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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘asked’

An Ally in the Fight Against Terror and the Questions That Don’t Get Asked

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

With the sale of one of the world’s major repositories of news photographs recently, it has suddenly gotten a lot harder (we discovered just today) to locate many archived images of news events from the recent past.

This is relevant to us. We are passionate about wanting people to be aware of some of the less-well-publicized aspects of terrorism and what it means when it’s done to you.

Three news photos were published in October 2011 that recorded an event connected indirectly to our lives but basically unknown to almost anyone else.

The chief engineer of our daughter’s murder, sentenced a few years before to sixteen terms of life imprisonment, was set free by Israel in October 2011. A day later, she arrived in another country where most of her family had lived since before she was born (and still lives) and where she herself was born. There she was greeted with pomp, ceremony and emotion at an official reception in the Family Court of that country, located in its capital city.

People who know the Middle East and the ins and outs of terrorism probably don’t know any of this, and perhaps don’t care. The photos recording the reception in the court building may be the only evidence that it happened. And with the sale to a Chinese firm of the photo archive that housed them, that evidence is now hard to find.

Before we go into the background, we have just posted those pictures at the foot of this article. We have mentioned them numerous times in this blog. We want them to be seen. People need to appreciate the painful and damaging double-talk that is part of the global conversation about terrorism.

To the backstory:

Our daughter Malki, aged just 15, was murdered in a horrifyingly effective terrorist attack done by Hamas on a pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem on August 9, 2001. The attack’s chief engineer was a woman of 21. Arrested and then convicted, an Israeli court sentenced her to spend several lifetimes behind bars. But she boasted openly of the killings, admitting everything, gloating at the death toll, and asserting that she would soon be free.

Her words were prophetic. Today she lives a charmed life of total freedom in a city located no more than 90 minutes drive from us, in a country which has relatively good diplomatic relations with the United States and virtually all of Europe. It has relations, not so warm but nonetheless proper and ongoing, with Israel.

That country is Jordan.

Jordan says it is opposed to terrorism and to terrorists. As we noted here just three months ago, the State Department of the United States agrees – vigorously. In its annual survey of the war against terror, State singles out Jordan for unique and special praise. The most recent “Country Reports on Terrorism” annual survey, published in Washington in June 2015, says this of the Hashemite Kingdom:

Jordan remained a key ally and a model partner in combating terrorism and extremist ideology… Jordan demonstrated regional leadership in the fight against ISIL… and participated fully on the diplomatic, political, financial, and military fronts… Jordanian prisons have a religiously based de-radicalization program that seeks to re-engage violent extremist inmates into the non-violent mainstream of their faith.

We don’t make foreign policy, and have different priorities. As a result, we can’t exactly understand the State Department’s enthusiasm for its Jordanian key ally and model partner. And frankly, we’re appalled [see “18-Feb-15: Countering Vacuous Euphemisms“] by the vague and cloudy view the State Department’s people have of terrorism. Perhaps it’s because we feel more personally invested in the issues than the official State spokespeople do. Our post (“14-Sep-13: Memo to Secretary of State Kerry: Your staff need some urgent guidance“) tries to convey a sense of how and why that is.

So how opposed is Jordan to terror?

Sometimes – not always – the kingdom looks like a state that has a tough and uncompromising view of terror and its practitioners. In a blog post a year ago (“04-Feb-15: The stunningly different fates of two terrorists in Jordan and what they reveal about how the war against terror is going“) we took a look at how that works.

Jordan hanged a female terrorist that week. and we wrote this at the time:

Regular readers of this blog know about another Jordanian female, an ex-prisoner, also a terrorist, with a different fate: Ahlam al-Tamimi. Unlike Mrs al-Rishawi who was hanged today, Mrs al-Tamimi is a Jordanian, born, bred, educated and (following an 11 year-period spent outside Jordan) now living with her husband/cousin, in Jordan.
Tamimi has never spent time in any Jordanian prison, and never will. Quite the opposite: she was honored with a reception in Jordan’s Family Court in October 2011 when she returned home… She has her own weekly television program… recorded in Jordan by her friends and employers in the Hamas terror organization and beamed throughout the world on the Al-Quds TV Network. And she is free to travel throughout the Arab world which it seems she does often, giving lectures and being an honoured guest…
Tamimi has over and again confessed [via this video interview, among numerous other instances] freely, proudly and happily to the massacre at Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 for the engineering of which she was convicted. She was sentenced to 16 life terms in prison with a judicial recommendation that she live the rest of her life behind bars with no possibility of a commutation of sentence.
That is not how it worked out. She was one of 1,027 terrorists set free in the extortion-driven 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel/Hamas transaction, despite a campaign we personally waged for years. We urged our government to stand firm, to not give in, to keep this particular sociopath behind bars so that justice could be done… Today she is a globally-influential instigator of jihadist terror – an icon of hatred.
What Jordan – a sovereign state at least half of whose population defines itself as Palestinian Arab, and ruled by a dynastic family from Saudi Arabia – ought to do with its terrorists is emphatically not our concern. Jordan’s laws that purportedly outlaw terrorism… don’t get the critical attention in the West that they richly deserve.

