the true and only Master of all that exists.

The unprecedented historic episode of Medinat Yisrael has given rise to acts of kiddush HaShem (sanctification of the Holy Name) and to acts of chillul HaShem (desecration of the Holy Name).

The opportunity afforded by the Medina for the regeneration of Torah after the Shoah is producing Torah scholarship in quality and quantity not seen in the last 2000 years. It is a kiddush HaShem of epoch proportions. The immense Torah study here has spilled out to the Jewish communities in the galut; so that even there, talmidei chachamim are molded in the prestigious yeshivot of Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, Lakewood and others. (For the skeptical, let me point out that thousands of bachurei yeshiva from the galut come here to learn in the Mirrer Yeshiva, Mercaz Harav, Yavne, Ponevitz, etc.; while I do not know of a serious Israeli who goes to a yeshiva in the States in order increase his Torah erudition, except certain chassidim who go to visit their living or deceased rebbes).

In contrast to the flow towards national redemption in this historic period, the advent of Medinat Yisrael has also produced great failings.

On the 6th of Iyar 5708, the day following the establishment of the Medinah, Jewish history called out to the spiritual leaders of world Jewry to stand as one man and declare, as in the words of Moshe Rabbeinu, "Mi La’Shem Aillai" - whoever is for HaShem let him come forth to me.

The ancient prophets were peering down from their heavenly perches waiting to see the spiritual leaders of world Jewry leading the return home, while sounding the call of Tzahal’s commanders when charging into battle "Acharei" - after me. It did not happen. Indeed, great events also produce enormous historic disappointments.

And the results were not late in coming. It is estimated that the Jewish nation loses over 150,000 sons and daughters to assimilation every year in the galut, which over the last 40-50 years is equal to the number of Jews murdered in the Shoah.

No religious leader in the galut can wash his hands and claim innocence.

Here in Eretz Yisrael, latest statistics show that the great majority of Israelis define themselves as dati (religious), chareidi or mesorati, which relegates those who are indifferent to reject the Torah to minority status. On this background, one would expect the chareidi political parties - Aguda, Shas and Degel HaTorah – to join together with the Dati Leumi (religious Zionists and others) in creating a single electoral bloc to gain the leadership of the country. But that is not happening, because in addition to all else, the Aguda and Degel religious leaders shun away from the responsibilities of making major national decisions, as testified by the fact that they refuse to fill any ministerial positions.

There is a common denominator between the refusal of the religious leadership in the galut to put their future in the hands of HaShem by coming on aliya, and the refusal of the chareidi leadership here to accept responsibility for the major decisions of the nation.

Both groups of leaders have failed to "Cross the Rubicon" and recognize that the Medina is the handiwork of Hashem. They all agree that a leaf does not fall without heavenly agreement, but close to six million Jews in Eretz Yisrael can just happen without Hashem noticing. Indeed!

C: Dear Reader,

In order to understand the mind set of many of our leaders, combine Parts A and B above. The indentured servant is so used to having his life directed by others, that he is afraid to become a free man and - together with emunah (trust and belief in HaShem) - take control of his own destiny.

The great escape valve for you is the Mashiach. He will bring us back. He will kill our enemies. He will fix the economy. But in the meantime, stay put and let others direct your lives so you can go on with the pleasure of complaining how bad the situation is.

The clock of destiny is ticking. The world is daily becoming a more uncomfortable place to be in.

If HaShem is in your heart and you are in the galut, come home now. If you are in Eretz Yisrael, work towards the goal of realizing a Torah-orientated government leading the country in the path of HaShem.


Regarding my suggestion in last week’s message that rabbinic semicha be awarded only in Eretz Yisrael, I received mixed responses. Some were in total agreement, while others apparently misunderstood the point I was making and were very critical. To them let me say: I did not mean to disparage the Torah erudition of any legitimate rabbi in chutz la’aretz.

But, rather, to emphasize the primacy and centrality of Eretz Yisrael in all matters pertaining to the Torah, most certainly in the specific area of "licensing" the people who will make halachic decisions.

Now in order to placate rabbis and laymen who were offended by my words, permit me to put forward a suggestion which gives honor to your local rabbi, creates a strong bond between the rabbi and the community, and also gives homage to Eretz Yisrael.

Let every community request that the rabbi give a weekly class in the halachot pertaining to the holy land of Eretz Yisrael.

