A few years ago, I saw a video of a most amazing young man who was brave enough to walk in the midst of an Arab demonstration and stand for the truth. The young man’s name is Daniel and he is of Persian (Iranian) descent. He took to the streets with an Israeli flag. At the end of the video, there’s a very interesting statement by a young Arab girl who readily admits there can be no peace; that they do not and will not accept the Jewish state of Israel. If you didn’t see that video – it’s here… (but the more important one is just below).
Posts Tagged ‘zionism’
Internet giant Google has changed the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.”
The change, introduced on 1 May, means google.ps now displays “Palestine” in Arabic and English under Google’s logo.
This was noted in most media outlets, but generally treated as unimportant:
“Google can do anything they want. They’re not a diplomatic entity so they can do Google La-la Land if they want to and that’s fine,” says Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. “Still, the question remains, this is a highly sensitive international politics issue, so what made Google decide they wanted to take a position on this?”
Google wouldn’t talk about this, but the company put out a statement saying it was following the lead of the United Nations and other international organizations. It also provided several examples of other name changes.
Israel’s deputy foreign minister sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, saying Google’s move could hurt peace negotiations.
“I can tell you that it has no diplomatic meaning, and it hasn’t,” says Palmor. “But if people on the Palestinian side believe that they can get anything they want through unilateral steps by international bodies, well in that case they will be more reluctant to talk to Israel.”
As my readers know, I place “peace negotiations” with PLO terrorists somewhere on a line between pointless and dangerous. Rather than an alternative to giving them everything they want unilaterally, they are simply a way of obtaining the same result while maintaining the pretense of bilateral legitimacy.
So that isn’t what I would have told Page. Rather, I would have explained that sovereignty over the territories is disputed and that Israel has a prima facie claim on them in international law going back to the Palestine Mandate. I would have added that today’s “United Nations” is a sham and a scam, dominated by a group of the 56 (‘Palestine’ is no. 57) members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and their “nonaligned” lackeys who have a permanent majority for the elimination of the state of Israel, and probably the Jewish people as well.
I would point out that regardless of the votes of the U.N. representatives of these various dictatorships, kingdoms and theocracies, ‘Palestine’ can’t be a state because it doesn’t control the territory it claims, nor does it have defined borders (the application presented to the U.N. refers to the lines of the unimplemented 1947 partition resolution), nor is there a single government. Not only that, it has no economy other than the aid it extorts from the West, and its rulers are a bunch of racists and gangsters (not that this matters in international law, but still…)
Google should understand that by agreeing with said gangsters that ‘Palestine’ is a state, they are in effect agreeing that the Jewish people do not have a legitimate state, and that it is perfectly fine to murder Jews wherever and whenever you can in order to create ‘Palestine’, because these are the basic principles expressed in the charters of the PLO and Hamas, the two ‘Palestinian’ governments.
It’s really pretty simple. You’d think the geniuses at Google could figure it out.
Visit Fresno Zionism.
From the United States to the European Union to the developing countries, political leaders are calling for the division of Jerusalem. Such proclamations disregard the deep historically Jewish attachment to the city and the fact that true freedom of worship for all three monotheistic religions has only occurred under Jewish rule. They ignore the fact that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority, not an Arab one, for over 100 years and that even a majority of the city’s Arab population prefer Israeli rule to the Palestinian Authority’s dictatorship.
However, strangely enough, many of these same political leaders who make these proclomations are not inherently hostile towards Israel. Indeed, the very same people who often claim that they respect Israel’s security needs and state that they support Israel’s right to exist as Jewish state will also proclaim that Israel needs to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem.Yet, what many fail to grasp is that the division of Jerusalem is contrary to the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel.
Anyone who has any doubt what a future Palestinian state will look like need look no further than Gaza. When Israel controlled Gaza, the coastal strip was full of beautiful Jewish agricultural communities with lovely greenhouses full of beautiful plants. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, she left the greenhouses in place, thinking that they would assist the local Palestinians economically. The first thing that the Palestinians did upon the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was to destroy them and convert them into rocket launching sites. As a result, all Israeli communities that live close to Gaza have been under a constant barrage of terror attacks ever since.
