Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Nations in Uproar, Muttering in Vain

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

Regarding the camel it says, “Among the cud-chewing, hoofed animals, these are the ones that you may not eat: The camel shall be unclean to you although it brings up its cud, since it does not have a true hoof” (Leviticus 11:4). Regarding the pig it says, “The pig shall be unclean to you although it has a true split hoof, since it does not chew its cud” (v. 7). These two animals have marks of both the kosher animals and the nonkosher animals, but the Torah declares unequivocally, “They are unclean to you” (v. 8). 

It is known that the pig and the camel allude to Christianity and to Islam. Each of these religions boasts that its sources are within Judaism, and each uses the Bible and other Jewish sources to justify its existence. While Christianity spreads out its hooves like the pig, to show how kosher it is, it remains nonkosher on the inside, because it envisions G-d as being a man and claims that G-d abandoned Israel and forged a new covenant, Heaven forbid. 

Likewise, with Islam, it is true that in their world-view they oppose envisioning G-d as a man, and they claim that they believe in one G-d. Seemingly, they are kosher on the inside, yet when they raise up the sword against Israel and against other nations, their true face is revealed, that of “his hand being against everyone and everyone’s hand being against him” (Genesis 16:12). 

Right now, Christianity and Islam share a common concern -- how to deal with the rebirth of the Jewish People in Eretz Yisrael and its eternal capital Jerusalem, something which undermines the foundations of their world-view and faith. They are trying by various means, some ostensibly good and peace-like, and others openly wicked and bellicose, to nullify the counsel of G-d. Yet G-d, who loves His people and thinks only good of them, is raising them up to rebirth. 

It was in response to such plotting that King David, sweet singer of Israel, said, “Why are the nations in uproar? Why do the peoples mutter in vain? The kings of the earth join ranks and the rulers take counsel together, against the L-rd and against His anointed” (Psalms 2:1-2).

Yet, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the L-rd holds them in derision. He shall speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in His burning anger” (Ibid., v. 4-5). 

The Jewish People are G-d’s firstborn son, and they are forever as dear to Him as an infant is to its parents on the day of its birth (see Metzudot David, Ibid.). 

Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

Containment and Restraint: Bad and Good

By Zvulun Orlov

In the Front Lines of World Terrorism

Our continuing national struggle against the wave of murderous terrorism has awakened anew the dispute about whether the technique of "containment" and "restraint" in our fight against terrorism is the best way to eliminate it. On one hand, there is a no-holds-barred approach which demands, among other things, harsh punishment and deterrence of the surroundings, beyond merely destroying the homes of the terrorists. This would include expelling the families of terrorists, punishing the residents of the village where he or she lived with curfews and cancelling work permits in Israel, confiscation of VIP status, and more. On the other hand, there is another approach which demands immediate negotiations with the PLO, acceding to their conditions for beginning to talk: removal of roadblocks, a building freeze in Yehuda and the Shomron, and the release of convicted terrorists who have murdered Israelis.

The terrorist attacks in Europe have shown that the fanatic Moslem ideology which strives to murder and destroy people and countries which deny Islam is linked to the motivations of a wide variety of organizations: Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Al-Kaida, and more. Islamic terrorism was not born because of national problems and questions of borders but rather stems from a rejection in principle of the right of the Jewish nation to exist. The "El-Aksa Intifada" and "Conquest Leads to Despair" are no more than media "spins" that mean to make terrorism legitimate and not a reason for the attacks.

Even though it is true that the struggle against terrorism is worldwide, we are at the front lines of the battle. Our only alternative is to find for ourselves the best way to vanquish it. We have the most experience and lead all the other nations in the world in decreasing and eliminating terrorist activity. In the past we won the battle by the virtues of a logical security combined with the superior quality of our security services and the superior quality of the IDF, the Border Patrol, and the police. We won because we stood united against the terrorists and those who sent and supported them, without any intervention of personal or party politics. In the previous governments, those who made decisions on the issues of the struggle against terrorism, led by the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister, knew that even if there were dissenting opinions in the Security Cabinet, the government, or the coalition – and even in the Zionistic opposition – they would not be made public. The leadership knew that it would find broad support for its actions.

There is a Problem with Unity

More recently, starting with Operation Protective Edge, something has gone wrong – There was no longer a single unified voice, not even in the Cabinet, the government, and the coalition. Ministers, including members of the Cabinet, MK's and public figures, publicly offer advice about how to remedy the situation. Every speaker has magically become a self-appointed strategic expert. Ministers propose their own laws, not – as is the accepted practice – as government-sponsored legislation but rather as private proposals of MK's, behind the backs of the government and the Cabinet. Anybody who does this bears no responsibility for the consequences and is not limited by the ability to perform the proposed actions. The main thing is that they sound good to the voters, and demonstrate the leadership capabilities of the ones who make the proposals. Even if such plans are good, why should they be revealed in advance to the enemy, who will then be forewarned and able to change his techniques accordingly? This is populism at its extreme! How can we expect the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister to put their best efforts into the fight against terrorism and to obtain worldwide backing, when ministers and MK's are breathing down their necks in an effort to garner more votes for themselves in the next primary elections?

The criticism and the pressure by politicians to give a public reply to the question of why we have not immediately quashed the terrorism reminds me of the words of Avigdor Kahalani, who received a Medal of Valor in the Yom Kippur War, who said to his troops at the critical moments of the battle: "Not only you are having a difficult time because there is not enough ammunition and fuel, and you are bone weary. The Syrians have the same problems. Whoever holds out 20 seconds longer than his enemy will win the battle." Kahalani's soldiers held out longer than the Syrians, and they were victorious against a better-equipped army. This time too we will be able to win over the terrorism if we have more patience and self-restraint than they do. Give them enough time to collapse before we do.

