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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘give’

Don’t Give the Fox the Keys to the Henhouse

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

The Oslo accords divided Judea and Samaria into areas A, B and C. Area C, where most settlements and few Arabs are, was placed under complete Israeli control. Area B, strategic areas with large Arab populations and the smallest of the three, was under Palestinian Authority civil governance but remained under Israeli security control. And Area A was supposed to be under full PA control.

The Oslo plan was that we and the US would help the PA build up their ‘security forces’, with which they would ‘fight terrorism’. One of the comments heard at the time was that this was like expecting Kellogg to fight cornflakes; but in any event, the idea resonated in the US and with the ‘peace’ establishment in Israel. Why should we risk our soldiers and be vilified for brutality when Yasser Arafat would do our dirty work for us?

Predictably, this didn’t work. When the Second Intifada began, terrorists found it convenient to base themselves in places like Jenin in Area A, to commit their atrocities against the Jewish population on both sides of the Green Line, and then run back to Area A where we were not permitted to pursue them. Sometimes the PA would arrest the terrorists, in which case they were usually released quickly, or ‘escaped’.

In March 2002, in one of a series of deadly attacks – there were fifteen suicide bombings and multiple shooting and other attacks that month – a Hamas bomber exploded at a Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya, killing 30 people and injuring 140. Two days later, the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield, a massive incursion into the territories to find and destroy the terror networks that had been established there.

The operation was costly for Israel with 30 soldiers killed, but also in other ways:

On April 2, the IDF reached Jenin, from which 23 of the 60 terror attacks in 2002 had emanated. There, the army waged a pitched battle, involving house-to-house fighting with Palestinian gunmen in the city’s refugee camp.

Booby-trapped houses were primed to collapse on the Israeli forces. By the time the fighting ended, 23 IDF soldiers and 52 Palestinians (of whom 14 were civilians) were dead. Ultimately the Palestinian Authority, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations corroborated these figures.

Ultimately. But before that happened, a media campaign was waged against the IDF by the PA, British reporters (especially Philip Reeves, now NPR’s Pakistan correspondent), and the “human rights” NGOs. Hundreds, even thousands, of Palestinian civilians were said to have been killed, buried by Israeli bulldozers with the “sweet and ghastly reek of rotting human bodies” wafting from the ground, in the words of the execrable Reeves.

An Israeli-Arab filmmaker, Mohammad Bakri, made a film called “Jenin, Jenin” that repeats the libels. It continues to be shown around the world. Like the Mohammad Dura incident, the “Jenin massacre” has been placed into history despite the fact that it didn’t happen.

After the trauma of the Intifada, the IDF returned to carrying out hot pursuit of terrorists in Area A. But now we seem poised to repeat the mistake of Oslo, as the IDF prepares to concede security control of Area A to the PA:

The Palestinians are demanding that the Israel Defense Forces withdraw simultaneously from all the cities and rejected an initial Israeli offer to withdraw completely from Ramallah and Jericho first, and to restrict activities elsewhere in the West Bank to arrests of Palestinians suspected of intending to carry out imminent attacks.

The IDF and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon believe that the Palestinian security services are capable of undertaking a sizable chunk of the work that the army does today.

I have great respect for Moshe Ya’alon, who became Chief of Staff immediately after Defensive Shield, and carried on the work of suppressing the Second Intifada. But surely he must understand that the PA’s “security forces” cannot be depended upon to protect Israeli Jews, and his support for this is surprising. The Shabak [internal security service], several cabinet ministers and numerous MKs strongly oppose the idea.

Apparently the IDF favors it. I suppose that’s understandable. Everyone wants to avoid unpleasant situations or to put them off as long as possible. Most of the high-ranking officers in modern technocratic armies like the IDF are managers first and warriors second (well-known exceptions are Sharon, MacArthur and Patton). They see fighting as disruptive to their organizations. Minor conflicts detract from their long-term planning and use up stocks of equipment and budgets. Operations in Judea and Samaria are hard on soldiers who have to deal with demonstrations, harassment by women, children, and Israeli and international activists.

