December 31, 2007
Miracle of regaining Israel, of reclaiming the wasteland, of immigration,
In all Wars Israel has been outnumbered in both men and equipment and yet they don't win they dominate. How....why.... have you ever heard the stories from the Arabs about strange battlefield occurrences? Even Arik Sharon wrote about it, in his book "Warrior".
The new born state of Israel was 50 years old in 1998. What a 50 years! To start with—the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948 was a miracle of history (Ezek.37:1-11; Luke 21:29,30). Never before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth, and then, nearly two thousand years later, re-gathered to their homeland and re-established as a nation.
When Israel declared itself an independent state on May 14, 1948, still another miracle occurred. The armies of seven Arab nations marched on the newborn State, boasting that they would "push the Jews into the sea." Outnumbered 100 to 1, Israel not only repelled the invaders but acquired more of Palestine than was granted in the UN partition plan. Yigael Yadin, Israel’s commander of operations in that war, had a terse explanation of Israel’s victory. "It was a miracle!"
Five Other Examples of Miracles
A Syrian column of 200 armored vehicles—including 45 tanks—attacked Degania, the oldest kibbutz in Israel. What a psychological blow this defeat would be! Without artillery, Jewish forces were helpless to block the Syrian advance. Until then the only heavy weapons available in all Israel were four howitzers of the type used by the French army in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Two of these ancient field pieces were promptly dismantled and rushed to Degania. The local commander, Lieutenant Colonel Moshe Dayan, had them reassembled at the very moment the first Syrian tanks rumbled through the kibbutz perimeter, and they scored a hit on the advance tank. Had the Syrians known that these two obsolete weapons represented half the arsenal of field guns in all Israel, they would have pressed the attack. Instead, the armored vehicles swung around in their tracks and clattered back up the mountain road.
At Safed, near the Sea of Galilee a small unit of Israeli defenders were holding off thousand Arabs. A sudden tropical storm broke loose. The Israelis in desperation took their remaining gasoline, poured it over 50 empty drums, set them afire and rolled them down the hill. The flaming barrels flying down the slopes, the rumble of hollow barrels striking rocks—together with the tropical storm—created such an illusion that the bewildered Arabs imagining some sort of secret weapon took to their heel and fled.
In December 1948, the Egyptians were harassing Israeli settlements in the Negev while advanced columns were moving north. Yadin used the Bible for strategy. It mentioned an ancient road forgotten for centuries, which ran almost directly to Mushrafa, the Egyptians’ central garrison. Heavy boulders were pushed aside with bulldozers. Soldiers in armored vehicles, jeeps and supply trucks sped under cover of darkness along the ancient road and surprised the Egyptians. Taking this garrison destroyed the Egyptian defense system and ended the war 14 days later.
To liberate the airport at Lydda the tactics of Gideon were employed. Seven thousand Arab troops were ready to attack. Sixteen Israelis dressed as Arabs infiltrated into the city of Lydda. Like Gideon’s band of 300 they made such a commotion during the night that the Arabs, totally confused, fired upon each other. Finally the majority fled back across the border.
The Syrian Army had regrouped east of the Galilee. A Jewish column of 24 homemade armored trucks and cars, on the way to relieve a besieged Kibbutz, took the wrong road and crossed the border into Lebanon. Before they discovered their mistake, they ran head-on into a column of supplies for the Syrian Army in Galilee—dozens of trucks of ammunition, a string of light artillery and 20 new armored cars. The Israelis fired point blank at the first truck—a tanker loaded with gasoline. It exploded and set on fire the following truckload of hand grenades. Rapid repeating explosions were heard for miles around. Terrified, the Syrians abandoned their cargo. The Israelis scarcely had enough men to drive the captured supply train back into Galilee. Finally they reached the beleaguered Kibbutz, only to learn that the Arab besiegers heard rumors that the Jewish army had invaded Lebanon, therefore, the Arabs fled Israel.
Certain ideas go hand in hand and seem inseparable. If I believe in the above then how can I justify replacing Torah with Tikkun Olam, or not following at least the "large" Mitzvot: Aliyah to Israel and keeping the Sabbath.
How do I justify the intolerance of some of the stances of the Torah?
If I feel that the Torah speaks clearly about Gay people, yet I understand fully that
Gay people are born with that disposition. How can I penalize them for something that they have no control over....
It is difficult!
Obviously the Torah was written in a different time with different sociological restraints and allowances, but the moral issues remain the same. Perhaps the penalties and parameters are outdated. The concept of right and wrong is the same.
What do you think!!!
Two Munichs occurred in 2007:
(1) the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate
(2) the U.S-sponsored Annapolis Conference.
The two Munichs may lead to a world war that destroys what is left of a decaying Western civilization.
