Friday, December 09, 2016

The Place: A Torah Thought for Parshat Vayeitzei

By Moshe Feiglin

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, Jacob is forced to flee the wrath of his brother Esau. Big brother Esau had sold the birthright to Jacob, but that fact didn’t calm him down when he realized that he had lost eternal blessing. Jacob had to run for his life.

Why couldn’t Jacob have been born first? Why couldn’t Esau accept the sale of the birthright with grace? Why does the truth have to be revealed in such a complicated way? Why does the Divine message to mankind always appear from amidst hardship?

The complexity of life, structured to connect body and soul, the material and the spiritual has fascinated humanity from time immemorial. Christianity and Islam chose to solve the paradox by granting exclusivity to the spiritual or to the material, respectively. But it is Jacob who knows how to synthesize the two.

“And he (Jacob) reached the place.” Our Sages explain that the place is the Temple Mount, the physical place on earth touched by G-d, the place from where His Divine Presence emanates to permeate the world. This meeting point between the physical and the metaphysical conceals the key to the secret of life.

Our Sages say that from the day that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the vivid experience of life has been taken from us. Food has become tasteless, colors have lost their brilliance and we can no longer truly enjoy the pleasures of life. We are oscillating violently on a pendulum between the physical and the metaphysical, incapable of achieving equilibrium.

Jacob, Israel, has the tools to restore the flavor and balance to life. He will build the Temple; the palace of the Creator in this world and he will enliven the human experience. When Jacob shoulders the responsibility for this destiny, he merits the Place: “The Land upon which you (Jacob) lie – I will give it to you.”

Deep down, humanity knows and anticipates this.

Shabbat Shalom.

This Land is…

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

Here in the land of Israel, nothing is expected to be normal and events verify that conclusion on a daily basis. That is the reality, and not necessarily a bad thing.

The week of fires that swept across the land, more than 1000 in all, now seems like a distant memory except, of course, to those who lost their homes and possessions. It is nothing less than miraculous than no one died, and no one was even seriously injured. Every home was evacuated, and to those who have seen the effects of fires in other parts of the world, this was nothing less than “G-d’s kindnesses” on display for all.

The fires stopped because of increased vigilance on the part of the authorities, buttressed by the heavy rains that fell last mid-week that saturated the earth and left it less vulnerable to conflagration. The fires occurred in an atmosphere that was parched dry and the flames were fanned by heavy winds that were relentless for several days.

To be sure, not every fire was arson. Some were the result of negligence, some gross negligence. Many Arab communities have the quaint custom of disposing of their garbage by burning it, something I witnessed last month in the Arab village of Turmus Aya just south of Shiloh. The dry land and the strong winds caused some of those garbage fires to spread out of control. Of course, every arsonist that was arrested during the spate of fires is now claiming that he was just an inexperienced sanitation engineer, and that is something the courts will work out.

Neve Tzuf, and many other places, were clearly different. I visited Neve Tzuf last week and walked through many of the more than twenty homes that burnt to a crisp. The fire in Neve Tzuf was not an accident or due to negligence. On Friday night at 10:30 PM, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the perimeter. Within seconds, the gale force winds had spread the fire on a direct line into the oldest part of the community, and within minutes – 20 minutes – the homes were burned. Families lost their possessions, which can be replaced except for sentimental items like photograph albums that were lost forever. In Bet Meir, an artist lost his life’s work; every painting was destroyed.

In Neve Tzuf, the winds were so powerful that logs caught fire and flew through the air. In one place, fiery logs literally flew over one house (that emerged unscathed) and sailed into the adjoining house. Logs, trees and branches flew all over, and naturally, some wooden homes were ignited. But the bravery of the firefighters halted the progress of the flames, and finally extinguished them – and again, with no loss of life or injury.

And the spirit was astonishing. Within minutes, every family in Neve Tzuf was safely evacuated to the adjacent settlement. A Bar Mitzvah scheduled in Neve Tzuf last Shabbat took place in nearby Aderet as scheduled. Every family has found temporary dwelling, and plans are afoot to rebuild as quickly as possible. The government has been very active in ensuring compensation and swift resettlement. The love of Jews for each other, especially in times of need, is extraordinary and inspirational. And it is what makes the coming tragedy so much more difficult to accept.

The community of Amona, located just a few miles north of Yerushalayim, is slated for demolition and the families for eviction on the first day of Chanuka after a long, protracted and still ongoing legal battle. It is still difficult to understand why there cannot be a resolution that allows the families, residents there for years, to remain in place. There is in the Amona story a toxic brew of politics, religion, hypocrisy, fear, and money. The facts themselves are complicated and it is almost impossible to sift through the conflicted record and ascertain the real truth, but who’s to say the real truth is what matters here?

The crux of the legal entanglement is that Amona was allegedly built on private, Arab-owned land and not on state-owned property, nor was Amona an “authorized” community but an outpost originally built without state approval. After years of litigation, the High Court ruled that the residents of Amona must go, and the Court demanded that the eviction take place no later than the first day of Chanuka.

Then the real complications present: how much of Amona was built on private land? It is not completely clear but residents say about one acre, or less than 1% of the total property developed by the residents of Amona.  Should an entire community be destroyed because 1% or 5% or 10% of the buildings are built on private property?

And this: Who is the private Arab owner whose land was allegedly seized by the residents? Here, all agree that no one knows. No individual Arab ever came forward in any court proceeding to claim that his rights were violated. The lawsuit herein was bought by a number of far-left and some anti-Israel groups who are opposed to all settlements  and who are funded by enemies of Israel in Europe and elsewhere. In effect, the Court is insisting that the Jews be evicted, and their homes destroyed, so the land can be restored to…no one.

Why would the Court do that? Well, among the left in Israel, the decisions of the High Court are the closest they ever come to the authority of Sinai, but it is no secret that the High Court has always been unrepresentative of Israeli society and a bastion of the far left. It has always been reliably hostile to the interests of the settlers and generally to religious Jews, and the presence of a token settler and religious Jew on the Court does not change that, especially when the token justices are ideologically compatible with the left.

Thus, the worst aspect of the judicial system is that the Court is self-perpetuating. It remarkably has long played a decisive role in choosing its replacements, all of which keeps their ideological flame burning. That undemocratic state of affairs is one aspect of governance that Israel’s excellent Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, is trying to change, and she has run into a buzz saw of protests from the left who love their monopoly and use the High Court to impose their viewpoints on the masses that greatly outnumber them.

