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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Ishmael’

Redeeming Relevance in the Weekly Parsha: Vayera

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

One of the things we learn in the Torah, starting with this week’s parsha, is that resisting the temptation to wallow in victimhood is a very admirable skill. One of our prime role models for this capability is none other than Yishmael.

Yishmael was put in a situation where he might have chosen to feel victimized. If Avraham’s preference for Yitzchak was not bad enough, the manner in which Yishmael is sent out of his house could easily have created a desire for Yishmael to permanently estrange himself from Avraham’s family (Bereshit 21:14). From this perspective, Yishmael’s greatest challenge goes beyond acknowledging his position of relative inferiority. His greatest challenge becomes suppressing the natural inclination to forever seek redress for the injustice he certainly must have felt. Yet only after suppressing this inclination could he objectively compare his own merits to those of Yitzchak.

Yishmael outwardly meets this challenge by allowing his younger brother to take the lead in burying their father (see Rashi, on Bereshit 25:9). He also displays his inner peace with the situation by allowing his own daughter Machalat to marry Avraham’s grandson, Esav (Bereshit 28:9), thereby forever reinforcing his own connection to Yitzchak’s family.

I cannot help but think that Yishmael’s challenge may also be the major challenge of the Arab world, as it regards the State of Israel. Like Yishmael, the Arabs could legitimately claim to be the victims, the ones who were first, only to be subsequently mistreated. In the Torah we see that Yishmael only prevails when he pushes such a claim aside and subordinates himself to Yitzchak. I wonder if it is not just such an attitudinal change that is needed to bring about an end to the political conflict in the Middle East.

The Arab masses are, admirably, more religious than other peoples. But so long as they frequently revert to victimhood and focus on the misdeeds of others, instead of looking inward and taking stock of their own shortcomings, they will be forever doomed to a moral mediocrity, unbecoming of the descendants of Avraham.

{This Dvar Torah was adapted by Harry Glazer from pages 65-66 in the chapter “Redeeming Our Nation: Yishmael and Yisrael,” in Rabbi Francis Nataf’s book Redeeming Relevance In the Book of Genesis: Explorations in Text and Meaning (Urim Publications, Jerusalem, 2006).}

Arab Violence in Jerusalem Forces Police to Return Law and Order

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Widespread violence and several riots that erupted in Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem overnight following the murder of an American-Israeli baby have forced the police to fill the vacuum that the government created with a “hands-off” policy that have left both Arab and Jewish citizens at the mercy of terrorist anarchy.

Palestinian Authority media are claiming that Wednesday’s car-light rail collision that killed three-month-old Chaye Zisel Braun was an accident and not a terrorist attack.

The driver of the car has died from his wounds, but even if police ever will be able to conclude that he was not a terrorist – despite circumstantial evidence to the contrary – he definitely was a murderer.

The response from hundreds of Arabs was more attempted murder. They wounded a driver in a rock-throwing attack in eastern Jerusalem, and dozens of other Arabs rioted in Silwan, across the street from the Western Wall.

Little children in kindergarten in the Maaleh Zeitim were targets for rock-throwers Thursday morning.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat complained after the apparent terrorist attack on Wednesday that “Jerusalem has become unbearable” and that action must be taken to quell violence.

If the good mayor had said that two or three years ago, and not today and two or three months ago, perhaps the baby killed yesterday would still be alive.

Police have tried to ignore dozens of “almost murders” in dozens if not hundreds of ambushes of Jewish motorists who have been abandoned as sitting ducks for Arab rock-throwers in narrow streets in eastern Jerusalem, part of the city that the Palestinian Authority demands as part of its would-be state.

The Arab response to the shooting of the terrorist, or killer if you wish, is typical of a culture that dates back 3,500 years to Ishmael, of whom it is written in Genesis 16:12, “And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone’s hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.”

Other translations are less flattering, such as a modern Christian version that Ishmael “will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

Of course, this smacks of racism, just as Jews are “racists” because we are the “Chosen People” and just as anyone upholding the family unit is racist, and God is a racist for not creating men so they can give birth.

The Arab culture sucks up lawlessness. Not all Bedouin are thieves, but most thieves in the Negev are Bedouin. The Be’er Sheva court’s defendants are almost entirely Bedouin.

Not all Arabs are crazy drivers, but almost every crazy driver in Judea and Samaria is an Arab. Traffic fines are useless because the drivers simply don’t pay, assuming the drivers even have a license and assuming their cars are not stolen.

