In today’s extreme climate of political correctness, the goal posts have moved so far to the left that permissible censure of forbidden behavior has now become the taboo act. But this doesn’t faze Avi Abelow, host of the Pulse of Israel and CEO of 12Tribe Films Foundation, from speaking out.
Abelow, who produced the acclaimed movie “Home Game” about Gush Katif, uses the left’s weapons in the realm of social media to fight against them. Also serving as the Director of 12Tribe Films, which manages IsraelUnwired.com, Abelow dedicates his time to using media, videos and social media to promote politically incorrect truths about Israel, the Jewish people and the freedom-loving world.
In a conversation with Abelow, who made aliyah with his family as a young adult, he held nothing back in his portrayal of the challenges that Jews in Israel and the Diaspora face today and what must be done to combat the dangers of a politically correct world.
The month of June has been dubbed “Pride Month”, and Israel kicked off the month with a pride parade in the holy city of Jerusalem. Can you share your thoughts about this desecration?
We the Jewish people should not be proud about a pride parade. It basically shows how successful the wokeism has been in seeping in, even into the Torah community. Sadly, many rabbis, maybe not as many in America as in Israel, are not only not coming out against it, but they’re silent. That’s because the woke community, with the political and the legal establishment behind them, has put fear in them. They’re scared of a backlash and accusations of being “non-inclusive”. Saying the truth now is suddenly non-inclusive.
With all the love and respect for individuals, many of our leaders are no longer able to stand for the Torah and say Hakadosh Baruch Hu told us to hate the sin but love the sinner. Of course, I love every Yid regardless of what he’s doing; he’s still a Yid. But I have to stand up when a sin is being done. There’s an agenda out there intended to destroy our society. There are very few leaders with the backbone or independence to say those things.
Doesn’t that depend on which frum community you’re talking about? There seems to be a difference in the more Chareidi communities. United Torah Judaism MK Pindrus said last week in an interview, “From my perspective, the most dangerous thing for the State of Israel – more than ISIS, more than Hezbollah, more than Hamas – is the permissiveness of promiscuity, because that is what the Torah writes….If it were up to me, I would prevent not just the pride march but the whole movement.”
Yes, in the more Yeshivish and Chareidi worlds you have that, but once you leave those communities, there are very few leaders. And it’s not that they don’t want to stand up; plenty do. But they fear the backlash I mentioned. Worse, there are leaders who are a part of it, because unfortunately they’ve been influenced by the woke agenda and use Torah loshon and values of love and respect, like ve’ahavta le’reiacha kamocha.
Regarding Rabbi Pindrus, I would say it differently. I would say that it’s very important that we ensure that everyone understands that there’s a difference between how we treat people and talk to them and an agenda. We love and respect every Yid regardless of whether we agree or disagree with their behavior and lifestyle. However, we have to be vocal against this very destructive agenda.
The LGBTQ agenda is a war against God, in a sense saying that man can be God and that man can decide that there are no longer two genders or that a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man. Or that doctors have the power through surgery to change genders. That is all a war against God. More than that, it is a destructive agenda destroying families. It is destroying the sense of family, which is a core aspect of humanity’s survival. It’s destroying the understanding that there is a man and a woman – that they’re two different powers, strengths, and spirits that God created in order to bring about children and future generations.
The State of Israel can allow people to live as they like; they can’t get involved. But they should not be normalizing those relationships. The Jewish State of Israel, which is supposed to represent the morality that God gave to us through the Torah, cannot accept those units and relationships as alternative families. That destroys the importance and structure of the family.
Specifically in terms of the transgender movement, children are being destroyed. Their bodily functions and ability to have children are being destroyed. They have medical issues that stay with them forever. There are many de-transitioners out there screaming at the top of their lungs, warning children not to be brainwashed that if you’re a boy you can be a girl or if you’re a girl you can be a boy. This is a direct war against God. We need to stand up against it in our communities all over the world, because this agenda is seeping in as political correctness. It is lowering the barriers that even frum communities have to be able to protect their children, families and communities.
It seems that the fringe elements of Orthodoxy that are supportive of this agenda ultimately break off from Orthodoxy. But regarding Orthodox rabbis who are dependent on their congregations financially and professionally and who fear the backlash you mention, aren’t they threatened only so far as their communities allow them to be?
The Torah tells us this is not supposed to be. Rabbis are not supposed to be paid, in order to avoid being in that position.
Are you’re saying that communities themselves believe in this? Have they been infiltrated?
Correct. They’ve been infiltrated, and that has an impact on neutering a rabbi’s ability to say what he really wants to say or swaying the rabbi to become more accommodating to those within his community.
Much of this swaying is done through social media. Is it your goal to counter this in the media?
Yes. I try to be one of the outspoken, politically incorrect voices out there saying what needs to be said, which unfortunately many of our leaders are either not saying. They not standing up for the Torah.
In America, we have seen the use of social media to push back against the woke agenda, like the successful boycotts against Bud Light and Target. Can that happen in Israel?
I don’t think it makes such a difference. I did a whole video explaining that the backlash and boycotts are good because of the awakening process, but they’re not going to change anything. Some of the companies might bend but they’re all going forward because the economics of it is pushing forward. If you want to continue getting funding and public investments, every company has to go woke according to the new economic policies – ESG, DEI, CEI. These are still in place. You can’t get around the ESG without paying a price. You can’t be a public company. And it’s a global thing.
