Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Concerning Former Minister Ya'alon

By HaRav Eliezer Melamed

A Personal Preface

After the insulting directive was issued by the Defense Minister's office calling for my banning a number of months ago, I thought to write the following article. However, I refrained from doing so, and even avoided dealing with related matters, lest I be too judgmental after having been humiliated. At present, I feel I've "cooled off", and yet I would not have published this article, seeing as it is not proper to cast a stone on a person who has fallen. However, in light of the flood of praises showered on the former Defense Minister as being a symbol of military success and a paragon of morality, I find myself obligated to publish it. As described below, such criticism is essential because of the pikuach nefesh (the saving of lives) involved – both physical, and spiritual.

The Former Defense Minister

Former Defense Minister, Mr. Moshe Ya'alon, is a professional man with extensive experience, who worked dedicatedly and courageously over many years for the sake of Israel's security. There are few people who are as intimately acquainted with Israel's defense establishment as he is. Despite having been educated in leftist movements, he managed to awaken somewhat from the Left's delusions of "peace", and even assisted in the building of Judea and Samaria. Nevertheless, regrettably, he failed in three fundamental areas: in preparing Israel's defense forces in the face of imminent threats; causing damage to national morals and ethics, ​​and undermining the values ​​of emuna (faith) and Torah.

Defense: The Disappointing Results of Operation 'Tzuk Eitan'

Since the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Gush Katif, the IDF was forced to conduct four rounds of fighting in Gaza (the data below was taken from Wikipedia).

The first conflict, 'Geshmei Kiyetz' ('Summer Rain'), began in the summer of 2006 following the Second Lebanon War, and continued in low intensity for five months, during which daily life in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip was disrupted. Prime Minister - Ehud Olmert; Defense Minister – Peretz; Chief of Staff – Halutz; GOC - Galant. We suffered five casualties, and the enemy approximately 394 – 79 times more.

The second, 'Oferet Yitzuka' (Operation Cast Lead), began in the month of December 2008. Lasted 23 days, severely damaging daily civilian life in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, and causing minor damage to the economy of the South. The Prime Minister – Olmert; Defense Minister – Barak; Chief of Staff – Ashkenazi; GOC - Galant. We suffered 12 casualties, the enemy approximately 1,100 – 91 times more.

The third, 'Amud Anan' (Operation Pillar of Defense), in November 2012, lasted eight days while during that time, most of the communities in the South were completely paralyzed. The Prime Minister – Netanyahu; Defense Minister – Barak; Chief of Staff – Gantz; GOC - Russo. We suffered six casualties, the enemy approximately 223 – 37 times more.

Please note: now we come to the stage where Moshe Ya'alon began serving as Defense Minister.

The fourth, "Tzuk Eitan" (Operation Protective Edge), in the summer of 2014, lasted 50 days, causing severe and prolonged damage to daily life in all of the South, moderate damage in the Central region, and a severe blow to tourism, including the cessation of flights to Israel for two days, and an extremely heavy cost to Israel's economy. Prime Minister – Netanyahu; Defense Minister – Ya'alon; Chief of Staff – Gantz; GOC - Turgeman. We suffered 73 casualties, the enemy approximately 2,100 – 28 times more.

Besides the heavy loss of life of our soldiers, and the severe damage caused to daily life and the economy, it became evident that government leadership had attempted to ignore the threat of the tunnels, the army was unprepared for the challenges it faced, did not devise offensive plans for operations to eliminate Hamas or destroy their capabilities and leadership, and suffered heavier losses, over and above those suffered in previous operations, and compared with enemy casualties.

The Second Lebanon War

The Second Lebanon War took place in the summer of 2006 and lasted 34 days, completely paralyzing the entire Northern area, with the majority of residents either in shelters, or evacuated to the center of the country. We suffered 165 casualties, the enemy approximately 900 – 5.4 times more. War costs were extremely heavy to Israel's economy.

After the war it became evident that army leadership had acted with extreme complacency and negligence, and failed to identify the enemy's capabilities. Thus, the war began without the military command having any operative plans – they even lacked updated maps. The soldiers were sent to the frontlines without proper equipment, and endangered their lives in order to salvage what the High Command had neglected. As a result of the severe conclusions of the Winograd Committee, the Defense Minister and Chief of Staff resigned, and along with them, numerous other officers.

Seeing as Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon concluded his tenure as Chief of Staff but a year before the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War, ultimately, he also was a partner in the failure of preparing the army to face the threat of Hezbollah. The same thing happened in operation 'Tzuk Eitan', when it became clear that those responsible for Israel's security had not perceived the threat, and as a result, were not adequately prepared for it.

Apparently, when presented with a framework and clear objectives – Ya'alon excels; but as the head of a system, responsible for setting objectives, he is a failure.

National Values

In a series of events, the Defense Minister took a hostile stance in relation to basic, national values. Perhaps Elor Azaria (the soldier who shot dead the wounded terrorist in Hevron) made a mistake according to army regulations, and he should bear responsibility for this. But we must not forget that his intentions were good; he was fighting the enemy, and wished to protect his comrades. He is not a murderer. When the Defense Minister dishonored his name in all of the media, denounced him as a murderer, and directed the legal battle against him, he caused damage to the people of Israel. Not only did he betray the soldier Elor Azaria, but all the troops he sends into battle, for they too are liable to make similar mistakes on occasion.

After the Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Golan, compared Israel to Nazi Germany in the 1930's, Ya'alon should have fired him, or at the very least, demanded that he retract his words and publicly apologize. Instead, he chose to defend him, and moreover, encouraged other commanders to voice such blasphemy.

Underlying such an appalling attitude there has to be an overflowing degree of ignorance and wickedness. Despite all, obedience with army laws and regulations is constantly improving. Compared to today, the behavior of the Palmach fighters and combat units in the IDF's nascent days was infinitely wilder and crueler.Now of all times the Deputy Chief of Staff detects symptoms reminding him of the Nazis?! And then, the Defense Minister marvels at his honesty and wisdom, and calls for officers to continue voicing such hideous and baseless things?!

Emuna and Torah Values

Under the tenure of Ya'alon, the status of the Military Rabbinate eroded. The 'Jewish Awareness' Department was transferred from the Military Rabbinate to the Department of Manpower, impairing its activities. Even the right to give permission to grow a beard for religious reasons was taken away from the Rabbinate, and given to the Adjutant Corps. Meanwhile, with the Defense Minister's encouragement, and with infuriating audacity, female singers are increasingly participating in military ceremonies, and religious soldiers are required to take part in them, contrary to the ruling of the majority of rabbis.

At the same time I've been banned, due to my fundamental belief that orders to expel Jews from their homes should be refused, the IDF funds courses given by institutes with distinctly leftist positions, such as the 'Hartman Institute' and 'Machon Bina', for all army officers. If the lecturers speaking on their behalf were asked what a soldier should do if he receives an order to expel an Arab from his home, the majority of them would say that he should refuse the order. Yet, Ya'alon chose them to educate IDF officers to the values ​​of the extreme left, rather than heightening Jewish national awareness.

The command to take over the yeshiva in Yitzhar for a long period also indicated a severe blow to Israel's sacred values. Ya'alon would not dare do that to any mosque, in which violence, murder, and the destruction of the State of Israel is preached a thousand times over.

