Re the recent op-eds and reader responses to the haredi draft law controversy in Israel:
The haredi position on Israel has always baffled me. If as believing Jews we hold that nothing happens by chance, and that history is molded by God’s Hand, how then can we say that the return of the Jewish people to their homeland after 2,000 years was mere happenstance, or even something that went against the wishes of the Creator?
If we believe the Jewish people were selected by God to bring the light of Torah to the world, and that our relationship with the Land of Israel plays a central role in our Covenant with Hashem and our standing in the eyes of the world (which mocked us with endless cries of “Where is your God?” through the long centuries of our exile), then surely the return to Zion is a landmark event in Jewish and world history. We disregard it or, worse, denigrate it at our great risk.
Haredim who dismiss the creation of Israel as just another historical event, or a sin against God by faithless Jews who had no patience with the Divine timetable, have to answer the question of why God would send such confusing signals by bringing about the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael after millennia of Jewish homelessness.
They have to explain why, after centuries of dispersion and persecution and murder, a weak and defenseless Jewish people were suddenly able not only to bring a state into being, not only to fend off and defeat their enemies, but also to build that state into a scientific, technological and military powerhouse that at the same time funds more Torah learning and Torah institutions than we’ve ever seen anywhere before in history.
As a person of faith, I look at Israel and see a state that no rational person as recently as the 1930s and early 1940s would have believed possible.
Just imagine going back in time to a Russian village in 1893 or a Polish shtetl in 1923 or a Nazi death camp in 1943 and telling Jews there that within a few years a Jewish state would rise from the ash heap of history and its Jewish soldiers and scientists and doctors would astonish the world with their accomplishments.
Or imagine telling Jews in the 1940s that despite the annihilation of six million Jews and the almost total eradication of Europe’s great Torah centers, within a couple of decades the Torah community would be flourishing as never before in a new Jewish state, uncountable yeshivas and synagogues would be built, chassidic dynasties would be reestablished, and a Jewish army would keep watch over them.
People would have thought you were a raving lunatic had you attempted to tell them any of the above. But it all came to pass, and if that’s not a miracle, then there are no miracles.
BDS And The Israel Parade (I)
Re Rabbi Aryeh Spero’s “Israel Boycott Promoters Do Not Belong in Israel Day Parade” (JewishPress.com op-ed, posted March 31):
If these Boycott people are allowed to be part of the march, yeshivot should start pulling out and boycotting the parade. I won’t be a part of allowing these very ignorant people to march with those who love Israel.
(Posted on JewishPress.com)
BDS And The Israel Parade (II)
What could they possibly have been thinking? The New York City UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council have decided to allow “pro-Israel” organizations which support the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to participate in the June 1 Celebrate Israel Parade.
BDS is a vicious movement that seeks the delegitimization, economic weakening, and ultimate destruction of Israel. It must be vigorously fought by the organized Jewish community. An “open tent” policy that would accord organizations that support it, or support other organizations that do, such approbation, is utterly misguided and intrinsically inconsistent with the waging of that accelerating struggle.
Richard D. Wilkins
Demonizing Begin (I)
In her “Shiloh Musings” column posted at JewishPress.com on April 3, Batya Medad paints Menachem Begin as the father of appeasement because he first proposed the idea of Palestinian “autonomy.”
It should be recalled, however, that “autonomy” meant something far different to Begin in the late 1970s than it does to us today. No one in the Israeli mainstream circa 1978 was thinking along the lines of an independent Palestinian state. Why, then, does Ms. Medad feel the need to demonize the most intensely Jewish prime minister Israel has ever had?
Demonizing Begin (II)
Batya Medad’s web column on Menachem Begin was terribly unfair to Begin, and false too.
She wrote: “I’ll never forget the bombastic statements he made afterwards claiming that this decision will preserve Israeli rights to the rest of the Land of Israel….”
Here is her confusion, and I wonder if it’s deliberate. Sinai is not part of the Land of Israel. That was why Menachem Begin agreed to withdraw from Sinai in return for an agreement with Egypt – because he was not giving up any part of the Land of Israel, and he never did.
I also suggest that the move to give “autonomy” to the Arabs began several years before Begin became prime minister. In the early 1970s the ruling Labor party allowed – and indeed encouraged – Arab towns and cities to have elections to determine their mayors and other civic leaders. When the PLO candidates “convinced” the other candidates to drop out of the races, the PLO people became the legal spokesmen for all the Arab areas.
Finally, I notice a growing tendency by right-wingers not just to criticize Begin but to actually demonize him. In light of the facts, and the principles that he adhered to throughout his life, I find this inexplicable.
(Posted on JewishPress.com)
Evidence And Evolution
In view of the lack of evidence for evolution, that it is still being advocated by some Orthodox Jews is indeed perplexing.
Despite 150 years of searching worldwide, paleontologists have given up hope of ever finding even one transitional fossil, let alone a single set to close the gaps between the phyla, classes or even species, to support the supposed evolutionary line. “Neither Darwin, nor any Darwinian has ever given an actual causal explanation of any single organism or any single organ” (Sir Karl Popper).
The stupendous myth of prehistoric men, missing link ape-men and man-apes is based entirely on the discretionary reconstruction of a very few, widely dispersed, bone shards. Java Man was found to have been based on an ordinary gibbon’s skull, Orce Man on a donkey’s skull, Ramapithicus on an orangutan, Pithecanthropus on an elephant’s knee cap. The sole evidence brought to support evolution and the existence of Nebraska Man, in the famous 1922 Scopes Trial, turned out to be the tooth of an extinct pig!
Entire imaginary phantom populations of supposed sub-humans – Cro Magnon Man, Neanderthal Man, Peking Man, Galley Hill Man, Fontechevade Man, Swanscombe Man, Grimaldi Man, Nutcracker Man, Olduvai Man, Wadjak Man, Leakey’s 1470 Man etc.etc. – are now acknowledged as being 100 percent true modern homo sapiens.
Piltdown Man was for 50 years ensconced in the textbooks as absolute proof of evolution until exposed as an expertly contrived hoax conceived at the highest levels.
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