"Contain" the "Restraint"

The foolish behavior in our midst ties the hands of those who must make decisions. Those who are in favor of "containment" in the fight against terrorism should also adopt the approach of "containment" with respect to their criticism of the way the struggle is being handled by those who are really in charge: The Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and the Security Cabinet. The techniques for fighting against terrorism do not appear in facebook or in the media. The proper realms for discussion are the Cabinet and the subcommittee for defense of the Committee for Defense and External Affairs, which must operate under strict secrecy, with absolutely no leaks. There any proposal can be brought up and discussed fully. Those in charge must be free of any political or party influence, and they must be able to focus exclusively on the problem of eliminating terrorism. Internal containment and restraint towards them will guarantee that they keep their sights on eliminating terrorism, without any worry about electoral losses and without being dragged into personal or party political struggles.

It is important for us to hold the discussion about "containment" and "restraint" with respect to terrorism in the right place, certainly not in public. Let the leaders of the war achieve victory.

(Ed. Note: Orlev assumes that the PM, DM and Cabinet actually are capable of victory.  They are not. This is what happens when you fight a war based on what looks bad on CNN.)

The Subtle War Against Israel

(Ed. Note: The bold typeface of the first paragraph is mine.)

By Moshe Feiglin

The soldier in Hebron shouldn’t have had to pull the trigger and kill the terrorist who had just attempted to murder his comrade. The officers in the area should have done so, and the order should have come from the Chief of Staff, the Minister of Security, and the Prime Minister. It should have been an order that was as clear as day and made public to all. 

Let me explain:

The seminal event that brought about the establishment of the State of Israel was the Holocaust, in which Jewish lives were considered worthless, or less.

This view was held not only by the Nazis and their accomplices, but by the entire world. The Americans and British did not bother to waste even one or two bombs to halt the death industry and save Jewish lives. In other words, Hitler’s speeches and the culture that he created, which negated the right of Jewish existence, filtered down and strongly influenced the world – both actively and passively. The entire existence of the State of Israel was designed – first and foremost – to reverse this reality.

It is important to note that the State of Israel has always based its right to exist on this very point; on the restoration of the right of the Jews to exist and the natural legitimacy of Jewish lives. Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, which exhibits what happens to Jews bereft of a state, has become our ultimate Holy Temple, which every visiting foreign dignitary must visit to pay his respects.

Ensuring national existence, however, is nothing more than the foundation for the actualization of our national destiny. After two generations of avoidance of our destiny, our existence also becomes meaningless and loses its legitimacy. That is how, slowly but surely, the life of the enemy becomes more important than the lives of our citizens and soldiers. Like Alice in Wonderland, the more that we flee our destiny for the imagined safety of jet fighters, submarines and flak jackets – the more we find ourselves bereft of existential legitimacy, returning to the place from which we fled – the place where Jewish lives become cheaper by the day.

For years, I tried to convince Ya’alon and Netanyahu that Israel must attack Iran. First of all, because of Ahmadinijad’s calls for the destruction of Israel and only second because of the technical security problem that the Iranian bomb creates. I explained time and again that the Holocaust did not begin in 1939, when the war broke out. It began in 1933, with the rise of the Nazis to power and the speeches made by the leader of the German nation calling for the destruction of the Jews. Those speeches were the beginning of the process of delegitimization of Jewish existence.

The red line undermining the legitimacy of existence of the Jews was crossed again by the Iranian Holocaust deniers. The entire world expected the State that had been born on the ashes of Auschwitz to respond with fury. To emphasize just this point, Ahmadinijad took the trouble to make an open speech calling for Israel’s destruction right at our border fence. ‘I will call for their destruction and they will not harm me, because they themselves recognize and cooperate with the negation of their own legitimacy; with the process of their destruction,’ his actions said.

My attempts to convince Israel’s leaders failed. The result is that those words have remained in the air and we feel their effect. Just like Germany in the 1930s, Iran, which calls for the destruction of the Jews, has remained a legitimate and courted member of the UN. Israel’s status and the legitimacy of Jewish existence are dissipating. Ultimately, Iran will have the bomb (which, as above, is the secondary danger after the delegitimization).

The brandished knife or scissors, received on our part with moral hesitation, achieve the same effect as Ahmadinijad’s words. They undermine the right of all the Jews to exist. It is once again legitimate to slaughter a Jew, simply because he is a Jew. It is still permissible to harm the terrorist, but only on the basis of the value of self-defense – because the terrorist – is ‘just’. Our ‘ethical’ rigor over the terrorist’s ‘rights’ confirms the world’s conviction that we also understand that this Land belongs to the terrorist and that he is the good guy in this story.

The result is that very quickly, the self-defense principle also stops working for us. It is also forbidden to harm a terrorist. All we can do is try to shoot down the missile that he shot – and only while it is still in the air. We all understand that this is the way to lose. And then, even if we retreat from all the territory and give them flowers all day long – nobody will come to help us. Our friendly neighbors will always be forgiven and even liked after they slaughter us.

Ahmadinijad and the knife-wielding terrorist from Hebron are on the same axis. Both challenge the right of the Jews for sovereign existence (essentially, the right to exist). Please do not be confused. This is not a national territorial dispute. We have no common border with Iran and the last thing that the Arabs of Hebron want is a state. (Did you ever hear of a Jordanian soldier stabbed in Hebron before 1967? But you did hear that 67 Jews were slaughtered in Hebron in 1929 – before the State of Israel was established.)

We are dealing with the negation of the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty of any type on the face of the earth, and particularly, in the Middle East. In this respect, the scissors in the hands of the Arab teenager are more dangerous than the Iranian bomb. In Western culture, which associates morality with weakness, the scissors are much more convincing and thus negate our legitimacy more than the atomic bomb.

