Turkey has long been one of Israel's most important allies. While one is predominantly Muslim and the other Jewish, the two countries have prided themselves in maintaining their secular democracies. But our friendship has been strained recently with an appalling level of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric coming out of Turkey.
This past Chanukah, which of course commemorates the Jews' revolt against Greek attempts to destroy Judaism, the Supreme Court here in Great Britain issued a ruling that attacked as racist and made illegal a fundamental principle of Jewish life: that Judaism is transmitted through the mother.
The Stories 1. Josh is a 20-year-old college student who was given a yeshiva education from kindergarten through 12th grade. No doubt his parents spent well over $100,000 for his solid Jewish education. He is involved in Jewish life on campus and attends minyan regularly, though life on campus is a spiritual battle. So when he told me he went to his college football team's stadium to attend a game on a Shabbos afternoon, I was a little disappointed.
The core of Israel's active defense plan remains the phased Arrow anti-ballistic missile program. Designed to intercept medium and short-range ballistic missiles, the various operationalized forms of Arrow (Hetz in Hebrew) are expected todeal especially with Iran's surface-to-surface missile threat. Basically a high stratospheric system, Arrow is also capable of low-altitude and multi-tactical ballistic missile interceptions.
No Jews are as relentlessly reviled as the Jews of Hebron. Vilified as the pariahs of the Jewish people - "zealots," "fanatics" and "fundamentalists" who illegally "occupy" someone else's land - they are the militant Jewish settlers whom legions of critics in Israel, the United States and throughout the world love to hate. It is seldom noticed that their most serious transgression, settlement in the biblical Land of Israel, defines Zionism: the return of Jews to their historic homeland.
Juval Aviv's exploits as an Israeli counterterrorism agent are widely believed to be the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's 2005 film "Munich." After wrapping up his career as a major in the Israel Defense Forces (and reportedly working for the secretive Mossad), Aviv launched a lucrative career as a security consultant and investigator.
Like the general who hones his military strategy by fighting the last war, America's politicians and some of its counterterrorism experts are engaged in thwarting future terrorist threats by diligently preparing for the past. Muslim-Arab terrorists hijack planes (this actually dates back to the 1960s, not 2001), and all passengers and luggage must be carefully searched.
Reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and it is bitterly cold here in New York City and over a good portion of our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether "to be or not to be." Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that "that is the question."
A few weeks ago I was completing the silent amidah at the morning minyan I attend in my local shul. Suddenly, a cold breeze shot through the room. I headed back to the door of the bet midrash where we pray and saw that a young observant woman I know had propped the door slightly ajar in order to hear the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei and the reading of the Torah.
C-SPAN often teeters on the brink of self-parody, particularly when the hosts of its interview programs stare impassively at the camera while yet another crazed caller recites chapter and verse of the latest conspiracy theories involving the Trilateral Commission 9/11 being an “inside job” or the Bush family's Nazi/Saudi/Zionist/ KGB/CIA ties (choose one or more and don't think twice about any seeming contradictions).
Everyone remembers Israel's wars - in 1948, 1967, and 1973 - against the Arab states that vowed to destroy it. Its wars against the terrorist regimes embedded on its borders - Fatah and then Hizbullah in Lebanon and, most recently, Hamas in Gaza - are now memorable largely for the protests they provoked from liberal and anti-Zionist critics.
Some truths are counter-intuitive. At first, it would seem plain that a world without nuclear weapons must be preferable to one with such weapons. Upon reflection, however, it becomes evident that there are some countries for whom nuclear arms are indispensable to their physical survival. For these imperiled nations, surrendering nuclear status could effectively be an invitation to genocide. The most obvious case in point is Israel.
The term "Renaissance man" is used to describe a person who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's biography of his father, Rav Dr. Yoseph (Joseph) Tzvi Carlebach (1883-1942), provides fascinating information about the life of a man who deserves to be described as a Renaissance rabbi.