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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘History’

Mahmoud Abbas Hopes to Sue UK Over 100-yr-old Balfour Declaration

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Barely a year before the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to force the United Kingdom to withdraw, renounce or rewrite the document that called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

As he watches the rapid, vibrant growth of the Jewish State and the soaring corruption and failures of the PA government – despite billions of dollars pumped in by foreign governments – Abbas has now decided to sue the British government over the Balfour Declaration.

According to Daoud Kuttab, a former Ferris professor at Princeton University, Abbas is “said to have requested in Nawqshod Arab League to help sue britain’s (sic) for Balfour’s declaration.”

Abbas is no novice to rewriting history. He is a longtime Holocaust denier who cleverly acknowledges the “unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation,” as he told Haaretz in 2003,” but whose doctoral dissertation simply blames the Zionist Jews for the demise of their European brethren.

Entitled “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” Abbas wrote a conspiracy theory about the Holocaust, opining that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in order to inspire more immigration to Palestine.

“The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule in order to around the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them, and to expand the mass extermination.” Abbas contends in the book that the Zionists were the Nazis’ “basic partner in crime.”

On November 17, 1917, the British government published a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour, addressed to Lord Rothschild, endorsing the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish People in Palestine. The text of the letter read as follows:

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Hana Levi Julian

Through The Eyes Of History

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon HaKohen, appeased My anger against Bnai Yisrael by taking My revenge amidst them, and so I didn’t have to destroy them with My vengeance.” – Bamidbar 25:11

 

Parshas Balak ends with the daughters of Moab enticing the young Jewish men to sin. This quickly led to idol worship, and many Jewish men served Baal Peor.

At the height of the debacle, Zimri, one of the heads of shevet Shimon, took a Moabite princess and brought her into the encampment of the Jews, making a public spectacle of the act. Because he was a leader of the Jewish people, this was a grave threat to the survival of the nation. A plague broke out, and thousands of Jews died.

Pinchas Runs to Moshe

Pinchas saw what was happening and ran to Moshe for advice. Moshe directed him to take action. At the risk of his life and against all odds, Pinchas walked into the mob and miraculously killed both Zimri and the Moabite woman. No sooner did their dead bodies hit the floor than the plague stopped. It was a clear and obvious sign that Pinchas had acted correctly. By acting with courage and alacrity, he saved the Jews from destruction. Clearly, he was a hero.

Yet the very next parshah, Pinchas, opens with a pasuk repeating his lineage: “Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon.” Rashi explains that the Torah delineates his ancestry because he was the subject of derision. The other shvatim mocked him, “Did you see this son of idol worshipers? His mother’s father fattened calves to serve to idols, and he has the audacity to kill the head of a shevet!” The Torah therefore repeats that he was a direct descendent of Aharon to let us know he was justified in what he did.

This Rashi is difficult to understand as it implies that people looked at what Pinchas did and assumed he was wrong. Yet he had direct orders from Moshe Rabbeinu. Many miracles happened to allow him to succeed, and a plague that killed 24,000 people stopped only when he finally killed Zimri. How is it possible that anyone could see Pinchas as anything other than a hero?

The answer is that there are often two distinct perspectives of an event: the perspective from living in the moment, and the perspective of history. While the episode is playing out, it is often difficult to identify real issues and motives; changes are happening too quickly, things are moving at too feverish a pace, and clarity is elusive. After the fact, when the dust settles and some time has passed, what transpired is often viewed from a different focus, and what was then obscure is now obvious.

Understanding the Criticism of Pinchas

To the people living in the time of Pinchas, there was justification for what Zimri did. The rationale might well have been that by bringing the Moabite woman into the Jewish camp, she wouldn’t pull the Jewish men away to serve idols. But whatever the logic, there were arguments for and against. The point was that a great man – the head of a shevet – did this act, and it wasn’t at all clear he was wrong. It is only after the fact, when we have the perspective of history, that we can see the test and the temptation with absolute clarity.

