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.
The ongoing Turkish request for an Israeli apology over the killing last year of nine pro-Palestinian flotilla activists has been a major hindrance in efforts to improve Israeli-Turkish relations.
The negotiations between Israel and Turkey come at a convenient time. The Turkish elections, during which Prime Minister Erdogan employed anti-Israeli feeling as a propaganda tool, are behind us. There are no great benefits at this time for Erdogan to incite against Israel. Anti-Israel hatemongering is no longer a political necessity. It is more of a luxury, to be used when there are no other pressing issues for the Turkish government.
Putting anti-Israel incitement on ice may even help the Turks as they try to wean Israel, even just a little bit, from its warming relations with Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus – countries that view Turkey’s increased power in the region in a very negative light.
On the other hand, the continuing Syrian riots and their suppression by the country’s government pose a genuine problem for Turkey. Erdogan has no way of knowing whether President Bashir Assad will continue to govern in Damascus and for how long. Another uncertainty is whether Turkey will have to absorb more Syrian refugees.
With large parts of the Arab world in turmoil, there are other developments that require Turkey’s constant attention. Who, for example, will rule Egypt after the autumn elections – and will the new government view Turkish support for Hamas positively or negatively?
There are those who argue that strengthening Erdogan is in Israel’s interests, and if Israel were to apologize for the deaths of those killed on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, Erdogan would avoid losing face after having demanded for so long that Israel “admit its guilt.”
Apologies, say those who push the above argument, are only words; it costs Israel nothing to admit it was at fault.
The Turkish government was, however, heavily involved in many aspects of the flotilla incident. This information can be found in investigative research by Steven Merley, who specializes in political extremism.
Merley exposes Turkish government support for the flotilla, channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. This support included the presence of officials from Turkey’s ruling AKP party at many important Muslim Brotherhood network events in support of the flotilla, as well as a meeting attended by Erdogan himself with a delegation of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and flotilla movement leaders from Britain and France. This get-together took place shortly before the ships left port for Gaza. (“Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011).
Without Turkish government support, the Mavi Marmaraprobably would never have approached Israel’s waters.
Any apology by Israel, however limited and politically calculated, would have far more negative aspects than might seem to be the case at first thought.
Israel and the Jewish people have historical experience with apologies and therefore should have a keen understanding of their importance.
Nations, as well as organizations such as the Red Cross, various church bodies and others, have apologized for their behavior during the Holocaust. Apologies by nature bring something of closure to a debate. The two parties involved jointly agree on their interpretation of the past.
After the collapse of communism, when Israel requested apologies from the newly independent nations in Eastern Europe, there were those who stressed that such apologies would not be genuine. Others maintained that those apologizing were not the ones who had committed the actual crimes.
Israel’s leadership, however, understood that official apologies play an important role as potential anchors in collective memory. They are preserved in archives and become an important source for historians. These apologies will remain well documented for future generations.
Apologizing to Turkey over the flotilla incident would, seen in that light, mean distorting Israeli history forever.
The world has had enough time by now to understand how Erdogan operates. In 2004, out of the blue, he accused Israel of state terrorism. In 2005, he came on a visit to Israel to mend fences. What probability is there that he will structurally change his future behavior in a positive way? When it becomes politically expedient to do so at home, he may well consider it opportune to attack Israel again.
If things quiet down on the Syrian border and Erdogan feels an internal or external need to once again incite against Israel, apologies – if indeed made – will be one more instrument in his arsenal of hatemongering.
Because if Israel apologizes Erdogan could then say “See, I was right to attack them continuously over the flotilla deaths.”
Israel would then find that nothing of permanence had been gained other than its unwarranted apologies – apologies to be documented until the end of time.
Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.He has published a number of research essays on the major aspects of apologies by countries and organizations for their participation in the Holocaust.
About the Author: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
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The importance of the caucus on organ harvesting in China, sponsored recently by the Liberal Lobby in the Knesset, cannot be exaggerated. On the surface, the caucus’s topic seems odd. Knesset members and other VIPs were called together to discuss horrors being perpetrated by the Communist regime in China against what the government there calls “regime opponents.”
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.
To eat is to live – to keep our physical bodies alive. For without the body, there is nothing. No experience. No memory. No joy and no hardship. But man, unlike animals, eats to live and to enjoy. So how should a Jew respond when he is challenged as to why he imposes upon himself not just ceremonies dedicated to the enjoyment of eating but even more to the limiting of what he can eat?
Neither Secretary of State Kerry nor the president he serves seem to understand Russia’s goals in the Middle East.
You might think that six Khamenei followers might split the hardline vote but don’t worry as that will be taken care of in the ballot-counting if necessary.
Now that several weeks have passed since President Obama’s visit to Israel, it is possible to get a better perspective on many of its aspects. Focus must not only be placed on what was said and done, but also on what was missing.
On February 17, the Dutch Nederland 2 TV station broadcast an interview with Dutch Turkish youth conducted by volunteer youth worker Mehmet Sahin. In the broadcast the youngsters expressed their admiration for Hitler and his role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
On October 15, the Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve itself. Elections will be held on January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take the step after realizing he could not obtain a majority for his proposed budget.
When Israelis say, “I worry about my grandchildren’s future,” it has a radically different dimension than similar concerns expressed in many other countries.
Since Oslo we have had some Israeli governments emulate Neville Chamberlain’s foolish position. While the current government has not done so, there certainly is vast room for improvement in the presentation of Israel’s case to the world.
There are few societies where the contradiction between Holocaust distortion and Holocaust commemoration is as pronounced as it is in the Netherlands. This phenomenon came to the fore earlier this month on National Memorial Day, May 4, designated to commemorate the many victims of the German occupier. One hundred thousand Dutch Jews – more than 70 percent of the country’s pre-war community – were by far the largest group of victims.
Last month the IDF responded to rockets being launched from Gaza into southern Israel by bombing Gazan targets. It took little time for some media outlets to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer for many other media outlets to highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.
Let us employ a bit of fantasy and assume that Muslim states were intent on assailing the Netherlands. They would claim in the United Nations Human Rights Council that the hundreds of cases every year of euthanasia in the Netherlands, in which the patient is not asked his or her permission, constitutes a severe breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These states could easily muster a majority to have the UNHRC appoint a commission of inquiry into this matter.
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