Thursday, 22 April 2010

DoubleTapper: Israel Independence Day Pictures

Israel Independence Day Pictures

עייט 421


צפע 393

קרנף 436

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DoubleTapper: Israel Independence Day Pictures

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Spy Update

Spy Update

Has anyone heard of the return of Uri Blau? Way back two weeks ago when everyone was all agog about how Israel was blocking the media and persecuting journalists as part of a campaign to put an end to democracy, he was said to be holed up in London to protect his sources. Eventually Anat Kamm's lawyers announced that since she was his source, and she was interested in the documents she stole being returned to their owners, she was relinquishing her claim to his protection.

A day or two later that volcano exploded and it was hard to travel from London (this probably proves that the Zionists were not to blame for the event since it got in their way), but that excuse is growing a bit stale. So if anyone has heard that Blau came back and returned the stolen documents, please contact me, because it apparently happened while I was out walking the dog.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Spy Update

Love of the Land: Video: Is the Western Wall in Israel? - HR Interviews 'Confused' Tourists

Video: Is the Western Wall in Israel? - HR Interviews 'Confused' Tourists

Honest Reporting
Media Critiques
22 April '10

Not only have some tourists been stranded by a volcanic ash cloud in recent days but their trauma has been multiplied by the revelation that they weren't even holidaying in Israel, their destination of choice. According to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority, an Israeli tourism ad breached rules on truthfulness due to the misleading implication that sites such as the Western Wall could actually be in Israel.

How could so many have been misled for so long? After supplying HR's Yarden Frankl and Pesach Benson with maps and compasses, we sent them into Jerusalem's Old City, seeking out confused tourists to find out which country they thought they were in.

It's Not Too Late - Join the Campaign

We tracked hundreds of your e-mails to the ASA, which has, so far, refused to reconsider its ruling. Despite the obvious inversion of reality, the ASA has stated:

(Read full critique)

Love of the Land: Video: Is the Western Wall in Israel? - HR Interviews 'Confused' Tourists

Love of the Land: Does Obama Really Think He Can Micromanage American Jews?

Does Obama Really Think He Can Micromanage American Jews?

Marty Peretz
The New Republic
22 April '10

There are signs that he thinks he can. Barak Ravid reports in yesterday’s Ha’aretz that a high-level but unnamed U.S. official has complained about American Jews speaking up about how they feel and what they think about U.S. policy towards Jerusalem. I don’t particularly agree with what I’ve discerned as Ravid’s political views. But he is certainly a reliable journalist. He did not make this up.

It’s one thing, however unbecoming, for the Obami to lecture Israel about its capital. Still, truth be told, the U.S. not only is apoplectic about the 180-odd thousands of Jews who live (and have lived) in areas of the city beyond the temporary armistice lines of 1949, it has never recognized anything specifically Israeli in even western Jerusalem. If an American baby is born, for example, in Kiryat Yovel, an old Jewish neighborhood in the “new city” (or the “western sector,” as it used to be called), of Jerusalem, his or her place of birth will be registered by the American consulate not as “Jerusalem, Israel” but just as plain “Jerusalem.” How is that for the U.S. sticking its head in the sand? And, even though the Congress has legislated transferring the ambassadorial mission from shabby Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, several presidents have simply refused.

Look up “U.S. Consulate, Jerusalem.” It is eerie how unresponsive and indifferent to historical realities the site is. It’s almost as if Israel does not exist there at all.

In any case, the churlish American factotum cited above was upset that prominent American Jews had made their views known about Obama’s obvious hostility to Jewish Jerusalem in general. In fact, the president has never, NEVER acknowledged the special role of Jerusalem in Jewish history, in Jewish religion, in the Jewish present. Believe me: this is not an oversight. I wrote about this twice during Passover.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Does Obama Really Think He Can Micromanage American Jews?

Love of the Land: Israel and the Meaning of Independence

Israel and the Meaning of Independence

The Intermediate Zone
21 April '10

Many people are confused why the State of Israel seems to celebrate the anniversary of its establishment on a different date every year. After all, the State of Israel came into existence after a declaration by the Provisional Council of State in Palestine, led by David Ben Gurion, on May 14, 1948. But in the intervening 62 years, Israel Independence Day has been celebrated on May 14 only once.

The answer is that Israel marks its anniversaries by the Hebrew calendar, not the universal secular calendar, which means that from year to year, anniversaries, holy days and even birthdays, are often celebrated as much as a month apart from the dates to which they are attached in the Gregorian calendar.

But another fact that is often glossed over is that Israel did not actually achieve independence 62 years ago because there was nothing to claim independence from. British suzerainty of Palestine had been mandated, not by the international body, The League of Nations, but under a resolution of the San Remo Conference (1920) which was later ratified by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). Both effectively recognized British conquest of Palestine and ended Ottoman rule. In fact, the British Mandatory Authority, established thereafter, was not a sovereign body and was not universally recognized by all nations ( the United States being the most prominent among them). Its legal legitimacy was in fact in question for 30 years. So while the creation of the state in 1948 derived its standing in international law from U.N. Resolution 181, Israel’s declaration of “independence” was no more than a dramatic means of stating its formation as a contiguous and indivisible state. But on May 14, 1948 it became independent of nothing.

Those might seem like picayune legal arguments, with no particular relevance to today’s politics or diplomacy. Yet the importance of understanding the concept and meaning of independence is vital to appreciating how Israel sees itself today.

For the question of the country’s independence has been a determining factor in Israel’s survival until now and today is a deciding factor in how it proposes to deal with the menace arising to its existence from the Persian Gulf .

History has some important things to say about the matter.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Israel and the Meaning of Independence

Love of the Land: Is the Obama Administration Trying to Silence Critics of its Middle East Policy?

Is the Obama Administration Trying to Silence Critics of its Middle East Policy?

Ron Radosh
21 April '10

As readers of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal know, last week Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and World Jewish Congress head Ronald S. Lauder purchased full page ads challenging President Obama’s policies on the Middle East and Israel.

Lauder’s ad appeared on April 15th. “We are concerned,” Lauder began, “about the nuclear ambitions of an Iranian regime that brags about its genocidal intentions against Israel. We are concerned that the Jewish state is being isolated and delegitimized.” He continued:

Our concern grows to alarm as we consider some disturbing questions. Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.

Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history.

Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

The conflict’s root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Every American President who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later. Recall President Clinton’s anguish when his peace proposals were bluntly rejected by the Palestinians in 2000. Settlements were not the key issue then.

They are not the key issue now.

“Appeasement,” Lauder wrote the President, “does not work.” The real threat was not Israeli settlements, but “a nuclear armed Iran.”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Is the Obama Administration Trying to Silence Critics of its Middle East Policy?

