Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Israel Matzav: Obama may not get it, but the American people sure do

Obama may not get it, but the American people sure do

President Obama may not understand what a nuclear Iran would mean to the American way of life, but the American people sure do. Bloomberg reports that an overwhelming majority of the American people favor military action against Iran to prevent the Islamist Caliphate from going nuclear.

A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey released today found 61 percent of Americans would support a military strike. Twenty-four percent said it is more important to avoid conflict even if that means Iran will end up building nuclear arms.

The survey by the Washington-based group found 63 percent support direct U.S. negotiations with Iran to push the country to abandon its nuclear program. Still, 64 percent said such efforts won’t succeed. The poll was conducted last week, when Iran held talks with the U.S. and other United Nations powers and agreed to widen discussions on the nuclear dispute.


In the Pew survey, while 78 percent said they would approve of tougher economic sanctions on Iran, 56 percent said they didn’t expect the measures would persuade Iran to drop its nuclear program. The poll was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 4 among 1,500 adults, with an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Poor Barack. You can't fool all of the people all of the time. The problem is that the American people don't control the guns.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama may not get it, but the American people sure do

Israel Matzav: Israel makes electricity from road traffic

Israel makes electricity from road traffic

In a development that could have implications for the world's dependence on Arab oil, an Israeli start-up company has shown that it is possible to make electricity from generators placed beneath a paved road.

Israeli scientists have achieved a breakthrough in alternative energy, by generating electricity from road traffic. The technology was developed by Ra'anana-based start up Innowwattech Ltd., and Israel National Roads Company Ltd. and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology participated in the trial.

Innowwattech says that presents a pioneering invention for "Parasitic Energy harvesting".

The trial proved, for the first time in the world, how Israeli technology can generate electricity from generators installed beneath a road's asphalt layer. The trial was conducted along a ten-meter stretch of Road 4 at the Hefer Junction, north of Hadera. Following the success of the test, it will be expanded to several one-kilometer stretches of the road, one of Israel's main north-south traffic arteries.

While the rest of the world continues to do nothing on the alternative energy front, Israel takes the lead. Want to boycott us? Go right ahead. And go straight back to the 8th century CE.

Israel Matzav: Israel makes electricity from road traffic

Israel Matzav: A license to kill

A license to kill

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens argues that the Goldstone Commission Report has effectively granted Hamas and other terrorist organizations a license to kill.

From the report it is clear to them that establishing military units and rocket launchers in civilian population centers will from now on be an effective military tactic that they can hope to apply with impunity, enjoying at least partial immunity from an Israeli response. That response is likely to be withheld out of concern that it will lead to Israel being charged with committing a war crime.

The report is in effect a license to kill - for Hamas, for Hezbollah, and for terrorists all over the world. No less.


During Operation Defensive Shield the IDF showed that the commonly held wisdom that terrorism could not be defeated by military means was dead wrong.

Whereas Palestinian terrorism could not be deterred, it could be physically eliminated by military means. The terrorists could be pursued into their lairs and destroyed, or brought to justice. Since then, terrorism from Judea and Samaria against Israeli civilians has essentially ceased. Now, after the Goldstone report, that kind of operation is going to be difficult to repeat.

The report is a blow to the war on terror everywhere and for all nations engaged in fighting terrorism. Hopefully, the nations of the world will have the strength and political will to reject the report, and make it clear to all that terror operations carried out from civilian areas are the war crime, and not the attempt to eliminate these attacks. That using civilians as a shield is a war crime.

Israel Matzav: A license to kill

Israel Matzav: Iran's disappearing nuclear scientists

Iran's disappearing nuclear scientists

On Tuesday night, I reported on the disappearance of an Iranian nuclear physicist, Shahram Amiri, who has been missing since May, and who may have been behind the disclosure of the Qom nuclear facility to the Western powers. Real Clear World reports on the disappearance of another Iranian who may be connected to Iran's quest for nuclear energy weapons, a man whose last name is Ardebili - no first name given.

The second case which seems to be worrying Iranian authorities more is the case of a man by the surname of Ardebili. According to Iran's Foreign Ministry, he was a businessman who was recently arrested in Georgia. The story takes a strange twist when according to Iran's Foreign Ministry, subsequent to his arrest, he was handed over to American authorities. In its article, Sharq Al Wasat describes Ardebili as another nuclear scientist. Iranian authorities deny this. However, why would Georgia risk its relations with Iran by arresting a simple businessman, as Iranian authorities describe him? And why would America want him to be passed over to their jurisdiction? Although the power of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not one to be ignored, there is also the possibility that the reason for his arrest could have been more than a case of financial dishonesty.

Which Ardebili is it? Wikipedia may be pointing in a completely different direction that may not be connected with Iran's nuclear program:

Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili (also spelt Ardabili, Persian: عبدالکریم موسوی اردبیلی , born January 28, 1926) [pictured. CiJ] is an Iranian marja and politician.

He is commonly referred to as Mousavi Ardebili.

Mousavi Ardabili was the head of the Judicial system of Iran until the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the first Supreme Leader of Iran. He was followed by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi.

He had also established Mofid University.

Yazdi is reported to be close to Ahmadinejad and is a member of the Guardian Council.

Here are more details on Ardebili:

Born in Ardebil in 1926, AbdolKarim MusaviArdebili began his religious career in 1942 in Qom, where he was a student of Ayatollahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Hosain Borujerdi. In 1948 he went to Najaf, Iraq, to pursue his education further, and he stayed there for nineteen months. In the 1960s in Qom he copublished the journal Maktab-e Islam (School of Islam), and also pursued political activities in his hometown of Ardebil. In 1971 he moved to Tehran to conduct sermons at a mosque. A founder, after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, of the now defunct Islamic Republican Party, MusaviArdebili also established the Bonyad-e Mostazʾafan (Foundation of the Oppressed). He was the prosecutor general from 1980 to 1981 and head of the supreme judicial council and the Supreme Court from 1981 to 1989. In 1988 he was appointed to the Expediency Council. Other positions held by Musavi-Ardebili include his appointment by Khomeini to the constitutional review panel in 1989 and his membership in the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. Generally he has adopted moderate positions in the factional disputes among politicians since the early 1990s and has devoted his attention to a private high school that he founded.

Ardebili also opposed Iran's post-election crackdown.

If this is the Ardebili involved, it sounds more like he would want to flee Iran because of political activity than because of involvement in its nuclear program. On the other hand, this Ardebili really is a prominent Iranian businessman:

Ardebili was born in Tehran in 1952. He acquired an MBA of Oklahoma State University. He joined the oil ministry and in 1985 he became Iran's OPEC governor, a position he has kept until now. Later he was promoted to deputy oil minister.

