This film was shot on location in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) facilities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, by a TV crew hired by the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research.
Posts Tagged ‘nations’
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.Tzvi Fishman
Just when you thought authority brings with it a sense of proportionality and responsibility, we have the Arab Palestinians to remind us “ain’t necessarily so.”
When the “Palestine” delegation to the United Nations had its status upgraded to nonmember observer state last week, there were some who believed the name change would imbue Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues with a boost in both prestige and in seriousness.
But according to Haaretz, when UN members walked into the UN General Assembly Hall on the day after the vote, they saw that the sign identifying the delegation had been changed. Before the upgrade the sign had read “Palestine” – never mind that there was no such place as “Palestine.” But last Friday there was a new sign on the table in front of where the Arab Palestinian delegation sits. It read: “State of Palestine.”
If it wasn’t so pathetic it would be laughable. Actually, most people think it is both. Who else but people with little tiny egos and an even smaller list of nation building successes could need to – literally – put out a sign in an effort to show they fit in the actual world of serious statehood?
Anyway, the buttons-popping pride in their statehood – even if it is confined to a sign on the table – had to go because the Arab Palestinians did not follow the proper protocol in several different ways, including that any name change has to occur through a vote by the UN General Assembly. In addition, the sign was not made on the official machine that is used to create all signage at the UN.
This time the unilateral and illegal manueverings by the Arab Palestinians were treated appropriately and the “State of Palestine” sign was removed.
But wait, there’s more. Really.
Before the big vote to upgrade their status, the Arab Palestinians asked that Abbas be seated in a special chair on the stage at the UNGA meeting. When told by UN officials that such special chairs are only used at the opening September meetings, “Palestine’s” envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour looked into the matter. Mansour found that the Pope had been seated in a special chair on a regular UN voting day. “No fair!” he whined.
The reported response:
“With all due respect, Abbas is not the Pope, or the Queen of England,” UN officials told the Palestinian envoy, adding that such personalities receive the right due to their age and stature.
If only the 138 nations that voted to upgrade the Arab Palestinians’ status at the UN last week had been as scrupulous about the requirements for statehood as the UN officials were about protocol and appearances.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
I agree that this is a little like the joke about the police commissioner who boasts that while there has been an increase in crime incidents in the city, there are millions of citizens who have not committed any crimes in the past quarter — nevertheless, a measure of sanity among the world’s nations must be acknowledged and even praised.
The UN General Assembly today voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstaining, to upgrade the PLO’s observer status to the same level held by the Vatican, that of a “non-member state.”
An email sent out last night by UN Watch notes that although the number of Yes votes may appear large, in fact it amounted to the usual automatic majority for any resolution attacking Israel — and the proposal actually won 28 fewer votes than a pro-Palestinian resolution adopted last week, and fewer than is usually received by such resolutions.
Moreover, as UN Watch also reported — in a Tweet reposted by Canadian Cabinet Minister Rona Ambrose among many others — the PLO won 38 fewer than the 176 votes the U.N. General Assembly gave to genocidal Sudan when recently electing it to a principal U.N. body that oversees human rights.
Let’s be grateful for small favors. Think of it, there are 50 whole nations out there that are not sure they want Israel to be erased from the map, and 9 of them are actually against the idea at this time!
Although mostly symbolic, the statehood designation, as President Abbas boasted last year in a New York Times op-ed, paves the way for the “internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter,” enabling the PLO to pursue claims against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Incidentally, just so you wouldn’t be completely overcome by euphoria, the UN Human Rights Council is planning to release a massive report in early 2013 — by a commission of inquiry modeled after the one that produced the notorious Goldstone Report — which is likely to recommend the ICC prosecution of Israeli officials for “war crimes” in connection with the settlements.Yori Yanover
A friend just back from New York says it’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas everywhere you go. Xmas trees, manger scenes, Salvation Army Santas, stockings and candy canes in window displays along Fifth Avenue, Jingle Bells tinkling in the stores…. Frankly, I don’t understand how any self-respecting Jew can live in a Christian country like America when he could live in Israel instead. It baffles me.
