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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Tamar Yonah Show – Jews Who Fight For Freedom and the Price We Pay [audio]

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Since the beginning, the Jewish People have been fighting for freedom. As evil regimes and power-hungry dictators try to rise up, feeling themselves ‘superior’ to others and enslaving them under their empires, the Jewish People stand up and say “No!” to tyranny. Until this day, power-hungry regimes try to kill the Jewish People and the light to the world they carry. Guest, Aaron Braunstein from the Jewish Covenant Alliance,  talks to Tamar about how Israel must continue to hold the torch of freedom, in order to prevent oppressive regimes like Iran, from taking over and spreading their evil empire.

Also, Shifra Hoffman of VictimsOfArabTerror.org  and Shuva.net  talks about joins us and talks about the rise (again) in terror attacks against Israel.

Tamar Yonah Show 18Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

‘Freedom March’ Spells Pre-Shabbat Nightmare for Gush Etzion Jews

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

A group called Combatants for Peace, in cooperation with the “Standing Together” initiative (not this Standing Together, but a different group which is occupying the same name), plans to gather hundreds of Jews and Arabs to “demonstrate together at the Freedom March on Friday, September 2, at 1:30 PM, by the tunnel checkpoint” in Gush Etzion, to protest Israeli administrative detentions without trial and in solidarity with hunger strikers (suspected terrorists and affiliates).

The Freedom March will begin at the Battir village roundabout adjacent to Route 60, and proceed to the tunnel checkpoint “separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem”.

Their press release wasn’t accurate, as the tunnel checkpoint separates Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, whereas Bethlehem is separated from Jerusalem at the checkpoint on Derech Hebron in Jerusalem at the turnoff to Rachel’s Tomb.

The section of Route 60 known as the Tunnel Road, built by Israel, is a stretch of a little under 1.5 miles, the road crosses the Refa’im range and the Beit Gilo range in two tunnels, one 300 yards, the other 1,000 yards, connected with a large bridge over the Gilo River valley.

Israel began building the bridge and tunnels in 1992 and the stretch was inaugurated on September 2, 1996. There’s a 20 year anniversary coming up in a few days.

It is now the main highway that connects Jerusalem and western Gush Etzion, and was built, in part, to relieve the pressure from the old, scenic Walleja road which wasn’t designed for the volume of traffic that exists in Gush Etzion, and as one of the bypass roads that were built after the Oslo accords were signed.

The unique stretch of this tunnel road allows a few dozen (the organizers will never attract hundreds) protesters to block traffic travelling between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion on Erev Shabbat, as they did back in July, when a group of “former” Arab terrorists and their leftwing Israeli enablers held a protest and for a short time blocked Highway 60, holding up signs saying “The wall is violent,” which, by the way, the year 2006 called and wanted back.

The problem is that these protests are done with approval from the IDF, and so, as long as the protesters are not using violence and stay on the side of the road (which they obviously didn’t do last time) no one cares. But when they block the road, motorists are forced to stay in their cars in an ever burgeoning traffic jam, and wait for someone in authority to come open up the highway.

With Shabbat candle lighting time starting to drop below 7 PM, in a few weeks such protests could pose an enormous inconvenience for hundreds, if not thousands of local residents and visitors.

JewishPress.com inquired with the organizers via email if they invited participants from Judea and Samaria who have protested against administrative detentions and restraining orders against Jews. They responded that “anyone who supports human rights and an end to the occupation is more than welcome.”

So much for cooperation and intersectionality between the downtrodden.

So, if you live in Gush Etzion and plan a trip to Jerusalem Friday — maybe you should stay home and clean up before Shabbat.

David Israel

Expanding Freedom

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Whose idea was it to send the spies? According to this week’s sedrah, it was G-d’s.

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.’ So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran” (Numbers 13:1-3).

According to Moses in Deuteronomy, it was the people: “Then all of you came to me and said, ‘Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.’ The idea seemed good to me; so I selected 12 of you, one man from each tribe” (Deuteronomy 1:22-23).

Rashi reconciles the apparent contradiction. The people came to Moses with their request. Moses asked G-d what he should do. G-d gave him permission to send the spies. He did not command it; He merely did not oppose it. “Where a person wants to go, that is where he is led” (Makkot 10b) – so said the sages. This means that G-d does not stop people from a course of action on which they are intent, even though He knows that it may end in tragedy. Such is the nature of the freedom G-d has given us. It includes the freedom to make mistakes.

