Monday, October 31, 2005

Is Revenge a Bad Thing?

Why is it that in Israel, its considered unenlightened to want revenge for the murder of innocents? The media paints any group of people that go to a terror attack site, and yell for "revenge", as a bunch of loonies (and Kach). While within Judaism, there is a mitzva of not taking revenge: לא תיקום ולא תיטור את בני עמך, this does not apply against our enemies, and Judaism definitly does not believe in the Christian concept of "turning the other cheek."

Across the blogsosphere, GodolHador and DovBear have made reference to the Biblical Revenge Song of the prophet Samson. (music by Dov Shurin) -- mostly with disdain. Dov Shurin's song is so iconic, that even the "Otiyot" children's magazine related to it. Otiyot is very mainstream, so I assume the idea is pretty much accepted.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

DreamClash: The Jewish vs. Post-Zionist Civil War

Israel today is embattled by the clash of two conflicting, almost mutually-exclusive dreams. The Jewish dream is that of Jews returning to their homeland, and living in a Jewish State. The Post-Zionist dream which brought us the “Oslo accords” is that of a "New Middle East", of where Israel exists as a neutral, universal citizen-state of all its inhabitants, devoid of any predominantly Jewish religious character.

Peres: "There is a radical minority within us -- it is forbidden to let them express their opinions/views over the airwaves and media. They are a grave danger to democracy."

Shimon Peres represents the secular, post-Zionist elite which does not want to hear old-fashioned and radical ideas of the Land of Israel belonging to the Jewish people. When he was asked after losing the 1996 election to Binyamin Netanyahu, "Who Won the Election?” he replied, "The Jews won, and the Israelis lost." This statement embodies the DreamClash.

Israel first chief rabbi, Rav Avraham HaCohen Kook z'tl spoke about the necessity of "milchemet achim" (civil war) under certain circumstances. Before you recoil with shock and horror at the very idea, the issue which Rav Kook was referring to at the time was about shmirat shabbat and the Jewish character of Israel in the 1930’s. I don't believe that Rav Kook meant for this to be a war which, G-d forbid involves the loss of life, but a serious, bloodless engagement to further the dream of a Jewish country in the boundaries of the Land of Israel. While the Geneva Convention dictates the rules of modern warfare, the parameters of a bloodless Jewish "civil war" are dictated by Jewish law.

It’s very poignant to discuss this issue during the current time frame, since the anniversary memorials of Rabin's death are about to echo throughout Israel. The Altelena is a very depressing preliminary example of the DreamClash. The Altelena, an Irgun weapons-boat under the command of Menachem Begin, was fired upon by IDF forces under Rabin's command. Begin ordered Irgun troops to refuse to return fire under any circumstances, and 16 Jewish Irgun fighters were killed in the episode. Begin understood that in a Jewish civil war, there are very clear lines of what is permitted and what is not. Rabin didn't understand, and told Ben-Gurion in 1967 that he would have carried out the attack on the Altelena, even with 20/20 hindsight. He even was quoted as saying "We screwed them [Ifighterster's] on the boat, and we screwed them when they were in the water [swimming to shore]." This apathy continued onwards throughout his leadership during the Oslo accords, when he constantly berated Jewish settlers as “crybabies” after terrorist attacks were directed at Jewish targets, and he was proud to be “Prime Minister of 98% of the country.”

Paragraphs like you the one you just read is exactly what Shimon Peres wants to be forbidden from reaching any media outlet, for it is "a danger to democracy."

At this point, it is important to insert a mandatory disclaimer to prevent (maybe) an overly hysterical backlash from the Israeli police and Criminal Prosecution Office. This article is not advocating or condoning political assassinations.

Unfortunately, what was so clear to Rav Kook and to Menachem Begin about DreamClash is lost on Israel's secular Post-Zionist leadership.

The question is what is really behind the Post-Zionist dream. Is its driving force one of despair and hopelessness that normalization will never be reached in the Middle East, as long as Israel exists as a “Jewish” state? Perhaps it’s loathing for organized religion dates back to the Marxist roots of secular Zionism. Why is a Universal State of no-religion so important to the Post-Zionist dream? Could it not be simpler to be a citizen of any other neutral Western country of the world? Finally, why is there never any soul searching from the Post-Zionist world? It is a dream that is absolute. In 1995 after one of the horrific terrorist attacks, I asked a leftwing friend, “How many buses need to blow up before you admit that the Oslo process was a mistake?” His answer to me was, “there aren’t enough buses on the planet for that to happen.”

