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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘matter’

Dead Arabs Don’t Matter to the World — Unless Israel Killed Them

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s blogsite, Emet m’Tsiyon}

The hypocrisy of the major world powers, of those who dominate the international mass media, is long known. Khaled Abu Toameh reminds us once again of how cynical the world media, most of it Western, can be. Abu Toameh points out how international journalists and international “human rights” bodies –the ones that are always dragging their halos around– customarily overlook Arab victims whose sufferings have nothing to do with Israel. The purpose is to smear and hurt Israel… If a particular case of suffering cannot be attributed to Israel then it is hardly worth writing about.
In line with this of course is that the Palestinian Arab suffering that is deemed worthy of attention is only that of Arabs in Judea-Samaria, not that of those in Syria to be sure, since that suffering cannot be blamed on Israel. Nor does the Palestinian Authority –Mahmoud Abbas’ statelet on the way– care about any of this. Even those who speak in the name of the Palestinian Arabs care little about the suffering of Palestinian Arabs that cannt be blamed on Israel.

Here are some highlishts of Abu Toameh’s essay:

    Nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since 2011. But because these Palestinians were killed by Arabs, and not Israelis, this fact is not news in the mainstream media or of interest to “human rights” forums.

  • International media outlets regularly report on the “water crisis” in Palestinian towns and villages, especially in the West Bank. This is a story that repeats itself almost every summer, when some foreign journalists set out to search for any story that reflects negatively on Israel. And there is nothing more comfortable than holding Israel responsible for the “water crisis” in the West Bank.
  • But how many Western journalists have cared to inquire about the thirsty Palestinians of Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria? Does anyone in the international community know that this camp has been without water supply for more than 720 days? Or that the camp has been without electricity for the past three years?
  • When Western journalists lavish time on Palestinians delayed at Israeli checkpoints, and ignore bombs dropped by the Syrian military on residential areas,  one might start to wonder [what] they are really about.

Since the issue of Israeli water supplies to Arabs in Judea-Samaria became a major topic for international news agencies and “human rights” agencies in the past few years, let’s look at Abu Toameh’s information. He explains that whether or not Arabs, or Palestinian Arabs specifically, are deprived of water is of little concern to them. Again, the issue is what can be blamed on Israel reasonably, or even unreasonably very often.

International media outlets regularly report on the “water crisis” in Palestinian towns and villages, especially in the West Bank. This is a story that repeats itself almost every summer, when some foreign journalists set out to search for any story that reflects negatively on Israel. And there is nothing more comfortable than holding Israel responsible for the “water crisis” in the West Bank.

But how many Western journalists have cared to inquire about the thirsty Palestinians of Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria? Does anyone in the international community know that this camp has been without water supply for more than 720 days? Or that the camp has been without electricity for the past three years? Yarmouk, which is located only eight kilometers from the center of Damascus, is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. That is, it was the largest camp. In June 2002, 112,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk. By the end of 2014, the camp population had been decimated to less than 20,000. Medical sources say many of the residents of the camp are suffering from a host of diseases.

Just bear in mind that there is no reason to rely on the international media or the self-styled “human rights” agencies.

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Emet m' Tsiyon

Jewish Owned Times Square Club Drops Black Lives Matter Event over Israel

Friday, September 9th, 2016

A concert supporting Black Lives Matter, planned for Sunday, September 11, at 7 and 9:30 PM at Feinstein’s/54 Below, just north of Times Square, under the direction of Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, was canceled due to “conflicting viewpoints on the social issue,” Playbill reported this week.

An email the club owners sent ticket buyers reads, “The owners and managers … strongly believe in and support the general thrust of the goals and objectives of BLM. However, since announcing the benefit they’ve become aware of a recent addition to the BLM platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions.

“Feinstein’s/54 Below would have preferred to hold the concert in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, without endorsing or appearing to endorse the entirety of the Black Lives Matter organization and its platform, but we’ve found that a distinction impossible for us to effect.

“As we can’t support these positions, we’ve accordingly decided to cancel the concert.

“We’re sorry about this unfortunate situation which has not dimmed our commitment to supporting social justice.”

