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Posts Tagged ‘Gush Katif’

Torah Is the Highest Value

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Amidst recent reports of rock attacks in the world’s holiest city, worshippers attacked at one of Judaism’s holiest sites, and Jews arrested minutes before Yom Kippur, one finds inspirational news involving the chief rabbi of Tzfat.

Through administrative “distancing” orders that deny due process, the military has by another name expelled several Jews from their homes in Yehuda and Shomron. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu recently stated that such an order “contradicts the word of G_d” and is “worth less than the dust on the ground.”

Such remarks will cause discomfort if not disquietude or worse among certain religious Zionists; for what Rabbi Eliyahu has done is articulate the source of a Jew’s ultimate loyalty. By contrast, in 2004 concerning the planned destruction of Gush Katif, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin stated in remarks more pagan than Judaic, “Refusal to obey an order given by the government is tantamount to a giant step toward civil war.”

Here’s a point of clarification for those who make that step-toward-civil war claim anytime refusal of orders comes up: When the government expels Jews from their homes and gives that land to neo-Nazis, there’s already a civil war going on. Ditto for the various aggressions the state has perpetrated against religious citizens.

Specific to Gush Katif, lest one forget what the attitude of Rabbi Riskin and such enabled, consider the words of Rabbi Dr. Hershel Reichman in 2009: “The truth is that the Gush Katif pogrom, which was perpetrated by the Jewish government, displaced and destroyed many more Jewish homes and synagogues than all the Arab attacks since 1948 did.” (See 15:00 here.) Patriotic soldiers like Avi Bieber, Chaim Atar, and members of the Golani Brigade should be remembered for their quintessentially Judaic refusal to aid this evil.

That there is even a debate in the religious sector about obeying such orders reflects a warping of core values. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shilo has stated in this regard:

“The question really should be not whether a soldier can follow an order which is opposed to what the Torah says. The question should be: How could anyone who defines himself as a Torah Jew for one moment imagine that the soldier must follow such an order? That’s the real question.” (See 45:20 here.)

Over thirty years ago, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l addressed such pernicious trends. “Emotionally, I feel Zionism—religious Zionism—has replaced Torah,” he stated in 1977, elaborating as follows:

Memshalah and malchus are Divine attributes. Political government is thus only a compromise with a necessary evil…[T]o consider statehood as the highest achievement and most precious possession of man is again abominably pagan and a folly. A state is a relative good, by far not an absolute one. To say that Judaism has existed throughout the ages for one purpose only, namely to establish the State of Israel, is sheer madness, for to equate Judaism with statehood is blasphemy.”

The following year, Rabbi Soloveitchik likewise observed in a Yom Ha’atzmaut discussion with students at Yeshiva University:

“The highest good in our hierarchy of values is one: HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and our special relationship we have to Him, which expresses itself in observance, a unique morality, and a unique and singular way of life. This is the highest value, not the state. It has never been. The highest value is the Torah, and our specific relationship to HaKadosh Baruch Hu which the Torah then requires of us. There is no doubt about it. Yahadus does not revolve about the state, it revolves about HaKadosh Baruch Hu.”

These words are an ethical compass we need as much as ever. May the monotheistic consciousness of Rabbi Soloveitchik and Rabbi Eliyahu grow in Eretz Yisrael.

Hamas Sees New ‘Settlements’ as Homes for Arabs

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

The Hamas regime in Gaza now is welcoming the announcement by Israel to build new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, convinced that Arabs will take them over the property as they did in Gaza after the expulsion of Jews from the region in 2005.

Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said the Jewish homes to be built “will be homes for Palestinian refugees after liberation, “according to the terrorist organization’s website.

After the Sharon government expelled Jews from Gaza, Israeli security forces destroyed the homes but turned over greenhouses and public facilities to Hamas, which turned them into training grounds for terrorists.

Netanyahu: Future Deal Must Pass Referendum

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that if a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians, it would have to receive approval through a national referendum.

Netanyahu said Israel is entering the talks honestly, with the hope that they will be conducted in a responsible and realistic way, and, at least in the early stages, with discretion.

He added that the negotiations are not going to be easy, but emphasized that renewing the political process is a vital Israeli interest. He said Israel would have to strike a balance between preventing the creation of a binational state and the creation of yet another terrorist state under the influence of Iran.

Netanyahu pointed out that Israel’s negotiations partners must also offer concessions that would allow the Jewish state to maintain its security and national interests.

Several government ministers, including those from Netanyahu’s own Likud-Beiteinu faction have expressed their objection to the release of Palestinian terrorist from prison as part of the renewing negotiations.