This goes hand-in-hand with his disgraceful treatment of his Deputy Minister, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan. Rabbi Eli is known as an affable man, able to cooperate with various groups of people. Despite signed agreements, however, Ya'alon chose to ignore and humiliate him, and by doing so, also demeaned his constituents, the religious Zionists.

The Connection between the Three Areas

These three areas are intertwined. True, there may be someone who is highly successful in leading the army against the enemy yet neglects national ​​and faith-bound values, and has a long-term, crucial impact on Israel's security. If there are other people who can supplement their lack in values, their professionalism in the field of defense can cover their shortcomings. If there is no one else to compensate for their deficiency, then over a period of time, the lack of values ​​will prevail and lead to severe consequences, such as in the Yom Kippur War.

Seeing as Mr. Ya'alon's functioning in the field of defense was not particularly successful, his shortcomings in the area of values ​​made things all the worse.

Leftist Viewpoints

Despite realizing the strategical impossibility of implementing Leftist ambitions to establish an additional Arab state, Mr. Ya'alon still clings to the values ​​of the Left, according to which national and religious factors are marginal, or a hindrance. However, seeing as in truth, nationalism and religion are the power base of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, it is preferable that a Defense Minister who does not understand this, vacate his seat.

The Importance of Criticism of the IDF

It is important to examine another aspect. As a result of the Oslo Accords, the moral level of senior officers suffered a tremendous blow, and they were forced to associate with the most heinous murderers. Their loyalty to their own people and country became muddled. In the lack of a moral compass, advancement through the ranks became the most important concern. They began to understand and empathize with the enemy more, and were even proud of this, because, as they had been taught by the Leftist lecturers, such understanding indicates a clarity of mind, and purity of heart and weapons. Thus, they often function like British Mandate officers, standing as an intermediaries between Jews and the Arabs.

On the battlefield, this trend manifests itself in more casualties among our forces, as happened in Jenin and the Second Lebanon War. Thanks to sharp public criticism of the army after the Second Lebanon War, senior commanders in the early rounds of war in Gaza who saw their comrades dishonorably discharged, began to worry more about the welfare of our soldiers. Instead of sending them on dangerous missions to avoid harming enemy civilians, they ordered bombing and air strikes. This is the reason why in the first operations, the death toll was greatly to our advantage and deterrence against our enemies increased, as indicated by the data I mentioned above.

Over time, the fear of public criticism declined, and once again, senior officers returned to their sinful ways. This is how we arrived at the bitter results of operation 'Tzuk Eitan'.

Consequently, when the defense establishment emerges from a war with poor results, it must be criticized. Failure to do so takes its toll in human life.

This article appears in the 'Besheva' newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and informative articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at: http://en.yhb.org.il/  

The Defense Minister’s Pen

By Shmuel Sackett

It has been stated many times that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. To be perfectly honest, in a war situation I prefer the sword (or machine gun, tank, F-16 or nuclear bomb!) but in many situations, the pen is indeed extremely mighty. I am not exaggerating when I write that with a few strokes of a pen, Israel’s history can be changed forever. Allow me to explain.

The whole country is ecstatic over the recent appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s new Defense Minister. Some people are ecstatically excited while others are ecstatically depressed but everyone is ecstatic! The people who I usually hang around with are all telling me how – finally – we have a Defense Minister who will do what must be done. They are convinced he will destroy Hamas and every one of their tunnels coming from Gaza, annihilate Hezbollah and the 150,000 rockets pointed at Israel from Lebanon and will strengthen the IDF to its glory days of the Six-Day War and Entebbe. Sounds too good to be true? It is.

Lieberman will do none of those things. The toughest part of his body is his mouth and he will use that in many ways but at the end of the day, he will accomplish very little, and I can prove it. I will be the first to admit that defeating Hamas and Hezbollah are complex issues that will not be solved overnight so let’s give him time with those issues. Let’s focus instead on a different and far easier task: What will he do with his pen?

For various ridiculous reasons, the State of Israel has never annexed the land Hashem gave the Jewish nation back in 1967. All of Judea and Samaria – with its population of 450,000 Jews – is still not officially part of the State of Israel. This has many legal ramifications but let me focus on just one: Every building project in those areas, every road, house, Yeshiva, factory and mikva can only be built with… the signature of the Defense Minister! Right now, as you read these words, there are 50,000 housing units (combination of private homes and apartments) in Judea/Samaria that have passed all approvals, except one. Their plans have been designed by professional architects, inspected and signed off by engineers, passed all safety checks, conform to all building codes and – in many cases – even have mortgage approvals! The problem is that none of these 50,000 housing units, plus over 200 new factories and 50 new shuls, yeshivas and mikvas can be built until one last thing is done… Israel’s Defense Minister signs his name on those plans.

Can you imagine what Immanuel will look like when 3,000 new Haredi families move in? How about Gush Shiloh with 1,500 new families and Gush Etzion with 1,200? This will change the map forever and will make the “facts on the ground” so powerful that it permanently changes all the dialogue around the negotiating table. And what do those families in Immanuel, Shiloh and Bat Ayin need? The “John Hancock” of Avigdor Lieberman. He can literally do it before you finish reading this article!

And now for the million dollar question: Why won’t he do it? What is stopping him… no ink in the pen??

The answer to this question is similar to the reason why Ariel Sharon threw 10,000 Jews out of their homes in Gush Katif. It is also the answer to why no Prime Minister ever annexed the liberated lands since ’67 and why every single government – even the right wing ones – never allowed Jews free access to build in Hebron, Shechem and the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the same answer to why Jewish prayer is forbidden on Har Ha’Bayit and to why Kever Rachel is protected today more than Fort Knox. It is because our leaders are dreaming incorrectly.

If the dream for Israel is to become a super-technological and modern country with great beaches, tourist attractions, hiking trails and Jewish history then we did it!! We are a fabulous success story! We are a Hebrew speaking Singapore… and more! We invented WAZE and the computer chip. We cured life threatening diseases and discovered ways to make the desert bloom. Obviously, in the middle of all these modern advances, we cannot let our Judaism get too much in the way. Yes, we will stop everything on Yom Kippur and allow things here and there but that cannot be our focus. We need to compete with the world, be accepted by the “family of nations” and be loved in the UN. We need to run to help poor people in Africa, even though there are hungry Jews in Netanya. We need to provide field hospitals in Sri Lanka even though thousands of Jews are waiting for operations in Afula and Jerusalem. We need to provide free electricity to people in Gaza as we disconnect the electricity in Bnei Brak.

If that is the dream, then the new minister; Avigdor Lieberman is perfect. He is the guy who supports importing pork into Israel so his non Jewish Russian buddies can have bacon with their eggs. He supports the creation of a Palestinian State (and said so on the FIRST DAY of his new job!) since that will prove that Israel is a true member of the international community and that is why he will never, never sign the paper that approves the building of 50,000 new homes in Judea and Samaria. Yes, he will throw a bone once in a while to quiet the masses but 50,000? Never! I would be surprised if he approves 2,000.

