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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Netanyahu Tells Knesset Session Honoring Shimon Peres: ‘Peace Will Not Be Achieved at Futile Conferences’

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

During Monday’s special Knesset session honoring the memory of Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the peace summit that took place in Paris a day earlier, saying “peace will not be achieved by force or from above, not at futile conferences, and not by foreign dictates. It can only be achieved in direct negotiations between the sides.”

Netanyahu said that Peres, Israel’s ninth president and former prime minister who died in September at the age of 93, “spoke of a new Middle East; of a world where peace provides security. He wanted an era of rationalism, progress and tolerance between people and nations. Unfortunately, this has not come to pass.”

“The transition to the 21st century has taught us that the waves of fanaticism continue to be high, the forces of radical Islam have become stronger, and the storm they are causing is sweeping the area around us,” the PM told the session, which was held in the presence of President Reuven Rivlin and members of the Peres family. “In these circumstances it is clear – and I believe this was clear to Shimon as well – that alongside our aspirations for peace, we must constantly bolster our strength and prevent harm to our sovereignty.”

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog called Peres “one of the greatest leaders of the Jewish people in recent generations.”

“Not necessarily because of his political leadership,” he said, “but due to his groundbreaking activities in all areas, including defense, welfare, the economy, and education. But I think that above all, Shimon Peres will be remembered in Israel’s history books as one who looked reality in the eye and rather than be deterred or try to keep it as is, he chose to change it.”

“It appears”, Herzog said in his speech, “that recently there has been a certain attempt to dim Peres’ peace doctrine; his faith in the two-state vision and [his efforts to achieve] a comprehensive peace with our Palestinian neighbors. Therefore, it is important to remember his doctrine – here and now, in this plenum. Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres marched together towards the bold act in order to preserve the Jewish nation’s one and only democratic state.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Peres dedicated much of his life, mainly as a politician and public figure, to “realizing his vision of peace between Israel and its neighbors, but, unfortunately, the public discourse on the possibility of realizing this vision, as well as the question of the heavy price many believe this would entail – myself amongst them – have turned ‘peace’ into an offensive term among a large segment of the public.”

This dispute, Speaker Edelstein stated, “continues to tear Israeli society to shreds.”

“Differences of opinion are legitimate and necessary, but not when they get out of control. Here the disagreement quickly turns to hatred, to a deep rivalry, from which the way to incitement and public shaming is short,” he said.

Edelstein said Israelis “will continue to draw strength from Peres’ actions, strength and spirit.”


The Middle East Peace Conference: Why Does Europe Hate Israel?

Monday, January 16th, 2017

In the December issue of Foreign Affairs, Thorsten Benner, co-founder and director of the Global Public Policy Institute, in Berlin, reported that intelligence officials and political leaders in France and Germany have increased their warnings of Russian intentions of interfering with the national elections scheduled for April and May in France and September in Germany.

The primary objective of Russian intervention is “to corrode democratic norms and institutions by discrediting the electoral process and to tarnish the reputations of democratic governments in order to establish a kind of moral equivalence between Russia and the West.” Benner concludes that since both countries are not yet prepared to respond to the threats, the Russians will succeed.

In the midst of this potential electoral crisis, the ongoing physical destruction of Syria and the annihilation of its civilian population, the ongoing violence in European cities as a result of the influx of Middle East immigrants, the concern about European debt, and Iran’s existential threat, it is astounding that France has decided to host a Middle East Peace Conference on January 15, 2017–all the more astonishing for it being virtually on the eve of the inauguration of a new US President whose public statements appear to be at variance with the fundamental objectives of this proceeding.. As Yisrael Medad notes, the draft requires:

1. Both sides to restate their commitment to the two-state solution, and to disavow official voices on their side that reject this solution

2. Each side independently demonstrates, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution and refrains from unilateral steps

3. Restates the validity of the Arab Peace Initiative (whatever that might be, post-Iran nuclear deal);

4. Reaffirms that they will not recognize any changes to the  June 4,1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations; also reaffirm that they will distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;

5. Welcomes the prospect of closer cooperation between the European Quartet and the Arab League members to further the objectives of this Declaration and enhance, if necessary, existing mechanisms.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the conference “rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices, to adopt additional anti-Israeli stances. This pushes peace backwards, it’s not going to obligate us. It’s a relic of the past, a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

How France can be considered a neutral party is beyond comprehension. On January 10, 2017 Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, documented “French government support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support discriminatory BDS campaigns against Israel and with alleged ties to terror groups.” (http://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/french-funding-bds-terror/).

French and other western European hostility toward Israel should not come as a surprise according to Steven J. Rosen, who served for 23 years as one of the leading officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). “The strongest external force pressuring the U.S. government to distance itself from Israel is not the Arab-American organizations, the Arab embassies, the oil companies, or the petrodollar lobby,” he said. “Rather, it is the Europeans, especially the British, French, and Germans, that are the most influential Arab lobby to the U.S. government.” This is why the Arabs prefer dealing with the US through Brussels, London or Paris. They consider “Europe to be the soft underbelly of the U.S. alliance with Israel and the best way to drive a wedge between the two historic allies.”

Rosen theorizes that the Europeans pursue this policy for a number of reasons. In terms of import markets, the Arab Gulf States import hundreds of billions a year more than Israel. At the UN, Israel has one vote; Arabs have 25 and the Muslim nations control 50 votes.

Another possibility is the guilt many Europeans might harbor about their imperial past leads them erroneously to assume Israelis are subjugating citizens of the Third World.  The burgeoning influence of their own Muslim populations (e.g., Arabs in France, Turks in Germany, and South Asians in Britain) and the need to appease them could be another reason. Some analysts postulate that Europeans might derive a degree of pleasure in criticizing Israeli Jews, thus relieving or lessening their own guilt for the Holocaust.

While the record shows that Western democracies and the US have resorted to harsher methods in conflicts far removed from their own territory than Israel employs in its own backyard, Europeans, perhaps deliberately, fail to appreciate that Israel “is a democracy at war, living in a mortally dangerous neighborhood,” that must defend herself in a manner that appeasement minded Europeans contradictorily at times call “excessive.” Israeli philosopher and political theorist Yoram Hazony offers another reason why the Europeans viscerally loathe Israel. Efforts to delegitimize Israel, he says, have become more effective regardless of any particular Israeli policy.  To understand what drives this hatred, we must see Israel through European eyes.

After Israel was founded as a nation-state, dozens of other independent states were established throughout the Third World. Since World War II, many intellectuals and political figures in Europe attribute the crimes of National Socialism to the nation-state. The idea that nations can arm themselves and use their weapons for self-defense is now seen as barbaric.  For the first time in 350 years, the idea of the independent nation state is viewed by many as a source of incalculable evil, and no longer the foundation of our liberties.

For most Jews, Auschwitz demonstrates their failure to protect themselves and their families. They depended on the West for help that never came. Only the state of Israel stands as a bulwark against this catastrophe from occurring again. Many Europeans, however, see Auschwitz as the direct result of nations deciding for themselves how to employ their military power.

To preclude this evil from ever being repeated again, the theory goes, national states of Europe must be dismantled, and joined together under a single international government such as the European Union (Brexit notwithstanding). Only the EU can prevent a future Auschwitz. Israel’s persistence in pursuing national self-determination and defending herself, explains the virtually infinite hatred so many feel towards the Jewish state. For many, the Jews have become the new Germans—“Israel is Auschwitz.”

While other nations willingly sacrifice their independence, Israel selfishly clings to her own state and uses force to defend herself, considered to be illegitimate. Since in this view Israel is, in some way, “a variant on Nazism,” then changes in Israeli policies or PR are irrelevant. “An improved Auschwitz is still Auschwitz.” While Jews are horrified about hearing about “Israel’s destruction,” some are actively already working for her demise.

To the chagrin of these internationalists, European animosity toward Israel in the long run is destined to be self-defeating.  As Paul Johnson, an English journalist and historian, has warned: “So Israel is envied and hated; and efforts are made to destroy her. The extermination of the Israelis has long been the prime objective of the Terrorist International.”  The terrorists “calculate that if they can break Israel, then all the rest of civilisation is vulnerable to their assaults.”

Alex Grobman

Middle East Peace Conference? You’ve Got to be Kidding…

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

“With whom should we make peace? With those that swear never to rest until they push all of us into the sea? With those who cheer the slaughter of our children?…” This clip unveils the thoughts and perceptions of Israeli society that you won’t hear anywhere else.

David Israel

Hundreds Rally Against Anti-Israel Paris ‘Peace’ Conference

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators rallied near the Paris “Middle east Peace” conference on Sunday. The rally was organized by NGOs Lev HaOlam and Pillar of Fire and attracted protesters from across Europe: France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, who raised Israeli flags and signs supporting Israel.

Hundreds rally against anti-Israel Paris 'peace' conference

Hundreds rally against anti-Israel Paris ‘peace’ conference

Lev HaOlam Dutch activist Carolina said: “We came down here to stand at Israel’s right and against the self-righteousness of the seventy countries who follow the farewell gift from Obama and John Kerry. The atmosphere here is wonderful, a lot of people, a thrilling sight! Am Israel Hai!”

Lev HaOlam founder Attorney Nati Rum said, “It’s heart-warming to see more and more people getting up and acting against these anti-Semitic decisions and the voices wishing to harm Israel.”

David Israel

Tweet to Paris: ‘Push Abbas to Negotiate Peace Directly With Israel’

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the only way forward to a true peace is between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In a graphic posted to the ministry’s Twitter feed, the MFA wrote that international delegates heading to the so-called Paris “peace summit” set to begin on Sunday should instead be pushing Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate directly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last week Mr. Netanyahu discussed the upcoming conference with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who said he is attending the summit and looks forward to further discussions with Israel on peace.

“It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances,” the prime minister said at his meeting with the minister.

“This pushes peace backwards. It’s not going to obligate us. It’s a relic of the past. It’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

Minister Borge also met with Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely during his visit. The two discussed bilateral relations as well as their individual perspectives on peace – and kosher sushi.

Hana Levi Julian

Justice Minister Shaked: Our Father Abraham Purchased This Place With A Valid Legal Document

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the Jewish community in Hebron on Tuesday (Jan. 10) for a tour of the ancient Jewish holy sites in the city.

The Justice Minister told reporters she was pleased to be “at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron where our father’s fathers walked and were even buried.

“Lately, much has been said regarding our rights to this land, and many legal issues as well,” she said.

“Let us teach those who do not know: Abraham our father bought this place paying full price and a written deed — maybe the first of its kind in the world — and therefore it is obvious the Jewish community has every right to be here, including by right of purchase.

“It is specifically at this time, when the UN condemns Israel’s right to build in Judea and Samaria, [that] it is important to come here, to strengthen the Jewish community in Hebron and to proclaim that we will indeed hold the right to keep building in Judea and Samaria.”

Just the night before, Israeli Border Guard Police officers had prevented a major terrorist attack when they stopped a suspicious-looking vehicle traveling in the Hebron area.

A search of the vehicle, which bore license plates from a stolen Israeli vehicle, turned up a hatchet, a rifle, a sizable quantity of ammunition and weapons parts. A body search of the driver also revealed he was carrying a commando knife, but was without identity papers of any kind. Nor was he willing to answer questions or cooperate with police.

Hana Levi Julian

TORAH SHORTS: Parshat Vayigash: Party Sacrifice of Peace

Thursday, January 5th, 2017
Up until the time of Jacob, the animal sacrifices that our ancestors brought to God were completely consumed by fire. The entire beast was burnt in a ceremony known in Hebrew as a Korban Olah. This act demonstrated a total submission and entreaty to God. It all went to God. Jacob does something different.
Jacob is informed that his beloved long-lost son Joseph was alive and not dead as he was lead to believe for twenty-two long years. As he rushes down to Egypt to reunite with Joseph, Jacob offers a different type of sacrifice, which is called Zevachim and also Shelamim (peace offerings). In this sacrifice, part of the animal is burnt upon the altar, but here man also partakes of the meat of the sacrifice.
In the words of Rabbi Hirsch on Genesis 46:1:
“[The peace offerings] express a loftier concept, that of “God coming into our midst.” They are therefore offered in the happy awareness that wherever a family lives in harmony, is faithful to its duty and feels that it is being upheld by God, there God is present. That is why the spirit of the Shelamim, the “peace offerings” of a family life blessed by God, is so typically Jewish. The concept of surrendering to God and permitting oneself to be absorbed by Him has begun to dawn also upon non-Jewish minds. But the thought that everyday life can become so thoroughly pervaded by the spirit of God that “one eats and drinks and while doing so, beholds God,” that all our family rooms become temples, our table altars, and our young men and young women priests and priestesses – this spiritualization of everyday personal life represents the unique contribution of Judaism.”
“The reason why Jacob-Israel at this point did not offer a Korban Olah, but Zevachim, is that now, for the first time, Jacob felt happy, joyous and “complete” (“Shalem” in Hebrew also means “complete” or “whole”) within the circle of his family. It was under the impact of this awareness and this emotion that he made a “family offering” to God.”
Part of the point of the Shelamim sacrifice was to share it with family and friends in a festive celebratory spirit: to consecrate the meal, to make the meal itself holy and have God as part of the celebration.
May we have many causes of celebration and holy festivities.
Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/torah-shorts-parshat-vayigash-party-sacrifice-of-peace/2017/01/05/

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