Minister Israel Katz from Likud said that while he is pleased with the renewed talks, he would vote against releasing murderers, once the issue is brought up to a cabinet vote. Katz added that he also objects to the creation of a Palestinian state. Still, Katz sees the reopening of talks as a strategic achievement for Israel, which would afford it a better maneuvering ability.

Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home said he could not figure out how the Americans are demanding that Israel release murderers, while insisting on keeping Jonathan Pollard imprisoned.

Despite promises similar to Netanyahu’s, Israel has never had a referendum on any issue whatsoever. Indeed, the most recent episode of uprooting thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza was accompanied by a campaign of deception on the part of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the issue of a referendum.

Initially, there was a consensus, at least on the right, that a major decision like the uprooting of an entire Jewish enclave would certainly have to go through a referendum. This seemed even more necessary after Sharon had been unable to receive approval from the majority in the Knesset for the move. In February, 2005, the Gush Katif decision was passed by a vote of 59 to 40, with 4 abstentions, not a resounding support for such a move.

Sharon refused to take the law to a national referendum, but did present it to the Likud membership for a party-wide vote. There Sharon’s proposition suffered a humiliating defeat, 59.5 to 39.7 percent, which prompted his desertion from his own party and the creation of the Kadima party.

Netanyahu, however, will not have Sharon’s wiggle room once a treaty is signed. A law passed by the Knesset in 2010 requires that any political deal that would require a retreat from disputed territories would have to be approved by a nation-wide referendum.

It’s getting interesting.

Pain and Sacrifice: Yours, Not Mine

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

When an Israeli politician starts talking about pain and sacrifice, watch out. Someone is about to get shafted.

MK Dov Lipman from Yesh Atid recently professed his love for Eretz Yisrael in the ironic context of saying how it “will pain me greatly” to destroy Jewish communities, as part of the two-state “solution” that he supports. Lipman had a related exchange in an interview from February:

Interviewer: And the fabric of Israeli society and the way the army functions is such that we could actually dismantle dozens of settlements in the course of a peace agreement without ripping the country apart?

Lipman: It can be done, if it’s done the right way. We can certainly learn the lessons of the [2005] Disengagement in terms of there being some things that you can do and certain things that should not be done. Yair also has been outspoken about how the evacuees have been treated…

In reality, Lipman and his ilk have learned nothing from the destruction of Gush Katif, the chief lessons of which are: Stop expelling Jews, and stop empowering Israel’s enemies. As Iran stated after this colossal injustice which has caused so much misery:

“The Zionist regime retreats in the face of the slightest resistance. The willingness of the Zionists to leave behind their synagogues in Gaza demonstrates conclusively that they have no God, and therefore, of course, no religious connection to the Holy Land; they will now be easily ejected from all of occupied Palestine.”

The terminology Lipman uses also betrays his coarseness toward what the government perpetrated in 2005. Citizens formerly of Gush Katif are not “evacuees” who were saved from a hurricane or such. As a Gush Katif expellee has commented about the similar falsification in usage of “uprooting”:

“I don’t consider the word choice to be a matter of semantics or euphemisms. It reflects a world outlook. The use of uprooting seems to desensitize the mind, soften the reprehensible event, and merely serve to pave the way for future expulsions in disputed parts of the Land of Israel. It exonerates the Israeli government of its crime against the Gush Katif residents in particular, and the Jewish nation in general.”

If Dov Lipman is truly pained greatly over expelling more Jews, let him lead the way by leaving his home in Beit Shemesh and moving his family to a caravan for several years. But as with the prime minister, who spoke in 2011 about making “painful compromises to achieve this historic peace,” other Jews always seem to suffer the pain. Likewise, when “public security” minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch recently called to intensify Israel’s already repressive gun control policies, one doubts that he will lack for personal protection.

No, it’s not the political elites who tend to lose their homes or lives. The victims are people like the DeYoung family formerly of Kfar Darom and Yitzhak Ames Hy”d. Unlike Lipman or Netanyahu, openly hostile politicians such as Ibrahim Sarsur and Jamal Zahalka at least have the decency to abstain from claims of compassion when they propose loathsome deeds.

Palestinian Authority Terrorists Roll Out Red Carpet for Kerry

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian Authority terrorist late Wednesday night after he and another terrorist firebombed an IDF checkpoint they were manning in a “pillbox” watch tower in Samaria.

The two terrorists attacked the IDF post, near the Jewish community of Einav, and soldiers shot back, killing one of the terrorists. The second terrorist was lightly wounded and was treated at a PA hospital in Tulkarm, approximately 10 miles east of Netanya.