Please don’t make the same mistake over and over again. You need to learn this one golden rule: The key is the dream. Sit down and focus on what Israeli leaders are dreaming about. A modern, technological state with some Judaism or a Jewish state that is modern and technological? Where is the focus? Where are the priorities? If the focus is on being Jewish then we will build 50,000 homes and much more in every area of the country. We will still have great hi-tech and medical breakthroughs and save the world… but the focus will be on Israel being strong, proud and guided by authentic Jewish values and concepts. Sadly, Avigdor Lieberman, Bibi Netanyahu and even Naftali Bennet do not share that dream which is why they will all fail.

With Hashem’s help, new leadership will emerge with the dream of fulfilling what we pray for every day and only when that happens will the pen of the Defense Minister run out of ink from all the approvals he will be signing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

UK Labour Party Inquiry: Deny, Divert, Cover Up

By Douglas Murray

  • Today, as the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn has the opportunity either to tackle anti-Semitism or mainstream it into the UK body politic. The evidence that he has any interest in doing the former are not good.
  • Whenever the specific question of anti-Semitism was raised, Corbyn would say how opposed he was to all forms of racism, "including Islamophobia." It has apparently proven impossible for Corbyn to realize the specific nature of anti-Semitism; whenever it has come up, he has used the opportunity to talk not about racial hatred against Jews but what he believes to be an epidemic of hatred towards Muslims.
  • The British Labour party today evidently is riddled with anti-Semitism from top to bottom, and led by people who want to divert attention from the fact or cover it over entirely. Things can only get worse.
Labour Party MP Naz Shah (left), was recently suspended from the party for composing and sharing anti-Semitic tropes. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right), has a tendency to hang around with Holocaust deniers, anti-Semitic hate-preachers and others of a similar ilk, and is a self-declared "friend" of the terror outfits Hamas and Hezbollah.
How would you push away a problem you did not want to deal with? The best way, as any addict could tell you, is to pretend that you have dealt with it. The drug-addict pretends to have given up drugs. The alcoholic pretends to have cut down on drink. And the British Labour party pretends to have dealt with its anti-Semitism problem.

VIDEO - Israel and the Palestinians: What the media won't report

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, and an expert on Middle East conflicts, discusses what the Palestinian leadership really wants.

Arabs Using Christians to Fight Israel

By Shadi Khalloul
  • The Middle East has been inhabited by Jews and then Christians for nearly three thousand years; until the seventh century, Muslims did not even exist.
  • Many Christians in Arab countries and in Palestinian Authority (PA), without a state or anyone else to support them, are still behaving as dhimmis, paying lip service to Muslim Arab "lords" in exchange for protection in their original homelands.
  • The Palestinians plan activities, pay salaries and fund anti-Israeli Christian dhimmiorganizations, in order to make Western Christians believe in the "Palestinian cause" -- by which they mean the establishment of another Arab-Islamic dictatorship state with no human rights in it.
  • Coexistence is not the issue for Christians here, but rather fear for their own existence -- based on the ruthless lack of freedom under the PA, as in all Arab states.
Rami Ayyad, a Christian bookseller in Gaza, was murdered by Islamic extremists because he refused to close his bookshop.
Christians in Holy Land, Judea and Samaria -- what today is called the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority (PA) -- are, with the Jews and assorted Arabs, the indigenous people of the land. The region has been inhabited by Jews and then Christians for nearly three thousand years; until the seventh century, Muslims did not even exist.
After the conquest of Jerusalem by Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula in 637 AD, the Jews and early followers of Christianity were forced either to convert to Islam or accept the rule of sharia (Islamic religious law) under the Islamic Caliphate, with its dhimmi laws designed to remind you that you are inferior. In Islam, dhimmis are non-Muslims -- and therefore second-class, barely tolerated residents -- who live under separate, harsher, laws and have to pay protection money (a "tax" called the jizya) to safeguard their lives and property.

6-minute-video : Palestinian refugees – whose responsibility?

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

YouTube 6-minute-video on-line seminar on US-Israel and the Mideast 

#13: http://bit.ly/1Ul0NXH ; the entire video-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS

1.  Since the end of WW2, about 100 million refugees from Europe, Asia and Africa have been integrated into their host countries, unlike the Palestinian Arab refugees, who have been sacrificed by their leadership on the altar of delegitimizing Israel.  According to General Alexander Galloway, the UNRWA Director in Jordan, as recounted at a May 25, 1953 hearing of the Near East Senate Subcommittee: “The Arabs states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.”

2. Jordan was the only Arab country accepting the January 26, 1952 UN Resolution #413 (a 3-year-$200MN plan proposed by the UN Secretary General, Dag Hammerskjold) to integrate Palestinian refugees into their host Arab countries.  UN Secretary General, Trygve Lie said on January 3, 1950: The refugees will lead an independent life in the countries which shelter them…. The refugees will no longer be maintained by an international organization….”

3.  Dr. Elfan Rees, an advisor on refugees to the World Council of Churches, contended that due to Arab deception and pressure “The UN Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) is feeding the dead and non-refugees (NY Post, June 11, 1959).”

4. UNRWA was established on December 8, 1949 as a temporary, 2-3-year relief agency, but became permanent, the largest UN agency, overstaffed, featuring a $1 BN pension fund, and used as a dagger aimed at Israel.

5. UNRWA deals only with Palestinian refugees, employing 30,000 people, compared with 6,400 people employed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which deals with 60 million refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees resolves/ends refugees’ status and minimizes their numbers; UNRWA perpetuates and exacerbates refugees’ status and inflates their numbers.   

6. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as stipulated by the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees: refugee status is not inherited by descendants, but UNRWA applies refugee status in perpetuity – very liberally without much scrutiny - to Arabs (including foreign laborers) who were in Palestine for only two years before the 1948 war.

7. In 2012, UNRWA employees “elected candidates affiliated with Hamas terrorists to 25 out of 27 seats on a union board that represents ten thousand UNRWA workers.  UNRWA facilities were used by Hamas in 2014 to store missiles.

8. The American taxpayer funds 33% of the of the budget of UNRWA, which aborted – under Palestinian and Arab pressure - Israeli offers, in 1978 and 1986, to co-fund the resettling and job-training of Arab refugees in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

9. Had Arab countries refrained from invading the newly-established Israel, and had Israeli Arabs refrained from collaborating with the invasion – which was driven by the Islamic doctrine that the entire Middle East was divinely and exclusively ordained to Muslims - there would not have been war in 1948-49 nor 820,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands and 320,000 Arab refugees.  Had the Arabs accepted Israeli offers to resettle and job-train Arab refugees, there would not be any refugee left.

10.  The Palestinian leader, Haj Amin al Husseini – touted by Mahmoud Abbas - collaborated with Nazi Germany, conducted Arab-language radio broadcasts from Berlin, planned to extend the Holocaust to Palestine and incited: “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. It will please God, history and Islam.” After 1945, he sustained this message from his Cairo headquarters. On Nov. 24, 1947, the Acting Chairman of the (Palestinian) Arab Higher Committee, Jamal Al-Husseini threatened: “Palestine shall be consumed with fire and blood if the Jews get any part of it.” 

11. The Commander-in-Chief of the invading Arab Liberation Army, Fawzi el-Kaukji, a Nazi collaborator, threatened in August, 1947: “Should the UN vote the wrong way, we will initiate a total war… murder, wreck and ruin….” Kaukji was driven by Muhammad’s popular instruction in a Hadith which supplements the Quran: ”The stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me; kill him!”

