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.
Certain Arab/Islamic critics of Israel often speak of some deeply sinister Jewish migrations to "Palestine" after World War I, neglecting to mention that (1) there has been a large and continuous Jewish presence in the land for over 3,000 years; and (2) there has been a continuing Jewish majority in Jerusalem.
Located in Eastern Poland, Poznan is one of the oldest and leading Jewish communities in Poland-Lithuania.
Back in August 2007, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Prime Minister Olmert's "partner in peace," named a soccer tournament after Ziyad Da'as, a Fatah-Tanzim terrorist who had been eliminated by Israel exactly five years earlier. The Palestinian Da'as was responsible for the heroic January 2002 attack in which gunmen opened fire with an M-16 at a Bat Mitzvah in Hadera, murdering six and seriously wounding thirty. With equal courage, he had also planned the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli civilians in Tulkarem in 2001.
"It is in the thick of a calamity," we learn from Albert Camus' The Plague, "that one gets hardened to the truth, in other words, to silence." Now that Iranian nuclearization is reaching the point of no return, noisy declarations from Tehran are apt to become less shrill. Reciprocally, in Jerusalem, an inaudible truth could soon yield to action.
Before my most recent trip to Poland I gave my readers a chance to hire me to find the town of their origin in Poland.
One must wonder: Is current U.S. policy on the "Road Map" merely the result of a foolish consistency, or is something much more sinister going on? After all, President Bush and Secretary of State Rice remain determined to birth a viable Palestinian state, one that would be part of an altogether mythical "two-state solution."
Last week's anniversary of Kristallnacht reminded us that the Shoah happened in a relatively cultured society.