Yaakov Avinu was deeply concerned that he be buried in Eretz Yisrael as opposed to Egypt.
Thus, he taught us – his children – that protection of the dignity of remains after life is protection of the dignity and sanctity of life itself.
I am sharing a letter from Prof. Shnayer Leiman, the distinguished scholar whom we have had the opportunity to host as a Scholar-in-Residence on numerous occasions.
Please read it and join me in signing this important petition.
I don’t ordinarily get involved in signing petitions, but this is a matter that cries out for protest against the massive desecration that is about to take place. I’m sure you know that the Lithuanian government has announced plans to build a new convention center over the Old Jewish Cemetery of Vilna. Although the Vilna Gaon’s remains were removed from the Old Jewish Cemetery, the remains of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Jews are still buried in the Old Jewish cemetery. These include the remains of some of the greatest rabbis, Jewish martyrs, and pious women through the centuries, including R. Moshe Rivkes (d. 1671-2), author of the Be’er Ha-Golah on the Shulhan Arukh; R. Zelmele (i.e., R. Shlomo Zalman, d. 1788), brother of R. Hayyim of Volozhin and favorite disciple of the Vilna Gaon; R. Shmuel b. R. Avigdor (d. 1793), last Chief Rabbi of Vilna; R. Avraham b. Ha-Gra (d. 1809) ; the Ger Zedek of Vilna (d. 1749), whose remains were not removed from the Old Jewish cemetery (despite claims otherwise); and Traina (date of death unknown), mother of the Vilna Gaon; Chanah, first wife of the Vilna Gaon (d. 1782); and Gitel, second wife of the Vilna Gaon, who apparently outlived the Gaon (precise date of death unknown). Virtually every Jew who died in Vilna before the year 1831 was, in fact, buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery.
The petition does not call for the Lithuanian government to cancel plans for building a new convention center (funded largely by the EU). It simply asks that it be built at a different location in Vilnius – which can easily be done.
A wonderful Vilna resident, Ruta Bloshtein, a shomer shabbos woman who bakes challah for members of the Vilna kehillah every erev Shabbos, has taken upon herself the responsibility of spearheading this write-in campaign. She started some three weeks ago and has about 250 signatories so far. She needs at least 1000 signatures; if she doesn’t get them it will be a Chillul Ha-Shem even beyond the destruction of the Jewish cemetery itself. It will be a signal to the Lithuanian government that Jews neither care nor count. If she gets 3000 signatures, the political authorities will have little choice but to take the petition into account before making any hasty decision. She needs, and deserves, our help.
The two key Rabbonim in Lithuania today, Rabbi Krelin (Chief Rabbi of Lithuania) and Rabbi Krinsky (head of Chabad) are among the first 250 signatories. It seems to me this is a case of מת מצוה in more ways than one. Sefer Chasidim, §261 (ed. Margulies, p. 225) reads:
אהוב לך את המצוה הדומה למת מצוה שאין לה עוסקים, כגון שתראה מצוה בזויה או תורה שאין לה עוסקים, כגון שתראה שבני עירך לומדים מועד וסדר נשים, תלמוד סדר קדשים. ואם תראה שאין חוששים ללמוד מועד קטן, ופרק מי שמתו, אתה תלמדם, ותקבל שכר גדול כנגד כולם, כי הם דוגמת מת מצוה.
You should love mitzvos that have similar status to that of an abandoned corpse that no one attends to (and whose burial is obligatory on whoever finds it). Should you see a mitzvah that is denigrated, or a portion of Torah that is neglected, make a point of [doing the mitzvah and] studying the Torah that is neglected. Should you see the members of your community studying the Order of Mo’ed [the laws of the Festivals] and the order of Nashim [the laws pertaining to women], to the neglect of the other Orders, make sure that you study the Order of Kodoshim [the laws pertaining to sacred matters relating to the Temple sacrifices and service]. Should you see that no one concerns himself with the study of the talmudic tractate Mo’ed Katan, or the talmudic chapter Mi Shemeso [the third chapter of tractate Berakhos], make sure that you study them.
Your reward will be great, equal to that of all the others, for all these are samples of an abandoned corpse whose burial is obligatory on the one who finds it.
All one needs to do is to click on the link below, fill out the electronic form, and electronically sign their name. Please forward to others, so that they too can participate in this mitzvah. It is not a time to stand idly by.
A few weeks before Leonard Cohen passed away, somebody sent me [hat tip AN] a youtube video of his new song ‘You want it darker’.
I was mesmerised. I loved the song. I have to admit to not being a big listener of Leonard Cohen but knew some of his better known tunes as we all do (eg, Halleluka — yes, I write it with a K, it’s a Machlokes Tannoim at the end of Psochim, but that’s how I was taught).
Some listen to a song but don’t really “hear” the lyrics. In general, this is me. Often, I think it is because the lyrics and the tune often have no relationship. When they do, the lyrics become relevant to me. The famous and great Rabbi Ben Tzion Shenker ז׳ל who recently passed away, wrote his songs FROM the lyrics. The songs emerged from the lyrics. I think that’s the right way around. Others seem to always know and remember lyrics to songs irrespective. On the other hand, as a band leader, I’m probably more attuned (sic) to the musicianship and pitch of the singer (mind you, so many sing through pitch controllers these days) and don’t focus on lyrics.
What surprised me about this song was that the lyrics hit me between the eyes. I sent a link of the song to our family whatsapp group and said
“He’s preparing for his death, and it’s so deep, he’s telling us what he’s going to say to God”
I had heard that he was ill but I wasn’t across his life history in much detail.
I am somewhat drier and like things in black and white without the cloudiness of interpretation. I don’t want to guess multiple meanings.I remember in year 7 our English teacher becoming so excited while reading poems. This did nothing for me. I guess I don’t have that aesthetically nuanced ingredient. It’s also the rare piece of Art that I will stop and appreciate. Abstract art is something that just passes me by.
Yet, somehow, this song grabbed me immediately and the lyrics were just luscious. I said at the time that I was going to write my commentary to them but hadn’t gotten around to it. Apparently, Rabbi Sacks wrote a masterpiece “drush” but it was only after I mentioned to my wife last night before retiring to bed, that I had written this piece, that she told me about Rabbi Sacks’s interpretation. I had mistakenly thought Rabbi Sacks had spoken about Cohen’s most famous song Halleluka. Since writing the draft post, I listened to Rabbi Sacks, and enjoyed his ever-brilliant take. You can watch it here
Just before writing this blog post, I looked up Leonard Cohen on wikipedia to learn a bit more about him. Cohen was seemingly an enigmatic thinker. He strangely stayed close to his Orthodox Synagogue and yet became involved with Zen Buddhism even becoming a Monk. He never abandoned his Judaism, although his life couldn’t be described as that of someone with complete fidelity to their religion’s tenets. He felt that there was no contradiction with Zen because his involvement never included another deity. There was only one God for Cohen. He believed that, it seems, all his life. There was only one Judaism as well, and it was Orthodox Judaism. Whatever the case, he was clearly monotheistic and believed he would confront God one day, as do we all. He was buried in a traditional Orthodox way, as was his wish.
Here are the lyrics and uncharacteristically my own thoughts, after I first heard it (and replayed it several times). I sent it to members of my band, and my non-Jewish Bass player responded with “brilliant” and went out to buy the CD. My interpretation isn’t set in Parshas Vayera. More likely it reflects some of my own feelings about the world today and that is why I connected with the lyrics in my own way. Maybe my teachers in year 7 were right after all
The lyrics are in red, below. My interpretation follows each line.
If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
Here the ‘you’ is God. He is apprehensively asking about God’s nature. What is your role in this world I have lived in. Are you like the proverbial dealer in a card game? If so, since you are God, I’m bound to lose, and so I’m out of the game. I’m going to die. I’m about to meet my maker. If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame
Cohen had cancer and it wasn’t going away. He tried to understand the meaning of God as a healer. This is what he knew. God could heal, but wasn’t healing him. Cohen was descending into the valley of death, and so he was broken by this realisation, and lame in the sense that he wouldn’t be able to go on doing what he had. He was perhaps wondering if his not being healed was due to the path he had chosen, or that he would soon need to account for it. I think he was addressing his preparation for addressing why he lived the way he did.
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
He self-reflects and in the face of death, considers himself and his life as inglorious. He was dying. Perhaps he regrets some of the things he had done. So he meekly points out that compared to God’s glory, what he has done must be considered shameful and hence his journey to the valley of death/heaven. Cohen seems to be saying is he about to say goodbye.
You want it darker
He is questioning God. Living is light, but ultimately our lives seem to be so unclear. We don’t see the light, so often. The world is such a dark place. Coming to the end of his life, Cohen is saying, well God, you don’t seem to need my light in this world, “you want it darker” because Cohen considered that he did offer some light. But, he is resigned. He knows he can’t win and the next line is We kill the flame
Who is the we here? I think it is humanity, especially Jews or those who speak in the name of God. He is reminiscing now about others who have died and killed. He’s saying, there were times when God seemed to want it darker. The current state of affairs, where Jerusalem is dismembered from Jews and Jewish history is pretty dark. Cohen says, “have it your way”, you are the boss. We are ultimately responsible though for our actions, so perhaps then it is WE who kill the flame through either completing our task or polluting your world, in your name. Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
He’s acknowledging that he has inescapable deference for the Creator. God is by definition perfection, this is the essence of Kaddish, but
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
We Jews have a tangible element of God within us, and yet, we Jews are vilified, crucified once that Godliness is within our human frame. The body isn’t a perfect receptacle to hold such a sanctified element, says Cohen. He is reasoning that God knows this, so how can he be critical of what we haven’t achieved and the state of this dark perverted world. Cohen, then goes to the great tragedy of Jewish mass murder A million candles burning for the help that never came
He is “fighting back” in a presumably future dialogue and saying, but there were good people, good Jews, who did light up the darkness. Why then does God allow them to suffer. Why has this world become so dark. Where was God’s help that never came. The million candles lit up the world throughout history, but when they were bullied and murdered, he asks God why He didn’t intervene, and then says again. You want it darker
Ultimately, you don’t seem to want that light, or it’s not enough for you, or Cohen has no explanation except that it is God’s “want” that this world seems so hopeless. He wants it darker. Hineni, hineni
So here I am. Here I am ready to be confronted, dressed down, analysed and judged. I am not hiding. I will engage you. Cohen submits himself to his end, and says I’m ready, my lord
I’ve thought about it all. I am not apprehensive. I will engage in dialogue. I will ask questions. I’m ready. I’m ready to meet my maker. There’s a lover in the story
Cohen is telling us that this isn’t a relationship of antagonism. He has a love of God despite what it might sound like. He stresses, that Cohen, is the lover, and he is part of the story of Jewish history, despite not understanding the darkness and the killing of the flame. But the story’s still the same
Yet, even though Cohen tried to manifest his love, as did many others, the story of the fate of the Jewish people, the continuing pain and anguish at being persecuted for being different, is constant. Others have also perpetrated atrocities in God’s name. There’s a lullaby for suffering
Yes, one can sing softly and meaningfully about the tragedy of the Jewish people’s suffering. We do so on Tisha B’Av and other occasions. It can rhyme beautifully, calm the nerves, and eventually put one to sleep, as well as … And a paradox to blame
If we are the Chosen people, the ones charged with a holy mission that other nations refused, it is an extreme paradox that as a result of that choice, it’s all our fault? What a paradox. Cohen then says that it’s not just his feeling or interpretation. In fact, But it’s written in the scriptures
The Torah forewarns us that we will go through periods of terrible suffering. The world will be an ugly place. The Esav’s will bite our neck, when they pretend to kiss us. Amalek will sneak up on us, and ultimately there will be an enormous battle of Gog and Magog. The prophets of the Scriptures have told us this would happen. So, please God, don’t think this is just Leonard Cohen’s poetry. In fact .. And it’s not some idle claim
There is evidence that this is our destiny. You told us so. What do you want from Leonard Cohen. How could he change what you decreed. The fact is that, you God You want it darker
For some reason that Cohen doesn’t understand, he accuses God of just “wanting” it to be darker, as Jewish lights are extinguished. He can’t understand it. The world is full of shameful darkness and lies. But, in the end, we submit and We kill the flame
We go to our maker, vanquished, and resigned. It is our fate, we accept it and thereby kill the flame. But God, can’t you see that we are victims? They’re lining up the prisoners
We were taken during the Holocaust and before and now are lined up against a wall as we were before. Is that called killing the flame? Who is killing? Who is making it darker? Why did this have to happen? What are we meant to do when .. And the guards are taking aim
We face the barrels of a gun, aimed at us. Whether in the form of mass murder, murder tunnels, missiles, knives and now fire … We are in the aim of those who have us captured in our enclaves. How do you expect us to live the life you wanted us to live? Cohen is saying he was far from perfect, but he is one of a production line of historical tragedies that seem to have been foisted on him. He struggles to understand dark humanity I struggled with some demons
Cohen didn’t give up. He might not have lived a proper Orthodox Jewish life, but he was proud that he was a Cohen, and he left strict instructions that he was to be buried as a Jew in a traditional Jewish way. He wrote acclaimed poems and songs. He gave voice to his struggles up and down the ladder of his human existence. He wasn’t a passive player. They were middle class and tame
Yes, Cohen says, his struggles were with the pen, with the mind (probably his tuning out of the world through Zen) and through his guitar. The issues he struggled with were not those of a pauper nor those of a wild man. The demonic ideas and explanations that paraded in Cohen’s head were not extreme. They were plain and tame, somewhat middle class in their roots, much like the German Nazi middle class expected tameness … He didn’t go blowing himself up because he didn’t understand. His voice, words and music were rather an urbane reaction. Was that not enough for you, God, asks Cohen. Did you expect me to do more? I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim
Cohen says he did what he could but he hadn’t been taught that weapons would be the mode of violence in the name of God, as we see all too often. He wasn’t that sort of person anyway. He gave voice. He wasn’t silent. He did his best, but he wasn’t ready to terrorise those who preferred the elimination of Jews even though they terrorise the world. He doesn’t understand, and repeats his mantra once more: You want it darker
Which I see as question to God. Cohen replies rhetorically, okay then
We kill the flame
Have it your way. I have no choice. I’m ready to have a discussion with you, as I leave this world.
Do we have any in Melbourne? Non Rabbis we certainly do. They are so so morally decrepit… Like the NEW Israel Fund which should be cremated according to Reform Judaism rights (where they removed all references to Zion from their prayer books because they were so ‘enlightened’ and PROGRESSIVE.
Tolerance only works if it goes both ways.
At Muhammad Ali’s funeral, Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of Tikkun Magazine and the Network of Spiritual Progressives, gave a stirring speech that was roundly applauded. I agree with almost everything he said. We must stop victimizing, generalizing and hating people who are different in color, creed and practice. We live in a world where power corrupts. Inequality and exploitation are everywhere and infiltrate every ideology, religion and creed. Racism, victimization, greed and violence pervade every society. Obviously, some more than others. Otherwise, no one would ever want to move to a different country for a better quality of life and greater freedom.
The message that Rabbi Lerner advocated was the message of every idealist. We must love our neighbors. Do unto others as we would be done by. Yet for some reason, despite technological, scientific and humanitarian progress, despite a reduction in poverty, an increase in food production, welfare systems, huge charitable enterprises and benevolence, we are still way, way off from achieving what we have been preaching. We still live in a world of either imperfect or evil regimes. But we still yearn for freedom, equality, friendship and benevolence. We like the good. But we are not all capable of pursuing it.
Muhammad Ali was a remarkable character, as well as a brilliant athlete. No one is perfect. Not even he. He picked up too many anti-white and anti-Zionist hate tropes from mentors Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan. But he fought for his people and for freedom. How ironic that he had a Jewish grandson and went to his bar mitzvah. But still, it is so important, and after Orlando even more so, to use every opportunity to speak out against racism and prejudice, and that was what Rabbi Lerner rightly did.