12. The Cyprus-based British Near East (Arab) Broadcasting reported on April 3, 1949: “The Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes.”

13. The first US Ambassador to Israel, James McDonald, wrote in My Mission in Israel, published in 1951, pages 174-6: “The refugees were on [Arab leaders’] hands as a result of a war, which they had begun and lost…. Most Arab governments show no real concern for the refugees….” 

14. The most authentic rogue and sadistic nature of the Palestinian Authority – and a key obstacle to peaceful coexistence - is reflected by its hate-education and opposition to the resettling of Arab refugees, lest it undermine the campaign to delegitimize and dehumanize Israel.

15.  The next 6-minute-video will provide documentation on “Palestinian refugees – who are they?”

Sweden Choosing to Lose War against Middle East Antisemitism?

By Nima Gholam Ali Pour

  • Who invited this "Salafist megastar," who denies the Holocaust and is known for making anti-Semitic statements, to visit Malmö? What do you do when anti-Semitism in Malmö, Sweden's third-largest city, is so normalized that children in a public school can endorse a conference with anti-Semitic elements?
  • Anti-Semitism is such a gigantic problem in Malmö that even senior city officials cannot understand how it became so normalized. They seem to dismiss it as part of a non-Swedish culture that, in a multicultural society, must be tolerated, even accommodated.
  • If there are children in Swedish public schools today who are promoting an anti-Semitic conference, what will these children do in the future?
  • Is Sweden really turning into a country where Jews are no longer welcome, someday to become a country without Jews? And if that happens, what does that say about Sweden? And who will come next after the Jews?
Apelgårdsskolan elementary school in Malmö (left) openly endorsed a conference to which Sheikh Ekrim Said Sabri, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks, was invited to speak. Right: Hillevi Larsson, a Social Democratic MP representing a district of Malmö, accepted an invitation to speak at the same conference where Sheikh Sabri was scheduled to speak. Larsson is pictured showing off a Palestinian flag and a "map of Palestine" in which Israel does not exist.
Malmö, Sweden's third-largest city, is an important, visible part of Sweden. If you read the Municipality of Malmö's political objectives, which the Municipal Council of Malmö has endorsed, you will see that "racism, discrimination and hate crimes do not belong in open Malmö." The reality, however, is different. Anti-Semitism there has reached bizarre levels -- with politicians and other policymakers in Sweden doing nothing about it.
On April 30, 2016, the Islamic imam and preacher Salman Al-Ouda, who has been described in the Swedish media as a "Salafist megastar," visited Malmö. Al-Ouda apparently inspired Osama bin Laden, has claimed that the Holocaust was a myth, and is known for making anti-Semitic statements.
The first question anyone should ask is: Who invited such a person to visit Malmö?

1948 Arab Refugees: Concocted Circumstances and Numbers

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

The truth about the circumstances and numbers of the 1948 Arab refugees has been sacrificed - by the UN, Arab regimes, the "elite" Western media and most Western Foreign Offices – on the altar of Arab-appeasement and Israel-bashing.

For instance, the Palestinian Arab leadership collaborated with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, seeking Nazi support to settle “the Jewish problem” in British Mandate Palestine in accordance with the practice used in Europe. Thus, the top Palestinian Arab leader, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, incited his people in a March 1, 1944 Arabic broadcast on the Nazi Berlin Radio - consistent with anti-Jewish Arab terrorism during the 1920s and 1930s - “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. It would please God, history and religion.”  

On January 9, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas honored the Nazi collaborator: “We pledge to continue on the path of the martyrs [suicide bombers]…. We must remember the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al-Husseini….”  In 2016, Hitler's Mein Kemp and the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion feature prominently in Mahmoud Abbas' hate-education and incitement systems.

On October 11, 1947, Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, the first Secretary General of the Arab League told the Egyptian daily Akhbar al Yom: “…This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacres, or the Crusaders’ wars…. Each fighter deems death on behalf of Palestine as the shortest road to paradise….The war will be an opportunity for vast plunder…. ” On August 2, 1948, the NY Times reported that the founder of the largest Islamic terror organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, instigated: “Drive the Jews into the sea… and never accept the Jewish State.”   

The Arab incitement led the CIA and the Department of State (which vehemently opposed the establishment of a Jewish State) to warn David Ben Gurion – Israel's Founding Father - that "a declaration of independence would lead to a second Jewish Holocaust in less than ten years."

In spite of the Arab military assault on the newly-born Jewish state, the wave of terrorism and subversion by Israeli Arabs, and their collaboration with the Arab invasion and the Nazis, the Commander-in–Chief of the "Arab Liberation Army," Ismayil Safwat, admitted on March 23, 1948: “The Jews have not attacked any Arab village, unless attacked first.” 

The Arabs egregiously violated the November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181, Article 80 of the 1945 U.N. Charter (that includes the “Mandate of Palestine,” that stipulated a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River), the July 24, 1922 League of Nations’ “Mandate for Palestine,”, the April 1920 San Remo Conference of the First World War Allied Powers, which resolved to establish a Jewish national home on both sides of the Jordan River, and the November, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was the basis for San Remo.

How many refugees resulted from the 1948/49 Arab attempt to annihilate the "infidel" Jewish state, which was established, supposedly, in the abode of Islam?  According to inflated British Mandate numbers, before the 1948/9 war there were 800,000 Arabs in “pre-1967 Israel.” 170,000 Arabs remained at the end of the war.  Of the 630,000 Arabs who left, 100,000 were absorbed by Israel’s family reunification gesture; 100,000 middle and upper class Arabs left before the war, absorbed by neighboring Arab countries; 50,000 migrant laborers returned to their Arab countries of origin; 50,000 Bedouins joined their brethren-tribes in Jordan and Sinai, from whence their forefathers migrated during the 18-19 centuries; and 10,000 were war fatalities (compared with 6,000 Jewish fatalities). Thus, the total number of Palestinian Arab refugees - resulting from a war launched by Arabs - could not exceed 320,000, in the context of over 100 million global refugees.  

According to Elfan Rees, Advisor on Refugees Affairs to the World Council of Churches, during the 1950s there were 36 million refugees in Europe, Africa and Asia. Less than 1% were Arabs. All, but the Arabs, have been integrated into their new societies.  Moreover, 100 million refugees were created by wars since WW2 and 79 million were created during 1933-1945, all were integrated.  38 million refugees in their own countries, and 15 million         “ordinary” refugees, were documented in 2014 by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

In addition, there were 90 million Chinese refugees during the 1937-1945 war against Japan; 15 million Hindu, Sikh and Muslim refugees during the 1947 creation of India and Pakistan; 12 million German refugees from Poland and Czechoslovakia following WW2; 9 million Korean refugees during the 1950-1953 war; 7 million Syrian refugees caused by the current civil war; 5 million Sudanese refugees;  3 million Polish refugees following the 1939 USSR occupation; 3 million refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia following the 1975 US withdrawal; 3 million refugees from Afghanistan; 2 million Greek and Turkish refugees from the 1919-1922 war; 1 million Libyan refugees since 2011; 800,000 Yemenite refugees from Saudi Arabia in 1990; and over 500,000 Christian refugees from Lebanon.  

