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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Kahane’

Israeli Broadcasting Authority to Compensate Rabbi Kahane’s Family

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Israel’s Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and its advertising company will pay a total of NIS 15,000 (a little more than $4,000) to the Kahane family, for blocking a broadcast calling on the public to attend Rabbi Meir Kahane’s memorial service, Kippa reports. The payment is part of a settlement agreement that was entered as a ruling by Jerusalem Magistrates Court.

In November, 2009, the Kahane family asked to purchase commercial spots inviting the public to a memorial service for Rabbi Kahane. The IBA held legal consultations on the request, and, subject to some text changes (they insisted on dropping the words “kadosh”—saint, and “manhig Israel”—the leader of Israel), agreed to air the spots, as is customary before the memorial service of many political personalities.

The spot was broadcast on the radio several times, but towards the end of the purchased run, Peace Now approached the IBA and demanded to remove the spots. Following their request, then IBA CEO Mordechai Sklar decided to stop the broadcasts immediately.

The lawsuit that was filed in Jerusalem Magistrates Court by attorney Itamar Ben Gvir argued that stopping the broadcast was “a breach of contract, and as a result of the breach the event was damaged, causing distress to the Kahane family.”

Attorney Ben Gvir also argued during court hearings that “it is inconceivable that the extreme left movement Peace Now would be managing the Broadcasting Authority, and be able to politically pressure the Authority to stop a spot that had already passed all the legal qualifications.”

Jerusalem Magistrate Judge Malka Aviv pointed out that since the IBA did not cash the Kahane family check for the spots, the family had actually enjoyed a free broadcast of their message. Nevertheless, she encouraged the two sides to reach a settlement. The compensation payments will be split: the IBA will pay NIS 10,000 and its advertising company will pay NIS 5,000.

Attorney Ben Gvir announced he was pleased with the settlement, adding that the family intends to submit a new spot for broadcast by the IBA this year, and expects it to run it, or back to court they all go.

Rabbi Kahane was assassinated in November, 1990, in the second-floor lecture hall in midtown Manhattan’s Marriott East Side Hotel. He was shot to death by El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian-born American citizen who was initially charged and then acquitted of the murder. Nosair was later convicted of the murder in United States district court, while being tried for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Prosecutors were able to retry Nosair for the Rabbi Kahane murder because the federal indictment includes the killing as part of the terrorist conspiracy. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and later made a confession to federal agents.

Rabbi Kahane was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem. His funeral was one of the largest in Israel’s history, with an estimated crowd of 150,000.

Title: Rabbi Meir Kahane – His Life and Thought – Volume One: 1932-1975 (Hebrew Edition)

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Title: Rabbi Meir Kahane – His Life and Thought –

Volume One: 1932-1975 (Hebrew Edition)

Author: Libby Kahane


Publisher: Institute for Publication


of the Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane


 


 


   Anyone reading this well-researched and objective biography (just translated into Hebrew) has to be struck by how the focus of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s life was on promoting Jewish identity, pride, values, knowledge, and even music, and how minimal a role that actual violence played even in the “militant” Jewish Defense League. Even the limited violence was for deterrence and limited primarily to property damages.

 

   Kahane’s ever creative and constructive life was devoted not merely to defending defenseless Jews more effectively than any police department and harassing indefensible Soviet officials more provocatively than all the well-organized rallies of the establishment with their eloquent speeches, resulting, together, in the freeing of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews.

 

   But above all, Rabbi Kahane attempted to prevent millions of Jews from assimilating into the melting pots of America, Russia, and even Israel. In addition, his political and economic approaches to the Israeli-Arab problems have been vindicated over the passage of time.

 

   Ironically, it was Kahane who proposed investments in economic incentives for Arabs to opt to leave Israel peacefully, while Israeli governments forced their most patriotic Jewish citizens to leave some of the holiest and most historic places in the West Bank and the most developed property in Gaza by brute force.

 

   Most people have no idea of the popular, brilliant, disarming, devastating, and witty lectures that Rabbi Kahane delivered on college campuses and synagogues of all denominations throughout America, and of the effects on their listeners. It was a thrill to read of every packed auditorium, and every word of feedback. What a difference he could have made on today’s leftist, religiously ignorant, and even hostile young Jews, and in a Knesset where his ultra-Zionist party was undemocratically banned.

 

   How ironic that so many people condemned Kahane for the outrageous methods he used that brought results, after the “proper” methods of most establishment Jews failed to bring comparable results, however legislatively and politically correct they may have been.

