web analytics
July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘nation’

From Jerusalem – Not From New York

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Israel has a simple option in response to the UN upgrade of a “nation” bereft of history that is intent on stealing our Land to non-member state status: Immediate withdrawal from the United Nations. If the UN would know in advance that Israel would respond by withdrawal, this preposterous idea would never have gotten off the ground.

The interaction between the United Nations and the State of the Jews has become the central axis of the UN’s activity. Without Israel, the UN loses its raison d’etre. From our tiny little corner of the world, from our grasshopper view of all those giants, this seems patently absurd. But a check of the subjects of the majority of Security Council deliberations and decisions makes it impossible to ignore this logic-defying phenomenon: The entire world is obsessed with a tiny state that conducts itself more honorably, democratically and morally than most of the other UN members – and contributes to the world in a vast array of spheres, more than any other country.

The UN obsession with Israel is not based on Israel’s ethics or actions. It is on an entirely different plane. This is how British intellectuals described their anger at Israel to the dean of the Sapir College, Dr. Ze’ev Tzachor: “We dreamed of a place in which the Book of Books would be written anew in anticipation of the redemption of the world. For you are a treasured nation. The world had great expectations, and look what you have done.” (From a Makor Rishon interview written by Meir Uziel).

The world anticipates the declaration of liberty that will emerge from Zion. When this anticipation comes up empty-handed, it becomes disappointment and is translated into loss of legitimacy for the existence of a Jewish State on the face of the earth. The other side of the coin is traditional anti-Semitism of all sorts. All the anticipation and hopes from the universal humanistic message of Abraham on the one hand, and all the hatred for and opposition to that message on the other, are now directed at the State of Israel. Whether it likes it or not, Israel will always represent the Jewish message in the eyes of the world.

The incessant condemnations, the hypocrisy and the never-ending battles in the various UN committees express more than anything else the dichotomy of the world’s deep need for Israel and its fear of its light. After all, the UN cares about Arab human rights as much as it cares about last year’s snowflakes, as it has demonstrated with the ongoing catastrophe in Syria. When someone shouts at you, he clearly needs you. Without Israel, the UN loses its meaning and returns to the moral Stone Age, the pre-Abraham world.

But Israel is afraid of its own message. So it begs for recognition instead of understanding that if it would proudly bear its message to the world, the nations would vie to be recognized by the Jewish State . Post-Oslo Israel, which with its very own hands gave the keys of connection to the Promised Land to a non-nation, has no case against the world that recognizes this invented entity as a state.

The problem is not the UN. We are the problem. The solution is to immediately nullify the Oslo Accords; to prove our complete loyalty to all parts of the Land of Israel and first and foremost: to restore full and exclusive Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount. We must declare Israeli sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel that are in our hands, as stated in the Likud constitution. And then, we must withdraw from the United Nations. Switzerland managed just fine without being a member of the UN and we will also “survive” at least as well – and probably better – without it.

“And many nations will go and say, ‘Let us go up to the mountain of G-d and to the house of the G-d of Jacob, and he will teach us his way and we will go on his paths.’ For from Zion shall the Torah emanate and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.” (Micha 4)

From Jerusalem – not from New York.

Moshe Feiglin

I Am a Loser Today

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

First we must admit we lost the war with Hamas.

It will allow us to begin healing from our wounds. For until we make the admission that we are on the losing side in the war and remain in a state of denial about it, no recovery is possible. We are thankful to be alive, of course, there is that to be grateful for – we can write letters like these and feel some satisfaction in the small pleasures of daily life, but we lost the war, yes, we did.

If we all make the admission simultaneously it will be an even stronger spur to our recovery, for we will be able to move on and examine our options. But until we as a nation, say it out loud, we’re trapped in fear, despair and disappointment.

We lost the war with Hamas. Please, don’t be afraid to say it out loudly and clearly. Say it to yourself. Say it to your family and friends. Say it at work and in the streets. Let’s own our defeat and see how it feels before condemning it as defeatist or negative. I think it will do us a world of good, actually. Today, this Thursday morning, this week of Parshat Vayetze, we were defeated by Hamas.