This is not a national territorial war, a war of interests between two nations with similar cultures; a war in which rules of engagement, such as the Geneva Convention, can exist. This is not a war that ends with the victory of one of the sides or with a compromise. This is a war of total destruction, bereft of any ethical rules. It is a war in which the pre-meditated slaughter of women and children is acceptable and desirable – and viewed as legitimate, while we, who tie our own hands and endanger our soldiers in our quest for ‘morality’ are always marked as the bad guys. Why?

Because this is the most dangerous evil. It is confusing evil, without tanks and jets. It is evil that does not strike with armed force. It is evil that searched for and found our greatest weakness: our lost sense of the justice of our cause. When you breach just the tiniest of openings and give it legitimacy – you have fallen down a slippery slope and lost everything.


We tried to evade our destiny and exchange justice for ethicality. Time and again we make the open-fire rules more stringent. We sacrifice hundreds of soldiers in our failed attempt to win some legitimacy in the merit of our ‘ethicality’. We do not attack civilians. We do not shoot at mosques. We send our sons into the alleyways and tunnels – we will not bomb from the air and we will not turn off electricity and water. We try to maintain all the rules of the Western world – and we have remained the ‘bad guys’ in this story.


Because it is impossible to exchange justice for ethicality. Even worse, when you surrender your destiny (and your justice in the process) and base your entire existence on ‘the ethical code’, then you are tested there and only there – on the ethical playing field. But the ethical playing field is really a killing field. To remain there, we pay with the blood of our soldiers and civilians. The only way to get off the killing field is to fight back with the same weapons. At the moment that Ahmadinijad says that Israel must be destroyed –his life must become illegitimate. Israel should have eliminated him. If a knife wielding terrorist comes to murder Jews, he must be eliminated immediately. His life has become illegitimate. He must be eliminated with no strings attached to the ethical killing field (which, in its current context, is patently unethical) upon which he hides.

The elimination must be immediate, on the spot, with no courtroom proceedings. Elimination of the terrorist is vital because he exchanges the challenge and question mark over the legitimacy of Jewish existence with a clear exclamation point. Any other procedure provides a shred of legitimacy and the slippery slope waits at its threshold.

A terrorist must never live to the day of his trial – even if he were to receive the death penalty at its end. A judicial proceeding raises him up to the level of a partner in the discussion, and thus, his claim must be evaluated. Maybe we really don’t have the right to live…We’ll let the judges decide.

There are situations and planes upon which the court has no place. War is clearly such a situation. The war in which we currently find ourselves is the most difficult and subtle of all of Israel’s wars.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Israel Already Pays for US Aid

By Moshe Feiglin

Although I am not sure what Trump meant, I can say that if he meant that the aid to Israel should stop – then I am totally on board. Israel should have initiated the termination of US aid a long time ago. In a television interview I explained that the F-35 ‘aid’ to Israel meets America’s needs – not Israel’s (except for the needs of a few people in Israel, who, according to the Olmert recordings, are making a lot of money from these deals).
This week we were informed that the Director of the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate of the United States Department of Defense, .Dr. Michael Gilmore  reported to Congress that even now, after a long term effort to fix the ‘bugs’ in the F35, tests show defects that cannot be ignored.
According to a March 24th article in Janes:
“The limited and incomplete F-35 cyber-security testing accomplished to date has … revealed deficiencies that cannot be ignored,” Michael Gilmore, the director of combat testing, said in a prepared statement for a hearing by the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces. Gilmore’s testimony summarizes earlier reports that detail the risks of concurrent development and production of weapon systems.
Furthermore, the mission systems software supporting the aircraft’s Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 AESA radar is not stable enough for combat, according to Gilmore’s testimony. The radar has to be restarted once every four hours of flying time, the statement said. The US Air Force (USAF) has said that fixing this issue remains its main concern before it can allow its jets to deploy in combat.
The American ‘aid’ coerced Israel into buying a scandalous,  non-deployable weapons system. In another nine months, the F35s will be landing in Israel. The capability of these jets to reach Iran is doubtful. Every four hours the pilot has to restart the radar. The Americans no longer believe that they will be ready for deployment for at least another two years.
I have news for you, Mr. Trump. Israel is already paying for the American ‘aid’. And how…

Monday, March 28, 2016

Video: Palestinian Terrorism - Lone Wolves or Institutional?

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Part nine in a 6 minute YouTube video series on US-Israel and the Mideast *

Part nine: ; the entire series:

1.  In contrast to national liberation movements, Palestinian terrorism targets – deliberately, institutionally and systematically – Arab and Jewish non-combatants, sometimes hitting combatants. 

2.  Palestinian terrorism is the by-product of Palestinian hate-education, K-12, which has dominated the Palestinian Street since 1993, when established by Mahmoud Abbas.

3.  Palestinian terrorism - a branch of the 1,400-year-old Islamic terrorism – has always sided with anti-US forces regionally and globally: the Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, USSR, East Germany, China, No. Korea, Cuba, Venezuela.

4.  Palestinian terrorism triggered civil wars in Jordan (1970) and Lebanon (1974-1983), collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s oppression of Iraq (until 2002) and invasion of Kuwait (1990), assisted Assad’s repression of Syria (until 2014) and currently collaborates with Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in Egypt.

5.  Palestinian terrorists murdered US Ambassador to Sudan (1973), assisted the 1983 murder of 300 US Marines at the US Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut, and have joined Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS and other Islamic terror organizations. The role model and spiritual mentor of Bin-Laden was a Palestinian, Abdullah Azam.

6.  Since the 1993 establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terrorism has afflicted the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, causing the flight of most Christians and escalating the emigration of Muslims (25,000 net-emigration from Judea and Samaria in 2014 and 20,000 in 2013). Therefore, Palestinians flow to Jerusalem’s municipal lines, in order to receive Israeli I.D. cards, social benefits and human rights.  

7.  Palestinian terrorism has been a Middle East fixture since the 1920s, murdering Jews and Arabs. The Palestinians collaborated with Nazi Germany and the Communist Bloc during WW2 and the Cold War respectively.  In 1964 – when Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria – Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO published the Palestinian Covenant: a roadmap to destroy the Jewish State.

