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The View From Jerusalem

One View About Israel, World Jewry, War in the Middle East, Politics, Current Events, And News About Jewish Events Reporting from Jerusalem, Israel.

Last Build Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2017 03:06:19 +0000


God Save Us From Armchair Generals

Wed, 31 Dec 2008 13:00:00 +0000

The normative Jewish blogosphere (if there is such a term as "normative" here) is filled with armchair generals demanding that not only Israel defend itself, not only should we wipe out Hamas, but no more and no less, Israel should retake and re-conquer Gaza.I cannot think of a more idiotic, stupid and actually criminal demand these days than "to retake Gaza". I cannot even imagine the fools who make this demand. Do they have relatives or children who will spend their lives in such a venture? Do they understand the nature of war? Do they actually in all seriousness, think that "taking Gaza" with its populace will do anything but drain Israel of its manpower, finances and most importantly of its ethical and moral stance. The only thing they will accomplish is vengeance. The one thing that destroys the soul of man faster than acid, is hatred and vengeance.Who in his right mind would want control over an enemy that has made the art of killing into an art form where Allah is the Commander in Chief? Who in his right mind would want to control and govern people who have no need, no desire, no affection for or to be governed by Israel? What sane human being would want their son policing the streets of Gaza?Why is it that so many people confuse "defending oneself" with acts of aggression and stupidity? Why is it that so many people who have access to a keyboard and learned how to put up a blog, seem to think that it is all right and even justified to destroy, wipe out, kill and maim others just for the sake of occupying another area and vengeance - especially when the killing and maiming of Israel's own citizens will not stop even then.How many of these people I wonder, who cry out for the "retaking of Gaza" have ever been in the midst of a war. How many of them have had to make the choice of killing or be killed in a split second?Defending Israel is our right. Putting an end to the missiles is our right. Trying as much as possible, for as long as it takes to destroy the infrastructure of Hamas is our right. Killing terrorists is our right. Defending our citizens and allowing them to live normally is our right.Conquering or retaking Gaza is not only NOT our right - it is stupid, idiotic and will only cause more death and destruction. The death of our soldiers - our sons, fathers and daughters - and more graves in military cemeteries. It will destroy any moral fiber we have. It will eat at our souls and cause the worst of nightmares.Who is his right mind wants to retake a cesspool filled with hatred and terrorists?God save us from armchair generals. Posted On: The View From JerusalemTags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust, conversion [...]

A Time For Silence, A Time To Speak, A Time For Peace, A Time For War

Tue, 30 Dec 2008 14:42:00 +0000

It is a time to speak.I was more than a bit surprised two days ago, after having left the blogosphere for the past year, to receive a phone call from someone who is a fairly famous figure in the Israeli-Jewish World. I had, until two days ago, never spoken with this person nor have I ever met them. They had but one simple request. Since the blogs I run are still fairly well-known and read, would I consider rejoining the blogging world in order to "help" with the current state of affairs that both Israel and World Jewry faces.At first I was very reluctant and immediately answered in the negative. Blogs take time and they demand thought and precision in writing. They also are basically a very lonely affair, as one does not run blogs to pay the grocery bills. It was not that I did not want to help, it was the fact that many of the events that have taken place in the Jewish world fairly recently must, and should be handled with a finesse and sophistication that I sorely lack.I thought that was the end of it actually. A request followed by a very polite refusal. However, this specific individual is known for their "obstinate" ways - and is one of those people who will not accept "no" for an answer especially when they feel the future of Israel and the Jewish people are at stake. I began receiving links in my email, links to news articles and other blogs covering the war in Gaza and other Jewish stories in the press these days, and I spent the morning pouring over them, mostly in disgust.Perhaps it is time for the View From Jerusalem to re-open its doors if only for a bit.As I look through the posts made over a year ago, I am amazed that my mindset in terms of Olmert and all his cronies has not changed even a bit. Leaving out the financial shenanigans that have finally gotten rid of one of if not the worst Prime Minister Israel has ever had, we can see today that he has not fulfilled one of his promises which took place on National Television at the beginning of his debacle in Lebanon. So I make no apologies for this man, and I will, for one be extremely glad to see him fade into the background in another two months.However, it does seem that he has learned from his mistakes. On one hand the duo of him Ehud Barak is a scary thing. Barak is next in line for one of the worst Prime Ministers Israel ever had the good grace to have, and yet as a soldier and Chief of the Israeli Army he was an excellent choice. Old Soldiers in Israel seem to love to become politicians - and when they do enter politics, either right or left, they usually seem to loose all sense and proportion.Yet, this duo of Barak and Olmert (let us include Livni here as well and make it a threesome), seem to finally have gotten their act together. When Hamas decides to reign 300 missles down on Israeli cities in one week, it became increasingly clear that silence and peaceful negotiations were not an option.The world press gave Israel maybe 48 hours of grace before of course, the normal flood of pictures only from Gaza came pouring through (Fox News is an exception here). Once again, and for the millionth time Israel was the aggressor. Israel was the bad boy and big bully. No mention of rocket attacks on Israeli cities. No mention of the fact that it was the equivalent to sitting in Jersey City and lobbing in a missile into Midtown Manhattan. No mention of the Israelis and Palestinians (yes even Palestinians) killed and maimed by Hamas missles. And very little mention of Hamas being a recognized terrorist organization.And then I must admit Olmert surprised me. He did not get on television and make dumb bombastic speeches full of promises he could never fulfill. He has resisted the urge to strike out with "glory lines". After all if you are going to do a televised "fireside chat", make sure you say something to the people that you can achieve.Barak for once did not say "this is my red line" and then a day later say "no, I meant this is my red line" and a day later say "no no no - this is my red line". Suddenly, almost quietly, with teeth [...]

For A Change...Let Us Discuss .. ummm.. Stupidity

Mon, 29 Oct 2007 16:15:00 +0000

I am sorry but I cannot resist today. I came across two posts in two blogs in the "Jewish" world, that actually made me want to puke and then convert. For the life of me I cannot understand what some people are thinking of when they express their ideas and can only wonder if they know how utterly stupid (yes that is the right word here so let us say it again with emphasis ... stupid) they sound. Oh, don't let me forget the word hypocritical as well. Combine stupidity, religious self-righteousness and hypocrisy and what do you get? ... Well you be the judge!I take these posts in the order I happened upon them. There are no levels of idiocy here, just one plain soup of people who need some time out in the sandbox to go play. In today's post we will deal with the first one.Before I am asked, I know that giving notoriety to an otherwise unknown Blog, is not the way to go. But the ideas mentioned in this post, and the fact it was put up at JBlog under the title "Worth A Read" demand a response.The first post, which raised the hair on the back of my neck, which I will deal with today, was from a blog, of someone obviously testing the waters of how many crazies out there would be willing to give him a high-five. This blog, called, Esser Agaroth, which comes with subtitle, "The approximate monetary equivalent of two cents. Commentary on life in Israel and on being Jewish." usually seems to have mundane posts about different things going on in the world of interest to him, which is Jewish blogging in regard to blogs. So be it. He should have stuck to what he knows best.Of course, some people should never even put their toes in the water of political commentary. And if they decide to do so in a moment of insanity, they should be incredibly careful about what they write. So the owner of this blog on the anniversary of the death of former Prime Minister Yitzchaq Rabin, decided to test our historical knowledge, our knowledge of Judaism, and of course our moral judgment all rolled up into one incredibly, how shall I say this? Oh yes! STUPID post entitled no more and no less, "The Cult Of Rabin". (Hey, I don't mind giving him the free links...he obviously needs them!)Of course what caught my eye is how he started out with the old Altelana story, brought up yet again by someone who obviously knows just a little bit about Jewish History. Remember the cliché, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Well in this case the cliché simply proves the truth.And wouldn't you know it, he links to an Internet page all about the Altelana. Hmmmmm... Ben Hecht and his book, Perfidy, is not up there (and should be because it gives him more "ammunition" - pun intended). The background to the Altelana affair and what happened is not mentioned. The state of politics and all that was going in Israel in those years is not mentioned. Kastner, (intricately woven into this tale is not mentioned). Let us see what else he forgot. Oh that is right! Sheesh hits my head against the wall. Now I am stupid. Why go on? This is not about truth or about the Altelana at all. This is about the fact that Ben Gurion and Rabin were there. Equation to be made in his mind - Rabin is evil because he killed Jews.(So did the Sicarii and Zealots of the Second Temple Era umm but we have one of those sitting in jail today.)And then we are presented with a litany of evils of Rabin. From the Oslo accords (called "Oslo Death Accords" - everyone laugh please) to a Palestinian State. And we get to his "Cult Rituals". And here comes a story which he is proud of no less."Eight years ago, as a junior high school teacher, I had the displeasure of being forced to attend a ceremony in Rabin's in honor. At this ceremony, I had to listen to a "rabbi" had the hutzpah (gaul) not only to praise Yitzhaq Rabin, but to use his name in the same sentence with Rahel Immeinu, whose anniversary of death is the day before his. This "rabbi" did not stop there, but made comparisons between the two."Not enough for you yet? Well here is another quote [...]