Each generation has it tests, and one of the most difficult tasks for a later generation is to look back and understand the test of an earlier era. Often when we look back, we can’t understand how the people living then could have done what they did. We flippantly assume, “We would never have acted that way! Had we been living in Spain in the mid-1500s, we would have fled the country or given up our lives – no question about it. Had we come over to these shores in the 1920s, of course, we would have kept Shabbos and kashrus.”

The reason we can’t even see the temptation is that we are judging the generation according to our social climate. But the social environment was vastly different. The norms of society – what was expected and accepted, what was valued and revered – were quite different. And as such, the social pressure was very different than it is now.

This concept has great relevance to us. We face nisayonos today that previous generations would laugh at. Most of us live in two-income households, are working long, hard hours, and are still barely able to make ends meet. If our great-grandparents were to look down at our generation, they would be flabbergasted. “What in the world did you need such a fancy house for? A separate bedroom for each child? Each child gets a new outfit? Different types of shoes for weekdays and for Shabbos?”

Our great-grandmothers would ask us, “What in the world do you need this lavish wedding for?” And we would sheepishly answer, “Alta Bubbie, this is only the vort!” The reality is that we live a lifestyle that previous generations couldn’t envision or imagine.

But it comes at a cost. The greatest cost is time. Time to learn. Time to daven. Time to be good parents. Time to be a supportive spouse. And more than anything, time to think about what we are on this planet to accomplish.

While we live in the wealthiest of times, in many ways we are the poorest of the poor. By refocusing on our priorities and understanding the pull of our times, we can recognize the tests of our generation and fortify ourselves to overcome them.

 

To view Rabbi Shafier’s parsha video, click here.

Jewish Press Staff

UNESCO has a Curious Definition of “History”

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s blog, Elder of Ziyon}

Times of Israel reports:

The UN cultural body’s World Heritage Committee is set to vote on a controversial draft resolution challenging Jewish historical ties to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and calling of a return to the “historic status quo” on the holy site. A similar resolution was adopted by the organization’s executive board in April, a move that infuriated Israel.

A revised joint Palestinian-Jordanian draft resolution on “the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls” was submitted to the 21-member committee which is convening for its annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. The text calls for a return of the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque to “the historic status quo,” a status that existed before the 1967 war.

The language of “historic status quo” is new and wasn’t in the April resolution.

The wording implies that the anomalous situation in Jerusalem during the 19 years between 1948 and 1967 was not anomalous at all, but was a “historic status quo.”

While this absurd draft resolution denies any Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest site on the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the use of the word “historic” to refer to before 1967 could easily be used to claim that any Jewish presence in the Old City is a violation of the 1948-1967 situation when Jordan ensured that the Old City was Jew-free.

The PLO and Jordan have an interestingly skewed definition of “historic.” After all, neither Jordan nor the Palestinian Arab people existed a hundred years ago, if you try to look for them in any contemporaneous newspaper articles or books.

The Palestinians use the word “Historic Palestine” to refer to the borders of British Mandate Palestine, an entity that existed for less than three decades. There are no maps of “historic Palestine” that include those borders prior to 1920.

By emphasizing the word “historic’ to refer to events that are a blink in the eye of history, the Palestinians and Jordanians are attempting to remove any Jewish connection to the only historic Jewish land.

After all, if events that happened in the 20th century are “historic,” then anything before than is prehistoric and irrelevant.

The intentional misuse of the word “historic” is an attempt to ethnically cleansethe Jewish people from history – and to inflate the value of the recently invented Jordanian and Palestinian Arab people.

Perhaps Israel should submit a new resolution to return Jerusalem to the historic status quo of how it was under King Solomon. At the very least it could expose how the Arabs are trying to hijack the very word.

Elder of Ziyon

History Repeats Itself

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

If an unlearned person were to wander into an operating room while a surgical team was amputating a patient’s leg, he would be aghast. What cruelty! What horrible people these doctors are! If he wandered into an operating room where a patient’s ailing heart was being removed from his body, the bystander would be even more appalled. What savagery! What hateful creatures these doctors are! Of course, the opposite is the case. The doctors are good people, acting compassionately to save the patient’s life. Because the physicians are people too, with feelings like everyone else, taking these drastic surgical measures is upsetting for them also, but they proceed with their wok, precisely out of their feelings of care for the patient, knowing that the surgery is necessary for the patient’s ultimate good.

So too, when I point out the inherent illness of the Diaspora. For a Jew to live in the Diaspora is like a fish living out of water. The fish can flop around for a time, but eventually it will die. The Diaspora was never meant to last. It is a punishment that is meant to end with the return of the Jews to Israel. The Talmud describes the Diaspora as darkness. The Prophet, Ezekiel, describes it as a valley of dried bones. In the Diaspora, wherever it may be, the Jewish People are dry, scattered bones. We have no national Jewish body. Rather we get whatever nourishment we can from foreign countries, but we are always a minority in someone else’s land. The Jewish People only has real life, and can only exist as an independent NATION, when we are living in our own Jewish land, the Holy Land, and not in a gentile country.

Many people have a hard time understanding this because the focus of their lives is on their own private existence. Basically, they live for themselves. If things are going well with them they are happy. The fact that 70% of the Jews in America are assimilating doesn’t bother them. In their home, things are fine. They have money, freedom to do what they want, they send their children to top colleges, what could be better? It’s a little like a person with a silent cancer spreading through his whole body. As long as his brain is still working, he thinks everything is as good as can be. The disease is destroying his body, but he believes everything is great. In the Diaspora, in every Diaspora, even in America, Joe Cohen or Miriam Schwartz may be doing just dandy, but the Jewish People are dying as a whole.

So I try to open people’s eyes to the real situation. True, it is like getting the blind to see. People like to cling to their delusions. In Spain, the Jews were the top of society until the Inquisition reminded them that they weren’t wanted. The Jews of Germany rubbed elbows with the elite of the Republic until Hitler rose to power. Rabbi Kook and Zeev Jabotinsky warned of the storm that was approaching, but the Jews held fast to their illusions. “You’re exaggerating!” they replied. “Jews have never had it better!” Rabbi Kook wrote passionate letters to the heads of European Jewry, but they refused to listen. Even as they were marched off to the gas chamber, many Jews thought that things would be all right.

Unfortunately, the old adage is true. History repeats itself. People who think that it can’t happen in America are deluding themselves. There is already a silent Holocaust devastating 70% of American Jewry, leading the Jewish People into the gas chamber of intermarriage. The esteemed Torah giant, Rabbi Yaacov Emden wrote before the Holocaust:

“When it seems to us, in our present peaceful existence outside of the Land of Israel, that we have found another Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem, this to me is the most poignant, deepest, most obvious and direct cause of all of the awful, frightening, monstrous, and unimaginable destructions that we have experienced in the Diaspora” (Siddur Beit Yaacov, Introduction, pg.13).

The universally revered Torah Sage, the “Ohr Samaoch,” Rabbi Meir Simcha HaKohen from Dvinsk, writes in his classic treatise, the “Meshech Chochmah,” that “if a Jew thinks that Berlin is Jerusalem, then a raging stormwind will uproot him by his trunk, a tempest will arise and spread its roaring waves and swallow and destroy, and rage forth without pity” (Meshech Chochmah, pg.191).

I love the Jewish People. That’s why I write what I write. It is the people who keep quiet and hide the truth who are the enemies of the Jews, not me. The leaders of the Jewish communities in the Diaspora who, being deluded themselves, close their eyes to the cancer of the Diaspora, enjoying their positions of leadership and honor, enjoying the moment, while ignoring the storm clouds ahead. Unfortunately, their vision is tragically shortsighted. History repeats itself. What happened in Spain and Germany will, in one way or another, transpire in America, and France, and England, as well. The exile isn’t meant to last forever. Why wait for its painful end? You can save yourselves now. At least for the sake of your children. If you truly love them, you can still rescue them now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It is far wiser to learn from history then to deny and ignore it!

 

 

Tzvi Fishman

Rare Cache of Silver Coins From Hasmonean Period Found in Modi’in

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

More proof that Jews lived and prospered in the Land of Israel long before the so-called “Palestinian Arabs” ever walked this piece of real estate…

During the time of the Hasmoneans, a Jewish family of means owned an estate in Modi’in which had an olive grove and a press with which to produce olive oil, as well as vineyards and wine presses for the production of wine. And the family patriarch was a coin collector.

