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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘world’s’

The Birth Of The World’s Oldest Hate

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

“Go and learn what Laban the Aramean sought to do to our father Jacob. Pharaoh made his decree only about the males whereas Laban sought to destroy everything.” This passage from the Haggadah on Pesach – evidently based on this week’s parsha – is extraordinarily difficult to understand.

First, it is a commentary on the phrase in Deuteronomy, Arami oved avi. As the overwhelming majority of commentators point out, the meaning of this phrase is “my father was a wandering Aramean”, a reference either to Jacob, who escaped to Aram [Aram meaning Syria, a reference to Haran where Laban lived], or to Abraham, who left Aram in response to God’s call to travel to the land of Canaan. It does not mean “an Aramean [Laban] tried to destroy my father.” Some commentators read it this way, but almost certainly they only do so because of this passage in the Haggadah.

Second, nowhere in the parsha do we find that Laban actually tried to destroy Jacob. He deceived him, tried to exploit him, and chased after him when he fled. As he was about to catch up with Jacob, God appeared to him in a dream at night and said: ‘Be very careful not to say anything, good or bad, to Jacob.’ (Gen. 31:22). When Laban complains about the fact that Jacob was trying to escape, Jacob replies: “Twenty years now I have worked for you in your estate – fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for some of your flocks. You changed my wages ten times!” (31:41). All this suggests that Laban behaved outrageously to Jacob, treating him like an unpaid laborer, almost a slave, but not that he tried to “destroy” him – to kill him as Pharaoh tried to kill all male Israelite children.

Third, the Haggadah and the seder service of which it is the text, is about how the Egyptians enslaved and practiced slow genocide against the Israelites and how God saved them from slavery and death. Why seek to diminish this whole narrative by saying that, actually, Pharaoh’s decree was not that bad, Laban’s was worse. This seems to make no sense, either in terms of the central theme of the Haggadah or in relation to the actual facts as recorded in the biblical text.

How then are we to understand it?

Perhaps the answer is this. Laban’s behavior is the paradigm of anti-Semites through the ages. It was not so much what Laban did that the Haggadah is referring to, but what his behavior gave rise to, in century after century. How so?

Laban begins by seeming like a friend. He offers Jacob refuge when he is in flight from Esau who has vowed to kill him. Yet it turns out that his behavior is less generous than self-interested and calculating. Jacob works for him for seven years for Rachel. Then on the wedding night Laban substitutes Leah for Rachel, so that to marry Rachel, Jacob has to work another seven years. When Joseph is born to Rachel, Jacob tries to leave. Laban protests. Jacob works another six years, and then realizes that the situation is untenable. Laban’s sons are accusing him of getting rich at Laban’s expense. Jacob senses that Laban himself is becoming hostile. Rachel and Leah agree, saying, “he treats us like strangers! He has sold us and spent the money!” (31:14-15).

Jacob realises that there is nothing he can do or say that will persuade Laban to let him leave. He has no choice but to escape. Laban then pursues him, and were it not for God’s warning the night before he catches up with him, there is little doubt that he would have forced Jacob to return and live out the rest of his life as his unpaid laborer. As he says to Jacob the next day: “The daughters are my daughters! The sons are my sons! The flocks are my flocks! All that you see is mine!” (31:43). It turns out that everything he had ostensibly given Jacob, in his own mind he had not given at all.

Laban treats Jacob as his property, his slave. He is a non-person. In his eyes Jacob has no rights, no independent existence. He has given Jacob his daughters in marriage but still claims that they and their children belong to him, not Jacob. He has given Jacob an agreement as to the animals that will be his as his wages, yet he still insists that “The flocks are my flocks.”

What arouses his anger, his rage, is that Jacob maintains his dignity and independence. Faced with an impossible existence as his father-in-law’s slave, Jacob always finds a way of carrying on. Yes he has been cheated of his beloved Rachel, but he works so that he can marry her too. Yes he has been forced to work for nothing, but he uses his superior knowledge of animal husbandry to propose a deal which will allow him to build flocks of his own that will allow him to maintain what is now a large family. Jacob refuses to be defeated. Hemmed in on all sides, he finds a way out. That is Jacob’s greatness. His methods are not those he would have chosen in other circumstances. He has to outwit an extremely cunning adversary. But Jacob refuses to be defeated, or crushed and demoralized. In a seemingly impossible situation Jacob retains his dignity, independence and freedom. Jacob is no man’s slave.