From 1990 to 1995 Ardebili was Iran's ambassador to Japan. In 1995 he became advisor to the foreign minister, a position he has kept until now. In 1996 he was elected chairman of OPEC's Board of Governors, a position he kept until 1999. In 1997 he was also made senior advisor to the oil minister.

Ardebili has been a member of the board of trustees of the International Bureau of Energy Studies (IBES), and chairman of IBES' Tehran chapter. He was a member of Iran's delegations to the ECO summit meetings in Pakistan in 1995, Turkmenistan in 1996 and 1997, and Kazakhstan in 1998. As Iran's OPEC governor he has been a key member of Iran's delegations to the OPEC ministerial meetings since 1985.

More on this Ardebili here.

While he could be useful to the United States in planning sanctions involving refined petroleum products, this Ardebili also seems to have no connection with Iran's nuclear program. Why Georgia would risk its relations with Iran by turning him over to the United States is a separate question, particularly in light of the Obama administration's treatment of Georgia. Anything I could say on that subject would be completely speculative.

In conclusion, after searching the first 100 Google results for Ardebili, I found only these two Ardebili's who might be the subject of the Real Clear World report. Neither of them shows an apparent connection to Iran's nuclear program. Could I be wrong? Sure. But if this Ardebili is the big fish Real Clear World is describing, he probably should have shown up in my Google search.

Israel Matzav: Iran's disappearing nuclear scientists

Israel Matzav: Dayton troops involved in torture of Hamas member?

Dayton troops involved in torture of Hamas member?

The Guardian reports on the fourth death in Fatah custody in 2009 of a suspected member of Hamas. Torturing their 'Palestinian brothers' is nothing new for either Fatah or Hamas. But between the lines, Rory McCarthy seems to imply that some of the Fatah troops involved in this incident were members of the Dayton Force, 'Palestinian police' trained by US General Keith Dayton (pictured) at American taxpayer expense. Here's McCarthy:

Palestinian human rights groups say the abuse and torture of prisoners by Fatah-led security forces in the West Bank and by Hamas forces in Gaza is all too common. Three detainees have died in Hamas custody in Gaza this year.

The deaths come at a time when a $161m (about £100m) US-led effort is under way in the West Bank to train several battalions of the Palestinian National Security Forces, in preparation for possible future statehood.

At least 15 security officials have been investigated over the death of Amr, according to the Palestinian interior minister, Said Abu Ali. He said several officers were on trial at a military court, but he would not give their names or ranks.

If the Dayton forces weren't involved in this murder, why would they be mentioned like that in the middle of the article?

Isn't this great: A US trained force of torturers and murderers. And if this is how they treat Hamas, imagine how they will treat Jews if given the opportunity.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Dayton troops involved in torture of Hamas member?

Israel Matzav: Britain, France and Israel try to lead the free world

Britain, France and Israel try to lead the free world

With President Obama having abdicated leadership of the free world, Britain, France and Israel are attempting to assume the burden. One place where this is painfully obvious is in confronting Iran over its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The United States has taken a very lackadaisical attitude to forcing Iran to give up its nuclear weapons, and the Brits are said to be furious about it.

“It is important that IAEA inspectors are given access to Qom immediately,” said a senior British government official. “We regret that Iran is delaying this until October 25. We see no reason for a delay. What possible reason can there be for it?”

From Iran's perspective, the reason for the delay is obvious: The three week delay gives Iran the opportunity to scrub the place clean from any signs of its real purpose: weaponization. For the Obama administration, which seeks to avoid confrontation at all costs, that's just fine. But for the rest of the world, which seeks to put an end to the Iranian menace, giving Iran time to destroy the evidence is a lost opportunity to show any doubters that Iran means to weaponize.

Another issue where the same question is being presented is on export of Iran's low enriched uranium (LEU).

The export would allow the LEU to be processed into fuel that helps create medical isotopes for cancer treatment. European diplomats made clear yesterday that Iran would establish confidence with this measure only if the 1,200kg of LEU were to leave the country in one go.

“We don’t think it can be taken out gradually,” said a British diplomat. “The stock of LEU could be put in a container and shipped out at once.”

However, diplomats from France and Israel believe Iran will insist on reducing its stockpile in incremental steps.

“If they insist on removing only 100kg a month of LEU, it hardly builds confidence, especially if they simply go on producing fresh stocks at the same rate of 100kg a month,” said one diplomat.

US officials describe the agreement as not only a temporary confidence-building measure but also as a way to deal with one of the main elements of Iran’s emerging nuclear weapons capability – its stockpile of low enriched uranium.

Again, it's the often passive Europeans taking the lead on confronting Iran rather than the United States. Who ever thought we would see the day when Britain and France would once again be more highly regarded as world leaders than the United States? And it's taken less than nine months of the Obama administration, which still has at least three years to go.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Britain, France and Israel try to lead the free world

Israel Matzav: Will Obama use Goldstone as a club against Israel?

Will Obama use Goldstone as a club against Israel?

Anne Bayefsky raises the specter of the Obama administration using the Goldstone Report as a club against Israel.

The Goldstone report, however, has forced the Obama administration to recognize that the leverage over Israel presented by Council membership is not cost-free. No Israeli administration is going to take a seat at a negotiating table that its "peace partner" has festooned with a sword of Damocles.

So the report presents the president with a dilemma: how to avoid alienating his new friends in the Arab and Muslim world while keeping the peace process percolating? Moreover, sooner or later the Goldstone "rules" of engagement could well be turned against American action in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.

The Obama administration needs to make a policy decision on the Goldstone report quickly. There are likely to be various attempts to insert references to the report at the UN General Assembly this fall.

Goldstone himself can be expected to continue seeking the limelight. In September, he made the unprecedented move of commandeering the UN Headquarters' press room in New York to release his report, even though it had been authorized by a Geneva institution and was due to be considered shortly. Having made recommendations to continue the witch hunt, including at the Security Council, Goldstone is very likely to attempt to turn the report's "implementation" into a permanent meal ticket.

The president, therefore, should be under no illusions. Waxing eloquent about multilateral engagement will not make the report and its progeny all go away - if that was ever his game plan.

Bayefsky goes on to urge friends of Israel to demand that the report be permanently buried.

Unfortunately, it's very unlikely that the Obama administration will bury the report so long as it is in power. What's more likely is that the report will be 'discussed' and that Israel will be urged to make 'concessions' to the 'Palestinians' to moot the 'discussion.' Just like Israel was urged to make 'concessions' to the 'Palestinians' to encourage the Arab states to oppose Iranian nuclear weapons.