The attack, a major escalation in Palestinian Authority terror, followed a long day of riots, firebomb and rock-throwing attacks on soldiers and motorists, especially on the north-south highway connecting Jerusalem with Kiryat Arab-Hevron. One soldier was slightly wounded by a rock and several cars sustained damage.

Tension and violence have grown since the death on Tuesday of jailed Palestinian Authority terrorist Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, who was suffering from throat cancer that had quickly spread and became terminal. The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of “murdering” him by not treating him properly and immediately set the stage for an escalation in terror by shutting down schools before noon on Wednesday as a sign of mourning.

Grieving for “martyrs” usually is accompanied by comforting them with riots, rock throwing at Jews, launching rockets on civilians in southern Israel and – Wednesday night – firebombing one of those “degrading” IDF checkpoints where soldiers are on the lookout for terrorists ready to blow up Israelis in urban centers.

The terrorists who threw a firebomb at the IDF at Einav and was killed was a high-school age student, identified as Amar Nasar.

More of the same is expected on Thursday, when Hamdiyeh, who was convicted and jailed for planning a suicide bombing, will be buried in Hevron.

The escalation of terror is the “welcome mat” for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he visits Ramallah and Jerusalem next week.

Hours before the Palestinian Authority terrorist attack on the IDF checkpoint, U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland told reporters at the daily briefing, with a straight face, that “nobody wants to see violence of any kind, either by demonstrators or by security services in response to peaceful demonstration.”

It is not quite clear what “peaceful demonstration” she was talking about since virtually all of them are accompanied by firebombing and rock-throwing, the latter which Haaretz’s Amira Hass wrote on Wednesday is the “right and duty” of PA Arabs trying to get rid of the “foreign occupier.”

Kerry will be talking about Turkey and Syria as well as his beloved “peace process,” which, unlike Israel, is all the Palestinian Authority is interested in.

One of Nuland’s choice comments in her briefing with reporters on Wednesday was a reference to “the remarks that the President made when he was on his trip, that both sides are going to have to help create an environment for peace.”

The question of what creates an environment of peace was not lost on reporters covering the State Dept. but was a bit too much for Nuland to handle.

One journalist, referring to Kassam rocket fire on Sderot Wednesday morning, asked, “Exchange of fire has resumed between Hamas and Israel. Do you think that November ceasefire has gone?”

Nuland acted as if the rocket attacks never happened, saying, “I’ve seen these reports. I’m not in a position to evaluate them one way or the other. But as you know, we considered that November ceasefire to be absolutely fundamental for everybody involved. So we’ll have to see what happens now.”

What has happened since she finished her media briefing was more rock and firebomb attacks on civilians and soldiers.

The Palestinian Authority strategy for years has been to win concessions from Israel piece by piece to create situation in Judea and Samaria similar to that in Gush Katif before the 2005 expulsion. The idea it to make life so unbearable for Jews that the IDF has no choice but to defend them – and that means killing the enemy – or surrendering the land and moving the checkpoints back to the “Auschwitz borders,” the term used by former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Abba Eban to describe the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines that existed until the Six-Day War in 1967.

If the Palestinian Authority can get to that point, it would take only one or two missiles on Tel Aviv to push the checkpoints back to the Mediterranean Sea.

Pour the Concrete and Build the Houses

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Sometimes I feel my passion for Israel exceeds even that of my Jewish friends. As I tell people, it is impossible to be a Christian and not believe that Israel is God’s Chosen Land and that, as God promises in the Bible, nations that bless Israel will be blessed and those that curse Israel will be cursed.

My first trip to Israel occurred nearly forty years ago, in July 1973, just a couple of months before the Yom Kippur War when I was a teenager. I’ve been going back to Israel ever since.

Whenever I visit Israel I venture into the Old City. I go into some of the shops where one can purchase a Palestinian map. In February I had two hundred people I took with me, most of whom were Christians and had never been there before. I wanted them to understand what is unique about this situation.

I got one of these maps and said, “By the way, open the map and show me where Israel is.” And they opened it up and didn’t see it. And I said, “Interesting isn’t it? Somehow Israelis are asked to make peace with a people who even in their published maps refuse to acknowledge even so much as the existence of the Jewish state.”

Israel often gets criticized for the actions it takes to protect its citizens. For example, Israel was and still is pilloried for its construction of the security wall (or fence) but until that security wall was erected it was a common occurrence for people to strap bombs to their bellies and board a bus and kill innocent men, women and children. With the construction of that wall, those acts of terror virtually stopped.