A Jewish withdrawal of half of Jerusalem would make the situation in Sderot look like paradise. For starters, the Jews would be cut off from the Kotel–one of the holiest shrines in Judaism, as well as the Old City’s numerous historic synagogues, such as the Hurva and Four Sephardic Synagogues. Jews would also be cut off from the Mount of Olives Cemetery, where Menechem Begin and many prominent Jewish thinkers are buried, as well as The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the French Hill neighborhood. Additionally, this places the great archaeological finds of the City of David Archaeological Park into the hands of people who don’t even respect the preservation of Islamic history, much less the history of others. Jews would also be barred from visiting the grave of Shimon Ha-Tzadik or King David.
If this were not enough, the entire nation of Israel would be within the reach of Palestinian terror organizations. The hills of Judea and Samaria right outside Jerusalem would be utilized to launch rockets at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Netanya, and even Haifa. Thus, almost all of Israel, and not just the southern part, would be living under rocket fire.
No Israeli citizen would be out of the reach of the Palestinian terror organizations should Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders and re-divide Jerusalem. For these reasons, it is pivotal that Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of the Jewish people.
Visit United with Israel.
Has Stephen Hawking really left the company of Albert Einstein, an avowed Zionist who worked to create the State of Israel, and replaced him with the august company of Elvis Costello and other Israel boycotters?
Since Hawking is so often called the Einstein of his generation, it is worth reminding him that Einstein was a committed Zionist who traveled around the United States with Chain Weizmann to raise money for the creation of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an institution that Hawking now refuses to even visit. In a 1921 letter to his friend Friedrich Zangger, Einstein wrote, “On Saturday I’m off to America – not to speak at universities (though there will probably be that, too, on the side) but rather to help in the founding of the Jewish University in Jerusalem. I feel an intense need to do something for this cause.”
Months passed. Yankele and his family boarded a freighter and headed back to Russia. Guttmacher’s brother either never received, or didn’t bother to answer the letter Tevye had written to him, so Guttmacher’s two orphaned children became permanent fixtures in Tevye’s home. Another addition to the family also arrived. Ruchel and Nachman had a baby – a princess of a girl whom they named Sarah Tzeitl.
Buildings continued to sprout up in the Olat HaShachar colony. The dry beds of the swamp land were plowed. Crops were planted, wheat, barley, maize, and rye. Looking out from the hilltop synagogue, fields and vegetable gardens decorated the landscape like a colorful patchwork quilt. Wagon loads of water melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, beets, and onions were shipped off to the Jaffa market. Citrus trees were planted, but the religious law of orlah, one of the agricultural laws which God had commanded the Jews to obey in the Holy Land, forbade the settlers from eating the fruit for the first three years of its growth. Laws requiring that gleanings and the corner of fields be left for the poor were also strictly observed, as well as the rules governing mixed plantings and tithes. Nachman, who had spent several days in Jaffa studying the agricultural laws with Rabbi Kook, was appointed to oversee their enforcement on the yishuv.
As if it were another law of the land, Arab marauders made periodic raids on the colony, stealing whatever they could lift or uproot. When two bulls were stolen, the settlers began chaining the legs of their livestock at night, but the measure didn’t foil the Arabs. Instead of leading the bulls away, they chopped them up with machetes and hauled them away in pieces. Once again, the Jews complained to the local Turkish officials, but nothing was done to apprehend the offenders. Past experience had taught Tevye that only a decisive response by the Jews would discourage the Arabs from further encroachments. His motion to organize an ambush was accepted. For a week, the Jews hid at night in the small forest of eucalyptus trees which had been planted to dry up the swamp. On the sixth night, a group of armed Arabs snuck out of the sand dunes bordering the colony. Silently, they darted through the darkness toward the barn. With a roar, Tevye rose to his feet and charged forward. Like a platoon following its commander, the other Jews raced out from their hiding places. Their shouts startled the Arabs. Only four of the settlers had rifles, but the roar of their gunfire terrified the thieves. Dropping their weapons, they ran to their horses and fled. Though none of the marauders had been wounded, the Arabs learned a lesson. Half a year passed without a further incident of trespassing or theft.
