Friday, February 28, 2014

"As HaShem had commanded, so had they done"

(Exodus 39:43)
1 Adar 28, 5774/February 28, 2014

Parashat Pekudei, the final reading of the book of Exodus, is a parasha of stock-taking. The reading begins with a detailed listing of all the materials, (gold, silver, copper, techelet blue, argaman purple and shanired fabrics, semi-precious stones, etc.), used in the making of the Tabernacle and its vessels. The precise weight of all the gold and silver and copper is accounted for, even the specific use to which every ounce was made, is accounted for. Our sages attribute the reckoning as an example-setting precedent by Moshe, to teach the people of the need for responsible, and what we call today, "transparent," leadership. It also surely comes to teach us that in performing a commandment from HaShem there is no waste or dross or spare change. Every ounce of spiritual and material investment in the performance of a commandment goes to the purpose of fulfilling and perfecting the commandment.

At the conclusion of Pekudei, in the closing verses of the book of Exodus, we also witness Moshe taking account of the completed Tabernacle and of the nation of Israel who together, working as one man with one heart, donated the raw materials, and forged, shaped and assembled all the various parts and sacred vessels for the Tabernacle: "Moshe saw the entire work, and lo! they had done it - as HaShem had commanded, so had they done. So Moshe blessed them." (Exodus 39:43) The closing verses of Exodus are so reminiscent of the closing verses of the Genesis account of the six days of creation, that we can't help but take notice that Torah regards the completion of the Tabernacle as no less essential a component of the work of creation than the heavens or the earth themselves. All are worthy of G-d's blessing as they have all achieved the perfection that G-d sought. In short, a job well done!

As we read the final words of Exodus we too can take the opportunity to look back on all that has transpired since we first began our yearly reading of Exodus some months ago. As we recall, the book of Genesis concluded on a very dark and ominous note. Our forefather Israel died in a foreign land, the result of a disastrous and near deadly feud between his twelve sons. Yosef, the second-in-command to Pharaoh in Egypt is already beginning to see his powers slip away, and finally, as he dies and is buried in his sarcophagus, (in Hebrew, aron, from the Hebrew word for light), it is as if the light in G-d's world has also died and been buried in the rocks. A dark and desperate time is about to begin.

Indeed, as Exodus opens, our fearful premonitions are proven true: The Israelite exile turns to infanticide, genocide and brutal servitude. Yet, somehow, even in the midst of this most hopeless darkness, hope is yet kept alive, G-d remembers His word to the patriarchs of Israel, and soon the process of redemption begins to unfold. The "shortness of spirit" (ibid 6:9) that so oppressed the Israelites that they begged Moshe to desist from his G-d directed efforts to liberate them from Pharaoh's hell, has been transformed in less than a year from the moment of their release from bondage, into the spirit of wisdom and understanding and knowledge (ibid 31:18) required by the people of Israel to fashion the sundry elements of the Tabernacle, and required of every individual to create for G-d a place on earth for Him to dwell. The "shortness of spirit"which was a result of the Egyptian oppression but became also an internalized instrument of self-oppression and self-imposed exile, has given way to the expanded spirit and consciousness, (wisdom, understanding and knowledge), opening the gate to true liberation in the knowledge of G-d and true freedom felt only in proximity to His sanctuary, the Holy Temple.

The book of Leviticus will take us one step further and teach us how to conduct ourselves in the intimate presence of G-d via the sacred service of the Kohanim in the Holy Temple, and thereby maintain and tend to the infinite timeless moment of the experience of nearness to G-d on a day to day basis, ensuring our freedom forever. For now, let us ponder the awesome beauty contained in the final words of the book of Exodus:

"For the cloud of HaShem was upon the Tabernacle by day, and there was fire within it at night, before the eyes of the entire house of Israel in all their journeys." (ibid 40:38) May we so be blessed!

Video Tour of the Temple Mount with Moshe Feiglin

Moshe Feiglin’s Speech at the Special Knesset Session on Sovereignty on the Temple Mount

Honorable Chairman and Knesset,
When I drive to the Knesset in the morning, from the traffic circle nearby, a menorah is on display. After the road block at the Rose Garden, you can already see it. It is the same menorah that has accompanied all the Knessets since day one. And here in the plenum, the menorah is once again in front of us; the menorah of the Holy Temple. The menorah is the symbol of the State of Israel. It reminds us, moment by moment, from where we came and the message for which we clung to eternity and returned to our Land, to our city and to the Temple Mount – from where the menorah was exiled.
How do we know what the menorah looked like? How did the sculptor of the menorah in the Rose Garden know how to fashion his work of art? Maybe the original was different? After all, we were exiled from Jerusalem 2000 years ago. How do we know exactly how the menorah looked?
The menorah has been engraved on the Titus Arch in Rome for 2000 years. It is clearly there, being carried on the backs of the Judean captives after the destruction of the Holy Temple and Jerusalem. And from the Roman immortalization of our defeat of 2000 years ago, we know exactly how the menorah, upon which we look every day in the Knesset and which is justifiably its symbol, looked. It is the symbol of the Jewish State that rose back to its feet.
Clearly, the menorah of the Holy Temple is appropriate to symbolize the Knesset. Nothing is more fitting to symbolize the rebirth of Israel. Miraculously, and through the courage of Israel’s soldiers, our Father in heaven returned our holy Mount to us. Once again, we can light the menorah; from the Mount we can illuminate the world with the message of the prophets – the message of liberty from any human who seeks to enslave us; the message of the perfection of the world in the service of G-d, and only G-d. We do not bear a different message. Without this message, we have no other justification for our existence as Jews and as a state. Without this message, we lose our confidence in the justice of our existence here and turn into some sort of temporary crusaders in our Land.
To our sorrow, though, Israel’s leadership throughout the generations has fled its own message. ‘Who needs this whole Vatican?’ said Moshe Dayan after the liberation of the Temple Mount in 1967 and gave the keys to the Mount to the Moslem wakf. No diplomatic or military pressure forced him to do it – to hurriedly give the wakf the keys just two hours after the Temple Mount was liberated. How lucky for the Israeli leadership then that it had someone to whom to give the Temple Mount. Otherwise, Jews would have connected to their destiny, G-d forbid. They would have connected to the meaning of their existence here in this Land. They would even have built the Holy Temple, Heaven forefend.
What did we do with this priceless gift? What did we do with the place that G-d chose for His holy Presence? What did we do with the place that was given to us with miracles and wonders? We received a present with the gift-wrapping. We took the wrapping, the Western Wall, while we threw the present behind our backs, giving it to whoever would agree to take it.
If you would only agree, Knesset Members, to come with me for a visit on the Temple Mount – according to all the specifications of Jewish law, of course. I would show you how remnants of Solomon’s Temple and of the Second Temple are thrown about there, in the dust. If that is how we relate to the original, Mr. Chairman, maybe we should ask our maintenance workers here to deconstruct the Knesset menorah? If we throw the original behind our backs, why do we take pride in the symbol of the menorah?
Thus, behind the back of the nation, we surrendered any remnant of sovereignty on the Mount. Any terror organization can wave its flag there. But the Israeli flag? Heaven forbid. A chapter of Psalms? That is grounds for arrest. A chapter of Psalms recited by a Jew on the Temple Mount! The police even recommend to the Temple Mount visitors to remove the kippah from their heads. I do not know of any other state in the world where the police tell the Jews to remove their kippah. But on the Temple Mount, in the very heart of what we call ‘our eternally sovereign capital forever’, the police – the official authority – tell the Jews to remove their kippah.
“For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations,” says the prophet. And in the sovereign State of Israel, after we returned from an exile of two thousand years to our Temple Mount, only Jews are prohibited from praying at the site. And as always, when we flee our Land and our roots, we do not get peace in return, but increased violence. For it is not despair that motivates our enemies, but hope; the hope to drive us from the entire Land. And what awakens more of this hope than when Jews say that they have no more connection to the place that justifies our national existence in this Land? For the Temple Mount is like the heart in our bodies. In the words of the poet of admonishment and faith, Uri Tzvi Greenberg: He who controls the Mount, controls the Land.
Dear friends, much to our amazement, this is the first time that the Knesset of Israel is deliberating in the plenum on the question of sovereignty on the Temple Mount. Without the Mount, there is no home (editor: in Hebrew, the ‘Temple Mount’ is ‘the Mount of the Home’): not in Tel Aviv, not in Haifa and not in any other place. For without the Home, there is no purpose and no destiny for our sovereign existence in the entire Land. The time has come to stop the erosion of Israeli sovereignty in the very heart of Jerusalem.
Dear friends, we are in the midst of an amazing historical era. It is reasonable to assume that within the next decade, one and a half million olim will knock on our gates. Just look at what happened in the Ukraine this past week, where the leaders of the Jewish community there are calling upon the Jews to flee not only the capital, but the entire country. That is only the tip of the iceberg, in the face of the great changes taking place throughout the world. One and a half million Jews, ladies and gentlemen, are going to knock on our gates. The Romans have all disappeared, but the menorah that we kept in our hearts has maintained us for two thousand years. It will continue to keep us in the face of oncoming challenges. This menorah is not a museum artifact. It is the essence of our lives. Let us allow it to illuminate our path once again.
In the name of the Jewish Nation throughout the generations, I call here, from the Knesset podium, upon the government of Israel and its Prime Minister to actualize the full sovereignty of the State of Israel and on the entire Temple Mount. I call upon the government to immediately put an end to our enemy’s destruction of the antiquities and of our past at the site.
I call upon the government of Israel to stop the discrimination against Jews and their humiliation at the entrance to and on the Mount. And I call upon the government of Israel to allow free access to the Temple Mount to every Jew from all of its gates; and to allow prayer on the Mount as is to be expected from the very fact that the State of Israel is a Jewish state, as per the basic laws of the State of Israel. Thank you.

Mission Impossible

A Torah Thought for Parashat Pekudai 

By Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitz

The walls of the Mishkan were constructed from beams, ten cubits high, one and a half cubits wide, and one cubit thick (Shemot 26:16-17 with Rashi).  In the Sinai wilderness, to erect a building from such beams,  even a building with a tent-like roof, must have been a daunting task indeed. Little wonder then that the Midrash has Moshe doubting his, or anybody’s ability, to stand up those beams (Rashi Shemot 39:33).
But Hashem, according to the Midrash, urges Moshe on: “Do it with your hands and it will seem that you are erecting it, when in fact it will come together [miraculously] by itself”.  Thus the verse (Shemot 40:2) states: “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the Mishkan”, indicating that it will be erected by human power, but when reporting the fulfillment of this command, the Torah does not say “On the first day of the first month, he erected the Mishkan”.  Rather, it states (Shemot 40:17): “In the first month, in the second year, on the first of the month, the Mishkan was erected“, as if to say, it came together on its own.
How many times do we witness achievements of mankind, and fail to recognize that they only appear to be the handiwork of men, but are in fact nothing short of miracles?!  Take the State of Israel and its remarkable success in absorbing millions of Jews from all over the globe, in defending itself successfully in war, in building one of the only economies to survive the global decline, in becoming the world’s leading hi tech innovator, and on and on.  Are these acheivements merely human achievements accomplished against all the odds?
The Midrash, I believe, tells us that these impossible accomplishments may seem to be wholly human achievements; but in fact they are miracles transpiring before our eyes.  Many of the challenges besetting the State of Israel and the Jewish people today seem like mission impossible.  But we must always bear in mind: building a palace for G-d is an impossible task; but if we set about to do it, He will make it happen.  Speedily in our days.