8.  Mahmoud Abbas’ hate-education and incitement system has been the most effective production line of terrorists, highlighting the duty to eliminate the “infidel” Jewish state; the peaceful or military submission of the “infidel” to Islam;” the inadmissibility of “infidel” sovereignty on lands which are supposedly divinely ordained to Islam; the sublime honor of sacrificing one’s life on behalf of Islam’s war against the “infidel”; and the tenuous nature of agreements concluded with “infidels.”

9.  Palestinian terrorism is fueled by Mahmoud Abbas’ generous financial assistance to terrorists and their families, naming streets, squares, monuments and sport tournaments in honor of terrorists.

10.  Palestinian terrorism highlights the anti-Western, anti-Christian, destabilizing, terroristic nature of the proposed Palestinian state, which would provide a platform for anti-US Islamic terrorists to topple the Hashemite regime in Jordan and the Central government in Lebanon, provide tailwind to Islamic terrorism in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, bolster the Ayatollahs’ terrorism and subversion, and offer land and naval access to Iran, Russia and China.  

11.  Palestinian terrorism interprets Israeli gestures as weakness, as evidenced by the dramatic increase of Palestinian terrorism following the dramatic Israeli concessions in 1993 and 2005.

12.  In order to defeat Palestinian terrorism, it is necessary to shift gears from reaction to preemption, and from chasing individual terrorist mosquitoes to draining the terrorist swamp, which is the Palestinian hate-education and incitement.  Any direct, and indirect contact/assistance/cooperation with the Palestinian Authority should be preconditioned upon the elimination of hate education and incitement.

13.  Hate education attests that Palestinian terrorists are institutional – not lone wolves - and are concerned with the existence – not the size – of the “infidel” Jewish State. 

Turkish Hatred: When the Truth Slips Out

By Burak Bekdil 

  • Before the bodies of Israeli victims were carried to their homeland, the Turkish make-up showed signs of falling apart and the ugly reality emerged.
  • "Let the Israeli citizens be worse, I wish they all died." — Irem Aktas, head of the women's and media division of the AKP party branch in Istanbul's Eyup district.
  • Aktas's mistake was probably to express publicly what millions of Turks only thought, but did not say, in the face of a suicide bomb attack.
Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue, in the aftermath of the March 19 suicide bombing. (Image source: Sky News video screenshot)
The bomb attack in Istanbul on the morning of March 19 was the fifth similar act of terror targeting two of Turkey's biggest -- Istanbul and Ankara -- since October.
The suicide bomber, a 24-year-old with links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), detonated his explosives on Istiklal Avenue, one of Istanbul's busiest streets and a popular tourist attraction. Three Israeli tourists (two of them also carrying U.S. passports) and one Iranian were killed. Dozens of wounded people were rushed to nearby hospitals. The death toll since October was now at nearly 200, including 14 tourists.

In G-d’s Name

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

After Amalek’s sneak attack on the Jewish people soon after the Exodus from Egypt, the Torah declared eternal war against this enemy in a dramatic way: “And he (Moshe) said: ‘G-d places His hand on His throne – as if to take an oath – G-d’s war against Amalek is from generation to generation” (Sh’mot 17:16). Rashi notes that the words for throne and G-d’s name itself are spelled deficiently – kes instead of  kisei and Y-ah instead of G-d’s ineffable name of four letters – in order to teach us that G-d has sworn that neither His name is complete nor His throne is complete until the name of עמלק is completely annihilated (“Ein sh’mo shalem v’ein kis’o shalem”). What does that mean?

We can understand that G-d’s throne is “incomplete” in the sense that His kingship is not recognized by all as long as evil is extant. A king whose authority is not heeded is less of a king. As long as there is a nation or people extant whose ideology is grounded in not fearing G-d, then G-d’s throne is deficient. But what does it mean “His name is incomplete”? G-d’s name is His essence; how could it be incomplete? Said another way, G-d’s throne reflects our perception of Him – as King. But His name is not dependent on our perception. So how could His name – Y-ah instead of YKVK – ever be deficient?

A second question worthy of analysis is this: why does G-d have to wage eternal war against Amalek? G-d is G-d; He can eliminate Amalek at any time, from the inception of their history and until today? Why must G-d’s war be an eternal one?

For sure, Amalek has always existed, lurking in the shadows of history, and emerging at various points to attempt to weaken or destroy us. And Amalek exists today as well, certainly as an ideology of an implacable and baseless hatred of the Jewish people

This will not change, and there is nothing we can do to change it. We do not provoke their hatred, as much we enjoy castigating ourselves. Even if our Sages perceived the occasional sin or flaw that prompts an Amalekite attack, nothing justifies it from Amalek’s perspective. Amalek’s initial offensive against the Jewish people was a suicide mission; after all, G-d had just saved us miraculously at the Red Sea and in the process destroyed the army of the most powerful empire in the world, Egypt. It made no sense, not any more than the plethora of Muslim suicide bombers today – first against Jews and now against Jews, Christians, Europeans, Americans and other Muslims – makes any sense.

It makes no sense, just like the hatred of Jews in Europe (where so few Jews live) makes no sense, like the hatred of Israel and Jews on many college campuses makes no sense. The BDS movement that targets Israel as the only human rights offender in the world, and not just the worst, because there is no movement to boycott, divest and sanction any other nation on the globe, that cause is as inexplicable as it is evil. One would think that presumably intelligent people would occasionally ponder the hypocrisy in their own actions, their moral corruption, and the ethical decay that should be eating away at them. But they don’t.