We’re alive, unapologetic and eager to find the positive in the situation, but we are defeated. We lost the war with Hamas this week, you know. It hurts a lot. We were sure it was going to be a resounding win, a victory and a new beginning for Israeli citizens everywhere but especially in the south. Unfortunately, we lost the war with Hamas.

They won, you see, because they have two advantages over us, superior tactics and a superior strategy. I’m not writing an analysis; that’s for the historians and the war-college professors to do. I’m merely stating what needs to be said out loud for our health’s sake, today. We lost the war with Hamas.

I cry for us, for those who survive unscathed and for those who mourn their losses, all our collective losses. Their children are our children, their parents, our parents. We are all living in Sderot, we are all about five seconds from a devastating trauma – we all have the scars this morning from the war with Hamas which we lost.

We are a noble people, for the most part. God knows we seek no one any great harm, and rarely dream, as a nation, of committing genocide, rapine or plunder. But we must, for our health’s sake, admit that we are locked in a deathly embrace with Hamas who have beaten us this week, who have reduced us to the role of the vanquished, to the point where we were forced to sue for peace on their terms, on any terms. We need to internalize the simple fact that Islamists have forced us to settle, not for peace on any terms, but with a lull, a not-even-truce. They have graciously, as the victors, agreed to allow us a short respite, for as long as it takes them to rearm, regroup and reposition for the next battle in the war we have lost.

I am not ashamed to say I am an Israeli Jew, I am a loser today in the war with Hamas.

I’m ashamed of the men and women we voted into political power, whose duty it is to protect us, let us not sully our lips with their names, they know who they are. I will look for more savage politicians to vote into power next time, lesser practitioners of the reasonable arts – with frothier spittle and madder eyes.

I am ashamed for us, I’m crying for us. We seem to have lost our vision and our insight. We are lost in broad daylight, blinded by the truth and crippled by common sense.

Because it’s true, I admit it. We lost the war with Hamas.

Join with me, friends and family. Let us make the admission with contrition in our our hearts and all the earnestness at our command; We lost the war with Hamas.

Sheni Leumi

It’s My Opinion: Time To Talk Turkey

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Turkey, cranberry sauce and a harsh lesson in the reality of “land for peace” deals.

America will celebrate Thanksgiving on November 22. Tremendous effort has always been focused on portraying this time in a lovely, romanticized light, in which pilgrims and Native Americans worked together in harmony. The reality, however, is quite grim.

The Indians were the original “land for peace” advocates. They believed a nation has to negotiate with its enemies, not with its friends. They wanted to give peace a chance.

The Native Americans gave away their land for worthless peace treaties. They did not want to be viewed as “intransigent.” For the most part, they acquiesced. They thought that two peoples could share one land.

There were some who took the white man’s desire for their land as a declaration of war. These tribes fought fiercely to protect their domain. Perhaps they were viewed as misguided right-wing zealots.

The “peace now” contingent believed it could give the interlopers their own state within America’s borders and they would be satisfied. They thought wrong.

Their “peace partners” wanted it all. Their “road map” was called “Manifest Destiny.” The once proud Indian nation was crushed. They are now an insignificant minority in what once was their exclusive homeland.

The misguided attempt to be compliant ultimately led to the decline of the entire nation. For the most part they live in ghetto-like areas called reservations. The recent acquisition of Indian reservation casinos is a poor exchange for the pride of a viable nation.

We are taught, “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.” Israel could learn a lesson from the Native Americans, who gave “land for peace” and lived to regret their naivety.

The giveaway of Gaza is a prime example. Israel again acted in the mistaken belief that surrender of land would lead to peace. Instead a terrorist state now looms alongside its border.

Rockets fire down on innocent citizens. The dream turns into a nightmare. Israel now faces the threat of war.

Israel needs to stop the cycle of unilateral concessions and ceding of its land. Doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results is insanity. It’s time to talk Turkey.