For the time being, life was a pleasure. A long stretch of spectacular weather arrived. Work progressed in leaps and bounds. At the end of the day, Tevye collapsed into bed in happy exhaustion. He felt that his sins, as well as the sins of the land, had been granted atonement. New life sprouted up everywhere. In his heart, in his house, and in the once desolate fields. Like the fruit of the sabra cactus which grew wild in the hills, the land was thorny and hard on the outside, but sweet and juicy within. As if overnight, wherever the eye looked, instead of swamp and sand, blossoming gardens and orchards covered the landscape.
“Blee ayin hara,” his wife Cannel said.
Anytime Tevye would praise their good fortune, his wife would whisper, “Blee ayin hara,” hoping that the evil eye would not cast its glance on them. It was an expression she had learned from her father. In this world, a man could never be certain what lay ahead. He could never take credit for his achievement and success, believing that his own wisdom and strength had brought him his good fortune. Everything was a blessing from God, and a man had to keep his head humbly bowed and always give thanks to his Maker.
At least for the moment, Tevye’s heart was at peace. As the Rabbis said, why should a man look out for a storm on a clear, sunny day? Or maybe Tevye had said that. Sometimes he couldn’t remember which words of wisdom the Rabbis had written, and which expressions he had coined on his own. Be that as it may, the only small worry that Tevye had was his unmarried daughter.
Yom Yerushalayim, which we marked this week, is a monumental day in Jewish history. It is a celebration of the first time in 2,000 years that Jews regained sovereignty over the Kotel, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount, which is Judaism’s holiest site. And it is a time to thank God for giving us the extraordinary gift that is Jerusalem.
We were overwhelmed and outnumbered by our enemies in 1967, yet the Israel Defense Forces achieved a miraculous victory, reclaiming and reuniting Jerusalem in a defensive war. We salute and remember the brave Israeli soldiers who battled our antagonists and prevailed in just six days.
Many of us, young and old, sometimes take it for granted that we have control over Jerusalem and unfettered access to our holy sites. However, it is important to always recall that there was a time, not so long ago, when Jerusalem was off limits to Jews.
Understandably, it is difficult for younger people, who have never experience a divided Jerusalem, to fathom that there was an era when Jerusalem was not under our purview. For those who lived through it, it was extremely painful and especially frustrating that we were unable to visit Israel’s capital. Jews throughout the world prayed that Jerusalem would once again be ours and we yearned for the time we could once again bask in its holy glow. Now, years after Israeli forces achieved this remarkable feat, even the older generation can easily forget about the centuries when Jews were denied access to our most holy sites.
Yom Yerushalayim comes around once a year, but we must continually thank God for restoring our connection to Jerusalem and for keeping His promise.
Israel’s prime ministers have always maintained that Jerusalem is a “red line” that cannot and will not be crossed. Menachem Begin said it best at Camp David in 1978 when he quoted to President Jimmy Carter from the Book of Psalms: “If I forget thee, O’ Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I hold thee not above my highest joy.” He followed that by emphatically stating, “Jerusalem is the heart of Israel, the heart of the Jewish people.”
Moving forward, the greater Jewish community needs to put a renewed emphasis on shifting the focus to Jerusalem and highlighting its significance.
● We must urge our rabbinic leaders to double their efforts in educating our young people and reminding the older generation about the centrality of Jerusalem. A real in-depth understanding of what Jerusalem means to our people is paramount in order to preserve the rich history of this great city, mentioned more than 600 times in Tanach.
● It would behoove Jewish schools, summer camps, and educators around the world to continue developing and enhancing curricula aimed at transmitting to the younger generation a keen awareness and deep appreciation of the importance of Jerusalem in a historical, cultural, and religious context. Families must commit to visit the city to maintain a durable and unyielding connection with it.
● It is incumbent upon all of us to encourage and support settlement in all areas of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is our capital, and no one in the international community is in a position to dictate where Jews are permitted, or not permitted, to reside within our own capital.
