Thursday, October 29, 2009
By Moshe Feiglin
The government is in disarray, frenetically trying to formulate a response to the Goldstone Report. Should Israel establish a commission of inquiry to deflect the danger of an international tribunal or should we do just the opposite and avoid opening a Pandora's box? The Defense Minister opposes the inquiry - the Chief of Staff and the soldiers do not want to find themselves under interrogation on suspicion of war crimes. Other ministers are in favor; Dan Meridor (of course) Herzog and others explain that an Israeli inquiry will stave off international pressure. And Netanyahu, true to form, vacillates somewhere in the middle, establishes a committee to report on a commission of inquiry and attempts to give everyone what they are looking for.
But the real reason for the Goldstone Report is not the Cast Lead Operation. As such, Israel's ability to deal with the report is not a question of inquiry into the fighting.
Leftist Ha'aretz journalist Ari Shavit came up with an excellent definition for the Goldstone Report. According to Shavit, it is the tip of the huge iceberg called loss of moral justification for the existence of a Jewish state:
"Under the calm waters upon which the Israeli luxury liner sails, lies an iceberg. The Goldstone Report was the first sighting of the iceberg. The Turks turning their backs on us was the second sighting. The pursuit of Israeli officers in Europe was the third sighting, the boycott of Israeli goods and companies in different places in the world the fourth sighting, the insensitivity to the fact that an atomic power threatens to wipe Israel off the map is the fifth sighting of the iceberg. Every week, practically every day, the iceberg shows its face. And when we look carefully over the rail of the luxury liner, we can see the exact nature of the peeking iceberg. The iceberg is the loss of moral justification for the State of Israel."
(Ari Shavit, Ha'aretz, Oct. 15, '09)
Ari Shavit has no doubt why we lost the moral justification for the very existence of a Jewish state on the face of the earth. The reason is the settlements, of course. When a person does not walk before G-d with simple sincerity, he can easily be drafted into the service of foreign gods. No historical or security facts will convince the Left to re-think its theories.
But at least our intelligentsia can define the problem and understand that we must deal with something far more serious than how our soldiers fought in Gaza. Our very right to Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel and essentially - the question of our being a nation and not just a religion - is on the line. And let there be no doubt: If we fail this test, the State of Israel will fall, G-d forbid. Because when a tree loses its roots and dries up, it will eventually fall over.
From where do we draw our moral justification? What is the point that, in its absence, our right to exist as a sovereign nation in our Land comes into question?
"He who rules the Mount rules the Land," wrote the poet of rebuke and faith, Uri Tzvi Greenberg. When the State of Israel descended from the Temple Mount and gave it to the Moslem wakf immediately after its liberation, it charted the course to Goldstone. That is the core around which Shavit's iceberg has crystallized.
The encouraging part of this story is that those who understand the source of the problem also know how to deal with the Goldstone Report. A commission of inquiry will not restore Israel's moral justification. But a house of worship for Jews on the Temple Mount will.
By Moshe Feiglin
And G-d said unto Abram: Go forth from your country, and your kindred, and from your father's house, unto the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing.
And I will bless those that bless you, and he who curses you will I curse; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' (Genesis 12: 1-3)
Abraham is no longer a child; he is 75 years old. The Creator does not choose him by coincidence. After the creation of the world in the Torah portion of Breishit and the re-formatting of humanity in the Torah portion of Noach, G-d chooses Abraham to go to his unique Land and to give birth to the Nation with a unique task; to make the fact that G-d is King known to the entire world. Abraham was chosen for the starring role because he had already been the driving force behind one world revolution and had also survived the fires of Nimrod's furnace.
And now, at the age of 75, when a normal person is already retired and enjoying his grandchildren, the King of the world finally reveals Himself to Abraham. From here on in, it sounds like the going will be easy. All that Abraham has to do is to go to the Chosen Land, to grow, to be blessed and to merit the recognition of the nations.
But that is not what happens in reality. Famine, exile, his wife is abducted, internal wars and war with his surroundings - the entire Torah portion of Lech Lecha is almost the complete opposite of what Abraham was promised. At least through human eyes.
And then, at the age of 99, Abraham has another Divine revelation:
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, G-d appeared to Abram, and said to him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be simply sincere.' (Genesis 17:1)
"Do not lose your simple sincerity," the King of the world says to the father of the Jewish nation. Even when 'reality' shows that there is no hope, and when the very opposite of what was promised happens, simple sincerity is the secret weapon that will make the blessing reality.
From then until this very day, the Jewish world belongs to the simply sincere. When G-d tells them to "go forth," they simply get up and go. All the rest; the Sadducees, Karaites, Reform, Hellenists, Enlightened, pragmatists and intelligentsia - appear on stage for a short time and then fall into the depths of forgotten Jewish history.
Sometimes, simple sincerity can be confused with passivity. "We will simply learn Torah and everything will work out," say some. Or: "We will simply build new settlements." Or: "We will simply become top officers in the army." Or: "We will simply play the political game." Or: We will simply make a lot of money and everything will work out." Each person seems to have a form of passivity that keeps him comfortable. But Abraham does not confuse simple sincerity with passivity. He teaches Torah, makes wars, builds the Land, is actively involved in politics, makes a lot of money and does not forgo any human endeavor. He keeps going all the time - but with simple sincerity as his guiding light
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By Moshe Feiglin
Translated from the Hebrew article on Ma'ariv's NRG website
If it were not so dangerous, it would even be amusing. There is certainly an element of poetic justice in the fact that the same people who gleefully destroyed the homes of over 8,000 Jews in Gush Katif are now being labeled as international war criminals.
In the summer of 2005, Israel's Left waged a war against the settlers. All the forces in Israel allowed to use violence were drafted for the battle. The goal of the war, as so accurately defined by Yair Lapid was "to teach them a lesson." Not peace, not security, not anything else. The State was simply drafted to wage war against the Left's internal ideological adversary.
As far as I am concerned, anybody who took part in the crime of Expulsion is a war criminal. True, there are varying degrees of crime; beginning with Sharon and Olmert, on through the Supreme Court justices and the writers, journalists and anchormen who enthusiastically encouraged the crime, the Likud ministers who voted in favor of the Expulsion, the rabbis who gave the halachic go-ahead to carry it out and down to the soldiers who obeyed their orders. Ultimately, all of them were polluted by this war crime in some measure.
My son will be enlisting in the army next month. I said to him: "If two top officers order you to guard the entrance of a room so that nobody will prevent them from raping a woman soldier inside, you must refuse to obey your orders. And by the same token, if they order you to simply be in the second military line-up or the tenth around the expulsion of a Jew from his home in the Land of Israel - it is exactly the same thing. Exactly."
That is why there is poetic justice in the fact that the Expulsion leaders are now being accused of international war crimes. He who sacrificed his brothers and his land on the altar of international acceptance now finds himself on the international defendant's bench.
It is even amusing. Imagine that tomorrow the current government falls, and businessman Ehud Barak, no longer armed with diplomatic immunity, cannot land in London. Can you imagine a greater tragedy? Bibi and Sarah will not be able to go to the opera, as they did when half the country was in bomb shelters and 130 soldiers and citizens were killed - all in the name of Olmert's attempt to boost his Convergence scheme to continue to destroy the settlements.
Did anyone really listen to Netanyahu's speech in the UN? What was the nucleus of his speech - after he dispensed with all the melodrama? Netanyahu's speech was directed at neutralizing the danger of the Goldstone report. In other words, he wanted to ward off the danger that an entire slice of political and military leaders will not be able to go shopping at Marks and Spencer. In his speech, Bibi said that - with his support - the State of Israel took unilateral action and expelled the Jews from Gush Katif. And if you don't get this Goldstone off our backs, we will not be able to continue to expel more settlers and to establish a state of terrorists in Israel's heartland.
Like it or not, that was the crux of Netanyahu's speech: The Land of Israel in exchange for Goldstone.
I once knew a very special Jew by the name of Shlomo Baum. He was Ariel Sharon's deputy in Unit 101. Before he died, he said to me, "Shimon Peres could not care less if this entire country turns into a pile of ashes - as long as he will be left standing on top of the pile." I was naive then and I thought that the likeable old man was exaggerating. Today I know that his analysis of Peres holds true for an entire echelon of leaders who will sell this country out so that the capitals of Europe will remain open for their pleasure. Our situation today is more dangerous than ever before because until now, the citizens of this country were able to compensate - with their sweat and blood - for the foolishness of their leaders. Now, the enemy has found the way to direct the arrows straight into our weak spot - the leaders of the State of Israel.
The danger at our threshold is much broader than the question of how our threatened leaders will behave. Historically, physical destruction has always come on the heels of demonization. Gush Katif could not have been destroyed before the demonization of the settlers that preceded the actual expulsion. Even though I was just a young boy in 1967, I still remember Nasser's propaganda against Israel that preceded the Six Day War. All the pogroms and the holocausts that we suffered in the exile were preceded by poisonous propaganda that negated the Jews' very right to exist.
Our flight from our Jewish identity and our decades-long attempt to establish a state of all its citizens in Israel precludes our ability to give a Jewish answer to the claims of the Moslem and Christian world. When we adopted their moral standards, we seated ourselves on their defendant's bench.
It makes no difference how many Israeli soldiers were killed and will be killed, G-d forbid, in our attempt to wage war according to the values of the Western world. We will always be the bad guys- the robbers - in the story. When in 1967 we did not do what we did in 1948 - and left the Arabs in our land - we proved that we accept the principle that this land actually belongs to them. When we drove out the Jews who nevertheless believed in this land and made it flourish, we irreversibly proved the claim that this land is not ours.
I was there, in Gush Katif, when it happened. There was more foreign press there than there were grains of sand. The entire world watched in anticipation to see if it would really happen. The Jews drove themselves out of their land and from that point and on, we are robbers/colonialists - also in Tel Aviv and in Haifa. Furthermore, whoever fires missiles at us from Gaza is a freedom fighter. You can send them one thousand text messages before you invade - but you will still be a war criminal. The Goldstone Report would never have seen the light of day without the Expulsion.
So there is no reason to be amused. The international demonization that we are experiencing threatens more than Ehud Barak's next weekend in London. It threatens us all with physical annihilation.
Nevertheless, there is something positive that is coming out of the Goldstone debacle. The State of Israel has its back to the wall and is being forced to re-think its basic assumptions. The 'normalcy' idea is officially bankrupt. The commentators and pundits are still attempting to blame the IDF or Israel's diplomatic efforts. "We should have cooperated with Goldstone," they say. But here and there, we already see individual journalists, like Ari Shavit in Ha'aretz, who at least understand that the problem is not tactical, but rather the essential negation of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
Understandably, the solutions that they suggest are the very same "political processes" that have brought us to this crisis. Their horizons are as broad as an ant's. But as the crisis continues, wider and wider circles in Israeli society will begin to listen to the voices outside the media bubble. Policies that base their justice on Judaism will become Israel's lifeline.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
By Jason Gold
All this talk about your hotel bill has me thinking you must be feeling pretty alone out there. It seems every cabdriver in
Perhaps you have lost touch. You have been so busy ensuring Israel’s security by removing vital checkpoints in Yesha while at the same time banning three “dangerous” men from seeing and providing for their families in Yitzhar that it seems that this settler hatred has finally distorted your thinking to the point that you have lost your kesher or connection to the common man. I mean, come on. Surely, a sophisticate such as you must realize that the cabernet sovenion from the winery at the top of the hill in Yitzhar ranks as one of the best. Chaval, what to do? It seems you need to find a new connection and perhaps demonstrate new sensitivities to the population in
I would suggest the following. Like you, I enjoy a taste of la dolce vita every now and then but we all to need to stay connected with feet on the ground. So while I am in my transition to Eretz Yisrael from Chutz La’Aretz, I typically eschew the hotels as the only people staying there are the type like you that I hope to avoid. I love staying in places like Karnei Shomron where one has an absolutely perfect view of the Harei Shomron as the sun is both coming up and setting. There is a modest home there with a nice attic that boasts a comfortable bed and even air-conditioning!!!!! You can take the bed and I will use a sleeping bag on the floor. Snoring is not a problem as it would take Iran’s Revolutionary Guardsmen landing on the roof (Gd forbid) to wake me but of course I will feel completely safe with you there as there will absolutely no chance of that ever happening as you and Bibi decide where you will get the testosterone necessary to pre-empt the new Hitler of Iran. The food is great and at Pesach they make homemade matza in the oven outside. So how about it Ehud? There is no Steinway but the kids are quite musically inclined and I can always loan you my iPod. Hope this chizuk helps. Keep in touch.
Your new friend,
Friday, October 16, 2009
By Moshe Feiglin
This week, I wrote an open letter to Defense Minister Barak, instructing him not to negotiate my release if I am G-d forbid abducted by terrorists. The letter has been making waves in Israel, and was quoted in Israel's major media outlets:
An open letter to Defense Minister Barak: Do not negotiate my release
To the Defense Minister of the State of Israel
Mr. Ehud Barak
Re: Instructions not to conduct negotiations for my release if I am taken captive
As an Israeli citizen, as a soldier and a reserve officer, I hereby instruct you that if, God forbid, I am ever kidnapped or taken captive by Arab terror organizations, no negotiations should be conducted to secure my release. This order is the product of a sound mind. The reasons for this instruction are as follows:
A. Twenty-five years ago, Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard took shelter from his pursuers inside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. In accordance with an order issued by the Shamir government, then-Israeli Ambassador Elyakim Rubinstein handed him directly over to US federal authorities. Since then and to this day, Jonathan has been imprisoned under disgraceful conditions. He has never had even a short vacation outside the prison walls. His health is dangerously deteriorating. Israel - for whom and in whose name Jonathan sacrificed his life, did and continues to do everything possible to ensure that Jonathan will remain in prison and die there. Despite the biting betrayal that he experienced, every time that the media raises the possibility that Jonathan will be exchanged for one arch-murderer or another, Pollard hurriedly announces his opposition to this type of swap. It is incumbent on every Israeli citizen to understand - as a free person -what our betrayed hero understands from his jail cell. We must not buy liberty for an individual in exchange for endangering the lives of the public and encouraging additional abductions.
B. After a number of visits to his prison cell I understood that in the 25 years of continued betrayal of Jonathan, Israel's government has lost the moral foundation in the name of which it sends its sons to endanger themselves and in the power of which it can also bring them home. In fact, since the betrayal of Jonathan and until this very day, Israel has not brought one captive soldier home alive.
C. The Israeli government has refrained from carrying out the simple and most obvious actions for Gilad Shalit's release. Hamas, which at first avoided admitting that it was the kidnapper, quickly understood that Israel's leaders would not endanger themselves with international arrest warrants and is no longer afraid to claim full responsibility for this act. Its thousands of detainees in Israel are getting the royal treatment and enjoy conditions no Israeli detainee can even dream of.
As a first step, Israel should have compared the arrest conditions of Hamas prisoners to those of Shalit. No visits, no information, no sunlight. All Hamas leaders should have become the targets of kidnappings and assassinations. The entire supply of money, weapons, cement, fuel and electricity from Israel to Gaza should have stopped. These basic actions, and many others which could have led to Shalit's swift release, are not being carried out because the Israeli leadership fears its own fate. The only way that Israel's leaders can please both Israeli mothers and the world is to surrender and dispatch thousands of murderers to our doorsteps.
D. Clearly, the loss of vision and leadership that engenders these wholesale releases greatly encourages our enemies. The wave of terror and kidnappings that broke out following the release of thousands of terrorists does not fit what we had known in the past by any standard. "I couldn't look the mothers in the eye," said Defense Minister Yitzchak Rabin and signed the prisoner swap with the Jibril terror organization. This exchange led directly to the first intifada. This led to a mass release of terrorists in the Oslo Accord and to the suicide bomber rage that followed on its heels. The State of Israel has sunk itself inside fences and guards, but this is nothing more than a pain killer for spreading cancer.
No fence can stop rockets. The weakness of the Israeli leadership in the face of terror organizations has been well internalized by a distant and much more dangerous circle of enemy states. Why should Iran's leader be afraid if the Hamas leaders feel safe?
E. "I see Israel as a state of all its citizens," explained the most influential Israeli of this generation, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak. Israel, fleeing from its Jewish identity, has pulled the carpet out from under the moral foundation of its very existence and right to send soldiers into battle. If not for a Jewish state, then what are we doing here? Why should we send our sons to the army and not to Australia?
The inevitable result of loss of Jewish vision is loss of our ability to conduct any sort of political program. When there is no strategic goal, there cannot be tactical policies. As a result, Israel will continue to conduct itself according to the caprices of constantly-surfacing international and local pressure and media campaigns.
F. In this situation, the responsible Israeli citizen is faced with one of two choices: One - to come to terms with the process briefly described here and to wait for the coup de grace that will terminate the historic episode called 'The State of Israel'. The other option is that, like in past wars, the simple soldiers will know how to save the state from the failures of its leaders. As such, we, the civilians and the simple soldiers order that no negotiations be held for us.
G. I am pleased to report that both combat officers and soldiers have announced that they will unhesitatingly add their names to this petition. I plan to continue to send you letters from soldiers in the same spirit.
Since I announced this initiative, I have received quite a few letters from soldiers and citizens who penned their own versions to Barak. The most touching was a letter from Yitzchak, a soldier who served with Gilad Shalit. Yitzchak wrote as follows:
"Since Gilad was abducted, I feel torn and I do not know what to do to help him. Like every Jew on earth, I pray for him and hope that he will be released soon - safe and sound.
Yet, I am dismayed at how our entire country kneels before the terror organizations every time that they succeed in capturing one of our fighters in their clutches. This situation is intolerable and we fall into this trap time and again. I am frequently forced to refuse the requests of my fellow soldiers from our company and brigade to participate in demonstrations for Gilad. I have reached the conclusion that our intellect must take precedence over our emotions, as painful as this is for me."
My letter to the Defense Minister seems to have touched a raw nerve. Many people are disgusted with Israel's defeatism and are anxious to join in this initiative. It is important to remember that since the wholesale release of terrorists in the Jibril swap 25 years ago, not one Israeli soldier has returned home alive from terrorist captivity. The terrorist release approach is not only wrong from a moral and security point of view; it also fails to produce positive results.
Statistically, 80% of Hamas terrorists return to terror and murder after their release. In other words, 16 of the 20 terrorists released by Israel in exchange for the Gilad Shalit video will once again attempt to murder Israelis. It is reasonable to assume that one of them may possibly succeed, G-d forbid. This will be just part of the true price of the video. It is merely the promo for the pictures of long lines of buses filled with gleeful murderers that we will be treated to if the entire exchange takes place, G-d forbid.
The more soldiers and citizens who write letters to the Defense Minister, the greater the chances that Israel will regain its moral balance and return to war against terror instead of surrender to its dictates.
Please fill in your name and information on the letter below, copy, paste and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will send the letters in bulk to Minister Barak.
Or print the letter out here, fill in your information and fax it to our office: 09 792 0570
or mail it to: