Friday, 19 March 2010

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Sabbath music video

This song by Mordechai Ben David is from the Sabbath morning prayers.

We don't usually get to sing it in my synagogue. You see the minyan (group) in which I pray every day (weekday and Sabbath and Holiday - except for about 2-3 times a year I oversleep) reaches the high point of the service exactly at sunrise. When we hit this point in the service, we're usually about 12 minutes from sunrise. So while we sing the next one, we usually just say the words to this one.

But it's a beautiful song.

Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

Israel Matzav: Sabbath music video

Israel Matzav: Smart diplomacy

Smart diplomacy

Glenn Reynolds' smart diplomacy (in reaction to this story):

If I were the Israelis, not only would I bomb Iran, but I’d do so in such a way as to create as much trouble for China, Russia, Europe and the United States as possible. Are the Israelis less obnoxious than me? I guess we’ll find out soon enough . . . .

Thanks Glenn. I like your idea. We'll keep you posted.


Israel Matzav: Smart diplomacy

Israel Matzav: 78 MK's support letter urging Netanyahu to stand up to Obama

78 MK's support letter urging Netanyahu to stand up to Obama

78 of Israel's 120 Knesset members are supporting a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu urging him to stand up to President Obama and continue building in Jerusalem. The MK's come from across the political spectrum.

The letter, written in advance of the premier’s departure for the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, called on Netanyahu to stand strong regarding Israeli sovereignty in the Jewish neighborhoods.

Four dozen MKs signed on to the brief letter, stating that “we, the undersigned members of Knesset, who represent different approaches and world-views regarding the desirable permanent-status arrangement, are unified behind the policy of all Israeli governments to this day, regarding our attachment to the historical and national areas of Jerusalem and the right of the State of Israel to actualize our control in its Jewish neighborhoods in all parts of the city – neighborhoods that constitute an inseparable part of Jerusalem that will remain in our hands in any future permanent status arrangement.

“We support the continuation of building and development in all of the neighborhoods without any restriction or delay,” the letter affirmed.

“The importance of the letter is to strengthen Israel through actualizing its authority over our capital, Jerusalem,” said MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima), who initiated the missive. “This is not meant to oppose our greatest friend, the United States of America, but rather to present through the letter the most basic common consensus in Israeli society, which is the force behind and the key to an agreement on any peace process.”

Schneller said that Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin’s office would present the letter to Netanyahu before the premier left for the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington next week.

Schneller said that 78 of the 120 members of Knesset had already expressed their support for the missive, and that the only parties that had not signed on to the letter or expressed support were the three Arab parties and Meretz.

Thirty of those who did express support – including Rivlin and ministers from Likud, Labor, Israel Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi, Shas and UTJ – were prohibited, under Knesset guidelines, from signing on to any petition, due to their positions within the government. Rivlin did, however, include a letter of his own, as did Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima).

Although Labor ministers expressed support for the letter, and at least one deputy minister was poised to sign it late Thursday evening, none of the party’s more left-leaning rank-and-file MKs signed. Several members of Kadima also signed.

Heh. That will at least show Obama that we're united against his positions on Jerusalem.

Israel Matzav: 78 MK's support letter urging Netanyahu to stand up to Obama

Israel Matzav: The one man who still thinks Barack Obama is too pro-Israel

The one man who still thinks Barack Obama is too pro-Israel

Yes, there's still one man out there who believes that Barack Obama's policies are too pro-Israel (Hat Tip: Allahpundit via Twitter).

"There's no doubt that in general the United States government has been much more attuned to the sensitivities of the Israelis and has yielded excessively to the circumstances in the Holy Land as Israel has confiscated several lands within Palestine,"


"I hope that in the future we'll see the United States taking a much more balanced position and doing everything possible to implement a two-state solution" that establishes an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.


He criticized the Jewish nation's blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday and encouraged Israel to halt new construction of settlements in Palestinian territories.

Still, he said, the Middle East peace process is "not a hopeless cause" and said that brokering a deal has been his top priority since he lost re-election in 1980.

"I think with a strong and determined commitment to the two-state solution ... that peace is still on the table. But it's going to require a dramatic change in the policy of the present government of Israel," he said.

Here's looking forward to Barack Obama making similarly outrageous statements as an ex-President. The sooner the better.

Israel Matzav: The one man who still thinks Barack Obama is too pro-Israel

Israel Matzav: The 'quartet's outrageous joint statement

The 'quartet's outrageous joint statement

The 'quartet' has issued a joint statement on the 'proximity talks' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Within minutes of its release, the statement was being dismissed by many here in Israel as 'outrageous.'

The proximity talks are an important step toward the resumption, without pre-conditions, of direct bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues as previously agreed by the parties. The Quartet believes these negotiations should lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties within 24 months, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. The Quartet reiterates that Arab-Israeli peace and the establishment of a peaceful state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of all the states in the region, and of the international community. In this regard, the Quartet calls on all states to support dialogue between the parties.

That's certainly a mouthful of pre-conditions for talks that were supposed to be undertaken 'without preconditions.' I counted five broad pre-conditions. Why bother to talk when the result has already been pre-determined? But wait. It gets worse.

The Quartet reiterates its call on Israel and the Palestinians to act on the basis of international law and on their previous agreements and obligations – in particular adherence to the Roadmap, irrespective of reciprocity

Of course, Israel only accepted the 'road map' based on reciprocity. How can you have an agreement between two parties where one party is obligated to the agreement's terms and the other is not?And the first stage of the 'road map' - the one the 'quartet' is now calling on Israel to waive - is for the 'Palestinians' to dismantle terror organizations.

to promote an environment conducive to successful negotiations and re-affirms that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.

So does that mean that 'Palestinians' cannot build anywhere in 'east' Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria? Of course not. Like every other requirement of the 'road map,' the only unilateral actions that are going to be scrutinized are Israel's.

The Quartet urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001, and to refrain from demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem.

That's the all-inclusive list of 'unilateral actions.' 'Settlement activity' is solely activity undertaken by Israel and is an expandable definition to include whatever the 'quartet' wants it to include. How's that for drafting skills?

The Quartet also calls on both sides to observe calm and restraint and to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric especially in areas of cultural and religious sensitivity.

I'm almost surprised they didn't come right out and say no opening synagogues in the 'West Bank' and 'east' Jerusalem and no reminding the World that any site located in Judea and Samaria or 'east' Jerusalem has any Jewish connection.

Noting the significant progress on security achieved by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the Quartet calls on the Palestinian Authority to continue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight violent extremism and to end incitement. The Quartet emphasizes the need to assist the Palestinian Authority in building its law enforcement capacity.