None of it is rational; it makes no sense. It is not supposed to make sense. Consider Sartre’s classic definition of Jew hatred as a passion – not even an idea but a “criminal passion.” It’s not at all rational. Jews are often quick to find something within us to blame because that, at least affords a measure of psychological security.  Oh, that’s why they want to kill us. So if I don’t do that, then all will be good. It’s a common but horribly wrong approach.

Rav Shlomo Aviner once wrote that we should never delude ourselves into thinking that if we satisfied our enemies’ desires, if we surrendered our land to the Arabs, if we gave them whatever they wanted, they would be transformed into lovers of peace and pursuers of peace. The Maharal (Gevurot Hashem, Page 236) wrote that Lavan wanted to murder everyone associated with Yaakov, even Lavan’s own daughters and grandchildren; Pharaoh of Egypt wanted to murder every Jew at the Red Sea; and so it goes. We are not like other nations who have enemies for a reason – there is territory or resources that others covet, there is an ideology that others want to uproot. “Israel has haters and enemies for no cause,” no reason, no justification, and no explanation. That is the ideology of Amalek. They hate the Jewish people because we are the Jewish people.

G-d’s war with Amalek is eternal because He has given all man free choice. Just like we are given free choice in deeds, so too we are given free choice in thought. And ever since G-d created man, or at least soon after in the generation of Enosh, man has free choice to deny G-d, to distort His name, and even worse, to perpetrate the greatest evils in His name.

What does it mean that “His name is incomplete until Amalek is destroyed”? G-d’s name is “incomplete” when it is distorted, when it is misused, when it is taken in vain, and when it is defiled by those who claim to be His followers but in fact are His enemies. The three deadliest words in the English language are “in G-d’s name,” because in G-d’s name the worst atrocities have been justified. The two deadliest words today in Arabic are “Allahu Akhbar,” i.e., “God is great.” What should be a sublime and exalted praise of G-d is too often the prelude to the torture and murder of innocents, from Yerushalayim to New York, from San Bernardino to Bali, from Paris to Brussels. G-d’s name is incomplete when evildoers can decapitate or detonate the innocent and invoke “god” at the same time. That is an incomplete name.

G-d’s name can only be complete when all creatures honor it with life not death, with integrity not corruption, with mutual respect not hatred. His name is complete only when every nation and every individual can be described as “G-d –fearing.”

In the final stage of the process of redemption, the false ideas about G-d will crumble, along with the nations that embody them. The hypocrisy, dishonesty and venality of those who oppose the G-d of Israel and therefore the people of Israel will all reach epic and unfathomable levels. This too shall pass, and the joyous holiday of Purim that reminds us of both the struggle and the triumph in the past will be a harbinger of the day when G-d’s name will again be complete, when “G-d will be One and His name will be One” (Zecharia 14:9).

Sunday, March 27, 2016

AIPAC Makes the Case for Donald Trump

There they stood, groveling before Barack Obama with their words, but making the case for Donald Trump with their downcast eyes and painfully wrung hands.

AIPAC Apology (Screenshot / JLTV)
AIPAC Apology (Screenshot / JLTV)
The leadership of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) offered their abject apology Tuesday to Obama for allowing Trump to criticize him the day before — and, worse, for the spectacle of AIPAC’s members applauding him.
AIPAC’s apology was worthy of a Soviet show trial, or a scene from Mao’s Cultural Revolution — and appropriately so, for at that very moment, Obama was in Cuba, doing the wave with Raúl Castro.
Did Obama apologize to AIPAC for indulging that Israel-bashing, Hezbollah-supporting regime? And is it any wonder millions of Americans prefer the brashness of Trump, or the boldness of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to such humiliation?
Notably, AIPAC did not apologize to Trump for Hillary Cilnton’s speech earlier on Monday. The former Secretary of State ripped The Donald as a bigot and a bully, charges stemming partly from his proposal to bar all Muslim immigration and visits to the U.S. temporarily. It is a policy embraced, albeit in error, by the vast majority of GOP primary voters, and is at least understood by the rest.
Let us ask an uncomfortable question, since AIPAC is rightly fond of touting Israel’s achievements: How many Syrians has Israel admitted into the country — not for temporary medical help, which the Jewish State admirably provides even to those raised to hate it, but for permanent residency?
Answer: Israel refuses to allow Syrian masses to resettle in Israel. Because Israel wants to survive.
One is tempted to conclude: Thank God the defense of Israel is not left to the likes of AIPAC’s leadership — so weak, so petrified before power, so ashamed of their own existence.
One half expected them to beat their breasts in sorrow. They would turn the holiday of Purim (or “Pure-im,” according to Hillary Clinton) into Yom Kippur, atoning for the very fact of Jewish survival.
But to condemn all of AIPAC would undermine the good work it does to maintain strong ties between the United States and Israel. Much of the heavy lifting is done by the thousands of AIPAC activists — the volunteers, Jewish and otherwise, who love Israel and who feel privileged to participate in the American political system by educating their elected representatives about the issues at stake.
It is to those activists that the AIPAC leadership should be apologizing — not for Trump, but for their own complete failure to prevent the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.
Fighting that deal, AIPAC’s Howard Kohr declared last year, was the purpose “for which AIPAC was built.” It failed, because he and others trusted Obama. Yet there he was onstage Tuesday, apologizing pitifully for Trump’s courage.
Not as if Obama cared. He was watching baseball in Havana while dozens lay wounded and dying in Brussels, including Americans.
AIPAC’s so-called leaders are more concerned with representing the government to the people than the people to the government. In their refusal to be citizens instead of subjects, they are expanding the leadership void that Trump lives to fill.
They, and Washington, deserve him.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Muhammad’s Passion