The more I hear stories of the Gaza refugee’s treatment by SELA (government’s resettlement, the more its difficult to believe that it’s anything less than intentional cruelty. No real effort was made at all to transplant “communities”, rather appear to deal with each individual family. The government has ignored the communal aspect of the refugee problem it created, and instead of the slightest bit of human empathy, the refugees face unbelievable problems of zero planning for community cohesion, employment, and lack of social services. It is not beyond the realm of fantasy to imagine the government’s behavior within the framework of a larger, more sinister intent.

The Jewish dream of returning to Zion is very different; it contains the basis that the country of the Jews, should be a state first and foremost for the Jewish people. It is not shameful to want a national homeland for the Jewish people, nor racist to grant preferable building rights to Jews. Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount are not an issue to be ignored and banned by the Supreme Court. Once it’s clear that Israel is a Jewish State, then it’s logical that preferential treatment be given to its citizens before others.

Is there a possible end-game resolution to DreamClash that won’t rip Israel apart? I believe that although the majority of Israel would prefer a Jewish State over the Post-Zionist alternative, the Post-Zionist adoption of fuzzy rules of battle will result in additional “disengagements”, more cultural and ideological battles, and more denial of civil rights, freedom of speech and prayer.

For 2000 years, Jews have turned towards Israel and Jerusalem in prayer, with the faith that Jews would return and rebuild a Jewish country. During the same 2000 years, Jews also continued their belief in a Messianic arrival.

This probably scares the Post-Zionists more than anything.

Haveil Havalim #42 - thanks Batya.

Always nice to get mentioned elsewhere. Great Roundup of the JBLOGOSPHERE.

Read it here:

Guest Blog - Letter to Editor of HaAretz

Regarding "The Extermination Speech" (Oct. 29):

To the Editor of HaAretz:

Kudos to Haaretz for its unequivocal condemnation of Iran's recent call for the eradication of Zionism. But what incredible inconsistency! For the past 12 years, your paper has supported the Government of Israel's decision to empower an organization whose constitution has the explicit goal of "eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." That organization is the party of Abbas and Arafat: Fatah.

Logically, your paper should have perceived the danger of ignoring Fatah's call for our extermination, just as it correctly perceives the danger of ignoring Iran's call for our extermination.

I suppose though that on an emotional level, it is difficult for Haaretz to acknowledge Fatah for the mortal enemy it is because to do so would mean forfeiting the political means to challenge the much hated settlement movement.

Robert Klein
Beer Sheba

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Evil in Sunglasses.

The above Palestinian Arab slime blew himself to hell yesterday at a Hadera felafel store. Does he think the sunglasses will help shade his eyes from the glare of hell?

The Disengagement will just create more of these monsters, who know that crime pays, and every additional homicide bomber is one step closer to Israel's total capitulation to terror.

Ambulances at the scene

Remains of the store

More of the same.

Israel targets Free Speech. Two years since the forced closure of Arutz-Sheva, Israel Public Radio.

Two years ago Israeli police forces raided "Radio Arutz-Sheva's studios in Beit-El, Israel, and permanently closed the station. One of Israel's most popular radio station, Arutz-Sheva was the only alternative radio to broadcast rightwing views, news and content. The only station to exclusively broadcast songs in Hebrew, the only station with its own news program, the only station that alternative viewpoints could be shared and heard. I fondly remember broadcasting from Beit El with my own weekly news roundup program, being a part of a unique Jewish project -- freedom of the airwaves spreading a different message of hope instead of capitulation.

A bit of technical background; in the State of Israel, all radio and TV is highly regulated and there is no freedom of the airwaves. You cannot open your own radio station and legally license it, for the government wants to be able to control what you broadcast. To get around these draconian edicts, Arutz-Sheva would line-broadcast from their studios in Beit El to their boat, Eretz Hatzvi -- located outside Israel's territorial waters off the coast of Tel-Aviv, and rebroadcast to all of Israel from the ship's on-board transmitters.

In the 1970's Abie Nathan founded and operated the left-wing Voice of Peace radio station, which also broadcast from a ship off of Israel's coast. Yet even though the Voice of Peace ship was 200 meters off the coast of Israel, and didn't even try to legally place itself outside of Israel's territorial waters, the Israeli government never had a problem with it.

Only when threatened with the possibility of a right-wing opinion, did Israel's government go into action -- not only shutting down the station, but arresting and charging the owners, operators, and DJ's of the station.

