Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’
You learn interesting new things when you visit different towns and Minyanim. Today I learned of a Ramban on Parsha Chukat (the weekly Torah portion that is read in on Shabbat) that I hadn’t seen before, courtesy of Ari Fuld, who gave the Rabbi’s drasha in his neighborhood’s shul.
In Bamidbar 21:1-3 it says,
1:. The Canaanite, King of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel had come by way of Attarim, and he waged war against Israel and took from them a captive.
2:. Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You deliver this people into my hand, I shall consecrate their cities.”
3: The Lord heard Israel’s voice and delivered the Canaanite. He destroyed them and [consecrated] their cities, and he called the place Hormah.
Seemingly the Canaanites attacked Israel, and to Israel’s surprise managed to take a hostage.
Israel then realized something was off, because they shouldn’t have suffered any losses.
So they then pray to God that they should be victorious over this unspecified, enemy nation.
They then destroy the “Canaanites”.
The Targum Yonatan Ben Uziel explicitly translates Canaanite in this first sentence as Amalek, in the third sentence he reverts back and calls them Canaanites.
Why is that?
Rashi points out that just a few chapters earlier in Bamidbar 13:29 it say:
29: The Amalekites dwell in the Negev land, while the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountainous region. The Canaanites dwell on the coast and alongside the Jordan.”
This king of Arad should have been Amalek, not a Canaanite.
So what’s going on here?
The explanation given is that Amalek believed that Israel could defeat them in battle.
They hoped to confuse Israel and God by changing their clothing and language, pretending to be local Canaanites. Their plan was that Israel would pray to defeat the Canaanites and not Amalek, and thus, by praying for the wrong thing, Israel would lose, and they, Amalek, would end up victorious.
But Israel, after a hostage was taken, quickly realizes that something is off, and that they obviously weren’t fighting the Canaanites like they thought.
So they modified their prayer to be generic towards whichever nation it is they were fighting. And of course, as we know, they won.
As an aside, the hostage that was taken is believed to have been a foreign maidservant – not even an Israelite. But Israel decided to fight full-force to save one of their own, even a foreign maidservant (an important and relevant lesson for today).
Anyway, after modifying their prayers appropriately, Israel is victorious, as if Amalek were the Canaanites they thought they were originally fighting.
Now here’s the most interesting part:
The Ramban (Nachmanidies) say here about the Canaanite/Amalek:
“They [Amalek] came from a far away land, (specifically) to fight with Israel.”
Doesn’t that sound exactly like another group of people pretending to be indigenous, whose sole goal often appears to be nothing more than to kill or kidnap Jews, and destroy the Jewish state? (The answer is yes).
By the way, the Ramban mentions the maidservant was saved – may we also be zocheh that Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel be safely saved and returned home.
Dozens of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails ended their protest Wednesday. Dozens of terrorists were hospitalised in Israel as a result of the strike, which also prompted Knesset discussions about force-feeding the prisoners.
No details of the agreement with the Israel Prison Service were announced, but Shawqi al-Ayasa, the minister of prisoner affairs for the newly-formed Palestinian unity government, told Agence France Presse that “a major portion of prisoners’ demands had been met.”
As of this writing, Israeli officials have not reacted to the announcement.
According to Palestinian reports, Qadura Fares, a former minister in the Palestinian Legislative Council and long-time advocate for Palestinian prisoners, said said the agreement “states that the prisoners stay in hospital until they recover, and then they will be taken to the prisons they were in before the strike while Israel ends punitive measures against them.”
The measures included limited visits by family members as well as removal of televisions and other amenities from their jail rooms.Meir Halevi Siegel
The latest Arab social media campaign is the three-fingered salute, celebrating the kidnapping of three Jewish boys, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shayar and Naftali Frenkel, by Hamas.
They’re calling it the the “three Shalits” in reference to Gilad Shalit who was captured and kept hostage by Hamas until Israel released 1000 terrorists in exchange.
Now, look what all these proud Palestinian Authority parents have done. They’ve baked cakes. They photographed their little children showing solidarity with Hamas for kidnapping the boys.
They then proudly post the photographs of their children celebrating the kidnapping of Jewish children onto all the social media sites.
What a sick society they have created and are perpetrating onto the next generation.
Update: The blog Israellycool has amassed a very large collection of these photos.
Palestinian Authority security services assaulted a large group of journalists Wednesday. The group was covering a Hamas protest against the detention of Hamas members by the Palestinian Authority at Lion Square in downtown Ramallah.
According to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA) a Ramallah-based media watchdog group, PA security forces insulted the journalists, confiscated equipment, and prevented them from filming the event.