However, Maimonides (Guide for the Perplexed III: 32) offers an interpretation that gives a different perspective to the whole episode. He begins by noting the verse in Exodus 13:17, with which the exodus begins: “When Pharaoh let the people go, G-d did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For G-d said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So G-d led the people around by the desert road toward the Reed Sea.”

Maimonides comments: “Here G-d led the people about, away from the direct route he had originally intended, because He feared that they might encounter hardships too great for their present strength. So He took them by a different route in order to achieve His original object.” He then adds the following:

“It is a well-known fact that traveling in the wilderness without physical comforts such as bathing produces courage, while the opposite produces faint-heartedness. Besides this, another generation rose during the wanderings that had not been accustomed to degradation and slavery.”

According to Maimonides, then, it was irrelevant who sent the spies. Nor was the verdict after the episode – that the people would be condemned to spend 40 years in the wilderness, and that it would only be their children who would enter the land – a punishment as such. It was an inevitable consequence of human nature.

It takes more than a few days or weeks to turn a population of slaves into a nation capable of handling the responsibilities of freedom. In the case of the Israelites it needed a generation born in liberty, hardened by the experience of the desert, untrammeled by habits of servitude. Freedom takes time, and there are no shortcuts. Often it takes a very long time indeed.

That dimension of time is fundamental to the Jewish view of politics and human progress. That is why, in the Torah, Moses repeatedly tells the adults to educate their children, to tell them the story of the past, to “remember.” It is why the covenant itself is extended through time – handed on from one generation to the next. It is why the story of the Israelites is told at such length in Tanach: the timespan covered by the Hebrew Bible is a thousand years from the days of Moses to the last of the prophets. It is why G-d acts in and through history. Unlike Christianity or Islam there is, in Judaism, no sudden transformation of the human condition, no one moment or single generation in which everything significant is fully disclosed.

Why, asks Maimonides (Guide III: 32), did G-d not simply give the Israelites in the desert the strength or self-confidence they needed to cross the Jordan and enter the land? His answer: because it would have meant saying goodbye to human freedom, choice, and responsibility. Even G-d Himself, implies Maimonides, has to work with the grain of human nature and its all-too-slow pace of change. Not because G-d cannot change people: of course He can. He created them; He could re-create them. The reason is that G-d chooses not to. He practices what the Safed Kabbalists called tzimtzum (self-limitation). He wants human beings to construct a society of freedom – and how could He do that if, in order to bring it about, He had to deprive them of the very freedom He wanted them to create?

There are some things a parent may not do for a child if he or she wants the child to become an adult. There are some things even G-d must choose not to do for His people if He wants them to grow to moral and political maturity. In one of my books I called this the chronological imagination, as opposed to the Greek logical imagination. Logic lacks the dimension of time. That is why philosophers tend to be either rigidly conservative (Plato did not want poets in his Republic; they threatened to disturb the social order) or profoundly revolutionary (Rousseau, Marx). The current social order is either right or wrong. If it is right, we should not change it. If it is wrong, we should overthrow it. The fact that change takes time, even many generations, is not an idea easy to square with philosophy. (Even those philosophers, like Hegel and Marx, who factored in time, did so mechanically, speaking about “historical inevitability” rather than the unpredictable exercise of freedom.)

One of the odd facts about Western civilization in recent centuries is that the people who have been most eloquent about tradition – Edmund Burke, Michael Oakeshott, T.S. Eliot – have been deeply conservative, defenders of the status quo. Yet there is no reason why a tradition should be conservative. We can hand on to our children not only our past but also our unrealized ideals. We can want them to go beyond us, to travel further on the road to freedom than we were able to do. That, for example, is how the Seder service on Pesach begins: “This year slaves, next year free; this year here, next year in Israel.” A tradition can be evolutionary without being revolutionary.

That is the lesson of the spies. Despite the Divine anger, the people were not condemned to permanent exile. They simply had to face the fact that their children would achieve what they themselves were not ready for.

People still forget this. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were undertaken, at least in part, in the name of democracy and freedom. Yet that is the work not of a war, but of education, society building, and the slow acceptance of responsibility. It takes generations. Sometimes it never happens at all. The people – like the Israelites, demoralized by the spies’ report – lose heart and want to go back to the predictable past (“Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt”), not to the unseen, hazardous, demanding future. That is why, historically, there have been more tyrannies than democracies.