 

   The accounts of what happened at two Brussels conferences describe one of the most perfidiously indefensible and outrageous ironies imaginable. Participants in conferences there supporting the freeing of Soviet Jewry banned the person who did more for this cause than any other, and caused him to be incarcerated, twice, because he risked his own personal liberty and provoked both superpowers in order to help free hundreds of thousands of Jews he had never met.

 

   Kahane’s positive messages of Jewish identity and the importance ofaliyahwere so effective that for a time his lectures on aliyah were actually sponsored by the Israel Aliyah Center of The Jewish Agency.

 

   Kahane was highly regarded by many top mainstream Jewish Orthodox leaders: He was assisted by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the leading posek of his generation; he was hosted and given a rare tribute by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, the leading rabbi of the religious Zionists; he was solicited to join the political party of Menachem Begin; he was hosted in America by such mainstream rabbis as Haskel Lookstein and Shlomo Riskin, and joined, on some occasions, by rabbi-professors ranging from Saul Berman to Moshe Tendler. Above all, Kahane was a long-time columnist for The Jewish Press.

 

   Some readers might see poetic injustice in that Israel bends backward to protect even its enemies from collateral injury, yet it is still compared in the world press to Nazis, just as Kahane was compared even by Israelis to Nazis.

 

   Ben Hecht wrote Perfidy to describe what some leaders in one sector of the Jewish community did that they should not have done. Kahane wrote Never Again to describe what most sectors of the Jewish community did not do and should have done. A Jewish historian perhaps yet to be born will hopefully find a word even stronger than perfidy to describe the injustices rendered by many leaders of the Jewish community against a person who may be legitimately described by future historians as one of modern Judaism’s greatest heroes.

 

   Like The Revolt by Begin, this biography of Kahane, and of course Kahane’s own Never Again, should be in every Jewish household, and should be assigned reading in every Jewish high school and college Jewish history course.


 


   Rabbi Aaron I. Reichel, Esq., is a member of the federal and state bars in New York and New Jersey, and the author or editor of a number of books, chapters, book reviews, and articles dealing with Jewish, American law and politics.

Title: Rabbi Meir Kahane – His Life and Thought – Volume One: 1932-1975 (Hebrew Edition)

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Title: Rabbi Meir Kahane – His Life and Thought -

Volume One: 1932-1975 (Hebrew Edition)

Author: Libby Kahane

Publisher: Institute for Publication

of the Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane

 

 

   Anyone reading this well-researched and objective biography (just translated into Hebrew) has to be struck by how the focus of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s life was on promoting Jewish identity, pride, values, knowledge, and even music, and how minimal a role that actual violence played even in the “militant” Jewish Defense League. Even the limited violence was for deterrence and limited primarily to property damages.

 

   Kahane’s ever creative and constructive life was devoted not merely to defending defenseless Jews more effectively than any police department and harassing indefensible Soviet officials more provocatively than all the well-organized rallies of the establishment with their eloquent speeches, resulting, together, in the freeing of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews.

 

   But above all, Rabbi Kahane attempted to prevent millions of Jews from assimilating into the melting pots of America, Russia, and even Israel. In addition, his political and economic approaches to the Israeli-Arab problems have been vindicated over the passage of time.

 

   Ironically, it was Kahane who proposed investments in economic incentives for Arabs to opt to leave Israel peacefully, while Israeli governments forced their most patriotic Jewish citizens to leave some of the holiest and most historic places in the West Bank and the most developed property in Gaza by brute force.

 

   Most people have no idea of the popular, brilliant, disarming, devastating, and witty lectures that Rabbi Kahane delivered on college campuses and synagogues of all denominations throughout America, and of the effects on their listeners. It was a thrill to read of every packed auditorium, and every word of feedback. What a difference he could have made on today’s leftist, religiously ignorant, and even hostile young Jews, and in a Knesset where his ultra-Zionist party was undemocratically banned.

 

   How ironic that so many people condemned Kahane for the outrageous methods he used that brought results, after the “proper” methods of most establishment Jews failed to bring comparable results, however legislatively and politically correct they may have been.

 

   The accounts of what happened at two Brussels conferences describe one of the most perfidiously indefensible and outrageous ironies imaginable. Participants in conferences there supporting the freeing of Soviet Jewry banned the person who did more for this cause than any other, and caused him to be incarcerated, twice, because he risked his own personal liberty and provoked both superpowers in order to help free hundreds of thousands of Jews he had never met.

 

   Kahane’s positive messages of Jewish identity and the importance ofaliyahwere so effective that for a time his lectures on aliyah were actually sponsored by the Israel Aliyah Center of The Jewish Agency.

 

   Kahane was highly regarded by many top mainstream Jewish Orthodox leaders: He was assisted by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the leading posek of his generation; he was hosted and given a rare tribute by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, the leading rabbi of the religious Zionists; he was solicited to join the political party of Menachem Begin; he was hosted in America by such mainstream rabbis as Haskel Lookstein and Shlomo Riskin, and joined, on some occasions, by rabbi-professors ranging from Saul Berman to Moshe Tendler. Above all, Kahane was a long-time columnist for The Jewish Press.

 

   Some readers might see poetic injustice in that Israel bends backward to protect even its enemies from collateral injury, yet it is still compared in the world press to Nazis, just as Kahane was compared even by Israelis to Nazis.

 

   Ben Hecht wrote Perfidy to describe what some leaders in one sector of the Jewish community did that they should not have done. Kahane wrote Never Again to describe what most sectors of the Jewish community did not do and should have done. A Jewish historian perhaps yet to be born will hopefully find a word even stronger than perfidy to describe the injustices rendered by many leaders of the Jewish community against a person who may be legitimately described by future historians as one of modern Judaism’s greatest heroes.

 

   Like The Revolt by Begin, this biography of Kahane, and of course Kahane’s own Never Again, should be in every Jewish household, and should be assigned reading in every Jewish high school and college Jewish history course.

 

   Rabbi Aaron I. Reichel, Esq., is a member of the federal and state bars in New York and New Jersey, and the author or editor of a number of books, chapters, book reviews, and articles dealing with Jewish, American law and politics.

Praying For Moshe Feiglin’s Son

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Editor’s note: This week, Shmuel Sackett, international director of Manhigut Yehudit, is filling in for Mr. Feiglin.

 

Moshe Feiglin’s son, Dovid Yosef ben Faigie Perel, remains in intensive care in stable – yet serious – condition following a car accident. Here is an update for Jewish Press readers, who have followed Moshe’s column for many years:

 

On Thursday, July 1, I picked up Moshe at 5 a.m. for a trip to the Kotel to daven. Immediately afterward we immersed in the Breslov mikveh (in the Muslim quarter of the Old City), and then ascended Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount). Something very interesting happened just before we went up to Har HaBayit.

 

The day before, I e-mailed Rabbi Nachman Kahane (brother of Rabbi Meir Kahane) and asked him to meet us before we go up to the Har so that he can give Moshe a berachah. For the record Rabbi Nachman Kahane is a rare kohen me’yuchas,” meaning he can trace his family’s line directly to the first high priest of Israel, Aharon HaKohen. He is also a Talmudic scholar who has written more than 40 holy books. Finally, he is a member of Manhigut Yehudit and believes strongly in Moshe’s ability to soon become prime minister of Israel.

 

            Just before we arrived, Rabbi Kahane saw Rav Shlomo Aviner, chief rabbi of Beit El and rosh yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim. Rav Aviner is also a kohen, and Rabbi Kahane asked that he bless Moshe as well. Shortly after, Moshe and I arrived (with our dear friend, Dovid Shirel of Hebron). Rabbi Kahane explained that when one kohen blesses a Jew it has the status of a rabbinic blessing, but when two kohanim bless a Jew it has the status of a Torah blessing. Both kohanim held Moshe’s hand and blessed him simultaneously with the traditional priestly blessing.

 

After Moshe was blessed, he, Dovid Shirel and I went up to Har HaBayit and had the very rare opportunity to fulfill a unique halacha. The Mishnah in Midot (chapter 2, Mishnah 2) states that when people ascend the Har, they walk rightward. However, if a person is in mourning or has another problem (which the commentaries explain as praying for a sick relative), the person walks leftward. The reason for this is that people already on the Har will see that the people are walking in the opposite direction and will ask them what happened. When they find out, they will say (in the case of an illness), “May the Dweller [Hashem] in this House grant your son a quick and speedy recovery.” Thus to fulfill this requirement, we walked to the left upon ascending the Har.

 

About 30 minutes into our walk around Har HaBayit, some people who ascended the Har shortly after us noticed that we were walking toward the left. Inquiring about this seeming oddity, Moshe said to them, “Because my son is sick and needs a refuah sh’laimah.” They immediately replied, “May the Dweller in this House grant your son a quick and speedy recovery.” This was exactly as the Mishnah described it over 2,000 years ago! This brought chills to my spine for a long time. After all, it’s one thing to learn the law; but to experience it is infinitely more incredible.

 

Ten minutes after leaving Har HaBayit, Moshe’s wife Tzippy told him via telephone that about 20 minutes earlier Dovid Yosef started moving his leg and arm. The doctors were ecstatic about this small – but very significant – progress. Just imagine: he started improving at the exact time we were davening for him on Har HaBayit and practicing the Mishnah law.

 

We hope for more progress every day.

 

Moshe and Tzippy Feiglin have asked me to express their heartfelt hakarat hatov to the public for their outpouring of prayer and encouragement. They kindly request your continued prayers for their son.

 

Praying For Moshe Feiglin’s Son

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Editor’s note: This week, Shmuel Sackett, international director of Manhigut Yehudit, is filling in for Mr. Feiglin.


 


Moshe Feiglin’s son, Dovid Yosef ben Faigie Perel, remains in intensive care in stable – yet serious – condition following a car accident. Here is an update for Jewish Press readers, who have followed Moshe’s column for many years:

 

On Thursday, July 1, I picked up Moshe at 5 a.m. for a trip to the Kotel to daven. Immediately afterward we immersed in the Breslov mikveh (in the Muslim quarter of the Old City), and then ascended Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount). Something very interesting happened just before we went up to Har HaBayit.

 

The day before, I e-mailed Rabbi Nachman Kahane (brother of Rabbi Meir Kahane) and asked him to meet us before we go up to the Har so that he can give Moshe a berachah. For the record Rabbi Nachman Kahane is a rare kohen me’yuchas,” meaning he can trace his family’s line directly to the first high priest of Israel, Aharon HaKohen. He is also a Talmudic scholar who has written more than 40 holy books. Finally, he is a member of Manhigut Yehudit and believes strongly in Moshe’s ability to soon become prime minister of Israel.

 

            Just before we arrived, Rabbi Kahane saw Rav Shlomo Aviner, chief rabbi of Beit El and rosh yeshiva of Ateret Cohanim. Rav Aviner is also a kohen, and Rabbi Kahane asked that he bless Moshe as well. Shortly after, Moshe and I arrived (with our dear friend, Dovid Shirel of Hebron). Rabbi Kahane explained that when one kohen blesses a Jew it has the status of a rabbinic blessing, but when two kohanim bless a Jew it has the status of a Torah blessing. Both kohanim held Moshe’s hand and blessed him simultaneously with the traditional priestly blessing.

 

After Moshe was blessed, he, Dovid Shirel and I went up to Har HaBayit and had the very rare opportunity to fulfill a unique halacha. The Mishnah in Midot (chapter 2, Mishnah 2) states that when people ascend the Har, they walk rightward. However, if a person is in mourning or has another problem (which the commentaries explain as praying for a sick relative), the person walks leftward. The reason for this is that people already on the Har will see that the people are walking in the opposite direction and will ask them what happened. When they find out, they will say (in the case of an illness), “May the Dweller [Hashem] in this House grant your son a quick and speedy recovery.” Thus to fulfill this requirement, we walked to the left upon ascending the Har.

 

About 30 minutes into our walk around Har HaBayit, some people who ascended the Har shortly after us noticed that we were walking toward the left. Inquiring about this seeming oddity, Moshe said to them, “Because my son is sick and needs a refuah sh’laimah.” They immediately replied, “May the Dweller in this House grant your son a quick and speedy recovery.” This was exactly as the Mishnah described it over 2,000 years ago! This brought chills to my spine for a long time. After all, it’s one thing to learn the law; but to experience it is infinitely more incredible.

 

Ten minutes after leaving Har HaBayit, Moshe’s wife Tzippy told him via telephone that about 20 minutes earlier Dovid Yosef started moving his leg and arm. The doctors were ecstatic about this small – but very significant – progress. Just imagine: he started improving at the exact time we were davening for him on Har HaBayit and practicing the Mishnah law.

 

We hope for more progress every day.

 

Moshe and Tzippy Feiglin have asked me to express their heartfelt hakarat hatov to the public for their outpouring of prayer and encouragement. They kindly request your continued prayers for their son.


 

‘Netanyahu Lacks The Ability To Lead’ An Interview With MK Michael Ben Ari

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

A recent study by the nationalist organization Mattot Arim ranked Dr. Michael Ben Ari of National Union number two in terms of Knesset members “most loyal to the right-wing’s agenda in the Knesset term that just ended.” (The Likud’s Danny Danon finished first.)