The UN has highlighted/twisted the story of the 320,000 1948/49 Palestinian Arab refugees - singling them out for perpetuity unlike all other refugees - as a means to de-legitimize Israel. But, the UN has ignored the 300,000 Palestinian refugees from Kuwait, 200,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria and the 50,000 Palestinian refugees from Iraq.

In 1948, expecting an Arab assault on the reconstructed Jewish State, the British High Commissioner, Alan Cunningham, urged Arab and Jewish minorities to evacuate mixed towns. The Arabs complied – many of them returned to their countries of origin - but the Jews remained.   

The London Economist wrote on October 2, 1948: “The most potent factor [triggering the Arab flight] was the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit…and that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades….”  It was reaffirmed by Syria’s Prime Minister, Khaled al-Azam, who admitted, in his 1973 memoirs: “We brought destruction upon the [1948] refugees, by calling on them to leave their homes.”  

The goal of promoting the myth of the 1948 Arab refugees – which fails the reality test - was disclosed by Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Muhammad Salah al-Din Bey (the Egyptian daily Al Misri, Oct. 11, 1949): “In demanding the return of the Palestinian refugees, the intention is to exterminate the Jewish State.”

Should the US taxpayer fund UN agencies – such as UNRAW – which aim to de-legitimize Israel, sacrificing truth on the altar of lethal mythology?   

Friday, May 27, 2016

Curse or Hidden Blessing?

A Torah Thought for Parashat Bechukotai
By Moshe Feiglin

And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell there shall be astonished. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you; and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. (From this week’s Torah portion, Bechukotai, Leviticus 26:32-33)

After the Torah chapter promising blessing if we keep G-d’s laws, another, longer chapter promises horrific curses if we do not conduct ourselves according to G-d’s directives. But there is one curse that conceals a blessing: “And I will bring the land into desolation:” Even when you are exiled from the Land of Israel, the Land will remain loyal to you and will not allow any foreign nation to flourish in it.

Just as promised, until the Jewish People returned to the Land of Israel a century and a half ago, no other nation successfully became established in the Land of Israel. Travelers to the Land over the centuries describe desolation and abandonment – until the lost children of the Holy Land awakened.

Politically, however, the wondrous fulfillment of “And I will bring the land into desolation” continues to this very day. There is no pebble in the entire world that is not claimed by a nation. Indian and Pakistani soldiers freeze to death to preserve the sovereignty of their respective countries on the frozen peaks of uninhabitable mountains. But here, in the fruitful heart of the Land of Israel, we have the “territories”. The Arabs covet them and some of the Jews despise them, never missing an opportunity to be rid of them, making every effort to ensure that they will be transferred to foreign sovereignty. The entire world has invested a fortune of money and endless energy for years to establish a “Palestinian” state in these “territories” – but it simply doesn’t happen.

Never has a group of people received so much international aid to establish a state for itself. But yet, nothing happens. Why not?

The answer to this riddle is in the “curses” in our Torah portion.

We have already experienced all the curses; we have already witnessed their reality. With G-d’s help, we will continue to see the fulfillment of our destiny through the prism of the blessings and we will actualize our sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai loves Our People, Our Land and Torah

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Mechon Meir

The bonfires that the myriad of our people Israel light throughout Israel and the world on Lag BaOmer are a sort of memorial candle for the noble spirit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who ascended to the highest heavens on Lag Ba'Omer. No personage in Jewish history has merited a memorial day in which the entire Jewish People takes part, from the entire social spectrum and from all the steams of the Jewish People, observant and nonobservant, right wing and left, from all the communities. Not one of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron or King David, and not one of the illustrious rabbis of our people has ever merited that the entire nation should recall their name and make a 'hilula', a memorial celebration, on the anniversary of their passing. 

How did Rashbi merit this great honor? Some say it is because he wrote the holy Zohar, which illuminates the souls of those who delve into Jewish mysticism and the secrets of the Jewish People. That is our inner wisdom, the "Kabbalah".

Yet we must ask in turn how Rashbi was so privileged to have the holy Zohar revealed to him. Indeed, when we study and ponder the story of Rashbi's life, we discover that he displayed self-sacrifice on behalf of the People, Land and Torah of Israel, as our sages taught us: 

One time Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Yossi and Rashbi were seated together, and Yehuda ben Gerim was sitting with them. Said Rabbi Yehuda, "How fine the deeds of this nation [the Romans]! They installed marketplaces, bridges and bathhouses!" Rabbi Yossi remained silent. Rashbi responded, "They did nothing that didn't serve their own interests. They installed marketplaces to house harlots there; bathhouses so they could pamper themselves, and bridges as a means of collecting royal tolls." Yehuda ben Gerim went and reported their words to the Romans…" (Shabbat 33b).

The results are well-known. Rashbi was persecuted and forced to flee with his son, and to hide in a cave for twelve years. His unwillingness to flatter the Romans and resign himself to their ruling over Eretz Yisrael stemmed from great love and faith in our People, Torah and Land. By such means he merited to discover Jewish mysticism, recorded in his Holy Zohar. 

Today as well, those who carry on the spirit of Rashbi and his mentor Rabbi Akiva are the ones who truly love the People, Torah and Land of Israel. These Jews risk their lives for the glory of Israel and G-d, which is more and more being revealed through Israel's rebirth in Eretz Yisrael. Indeed, the greatest kabbalists down through the generations were lovers of Eretz Yisrael and came to live there. These include Ramban, the Arizal, Ramchal, the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov and of the Vilna Gaon. And in recent times we have seen that master of the light of Torah, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, zt"l, together with his disciples and his disciple's disciples, totally devoted to settling Eretz Yisrael and to learning the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. By doing so, they increase the Torah's light, the light of love and faith, and they carry on in the path of Rashbi. 

How fortunate we are and how good our portion that we are meriting in large numbers to gather and commune together around the bonfires of Lag BaOmer, which are a sort of memorial candle for Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. 

Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

"We have not Lost our Hope"

By Rabbi Oury Cherki
Yeshivat Machon Meir, 
Rav of Kehilat Beit Yehuda, Jerusalem

The complaint by Yirmiyahu the Prophet about the scourge of idol worship which was practiced by Bnei Yisrael takes on a special meaning in view of the spiritual revolution that took place during his lifetime. At the end of the era of the Second Temple, those with the intuition of the Holy Spirit were able to sense that the end of paganism was drawing near, or at least that it was about to become much weaker than it had been in the past. "G-d, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, the nations will come to You from the ends of the earth, and they will say: The heritage of our fathers was a lie, vanity without any good reason" [Yirmiyah 16:19].

This prophecy can be linked to the appearance of critical thinking which was expressed in the development of Greek science and philosophy, and which eradicated from the world the mythological outlook which at the time ruled supreme in the realm of the human spirit. Our sages link this transformation to the exit of the holy Shechina from the world (in the form of a flaming lion cub which fled from the Holy of Holies) and the end of the era of prophecy (Yoma 69b). Indirectly, this led to the stifling of the desire for idol worship among Yisrael in particular and to a great extent among the rest of the world.