Love of the Land: EU funding to promote the Arab Peace Initiative among Israeli journalists

EU funding to promote the Arab Peace Initiative among Israeli journalists

NGO Monitor
22 April '10

1) An April 18, 2010 article on the News1 website (Hebrew) discusses a European Union project to promote the Arab Peace Initiative among Israeli journalists. As noted below, this is part of EU efforts to "Influence Institutions/ Decision makers, Public opinion and Media" outside of diplomatic channels, and under the guise of Israeli "civil society."

2) The project is entitled "Simulating the Arab Peace Initiative," and is part of the Partnerships for Peace (PfP) program (€298,422 in 2010-12). The official link on the EU website is:

3) The recipients are Neve Shalom School and Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (CCRR). CCRR, a Palestinian NGO, calls for the boycott of Israeli academics or Israeli academic institutions that support the occupation ("for more than 50 years," i.e. Israel as a Jewish state), as well as those that do not take a position on it.

4) In contrast to the track record of CCRR, the PfP website claims: "The project aims to promote tolerance and better understanding between Israeli and Palestinian societies by engaging core representatives of the media in a process of reflection on the past treatment and historical background of the API and simulate the adoption of API and its potential consequences in the media; Moreover, the project will facilitate critical discussions on the journalist-editor relationship in uni-national settings, on the one hand, and establish open and sustained channels of communication between Israeli and Palestinian journalists and editors, on the other" (emphasis added).

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: EU funding to promote the Arab Peace Initiative among Israeli journalists

Love of the Land: J Street Can No Longer Claim to be Pro-Israel

J Street Can No Longer Claim to be Pro-Israel

Alan M. Dershowitz
Hudson New York
21 April '10

J Street has gone over to the dark side. It claims to be "a pro-Israel, pro peace lobby." It has now become neither. Its Executive Director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, has joined the off key chorus of those who falsely claim that Israel, by refusing to make peace with the Palestinians, is placing the lives of American soldiers at risk.

This claim was first attributed to Vice President Joe Biden and to General David Petraeus. It was quickly denied by them but continued to have a life of its own in the anti-Israel media. It was picked up by Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, Pat Buchanan and others on the hard right and hard left who share a common disdain for the Jewish state. It is the most dangerous argument ever put forward by Israel bashers. It is also totally false.

It is dangerous for two reasons. First, it seeks to reduce support for Israel among Americans who, quite understandably and correctly, care deeply about American soldiers being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel has always understood this and that's why it is one of the few American allies who has never asked the United States to put its troops in harm's way in defense of Israeli citizens. If Americans were to believe the falsehood that Israel were to blame for American deaths caused by Islamic extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for the Jewish state would suffer considerably.

It is also dangerous because its implication is that Israel must cease to exist: the basic complaint that Muslim extremists have against Israel is not what the Jewish state does, but what it is: a secular, non-Muslim, democracy that promotes equal rights for women, gays, Christians and others. Regardless of what Israel does or doesn't do, its very existence will be anathema to Muslim extremists. So if Israel's actions were in fact a cause of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan--which they are not--then the only logical solution would be Israel's disappearance. This might be acceptable to the Walts, Mearsheimers and Buchanans of the world, but it is surely not acceptable to Israel or anyone who claims to be pro-Israel.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: J Street Can No Longer Claim to be Pro-Israel

Love of the Land: The Jewish rebellion against Barack Obama

The Jewish rebellion against Barack Obama
21 April '10

Shmuel Rosner asks,

What’s with all those new “Jewish ads” against Obama?

I understand the frustration with Obama, but can’t quite see the logic behind the ads. It only raises the stakes and makes Obama less prone let Netanyahu off the hook. An American President can’t lose an internal battle to a foreign leader – and the ads (Lauder, Wiesel) makes this an internal battle.

In addition to the Lauder and Wiesel advertisements, we should include this article by Ed Koch, former New York Mayor. Koch is important because he is a Democrat who strongly supported Obama in 2008; Lauder is a Republican who has been reported to be a possible challenger to NY Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, while Wiesel’s public persona is apolitical.

So why have high-profile Jews of various political stripes found it necessary to take Obama to task over Mideast policy?

It’s Obama who started the latter day Jewish Wars when he empowered his own personal Jewish Lobby, J Street. Invited to the White House while “right-wing” groups like the Zionist Organization of America were dis-invited, J (Judenrat) Street pumps out propaganda in the form of misleading polls and press releases whose purpose is to give the impression that most American Jews are behind Obama and his policies — especially including his anti-Zionist stance.

The intent is to bolster support for his position among non-Jews — who, after all, are 98% of the population — who reason that if even Jews support Obama’s efforts to forcibly create a Palestinian state, reestablish 1949 borders and divide Jerusalem, then it must be the best thing for the region as a whole, including Israel.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Jewish rebellion against Barack Obama

Love of the Land: Israel Prepares for the Enemy It Faces

Israel Prepares for the Enemy It Faces

Jennifer Rubin
21 April '10

In contrast with the Obama administration, which perpetually talks down the potential for a military strike, Israeli officials are beginning to talk openly about such action. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Israeli security establishment is divided over whether it needs Washington’s blessing if Israel decides to attack Iran, Israeli officials say, as the U.S. campaign for sanctions drags on and Tehran steadily develops greater nuclear capability.

Some senior Israeli officials say in interviews that they see signs Washington may be willing to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, an eventuality that Israel says it won’t accept. Compounding Israeli concerns were U.S. statements this past weekend that underscored U.S. resistance to a military option. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday discussed a memo to National Security Adviser James Jones warning that the U.S. needed new strategies, including how to contain a nuclear Iran—suggesting that Iran could reach nuclear capability without any foreign military force trying to stop it.

Until now Bibi has played along both with the Obama engagement gambit and the sanctions effort, but we now hear that “Israeli officials have increasingly voiced frustration over the slow pace of diplomatic efforts to get sanctions in place.” We are, after all, running out of time. The concern for the Israelis tells us much about the state of U.S.-Israel relations and the real weak link in going after Iranian nuclear capabilities:

Many Israeli military experts say Israel can easily cope with any military retaliation by Iran in response to a strike. Iran’s medium-range rockets would cause damage and casualties in Israel, but they aren’t very accurate, and Israel’s sophisticated missile-defense system would likely knock many out midflight.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Israel Prepares for the Enemy It Faces

Love of the Land: Hope over experience with Syria

Hope over experience with Syria

Matthew RJ Brodsky
Volume IV: Number 1
Spring 2010

Barack Obama's victory in America's presidential election was greeted with more than a little relief in Damascus. This victory was seen as an affirmation that staying the course and remaining true to the policy of resistance – muqawama – was the correct decision. Syria's ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, extolled the virtues of his nation's steadfastness in Al-Watan on February 24, 2009: "Syria's winning card is [the fact that] it has not moved from its positions despite all the pressures it has been facing… The [fundamental] principles of [its] policy towards Washington have never changed, [even] in the most difficult circumstances." Moustapha stressed that, despite the attempts of the Bush administration to bring about a change in its policy, Syria never "submitted to this blackmail."