There is also a smell of international arm-twisting about this. Although I have no evidence at this point, there could very well be a connection with the upcoming attempt to pass a resolution in the Security Council declaring Jewish settlements illegal. There are also the ongoing negotiations with the Obama Administration over the memorandum of understanding on future military aid. Finally, there is Israeli concern over talks between the US and Russia on a solution to the Syrian civil war which could possibly include the Golan Heights. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that the US is using these issues to pressure Israel to agree to the PA demands.

In view of the fact that both Hamas and Hezbollah have been beefing up their defensive and offensive capabilities – and despite repeated claims from Israeli officials that these organizations don’t want conflict with us – it seems to me that the wisest policy would be to prevent the build-up of what would be yet another front in the next war. But that is exactly what will happen if the IDF does not keep the pressure on the terrorists in Area A.

As happened in Judea and Samaria before 2003 and in southern Lebanon after 2000, when we allow our enemies to enhance their capabilities unmolested we find ourselves in a situation where we are deterred from taking action because of the expected cost. Ultimately we are forced to fight, and then we pay the price anyway. Like the withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza and the Oslo accord, turning over security control to the PA purchases temporary – perhaps very temporary – quiet, in return for longer term weakness.

There is another reason not to do this: If the IDF backs off today it will be a boost to the enemy’s morale. Any concession we make will be seen as a victory for the decentralized terrorism of the Intifada of Knives. No matter how much our officials say that the withdrawal has nothing to do with terrorism, they won’t convince the Palestinians, who will celebrate the success that their ‘martyrs’ have brought them.

Our enemies see the conflict as a long, historic struggle, and we should too. Every war, every battle, every terror attack, every inch of land gained or lost, every Jew or Arab that enters or leaves the Land of Israel moves the cursor of history. From 1948 to 1993 there is no question that we were in ascendance. Oslo was an inflection point. Since then, our trajectory has turned downward.

Are our leaders paying attention?

Vic Rosenthal

Bill Clinton: ‘I Killed Myself to Give Palestinians a State’ [video]

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Campaigning on Friday for his wife, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, in Ewing Township, NJ, former president Bill Clinton told his audience “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” Politico reported.

When a person in the audience yelled, “What about Gaza?” Clinton responded, “She and the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt stopped the shooting war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.”

“She said neutrality is not an option,” the person in the crowd yelled back, meaning the US would always be on israel’s side.

“Depends on whether you care what happens to the Palestinians, as opposed to the Hamas government and the people with guided missiles,” Clinton said.

“They were human beings in Gaza,” the same audience member said.

“Yes, they were,” Clinton replied. “And Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel, they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools, in the highly populous areas, and they are smart. They said they try to put Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They’re good at it. They’re smart. They’ve been doing this a long time.”

The audience responded with cheers to the Clinton comeback.

Then Bill Clinton said, “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state. I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza.”

And then some.

David Israel

The Beautiful Pear

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Thank you for reading one more Style with Esther!

Today we will talk about some tips and guidelines that could help a lot the pear shaped women. But keep in mind that these guidelines are not the ultimate truth, nor should they limit your fashion creativity. The body type guidelines serve as an invisible friend, they can help you in those moments you feel fashionably lost or overwhelmed.

I must confess that if you need to buy a new garment or are rushing to dress up for a party, using these guidelines can be very handy. Yet, as I said above, they’re not written in stone. So, it’s OK if you want to be adventurous and try something that is actually listed for another body type. After all, most women are a combination of two body types, so why not have fun with it and try something new? If what you’re wearing makes you feel empowered and happy, you’re probably making the right choice—but a small dose of good sense also helps.

THE BEAUTIFUL PEAR

If your hip measurement is larger than your bustline, you’re probably a pear shaped woman.

Since the attention on your figure is concentrated in your hipline, it will be a step toward harmony to distribute that attention to your upper bodice. The basic idea is to dress up your upper bodice and go simple with the lower. Easy, right?

How to bring the attention up?

By the use of pockets on your shirt, details on lapels, collars (have you seen some wonderful fake collars lately that work as a necklace?), shoulder pads, embroideries, studs, yokes, draped tops, exquisite brooches, ruffles— the list of embellishments goes on and on. If you’re in a rush and have no time for all these details, just choose a top with a stronger color or one with beautiful prints. They’re the fastest ways to bring the attention upwards.

If you like jewelry, that’s another good reason to wear big pendants or necklaces made of beautiful stones.

Also, knit tops will help you define your waistline, especially if they have a V-shaped neckline, because it will elongate your neck and bring the attention up to your face and to your tiny waist. U-shaped necklines work just as well.

What about sleeves? Give preference to sleeves with details. It could just be a knit top with small pleats on the sleeves, created with the help of an elastic, ¾ length bell sleeves or sleeves with cuffs that will bring the attention upwards and balance your look.

When wearing jackets, give preference to tailored ones, since they will define your waistline. The jacket length should reach at least 1 inch below your hipbone. If a jacket ends exactly at your hipbone, it will make your hipline look larger than it really is. Wearing cropped jackets is also OK, since they end exactly at your waistline. Just keep in mind that cropped jackets are not the rule for all pear shaped women. They could look great for some but give too much of a boxy look to others. You just have to ask yourself how you feel about that cropped jacket when facing the mirror. Listen to your heart.

When wearing dresses, give preference to wraps or fake wraps that have an A-line, semi-flared, or flared skirt. Besides the comfort, they will enhance your waistline.

A-ha! We have finally arrived to the skirt identity crisis! Many beautiful Pears have asked me about the logic of wearing A-line and flared skirts.

The answer lies not only on the skirt shape but also in the fabric being used. A flared skirt made of a lightweight, soft fabric that falls naturally, such as knits, silks and many other types of light weight fabrics, will create a really beautiful look!

On the other hand, an A-line made of a tough denim or any other heavyweight fabric will need some time for reflection upon its usage. It will look good for some and not so great for others. Keeping that in mind, go for A-lines, flared and semi-flared skirts made of lightweight fabric with confidence, as they will dress you well and look great. Another great reason for you to wear these styles is that they will fit your waistline perfectly without interfering with your hip measurement.

Esther Goldberger

How to Give

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Listen to these stories. Behind them lies an extraordinary insight into the nature of Jewish ethics:

Story 1. Rabbi Abba used to bind money in his scarf, sling it on his back, and place it at the disposal of the poor (Ketubot 67b).

Story 2. Mar Ukba had a poor man in his neighborhood into whose door socket he used to throw four coins every day. Once the poor man thought, “I will go and see who does me this kindness.” That day Mar Ukba stayed late at the house of study and his wife was coming home with him. As soon as the poor man saw them moving the door (to leave the coins) he ran out after them, but they fled from him and hid. Why did they do this? Because it was taught: One should throw himself into a fiery furnace rather than publicly put his neighbor to shame (Ketubot 67b).

Story 3. When Rabbi Jonah saw a man of good family who had lost his money and was ashamed to accept charity, he would go and say to him, “I have heard that an inheritance has come your way in a city across the sea. So here is an article of some value. Sell it and use the proceeds. When you are more affluent, you will repay me.” As soon as the man took it, Rabbi Jonah would say, “It’s yours is a gift” (Vayikra Rabbah 34:1).

These stories all have to do with the mitzvah of tzedakah whose source is in this week’s parshah:

“If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need…Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11).

What we have here is a unique and still remarkable program for the elimination of poverty.