In other words, keep giving the 'Palestinians' Dayton-trained 'police' who can be used as an army when the right time comes. But they ignore things like the decision to name a square in Ramallah after mass murderer Dalal al-Mughrabi and the daily Jew-hatred that's shown to 'Palestinian' children on 'Palestinian' television.

Recalling that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community, the Quartet underscores that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties and condemns the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The Quartet re-affirms its intention to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground. The Quartet recognizes the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its status for people around the world.

But the 'Palestinians' planning and building new housing units in Jerusalem doesn't contradict the city's standing as a permanent status issue, because, after all, we all know that the foreordained outcome of the 'negotiations' will be to redivide Jerusalem anyway.

Recalling that transformative change on the ground is integral to peace, the Quartet continues to support the Palestinian Authority ‘s plan of August 2009 for building the Palestinian state within 24 months as a demonstration of Palestinians’ serious commitment to an independent state that provides good governance, opportunity, justice, and security for the Palestinian people from the first day that it is established and is a responsible neighbor to all states in the region.

The 'Palestinians' commitment to declaring a 'state' in 24 months (which is already six months into effect) regardless of whether they are ready for it shows a serious commitment to... what?

I skipped a little bit here.

The Quartet further calls on all states in the region and in the wider international community to match the Palestinian commitment to state-building by contributing immediate, concrete, and sustained support for the Palestinian Authority and, in the regard, looks forward to the upcoming meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) to coordinate international support for the Palestinian state building effort.

They've committed to making a 'state' so GIVE THEM MONEY. Swiss bank account numbers available on request.

The Quartet is deeply concerned by the continuing deterioration in Gaza, including the humanitarian and human rights situation of the civilian population, and stresses the urgency of a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis. The Quartet calls for a solution that addresses Israel’s legitimate security concerns, including an end to weapons smuggling into Gaza; promotes Palestinian unity based on the PLO commitments and the re-unification of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority; and ensures the opening of the crossings to allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods, and persons to and from Gaza, consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

There is no 'humanitarian' situation in Gaza - Gaza gets more aid than Haiti. The 'human rights' situation in Gaza is entirely Hamas' fault. And the call for 'Palestinian unity' (which means between Fatah and Hamas) is truly outrageous.

I skipped a little more.

The Quartet reiterates its call for the immediate release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

But of course not his 'immediate and unconditional' release.

Read the whole thing.

Could it have been more one-sided? What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: The 'quartet's outrageous joint statement

Israel Matzav: Krauthammer on Obama's one-sidedness

Krauthammer on Obama's one-sidedness

Charles Krauthemmer on Joe Biden's 'humiliation' and President Obumbler's one-sided reaction.

So why this astonishing one-sidedness? Because Obama likes appeasing enemies while beating up on allies -- therefore Israel shouldn't take it personally (according to Robert Kagan)? Because Obama wants to bring down the current Israeli coalition government (according to Jeffrey Goldberg)?

Or is it because Obama fancies himself the historic redeemer whose irresistible charisma will heal the breach between Christianity and Islam or, if you will, between the post-imperial West and the Muslim world -- and has little patience for this pesky Jewish state that brazenly insists on its right to exist, and even more brazenly on permitting Jews to live in its ancient, historical and now present capital?

Who knows? Perhaps we should ask those Obama acolytes who assured the 63 percent of Americans who support Israel -- at least 97 percent of those supporters, mind you, are non-Jews -- about candidate Obama's abiding commitment to Israel.

Obama has an abiding commitment to Israel: To Israel's destruction that is.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Krauthammer on Obama's one-sidedness

Love of the Land: Obama's Rage and the Palestinians' 'Days of Rage'

Obama's Rage and the Palestinians' 'Days of Rage'

Marty Peretz
The New Republic
18 March '10
Posted before Shabbat

They are not unconnected. They are not unconnected at all.

Now, presumably the president didn't want to provoke the rage of the Palestinians. (Although, then again, he might just have anticipated it.) But Palestinian rage is very easy to provoke. Snap your fingers and, there, you have it. You don't even have to rent a mob. It comes free will, so to speak.

The fact is that Obama did more than snap his fingers. He sent out very top members of his administration to beat up on Israel and they did. First, Joe Biden who had the sense to protect himself and his soul by speaking his inner feelings about Israel. Then, Hillary Clinton, who may or may not have a soul, launched her shrill assault on both Bibi Netanyahu and Israel's ingratitude for her favors. Last but not least (and actually a true instance of effrontery) was the dispatching of David Axelrod, (who in 2004 was behind John Edwards, "Bill Clinton without the sex") who knows nothing about foreign policy, but maybe being a Jewboy thinks he is more than credentialed to chastise the Jewish state. The fact is that he is an ignoramus on these matters. An "insult," indeed.

What exactly did the Obami think? Maybe that the president would beat up on Israel and the Palestinians would fall into line and modify their demands. My guess, to be entirely frank, is that Obama does not think they have any significant demands to modify, let along give up. And, if I'm right which admittedly I may not be, my counsel to the Israelis would be to stall until the next president comes along. James Baker said, "Fuck the Jews...they don't vote for us anyway." Well, Jews do vote Democrats and did vote for Obama, more than any other voters but black voters (who may not come out to vote so massively this time.) Israel is not all that matters to voting Jews. But it does matter. (Someone at breakfast this morning suggested to me that Obama is like Col. Lindbergh. See Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. But, unlike Lindbergh, whose presidential ambitions collapsed, Obama's succeded.)

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Obama's Rage and the Palestinians' 'Days of Rage'

Love of the Land: How Obama created the Biden incident

How Obama created the Biden incident

Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post
19 March '10

Why did President Obama choose to turn a gaffe into a crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations?

And a gaffe it was: the announcement by a bureaucrat in Israel's Interior Ministry of a housing expansion in a Jewish neighborhood in north Jerusalem. The timing could not have been worse: Vice President Biden was visiting, Jerusalem is a touchy subject, and you don't bring up touchy subjects that might embarrass an honored guest.

But it was no more than a gaffe. It was certainly not a policy change, let alone a betrayal. The neighborhood is in Jerusalem, and the 2009 Netanyahu-Obama agreement was for a 10-month freeze on West Bank settlements excluding Jerusalem.

Nor was the offense intentional. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not know about this move -- step four in a seven-step approval process for construction that, at best, will not even start for two to three years.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: How Obama created the Biden incident

Love of the Land: The Other Side of the “Peace” Process

The Other Side of the “Peace” Process

Jonathan Tobin
18 March '10

While most of the world rattles on about how Israel’s impudent decision to build apartments for Jews in an existing Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem will harm the peace process, the real obstacles to peace staged yet another demonstration of Middle East realities. In the last two days, Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets into southern Israel. Two landed near the town of Sderot in Southern Israel on Wednesday. One adult and a child suffered from shock from that blast. Then today, a rocket hit nearby Moshav Netiv Ha’asara, killing a worker from Thailand. Thirty such rockets have landed in southern Israel since the beginning of 2010.

