Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The European Union: Nurturing Instability and Terrorism in the Middle East

by Naomi Linder Kahn
  • The apparent objective of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is to annex these areas and bring them under PA control as part of its larger plan for the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state. This plan was publicized in 2009, in an official PA document written by then-Prime Minister Salam Fayyad; since its publication, it has been carried out virtually unhindered, with the help of massive European funding in violation of the Oslo Accords, and in violation of international law. Additionally, this type of activity is more easily presented to international media outlets and foreign benefactors as "humanitarian aid."
  • The key actor in these land-grab projects is the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). UAWC maintains close organizational and operational ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terror organization that has carried out many deadly attacks against Israel's citizens - including numerous suicide bombings in the 2000s. UAWC is funded, for the most part, by European governments and humanitarian aid organizations, and by the European Union.
  • In recent years, and in particular since 2013, the Palestinians have intensified agricultural activity as a means of quickly and efficiently seizing large swaths of land under the guise of humanitarian aid for farmers. This activity is illegal and violates the international treaties to which the PA is a signatory. But this has not troubled foreign governments and organizations, including the European Union, who continue to bankroll this illegal activity – while at the same time vocally criticizing the State of Israel.

Pictured: Illegal land seizures of thousands of acres in the West Bank, funded by the European Union under the guise of "agricultural assistance." EU funding is facilitating a massive program of land theft by the Palestinian Authority. (Image source: Regavim)

Under the guise of "agricultural assistance," the Palestinian Authority is taking over Area C (the area placed under full Israeli jurisdiction in the Oslo Accords, pending a full peace agreement which would establish sovereignty over the area for one side or the other), with the help of massive European financial support -- in violation of the law, and of international agreements signed by the EU.

Over the past decade, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has implemented a long-term program aimed at taking control of strategic locations in Area C of the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria. The PA's apparent objective is to annex these areas and bring them under PA control, as part of its larger plan for the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state. This plan was publicized in 2009, in an official PA document written by then-Prime Minister Salam Fayyad; since its publication, it has been carried out virtually unhindered, with the help of massive European funding.

Since 2013 there has been a marked acceleration of the plan's execution, mainly through intensive, large-scale agricultural activity, with the understanding that this tactic, as opposed to illegal construction, enables the PA to take control of vast tracts of land relatively quickly. This activity, carried out under the umbrella of the Palestinian Authority's "Roots Project" (جذورor Juthoor), enables massive land grabs to be more easily presented to international media outlets and foreign benefactors as "humanitarian aid."

The key actor in these land-grab projects is the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). With branch offices throughout Judea and Samaria, UAWC maintains close organizational and operational ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terror organization that has carried out many deadly attacks against Israel's citizens, including numerous suicide bombings in the 2000s. UAWC is funded, for the most part, by European governments and humanitarian aid organizations, and by the European Union.

The majority of UAWC's activities are carried out in Area C. Among the more central projects: Illegal seizure of thousands of dunams of land through agricultural use, illegal seizure of water sources, and creation of new roads, ostensibly to facilitate Palestinian farmers' access to agricultural areas. These activities are concentrated in areas of strategic importance, particularly areas adjacent to Jewish settlements and the security barrier, as well as locations in Area C that serve as a buffer zone between Areas A and B (which are under full or partial Palestinian Authority jurisdiction, respectively).

Needless to say, all of this activity is carried out unilaterally, without permits or coordination with the State of Israel -- in violation of the law that is in force in these areas, in violation of the Oslo Accords, and in violation of international law.

A non-governmental organization, Regavim, dedicated to preserving Israel's land resources and promoting a forward-thinking land-use policy, has conducted precise documentation and mapping of PA activity in the field, and culled information regarding EU funding for UAWC activities by monitoring Palestinian and European Union publications, media reports, and internet coverage (such as this recent video which boasts of extensive illegal activity). The results of this research, which were presented in a comprehensive report to the Knesset Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Judea and Samaria, are summarized in "The Roots of Evil."
The Political Context – The Battle for Control of Judea and Samaria

In the "Interim Agreement between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority" signed in Oslo in 1993 ("The Oslo Accord") between Israel and the leaders of the PLO, the State of Israel officially recognized what had openly operated as a terrorist organization, and allowed it to establish a Palestinian Authority to oversee autonomous Arab governance in parts of Judea and Samaria.

Under these accords, Judea and Samaria were divided into three regions: Area A was placed under full Palestinian civil and security jurisdiction; Area B was assigned to PA civil control, while Israel remained responsible for security; and Area C, which was placed under full Israeli civil and security jurisdiction. Despite the fact that, in practice, many of the Oslo Accords' clauses were never activated and other elements are no longer relevant, the division of jurisdictional authority remains in force.

Almost a decade ago, then-Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad began to promote a unilateral program for the creation of "an independent, fully autonomous Arab state on all of the territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as per the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital." A central element of the Fayyad Plan is the attempt to deepen the PA's official administrative presence specifically in Area C and to establish de facto annexation of the territory, based on the underlying assumption that Areas A and B have already been "taken care of" by the Oslo Accords.

The implementation of this program of "creeping annexation" is carried out on two parallel tracks. The first involves cooperation with Israel: The PA submits requests to the relevant Israeli authorities for approval of "special priority" construction projects; generally, international funding for these projects is contingent upon a "seal of approval" from Israel. The second track, which is far more widespread, is the creation of facts on the ground, through extensive illegal construction and development, obviously without coordination or permission of the Israeli authorities. The projects in this illegal track are planned and executed according to a clear, systematic master plan that aims to create territorial contiguity for the future Palestinian state while disrupting the growth and contiguity of Israeli communities.

Over the past number of years, the illegal track has become not only more pronounced but more "creative," using agricultural work to establish facts on the ground -- in violation of the law in force in this region, in violation of the Oslo Accords which stipulate that the State of Israel is the sole sovereign over this territory, in violation of international law.

The PA has enjoyed the diplomatic support of European countries for decades. Although the European Union was an active participant in the formulation of the Oslo Accords and its representatives participated in the signing ceremony, in recent years the EU has actively funded many of the PA's illegal activities in Area C, contributing to the very projects that undermine those accords by taking unilateral steps to create a Palestinian state encompassing all of Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian "civil society" organizations and the PA itself have received massive practical and economic support from European governments and organizations. European funding, as well as diplomatic support and other forms of active participation, have been channeled directly to Fayyad Plan projects.

One of the methods employed by the European Union to create a de facto Palestinian state is to block the development of infrastructure and expansion of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria through Palestinian construction and agriculture. Over the last several years, the EU has built more than 2,000 structures in Area C for the Palestinian population, creating or supporting dozens of illegal settlement clusters, without requesting or receiving construction permits or coordinating these projects with the relevant Israeli authorities. In fact, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protested the EU's blatant violation of the law, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini gave an official commitment to desist from any additional illegal construction in the E1 area – but not in the rest of Area C. All of the EU-funded construction projects, agricultural projects, and infrastructure projects in Area C are clearly designed to establish territorial contiguity for the Palestinian Authority presence, in an attempt to preclude the possibility of annexation or development of these areas by Israel in the future. All are carried out illegally, in contravention of Israeli jurisdiction over this territory, under the guise of European Union Foreign Affairs Council humanitarian aid to needy Palestinian communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Legal Context – Ottoman Property Law in the Service of Land Expropriation

The law in force in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which is under full Israeli jurisdiction, is comprised of many layers of legal systems, including Ottoman law, Mandatory law, Jordanian law, military rule, international law, as well as legislative acts of Israel's parliament, the Knesset. In general, however, the essential underpinnings of property law in Area C rest upon Ottoman law.

According to Ottoman law and Israeli Supreme Court decisions that continue to enforce it, uncultivated land belongs to the sovereign – in this case, the State of Israel. Additionally, some of the land in Area C is classified as "survey land" – tracts that are not registered as privately owned, which the sovereign (the Israeli government) is in the process of regulating and registering as state land.

A private individual may be granted ownership of agricultural land (as per section 78 of the Ottoman Legal Code) if he held and cultivated the land in question for a consecutive period of several years (the precise period required is dictated by the nature of the land parcel itself).

