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May 30, 2016 / 22 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘KING’

A Soldier’s Mother: An Open Letter to King Adbullah II

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

In 1948, King Abdullah the First of Jordan, joined in a war to push the Jews into the sea after he and his fellow Arab leaders rejected the UN Partition plan that would have divided the remaining 1/3 of Palestine (2/3 of which had already been pilfered to form his government), into two states – an Arab one and a Jewish one. In the land grab that followed, Abdullah I took all of what is known as the West Bank to some, Judea and Samaria to others. He took the Old City of Jerusalem as well; the Jews gained land in the north, south, and kept Western Jerusalem, widely known as the New City.

For 19 years, Jews were denied any chance to visit the Old City, the Western Wall, the Mount of Olives. Over 40,000 headstones were vandalized, latrines built from the tombstones. In 1967, in a preemptive attempt to head off attacks by Syria and Egypt, Israel responded to the mobilization of Syrian and Egyptian troops, the closing of the Straights of Tiran, and the mounting and increasingly threatening rhetoric. As Israeli jets flew to cripple the Syrian and Egyptian air forces at the outbreak of what was to be called the Six Day War, Israel sent a very clear message to King Hussein, son of Abdullah I. Stay out of the war, Israel said. We will not attack you.

Hussein answered back that he would fight with his brothers, as he sent his forces on the attack. His motives were not nearly as noble as his words. In reality, he anticipated – incorrectly – victory for the Arabs and was afraid he would miss out on another land grab like the one that brought his father east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Hussein’s forces were pushed back beyond the Jordan River. Lost was Judea, lost was Samaria and lost was the Old City…which was, once again, reunited with the newer parts of the city, which had been under Israeli control from the beginning. And then, in a landmark move of monumental stupidity, Israel’s Moshe Dayan handed over the keys (figuratively speaking) to the Temple Mount and the game was on.

The Western Wall was clearly returned to the Jews who could once again pray before the last remnant of a Temple that was destroyed 2,000 years earlier. The Temple Mount was given to the Muslims, who have spent the last 45 years attempting to return to the 19 years of Jordanian intolerance.

Slowly over the last few years, Jews have become more and more aware of the absurdity of our being denied the right to simply whisper a prayer at our holiest site. Would worlds really fall if a Jew were to close his eyes and ask God for peace, safety and health for his family? Apparently so.

Over this Passover holiday in Israel, hundreds of infidels Jews and Christians have visited the Temple Mount. Today, two young men lowered themselves to the ground of the Holy Temple Mount and as they attempted to…yes…pray…they were attacked, beaten, arrested. In response, the Jordanian government, under the leadership of King Abdullah II issued a demand that Jews be banned from the Temple Mount.

In the past, the Jordanian government demanded cameras be installed and then when Israel welcomed the suggestion, knowing what violence there is up there is mostly not started by the few Jewish visitors, Jordan announced that it has canceled the plan and no cameras would be installed.

As I contemplated the demand by Jordan, I wondered if perhaps the Israeli government would be willing to appoint me as the temporary spokesperson to respond. I know exactly what I’d say to Abdullah:

Dear Abdullah,

In response to your government’s threat that there would be consequences if Jews were not banned from the Temple Mount, please note that 45 years ago, when Jordan last threatened Israel…they lost the Temple Mount and all of Judea and Samaria. If the consequences involve an attempt to bring this holy site under your control, I have to say, bring it on…but this time, Abdullah, this time we don’t give it back. This time we won’t let another idiot like Moshe Dayan hand over the keys.

Bring it on….you want no Jews on the Temple Mount…try it…and quickly find that we have learned much since you last held our holiest site and we will not return to those days. It was ours long before your precious Mohammed ever lived; it will be ours long after you are dust.

Arabs pray on the Temple Mount because WE allow it, and in our utter stupidity, rather than insisting that we TOO have a right to pray, we catered too long to an unfair and impossible situation. The site is holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Either everyone is free to pray there, or no one is free.

No, you will not keep it from us entirely, not now. Not ever. Your threat shows that 68 years after the 1948 war, your nation still fails to understand the Jew. We will tolerate much to avoid what bloodshed we can but if you insist on attempting to take the Temple Mount from us…there will be war…because this time, we will insist that the Temple Mount be open to all religions – as we have kept it for the last 45 years, and as you refused to do for the 19 years it was in Jordan’s hands.

You kept us from the Temple Mount for 19 years…we’ll take full control if you dare to think the consequences to be paid will be ours. We will never forbid Muslims from praying there, but nothing says the WAKF has to be in charge; nothing says that Jews who go up to Har Habayit have to be beaten and abused and if your religion is insulted by seeing Jews pray, that is your problem, not ours.

If the problem is so insurmountable that the mere sight of Jews whispering in prayers sends Muslims into rioting, I suggest we initiate a rotation plan. There are three great religions. Each can be given the Temple Mount for 8 hours a day. Each can choose to share it with others. For the record, we will allow Christians up during our 8 hours and will seek permission in return such that Jews and Christians, tolerant and accepting of each other, will be allowed 16 hours per day. Muslims may have the Temple Mount, alone and unbothered for eight hours. What eight hours would you like?

Also, I recommend that each religion be given a specific number of days in which the Temple Mount will be closed to all other religions for a period of 24 hours. How many days would you like and which ones? I recommend 10 days, as we do in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Please note that you’ll need to remove your prayer rugs during the 16 hours that the Temple Mount is not in your control and on the full days as well. We can build three separate storage units (perhaps Keter would donate them, but if you prefer a Jordanian brand, that’s fine too). You can store your holy stuff in it and we’ll store our holy stuff as well. Not sure what the Christians have, so we’ll need to check with them as well.

Please note that you will also no longer be allowed freedom to build additional mosques up there unless we can build up there as well and I suppose we’ll have to let the Christians build up there too if they want. It might be a good idea to tell the teenagers that they can no longer play soccer up there as well, as access will now become fully equal and balanced for all. Domination of the Temple Mount has come to an end. Your people have occupied this historic and religious site for too long, abusing it by storing rocks and fireworks, endangering the infrastructure by illegal excavations.

You are correct; it is time to implement a true status quo based on equality; and there must be consequences for those who riot and refuse to accept the sanctity of the place.

Let us know when you want to begin implementing the 24 hour cycle – I suggest we do it quickly as Israelis would really love to have the Temple Mount to ourselves this coming Independence Day in a few weeks.

Sincerely,
Israel

Paula Stern

White House Explains Why Saudi King Didn’t Really Snub Obama

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The White House denied reports that the fact that Saudi King Salman failed to greet President Barack Obama at the airport, after greeting Gulf State representatives just before Obama landed, meant US-Saudi relations are in a crisis. Administration officials are insisting the president and the king “really cleared the air” in their Wednesday meeting afterwards.

When he arrived, the president was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, and the event was ignored by Saudi TV. That same day, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and senior officials were seen on state TV greeting the leaders of neighboring Gulf states who were arriving for Thursday’s summit of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation council, which Obama will address.

Eventually, King Salman did greet Obama in the al-Auja palace, where they posed for a photo-op, where they said, “The American people send their greetings and we are very grateful for your hospitality, not just for this meeting but for hosting the GCC-US summit that’s taking place tomorrow,” and, “I and the Saudi people are very pleased that you, Mr. President, are visiting us.”

In the background of this obvious rude treatment of Obama is the Congressional bill allowing lawsuits against the Saudi government in American courts for the Sept. 11, 2001 crimes against humanity. The Saudis are threatening to sell their US assets if Obama signs that bill into law, making the kingdom liable for multiple billions of dollars in damages from the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Former Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal told CNN his country plans “a recalibration of our relationship with America. How far we can go with our dependence on America, how much can we rely on steadfastness from American leadership, what is it that makes for our joint benefits to come together.”

Out of the 19 hijackers of the 9/11 attacks, 15 were Saudis. The Saudis sponsored the Taliban in Afghanistan (although, to be fair, the CIA started training mostly Saudi extremists to fight the Soviets there). It is highly probable that ISIS, too, receives financial support from elements in Saudi Arabia.

David Israel

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Dead at 90. King Salman Succeeds.

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has died at the age of 90, according to a statement read overnight (Jan. 23) on Saudi Arabian state-run television.

“His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 am this morning,” the statement said.  Qur’anic verses were chanted on the air prior to the announcement, usually indicating the death of a member of the royal family.

In recent months the king was in and out of the hospital with breathing difficulties. In January the royal court announced he was suffering with pneumonia.

The monarch was in the hospital at the time of his passing at 1 am Friday local time, the BBC reported. Born around 1923 in Riyadh, Abdullah was the 13th of 37 sons of King Abdulaziz, also known as Ibn Saud, the founder of the modern nation of Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States. He is survived by four sons and reportedly was married 13 times during his lifetime, although he never had more than four wives at one time, in accordance with Islamic law, The New York Times reported.

Abdullah rose to the throne in 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd, but in actuality ruled the nation since his older brother was incapacitated by a stroke in 1995, when he was serving as deputy minister. He was seen by Saudis as a reformer, though one who made changes gradually. He allowed mild criticism of his government in the media, which placed him in stark contrast to most other Arab leaders in the region. Change is something that is perceived in a relative manner, depending on where you live: what is considered hypocrisy and repression to Western eyes may be seen as radical reform in the eyes of the Middle East.

The price of oil soared by more than two percent – one dollar – after his death was reported.

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Abdullah’s’s 79-year-old half-brother, became the new king, despite the fact that it is believed the former defense minister and governor of Riyadh is suffering from dementia.

Last year King Abdullah also appointed his youngest surviving brother, 69-year-old Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, to become second in line for the throne. The move was seen as a way to ensure the monarchy would remain in the House of Saud for the foreseeable future, inasmuch as Salman and Muqrin are both sons of King Abdulaziz as well.

One of King Salman’s first acts was to immediately called on the Allegiance Council of the royal family to recognize Muqrin as his Crown Prince and heir.

 

Hana Levi Julian

Coronation Set Thursday for New Spanish King

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Spain will crown its new king, Felipe VI, in a quiet but dignified ceremony later today (Thursday).

The new monarch is to be sworn in after his father, Juan Carlos, abdicated earlier this month.

The elder king decided to leave his throne on the heels of a series of scandals that rocked the nation and raised questions about the future of Spanish royalty.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Al Qaeda-Linked Terrorists Heading for Jordan?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Leaders from the Islamic State of in Syria (or ISIL, as it is known in Iraq) are calling for the execution of Jordanian King Abdullah II.

According to a report written for The Gatestone Institute by Khaled Abu Toameh, The terrorists recently posted a video on YouTube threatening to “slaughter” him.

In the video, they referred to the Western-backed Hashemite monarch as a “tyrant.” Several of the terrorists who appeared in the video were apparently Jordanian citizens; vowing to carry out suicide bombings inside the kingdom, they tore up their passports in front of the camera.

The threat to Jordan is seen as a real and immediate one due to the fact that ISIS/ISIL has captured large swathes of territory on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. Jordan is bound on two sides by Iraq and Syria.

Moreover, the terrorists are not planning to stop at Jordan: according to Toameh, they are planning to carry their jihad also to Gaza, Sinai and Lebanon.

“ISIS is a threat not only to moderate Arabs and Muslims, but also to Israel,” Toameh wrote, “which the terrorists say is their ultimate destination. “The U.S. and its Western allies need to wake up quickly and take the necessary measures to prevent the Islamist terrorists from achieving their goal. Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamist empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests,” he warned.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Archaeologists Inaugurate King Solomon’s Coronation Site

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In a secret ceremony held Tuesday, officials inaugurated the  site of King Solomon’s coronation in the City of David.

The massive Canaanite fortress, built some 3,800 years ago, protects the Biblical Gihon Spring by allowing access to the water solely through a western entrance from within the city.

In the Book of Samuel (Shmuel) II, Chapter V, King David conquered the Zion Fortress from the Jebusite king and his men. Archaeologists believe it is possible they have discovered the fortress referred to in the Biblical passage, entered by King David’s soldiers as they conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

At the beginning of the Book of Kings I, the prophet Nathan and Tzadok HaKohen describe the coronation of King Solomon as having taken place “on Gihon.” Researchers believe the ceremony took place at the heart of the Spring House, over the gushing Gihon Spring.

“When we open the Bible and read about King Solomon who was crowned here, on the Gihon Spring, today you can come and see that this is where it all started,” said Oriya Desberg, director of development at the City of David.

It took archaeologists 15 years to uncover the structure in one of the most complex and digs ever undertaken in the State of Israel.

The Spring House is a massive Canaanite fortress built in the 18th century BCE and is the largest such structure ever uncovered from the pre-Herodian period.

The archaeological dig from which the fortress emerged was led by Haifa University’s Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“In order to protect the water source, they built not only the tower, but also a fortified passageway that allowed the city residents a safe access to the water source,” explained archaeologist G. Uziel. The passageway continued to operate until the end of the Iron Age, the archaeologist said, “and it was only when the First Temple was destroyed that the fortress collapsed into ruins and was no longer used.”

The walls  – 23 feet (seven meters) thick – were built with stones that are about ten feet (two to three meters) wide, and no mechanical tools were used in the construction.

Hana Levi Julian

The Sins of a Leader

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Leaders make mistakes. That is inevitable. So, strikingly, Parshas Vayikra implies. The real issue is how he or she responds to those mistakes.

The Torah makes this point in a very subtle way. Our parshah deals with sin offerings to be brought when people have made mistakes. The technical term for this is “shegagah,” meaning inadvertent wrongdoing. You did something, not knowing it was forbidden, either because you forgot or did not know the law, or because you were unaware of certain facts. You may, for instance, have carried something in a public place on Shabbat, either because you did not know it was forbidden to carry or because you forgot it was Shabbat.

The Torah prescribes different sin offerings, depending on who made the mistake. It enumerates four categories. First is the high priest, second is “the whole community” (understood to mean the great Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court), a third is “the leader” (nasi), and the fourth is an ordinary individual.

In three of the four cases, the law is introduced by the word “im” (if) – if such a person commits a sin. In the case of the leader, however, the law is prefaced by the word “asher” (when). It is possible that a high priest, the Supreme Court or an individual may err. But in the case of a leader, it is probable or even certain. Leaders make mistakes. It is the occupational hazard of their role. Talking about the sin of a nasi, the Torah uses the word “when,” not “if.”

Nasi is the generic word for a leader: a ruler, king, judge, elder, or prince. Usually it refers to the holder of political power. In Mishnaic times, the nasi, the most famous of whom were leaders from the family of Hillel, had a quasi-governmental role as representative of the Jewish people to the Roman government. Rabbi Moses Sofer (Bratislava, 1762-1839), in one of his responses, examines the question of why, when positions of Torah leadership are never dynastic (passed from father to son), the role of nasi was an exception. Often it did pass from father to son. The answer he gives (and it is historically insightful) is that with the decline of monarchy in the Second Temple period and thereafter, the nasi took on many of the roles of a king. His role, internally and externally, was as much political and diplomatic as religious. That in general is what is meant by the word “nasi.”

Why does the Torah consider this type of leadership particularly prone to error? The commentators offer three possible explanations. Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno cites the phrase “But Yeshurun waxed fat, and kicked” (Deuteronomy 32:15). Those who have advantages over others, whether of wealth or power, can lose their moral sense. Rabbeinu Bachya agrees, suggesting that rulers tend to become haughty. Implicit in these commentators – it is in fact a major theme of Tanach as a whole – is the idea later stated by Lord Acton in the aphorism, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Rabbi Elie Munk, citing the Zohar, offers a second explanation. The high priest and the Sanhedrin were in constant contact with the holy. They lived in a world of ideals. The king or political ruler, by contrast, was involved in secular affairs: war and peace, the administration of government, and international relations. He was more likely to sin because his day-to-day concerns were not religious but pragmatic.

Rabbi Meir Simcha HaKohen of Dvinsk points out that a king was especially vulnerable to being led astray by popular sentiment. Neither a priest nor a judge in the Sanhedrin were answerable to the people. The king, however, relied on popular support. Without that he could be deposed. But this is laden with risk. Doing what the people want is not always doing what God wants. That, Rabbi Meir Simcha argues, is what led David to order a census (II Samuel: 24), and Zedekiah to ignore the advice of Jeremiah and rebel against the king of Babylon (II Chronicles: 36). Thus, for a whole series of reasons, a political leader is more exposed to temptation and error than a priest or judge.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/rabbi-lord-jonathan-sacks/the-sins-of-a-leader/2014/03/06/

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