By Moshe Feiglin

24 Adar, 5764
March 17, 2004
In its first week in the movie theatres, Mel Gisbson’s new movie, ‘The Passion,’ is already a tremendous box office success. Millions of Americans and Europeans – we can certainly assume that most of them are Christians – wait in long lines to watch an arid movie in Aramaic that revolves around the nails thrust into the body of their deity. Gibson had the guts to take a chance on this movie, which forces Americans to read subtitles translating the Aramaic and to view, more or less, a two hour documentary of a slaughterhouse — even when nobody else gave it a chance. But Gibson understood something that most of us want to repress. The world is becoming less and less stable and its occupants are looking for something to hang on to – something more eternal than the transient physical word. In other words, the world is looking for religion.
The two religions that encompass most of humanity – Christianity and Islam – are both based on Judaism. That is why they hate it. Both wage a constant struggle of world hegemony. Christianity rules with its hug; Islam rules with the plunge of its knife. The stock broker at the Twin Towers did not understand what the suicide pilot wanted from him. But, in truth, economic and cultural conquest (McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Hollywood) are no less effective than a suicide bomber. The poor broker who found himself covered with soot and broken glass hadn’t understood that he was playing on a global arena.
When the Twin Towers collapsed, the Jews mistakenly thought that it would increase Western sympathy for their position. “Now they understand what Israel is fighting for,” friends told me at they watched, hypnotized, as the Twin Towers burned. “They,” of course, is the entire Western Christian world that found itself so cruelly attacked by Islam. It made a lot of sense: After all, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.”
But what actually took place was the complete opposite. Huge waves of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric surfaced at US universities. These waves do not stop at the gates of the campus. Europe has become openly anti-Semitic. Instead of enjoying its new found allies in the Christian world, Israel finds itself on the defendant’s stand in the International Court in The Hague.
The Christian world has two options: One – to fight terror, or actually, Islam, which nurtures terror. The second possibility is to surrender to it and to be slowly but surely overpowered by the waves of the modern Islamic jihad. London’s ladies are presumably not interested in wearing veils and floor-length coats all year round. New York is not interested in turning into Cairo, which would be the final significance of the Moslem conquest. Westerners know that everywhere the Arabs will reach, growth will stop and a harsh Eastern wind will sweep away all hints of civilized living. Consequently, surrender to Islam is not an alternative for the West. But it is not interested in fighting a war, either.
Look at the poor Americans. They defined their enemy as a state and a terror organization. They did not want to understand that they are in a religious battle against Islam. They may have turned Iraq upside down, but against Islam — they are losing big-time. The Western politicians refuse to admit it, but the millions waiting patiently in line for Gibson’s movie are searching for an answer in the dimension in which they are being attacked.
But there is a third solution for the seemingly dead end situation: The Jews.
Christianity and Islam have one common denominator: Hatred of Israel. Judaism, the mother of the two major religions, refuses to disappear. With its very existence, Judaism highlights the falsehood at the foundation of its two daughter religions.
“If you can’t beat them, join them,” the adage recommends. Christianity will join Islam, but against whom? The answer is clear: Anti-Semitism has always existed in the West, even when the memories of Auschwitz sent it underground.
In America, the process is slow. Christianity in America is not as all encompassing as its European counterpart. But as the Western defeat at the hands of Islam becomes more blatant, hatred of Jews and of Israel increases. In Europe the process is much quicker. The Spanish changed their leadership overnight, rewarding the murderers of the 200 train passengers with a speedy retreat from Iraq. To where will all the energies seeking revenge be channeled? Towards the common enemy, of course.
And what about Israel?
Israel’s victory in 1967 sparked an interesting worldwide phenomenon. Its resounding triumph and the fact that it conquered its Biblical heartland actually lowered the flames of world Anti-Semitism. Western Jews who had until then hidden the fact that they were Jewish suddenly discovered their identity and took pride in it. To put it simply, when Israel is strong and defeats its enemies, Anti-Semitism runs for cover. And vice versa. When Israel strikes at the Moslem world, the Christian world suppresses its inherent Anti-Semitism and lets the Israelis do the work for them. When Israel is strong, it is not the West’s punching bag in its struggle against Islam. It is its commando force.
But today Israel leads the worldwide retreat from the Islamic offensive. It suffers terror attacks and the blood of its children has become increasingly cheap. This type of Israel revives worldwide Anti-Semitism. And justifiably so! Were there suicide bombers before the Jews surrendered their sense of justice at Oslo?
There is no such thing as a moral vacuum. When we declared that we are not right and that the Holy Land belongs to the Moslems, we let the suicide genie out of the bottle. If the Oslo Accords had never been signed, the Twin Towers would still be standing today.
Identification of this process leads us to a difficult conclusion: Israel’s defeatism will feed the flames of both Christian and Islamic Jew hatred. The more that Israel retreats, the more the West will surrender to Islam and will attack Israel, instead. Islam, encouraged by its success will continue to attack both the West and Israel.
How will this madness be stopped? We can’t really know. But one thing is clear. It is not only Jewish history that is being written today in Israel. It is the history of the entire world.

Our Experience at the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference

By Jeffrey Cohen
US Director, Zehut International

I attended the conference with Rob Muchnick and Nelson Behar.  This was my first AIPAC conference and I must tell you that while it was overwhelming to see this many people come out in support of Israel, the message of the conference was underwhelming and disappointing to say the least.  The message of this conference was that the two state solution is the only option and we must give away the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of our nation) to our sworn enemies in order to have peace.
I attended several “breakout sessions” on a few different topics which were formatted as panel discussions.  The discussions typically had a moderator (an AIPAC staff member) and two panelists.  As the questions came out about the situation in Israel and the terrorist attacks or whatever, the only answer that came from both panelists was that we needed to separate from the “Palestinians” and have “two states for two peoples”.  The panelists agreed on every answer to every question!  Half the time they even started their answers by saying that they agreed with everything that the other one just said!  What was the point of having two panelists?  Isn’t the idea of a panel discussion to find out what the differing views are on the subject and then discuss the merits and deficits of each view?  In my opinion the goal here was not education and discussion, it was plain and simple “this is what we believe and we are going to shove it down your throats until you believe it too”.
In one of the panel “discussions”, Rob got up to ask a question that negated the viability of a two-state solution and a few members of the audience were audibly upset at the mere suggestion of something other than the two-state solution.  Needless to say the panelists did not answer Rob’s question, they just continued to push the two-state solution regardless of whether it made sense or not.
Between sessions we spoke to a lot of people at the conference, some were in favor of the two-state solution and some were not.  We questioned those that were in favor of it and asked them why they thought that now, after more than 23 years of failure, the plan would now succeed.  Most could not answer the question and you could see that they now needed to think about it some more.  Others whole heartedly defended the two state solution, even though they too could not answer the question.
The conference was quite an experience.  It told us that so many have been convinced that the Land of Israel doesn’t really belong to the Jewish People.  It told us that so many people who wholeheartedly want to help in building the Jewish state have been led to believe that in order to do so we must surrender to our enemies.  It told us that there a lot of good people, both Jewish and non-Jewish alike that are looking for real Jewish Leadership in the State of Israel, but all they are finding is the “two-state (final) solution”.  It told us that we have a lot of work to do.

What India Could Learn from Israel

by Vijeta Uniyal

  • To become a successful nation, India realizes that we have to emulate the Jewish quest for spiritual and worldly learning. We need a nation of empowered men and women, free and fearless to develop social, technological, entrepreneurial and humanitarian creativity, even while under constant attack.
  • When we see the restoration of Jewish State and revival of Judaism in its ancient lands, we Hindus see ourselves. If Judaism is incomplete without the Jewish homeland, the essence of Hinduism is indivisible with the geography of India. Just as Jews were forced out and in exile for millennia, Hindus too suffered a millennium of Islamic and later European subjugation in their own homeland.
  • Recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Mumbai, Paris, Istanbul and Ankara are simply what Israel has been living with for decades -- and India, France, Belgium and Turkey do not have "settlements." The conflict is not about "settlements". It is about one group of people trying imposing its will, culture, religion and way of life on another group. With Israel, the "settlements" are only the pretext. If you look at any map of "Palestine," it has the exact outlines of Israel.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, on September 29, 2014. (Image source: Israel Government Press Office)
For most Indians, it is hard not to feel a deep sense of historic gratitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. The State of Israel came to our military aid in just about every war India fought as an independent nation since 1947. Our elected leaders, in their vanity, polished their statesmanlike credentials denouncing Israel at every possible international gathering, even as they kept on turning to the Jewish State for help in times of dire need, whether civilian or military. From Golda Meir to Ariel Sharon, Israel never turned down any request.
Getting nothing in return, the tiny and beleaguered nation paid a price for its support for India. At times, adversely affecting its relations with China or annoying its most vital ally, the United States, by extending support to a "socialist" country at the height of the Cold War.

Jihad in Brussels

by Judith Bergman

  • "Islam belongs in Europe.... I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture." — Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
  • The Western narrative represents a complete refusal to examine the doctrines of Islam, out of fear of offending Muslims. This is not a purely European phenomenon. The Obama Administration ordered a cleansing of training materials that Islamic groups deemed offensive.
  • One crucial aspect of sharia that which the West refuses to internalize is the injunction to perform jihad, both violent and non-violent.
  • "[T]he most important factor is Belgium's culture of denial... Observers who point to unpleasant truths such as the high incidence of crime among Moroccan youth and violent tendencies in radical Islam are accused of being propagandists of the extreme-right, and are subsequently ignored and ostracized." — Teun Voten, a Dutch cultural anthropologist who lived in a Muslim area of Brussels between 2005 and 2014.
Federica Mogherini, the EU's de facto foreign minister (posing at left with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif) said last year, "Islam belongs in Europe.... I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture." Françoise Schepmans (right), mayor of the Molenbeek district of Brussels, received a list with the names and addresses of over 80 suspected Islamic militants living in her area. "What was I supposed to do about them? It is not my job to track possible terrorists," she said. "That is the responsibility of the federal police."
Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on June 24, 2015, at a conference aptly named "Call to Europe V: Islam in Europe":
"The idea of a clash between Islam and 'the West'... has misled our policies and our narratives. Islam holds a place in our Western societies. Islam belongs in Europe.... I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture."
Nine months later, the ignorance, willful blindness and sheer incompetence regarding even the most basic tenets of Islam, which Mogherini betrayed in her statement has reaped yet another lethal result. What she said is fairly representative of the view aired in public by the European political and cultural establishment.

Meir Dagan was Right About Netanyahu

By Emmanuel Navon

As former Mossad chief Meir Dagan was laid to rest, his last speech kept resonating in my mind.  Addressing a public event at Rabin Square shortly before the Knesset elections of March 2015, Dagan looked frail, having undergone liver transplant.  He could not hide his emotion, betrayed by a choking voice.  He clarified to his audience that he did not belong to any of the political parties that had organized the event and invited him to talk.

“Am I concerned by our leadership and by the lack of vision” he explained. His harsh criticism was directed at Benjamin Netanyahu.  Dagan reminded his audience that, in the summer of 2015, Israel had fought Hamas for a month-and-a-half without tangible gains.  “Where are you taking us, Mr. Prime Minister?” Dagan asked.  “Why do want to be in charge of our destiny if you are so afraid of taking responsibility?  Why should someone ask for leadership if he can’t lead?”

Dagan explicitly accused Netanyahu of wanting to cling to power at any price and of avoiding to make tough decisions. As a result of Netanyahu’s indecisiveness and duplicity, Dagan charged, Israel is heading toward a bi-national reality.  Precisely because Dagan was convinced that Netanyahu is unable to make tough decisions, he rejected the claim that there is no alternative to his leadership.  “We need to go back to sanity, to stop being afraid, and to take our fate into our own hands … What matters is not speeches but action” Dagan warned.

