The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Special Thanks To Hatzolah
We wish to thank all of the members of Hatzolah who helped rescue my son and his two passengers from his overturned car on the Palisades Parkway on August 17. Not only did the Hatzolah team help with the rescue and give immediate medical attention, they helped gather the luggage, seforim and other items which were strewn over the accident site, brought kosher food to the emergency room for us and stayed with one of the passengers, a young handicapped boy who only spoke Hebrew, interpreting and giving companionship for many hours.
Baruch Hashem, I am happy to say that all of the passengers are doing well.
In 1967, Arab countries massed hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of tanks, hundreds of supersonic jets, and dozens of warships against Israel in order to annihilate it. Nevertheless, in six days the tiny Jewish state smashed the Arab armada arrayed along its precarious 1949 armistice borders.
Today, however, after almost four long, bloody years, a powerful hi-tech Israel has not been able to defeat a few thousand Arab terrorists equipped with no planes, no tanks, and no warships, for Have the Arabs drastically improved their military skills? Or, more likely, has Israel lost its national determination to fight and win this war? A country buffeted for more than 37 years by non-stop leftist exhortations – in educational institutions and the media – concerning the purported moral equivalence between Arabs and Jews has lost its sense of right and thereby its will to vanquish its attackers.
No amount of modern wizardry will save Israel unless there is a concomitant change in national feelings. Israelis must be re-educated to realize that the Land of Israel belongs to them, exclusively, as is explicitly and repeatedly stated in the Bible. Israel, categorically, is not a homeland for a fictitious Arab nation that can easily relocate to 22 nearby Arab countries.
And who better can and should begin to facilitate such a requisite change of national perspective than our spiritual leaders, especially during Elul, the month of introspection, before we are judged by the Heavenly Tribunal?
Yasher koach to Marvin Schick for his passionate August 6 essay, “Turning Our Backs on Orthodox Education.” This is an issue of transcendent national importance to Am Yisrael, and we collectively need to address and begin to remedy our situation.
I offer this comment: Primary fault for the fragile financial status of our yeshivas and day schools lies with generations of violent anti-Semites who seek to destroy us ? Arabs, Germans, Cossacks, Russians, Poles, and many others. When we are both running and fighting for our lives and property, it is hard to turn our attention to raising money the proper way for chinuch. We lost one-third of our people, and so many yeshivas and rabbis only sixty years ago, and we are still rebuilding. Now we are fighting suicide bombers and more.
By keeping this in mind, we will not place too much blame on the shoulders of those in the organized Jewish world, both Orthodox and other, who are at least trying. G-d should help all of us to keep trying.
Elliot B. Pasik, Esq.
Long Beach, NY
Something To Agree On
Though I have not been in agreement with Ed Koch on political matters, the positions he expressed in his front-page essay (“President Bush Deserves Our Votes,” Aug. 20) earned him a full redemption in my eyes.
I would, however, urge Mr. Koch to cease describing himself as a “liberal with sanity.” That is an oxymoron. The sharp rebuke he delivered in his article to Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, was appropriate, and I applaud him for it. This brings attention to the eternal truth that Jewish unity only emanates from Torah, the Jewish raison d’etre.
I agree with Mr. Koch that we Jews must learn to support our friends. Meanwhile, the task for our generation is to recreate the spirit of Har Sinai and recapture the exhilaration of total Jewish unity – a noble endeavor that certainly will hasten Hashem’s redemption.
Kerry Will Walk In Clinton’s Footsteps
Democrats assert that a Kerry administration would be better for Israel as it would follow in the footsteps of President Clinton and also because it would have closer ties with Europe. But those are exactly the problems – and not just for Israel but for the United States as well.
Rather than convincing the EU to embrace Israel, it is far more likely that a Kerry administration, eager to improve American ties with Europe, would follow its demands that the U.S. take a harsher stance toward Israel, while appeasing and strengthening the Middle East’s terror-supporting regimes.
Clinton was very good at feeling Israel’s pain as it absorbed mounting casualties while following his wishes to simply ignore the Palestinian Authority’s open refusal to abide by Yasir Arafat’s promises to stop the attacks. But Clinton turned hostile when Benjamin Netanyahu tried to insist that the PA fulfill its obligations, such as halting both terrorism and its murderous anti-Semitic incitement in PA-controlled media and schools.
Clinton was a “friend” of Israel only if one believes that it is in Israel’s interest for the U.S. to force Israel to make territorial concessions because this will bring peace. But a decade of such policy has backfired. Arafat has used the territory, weaponry, funding and indeed international legitimacy given him under the Oslo Accords to continue his campaign to destroy Israel – with more than one thousand Israelis murdered and prospects for real peace more remote than ever before.
The Democrats have simply disregarded everything that has followed Clinton’s celebration of Arafat at the White House on September 13, 1993. They blame the absence of peace on President Bush’s supposed lack of effort to settle the conflict and argue that a Kerry administration would end the violence by following Clinton’s example in evenhandedly brokering negotiations between the parties.