In a world where paganism is about to lose its relevance, we might wonder why it is specifically the nation of G-d which continues to worship idols. And that is the basis for the words of rebuke by the prophet: "Will man be able to make a god for himself? But they are not gods!" [16:20]. That is, even for those among the other nations who worshipped idols this approach has begun to lose its appeal. Could it be that this fault is linked to a high-quality benefit? After all, the nation of Yisrael is considered "stiff-necked" not only in the negative but also in the active sense, in that they do not rush to repent "and they are not eager to accept a rebuke" [Maharal, Netzach Yisrael, Chapter 14]. Bnei Yisrael will not change their minds until they are strongly convinced by the arguments of the one who rebukes them. They will not be convinced by mere oratorical skills.

The stiff-necked nature of Yisrael is the reason that its history is so full of severe crises consisting of destruction and rebuilding, which cause it to change its very nature as time goes on. "Therefore, I declare to them this time – I will tell them about My hand and My might, and they will know that My name is G-d." [16:21].

The nation of Yisrael is subject to extreme heights and depths. "When you perform the will of G-d no people can have control over you, but when you do not perform the will of G-d you will be handed over to an inferior nation" [Ketuvot 66b]. This constant zigzag could threaten the very existence of Yisrael. However, a safety mechanism was put in place in advance which guarantees the existence of the nation. This is the heavenly Temple – the desire of the Holy One, Blessed be He, to be revealed within history by the nation of Yisrael, a desire which appeared at the very start of Creation. This consoling idea is described by Yirmiyahu in the Haftarah as "A Throne of Honor raised up from the very beginning, the site of our holy Temple" [17:12]. And this is our source which gives us hope: "G-d is the hope of Yisrael" [17:13].

Thus, in the end, the Haftarah of rebuke ends on an optimistic note: "Help me and I will be saved, for You are my praise" [17:14].

Nine Thousand Falashmura Too Many: Enough is Enough!

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute

Pioneers on a Journey in the Desert

Next week, on Yom Yerushalayim, the Jews of Ethiopia commemorate a day of memorial for 4,000 people who lost their lives on their way through the long and treacherous deserts of Sudan to Eretz Yisrael. It is good and proper that the elders of the community and the government of Israel have decided to commemorate their actions on this date of the twenty-eighth of Iyar. Their eyes were constantly pointed in the direction of Jerusalem, and they fell on a wearying journey towards redemption with the goal-prayer " Orsalem" (Jerusalem) on their lips. I will never forget the image of a group of men and women from among the community of "Beita Yisrael" who gathered together for prayer in a shack serving as a synagogue, in a picturesque forest in the city of Addis Ababa. I visited there in the late 90's as part of my role as the head of the Conversion Authority, together with their friend and savior, Rabbi Menachem Waldman. I seem to remember that aside from the Kaisim and some intellectual youths, the prayers consisted of only a single word, which was repeated as a mantra and as an eternal goal: "Orsalem, Orsalem..."

The Ethiopian Aspect of the Broadening of the Coalition

Let us take a great leap forward from that past memory to current Israeli politics. The expansion of the coalition, changes in the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, and all of the ramifications of these events took place in part as a direct consequence of the Ethiopian situation. Likud MK's Avraham Neguise and David Amsalem threatened the Prime Minister and the coalition government, and they even refrained from taking part in some important votes in the Knesset, until a decision was made to bring another 9,000 Olim from Ethiopia, with a promise that this "will be the last group ever." This last phrase has been repeated in the last decade ten or more times, and the government was finally forced to give in to the strong pressure from many groups, including foreign governments and lobbyists, mainly from the United States.

Beita Yisrael and the Falashmura

Let us take a moment to clarify the background and some basic facts for our readers from my point of view. The Jews of Ethiopia have been in constant contact with the other Jews of the world for more than a hundred years. Many scholars have identified them, based among other things on Jewish sources from the era of the Geonim, as remnants of the Tribe of Dan, which was sent into exile beyond the "Dark Mountains" with the Ten Tribes before the destruction of the First Temple. Many halachic discussions have taken place about recognizing them as Jews, and the government of Israel granted them rights under the Law of Return, after a decision by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who based his reasoning on a responsa of the Radbaz in the sixteenth century. (The truth is that there might be some problems with this responsa, but "who will come to argue once the King has decided?") In the wake of Rabbi Yosef's ruling, tens of thousands of the Beita Yisrael community were brought to Israel in Operation Moshe (1984) and Operation Shlomo (1981), which were carried out with great initiative and much pomp. It is true that the Chief Rabbis at the time, Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliyahu, ruled that they must be immersed in a mikveh as a stringent move, but many of the people did not do so, since they were in any case accepted as full citizens, following the responsa of Rabbi Yosef.

However, the end has not yet come, even after these grandiose operations. Thousands of the Falashmura communities, who were originally part of Beita Yisrael but who converted to Christianity (and who clearly took part in mixed marriages with other Ethiopians) made their way to the camps of the Olim, waiting to be brought to Israel. Some of them were related to previous Olim from Beita Yisrael, but none of them had rights under the Law of Return. They were never recognized as Jews – and please do not allow yourselves to be confused about the facts. The government of Israel acted in a gesture of kindness, mainly in response to American charity organizations which preferred to send the people to the Middle East and not to California or Pennsylvania, and it decided to allow them to enter Israel on quotas as non-Jews, as a humanitarian act! The Falashmura have indeed been brought here slowly starting in the 90's, and they are required to go through a minimal conversion process suitable for their status, after they have graduated from special conversion ulpanim in absorption centers. And those who do not pass through this conversion are also allowed to stay, as a humanitarian gesture.

Now and then, activist groups have managed, with strong political pressure, to force the government to accept additional groups, using such formulas as, "Only another 5,000, that's all!" MK Avraham Neguise, who found himself in the position of a deciding factor within the coalition, raised the price to "another 9,000, and that's it." Clearly this is an overdose! This entire matter is excessive in the eyes of many Kaisim, among the elders of Beita Yisrael, who view the Falashmura as a foreign element and not as Jewish brothers. As far as I can see, the number of Falashmura is more than the number of original members of Beita Yisrael.

"The Land of your Enemies will Devour You"

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

The above verse is referring not merely to physical defeat but also to a loss of national identity. The Meshech Chochma comments, "They will think that Berlin is Jerusalem." And this indeed is the harshest difficulty of the exile – when many people are convinced in philosophical or religious terms that after the destruction of the Temple the Jews have become nothing more than citizens of the lands in which they live, and that the only thing which is characteristic of them is the performance of the mitzvot. People called themselves "Germans of the Mosaic faith." The following are some examples that show how far matters went.

- The Chief Rabbi of the Liberal Jews of Hungary wrote: "Political Zionism which wants to establish a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael is in my opinion dangerous spiritual madness... The Zionist movement, which wants to transform Judaism from a religious sect into a nation, will never succeed in Hungary. We are Hungarians of the Jewish faith. Jewish nationalism does not exist. Everybody agrees to this, including the modern and Orthodox sectors." The same opinion was also voiced by the Orthodox rabbi.

- The Rabbinical Council of Germany also published a declaration, which stated as follows: "The aspirations of those who are called 'Zionists' to establish a national Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael are in conflict with the messianic mission of Judaism, as is included in the holy books and in later religious sources."

