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Posts Tagged ‘Land’

Chabad Emissaries: Torah Forbids Surrendering Land to Enemies

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Chabad-Lubavitch “shluchim” (emissaries) have issued a statement at their 34th national conference in Israel that “negotiating with Israel’s enemies of Israel concerning Israeli borders in itself constitutes an ominous danger to the lives of Israel’s residents, men, women and children.”

Following is the complete statement:

By the Grace of G-d

Statement By The Shluchim To Eretz Israel Issued At 34 National Shluchim Conference In Israel

Motzei Shabbos Parshas Ekev 5773uulcWe, the personal emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the Holy Land – including Rabbis of cities and neighborhoods in Israel, heads of Yeshivot and Kollelim and social welfare institutions, who were sent to Israel by the Rebbe himself over 35 years ago in order “to arouse and encourage Jews to observe Torah and Mitzvot and help build the Jewish land physically and spiritually” – from the depths of a pained heart protest against the Israeli government’s decision to resume negotiations with Palestinian murderers on withdrawal from territories of the Holy Land, G-d forbid.

Negotiating with Israel’s enemies of Israel concerning Israeli borders in itself constitutes an ominous danger to the lives of Israel’s residents, men, women and children. This ruling is explicit in the Jewish Code of Law, section 329:6: “Even if they are only demanding hay or straw, we take up arms and violate the Shabbat.” Hundreds of prominent rabbis in Israel have ruled that withdrawal from territories is a matter of life or death for tens of thousands of people

Anyone who can put two and two together can see that every time Israel has agreed to concede and withdraw, this has made matters worse. It has only accelerated terror and bloodshed, G-d forbid.

We support the tireless efforts of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (the Pikuach Nefesh Committee) which for the past 20 years has been vigorously combating the policies of withdrawal and concessions by Israeli governments. The Committee has repeatedly publicized worldwide the definitive ruling in the Shulchan Aruch that such concessions are a matter of life or death.

Many Jews, and not only Chassidim, reverently recall the numerous public addresses in which the Rebbe expressed his pained concern for the well-being of the Jewish nation in Eretz Israel.

We now call upon every individual, in Israel and the world over, to support and assist the above Committee in every way possible. Their vital mission is to save the lives of the Jewish people in Israel – to forestall any territorial negotiations with Israel’s enemies over its borders, by bringing the public and the decision-makers to the realization that the only way to achieve peace and security in the Holy Land is by standing firm by the integrity of the Holy Land. Only thus will we see the fulfillment of the Biblical promise that “I will grant peace in the land…and lead you upright.”

We pray that Almighty G-d have mercy and put an end to our suffering. May we merit the Final Redemption by the righteous Moshiach – now

PA Arabs Go to Court to Divide Efrat

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority made its case in the High Court Wednesday in a suit that claims the government discriminated against Arabs during a process that declared Givat Eitam in Efrat “state land.”

Givat Eitam is an area of approximately 500 acres and is so large that it has been termed “Efrat ‘B,’” where 2000 homes could be built.

The area includes approximately 75 acres bought by a Jew before the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The land was registered with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in order to protect the identity of the purchaser, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi told the Jewish Press.

The entire Givat Eitam, literally the “Eitam Hill,” was state land under the Ottoman Empire and during the Jordanian occupation after the War for Independence until the Six-Day War in 1967.

However, apparently trying to avoid claims it is “occupying” the area that was not under any internationally-recognized rule, Israel kept the area as a sort of “no-man’s land” and did not allow Efrat to build on Givat Eitam or even work the land as a farm.

After a nine-year process towards declaring it state land, Israel allowed all parties to stake claims. Oded said that there were nine Arab claims on different parcels of land, and one was accepted. The government rejected the other claims because the land had not been worked for 10 years.

Arabs claim that Efrat blocked them from farming the land, an assertion that is difficult to swallow because if it were true, the supposed landowners could have gone to the courts. Furthermore, if they were the landowners, why was the same area “state land” under Turkish and Jordanian rule?

PA Arabs, buoyed by Peace now and other left-wing supporters who have succeeded in winning court cases on property claims without proving landownership, found a new tactic.

They appealed to the High Court in 2009 and accused the government of Israel of discrimination in the process of declaring Givat Eitam state land.

When the court heard the case on Wednesday, lawyers for the Arabs reasoned that since the process applied only to the land that is not owned by Jews, that proves that the government’s intention was only to take over what the Arabs said is their land.

One of the judges on the three-justice panel saw through the hollow reasoning. He asked the lawyer if he really thinks that the government would declare as “state land” an area that already is proven to be legally registered by Jews.

When a judge asks that kind of question in a hearing, it usually points in the direction of the eventual ruling, which will be handed down at a future date.

The argument “shows that the Arabs did not challenge the ‘state land’ designation’ innocently, according to Oded.

Asked what would happen if the High Court rules against the government and recognizes the Arab claims, Oded sad he really does not know.

The entire issue is buried in semantics. When Haaretz’s Amira Hess reported the story earlier this week, she wrote, “Local Palestinians have also expressed concern that if the land is claimed by the state, Efrat will be expanded and Bethlehem will ultimately be cut off from Palestinian towns to the south.”

Obviously, the land will be used for homes, but the other side of the coin is that the Arabs wants to cut off one area of Efrat from the other.

The claim that Bethlehem would be cut off from other Arab villages is patently false because building on Givat Eitam would not change the current situation.

Revivi told the Chinese news agency Xinhua three years ago, after the petition was filed in court,  “Givat Eitam was declared state land three years ago, so it is not Palestinian land, and the whole city plan was laid out in 1983, for all of Efrat, so to come and say we are trying to expand is ridiculous because this was part of the original plan.”

Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran boldly admitted the facts don’t matter. She told Xinhua, “I don’t care when it was approved, it’s against Israeli interests because it makes a two-state solution much harder.”

That, of course, depends on a negotiated border of two states, something that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has categorically stated that is not for negotiation.

The Biggest Menorah in the World

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Many people think that in lighting gigantic Chanukah menorahs in places like Manhattan, Paris, Melbourne, and Berlin, we are “a light to the nations.” However pretty and moving this may be, the light of these solitary and scattered menorahs gets swallowed up by the surrounding darkness of foreign gentile lands. It’s a little like lighting a match in a dark alley. For a few seconds, there’s a flickering of light, and then it vanishes, engulfed by the blackness of the alley. Even if matches were lit in alleyways all over the world, the light would shine for an instant then disappear in the dark.

The only way of sustaining the light is by lighting all of the matches into one great bonfire, and this can only be accomplished by bringing the matches together and kindling them in one place – the Land of Israel.

When all of the scattered exiled Jews are gathered in the Land of Israel, a great Divine light goes out to the world like a towering beacon, illuminating the darkness of the nations. This is the meaning of the prophecy, “For from Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the Lord from Yerushalayim.” The light goes out from Yerushalayim, and not from Times Square or Beverly Hills.

We become a “light to the nations” precisely when we are living together in Eretz Yisrael, and not when we are scattered all over the world, minorities in foreign lands, stripped of our Israelite nationhood and our pride, needing the permission of the gentiles to light our Chanukah candles in public.

During the long exile, the lighting of the Chanukah menorah had meaning in reminding the Jews in faraway gentile places, that we were still connected to an eternal light, to a national Jewish valor, and a Land of great miracles – but now, with the re-establishment of Medinat Yisrael, and the ingathering of Jews from all over the world, we no longer need the menorahs in Times Square and Sunset Boulevard. The time has come for each and every Jew to take his little light and join in with the great light that is shining forth from Israel.