President Bush has largely recognized that negotiating and signing deals with terrorists and terror-supporting regimes does not generally bring peace, even if such actions are labeled a “peace process.” He has also recognized that the war against terrorism means that Arafat’s continued reign is intolerable.
Similarly, Bush has not even hinted that Israel negotiate with Basher Assad. Instead, Bush destroyed Syria’s fellow Baathist totalitarian dictatorship in Baghdad, implicitly putting Syria on notice that it too will soon have to undergo democratic reform and stop its widespread support for terrorist groups in the region. Bush has already approved some sanctions against Syria and will probably take stronger steps in a second term.
For Clinton, the fiction of a peace process meant everything, no matter the consequences. He hosted Arafat at the White House more often than he did any other foreign leader. And Clinton repeatedly sent Warren Christopher to pay obsequious homage to Hafez Assad in Damascus – where Assad humiliated the secretary of state by making him wait hours for their meetings – and also met with the Syrian dictator twice himself, all while ignoring Assad’s record of oppressing and occasionally slaughtering his own people, his occupation of Lebanon, narcotics smuggling and longstanding support of terrorism.
The choice facing Americans this fall is stark: the Clinton policies Kerry has promised to follow dealt a massive blow to America’s strategic interests. Besides conveying that we did not really care for democracy or human rights in the Middle East, Clinton sent a clear message that the United States lacked the resolve and inclination to fight terrorists and the governments that sponsor them.
Remembering An Earlier Intifada
August 24 marked the 75th anniversary of the 1929 Hebron Massacre, in which 67 Jews were brutally murdered by their Arab neighbors. There was no Jewish state. There was no “fence.” There were no “Arab refugees.” There were no settlements throughout Judea and Samaria. The “Palestinians” of that era were Jews, most of whom had lived there for centuries. The only provocation to the Muslims was that Jews were alive.
So long as the Jews remained subservient to the Muslim Arabs, their relationship had remained more or less peaceful. Toward the end of 1928, however, the Muslims began to object to Jews praying at the holiest of all Jewish sites, the Kotel, in Jerusalem. These arguments led to an outbreak of Arab violence in August 1929 when Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, fomented Arab hatred by accusing the Jews of endangering the mosques and other sites holy to Islam. Observers heard Husseini issue the call: Itback al-Yahud – slaughter the Jews.
On August 22, leaders of the yishuv met with the British deputy high commissioner to alert him of their fears of a large Arab riot. The British officials assured them that the government was in control of the situation. The following day rioting erupted throughout the Palestine Mandate, lasting for seven days.
On Friday, August 23, Arab mobs attacked Jews in Jerusalem, Motza, Hebron, Safed, Jaffa, and other parts of the country. The Old City of Jerusalem was hit particularly hard. By the next day, the Haganah was able to mount a defense and further attacks in Jerusalem were repulsed.
But the violence in Jerusalem generated rumors throughout the country – many of them involving fabricated accounts of Jewish attempts to defile Muslim holy places – designed to inflame Arab residents. Villages were plundered and destroyed by Arab mobs. While attacks on Jews in Tel Aviv and Haifa were thwarted by Jewish defenses, there were Jewish deaths in two ancient Jewish communities – Hebron, where 67 Jewish men and women were slaughtered and Safed, where 18 Jews were killed – as well as scattered other losses totaling 133 Jewish deaths, with more than 300 wounded.
The Arab violence in Hebron was one of the worst atrocities in the modern history of Israel. On the afternoon of August 23, Jerusalem Arabs came to Hebron with false reports of Jews murdering Arabs during the rioting there. Despite the fact that Jews and Arabs in Hebron had been on good terms, a mass of frenzied Arab rioters formed and proceeded to the Hebron Yeshiva where a lone student was murdered. The next day, the Jewish Sabbath, the killing continued as an Arab mob surrounded homes where Jews had sought refuge, broke in and murdered scores of Jews in a bloody rampage.
By the end of the riot, during which the British police did nothing to protect the Jews or stop the violence, sixty-seven Jews were dead and hundreds wounded. At the end of the three days the surviving Jews were sent to Jerusalem, exiled from their homes for the crime of being a victim of the Arab riot. Hebron’s ancient Jewish quarter was empty and destroyed. For the next 39 years no Jew lived in Hebron, not until after it was liberated by the Israeli military during the Six-Day War in 1967.
My father-in-law’s brother, recently deceased, was a young Jerusalem-born sergeant leading a Bedouin police unit for the British. He was with the unit when they discovered the results of the massacre – the dead and the dying. The British refused to believe their reports until he persuaded a local newspaper to send a reporter.
It is interesting to note that the same type of incitement that provoked the August 1929 terror attacks was used again by Arab leaders in 2000 to launch the current wave of violence. History seems to repeat itself.
Allan E. Mallenbaum
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Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
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