Shelley Benveniste

Petraeus: Did a Great Man Have to Fall?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Did General Petraeus have to resign? He opened himself as head of the CIA to blackmail, which is a major security breach. So the argument goes. But surely once he admitted the affair, he presumably couldn’t be blackmailed any more. And yes I know there are many facts as yet unknown, like this mystery second woman who complained about email harassment. But for now, Petraeus seems to have resigned over marital infidelity. And if so, did he have to leave his position? Why, because he displayed personal weakness? But this was a public, as opposed to a private, position. And years of counseling unfaithful husbands and wives has taught me that private failings do not necessarily indicate public faithlessness.

Those who say that a man who cheats on his wife will cheat on the country forget how many privately moral men have been publicly immoral, and vice versa. As an example, there was never a suggestion that Richard Nixon even looked at a woman that wasn’t his wife. Neither did Jimmy Carter, and he was the worst president in memory. Conversely, my issue with Bill Clinton’s presidency was not Monica Lewinsky, which does not interest me in the slightest, but rather his moral failure to stop the Rwandan Genocide, which is utterly unconnected with his marriage. Thomas Jefferson was one of the great public men of the past thousand years, but he was replete with private moral failings, as was FDR, JFK, and LBJ.

It is my own opinion that an American hero like David Petraeus who served his country with distinction and honor deserved better than to leave his post in humiliation and ignominy, even if his own immoral actions brought it upon himself.

A few weeks ago, at the height of my campaign for Congress, a fellow Republican candidate got into hot water locally for comments she made about Martin Luther King whom she criticized a few years back as a womanizer. Two days later I gave a speech in which I explained that Christian morality demands perfection because Jesus is perfect. But Jewish morality is based on the idea of struggle, that people are human, have many failings, and their righteousness rests in the courage they show in wrestling with their nature to choose the good amid a predilection to do otherwise. Not one person in the Hebrew Bible is perfect. That and the Jewish emphasis of communal redemption over personal salvation – that what we do for others matters more than how personally virtuous we are – would have us acknowledge Martin Luther King as the greatest American of the twentieth century despite his personal failings. No other American did more to restore this great nation to its founding ideals of the equality of all of G-d’s children than King.

Similarly, few men have done more to combat terrorism and save human life in our generation than Petraeus. As the author of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and commander of the surge, he took a war being waged by terrorists that was claiming the lives of thousands of civilians, and humiliating the world’s foremost force for good in the world, the American military, and reversed the situation. As someone who proved that terrorism could be defeated when so many Americans had given up, he is owed a debt of gratitude by this and every other civilized nation.

Still, there are important lessons from the Petraeus tragedy.

The first is the admonition of the ancient Rabbis’ on the need for a certain alertness in even the everyday interactions between men and women, a notion that is scoffed at in modern society that wants to pretend men and women have melded into some sort of unisex gender. In an interview with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show this past January, Petraeus’s biographer and the woman he is alleged to have had the affair with, Paula Broadwell, said that the general had helped her in what she described as a mentoring relationship and that, given their shared passion for fitness, he took her running from time to time in Kabul. “That was the foundation of our relationship. For him, I think it was a good distraction from the war.”

Now, take a soldier who is away from his wife for lengthy periods of time, put him around an adoring female fellow member of the military for long stretches, and you have a potential problem. The same seems to have allegedly been the case with Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower and his British driver Kate Summersby during the Second World War. Men and women can, of course, be friends. But that presupposes they respect the natural attraction that adheres in most situations and safeguard against conditions that foster inappropriate intimacy. As the sage Hillel said, “Do not believe in yourself until the day you die.”

Then there is this: having counseled many men who were unfaithful to their wives, I discovered that the principal reason men cheat is the desire to be desired, to feel special and extraordinary, to counter the effects of a broken ego and low self-esteem by feeling wanted, especially by an admiring woman. How would this apply in the case of someone like Petraeus who was so universally admired? I’m not sure and it might not.

But all the biography now appearing about the General says he has always been driven, always been highly ambitious, and more often than not, ambition is fueled by the need and desire to prove oneself. The New York Times reported that Petraeus wanted to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but the Obama Administration, afraid of a high profile rival, pushed him in the direction of the CIA posting, with the concomitant lower, more secretive profile that was out of the press limelight. The same New York Times says that the affair began in earnest after he had taken his new posting. Did he miss the public acclaim? Did he begin to feel somewhat overlooked amid the immense power of his lower-profile role? Again, this is all mere speculation.

But the lesson for the rest of us mere mortals is that if someone of such iron discipline as General Petraeus can err this big, we all need to be on our guard – men and women alike – to get ego boosts from those things which are wholesome, holy, and healthy, rather than what is harmful, however hot.

Originally published on Rabbi Pruzansky’s blog, Rabbipruzansky.com.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Text of Romney Concession Speech

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This text was taken from a report by The Washington Post:

ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you so very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations.

ROMNEY: His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.

(APPLAUSE)

This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

And for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made.

(APPLAUSE)

And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.

(APPLAUSE)

I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: She would have been a wonderful first lady. She’s — she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.

I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led.

(APPLAUSE)

They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.

And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country — the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates — I don’t believe that there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years. Thank you so very much.

Thanks for all the hours of work, for the calls, for the speeches and appearances, for the resources and for the prayers. You gave deeply from yourselves and performed magnificently. And you inspired us and you humbled us. You’ve been the very best we could have imagined.

ROMNEY: The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.

And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion. We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery.

We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family.

We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes.

ROMNEY: We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward.

And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.

(APPLAUSE)

And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.

Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

I so wish — I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

Thank you, and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, guys.

(APPLAUSE)

Malkah Fleisher

Why Has New Jersey Been Forsaken?

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Is there anyone who can tell us what the heck is going on? We in New Jersey have no power, no heat, no lights, in some places little food, and no gas. Yes, I know these are mere inconveniences compared to those who have suffered the unspeakable tragedy of losing family members. At least 50 are dead from Sandy, and those lives are irreplaceable. We mourn their loss. But nothing should excuse New York and New Jersey looking like Armageddon.

Aren’t we the nation that rebuilt Iraq and have done tons of nation-building in Afghanistan? Can’t we put the lights and heat back on New Jersey? Is it asking too much to bring a bunch of fuel tankers here and end the 100 vehicle long lines that are growing larger by the day? Just getting from point A to point B has been like navigating an labyrinth since the gas lines have cut off so many of the streets. President Obama declared this area to be a Federal Disaster Area. But where is FEMA? Where are the troops? Where are the gas tankers?

On the news we see cities that are still underwater. Half of Manhattan has no electricity. Staten Islanders are desperate for food and shelter. Tens of thousands of residents on the Jersey Shore lost everything. But President Obama is back on the campaign trail in Ohio. Because I don’t want to politicize this, I’ll make the same point about Governor Romney. True, he’s the challenger, not the incumbent. But both the President and the Governor need to understand the extent of the catastrophe all around us and do something besides argue about mobs overseas. This is more immediate. President Obama is campaigning with the all the advantages of incumbency. But that entails all the responsibilities as well. And coming for a photo-op with Governor Christie then running back to Ohio ten times is wholly inadequate.

The people of this area deserve better. We’re taxed up the wazoo with the highest state and property taxes in the nation. For all that, we normally get crumbling infrastructure, potholes, and rusty bridges that cost $12 just to cross. To add a dismal and slow response to such a huge natural catastrophe is too much.

In the City of Englewood where I live nearly all the residents have no power. Trees are down everywhere. It would be nice to see the occasional electric crew repairing the wires or the occasional city crew chopping up the trees. It would be nice to hear more from Mayor Frank Huttle, who is running unopposed this Tuesday (yes, that’s what passes for democracy in our city), about when the power and heat will be back on.

Since Tuesday I have driven all over the Ninth District where I’m running for Congress. The police are out in strength, stopping you from going here, preventing you from going there. They’re trying to protect us and I thank them. But where are the relief crews?

Last year at almost precisely this time we had Tropical Storm Irene that became a freak snow storm that downed endless trees and caused huge flooding. We went without power for a week, unfortunately for us, the very week before my daughter’s wedding. Family and friends came from around the world. They sat and shivered for a week, thinking they had entered a third world country. They couldn’t wait to leave.

So it’s not as if we couldn’t see this coming. They promised us last year that it would not happen again. The next time they would be ready. Granted, the devastation this time is far worse. But the response seems far worse as well.

Three of my kids drive every morning from New Jersey to Brooklyn for Chabad yeshiva and seminary. Today, they waited three hours to get on the George Washington Bridge and eventually gave up. They joined with me instead as we drove around the district meeting people and hearing their tales of woe.

Not that we have much of a campaign left. My staff and I have been reduced to charging our phones and laptops on the floors of shopping malls, crowded Starbucks where there is no place to sit, and, especially in the cars. My run for Congress has become completely mobile. In the car we have heat, light, and the occasion cord for a laptop. And truth be told, it’s been great getting out at all out hours just to meet people, so there’s your blessing in disguise.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The Storm that United a Divided Nation

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

I’m sitting here with my kids on Monday night and, aside from the glow of the laptop, the Sabbath has come early this week. Outside Hurricane Sandy is pounding our New Jersey town of Englewood. Earlier in the day we saw trees bend like twigs and wind gusts tearing pieces of our roof clear off. This evening we said Psalms for all the people of the Northeastern United States to be safe and studied the Biblical portion of the day, appropriately, Abraham arguing with G-d to protect the inhabitants of his area condemned to destruction through the elements.

Just yesterday I was fully engaged in my campaign for the United States Congress. Winning, elections, and victory were on my mind. Boy, what a difference a day can make. Today, I just want my family and the 50 million people in the storm’s path to be safe. We just read of a man of 30 who lost his life when a tree fell on his house in Queens, NY. We read of two boys in New York State who lost their lives in similar circumstances. We’ve seen photos of people’s homes blown away. In Manhattan, a giant crane dangles and there is no telling whom it might hurt.

Does winning matter now?

As the storm approached I wondered what it all meant. I am a religious man and believe all to be providence. There are no coincidences. A freak storm, hitting New Jersey of all places, in late October, is so rare as to seriously raise eyebrows. And just a week before such momentous elections that will determine the future of our nation and who will be our President?

I cannot divine the mind of God and we would obviously all have been much better off without this storm. And while, by far, the most important thing is for everyone to be safe, and for the families of those who lost loved ones to be comforted, the storm’s arrival does suddenly put everything in perspective.

For the past few months America has been bitterly consumed by an election that has torn the country asunder. To an extent it’s understandable. While the tone has been at times quite negative, the stakes in this election are very high and the consequences for whichever visions wins very great. It’s understandable that passions are so intense.

Yet, along comes Frankenstorm, just days before the election, and knocks everything about the election clear off TV, newspapers, and the internet. Just try to find a candidate anywhere campaigning. President Obama and Governor Romney have both suspended their campaigns. Our own efforts here in New Jersey are focused on how we can help those who have most suffered in the storm. The only thing that matters now is people’s safety and wellbeing. Suddenly there is no talk of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, tax cuts and entitlements. There are no attack ads and there are no advocacy ads. All the talk is about protecting life, keeping people safe, and being there for each other.

In my book that’s coming out next month, The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering, I reject any belief that suffering is redemptive. I will not dignify human agony with according it some higher purpose. All suffering is awful and any good that comes by its means could be achieved far more effectively through something positive. Better there be no storms, better there be no danger. But to the extent this awful thing is here, perhaps God, in His providence, is telling us that unity is what life is all about and we’re just too darn divided.

Yes, I would prefer that we come together in the wake of something positive than negative. We don’t need hurricanes, we don’t need 9/11’s, we don’t need the murder of American Ambassadors in Benghazi to remind us that we’re one nation, one people, with one heart. Much better to unite around a man walking on the moon, a space shuttle lifting off, and Americans winning gold medals at the Olympics. Better to unite around inspirational stories of diseases being cured, people in danger being rescued, children who are hungry being fed. But to the extent that our country is way too divided, let’s internalize the message, just before one of the most partisan elections of all time, that there is nothing in life as special as unity, nothing more beloved by God than oneness among His children, nothing more inspirational that differences being put aside as humanity unites to protect life.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/the-storm-that-united-a-divided-nation/2012/10/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: