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As much as I hate Oslo and what it has brought upon us, Rabin’s assessment was both spot on and chilling, for it has proven to be almost prophetic:



In late 1995, on the eve of my return home and retirement, Rabin called to say he wanted me back on his team. I met him in his Jerusalem office on Wednesday, 1 November. My first question was, “Why did you shake Yasser Arafat’s hand?”

Typically, he rose and walked over to the window, and after a moment’s thought, articulated his considerations one by one:

“Number one: Israel is surrounded by two concentric circles. The inner circle is comprised of our immediate neighbors – Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon and, by extension, Saudi Arabia. The outer circle comprises their neighbors – Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. Virtually all of them are rogue states, and some are going nuclear.

“Number two, Iranian-inspired Islamic fundamentalism constitutes a threat to the inner circle no less than it does to Israel. Islamic fundamentalism is striving to destabilize the Gulf Emirates, has already created havoc in Syria, leaving twenty thousand dead, in Algeria, leaving one hundred thousand dead, in Egypt, leaving twenty-two thousand dead, in Jordan, leaving eight thousand dead, in the Horn of Africa – the Sudan and Somalia – leaving fourteen thousand dead, and in Yemen, leaving twelve thousand dead.

And now it is gaining influence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“Iran is the banker, pouring millions into the West Bank and Gaza in the form of social welfare and health and education programs, so that it can win the hearts of the population and feed religious fanaticism.

“Thus, a confluence of events has arisen between Israel and the inner circle, whose long-term strategic interest is the same as ours: to lessen the destabilizing consequences from the outer circle. At the end of the day, the inner circle recognizes they have less to fear from Israel than from their Muslim neighbors, not least from radicalized Islamic powers going nuclear.

“Number three: The Israel-Arab conflict was always considered to be a political one: a conflict between Arabs and Israelis. The fundamentalists are doing their level best to turn it into a religious conflict – Muslim against Jew, Islam against Judaism. And while a political conflict is possible to solve through negotiation and compromise, there are no solutions to a theological conflict. Then it is jihad – religious war: their God against our God….

“And that, essentially, is why I agreed to Oslo and shook hands, albeit reluctantly, with Yasser Arafat. He and his PLO represent the last vestige of secular Palestinian nationalism. We have nobody else to deal with. It is either the PLO or nothing. It is a long shot for a possible settlement, or the certainty of no settlement at all at a time when the radicals are going nuclear.”

Rabin was assassinated three days later.

 Miriam Markowits
Brooklyn, NY

Reaching Out To Jewish GIs

Do you remember how great it felt to receive a care package from back home when you were off at camp or school? What if you’re an active-duty Jewish soldier out in the field during the High Holiday season rather than a camper or college student? Can you imagine how lonely it must feel to be away from family and friends during such a special time of year? Now imagine how a deployed Jewish soldier would appreciate receiving a care package during the High Holidays.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Kesher Israel Congregation (KI) decided to play a role in lifting the spirits of our country’s brave soldiers who are so far from a normal Yom Tov setting. After getting in touch with Lieutenant Colonel (Rabbi) Shmuel Felzenberg – a U.S. Army chaplain currently stationed in Afghanistan – I confirmed that he would be happy to distribute Shanah Tovah “pick-me-up items” to Jewish GIs on behalf of KI.


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  1. Yasher koach to Baruch Asch for his kind words about Dr. Hagee.

    While I am a Noachide rather than a Xian, I am from the rural Southern “Bible Belt” and must say that I also have long been flummoxed by the apparent reluctance of “community leaders” to invoke G-d in defending Jewish claims to 'Eretz Yisra'el. This silence is absolutely mystifying. Instead, a whole host of secular and political reasons are always trotted forth. Ironically, the secular world seems to sympathize with the very people who invoke their “gxd” the loudest in the Middle East.

    I read recently that Nietzsche insisted that his opposition to the Jewish religion did not make him an anti-Semite. Anti-Semitism, according to him, was an ethnic prejudice. In fact (he further claimed) the ancient Biblical Jewish religion was the fountain and origin of anti-Semitic Xianity! Perhaps post-enlightenment Jews agree with him. After all, Jewishness is defined in terms of ethnoculture: the Catskills, Hollywood, the IM Peretz Workman's Circle, “lox-and-bagels,” etc. A cursory glance at Jewish Life TV will show how minor a role the Torah seems to play in much of American Jewry's self-image.

    While I can certainly understand the hesitancy of Jews to accept Xian support for Israel, I notice that not all Xians are shunned. Instead it is always this one particular group. The very churches which are actually guilty of historical crimes against the Jewish People are now considered “dialogue” partners. Why is the line always drawn when it comes to the people of the Bible Belt? Why are they worse than the Patriarch of “Constantinople?”

    Is it because they “talk funny?” Because there has been little historical contact? Perhaps because so many Jews are embarrassed that anyone would interpret the first two Parashiyyot of the Torah as actual history (as does Seder `Olam)? This latter is a good candidate for the reason for the very different treatment. But are Jews, even secular Jews, really more afraid of Genesis than they are of the “gospels?”

    I can think of one more reason. Because they have little contact with actual Jews, the Bible Belt stereotype is very different from that of other Xians, and even of modern Jews. Instead of the “conspirator” or Broadway impresario, in the Bible Belt the Jews are forever frozen in amber as the rustic Theocratic warrior shepherds their ancient ancestors were. You know—back before so many Jews got so “enlightened” and “modern” and “sophisticated.”

    But then again, I've actually read of an Israeli politician who said the claim that G-d gave the Jewish People the land of Israel is “fascism.” Really? Is that what it is?

    Perhaps some Israelis think that Nietzsche was right.

    I suggest that the way to get this courageous and no-compromise position is to abandon the “enlightenment” and substitute Judaism and return in full to the Holy Torah. No more politics; just “Koh 'amar HaShem.”

    And you don't even have to have an “embarrassing” Bible Belt name like Jedidiah or Amminadab to do it!

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