● We all must make the issue of Jerusalem a pivotal part of our lives. We can never take for granted the fact that the capital of the Jewish state belongs to us and is under our rule.
The holy city of Jerusalem is a vital connection to our past and an integral link to our future. With its unique religious and cultural significance, Jerusalem is the lifeblood of the Jewish people and the heart and soul of our nation.
Our children and grandchildren are the leaders of tomorrow. Someday they will be the stalwarts of the Jewish people. We must build a solid foundation for the future by instilling in them a love of Jerusalem and ensuring that they develop a deep appreciation God’s gift to us.
So, after observing Yom Yerushalayim and celebrating the 46th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, let us revitalize our efforts to underscore all that this holy city means to the Jewish people. Let us turn our attention to the importance of communicating to the younger generation just how fortunate they are to have a city they are able to call home.
Mazal Elijah and her family had a very difficult life. As members of the Baghdad Jewish community, Mazal’s mother endured much suffering during what is known as the “Farhud Pogrom” or just “Farhud” in Baghdad, June 1941. Within 24 hours of the start of the pogrom, 250 people died. Mazal claimed that some Arabs were decent and tried to save Jews from the Farhud, yet other Arabs behaved horribly and sought to do the same to the Jews of Iraq as Hitler did to the Jews in Europe, yet they were fortunately stopped by the British. Thus, upon getting married around that period of time, her husband was drafted into the army, thus forcing her to move in with her parents so that she wouldn’t get killed. Eventually, he managed to escape from the army, yet for a while things were very uncertain.
After the Farhud, there was a period of calm, yet right before Israel became a state, things became unbearable for the Jewish community in Iraq. “It was impossible for children to play outside for there was a fear that the children would be kidnapped,” Mazal conveyed. “The Arabs hit Jews and there was no police to report it to for the police were corrupted. You could not report abuse to the police.” In Iraq, there were no social rights for Jews. According to Mazal, “All of the Arabs were against the Jews. Jews became like trash.”
Yet as if all of this were not bad enough, Mazal asserted that whenever there were weddings or bar mitzvahs in Iraq, one had to bribe the Iraqi Police in order to ensure the event went ahead peacefully. Otherwise, Arabs would show up and start abusing Jews at the event. Mazal asserted that during this period of time, right around Israel’s independence, continuous massacres against Jews occurred in Iraq and during these massacres, Arabs broke into Jews homes, stole whatever they wanted, and then flooded the homes, so that Jews would not be able to live in them anymore. Furthermore, Iraqi Jewish women traditionally would make preserved foods so that certain types of vegetables would be available in the winter months. The Arab thieves would eat up all of the preserves that the Iraqi Jewish women worked very hard to prepare, thus leaving Iraqi Jewish families with nothing.
The situation was especially dire for Iraqi Jewish women. Mazal asserted that rapes occurred all of the time and that if an Arab barged into your home and demanded to marry your daughter, it was impossible to refuse him. Iraqi Jewish women were forced to wear the face veil for their own protection. Pretty Iraqi Jewish girls were hidden by their families, so that Arabs would not demand to marry them. Women could not leave the home without an escort and they weren’t allowed to work, except to sew, knit or do beauty jobs for women. It was not even possible for Iraqi Jewish women to go out for a movie.
Yet as if that were not bad enough, sanitary conditions were horrible, as was the medical care. As a result, Mazal’s mother lost 14 children in Iraq due to these atrocious health conditions. She only managed to bring her four living children to Israel. Yet, even the children who lived didn’t have an easy life. Children’s dolls and games didn’t exist in Iraq during that period of time.
However, despite all of these atrocious living conditions, Mazal’s family hesitated to leave because they had many belongings that they didn’t want to part with. For this reason, they didn’t cross the border with Iran and from there go to Israel illegally, like other Iraqi Jewish families did. In the end, they left only when they were expelled from the country. Mazal and her family arrived in Israel without any clothes or food. The Israeli authorities provided them with food, yet her family struggled to eat it because the food given to them seemed too foreign and strange. For example, European-style tea was not dark enough for Iraqi Jews and thus originally they thought it was urine, implying undrinkable. Hot dogs seemed bizarre and not kosher as well.