With renewed hope for a change in American behavior, Bashar al-Asad reached out with a telegram to then President-elect Obama on November 7, 2008. In the message, the Syrian president "expressed hope for constructive dialogue so that the difficulties can be overcome which have hampered the advance of peace, stability and progress in the Middle East." And true to his campaign pledge, Barack Obama charted a new course based on diplomatic engagement in the Middle East. It was therefore not surprising when on February 16, 2010, Obama named a new ambassador to Syria. However, the timing of the decision is puzzling and the assumption that it will lead to a behavior change in Damascus is wishful thinking.

Many Carrots and Few Sticks

It did not take long for the Obama administration to ease pressure on Damascus. In early 2009, the White House and the 111th Congress increased calls for greater U.S. engagement with Syria. Several congressional delegations visited Damascus, and administration officials held talks with their Syrian counterparts. In February 2009, the U.S. Department of Commerce approved an export license of Boeing 747 spare parts to Syria's national air carrier. A month later, Jeffery D. Feltman was dispatched to meet with Syria's foreign minister. As the assistant secretary of state, Feltman was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Damascus in over four years.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Hope over experience with Syria

Love of the Land: Mullen's Myth of Geostrategic Equivalence

Mullen's Myth of Geostrategic Equivalence

On Iran's nuclear program.

William Kristol
The Weekly Standard
19 April '10

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told a forum at Columbia University yesterday, "Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. Attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome...In an area that's so unstable right now, we just don't need more of that."

But Mullen's formulation of geostrategic equivalance ignores a massive difference between the two outcomes: Even assuming the degree and kind of "destabilization" would be the same in both the cases of attack and appeasement (which I don't think would be so), one scenario--attack--leaves Iran without nuclear weapons, at least for now; the other--appeasement--means Iran would have nuclear weapons going forward. Which unstable outcome is less damaging to U.S. interests? I think the answer is pretty clear: An attacked Iran that does not have nukes.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Mullen's Myth of Geostrategic Equivalence

Love of the Land: Journalists Buy Falsehoods on Gaza Shipments

Journalists Buy Falsehoods on Gaza Shipments

Tamar Sternthal
CAMERA Media Analysis
21 April '10

Raed Fattouh, a coordinator for the Palestinian Authority's Economy Ministry, is selling the falsehood that certain products -- wood, aluminum and commercial shipments of shoes and clothing -- are entering the Gaza Strip from Israel for the first time since the blockade began in 2007, and journalists are buying in bulk.

Wood and Aluminum

The New York Times' Fares Akram reported April 16, "Also Thursday, Israel allowed some wood and aluminum into Gaza for the first time since it blockaded the area in 2007, a Palestinian official said" (emphasis added). The International Herald Tribune, published by the New York Times, also ran a version of the Akram article including the error.

Similarly, the Agence France Presse reported April 15, in an article erroneously entitled "Israel allows first building shipment into Gaza in 3 years":

Israel allowed a shipment of construction material into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for the first time in three years, according to a Palestinian official.

The six truckloads of wood and aluminum entered the coastal territory via the Kerem Shalom crossing in the south, Palestinian customs official Raed Fattuh told AFP. . .

In actuality, Palestinian sources such as the Palestine Trade Center (PalTrade), the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper, and the Ma'an News Agency document that tens of thousands of tons of construction material including wood and construction metal entered the Gaza Strip during the "hudna" (truce) period from June 19, 2008 to Dec. 19, 2008. Thus, the Dec. 09-Jan. 10 Gaza Strip Crossings Bi-Monthly Monitoring Report states:

During the truce or "hudna" period, that started on June 19, 2008 and ended on December 19, 2008, commercial goods were allowed to enter Gaza Strip including aggregates, cement, construction metal, wood, car tires, clothes, shoes and fruit juice.

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: Journalists Buy Falsehoods on Gaza Shipments

Elder of Ziyon: More data points on illegal Arab immigration

More data points on illegal Arab immigration

Daled Amos just wrote up an article going through some of the data on illegal Arab immigration to Palestine in the years before 1948. I had looked at this in the past, but today I discovered an intriguing new data point, from the Palestine Post, August 19, 1935, quoting the (then Manchester) Guardian of August 10.

The article is a synopsis of the British Treasury report dealing with Palestine. According to the article, Jewish immigration had vastly increased in the early 1930s, but then it adds this:

"The immigration, however, is not restricted to Jews. There has been a steady infiltration into Palestine of Arabs from Syria (the Hauran) and from Trans-Jordan. And it is notable that the illicit immigration of the non-Jews recorded in the report of the Government is more than double that recorded for the Jews."

Can anyone get a hold of this British report?

The idea that there was massive illegal Arab immigration is not a Zionist invention from the 1970s or 1980s. As I mentioned in earlier articles, contemporary Palestinian Jews and Arabs complained about the influx of these aliens who were taking jobs and resources. Here is some testimony from a Jewish Agency representative to the Palestine Royal Commission in 1936: (December 9 1936 Palestine Post):

Elder of Ziyon: More data points on illegal Arab immigration

Elder of Ziyon: Palestinian Arabs and Piaget

Palestinian Arabs and Piaget

AP reports:

Israel reopened a 16th-century gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday, completing a two-month renovation and cleaning project that drew criticism from Palestinian officials.

Jaffa Gate, one of four main entrances to the Old City, was built by Jerusalem’s Ottoman rulers and inaugurated in 1538. It is the most common entrance for tourists entering the walled Old City - home to key holy sites in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, as well as a popular outdoor marketplace.

The restoration was part of a $4 million project launched by the Israel antiquities authority in 2007 to spruce up all four kilometres of the Old City’s walls.

The authority replaced broken stones, reattached an elaborate inscription above the gate and cleaned the facade with lye. Because Jaffa Gate provides one of the few entrances for vehicles, the stones had a decades-old coating of car exhaust residue, said Yoram Saad, who headed the renovation.

The portal stands at a right angle to the western exterior wall of the Old City, made of the same large, 16th-century sand-coloured hewn stone blocks. The entrance is about six metres high, and the wall rises another six metres above it.

The renovation project has proven challenging because of the difficulty in restoring ancient stones and the project’s political and religious overtones.

“It’s very sensitive of course and very complex from a logistical point of view,” Saad said.

Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, said city authorities have a duty to repair and restore the walls of the Old City, calling them a “national asset” and a place for pilgrims.

Israel is spending years and a lot of money to restore a historically important part of Jerusalem - that was built by Muslims. They are doing it with the utmost sensitivity to everyone.

So why are the Palestinian Arabs upset that a part of what they consider their own heritage has been recovered?

It is an attempt to hit hard at commercial life in the Old City, especially the Muslim Quarter,” said Hatem Abdel Qader, an adviser on Jerusalem affairs to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A prominent Palestinian Arab leader and adviser to Mahmoud Abbas sees what Israel is doing - and reflexlively assumes that it was done to hurt Arabs!