The politics of liberty demands patience. It needs years of struggle without giving up hope. The late Emmanuel Levinas spoke about “difficult freedom” – and freedom always is difficult. The story of the spies tells us that the generation who left Egypt was not yet ready for it. That was their tragedy. But their children would be. That was their consolation.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

The True Definition Of Freedom

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

And I came down to save them from the hand of Egypt and to bring them forth from that land unto a good and wide land, a land flowing with milk an honey” – Exodus 3:8


This is how God addressed Himself to Moshe when promising to redeem the Jews from Egyptian bondage. This promise heralded their soon-to-be-achieved freedom.

Freedom is the most lauded ideal of a democratic society. We march for it, fight for it, and often die for it. Unfortunately, in seeking liberty, many try to throw off the “yoke” of a spiritually guided life. To them, religion, with all its rules and regulations, is an uncomfortable burden, incongruous with modern society. So freedom is defined as “doing as we please,” in tandem with liberty from the demands of a religious life.

The Torah’s definition of freedom affects the three realms that constitute human life: the realm of the soul, the realm of the body, and the realm of the surrounding world in which the individual lives.

The enslavement of the Jews in Egypt and their subsequent liberation operated in these three realms. First, there was spiritual enslavement in and to a country with the lowest level of moral depravity. Egyptian civilization was based of the forces of nature and natural phenomena, especially the Nile River. It hardly ever rains in Egypt, but human ingenuity developed an elaborate irrigation system that turned Egypt into a flourishing garden surrounded by deserts. This brought about a profusely idolatrous culture, characterized by the deification of the forces of nature and the powers of man, who was able to utilize these forces.

Second, there was the extreme physical slavery of hard labor. And third, there was the complete deprivation of the share of material possessions to which humans are entitled.

Likewise the liberation involves all three realms, and in the fullest measure.

First and foremost, spiritual liberation. The Jews were commanded to take lambs held sacred by the Egyptians and sacrifice them – a public demonstration of the utter worthlessness of the Egyptian cult. It was not enough to deny Egyptian idolatry in the recesses of one’s heart; one was called on to do so openly and without fear.

Second, complete physical liberation by marching out of Egypt with a “raised hand” amidst song and jubilation.

Third, regarding material possessions, the Torah relates that the Jews went forth “with great wealth.”

Harmonious and total freedom cannot be achieved through a way of life whereby the soul is subordinated to the body and both body and soul are subjugated to the material world. The superior cannot serve the inferior and be content doing so. The highest aspect of human life, the soul, will never acquiesce in subservience to the body.

True freedom can be achieved only by freeing the body from its animalistic tendencies and liberating it to serve its Creator.

As was true in ancient Egypt, many today worship the supremacy of man and his astounding accomplishments and find no place for God in this age of science. The Torah reminds us that we must “withdraw” and reject the idolatry of the land – in whatever form it expresses itself. We must recognize God’s control of the universe and human

Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic

Pollard Out of Danger

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Jonathan Pollard has returned to his jail cell after his brief hospitalization on Friday when he lost consciousness.

He may have to undergo surgery, but for the time being is back where has been for 30 years, sentenced to life for the crime of turning over Pentagon secrets for Israel, an offense that usually carries a sentence of 2-4 years in jail.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while speaking with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday night, asked that President Barack Obama release Pollard. He said in a statement, “Jonathan is sick, his health in in danger, and after 30 years in prison it’s time he is released. We’ll continue to fight until his release.”

No one really knows how much Israeli officials have been honest in their demands that the United States free Pollard.

Rafi Eitan, his Mossad “handler,” said this past week that Pollard ignored an ”escape plan” that Israel had suggested and instead opted for trying to claim asylum in the Israeli Embassy, to which Eitan vehemently objected.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, former Executive Vice President National Council of Young Israel and involved in the Pollard case for more than 20 years, wrote on the Hamodeia website Thursday, “He [Pollard] told me the only escape plan he ever received from his Israeli handler, Rafi Eitan, should the operation be compromised, was an emergency phone number to call. He received no special training for emergency evacuation and no instructions for such an event.”

Pollard is in poor health. Unless the United States frees him, we will never know the truth, and that may be why no American president has taken the humanitarian step to release him.

Everyone may be afraid of the truth.



Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Parole Board Says ‘NO’ to Jonathan Pollard, Again

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

A U.S. government parole board has turned down former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard’s request for release after 30 years in prison, according to the Campaign for the Release of Jonathan Pollard.

The 60-year-old dual Israeli-U.S. citizen was sentenced to life in prison on a single count of passing classified information to an ally – Israel – in his position as an analyst in the U.S. Navy.

His sentence expires in 2030.

Since Pollard first became eligible for parole numerous public figures in the U.S. and Israel have appealed to the American government and successive administrations to free him, but all have failed.

