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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Zion’

A Russian Refusenik Remembers Jerusalem

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

As one of the “youngest” holidays in Jewish tradition, Jerusalem Day holds a special place in the Jewish calendar today.  It marks the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967, the first time that the entire city had come under Jewish sovereignty in thousands of years.  Even before King David conquered and built his monarchy in Jerusalem over 3,000 years ago in 1000 BCE, the city has always been the most holy city in Jewish tradition.  There was never, however, an official Jewish holiday that honored the city until after June 1967.

When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, the tragic event spurred thousands of years of mourning for the sacred capital.  The remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem and hope for its rebuilding manifested itself in Jewish holidays, prayers and even on the happiest of occasions—weddings –with the groom’s breaking of the glass cup. Jews would turn and pray in the direction of Jerusalem three times a day. There were even efforts throughout history where Jewish people attempted to restore political sovereignty over the city and re-establish it as the national capital.

For Yuli Edelstein, the Minister of Diaspora and Public Affairs, who as a Russian refusnik was sentenced three years in a Soviet Labor camp, Jerusalem Day holds deep significance. Tazpit News Agency interviewed the minister in light of Jerusalem Day which falls on Sunday, May 20 (Iyar 28) this year. “I was very young when the Six Day War happened and I remember everyone around me being terribly scared,” Edelstein told Tazpit News Agency. “According to reports on Soviet radio, Israel was disappearing.”

“A close friend of the family came by to tell us that the Soviet radio reports were lies. “”I just heard that the Arab armies destroyed Israel not once, but twice!” he told my parents.”

Edelstein grew up under the repressive and restrictive policies of the Soviet Union era, which muted Jewish traditional and cultural life for decades. State-sponsored anti-Semitism also prevented Jews from working in certain government sectors and advancing in their work.

Edelstein explained that his family felt a great sense of hope now that Jerusalem had come under Israel’s hands. “We felt great relief when we heard later that Jerusalem was actually in the hands of Israel and not in the hands of the Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Jews in Russia and the Ukraine were astonished that little Israel could win the war.”

“The reunification of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount in Israel’s hands, and the outcome of the Six Day War, changed the standing of Israel in the eyes of Jews across the world, but especially for the Jews in the former Soviet Union,” said Edelstein.

“For at least two million Soviet Jews, a reunited Jerusalem brought a feeling that there is a homeland and that they must start fighting for the existence of Israel. There was a whole change of attitude—one from relief to pride.”

Edelstein himself was born in Czernowitz in what is now the former Soviet Union. In 1979, he applied for an exit visa to Israel but was refused as Soviet policy rarely allowed its residents to emigrate and so Edelstein became a dissident.  As a Russian refusenik, Edelstein was actively involved in Zionist circles in Moscow and taught Hebrew secretly.  He was arrested by the KGB in 1984 on false charges of drug possession and was sentenced to three years in a grueling Soviet labor camp. He was released in 1987 and was finally allowed to immigrate to Israel with his family.

“For me, Jerusalem is more than just a capital to be proud of.  As the former Minister of Immigrant Absorption, I can say that for Jews who immigrated to Israel–from as far as Ethiopia– making aliya to Israel always meant returning to Jerusalem, to Zion.”

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Why Help Build America When We Can Help Build the Land of the Jews?

Friday, May 11th, 2012

In his current article in The Jewish Press, “A New Song,” Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt advocates finding “a new rallying call, a new idea with which to inspire the troops and turn values into action.”

“Each generation speaks its own language and needs its own message,” he writes.

So far, so good. However, I would like to offer a different rallying call than the one he ultimately chooses.

“Hewed by Hashem into the core of our soul is the need to effect change in the world we inhabit,” he continues.

This too is very true. In my opinion, however, the question is, where should we, in this generation, focus our efforts? In strengthening Jewish life among the gentiles in a foreign land – as he proposes – or in striving to build a Torah society in the Land of Israel, as advocated by the Torah and the Prophets of Israel? What is the message that we should teach our children? That their future is in America, being productive American Jews, or in Eretz Yisrael being productive Jews in the Holy Land?

Rabbi Rosenblatt wrestles with this question in the course of his thought-provoking article, writing, “I feel a primal need for perspective, to understand who I am, who we are, and where our community is headed.”

In my mind, the meaning of “our community” should not only be America’s Orthodox/Haredi community, but the community of all of American Jewry, for, as our Sages teach, every Jew is responsible for his fellow. It is no secret that American Jewry is being decimated by assimilation. The longer the Jewish community remains in America the more the assimilation will grow. So I ask – what’s the point in working to strengthen something that is destined to dwindle out and end? The exile is a curse which is not supposed to continue forever. Now that Hashem, in His great kindness, has re-opened the gates to the Land of Israel and has given us our own Jewish State, isn’t it time to come home? True, for adults who are already established in their ways, moving to a new country is a difficult challenge, but our children have the wherewithal to fulfill the great mitzvah of living in the Land of Israel, a mitzvah which our Sages teach is equal in weight to all the commandments of the Torah (Sifre, Reah 80).

Encouraging Jewish youth to be accountants, or businessmen, or scientists in America, is well and good, but it can’t be compared with playing a part in the Redemption of Israel and becoming of a building of the Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisrael. In my humble opinion, this is the new call we need to rally and inspire our troops!

Yes, in recent generations, the Orthodox Jews of America have done wonders in guarding and strengthening the observance of Torah. As Rabbi Rosenblatt notes, his parents’ generation built Flatbush, and his generation built Lakewood. Certainly, these are praiseworthy achievements. But that was before the establishment of the State of Israel and shortly after its birth, when we didn’t have a choice. But in the face of the subsequent modernization and miraculous development of Medinat Yisrael, instead of adding on to Flatbush and Lakewood, or sending out battalions of Haredi “laypeople” to win a spot in the American marketplace, as the author of the article advices, why not put our efforts into re-locating these holy and talented young people to Eretz Yisrael?

This is especially true when the author writes: “As a result of our weak secular education and greater insularity, our generation is struggling to make ends meet. Parnassah options are often limited. If not employed in klei kodesh, most of us work for or start small businesses, frequently competing with each other to service the needs of our community. We are often recipients of governmental aid, a possibility our parents’ generation wouldn’t have considered.”

Rabbi Rosenblatt writes a great deal about Kiddush Hashem, but being dependent on handouts from the gentiles is the very opposite. In fact, as the Prophet Ezekiel teaches, the presence of Jews in the Diaspora is one big problematic disgrace:

“And when they came to the nations into which they came, they profaned My Holy Name, in that men said of them: These are the people of the Lord, and they are gone out of His land” (Ezekiel, 36:20).

This prophecy informs us that the unnatural situation of Jews living outside the Land of Israel is a desecration of God. Why? Because in the eyes of the gentiles, our presence in the Diaspora proclaims that God lacks the power to keep us in His Land. That was back then in Ezekiel’s days. Now, in our time, when God has returned the Land of Israel to the Jews, the situation is even worse, for it seems, in the eyes of the gentiles, that in clinging to our Diaspora communities, we prefer foreign lands to His.

Tzvi Fishman

Norwegian ‘Father of Peace Studies’ Blames Jews for Oslo Massacre, Recommends ‘The Protocols’

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

A Norwegian sociologist who pioneered the discipline of peace studies and conflict resolution made anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements during a public lecture and in an article.

Johan Galtung, called the “father of peace studies,” also made anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks in an email interview with Haaretz.

Galtung claimed that there is a possible connection between Anders Behring Breivik, the anti-Muslim Norwegian terrorist who massacred 77 people, mostly children, last summer and Israel’s Mossad; he said he believes the Mossad might have given Breivik his orders.

The speech was made last Sept. 30, and a critical article about the speech, as well as several written exchanges between Galtung and the author, were reprinted last week in the Humanist magazine.

Galtung wrote in one of the exchanges, according to Haaretz, that Jews control the American media. “Six Jewish companies control 96% of the media,” he wrote, including the names of journalists, publishers, TV networks and movie studios that he claims are controlled by Jews.

He also wrote that “seventy percent of the professors at the 20 most important American universities are Jewish.”

Galtung recommended that people read  the anti-Semitic screed “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and said that “It is impossible to do so today without thinking of Goldman Sachs,” the international investment bank founded and run by Jews.

JTA

Ulpana Hill Residents Apprehensive But Hopeful As Deadline Approaches

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

BEIT EL, ISRAEL – “Gush Katif number two.” “Another Amona.” “It will topple the government, split the nation, and drive an irrevocable wedge between the people and the leadership.”

These and more have been used to describe the very real crisis now unfolding in Israel, particularly in the pro-Land of Israel camp: The inexorable march toward Iyar 9 (May 1), the date by which the government promised the Supreme Court it would destroy five apartment buildings in the Ulpana Hill neighborhood of Beit El.

This is not just your everyday outpost or caravan site. Thirty families, with over 70 children, live there, in beautiful three-and-four story stone structures, just a 25-minute drive north of Jerusalem. Givat HaUlpenah was initiated and funded by the government of Israel under then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which also gave the future residents $20,000 grants to live there. Now, these same buildings – with six families in each – face imminent destruction, courtesy of the same government of Israel, and the residents have been offered nowhere to move.