Apologists for the Hamas terrorists, who run Gaza as a private fiefdom, were quick to blame the attacks on splinter groups beyond the control of the supposedly responsible thugs of Hamas. Two such groups claimed responsibility. One is an al-Qaeda offshoot, and the other is none other than the al-Asqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the terrorist wing of the supposedly moderate and peace-loving Fatah Party that controls the West Bank.

The rockets were an appropriate welcome to the Dame Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign-policy official, who was in Gaza for a visit. Though Ashton won’t meet with Hamas officials, her trip to Gaza is seen as helping the ongoing campaign to lift the limited blockade of the terrorist-run enclave even though Israel allows food and medical supplies into the Strip, so there is no humanitarian crisis. Those who would like to see this Hamasistan freed from all constraints say that the “humanitarian” issues should take precedence over “politics.” But their humanitarianism takes no notice of Israelis who still live under the constant threat of terrorist missile attacks. Nor do they think Hamas should be forced to free kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for an end to the blockade.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The Other Side of the “Peace” Process

Elder of Ziyon: The secrets of Dubai

Elder of Ziyon: The secrets of Dubai

Elder of Ziyon: More from Jack Shepard the scammer (updated)

Elder of Ziyon: More from Jack Shepard the scammer (updated)

Elder of Ziyon: This week's scoops and exclusives at EoZ

Elder of Ziyon: This week's scoops and exclusives at EoZ

Elder of Ziyon: Too funny: Fake congressman now scamming Egypt

Elder of Ziyon: Too funny: Fake congressman now scamming Egypt

Again: Gaza Rocket Slams into Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Again: Gaza Rocket Slams into Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Report: Saudi Arabia Seeks Strike on Iran - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Report: Saudi Arabia Seeks Strike on Iran - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Lieberman: Yes to Talks, No to Blackmail - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Lieberman: Yes to Talks, No to Blackmail - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Fatah Terrorist gets 10 Years in Prison - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Fatah Terrorist gets 10 Years in Prison - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

IAF Hits Gaza Terror Tunnels - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

IAF Hits Gaza Terror Tunnels - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

US Freezes Assets of Gaza Hamas Bank, TV Station - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

US Freezes Assets of Gaza Hamas Bank, TV Station - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas's Hateful Puppet Show - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas's Hateful Puppet Show - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab news roundup 3-19-10

PalArab news roundup 3-19-10

It looks like the PA canceled a 2003 decree by Yasir Arafat that established the Supreme Council for Islamic Courts. The leader of this council is none other than Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, the person who daily incites against Israel and who is most responsible for the recent riots in Jerusalem. This story needs to be followed.

The Palestinian Arab patent office recorded 55 patents in 2009, of which only 13 were for inventions actually created by Palestinian Arabs. (In 2008, Israel received 1166 patents.)

A Hamas site brags about a Molotov cocktail thrown at Jews in the West Bank on Wednesday night. the site refers to the driver and passengers as "rapists." In 2009, there were nearly 300 firebomb attacks and over 22,000 stoning attacks on Israeli roads by Arabs, according to Arutz-7.

Hamas claims that Jordan has been cooling relations with the terror group, and actively discouraging Hamas supporters in Jordan.

Elder of Ziyon: PalArab news roundup 3-19-10

Israel’s New Enemy: America? « the Jerusalem Connection Blog

Israel’s New Enemy: America?

By Cal Thomas

“Enemy: “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.” —

Despite Vice President Joe Biden’s recent pledge of unswerving fidelity to Israel during his recent visit there, the rhetoric and pressure directed by the Obama administration against the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East more accurately resembles the behavior of an enemy. Increasingly under this administration — but also present in Republican administrations — America’s policy toward Israel is full of “harmful designs” and “antagonistic activities.” The intentions may not be deliberate, but the outcome would lead to the same injurious end.

The latest pretext for putting more pressure on Israel to do more in the “pursuit of peace” comes from a decision by Israel’s Interior Ministry to construct 1,600 new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which is located in “disputed territory.” To the Palestinians and their Arab and Muslim neighbors, most especially Iran and Syria, all of Israel is “disputed territory.” It is difficult to understand why the U.S. State Department thinks not building a few houses is going to dissuade Israel’s enemies from wanting less than they want now.

The failure of this formula has been evident for decades, but U.S. policy continues to employ it, always with the same results. Whether Israel’s concessions have been unilateral — most recently with its abandonment of the Gaza Strip, which predictably led to terrorist attacks from that territory — or negotiated deals which the Palestinians have never lived up to, Israel always ends up getting its pocket picked. Then, the United States, the U.N., Europe and Russia demand that it put more valuables in its pocket so the thieves can continue their thievery.

A Washington Post headline illustrates the deteriorating relationship between the two nations, “U.S. Pushes Netanyahu to Accept 3 Demands.” There is no similar demand that the Palestinians and especially Hamas, which has said it will agree to nothing less than the eradication of Israel, should accept anything, not even the minimal acceptance of Israel’s right to exist. Meanwhile, Hamas has called on Palestinians to launch a third “intifada.”

After apologizing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the “offense” of the housing announcement during Biden’s visit, Netanyahu reminded the Israeli parliament that Israel has been building in east Jerusalem for four decades. He said, “The building of those Jewish neighborhoods in no way hurt the Arabs of East Jerusalem and did not come at their expense.”

That doesn’t matter when the wrong formula is employed. In this twisted thinking, whatever Israel does is unjustified so long as the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim side is unhappy. What part of annihilation does the State Department not understand? What State is blind to is that the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” as it is erroneously labeled, is part of a worldwide religious war against all things Jewish, Christian, secular, modern and Western.

Making demands of only one side before serious negotiations begin, especially on matters of Jerusalem, so-called “refugees” and borders, effectively pressures Israel into making concessions on all three, which would severely damage its prospects for continued existence.

How about first making these demands of the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim side: (1) A pledge of no more war with Israel, or terrorism; 2) a declaration by a powerful Islamic cleric that their God no longer requires them to kill people who don’t believe as they do; and 3) no more teaching in Palestinian textbooks and in their media that Jews created AIDS and descend from monkeys and pigs?

After those three demands are met, the State Department can start making demands of Israel. Not before. Anything less puts America on the wrong side, along with Israel’s (and America’s) enemies. Or hasn’t State noticed that we share the same enemies?