Violence is a way of life in the Palestinian Authority, and whenever anyone, especially Jews, try to clamp down, they are called “occupiers” and are met with more violence.

“The Palestinian Authority does and never has had a culture of peace,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on his Facebook page Thursday. “It is a culture of incitement and jihad against Jews.”

The Palestinian Authority has educated an entire generation to believe in terrorism, and the chance of widespread revolution cannot be totally dismissed, but it is highly unlikely.

The idea of a Palestinian Authority state, especially one that would pre-1967 neighborhoods in eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem, never has excited anyone except the sheikhs in Saudi Arabia and the Western no-nothings in Paris, Brussels, Oslo and Washington. The only thing that excites them is a chance to attack Jews.

Police always try to play down media inciters screaming “Intifada, Intifada” on a slow news day when they remember their agenda is to force a Palestinian Authority state down the throats of Israelis while they still are alive.

Kerry’s Dream and Abbas’ Nightmare Meet in Biblical Beit El

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The Israeli government has announced a new step in plans to build 300 new homes in Beit El, in  northern Samaria, just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to convince Mahmoud Abbas to return to talks if Israel slaps a freeze on building for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Reports from Israeli sources earlier this week stated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has buckled under pressure from Kerry, and probably President Barack Obama, to freeze construction to bring Abbas back to the so-called negotiating table.

“Negotiations” in Arab Doublespeak means that Israel must accept Palestinian Authority territorial and political demands or they will be forced down its throat, either by the United Nations or by “resistance,” another Doublespeak word, which means terror.

No government  official has denied the reports of a “de facto” building freeze, and Prime Minister Netanyahu is conveniently in China.

Kerry hosted the government’s unofficial Minister for the Peace Process, Tzipi Livni, in Washington last week and continued discussions with her in Rome this week, where he said he will return to Israel in two weeks.

Journalists covering the State Department asked why he is returning after having been here last month, but the reports of the unofficial freeze provide the obvious answer.

But smack in the middle of Kerry’s Big Momentum – run as fast as you can with the ball so that everyone is too dazzled to see that the ball is a bomb – the government announced the next step for building 296 more homes in Beit El.

The town is not just another community in Samaria. More than 6.000 national religious Jews live there. Beit El is a symbol of the national religious movement in Judea and Samaria. A yeshiva bearing the town’s Biblical name has wide influence across the country. It is home to two of the most prominent national religious rabbis in Israel, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, head of Yeshiva Beit El, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who is widely respected and consulted by many Jews who are not part of the “club.”

After the announcement of the preliminary approval of the homes, the Palestinian Authority immediately said everyone can forget about trying to dig up the bones of the peace process.

As with almost every announcement of building new homes, the one in Beit El refers only to one of several bureaucratic steps before the bulldozers can start digging, not less than a year from now.

Israel has been through this time after time, the most famous incident being the announcement of another bureaucratic stage having been completed for building homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

The news broke just as Vice President Joe Biden was landing in Israel, causing high tension between Jerusalem and Washington for a long time.

Coincidental or not with Kerry’s dream for resumed direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas, the Beit El housing project proves that Israel is trying to “sabotage” Kerry’s efforts, according to senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“We condemn this new decision which is proof that the Israeli government wants to sabotage and ruin the US administration’s efforts to revive the peace process,” he said. “This is a message to the American administration and a blow to the peace process. This aims to drag the region into violence instead of peace and stability.”

Violence.

Erekat did not even have the diplomacy to say “resistance.”

It is out-and-out violence, and obviously Kerry would blame Israel if the Arabs kill more Jews. Otherwise he would have to go back on his statement earlier this year that the proof that Abbas is such a great peace partner can be found in the fact that not even one Jew was murdered by Palestinian Authority terrorists in 2012.

What about 2011? Well, that is history. Let’s look at the present and not the past and talk peace.

And what about the present the year 2013? Uh, yeah, well, sure, a Palestinian Authority terrorist stabbed to death a father of five, but that was an isolated incident, and after all, the murderer was not a member of a known terrorist gang.

Kerry does not have to defend himself. He has Livni to do that for him. Both of them desperately need a peace agreement, Kerry because he wants to be president and Livni because she needs something to justify her being politically alive. The latest polls shows that her party would win zero seats in if elections were held today.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kerrys-dream-and-abbas-nightmare-meet-in-biblical-beit-el/2013/05/09/

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