Dr Mark Baker and the Neturei Karta boycotters of the Left Wing

I was sent this article, written by Mark Baker, an academic at Monash University (and family friend). Mark is alleged to have posted the article below on his facebook page. I received it by email and have never visited Mark’s facebook page. My reaction, over a few days, was that we had the mirror image of the boycott tactics used by Neturei Karta against the State except unlike Neturei Karta, this wasn’t about religion (Halacha doesn’t get a guernsey in Marks article). Rather it was the exasperated groans of a left-winger indelibly married to two “states”, even if one is effectively the mamzer Amalek.

I interspersed his facebook commentary with my understanding of why some of Mark’s views are blind post-liberal, and left-wing economic terrorism. The tone sounds an awful lot like the failed rhetoric we hear from J-Street, Bernie “the shhh I’m a Yid” Sanders, American reform and the Tikun (sic.) Olamniks of this world. They stem from superimposing a left-leaning view of the world, into some plasticine-like Zionism (and Judaism) as opposed to the other way around. In the other way around, Zionism and Judaism are already defined. They react to the world. They do not metamorphose to become something else to fit into some world views.

I will variegated Mark’s emotive outbursts with a critique of his post-liberalism. The rhetoric sounds like the extreme left views we hear from J-Street and Bernie “I’m not sure if my grandchildren will even be reconstructed cultural Jews” Sanders, feel-good American Reform clergy,  and of course, the Tikun (sic) Olamniks of this world. I don’t mention the infamous Norman Finkelstein because Mark appears to be even more radical than Norman on BDS. Norman, one of many communist inventions of the Holocaust, actually opposes the very BDS that Mark claims he “quietly supports”. The left-leaning start with their vision of the Olam (world) which they conjure to appease an already morally corrupt world and then mould (sic) Judaism into having plasticine-like spinal characteristics that can be contorted any which way.

My comments are interspersed and not in italics. The original article from Mark is in italics. This should not be understood as an ad hominem attack on Mark; I’m sure he believes what he says and he is no Norman Finkelstein anymore than I am a Dershowitz or Benny Morris.

I was living in Israel in 1995 with my family. From our apartment, we could hear the crowds at Zion Square baying for Rabin’s blood, and holding up placards of the PM dressed as a Nazi and a terrorist. Bibi Netanyahu was standing on the balcony, whipping up a frenzy, which culminated in the assassination of Rabin.

Long time ago! This description is mendacious.  Both the left and the right engaged and engage in spirited demonstration, but  implicitly opening with a remark that is designed to ascribe the assassination of Rabin to Bibi is confounding and offensive, while it is woven indirectly as a deflection. Clearly  this imagery and its conclusion is out of context. It was designed to paint the entrance to the rest of the article. First, “Bibi is responsible for Rabin’s assassination”. Now we’ve got you hating him for that episode, let’s continue.

Nothing has changed about Bibi in 22 years, except that he has stood at the helm of a government that has led the country literally into a dead-end.

People who don’t change their views in the face of unchanged oppression and rejectionism should not be held to ridicule. Let’s see what else hasn’t changed in 22 years.

  1. Arafat hopelessly let his people down (apart from Mrs Arafat’s fat bank account and the years of siphoning money to his cronies and the 1 Billion spent on the 1st intifada, 1/2 of which was funded by Saudi Arabia, and the massive corruption, which makes James Packer’s gifts insignificant. Even now, it is a brave person who claims that Abbas actually distributes international money to non political causes.
  2. He had Rabin, not Bibi, and Arafat still couldn’t bring himself to sign on for a two-state solution! Wasn’t there a proposal for this in 1948 too and before that? Note: it was in Arafat’s hands; not Bibi’s. What do we learn from that? That Israel didn’t offer enough? Come now! Everyone knows that simply wasn’t true. Arafat wanted to live another day. Peace would have meant his savage opponents would lop his head off-ISIS style. In the end, I believe this is why Arafat didn’t sign. Mark, perhaps tell us why you think Arafat didn’t sign off? Was it because he was actually born in Cairo and didn’t think he had the authority. Goodness me.
  3. They still want ALL of Israel. Is anyone in any doubt? When push comes to shove, Arafat, Abbas, all of them, simply do not accept the concept that there is a distinctive JEWISH Homeland. Does Mark really believe they don’t want to push us into the sea? What does “the” occupation mean? Mahmoud “Holocaust denier” Abbas, calls the idea of a Jewish Homeland “Racist”. A Chutzpa. Let him try to live in Jordan where most of his DNA-brethren live and where his genome is found.  Perhaps he’d like Saudi Arabia or Yemen; maybe Syria?
  4. Post-holocaust, especially, endangering Israeli sovereignty is not negotiable. Not 22 years ago, while Mark sat on balconies sipping coffee, and not now. Since most Arabs still don’t accept that reality, we are delusional if we think otherwise. Instead they engage in diplobabble. Mark, falling for this, is no different to someone who takes all of Trumps rhetoric seriously.
  5. They should seek to confederate with the Hashemites in Jordan, most of whom are their blood cousins. Why do you respect Jordan so much Mark? When does Monash’s library make a big deal of that tribe. Is the Palestinian in Jordan different somehow or are you as afraid of the Hashemites as they are. Call the historic truth, not some temporal Ottoman historical relic.
  6. Israel is probably at its strongest point (although it should have listened to Bennett in respect of the Hamas tunnel tactics and not Bibi. Certainly Mr Morality Ya’alon is now finished in politics for his clumsy left-wing handling of the mortal threat of death tunnels.
  7. One cannot talk about a two state solution! One must talk about a three state solution. When someone can make Abbas, Hamas, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hizbollah, Da’esh and Turkey’s dictators kiss and make up, they can cut the number to consideration of two states. Don’t hold your breath. Make sure you have done a course on disentangling diplomatic babble before you fall for the type of nonsense, that Rabin and Clinton did.
  8. And yet, we don’t hear anything about “the right” of return. Is this deemed acceptable by Mark? Is he expecting Abbas to move back to Tzfat and vote in the municipal elections and avail himself of Kupat Cholim for his hemorrhoids? Maybe he wants not an international Jerusalem, but an international Israel where we pay jizya or become Dhimmis. (Who were the first to call for an “international Jerusalem”? Of course, it was the Pope. Study Xtianity and the chosen people and you will understand why they had to say that).
  9. Palestinian PhD students in Melbourne who I talk to, make it VERY clear. They don’t want a Palestinian state under Abbas. I was actually shocked. They say they want ONE state (not two). They say that Abbas and Hamas and the lot of them are corrupt criminals. They say they are happy to live along Israelis and Jews and vote in elections. Sorry guys, that’s not a Jewish Homeland. We aren’t stupid. I didn’t say that in response, of course. I just listened to their view.

While he wasn’t the first to build settlements, he has deepened and permanently institutionalised the occupation, eroded Israeli democracy, continued to whip up racism against Arabs, propagated the myth that there is no peace deal to be made, turned Israel into a partisan issue in Congress and among Diaspora Jews, launched brutal wars that could have been avoided, created a diversionary campaign to fight the delegitimisation of Israel when he more than anyone has contributed to its delegitimisation, alienated Israel from world leaders by shunning international law, abused Holocaust memory by playing the victim card, exploited real threats in the region for his own political expediency, undermined the civil rights legacy of his own Likud party in exchange for a fascist impulse; created a settler state and given free rein to Jewish thuggery; and worst of all, he has paid lip-service to the two-state solution while creating a one-state reality, leading Israel (as warned by every PM before him) down the path of apartheid.

Now that’s a looong expectorating sentence, even if interspersed by stray semi colons. Lets take the allegations one by one so they can be swallowed slowly.

  1. Bibi wasn’t the first to build a “settlement”. I guess that’s a feather in Bibi’s cap. Indeed, tell us please what a settlement is. Is Efrat a settlement or are you upset only about 10-20 families in caravans on a hill-top? I trust you boycott Rabbi Riskin as well as Gush Etzyon. He’s here now. Go and demonstrate against him? Define your terms. I believe 2-3% of land is taken up by “settlements”. Are you going to tell Rabbi Riskin to pack up and go back to Lincoln Square because Arabs listened to their mufti in 1948 during a war?
  2. “The occupation”? I’m sorry, it’s disputed land. You live in an occupation. This is Aboriginal land. Have you bought it from them? I don’t know which of your teachers failed to teach you that Jews are the closest thing to indigenous natives, and Palestine is a recently promoted modern term used to confuse the neurone-deprived UN. Warren Mundine knows it. Why doesn’t Mark Baker?
  3. How is Israeli democracy eroded? Have people gotten into power unelected? Perhaps Trumps victory has you so upset that you’ve forgotten he was democratically elected. Maybe you want a new J-Street constitution?
  4. Where does Bibi whip-up racism against Arabs! He’s been hobnobbing with Sunni Arabs who are all too eager to join him and not face the brutal Shiite regime of Iran and its satellite terrorist puppets. Perhaps if God forbid one of their rockets hit your balcony in the 90’s you would have a more sober view of them. I know: Sunni, Shiite, what’s the difference, they are all fine people, full of democracy and tolerance. Did you know Iran is building underground factories for Hezbollah. You think Hezbollah care about Palestinian Arabs or Lebanon? The only thing that unites these people is hatred for YOU, yes you Mark Baker. Go back and look at the beheadings from ISIS. Do you think these savages would spare you?
  5. “Launched brutal wars?” What newspapers were you reading Mark, the Anarchist nonsense given out near Melbourne University or the Trade Union? Did you forget what the D in IDF stands for? That is the motive behind every interlocution. Oh, and don’t forget to read how the soft and fuzzy democrat Ya’alon and his mate Gantz let Israel down with their dismissal of the Hamas Tunnels. Would you ask them to resign. The report is out. Only Bennett comes out looking normal. You won’t enjoy reading how it placed Israelis in grave danger.
  6. “Abused Holocaust memory by playing the victim card.” Nobody is playing cards Mark. Did you borrow this line from Finkelstein? His parents were communists. Yours aren’t. This is for real, just like the Holocaust. How many times do you need “we will drive them into the sea repeated to you? Don’t you watch memri.org or is that also just a load of baloney? Guess what? Holocaust survivors like your parents Mark, actually like Bibi and support Jewish strength; not the pathetic ‘my grandchildren will never be Jews, Bernie Sanders nebachs’, and the libertarian, egalitarian Diaspora pontificators.
  7. You’ve chosen to only focus on the political machinations in the Likud. You think that the Labour party or the Mapai or the Mapam would stop at any political method to keep power? I have no doubt your new darling is Yair Lapid. Why? Because the left-wing is so morally bankrupt, even left wingers don’t take them seriously. Only Shimon Peres could get some attention with his one liners, but we know his part in Oslo. That wasn’t about power either, was it? He was as power drunk as the next politician. Jealous of Rabin?
  8. Alienated leaders? Oh spare me. Is Obama now your love child? Obama will go down as one of the most useless Presidents that existed. Yes, a nice fellow, smart, and great orator, but anyone who can stand and watch 450,000 Syrian casualties (those who do need Tikun Olam) and the best Obama can do in response is send the odd drone, smells morally corrupt and makes Obama a gutless wonder: take your pick. Oh, did you notice how the Africans are now lining up. Perhaps Mark you’d be more impressed if that English anti-Semite Corbyn or the genius Richard Gere was “happy” with Israel.
  9. What is a settler state? Define your terms. Stop with hyperbole. Maybe you mean the Charedim of Betar? Oh, we better not mention Betar. It’s a Jewish place, after all, and the Charedim are iconic “settlers”! I think it’s four minutes to cross Israel by plane. I imagine your microwave achieves more in less time, Mark.
  10. Free reign to Jewish Thuggery. I am a scientist. Perhaps you will quote some figures for us. Let’s go with statistics. You know you are wrong, and that’s even if the soldier who shot the dying terrorist was pardoned. Ask your acquaintance Zev Slonim why Zev’s son was held in prison without representation and democratic rights. He’s a right-winger. I thought Bibi only did that to lefties. Think again. Was that a ruse?
  11. Apartheid. Let’s see. I didn’t see it in Jerusalem. Did you see it while you were watching with your family on the porch, as you stated or while walking down Mamila? You obviously have a better understanding of how to defend ISRAELI cities and civilians from thugs, terrorists and murderers. Those who live their lives peacefully do so and nobody is bothered by them. There are plenty of Palestinian settlements (and Jewish ones) that are peaceful.

He is a liar like Trump, who will speak in Australia tonight by using his oratory skills to trade in fear, eternal victimhood, and despair – while claiming the high-moral ground that Israel is a beacon of light unto the world.

Trump is a liar. Okay, maybe, perhaps he is also a fool. Or maybe he is a clever non politician who has read the mood of the American people better than unelectable Clinton. I decided to judge Trump on what he does. What he says, is all part of the political game. Perhaps you think that Malcolm Turnbull was a sycophantic fool when he acknowledged that Israel had high democratic standards. I think your rhetoric Mark is more akin to the liar Richard Di Natale and his band of merry tree-hugging anti Semites or the repetitive letter writers in the  Jewish News (e.g. Henry Herzog). I hope no Jew ever votes Green. The assimilated ones will. I have no doubt. The tree will be more important than the rotted root. The tree lives on. The rotted root stays that way. (By the way Mark, do you consider Mark Dreyfus Jewish? You claim to be “Orthodox” albeit partnership style. Ask Melanie Landau? )

He will go down in history as having unleashed the dark demons of hyper-nationalism that will kill the Zionist dream.

I can see exactly what Trump and Bibi are doing. I’m surprised you can’t. Either Abbas will come to the party (he’s gutless so forget that) or the status quo will continue. The Palestinians will have their own Arab global warming. They will fight: Fatah and Hamas and Dahlan and say “enough is enough” we don’t hate Jews like you’ve taught us.

It is not the anti-Zionists who should be shunning him, but those who care deeply about Israel and its future.

Those who care deeply about Israel can support Bibi whole heartedly unless he is found guilty of breaching ministerial standards.  Why is the implication that only a Zionist lefty is a true Zionist. Now, that’s apartheid and bias. That’s the killing of democracy. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, about a “two state” solution. That arose in 1948 and was rejected by Hitler’s Mufti.

Nothing has changed for the better, it’s only become worse. Can I suggest concentrating on supporting the indigenous people of Australia? That’s where you and I live. Maybe we should give back their land, and their right of return (as Jews deserve in Israel).

Leave the defence of Israel and its decision-making to those who put their lives on the line–not me, nor you. We are just pontificating, opinion-bearing people. We are irrelevant.

Hey Mark, watch this video. Give me a mark out of 10 for the pathetic apologist.

But none of this is as expressive as your mentor, Mark, the venerable David Ben Gurion. Watch him here. If he heard you admit that you boycotted Israel “quietly” I suggest he’d call you a fool. As to why you continue to be funded through the community at Monash. That’s a mystery to me and I call on the community to redirect their money away from extreme left wingers.

Mark, what do you have to say about the difference between Ben Gurion and Bibi as per this video?

Perhaps, Mark, it’s time you stopped pretending and joined Noam Chomsky as a fully fledged egalitarian member of the Jewish Community where the notion of identity is erased, as per a communist manifesto and has little hope of surviving the next century.

PS. Anyone whose Hebrew isn’t good enough to understand Ben Gurion’s interview above MUST find someone to translate it to them. He didn’t sit on balconies sipping coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

רפואה שלמה ליהודה בן טובה גיטל תיכף ומיד

 

A great editorial about the Israeli Higher Court Deliberations and Delineations.

Read this editorial from the left wing Yediot  from ynet by Professor Daniel Friedman

Professor Daniel Friedmann
Professor Daniel Friedman

who makes important points.

Would the Australian High Court judge whether Pauline Hanson was permitted to be a candidate in an election? Would a High Court decide whether a vote of politicians, a referendum, or a plebiscite is the appropriate mechanism to decide the acceptability of secular gay marriage?

There is certainly a friction between the courts carrying the law, and their seeming assumed role to define  the parameters of Israeli life, culture, politics and values. The latter are safe in a sane democracy, which Israel is, albeit with the usual political compromises (one only has to watch Malcolm Turnbull in Australia have to encounter a range of single views in order to pursue the mandate he was given). When one puts the High or Supreme courts on pedestals that extend their brief, one is entitled to question this phenomenon.

It’s a very fundamental editorial and one that those from the left and right wing of our Society should think deeply about.

Guest post from R’ Meir Deutsch in response to my post on R’ Cardozo on Tisha B’Av

R Meir’s reactions to my original post (which is in italicised black) are in red. My reactions to R’ Meir are in blue

About your article concerning Tischa b’Av, here are some of my observations.
About your AL CHETs (“Who can” and “Who cannot”); you mention daily events at present, not Tisha B’Av ones. Maybe we should read it on Yom Ha’Atzmaut or on its eve, Yom Ha’Zikaron to remind us that we were a nation before and take care at present that we remain one?

These are just my thoughts.

I see all terrible things, whether remembered or not remembered encapsulated in the overarching Galus. Galus, is of course not just a geographical location. It certainly includes geographic considerations which are reflected by more than 200 Mitzvos which only apply, many Rabbinically at the moment, only in our Holy Land. I stress our Holy Land because it remains Holy to this day according to Halacha. However, even with the Second Beis Hamikdosh, while some Jews lived in the Diaspora (something I find difficult to comprehend) and others actually defiled it in horrible ways that are beyond belief (as described in the Medrash), my personal feeling has always been that whilst steps are taken, miracles happen, and renaissance occurs, all of that is secondary to the eschatological final redemption. On Tisha B’Av, bdavka, I can’t help but think that גלינו מארצינו has both aspects, and is a sad reality. It is one day of mourning, akin to Shiva, where we remember עטרת ראשינו which is not perched in its proper place. And while we have דומה דודי כצבי and are sometimes seemingly teased in directions of euphoria, we then find ourselves, yes even the second-rate ones like me sitting in Australia, depressed about the state of our existence. It extends through the trio: תורת ישראל, עם ישראל and ארץ ישראל all of which portray levels of Galut which should not make it sensible to join our fellow Jews, and recite Eicha together, in a low light, and mournful tone. The qualitative aspect cannot be seen to be ideal today, and just like one doesn’t read Bereishis literally, someone of the stature of Rabbi Cardozo, would surely be able to see between lines, and interpret poetically and midrashically, without the feelings of (not a quote) “what am I doing in Shule with everyone saying Eicha, let me say it alone at home, as it’s challenging to swallow”

I read with incredulity the continuing slide to the left

What do you mean by that? .ימין ושמאל תפרוצי. What is meant by left. by respected people, such as Rabbi Dr Nathan Lopez Cardozo

Rabbi Dr Cardozo is a thinker. This is a hallmark of those with intellect. At the same time intellect may preclude a level of Bittul. I don’t have his intellect, but I’m often accused of not being able to exhibit Bittul. Indeed, this week’s parsha includes a wonderful vort from Rav Soloveitchik which sums up this concept. I wrote it for another forum and will put it up before Shabbos. It tends to be those who are more inclined to mould judaism into new trends, that I refer to as the left. Open Orthodoxy and Partnership Minyanim, and things of that nature (as opposed to Yoatzot Halacha) are the types of things which I call “left” wing. Rabbi Benny Lau is another who I see sometimes express himself this way. I don’t see Rabonim who live in this world and are not cloistered in an attic, like Mori V’Rabbi Rav Hershel Schachter, as ‘right wing fundamentalists’. He is at YU and heads Psak at the OU, and in all my correspondence with him, I have found him to be as straight as an arrow, and moderate, maintaining the strong Menorah base transmitted to him from Rav Soloveitchik. One thing he isn’t, is a philosopher.

Who can not find a day to be sad when a Jew from Jerusalem is called up to the Torah and is asked “what is your name”, and they answer “Chaim”. And after being asked “Ben?” they say “Ben Esrim V’shmoneh”? It’s not funny.

On the other hand, a relative of mine was called up in the diaspora. He said his name: Ra’anan Lior ben Avraham, the Gabai said: not your secular name, your Hebrew name.

I find that just as sad. It’s not a contest. It’s a reflection of the poor quality of Jewish Education that the Mapai have managed to infuse into Israeli society and which the religious zionists ignored for too long while they were perhaps over focussed on outposts at the expense of spreading good Jewish education in Tel Aviv etc

I am not sure how Rabbi Cardozo qualitatively defines the Messianic era, but it seems to me, if he enunciated that, he’d have no issue, on the saddest day of the year, to join in the Shiva, that we all take part in. Don’t we eat meat and drink wine during the Shiva? On Yahrzeit we have a Kiddush (not our minhag). It is true, that our Rabbis also promised us that this will be transformed to a day of Yom Tov. We still do not have a Temple, but we have a Yerushalayim. Is it the time to transform it to a Yom Tov?

We changed the “l’Shana ha’Ba’a Bi’Yrushalayim” to “l’Shana ha’Ba’a Bi’Yrushalayim HABNUYA” the addition is for the Temple – we already are in Yerushalayim.

I feel this is syntactic and in fact supports my comments and not opposes them. Halachically, it is true, that there are ramifications being in Yerushalayim: for example Korban Pesach.