For example, even in this early stage of our Redemption, when millions of our outcasts are still shrouded in the darkness of alien lands, even though we still have a way to go before we reach our full Torah power in Israel, still, even in our temporary secular state, all of the world’s attention is focused on what the Jews are doing in Israel. Pick up any leading newspaper from the capitals of the world and chances are you will find a front-page story about Israel. When a settler lights a small menorah on a hilltop in Judea, the whole world goes crazy. The United Nations rushes to condemn it. The White House issues an immediate warning. And the Europeans protest at the top of their lungs, like a Sunday church choir in unison.

No one cares about the giant menorah in Berlin or Boston. But a tiny menorah lit by a Jewish settler in Beit-El, Elon Moreh, Yitzhar, Migron, or some deserted and unnamed hilltop, causes an international raucous. Why? Not because the settler is infringing on Palestinian rights. No one really cares about the Arabs. And in most cases, there aren’t any Arabs living close by. The uproar comes because, in their unconscious psyches, the rest of the world senses that with each Jew who returns to the Land of Israel and sets up his home on a Biblical mountainside, the one and only God of Israel is returning with him, to establish His rule in the world, the coming Kingdom of God, and the nations cry out, blinded by the light of this tiny menorah – tiny in size, but world-shaking in its spiritual import and influence.

Even in our present interim stage of Redemption, when our incredible Torah power is still hidden, and when prophecy has not yet reappeared, the sons of Esav and Yishmael sense the great light and they tremble, knowing deep in their hearts that their religions and doctrines are false, that God has not abandoned the Jews as they claim, and that the Biblical prophecies regarding the day when Israel will be lifted up above all other nations will surely come to pass. So they try everything in their power to stop it, so they can continue on with their falsehood and whoring.

It is Great to be Jewish in the Land of Israel

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai and Malkah discuss the tenth yahrzeit of Yishai’s father, Alexander Fleisher.  Yishai shares some memories of his father along with talking about the get together that was recently held in his honor.  They move on to talk about the announcement by the Israeli government to approve additional housing units in Jerusalem and what good news this is, including presenting a piece from PBS about construction in section E-1.  They end the segment by talking about Alanis Morissette’s visit to Israel and how more around the world should feel for the current situation in Syria.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

New Diaspora Religion: Bagelism

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Last week, the administrator of a popular Facebook group called something like “Kaballah Lite,” asked me not to post blogs on their page that stressed the mitzvah of living in Israel because it made his readers uneasy. First, he wanted to get people involved in “spirituality” and then he’d teach them about Israel, he said.

When I replied that according to the Kaballah everything in Israel is spiritual, the rocks, the trees, the tomato fields, even the secular Jews, and that Eretz Yisrael represents the exalted sefirah of Malchut, without which the spiritual blueprint of the world is shattered and God’s Presence doesn’t appear on Earth, he answered that the uninitiated can’t understand this very basic foundation upon which the Kaballah is based. First, they have to learn about the joy of spiritualism, he said.

That’s a little like baking an apple pie and leaving out the apples. After the pie is finished, you can’t go back and stick in the apples. They haven’t been cooked! So too, you can’t teach Judaism and leave out the Land of Israel, and then stick it in at the end, as if it’s just some added spicing. The apples aren’t something extra – they’re the essence of the pie itself. So too with Judaism – the Jewish life in the Land of Israel isn’t just another ingredient – it’s the filling. It’s the pie itself.

Another Facebook group about being “frum” in New York also kicked me off its list. When I asked why, the administrator said that she was trying to bring unaffiliated Jews closer to the joys of Orthodoxy and my writings about Israel raised uncomfortable “political” issues for liberal New York Jews, and turned them away from pure Judaism. Pure Judaism? Without the Land of Israel?

Sorry, but that isn’t Judaism. It’s a new religion. Maybe, to give her, and others who think like her, the benefit of the doubt, you could call it “Diaspora Judaism.” But it isn’t Torah. Eretz Yisrael isn’t a peripheral matter to Yiddishkeit, or merely a nice place to visit to feel proud to be a Jew. Building the Jewish Nation in Israel is the very goal of the Torah. Over two-thirds of the Mishna concern the commandments that can only be performed in the Land of Israel. “For from Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of God from Yerushalayim.” Not from Brooklyn, Monsey, Beverly Hills, Toronto, or Mexico City.

So along with Reform and Conservative Judaism, which aren’t Judaism at all, we can add Diaspora Judaism. It’s closer to Orthodox Judaism than the others, but huge chucks of the Torah are still missing. Let’s call this new religion of Diaspora Jews, “Bagel Judaism,” or “Bagelism,” because its center, the Land of Israel, is missing.

The countries of the Diasporas may be very enjoyable places, like the taste of a bagel, but something is missing. Diasporas can come in all sorts of flavors, just like plain bagels, and sesame, onion, pumpernickel, and whole wheat bagels, but they are all empty in the middle. The center, the Land of Israel, is missing! Diasporas have synagogues, and Shabbos, glatt kosher restaurants and yeshivas, but the center, the Redemptional focus of the Torah and Prophets, the desire to return to Zion, and the all-important national component of Judaism are missing. Take for example the “Kedusha” we say during our Shachrit prayers on Shabbat: “When will You return to Zion? Speedily, in our days, may You dwell there forever. May You be exalted and sanctified in Jerusalem, Your city throughout all generations and to all eternity.” Zion and Jerusalem -not Brooklyn, Beverly Hills, Boca, Buenos Aries, or Berlin.

Without the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, without a national Jewish calendar, a Jewish army, a Jewish government, without all of the mitzvot that apply n the Land, children who grow up speaking Hebrew, and Jews who marry Jews and not gentiles, the Judaism of the Diaspora is a hollow Judaism. Just like a bagel, the outside ring is tasty, but the center is missing. Like a bagel, the Judaism of the Diaspora is missing its heart. When you relish the bagel and don’t notice the gaping hole in the middle, then something is wrong with your Judaism.

A Black Day for American Jews

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Today is a black day for American Jews. Why? I’m sorry to say it, but as the so-called “Palestinian Authority” is gaining entrance to the United Nations as an observer, non-voting state, the Jews of America are out playing golf or watching things on TV, instead of protesting outside the UN with all of their might. “Israel Belongs to the Jews!” their protest signs should declare. “Israel is Our State!” their banners should proclaim. But, except for the few regulars and Rabbis who always show up at the demonstrations in NY, no one is there to protest.

In the upcoming Torah portion regarding the casting of Yosef into a pit, the Torah notes: “And the pit was empty, there was no water in it.” Our Sages inform us that there wasn’t water, but there were snakes and scorpions. A vacuum doesn’t stay empty. The same is true of the Land of Israel. If the Jews of the West had responded to the calls of the Zionist Movement and come on mass aliyah, especially with the founding of the State of Israel, the Land wouldn’t have filled up with snakes and scorpions.

Now these same snakes and scorpions are demanding that the United Nations recognize that Israel is their homeland, and the Jews of America sit at home and watch on TV (a least a fraction of them, since the vast majority our totally lost), and they shake their heads and say, “The Government of Israel is to blame. They should have annexed all of the territory… they never should have agreed to Oslo….”, when, in truth, it is they themselves who are to blame for not having said good-bye to comfortable America, and France, and England, and South Africa, and Mexico, and Canada, and Australia, and returned to the Jewish Homeland to reclaim it for the Jews.

So the Arabs claimed it instead. It’s shameful to say, but when it comes to the Land of Israel, the Arabs have more mesirut nefesh and a readiness for sacrifice than Diaspora Jews. The “Palestinians” are ready to give up their lives for the Holy Land. How many Diasporians can say that? They are prepared to suffer, and engage in armed struggle to win sovereignty over the Land. How many Diasporians can say that? Instead they sit in Brooklyn, and Monsey, and Lakewood, and Chicago, and Dallas, and Beverly Hills, and they shake their heads and say, “Too bad those weak Israelis didn’t transfer them all to Saudi Arabia,” while they go into the kitchen to make another bagel and lox.

So, with the hope that a least a handful of readers will hear these words and recognize their truth, I composed a prayer for Diaspora Jews to say on this black day of our history:

“Dear God, and God of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov; on this black day when Arabs are demanding that world recognize their right to a state in the Land of Israel, I sit here silently in America doing nothing to protest, even though Israel is my Land, not theirs.

“I know it is my Land because I know you commanded Avraham to live there, and You promised it to his descendants  the Jews, as an eternal covenant. I know it is the Land of the Jews, and the place you want me to live, because You told Yitzhak to never leave it, and when Yaakov had to flee from Esav, You told him to return to the Land of Israel to raise his family there.

“And when You freed the Jews from bondage in Egypt, You commanded us to return to Israel. And I know I am supposed to live there because it says so in the Torah over and over again, and all the Prophets all speak about our returning from the exile to rebuild our national life in the Land of Israel, and that our Redemption can only happen there.

“I know that I am supposed to live in the Land of Israel and not let other nations dwell there in my stead, because that’s what the Torah says clearly, and that’s what we pray for in our daily prayers, and that’s what I say myself at the end of every Passover Seder, and at the conclusions of my Yom Kippur prayers, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” yet here I am, still in New York, and Los Angeles and Boca Raton, when I know I should move to Israel.

“But I’m stuck, either because I don’t know how I can make a living there, or I’m afraid to go into the Israeli army, or I don’t want to leave my parents, or I’m comfortable here, or a dozen other reasons, some of them real and others invented, and I know that You know what’s really in the heart of man, so I ask Your forgiveness in that I haven’t done as much as I can, whether in going to live in Israel myself, or helping others in whatever way I can, by forming an aliyah group at my synagogue, or convincing our shul’s Rabbi to urge our young people to go, or help to raise funds so families can make a new start in Israel.

“True, I follow what’s going on in The Jewish Press, and I post articles about Israel on Facebook, and I give whatever tzedakah I can, but I know I could do lots more. Please forgive me that I don’t act on the words of my prayers, and that I ignore the great mitzvah of living in the Land, and even though there are Gedolim who say that aliyah isn’t an obligation today, everyone agrees that it is still a great mitzvah, and though I strive to perform all of the other commandments as best as I can, over this one I am surely remiss, especially when I see how You have miraculous gathered in millions of Jews to Israel, and rebuilt the country in a miraculous way, while here in America, and England, and France, assimilation is eating up our ranks, and we look away as if everything is OK as long as it is down the block with the reformers, and not in the bubble of our wonderful glatt kosher neighborhood. Forgive me, Father, that I sit passively in my home while Arabs proclaim their right to the Land of Israel.

“Even though the Israelis could have handled things differently, I know that I am to blame as well for making America my home over Israel. I am ashamed that the Arabs are acting more Jewish than I am. You have commanded us, the Jewish People, to establish our sovereignty over the borders of Israel, and in my procrastination, the sons of Ishmael are doing it in my stead. Woe is me. Woe is me. My shame spreads out up to Heaven. Please, my Father and King, from this time forth, put in my heart, like a raging fire, the desire and courage to extricate myself from galut and come home to Israel, to be in my own Jewish Land, and not continue on as a stranger amongst the gentiles. And if I can’t make aliyah now for whatever reason, let me encourage my children to do so, and do whatever I can to let others know that our only future is in the Land of the Jews, just like it clearly states, again and again, in the Torah, in the writings of our Prophets, and in our prayers.

“May it be your will, Amen.”