The National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran had stopped its nuclear-weapons development program in 2003. This gives Iran the green light to complete that program. A nuclear-armed Iran will control Saudi Arabia as well as pacifist Europe on which America’s economy and survival depend. Of course, a nuclear-armed Iran dooms Israel.
The Annapolis Conference buys time for the United States, while Israel retreats to its indefensible 1949 borders to accommodate the establishment of Palestinian state which, in a second stage orchestrated by Iran, will cover all of Palestine. Pundits attribute the first mentioned Munich to a “shadow government” in the American State Department working in conjunction with dovish elements in American intelligence agencies. The same shadow government is committed to Israel extinction.
This marks a stunning victory of the godless Left and satanic Islam—allied in a war against the nation-state and the source of West civilization, the Bible of Israel.
The trans-nationalism that animates the American State Department is more dangerous than the trans-nationalism of Islam!
Let us probe this department with the help of John Bolton, whose book, Surrender Is Not an Option, was published only a few months ago. By the way, President Bush’s appointment of Bolton to a full term as U.S ambassador to the UN was blocked by Senate Democrats because of Bolton’s reputation for “muscular diplomacy.”
Returning to America’s “shadow government”: it is simply the State Department’s permanent bureaucracy. It consists of highly educated Machiavellians who know how to manipulate secretaries of state as well as American ambassadors. These secretaries and ambassadors are political appointees. Generally speaking, they have little or no professional experience in foreign affairs. In theory, they are supposed to implement the president’s foreign policy. Yet State and the CIA blocked implementation of the Iraqi Liberation Act, which provided for drawing up a constitution for post-Saddam Iraq; developing an interim legal code; and training thousands of Iraqis for police functions.
The president was not on top of events: State and the CIA thwarted his policies. Condoleezza Rice, like her predecessor, Colin Powell, has been captured by the State Department’s permanent bureaucracy. This bureaucracy is dominated by liberal-leftists. Leftwing ideologues have dominated State for more than seventy years, and it requires a strong-willed and an intellectual fortified president to counter State’s leftist approach to foreign affairs. Such presidents are rare. One consequence is that American ambassadors often succumb to what Bolton calls “clientitis.” They end up representing not American interests so much as the foreign policies of the countries to which they have been posted—with Israel a notable exception. Moreover, the very training or experience of the permanent bureaucracy in the domain of diplomacy inclines them to overestimate the efficacy of negotiations when dealing with Arab dictatorships. (I have written extensively on this subject in my book Jewish Statesmanship, where I discuss the inability of democratic diplomacy to compete with martial diplomacy.)
Not only is the State Department dominated by liberal leftists, and not only do they tend to be internationalists or globalists, but they know how to forge links with their ideological counterparts in Congress, especially when Congress and its foreign relations committees are controlled by Democrats. When Congress is controlled by Republicans, or when the president is himself a Republican, State knows how to obstruct conservative or nationalist oriented foreign policies.
President Bush simply failed to appoint competent, conservative secretaries of state to implement his foreign policy agenda. Let us probe even deeper. Few countries are more anti-American than America’s own State Department! State has been anti-American for many decades. In my book Beyond Detente: Toward an American Foreign Policy, published in 1977, I pointed our that the State Department, which consists of the most highly educated civil servants in American government, has long been tainted by the university-bred doctrine of moral or cultural relativism.
This doctrine denies the existence of good and evil.It undermines confidence in the justice of a nation’s cause. It erodes Americanism and patriotism. The anti-Americanism rampant among academics has become notorious.
In Surrender Is Not an Option, John Bolton emphasizes that relativism or “moral equivalency” permeates the State Department. The left-wing culture of moral equivalency has very much contributed to America’s fainthearted foreign policy; especially its anything but “even-handed diplomacy” in the Middle East, as witness Annapolis. Secretary Rice’s moral equivalency in dealings with Israel and the Palestinian Authority is nothing less than moral reversal. Bolton—a man of superior intellectual and moral courage—may have chosen the title of his book, Surrender Is Not An Option, because he feared that America, like England and Europe, is in danger of surrendering its national sovereignty to Islam or to an Islamic-dominated United Nations.
Surrender seems to be the option of Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who confessed, before a New York audience, “We are tired of being courageous.” It seems that President Bush is also tired of being courageous.
The defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the toppling of Saddam Hussein were not enough to sustain his post-9/11 momentum. What stopped him was not simply an underestimation of the military forces required to prevent or overcome the insurgency in Iraq. Such errors are made and overcome in many wars.
More significant is Mr. Bush’s inability to define America’s enemy. The enemy is not “terrorism,” a vacuous concept. The enemy is Islam, more specifically, Islamic imperialism, which dates back to Muhammad. But one cannot say such a thing in a liberal, pluralistic democracy, especially one whose intellectual elites are steeped in moral relativism, or in the multiculturalism that prompted the eminent American political scientist Samuel Huntington to write Who Are We? Mr. Bush can speak of an “Axis of Evil,” but he dares not attribute evil to any religion. That would be unadulterated racism! And so, the day after 9/11 he called Islam a “religion of peace” and does so even now! Americans are given to believe that Islam was hijacked by “extremists.” Many experts foster intellectual dishonesty by defining the enemy as “Islamism” or “radical” Islam” or “Islamic fundamentalism.”
Today, “IslamoFascists”—a more subtle piece of obscurantism”—has become au courant. We are told of “Muslim moderates,” and we are happy to learn of these exceptional Muslims. But take a random sample of the thousand mosques in the United States to learn about these moderates. See whether these mosques denounce Islamic extremists and preach peace with “infidels” as readily as they preach hatred of America, Jews, and Christians.
How can American politicians criticize Islam without violating the law?
How can they expose a religion whose devotees danced in the streets on 9/11 and admire Osama bin Laden?
How can America confront a religion whose faithful slaughtered more that 200 million people since the seventh century? But this means that American liberalism has become obsolete vis-à-vis Islamic imperialism. It cannot muster the ruthlessness required to confront an enemy that exults is suicidal murder.
And so America, like Israel, is committing national suicide. National suicide is inevitable given the moral relativism American universities have been propagating for more than sixty years. These universities provided the people that dominate the “shadow government” entrenched in the American State Department.
Therein you will find the doctrine that led to the National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 and Annapolis. Therein you will find that surrender is no longer an option because it has already taken place—first in the minds of men.**
December 28, 2007
Do these 4 Standards seem excessive? How?
#1 Seems fair or why bother with #4
#2 Probably can be worked with?
#3 Mom is Jewish or....you aren't... So see #4
#4 Seems like fair standards.
1) Rabbi's and Cantors are prohibited from officiating at intermarriages in any way.
2) No remarriages without an acceptable get or other halachic termination of a previous marriage whether by death or haf"kaat kidushin (annulment) .
3) The recognition of Jewish Lineage through matrilineal descent only.
4) Conversions to Judaism requires both circumcision and mikveh immersion for males and only the latter for females.
The Reform movement ...reformed the movement that wanted to CONSERVE Judaism
in the US ( The Conservative Movement).
Reform has changed stance in many areas to be all inclusive...
Groucho said: I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.
If there is no bar...how will any fell we measure up? If we don't need to follow
the Mitzvot of Torah...how do we know when we are doing it right.
Who else has the right to decide? Who?
What Rabbi would want to take that decision from HaShem?
How close are R and C becoming. I know that R is moving towards C, but is C moving at all? And if so in which direction?
December 21, 2007
I continue to wrestle with concept that Assimilated Jews are not like jumbo shrimp.
The meaning is understood, but you still have to question the possibility.
At what point do we have the right to interpret Torah. Can we accept some of the Sabbath Laws? The spirit of the Law needs to be observed. Do we participate in Shabbat because we are supposed to? Do we gain the peace and recharge that it is supposed to provide?
There are of course many opinions beyond R,C or O. Are we looking to find spiritual peace for our benefit or to comply with the Torah.
Without Torah laws to unite us, how do we create a sense of Jewish community in an
Assimilated Jewish Community? I feel that I want to participate more in community building projects and practice Teshuvah, but if nobody comes to the event... what is the purpose?
The Rabbi is banging the drum to find out what we the congregants want. I'm sure we don't know. But if I have make a guess it would be a place that we could can all feel at home and welcome. A place where we are asked to participate and can feel a part of the team.
What Rabbi hopes is to create a sense of Shul being the center of Jewish life.
Until being Jewish and serving and sharing our community is more important on Shabbat than:
You know responsibilities with Gentiles that draw you from your Heritage and Community.
We need to tell our children that yes, we are different. We don't need to try to fit in.
Marry a Jew so you are comfortable with smells of brisket and rituals you share.
Marry a Jew so as to comply with Torah.
Israel does not need to fit in. They are different and always will be, or they will cease to exist.
I believe that the Torah advises of that. Torah also tells us that we are held to Ha Shem's standards and that we need to be the "light of all nation's" and help them.
So we need to help Jews first and always and then reach out to others...
I can't help feeling that every act of Xtain tolerance or acceptance is an unconscious church driven attempt at proselytizing. They don't need to convert us, they just need to stop us from following our Jewish heart or Yiddishe Kup.
If we are the light of Nations and attempt to help everyone, we are obviously doing Tikkun Olam. That is not and never will replace the Torah. If you replace Torah, the word of Ha Shem... Ehud Olmert happens. The Galut happens.
When we listen the countless miracles of astonishing magnitudes continue.
We stand before the yearly assault on commercial sensibility and realize that retail must go on. Until the Internet kills it completely of course. But seriously how does the atmosphere of the
Xtain holiday affect us? This question is asked constantly, and why? Why does the Xtain holiday affect me? Why would it or should it unless I live in a Xtian world....I don't, I may work in it and I may still live in the Galut...but that is just until I have grown enough to go home!
Watch the ice..it is slippery and it's not just on the ground....it is all around you waiting for you to fall.
- Equated years-old isolated cases of Jewish extremism with Islamic terror that has killed thousands of people in New York, London, Madrid, Bali, Amman, etc.
- Spuriously claimed that fringe elements of world Jewry succeeded in hijacking Israeli and American government policy.
- Addressed radical Islam with kid gloves.
- Belittled religious belief in general.
All of us who support of Israel seem to try to convince those that are already understand the magnitude of the situation in the ME. But for what? But to do what? What is there to do?
December 17, 2007
by Daniel Pipes
Jerusalem PostDecember 13, 2007
With the Dec. 3 publication of a completely unexpected declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities," a consensus has emerged that war with Iran "now appears to be off the agenda." Indeed, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed the report dealt a "fatal blow" to the country's enemies, while his foreign ministry spokesman called it a "great victory.
"I disagree with that consensus, believing that military action against Iran is now more likely than before the NIE came out.The NIE's main point, contained in its first line, famously holds: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." Other analysts – John Bolton, Patrick Clawson, Valerie Lincy and Gary Milhollin, Caroline Glick, Claudia Rossett, Michael Rubin, and Gerald Steinberg – have skillfully dissected and refuted this shoddy, politicized, outrageous parody of a piece of propaganda, so I need not dwell on that here. Further, leading members of Congress are "not convinced" of the NIE's conclusions. French and German leaders snubbed it, as did the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and even the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed doubts. British intelligence believe its American counterparts were hoodwinked, while Israeli intelligence responded with shock and disappointment.
Let us skip ahead then, and ask what are the long-term implications of the 2007 report?For the sake of argument, let us assume the May 2005 NIE was correct, in which sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies assessed "with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons."
Let us also assume there are three possible American responses to the Iranian nuclear buildup:
1) Convince the Iranians of their own accord to stop the nuclear weapons program.
2) Stop it for them through military intervention (which need not be a direct strike against the nuclear infrastructure but could be more indirect, such as an embargo on refined petrochemicals entering the country).
3) Permit it to culminate in Iran's acquiring a nuclear bomb.
As for Option #3, President Bush recently noted that whoever is "interested in avoiding World War III, … ought to be interested in preventing [the Iranians] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." So far, the lame NIE has not changed his mind. He appears to share John McCain's view that "There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option. That is a nuclear-armed Iran.
"Therefore, the real question is not whether Iran will be stopped, but how.
The 2007 NIE has effectively terminated Option #1, convincing the Iranians themselves to halt their nuclear program, because this route requires wide external agreement. When key countries banded together to pass Security Council Resolution 1737 in December 2006, it caused the Iranian leadership to respond with caution and fear; but the NIE's soothing conclusion undercuts such widespread cooperation and pressure. When Washington pressures some Western states, Russia, China, and the IAEA, they can pull it out of the drawer, wave it in the Americans' faces, and refuse to cooperate. Worse, the NIE has sent a signal to the apocalyptic-minded leadership in Tehran that the danger of external sanctions has ended, that it can go undisturbed about its bomb-building business.
That leaves Option #2, direct intervention of some sort. Yes, that seems unlikely now, with the NIE dropping like a bombshell and shifting the debate. But will this hugely-criticized one thousand-word exercise really continue to dominate the American understanding of the problem? Will it change George W. Bush's mind? Will its influence extend to a year from now? Will it extend yet further, to the next president?Highly unlikely, for these projections assume stasis – that this one report can refute all other interpretations, that no further developments will take place in Iran, that the argument over Iranian nuclear intentions closed down in early December 2007, never to revive. The debate most assuredly will continue to evolve and the influence of this NIE will fade and become just one of many appraisals, technical and non-technical, official and unofficial, American and non-American.
In short, with Option #1 undermined and Option #3 unacceptable, Option #2 – war carried out by either U.S. or Israeli forces – becomes the more probable. Thus have short-sighted, small-minded, blatantly partisan intelligence bureaucrats, trying to hide unpleasant realities, helped engineer their own nightmare.
"This is a dumb report that would get a C-minus from anybody teaching any intelligence course anywhere in the country," says Professor Dershowitz. "[Iran is] clearly intending to develop a nuclear bomb, and anyone who doubts that should not be in a position of responsibility in the United States, in Israel, or in any Western country." Speaking from his Boston office, Professor Dershowitz asserts that it takes "an absolute moron not to understand what Iran is doing. For purposes of getting the sanctions removed from Russia and from China and from others, they're overtly eliminating the military superstructure, but they are developing their capacity so that they can transfer it to a military use almost instantaneously.
"All the intelligence assessment is saying, basically, is that the Iranian government has pulled a bait and switch."
When asked by Shalom TV's Rabbi Mark S. Golub about any agenda behind the report, Alan Dershowitz theorizes that people within the CIA and other US intelligence agencies are trying to put the brakes on what they perceive as Vice President Dick Cheney's rush to get into a war with Iran. However, he cautions that the report may have the opposite effect.
"The impact of the report is going to be to diminish the case for sanctions and to increase the need for military preparedness--unfortunately," notes Professor Dershowitz. "If the United States and Israel are true to their statements that they will not allow Iran to develop nuclear capacity and that they will use military force as a last resort if that happens, then this report is making military force more likely rather than less likely.
"I'm one who would much have preferred to see sanctions work against Iran because a military attack could be very counterproductive. But this report will essentially have blood on its hands if it actually increases the need for military force."
Shalom TV is the first Jewish public affairs and entertainment network available on American television, and is currently carried on Comcast and Blue Ridge cable systems. Additional information on the television service, including a current program lineup, is posted online at http://www.shalomtv.com/.
Transcript of Shalom TV interview with Alan Dershowitz
So they are just saying "Call off the dogs. Stop the sanctions." Not right now [will we] develop the military capacity. But once we develop our ability to transfer the civilian to the military, we will do that in the future and we will be able to turn the civilian into the military within the period of a few months.
And they base their assessment on on-the-ground intelligence. One thing we know about American intelligence on the ground in Iran is it's awful. We have no real good intelligence operatives on the ground. Most of the good American intelligence comes from the air, comes from satellites, and the idea that the United States could judge with any degree of certainty the intention of the Iranian mullahs is preposterous. And their intention is as clear as could be.
Why are they developing the Shihab missile? Why are they developing heavy water unnecessary for the development of civilian capacity? Why are all the civilian efforts being done in a way that it's easily transferable to military use?
It takes an absolute moron not to understand what Iran is doing! For purposes of getting the sanctions removed from Russia and from China and from others, they're overtly eliminating, right now, the military superstructure; but they are developing their capacity so that they can transfer it to a military use almost instantaneously.
It's what other nuclear powers did in the past as well, and nobody in the intelligence agency is being fooled. They know what's going on. There's an agenda that's hidden beneath this report."
I think it's people within the CIA and other intelligence agencies who are trying to put the brakes on what they perceive as Vice President Cheney's rush to war with Iran. But it's going to make war more necessary not less necessary because it's going to cancel the sanctions and it's going to make sanctions harder to do.
And if the United States and Israel are true to their statements that they will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear capacity and that they will, in fact, use military force as a last resort if that happens, then this report is making military force more likely rather than less likely.
The people who run our intelligence agencies are very bright and they know what they're doing and this is a dumb report, I mean, really a dumb report. It's a report that would get a C-minus from anybody teaching any intelligence course anywhere in the country. The idea that you miss the notion that all they're doing is focusing on the civilian uses now to call off the dogs, but could easily switch to a military track almost in a moment. I mean, that's the most obvious thing in the world. How could they have missed that?
December 12, 2007
I guess she feels empowered now that she gets to decide on which group of people have to know their place. In her mind, a "whites only" area is anathema, but a Jew-free neighborhood, town, or country is apparently "just fine".
Read about Dr. Rice's latest "No Jews Allowed" effort here.
December 10, 2007
The majority of the people living in a Jewish State must be Jewish. We must prevent a situation of an insufficient Jewish majority and we dare not have a Jewish minority....There is room for a non-Jewish minority on condition that it accept the destiny of the State vis-à-vis the Jewish people, culture, tradition, and belief. The minority is entitled to equal rights as individuals with respect to their distinct religion and culture, but not more than that.”
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Tel Aviv, May 6, 1976
International Jewish Parliament Plan III proposes, first, a Conference of Zionist and other Jewish organizations in the United States and abroad for the sole purpose of establishing an International Jewish Parliament.
Membership in the Parliament will of course be open to Jews throughout the world on the basis of proportional representation. Heroic efforts must be made to recruit Israelis in the Diaspora, hundreds of thousands of whom are in the United States.
Second, for maximum impact on the public, it would be desirable for the International Jewish Parliament (hereafter the IJP) to convene, if not Jerusalem, then in Washington, DC. After organizing itself, the Parliament will appoint a Constitutional Committee to discuss and further elaborate the Jewish Constitutional Democracy contained in Plan IV. (To summarize for present purposes: the proposed Constitution involves a presidential-parliamentary system of government with certain features of the American Constitution. The parliament is bicameral. Its two basic functions, law-making and administrative overview, are divided between two branches. Whereas the upper branch makes the laws and is limited to Jews, the lower branch, to which both Jews and non-Jews are eligible, exercises the power of administrative scrutiny, conducts public hearings, and submits findings and recommendations to the upper branch and/or the Judiciary. Included is a Bill of Rights affirming the personal, religious and civil liberties of all inhabitants of the State. The Bill of Rights, by the way, surpasses others and is compatible to Jews and non-Jews alike by virtue of humane principles derived from the Torah. This point needs to be emphasized precisely because the most important task is to restore Jewish national honor. No organization and no political party will save Israel unless its words and deeds restore a due sense of Jewish pride rooted in the heritage of the Jewish people––known by Gentiles as diverse as John Adams and Friedrich Nietzsche as the educators of mankind.
The IJP will establish various Public Policy Committees such as Defense, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Commerce and Industry, Religion and Education, Communications and Culture, Science and Technology, etc. Each Committee will be headed by a prominent personality and staffed by experts with experience in Israel. Each Committee will formulate a professional policy paper intended for implementation in Israel. (Simplified versions of such papers will be distributed to the media and the general public.)
So far as practicable, policy papers should duly acknowledge relevant principles drawn from the tradition of the Jewish people. For example, the Finance Committee will design a free-market economy for a Jewish State modulated by Jewish ethics.
The International Jewish Parliament would thus provide a programmatic, financial, and philosophical support system for any party in Israel committed to the goal of a Jewish Constitutional Democracy. Such a party in Israel would have a solid base of electoral support. A poll taken shortly before the 1992 national elections indicates that 50% of Israel’s Jewish population believe in the divine origin of the Torah. Although only 20% are fully observant, 29% regard themselves as “traditional.” Moreover, roughly 50% of those who identify themselves as “secular” observe major Jewish holidays and even accept the status quo regarding religious legislation. Furthermore, approximately 75% oppose Arab membership in the Knesset! This data clearly indicates that an overwhelming majority of the Jews would be amenable to a Jewish Constitutional Democracy, the more so when vigorously supported by an International Jewish Parliament. Even many Jews who habitually vote Labor would support such a Constitution or a Jewish Classical Democracy.
Any party in Israel committed to a Jewish State would surely want to cooperate with the projected International Jewish Parliament and participate in its deliberations (as Israel’s Labor party does vis-à-vis the Socialist International). Indeed, the success of Plans II and IV requires such cooperation. This collaboration would enhance the prestige of a Jewish oriented party in Israel and win to its support perhaps a decisive number of voters in the country’s national elections. The International Jewish Parliament could give rise to a Constitutional Party in Israel with extensive grass-roots support, enough, in four years to make Israel a truly Jewish Commonwealth.
he Constitution outlined in Plan IV and further elaborated by the International Jewish Parliament with the participation of a like-minded party in Israel should win massive support among the Jewish people, for it will articulate their abiding religious and political convictions and aspirations.
Finally, this International Jewish Parliament for a Jewish Constitutional Democracy in Israel will foster that great Jewish synthesis, universalism and particularism. Israel will be international yet Jewish.
December 5, 2007
But when I tried to arrange a cab to take me from Beer Sheva to
my home in Efrat the other night, you would have thought that
Lebanon was my destination based on the number of cab drivers who
refused to accept the fare.
It was about 10:00PM and I had long since missed my regular
carpool home. Under normal circumstances I would have either
stayed over in Beer Sheva at a local hotel or tried to hitchhike
home. But seeing as it was really late and I needed to be in
Jerusalem first thing in the morning, I decided to treat myself
to a taxi ride home.
So far so good... until the fun began, that is.
The process would begin with a call to the taxi dispatcher:
Me: Hi, I need a taxi to come to [name of my company].
Dispatcher: No problem, where are you going?
Me: Efrat... In Gush Etzion.
Dispatcher: No problem... someone will be right there.
Within a few minutes a taxi would pull up and the driver would
ask "Where did you say you needed to go?" I would tell him,
which would result in the him saying he had to speak to his
dispatcher... getting back in his cab... and promptly driving
This was repeated several times. One or two drivers asked if it
was possible to get to Efrat without entering the 'shtachim'
(territories)... while others offered excuses ranging from not
having enough gas in the car to never having heard of Gush
I was shocked. At the risk of generalizing, the typical taxi
driver here tends to be the salt of the earth... an Israeli
'everyman' of sorts. As a group they tilt heavily towards
mizrachi (Sephardi and eastern) origins, and even more heavily
towards the political right.
I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but it certainly
wasn't the abject horror that crossing the green line seemed to
evoke in these normally devil-may-care men.
Finally I got a driver who, after a few minutes of reassuring,
agreed to take me home.
Once we were on our way he began peppering me with a string of
non-stop nervous questions:
"How far is it?"
"Are you sure?"
What's that village over there... Jewish or Arab?"
"Arab!? Is it 'problematic'?"
"What about that one?"
"You really drive this road every day?"
"Have you ever had any problems... roadside bombs... shooting...
rocks... Molotov cocktails???"
"What the h... that was a Palestinian license plate on the car
that just passed us! I didn't know they were allowed on the
Oh G-d!... I see headlights behind us. Should I be worried that
it might be a terrorist following us?????!"
And on and on and on...
By the time we'd passed half a dozen sleeping Arab villages and
were approaching the southern outskirts of Hevron, the driver had
worked himself into a state of panic about terrorists who seemed
to be lurking just around every bend to turn his wife into a
widow and orphan his children.
Five or six times he reached for the same empty cigarette pack,
each time tossing it back on the dashboard in disgust. So
finally, as much as I loathed the idea of being trapped in a car
full of smoke, I suggested we pull into Kiryat Arba where he
could buy himself a fresh pack of smokes, thinking that it might
help calm his nerves.
Once inside Kiryat Arba he visibly relaxed and stared in wonder
at the neat streets lined with stone-clad apartment buildings,
parks and playgrounds.
"All these buildings have people living in them?" he asked me in
wide-eyed wonder. When I answered in the affirmative he just
shook his head and kept repeating "I didn't know... I didn't
know...". Apparently he had bought into the media version of
'the territories' where everyone lived in trailers on wind-swept
When we'd finally parked and gotten his smokes, I suggested he
take a short break from driving and just sit outside enjoying the
cool night air. I figured that not only would this spare me from
the stink of smoke inside the cab, but it would also give me the
opportunity to point out a nearby feature I had a hunch might be
of interest to him.
I pointed at an electric gate in a chain-link fence that was less
than 100 yards from where we were parked. "You see that gate?"
I began. "Just a minute or two beyond that gate is the Ma'arat
HaMachpelah (the cave of the Patriarchs)".
He stared at me as though I'd just told him that Abraham himself
was waiting in the dark just beyond the fence.
"Are you serious? I thought the Arabs destroyed that during the
Intifada! It still exists?!"
I explained that it had been Joseph's tomb that was destroyed by
the Arabs, and that the Ma'arat HaMachpelah was sill very much
Apparently forgetting all about the previous 45 minutes of
white-knuckled terror, the driver sprinted around the car,
reached through the window for the radio microphone, and called
"Itzik... ITZIK... you hear me?"
The click of a far-away mic was followed by a laconic, "Shome'ah"
[I hear you]
"Itzik, you'll never believe where I am. I stopped for
cigarettes in Kiryat Arba and I'm parked within a few meters of
the Ma'arat HaMachpelah!"
The dispatcher's voice burst over the radio... this time full of
excitement and now, apparently on the public channel: "Hey Dudu,
tchacho, Zvika, Hezi... everyone! Yossi's calling from the
Ma'arat HaMachpelah in Hevron!"
While this wasn't exactly true (since we were still technically
in Kiryat Arba), the response was immediate and electric. The
radio speaker began broadcasting a competing jumble of joyful
salutations from his fellow drivers in 'far-away' Beer Sheva:
"Kol Hakavod [congratulations], Yossi!"
"Zachita!" [you won!]
"Yossi, you have to say Tehilim [Psalms] for my mother at the
Ma'arah [cave]... she's having an operation tomorow. [Her name
is]... Sarah Bat Shifra... Sarah Bat Shifra... you hear me...
Sarah Bat Shifra!"
"Aizeh Gibor [what a hero!]"
"Yossi... Tell us what you see."
"Sarah Bat Shifra... Yossi, don't forget!"
"Yossi... Hazarta B'Tchuvah? [Did you become religious?]... Kol
"How did you get there... did you get lost"
What does it look like... is it beautiful in the moonlight?"
"Sarah Bat Shifra... Yossi... Sarah Bat Shifra!"
It was like a replay of Motta Gur's famous "Har HaBayit
B'Yadainu!" [the Temple Mount is in our hands!] broadcast.
Apparently forgetting completely about how frightened he had been
just minutes before, the driver turned to me and asked if we
could go into Hevron to pray at the Ma'arat HaMachpelah.
I looked at my watch and noted that it was after 11:00PM
already... but he misunderstood the gesture.
"Don't worry", he assured me. "You're not on the meter. I have
a flat-fee voucher from your company so nobody will mind if we
take a short side trip."
I quickly reassured him, "No, it's not that. I'd actually love
to go the the Ma'arah... I haven't been there in a few months
[last time I was there was with Jameel and Psychotoddler]. But
I'm almost sure they close it to visitors at 9 or 10PM."
He looked crestfallen. He stared longingly towards the closed
gate leading into Hevron and into the darkness beyond, and asked,
"Are you sure?"
I just shrugged and said, "Look, that's what I remember. But
don't take my word for it. There's an army Jeep parked by the
gate... let's go ask them."
We quickly jumped into the taxi and drove the short distance to
the gate and pulled up alongside the idling Jeep. Yossi got out
and had a brief conversation with the soldiers. There were some
animated hand gestures from Yossi, but they were of the
disappointed sort... such as one might see in the aftermath of a
natural disaster. Lots of breast beating and placing of hands on
the head as if in despair.
A few minutes later the driver came dejectedly back to the
taxi... but instead of getting in he reached over to the recess
under the radio and fished out an embroidered velvet kippah
(yarmulke) and a well-thumbed book of Psalms with an ornate
silver cover. Without a word he strode back towards the gate and
upon reaching the chain link fence, began reciting out loud into
the darkness beyond:
"Shir Lamalot... Esa Einai el heharim... mayayen yavo ezri..."
[A song of ascents. I raise my eyes to the mountains... from
where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made
heaven and earth... He won't allow your foot to be moved... He
doesn't sleep... The protector of Israel neither slumbers nor
sleeps! ... ]
I sat there in the front seat listening to the taxi driver recite
the 121st Psalm into the darkness beyond the fence. Although he
occasionally glanced at the small silver-clad book in his hand,
it was clear to me that he knew the verses by heart as there was
certainly not enough light to see the small print there by the
I seemed to be the only one taking any notice of the goings on.
The soldiers sitting nearby in their idling jeep barely looked up
from their coffee and conversation... and the two or three people
standing outside the store where Yossi had bought his cigarettes
didn't even glance in our direction.
I thought to myself, 'what a funny country we live in'. We're
all terrified of the unkown / unfamiliar, but completely
un-phased by the things we know.
The secular and religious experience emotions about each other
ranging from distrust to hate because they no longer know one
another. The urbanites and settlers experience similar emotions
about one-another due to the same sort of unfamiliarity and
The non-political Jews and Arabs are just as wary of each other
as their more 'active' counterparts, again, due largely to the
scariness of the unknown strangers. Those that live and travel
in the territories are (mostly) at ease with commutes and
ambulations that, for some reason, fill the hearts of Israel's
city-dwellers with dread.
When my driver, Yossi, had finished reciting a few more psalms -
presumably with his fellow driver's mother in mind - we resumed
our journey, and within 20 minutes arrived outside my house in
Efrat. I asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee for the ride
back to Beer Sheva, but he shook his head and said he'd be fine.
I reviewed the return route with him and gave him my cell phone
number in case he lost his way... but I could see he was writing
it down mostly to humor me. Gone was the cloud of hesitancy and
fear under which we'd begun our trip together. In it's place was
a confident, macho mizrachi cab driver who was completely at home
in his surroundings.
Almost as an afterthought I asked him if he was glad he'd taken
the fare. Without hesitating he answered that he'd lived his
whole life in Israel... most of it in Beer Sheva... and had never
realized how close Hevron was. He told me that on his next day
off from work he was going to bring his family to pray at the
Ma'arat HaMachpelah. "My son's going into the army this year" he
confided with a shrug. "If not now... when?" *
I couldn't agree more. As I watched him drive away I couldn't
think of a better way to sum up the need for people's
perspectives to change; 'If not now, when?'
* He was quoting Hillel from Pirkei Avot. The full quote is "If
I am not for myself who will be for me. If I am only for myself,
what am I. If not now, when?"
December 3, 2007
1) A thief is one who takes property that does not belong to him—right?
2) But if he gives that property to his country’s enemies, he then becomes a traitor—right?
3) This pretty much defines those Israeli prime ministers who gave, or who express the intention to give, any part of the Land of Israel to Israel’s enemies—right?
4) The same may be said of the supporters of these prime ministers both in the Cabinet and in the Knesset—right?
5) But then it follows that Israel’s Supreme Court judges, who ruled that Judea, Samaria, and Gaza are “belligerent occupied territory,” are complicit in this thievery and treachery—right?
6) Recall, however, that an overwhelming majority of the voters in the 2003 election rejected Labor’s policy of giving Jewish land to Israel’s enemies—right?
7) This suggests that all three branches of Israel’s government have rendered a large majority of the people of Israel powerless—right?
8) If so, then what should sensible Jews do rectify this situation to prevent the government’s thievery and treachery? Suppose they asked the following questions:
a) Who controls the levers of power AND what entrenches them in power? (for example, what kept Shimon Peres in office for five decades despite his failings and reputation as the nation’s “saboteur”?)
b) What must be done to remove those who control the levers of power?
c) Who will replace those who now control the levers of power?
d) What will be their ultimate goal?
e) What institutional and other means are necessary to achieve this ultimate goal?
9) Two further questions: What will happen to America, now that its president has unequivocally betrayed Israel? And what will happen to the world if Jerusalem—the ultimate target of Islam—is divided, thanks in part to the USA