I was pleased that he went to the funeral. It was, in its way, a kiddush hashem (sanctifying of the name of God), even if he had absolutely no right to say he was representing American Jewry. It seems any rabbi who gets exposure claims that nowadays. But I am sorry he so overtly politicized his message by spouting left-wing Bernie nostra as if they would solve the problems of the world, let alone America.
Governments that want to create a utopia often have to concede that they either do not have the financial means or the population to achieve it. We all want it in theory, on our terms. Since the days of Plato and his Republic, we have dreamed and planned, but we are still a long way off. With our societies we have the idealists and the pragmatists, the capitalists and the socialists, and no one system is perfect or has ever been. But still we must dream, we should dream, and we need to be reminded of our dreams.
In all my days in the rabbinate, whenever I was stuck for a sermon I knew I could always fall back on preaching ideals, excoriating those who betray our ideals and standing against hypocrisy. And after every such sermon someone would always come up to me and say, “Rabbi, great sermon, you really gave it to them today.” Or words to that effect. It was always, “You told them.” It was never, “You told me.”
On the same day as Ali’s funeral, an American Muslim wrote in the New York Times about how his young daughter was picked on in a restaurant for wearing a headscarf. He ended by wondering why we hate people for their religion or race. Yes, of course, I agreed, because I wonder why so many Muslims and Christians still hate Jews for being Jews, or hate people of different sexual orientation. We are so good at seeing the mote in the eyes of others, but not the beam in our own. Or as the Talmud says (Bava Batra 15b), “Don’t tell me to do something about my toothpick when you have a whole plank of wood to deal with.”
So I ask myself, why in his speech did Lerner have to focus on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and not Sunni-Shia internecine conflicts (which Ali felt equally strongly about), human rights in China and Russia, occupation in Tibet, Kashmir, or West Sahara, or Turkey’s treatment of Kurds, or North Korea? Why did he not excoriate the left-wing ideology that Chavez and Maduro have destroyed Venezuela with? Or indeed Cuba? Does he think there is no need for self-examination other than for Jews? Why no reciprocity? Did Israel start the wars? Do Israelis really not want peace desperately? Is there no other side to the argument?
We now live in a world of rights. Do not Jews have rights, too? Were Rabbi Lerner’s comments about Netanyahu just to pander to an audience that, at core, is now sadly so anti-Israel and antisemitic as to deny rights to Jews to defend themselves? He could have said that almost half of Israel opposes many of his policies and rhetoric. He spoke about how once Jew stood shoulder-to-shoulder with black civil rights leaders. He did not speak about why today antisemitism is so prevalent in black societies. Why Black Lives Matter has chosen to add Palestine to their agenda rather than any one of the other humanitarian causes with far greater casualties elsewhere in the world today. If Martin Luther King had been present, he would not have been so one-sided.
Of course, the Israeli Left, indeed any Left, has the right and should have the right to take whatever side it wants to. Of course, excess, corruption and inhumanity must be addressed. But one who excoriates Jews wherever they are, should have the honesty and morality to point out another point of view others political correctness and one-sidedness simply debases the debate. Why does no one mention the protests in Palestinian territory against the policies of their dogmatists and kleptocracy? When you pick on just one example, on just one argument, that is pure prejudice.
Not only, but look at how Lerner’s speech was reported — not as a critique of racism or prejudice wherever it comes from. Instead, look on the internet and see the headlines, “Rabbi Slams Israel in Muhammad Ali Funeral Speech.” Yes, just more fodder for the Jew-haters. He could have made all his major ethical points without having to pander to the tub-thumping anti-Israel, anti-Jewish amen chorus that has now taken over the Left (not to mention the Right) wherever it exists.
The same trope. Remove Israel and the Middle East will be peaceful. Sunni and Shia will love each other, as well as lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. The Left has always had rose-colored spectacles. Remove the Kulaks, then the aristocrats, then the bourgeoisie, then the Jews and Russia will be paradise. Remove capitalists, and we will live in heaven. Remove religion, and we will get in with each other, make love, and we will all live happily ever after.
Life is not like that. I am glad Rabbi Lerner stands for what he stands for. We need contrarians and prophets. But my experience tells me that any dogma can be dangerous, and that any one sided argument is doomed.
All I seek is balance. By all means, criticize Netanyahu if you also criticize Abu Mazen. By all means, attack Israel if you also attack Hamas, Hezbollah and all the others who put war above human needs and human rights. Rabbi Lerner can and should demand rights. But I can demand mine, too.
I have a daily habit of looking at the app (which is one of the more annoying ones as you are bombarded every which way … the Israelis know how to annoy you so 🙂
Last night and this morning, I come across advertisements for the rabidly anti Zionist Adam Bandt of the Australian Greens Party. What the Heck? Do I have to see his Partzuf (visage) on the Jerusalem Post? Does he really think even Jewish lefties are going to support this BDS supporter and his fanatical anti Israel party?
I have taken the opportunity to report the advertisement as inappropriate with a few clicks. Consider the same?
I imagine the Android app is similar (I don’t use Android. There is too much Mamzerus in the operating system, and yes, I know it’s cheaper and the S7 is a nice phone; but Steve Jobs, who wasn’t an Israel lover, did revolutionise the Computer World unless you still wear blinkers and are happy with the South East Asian Engineering version of the plagiarism.
Anyway, click the advertisement, and tell Google (more Yidden) to send these advertisements to Azazel.
In the meanwhile, I encourage people to vote for Michael Danby in Melbourne Ports. My hip pocket may be better in the long run under Malcolm Turnbull, who is a wonderful friend of Israel and a competent person, but Michael needs to remain in Parliament as a strong voice, and for that reason alone, I feel it’s important to support him. Saul Same AM ( Avshalom Shmulewitz was his real name; an Elwood Shule Mispallel who came from a Shochet in Western Australia, but I digress) would agree, but for more partisan reasons.
I noticed this article by David Horowitz in the Times. I don’t understand why people don’t call a spade a spade. America likes to antagonise Israel’s “right” (sic) as anti peace. It’s the same in Melbourne with the left wing of the New (sic) Israel Fund, “Ameinu”, Habonim or Hashomer HaTzair.
Israel’s right isn’t anti peace. Who doesn’t want peace? It will not, however, kowtow to one approach, Obama politics.
Iran? Of course there is nothing to talk about. Fact: they are anti-Semitic. Fact: they deny Israel’s right to exist. Fact: they don’t give a damn about “Palestinians”. Fact: they emblazoned “destruction of Israel” on their missiles. We are in fact the Indigenous people of Israel.
Barack Hussein Obama knows he can’t do anything to Iran unless they step over an “imaginary line”. If that line is crossed, and it may be crossed, then Hilary will adopt Kissinger-like zero-result diplomacy, Trump may well make decisions that cause Americans on the ground to die (as opposed to Obama’s Pareve drone attacks which do nothing except knock off a head which grows again on another body) and Bernie Sanders will always be the darling Jewish talking head of the darlings.
It never ceases to amaze me that the left-wing (who THINK they are the owners of any and all peace proposals) condemn the democratic process. Are they denying Netanyahu and Lieberman to join? This is the Israeli democratic system.
The left wing is full of it. They always have been. Look at Russia and our countryman who invented their “philosophy” of life. If the world was serious, and the world is not serious, then it would allow equal time for prayer according to their sacred democracy and equal rights on the temple mount. I won’t go there for Halachic reasons, but the secular Israeli parliament has legislated that Jews must stay mute. sacré bleu!
Avigdor Liberman and Naftoli Bennet call their spades. People seem to not like spades.
Maybe they prefer the editor of Melbourne’s Australian Jewish News who disgracefully allowed a big feature of an INTER-marriage (read non Jewish marriage) also performed by a נכרי “celebrant” and chose not to publish letters decrying this תואבה. Don’t get me wrong. People have free choice. They can do as they like. Why doesn’t the aJn tell us what Jewish means in the J “celebrating” an marriage of assimilation ר’ל . What a disgraceful piece of Jewish journalism. I may as well read the Age.
By the way, Communist/Socialist Lee Brown (Rhiannon) of the Greens (and God help any sane person who votes for that party) is actually halachically Jewish.
[As an aside: I admit to recently finding out that my father’s cousin ע׳ה, with whom he played in the streets of Rawa Mazowiecka before the war decided that the answer to Jewish Persecution was to become a Communist. He became a high-ranking officer and always was surrounded by body guards. His father and brothers were frum, but he “knew” the answer. After the war, he still tried to bribe my father ע’ה to stay in Poland and become a communist as that was the future! Why go to Australia he said. He gave my father an expensive gold coin which my father promptly returned to him. My father ע׳ה didn’t fall for Hitler. He wasn’t going to fall for gold. I never knew of him (except for a reference once my father made in passing) and my father ע’ה didn’t know what happened to him. As השגחה פרטית would have it, his granddaughter was courting an Australian Jew she met in the USA, and she came to a wedding of a friend in Australia. To cut a long story short, I invited her to our house so she could meet her Jewish family. I showed her pictures of her lineage. I told her she was my cousin etc. Her mother advised me via email (they left Poland) that her father (my father’s cousin) regretted his courtship with the left. After the war, teaching himself, he was admitted to a Bachelor of Economics. He finished that and completed a Masters of Economics. He then did a PhD in Economics. Then he discovered what it means to be a Jew, even if you tried to hide it. He was not permitted to submit his thesis for some five years because he was Jewish by none other than his Socialist friends. Yes, after the war. Finally his thesis was defended and he became Dr Balbin. All this time, I thought I was the “first” Dr Balbin (big deal). I was wrong. He then went on and did something beyond a doctorate. I don’t know the details of the Polish University system. Whatever it was, he achieved it. After that, he was ignored.
Disillusioned, he travelled to Vietnam during that war, and helped out on a humanitarian mission, literally giving away the clothes he had, to those who didn’t. He returned with no suitcase. I was told by his daughter, that he knew of his relatives in Melbourne, and he tried to ring them from Vietnam. Unfortunately, that didn’t succeed in those days. He returned to Poland a broken and disillusioned man, but one who now understood the farce of contemporary Communism and Socialism. He passed away. His wife outlived him, and when she was on her death-bed with cancer, her treating doctor, a famous professor, made an anti-semitic remark. She had no strength, but suddenly found it. Yelling loudly she screamed that “this doctor will never ever go near me again. He is an anti-Semite. I would rather die today than be treated by that toad”.
A few days later she was dead.
Some of my family were “annoyed” I had rediscovered this small branch. I stay in touch. Here is a picture. My father ע’ה is pictured on the bottom left, and the Polish, now American, granddaughter is on the top right. My Aunt and Uncle are also pictured.
Open your eyes people. The USA Government has a love/hate relationship with us. It does not have true love. It’s what’s known in הלכה as אהבה שתלויה בדבר …. In this case, the דבר, is the דבר אחר.
Most American Jews are so assimilated they don’t know their Krutzmich (scratch me) from the light of a Menorah. I don’t hold out that they will give a Patch (pronounced putch in Yiddish) to the Democrats, but they damn well should. The only reason Israel doesn’t go to the Jewish (on both sides, yes really) Vladimir Putin, is because he hasn’t got the money to give them billions in military aid and Berel Lazar isn’t that important to him. Remember, though, Russia were the first to recognise the State of Israel: there is Jewish blood running thick in the veins of Russia.
The only reason the USA supports us is because of the messianic lobby and real politick and the so-called disappearing Jewish “lobby”.
Do you delude yourself like Horowitz that anyone really cares? They don’t. The slither, ממש, that is ארץ אבותינו doesn’t mean anything to them in real terms.
אבינו מלכינו אין לנו מלך אלא אתה
David’s article follows. Why does he bother?
According to unnamed senior politicians referenced by Israel’s Channel 10 news on Friday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to stabilize his coalition by bringing in Yisrael Beytenu, with Avigdor Liberman taking over the Defense Ministry, is likely to have the opposite effect. The government may well collapse, and we could be heading to “new elections in the next six months,” these anonymous top polls predicted.
This is Israeli politics, where every new hour can make a mockery of what you thought you knew the hour before, so it would be wise not to get carried away by such anonymous predictions. But, it’s easy to understand the assessment. The brutal ousting of capable, temperate and loyal Moshe Ya’alon, in favor of the inexpert, intemperate and disloyal Liberman, has caused dismay across the spectrum, and not only in opposition circles.
The Jewish Home coalition party has manufactured a crisis over it, demanding an overhaul of the process by which the key security cabinet is provided with information in times of war and conflict, vowing otherwise to block Liberman’s appointment.
Kulanu’s Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay has followed Ya’alon’s lead in resigning from government in protest at one cynical political maneuver too many; like Ya’alon a week before, Gabbay on Friday slammed the door on his way out with a warning that, under this increasingly extremist coalition, Israel is heading down the path to destruction.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman announce their coalition agreement, May 25, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman announce their coalition agreement, May 25, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Kulanu, a party crucial to Netanyahu’s Knesset majority, is plainly discomfited by the unfolding events, and is trying to persuade Zionist Union’s Isaac Herzog to enter the government — ludicrously, since Herzog was so badly burned by his last effort to negotiate terms for a unity deal with Netanyahu that his party leadership is under unprecedented threat.
In Netanyahu’s own Likud ranks, the wave of criticism rolls on. MK Benny Begin immediately pronounced himself horrified by the Ya’alon-for-Liberman trade. On Saturday, deputy minister Ayoub Kara declared that ex-corporal Liberman, who never served in an IDF combat role, is simply not fit to succeed ex-chief of staff Ya’alon.
Herzog has claimed that he held talks with Netanyahu, at great risk to his own political career, because Israel currently has a rare opportunity to make headway toward regional peace, but that the prime minister, in jilting him for blunt, bleak, settler Liberman, “ran away” from the compromises and domestic political battles seizing such an opportunity would have entailed.
And even the United States has weighed in, with the State Department articulating concerns over Israel’s direction. Asked about incoming defense minister Liberman hours after the new coalition deal was signed on Wednesday, spokesman Mark Toner stressed that the administration would, of course, “work with this government as we have with every Israeli government that preceded it, with the goal of strengthening our cooperation.”
But he allowed himself a little foray into what might be considered internal Israeli politics. Said Toner: “We’ve also seen reports from Israel describing it as the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history. And we also know that many of its ministers have said they opposed a two-state solution. This raises legitimate questions about the direction it may be headed in, and what kind of policies it may adopt, but ultimately we’re going to judge this government based on its actions.”
I have written two columns in recent days criticizing the ouster of Ya’alon and his imminent replacement by Liberman, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Netanyahu gambit does come to be regarded as a turning point when it comes to the electorate’s opinion of the prime minister.
But I’m struck, nonetheless, by the criticism from Washington — issued even though Liberman pledged at the coalition signing ceremony that he was “committed to a balanced policy that will bring stability to the region and to our country”; he even switched to English to pledge his commitment to “peace and to a final status agreement, and to understanding between us and our neighbors.”
What’s perhaps most telling about the response from Washington is that it was so very different to the administration’s response, one day earlier, to dramatic political developments in Iran — where, coincidentally, a hard-liner was being elevated in somewhat different circumstances to a yet more powerful position.
On Tuesday, a day before Netanyahu and Liberman signed their deal, Iran’s Assembly of Experts chose Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as its new chairman. The Assembly oversees the actions of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and come the day, will select Khamenei’s successor. That makes Jannati one of the most powerful figures in Iran, arguably the most powerful.
Ahmad Jannati, widely described as the most radical of Iran’s senior clerics, is not a nice man. He opposes any notion of Iranian political reform. He backs the execution of political dissidents. He insists that Iran’s women cover up beneath the hijab. Needless to say, he loathes Israel. And he loathes the United States.
Here’s Jannati in 2007: “At the end of the day, we are an anti-American regime. America is our enemy, and we are the enemies of America. The hostility between us is not a personal matter. It is a matter of principle.”
In 2008: “You cried: ‘Death to the Shah,’ and indeed, he died. You cried: ‘Death to Israel,’ and it is now on its deathbed. You cry: ‘Death to America,’ and before long, Allah [he’s not my God] willing, the prayer for the dead will be recited over it.”
And in 2014: “‘Death to America’ [is] the first option on our table… This is the slogan of our entire people without exception. This is our number one slogan.”
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, hard-line Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati speaks during an inaugural meeting of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran, May 24, 2016. Jannati was chosen on Tuesday as speaker of the Assembly of Experts, a clerical body that is mainly tasked with selecting the country’s supreme leader. The official IRNA news agency said 89-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati won 51 votes in the 88-seat Assembly and would serve as speaker for the next two years. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, hard-line Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati speaks during an inaugural meeting of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran, May 24, 2016. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Given that the United States last year led the diplomatic process that culminated in an agreement to rein in (but not dismantle) Iran’s rogue nuclear program; given that President Barack Obama has been urging Iran to “move toward a more constructive relationship with the world community”; given that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and a regional troublemaker; given that Iran continues to develop its ballistic missile program… you might be forgiven for thinking that the selection of the radically hostile Jannati would raise “legitimate questions about the direction” in which Iran may be headed, “and what kind of policies it may adopt.”
And indeed, a day before he was asked about Liberman, the State Department’s Mark Toner was questioned at his daily press briefing about Jannati. Did he express his dismay at the selection of an official viciously hostile to the US and Israel to so prestigious a role? Did he communicate America’s concern about the grim message that the choice of Jannati represented? He did not.
Here’s the full exchange:
Question: “You’ll have seen, I’m sure, the reports that Ahmad Jannati, a 90-year-old anti-Western cleric, has been chosen as the head of Iran’s new Assembly of Experts, which is in charge of selecting the new or whomever will be the next supreme leader. Is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing? And does this suggest that Iran may be moving toward a more pro-Western, more open-toward-the-West stance?”
Question: “Or do you have faith in Iran’s internal democratic procedures?” (Laughter.)
Mark Toner: “Let me see if I have anything pithy to say about that.”
Question: “And do you regard Iran as an ally in the fight against terrorism?” (Laughter.)
Toner: “You’re talking about – yeah, no. Have at it, guys. (Laughter.) We follow domestic events in Iran closely, as you know, but we don’t have any comment at this point on the outcome of the leadership elections of the Assembly of Experts.”
Raising questions about Israel’s direction, after Liberman, promising a commitment to peacemaking, joins the coalition. But staying silent about Iran’s direction, after Jannati, a man who declaredly seeks the destruction of the United States, is elected to head the Assembly of Experts.
We are used to worrying about the BDS boycott, and various academic boycotts and the like. There has been no talk of boycotts in my University. If the National Tertiary Education Union went down those stairs and/or the University, there would be mayhem.
What attracted my attention today is a statement we hear over and over, in various guises and contexts. The statement is attributed in the Jerusalem to former Chief Rabbi Sacks, a brilliant speaker and writer. He is alleged to have said
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Sacks said that some politicians in the British Labour Party had courted the Muslim vote and had adopted anti-Israel attitudes which have morphed into anti-Semitism.
I could not DISagree more. Where is the clear thinking. Anti-Israel attitudes expressed in the context of ‘we must solve the problem of Palestinian Arabs’ is nothing more than anti-Semitism. This is not anti-Zionism. The logic is exceedingly simple. There is no body, none, that will agree that Jews deserve a homeland, and that homeland is Israel. This narrative is elided too often. Some will quibble over the definition of borders and security provisions and so forth. They are issues that should be discussed. However, since 1948 and before that, there is still no recognition that Jews need a homeland. In this I include the entire spectrum of Jews in Israel except for the hand full of lunatics led by Moshe Ber Beck, the Iranian nuzzler. He is welcome to live there, and be happy. They are not religious Jews. They have seen that all their sycophantic activities amount to nothing but Bitul Torah while protesting and travel.
No, Rabbi Sacks. Nothing has “morphed“. This is classic fallacy filled British diplomacy . The anti-Semitic Ken Livingstone types of this world should be dethroned, but to allow the semblance of thought that Jews are not entitled to their homeland, as above, and call this entitlement Zionism, is bizarre, I find it difficult to comprehend. Nay, this is an attack on Judaism101. We assert our right to live in peaceful boundaries. Those who seek to deny this right, whether emanating from explicit charter, whispering, obfuscation or diplobabble (the French Connection) are anti-Semites.
As Rav Kook so eloquently put it:
“It is only the anticipation of redemption that preserves Judaism in Exile, while Judaism in the Land of Israel is the redemption itself.”
This redemption is what we aspire to.
[ Only an ignorant would interpret this to mean Rav Kook’s Judaism in Exile was not infused with Torah. ]
How many only disagree in as much as they shouldn’t be saying this (out loud), but actually subscribe to this discredited view of R’ Yoelish of Satmar? Emphasis is mine. Text is from my Mashgiach, Rav Rivlin שליט’’א
The Gemara in Ketubot (111a) derives from the triple mention of the pasuk, “I have bound you in oath, O daughters of Jerusalem” (Shir Hashirim), that Hashem bound Am Yisrael and the nations of the world with three oaths. The first oath is, “shelo yaalu bachoma,” that the Jews should not forcibly, “break through the wall,” and enter Eretz Yisrael. The second is that the Jews should not rebel against the nations. The third is that the nations of the world should not oppress Yisrael too much over the course of the exile. According to R. Zera, there are three additional oaths which relate to the ultimate redemption. The Gemara concludes with the threat that if Israel violates these oaths, their flesh will be made free like wild animals in the field, i.e., Hashem would bring upon them great suffering and physical destruction.
The Satmar Rebbe, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum, claims in “Vayoel Moshe” that Hashem brought about the Holocaust because the Zionist movement caused the Jews to violate the “Three Oaths.” Since the Jewish people forcefully went to resettle Eretz Yisrael, Hashem brought upon them massive destruction, as the Gemara warns in its conclusion. Rav Shlomo Aviner compiled thirteen answers to this claim, amongst them the following:
1) Rav Teitelbaum’s claim rests on the fact that there was a “choma,” that the nations of the world prohibited the Jews from settling in the land of Israel. The Avnei Nezer writes that this oath does not apply when the nations give Yisrael permission to return. Following the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo Conference, in which the nations of the world determined that the Jewish people have a right to settle the land of Israel, the oaths do not apply. The Midrash hints to this idea, that if Bnei Yisrael have permission to enter the land they do not violate the oaths.
2) Another answer is that once there is a sign from Hashem to return to the land, the oaths no longer apply. In addition to the permission given by the nations, the national reawakening and birth of modern Zionism can be viewed as a sign from Hashem that it is permissible to return to the land. The oaths were not an “issur” (absolute prohibition), but rather national tendencies that Hashem instilled within Klal Yisrael which would cause them to remain unmotivated to return to their land. Also, throughout most of the exile, it was very difficult physically for Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. Once a wide scale movement with an objective to return to Eretz Yisrael began, and it was physically possible to begin Aliya to Eretz Yisrael, it became clear that the oath was no longer in effect.
3) The Gemara in Sanhedrin (98a) says that when Eretz Yisrael gives forth fruit abundantly, it is a sure sign that the redemption is coming. Eretz Yisrael, in the time of the Zionist movement, began blooming and giving forth fruits unlike any previous time since the destruction of the land. This sign of redemption showed that the oath was no longer in effect.
3) Rav Teichtal, in his work, “Em Habanim Smeicha,” offers another explanation. Although the Jews were sworn not to enter Eretz Yisrael forcefully, the nations of the world were also sworn not to persecute the Jews too much. Over the course of the exile, the Jews were severely persecuted by the gentiles. Because the gentiles violated their oath, the Jews were no longer bound by their oath.
4) According to some opinions, the only way to violate the oath would be if people came to Eretz Yisrael in very large groups. Since the Jews entered the land slowly, and over the course of many years, they did not violate the oath.
5) The author of the “Hafla’ah” maintains that the oaths only apply to those who are in the exile of Bavel, and not in other lands.
6) R’ Chaim Vital explains that the oath only applied for 1000 years, not longer.
7) The Gra writes that the oath applies only to building the Beit Hamikdash, not to entering Eretz Yisrael.
8) Elsewhere in the Gemara there are other, conflicting, sources. Furthermore, the Gemara regarding the “Three Oaths” is aggada, and we do not decide halacha based on aggada. [I add that this isn’t even from Torah and Neviim, but from Kesuvim, the weakest link in determining Halacha]
Based on all of these explanations, there is ample basis to say that the movement to return to Eretz Yisrael was a positive, not a negative, one. In fact, others maintain just the opposite, that the Holocaust was because Jews became entrenched in galut and did not return to Eretz Yisrael. Since we are not living in a generation of prophecy, it is very difficult for us to determine exactly why Hashem brings specific punishments to the world. However, the Gemara does teach us that when we are afflicted with punishment, we should look into our actions, and try to fix our bad deeds. By looking at the Akeida, we may gain some insight regarding the Holocaust.
One of the most famous tests of Avraham was Akeidat Yitzchak. We constantly mention the Akeida in our prayers, and we still reap the benefits of this test. The question is asked, what is so special about this test? Avraham did not even do any great action of sacrifice, because in the end he did not slaughter his son. There were many other tests which Avraham actually fulfilled which are not so commonly mentioned!
Furthermore, Rav Dessler questions the very concept of “zechut Avot” (merit of the Patriarchs). If two criminals violated the same law, one coming from a dysfunctional family and one from a normal background, logic dictates that the one from a normal background should be punished more severely. When we come to Hashem and tell Him that we are descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, this should work against us! Why is there zechut? In fact, Rabbeinu Bachya says that sometimes it is best not to mention zechut avot. After the sin of the spies, Moshe pleaded to Hashem and did not mention that Hashem is “notzer chesed la’alafim,” that He rewards for good deeds for generations to come. Moshe did not want Hashem to say, “If Bnei Yisrael came from such great people, why did they sin?”
Perhaps this insight can explain why we ask Hashem to remember the Akeida, as opposed to other tests of Avraham. Many times Am Yisrael does not live up to the other tests which Avraham was tested with. Through our entire history, however, Am Yisrael lived up to the test of the Akeida, and on many occasions Jews were willing to die “al kiddush Hashem” (in sanctification of G-d’s name).
The Torah introduces the story of the Akeida with the phrase, “It happened after these things.” (Bereishit 22:1) The parsha directly before the Akeida is the story in which Avraham makes a peace-covenant with Avimelech. The Rashbam explains that Avraham was tested with the Akeida because he did not have a sufficiently strong connection with Eretz Yisrael, and was willing to make a pact with Avimelech, thereby forfeiting some of his right to the land. The Tanna D’vei Eliyahu writes that any nation which has a serious conflict with Yisrael, does so only because of the pact which Avraham signed with Avimelech. Hashem always had a two-part covenant with Yisrael: descendants and Eretz Yisrael. Because Avraham was willing to give part of Eretz Yisrael, Hashem said, “I will take the other half of the pact — your son.”
Although we are not prophets, and we cannot determine which punishments correspond to which sins, we must try to learn lessons from events which happen in this world. Today it is clear that our bond to Eretz Yisrael still needs strengthening. If we pray and strengthen our connection to Eretz Yisrael, there will be an end to all of the Akeidot.
For those who want to seriously understand why Satmar and these clowns are dead wrong, read this from the Seforim Blog.
I note they don’t mention Gog and Magog, and the Jewish Redemption where their friends will be beholden to the Beis Hamikdash and Elokus. Politically, they don’t mention that, because they are of course afraid. These are the Jews about which the Torah says “stay home, you are afraid to go to war and you are an impedance”. Help your wives with the washing, cooking and food provision.
I notice Issy Weiss of Neturei Karta wears the palestinian scarf. Why doesn’t he put a Kaffiyeh on and add tzitzis to the corners. Now there’s solidarity.
Anyone who wants to know what divisiveness is, anyone who wants to know what love of a fellow Jew is NOT, anyone who wants to know why Haredim are derided, anyone who wants to remember Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, anyone who wants to know why Al Aqsa isn’t the Beis Hamikdash should read this outrageous, monstrous and contumelious post
The haredi Mishpacha newspaper created a social media firestorm on Thursday after it published an opinion article in which the first paragraph, printed in Arabic and in Hebrew, asked that since members of the haredi public do not go up to the Temple Mount “could you please stop murdering us.”
The article, written by Mishpacha Magazine deputy editor Aryeh Ehrlich, explained how the haredi community refrains from going up to the Temple Mount since the haredi rabbinic leadership prohibits visiting the site.
Almost all leading haredi rabbis and arbiters of Jewish law rule that Jews may not visit the Temple Mount since they may enter areas that are forbidden to enter without undergoing purification rituals which cannot be conducted today.
“Us, the haredi community, we have no interest in going up to the Temple Mount in our time,” Ehrlich writes. “We oppose this vehemently. Moreover, Jewish law see this as a severe prohibition – punished by spiritual excommunication.”
“So even if you have solid information on Israeli desires to change the status quo at the Dome of the Rock – something which is incorrect to the best of our knowledge – the haredi community has no connection to it. So please, stop murdering us.”
In the rest of the article, the Mishpacha deputy editor observed that several victims of the recent spate of terror attacks have been from the haredi community, and wrote that he was trying to understand why this was the case.
He went on to detail a conversation he had with an Arab worker at a Rami Levi store and he tried to convince him that members of the haredi public do not go up to the Temple Mount.
Ehrlich was subjected to fierce condemnation on social media once awareness of the article spread.
“How wretched and ghetto like can you be? Is this your version of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’? Of loving your fellow Jew,?” asked one person on Twitter. “Are you are calling on Arabs not to murder haredim because they don’t go up to the Temple Mount but insinuating ‘go and murder those who do? Disgusting. What about just calling on them not to murder. It would be more humane and more Jewish.”
One talkbacker on haredi website B’hadrei Haredim exclaimed “What about other Jews who aren’t haredi, them you should kill?????”
“The Mishpacha newspaper is turning to murderers to ask them not to murder haredim…everyone else is okay apparently. (He forgot that the pogrom in 1929 was because Jews went to visit the Western Wall),” tweeted far-right former MK Michael Ben-Ari.
Following the outrage prompted by his article, Ehrlich took to Twitter and said that he was trying to explain in his article that the Islamic Movement in Israel was trying to create a religious war and has urged Palestinians to attack people with a religious appearance.
“My article in the Mishpacha Magazine says: This religious war is wild incitement based in imaginary rumors. Most people who observe the religious commandments don’t go to the Temple Mount, if only because of the religious prohibition. The article was trying, naively it must be admitted, to tear the away the mask from the murderous Palestinian aggression which has been going on for decades, and to neutralize the false Islamic incitement.”
It is beyond belief that these morons from Mishpacha think they can affect anything. As if the Arabs don’t know this. They know it’s a beat up. They dress up as Haredim wanting a lift so that someone will stop and give them a lift, and then pull a knife on the Jew loving driver who thought he was picking up a harmless Haredi.