A statement Wednesday by activists on behalf of Pollard quoted U.S. officials as saying releasing Pollard would “constitute contempt for the severity of the offense and promote a lack of respect for the law.”

Another review of his case is expected in February 2015, with a parole hearing to be set five months later, media reported. But a commission member told journalists the government would oppose Pollard’s release “Absolutely, vigorously.”

If the trend continues unabated, Pollard is likely to remain in prison until his sentence expires, when he is age 75.

Hana Levi Julian

Update: UN Forgot to Announce Ban Ki-Moon to Visit Negev Rocket Victims

Monday, October 13th, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit communities battered by Hamas missiles and meet with relatives of victims after his visit to Gaza, his press secretary told The Jewish Press Tuesday evening.

An earlier story entitled “Ban Ki-Moon Skips Sderot on Way to ‘Stand with the People of Gaza’ was based on official United Nations press releases that Ban said he will “listen directly to the people of Gaza.” A visit to southern Israel was not mentioned.

The omission of any reference to his itinerary in southern Israel was an “unfortunate error” that will be investigated, his press secretary Stefan Dujarric said.

Fresh from a visit to Libya, another hotspot where the United Nations has been a colossal failure, Ban’s speech at the “Donors Conference” in Cairo to make Hamas safe from the world marked another step towards the international body’s becoming an instrument for insanity.

It turns out, according to Ban, the “root causes” of the war are not Hamas’ stated aim of destroying Israel. “We must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights, and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations,” Ban said.

It’s all because of the “occupation,” meaning the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria following the Jordanian army’s retreat in 1967 after joining half a dozen other Arab countries that tried and failed to annihilate Israel.

It’s because of the “occupation” – not the occupation by Jordan of Judea and Samaria after it and the Arab world refused to accept the U.N. recognition of Israel and the partition plan that would have left Israel a defenseless nation and without Jerusalem.

It’s because of the “occupation” when Israel took over Gaza from Egypt, which was happy to get rid of it in the war and allow Israel to breathe life into that had been a hapless and hopeless society.

It’s because of the occupation – but not the occupation of the political vacuum by Yasser Arafat, who led the destruction of the Arab economy and religious and social freedoms.

Not only is the “occupation” the reason that Hamas attacked Israel again and again and again.

One of the root causes also is the “denial of Palestinian rights,” rights they never had under Jordanian and Egyptian role. Ban did not refer to other rights, such as free speech, a fair trial and the freedom to be a Christian. It would be too much to suggest that Jews be free to be Jews because that is what the Hamas attacks were about.

Ban says otherwise.

The war was because of “the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations,” the euphemism for creating a Palestinian Authority state according to its own definitions, including ridding the United Nations of the burden of “refugees,” who would flood Israel to rid the world of a Jewish nation.

Ban is to meet with Israeli leaders Monday. The earlier Jewish Press article, based on U.N. press releases, stated that “Ban will reserve for Arabs in Gaza the privilege of talking with him.”

“I believe it is important to be on the ground,” he told journalists in Cairo. “That is why I am announcing today that I will visit Gaza on Tuesday to listen directly to the people of Gaza, survey the situation for myself.”

The official UN News Center removed any doubt that the United Nations is a front for the United Anti-Israel Nations.

Press Secretary Dujarric phoned The Jewish Press to correct the official press releases’ omissions and said, Ban “will go to Kibbutz HaShlosha near and will meet with inhabitants of the kibbutz and with families impacted by the rockets and relatives of people who lost loved ones, and he will meet with them privately.”

However, Ban’s speech in Cairo and the official U.N. News Center hardly mentioned Hamas attacks on Israel.

“During the recent 51-day conflict, dozens of schools, hospitals and clinics were destroyed or damaged in Gaza. UN facilities sheltering women and children were hit, resulting in many casualties. Eleven staff members of the UN were killed in the course of the conflict,” the U.N. News Center stated.

No mention was made of Israeli casualties, No mention was made of damage in Israel. No mention was made that Israel did not raise a finger at Gaza until Hamas attacked.

The United Nations continues to act as a propaganda organ for the Palestinian Authority, which now officially includes Hamas, and the “unfortunate error” only highlights its agenda.

“Given that 70 percent of Gazans are refugees, we have a huge responsibility to rebuild homes and improve the situation in the refugee camps,” said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness speaking with UN radio from Jerusalem this afternoon.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ban-ki-moon-skips-sderot-on-way-to-stand-with-the-people-of-gaza/2014/10/13/

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