Shortly after being elected to the Knesset earlier this year, Ben Ari made headlines by marching through Umm al-Fahm in the face of rioting Israeli Arabs. Responding to White House demands that Israel halt “construction in occupied areas,” he announced the opening of his office near the Shuafat Refugee Camp and was arrested in the Shomron, despite MK immunity, after intervening on behalf of protesting youths being manhandled by Israeli Border Police.

A proponent of settling all of Eretz Yisrael and a student and follower of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane – he’s been described as the first outspoken disciple of Kahane to be elected to the Knesset – Ben Ari, 45, studied at Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav and was formerly an educator with a M.A. in Talmud and a Ph.D. in Land of Israel Studies and Archeology from Bar Ilan University.

Ben Ari recently sat down with The Jewish Press to discuss Israeli politics, his relationship with Meir Kahane, the pressure on Israel to halt settlement construction and the threat of a nuclear Iran..

The Jewish Press: To what do you attribute your strong alignment with the national camp in Israeli politics?

Ben Ari: My search to define my national identity really began in my childhood. During the Yom Kippur War, when I was ten years old, I was completely shaken up. Until that point most Israelis relied on the government’s understanding and handling of situations. All of a sudden people began to wake up and realize that the government didn’t seem to know what was going on. As a child this made an enormous impression on me. After the war, most people went back to their normal routine. But for me everything was in doubt. Instead of being preoccupied with sports, I read every newspaper I could lay my hands on and became totally immersed in nationalism and thoughts of national identity.

How did you become attracted to the teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane?

I was sixteen when I first met Rabbi Kahane and remember being attracted to his ideas because of his humanistic approach to the Israeli Arab problem. His solution of separation – not to expel the Jews, but rather to have the Arabs live in their own 22 states – would prevent murder, because ultimately either they will kill us or we will kill them. Kahane predicted that if we don’t choose his solution to separate from the Arabs, we will end up choosing Arafat’s solution. Even in this he was a prophet. Three or four years after Kahane was assassinated, Arafat won the Nobel peace prize and Jews were murdered.

What also impressed me was how Rabbi Kahane did not think of himself as a private individual. He felt connected to all Jews, regardless of who or where they were. People [in Israel] tend to say about Jonathan Pollard, “Oh, he was born there, he is American and I don’t have to worry about him.” This is terrible. One of the lessons of the Holocaust, which Rabbi Kahane preached, is Jewish unity. When we see another Jew’s pain we have to think of him as part of the family.

Arab MKs walked out during your first speech in the Knesset, and you responded that this was your “first great achievement.” As a follower of Rabbi Kahane, do you feel alienated in the Knesset?

When I came to the Knesset, some of the veteran members remembered how they succeeded in excommunicating Rabbi Kahane, and they thought they could do the same to me. Yes, there are those who don’t talk to me. But the majority of them, even some from Meretz, have a good relationship with me. One of the main reasons that it’s hard for them to attack me, as opposed to Kahane, is that I am Israeli and I was born here.

How do you view Netanyahu’s recent endorsement of the two-state solution?

Netanyahu proved he lacks the ability to lead. His capitulation on the matter of establishing a Palestinian state illustrates that we are dealing with a dangerous leader who yields to pressure. We saw this in the past when he handed over Chevron.

Do you think the current rumblings within the Likud opposing Netanyahu’s endorsement of the two-state solution may influence his decision making?

Likud members will not bring him down. Unfortunately, the majority of them hold leadership positions, and they don’t have the time or the inclination to oppose their leaders. Some are his main defenders. This illustrates two different types of rightists. One is like dough and can be molded into anything. The second type are kitzoni, so-called extremists. They are uncompromising and will not budge, despite what’s done to them.

I belong to the second type. We [National Union] entered the Netanyahu coalition without any monetary or budgetary demands. We only had three conditions: no discussion on giving up any part of Jerusalem, no discussion on the settlements, and continued settlement development. There is no security today because for the past ten years we have only been moving backward. The Right is constantly finding itself retreating from its positions and then having to defend itself. Am Yisrael has to move forward. We should be going back to Chomesh and continue building. There should be no retreat, no seeking acceptance, and no two-state solution.

As a resident of the Shomron in the so-called occupied territories, how does a settlement freeze, even a temporary one, affect your life and impact on other parts of Israel?

The restriction of settlement development, and there already has been a settlement freeze for the past seven years, has translated into a silent expulsion of the Jews of Yehudah and Shomron. Our children who get married here have nowhere to live and are in essence expelled. They can’t even rent one room, and they end up having to move out. Without this expulsion we wouldn’t be 350,000 Jews living in the settlements but 700,000.

