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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Reality’

When Reality Hits You in the Face

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah}

I have always thought that Charedim should be subject to the draft in Israel in exactly the same way all other Jews in Israel are. I have written extensively on this subject. I feel very strongly about this. Perhaps even stronger than many to my left who would be satisfied with Charedim fulfilling their military obligations through national service.

For me it’s about whose blood is redder. The answer is everybody’s blood is red. If a secular or Dati Jew is subject to be put in harm’s way, so too should a Charedi Jew. What motivates me is the image of an Israeli mother mourning the death of a son killed in combat. A mission he was given because he was drafted  into the army and was deemed best suited for combat by his superiors.

Now it’s true that most soldiers in Israel are not given combat missions. But it is also true that anyone in theory is subject to it… thus subject to the possibility of being killed in action. Why should only Charedi mothers be exempt from this possibility? No one wants to die. And not every soldier put into combat wants to be there. But that is what defending one’s country is all about.

That said there can be exceptions made in any category. Secular, Dati, or Charedi. As far as Charedim are concerned we need Torah scholars whose life’s blood is Torah.  They should be exempt as a vital function of Israel’s existence no less than a secular Jew’s job or area of study is vital to Israel’s existence. Unless Israel’s army converts to an all volunteer one and the draft is abolished, no one group – Charedim included – should be exempt as a class. That said, everyone’s religious needs should be accommodated. In the case of Charedim, their units should be modeled on Nachal Charedi.

This is the reality of Israel. And this is the reality that Israeli hero and ZAKA founder, Yehuda Meshi Zahav saw when he came around to this type of thinking. As an article in the Jerusalem Post (republished in VIN) reports – this 11th generation Israeli Charedi Jew who was firmly in the Eida HaChardis camp has now joined ‘the enemy’. Which to the Eida HaCharedis is the Israeli government, its founders and leaders.  He used to participate in all of their protests against the government. From VIN:

Once upon a time, Zahav was the operations officer of the Eda Haredit extremist haredi group. He led demonstrations against Sabbath desecration, burnt Israeli flags, fasted and wore mourning clothes on Israel Independence Day, illegally removed dead bodies from the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute to prevent autopsies from being performed and put mice into the pathologists’ rooms, and sneaked onto archeological sites in order to prevent archeological excavations.

Why did he ‘switch sides’? Well he didn’t – really. He just decided that there are no sides. He explains:

The change in Zahav began on July 6, 1989, when a terrorist blew up a bus on the 405 route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It happened on a road in front of the Telz-Stone yeshiva (Jewish religious seminary) in Neva Ilan. Zahav and his friends wanted to see what was happening, “and then, when the dismembered bodies were laid out before my eyes, when the sirens were echoing among the smoky fragments of the bus, when the bloodstained clothes were scattered over the area, when entire families were broken and erased in an instant, I realized that the quarrels between us were meaningless. The type of skullcap you wear and the kind of clothes you wear pale in comparison with the real war we’re faced with. The Arab enemy doesn’t distinguish between the blood of a haredi, a secular person, and someone who’s modern Orthodox. We’re all connected. There’s no right or left. Everyone’s pain is the same. That was the moment when I crossed the lines…

He has paid a heavy price for his ‘rebellion’:

His grandfather, Rabbi Yosef Sheinberger, the mythological leader of the Eda Haredit and a fanatical opponent of the founding of Israel, refused to speak with Zahav for the last four years of his life.

Not only does he see all blood as being red, he agrees with the idea that Charedim should be educated in secular subjects. And he considers Yesh Atid founder, Yair Lapid, a friend. Which is yet another reason he seen as a traitor since Lapid has been deemed the devil incarnate by virtually the entire Charedi world.

Well, in my book, we need more ‘traitors’ like Meshi Zahav. He had a wake-up call that the leadership of the Eida and their sympathizers have not had.

With Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, on the horizon, the Eida types and their sympathizers will surely condemn it as they have in the past. Even those Charedim that will not actively protest it, will at best ignore it… and in some cases speak out against it. They will bolster their arguments with every possible wrong ever committed by anyone ever connected with Zionism… showing just how evil these people really were – and still are. They will point to all the past religious leaders that that condemned the state as a Godless entity whose purpose was – and still is – to destroy Judaism. I have even heard some of these people comparing the government of Israel to the Nazi regime in Germany!

But with few exceptions (and there are exceptions) those – both past and present – who condemn the State were no doubt not personally subject to the Holocaust – nor seen what Meshi Zahav has. They were not there.

They did not experience firsthand what it means to be freed from a concentration camp only to end up in a DP camp with no country wanting to let you in. When Israel became a state, the doors opened up to these survivors. The vast majority of them understand what was given to them and are grateful for Israel’s existence. They have been given a second chance at life and in most cases have done well.

I am reminded of one Chasidic Rebbe who lived through the Holocaust and suffered its indignities. When he was in a Nazi concentration camp, he was required to sweep the streets there. He promised that if he survived and was able to immigrate to Israel he would do the same thing.  He kept his promise and every Yom Ha’atzmaut he went outside to sweep the streets. He understood what Israel did for him. And expressed his gratitude publicly. It would be nice if it didn’t have to take experiencing horrors of one kind or another for this kind of transformation to take place.

 

Harry Maryles

Reality Goes Missing in Anti-Israel Hill Op-Ed

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the CAMERA website}

Sylvia Schwarz (“Stop the tax-deductible status of the Jewish National Fund,”) misleads readers with an Op-Ed published in The Hill. Hers is essentially an omission-ridden anti-Israel slander.

Schwarz falsely claimed that Israel is “ethnically cleansing” the land of Arabs. Which land, Israel or the West Bank and Gaza Strip? In both the Arab population has grown. In Israel, it prospered.

On the same day Schwarz’s fact-free article appeared, Gamil Hakroosh, an Israeli Arab, was appointed as the country’s deputy police commissioner (“Amid Violence, Israel Promotes Arab Police Officer,” Associated Press). Israeli Arabs serve on Israel’s Supreme Court, have command ranks in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and have their own political list in Israel’s legislature, the Knesset. Israeli Arabs, including the Muslim majority, enjoy much greater democratic participation and representation than their brethren in most Arab states. Their income, upward mobility, life span and basic rights, including that of free speech, are superior to those of Arabs living under the Palestinian Authority (PA) that rules the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

By contrast, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not met for nearly a decade and refuses to hold elections. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is in the eleventh year of his four-year term. There is no independent judiciary in PA and Hamas-ruled areas, where as Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has noted, Facebook posts critical of Palestinian officials can result in imprisonment. In those prisons, “torture happens” as Rami Hamdallah, the PA’s prime minister, admitted in a March 16, 2016 interview with German media outlet Deutsche Welle.

“Ethnic cleansing” was, however, the goal of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Syrian-born founding father of the Palestinian Arab national movement and a collaborator of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. As testimony at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal revealed, al-Husseini—who called himself the “Fuhrer of the Middle East”—was intimately involved in helping Hitler and his henchmen plot potential genocide of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who had lived in the Middle East for centuries, including in what would become Israel in 1948. After World War II, al-Husseini was wanted as a war criminal by Yugoslavia for recruiting SS divisions made up of Bosnian Muslims to murder Jews, Serbs and others in eastern Europe.

Al-Husseini’s role in fostering anti-Jewish violence predates his partnership with Hitler: Britain, the ruling Mandatory power in pre-state Israel, held him responsible for Arab attacks against Jewish Palestinians in 1920 and 1921. Al-Husseini also orchestrated terrorist attacks against Jews in 1929 and from 1936-1939—the latter resulting in Britain closing the doors of its Palestine Mandate, established by the League of Nations to enable restoration of the Jewish national home. This trapped millions of Jews in Europe as Nazi power expanded.

PA President Abbas praised al-Husseini in a January 2013 ceremony as a “pioneer” and a hero. He remains a revered figure by many Palestinian Arabs as German scholar Matthias Kuntzel, among others, has noted.
Why Palestinian Officials Plant Trees 

Meanwhile, “ethnic cleansing” of Jews remains the stated goal of Hamas, which calls for the genocide of Jews in its charter. For its part, the PA celebrates the murders of Israelis and Americans, like U.S. veteran Taylor Force, killed in the “stabbing intifada” on March 8, 2016, in its official media. That media exists in part thanks to U.S. aid to the authority. None of this is mentioned by Schwarz.

Also omitted: Palestinian leaders’ rejection of U.S. and Israeli offers for a “two-state solution” in exchange for peace with Israel in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis conference. Similarly, PA officials rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 “roadmap” to restart negotiations and Vice President Joe Biden’s March 2016 proposal. In none of these instances did Palestinian officials so much as submit a counteroffer.

Unable to deal in facts, Schwarz claims that Jews in Israel are “colonial” occupiers who have stolen land. Not only does this echo claims and justification for violence made by Hamas, the PA and others, it ignores the historical and continuous Jewish presence that stretches back thousands of years, long before Arabs came to what is today Israel.

Schwarz, still beating her “ethnic cleansing” drum, claims that the 1948 Arab-Israeli War had the goal of ridding the “land of non-Jews” in an “ethnic cleansing campaign.” She omits that the war was initiated by the Arab states after they rejected the U.N.’s 1947 partition plan: a “two-state solution” that the Jews had accepted. As historian Benny Morris has noted in his book The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge Press 2004), in many instances, such as in the city of Haifa, Jews encouraged Arabs not to flee. The Arab states and Palestinian Arab forces under al-Husseini did the opposite, using the estimated 420,00 to 650,000 refugees as political pawns.

Also unmentioned by Schwarz are the more than 800,000 Jews who fled or were forced from their homes in Arab lands during and after the 1948 war, nearly 600,000 of whom settled in Israel.

Given her chain of omissions, it is not surprising then that in an article ostensibly using the topic of trees planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF)—the world’s most successful reforestation effort—to bash the Jewish state, Schwarz doesn’t mention trees planted by the Palestinian Authority. In October 2015, the PA Ministry of Education announced that it would plant olive trees and place signs with the names of terrorists who have died murdering Israelis. One of these terrorists, Muhannad Shafeq Halabi killed two Israelis and stabbed a two-year old child in an Oct. 8, 2015 terror attack in Jerusalem. For his actions, Halabi was posthumously awarded an honorary law degree by the PA Bar Association. The National Lawyers Guild, which as Schwarz noted, “filed a legal memo to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)” requesting that the JNF “be investigated,” routinely partners with the PA Bar Association.

This too, Schwarz fails to mention. JNF doesn’t have a tax deductibility problem; Sylvia Schwarz has a reality issue.

 

CAMERA

Palestinians: Peace Starts with Facing the Harsh Reality of Hate

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

As an Arab, the situation of the Palestinians breaks my heart, as does the situation of Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and even those living in relative peace under dictatorships. But the Palestinian situation bothers me most because no realistic solution is ever seriously considered.

While Palestinian refugees are scattered over several countries and given few rights by their Arab hosts, and while they live in various states of dependence in Gaza and the West Bank, resolution of their status is delayed decade after decade, with occasional lip service paid to a negotiated two-state solution — the magic solution that would supposedly cure everything!

Who should be blamed for this? Most of the world is quick to blame Israel. I do not blame Israel for one second. The Jews accepted the UN partition plan of 1947 which would have given the Palestinians a state more viable than what was given to the Jews, but the Arab states convinced the Palestinians that it was a bad deal, and the Palestinians have been rejecting all opportunities for a state ever since.

The Arab states, many Europeans and the so-called “pro-Palestinian” movement have been using the same tactic since 1948 – keep the Palestinians in poverty, victimhood, and dependence so that Israel can be blamed, with the hope that Israel would lose legitimacy and its Jewish residents would be thrown into the sea or they would pack up and leave. Obviously it has not worked and it never will, but it has created what seems a carefully-planned hate culture for the Palestinians. This hate culture started from traditional Arab anti-Semitism, was combined with European anti-Semitism and has evolved into the most notorious and possibly the worst culture of hate on earth today. Less than a week ago, in the official Friday sermon on official Palestinian Authority (PA) television — not Hamas — the PA preacher was praying for genocide:

“Allah, punish Your enemies, the enemies of religion, count their numbers and kill them to the last one, and bring them a black day. Allah, punish the wicked Jews, and those among the atheists who help them. Allah, we ask that You bestow upon us respect and honor by enabling us to repel them, and we ask You to save us from their evil.”

All attempts by the U.S. to facilitate a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians have failed. Has any reasonable person really expected those attempts to succeed?

A society whose leaders campaign for a convicted terrorist to be given the Nobel Peace Prize, a society that teaches its children hatred and violence as part of its standard curriculum, a society that unabashedly teaches anti-Semitism through all means available, a society that puts suicide belts on children during political celebrations, a society that honors, glorifies and funds terrorists, a society that uses a hateful version of religion to poison the minds of its children, a society that engages in widespread jubilation when Jews are victims of terrorist attacks, is not a healthy society that can develop peace of any kind.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claims that he wants a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, yet he refused it when it was offered to him because he knows that he cannot sell any reasonable solution to his people. He knows that Palestinians have been taught for generations to believe that the only solution is the end of the Jewish state, and he and his predecessor Yasser Arafat hold a huge part of responsibility in that brainwashing.

Peace cannot be achieved as if by magic. Teach the Palestinians the values that bring peace (acceptance of differences, religious tolerance, and non-violent conflict resolution) rather than the lies that bring hate. Stop the anti-Israel incitement and maybe in a generation or two, the Palestinians will be ready for peace. These are the values taught all over the liberal democratic world, including Israel, but somehow, when it comes to Arabs, all expectations of socialized behavior are thrown out the window.

That peace requires — first — the end of the Palestinian culture of hate is obvious; yet this point is rarely made except by Israel and its supporters. Somehow, people expect to resolve a conflict without neutralizing the root cause of that conflict: teaching hate. Apparently, no one wants to face the reality that fighting hate is far harder than fighting warplanes, armored vehicles, missiles, or armies. But far more important.

When well-meaning but naïve (or disingenuous) people talk about how “both sides” in the conflict are at fault, I get nauseated. While it is technically true that both sides have faults, the imbalance is so great that the analogy is not only meaningless, but, more importantly, dangerous. It papers over the most fundamental issue in this conflict — the need to resolve the huge moral failure on the Arab side, its anti-Semitic hatred.

Resolving the hatred would finally allow Palestinians to look after their own interests rather than be obsessed and distracted with damaging the interests of Israel. They would find that their interests are quite consistent with those of Israel, and that peace would bring them huge dividends. They would be able to see these facts because they would no longer be blinded by hate.

Teach Peace: This is the solution that Western politicians urgently need to talk about when they meet Palestinian officials. It should be at the start, at the middle, and at the end of every meeting and every speech, and all funding should be made contingent on it and strictly linked to it.

Until this approach is adopted, there is really no point in talking about a negotiated two-state solution.

 

Fred Maroun

Ethiopia-Born Model Wins Israel’s ‘Big Brother’

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

An Ethiopia-born model won the fifth season of Israel’s “Big Brother” reality show.

Tahunia Rubel, 25, won the 1 million shekel prize, worth about $274,000, becoming the second woman to win on the show.

Many conflicts surrounded Rubel, including some dealing with race and ethnic identity. Some of the racial conflict reportedly caused two other contestants, a father and son, to be disqualified.

Earlier this year, an Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, Yityish Titi Aynam, 21, was crowned Miss Israel.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ethiopia-born-model-wins-israels-big-brother/2013/08/29/

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