Dagan was no heart-bleeding liberal or starry-eyed peacenik.  He was born on a train in 1945 to parents who had survived the Holocaust.  All his life, the picture of his grandfather being shot by the Nazis haunted him.  He was a war hero praised for his exploits, and a daring head of Mossad.  In 2000 he joined Likud and campaigned against Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights.  In 2001 he ran, together with the hawkish Uzi Landau, Ariel Sharon’s campaign for premiership.  Under Dagan’s tenure (2002-2010), the Mossad was as efficient as it was merciless to Israel’s enemies.

It is as a realist and as a conservative that Dagan criticized Netanyahu.  Dagan has passed away, but his message remains and must be carried on: Israel deserves a better leadership, and it is time for conservative Israelis to say so out loud.

Many credit Netanyahu for not giving in to the pressures of the Obama Administration.  In reality, Netanyahu gave in on everything: he publicly accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state, agreed to a settlement freeze, and freed terrorists with blood on their hands.  We do not know yet what he agreed to during the 2014 negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Many people in Israel have a peculiar way of understanding leadership: for the Left, leadership is measured by the willingness to withdraw from territories; for the Right, it is measured by the refusal to cede territory.  Yet true leadership is about making tough decisions and being willing to pay a personal price for the good of the country.  Netanyahu, by contrast, is all about playing for time, about meddling through, and about fooling most people most of the time.

The status quo with the Palestinians might be the least of many evils, but it also has outlived its viability.  Western governments and most American Jews are no longer buying into it.  Because an agreement with the Palestinians is more than unlikely, Israel will eventually have to choose between full annexation of the West Bank (with the granting of Israeli citizenship to all its residents), and a unilateral withdrawal to the security fence.  Yet Netanyahu is committed to the status-quo, being apparently convinced that what has worked so far will continue to work, and that such strategy is the safest way for him to remain in power.  This “Maginot Line” attitude has a price, however, and this price is likely to increase.

Netanyahu’s attitude toward US Jewry is a case in point.  During his November 2015 visit to the United States, Netanyahu promised conservative and reform American Jews that he would promote their recognition and equality in Israel.  Yet as soon as Netanyahu’s ultra-orthodox coalition partners threatened to topple the government over his proposed religious reforms, Netanyahu backed down.  Indeed, it is likely that Netanyahu decided not to address the AIPAC conference this year in order to avoid hard and embarrassing questions from liberal American Jews.

Like Donald Trump today, Netanyahu figured out in 2015 what it takes to be elected.  And like many American conservatives, Israelis like me feel betrayed and devoid of a political home.  For an alternative to emerge, the truth must be said, especially by realists and conservatives like Meir Dagan.  He set an example, and his message must be carried on.

When the wine goes in, the fragrance comes out.

By HaRav Dov Begon,
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

"A person is obligated to drink [Hebrew: lehitbasem] on Purm until he cannot tell the difference between 'Cursed be Haman' and 'Blessed be Mordechai'" (Megillah 7b; Orach Chaim 695:2). 

Seemingly we can ask: How can our sages require us to drink? Surely drunkenness causes great sin. Yet it is because the miracles performed for the Jewish People on Purim occurred by way of drinking parties. Vashti was removed from the throne by way of a drinking party, bringing in Esther. Likewise, Haman's downfall came about through a drinking party. Our sages therefore required us to drink enough that we should remember the great miracle by way of wine. 

All the same, we are not commanded to get drunk and to allow our reveling to diminish our dignity to the point of rakish foolishness, but only enough to achieve a pleasurable feeling of love for G-d and thankfulness for the miracles He performed for us. If, however, someone knows about himself that drinking will make him treat one of the mitzvoth lightly, such as ritual hand-washing or the blessing after the meal, or that it will make him skip mincha or ma'ariv, or behave frivolously, then better he should abstain. Let all one's deeds be for the sake of heaven. (Orach Chaim 695:2, Biur Halachah). 

Seemingly we can ask, "Why do our sages use the Hebrew expression "lehitbasem" [literally to have a fragrance] for "to drink", rather than "lehishtaker", the normal expression for "to get drunk"? It is because, as our sages said, "When wine goes in, secrets come out." And what are the "secrets" that come out of a Jew who drinks wine on Purim? Only good words leave his lips, and, as our sages said, "'Good' can only mean Torah," or, "'Good' can only mean a righteous person." 

The opposite occurred at the drinking feast of Achashverosh. There, the king's honorees, gathered together from amongst all the nations, sat and drank a king's share of wine, and their true faces were revealed, all lasciviousness and corruption, the opposite of the pleasant fragrance exuded by the Jewish People even when they drink wine. 

Today, thirty two years ago, on the 14th of Adar, the first day of Purim, our master Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook was taken to the celestial sphere. All his life he engaged in disseminating the Torah lights of his father. Those lights have spread a good and pleasant fragrance to the entire House of Israel and to the entire world. 

Rav Tzvi Yehuda was privileged to be the great educator who actualized the potential of his father's blessed light and raised up numerous disciples who follow in his light. Rav Tzvi Yehuda would customarily explain our sages' words, "The sanctification of G-d's name is greater than the Profanation of G-d's name [me'chullul Hashem] as meaning, "The greatest sanctification of G-d's name is one that emerges from the profanation of G-d's name." When a believing person merits to ascend in Torah greatness, and in the fear and love of G-d, he merits to see with his spiritual sight how truly everything is for the best. Then, even what seems at the time like the profanation of G-d's name, darkness and evil, turns out to be part of G-d's kingdom. 

And perhaps that is the spiritual level that the person drinking wine on Purim must reach, such that "he cannot distinguish between 'Cursed be Haman' and 'Blessed be Mordechai'." Both stand beneath the watchful gaze of G-d, and "everything G-d does He does for the good." 

Looking forward to complete salvation, 
Shabbat Shalom.