These people need to find
מחילה ברקיע השמים אצל מלך מלכי המלכים, הקדוש ברוך הוא
To refresh memories, this unfortunate 16 year old girl was murdered because she attended a rally. It is true that the rally’s agenda was against the ethic and laws of the Torah, without any question. This is to my knowledge the position of all Orthodox Movements. I would imagine the more right-wing Conservative and Conservadox movements (such as Shira Chadasha) also share this view. Reform of course don’t believe the Torah was the word of God, dictated to Moshe, let alone the primacy of Mesora through Tannoim, Amoraim, Geonim, Rishonim and now Acharonim so it’s undoubtedly not an issue for them.
Shira Banky attended the rally to support the views of a friend. She was 16. I might not agree with Shira’s views and condemn those views with vigour, but the minute feelings translate to violence and in this case an unnecessary murder which created nothing more than more hatred for Orthodoxy, especially Ultra Orthodoxy is there anything more that Orthodox Jews can do to palpably show their distance from despicable murder which is not only against the laws of Israel, they are against the laws of the Torah. Her murderer, Mr Shlissel, is a recidivist. In my view, he should never be released and treated in a home for psychopaths. Apparently a number of Shules have performed the following to express their revulsion at murder “in the name of God”
My thanks to R’ Meir Deutsch for drawing this to my attention. Wouldn’t it be a great expression of regret if every Shule in Melbourne did the same? I call on the RCV to recommend such an action. The picture says it all.
We are in Australia. We don’t live the life of an Israeli. It was reported yesterday that the majority of Israelis were and are against the previous evacuation of Gush Katif (Aza or Gaza).
Are we, as Jews not living there going to tell them they are wrong, while we lounge in the relative comfort of Melbourne?
And so, I will confine my views to those emanating from the Australian political landscape,
I am friendly with Michael Danby, a stalwart within the Labor Party and a shining star. Mark Dreyfus or his office never respond to my communication.
At the end of the day, to talk about a two state solution as observers in Australia is complete and utter baloney, and grossly misses the point.
There is currently NO PARTNER FOR PEACE. I do not think it is necessary to justify such a fact. It is self-evident and is the view of the Israeli Government.
IF AND ONLY IF there is partner, one can begin to talk about two states.
That reality is lost in the labor party’s discussions where the left clearly hold sway.
The transparent remarks as typified by the weekly letters to the Australian Jewish News, that we should be applauding Michael (and Mark) and two others is correct, however, the suggestion that THIS is the front page news is an attempt to deflect from the primary issue. The primary issue is not about two states. It is about whether there is a partner for peace, and what the Labor party did not say.
In my opinion statements which elide this primary issue as enunciated by the elected Government of Israel are defective and deflective of reality.
I do not know what the Liberals will say, but the Greens already have shown their lying yellow colour, when their leader changed his mind a few days after being elected. The Greens are the up and comers and the most dangerous party in respect of support for the only true democracy in the region. They are the Marmara of Australia, often wearing the clothing of the mujahideen under their vegetable-derived suits.
I like her straight views. Having witnessed many protests around RMIT for BDS, I can tell you it is the same motley bunch of unwashed socialists who actually know close to NOTHING about the middle east. When I’ve engaged them in discussion, apart from their yelling, they actually can’t answer a single sensible question. It’s plain old anti-Semitism driving them. Of course, they are accompanied by some locals of another faith and many of them are just extremists under watch.
This snippet is from Yediot
Shaked: BDS is anti-Semitism under new guide
The Knesset held a special session Wednesday about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel after the UK’s National Union of Students voted in favor of joining the movement.
“This is anti-Semitism under new guise with the same symptoms,” said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Shaked’s speech was accompanied by a lot of vocal comments from the other MKs. “There is a de-legitimization campaign against Israel happening right now. These are ephemeral organizations and we need to stop cooperating with them and cut ties, have them pay for their boycotts,” Shaked said.
She then turned to members of the opposition saying, “Open your eyes and ears. In 2012, the UN General Assembly approved 22 resolutions against Israel compared to four against the rest of the world countries. This is a campaign of lies and threats and you (Meretz MKs) were standing at the podium reading quotes from Breaking the Silence, an organization which is slandering Israel and damaging it.”
Shaked speaking at the Knesset.
“Today, it’s ‘super in’ to be anti-Israel,” she continued. “If someone thinks withdrawals will help, they are wrong. The biggest diplomatic attacks against the State of Israel were all done because of Israel’s operations in Gaza, from which we withdrew until the last centimeter. Are we also occupiers in the Negev? Israel’s boycotts seek to erase the State of Israel, not divide it.” Minister Ofir Akunis took the podium next, aiming his attack at Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon. “The most contemptible acts in human history started with boycotts against the Jews,” he said. Galon responded with, “You think you can stand there and preach us and we will remain quiet? Come to 2015 already.”
“We cannot bear this victimization policy of yours, Ministers Shaked and Akunis,” Galon said. “Calm down, because those who work in the service of this boycott are members of the Netanyahu government. They are those who impose separation on buses and release videos of Arabs ‘going in droves’ (to the polls) and claims Arabs are playing games. You will have to decide: Either settlements or international legitimacy.
See here and here and here and here for news coverage. The following is a first hand account
From 8:30 am to 10:30 am, I was present at a mass Tefillah protest against this mass false messianic movement. Unlike these reports, I estimated that there were between 2000-3000 people there, and very few non-Shomer Shabbos people, if any. Maybe they came later. We all Davened on a large grassy area outside the Metro-West complex at the far end of which, and blocked by numerous police, was a building where the Meshumads and their friends were doing their Christian thing.
Chairs were provided and tables set up for Bimas, some Sefardi and Nusach Sfard ad hoc “Siddurim” which were printed just for the occasion by Yad L’Achim were available, although most people came prepared with their own Siddurs and Chumashim.
Due to the largeness of the crowd, and the desire of the Sephardim and the Yemenites to have their own Minyans, not to mention a large group that wanted to Daven with or close to the Clevelander Rebbe or one around Rabbi Peretz, the mass subdivided into some dozen or so Minyanim.
The biggest problem was that there were only a limited number of Sifrei Torah and so when it came to the layning, Minyanim united.
I did not see any violence whatsoever, however, later I heard of a boy who crossed the police lines, was arrested and then followed by his father who tried to save him and was also arrested, were both beat up and bloodied in the police van. There was only one Meshugener there who walked around for a couple of minutes yelling out “kill them” (in English, Davke) but he quickly disappeared.
The Davening was very peaceful, albeit it noisy at times when some of the multiple Minyanim would call out things like “Shma Yisroel” and similar key verses, just as a protest or those closer to the Meshumad building would scream with catcalls and boos. In a way it was very difficult to get any real Kavana because of the loud Sephardim and Yemenites, not to mention the outdoorsy, disorganized, circuslike atmosphere at such events. Fortunately, there were a few relatively normal Ashkenazi minyanim, too, where I ended up.
Towards the end of Mussaf, some people began setting up a minimum Kiddush with wine and rokalach, but I was already packed up and ready to leave.
I did not see or hear any anyone speak to the crowd or was there any attempt to get everyone to say Tehillim together or anything like that.
There are no overt signs of the media there and I only saw one person taking a photo with his cellphone. I did not see TV cameras or microphones.
For the most part, the protest went by unnoticed by the mainstream press.
Rachel was there, too, on the other side of a sheet-strung ad hoc Mechitza.
There is a moving Breslov melody which is very popular. The words are from R’ Nachman in לקוטי מוהרן although I haven’t ever read that ספר חסידות, but so I am told. The gist of it is that even when God is hidden, as in ואנכי הסתר אסתיר את פני he is still there albeit בהסתרה.
My davening was very agitated at Shule today. In fact, during davening, when I read certain things, tears welled up in my eyes, and for reasons which probably aren’t entirely normal, I didn’t want anyone to notice my distress. I raised my voice for pesukim which condemned רשעים.
I asked a few people, what is the meaning of this song after the tragedy the latest tragedy. Rav Moshe Twersky הי’’ד for example, Rosh Yeshiva, was named after R’ Chaim Brisker’s elder son Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik, the Rav’s father, whose Yohr Tzeit falls out on the same day as my father ע’’ה.
I asked others whether Breslav would be bopping in the streets of Beit Shemesh. How can anyone, even a Chossid bring שמחה to the table.
I noted to others, that in this case, they don’t do Tahara, and one is buried in their bloodied clothing. I don’t know what the din is, but my feeling was it would have been appropriate to bury the person in their Tefillin as well as their Tallis. אפילו בהסתרה was sounding so hollow to me. I couldn’t cope with it.
[Hat tip BA]
Here is a post from a lady close by
Some people wake up in the morning to the soft strains of the music on their alarm clock. This morning I woke up to the heart-stopping shrieks of multiple ambulances and police cars racing down my street on the way to Har Nof. Meanwhile my husband was in shule davening Shacharis. I hadn’t even said goodbye to him as he left while I was still asleep and was considerate enough not to wake me. Thank G-d my husband came home from shule. But my friends Chaya Levine and Breina Goldberg weren’t as fortunate. What do you say to a friend, the widow of a holy martyr, whose life has changed drastically in an instant? How can I smile at Salim, the friendly Arab worker at the grocery store across the road, without feeling suspicious? And how do I deal with the fact that for the first time in 24 years in Israel I no longer feel safe in my own backyard? May G-d comfort all of us in these trying times, and may we all appreciate every minute spent with our loved ones.
I just don’t want to hear God’s accountants telling us it is because of a) or b) or c). Do yourselves a favour and adopt וידום אהרון.
At times like these, I’m terribly reminded of horrible holocaust scenes . I’m left with extreme בהלה
What can one do? We can donate money to relevant organisations, but there are families that now comprise some 24 children without a father. What was the Aybishter doing hiding? Can we ask why? I say yes. I say we adopt Moshe Rabeinu’s attitude and say מחיני נא מספרך rub me out from your Torah if you have something against the Jews. This so soon after a Shabbos Kiddush Hashem, it defies logic, and yes, I know “that soul may have completed its purpose in this world” is often used, but I don’t know why that soul wasn’t allowed to complete more. Who does it harm?
Don’t anyone dare suggest it was because we didn’t follow Satmar’s incorrect views.
In Melbourne we have the wonderful CSG looking after Shules and Schools. Ironically, they don’t look after Chareidim who think that their negative attitude to Israel and Torah Learning etc will protect them. This is a reminder that אין סומכין על הנס and you have to protect yourself. Does someone really believe that two or three deranged chevra from this כת הרוצחים these ישמאלים ממזרים aren’t capable of a copy cat style operation. Both major political parties are supportive of improved security, but there is a limit to what can be done. And I hope nobody touches the latently anti-semitic, nevus socialist alliance party. Don’t give them one vote.
Parents, watch your kids. Watch yourselves. I see kids in the Charedi area of Ripponlea walking at night alone or in two’s. They wouldn’t have a hope of protecting themselves from the type of attack that Zac Gomo endured. Zac was a חייל with training and that saved him. He spoke Arabic and knew how to close a wind pipe.
Maybe we need to introduce קרב מגע in every Jewish School. Obama isn’t going to help us, and neither is anyone else. We can’t be sanguine. We must act, speak up, and look after ourselves. At the same time, improving one’s own personal faults in עבודת השם and עבודת הזולת, which is a very personal thing, should be on everyone’s mind. The world is finely balanced, and as usual, we are on the עקידה and although it is commonly thought that Yitzchak didn’t die on the עקידה the Midrash/Peskikta explicitly says that פרחה נשמתו i.e. Yitzchok died before the knife cut, and when he was saved, a new Yitzchok was effectively born.
אני הקטן don’t have anything of real value to contribute in this blog post except an outpouring of = extreme angst and aggravation that MY God was אפילו בהסתרה and if so, I say, no I beseech, that this game of hide and seek needs to stop through full גילוי אלוקות במהרה בימינו.
In the meanwhile, I would, even though it’s against intrernational law, not only demolish the houses, but evict all members of the family on a one way passage to Gaza. Let them rot there. I would investigate and include any Imam/Sheik who had influenced them (if they did) and do the same to them. The Balad party and all parties should swear allegiance to a JEWISH State, and if they can’t, they should leave to an Arab state.
It says a great deal that the international community is outraged when Jews build homes in Jerusalem, but doesn’t say a word when Jews are murdered for living in Jerusalem. Throughout history, Jerusalem has been the capital for one people and only one people – the Jewish people.
Amb Prosor addresses the UN Security Council
Amb Prosor addresses the UN Security Council
Copyright: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
Following are excerpts on from remarks by Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, to the Security Council during the Emergency Session on Jerusalem:
• I am here to convey one simple truth. The people of Israel are not occupiers and we are not settlers. Israel is our home and Jerusalem is the eternal capital of our sovereign state.
• There are many threats in the Middle East, but the presence of Jewish homes in the Jewish homeland has never been one of them.
• It says a great deal that the international community is outraged when Jews build homes in Jerusalem, but doesn’t say a word when Jews are murdered for living in Jerusalem. The hypocrisy is appalling.
• Throughout history, Jerusalem has been the capital for one people and only one people – the Jewish people.
• Jerusalem is central to our identity and our tradition. The holy city is named more than 900 times in the Bible. On holidays we sing לשנה הבאה בירושלים – “Next year in Jerusalem.”
For thousands of years, through persecution and massacres, expulsions and crusades, blood libels and pogroms, Jews turned their hearts in prayer towards Jerusalem. The connection between the Jewish people and our capital cannot be denied.
• The Palestinians and others have had the audacity to accuse us of trying to alter the historic Jewish character of our ancient city. Really? The truth of the matter is that Jerusalem had a Jewish character long before most cities in the world had any character. It was the capital of the Jewish people long before Homer composed the Iliad, before Romulus and Remus founded Rome, and before the armies of Alexander the Great swept across the Middle East. Jerusalem is steeped in Jewish history.
• Earlier this month, he [Palestinian President Abbas] called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount using (quote) “all means” necessary. Are these the words of a leader committed to making peace?
• The video of his hateful remarks was broadcast on official Palestinian Authority television 19 times in three days -19 times in three days. The results of these inflammatory remarks were almost immediate. Hundreds of Arabs rioted in Jerusalem damaging the light rail system and a Hamas terrorist deliberately drove full speed onto a Jerusalem train platform and killed two people. Did President Abbas express outrage or remorse over the senseless killings? Of course not. He couldn’t even muster the courage to denounce an attack that left a three-month-old baby dead.
Rather than trying to extinguish the flames of conflict, the Palestinian leadership is adding fuel to the fire. First they incite violence on the Temple Mount and then they run to the Security Council to complain about the consequences. If this isn’t manufacturing a crisis, I don’t know what is.
• Following Israel’s victory in 1967, Israel reunited Jerusalem. Since then, all people – and I mean all people – regardless of religion and nationality can visit the city’s holy sites.
And while we were victorious and assumed control over all of Jerusalem, Israel extended a hand in peace to the Muslim world. According to the status quo brokered between Israel and the Waqf [the Islamic religious authority], Muslims would enjoy access to pray at their holy sites, while all other religions would be allowed access to the Temple Mount.
Israel went one step further and decided that Jews would not be allowed to pray on the site. I want to make sure you understand this. The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest place, but we were willing to restrict our own freedoms for the sake of peace. Can you think of another nation that would make this compromise? Can you think of another religion that would make this sacrifice?
Today, Jerusalem under Israeli authority is united for Muslims, united for Christians, and united for Jews. As Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated this week (and I quote), “We are maintaining the status quo and allowing everyone access to the holy places, and we will continue to do so.”
Israel is doing everything in its power to minimize tensions. Even when riots break out, Israeli security forces, acting in coordination with the Jordanian government, refrain from entering the mosque and its courtyard unless there is an imminent threat to the site and its visitors.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, are doing everything in their power to inflame tensions. The Waqf has violated the status quo agreement by restricting access to Judaism’s holiest place – the place where we believe that God began the act of creation, where Abraham brought his son Isaac, and where Jacob fell asleep and dreamed of angels.
