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Defamation: Combating the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy at the Guardian

Benjamin Pogrund, a former South African journalist, and anti-Apartheid activist, who made Aliyah in 1997 and founded Yakar’s Centre for Social Concern, published a piece at ‘Comment is Free’ on Oct. 25 titled ‘Israel has moved to the right, but is not an apartheid state.' Pogrund refuted the recent poll on Israeli views of Arabs, and the profound distortion of the poll results, which smeared Israel with the charge of apartheid, by Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz.

Get Angry at Rashi – Not at Me!

Two Torah scholars were sent from Israel to Babylon. Upon their arrival, they took part in official ceremonies and didn’t reveal the purpose of their visit. They were received with great honor. Gradually, they started to vent their opposition. Finally, they entered a crowded assembly and said to the Jews of Babylon, “Behold, you are a great congregation. You can be independent. You don’t need Eretz Yisrael. You don’t need Mount Moriah.” Their sarcasm was purposely stinging in order to shock the Babylonian Jews. “And you’ve also got Rabbi Ahia here. Let Ahia build an altar, and let Haninah play on a harp. But know that if you detach yourselves from the centrality of Eretz Yisrael, you have no portion in the God of Israel!”

Drumbeat of Terror Goes On But Most Don’t Realize

It's just after ten in the morning here on a bright, warm Autumn morning. A delightful, breezy day. Unless you are very determined, and even if you feel very connected to events, it's near impossible to get a meaningful sense of the sheer terror of living within range of the rocket men of Gaza. The thugs of the Hamas-dominated enclave are armed to the teeth with a rocket arsenal that numbers in the tens of thousands... and growing.

The Russian and the Charmer

Both men are, above all else, pragmatic. They will defy logic and critics to shake up the political spectrum. Bibi has done it several times. A few months ago, polls guaranteed him a sure win if he called early elections. The announcements were made; dates were discussed and then, in the dead of night, he made a deal to unite with Kadima. No surprise to anyone, that deal fell apart rather quickly and Israel is once again on the path to elections.

More Religious? Or Going Off the Deep End?

They want to have total isolation from the rest of the world? I think perhaps we should finally give it to them. It pains me to say so but based on what I am reading in their very own media, going off the deep end is not an exaggeration. It may even be an understatement! It is a wonder that they do not have a bigger OTD problem than they already do. I guess that their system works very well for them that way.

The European Problem with Zionism

Yes, Israel affords civil rights and freedom of worship to its many minorities; but it makes no attempt to deny that there is one specific people, one particular narrative, one religion to which is it most centrally committed. The State of Israel is, to paraphrase Lincoln, “by the Jews, of the Jews and for the Jews.” How could those who labored to create the European Union not consider the very idea of a Jewish state anathema?

Post ‘Biberman’ Weekly Poll Average: 36.6 Likud-Beiteinu, 24.3 Labor

Polls conducted in the aftermath of the announcement of the joint-list agreement between the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu show the two parties at best keeping their current amount of Knesset seats. The average has them down.

The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology

The Nation of Islam's historic role as a bridge between American blacks and Islam ended in 1975 when W. Deen Mohammed followed his father, Elijah Muhammad, as leader of the Nation and immediately disavowed his father's folk religion, bringing his followers to normative Islam, the Islam of the Middle East. From then on, despite the theatrics of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation has been in a long downward trajectory. Now comes evidence, thanks to Tony Ortega in the Village Voice and Eliza Gray in The New Republic, of a jaw-dropping turn by Farrakhan, 79, to Scientology; as Gray's subtitle puts it, "America's two weirdest sects join forces."

The Strike on Sudan: A Lesson for Iran?

I've been reading about the airstrikes in Sudan. I first read about it as part of a threat from Khartoum, that they reserve the right to strike Israel back. It was, according to the Sudanese, a foregone conclusion that Israel was responsible. My first reaction was a snicker that combined two thoughts simultaneously, "yeah, like they can reach us" and "sheesh, something explodes and they blame us." I stand by the first response, but retract the second one.

Lucky Avraham Didn’t Have the Internet

After all, in Avraham’s time, there were savage Canaanites living in Eretz Yisrael. And there weren’t any kosher supermarkets back then, nor religious neighborhoods, nor Jewish Day Schools and yeshivot for the kids. In fact, there weren’t any Jews living there at all. Avraham would be the first. Who needed the hassle? It made a lot more sense to stay where he was, in Ur America, where everyone knew him, enjoying the good life with the goyim, wait for Moshiach, and pretend, via the Internet, that he was actually involved in building the Jewish State.

Haifa’s Last Stand

A year after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, they turned to conquer Israel's coastal cities. Haifa's Jewish community is mentioned in the Genizah documents. The city was one of three forts (מבצר) that we know of - Haifa, Dan (Banias) and Rafah (Rafiah). Each had a major Jewish community. Haifa was probably mostly Jewish, if not exclusively so, with a small Muslim military presence. The story of Haifa's conquest, in the summer of 1100, is reported by Christian chroniclers.

Mitt Romney for President

I choose candidates based on who I think will be do the best job for the country, for Israel, and for the Jewish people. I do not vote by party. Although I have finally made my decision - for the first time I am not as sure as I usually am about which candidate will actually be the better President.