Laban is, in effect, the first anti-Semite. In age after age, Jews sought refuge from those, like Esau, who sought to kill them. The nations who gave them refuge seemed at first to be benefactors. But they demanded a price. They saw, in Jews, people who would make them rich. Wherever Jews went they brought prosperity to their hosts. Yet they refused to be mere chattels. They refused to be owned. They had their own identity and way of life; they insisted on the basic human right to be free. The host society then eventually turned against them. They claimed that Jews were exploiting them rather than what was in fact the case, that they were exploiting the Jews. And when Jews succeeded, they accused them of theft: “The flocks are my flocks! All that you see is mine!” They forgot that Jews had contributed massively to national prosperity. The fact that Jews had salvaged some self-respect, some independence, that they too had prospered, made them not just envious but angry. That was when it became dangerous to be a Jew.

Laban was the first to display this syndrome but not the last. It happened again in Egypt after the death of Joseph. It happened under the Greeks and Romans, the Christian and Muslim empires of the Middle Ages, the European nations of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and after the Russian Revolution.

In her fascinating book World on Fire, Amy Chua argues that ethnic hatred will always be directed by the host society against any conspicuously successful minority. All three conditions must be present.

[1] The hated group must be a minority or people will fear to attack it.

[2] It must be successful or people will not envy it, merely feel contempt for it.

[3] It must be conspicuous or people will not notice it.

Jews tended to fit all three. That is why they were hated. And it began with Jacob during his stay with Laban. He was a minority, outnumbered by Laban’s family. He was successful, and it was conspicuous: you could see it by looking at his flocks.

What the sages are saying in the Haggadah now becomes clear. Pharaoh was a one-time enemy of the Jews, but Laban exists, in one form or another, in age after age. The syndrome still exists today. As Amy Chua notes, Israel in the context of the Middle East is a conspicuously successful minority. It is a small country, a minority; it is successful and it is conspicuously so. Somehow, in a tiny country with few natural resources, it has outshone its neighbors. The result is envy that becomes anger that becomes hate. Where did it begin? With Laban.

Put this way, we begin to see Jacob in a new light. Jacob stands for minorities and small nations everywhere. Jacob is the refusal to let large powers crush the few, the weak, the refugee. Jacob refuses to define himself as a slave, someone else’s property. He maintains his inner dignity and freedom. He contributes to other people’s prosperity but he defeats every attempt to be exploited. Jacob is the voice that says: I too am human. I too have rights. I too am free.

If Laban is the eternal paradigm of hatred of conspicuously successful minorities, then Jacob is the eternal paradigm of the human capacity to survive the hatred of others. In this strange way Jacob becomes the voice of hope in the conversation of humankind, the living proof that hate never wins the final victory; freedom does.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

The 1939 World’s Fair Palestine Pavilion

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

The Palestine Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair was one of the seminal events in both American Jewish history and the rebirth of Israel. In fact, the entire fair proved very popular among Jews, who playfully referred to the Trylon and Perisphere – the defining icon of the fair –as the “lulav and esrog.”

The modern World’s Fair, or Universal Exposition, originated in the French tradition, as manifested by the French Industrial Exposition held in Paris (1844). This fair led to other national exhibitions throughout Europe, the most famous being the First World Expo – titled the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” – which was held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851.

Since the establishment of the 1928 Convention Relating to International Exhibitions, the International Exhibitions Bureau served as an international sanctioning body for world’s fairs, the general purpose of which was to create a virtual zone of internationalism where each state could put forward its best face to the world of nations.

Naturally, particularly in the shadow of Hitler and the rise of Nazism in Europe, Zionists sought to participate in the fair as an expression of political Jewish sovereignty, and they dreamed of displaying their flags, singing their anthems, presenting their honor guard of chalutzim, and establishing their pavilion like any other state.