Here, in Yerushalayim, our pleasant Hanukah menorah decorations are lit up over our streets. There’s absolutely no sign of Xmas at all. In fact, if you didn’t get lost on the way to Rachel’s Tomb and end up in Bethlehem on Xmas day itself, you’d never know that such a pagan holiday existed. Thank the good Lord that my kids don’t have to walk the streets of America at this time of year and feel like second-class citizens amongst the idol worshippers. I challenge someone to disagree with me if I’m wrong.
Just so the jolly little elves and white-bearded Santas don’t fool you, it pays to recall the truth about Christianity.
During the midst of World War 1, Rabbi Kook understood that Christianity was to blame for all the slaughter:
“The moral repression found in the profane culture which exerted vast dominion over the nations, brought oppression to their hearts, and caused evil traits, diseases, and anger to multiply and be pent up in the depths of their souls. And now these are erupting their fetters through the horrendously bloody and awesomely cruel wars, which are more in keeping with their still unrefined natures” (Orot, 2:4).
Rabbi Kook comes to explain how an enlightened, industrialized, and cultured Europe could unleash such destructive barbaric forces that brought the world to war. What went wrong?
The “profane culture” he writes about which has come to dominate Western civilization is the outgrowth of Christianity, whose doctrines of repression have now burst through Christianity’s outer guise of gentility and brotherhood in a monstrous storm of violence and hate. This is because, in denying the Torah and its commandments, Christianity separated mankind from the true ladder to God. Unlike the constant self-correction and moral improvement demanded by the Torah, through the hard work of perfecting character traits, Christianity’s false show of morals, and instant salvation for belief in its virgin-born messiah, proved impotent in uplifting man’s baser traits. Only the Torah has the unique power to refine man’s nature. All other disciplines, whether religious, secular, or philosophical, can add to man’s quantitative knowledge, but they cannot effect any inner change.
Christian civilization, and the profane secular culture which grew out from it, know what is evil, but does not know how to correct it. It learned about morals from the Hebrew Bible, but in cutting itself off from Israel and the commandments of the Torah, it severed mankind from the one and only path to God and true morality. It left man simmering in darkness in a cauldron of unrefined passions and lusts which finally exploded in the devastating world wars of the previous century.
Judaism, in contrast, presents a practical path and down-to-earth guidance to character perfection. Our Sages teach us how to actualize the proper midot (character traits) in our lives, defining the measure of each and every trait, and their proper time and place. For example, in his “Introduction to the Mishna,” the Rambam presents his famous doctrine of “the Middle Path,” whereby man reaches a balance between the extremes, not repressing his baser emotions like lust and cruelty, but learning to give each emotion its proper expression in the proper time and place, so that sexuality becomes a holy union between man and wife, and cruelty is called upon when uprooting the wicked from the world.
“L’havdil” a thousand thousands of differences, Christianity, under a guise of holiness, condemns man’s natural passions from birth. But mankind cannot adhere to the repression of character traits that Christianity imposes, because it does not provide man with a true means to holiness and moral refinement. Cut off from the Torah, Christianity breeds a culture which dooms man to guilt, aggression, and a festering rage which explodes in violence and war.
Inevitably, the target of the world’s murderous rage turns against the Jews. Behind the hatred for Israel lies the recognition that it was the Jewish People who introduced the Divine moral framework to the world. Cut off from the true word of God, mankind remains in its barbaric state. The Divine moral message of Israel is received as an obligation and burden. Mankind wants to wallow in an uninhibited sensual and material lifestyle. The Jewish People get in the way by reminding the world of God and the allegiance due Him. Unable to kill the beasts within themselves, the gentiles resort to killing the Jews.
Although Rabbi Kook was unequivocal in his condemnation of Christianity, it is important to note that he never encouraged open conflict with its doctrines. He advocated that other religions be enlisted in the universal task of leading the world to God:
“As to alien faiths, I will tell you my opinion, that it is not the goal of Israel to uproot and destroy them, just as we do not aim for the general destructions of the nations, but rather for their correction and elevation, the removal of their dross, that they will link themselves with the source of Israel, where dew drops of light and blessing will fall over them, as it says, ‘I will take away the blood form out of his mouth, and his detestable things from between his teeth, and he too shall remain for our God’” (Zechariah, 9:7. See “Letters of Rabbi Kook” 112).