Add to this mixture the fact that PM Netanyahu has long championed the rights of settlers in Judea and Samaria at the same time he has been finding ways to limit the expansion of settlements. He takes credit in Israel for a sizable increase in the population of Judea, Samaria and Yerushalayim during his tenure as prime minister, while denying across the world that he has anything to do with it. And he feels pressure from Israel’s indefatigable Minister of Education, Naphtali Bennett, of the Bayit Hayehudi Party, who is an unabashed supporter of the rights of Jewish settlement throughout the land of Israel, and wisely wants to stabilize the legal status of the settlements after almost 50 years of living in limbo.

Add to this the fact that the legal status of Judea and Samaria is still undetermined after almost one-half century of Israeli possession. The previous owner, Jordan, left the scene almost three decades ago. The Palestinians are not a sovereign state and Israel refuses to declare its sovereignty. It is a real no-man’s land, except to the extent that Israel administers the territory, and even subsidized the building of Amona – what the court now claims is illegal – through provision of road, electricity, water infrastructure and the like. Complicated – but it is hard to argue that the “government” was unalterably opposed to Amona’s existence.

Isn’t the destruction of homes even built on private land somewhat Draconian? It is well known that there are dozens of Arab homes in Yerushalayim built on private Jewish property, as there as entire Bedouin villages that are illegally on state land between Beer Sheva, Dimona and Mitzpeh Ramon. Would the government ever consider evicting Arabs and destroying their homes? Aside from a few isolated cases because of dangerous code violations, it is not likely to happen. “Equal justice under the law” it is not, even granting the legal casuistries that would find a point or two of distinction between all these cases.

Absent an animus towards the settlers, a fair and equitable resolution is eminently presentable. There are legal doctrines of adverse possession (similar to the laws of chazaka) in a Jewish context that grant possession to new owners who took  possession under color of title and developed the land over a certain number of years. The doctrine prevents the squandering of resources that absentee owners present to a society. This would be normal.

What would also be normal is reference to what in Jewish law is called “takanat hashavin,” an ordinance that is designed to rectify a wrong even if a thief benefits. Thus, if a thief steals a beam and uses it to build his home, and is caught, we do not demand that he remove the beam and thereby dismantle his house. It is enough that he compensate the true owner for the value of the beam. And while the Rema (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 360:1) ruled that there is no “takanat hashavin” for land and houses built on stolen land must be destroyed, others disagree (see the Mabit and the Shaar Hamelech for details) especially when the encroachment is minor. Perhaps even the Rema would agree when there are no “owners” that are claiming the property, as in this case, for the Rema underscores the need to return the land to the “baalim,” its true owners. Here, there are no “owners” seeking recovery of their property.

To be sure, to the extent that the settlers are living on private land, the true owners should be financially compensated and, if necessary, furnished with an equal replacement for their lost territory. That would be fair, unless the real objective is to stick it to the settlers.

We should be careful about the rule of law and even about the honor of the Court but even more careful not to become overly legalistic. The rule of law is never deified; in fact, the opposite is true. The Talmud (Bava Metzia 30b) states that Yerushalayim was destroyed because they based all their decisions on strict Torah law and did not act “beyond the letter of the law” when the spirit of the law required it. Will Amona be destroyed because of strict justice that ultimately distorts what is moral and proper?

It would be bitterly ironic if after so many Jewish homes were destroyed by arson, to the great horror of the country, that Jews themselves would destroy other Jewish homes with bulldozers. It would be incredibly sad if such destruction took place on Chanuka, which celebrates the re-dedication of the Bet Hamikdash and the re-assertion of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel against the enemies of the day. (Amona overlooks the road where Yehuda HaMaccabee fought some of his battles and entered Yerushalayim.)

Hundreds of Israeli rabbis have signed petitions urging a fair resolution to this crisis that does not involve destruction of Jewish homes and displacement of Jewish families. Many here are hoping that the American rabbinate will offer their support as well. The prospective destruction of Jewish homes is painful to contemplate.

Perhaps it is due time we realize that all of Israel is built on private land? “For the land is Mine, and you are all strangers and sojourners with Me” (Vayikra 25:23). With good will on all sides, a resolution that reminds us that we are all on G-d’s land can be achieved, and together we can celebrate the joys of Chanuka and continue the process of building and settling the land of Israel.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Rav Kook on Vayeitzei: The Rivalry between Rachel and Leah

Jacob did not have an easy life. He loved Rachel, but was tricked into marrying her sister Leah. And when he finally married Rachel, his home suffered from rivalry between the two sisters.

This strife was not limited to Jacob’s household. It continued on in future generations: in the struggle between Rachel’s son Joseph and Leah’s sons; and in the conflict between King Saul, a descendant of Rachel, and David, a descendant of Leah. Why did Jacob need to endure so many obstacles when setting up his family — complications that would have such a long-term impact on future generations of the Jewish people?

The Present versus the Future

We live in a divided reality. We continuously deliberate: how much should we live for the moment, and how much should we work for the future? We must constantly balance between the here-and-now and the yet-to-come. This dilemma exists across all levels of life: individual, familial, communal, and national.

God’s original design for the world was that the entire tree, even the bark, would taste as sweet as its fruit (Gen. 1:11). In other words, even during the intermediate stages of working toward a goal, we should be able to sense and enjoy the final fruits of our labor. When the world is functioning properly, the present is revealed in all of its glory and serves as a suitable guide toward a loftier future. In such a perfect world, our current desires and wishes do not impinge upon our future aspirations.

But the physical universe is fundamentally flawed. The earth failed to produce trees that taste like their fruit. We endure constant conflict between the present and the future, the temporal and the eternal. As individuals and as a nation, we often need to disregard the sensibilities of the present since they will not lead us toward our destined path.

Rachel and Leah

Jacob’s marriage to two sisters, and the ongoing rivalry between them, is a metaphor for this duality in our lives.

Like all things in our world, Jacob’s home suffered from a lack of clarity. Jacob should have been able to establish his family on the basis of an uplifted present, blessed with integrity and goodness. He should have been able to marry and set up his home without making calculations with an eye to the future. The natural purity and simple emotions of his holy soul should have sufficed.

