August 28, 2008


August 27, 2008 (Fort Lee, NJ) -- Following his selection as Barack Obama's vice presidential running mate, US Senator Joseph R. Biden's interview with Shalom TV on America and Israel has been quoted and played throughout the world--including new outlets in Iran and Syria, and the Al Jazeera network.

Conducted in Washington DC in March 2007, in the midst of his Democratic presidential primary bid, Senator Biden told Shalom TV President Mark S. Golub of his longstanding commitment to Israel, calling the country "the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East."

"I am a Zionist," said Senator Biden. "You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist."

Senator Biden went on to point out that without Israel, one could only imagine how many battleships and troops America would have to station in the Middle East.

He also decried as "insulting" the notion that any American could suggest that Israel is somehow the cause of the war in Iraq.

"If, tomorrow, peace broke out between Israelis and Palestinians, does anybody think there wouldn't be a full-blown war in Iraq? And, conversely, if Iraq were transported to Mars, does anyone think there would not be terrorism visited upon the Israelis every day?

"So let's get it straight. Israel is not the cause of Iraq. Iraq being settled or not settled has nothing to do with Israel's conduct."

The Senator also expressed a sensitivity and empathy for Israelis who have had to live with terrorism.

"[From 9/11], Americans can taste what it must feel like for every Israeli mother and father when they send their kid out to school with their lunch to put them on a bus, on a bicycle or to walk; and they pray to God that cell phone doesn't ring."

Asked about Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life-imprisonment for giving classified information to the State of Israel, Senator Biden opened the door to leniency, but not a pardon.

"There's a rationale, in my view, why Pollard should be given leniency. But there is not a rationale to say, 'What happened did not happen and should be pardoned."

Shalom TV, an American cable television network devoted to Jewish public affairs and Jewish culture, is available free of charge in twenty million homes across the US. Participating cable companies include Comcast, Verizon FiOS, Time Warner, Bright House, MetroCast, Service Electric, and Blue Ridge Communications. Additional information on the English-language service, including programming information, is available at

August 18, 2008

The Original Jewish Olympics

by Mark Miller

In all the excitement about the current Summer Olympics in Beijing, it may be easy to overlook another version of the Olympics of which many Jews today are sadly unaware -- the Jewish Olympics. That's right, you heard me - the Jewish Olympics. And, no, I'm not talking about the Maccabiah Games, the quadrennial Jewish Olympics, held in Israel each year following the Olympic Games. Those are fairly modern, having begun in 1932.

No, I'm talking about the original Jewish Olympics. Never heard of 'em? Neither did I until my great-grandmother Rivka clued me in. I started researching it and what I found was so illuminating that I decided to write a book. I'm proud to let you know that my book has been accepted for publication by Manishevitz Publishing. So here's an excerpt from the "Complete History of the Original Jewish Olympics."

3732 B.C.E.

Two Jewish cavemen, Ogstein and Zubowitz, can't stop fighting for the affections of the lovely Moogberg. The mischievous Moogberg, sensing her power over them, suggests a competition: The first one to run a mile to the dinosaur watering hole and run back to her with a dinosaur tooth will win the right to have her as his girlfriend. The good news for Zubowitz is that he's a faster runner and so gets to the watering hole first. The even better news for Ogstein is that in the process of attempting to extract the tooth, Zubowitz is killed and eaten by the dinosaur. For their first date, Ogstein and Moogberg roast small, slow, overweight, easy-to-catch dinosaur chunks over a romantic fire singing "Ogstein, Row the Boat Ashore." This same event is repeated annually for the next 20 years as new suitors continue challenging Ogstein for the right to date Moogberg.

777 B.C.E.

The first Olympics games started by the Greeks was in 776 B.C.E. Were they inspired by the actions of the Jews a year earlier? Judge for yourself. This time it was two hill-dwelling women, Shirleyavros and Maxineastotle, who provided the inspiration. As they walked down the narrow, winding road to the market, they were disturbed to find cows and oxen asleep in the middle of the road, blocking their path. What to do? Shirleyavros jumped over one and challenged Maxineastotle to do the same, which she did. Before long, the two friends were jumping over increasingly larger beasts of burden, from greater distances away and even placing bets on their jumps. Now you know why today's hurdles are referred to as "oxen." OK, they aren't really called oxen, but think how flattered Shirleyavros and Maxineastotle would be if they were.

1500 A.C.E.

Jews lived in Asia Minor for 2,400 years, where Turkey proved to be a safe haven for them. It was there that Jews flourished and contributed to the Ottoman Empire when upholsterer Otto Shmuelowitz, lacking enough fabric and wood to create a full sofa, inadvertently invented the Ottoman, a low-cushioned seat without backs or arms. Within two years, Otto's cousins, Sippy and Bobo Shmuelowitz, aspiring athletes, came up with the idea of stacking ten Ottomans on top of one another and having a tall Polish man fling Bobo over the top of the Ottomans. Despite Bobo suffering a concussion during one such workout, the "Pole-Vaulting" caught on like wildfire and before long, every major Turkish city had its own Olympics featuring the more politically correct "pole" vaulting. Descendants of the Shmuelowitz's today receive a percentage of sales for every ottoman and pole on the market.

1865 A.C.E.

The contribution of Jews to the life and culture of the American Wild West has been well documented, but for our purposes here we will focus on two brothers, Mordechai and Yitzchak Earpstein (no relation to Wyatt). They were gold prospectors who theorized that the largest mother lode of the precious substance would most likely be found, not in the streams where their fellow prospectors were panning for it, nor in the mines, but rather up in the mountains themselves. Moderately successful exploring their theory, the brothers' connection to the Olympics comes into play with their method of getting their gold and themselves down the mountain. A series of connecting troughs wide enough to carry gold and humans quickly down - is now acknowledged as the inspiration for today's Olympic sport, luge. As a side note, Mordechai Earp years later originated the idea for combining lox, eggs and onions, which is why you can find it on some deli menus as the Mordechai Special.

All right, I know what you're thinking - "Mark, what with your obsession with finding the perfect cherry cheese blintz, how were you even able to find the time and focus to write a book like this?" Multi-tasking. But the other thing you're thinking is - "Mark, we thought this was supposed to be about the Original Jewish Olympics. All we see here is a selection of various Judaic Olympic events throughout history." Hey, the Jews kept getting kicked out of one country after another, so they had to take their Olympics with them. That's right, they were portable Olympics.

Finally, when you consider the obstacles and challenges the Jewish people have faced throughout history, and how we have triumphed and contributed to society, is it not fair to say that each of us Jews carries an Olympic flame in our heart and soul? Or it could be heartburn. Either way, we have much to be proud of. Next year in Jerusalem. Or better yet, 2012 in Jerusalem.

Israeli Defense Policy

Okay, so we'll have to pay "a difficult price".

But the "difficult price" that Ehud Barak wants us to pay is the undermining of Israel's legal system by releasing convicts as a political act.

It's a price that nobody talks about, but it eats away at our rule of law, our morale, and the social contract that binds us together as a nation.

What we need is a return to the Israel of the Six-Day War and Entebbe. We need leadership that offers creative, brave, intelligent answers and strategies.

Israel needs leadership that is smarter than what we've got.
Do you think we'll get it?

-Dry Bones- Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

August 17, 2008

Just...Italy being Italy

It's official: The Italian government allowed Palestinian terror organizations to act freely within its territory in exchange for their commitment to refrain from targeting national and international Italian sites.

Menahem Gantz Published: 08.17.08, 19:07 / Israel News

In an article written by former Italian President Francesco Cossiga for the national newspaper Corriere della Sera he confesses, "I always knew, though not by official documents and information kept from me, about the existence of an agreement based on 'don't harm me and I won't harm you' between the Italian Republic and organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the PLO."

According to Cossiga the agreement was approved and directed by former Italian Premier Aldo Moro, who "was awarded an extraordinary capability for the direction of Italian intelligence agencies and special forces after he received approval for the deal."

"According to the deal, the Palestinian organizations could establish bases in Italy, enjoyed freedom of movement when entering and exiting the country, and could move around without undergoing mandatory security checks because they were protected by the secret service," Cossiga explained.

"During my time as interior minister I learned that PLO people were holding heavy artillery in their homes and protected by diplomatic immunity as representatives of the Arab League. I was told not to worry and I managed to convince them to lay down their heavy artillery and make do with light weaponry."

Cossiga's article was published just one day after Corriere della Serra's reporter in Israel interviewed Bassam Abu Sharif in Jericho, who is considered the foreign minister of the PFLP. In the interview Sharif admitted that Italy permitted free movement to Palestinian organizations within its boundaries.


But the agreement did not always run smoothly. On August 2, 1980 an explosion shook Bologna's train station; 85 people were killed and 200 more were injured in the blast. Cossiga believes it is entirely possible that the explosion was due to a "work accident" and that explosive materials handled by the Palestinians were responsible for the incident.

However Sharif claims that international intelligence agencies, mainly the Israeli Mossad, instigated the event in order to undermine the agreement between the Palestinian organizations and the Italian government. Thus Italians began to feel that the blast was not an outcome of a conflict between Italian extremists, but rather a consequence of the Israeli-Arab quarrel.

Aldo Moro himself was kidnapped by the Red Brigades terror organization. In a letter he sent from captivity the former premier admitted that "with the Palestinians we get along in a different manner." When he was nearing death he launched another letter in which he claimed that "only the Palestinians can serve as mediators with the Red Brigades."

Indeed, Sharif admitted recently that his organization held ties with the Italian leftist group, which ended up executing Moro and terrorizing Italy for many years.

August 14, 2008

China... Human Rights Abuser Extraordinaire!

Who would travel to China? It is clearly a place where you may simply disappear.
The types of places you would be taken and the "work" you would be forced to perform would be enough to guarantee that I would never go near China.

But people do, and who are these people? Are they simply humanists that believe all are good until they prove otherwise?

Or are they simply insane? Americans that travel to China are taking to large a risk for their own children, that they may become orphans! These are very dangerous people!
Israeli that travel to China are leftists? Why would Israel go there?
Why would they march in the opening ceremonies of such a vile people?
Why would they lend any validation to this Communist country that kills their own female babies because ...

Recent Stories

August 12, 2008

Palestinian Olympians Then & Now

If you watched the opening ceremonies 8/8/08 you saw
the "Palestinian" contingent now...

Please do not forget what they really look like:
that would be the then...

What has changed? Nothing just rockets with longer range!
This group still only exists to kill Jews!

Where is the Tibet National Team?

August 11, 2008


Paintings of your ancestors is Goyish - Finding your ancestors is Jewish
Sweaters worn over shoulders as scarves is Goyish - Scarves worn over hairdos as rain bonnets is Jewish
Sketches of the children are Goyish - Sketches by the children are Jewish
Cattle is Goyish - Cows are Jewish
The Practice was Goyish - Boston Legal is Jewish
Skippy-your son's name, is Goyish - Skippy- your dog's name, is Jewish.
Tupperware is Goyish - Waxed paper is Jewish
Gatorade is Goyish - Ice tea is Jewish
The Outer Limits is Goyish - The Twilight Zone is Jewish
Olive loaf is Goyish - Liverwurst is Jewish
Duck hunting is Goyish - Bargain hunting is Jewish
Shake 'n Bake is Goyish - Breadcrumbs is Jewish
Crew teams are Goyish - Chess teams are Jewish
Shirley (Laverne and Shirley) is Goyish - Laverne is Jewish
Collecting ceramic ducks is Goyish - Collecting duck sauce packets is Jewish
"The New Yorker" is Goyish - "New York Magazine" is Jewish
Riding lessons are Goyish - Piano lessons are Jewish
Chow mein is Goyish - Lo mein is Jewish
School cheering squads are Goyish - School newspaper staffs are Jewish
Area rugs are Goyish - Wall-to-wall carpeting is Jewish
Black pepper is Jewish, Wasabi is Goyish
Blue is Jewish, Spirit is Goyish
George (on Seinfeld) is Jewish, Kramer is Goyish
Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) is Jewish, Evelyn Harper (Two and a Half Men) is Goyish
Black and White Cookies are Jewish, Twinkies are Goyish
Star Trek (original Series) is Jewish, Babylon 5 is Goyish.
ShopRite is Jewish, Acme is Goyish
Hellman's Mayonnaise is Jewish, Miracle whip is Goyish

August 6, 2008

Capital Punishment

I decided to do today's cartoon after a "loyal reader" sent me a copy of "Capital punishment for capital crimes" by Caroline Glick. After discussing the horrifying crimes being perpetrated against us she notes that:

"ALL OF this raises the issue that polite Israeli society insists on sweeping under the rug: Israel's repeated willingness to release terrorists for live and dead hostages makes clear the need to implement the death penalty against terrorist murderers.
The criminal code permits the death penalty to be used in cases of treason, murder, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes against the Jewish people. The problem is not the laws on the books; the problem is the state prosecution's refusal to use them. Regardless of the nature of their crimes, the State Attorney's Office refuses to request that judges sentence terrorists to death."

So are we too politically correct to protect ourselves? Is a twisted sense of morality keeping us from doing the right thing?

Your thoughts?

-Dry Bones- Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

Particularism Before Universalism

by Ted Belman

Everyone is familiar will Hillel's quote, loosely translated,

"If I am not for myself, who am I? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?"

I have always understood this to mean that an individual must make the case for his particular before making the case for the other. Particularism before universalism. Neither should be to the exclusion of the other, but the former, according to Hillel, comes first. One might add that it is only natural to fight for yourself before fighting for others.

The twentieth century witnessed within the Jewish community a flight from the Jewish particular in favour of the universal. As the Jews came out of the ghetto, they shed religion for secularism. They became Communists in Russia, socialists in Europe and liberal Democrats in America.

The Jewish Right wishes to follow Hillel's dictum by emphasizing the Jewish particular first and then addressing the "other". Thus, it chooses a Jewish Israel even if it offends the Western notion of democracy. On the other hand, the Jewish Left wishes to do the opposite. It stresses the rights of the other, particularly the "Palestinians", at the expense of Jewish rights. A case in point is the fence decision by the Israel's High Court of Justice. The Jewish Right wants Israel to be a Jewish state whereas the Left argues that Israel should be a state like other states or of all its citizens. Binyamin Netanyahu got it right when he said, "Israel is the state of the Jews and not of its citizens."

In my recent article "It pays to be Jewish", I argued that Israel, to be a Jewish state, must give pre-eminence to Jewish Civil Law, which flows from the Torah. I implied that freedom of speech should not protect anti-Israel incitement and that persons not loyal to Israel as a Jewish state should have their citizenship revoked and should not be allowed a Knesset seat.

This raised howls of racism from some. But to deny your enemies certain rights is not racism, because it is not based on physical characteristics. It is self-defense, because it is based on their stated intention to destroy you.

Paul Eidelberg, in his important book Jewish Statesmanship, stands against a loyalty oath as the solution,

"It is the height of impudence, of conceit and even of stupidity to grant equal political rights to Arabs in the expectation that they will renounce their religion and 1,300 year old civilization for a ballot box.

[...]From the Torah's perspective, a people is not a random or amorphous aggregation of individuals. The essence of peoplehood is particularism and not universalism – which is not to say that particularism precludes universal ideas and ideals such as ethical monotheism. A living people must have a revered past and a profound sense of collective purpose, embodied in national laws and literature and vivified by national holidays and customs. Such a people will experience similar joys and harbour similar thoughts conducive to friendship. They will feel responsible for each other and respond in righteous indignation to assaults on their national honour. Therein is the heart and soul of a people and the reason why their government will not bestow citizenship on foreign elements whose goals or way of life clashes with their own."

Thus, the question becomes, are the citizens of a country entitled to preserve their ethnic or religious makeup or their culture? And who is to decide? The Western model says "no". Multiculturalism reigns supreme, as does relativism. No one's values are better than the values of others. Everything and everybody is to be tolerated, even those who don't tolerate you. It is easy to see that this is the ultimate destination of universalism. It seeks to render valueless the particular, whether religious or national. It is paradoxical that the greatest opposition to universalism comes from Muslims, who are the largest intended beneficiary.

While the Left continually excoriates Israel for falling below a standard imposed by them on Israel alone, it totally ignores the reality of the Muslim world. You would think that since the Muslims are most in conflict with their tolerant world view that they should focus on castigating and reforming them. But no, they pick on Israel instead. Could this be anti-Semitism?

When Jews agonize over the survival of the Jewish people, invariably one asks, "Survive as what?" Obviously, if you give up what makes you Jewish, you, as a Jew, are not surviving. The resistance to assimilation is also often referred to as racism, but it isn't. It denotes love of self. This is healthy. It is the self-hatred of the Jewish Left who strive to deny the Jewish particular that is to be rejected, or at least recognized for what it is.

The same goes for Israel. If Israel would become a bi-national state, it would die as a Jewish state. Even the name Israel could be changed. The Arab Israelis would argue for the Law of Return to apply to them, also. And so on. It will also die as a Jewish state if it doesn't take steps to preserve its Jewish character. At a minimum, these should include restoring Jewish Civil Law as the supreme law of the land and creating a constitution that permits only Jews to determine its national purpose, character and defense.

I submit that a nation has not only the inherent right of self defense when its national existence is threatened, but also when its cultural essence is at risk. Israel's enemies deny it both rights. To assert these rights is not racism. Every nation has the right to determine who can emigrate, who can become citizens and what values in its society are inviolable.

Israel even more so. The Torah defines the People of Israel (Am Yisroel) and the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisroel), and the connection between them and G-d. The People of Israel have a collective responsibility and a mission and a birthright (Israel). Whether or not you believe in G-d, the fact remains that this is the essence of Judaism. This essence has survived for over three thousand years and should continue to survive.

Israel has not only the right to defend this culture, but the duty to do so.

August 5, 2008


August 6, 2008


Says "there is no record" on Obama, while McCain "has an absolutely great record of supporting Israel"

August 6, 2008 (Fort Lee, NJ) - In an exclusive Shalom TV interview, Natan Sharansky, distinguished fellow of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and chairman of its Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, characterized a potential Barack Obama presidency as "a risk" to Israel, based on their being "no record" of his foreign affairs policy, experience, or actions.

Commenting on whether the visit of Senator Obama to Israel meant something to its citizens, Sharansky, a prolific author who was the world's most famous Soviet refusenik, acknowledged that the Democratic presidential candidate "said all the right things which Israelis wanted to hear."

"He spoke about the Iranian threat and gave to understand that, of course, he would do his best that Israel would not have to fight, but if, God-forbid, Israel will have to fight, it can be understood.

"He spoke with the mayor of Jerusalem and the mayor of Jerusalem understood that Obama is for a united Jerusalem.

"He said many good things, but it's very difficult to overcome the skepticism of Israelis by words. After all, we've heard so many good words and we know that the deeds are sometimes very different."

However, Sharansky was quick to point out that "everyone understands that it was a quick visit, with a lot of picture opportunities mainly for the audience--the electorate. And the electorate are American Jews, and Americans in general."

When asked by Mark S. Golub, host of Shalom TV's "World Jewish News," if he thought it would matter whether Senator McCain or Senator Obama was elected president in terms of the relationship and bond between America and Israel, Natan Sharansky offered a stark contrast based on the each candidate's record.

"In the case of McCain, we know exactly where his policy is," said Sharansky. "I know, personally, McCain for twenty years. He is a person of principle, and he's also a person who has absolutely a great record of supporting Israel.

"Getting to Obama, there is no record. Nobody can know for sure what will be. It can happen to be good. It can happen to be very bad. It's a risk."

A former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Sharansky also emphasized the extent to which Israel is ultimately in control of its own destiny, qualifying the impact on the Middle East of the next American president.

"After all," he concluded, "the main decisions which are made--whether it's about the Oslo agreement, whether it's about the disengagement, or to start this so-called 'Second Lebanese War'--these are decisions which are made in Israel, by Israelis, and they have great importance on our future."

Shalom TV, America's national Jewish cable television network, is available free of charge in eighteen million homes in cities throughout the US on Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House, MetroCast, Service Electric, and Blue Ridge cable systems. Additional information on the English-language service is posted online at

Israel's unwanted open door

Jul. 17, 2008

Any residual doubt that Washington has decided to take no action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons dissipated Wednesday with the news that Undersecretary of State William Burns will be participating in EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana's negotiations with Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva on Saturday.

That those negotiations will fail to end or even slow Iran's progress toward nuclear weapons capabilities is a certainty. Ahead of the talks, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated for the umpteenth time that Teheran will make no compromises on its uranium enrichment activities. And so far, Iran - as opposed to Washington - has been true to its word.

Given Iran's forthrightness, there is only one reasonable explanation for the administration's decision to send Burns to meet with Jalili: The US wants it to be absolutely clear to Teheran and everyone else that it has no intention whatsoever of attacking Iran's nuclear installations.

It makes sense that Washington considers it necessary to make this point clearly. In light of the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would constitute to US national security interests, it would have been more reasonable to assume that America would attack the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities preemptively than to assume it would allow Iran to go forward with its goal to acquire nuclear weapons.

A nuclear-armed Iran would place the US military's hard-won victories against Iranian surrogates in Iraq and its tentative success in separating Iraq's Shi'ite leaders from Teheran in jeopardy. So, too, given Iran's increasingly active support for the Taliban, an Iranian acquisition of nuclear capabilities would cast doubt on America's ability to defeat the resurgent Taliban.

The US's economic well-being would also be endangered by a nuclear-armed Iran. Teheran has repeatedly threatened to attack Saudi oil platforms and endanger the oil shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz. And a nuclear arsenal would give Iran unprecedented power to dictate price-setting policies for the OPEC oil cartel.

Beyond all that, a nuclear-armed Iran would directly threaten US territory in two ways. First, there is no reason not to think that Teheran would use Hizbullah cells in the US to detonate nuclear devices in US cities. Iran has already shown a willingness to use Hizbullah to carry out terror attacks in the West - most spectacularly in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Second, it is widely feared that Iran is developing the capacity to launch an electromagnetic pulse (or EMP) attack against the US mainland. An EMP attack is conducted by launching a nuclear bomb into the atmosphere above a country. It needn't actually hit the country. Simply by detonating a nuclear device at sufficiently high altitude, an EMP attack can destroy the electrical grids, communications systems and military-industrial foundations of a society. Such an attack would set the US back a hundred years.

Fears of an EMP attack against the US were sparked last week by Iran's test of an advanced version of its Shihab-3 ballistic missile. The day of the missile test, William Graham, who heads a congressionally mandated commission on the EMP threat to the US, gave testimony on the issue to the House's Armed Services Committee. Graham explained that Iran has already conducted missile test from ships in the Caspian Sea. If it acquires nuclear weapons, it will apparently have the capacity to launch a nuclear warhead capable of carrying out an EMP attack against the US from a freighter in international waters off the US coast.

While any of these threats would be sufficient to justify a preemptive attack against Iran's nuclear installations, the US still has a reasonable excuse for not conducting such an attack: Iran has made clear that if it acquires nuclear weapons, the US will not be Teheran's first target. Israel enjoys that distinction.

And since the US is Iran's second target, the Bush administration has made clear that if Iran attacks Israel, the US will launch an attack against Iran. That is, the US will fight to ensure that Iran won't be able to attack it if America moves to the head of Iran's target list. But as long as it's only No. 2, it will take no action.

The US cannot be accused of being unfair to Israel by deciding not to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. After all, defending Israel is Israel's responsibility, not America's. And on this point, news reports in recent weeks have made it clear that while the US will not attack Iran, it has given Israel a "green light" for a preemptive strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations. And this is no small thing.

THE BUSH administration's willingness to stand back and allow Israel to attack Iran's nuclear installations to prevent a nuclear holocaust of the Jewish state compares well with how the administration of the president's father treated Israel in the 1991 Gulf War. At that time, Israel was under threat of Scud missile borne chemical weapons attack. Although Saddam Hussein ended up not attacking Israel with chemical weapons, the threat that he would was credible. He attacked Israel with Scud missiles almost every night for the duration of the war.

Despite this obvious casus belli, the first Bush administration not only refused to politically support Israel's right to defend itself against Iraqi aggression, it took active steps to prevent Israel from attacking Iraq's Scud missile installations. Then-president George H.W. Bush refused to provide Israel with the electronic codes that would allow Israeli and US jets to identify one another as friendly aircraft. In so doing, he left open the prospect that the US would shoot down IAF jets over Iraqi airspace if Israel dared to defend itself.

So, mindful of the precedent set by his father, President George W. Bush's decision to leave the door wide open for an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran is a positive development. But an open door is only significant if someone is willing to walk through it. And it is far from clear that the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government has any intention of doing so.

For an Israeli government to walk through that door, its leaders would have to be vested with a sense of national destiny and a modicum of responsibility and competence. But as Wednesday's bodies-for-murderers deal with Hizbullah demonstrated, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government has no sense of national destiny and no competence to lead the country. What Wednesday's spectacle showed is that Israel's leaders' horizons are limited to the space between yesterday's news and tomorrow's headlines.

On Wednesday, Israel received the corpses of IDF hostages Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in exchange for baby-murderer Samir Kuntar, four Hizbullah terrorists and 200 bodies of Palestinian and Lebanese murderers. Ahead of the swap, the Almagor terror victims' advocacy group published the names of 180 Israelis who were murdered by terrorists Israel released in recent years.

As the Almagor report showed, many of the terrorists Israel released - including Saleh Shehadeh, Nasser Abu Hmeid and Abdullah Kawasmeh - became senior terror commanders, responsible for building the terror infrastructure that caused the death of hundreds of Israelis. Others, such as Matzab Hashalmon, who was released in the 2004 terrorists-for-drug dealer-and-Hizbullah-spy Elhanan Tenenbaum, were quickly recruited as suicide bombers. Hashalmon murdered 16 Israelis when he detonated on a bus in Beersheva a couple of months after he was released.

The government knows for a fact that Wednesday's deal will lead directly to the murder of more Israelis and to the abduction and murder of more IDF soldiers. It simply doesn't care. The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government doesn't care about protecting the public. It only cares about tomorrow's headlines. And Wednesday's deal allowed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai to give speeches where they waxed poetic about Israel's loyalty to its dead soldiers and to have their pictures taken as they leaned somberly over Regev's and Goldwasser's flag-draped coffins.

They looked so impressive in those photos that it was easy for the public to miss what they had just done. The public could have easily missed the fact that in their "deeply moral, and patriotic" decision to trade Samir Kuntar - who murdered four-year-old Einat Haran by crushing her skull on a rock after he executed her father Danny in front of her - for Regev's and Goldwasser's body parts, these politicians signed the death warrants of untold numbers of Israelis. And if they go forward with their pledge to release a thousand terrorists for IDF hostage Gilad Schalit, they will sign the death warrants of still more Israeli men, women and children.

THE GOVERNMENT'S devotion to its yesterday-to-tomorrow's-headlines policy horizon is fed by the local media. Disgracefully, the Israeli media's coverage of events is so mindlessly shallow that senior journalists simply refuse to make any connection between tomorrow's threats and today's decisions. That this is the case was born out in the media's grotesque treatment of Wednesday's corpses-for-murderers swap.

In the weeks leading up to the government's decision to accept this Faustian bargain, the media cast the issue as the personal affair of the Regev and Goldwasser families and ignored completely the ramifications of the deal for the Israeli people as a whole. In their puerile depiction of the story as a personal story, the media stooped to treating Kuntar as the personal enemy of the Haran family, instead of as the enemy of the Jewish people as a whole. Refusing to note the national repercussions of the deal, the media acted as though the entire story was a struggle between opposing families: the Regevs and Goldwasser on one side and the Harans on the other. Israel as a nation was nothing but an abstract, unimportant bystander.

Given the media's refusal to cover anything that they can't personalize and trivialize, the media are incapable of adequately reporting the danger that Iran's nuclear program constitutes to Israel as a whole. And since they will not concentrate on this basic reality, the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government feels no pressure to contend with the danger. It is a non-story. And non-stories produce no policies.

Aside from that, although a successful strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would win them considerable clout with the public, an unsuccessful attack would end their political careers. And their careers are the only thing Israel's leaders are concerned with.

This being the state of affairs in Israel today, all the open doors in all the world won't help Israel in its moment of crisis. Only two things can guarantee that Israel's leaders will act against Iran. Either someone will come up with a way to guarantee success - and this is not likely; or the government will fall and the nation will elect new leaders who understand their responsibility for Israel's national destiny and are capable of walking the nation through that open door.

August 1, 2008

"Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites"
(Numbers 31:2)
Tammuz 20 5768/July 23, 2008

For thirty nine years Moses led the Israelites through the desert. A man of peace, Moses never looked for a fight with the neighboring nations. Seeking only non-violent means to lead his flock into the promised land of Israel, he, nevertheless, never backed down from a battle imposed upon the children of Israel by hostile enemies. But now, as commanded by G-d, Moses tells his people to gear up for war. This war of vengeance, as Torah calls it, is unprovoked, gratuitous. What's it all about?

The prophets of the G-d of Israel all foretell of a day when nations will beat their swords into plowshares, and mankind will unite in peace. But until that day, Torah teaches us, war, under certain circumstances, can serve a very moral purpose. G-d's war of vengeance against the Midianite corrupters of the Jewish nation was waged, not with bellicose delusions of grandeur, but with a cool, dry aim to be achieved: the destruction of the mortal threat that the Midianites posed to the nation of Israel.

Yet the Israelites had already recovered from the internal chaos caused by the disastrous "policy" of appeasement, assimilation and moral abandon, as exemplified by Zimri, prince of the tribe of Shim'on, and Cozbi the Midianite princess. The Midianite episode was over. So why start up again, just when things seem to have quieted down? Why not just leave well enough alone?

Moses himself provides the answer: Even after the Israelite armies thoroughly defeated the Midianites, slaughtered their five kings, and Bilaam the prophet, Moses was furious with his officers for sparing the lives of the Midianite women. But what harm could the helpless woman cause the children of Israel? Moses is quite emphatic in describing the Midianite women as the source of the scourge: "Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Bilaam, to revolt so as to break faith with HaShem in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of HaShem." (Numbers 31:16)

Today the nation of Israel once again finds itself at war against cruel G-d-less prophets, bloodthirsty dictators, savage warlords, and sadistic blood crazed armies. Even, and especially, women and children have been recruited in Islam's all out war against the G-d of Israel and His people. Israel has time and time again defeated her enemies, only to, at the behest Israel's own bankrupt leadership, spare the enemy the final deathblow, thereby enabling the enemy to strike time and time again.

"We're enlightened, we're moral, we're Jewish, we're not like our enemies," our leaders intone after each deadly attack, wringing their hands for the cameras, while wrapping themselves in immoral, self-serving complacency and helplessness. There is nothing enlightened about giving G-d's land to His sworn enemies. There is nothing moral about allowing a child killer, (recently released terrorist Samir Kuntar), to acquire a college degree, marry two times and father children, all from the confines of an Israeli prison, and then to release him back into the arms of those who swear Israel's destruction. There is nothing Jewish about allowing our enemies to repeatedly and systematically kill Jewish men women and children in Israel, simply because we pride ourselves on being too civilized to take the necessary means to put an end to the killing for once and for all. And yes, by passively acquiescing to the dictates of the Amaleks and Bilaams and Balaks who torment us today, we are, indeed, like our enemies in every way, serving as their enablers and accomplices.

We can't be more Jewish than Moses, more moral than G-d. The utter destruction of the Midianites that enabled Israel to get on with the task at hand - entering the land and building a nation - is what is called for today. Until Israel's leaders cease to rebel against, and accept what Torah has to teach us about vanquishing our enemies without misplaced compassion; until Israel's leaders cease to worship at an altar of self-imposed passivity and helplessness, and cling to the principles of immorality, this great nation, so anxious to fulfill the true words of Torah, will languish in the desert.