"Just like Hitler fought the Jews, we are a great Islamic nation of jihad, and we too should fight the Jews and burn them." - Hisham Shamas, political science student, at a symposium hosted by Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV at Lebanon's largest and only government-run university, Université Libanaise, November 29, 2005.
I hate making this call about my Orthodox Jewish brother Joe Lieberman, but he almost certainly will lose next week's Connecticut Democratic Senate primary. He will be defeated, as predicted by the polls and pundits, primarily because of his support for the Iraq war and his refusal to join in the demonization of George W. Bush.
The news that I, along with Rabbi Avi Weiss (Rav Avi), would be embarking to the north of Israel on a mission of solidarity and unity was met by many friends and colleagues with a myriad of responses. Many were supportive of the mission, all were apprehensive about the dangers, and yet some were cynical about our motives and chances of success.
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, in a July 18 op-ed on the current fighting between Israel and Hizbullah ("Hunkering Down With History"), declared that Israel's creation was a "mistake." He based this judgment of Israel on its Arab Muslim neighbors' opposition to its existence.
Media coverage of the fighting between Israel and Hizbullah has gone largely as expected – CNN, The New York Times and other liberal outlets see events largely through a prism of Lebanese civilian casualties, while Fox News, the New York Sun and other conservative organs present a broader picture of Hizbullah provocations and the suffering of civilians on both sides.
Every Jew is familiar with Deuteronomy 30:19: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live." This Torah obligation is binding not only upon individuals, but also upon states - especially the always imperiled State of Israel.
Northern Israel is a vacationer's paradise. From hiking trails to walk on, to rivers to swim in, to luxury hotels to bask in, to mystical sites to seek inspiration from, it has something for everyone. This is why, when last week I took my first vacation in four years, I made my way to the North.
The fires that consumed the First Temple on the Ninth of Av continued to burn until the middle of the following day. The Talmudic sage Rabbi Yochanan stated, "Had I been alive in that generation, I would have fixed [the day of mourning] for the Tenth [of Av] because the greater part of the Temple was burnt on that day."
Next week the Monitor will examine aspects of the media coverage of Israel’s war on Hizbullah. This week, we take a stroll down memory lane, revisiting an early Monitor column from October 1998 (yes, the Monitor’s been around for nearly eight years now). The piece was titled “The Times Reverts To Old Hab-its,” and its conclusions should be kept in mind as one reads the paper’s editorials on the current fighting:
For the president of Iran, threats to annihilate Israel are now a daily ritual. Were it not for his country's complementary capacity to inflict genuinely existential harms, these threats would not be worrisome. But Iran's capacity to become fully nuclear is now more imminent than had ever been recognized by our own intelligence communities. It follows that a persistent refrain of genocidal intent issuing from Tehran must now be taken with utmost seriousness in Jerusalem.
There are things that should not be said out loud, at least by people with little authority, because they might come out wrong. They might be construed as arrogant, naïve, impossible. The tone of voice must be just right, timbre calm and measured - even the pauses between words dare not be too great or noticeable, or you run the risk of being dismissed as preachy and holier-than-thou.
I must begin by expressing that our hearts are with our soldiers on both the northern and southern fronts, and our prayers beseech the Almighty to protect them so that they all return home safely.
As I write this, Israel is being heavily bombed. City after city in the north, like Sderot in the south, is reeling from the intense rocket attacks. The streets are empty. The people of Safed, Nahariya, Carmiel, Meron, Kiryat Shmona, Shlomi and Haifa are huddled in their safe rooms and community shelters. The rockets are deadlier and far-reaching.
In 2001, Mexican president Vicente Fox made something of a splash when he, contrary to his campaign rhetoric, came out in support of the decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use. Fox noted that, despite the number of people imprisoned for drug trafficking, and despite the legal penalties for the possession and use of substances, drug use was going up, not down.
Few facets of today's politics are more obvious or more startling than the Left's hatred of Israel. Be it the United Nations, elite universities or The New York Times, the Left unashamedly uses its institutions as forums from which to conduct its relentless campaign of vilification.