Today a Jew who wishes to visit this sacred site is threatened with violence. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier this month, Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount is a “declaration of war against Islam.”
There are the irresponsible words of a person trying to ignite a religious war. You don’t have to be a Catholic to visit the Vatican. You don’t have to be a Jew to visit the Western Wall. But the Palestinians would like to see the day when the Temple Mount is only open to Muslims – and that will not take place.
• It is time for the Palestinians to realize that the children of Abraham – all the children of Abraham – Jews, Christians and Muslims alike – are not doomed to live together in war, but rather destined to live together in peace.
• And so today I issue this promise from the people of the Promised Land – under our watch, Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, will remain a free and open city for all people and for all time.
The donors of 5 billion dollars to Hamastan laid no conditions of demilitarisation. This is unacceptable, and should be unacceptable to even J-Street supporters
Ban Ki Moon’s statement that the war was a result of “occupation” is reprehensible. He is grossly unfit for office. How does he know? We know it didn’t start with that. That’s fact. We know that Hamas and Fatah hate each other but hate Israel more. We know that successive Prime Ministers have tried to negotiate two state solutions only to have them rejected by the Arabs. We know they don’t recognise a JEWISH state. We know Israel can do no right.
The British Labor Party’s direction to its members to vote on the issue is grossly political. It isn’t about the concept, it’s about the timing and methodology. This is how a prostituted party works in England to garner votes.
How dare Moon not wish to investigate Human Rights violations from Hamas.
Obama is on his last legs. He has proved absolutely useless at protecting Kurds and Yazdis. He gives lip service to genocide. His lip service is only second to Clinton. Kerry is a גארנישט
The world is corruption personified.
I would, as Israel, Boycott as many UN events as possible. THAT must be the reaction. If you aren’t forced, why go to a filthy bordello? We are עם לבדד ישכון ובגויים לא יתחשב
Frankly, his job as a professor lends no credence to his views. They have demonstrably been shown to be false, if he opened his eyes and just looked at Israeli society. His is the sad wish of someone who wants to assimilate because then he won’t be from the “chosen people”.
His Zayda would disown him. The most telling comment was his use of the word “occupation”. That gave it all away for me. Globalisation, my foot. If anything, the internet has strengthened my knowledge of Judaism enormously.
His inane comment is as silly as the one I saw in Rabbi Donenbaum’s booklet over Succos where someone put in a dedication (anonymous! Why? Tzidkus, humility?) because his Chavrusa has turned the internet off on his iPhone. I have a better idea. Let his Chavrusa give me his iPhone and I’ll give him one of those old Nokias. The Yetzer Hora won’t even touch him that way. Anyway, here is the article reported about Shlomo Sand. I suggest he change his name to Steve Sand?
A controversial Israeli historian has declared his wish to cease considering himself a Jew, expressing disgust at the “ethnocentricity” which he feels is the prevailing worldview among many Israelis
In an opinion piece published in the Guardian on Friday – which is an extract from his new book, How I Stopped Being a Jew — Prof. Shlomo Sand of Tel Aviv University says he has been “assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters.”
“I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew,” he writes.
Sand asserts that Israel is “one of the most racist societies in the western world” due to its strict characterization as a Jewish state. “Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws,” he says.
He expresses his disillusionment with Israel dues to its continued occupation of the Palestinian territories, which he says “is leading us on the road to hell.”
Despite his scathing critique of Israel, Sand acknowledges that he is also deeply tied to the nation. “The language in which I speak, write and dream is overwhelmingly Hebrew,” he says. “When I am far from Israel, I see my street corner in Tel Aviv and look forward to the moment I can return to it… when I visit the teeming Paris bookstores, what comes to my mind is the Hebrew book week organized each year in Israel.”
Sand states his belief that the ethnic differences which have divided the world for millennia will become insignificant as the world moves more and more towards globalization. “The cultural distance between my great grandson and me will be as great or greater than that separating me from my own great grandfather,” he hypothesizes.
The Tel Aviv lecturer has long been the subject of controversy. His 2008 book “The Invention of the Jewish People” claimed that the Jews were not a nation expelled from its homeland but a religion of converts spread throughout the world. The Jewish people as an ethnic group, he asserted, was a myth created by Jewish intellectuals in the 19th century. In a 2009 sequel, “The Invention of the Land of Israel,” Sand similarly deconstructs the Jews’ historical right to that land.
Like many, I am debating the War with Hamas, on a number of social media. People who were very friendly have emerged as virulently anti-Israel even when logical analysis would suggest that there is no solution different from that employed by the Israel Defence Forces, each soldier of which is involved in an enormous Mitzvah 24/7.
How many of us come near them? My interlocutors aren’t stupid. They are highly intelligent. Most are ex-PhD students and Masters alumni . The common thread is that they are mainly people with a Muslim background, or in the case of Persians (Iranians often call themselves Persians because they are secular and are embarrassed by the ayatollahs) have a loose affiliation with Islam though they feel it has destroyed their own country. Yet, that which unites them is an unquestionable pathological wish to sink a mortal boot into the high Jewish Morality at each opportunity.
I’ve indicated that the City of Medina was actually a Jewish City before Mohammed and his violent hoards forcefully evicted Jews. As such, should Medina be classified as occupied territory? When does a city morph into a state of occupation and when is an entity born?
Many Arabs and Muslims are oblivious to what resides under the Dome of the Mosque. Some have used the argument that the Canaanites were there before Jews to which I responded that the Canaanites do not exist. In considering existence, I seek clarification of the ‘age’ of Jordan, and its own rights as some independent entity. This is met with silence reminiscence when I refer to Black September.
I had one unsavoury creäture, dare to splash Hitler’s façade into the conversation, with a call to finish off what Hitler did not do.
I and many others happen to believe that this is ultimately a religious war. It’s territorial, but only in the context of an Islāmic imperative to find the Jew behind the stone and kill him.
Apart from engaging in polemics (and sometimes I feel that the only result is that my blood pressure goes up and I achieve nothing) what can we in the Diaspora do?
We get together for an evening of prayer. Some, like Elwood Shule had an emergency appeal which raised 7K. Others prefer a rally of sorts in solidarity. Others will perform a crowd dance in the City.
I note, in passing that many Charedi Yeshivos will not close after Tisha B’Av as is customary. I’d like to see them all use this time to be involved in helping the people of the South whose גאון יעקב has been psychologically apprehended. I mean help them בגשמיות, Reader MD pointed out that Yeshivot Hesder are in full swing and have been conscripted to aid. Who better than legendary Tankistim burning with love of the people, land and Torah to enter the fray.
It’s so relatively easy for the rest of us in the Diaspora.
Beneath the polemic and news commentary there is a latent anti-Semitism. I have seen people try to counter protest with flags of Israel, but there is much more to this conflagration than the Jewish homeland. Jews themselves are in danger, all around the world.
Based on the above, I’d like to call for a new initiative. I will call it Mivtza Kippa. In my opinion, it’s time that each and every male, whatever their level of religiosity may or may not be, decided to not be ashamed to proclaim that they are a Jew and to specifically make such a statement at a moment like this in our history. If you lose one client because of this or are mistreated, then sue. If you are attacked, then show the world it’s because you are a Jew. It is JEWS who are hated. It is their morality and leadership in a corrupt world that is under threat. Even a leftist atheist should wear one in the street, and at work, and show that after World War 2, this is our new yellow Magen David, only now we are showing the world, and I mean the entire world, that Jews don’t cower. We wear it with pride. We don’t hide. We aren’t defined by our nose or our surnames ending in “stein” or “ofski” and similar.
Do you have the guts to put a Kippa on now, during our time of extreme distress? If not now, when? They try to separate Zionists from Jews. We are all Zionists. A Zionist is a Jew. Even if you are a Satmar type, you are a Zionist. You pray for a return 3 times a day. You may not understand or like God’s planned method through a secular government, but it stares at you and is a living Psak.
A group of Jewish lawyers should band together and at no cost to deal with each and every incident of anti-Semitism that will erupt once the hatred exudes at the sight of the red rag of a Kippa.
It’s time we were visibly Jews and proud and not exhibiting fear.
We hear stories of soldiers having near death encounters, feeling they were saved by an external being which they call God. I don’t care whether you believe or not. Have as much guts as the soldiers and I challenge you to take on wearing a yarmulke/kippa. Let the Jewish shops sell them at a reduced price for this important Mivtza.
We need to show them all up for what they are: Anti Semites.
If you agree with my initiative, please pass this message on to as many as you can, especially those in other countries. Let the word spread. Let’s have a mass movement around the world where Jews EMERGE and show they are not only here, but here to stay, and we aren’t going to take hate any longer.
Yes, place a target on your head, and let them come at you. Prosecute them and put them away.
My children came home from somewhere with bracelets of support. We don’t need new methods to advertise our support for Israel. It is ant-Judaism which is behind this scourge.
Our support stems from the fact that we are Jews. Encourage the youth of today to have the guts and determination to wear a Yarmulka. Let every anti-Semite emerge from their hole and become completely visible.
My questions are: do they have a COMPLETE subterranean plan of the Hezbollah tunnels. The technology in Israel is deficient. There is a smugness that has been rudely awakened by the work of Hamas. The USA has seen through its satellites the full extent if Hamas tunnels.
This makes John, sycophant of the year, Kerry, somebody who I’d take as seriously as his boofy hair nest.
Obama the growing (sic) impotent is a dangerous man.
If they knew all this and didn’t pass it on then any Jew who votes Democrat needs a Refuah.
If they knew and passed it onto Israeli intelligence, and our arrogant leaders underestimated the threat, they should face a formal investigation.
HAMAS subterranean tunnels need to be identified and pre-emptively destroyed if their exits are in Israel. It’s time to develop a good gas to blow through these tunnels.
Thousands of Hamas-linked terrorists planned to invade Israel on the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which begins on September 24, according to an Israel security source.
First reported by Ma’ariv, then in English by i24news, “thousands of terrorists were meant to cross over to Israel from Gaza through the tunnels and kill and kidnap as many Israelis as they could. The source added that the army learned about the huge planned attack during the interrogations of Hamas prisoners, captured during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.”
Reports state that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed his cabinet about the foiled plot during a Thursday cabinet meeting. The leader of the Jewish State reportedly expressed to officials that if this attack was not stopped, the number of Israeli fatalities may have been higher than the over 2,200 deaths Israel suffered during 1973 Yom Kippur War.
During Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have set their sights on destroying Hamas’ sophisticated tunnel system. In the past, the U.S.-designated terror group has successfully infiltrated the Jewish State, resulting in the killing and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. The last occurrence was on July 19 when two IDF soldiers lost their lives and the assailants were able to escape back to Gaza through a tunnel. Gen. James T. Conway, USMC (ret.) recently returned from Israel, where he was joined by a dozen retired U.S. generals and admirals, sponsored by Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). While there, the group toured a tunnel from Gaza recently discovered near an Israeli kindergarten.
“Unlike tunnels that I had seen during the Iraq war that were designed for smuggling, this Hamas tunnel was designed for launching murder and kidnapping raids. The 3-mile-long tunnel was reinforced with concrete, lined with telephone wires, and included cabins unnecessary for infiltration operations but useful for holding hostages,” the retired General wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
Israel has reportedly destroyed over 30 tunnels during “Operation Protective Edge.” The Jewish State contends that Hamas, which governs Gaza, devotes resources to building tunnels to commit acts of terrorism, instead of building homes, parks, schools and hospitals.
An article published by the Gatestone Institute quotes an Israeli spokesman’s observation that “there are two Gazas, one above ground and one below ground: an underground terrorist city
There was this long back and forth about the citizens of Gaza (only) and one person had said we should all be crying for them.
I wrote back
You should cry why your Arafat didn’t sign the Oslo Accords. THAT’s what you should cry about. Did you forget?
You’ve got to ‘love’ the high morals of the Economist. What they didn’t want me to have published is that if Arafat had signed, and there was an enduring peace (I know that’s questionable) nobody would be crying.
I’m sure many of us are spending time defending Israel and its rightful inhabitants at work, in forums, in comments on various newspapers (I had a totally benign comment of mine censored by the Economist, no less)
These are TOUGH times. Jewish soccer players get attacked on the pitch. We read that a shop in Belgium hung a large sign saying ‘no entry to Zionists or dogs’ and then had Zionists replaced by the word Jews. Our people fight those who want to annihilate us every minute and protect Jewish lives. Is it Torah that doesn’t see a missile on Bnei Brak or is it the Enemy themselves who perceive such enclaves as their friends?
Many in Europe of all places are facing violence and huge barrages of protest which invariably link us to hitler Yimach Shemo Vezichro. There is a very clear approach being taken by haters of Jews.
This morning someone sent me a phone picture of a demonstration in Paris taken by a bystander. I don’t have words to describe how sick in the guts I felt seeing these low lives joining those who would be happy to see us wiped out.
I am thinking that we need a web page, a World-Wide page, of faces and names. Anyone from any country in the world who joins these protests, is made visible in their anti israel views and should be named alongside their picture.
Here is the picture that raised my blood pressure significantly.
In the evening, as I lie in bed hoping I can fall asleep quickly, I often take to my iPad arguing the outright lies put out by Hamas sympathisers disguising themselves as spokesman for the Palestinian cause.
In an among one stream of debate, a past moral and respected alumni of mine called for money to help the citizens of Hamastan. I asked her whether she was motivated by helping only Muslims or whether it was a civilian gesture to help all citizens caught up in the war begun by Hamas. She didn’t like me introducing that angle to her appeal, although she had published figures where she had already politicised the debate. She was, I believe, one of the vocal supporters of the rabble-like demonstration together with the great unwashed: consisting of the Marxists, Socialist Alliance, and other anti-Semitic no hopers living on Government subsidies in the main. I see them putting up posters all around my workplace. I take them down, if I pass such posters. I have the same right to take down a non mandated poster as they do putting them up.
Suddenly, one of my alumnus’ friends posted a horribly offensive picture of Hitler ימ’’ש with the words “I didn’t kill all the Jews, I left some for you to kill” followed by Share the post etc
I was fuming. I tried to control myself, but as a child of holocaust survivors and like many of us who lost relatives in the genocide targeting a race–the largely helpless Jews–I felt that justice needed to be effected. I quickly took pictures of the said disgraceful post and researched the background of the person who sent it. I asked him to contact me as he was in breach of State and Federal Laws, after which he quickly took down the post.
He wasn’t a Yobbo. He is very intelligent, having completed an Aeronautical Engineering degree from RMIT. He was from Pakistan, living in Melbourne, occupying a very senior role in a well-known company, and was undertaking a part-time MBA part-time at Melbourne Uni.
I asked our common acquaintance to contact him. Our common acquaintance/alumnus is a nice person, also a Muslim, and she and I have mutual respect. He refused to contact me. When a week passed, and I saw another objectionable post from him, I decided that I had to do react. The Police were outraged and informed me that he had likely broken both a local and federal law and if convicted faced a term of up to 3 years in prison and all that flows from that. The police suggested that we need to react to such hate speech.
Yes, it is also true, I was grossed out by the assault perpetrated by Zach Gomo, and this was also on my mind. Zach has been to our house several times, with his lovely partner to be.
There was a rally, which I couldn’t attend. I understand it was poorly attended. In my opinion the proper JEWISH response was not to wear red (a colour we are enjoined to avoid), but to blow the Shofar, to the sound of Teruah (it is a Machlokes Acharonim whether this applies today) and to issue prayers for the safety of the defenders of our Holy State. The agenda should not be led by Zionist organisations alone. They sometimes invent new modes of protest and rally. As Rav Soloveitchik stressed: the Chachomim defined the limits of Torah according to tradition-Mesora. We should not be inventing new traditions. The Mesora informs us what we should be doing. We must follow the Mesora at all times. Unfortunately I could not attend. I was teaching Torah at the time to two people who are the future of our people. I hope the rally achieved success and the organisers were pleased.