Rachel, whom Jacob immediately loved for the beautiful qualities of her soul, is a metaphor for the simple and natural love we feel for the revealed present. Jacob felt that Rachel’s external beauty was also in harmony with the unknown realm of the distant future.

But God’s counsel decreed that the future destiny of the people of Israel belonged not to Rachel, but to Leah. 1 Leah would be the principal matriarch of the Jewish people. Yet this future was so profoundly hidden, that its current state — in Leah — was hidden from Jacob.

This concealed quality of Leah is embedded in the very foundations of the Jewish people. Because of the legacy of Leah, we can raise our sights afar, skipping over the present circumstances, in order to aspire toward a lofty future. Just as Jacob found himself unexpectedly wed to Leah, so too, the path of the Jewish people throughout history does not always proceed in an orderly fashion. The future often projects its way into the present so that the present time may be elevated and sanctified.

Two Kings and Two Messiahs

The rivalry between Rachel and Leah, the conflict between the beautiful present and the visionary future, also found expression in the monarchy of Israel. The temporary reign of Saul, a descendant of Rachel, struggled with the eternal dynasty of David, a descendant of Leah. 2

Even in the Messianic Era, the divide between Rachel and Leah will continue, with two Messianic leaders: the precursive redeemer, Mashiach ben Joseph, a descendant of Rachel, and the final redeemer, Mashiach ben David, a descendant of Leah.

Nonetheless, we aspire for the simpler state in which the present is uplifting, and by means of its light, the future acquires its greatness. For this reason, Rachel was always honored as Jacob’s primary wife. Even Leah’s descendants in Bethlehem conceded: “Like Rachel and Leah who both built the house of Israel” (Ruth 4:11), honoring Rachel before Leah.

(Sapphire from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. IV, pp. 44-46)

1. Six of the twelve tribes of Israel, including those designated for spiritual and political leadership (Levi and Judah), were born to Leah.

2. Saul, who is described as “the most handsome young man in Israel, head and shoulders above the people” (I Sam. 16:2), was a natural choice for king. And yet God chose to appoint David — a simple shepherd boy whose leadership qualities even his own father failed to see — as the true king of the Jewish people. As God explained to the perplexed prophet Samuel: “Look not upon his appearance, or the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For it is not as man sees [that which is visible] to the eyes; the Lord sees into the heart” (I Sam. 16:7).]

The Regulation Law: Historic Achievement or Farce?

By Moshe Feiglin

The Regulation Law to regulate settlement in Judea and Samaria is making its way through the legislation process. In order to get it to pass through the Knesset, the heads of the Jewish Home party, who introduced and advanced the bill, agreed to remove Amona, the homes in question in Ofra and Netiv Ha'avot from the law. In other words, the above settlements and homes will be destroyed, while all the other settlements will be recognized and regulated. 

My head says that the Regulation Law is a major achievement. True, we did not manage to save Amona, but we did manage to 'regulate' the rest of the settlements. 

My heart, however, is telling me just the opposite. 

To whom should we listen? To the heads of the Jewish Home party, who are celebrating their 'historic achievement'? Or to the residents of Amona, who feel betrayed? 

This question has to be analyzed with a historical perspective. Was Bar Kochba, who rebelled against the Romans, a heroic leader? Or was he a feckless risk-taker? Was Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai, who turned himself in to the same Romans, a traitor? Or was he a responsible leader? 

The answers to those questions depend on one's understanding of the direction of history. If the Nation of Israel in the post-Temple era had been capable of preserving its sovereignty, then Rabbi Yochacnan Ben Zakai's role would have been seen in a different light. The difference between a national hero and a traitor is the hairsbreadth of historic perspective. 

Most Jewish leaders preferred to think that the Nazis were a passing phenomenon, not a strategic threat. They saw no reason to urge their congregants and community members to flee. The passive default option is the greatest temptation of every functionary and politician. That is the difference between them and a true leader. 

A true leader needs a sense of history; a small spark of intuition that affords him the ability to understand the direction that history is taking. Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai understood that the Nation of Israel was about to embark upon a 2000-year journey in exile. Ze'ev Jabotinsky saw the Holocaust brewing and urged the Jews to flee Europe. Ben Gurion understood that the time had come for the Nation of Israel to return to the Land of Israel and decided to found the State of Israel. It was a risk at least as great as Bar Kochba's great rebellion. 

So is the Regulation Law an historical achievement? Or is it a farce? 

If the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria triumphs and grows, if the Left's judicial warfare is not the tip of the iceberg of a strategic threat – then the Regulation Law is a good law that plugs an insignificant leak in a large, stable dam. 

But if the legitimacy for settlement – and the legitimacy for the existence of the State of Israel – continues to diminish; if Israeli sovereignty on the ground continues to destabilize; if the IDF's freedom to act continues to erode; if in Ariel, Maaleh Adumim and Jerusalem it is impossible to mention plans for any new construction; if after the election of a new US president favorable to Israel, the Israeli Defense Minister rushes to explain that we will be satisfied with 'settlement blocs'; in short, if the settlement movement is in defense mode, then the Regulation Law is a very bad law. 

Even if the law will allow us to stick a finger into one of the holes in the dam, it will be nothing more than a dangerous illusion. When a dam crumbles and the water threatens to sweep everything away, you don't stick your finger in one of the holes. You drain the dam in a different direction. All the fingers of the functionaries and all the regulations will not help to plug the dam. 

Historical perspective points to the fact that this is a strategic – not tactical – battle. 

Sovereignty is what is needed here. 

Then we will be able to make regulation laws for the Arabs who choose to remain in Judea and Samaria.

Dual-Sex in Close Quarters – And That’s and Order!

HaRav Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute

Putting Sticks in the Tracks of the Tanks

“The Directive for Mixed-Gender Army Service” which was just released by the IDF opens the way for women to serve in combat duty in the IDF (including in tanks), and will strengthen gender equality in the army. The new directive has appeared in close proximity to ongoing friction between the rabbis of religious Zionism and their followers as opposed to “IDF commanders” led by the Chief of Staff on matters that involve clipping the “wings” of the IDF Rabbinate (by removing the subject of Jewish awareness from the scope of the Rabbinate and replacing it by “tradition” under the control of the Education Corps, among other things). In the wake of the new order, heads of Hesder yeshivot and army prep schools and educators in girls’ schools hastily organized a meeting with the Chief of Staff; Knesset members from the Bayit Yehdudi Party expressed their shock, and came forward with criticism; rabbis who have an influence on candidates for the draft have threatened a ban on the Armored Corps, which was “built up and strengthened by students of the Hesder Yeshivot,” who will now refuse to serve there; organizations of former IDF rabbis declared that they will fight the decision; and the Chief of Staff declared – at the installation of the new IDF Chief Rabbi, Colonel Eyal Karim – something like, “Not a single woman has been drafted to fight in the tanks, and the subject will be reviewed again.” On the spot he received the approval of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef for his words.