Thus, a person who poaches land and uses it for agricultural purposes may claim ownership or other rights to the land in question, simply by claiming to have worked the land for a number of years. Palestinian land-use projects exploit this "loophole" in Ottoman law to great advantage.

Activities carried out under the Roots Project, the systematic program of land seizure in Area C, are presented as agricultural projects; nonetheless, many of these types of work – erecting fences and walls, excavation with heavy machinery, creation of roads, and more – require building permits, which they obviously do not have. On the other hand, the law is meticulously enforced against Jewish construction, resulting in what can best be described as "reverse apartheid:" A number of draconian regulations are applied exclusively to Jewish residents of Area C, such as "delimiting orders" and "obstructive use orders," which empower the authorities to demolish structures en masseand to bar residents, without due process, from contested areas.

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees – The Operational Arm of the Land Seizure Enterprise

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is the main operational arm of the PA's plan to seize control of Area C and to create a de facto Palestinian state in this territory.

The Union, headquartered in Ramallah, is comprised of more than 65 branches of local agricultural councils throughout Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. With more than 100 employees, its annual budget exceeds 5 million euros (nearly $6 million USD). Its budget is based mainly on direct and indirect donations from foreign sources, including the European Union and the United Nations, and the governments of France, Norway, and Holland.

UAWC has both overt and covert ties to the terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its activities are carried out in coordination with the Palestinian security apparatus and other Palestinian judicial bodies.

Both the PFLP and UAWC have attempted to obscure their close ties, in order to portray the civilian organization as an independent non-profit entity. Notwithstanding their efforts, there is clear evidence of their ideological and financial interdependence: An internal document prepared for the American humanitarian organization USAID in 1993 stated that the UAWC is "[t]he PFLP's agricultural organization" and "The PFLP's agricultural extension services are provided by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)." In fact, the PLO's dominant Fatah faction identified the UAWC as an "affiliate" of the PFLP.

The affiliation of the UAWC with the PFLP is ongoing, despite the classification of the PFLP as a terrorist organization both by the United States and the European Union. Senior figures in the PFLP hierarchy have served in senior positions in the UAWC, among them Jamil Muhamad Ismail Al Majdalawi, formerly the Vice President of the UAWC in Gaza, who is a well-known senior officer in the PFLP. He served as head of the political division of the PFLP in Gaza, and in 2013 acted as the PFLP's representative to Fatah bodies in the Palestinian Authority. Bashar Al Khiri served as Chief of the PFLP's Political Division in the early 2000s. He was arrested and imprisoned by the State of Israel, and after his release served as President of the UAWC Advisory Boardfrom 2005-2010.

One of the European organizations that provides financial support for UAWC activities is Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), a Norwegian society that describes itself as "committed to building democratic society and to strengthening people's ability to take control of their own lives." NPA describes itself as non-political, although its views are not neutral. Thus, it "supports organizations that represent weak or vulnerable populations, particularly if they resist or are in conflict with those in power." NPA lists UAWC as one of its partner organizations in Palestine.

NPA, which was supported by the American government's humanitarian aid program USAID for many years, was brought up on charges of supporting terrorism by the US Department of Justice in 2017. In the course of the trial, which was concluded in 2018, the NPA admitted to supporting Iran, Hamas, and a number of other terror organizations.

From 2016 to 2018, NPA received 32,000,000 Norwegian kroner (3,320,000 euros – nearly $4 million USD) from the government of Norway (out of a total commitment of 50 million kroner) for joint UAWC-NPA projects.

In fact, the terrorist ties of the UAWC have not deterred the EU, which earmarked 3.6 million euros to the UAWC to run the Roots Project in the Bethlehem area in 2014, and funded 90% of its overall budget. Under the auspices of the Roots Project, a representative of the EU visited the area in order to report on the progress of the initiative and provide an overview of the UAWC's activities.

In March 2015 the inaugural ceremony for the Roots Project was held in Bethlehem. The EU's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, John Gatt-Ruter, an honored guest, addressed the ceremony:

"The projects the European Union will carry out for the residents of Area C are essential, particularly in the agricultural sector, which is an important segment of the economy. This project will contribute to assistance for Palestinian farmers ... and establishing Palestinian facts on the ground ...The Union of Agricultural Work Committees has demonstrated its ability to carry out agricultural projects in many Palestinian areas, and the relationship with the European Union is the result of the successes achieved by the UAWC." [Emphasis added.]
Conclusions and Recommendations

In the past decade, the Palestinian Authority has made a concerted effort to gain control over as much land in Area C as possible. In recent years, and in particular since 2013, the Palestinians have intensified agricultural activity as a means of quickly and efficiently seizing large swaths of land under the guise of humanitarian aid for farmers. This activity is illegal, and violates the international treaties to which the PA is a signatory. But this has not troubled foreign governments and organizations, including the European Union, who continue to bankroll this illegal activity – while at the same time vocally criticizing the State of Israel.

Because of the large-scale strategic consequences of the Palestinian program of land seizure, this problem cannot be addressed as a case-by-case, localized problem. The larger picture must be taken into consideration, and the European Union must cease its unbridled intervention in the internal affairs of a democratic state (Israel) and its wholesale violations of international law and treaty – activities that entrench Palestinian intransigence, cripple the prospect for a negotiated settlement, and endanger the security of Israelis in a very real and immediate sense.

Freedom from Fashion and Materialism

by HaRav Eliezer Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

The Egyptian nation represented materialism and enslavement to the body, and consequently invested resources in the pyramids and mummification of the dead, and exploited slaves for pleasure and gratification * To this day courageousness is required to free oneself from enslavement to materialism and not to submit to the dictates of society * On the holidays, including Chol Ha-Moed, one should dedicate half the day to Torah study, an attribute also required for freedom * Some Pesach laws: which medicines require kashrut certification * One should not eat or possess a food looking similar to chametz, if there is no distinguishing mark that it is kosher for Pesach * Thanking God for the most blessed winter since 1992

The Prohibition of Eating Tiny Insects and the Exodus from Egypt

All forbidden foods are called tameh’im (unclean), and eating them defiles the soul and seals it from absorbing holiness, as our Sages said, the word tumah (ritual impurity) comes from the language of timtum (dulling of the heart) (Yoma 39a). The tumah in the prohibition against eating shratzim (tiny insects) is especially grave, as it is said: ” Do not make yourselves disgusting [by eating] any small creature that breeds. Do not defile yourselves with them, because it will make you spiritually insensitive. For I am God your Lord, and since I am holy, you must [also] make yourselves holy and remain sanctified. Therefore, do not defile your souls [by eating] any small animal that lives on the land. I am God, and I brought you out of Egypt to be your God. Therefore, since I am holy, you must [also] remain holy” (Leviticus 11:43 – 45). Our Sages said: “The Holy One, blessed be He, declared, ‘Had I brought up Israel from Egypt for no other purpose but this, that they should not defile themselves with shratzim, it would be sufficient for me” (Bava Metzia 61b).

The Egyptian Nation and Materialism

In order to understand the connection between the prohibition of eating shratzim and the Exodus from Egypt, it should be noted that the distinct characteristic of Egypt was materialism. Their pagan outlook was one of extreme materialism. They did not believe in the existence of an independent spiritual soul, but rather, thought the soul was dependent on the existence of the physical body, and enslaved to it. They went out of their way to embalm the body of the dead, because they believed the whole existence of man depended solely on his physical existence; even when he died, and could not move or speak, in all other respects he still existed. That is why they made tremendous efforts in building pyramids, which are in effect glorious cemeteries for the body. From their extreme desire for materialism, the Egyptians achieved remarkable material and organizational achievements – some accomplished with the help of Yosef Ha’Tzadik – in creating stable governmental systems, a well-developed irrigation system, and a sophisticated economic structure.

Their desire for materialism led them to impurity, namely, the separation of spiritual and moral values, to the point where that in order to accumulate money and pleasures, they turned free people into slaves, and in order to satisfy their physical lusts, violated the covenant of loyalty between man and wife in all forms of adultery. This is what the Torah meant when it commanded “Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived” (Leviticus 18: 3). Our Sages said that there was no other nation in the world whose actions were more abhorrent than the Egyptians, in prostitution and incest, to the point where “the ways of Egypt” are described as: “Men marrying other men, women marrying other women, and one woman married to two men” (Maharal, Gevorot Hashem, Chapter four).

