Friday, October 20, 2017

The Yishai Fleisher Show: Dichotomies of the Deluge

What is the Difference Between Right and Left?

By Moshe Feiglin

“There is a huge difference between Netanyahu and me,” Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabai explained, and then went into details:

The Right does not want peace and we do.
Netanyahu has retracted his Bar Ilan speech and the two-state-solution and we are in favor of it.
For the past ten years, the Right has not conducted any serious peace process.
The Right is building outside the settlement blocs and we oppose that.

Now for the truth:

The Right wants peace just as much as the Left.
Netanyahu never retracted his Bar Ilan speech and the two-state principle.
In the 20 year reign of the Left (from 1967) there was no process that actually led to peace.
The Right is not building. Not in Jerusalem, not outside the settlement blocs and not inside the settlement blocs.
The only construction that is being authorized in small measure is building within the settlements themselves.

So what is the real difference between the Right and the Left?

The Left wants to give up our Land.
And the Right is able to give up our Land.

It’s a good thing we have Zehut.

Not-So-Smart Phones

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

The narrative of creation accounts for many details of our origins but obviously not all, so what is included must be of great import. And of course the Torah was not given to us to teach cosmology, science, or even history but rather to teach us morality – not how we came to be but why we came to be, and how we should live. And so the nuggets of information provided about the ancients should catch our attention.

Thus we are taught that Lemech had one son named Yaval, “and the name of his brother was Yuval, the forerunner of those who play the harp and the flute” (Breisheet 4:21). Yuval was the original music man. And Lemech’s other wife Tzila “also gave birth to Tuval Kayin, the forerunner of those who sharpen and craft implements of copper and iron” (ibid 4:22). These facts are certainly interesting, but what’s the point?

And note the contrasts: the Netziv commented that the harp and the flute have dueling functions; the harp soothes while the flute arouses. They are not generally played together, and yet Yuval played both. So too, the instruments that were manufactured by Tuval Kayin could also be put to disparate uses. Tuval Kayin, like his great-great-great-grandfather Kayin, was also a farmer, so he created tools that made the work easier. But Rashi wrote that that he was too much like his ancestor Kayin, who murdered his brother Hevel but was not very efficient in carrying out the dastardly deed, But Tuval Kayin was so named because he perfected the craft of Kayin, manufacturing weapons of homicide like knives and daggers. So too Yuval the music man who used his music for idolatrous worship. What exactly are we being taught?

The Wall Street Journal recently featured a long essay by Nicholas Carr that should wake us up to the realities of the new world and the potential dangers that technology present. We always see the good, the benefits and the advantages in every modern invention but rarely internalize the downside, the struggles, or the changes for the worse, if we even do more than pay lip service to it. And so it is with the ubiquitous Smartphone.

Smartphones have become indispensable; more than half its users cannot imagine life without a product that didn’t even exist less than two decades ago. Traditionally, we have worried about the moral and spiritual dangers that are extant. I, like many rabbis, have railed against people even bringing Smartphones to shul, much less using them during prayer. Sadly, some people just can’t help it, and can’t disconnect from these devices even for a few moments. We have all witnessed people answering emails or texting during the davening (a real embarrassment to the shul and its sanctity as well as an insult to G-d in whose presence they presumably stand) and all been irritated by phones ringing during davening (although, fortunately, it is less of a problem in our parts). But the essay makes a different and much stronger point: these Smartphones are making us dumb and our children even dumber. And that is a real, and in many venues an uncontrollable, problem.

The advantages are numerous. Smartphone provide with heretofore unimaginable convenience and an ever-increasing array of diversions. Who could have dreamed even a few years ago of a hand-held device that serves as a phone, camera, mailbox, photo album, computer, every newspaper and magazine you want to read, every movie, television show or sports program you want to watch, a calendar, a diary, a siddur, Tanach, Shas, Shulchan Aruch and much more? But Smartphones come at a great cognitive cost, and that’s what the research is showing. Just hearing a ring or a vibration makes it more difficult to concentrate. And when people hear a buzz and don’t check their phones, immediately their blood pressure spikes, their pulse quickens and their problem-solving skills decline. The ramifications for us will be clear in a moment.

In one study, three groups of students were given a test. One was told to keep their phones on their desks, another in their pockets or purses and a third group in a different room. Those whose phones were in view did the worst, those whose phones were in another room did the best, and those whose phones were present but in their pockets came out in the middle. Their mere presence drains away our mental energy and detaches us from our surroundings.

Obviously, those who people who bring phones to shul will have worse kavana even if the phones are off, and kavana is something with which we struggle under the best circumstances. Even more seriously, schools that allow children to bring their phones are wasting the parent’s tuition money. The children will simply not learn as much, their cognitive skills and ability to concentrate will decline precipitously, and then we will wonder where we have gone wrong. It is also worth noting that the mere presence of a phone diminishes the concentration of all those who see it, even if they do not own it, because it reflects the universe of opportunities, delights and fantasies in the great beyond, which always seem more interesting that whatever one is doing at the moment.

And worse: we are impairing our social skills through addiction to these devices while our children are not developing any social skills at all. Relationships suffer, if real ones at all exist. Smartphones serve as a constant reminder of all the friends we could be chatting with electronically, so they grab at our minds even when we are talking to live people, leaving those conversations shallower and less satisfying. Read “Reclaiming Conversation,” by Sherry Turkle, and you will realize that the ubiquity of Smartphones makes us less productive (even as we think we are being more productive), destroys our capacity for self-reflection, and prevents us from living in the moment with real people. It has spawned a generation that prefers texting to talking and virtual interactions to real ones.

These phones are not just in our hands but they are inside our heads. They hijack our attention and constitute a “supernormal stimulus” such as the world has never before seen. And we remember less, because everything is out there, accessible with a few taps of a finger. But William James, the 19th century American psychologist and thinker, said that the art of remembering is the art of thinking. We encode certain information that enables us to think conceptually, to make intellectual associations. When we stop doing that we create delusions of intelligence, with people feeling they know more but actually know less about the world around them. That’s why so many college students struggle to place the Civil War or World War II in the right decade (or quarter-century) and have no idea how many Supreme Court justices or United States Senators there are.

The only hope – the only answer – is to learn how to disconnect. Shabbat is great for that but it only comes once a week. Shul is even better – twice a day, morning and night. Leave the phone at home, period, or in the car. Carve out disconnect time as well with spouse and children. And parents who send their children to school with Smartphones are forewarned; the phones are smart but the people who cannot disengage from them become dumber. That’s the science.

The Torah introduces these ancients as the pioneers of innovation, which began with them and has not ceased. Yuval’s music brings joy, inspiration and comfort but can also be used for debauchery and idolatry. Tuval Kayin’s inventions were great for farming but also for homicide and mayhem. It’s not history; we are not accounting for the dates of the Bronze Age or the Iron Age. It’s Mussar, designed to tell us how to control all new inventions but not have them control us. Every invention is morally neutral, with positive and negative qualities. Rashi says that the sons of Lemech failed in their understanding and embrace of the new technology and let themselves be swept away by the immoral possibilities and their potential for evil and dehumanization.

That same potential exists in all of us, until we internalize the notion that everything created is primarily for the glory of G-d and must promote His service.

Rabbi Ari Kahn on Parashat Noach 5778 “A Hard Rain’s A- Gonna Fall” (video)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

“All wickedness shall be consumed like smoke.”

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshivat Machon Meir

During these insane times when we see the forces of evil operating boldly to commit death and destruction -- it would be appropriate to ponder the words of the illustrious mekubal [mystic] Rabbi Eliyahu Vidas in his book, “Reishit Chochmah”:
“‘G-d has made the one as well as the other’ (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Just as Uriel corresponds to the Divine Presence for the arousal of good in the world, so too is there a force called ‘biladen’ which is the face of a dog, and its whole interest is in arousing evil in the world. This dog is called ‘biladen,’ short for ‘beli adon’ -- without a master.” (Sha’ar HaYirah, Ch. 8)

When the forces of good are aroused in the world, i.e., when Israel rises up for rebirth, opposing forces of evil and wickedness rise up as well. These forces are likened to dogs, for dogs are insolent and impudent. Yet as was hinted at during the Exodus from Egypt, “Against any of the children of Israel not a dog shall move its tongue” (Exodus 11:7).

Today, we see explicitly those same evildoers, beasts in human form, whose whole purpose is death and destruction for their own sakes. They are like those animals which are filled with happiness and rejoicing when the blood pours out of their victims. Their whole goal is to dip their hands in their victims’ blood, and to dance in it.

The fate of those evildoers is known in advance, as King David said, “You will smash them like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9). The day is not far off when our prayer will be fulfilled that “the righteous shall see and be glad, the upright shall exult and the pious shall triumphantly rejoice... and all wickedness shall be wholly consumed like smoke, when you make the dominion of arrogance pass away from the earth” (High Holiday Shemoneh Esreh).

May it be soon in our day, Amen!

Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

Man's Inclination is Evil from his Youth

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Nasi HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

"Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations." (Bereisheet 6:9) Some of our Sages expound this positively: Certainly, had he been in a generation of righteous people he would have been more righteous. Some expound it derogatorily: Relative to his generation he was righteous, but had he been in Avraham's generation he would not have been considered at all. (Rashi)

The question is: If it is possible to expound positively, why do some expound derogatorily? Furthermore, "Had he been in Avraham's generation he would not have been considered at all." Just because Avraham was greater, Noach would not have been considered at all?

In the Ger school of thought, they explain as follows: "Noach walked with Elokim." Elokim in gematriya equals hateva (Nature). Noach's fear of G-d came from contemplation of Nature and natural science. In contrast, Hashem told Avraham: "Go out of your horoscope!," since from Avraham begin the two-thousand years of Torah, and only through Torah is it possible to reach true fear of G-d. This is the derogatory interpretation, that Noach thought it possible to reach fear of G-d through worldly wisdom. This is why it says, "perfect in his generations," since in Avraham's generation, after it was possible to delve in Torah wisdom, one who learns fear of G-d through natural wisdom is not considered anything.

About Avimelech's self-exoneration, "In the innocence of my heart ... I did this" (Bereisheet 20:5), Avraham responds, "I said: There is but no fear of G-d in this place." (20:11) The Malbim explains:

[Avraham] informed him that even if we see a person, or nation, that is a great philosopher, and he set for himself just practices and trained himself in good traits based on his intelligence, and he does justice and righteousness based on his understanding – even so, we cannot trust this person or nation that at the time that his desire sways him to do bad, that his intelligence will always overcome his desire. Just the opposite, when his desire burns in him for a beautiful woman or his friend's wealth and no one sees, then his mind will also mislead him to murder, commit adultery, and do all evil. Only one force exists in a person's soul that we can rely on it that he will not sin, and that is the trait of fear of G-d, as it says, "Fear of G-d is the discipline of wisdom," "Fear of G-d is the beginning of wisdom." About this [Avraham] said: "I said – even though I see that your nation are people of good traits, doing justice and righteousness, and I did not see in them anything wrong, [there is] just one fault – that there is no fear of G-d in this place."

Similarly, Rav Kook zt"l opened his work Orot Hakodesh as follows:

The sacred wisdom is above all wisdom, in that it turns the desire and character of those who learn it ... whereas all secular sciences do not have this ability ... Therefore they cannot make those who delve in them into a new being, to uproot him from the essence of his negative traits, and to establish him in a state of a new reality, pure and alive with the light of true life, which endures forever.

So, too, in the beginning of his work, Mussar Hakodesh:

Secular ethics are not deep, and do not enter the inner parts of the soul. Even though a person is drawn after it to good, by recognizing the integrity that is in logic, this guidance does not have enduring grasp before the storming of various desires, when they arise strongly. Certainly this weak ethic is not able to lead broadly, human society in its depth and vastness, to penetrate the depths of the soul, and to turn for mankind and the individual person a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. There is no alternative, other than he should be directed based on Divine ethics.

He further wrote at length about the goal of education (Igrot HaReiyah #170):

The goal of education is to prepare a person for his ideal form, whose central point is to make him good and just. From the time that Avraham Avinu began to call in G-d's Name, it was our heritage, that the more that calling in G-d's name in rooted in a person heart – his goodness and justness will increase, and he will be more satisfied to himself and the entire society.

Knesset Yisrael was designated of all the nations to raise high the flag of this axiom in the world: That the goodness and justice of a person is his loftiest goal, and that calling in G-d's name and implanting this point is the most guaranteed preparation for this goal. And since the purpose of rooting the calling in G-d's name, with heart and soul, in the individual and nation as a whole requires regular study from man's early childhood, therefore the study of Torah took the primary place in Jewish education. Specifically the study of Torah, and not other studies, whose goal is only to prepare a person for the battle of life, and not to make him good and just before G-d and man. This is the classical way that our ancestors always followed, and in this way Israel's name was preserved, and they succeeded and flourished, that from the outstanding Sages of each generation came out beacons of light for the nation and the entire world.

Police Leaks: More Dangerous than You Think

By Moshe Feiglin

One day a reporter called and asked me for my response to the police plan to call me in for an investigation on the suspicion of sedition.

“I haven’t heard about it,” I answered the reporter.

“They didn’t notify you?” he asked.


There was a moment of confused silence and then he continued:

“OK, so let’s do this. I will notify you and then you will respond.”

This is not a joke. This conversation actually did take place years ago, when I organized the Zo Artzeinu demonstrations against the Oslo Accords. I was a novice at the time, and it was my first lesson (and nowhere near the last) on the politicization of the police.

I make a complete distinction between the investigation of PM Netanyahu and the issue of leaks coming from the police. It is clear to me that the investigations and leaks are quite good for Netanyahu. Because the Right’s analysis of the situation is correct: True, the issues for which Netanyahu is being investigated are serious and must be investigated. However, suspicion of much more serious corruption that make the suspicions against Netanyahu look like child’s play were either not investigated, covered up or dissolved – when the prime ministers in question were from the Left or were serving its agenda.

This is not an assumption. TV journalist Amnon Abramovitch’s public call to delay all the investigations against Sharon (“turn Sharon into an etrog”) until after the implementation of the expulsion from Gaza was immediately adopted by his fellow journalists and the police. The suspicions against Ehud Barak (including public testimony by former PM Olmert that Barak was getting kickbacks on all of his arms deals) were never seriously investigated. And we never saw protests outside the home of the Attorney General demanding an investigation of Shimon Peres and the unaccountable millions that he enjoyed.

So the Right can certainly justify its feeling of unfair treatment in this case and Netanyahu knows very well how to turn that feeling into political capital.

But Netanyahu notwithstanding, the police announcement/leak to the press that the investigation against Netanyahu is being renewed is a serious matter.

The public has the right to know that an investigation is being conducted, but not that an investigation will be conducted. The police has no authority to discredit a person (beforehand) and when the person in question is an elected official, it is a case of power wielded by the security apparatus in order to control the elected authority – and this has happened before.

I am very apprehensive of corruption. When I was in the Knesset, I fought against it with all my might. But unelected systems – police, State Prosecution, the High Court – that overpower elected officials, creating a covert dictatorship in a mantle of democracy – scare me much more.

Peace, Good and Evil

By Moshe Feiglin

“And G-d saw that the light was good and G-d separated between the light and the dark.” (Genesis 1:4)

On Hoshana Rabah eve, I participated in a panel on prophecy. The panel included a representative of the extreme Left Meretz party, a well-known rabbinical personality, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi and a pleasant Rabbi/MK. It soon became apparent that the other members of the panel disagreed with me – not just on the regular issues – but on the essential question of if it is possible to know what is good.

“Who knows what is good?” the rabbinical personality asked, concluding that we must learn to include and understand our neighbors, to live with them and to learn from them. It sounded a lot like the “Women Wage Peace” organization. In other words, something that says nothing, but is simply inclusive and loving, avoiding questions like sovereignty, justice, good and bad. From all of this fluff, peace is supposed to emerge. For after all, there is no good or bad – it is all just a question of positive atmosphere. We will create a positive atmosphere, a dialogue will take place and everything will come together.

The MK on the panel even took an additional step: “Peace is already here(!),” he announced. “The terrorists who murder us do so for personal reasons. The IDF takes care of them and everything is more or less fine.”

I also like and desire a positive atmosphere and dialogue, but at that point, I unfortunately lost my patience.

“Since its inception, the Oslo Peace Process has cost the lives of 6 times more Israelis than in the comparable period of time prior to the Accords,” I said. “We have 20 times more wounded and this ‘peace’ has cost every Israeli family 700,000NIS.

“In other words,” I continued, your peace is killing us! I also want to hug all my neighbors and talk about love all day. But our irrefutable experience shows that ‘Women Wage Peace’, who I am sure have only good intentions, are actually Women Wage Grief. Because they will create an atmosphere that will push for more surrender and more terror.” (They are not talking about the Zehut Peace Plan, the foundation of which is that there is truth and falsehood, good and bad. That is why Zehut’s Peace Plan will work. It is simply realistic!)

“See, I have given before you today life and good and death and evil,” I quoted from Deuteronomy.

“Are you willing to agree with me at least on this point?” I asked the Meretz representative. “That life is good and death is evil?” “I am sure that you have good intentions, but if your path has brought us much more death for the past 20 years, then you are doing something very bad, not something good.”

Thanks to that panel, I noticed this year that in the very first verses of the Torah, with the first creation of light, the concept ‘good’ appears – and with it, the concept of ‘separation’.

Yes, my friends, there is good and there is evil, there is light and there is darkness.

It is not always easy to distinguish between them. Usually it is difficult and complicated. But the difficulty does not absolve us in any way from the responsibility to clarify what is good and what is bad and to strive all the while towards the good – even if we will never achieve it completely.

Ideologies that forgo this struggle for good from the outset are ideologies that assume that if we forgo our search for the light switch, the light will turn on by itself. Darkness loves those types of ideologies. The murdered Jews who have paid with their lives for the Oslo Accords can no longer explain this, and those who will be murdered when the peace process is renewed do not understand and join Women Wage Peace.

Oh, Baby!

By Shmuel Sackett

I spoke about it, wrote about it and knew it was happening, yet nobody believed me. I had said many times that the Jewish birth rate in Israel was growing and that one day – very soon – it would pass the Arab birth rate… and it has happened!

Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics just released its report for 2016 where it stated, very clearly, that the Jewish fertility rate was 3.16 while the Arab fertility rate was 3.11. In 2015, both Jews and Arab were tied at 3.13 but by 2016 the Jewish rate went up from 3.13 to 3.16 while the Arab rate dropped from 3.13 to 3.11.

This is no small accomplishment. According to the Jerusalem Post, “in the year 2000 the fertility rate among the country’s Arab population stood at 4.3 children per woman while the fertility rate of Jewish women was 2.6.” I want you to focus on that for a minute because it’s an absolute, open miracle. In just 16 years (because the numbers are from 2016), the Arab birth rate went down from 4.3 to 3.11 while the Jewish birth rate went up from 2.6 to 3.16.

Two interesting notes: Israel’s fertility rate is the highest among the developed countries of the OECD; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and – more impressive than anything else: Israeli women are the only women in the world having more babies today than their mothers!

I must stress the point that all the numbers and data you just read are not just for religious women living in Bnei Brak. When the average rate in Israel is 3.16, it means that this is the nationwide average, which includes Bnei Brak (although Bet Shemesh came in first place) but it also includes Ramat Aviv, Herziliya and Tel Aviv. This is what makes these numbers so amazing. Think about it; I’m sure the Jewish fertility rate in Brooklyn and Monsey is quite high but when you include all Jewish women in America, the official number for Jewish fertility in America dips way down to about 2.4.

What does all this mean? In my mind, it’s quite simple. A society that has lots of babies is a society that is positive, energetic and optimistic. Young Israeli couples see a bright future and are happy to build a strong and proud Jewish state. Unlike their counterparts in Europe, with countries such as Italy having a horrific average of just 1.3 babies per family, the Israeli couple is excited about tomorrow and they are willing to do their part in building the land.

This past week we read the Torah portion of Bereisheit where Hashem told us to be “fruitful and multiply.” But Hashem said more than that; “Fill the land and conquer it.” (Bereisheit 1:28). For some reason, these words are much less famous. Everyone can quote the “fruitful and multiply” part but “fill the land and conquer it”… who knows that? However, these last words answer the question “why”? Why have the children, in the first place? Why have the bother, the hassle and the headaches? Why populate the world? Isn’t it better to have less people so we can enjoy more of the world to ourselves?

I am proud to say that in Israel, we answer those questions correctly. Even the secular, not-yet religious woman knows exactly how to answer those questions. We are building a nation. We are filling the land and yes, we are conquering it… every square inch of G-d’s promised land will be conquered by the Jewish babies of today!

Thank G-d the Arabs are becoming westernized and have starting focusing more on themselves and their personal dreams of wealth. This is exactly why they are having fewer children! Contrary to what you read in the media, they are not interested in another state or even more land. They want the good life in America, England, Canada and France. They want the electronic gadgets and toys. They want to vacation in the nice hotels. You know what I say? Let’s give it to them. Let’s open the door at Ben Gurion Airport and send them on their journey towards the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.

While they are doing this, we will follow both of Hashem’s instructions. We will be “fruitful and multiply” but immediately afterwards we will also “fill the land and conquer it.” For that we need babies… lots of babies but we also need strong and proud Jewish parents who focus on the right things. I am happy to report that today’s Israel has both! Am Yisrael Chai!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

East and West Palestine, or Hamastan vs. Fatahland

The Hamas – Fatah Reconciliation Agreement, recently cooked up in Cairo, which would see the Palestinian Authority resume control of Gaza by December 1st; has barely cooled, and already there are problems in paradise, in spite of the early celebrations of Gaza residents waving Egyptian, Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Fatah flags, upon announcement of the deal. Just days after signing the agreement, Egypt canceled it’s planned opening of the Rafiah border crossing, between Gaza and Sinai, a major incentive in the agreement, after another ISIS terror attack, that killed six Egyptian soldiers in Northern Sinai.

Egypt has kept the border crossing closed since October 2014, with a few exceptions for the passage of humanitarian aid. Egypt blames Hamas for a horrendous attack, that killed 30 Egyptian soldiers in 2014, by aiding ISIS terrorists in Sinai, through their weapons smuggling tunnels. Numerous attacks have occurred since, and Egypt continues to blame Hamas for the aid to the Sinai Islamists. And, it’s not lost on President el-Sisi, that Hamas was started by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting of 2005, which included the US, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority, it’s been rumored that there’s a proposal to bring Egyptian influence back into Gaza, and Jordanian influence back into Judea and Samaria. They are supposed to help the Palestinians reform their security services, democratize and stabilize society, so that the PA’s Abbas can govern, and ultimately negotiate with Israel. It seems that Trump is continuing to carry out that plan.

As I wrote a couple months ago, “The Trump administration is exploring new approaches for easing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that builds on talks with the budding Sunni Arab coalition of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan,” according to an unnamed US official.

The American strategy is to unite the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) and Hamas, under Abbas’ leadership, so that a united Palestinian bloc could renew negotiations with Israel. The Trump administration is using it’s connections with the Sunni Arab states, to put pressure on all the Palestinian factions to join up. Hence, the Hamas – Fatah Reconciliation Agreement. The Americans, in return, have promised to deliver Israel to the negotiating table, when the Palestinians are ready. And to grease the squeaky wheel, the US is trying to bring Jerusalem and Ramallah together through joint economic initiatives.

Meanwhile, the Arab coalition has tried to push Hamas closer to Egypt and the UAE, and distance them from Qatar, which for years has been a major financial backer. Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah leader in Gaza, who has been living in the UAE, has been the key intermediary. He recently returned to Gaza and organized UAE-financed humanitarian aid there, said to include about $15 million a month in food and social assistance for families, plus additional money for electricity and water.

The plan is to provide economic and social support, through Egypt, with Israel’s blessing, that can weaken the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence. Israel has allowed fuel and other shipments to pass from Egypt through the border crossing at Rafiah, signaling it’s tacit support. Dahlan and the UAE have larger plans. Dahlan said the UAE has pledged to finance a $100 million electricity plant, to be built on the Egyptian side of the border, to help power Gaza. Therefore, the announced canceling of the Rafiah border opening by Egypt, presents a serious challenge to the plan.

Over the years, international peace plans, have seen “Palestine,” as having a common border with Jordan, Egypt and a territorial link between Judea, Samaria (the West Bank/Fatahland) and Gaza/Hamastan.

Was that East and West Pakistan? We know what happened to them...

If a Palestinian state is born, East and West Palestine (the West Bank/Fatahland and Gaza/Hamastan) will suffer a similar end. Or, do they intend to carve up Israel to gain territorial contiguity? Will Israel be reduced to a Northern and Southern Kingdom as in the Bible? Will Tel-Aviv and the Galilee – formerly the coastal and northern parts of Israel – become disconnected from the Negev, the newly formed Southern State?

Whatever they tell you, know this, states collapse, countries or areas of a country merge with other states, and some ethnic groups go extinct over time. East and West Palestine is just such a creature. It will be still-born at best, on long-term international life-support. But that won't save it from the fate of East and West Pakistan. So, even if an illegitimate child-state is born, expect its early demise.

“Why?” you might ask.

For starters, because there never was an independent Palestinian Arab state or shared identity. The closest thing they have to a shared identity, is hatred of Jews, the desire for statehood, and to use it to wipe out Israel. If they achieved statehood and actually lived peaceably with Israel for some time, their whole purpose of existence would end. History abhors a vacuum, and the so-called “Palestinian identity” would probably be subsumed in a greater Muslim identity; Hamas will work to ensure that. And, that will lead right back to conflict with Israel.

Beyond this, Jewish identity is stronger. Simply put – Israeliness not withstanding – Jewish identity, the connection to our ancient and modern homeland, will prevail over a sick child-state and its international doctor-backers. You know, I feel that the US, EU, and UN are about to play the role of Dr. Kevorkian (the suicide doctor). They're about to help the “Palestinians” commit national suicide.

Why is this child-state doomed?

Because it won’t be a real democracy, in spite of a likely Jimmy Carter certification, as he did in 2006 when Hamas won parliamentary elections. My proof? Ask yourself, will Jews living in towns in Judea and Samaria be allowed to stay and be equal Palestinian citizens – including voting rights and electability to parliament – as Israeli Arabs are in Israel? No, they’re talking about ethnic cleansing, uprooting hundreds of thousands of Jewish “settlers”, making “Palestine” Judenrein – free of Jews. And a state born in such sin will never redeem itself. An independent Palestine might be described by some as a democracy, but, in fact, it will more closely resemble a Nazi state. Remember, Yasser Arafat's uncle Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was Hitler’s friend.

Does anyone really believe that Abbas/Fatah will gain control over Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Hezbollah and ISIS elements in Gaza? He’s been having problems within his own Fatah movement. East and West Palestine will be a terror state, and its eventual end will gladden the hearts of millions around the world.

If born, this moral-AIDS-ridden terror state won’t be a democracy. Lacking democracy, freedom, prosperity and real control over their own lives, Arabs will continue to suffer deprivations at the hands of their corrupt leaders and be used – by the likes of Hamas – to attack Israel. Because it won’t integrate the different elements of Arab society into an organic whole, they will never overcome their deeper inner contradictions. As long as they have an external enemy, the Jews, they might hold off the internal feud, but for how long?

Hamastan vs. Fatahland…

To give you an idea on how deep the divisions run, this latest Hamas – Fatah Reconciliation Agreement, is the fourteenth attempt at reconciliation since 2005.

In 2005, they signed the Cairo Declaration. In 2006 the Prisoners’ Document; in February 2007, the Mecca Agreement to form a national unity government; and March 2008, they signed the Sana'a Declaration. They held talks in 2009 and again in 2010. In May 2011, they signed the Cairo agreement, to form a joint caretaker government, with presidential and legislative elections to be held in 2012. The February 2012 Doha agreement, and the May 2012 Cairo accord, were a further push to implement the 2011 Cairo agreement. They held more talks in January 2013, following the upgrade of “Palestine” at the UN. Then signed the 2014 Gaza and Cairo Agreements, followed by more talks about reconciliation in 2016.

East and West Palestine, or Hamastan vs. Fatahland, won’t last because they aren’t the same societies.

Gaza is medieval, insular, Islamic, poverty-stricken, overcrowded and, in just plain language, “a hell hole”. It has no culture beyond terrorism, and no real chance of commerce or serious relations with Egypt, its neighbor to the west. They’ll be under Egyptian “occupation.” After Sharon’s “disengagement” plan and the Hamas takeover, being cut-off from Israel – which got tired of being attacked by them – the Gazans grew closer to the Bedouin of the Sinai.

The “West Bank or Fatahland,” by contrast, is more cosmopolitan. Although overwhelmingly Muslim, there is a significant minority of Christians. It has the potential to be more secular, more democratic, and more tolerant. Trade and cultural relations with Jordan exist and will continue to flourish.

East and West Palestine will suffer from uneven development. If the child-state is born, and democracy does “rear its ugly head” with its tolerance and pluralism, Western movies, music, gambling casinos and bars; you can count on the Ayatollahs and sheikhs of Gaza-Hamastan to rant and rave against “the infidels” in East Palestine, i.e. the West Bank-Fatahland.

I firmly believe that an independent Palestinian State will suffer the same outcome as East and West Pakistan.

For those of you who don’t remember, East and West Pakistan fought a bloody civil war in 1971, and the outcome was Bangladesh, an independent state. Although both parts of Pakistan were Muslim – the only reason for its separation from India in 1947 in the first place – cultural and ethnic differences led to serious animosity between the two sides.

Yet, developmental inequality is what pushed the final button. East Pakistan was an economic basket case (as it continues to be today). “Blessed” by being at the convergence point of several natural phenomena, the southern third of East Pakistan/Bangladesh sits on the mouth of the Ganges River, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. Never short of water, they regularly suffer from floods from the Ganges overflow and yearly monsoons (hurricanes).

A former International Relations professor of mine – originally from Thailand – once commented that Bangladesh is situated in one of the harshest inhabited areas of the world. “Why would people want to live there?” he asked. “It would do the international community good to simply move the entire population out of there. It would save a lot of lives, money and time in disaster relief efforts.”

East Pakistan – the more populous area – for years complained that they weren’t getting their fair share of central government budgets. After a period of military rule, in December 1970, the East Pakistani Awami League won absolute control over the newly formed parliament. With the Awami League set to control the government and demanding autonomy for East Pakistan in a federated state, General Yahya – junta leader from West Pakistan – chose to disband the assembly and invaded the East. Civil war broke out and, after a half-million Bengalis (East Pakistanis) were massacred, India invaded to establish order. Ultimately India recognized Bangladeshi independence and so did the international community. But India continues to suffer until today from the Muslim fanatics of Pakistan.

Is that the prognosis for East and West Palestine? Will Gaza scream foul? Is a civil war or societal degeneration in the offing for the unborn child-state, or would a partial-birth abortion better serve the international community?

The world should think seriously about the viability – or not – of a territorially divided Palestinian state. Show me a successful model, anywhere in the world, of an independent country divided in two parts by another state. Or, will there be continuous warfare between Israel and Palestine to foster unity between the Arabs and to gain contiguity?

East and West Palestine, or Hamastan vs. Fatahland, is an experiment doomed to failure from the start.

Like my former professor’s advice about Bangladesh, I suggest about East and West Palestine that, “it would do the international community good to simply move the entire population out of there. It would save a lot of lives, money and time...

Few things in life are certain, but these two are worth betting on...

First, that East and West Palestine won’t survive long if born, and second, that the territorial integrity of the Land of Israel will. The Jewish people didn’t survive 2,000 years of dispersal and persecution just to return to their homeland, gain independence, and then give it away to 7th century Arab imperialists and early 20th century Arab squatters.

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

Rav Kook on Parashat Noach: Permission to Eat Meat

After God destroyed His world by water, making a fresh start with Noah and his family, God told Noah,

“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. Like plant vegetation [which I permitted to Adam], I have now given you everything. ... Only of the blood of your own lives will I demand an account.” (Gen. 9:3,5)

Up until this point, humanity was expected to be vegetarian. But after Noah and his family left the ark, God allowed them to eat everything - except other people. Why was permission to eat animals given at this time?

Temporary Allowance

Given the violence and depravity of the generation of the Flood, it was necessary to make allowances for humanity’s moral frailty. If mankind was still struggling with basic moral issues - such as not murdering his fellow human - what point was there in frustrating him with additional prohibitions on less self-evident issues?

After the Flood, God lowered the standards of morality and justice He expected of humanity. We would no longer be culpable for slaughtering animals; we would only be held accountable for harming other human beings. Then our moral sensibilities, which had become cold and insensitive in the confusion of life, could once again warm the heart.

If the prohibition against meat had remained in force, then, when the desire to eat meat became overpowering, there would be little distinction between feasting on man, beast, and fowl. The knife, the axe, the guillotine, and the electric pulse would cut them all down, in order to satiate the gluttonous stomach of “cultured” man. This is the advantage of morality when it is connected to its Divine Source: it knows the proper time for each objective, and on occasion will restrain itself in order to conserve strength for the future.

In the future, this suppressed concern for the rights of animals will be restored. A time of moral perfection will come, when “No one will teach his neighbor or his brother to know God - for all will know Me, small and great alike” (Jeremiah 31:33). In that era of heightened ethical awareness, concern for the welfare of animals will be renewed.

Preparing for the Future

In the interim, the mitzvot of the Torah prepare us for this eventuality.

The Torah alludes to the moral concession involved in eating meat, and places limits on the killing of animals. If “you desire to eat meat,“ only then may you slaughter and eat (Deut. 12:20). Why mention the “desire to eat meat"? The Torah is hinting: if you are unable to naturally overcome your desire to eat meat, and the time for moral interdiction has not yet arrived - i.e., you still grapple with not harming those even closer to you (fellow human beings) - then you may slaughter and eat animals.

Nonetheless, the Torah limits which animals we are allowed to eat, only permitting those most suitable to human nature. The laws of shechitah (ritual slaughtering) restrict the manner of killing animals to the quickest and most humane. With these laws the Torah impresses upon us that we are dealing with a living creature, not some automaton devoid of life. And after slaughtering, we are commanded to cover the blood, as if to say, “Cover up the blood! Hide your crime!”

These restrictions will achieve their effect as they educate the generations over time. The silent protest against animal slaughter will become a deafening outcry, and its path will triumph.

(Gold from the Land of Israel (now available in paperback), pp. 31-33. Adapted from Talelei Orot, ch. 8 (quoted by Nechama Leibovitch, Iyunim Besefer Bereisheet, pp. 55-56). Otzarot HaRe’iyah vol II, pp. 88-92)

Noach: The Rainbow’s External and Internal Reality

Parashat Noach 5778
By HaRav Nachman Kahana

The waters retreated and the ground began to restore its mantle of green, and the feeling that a new age had begun enveloped Noach and his family. But it was not a consummate joy, because in the back of his mind Noach harbored the fear that in the future there could be another deluge to destroy all mankind.

The Creator alleviated Noach’s fears with an assurance that He would never again cover the earth with water as a punishment for man’s evil deeds, and He decreed that the rainbow would forever serve as the symbol of this declaration.

The sign of the rainbow requires explanation. Most commentators on the Torah agree that the rainbow is not a new phenomenon but a natural result of sunlight’s refraction off the tiny droplets of moisture when the sun is below 42 degrees over the horizon. So how does the rainbow serve as the symbol, and why did HaShem choose to appoint a common natural phenomenon to a new relationship between HaShem and Man?

In addition, I find it strange that the story of Avram begins in the parasha named Noach, creating the impression that Avram had a minor part in the story whose star was Noach.

I suggest.

As we delve more and more deeply into the internal essence of any issue, be it material or spiritual, we find the details to be less diversified and less complex than what appears from its external trappings.

In nature, our world is distinguished by its many diversified flora and fauna – not to mention the “infinite” grains of sand on the world’s beaches. However, as we enter the internal world of atoms, we find that the atoms of a steel girder are identical to those which comprise the wings of a butterfly. The resulting difference between the all-powerful steel girder that supports 100 story buildings and the delicate, fragile wings of a butterfly is due to the number and configuration of the atoms within the molecules that comprise the chemical elements of our existence. And if we go back in time to the first Big Bang, the present belief among scientists based on Einstein’s teachings is that the essence of all the atoms and subatomic particles is “simple” energy produced by the “big bang” which – about one millionth of a second later – began to condense into matter.

The external appearances are a steel girder or butterfly wings. However, their internal makeup is the indistinguishable atom, and the atom’s internal essence is undivided simple energy.

In our spiritual world, this phenomenon appears in the Bet HaMikdash. Kohanim wore identical apparel of four pieces of clothing, making each kohen indistinguishable in appearance from his fellow Kohanim. In addition, the individual Kohen did not have a task specifically assigned to him, but was assigned his task by virtue of a daily drawing of lots. Also, the amount of terumah which the Torah requires to be given to the Kohen is one grain out of an entire crop, which again emphasizes the identical features of the Kohanim.

In contrast, levi’im had no specific uniform which would de-emphasize their individuality. Every levi had a task which was specific to him. A doorkeeper could not change his function to be in the choir and vice versa. The tithe given to the levi was one tenth of the farmer’s crop, which resulted in different amounts given to each levi.

The result of all this was that the levi’s individuality was a perceived fact, whereas the kohen’s individuality was minimized. The reason is that the kohen’s service to God is more internal and hidden so his essence is less complex, whereas the levi’s tasks are more external and hence more individualized.

The rainbow, too, has an external and internal reality.

The external one is perceived as its seven basic colors, ranging from red to violet, while the complete amalgam and consolidation of all the seven colors disappear into uniform transparent light. The external is detailed and complex; the internal is simple and homogeneous.

HaShem was informing Noach that He would produce an emanation from within the invisible, concealed, ethereal, imponderable, indiscernible, intangible, essence of Himself. The imperceptible One, so enclosed within Himself never to be disclosed but to Himself, more ethereal than light, would become perceptible to lowly Man in the form of the external 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The seven colors of the rainbow are perceived by the breakdown of light when it comes into contact with water droplets. The mitzvot are perceived when the Holy Spirit comes into contact with a Jewish neshama.

This is the essence of שמע ישראל ה’ אלקינו ה’ אחד.
Listen (understand) Yisrael, the God of the manifold forces of nature is essentially one ethereal entity

HaShem informed Noach of His intention to bring into the world a holy people whose souls will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and will perceive the 613 desires of HaShem. The father of this nation will be Avraham, and that is why the saga of Avraham begins in the parasha of Noach. It is to inform us that HaShem’s declaration never to destroy the world with water is dependent upon the degree that the Jewish people – the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov – will abide by their deepest instincts to serve God.

In parashat Lech Lecha, HaShem informs Avram that his unique neshama, which reflects HaShem’s spirit into the 613 mitzvot, can do so only in Eretz Yisrael. This is the basis of the Ramban’s (Vayikra 18:25) affirmation that the Torah was given to be kept in Eretz Yisrael, and what we keep of the mitzvot in the galut (based on a verse of the prophet Yirmiyahu) is in order not to forget how to keep them when we return to Eretz Yisrael.

The parasha relates the “brit” (covenant) which HaShem made with humanity never to bring a worldwide deluge. But what concerns us even more is that, in the course of history, HaShem made covenants specifically with the Jewish nation, one of which was declared by HaShem to the prophet Yirmiyahu (32:37-42):

הנני מקבצם מכל הארצות אשר הדחתים שם באפי ובחמתי ובקצף גדול והשבתים אל המקום הזה והשבתים לבטח:

והיו לי לעם ואני אהיה להם לא-להים

ונתתי להם לב אחד ודרך אחד ליראה אותי כל הימים לטוב להם ולבניהם אחריהם:

וכרתי להם ברית עולם אשר לא אשוב מאחריהם להיטיבי אותם ואת יראתי אתן בלבבם לבלתי סור מעלי:

37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.

38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.

39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.

40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me.

41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.

Can there be any doubt that HaShem wants every Jew to be in Eretz Yisrael?!

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5778/2017 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Shamrak Report: Trump Targets Iran and Guards and more....

US President Donald Trump unveiled a new US strategy for Iran, while outlining the Islamic Republic’s 38-year record of violence since its 1979 coup. He listed the massacres of Americans its proxies perpetrated in Beirut in the 1980s, support for such terrorist groups as Al Qaeda (after 9/11) and Hizballah and fomenting vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria that destabilized the Middle East.

Trump then listed some of the measures he had approved:
1.    Action to counter Iran’s destabilizing operations in the Mid-East and outside.
2.    New sanctions to block financial revenue which serves to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The $100 billion Tehran received in sanctions relief for signing the nuclear deal – Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in 2015 was spent on those activities. 
3.    The United States will prevent Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests and further developing its ICBM program. 
4.    Iran would not be allowed to continue its threat to international navigation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba.
5.    Tougher sanctions for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), “the corrupt arm of the supreme leader, which has hijacked Iran’s financial assets to foment terror and supply proxies with weapons.” Those further sanctions will apply to the entire IRGC, which controls one-third of Iran’s national economy, including its oil industry and its nuclear program, as well as its agents and the terrorist proxies it runs. He urged US allies to join in this step.
6.    International inspections of Iran’s compliance would be tightened. Among Iran’s direct violations of the accord, Trump cited production in excess of 130 metric tons of heavy water, failure to meet commitments on advanced centrifuges, and “intimidating international nuclear inspectors,” who were not allowed to visit military sites suspected of clandestine nuclear weapons activities. He also ordered a review by US intelligence of Iran’s dealings with North Korea.
All these measures and sanctions are potentially capable of shaking the ayatollahs regime to its military and political foundations.
FOOD for THOUGHT by Steven Shamrak
Thank G-d that the Arabs rejected the UN Partition plan in 1947 – now they have no legal claim, under international law, to the land of Israel – Judea, Samaria and Gaza! Arabs were so sure that Jews, who had not recovered yet from the trauma of the Holocaust, would not be able to defend the little scrap of land that the UN (the Ugly Nazi) so 'generously' gave to them, so they arrogantly attacked the newly created Jewish state, which had no army or real weapons! And the rest of the world was eagerly waiting in anticipation that seven advancing Arab/Muslim armies would at last finish what European Nazis started!
Israeli Air Force jets destroyed an anti-aircraft battery well inside Syria on Monday morning, after the surface-to-air system had launched a missile. Israeli recon planes were flying over Lebanon when Syrian SA-5 surface-to-air missile targeted them.
Reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah signed in Cairo; PA President Abbas: Agreement 'final end to division'; agreement reportedly includes deployment of 3,000 PA cops in Gaza, along borders with Israel including Rafah crossing, handover of Gaza administrative control from Hamas to the Palestinian unity government. (This is another attempt to appease international ‘requirements’ – doomed to failure from the beginning!)
US to withdraw from UN cultural organization UNESCO on December 31, 2018, citing its anti-Israeli bias, as reflected by recent decisions naming Hebron Old City 'Palestinian World Heritage Site'; decision also serves as cost-saving measure for US. (This is a step in the right direction - Israel/Jews are used as an excuse for anything!)
Egypt bulldozes at least 140 homes along its border with Gaza to expand buffer zone, in a combined effort with Hamas to prevent weapons and ISIS and other militants from crossing over. (No international 'outrage'!)
After months of allegations and concerns about security firm Kaspersky Lab’s involvement in Russian government hacking efforts. It was reported that Israeli intelligence operatives actually hacked Kaspersky Lab possibly as far back as 2015. The operatives were able to access files and hacking tools on the Kaspersky Lab network that appeared to be stolen from the US National Security Agency, and then reportedly informed their U.S intelligence counterparts of their findings.
Jewish French Culture Minister, Audrey Azoulay, is elected new director-general of UNESCO, criticizing the US and Israel for quitting the organization instead of investing to reform it - which she promises she will.
Iran made dozens of attempts to illicitly obtain missile and nuclear technology, even after it was bound by the nuclear deal with world powers. The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia found that Iran made “32 procurement attempts… that definitely or with high likelihood were undertaken for the benefit of proliferation programs.” In an earlier report on 2015, the German intelligence agency found that Iran made 141 attempts to procure similar technologies. (At the same time IAEA chief said that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal)
It was reported that a total of 3,829 housing units in Judea and Samaria would be approved, but less than a quarter of the units in question will receive approval in practice. Shlomo Ne'eman, the head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said "We cannot accept the fact that every Jewish home here requires special approval from overseas. This is not only national humiliation - it is a violation of Israel's independence on its soil... We are not denying the achievements of the prime minister, but we are demanding a courageous move that will change the system. We have to be the sovereign in this land.”
Quote of the Week:
“Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” - Mohandas Gandhi
(Negotiations and boycotts have not stopped North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems, or making threats to attack the US.)
US President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it.
Trump announced the major shift in US policy in a speech in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East...
The move by Trump was part of his “America First” approach to international agreements which has led him to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks.
His Iran strategy angered Tehran and put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union, some of which have benefited economically on renewed trade with Iran...
While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact...
Trump warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”
Israel is upbeat about US President Donald Trump's announcement of major steps against the international nuclear deal with Iran, but voiced doubt that the tougher tack by Washington could turn around Tehran.

Netanyahu, Tell the World the Truth!

This past Shabbat, all across the Jewish world, the yearly Sabbath Torah reading was begun anew with Bereisheet, the beginning of Genesis. With the recent reconciliation agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah looming in the background, Trump’s push to renew “peace” negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is seemingly on track again.

Traditionally, every Jewish child who learned Torah was taught the text and the commentary of Rashi – Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki – the famous 11th century French Biblical and Talmudic commentator. In the beginning, literally, of Genesis, Rashi asks a question, “Why does the Torah start with the story of creation? Since the Torah is a book of laws for the Jewish People, why doesn't it begin with the first law given by G-d to the Jews, the law for establishing a calendar?” He answers that it starts with the creation narrative to establish that G-d is the Master of the Universe. Then, Rashi says the most amazing thing that still resonates almost a thousand years later. Based on earlier sources and a thorough knowledge of the meaning of Judaism, Rashi says, “So that if the nations come to Israel and say, you are thieves – in Hebrew, she-kevash-tem, you conquered and occupied – the land from the nations living there, you can tell them that all the universe is G-d's, He created it and gave it to the nations, and when He decided, He took it from them and gave it to us.”

Three things have become starkly clear.

First, that Rashi’s explanation of the Torah has in fact come true. The nations today claim, as Rashi explained they would, that we stole the land from others, namely the so-called Palestinians. Second, the Israeli Left has used for years the same Hebrew root/term – kibush, occupation – as to denigrate the miraculous victory of the 1967 Six-Day War. It is the same term, “occupation”, used by most of the world in their criticism of Israeli policies in the “territories”. Even Ariel Sharon used it at one point. It is the language of self-hating Jews – those disconnected from Jewish history and tradition – and the Judeo-paths among the nations. Occupation is when you steal someone else’s land. The Jewish People liberated parts of their Promised Homeland in stages, first in 1948 and then in 1967 with G-d’s help. The Jewish People didn’t “steal” anything. And finally, that the only basis for the Jewish People’s national life in their homeland is G-d’s promise as set down in the Bible; not history, not security, but G-d's promise to their forefathers.

Rashi told the Jewish People to tell the world, “He took it from them and gave it to us.”

A true Israeli leader needs to stand up, not frightened of anyone or anything, and declare, “The Master of the Universe took it from them and gave it to us.” The Promised Land belongs to the Jews exclusively, and not to any other nation.

Any Israeli prime minister who can't get on TV or go to the UN General Assembly, or any other meeting with world leaders and say these words, should either quit or commit suicide before rejecting the promises of G-d and participating in a process to help another group take over part of the Land of Israel. As King David said, “If I forget you Jerusalem” - a term for the entire Land of Israel - “let my right hand wither” - rather than sign any false peace agreement - “let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth....” (Psalms 137: 5-6) rather than agree to foreigners taking over part of the Jewish People's homeland.

If someone can blow themselves up to gain a state not their own, if kamikaze pilots can kill themselves in war, if soldiers can risk their lives in suicide missions, then the Israeli prime minister can quit or “step out” rather than lie to the world.

Netanyahu, tell the world the truth, “He took it from them and gave it to us.”

Every Jew, in fact, every Christian and Muslim, knows that the Land of Israel was promised to the Children of Israel, the Jewish People, by G-d, forever. The same G-d they claim to worship. The British pro-Zionists who worked to convince her majesty’s government to issue the Balfour Declaration in 1917, believed in the Divine Promise to the Jews. So, why continue to perpetuate this lie called the “Peace Process”? The Palestinians might gain some temporary control over the land – like in Gaza – for G-d’s own reasons, but in the end, it will be taken from them anyway and returned to its rightful tenants, the Jewish People – I didn’t say owners, because G-d is the only true owner of everything.

It is true that a democratically elected government in Israel might choose, for political expediency, to transfer control over parts of the Jewish People’s homeland to others, like what happened in Gush Katif – Jewish Gaza; and that, in political terms, it might be seen as legitimate; but, in the Court of Final Justice, above, there never will be any Spiritual Legitimacy to the act. Anyone going against the will of G-d will ultimately have to account for their actions. Reward and punishment is a basic concept in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Heaven help those who try to take away the Divinely Promised Land from the Jewish People. Look what happened to Rabin, Sharon, Olmert, and countless others involved in the “Disengagement”...

Why lie to the Palestinians? Why make them believe they are right, that Israel “stole” their land? Why participate in a peace process? Why fool them into believing that Israel will give them land and a state?

Netanyahu, tell the world the truth, “He took it from them and gave it to us.”
What’s most important for Israeli leaders and the world to understand is, that no matter what the Israeli government decides to do, it has no Religious Legitimacy in Judaism. No Israeli leader or government has the moral, historical, or spiritual right to take away parts of the Promised Land from the Jewish People and give it to others. It’s not theirs to do with as they please; the Land of Israel is an inheritance from G-d and it is not for one generation to decide what to do with it. It is also for all future generations of Jews. It will never be accepted by Jews steeped in their heritage and tradition, or by G-d.

“Ani Ma'amin...” I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even if he takes a long time to come, I believe every day, he’s coming! It is one of the thirteen principles of faith as codified by Maimonides. The Jews will get back their homeland; the Palestinians will not have a state. So why start now, so close to his coming?

The Land of Israel was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Master of the Universe told them that even though their children will suffer terrible exiles – an educational and cleansing process – in the end, He would bring them home. In the 1948 War of Independence, G-d gave political sovereignty to the Jews for the first time in almost 2,000 years. In the 1967 Six-Day War, G-d returned the Holy City of Jerusalem in its entirety – including eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount – to the Jewish People. Hebron – Judaism’s second holiest city – with the Cave of the Patriarchs, the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and King David’s first capital city, before Jerusalem – was returned as well. Truthfully, Judea and Samaria – the so-called West Bank – is drenched in Jewish history and Jewish holy sites. That’s why it’s commonly referred to as the “Biblical Heartland”.

The Jewish People have been brought home.

Those who have built their world-view on security needs and have claimed that we cannot allow a Palestinian state to come into existence because of that, have missed the point. The Palestinians, and the world, are playing the “Peace Card”. Even if they promised up and down, that there would be a thousand years of “Peace”, how can Israel spurn G-d’s promise?

Once there was a nice family who lived in a rough neighborhood. They wanted to get along with their neighbors, but the neighbors hated them, and used to throw rocks and break their windows all the time. One day, the leader and toughest of the neighbors came over and said, this is my house, and demanded it. The owner, father of the nice family replied, no it’s not, its mine. The neighbor insisted. Not wanting any more trouble, the owner invited him in to talk. The neighbor demanded the house and refused to leave; he threatened the owner. The owner decided to be nice and offered him a room to stay in.

Later, the neighbor claimed that the owner’s wife was in fact his wife. He implied he would kill the owner. The owner of the house, thought for a moment, my wife, my life, and then decided to share his wife. Why cause problems, he thought to himself. The neighbor, emboldened with his successful intimidation, next claimed the owner’s arm. Give me your arm, or else, he demanded. Well, the owner had a tough time at first, then he thought, my arm or my life, hmm, a small price to pay, and he meekly cut off his arm. Finally, the neighbor demanded, in the most insolent way imaginable, give me your heart...

The Land of Israel is the Jewish People’s heart.

Members of the ruling Likud Party and the National Camp have for years based their claim to the “occupied territories” on historical claim, and, more importantly, have said that for security reasons, they couldn’t give them away. The Israeli Left, in contrast, has argued for quite some time that control over Judea and Samaria is a security liability and not an asset. They have argued that the only true security is in “Peace” with the Arabs and not the status quo. American presidents, from Clinton to Obama, have basically said the same thing. Trump seems to be following their examples.

And what about settlement leaders, those so-called “right-wing extremists”, who spurn all talk of “Peace”?

When the Israeli cabinet decided to accept the “Roadmap,” with objections in 2003, the spokesman for the Yesha Council – of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza – Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, said, “What is done is done. What we can do is try to amend the Roadmap and shift it to the right.” Shift it to the right? It wasn’t a matter of a little shift here and a little shift there. And, this is a so-called leader of the “Settlement Movement”! Their unsuccessful resistance to the expulsion of Jews from Jewish Gaza in 2005 confirmed the failure of their “moderate” policies.

The Likud, the National Camp, and the Yesha Council at the time, all missed the point. The Israeli Left never had it. To the world, well what can we say? Except, “He took it from them and gave it to us.” There is no spiritual legitimacy to retreat from the Land of Israel. There is no spiritual legitimacy in refusing to graciously receive G-d's Promised Land, and fight for it. There is no spiritual legitimacy to any of these so-called “Peace” agreements, Oslo, the Roadmap, or any other future agreement.

Netanyahu, tell the world the truth, “He took it from them and gave it to us!”

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

Floods And Arks

By Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

The Torah’s recitation of the events of the great flood and of Noach’s ark is well known to all of us, no matter our position on the religious spectrum of Jewish life. It seems pretty accurate in reviewing human history since that event that we are always somehow perched on the precipice of a great cataclysmic event of horrendous consequences whether it is man made or of natural or climatic making. In our time we are faced with recurring natural disasters that have taken hundreds of thousands of lives, with the threat of nuclear wars of untold destruction and with economic crises that sap the vitality of societies, nations and individuals. The motto of King Louis of France après moi deluge - after me comes the flood - is an apt assessment of how much of humankind thinks today. There is very little optimism to go around in today’s world. The messengers of hope and change are not very convincing in their words and certainly not in their deeds and policies. So there is an overall malaise that besets us. There are no big dreams, bold policies, acceptances of risk and visions of what can and should be accomplished broadcast. The great ideals and movements that marked the beginning of the twentieth century are now all shattered idols at the beginning of the current century. Political rhetoric has lost all believability and the "kabbalist" soothsayers and human rights activists are in the main imposters. We pray for rain but are fearful of the flood.

Enter the ark. The ark symbolizes not only the salvation of one person and his family from the ravages of the flood but it more importantly symbolizes the ability to rise above our fears and innate pessimism and salvage the purpose of our lives from pessimism and nihilism. As a reinforcement of this idea of a saving ark there is also the natural phenomenon of the rainbow which represents an eternal covenant between humankind and the Creator that the flood will not recur. This rainbow is not to be misinterpreted or its impact to be exaggerated. We have no guarantees against recurring disasters, natural and man made, wars and strife, but we do have a promise that somehow human life will continue. It is therefore incumbent upon us to make that life productive, meaningful and in a true sense, eternal as well. The ark was and is the will of humankind to not only survive the omnipresent threat of the flood but somehow to overcome its dangers and attempt to reinforce the rainbow and not be distracted by the false messages of unrealistic hopes on one hand and the prophets of impending doom on the other hand. Every generation is charged with the task of building an ark for itself anew. It is also instructed to teach the message of the rainbow to the next generation, to implant belief, tradition, values and a concern for others into the lives of those that will follow us here on earth.

All of this is true for humankind generally. It certainly is true for the Jewish people particularly. Israel, world Jewry generally, finds itself hemmed in by enemies and beset by great problems. We are the only people targeted openly by others for a great flood to befall us. The world apparently is unaware that the fate of all is tied in inextricably with the fate of the Jews. One would have thought that the story of the twentieth century and its horrendous events would have made this lesson clear to all. Obviously this is not the case. But we Jews have to nevertheless continue building our ark. This little seemingly flimsy ark has withstood all of the floods that time has thrown against us. We should revitalize ourselves, dream great dreams again, see the great picture and not concentrate so much on the picayune details which so blind us to our accomplishments and goals. We have to rebuild ourselves anew but without discarding the treasures of our past. God promised the Jewish people a new heart and the ability to rise to all challenges. And above all we must educate our generation and future generations to observe the rainbow which is reflected in the Torah and our teachings and traditions. Jewish ignorance, hedonism and worshipping false idols that mask themselves as being somehow the greater good are the real flood that threatens our future existence and success. The rainbow teaches us that our ark is waterproof and those generations and individuals wise enough to enter it will surely succeed in avoiding all permanent floods and disasters.