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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘eternal’

President Rivlin to Israeli Christian Leaders: ‘United Jerusalem Is the Eternal Capital of Israel and It Will Remain So’

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday morning marked the civil New Year welcomed with the traditional annual reception for leaders of Christian communities in Israel, and wished all the Christian leaders and their congregations “a year of mutual understanding and respect. A year of justice and fairness.”

The reception, held in cooperation with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, was attended by the Greek Patriarch Theophilos III, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian.

President Rivlin noted that “Looking back on the last year, there is a lot we should be proud of. We have continued to build good relations between the Jewish and Christian communities.” He added that “we may have different faiths, but we share many common values. We share a deep respect for mankind, created in God’s image. We share a commitment to love our neighbor. We share a hope for peace. And in this city, we all, the children of Abraham live together, side by side.”

“I see my role, and the role of the State of Israel, as guardians of this city,” the president continued. “As guardians, our sovereignty over Jerusalem will never compromise the freedom of worship and religion for all believers. United Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and it will remain so. There is no international body with the power to revoke this. And as sovereigns of the city, I stand here today to repeat in the clearest way: the State of Israel is deeply committed to ensure the religious rights of all faith communities in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.”

The President stressed that “Israel is committed to finding a way to end the tragedy between us and the Palestinians. Time and again, we have held out our hand in peace, and called for direct negotiations, without pre-conditions, and without any delay. The decision to take Israel to the UN Security Council, was wrong in trying to force pre-conditions, but also in the way it was done. The international community’s, most important job in helping us solve the conflict, is to build trust between the sides. How can we hope, as the Pope said, “to write a new page” in the history of Israel and the Palestinians, without this trust?” He said firmly, “The Security Council vote, was a blow to peace, and it was a blow to trust.”

Speaking on behalf of the Christian leaders, Greek Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem said, “We take this opportunity of this holiday gatherings to express our gratitude for the firmness with which you defend the freedoms that lie at the heart of this democracy, especially the freedom of worship. We are always encouraged by your commitment to the sacredness of life and your condemnation of all forms of terrorism. These fundamental commitments are the basis of any society that understands that we share a common human destiny. The State of Israel takes pride in the fact that this state was founded on democratic principles in the Middle East, and that it guarantees full freedom of worship. We are confident Mr. President that you will continue to resist any restrictions of religious practices.”

He concluded, “We are keenly aware this season of the unspeakable experiences of those who suffer around the world, and especially those who suffer in the countries around us. So many are suffering for the mere fact of their religious allegiance, and as those who serve the moral values of our respective religious traditions we are deeply concerned.”

Minister Deri said, “Our ability to celebrate the festivals side by side, reminds us of the great extent to which we share common histories and future. The destruction of faiths has occurred in this land, and the State of Israel is the only, and the only secure state in this region where the Christian population lives and grows – not decreasing but increasing – all the while in other counties there is mass immigration and expulsion of the Christian community. Here the Christian community stands at 120,000 and its proportion to the general population continues to flourish.”

“The Government of Israel, and my office which is responsible for religious affairs, has been and remains committed to the strengthening and prosperity of the Christian community in Israel,” Deri added. “We are doing all in our to allow freedom of religion and worship to each according to their faith and outlook in their holy places. We are preserving and conserving the holy places as much as we are able. Last night I declared the launch of the strategic plan to strengthen the northern region, together with the Finance Minister, and in the presence of the Prime Minister. This is the region where 70% of the Christian community in Israel lives, and will directly benefit together with the other residents of the region from this initiative.”

Going into details, the minister explained that “the project funded by more than $5.2 billion will see investment transport infrastructure, and in the fields of health and education. In addition, in recent years, with the support of the President who pushed for the economic plan for the Arab regional authorities – where the Christian community also live – we have transferred $91 million in 2015-16, and in the framework of development grants we are transferring $208 million.”

JNi.Media

Trump’s Orthodox Zionist Ambassador Eager to Serve in ‘Eternal Capital of Israel’

Friday, December 16th, 2016

President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday announced that his bankruptcy lawyer of many years David Friedman, an Orthodox Jew who probably feels more at home in Jerusalem than in Tel Aviv, will be his next Ambassador to Israel. Indeed, the Trump transition team made a note of the fact that Friedman’s bar mitzvah 45 years ago was celebrated at the Western Wall. Friedman, for his part, said he looks forward to serving at his new job at “the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

A regular contributor to rightwing news website Arutz Sheva, Friedman told his friends there on Friday: “Mr. Trump’s confidence is very flattering. My views on Israel are well-known, and I would advise him in a matter consistent with those views. America’s geo-political interests are best served by a strong and secure Israel with Jerusalem as its undivided capital.”