Zionist leaders understood their inclusion in the world of nations at the Fair would constitute a powerful argument for international legitimacy. 0

The Jewish role in previous fairs had been essentially limited to classification as a religious group, but all that changed with the 1939 World’s Fair, held at Flushing Meadows in New York City, due primarily to the efforts of impresario Meyer Weisgal (1894-1977), who directed the creation of the Palestine Pavilion at the fair.

Weisgal specified three goals for the Pavilion: first, to gather support for the Zionist cause; second, to protest against Nazi Germany and raise funds for Jewish refugees from Hitler; and third, to put on a strong show of Jewish solidarity on the grand world stage.

Organizers of the Pavilion, led by Weisgal, petitioned the fair’s planning board for space in the fair’s “International Zone,” but the request was summarily rejected because strict guidelines permitted only established countries – which “Palestine” certainly was not.

(How richly ironic that in short order many of the European “established countries” – including France, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Finland, and Austria – essentially ceased to exist, in terms of independence and sovereignty, due to the Nazi conquests in World War II.)

In an unexpected concession, the fair’s organizers suggested that Palestine, then under the British Mandate, could participate under the banner of Great Britain. Not surprisingly, the British, given the tense state of affairs in the Mandate, quickly rejected the idea. Fair organizers ultimately granted exhibition space to Palestine in the “Community Interest” zone – but the Arabs, the British, and even the State Department were enraged when the Jewish organizers planned to call their exhibition “the Jewish National Home in Palestine” or “the Land of Israel.” The ultimate choice – the “Jewish Palestine Pavilion” – did little to assuage them.

Though Weisgal failed in his attempt to locate the Pavilion among the other nations, the anti-Jewish Palestine forces were incensed that he succeeded in convincing fair officials to permit the Palestine Pavilion to fly the Zionist flag, to be included in the fair’s Book of Nations, and to be represented in the Parade of Nations, all of which constituted indicia of governmental sovereignty.

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 2 is a small booklet that proudly touts The First Palestine Exhibit at an American World’s Fair…. Bringing to America the Story of Jewish Achievement. The text inside explains that that the Palestine Pavilion

will constitute the first complete panorama to be shown at the American World’s Fair of the transformation that a few decades of Jewish colonialization have wrought in the Holy Land…. The Pavilion will include ten exhibition halls dedicated to various aspects of Jewish life in Palestine today…. The exhibits to be shown at the Pavilion are now being completed in Palestine, where they are being built by Jewish craftsmen out of Palestinian materials…

Weisgal cleverly and pointedly planned the exhibit in order to present Zionist ideology as consistent with the fair’s general theme, “Building the World of Tomorrow,” and he conceived the idea of making the Pavilion a “miniature Palestine in Flushing Meadows” and for the building itself to be “authentically Palestinian.”

A flagged courtyard centered the Pavilion, and fifty varieties of trees and plants native to Eretz Yisrael were planted around the courtyard, including orange, lemon, lime, fig and date trees, and lotus and papyrus plants that grew out of the pool. The Pavilion also featured basalt from the Sea of Galilee; special bluish-gray marble from Givaat Hahamishah; striking mosaics brought from the ancient synagogue of Beth Alpha; and a cornerstone brought from Hanita.

After a successful fundraising drive, Dr. Thomas Mann, the German novelist, social critic, philanthropist, and staunch anti-Nazi who in 1929 had been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, dedicated the cornerstone of the Palestine Pavilion on May 13, 1939. New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia welcomed the exhibit because of its “special significance at this time, when the problem of a refuge for Jews persecuted by the totalitarian governments is growing more acute from day to day.”

Though the actual formal dedication, which took place two weeks later on May 28, had to be postponed because the Pavilion had not been completed, it was unofficially opened a few weeks early to satisfy high public demand –

Exhibit 3

Exhibit 3

Exhibit 3 is Facts About the Jewish Palestine Pavilion at the NY World’s Fair – 1939, a mini-booklet distributed at the unofficial opening of the Pavilion. Weisgal’s conclusion constitutes a succinct statement of the Pavilion’s aims:

For more than forty years the people of the world have been listening to the struggle of a homeless people to recreate and reinhabit the ancient land of their forefathers. To most people this story has remained the tale of far-off accomplishments. Now, for the first time, through the Palestine Pavilion at the forthcoming World’s Fair, millions of people will be brought into physical contact with Jewish Palestine. With their bare hands the Jews have wrested a fertile, thriving community from the heart of a barren wilderness. It is the triumph of life defeating death, the victory of Jewish idealism, courage and tenacity.This is the story which the Palestine Pavilion will attempt to tell to the millions that will come to visit the World’s Fair.