The Nature of Shratzim

In light of this, it can be explained that shratzim represent materialism, seeing as they do not exhibit any special character traits, rather, all their vitality and diligence is focused on the most material objective: attainment of food and reproducing, which is the meaning of the word “shratzim” – namely, to eat and multiply. To this end, they pollute themselves by means of all disgusting things in the world, and wherever rotting and death exists they infest, and even eat the body of man. True, such vitality has a basic existential need which also has an important place in the world, and this was Egypt’s virtue – and on account of this virtue, it is said about the Israelites in Egypt: “The Israelites paru (were fertile) and va’yishratzu (prolific), and their population increased. They became so numerous that the land was filled with them” (Exodus 1:7).

Israel however, being a holy nation, are obligated to transcend and elevate reality from the impurity of Egypt, and commanded not to eat shratzim that express repulsive materialism, so they can reveal Divine value in every detail.

Inspired by the theory of evolution, about which Rabbi Kook said it contains aspects corresponding to the “secrets of the world of Kabbalah”, one can imagine that in the process of Creation, the shratzim preferred to relinquish numerous qualities – provided they could continue reproducing. At first, they were created large, but when asked what they would prefer – to preserve their uniqueness, or to shrink and receive more food, they chose to become smaller. And thus, each time asked, they preferred to lose their identity and be reduced, so they could adapt their bodies to obtain as much food as possible, until in the end, they became despicable vermin. And although this existential will has its place, God commanded Israel to transcend the impurity of Egypt – the impurity of servitude to materialism, in order to bring redemption to the world (Orot HaKodesh II, ‘Hit’alut Ha’Olam, paragraph 19).


The first prerequisite for redemption is the courage to be freed from servitude. Therefore, at the beginning of the process of the redemption of Israel from Egypt, we were commanded to take a lamb which was considered an idol in the eyes of the Egyptians, and to sacrifice it, and spread its blood on the doorposts. This was done as a sacrifice to God, for true redemption can only be achieved by faith in God. In essence, every human point of view stems from servitude to certain individuals or to a particular lust, and only by attachment to Hashem our God, who is above and beyond any definition, can we escape all types of servitude.

Today’s Korban Pesach: The Way One Dresses
For example: a person dresses in clothes in which he believes he will look good. However, if we delve deeper, we find that the concept of looking good is dictated by those who are considered successful. Consequently, sometimes it is difficult for a man to wear a kippa, because the most successful people in the world do not wear a kippah. And at times it is difficult for a woman to cover her head, and wear halachically modest clothing because those considered successful do not dress that way.

The willingness to sacrifice the gods of fashion, and to adhere to ways of beauty revealed in Israel’s age-old traditions, which employs all the beautiful trends of the world, but does not compromise to them, is today’s continuation of the bravery of the korban Pesach, and is the prerequisite for redemption and freedom – to choose to continue the word of God in the world.

Torah Study on the Holiday

However, faith and courage without Torah cannot bring redemption, and this is what our Sages said: “There is no free man except one that involves himself in Torah learning” (Avot 6: 2). This is the main goal of the holidays and Chol HaMoed, on which work is prohibited, so that Jews may engage in Torah in the light of kedushat ha’Chag (holiness of the holiday). And the mitzvah is to divide the times of Shabbat and holidays, half for Hashem, and half for you, “half for eating and drinking, and half for Torah study in the Beit Midrash” (Pesachim 68b). If this is the case on Yom Tov, when it is a mitzvah to arrange large meals lasting a significant amount of time, all the more so on Chol HaMoed, one should devote at least half a day to Torah study (Peninei Halakha: Moadim 1: 5-6).

From the mitzvah to divide the day into two parts, half to Hashem and half to ourselves, we learn something important – that the two parts complement one another. The part of Torah study should also be done with joy, learning interesting matters that add blessing and vitality, with family members or friends, and also the part where we engage in eating, drinking, and taking trips should be filled with content of value.

Kashrut for Medicines on Pesach

Flavored medicines, like syrup, lozenges, or chewables require kashrut for Pesach. And as long as they are not known to be kosher, they should not be eaten. Only someone who is dangerously ill, and his medicine does not have a good substitute, is permitted to eat it, because pikuach nefesh (saving life) overrules the prohibition of eating chametz.

However, if the medicine is bitter or tasteless it does require a hechsher (kashrut certification), because even if it was originally mixed with chametz that was fit to be eaten, since now it is not fit as food even in a shaat dachak (time of stress), because it is even rendered unfit for a dog’s consumption, it is no longer considered chametz.

Nevertheless, some meticulously observant people try to avoid even bitter medicines that contain chametz. They show concern for the opinion of the few poskim who maintain that medicine is not considered unfit for animal consumption since we deem it significant, and it is thus rabbinically prohibited. However, halakha goes according to the opinion of the majority of poskim, who permit a person to swallow a medicine that is not fit for eating without checking it first (Peninei Halakha: Pesach 8: 7).

It should be added that the chances of medicine containing chametz are very low, even more so today, since many people are sensitive to gluten, and pharmaceutical companies do not mix grain ingredients in medicines without reason, rather, they prefer substitutes without gluten.

Do Not Possess Chametz-like Products
Some manufactures produce Pesach products that look similar to chametz products, such as wafers, cookies and rolls. However, while they do not contain chametz, as long as they appear similar to chametz products, one should be careful not to eat them on Pesach, or even keep them together with Pesach food products, lest they come to err and eat similar chametz foods, as has already happened with these products in past years. Only if a significant change has been made in the shape of the wafers or cookies can they be eaten.

A similar source for this can be found in the decree of our Sages not to bake chalavi (dairy) or basari (meat) bread in an amount eaten for more than one meal, lest one forgets the bread is chalavi, and comes to eat it with meat. If one erred and did so, our Sages decreed the bread is forbidden to be eaten (Pesachim 30a, b). If the shape of the bread is changed in such a way that members of the household will understand its’ halakha is different, and ask whether it is chalavi or basari, it is permitted. However, such a sign does not permit the baking of chalavi or basari bread to be sold, lest there be people who will not notice the sign. Only when a clear sign is made where everyone understands that this bread is either chalavi or basari, is it permitted, such as a pita with yellow cheese or a strip of meat on it (Pesachim 36a; S. A., Y. D. 97:1).

Appreciation for the Rains

With the grace of God, this year we merited receiving 942 mm of rain, with the yearly average being 620 mm – in other words, 152% of the yearly average. Since the year 5752 (1992), there has never been such a blessed winter. The rains that descend on Gav Ha’Har in the Shomron area are especially blessed, since they are all absorbed in the Mountain Aquifer, the largest and most qualitative water reservoir in Israel.

In the entire country, from Hebron and northwards, rainfall exceeded the yearly average, whereas in the north and center of the country, the average was 120 to 140 percent, and in some places, 160 percent.

The rains were divided this year in a fabulous way throughout the season, so that they quenched the earth and were beautifully absorbed into the surface and underground water reservoirs.

IRAC’s bridge too far

by Victor Rosenthal

The American Reform Movement, which believes that it has the right to dictate how Israel should deal with its most critical security matters, also wants to remake Israeli society in an American image. And not by imitating the best features of American culture, but rather by choosing some of the worst: the hyper-progressive politically correct part.

The Reform Movement funds an Israeli political action organization called IRAC, the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). IRAC works closely with the Israeli Left to provoke and embarrass right-wing governments as political support for the Left, but part is also intended to inject the particularly American progressive world view into Israeli political consciousness.

They have not been especially successful, at least not yet. They tried to hitch a ride on the issue of Haredi harassment of women on buses, calling a woman who refused to change her seat when confronted by a male passenger the “Israeli Rosa Parks.” But of course in Israel there is no law calling for segregated seating on buses; and the courts, the police, most politicians, and the massive majority of Israelis supported the woman. She kept her seat and was not arrested like the American Rosa Parks.