Which is why it was no surprise that J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami’s response statement said the barely Zionist group was “vehemently opposed to the nomination,” because “as someone who has been a leading American friend of the settlement movement, who lacks any diplomatic or policy credentials, Friedman should be beyond the pale.”

This may have to do with the fact that Friedman in the past compared J Street to the kapos who cooperated with the Nazis during the Holocaust, except he had some sympathy for them and none for Jeremy Ben-Ami. “The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty,” he wrote. “But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas — it’s hard to imagine anyone worse.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition, on the other hand, was besides itself with delight, as its executive director Matt Brooks called Friedman’s appointment “a powerful signal to the Jewish community.” It is estimated that only 28% of Jewish voters picked Trump, but four years are a long time for minds to be changed, especially since the designated Ambassador, a fluent Hebrew speaker, has been so unabashed in advocating US-Israel friendship. The Trump transition team’s statement praised Friedman’s love of Israel:

“The two nations have enjoyed a special relationship based on mutual respect and a dedication to freedom and democracy. With Mr. Friedman’s nomination, President-elect Trump expressed his commitment to further enhancing the US-Israel relationship and ensuring there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.”

How will the gang in Ramallah take the news from Washington? Not well, most likely. We dug up this typical musing by the next Ambassador in an Arutz Sheva column titled “End the two-state narrative.” It probably would make for a heart-warming Shabbat read over at Amona, if they print it out in time:

“Much has changed over the decades since the two-state narrative began. Palestinian leaders have a much harder time lying to their people. Palestinians can witness – through the internet and first hand experience – the advantages of integration into Israeli society and the bankrupt values and barbarism of radical Islam.

“In addition, Saudi Arabia is running out of money, America and Israel are both energy independent and Israel’s neighbors – Jordan and Egypt – are far more concerned about ISIS and Iran than about Judea and Samaria. The world is a different place, diplomatic and security alignments have shifted, and only Mahmoud Abbas, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton are still stuck in the past, clinging to stale ideas that will only continue to fail.

“Radicalized Palestinian terrorists need to be rooted out and eliminated. But the remainder – perhaps the majority – of Palestinians should finally benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes paid by the US State Department to Abbas. Fostering a Palestinian middle class is the solution of the 21st century and it has nothing to do with two states.”

That is actually a plan. Which is probably why leftist former Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy told the NY Times that in naming Friedman Trump is undercutting the security of Israel and the US, forcing the PA Arabs “to further disenfranchisement and dispossession.”

“If an American ambassador stakes out positions that further embolden an already triumphalist settler elite, then that is likely to cause headaches for American national security interests across the region and even for Israel’s own security establishment,” Levy declared. “Especially an ambassador committed to the ill-advised relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.”

This means that, come January 20, 2017, the only obstacle to imposing Israeli sovereignty in Area C, if not the entire Judea and Samaria, would be the Netanyahu government that finds itself, for the first time in Israel’s history, to the left of the US Administration regarding the liberated territories.

To cite a certain Arutz Sheva columnist, in his piece titled “US presidents and Israel: Always expect the unexpected,” one must never abandon divine intervention when considering political strategy:

“They say that in Israel, one who believes in miracles is a realist. Looking back some 90 years on the cast of characters who were privileged to hold the most powerful position on the face of the earth, it is nothing less than miraculous that Israel has continued to grow, prosper and flourish. The hand of God is everywhere to be seen in Israel’s development. We should, of course, try to pick the right president, but let’s not forget who’s really running the show. Let’s therefore include prayer, charity and good deeds as an essential part of a pro-Israel strategy.”

JNi.Media

Eternal Israel

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

One of the greatest Jewish contributions to the West’s civilization is the idea of hope. Not all cultures give rise to hope. To the contrary: at the heart of many cultures is the idea that time is cyclical. What has been will be. History is a set of eternal recurrences. Nothing ever really changes. Life is tragic. One of the classic expressions of this is contained in the book of Ecclesiastes: “What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes, though, is a dissident voice within Tanach. For the most part the Hebrew Bible expresses a quite different view, namely that there can be change in the affairs of humankind. We are summoned to the long journey at whose end are redemption and the messianic age. Judaism is the principled rejection of tragedy in the name of hope.

The sociologist Peter Berger calls hope a “signal of transcendence,” a point at which something beyond penetrates into the human situation. There is nothing inevitable or even rational about hope. It cannot be inferred from any facts about the past or present. Many cultures, from ancient Greece to the present day, have held that hope is an illusion, a childish fantasy, and that a mature response to our place in the universe is to accept its fundamentally tragic nature and to cultivate the stoic virtue of acceptance. Judaism argues otherwise: that the universe is not deaf to our prayers, blind to our aspirations. We are not wrong to strive to perfect the world, refusing to accept the inevitability of suffering and injustice.

Nowhere is this more strikingly in evidence than in this week’s sedrah. The 26th chapter of Leviticus is one of the most frightening in all literature: the tochachah, the curses attendant on Israel’s disobedience to its divine mission. In graphic prose, we read a preview of history gone wrong. Israel will experience defeat and disaster. It will lose its freedom and its land. The people will go into exile and will suffer terrible persecutions. It is our custom to read this passage sotto voce, in an undertone. It is hard to imagine any nation undergoing such catastrophe and living to tell the tale – let alone to survive. Yet the passage does not end there. At its climax is one of the great consolations in the Bible:

“I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land… They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their G-d. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their G-d. I am the Lord.”

Israel may suffer, but it will never die. It may experience exile, but one day it will return. It may undergo the most terrible persecution, but it will never have reason to despair. The placement of this prophecy at the culmination of the curses is one of the most fateful of all biblical assertions. No fate is so bleak as to murder hope itself. No defeat is final, no exile endless, no tragedy the last word of the story.

There is an echo of this in the great vision of Ezekiel. The prophet sees a valley of dry bones that gradually come together, take on flesh, and live again: “Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.’ They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost (avdah tikvateinu); we are cut off.’ Therefore, prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel…’ ”

Nothing in all of literature so graphically describes the fate of the Jewish people between the Holocaust and the rebirth, in 1948, of the State of Israel. Almost prophetically, Naftali Herz Imber alluded to this text in his words for the song that eventually became Israel’s national anthem. He wrote: “od lo avdah tikvateinu” (our hope is not yet lost). Not by accident is Israel’s anthem called Hatikvah (the Hope).

Where does hope come from? Berger sees it as a constitutive part of our humanity. He writes:

“Human existence is always oriented toward the future. Man exists by constantly extending his being into the future, both in his consciousness and in his activity… An essential dimension of this ‘futurity’ of man is hope. It is through hope that men overcome the difficulties of any given here and now. And it is through hope that men find meaning in the face of extreme suffering” (Peter Berger, A Rumor of Angels, pages 68-69).

Only hope empowers us to take risks, engage in long-term projects, marry and have children – and refuse to capitulate in the face of despair:

“There seems to be a death-refusing hope at the very core of our humanitas. While empirical reason indicates that this hope is an illusion, there is something in us that, however shamefacedly in an age of triumphant rationality, goes on saying ‘no!’ and even says ‘no!’ to the ever so plausible explanations of empirical reason. In a world where man is surrounded by death on all sides, he continues to be a being who says ‘no!’ to death – and through this ‘no!’ is brought to faith in another world, the reality of which would validate his hope as something other than illusion” (A Rumor of Angels, page 72).

I am less sure than Berger that hope is universal. It emerges as part of the emotional vocabulary of Western civilization through a quite specific set of beliefs: that G-d exists, that He cares about us, that He has made a covenant with humanity and a further covenant with the people He chose to be a living example of faith. That covenant shapes our reading of history. G-d has given his word, and He will never break it, however much we may break our side of the promise. Without these beliefs, we would have no reason to hope at all.

History, as conceived in this week’s sedrah, is not utopian. Faith does not blind us to the apparent randomness of circumstance, the cruelty of fortune, the seeming injustices of fate. No one, reading Leviticus 26, can be an optimist. Yet no one sensitive to its message can abandon hope. Without this, Jews and Judaism would not have survived. Without belief in the covenant, there would be no State of Israel or any significant Jewish history after the Holocaust.

Jews kept hope alive. Hope kept the Jewish people alive.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

In Hebrew: ‘Eternal’

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

נִצְחִי

There are a few ways of saying forever in Hebrew. One is לְעוֹלָם (leh-oh-LAHM), employing the original Biblical meaning of the word עולם (oh-LAHM) – eternity. In Modern Hebrew (as well as in late Biblical Hebrew), עולם means world.

Another way of saying forever is לָנֶצַח (lah-NEH-tsahkh). The word נצח (NEH-tsahkh) itself also means eternity in Biblical Hebrew.

Two other ways of expressing the concept of forever in Modern Hebrew are לְתָמִיד (leh-tah-MEED) – literally, for always; and לִצְמִיתוּת (leets-mee-TOOT) –permanently.

To say eternal, Hebrew employs the word נצח, creating נִצְחִי (neets-KHEE).

But to say the eternal nation? That’s עַם הַנֶּצַח (ahm hah-NEH-tsahkh) – literally, the nation of eternity.

Visit Ktzat Ivrit.

Ami Steinberger

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ktzat-ivrit/in-hebrew-eternal/2013/03/03/

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