Israel’s New Enemy: America? « the Jerusalem Connection Blog

Elder of Ziyon: The making of a new Arab lie

Elder of Ziyon: The making of a new Arab lie

Israel Matzav: US sanctions al-Aqsa Television

US sanctions al-Aqsa Television

The United States has imposed sanctions on Hamas' al-Aqsa Television network.

On March 18, 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against two Hamas-linked organizations in Gaza – Al-Aqsa TV and the Islamic National Bank (INB). The actions, taken pursuant to Executive Order 13224, freeze any assets that Al-Aqsa TV or INB hold under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with them. The targets of the sanctions include terrorists and terrorist organizations, among others.

The Treasury Department stated that Al-Aqsa TV is financed and controlled by Hamas, serving as a primary Hamas media outlet that airs programs "designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood."

What took so long? Al-Aqsa broadcasts Tomorrow's Pioneers (the children's show with the cartoon character terrorists) among other things.

Israel Matzav: US sanctions al-Aqsa Television

Love of the Land: Should Jordan's King Get A Free Pass When He Slams Israel?

Should Jordan's King Get A Free Pass When He Slams Israel?

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Weekly Commentary
18 March '10

Why should Jordan's King Abdullah II get a free pass when he slams Israel with criticism that grossly misrepresents the situation in Jerusalem?

"Jerusalem is a red line and the world should not be silent about Israel's attempts to get rid of Jerusalem's Arabs residents, Muslims or Christians," the king told visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton this week, claiming that Israel seeks to "change Jerusalem's identity and threaten holy sites there."

King Abdullah knows damn well that this is baloney.

Israel isn't clearing out Arabs from Jerusalem. If anything, Arabs from the West Bank are trying to move into Jerusalem in the hopes that they will be able to remain in territory under Israeli control if and when a Palestinian state is formed.

Jordan knows that Israel doesn't threaten the holy sites of Islam or Christianity.

In point of fact, King Abdullah knows that crowd capacity of the Temple Mount for Moslem prayer was dramatically increased under Israeli rule with the huge expanded underground Marawani Mosque in Solomon's Stables.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Should Jordan's King Get A Free Pass When He Slams Israel?

Love of the Land: Hurting our friends, helping our enemies

Hurting our friends, helping our enemies
17 March '10

A friend called last night. He’d read my recent posts about the current unpleasantness between Israel and the US. He reminded me that he was very pro-Israel (he is) but wanted me to understand that the announcement of building in East Jerusalem was a misstep. “It was a big slap in the face, a huge insult. Netanyahu needs to control these guys.”

I told him that I thought the US was looking for an excuse for a spat with Israel and would have found one anyway. “OK,” he said, “but it was still a slap in the face.”

Not exactly. This morning in a fine example of l’esprit d’escalier, I came up with this analogy:

An acquaintance falls in love with my wife. One day he sees me kissing her. “How could you insult me like that?” he asks.

What is insulting here is the long-standing refusal of the US to recognize Israel’s rights in Jerusalem. That is the ongoing slap in the face, not Israel’s exercise of its rights. The relationship of Israel with Jerusalem is essential, and to borrow a phrase the Obama people like, it is an ‘unbreakable bond’. It is a consensus issue among almost all Israelis; a marriage is not a bad comparison.

What does it mean if Israel apologizes and accepts the US demands?

It means that Israel agrees that its rights to build in East Jerusalem — even in a Jewish neighborhood right next to the Green Line (it was part of “no man’s land” from 1948-67) — are limited, which implies that it is not fully sovereign there.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Hurting our friends, helping our enemies

Israel Matzav: Petraeus is not anti-Israel

Petraeus is not anti-Israel

Max Boot quotes General David Petraeus' own words to refute what has become a Leftist meme this week. The meme is that Petraeus blames Israel for exposing American troops to danger. The meme is a lie.

The only time Israel came up was when Senator McCain asked Petraeus for his views. Here is what Petraeus said, in its entirety:

We keep a very close eye on what goes on there [in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip], because of the impact that it has, obviously, on that part of CENTCOM that is the Arab world, if you will. And in fact, we’ve urged at various times that this is a critical component. It’s one reason, again, we invite Senator Mitchell to brief all of the different conferences that we host, and seek to support him in any way that we can when he’s in the Central Command part of the region, just as we support Lieutenant General Dayton, who is supporting the training of the Palestinian security forces from a location that is in the CENTCOM AOR as well.

And in fact, although some staff members have, various times, and I have discussed and — you know, asking for the Palestinian territories or something like that to be added to — we have never — I have never made that a formal recommendation for the Unified Command Plan, and that was not in what I submitted this year. Nor have I sent a memo to the White House on any of this — which some of this was in the press, so I welcome the opportunity to point that out.

Again, clearly, the tensions, the issues and so forth have an enormous effect. They set the strategic context within which we operate in the Central Command area of responsibility. My thrust has generally been, literally, just to say — to encourage that process that can indeed get that recognition that you talked about, and indeed get a sense of progress moving forward in the overall peace process, because of the effect that it has on particularly what I think you would term the moderate governments in our area. And that really is about the extent of our involvement in that, Senator.

So there you have it. General Petraeus obviously doesn’t see the Israeli-Arab “peace process” as a top issue for his command, because he didn’t even raise it in his opening statement. When he was pressed on it, he made a fairly anodyne statement about the need to encourage negotiations to help moderate Arab regimes. That’s it. He didn’t say that all settlements had to be stopped or that Israel is to blame for the lack of progress in negotiations. And he definitely didn’t say that the administration should engineer a crisis in Israeli-U.S. relations in order to end the construction of new housing for Jews in East Jerusalem. In fact, his view, as I mentioned in my earlier post, is that settlements are only “one of many issues, among which also is the unwillingness to recognize Israel and the unwillingness to confront the extremists who threaten Israelis.”

And he doesn't seem to favor replacing Mitchell either. So much for that claim.

The origin of the Petraeus story was a YNet column in Hebrew that was reproduced by Laura Rozen. See what you get by listening to the Leftist Israeli media.

Israel Matzav: Petraeus is not anti-Israel

Israel Matzav: IDF soldiers escape lynching in Hebron

IDF soldiers escape lynching in Hebron

At least four IDF soldiers were nearly lynched in Hebron on Wednesday night.

Yesterday evening several soldiers from the Shimshon Battalion were on their way from Hevron to Kiryat Arba to carrying out physical fitness exercises. They lost their way and wandered into the PA controlled section of Hevron. The soldiers asked Arabs on the street for directions, and they sent them deeper into the Arab neighborhoods of Hebron where dozens of Arabs were waiting for them. The mob of Arabs jumped the soldiers and began beating them.

One of the soldiers fled and was located later by the army. Three other soldiers were lightly wounded and were evacuated to hospitals in Jerusalem.

Someone needs to examine IDF security procedures. This is absurd.

At least in Ramallah ten years ago, we were talking about two reservists on their way to duty. This is IDF soldiers going from one base to another. If you're going to expect them to go from Hebron to Kiryat Arba, at least equip them properly. Better yet, transport them in a secure manner.

Israel Matzav: IDF soldiers escape lynching in Hebron

Israel Matzav: Hmmm....


Two Israeli airforce jets were seen flying in Hungarian airspace, according to the Hungarian state media. "The planes approached the airport in Budapest, but did not land there."

On their way someplace else? But where? Hmmm....

The picture is an IAF F-15I.

Israel Matzav: Hmmm....

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu's confidant?

Netanyahu's confidant?

Laura Rozen cites Amos Harel, who implies that one of the problems in the Netanyahu - Obama relationship is that Netanyahu has no confidant who has an "in" at the White house.

The current upset is not solely the result of the antipathy between Netanyahu and Obama. While it is true that Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Netanyau's predecessors, benefited from an excellent personal relationship with then-U.S. president George W. Bush, they also had other advantages.

Over the years Israel has utilized the skills of officials with a direct line to the White House. 0For example, Dov Weisglass had Condoleezza Rice; Yoram Turbowitz had Steven Hadley. When our leaders' actions stalled the diplomatic process, there was always a diligent aide around to step in and set the gears back into motion. In Netanyahu's bureau there is no such person.

Although he surrounds himself with American expatriates (with whom, according to testimonies, he prefers to engage in English), the current prime minister has no real point man with Obama.

One would think that someone in the Obama administration would have thought of this already and tried to build up a relationship with Yitzchak Molcho or Mike Herzog, who are Netanyahu's equivalent of Dov Weisglass. Harel goes on to suggest that the problem is with George Mitchell who views himself as an errand boy to carry bridging proposals and suggests that Mitchell ought to be replaced. Rozen thinks Harel is angling to get Dennis Ross the position.

While Israelis would regard Ross as a neutral party, and would probably be more open to engaging with him than they are with Mitchell, I don't believe that Ross would make any difference substantively. This is the wrong 'peace process' at the wrong time.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu's confidant?

Israel Matzav: When you read a poll coming from Israel, you must consider the source

When you read a poll coming from Israel, you must consider the source

The headline screams: "Most Israelis see Obama as fair and friendly" (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Oh really? But last summer 6% and then 4% of Israelis saw Obama as pro-Israel, and he certainly has not gotten more pro-Israel since then. And this week, 62% of Israelis saw Obama as responsible for the crisis in relations between Israel and the United States. And even Haaretz, which not only commissioned but acted as the pollster in the headlined poll, admits that a plurality of 48%-41% of Israelis wants to keep building in the capital, even at the expense of a rift with the United States.

So what gives?

What gives is that like in many other countries in the world, poll results here are influenced by who commissions the polls and how they phrase the questions (you will recall that I made similar comments about a poll on Thursday that said that 49% of Israelis felt we should stop building in Judea and Samaria as part of a peace deal). Haaretz leans hard Left - I have referred to it many times on this blog as Israel's 'Hebrew Palestinian daily.' By contrast, Maagar Mochot, which does polls for Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) leans hard Right. Their poll finds Israelis favoring continued construction in Jerusalem by 62-26%, with only 9% saying Obama is pro-Israel (42% pro-Arab and 34% neutral).

And the Israel Radio poll I cited on Thursday, which was done by Shvakim Panorama (probably to the Right of Haaretz but not by much) also found that 74% of Israelis felt the US reaction to the Ramat Shlomo announcement was exaggerated.

By the way, last summer's polls that found Obama's popularity at 4 and 6% were Smith polls done on behalf of the Jerusalem Post, which is usually regarded as centrist.

This is a country in which polling is not always accurate. Respondents often deceive the pollsters. Some respondents - like me - slam down the phone (otherwise you get called nearly every day because Israel is very politically active and there's a relatively small population). This is a country whose Dewey beats Truman moment happened in 1996 (when Netanyahu was 'good for the Jews' and defeated Shimon Peres six months after Yitzchak Rabin's assassination - a shocking result at the time) and not in 1948. Take the polls with a large grain of salt.

How do Israelis really feel about Obama? You'd probably need to average a lot of polls to tell for sure, but my guess is that the single digit numbers are much closer to how Israelis feel about Obama than the 'sweeping majority' (Laura Rozen says it's 70%) that Haaretz claims feels that Obama is 'friendly and fair.'

And yes, I have my biases too.

Israel Matzav: When you read a poll coming from Israel, you must consider the source

Israel Matzav: The Obama danger zone

The Obama danger zone

This post comes from an extremely anti-Israel blog written by a former BBC Reporter. But he just might be onto something here (Hat Tip: Dave L).

He knew something that all American presidents know about when serious initiatives for peace in the Middle East can and cannot be taken. (I know what that something is because one of them told me a few months after events had denied him a second term in office). Any American president has only two windows of opportunity to break or try to break the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on Congress on matters to do with Israel/Palestine.

The first window is during the first nine months of his first term because after that the soliciting of funds for the mid-term elections begins. (Presidents don’t have to worry on their own account about funds for the mid-term elections, but with their approach no president can do or say anything that would cost his party seats in Congress. In Obama’s case that is going to be an extremely critical consideration because of the Democrats’ loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat, on 19 January 2010, to a Republican who had demonstrated his ability to read from Zionism’s script during the campaigning).

The second window of opportunity is the last year of his second term if he has one. In that year, because he can’t run for a third term, no president has a personal need for election campaign funds or organised votes.

Intuitively, that analysis seems correct.

All the more reason to start working now to defeat Obama in 2012.

Israel Matzav: The Obama danger zone

Love of the Land: Israel, the United States, and the Military Option against Iran

Israel, the United States, and the Military Option against Iran

Zaki Shalom/Jonathan Schachter
INSS Insight No. 169
18 March '10

In a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on February 26, 2010, Defense Minister Ehud Barak made extensive reference to Iran, its attempts to obtain nuclear capabilities, and the policy ramifications for the major powers and Israel towards Iran. Despite a certain measure of opacity in his address, Barak did make some unequivocal statements of interest. These express the situation assessment prevalent in Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear goal and the gaps between Israel and the American administration and their implications from Israel’s perspective. What follows are highlights:

a. Iran is a threat challenging not only Israel but also the entire international community. It is hard to imagine a stable world order with a nuclear Iran. Iran is attempting to “defy, deceive, and deter” the entire world with its nuclear ambitions and gain time in order to attain military nuclear capabilities.

b. Iran’s objective is not merely the construction of a “Manhattan project-like crude nuclear device.” Its goal is to skip to the “second or second and a half generation” of nuclear warheads that can be mounted on surface-to-surface missiles with ranges covering not only Israel but also Moscow and Paris.

c. A nuclear Iran will lead to the elimination of the non-proliferation regime. Saudi Arabia, and perhaps another state or two in the region, will also feel obligated to acquire nuclear capabilities of their own. At a later stage this might lead to third-tier dictators acting in the same manner.

d. The model Iran looks to is that of Pakistan rather than that of North Korea. The meaning of this distinction is almost certainly that Iran strives for a solid nuclear capability based on a large number of nuclear warheads and the capacity for launching them at remote targets rather than on single launchers for purposes of show.

e. These circumstances obligate adoption of a clear policy toward Iran before it manages to realize its nuclear ambitions. Such a policy must be “intensive, concrete and conclusive.”

f. There is real activity aimed at instituting sanctions against Iran. The severity of these sanctions – from “targeted," to "hurting," "crippling," and "paralyzing" – remains unclear. Israel prefers the most severe option.

g. Israel will not deny its own responsibility or enter into a cycle of self-delusion and turn a blind eye to what is happening right before it. Therefore, it recommends not removing any option – i.e., the military option – from the table.

Barak’s statements suggest a gap between US and Israeli perspectives on Iran’s nuclear activity, in terms of its significance and severity. The United States, so it seems from Barak’s address, can live with a nuclear Iran – despite its declarations to the contrary. Israel, by contrast, cannot accept such a reality. In any event, Israel must first and foremost see to its own existential interests, even to the point of not coordinating its every move with the American administration.

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: Israel, the United States, and the Military Option against Iran

Love of the Land: Ouch! It's my Jewish Identity

Ouch! It's my Jewish Identity!

Moshe Feiglin
Jewish Leadership Movement
28 Adar, 5770 (3 March)

Translated from the NRG website

"Israel's problem is its public relations," people reason as they attempt to explain how it is that Israel is always at the receiving end of the world's criticism and hatred. "Israel simply doesn't know how to highlight all of its positive points."

But the problem is not simply lack of budget for public relations, as the Foreign Ministry would like us to believe. There is also no dearth of eloquent Israelis and fluent English speakers who could take Israel's case to the world. The problem is that instead of explaining its own position, Israel explains the position of its enemies.

When is the last time that you heard an official Israeli representative simply state that this is our Land – without ifs, ands and buts? Simply, "The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish Nation, period." Has the prime minister made such a statement? Any minister? Perhaps an ambassador?

All the torrents of claims against Israel can be distilled to this one simple question: Whose land is this, anyway? But here's the caveat: It is impossible to say that this is our Land without falling back on our Jewish foundations. To avoid that unthinkable eventuality, Israel trades it ultimate playing card for paltry claims that its soldiers are the most humane in the world – and endangers their lives to prove it - and that it is the most democratic regime in the region.

The world, though, doesn't really care if Israel's armed forces are humane. What determines if you are right or wrong is if the ground under their feet belongs to you or not. The most courteous intruder is still an intruder who belongs in jail.

The refusal to admit that this is our Land - or in broader terms, to re-connect as a state to our Jewish identity - has brought Israel to its diplomatic knees. Netanyahu's senior ministers have arrest warrants waiting for them in Israel's capitals and the assassins of arch-terrorist Mabhouh are wanted all over the world while mass-murderer Ahmadinijad is invited to lecture at Columbia University. The modern-day Amalek does not tell the world that he is humane. He explains that he is right. The world accepts this as fact because Israel's leadership plays straight into his hands.

Just like the first Amalek, who attacked Israel when the entire world was afraid to initiate a fight with the nation that had just defeated the Egyptian empire, so Ahmadinijad publicly declares his intention to destroy Israel and proceeds with his technical preparations basically unhindered.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Ouch! It's my Jewish Identity!

Love of the Land: BDS Flames Out in Davis

BDS Flames Out in Davis

Divest This!
17 March '10

On Monday evening, the forces of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) were handed a major defeat when the Davis Food Co-op, located in Davis California, turned down demands by BDS activists to put a boycott of Israeli goods to a Co-op wide vote.

While this story may not be big enough to hit the national press, the details surrounding the decision make this as significant an event in the continuing annals of BDS failure as the Presbyterian Church’s 2006 decision to abandon divestment altogether (a decision which changed the threat level of BDS from “potential issue” to “serious loser”).

As backdrop, the Davis Food Co-op is a highly successful, member-owned cooperative with a nearly forty year history and over 9000 member-owners. Given the nature of the organization, the institution takes understandable pride in its progressive values and responsiveness to members needs, connections to the community that have contributed to its decades of success.

Sadly, it was these very qualities that made the organization a target for the local branch of the BDS movement, a movement whose two major tactics involve: (1) dressing up their mission of de-legitimization and demonization in a progressive/human-rights vocabulary; and (2) abusing the openness of organizations like the Co-op for their own narrow, political ends.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: BDS Flames Out in Davis

Elder of Ziyon: Obama the actor

Obama the actor

When a mid-level government official in Israel insults the White House without the knowledge of the Israeli prime minister, it is a major international incident that is escalated by the administration even after a series of apologies.

When the Palestinian Authority insults the US Vice President directly, it gets papered over.

From David Bedein at The Bulletin:

The Bulletin has learned that Vice President Biden, now on an official visit to the Middle East, made a direct request that the P.A. cancel the ceremony that honors a terrorist.

And as soon as Biden was back on the plane, the ceremony was held anyway, with officials from the ruling Fatah party in attendance. (To distinguish between the PA and Fatah is an exercise in splitting hairs. Mahmoud Abbas is the leader of Fatah as well as the PA.)

People are wondering why Israel and other US allies are being publicly treated worse than Iran, Russia and Arab thugocracies by the Obama administration.

It is not because the US is aligned more with Arab interests, although the president is making worrying moves in that direction.

The reason is simply because President Obama fears confrontation with those whom he does not understand.

He (thinks he) knows that Great Britain and Israel are not going to make a stink, because they value their relationship with the US. Above all, he knows that they are not going to do anything rash.

But to Obama, the Second and Third Worlds are still a mystery. It is filled with scary characters who are not guaranteed to behave rationally. Deep down he knows that they don't think nor act like us. Yet to admit that fact aloud sounds too close to bigotry in a mindset where everyone must be fundamentally the same. It is a taboo subject.

I once described this dichotomy as "Your Crazy Uncle Ned:" Geopolitics is partially based on the idea that Arabs and Muslims are completely irrational. Instead of treating them like normal adults who need to take responsibility for their actions, we treat them like your crazy Uncle Ned who makes a scene every Thanksgiving. We smile nervously, say whatever we need to say to calm him down for now, lock up the liquor cabinet and hope he doesn't drive into a crowd. And when he acts sort-of rationally, we fall all over ourselves complimenting him on not setting the table on fire.

This is Obama's thought process towards Arabs and Muslims in a nutshell - but it is only half the story in understanding Obama.

When Obama was running for president, the impression he gave was that he was surprised as anyone that he became the frontrunner. I believe that he ran for office as a setup for a more serious 2012 run, or at best to be picked as a vice president by Hillary. He was, simply, not ready to lead. He had less experience in governing than practically all presidents in history. Even with all his rhetorical skills, it never felt like he was a man who wanted to dedicate his life to serving and leading his nation; it always seemed like someone who wanted to act like a leader rather than be a leader. He had some vague, New Age-y ideas of how the world could be a better place through mutual respect, and enough yes-men who could convince him that he was the man of the hour, but it never seemed like he truly believed it himself. He is, far more than any president in recent memory, an actor trying to learn a role.

Obama believes that a president, the leader of the free world, must act strong. But the problem is he cannot act that way when he cannot predict how the other parties will react to his show of strength. As in the movie Galaxy Quest, he may be acting but the other side is dead serious, and in such circumstances he is over his head. Upsetting a billion people or another nuclear power is something to be avoided at all costs.

So he acts like a parody of a strong leader - against his friends. He knows they won't start a war or a terror spree against American interests. He calculates that by acting tough with his friends, there is little downside while he builds up his street cred as a resolute but fair leader. He hopes that Iran and Syria (and Russia and China) will interpret his actions as a message for them, avoiding actually making decisions that could set a course from which the US cannot go back.

But what he cannot do is actually make any real foreign policy decisions. If he did, he would be burning a bridge and opening himself up to the chance that he is making a mistake. Worse yet, he would be revealing to the world that he doesn't have a clue.

For an actor playing the role of President, changing the status quo is scary. Taking a real stand is frightening. Instead,the emphasis is to make it through your term without blowing up the world. You buy time and hope and pray for the best. You rely on your advisors to guide you and you hope they are not acting the way you are.

And you continue to act how you think a President would act, hoping that your charade is not exposed

Elder of Ziyon: Obama the actor



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: Parshas VAYIKRA Leviticus 1:1-5:26


The last five parshahs of the Book of Exodus explained the form of the Sanctuary and its vessels, and Exodus concluded with an account of how the completed Sanctuary was finally erected by Moses on the 1st of Nissan, almost one year after the Exodus from Egypt. With the erection of the Sanctuary, the Cloud of G-d's Glory covered the Tent of Meeting.

"And He called to Moses." (Lev. 1:1). G-d's call to Moses, with which VAYIKRA opens, is the immediate continuation of the narrative with which Exodus concluded. Now that the Sanctuary was complete, the next step is for us to learn what is to be done in it. The book of VAYIKRA, which takes its name from its opening word, thus begins with the detailed commandments relating to the sacrifices, since these were to be the main activity in the Sanctuary and in the Temple throughout the generations.

Leviticus, the Latin name of VAYIKRA, corresponds to the name used by the rabbis of old when referring to this book: Toras Cohanim, "The Torah of the Priests". The book is so called not only because much of it is taken up with the sacrificial services and other ritual practices (such as purification from leprosy) in which the role of the Cohen-Priest is central. In addition, G-d's challenge to ALL of the Children of Israel was to be "a kingdom of PRIESTS and a holy nation" (Ex. 19:6). While only the Cohen-priest may officiate at the offering of sacrifices, they could be brought by all. Many of the other commandments in Leviticus relating to "holiness" apply not only to the Cohen-Priests but to all of us. At the very heart of Leviticus is Parshas KEDOSHIM, "Be holy." (ch's 19-20), which contains the fundamental laws governing man's behavior to his fellows. This is explicitly addressed to all of the Children of Israel (Lev. 19:2). The book of VAYIKRA also contains commandments that apply to gentiles. These include the laws of sacrifices with which our present parshah of VAYIKRA, opens: the first commandment is that of KORBAN OLAH, the "elevation" or whole-burned offering, which both Israelites and Gentiles are eligible to bring.

* * *


It is an ancient tradition that little boys who have learned their Aleph-Beis and are just starting to read, commence their study of the CHUMASH (Five Books of Moses) with VAYIKRA. "Let pure souls come to study the laws dealing with purity." For a cynical, sophisticated age that feels entitled to call anything and everything into question, the Torah code of sacrifices and purification may appear ancient, primitive, complicated and irrelevant. But if we are willing to explore the Torah with the fresh eyes of children, ready to take the word of G-d on trust, with faith and belief, we can discover that the sacrificial system contains the keys to repentance and the healing of the soul and the entire world.

The theme of sacrifices enters Genesis and Exodus in a number of places. Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah and Abraham all offered sacrifices. Moses' declared purpose in taking the Children of Israel out of Egypt was to bring sacrifices, and the animal sacrifices brought at the time of the Giving of the Torah were described (Ex.24:5), as were the sacrifices that were to be brought at the inauguration of the Sanctuary (Ex. ch. 29). However, it is here in the opening parshahs of LEVITICUS that the sacrificial system of the Torah is laid out in detail. The universal significance of this teaching is brought out in the use by the Torah of the word ADAM in introducing the sacrificial commandments: ".when a MAN (ADAM) would bring a sacrifice." (Lev. 1:2). The sacrificial system comes to heal man's alienation from G-d through atoning for his sins and bringing him back into a relationship of peace with Him. This is the ultimate rectification of Adam's sin of eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This sin caused the mix-up of good and evil in this world that is the root of all subsequent sin.

VAYIKRA begins with the laws of the OLAH, "elevation" or "ascending" offering, which could either be an ox, a sheep or a goat, a dove or pigeon, or take the form of a MINCHAH offering of wheat in the form of flour or unleavened loaves or wafers. In the case of an animal OLAH offering, the blood of the animal was splashed on the sides of altar, while its fat and other portions were burned on the altar. The OLAH offering comes to atone not so much for "sins of commission" -- something a person did -- as for "sins of omission", what he failed to do (such as if he failed to fulfil a positive commandment). The laws of OLAH are followed by the laws of SHELAMIM, the peace-offering, an animal sacrifice whose blood and fat were offered on the altar but whose meat was shared between the priests and the one who brought the offering. The SHELAMIM sacrifice is a celebration that signifies that man has made his peace with G-d.

Next come the laws of CHATAS, the sin-offering brought for unwitting violation of Torah prohibitions whose willful infringement carries the penalty of excision. Different kinds of animals are to be brought and different procedures of atonement apply depending on whether the sinner is a private individual, the "Prince" (Nasi, king or leader), the Supreme Court (Sanhedrin) or the High Priest. [Rashi on Lev. 4:22 comments: Happy is the generation whose leader is able to admit he made a mistake and who tries to make amends.]

The last part of Parshas VAYIKRA contains commandments relating to a variety of CHATAS ("Sin") and ASHAM ("Guilt") offerings for specific sins. It is noteworthy that while some of the sins in question are bound up purely with man's relation with G-d (such as unwittingly entering the Sanctuary or eating sacrifices while ritually impure), there are certain sins in man's behavior to his fellow men that also make him liable to a sacrifice. These include the sin committed by one who, having received goods or money on trust, subsequently denies it under oath. This is at once a sin against G-d and against the person from whom he received the goods or money. It is normal and natural for a person to choose a private place without witnesses in order to entrust someone with valuable goods or money for safekeeping. Besides the two people involved, the only other "witness" to the transaction is G-d Himself, who knows what really happened. If the trustee invokes the name of G-d to swear falsely in denial of what G-d knows, this is a denial of G-d Himself. Not only must the trustee return the goods or money together with a twenty-five per cent supplement. He must also make amends to G-d by bringing a sacrifice.

* * *


The outstanding kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria (ARI) explains that the sacrificial service consisted of elements from the inanimate world (salt), the vegetable world (flour, oil and wine), the animal world (the sacrificial animal or bird), the human world (the sinner, who had to confess his sin over the offering) and the world of the souls (represented by the officiating Cohen-priest). These five realms -- inanimate, vegetable, animal, human and spiritual -- correspond in turn to the "worlds" of which the kabbalah speaks: Asiyah (the material world), Yetzirah ("formation", corresponding to the vegetable realm), Beriyah ("creation", corresponding to the animal realm), Atzilut ("emanation", corresponding to Man) and Arich Anpin, the Crown or Root of Atzilut, corresponding to the soul.

"Know that all the different animals and birds have a soul which descends and is sustained by the CHAYOT ('living animals') of the Divine "Chariot" (Merkavah). The pure animals and birds are sustained by the Holy Chariot, while the impure animals and birds are sustained by the Unholy Chariot. Sometimes it happens that a soul falls and a person becomes wicked. As a punishment, this soul might be incarnated in an animal. When this animal is brought as a sacrifice (KORBAN), the effect is to bring this soul back close G-d again. Through the proper performance of the sacrificial ritual, the soul is brought back to its root and rectified. Even when the sacrificial animal is not an incarnation, it nevertheless contains holy sparks that fell at the time of creation and that are now rectified.

"When the impure animal aspect of man's soul gains dominion over him, it causes him to sin. To rectify this, he must bring an animal as a sacrifice. The burning of the animal on the altar draws down an exalted fire that burns away the sins, drawing cleansing to the person's animal soul from its very root. Since the impurity of the vegetable and inanimate levels is even greater than that of the animal level and also causes people to sin, they too must be represented on the altar in the form of the wine and flour libations and the salt.

"The sin of Adam caused good and evil to become mixed up, bringing a flaw into all the worlds and giving strength to the forces of evil. Accordingly G-d commanded man to bring together representatives of the inanimate, vegetable and animal realms. and through the service of the priests while the Levites sing, the Israelites stand by and the owner of the sacrifice repents, all of the worlds are cleansed and purified.

"When the Temple stands, the sacrifices elevated and purified all the fallen sparks. Today this is accomplished by the prayer services." (Ta'amey HaMitzvos VAYIKRA).

Shabbat Shalom!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel

Israel Matzav: Video: Bolton on Iran getting nukes

Video: Bolton on Iran getting nukes

Here's a Fox News interview with former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton on General Petraeus' Senate Armed Services Committee testimony on Iran.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: Bolton on Iran getting nukes

Israel Matzav: Putin: Bushehr to launch this summer

Putin: Bushehr to launch this summer

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr would be launched this summer.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Russia to delay the launch, but Russia's foreign minister responded that Moscow will put the reactor online.

"The first reactor at Iran's nuclear power plant in Bushehr is to be launched already in the summer," Putin said.

He didn't mention an exact launch date or add any other details during his meeting with nuclear officials in the southern city of Volgodonsk.


Clinton on a visit to Moscow on Thursday warned Russia against launching the plant until Tehran proves that it's not pursuing atomic weapons.

"If it reassures the world, or if its behavior is changed because of international sanctions, then they can pursue peaceful, civil nuclear power," Clinton said when asked about Russian intention to launch Bushehr.

"In the absence of those reassurances, we think it would be premature to go forward with any project at this time, because we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians," she said at a briefing following her talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov immediately responded that Russia still intends to launch the plant.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Putin: Bushehr to launch this summer

Love of the Land: CNNsored


Ben Cohen
Z-Word Blog
17 March '10

To anyone who knows the medium of television, the statement that a news program is probably the last place to have a serious discussion about a serious matter is hardly a revelation. The allotted timeframe, generally three or four minutes, precludes any in-depth analysis. Discussants are acutely aware that they have to communicate in soundbites, so rather than engaging with each other, they artfully twist the presenter’s questions into answers that emphasize the talking points they arrived at the studio with. That’s how it’s always been.

A key assumption here is that the anchor will keep a respectful distance, editorially-speaking, between his or her guests. The anchor will allow each guest equal time to speak. Whether the anchor is in passive listening mode or acting like an amphetamine-fueled interrogator, the accepted norm is that all guests will receive the same treatment.

True, this conception of the anchor’s role now seems almost quaint, a throwback to the days when journalism placed a supreme value on objectivity. Nonetheless, it remains valid, particularly when it comes to straight news shows (as distinct from the more charged talk show environments.)

Keeping the above template in mind, I want to relate what happened to me when I appeared, in my capacity as AJC’s Associate Director of Communications, on CNN International earlier this week. In a segment anchored by Jim Clancy, Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street and myself were discussing the diplomatic row between the US and Israel sparked by the announcement, during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, of a new housing development in the east Jerusalem district of Ramat Shlomo.

I expected a rough ride as I watched the introductory clips: Palestinian propagandist Rami Khouri, Israel Lobby author Stephen Walt and some Italian journalist I’d never heard of called Loretta Napoleoni, all waxing lyrical about the inordinate power of the Israel Lobby. There was no dissenting view.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: CNNsored

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Here's yet another Im Eshkacheich Yerushalayim (If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem). The video with this one is awesome.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video
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