Rabbi Cardozo, surely you aren’t suggesting you see the Yom Tov, but are blind to the myriad of reasons to be sad?

I attend Yom Hashoa out of solidarity, but my real Yom Hashoa tacks onto Tisha B’Av. Each one with his own feelings and customs.

I ask myself: Why would G-d destroy HIS home? It was a place where the Jews worshiped G-d, and not a home of his people. I do not know G-d’s intentions, but shall try my understandings or reasoning. Can one imagine anyone bringing today sacrifices? How would Judaism look if they did? Can it be that G-d’s intention was to stop those sacrifices, and the best way was to destroy the building? ונשלמה פרים שפתינו.

These are questions beyond our human understanding. The Rambam who to my knowledge is the only one who codifies the Halachos of Beis Habechirah and the times of the Mashiach, is certainly not suggesting that there won’t be sacrifices. I know there are those who interpret Rav Kook as implying there may be Korbanos Mincha. At the end of the day, as the Rambam notes, we lack a certain Mesora for these times, because they were hidden from us, and could not have been passed down. He says explicitly words that “all these details we will truly properly know at the time when they happen”

About Yom Hashoa: I was interviewed by GINZACH KIDUSH HASHEM (the Charedi Yad Vashem), and asked: how can you explain the Shoah? My reply was:

We have quite a limited view of the world and its future, as against G-d who has a wider one. At the destruction of the Temple, the Jews were driven out of their city Jerusalem, many were killed others dispersed among the Nations, and many were sold to slavery. They did not enjoy those days, they suffered quite a bit. They probably said Kinot. But G-d had a wider view; my children are going to dwell all over the globe, learn different trades and cultures. Had we stayed in our country, with the Temple, I (or probably also you) would surely dwell in my tent in the Negev as a shepherd looking after my flock – just like a Bedouin. The same with the holocaust, I can still not see the whole picture, but one is that the Jews, after the terrible holocaust, are again a NATION with their own country. Would the world grant us a piece of land if there was no holocaust? Would the Jews come to Eretz Yisrael, the land of desert and camels? Maybe it isn’t yet a full Geula, but surely a beginning. Why did we need six million sacrifices? Would not one million or fewer be enough? Please do not put this question to me. I am not G-d’s accountant.

By the way, in one of the Agudat Yisrael Knesiot (5679 Zurich) there was a discussion whether Jews are a Mosaic sect or a Nation! Because of such a question my father in law, and other German Rabbis left Agudat Yisrael. I thought that Yetziat Mitzraim was our transformation from a nomadic tribe into a Nation. Was I wrong?

I’m a second generation holocaust generation, but feel it acutely, likely due to the fact that for most of my life, I was surrounded only by holocaust survivors, who would challenge my religiosity, even when I was 10 years of age and ask me questions that I could not and dared not answer. It is certainly the case that history would record that an outcome of the holocaust was the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland. These are happenings that I don’t understand either. Do I have to pay 6 million lives to acquire something that we have already been promised? Did God not have other more gentle ways to somehow not interfere and yet interfere in the ways of the world so we would have the same outcome? Why didn’t he send Eliyahu down before the final solution and say ENOUGH. ושבו בנים לגבולם. I don’t know and I don’t believe anyone knows, despite the Satmar and other rhetoric. Indeed, on Tisha B’Av, as we sit on the eve of the full redemption, we can only sit exasperated while more human korbanos occur, and anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism, and Tisha B’Av encompasses all that.

Sure, on Yom Ha’atzmaut and on Yom Yerushalayim, when I was a student in Israel, I celebrated. I went to Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav, and euphorically danced all the way to the Kosel, and for the entire night danced until we davened Vatikin. We know how important it is to sing and give praise. Chizkiyahu Hamelech would have been Mashiach if he had sung, as openly stated by the Gemora in Sanhedrin (from memory).

I just expressed my humble thoughts.

And I thank you so much for sharing them. I heard second-hand, that Rabbi Cardozo felt I had not understood his points. That maybe so. As it is the Yohr Tzeit of the famed R’ Chaim Brisker now, I’d like to express that his Neshomo should have an Aliya. He revolutionised Torah learning.

Missing the point about Jews, Judaism and Zionism

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 Judaism 101. 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. ]

 

Challenges

There are a number in Melbourne. I won’t elaborate but 

חיה ביילא בת לאה בתיה 

Is one which hits home personally and she should get back to full health quickly.

I was at a Simcha tonight, and all I heard was ‘it’s terrible what’s going on in Melbourne lately’

Then somebody sent me THIS CHILLUL HASHEM

If I was there I would take the parents and teachers and air drop them into Gaza. That’s obviously their home. Disgraceful low lives.

Interesting article—Working does not contradict Torah

[Hat tip Kracower]

Yehuda Meshi Zahav

ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav describes sparingly and with restraint the things he and thousands of his volunteers at ZAKA do. ZAKA is a haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) organization that rescues, identifies, and traces Jewish disaster victims in Israel and all over the world under sometimes virtually impossible conditions. Such a mission requires love of one’s fellow man, great empathy, faith, and a belief that good will come of it. It requires Zahav, a man with impeccable curly white payess (sidecurls).

Two months ago, following a four-year struggle, ZAKA won recognition as an official UN consultant and observer. The eventual decision was taken unanimously by a special UN committee composed of representatives of 19 countries, including Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, Cuba, Turkey, China, Russia, Pakistan, Uruguay, Burundi, Greece, the US, and Israel.

“Globes”: Did Iran and Pakistan also vote in favor?

Zahav: “There was no opposition, not even one country. We sent our representative, who met with every one of the committee members. The Iranians asked us if the report that ZAKA treats Jews first and Arabs later at terrorist events was true. We said that they hadn’t read it correctly. We treat the victim first, and then the murderer, regardless of nationality. They realized this, and voted in favor.”

About-face: From extremist haredi operations officer to national hero

Once upon a time, Zahav was the operations officer of the Eda Haredit extremist haredi group. He led demonstrations against Sabbath desecration, burnt Israeli flags, fasted and wore mourning clothes on Israel Independence Day, illegally removed dead bodies from the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute to prevent autopsies from being performed and put mice into the pathologists’ rooms, and sneaked onto archeological sites in order to prevent archeological excavations. Since then, however, Zahav has been honored by being asked to light a torch on Mt. Herzl while calling aloud in a clear voice, “For the glory of the state of Israel.” His grandfather, Rabbi Yosef Sheinberger, the mythological leader of the Eda Haredit and a fanatical opponent of the founding of Israel, refused to speak with Zahav for the last four years of his life. For Sheinberger, what Zahav did was a desecration of God’s name.

The change in Zahav began on July 6, 1989, when a terrorist blew up a bus on the 405 route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It happened on a road in front of the Telz-Stone yeshiva (Jewish religious seminary) in Neva Ilan. Zahav and his friends wanted to see what was happening, “and then, when the dismembered bodies were laid out before my eyes, when the sirens were echoing among the smoky fragments of the bus, when the bloodstained clothes were scattered over the area, when entire families were broken and erased in an instant, I realized that the quarrels between us were meaningless. The type of skullcap you wear and the kind of clothes you wear pale in comparison with the real war we’re faced with. The Arab enemy doesn’t distinguish between the blood of a haredi, a secular person, and someone who’s modern Orthodox. We’re all connected. There’s no right or left. Everyone’s pain is the same. That was the moment when I crossed the lines and abandoned the ideology of haredi Judaism,” he later said, just before lighting the torch in honor of the ZAKA volunteers in 2003.

“Since then,” he says today, “I have been repenting. I put my efforts in the right place.” That also includes severe criticism of the leaders of the community he is identified with. “I didn’t see the haredi leaders with the bereaved families,” he said during one of the IDF campaigns in the Gaza Strip. “There were 20,000 people at the funeral, but I didn’t see black clothes there. There might have been haredim here or there, but when we want to, we can fill any place with black clothes.”

….

To read the full article click globes.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on April 27, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

J-Street: the fifth column

They have concerns when a “settler leader” is appointed to a diplomatic post? Why? Why not have concerns when someone who is so left-wing that they have little connection with the Jewish dynamic of Israel is appointed to a position?

J-Street talk about two State solutions. The problem with them is that their starting point is not that any such discussion should be based on Israel as the State for JEWS. Would they accept talks that spoke of a State for Palestinians which was Judenrein? The answer is yes, they would. Their hypocrisy knowns no bounds and is consistent with the rhetoric of the left wing Reform movement which shares many practices with traditional Judaism, but is a tangential religion. I’d say that Shiites and Sunnis have more in common than Reform/J-Street and traditional orthodox Judaism. We are different though: we don’t kill each other over differences.

J-Street state:

 In the last year several Israeli officials in the US have “sent the message that Israel’s government is far more serious about legitimizing and entrenching settlements than they are about the two-state solution.”

Why can’t they be? Mahmoud Abbas is more serious about legitimising and entrenching hatred, incitement and terrorism than he is about a two state solution. He might want a two state solution, but every Palestinian leader knows that he or she will end up with their head blown to smithereens by their own if they ever signed an agreement with Israel, even if it was based on the indefensible 1967 borders.

As the Jerusalem Post noted:

The organization cited the appointment of Danny Danon as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Ron Dermer’s decision to send out gift packages filled with settlement products to officials and Tzipi Hotovely’s call for Israeli diplomats to tell the world that “this country is all ours. We didn’t come here to apologize for that” as examples.

Clearly J-Street have not read the EU declaration on its labelling policy. There is nothing illegal about the products. They simply must be labelled because they don’t fall under the EU’s definition of Israel and the free trade agreement.

J-Street are so left-wing, I do not know how they could cope with the following truisms of David Ben Gurion which are as true then as they are now, let alone Isaac Herzog’s doctrine of walled separation.

If your Ivrit isn’t good, it is well worth watching this with someone who can translate. One can guess what Ben Gurion would have thought of J-Street and their unwelcome incursions into Israeli diplomatic appointments. J-Street forget that they do not vote for the Prime Minister of Israel of his coalition. If they want to grand stand, they do harm. If they want to influence, then I’d suggest discussing issues with Israel directly is an approach that is more positive.

J-Street quote a Conservative “Rabbi” as support against Trump when he says

Donald Trump’s words weren’t the worst part of his appearance before the world’s largest annual Jewish gathering, the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC. The standing ovations from many in the Verizon Center when he attacked the President of the United States were.

The last time I looked one was permitted to express disdain for the policies of a President. Isn’t it time any group who feel badly done by are not attacked by J-Street for doing so? Goodness only knows, J-Street would be doing so if Donald Trump became president. The move to the right by the USA is entirely linked to the extreme move to the left and the inactive diplomacy of Obama. He is widely seen as ineffective. This is also borne out by the fact that all of a sudden Saudi Arabia has formed a large coalition of Arab countries file under its direction, and declared Hezbollah a terrorist organisation. This would never have happened if Obama had been seen as pro-active, as opposed to a fence-sitter and drone-user. Obama has been trumped (sic) in Syria by Putin and Iran, and his strategies are most difficult to fathom. His one achievement has been to “stay out of trouble”. It is as if he is spooked by leadership. Leadership means that there are times when you must lead and not stand back and talk ad nausea.

J-Street were emboldened by Obama. They would not be emboldened by Hillary Clinton but would love the Jew who avoid his Jewishness, Bernie Sanders. Sanders would be an unmitigated socialist disaster for the USA and Israel.

Why all the brouhaha about Mikvaos in Israel for Reform

The laws of a Mikva are of the most complex that exist. They are riddled with minutiae and disagreement among even later day Rabbis. Reform has never shown an interest in archaic Rabbinic tradition, their arguments, Talmudic or otherwise; it’s about a ritual. As such, I don’t see why a Hot Pool of any type can’t be used for Reform conversions (I am unaware of them ever ruling that the minutiae of “old archaic” Rabbinic tradition should be upheld). It would be much cheaper.

Reform Judaism’s governing bodies dropped the requirement for immersion more than a century ago. The Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 stated: “We recognize in the Mosaic legislation a system of training the Jewish people for its mission during its [ancient] national life in Palestine, and today we accept as binding only the moral laws, and maintain only such ceremonies as elevate and sanctify our lives, but reject all such as are not adapted to the views and habits of modern civilization.” Thus did the Reform rabbinic authorities renounce – without banning – any and all requirements for ritual, including those involving mikveh. In 1977 Rabbi Walter Jacob commented that “the custom has fallen into disuse….Ritual immersion has completely ceased to be practiced for niddah [separation of spouses during menstruation] and is followed only by a small percentage within the Orthodox community” [Contemporary American Reform Responsa].

If they want to revive it, , perhaps in keeping with Reform philosophy, it’s time to invent an up to date,  modern “equivalent”.
If for some reason they would like a specific set of pools for this purpose, then let it be a user-pays situation.

Reform Jews are using mikvaot today in a wide variety of alternative ways: to mark lifecycle events or a change of personal status, to celebrate joy or sanctify grief. Immersions before a bat or bar mitzvah, to mark divorce or the death of a loved one, to celebrate graduation or a trip to Israel, as gratitude after recovery from a serious illness are increasingly common. And while mikveh is traditionally practiced in privacy, some liberal mikvaot are hosting groups, including women marking the onset of menopause and men taking their sons before the High Holidays.

See here for more

Sarah Hatsman, Reform Clergy, introduces new hand washing procedures with the Mikvah, and mindfulness.

 

 

The Mikvah is used by Orthodox women monthly. It is most likely that it is only used for a Reform Conversion and perhaps? before a wedding. On that basis, the State should withdraw funding from all Mikvaos and make admission based on a user pays affiliation to the type of Mikva.

Would the State fund Baptism Pools as well?

The same if true of Conservative (Masorti). There are plenty of US donors who would pay for these customised pools and rules.

Separation of Religion and State needs to occur in Israel. The Chief Rabbinate no longer is respected and has managed to descend a level each time there are new appointees.

Which Mikveh does the transexual, or fluid sexual go to?

The majority of people are aligned with traditional orthodoxy and will always be and have little to do with Reform  or Conservatives. These are mainly American phenomena that has been imported in small quantities into Israel.

Finally note the inequality. Male Orthodox Jews do not have the same requirements of a Mikva as a female. As such, according to many authorities they may be ritually cleaned in a swimming pool or a 4-5 minute shower. Certainly, it doesn’t have the “feel” and “preparation” of going to a Male Mikva, however, there is much that needs to be improved in the lack of Tznius in Male Mikvaos, which unfortunately isn’t being addressed by anyone it would seem.

Nobody complains about that. Perhaps feminists should argue they should have the easier rules as per men?

PS. The “diplobabble from some Shas MPs makes me cringe”.

How many Jews in Melbourne hold these perverted views?

Does the Adass breakaway, “Divrei Emineh”?

Do Satmar and the Neturei Karta in Adass?

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.

 

Don’t support Satmar ever

These chassidim occupy a religion which has many connections to orthodox judaism, but they are also the biggest group that causes problems. Purim wouldn’t have occurred if Mordechai was a Satmar Chosid or Esther was one of them. He would have been told to cower to the enemy and suck it it all up and Esther would have been hidden in a bunker. These people who base their religion on R’ Yoelish’s discredited V’Yoel Moshe continue to be a thorn in the side of Jewish continuity and unity. They are everywhere and their polemic is offensive and untimely. While rockets rain from Gaza this is what they say.

In Melbourne, they are in Adass Yisrael. Don’t forget it. On Yom Ha’atzmaut, their Rabbi commanded that they say Tachanun at a Bris!

When they come to collect “Peerim Gelt” ask who they are. If they are Satmar. Give them ten cents. Give your money to poor people in the community who don’t follow this perverted philosophy. Which philosophy? The one which gives strength to the enemy. They haven’t learned that sucking up to those who actually don’t like you, will never help in the long run. Read this from ynet, and tell me if it doesn’t annoy you as much as it does me (emphasis is mine).

I don’t know which permission Rabbi Teitelbaum used to visit Israel and then leave. It seems to me that this is patently against Jewish law. I know of no permission to do so because of a grandson’s bar mitzvah. Love to read his halachic defence. It’s all politics; not halacha.

Disclaimer: I don’t have a clue how many in Melbourne’s Adass community follow him versus his (beloved) brother Zalman, but they both share the same hate for the Jewish State and do enormous damage with their sharp unbridled tongues.

Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum visits Israel and rails against settlers and ultra-Orthodox recruits who join the ID.
Kobi Nachshoni
Published: 03.11.16, 17:33 / Israel Jewish Scene
As terror attacks continue to strike Israel, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum said on Tuesday that “the real culprits are the settlers in Israel who agitate the nations of the world in the country and throughout the world, which causes serious hatred of Israel and the severe wave of attacks.”

Rabbi Teitelbaum, also known as the Satmar Rebbe, and his brother lead the world’s largest Hasidic movement, landed in Israel on Tuesday and spoke sharply to his followers, at his grandson’s bar mitzvah in Jerusalem. The city had which suffered a serious attack shortly before that, alongside two other attacks that night. “In recent months, the blood of Israel is spilling like water,” he said. “We cry every day for those dead and wounded. ”

The rabbi also addressed the growing numbers of ultra-Orthodox recruits in the IDF. “It is true that there is no coercion,” he said, “but via soft words there is an increase in recruits to the IDF, which is a source of evil , and especially when the young men are not as strong spirituality. What is new is that no one here screams out loud that there is a prohibition to enlist in the IDF, which is is a place of destruction.”

The anti-Zionist rabbi attacked in his speech all the ultra-Orthodox political parties that participate in state institutions, are partners in the government, and enjoy its budgets. “You are always hearing about what’s happening here in Israel, and especially the conscription law, there there are agreements with the government,” he said. “We will stand firm so that the yeshivas will not be destroyed. ”

“The agreements – there are some who say they are good, some say they are bad, and they need a lawyer to teach them, but the reality is that since that law there has been a rise in ultra-Orthodox recruits. One should know that the main sin in enlistment is
those who go there will not return (i.e. will become alienated from religion – KN).”

A Message to J-Street, the NIF (New Israel Fund), Ameinu and other lefties

The following is from the New York Times and is by Daniel Gordis. It says it all. It isn’t about 2 States, it isn’t about boundaries, it isn’t about apartheid, it isn’t about poverty. It isn’t about any of these issues. The following from Gordis says it all.

