Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Both of them are Catastrophes

By Moshe Feiglin

The two people more responsible than anyone else for the fact that the Nation of Israel cannot sleep soundly at night are Former PM Ehud Barak and PM Binyamin Netanyahu. They really do not have to leak secret information about each other, as they did last week, for us to understand that. Both of them are the greatest security catastrophe that Israel has ever known.

When Ehud Barak was prime minister, he caved in to (former radio broadcaster and current Labor party MK) Shelly Yechimovitz and The Four Mothers movement. The Four Mothers was a leftist movement that advocated complete retreat from Lebanon, where Israeli forces were on constant alert to keep terrorists and missiles away from Israel’s borders. Yechimovitz used her popular talk show at Israel’ public service radio to push the Four Mothers’ agenda on a daily basis. In a populist move, Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to flee the security strip it had been maintaining in southern Lebanon, abandoning Israel’s allies there to the ‘mercy’ of the Hizballah and leaving valuable military equipment to be scooped up by the terrorists.

This jaw-dropping move made Barak the hero of the leftist (public service) media, but triggered a complete strategic collapse. The number of Israeli dead since that retreat (in goal-less Israeli military incursions into Lebanon) is much greater than the fatalities we suffered prior to the hasty retreat. Even more threatening, 150,000 missiles are now looming over Israel from the territory it abandoned. Some of them are precision guided, aimed at every strategic site in Israel. Strategically, this is a greater threat to Israel than the Iranian atomic bomb.

This is not the only catastrophe that Barak brought upon Israel. In addition to the military catastrophes – recordings prove that Barak destroyed the entire military purchase system. It is no longer possible to know what considerations motivate the weapons purchases that build the IDF. An excellent example of this is Israel’s major F35 fighter jet purchase. The high price of the plane is the inverse reflection of its capabilities. The jet, for example, cannot reach Iran with an effective payload.

The Iranian nuclear bomb is a fact that will be chalked up to PM Binyamin Netanyahu. Despite all my warnings over the years, including while I was a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee – Netanyahu insisted on a strategy that was predicated on making glorious speeches – and passing the responsibility for dealing with the Iranian threat to the US.

As soon as Netanyahu gave the keys to Obama, the result was already written on the wall. At that point, he could no longer complain about the direction that the US president chose to take. Obviously, the international legitimacy for an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran has been totally obliterated. And even if Iran fulfills all its commitments (clearly it will not), the accords themselves stipulate that at the end of the time period of the agreement, Iran will be completely free to complete the construction of the bomb.

Without leadership with vision, Israel flounders from one crisis to the next. The time has come for authentic Jewish leadership for our country.

The Jewish National Goal

The Jewish National Goal
By Steven Shamrak

Many Jewish groups, organizations and individuals are actively involved in signing petitions, writing letters and monitoring anti-Semitism worldwide. These are very important activities, but they all are missing direction.

Jews must unite behind the most important objective - the Jewish National goal: "Jewish people have the right to live in peace on all the Jewish ancestral land". Only by uniting behind the National Goal Jews will have the chance to survive the modern, internationally orchestrated, anti-Jewish onslaught!

This is the only goal that is worthwhile to pursue. It is the right of the Jewish people and must be pursued regardless of a political affiliation and external factors such as the Arab intentions to destroy Israel, and International anti-Semitism! It is the National right that Jewish people have dreamed about for 2000 years! Therefore, regardless of the political affiliation of any Jewish group, political party or individual, communist or capitalist; Orthodox, Secular or Atheist - all of them can support and be united behind this goal. And, it would not contradict their ideology.

It is imposable to achieve anything without setting an objective. We need to revive, re-ignite and be clear about the Jewish National Goal and aspirations. We can’t afford to waste time anymore. Our enemies declared their intention clearly, recently and in the past. Our ambiguity is just inflaming their hate!

Jewish national aspirations are not against Arabs or Muslims. It is about the identity and rights of Jewish people. The International community has done everything possible to deny Jewish people the achievement of our destiny. The time has come to take control of our own destiny!

The useless internal political bickering has to be stopped. The Jewish National Goal must be the main priority and motivation for all Israeli politicians, Jewish people and organizations around the world. The personal ego has to be put aside. This idea is the only one that can unite Jewish people.

History is full of examples of a great number of people who became idealistic and enthusiastic when they were lead to the achievement of seemingly, unattainable goals. They were unstoppable and pursued worthwhile goals with zeal.

Jews have this goal embedded in the Jewish soul. It would be more natural and easier for Jews to support the creation of the Jewish state on all Jewish lands. On the contrary, it is unnatural and self-destructive to impose on Israel the agenda of our enemies and the duplicity of their supporters!

Food for Thought 
By Steven Shamrak

The US governments have been using Israel to maintain stability or when they wish, create instability, using the aggression of Arab/Muslim neighbours, in the oil-rich region! If enemies of Israel knew that the US does not tolerate aggression against Israel and allowed the Jewish state to unrestrictedly defend itself, the conflict would have been over a long time ago!

Why is this Idiocy Again?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has renewed his efforts to convince opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog, head of the Zionist Union party, to join his coalition.(Likud party used to be the true Zionist party. It would have majority in Knesset long time ago. To achieve it Netanyahu has to set and pursue the Jewish National/Zionist Goal. After all, this is Likud political platform!)

Ugliness of Jewish self-Haters is Limitless

Jewish Hungarian-American business magnate George Soros, whose company files were hacked by the same outfit that in June hacked the DNC computers, was a major contributor to anti-Israel and anti-Zionist causes.

France Shut down Mosques – Why not Israel?

France has shut down at least 20 mosques and now has banned foreign funding of the Islamic houses of worship as well. (At the same time, the European Union criticized Israel for demolishing a European-Union-funded structure in Umm al-Khair in the Mount Hebron region. How ironic - No criticism of France!)

Why Turkey is still NATO member?

A Washington DC think tank has warned in a new report that American nuclear weapons stored at the Incirlik air base in South Eastern Turkey are at risk of being seized by the Ankara government. Turkish Authorities ordered the closing of 45 newspapers, 23 radio stations, 16 television channels and three news agencies this month.

Time is Running Out for Attack on Iran

After Russia bombs Syrian militants from an Iranian base for the first time, Russian giant Antonov An-124 air freighters are ready to take off Wednesday, Aug. 17, carrying an array of advanced S-400 and S-300 air defense missiles bound for the new Russian air base just completed at Noji, 50 km from the western Iranian town of Hamedan.

Unusual Behavior of the State Department

For the first time, the State Department has explicitly accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of promoting anti-Semitism. Previously, US officials had labeled the PA denial of Jewish ties to Jerusalem as “material criticizing the Israeli occupation,” but stopped short of calling it anti-Semitism. Officials dropped an assertion made in previous years that the PA acted to “prevent preaching” of “sermons with intolerant or anti-Semitic messages.”

Quote of the Week:
“Diaspora Jews (and Israeli ones) should not support the misguided policies of Israeli leaders and that Israel should look to North America for moral guidance. Please do not tell me how you support Israel when you dismiss our biblical land – Judea and Samaria. This land was never occupied. This holy land was returned to Israel at the end of the 1967 war… Please tell me, how do you plan to make peace with Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PA and ISIS?” - Rabbi Richard Jacobs - Most of the times, Israeli governments do not represent long term interests and goals of Jewish people, by engaging in perpetual negotiations with the enemies! It is only gives credibility to Arab terrorists and dimishes Israel’s political standing.

My Narrow-minded Attitude.
By Steven Shamrak.

I am sometimes criticised for covering only one subject in my editorial letters, namely the Middle East conflict in general, and the right of the Jews to live in peace on their ancestral land in particular. My critics are quite right! I can’t help it. I am passionate about the rights of my people.

I could write about colonialism and the effect it had on the lives of millions of Indians who were shipped throughout the British Empire as cheap slave labour, plus the adverse social and cultural impact it brought to the indigenous nations. The devastation of environment, due to colonial exploitation, would also make a big and interesting subject to explore.

I could write about the Church, its persecution of not only Jews, but millions of Christians who had stepped out of the official line or tried to be a good G-d-respecting human beings. Nobody wants to seriously and systematically contest the devastation and destruction to other cultures and religions brought by the Church to many nations around the world. Then there’s always the systematic child abuse by priests, monks and nuns, and the efficient cover-up by the Church’s official and legal system to write about. Cultural genocide of many nations and legalization of slavery was also done in the name of Christ and the superiority of the Church-led nations!

Political hypocrisy and stupidity could be another favourite subject of mine. A lot could be written about forging of the state of Panama by and for the economic benefit of the United States; creating political minefields by dividing Africa and the Middle East along colonial control lines, with no consideration for tribal interests and historical information; How about the betrayal of Tibet and Czechoslovakia! Most people don’t even know that the war in Vietnam could have easily been avoided if not for the arrogance and stupidity of the French and US governments. What about the occupation of West Papua by Indonesia; the Basque region by Spain and France; Northern Cyprus by Turkey; Western Sahara by Algiers, as well as the misfortune of the people of Kurdistan and Kashmir?

Yes, there are hundreds of issues I care about and could easily write about. I have chosen only one – Eretz-Israel, the land of Israel! Please, choose the one that you are truly passionate about. If all of us start to care, it will make the life of corrupt political systems intolerable, and the lazy and hypocritical journalists might start to do their jobs properly and honestly. And G-d forbid if in the process we are able to change the world into a better place!

Soros’s Campaign of Global Chaos

The first thing that we see is the megalomaniacal nature of Soros’s philanthropic project. No corner of the globe is unaffected by his efforts. No policy area is left untouched.

George Soros
Major media outlets in the US have ignored the leak of thousands of emails from billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation by the activist hacker group DCLeaks. The OSF is the vehicle through which Soros has funneled billions of dollars over the past two decades to non-profit organizations in the US and throughout the world.
According to the documents, Soros has given more than $30 million to groups working for Hillary Clinton’s election in November, making him her largest single donor. So it is likely the case that the media’s support for Clinton has played some role in the mainstream media’s bid to bury the story.
It is also likely however, that at least some news editors failed to understand why the leaked documents were worth covering. Most of the information was already public knowledge. Soros’s massive funding of far-left groups in the US and throughout the world has been documented for more than a decade.
But failing to see the significance of the wider story because many of the details were already known is a case of missing the forest for the trees. The DCLeaks document dump is a major story because it exposes the forest of Soros’s funding networks.
The first thing that we see is the megalomaniacal nature of Soros’s philanthropic project. No corner of the globe is unaffected by his efforts. No policy area is left untouched.
On the surface, the vast number of groups and people he supports seem unrelated. After all, what does climate change have to do with illegal African immigration to Israel? What does Occupy Wall Street have to do with Greek immigration policies? But the fact is that Soros-backed projects share basic common attributes.
They all work to weaken the ability of national and local authorities in Western democracies to uphold the laws and values of their nations and communities.
They all work to hinder free markets, whether those markets are financial, ideological, political or scientific. They do so in the name of democracy, human rights, economic, racial and sexual justice and other lofty terms.
In other words, their goal is to subvert Western democracies and make it impossible for governments to maintain order or for societies to retain their unique identities and values.
Black Lives Matter, which has received $650,000 from Soros-controlled groups over the past year, is a classic example of these efforts. Until recently, the police were universally admired in the US as the domestic equivalent of the military. BLM emerged as a social force bent on politicizing support for police.
Its central contention is that in the US, police are not a force for good, enabling society to function by maintaining law and order. Rather, police are a tool of white repression of blacks.
Law enforcement in predominantly African American communities is under assault as inherently racist.
BLM agitation, which has been accused of inspiring the murders of police in several US cities, has brought about two responses from rank and file police. First, they have been demoralized, as they find themselves criminalized for trying to keep their cities safe from criminals.
Second, their willingness to use force in situations that demand the use of force has diminished. Fear of criminal charges on the one hand, and public condemnation as “racists” on the other causes police to prefer inaction even when situations require that they act.
The demoralization and intimidation of police is very likely to cause a steep increase in violent crimes.
Then there are Soros’s actions on behalf of illegal immigration. From the US to Europe to Israel, Soros has implemented a worldwide push to use immigration to undermine the national identity and demographic composition of Western democracies. The leaked emails show that his groups have interfered in European elections to get politicians elected who support open border policies for immigrants from the Arab world and to financially and otherwise support journalists who report sympathetically on immigrants.
Soros’s groups are on the ground enabling illegal immigrants to enter the US and Europe. They have sought to influence US Supreme Court rulings on illegal immigration from Mexico. They have worked with Muslim and other groups to demonize Americans and Europeans who oppose open borders.
In Israel as well, Soros opposes government efforts to end the flow of illegal immigration from Africa through the border with Egypt.
The notion at the heart of the push for the legalization of unfettered immigration is that states should not be able to protect their national identities.
If it is racist for Greeks to protect their national identity by seeking to block the entrance of millions of Syrians to their territory, then it is racist for Greece – or France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden the US or Poland – to exist.
Parallel to these efforts are others geared toward rejecting the right of Western democracies to uphold long-held social norms. Soros-supported groups, for instance, stand behind the push not only for gay marriage but for unisex public bathrooms.
They support not only the right of women to serve in combat units, but efforts to force soldiers to live in unisex barracks. In other words, they support efforts aimed at denying citizens of Western democracies the right to maintain any distance between themselves and Soros’s rejection of their most intimate values – their sexual privacy and identity.
As far as Israel is concerned, Soros-backed groups work to delegitimize every aspect of Israeli society as racist and illegitimate. The Palestinians are focal point of his attacks. He uses them to claim that Israel is a racist state. Soros funds moderate leftist groups, radical leftist groups, Israeli Arab groups and Palestinian groups. In various, complementary ways, these groups tell their target audiences that Israel has no right to defend itself or enforce its laws toward its non-Jewish citizens.
In the US, Soros backed groups from BLM to J Street work to make it socially and politically acceptable to oppose Israel.
The thrust of Soros’s efforts from Ferguson to Berlin to Jerusalem is to induce mayhem and chaos as local authorities, paralyzed by his supported groups, are unable to secure their societies or even argue coherently that they deserve security.
In many ways, Donald Trump’s campaign is a direct response not to Clinton, but to Soros himself.
By calling for the erection of a border wall, supporting Britain’s exit from the EU, supporting Israel, supporting a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and supporting the police against BLM, Trump acts as a direct foil to Soros’s multi-billion dollar efforts.
The DCLeaks exposed the immensity of the Soros-funded Left’s campaign against the foundations of liberal democracies. The “direct democracy” movements that Soros support are nothing less than calls for mob rule.
The peoples of the West need to recognize the common foundations of all Soros’s actions. They need to realize as well that the only response to these premeditated campaigns of subversion is for the people of the West to stand up for their national rights and their individual right to security. They must stand with the national institutions that guarantee that security, in accordance with the rule of the law, and uphold and defend their national values and traditions.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Some inconvenient Facts for Liberal Jews, part II: The Donald Trump video every Jew (esp liberal Jews) MUST watch!

Some inconvenient Facts for Liberal Jews, part I: If You Love Israel, Trump is the Only Possible Choice

By Joel B. Pollak

Hillary Clinton is the worst presidential candidate on Israel since Barack Obama, who was the worst ever. Indeed, the only reason Democrats have convinced themselves she is pro-Israel is that, relative to Obama, she is. But Hillary Clinton’s record on Israel is so bad that not even people paid to advocate on her behalf can name a single thing she has done for Israel.

Maybe by tomorrow you’ll think up ONE thing @HillaryClinton has actually done for Israel. Don’t stay up late trying. https://t.co/WQCa2kGgNA

— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) August 12, 2016

And while Donald Trump is a newcomer to politics and foreign policy, his positions already make him a far better candidate.

Trump is the first American presidential nominee to tell the Israelis that they should keep building settlements in the West Bank as long as the Palestinians refuse to abandon terror and refuse to negotiate a peace agreement. While the left reacted in horror, the proposal is the first that would restore Israel’s negotiating leverage.

Until now, the penalty for Palestinian terror is … exactly nothing. In fact, the Obama administration has rewarded Palestinian terror with more aid. Why would they stop?

Whatever you think of the Israeli settlement project — and it is a complicated topic — it has to be clear to the Palestinians that they are losing their opportunity for statehood by continuing to reject peace.

Until now, the message has been that there is no amount of murder or incitement that would cause the American patrons of the Palestinian cause to cut off the cash flow. The Donald’s proposal is a total reset, a new opening offer that will, ironically, lead to more fruitful peace negotiations in the end.

Some of Trump’s pro-Israel critics attack him for saying he would be “neutral” between Israelis and Palestinians. But they are deliberately distorting his remarks: he said he would be neutral in the context of mediating a peace negotiation. That is pure common sense. Trump has long acknowledged that the Palestinian side is primarily responsible for the impasse, that “the other side has been trained from the time they’re children to hate Jewish people.” He wants to try again — on tougher terms.

Contrast that with Hillary Clinton. Not only is it impossible to name anything positive she has achieved for Israeli, but it is also quite easy to name several things she has done to cause real damage. First and foremost is the Iran deal, which she helped negotiate and supports enthusiastically. Then there is her courtship of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has accused Israel of “genocide.” Even Alan Dershowitz, a noted Clinton supporter, says “no decent person” should be associated with it.

Then there was the infamous episode in 2010, when Hillary Clinton proudly berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the telephone for 45 minutes because of an announcement of new apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. The Obama administration, Hillary included, was eager to show that it had humiliated the Israeli leader. Nothing was achieved for the cause of peace, but Israel’s enemies were emboldened by the unusual public condemnation.

It is true that Israelis remember President Bill Clinton fondly, especially for his mourning at the funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. But as First Lady, Hillary Clinton was always more radical on the Israeli-Palestinian issue than her husband. In 1998, she became the first major American political figure to endorse a Palestinian state — a statement so harmful to ongoing peace negotiations that her husband’s policy aides had to rush to distance the White House from her views. A year later, she embraced and kissed Suha Arafat, the wife of Palestinian terrorist and tyrant Yasser Arafat, when Mrs. Arafat falsely accused Israel of using poison gas on Palestinian women and children — a particularly galling charge, given the Holocaust.

The illusion that Hillary Clinton is pro-Israel is sustained by a self-regarding establishment that has insinuated itself into her inner circle, yet has failed to stop her worst policies and impulses.

For pro-Israel voters, Trump is the only possible choice.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Jewish settlements are legal

By Ambassador (ret) Yoram Ettinger

The misperceptions, misrepresentations and ignorance surrounding the general attitude toward the legal status of Jewish settlements in the disputed area of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), reflects the general attitude toward the unique phenomenon of the reconstruction of the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel.
“Fidelity to law is the essence of peace” opined Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School, Undersecretary of State and a co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242. Rostow resolved that under international law: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.” 
Prof. Rostow determined that according to Resolution 242, which he co-authored: “Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories’, not ‘the’ territories, nor from ‘all’ the territories, but ‘some’ of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights.”  Moreover, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from ‘all’ the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the ‘fragile and vulnerable’ [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”
Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated: “[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive…[as] indicated by Egypt's prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeliport of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt's seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan's seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful…. Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 ]according to Article 52 of the UN Charter[, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful….” 

The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified treaties, which recognized that the area has been the cradle of Jewish history, culture, aspirations and religion:

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….”
(II) The 
April 24, 1920 resolution, adopted by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, incorporated the Balfour Declaration, entrusting both sides of the Jordan River to the Mandate for Palestine: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration… in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for most boundaries in the Middle East.
(III) The Mandate for Palestine, ratified on July 24, 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by article 6: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate is dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights.
(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine, including immigration and settlement, to any other party.

The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a non-binding recommendation – as are all General Assembly resolutions - superseded by the binding Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated the pre-1967 ceasefire – non-ratified - boundaries. 

According to Article 80 of the UN Charter, and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since the area is not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the area in 1967. Also, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty. 

While the 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan was not recognized, internationally, as its legitimate sovereign power.

Furthermore, the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1995 Israel-Palestinian Authority Interim Agreement do not prohibit Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, stipulating that the issue will be negotiated during the permanent status negotiations, enabling each party to plan, zone and build in areas under its control. If Israeli construction prejudges negotiation, then Arab construction – which is dramatically larger – dramatically prejudges negotiation.  

Finally, the term “Palestine” was a Roman attempt - following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion – to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but the Greek Aegian islands.  

The campaign against legal Jewish settlements in the disputed – rather than occupied – area of Judea and Samaria is based on gross misrepresentations, fueling infidelity to law, which undermines the pursuit of peace.

The Temple Mount and UNESCO

By Denis MacEoin

  • The attempts to deny any ancient and ongoing Jewish presence in Jerusalem, to say there was never a first let alone a second Temple and that only Muslims have any right to the whole city, its shrines and historical monuments, have reached insane proportions.
  • Is this really what it boils down to? The Islamic State rules the international community? Including UNESCO?
  • The world is outraged when it sees the stones of Palmyra tumble, or other great monuments of human civilization turn to dust. But that same world is silent when the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters Islamise everything by calling into question the very presence of the Jewish people in the Holy Land.
You do not have to be a historian to know that Jerusalem was originally a Jewish city with, later, Christian connections and, later still, weak Islamic connections. The second Jewish Temple, completed by King Herod in 19 BCE, was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE (depicted at left in a 1626 painting by Nicolas Poussin). The current Aqsa Mosque (right) on the Temple Mount was first built in the year 705, seventy-three years after Muhammad's death in 632, and rebuilt several times after earthquakes. (Images' source: Wikimedia Commons)
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is known throughout the world for the many places it designates as World Heritage Sites. There are more than one thousand of these, distributed unequally in many countries, with Italy at the top, followed by China.
The largest single category of sites consists of religious sites, categorized under the heading of cultural locations (as distinct from natural ones). Within this category, UNESCO has carried out many dialogues with communities in order to ensure that religious sensitivities are acknowledged and guaranteed. UNESCO has undertaken many measures in this field.
In 2010, the organization held a seminar on the "Role of Religious Communities in the Management of World Heritage Properties."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Looking for G-d in our Interchanges and Skyscrapers

By Moshe Feiglin

Over the last decade, Tisha B’Av, the day that we traditionally mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, has been admitted to the pantheon of Jewish holy days that are not for the observant only: holy days that speak to everyone. 

Yom Kippur has always been there. It is the private holy day, special to us all. A solid majority of the Jews in Israel fast on that day. Even those who do not fast, feel something special: They respect the day, search for its meaning. Yom Kippur does not just pass us by like the holiday of Shavuot, for example. 

Pesach is another holy day that has always been a holiday for all the Jews. It is the family holiday. The Seder night - kosher for Passover or not – is celebrated by Jewish families everywhere. It is a holiday that has not been separated from the Nation by the walls of religion. 

What we still lack is the national dimension: the dimension that retains a void not filled by banging on plastic hammers on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Yom Ha’atzmaut always leaves us with a vague sense of emptiness. 

The collective subconscious that pulls the young people of Tel Aviv’s trendy Shenkin Street to alternative lamentations on the city rooftops discovers something in Tisha B’Av . It longs for the spiritual national dimension. It searches for meaning and warmth. 

Real Israeli culture, the authentic national creation that we are all looking for; the point that affords meaning and validity to our national existence- is there – in our Father’s house, from which we were exiled and to where we will return. 

Return to religion enriches the returnee. But usually it is at the expense of the real achievement of the Return to Zion – Israel’s rising and return from the dimension of community to the dimension of nation; at the expense of the return to reality and history. 

Generally speaking, (and yes, there are certainly exceptions) the returnee to religion is no longer interested in the news, politics or the State. He has found his personal happiness and leaves the rest to the Messiah. His G-d is not so relevant outside his home, study hall or synagogue. 

The new generation, however, wants G-d to be relevant in all dimensions. It doesn’t want to escape into religion. It wants a grand message, rectification of the world; neither to go backward into pre-Zionism nor to be stuck in the place bereft of identity and meaning in which Zionism – which shed all regard for religion – finds itself today. 

The new generation wants it all: It wants to go forward into religion – to a Torah that is also a relevant culture; to a G-d Who is with us here, in our modernity: in our multilevel interchanges, in our skyscrapers and in our high-tech. It is looking for a G-d Who is with us in our most private moments, in our most national triumphs and in our most universal aspirations. The new generation wants warmth, a sense of belonging, meaning; it wants to herald a great message. It wants a home: it’s Father’s home, the home to which we all belong. 

It wants the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom.

“So that It will be Good for You”

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

In the mitzva of honoring parents as it appears in this week’s Torah portion, it is written, “Honor your father and your mother, as your G-d has commanded you, so that your days will be long, and so that it will be good for you” [Devarim 5:16]. This is somewhat different from the wording in the Torah portion of Yitro, where the phrase “it will be good for you” does not appear.

The wise men of the Talmud discussed this difference, and here is what they said:

“Rabbi Chanina Ben Agil asked Rabbi Chiya Bar Abba: why is it that in the first version of the Ten Commandments the good does not appear while in the second set it does? He replied: Before you ask me why good is mentioned, ask me whether the concept of good appears in the commandments or not, since I do not know if it appears or not. Go and see Rabbi Tanchum Bar Chanila’i, who was a companion of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi, who was an expert in Aggada. He went to see him, and he explained that the reason was that the first set of the Ten Commandments would be destroyed. And what did it matter if the first set was to be destroyed? Rav Ashi said: This might be taken to imply that the good for Yisrael might come to an end.” [Bava Kama 54b]

These words of the Talmud are quite perplexing. Could it be that the wise men of the Talmud were not familiar with the text of the Torah? (This is in fact the way the Tosafot interpreted the passage.)

In addition, even if the rabbis did not know the text, why didn’t they simply say, “Let us take a Torah scroll out and see,” as appears many times in the Talmud? It is also not clear why masters of the Aggada were needed to answer the simple question of whether the concept of “good” appears in the Ten Commandments or not.

Some Torah scholars have explained this passage in the following way (for example, Rabbi Reuven Margaliyot and Rabbi Leib Shachor, in his book “Avnei Shoham”):

Bnei Yisrael were given two sets of the Ten Commandments. The first set was given to them on Shavuot, and it was shattered on the seventeenth of Tammuz, and the second set was given on Yom Kippur. There are a few differences between the two versions. We might ask whether the two versions were in fact the same, with the text that appears in the portion of Yitro, but that Moshe modified the text when he wrote the version in Devarim. Or, can it be that the actual texts engraved on the tablets were different.

When Rabbi Chanina asked why the concept of “good” does not appear in the first version while it does appear in the second one, Rabbi Chiya replied that he does not know if the engraved version of the second set contained the concept of good or not, since it might be that the words “so that it will be good” only appear in the Torah but not on the engraved tablets, and that the two sets of tablets were identical. He was therefore sent to Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi, an expert in the Aggada, who verified that the texts engraved on the two sets of tablets were in fact different, and not only the wording in the Torah. He explained that in the first set the phrase “so that it will be good” does not appear, since these tablets would be shattered, which might imply the end of good for Yisrael.

* * * * * *

“Midarchei Hakerem” – three volumes related to the holidays, the Torah, the nation of Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael, written by Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg. This was awarded the Rav Kook Prize by the Tel Aviv municipality for 5776. It can be purchased by phone at: 08-8562007.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


By Daniel Greenfield    

The great thing about the Huma Abedin - Anthony Weiner marriage is that it makes the Bill and Hillary marriage look downright plausible.

Every now and then, Huma Abedin, Hillary's No. 2, dives out of her mole hole for a profile. On these rare occasions, the piece is invariably fawning and consists mainly of praising Huma's fashion style and her problem solving skills. 

The latest Vogue piece is no different. It has some of the window dressing of journalism, but it's blatant public relations. In fact there's no obvious way to differentiate it from something that the Clinton campaign would just arrange to have done. The giant sucking hole at the center though is its premise.

Vogue has to sell Huma Abedin as a smart, sophisticated and strong woman. Who is married to a man whose cheating turned her into a national joke. It's the Hillary problem, in other words.

The answer? Islam.

In the longer term, she says she leaned on her faith—Abedin is a practicing Muslim—and what she calls “a really supportive group of friends and colleagues.” 

Islam would certainly tell Huma to shut up and put up with her husband's cheating. Unfortunately it would also tell her to stab him in his sleep because he's a Jew. So you have to split the difference.

When Abedin was two, they moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she’d been born, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to teach. (Her father also started a notable nonprofit, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs.)

That's one way of describing it.

At its root, the "Muslim Minority Affairs" agenda is part of a grand plan to destroy America from within, in a stealth manner, exactly as the Muslim Brotherhood outlined in its 1991 "General Strategic Goal" memorandum. Journalist Andrew C. McCarthy summarizes the strategy as follows:

"The Saudi-constructed, Brotherhood-conducted Islamist infrastructure in the West is on a mission—the 'Muslim Minority Affairs' mission. It seeks to grow an unassimilated, aggressive population of Islamic supremacists, who will gradually but dramatically alter the character of the West. Its goal is incrementally to infiltrate sharia principles in our law, our institutions, and our public policy. That means the mission takes direct aim at our liberties, particularly free expression, because [the latter] enables examination and negative criticism of Islamist ideology. It takes aim at our alliance with Israel, because Jews are regarded as enemies and all of 'Palestine' as Islamic territory. And it takes aim at our economic system, because sharia regards capitalism as a bane of human existence—there is a reason why the Brotherhood’s American operatives make common cause with the Left on everything from socialized medicine to finance regulation to gun control to surveillance law."

Notable. Definitely notable. 

“Set your Eyes on the Family (Values)”

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute

“There were no better days for Yisrael than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, when the girls of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards. What did they say? Young man, lift up your eyes... Do not set your eyes on beauty, set your eyes on the family.” [Mishna, Taanit 4:8].

“What did the beautiful ones say? Set your eyes on beauty, for the only purpose of a wife is beauty. And those withpedigrees (“yichuss”), what did they say? Set your eyes on the family, for the only purpose of a woman is to have sons.” [Taanit 31a].

In order to mark the occasion of “Tu B‘Av” (the fifteenth of Av), which was yesterday (Friday) – a day known for betrothals, engagements, and weddings – we will turn our eyes on family matters, following the recommendation of the Mishna quoted above: “Set your eyes on the family.” In the Talmud, this advice is given by the women from prominent families, as opposed to the “beautiful” ones, who propose an alternative to the value of the families. They tell the men to follow the popular trend, and “set your eyes on beauty.” Careful reading of the text will show that the status of the prominent women – who are competing with the trait of external beauty – is not classic pedigree, based on the past and ancient inherited traits.The “dowry” of the prominent ones is set in the future. “The only purpose of a woman is to have sons,” implying that what is important is the continuation of the warm family line. Those with sharp eyes will notice that the text of the Mishna is in the singular, “set your eyes (einecha) on the family,” while the text in the Talmud is in the plural, “set your eyes (eineichaem) on the family.” Sharp readers will explain that the difference is between the past and the glory of the existing “family” and looking forward to the future while establishing a new family.

Family Values

The LGBT (“pride”) discussions in our surroundings knowingly (and quite possibly on purpose) undermine the basis for what is known as “family values.” We must also take note of the fact that traditional family values are also undermined by medical advances and the social trend to establish single-parent families by choice, through a “donor” for women and a surrogate mother (and possible a donor) for men. This technical-medical development, supported by the post-modern atmosphere which destroys all values from the past, which joins together with the violent LGBT ideology (“the community,” and “pride”) from the political and media point of view – has planted the equivalent of a sociological atomic bomb which has the power to crush all the known cultural values of western civilization . (And I hope that I am wrong about this...)

But let us leave high-level words behind us, together with the world of ideology, which do not deeply involve most of the people, certainly not in this “post-” era. Let us turn our gaze in the individual, a private person, and look at his needs, desires, and dreams. And we can also add his urges. In this essay I will focus on the middle aged and above, people who have left behind the agitation of youth, and who have a desire or a need for a bit of peace and quiet in their lives.

I cannot believe that in a modern family, whether single-parent or single-sex, it is possible to find family satisfaction, or to stretch out on the couch of the faltering family unit. I do not see any possibility of creating an alternative for a family at an advanced age in a single-sex framework. I have no faith in sociological studies (if there are any) which describe close ties in a single-sex family at an advanced age, and I assume that the most common option is that the members go their separate ways. I do not believe that a single-sex or a single-parent unit can develop branched-out family ties of the type that can be found in all human civilizations, starting from the time of Noach and his sons. And indeed, unfortunately, it seems to me that the post-modern family agenda does not consider at all the family connections of grandfathers and grandmothers, in all their generations, aunts and uncles and their relatives, cousins from all sides, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who might have left the family nests to fly away, without any thoughts of family ties. Everybody goes on his own independent and individualistic way. “Goodbye” to all!

I hereby call out to intellectuals, authors, and poets, to men and women of the pen and of the keyboard, to directors and producers of “positive media” –set your sights on glorifying and lifting up “family values” and the historical culture of positive and warm family life. Ignore the media, which are so strongly linked to modern trends, ignore the ghosts which prowl the social spaces of our world. Better yet, don’t ignore them – fight them with all your strength!

A Taste of Life

Let us return to the middle aged and beyond. If not for family, without a family tree in the past and in the future – what benefit does a person get in all that he or she has done under the sun? All the “post-” fashions and alternatives are meant for the elderly men and women who do not have a normative family, to help them end their lives in solitude, by choice. Even if they live in an old age home, no matter how prestigious and active it is, they do not have a real taste of life, without any relatives of their own and without a real family, which is the real essence of life.

And now we can return to the youth: Think about “family values” as your existential internet which often puts aside other challenges or values. Set your eyes on the family!

(Note: I am not referring in the above essay to men and women who have tried with all their might to find their mates in the “regular” way and have failed, or who are incapable of having children for medical or psychological reasons.)

"No Room for the Zionist Entity in the Region"

By Khaled Abu Toameh

  • "The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Wakf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad." — Hamas Charter.
  • Hamas's decision to participate in the upcoming local and municipal elections will further strengthen the movement and pave the way for it to extend its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
  • "The Zionist entity will not be part of this region. We will continue to resist it until the liberation of our land and the return of our people." — Musa Abu Marzouk, senior Hamas official.
  • How precisely Hamas intends to "serve" the Palestinians by running in the elections is somewhat murky. Abu Marzouk did not talk about building new schools and parks for the Palestinians. When he talks about "serving" the people, he means only one thing: recruiting Palestinians to Hamas and jihad against Israel and the Jews.
Masked Hamas members (dressed in black) prepare to execute local Palestinians who they claim spied for Israel, Aug. 22, 2014, in Gaza. (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)
The dreamers in English still have it: "Hamas and Israel, Israel and Hamas. Maybe one day...who knows." And then the Arabic-language truth rolls in: "Death to Israel, always!"
Some Arab and Western political analysts have mistakenly interpreted Hamas's agreement to participate in the Palestinian local and municipal elections, scheduled for October 8, as a sign of the movement's "pragmatism" and march toward recognizing Israel's right to exist.
They falsely assume that Hamas's readiness to take part in the democratic process shows that the leaders of the extremist movement are also prepared to abandon their dream of destroying Israel and abandoning the "armed struggle" against it.

“Comfort my People – for G-d’s Word Will Endure Forever”

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

The Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 4) addresses the prophets and sages in every generation and asks, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people! Bid Jerusalem take heart” (verse 1). And what is the consolation Isaiah offers? “Proclaim unto her that her time of service is accomplished, that her guilt is paid off; that she hath received of the L-rd’s hand double for all her sins” (verse 2). In other words, the time earmarked for her in the exile has passed. The end of the exile has arrived, for she has received twice the punishment coming to her in the Babylonian exile and in the 2,000 year long exile. The atonement for her sin has been completed. 

In the stage of actual redemption Isaiah addresses them and says: “O you who tell good tidings to Zion – get you up into the high mountain. O you who tell good tidings to Jerusalem – lift up our voice with strength. Lift it up! Be not afraid. Say unto the cities of Judah: ‘Behold your God! Behold, the L-rd G-d will come as a Mighty One” (verses 9-10). Those nations that will see fit to fight us will be like a drop in the bucket, like dust on a scale, as it says, “Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, as the small dust of the balance. Behold the isles are as a mote in weight. Lebanon is not sufficient fuel, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for burnt-offerings. All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are accounted by Him as things of nought, and vanity” (verses 15-17). 

Lebanon is here compared to a forest of trees all aflame. Isaiah addresses the skeptics, those weak in their faith, and he says: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: ‘My way is hidden from the L-rd; my right is passed over from my G-d’? Did you not know? Have you not heard that the everlasting G-d, the L-rd, Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, nor is weary? His discernment is unfathomable. He gives power to the faint; and to him that has no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait for the L-rd shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” (27-31) 

Today, with our own eyes we see Isaiah’s words being fulfilled in our day. After two thousand years of exile, after our having undergone the calamitous Holocaust, we are rising to rebirth in the land of our life’s blood. Millions of Jews are being gathered homeword, as Isaiah said, “Even as a shepherd who feeds his flock, who gathers the lambs into his arm, carrying them in his bosom, gently leading nurslings” (verse11). We can see with our own eyes how the land is developing with great strides. Roads and train tracks are being laid out, and the Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled: “‘Hark!’ one calls: ‘Clear in the wilderness the way of the L-rd, make plain in the desert a highway for our G-d.’ Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the rugged shall be made level, and the rough places a plain” (verses 3-4). 

The nations are rising up against us to fight us, and these nations are likened to grass: “The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the L-rd blows upon it – Surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our G-d shall endure forever” (7-8). 

Looking forward to complete salvation, 
Shabbat Shalom.

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Va’etchanan 5776: The Orthodox who are suffering from Eisavitic Fatigue

Parashat Va’etchanan 5776
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

The Orthodox who are suffering from Eisavitic Fatigue

HaRav David Lau (shlita), the Ashkenasi Chief Rabbi of Israel, in a public appearance last week declared that the Reform and Conservative movements are responsible for the rampant, untamed epidemic of assimilation in the US. In his words, there were approximately 6 million Jews in the US at the end of the Second World War, and statistically speaking they should have grown by now to be at least 45 million (the present number is given at between 5-6 million of which half are non-halachic, either because of Reform and Conservative non-halachic conversions or their recognition of a child born to a Jewish father and gentile mother as a Jew – NK).

Eisav, the world’s first Reform Jew

The Gemara (Yuma 83b) relates that Rabbi Meir was able to discern the basic character of a person from his name. It is cited in various rabbinic works that when a parent names a child, it is considered a nevu’a ketana – minor prophecy. So much so that there are people who, while holding the baby, read lists of names at a brit (circumcision ceremony); and when the baby opens his eyes, it is a sign that that particular name touched the soul of the child.

The Torah’s most illustrious twins were named by their parents as Ya’akov and Eisav.

Aisav means wild growing grass, weeds or herbs. He is described as “a man of the field” – eesh ha’sadeh. Ya’akov, taken from the Hebrew aikev (heel), implies consistency – as when walking one foot follows the other with cadence and precision. Ya’akov is described as “the dweller of the tents” – yoshev o’halim.

A field is an open area permitting unhindered access to wherever one wishes to go. There is no obligation or responsibility to any one point or area in a field, so when it becomes uncomfortable one can just move on. A field contains any assortment of weeds, grass and herbs intertwined or growing alone – depending on how the wind scattered the seeds.

Open fields have no order nor law except the law of the jungle. Just pick and choose whatever appeals to you at that given moment and discard what is disturbing and irritating.

This was Eisav – the man of the field. He discarded the responsibilities that come with being a firstborn, selling it for a pittance. He returned from the field so tired that he implored his brother Ya’akov to feed him lentils. The details were a drag on him. Just give him the pleasures without the effort.

Eisav saw no importance in living a disciplined life because, as he says to Ya’akov (B’rayshiet 25:32):

ויאמר עשו הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכרה:
I will soon die, so why do I need the birthright?

Eisav is the spiritual father of the breakaway, rebellious movements within Judaism which seek to destroy its progenitor, as a cancer cell kills its host.

Discard what is inconvenient – Shabbat, kashrut, family purity, marrying within the Jewish nation – and certainly the embarrassment of a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael where Hebrew is spoken and the chosen people take the Bible seriously. With so much Judaism in the way, it becomes uncomfortable to be with one’s gentile neighbors and more difficult to become assimilated in their ways – so Judaism must be discarded.

If lentils were good enough for Eisav, son of Yitzchak and Rivka, then shrimp and lobster are good enough for those who wish to escape the unfortunate fact of their being born Jews. The wild weeds grow in their temples in the form of same-sex marriages, the “spiritual leader” who performs Joey and Mary’s wedding together with the local minister, and the reform leader who services the whims of his congregants by counting them as Jews when the paternal parent is Jewish. Wherever the money and convenience is, there you will find the many Eisavs of Reform.

Ya’akov is different. He lived a structured life where consistency was the rule of the day. He was the “tent dweller” which demanded conduct suitable for living a demarcated lifestyle – structured davening (prayers) three times a day, dietary laws, moral and ethical conduct between people in accordance with the value system revealed by HaShem, and accepting responsibility without rationalizations based on weakness and fear.

Eisav cannot be Ya’akov any more than Ya’akov can be Eisav. Their dispositions, characters and ambitions are reflections of their souls. Rivka felt this when each child was aroused in her womb – Ya’akov upon passing a place of Torah study and Eisav when passing a place of avoda zara (idolatry).

The dichotomy between Ya’akov and Aisav is clear. Ya’akov clings consistently to HaShem through Torah and mitzvot (commandments) from which he derives his lifeblood of existence. To pick and choose those parts of Judaism that suit him are not an option for Ya’akov.

Eisav has no need for HaShem. He is the master of his own life and future. He is repelled by discipline; he rebels against consistency. His is the free spirit of the field and the nihilism of the jungle.

Now with the distinction between the God-fearing, responsible and consistent Ya’akov and the anarchistic, hedonistic Eisav so clear, it would be true to conclude that the two could not live together. One is either in the “Orthodox” camp of Ya’akov or in the assimilated “Reform-Conservative” camp of Eisav.

Oh that things would be so clear cut, because there can be a generation where the God-fearing students of Ya’akov share in the boundless backwoods of Eisav. It can occur in a generation when HaShem places great challenges before the Jewish nation. It can be when a segment of “Orthodox” Jews escape their national responsibilities with flimsy excuses based on so-called Torah principles, when in fact their evasion of responsibility stems from personal Eisavitic fatigue and desire for solace and comfort. These “Orthodox” are the ones who are providing the break-away movements with a defense plea in the heavenly court to counter the accusation that they picked and chose the more desirable parts of Judaism.

Four times in the Book of Devarim alone (chapters 6,18; 12,29; 16,20 and 26,1), HaShem commands the Jewish nation to inherit and settle the Land. Yet we find the great majority of American Orthodox Jews living happy, conscience-free lives in the US. If the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox are permitted to pick and choose the mitzvot they prefer, why should the Reform and Conservatives not have that privilege?

At this time in our history, HaShem has placed before His children the enormous challenge of restoring our national independence within the borders of Eretz Yisrael, in preparation for the next stage of world history. That stage will witness the execution of God’s justice upon those nations who dealt so cruelly with Am Yisrael, while we will be under HaShem’s protective wing in Eretz Yisrael.

Each Jew is again faced with the choice to be a Ya’akov or an Eisav; to pick up the gauntlet of the strong and courageous or to back off from responsibility. The choice is either to join in the struggle to rebuild our nation in Eretz Yisrael or to reject our birthright out of fear or a desire for material comforts.

It is not easy to be a “Ya’akov” in a world surrounded by Eisavs, but it is the Ya’akovs who survive and guarantee the eternal existence of Am Yisrael.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5776/2016 Nachman Kahana

Amona is a test case for Israeli democracy

By Moshe Dann, INN

As a matter of procedure, Israel’s High Court of Justice does not examine or evaluate evidence and does not decide issues of land ownership. They rely on what government offices tell them.

Israel’s legal and political system is rigged. The fix is in, and Amona is the current victim. There are more communities on the list.

The pending destruction of Amona led by a handful of unelected, unaccountable, and biased IDF officers and officials of the State compromises Israel’s basic principles. Amona, therefore, is a test-case of Israeli democracy.

Amona was built in 1995 on an uninhabited hilltop overlooking Ofra; it was supported by the Ministery of Housing and Construction,. But Amona’s existence was challenged by Peace Now and Yesh Din who claimed that the land was owned by private Palestinian Arabs — although they never produced any actual claimants.

The Minhal Ezrachi (Civil Administration), the legal authority in Judea and Samaria, and the Prosecutor’s Office (Praklitut) – the State — agreed and asked the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to order the community destroyed.

As a matter of procedure, the HCJ does not examine or evaluate evidence and does not decide issues of land ownership. They rely only on what the State (the Minhal and Praklitut) presents. As long as the State affirmed that Jews built illegally on “private Palestinian land,” and demanded that the homes in Amona, and elsewhere be destroyed, the HCJ was bound to enforce that decision. Although lacking due process, that is the law in Israel.

The question of land ownership, however, has not been determined by a court, and Arab claimants have not presented any valid proof which entitles them to the land. Although misrepresented as a judicial decision about the substance of the claim, it is not.

The question of land ownership, however, has not been determined by a court, and Arab claimants have not presented any valid proof which entitles them to the land. Although misrepresented as a judicial decision about the substance of the claim, it is not.

The source of the problem: Jordanian law

The problem originates in the fact that the areas conquered by the IDF in the 1967 Six Day War are under “military occupation,” and that the military commander has sole authority. Since eastern Jerusalem was incorporated in 1980 and the Golan Heights in 1981, the Gaza Strip was evacuated in 2005, and Areas A&B given to the PA in the Oslo Agreements in the early 1990’s, only Area C of Judea and Samaria remains under military rule; as a branch of the IDF, the IDF Civil Government, Minhal, operates as a separate, unaccountable, and non-transparent quasi- government. This is undemocratic and unjust.

Unilaterally, the Minhal decided to accept Jordanian laws and procedures – although it was under no obligation to do so since Jordan’s occupation of the area was illegal and was rejected by the international community.

The proper procedure would have been to follow the Mandate law, since that authority was appointed by the League of Nations, i.e. sanctioned by international law. The Mandate incorporated Ottoman Land Codes and initiated land surveys and land distributions to Arab inhabitants. The Jordanians, following their predecessors, distributed land freely to Arabs and registering land claims — but they unilaterally changed the law.

Previously, gifted land had restrictions and conditions which had to be fulfilled, such as using the land (usufruct) within a specific time period (3-10 years, depending on the category of land) and paying taxes on it. If the land was not used and taxes were not paid, it reverted to the Sovereign, the State. The right of inheritance was not automatic and could only be approved by the Sovereign/State.

The Jordanians changed the law by assigning gifted land in perpetuity, as if it was purchased and privately owned, including inheritance rights; they also voided payment of taxes. Moreover, according to Jordanian law, selling land to a Jew is considered a capital offense. Thousands of Arab Palestinian land dealers and agents have been murdered by local gangs, or punished with long prison terms. Under this threat, potential sellers were afraid to deal with Jews. Moreover, it was difficult for Israelis to discover who owned land and what land was available.

According to a military order, land registration records (Tabu) are held by the Minhal and are not open to those who are not included in the Jordanian-era registration process, i.e. Jews.

Politicization, not the rule of law

The struggle to save Amona, like the struggle over the evacuation of Jews from the Gaza Strip and Northern Shomron, “The Disengagement,” exposes the politicization of basic institutions of the state – the IDF, Praklitut and the High Court. The “rule of law,” has become simply enforcing arbitrary “laws” made by appointed officials, legal advisors and bureaucrats.

The collusion surrounding “judicial” decisions regarding Amona involves Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and his opposition to Knesset legislation to save Amona. As Chief Military Advocate General of the IDF between 2004 and 2011, he was responsible for the IDF’s vicious attack on Amona in 2005, for the destruction of Migron and Jewish homes in other areas, and he is responsible for declaring that the land on which Amona is built belongs to Arabs. His involvement in this case, therefore, is a clear conflict-of-interest. He should recuse himself.

Plans to destroy Amona and rebuild it elsewhere are dangerous because they don’t deal with the problem. They only reinforce the Minhal’s authority and its unfair system of determining land ownership.

The only fair and just solution is to adopt the Edmund Levy Commission’s recommendations, including special courts for determining land ownership. Amona’s survival is a test case for the judicial process in Israel and for the rule of law. It is a test case for whether the Government of Israel will act justly and humanely to protect the right of Jews living in Judea and Samaria.

It is a test case for whether elected representatives have any power, and therefore, whether the legislative process is meaningful or meaningless. This is a test case, essentially, of Israeli democracy.