As far as I am concerned, it is a serious mistake to lump together the directive for mixed-gender service and the issue of the authority of the IDF Rabbinate, putting it all together as a “religious topic,” like the question of singing by women at formal IDF ceremonies. The mixed-gender topic is not a question of religion but is rather related to nationalism and security. The main problem is the effort to deify the principle of gender equality in the face of possible harm to military preparedness and the mission of the IDF. In short, this issue is related to our ability to win future wars!

It has been noted in the press that the “Directive for Mixed-Gender Army Service” was promoted by the Israel Democracy Institute, which published a document on the subject in 2013. The agenda of this institute is closest to the position of the political left in Israel. Unlimited democracy, world-embracing legalism, and gender equality are given the status absolute values. A series of studies during 2003-2009, some of them together with the American army, showed that the physical abilities of women are much less than those of men. In the field of orthopedics and broken bones due to stress, the IDF found that women are more prone to injury than men of the same age by a factor of 10. But even so, the activist women’s rights organizations found that the IDF was a rich area for promoting their ideas, leading to the “Directive for Mixed-Gender Army Service.” Some of the leading organizations in this movement are prominent and known for their leftist activity in other realms. It was thus no surprise to hear the following hint recently by General (res.) Yiftach Ron-Tal: “I fear that there might be extraneous reasons that are not related to the desire for gender equality that are at the basis of the demand for woman to serve in tanks. I hope very much that this is not a case of campaigning with goals related to an attempt to weaken the IDF.”

Fight the Directive on the National Level

Thus, I propose to those who are organizing a campaign to reject this directive to focus on the nationalistic and security elements. When the emphasis is placed on religious factors, such as modesty and close physical contact, the struggle becomes a “religious” issue which has little effect on patriotic figures who are not interested in wearing a kippa on their heads.

It is true that the new command has serious “innovations” with respect to religion even for those who provide “support roles” for the front-line soldiers. It includes a retreat from the previous position of a concept of “appropriate mixing,” which has been trampled on in the new version of the rules. The new directive declares that the preferred default is to put together mixed units, since this is most appropriate for the “IDF spirit.” New recruits will be asked when they enlist if they “observe a religious lifestyle,” and if they prefer to serve in a non-mixed unit (up to the level of a company, the highest relevant group). As I noted, the default will be mixed units. Anybody placed in such a mixed unit will not be able, for example, to ask to be excused from “army ceremonies,” as opposed to the situation today, even if the social content is contrary to their religious convictions.

* * * * * *

“Yaacov kissed Rachel, and he raised his voice and wept” [Bereishit 29:11]. This is evidently the only instance in the Tanach of a man kissing a woman (except for a mother or a sister). “Why did he cry? He saw the people whispering to each other because of the kiss, saying, ‘What, has this one come to reinstitute forbidden sexual conduct?’ From the time that the world was punished in the generation of the Deluge, the nations of the world stayed away from illicit sexual acts.” And the sages commented that “This was a kiss indicating a family relationship and not a frivolous act.” [Bereishit Rabba 70].