The syllabus would cover the laws of:

1- Trumot and ma’aserot. When, how and by who are they set apart, and who receives them. Produce grown in fields belonging to non-Jews.

2- The Shmitta (Sabbatical) year. The geographical area where the Shmitta is in effect. The selling of the land (heter me’chira) in contrast to purchasing "non-Jewish" produce. The export of Shmitta produce. Bi’ur Shmitta and otzer bet-din. The prohibition of sefichim as apart from fruit. Private gardens and house plants. Hydroponics.

3- The laws pertaining to ascending the Temple Mount and various degrees of sanctity on the Mount.

4- Why only one day Yom Tov here as apart to a second day in chutz la’aretz?

5- Halachot pertaining to the military.

And much more.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana

Modern Day Slavery

By Moshe Feiglin

And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them. If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall work for six years and on the seventh, he shall go free for nothing. (From this week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-2).

This week's Torah portion talks about the essence of the Torah: Liberty, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation; the rectification of the world. Finally, after the exodus from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah, we are beginning to hear an orderly outline of our actual lives according to the Torah.

But what a disappointment! The first law in the portion takes us back to servitude, to slavery. This is the grand message? Couldn't we have begun with the laws of damages? About what happens if an ox gores someone's property? An eye for an eye? Why start specifically here? It's rather awkward when the first thing the uninitiated hear is the laws of slavery. The first thing that comes into people's minds is, 'How lucky that today's society is not run according to the Torah!'

But if we are to be honest with ourselves, we will admit that slavery still exists today – and it even thrives. True, we have progressed, thank G-d, and we do not encounter genuine slaves. But slavery and servitude are alive and well; servitude to the state and law, slavery to the banks, to the major corporations, to one's employer or employment and even human trafficking.

Modern man lives the illusion of liberty, but it is merely a fool's paradise. He has freedom and plenty of free time. But he does not enjoy true liberty and even merits less of it than in the past. Freedom is the abrogation of responsibility; liberty is its shouldering.

Until the past generations, in which the face of official slavery changed and put on a more sophisticated mask, slavery was officially recognized in the most progressive countries. Nobody got out of Uncle Tom's Cabin after only seven years. Uncle Tom was not the first to get the only pillow in the house (as dictated by Torah law); none of Jefferson's other slaves had any pillow, at all.

Before the Torah engages in the ordinary laws of damages, it sets a new standard. It takes into account that servitude exists – be it direct, as in the past, or indirect, as it is today. The enslavement of people by other people is a fact of life. It has to be fought, but it will probably not be absolutely eliminated. If you give tenure, you will get temporary workers. If you close down the placement agencies, you will get a different form of slavery.

The Torah tells us that servitude is part of human nature. But we must know how to conduct ourselves within that reality. "A person who bought a Hebrew slave bought himself a master," our Sages teach. Slavery according to the Torah was actually akin to providing the slave with a foster family. He was given a private rehabilitation center; something unequaled even among those nations that flaunt their liberal approach.

Shabbat Shalom

The Next Trick out of Bibi's Hat

The elections for chairmanship of the Likud revealed an interesting phenomenon: Moshe Feiglin's candidacy provided the Likud members (and in potential, all of Israel's citizens) with choice. In other words, if Moshe Feiglin had not run for the Likud top position, there would have been no elections at all and the candidate of the National Camp for leadership of Israel would have been chosen by default. The message of liberty; the privilege of taking responsibility and deciding your own fate – became relevant in the merit of the faith-based ideology that entered Israeli politics through the Likud.

This past election campaign was really a contest between liberty and servitude. Enslavement does not like elections. True, Netanyahu sprang the primaries upon us, but not so that other candidates would run against him. He wanted a situation in which nobody would run against him.

And nobody dared. Except of course, for the person who tries to be a man in the place where there are no men.

Now, Netanyahu has lifted the curtain on the next trick in his bag. The PM has announced that he will run for presidency of the Likud Central Committee.

This is yet another attempt to withhold the right to vote from the rank and file Likud member. The Likud is the nationalist ruling party. Generally, the person who heads the party eventually also becomes the prime minister of Israel. The Likud has admirable internal democratic processes, replete with checks and balances. Just as in a state, the Likud has the sovereign; the nation, or in this case the party members. It has a legislative branch comprised of the representatives of the members; the Likud Central Committee. This is the parliament of the party. The Likud also has an executive branch; the party representatives in the Knesset and in the government. And the Likud has a judicial branch; the party court.