Frankly there’s a lot about Jordan that doesn’t get scrutinized and should.

We wish there was wider awareness of the congenial environment Jordan has given the woman who masterminded the murder of our daughter since 2011, allowing her to operate unhindered from within its borders; to speak as an honored guest at its universitiesits professional guilds, its law courts and other venues; and to record her weekly television program in its capital city from where it’s beamed to millions of viewers throughout the global, Arabic-speaking world.

She is a genuine pan-Arab celebrity. The first female to join the ranks of Hamas terrorists, and an eloquent figure who advocates energetically from Jordan for more violence, more murder and more jihad – all of it directed at Jewish and Israeli targets. Inciting via television and a range of social media platforms (TwitterFacebookYouTube) and well-publicized personal appearances, she is a widely-recognized, very public face of the savage Islamist bigotry of Hamas.

Truly, people ought to know more about her.

A person wanting to understand how the war against the jihadists is going might now be asking these questions:

  • So which other key ally and model partner of the United States honors its terrorists via fancy receptions in its official courts?
  • What real messages are those partners and allies conveying to their people when they do it?
  • And why can’t a state (Jordan) that is part of the coalition against the jihadists stop the torrent of bigotry, barbarism and calls to murder that their inaction empowers this woman to issue forth from the heart of their capital city?
  • Why are the parents of a teenage girl murdered by a fanatical agent of jihad the only voices being heard exposing and decrying this appalling state of affairs?

 

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Whose Values Do They Represent?

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

I don’t see how anyone can claim that they are extremists who are an exception to the rule – amounting to only a small handful of Haredim. I am talking about people who are constantly degrading the values of those they disagree with by acting in truly disgusting ways.

It has happened again. From Israel Hayom:

Shear Yashuv residents inflamed to find haredi tourists bathing in a memorial fountain near the town, which was dedicated to 73 IDF soldiers who lost their lives in a terrible 1997 helicopter accident • Haredi tourists: “Memorials constitute idolatry.”

This kind of thing happens so frequently and in so many different places, it cannot possibly be attributed to a bunch of extremists that are not representative of Haredi values. And yet every time something like this gets reported in the media, there is always a Haredi apologist out there somewhere telling us we shouldn’t judge all Haredim by the actions of a few.

I of course agree with that in principle. And as I have said many times, most Haredim don’t do these kinds of things. Certainly not moderate Haredim but even right wing Haredim. They realize it is a Chilul HaShem. However – as I’ve said many times – the behavior though not approved of actually occurs precisely because of the Haredi values exemplified by the above response of those Chareid tourists.

Is there anyone who thinks that the sentiment expressed by them isn’t believed by them? It expresses a value of the majority of Haredi community.

I don’t know that the majority of the Haredi world actually considers such memorials to be idolatry. But I think it’s safe to say that they do completely characterize such memorials at the very least as un-Jewish. And something we ought not recognize in any way. The only difference between those Haredi bathers and the media apologists is that the apologists realize that disrespecting the memorial will be seen by the entire rest of the world as disrespecting the dead being memorialized.

So Rebbeim in Yeshivos advise their students never do anything that will be seen to dishonor lost loved ones in public. That would be considered a Chilul HaShem.

But those tourists probably think it is a Chilul HaShem – NOT to stand up for the truth. They therefore acted the way they did  with pride – having no problem desecrating that memorial by bathing in it.

The idea of showing one face to the public and another one internally was illustrated recently when a  Rosh Yeshiva or Rebbe described what he tells his students about how to act when sirens sound on Yom HaZikaron. He said when the sirens sound while they are in the confines of the Yeshiva, they are to be ignored. When they are out in public, they should stand silently along with the rest of the country. Why? Because it is not a Jewish way to memorialize the dead. Doing so in private therefore has no meaning to them. In public, however, they are to ‘play along’.

One may ask, what’s so terrible about that? What’s wrong with teaching students about the proper Jewish way to mourn the dead? There is of course nothing wrong and everything right about that.

What is wrong here is that it is more than about teaching proper Jewish thought.They aren’t just teaching their students how to properly mourn the dead. They are teaching them that Israel is run by a bunch of Apikurism (heretics) who ‘ape the Goyim’. Students are taught to disrespect everything about the government of Israel and Israeli society. Israel is constantly being vilified to Haredi students by their Haredi teachers.

The smarter ones also realize that there should be no public displays of disrespect to the Israeli populace. For example in how they mourn their dead. That would be a Chilul HaShem. Nonetheless the lesson constantly taught and heard over and over again by students is that Israel is evil and if not for the Chilul HaShem it is indeed correct to dishonor the ‘Goyishe way’ in which Israel does everything. Including the way in which the dead are memorialized.

There are of course some Mechanchim who do not make those caveats to their students. Especially in places like Meah Shearim. Is it any wonder then that there are Haredim who feel free to desecrate a memorial in the way these Haredim did? They are merely expressing their true Hashkafos – oblivious to the Chilul HaShem – thinking that it is a Kiddush HaShem!

That is why when these bathing tourists were asked about it, they responded the way they did. It is the same kind of thinking had by Haredim who held a barbecue in a public park this past Yom HaZikaron while the rest of Israel was somberly mourning soldiers killed in action. ‘It’s not the Jewish way to mourn this way – and by golly we’re going to teach these ‘evil’- or at best ignorant Jews by example what we really think of it!’

It’s the same kind of thinking that goes on when a woman get’s spat upon because the spitter does not approve of the way she dresses. This too happened recently in the city of Ashdod recently. From Ynet:

A, a 15-year-old girl and her mother complained that a haredi man asked the girl not to walk by a yeshiva located in the city center, and even spat on her because of the way she was dressed.

The girl was walking along the street Monday, as she does everyday, to pick up her 6-year-old little sister from kindergarten. At a distance of a kilometer and a half away from her home, the girl – who wore a tank top and a skirt – was approached by a haredi man who yelled at her: “Walk behind the parking lot’s wall”

At first, A., did not understand what he was talking about, and asked the man “Why?” to which he replied “Because you’re immodest, there are people studying Torah here.”

A., who did not want to confront the man picked up her pace and defiantly told him “I’m not going to,” to which he answered “Why are you so stubborn?” and then spat on her.

This is becoming so common it almost as though it were the norm in Haredi circles. I can understand why a Haredi man concerned with the Kedusha of his Yeshiva would be upset at a woman wearing a tank top passing by. And even though I would disagree with him doing it since she has the right to dress as any she chooses in public – I would understand if he politely asked if she would in the future dress more modestly around the Yeshiva.

But when he demands it and then spits on her when she doesn’t comply, that is a Chilul HaShem even though in his own mind he thinks it is a Kiddush HaShem . As would all the spitters, screamers, and haters all over the world who would act the same way under similar circumstances.

As if that weren’t enough let us not forget about the bus ‘bombers’. No… not the Islamist  suicide bombers. The Haredi ones in Bet Shemesh who yesterday smashed the windsheild of a bus and broke other windows with a hammer after after a woman refused to sit apart from men. They later attacked two other buses by ‘bombing’ them with stones and breaking their windows.

So the next time you hear a Haredi spokesman say that these people do not represent them, I would take that with a huge grain of salt.

Update
The woman who was asked to move to the back of the bus was interviewed by a religious radio station in Israel. She described the situation as follows. As a new immigrant unfamiliar with sex segregated buses in her new community she sat down at the front of the bus with her young children and all the packages she was carrying.

She was then immediately but politely asked to move to the back by one of the Haredi women who came up to her. At first she refused because of all the packages and her children. She was offered help with all that and she then agreed to move. The bus driver became irate when he saw this and decided to call the police. That is apparently when all hell broke loose.

In my view, this changes little except the precipitating event caused by the bus driver. The bus driver may have been foolish and impetuous in making that call when the situations seemed to be taking care of itself.

But the rioting Haredim that responded by damaging that bus and other buses nearby is what ought to be focused on here. This is not a civilized response to a grievance against what a bus driver did. And although the bus driver should have perhaps not exacerbated the situation, clearly he too acted out of his indignation at what he thought was wrong.

If one will say that I too am being apologetic, I would only ask that you compare how the bus driver reacted to what he saw as an injustice – to how these Haredim reacted to what they saw as an injustice. Had those Haredim reacted in a similarly civilized manner, there would be no story. And no Chilul HaShem.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

Harry Maryles

A Ray of Light Behind the Clouds

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Some years ago I was invited to speak at a secular high school for exceptionally bright students. The student body was mostly non-Jewish. Since I am a Holocaust survivor, they asked that I address that subject. After my presentation the principal asked if I would agree to a Q&A session. “By all means,” I answered.

The first student at the microphone asked a question that I sensed was on the minds of many there. “Where was G-d?” he asked. “How can you keep your faith?”

I replied:

“You asked me a question and I will respond with a question of my own. Where was man? And I do not refer only to the satanic Nazis but to all the nations that were complicit in this unspeakable evil.

“As far as faith goes, in what and in whom could I have placed my faith? In twentieth-century enlightenment, education, culture, science? I saw university graduates use their scientific know-how to create gas chambers where millions of lives were snuffed out. I saw doctors maim, torture and kill. I will simply ask once again, ‘Where was man – where was modern Western civilization?’

“Whenever I seek answers I turn to the pages of our Torah, for everything is to be found within it. I invite you to meet the very first family who lived on this planet. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. They lived in paradise. No one had to go to work. The climate was perfect – not too hot, not too cold. There was no illness and no death. G-d intended for man to live forever but then man debased himself. He became corrupt and evil.

“Cain and Abel made a deal. ‘Let’s divide the world between us,’ they said. And so they did. Livestock was to belong to Abel, real estate to Cain. But no sooner had Cain received his portion than he said to Abel, ‘The land is mine, get off it.’ And with that he killed his brother. G-d asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ To which he responded, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’

“To this day Cain’s question echoes in the wind. Man plunders, kills, rapes – but instead of accepting accountability for his heinous deeds he shifts the blame to G-d and asks with audacity, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’

“Thousands of years have passed and man has yet to respond, ‘Yes G-d, I am my brother’s keeper. Forgive me. It was all my fault. I take responsibility. Almighty G-d, give me another chance. Allow me to try again.’

“The question ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ means, in essence, ‘You, G-d, created the world; You, G-d, are in charge. Why did You allow this to happen? Where were You? How can I believe in You if You allowed this monstrous atrocity to occur?’

“Has anything changed in thousands of years? Yes, things have changed. Cain killed his brother with his hands or a primitive instrument but today modern man has harnessed his scientific brilliance to create hell on earth. The way of the first murderer Cain has become the reality by which modern man justifies his abominable deeds.”

* * * * * Recently I shared with readers my experiences when I spoke in South Africa. More than 5,000 people gathered for Torah study at the Sinai Indaba organized by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. In one of my presentations I spoke about the Holocaust. After the program a distinguished gentleman came over and introduced himself. He was a Christian living in Johannesburg. With tears he spilled out his heart.

“Rebbetzin,” he said, “we need to repent, to make atonement for the sins committed against the Jewish people. And we have to make that real, not just an empty declaration. I would like to convene multitudes of people and have you address them. Tell them about the Holocaust so they might all know and pass it on to future generations.”

This glimmer of light amid the dark clouds of anti-Semitism that once again are engulfing the world reminds us that dormant within the human heart is the spark of G-d. We must only plug into it and the voltage could light up the entire world. Whether or not that convention of Christians in Johannesburg will take place remains to be seen but the words were said, the call was made, and that in itself is significant.

Let’s return to the question that bright young student asked me: Where was G-d? Let us understand once and for all that G-d is not a puppeteer and we are not puppets. We have choices; that is what separates us from the animals. It is all recorded in this week’s parshah. “Behold I give you today blessing and curse.”

That choice is the challenge to every generation. The Torah speaks for all time. When will man choose good over evil, blessing over curse? Is it possible that that day will ever come? Of course it is.

There is a spark in the hearts of all men and I believe that one day that spark will burst forth into glorious light and banish all evil – and the world will know that “G-d is One, His Name is One.”

May that day soon come speedily in our own time.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/a-ray-of-light-behind-the-clouds/2013/07/31/

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