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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rav Ovadia Yosef’

Israeli Left’s Mind-Numbing Hypocrisy On Freedom Of Speech

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

The assault on freedom of speech in Israel by the leftist establishment continues, manifested in a series of arrests of rabbis merely for expressing opinions.
 
Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadia Yosef) were both arrested for the “crime” of approving a book. In response, Rabbi Lior’s followers rioted violently. I strongly oppose such behavior, but I know it was triggered by the anti-democratic zeal of the prosecution in its attempts to suppress freedom of speech.
 
This is all about a 230-page esoteric book written by Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur concerning the halachic rules under which non-Jewish non-combatants may be killed during wartime. (The question of collateral harm to civilians arises in halacha as it does in other real-world ethical debates.)
 
The publication of the book was foolish and has served to needlessly antagonize non-Jews. Predictably, it is being featured on anti-Semitic websites as “proof” that Jews connive to murder gentiles (al-Jazeera ran a piece claiming rabbis approve the murder of gentile babies).
 
As one prominent Orthodox Israeli rabbi has said regarding the book, some rabbis should be prohibited from taking pen to hand. Just because something should theoretically be protected speech doesn’t mean it’s smart to say it or write it.
 
(Of course, the position of Israel’s leftist elite is that the book is not protected speech, and that even praising the book or recommending that others read it is illegal “incitement” and “racism.”)
 
Having said that, and given that the book was published, potential provocation notwithstanding, the Israeli judicial establishment has been using it as an excuse to suppress freedom of speech. The authors of the tract themselves have not yet been indicted but are expected to be.
 
Meanwhile, the leftist SWAT teams in the Ministry of Justice are going after any rabbi with anything positive to say about the book.
 
The persecution of rabbis for expressing an opinion on someone else’s book stands in sharp and dramatic contrast to the treatment of Sheikh Salah. Head of the Islamofascist movement in Israel, the sheikh regularly and openly calls for the annihilation of Israel.
 
Two years back, he spoke at the University of Haifa and called for Arab students to become suicide bombers. He is so openly genocidal that he was just arrested in Britain when he slipped through passport control and managed to enter the country. But with the exception of one incident when he punched a policeman, he has never been arrested or indicted in Israel.
 
Persecuting rabbis who exercise their freedom of speech about a controversial book is not all the anti-democratic left is up to. According to Haaretz, authorities are preparing to prosecute rabbis who call on Jews not to sell or lease property in Jewish neighborhoods to Arabs. This is “racist,” cry the leftists.
 
But it is evidently not racist for leftists and Arabs to call for the prohibition of sales and renting of property to Jews in Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of East Jerusalem. There is no thought of prosecuting or indicting anyone for that.
 
The hypocrisy of the left when it comes to freedom of speech is mind numbing. At my own university (Haifa) the tenured left is obsessed these days with justifying and celebrating the decision by the law school to prohibit the singing of the Israeli national anthem lest it offend the delicate sensitivities of Arab students, some of whom regularly hold rallies with Hamas banners and who distribute photos of bin Laden.
 
Scores of tenured leftists are posting support for the decision on an internal university chat list. Some of those express the opinion that the anthem is a racist anti-Arab song and should be banned altogether. At least one Jewish faculty member called for the singing of the PLO anthem “Baladi Baladi” at the university. I have no doubt most of these people would also like to ban all Israeli flags from campus.
 
Now as it turns out, most of the tenured leftists so upset by the idea of Arab students having to be present when the Israeli national anthem is sung also just sent a petition to the university rector and president demanding that Sheikh Salah again be allowed to speak at the university. After that last incident on campus, when the genocidal sheikh called for suicide bombers, the university decided he would not be allowed to speak on campus again. (Tel Aviv University came forward to fill the void and hosted Salah a few weeks back.)
 
So here we have scores of tenured university faculty members insisting, in the name of freedom of speech and academic freedom, that the genocidal sheikh be allowed to speak on campus and call for mass murder of Jews. Many of those signing were faculty members of the law school.
 
So guess how many of those same people, including the law school’s tenured left, have expressed protest and indignation over the arrests of Rabbi Lior and Rabbi Yosef? How many objected to that infringement of freedom of speech?
 

That’s right, not a single one.

 

 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Crunchy Good News From Israel

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Based on the headlines in the daily papers and the sometimes truly disturbing images broadcast from Israel, one might get the impression that the average Israeli must endure a gut-wrenching daily balagan (controlled chaos). However, Kassam missile strikes and suicide attacks have never stopped the average Israeli from working or living life to the fullest.

 

Yes, daily life in Israel can best be described as one long episode of “24.” But there are so many other things going on in this “Wild West” nation in the Middle East that can be easily missed. Many can be best described as fascinating “nuggets” of Israeli life.

 

For instance, Osem, makers of those intoxicating Bamba peanut snacks, decided to reinvent their consumer bestseller by injecting them with a chocolate nougat filling.

 

Frankly, I like Bamba just the way they are. But this is the 21st century. The reaction to the new Bamba has been decidedly mixed, especially among a sizeable number of parents who view the new product as junk food for kids. Of course, that hasn’t stopped parents from buying the product – in order to satiate their chocolate habit.

 

Osem claims it is a runaway hit. The jury is still out among consumers, as regular Bamba has been outselling the newcomer by a wide margin.

 

The idea for the chocolate nougat Bamba was actually born in battle, as IDF soldiers in the field liked to relax with their Bamba snacks by dipping the doodles in chocolate paste. (Israelis love chocolate spread whenever and wherever.)

 

No matter what Israelis might think about the new Bamba, Osem’s international food partner, Nestle Corporation, believes that a newfangled cereal based on the chocolate nougat Bamba could become a global hit with kids.

 

Thus for the first time, the conglomerate is producing a new cereal in Israel designed for the international market. It is called “Crunch Rolls Nougat.” Guess where in Israel the cereal is being produced? At Osem’s cereal factory in Sderot!

 

I’m sure the employees are having a real blast producing this potential international blockbuster. Just think about the potential TV ads: “From the city that brought you Kassam nuggets comes Crunch Rolls Nougat.”

 

Even more fascinating is the heated halachic debate that has arisen over what brachah to make over standard Bamba. Most of us thought that “shehakol” would be enough. However, Rav Ovadia Yosef’s revered son, Rav Yitzchak Yosef, who is considered to be a star halachic decisor, insists that one should make a “ha’adamah” because the product is made from ground corn. It is rumored, however, that Rav Ovadia quietly agrees with the “shehakol”majority.

 

To date, no one has openly asked what brachah to make over the chocolate nougat version or the new cereal. Would a “Shehechiyanu” be out of order in this case?

 

After all, the workers who produce the new products are reborn every day, especially after reciting the brachah of  “hagomel” after a Kassam “nugget” attack.

 

Such is a day in the life of Israel.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food//2009/07/01/

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