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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘war’

MK Hazan Darling of Israeli Left over Dismissal by Netanyahu in Gaza Inquiry Brawl

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

MK Oren Hazan (Likud), traditionally the legislator most loathed by the Israeli left, both inside and outside the Knesset, now gets his turn to be the darling of the left, because of the courageous way he stood up to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Naturally, when Hazan was just as brave in the past, calling out Netanyahu on his shabby treatment of Israel’s rightwing majority, especially in Judea and Samaria, he did not receive recognition by the Labor MKs who this week have been stepping on each other to defend him, or, more accurately, attack Netanyahu on his behalf.

Hazan himself told Israel Radio Wednesday morning that he is paying a high price for his daring to criticize the prime minister, like several other Likud members (former MK Moshe Feiglin comes to mind). Hazan supports establishing a state committee of inquiry to investigate the 2014 Gaza war, specifically how aware had the IDF command been of the 30 to 40 Hamas terror tunnels? Netanyahu has released documentation showing the IDF conducted eight sessions, followed by 20 technical sessions, instructing the security cabinet on those tunnels. But Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett insists no such heightened attention was ever paid to the tunnels, and, in fact, it had taken his, Bennett’s, tenacious nagging to steer the cabinet and the high command towards hitting those vexing tunnels.

The Likud has launched a move to remove MK Hazan from the State Control Committee, where the vote on a state commission of inquiry will take place — because Hazan suggested he was in favor of appointing such a body. For his part, Hazan acknowledges that Netanyahu has just had enough of his “colorful” personal style, although it should be noted for the record that Hazan is one of the most hard working MKs: he is Knesset Deputy Speaker, and participates diligently and industriously in the Finance, State Control Committee, Special Committee for Discussion on the Public Broadcast Bill 2015, House Committee, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the Joint Committee for the Defense Budget. He is also member of a long list of Knesset Lobbies.

The above impressive record of Hazan’s contributions is surprising only to those who recall how the media introduced him following the last election, as a playboy drug dealer who managed casinos in Bulgaria and furnished cocaine and escorts for Israelis on vacation.

The Likud leadership has had it up to here with Hazan’s erratic behavior (he has endured several reprimands and a suspension for verbal brawls with opposition members, most recently his arch-enemy Hanin Zoabi from the Joint Arab List). They would like to post a more obedient MK at the Control Committee, because Netanyahu desperately wants to avoid a hearing on his cabinet’s management of the Gaza campaign. To remind the reader, 67 Israelis died in that war, and there are growing voices in Israel saying many of those deaths could be avoided. The head of the most right wing government in recent memory, Netanyahu does not need to be accused of military failure.

The opposition has been livid over Netanyahu’s intent to drop Hazan from the committee less than a week before the conclusion of the Knesset summer session. The same Zionist Camp NKs who last year condemned Netanyahu for letting into the Knesset a sketchy character such as Hazan now released a statement saying: “Bibi is afraid of Hazan. He is afraid of criticism, and above all he is afraid that criticism of operation Defensive Shield would expose him as being weak against the Hamas — that he is more a talkback artist than a leader.”

MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), chair of the State Control Committee, accused Netanyahu of trying to sabotage the committee’s work. “The prime minister is acting on strictly political considerations and it isn’t clear of what he is so afraid,” she said.

Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) called on Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to block the Likud Knesset faction’s move against Hazan. “The prime minister is so fearful of the comptroller’s report on Defensive Shield that he dishonors the Knesset and steps on the foundations of democracy,” Jelin said. “The next phase for the PM, after completing his domination of all the MKs, would be to pass the constitution for a new dictatorship.”

Incidentally, it’s been suggested recently that Netanyahu, who is 67, could remain Israel’s prime minister for many years to come — seeing as his exulted father Prof. Benzion Netanyahu lived to the ripe old age of 101. It could mean as many as 10 more terms for the ambitious Netanyahu, who would be the prime minister of Israeli children who are not yet born.

David Israel

Unexploded Qassam Rocket from Operation Pillar of Defense

Monday, August 1st, 2016

An unexploded Qassam rocket was found Sunday during the day in an open area in the Gaza Belt community of Kibbutz Netiv Ha’Asara.

The rocket dates back to Operation Pillar of Defense, the eight-day mini-war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza, from November 14, 2012 to November 22.

The rocket was removed by the bomb squad.

Hana Levi Julian

2014 Gaza War Parents Demand Investigation of Operation’s Conduct, High Losses

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Two years after Operation Protective Edge, in which 66 IDF soldiers and five civilians were killed, the bereaved families of the fallen are demanding an independent committee to examine the preparations for the war, the way it was conducted, and the lessons to be learned.

The 32 families on Sunday demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman that a state commission headed by a judge investigate the government’s decision-making process throughout the war.

In their letter, the families mentioned the fact that the Knesset Foreign and Security Committee had been asked to examine the events of the 2014 war and has yet to issue a report. One report that had been produced by the committee was shelved because of the 2015 elections. Referring to the same committee’s publicized intent to renew its investigation, the families argued it made no sense to “reconvene a committee that has already investigated the events and opted not to publish its conclusions.”

“Even if the decision to shelve the conclusions was made by a different person than the current committee head, it would be inappropriate to renew the discussion after such a long period of time, and it could appear as a lack of transparency or exterior pressures which do not belong in an investigation of this scope,” the families wrote.

On the evening of June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and later murdered in Judea and Samaria by Hamas operatives. Their bodies were discovered on June 30. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza in which 3 Arabs were killed and a dozen injured. Hamas retaliated with rockets that were fired at Israeli civilian centers wounding three people. On July 7, 80 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and the Netanyahu security cabinet decided to launch a counter-terrorist operation. The IDF bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip with artillery and airstrikes, and Hamas continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel. A cease-fire proposal was announced by the Egyptian government and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on July 14, and the Israeli government accepted it and stopped the attacks on the morning of July 15. But Hamas rejected the ceasefire and the war was renewed. By July 16 the death toll in Gaza had reached 200.

On July 16, Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered a 10-year truce with ten conditions, including lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners who were re-arrested after being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. Israel refused those terms. On July 17, a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, proposed by the UN, took place. But a few hours before the ceasefire was to start, 13 armed Hamas terrorists emerging from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. The IDF destroyed the tunnel’s exit, ending the incursion.

After the ceasefire, the IDF launched a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, aimed at destroying the terror tunnels crossing under the Israeli border. On July 20, the IDF entered Shuja’iyya in Gaza City and encountered heavy resistance. Thirteen IDF soldiers were killed, including two Americans serving in Israel. Seven of the IDF soldiers were killed as their armored vehicle was hit by an anti-tank rocket or an improvised explosive device, and three were killed in clashes with terrorists. Three IDF soldiers were trapped in a burning house. In the next 24 hours, three more IDF soldiers were killed in Shuja’iyya.

Shortly after the battle, twenty civilians from Shuja’iyya were shot for protesting against Hamas. Hamas said it had executed Israeli spies.

On August 3, the IDF pulled most of its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip after completing the destruction of 32 terror tunnels. On August 5 Israel announced that it had arrested Hossam Kawasmeh, suspected of having organized the killing of the three teenagers. According to court documents, Kawasmeh stated that Hamas members in Gaza financed the recruitment and arming of the killers.


1941: Baseball In America, War In Europe

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The year 1941 brought a season of baseball excellence from Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. It was also a year of anguish for Jews on both sides of the ocean.

Radio provided escapism from the war in Europe and most Jewish males, like most males in America, were following the adventures of the Lone Ranger.

Broadcast from the Detroit radio studios of WXYZ, the three-times weekly Lone Ranger program was more popular than ever. National surveys indicated that 63 percent of the listening audience was made up of adults.

The deep, authoritative voice of Earle W. Graser was perfectly suited for the role of the Lone Ranger. Tragically, as he was returning home from the studio late one night, Graser fell asleep at the wheel. His car veered into a parked trailer, and one of America’s most popular radio voices was forever silenced. He was only 32.

National publications carried obituaries and editorials. Time magazine called the Lone Ranger “the most adored character ever to be created on the U.S. air.”

Graser was gone but the Lone Ranger galloped into America’s homes the following evening as WXYZ announcer Brace Beemer assumed the role of  the masked man. Beemer would fill the radio role for the next 13 years.

Eight days later, on April 18, 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany. Nazi bombing squadrons soon targeted Belgrade, causing 700 Jewish casualties. Yugoslavia’s chief rabbi, Dr. Isaac Alcalay, was among the victims.

Hundreds of Jews were killed and more than 2,000 wounded during a five-day pogrom in Romania. Hundreds of Jews sought and were granted shelter at the American consulate. Jews trying to escape to Hungary were machine-gunned, as were others who tried to flee in small boats. Criminals were released from jail in Romania by Iron Guardists to help butcher the Jews.

In America, meanwhile, superstar Hank Greenberg, who over the previous four seasons had averaged 43 home runs and 148 runs batted in, was inducted into the United States Army in May.

Less than a month later, Lou Gehrig died. Gehrig, who retired from baseball two years earlier after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, had set a record for endurance that would stand for decades, playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees. His fatal neuro-muscular disease would become known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Gehrig was only 38.

In her book My Luke and I, published 36 years after her husband’s passing, Eleanor Gehrig told of her bedside vigil as her celebrity husband lay dying.

“I often had to look out the window to find out whether it was night or day. The heavy breathing was slower and slower, like a great clock winding down,” Mrs. Gehrig wrote.

“Then on the evening of June 2, 1941, suddenly everything was still, and the doctor was by my side. The most beautified expression instantly spread over Lou’s face, and I knew the precise moment he was gone.

“The expression of peace was beyond description. A thing of ecstatic beauty, and seeing it we were awe-stricken and even reassured. We seemed stronger, and not one of us left that room without feeling: There is a better place than this. Wherever it is.”

Jewish baseball history was made by the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds on Sunday, September 21, 1941, as the team had four Jews in its starting lineup – the first and thus far only time that’s happened in the major leagues.

Bronx-born Harry Feldman was making his second big league start after spending most of the season in the minor leagues. Thirty-year-old catcher Harry Danning was calling the pitches for the 21-year-old rookie. (The game marked the first time a Jewish pitcher and a Jewish catcher formed the battery.)

Irwin Cohen

Reflections On The Second Lebanon War

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Ten years since the Second Lebanon War. For those of us who took part in it, that war remains always just in view. Like a suitcase filled with items of vivid memory, waiting quietly in the corner of a room.

It was an entirely inglorious and partially botched and inconclusive affair. A “great and grave missed opportunity” as the second report of the Winograd Committee termed it.

It has also been rapidly forgotten. This, it seems, is the way of the small wars that Israel fights these days. None of them passes into legend, as did the great conflicts of the state’s foundation. Today’s conflicts, after a short time, become largely the private property of those who participated in them.

That’s perhaps not a bad thing. Perhaps it is akin to the rapidity with which Israeli cities clear up and move on after terror attacks. Still, the long quiet that has followed the 2006 war on the northern border has helped to further obscure some of the lessons of that summer. It is worth therefore recalling, in unforgiving focus, some of what took place.

A cabinet led by individuals with minimal security experience (and a prime minister and president now serving jail terms), and an IDF led by its first chief of staff from the Air Force set out for war with the Iranian proxy Hizbullah organization in July 2006.

It is now evident that no coherent and achievable plan for the conduct of the war had been decided on at the rushed and overheated cabinet meeting that set it in motion.

This problematic, unprepared leadership was in turn commanding an army ill suited for the war it would need to fight.

There were two reasons for the IDF’s state of unreadiness.

The first was practical: The 2006 war came immediately after an intensive five-year period of counter-insurgency, in which the IDF was engaged against a large scale Palestinian uprising. The demands of the Second Intifada left little time for training for conventional war.

The challenges faced by troops at that time were considerable. But they were mainly of a police-like nature, not employing or testing the specialized skills of front line military units in battlefield conditions.

This army in 2006 found itself facing a well armed, mobile enemy, on terrain the Israeli side knew far less well than its foe.

The resulting difficulties were compounded by a second, conceptual issue. The 2006 war was not the fight the army was expecting. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz expected to spend his period at the IDF’s helm facing the key challenge of the Iranian nuclear program and focusing on ballistic missile defense. Future wars, it was assumed, would be fought using air power, with small numbers of trained specialists on the ground.

As a result, resources had in preceding years been diverted from training the large, reserve land army. It was assumed that this was a force unlikely to be used.

In 2006, some reserve armored formations, as a result, went into battle against Hizbullah having taken part in only one training exercise using tanks in the previous half decade. Full disclosure: I was a member of such a force.

These were the circumstances in which Israel went to war in 2006.

The war for the greater part of its duration consisted of limited ground operations by the IDF in an area adjoining the border, air operations up to Beirut, as well as a successfully maintained naval blockade; and on Hizbullah’s side, defense of areas under ground attack and a successful effort to maintain throughout a constant barrage of short-range rockets on northern Israel.

A cease-fire went into effect at 8 a.m. on August 14, following the passage of UN Resolution 1701. The end of the fighting found some IDF forces deployed at the Litani River, but with Israel far from control of the entire area between the river and the Israeli-Lebanese border.

* * * * *

Looking back, it is clear that hesitant Israeli political leadership and a lack of an overall plan for the war were the reasons for its inconclusive results. Had the IDF – even the poorly prepared force that entered the war of 2006 – been presented with clear orders at an early stage to move forward into Lebanon, according to one of the available plans for achieving this, a less ambiguous result could have been achieved. No such order was ever given.

Much public anger followed the war and its inconclusive results, as Hizbullah and its friends in the West sought to build a narrative of “divine victory” from the events.

From our perspective a decade later, however, much of the euphoria of Hizbullah and the despair on parts of the Israeli side seem exaggerated. The results of the war from an Israeli perspective in 2016 are mixed.

The border has indeed been quieter since 2006 than at any time since the late 1960s. This fact in itself says more about Hizbullah’s true assessment following the damage suffered in 2006 than any al-Akhbar editorial excitedly proclaiming divine victory.

And of course Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah himself told a Lebanese TV station shortly after the war that had the movement known in advance the scale of the IDF response, Hizbullah would have never have carried out the kidnappings that sparked the war.

At the same time, Resolution 1701, which was intended to keep the Shia Islamist movement north of the Litani has failed. Hizbullah has built an extensive new infrastructure south of the river since 2006, under the noses of UNIFIL and often with the collusion of the Lebanese Armed Forces. And Hizbullah has vastly increased its rocket and missile capacity.

In retrospect, 2006 was perhaps most significant in that it introduced a type of warfare and a type of force that has now proliferated across the region – namely, military entities that are neither regular armies nor guerrilla movements in the classic sense. Rather, they are potent combinations of the two.

These forces carry no state flag with them. Indeed, often they are stronger than the forces of the notional state on whose territory they operate. They possess neither air power nor much in the way of armored or artillery or naval capacities. Yet they operate not merely as guerrillas but rather as light infantry forces, holding ground and defending it, while making adept use of 21st century media to fight the propaganda battle.

Hizbullah was the prototype of such a force, and it remains among the strongest of them. But today the entire landscape between the Mediterranean Sea and the Iraq-Iran border proliferates with groups of this type. Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham and Iraq’s Shia militias and even the Assad regime’s National Defence Force represent a variety of opposed causes and perspectives. But they are all hybrid forces, light infantries of varying quality, parallel entities to Hizbullah.

This highlights perhaps the most central point regarding the 2006 war. In its aftermath, as Hizbullah and Iran celebrated their “divine victory,” it appeared the prospect was for ongoing bloodletting between Israel and a regional alliance committed to its destruction, with Hizbullah as the primary military instrument on the ground.

Today, that landscape has changed beyond recognition. Hizbullah and its Iranian patron are engaged in a region-wide war against the Sunni Arabs. In Yemen, Iraq, and above all Syria, the movement and its patron are up to their necks in unending conflict. Hizbullah’s latest woes include fights between its members and Assad’s troops in the Aleppo area, and the loss of around 1,500 men in the morass of the Syrian war.

For as long as this war continues, it seems likely that no repeat of 2006 is on the horizon. And if and when the war ends, the damage suffered in 2006 is likely to give Hizbullah and its patron continued pause for thought.

What all this ultimately means is that we should be thankful for those who came before us. Lebanon 2006 shows that even at a low point in terms of training and planning, led by an unsuitable chief of staff, with an inexperienced and as it turns out largely corrupt political leadership at the helm, Israel’s armed forces were still of sufficient quality to be capable of delivering a blow to a powerful enemy instructive enough to ensure a period of subsequent silence, which lasts to this day.

Broader regional circumstances beyond the control of either Israelis or Lebanese Shias have certainly added to this effect. The main question, though – whether Israeli society and its armed forces have sufficiently internalized and acted on the lessons taught in the burning summer of 2006 – remains a subject of daily relevance to which a final answer cannot yet be given.

Dr. Jonathan Spyer

IDF Acquires New Long-Range Rocket From IMI

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

One usually associates the acquisition of the long-range rockets with Iran, Hezbollah or terrorists in Gaza.

But it turns out the IDF has just acquired an exquisitely accurate long-range rocket produced by Israeli defense firm Israel Military Industries (IMI)– the new long-range Taas EXTRA (Extended Range Artillery Rocket) missile.

The Taas, capable of hitting a target within a 10-meter accuracy radius even as far as 150 kilometers away, is part of Israel’s new arsenal being developed in preparation for a possible future conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Taas EXTRA long-range rocket manufactured by IMI.

The missile is described by the firm as a “precise, cost-effective, tactical-range artillery rocket” that allows ground force commanders to “influence the battlefield” at a range of 20 to 150 kilometers.

Developed in the IMI factory in Givon, the new rocket is approximately four meters long, with a diameter of 30 centimeters, and capable of carrying a variety of warheads up to a weight of 120 kilograms.

It’s a highly accurate rocket with a proven effectiveness against a “wide range of high payoff targets across the tactical battlefield,” according to the company.

The Taas will enable Israel to attack and eliminate any number of targets in Lebanon, should that prove necessary. This will also reduce the cost and complications of aerial attacks against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group where they hide north of Israel’s borders.

Hana Levi Julian

The War for Halachic Judaism

Monday, June 27th, 2016


Disclaimer: I don’t like labels as it pertains to Torah identity. I don’t love the term ‘orthodox Jew’,  modern-orthodox, etc. Personally, I would prefer the term halachic Jew, but some of the most aggressive religious innovators insist that they are acting in an halachic manner. On the other hand, I have zero patience for those who nit-pick with ridiculous semantics. In this article I use the term ‘orthodox Jew,’ because sometimes terms become deep-rooted in a communal identity, and the desire to shake the root free is both wasteful, unnecessary, and sometimes counter-productive. I use the term when referring to religious rabbis who believe in the absolute Divine nature of Torah, and the mass revelation at Sinai.

A few other brief points. In no way do I believe that there are no great, righteous men of Torah today. G-d forbid! There are many, and I am fortunate to know more than a few myself, both in Israel and America. In this article I am speaking about what I perceive to be a dearth of prominent public voices, in response to radical innovations.

Finally, I want to clarify that my critique of torturous misreading of Halacha is referring to radical innovations that, in my opinion, contradict the traditional approach of Halacha. My critique has no commonality with those who mock the halachic system and Halacha in general. Quite the opposite. I am unequivocally committed 100% to the Divinity of Torah, and to the sacred words of chazal.

In any event, these are my general reflections of what I perceive to be a terrible problem. If nothing else, perhaps, this article will encourage people to address these issues.

Once upon a time, there were giants who walked amongst us-giants of Torah. Men with wisdom to combat the modern idols of secularization. Men who defended the integrity of the Jewish synagogue and the Jewish family from goyish modernization. Men who spoke with deep wisdom in defense of the deepest truths. Men who understood that modern definitions of feminism, woman’s rights, and similar minded ideologies spoke more of the faulty psychology of their respective advocates, than of any new-age modern revelation designed to liberate women from being women. Once upon a time, great men of Torah fought for yahadut.

Today, there are few if any prominent vocal voices. And so, whenever the new radical voices in the Torah community (who speak in the name of Torah) speak violence to the system, there is deafening silence. On issues that should transcend all labels and factions, and appeal to everyone concerned with protecting Halachah, one feels the void.

Ironically, some of the most blatant outrages occur in Israel, where unbridled Jewish messianic fervor renders many Jews vulnerable to aberrant belief systems. Consider the spectacle of orthodox rabbis giving a kosher seal to evangelicals and missionaries in Israel because of a distorted notion of achalta de’geula (a pivotal point in time auguring moshiach). Consider how one prominent Rabbi in the heartland of liberated Samaria opened up his community to evangelicals in order to benefit from their free labor. Today, these evangelicals have transitioned from living in tents to dwelling in cottages.

Consider that Tommy Waller, the leader of these evangelicals from the volunteer group “Hayovel”, once infamously admitted in a promotional video that such opportunities will give him a chance to missionize (video):

“As we’re working with these people, we’ll be able to share with them this…this Jesus that we know.” 

Further on in the video, a family member elaborated:

“Our family has begun a ministry called Hayovel. The vision of Hayovel is to develop a network of individual, families, and congregations who are ready to labor side by side with the people of Israel. To bless them, to stand with them, to share with them a passion for the soon coming jubilee in yeshua messiah. We extend the invitation to you, to join us.”


And what of the growing number of religious rabbis who swim in the dangerous waters of interfaith dialogue? Perhaps most outrageous of all is that easily the most prominent individual involved in this lunacy repeatedly treads upon his deceased Rabbi’s famous stringent halachic ruling which prohibited such actions. (See Rav Soloveitchik’s famous essay “Confrontation” and follow-up Addendum.)

On a more general level, how is orthodoxy supposed to cope with the following?

  • Rabbis with kipot and beards who reflect on a morality independent of Halacha? Rabbis whose readings of Torah verse and Talmud require a torturous misreading of the written and articulated meanings?
  • Rabbis whose usage and defense (if only for application regarding what they believe to be “antiquated” injunctions, and not every day Halacha) of this tactic remind me of the perverse attempts of “Jewish Renewal”.
  • Religious Rabbis whose interpretations of of Divine injunctions mirror the tactics of maskilim new and old. Rabbis who see metaphor in the biblical injunction to destroy Amalek and the 7 Nations of Canaan.
  • Rabbis who believe in a “new Halacha.” Rabbis who opine that Rambam and others spoke for their age alone.
  • Religious Rabbis who advocate for homosexual marriage.
  • Rabbis for Hillary Clinton and her leftist anti-Torah positions.
  • Rabbis who engage in biblical criticism.
  • Rabbis who wish to free Spinoza from his well-earned excommunication.
  • Rabbis for “open-orthodoxy” and the ordination of women.
  • Rabbis whose well-intended but misguided notions will surely lead the next generations on the path to a new reform movement.

I worry about the future of Judaism. Not for its ultimate survival, since our tradition is stronger than any threat we face. But the war will come at a cost. The cost of souls lost to heresies new and old. Once upon a time, giants of Torah fought for truth against the ‘reformation’ of Torah. Today the Torah community is as weak as ever. Not in terms of over-all Torah study. In that context, there is more Torah study today than ever before. But with the rise of social media, and the new movements pandering to all sorts of foolishness, Torah Jewry is intellectually susceptible. We lack sophisticated courageous Torah leadership to stand up for unpopular truth.  Even the RCA has shown an inability to reign in radical thought. How long did it take for them to take a stand against the growing clamor of the new “orthodox” to ordain woman?

The great men are gone. The classic men of past generations who fought critical battles for the preservation of Torah are gone. Today’s religious rabbis shirk their duty to protect their flocks. Worse yet, many lead their flocks astray.

Factionalism render’s certain camps relatively insulated from some of these heretical voices. For the time, at least. One attraction of these new voices which will appeal to the disaffected of every community, is that some of these new prophets raise valid points about institutionalized rabbinical abuses which represent a chillul Hashem. These real issues act a springboard to hoist radical ideas. The fact that a stopped clock tells accurate time twice a day does nothing to change its general status as a broken instrument.

Yet the willingness to admit abuse speaks of a candor which people find impressive. The answers are usually less impressive, and are usually more grounded in feelings than Jewish law. But one cannot ignore the real issues, and the attraction of those who address them. One must find better solutions reflecting Torah positions. “Orthodoxy” doesn’t need to change, despite the popular insistence that it must. Corruption is by definition contrary to Torah. If it is corrupt, then it cannot be orthodox despite the identification as such by the corrupt. We need to aggressively return to the truths of Torah.

Where are the giants who fought for halachic integrity? These great men are gone. Today we have silent men. Fearful men. People afraid to confront those who seek to ordain female rabbis in the name of orthodoxy, and those who would rather create a new Halacha to free chained women, rather than call for Jewish men to break open the heads of recalcitrant men. Today, we have Rabbis who in the name of compassion, will create leniency where none can be found, and in turn, will create mamzerim. The greatest and most sensitive poskim of the past, were sometimes hamstrung by halachic reality. They understood that non-halachic compassion will destroy the Jewish people.

In the name of political correctness, some may opine that the Rambam’s words were for his age alone, and that the Nesher could never have imagined a Jewish state in a modern age. My understanding of the Rambam is that he foresaw much more than his modern day detractors ever could. Unlike others, he wrote about biblical wars precisely because he understood that the process of redemption will occur, and war will be necessary.

In the name of religious tolerance, many distort the Meiri in a way that he could never have imagined, as a source for all sorts of prohibited activities. The Meiri never could have fathomed a prominent religious America rabbi in America entering a national church for Obama’s initial swearing in ceremony. No one puts a gun or a sword to a Rabbi’s head in America, and yet he entered a forbidden place of his own volition.

Political correctness has infiltrated orthodoxy making orthodoxy increasingly susceptible to liberal sensibilities. Now is a time for intellectual zealousness for Hashem. Men of Torah need to face the new heresies and radical innovations, and intellectually combat the religious proponents of these foreign notions.

An orthodox Judaism which fails to heed today’s call, will suffer in the coming years. The impact will affect even the most insulated communities. One day, the orthodox will awaken from their slumber and cry out for action. What will they do? They will create conferences to deal with the new “crises”. But by then, the bleeding will be copious.

Donny Fuchs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/fuchs-focus/the-war-for-halachic-judaism/2016/06/27/

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