Only in the near future, when Israel’s light shines in its full glory from the Land of Israel, will the nations realize that the true enlightenment and joy is not in Santas and fairy tales from Bethlehem, but in the Torah of Israel, and then they will rush gladly to the Lord’s House in Jerusalem to learn the ways of Jacob, and “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah, 2:2-4).
May it be soon. Amen.Tzvi Fishman
Not all the news was good today, but some of it was heartening. In response to days of rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel, and targeted attacks – with anti-tank missiles – on Israeli infantry patrols near the fence between Israel and, the IDF launched an operation on Wednesday 14 November to eliminate terrorists in Gaza and destroy weapons caches. One of Operation Pillar of Defense’s first achievements was taking out multifarious Hamas terrorist Ahmed Jabari.
Here’s the video of the pinpoint strike on Jabari – who, it is to be remembered, is responsible for attacks over the last two decades in which dozens of Israelis were killed. Jabari organized Hamas for the Second Intifada and for the Hamas coup in Gaza in 2007, as well as overseeing the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Jabari and at least three other Hamas terrorists have been killed in Pillar of Defense, which is also targeting rocket launch sites in Gaza and weapons storage facilities.
According to the IDF blog, as of the time of this writing, Iron Dome has been used to intercept 25 rockets since the operation in Gaza began. This indicates that the rocket barrage has been extensive. Iron Dome isn’t used to intercept rockets that will fall harmlessly in unpopulated areas, nor can it intercept shorter-range rockets with a low-altitude trajectory. Its intercepts typically represent a small percentage of the total rockets launched.
IDF image: Hamas rocket launch site in Zeitoun, Gaza Moreover, it was reportedly confirmed that four rockets were launched into southern Israel from the Sinai Peninsula (Egyptian territory). These rockets were probably launched by Hamas operatives, but may have been launched by other jihadis in the Sinai.
It’s too early to predict how extensive this will become, but it can be said that in the first day of Pillar of Defense, Hamas (and possibly another terrorist group) has kept firing.
Mohammed Morsi recalled his ambassador to Israel over the new military operation, and summoned Israel’s ambassador in Egypt for a dressing down. I don’t think Morsi is prepared right now to exploit an unstable situation in Gaza and the Sinai – and in any case, he’s not interested in bolstering Hamas’s political fortunes, because he’s got his own vision for Jerusalem and the land of Israel.
A little-noted event this week tended to confirm that. Foreign ministers from the Arab League and the European Union, meeting in Cairo this week,failed on Tuesday to offer endorsement for the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral statehood bid in the UN, which Mahmoud Abbas plans to take up on 29 November. The foreign ministers agreed that a two-state solution needs to be negotiated, but fell short of endorsing the unilateral statehood bid.
For the Arab ministers, the reluctance to endorse a bid their nations were keen on only a year ago is due to the paradigm shift in the wake of the Arab Spring, something I wrote about in August. The “Palestinian narrative” is being sidelined, because of the new prospect of Islamized nations – e.g., Egypt – prosecuting a radical-Islamist vision involving Jerusalem.
The European ministers are a separate issue. Some of them may have been eager to endorse the unilateral statehood bid, but the truth is that the paradigm shift has reduced its importance. Europeans are worried about Syria, and a posture on Syria is what they agreed on in Cairo. As long as Israel can defend herself and remain the enduring fact of her region, the most proximate concern for Europe is who gets hold of Syria. EU bureaucrats may see Syria through a silly ideological lens, but most of the foreign ministries are undeceived about the quality of much of the Syrian opposition. The point of working with it is pragmatic: to gain leverage by supporting it, and possibly be a moderating influence. Several of the Arab nations – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq – want the same thing the Europeans do.