(c) New York Times

We have a young language instructor at Shalem College in Jerusalem, where I work. She’s a religious Muslim who wears a hijab, lives in one of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and is a graduate student at Hebrew University. She’s fun and warm, and a great teacher — the students like her a lot.
Late last spring, when things here were quiet, some of the students mentioned to the department chair that as much as they’d spoken with her over the past couple of years, they’d never discussed politics. They were curious what someone like her thought about the conflict in this region, especially now that she was teaching at an unabashedly Zionist college, had come to know so many Jewish students and had developed such warm relationships with them. How does someone like her see things here? How did she think we would one day be able to settle this conflict?
“So ask her,” the department chair said. “As long as you speak to her in Arabic (she’s on staff to help our students master the language), you can talk about anything you want.”
They did. They told her that since they’d never discussed the “situation” (as we metaphorically call it here in Israel), they were curious how she thought we might someday resolve it.
“It’s our land,” she responded rather matter-of-factly. Stunned, they weren’t sure that they’d heard her correctly. So they waited. But that was all she had to say. “It’s our land. You’re just here for now.”
What upset those students more than anything was not that a Palestinian might believe that the Jews are simply the latest wave of Crusaders in this region, and that we, like the Crusaders of old, will one day be forced out. We all know that there are many Palestinians who believe that.
What upset them was that she — an educated woman, getting a graduate degree (which would never happen in a Muslim country) at a world class university (only Israel has those — none of Israel’s neighbors has a single highly rated university) and working at a college filled with Jews who admire her, like her and treat her as they would any other colleague — still believes that when it’s all over, the situation will get resolved by our being tossed out of here once again.
Even she , who lives a life filled with opportunities that she would never have in an Arab country, still thinks at the end of the day the Jews are nothing but colonialists. And colonialists, she believes, don’t last here. The British got rid of the Ottomans, the Jews got rid of the British — and one day, she believes, the Arabs will get rid of the Jews.
That is one of the many reasons that this recent wave of violence, consisting mostly of deadly stabbings carried out by Israeli Arabs (not Palestinians living over the Green Line) and Arab residents of east Jerusalem, has Israelis so unsettled.
Yes, the reality on the ground is frightening. People are being stabbed on the street, on buses, in malls. Those being attacked are elderly men and women and young boys on their bicycles. No one is immune, and unlike the last Intifada, when suicide bombers sought high casualty counts so you felt safe away from crowds, now nowhere feels definitely safe.
But even that is not the most debilitating dimension of this new round of attacks on Jews. What’s most sobering is the fact that this new round of violence has made it clear, once again, that this conflict is simply never going to end.
What Israelis are coming to understand by virtue of the fact that the attackers are not Palestinians living in refugee camps but Israeli Arabs — who have access to Israeli health care, Israeli education, Israel’s free press and right of assembly, protection for gays and lesbians and much more — is that this latest round of violence is simply the newest battle in the War of Independence that Israel has been fighting for 68 years now.
The war began even before Israel was a state — Arabs attacked Israel not when David Ben-Gurion declared independence on May 14, 1948, but when the United Nations General Assembly voted — on November 29, 1947 — to create a Jewish state. When formal independence followed some six months later, the attacking Arab militias were replaced by standing armies of five Arab nations — Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and even Iraq (which joined the fray even though it did not share a border with Israel).
Over the years, the enemies have shifted (Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but now there are the Palestinians and Iran is both pursuing a weapon of mass destruction and declaring that Israel must be destroyed) and the methods have changed (standing Arab armies have been replaced by terrorism at home and an international campaign to delegitimize Israel in the UN and beyond). But the basic goal of Israel’s enemies remains the destruction of the Jewish state.
Increasingly, Israelis (who, polls show, overwhelmingly would like to get out of the West Bank and live peacefully alongside a Palestinian State that would recognize Israel) fear that while for us this is a conflict that can be settled by adjusting borders and guaranteeing security for both sides, for our enemies this is an all-or-nothing battle in which the only end would be for Israel to disappear.
Israel’s iconic diplomat, Abba Eban, said in the early 1970s that “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” It was, sadly, an apt observation. And it is still true. By joining the violence and responding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ incitement (Abbas insists that he’s not inciting, but that is patently false — if nothing else, his ludicrous claim that Israel is planning to change the status quo on the Temple Mount proved sufficient to inflame an entire region), Israeli Arabs have foolishly put themselves on the wrong side of history.
Rather than take a page from Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps protesting peacefully on behalf of other Palestinians, a violent minority has chosen to show its support for the larger Palestinian cause by attacking innocent Jews. And by and large, Israeli Arab leadership has been silent.
Israeli Jews have taken note — and the consequences are likely to be longstanding. While Israelis are feeling vulnerable, they are also feeling abandoned. When Secretary of State John Kerry said that he would not “point fingers from afar” at who was responsible for the violence, and called the latest attacks part of a “revolving cycle that damages the future for everybody,” he convinced Israelis once again that the present American administration has abandoned any ability to distinguish right from wrong, just from unjust, wise from destructive. America is hopelessly irrelevant in the Middle East, which means that Israel is sadly very alone.
When Americans fret in the months and years to come that the peace process is stuck, Israelis hope that they will remember that when the violence broke out again, the world’s newspapers ignored it. When Abbas said Israel had murdered a 13-year-old Palestinian attacked and the Israeli press then published a photo showing the boy sitting in an Israeli hospital bed, Abbas did not retract and the world ignored his mendacity.
When the American secretary of state was asked to comment on why the new round of violence erupted, he refused to mention Abbas and said he would not point fingers. When Palestinians incited, Israeli Arabs (20% of Israel’s population) who picked up knives convinced many Israelis that they were enemies, not fellow citizens.
Israelis hope that people will remember all that, but we also know better.
Where all this will lead, no one can say. For the time being, though, the future in this region is going to be bleak. Despair and a sense of having been abandoned never bring out the best in anyone, never make them more likely to compromise. When Palestinians express their objections to occupation, to checkpoints, to mistreatment at the hands of Israelis, those protestations will fall on increasingly deaf ears.
Why? Is it because Israelis do not want peace? Is it because we do not understand that our future would be better if Palestinians could have a democratic, functioning state? Is it because we’re oblivious to their legitimate complaints?
No. It’s simply that we know, with no doubt, that for our enemies, this is a conflict not about borders but about our very right to be here. We know that, overwhelmingly, the Arab world is still committed to driving us out of this land. So we’ll stay, and tough it out — whatever the world thinks of the steps we have to take — for as long as it takes. For as Golda Meir put it decades ago with her characteristic wit, “Israelis have a secret weapon — we have nowhere else to go.”

Hail JK Rowling and Hershel Potter

She came out publicly in the Guardian against the BDS.

Perhaps most interesting is the list of people who HAVE put themselves on the record in the British Guardian Newspaper as supporting the BDS. What I found fascinating is that they all seem to be tree hugging writers, artists, film makers,poets, directors. There seem to be few if any scientists or people with that bent of mind. What does that tell you? Here they are. JK Rowling signed onto this group.

Mark Aaron designer, artist, composer
May Abdalla documentary filmmaker
Hanan Abdalla documentary filmmaker
Khalid Abdalla actor, filmmaker
Hassan Abdulrazzak playwright/screenwriter
Leo Abrahams producer
Tom Adams musician
Martin Adams printmaker sculptor
Beverley Adams Stack artistic director Faceless Arts
Susanne Adebayo playwright, actor, director, producer, teacher
Olugbenga Adelekan dj/producer
Joseph Adesunloye director
Zahra Ahmadi actor
Raisah Ahmed writer/director
Rizwan Ahmed actor
Mediah Ahmed playwright
Peter Ahrends architect
Hamja Ahsan artist / curator
Akkas Al-Ali director
Hanan Al-Shaykh, writer
Catherine Alexander director, teacher
Kirsty Alexander dance artist and curator
Jane Alexander singer
Clem Alford musician
Seif Alhasani designer
Tariq Ali writer, film / television / broadcaster
Zulfqar Ali art consultant
Khyam Allami musician/composer
Candace Allen writer
Deniz Allport librarian story-teller
Will Alsop OBE architect
Tayo Aluko writer, actor, singer
David Ambrose storyteller, festival organiser
Chiara Ambrosio filmmaker, visual artist
Amir Amirani filmmaker
Tahmima Anam novelist
Anthony Anaxagorou poet
Adjoa Andoh actor
Ben Annesley artist
Charlotte Anstey ceramic artist
Alexander Anthony journalist
Frankie Armstrong singer, voice teacher Anti-Capitalist Roadshow
Barby Asante artist and curator
Richard Ashcroft musician
Simon Ashdown film composer, music producer
Oreet Ashery artist, visiting professor
Adeeb Ashfaq artist
Peter Ashlock artist, writer
Kevin Atherton artist
Jean Atkin poet
Tim Atkins poet
Ed Atkins artist
Anne-Marie Atkinson artist
Diane Atkinson writer
Liane Aukin scripts, drama
Franko B artist
Lekan Babalola artist
Ben Bailes lighting designer
Giles Bailey artist/lecturer
Roy Bailey folk singer
Una Baines songwriter/musician
Richard Olatunde Baker percussion
Syd Baker singer/songwriter
Patrick Baladi actor
Jayne Baldwin author
Nigel Ball design lecturer
Sue Ball producer
Steven Ball artist, academic
Nadia Ballan sculptor
Alison Ballance artist
Paul Ballard poet WAVE
Ben Ballin theatre / performance in education worker
Debbie Ballin producer/director
Nathalie Banaigs artist
Tom Bancroft musician
Ros Barber writer
Shahidha Bari teacher
Chris Barlas writer/presenter
Phyllida Barlow artist
James Barrett producer
Richard Barrett composer
Neil Bartlett author and director
Jeanie Barton musician
Linda Bassett actor
Max Batty designer
Samirah Baurtally arts marketing
Stephen Bean photographer
Oliver Beck writer, artist
Sarah Beddington artist
Cezary Bednarski architect/designer
Saleha Begum poet
Henry Bell writer
Jono Bell singer songwriter Jono & The Uke Dealers
Emilia Benjamin musician
Ishia Bennison actor
Paul Bennun executive, games and interactive
Dzifa Benson artist
Lina Bentley tutor
John Berger writer, artist and critic
Josephine Berry Slater writer and lecturer
Alessandra Bettolo architect, designer
Kavita Bhanot writer, teacher, editor
Aleksandra Bilic producer
Alice Birch writer
Norman Bissell writer
Brighid Black artist and writer
Joan Blackburn singer, songwriter, musician, event organiser
Bernard Blake musician
Kelvin Bland chartered architect
Nicholas Blincoe writer
Penni Blythe musician
Russell Bolam director
Sean Bonney poet
Leah Borromeo journalist/filmmaker
Bette Bourne actor
Michael Bovo classical guitarist
Charlie Boyer musician
Susan Bradburn agent and promoter
Paul Bradshaw curator / journalist / publisher
Andrea Brady poet, publisher and academic
Michael Bravo singer/songwriter Magic Sufi
Louis Brehony musician Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
Lindsay Bremner director of architectural research
Brid Brennan actor
Haim Bresheeth filmmaker
Victoria Brittain writer
Nicholas Broadhurst opera director
Sheena Brobbey digital designer
Scott Bronstein writer
Lez Brotherston designer
Mark Brown theatre / performance critic (scotland)
Ray Brown writer director
John William Brown artist, poet, performer, dramatist
Patricia Bryden former teacher, literature/
Pavel Buchler artist, research professor in art
Niall Buggy actor
Carrie Bulley musician
Jess Burke musician
Mark Burnhope poet
Michael Burns singer song writer, musician, composer
Ellen Burroughs artist, project coordinator, art educator
Jonathan Burrows choreographer
Margaret Busby writer, publisher
Justin Butcher playwright, director & musician
Brad Butler artist
Daniel Bye writer, performer
Patricia Byrne artistic director Sole Purpose Productions
Amelia Bywater artist
Antonia Caccia director
David Calder actor
Colin Callan sound engineer/producer
Carmen Callil publisher & writer
Stuart Calton composer
Ramiro Camelo independent curator
Hazel Cameron writer
Allan Cameron author
Leigh Campbell screenwriter
Ray Campbell comedian, lecturer
Dave Campbell artist
Sophie Carapetian artist
Razanne Carmey writer and director
Hayley Carmichael actor
Ele Carpenter curator
John Carruthers tour manager / events manager
Martin Carter visual artist Lawrence Street Workshops
Anna Carteret actress
Maude Casey writer
Lucy Cash artist/filmmaker
Rob Castro musician
Dean Cavanagh screenwriter
Julia Cazorla practitioner/writer
Jonathan Chadwick director, writer
Lula Chapman artist/illustrator
Tchaik Chassay architect, designer
cris cheek poet
Tarik Cherkaoui music producer/dj
Anna Chetwynd architect
Danny Chivers performance poet
Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso performer
Julie Christie actor
Ian Christie curator & cultural historian
Dominic Christie muralist
Caryl Churchill playwright
Ansell Cizic artist
Ami Clarke artist, facilitator, teacher
David Clinch musician
Jarvis Cocker musician
Norma Cohen actor
Will Coles sculptor
David Collins artist, teacher
Nick Collins filmmaker
Steve Conlan photographer
Kris Connolly artist
Paule Constable lighting designer
Feimatta Conteh theatre / performance sustainability manager
Fraser Cook artist
Dominic Cooke CBE director & playwright
Dee Coombes singer
Eliane Correa composer & pianist
George Costigan actor
Tony Coult teacher and writer
Joseph Coward artist
Paula Cox artist/printmaker
Ailsa Cox writer, lecturer
Donna Coyle artist
Sacha Craddock critic, writer and curator
Jacob Crichlow singer / songwriter
Felix Cross composer, writer, director
Ruth Cross artist Cross Collaborations
Tim Crouch theatre / performancemaker
Greg Cullen playwright/artistic director
Darren Cullen artist Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives
Keira Cullinane photographer
Liam Cunningham actor
Tracey Curtis songwriter
Ryan D’Souza technologist
Selma Dabbagh author
Andreas Daegelow painter, activist
Tariq Dajani photographer
Zeyad Dajani artist
Urszula Dajerling studio manager / visual director
William Dalrymple writer and historian
Dan Dan Blackett musician Landshapes
Jon Daniel designer
Jill Daniels filmmaker
Isa Darby singer, songwriter and author Cynical Renegade (band)
Lauren Dark producer
Colin Darke artist
Michael Darlow writer and retired tv director producer
Paula Darwish vocalist, musician, composer
Jareh Das curatorial
Rana Dasgupta author
Phil Davey author
Emma Davie director
Molly Davies playwright
Sam Davies musician
Ross Kristian Davis musician
April De Angelis playwright
Daniela De Armas artist/musician
Josephine de Kerpel artist
Pia de Keyser actor
Andy De La Tour actor and writer
Teresa De Miguel artist
Hans de Winter artist
Stephanie De-Sykes artist/musician
Barry Dean artist
Tam Dean Burn actor, vocalist, theatre / performancemaker
Janie Dee actor
Daniela Delerci dancer
Pucci Dellanno musician and promoter
Ivor Dembina writer and performer
Shane Dempsey director Fragments
Anne Dennis director, writer
Natalja Derendiajeva theatre / performance administrator, arcola energy
Neil Devlin choir member
Sam Dexter textile artist
Morag Deyes artistic director
Leena Dhingra actor, writer
Elaine di Campo vocalist Ultra Vinyl
Josephine Dickinson poet
Hope Dickson Leach writer / director
Veronica Diesen arts organiser, lecturer and writer in art theory and philosophy.
Stephen Dillane actor
– Dizraeli rapper & musician
Christine Dobbin artist, illustrator
Roy Dodds musician
Elyse Dodgson MBE international theatre / performance director
Audrey Doherty performance artist & fashion designer Casbah Cafe Community Arts & Cultural Events Ltd.
Eoin Donnelly artist
Phil Dooley musician
Noel Douglas artist, designer
Noel Douglas artist, designer, senior lecturer
Corin Douieb dj and producer
Ed Dowie performer/composer
Alison Down writer
Aidan Doyle painter
Laurence Dreyfus chamber musician Phantasm Viol Consort
Carol Drinkwater writer/actress/filmmaker
Han Duijvendak director/producer
Nicholas Duke musician Trojan Horse
Lawrence Duke musician Trojan Horse
Hugh Dunkerley writer
Dempsey Dunkley-Clark artist
Shahnequa Duprey actress
Samantha Dye dancer, teacher, actor
Geoff Dyer writer
Theresa Easton artist
Steven Eastwood artist-filmmaker
Houda Echouafni actor
David Edgar playwright
Essam Edriss artist
Michael Edwards writer & musician LTCC
Corrine Edwards artist
Steve Ehrlicher arts management
Sally El Hosaini filmmaker
Aser El Saqqa curator, producer, arts manager
Suhayla El-Bushra writer
Nancy Elan violinist
Yasmin Elderby film curator and jewellery designer
Kathryn Elkin artist
Inua Ellams artist
Lucy Ellinson actor and theatre / performancemaker
Esther Ruth Elliott actor
Samuel Ellis designer
Hannah Ellul artist
Brian Eno composer
Kodwo Eshun artist The Otolith Group
Samir Eskanda musician
Julian Evans writer
Gareth Evans producer, curator
Amina Evans writer
Bernardine Evaristo writer
Gavin Everall editor, publisher, writer
Allan Ewart artist, screenwriter, music producer
Tom Faire architect Thomas Faire Architects
Isabelle Farah actor
Gareth Farmer teacher
Saeed Taji Farouky director
Angus Farquhar public art, creative director
Marcia Farquhar artist
John Fay writer
Vicky Featherstone artistic director
Yasmin Fedda filmmaker, programmer Highlight Arts
Stella Feehily playwright
Mark Fell artist
Sylvia Ferreira dance artist
Matt ffytche teacher
Sharlaine Fincham arts co-ordinator, teacher
Deborah Findlay actor
Deborah Fink soprano & singing teacher
Sylvia Finzi artist
Annie Firbank actor
Allen Fisher poet and artist
Jean Fisher artist, writer
Rob Flanagan drummer
Christina Fletcher artist
Poppy Flint designer
James Floyd actor
Aminatta Forna writer
William Fowler curator
Naomi Foyle writer
Sarah Frankcom artistic director
John Frankland artist
Sylvie Franquet designer, writer, artist
Olivia Fraser artist
Jane Frere artist
Anna Furse artistic director, athletes of the heart
fermot fynn musician
Penny Gaff artist
Niki Gandy lecturer
Sandra Garbutt choral singer
Francesca Gardiner writer
Nina-Marie Gardner writer
Lynn Gaspard publisher
Dick Gaughan musician
Yolanta Gawlik artist
Carlo Gébler writer
Maggie Gee novelist
Abla George actor
Saadeh George artist
Phil Gerrard actor
Tina Gharavi film director / screenwriter Bridge + Tunnel
Alan Gibbons author
Bob Giles architect, forrmer vice president of riba
Nick Gill playwright and musician
Joy Gilleard artist
Julian Gillespie artist
John Gillet actor, director, teacher, writer
Tracy Gillman artist
Harry Gilonis poet
Murat Gokmen documentary filmmaker
Pauline Goldsmith actor, writer, director, comedian
Sally Goldsmith poet, song and script writer
Jonas Golland composer, drummer
Jake Goode performer/actor/workshop leader Other Half Productions
Mel Gooding writer, curator and critic
Francis Gooding writer
Mary Gordon-Smith artist
Daniel Gorman musician
Richard Gott writer, historian
Orlando Gough composer
Stephen Gouldin sculpture
Tony Graham director
John Graham Davies actor and writer
Paula Stanley Grainger painter
Ellen Graubart painter
Tony Green writer
Bonnie Greer playwright, author
Dan Gregory actor
Mark Gregory collector, working songs and poems
Isabel Griffin project manager/artist
Cameron Griffiths musician, performer
Trevor Griffiths playwright
Patrizia Grilli visual artist
Roz Grimshaw teacher
Rebecca Gross composer/singer/community musician
Duncan Gunn architect
Karin Gunnarsson artist
Rahila Gupta writer
Julius Guzy painter
Saleem Haddad author
Mark Haddon author
Tala Hadid writer/director
Hans Haenlein architect
Salim Haidrani author and teacher
Matthew Hamilton literary agent
Omar Robert Hamilton filmmaker
Nathan Hamilton poet and publisher
Nicky Hamlyn artist, lecturer, writer
Kit Hammonds independent curator, senior tutor contemporary art
Robert Hampson professor and poet
William Hanna author
Sandy Harb dj
Rob Harding sculptor
Jeremy Hardy comedian
Laura Harling actress
Sue Harris member of community choir
Barbara Harrison director
Lee Harrison musician
Judith Harry executive director Site Gallery
David Harsent poet
Douglas Hart director
Joshua Hart artist, gallery director
Graham Hastings vocal / production Young Fathers
Mona Hatoum artist
Andrew Hawkins actor/director
David Hawkins visual artist
Mark Haworth-Booth writer
Abe Hayeem architect Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
David Hayman actor, director
Danny Hayward writer
Jordan Hayward sound engineer
John Haywood promoter
Malcolm Hecks architect
John Heffernan actor
George Hencken filmmaker
Louis Henderson filmmaker
Janet Henfrey actor
Matthew Herbert musician Accidental Records
Nick Hern publisher
Seán Hewitt poet
Joan Hewitt poet, theatre / performance event organiser, ne people’s assembly
Melvyn Higson guitarist/ukulelist
Laurel Hill producer
Mischa Hiller writer
Nigel Hilton designer/maker
Bhavesh Hindocha film maker Loud Minority
Sam Hoare actor/writer
Wieland Hoban composer —
Peter Hobday actor
John Hodge architecture, artist and filmmaker
Mike Hodges film director
James Holcombe artist technician no.w.here
Rick Holland poet
Rachel Holmes writer
Doug Holton theatre / performancemaker
Lizzie Homersham writer
Gordon Hon artist, writer.
Adrian Hornsby writer
Jacqueline Horswill visual artist
Ian Hough musician
Liam Hourican comedian
Lucille Howe actor & author
Bill Hoyland actor
Daniel Hubbard casting director
Leon Samson Hudson artist
Richard Hughes graffiti artist, web and graphic design
Patrick Hughes artist
Paula Hughes edit assistant
Natalie Hughes writer
Kieran Hurley playwright and theatre / performance maker
Nesreen Hussein lecturer, performance maker
Waris Hussein film, television & theatre / performance director
Richard Hutchinson sound engineer
Amanda Huxtable director
Sarah Hymas poet
Riccardo Iacono artist
Ashley Inglis screenwriter
Alessio Ippolito musician
Sarah Irving writer, translator
Rose Issa curator, producer and writer
Gemma Jackson production designer
Vanessa Jackson artist and lecturer
Nick Jackson musician
David Jacques artist David Jacques
Peter Jaeger poet
Abu Jafar visual artist Abujafar Ltd
Clemmie James project co-ordinator
Paul Jamrozy artist Jamedia
Velika Janceva artist
Stephen Jeffreys playwright
Sarah Jewell choir leader, composer Songlines Choir
Rosko John vocalist/producer/dj
Darren Johns singer, guitarist, songwriter Crazy Arm
Deniz Johns filmmaker
Val Johnson singer
Robb Johnson songwriter
Joan Johnston writer, teacher
Chris Johnston director Fluxx
Leslie Johnstone artist
Vivien Jones writer & early musician
Chris Jones dj / music producer
Cliff Jones writer
Tim Jones artist
Isabel Jones artistic director
Anita Jones art facilitator
Trevor Jones composer
Catrin Jones artist
Ann Jungman witer
Remi Kabaka consultant
Sohan Kailey dancer
Rita Kalnejais writer
Dafni Kalokairinou photographer
Asif Kapadia writer/director
Rachel Karafistan actor, director COSmino
Amalia Karlsson author
Simon Katan artist, academic
Richard Katz actor
Miriam Kavana musician
Jackie Kay writer
Gary Kaye musician
John Keane artist
Brigid Keenan author
Patrick Keiller artist
Reem Kelani musician and film / television / broadcaster
Dee Kelly musician
Mark Kelly writer & performer
Tricia Kelly actor
Dennis Kelly playwright
Mary Kelly teacher
Alex Kelly artist
Mercedes Kemp writer/theatre / performance maker
Peter Kennard artist
Mary Kennedy song leader
Caroline Kennedy author
Anthea Kennedy artist/filmmaker
Francis Kennedy actor
Frank Kennedy performer A Date With Dickens
Mel Kenyon literary agent
Margareta Kern artist
Sandra Kerr artist
Steve Kettley saxophonist / composer
Hannah Khalil writer
Mimi Khalvati writer
Shahid Khan producer (naughty boy)
Yasmin Khan curator
Shama Khanna curator
Bharti Kher visual artist
Richard Kilgour artist
Michael Kindellan researcher, teacher
Ucef Knight artist
Judith Knight producer
Mark Knoop pianist and conductor
Steve Komarnyckyj translator and poet
Peter Kosminsky writer/director Stonehenge Films
Ash Kotak writer / curator Palestinian Arts Festival
Kristen Kreider poet & architect Kreider + O’Leary
Frances Kruk artist
Hari Kunzru writer
Mary Kuper illustrator
Chris Lafferty musician
Martina Laird actor
Desmond Lambert musician Some Velvet Morning
Bob Lamoon visual story-teller
Clare Lane teacher and artist
David Lang musician
David Lang musician
Diane Langford novelist
Kal Lavelle musician
Paul Laverty scriptwriter
Pamela Lawton ceramic artist
Alisa Lebow filmmaker
Suzy Lee film student
Linda Lee community choir leader
Nadjib Lefleurier sculptor
Malcolm Legrice film and video artist
Mike Leigh writer, director
Vincent Leleux artist
Emma Lennox writer
Tom Leonard poet
Lucy Lepchani poet, writer
Les Levidow violinist in ensembles
Deborah Levy writer
Louise Lewarne filmmaker
Sylvia Libedinsky architect and designer
Robin Licker musician The Restarts
Daniel Light lighting technician
Sonja Linden playwright
Dominic Lindesay-Bethune producer
Francesca Lisette poet
Pippa Little poet
Phyllida Lloyd director
Ken Loach director
Liz Lochhead playwright, and national poet of scotland
Alistair Logan clarinettist
Kiko loiacono tour manager dr kiko tours ltd
Viviana Lombardi actress, director, author
Amber Lone writer
Kim Longinotto filmmaker
Lynn Loo artist
Gerry Loose poet
D. Wayne Love musician Alabama 3
Adam Lowe writer, publisher, performer
Lesley Luckin singer
Ed Luker poet
Ben Lunn composer, conductor and musicologist
Victoria Lupton producer and curator
Omar Lyefook musician
Alexis Lykiard author (poet, novelist, translator)
John Lynch musician
Chloe Lynch musician, sound engineer
David Mabb artist
Grant Macdonald designer
James MacDonald director
Hettie Macdonald director
Sheree Mack writer
James Mackay producer & curator
Chris Mackin musician
Rohan Madison artist
Lee Maelzer artist
William Mahfoud music producer
Sabrina Mahfouz writer
Abid Mahi filmmaker/actor
Jamal Mahjoub author
Linda Maitland manager
Maitreyabandhu poet
John Maizels editor
Sulaiman Majali artist
Vincent Makowski graffiti writer, artist, graphic designer
Bob Malston artist
Bidisha SK Mamata journalist, film / television / broadcaster and author
Nina Mangalanayagam artist
Guy Mannes-Abbott writer
Jane Manning artist/academic
Miriam Margolyes actress
Jehane Markham poet
Kika Markham actor, writer
Ami Marsden sculptor
Katharine Marshall musician
John Marshall artist
Helen Marten artist
Tim Martin designer/lecturer
Sian Martin actor, writer
Angela Martin editor, filmmaker, ex-teacher
Andrea Mason actor
Ahmed Masoud artist, director, writer Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre / Performance
Nariman Massoumi filmmaker and academic
Cherie Matrix bellydancer
Mira Mattar writer
D W Mault filmmaker
Sophie Mayer writer
Julian Maynard Smith director Station House Opera
Judy Mazonowicz community artist, tutor
Andrew McAvoy architect
Simon McBurney actor, director, writer, theatre / performancemaker
Julie McCalden artist
Mike McCarthy producer Lakin McCarthy Entertainment Ltd
Annie McCartney playwright
Fred McCormick singer, songwriter, author
Sarah McDade artist, ceramics
David McDonald poet, writer, music producer, events manager
Beth McDonough poet
Elizabeth McDowall writer
David McDowall writer
Amanda McDowell artist
Jimmy McGovern writer
Teresa McGowan writer
Jon McGregor writer
Kathleen McKay writer, teacher
Paul McKee visual artist
Tom McKennan singer/songwriter
Beverley McKeown musician
Hilaire McLeish writer
Ewan McLennan folk singer
Caitlin McLeod theatre / performance director
Hilton McRae artist
Pauline Melville writer
Qalandar Memon editor Naked Punch Review
Noe Mendelle producer Scottish Documentary Institute
Peter Mennim artist
David Mercatali director
James Merry assistant
Iain Michael theatre / performance technician
Roger Michell theatre / performance, tv and film director
China Miéville writer
Chris Miley sound engineer Strange Reality Music Productions
Sam Millar author
Jonathan Miller director
Robert Miller technician
Russell Mills artist
Anthony Mills theatre / performance technician
Karen Mirza artist No-w-here
Mitch Mitchell bass player, vocalist The Wild Angels
Toby Mitchell writer/director
Giuliano Modarelli musician, composer Kefaya
Carel Moiseiwitsch visual artist
Lawrence Molloy artist, arts technician, event organiser The Superposition
Nina Moniri actor
Grazyna Monvid actor, writer, director
Robert Moon visual artist
Stephen Mooney poet and teacher
Mary Moore set and costume designer
Hubert Moore
Celt Islam Moore musician, artist, cultural director association of british muslims Celt Islam
Christopher Morahan, CBE director and executive producer
Aron Morel publisher Morel Books
Ray Morgan painter.
Jenny Morgan director
Carol Morley director
Sara Moroza-James writer
Fiona Morris executive producer
Darrell Morris photographer
Richard Morris actor/author/playwright
Alan Morrison poet, writer
Michael Mould performer/director
Laura Mulvey writer, filmmaker
Peter Mumford lighting designer
Jonathan Munby director
Gareth Murphy actor, director, writer
Lora Murphy artist , theatre / performance design
Sai Murray poet, designer, facilitator
John Murray architect
Caroline Murtagh painter
Haldun Musazlioglu comedian
Linda Mutawi producer
Larion Myakicheff artist
Tom Mycock musician the Splitters
Simon Mylius director Feeding the Fish
Daniel Naddafy actor
Rayna Nadeem filmmaker
Nadia Nadif actor, producer
Sara Naim artist
Paddy Nash musician
Orson Nava director
Pablo Navarette journalist, filmmaker
Leyla Nazli executive producer
Anthony Neilson writer/director
Helena Nelson publisher and poet HappenStance Press
Daniel Neofetou writer & editor
Esther Neslen artist
Judy Neunuebel artist
Patrick Neville actor Dialogue Productions
Courttia Newland writer
Kriss Nichol author and drummer Booktown Writers
Marilyn Nicholson painter
Janie Nicoll artist
Matthew Noel-Tod artist, filmmaker
David Owen Norris musician
Christopher Norris philosopher, poet, lecturer, singer (cor cochion caerdydd)
Barney Norris writer
Lizzie Nunnery playwright, song writer, singer
Dr Joseph O’ Neill artist
Rebecca O’Brien producer
Treasa O’Brien film director
Shivaun O’Casey director of the sean o’casey estate
Francis O’Connor theatre / performance designer
Joseph O’Neill artist
Andrew O’Hagan writer
Kirsty Ogg director
Earl Okin musician
Janice Okoh playwright
Abby Oliveiraz writer/performer
Caleb Oluwafemi poet
Gill Ord artist
Uriel Orlow artist, academic
Sean Orr artist
Sharon Dodua Otoo writer & editor
April Owens artist Pebble Design
Ian Pace pianist
Maysoon Pachachi filmmaker
Jeremy Page writer, teacher
Georgina Paget producer
Tom Paine filmmaker
Maria Palacios Cruz curator & lecturer
Eddie Palladio set artist, writer & guitarist
Claire Palmer artist/editor International Times Magazine
Kate Parkin publisher
Robin Parmar composer
Pratibha Parmar film writer & director
Alun Parry singer and songwriter
Rebecca Patenon writer
Harry Paterson author and journalist
Andy Patterson musician, songwriter, engineer
Maxine Peake actor
Eve Pearce artist
Jason Pearce artist
Eve Pearce actor
Edgar Peltenburg art historian
Alexander Penley solicitor for artists Penley Global Law
Miranda Pennell artist/filmmaker
Follett Pennell musician
Laurie Penny author
Ian Pepper artist
Jeff Perks artist and filmmaker
Holly Pester artist
Jeremy Peyton Jones composer, artistic director regular music ii
Annie Pfingst artist
Annie Pfingst artist
Steve Philbey visual artist – subvertiser
Christine Physick artist
Andy Picci painter, video maker, musician, actor, writer
Francisca Picon actor
Winsome Pinnock writer
Scoobius Pip musician
Nancy Platt docmentary director, teacher
Alison Playford actor and writer
Vanda Playford artist and doctor
Olivia Plender artist
John Pole songwriter
Alison Poltock arts director
Ben Ponton musician, composer :zoviet*france:
Erika Poole artist
Tabitha Pope architect
Olumide Popoola author
Daniel Potter musician
Tim Pottier orchestrator
Steve Pottinger poet
Jimmy Powdrell Campbell writer and composer
Audrey Powell music festival organiser
Jeremy Poynting editor and publisher Peepal Tree Press
Lucy Prebble writer
Richard Price writer
Judy Price artist
Iris Priest artist, artist’s assistant, essayist
Sunil Puri drama teacher
Clare Quinn theatre / performancemaker
Aun Qurashi architect
William Raban artist-filmmaker
Virginia Radcliffe artistic director, playwright
Michael Radford film director and screenwriter
Maha Rahwanji presenter
Gabi Rajchel dancer & tutor
Ravinder Randhawa author
Mark Ravenhill playwright
Tom Raworth poet, graphic artist
Carmen Rayavargas painter
Eddi Reader MBE singer/songwriter/musician
Siobhan Redmond actor
Sian Rees performer
John Rees writer, film / television / broadcaster
Natasha Rees artist, writer
Chris Reeves camera/sound/editing/directing Platform Films
Petra Regent printmaker and photograher
Lynne Reid Banks children’s novelist
Hugh Reilly author
Christian Reilly musical comedian
Lotte Reimer chorister
Dave Rendle poet
Ali Rhind artist
Patricia Richards chorister
Sam Richards musician and teacher
Guy Richardson composer
Ian Rickson director
Keith Ridgway writer
Keith Ridgway writer
Robin Rimbaud composer
Bill Risebero teacher. writer, actor
Alison Ritchie production manager
Ben Rivers theatre / performance director
Ben Rivers artist/filmmaker
Philip Roberts drama teacher
Douglas Robertson photographer
Eliza Robertson writer
Crispin Robinson musician, teacher
Pablo Robledo documentary-maker, cultural writer
Jenny Rodwell artist
Nick Rogers writer
Barnaby Rogerson writer & publisher
Jacqueline Rose writer
Alison Rose teacher
Steve Rose project manager, record label Secretly Canadian
Michael Rosen writer, professor
Leon Rosselson songwriter/children’s author
Jane Rossiter-Smith writer
Lee Rourke novelist
Paul Rowan musician
Hazel Roy theatre / performance director Artists for peace
Tara Rudder musician The Free Spirits
David Rushmer writer
Fiona Russell writer
Janet Russell singer, performer, teacher
Mark Rylance actor
Anjalika Sagar artist The Otolith Group
Yara Salahiddeen singer
Minna Salami writer, blogger, african popular culture
John Salway singer, actor, writer
Kareem Samara artist, musician
Andrew Sames artist, ceramisist, teacher/technician
Joel Samuels actor, playwright
Kevin Sanders sound artist
Leila Sansour filmmaker
Donald Sassoon professor of history (emeritus), writer
Stephanie Saulter writer
Dominic Saunders pianist
Camilla Saunders musician, composer
Ian Saville performer
Alexei Sayle comedian, author, actor
Prunella Scales actor/director
Alke Schmidt artist
Stanley Schtinter filmmaker, curator
Grace Schwindt artist
Mary Scott choir member
Julia Scott artist Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S)
Matt Scott composer
Jennie Scott artist
Matthew Scott editor The London Magazine
Jim Scott poet, author
Pauline Scutt visual artist
Helen Sear artist
Peggy Seeger musician, teacher
Colin Sell artist, composer, teacher
Seni Seneviratne poet
Kadija Sesay (George) publisher and writer
Sara Shaarawi playwright
Nabil Shaban actor, editor, author, film maker, artist
Julie Shackson artist
Mim Shaikh film / television / broadcast presenter
Khaldoun Shami filmmaker & lecturer
Kamila Shamsie writer
Roger Shanahan interior designer
Yasmin Shariff architect DSA
Farhana Sheikh writer
Anna Sherbany artist
Rachael Sherbourne digital artist 80 Stepney road
Anouche Sherman poet, multimedia artist
Guy Sherwin film artist/performer and teacher
Adrian Sherwood producer Onu Sound records limited
Eryl Shields writer
Kevin Shimwell actor
John Shrapnel actor
Christopher Shutt sound designer
Sigmatron dj/sound creator
Corinne Silva artist
Cate Simmons artist
Vannessa Simon singer/songwriter
Andy Simons musician, archivist
Nicky Singer writer
Tanya Singh writer, artist
Eyal Sivan filmmaker
Pam Skelton artist
Poppie Skold filmmaker
Gillian Slovo writer
Alicia Smedberg writer
Les Smith playwright
Calum Smith musician Calum Smith
Mick Smith musician, playwright, producer.
Michael Smith artist
John Smith artist filmmaker
Bob and Roberta Smith artist
Amy Smith artist
Cherry Smyth writer
Deniz Soezen artist
Samuel Solomon poet/critic
Chris Somes-Charlton artist manager
Gabriel Sotiry musician, sound engineer
Ahdaf Soueif writer
Abbie Spallen playwright
Ian Spink choreographer, director
Patrick Staff artist/choreographer
Max Stafford-Clark theatre / performance director
Siobhan Stamp teacher
Michael Start artist and craftsman The House of Automata
Danny Stead musician
Maggie Steed actor
Val Stein singer/songwriter
Amanda Stekly production designer
Polly Stenham playwright
Simon Stephens playwright
Gary Stevens artist
Liz Stirling artist
Jennie Stoller actor
Susannah Stone historical researcher/archivist
Degna Stone poet
Del Strain comedian-writer-film / television / broadcaster Del Strain Comedy
Em Strang poet & teacher
Jack Strange artist
Sarah Streatfeild violin
Paul Stroud composer
Dacia Stroud sculpture
Jenni Stuart-Anderson designer/maker
Alia Syed artist/filmmaker
Soraya Syed Sanders lettering artist
Mitra Tabrizian artist
Rebecca Tamas poet UEA
Stefan Tarnowski writer and curator
Julia Taudevin actor and playwright
Olly Taylor designer
Emilia Teglia artistic director Odd Eyes Theatre / Performance
Kate Tempest musician/poet
Julien Temple film director
Subash Thebe artist Central Saint Martins UAL
Cyril Thomas production manager
Mark Thomas comic, writer, political activist
Chris Thomas director
Patrick Thomas musician
Norma Thompson community arts development
Carolyn Thompson painter/drawer
Cathie Thomson agent
David Thorpe actor
Steve Tiller artistic director OperaMachine
Maija Timonen artist, writer
Cara Tolmie artist / musician
Nikki Tomlinson artist and artists’ advisor & producer
Di Trevis director
Cressida Trew filmmaker
Shelby Tucker author
Sarah Turner director of research, curriculum lead, fine art School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent
Richard Twyman theatre / performance director
Jo Tyabji theatre / performance maker
Simon Tyszko artist/film / television / broadcaster theculture
Kate Unwin designer
Marion Urch author
Sheila Urquhart choir member
Esteban Uyarra director-editor
Pauline van Mourik Broekman editor, artist
Ryan Van Winkle poet
Gabriel Varghese director & academic
Francesca Viceconti artist
Maria Vigar writer
Roxana Vilk artist
Cat Villiers filmmaker
Marina Vishmidt writer and lecturer
Laura Wade playwright
James Wafer designer
Mirza Waheed writer
Gail Waldman architect (retired)
Naomi Wallace playwright
Harriet Walter actor
Christian Wangler retired sound recordist, documentary filmmaker
David Ward composer
Cathy Ward artist
Marina Warner writer
Ali Warner singer & voiceworker
Mark Warren sound designer
Roger Waters musician
Paul Watson documentary director, writer, artist, teacher
Jem Watts performer
Paul Wearing ceramicist
Mandy Webb artist
Jeremy Welsh artist
Samuel West actor and director
Timothy West actor and director
Hilary Westlake director
Boff Whalley guitarist, singer, author
Ruth Wharton printmaker
Ben White writer and journalist
Rhiannon White director Common Wealth
Tony White writer
Andy Whitehouse promoter and musician
Katy Whittle cellist
Ian Wiblin photographer, artist film-maker
Lillian Wilkie artist, teacher
Stephen Willey poet
Roy Williams artist
Melanie Williams artist & teacher
David Williams artist
Dmarcus Williams editor
Eilidh Wilson artist
Esther Wilson writer
Annalie Wilson artist
Mark Winn teacher
Devra Wiseman artist
Nathan Witt artist
Paul Wolinski musician 65daysofstatic
River Wolton writer
Matthew Wood musician Telegram
Vincent Woodcock tutor, cartoonist, animator.
Penny Woolcock writer/director
Susan Wooldridge actor and writer
Ben Woolford producer
Earnest Worthing writer
Andy Worthington author, journalist
Simon Worthington editor
Terry Wragg director
Nicholas Wright playwright
Alexa Wright artist
Fife Writes arts promoter Fife Writes
Robert Wyatt artist
Michael Wynne playwright
Carolyn Yates literature development and writer
Jeff Young writer
Reynaldo Young composer, teacher
Emily Young artist
Somaye Zadeh singer/musician
Valentina Zagaria director, writer Theatre / Performance Senza
Matthew Zajac actor, writer
Rehana Zaman artist
Sameena Zehra comedian, storyteller
Mona Zeidan community musician
Benjamin Zephaniah poet, novelist, musician
Rafeef Ziadah performance poet
Andrea Zimmerman artist
Silvia Ziranek artist

I don’t know whether the JCCV or ZFA or Mizrachi consider him as bad as Moshe Feiglin, but I’d hope that anyone and everyone boycott this person. He was listed in a letter to the Guardian supporting the boycotting of Israeli goods from Yehuda and Shomron (otherwise known as the BDS campaign).

I had never heard of him but this is what wikipedia tells us although wikipedia notes it contains information from someone close to Sivan. Maybe he self-promoted himself?

The Obama Administration’s linguistic gymnastics

To hear this video and to continue to support Obama as a US Jew, is simply unfathomable.

In Melbourne, we have the NIF patrons

from simonstudio

: Martin Indyk and Ronni Kahn. I know Ronni, from doing gigs in Sydney where she worked to collect left over food. Martin Indyk, unlike Dennis Ross has shown himself on many occasions to be out of touch with reality.

In Melbourne, we have Ameinu: Ostensibly led by my friend Johnny Baker (although their web site could do with some fixing)

Of course the old Habonim, Hineni Reform, Conservative, Deconstructionist, and other left wing groups that have been around for eons, and now the all singing Shira Chadasha strain of conservadox judaism.

Watch this video and tell me if you detect any sign that the Obama administration is fair. Or, do you share my opinion that they are left-wing apologists for Muslim terrorism unless it affects their uber strategic assets.

This is a good article if you can get your hands on it.

Religious women in the combat army

I am not a Rabbi, let alone someone who ought to be making definitive statements about this issue. I sit in relative comfort in Australia with the threat of terrorism, but without the threat of survival.

It was in the last year that I discovered, via Kurd tactics, that for a Muslim to be killed by a female soldier in combat, implies that this Muslim doesn’t acquire their mythical ‘olam haba’ let alone the bevy of virgins supposedly assigned to him as a result of his death during Jihad.

I do not think the following religious girls were motivated by such, but one can think of it as burying their dead in pig skin, although our world of political correctness which would demand that women have the same right to defend Israel as the LGBT rainbow movement, ought to be more comfortable with this concept.

Accordingly, I would argue that for יחידות who have a specific היתר from their parents and רב המובהק, who would need to be an outstanding Talmid Chacham, I make no comment except that every time they succeed, they will be putting the fear of being killed by a female, firmly in the mind of the terrorist who is hell-bent on the destruction of our State and People.