From The Shamrak Report: We Did not Enlist to Evict Jews

A lot has changed in Israel’s public opinion since February 1, 2006, when an overwhelming force of 10,000 Police, Border Guard and IDF troops pounced on the community of Amona in Samaria to carry out Supreme Court demolition and eviction facing an estimated 4,000 Jewish residents and protesters. As the court decreed new date for the demolition and evacuation of hundreds of Amona residents, both Border Guard and IDF troops are anxious and angry about their assignment.
A Border Guard officer, assigned to train his troops to handle the evacuation using humane methods – as opposed to 2006, when police horses trampled them with their hooves: “My friends and I are going to be posted in Amona. Since they’ve told us we can’t sleep at night… We enlisted to protect our brethren and here we’re commanded to kick them out of their homes.” “I will carry out the mission, because we have no such thing as refusing an order,” the officer said, “but the government of Israel should know that they are hurting us, hurting our future, and scarring us horribly for the rest of our lives.”
Another Border Guard man said, “I will cry, I’ll simply be crying when I receive an order to evict someone from their home by force. I don’t know if I’m capable. How can I remove my brothers from their homes?”
And a third Guard said, “There’s so much admiration in Israel for the Border Guard, and now they’ll present us as criminals who evict Jews from their homes. It’s a disaster.”
In a separate story, it is reported on IDF Armored Troops, who are outraged after receiving word that they too would be assigned to Amona evacuations comeDecember 25. It should be noted that back in 2014 the IDF announced it would no longer be taking part in removing Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria...
Armored Troops warriors have been adamant about their objections to such an assignment. “We didn’t enlist in the IDF to evict Jews. We enlisted for the opposite reason – to guard Jews,” one said. “Let the Chief of Staff do the evacuations himself, let’s see him do it,” said another, adding, “We are not ready to evict our brothers from their homes”...
Food for Thought by Steven Shamrak
Thanks G-d that Arabs rejected the UN Partition plan in 1947 – now they have no legal claim, under international law, to the land of Israel – Judea, Samaria and Gaza! Arabs were so sure that Jews, who had not recovered yet from the trauma of the Holocaust, would not be able to defend the little scrap of land that the UN (the Ugly Nazi) so 'generously' given to them, so they arrogantly attacked the newly created Jewish state, which had no army or real weapons! And the rest of the world was eagerly waiting in anticipation that seven advancing Arab/Muslim armies would at last finish what European Nazis started!
As is customary since 1995, Obama signs waiver which prevents moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating the move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but allowed the President to exercise a waiver delaying the move. The waiver must be renewed every six months. Is this the last time? (Will Trump do it in 6 months too?)
Israel Buying US Stealth Bomber
The security cabinet approved the purchase of another 25 F-35i Lighting II stealth fighters from the US, in addition to the 33 already on contract. The first F-35i (Israel-named Adir”) is due to be delivered in two weeks. The fifth-generation fighter has adapted IAF specifications by incorporating an Israeli electronic warfare system and making it compatible with Israeli munitions requirements. The price of $100 million per unit comes under the US military aid program.
Kosovar President Hashim Thaçi ordered authorities to ban anti-Semitic books after a visiting Israel, Ido Daniel - an expert on the fight against anti-Semitism and racism, appealed directly to him after encountering openly anti-Semitic and Nazi publications on the main avenue of the capital, Priština. (It doesn't take long to fight anti-Semitism - "Where is a will, there is a way!" Will the rest of EUROPE and the USA do the same about propagation of hate?)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on all Muslims to “defend the Palestinian cause” and protect Jerusalem. He accused Israel of "policies of repression and discrimination against our Palestinian brothers" and condemned the so-called Israeli “Muezzin Law”, which would prohibit houses of worship from using loudspeakers, specifically mosques, which disturb the sleep of nearby residents when the Muezzin calls worshipers to prayer in the early hours of the morning.
The Vatican is organizing and promoting tours of Christian sites in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, as part of tours to ‘Palestine,’ erasing Israel from the picture basically - a sinister reiteration of Catholic replacement theology! 
Women in Combat - Social Experiment that Gone Wrong!
Research shows that not only has operational preparedness suffered as a result of women’s incorporation in combat units, but that female soldiers themselves have paid a heavy price for the social experiment performed on them and on their bodies. But who cares about women when it’s more important to appear enlightened?
House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday in favour of deepening collaboration with the Israeli government to strengthen the cybersecurity defenses of both countries. The cybersecurity bills have the practical and diplomatic significance of forging another connection with Israel after problem with the Obama administration nuclear deal with Iran.
Israeli carried out two airstrikes in the Damascus area. One hit a weapons warehouse belonging to the Syrian army near Damascus. The second attack targeted a convoy of cars belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist group. A Syrian websites reported that the attack on the Hezbollah convoy was meant to thwart a delivery of missiles from Syria to Lebanon.
The president of the United Nations General Assembly wore a scarf with the colours of the PA flag around his neck while addressing a special session of the 193-member assembly to mark Palestinian solidarity day. The UN’s “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” in marked annually on November 29, the anniversary of the United Nations recognizing the Partition Plan that called for the creation of the State of Israel and of an independent Arab state. (The plan was rejected by Arabs and they tried to destroy Jewish state and lost the legal rights to the land which was assigned to them by the Partition Plan! The UN does not have a special day dedicated to Rohingya Muslim of Myanmar or other minorities who are actually persecuted by some countries!)
“Today, nearly 90 percent of our waste water is recycled. That’s around four times higher than any other country in the world. It is a remarkable achievement and this benefits not only Israel. Israeli companies are helping save water around the world, from Africa to California to India” – said Minister of Strategic Affairs & Public Diplomacy Gilad Erdan. From the world’s most environmentally friendly recycled paper to water shortage solutions, sustainable healthcare, energy conservation and the green construction and infrastructure of the future, Israel continues to lead the way in sustainable innovation, living up to its status as the world’s top innovator in the field of clean technologies according to the Global Cleantech 100 Index.
Amid promises from President-elect Donald Trump to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Barack Obama signed the traditional waiver preventing such a move again. Every six months, each president since Bill Clinton has signed such a waiver to suspend the limitations of the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Congress passed that bill in 1995, pledging to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem, acknowledging it as Israel’s “undivided” capital.
Quote of the Week:
“Today, nearly 90 percent of our waste water is recycled. That’s around four times higher than any other country in the world. It is a remarkable achievement and this benefits not only Israel. Israeli companies are helping save water around the world, from Africa to California to India.” - Minister of Strategic Affairs & Public Diplomacy Gilad Erdan – The achievements of Israel, in spite of Arab aggression and the world’s hypocrisy, can have only one explanation – the Jewish people and our collective national destiny!
JUDAS was not a TRAITOR!
by Steven Shamrak.
(The Church, as servant of Roman Empire, blamed Jews for the invented 'crime' which was actually committed by Romans!)
Not long ago, a non-Jewish friend of mine asked me to watch the “Passion of Christ” movie and send him my comments, from the Jewish prospective. While I was watching the movie, I was amazed by enormous disrespect toward not only Jewish traditions, but for the writings of the Christian Bible as well. Mel Gibson’s ‘director’s creativity’ had brought to my mind words like falsification, forgery, distortion and contempt.
While writing the comments for my friend, I took out the book of the New Testament, just to make sure that I was not mistaken about the inaccuracies that I had noticed in the movie. In the process of this review, I stumbled upon John chapter 13 which proves that throughout the history of Christianity, Judas, and as result all Jews, have been suffering the false accusation of treason:
18. I know so well each one of you I chose... “One who eats supper with me will betray me, and this will soon come true. I tell you this now so that when it happens, you will believe in me. (Why would they need additional proof, in order to believe in him?)
21. "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me." (Several times in the Christian Bible Jesus predicted his demise!)
26. "It is the one to whom I honour by giving the bread when I dipped in the sauce." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon… (Wasn’t that selection of the “one” - a direct order was given?)
27. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry – do it now” (He had chosen the most trusted of his disciples to perform this daunting task and commanded Judas to go to the Temple authorities immediately.)
28. None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. (Another reason why Jesus had chosen Judas – the others were not really smart!)
29. Some thought that since Judas was their treasure (the most trusted member of the group), Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or give some money to the poor. (None of them had understood their teacher’s plan of self-fulfilling prophecy! But explanation is stupid, as no Jew would sell/buy food in Jerusalem during the Pesach – Passover celebration!)
At the same time it was Peter who denounced his teacher three times. Little wonder, that after he later became the first Christian Pope, he needed to find a scapegoat so that people would not scrutinize his own actions!
Thus, this chapter supports the ideas expressed in the recently published Gospels according to Judah, which the Church excluded from the New Testament, along with the gospels of Thomas and hundreds of other writings. Many questions came to mind: Do most Christians actually read and study their own Bible? If they do, why have they been fostering the hatred of Jews for centuries; the hatred, which is based on a false accusation against one out of twelve Jewish disciples of the Jewish teacher!