Yet food was not the only problem. For their first three years in Israel, Mazal and her family lived in a tent instead of a house. This meant that for three years Mazal and her family were exposed to atrocious weather conditions. Sometimes the wind would blow the tent over. When her family was finally given a better place to live, it was a hut without a solid foundation. There were also no paved roads around where she grew up. Another child would be born in that hut under those conditions.
Living in Jerusalem, one of the highlights of my year is attending the annual Flag Parade on Yom Yerushalayim. Watching thousands of blue and white flags being paraded through the heart of the city, one can’t help but well up with pride. But the Israeli flag is more than just an expression of national pride – the flag possesses religious significance.
Growing up in New Jersey, my first encounter with the Israeli flag was in the shul we belonged to. There it stood, adjacent to the ark, flanked on the other side by the American flag. Despite a ruling by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein against the placement of the flag in the sanctuary (Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayyim, vol. 1, no. 46), the Israeli flag has become a fixture in the contemporary synagogue.
We Jews have had flags for thousands of years. The Torah (Num. 2:2) describes how the Jews encamped in the wilderness, “each man by his banner.” According to the Midrash, each flag was adorned with its tribe’s unique color and symbol.
And while some may contend that the Israeli flag is a modern invention, Rabbi Ari Shvat, who has done extensive research on the flag, has shown the historical antecedents of this symbol. For example, a flag with the Star of David hung prominently in the synagogues of Prague since the mid-14th century, with the approval of their great rabbis, among them the Maharal, Shelah, Noda B’Yehudah, and Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschutz.
The late historian Avraham Ya’ari, in Toldot Chag Simchat Torah, his groundbreaking work on the development of the customs of Simchat Torah, records that for centuries the flag has been a part of the Simchat Torah celebration – an image we are all familiar with.
Let us not forget the obvious: The design of the modern Israeli flag is based on the tallit. The blue and white motif we are familiar with today was adopted at the First Zionist Congress of 1897, even though it had earlier incarnations.
It was David Wolffsohn, a banker from Kovno who played a role in the early Zionist movement as an assistant to Herzl and later as the second president of the Zionist Organization, who made the decision to adopt the tallit motif. In a jubilee volume celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the First Zionist Congress, Wolffsohn wrote that the choice was obvious: “We already have a flag, white and blue – the tallit that we wrap ourselves up in during prayer. This tallit is our symbol. Let us take the tallit out from its case and unfurl it before the eyes of Israel and before the eyes of all the nations!”
By choosing the familiar religious motif of the tallit, Wolffsohn was determined to imbue the flag with religious meaning.
Rabbi Avraham Yizchak HaKohen Kook also saw religious meaning in the flag. At the rededication of the Churva Synagogue in Jerusalem on Chanukah of 1926, Chief Rabbi Kook not only allowed the flag of the Jewish Legion to enter the synagogue, in his invocation he described the flag as “holy” and a symbol of Redemption.
To many, however, the flag represents secular Zionism and a secular government at times antagonistic to religion. The truths of history, however, prove that things weren’t always so black and white (or blue and white).
In an article that appeared on 22 Nissan 1949, just two weeks before Israel declared its independence, the newspaper of Agudath Israel, Hamevaser, called on its readers to place the Israeli flag in their windows. And in the years following the establishment of the state, the flag was proudly displayed in haredi homes on Yom Ha’Atzmaut – including the homes of great leaders such as Rabbi Yechezkel Abramsky and the Rebbes of Modzitz and Sadigura. Today the flag still flies over the Ponevezh Yeshiva on Yom Ha’Atzmaut out of deference to its founder, Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman, who began the practice.
For me, the importance of finding religious meaning in the flag became crystallized after an unfortunate event: One Purim, a yeshiva bachur who had imbibed a bit too much, noticed the Israeli flag displayed proudly above my door and remarked that it is avodah zarah, idolatry. I quickly responded that the Israeli flag is a symbol of tremendous sacrifice.