If grassroots opposition won’t help, what will?
Listen, I’m a geulah-minded person. I’m thinking about ultimate changing, which is the changing of each person’s consciousness. To me, an individual’s awakening of what’s going on is the most important thing. No one should think that, “Oh, because I’m boycotting Target, I’m going to stop this insanity.” No, just look at some of the Jewish schools going woke. And it’s not just the Modern Orthodox. I see plenty of Brooklyn influencers in the more Yeshivish communities who have also gone woke, whether about abortion or LGBT insanity.
The most important thing is for people to wake up and realize what’s going on and understand that ultimately this is a war against Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Everything else is a side show. People need to realize that they should get on the right side because you don’t beat Hakadosh Baruch Hu. There was the flood, there was the Tower of Bavel, there was Sodom and Amorah. Don’t bet against Hakadosh Baruch Hu, folks.
The most important process for me is helping people wake up and stand up against the wokeism by giving over Torah values to save your kids. It’s not enough to send them to Jewish schools and camps anymore or send them to Israel for the year. You have to talk about what’s going on around them so your children have the emunah and bitachon that essentially are an armor against the 24/7 atmosphere of wokeism permeating every single aspect of their lives more and more. It’s like the frog in a pot of boiling water. Everyone is just getting used to it.
Do you see a difference here between Israel and America?
I tell people that if you really care about your kids, get out of America as soon as possible. There is wokeism in Israel too. It’s a war against Hakadosh Baruch Hu, so the Holy Land is the most important place for them to wage war. But it’s on a much lower flame. Also, the proud Jewish “Mama bear spirit” is much stronger here in Eretz Hakodesh. Even though we have the same fight on our hands, we have much more bitachon and a strength to stand up against it here. You know who’s going to save Am Israel? It’s going to be the Sephardi masorati community. They might turn on the tv and go to the beach on Shabbat but they have emunah and more of the fight in them.
That Mama bear spirit, as you call it, actually exists in America too. It’s what enabled Governor Glen Youngkin to win the race in Virginia. Isn’t there a Mama bear in all of us, especially in Jewish mothers?
I agree, but the Jewish community in America isn’t screaming out against drag story hour taking place, even if it isn’t in Jewish institutions. Where are the rabbis standing up against this? The very fact that it’s being tolerated and causing the goal posts to move as a result is problematic. I interviewed a secular Israeli woman who spoke at the Knesset against the fact that schools stopped having the “Abba ve’Imma shel shabbat”. Obviously, there’s going to be an uproar when it comes to this crazy drag queen hour. They are trying to push the envelope here too, but I think we’re going to have a bigger pushback.
Israel now has the most rightwing and religious government in history. Do you think they will play a role in this pushback?
I recently interviewed former Congressman Dennis Ross about the deep state. He said that once you get elected, you no longer have power. Its’ the bureaucrats that run the show, even when you try to make laws. This Israeli coalition, even though it’s our dream government, is neutered. All the media consortiums, the woke businesspeople and the whole justice system are working together with their bureaucrats who run all the different ministries.
The moment any Knesset member wants to make a change that is good for the Jewish soul, they’re scared. They know the second they open their mouth, before a bill is even voted on, they will be attacked by the whole woke agenda running the institutions. That, in turn, will scare other politicians from voting for the policies that we need. So, we’re not going to see much change taking place with this government.
Do you see this government as at least halting a left agenda but not reversing it?
Yes. Even so, we’re not going to see a change all of a sudden in school programming to put back “Abba ve’Imma shel Shabbat” in all the ganin because the deep state runs that and there will be pushback. Things are not going to necessarily get changed and some bad things will happen, but it’s a dam.
Then what will the catalyst for change be?
It’s the awakening process. It’s waking people up to know what’s really going on and to choose Hashem. Ultimately, I’m a big proponent of Hakadosh Baruch Hu helping people who help themselves. He’s waiting for us. He wants to see that we want the geulah, that we want to live in Eretz Yisrael, that we want a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. And then Hakadosh Baruch Hu does His miracles to bring things about. Because on the one hand, if you’re just a rational minded person analytically dissecting the reality around us, we can’t fight the woke agenda. There is no strategic battle plan based on rational logic.
Remember, they own all the power forces, not just in Israel and America, but globally. This is a global movement to remake Western society. Jews are not supposed to be Western. We’re supposed to be Jews. The biggest challenge for Jews nowadays is to understand that we have our own identity. The gadlus of the third Jewish commonwealth, which is the modern State of Israel, is that we have the opportunity to reframe ourselves as one nation with whatever positive influences we got from being in the galut in different areas of the world. But we must come back to our identity as the Jewish people.
This is exactly what the protestors in Israel don’t want. We’re supposed to be Jews, which means having emunah in Hakadosh Baruch Hu and standing up for the Torah values, because the Torah is Eitz Hachaim. That is our life. Sadly, we’re not living like that as a people today, even if we’re following the taryag mitzvos as best as possible. But Hakadosh Baruch Hu is waiting for us to own our own identity and our own homeland, where we want to build the Beit Hamikdash. Then He’ll provide the miracles.