Shall we be critical of those who wish to protect their babies? Shall we condemn those who wish for peace in their neighborhoods, for their children to play in a park, for their wives to visit to a café or supermarket without the fear of being blown up by a terrorist?

We would never tolerate in our own cities what the people of Sderot have been asked to tolerate. I have been to Sderot and have seen the thousands of Katyusha rockets stacked up behind the police station. I can tell you that it is an absolutely sobering experience to understand that people have fear every day that a Katyusha rocket might land on their children’s bedroom, the park where they play, the schools they attend, the synagogues where they worship.

I would ask my fellow Americans, how many Katyusha rockets fired from Toronto into Buffalo do you think it would take before we would demand that our government did something to stop it? Five thousand? Four Thousand? Three Thousand? One hundred? No – just one Katyusha rocket is all it would take. And the Israelis have been asked to let it go after thousands of them.

I say one is enough, and Israelis must quit apologizing to the world and say, “We have a right to a secure and safe homeland – not just for us but for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a place that is a safe place, a haven.”

And if anybody wonders why a safe haven for Jews is necessary, they should talk to me. I’ll tell them what I’ve learned from my many visits to Yad Vashem and my experience this past January when my wife and I traveled to Poland. We went to Schindler’s factory and then to Auschwitz and Birkenau. As I stood in the very place where 1.1 million Jews were murdered in cold blood, chills came over me as I realized what had happened there. I prayed, “May the world never forget what happened.”

When I visited the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem a couple of years ago, it was a brutal reminder of what happens when politicians make decisions that don’t involve their brains. When you demand that people abandon their homes because you somehow believe you can trust radical Islamic fascists to keep their word and make nice if you’ll make nice, it shows a level of naiveté that makes a Chamberlain look like a Churchill.

It is time we recognize you don’t negotiate with people who do not believe you have a right to exist.

It’s Not too Late to Save Bennett from Himself

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Naftali Bennett has made a huge mistake. Driven by emotion—blaming Sara Netanyahu for his new pact with Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid, and the sense of rage many of us in the National Religious camp feel towards the likes of Aryeh Deri, and towards the Haredim who look down on us as being not much better than the secular in terms of our Jewish merits—he has gotten himself into the worst possible partnership.

Before I proceed, I must add that in many ways Bennett is merely the newest victim of a terrible situation in which wife of the prime minister has been intimidating her husband and through him the politics of the entire country. Everyone in the Israeli media is familiar with this pathological mess, as does the political class, but to date no one has been able to effectively control it. Bennett did not invent Sara Netanyahu, he was simply foolish enough to cross her, and then not smart enough to realize what an enemy he has created. If Bennett’s clashes with Sara Netanyahu lead, God forbid, to the evacuation of Jewish homes, it would be a catastrophe reminiscent of “the modesty of Rabbi Zecharia ben Avkules destroyed our Temple.” (Gittin 56a).

In their declaration of fealty, which they repeat incessantly, both Yair and Naftali are telling the world how, when sitting together in government, they’re going to collaborate on those 90% of the issues about which they both fully agree: they’re both in favor of free enterprise and less red tape, they both favor rational religious legislation—Ayelet Shaked even wants civil marriages for those the Rabbinate has declared unweddable.

Yair (and his two rabbis, Shai Piron and Dov Lipman) wouldn’t mind, I expect, giving the Ministry of Religious Services to Habayit Hayehudi, and appointing the much deserving Tzohar chairman Rabbi David Stav Chief Rabbi. And I suppose Bennett, who is kind of a Libertarian on many issues, wouldn’t get in the way of public transportation on Shabbat for those communities that want it (e.g. Tel Aviv).

And both Lapid and Bennett agree that it’s high time the Haredim carried the burden of military service and full participation in the work force like the rest of us. I mean, how many among us don’t feel that the majority of those Haredim don’t even belong inside a yeshiva, that they should stop living like parasites and stop the pretense of saving “klal yisroel” by warming up a yeshiva bench.

This proud, new Lapid-Bennett axis agrees on so much, except for those meaningless 10% of the issues where their thinking is radically different. That, of course, is the part where the Netanyahu-Lapid-Livni axis freezes construction—any construction—in the homes of half a million National Religious Israelis, and then comes to the homes of 100 thousand National Religious Israelis and puts them on trucks because they live on the wrong side of the security fence.