Some 500 people, most of whom were members of the ruling Likud Party, visited the neighborhood on Sunday. Knesset members, residents and others gathered together to either pledge or demand support in the ongoing struggle to save Givat HaUlpenah. Among them was resident Didi Dickstein, chairman of the official Neighborhood Committee and a student at Ariel University. But he actually has an even more interesting – and tragic – entry on his life resume: His parents and one of his nine siblings were brutally murdered by Arab terrorists one Friday afternoon ten years ago as they were on their way to spend Shabbos in the Kiryat Arba area.

“I don’t usually like to tell this story,” Dickstein told The Jewish Press. “In fact, no one at Ariel University knows it. Not only that, but I and my brothers were all granted an exemption from serving in the army, yet we didn’t take it; we have all served or are serving in the IDF.”

But this case is an exception, Dickstein feels: “This is precisely the type of issue that our parents raised us on, and taught us to believe in and work for: Great faith and love of the Land of Israel. [They had moved to the southern Samaria town of Psagot only several months before they were murdered.] They believed in this greatly. My wife and I, personally, are merely renting the apartment that is currently under threat; we can just pick up and leave. But what’s going on now is not just our personal problem; it’s a national struggle.”

Looking at the dry facts of the case might cause one to marvel at the great faith in and love for the state of Israel Dickstein expresses. In brief, the land on which Givat HaUlpena lies was purchased from an Arab over 12 years ago, and construction on the neighborhood received government funding and was completed relatively quickly.

Abruptly, however, something changed: A man with the same name as the seller – they are cousins – claimed he was the actual owner and that his cousin had taken the money fraudulently. His proof? A piece of paper signed by a Palestinian Authority official to that effect.

The powers that be did not wait for a resolution to the “case of the clashing cousins” in a regular District Court, where monetary claims are supposed to be adjudicated. Instead, left-wing elements brought the case to the Supreme Court. When the point was raised that the ownership had not yet been determined, and that one of the cousins was apparently lying, one of the judges – Uzi Fogelman – said, “What, we should wait five years for a decision?”

And so, based on such considerations, together with a government commitment to “empty” the land based on the cousin’s claim and left-wing pressure, the nation’s highest court issued the ruling: “The buildings must be destroyed by May 1.”

As these words are being written on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu is convening his top ministers in an attempt to find a solution. He has no more desire than anyone else to see a situation in which soldiers or police have to fight hundreds of citizens, as happened in Amona six years ago, to pave the way for men, women and children to be forcibly removed from their homes – and then to have their homes bulldozed, with cameras from around the world recording all for posterity.

As of now, however, the homes are still set to be razed – but the faith of Didi Dickstein and his neighbors is strong.

“The truth is,” he said, “on a personal level, we have a clear feeling that we are being treated as fourth-class citizens, or lower, denied fair legal proceedings, and that our country is actually against us…. But on a national-historical level, we have no doubts that we are on the right track. This week we will celebrate Israel Independence Day, and we will joyfully sing one of my father’s favorite songs, Kol Tzofayich‘Your watchmen sound their voices…seeing God return to Zion.’ He even named three of his children after this verse: Tzofiyah, Renana, and our nine-year-old brother who was murdered, Shuva-el.”

Hillel Fendel

Zion Oil & Gas to Sponsor This Year’s CUFI Summit

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Zion Oil & Gas announced Wednesday  that it will sponsor both the “Night to Honor Israel” banquet and the “Ambassadors” reception at the 7th Annual Washington-Israel Summit of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

In a press release, John Brown, Zion Oil and Gas’s Founder and Chairman John Brown said “Zion is proud to be a part of the CUFI Washington-Israel Summit and to support CUFI’s educational and public policy work in support of Israel.”

The company, a Delaware corporation, conducts onshore explorations over 218,000 acres for oil and gas between Haifa and Tel Aviv.

CUFI is a powerful American association of pro-Israel churches and Christian religious organizations with a sizable membership and strong youth movement.

The Summit will take place in Washington, D.C. during July 16-18, 2012 with Pastor John Hagee (CUFI Founder and National Chairman), Michael Oren (Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S.) and Richard Rinberg (Zion’s Chief Executive Officer) scheduled to speak.

Malkah Fleisher

Egyptian Grand Mufti in Jerusalem

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, a top Egyptian Islamic cleric, came to Jerusalem to show support for Palestinian claims to eastern Jerusalem on Wednesday, breaking a long-standing taboo imposed by Muslim clerics, professional and private organizations against visiting Israel.

Gomaa, who prayed in the Al-Aqsa mosque situated on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, wrote on his Twitter account that he made the trip to show solidarity with the Palestinians, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Despite a 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt under Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Gamael Abdel Nasser, Egypt and Israel share cold relations.  In September, a mob of several thousand rioters threatened to lynch the diplomatic corps at the Israeli embassy in Cairo, leading to the evacuation of the majority of workers and staff.

The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the visit on Thursday, with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozian saying “Muslim clerics have taken a position that there is no visiting Jerusalem under continued Israeli occupation.  He violated this opinion of the majority of clerics.  Why, I don’t know.”  Abdel-Akher Hamad, the leader of the fundamentalist Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya associated Gomaa with the ousted regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and said Gomaa would not enjoy his position for much longer.

Though Gomaa’s position on Israel is unclear, a 2007 report in the Egyptian daily al-Ahram newspaper stated that he considered the famous Jewish blood libel, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to be a forgery, and took a publisher who falsely put his name on an introduction to its Arabic translation to court.

Gomaa was appointed by Mubarak in 2003 to serve as Egypt’s top religious law authority.

Since the expulsion of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood influence has increased throughout the country, and with it, a decline in sentiment toward Israel.

Malkah Fleisher

Jihad in France Just Beginning

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

The Congress of the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (UOIF) will take place in the city of Le Bourget, near Paris, from April 6-9. Over 100,000 participants are expected. Six anti-Semitic Islamic preachers who were invited to speak were denied entry into France. Other anti-Semitic Islamic preachers will speak anyway; they are French, they cannot be expelled. They will not be condemned. The French government knows that if it condemned them, it might be confronted by riots in many suburbs. Every year, openly anti-Semitic books are on sale at the Congress of the UOIF, among them the fabricated Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This year will be no different. Several radical Islamist organizations openly advocate — without interference — jihad on French territory. One of them, Forsane Alizza (Pride Riders), was banned by the French government at the end of February: it had started to form a brigade of fighters on French soil. Although officially the organization has disappeared, its members are still active. Eighteen of them were arrested on March 30; they will probably soon be released.

Also, as it is now widely known, on March 19, a man entered a Jewish school, Ozar Hatora, in Toulouse, France, where he killed a rabbi, his two children, and then an eight years old little girl by shooting her three times in the head after dragging her by the hair to place her in front of the camera he was carrying. These were the worst anti-Semitic acts committed on French soil since the three-week kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi in February 2006.

After the murders in Toulouse, like commentators and so many other people, the police initially followed the trail of the “extreme right”. A mobilization across the country was to be expected. The mobilization started quickly.

It was soon revealed that the killer who had just shot four Jews was the same man who had murdered three French soldiers, including two Muslims, the week before. All the commentators ferociously incriminated the ‘far right’. Anti-racist associations issued statements denouncing “fascist barbarity raising its ugly head again.”

It then emerged that the man was a French Muslim who had traveled to the mountains of Afghanistan in to train for jihad, Islamic holy war. The police found him, and shot him to death after a rough gunfight.

The mobilization ceased as rapidly as it had begun. Commentators no longer spoke of anti-Semitism. Anti-racist associations became silent. All attention focused on the killer, Mohamed Merah. He was presented as a “nice young man” by his neighbors, then as a “petty criminal” who inexplicably drifted, and finally as a “lone wolf” without any significant connection to terrorist organizations.

It was gradually revealed that his older brother, Abdelkader, now in prison, had links with Islamists in Belgium and the United Kingdom, and organized networks helping young French Muslims join jihadi organizations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

It appeared that the killer, Mohamed Merah had been imprisoned in Afghanistan for planting bombs in Kandahar, and had been placed on the list of dangerous people to be monitored closely by the security services of the United States.

It also appeared that he was under suspicion by the French Department of the Interior, a circumstance that did not prevent him from obtaining an impressive arsenal, and killing several times without arousing immediate suspicions.

More information will emerge. The French mainstream media will reveal it, with obvious reluctance. Every time journalists speak or write about the case, they constantly point out that Mohamed Merah is “not really a Muslim,” and that no one should forget that Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Anti-racist associations have broken their silence and called for vigilance against “racism” in general, and against the risk of “divisions.”

Nicolas Sarkozy has promised sanctions against French youths who go train in jihadi camps and those who visit websites praising jihad. Consequently, Sarkozy was immediately described by almost all other political leaders as a dangerous man.

The worst anti-Semitic crime committed on French soil for decades is no longer described as an anti-Semitic crime by anyone, except Jews, and even Jews choose their words carefully. Now the Jewish school that was attacked as well as other Jewish schools in France are receiving threatening emails, according to Agence France-Presse, Jewish cemeteries are being vandalized in Paris and Nice, and graffiti praising Merah has been appearing over the walls of homes. The assassin justified his act by invoking the “suffering of Gaza’s children,” a suffering described by a growing number of journalists as a “mitigating circumstance.” When Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France) wanted to say during a newscast that media should cease showing distorted images inciting hatred of Israel, the anchor immediately stopped him, saying, “this is a moment of meditation, not controversy.”

Guy Millière

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/jihad-in-france-just-beginning/2012/04/02/

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