Bank of China May Have Helped Hamas Kill Jews

Hamas is nourished by a worldwide network of governments, Islamic charities and individuals that support its goal of killing or dispersing the Jews. But the existence of the sources of nourishment isn’t enough. Since Hamas is a recognized as a terrorist organization and sanctioned by the US and other nations, there are impediments to transferring funds to it which can be translated into weapons, ammunition and jihadist expenses. Sometimes this is facilitated by ‘respectable’ enterprises that are officially opposed to terrorism and murder, but in fact do whatever makes them a buck. Like the Bank of China, according to the Israel Law Center — Shurat HaDin, which has filed a $1 billion lawsuit in a New York court accusing the bank of materially supporting Hamas terrorism.

Rachel is Weeping Over You!

The yartzeit of our Matriarch, Rachel, falls this year on Shabbat. Every year, more and more people gather at Rachel’s Tomb to pay respects to the Matriarch who is known as Rachel Emanu - Rachel Our Mother. Thousands of pilgrims will travel there today and tomorrow from all over the country, and perhaps 200,000 more will make the annual pilgrimage the day after Shabbat, every type of Jew there is, religious and non-religious, Haredim, Hasidim, and Dati Leumi, men, women, and children, busload after busload after busload, from far and near, waiting long hours for their turn to enter the small but beautifully renovated tomb near Betlechem on the way to Efrata .

Jews Who Can’t Speak Hebrew

Did you have trouble reading the Hebrew? That’s exactly my point. Some readers say that I’m a crazy fanatic when I say that Diaspora Jews suffer from schizophrenia when it comes to their Jewish identity. For example, even though they are Jewish, many don’t know more than a few simple words in Hebrew. After all, Hebrew is the language of the Jewish People, not English, or German, or Russian, or Yiddish.

The Rocket Barrage on Southern Isael

Earlier, I took part in a briefing with Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich of the IDF Spokesman’s unit regarding the intensified rocket fire upon the south of Israel over the past few hours, which –at the time of writing – the Guardian has not yet seen fit to report. Lt. Col. Leibovich reported that 68 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip in the past twelve hours. Two foreign nationals – farm workers from the Kissufim area – were critically wounded by rocket fire and three or four additional civilians are suffering from lighter injuries. Several homes have been damaged.

The Rabbi’s Daughter

Several prominent Religious Zionist rabbis in Israel have fallen victim to the OTD (Off the Derech) phenomenon. Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rav David Bigman, and Rav Yoram Tzohar each have a daughter that has departed from the observant ways of their parents. So for those parents who have OTD children, you are not alone. There are some very prominent people who join you. One may ask: How can I publicize something like this about such prominent leaders in Klal Yisroel, since it might be embarrassing to them? The answer is that they do not hide it. They willingly participated in a film that tells their story.

Yesha Council Initiates Levy Report Campaign

At the Yesha Council Emergency Meeting dealing with the new campaign to pressure the government to authorize the Levy Report and/or make it a condition for a future coalition agreement with the parties that will form Netanyahu's next government:

Did You Know This About Mormonism?

"The Book of Mormon clearly states that Nephi built a temple modeled upon the temple of Solomon upon arriving in the Americas (2 Nephi 5:16). In addition, the Book of Mormon says that other temples were built in the Americas (see 3 Nephi 11:1 and Helaman 3:14)...the Israelites in the Americas were trying to faithfully follow the law of Moses."

Guardian Columnist Concludes: Israelis Favor Apartheid

The most glaring omission by Sherwood is her broader failure, in this or other reports alleging Israeli racism, to provide similar data indicating the political views of Palestinians. This is part of a larger problem within the Guardian’s coverage of the region, which consistently fails to rigorously examine Palestinian society and mores.

An Open Letter to Religious Zionist Rabbis

Dear Rabbi: With elections approaching in Israel, I am searching for a religious political party for which to vote. When I think about voting for Shas, I remember their support for Oslo, the surrender of parts of Eretz Yisrael, giving rifles to our enemies, and the terrible sea of Jewish blood that was spilled after the Oslo Accords were signed. That is not the Torah I am searching to find.

Modern Orthodox Dropouts

There has been a lot of discussion about young people abandoning Mitzvah observance (going off the derech) over the past few years. A lot of that discussion took place here. Indeed it has been declared a crisis by some. The focus of this issue in the religious media has been primarily in the Charedi world. Many theories have emerged as to why children go OTD. Among them: being sexually abused and the negative reactions to it by family and community, dysfunctional family situations, faulty educational environments, teachers unprepared to deal with questions of faith, or being overly sheltered from the world so that rebellion occurs when they are exposed to it unprepared.

The JTA Politically Editorializes My Letter on The Soviet Jewry Movement

Yisrael Medad's letter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on the true beginning of the movement for Soviet Jewry and what country the JTA said Medad resided in.

Israel ‘Accused’ of Ensuring Gazan’s Had Proper Nutrition

The most interesting aspect of the Guardian/AP report on Oct. 17, ‘Israel used calorie count to limit Gaza food during the blockade,' in addition to the extremely misleading headline, is that there is little if anything in the story which demonstrates that Israel did anything improper whatsoever.

Jews Who Live in Diaspora Houses

It seems that the fad at The Jewish Press these days is for contributing writers to declare that Sarah Silverman’s trashy routine is a Chillul Hashem. That may be true, but there’s a bigger Chillul Hashem than Sarah’s. The biggest Chillul Hashem is when Jews choose to live in Chicago, and Dallas, and Los Angeles, and Lakewood, and Brooklyn, when they could live in the Land of the Jews instead. But why listen to me? Let an old writer for the Jewish Press explain it to you – Rabbi Meir Kahane. I turn this blog over to him. Let’s hear what he had to say about Jewish life in the Diaspora.

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