From the American perspective, the only catch in this iteration of 'linkage' is that it carries a price for the United States. American troops could potentially be haled before the International Criminal Court just like the 'international community' is now threatening to do to Israeli troops.

Will Obama see the implications beyond his own desire to be the anti-Bush? I have my doubts.

Israel Matzav: Will Obama use Goldstone as a club against Israel?

IDF Battle Prayer

DoubleTapper - IDF Battle Prayer

Love of the Land: Peace Elusive in Jerusalem

Peace Elusive in Jerusalem

P. David Hornik
07 October 09


Khaled Abu Toameh reports that the Palestinian Authority leadership is behind a spate of religiously related violence in Jerusalem these past few days.

On Sunday, amid growing incitement and tension, Israel decided to close down the Temple Mount compound. Soon after about 150 Arabs, apparently from East Jerusalem and northern Israel, threw rocks and bottles at security forces near the Mount, and another 100 Arab men refused to leave the Mount before finally doing so in the evening.

On Monday, with the Israel police closing the Mount to Muslim male worshippers under 50 after finding wheelbarrows filled with rocks there, an Israeli border policeman was moderately wounded when stabbed by a West Bank Palestinian on a bus in northern Jerusalem. Stone-throwing incidents at Israeli worshipers and security personnel continued throughout the day. The events come amid rumors of Jewish plans to “take over the Mount” during the Jewish High Holiday season.

Behind the rumors, claims Toameh, are the upper echelons of the Palestinian Authority—desperate to deflect anger over the PA’s decision not to request a vote on the Goldstone Report at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The vote could have led to the report being discussed at the UN Security Council, a prospect Israel wants badly to avoid. The PA “rescued” Israel under intense pressure from the Obama administration, which appears to have accepted Israel’s argument that heavily penalizing it—as the report seeks to do—over the war in Gaza will make further territorial withdrawals impossible.

The Palestinian reaction, writes Toameh, has been “an unprecedented wave of condemnations and accusations of treason,” and “the violence…in the past few days can be seen in the context of the PA leadership’s attempts to divert attention from what a Palestinian minister described as ‘one of the worst scandals since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.’” Israel indeed arrested one senior Fatah official, Khatem Abed Al-Kadr, on suspicion of inciting the violence.

The situation, then, is rich in irony. Concerned that peace was on the line, the U.S. administration leaned on Israel’s ostensible peace partner not to take what looked like an irredeemably hostile step. The result of even this passive compliance by the PA is that the peace of Jerusalem is once again broken in the holiday season. A reasonable conclusion—that “peace” in the sense of a final settling of differences is nowhere in sight and should not be an active policy goal—remains nowhere near, of course, being adopted by the U.S. administration and others axiomatically committed to the “peace process.”

Apart from what can be found in age-old holidays and autumnal air peace has, indeed, been elusive these days in the real Israel that exists beyond the diplomatic clichés and fantasies. Despite efforts to contain it, the Goldstone Report is already wreaking havoc with Defense Minister Ehud Barak having been advised by Israel’s justice minister last week to cut short a visit to Britain after a Palestinian “human rights” organization tried to get him arrested there. Barak stayed for his visit, and a British court rejected the bid on grounds of his diplomatic immunity.

Vice-Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, however, appears less confident than Barak and has already canceled a visit to Britain next month for fear of being arrested. Yaalon calls it “a campaign whose goal is to delegitimize the state—first via [earlier suits], and then in legal efforts to use the Goldstone report to harm those involved in Operation Cast Lead.” Or as Phyllis Chesler put it, “If this is not dealt with, then Israelis will be walled up into a new kind of ghetto.” An Israeli official legal team is now dealing with a thousand lawsuits facing Israeli military and political leaders around the world.

“Peace” was also disrupted by Hamas’s release, in return for the freeing of 20 female Palestinian security prisoners, of a video of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In it the wan Shalit addresses the Israeli people and his family in Hamas-scripted words. Neither the reality of his over-three-year captivity nor the relentless swirl of media reports about deals involving the freeing of 450, or 1000, terrorists does much to instill serenity.

And when lurking behind it all is the unkindest cut—the U.S. president swallowing Iranian stalling tactics hook, line, and sinker—the peace of Jerusalem indeed seems better relegated to the realm of prayer than to the ongoing march of evil and folly in the political sphere.

Love of the Land: Peace Elusive in Jerusalem

Love of the Land: The U.N. Blood Libel

The U.N. Blood Libel

Posted by Rachel Abrams
The Weekly Standard
07 October 09

This is a must-watch video by Eye on the UN’s Anne Bayefsky of responses to the Goldstone Report by Human Rights Council members Iran, Libya, Yemen, Venezuela, and Sudan. Do not miss her j’accuse moment at the end, nor the disgusting pusillanimity of the Council’s president, Alex Van Meeuwen.

Love of the Land: The U.N. Blood Libel

Love of the Land: The IAEA and Israel

The IAEA and Israel

INSS Insight No. 135,
Ephraim Asculai
05 October 09

Israel was one of the founding members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was established in 1957. At that time there were high hopes for this organization, established as a follow-up to President Eisenhower's vision of Atoms for Peace. It was to be a technical organization, with the objectives to: "seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. It shall ensure, so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose." These objectives are still valid, inscribed in the Statute of the IAEA, but their interpretations have strayed widely. From a highly technical organization the IAEA has turned into a highly political technical organization.

Because of the politicized situation, the IAEA General Conference (GC) was able on September 18, 2009 to pass a resolution that "calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards." The resolution did not call on India and Pakistan, members of the same IAEA region and two countries that carried out underground nuclear tests, to accede to the NPT, and there was no resolution reprimanding Iran for its continuous non-adherence to the requests of the IAEA for information on its suspect nuclear program. Interestingly, the vote on the "Israeli Resolution" was almost evenly split and was passed by less than a majority of the GC attendees (49 voted for, 45, including most of the Western countries, against, and 16 abstained). There is also an annual GC resolution discussing "The Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East." The much discussed Iranian proposal for a resolution prohibiting attacks on nuclear installations was apparently withdrawn before it came to a vote.

Because of the "regional system" employed in most of the UN family organizations, Israel was never given a seat on the IAEA's Board of Governors (BOG). According to this system, the seats on the BOG are allocated to geographic regions and nominated by the regional states. Israel geographically belongs to the Middle East and South Asia region, which also includes India and Pakistan. Israel, not being accepted by the others as a member of its region, is excluded from exercising its inherent right. This is nothing new, and in some of the organizations Israel found its place as a member of the European Region, in some cases of a Western group, and oddly enough, also at one time in the sports region of Oceania. This also did damage to the IAEA, e.g., when Israel, because of this discrimination, strongly and successfully opposed giving the task of hosting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to the IAEA. In the text of the CTBT, the place of Israel is assured.

The first time Israel was singled out at the IAEA was in 1981, following the destruction of the Iraqi reactor that was under construction at Tuwaitha. At that time, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on Israel to adhere to the NPT. This was followed by a similar IAEA GC resolution. In comparison, in 1998, following the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, there was a strong GC resolution condemning the tests and calling on all states to adhere to the NPT. India and Pakistan were never mentioned by name. The tests were described as having taken place in South Asia (the Middle East was not included in the definition of the region).

Politics clearly dominates the issue. Egypt, the traditional leader of campaigns against Israel in international bodies, likely prefers that Israel not declare whether it has or does not have nuclear weapons. Rather, Egypt wants to make sure it will not have these in the future. Egypt well knows that the route to WMD disarmament is not through the formal adherence to treaties. Upholding treaties is possible only when it is in the basic interest of the treaty parties to do so. With Iraq and Libya having been caught red-handed, and with Iran rushing towards nuclear weapons, in spite of these countries being parties to the NPT, the situation in the Middle East is not very conducive towards regional nuclear disarmament. Is it reasonable to demand that Israel abandon its years'-long policy of opacity? Even Egypt knows that the chances of this happening in the present state of affairs are very low. Thus the latest IAEA resolution is a part of the ongoing haranguing of Israel.

In an additional deviation from the stated objectives of the IAEA, the outgoing director general of the IAEA took it upon himself to further politicize his appointment (he is designated in the Statute as the "chief administrative officer of the Agency") in voicing his opinion time and again that Israel must adhere to the NPT.

In this political context, Israel will probably not take these resolutions, statements, and other politically discriminating actions seriously. According to the preamble to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, "the principles of free consent and of good faith…are universally recognized." The free consent of Israel will not come about because of resolutions. Israel's actions will be decided internally, after due consideration and due process.

The importance of the IAEA lies not in its political actions, but in its immense technical capabilities. It helps countries all over the globe in the application of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes. It plays an important role in the application of safeguards, albeit limited in many cases. On the other hand, the IAEA suffered gravely because of the political overtones in its Iran reports. The GC did the IAEA a disservice in its discriminatory resolution on Israel. If it wants to be taken seriously, the IAEA must change its ways. It is up to the incoming director general to do this.

Love of the Land: The IAEA and Israel

Love of the Land: Michael Oren on Holocaust Denial and the Goldstone Report

Michael Oren on Holocaust Denial and the Goldstone Report

Jennifer Rubin
07 October 09

Michael Oren’s must-read column is both a defense of his prime minister’s UN speech (as a necessary rebuttal to Holocaust denial) and an insightful explanation as to why the Goldstone report is so insidious. And, yes, the two are very much related.

On Bibi Netanyahu’s UN speech, Oren takes exception to those in Israel who didn’t care for the notion that its prime minister should stoop to, in effect, debating the “Iranian thug”:

Perhaps because they were raised in a society suffused with Holocaust consciousness, some Israelis might be unaware of the extent of ignorance of the Final Solution throughout the world, even in the United States, and especially among youth. Confronted with the enormity of the horror, many young people today–much like American Jewish leaders in 1942–react with incredulousness, rendering them susceptible to denial. Millions of Muslims, moreover, subscribe to the syllogism: If Israel was created by Europeans out of Holocaust guilt, and the Holocaust never occurred, then Israel’s existence is unjust. Where better than the General Assembly, a body established in response to World War II and affording a global audience, to reaffirm the veracity of an event now so widely questioned if not refuted?

But it is in taking on the Goldstone report that Oren provides the most critical analysis. He explains that the report ignored Hamas’s effort to deploy women and children as human shields (in order to maximize casualties and their own vicious propaganda campaign) and instead “handpicked Hamas witnesses, several of them senior commanders disguised as civilians, and uncritically accepted their testimony. Inexorably, the report, which presumed Israel’s guilt, condemned the Jewish state for crimes against humanity and for mounting a premeditated campaign against Gaza civilians.” This is, he explains, worse than Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust-denial act:

The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves. If a country can be pummeled by thousands of rockets and still not be justified in protecting its inhabitants, then at issue is not the methods by which that country survives but whether it can survive at all. But more insidiously, the report does not only hamstring Israel; it portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents–as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed.

And that brings us once again to the timid and equivocating U.S. response to the Goldstone report. Surely someone in the administration must understand Oren’s central point — that the report strikes at the Jewish state’s right to exist and defend itself. Or is it that all facts and all positions are subject to the Obama split-the-baby school of foreign policy? “Well, yes, the Goldstone report is bad, but we don’t want to aggravate the Palestinians” is the formulation that seems to have prevailed. Forget for a moment that it is not the “Palestinians” who might be most aggrieved by a forceful condemnation of the Goldstone report, but Hamas. (We are still in favor of undermining and delegitimizing Hamas, right? Maybe not so much.)

The Goldstone report may come before the Security Council today. If so, we will see how the U.S. reacts and whether we finally get a fulsome response. It nevertheless remains deeply disturbing that the U.S. has tried to slide by with saying and doing as little as possible on this latest round of Israel-bashing. It is part of a disastrous and morally offensive strategy — distance ourselves from Israel, downplay threats to the Jewish state, ingratiate ourselves with Israel’s foes, and fudge historical events to fit the desired narrative (i.e., both sides are equally to blame). Let’s see if the Obama team has learned anything from the collapse of its settlement gambit (the most vivid example of this approach) and can step back from the cliff of moral equivalence.

Love of the Land: Michael Oren on Holocaust Denial and the Goldstone Report

Love of the Land: Obama's new leverage - against its ally

Obama's new leverage - against its ally

Anne Bayefsky
06 October 09

On September 29, Richard Goldstone presented his report on the Gaza conflict to an enraptured UN Human Rights Council. The Council, in which the Organization of the Islamic Conference holds the balance of power, commissioned his report. Goldstone promoted his 575-page smear campaign against the State of Israel by parading his Jewishness and then analogizing his work to his prior efforts to combat apartheid.

At its core, the report repeats the ancient blood libel against the Jewish people. Or as Goldstone casts this abomination for a modern audience, Israel "deliberately…terrorize[d] a civilian population;" Israeli "violence against civilians w[as] part of a deliberate policy."

The report claims to be a human rights document but never mentions the racist, genocidal intent of the enemy which Israel finally confronted after years of restraint. It invents laws of war which never mention the "right of self-defense," and it relies on testimonies from witnesses speaking under circumstances that gave rise to "a fear of reprisals" from Hamas should they have dared to tell the truth.

After the report was presented, the Council resembled an assemblage of vultures moving in on their prey. But instead of adopting a resolution intended to implement the report's recommendations, on October 1, the matter was tabled until the following Council session in March 2010.

REPORTS INDICATE that the American administration told the Palestinian Authority to back off. So the delay is not an indication that the hysterical Goldstone report went too far even for the UN. After all, this lead human rights body is populated by the likes of China and Saudi Arabia.

What is less clear, however, is what the breathing space will mean. Does President Obama plan to use the opportunity to extract concessions from Israel in exchange for putting the Goldstone report permanently to rest? Or does he appreciate that there can be no peace progress so long as Israel's alleged "peace" partners are bent on gutting its right of self-defense, and the phrase "living side-by-side in peace and security" is meant to apply to a party of one? Initial signs are worrying.

The Bush administration refused to lend the Human Rights Council any credibility. While aware of the fact that the Council had adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all other 191 UN member states combined, the Obama administration reversed course. The United States joined the Council and took its place as a full member for the first time at this latest session.

Given the Council's preoccupation with Israel, participating and lending it legitimacy handed the Obama administration new leverage - against its ally. In the past, Canada insisted that anti-Israel resolutions be brought to a vote, rather than railroaded through by "consensus," and courageously voted against.

But when the United States came on board, Canada rotated off the Council, thus creating a dynamic in which Israel became dependent on US proclivities.

The Goldstone report, however, has forced the Obama administration to recognize that the leverage over Israel presented by Council membership is not cost-free. No Israeli administration is going to take a seat at a negotiating table that its "peace partner" has festooned with a sword of Damocles.

So the report presents the president with a dilemma: how to avoid alienating his new friends in the Arab and Muslim world while keeping the peace process percolating? Moreover, sooner or later the Goldstone "rules" of engagement could well be turned against American action in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.

The Obama administration needs to make a policy decision on the Goldstone report quickly. There are likely to be various attempts to insert references to the report at the UN General Assembly this fall.

Goldstone himself can be expected to continue seeking the limelight. In September, he made the unprecedented move of commandeering the UN Headquarters' press room in New York to release his report, even though it had been authorized by a Geneva institution and was due to be considered shortly. Having made recommendations to continue the witch hunt, including at the Security Council, Goldstone is very likely to attempt to turn the report's "implementation" into a permanent meal ticket.

The president, therefore, should be under no illusions. Waxing eloquent about multilateral engagement will not make the report and its progeny all go away - if that was ever his game plan.

UNFORTUNATELY, IT appears that the president may have a different agenda. Speaking at the Council in the presence of Goldstone, the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner said that the United States was ready "to engage in discussion of this report," and the US takes Goldstone's allegations against Israel "seriously." Posner was well aware that the report found that violence against Palestinian civilians was part of a deliberate Israeli policy, and yet could only manage to respond: "The report makes negative inferences about the intentions of Israeli officials… on the basis of a limited factual record." The only problem with referring the allegations to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court, according to Posner, was that "then the role of the Human Rights Council would be dramatically different."

In language similar to Goldstone's trashing of the Israeli judicial system, Posner asked the Council to adopt a resolution telling "Israel to investigate and address allegations through a credible domestic process." It therefore appears that the Goldstone report will continue to fester and that administration officials may be preparing to use its threatened revival as a bargaining chip.

Now is the time for concerned Americans and members of Congress to demand that this scandalous report be buried permanently and immediately, and that it not become a weapon in behind-the-scenes struggles between Israel and the United States on vital issues. The right of every democracy to defend itself against a fanatical enemy who is prepared to put its own people in harm's way depends on it.

The writer is a professor at Touro College, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the editor of

Love of the Land: Obama's new leverage - against its ally

Love of the Land: The Israeli Challenge

The Israeli Challenge

Will Bibi follow in footsteps of Begin or Peres in face of Iranian threat?

Yoram Ettinger
07 October 09

The options of deterrence and retaliation are not available in face of the Iranian terror regime, which sacrificed hundreds of thousands of its people during the 1980-88 war against Iraq. The only option available is that of prevention and preemption.

The Jewish state cannot rely on the US to prevent Iran's nuclearization, especially not on a US that opposes the military option and embraces the options of engagement and sanctions, which have played into the hands of Iran during the last seven years.

In 1981, the heads of Israel's Mossad and military intelligence, then Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Opposition Head Shimon Peres lobbied Prime Minister Menachem Begin against the bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor. They contended that the chance of success was negligible and that the prospect of watching the pilots dragged beheaded in the streets of Baghdad was higher than welcoming the pilots back in Israel. They warned that the operation would cause a deep rift between Israel and the US with devastating political, economic and social consequences. They projected the collapse of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, an all out Muslim war on Israel – without US support – and a significant deterioration of the personal security of Jews around the globe. However, Prime Minister Begin demonstrated a pre-requisite to leadership, asserting that the cost of inaction (a nuclear Iraq) would dwarf the cost of action. He sacrificed short-term convenience on the altar of long-term national security.

In 1981, the US did not fully appreciate the severity of Iraq's nuclear threat. In 2009, the US is fully aware of Iran's nuclear threat. Would Prime Minister Netanyahu follow in the footsteps of Begin, or Peres, in face of a clear and present lethal, nuclear danger?

An Iranian nuclear cloud, hovering above Israel, would not require the launching a nuclear bomb, in order to wreck domestic and external confidence in the future of the Jewish state. Aliya (immigration of Jews) would come to a halt, emigration would surge dramatically, Israel's credit rating and growth projection would collapse, and oversea investors would stay away, causing economic, social and security devastation. Therefore, the Jewish state cannot await a smoking nuclear gun in the hand of Teheran; the Jewish state must prevent the nuclear gun from reaching Teheran's hand.

Ultimate leadership test
In 2009, Iran's nuclear infrastructure benefits from defensive means, which are superior to Iraq's 1981 defense capabilities: proliferation throughout Iran, deep and heavily fortified facilities and most-advanced Russian air defense systems. But, in 2009, Israel's offensive capabilities have improved geometrically, compared with 1981: destruction, precision, penetration and the capability to launch missiles away from the range of enemy radar. In 1981, Israel had only one-time offensive option, which was based on untested modifications of the F-15 and F-16. In 2009, Israel benefits from a number of offensive options, which are based on proved military systems and on superior human and satellite intelligence.

In 2009, the destruction of a few critical nuclear installations would paralyze, or substantially delay, Iran's nuclear effort.

In 1981, the American public and Congress shared the relative-indifference of the Free World toward Iraq's nuclear threat. In 2009, the American public and Congress are fully cognizant of Iran's nuclear threat to US soldiers in the Gulf and in the Indian Ocean, to the US mainland and to Israel. They push President Obama to adopt a more hawkish policy on Iran and they identify with Israel's right of self-defense. Would Israel leverage such attitude by the American public and its representatives in both chambers of Congress, their traditional solid support of the Jewish state and the power of Congress to initiate and stop the supply of sophisticated military systems, in order to enhance Israeli capabilities to prevent the nuclearization of Iran?

A unilateral military Israeli action in 1967 (Six-Day War) and in 1981 (bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor) triggered painful short-term condemnations and sanctions, but accorded the Jewish state with long-term strategic respect. The destruction of Egypt's pan-Arab clout and Iraq's nuclear capabilities reduced Middle East turbulence, dealt a blow to the USSR, bolstered the stability of Saudi Arabia and other pro-US vulnerable regimes, advanced US interests and upgraded Israel's posture of deterrence.

The elimination of Iran's nuclear threat would trigger similar results, in addition to a possible shower of Iranian, Hezbollah and Hamas missiles on Israeli population centers, accompanied by reinforced PLO terrorism. As severe as the cost of a military offensive would be, it would be dwarfed by the cost of avoiding military offensive: A nuclear attack on the Jewish state.

The Iranian nuclear challenge constitutes – for Israel's prime minister, cabinet and Knesset members - the ultimate test of leadership. Will they follow pragmatism, driven by tenacity and the long-term survival interest of the Jewish state, or will they demonstrate "pragmatism," driven by vacillation and short-term needs, which has characterized all Israeli governments since 1992, thus eroding the foundation of the Jewish state.

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, expert on Middle East and US affairs, Executive Director of "Second Thought"

Love of the Land: The Israeli Challenge

Love of the Land: The Old "Aksa is in Danger" Trick (2000)

The Old "Aksa is in Danger" Trick (2000)

Dry Bones cartoon (2000): Sharon visits Holy Site, Palestinians Riot!

In September of 2000, Arik Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A place "Holy to Christians, Moslems, and Jews". The visit seemed to spark wild rumors of an attack on Al Aksa. Al Aksa is the Mosque built (between 709-715 C.E.) over the ruins of the temple built by Solomon almost 3,000 years ago and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., and later of the second temple, razed by the Romans in 70 C.E..

The irrational hysteria built, rioting spread, and ballooned into the grotesque violence called "the Al Aksa Intifada."

Months later that we discovered that the whole operation had been carefully planned in advance.

As I write this commentary, in February of 2007, wild rumors of an attack on Al Aksa are once again being spread. The hysteria is, once again, building rapidly.

- - - - - - - - - -

Maxwell Smart was the funny American Secret Agent in the 1960's"Get Smart" TV comedy. Each week Max would fall into some outlandishly improbable trap. Then, showing his professionalism, he'd explain that he had fallen for "The Old Roller Skate on the Stairway Trick" or "The Old Bomb in the Pizza Trick" or whatever. Funny enough, but without fail, the real belly laugh came when poor Max would get tricked again ...the same way!

As I read of the new rumors of a Jewish attack on Al Aksa, in my mind I hear the voice of Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent number 86.

What he's saying is: "It's the Old 'Aksa is in Danger' Trick, ...Again."

Maxwell Smart: Agent 86

Love of the Land: The Old "Aksa is in Danger" Trick (2000)

Love of the Land: Freedman in the Guardian: Pro-Temple Mount Also for the Jews

Freedman in the Guardian: Pro-Temple Mount Also for the Jews

Yisrael Medad
My Right Word
06 October 09

This from a avowed sympathizer of the other side:

Meting out violence against worshippers planning to pray at Judaism's holiest site, as occurred several times during the last week, is a disgraceful way to demonstrate against the Israeli authorities, and the sooner Palestinian leaders condemn the aggression, the better for all parties concerned. Letting off steam in such a fashion might soothe the sense of injured pride felt by many on the Palestinian street, as well as score cheap political points among their more incendiary leaders, but it does not mitigate the negative effects of such a base response by the rioters.

The Temple Mount is, arguably, even more important to Jews than it is to Muslims, and as such there is a heavy onus on both sides to tread carefully when attempting to share the site. Anything that sets off a spark in the tinderbox atmosphere which perennially surrounds the compound will have long-lasting ramifications that will continue well after the teargas has cleared and the rock-throwers have been dispersed. By reacting as they did, the Palestinian protesters have done immeasurable damage to their wider national cause...

Radicals from the settler movement are adept at hijacking religious occasions and turning them into highly charged, political rallies – and when such instances occur, the Israeli authorities ought to stand in their path rather than aid and abet extremists in their provocation.

However, for Palestinians to demand that Jews not be allowed to hold services on the Temple Mount, especially over the Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur period, is a step too far, and demonstrates a level of intolerance that no Israeli should have to put up with. Love or hate one another, Jews and Muslims living in Israel and the occupied territories know full well that the contentious locations of many of their holy sites necessitate at least a minimal degree of co-operation.

Did you read that?

for Palestinians to demand that Jews not be allowed to hold services on the Temple Mount, especially over the Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur period, is a step too far

And this:

...officials such as Erekat and his Jordanian counterparts play into the hands of the Israeli right, who will use the incidents as proof that not only are certain elements of Palestinian society untameable, but that their backers both at home and abroad turn a blind eye to their misdeeds and offer no hope of calming such tense standoffs whenever they occur.

Well, nice to know the Guardian is a place where the truth occasionally can be found.

Love of the Land: Freedman in the Guardian: Pro-Temple Mount Also for the Jews

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Shir Ha-Ma'alot #26

Shir Ha-Ma'alot #26


The Holy One Blessed Be He makes peace between Michael, the angel of water, and Gavriel, the angel of fire. They are joined together, the water does not extinguish the fire, and the fire does not ignite the water. Just as there is peace in the wars between the angels and between the supreme ideas, so too will there be peace between the Jews below, who hold different opinions. Our Sages discuss the importance of peace hundreds of times. The intention is always peace among Jews. We should be willing to devote our central efforts for this goal.
Originally posted by Torat HaRav Aviner

The Torah Revolution: Tibi

The Torah Revolution: Tibi

Roads that Light Themselves

Roads that Light Themselves

I've added a new tag to the list of keywords this blog uses (see to the right): Innovation. Instead of occasionally telling about an Israeli invention as a way of scoffing at the boycotters, I've decided to tell about them as part of what Israel is. A positive narrative, not a reacting negative one.

Here's today's offering: roads that generate electricity. Someone who knows more than I about physics and engineering told me recently that there may be a downside to this invention: vehicles traveling on such roads may find that their use of fuel is a bit higher; then again, he said, perhaps not. If the energy being harnessed by the roads is otherwise simply being lost, the new invention is pure gain. (Well, pure gain minus the cost of tampering with existing roads. You might want to buy stock in your nearby asphalt company, or in steamrollers. But not in steamrollers from Caterpillar - they're boycotted).

Update: an Israeli chemist has just won the Nobel Prize. Ada Yonath, from the Wiezman Institute. I can't tell you what it is she got the prize for, but apparently it's something to do with antibiotics, and is part of an arc of research which is already saving lives and will save more as it gets built upon. Time to divest from the Wiezman Institute, don't you think?
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Life in Israel: IAF 669 Unit rescues stranded hiker from Wadi Kelt (video)

IAF 669 Unit rescues stranded hiker from Wadi Kelt (video)

Yesterday, the Israeli Air Force Unit 669 Search and Rescue team had to rescue a hiker who got injured and stuck in Wadi Kelt. Another hiker caught the rescue on video, and here is the really cool footage...

Life in Israel: IAF 669 Unit rescues stranded hiker from Wadi Kelt (video)

No Difference Between the U.N. and the Nazis

No Difference Between the U.N. and the Nazis

Successor to the Nazis

Tishrei 13, 5770, 01 October 09 03:36
by Prof. Paul Eidelberg


On November 7, 1975, the United Nations endowed the PLO with observer status in the General Assembly. Three days later, the Assembly adopted Resolution 3379 which states that "Zionism is Racism." A profound and deadly irony underlies these resolutions.
Recall that the UN was created in 1945 as a reaction to Nazism, which had precipitated World War II and the Holocaust. However, in 1975, when the PLO was entrenched in the General Assembly, it became the successor to the Nazis. That resolution was a tacit declaration of war against Israel and the Jewish people. The UN opened its doors to the PLO and thereby legitimized a worldwide terrorist organization committed to Israel's destruction.

The PLO should be viewed as the spearhead of the UN. It was only after the PLO was given observer status that one proposed resolution after another, hitherto quashed, was passed condemning Israel and questioning its legitimacy. Since the Arabs could not defeat Israel on the battlefield, they used the PLO and its presence in the UN to defame and destroy the "Zionist entity".

The balance of power in the UN's Human Rights Council is held by the Organization of the Islamic Conference - a consortium of despotic Islamic regimes that contradicts the UN Charter. The OIC, Alex Grobman points out, "adamantly maintains that the definition of terrorism never include 'armed struggle for liberation and self-determination,' so that when Arab terrorists blow up Jewish men, women and children in synagogues, cafes, shopping malls, pizza ships, buses, and discotheques, it is acceptable and justifiable."
When Oriana Fallaci questioned Yasser Arafat about whether he was seeking peace, he replied: "We don't want peace, we want victory. Peace for us means Israel's destruction and nothing else.... We shall fight on to victory. Even for decades, for generations, if necessary." This accords with the jihadi ethos - and Islam has the largest bloc of states in the UN.

As Bernard Lewis points out, there is no bloc of Christian or Buddhist states that meets and decides on a common course of action at the UN. In contrast, "Some fifty-five Muslim governments, including monarchies and republics, conservatives and revolutionaries, practitioners of capitalism and disciples of various kinds of socialism, friends and enemies of the United States, and exponents of a whole spectrum of shades of neutrality, have built up an elaborate apparatus of international consultation and even, on some occasions, of cooperation. They hold regular high-level conferences, and, despite differences of structure, ideology, and policy, [they] have achieved a significant measure of agreement and common action."

Given the power of the Islamic bloc in the UN and Islam's worldwide network of mosques preaching jihad and hatred of the Western civilization in general, and of America and Israel in particular, it is not only absurd and comic, but also self-demeaning and self-destructive for the US and Israel to remain in the UN.

In 1975, Senator Patrick Moynihan, US Ambassador to the United Nations, argued that the US should remain in opposition to the UN. In contrast, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said the UN was not worth saving and that the US should "let it sink." By remaining in the UN, both the US and Israel undermine what is most needed in this nihilistic age, moral clarity.

Moral clarity is especially needed with respect to Islam, which Bat Ye'or called a "culture of hate," but which, for that reason, may be called a "culture of evil." What else can be said of Iran, the emerging superpower of the Middle East, that preaches "death to America" and "death to Israel"? What else can be said of Saudi Arabia, which finances terrorist groups to implement these maledictions? The UN has become a generator of this evil, which far outweighs any good some obscure UN agency may serve to relieve poverty and disease in Africa, where it has actually contributed to inter-tribal conflict.
Consider the United Nations Relief and Works Administration. UNRWA has perpetuated the stagnation of Arabs in refugee camps that have become seedbeds of terrorism, and which PLO propaganda exploits to magnify hatred of Israel.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has collaborated with Hizbullah. Armed with thousands of missiles from Iran conveyed via Syria, Hizbullah has gained control of Lebanon. Instead of serving the cause of peace, UNIFIL actually contributed to Hizbullah's attack on Israel and the Second Lebanon War.

Hence, the UN, in the name of peace, is pursuing the genocidal cause of Nazism, the destruction of Israel.

I see no practical difference between the UN and the PLO vis-a-vis Israel. When Arafat admitted to Oriana Fallaci that "peace for us means Israel's destruction and nothing else," he was making explicit what is implicit in the UN's "Zionism is Racism" resolution. What else does this declaration of war against Zionism mean if not the elimination of Israel? The elimination of Israel would be the "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Problem."

Although the "Zionism is Racism" resolution was rescinded by the UN, rescinded were only words on a piece of paper. The genocidal effect of that resolution remains. The UN has not promoted peace; it has not promoted collective security; it has not promoted or protected freedom and human rights; in short, the UN is the enemy of the very ends for which it was originally established. In short, the UN is a noisome and noxious failure.
Hence, no intellectually honest and upright nation should remain in this den of iniquity. Of all nations, Israel should take the lead in quitting this organization, whose anti-Israel resolutions have anti-Semitic or Nazi-like motives.

What does Israel have to lose by taking this step? Israel will not forfeit its legitimacy. The UN has repeatedly made nonsense of Israel's legitimacy by denying its right to defend itself against PLO terrorists. This is precisely the effect of the UN Goldstone Commission Report, which denounced Israel's retaliation against Hamas, a terrorist group whose charter, like that of the PLO, calls for Israel's annihilation.

Moreover, by ruling that the definition of terrorism cannot be applied to groups engaged in armed struggle for self-determination, the UN places Hamas on the same level as Israel. Hence, the UN is steeped not in moral equivalence, but in moral reversal, which makes nonsense of the legitimacy of any UN member and therefore of the UN itself. Furthermore, the UN's countless resolutions condemning Israel, while never condemning Israel's Arab assailants, is not only a manifestation of moral reversal, but also a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For example:

Article 1: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Article 3: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

Article 30: "Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein."

What would Israel gain by quitting the UN and calling for the establishment of a United Nations of democratic states committed to peace, prosperity, and human dignity - a UN that would help poor nations achieve these ends? Israel will then be true to its historic mission: it will not only promote moral clarity and serve as a beacon of light to mankind; it will also help alleviate human suffering by placing its extraordinary scientific and medical knowledge at the service of humanity without being obstructed by UN-generated anti-Semitism.
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Originally posted by B'NAI ELIM (Sons of the Mighty)



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading for Simchas Torah, Israel Sat. Oct 10, Diaspora Sun. Oct 11:
VE-ZOS HABRACHAH, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
Additional reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3
Maftir: Numbers 29:35-30:1
Haftara: Joshua 1:1-18


After the succession of stern rebukes to Israel in the preceding parshahs, we finally come to the conclusion of the Torah, which is all goodness and blessing. VE-ZOS HABRACHAH: "And this is the blessing with which Moses, man of G-d, blessed the Children of Israel before his death" (Deut. 33:1).

The last of the Torah's fifty-three parshahs thus completes the circle to make the perfect garden: 53 is the gematria of the Hebrew word GAN = "garden". The Torah began with the creation of Adam, recounting how he was placed in the Garden of Eden, only to fall and be driven out. Similarly Abraham, Isaac and Jacob planted themselves in the Land of Israel, which is intended to be a garden of a land. But their children fell into exile in Egypt, and the glorious redemption and the Giving of the Torah at Sinai were followed by the making of the golden calf and the other sins in the wilderness. The purpose of all Moses' labors instilling G-d's law into the hearts of the people of Israel was to bring about the complete rectification of Adam's sin in order to enable his children to come back into the garden and enjoy goodness and blessing in their land forever.

The Kabbalah explains that G-d brought about the creation through the concealment of His infinite light and perfect unity, leaving a seemingly separate, finite realm of lack and imperfection. This provides man with an arena of challenge where he can earn higher levels of connection with G-d through his own efforts. The flaw in the creation is man's rebellious streak. When he succumbs to it, he intensifies the darkness and evil in himself and the surrounding world. But he is also vested with the power to repent and to overcome the evil. In tracing how man became separated from G-d and teaching him the pathways he must follow in order to reconnect, the Torah provides the complete remedy for the whole of creation.

Having recounted man's sins and the resulting tribulations -- imperfection and disunity -- and having set forth the code of law through which man repairs himself and the world, the Torah ends with rectification and unity. "And this is the blessing. And there was a King in Yeshurun when the heads of the people were GATHERED and the tribes of Israel TOGETHER" (Deut. 33 v. 1 & v. 5). All the different pieces finally come together again and everything returns to unity. The name Yeshurun refers to Israel in the aspect of Yosher, straightness and rectification. VE-ZOS HABRACHAH speaks of the greatness of Israel and their destiny -- each tribe individually and all together collectively. "Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you?. a nation saved through HaShem" (ibid. v. 29). Nothing in the world can stand between G-d and Israel. Not only was He revealed to them at Sinai. He is even revealed to them out of Se'ir and Paran -- Edom, Ishmael and the other forces of concealment: "HaShem came from Sinai, from Seir He shone to them." (v. 2). Through the power of the Torah, even that which seems furthest from G-d can be brought back and reconnected with Him.

Although the twelve tribes of Israel are all unique, each with their different qualities -- multiplicity -- they all share a common destiny: to lead the world back to G-d -- unity. Thus it says of Zevulun and Issachar, "They will call nations to the Mountain [= the Temple Mount], they will slaughter offerings of righteousness." (v. 19). Of Joseph it says, "He will gore the nations, TOGETHER even the ends of the earth" (v. 18). Finally, all the scattered sparks will be gathered back together again. In the end, after all their struggles and suffering -- "And Israel will dwell securely, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of corn and wine. Indeed, his heavens will drop down dew" (v. 28).

Everything is in its proper place. Everything has been rectified. Moses' mission has been fulfilled, and as a mortal man, he too must die. We cry when we read of the death of Moses -- we cry over our own mortality. Yet we must know that eventually we have to die, for only through the death of the self can we be merged with the All-encompassing One. There are no exceptions to G-d's immutable law, not even in the case of Moses, who was the greatest of all the prophets. For failing to sanctify G-d one time in the wilderness (Numbers 20:1-13), Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Yet selflessly, he brought the Children of Israel -- his children -- to the borders of the land, and all that was left for them to do was to enter and make their conquest.

Moses comes to the end, yet it is not the end, because life continues, and where the older generation leave off, the new generation pick up and carry on. After the death of the old comes the birth of the new. It is never the end, because as soon as we reach the end of the Torah, we immediately go back to the beginning and start all over again! This very continuity is the Joy of the Torah, SIMCHAS TORAH, the day on which we complete the annual cycle of the Torah and begin again. Just as G-d is Eyn Sof -- NO END -- so, the Torah has no end. When you reach the end of the cycle, the circle is complete and you start again from the beginning. For the end is seamlessly attached to the beginning, and the circle goes around and around.

Thus on SIMCHAS TORAH the Children of Israel take all the Torah scrolls out of the ark and dance around and around the reader's desk in circle after circle, to indicate the endlessness of the Torah. You might have thought it would be impossible for finite man to have any connection with the Infinite G-d. Yet in His compassion, G-d has given us a way to connect with Him: through cycle after cycle of Torah study. Through each circle and each cycle, we expand the horizons of our knowledge of G-d, drawing down His all-encompassing light around and inside ourselves, becoming steadily more and more suffused with His unity, love and peace.

May we have the merit of studying the entire Torah time after time, cycle after cycle, until "the earth will be full of the knowledge of HaShem as the waters cover the seas" (Isaiah 11:9).

Shabbat Shalom!!! Chag Same'ach!!!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel
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