The first extraordinary fact about the laws of tzedakah as articulated in the Oral Tradition is the concept itself. Tzedakah does not mean “charity.” We see this immediately in the form of a law inconceivable in any other moral system: “Someone who does not wish to give tzedakah or to give less than is appropriate may be compelled to do so by a Jewish court of law” (Maimonides, Laws of Gifts to the Poor, 7:10). Charity is always voluntary. Tzedakah is compulsory. Therefore tzedakah does not mean charity. The nearest English equivalent is social justice.

The second is the principle evident in the three stories above. Poverty in Judaism is conceived not merely in material terms: the poor lack the means of sustenance. It is also conceived in psychological terms. Poverty humiliates. It robs people of dignity. It makes them dependent on others – thus depriving them of independence which the Torah sees as essential to self-respect.

This deep psychological insight is eloquently expressed in the third paragraph of the Grace after Meals: “Please, O Lord our God, do not make us dependent on the gifts or loans of other people, but only on Your full, open, holy and generous hand so that we may suffer neither shame nor humiliation for ever and all time.”

As a result, Jewish law focuses not only on how much we must give but also on the manner in which we do so. Ideally the donor should not know to whom he or she is giving (story 1), nor the recipient know from whom he or she is receiving (story 2). The third story exemplifies another principle: “If a poor person does not want to accept tzedakah, we should practice a form of [benign] deception and give it to him under the guise of a loan” (Maimonides, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 7:9).

Maimonides sums up the general principle thus: “Whoever gives charity to the poor with bad grace and averted eyes has lost all the merit of his action even though he gives him a thousand gold pieces. He should give with good grace and with joy and should sympathize with him in his plight, as it is said, ‘Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?’ [Job 30:25]” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:4).

This is the logic behind two laws that are otherwise inexplicable. The first is “Even a poor person who is dependent on tzedakah is obliged to give tzedakah” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 7:5). The law seems absurd. Why should we give money to the poor so that they may give to the poor? It makes sense only on this assumption – that giving is essential to human dignity and tzedakah is the obligation to ensure that everyone has that dignity.

The second is the famous ruling of Maimonides that “the highest degree of charity, exceeded by none, is when a person assists a poor Jew by providing him with a gift or a loan or by accepting him into a business partnership or by helping him find employment – in a word, by putting him in a situation where he can dispense with other people’s aid” (Laws of Gifts to the Poor 10:7).

Giving someone a job or making him your partner would not normally be considered charity at all. It costs you nothing. But this further serves to show that tzedakah does not mean charity. It means giving people the means to live a dignified life, and any form of employment is more dignified, within the Jewish value system, than dependence.

We have in this ruling of Maimonides in the 12th century the principle that Muhammad Yunus rediscovered in our time, and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize: the idea of micro-loans enabling poor people to start small businesses. It is a very powerful idea.

In contradistinction to many other religious systems, Judaism refused to romanticize poverty or anaesthetize its pain. Faith is not what Karl Marx called “the opium of the people.” The rabbis refused to see poverty as a blessed state, an affliction to be born with acceptance and grace. Instead, the rabbis called it “a kind of death” and “worse than 50 plagues.” They said, “Nothing is harder to bear than poverty, because he who is crushed by poverty is like one to whom all the troubles of the world cling and upon whom all the curses of Deuteronomy have descended. If all other troubles were placed on one side and poverty on the other, poverty would outweigh them all.”

Maimonides went to the heart of the matter when he said (The Guide for the Perplexed 3:27), “The well-being of the soul can only be obtained after that of the body has been secured.” Poverty is not a noble state. You cannot reach spiritual heights if you have no food to eat or a roof for your head, if you lack access to medical attention or are beset by financial worries.

I know of no saner approach to poverty, welfare, and social justice than that of Judaism. Unsurpassed in its time, it remains the benchmark of a decent society to this day.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/rabbi-lord-jonathan-sacks/how-to-give/2013/08/01/

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