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Twenty: Zichron Ya’acov

Friday, November 16th, 2012

With the birth of Hodel’s baby, the time had come for Tevye to journey onward. Family was a matter of tantamount importance, but a Jew had an even higher allegiance to God. Had not the Almighty warned that life in the Holy Land must be lived according to the commandments of the Torah? That meant observing the laws of the Sabbath and the holidays, eating kosher food, donning tallit and tefillin, guarding the treasures of marital purity, and observing all of the six-hundred and thirteen commandments – most of which were flagrantly ignored by the young pioneers on the kibbutz. True, they were good, idealistic souls, risking their lives, and giving up material comforts to build a refuge in Israel for the Jews all over the world. Their dedication to making the barren Land bloom was in itself an act of great religious faith, but, to Tevye’s way of thinking, faith in working the Land wasn’t enough. Ultimately, a Jew had to live by the Torah. It was enough of a tragedy that his daughter, Hodel, had been led astray by her husband – Tevye now had to think of Moishe and Hannie, who were bound to be influenced by the other children on the kibbutz. And it was wise, Tevye felt, to whisk Bat Sheva away before she fell victim once again to her passions and grow enamored with some other free-spirited hero.

After Ben Zion’s funeral, the heartbroken girl plunged into a gloomy silence. Tevye also felt troubled. The cold-blooded killing weighed on his mind like an omen. He wondered what would be with the Arabs. True, in his travels through the country, Arab villages were few and far between. Occasional caravans would pass along the road, and Bedouin shepherds would appear now and then in the landscape. But as picturesque as they were to Perchik, Tevye had learned that, like snakes in the roadside, their bites could prove fatal.

Driving his wagon along the trail through the mountains toward Zichron Yaacov, where Shmuelik and Hillel were living, Tevye found himself engaged in deep thought. He even imagined that the Baron Rothschild had invited him into his palatial office to discuss the dilemma of establishing a large Jewish population in the midst of hostile neighbors.

“Well, my respected Reb Tevye, how do you propose we deal with the Arab situation?” the Baron asked in his daydream.

Tevye stood by the large globe of the world in the center of the Baron’s wood-paneled study. Gently spinning the orb, his fingers slid over continents as he pondered his response. Tevye’s footprints, muddied from the barn, had left dark stains in the carpet, but the Baron hadn’t seemed to notice. Why should he? With a staff of round-the-clock servants, why should the dirt of an honest, hard-working milkman disturb him?

“I must confess that I am not a political analyst, but only a simple laborer,” Tevye responded.

“Even a simple laborer has opinions,” the Baron said. “And I respect the opinions of every man.”

“My opinions are the teachings of our Sages, and the pearls of wisdom which I have learned from the Torah.”

“And what does the Torah say on this matter?” the Baron inquired.

Before Tevye could answer, the famous philanthropist held out a mahogany humidor filled with fragrant cigars. Tevye took one and allowed the Baron to graciously light it.

“The Torah says that the Arabs are to dwell in the lands of the Arabs, and the Jews are to dwell in the Land of the Jews.”

“The Torah was written a long time ago. Perhaps political equations have changed.”

“The word of the Lord is forever,” Tevye answered. “The sons of Ishmael have been blessed with lands of their own. The Land of Israel belongs to the Jews.”

“Your faith has strengthened me, Tevye,” the Baron said. “Your faith has strengthened me indeed.”

Of course, daydreams are daydreams, and life is life. True, Tevye generally had mud on his boots, but if Baron Edmond de Rothschild ever summoned him to a chat, his secretary forgot to deliver the message. In fact, the Baron was not to be found in Zichron Yaacov at all. He ruled over his Palestine colonies from his castles in France. “Av HaYishuv,” the settlers called him. “Father of the Settlement.” Others called him “HaNadiv,” meaning, “The Benefactor,” after his beneficent ways. Still others called him less pleasant names. His dignified portrait hung in the JCA office, above the heads of the officials who carried out his commands. Under the dark Homberg hat in the picture was a hawkish profile, patriarchal whiskers, a benevolent smile, and a fur-collared coat. Tevye, who fancied himself a fair judge of character, understood right away that the Baron was a unique individual, deserving great respect. As for the bald-headed Frederick Naborsky, Director of the Jewish Colony Association in Palestine, Tevye was less convinced of the sterling nature of his personality.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-twenty-zichron-yaacov/2012/11/16/

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