He was clearly a man of means: but something must have happened, and the family was forced to flee. Just before quitting their estate, he hid his coins between the massive stones in a wall, hoping to retrieve them later. But it was not to be, and it is only now, millennia later, his fellow Jews have discovered the treasure, and are learning his story.

* * *

The hoard of silver coins dating to the Hasmonean period (126 BCE) was exposed in April, in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently conducting near Modi‘in, with the participation of local youth. The excavation is being carried out prior to the construction of a new neighborhood, at the initiative of the Modi‘in-Maccabim-Re‘ut municipality. The treasure was hidden in a rock crevice, up against a wall of an impressive agricultural estate that was discovered during the excavation there.

 IAA archaeologist Shahar Krispin during the discovery of the silver coin hoard that was found in the estate house in Modi'in.

IAA archaeologist Shahar Krispin during the discovery of the silver coin hoard that was found in the estate house in Modi’in.

Avraham Tendler, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said “This is a rare cache of silver coins from the Hasmonean period comprised of shekels and half-shekels (tetradrachms and didrachms) that were minted in the city of Tyre and bear the images of the king, Antiochus VII and his brother Demetrius II.

“The cache that we found is compelling evidence that one of the members of the estate who had saved his income for months needed to leave the house for some unknown reason. He buried his money in the hope of coming back and collecting it, but was apparently unfortunate and never returned.

“It is exciting to think that the coin hoard was waiting here 2,140 years until we exposed it,” Tendler said.

“The cache, which consists of 16 coins, contains one or two coins from every year between 135–126 BCE, and a total of nine consecutive years are represented, explained Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Coin Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“It seems that some thought went into collecting the coins, and it is possible that the person who buried the cache was a coin collector. He acted in just the same way as stamp and coin collectors manage collections today.”

“The findings from our excavation show that it was a Jewish family that established an agricultural estate on this hill during the Hasmonean period,” Tendler added.

Aerial photograph of the Hasmonean estate house in Modi'in.

Aerial photograph of the Hasmonean estate house in Modi’in.

“The family members planted olive trees and vineyards on the neighboring hills and grew grain in valleys. An industrial area that includes an olive press and storehouses where the olive oil was kept is currently being uncovered next to the estate.

“Dozens of rock-hewn winepresses that reflect the importance of viticulture and the wine industry in the area were exposed in the cultivation plots next to the estate. The estate house was built of massive walls in order to provide security from the attacks of marauding bandits.”

Hana Levi Julian

Is the Israeli Government Empowering Islam’s Disregard for History?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the Israel Rising website}

“Israel is not the problem on the Temple Mount; Israel is the solution,”Bibi Netanyahu said back in October 2015. “We’re keeping the status quo, we’re the only ones who will do it, and we will continue to do this in a responsible, serious manner.”

Over six months after those tense fall and winter months, when it looked like all was about to unravel under an increasing terror wave from Palestinian radicals, the spring seemed to bring an odd calmness.  Even the Temple Mount, the supposed heart of the conflict saw a growing amount of Jews being allowed up.

To many, the Prime Minister’s approach seemed to have worked and yet we see, like always what the real reason is for the reprieve in Palestinian violence in connection to Jerusalem.

With the help of Regavim and other activists, a situation came to light concerning the Muslim Waqf’s intention to alter the status quo by harming the walls of the Temple Mount in order to facilitate increased access for Muslim worshipers in time for Ramadan in June. The site in question is on the Mount’s South side and would irrevocably damage a declared antiquities site.

In March 2016 the Israel Antiquities Authority  filed a lawsuit against the Muslim Waqf in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that petitioned the court  to give a permanent injunction prohibiting the continued work of the illegal site and restitution.  The injunction was in fact granted, yet one day later the Prime Minister’s office intervened and the injunction was lifted.

This is Bibi’s style.  He talks tough and behind the scenes gives the Palestinian Arabs some gifts in order to remain calm. This particular gift is set to be explosive and would be the first time since the Waqf dug up ancient artifacts on the Temple Mount that they would be allowed to completely alter the status quo.

In early May the Antiquities Authority sent a message to the court insisting the government appeared set on settling the matter through discussion with the Waqf.  In fact, the political echelon admitted that they wanted time to have a dialogue and asked for an extension that would lead until July.

“In the meantime, and during the period in which you are active on the political level and try to finish the matter through dialogue with the Waqf, the  illegal construction at the archaeological site continues, in violation of the order to stop work against them with total disregard for their obligations according to the law and instead attempt to talk with them,” lawyers for the Antiquities Authority charged in  written statement. “The construction works are expected to be completed at the archaeological site with the start of Ramadan in about two weeks. The experience of our client says that as soon as work on the toilets will begin, it will be difficult for future enforcement actions.”

This week right wing NGO Regavim issued the following the statement: “This week, we issued an urgent letter to the prime minister, the mayor of Jerusalem and Minister Regev that the (IAA) is under her wing. We are also preparing a petition on the matter to the Supreme Court. This destruction of Jewish History can not continue on the Temple Mount.”

The question of status quo is constantly pushed to frame actions by Jews on the Temple Mount as encroachment, while actions by Muslims and their supporters are merely restoring that which the Jewish presence altered.  The real question for the government is at what cost do we incur by letting the Muslim Waqf radically change our holiest site in exchange for some quiet. Giving up on the Temple Mount sets the stage for the rest of Jerusalem and so forth. The government would be wise to admit to itself and to the public that the farce of a “status quo” is just that, a lie and if the Waqf cannot uphold its part of the agreement, we no longer need to as well.

David Mark

A Soldier’s Mother: Her Future is My History

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

{Guest post by Alexandra Markus. Reprinted with permission from Paula Stern’s blog, A Soldier’s Mother}

Paula Stern: I saw this post and as I read it, I realized that for the most part, it’s what I would have written in the days and weeks before I moved to Israel almost 24 years ago. In a very real way, her future is my history. I was older than she is now; I had already given birth to three children, well on my way to the five God has granted me, but the thoughts…they are hers…but mine too.

My children are the children she dreams of having – and I pray that she will be as blessed because truly, as she writes, that is my life. My children walk this land with pride; they do not live in fear.

Read this, if you ever wondered why I came to live here in this land; read this if you were wondering why so many are coming today. Read this and be proud of this young woman, as I am…and I think deep down, I’m hoping to gain another kid (if she’ll let me)…so many boys, it’s probably time to adopt another girl, isn’t it?


Guest post by Alexandra Markus:

People wonder why I want to live in Israel and be Israeli.

I want to be Israeli because I want my children to be Israeli.

I want them to not have pennies thrown at them at school.

Or to watch their friends wince amidst the cries of “dirty Jew!” as they get pinned to the ground, beaten and tortured.

I want them to be Israeli so that they don’t feel like they have to hide, to live in the cloistered ghettos of Hampstead and Cote-St-Luc, hiding from anti-Semitism and shielding their children to the best of their abilities from a life of prejudice.

I want my children to be Israeli so that they can run and play freely, raised by many mothers and fathers, where they can just go over to someone’s house for shabbat and feel looked after with love and belonging.

So that they can study math and science at a higher level than they do in Europe and North America, while still learning of their people’s ancient traditions.

I want them to be Israeli so that they could bathe in the environment of “anything is possible,” of “if you can dream it, you can do it” that made ‘Start-Up nation’ possible.

I want them to be Israeli so that they can serve in the IDF proudly and nobody will question me for letting them gain resilience as they put their lives in danger to defend Am Israel.

I don’t want my kids raised around Jews who are afraid or ashamed of their homeland, who are raised on media where anti-Semitism/antiZionism is accepted and validated.

I don’t want them to have their national loyalty questioned when I hang an Israeli flag over my window.

Finally, I don’t want them to feel like they have to vote for politicians based solely on their Israel policy, rather than their domestic portfolio and foreign policy, because they feel like they have no choice.

I want to raise my Israeli children in Israel because I want them to be absolutely sure where “home” is.

Guest Author

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