One victim, Filistin al-Yom cameraman Hadi Al-Dibbs, told MADA that plainclothes security forces attacked and punched him, then tried to seize his camera and prevented him from taking photos. Another man, an independent photographer named Mohammed Jaradat, said police broke into his office overlooking the square having spotted him photographing from the balcony. He was detained and police confiscated his camera. Others were beaten badly enough to require medical treatment from the Red Crescent Society.
In a statement posted on the MADA website, the organization said there has been a sharp escalation since the Palestinian Unity Government agreement was signed on June 2. The organization also demanded the Palestinian Authority investigate the attack and hold the individuals involved responsible.
However, one of the wounded journalists said he did not expect the Palestinian Authority to follow through on the incident. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is afraid of government retribution, the journalist said those calling on the Palestinian Authority to show responsibility simply do not understand who they are dealing with.
“You want Abu Mazen to ‘investigate’?”, the journalist told The Jewish Press. “The Palestinian Authority has been harassing journalists since it was founded. Why do you think this episode will be any different?”Meir Halevi Siegel
Conventional American wisdom has it that bringing Hamas into a Fatah-led government will be a moderating force on the terror group. Give them something to lose, they say, and they won’t be so fast to give it up.
It appears, unfortunately, that the opposite is actually true. Ihab al-Ghussein, a former spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said Sunday that Abu Mazen has assured Hamas leaders that he has no intention of fulfilling his commitments to the United States. Instead, al-Guyessein said that Abu Mazen’s public statements have been constructed “in order to ‘trick the Americans’”.
According to Palestinian Media Watch al-Ghussein posted a note on his Facebook page poking fun at Palestinians who trust Abbas and the reconciliation. “You know what Mahmoud Abbas says behind closed doors?? He says: ‘Guys, let me [continue] saying what I say to the media. Those words are meant for the Americans and the occupation (i.e., Israel), not for you [Hamas].
“What’s important is what we agree on among ourselves. In other words, when I go out [publicly] and say that the government is my [Abbas] government and it recognizes ‘Israel’ and so on, fine – these words are meant to trick the Americans. But we agree that the government has nothing to do with politics (i.e., foreign relations). The same thing happened in 2006,’ he [Abbas] said: ‘Don’t harp on everything I tell the media, forget about the statements in the media,’” al-Ghussein wrote.Meir Halevi Siegel
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In the same vein, plainly-stated, simple facts speak louder than a thousand scholarly articles by top political “analysts.” So, here goes: in the view of the current United States administration, Hamas’ participation in the Palestinian Authority government is legitimate. Building permits for Jews in Judea and Samaria are criminal.
In many ways, Washington’s stance on the current Israel-Palestinian diplomatic dustup illustrates the failure of President Obama’s foreign policy on a host of issues, particularly in the Middle East. Obama won election in 2008 calling for “changes” to America’s domestic and foreign policies, saying he would be prepared to talk to the government of Iran and promising to “re-brand” American foreign policy after the aggressive, “you’re-with-us-or-against-us” approach of George W. Bush.
In that vein, the president’s June, 2009 speech at Cairo University calling for a “re-set” of America’s relations with the Muslim world was hailed as a breakthrough moment: The president spoke passionately about the “dignity and peace” that many people find in their Muslim faith, quoted the “holy Koran” and called for a ”new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.
However, it quickly became clear that Obama lacked either the understanding or the conviction to redefine America-Muslim relations in a way that would be consistent with democratic principles and supportive of American political interests in the region.
The first challenge to Obama’s offer for a new beginning came quickly: Eight days after the president appeared in Cairo on June 5, 2009, mass protests broke out around Iran as young people claimed that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and the mullahs of the Islamic Revolution had falsified election results. The government response was brutal: Several people were killed, hundreds were imprisoned.
But dissident groups both in- and out of Iran were stunned when Mr Obama, then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and other American officials remained silent. Eventually the protests were quashed; several participants were hanged, included a 45-year-old mother of two who held dual nationality between the Netherlands and Iran.
The second challenge to Obama’s offer to re-define American-Muslim relations came a year-and-a-half later, in December, 2010 and continues to this day. For the second time in his presidency, pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in the Middle East, this time around the Arab world. Again, however, the protests caught the US administration by surprise. This time, the protests presented a challenge to US interests: thousands of people calling for the ouster of US-backed dictators, versus the unappetising alternative of a likely radical Islamist takeover were truly democratic elections to be held.
Obama’s own Cairo speech could have given the president guidance on how to react to the protests – “government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy,” the president said in 2009.
Instead, Obama chose to throw his support behind radical governments like Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. Rather than announcing that American aid would be tied to the clear maintenance of liberty for opposition and minority groups, Morsi enjoyed Washington’s full support for the year he was in office. Eventually, it took a military coup, rather than public pressure from Washington, to oust the Moslem Brotherhood.Meir Halevi Siegel