One could argue that Israel desperately needs a constitution to guarantee civil liberties of freedom of speech and the press. However, as long as the Supreme Court elects itself and is a self-perpetuating body of its own liberal leftist interpretation of what it believes Israel should be, a constitution would be a worthless document.

And so, another year has passed since Arutz Sheva has been silenced. Just don't let anyone fool you into thinking that Israel is a real democracy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Avian-MEME-7 flu virus

A mutant strain of the MEME-7 virus was thrown at me last week by Ze'ev @ Israel Perspectives)

7 Things I can do:

1. Build a house in Israel without going crazy (well, my wife and I did have a minor disagreement over the bathroom tiles, but other than that...)
2. Talk in public about almost anything.
3. Remember names and faces, and kill at Jewish geography.
4. Play the piano (mostly by ear)
5. Code in C, Win32 API
6. Drive an Ambulance; perform CPR.
7. Neutralize Arab terrorists; effectively manage a counter-terrorist unit in complex urban combat situations.

Things I can't do:

1. Study with more than 2 kids on shabbat afternoon for tests in gemara without falling asleep.
2. Drive a bus (yet)
3. Hear a baby cry while I'm sleeping
4. Wash dishes without my hands falling apart.
5. Eat peanuts without dying.
6. Shower more than 3 minutes before shabbat starts on Friday afternoon.
7. Carry on a conversation for more than 3 minutes without my phone ringing/beeper buzzing/meers announcing.

7 Things I constantly say:

1. Sorry about that.
2. Give me the bad news first.
3. I'm leaving work in only 5 more minutes.
4. I'll do that tomorrow.
5. Is this urgent?
6. Whassup?
7. Thanks, I really appreciate it.

7 Things I'd like to do in my lifetime:

0. Retire early, to have enough time to do everything I like doing -- including spending time with my family (I'm typing this with my 2 year old sitting on my lap)
1. I'd like to hope that my actions help bring the geula closer than pushing it away.
2. Senior EMT/Paramedic/Cardiology Training
3. Build and fly a radio controlled helicopter, souped up with night vision equipment and GPS remote tracking.
4. Finish my N-scale model railroad, and have it on display for kids.
5. Public speaking tours to the US on the importance of aliya
6. Be a part of rebuilding Gush Katif, bring a korban pesach, greet Mashiach.

People I'd like to infect with this time-wasting virus:

Artist Formerly known as Purple Parrot
The Meidad's
Litvak without a Shtriemel

PS: I like to infect Treppenwitz but he's rightly against Avoda Zara viruses.

My wife is totally ready to kill me for having spent so much time on my blog today, but it is all out of my system...till Thursday...maybe.

Moadim L'Simcha!

Biblical Techelet - Cool Jew Blue

As I wrote earlier, we took the kids on Thursday of Chol HaMoed to the Dor beach, located on Israel's coast midway between Hadera and Haifa.

For the uninitiated, there's a biblical commandment for one of the threads of tzitzit to be blue, "techelet." A few years back, a group of Israeli (mostly olim from the US) became determined to discover the biblical blue. The gemara talks about the different ways to identify the techelet - it must come from a snail, must be like the sea, must be very steadfast, and identical to the fake plant-based techelet. The Murex Trunculus answers all these conditions, and was found in mass quantities along the Dor beach. The only problem was that the dye produced from the Murex was royal purple -- "Argaman", and the researchers couldn't figure out how it could turn blue. One day, a researcher in the 80's from Hebrew University put his beaker full of Murex dye in the sun while waiting for his coffee to heat up. When he came back 10 minutes later, he removed the fibers which were in the beaker, and when exposed to air, the fibers turned a brilliant blue, and the secret of techelet was re-discovered. For the murex dye to turn into techelet instead of purple, it needs to be exposed to sunlight, which breaks away the bromide from the indigo. You can read all this fascinating information on the Techelet website.

One may think that once techelet was rediscovered, that its just a simple matter to tie it onto your tzitzit. I thought so...Till I found out that there are many different ways to tie your techelet. First, there's the machloket between the Rambam and the Ra'avad - is the techelet string one completely blue string [Ra'avad] (and therefore, you get 2 out 8 strings after you finish knotting them), or is the techelet string blue only halfway, so that you get 1 blue out of 8 strings [Rambam]. Once you decide which techelet string you use, you need to decide how to tie it: There are many different ways; Rav Amram Goan, the Vilna Gaon, Rashi, Tosafot:

Anyway - we went snorkeling with the kids, made real techelet dye, dyed wool and it turned brilliant techelet blue. Everyone had a blast. Our guide, Moiz Navon was great...the movie and presentations were fun. If you are in Israel during Sukkot, I highly recommend this trip!

What better Jewish family sukkot experience could you ask for?

Moadim L'Simcha!

Sukkot Musings...

OK, I admit it. While I may have a brazillion ideas to blog now, I'm too busy to blog everything.

My Top Ten list of blog entries I want to write now, but don't yet have the time:

1. Israel's High Court of Justice. In a seemingly landmark case, the BaGaTz ruled on Erev Sukkot that Gershon Solomon's organization, the "Temple Mount Faithful" would be allowed to ascend to Har Habayit (The Temple Mount) during Chol Hamoed, and they could pray on the mount. The court ruled they could not law the cornerstone for the Third Beit HaMikdash, but that they could still daven there. In a western democracy, this would be considered acceptable normative freedom of religion, and far from a landmark decision. Yet in ardently secular Israel, its usually forbidden for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount; that's a freedom reserved exclusively for Arabs. So why am I complaining? The government couldn't let this pass, and Israel's attorney general requested that the Supreme Court reverse its decision. Today, the court admitted it "made a mistake" -- it didn't mean, "Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount", rather, "Jews should be allowed to ascend the Temple Mount." Slip of the quill. Exclusive Freedom of Prayer for Arabs has been restored. See A7 for more

2. Israel as a Democracy...NOT. A leaked report put together by Israel's public defender's office has come out against Israel's Court system (including the Supreme Court as well), Israel's Police, and Israel's Criminal Prosecution system, in a scathing report of systematic abuse towards the anti-disengagement protestors this past summer. Documented reports of illegal tactics, persecution, and indictment based on thoughts of individuals (instead of actions) blast the entire system for doing everything possible to crush the anti-disengagement protestors, including teenage, and under age protestors. Apparently Barak was quite upset at the report and was aghast that anyone would accuse our super-hero judicial activist of not being democratic.

3. I've been meme'd by Ze'ev. I have been thinking about this for a few days, and I hope to publish this tonight. However someone mentioned to me that if I don't publish and tag 7 others within X days, then it will cause more category 5 hurricanes in the US. Sounds like avoda zara to me...

4. We went snail hunting (snorkeling) last week on search of the Murex Trunculus off of the Dor Beach in northern Israel. The Murex is the source of the Techelet used by amuatat Petil T'Chelet. Totally fascinating. Totally enjoyable for the whole family. Pics and explanations coming soon.

5. Got a really annoying beeper message from the IDF the other day. It said, "Activists from a certain town plan on shooting at cars on a certain road". Activists? Who is writing for the IDF these days, CNN? Who needs CAMERA and MediaWatch, if the IDF is sending out beepers about terrorist "activists"?
that's it - too many sukka guests have arrived, and I'm neglecting them by blogging.

Moadim L'Simcha!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sukkot Neurosis

While everyone is ranting and raving about how much they love sukkot, this holiday always makes me a bit nuts. Don't get me wrong, I agree that Sukkot should be a happy chag, with lots of good holiday spirit and peace among Jews (and mankind). Yet the Arba Minim freak me out every year.

Living in Israel, we have great service -- tons of teenagers come to my door, in advance of chag, and take orders. "Kosher, Mehudar, and Super Mehadrin" - ranging from 60 NIS to 95 NIS. At only 95 NIS for super-mehadrin, can't beat that deal anywhere. Granted, when I had the time, I enjoyed browsing the Mea Shearim/Geula or Bnei Braq lulav markets, but now time is way to precious. 3 days before sukkot, I'm invited to my salesman's home, and in the comfort of their home get to browse the exclusive "super mehadrin" section. The problem is, that I'm convinced the very second I buy this beautiful etrog, and super closed lulav, the brown spots will come out overnight, and the lulav won't make it to the first day of chag.

Will my wife's potato kugel squish against the hadassim and aravot in the fridge, crunch their leaves and make them fall off? Will the chol hamoed trip break my lulav's back, despite all the tender love and care I give it? And then, in shul itself - will my lulav get knocked over, my etrog drop kicked? Will I succeed in putting my hadassim and aravot back into the fridge before they dry out?

ARG! Sukkot Neurosis every year...Makes me so relieved when Shmini Atzeret comes around.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sukkot Rain in Israel

Never a good sign for it to rain on Sukkot in Israel so we are rather in the doldrums today. Taking the entire Muqata clan to Gush Etzion for the First day of chag, we were planning on going to Chevron today, first day of Chol HaMoed. Since its been raining all morning, and my MDA beeper is going off every 10-20 minutes about rain-related traffic accidents, we decided to hold off on the Chevron trip. Adding insult to injury, there was a 3 hour power outage this morning in Gush Etzion, keeping everyone rather stir-crazy...and I couldn't even blog.

Power's back, kids are still a bit crazy, so we have to come up with a plan "B".

Israel to Gaza Refugees: Drop Dead, and pay yourself

Amidst the erev sukkot tragedies of the murderous PA Arab terrorist attack on Jewish Civilians at the Gush Etzion and Eli junctions, the State of Israel continues its harassment of the Jewish communities it expelled from the Gaza Strip.

Chezi Chazani, from the Jewish community of Netzer Chazani in the Gaza Strip was evicted from his home this past summer during the "Disengagement." The State of Israel, despite its media hype has not found housing and employment solutions for most of the refugees. Mr. Chazani died of a heart attack last week, and since he has no living solution and is no longer a legal resident of any city/municipality, he is not entitled to free burial services (as all other Israeli citizens are entitled to). His family asked that he be buried in Rishon LZion, in the cemetery where other family members are buried, but the Rishon municipality insisted on a 30,000 NIS burial fee. His family tried other places as well, and each municipality gave the same excuse; "Not a Resident - No Free Burial". So, his family paid 30,000 NIS for him to be buried in Rishon, since, thanks to the "disengagement" and its supporters around the world (Jewish and Arab alike) they are no longer residents of any municipality in Israel.

Courtesy of Arutz Sheva

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Operation Band-Aid … and a Time to Give

October 12, 2005
by Rachel Saperstein, Neve Dekalim/Jerusalem Gold Hotel

The purity of “chessed”, loving kindness, lies behind the concept of Operation Band Aid. According to the Jewish philosopher Maimonides the first degree of charity is employment, to make an adult self-supporting. The second degree is total anonymity between the giver and the receiver. To be able to give is the pleasure, and to be able to receive in a dignified way is the morality of this form of charity. For the giver there is no letter of thanks, no certificate of appreciation, no dinner in one’s honor. One gives for the sake of giving.

For many years the farmers of Gush Katif were given the privilege of donating green vegetables to all the soup-kitchens in Israel. The large number of charity collectors who made the long trek to Gush Katif are witness to our generosity. Our children were constantly raising funds for cancer research and aid to the blind and disabled. Amounts raised in Gush Katif were often greater than the national average.

The concept of the “gemach”, a free loan society, was an outstanding feature in Gush Katif. Diapers, baby formula, “simcha” supplies were loaned and returned. Families sponsored “gemachs” for every need. And every act of charity was done without fanfare, to preserve the self-respect of the recipient.

Today the people of Gush Katif, homeless and without jobs, are themselves in need of monetary aid. Farmers, teachers, business people are idle while the once prosperous Gush Katif area, whose exports brought millions of dollars into the national coffers, lies in ruins, its people scattered in hotels, dormitories and tent cities.

Today each family must pay a daily fee for the room into which it has been forced. Belongings are stored in ship containers for which we pay an exorbitant fee, ‘punishment’ for our not having surrendered earlier. We are forced to continue paying mortgages on homes reduced to rubble.

The government of Israel has paid limited compensation to a very few of the people of Gush Katif. There has been little government help, only pronouncements and promises. Now we are being threatened with expulsion from our hotel rooms after the holidays. Many of our fellow Israelis believe the lies of the government. Only those who know the truth have come to our aid.

Today the proud, brave people of Gush Katif are reaching out to you for help. Operation Band Aid is just that, a band aid on a gaping wound. Each family receives an envelope with 500 shekels to use for small items – a newspaper, bus fare, a toy for a child.

This Yom Kippur please set aside funds to aid the people who held on despite years of bombardment to save Eretz Yisroel, only to be evicted and abandoned.

May this New Year bring us joy. May each family enjoy the pleasures of a home, a job, loving family and friends... and above all, good health.
Tax deductible dollar checks can be sent to:

Central Fund for Israel
Rehov Hagoel 13
Efrat 90435
earmarked for: Operation Band Aid

For shekel checks:
Women in Green
POB 1269
Efrat 90435
earmarked for: Operation Band Aid

Breaking News: 7 Jews wounded by Arab gunfire at Gush Etzion intersection

4:10 PM Israel time, Car with Arab terrorists passing Gush Etzion junction (near Alon Shvut) opened fire at civilian bus stop. Initial Reports of 7 wounded, 2 critical, 3 moderate, 2 light. More Information Soon.

4:30 PM, Unconfirmed, 2 dead.
4:41 PM, Unconfirmed, 3 dead

5:00 PM, New Update: Shooting attack with injuries at Eli junction in the Shomron.

5:08 PM, 2 Jews wounded in Eli drive by shooting attack. 1 serious, 1 moderate.

5:22 PM, 3 Jews confirmed dead in Gush Etzion drive-by Arab terror attack

5:24 PM, 1 Jew confirmed seriously wounded in drive-by Arab terror attack

פיוט ונתנה תוקף

ונתנה תוקף קדושת היום,
כי הוא נורא ואיום,
ובו תנשא מלכותך
ויכון בחסד כסאך
ותשב עליו באמת.

אמת כי אתה הוא דיין ומוכיח
ויודע ועד.
וכותב וחותם וסופר ומונה
ותזכור כל הנשכחות,
ותפתח ספר הזכרונות
ומאליו יקרא
וחותם יד כל אדם בו.

ובשופר גדול יתקע,
וקול דממה דקה ישמע,
ומלאכים יחפזון
וחיל ורעדה יאחזון

ויאמרו: הנה יום הדין
לפקוד על צבא מרום בדין,
כי לא יזכו בעיניך בדין.

וכל באי עולם יעברון לפניך
כבני מרון.
כבקרת רועה עדרו
מעביר צאנו תחת שבטו,
כן תעביר ותספור
ותמנה ותפקוד נפש כל חי
ותחתוך קצבה לכל בריה
ותכתוב את גזר - דינם.

בראש השנה יכתבון
וביום צום כפור יחתמון
כמה יעברון וכמה יבראון,
מי יחיה ומי ימות,
מי בקיצו ומי לא בקיצו,
מי במים ומי באש,
מי בחרב ומי בחיה,
מי ברעב ומי בצמא,
מי ברעש ומי במגפה,
מי בחניקה ומי בסקילה,
מי ינוח ומי ינוע,
מי ישקט ומי יטרף,
מי ישלוו ומי יתיסר,
מי יעני, מי ישפל,
ומי ירום.

ותשובה ותפילה וצדקה
מעבירין את רוע הגזרה.

כי כשמך כן תהילתך,
קשה לכעוס ונוח לרצות
כי לא תחפוץ במות המת
כי אם בשובו מדרכו וחיה,
ועד יום מותו תחכה לו,
אם ישוב מייד תקבלו

אמת כי אתה הוא יוצרם,
ואתה יודע יצרם,
כי הם בשר ודם.
אדם יסודו מעפר וסופו לעפר,
בנפשו יביא לחמו.

משול כחרס הנשבר,
כחציר יבש וכציץ נובל,
וכצל עובר,
וכענן כלה,
וכרוח נושבת,
וכאבק פורח,
וכחלום יעוף.

ואתה הוא מלך,
אל חי וקיים.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is Inter-Dimensional Engagement Possible?

Cosmic-X has offered the 2 similar viewpoints of JoeSettler and Ze’ev thesis that the US Jewry is disengaging from Israel. Before I offer my own theory, I would like to comment on the “bottom line” of the 2 different collection funds for Gaza Refugees and Katrina Survivors. Just because the Katrina fund collected far more money $600K vs. $170K, I don’t think that is a proper litmus test of American’s Jewry’s loyalty to Israel.

From a halachik standpoint, עניי עירך קודמים – charity should be first given to the needy of your local hometown, prior to the needs of other communities. I don’t fault US Jewry for donating more to Katrina survivors; they are probably observing this halacha correctly.

I would like to offer a different perspective on US Jewry’s attitude towards Israel, focusing on the Orthodox segment. How “engaged” has US Orthodox Jewry been in the first place? What real connection exists between these Jews and the daily lives of Jews living in the Land of Israel?

Sadly, the first word that comes to mind to describe the connection among most US Orthodox Jewry, is “Disneyland”. Israel is the largest theme park in the world that caters to the Orthodox Jewish world. Bigger than OU/NCSY takeover of Six Flags Great Adventure on Chol Hamoed Pesach. Larger than the Kosher Food Expo in the Javits Convention center in NYC. Even more grandiose than Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas at Madison Square Garden or the Meadowlands.

Starting with the ELAL flight to Israel, the comical routine starts at the airport with that extra special ELAL security check-in, davening shacharit in the aisles on the plane, and culminating with the grand entrance at the new terminal 3 in Ben Gurion airport. Every Israeli is a larger than life Mickey Mouse, every IDF soldier a Donald Duck, and the old city of Jerusalem is the ultimate Epcot center of Orthodox Judaism.

The braver souls may take the scary Hevron bulletproof bus ride, take the Gush Katif Kassam attraction (temporarily closed due to renovations, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience).

Need a spiritual attraction? The Kotel, or the countless shuls around the country. We’ve got graveyards of gedolim, tzadikim, and your relatives located everywhere! Want to get the season ticket? Learn in a yeshiva for a year...we’ve got more yeshivot than emuna threatening posts on GodolHador’s website. Everything is in Hebrew…what a funky language. Check out that settler in orange! Don’t even get me started on the gift shops.

I admit it. It’s offensive. I used to be one of those season pass tourists from the US learning in yeshiva in Israel. Yet, I wasn’t really connected. In fact, it’s incredibly hard to be connected to Israel from afar. Some people wore gas-masks in the US in 1991 whenever scuds fell in Israel, but that’s not a connection.

One of the main reasons that 50% of all North American olim return back to the USA within 5 years, is because they were seeking the Disneyland Israel. It’s not their fault, and living here is far from a rose garden. The only way to really understand Israel is to live here…for a while, as real people, and not on a season ticket pass, or a 2 week Epcott special.

My main theory is that based on living in Israel being a different dimension of existence than that of US Jewry, which is very difficult to comprehend. The book Flatland is a great midrash that could explain the difficulties in understanding Israel from the perspective of US Jewry. The world of Flatland is a 2 dimensional plane. There are lines, squares hexagons, all who live a very wonderful existence within their dimension. One day, a stranger appears from the 3rd dimension: A Sphere. He tries to explain how he can intersect the plane of Flatland and he has a wonderful quality called “volume.” Needless to say, it’s very challenging for him to explain to a 2 dimensional being what a 3rd dimension is.

As it is almost Yom Kippur, I would like mention that this suggestive comparison is not meant to be, G-d forbid condescending towards US Jewry. I was there, and even after moving to Israel, I didn’t at all comprehend what was really going on. I didn’t understand the inner workings of Israel’s politics, the passion of the Left, the tenaciousness of Israel’s media, or even what loving the land really meant. It took time, a lot of time to comprehend what a different dimension Israel is, from living in the US.

Living in Israel today, means you have your finger on the pulse of Jewish history, you are part of Jewish history, and you are living proof of the Prophesies from the Tanach. We are the living legacy that the Jewish people have returned home to rule ourselves, in our homeland.

When Gush Katif was destroyed this summer, my children participated in the struggle against the Disengagement. We went to every protest possible, and it was a challenge explaining to them about democracy, rule of law, Ahavat Chinam, Ahavat HaAretz, and what are the boarders of acceptable Jewish behavior in protesting the government’s policy. You can’t compare that to the summer plans of Orthodox Jewish children in the US. My children saw our friends thrown out of their home, and they lived with us till they got back on their feet.

My children know that I will do whatever I can to ensure that we return and rebuild Gush Katif. If however, G-d forbid, I am unsuccessful, then it will be their mission to return and rebuild. This is a mission they will pass on to their children as well.

Living in Israel today is the fulfillment of the promise our forefathers made 2000 years ago when the Romans destroyed the Beit HaMikdash.

How do we bridge the spatial gap between Israel and US Jewry, and get them to feel what is going on here? I’ll let you think about that over Yom Kippur.

May we be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life, Good health, Unity and Prosperity.

The Muqata.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Refusing Disengagment Orders: The Untold Story

After the Disengagement was finally over, the IDF and Prime Minister's office gave "grand" accounts of the total number of IDF soliders who refused orders. Over and over again the media drummed into our heads, "a total of 63 soldiers refused to participate in the 'Disengagement'" -- it wasn't that big a deal....only 63.

For the life of me, I could not understand these numbers at all. I know lots of soldiers who had refused, and wondered how it could all add up to 63. Arutz Sheva's weekend newspaper, B'Sheva did an in-depth report on the subject, and found out the following amazing information that Sharon and the IDF would rather you didn't know.

50% of the Golani infantry brigade refused to participate
25% of the Tzanchanim/Paratrooper brigade refused
20% of the Givati infantry brigade refused
10's of percentages of officer's course training cadets refused

The entire Nachal Chareidi battalion wasn't even asked by the IDF, as they said, "if you require us to participate in the expulsion, you will find an entire battalion that will also need to be expelled."

Bottom line; close to 6000 soldiers refused to take part, in any matter, shape or form with Sharon's Disengagement plan.

Who did participate?

  • IAF pilots were told they had to participate; refusal would mean immediate suspension and no aviation job in the commercial industry (can’t be an ELAL pilot, if you were thrown out of the IAF).
  • Career soldiers; These soldiers have been in the IDF 10 or more years, with families and mortgages, and refusal would mean immediate discharge from the IDF, loss of pension and severance pay.
  • Police: (same as above).

Granted, I'm sure there were a good 20% that enjoyed throwing Jews out of their homes, which probably translates into the same 20% of Israeli Jews that specifically eat chametz on Pesach.

The big question is: This Yom Kippur, do I have to forgive every Jew, for their wrongdoings?

I guess we should ask for the entire Jewish people, including the above to be inscribed in the Book of Life, so that those who committed the above atrocities can be tried and punished by the Jewish people, and can live out their jail sentences, ad meah v'esrim -- till they reach 120, behind bars.

The Two Etrogs - one smells, one stinks.

This guy is so frum. Is it a bad thing during Aseret Yemei Teshuva to write such a thing?

Maybe not. He said he doesn't need to ask forgiveness from anyone, so I guess he doesn't deserve anyone's forgiveness either.

Bein Keseh L'Asor Trivia Question: What other Israeli Prime Minister said he didn't need to ask forgiveness from anyone?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Israel's High Count: Illegal to use Arabs as Human Shield

As expected, Israel's High Court of inJustice's ubermorality will cause the death of more Jews.

The Human Shield procedure is where IDF soldiers get Palestinian civilians to knock on their adjacent neighbor's doors (of wanted terror suspects) and ask them to surrender.

This procedure has saved the lives of countless IDF soldiers and the scenarios goes like this:

IDF soldier: Hey Ahmed, get over here.
Ahmed: What do you want from me? I didn't do anything you stupid soldier.
IDF soldier: Call me whatever you want, I need you to do me a favor.
Ahmed: A favor? For you? Who are you kidding?
IDF soldier (motioning with his M16): Go next door, knock on the door, and tell them to surrender or we'll have to go in shooting, probably bulldoze the entire house too.
Ahmed: (grumbling) *&^%$ soldiers.
IDF soldier: I love you too - next door please?
Ahmed: Hey, Badran!
Badran: Go away!
Ahmed: Its me, Ahmed! Listen, don't shoot me though the door.
Badran: Go away - the IDF is gonna be here any minute.
Ahmed: Too late - they're already here. And they want you to surrender. Listen, they have the place surrounded, and their gonna bulldoze the house.
Badran: *&^%. Fine.
(comes out with his hands up - no one's dead. Ahmed is pissed).

Thanks to Aharon Barak and the High Court, the situation will unfortunately look like this:

IDF Soldier Platoon leader: Command, Command, come in, we have a positive ID on a terrorist in building #6!
Command: OK, you know the drill.
IDF Officer: Target building #6 ASAP with a Helicopter missile!
Command; What?
IDF Officer: Target building #6 ASAP with a Helicopter missile!
Command; What are you talking about? We can't do that...
IDF Officer: Well, last week, when we had the exact same situation, 3 soldiers were killed, just bomb the building!
Command: Sorry, no can do.
IDF Officer: Are you crazy! This terrorist just dropped off the bomber who blew up a bus 2 hours ago!
Command: So, you know the drill...just go on over and knock on the door.
IDF Officer: HELLO?!!! Do you hear what you are saying? We're going to be sitting ducks! He just sent someone to BLOW UP A BUS! There are 2 dozen dead and almost a hundred wounded from that attack!
Command: Rules are rules.
IDF Officer: Fine. Gotta follow the rules. Come on people, after me!

On his way to the door of the house, terrorist opens fire, killing officer and wounding 3 others. Terrorist is wounded...taken into captivity...released 6 months later by Ariel Sharon as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians. The terrorist will then continue exactly as before.

Its not nice...but neither are Jewish funerals. Take your pick.

See here for more background:,7340,L-3151383,00.html

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bush Joke.

Prior to my upcoming, awe-inspiring Rosh HaShana blog, which I don't yet know when I'm going to find the time to write, here's something that made me chuckle:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing.

He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident"

"OH NO!" the President exclaims, "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sits, head in hands...

Finally, the President looks up and asks.........."How many is a Brazillion??!"

Search the Muqata


Related Posts with Thumbnails