There is a post-American air to the whole series of events in the last two days. There is no noticeable expectation that American influence will be an active factor in the unfolding of this crisis. The US State Department posted an interesting statement on the events in Gaza, condemning Hamas but referencing no US policy stance. It is gratifying, of course, to see State endorsing Israel’s right to self defense. It’s not clear that the final two sentences, which form a lecture to Hamas, were worth saying.J. E. Dyer
All things move in the midst of death, even nations and civilizations. From 1948 to the present day, certain of Israel’s prime ministers, facing war, terrorism, or even genocide, have been deeply reluctant to admit core national vulnerabilities. Indeed, rather than acknowledge the plainly exterminatory intent and (increasingly) the corollary destructive capacity of determined enemies, these leaders have sometimes opted for (1) so-called terrorist exchanges; 2) utterly inexcusable deals of land for nothing; and (3) endlessly assorted surrenders of power.
Yet let us be fair. This assuredly is not the whole story. As we all know, during its very short post-Holocaust life, Israel has accomplished extraordinary feats in science, medicine, agriculture, education, and industry. Its remarkable military institutions, far exceeding all reasonable expectations, have fought, interminably and heroically, to prevent any new forms of post-Holocaust annihilation.
It goes without saying that every Jew on earth, and many millions of others, must be unequivocally grateful.
It is a record possibly without equal in human history.
Nonetheless, almost from the beginning the indispensable Israeli fight for survival has not been premised on appropriately optimal foundations. This fight should have been erected upon a central fact of the reconstituted Jewish commonwealth. This fact concerns land.
From the critical standpoint of legal provenance, all of the disputed land still controlled by Israel has incontestable Israeli title. It follows that protracted diplomatic negotiations between Israel and its “partners for peace” continue to rest upon basically misconceived or erroneous jurisprudential premises.
History remains a violent preceptor. Had Israel determinedly sustained its own birthright narrative of Jewish sovereignty, and without submitting to periodic and enervating forfeitures of both land and dignity, the national future, though still problematic, would likely have been meaningfully tragic. But by choosing instead to fight in ways that ultimately transformed its stunning victories on the battlefield to incremental capitulations at the conference table, this future may ultimately have to be written as farce.
Sometimes, truth is counterintuitive. In true life, as well as in literature and poetry, the tragic hero is always an object of admiration, not a pitiable creature, or one of humiliation. From Aristotle to Shakespeare to Camus, tragedy always reveals the very best in human understanding, perseverance, and purposeful action. Once aware that entire nations, like the individual human beings who comprise them, are never quite forever, the tragic hero nevertheless does everything possible merely to stay alive.
For Israel, and, in principle, for every other imperiled nation on earth, the only real alternative to tragic heroism is humiliation, or pathos. By their incessant unwillingness to decline any semblance of a Palestinian state as intolerable (because, as I have written so often in The Jewish Press, an acceptance of “Palestine” in any form would be unendurable), Israel’s current leaders have nurtured a genuinely schizophrenic Jewish reality in the “new” Middle East. This reality is a Jewish state that is, at one and the same time, unimaginably successful and incomparably fragile. Over time, the result of this ironic combination may be a palpable sense of national madness.
More than any other region on earth, the Islamic Middle East and North Africa is “governed” by unreason. Oddly, this observation has been reinforced rather than contradicted by the grotesquely twisting patterns of “democratic revolution” across the area. Earlier, while the pundits, politicos, and journalists had optimistically expected the fall of area-tyrants to be an unreservedly good thing, actual events have moved in substantially different directions.
To be sure, both Libya and Syria may yet fall to industrious jihadist elements. Already, post-Mubarak Egypt is run by a figure drawn conspicuously from the Muslim Brotherhood. In non-Arab Iran, which will soon become a hostile nuclear power, because neither Israel nor the United States had effectively stood in its way, preparations are underway to further assist Sunni Hamas allies in Gaza, and to gainfully energize Shiite Hizbullah surrogates in Lebanon. In both unstable venues, the enemy objective is an Islamic victory against “the Jews.”
In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia put an end to the Thirty Years War, the last of the great European religious wars sparked by the Reformation. In the Middle East and North Africa, however, we may only be at the start of the next great religious wars. If they are fought with biological and/or even nuclear weapons, such conflicts could rage until every flower of culture is trampled, and until all things human are leveled in a vast chaos.Louis Rene Beres