- According to the Chief Rabbi of Paris, "The Jewish nation is dead. The nationalistic framework is dead. But what has not died and will never die is the Jewish spirit."

- The Jewish philosopher Hermann Cohen wrote that Zionism "is an insult to the patriotism of the Jews, who feel at home (in Germany). Both politically and emotionally, they feel that they are in their homeland... In all matters related to our spiritual lives we have a strong feeling of religious partnership that is closer than the relationship between Jewish messianic feeling and German humanism. Therefore, our feelings towards Germany and its people carries with it a character of close allegiance which is so strong that it is almost an expression of religious fervor."

- Many Jewish soldiers fought in the First World War. In a book that the German army published about letters sent by Jewish soldiers who fell in the war, the Minister of Defense at the time, Franz Josef Strauss, wrote the following in the introduction: "Reading these letters reveals a love for the homeland and patriotism which has long been lost to us. Moreover, in their letters from the front the Jewish soldiers who fought for Germany showed a deep-felt love for the homeland which is hard for us to understand at all in this day and age."

With this in mind, a Chassidic Rebbe came to the conclusion that it is easier to take the Jews out of exile than to take the exile out of the Jews. In this spirit, Theodore Herzl wrote, "Veteran prisoners do not have any desire to leave their prison." Herzl's assistant in London, Israel Zangwill, wrote, "Anti-Zionism can be hidden very easily under a mask of philosophy and it can wrap itself in religion, but it is really nothing more than the behavior of the prisoner who is hidden within each and every one of us, which has become our second nature. It is the yellow star which we were forced to wear for hundreds of years, and it remains to this day, sewn onto the lapels of our souls."

The Palestine Hoax

150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness”, of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities.

Palestine is “desolate”, he concluded. “One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.” The same is true of the Palestinian Museum which opened with much fanfare and one slight problem. While admission is free, there’s nothing inside for any of the visitors to see except the bare walls.

The Palestinian Museum had been in the works since 1998, but has no exhibits. The museum cost $24 million. All it has to show for it are a few low sloping sandy buildings indistinguishable from the dirt and a “garden” of scraggly bushes and shrubs. The Palestinian Museum is open, but there’s nothing inside.

It’s hard to think of a better metaphor for Palestine than a bunch of empty buildings designed by Irish and Chinese architects whose non-existent exhibits were the brainchild of its former Armenian-American director. It’s as Palestinian as bagels and cream cheese. Or skiing, hot cocoa and fjords.

Over the Palestinian Museum flies the proud flag of Palestine, which was originally the flag of the Iraqi-Jordanian Federation before the PLO “borrowed” it, and visitors might be greeted by the Palestinian anthem composed by Greek Communist Mikis Theodorakis. If it sounds anything like the soundtrack from Zorba the Greek, that’s because they both share the same composer.

All of Palestine is so authentically Palestinian that it might as well be made in China. At least that’s where the stained Keffiyahs worn by the stone throwers hurling rocks at passing Jewish families while posing heroically for Norwegian, Canadian and Chilean photojournalists are made.

Palestine is an empty building with nothing in it. It’s a political Potemkin village. There’s a flag, an anthem, a museum and all the trappings of a country. But if you look closer, there’s nothing inside.

The Palestinian Museum’s chairman, Omar al-Qattan, who was born in Beirut and lives in the UK, said that the “Palestinians” needed positive energy so badly that opening an empty museum made sense.

Just think how much positive energy can come from realizing that you have no culture, heritage or history to put in your museum. But actually the Palestinian Museum had to open in time for the Nakba. The Nakba is the annual commemoration of the failed invasion of Israel by foreign Muslim armies. The invasion by Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian and Jordanian forces began on May 15. Egypt’s General Muhammad Haidar declared that the invading Muslim forces would be occupying Tel Aviv in two weeks.

Egyptian forces hit the village of Kfar Darom which had a few hundred residents and a few dozen militia members. They hit it with tanks, armored vehicles, infantry battalions, artillery and bombers. The invading colonial Muslim forces lost two soldiers for every single Jewish militia defender. Instead of taking Tel Aviv in two weeks, they were stuck laying siege to a tiny village for two months. That’s the Nakba. And you can see why the Muslim settlers in Israel have an annual day of mourning over the miserable defeat of their invading armies at the hands of the indigenous Jewish population.

Like its museum, all of Palestine is one long endless fraud. The opening of the Palestinian Museum will be attended by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas was elected to a four-year term in 2005. It’s been a while since his term expired. The Palestinian Authority is just the PLO in drag. It claims authority over some territories that it doesn’t administer and has no control over.

But the empty Palestinian Museum isn’t about to let setbacks like a complete lack of things to put inside its bare walls get it down. Instead it’s doing what the PLO has always done in troubled times.

It’s invading Beirut.

Even though the Palestinian Museum has nothing to display, it’s opening a satellite museum in Beirut. If this “Palestinian” invasion goes anything like the last one, the satellite Palestinian Museum will be murdering Christians inside of a week. Beyond Beirut, the Palestinian Museum plans satellite museums in San Diego, London, Dubai and Gaza. In the Islamic fashion, the lack of an inner soul is compensated for with external expansionism.

Meanwhile the empty Palestinian Museum had found a prestigious new director, Mahmoud Hawari, a scholar whom it described as “the lead curator at the British Museum”. Hawari though isn’t a curator of anything. He’s a visiting academic. The foundation behind the Palestinian Museum blamed its new director for misleading them with a bad curriculum vitae. But it has yet to change its website. But Palestine has always been based on lies. Why should the Palestinian Museum break that tradition?

Hawari will have to decide what, if anything, to put in the Palestinian Museum. The chairman however thinks that it should celebrate Islamic terrorism and discuss who was living in Israel first. These two topics are the beginning and end of any Palestinian identity. And both of them involve hating Jews.

Eliminate Jews, as the Muslim and non-Muslim champions of the Palestinian hoax have attempted to do, and there is no Palestine left. Palestine is a parasitic political entity that derives its wealth, its water and its electricity from Israel. It also gets its history, its culture and its entire reason for existing from Israel.

The Muslim settlers claim that King David was a Muslim, that Jesus was a Palestinian and that the Star of David, which long predated Islam, is an Islamic symbol. The only Palestinian culture is appropriation.

Palestine can no more exist without Israel than a Plasmodium malariae or an HIV virus can exist outside a warm body. Despite all the whining about an independent state, the only purpose for a Palestinian state that the PLO, Hamas or anyone else has been able to conceive of is attacking Israel.

Palestinian identity has no meaning or context without hating Jews.

The Palestinian Museum is as empty as the souls of a populace that has wholly given itself over to a cult of death. Nothing can be put in there except hatred of Jews.

The echoing emptiness of the Palestinian Museum has been blamed, with utter predictability, on the Jews. The Palestinian Museum had not wanted to taint its walls with the works of the filthy Jews. And so its overseers had to import from outside Israel since the only thing “Palestine” manufactures is death.

The Jews had made it difficult to bring in authentically Palestinian, German lighting fixtures and Australian fire exit signs. But when the lighting fixtures and fire exit signs were finally put up, there was still nothing to put in the museum. And that too was the fault of the Jews.

Omar Al Qattan complains that Israel makes it difficult to import exhibition objects. But you would think that a museum a few miles outside the capital of the Palestinian Authority could find something “Palestinian” to exhibit in what it claims is its historic land. And yet the bare walls testify that it couldn’t.

There is no Palestinian culture. There is no Palestinian history. Instead there’s an empty museum built by an Irish architecture firm. Even the “Palestinian” garden is the work of a Jordanian landscaper.

Palestine is a Potemkin village. It has plenty of Muslim settlers squatting on the sites of historical Jewish towns and villages, but it is as desolate as it was when Mark Twain visited it. Its culture is an empty building. There are plenty of bodies, but there is no soul. Palestine has no past and no future.

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Be’chu’kotai 5776: The Gedolim who Failed the Nation


Parashat Be’chu’kotai 5776
HaRav Nachman Kahana

Complex Halachic Issues

The rebuke and warning to the Jewish nation of the punishments which would be our lot if we forsake the Torah characterizes our parsha. Moshe relates to the nation the suffering of individual and of the nation as a whole in graphic detail, culminating in our being expelled from the Holy Land to suffer in galut.

To our chagrin and disgrace all of Moshe’s abstract scenarios have come about, with the grim reality even worse than what was predicted.

However, there is one punishment inherent in galut which was not mentioned by Moshe, but stands as one of the most depressing and ominous. It is our inability to deal with complex halachic issues in the absence of a Sanhedrin and the ru’ah hakodesh (holy spirit) that nurtured the spiritual capabilities and needs of the rabbis in Eretz Yisrael, as I will explain.

The Gedolim who Failed the Nation

For those of us who respect the foresight of great rabbinic personalities and accept their leadership, an embarrassing and bewildering quandary gnawingly refuses to disappear, and with the passing of time increases in intensity.

It is so huge that the manner that most rabbis and bnei Torah deal with it today is through disregard and avoidance.

It is the adamant and often aggressive opposition that most leading rabbis at the time of Theodore (Binyamin) Herzl showed to the Zionist movement and to the creation of a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael.

The list includes among many others: Moritz Gudemann, Chief Rabbi of Vienna; Rabbi Dr. Herman Adler, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain; the Lubavitscher Rebbe, Rabbi Shulem Ber Schneersohn; the Gerer Rebbe; Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch; Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky, Rabbi of Vilna.

On the spiritual level, what is touted as the reason for such widespread rabbinic opposition to Zionism is that the movement was led by secular Jews and secular ideas. On the practical level, it was the fear that secular nationalism would replace the Torah way of life for millions of God-fearing Jews.

What I find unacceptable in these claims, even when voiced by many of those rabbis themselves, is the simple fact that they could have created a religious-chareidi Zionist movement to parallel or compete with the secular Zionist movement. The absence of such an obvious solution leads me to believe that the “fly on the wall” in the closed doors of the rabbis’ discussions heard something else entirely.

The problem intensifies when one sees how the great rabbis, whose love for Eretz Yisrael did not fall an iota before the love and self-sacrifice of the most ardent chalutz who cleared the rocks and dredged the malarial swamps, were so wrong in their willingness to accept the status quo in which the Jews of Europe found themselves at the time: dire poverty, rampant anti-Semitism, and the secularization of large parts of the young generation.

In stark contrast, the Medina has proven – over and over again – its success in providing a home and parnassa for millions of Jews and has afforded the Torah a new lease on life in all its aspects.

So, on the one hand, we have the Gedolim of our nation who were guided by the Torah vs. the reality of life which proved them totally wrong. This is an untenable situation that demands resolution.

I submit…

There was a reason for their opposition not only to secular Zionism but to any mass return to the Holy Land. It was not – as is popularly believed – that the Jewish people are prohibited to return with anyone less than the Mashiach. I believe that the reason was so filled with negative implications that they had to conceal it from the general public.

The Gedolim knew that if they would call for a mass return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael, they would succeed in bringing millions of our people home. Jews would swarm to the Holy Land and kiss the ground they were walking on. The rabbis feared that if the land would be filled with God-fearing Jews, the leadership of the nation would naturally fall on the shoulders of the rabbinic Gedolim.

The rabbis understood very well that, in the absence of a Sanhedrin and prophecy to deal with the unprecedented, complex halachic questions which a Torah-based Medina would bring to the fore on a daily basis, they would be unable to lead the Medina. The huge issues such as a national army and police force were beyond their halachic experience, because these and a myriad of other issues do not appear in the Shulchan Aruch.

Their halachic outlook was classic chareidi where the chumra reigns supreme, as in the matter of the Shmitta year. Their opposition to selling the fields to a non-Jew would destroy Jewish agriculture, which could not support the farmer without a steady flow of produce for export. Modern industry cannot compete in the world’s markets if the means of production are all closed on Shabbat and holidays.

The life-and-death issues of a modern nation – including international finance, import and export, manufacturing, international travel, mass conversion and civil marriage – were beyond their halachic experience and precedents.

This is what the great rabbis could not admit in public, because it would cast a long shadow on the Torah and its applicability in all generations. So they decided that the best excuse would be to maintain the status quo until HaShem brings the Mashiach with all the halachic resources to guide a modern Medina according to the Torah.

The religious Zionist rabbis were confident that the Halacha would be able to deal with each problem as it arose, even if it would require leniencies in some halachic areas and looking away in other areas until the nation returns to itself and to the Torah.

The chareidi leadership at that time in history was correct in their assessment that they would be the leaders of a religious majority in the Land, and in their subjective feelings of the halachic difficulties and challenges a Medina would pose.

Within this state of affairs, our Father-in-Heaven, who so much wants His children to come home, entered into the picture and brought about the historic imperatives for the establishment of the Medina.

Halacha in Israel today

In the complex spider web of our lives in the Holy Land, our rabbis are succeeding in dealing with the issues according to the Halacha.

Rav Shlomo Goren z”l, first Chief Rabbi of Tzahal, will be remembered for many things, but utmost for his success is laying down the ground rules for maintaining an army which acts within the parameters of Halacha. The army kitchens are kosher and most are mehadrin. The basic laws of Tzahal prohibit the desecration of Shabbat when not necessary for immediate defense. An officer is prohibited from giving an order contrary to the laws of Shabbat or kashrut. The army is the biggest organization in the country dealing with halachic conversions. Before going out to battle, the army rabbis who are also active soldiers, speak to the troops regarding the mitzva of defending Jews in Eretz Yisrael. And so much more.

Complex medical issues are dealt with within the Halacha, as well as technological challenges which are dealt with at the Tzomet Institute in Alon Shvut, headed by Rabbi Yisrael Rosen.

Women’s health issues, in all its aspects, are dealt with in the Pu’ah Institute of Rabbi Menachem Burshtein.

Many issues were decided upon by great poskim such as Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z”l, Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv z”l and Harav Shlomo Yosef Zevin z”l.

My premise is that the rabbinic leaders of 120 years ago opposed the creation of a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael because of the halachic challenges inherent in a religious State. Had they been able to see our lives today in the Medina, they would have surely joined hands with the secular Zionist organization.

With the help of Hashem, the great poskim of today’s Medina are proving that the halachic challenges have advanced and developed the Halacha in a way that has prepared the Medina for the advent of the Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5776/2016 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Party’s Over for Pro-Israel Dems