Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
When the next U.S. presidential race kicks off in earnest in a year or so, we will remember today. When the Jewish electorate will be inundated with speech after speech iterating and reiterating what great friends Barack Obama and the Democrats have been to Israel, we will remember today.
The Jewish community will be reminded how the bond between Israel and the U.S. is “deep and unbreakable,” as Vice President Joe Biden declared scant hours before harshly condemning Israel for announcing plans for new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in north Jerusalem. (The announced plans were for a mere 1,600 units, out of the many thousands of units desperately needed by Jewish families in Jerusalem.)
Indeed, condemnation by the United States has been fast and furious against Israel for announcing this new apartment construction. Not in Judea or Samaria, which always seems to be a source of American agita, but in Jerusalem, which never was – until today.
The battle to reverse Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish holy city is underway and I will most certainly remember today.
Despite immediate Israeli apologies, the message from a seething Biden was followed, a day later, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh 43-minute reprimand to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Apparently not wanting to feel left out, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg called in Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to deliver yet another rebuke. And David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political adviser, said on “Meet The Press” that Israel’s action was both an “affront” and an “insult.”
We get it. Barack Obama is mad. Really mad. Things are not going so well economically in the United States; health care legislation is teetering on the brink; Democrats are facing a potential rout in upcoming elections, and now (much to Obama’s surprise, though certainly not a surprise for anyone paying any attention for the last 60-plus years) peace in the Middle East may not come as easily as he had promised.
But is Israel really the best place for Obama to focus his irritation with the current state of foreign affairs? If the power players in Washington really need to show they take their role of world superpower seriously, perhaps Iran, or North Korea, or Syria (or the UN) is a better place to direct this misplaced fury.
Israel has a history of absorbing never-ending American demands, insults and clarifications while rogue nations and terrorist entities get the royal treatment. This is nothing new with this administration. But what has been brewing for a while now appears to have reached a boiling point with Israel’s latest public relations fiasco. Yes, the construction announcement was ill-timed and, yes, it was not diplomatically expedient, but come on – Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
What right does any country, friend or not, have to incite a public brouhaha over pending construction in another sovereign country’s capital? It is simply absurd.
That Israel apologized is equally disturbing. Israeli officials should have said, “We are not sorry for building homes for our people in Jerusalem, our capital.”
Netanyahu mistakenly thought the matter was put to rest after Biden accepted his public and private (personal) apologies. No. Obama and company have found it necessary to broadcast that they have been pushed to their limit by Israel. It appears the administration intends to use this Israeli diplomatic misstep to push Israel’s back to the wall. We cannot let the president continue down this path.
Things must be really serious; even the ADL’s Abe Foxman released a statement saying, “We are shocked and stunned at the administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Israel.”
Foxman continued, “We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the U.S. We can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians.”
Observing the recent treatment of Israel by Washington, it becomes blatantly clear who is treating whom shoddily. Obama has traveled to more countries than any previous first-year U.S. president. He has visited Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, Egypt (who can ever forget the Cairo speech?) and many other countries around the globe. Israel has so far not made the cut. The president’s failure to travel to Israel is consistent with the foreign policy of his administration, which goes to great lengths to pacify the Arab world at the expense of the Jewish state.
The question begs, if the Jewish community in the U.S. remains silent in the face of such obvious mistreatment, how then can we complain when Israel will be forced to agree to the impossible security concessions we know are heading its way? Our voice must be raised now as the administration places the eternal Jewish capital in play.
“If I forget thee O Jerusalem” is an integral foundation of our Jewish identity. Obama and the Democrats must know we will hold them wholly accountable for the forced division and repartitioning of Jerusalem.
It should be evident that the administration and the powers in Washington are on the wrong side of this issue when the self-loathing defeatist organization J Street praises and encourages the Obama administration’s condemnation of Israel and makes it clear that it – J Street – places the failure of peace talks at Israel’s feet. This position fans the flames against Israel and serves to enable those who condemn Israeli leaders for stubbornly struggling to maintain the safety of their citizens and the stability of their nation.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Obama sees yet another window of opportunity for political success closing on him and is seizing this moment to force a Middle East solution, regardless of whether it is beneficial for Israel. What is abundantly clear is that the battle for Jerusalem is again upon us and Diaspora Jewry will once again be called upon to defend Jerusalem – not from actual Arab enemies but from an uncompromising and shortsighted American administration that has lost its moral compass.
The time is now to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and make our position absolutely clear. We must also let Netanyahu know we have his back – unequivocally – and that any attempt to force Israel into a defensive posture will be overwhelmingly refuted at the ballot box. Midterm elections are coming quickly and Democrats are already feeling the heat for the administration’s many ill-advised domestic policies.
The president talks a good game about defending and protecting America’s national security. As a native New Yorker and first responder to the 9/11 terror attacks at the World Trade Center, I can only hope he knows what he’s doing. I’m not convinced. What I do know is that for the past sixty years, protecting and defending Israel has been at the forefront of America’s national security interests. Congress knows it. A recent Gallup poll confirms that the American public knows it too.
It is frightening that as Iranian rhetoric ratchets up to unprecedented levels the president and his State Department focus their ire not on madmen or their centrifuges but on Israeli apartments. Joe Biden is quoted as telling the Israelis, “What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and regional peace.”
Who knew a few apartment buildings in Jerusalem contributed so heavily to the prospects for world war or regional peace?
I will remember today. Will you?
About the Author: Chaskel Bennett is a writer, respected activist and member of the Board of Trustees of Agudath Israel of America. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.
Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
A watershed moment took place in Brooklyn last month on primary night. Those who care about private school education should sit up and take notice.
The recent shooting of four police officers in the normally tranquil Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn (bringing the total to eight cops shot so far this year) has confirmed a dangerous double standard that threatens the safety of police officers and all New Yorkers throughout New York. It must be confronted.
Another horrific terrorist attack is perpetrated in Israel and we knew what to expect. A statement of outrage and condemnation from the White House, regrets from the Palestinian Authority, and from the UN a call for all sides to exercise restraint and remain committed to the (non-existent) “peace process.”
In short, yet another exercise in futility if ever there was one.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally left the U.S. after a week of exhausting, and surprising, diplomatic highs and lows, a number of unsettling questions were left in his wake.
High praise and gratitude are due Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the NYPD’s intelligence Division for their extraordinary work in again uncovering and preventing a plot by Muslim fanatics to unleash terror against religious targets.
Last week’s historic “shellacking” suffered by the Democrats was a stark and humbling reminder to all elected officials of whatever party that they serve at the will of their constituents.
As millions of gallons of oil continue to leak into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the impatience and helplessness of Americans continue to grow. Never before has such a significant issue relating to our country’s environmental health been at the mercy of a faulty valve. This unprecedented experience has humbled engineers, scientists and bureaucrats alike.
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