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NEW YORK - It was an unexpected development in an otherwise relatively mundane U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process. Failed Reagan nominee Robert Bork grabbed headlines last week when he spoke out against President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the high court. At the top of his complaint list: As dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan once referred to former Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak as her "judicial hero."
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak attempted to break the link between the Har Bracha Hesder Yeshiva and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), few of us were surprised. Ehud Barak is the head of the Labor Party who seems to be using this anti-religious "weapon" in order to make a political comeback for his failing leftist party. His anti-religious position is well known, and his attempt to discredit Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and the Hesder Yeshiva movement is not unexpected. In the past, other politicians have used their opposition to religion to improve their political status, and Barak knows that he and his party are falling apart.
When charged by the Prophetess Deborah, wife of Lapidoth, in Judges to free the Jews from the tyranny of Sisera, general of the Canaanite king Jacin's army, Barak the son of Abinoam famously responded with the biblical equivalent of "I'm right behind you." Deborah agreed to accompany Barak to Kedesh but told him Sisera would die by a woman's hand. Barak accepted the terms, and Sisera was eventually lured into Yael's tent, where she fed him milk to make him drowsy and drove a tent peg through his head.
On July 14, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak castigated UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the terms of the cease-fire that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Iran's Lebanese army Hizbullah, saying, "UN resolution 1701 didn't work, isn't working and won't work." He added, "UN resolution 1701 is a failure."
For the second week running the Monitor is forced to postpone a celebration of the death last month of one of the wickedest Jews to walk the earth in this or any other generation. The continuing fallout over outgoing New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Deborah Sontag's novella-length rewrite of recent Middle East history leaves no choice but to put away the streamers and the silly hats and reschedule the party for the next column.