Pioneering child psychologist Jean Piaget described four cognitive stages of childhood development. Te second stage, from ages 2-7, is called the "preoperational" stage and is described this way:

The child aged between roughly the ages of 2-7 years interprets the world around them as they see it. They are not able to recognize or understand fully the notion of cause and effect, although they are beginning to see that it exists.

..The child is yet to fully understand how our world operates. In this particular one of the child development stages, the child is still only able to interpret the world around him from what he sees and experiences. He views the world only from his own egocentric perspective.

For example, a child in this 2-7 year old age group might believe that the sun goes down at night time to tell them its bedtime. It rises in the morning to tell them its times to get up. Thus the sun rises and sets each day purely for his benefit.

This does not mean our children are selfish in their assessment of the world. Instead it means they can only interpret it from their own bodily actions and sensations.

This is a perfect description of how Palestinian Arabs as a group have behaved since they acquired an identity sometime in the past century. Everything that occurs in the world is viewed through a pinhole lens where it can only be interpreted in terms of themselves, with the utter inability to view anything from any other perspective.

Therefore, Israel was not founded in order to fulfill the self-determination of the Jewish people: it was created entirely to expel "Palestinians." Tunnels adjacent to the Second Temple are not dug for archaeological research; they are dug in order to "Judaize" a city. Subways and light rail lines are built with the express purpose of weakening the foundations of a mosque. And, of course, an expensive multi-year project involving Jews renovating a Muslim-built site is done in order to take business away from Arabs. Every action done by Jews is done for no other purpose besides hurting, inconveniencing and upsetting the Arabs. How can it be otherwise? They are not yet at the cognitive stage where they become aware of the existence of other perspectives, let alone having the ability to understand them.

The Damascus Gate will be renovated as well in the next couple of years. Yet, like small children, the Palestinian Arabs do not have the ability to understand anything abstract like the "future."

They are cognitively disabled.

Elder of Ziyon: Palestinian Arabs and Piaget

Elder of Ziyon: UAE compares Iran with Israel; Iran ticked off

UAE compares Iran with Israel; Iran ticked off

UAE Foreign Minister H.H Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has stressed that the issue of the three UAE's islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, still under Iranian occupation, will always be a "negative factor" in bilateral relations between the two countries and "painful thing for all the UAE nationals."

"Occupation of any Arab land is occupation and is not a misunderstanding. Israeli occupation of Golan Heights, Southern Lebanon, West Bank or Gaza is called occupation and no Arab land is dearer than another," Sheikh Abdullah said.

"It would be self-lie, for any Emarati, including me, to pretend that they are less sensitive about the fact that a part of the UAE is occupied than about another occupied Arab land."Occupation is occupation and is unlawful, according to Arab traditions, Islam and the international community."

Iran wasn't pleased to be compared with Israel:

Iran on Wednesday reiterated its rule over three disputed Gulf islands and rebuked the United Arab Emirates for comparing Tehran's control to an Israeli occupation.

"Comments made about the Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf are neither right nor well-considered," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told Mehr news agency.

"With cooperation within the Islamic world in mind, we have always sought to warn against the main threat in the region which is the regime occupying Al-Quds (Jerusalem)," he said alluding to Israel.

"Misunderstandings between friends can be resolved through bilateral talks," he said, while calling on United Arab Emirates (UAE) leaders to "avoid comments which benefit the Zionists."

But this entire blog post is because of that Mehmanparast said, so this Zionist and my Zionist readers benefited from his comment!

He must be very ashamed.

Elder of Ziyon: UAE compares Iran with Israel; Iran ticked off

Elder of Ziyon: Those arsonist Jinn

Those arsonist Jinn

Rumors have been swirling in the central Gaza town of Deir al Balah that demons (Jinn) have been randomly setting fire to houses.

Two separate unexplained blazes, one from March 29th and another from April 1st, seem to be what caused the rumors that there are Jinn who like to set the fires.

Gaza police said that the fires were natural occurrences, that people spreading the rumors are being irresponsible, and that they would arrest the rumor-mongers.

Elder of Ziyon: Those arsonist Jinn

Elder of Ziyon: Katyusha in Jordan. Where was it shot from?

Katyusha in Jordan. Where was it shot from?

A short-range rocket may have completely overshot its intended target in Israel and landed in a different country.

TWO rockets were reportedly fired at the Israeli city of Eilat early today, as both Jordanian and Egyptian officials disputed the source of the attempted attack.

A blast hit the outskirts of the neighbouring Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba today, a government minister confirmed, while a second rocket was said to have ditched in the waters off the coast.

The blast, allegedly caused by a stray rocket, was the first attempted attack on Eilat in almost five years, Israel's English-language newspaper Haaretz reported.

Initial reports said the rockets originated in Jordan, but it was later suggested they were fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt was quick to deny the attempted attack was launched from its territory. Egyptian security officials said there were no rockets fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula into Israel today, disputing claims from Haaretz and Israeli private Channel 10 TV station.

Although Jordan at first denied that it was a rocket, they later confirmed it was.

But both Jordan and Egypt deny that any rockets were fired from their territories.

Which can only mean one thing: Vacationing Israelis in Eilat shot the rockets to Jordan in between snorkeling lessons.

Elder of Ziyon: Katyusha in Jordan. Where was it shot from?

Elder of Ziyon: Fisking a one line comment (Jacob)

Fisking a one line comment (Jacob)

Yesterday, in response to my post on Arabs upset that Google placed an Israeli flag on their logo on Monday, "jerry1800" quoted Dr. Jamal Zahalka, Chairman of the National Democratic Bloc, from the original article:

Anniversary of the Catastrophe affirm that we will not forget and will not forgive, as long as the crime of the Catastrophe and the consequences of displacement and Judaizing and occupation and repression and colonization, racism, colonialism continues.

It was a typical anti-Israel rant of the type we've seen thousands of times before, but commenter Jacob decided to do a word-by-word fisking, which is amusing and worth a much larger audience:

"NO PEACE !!!"

I wouldn't have believed you if you had used lowercase letters or only two exclamation marks. But yeah, since you said it so emphatically, I guess that makes your point.

"Anniversary of the Catastrophe" Actually, Waterworld with Kevin Costner was released on the 28th June, 1995.

"affirm that we will not forget" Probably not. I've seen Arab TV and a slight piece of Jewish real estate takes far more of a presence than poor Arab development statistics like a literacy rate hovering around 50% for women across the board. If it is more of an impediment to Arab development than the widespread inability to sign your name, then I guess you probably won't forget. Write it down somewhere.

"and will not forgive" points out that forgiveness is an important part of the human experience that helps us move past our grudges and bitterness to lead a constructive, meaningful life. G-d knows we wouldn't want any of that floating around out there, would we.

"as long as the crime of the Catastrophe" Are we still talking about Waterworld here? The movie sucked, get over it.