There is great demand to find places to live in all of the Shomron. The haredim are in dire straits. They are priced out in Bnei Brak and have nowhere to move. But settling the hilltops is even more than that – it represents our rightful inheritance to all of Eretz Yisrael and not just where others dictate to us where to live. This freeze is a method of strangling the settlements, and capitulation on this fundamental matter shows weakness and concurrence with the demands of Israel’s enemies.

As an educator, and in light of the post-Zionist indoctrination of today’s Israeli youth, what would you do to implement change?

Rav Kahane said that in Israel we built the biggest Jewish youth movement for nothing. Today’s youth does not stand for post-Zionism. They stand for nothing, with no past and no future. This is very painful. The night of the election, when I heard that Kadima got 28 mandates, I cried. Kadima is a party that stands for nothing. How is it possible that every fourth person in this country voted for nothing? One of the main problems today is the lack of family structure. The divorce rate is increasing rapidly, and the secular public doesn’t believe in the sanctity of marriage anymore. I am working now on a program to be introduced into the Knesset for the betterment of family values, which is not a simple thing today.

What are your views regarding the Iranian threat?

I am not as scared of the Iranian threat as much as from the threat against uprooting Yitz-har. Yes, Ahmadinijad is crazy, and the possibility of him doing something rash and dangerous exists. It’s a problem that will get worse if we don’t address it. But we have the capability to solve this problem. Furthermore, the Iranian threat is not just against us but against the whole world. If they bomb us it will affect the whole Middle East, the Europeans and the entire region around us. And Ahmadinijad is not the supreme power. Iran is run by a government that will not want to suffer consequences.

I see it as convenient for Obama and the Europeans that Iran is threatening us. But I think the Iranian problem is blown out of proportion. I am more scared about the consequences of giving away Yitzhar. To me this is a much bigger, more realistic threat. The Iranian threat is more of a paper sword, whereas giving up the settlements is a real sword hanging over our heads.

Why then aren’t there mass protests in Israel against the current pressure from the Obama administration?

People don’t feel any imminent threat. There are places in Israel where people protest if the price of bread goes up ten agurot but they will not protest when it comes to national pride. In some countries citizens have such a strong sense of national pride that they burn tires and riot in the streets if their country’s soccer team loses. The question is, if Medinat Yisrael has to go to war, is the country going to be behind it? Does the public value Yitzhar enough to fight for it?

There is a boiling point for every nation, and the Israeli public hasn’t reached it yet. We have to be able to fight for the proper Jewish values and morals, and we cannot lose recognition of our purpose and destiny as a Jewish nation.

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Kahane’s Virtues

 

   It’s quite true, as Rabbi Stephen Polter states (Letters, Nov. 17), that more people are acknowledging Rabbi Meir Kahane’s prescience, wisdom and foresight. While Rabbi Polter correctly lauds Rabbi Kahane’s virtues and designates him one of our greatest Jewish leaders, I must take issue with the advice he would have proffered to Rabbi Kahane had he been given the opportunity.
 
   Suggesting to Rabbi Kahane that he tone down his message and behave like a liberal would have been as successful as convincing a leopard to change its spots. Rabbi Kahane was a man of great integrity, courage and character, and he would never have compromised his views to gain votes or political succor.
 
   Rabbi Kahane won the love and respect of so many people because of his unabashed honesty. Politics is a business rife with scandal and corruption, leaving no room for a lonely voice in the wilderness that dares speak the truth. There is not a day that goes by that Rabbi Kahane is not sorely missed. As his visions unfold before our eyes, we long for his wisdom, his insights and his leadership.
 

Fern Sidman

Brooklyn, NY

 

Self-Centered Op-Ed

   While I am one of the many Jews thankful that the gay parade scheduled for Jerusalem did not take place, I was offended by the arrogant tone of Rabbi Yehuda Levin’s op-ed column (“We Stopped the March – For Now,” Nov. 17). I don’t doubt he put a lot of effort into stopping the parade, but he was one of many. Judging from his article, one would think that maybe two or three others helped him.
 
   I personally know of an American Jew who funded everything necessary to fight the parade – including all the buses that transported the demonstrators and their placards. But you won’t read his name anywhere because he was doing it l’shem shamayim (for the honor of Heaven).
 
   Perhaps the next time you want an op-ed column on this subject you will approach Jerusalem councilwoman Mina Fenton. She, at least, won’t be blowing her own horn.
 

Amy Wall

New York, NY

 

Reconciliation A Two-Way Street

   Rabbi Harry Maryles writes (“Time for Agudah to Widen the Tent,” op-ed, Nov. 17): “As I understand Agudah’s position, if a gadol tells you not to accept a job, it is treated as p’sak. This is one of the major differences between Agudah and those outside the Agudah camp.”
 
   For Rabbi Maryles’s edification, the distinction between p’sak and aytsah is universal and as such has nothing to do with labels or camps. (Of course, if an individual faces job-related halachic or hashkafic issues, he certainly should seek proper guidance from a competent Orthodox rabbi.)
 
   But it’s nice to know that Rabbi Maryles is striving for reconciliation. He should continue to strive for it. May I offer him some advice? (This is not a p’sak.) He should seriously consider joining Agudah. I’m sure he’ll be accepted. Of course, like everyone else, he’ll have to pay his membership dues. It’s for a good cause, though.
 
   And as long as we’re on the subject of reconciliation, why doesn’t Yeshiva University invite Agudah rabbis to address its students?
 
Chaim Silver
(Via E-Mail)

 

No Way To Treat A Lady

   I read with dismay your editorial mocking the proposed rule for amending birth certificates for people whose gender does not conform to the sex assigned to them at birth (Transgender Follies,” Nov. 17).
 
   As a parent, a grandparent, a former president of a Hebrew school and a transgender American, I’m quite disappointed. Throughout the ages, was it not fear and ignorance that led to the demonization of Jews? Now we become the “machers” who can demonize other helpless minorities? Shame!
 

Barbra Casbar

Vice-Chair

Garden State Equality

Edison, NJ

 

 


 

 

FDR And The Holocaust:

Responses To Robert Rosen

 

      Editor’s Note: The controversy generated by Robert Rosen’s Oct. 27 op-ed article “FDR Was a Hero, Not a Villain” (a riposte by Mr. Rosen to Dr. Rafael Medoff’s Oct. 6 Jewish Press front-page essay, “Whitewashing FDR on the Holocaust,” which was highly critical of Mr. Rosen’s book Saving the Jews: FDR and the Holocaust), and his reply to his critics in the Nov. 10 Letters section, continues unabated.
 

      The following letters take issue with Mr. Rosen’s Nov. 10 reply. Mr. Rosen’s response to these letters will appear in next week’s issue and will have to constitute the final word, at least for now in these pages, on the question of FDR’s Holocaust-related policies.

 

Jewish Law And Bombing Auschwitz
 
      According to Robert Rosen (Letters, Nov. 10), Jewish leaders should have opposed bombing Auschwitz because some of the Jewish prisoners might have been inadvertently harmed, which would have contradicted what he calls “the Talmudic teaching that Jews have no right to take innocent life.”
 
      That was not the issue at stake when Jewish leaders urged the Allies to bomb Auschwitz in 1944. Jewish lives were already being taken. Thousands of Jews were being gassed daily. All the Jews in the camp were doomed to be murdered, some in a matter of hours, others in a matter of days. If the Allies failed to bomb the camp, all the Jews would certainly be killed. If they bombed the camp, thus slowing down and interfering with the murder process, lives would have been saved. If I, as a rabbi, had been alive in 1944 and had been asked if rabbinic law permitted the bombing of the camp, I would have said that bombing it was not only permitted but, in fact, obligatory.
 
      It is no small matter that the Jewish inmates themselves prayed for the camp to be bombed, even though they knew they might be harmed. In his book Night, Elie Wiesel describes (pp. 70-71) his reaction when he saw U.S. planes dropping bombs on German oil factories just a few miles from the Auschwitz gas chambers:
 
      “We were not afraid. And yet, if a bomb had fallen on the blocks [the prisoners' barracks], it alone would have claimed hundreds of victims on the spot. But we were no longer afraid of death; at any rate, not of that death. Every bomb that exploded filled us with joy and gave us new confidence in life. The raid lasted over an hour. If it could only have lasted ten times ten hours!”
 

Rabbi Robert Shechter

Passaic, NJ
 
 
FDR’s Orders
 
      In March 1944, the Nazis took control of Hungary and nearly a million more Jews fell into their hands. Shortly afterward, two young Slovakian Jews escaped from Auschwitz and managed to reach the Slovakian Jewish underground in Bratislava, one of whose leaders was Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandl. The escapees provided a complete diagram of the layout of the death camp and dictated a 30-page report. Word was then quickly gotten to the leadership of the Hungarian Jewish community in Budapest.
 
      Mr. Rosen is correct when he says American Jewish organizations did not request the bombing of Auschwitz. It was the Jews trapped behind Nazi lines, in Hungary and Slovakia, who requested it – those with the most to gain if it were done and the most to lose if it were not. First and foremost, however, they did not request the bombing of the gas chambers and crematoria but of the rail bridges and junctions that led from Hungary to Poland. Realizing that Jewish lives alone might not be considered that valuable, they pointed out that the rail lines were also used for Nazi military transport.
 
      The rail lines could easily have been knocked out without killing any Jews. It was never done because FDR gave strict orders that there was to be no diversion of military force for the purpose of saving Jews. When asked about this time and again, he said his policy for saving Jews was to win the war as quickly as possible, which undoubtedly was his sincere intention, since the faster the war could be won the fewer American casualties there were likely to be. For all too many Jews, unfortunately, victory did not come quickly enough.
 

Harry Eisenberg

Glen Rock, NJ

 

WJC’s Position On Bombing

      Robert Rosen continues to insist, erroneously, that the World Jewish Congress “opposed the bombing of Auschwitz.”
 
      In my recent letter to The Jewish Press, I cited a letter by World Jewish Congress chairman Nahum Goldmann, dated July 3, 1944, in which Goldmann mentions that “We have discussed with the War Refugee Board the idea that the Russian and American governments be asked to look for a way to destroy these camps by bombing or any other means.”
 
      Mr. Rosen’s response: “They did discuss it. And they rejected it.” Wrong. Goldmann clearly was recommending bombing, not just “discussing” it. Goldmann argued, “This would certainly stop or at least hold up the massacres since all the infernal instruments used, such as gas chambers, vans, etc. would have to be rebuilt.” Goldmann also wrote: “The War Refugee Board will follow up the matter in Washington”; why would they follow it up if the WJCongress had decided to “reject” it, as Mr. Rosen claims?
 
      The entire letter in question is a request by Goldmann to the Czech Foreign Minister in Exile, Jan Masaryk, asking the Czechs to raise the bombing idea with Soviet officials. Why would Goldmann be doing so if the WJCongress had decided to “reject” bombing?
 
      Mr. Rosen also attempts to discredit the Goldmann letter on different grounds, claiming the letter “is dated June 4, 1944 and predates numerous letters in July and August 1944, in which the WJC adamantly opposed the bombing.” He is, simply, wrong. The letter is dated July 3, 1944. I have a photocopy of it.
 
      Mr. Rosen’s suggestion that the WJCongress changed its position and opposed bombing later in July, and in August and thereafter, is contradicted by documents in the WJCongress’s own files, which I have examined at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati. They contain, for example, a letter dated July 21, 1944, from WJCongress official Maurice Perlzweig to the director of the War Refugee Board, John Pehle. Acting – he wrote – at Goldmann’s request, Perlzweig was sending Pehle telegrams from Richard Lichtheim (the Jewish Agency representative in Geneva) and Moshe Shertok (the London-based head of the Agency’s Political Department) calling for Allied bombing of the death camps. If, as Rosen claims, the WJCongress had already decided to oppose bombing, why were Perlzweig and Goldmann still lobbying for it?
 
      Martin Gilbert, in his book Auschwitz and the Allies, reports that in October 1944 Goldmann met with General John Dill, the British representative on the Allied High Command, to urge the Allies to bomb Auschwitz. (We know that the meeting must have taken place in the fall, because during their conversation Goldmann mentioned recent British bombings of German oil factories “a few miles” from Auschwitz – and those raids on the Monowitz oil plants began in late August.)
 
      Again: if the WJCongress had changed its position and opposed bombing, as Mr. Rosen claims, why was its chairman still lobbying Allied officials to bomb it, months after his organization supposedly changed its position?
 
      One WJCongress official, A. Leon Kubowitzki, opposed the bombing idea, urging that the Allies instead use paratroopers to attack Auschwitz. He is the only WJCongress official on record as expressing opposition to bombing. For Mr. Rosen to transform Kubowitzki’s lone opposition into a wide-ranging “opposition by the World Jewish Congress” is a severe distortion of the historical record.
 
      The WJCongress and all other major Jewish organizations made their position quite clear when they declared, in their joint resolution at the July 31, 1944 rally in New York City, that “all measures should be taken” by the Allies “to destroy the implements, facilities, and places where the Nazis have carried out their mass executions.”
 

Dr. Rafael Medoff

Director

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Washington, DC

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-164/2006/11/22/

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