Now, I wanted my interlocutor to visit the Holocaust Museum and issue an advertisement apologising for his racially genocidal incitement. In other words, I wanted him educated.
I had rung the Neil Mitchell program on Monday when the topic arose, and related what a low-life had perpetrated. Neil took my number off air but never followed up. I wouldn’t expect Jon Faine to have any more sympathy even Neil although he is technically Jewish and has two very fine traditional parents.
Yes, my angst is trivial compared to a family that has lost a love one, but I can’t help the seething frustration, where weeds are permitted to sprout with impunity in a “multi-cultural” Australia. That being said, a Torah Law prohibits me taking the next steps, and one must bow to the Torah and I will leave it at that.
I have argued Israel’s case strenuously in a number of internet forums during the current operation to defend Israel from Hamas. It was incredible, that my Muslim interlocutors kept publishing videos of Mr Moshe Ber Beck showing me that even Jews are against Israel.
Oh yes, I can tell them that the disgraceful Beck is generally described as a fringe lunatic, but do you think they believe me? They point out that all the ones with long side locks and funny hats and beards are just like Moshe Ber Beck, and there are plenty of them.
I’m embarrassed that someone like Beck (whose voice sounds eerily but unsurprisingly similar to his Melbourne brother) can’t keep his mouth shut and hide in a deep hole somewhere in the Antarctica or Siberia. Perhaps he and his like-minded ilk should find the same hole that the two assassins used to murder the three boys הי’’ד are hiding in: Beck and Co are just one moral rung down from them.
I’d expect to see posters all over Israel, especially Meah Shearim condemning Beck, but the Mashiach will be here before that happens.
Barack Hussein Obama is quoted here. The rhetoric is basically as useless as his attempts to broker peace. It’s not about a ceasefire Mr Obama. It is about demilitarisation. Unless Gazastan is not demilitarised, there can never be a lull that lasts and any diplomatic efforts are futile. Why don’t you let Israel damage their infrastructure in a grander scale? It’s not because of your care for civilians. You don’t care when your drones kill Terrorists and their families. You are simply a hypocrite who started as an idealist and quickly became a back seat driver.
The facts that Obama knows this and ignores it, is a sign that Obama has never been a true friend of Israel except when it is important to his strategic Machiavellian play in the world field. He is a fraud, with a capital F. That Yidden voted this fraud in, would have to go down as one of the biggest mistakes they have ever made.
He cannot be trusted and his delay in denouncing the kidnap and murder of the three Jewish boys, is a proof, more powerful than Scientific extrapolation: there are less unknown variables.
Jews in America who don’t go on Aliya, have a very important role to play. The right-wing “Aliya at all costs” don’t understand that.
One thing I have learned, is that my “mild-mannered Islamic Alumni” all of a sudden become rabid anti-Israel haters overnight. They are also false.
The Fraenkel, Shaer and Yifrach families modeled for us spiritual strength and brotherly love.
By David M. Weinberg
Published in Israel Hayom, July 1, 2014.
So it turns out that the families of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach knew almost from the beginning of this ordeal that one or two of the three boys were likely to have been killed in the course of the kidnapping on June 12.
There were gunshots on the recording of the SOS call made by Gilad, which was played for the families. There were bullet casings and blood found in the burnt shell of the getaway car, and the families were told this too.
They were told that the lack of demands from the kidnappers was a sign that the boys might no longer be alive.
And yet all three families exuded optimism, faith and positive energy for 18 long days. They went before camera and after camera, reporter after reporter, concert after concert, and prayer assembly after prayer assembly, and asserted their confidence that just a bit more effort could bring a positive result. They met every youth group, every foreign diplomat, every UN assembly, every IDF commander they could, thanking everybody for their efforts, in their upbeat, affirming and unassuming way.
What amazing people! What noble people! How they raised the spirits of an entire nation; united an entire nation; comforted an entire nation!
They taught us how to harness all our temporal powers to drive towards a national goal in unison. They taught us all what it means to believe in powers greater than our own.
Perhaps the most profound thought uttered over the past three weeks was expressed by Racheli Fraenkel at the Western Wall last week. In a clip shown on Israeli television, and seen I think by just about every person in this country, Mrs. Fraenkel is approached at the Wall by a group of very young girls who want to wish her well.
Instead, Mrs. Fraenkel bends down to them and offers theological reassurance and warm wisdom. “I want you to promise me,” she softly says, “that no matter what happens, you won’t be crushed or broken. That you won’t lose faith. After all, we must remember that G-d isn’t our ‘employee.’ He doesn’t always do as we wish.”
With these crushingly humble words, Racheli Fraenkel captured the hearts of an entire nation. Her words resounded through every living room and every workplace. People repeated them, reflected upon them, debated them. Agree or disagree, nobody could deny her strength of spirit. Nobody could avoid being awestruck at her clear-sightedness; at her breathtaking display of faith within realism.
As I stood at midnight last night outside the Fraenkel home (down the street from my home in Nof Ayalon), Naftali’s uncle Yishai Fraenkel shared with me that behind the mask of embarrassed smiles and sunny demeanor we saw on our television screens, Racheli Fraenkel was being torn apart. “Inside the house, she doesn’t smile. Inside the house, inside her soul, she is dealing with a great personal burden of pain. And of course, she must simultaneously be mother to her other children. She may be a superwoman, but she has no super-natural powers. She says that she draws strength from the People of Israel; from the outpouring of care and prayer that has come from all corners of the Jewish world.”
Such modesty aside, I feel that Mrs. Fraenkel and the other five now-bereaved parents modeled for us not just indomitable personal character. They modeled for us spiritual strength; a healthy blend of religious devotion and rationality. Of this world-ness and other-world-ness. Of pragmatism and values. Of self-interest and selflessness. Of coolly calculated tactics and naturally-flowing love.
They gave Israelis a model for religious commitment, national unity and brotherly love not only in times of crisis but also in everyday life; throughout all regular seasons of our rough-and-tumble spiritual-social-political life.
Why are so many of the grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who brought us the Holocaust once again declaring war on the Jews?
Why have we seen such an increase in anti-Semitism and irrationally virulent anti-Zionism in western Europe?
To answer these questions, a myth must first be exposed. That myth is the one perpetrated by the French, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Swiss, the Belgians, the Austrians, and many other western Europeans: namely that the Holocaust was solely the work of German Nazis aided perhaps by some Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian collaborators.
The Holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans: by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern.
If the French government had not deported to the death camps more Jews than their German occupiers asked for; if so many Dutch and Belgian citizens and government officials had not cooperated in the roundup of Jews; if so many Norwegians had not supported Quisling; if Swiss government officials and bankers had not exploited Jews; if Austria had not been more Nazi than the Nazis, the Holocaust would not have had so many Jewish victims.
In light of the widespread European complicity in the destruction of European Jewry, the pervasive anti-Semitism and irrationally hateful anti-Zionism that has recently surfaced throughout western Europe toward Israel should surprise no one.
“Oh no,” we hear from European apologists. “This is different. We dont hate the Jews. We only hate their nation-state. Moreover, the Nazis were right-wing. Were left-wing, so we cant be anti-Semites.”
The hard left has a history of anti-Semitism as deep and enduring as the hard right. The line from Voltaire to Karl Marx, to Levrenti Beria, to Robert Faurisson, to todays hard-left Israel bashers is as straight as the line from Wilhelm Mars to the persecutors of Alfred Dreyfus to Hitler.
The Jews of Europe have always been crushed between the Black and the Red – victims of extremism whether it be the ultra-nationalism of Khmelnitsky to the ultra-anti-Semitism of Stalin.
“But some of the most strident anti-Zionists are Jews, such as Norman Finkelstein and even Israelis such as Gilad Atzmon. Surely they can’t be anti-Semites?”
Why not? Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas collaborated with the Gestapo. Atzmon, a hard leftist, describes himself as a proud self-hating Jew and admits that his ideas derive from a notorious anti-Semite.
He denies that the Holocaust is historically proved but he believes that Jews may well have killed Christian children to use their blood to bake Passover matzah. And he thinks it’s “rational” to burn down synagogues.
Finkelstein believes in an international Jewish conspiracy that includes Steven Spielberg, Leon Uris, Eli Wiesel, and Andrew Lloyd Webber!
“But Israel is doing bad things to the Palestinians,” the European apologists insist, “and we are sensitive to the plight of the underdog.”
No, you’re not! Where are your demonstrations on behalf of the oppressed Tibetans, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians, Kurds, or even Ukrainians? Where are your BDS movements against the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans, the Turks, or the Assad regime?
Only the Palestinians, only Israel ? Why? Not because the Palestinians are more oppressed than these and other groups.
Only because their alleged oppressors are Jews and the nation-state of the Jews. Would there be demonstrations and BDS campaigns on behalf of the Palestinians if they were oppressed by Jordan or Egypt ?
Oh, wait! The Palestinians were oppressed by Egypt and Jordan . Gaza was an open-air prison between 1948 and 1967, when Egypt was the occupying power. And remember Black September, when Jordan killed more Palestinians than Israel did in a century? I dont remember any demonstration or BDS campaigns — because there werent any.
When Arabs occupy or kill Arabs, Europeans go ho-hum. But when Israel opens a soda factory in Maale Adumim, which even the Palestinian leadership acknowledges will remain part of Israel in any peace deal, Oxfam parts ways with Scarlett Johansson for advertising a soda company that employs hundreds of Palestinians
Keep in mind that Oxfam has provided “aid and material support” to two anti-Israel terrorist groups, according to the Tel Aviv-based Israeli Law Group.
The hypocrisy of so many hard-left western Europeans would be staggering if it were not so predictable based on the sordid history of Western Europe’s treatment of the Jews.
Even England , which was on the right side of the war against Nazism, has a long history of anti-Semitism, beginning with the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 to the notorious White Paper of 1939, which prevented the Jews of Europe from seeking asylum from the Nazis in British-mandated Palestine . And Ireland , which vacillated in the war against Hitler, boasts some of the most virulent anti-Israel rhetoric.
The simple reality is that one cannot understand the current western European left-wing war against the nation-state of the Jewish people without first acknowledging the long-term European war against the Jewish people themselves.
Theodore Herzl understood the pervasiveness and irrationality of European anti-Semitism, which led him to the conclusion that the only solution to Europe’s Jewish problem was for European Jews to leave that bastion of Jew hatred and return to their original homeland, which is now the state of Israel .
None of this is to deny Israel’s imperfections or the criticism it justly deserves for some of its policies. But these imperfections and deserved criticism cannot even begin to explain, must less justify, the disproportionate hatred directed against the only nation-state of the Jewish people and the disproportionate silence regarding the far greater imperfections and deserved criticism of other nations and groups including the Palestinians.
Nor is this to deny that many western European individuals and some western European countries have refused to succumb to the hatred against the Jews or their state. The Czech Republic comes to mind. But far too many western Europeans are as irrational in their hatred toward Israel as their forbearers were in their hatred toward their Jewish neighbours.
As author Amos Oz once aptly observed: the walls of his grandparents’ Europe were covered with graffiti saying, “Jews, go to Palestine .” Now they say, “Jews, get out of Palestine ” ? by which is meant Israel ..
Who do these western European bigots think theyre fooling? Only fools who want to be fooled in the interest of denying that they are manifesting new variations on their grandparents’ old biases.
Any objective person with an open mind, open eyes, and an open heart must see the double standard being applied to the nation-state of the Jewish people. Many doing so are the grandchildren of those who lethally applied a double standard to the Jews of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
I just attended the community Tehillim event at Caulfield Shule, and I felt ill at ease.
Let me explain. I do not understand what Hashem wants from us. On the one hand he wants us to follow Him and we do, to the best of our ability amongst swirling stormy seas of שונאי ימח שמם, ישראל, and the vicissitudes thrown up by the modern world of temptation and diversion.
I have a son in Israel, whose birthday is tomorrow עד מאה ועשרים and who is barely older than the three captives, and who was in that area a few days earlier with my daughter and son-in-law. Another son had been there a few weeks earlier with my grandson enjoying the beauty that only the Holy Land can produce.
We said Tehillim. I concentrated with all my might. I was gratified to see a good cross-section of people from the religious community in attendance, including a number of representatives from Adass. I felt we were one, but I found myself questioning why Hashem was abandoning us. קלי למה עזבתנו. Didn’t we all suffer enough from Gilad Shalit’s ordeal and the tendentious decision to release murderers in return. Will that kid ever be a “normal” person?
I am reminded at such times of the genuine tears and wailing of my Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Goldvicht ז’ל, who repeated over and over and overצעקו והשם שמע ומכל צרותם הצילם at times like these: we are behoved to audibly cry out in anguish, and God must listen and save us from all our Tzores. The atmosphere then at Kerem B’Yavneh was one of numbness. I often still feel it. I visualise it. None of us were remotely close to the essence of the Rosh Yeshivah’s cries to Hashem.
I vacillate between feeling like a speck asking Hashem to listen to my wishes, and the power of the whole, the קדושה of oneness displayed when people are conjoined by external trouble. Rav Soloveitchik wrote that this causative oneness is admirable and natural, but he exhorted that the challenge was to have such feelings when we are not drawn together by Tzaros.
The Rav felt that this higher level of קדושה was the עצמות of what קדושת העם is meant to be. It is our collective existential submission to Hashem that is qualitatively superior to individual pain or external causes that draw us together. This oneness existed at the time of the Beis Hamikdash through individuals literally being לפני השם. This then is the challenge: to feel לפני השם even when things are nice and comfortable and all is comparatively well. I’m certainly not near that level which is probably why I felt rather ill at ease. I know, like everyone, where I need to improve and what I need to do. The challenge is doing it, and doing it as a team.
Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
Eyal ben Iris Tesurah
My children were near that spot on Thursday night. It is spine chilling. While we normally criticise Neturei Karta for a lack of Ahavas Yisrael, in this case, they have certainly done the wrong thing. They have written about three of their own who (שומו שמים) may have been drafted into the Holy Army defending our Nation.
I find it very hard to support these people. Someone at Shule said “respect their Shita”. Sorry, this poster makes me ill in context. They complain about “ZIONIST MURDERERS”
What Mashiach would want to walk through Meah Shearim? Not even Shabtai Tzvi the faker.
I call on the leaders of Adass Yisrael to disassociate themselves from this and to attend the Tehillim tonight at Caulfield Shule
I was not going to post about this topic because I know there are many at Adass Yisrael, the Melbourne Chassidic Charedi organisation, who were upset at what happened and I didn’t want to pour petrol on a raging fire.
Then I received the following video [hat tip MD]. It shocked me to my core. If you understand Ivrit, just a little it will likely do the same to you. Make sure you turn on annotations and captions in youtube for English.
It is plain to see that they have butchered the words of Hatikva to issue calls for the destruction of our homeland and annihilation of our people. We are sixty short years away from a scourge that made no difference between a Rebbe or Mechalel Shabbos. A scourge that didn’t care if someone was from Satmar or from Mizrachi. The common theme is that
עם לבדד ישכון
But who is the עם?
Two incidents occurred with the approval of Rabbinic decree at Adass on Yom Haatzmaut. Now, nobody is saying that people have to give שבח והודאה to Hashem if they feel that the state is a cataclysm for עם ישראל but is this אחיך בלבביך?
Both incidents are outside the rules of Dinim Mefurashim in Shulchan Aruch according to all Rishonim.
We don’t say Tachanun at a Bris Mila (שו”ע, סימן קלא, סעיף ד). The Kaf Hachaim says that even other minyanim in that building don’t say Tachanun כה”ח, סימן קעז. The Mishna Brura says that even if the Ba’alei Simcha aren’t there (משנ”ב, שם, ס”ק כב). Yet, when a recent Bris was held on the 5th of Iyyar (yes, we can assume that they didn’t accept the 6th of Iyyar this year because that was designed to lessen the chance of עבירות) yet at Adass, the Rabbi declared vocally that Tachanun had to be said. The SADNESS and CALAMITY of the establishment of a State overrode in his unpublished and unsourced opinion (I know about the Chazon Ish 60 years ago) the clear requirement not to say Tachanun because there was a Simcha. Perhaps they should have worn sack cloth at the Bris and said Kinos on the floor? When I look at this action in the context of the youtube link above, I feel sick in my stomach. Isn’t it clear to one and all that Tachanun would not have been said because of a Bris? Isn’t it known that the right-wing Satmar branch of Adass are closer to Neturei Karta and the breakaway than they are to the rest of the community and Adass has lurched to the right over the years, especially as the sane voices of holocaust survivors dwindle. Would this happen at Chabad? No. Would this happen at Beis HaTalmud? I’d venture to say no. Even though Rav Kotler was no uber supporter, he had a fidelity to Halacha. Someone correct me if they say Tachanun at Lakewood on Yom Ha’atzmaut if there is a Bris.
There was a poor Adass fellow who was sitting Shiva for his father. During the Shiva, the Halacha is clear that we do not say Tachanun. Nobody is talking about Hallel with or without a Brocho or anything like that. Tachanun is not said in the mourners house. Yet, because it was Yom Ha’atzmaut, they decided to say Tachanun in contrast to an open halacha שולחן עורך אורח חיים סעיף ד’ ובמשנה ברורה סק”כ. This is a time when the Midas HaDin is threatening and we dare NOT mention sin (Tachanun) in the house of an Avel. But here, the existence of a State of Israel and the possibility that this might be seen to be supporting Yom Ha’atzmaut, was seen (unpublished and unsourced) as more important than the fearful notion of מידת הדין מתוחה, וצריך ליזהר שלא להגביר מידת הדין עליו
So what does one do? My suggestion is that all who are friendly with people from Adass and who agree with my viewpoint express objection in strong terms and ask them why those who were not happy with the unhalachic ruling, decided to say Tachanun. This is not a הוראת שעה from a נביא.
במקום שיש חילול השם אין חולקים כבוד לרב
I fully accept that the Rabbi(s) who must have issued this ruling are careful with the minutest detail of Halacha and are honest and ehrliche Jews, but I simply cannot reconcile this alleged breach of Halacha in the context of that sickening youtube video.
Nobody says one has to agree with ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו … I know many Rabonim who cleverly say סמיכת when it is politically wise to do so, or who add the word שיהא. These are eschatological matters which really don’t concern me too much. I’m happy with plain גאולה as soon as possible.
I consider these actions as tantamount to matching the antics of the ערב רב who visit and visited those despots who seek to dismantle the only Jewish homeland we have, and have had for thousands of years.
You will probably be aware of the controversy in recent days because of the actress Scarlett Johansson agreeing to be the advertising face of Sodastream, the manufacturer of machines for making carbonated drinks at home.
Sodastream is an Israeli company which has a manufacturing facility in Area C of the West Bank, at a site which may well become part of Israel in any peace deal. Because it operates in the West Bank it is the subject of intensive boycott campaigning by anti-Israel protesters, including protests at its store in Brighton, here in the UK. The company employs hundreds of Palestinian workers, with pay and conditions well above the Palestinian average. Their livelihoods are at stake if the boycott succeeds. You can read more about Sodastream’s operations in the West Bank here: http://forward.com/articles/170873/boycott-israel-push-against-sodastream-could-hurt/
Scarlet Johansson is also a global ambassador for Oxfam. The boycott campaigners are calling for Oxfam to drop her from this role, in line with Oxfam’s critical position towards Israel.
The Guardian website is running an unscientific online poll about whether Oxfam should break its links with Scarlett Johansson.
At the moment it is running 85% in favour of this attack on Scarlett Johansson’s links to an Israeli company.
The Heimlich family is an honourable family in Adass Yisrael, full of Talmidei Chachomim, born and bred in the Charedi (hungarian) community in Melbourne, Australia. One of the sons, is a renowned Posek to whom most Adass folk turn to for their Sheylos today. He sits in the Gerrer Shitibel daily and learns, and is a fine man.
One brother Nachum is a Rosh Kollel in Satmar. You can hear his vituperative and spite filled anti zionist/jewish speech on youtube, where he tells the non Jews that we don’t need a country, we don’t need an army etc and publicly criticises Israel. To Nachum I say, come back to Australia. Your place isn’t in Israel. Why torture yourself by staying there.
Pull out, I say. Get your kinsman out of Israel. Cross the border into Ramallah. Go live there in peace and harmony. Get the heck out of Israel. It’s really Avi Avos HaTumah for you and means nothing to you. Get lost!
Shame on you Rabbi Nochum Tzvi Heimlich on the youtube (listen at about 10:42) The Australian accent is unmistakeable. What a Chillul Hashem. Remove your sackcloth, and come wear Australian sheepskin.
I call on his brother in Melbourne to condemn his statements. I doubt it will happen any more than the clandestine visits of Rabbi Beck to his infamous extremist brother.
We in Melbourne are fools for supporting and allowing these extremist elements to take our money through their various businesses. Next time you deal with one, ask him whether he supports Satmar and Toldos Aron or similar. This is a Shandeh.
I call on Adass to distance itself explicitly in the press from these extremists and condemn them and their sentiments.
The following [hat tip Anton] is from the independent by Howard Jacobson.
Gather round, everybody. I bear important news. Anti-Semitism no longer exists! Ring out, ye bells, the longest hatred has ceased to be. It’s kaput, kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. It’s a stiff, ladies and gentlemen. An EX-PREJUDICE!
I first heard the news in a motion passed by the University and College Union declaring that criticism of Israel can “never” be anti-Semitic which, if “never” means “never”, is a guarantee that Jew-hating is over, because … Well, because it’s impossible to believe that an active anti-Semite wouldn’t – if only opportunistically – seek out somewhere to nestle in the manifold pleats of Israel-bashing, whether in generally diffuse anti-Zionism, or in more specific Boycott and Divestment Campaigns, Israeli Apartheid Weeks, End the Occupation movements and the like. Of course, you don’t have to hate Jews to hate Israel, but tell me that not a single Jew-hater finds the activity congenial, that criticising Israel can “never” be an expression of Jew-hating, not even when it takes the form of accusing Israeli soldiers of harvesting organs, then it follows that there’s no Jew-hating left.
These tidings would seem to be confirmed by Judge Anthony Snelson who, investigating a complaint that the Union was institutionally anti-Semitic, encountered not a trace of any such beast, no suggestion it had lurked or was lurking, not the faintest rustle of its cerements, not so much as a frozen shadow on a wall. Indeed, so squeaky-clean was the union in all its anti-Israel motions and redefinitions of anti-Semitism to suit itself, that Judge Snelson berated the Jewish complainants, a) for wasting his time with evidence, b) for irresponsibly raiding the public purse, and c) for trying to silence debate, which is, of course, the rightful province of the Boycott and Divestment movement.
It was this same Judge Snelson, reader, who ruled in favour of a Muslim woman claiming the cocktail dress she was expected to wear, while working as a cocktail waitress in Mayfair, “violated her dignity”. Not for him the cheap shot of wondering what in that case she was doing working as a cocktail waitress in a cocktail bar in Mayfair. If she felt she was working in a “hostile environment”, then she was working in a “hostile environment”, which is not to be confused with a Jew feeling he is working in a hostile environment since with the abolition of anti-Semitism there is no such thing as an environment that’s hostile to a Jew. My point being that Judge Snelson’s credentials as a man who knows a bigot from a barmcake are impeccable.
And now, with Stephen Hawking announcing, by means of an Israeli-made device, that he no longer wants to talk to the scientists who invented it, or to Israeli scientists who invented or might invent anything else, or indeed to Israeli historians, critics, biologists, physicists of any complexion, no matter what their relations to Palestinian scholars whom he does want to talk to, we are reminded that the cultural boycott with which he has suddenly decided to throw in his lot is entirely unJew-related, which is more good news. “Peace”, that is all Professor Hawking seeks, a word that was left out of his statement as reproduced on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website, presumably on the grounds that everyone already knows that peace is all the PSC has ever wanted too.
To those who ask why Israel alone of all offending countries is to be boycotted, the answer comes back loud and clear from boycotters that because they cannot change the whole world, that is no reason not to try to change some small part of it, in this case the part where they feel they have the most chance of success, which also just happens to be the part that’s Jewish. That this is, in fact, a “back-handed compliment” to Jews, John MacGabhann, general secretary of the pro-boycott Teachers’ Union of Ireland, made clear when he talked of “expecting more of the Israeli government, precisely because we would anticipate that Israeli governments would act in all instances and ways to better uphold the rights of other”, which implies that he expects less of other governments, and does not anticipate them to act in all instances and ways better to uphold the rights of others. And why? He can only mean, reader, because those other governments are not Jewish.
I’d call this implicit racism if I were a citizen of those circumambient Muslim countries that aren’t being boycotted – a tacit assumption that nothing can ever be done, say, about the persecution of women, the bombing of minorities, discrimination against Christians, the hanging of adulterers and homosexuals, and so on, because such things are intrinsic to their cultures – but at least now that we have got rid of anti-Semitism, tackling Islamophobia should not be slow to follow.
It’s heartening, anyway, after so many years of hearing Israel described as intractable and pitiless, to learn that activists feel it’s worth pushing at Israel’s door because there is a good chance of its giving way. It’s further proof of our new abrogation of anti-Semitism that we should now see Israel as a soft touch, the one country in the world which, despite its annihilationist ambitions, will feel the pain when actors, musicians, and secretaries of Irish Teachers’ Unions stop exchanging views with it. All we need to do now is recognise that those who would isolate Israel, silence it and maybe even persuade it to accept its own illegitimacy intend nothing more by it than love.
Can the day be far away when Israel no longer exists, when the remaining rights-upholding, peace-loving countries of the region come together in tolerance and amity, and it won’t even be necessary to speak of anti-Semitism’s demise because we will have forgotten it ever existed? That’s when Jews will know they’re finally safe. Ring out, ye bells!
I came across an article by Philippe Sands, the first section of which is reproduced below.
Philippe Sands is a writer and barrister who teaches international law at University College London. This article is drawn from research for a book on the origins of international crime, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf
Horst von Wächter: ‘I must find the good in my father. My father was a good man, a liberal who did his best. Others would have been worse’
Schloss Haggenberg is an imposing 17th-century baroque castle about an hour’s drive north of Vienna and a little short of Austria’s border with Slovakia. Built around an enclosed courtyard, it stands four storeys high, a foreboding stone structure that appears impenetrable aside from the large, double wooden doors at its front. It has seen better days.
For the last quarter century the schloss has been the home of Horst von Wächter and his wife Jacqueline, who live in a few of its many sparsely furnished rooms. Without central heating, the bitter cold is staved off by wood-burning fires and the odd electric heater, improbable under crumbling baroque cornice-work and the fading paint of its walls.
In one room, under the rafters that support a great roof, Horst has kept his father’s library. He has invited me to look around the collection. I extricate a book at random from a tightly stacked shelf. The first page contains a handwritten dedication in a neat German script. To SS-Gruppenführer Dr Otto Wächter “with my best wishes on your birthday”. The deep blue signature beneath, slightly smudged, is unforgiving. “H. Himmler, 8 July 1944”.
The signature’s power to shock is heightened by its context. The book is a family heirloom, not a museum artefact. It was offered to Horst’s father as a token of appreciation, for services rendered. It draws a direct line between Horst’s family and the Nazi leadership.
One floor down, in the main room used by Horst as his study, he has gathered some family photo albums. Horst is equally generous and open with these. They contain the stuff of normal family life: images of children and grandparents, skiing holidays, boating trips, birthday parties. Yet among these unsurprising images, other kinds of photographs are interspersed.
A single page offers the following: August 1931, an unknown man is chiselling around a swastika carved into a wall. Above this is an undated photograph of a man leaving a building under a line of arms raised in Nazi salute. The caption reads “Dr Goebbels” – Hitler’s propaganda minister. Another image records three men in conversation in a covered railway yard or perhaps a market. Under this undated photo are the initials “A.H.”. I look more closely. The man at the centre is Hitler, and next to him I recognise his photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, who introduced Hitler to Eva Braun. The third man I don’t know.
We have all regrettably heard about the infamously cruel and barbaric Nazi murderer, (Dr) Josef Mengele, ימח שמו וזכרו. This low-life “drew a line on the wall of the children’s block 150 centimetres (about 5 feet) from the floor and children whose heads could not reach the line were sent to the gas chambers”.
In Melbourne, we know that the Weiss sisters, Eva and Marta were subjected to Mengele’s experiments and have retold their stories. They were not alone.
The purpose of this blog post is to retell a story that has not (to my knowledge) been told. I know the story because a Doctor of a particular survivor recently related it to me. The survivor had submerged the experience throughout his life and had only shared it with his wife and the Doctor. He related his experience to the Doctor because of the oath of confidentiality meant that it would stay a secret. The survivor’s directive was that it remain confidential until he passed away. Sadly, the survivor is no longer with us.
This survivor, let’s call him Kadosh, was sent to Auschwitz. Like others, he stood precariously between life and death. Unlike others, however, his face was recognisable. He had been a World Champion in a certain sport, and had competed at the Olympic Games. The Nazi guards recognised him immediately, and considered that it would be a good idea if Kadosh taught them the finer parts of the sport. Kadosh was, after all, a world-renowned expert. Jews were just disposable commodities, and this one had some extraneous value. It would enrich their leisure time.
And so it unfolded. Kadosh was training the guards and improving their game. This kept him alive. The arrangement continued until one day, the dreaded Mengele eyed Kadosh. Kadosh wasn’t a twin and had no particular interest to Mengele from a “medical” or “anthropological” perspective. No, perhaps unknown to many, Mengele was a molester, a molester of young males. Mengele took a liking to Kadosh, and each day sexually forced himself on Kadosh. This was another example of the self-contradictory nature of the “superior race”. The Nazis persecuted homosexuals, and yet, for his own sick sexual gratification, the murderous Mengele, hypocritically and perversely “gratified” himself by repeatedly raping Kadosh in his office.
Kadosh was also given other duties. I won’t describe them here for a number of reasons.
There was a period of two weeks when Mengele didn’t force himself on Kadosh. One day, in front of the officers, Kadosh had enough and resisted by cursing Mengele, and telling him “Go kiss my backside”. Mengele instructed the officers to give Kadosh a beating that he would not forget but to make sure that Kadosh didn’t die. When he recovered from the beating, Mengele resumed raping Kadosh.
Kadosh eventually immigrated to Australia and married. His wife moved to an old age home after Kadosh died. She only had one wish which she relayed to the same Doctor
Please, when I die, make sure they don’t bury me in a white casket”
The significance of a white casket is like that of a white bridal dress. It signifies a certain virginal purity. Alas, Kadosh had never been able to physically consummate his marriage. Kadosh was affected for life. His wife silently accepted the life-long psychological curse that transformed her husband into a virtual eunuch.
Kadosh’s wife wasn’t Jewish.
The story shook me up and once more infused me with perspective. Next time you are feeling low, think of Kadosh and his “life”. Think of the lady that looked after him all those years. In fact, think of him at other times, too. It’s the least we can do.
They get a nice-looking scarf-less, american-accented mouthpiece to spout plain untruths. Many in the “cultured” western world, especially left-leaning tree-huggers will conclude that even though the interviewer caught her out, there is another narrative out there, and the only narrative that should be disregarded is the American/Israeli line.
