Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Did you hear the one about Nelson Mandela, the pope, Mother Teresa and the Jew? Turns out they are the only non-Americans ever to have received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Jew? None other than our own icon of freedom, Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and prisoner of conscience who earlier this month received his Medal of Freedom at the White House.
I first met Natan in London a couple of years ago. He was on his way back from the U.S. where his new book, The Case for Democracy, had been highly ac-claimed. Sharansky saw the world divided between “free societies and fear societies” and said that free nations did not normally go to war against each other.
He concluded that no Israeli peace agreement was viable until the Palestinian Arabs were truly free to live their own lives, freed from tyrannical overlords who have perpetuated their refugee status for political ends through intimidation and theft of humanitarian funds (dispensed by the U.S. and EU at the highest rate per capita ever known in the history of world aid).
One of the book’s greatest fans turned out to be no less than the president of the United States, who was so impressed that he asked Sharansky to meet him at the White House. This was no social call. They sat talking in the Oval Office for more than an hour, after which Bush emerged saying that Sharansky’s thinking was “part of my presidential DNA.” In a later interview with the Washington Times he said: “If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky’s book.”
To say I felt humbled by pouring a glass of wine for this man over dinner in London is an understatement. But after we said our goodbyes, I had a very strong sense of déjà vu. Not of the person, but of his amazing story:
A man sentenced to 13 years in the Gulag for little more than expressing his national feelings as a Jew; a man who showed such enormous resolve and charisma during that imprisonment that he endeared himself to his jailers and his name became known far beyond the walls of his prison. And then, suddenly freed, he emerges from the depths of a prison cell into the lofty chamber of the most powerful man in the world. The president of the free world wants to learn more of this man’s unique take on tyranny and the means by which to achieve peace.
“Behold! Can one find such a man in whom the spirit of God rests?”
I thought of those words Pharaoh spoke after his meeting with Joseph, another gifted Jew delivered up from a dungeon into the palace of the supreme ruler. Joseph discerned that Pharaoh’s dreams were of critical national significance. He urged Pharaoh to make the most of the next seven good years, so that the nation might survive the following years of certain adversity. Pharaoh took the advice and, with the help of his new Jewish viceroy, Egypt emerged more powerful than ever before, having starved all its enemies into submission and penury, George W. Bush also had a nightmare – 9/11. In the aftermath of the attacks, his popularity was such that reelection was a certainty. At that point in time he had seven years of presidential power to defend the free world against the global jihad that would surely follow.
For most of that time Bush did show the resolve and single-mindedness necessary to carry the mission through. He bombed the Taliban out of Afghanistan, chased Saddam into a foxhole and threw the Syrian army out of Lebanon. Other tyrants took cover and one, in Libya, actually decided to go straight.
But then the president blinked. And in these past few weeks we have seen the tyrants sensing that weak-ness and boldly breaking cover with little fear of consequences. The Iraq Study Group has asked the leader of the free world to negotiate the fate of Iraq’s nascent democracy with two of the most evil regimes on the planet. To someone whose DNA is made up of Sharansky’s ideals, such a reversal would be akin to injecting oneself with an auto-immune disease. Iran and Syria are the perfect examples of Sharansky’s “fear societies” and the antithesis of democracy and freedom.
About the Author: Zalmi Unsdorfer is chairman of Likud-Herut in the UK
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”
Israel’s R&D expenditure is higher than any western country.
With the passage of time, fewer and fewer people are left to testify about life and death in the camps at the hands of the Nazis.
A fascinating Biblical echo
So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.
Why should a young Israeli become an observant Jew when Judaism’s official representatives preserve it in its exile version?
Like Chamberlain, Obama sued the ayatollahs for peace, insisting the only alternative to appeasement is war.
I have frequently drawn up lists of what I love most about Israel, and Arik Einstein has ranked high.
This new mood among Christian Arabs has worried the communists and Arab nationalist.
After nearly five years in office it should be clear that President Obama has always been a man on a mission to change America and the world. To be sure, we couldn’t disagree more with his vision – and in this we think we speak for most Americans.
We find it noteworthy, if not surprising, that with all the well-documented systematic human rights abuses committed by governments around the world – including, but not limited to, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe – not one resolution condemning any of them is planned by the UN General Assembly.
For his latest book, City College’s William Helmreich walked 120,960 blocks – in other words, nearly every block of New York’s five boroughs.
Throughout the past week we have thanked Hashem for the improbable defeat of the powerful Seleucid forces by a small, untrained band of Jewish fighters. We also celebrated the story’s one open miracle, when the menorah’s lights burned for eight consecutive days following the Temple’s rededication.
Next month I am due to participate in a London debate on the question: Is it OK for Jews to criticize Israel? One of my opponents is a leader of the Peace Now movement who, in a previous debate about the UK’s academic boycott, steered the discussion to his own army service (as an IDF spokesman, no less) and promptly branded Israeli border guards as “paramilitary thugs.”
For American taxpayers, the devil is in the details of the new health care law. But for the Jewish people and the State of Israel the devil is in the comparison between Barack Obama’s steamrollering of health care legislation and his developing Middle East policy.
The passing of Rabbi Menachem Porush in Jerusalem on Sunday night brought to mind many memories of my childhood. He was a close friend and working colleague of my father, Simcha Unsdorfer, z”l, who served as secretary general of British Agudah. Always impeccably dressed in kapota and cufflinks, Rabbi Porush had an almost regal bearing […]
It is hard to imagine a scene as joyous and religiously charged as Machpela on the Friday night of Parshat Chayei Sarah. Every year, many thousands of Jews from all over Israel, and hundreds more from Europe and America, flock to the tomb of our patriarchs, which Abraham purchased for Sarah’s burial nearly 4,000 years ago.
The British government’s ban on Moshe Feiglin from entering the UK is symptomatic of a deep and institutional prejudice against Israel. Feiglin, a Jewish Press columnist, is best known for running second to Benjamin Netanyahu in the last Likud leadership primary.
The throngs of tourists passing Big Ben are unaware of the tunnel beneath their feet, which connects the parliamentary committee rooms in Portcullis House to the British House of Commons. When the division bells ring, members of parliament sprint along the passage to cast their votes in the chamber. It was in one of those committee rooms last Thursday evening that a group of MPs met with foreign lawmakers to discuss boycott, divestment and the indictment of a sovereign nation with the arrest of its officials for breach of international law.
Did you hear the one about Nelson Mandela, the pope, Mother Teresa and the Jew? Turns out they are the only non-Americans ever to have received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congres-sional Medal of Honor. The Jew? None other than our own icon of freedom, Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and prisoner of conscience who earlier this month received his Medal of Freedom at the White House.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/from-prison-to-palace-bushs-joseph/2006/12/27/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.