This is from Yediot by Dr Ruchama Weiss and Rabbi Levi Brackman. Note: Ruchama is Reform, to my knowledge, whereas Levi is the real mccoy.

In 2010, 935 young religious women joined the IDF. In 2013, the number jumped to 1,616. Every year, the army receives more and more religious female recruits, who are not only enlisting for traditional roles in the Education Corps, but are also joining combat units.
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This new trend should not be taken for granted, given the fact that one of the main statements issued by the Chief Rabbinate Council when Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef took office was that the Rabbinate “forbids IDF enlistment in any way, continuing the tradition of the previous chief rabbis.”
Serving with Pride
A woman of combat who will find? / Yossi Yehoshua
Thought religious women skip the draft or rush to get married? Meet married women who are insisting on completing their mandatory service.

But it seems reality is stronger than halachic rulings. Meet Ornella, Sari and Hila, three religious female fighters who are convinced that despite the many difficulties, a religious girl who wishes to contribute to her people belongs in the army.
A fighting family

When 21-year-old Sari Michael of Netanya joined the Caracal Battalion in March 2013, she received surprised reactions from her close and distant surroundings. She studied at the Bar-Ilan religious girls’ school, where she says the educational staff conveyed a clear message that the best place for a young woman from the national-religious sector is national service.

Sari Michael. Serves in the Caracal Battalion (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)Sari Michael. Serves in the Caracal Battalion (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
“I come from a fighting family,” Michael says. “My grandfather was an instructor in the Navy’s Shayetet 13 special forces unit, I have an uncle in the Givati Brigade, another uncle who is a combat medic, another relative in Intelligence Unit 8200, and they each contribute as much as they can. I have a female cousin who joined the Caracal Battalion a year before me, and when we meet on Saturdays we share our experiences from the service.”

At her parents’ request, Michael began doing national service at the Defense Ministry, but realized after several months that her goal was significant combat service. So she left and joined the IDF, where she was sent to serve in the Air Force. “I said to them, ‘I want to be a combat soldier. I want experiences.'”

‘I became more religious in the army’

She got her share of experiences at the Caracal Battalion, which mainly deals with securing the Israel-Egypt border. About two-thirds of its soldiers are women.

Asked whether she experienced any crisis following the move from convenient national service to an exhausting basic combat training, Michael replies sincerely: “There isn’t a single combat soldier who doesn’t experience a crisis, but I received support from Captain Einat Cohen, who is responsible for the enlistment of religious girls in the army. “She fought for my rights. She also gave me her personal cell phone number, and I know that even if I call her at 2am – she will pick up the phone.”
And what do you do when you have religion-related questions?

“There is the battalion rabbi, and I also consult my father. There are clear orders in the army. One of them deals with human dignity. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, Jewish or Christian or Druze; you respect your fellow man and he will respect you. My friends are considerate. They don’t listen to loud music on Shabbat, but use headphones. In my unit there are many traditional people and five religious girls – which is a lot.”

As for her difficulties as an observant Jew, she says: “It’s clear that during action it’s more problematic and harder to implement, but I believe that any soldier who wants to be religious can be religious. It all depends on you, and I have actually become more religious in the army.”

This may sound strange to some soldiers, but Michael doesn’t have a hard time when she is forced to stay in the army on Shabbat. “My mother always told me that on Shabbat a person has an elation, and I enjoy Shabbat in the army. There is the Kiddush, there are prayers in the synagogue, we sit through the meals and laugh. We also have time for ourselves, and Shabbat is really good for the soul.”

‘Israel means more to me than anything’

Ornella, 21, immigrated from France a little over a year ago in order to join the IDF. Her father was born in Israel, her mother in France, and her family lives in 15th arrondissement of Paris. As there was no Jewish educational institution near her home, she studied in a public school with many Muslim students.

Ornella. Serves in the Lions of Jordan Battalion (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)Ornella. Serves in the Lions of Jordan Battalion (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
“I am familiar with anti-Semitism,” she says. “I was the only Jewish girl in school. I didn’t hide the fact the I was Jewish and walked around with a Star of David medallion. Many of the students didn’t like it, and they were always looking for a fight.”

Asked whether she hesitated before making aliyah and joining the IDF, she replies decisively in an enchanting French accent: “I have been very Zionist ever since I was a little girl. The State of Israel means more to me than anything.”

Ornella’s brother, who also immigrated to Israel, didn’t serve in the army, so her decision to sign up for combat service raised eyebrows in her family. “It scared them. They don’t know any girls in combat service. But now I’m about to end my military training, and they are proud of me and believe that religious girls can also serve in combat roles.”

3 religious soldiers out of 80

Ornella says God helped her with the basic training difficulties. “My faith helped. As they say, ‘Think positive and things will be positive.’ If I want to, I can.”

She joined the IDF in November 2014, and began her basic training in March in the Lions of Jordan, a new infantry battalion where men and women serve side by side. Asked about her service alongside secular soldiers and how she deals with the issue of desecrating Shabbat for operational reasons, she replies: “My commanders always let me pray the morning and afternoon prayers, and let me leave the light on before I go to sleep so that I can read the Shema prayer. Although we are three religious soldiers out of 80 in the battalion, the boys know I am religious and respect me. “The Shabbat problem is less problematic right now, because I am in advanced training and we haven’t reached the line yet. But the question of desecrating Shabbat began with securing communities, when we have to travel by car. Every time I had a question, I turned to the Paratroopers’ base rabbi and he answered me. I also consult my brother.”
‘You can’t please everyone’

Hila Lev Ari, 20, from Moshav Bareket, serves in the Home Front Command’s rescue battalion. These days, she and her fellow soldier have been stationed in one of the hottest areas in Samaria. She studied in the Sha’alvim religious girls’ high school and later in Yigal Alon High School.

Hila Lev Ari. Serves in the Home Front Command’s rescue battalion (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)Hila Lev Ari. Serves in the Home Front Command’s rescue battalion (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
She was motivated to join combat service following a terror attack in 2002, in which terrorists fired at hotels in Netanya, murdered two and injured many. She experienced the incident as a little girl, but says it changed her.

“My family wasn’t hurt, but these are the kinds of things that build you. I decided that if there was something I could do to prevent others from going through what I did, and turn the country into a safer and better place, I would devote myself to it.”

Lev Ari is an only child. “At first, my parents tried to convince me to do national service, but I realized that this is my life and that I can’t please everyone. My parents understood, and now they are proud of me.”

Pass this on especially to your non-Jewish friends

Actually, pass it onto J-Street, Ameinu and all the left wingers who think you can TALK to these “things”.

When the word radicalisation comes up, send this video (from memri). Ask them what Australia has to do with this savage stream of religion.

Click Here

Make no mistake my friends, this is the work of Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessors and is a direct result of the profoundly failed Oslo Accords.

Sydney Adass is miles away from Melbourne’s Adass … check on THEIR attitude to Moshe Feiglin

[Hat tip BA]

Davening at Tzemach Tzedek this forthcoming Shabbos, Parshas Noach – Adass and Tzemach Tzedek will be welcoming Moshe Feiglin.
Moshe Feiglin is the past deputy speaker of the Knesset and founder of the Zehut party.
After davening, our members, with Tzemach Tzedek and Bet Yosef members are invited to a combined Kiddush to listen to and welcome him.
Moshe Feiglin has a unique insight into the problems facing Israel and their solutions.
For further details regarding his Sydney visit contact Sreuvi Lazarus Ph: 0415850245
Biography
Moshe Feiglin is the head of the Zehut political movement, dedicated to providing Israel with authentic Jewish leadership based on Jewish identity and liberty and imbuing every facet of Israeli life with the meaning of Jewish destiny.

In 1993, Moshe Feiglin co-founded the Zo Artzeinu (“This [is] our Land/Country”) movement with Shmuel Sackett to protest the Oslo Accords. In 1996, he established the Manhigut Yehudit movement to foster Jewish leadership for Israel. In 2000, the movement joined Israel’s Likud party as a faction dedicated to the same goal. Mr. Feiglin declared that he would be a candidate for chairmanship of the party as a springboard for premiership of the State of Israel. Mr. Feiglin was Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Likud MK from 2013 – 2015.

Moshe Feiglin advocates human rights and liberty, family values, free market economy tempered with the Jewish values of kindness, Israeli sovereignty over all the land in its hands, Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and much more. He is determined to provide Israel with the authentic Jewish leadership that it so desperately needs. His goal is to be prime minister of Israel and to lead the nation to its Jewish destiny with authentic Jewish values.

What made Mizrachi back flip on Moshe Zalman Feiglin’s planned talk at Shalosh Seudos?

I hear there are powerful forces that insisted that Moshe Feiglin’s talk at Mizrachi’s rather tame Shalosh Seudos, be cancelled. He was due to speak there by error or naturally. Mizrachi in Melbourne have certainly allowed right-wing revolutionaries from Ateret Cohanim to speak there, but Moshe Feiglin was cancelled. Was it because of the marxist left wing conservadox organisations like Shira Chadasha or is that Hadasha who had the Chutzpa to join the Reform and others and advertise their opposition to free speech. To them, I say go hug a tree. You will feel fulfilled. Go find a rabbi who fits your pre-defined view of Zionism and Judaism and give it a logo. Off you go. What was so damned offensive about Moshe Feiglin, someone tell me. I heard him on Friday night and knew little about him. He sounded fine to me. Are these the same dark forces that considered Rabbi Sprung too right-wing and who complain bitterly when Rabbis (for whom they have no respect) decide that certain whisky should be avoided. These are people who think they own Judaism. Guess what? They don’t. Ex nihilo is nonsense. The world was always filled with God. It was a matter for him to form a world such that והלכת בדרכיו not the ways of the humans who decide what is and is not moral, what is left and what is right.

So, I looked him up. I found this. Nothing objectionable:

Although Manhigut Yehudit is an educational organization that does not endorse political candidates, we believe that you will find Moshe Feiglin’s words at the Zehut Founding Conference to be enlightening and inspiring:

Dear Friends,

I must admit that I am very moved. I have participated in quite a few events in my life and have made quite a few speeches. But when you begin to understand the depth of the crisis and upheavals facing Israel and the world; when you understand that what we are doing here this evening is laying the foundation for the only leadership that is capable of understanding reality and thus, for dealing with it; when you understand that – you understand that tonight’s event is formative; it is an historic event.

A New Leadership Movement: From Zionism of Existence to Zionism of Destiny

Make no mistake. This is not a group of a few hundred Israelis who have decided to form another political party. What is happening here tonight is nothing less than a revolution.

Tonight, we are founding a new leadership movement for the Nation of Israel. Tonight, we are founding the only leadership that has the tools to truly deal with the approaching tsunami – from within and without!

Tonight, we are creating national leadership that will bring the State of Israel from one era: Zionism of Existence, to a completely new era: Zionism of Destiny.

The Vision: Identity, Meaning, Liberty

Everything so sorely lacking in Israeli politics can be found in this movement. First and foremost, what we have completely forgotten:

We have vision!

Our vision includes:

Loyalty to our identity

A message of meaning

A battle for liberty.

True answers can only be found within this vision:

Answers based on liberty to deal with all our current challenges: Housing, education, cost of living, health and of course security and foreign relations.

Only those who have vision and know the answer to ‘why?’ can provide the true answers to ‘how’.

Without Destiny, Existence is Endangered

Seventy years ago, the crematoria of Europe were extinguished and our Nation began to rise from the ashes. The State of Israel’s first seventy years are also about to be completed.

There is no doubt that the State of Israel is a success story. It has realized the vision of the prophets and has been the conduit for the unequaled historical miracle in which all parts of the Nation of Israel have participated.

But it is specifically the physical success that has made us vulnerable to a gnawing, paralyzing weakness that threatens all the achievements of the Return to Zion.

From a physical standpoint, we have never been greater and stronger; both economically and militarily. But internally – we have never been so weak.

Sometimes I feel that I should apologize to my children: I had so much fun growing up in this country. Israel was a country that radiated security and faith in the justice of its cause. What confusion and lowliness we are bequeathing the next generation – exactly at the most critical time!

Our parents, the generation of the War of Independence and the Six Day War, the generation of the Yom Kippur War and Entebbe, gave us a state that stood proud. They gave us a state in which a drizzle in Sderot meant that autumn was coming – not rockets coming out of the sky.

Missiles on Tel Aviv? Who would ever have thought?

Our parents gave us a state in which there was no need for security guards at the entrance to every shopping mall and train station.

They gave us a state whose existence was not questioned by any cultured person in the world.

They gave us a state in which every soldier in uniform understood what he represented and nobody dared attack him.

They gave us a state that would immediately obliterate any entity developing nuclear weapons to destroy us – with no warning, no speeches and no lobbying the Congress.

Our parents gave us a state in which every young couple could afford housing; a state that no matter what school you attended, you emerged an Israeli patriot.

They gave us a state in which little girls could play hopscotch on the corner unguarded.

A state without ‘protection’.

A state in which every Jew could walk freely – everywhere.

And what are we giving our children?

A threatened, helpless community that begs the world and the US air force for help?

A state that has lost its faith in the justice of its cause, a state that – more and more – the world considers a mistake?

A state in which young couples can only dream of owning their own home.

A state in which the schooling falls far short of our potential.

A state in which parents are forced to guard their children while they play outdoors.

A state in which personal liberties are being eroded.

The world is not exactly waiting patiently while we return to ourselves. The entire old order is crumbling before our eyes.

ISIS is replacing the Arab states.

Nuclear ayatollahs set the world agenda.

Europe is quickly becoming Moslem.

America stands by those who attempt to destroy us.

Where is the leadership of old? Leadership that would know how to present a vision and strategy in the face of the existential challenges falling upon us?

This is the new leadership that we are building today, here in Tel Aviv.

No more state that flees its message

No more state that flees its meaning and history.

Today, we are heralding the connection of all of these to the liberty of man.

Dear friends,

The era of religious and non-religious is over!

The era of Right and Left is finished!

All the ridiculous molds that divided us time and again are a thing of the past.

The Israeli young people yearn for the meaning taken from them.

They crave to dig deeply into their identity and liberty.

Israel’s young people desire leadership that will give them all these things. Leadership that will truly solve:

The housing shortage, the collapsing educational system, the high cost of living – leadership that will restore security to our streets.

We have all those gifts – and more – to give:

Housing: We know that liberty means that the land belongs to the citizens – not to the state. Land must be allotted by lottery to all army veterans in Israel.

The bureaucratic red tape must be cut and people must be allowed to build as they please on their land. And most important of all, we know that this is our Land and we should build throughout our country.

Education: We know how to truly solve the problem with education in Israel. Because we know that liberty means that we are responsible for the education of our children- not the State. The State will give vouchers to the parents of every child and the parents will decide where to redeem them.

Just imagine countless ‘boutique’ schools competing for your vouchers – just like the maternity wards compete for the social security funds that they receive for every new mother who gives birth in their hospital.

Every teacher will be a private tutor. And every student will be a king!

Cost of living: We know how to truly deal with the high cost of living and how to propel the economy forward. Simply, we must:

Open the Israeli market to competitive imports
Close the Standards Institute
Cut down the government mechanism to at least half
Nullify the tax on companies
Return the state payment for army veterans to social security
Stop funding our enemies.
War can never be over when the Israel Defense Force vocabulary does not include the word ‘victory’.

It is impossible to win when it is not clear who the enemy is (The rocket? The tunnel? Terror?)

If you cannot figure out who you are, (A Jew? An Israeli? A citizen of an amorphous state?) you will clearly not discover who your enemy is. Maybe we were sent here by the UN?

Now we can understand that a person or country that has no identity will never enjoy peace.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen: Only Zehut will bring peace!

We have the answer to the ‘why’? And thus, we can provide all the answers to the ‘how’?!

Dear friends, now it is in our hands!

The energies, the people, the clear plan and the will and preparedness to lead are all in this hall. They are in no other place and so, the responsibility is on our shoulders. We have all the tools with which to bring about a true revolution.

We have a year – not more – to reach every corner of this country.

Now friends, it is in our hands. And we have good reason to be excited at the eve of the New Year. To be excited and to thank the Creator, Who has brought us to this momentous and historic time, in which we have merited to establish leadership with vision for our Nation.

Shanah Tovah

I heard in Shule that he’s “homophobic”. Sorry, what does that mean. Does that mean that he beats up gay people or does it mean that he happens to accept Torah that the act of homosexuality is a SIN. Are the politically correct anonymous powers behind Mizrachi afraid to say the word תועבה … if so, they should join Shira Chadasha, the “Shule of Song”. Too far? Uncomfortable seats? Only for the young? Do me a favour people get a life.

Okay, so I looked for more, and found this.

While other Knesset members will ride off into the political sunset after their successors are sworn in to the parliament Tuesday, outgoing Likud MK Moshe Feiglin will go to the Party Registrar’s Office to officially create his new political home.

Feiglin left the Likud after he failed to get selected for a realistic slot on the party’s list for the new Knesset. He announced that he would form a party at an event held at the same time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated with his party’s new candidates.

Feiglin’s faction will be called Zehut, which means identity in Hebrew. It will push for Israel to decide what it means to be a Jewish state.

Speaking at the Knesset after he received his “former MK card,” Feiglin boasted how people waited in line to pay NIS 500 to join the list of party founders that would be submitted to the registrar. He said 60 percent of the initial 500 founders were not religious and that Zehut would not be sectarian.

“Establishing Israel’s identity is the key to its future,” Feiglin said. “The loss of its identity is the problem, and returning it is the solution.”

Feiglin said he turned down offers of realistic slots on multiple party lists, preferring to sit out the current Knesset and build a new party from the bottom up.

“The Likud is not the answer to anything,” he said. “I prefer to advance my ideas on my own. My ideas attract curiosity and appreciation. I didn’t need a stage. What I want is to provide an alternative of leadership.”

Feiglin said that if MK Yair Lapid could start a new party and win 19 seats and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon would win 10, he could win 20 in the next election, which he believes will take place soon after what he called a “Pyrrhic victory” for Netanyahu.

His political predictions proved right in the past. He wrote on Facebook ahead of the 2013 election, when Bayit Yehudi was polling 16 seats, that it would fall to eight when the Likud would warn its voters that the Left could come to power.

Zehut will be registered as soon as the Interior Ministry verifies the Israeli residence of everyone on its list of founders in accordance with the law.

Feiglin hopes the current Knesset will pass a bill allowing Jews abroad who are not citizens to join Israeli political parties.

Many secular people attended a pre-Passover toast Feiglin hosted Sunday night in Jerusalem.

Uri Noy of Petah Tikva, who was one of them, said he was surprised to see so many people not wearing kippot.

“The upheaval is really happening,” he said. “I came to Feiglin because I saw that in the [2006] Second Lebanon War, Israel did not fight back. I got turned on by him, and I’ve supported him since then.”

Noy said he was in Likud with Feiglin and he was glad they left because the Likud has not been true to its political platform that calls for keeping and settling the land of Israel.

He said there was nothing wrong with a secular Jew supporting the building of a Third Temple, noting that Zionist founder Theodore Herzl wrote in favor of it in his book Altneuland.

“Leaving the Likud is not giving up,” said Binyamin Nakonechny, a former Likud central committee member who was the first person who joined Zehut. “Feiglin has faced political setbacks throughout his career but he hasn’t given up. He has just started over.”

Okay, I can’t see anything that would cause the Marxist tree huggers to try and muzzle free speech. Then I saw he was sentenced to prison for opposing the Oslo Accords (sounds like Russia to me). Well, even the left-wing moustached types cannot say anything good about the useless 20 year old Oslo Accords. They were and are bullshit. Sorry, that is fact. Try a few stabbings to remind you. Then I thought to myself, maybe he was into religious coercion etc and I found this on wikipedia

Feiglin, responding to a report that Israel’s first permanent Arab Supreme Court judge Salim Joubran had refused to sing Israel’s national anthem, asserted Joubran: “must return his Israeli ID card and make do with the status of ‘permanent resident.’

Guess what, I agree with him. It’s a joke. The Marxist libertarian left wingers in our Jewish people are so self righteous that they don’t understand basic logic.

If someone supports a Kahane policy that doesn’t make them Kahane!

Try and get that through elementary logic.

Feiglin said:

Feiglin referred to U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden as a “diseased leper” in a 2010 op-ed column published by Israel’s third largest news outlet, Maariv.

Was he wrong? Is Obama any different? What good has Obama done for Israel except kiss the orifices of Iran since he came to power.

Then I heard he was a homophobe because:

“”Throughout history,” Feiglin explained, “from Rome to Europe in our day, the approval and spread of homosexuality presaged the decline of nations and cultures. If one reads the Torah portion ‘Noah’ – this comes as no surprise. . . .The organizers of a pride parade do not wish to gain rights. They strive to force homosexuality as a culture upon the public sphere. . . . A minority has no right to take over public assets. Let the marchers kindly go back to their individual closets. And let them do it without whining, because no one interferes with their affairs in there. Let them give up their attempts at takeovers, and leave the public sphere to normal people. . . .Feiglin added in an additional post: “I have no problem with homosexuals, most of whom are, most likely, good and talented people and no one wants to interfere in their private lives. I have a problem with homosexuality as a culture. This culture subverts the status of the family. And without the family there is no nation, and without a nation there is no civilization.”