Check out the Yesh Atid list of MKs and find even one—including the two honorable rabbis—who fought against the Gush Katif mass expulsion of between eight and ten thousand Jews. Back in 2004, Rabbi Piron, when asked for a psak (halachic ruling) on what to do about the Gush Katif plot, prescribed doing what we can to avoid the uprooting, but only with love, because on the other side stood great patriots who felt, innocently—not my cynical interpretation, his—that this way they’ll bring peace to the land. And then the good rabbi added, with love, that “we settled on the hilltops at the expense of settling in the hearts” of Israelis. Meaning, of course, the hearts of the good rabbi’s friends on the left who would like to see all of us in a DP camp south of Beer Sheva.

And MK Dov Lipman had this refreshing thing to say to Paperblog: “If, and I emphasize if, we reach a point where we have an internationally backed agreement which they will sign (not like Gush Katif which was unilateral) which includes our terms including an undivided Yerushalayim, then I believe we would have to accept it even though that means the painful giving up of Jewish homes and land.”

And those are just Lapid’s Rabbis! For heaven’s sake, talk about the camel giving a lift across the river to the scorpion! The Yesh Atid list is comprised of anti-Orthodox professionals. The entire country was talking last week about MK Ruth Calderon’s opening speech, where she taught a blat gemorah from the podium and showed how Jewish tradition belongs not only to the black hats and not even just to the knitted yarmulkes, but to the hatless as well. Marvelous, not a dry eye in the house. But check out Calderon’s anti-Orthodox record, and you’ll discover anything but a yearning for mutual respect and acceptance.

But forget about those relatively harmless wall flowers, whose actual influence on the politics of expulsion has been negligible—because no one has given them the power so far—and look at the number 5 man on Lapid’s list, former GSS head Yaakov Peri, who’s been advocating the expulsion of Gaza, Judea and Samaria Jews his entire career, who signed the Ayalon-Nusseiba petition calling for the splitting of Jerusalem – this is Naftali Bennett’s ally!

If, God forbid, the Lapid-Bennett axis succeeds in forcing itself on Netanyahu “as is,” we will have created the most formidable enemy of the settlements since the time Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin held office and brought us Oslo. Moreover, Bennett can make it possible for Lapid to gain some prestige as a brilliant this or that minister—let’s face it, despite his dubious education and occasionally strange notions of history, math and other Core Curriculum (Limudei Libah) problems, the man has flash—in two to four years Lapid can emerge as the new white hope of the left, leading a Nouveau Oslo government—obviously without Likud and without Habayit Hayehudi.

And what is this burning problem of the “equal burden” that must be faced head on this minute? The refusal of nearly eight percent of Israelis—the Haredim—to serve in the army. Man, this burns us up. It makes us sick, just looking at these young men with their hats and their beards, and their Eastern European dress, total parasites—while more than 20% of the population, Israeli Arabs, are just as parasitic on every single issue, except for the fact that they also, on occasion, collaborate with our enemies.

Sadly, Naftali Bennett was not thinking like a Jew this time around, and, I believe, acted on his feelings and not with his head. We’ve all been so enamored with the idea that Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi together comprise 31 MKs, exactly as many as the Likud Beitenu does, and some have even quipped that our own “pact” is stronger than the Liberman-Netanyahu marriage.

But, you know, Habayit Hayehudi together with Shas and United Torah Judaism comprise 30 MKs, with the difference being that it is wholly Jewish, never mind the cultural differences, and that over there Bennett actually carries the biggest stick.

Folks, despite the cultural differences, the more astute—and learned—members of Habayit Hayehudi, working with the likes of Eli Yishai from Shas and Meir Porush from UTJ, could settle the “equal burden” thing in a day. The yeshivas are just as interested in getting rid of their freeloaders, the punks who hang around “Cats Square” in Jerusalem, doing drugs and beating up unsuspecting Arab passersby—they just need to find a way of looking good doing it.

And despite the sad record of Shas in the ushering in of Oslo—the vast majority of Haredi politicians today are not enemies of the settlements, especially since so many Haredim, their voters, live outside the “green line.”

It’s not too late, folks, for the more introspective and astute members of Habayit Hayehudi (I’m looking at you, Uri Orbach) to forge the axis in which we could all rejoice, the axis of Torah Jews who are willing to overcome their relatively minute differences on military service, and compromise over the chief rabbinate, which has been turned into the private property of the Haredim (whose voters don’t even use its services).

Other than that, I’d like to find out I have 30 proud, pro-settlement Orthodox representatives in the Netanyahu government, uniting in offsetting the Livni-Mofaz direction—rather than a leftist government our man Naftali helped create with his sweet, home grown naivete.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/its-not-too-late-to-save-bennett-from-himself/2013/02/22/

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