It is easy to feel sorry for the Palestinians in Gaza. Televised and print images of their apparently unrelieved misery suggest Israeli cruelty in the creation of shortages and in the use of armed force. Exactly the opposite is true. The moment that flagrantly illegal Hamas rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants cease, no harms of any kind will be imposed by Israel.
The Foundation Momentum Iudaicum Lodzense was established on November 6 1995.
From a national survival standpoint, the candidate debates remain pretty much beside the point. Not a single presidential aspirant has answered (or even attempted to answer) a very important question: Are we Americans now involved in a merely tactical struggle against particular terror groups and individuals, or are we, instead, embroiled in something much larger? Should we now be focusing on assorted political, military and logistical issues (the effective position, more or less, of all candidates), or upon the much wider religious and cultural context from which our principal terror enemies are spawned?
I am often asked what Jewish life in Poland is really like.
For Jews, free will must always be oriented toward life, to the blessing, not to the curse. Our binding charge is to strive in this obligatory direction of individual and collective self-preservation by using our intelligence and by exercising our essentially disciplined acts of will. In circumstances where such striving is consciously rejected, the outcome - however catastrophic - can never rise to the dignified level of tragedy.
Over the past 12 years that I have been writing this column I discussed the Ringelblum Archives numerous times.
True life, it seems, can never be brought purposefully before the judgment seat of Reason. Much as we might wish it were otherwise, absurd narratives now best mirror the deteriorating situation of life on earth. Still living an elaborate pantomime of right and wrong, justice and punishment, we humans desperately want the unfolding world-drama to develop with both fairness and sensibility. Generally, we witness something quite different.
It is often said that in places you would least expect, there is certain to be a Beit Chabad.
Notwithstanding all of the alleged "progress" in combating Islamist terrorism, our leaders have yet to really understand the core Jihadist rallying cry. "We love death," the murderers shout ecstatically - and they always shout in chorus, for terrorism is a collective activity - but we seem to think this apparent necrophilia is merely perverse, that operationally it is beside the point. No judgment could be further from the truth. In fact, correctly interpreting this openly lurid affection is ultimately the key to fashioning a genuinely effective strategy of counter-terrorism.
Last week Rabbi Schudrich of Warsaw sent me more pictures from Poland showing the community celebrating Chanukah.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. For anyone who can still think clearly, the Annapolis "Peace Conference" in November was merely the latest hallucinatory rendition of a very troubled sleep. It's not that this carefully scripted assembly actually confirmed a catastrophic outcome for Israel. Rather, it underscored America's perilous and persistent preoccupation with a determinably wrongheaded foreign policy.
When things get bad, I must remember that thousands of people in Israel are doing wonderful mitzvot daily, and we cannot become discouraged.
During my trip to Poland last summer I discovered a few areas that needed attention.
Since Netanyahu, whose own slick administration disingenuously strengthened the hand of Palestinian terrorists, most Israelis have insistently kept up a hollow refrain for Palestinian "autonomy." But the Palestinians know full well the difference between autonomy and sovereignty, and they will have nothing of the former.
Every year more and more Jewish tourists go to Poland to visit the historic sites of pre-Shoah Jewish heritage.
Now that the Annapolis "Peace Summit" has concluded, it is likely - that in time - a new terror state will be declared in the region. Strangely, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert is convinced that the creation of "Palestine" is essential to his country'ssurvival. Of course, this position might make a great deal of sense if the planned Palestinian state were to be led by Buddhist monks, but the intrinsic and endemic violence of both Fatah and Hamas make such a leadership rather implausible.
The Jewish community held a candle-lighting ceremony at the Presidential Palace, with the participation of President Lech Kaczyñski.
From the Oslo Accords' very beginnings, on September 1, 1993, Yasir Arafat reaffirmed that any "peace" agreements must be an intrinsic part of the PLO's 1974 phased plan for Israel's destruction: "The agreement will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestinian National Council resolution issued in 1974.... The PNC resolution issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or which is liberated..." Later, on May 29, 1994, Rashid Abu Shbak, a senior PA security official, remarked: "The light which has shone over Gaza and Jericho will also reach the Negev and the Galilee."
In recent weeks, there has not been much good news from Israel. Many of us had expected Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign due to the police investigations against him, but he has brazened them out.
Last week, we celebrated Chanukah, commemorating the repossession of the Beit HaMikdash from the hands of the mighty Greek Army.