Okay, he has no problem with what people do in their private lives, but opposes Pride parades and the creation of Pride cultures. Guess what. So do I. Does Shira Chadasha or Mizrachi embrace Parades in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I don’t tell people what to do in their bed rooms.

But then I found the answer. It’s got to be the pathetic political correctness of our good tree hugging leftists.

Feiglin is banned from entering the United Kingdom due to a decision by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, made public in March 2008, excluding Feiglin on the grounds that his presence in the country “would not be conducive to the public good.” A letter to Feiglin from the Home Office said that Smith based her decision on an assessment that his activities “foment or justify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts; foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts and foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”Feiglin responded, “Seeing that renowned terrorists like Hizbullah member Ibrahim Mousawi are welcomed in your country in open arms, I understand that your policy is aimed at encouraging and supporting terror.”

So what terrorism has Feiglin fomented. Since when do we follow anti-Semitic Britain? To all you libertarian democrats and supporters of free speech I say hang your heads in shame. There are far worse right wingers in the Likud, and Mizrachi would haven did let them in to speak, that was when old Mr Lamm ע’’ה was alive. Alas, his son, Danny obviously no longer has influence. As to my own views, I am outside Israel, but as long as he isn’t advocating terrorism (like the Muslims who advocate terrorism AND live in Australia) what is wrong with free speech? I was also gob-smacked when Australia wouldn’t allow that anti-abortion campaigner in. Unless there is something about him that I don’t know, we are heading towards totalitarian Russia, where if you have charisma, they certainly won’t let you in to talk.

This is political correctness gone mad

The Australian Labor Party and Israel

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.

Rav Yuval Cherlo on the Rabbi Riskin controversy

[the following is an edited, summary of a talk by Rav Cherlo, from Rabbi Dr Eli Turkel and is printed here with permission]

Who is Rav Yuval Cherlo?

He speaks English. He is a Posek of note from the centrist camp, who writes Tshuvos. He is a Rosh Yeshivah in Petach Tikvah. He was a founder of the moderate Tzohar. He served in the army and attended Har Etzyon. He is considered a sound moderate religious Zionist who sits in the centre and is widely respected. He is inclusive but maintains strict fidelity to authentic Halacha.

Rav Yuval Cherlow שליט’’א

During the controversy between the politically puppeteered Chief Rabbinate about extending the tenure of Rabbi Riskin of Efrat (see here and here) Rav Cherlo made the following comments. These need to be considered seriously considering the source.

Rav Cherlow gave a 1 1/2 hour talk last night on the chief rabbinate and R Riskin.
Rav Cherlow is the head of a hesder yeshiva and very active in medical ethics on several government committees.
Enclosed is a brief (from 90 min) summary.

 

There are 2 main purposes to the Rabbinate in Israel:

1) represent the Jewish Religion to the nation; and

2) halachic decisions – involving mainly kashrut and marriage & divorce (conversion is not officially listed as being done by the rabbinic courts)
The beginning of the end of the chief rabbinate began with the fight between Rav Goren and Rav Ovadya Yosef,  which brought the chief rabbinate to an effective stand still and more of a titular position.

Today the majority of non-religious Jews have little interest in the rabbinate. The Charedim mainly want to weaken and control the rabbinate but don’t respect it. That leaves only the Dati Leumi (Religious Zionists) who potentially care.
The low point was the election of Rabbi Meltzer over Rav Ariel in the previous election. The two are not in the same ballfield with Rav Ariel a far superior candidate on all fronts, but Rabbi Meltzer won on political grounds [me: he had a deal with his old friend from Kerem B’Yavneh, Rav Yossi Efrati who was the right hand man of Rav Elyashiv, to follow the views of Rav Elyashiv ז’ל. Rabbi Meltzer used to sit not far away from me in the Beis Midrash, but he was older and in 5th year as I recall when I arrived.]
I don’t really want to talk about chief rabbis that are being prosecuted.

Rabbi David Lau the current Ashkenazi chief rabbi is extremely capable, but won’t take any controversial stand. When asked about pushing for organ transplants he says Rabbi X objects to it. In terms of influence in the country his cousin, Rabbi Benny Lau has a greater presence. Rabbi Riskin is also an inspiration to others (when the radio wants a spokeman or there is a public debate Rabbi Benny Lau or Rav Cherlow are usually chosen).

To my surprise Rav Cherlow claims that the largest public religious events in Israel are the various programs on Shavuot night!
The chief rabbinate is slowly losing all of its power. Today some 100,000 Non-Jews are Israeli citizens recognised by the Law of Return (chok hashvut) with no hope or interest in converting.

In Cyprus the wedding places are all set up for those Israelis who can’t or don’t wish to marry through the rabbinate. This is in addition to all the couples living together without formal marriage. Soon, a minority of couples living together will have been married through the Rabbinate. This obviously means that they also will not be divorced through the rabbinical courts when they separate.
Hence, conversion causes less of a problem as they marry elsewhere and being Jewish isn’t important to them. Rav Cherlow brought a story that a brother of the Rav from Ponovezh was intending to marry a non Jewess. A conversion was arranged for the woman within 3 days!

According to Israeli law only the rabbinate can give a certificate of kashrut. Presently the various badatzim (Charedi Batei Din) only claim supervision without actually stating that it is kosher. There is a movement of other local groups that will start their own kashrut supervision. There is currently a case in front of the court requesting that any Rabbi be able to give a kashrut certificate.

In general many functions of the rabbinate are being taken over by Tzohar which not only performs marriages but also organizes many events for the public.
Many of the Dati Leumi Knesset members are in parties other than bayit hayehudi (the Religious Zionist party). Many of them are willing to dissolve the rabbinate as they feel it does more harm than good. An example is Rabbi Shai Piron who is a leading member of Yesh Atid. Others are in the Likud.

What about the future: There are two options:

1) dissolve the rabbinate and have a situation similar to the US [of separation of religion and state] (however the government will still fund religious events). This will happen by law or informally over time

2) make the current Rabbinate more inclusive and serving larger elements of the population.

Rav Cherlow personally is in favor of the second option. Now, much of Israeli society is traditional. They go through the Rabbinate because it is the accepted way and they have no problems. Once the rabbinate loses its monopoly many of these will choose other options.
The rabbinate claims to have problems with R Riskin because he criticises the Rabbinate and doesn’t always follow the rules. However, many town rabbis from the charedi side do the same thing but are never criticised for their actions. In fact two sets of religious courts have recently released agunot on very controverisal and contradictory reasons.

Town rabbis officially have no retirement age – the only government workers with that rule. Recently a law was passed requiring town rabbis to prove they are healthy at the age of 75 to continue. Until now that law was a formality. Rabbi Riskin is the first town rabbi to be called in for a formal hearing!

R Cherlow says that he has many disagreements with R. Riskin. However, should the chief rabbinate decide that they have the power to say that an orthodox rule is illegitimate (not just wrong on certain issues) then that is the straw that would force Rav Cherlow to object to the entire establishment. Many town rabbis just collect a salary and don’t do anything. To take a rabbi who is an inspiration to many and throw him out because he is too liberal, is simply too much for Rav Cherlow.

Interestingly the chief rabbinate announced that they will not be swayed by public opinion. That itself is a symbol of their problem. What the people of Efrat feel is irrelevant. In the end the Dati Leumi population will vote with the feet and already the other groups have no respect for the rabbinate. That institution will be left with zero support.

Beautiful D’var Torah on Shlach

[hat tip MT]

“And [the spies] began to speak badly about the land that they had explored.” (Num. 13:32)
A dispirited discussion took place at Beit HaRav, Rav Kook’s house in Jerusalem, not long after the end of World War II. The Chief Rabbi had passed away ten years earlier; now it was his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, who sat at the head of the table.
One participant at the Sabbath table had brought up a disturbing topic: the phenomenon of visitors touring Eretz Yisrael and then criticising the country after returning to their homes. These visitors complain about everything: the heat, the poverty, the backwardness, the political situation – and discourage other Jews from moving here, he lamented.
Rav Tzvi Yehudah responded by telling the following parable, one he had heard in the name of the famed Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever, the rabbi of Bialystok.
The Failed Match
There was once a wealthy man who sought the hand of a certain young lady. She was the most beautiful girl in town, and was blessed with many talents and a truly refined character. Her family was not well-off, so they were eager about a possible match with the prosperous fellow.
The young woman, however, was not interested in the match. Rich or not, the prospective suitor was known to be coarse and ill-mannered. She refused to meet with him.
The father asked her to at least meet with the young man in their home, so as not to embarrass him. After all, one meeting doesn’t obligate you to marry him! To please her father, the young woman agreed.
The following Sabbath afternoon, the fellow arrived at the house as arranged, and was warmly received by the father. Shortly afterwards, his daughter made her entrance. But her hair was uncombed, and she wore a faded, crumpled dress and shabby house slippers. Appalled at her disheveled appearance, it did not take long before the young man excused himself and made a hurried exit.
What everyone says about this girl – it’s not true, exclaimed the astonished young man to his friends. She’s hideous!
Rav Tzvi Yehudah stopped briefly, surveying the guests seated around the table. Superficially, it would appear that the brash young fellow had rejected the young woman. But in fact, it was she who had rejected him.
The same is true regarding the Land of Israel, the rabbi explained. Eretz Yisrael is a special land, only ready to accept those who are receptive to its unique spiritual qualities. The Land does not reveal its inner beauty to all who visit. Not everyone is worthy to perceive its special holiness. It may appear as if the dissatisfied visitors are the ones who reject the Land of Israel, he concluded. But in fact, it is the Land that rejects them!
A thoughtful silence pervaded the room. Those present were stunned by the parable and the rabbi’s impassioned delivery. Then one of the guests observed, Reb Tzvi Yehudah, your words are suitable for a son of your eminent father, may his memory be a blessing!
Seeing the Goodness of Jerusalem
Rav Tzvi Yehudah’s response was indeed appropriate for Rav Kook’s son. When visitors from outside the country would approach the Chief Rabbi for a blessing, Rav Kook would quote from the Book of Psalms, “May God bless you from Zion” (128:5).
Then he would ask: What exactly is this blessing from Zion? In fact, the content of the blessing is described in the continuation of the verse: “May you see the goodness of Jerusalem.”
The rabbi would explain: The verse does not say that one should merit seeing Jerusalem; but that one should merit seeing ‘the goodness of Jerusalem.’ Many people visit Jerusalem. But how many of them merit seeing the inner goodness hidden in the holy city?
And that, he concluded, is God’s special blessing from Zion.

Parshas Shelach

from Rav Motti Greenberg, Rosh Yeshivah, Kerem B’Yavneh

“We cannot rise up against the nation because it is stronger than us… And the whole nation that we saw there are very big.” [Bamidbar 13:32]. Rashi explains this to mean that the people were tall and large. However, the SHELAH brings a surprising interpretation: that the people had good traits. (This is also brought by the Kli Yakar.) However, why should the scouts want to praise the moral traits of the Canaanites, to tell us that they behave in a righteous and proper way? Evidently this is meant to imply that “the sin of the Emorites is not complete” [Bereishit 15:16], and it will be difficult for Bnei Yisrael to conquer them and take the land. And that is why the scouts added, “We were in our eyes like grasshoppers” [Bamidbar 13:33]. Not as Rashi explains, that the scouts felt as small as grasshoppers, rather that they felt the opposite of those “people with good traits,” for they were honest and good while we were like locusts and grasshoppers which come and steal away the produce of honest owners of the fields. As is written in the Talmud, “If one steals a field which is then ravaged by locusts” [Bava Kama 11 6b] he can give it back to the original owner (see the Talmud and Rashi’s commentary). Thus, the claim of the scouts was that the current residents were behaving in a proper way, and that Bnei Yisrael had come to steal their land (does this sound familiar to our ears?).

 

This claim can be countered by the words of Rabbi Yitzchak quoted by Rashi in the beginning of Bereishit. “Why did the Torah begin with Bereishit? The answer is because of the verse, ‘He told the nation about the power of His deeds, to give them the heritage of the other nations’ [Tehillim 111:6]. If the nations claim that you are robbers in that you conquered the lands of the Seven Nations, you can reply: The entire land belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He, He created it and gives it to whomever He sees fit. When He wanted to He gave it to them, and when He wants to He takes it from them and gives it to us.”

 

At first glance, this reply is hard to understand and even sounds unjust. Every robber can use this claim, to say that the Master of the World took possession of an object and gave it to him. If this is so, how can any sense of order be maintained?

 

The answer to the above question is that the claim of Divine intervention is only valid when it is absolutely clear that the Holy One, Blessed be He, is the one who took the land from them and gave it to us. When it can be seen that we who are small and weak, a nation which was just freed from slavery, who conquered “a great and mighty people, children of giants” [Devarim 9:2], it is clear that we are not robbers, and that the Master of the World took the land from them and gave it to us. As Rachav said to the scouts sent by Yehoshua, “We have heard that G-d dried out the waters of the Red Sea before you… And what you did to the two kings of the Emorites… And we heard this and our hearts melted… For your G-d is the G-d of heaven above and of the earth below.” [Yehoshua 1:10-12].

 

In our generation too, it is impossible to deny that the hand of G-d has wrought all that has taken place. On one hand Jews were led to slaughter, but a magnificent nation was established right after the tragic events. Rabbi Amital wrote that if the world would have been destroyed and later on studied by historians in the distant future they would certainly have come to the conclusion that many hundreds of years passed between the two events, the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.

 

A hundred years ago, when Theodor Herzl asked for help from the Pope to return to Eretz Yisrael, he replied that he could not agree to our return to the land because this was against the Xristian religion. If only we could uncover the eyes of that Pope and show him that when his successor visited our land a few months ago he placed a bouquet of flowers on Herzl’s grave – almost as if to say: You were right and we were wrong.

Support for Rabbi Riskin

I had blogged on this Here

(hat tip nb) Rav Melamed is considered one of the leading Poskim for the Chareidi Leumi group (right wing religious zionists)

 

I’m writing to update you on events surrounding the Israeli Chief Rabbinical Council’s refusal to automatically renew Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s tenure as Chief Rabbi of Efrat. As I wrote last week, Rabbi Riskin has instead been summoned for a hearing, at which the Council will examine his qualifications and credentials for continuing the work to which he has devoted his life since the very establishment of the city.

I am delighted to report that Rabbi Riskin has been blessed with an incredible groundswell of support, which testifies to the meaningful, lasting impact he has had on world Jewry. 

He has been especially touched by the solidarity and encouragement expressed in letters, emails, phone calls, tweets and facebook posts from individuals spanning the globe. 

In addition, prominent members of Knesset and Israeli government ministers, communal and spiritual leaders in Israel and the Diaspora and countless organizations have spoken and written eloquently on his behalf, demonstrating the highest levels of respect he has earned from a broad cross-section of the Jewish world. 

Below is one such article, authored by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, spiritual leader of the community of Har Bracha and a leading figure in the “Chardal” (ultra-Orthodox Zionist) community. In addition to beautifully encapsulating so much of what has been written and said over the past week, the poignancy of his heartfelt advocacy stems precisely from the fact that he holds fundamentally differing views from Rabbi Riskin on many issues. 

I invite you to read and be inspired by Rabbi Melamed’s expression of steadfast support on behalf of our beloved rabbi.

With warmest regards and Shabbat Shalom

David Katz

International Director, Ohr Torah Stone

 Op-Ed: On the Rabbi Riskin Saga:

Don’t Disqualify the Torah Scroll (from Arutz Sheva)

by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed 

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is a man who raised himself from poverty to dedicate his life to Torah and more – differences in philosophical or even halakhic approaches should not be used to disqualify one rabbi or another. 

It was recently reported that the Council of the Chief Rabbinate has expressed doubt as to whether to permit Rabbi Shlomo Riskin from staying on as chief municipal rabbi of Efrat despite recently turning 75.

The hearing ordinarily would have been nothing more than a procedural matter. But several members of the council evidently aimed to prevent Rabbi Riskin from continuing in his capacity as a result of their objections.

This, then, is the appropriate time to take a stand and praise Rabbi Riskin, a righteous, wise leader who has done extraordinary things.

Rabbi Riskin was born into a non-religious, poverty-stricken family. But from a young age, of his own free will and with the help of his grandmother, he began making his way toward the Torah and religious observance. Being a prodigy and an outstanding student, he was accepted to Harvard, the most prestigious university in the world, with a full scholarship. By choosing to study there, he would have guaranteed his professional and financial future: no door is closed to Harvard graduates.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, a temptation that few could resist. Yet Rabbi Riskin declined the scholarship and instead made his way to Yeshiva University, which also took notice of his abilities and granted him a full scholarship.

Since then, he has dedicated his life to Torah.

As a young, gifted, and charismatic rabbi, a captivating speaker with the ability to lift up the souls of his audience and draw them near to Torah and religious observance, Rabbi Riskin earned special esteem in the United States. Successful, educated individuals also found meaning in his words of Torah and were privileged to become acquainted with Jewish tradition under his guidance. “There was truthful Torah in his mouth, and he brought many back from sin.” The future that awaited him was that of a leader of the American-Jewish community.

Yet before even turning 40, inspired by pure faith in God and His Torah, he gave up his position in the United States and made a decision to immigrate to Israel.

In so doing, he gave up what had been his main skill in his work: his command of the English language, which had brought him the success he enjoyed in the United States. True, he learned to speak Hebrew excellently. but they say that in English few can parallel his rhetorical skills. Thanks to his vision, abilities, and leadership, he was able to bring many members of his community to Israel in his wake. He established an Israeli city at the heart of whose cultural life are the study of Torah and religious observance, whose residents enjoy a high standard of living and contribute to the economic, scientific, and social development of the State of Israel.

His ‘aliyah’ to Israel was felt by hundreds, even thousands, who followed in his footsteps to new homes in Efrat and throughout Israel, while also benefiting from the enhanced religious life implicit in such a change. Never slowing, Rabbi Riskin successfully established yeshivot and educational institutions for boys and girls in Gush Etzion and Jerusalem. Drawing on incredible sources of energy, he still makes his way to all of these institutions, where he teaches, speaks, illuminates, and imparts to his students the excitement of a life centered on Torah and Judaism.

Yet when he arrived in Israel, he was guaranteed nothing. He came with little more than the shirt on his back.

Western Aliyah to Israel

Unfortunately, though we are not always aware of it, the vast majority of those who have immigrated to Israel in modern times have come from countries where Jews were subject to persecution and poverty. Immigration from Western countries, particularly the United States, is perhaps the most impressive of all.

I therefore have a deep appreciation of Rabbi Riskin as well as all other immigrants from the United States.

A Difference of Approach

There are most definitely different approaches to various issues in Jewish law. This always has been the case in Jewish discourse, whether between the sages of the Mishnah, those of the Gemara, the luminaries of Geonic Babylonia, the scholars of the medieval era, or those of the modern period. Sometimes the differences stem from people’s different characters, as with Shammai and Hillel. Other times they stem from differences in background or intellectual method. Concerning these issues, our sages said (Ḥagigah 3b), “‘Masters of assemblies’ are those scholars who sit, some in this faction and some in that, and occupy themselves with the Torah. Some say it is impure; others say it is pure. Some forbid; others permit. Some declare it invalid; others declare it valid.

Lest a person say, ‘Then how can I study the Torah?’ the verse states that all were ‘given by a single shepherd’: a single God gave them, a single leader said them, from the mouth of the Lord of all creatures, blessed is He, as is stated, ‘God stated all of these things.’ So you, too, make your ears a funnel and develop a discerning heart so that you can hear the words of those who say it is impure and the words of those who say it is pure, the words of those who forbid and the words of those who permit, the words of those who declare it invalid and the words of those who declare it valid.

American Jewry

Rabbi Riskin’s American background plays an important part in his pursuits: American Jews and immigrants from the United States stand at the forefront of the struggle with Western culture and its principles of liberalism and equality, including feminism.

Out of their faithfulness to the Torah, Rabbi Riskin and his colleagues have forged a path to contend with these major and important questions. Among American rabbis, too, there are different approaches: how much to open up and how much to close, what to bring near and what to keep distant.

Sometimes, other rabbis, including myself, prefer other solutions. Sometimes this preference stems from habits of observance to which we are devoted, sometimes from the fact that we believe a certain way is more appropriate. For the most part, these differences of opinion and practice pertain to questions of education and society, rather than to questions of practice per se. Time will tell what advantages and disadvantages each path contains. In any event, we must not seek to delegitimize Rabbi Riskin’s path, which is one of the most important approaches to religious observance in our day. 

A Whole Torah Scroll

If a single letter is missing from a Torah scroll, it is unfit for use, and the same holds true for the pan-Jewish religious world: every true Jewish scholar has a letter in the Torah, and any person who excludes one of these scholars makes his own Torah scroll unfit for use. Any offense against Rabbi Riskin’s service in the rabbinate is equivalent to the obliteration of whole sections of the Torah.