Netanyahu took control of the judicial branch of the Likud quite some time ago. Every Likud member knows that the Chief Justice of the Likud Court, Yehoshua Gross, does exactly what Netanyahu wants. The voting procedures in the recent elections are a prime testimony to that accusation. Votes were systematically stolen and forged the entire length and breadth of the elections. This has been documented and we are dealing with this issue separately.

Netanyahu's control of the executive branch is also famous. It was enough to see the "candelabra" (as the media mockingly coined the picture) of government ministers who stood behind Netanyahu at every rally. Secondly, despite the fact that approximately one third of the Likud members voted for Moshe Feiglin, not one of its elected officials dares to publicly endorse him. The ministers fear Netanyahu and do not really have any space for political maneuvers. If Netanyahu insists, everyone lines up behind him; whether he decides not to approve a solution for Migron or not to endorse the legislation for hearings for High Court justices.

All that is left is control of the legislative branch; the branch elected by the sovereign; the members of the party. This is Netanyahu's next goal. He will accomplish it by running for presidency of the Likud Central Committee.

For all practical purposes, the president of the Likud Central Committee controls the decision making and legislative process of the voting body. With cooperation from special-interest groups, he can pass almost any law while blocking others.

By proposing his candidacy for president of the LCC, Netanyahu is forcing the Likud members to choose between the executive and legislative branches of the party. In other words, Netanyahu is telling the Likud that there are no more checks and balances in the party. Either we will be a one-man party or a party with no head. The subliminal threat here is that if Netanyahu is defeated in his bid for presidency of the LCC by a different candidate, he will leave the party, Sharon-style, possibly joining up with Yair Lapid, Ehud Barak (for sure) and an elite group of Meridors. And of course, if Netanyahu is elected, there is no more Likud: Just a one-man party in the service of the Left, as usual.

What can we do?

First of all, we must remember that we survived Sharon, who pulled off the same tricks, and we will also survive Netanyahu. In the meantime, Manhigut Yehudit's power in the Likud has vastly increased. The Likud members appreciate and understand who preserved their right to choose in the party and who negates that right from them; who has afforded them liberty and who is destroying the party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moshe Feiglin: The Redemption is not on Automatic Pilot

The following is a clip of Moshe's Feiglin's words in a debate prior to the primaries. To view the video, click on the image. The English translation is below:

The process that is unfolding right now in Israel is wonderful and amazing. I am amazed at the achievements that we have had just like you are, but I am not closing my eyes to the dangers.

I want this process to continue, yet you cannot come and say that there is nothing to worry about.

What is it that they used to tell us?
"There is nothing to worry about, the process of redemption is on auto-pilot. We learned the writings of Rabbi Kook, and we know that everything will be alright. We’ll build settlements, go to yeshivot, and serve in elite combat units in the army. Our political, judicial, and academic leaders don’t understand what we are doing because they haven’t learned Rav Kook’s writings like we have. We know that the redemption is on auto-pilot, and the only direction is up."

We were stricken by the expulsion from Yamit, by the expulsion from Gush Katif, yet we did not understand.
We continued to say, "There is nothing to worry about, everything is in order, because we have 13 Nobel Prize winners." I’m really happy that we have 13 Nobel Prize winners, and I can mention even more amazing achievements.

But you cannot say, "Amazing things are happening here, and that is why there is nothing to worry about." There is something to worry about. I also believe, like you, that we are in the process of redemption, but if we don’t do our part, and leave everything up to G-d, we will absorb one blow after another. We are, in fact, absorbing these blows, constantly.

I would just like to remind everyone here:
Who built Gush Katif? The Labor party.
Who built Yitzhar? The Likud.
What is being built today in Judea and Samaria? The Arab city of Rawabi and the separation fence. And when you drive to Jerusalem, you must pass through an international crossing. If we succeed in building a house inside a settlement, even at this point in time, when the government has already lifted the settlement construction freeze, we think it’s an amazing achievement.
I agree with you that, in terms of the big picture, our current strategic reality is the reality of redemption. But on a tactical level, when looking at our daily lives, we are seeing that the state of Israel and its leaders are pushing us away from the Divine and miraculous redemption, and leading us into a state of retreat.

Today, in the settlements, we are fighting a war of survival, if you haven’t noticed.
A war of survival!
We hope that Netanyahu will stop trying to delay the Outpost Law [to legalize settlement outposts], just so that Migron will continue to exist. I have news for you. With Gush Katif, Peace Now did not petition the Supreme Court to have the settlements destroyed [unlike with Migron, which is being threatened because of a Peace Now petition].

There is a real problem. There is a conscious decision by the Israeli leadership to retreat, to dismantle these great achievements in all fields, not just with the settlements. I have focused on the settlements because that’s what is hurting us the most right now, but in reality this retreat is affecting all areas of life, including education and culture.
There is this big fan that they’ve put before us that is blowing away all of the amazing achievements that we’ve attained, and trying to scatter and break them all down. Now, we can try to run around and catch one of these things as the wind carries them away, and get an Outpost Law, or hold a protest that will stop another retreat. I’m not against these types of tactics. I also used them. I established "Zo Artzenu" ["This is Our Land," which held nationwide protests in the 1990’s] to try to stop the Oslo Accords, but someone at some point must take hold of this big fan and turn it in the opposite direction.

That is why I established Manhigut Yehudit:To put together a new agenda, to give the public some sort of goal, some kind of alternative to the current path that we are on. To come to the Jewish public in Israel with some sort of hope - a vision towards which we can work.
It’s not enough to sit in the cockpit of a plane, behind the controls, and constantly focus on evading the next anti-aircraft missile fired at it. The plane needs to have some sort of destination toward which to fly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Summary of the Primary Elections

By Moshe Feiglin

Take a look at the picture to the right. It was taken on Election Day at the Likud branch in Holon. I do not know the people in the picture. They approached me at the entrance to Netanyahu's tent and it was clear that they had voted for me. They didn't vote for me because of Migron. That entire issue did not even filter into their consciousness. They voted for me because they are searching for meaning, identity, truth and integrity. They overcame their fear and created a true alternative in the Likud.

Every trick and shtick in the book was used and will be used to try to stop this process; to try to take away our right to choose the faith-based alternative. Quite a lot of the votes of these good people were subsequently stolen in the polls. But the fear barrier has been broken; the faith-based alternative for Israel's leadership has filtered through to the hearts of the nation. No trick will help. Nobody can turn off the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I want to thank you," said my neighbor, Vitaly, a senior executive officer in a successful high tech firm who had taken a day of vacation to be an observer at a voting station in the Galil. "Thank you for giving me the ability to express my opposition. Netanyahu is pushing for a two-state solution and if you had not run, I would not have had any way to tell him "No!"

Why does something so simple and clear generate so much complicated reasoning? Why is it so hard to understand the reality in Israel? Why did we have to spend so much time on this campaign offsetting the damage done by those who called upon the Likud voters to do nothing?

Voting Fraud
A long trail of eye-witness testimony has made it crystal clear that the "official" results of the primary were far from exact and that the excellent results of this vote would have been even better for us if all the votes had been properly counted.

Some of the observers that we sent to the polls to ensure that the votes were being counted honestly got more than they bargained for. One observer had to sit on the ballot box to prevent votes from being stolen. Another observer was physically removed from the room in which the counting was taking place. More and more observers have come forward with stories of apparent fraud.

We have worked hard to prove our claims and have filed an official complaint with the Likud. It is important to rectify this situation and to ensure that it does not repeat itself the next time around – and that is what we intend to do!

How can we thank all of our dedicated supporters and volunteers for their successful efforts to put the faith-based alternative in the center of Israel's political map? A special thanksgiving get-together is in the works, to be held on Wednesday, 29 Shvat (Feb. 22). We will update with location and more details soon. Please save the date. We want to see all of you there!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Likud Primary Results: Who Won, Who Lost?

By Tuvia Brodie

Nine days before the recent Likud primary, a Likud official from the Shomron (Samaria) told the Jerusalem Post that he was calling for a voter boycott. He wanted, he said, to protest Benjamin Netanyahu’s anti-Likud policies against Judea/Samaria. One of the boycott’s stated goals was to influence Netanyahu’s future policies. But almost everyone agreed that its most obvious effect would be the opposite--to disenfranchise the boycotters from having any post-primary influence at all. As one on-line reader wrote, “What is the point of boycotting[? If] Bibi wins… your voice is lost”. At first blush, the most rational explanation for the boycott was that it was a pro-Netanyahu ploy to entice Judea/Samaria advocates to engineer their own defeat—or, as another reader wrote: “Oldest trick in [the] Israeli political manual: throw in a third option to steal votes from[a] dangerous opponent. I hope Likud voters are smart enough to see through this dirty trick.”
Was this boycott call authentic-- or a dirty trick? We don’t know. What we do know, however, is that during the week January 22 – January 29, 2012, this report may have been the Jerusalem Post’s only reference to Moshe Feiglin. During the week that Likud members were deciding upon their votes, the Post’s only word on the primary seemed to be a strange boycott story that focused also on a distinctly anti-Feiglin message.
What was this story about—a Likud revolt against Netanyahu or an attack of Feiglin? The story, Likud hawks call to boycott party primary (Jerusalem Post, Gil Hoffman, January 22, 2011), gave two reasons for the boycott (in addition to its goals) which seemed more about Feiglin than Netanyahu. First, the Post reported that non-Feiglin Likud members saw Feiglin as an outsider. He was an undesirable. He represented a ‘foreign influence on the party’. But if the goal of the boycott was—ultimately-- to protect Judea/Samaria—the angry boycotters appeared to be from Samaria-- why attack Feiglin, the candidate who favoured Judea/Samaria? This was strange, indeed. At a time when Netanyahu is considered by many to be one who brings the ‘strange fire’ of the Left into Likud, calling Feiglin the ‘stranger’ seemed bizarre. This election was not about acceptability; it was about protecting Israel; and for anti-Netanyahu nationalists, only Feiglin’s ideas passed muster. With Israel’s existence potentially on the line, why was Feiglin an issue in an anti-Netanyahu story? When your country is threatened and you claim that a popular leader is going in the wrong direction, you do not boycott. You vote to protect your country. If you oppose Netanyahu’s decisions, then you vote for Feiglin. The choice was that clear. To refuse to support the less-popular-but- pro-Likud Feiglin meant that the primary results—and possibly the fate of Judea/Samaria—were sealed before the voting began.
The second reason Likudniks in the story dismissed Feiglin seemed just as odd: Feiglin, they claimed, was a loser(“hopeless…irrelevant”). This was strangest of all because five days earlier, Arutz Sheva had reported (Poll shows high support for Feiglin in Likud, Gil Ronen, January 17, 2012) that a survey within Likud showed 35% for Feiglin, 51% for Netanyahu and 14% undecided. These numbers suggested not only a potential for serious embarrassment for Netanyahu but the possibility that a Netanyahu victory was “not a complete certainty.” If Netanyahu wanted this primary to confirm his total hegemony over Likud (as reported in the media), straw-poll results like this two weeks before the vote suggested that Feiglin was a formidable and dangerous rival—not a ‘loser’.
But there were losers here. Only half of Likud members voted. Before the election, many Likudniks complained about Netanyahu’s Left-leaning decisions. There was talk of voter defiance against him. But if the final vote-count (which has not yet been verified) does not give Feiglin a vote equal to that straw-poll above, then anti-Netanyahu Likud members have, by ignoring Feiglin, given Netanyahu exactly what many had said they did not want to give him—a blank check. The supposedly pro-Right-non-Feiglin boycotters had said that they wanted to send Netanyahu a message. Well, the message they gave him was, “the party is moving [Netanyahu said post-election]… It moved in my direction [and not to the Right].”
Worse for the non-Feiglin Right, Haaretz wrote (Netanyahu won the Likud battle, but he may lose the war, February 3, 2012) that the big winner of this primary was Feiglin, not Netanyahu, because Feiglin, recognizing that Netanyahu would win, had focused his efforts to strengthen his Knesset power base—and a breakdown of primary numbers confirms that Feiglin has become stronger. Netanyahu won the vote, Feiglin got stronger--and the non-Feiglin Right may have lost more than its voice.
Of course, if voter fraud allegations prove to be true, then the question of who won/who lost will have to be re-calibrated.
Stay tuned.
Afterword: on Friday, February 10 (just as this essay was being sent to publication), Arutz Sheva ran a news brief: Feiglin staff: we’re not a foreign element in Likud, which reported a reference by Netanyahu on the Knesset television channel that Feiglin voters were ‘foreign’ to Likud. This same language was used by supposedly anti-Netanyahu boycotters to describe Feiglin in the Post story above. How do we respond to supposedly anti-Netanyahu Likudniks calling for a protest boycott against Netanyahu dismissing Feiglin with the same anti-Feiglin language used by Netanyahu? Coincidence—or a slip of the tongue that reveals the boycotters true allegiance (and boycott source)?
You decide.