Also exhibited here, as Exhibit 4, is The Jewish Palestine Pavilion – A Monument to Zionist Achievement in Eretz Israel, a pamphlet issued by the Zionist Organization of America. It shows the Pavilion, which was designed by Arieh (Sapoznikov) El-Hanani, and “The Scholar, the Laborer, and the Toiler of the Soil,” the immense hammered copper relief sculpture at the facade of the Pavilion building by sculptor Maurice Ascalon, the “father of modern Israeli decorative arts.”

Exhibit 4

Exhibit 4

Saul Jay Singer

Masses to Attend World’s Biggest Shabbat Meal in Hebron

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

As they have done for almost a quarter century, thousands plan to visit Hebron for the annual Shabbat Hebron to celebrate the reading of the Torah portion of Chayei Sarah, describing the purchase of the Cave of Machpela in Hebron by our biblical patriarch Abraham as a burial plot for his beloved wife Sarah. The Torah notes in great detail that Abraham, father of monotheism, insisted on paying full price for his first purchase of land in Israel, even though the local Hittites said they were perfectly happy to give it to him for free.

The connection between the coming Torah portion and Hebron has made this holy city a prime destination this Shabbat, and an estimated 20 thousand guests are expected to stay in Hebron and in Kiryat Arba next door.

Shabbat Hebron became an organized happening almost 25 years ago and has grown exponentially over the years. Every year, the local Jewish Community prepares logistically for this mass migration of visitors with food, security, and home hospitality. Also, the Hall of Rebecca & Isaac, the largest in the Tomb of Machpela (Cave of the Patriarchs), will open for Jewish services, one of the ten days out of the year that the space is accessible.

This year, Shabbat Hebron will fall on November 25-26, the first time since 2005 that coincides with the Thanksgiving holiday, (it will take place next only in 2027). The Hebron Fund has organized a special Chayei Sarah mission for English speakers from abroad, including tours and other activities.

Last year, due to the wave of deadly terrorist attacks, there was a sharp decrease in attendance. The usually joyful, picnic-like atmosphere was marred by a terrorist sniper who wounded two civilians, including a visiting American college student named Eli Borochov. Despite being shot in the leg, Borochov expressed a desire to return this year. His father, Ronen Borochov, told Israeli news media that he promises to come back this Shabbat, with his children. “Terror won’t defeat us,” he stated. “The answer to the terrorists is that I will come to Hebron, not with just one child but with my whole family.”

This year’s festivities will also feature special mass free Shabbat meals. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, Chabad of Hebron is sponsoring three free first-class meals. These will take place under a giant tent which will feature 300 yards of special graphic printing telling the Jewish story of Hebron through the ages. The tent will accommodate 3,000 guests, making the event the largest Shabbat gathering in the world. These Shabbat meals will be lavish, and feature waiters.

Incidentally, Chabad of Hebron and the Jewish Community of Hebron have been cooperating since the 1800’s. Rabbi Danny and Batsheva Cohen, the Shluchim of Chabad of Hebron, continue in that tradition, and provide a Jewish connection to soldiers and visitors, like all the other Chabad Houses worldwide.

Also expected to join the celebrations: Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamiel, Minister of Religious Affairs David Azulai, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Dahan, Minister of Environmental Affairs Ze’ev Elkin, MK Moti Yogev, MK Betzalel Smotrich, former MK Orit Struk, Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, and noted attorney and Hebron donor Yoram Sheftel.


Bennett: Israel is World’s ‘Front Post’ Against Global Terrorism

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Herzliya (TPS) – Education Minister and Chairman of the Jewish Home Party Naftali Bennett told a counter-terrorism conference Monday that Israel is the world’s “front post” in the battle against terror.

“No nation is as threatened by terror as we are,” Bennett told the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism annual conference. “We’ve got Hezbollah in the north, we’ve got Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, we have ISIS in Sinai, we have Hamas in Gaza – four of our frontiers with the deadliest terror organizations in the world, yet we’re thriving and we’re leading the battle because we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.”

“By being here we collect intelligence, methodologies, lessons learned, and we’re out there fighting day in and day out,” Bennett added.

However, Bennett also said that Israel and its leading role in the battle against global terrorism was being undermined by many in the international community pushing for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“My one request from you coming from all around the world is don’t push us to divide our country. Don’t try and break us. Back us,” Bennett concluded.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Already World’s Gayest City, Tel Aviv Claiming Spot as Friendliest to Dogs

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

On August 26, for the first time ever in Israel, Tel Aviv will celebrate a special day for dogs.

Earlier this year, Christopher Muther wrote in the Boston Globe that Tel Aviv is the gayest city on earth. “Tel Aviv is, for lack of a better description, super gay,” he told his readers, adding, “The long-standing rule of thumb is that 10 percent of the population is gay, give or take. The estimate by officials in Tel Aviv is 25 percent of its population is gay.”

So now Tel Aviv, which is already recognized as the friendliest city to gays, is claiming the title of the friendliest city in the world to dogs, with one dog for every 17 Tel Avivians, which the city fathers (and mothers) say is the highest number of per capita dogs on the planet.

They might get a run for their shekel from the State of Vermont which sports 70.8% of whose households own a pet — although these figures don’t specify if it’ a dog, a cat, or an iguana.

The 25,000 Tel Avivian dogs enjoy 70 public dog parks, that’s 1.3 dog parks for every 250 acres. And Tel Aviv has designated special beaches where dogs can roam free.

The city-wide dog day will be celebrated at the Bnei Dan Dog Park near the Yarkon river with many attractions for the canines of Canaan, including Tel Aviv startups that serve dogs and their owners, unique products for doggie birthdays, sushi for dogs, and a dog spa.

The city of Tel Aviv also prides itself on an animal shelter with a no-kill policy; the fact that homeless animals are treated 24/7 by the city’s vet services; the city animal patrol readily checks complaints of animal abuse; and the municipality last month organized a special screening of the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” for dogs and their owners.


Revealed: IDF Operating World’s Most Advanced and Protected Wheeled Combat Vehicle

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The Merkava Tank Administration at Israel’s Ministry of Defense has completed the development of its first wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC), the Eitan, which it says is the world’s most advanced and protected wheeled combat vehicle.

Over the past few days, the Defense Ministry, in collaboration with the IDF Ground Forces, have begun conducting initial trials of the Eitan. It is an advanced, multi-purpose APC equipped with a plethora of capabilities and prepared for combat mobility in varied and difficult terrain.

The Eitan / Courtesy

The Eitan / Courtesy

Brig. Gen. Baruch Matzliah, Head of the Merkava Tank Administration said in a statement, “The decision to develop the Eitan was made in light of lessons learned during [the 2014 Gaza] Operation Protective Edge, and the increased need to replace thousands of the IDF’s veteran M113 APCs with modern tools with maximum protection, tailored to the existing threats in the arena.”

Matzliah said that “alongside the decision to accelerate the production of the Namer (Heb: tiger, pronounced Nah-mehr) APC, it was decided to develop an additional tool, to compliment it, enabling fast, strategic mobility and maximum protection for ground forces. The series of exercises we have recently begun is allowing the IDF to test the tool in a variety of sites, ahead of decisions regarding the volume of the purchase.”

The Eitan / Courtesy

The Eitan / Courtesy

According to Matzliah, the Eitan was designed as a multi-purpose tool with varied abilities, whose low development and production costs would be roughly half that of the Namer APC, and/or any other wheeled APC in the world. This low-cost allows for the Eitan to be equipped with more tools, at a higher rate, like the Namer.

The Eitan will be the world’s most advanced and protected wheeled combat vehicle. It will be equipped with an active defense system, similar to the Namer APC and Merkava Mark 4 tank, and with additional protection systems. The most significant advantage of the Eitan is its excellent mobility capabilities across varied terrains and at speeds of 55 mph. The Eitan was designed for a multitude of tasks, from mobility for twelve soldiers (like the Namer) to advanced firepower.

The Eitan / Courtesy

The Eitan / Courtesy

The Eitan’s Technical Statistics:

Weight: 30-35 Tons

Engine Power: 750 Horsepower

Propulsion: 8 Wheels, 8X8 Drive

Maximum Road Speed: over 90 Kilometers per Hour

Capacity: 12 Soldiers: driver, commander, gunner and an additional nine soldiers

Combat Systems: from small arms positions to medium range with 30-40 mm cannons, and an active defense system


My Week in Israel with Dr. Oz

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Everything over the past week was memorable and magical as Dr. Mehmet Oz, America’s foremost daytime TV host and the world’s most famous doctor, toured Israel. From dancing the horah outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, to dancing Friday night at the Western Wall with Israeli soldiers and thousands of worshippers, to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu for ninety minutes of substantive conversation about Israel, Turkey, and the United States, Dr. Oz and his family showed the Jewish state extravagant love and admiration.

Mehmet is a remarkable man and seeing him up close reinforced the high regard in which I have always held him, ever since we started working together for Oprah at her radio network. First there was his attention to his children, all four of whom accompanied him, along with his son-in-law. Mehmet would go nowhere without them and pulled them in to hear every last explanation about Israel’s ancient and modern history.

Then there is his dedication to his wife Lisa, a remarkable and brilliant woman in her own right, and vastly knowledgeable of the Bible. Lisa was correcting me constantly on Biblical quotations (I purposely got them wrong so she could feel superior). Mehmet is a man who honors his wife at every opportunity.

Of course, there were the legions of fans – Jews and Arabs in every part of Israel – that pleaded for a picture and he turned noone down.

But more than anything else there was his attachment to the Jewish people on display at every moment. Mehmet is a Muslim, perhaps the world’s most famous Muslim who is not a head of state. He is a righteous and proud Ambassador of his faith and feels an innate kinship and brotherhood with the Jewish people.

He praised Israel constantly, from lauding its treatment of its minority citizens at our joint lecture at Rambam hospital in Haifa, to noting Israel’s phenomenal medical breakthroughs at several news conferences, to highlighting his amazement at Israel’s capacity to turn deserts into thriving cities.

In Hebron, at the tomb of the patriarchs, we prayed together publicly for peace and understanding between the children of Abraham. At the tomb of Maimonides we noted the role reversal. Maimonides, a Jew, was the world’s most famous physician, and he served the Muslim ruler Saladin. Now, a Muslim doctor – the world’s most famous – was visiting his Jewish brothers in the Holy land 900 years later.

Joined with Natan Sharasnky at the Jerusalem Press Club for a public discussion, the three of us debated whether there was an obligation to hate evil. Mehmet maintained that hatred harmed he who harbored it, even for the best of reasons. On this Sharasnky and I disagreed. Natan spoke of the evil he encountered in the KGB. I spoke of Hamas’ genocidal covenant and Hezbollah’s commitment to annihilating Israel. Terrorists deserved our contempt. Only by truly hating evil are we prepared to fight it. In the end we compromised in agreeing that hating evil should not be obsessive and internal but rather externally directed at neutralizing those who slaughter God’s innocent children, whoever they may be.

As I walked Dr. Oz and his family through the old city of Jerusalem on Friday night, we passed through Zion gate, still riddled with bullet holes from the heavy fighting of 1967 that liberated the city. At Shabbat dinner at the home of Simon and Chana Falic, my friend Ron Dermer, Israel’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United States, explained to Mehmet that even after Israel conquered the Temple Mount in the Six Day War it left control of Judaism’s holiest site to the Muslim waqf and that such an action had no precedent in all human history. Ron said that there could no greater illustration of Israel’s desire to respect its Muslim citizens and seek peace.

At the Christian holy sites, like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and Muslim Holy Sites like the Dome of the Rock and the vast Muslim crowds that filled mosques for Ramadan, Dr. Oz saw first hand how Israel is a country of thriving religious liberty.

But the highlight of the visit was the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu where Ambassador Dermer joined Mehmet and me as we heard the Israeli leader deeply engage Mehmet about Israel’s search for peace and the challenges it faces with the destabilization of Syria and Egypt on the one hand, and the changes in its relationship with Turkey, on the other.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/my-week-in-israel-with-dr-oz/2013/08/05/

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