The Formative Years - Colossal Failure Of Religious Zionism - Part Two

Tue, 09 Oct 2007 06:34:00 +0000

In my previous opening salvo, The Colossal Failure Of Religious Zionism - Part One, I concentrated on an introduction to the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, vis-a-vis the religious Zionist perspective. I should make a few things clear though.Religious Zionism certainly did not begin with the Six Day War. Modern religious Zionism began with the Zionist movement or 20-30 years before. I do not mean to imply that the Six Day War, or even the 1948 War of Independence gave birth to religious Zionism nor to Zionism itself. To be sure the establishment of the State of Israel on the world arena did give validity and impetus to the Zionist dream. And to be sure, the Six Day War and its achievements did give "legitimacy" to those who viewed themselves as religious Zionists.More importantly, I do not think it is fair to judge any movement, be it successful or a total dismal failure - by only judging it through the outcome of war. However, our society, Israeli society, sad to say, is greatly formed and formulated through and by the wars we have had to fight and even more so by those wars which we did not have to fight and worse by those wars which we had no business fighting or getting involved in.Be that all as it may, it remains true, that religious Zionism did see the events that led up to, included and followed upon the heels of the Six Day War as a stamp of approval. It gave legitimacy to the struggle and the dream.I received a few emails actually asking what possessed me to take on this volatile subject. A friend told me I had lost my mind. Well, it is simple actually and I will explain before going on.The Internet allows us all to express our views. And I peek at other very popular blogs on this subject. And sometimes I read statements made by armchair Zionists, who happen to be religious, telling us all how we need to kill and fight and by golly gee go to war again. Shoot those bullets. Fire the missiles. Send in the tanks. Fly those war planes. March to the drummer.I am far from a peace-nik. I am far from the world of "Peace Now and at any cost". But what truly makes my blood boil, when some nice fool, who has never spent a day of his or her life in the army; has never watched friends cower in fear from almost certain death; has never had to tend to a wounded soldier; has never had to choose between killing and being killed - when such people tell me I should go to war and my children should go to war - so they can live out their dream of what they think religion and Zionism is. And the heart of the matter is - my sons and my son-in-laws will go to war. And those wonderful God-fearing "religious Zionists" along with their sons and family will watch it all on TV and eat pretzels and potato chips and don't forget to pass the Coke. They will cheer for the gipper, and we will bleed and die so they can fulfill their dreams.And when I read of a mother describing her soon to be born child as the next "soldier-fighter" to be born into the ranks of religious Zionists I cringe with fear. I quote below from one such diatribe which is much longer and much more dangerous when taken in its whole context.....We aren’t ready to boast, or cheer, or go into the streets—yet. We are still waiting for the inevitable last throws of secularism to try to push its weight around and eliminate our advantage, importing large numbers of non-Jews, attempting to give away strategic lands—doing anything to maintain their illusion of power.We look with sadness upon the last throws of their backward rein where they kowtow to terrorists and sacrifice our land and our people to the great idol of “peace.” We have seen how “peace” has stood, like a graven image, unable to move or speak, while our living G-d still gives us hope and promise of returning to our Holy places and reclaiming our Holy land. We know there is a lot of pain to come, but we also know the slow unrelenting mass of religious children are headed their way, and there isn’t a whole lot they can [...]

The Colossal Failure Of Religious Zionism - Part One

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 17:19:00 +0000

It has been a real long time and I must assume that most of the usual readers of the The View From Jerusalem have gone their way giving up. Cannot say I blame anyone. But it is time to begin anew.I have given much thought to the subjects I wish to approach in The View From Jerusalem. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of bloggers out there producing many posts per day on the political, religious and cultural world of Israel and World Jewry. I have from time to time, peeked, read, scratched my head in disbelief and even very rarely applauded some of the posts and opinions that I have seen. Let me make this clear. Very very rarely applauded.So from my own soapbox, (after all this blog, or any blog can be used as a soapbox) and from my own very narrow view of the world (there - I said it, so when you want to attack these posts you have your first bullet), I am going to approach a subject that I think needs to be approached, must be approached, and indeed, much creative thinking must be applied to it - Religious Zionism and its total failure for the next generation.I came to Israel in 1978 on Aliya but I had already been studying here for a few years so I was not unfamiliar with the country or the mentality. My generation was shaped not by the Six-Day War but by the Yom Kippur War, and following that the first entry into Lebanon (in 1982).I came as a "religious Zionist". We had no Nefesh Bi'Nefesh; the Jewish Agency was horrendous (and the word horrendous is being charitable, though my shaliach was incredible despite the Jewish Agency and not because of it); but we were lucky in that I did have a place to immediately go to and thus could skip the feared stage of a Merkaz Kelita (Absorption Center).I was a religious Zionist then. Oh yes, past tense is used. I am not a religious Zionist today. I am what would be called in this fair world of ours "modern orthodox" or maybe just "my own stream" which would be a much fairer bet. But then back in the good ole days - I was a religious Zionist. I no longer like being called a Zionist. I don't think the term expresses much these days. Indeed I think it has gone to hell actually.Don't get me wrong. I believe in the centrality of the State of Israel. I believe that is the only homeland for the Jewish people. I am one of those ancient relics who finds more sense in Yom Yerushalyim (Jerusalem Day) than in Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Independence Day). And I certainly cannot be faulted for not doing my army service as it spanned a period of over 20 years and my sons did Hesder and my daughters Sherut Leumi.Sounds like a religious Zionist... doesn't it? Those glassy eyed, gung-ho, fervent Olim getting off those Nefest Bi'Nefesh planes would say ... woah! That is a religious Zionist is it not? Like Hell It Is. Nope folks it is not. It is far from it. Religious Zionism today is rotten to the core. It is stewing in its own deadly decomposition. It lacks direction, leadership and certainly an understanding of what is critical and what is not critical. Hey, don't believe me. Just pick up any one of those ludicrous "parsha sheets" they drop in every synagogue on Friday night. Don't just look at the advertisements (which are ridiculous in and of themselves) - just read some of the junk spewed forth in the name of "religion" and "Zionism". And don't you worry. We will get to these wonderful sheets and ditty's of wisdom on the by and by in this series of posts as well.A religious Zionist combines two basic ingredients. Zionism and religion. And specifically here in these next few posts I finally do get to talk from the perspective of years. When our little country, went through the Six Day War, and many of you who will read this were simply not alive then, after the facts set in, after we were able to really judge what had happened, (and I was way to young for the Six Day War to make an impression upon me), religious Zionists suddenly "realized" that the path of Jewish History really did have[...]

Jewish Bloggers..Grow Up Folks!!!!

Thu, 10 May 2007 17:19:00 +0000

I have been silent on this blog for a bit, due once again to pressures from other parts of my life. But it is a blog I kind of like, but I am not married to any of my blogs so what the hell.I was planning, actually still am planning a series of posts on another subject of Israel & Zionism, but there is one thing which in caught my eye in the Jewish Blogging World the other day, which I have been following with a mixture of laughter, cynicism, and a certain amount of interest - due to the entertainment aspect of the whole feature.It seems in the Jewish Blogging World there is a site, to which most of my blogs actually appear, called JBlog Central, where blogs from all over the Jewish world are placed and their feeds are picked up. It is really a great thing and David (I have no clue who this David is), deserves a real high five and respect for running JBlog Central. (I do not know his financial strategy - all I know is that it is entirely for free.)When I discovered JBlog Central, a few weeks later a whole new thing started called the JIB Awards (Jewish & Israeli Blogs). Hell I thought, why not put in my food blog, Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, as a contender? And so I did and forgot all about the thing, until it came time to vote which is this week. (If you would like to vote for Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, at the JIB Awards click here.)And then over @ JBlog Central I began to pay attention to a couple of things. There seems to have been a squabble/argument/fight between some Jewish bloggers which borders on the inane. Personal statements are made (some litigious btw); mud is flown; accusations are made; others with a smile say nasty things covered in sweet words. Others seem to enjoy whining and presenting us with angst ridden pieces on how they want to win, then on how they don't care if they win, then on how they are happy they lost and then on gawd only knows what.It is funny - especially when you don't know these people and have just come across their blogs.But some of the stuff makes me also cringe in shame. So for those out there, if anyone does read this post from JBlog Central and/or the JIB Awards here is the reality of blogging life:No one has to like your blog. No one has to visit it. Just because you built it does NOT mean anyone is coming to see it!If you want your blog to be famous - advertise. Do something controversial. Don't spend hours on some ridiculous format, and think your humor should make you the most popular spokesman in the world. Being nice is great for your kids. It is NOT going to win awards on the Internet.Blog owners - you don't use moderation on comments - then don't complain when someone leaves a comment not to your taste. Period.No one could care less if you are a female or a male when they comment. The same language will be used. Period. So put on moderation, if you wish to moderate.Some people - this never fails - and it disgusts me - think their mission in life is to be the "religious mashgiach" of that world. They will preach to everyone in comments left on blogs on how we should not curse; how we need to behave; how we need to express ourselves. Stop it and stop your preaching. I am religious and the second I see that - it makes me want to convert to the Romulin religion in Star Trek. Gawd...who made you the eyes and ears of God?GROW UP FOLKS. THE JEWISH WORLD AND CERTAINLY THE JEWISH BLOGGING WORLD IS NOT MADE UP OF ONLY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. GROW THE HELL UP!Personally, and I have to ask this, how come it is like 3 to 1 of owners of Blogs OUTSIDE of Israel, who are so damn cavalier about Israel going to war? I swear, next time I see one of these jokers from the US, UK or Oz - post something about Israel and the glorious fighting machine backed by God...I am going to rip some serious holes in Jewish Blogging land.You want to win an award. GO OUT & WIN IT. Stop whining. Stop crying over the "others" who beat you cause they knew how to g[...]

It Took You This Long To Figure It Out?

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 16:08:00 +0000

Way back on August 21, 2006 I posted the a piece about the way the recent war in Lebanon was planned and carried out. Entitled, Laurel & Hardy - The Three Stooges - Bert & Ernie Take Your Pick, I was fairly clear about the incompetent dolts that were running this government. Since then, this government has added to its noteworthy list of achievements, a President who has had to take a "leave of absence" due to allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment; a Minister of Finance who had to also take a "leave of absence" due to allegations of stealing no less and no more from funds available to Holocaust survivors (makes your stomach turn don't it?) and a host of other charges which climb the pole all the way up to the head of the class - the Prime Minister who is being investigated for shady business deals.Winograd Commission stated that Peretz "did not have knowledge or experience in military, political or governmental matters. He also did not have good knowledge of the basic principles of using military force to achieve political goals."And of course now we have the official Winograd Commission findings - though to be honest I have no clue why we needed to spend so much money in yet another government commission, when it was always clear that Olmert, Peretz and the rest of this shameful group of incompetents, had no clue what they were doing from the very start of the war.The following is an excerpt from the news article which appeared in Haaretz - "Lebanon war probe accuses Olmert of 'serious failure'". (Bold & Italics are mine)"The prime minister made up his mind hastily, despite the fact that no detailed military plan was submitted to him and without asking for one," the report said. "He made his decision without systematic consultation with others, especially outside the IDF, despite not having experience in external-political and military affairs."Olmert was also censured for failing to "adapt his plans once it became clear that the assumptions and expectations of Israel's actions were not realistic and were not materializing.""All of these," the report said, "add up to a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence."The findings level heavy criticism at Defense Minister Amir Peretz for being unaware of the state of the Israel Defense Forces, even though he should have been.Peretz "did not have knowledge or experience in military, political or governmental matters. He also did not have good knowledge of the basic principles of using military force to achieve political goals."Despite these deficiencies, the report states, "he made his decisions during this period without systemic consultations with experienced political and professional experts, including outside the security establishment."In fact, the panel found, "his serving as minister of defense during the war impaired Israel's ability to respond well to its challenges."Dan Halutz, who was IDF chief of staff at the time, was criticized for entering the war "unprepared," and for failing to inform the cabinet of the true state of the IDF ahead of the ground operation.According to the findings, the army and its chief of staff "were not prepared for the event of the abduction despite recurring alerts."The panel also found that Halutz had been failed to "present to the political leaders the internal debates within the IDF concerning the fit between the stated goals and the authorized modes of actions."This report should send shivers down the spine of the entire State of Israel. It should make us physically sick. Made me break out in a rash just reading some of the accusations. Months ago, I called these incompetents just what they were - a scary version of Laurel & Hardy. With Halutz in the mix, and we have the Three Stooges. A financially aware three stooges, I admit, one who is savvy enough to deal in the stock market on the first day of a war even while he is the Chief Of [...]

We All Are Entitled To Finding Love

Sun, 29 Apr 2007 11:34:00 +0000

As one passes through the various and sundry articles of information available, there are a few which make you stop and wonder and force one to remind oneself about the needs of others and their lives. It is a rare moment when I see an article about some innovation or idea, and say to myself "I wish I thought of that" - not because of monetary gain, nor out of the possibility of advancement but just because the idea is important for others.I have no idea if this site is a well-kept secret or not. I do know that it is needed and a fantastic idea. I personally think it should be made into English as well, to cover the Anglo speaking community as well as all those who live all over the world. Just like Jdate has in its normal site.Before we go on let me make clear that I have never met Efrat nor is this a "plug" for her website. This is more of trying to bring awareness of what I consider a critical service to the readers of The View From Jerusalem.So when I came across this article in the Jerusalem Post, Innovations: Love actually, I read it with a great deal of interest. The article tells the story of one, Efrat Eliahu, who due to suffering from a rare, chronic lung disease. became disabled. She went through a long, painful process including the break-up of an 8 year relationship.Efrat tried dating again. But her experiences in the Internet dating scene were not positive as the moment anyone found out she was suffering from a "disability" that was the end of that. To her shock, as she did some research, (and to be honest to my shock as well - cause I just cannot believe no one thought of this before her!) she discovered that no "dating site" existed that catered to putting disabled people together. Perhaps that is because many feel they want to "mainstream". Or perhaps no one felt it was financially viable.Efrat obviously is not a quitter. She went ahead and established "Love Davka" a dating site which is dedicated, but not exclusively so, for the disabled. As Efrat is quoted in the article:"The whole idea for lovedavka came out a conversation with a friend, but I was certain that a site like it already existed. I couldn't believe it didn't, and as soon as I realized that, I hired someone to do the programming for me. I knew that if I was going to do it, it had to be professional."Today, Love Davka, is part of the Jdate Network, which is owned by Spark Networks. The site has been up and running since 2004. I have no idea if this site is a well-kept secret or not. I do know that it is needed and a fantastic idea. I personally think it should be made into English as well, to cover the Anglo speaking community as well as all those who live all over the world. Just like Jdate has in its normal site.If you do know of anyone who is disabled and needs to get out into a community - then please tell them about Love Davka. This is an important, critical contribution to the community, and Efrat should be praised for her stubborn pushing of this project. And lest you think that well "who is going to find their match on such a site" - well here is Ohad and Adi, who met via Love Davka.Sometimes it is the little things that really mean so much. Sometimes it is the important things. Sometimes even among the news items about corruption and violence and death, one can find a gem. Efrat Eliahu can teach us all a few things about perseverance in the face of great obstacles.Again, if you know of anyone that can benefit from this site - Love Davka - hold their hand and make them sign up. It is really a lesson in how to use Internet technology to the benefit of all.Posted On: The View From JerusalemTags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust, conversion [...]

Leave Israel's Memorial Day (Yom Ha'Zikaron) Alone!

Sat, 28 Apr 2007 08:36:00 +0000

The JTA, Global News Service carried a piece written by D. Estrin who it seems, is a volunteer host on a new radio called Radio All For Peace. This news item entitled, "Eschewing revenge, station broadcasts message of hope", tells the story of the recent Yom HaZikaron show up at Radio All For Peace.The following is an excerpt from the beginning of this article, the whole piece can be read at JTA.Bilingual show broadcasts hopeDaniel EstrinRadio All for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian station, broadcasts a message of hope in both Hebrew and Arabic.JERUSALEM (JTA) -- As they usually do, Israeli radio stations marked this year's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism by switching their playlists to somber tunes.But Radio All For Peace, a Jerusalem-based, Israeli-Palestinian station whose listeners are split about evenly between Israel and the Palestinian territories, extended its Memorial Day commemoration across borders: It broadcast a daylong marathon of interviews with bereaved families on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.The interviews were taken from the station's weekly show "New Direction," hosted in Hebrew and Arabic by Israeli Sharon Mishiker and Palestinian Aziz Abu Sarah, each of whom lost a brother in the conflict.The hosts belong to the Bereaved Families Forum, an organization of Israeli and Palestinian families whose loved ones were killed in the conflict and who work toward reconciliation between the two peoples.In each hourlong program, the "New Direction" hosts interview a Palestinian and an Israeli from the forum about why they chose dialogue over revenge."There are many differences between Palestinians and Israelis, the war isn't over and the killings haven't ended -- but the pain of bereavement that exists on both sides is an equal pain," Mishiker and Abu Sarah said on the air Monday morning, in alternating Hebrew and Arabic, as they introduced the Memorial Day marathon."To honor both peoples and their emotions, and with a deep commitment to forwarding peace and reconciliation, Radio All For Peace decided to dedicate this day to the bereaved on both sides who chose a pathway of reconciliation and peace building, and not a pathway of revenge and killing."The 12-hour broadcasts began at 8 a.m. and alternated between an hour of quiet music in Arabic and Hebrew and an hour of interviews. The marathon ended in time for Israel's Independence Day."Each side, the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, tends to recognize its own pain and ignore the other's pain," said Shimon Malka, the station's Israeli co-director. "Through this day of programming, Radio All For Peace's message is clear: No one is alone. Pain is not exclusive."Israel's Memorial Day is not - nor ever has been - nor ever was meant to be - a day to express the pain of death for all.Now before anyone jumps up and starts screaming either from the left or the right, I want to make it clear that I am not going to get into any useless political discussion about the Palestinians, Israel, rights of people etc. etc. And I am sure as hell not going to get into the argument of whose blood is more red, thicker, or which pain is greater. NO. That is not the point here. The point to this post is something totally different.I have no problems with anyone, any group, any people, any radio station, who wishes to bring the "pain" of death to the public attention. If the cause is worthy in the person's eyes, then "so be it". And if I feel, personally, that the cause is worthy or not worthy, I will either listen or watch the show or not. I will make my opinion clear and known if that is what I feel should be done.In this case though, it is not the statements made about pain which could come from Grade-C literary fiction that is wrong. It is not even the "cause". It is the fact that the radio show in its attempt to show t[...]

The Rites of Yom Kippur

Sat, 28 Apr 2007 07:08:00 +0000

Rabbi Emanuel Feldman's piece, "'Yom Kippur's The Obstacle' - A Look Into The Future", is an incredible piece of editorial journalism. I actually had to read this piece twice, and then yet again a third time, to make sure I was reading "a look into the future" and not some commentary on today's news. Rabbi Feldman was for many years a Rabbi in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a former editor of Tradition Magazine. Yet, none of these credits do justice to the writing of this piece.If I woke up tomorrow and saw these comments made for real in one of our daily papers, and the decision to create a Government endorsed "Yom Kippur Committee", I would not be surprised in the least. Indeed I would read it, shake my head in disgust and wonder at the stupidity of it all.In it Rabbi Feldman somewhat theorizes (I say somewhat as it is really very close to the nerve of truth) about a day in our not so distant future, when a Government ministerial committee puts together a "report" on how to ease our suffering on Yom Kippur and lighten the load of the fast. Truth be told, anyone who has been in Israel for more than a year, would greet such news of a committee being formed as part of the "normal" course of events here in this country.Normally when I email the writer of an op-ed they gladly give permission to reproduce their piece at The View From Jerusalem. However, in this case I am a bit wary or reproducing the entire article, so I will just excerpt from the beginning here. I really suggest that everyone read the article in the Jerusalem Post OnLine by clicking here.I have in my hands a copy of the eagerly awaited Inter-Ministerial Committee to Re-Examine Yom Kippur Practices report. The reexamination is in response to widespread demands, led by liberals and the secular media, to loosen the Yom Kippur restrictions, which have become a major stumbling block for non-Jewish immigrants who want to convert to Judaism.Transcripts of interviews with these immigrants reveal that many abandoned the conversion process because of the adamant attitude of the rabbinic courts. The immigrants, most of whom are Russian, were willing to accept Judaism, but balked when told about Yom Kippur."These restrictions are 3,500 years old. Why should I have to deny myself food and drink for 24 hours?" asked one potential convert."This is the 21st century, not primitive times," said another. "These uncaring rabbis force things upon us, refusing to compromise. If they cared, they would not prohibit food for a full day."OTHER IMMIGRANTS stated they were willing to go along with other unreasonable demands, such as forswearing bread and eating tasteless matza for the entire Pessah week, and even to suffer the resultant stomach problems."We were even willing to celebrate that other festival by eating cold soup in an unheated Succa during chilly autumn nights. But these harsh Yom Kippur demands are the last straw. The rabbis obviously do not welcome us."Others complained that though they love the benefits that Israel gives its immigrants, these religious demands are cruel and unusual. "Not only would we not be able to eat, but also not to drink. Have we left one Gulag to enter another? We pleaded with these medieval rabbis, but they would not budge. Do they not know that it is dangerous to go without water? One could become dehydrated."Other immigrants were shocked to discover that the Yom Kippur prayers take several hours at night, and then continue from sunrise to sunset the entire next day. "Even Russian Easter services take only a fraction of that time. And one may eat on Easter!" ...Recently in a discussion I had with my of children, I mentioned the centrality of Yom Kippur in the Jewish psyche. We were discussing writing, and a collection of short stories that I have written, (some of which have been published). I told my so[...]

Back To The Future

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 19:39:00 +0000

Well, it is time to get back to business in The View From Jerusalem and time to begin once again.Recently over in Cobwebs Of The Mind, I posted a series dealing with the presentation of the swastika in public in our day and age. If you wish to read these posts and what brought them on you can do so in Cobwebs Of The Mind under the Category Label of: Swastika Journal.But The View From Jerusalem has suffered enough from neglect and surely there is always something of interest going on in the world that effects the world Jewish community and Israel in particular. But when my eyes caught this piece reported in the Jerusalem Post from France, I realized time had come to begin once again the posts in The View From Jerusalem.In an article entitled: Jewish woman suffers vicious anti-Semitic attack in France, the Post reports:A 22-year-old Jewish woman suffered a vicious anti-Semitic attack by two men of Middle Eastern appearance in a train station in Marseille, France on Thursday night.The attackers tore the Star of David chain from around the young woman's neck, lifted her up, painted a swastika on her stomach and then fled the scene.Local police opened an investigation into the attack but had not yet found the assailants.Head of the Jewish Agency delegation in France, David Roche, said the incident was the most severe anti-Semitic attack in France since the murder of the young Jewish male Ilan Halimi by a gang of Muslim youths in February 2006.The attackers tore the Star of David chain from around the young woman's neck, lifted her up, painted a swastika on her stomach and then fled the scene.The State of Israel is 59 years old. The Holocaust is 60 years in our past. Some people would demand we forget it. Some people say the human race has become more enlightened. Some people say that we suffer to much from our Holocaust complex. Some people tell us as Jews to move on. Forgive and forget.Those "some people" are wrong. Dead Wrong. And if we dare for a moment to forget our past as well, we too will be as culpable as those who perpetrate such acts.Perhaps it is time for France in its great waving of the flag of democratic freedom for all - to protect its citizens - even if they happen to be Jewish. Just imagine the outcry if we reversed the picture and painted a Star of David on some 22 year old Muslim woman's stomach! Imagine the front pages. Imagine the disgust. Imagine the hatred such an act would engender and rightfully so.The Swastika once again comes out in all its glory. And if we can pass over reports like this in the newspaper without shivering in fear, than we have truly let the Swastika bearers win.We have moved into the future and as we have done so we have also taken a step back into the dark, evil, not-so-distant past. Posted On: The View From JerusalemTags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust, conversion [...]

Thirteen Million Pennies From Heaven

Thu, 04 Jan 2007 20:41:00 +0000

One often is surprised by the little tidbits one can pick up in the news. Yes, we will be posting about the Shalit deal and about a brewing Agunah controversy. But perhaps, because this is also important, and perhaps because especially during these times it is uplifting and important to hear of projects like this run by teachers who have brains, understanding and imagination we are going to talk about 13,000,000 - Thirteen Million - Pennies."I want anyone who donates to hold a handful of pennies and imagine that they are holding the terrified hands of the humans who were marched into the gas chambers," Hood said.The article in the Jerusalem Post, 13 million pennies collection to honor Holocaust victims, tells us the number 13,000,000 is to represent each person killed in the Holocaust. It leaves us with an understanding that there is still excellent education going on in Jewish schools. The article tells us:The project was inspired by Whitwell Middle School in east Tennessee, which set out in 1998 to collect 6 million paper clips - representing each Jew who died in the Holocaust - and received several times that number.The Tennessee students decided to collect paper clips because they discovered that paper clips were invented by Norwegians and that Norwegians wore them on their lapels as a silent protest against Nazi occupation during the war.The 14 students have collected 65,000 pennies so far. 13,000,000 pennies is a long way to go. And yet whether they reach their goal or not, my respect and appreciation goes to the teacher and students at Temple Israel in Akron Ohio.But that number. 13,000,000. It rings in my head. It is beyond imagination. It is beyond understanding. It is beyond anything that I can fathom. 13,000,000 people killed by a nation gone blood crazy because they listened to a pathological sick spawn of the devil. They saluted him and followed him. 13,000,000! And that does not count the soldiers that were killed. Some say the number 35,000,000 is more realistic when talking about World War Two.13,000,000! And we have idiots in Iran, idiots released from Vienna jails, idiots even in writers forums claiming that the freedom demands these people are allowed to deny the Holocaust and spread their hatred and venom. 13,000,000. Just think about that for a moment. 13,000,000.Thank you children in Temple Israel. Thank you teacher of their class, Ms. Hood. Even an old battlefield medic living in Jerusalem has to be reminded from time to time about the important things in life. It is good to be given perspective. It is even better to know it comes from 14 children who have learned while living in peace their legacy and history. It is important to know the lessons and history of the Holocaust will not be forgotten.And dear reader, I beg you to remember, 13,000,000 pennies begins with just one. And even one life taken by the Nazis is simply one life too many.And so the next time you see some idiot defending the right for someone to deny the Holocaust - from the head of a country to some poor hate ridden fool on a forum board - flick him a penny.Indeed, flick him a penny from Heaven. Posted On: The View From Jerusalem Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust, conversion [...]

Teddy Kollek - The Passing Of A Giant

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 08:02:00 +0000

Teddy Kollek, at 95 died yesterday in his beloved city of Jerusalem. Teddy Kollek will be eulogized by many politicians and friends. Teddy Kollek deserves every single praise that is given him and then some. Teddy Kollek was a giant - a person whom fate placed at the right time and right place for all the right reasons. Teddy Kollek built modern Jerusalem."If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."There is so much to say about this giant among men. But let me just talk as a person who never met him but lived in his city. Yes, Jerusalem was his city. Teddy, as he was wont to be called and not Mayor Kollek, single-handedly built modern Jerusalem. There was nothing too small or too large for his imagination. There was no such thing as "impossible". When it came to Jerusalem this former Mayor who remain seated at the head of Jerusalem for 6 terms made Jerusalem and everything in it - his number one priority.He was a politician of a different age. A different outlook. He actually did something. He forever left his imprint upon this city. There are no words other than these. Teddy was Jerusalem and Jerusalem is Teddy.I was saddened to hear of his passing. I was saddened in an inexplicable way. Teddy had little to do with the papers and news during the last 10 years. But everywhere one went, from the Israel Museum to the middle of town; from the Old City of Jerusalem to Ramot and Ramat Eshkol - Teddy was there. It was Teddy. Jerusalem belonged to him."Jerusalem's people of differing faiths, cultures and aspirations must find peaceful ways to live together other than by drawing a line in the sand."Teddy KollekHe also worked hard and tirelessly for pluralism within this difficult city, housing every religion and belief that the world has to offer. He remained friendly with Jew & Arab & Christian & Moslem. He did not accept injustice. He built magnificent edifices and made sure the streets were cleaned. He was a Mayor of the city, or as Ed Koch called him, the "Mayor of Mayors". The following is from the Haaretz Paper - Legendary Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek to be laid to rest in J'lem.Born near Budapest, Kollek grew up in Vienna. In 1935, with Nazi Germany threatening to take control of Austria, Kollek moved to British Mandatory Palestine, helping to found Kibbutz Ein Gev.In 1952 he became part of group of close advisors to Israel's founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion, a circle that included Shimon Peres and other figures of what would become the modern Labor Party.Taking office two years before the 1967 war that formally united the Jewish western and Arab eastern halves of the holy city, Kollek transformed the landscape of Jerusalem, spearheading a green belt in the west which includes parks, the prestigious Israel Museum, a botanical gardens and a biblically themed zoo. In recognition of his major public works projects, the city named the modern soccer arena he envisaged, the Teddy Stadium, after him.I think to me, Teddy embodied the verses from Psalms (Tehillim):"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."Teddy was Jerusalem. Jerusalem was Teddy. There is no greater epitaph one can give this giant of a man.He will be sorely missed. And Jerusalem itself, the people and the city, the thousand year old rocks; the synagogues, churches and mosques all mourn the passing of this man. Jerusalem weeps for the loss of one of its greatest guardians.May his soul be bound up in the bond of lifePosted On: The View From Jerus[...]

Snow In Jerusalem & Hermon

Mon, 01 Jan 2007 15:05:00 +0000

Taking a vacation from The View From Jerusalem was a good thing. I needed it. It is not that the news got better or worse, it was just the need to breathe without pressure.Has anything changed? Has anything remained the same?Well it snowed in Jerusalem and other parts of the country. For those of you used to snow that is not a big deal. But snow in Jerusalem, no matter how little, is always a cause for fun and excitement. It also means that there will be skiing up in the Hermon. Another great idea for all if you can afford it.I am going to leave this post with just these pictures. Why? Because I want to hold that vision of white soft peace for just a few minutes. I want to treasure it. So no, this is not going to be some opinion about this or that. I just want a post about nothing at all. A post about Snow.A post about the white snow and memories of snow past. When I used to walk with Pop on the streets of New York holding his hand, and catching snow flakes on my tongue. It was such an innocent world for me - such a wonderful, peaceful world.Posted On: The View From Jerusalem Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust, conversion [...]

Playing Against The Odds With Kassam Rockets

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 07:54:00 +0000

"There is only one thing worse than a nation that has lost faith in its leaders, and that is leaders who have lost faith in their nation."The restraint policy so suddenly and so rigorously followed by Olmert has everyone up in arms. On one hand restraint is good. It never works - but it is good to restrain oneself every now and then. Here the restraint is being used by Olmert as penance. First we go into Lebanon unprepared so we can build up his ego, then we restrain ourselves at a time when restraint is sending all the wrong signals to all the wrong people.You have to hand it to Olmert - he gets it consistently and constantly wrong. Indeed this fool is so consistent one is tempted to give him, Peretz and Livni the Idiot Trinity Award.So the Jerusalem Post and every other paper reports as follows:"Six Kassam rockets were fired on Thursday, and 10 the day before. Four of the rockets fell in the western Negev, one of them near a school and another near the community center in Sderot, and two others veered off course and struck a home in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun, moderately wounding a Palestinian boy who was sleeping in his bedroom. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket attacks."For those who cannot do higher mathematics in their head (Olmert, Peretz & Livni - I know you have problems in adding 2 + 2 - so pay attention here) that is 16 Kassam rockets in two days. Let us repeat this little number for emphasis. Sixteen in Two Days.We got lucky. But a Palestinian kid sleeping in his bedroom was not so lucky when one of his own landed on his ceiling. But Sederot and Ashkelon are not going to remain lucky for too long. They sure as hell are not.There is nothing more dangerous than a fool - except two fools. Olmert & Livni are fools in a paradise of fools. They restrain when they need to attack; they attack when there is reason for restraint.Earlier in the evening, Olmert announced his decision to reject Defense Minister Amir Peretz's proposal for a limit to Israel's restraint policy, saying that the policy would remain the same despite the Kassam attacks.And so Netanyahu did take a shot at Olmert."Olmert said long ago that we are 'tired of curbing the attacks.' It's not the nation that's tired - Olmert is tired. There is only one thing worse than a nation that has lost faith in its leaders, and that is leaders who have lost faith in their nation."Sooner or later those Kassam rockets are going to get deadly. They are going to kill lots of innocent people. They are going to maim and destroy and wreck havoc and destruction. Sooner or later Kassam rockets are going to land on a home of someone in Sderot. Or a kindergarten. Or a school.Livni cannot say these are settlers in Gaza and they are getting what they deserve. Olmert cannot say these are people living in the West Bank and they know the risks.But we have created a new definition of a cease fire as this quote from the BBC and the Jerusalem Post in the article, Gambling on restraint, so aptly makes clear:"The cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza appears to be holding even after militants fired rockets into Israeli territory."This was how the BBC's Radio Four described the situation around the Gaza Strip a couple of weeks ago; in other words, the new definition of a cease-fire is one in which the Palestinians continue firing Kassams while the IDF holds its fire.This quote was originally noted by Charles Moore in The Spectator magazine, but while he used it to pillory the BBC, it is now obvious that it is also the way that the Israeli leadership understands the cease-fire.And so the battle with the terrorists now becomes a battle over Israel proper. N[...]

Messianic Movements

Wed, 20 Dec 2006 13:13:00 +0000

The other day my son and I were on our way to another son's Hanukkah party in the city of Rechovot. As we were driving on the hills leaving Jerusalem, we passed a van with a sign taped on to it's side with a picture of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and the statement underneath it: "May our Rabbi and teacher live - The Messianic King"."He stands behind the wall, looking through the windows, and peeking through the cracks"Now anyone even somewhat familiar with Lubavitch, or Chabad Hassidim as they are known, has seen this sign and statement before. It was not new to me as well. However in a mood of musing I turned to my son and said:"I would love to be able to jump into the future around 50 years from now and see if the Chabad Hassidim are still around and if so, will they still believe that the Rebbe who is dead is going to come back from the dead as the Messiah. I also would love to know which 'stream' in Chabad will eventually win out. Those who believe the Rebbe really did not die and is coming back, or those who continue along a normal path of Chabad."I said it half-joking half-serious. My son answered immediately:"There are no streams. They all believe the Rebbe will come back from the dead. Some will admit it immediately. Others you have to pull it out of them. But in the end result all Chabad believes the Rebbe is the Messiah and he will come back from the dead."Then he continued which really made me think:"The Rambam (Maimonides) made "Techiat Hametim" (rising from the dead) part of the thirteen tenets of faith. So why should it sound so strange that Chabad believes in this?"He had a point. Albeit one can argue it intellectually that the two have nothing to do with one another, but he had a point.But I am still bothered and worried about this Messianic tendency in Chabad. Until the point in which the Rebbe died, the seventh Rebbe in line, leaving no heirs and no formally picked successor, Chabad - Lubavitch Hassidim - were probably the most pro-active, pro-Israel and certainly responsible for saving the lives of thousands of Jews all over the world. Indeed the whole movement to free Soviet Jewry in the '70's can be attributed directly to the Rebbe's influence. And who among us who have traveled around the world can deny that in every city and every town in the most far flung places on this planet, one can always be assured of finding a representative of Chabad.But this Messianism scares me.I taught Judaism and Christianity for many years. The early Christians believed almost the same thing about Jesus. It is hard not to see the parallels between the two movements. Hard not to wonder just what are these Lubavitch Hassidim thinking these days. Hard not to see the ultimate desire and almost physical need for redemption and the Messianic days.The dangers are apparent. The problems it could cause are also apparent. There is still no way to stop this movement. It will continue.Messianic movements scare me. They always did. The Sabbateans and the Frankists added nothing to our heritage that we can be proud of. Chabad has achieved so much in the past, and all it is achieving now is derision.Will the Messiah come? Will he arrive in our day and time? Will he rise from the dead in a cemetery in Brooklyn? I know not.In 1971 Pop came to visit me in Israel while I was studying here. We went to the Wailing Wall - the Kotel as it is known. He loved to go there. So I asked him what was so special to him about the Kotel. I will never forget my father's answer to me that day:"For generations every Jew prayed to come back here. They prayed for the Messiah. And now we have the Kotel in our hands, and we still complain there is no Messi[...]

The Gingerbread Man

Sun, 17 Dec 2006 14:03:00 +0000

Run, run, as fast as you can.You can't catch me,I'm the Gingerbread Man.Artists and writers, indeed all creative people are a funny bunch. There is an inner need to express ourselves that often will go beyond the norm. We want to stand out from the crowd, to be noticed, to express ourselves. Sometimes we even attempt to garner attention with the element of "shock". This is an accepted practice among artists and writers, and sometimes used to great effect.At first when I read the following in the United Press International Release and then at JTA, I was bemused.An Ohio artist who wants to grab people's attention has done just that with a storefront holiday display featuring gingerbread men at a Nazi rally.I could not help but think that a child wants to make an impression. But then my eye caught something else.McGuckin, 50, originally had the display in an Oberlin hardware store but the owner ordered him to remove it after deeming the subject matter offensive.One would think that a 50 year old should know better. Now with all fairness Mr. McGuckin did immediately take down the display entitled, "The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men", when he discovered how offensive it was. I can only wonder where his own judgment went when he created this masterpiece.The thing is - the point is - when we start poking fun with Gingerbread Men at scenes such as depicted below, we make them almost "innocent". In this day and age when we are facing Holocaust denial and Nazi rebirth in Europe and in Iran, when the world faces a new up and coming Fuhrer in a new "fatherland" one should use one's brains before one thinks of a decent message and method to "shock" others.Mr. McGuckin did accomplish his goal. He got the press and he got his "ten seconds of fame".He also proved that even an innocent Gingerbread Man can be made into something vile and disgusting in the name of art.Posted On: The View From Jerusalem Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust [...]

No Longer Do We Shrug Our Shoulders In Defeat

Sat, 16 Dec 2006 14:44:00 +0000

I am an adamant Alan Dershowitz fan. I don't always agree with him, and sometimes he does make me cringe with certain ideas and statements, however, whether you like his politics or you do not like it, one must give the man credit for intelligence and wit. One must also give him respect for the way he will stand up for what he believes in.This week, Mr. Dershowitz has once again appeared preeminently in the world press. He wrote an incredibly good piece on "targeted assassinations" and also has appeared in regard to something else - taking a shot at the new Fuhrer, Ahmadinejad.It started with the outgoing US ambassador to the UN (quote is from The Guardian article):The outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, is backing a call for the president of Iran to be charged with inciting genocide because of his speeches advocating the destruction of the state of Israel.Certainly an interesting concept. Imagine that! We are going to charge someone with Genocide besides a Jew or Israeli! Wowsers!JTA Global News Service carried as well an interesting piece about this idea. In an article entitled "Jewish leaders threaten to indict Ahmadinejad for inciting genocide" we read about the anger that this conference has engendered."Ahmadinejad’s incitement violates the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, speakers said. "Yes it does. But Ahmadinejad, without a shadow of a doubt, could not care less about the United Nations or any International Law. That is kind of obvious to anyone who follows the antics of this would be Fuhrer. So let us give Boulton and Dershowitz and all the others credit for intelligence. Indeed, the worst mistake anyone could make, agree or not agree with Mr. Dershowitz, is to underestimate his intelligence and political savvy.The one thing I liked about this report, the one thing I actually loved about this report, is that it shows a measure of understanding how to begin to make the "work the ropes" within a legal and viable format.“We will try the law. We will try politics. We will try everything,” said Alan Dershowitz, a prominent attorney and professor at Harvard Law School. “But if they fail, we will use self-defense.”In addition to seeking an indictment of Ahmadinejad in the International Criminal Court, Dershowitz disclosed that he and Irwin Cotler, a Canadian legislator and prominent human-rights lawyer, were preparing a brief to justify military preemption if legal efforts don’t work.“We waited once, we will not wait again,” said Dershowitz, who like other speakers evoked the global silence as the Nazis prepared the Holocaust. “Do not expect passive acceptance of genocide. We will fight back.”Yet this is also a "reality" conference. And it is damn good to finally see "reality" seep in to the Jewish leadership, to be honest. Usually Jewish leaders are so damn divorced from reality one thinks they were born in a vacuum.Several speakers expressed reservations about placing too much faith in the United Nations.“When you’re thinking about remedies, don’t be naive about the United Nations,” said Ruth Wedgwood, a noted international lawyer and professor at Johns Hopkins University.She further cautioned that U.N. initiatives have a history of being turned around and used as diplomatic weapons against the State of Israel.We all know the UN is a useless vehicle most of the time. We also know that Israel must pay attention to this body. We also know it is sick and one-sided, eaten inside at the core and joined at its rib with one hatred - that of the State of Israel. It is goo[...]

Happy Hanukkah To All Readers Of The View From Jerusalem

Fri, 15 Dec 2006 14:20:00 +0000

Happy Hanukkah!Posted On: The View From Jerusalem Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism, Holocaust, conversion [...]

Cockroaches Are Always Hiding In The Pipes

Thu, 14 Dec 2006 10:19:00 +0000

I really was not going to post about the "Holocaust Denial" conference. It is just all over the press and all over the media and most of it is clear thought out and certainly in the realm of sanity that I assumed that the idiotic "Holocaust Deniers" conference taking place in the country of intellectual giants and an example for free thinking countries and people all over the world - Iran - would be enough.Assumption is the mother of all mistakes. Makes fools out of a lot of us. A couple of little tidbits passed my computer screen yesterday which raised eyebrows both in a good and a bad way. Indeed, one which I will discuss below in its implication scared the living daylights out of me. But let us go step by step here.Ahmadinejad called a conference. People came. They got together in the lovely almost nuclear country of Iran and patted each other on the back for their courage and sanity in declaring to the world that the Holocaust never took place or that it was an invention of the Zionist propaganda machine. This in and of itself would not be news. Even the pathetic attempt to separate Holocaust denial and Antisemitism would not have been news. And even the need to express the need to destroy the State of Israel and kill every Jew inside of it would not be news. What is news is the way some people choose to interpret such lunacy.First off, readers of The View From Jerusalem, know that I have posted before a few specific posts about the Holocaust and its implications.Privacy Of Surviovors Or Protection of Nazis?Weaving The Filigree For The Crown Of God...My Grandparents Went To Auschwitz...In an excellent and well written editorial - Rattling the Cage: Holocaust denial and Jewish liberals by Larry Derfner which appeared in the Jerusalem Post, expresses what he thinks to be a left-wing view that Israel certainly sometimes "exploits" the Holocaust, (and this is not only a left wing view or centrist or right wing view - it is held by many people across the political spectrum) - Mr. Derfner makes a point about the distinction between "exploiting" the Holocaust and the "denial" of the Holocaust. I have no wish to get into any debate at the moment as to the methods or amount that Israel does use the Holocaust, and whether it is legitimate or not. However there is a comment in this article I do wish to point out:"Along with, I imagine, every other left-wing Zionist who's ever been appalled at the way Israeli and Diaspora Jewish leaders exploit the Holocaust, I would have been filled with joy if a bolt of lightning had struck that conference in Teheran and killed everybody inside, starting with Ahmadinejad.With the exception of the collaborators from Natorei Karta, those people are modern-day Nazis. They want for the Jews what Hitler wanted."In another excellent editorial in Haaretz Daily Paper (yes, today I am picking the "left" but don't read into that too much!) entitled: Iran grows strong, the world yawns, we read:It is possible to make fun of the conference of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, as the historian Prof. Moshe Zimmerman proposes. It is also possible to view this reaction as yet another symptom of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that has afflicted the West in the face of rising Islamic extremism. As long as the Arab world was united against Zionist Israel and its policies toward the Palestinians, it was possible to hope this hatred would disappear once the local conflict had been resolved. But the conference in Tehran is another sign that anti-Israel sentiment has long since turned into open anti-Semitism.The re[...]

Haredi, Modern Orthodox, Conservative & Reform (Part One)

Wed, 13 Dec 2006 15:15:00 +0000

Part One - The Great El-Al DebateThere seems to be something in the air these days. Every now and again disagreements between the varying "religious sectors" in the Jewish community seem to find it necessary to flex muscle and see just how far things can be taken. Sometimes it gets truly ugly, with the argument being debased by hatred and disrespect on both sides. Sometimes it is truly over "life" decisions and force those who care about the "normative path" of Judaism, especially within the Jewish State, to take sides and make a stand. It is always incredibly interesting to watch.These days there seems to be an absolute orgy of problems that are rearing their ugly heads. Some not so critical on first view some a bit more important, some beyond critical - meaning such decisions effect the life-blood of our nation.During the past two weeks I have watched, read and counted the numerous discussions, statements and ideas on the following issues with a great deal of interest.The El-Al Debate (whether El-Al must stick to its status-quo of not operating on the Sabbath or whether it can flex its muscles and disregard the Haredi and Modern Orthodox community)The decision by the Conservative movement to allow A) Gay Rabbis B) Same sex marriages and endorse such marriagesThe Chief Rabbinate in its continuous and constant vigilance in trying to make sure that "converts" are "real" converts to Judaism now is demanding that no conversion outside of Israel be accepted for purposes of the "Law Of Return".Whether or not to allow "civil" marriages in Israel between Jewish couples and not demand the normative "Ketubah" (Jewish marriage contract). Of course, by definition this will also apply to "civil divorce" as well and not demand the normative "Get" (Jewish writ of divorce). And it is most certainly the divorce and the "Get" that are the center of this argument.Each and every one of these arguments are important and even critical in their own right. Each can effect and affect the way Israel and world Judaism views itself for years to come. And most certainly #2, #3 and #4 have long lasting consequences upon Judaism and an incredible amount of people.But be all that as it may, this post Part One of this series will try and bare the facts for both sides in the El-Al debate. I am not starting with this because it is "easier" - but rather because it has elements of many of the factors which must be considered in all the other debates going on as well.To bring the reader up to date. El-Al is a private airline, (supposedly). It is not run by the State of Israel but it certainly is Israel's National Airline. When it was taken private a few years ago the arrangement that it had for 25 years remained in force. It would not operate on the Sabbath. This is not because El Al is a "religious" airline. From its inception, being the official airline of the State Of Israel and trying to appease all factions, El-Al did two things. It remained "kosher" and it did operate on the Sabbath. When it went private it agreed to maintain these two standards but certainly it has the ability as a private airline to do what it damn well pleases. Or does it?Well a couple of weeks ago El Al decided to test the "no flying on Sabbath rule" and went up, up and away on the Sabbath. This immediately brought strong condemnation from the Haredi and orthodox world. Indeed these communities were nothing less than incensed at El Al's sudden and flagrant "breaking of the rules". As one Jerusalem Post article put it:A source in El Al said the[...]