"and the consequences of displacement" due to a refusal to accept partition and the subsequent attempt to commit genocide? And what about the Sephardim and Mizrahim? Do they count as displaced, or just on and extended voluntary vacation? If this is the case, can they return to their homes?

"and Judaizing" Meaning, making something that wasn't previously Jewish somehow more Jewish in character. Because, uh, Israel had to be Jew-ed up a bit, because of the lack of Jewishness there? Maybe you are saying that we were hanging out with the Palestinians, sloshed down a bit too much Manischewitz, and then in a drunken stupour accidently left the remains of our temple underneath the dome of the rock. Trust me. Israel is one country that didn't need to get Jew-ed up.

"and occupation and repression and colonization" Wow, slow down here, Chester. One point at a time. First,

"occupation." There are two things you have to reconcile with reality concerning occupation. 1. Chronology: violence against Jews started well before Israel's founding. Since Jews in Yemen were forbidden from riding a donkey or walking on the sidewalk prior to Balfour, it makes me wonder what kind of "peace" you have in mind for us. More of this? No thanks. 2. Gaza is under no form of occupation (unless you listen to Abu Mazen) yet it remains a lifeless hole where most people would emigrate if they could. Occupation is not your problem.

"repression" It is just awful at how repressed all of these poor Palestinians receiving free medical care in Israeli hospitals are. How we just go in with our tanks, capture poor ailing children, women, and even men with serious diseases, and kidnap them back to Israel to repress them with our evil Zionist chemotherapy, and surgery, and general concern for the well-being of others.

"colonization" Colonization is awful! Take for example a group of people are living in a swamp. They put their lives into that swamp and treat it like a gift from G-d. They drain it, cultivate it, and pretty soon, the rewards are bountiful. A once dead land is able to sustain this group of people, and this miracle provides so much abundance, that their neighbours come over to help them work the land. Then, those evil colonizing neighbours get jealous and want the land for themselves. They attempt to massacre the ones whose jobs brought them there. Colonizers piss me off.

"racism" I heard about this one. Apparently, small groups of Africans travel all the way through Egypt to protest how racist Israel is, and of course to ask for asylum. This happened a few weeks ago, and unfortunately, before these Africans could express their displeasure with Israeli racism, they were shot dead. For being black Africans. By Egypt.

"colonialism" Colonization is awful! Take for example...uh, wait a minute. We did this one already, didn't we? Please read above.

"continues". Oh, so I guess we have a choice to continue or not. We'll pick up the Jewish homeland and move it somewhere else then. I guess since all of these Sephardim and Mizrahim don't count amongst people facing the "consequences of displacement" as you put it, that means they must all still own their houses and business in Iraq, Morocco, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Egypt etc. I guess we can all go live with them there then. No? Well, I guess continue it must then.

(UPDATE: I originally said that jerry1800 had originate the rant, not Zahalka.)

Elder of Ziyon: Fisking a one line comment (Jacob)

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Another One Bites the Dust

Another One Bites the Dust

Remember how last August Robert Malley and Hussain Agha, the world's two most effective apologists for the Palestinians, came out and said explicitly that peace between Israel and Palestinians was not realistic? At the time I noted that while they still weren't exactly Zionists, they were essentially admitting the truth of what most Israelis have been saying for a decade.

Now it's the turn of Aaron Miller, a professional peace-processor rather high in all American administrations since the 1980s, and not famous for his warmth towards Israel. Well, he now admits not only that peace can't be had, but also that the dogmas that motivated him, his bosses and colleagues, and the current president, were only that: dogmas. Articles of faith. And false ones, to boot.

He never manages to come out and say: peace is impossible because the Palestinians won't accept it in any form any rational Israelis can offer. He's not that far gone yet. Short of that, however, he basically says what a majority of Israelis have been saying for a decade (and a minority, myself not included, said even earlier). Which of course begs the question: OK, so you've been wrong all along and only now admit it. What would have happened if we'd listened to you and your bosses, various presidents of the United States, only later to learn that you'd been wrong? Why should we take the current one any more seriously?

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Another One Bites the Dust

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Fanatics, Left and Right

Fanatics, Left and Right

Well, that was certainly fun, wasn't it.

I've been giving rather a lot of attention to the Israelis at the far left fringe who, intentionally or merely irresponsibly, aid and abet Israel's enemies in their campaign to bring it to its knees through lawfare, diplomacy, boycotts and other methods of delegitimization. This morning I thought I'd engage in a spot of even-handed balancing, so I criticized the fanatics of our political right. Had I given it much thought I'd have said I was (temporarily) siding with my lefty readers, of whom there are a number, including two who identify themselves.

It didn't work out that way. I was offline all day, but when I got back I found some 25 comments dissecting what I'd said from all directions.

First, my thanks to all the participants for the civil discussion. Blog discussions often don't remain civilized very long, and I'm honored that the ones on this blog mostly do.

The fact that our resident representatives of the hard left took umbrage at a post that was mostly critical of the far right is instructive. It rather reinforces my observation that the extremes are not only similar, they even feed off one another - which of course is not a new observation nor original, there are many historical examples. Fanatics will be fanatics; what makes them far from the mainstream is common to them all. So for those of you who questioned my use of the term "loonies", I was applying it as it usually is meant: folks who have severed themselves from the diverse perspectives to which a very large majority of their society adheres. When you've got a free and democratic society, with the diversity of opinion that such societies have, and then you've got small splinter groups of odd folks way off at the edge, I don't see the harm in calling them loonies.

Alex and Didi engaged in a spot of sleight of hand. They claimed I had said that the extremes of left and right have in common their eagerness or willingness to be violent; then they got all worked up about this accusation, though I hadn't actually said it.

So first, to be clear: yes, there are elements in Israel's looniest left who engage in violence against Israeli security forces. Not in murder, nor in terror as in random attacks of civilians, but low-level violence against officials of the state going about their legal and reasonable actions? Yes. Some of it has been reported in the media, some of it I take from the stories of my son Achikam who has been at the brunt of it as a soldier doing his job near Bil'in last year.

The reason Alex and Didi tried that rhetoric trick is that while political life-endangering violence in Israel has always been extremely rare, there has been a bit of it from right on left, and almost none from left on right. This gives the left a feeling of moral superiority. Yet the whole phenomenon is so limited and rare, that this is more sanctimony than plausible political reasoning. I can think of two political assassinations in 60 years, and a handful of attempts that may or may not have been intentionally unsuccessful. Tarnishing an entire camp with that thin a brush isn't reasonable, and exonerating the other camp for being the victim is feeble reasoning.

Anyway, it's a red herring, as Gavin calmly explained. Our loony left and frenzied right don't engage in the exact same activities: that's obvious. The right attacks innocent Palestinians, while the left undermines Israel's legitimacy as a democracy; the fanatics to the right are thugs, while their counterparts to the left are well-heeled academics, legal types and journalists; the ones to the right look outlandish in almost any setting while the ones on the left could easily melt into the background at a posh European conference - but that's the point, not an exoneration.

One of the most peculiar things about our loony left is how extraordinarily thin their skin is. They dish out barrels of filth, much of it either dishonest, downright false or at best tendentious, and they do so ever more often in foreign languages for the gleeful consumption of our enemies; yet whenever anyone calls them out for doing so, they shriek to the high heavens that democracy is being tortured to extinction. Jest yesterday we had yet another example.

Amir Benayoun is an orthodox singer who uses Arab forms of music. It was my intention to slow down the shirim ivri'im thread now, but sooner or later I'll obviously need to discuss the Sephardi music and its great contribution to Israeli music. I presented Benyoun briefly the other day.

This week Benayoun recorded a sing called Ani Achicha, I am Your Brother. The Hebrew lyrics are already up at, here; there's no English translation up, nor am I convinced there will be. Im Tirzu posted the recording on You Tube.

What the song is about depends, apparently, on the beholder. The lyrics themselves express anguish. They are sung from the perspective of a young reservist, calling on his lefty brother to desist from hating him since they're brothers. I defend you, you spit on me; the enemy doesn't manage to kill me but you're trying to; as I charge forward my back is to you, but you're sharpening your knife; I'm your brother you're the enemy; I love you hate.

It's not a nice song. Nor is it fair, since there are soldiers of both political camps in the same combat units, and both camps have their share of shirkers. The most potent line in my opinion is Ata mosser oti le-Zar, you're turning me over to foreigners - except that the term mosser has centuries of baggage to it, and is a devastating accusation. (Jews who have betrayed their brothers to persecution are, alas, not as rare as we'd like).

Having read the lyrics over and over, and watched the video repeatedly, it seems to me a song of anguish, not hatred. In no scenario is it a threat to democracy.

Unless you read Haaretz. They put their story about it on the front page of the Hebrew paper edition (alas, not on their English-language website). The item uses all the tricks of the trade, telling of "enormous anger" but without any quantification and citing two excitable sources as if they're vox populi in classic Guardian agitprop style. Since these are quotations you can't quite attribute them to Haaretz itself, which is merely reporting. Of course, no quotations of supporters are forthcoming.

The final paragraph offers the observation of one Igor (no last name): "Benayoun stole his lyrics from the songs of Hoerst Wesel".

I don't think there were songs (plural) of Hoerst Wesel, only one - but that one was the Nazi battle song. So Haaretz has cast Amir Benayoun as a Nazi. Because he doesn't like the NIF.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Fanatics, Left and Right

Torat HaRav Aviner: Herzl and Zionism

Herzl and Zionism


Q: It is known that Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook hung a picture of Herzl in his home. But I have heard that Herzl wrote horrible things about Judaism in his diary. How do these two things go together? And if Herzl and Secular Zionist are so opposed to Judaism, why are we called “Religious-Zionists”?
A: There are two questions here: on Herzl and on Zionism. Regarding Herzl, one must be extremely careful about spreading lies. All the negative things written about Herzl are incorrect and half-quotes. See the new book "Herzl: A New Reading" by Dr. Yitzchak Weiss which discusses all of these issues. One can find the true Herzl there.
Regarding, Zionism, it is not the creation of Herzl, it is the creation of the Master of the Universe. The definition of Zionism is the return to Zion, the building of our Land and the revival of our Nation in our Land. The entire Torah, all of the prophets and all of our Sages clearly state this idea. Zionism was true before Herzl and after Herzl, and even without Herzl, and although he was not religious, he awakened this idea. This can be compared to secular Jews encouraging performance of a kindness. Just because people who were not religious encouraged this idea, we would not perform the kindness?!
Nevertheless, the fact that people defame Herzl regarding Zionism is a good sign, since there is no connection between the two things. When people make claims having nothing to do with the issue, it is a sign that they have nothing to say about the issue itself. We must therefore certainly join in the revival and unification of our Nation in our Land.

Torat HaRav Aviner: Herzl and Zionism

Torat HaRav Aviner: Purchases during Sefirat Ha-Omer

Purchases during Sefirat Ha-Omer


Q: Is it permissible to receive something I ordered for my house during Sefirat Ha-Omer?
A: The issue during Sefirat Ha-Omer is not buying new items, but reciting the blessing of "Shehechiyanu." This is not a good time of the year (since 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's students died during this period), how then can one say "Blessed is Hashem…Who has granted us life, sustains us and has brought us to this time"? Who is happy during this time? The Shulchan Aruch does not mention the practice of not reciting "Shehechiyanu" during Sefirat Ha-Omer, but mentions not reciting it during the period of "Bein Ha-Mitzarim" (the Three Weeks before Tisha Be-Av) (Shulchan Aruch, Aruch Chaim 551:17). Righteous people have the custom not to recite "Shehechiyanu" during the Three Weeks, but this practice did not transfer to the period of Sefirat Ha-Omer. We therefore have a double stricture: 1. During the Three Weeks, this practice is not obligatory, but an act of piety. 2. It is mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch during the Three Weeks, but not during Sefirat Ha-Omer. It was only mentioned by later authorities. Nonetheless, it is not even a question in our case, since you are buying items for your home. When you buy items for a group – such as for you, your husband and your children – you do not recite the blessing of "Shehechiyanu," but the blessing of "Ha-Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv" (Hashem is good to me and does good for others). This means that it is not that there is a question and this is the answer, but there is no question at all.

Torat HaRav Aviner: Purchases during Sefirat Ha-Omer


This Shabbat April 24 we read the double portion of ACHAREI MOS and KEDOSHIM


By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: Parshas ACHAREI MOS, Leviticus 16:1-18:30


Our parshah, ACHAREI MOS, introduces the account of the awesome service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, by noting that this parshah was given to Moses AFTER -- in the light of -- the death of Aaron's two sons when they offered "strange fire" inside the Sanctuary.

Nadav and Avihu wanted to redeem the entire world and bring it to G-d in an instant -- but they themselves were consumed by G-d's jealous fire. Their endeavor was in the realm of excess. There is an evil in the world that cannot be redeemed: it's only redemption lies in being smashed and destroyed forever (just as TUM'AH, ritual impurity, leaves a clay vessel only when it is broken).

At the center of the High Priest's service on Yom Kippur lies the profound mystery of the GORAL. This was the "lottery" by which one of a pair of identical goats was chosen to be the holy sacrificial offering whose blood would atone for Israel in the Holy of Holies. The other was taken to a remote mountain-crag and cast down to AZAZEL, the Devil, being quickly broken to pieces on the mountainside. This mitzvah is numbered by the Rabbis together with the purification from defilement from the dead through the ashes of the Red Heifer as among those incomprehensible CHUKIM, "statutes" at which the nations and the evil inclination scoff.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov once put the question in a graphic form: "In the Purim play, why should one person be chosen to play Mordechai the Jew and live, while another plays Haman and gets hung?"

There is no satisfactory answer to the deepest questions of destiny in this world: it is simply not given to the eyes of flesh and blood to understand why this one is given one role in life and that one another. There is a heavenly MAZAL at work that brings about the GORAL, "fate". What our parshah tells us is that we are free to choose our path in the world, and that following G-d's commandments guarantees us life.

"And you shall guard my statutes and my laws which, when a man -- HA-ADAM -- does them, he shall LIVE through them, I AM HASHEM" (Leviticus 18:5).

The SIFRA DEVEY RAV, the oldest rabbinic midrashic commentary on Leviticus, goes to some lengths in commenting on this verse to emphasize that this applies to all mankind. "It does not say 'which, when a Cohen or Levi or Israelite does them' but 'when a MAN -- HaAdam -- does them', including a GOY". Incidentally, this is the exact Hebrew word there. While many gentiles find the word Goy offensive, it should not cause offence. It is simply the standard rabbinic term for one who was not born an Israelite -- "gentile" is the Latin equivalent. In the comment quoted here, the Rabbis were EMPHASIZING that the Torah path is the universal path, open to Goy, Israelite, Levite and Cohen, as long as they are willing to follow it in truth.

Only one person can play the role of the High Priest. Thus when studying the portions dealing with the High Priest's Yom Kippur service, we are onlookers at the ritual. Yet there is also a deep personal message for us. We study this parshah at this time of the year, as we proceed on the fifty-day SEFIRAS HA-OMER count towards our annual peak, the Giving of the Torah on the forthcoming festival of SHAVUOS. The season of Counting the Omer is a time for reflection on who we are and what we are trying to achieve. The High Priest's entry into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur is a lesson to us to appoint special times for seclusion in order to enter into the personal sanctuary that we must reserve within the depths of our own hearts for true encounter with self and with G-d. One of the best facilitators of this encounter with self and with G-d is the Sweet Singer of Israel, King David. It is customary to give particular emphasis to recital of the Psalms during the Sefirah period, for the psalms are conducive to healing, repentance, atonement and LIFE.

* * *

The account of the High Priest's Yom Kippur service is followed by a number of commandments establishing the centrality of the Sanctuary in the G-dly service of the community. The prohibition of animal sacrifices outside the Sanctuary, and later, outside the Temple in Jerusalem, forbids each person building his own personal Temple and Altar, whether literally or in the form of pride and self-worship. There is only one place for a literal animal offering. That is Mount Moriah, where Abraham bound Isaac and where Jacob saw the SULAM, the ladder of ascent, that is SINAI (SULAM and SINAI have the same gematria.) After the wandering in the Wilderness, the final resting place of the Shechinah for all time is in Yerushalayim, Ir HaKodesh, in the Temple on Mount Moriah.

Among the commandments relating to the slaughter of animals is the severe prohibition against eating blood, which is one of the fundamentals of our daily dietary code. The Shechitah method of slaughter ensures that the vital blood of the animal, strictly forbidden for consumption, is shed at the time of slaughter. The removal of the veins of the animal by the butcher and subsequent salting of the meat according to ritual law ensure the removal of the blood from the meat. This is necessary because an animal spirit resides in the blood. If this blood is consumed by man, he falls from his level and is overcome by an animal spirit. The laws of Kashrus are the very foundation of a diet that ensures that we have a human spirit, and that we think and behave like Bney Adam.

* * *


The third and concluding section of the parshah, which contains the above-quoted verse, "he shall LIVE through them", lays out the basic family law of the Torah, including the fundamental laws of incest and the various forbidden relationships, including mother and son, father and daughter, brother and sister, adultery, forbidden intercourse during monthly period, prohibition of homosexuality, bestiality, etc.

In more innocent times, some people were taught that certain forms of behavior are fundamentally WRONG. The various incest laws of the Torah, which are the Holy root of this code, can be seen in clear letters in our Parshah. But anyone who ventures outside the holy camp of the Torah to observe the "wider" world (such as dating services, Internet chat-rooms, etc.) can rapidly discover that those interested in any or all of the above prohibitions and perversions can quickly get fully involved in a whole world where they are all freely available. What Internet has begun to reveal appears to be only the tip of the iceberg of the actual behavior of a very large part of the human population. Even in Israel vociferous secularists are openly identified with the reformist line that the fundamental statutes governing human relationships may be freely broken. This is precisely what leads to the breakdown of basic human norms that we witness all around the world today in the name of "freedom" and "liberation".

This is no liberation. The only freedom and life are those promised by the Torah: "And you shall guard My statutes and My laws which when a man will do them, he will live through them, I am HaShem."

The law of Shabbos and the fundamental laws of the code laid down in our parshah are the foundation of the family life which is the basis for the rearing of a new generation -- our children and our children's children. We are all bound to know the basic laws, and if our paths in life bring us to places where these laws are infringed, we must be properly forewarned. It is most important to teach children with sensitivity how they must take care of themselves against strangers and even with friends and close relatives.

The best ways for Jews and Bney Yisrael, Bney Bris, members of the Covenant of G-d, to maintain health and life is through strengthening ourselves with our families and good friends. This is accomplished when we bond together, as we did on Pesach. Now, after Pesach, we carry through the holiness attained during the festival into the days of the year as we Count the Omer -- count the days and learn to value each day, day after day. During the long summer days, we must make time to study G-d's laws, the laws that bring LIFE, celebrating the Shabbas, the Day of Life. Fathers and sons should take time to study G-d's Torah together regularly, and so mothers and daughters.

If all Israel would keep two consecutive Shabboses, they would be redeemed.

* * *


Torah Reading: Parshas KEDOSHIM, Leviticus 19:1-20:27


This week's parshah, KEDOSHIM TIHYU, "Be holy.", was specifically addressed by G-d through His prophet Moses "to all of the assembly of the Children of Israel" (Leviticus 19:2). In the words of the Midrash: "This parshah was addressed to all of the assembly because most of the main bodies of Torah law depend upon it. 'Be holy' -- be pure (PERUSHIM), separate from the world's vanities. 'For Holy am I, HaShem your G-d': This teaches that if you sanctify yourselves, I consider it as if you had sanctified Me. And if you do not sanctify yourselves, I consider it as if you have not sanctified Me. Could it mean that if you sanctify Me then I am sanctified but if not, then I am not sanctified? No - because it says, '.for I am Holy' -- I am in My holiness whether they sanctify me or not." (Sifra, Kedoshim 1:1).

The code of conduct whose foundations are laid forth in the present parshah gives practical expression to the challenge addressed to the Children of Israel when they assembled at Sinai to receive the Torah. "If you will surely listen to My voice and guard My covenant, you shall be a precious treasure out of all the nations, for the whole earth is Mine. And you shall be for Me a kingdom of priests and a HOLY NATION: these are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel." (Exodus 19:5-6).

Following the account of the Giving of the Torah in YITRO, parshas MISHPATIM laid down many of the basic laws governing man's behavior with his fellows including the prohibitions of murder, robbery and theft, the laws of restitution for damages, etc. Many of the laws in MISHPATIM are somewhat specialist in the sense that they apply particularly to Dayanim, Torah judges.

However the code laid forth in the present parshah, KEDOSHIM applies to everyone, as it is the basic Torah code for everyday life, starting with the respect due to parents and the observance of the holy Shabbos -- which overrides even the former, should any conflict arise.

The next Mitzvah in the parshah -- to eat sacrificial portions within their appointed time -- cannot unfortunately be observed today in the absence of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. However, it is worth noting that correct timing is an important part of G-d's code. Things should be done at their appointed time and not dragged on until all the taste goes out of them. The entire Oral Torah begins with an extensive discussion about the exact time for reciting the evening Shema (Berachos, Chapter 1). It is unfortunate that at times SJT ("Standard Jewish Time") strays somewhat widely from precision timing. Every moment in life should be treasured, and people's time should not be wasted for no reason.

The Mitzvos that follow in our parshah are those of giving gifts of produce to the poor, and of basic integrity: "Do not steal, do not deceive and do not lie to one another. Don't impound your friend's money, don't delay payment for services rendered. Don't unjustly favor either the poor or the rich. don't hate your brother in your heart, give due reproof, do not take vengeance or nurse a grievance against the children of your people, and love your friend as yourself, for I am HaShem".

The code of Holiness contained in our parshah is not one that requires its followers to separate from the material world and live apart in ascetic communities such as in monasteries and the like. On the contrary, true KEDUSHAH comes to a person precisely through living his or her life with family, friends and associates, within the wider community and in the workaday world. Making a living within the boundaries of the halachah, taking into account the needs of the needy, dealing correctly in business, abstaining from all theft and corruption, from hatred, vengeance, etc. etc. It is precisely through keeping these commandments in our everyday material lives, while actually dealing with all that we have to deal with each day, that we become purer.

This "purity" is the KEDUSHAH, the "holiness" which is the defining attribute of the path of life set forth in our parshah. In mystical writings, KEDUSHAH is particularly associated with the mental and spiritual faculties of CHOCHMAH, BINAH and DA'AS, while the very foundation for their healthy functioning is the purity of YESOD, moral purity.

In giving us a code of "holiness" that governs the way we do business with one another, how we talk to and about one another, as well as so many other details in our lives in the world, the Torah is teaching us to constantly activate our CHOCHMAH, BINAH and DA'AS powers in everyday life. In the words of the Baal Shem Tov, "An everyday barter exchange also involves the Talmudic law of 'exchanging an ox for a donkey'." In other words, everything we do, including in our business lives, is a G-d-given opportunity for discovering buried "sparks" of holiness within the very situations that confront us. We need to activate our minds to recognize the holy potential contained within everyday affairs. Nothing is more evanescent than today: the day is quickly gone. But if we are alert to the mitzvahs we can perform every day, particularly in the realm of "love your friend as yourself" -- which includes all forms of kindness -- we gather great treasures day by day, all of them stored in G-d's memory, where nothing is forgotten.

* * *


As mentioned above, the spiritual traits of CHOCHMAH, BINAH and DA'AT -- the ability to perceive G-dliness and to grasp the divine wisdom -- are bound up with YESOD, the "Foundation" -- sexual purity. This is the subject of the latter part of this week's parshah. Thus the Torah Code of Holiness in daily life -- KEDOSHIM -- comes "sandwiched" between the concluding part of the previous parshah, giving the fundamental incest prohibitions, and the concluding part of this week's parshah, setting forth the penalties for their infringement. This underlines the fact that the true KEDUSHAH depends upon observance of the Torah moral code.

A fundamental principle of Torah law is that wherever a punishment is laid down, the prohibition is also explicitly stated in the Torah. This explains why the incest prohibitions in KEDOSHIM appear to duplicate those at the end of ACHAREY MOS. In fact, there is no duplication: the laws of ACHAREY MOS state the prohibitions, while the laws of KEDOSHIM state the penalties for their infringement.

At the head of the list of forbidden practices is the giving of seed to Molech (Lev. 20:3). This is explained as a form of idolatry assumed by many to be defunct today in which a father would give over some of his children to be walked by priests through fire as a form of initiation and consecration.

Actual Molech-worship within the technical parameters of the term may or may not be defunct, yet there are indications that various kinds of rituals involving children including pedophilia and actual Satan-worship are practiced in this day and age in many different places in the world. For example, in Australia, a woman who won a national award for championing victims of childhood sexual abuse is now reporting a major cover-up of pedophiliac-Satanic activities in the country involving leading politicians, media and business interests, the police and the underworld.

What innocent parents may not realize when they submit their children to television, video, magazines and the other communications media of contemporary society is that they may also be exposing those children to a kind of Molech-worship. Thus most secular TV and other media show images of the uncovered human form, many unashamedly erotic, without the slightest compunction. Today images of the uncovered form are so universal that few people can remember the world of a mere fifty years ago, when indecency was still considered shocking.

With all this suggestion and blatant eroticism around them, it is hardly surprising that many teenagers growing up in a secular environment are deeply obsessed with their bodies and their sexuality. The place of the body, sexuality and romance in the mind of many teenage girls, for example, can be seen from a quick survey of the literature they read. What the popular literature does not spell out is the personal pain and agony of so many helpless victims of this culture and their problems of depression, anorexia, substance abuse, thoughts of suicide, etc.

For parents who seek to bring up children who will become and remain true Israelites all their lives, there is no option today but to actively seek out ways of separating them culturally from the secular mainstream. Ideally, the purest environment for young Jewish souls to grow up in is one that is Television-Free from the youngest age. It is of great importance to protect children for as long as possible from the assault on their consciousness by the unhealthy images and sounds of the contemporary secular media. Only with the power of deep inner conviction together with imaginative educational methods is it possible to fire young people with the zeal for the Torah that alone can immunize them from the evil influences of the prevalent culture which sooner or later they will have to face for themselves.

Shabbat Shalom!!!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel

RubinReports: Obama and Iran: How Amazingly Little has Changed in a Year!

Obama and Iran: How Amazingly Little has Changed in a Year!

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By Barry Rubin

I just came across something I wrote almost precisely a year ago today on the importance of President Barack Obama putting sanctions on Iran.

Then I quoted Ari Shavit of Haaretz who wrote back then, projecting forward to what might happen in 2012:

"If Obama had decided…to impose a political-economic siege on Tehran, he would have changed the course of history [and]…prevented regional chaos, a worldwide nuclear arms race and an American decline.”

If you had told me a year ago that one year later Obama wouldn't have imposed any new sanctions on Iran and failed to get allies to do so, I wouldn't have believed it. Not doing enough, very likely. Not doing anything? Impossible.

Yet the foreign policy establishment is only just beginning to get horrified at this mismanagement.

RubinReports: Obama and Iran: How Amazingly Little has Changed in a Year!
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