The West's Politically Correct Dictatorship

It Has Blinded Us to the Real Danger: Radical Islam

by Giulio Meotti
  • The brave work of the artist Mimsy was removed from London's Mall Galleries after the British police defined it "inflammatory."
  • In France, schools teach children that Westerners are Crusaders, colonizers and "bad." In their efforts to justify the repudiation of France and its Judeo-Christian culture, schools have fertilized the soil in which Islamic extremism develops and flourishes unimpeded.
  • No one can deny that France is under Islamist siege. Last week, France's intelligence service discovered another terror plot. But what is the priority of the Socialist government? Restricting freedom of expression for pro-life "militants."
  • Under this politically correct dictatorship, Western culture has established two principles. First, freedom of speech can be restricted any time someone claims that an opinion is an "insult." Second, there is a vicious double standard: minorities, especially Muslims, can freely say whatever they want against Jews and Christians.
  • There is no better ally of Islamic extremism than this sanctimony of liberal censorship: both, in fact, want to suppress any criticism of Islam, as well as any proud defense of the Western Enlightenment or Judeo-Christian culture.
  • Twitter, one of the vehicles of this new intolerance, even formed a "Trust and Safety Council." It brings to mind Saudi Arabia's "Council for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice."
  • Under this political correctness, the only "win-win" is for political Islam.
The brave work of the artist Mimsy, satirizing the brutality of ISIS, was removed from London's Mall Galleries after the British police defined it "inflammatory." (Image source: Mimsy)
It might look like a golden age for free speech: more than a billion tweets, Facebook posts and blogs every day. But beneath this surface, freedom of expression is dramatically retreating.
Students at the City University of London, home to one of Britain's most respected schools of journalism, voted to ban three newspapers from its campus: The SunDaily Mail and Express. Their "crime", according to the approved motion, is to have published stories against migrants, "Islamophobic" articles, and "scapegoating the working classes that they so proudly claim to represent." City University, supposedly a place dedicated to openness and questioning, became the first Western educational institution to vote for censorship, and ban "right wing newspapers."

Erdogan's Gritted-Teeth Peace with Israel

Equates IDF with Hitler

by Burak Bekdil 
  • In Istanbul, where a majority of Turkey's 17,000 Jews live, unknown people recently started hanging posters in a posh district. The posters call on Muslims "not to be fooled by the missionary activities of Jew-servant Jehovah's Witnesses." They say: "These people are trying to destroy the religion of Islam." Signed: Sons of Ottomans.
  • Erdogan's ideological hostility to the Jewish state and his ideological love affair with Hamas have not disappeared.
  • Erdogan thinks that Israel's military action in response to Hamas's rockets indiscriminately targeting Israeli citizens is no different than the murder of six million Jews by a lunatic. "There is no point in comparing and asking who is more barbaric," Erdogan concluded. In other words, Erdogan thinks that Hitler and the Israel Defense Forces are "equally barbaric."
  • Yes, blessed are the peacemakers. Nevertheless, the Turkish-Israeli "peace" may not be easy to sustain.
The ups and downs of Turkey's relations with Israel. Left: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then Prime Minister) shakes hands with then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on May 1, 2005. Right: Erdogan shakes hands with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on January 3, 2012.
Modern Turkey has never been so disconnected from its Western allies. Its Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently accused the West of helping the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). His evidence? Because, he said, ISIS is fighting with Western weapons -- overlooking, of course, that they were probably captured or stolen.
This dislike and hostility is not unrequited. On November 24, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for a motion calling to suspend Turkey's membership talks with the European Union (EU), citing "disproportionate, repressive measures" taken by Erdogan's government. The motion, although non-binding, passed 479 to 37 in favor. In retaliation, Erdogan threatened that "if the EU goes further," Turkey will open its border gates and let refugees stream toward Europe.

The Ultimate Joy of Motherhood, bringing Jewish Children into the World and the Settlement of Amona

Parashat Vayaitzai 5777
HaRav Nachman Kahana

The Ultimate Joy of Motherhood
Normal people place great value on having children. But in our parasha the desire for children and the joy and delight exhibited by our grandmothers Rachel, Leah, Bilha and Zilpa upon the birth of their children go beyond the natural feeling of motherhood.

Their delight was in the knowledge that they were chosen to be a major part in the biggest saga in human history – they were to bring into this world the beginning of the 12 tribes which would comprise Am Yisrael.

Ya’akov, undoubtedly, made them aware of the dream he experienced on the Temple Mount, where HaShem promised that his children would be the chosen of all nations to receive the Torah, inherit the Land and enjoy eternal life. Each child was a world unto himself. The characteristics of Reuven were radically different than those of Shimon; and Levi was a world apart from all the others.

To this day, every halachically born Jewish child brings with him and her a holy soul from the upper realms of the spiritual world (converts are pure Jewish souls who for reasons unknown to us had to go through the conversion process).

My grandmother Leah (being a Kohen, I am from the tribe of Levi, Leah’s third son) was overwhelmed with joy when her sixth son Naftali was born, because with his birth she brought forth half of the tribes of Am Yisrael.

Rachel was devastated when Ya’akov’s other three wives gave birth to children while she was barren, until HaShem blessed her with the 11th and 12th tribes – Yosef and Binyamin. Rachel had the unique privilege of giving birth to Binyamin in Eretz Yisrael; the only one of the tribes born in the Holy Land. And while Binyamin’s soul was descending from heaven, his mother’s soul was ascending to the highest realm of the shamayim, as she passed away just after naming the boy.

Bringing Jewish Children into the World
The Jewish nation has the questionable distinction of being one of the numerically smallest in the family of nations. To number around 10 million (halachic Jews) after being in the world close to four thousand years tells the whole story of the price we have paid to survive in a world that rejected HaShem’s Torah in search of more “user friendly” religions which permit the hedonistic desires of the human race to sin and yet feel holy about it.

A Jewish child is a perfection that passed the inspection of the Almighty Himself. The Gemara (Nida) reveals that every Jewish child while being conceived is given an angel who teaches the soon to be born soul the entire Torah. At birth the knowledge of Torah is deposited in the inner recesses of the child’s consciousness – but it is not forgotten. So that in effect when we learn Torah we are not attaining new information but retrieving what we already knew from the recesses of our inner selves.

This answers a question regarding the lovely song at the end of the Pesach Seder – echad mi yodai’ah (Who is aware of the “One”).

The song contains 13 stanzas, each dealing with a number beginning with one till 13.

1 is our God

2 are the Holy Tablets

3 our fathers: Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov

4 our mothers: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah

5 books of the Torah

6 books of the Mishna

7 days of the week

8 days until a brit mila

9 months of conception

10 Commandments

11 stars in Yosef’s dream

12 tribes

13 attributes of HaShem

All the numbers in the song relate to issues which are totally Jewish except for number 9 which is universal: The nine months of conception. Why?

In fact, there is no exception. Because the author was referring to the nine months of conception of a Jewish child, which as stated above is different than all others of the human race. These are the 9 months of Torah study from an angel – one on one.

To be blessed with a Jewish child is to expand the boundaries of Gan Eden to make room for one more holy soul.

(Judaism and the concepts stated above have nothing in common with what is commonly called racism. Race is a situation one is born into and cannot change. Just as a mouse cannot turn into an elephant, a member of the black race can never turn into a Caucasian and visa versa. However, one who was born a gentile can become a Jew and attain a Jewish neshama as if he were a newborn, hence Judaism is not racist.)

An ugly practice has entered into the mainstream of many Jewish communities in the galut and has started to trickle into our holy land. People are getting married later in life – into their thirties, rather than in their early twenties, as was the norm when I was a young man. Without going into the many negative aspects from a halachic and moral viewpoint, these individuals will in the best case bring but 2 or 3 children into the world.

Sexual perverts not only sin against HaShem, for which they will be severely punished, despite all the rhetoric justifying their right and need to be accepted; they betray the future of our nation. For any such couple will not bring a Jewish child into the world.

Late marriages, perverted sexual preferences and just regular non-orthodox families who have two children (and a dog) will eventually disappear, and the Jewish nation will be comprised of orthodox God-fearing families who fulfill the first mitzva in the Torah “pru u’re’vu” – multiply and be fruitful.

Part Two

The Settlement of Amona
In the parasha, Ya’akov rests for the night on Mount Moriah, the future Temple Mount. There he sees the dramatic vision of the angels who guarded him in Eretz Yisrael ascending the ladder to return to heaven, to be replaced by lesser angels who were sent to guard him in the profane galut.

And HaShem appears to Ya’akov saying:

הארץ אשר אתה שוכב עליה לך אתננה ולזרעך
The ground you are lying on I will give to you and to your descendants

The Gemara (Chulin 91b) records the explanation of this phrase by Rabbi Yitzchak:

מלמד שקפלה הקדוש ברוך הוא לכל ארץ ישראל והניחה תחת יעקב אבינו, שתהא נוחה ליכבש לבניו
This comes to teach that HaShem folded (as it would be) all the land of Yisrael placing it under Yaakov, so that it would be easy to liberate and settle the land in its time.

Rabbi Yitzchak was expressing the idea metaphorically, that in the future Yehoshua Bin Nun at the head of the Jewish army would liberate the Land without sacrifice.

I submit that the phrase is telling us that just as a human being comprises a single indivisible entity, so too will the holy land be from this moment on an indivisible entity belonging exclusively to Ya’akov’s descendants.

International law has classified the State of Israel as a “military occupier” of the West bank and the Golan.  Six UN committees have taken an even larger step towards the muck and mire of political insanity when they declared that the Jewish people have no historic or religious connections to the Temple Mount or to the Kotel.

The Israeli High Court ordered the destruction of the Amona settlement after being in place for 20 years. The court sees itself as being subordinate to international law rather than to Jewish, tradition and history.

One cannot be an occupier in one’s own land. Yehuda and Shomron are the heartland of Eretz Yisrael which was presented to the Jewish people by the Creator.

However, when one denies the Torah, it is just a short ideological distance to adopting a gentile orientation and the desire to be accepted by the gentile world.

To uproot the Amona, just as was the uprooting of Gush Katif and giving the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt by Menachem Begin, is a “slap in the face” of the Creator and a denial of our own history.

The highest goal of this generation is the return of our people to the holy land. It overrides any claim to private property some gentile might have, as in the words of Eliyahu the prophet to King Achav when he murdered Naot in order to attain his vineyard:

רצחת וגם ירשת
You have murdered and then taken possession of the victim’s property.

The Romans murdered our people 2000 years ago and the gentiles who came in their wake stole our land.

Amona will be taken down, because of the High Court’s coercive police power. But let it be recorded in the protocols of the Medina, that just as we today have to accept the court’s judicial order, that when the time comes and the law of the land will be the Torah, all people in the Medina will have to comply. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5777/2016 Nachman Kahana

Monday, December 05, 2016

Escaping the Exile with Aliya to Eretz Yisrael

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

"Yaakov departed from Be'er Sheva and went toward Charan." (Bereisheet 28:10) What would be lacking had the verse simply said, "Yaakov departed from Be'er Sheva toward Charan?" Clearly, if he left Be'er Sheva he went to some other place!

When a person leaves one place and goes to another, there can be two motives for going. Sometimes he wants to leave his current place, and sometimes his goal is the place towards which he is going.

"They traveled from the mountain of Hashem" (Bamidbar 10:33) Chazal comment: "Like a child who is running away from school." Where did they know this from? The pasuk emphasizes, "They traveled from the mountain of Hashem," and does not identify where their destination was. Chazal understood that it made no difference to them where they go - they just wanted to travel from the mountain of Hashem.

Yaakov was commanded by both his parents to go to Charan, but each one had his own reason. Rivka said to him: "So now, my son, heed my voice and arise; flee to my brother Lavan, to Charan ... until your brother's wrath subsides ... Why should I be bereaved of both of you on the same day?" (Bereisheet 27:43-45) Her main concern was that Esav intended to kill Yaakov, and therefore it was important for her that Yaakov should leave. On the other hand, his father Yitzchak said to him: "Do not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Betual your mother's father, and take a wife from there from the daughters of Lavan your mother's brother." (28:1-2) His main goal was that Yaakov should go to Padan and marry there.

Yaakov obeyed both of them; "Yaakov listened to his father and his mother." (28:7) This means, to his father who told him to go to Padan, and to his mother who told him to escape from Eretz Canaan. This is what the pasuk says: "Yaakov departed from Be'er Sheva" – as Rivka commanded; "and went toward Charan" – as per Yitzchak's command.