Zionism & It's Meaning To Some

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 07:47:00 +0000

Among those I am lucky and honored to call "friends" is one specific person whose name is Kayla. She is actually more like an adopted sister. She also just happens to be one of the nicest people I have ever met in my time on this planet.I have been friends with Kayla for some years now. We met in the background of "Operation Defensive Shield" when I was a medic in Jenin. It took me sometime to get used to Kayla's unique mixture of complex and yet simple. She is a graduate of the cream of Ivy League Universities. She is no-one's dummy. A discerning mind with the ability to cut through the bull so fast it would scare the pants off of you.Kayla though is also very "simple" in her demands upon life. I must say of all the people I have ever met at times I think of her as one person who is incredibly easy to please. She does not demand a great deal from life. She covets no one else as far as I know. She smiles easily and laughs with the best of them. She is also a true friend, and let me tell you folks, that is a rare and unique quality.Kayla is smart, pretty and loves life. She works hard. She loves "The West Wing". Actually the more I think about it, and I say this as a supreme compliment, you just don't get more "normal" than Kayla.Kayla though is also an unabashed, unashamed, unrepentant and supremely proud Zionist. She comes from the US, and though she could have riches and glory and power and an easy life, she chooses of her own volition to live an incredibly difficult and sometimes lonely life in Israel - in Jerusalem.Kayla believes in Israel. Oh don't get me wrong. She does not ever give a blank check to anyone just because they live in Israel. But in the recent war with Lebanon, of all the people I knew, of all the loud mouth, flag waving people I know, it was Kayla who went up north and delivered much needed supplies to women soldiers and to children stuck in shelters. It was Kayla, (and the company she works for) who devoted time and gave money for these people.Kayla knows my rule. I do not discuss my own private politics. Even here in The View From Jerusalem, you will not find my political leanings. Even though I will state unequivocally that Olmert should be thrown out on his ass, I will not tell you what path I think Israel should take. Kayla respects the rule. It drives her bonkers but she respects it.Kayla's passion though is not politics per-say. It is Israel. It is the fact that she believes that sooner or later, most Jews should end up in Israel for one basic reason. This is the Jewish homeland. Kayla believes that as you believe night comes from day. It is a fact. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is important.Sometimes I look at Kayla and wonder how such an intelligent, sophisticated, pretty, smart, wise and nice woman can be so damn positive about such a thing. Sometimes I look at her and am tempted to put it down to being naive. Sometimes I look at her and wonder what happened to my Zionism and what happened to everyone else along the path?Kayla has taught me that some things do not need to be intellectualized to death. Some things need to be understood more by the heart than by the mind. Some things are just "fact". Some things are just more real than others.For Kayla, who will spend her time at rallies for the downtrodden in Africa and those with Aids, Israel is a part of her soul. It is her destiny. It is her life.Zionism may be a dirty word today. It may be so polarized and so "yesterday" that we are tempted to forget all it means. It [...]

Natan Sharansky And The US Presidential Medal of Freedom

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 05:32:00 +0000

And sometimes one finds real, true events taking place in our difficult world.Natan Sharansky is not just my hero. He is a hero. Period. A modest somewhat silent hero to boot. A symbol of our generation. Certainly a symbol to all those who are oppressed.Here is a man who spent nine years of his life in the Soviet gulag because he would not give in. He would not allow his soul to be conquered. He would not bow to oppression and bigotry. His measure of stubbornness, where he was virtually guaranteed pain and death, separated from Avital, his wife, is truly a lesson to us all.The Official White House Statement:"Natan Sharansky's life is the story of good conquering evil. He remains a powerful champion of the principles that all people deserve to live in freedom and that the advancement of liberty is critical to peace and security around the world. The United States honors Natan Sharansky for his contributions to the cause of democracy and freedom."To me Natan Sharansky represents Soviet Jewry. Going back quite a few years, when Soviet Jewry was the cause that all fought for, when their freedom and right to practice their own religion was at the crux of mass rallies in New York City and in front of the White House; when literally tens of thousands and in a few cases hundreds of thousands of people came out to demonstrate with the simple cry: "Let My People Go" - Sharansky, Mendelovitch and other names were those spoken about in the streets and the newspapers.Silent hero's. Men and women who did not look for honor or glory. Normal men and women who were placed in impossible positions by their time and place and whom showed extraordinary powers of courage.And let us not for a moment forget Avital, Natan's wife in this battle. Small and yet strong; quiet and yet able to stand before tens of thousands of people and demand her husband's release; unimportant and yet a woman who proved she could move Presidents and dictators; Avital is also truly a courageous woman who set the standard for all who came after her.If asked who my hero is, I would without hesitation say "Natan & Avital Sharansky". As he said about the award he is going to receive."The commitment of the American people and their leaders to democracy and freedom for every individual has always given, and continues to give, strength and hope to oppressed nationals and people around the world. I am deeply moved by having been chosen to receive this honor,"Two months ago I was sitting with my son, Avdiel, in a cafe on Palmach Street in Jerusalem. It is called "Duvshanit". It was late afternoon and the cafe was basically empty. At the table next to us was a woman, sitting quietly and reading a book. And then in his small army cap, which is Natan Sharansky's calling card, in marches Sharansky and sits at the table with Avital.Miracles do happen. For this was a miracle. Perhaps it takes some perspective to see it. Perhaps we take things like this for granted. Perhaps this is how it should be. But if you would have told me 25 years ago that I would be sitting in a Jerusalem Cafe next to Natan and Avital Sharansky while they sipped Tea and talked between themselves, I would have told you to get your head examined. Life simply does not work like that. And yet it does.My son, all of 26, when he saw Natan Sharansky got up. Stood up for him as if one is standing up for the Chief Rabbi of Israel. And then he went over and took his hand and said:"Sharansky. You are the King. You are my king." ([...]

My Grandparents Went To Auschwitz...

Sat, 09 Dec 2006 20:53:00 +0000

There is a rule in life, or Murphy's law depending how you look upon things and your perspective, which simply states: "Just when I thought I saw everything possible, along comes something new to shock the hell out of me."And so this week with all the news, good and bad, going from Iran, Iraq, the Baker Report, Hamas, Hezbollah etc. etc. and etc. - I came across this little gem of a find.T-shirts are damn big business. Just ask the owners of They lived the dream starting off in a garage and growing to a multi-million dollar company, while allowing others as well to get in on the act. Their original premise is to produce items for everyone to buy. It basically works like this and you can go to their home page and see it there.You choose an object you want to sell in your store. Such as a mug, a T-shirt, a greeting card etc.You upload your picture (graphic).You place an order for how many you want.You put up a store and sell this home-made incredible gift to other people.It is kind of like a POD (Print On Demand) Book. Or self-publishing in the literary world. It works great. People make lots of money in their stores at and so do the owners.Of course these days you are going to find anything on T-shirt. The more crass, the more disgusting - the cooler you are. So be it. Fads are all over. And freedom of speech reigns.Yet even the T-shirt category can shock. It can totally and completely shock by the absolute "tastelessness"?, "hatred"?, "immaturity"?, "vindictive stupidity"? or just plain imbecilic stupidity that recently appeared up at and folks remember - CafePress does the printing and publishing, NOT the person selling.I cannot even begin to imagine the sick mind that came up with this. I cannot even imagine the sick minds that thought this cute enough to spend money on and then wear. I cannot even imagine the lack of humanity that must be inherent in any individual who wears such a T-shirt and displays it on their chest. I cannot think of anything that one should do for someone who like pictured below, wears this T-shirt for attention. Is it for a laugh? At what? At who? At bars of soap? At crematoria? At orphans? At widows? At millions of people slaughtered?WHAT THE HELL IS SO FUNNY ABOUT THIS?So I can only thank our lucky stars that some sane person saw this T-shirt and promptly notified the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) who promptly made it incredibly clear that to the idiots at just what they were going to do."It is incomprehensible to us why anyone would create a t-shirt that makes light of the mass murder carried out at a former Nazi concentration camp," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While we understand the genre of novelty shirts, we also believe that retailers bear a responsibility to ensure that their products do not cross the line into causing offense or pain to others, or trivialize important and serious subjects like the Holocaust. We are gratified that has acted responsibly and removed these shirts from their Web site."One would think I should thank and be gratified for pulling the T-shirt off their site forthwith, even though they did not answer the email. (Probably because their Lawyers warned them that answering the email is acknowledgment and thus they may be admitting some culpability in the whole scene.)I am NOT thanking them. Indeed I am wondering just how far things must go on b[...]

Yawn - Nasrallah: Weapons aimed at Israel only

Fri, 08 Dec 2006 10:45:00 +0000

Sometimes short & sweet works real well too.So today the papers are covered with the newsworthy speech of Nasrallah, head of the Hezbullah, Nasrallah: Weapons aimed at Israel only, making it clear where his eyes are concentrated on:Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday said that his organization's weapons would be used against Israel, and Israel only.This Is News? To Whom?Posted On: The View From Jerusalem Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Politics, Judaism, Israeli Politics, News, Current Events, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, United States & Israel, Terrorist, Bombing, Palestine, Jerusalem, anti-semitism, Zionism [...]