Who owns the Temple Mount?

By Tuvia Brodie
When the United Nations passed UN Resolution 181 (November, 1947), it intended to divide British Palestine into three entities: (1) a Jewish State; (2) an Arab State; and (3) a separate Jerusalem under UN control.
The plan for Jerusalem was to keep all the city’s Holy sites intact. The UN wanted to make sure that each of the three major religions which held Jerusalem to be Holy—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—would have free access to and freedom of worship at all Holy sites. They made rules to ban discrimination.
The Arabs did not like any of the UN’s ideas for Jerusalem or a Jewish State. They rejected every idea. They attacked the Jews.
Within a year, Israel was a sovereign state. The war was over. But Arab Jordan had captured the Old City of Jerusalem. They had captured the Temple Mount. They would keep it.
Muslims destroyed almost every Jewish synagogue they found. They blocked Jews from the Western Wall. They blocked Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount. They declared that the Temple Mount was theirs: no Jews allowed.
The UN idea of freedom of worship ended. In the Arab Jerusalem, there would be no freedom for Jews.
There would also be no Jews. All Jews living in the captured Old City were exiled.
In 1967, Israel fought another war against the Arab. During that war, Israeli troops re-captured the Old City—and the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount was in Jewish hands. Jews could now pray there. Jews could now have free access to their religion’s holiest site.
Israel celebrated. Then it did a strange thing. It handed over the administration of the Mount to the Waqf, the Muslim religious leadership of Jerusalem. From that moment on, Jews have been restricted from and discriminated against on the Temple Mount.
Since 1967-9, Israel has had laws to protect the freedom of religion for all faiths in Israel. Israel is proud of its record of protecting access to holy sites.
Israel gives freedom of religion to all religions in Jerusalem—except Judaism. Jews in Jerusalem do not have free access to the Temple Mount. They do not have the freedom to worship at the Mount.
Israeli police have told MK (Member of Knesset) Moshe Feiglin that restrictions against Jews come from the Waqf. The Israeli police simply enforce those restrictions.
The Waqf does not want Jews on the Temple Mount. He claims that the Temple Mount is Islamic, not Jewish.
Increasingly, Jews have tried to ascend to the Temple Mount. As Judaism experiences a religious revival, the Mount has become a focal point of Jewish interest.
Visiting non-Jews can ascend the Mount without trouble from police. Only Jews are restricted. 
 Israeli police operate on the assumption that the Waqf owns the Mount. That is not correct. Israel has that control.
That’s why MK Feiglin has brought the issue of Israeli anti-Jewish discrimination at the Temple Mount to the Knesset. He wants to make sure that all understand that Israel owns the Mount. He wants to make sure that Jews at the Mount are no longer discriminated against.
The Arab world is incensed. Hamas calls for an urgent Arab meeting to discuss the ‘repeated Israeli attacks and aggressions’ against Al Aqsa (the Muslim name for the Temple Mount).  Hezbollah decried the "increasing Zionist attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque [the Temple Mount area]” (Ynet, “Knesset holds volatile discussion on Temple Mount sovereignty”, February 25, 2014).
The Arab League announced it will hold an emergency session to discuss ‘recent Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque’ (“Arab League to Discuss 'Israeli Attacks' on Al-Aqsa,” Arutz Sheva, February 26, 2014). The Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador to Egypt declared that this policy of allowing Jews to go to the Temple Mount proves that Israel ‘does not want peace but continues to violate international laws’ (ibid).
These accusations are all false. First of all, there have been no Jewish attacks on the Temple Mount. Arabs have been attacking Jews there.
Second, the offense which so outrages Arabs is the very presence of a Jew on the Mount. That presence is the ‘attack’ to which they refer. The Arab’s language, however, misrepresents what happens on the Mount. That language distorts—and makes it appear that Jews are aggressors on the Mount when in fact they are the victims there.
Third, the UN has, since 1947, expressed its desire to see freedom of access and worship at the Mount. Israel has consistently protected that right for Muslims. Muslims have consistently violated that right by discriminating against Jews.
Fourth, Jewish interest in praying on the Mount is not a violation of international law. Instead, it is a right promised to Jews by a 1994 Treaty between Jordan and Israel. Look it up. The Treaty is called, The ‘Treaty of Peace Between The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan And The State of Israel’, dated October 26, 1994. The promise of freedom of access and worship to all religions in Jerusalem is found in Article Nine.
Despite that Treaty, the Arab acts as if he owns the Mount. He does whatever he wants. He discriminates against Jews.
Then he accuses Israel. He libels Israel. He demonizes Israel.
Right now, he does all of this with impunity. Right now, he exercises what is called, ‘incidents of ownership’ over the Temple Mount.
‘Incidents of ownership’ means you are in control. Right now, the Arab appears to control the Temple Mount.
He says he owns it. He acts like he owns it.
Does he?
This question should never even be asked. The Temple Mount is Jewish. It is in Jewish hands. It belongs to the Jewish people.
Yet, there are Jews in Israel who support the Arab. These Jews do not want to see Jewish Israel control the Temple Mount. If we are silent, they could succeed, they think.

Wonder what would the G-d of Israel thinks of that and them?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Torah Study vs. Military Service and Reversed Worlds: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Pekudai 5774

Pekudai 5774

By Rabbi Nachman Kahana on 26 Feb 2014 11:02 am
Parashat Pekudai 5774

Torah Study vs. Military Service – Is there a Solution?

It is superfluous to underscore the painful breach that exists within our society, because the debate and emotions are inescapable.
It is the result of “bad blood” which exists between the sides – “bad blood” because the issue is one of life and death, where one side spills its blood while the other does not. I am referring to the matter of military service for Chareidi yeshiva students. The gap between the sides appears to be at this time irreparable. The learners cannot concede because in their eyes they are fulfilling Hashem’s will that Jews should learn Torah and that their learning is defending the Medina. The earners, on the other hand, cannot perceive that learning Torah in an air-conditioned bet midrash and sleeping every night between two clean sheets is as effective in defending the country as dropping a two-ton bomb from an F-16 in Azza or laying in a mud-filled foxhole on the border in ambush for terrorists who are determined to murder as many Jews as they can.
There is a legitimate call that in view of the precarious military and political situation we are now in, all citizens must share equally in the defense of the country (milchemet mitzva). However, the nation’s leadership knows that the coercive draft of yeshiva students will provoke mass civil disobedience here and acts of chillul Hashem on the part of certain Jews in chutz la’aretz who are enemies of the State.
Wherein lies the solution?
I suggest a program that will both deal with the problem and also contribute to raising the qualitative level of Torah study to fill the needs of our technologically developing society.
The program consists of three stages for every yeshiva that wishes to receive government aid and military deferment for its students:
1- From the age of 16 to 20, the students will be required to complete the entire Shas (Talmud) and to pay tuition to the yeshiva; at the end of which time they will undergo a thorough written and oral test. Those who fail will be excluded from the official recognized yeshiva system and will no longer be deferred from the army, having proven that they were not gifted with the intellect necessary to become a recognized talmid chacham. However, this would not exclude them from being a respected member of the Chareidi community, but rather merely an indication that Hashem is asking them to choose a different path, which of course includes a lifetime of kovaya eeteem la’Torah (Torah study).
2- The second period of study will be 4 years, focusing on the entire Shulchan Aruch. Students will be exempt from military service and will now receive a livable stipend. At the end of the 4 years, when the student will be 24 years old, he will undergo another test. Those who fail will be eligible for limited military or national service and then be free to join the labor market.
3- The third and final stage will be from 5 to 10 years. Participants who have proven to be the most gifted will receive a more generous stipend. Each will have to choose an halachic specialty (i.e., halacha in medicine, industrial Shabbat, electricity and its appliances, domestic affairs, the military).
According to this plan, one who fails the tests will have no one but himself to blame. It will weed out the students who are not sufficiently gifted to learn Torah full-time and only constitute a burden on the system. Most importantly, it will produce rabbis who are able to resolve halachic problems in particular areas of life, as with medicine where the sheer volume of knowledge forces a doctor to specialize.
Students who fail the rigid tests can still achieve success in Torah study through their private diligence, but not at the expense of unfulfilled civic responsibility that places an unwanted financial burden on the majority of Israelis.
Unfortunately, the question of military and national service goes beyond the matter of how a Chareidi young man should best spend his time – learning Torah or service for the national good. It centers around the basic question of how one relates to the independent Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael after 2000 years of galut.
The national religious outlook states that the Medina is the handiwork of HaShem – the precursor of our final redemption. The Medina is preparing the land to welcome the millions of in-gathering sons and daughters so that the Mashiach will not arrive to a barren desert. The Medina has built an army to be commanded by the Mashiach to bring judgment upon our enemies – it is a religious obligation and a privilege to serve and strengthen the Medina in all ways.
The Chareidi outlook sees the Medina differently.

Reversed Worlds

The Gemara (Pesachim 50a) relates that R. Yosef son of R. Yehoshua ben Levi died and returned to life. When his father asked him what he saw in the next world, he replied that the next world is “hafuch” – the reverse of this one; for those who are held in low esteem here are honored in the next world, while those who are famous here are held in low esteem there.
The concept of “olam hafuch” – reversed worlds – applies to almost all areas of our lives here, especially our value systems.
The most unexpected distortion of Jewish values in this world, in contrast to what is real in the world of absolute truth, is the relationship that many spiritual leaders have towards the Jewish State. If after 2000 years of praying and suffering in the galut, HaShem opened the gates of the Holy Land for His sons and daughters, when for reasons which have no halachic or logical validity they refuse to enter the Land, then those leaders and their followers are destined to experience again and again more barbarous lessons until they internalize that they must leave the galut.
Today, the news media announced two interesting items: 1- The Knesset will be dealing with the issue of who is the sovereign authority of the Temple Mount – the government of Israel or the Jordanian government? And 2- The Chareidi leadership is planning to hold a mass demonstration (they speak of one million people) against the intention to include all able young men in the national military draft – university students as well as yeshiva students.
For the sake of the Torah and the Jewish nation, I suggest that these two initiatives be combined. That one million Chareidim take to the streets to demand our total and exclusive control over the Temple Mount.
The alternative to our initiatives of aliya for the Jews in the galut and our rebuilding of the Bet HaMikdash on the Temple Mount is to wait for the Mashiach to perform these tasks for us, while we sit as spectators enjoying his performance. That will not happen, because HaShem created this world for the Jewish people to do mitzvot, not to be spectators of our fate.
We should all pray for a leader to arise from within us, who will reset our thought processes to match the truth as it is in the “real world”.

Jews Outside of Israel Cry Out for Israel to Defend Them

Arutz Sheva published an article by Gil Ronen on Tuesday titled Israel, Help Us! The report details an urgent plea from the Director of the Federation of Jewish Organizations in Europe, Rabbi Menahem Margolin, to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon asking them to act urgently and send trained security personnel from Israel to protect Jewish communities in the Ukraine.
Rabbi Margolin reported increasing anti-Semitic behavior including “a fire bomb thrown at a synagogue in Zhprozha, a message telling the rabbi of Krivoy Rog that he must leave the city within 72 hours, a graffito on the home of the rabbi of Blitzkorov saying “we are already near you,” another graffito near a Jewish building in Kiev saying “you are next,” and other anti-Semitic graffiti.”
Citing the “worrisome trend, in which the acts of violence are focusing increasingly on Jewish targets”, Rabbi Margolin feels attacks could be prevented with a presence of Israeli security in his region of the world.
The God of Israel is calling for the evacuation of His children from Europe.
I can see the day when instead of the “rabbis of Krivoy Rog and Blitzkorov” (in the Ukraine), similar requests for Tzahal’s immediate help will come from the rabbis of Berlin, London, Paris and Amsterdam.
I can even hear future calls for help coming from the rabbis of Detroit, Cleveland and New York as the rabbis of Krivoy Rog and Blitzkorov are making today.
There is still time to get out of chutz la’aretz and come home!
This cry for help in a foreign land brings us full-circle to the question of Israeli military service; if Israel were to choose to respond to such calls, would we have enough men trained in our military to both protect the medina and assist Jews in foreign lands who refused to make aliya before they were in distress?

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2014 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Knesset Temple Mount Debate Tackles Jewish Prayer Rights

Adar 25, 5774, 25/02/14 09:24
Historic debate calls on government to give Jews equal prayer rights at holiest site in Judaism, and to implement Israeli sovereignty.
By Ari Yashar
Tuesday night saw an historic Knesset debate on the issue of freedom of religion and Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.

The debate was the initiative of Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, a long-time campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, where non-Muslim prayers are currently forbidden.

"If you will go up with me to the Mount, I'll show you how the remnants of Solomon's Temple and the Temple of the Jews who returned by Babylon are wallowing in ashes," said Feiglin from the podium. He sarcastically added "maybe, Mr. Chairman, we'll invite the maintenance crew to dismantle the symbol of the nation," a reference to the destruction of artifacts on the site by the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust).

Feiglin attacked the discriminatory management of the holy site, which is under the de facto rule of the Waqf. Jews are often forbidden from entering and arrested for having religious or national symbols.

"Behind the back of the people we have given up on any Israeli sovereignty on the Mount," remarked Feiglin. "Any terror organization can wave its flag there -- the flag of Israel? Don't mention it even. And a verse of Psalms is pretext for an arrest. The police even recommend taking the kippah off your head."

"When we run from the Mount we lose the legitimacy to our presence in Tel Aviv," argued Feiglin. "The Temple Mount is like the heart in the organs," said the MK, quoting poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg's famous line "whoever rules the Mount rules the country."

Feiglin called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately apply Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and to halt the destruction of antiquities at the site by the Waqf.

"I call on the government of Israel to stop the discrimination and embarrassment of Jews in entering the Mount and on the site," declared Feiglin. He further called on the government "to allow free access to all Jews to the Temple Mount from every gate, and prayer on the Mount, as required by it being part of the state of Israel, the Jewish state," which stipulates freedom of worship.

Netanyahu supported Jewish rights to the Temple Mount in 1994
MK Shuli Muallem (Jewish Home) stepped in by reading a letter written by Netanyahu in 1994, before his first term as prime minister.

In the letter Netanyahu wrote "the right of the Jewish people over its holy site - the Temple Mount - can not be questioned; I think that Jewish prayer rights at the site must be arranged, all the more so because we give freedom of religion to all religions in Jerusalem."

Muallem added "when Jews can't go pray freely at the Temple Mount it is clear that the Temple Mount is not in our hands. From the debate today must come a declaration calling to allow every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount at any hour."

MK Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) joined in, saying "everyone in the state of Israel will be able to go up and pray at their holy place." She called for the Temple Mount to be managed like the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron, where Jews and Muslims have rotating days to pray.

Arab and leftist opposition to the debate
Leading up to the debate, riots broke out on the Temple Mount Tuesday morning, as Arabs threw rocks and firecrackers at police when they opened the Rambam Gate, the only entrance through which Jews are permitted to enter. As a result police reportedly closed the site to Jews.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, argued that the riots were directly related to the Knesset debate, commenting "on the very day upon which the Israeli Knesset will be considering  this very issue, we see before us today a stark reality check, and a lesson on who is really sovereign on the Temple Mount."

Response to the Knesset debate was also heard from Jordan's parliament, where Islamists in the opposition called on the government to freeze the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. 

Not all MKs agreed with Feiglin on Tuesday night that Jews should have equal rights to the Temple Mount, and that the holiest site in Judaism should be part of the Jewish state.

MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) spoke in the debate, saying Jews have rights to the site, but that she "distinguishes between the right and exercising the right."

The far-left MK accused Feiglin of having an agenda "to make provocation and derail the national process" of peace talks. She added that "sovereignty over the Temple Mount won't be attained by your provocations."

Hareidi MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) added his voice to the opposition against Jewish prayer rights at the site, saying "you're trampling on the holiest place to the Jewish people." Hareidi Jews largely believe that Jews should not visit the Temple Mount at the present time due to the holiness of the site and the fact that most people are ritually impure (tamei) according to Jewish law (halakhah).

Cohen sidetracked the debate into the law being worked out on hareidi IDF enlistment, saying "you're severely pursuing the holy yeshivas, defining one who studies Torah as a criminal, the yeshivas are the holiest place for the Jewish people. Jewish Home is instigating a fight, creating a commotion, creating the burden."

Israel’s Moral Responsibility to Protest China’s Organ Harvesting

By Moshe Feiglin

At Monday’s caucus on China’s organ harvesting, hosted by MK Moshe Feiglin, Feiglin once again declared that Israel has a moral responsibility to protest the organ harvesting and torture of the Falun Gong and other minorities in China. The caucus was attended by Labor Coalition Chairman MK Hilik Bar, MK Nissim Ze’ev from Shas and MK Boaz Toporovsky from Yesh Atid,  Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister and candidate for Nobel Prize David Kilgor, journalists and dignitaries.
After hair-raising personal testimonies by survivors and witnesses, Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister and candidate for Nobel Prize David Kilgor praised Israel for leading the way in its legislative battle against organ harvesting. Professor Jay Lavi noted that since Israel changed its organ transplant law, demand for Chinese organs from Israelis has stopped. He urged Israel to continue the struggle against China’s crimes against humanity.
(Pictured right to left: Researcher, author and journalist Eitan Goodman, Former Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister and candidate for Nobel Prize David Kilgour, MK Moshe Feiglin.)

Moshe Feiglin to Electric Company: Annul My Bill Like You Did for Arabs

Israel’s electric company is planning to annul a debt of 1.4 billion NIS, which it has not managed to collect from the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This is just a drop in the bucket of the overall costs to Israel of the Oslo Accords. With the insane amounts of money that we paid and continue to pay, we could have offered a very generous emigration package to the approximately 65% of the Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza who expressed their desire to emigrate.
Approximately 65% of the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are interested in emigration from Israel, while approximately 15,000 actually do so, annually. One of the major obstacles to their emigration is their inability to sell their property under the reign of horror of the terror gangs that have taken over the Arab street since the Oslo Accords. In Newspeak, the terror thugs are called the ‘Palestinian Authority’.
Several emigration destinations beckon the Arabs of Yesh”a and are willing to absorb them. But an Arab who sells real estate to a Jew is officially sentenced to death. The restoration of complete Israeli sovereignty in Judea, Samara and Gaza  is vital. It will remove the fear and  allow those interested to sell their homes and property in a quick, simple and  efficient manner.
The cost of the Oslo Accords to the Israeli public, for Judea and Samaria alone (without Gaza) and for just the relative 65% of the Arabs who would like to emigrate is 423 billion shekels. That is almost half a trillion shekels(!) This is money that we have already spent, plus 15.3 billion shekels that we pay each year, with no end in sight. This year, an additional 1.4 billion shekels will be added to our expenditure on Oslo, the result of the annulment of the debt to the Electric Company.
Some of this money, invested for naught in the ‘peace process’, should instead be earmarked for encouraging Arab emigration from Israel with a generous, $500,000 package per family.
It is important to state that this money would not be an additional withdrawal from Israel’s budget. Instead, it is an open check, signed by the Oslo architects and given to the murder organization, the PLO.  These funds can be used to create a conceptual change, ushering in a new process that is just, ethical and will bring true peace. For more facts and figures on the cost of the Oslo Accords, see my article.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Memory and Pragmatism

By Moshe Feiglin

Translated from Makor Rishon
A Knesset speech in a foreign language requires a preliminary authorization from the Knesset Committee. When the Chairman of the Knesset Committee requested of me, as a member of the Committee, to give my approval for a speech in a foreign language for the President of the European Parliament, I planned to agree, as is routine. But MK David Rotem was more alert than I was and asked, “In what language does the EU President plan to speak?”
“In German,” the Chairman answered.
I thanked MK Rotem for calling the issue to my attention. I was the only vote against approving the speech in German. Before EU President Schultz began his speech, I left the plenum – quietly. Of course, I had no idea what the content of Schultz’s speech would be. I assumed that it would be a positive speech. My decision not to be present was on principle, not tactical. It was the same principle that guided my decision not to travel with the Knesset delegation to the Death Camp in Poland.
We have been too quick to insert the quintessentially horrifying memory of the Holocaust into museums – and to leave it there. A memory that is relegated to a museum, no matter how tangible it is – even if it is Auschwitz, itself – becomes a museum memory. It is easy to figure out what would have happened if our Sages had instructed us to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by an annual visit to a museum. Not only would the memory of the Temple have been forgotten after a few generations, but the entire culture drawn from the Temple and that aspires to it – would have disappeared. If we would go to the museum instead of fasting, instead of breaking a glass under the marriage canopy, instead of leaving a bare place on the wall at the entrance to our homes, I wouldn’t be here to write and you wouldn’t be here to read: We would have simply disappeared.
70 years ago, the world decided to rid itself of the Jews; some nations accomplished this actively, while others by default. Some built death camps, while others did not bomb them. In his book, Em Habanim Smecha, Rabbi Yissachar Teichtel, may G-d avenge his blood, noted how the Jews of the US, most of whom feared for their own future and did not stand up to save their brethren in Europe, actually faced the same decree. While they were not in physical danger, the legitimacy for their existence was lost. The real name for World War II should be “The World War Against the Jews.”
When the Parliament established by the Nation that arose from the ashes relates to the Holocaust as an historical accident, the problem of a certain generation; when we separate its memory from our current reality instead of attempting to actualize it in the here and now – we awaken sleeping monsters.
Today, we no longer hold up an accusing finger against the culture that led the world war against the Jews. We allow the language in which the destruction of our Nation was planned to be spoken from the podium of our parliament. We allow the Polish to lie and claim that it was just by coincidence that the Germans ‘stuck’ Auschwitz on their land – they are actually perfectly fine; there was no satanic anti-Semitism in Poland, there was no Polish massacre of the Holocaust survivors who attempted to return to their homes after the war. When we separate the memory of the Holocaust from our present lives, there is no real memory and the children of the murderers dare to point an accusing finger at us – in the Knesset of Israel, in German. We become the new Nazis and the ‘Palestinians’ the inheritors of the Jews who are being led off to the slaughter.
If we had demanded of the EU Parliament President not to speak in German, I believe that the entire incident in which the Jewish Home party loudly protested his words and then exited the plenum would have been avoided. Because our demand would have meant that Israel has an ethical claim against the world in general and the Germans, in particular. If we had demanded that Schultz not speak in German, he would have been on the moral defensive – and not on the moral offensive.
But as usual, we chose to flee our responsibility to our parents and our children. We chose to cut corners, to be pragmatic. For after all, we can’t fight with the entire world forever.
What was the result of our pragmatism? The exact opposite of what we wanted to achieve. Because we chose not to really deal with the memory of the Holocaust, our relationship with Germany is now worse than it was – both on our part and on theirs. For when that ethical accusing finger is not there, the sleeping monsters in their culture wake up in the middle of the speech – yes, in the most cultured and well-mannered fashion – and just ask an innocent question: “Is it true that he ‘Palestinians’ get less water?” Yes, those are the same monsters. How could the son of the nation of murderers dare to reprimand the ethics of the children of the victims? The answer is: From the moment that the children of the victims buried the memory of the Holocaust in museums.
I was spared the uproar in the Knesset because I was not ‘pragmatic’. When we restore the memory of the Holocaust to our daily reality, we will merit much more harmony with the nations of the world. The correct approach toward our past will allow us to be pragmatic – and just – in the future.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Despite Jordan PM, Israel is Exclusive Sovereign in Jerusalem and Temple Mount

By Moshe Feiglin

Last Sunday, the Prime Minister of Jordan, Abdullah Ensour, declared in the Jordanian parliament that the Knesset deliberation that I initiated on Israeli sovereignty for Feb. 25th is dangerous. The Jordanians parliamentarians took advantage of the opportunity to call for war against Israel.
Ensour’s claim that Jordan is the sovereign on the Temple Mount is baseless, but we must take his false claim seriously. That is exactly why I initiated the Knesset deliberation on Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount. Israel’s absolute sovereignty in Jerusalem is not subject to any debate. It is secured in the Jerusalem Foundation Law.
I call upon all the Knesset Members to whom Jerusalem is dear to participate in the deliberation and to safeguard Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It’s in our DNA

A Torah Thought for Parashat Vayakhel 

By Moshe Feiglin

One day when I was in grade school, a rabbi came to my classroom with an impressive photo album. The album contained beautiful pictures of the reproductions of the Temple vessels and the priestly garments. The Temple Institute had not yet been established, Yamit was still a vibrant town in the Sinai and Rabbi Ariel was its Chief Rabbi. But that was the first time that I had ever encountered a modern reproduction of the Table, the Altar, the Menorah and the other vessels and priestly garments.
I remember the excitement in the classroom. The Rabbi did not allow the students to pass the album from one to the other so that it would not become worn out. Instead, he held it in his own hands and showed it to each student. The same sense of awe and excitement still fills me every time I read the Torah description of the Tabernacle and its vessels.
When the Jews would ascend to the Holy Temple on the three annual festivals of pilgrimage, the priests would exhibit the Temple vessels for all to see. If a photo of a reproduction can elicit such excitement, I can only begin to imagine what an impression the genuine articles made on the celebrating Jews.
That’s how the Jewish people are. They get involved with all their hearts. When, in last week’s Torah portion, they were asked to give to the Golden Calf, they (tragically) gave. And when they were asked to give to the Tabernacle, they gave wholeheartedly. It’s the genetics of bringing the world a new message. Jews are always the first in whatever revolution takes the world’s fancy; Communism, liberalism, you name it. From the socialist kibbutz movement to unrestrained capitalism – we are always at the forefront.
Ultimately, we will stop our flight from our genuine identity, build the Holy Temple and bring the world the message that truly is embedded in our DNA: The perfection of the world in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Shabbat Shalom

For First Time Since 6 Day War, Knesset To Call Upon PM To Fully Implement Israeli Sovereignty on Temple Mount

Tuesday, February 25, the Knesset plenum will gather to discuss Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.This is the result of a formal request signed by members of the Likud-Beiteinu and Bayit HaYehudi parties, (and members of the government), to discuss and endorse the following statement written by Moshe Feiglin:
“The Knesset calls upon the Prime Minister to implement Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, to stop the discrimination there and to allow all people to ascend the Mount through any of the entry gates, regardless of religion, race, sex or nationality – in accordance with the fundamental laws of Israel.”The following Knesset members have attached their names to Moshe Feiglin’s declaration: Tzachi Hanegbi, Yariv Levin, Miri Regev, Shim’on Ochayon, Moti Yogav, Orit Struck and Shuli Meulam.
The government of Jordan has described the proposed discussion as “playing with fire,” and Islamic figures have called for armed resistance and the murder of Jews in order to prevent the implementation of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount

Moshe Feiglin’s Letter to the MKs on Israeli Sovereignty on the Temple Mount

To the Knesset Members,

On next Tuesday, Feb. 25, a debate on Israel’s loss of sovereignty on the Temple Mount will be held in the Knesset plenum, with G-d’s help.
Just a few hours after the liberation of the Temple Mount in 1967, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan afforded responsibility for administrative procedures on the Temple Mount to the Moslem wakf – in other words, the Jordanian Islamic trust. The purpose of his decision was to allow the Moslems to conduct their religious practices with honor and without disruption.
In practice, however, the Moslem wakf took advantage of the religious autonomy that it received and transformed it into almost absolute Moslem/Jordanian sovereignty on the Temple Mount – while all of Israel’s governments closed its eyes to the issue.
PLO, Hamas and Islamic Movement flags are flown on the Mount without fear. No security check is performed upon the Moslems, who stream into the Mount from all its gates.
At the Mugrabim Gate, however, which is the only gate from which Jews are allowed to access the Mount as tourists, Israel’s police strip the Jewish visitors, sometimes to their undergarments, lest they bring an Israeli flag or Psalms booklet onto the Mount. Wakf representatives stalk the Jewish visitors, inspecting their lips to make sure that they do not pray.
In addition, the Moslem wakf has been methodically destroying invaluable archeological artifacts of immeasurable historic and national value from the First and Second temples on the Temple Mount – and nobody says a word.
Is the Temple Mount really in our hands?
The Jewish Nation’s most holy place has been abandoned to foreign hands. This severely and essentially undermines Israel’s moral standing, both as a Jewish State and a democratic state.
Attached  is a special report that summarizes the discrimination against Jews that takes place on a daily basis on the Temple Mount.
The Knesset Interior Affairs Committee, chaired by MK Miri Regev, who has consistently and decisively put the Temple Mount issue on the Committee’s agenda, is still not allowed to visit the Mount. This is a tangible blow to the independence and sovereignty of the Knesset.
I call upon you to participate in this important deliberation, which touches upon the bedrock of our existence. Please join my call to Israel’s government to implement Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, to stop the discrimination there and to allow all people to ascend the Mount through any of the entry gates, regardless of religion, race, sex or nationality – in accordance with the fundamental laws of Israel.

My Visit to Temple Mt. Yesterday Beginning of Renewed Israeli Sovereignty on Mount

By Moshe Feiglin

For the first time in a year, MK Moshe Feiglin was allowed to visit the Temple Mount yesterday morning. He investigated all corners of the Mount, including the Rama, and prayed there.
“I see my visit as the beginning of the restoration of full Israeli sovereignty to the Temple Mount. Clearly, the only way to maintain Israeli sovereignty here and every place in the Land of Israel is with our feet on the ground. Wherever Jews walk, Israeli sovereignty reigns, ” said Feiglin during his visit.
The path was cleared for MK Feiglin’s visit to the Temple Mount after lengthy interaction between his Knesset office and the Police Department and the Ministry for Internal Security, with the assistance of the Speaker of the Knesset and Knesset legal experts.
MK Feiglin was protected by the police during his visit, which took place quietly and without disturbances.
In an associated development, the Knesset will debate the issue of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount this Tuesday.
“I hope that the Knesset will clearly indicate to Israel’s government that the time has come to actualize Israel’s sovereignty and to allow every Jew to enter the Temple Mount, from all of its gates, without any form of discrimination based on religious observance,” said Feiglin.

INN: MK Feiglin Ascends Temple Mount for First Time Since Police Ban

by Gil Ronen 

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu) ascended to the Temple Mount Wednesday after 10 months in which security forces refused to let him set foot there.

Feiglin reported afterward that he had toured “all corners” of the Temple Mount, including the Ramah – where the Temple building and inner courtyard were located, according to Jewish sages. Feiglin said that he had also prayed on the Mount.

Feiglin had toured the Mount every month, for years, but in April of 2013, the Commander of the Israel Police's David Precinct called him and informed him that he was no longer allowed to enter the site.

Feiglin's pilgrimages to the Mount received growing media attention after he became a Knesset Member in early 2013, and in one of his visits, he insisted on entering the Dome of the Rock – a request that was denied. 
The maverick MK has been a long-time campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount. Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, under Muslim pressure authorities enforce a raft of draconian restrictions, including a ban on praying. Religious Jews are sometimes arrested for attempting to worship at the site - which was the location of the two Temples in Jerusalem.

The Musim Waqf was angered by Feiglin's visits and in the Arab world, he was accused of “polluting” the Mount. The Justice Ministry said that the decision to make the Mount out of bounds for MK Feiglin was reached after the Attorney General approved it and that the relevant political echelon was also in favor of the decision, as were police and other security elements.

The decision, explained the Ministry at the time, “was based on past experience, including [the experience] relating to Feiglin's patterns of behavior at the Temple Mount, and MK Feiglin's recent announcement that he does not intend to coordinate his visits at the location with the Israel Police in the future, for various reasons.”

"The police and security forces estimated that given the circumstances, MK Feiglin's ascent to the Mount could potentially harm the security of the state, and his ascent to the Mount was therefore prevented,” summed up the Justice Ministry.

“I see my ascent this morning as the beginning of the return of full Jewish sovereignty to the Temple Mount, MK Feiglin said Wednesday. “The Israel Police proved that when they receive the correct orders, they can carry them out in the best possible way.”

Feiglin's visit was preceded by a protracted process of negotiation between him and the police, which was assisted by the Knesset Speaker and unspecified legal elements in the Knesset.

Next Tuesday, the Knesset is to debate the issue of Jewish access to the Temple Mount, “I hope that the Israeli Knesset will tell the Israeli Government in a clear way, that it is time to implement sovereignty and to allow every Jew to ascend from every gate,” pronounced Feiglin.
Rabbi Chaim Richman, speaking on behalf of the Temple Institute, congratulated MK Feiglin Wednesday on returning to the Temple Mount "after being banned from the holy site by Prime Minister Netanyahu for the past year."

“This is a great step forward in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty -- which is synonymous with Jewish prayer -- on the Temple Mount. Knesset member Feiglin’s ascent to the Temple Mount is a positive step towards the building of the Holy Temple and gives hope to all of Israel,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin will be a special guest on the Fifth Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, which will be broadcast on March 30.