They hijacked the original struggle of the Israeli religious feminists known as the Women of the Wall to allow women to pray out loud in the women’s section of the Western Wall with Torah scrolls and talitot (prayer shawls normally worn by men), and with the backing of the Israeli Reform and Conservative movements, demanded that a section of the wall be set aside for mixed-gender prayer. This has had serious political ramifications and provoked considerable violence from their Haredi opponents.

Although that issue has been effective in creating dislike for Israel and PM Netanyahu in America, it has gained IRAC little support among the Israeli public. Religious people are virtually all opposed to mixed-gender prayer, secular Israelis – despite how annoyed they are with the Haredi religious establishment that interferes with their lives in important areas like marriage – couldn’t care less about how people pray at the Wall, and the Israelis who do care are a tiny fraction of the public.

So IRAC has a new project: searching out instances of “racism” in Israeli society and pursuing legal and political remedies. In particular, they have created a “Racism Crisis Center” where people can call and complain about allegedly racist treatment.

Some of what they do is reasonable opposition to discrimination, such as calling attention to police harassment of Ethiopian Jews. But some is purely political, like their insistence that the Nation-State Law is “blatantly racist legislation.” Their overall goal is to create a “shift in the public mindset” in which “racism,” in the broadest possible sense, is moved to the forefront of Israeli consciousness, as it is among progressive Americans.

Most of their issues concern the treatment of the Arab minority in Israel. I maintain that the introduction of the concept of “racism,” with all its baggage of European colonialism, slavery, and the treatment of blacks in America or apartheid South Africa, only serves to obscure the nature of the real national conflict between the Jewish people and the Palestinian Arabs. Worse, it imports a radical left-wing interpretation of the conflict, in which Israel is a colonial power oppressing Palestinian “people of color,” when the root of the conflict lies in the Arab/Muslim rejection of Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the region.

But today IRAC has crossed a bridge too far. The Racism Crisis Center has discovered a “crisis” in the instructions issued by the Jerusalem municipality to the city’s kindergartens. Here is a quote from an article in Ha’aretz:

The instructions, published by the emergency and security department of the Jerusalem municipality and distributed to the city’s kindergartens and pre-schools, order that “outsiders many not enter kindergarten premises,” adding that “as a rule, entrance is not permitted to minority groups.”

According to the instructions, if minority groups want to enter the school, “the local security officer must be notified.” In Israel, the Hebrew term “minority groups” usually refers to Arabs and other non-Jews.

In its appeal, the Racism Crisis Center, operated by the Israel Religious Action Center – the advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel – said that the municipality instructions to comprehensively prohibit outsiders and non-Jewish minorities from entering kindergartens harm their right to human dignity and equality, and therefore is wrong, illegal and forbidden.

“Outsiders” means people that are not either parents or other caregivers whose names are given to the kindergarten by parents, and for obvious reasons they are usually not allowed in. Here in Rehovot, when my wife picks up a grandchild from his kindergarten, she is required to identify herself and the list is checked, even when the child jumps into her arms. But there are exceptions, like contractors, repairmen, and so forth.

And in those cases – the Jerusalem municipality, and mine, and every other one in Israel, practices ethnic profiling. Yes, just like at the airport, and the shopping mall, and everywhere else. Because it works, and it works because while all Arabs are not terrorists, almost all the terrorists that would kill our children are Arabs.

IRAC thinks that’s wrong:

The appeal adds that “protecting the security of kindergarten children and personnel is of the utmost importance. However, the security considerations, as important and worthy as they may be, don’t justify the gross discrimination against non-Jews.”

Are they out of their minds? Of course protecting our children justifies ethnic profiling! And I think 99% of Israeli Jews (and probably a lot of Arabs too) would agree with me. IRAC and its director, the extreme leftist Anat Hoffman, apparently do not.

I don’t welcome the “shift in the public mindset” to an American-progressive style of aggressive stupidity that they are trying to bring about. I would like to think that the down-to-earth, pragmatic Israeli national character won’t accept political correctness. But then, Americans were once known for their common sense as well.

The Yishai Fleisher Show: Pesach in Israel and Christadelphians

Yishai and family are at Neve Ilan celebrating the Holiday of Liberation with a visit to Hebron and the Priestly Blessing in Jerusalem. Join Yishai as he talks with a group of Christadelphians - non-Jewish lovers of Israel. Happy Pesach!

The Rishon Who Thwarted Arab Terror

by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

We can start with two trivia questions – trivia, but not trivial. What three word phrase in the hagada is the most frequently recited? That’s the relatively easy question. The more difficult one is this: what paragraph did Rav Soloveitchik say is the most important in thehagada? If you know the first, the second should come naturally. And it all goes to prove this amazing story, a true story entitled “how the responsum the Rashba (Rav Shlomo ibn Aderet, 1235-1310) of the eliminated the terrorists.”

The Gemara (Pesachim 33a) states that one can only give terumah to a kohen if he is able to consume it immediately but not if it is something that he would have to burn. For example, “wheat that became chametz while it was still attached to the ground.” That means that if wheat is rained upon, the wheat becomes chamtetz even before it was harvested. But how can that be? All wheat receives rain; if not it does not grow!

R. Shlomo ibn Aderet, native of Barcelona, asked this question (Rashba, Volume 7, Chapter 20) and he answered that this is only true if the wheat is fully ripened and doesn’t require any more nourishment. In that situation, it is as if it is already in a jug and will become chametz if rain falls on it. Indeed, this is the halacha, as codified in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 467:5) and the Mishna Berura (467:17) adds that “for this reason, the pious ensure that their matzot come from wheat that has been watched from the time of the harvest and that they are still a little moist,” just as the Rashba required.

Practically, this rarely presents a problem because in Israel the rainy season ends long before the time for harvest. But in 2014, there were sudden and unexpected thunderstorms across the south of Israel right before Shavuot, and that endangered the whole crop. The Badatz had to invalidate most of the wheat fields because the rain had fallen on ripe wheat. They searched and researched, and the rabbinical court in Bnei Brakfound that there had been no rain in Kibbutz Sufa, adjacent to the Gaza border, quickly negotiated with them, and harvested their entire wheat field in June 2014.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Hamas terrorists had for the previous six months dug a tunnel from Gaza under the wheat field into Kibbutz Sufa. Their reconnaissance had revealed that it was perfect cover – a large field covered by high stalks of wheat. They planned a terrorist attack on Sufa for the end of June, 2014.

I have seen the video. Almost 15 terrorists emerged from the opening to the tunnel, and scattered in two different directions. You can sense their surprise and confusion – they had anticipated a field that was covered with wheat. Instead, they found a field that was open, flat and exposed. They ran from the opening, and then they aborted the attack, and ran back to the opening, scurrying about frantically. They made it back to the opening and started climbing down – but not before they were greeted by one IDF missile. Six terrorists were killed, seven wounded and captured. The wounded related that they knew the field was not harvested until latesummer and they did not understand why the field was harvested that year in the early summer. It was perfect cover – but they had not planned on the responsum of the Rashba!

This was not 3000 or 2000 years ago – but five years ago. This is the law of grain that is completely dry and no longer needs nourishment. Look it up – you have to harvest the grainbefore rain falls on it. And so they did, and a great salvation occurred. True story.

The three word phrase that occurs most in the hagada is “ki l’olam chasdo”, that G-d’s kindness is everlasting. And Rav Soloveitchik wrote that the most important paragraph in the hagada is “lefichach:” “therefore we are obligated to thank, praise, glorify, extol and exalt He who performed for us and for our forefathers all these miracles.” The whole hagada, the whole seder, and the entire Pesach are designed to bring us to the point that we are imbued with praise of G-d and gratitude for the kindnesses that He has done for us and our forefathers. Everything leads to praise and gratitude – and so it is in our lives as well.

We don’t only rejoice over the miracles done to our forefathers; if we have eyes and ears, and a mind and a heart, we will see the miracles of today as well that G-d for a nation that is not always aware of it and does not always appreciate it – but should.

We do – and so we welcome Pesach not only for the mitzvot, the wonderful spirit and the joys of family, but because we can utilize this moment to declare His name and proclaim His deeds to the nations, with the hope and prayer that we will again behold His redemptive hand.

Reform Islam Now or Get More Ilhan Omars

The Murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane, two attempts on the Twin Towers, 9/11, Al-Qaida, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Iran, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf, Little Rock, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, the Vaughan Foods beheading incident, the attacks on two military installations, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Paris attacks, 7/7 the London underground bombings and the list goes on and on and on.

It’s about time the Muslim community in America do some serious soul-searching, reform itself, and vomit out of their midst, their filth; if they want decent law abiding Americans to not suspect every Muslim, as a potential terrorist!

Good decent Muslim citizens of America, have to take a stand, as did those righteous people in Nazi Germany against their regime at the time. They have to publicly denounce their extremists and potential extremists, work with authorities to weed them out of their communities, and press for a more Reformed version of Islam.

A Reform Islam that no longer looks at non-Muslims as infidels. A Reform Islam that denounces Jihadism. A Reform Islam, that renounces the goal of the religion, as, to put the world under the reign of Allah, i.e. Islam, and Muslims. A Reform Islam that takes a live and let live attitude toward non-Muslims, and yes, even toward “wayward” Muslims!

Muslim on Muslim violence is one of the lesser spoken about tragedies. “Honor killings,” usually done to daughters, must stop. Bullying by extremists within the Muslim community, to tow the “Sharia Line,” whether in America, France, Britain, or anywhere else in the Democratic West, needs to be dealt with seriously, if all Muslim citizens don’t want be suspect. To the outsider, who can tell the victim from the victimizer?

Which brings me to Rep. Ilhan Omar… And, her disgusting recent, “Some people, did something,” reference to the 9/11 Twin Towers tragedy.

“Terrorists and all those who support them...” is what George W. Bush said after 9/11.

Those Muslims and Muslim organizations that don’t denounce and actively work to uproot; passively, quietly support. Or, at least are legitimate targets of suspicion from non-Muslims.

By contrast, Omar in her recent Council of American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles’ speech, wrapped herself and the Muslim community in Victimhood, not from their internal extremists, but American society at large.

“And I feel extremely lucky to to be here in California with all of you — fighting for justice, for equality, for the right for us to equally exist in this country. Many people expect our community to feel like it needs to hide every time something happens. But repeatedly, we have shown them that we are not to be bullied. We are not to be threatened. We are not to be terrorized. We are strong, resilient and we will always show up to be ourselves...”

Continuing the Victim Narrative, “So we are coming off a tragic, tragic nightmare that has happened to Muslims in New Zealand. Many of us know that this is not a one-off incident. Many of us were not shocked or surprised. Many of us were kind of holding our breath for a really long time thinking when will something like this happen...”

And then without missing a beat, no soul-searching here, she came out swinging, “...the reason I think that many of us knew that this was going to get worse is that we finally have a leader, a world leader, in the White House, who publicly says Islam hates us, who fuels hate against Muslims, who thinks it is okay to speak about a faith and a whole community in a way that is dehumanizing, vilifying...”

Did Trump start Jihadism against the West, or is he responding to it?

Fact check: In 2011, Pres. Obama ordered the entire federal national-security apparatus to get rid of counter-terrorism training material that instructed agents to focus on Islam itself, rather than specific terrorist groups. So what is she talking about, the American government long ago stopped a maybe overly general policy, which did actually make sense right after 9/11.

Maybe if Muslims like Omar took on their own thugs, instead of blaming the “infidels,” like Trump or "the Jews", non-Muslims would be less suspicious of Islam and Muslims.

She continued, “...if you one day find yourself in a school where other religions are talked about, but when Islam is mentioned, we are only talking about terrorists and if you say something you are sent to the principal’s office. So to me, I say, raise hell, make people uncomfortable. Because here’s the truth: For too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and, frankly, I'm tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”

By the way, this MO, of playing victim, then, when becoming strong enough, attacking, goes all the way back to Muhammad himself. After fleeing his enemies in Mecca, Muhammad and his entourage arrived in Yathrib (later Medina) near destitute. He started a “peace process,” between warring Arab tribes, became a person of stature, and negotiated a “Covenant of Medina,” which also promised “equality” for the Jews living there. Later when he became stronger, he broke the agreement, worked to convert the Jews to Islam, and when rejected, turned on them, attacking and killing two Jewish tribes and driving out the third.

If American Muslims don’t want to be conflated with terrorism, (which is most often carried out by Muslims, globally, I might add), or with anti-Semitism and hate, then they need to stand up, and put down their own self-appointed representatives like Ilhan.

Its either reform Islam now, or face getting more Ilhan Omars...


by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

This is the Dayenu for President Trump, based on the simple realization that there has never been a president as pro-Israel as Trump, and it is almost unthinkable that there will ever be another. Let us count the ways, individual acts for which alone we would sing Dayenu, “it would have been enough:”
  • If Trump had only ceased calling the Palestinians “refugees,” it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only rejected the notion that the fate of the Palestinians is the crux of every conflict in the Middle East, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only halted financial aid to the Palestinian Authority to protest their diabolical “pay to slay” program, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only questioned the wisdom and viability of the two-state illusion, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only devastated ISIS in Syria and Iraq, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only canceled the Iran nuclear deal and committed to thwarting an Iranian nuclear bomb, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only acknowledged Israel’s right to settle throughout its ancestral homeland, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only vetoed every anti-Israel resolution tabled at the United Nations, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only withdrawn the United States from the UN Human Rights Commission and from UNESCO for their vicious anti-Israel bias, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only unequivocally supported Israel’s right of self-defense, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only moved the American embassy to Yerushalayim, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only recognized Yerushalayim as Israel’s eternal and undivided capital, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only formally recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only routinely denounced the scourge of Jew hatred, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only said – as he did after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre – that “those who are trying to destroy the Jewish people, we will destroy them,” it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only ostracized anti-Israel voices in America, it would have been enough;
  • If Trump had only warmly befriended Israel’s Prime Minister and its people, it would have been enough.
That is some list, even without reciting the al achat kama v’chama that would marvel at the achievement of each of the above. It is unprecedented in the history of the relationship of the United States and Israel and the president is only two years into his administration. Of course, there have been other presidents who were “pro-Israel,” and others who were less than friendly – but there has never been a President whose support was unambiguous and influenced so many other nations around the world as this President. We should be thankful, and express our gratitude without hesitation.

Gratitude is an especially cherished virtue among Jews and particularly on Pesach when we celebrate our nation’s founding. And even if we limit the real Dayenu to the King of Kings, we do acknowledge that, as King Shlomo put it, “Like streams of water the heart of a king is in G-d’s hands…” (Mishlei 21:1).

Sure, he may tweet a bit too much and much too vividly at times, and one can quibble with a questionable policy here and there, and others can criticize a character weakness or two, but we betray ourselves and our deepest values if we do not express gratitude. Only a Trump, not beholden to the tired thinking of all the old Middle East experts and their evenhandedness, their failures, and their anti-Israel animus scarcely concealed, could have pulled this off –a re-alignment of American foreign policy.

And even if Jews are not one-issue voters, it behooves us to at least acknowledge the contrast with prior presidents – some of whom made promises they did not keep, berated Israel and Jews when new rooms were added on to apartments in Ofra and Kiryat Arba, never acknowledged (or acknowledged grudgingly) Israel’s natural, historic, religious and moral right to its homeland, embraced wholeheartedly the chimeras of “land for peace” and the “two state illusion,” urged restraint and proportionality whenever Jews were attacked and wished to retaliate and pre-empt future attacks, and were obsessed with again partitioning the land of Israel and excising its heartland from Jewish sovereignty.

Whether President Trump is guilty of the crime of obstruction of justice or the virtue and natural right of obstruction of injustice (it seems more like the latter) will be settled according to the new American custom: by the media. As for us, even Jewish Democrats should at least acknowledge these blessings and how the current administration has strengthened Israel – and regardless of the fanciful “deal of the century” coming down the road. We should not only see maror but open our eyes to the wonders of a friendship and alliance that has achieved heretofore unimaginable heights.

Sometimes we are tested with an abundance of good and not the incidence of evil. That too is a gift of Providence for which we should be ever grateful.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Getting Ready For Korban Pesach This Year

What’s the real reason that we might not offer Korban Pesach (the Passover Offering) on the Temple Mount this year? I’ll tell you, one word, FEAR!

No, not fear of the gentiles. We had enough of that, from the last 2,000 years of abuse at their hands. No, I’m referring to fear of the Israeli police and government.

Really, there’s no good reason not to bring the Korban Pesach. Most of the halachic (Jewish Law) issues have been solved in the last couple hundred years, at least since the time of the Chatam Sofer, and particularly in our generation. Halacha is not the barrier. Go check it out.

Fear of the Israeli Authorities, is the only thing that holds back the Korban Pesach from being brought D’Orayta (as commanded in the Torah), on the Temple Mount.

So, the Passover offering that is supposed to symbolize complete faith in the G-d of Israel, and His redemptive process, has degenerated into eating more Matzah at the end of the Seder (the Afikoman). That, after we’ve already had our fill of Matzah earlier; instead of taking the symbol of the oppressor, chaining it in public for a four days, then slaughtering it, roasting it in a way that the evil ones can see their “power” being destroyed, and then eating it, Real Korban Pesach! Just like before we left Egypt.

I really lust to bring the Korban Pesach to the Bet HaMikdash, and worship the G-d of Israel, the way He intended me to do, as described in His Holy Torah. Every year, I hope that this year, will be THE YEAR!

In fact, every committed Jew should desire the rebuilding of the Bet HaMikdash (the Third Holy Temple, the House of God) on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But even before that, the Korban Pesach can be brought. As I said earlier, there are no halachic problems, to prevent it from being carried out properly today.

Interestingly, there is a similarity between Korban Pesach and Israel’s redemptive process unfolding before our eyes, in our time. Unlike other Offerings, if the majority of the nation is Tamei (Ritually Impure), as it is today, the Korban Pesach can be brought in an impure state.

So too, Israel’s Redemption comes whether the Jewish People are religiously observant or not. See Talmud Sanhedrin 97b, where Rabbi Yehoshua insists that “even if Am Yisrael does not do Teshuva (repentance), they will be redeemed.”

So, God has His own plan... And, we Jews, just have to have simple faith and trust in Him, and do what needs to be done.

Whether Jews of little faith understand it or not, every stabbing, every shooting, every act of terror and war by Arabs and Muslims against Jews, is a part of a long religious war taking place. That’s how they understand it. Well, let me tell you, there are Jews who understand this too. We shouldn’t let fear of the world or fear of the Israeli government, stop us from carrying out a Commandment of the Living God.

A couple years ago, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Palestinian Authority Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, threatened that if Jews “...hold Pesach (Passover) religious ceremonies on the Temple Mount...and continue attacks against the Muslim and Palestinian holy will turn the entire region into a ticking time bomb and cause a religious war, who’s results cannot be fathomed.”

“...A religious war, who’s results cannot be fathomed,” Hussein quipped. Well, we know what the results will be, just like every other war against the State of Israel, victory for the Jewish people again. See Talmud Megillah 17b, “The beginning of redemption comes through wars.”

“HaShem Ish Milchama...’’ The God of Israel is a Warrior, the Lord is his name (Exodus 15:3).

What prompted this outburst of the mufti? The mere attempt to reenact Korban Pesach – not even the real thing – by the Temple Institute and other Temple Mount organizations, near, but not on, the Temple mount in Jerusalem.

This year, on April 15th, the Sanhedrin will again oversee a full-dress reenactment of the Passover offering, for the eighth year. The ceremony will be held at the Davidson Center adjacent to the Temple Mount, as it was last year. By the way, the Arabs did nothing last year, or the year before.

But why a reenactment? FEAR!

The Yalkut Shimoni – a midrash – on the Book of First Samuel (106) teaches us an awesome lesson about the Churban/destruction and exile by the Romans, Rabbi Simeon Bar Menasya said, “Israel was only exiled after it rejected the following three things, Malchut Shamayim/the Kingdom of Heaven, Malchut Beit David/Kingship from the House of David, and the Beit HaMikdash/the Holy Temple.

We learn from this, that the cause of the exile of the Jewish people, was because we took too lightly, Torah observance (God’s rule), we should have demanded a rightful Davidic descendant be appointed as king, once the Maccabees drove out the Syrian Greeks, and Jews didn’t care enough about the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

A variant text in the Yalkut Shimoni explains from a different angle, why the Roman exile would be so long, as opposed to the limited seventy years of Babylonian exile, after the destruction of the First Temple. Rabbi Simeon Bar Menasya predicted, “In the future the following three things will be despised by Israel, the Kingdom of Heaven, David’s kingdom [the Messiah], and the building of the [Third] Temple.”

By the attitudes and behavior of most Jews today; the secularization and assimilation; apathy about the Messianic concept and the Temple Service; or FEAR of greatness in serving God, Rabbi Simeon’s prediction seems to have come true.

An Israeli Policy: How to Annex Judea and Samaria

Israeli PM Netanyahu recently dropped a bombshell during an interview on Channel 12 television.

“I obtained President Trump’s declaration on the Golan Heights, which says that it is our territory forever,” Netanyahu said. He continued, “I persuaded him to recognize Jerusalem. I will not divide Jerusalem, I will not uproot a single settlement and I will make sure we control all the territory west of the Jordan.”

Then he dropped the bomb, “Yes, I’ll apply sovereignty. I don’t separate the large [settlement] blocs from the isolated points [settlements in Judea and Samaria].”

He’s only talking about parts of Area C...

Later, in an interview with Arutz Sheva, PM Netanyahu stated, “I prefer to do it with American support. I spoke about it with the relevant authorities and it takes time to coordinate. I am not talking about the entire area, but first of all about the settlements. Not just the blocs, but the blocs and the isolated settlements, I do not [intend to] abandon them or transfer them to Palestinian rule, which would destroy them.”

When asked about whether he agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu said, “There will be no Palestinian state, not as people talk about it. It will not be because I am making sure of it. I am not uprooting settlements, rather applying sovereignty to them. I am maintaining a united Jerusalem and I am maintaining our control on the entire area west of the Jordan River to prevent another Gaza.”

But control does not necessarily mean sovereignty...

“This is my policy,” he continued. “I told that to the Americans, President Trump and President Obama. Vice President Biden told me that this is not a state. I told him to call it whatever he wanted. He said it was not sovereignty. I said that that’s what I'm willing to do, that's all.”

Netanyahu said he planned on carrying out the annexation gradually and with American agreement. “I brought President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, the transfer of the embassy and the recognition in the Golan Heights, which is very important to what I plan in Judea and Samaria.”

Netanyahu’s recent change of heart, supporting sovereignty, is still muddled thinking...

It follows a growing list of Israeli public figures who support Ribonut (The Sovereignty Movement), that’s been spearheaded by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover, from “Women in Green.” Yet these pubic figures haven’t provided many details on exactly how they will carry it out, actual policies.

Woman in Green has promoted a plan called Tama 100, but it fails to discuss economic incentives to Arab emigration from Judea and Samaria, or reform of the Arab educational system, a “De-Palistinazification Program” for example. Nor does it discuss a path toward full integration of those Arabs left in Judea and Samaria, into the State of Israel. In fact, in their March issue of “Sovereignty: A Political Journal,” it says clearly about the Tama 100 plan, “Arab settlement blocs remain outside this track – there is no change in the status of the Arabs.” This is a sure prescription for accusations of Apartheid, and for failure.

By contrast, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel Hayom, in mid February, “We [her and Bennett, the New Right] are in favor of applying Israeli law to Area C, where 100,000 Palestinians live. They will be able to choose to become citizens or residents, whichever they prefer.”

When asked whether 400,000 residents of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods would also receive full Israeli citizenship and the right to vote in Israel’s elections, Shaked said, “Jerusalem’s residents choose to receive residency, not citizenship. But, if we apply Israeli law to Area C, I’ll live peacefully with the fact that we gave 400-500,000 Palestinians, Israeli citizenship, and allowed them to vote in the Knesset’s elections. I’m not worried. Their birthrate is identical to our birthrate.”

More muddled thinking…

In 2017, Betzalel Smotrich wrote about his “One Hope Plan,” where he talked about economic incentive to encourage Arab emigration from Judea and Samaria and then said, “The Arabs of Judea and Samaria will conduct their daily lives on their own terms via regional municipal administrations lacking national characteristics. Like other local authorities these will hold their own elections, and will maintain regular economic and municipal relations between themselves and authorities of the State of Israel. In time, and contingent on loyalty to the state and its institutions, and on military or national service, models of residency and even citizenship will become available.”

Yet, there’s no talk of Israeli control over infrastructure, no discussion of changes to the educational system, and it allows the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to immediately choose their own municipal leadership and pay municipal taxes. The timeline is fuzzy, and there is no talk of a De-Palistinazification Program.

And, what’s this about military service for a recent enemy population…?

Smotrich addresses the possible “Apartheid” accusation, by saying they’ll hold their own elections. But, since he doesn’t discuss serious policies, about improving the life of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria (what I call “Sovereignty with Responsibility”), nor clear timelines for status issues, his answers to the “Apartheid” accusation are weak, in my opinion.

The Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, has a master plan, called “Hazon Ha-Million” (the Vision of One Million), to double the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria, which currently numbers 450,000, to one million, within the next ten years.

“If you look at all of the investments in infrastructure in the past 10 years, there was relatively little in Judea and Samaria,” says Hananel Dorani, chairman of the council. “Today, we are busy making master plans for electricity, transportation, water, alternative energy, industry, the economy, and the environment. If there will be four-lane highways here, it will give greater momentum to further settlement.”

They emphasize that their plan addresses the “Apartheid” issue. Planned improvements to the infrastructure will benefit both Jews and Arabs. CEO Yigal Dilmoni explained, “We are certain that we will be here and that we will stay forever, and we know that Arabs will be here as well. So, when I worry about the construction of a new road, so that there will not be accidents, it is not a road that will be for just for me, but rather, it will be for the Arabs in the area as well. When we add improvements in infrastructure of water and electricity, it is the same infrastructure that will be supplied to the Arab villages who live in the area. My worries and concerns for the future of the area are for the entire region. The Arabs will benefit from improvements to the roads, water, and electricity, and will enhance their well-being. When that happens, the area will be calmer.”

Although Likud, Union of Right-Wing Parties, and others on the right, support settlement in theory, the Nahala Movement, a settlement group, is doing something about it. They are promoting an Israeli settlement plan introduced under the government of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the early 1980s. The main objective is to settle 2 million Jews in Judea and Samaria. Nahala activists have been demanding the next government work toward the settlement of all of Judea and Samaria, and to abandon the idea of a two-state solution.

They have been collecting signatures on a petition that reads, “I hereby commit to be loyal to the land of Israel, not to cede one inch of our inheritance from our forefathers. I hereby commit to act to realize the settlement plan, for the settlement of 2 million Jews in Judea and Samaria, in accordance with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's plan, as well as to encourage and lead the redemption of all the lands throughout Judea and Samaria. I commit to act to cancel the declaration of two states for two peoples and replace it with the stately declaration: The Land of Israel: One country for one people.”

Likud members who have signed this declaration include Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Communication Minister Ayoub Kara, Immigration and Absorption Minister Yoav Gallant, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, both of the New Right party, also signed the petition.

Exercising sovereignty means massive Jewish re-settlement of Judea and Samaria and encouraging Arab emigration from there. It means total control over the infrastructure, and the lives of the former PA Arabs who stay. And, it also means responsibility, to help improve the lives of those Arabs who choose to stay and live peacefully with Jews.

According to a mid-February poll conducted by Commanders for Israel’s Security, which opposes annexation, they found that 60 percent of those surveyed were against annexation, while 24 percent supported it, and 16 percent were undecided.

In late March, a survey by the Geocartographia Institute, found that 73% of Israelis oppose withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the division of Jerusalem in order to establish a Palestinian state. Of those who oppose a Palestinian state, 85% support one of three proposals, application of sovereignty over Jewish settlements only (45.%); application of sovereignty over all of Area C (18.7%); or application of sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria and granting residency status to the Arabs, such as in East Jerusalem (21.3%).

If those numbers are anywhere near accurate, then just putting the annexation issue onto the agenda isn’t enough. To win over a majority of Israelis, annexation plans must be presented in more detail than is currently being discussed. They need to be made more realistic, and address the numerous issues involved in applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.

Now let’s look at some:

Policy Ideas for Extending Israeli Sovereignty to Judea and Samaria

1. Nullify the Oslo Accords and pass a bill in the Knesset to apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria, for the establishment of Jewish Political Sovereignty to areas A, B, and C, i.e. Annexation.

2. Establish total military and security control over all of Judea and Samaria, including the Arab cities, towns and villages, and de-militarize the Arab population.

3. Develop a Jewish Re-settlement Program to encourage Israelis and Jews from the diaspora, to re-populate the Biblical Heartland of Israel, rebuilding cities, towns, and villages, that were wiped out during nearly 2,000 years of foreign occupation.

4. Forcibly dismantle the Palestinian Authority.

5. Arrest and try the PA leadership and Palestinazi terrorists and activists (or eliminate them if arrest is impossible), for their encouragement and support of terrorism, i.e. crimes against the Jewish people, like what was done with Eichmann, and as should have been done to Arafat.

6. Introduce throughout the Arab sector in Judea and Samaria (the former PA), a comprehensive De-Palestinazification Program similar to what America introduced into Germany after their defeat in World War II.

7. Establish an Emigration Authority and the Monetary Encouragement Act to help encourage and fund the migration of Arabs from Judea and Samaria who choose to leave to another country.

8. For those Arabs who chose to stay, and take the citizenship path, a New Citizenship Council will be established. The council will have the authority to deny citizenship to those Arabs who break the law, which of course will included any form of resistance to Israeli Sovereignty. Deportation without compensation will be the lightest penalty; more grievous violations will receive the death penalty.

9. With Sovereignty comes responsibility, so Israel will establish a network of Israeli Police Stations throughout the Arab sector in Judea and Samaria, just as in the Jewish sector. The purpose, to keep law and order, and provide security to those Arabs who choose to live peacefully under Israeli rule, i.e. protect them from bullying and terror, from “Palestinazi Activists” who haven’t yet been arrested, tried and convicted.

10. With the Dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, Israel as sole Sovereign in the Area, will take control of all public services and municipal administration. Monies shall be invested into improved infrastructure, e.g. roads, electricity, water, and the sewer system.

11. By taking control over the educational system in the Arab sector, Israel can introduce a new pro-Israel, peaceful coexistence curricula, which includes it’s De-Palistinazification Program. Financial encouragement of Israeli Arab educators to work in the Arab sector of Judea and Samaria, should help introduce pro-Israel attitudes and Hebrew into the population.

12. A Healthcare improvement initiative will be started, including the financial encouragement of existing Israeli Arab medical personnel, to work in the Arab sector of Judea and Samaria. More contact between Israeli Arab citizens and the Arab citizens of Judea and Samaria, will help with their integration into Israel, long-term.

13. The new Arab citizens of Judea and Samaria, will be entitled to full civil rights and equality before the law with Jews, including civil and criminal adjudication in the Israeli court system, just as Israeli Arabs. They also will be responsible to pay all taxes, just like other Israelis. They also will be required to do National Service (but not army service), as will Israeli Arabs.

14. Starting in 2048, and upon approval of the New Citizenship Council in coordination with the security services, municipal self-rule will begin to be progressively introduced into the Arab sector of Judea and Samaria, contingent upon their cooperation with Israeli authorities and peaceful, proper and lawful behavior up until then. Cities, towns and villages that qualify, will then be given the opportunity to hold democratic elections and elect their own municipal administrations under the auspices of the of the New Citizenship Council. Those towns would now be allowed to collect their own tax money and fund and administer, their own municipal budgets.

15. But, as a former enemy population, they are are not entitled to national self-determination within the State of Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Therefore, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, are not entitled to vote in Knesset elections. Full citizenship, like Israeli Arabs, which includes the right to vote in national elections, will be offered to them in three generations or seventy years whichever is longer, contingent upon their full cooperation with Israeli authorities, good and lawful behavior, and with the approval of the security services and the New Citizenship Council.

I have presented here just one possible scenario, policies that still need to be fleshed out with even more detail, of what to do with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, once Israeli sovereignty has been established there.

As the issue is put on the top of the political agenda, all scenarios being presented to the public, need to be well thought out, explained in detail and fully discussed, to achieve support and total success. This generation’s major challenge is, how the Jewish people will achieve full integration of Judea and Samaria (the Biblical Heartland), into the modern State of Israel.

Judea Pearl Renounces NYU Distinguished Alumnus Status as School Prepares to Award Students for Justice in Palestine

Turing Award winner Judea Pearl has renounced his status as a distinguished alumnus of New York University, following the school’s decision to award its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter — which orchestrated an ongoing boycott of Zionist student clubs — for “extraordinary and positive impact on the University community.”

Pearl, who graduated with a doctoral degree from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering in 1965, was granted a Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Polytechnic Alumni Association during a campus lecture in 2013 and is currently a chancellor’s professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also leads a foundation named after his late son, journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed by Islamic terrorists in 2002 while on assignment in Pakistan.

“In the past five years, SJP has resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus,” Pearl wrote in a letter to NYU President Andrew Hamilton. “The decision to confer an award on SJP, renders other NYU awards empty of content, and suspect of reckless selection process.”

Pearl stated that his efforts to engage with university officials over these concerns “have been met with platitudes about ‘free speech’ despite the fact that the US State Department now includes, in its definition of discrimination, intimidation based on race, religion and ethnicity.”

“Mr. President, I have been in academia for close to 50 years, and I know the difference between free speech and campus norms,” he continued. “Entrusted with the mandate of maintaining a climate of learning and mutual respect, your office should distance itself from the SJP selection and explain to the campus why such distancing is necessary. In the absence of a corrective action by your office the academic standing of this university is begging for other voices to call out the Orwellian character of (SJP’s) award.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called NYU’s decision to honor SJP “a slap in the face to the Jewish community, including Jewish graduates and significant donors.”

“It is devoid of any ethical basis, rewarding professional propagandists who legitimize terrorism and demonize the Jewish State of Israel,” he argued, before encouraging other NYU community members to follow in Pearl’s footsteps.

In an email last week, an NYU alumni relations official told Pearl that according to university spokesperson John Beckman, the President’s Service Award is annually granted to more than 50 extra-curricular clubs and 100 individuals, which are selected by a group of student affairs staff members and a student representative.

“While many in our university community disagree with the SJP, we will continue to defend the rights of our students and others to express their opposing views,” the official asserted.

SJP first revealed that it would be receiving the award, which will be presented on Wednesday, in a Facebook post earlier this month.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have been selected to receive a presidential service award at NYU,” the group wrote. “Despite the pushback we have received from our institution, we agree that we have made ‘significant contributions to the university community in the areas of learning, leadership, and quality of student life,'” SJP added, quoting a letter it said it had received from the university.

The news was met with concern by some NYU students and alumni, who pointed to SJP’s blacklisting of campus clubs with opposing views and its introduction of a resolution supporting the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, which was adopted by the Student Government Assembly (SGA) in December.

The controversial campaign has been long denounced by major US and global Jewish groups for rejecting the existence of a Jewish nation-state in the Levant and promoting antisemitic tropes. Supporters say it seeks to force Israel to abide by international law and rectify injustices inflicted on Palestinians by the state’s creation.

NYU said at the time it would not adhere to the SGA resolution, noting that President Hamilton’s “opposition to boycotts of Israel is long-standing and well-known.”

The university also shared a 2016 statement by Hamilton, who called academic boycotts of Israel “contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas, and at odds with the University’s position on this matter.”

This stance is rejected by SJP, which last April led more than 50 campus groups in announcing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, as well as “Israeli goods and goods manufactured in the Occupied Territories, except for those manufactured by Palestinians.”

SJP’s coalition further committed to boycotting Realize Israel and NYU’s other Zionist student club, TorchPAC, with signatories agreeing not to co-sponsor events with them.

Several off-campus groups were also included on the SJP blacklist, among them the Anti-Defamation League civil rights group.

Later that same month, two students were arrested and subsequently released after allegedly stealing and burning an Israeli flag while participating in an SJP protest of “Rave in the Park,” an annual celebration held by the NYU club Realize Israel.

Also last year, SJP led more than 30 others groups in an October pledge“not participate in or apply to study abroad programs hosted at NYU Tel Aviv,” while supporting an SGA resolution last March that called on NYU to review “its nondiscrimination policies for Palestinian, Middle Eastern and other affected students traveling to the State of Israel and attending NYU Tel Aviv.”

Responding to news of SJP’s selection, Realize Israel said last week it was “outraged that the University would award an organization that has spent the last several years making Jewish and pro-Israel students feel unwelcome and unsafe on campus.”

“Members of SJP defaced Israel’s flag and physically assaulted pro-Israel students for openly celebrating their identities, and members of SJP brought forward not one, but two one-sided and factually inaccurate anti-Israel resolutions to the Student Government Assembly through a non-transparent, unbalanced, and undemocratic process,” the group noted.

“By presenting the NYU President’s Award to SJP, not only is our university condoning violence and discrimination against members of the NYU community, but it is declaring that this type of behavior represents the ethos of our university,” Realize Israel continued. “[It] is high time that the administration put an end to this endless cycle of intimidation, and we plan to voice our concerns about the systemic anti-Semitism perpetuated by anti-Israel activism that is plaguing our campus.”

SJP, which later appeared to mock Realize Israel’s concerns by claiming the group was “bitter” that it was not selected to receive an award, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Pesach we were Redeemed and set Apart

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

Every holiday has its accomplishment and the light unique to it, light that is akin to the first light that was showered on Israel. Through fulfilling the mitzvoth commanded to us, “reminding us of the Exodus”, that light shines upon us, like the light that shined on us at the start when we triumphantly left Egypt.

The mitzvoth involving chametz and matza serve to remind us and to teach us that until the Exodus from Egypt, Israel were mixed among the rest of the nations, like “one nation out of another” (Deuteronomy 4:34). It was at the Exodus that we were redeemed and set apart. How so? The chametz, the regular bread that we eat all year long, is suited to man’s nature. It is easily digestible and tastes good. Our sages compare chametz to man’s evil impulse. Yet there is something special, the Pesach holiday, in which Israel were commanded to entirely avoid seeing or housing chametz in our possession. By eating matza we diminish the power of the evil impulse and our tendency towards the material, and we increase our affinity for the spiritual, for our Father in Heaven.

Matza is our bread of faith. By such means we merit that same light and bounty unique to Pesach, time of our freedom, in which we were redeemed and set apart (see Ramchal, Derech Hashem, IV:8). In every generation a person must see himself as though he, himself left the slavery of Egypt. It was in this regard that G-d commanded us, “Remember that you were a slave” (Deuteronomy 5:14). As Rambam puts it, “As though you, yourself, were a slave who went free and was redeemed” (Hilchot Chametz U’Matza 7:5). In our generation, the generation of national rebirth and of the ingathering of the exiles, we can see with our own eyes the emergence from exile to redemption, from darkness to light, and it is relatively easy for us to view ourselves as though we, ourselves, just left exile for redemption. Yet as stated, at the Exodus we were not just redeemed but set apart from all the nations.

We recognized our identity, which makes us unique and sets us apart from the Egyptians and from the nations, that G-d chose us from all the nations and He loves us, as we daily say, “G-d chooses His people Israel, with love” (blessings of the Shema).

Especially on the first night of Pesach, but in general as well, we must not only remember the redemption but also the separation between us and the nations. By such means we will merit, before Gd, whose word created the universe, to sing a new song, with enormous joy:

“When Israel went out of Egypt, Jacob’s household from a people of strange speech, Judah became G-d’s sanctuary, Israel His dominion” (Hallel).

With blessings for a kosher and joyous holiday,
Looking forward to complete redemption,
Shabbat Shalom.