I imagine that it was only out of ignorance that the Council of the Chief Rabbinate entertained doubts with regard to Rabbi Riskin. I am confident that once they have heard a bit of his reverence, erudition, and rectitude, the majority of the members of the rabbinical council will take his side.

If, heaven forbid, they reach a contrary decision, Rabbi Riskin’s dignity will not be harmed. His standing in his community and his institutions will keep rising, and his influence will become even greater. However, the public standing of the Chief Rabbinate as the public representative of the Torah of all Jews will be weakened when it becomes known that the Torah scroll it represents is deficient and unfit.

Policy of the Chief Rabbinate

Some have argued that the Chief Rabbinate should draw a line that all rabbis must follow, and Rabbi Riskin is not following the line that was drawn concerning such issues as conversion.

True, it is desirable that the Rabbinate take a position in pressing matters of public importance-but in order to do so, it must engage in a deep, serious discussion of each of these issues, a discussion of Talmudic, medieval, and modern literature that analyzes the reality of the matter at hand in all its dimensions. In order to expedite such a discussion, rabbis who are active in the given area would have to study various books and articles ahead of time, and then the discussion of every issue would continue for at least a few whole days.

Unfortunately, today no serious discussion is held concerning any important matter, whether in the Rabbinate or in any other religious entity. For instance, when it comes to conversion, Rabbi Ḥaim Amsalem wrote a very respectable book that is deserving of discussion. True, I draw different conclusions from his, but in objecting to what he wrote most of his opponents offer worthless arguments that rely on violence such as is accepted in Haredi circles.

I must add that despite the great value of arriving at a consensual position on every issue, such a position must not come at the expense of rabbinic discretion. Even when the Great Sanhedrin held session, local courts enjoyed a certain degree of authority, because fundamentally this position is not a thin line, but a divinely sanctioned field, a field in whose scope there are different practices and approaches thanks to which the Oral Torah becomes richer and greater.

All the more so today, when there is no Great Sanhedrin that traces its authority directly to Moses, must the Rabbinate not set a rigid line that seeks to disqualify religious perspectives of substance. The lesser the standing and authority of the Chief Rabbinate, the more it must take the various perspectives into consideration in arriving at its position. This is how the rabbis of the Jewish people carried themselves in previous generations.

“One Law Shall There Be for You All”

Aside from anything else, a single law must apply to all. When the Council of the Chief Rabbinate declines to react to profound challenges to its views and its dignity on the part of rabbis belonging to the haredi stream, who violently reject its kashrut supervision and treat the chief rabbis and municipal and neighborhood rabbis with contempt, it must also act tolerantly and fondly toward rabbis such as Rabbi Riskin, who respect the Chief Rabbinate but sometimes take a different track.

In today’s reality, the Rabbinate does not go out of its way immediately to dismiss rabbis who, contrary to the rules of Jewish law, disqualify conversions performed by representatives of the Rabbinate. It continues to recognize kosher supervision services, marriages, and conversions by “rabbis” who have the gall to publicly dismiss commandments of the Torah, such as the duty to settle the Land of Israel and defend the nation of Israel through military service, or deprecate the good that God bestowed on us with the establishment of the state and denigrate those who recite the Psalms of Praise on Independence Day.

In such with today’s reality, the Rabbinate must restrain itself from taking action against a rabbi whose reverence, deeds, and erudition are greater than those Haredi “rabbis” whom it is overly careful not to slight. 

This parliamentarian is right on the money

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.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.

Two Views on Rabbi Riskin

It was predictable, that the hard-hitting and often “on the money” Isi Leibler would come out in full support of Rabbi Riskin. Isi, if I’m not misquoting him, is also a supporter of Rabbi Benny Lau, who is a controversial figure.

What Isi fails to notice is that Rav Soltoveitchik was a Charedi in his outlook on Torah and Mitzvos. The difference was that Rav Soltoveitchik could make a Psak (many were often contradictory for good reasons) and “take on” any Gadol BaTorah in the entire world and flatten him with his learning and brilliance. His use of the philosophical world was to broaden the understanding of Torah.

Rabbi Riskin is a very impressive man. I enjoyed his latest book immensely. One thing that was clear though that Rabbi Riskin, when in doubt, always went to seek advice from some mentors. He used to go to Rav Soltoveitchik and then to the Lubavitcher Rebbe (especially when the latter enfranchised him to work underground for Soviet Jewry).

Now, Rabbi Riskin is his own man. He is not young. He got one-off Hetterim from both Rav Soltoveitchik and the Lubavitcher Rebbe for certain activities. In his fantastic book he is clearly in awe of them, and if you asked him today whether he reached either of their ankles, he would tell you “No way in the world”. That being said, unlike another moderates like Rav Aharon Lichtenstein ז’ל, Rav Aharon actually also had a posek. That Posek was none other than Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ז’ל, a cousin of Isi’s wife, Naomi. The saintly Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl also went to discuss difficult matters with Rav Shlomo Zalman. Why? Because whilst being a Charedi, Rav Shlomo Zalman was not behoved to any politics or political machinations. He was an independent, a pure soul, who understood both Rav Aharon, and Rav Avigdor (and like Rav Elyashiv would get angry at anyone who remotely said anything negative about Rav Kook ז’ל)

I feel that Rabbi Riskin is now missing his mentors. Who isn’t? His last few more controversial steps are argued among the real students of Rav Soloveitchik, of whom I consider Rav Hershel Schachter שליט’’א, the carrier of Rav Soloveitchik’s Torah Mesora and דרך הלימוד ופסק par excellence.

Far be it from me to be one to proffer advice to Rabbi Riskin, (I don’t come to his ankles) but the one Rabbi I would go to discuss issues of grave halachic import in Israel with, is actually Rav Shlomo Zalman’s son in law, Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. He is very much attuned with the real world, as was Rav Shlomo Zalman himself. He is a wise man, very attuned to the real world, and void of politics.

I’ll close with Isi’s article, and that of Rabbi Gil Student. You decide. Regarding the Chief Rabbinate, I agree. The calibre of Rabbi is not what it should be. Rav Ovadya Yosef was recently described as מיוסף עד יוסף לא קם כיוסף where the first Yosef is R’ Yosef Caro the author of the Shulchan Aruch. I agree with this whole heartedly. Sadly, political appartchiks are now in the seat.

Indeed, reading what Rav Soltoveitchik wrote about the Chief Rabbinate, is as true now as it was 30 years ago. He was utterly opposed to the concept.

Here is Isi’s article, followed by R’ Gil Student.

The despicable effort by the haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate to purge Rabbi Shlomo Riskin because he does not conform to their stringent halachic approach may prove to be a blessing in disguise. The anger this outrageous initiative generated could be the final straw needed to dissolve this corrupt institution, which is held in contempt by most Israelis — including, ironically most haredim.

Rabbi Riskin is one of the outstanding role models of the religious Zionist community. I am privileged to have known him for over 30 years and consider him one of the greatest and most beloved Modern Orthodox rabbis of our generation. He is also an extraordinary creator of Jewish institutions.

A student of the great Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, in 1964 Riskin became the rabbi of Manhattan’s Lincoln Square Synagogue, which he transformed into one of New York’s most successful Orthodox religious centers.

In 1984, at the peak of his career, he moved to Israel and became founding chief rabbi and a leading developer of Efrat, which is today a highly successful community.

In addition to acting as a communal rabbi, he launched the Ohr Torah Stone institutions, which include one of the best networks of Modern Orthodox schools in Israel, ranging from junior high school through to graduate programs. He also created a special program to inculcate young men with the knowledge and skills to be effective rabbis and educators throughout the Jewish world.

He displayed innovation by seeking to blend Halachah with the requirements of a modern industrial Jewish state.

He strove to upgrade the status of women and to this effect launched Midreshet Lindenbaum, a college designed to educate religious women. He also created a five-year program designed to train women to act as religious advisers paralleling rabbis. This and his efforts to address the issue of agunot (women in unwanted marriages whose husbands are unwilling or unable to grant them divorces) outraged the ultra-Orthodox.

Rabbi Riskin also had a major impact in the field of marriage, divorce and above all, conversion, where he established independent conversion courts that were bitterly challenged by the haredi establishment. Riskin considers the issue of conversion — especially related to immigrants from the former Soviet Union — as one of the greatest religious, national and societal challenges facing Israel.

He was at the forefront of efforts by the moderate Tzohar Rabbinical Council to decentralize the appointment of rabbis and provide Israelis with choices beyond the extremist ultra-Orthodox candidates appointed by the Chief Rabbinate.

When at the age of 75, Rabbi Riskin’s tenure came up for a five-year extension — an automatic procedural formality, the Chief Rabbinical Council took the unprecedented step of refusing to reappoint him. It was only due to a plea from the recently elected chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Stern, that the council reluctantly agreed to interview him. He only learned about his provisional rejection from the media.

This was not merely an attempt to publicly humiliate one of the doyens of Modern Orthodoxy. It was a ploy by the ultra-Orthodox fanatics to assume unprecedented total centralized control of religious leadership and to marginalize those with different approaches.

But choosing to impose their agenda on Efrat, a bastion of national religious Zionism, is likely to backfire and the crude effort to oust Rabbi Riskin against the wishes of his community, exposes crude agenda of the Chief Rabbinate.

As far back as the Mishnah, there were robust debates in the interpretation of Halachah between the more liberal Beit Hillel and more stringent Beit Shamai schools. And this process of debating the “70 faces” of Torah ensured that a plurality of interpretations prevailed at all times. Now even the ultra-Orthodox compete among themselves to impose the most stringent interpretations of implementing Jewish laws.

This is being extended to the Diaspora with the Israeli Chief Rabbinate insisting that that conversions to Judaism by Orthodox rabbis lacking their endorsement should no longer be recognized as Jews by the government of Israel and thus ineligible for aliya.

This is outrageous and entirely beyond the jurisdiction of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. Former chief rabbis like Rabbi Isaac Herzog, Rabbi Shlomo Goren and others were outstanding religious scholars, moderate and devoted religious Zionists in stark contrast to the mediocrities and corrupt individuals who succeeded them when the haredim hijacked the Chief Rabbinate.

It is significant that the current Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau ensured his election by giving an unqualified undertaking to haredi groups that he would resist any proposed reforms relating to conversions or rabbinical administration without their prior approval.

To make matters worse, the level of corruption and scandals associated with the Chief Rabbinate reached bedrock when the former chief rabbi (whose appointment was orchestrated by the haredim to block a national religious candidate of genuine stature) was arrested and charged with purloining millions of dollars from illegal activities and corrupt practices.

Not surprisingly, the attempts to humiliate Rabbi Riskin created enormous outrage. The Tzohar Rabbinical Association stated that “above any effort to depose Rabbi Riskin flies a clear red flag of revenge directed against his positions and halachic decisions” and accused the rabbinical council of initiating this solely “for political considerations and to enable them to appoint insiders in his place.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the religious Zionist Habayit Hayehudi party, stated that the Chief Rabbinate was behaving in an “unacceptable” manner and that he would not stand by and permit this.

Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, described Riskin as “a Jewish leader and an Israeli patriot,” insisting that there can be “no questions about his qualifications for his continued service.”

The Efrat municipal council unanimously voted to extend the rabbi’s tenure and condemned the intervention. Rabbi Riskin made it clear that if necessary, he would appeal to the Supreme Court but that so long as the Efrat community wished to retain him, he would continue to serve them as rabbi without payment.

The abject silence of Diaspora Orthodox institutions was disappointing, encouraging Rabbi David Stav, the head of Tzohar, to call on Jewish communities in the U.S. to stop inviting Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef as their guests if the Riskin provocation is not withdrawn.

The Rabbinical Council of America, once a robust Modern Orthodox group, expressed the hope that the differences would be amicably settled. One of its executive officers, Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, actually accused Rabbi Riskin “of violating the trust of his employer and contravening the rulings of the most pre-eminent halachic authorities of this and previous generations,” alleging that “the employer had more than ample reason to maintain that his employee was not adhering to the policies and values that he was hired to uphold.” This obscene depiction of Riskin as an employee of the Chief Rabbinate reflects the distorted mentality of those currently controlling the institution.

In view of the waves of protest, there is every probability that the Chief Rabbinate will back down. But now is the time for Israelis and Orthodox Jews throughout the world to raise their voices and say enough is enough. Despite the repercussions of a division, breaking away and setting up independent religious courts directed by moderate Zionists is the only means by which to terminate the exclusive control of the haredim.

Throughout the Exile, the rabbinate never imposed centralized religious control and there was always a plurality of differing halachic interpretations. The issue is not whether we should be more or less stringent in the application of Jewish law. Any Orthodox community should be entitled to select its choice of spiritual leader. Haredim are entitled to practice their religion as they see fit. Indeed, there are aspects of their spirituality and lifestyle that our hedonistic society could benefit by emulating. But that does not provide a license to enable the most extreme elements to impose their limited worldview on Israeli society.

The Chief Rabbinate is regarded with contempt and despair by the vast majority of Israelis, including most haredim, who merely exploit the institution for their own purposes. The greatest impediment to the current religious revival is the deplorable status of the rabbinical bureaucracy, which alienates rather than attracts Israelis to their Jewish heritage. The scandalous effort to degrade one of the most beloved and successful Orthodox rabbis of our generation should be a wake-up call to introducing highly overdue, radical changes in the rabbinate.

Here is Rabbi Gil Student’s take:

If you want to know why Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is apparently being forced into retirement by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, you have to read his recent book, The Living Tree: Studies in Modern Orthodoxy. I don’t claim any insight into the complex politics of Israel’s governmental organizations, of which the Chief Rabbinate is one. I don’t know enough to understand the power struggle that is occurring. However, in terms of ideology, I see why the Chief Rabbinate Council would express concern over R. Riskin. His book is more radical than many might expect. This is not the same Rabbi Riskin you may remember from the 60’s and 70’s.

The most surprising thing about the book is what is missing from it. On multiple occasions, R. Riskin wrote programmatic essays about what Modern Orthodoxy needs to do to succeed. These were essays full of passion, exhorting both faith in God and Torah as well as devoted observance of the commandments. While the book consists almost entirely of previously published articles, these programmatic essays were replaced with a new introduction titled “What is Modern Orthodoxy?” This introduction is a call for radical change in halakhic decision-making. For example (p. xiv):

The Modern Orthodox decisor must orchestrate the interplay between both of these directives, taking into account the guiding principles used by the sages of the Talmud in their religio-legal discussions, the meta-halakhic principles such as, “for the sake of the perfection of the world,” “in order to respect the integrity of the human being created in the divine image,” “for the sake of freeing a wife chained to an impossible marriage the sages found leniency,” “in order to provide spiritual satisfaction for women,” and “you must love the stranger and the proselyte.”

If you are familiar with rabbinic literature of the past century, you will immediately recognize that these are legitimate principles that can and have been (ab)used to overturn wide swaths of Jewish law. The essays in the book provide many examples of R. Riskin’s applications of these principles. There are two things going on here. First, R. Riskin is promoting his own fairly radical agenda, as would be expected. Second, he is setting the stage for future rabbis to make even more changes to Jewish practice according to their own understanding of what is needed, regardless of what traditional texts allow.

Another troubling trend I find in this book seems to be the result of an editorial oversight. Most of the essays were written over the course of decades, as R. Riskin’s experiences and outlook changed. While the essays were edited for consistency and maybe updated a little, the conclusions were largely left intact. Here we see a troubling difference in how R. Riskin reaches conclusions. Regarding changing the daily blessing “Who has not made me a woman,” R. Riskin writes: “I would not permit even so minor a change without the approval and approbation of several leading halakhic authorities” (p. 159). While R. Riskin advocates annulling marriages, he does not plan on doing so unilaterally. Rather, “this should be effectuated by a special Beit Din for agunot in Jerusalem with impeccable halakhic credentials who would render judgments, and rule on urgent issues of mesuravot get throughout the world” (p. 188). In his call for theological interfaith dialogue with Christians, R. Riskin repeatedly invokes Rav Soloveitchik, albeit in what I believe is a twisting of his words but at least as an appeal to an eminent authority.

However, in his essay on women halakhic scholars and judges, R. Riskin does not submit his proposal to leading authorities. The most he does is quote a responsum of Rav Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, who is alive and well and could be consulted. Instead, R. Riskin started a program for ordaining women on his own. (R. Riskin writes that his program’s first two graduates published a book of responsa that “has received much praise, and — at least to my knowledge — no negative reviews” (p. 132). We published a negative review by Rav Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer to which one of the authors responded.)

When it comes to women dancing with a Torah scroll on Simchas Torah–which I acknowledge lacks the gravity of some other issues under discussion–R. Riskin likewise does not mention consulting with other scholars. When discussing establishing a Hesder yeshiva for women–a matter of great communal importance–R. Riskin also omits discussion with great authorities.

What I see is a rabbi whose agenda has become increasingly radical. Realizing that he was engaging in activities for which he would not gain approval of his elders, he stopped asking. Instead, he moved forward on his own authority. A young R. Shlomo Riskin regularly consulted with Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Moshe Feinstein and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. When they passed away, he was no longer restrained.

In America, R. Riskin was a defender of Orthodoxy against the Conservative movement and a defender of Judaism against Christian missionaries. That is not the R. Riskin you will find in this book. Maybe in Israel he found himself in a different situation which has given him a new perspective. He now has Christian supporters in his role as a defender of modernity against Charedi Judaism. Maybe he simply underwent a personal evolution.

However, this is all speculation. Regardless of why, R. Riskin has taken some communally radical actions and created surprisingly unorthodox institutions entirely on his own initiative. Some people love him for it. We should not be surprised that others believe he has gone too far on too many issues. Whether that is cause for him to be forced into retirement I leave to his employers and constituents.

Disclaimer: Isi’s son is my brother-in-law.

How different is their indoctrination?

these oh so sweet boys share views held by Melbourne’s Shomer Emunim School, a break away from Adass. How sick, sick sick

Watch this

Where are the Charedi Luminaries?

[Hat tip DS]

The original (24/4/215) in Hebrew is here from Chadrei Charedim. I haven’t seen it elsewhere in English.

A Givati Brigade Commander went to see two of his Charedi soldiers who were in dire poverty in Meah Shearim. The Jewish Terrorists of Meah Shearim, then set on him and his car for daring to come and aid etc. The mother of the Brigade Commander noted that her husband was Rav Getz, the Rav of the Kotel, who had good relationships between these Meshugoim. About 50 of them, men and children lay on the road, smashed his car and wouldn’t let him leave. They knew he was too kind to do anything to them. Have we heard any voice of condemnation from the Charedi Badatz.

I’d take the 50, and put them on a farm in Beersheba and make them work for a year. They slept soundly at night while this brigade leader and his soldiers risked their lives and this is the thanks they get.

Enough is enough. We have to send a message to these extremists. When they come to my door, again, I will give them the least and tell them that instead of travelling the world they’d be better off enlisting in an old age home and helping people in Israel and earning a wage. They aren’t geniuses, they are not the chosen few who should be sitting and learning all their lives. That is the domain of the real McCoy.

These Jewish Terrorists are a gross Chillul Hashem, and they remind me of the Sunni vs Shiite war that is raging. They do not see the rest of us as useful or part of the Jewish Kehilla (unless of course you are flashing hundred-dollar bills).

 

Jewish Meah Shearim Thugs

וְשֹׁחַד לֹא תִקָּח כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר פִּקְחִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִים

 

 

Hamodia’s grievous sin of G’Neivas Daas

I don’t have a subscription to Hamodia. Occasionally my wife buys it. One Erev Pesach I saw it at a shop and it looked so thick, I thought I might but it. In the worst, at least some might enjoy it.

The problem is that nothing has changed. The paper is Sheker VeChozov. It is chock full of lies and unbridled revisionism. It is a paper of indoctrination for the Oilom Goilom who follow in single file.

There was a wonderfully researched piece about R’ Yissochor Shlomo Teichtal הי’’ד whose Yohr Tzeit was around that time. I learned some interesting facts that I did not know. So far so good. Apart from his famous שאלות ותשובות משנה שכיר there were two enormous factors that made R’ Teichtal stand apart from other greats in his generation

  • Despite being probably the Talmid/Chossid Muvhak of the Munkatcher, he had not trouble saying “Rebbe, you were wrong, very wrong” about the holocaust and israel
  • He abandoned his Munkatch way of life, stayed frum and his אם הבנים שמחה which was hidden from the world by his family for decades is now a classic that everyone should read and has been translated into English.

But no. Hamodia told us everything up to that point. How could they mention the contents of that incredible ספר and the challenge it raised to the charedi establishment. So instead of reporting the truth, and teaching it the way it was from a גאון עולם a giant of the last generation, they decided “No, we won’t tell our readers that this man underwent an enormous transformation where he rejected the teaching than someone as great as the Munkatcher, and pointed out chapter and verse where he thought the Munkatcher was incorrect.

This is the problem with Hamodia and the problem with Artscroll. They have no fidelity to the truth. Artscroll in its newly published מקראות גדולות had the Chutzpa and temerity to refuse to publish words of the Rishon, the Rashbam! They censored him. Hamodia is no different. They take their stories put them through the ‘Aguda Cleaner Solution’ so that everyone can only read a sanitised lie or half truth.

There is nobody with any faults in Hamodia. Anyone who passes away was incredible, an impeccable Tzaddik.

Tell it the way it was. Stop the stupidity of banning books by R’ Nosson Kaminetszky, such as the ‘Making of a Gadol’. On the contrary, when we see that people are people and not Malochim we stand a better chance to aspire to their lofty heights.

Hamodia has created a monster: a self perpetuating ‘everything is beautiful’ monster in the frum world. It isn’t. There are pedophilles, adulterers, money launderers, fraudsters as well as the genuine article. Stop sanitising our underwear. Hamodia thinks we will be exposed to the real world and not get shocked at cattle prodding dayonim who take thousands to electrify someone till they give a gett. And they have the Chutzpa to complain about הגאון הגדול מאחיו מורי ורבי רב צבי שכטר when he invokes Rabbeinu Tam.

They talk about “off the Derech” and the “Shidduch Crisis”. Maybe they should start pursuing Emes and stop hiding behind transparent bushes.

I finished the article about R’ Teichtal and threw the paper away. I didn’t want to soil my hands with such blatant omissions which amount to ball faced lies and plain old indoctrination.

Don’t give Satmar a cent

From Ha’aretz. Be under NO illusion. There are many in Melbourne’s Adass Community who support this group completely. Others are even more right-wing.

Why would you say anything, even if you disagreed. They are the right-wing version of J-Street.

They live separate lives to the rest of us. They should not come to my door whether brought by master driver Osher Ehrlichster and others, all whom make a nice commission from these collectors. I will give them a dollar if they sing HaTikvah even with modified words (like I do).

If you expect a rebuttsl or disagreement with Rabbi Beck, forget it,

If it wasn’t for the fact that Yankel Unfanger was such a Tzadik, I’d have nothing to do with their products. He’s normal. Many of the rest are not. They are extreme zealots who should live on Gibraltar. They have a monopoly on Chalav Yisrael. That’s life.

Sicko Satmars

Some 3,000 followers of the Satmar Rebbe in Williamsburg took it to the streets of Manhattan Tuesday evening to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his speech to Congress and his claim that he’s an emissary on behalf of world Jewry to warn of a nuclear Iran.

The protest, held outside the Israeli Consulate on 2nd avenue and 42nd street in Midtown Manhattan, was organized by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada and attended by the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum.

Signs at the protest included statements such as “Bibi – don’t drag American Jewry into your provocative politics”, “”Bibi Netanyahu does not speak for us”, and “we are ably represented, we don’t need a Bibi-sitter.”

“When Netanyahu professes to speak on our behalf, we have to speak out and say this is not the case,” Rabbi David Neiderman told the thousands assembled. “Benjamin Netanyahu, stop speaking on our behalf and directing us what to do.”

“We in America and Jews all over the world are loyal citizens in the respective countries we reside in, and no other foreign government can claim to represent us or speak on our behalf,” he proclaimed.

Rabbi Neiderman went on to thank President Obama – whose name mentioning drew thunderous cheers – together with the Republican congressional leadership. “We are well represented and don’t need Netanyahu and his government’s representation,” he stated.

The speakers preceding Rabbi Neiderman were harsher in their attacks against the Israeli leader. They called him “Haman” and Amalek” and accused him of igniting antisemitism by his ‘reckless’ actions. One Rabbi went a step further to claim that he’s sacrificing the well-being of world Jewry for his political survival. The Satmar Shita against Zionism and the formation of a state in the land of Israel was only mentioned as a secondary reason to protest.

Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, a spokesperson for ‘Natruna’ and the “True Torah Jews” website, told JP that the protest was only aimed to contradict what Netanyahu said that he’s speaking in the name of all Jewish people. “Besides this being a lie, it’s a very dangerous thing for him to say,” Rabbi Shapiro asserted. “He wants to get into some brouhaha with the president, he’s a foreign minister, he can do whatever he wants. But why bring in the Jewish people into this? So, we are here contradicting what he said about us, and if somebody has a problem with what Netanyahu said he shouldn’t blame the Jewish people.”

“We are here to disassociate ourselves from the dangerous statements he’s making – statement that puts Jews in danger,” he added.

Rabbi Shapiro also lambasted those who compare Satmar – who is against Zionism – to Neturei Karta, who associate themselves with Iran and the Palestinians. “We don’t believe that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. And when a leader of a foreign country comes to America to trash the president and says he’s our representative, the question is not why us but where is everybody else?” he explained.

Tamar Ariel: an inspirational humbling young lady

I’ve struggled with understanding the myriad of Israelis who after their army service make their way to Nepal, and India, then sometimes down to Australia. Nepal and India have their significant risks. I’ve only been able to understand it in terms of a need to “come down” from the psychological experience of being in the army. In this regard, I think that whilst having Chabad Houses to support these Israelis is great, the IDF needs to do lots more to develop their post IDF program, especially given the spiritual vacuity that so many seem to experience as soon as they are confronted with life after training and/or combat.

Tamar Ariel is a hero though. I don’t know why she went to Nepal, and I don’t fit her shoes so am hardly in a position to proffer opinion, but a frum girl, who was a pilot, wore a skirt to her ankles, didn’t even shake hands with commanders, is someone who had much more to her than the Chitzoniyus of Tznius. This was a lady who internally was probably more modest than her external fidelity to Halacha. She was one of a kind.

יהי זכרה ברוך

Tamar Ariel ע’ה (picture from Yediot Achronot)

The article can be found here, by Mitch Ginzburg. I reproduce it below.

Cpt. Tamar Ariel, Israel’s first female religious air force pilot, a rear-seat, F-16D navigator, was buried on Tuesday, several days after she died high in the Himalayas. Hundreds of people, including dozens of IAF pilots and commanders, accompanied her on her final journey. Ariel was 25 years old.

She loved motorcycles and fighter jets and wore an ankle-length skirt to her IAF Flight School graduation in December 2012. When Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the commander of the air force, came down the line of new graduates, he nodded her a greeting, rather than clasping her hand; she nodded vigorously in return and beamed him a smile.

She was a modest and unassuming woman who resented being put on a pedestal. Her aunt, speaking over her grave, said that she did not want to pose for the photo op with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the flight school graduation ceremony because she felt it overshadowed the achievement of her fellow pilots. And though in her life she went to great lengths to state that she was not a role model, she will likely be remembered as such by many in the modern Orthodox community in Israel, which is split by the competing values of army service for all, particularly among the younger generation, and the deep-seated social conservatism that spurred rabbis to press the state, since its inception, to grant all religious Jewish women the right to bypass army service with an oath of Orthodoxy.

Ariel was raised on a cooperative farming community, Moshav Masuot Yitzhak, in a home on the edge of an avocado orchard. She was the third of six children, born to a father who was second generation on the moshav and a mother who made Aliya from Puerto Rico, Yedioth Ahronoth reported in 2012.

She went to a co-ed local school as a child and to an ulpana, or yeshiva for girls, as an adolescent. In 11th grade, she received her first army summons and was found suitable for flight school. After taking several preliminary tests, she decided, in 12th grade, to fall in line with what most of the ulpana girls were doing – national civilian service. “I was afraid of ‘becoming rotten’ from a religious perspective,” she told the Yedioth daily. “I thought that serving within the framework of religious institutions was more protected and safe in that regard.”

She stated that she was Orthodox, received an exemption from army service on the spot, and served for two years as a Bnei Akiva youth leader and a counselor in her former school.

Upon completion, she decided that she still had not fulfilled her potential and turned back to the army, rescinding her earlier statement. In April 2009 she passed the week-long physical exam and was accepted to the prestigious course.

Nighttime navigation drills, when paired off with a man, were awkward, she said, but not “something that anyone dies from.”

After several months in the course and after being placed in the combat fighter section of her class, she flew her first solo flight. As she lined up the landing, wheels already on the tarmac, she felt that she was losing control of the plane and that it might spin off the runway. She pulled the eject cord, according to protocol, was rocketed skyward, and broke a vertebra in her back.

After months in an elastic body cast, the army took her back to the course but moved her into the navigator track.

In December 2012, she graduated, making history. “I don’t think that women need to go to flight school — I think that they can,” she told The Times of Israel at the time. “I recommend that any woman, religious or not, give it a shot. If they call you in, if you pass the tests, it means that the army thinks you can do it. So go ahead — try.”

During Operation Protective Edge this summer she flew the most combat missions in her squadron, her commander said earlier this week.

And then, seeking some R and R, she went, along with another pilot, to vacation in Nepal, to walk the Around Annapurna circuit at what is considered the optimal time of the year. “I didn’t worry during the trip to Nepal,” her mother, Anat, told Army Radio. “The trip was planned to the minute and I had faith in her and in The Holy One, blessed be He.”

Last week, though, a highly unusual storm blew through region, pelting the high mountain passes with snow. Ariel and dozens of other trekkers encountered the brunt of the storm on the Thorong La pass, the highest point on the circuit. Sapped of strength by the altitude and the cold and the fast-accumulating snow, Ariel could no longer walk as afternoon turned to evening and the clusters of trekkers tried to make their way down from the pass to safety.

She died in the snow along with Agam Luria, Nadav Shoham, Michal Charkesky, and 36 other people, half of whom were Nepali.

“You became a public leader,” moshav rabbi Meir Nehorai reportedly said at the funeral, “the object of admiration from all around.”

That admiration is likely to endure and to serve as a beacon to many young Orthodox women charting their path in life.

Is Shlomo Sand lacking the vision of Bilaam’s donkey?

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.

Where is the sense in left wing Israeli Politics?

I just don’t get it. Even the ultra left humanitarian tree huggers of J-Street saw what happened in Gaza, and were shocked with the plan for a massive Rosh Hashana action that would have devastated all Jewry. Settlers? These were Kibbutzim in line.

We have the physics master telling us God doesn’t exist (do we believe him because he is disabled and we tend to subconsciously ascribe more genius to him as a result out of Rachmonus) Where is his cure for cancer, he could have turned to that, it might have been more useful than models that don’t seem to stand more than ten years before a better model emerges.

We have a President in his last stage, whose entire path seems to be that he “won’t repeat Bush’s mistakes”. In  pursuing this one-minded agenda he has deluded himself that he actually has friends in the Arab world and that they don’t ultimately treat him as a denier. He has failed to apply proportionality. Why doesn’t he take a prisoner from Guantanamo Bay (that he was desperate to close down) and behead him on TV. Now, that’s proportionality. A head for a head. Even the Bible doesn’t say that, so he can’t be accused of being partial. I see that civilians are killed in his bombings. Isn’t his army perfect?

He knows full well that the aged Shimon Peres, our picture/news seeking missile, that Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t got the strength or the political belief to make peace ever. Abbas just wants to go to his grave as a “great leader” like Arafat, ימ’’ש and not be shot in the head by Hamastan.

Yerusholyaim is not for sale, in the words of Mordechai Ben David, except where Arabs sell their land to the Jews and even then we are “settlers”. It’s a pejorative. Settling the City of David is a pejorative?

We buy it legally and live therein. Is there something particularly historically Arab about Silwan. Any honest historian knows the Palestinians are at best nothing to do with a long history, but an existentialism (no different to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria et al) that were “created” ex nihilo by the Turks and British. Is that some sort of Klipa that we have to honour?

No, there is only one answer, and that is a strong, unforgiving, determined, and lasting Israel. No compromise on anything. If you give an inch, they take a mile. There is no Rambam that says that the COMMENCEMENT of the ingathering of the exiles can’t preclude Moshiach.

בונים בחול ואחר כך מקדישים

Our politicians are a disgrace. No sooner than the rockets have stopped temporarily, and we are surrounded by the biggest threats since the establishment of the State and they pretend like political marionettes that they have a “peace” partner in Abu Mazen, the infamous holocaust belittler. They have no morals. Even Yair Lapid has more morals than they, and Tzippi Livni seems to have finally come to her senses.

The only way forward is the no nonsense and unambiguous approach of Naftali Bennett. Don’t like him? He’s more moderate than the Iranians, and the Qataris and all the riffraff that Obama and his side kick and delicately coiffured Kerry pretend they have respect for.

The word diplomacy needs to be rested. It has no place in the current climate. The only thing that will change the status quo is the realisation of those who want to eradicate us, that we are not budging. We are expanding on all fronts, and their time for farnarkling through multiple processes where they could have built a viable demilitarised state is running out. They must make the move. The UN is just a prostitute.

On Yom Hashoah we say “Never Again”. I wouldn’t trust those words with the left-wing in Israeli politics. The Meretz types, the opportunists and the seat piners and liners. This is no joke.

Let me say it in plain English.

They do NOT accept a Jewish State. End of Story. No Jewish State, means we have NOBODY to talk to. If you put deodorant on a stinging wound, it will still stink to high hell, and will likely also hurt. No deodorants, no more, pardon my language, it’s all bull dust. Close the doors and open them when someone normal is standing at the gate. Two State Solution? They don’t recognise one state!

If Hezbollah have a notion of starting with us, then we must not dillydally. We must ignore the world, and destroy them for their aggression in a very aggressive quick and no-nonsense all out attack. THIS is “Never Again”, not the lovely poetry and fancy speeches on Yom Hashoa.

Wake up Yidden! Stop falling for all the diplo-crap. We might be going into temporary dwellings over Succos, but those observing most of the Mitzvos of the Torah deserve quiet and solid dwellings for the rest of the year.

 

Why is the JNF apparently Treyf?

Look carefully, there are kosher establishments in Melbourne wherein you will not see a JNF charity box in the shop. I’m advised that it’s not for want of not trying. They tend to be refused? by Ultra Orthodox owners. There are often a myriad of other charity boxes, but no JNF. Ask why.

Why do I mention this now? I just read this truly uplifting article and noticed that the JNF were behind it.

Go figure. Why wouldn’t you want your money to go there?

Issues tangential to the tragic death of Aharon Sofer ז’’ל

I have been ill with a virus, consumed with the Gaza operation and all the news surrounding it, and yet, I most certainly knew that this 23-year-old Yeshivah student, who was hiking with friends near Yad Vashem, had disappeared in the Jerusalem forest. I had read it in the Israeli papers. I read it in the Jerusalem Post, Yediot, Times of Israel and I’m sure more.

Was it a secret? No? We all knew about it, and it was on the front page over a few days.

And yet, in another example of Charedi ignition, we are exposed to a shrill article in Matzav, which not only asserts that the Israeli media ignored the disappearance, but probably did so because he was Charedi. The first point is patently false. When I first heard about it, my immediate reaction, call it a gut feeling, was that he had lost his way and was dehydrated somewhere.

This is not the first time in recent times that a Charedi kid has tragically died in avoidable circumstances. Perhaps his phone battery was low, or it was a kosher phone unable to connect to the internet for a distress signal, but not having water when you hike appears to be more common among Charedim. Aharon may have had water. I don’t know. It’s baffling.

What I do expect though is that a proper educational approach take place where Yeshivah boys are warned and re-warned, that you don’t travel without a charged phone which has a way of sending a distress signal, and you must have water with you. Will such obvious advice be splashed on the walls all around Israel’s Charedi enclaves? I don’t know. I sure hope so. If they don’t it’s questionable whether the Rabonim should be held to account according to the Din of Egla Arufa that we just layned.

No doubt, we will hear one of “God’s accountants” who says that it happened because he wasn’t in the Beis HaMedrash. I sincerely hope not. The Rebbes and Rabbonim who went to Marienbad and similar to get some Menuchas HaGuf were also not in the Beis HaMedrash, and it is entirely acceptable to take a rest and have some fun Bein Hazmanim. In Israel of course, based on the Medrash?, walking 4 cubits suffices to acquire Olam Habo! I guess according to Satmar and other Hungarians that statement is whitened out.

I’d like to turn this issue on its head, from a Melbourne perspective. Yesterday, in light of the fact that a few days had passed and he hadn’t been found, it was planned to have an evening of Tehillim in the Adass Hall. The poster was politically correct. It also mentioned that the Tehillim was for the “matzav” in Eretz Yisroel. My questions were, for the “Matzav in Eretz Yisroel” there had previously been no such poster let alone a call to the Rabbinic Council to lend their approval.

A boy of 4, Daniel, had just tragically been killed in a mortar attack. The Rabbi of Adass will not allow a Tefilla for the welfare of the soldiers of the IDF (Tefila L’Chayalei Tzahal) to be said in his Shule! The automatons follow this ruling. Yet, when a boy from Lakewood, who tragically met his demise becoming lost while hiking, the “Matzav” in Eretz Yisroel gets a sudden call up. I ask, where was the picture of little Daniel whose parents were in the midst of Shiva. Where was a call to divide the learning of Mishnayos for Daniel’s soul? There was not. You see, Daniel, wasn’t wearing a Yarmulke and his parents were Kibbutzniks so his Neshama wasn’t important enough to make a brouhaha and cause a kiddush Hashem by using this night to also divide the learning of Mishnayos.

Why do the Rabbis of Lakewood in Melbourne and those from Adass ask for support from the Rabbinic Council of Victoria (RCV) if they consider that council to be something akin to a Chabad dominated circus of ignoramuses? Let’s not kid ourselves. They have no respect for the RCV.

Let’s get serious. Matzav.com had no business making such false accusations, and the Melbourne community really shouldn’t have had to wait till after a ceasefire and when this boy Aharon tragically lost his life before attempting to organise joint ventures in “good faith.”

Perhaps my cynicism is greater than ever, but for me, every soldier, child etc who is killed is a human tragedy. Whilst the RCV had an evening of prayer (twice, I believe) and whilst some Charedim attended, most did not and would not. No, Matzav.com, the argument goes the other way, why does it take the untimely tragic death of a Lakewood boy to spur the Charedi world to organise a special night of Tehillim for the community. The answer is, I believe, that Aharon was frum. He was learning. Soldiers protecting lives and little boys killed by mortar are on a “lower madrega”, one which doesn’t call for a special gathering.

Ironically, who visited family Sofer to give them encouragement? It was the Dati Leumi mother of one of the three boys kidnapped and murdered by terrorists.

In summary, who could have a problem with an Asifa to say Tehillim for a missing kid, but to effectively make differences between frum and not yet frum is distasteful.

Let me also remind my Charedi friends that there was a soldier who went missing for days and days and was ultimately found dead. The strong rumour is that abuse when he was a child led to his untimely death. Again, I can’t remember the Charedi Lakewood or Adass communities organising, let alone getting the RCV involved, to publicise their event for that tormented soldier.

I’m sorry for those Charedim who send me unnamed comments telling me I’m fostering Sinah. People, wake up. The Sinah is perpetrated palpably not by me, but by the actions of hypocrites who love non Charedi financial support in terms of business and donations, but think we are second-rate.

Well, I don’t accept being considered a second-rate citizen: neither Rav Shach or Rav Kotler was my Rav,  and I don’t follow the anti Israel views of R’ Yoel of Satmar.

We are in Ellul. A bit more Ahavas Yisroel is needed. Tonight there was meant to be a community Avos uBanim program. Adass not only said that they aren’t participating, but they actually removed the posters advertising the event, lest one of theirs is “led astray” and sits and learns with his son in a large room with those who don’t follow the closed Hungarian Charedi world. Shame on them!

I will finish with a most sincere wish that Aharon’s parent’s are blessed with nechama, and the resultant trauma doesn’t consume their lives, בתוך שאר אבילי ציון וירושלים. I can’t even begin to imagine their pain.

A civil interchange with a Satmar Chosid

Like many of us, I’m agitated. I actually feel quite guilty. I installed an app on my iPhone which alerts when a missile falls in Eretz HaKodesh, and shows the area etc

Last night the 160 rockets were horrible. I am currently in bed trying to get over a persistent cold which I thought I had overcome last week, and my sleep has been rather disturbed. I toyed with the idea of at least having my phone make a noise each time a missile was fired so as to try and share some pain in a comparatively insignificant manner. I can’t do it though because I have no right to cause it to wake my wife, of course.

Having come from the doctor I bumped into a lovely ehrliche fellow who is also a Satmar Chossid. Our eyes met and we exchanged pleasantries. I then felt I had to ask him the following question:

is what’s going on in Israel considered a Milchemes mitzvah and if not what is it

He answered that he wasn’t a Dayan, and he didn’t know how to learn etc. I responded that makes two of us, but we both know what the Rambam says etc

He closed his eyes (and I do admire his honesty) and gently answered that it was

milchemes Aveyra

I understood what he meant in the sense that he felt that this was an unnecessary war which Satmar would contend is brought about because Jews should not have ‘taken by force’ the Land of Israel, until Moshiach comes. In other words it’s a result (rachmono litzlan) of Jews acting against the “3 Oaths”.

I responded that I wasn’t aware of this category in Halacha worded in such a way. I asked which Rishon had coined such a phrase.

He responded that he didn’t know but would send me a booklet which explained it. True to his word, he sent it to me immediately. I haven’t got the concentration at the minute to go through the article, but it’s from a Satmar Kollel in Williamsburg. I will eventually get round to it.

In the meanwhile, does anyone know of such halachic terminology? Rabbi Google couldn’t help me and I don’t have the Bar Ilan program to search therein.