According to Playbill, the evening was organized by Felicia Fitzpatrick, Michael R. Jackson and Jennifer Ashley Tepper, with consultation by Frank Leon Roberts and Adrienne Warren for the Broadway for Black Lives Matter Collective. Participants included Lilli Cooper, Eisa Davis, Andre DeShields, Michael R. Jackson, Marcus Scott, Darius Smith and Brynn Williams, as well as the AAPF-Say Her Name Organization and a representative from the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Feinstein’s/54 Below opened in 2012 as a supper club. In 2015, through a creative partnership with Michael Feinstein, the Ambassador of the American Songbook, 54 Below was renamed Feinstein’s/54 Below.


Israel is not a matter of Bipartisan Consensus

Friday, August 26th, 2016

For years, the leaders of America’s most established Jewish organizations – AIPAC chief among them – have assured their members that when it came to Israel, there was not much difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. Even suggesting that control of the White House or Congress might matter to the US-Israel relationship was taboo, often decried as “anti-Israel” if not “Anti-Semitic.” The 2016 platform debates and conventions have shattered this outlandish insistence that in our hyper- partisan era Israel policy somehow managed to remain neutral territory. It is now indisputable that the parties have radically different views of Israel.

To the extent that any bipartisanship persists, it is the “less than comprehensively anti-Israel” view that the least pro-Israel Republicans and the most pro-Israel Democrats share: the narrative that Israelis and Arabs are more or less equally culpable, Israel must risk its national security and the lives of its citizens, and an independent, judenrein, Arab state in the historic Jewish heartland is an imperative. Though the politicians on both sides of the aisle backing this vision may see themselves as pragmatic, moderate centrists looking out for Israel’s interests, what they actually advocate is rejecting Israel’s status as a favored ally, ignoring history and law, and capitulating to Arab intransigence and inhumanity.

Moreover, the bases of both parties reject this view. The Republican base sees no moral equivalence between Israelis building a pluralistic, liberal democracy of which all decent people should be proud and the Palestinian Authority presiding over a genocidal, suicidal death cult. The Democratic base, as we saw during their convention, reiterates the slanders of Jimmy Carter, Bernie Sanders and Cornell West, while burning Israeli flags in symbolic solidarity with the death cult whose own flags festooned the convention floor.

West spoke for much of the Democratic base—and 43% of the platform committee—when he framed his antipathy for Israel as “a moral issue,” and called: for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements,” and for “rebuild[ing] Gaza which the UN warns could be uninhabitable by 2020.” Hillary Clinton’s politically savvy advisors, understanding that anti-Israel agitation would play poorly in the general election (overall, Americans still side with Israel over the Palestinians 62% to 15% according to a recent Gallup poll) preferred boilerplate language similar to the DNC’s 2012 platform: “Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.” In short, a statement of moral equivalence.

The Republicans had reluctantly accepted comparable boilerplate languate in 2012, tempering far stronger pro-Israel sentiment among the base to accommodate AIPAC’s insistence that such moral equivalence reflected the American Jewish consensus. In 2016, however, the GOP resisted such pressure. The party’s base rallied behind more a definitively pro-Israel approach that embraces the moral superiority of Israel’s position and Israel’s unconditional sovereignty. It is this platform language – to which we proudly contributed – that Democrats and their enablers in establishment American Jewish groups, have intentionally and repeatedly

mischaracterized as standing “to the right of Netanyahu” in its “rejection of a two-state solution.” No one actually reading the words of the 2016 GOP platform plank on Israel could possibly reach these conclusions.

The Republican platform’s actual language recognizes Israel as a fellow liberal democracy and a strategic ally; restates an existing American law declaring an indivisible Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; upholds our ally’s right to defend itself against military threats, terror attacks, and other forms of warfare; labels as false the widely-accepted canard that Israel is an “occupier;” and recognizes the anti-Semitism behind a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement that has targeted Jewish interests far from Israel. It closes with a longing for “comprehensive and lasting peace” negotiated among the residents of the Middle East, and opposes outside pressure designed to impose any specific proposal.

That’s the sum and substance of what today’s Democrats consider extremism: Acknowledging the rights of Jews in the Land of Israel, embracing a fellow liberal democracy and strategic ally, supporting its efforts to defend itself, and encouraging it to negotiate with its neighbors.

Nothing in the new GOP platform “rejects” or creates even the slightest impediment to a “Two-State solution.” It simply refocuses American interests correctly: In support of our ally Israel’s sovereignty and security, rather than in pursuit of “self-determination” for a Palestinian Authority—the PLO’s legal and moral successor—that continues to incite and support terror and that has explicitly abandoned even the pretext of a “peace process”.

The chasm between the parties is clear. Today’s Democrats are split among those who see moral equivalence between Israel and the PA and those who see Israel as a rogue apartheid state committing repeated war crimes against Palestinian victims. To the Republicans, Israel is a close and valued ally under unprecedented attack, worthy of the same commitment and support we extend to our closest allies. These views of Israel and the policy consequences that flow from them are very, very different.

A bipartisan consensus that actually supports Israel remains a worthy ideal. As the 2016 conventions showed, it is very far from what we have today. Americans who care about Israel face a clear choice. There is no use pretending otherwise.

Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon

Trump as a Matter of Principle

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

We’re members of a minority: Jewish Blue-State professionals who plan to vote for Donald Trump. As Blue-Staters and as Jews, we have many friends and co-religionists who consider themselves progressives. As oft-disappointed conservatives and oft-chagrined members of the Republicans’ professional class, we have many friends and colleagues who consider themselves NeverTrumps. We get their angst, but we’re tired of the self-righteous insistence that support for Trump is “unprincipled.” They get the principle exactly backwards.

According to Rasmussen—whose polls tend to favor the GOP—Trump’s support among Republicans is only 69%. Our inclusion in that number flows from our principled opposition to the damage that progressivism has already inflicted on our great nation. Under Obama, the United States—founded as the embodiment of classic eighteenth century liberal ideals—has turned away from its Judeo-Christian and Western roots, expanded government intrusiveness and control, robbed individuals of their agency as autonomous decision-makers, ignored the rule of law, and imperiled the global spread of prosperity. Hillary Clinton seeks to finish the job.

If there are conservatives arguing that Clinton is either unserious or incapable of achieving her stated goal, those trumpeting – and trumping up – Trump’s shortcomings have drowned them out—helping Clinton in effect, if not in intent. The 11% of Republicans that Rasmussen shows supporting Gary Johnson stand between Clinton’s aggressively progressive America and a philosophically idiosyncratic Trump presidency. We prefer the latter—on principle—and implore all principled conservatives (explicitly including the NeverTrumps) to do the same. Trump was not the champion we sought, but he is the one we have. The only one.

The distinction may be clearest in the cultural and social realms. Trump seems content to let homosexual couples form families, religious bakers opt out of gay weddings, states decide the question of transgender bathroom use, and women choose abortions as long as they are not subsidized—even when his personal beliefs and choices may point in other directions. He seems singularly unlikely to crusade over such issues. This stance defines a libertarian middle ground likely to satisfy neither social conservatives nor social progressives. And while the two of us do not always agree on these issues, we are clear that a nonideological libertarian neutral is far superior to the crusading progressive that Clinton has promised to be. With Clinton in the White House, the assault on religious liberties would be catastrophic.

When it comes to race—historically, the most difficult issue in America—Trump can indeed seem tone-deaf. Nevertheless, his long history in the public eye suggests colorblindness rather than malice, and a healthy disdain for politically correct fascism. Trump has had close personal relationships—and antagonisms—with people of all races, ethnicities, and religions. His preference for “content of character” (as he defines it) over color of skin, coupled with his characteristic bluntness, is almost guaranteed to offend in our hypersensitive age. Still, the idea that we should reward racial hostility and reorient society to avoid unavoidable “microagressions” against the perpetually thin-skinned is a particularly progressive failing.

Conservatives ought to value respect and decorum, but in a clash between an insufficiently sensitive candidate and an overly sensitive victim class, a principled conservative can remain safely ambivalent.

And while America might do better with a conciliatory President, it will not find one in Clinton. The Democratic convention dedicated an evening to groups who champion identity politics, heighten racial sensitivities, exude virulent anti-Semitism, encourage street riots, and condone violent attacks against police. During the convention, a sitting Democratic Member of Congress publicly called Israeli Jews “termites” and a former Member tweeted blood-libel type conspiracy theories blaming Jews for Islamic terror in Europe. Meanwhile, attendees waved the flag of the terrorist PLO/Palestinian Authority (labeled last week as anti-Semitic by even the Arabist State Department) and burned American and Israeli flags. Is that a mandate “principled” conservatives are content to tolerate, let alone assist?

On economics, both campaigns disappoint. Growth is a prerequisite for almost all beneficial advancements, and free trade is critical to growth. Granted, democratic institutions that remain oblivious to distribution will eventually induce society’s many losers to vote against growth—as we are seeing today. From that perspective, Trump’s coupling of concerns about the distributional effects of trade and immigration with pro-growth regulatory and tax reform is less disturbing than Clinton’s all-encompassing anti-growth redistribution agenda.

On judicial nominations, Trump has provided ample reason for optimism among constitutional conservatives—and it is hard to see how he could be worse than Clinton’s relentless focus on the full progressive takeover of the federal judiciary. Rather than a protective backstop on key constitutional protections, the judiciary would become a launch pad for even more assaults on our religious observances and beliefs.

Finally, in the Middle East, Trump is far more inclined than Clinton to correctly see Israelis as good guys, radical Muslims as evil, and moderate Muslims as potential allies who need our help. Clinton may spout politically popular pro-Israel platitudes, but her track record of strong-arming Israel while embracing and mainstreaming Muslim terrorists speaks far louder than her words. She would continue the shocking Obama policies in which she was complicit – including the horrendous Iran Deal.

We appeal to conservatives still waving the NeverTrump banner to reconsider while time remains. Much is at stake. Principled progressives committed to completing America’s transformation can vote for Clinton. Principled conservatives must fight her.

Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon

Gray Matter

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

“Everything is under control,” assured Anita Gray, director of the local office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), about the infamous, anti-Semitic assistant professor Joy Karega.  “Oberlin’s president is coordinating efforts with us.”  Assuming there was nothing more to be done at this point, I asked about their involvement in the immigration process from the Middle East, about hijra, invasion by migration.  “There are a few, but not many,” she replied. When I asked for specifics, she answered, “No, but you can check the ADL website.”

I did so that evening, and emailed Gray the next day about the anti-Semitic comments on the site.  I asked who replies to them or if they’re just left on the site.  She wrote, “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”   OK. I recalled having learned that bit of wisdom as a child, but she used it to evade my question.

Moving on, I mentioned that HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) was lobbying Washington for more funds to bring in more immigrants, and asked of the ADL’s role and the number of migrants expected. “A very small number,” she answered.  Was that Muslims from Syria or Christians and Jews from Europe’s terrorism?  She said, “The entire refugee process takes two to three years, unlike Europe, where they show up on their shores and cause issues.” Again, this did not answer my question.

I had read that the ADL was created in 1913 to “monitor and combat global anti-Semitism and promote security and wellbeing of Jewish communities around the world,” yet now their interests have changed to “rescuing” those whose Koranic mission was to kill Jews and Christians if they didn’t submit to Allah; to aid and abet those who are beheading and raping en masse; and to work against our Constitution whose purpose it is to protect Americans against invasion.  She replied, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” If Gray were the least bit humorous, she could rival the late Henny Youngman, a Borsht Belt comedian who had been dubbed king of the one-liners.

How else could I feel when we are confronted with annihilation in every generation?  Why are HIAS, Catholic Charities, World Churches, ADL and other multi-culturalists saving the predators instead of the prey? Why are we following in the footsteps of Sweden, Germany, France and Belgium?  Why did the Jewish Federation of Cleveland contact its entire mailing list, requesting donations to help the Syrian refugees, using a flyer enhanced with a photograph of a blonde, curly-haired toddler, complete with Teddy bear? In all the photographs and YouTube films of young Syrian men who are ravaging Europe, killing Europeans and Americans, throwing pipe bombs, burning flags and tires, and raping young girls and women, not once did I see a migrant who resembled this little boy with his iconic cuddle toy.

At Gray’s suggestion, I called the Jewish Federation and asked the young woman about the number of Muslim immigrants resettled in Ohio, she said she took offense at my inquiry!  “Okay,” I said, “How about the number of Christians and Jews and then a grand total?”  She emphatically informed me of two members of her family who had married nice, successful Muslim businessmen.  I explained that I was interested in the ones who are sent here by the UN, unvetted and prepared to behead us and establish a caliphate. She suggested I contact Global Cleveland, which does not return calls.

The truth is that the Left designates “receiving communities” according to race and affluence and brings in an Islamic “seedling” community that will not assimilate.  These UN-selected “new Americans” must be accepted and sustained by the designated neighborhood with housing, clothing, extensive healthcare, schooling (complete with translators), credit cards, no-interest loans, and food stamps.

Ted Kennedy was the first to change the immigration policy, increase our population with foreigners who replaced hundreds of thousands of Americans in the labor force with those who would vote Democrat. The refugee resettlement agenda was designed during the 1980s and Obama’s Muslim Refugee Resettlement Program is the current UN’s agenda to balkanize and terrorize the West, to redistribute the population, abolish private property of Western civilizations only, overwhelm our society and laws, defeat our exceptionalism, take the jobs from the Americans and put them on welfare, dilute our country and severely damage our United States.  As an aside: We settled 4,971 Syrians since January, 2012, and accepted 20 million through a waiver abuse program.  Accepting one million refugees per year costs us $118 billion annually, and resettlement costs us $3 billion annually, 12 times the cost of helping them in their own country.

Within a couple of weeks and with no comments, Anita Gray emailed me an impressive speech made by the ADL’s new CEO and national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, during his March, 2016 visit to Jerusalem, wherein he spoke of mainstream bigotry and intolerance affecting Jews. She did not send a copy of his April, 2016 speech made at J Street, the Soros-backed, anti-Israel organization that masquerades as an authentic pro-Israel group, but whose every effort undercuts and betrays Israel. Just as J Street betrayed Israel by accusing her of disproportionate warfare when defending herself against Turkey’s Mavi Marmara flotilla raid (May 2010), advanced border lines that would seriously imperil Israel, and persists in challenging Israel’s strong democracy with accusations of apartheid, so Greenblatt spoke similarly.

He said he wants to see Israel as a Jewish nation that supports religious pluralism, a blatant denunciation when Israel is already a democratic country under whose laws all citizens of all religions are protected equally.  He wants to see Israel live in peace and security with her neighbors, never admitting that all the wars were begun by those neighbors.  He acknowledged criticizing Israel but does not criticize Hamas, a designated terrorist organization committed to jihad, and refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.  He spoke of shortcomings of the Jewish establishment only, while also condemning Islamophobia and “marginalized Palestinians.” The Palestinians who claim marginalization are not citizens of Israel and have refused citizenship.  Above all, he wished for a P Street along with a J Street, while never specifying that the Palestinians have refused peace agreements and want only Israel.

The ADL, supported by naïve Jewish donors, also works to lobby against laws that would obstruct the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS), claiming it suppresses academic freedom and inhibits Islamic speech. BDS endangers Israel and defends Islamists from criticism.  The ADL sided with our State Department in prohibiting Geert Wilders, a true hero of democracy and Israel, from entering the US, citing criticism of Islamic doctrines “hate speech.”  Greenblatt, once a special assistant to President Obama, subtly approved of borders with Palestinians that put Israel’s security at risk, and continues to place the responsibility of a peaceful solution on Israel, rather than convey Israel’s persistent offers for direct negotiations and the Arabs’ constant rejection.  Greenblatt has failed to stress Jewish legitimacy, her historic connections to Israel and Jerusalem and her democracy. By involving and accepting the organizations of J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and Jewish Voice for Peace, he joins forces with the covert enemy of Israel and invites further pressure from Soros and Obama.

The ADL has always been a sham.  During World War II, a small group of Zionist activists from Europe and Palestine, led by Peter Bergson (an alias for Rabbi Hillel Kook), formed a Jewish army of stateless and Palestinian Jews to fight alongside the Allies against the Nazis, and eventually became the Jewish Brigade, a military unit that was part of the British Army.  The Bergson Group’s Emergency Committee, joined by writer Ben Hecht, cultural celebrities, members of Congress, African-American leaders and others, persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish the War Refugee Board to save escaping Jews from extermination – and did save perhaps as many as 200,000 European Jews, with the help of such as Raoul Wallenberg.  The ADL, however, along with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and other reform/progressive Jewish leaders in October, 1943, demonized Bergson, opposed lifting the US quotas, made light of the Nazi carnage and thwarted what might have been a larger rescue success.

In early 2015, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address Congress about the serious, imminent danger posed by Iran and its nuclear weapons capabilities to Israel and the world, the ADL and Reform Rabbi Richard Jacobs pressured him to cancel his speech!

It is not possible to explain the motives of the Anti-Defamation League, but surely they may be judged by their past actions, current connections and conduct. We must listen carefully to what they say. But be aware that that they support the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions activities against Israel, and are eager to resettle in America those who want Sharia law to replace our Constitution.  There is no gray area here.

Tabitha Korol

Spokesman Says US Committed to Returning Golan Heights to Syrians — No Matter Which Syrians

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

One of the minor victories of Israeli rightwing pundits has been fueled by the gruesome holocaust taking place over the past five years in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria. Back in April 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agrees to fully withdraw from the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed Olmert’s remarks at the time that Jerusalem and Damascus were holding talks through a third-party in an attempt to resume the negotiations between the two countries.

“There are efforts exerted in this direction,” Assad told reporters. “This is nothing new, and we have discussed this in the past.” Assad added that “Syria takes every opportunity to express its willingness to establish just and comprehensive peace in accordance with the international decisions… The criterion for the acceptance of any negotiations is that they will be held seriously and that there will be a commitment to implement the UN resolutions, particularly as the Israeli side knows very well what is acceptable and unacceptable by the Syrian side.”

What was acceptable to the Syrian ruler back then was a complete return of every last inch of the Golan Heights to Syrian control, removal of every last Jew and Jewish property from the area, and a return to the 1967 borders, when Syrian snipers ruled the lives of Israeli farmers along the eastern shores of the Kinneret.

Imagine, a long string of Israeli columnists, bloggers, Facebookers and Tweeters have been saying, if Israel had indeed returned to the 1967 border just before the scum of the Middle East — Sunni rebels, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Syrian chemical warfare operators were to crowd the basalt hills overlooking Tiberias — where would we be today?

It’s a winning argument, open and shut, other than Gideon Levi and a couple other useful idiots there really is no Israeli who would ever entertain returning the Golan Heights.

But at Foggy Bottom, where life behaves according to more sublime rules than the Jewish aspiration to stay alive, no lessons have been learned regarding the wisdom of returning Syrian murderers of whatever ilk to the hills above the Kinneret.

It began during the State Dept. Monday press briefing this week. Spokesman John Kirby was asked about the official US recognition of Syria. Essentially, the reporter wanted to know, if the US is so invested in ousting President Bashar al-Assad as a prerequisite for ending the civil war in Syria, why does it still recognize him as the legitimate sovereign of that tortured land?

The reporter asked (redacted): “Legally and diplomatically you only recognize Syria, as you have in the past. In fact, you still issue press briefings in the name of the US Embassy in Syria and so on. From time to time I see that you recognize the government of the Arab Syrian Republic. You have not recognized anyone else as exercising any kind of authority or any kind of sovereignty over any territory of Syria.

Kirby: I’m not sure I understand your question.

Reporter: My question is very simple. Do you recognize any other entity in Syria to have sovereignty over that territory?

Kirby: We recognize that there is a Syrian Government in place. We also recognize that it’s led by a dictator who continues to barrel bomb and gas his people. And the government that’s in place right now, led by Bashar al-Assad, can’t be part of the long-term future of Syria, which is why we’re doing this entire political process to begin with. It’s why so many nations have come together to try to resolve the civil war and the conflict there so that people can have a government in place that they’ve actually had a voice in putting there and that is responsive and responsible for them.

David Israel

It’s All Happening at the Central Bus Station

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

One of the liveliest places in Yerushalayim is the Central Bus Station. “HaTachana HaMercazit.” First of all, you really sense the Geula/Redemption when you are there, with Jews of all sizes and shapes, from all parts of the world, coming and going, jostling and hustling, dark-skinned Jews from Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, and Iraq, along with gelifta-fish-complexioned Jews from Russia and Poland, and the young, bright-eyed Americans studying in Israel, whose accents stick out like the torch of the Statue of Liberty as they call out, “Oh, Sally and Chuck, how colossal, how awesome, look, we can get hamburgers and fries over here!” The bustling scene in the Jerusalem bus station is literally the revelation of prophecy – the ingathering of the exiles from the four corners of the globe, taking place before your eyes.

In addition to the rush and joy of people, there are three floors of stores and booths selling everything from the latest fashions and jewelry, to cell phones, computers, chess boards, helium balloons, oriental spices, fresh roasted nuts and pastries you can smell all the way to Tel Aviv. And the food court has everything your palette might crave: mouth-watering humus, Chinese food, pizza, hamburgers, and felafel on rye.

One of the shops, “Dabree Shir,” specializes in religious books of all sorts, with baal-tshuva stories and guides high on the list. For a small country, Israel produces a tremendous amount of books, and it’s always nice to see that this bookstore is packed with all kinds of people who are seeking to come closer to God. Whenever I pass through the bus station, I try to stop by and say hello to the fellas in the bookstore.

Though you people may think I’m a hack writer, the religious-Zionist community in Israel appreciates my books, especially my novel, “Tevye in the Promised Land,” which almost every family seems to have read. Last week, when I passed by, I asked the manager what was his current bestseller. “Binyan HaEmunah,” he answered. That was encouraging, I thought. The book, written by Rabbi Moshe Bleicher, founder of the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva, is an in-depth study of true Jewish faith, filled with many of Rabbi Kook teachings. How wonderful, I mused, that the average, bus-station traveler, men, women, and young people alike, are purchasing a book like that – the very same book which I just happen to be translating into English for the yeshiva, to make a little parnassa/livelihood.

The basic premise of the book is that in our generation of Redemption, Emunah (Jewish faith and belief) must be learned, along with the learning of Gemara and Halacha. This is because, over the nearly 2000 years of exile, yeshiva study became the dry learning of Talmud and Jewish Law, with the main focus devoted to matters which applied to day-to-day life, while more exalted matters like the all-encompassing goal of the Torah, and the establishment of the Divine Ideal in the world, through the Kingship of Israel in Eretz Yisrael, were ignored.

Rabbi Kook writes that this dry approach to Torah study, which ignores, and even negates, the secrets of Torah, is the reason why entire communities of Jews have become alienating from our age-old yearning for Zion; have opted to remain in gentile countries rather than making aliyah; and why their exile in Brooklyn, Beverly Hill, and Boca, is seen as pleasing in their eyes.

In effect, Emunah, the very heart of the Torah, which teaches us what God and the Nation of Israel are all about, was left out of the yeshiva curriculum. This led the Torah giant, the Gaon of Vilna (who encouraged his students to make aliyah) to state that Emunah must be learned, specifically emphasizing the need to learn Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi’s classic study of Jewish Faith, “HaKuzari,” saying, “The principles of Emunat Yisrael and Torah are precisely formulated in it” (Siddur of the Gra, pg. 512).

In establishing the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook made the study of Emunah one of the foundations, alongside the intensive learning of Gemara and Halacha. His son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, would explain every year to new students the vital importance of this learning, and how it happens that Torah-observant Jews can turn their backs on the very foundation of the entire Torah, the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael, due to their failure to learn Emunah.

Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/its-all-happening-at-the-central-bus-station/2012/12/04/

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