The mighty and powerful aggressors are wantonly attacking the helpless ones, whose rocket-propelled “sling shots” don’t cause damage.
This is an Olam HaSheker, a world of lies. Those who think that propaganda will overcome this intense hatred towards us, would do better to re-read history and re-focus on
תשובה ותפילה וצדקה
Which doesn’t mean we “deserve” anything. What it means is that we need to increase our good acts and the quality of our personal and Godly interaction, especially when under fire.
By all means, write letters, twitter to your heart’s content, spread across facebook, share Friday night bread with co-religionists, but remember, that this alone does not, has not, and never will be sufficient to cause an attitudinal sea-change.
הלכה עשיו שונא ליעקב
It’s a Midrash, but for some reason it rings as true now as it did in 1939. That’s not all of them, but far too many. We’ve seen it before, and sadly, we will continue to see it until ובא לציון גואל.
Disclaimer: My private views, as always, should not be construed as associated with anyone but me, and me alone.
Every day that we say Modeh Ani, we need to internalise it. As is well known, I have a life-long bond with the tragedy of the Bombay murders of my friends, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his Rebbetzin Rivki, Hashem Yinkom Domom. That the new tragedy below could occur as a segue, shocks me further in a way that I am not able to comprehend. When I go home tonight, I will try to find an appropriate essay from the Rav, which may help me cope with the incomprehensible.
Names Revealed: Kiryat Malachi Victim Was Chabad Emissary From India Visiting Israel for Mumbai Victims’ Memorial Service
A victim of a Gaza rocket attack on Kiryat Malachi lies in a body bag.
Israeli political consultant Jonny Daniels citing an Israeli source and a Chabad leader in Israel told The Algemeiner that among the victims of this morning’s Gaza rocket attack on the Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi was a 25 year old Chabad “shlucha (female emissary)” to New Dehli, India named Mirah (nee Cohen) Scharf, who was visiting Israel for the memorial service of Chabad Mumbai terror victims Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg. The Hebrew anniversary of their brutal murder is today.
According to Chabad website Lubavitch.com, Scharf was pregnant. Sources told The Algemeiner that she had come to Israel to give birth, but arrived early in order to be able to attend the Holtzberg memorial. Chabad members on Facebook say she was the mother of 3 young children.
A second victim named Ahron Smadga said to be in his late forties was the father of the 8 month old baby girl who was injured.
“He was married for 20 years and couldn’t have children then he had twin boys nine years ago, and 8 months ago his daughter was born and he was walking around with a smile on his face that he had a daughter after all this years,” Daniels told The Algemeiner.
“He was one of the first Chabad soldiers to join the Israeli Army,” he said.
The third victim was 22 year old Yitzchak Amselam. The funeral is planned for later today.
Israeli Chabad websites Shturem and COL, reported that the rocket attack hit the neighborhood of Nachlas Har Chabad and that “the entire community is devastated from the tragedy.”
“The shelters in Kiryat Malachi were not readied for the onslaught, and the residents of the building that was hit were running to relative safety under the stairwell of the building, when a missile hit, taking precious lives and injuring the others,” writes Shrurem.org.
Kiryat Malachi is about 11 miles from Ashkelon, and has a population of approximately 21,000.
In a previous post, I presented my views on the Metziza B’Feh controversy. I see that the Rabbinic Council of America (RCA) have just issued a statement. I couldn’t agree more with their statement, and it entirely reflects my views.
“Many Jewish legal authorities have ruled that direct oral suction is not an integral part of the circumcision ritual, and therefore advocate the use of a sterile tube to preclude any risk of infection. The RCA has gone on record as accepting the position of those authorities. Nevertheless, the RCA respects the convictions and sensitivities of those in the Orthodox Jewish community who disagree with this ruling and joins in their deep concern about government regulation of religious practices. The RCA urges these groups to voluntarily develop procedures to effectively prevent the unintended spread of infection.
“The RCA supports the recent call of the Agudath Israel of America to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Health Department that, instead of unilaterally imposing regulations, they collaborate with Orthodox Jewish leadership to develop protocols to address health concerns.
“Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, the RCA President, summarized his organization’s position. ‘The act of circumcision is a precious and cherished ritual for the Jewish community, one which initiates our sons into the religious covenant. The RCA maintains that parents should use methods, in strict conformity with Jewish law, which enable them to hand down our religious legacy to a new generation safely and appropriately.’”
There are numerous reports in the press (see here) and on the internet describing Governmental and Human Rights Advocates opposing the practice of ברית מילה ,חס ושלום. This is a disturbing phenomenon and is something I’d like to see a world conference of leaders, yes even including Reform and Conservative, address. My view is that there needs to be representation across every group so that a consistent, cogent, well-argued, statistically supported and sensitive protocol of responses developed. The arguments need to be generic, and should be as accessible to the Aguda advocate, the Israel Rabbinate, the RCA, et al as well as the Reform advocate. This is a matter of extreme importance, and כלל ישראל assuming its loosest definition needs to unite and defend with vigour, professionalism, not to mention localised quiet diplomacy (at least at first).
This is an issue where most Yidden can unite, and I’d hope that the Eybishter would feel positively that we defend this attack on a most fundamental element of our identity. There are scholars, for example, who contend that the real reason for the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus, was due to the ban on ברית מילה.
There is a “side-issue”, however. That side-issue is Metzitza B-Feh מציצה בפה (immediate post oral suctioning after the cut). Look at the disgraceful description of this process here, for example. I call it a side issue not because I am taking sides and declaring oral suctioning unimportant or irrelevant to the Halachic process. I’m calling it a side issue because by over-focussing on this aspect, many un-diplomatic and emotive outbursts are now finding voice and providing uninvited fodder. These comments are not part of an over-arching considered, diplomatically crafted and complete strategy, as I’ve advocated above. Certainly it is an aspect of a ברית that will be used by those with a genuine concern about the methodology, and those who are against Milah, with or without oral suctioning. It’s important to remember that. There are even grossly distasteful “Jewish” blogs, that sound triumphant every time there is even a distant piece of uncorroborated information that suggests oral suctioning causes illness, or even death. Balanced individuals do ascribe genuine concern. However, anyone who emerges from the quagmire of those loshon-hora laden and defamatory blogs, knows that a quick shower followed by immersion in a mikvah is needed to remove the shmutz therein as a sanity starting point. ה ירחם
My own views:
Both my sons’ Brissen involved מציצה בפה (as did my grandsons). I didn’t ask questions at that time nor was it uppermost in my mind. On an halachic scale, I consider the oral practice as sufficient but not necessary. Doing so via a tube, is more in keeping with how I see the issue from a halachic point of view. It’s terrible though, that both sides of the מציצה argument (which is as old as the hills) are now again into name calling and delegitimisation. It is not helpful to say that it is forbidden by the Torah not to have מציצה בפה. In the same way, it is not helpful to say that it is forbidden to do so. There are very healthy (sic) and weighty halachic giants on both sides of the argument.
There is a tendency for each side to publicly belittle and malign the other’s valid halachic position. Above all, however, if there are sound and health-related concerns which are beyond statistical dispute and which may well be due to changing circumstances and new realities, such that the practice ought to now be forbidden using direct oral suctioning because this can be shown to be a direct or event contributory cause towards danger to the infant, then and only then, should there be a meeting of all Orthodox Rabonim, from around the world to re-examine the issue and indeed ban it across the board in favour of a tube.
My fear is that, at the minute, discussion of this is on a public world-stage and it only fuels those נכרים and נדחים who are impurely motivated against מילה in the first place.
I do hear the argument that in the current world climate, or at least in some countries, אפילו לשנויי ערקתא דמסאנא, we even resist even dicta to wear particular types of shoe laces (see סנהדרין עד) and, accordingly, as above, unless there is a genuine health issue, even those who are opposed to the need for oral suctioning without a tube, should get behind those who contend that such oral suctioning is an integral part of מילה. We are facing, in my estimation, new attacks. שחיטה is another.
In keeping with my view, I would argue that even those who are halachically or non halachically vegetarian, should cease that practice and insist on now eating meat (as opposed to the view expressed here), since there is a חשש that the אומות העולם are acting in a manner which is questionable and which threatens our rights and freedom to practice כללי הדת.
What is it about us? First we find out that Gaddafi the monster was a Jew, with relatives in Israel. Now, one of the members of a Hungarian anti-semitic political group has found out he is really Jewish. Read about it here.
The march of the living program has brought into focus the practice of visiting Poland for a commemorative experiential post holocaust event. Several years ago, I presented a research paper in Kraków. My father and his immediate family survived the Holocaust through חסדי השם and his שלוחים Felka (Feliksa nee) Gallach and her father, Jozef Gallach.
The Balbin family of six sat, quite literally, in a box submerged under straw.
at the back of a ramshackle hut, in the rear of a remote farm in Závady, for a period of 2+ years. When they emerged, they had great difficulty standing. For a period of a dangerous six months they “lived” hidden in the corn fields adjoining the hut.
Felka and her father Jozef were inducted at Yad Vashem in 1998 and 1996 respectively, as righteous gentiles—חסידי אומות העולם—together with 6,339 Righteous Poles.
Felka on left, with my father
They assuredly deserved this honour, and I am here today because of their heroic efforts. A young 16-year-old Felka used to emerge in the dead of night, at great risk to herself, throwing potatoes, bread and other food scraps into the hole. Family Gallach never disclosed that they were hiding Jews at the back of their farm. They had a choice. By not supplying food scraps, starvation would have been inevitable.
My father eventually relented, and after a period of over 50 years, he became the first Balbin to personally visit Rawa and thank Felka face to face. Felka was quite ill, and we brought expensive and hard to obtain medicine to aid in her suffering from Parkinsons disease.
It didn’t start there. Immediately after the war the family sent and continues to send clothing, money and medicines. We don’t throw out our excesses. Even grandchildren know that “it goes to Poland”. I was most fortunate to be present when my father met the elderly Felka (who has since passed away).
It was a difficult trip for my father; he was most apprehensive. Reluctant to speak Polish and reveal his identity, his demeanour was accurately captured by this photo. With his head down, often pacing, he appeared afraid to peer, explore or relate to the surrounds.
Our next stop was my father’s home town, Rawa. We visited his childhood home. He was transfixed and emotional. Was it something that he should have done? Was it worth me being there with him and experiencing the roller coast of emotions? Was this as much if not more for me than it was for him? Were the wounds worth re-aggravating? This picture reveals some of the emotion etched in his face better than my words.
Our next two stops were confronting and highly offensive. Wanting to visit קבר אבות we proceeded to the בית עולם. I was excited. Even though we are Cohanim and unable to enter a holy cemetery, I so much wanted to “connect” with my namesake, my father’s beloved Zeyda, R’ Yitzchak Amzel ז’ל. The scene at the cemetery was shocking.
When were the tombstones removed? It was not during the Nazi persecution. It wasn’t even immediately after the war, when the tombstones remained intact. No, it was in the ensuing years, when almost no Jew was to ever visit this town of Rawa. The residents of Rawa clearly decided that a Jewish cemetery was just an opportunity to gather expensive stone and use it for paving and other mundanely servile needs. What type of person could do this? How were they educated? What milk did they drink? It’s hard to fathom. Unlike the Germans who have educated their youth and are intolerant to racism and anti-Semitism, this forsaken piece of earth was overtaken by brazen savagery. Is there another more diplomatic way to describe it?
To add insult to injury, as we walked to our car and passed through a park, three Polish men sitting on a park bench, who would have been some 60 meters away, raised their legs, placing their hands on their genitalia, gesticulating with mannerless intent. We were wearing hats and not Yarmulkas. My father would not allow me to wear my Yarmulka. I had wanted someone to attack my Jewishness so that I could “fight back” in an emancipated manner not available to my forbears. Those males would have been under 10 during the war and yet they not only recognised Jews from the distance, but sought fit to poison the atmosphere with their anti-Semitic display. It’s worth noting that the population of Rawa Mazowiecka was roughly 50% Jewish and there was harmonious coöperation for many hundreds of years.
With a sour taste in our mouths we left Rawa. On our return to Melbourne, Dad was proud that he had visited Felka, but the extreme negative experiences left him ambivalent at best.
It has been part of my mission to try to reclaim and cordon off the Cemetery. I’ve been working with Australian politicians unsuccessfully, and sadly, Michael Danby MP has been unable to help over many years despite his efforts. I am now working with Rabbi Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi, and others. It’s at a delicate stage.
Several years ago, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner caused a storm when he stated
In a conversation with Ynet, [Rav] Aviner explained: “As is well known, leaving Israel is permitted only for the sake of mitzvah, while visiting the death camps is not defined as a mitzvah by the Halacha. There are important figures and great rabbis who have not visited there.
“Clearly what happened in the Holocaust must be remembered, but this can be done using films, books, the Yad Vashem museum and there are even the testimonies of survivors who are still alive,” he stated.
And what about the emotional experience?
“I once told educators that in any case the impression vanishes after six months, like any other emotional experience with a short shelf life. They smiled and said that it actually fades away after three weeks.”
[Rav] Aviner also said that the trips have not been proven to have an “educational value.” “For some this experience is very difficult and they come back utterly distraught,” he added.
‘Why should Nazi collaborators benefit?’
Another argument against visiting the camps, according to the rabbi, was the fact that the Polish people “collaborated with the Nazis” and were now making a living off of these visits. “I’m not busy holding a grudge against the Poles, but we shouldn’t provide livelihood to people who allowed death camps to be built on their land and who are now making a profit out of it.
“They are not my friends and I don’t want to support them.”
Rabbi Aviner’s view is shared by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, a renowned Talmid Chacham and others.
A few weeks ago, my cousins visited Rawa. Their experience was even worse than ours. When knocking on the door of my father’s home, they politely asked if they could just come inside and take a look for sentimental reasons. They were rebutted with the words:
“No Jew will cross this door again”
Why? What had any Jew done to them? Most were living in houses that were not their own or that they had purchased for peanuts immediately after the war. Was that the answer?
They were also affronted by the graffiti at soccer stadiums. Apparently, the biggest insult to the opposing team is to paint a Magen David, and accuse the other team of being “Jews”. During games, they hatefully spifflicate “Jew, Jew, Jew” at each other. Coincidentally, I had also read that:
It describes a derby match from November 2008 in Krakow between the city’s teams, Cracovia and Wisla, whose rivalry is such that it is described here as a “holy war”.
Some Wisla fans sang an anti-Semitic song about the supposed Jewish origins of their rivals and when a Cracovia player left the pitch, fans shouted: “To the gas chambers.”
When the match ended Wisla players went over to their fans to thank them, some of them making obscene chants about Jews.
Beforehand, some Cracovia fans made monkey noises at Wisla’s Brazilian player, Cleber, when he was sent off.
But this is not the whole picture. Wisla now have two Israeli players in their first team, and one of them, David Biton, is the club’s top scorer this season.
Our youngest daughter will be visiting Poland with her Seminary in a few months time.
RMIT is situated near Trades Hall. This means a proliferation of posters. Interestingly, I’ve barely seen one poster protesting about the situation in Syria, but as is to be expected from the intellectually dishonest, Israel occupies (sic) a prominent position. It was no surprise then to see the poster below.
Les Thomas is the brother of Jack Thomas aka “Jihad Jack” who was charged of receiving money from Al-Qaeda. Ezekiel Ox was a member of the Trotskyist Socialist Alternative, and as for Santo Cazzati, judge for yourself
But wait, there is more. I was gob-smacked to find the solitary poster below.
I didn’t know what to think. Could they be commemorating the Holocaust? Surely not. It was then that I realised, that like all their causes it’s all about “resistance” the code word for revolution. Am I too cynical?
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