This idea is true also in regards to the relationship of Jews to Eretz Yisrael. There are those who go to Israel in order to escape persecution in their dwelling place out of Israel. There are others who understand the special quality of Israel – that it is "the land of the living," and that there is the "Sanctuary of Hashem," as the Ramban writes – and leave exile in order to reach Israel.

This explains the verses in the beginning of Parshat Masei. "These are the journeys of Bnei Yisrael, who went forth from the land of Egypt ... Moshe wrote their departures according to their journeys at the bidding of Hashem, and these were their journeys according to their departures." (Bamidbar 33:1-2) Why is the concluding phrase repeated in reverse order? Some of Bnei Yisrael did not go out willingly, but were chased out forcibly, and had no interest in going to Eretz Yisrael. Others knew its value and looked forward to going to the Land and understood that Israel's redemption depended on this. Therefore, Moshe wrote their departures according to their journeys – their departure was for the purpose of the journey to Eretz Yisrael, and this was the true purpose of the Exodus. However, "These were their journeys according to their departures" – many traveled only to depart from Egypt, or were chased out  from there.

This is statement of Yechezkel, "I will separate from among you those who rebel and those who transgress against me; I will take them out of their sojourning, but they will not come to the soil of Israel." (Yechezkel 20:38) Israel will become so low during the time of the exile, that even if their persecutors will chase them out and they will be forced to leave – going to Israel will not be primary in their eyes, but rather the escape from the lands of persecution. Therefore, Yechezkel concludes, "but they will not come to the soil of Israel."

In this same vein Rav Kook zt"l explains the verse, "Who are these, who fly like a cloud, like doves to the cote-windows?" (Yeshaya 60:8) The clouds are driven by the wind from place to place, without a specific destination, but the doves return to their home, to their cote-windows. So, too, there are Jews who are led against their will like clouds from place to place, and by chance reach Eretz Yisrael, and others know that coming to Israel is returning home.

Similarly, in Yirmiya, G-d comforts Rachel: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for there is reward for your accomplishment ... and they will return from the enemy's land. There is hope for your future ... and your children will return to their border." (31:15-16) There are Jews who reach Israel as a result of escaping the enemy's land, from a land of persecution, where they cannot live as Jews. However, there are those who understand that aliya to Eretz Yisrael is not escaping from another place, but rather the return of children to their original home, "your children will return to their border."

Avoiding a Ladder that Stays on the Ground

By HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l

Yaakov’s famous dream of a ladder set on the ground with its top reaching the Heavens (Bereisheet 28:12) separates between the stories of strife between Yaakov and Eisav and the impending arrival of Yaakov at the home of Lavan. While elements of the dream are related to the upcoming events, we will take a look at elements that relate it to Yaakov’s relationship with Eisav.

"‘I loved you,’ said Hashem, and you asked, ‘In what way did You love us?’ ... ‘Indeed Eisav is a brother of Yaakov ... and Eisav I despised’" (Malachi 1: 2-3). At first glance, the hatred toward Eisav is understandable, as he is a wicked, bloodthirsty person, through his very essence, as is even evidenced by the Torah’s stressing of his being red. On the other hand, though, if his nature from before birth is to be drawn to blood, shouldn’t the complaint for his behavior be placed on his Maker, not on Eisav?

It would seem that the most critical difference between the brothers is hinted at in Eisav’s name, which comes from the word asuy: done, complete. His characteristics were set and he made no attempt to overcome moral challenges. It is not only that his legs were on the ground, but even his head was on the ground. Yaakov was not content with what he was because he was not a man of trickery. The most important person he did not trick was himself.

The navi tells us: "Lift up your eyes to the Heavens and see" (Yeshaya 40:26). It is possible to see into the Heavens and, if one tries hard enough, to overcome natural limitations. Even one whose legs are on the ground can see to the top of the ladder. It is the realization that there is something higher to strive for that is the key to the ability to obtain it. When self-deception causes one to be satisfied with his present state, he has no interest in looking any higher, and then everything remains according to nature. There is no serious attempt to do more than that which come to him most easily.

When the navi says that Hashem despises Eisav, a basic part of that is that He hates the fact that he is asuy, that he does not see a value in being any more in the future than he is in the past and the present. He is not even willing to admit that there are Heavens to look to.

Yes, Eisav is red, signifying his tendency toward bloodthirstiness. Is that a weakness? It doesn’t have to be. David was also red and that was part of his recipe for success in forming the monarchal dynasty. But he is introduced as red with pretty eyes (Shmuel I 16:12). Yes, David killed, but with permission from Sanhedrin, and not on his own (Bereisheet Rabba 63:8). Shaul, who was missing that brash "redness," failed, and David succeeded with the right combination of traits. There is no trait that cannot be used for good, if the top of the ladder reaches to the Heavens.

This is why Yaakov dreamed upon leaving the Land. He was leaving his spiritual incubator under the tutelage of tzaddikim like his father, Shem, and Ever and was going to take on the arch-deceiver, Lavan. Hashem reassured him that He would be with Yaakov, and indeed he succeeded to keep his integrity.

The Real Illegal Settlements

By Bassam Tawil 

  • While construction in Jewish settlements of the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem has long been carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect.
  • The Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground. The sheer enormity of the project raises the question: Who has been funding these massive cities-within-cities? And why? There is good reason to believe that the PLO and some Arabs and Muslims, and especially the European Union, are behind the Palestinian initiative.
  • The Jewish outpost of Amona, home to 42 families, is currently the subject of fiery controversy both in Israel and in the international arena. Apparently, settlements are only a "major obstacle to peace" when they are constructed by Jews.
  • The EU and some Islamic governments and organizations are paying for the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank.
  • The hypocrisy and raw malice of the EU and the rest of the international community toward the issue of Israeli settlements is blindingly transparent. Yet we are also witnessing the hypocrisy of many in the Western mainstream media, who see with their own eyes the Palestinian settlements rising on every side of Jerusalem, but choose to report only about Jewish building.
An example of massive illegal Palestinian construction on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
As the international community continues to slam Israel for construction in Jewish settlement communities, Palestinians are quietly engaging in massive construction of entire neighborhoods in many parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem. In addition to overlooking the Palestinian building project, the West has clearly been neglecting a crucial difference between the two efforts: while the construction in the Jewish settlements of the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem has long been carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect.
In this behind-the-scenes endeavor, which does not meet even the most minimum standards required by engineers, architects and housing planners, the Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground.