Friday, November 30, 2012

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Vayishlach 5773

Parashat Vayishlach 5773
Our parasha lays down the schematic plans for the future of Am Yisrael, as quoted in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Sifrei Bamidbar chapter 69 so plainly and without extravagance or embellishment:
הלכה בידוע עשו שונא את יעקב
It is a well-known halacha (immutable fact) that Aisav hates Ya’akov
Aisav or Edom - or the evil Rome as he is sometimes called - retains an immutable, ageless, constant, enduring, perpetual, unalterable, inoperable, terminal disease diagnosed as "hatred towards Ya’akov," which is transferred to his descendants as a dominant gene.
And what we see in the parasha has been and is still being played out now and into the future.
The parasha records the names of the heads of the major clans which descended from Aisav: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholivamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mivzar, Magdiel (identified as Germany) and Iram.
In the years that Ya’akov and the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt, the descendants of Aisav expanded in numbers and in territory. Over the centuries, according to our tradition, the clans of Aisav relocated from the Middle East to Europe, and from there to the Americas, as they accepted Christianity and developed western civilization.
Aisav and his third wife Basmat (daughter of his uncle Yishmael) had four sons named Nachat, Zerach, Shama and Mizzah.
The schematic plan that HaShem had postulated for the Jewish nation is as simple as it is tragic. We, as HaShem’s chosen people, were destined to fall into the jaws of foreign nations, and each time HaShem would miraculously save us. HaShem’s intervention with the Egyptians brought us Pessach; the salvation from certain death in Babylon and Persia brought us Purim; the victory over the Greeks brought us Chanuka; the destruction of the Third Reich brought us Yom Ha’azmaut; and what is transpiring in these years, when we are being threatened by the descendants of Aisav and of Yishmael - each one alone and at times together - will bring us the Mashiach.
In our own time, we witnessed the most agonizing chillul HaShem that ever transpired in our long history - the Shoah - and then we witnessed the most moving and dramatic kiddush HaShem - the return of Am Yisrael to our promised land with the establishment of Medinat Yisrael.
At the beginning of the Medina, we were forced to fight the descendants of Yishmael in the War of Independence. Then we fought the combined forces of Aisav and Yishmael when the Soviet Union sent troops and material to the Arabs in the Six Day War. At its close, Jewish soldiers reached within 100 kilometers from Cairo and 35 kilometers of Damascus.
Indeed, HaShem demonstrates to us and to the world - whoever is listening - His personal, intimate relationship with the Jewish nation.
In September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, sought full member-state status at the UN based on pre-1967 frontiers. But the bid was effectively stalled two months later after Security Council members were unable to make a unanimous recommendation. Abbas has submitted a request to the General Assembly - where there is no veto power - for international recognition as a
"non-member observer state" status. Last night, an overwhelming majority of the member nations in the General Assembly voted to bestow this status on the no-people, no-nation, ragtag entity that the newspapers created and called Palestine. But facts are irrelevant with goyim when they deal with the Jewish people, as an honest Christian once said, "I don’t believe that J. ever lived, but I believe the Jews killed him".
What is transpiring today is in keeping with HaShem’s two-stage master plan: 1) to permit the various forms of evil a free hand in the world; 2) to have these evil forces victimize the Jewish people as a vicarious substitute for their ultimate but unobtainable goal of killing the God of the Jews, the Jews who have condemned them to be consciously aware of right and wrong.
If anyone has any doubt regarding the affinity that exists between Aisav and Yishmael, one need not look further than what happened last night in the UN’s General Assembly.
There are only two entities in the world which are not national states, but the member states of the UN has granted them "non-member observer state" status: the Vatican Aisavists of Rome, and the Yishmaelites now squatting on the holy land of Yehuda, Shomrom, Azza and East Yerushalayim. They are the willing hirelings of the anti-Jewish world to make battle against HaShem’s chosen people.
Yeshayahu 54:17
כל כלי יוצר עליך לא יצלח וכל לשון תקום אתך למשפט תרשיעי זאת נחלת עבדיה' וצדקתם מאתי נאם ה'
No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord.
In parashat Vayishlach, the brothers Shimon and Levi annihilate the entire population of the city of Shechem.
What was HaShem’s intention in bringing about this seemingly over-aggressive, unbalanced, asymmetric, excessive, disproportionate Goldstonian reaction by nice Jewish boys?
I suggest:
Avraham Aveinu arrived in Eretz Yisrael at a time when the land was occupied by the pagan descendants of Cham, son of Noach. There were cultures and sub-cultures of avoda zara (idolatry), each according to the family breakdown into the ten "nations" of Canaani, Chieti, Emori, etc.
Avraham was very successful in advancing the teachings of monotheism. He established a yeshiva and a hotel-restaurant where many people gathered to hear the word of God.
This was obviously not to the liking of the religious and political establishment, for Avraham was undermining the core beliefs of the people by introducing God and morality which touched on matters such as family, law, treatment of slaves, and much more.
But now the charismatic Avraham and his wife Sarah are long gone. Yitzchak is old and unable to see. Ya’akov, the ben Torah, has not been seen in Eretz Yisrael for over twenty years. The only relevant descendant of Avraham is Aisav, with whom the idolators can get along fabulously, since Aisav is one of their own.
So for all intents and purposes, Yiddishkeit is no longer present in the holy land; and the natives can return to their old ways, uninterrupted by pangs of conscious brought about by those "holier-than-thou" Jews.
Then one day, Ya’akov reappears in Eretz Yisrael with his family and possessions. His arrival could have been like that of the early chalutzim 100 and 200 years ago, when they bought "a dunam here and a dunam there," a house here and a house there, with no great message signaling their arrival.
However, HaShem speaks to people in the language that they understand. To us HaShem speaks as a father teaching Torah to his children; to gentiles He speaks in the language that they appreciate - the language of strength and war.
Ya’akov and Judaism have returned home, and the occupiers have to learn that it is no longer "business as usual". HaShem, as the ultimate playwright, brings about Ya’akov’s return on the stage of history in an explosive manner. The city of Shechem is decimated. Ya’akov explosive reappearance is what gentiles understand.
When Ya’akov and his 69 relatives leave the holy land to join with Yosef in Egypt, the land is once again devoid of Judaism. Four hundred years later, under the leadership of Moshe and Yehoshua, Jewish sovereignty is restored. Moshe defeats the two super-powers of Og King of Bashan and Sichon King of Emori, and Yehoshua continues to destroy 31 city states in Eretz Yisrael.
We again entered the land not by "dunam here and dunam there," but in the way that the gentiles understand - strength and conquest.
For two thousand years, the main body of the Jewish nation was in exile with only a small number of Jews remaining in the land. Judaism was not the dominant force here.
Then came the Holocaust. The enemies of our people were certain that it was only a matter of time until the world would be "free" from the shackles of Judaism and the dwindling and vanishing Jewish people.
Then in 1948, we again leaped onto the platform of history with an explosion that has caught the attention of the world until this very day. We drove back seven standing armies of Arab states in the War of Independence, and we have been dramatically victorious in all of our other wars, whenever the political level refrained from imposing restraints on the fighters.
Indeed, HaShem speaks to all in the language that they understand. We understand the kol demama daka (the soft gentle voice of HaShem), but the Aisavs of the world are impressed only by strength - with which Ya’akov is endowed when necessary.
Shabbat Shalom
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773-2012 Nachman Kahana

From Jerusalem - Not New York

By Moshe Feiglin

16 Kislev, 5773
Nov. 30, '12

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper
Israel has a simple option in response to the UN upgrade of a "nation" bereft of history that is intent on stealing our Land to non-member state status: Immediate withdrawal from the United Nations. If the UN would know in advance that Israel would respond by withdrawal, this preposterous idea would never have gotten off the ground.

The interaction between the United Nations and the State of the Jews has become the central axis of the UN's activity. Without Israel, the UN loses its raison d'etre. From our tiny little corner of the world, from our grasshopper view of all those giants, this seems patently absurd. But a check of the subjects of the majority of Security Council deliberations and decisions makes it impossible to ignore this logic-defying phenomenon: The entire world is obsessed with a tiny state that conducts itself more honorably, democratically and morally than most of the other UN members – and contributes to the world in a vast array of spheres, more than any other country.

The UN obsession with Israel is not based on Israel's ethics or actions. It is on an entirely different plane. This is how British intellectuals described their anger at Israel to the dean of the Sapir College, Dr. Ze'ev Tzachor: "We dreamed of a place in which the Book of Books would be written anew in anticipation of the redemption of the world. For you are a treasured nation. The world had great expectations, and look what you have done." (From a Makor Rishon interview written by Meir Uziel).

The world anticipates the declaration of liberty that will emerge from Zion. When this anticipation comes up empty-handed, it becomes disappointment and is translated into loss of legitimacy for the existence of a Jewish State on the face of the earth. The other side of the coin is traditional anti-Semitism of all sorts. All the anticipation and hopes from the universal humanistic message of Abraham on the one hand, and all the hatred for and opposition to that message on the other, are now directed at the State of Israel. Whether it likes it or not, Israel will always represent the Jewish message in the eyes of the world.

The incessant condemnations, the hypocrisy and the never-ending battles in the various UN committees express more than anything else the dichotomy of the world's deep need for Israel and its fear of its light. After all, the UN cares about Arab human rights as much as it cares about last year's snowflakes, as it has demonstrated with the ongoing catastrophe in Syria. When someone shouts at you, he clearly needs you. Without Israel, the UN loses its meaning and returns to the moral Stone Age, the pre-Abraham world.

But Israel is afraid of its own message. So it begs for recognition instead of understanding that if it would proudly bear its message to the world, the nations would vie to be recognized by the Jewish State . Post-Oslo Israel, which with its very own hands gave the keys of connection to the Promised Land to a non-nation, has no case against the world that recognizes this invented entity as a state.

The problem is not the UN. We are the problem. The solution is to immediately nullify the Oslo Accords; to prove our complete loyalty to all parts of the Land of Israel and first and foremost: to restore full and exclusive Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount. We must declare Israeli sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel that are in our hands, as stated in the Likud constitution. And then, we must withdraw from the United Nations. Switzerland managed just fine without being a member of the UN and we will also "survive" at least as well – and probably better – without it.

"And many nations will go and say, 'Let us go up to the mountain of G-d and to the house of the G-d of Jacob, and he will teach us his way and we will go on his paths.' For from Zion shall the Torah emanate and the word of G-d from Jerusalem." (Micha 4)

From Jerusalem –not from New York. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How Can Moshe Feiglin Help if Everyone is Insane?

Please read the following question sent by a supporter in Jerusalem and Shmuel Sackett's answer:

I just made Aliyah 3 months ago from NJ with my family. We are Chabad (on the modern side but very very much connected to the Rebbe)

Living in Jerusalem we’ve had our first air raid siren experience, our first up close and personal experience of soldiers we know going to the border and our first up close and personal experience of the cowardly anti-Torah government with the mentality of Chelm throwing us to the wolves who want to devour us. Also, our first experience of the insane passivity of the Israeli people, who seem to accept that loss of life and limb is just a normal part of being an Israeli.

I beg of you, I need to hear from somebody sane. I need answers to be able to stay here as right now I just want to flee. Why is nobody protesting? Why is there a ceasefire with a terrorist monster (incredible enough) that is still firing rockets at us while, I just heard, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “It’s to be expected”?

It’s not just the government that’s insane. It’s the people. Even the believers. Even Chabad. What people in this world would put up with this without rioting in the streets, demanding that their government protect them and their families?

Please, please give me some perspective!! I admire Moshe Feiglin very much, and it is good to work through the system if you have time, but this is pikuach nefesh MAMASH.

I am begging for some insight or direction. I cannot function in this kind of insanity; not only in my personal life, but in my business and in my shlichus – is there any way to arouse people to insist that their elected officials actually attempt to protect their lives?

So hoping to hear back from you –

Shmuel's answer:

There are 2 reasons why this is happening:
1) The people have been brainwashed and are simply spitting back what they have heard and seen since the day they were born.
2) As the expression goes; You can take the Jew out of the galut but you cannot take the galut out of the Jew

Let me explain:

When Ben Gurion took the reins of leadership, he made sure to control a lot more than the Knesset. He controlled the schools, the courts and the media. He gave jobs ONLY to people who carried out his ideology and vision and this has continued to this very day. The people are good and have great motivation. The IDF soldiers wanted to go into Gaza and level the place! They were prepared to be "mosser nefesh" but the leadership knocked them down time and again. And then – very shortly, the air is taken out of the balloon. The motivation is gone and the people slip back into their deep slumber.

Why do Chabad shluchim work 20 hours a day? Because their leader – the Rebbe, of blessed memory – worked 24 hours a day. He never tired so neither do they! He pushed and demanded excellence and greatness so that is what they deliver!

Here, the opposite is true. The people are great but the leadership stinks so they wind up dragging the people down with them! They deflate the motivation and the will to succeed. This is EXACTLY what Moshe and I – and hopefully you – are working at changing. We must give our wonderful brothers and sisters guidance and direction. We need to set a personal example. We need to show them how far we are willing to go and I PROMISE YOU - they will follow!!! Look throughout our history – when we had great leaders, the people did great things. When we had horrible leaders, the people were sinners and were just as bad. Stay strong and help us build those leaders and you will be amazed at how high Am Yisrael will soar!!!

The second reason is that for 2,000 years the Jews have lived under foreign rule. They never took care of themselves – outside of the shtetle or little community. There simply was no concept of Nationalism. All they had was themselves, their families and their community (shul, yeshiva, mikva, Chevra Kadisha etc.) They did not have a concept of a nation. In short, someone ELSE was always taking care of them – on a national level – and after 2,000 years, it is hard to purge oneself from that mindset. Therefore, even though it is 5773 and we are in Jerusalem – and it's not 4773 in Poland or Spain – the Yidden still think the same way. The government will take care of us – just make sure the Mikva is clean and the Eruv is checked. This is also what must be changed. But please understand that 2,000 years of galut will not be easily deleted after just 60 years of nationhood.

My friend – there's lots of work to do! Do not be discouraged but get strength and become a long distance runner. This battle will NOT be won overnight and we need the endurance to last until the end - whenever Hashem decides that will be.

With Love of Israel,
Shmuel Sackett

When Eisav and Yishmael join together

By Tuvia Brodie

Between November 14-21, 2012, four events took place which, together, remind us that Biblical stories might be dangerous to ignore.
The first event was the November 14 start of war with Gaza. After years of terror rockets coming into Southern Israel from Gaza, and most particularly after 260 rockets had been fired in a single ten-day period, Israel chose to attack Gaza. Her goals were to stop the attacks and to degrade Gazan’s ability to continue firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
The second event took place between November 15 -17, when it was reported that both US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and, separately, US President Obama, declared that, ‘Israel has the right to defend itself.’ At the same time, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Andrea Merkel and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton all declared their support for Israel. This appeared to be the first time in recent memory that Western leaders had given unanimous support to Israel.
The third event took place on the only Shabbat of this war: we read the weekly Torah portion. For this specific Shabbat, that portion was Toldot, with its story of the birth of the twins, Eisav and Jacob.
The fourth event took place on November 21, when US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced, with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at her side, that a truce between Israel and Gaza had been brokered through President Morsi.
Three of these events have a connection to what we see--war against Israel. The fourth of these events—the story of Eisav and Jacob—has a profound connection to what we don’t see--the underlying nature of this war.
According to the Jewish commentator, Ramban (1174-1270), the Torah portion of Toldot opens with language that draws our attention to the previous week’s portion, Chayei Sara, in order to clarify relationships that involve the twins, Eisav and Jacob, and their grand-uncle, Yishmael.
It is the connection between these three relatives that interests us.
First, Eisav and Jacob.
Our Sages teach that Eisav and Jacob, while twins, were very different. Eisav was a man of action, Jacob was not. Eisav scorned his birthright, Jacob did not. Eisav was cruel. Jacob was not. Our heritage  also teaches that the original plan for these twins was that they should be harmonious and complementary partners. Eisav would defeat evil. Jacob would spread good. But Eisav had other plans. He scorned his birth-right. He hated and then thought about killing Jacob.
Eisav forever feels threatened by Jacob. He desires to dominate and subjugate Jacob—and he knows that his destiny is to serve Jacob. Perhaps the descendants of Eisav have so hated that prophesied end that they have hunted, persecuted and murdered the descendants of Jacob in order to thwart that destiny. History certainly seems to validate such a premise.
Today, most say that the West—Europe and the United States—are the descendants of Eisav.
In this week’s Torah portion, Va’Yeitzei, we see that Jacob is afraid—and wary--of Eisav.
Jacob has reason to be wary.
Jewish leaders in Israel today do not seem to share that concern. They welcome Eisav’s kiss even though as the sages teach us that it is axiomatic and hard-wired into creation that Eisav hates Jacob.
Yishmael, the twins’ grand-uncle, has his own problem with Jacob. He, too, has reason to hate: he was cast away from house of his father Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather. He has never forgotten that. He has never forgiven it.
Today, Yishmael is the Arab. He cries that the descendants of Jacob are apes and pigs who must be slaughtered.
Jewish leaders in Israel seem not to hear Yishmael’s cry.
The reading of these three consecutive weekly Torah portions at exactly this time of year—when Israel confronts Gaza—is not a coincidence. These portions, called, Chayei Sara, Toldot and Va’Yeitzei, serve to remind us that the hatred of Jacob is real—and deep.
These readings also suggest that, if the last 2,000 years of history is any indication, such hate can in fact be handed down from generation to generation.
They remind us that any truce between Jacob and Yishmael (in Gaza) that is brokered by Eisav (the United States) and Yishmael (from Egypt) is not benign. The hatred is simply too strong.
Right now, Jacob, Eisav and Yishmael appear to stand in agreement. But the Jewish Tanach (our Bible) teaches us that the Jewish story of Eisav, Yishmael and Jacob is relevant even today. It alerts us to beware when Eisav and Yishmael join together to turn towards Jacob.
Do you believe this is nonsense? According to a snap poll taken in Israel hours after the truce was announced, 64% of Israelis said the truce would last only a short time and 24% said it wouldn’t last at all (The Times of Israel, November 21, 2012).
It appears that intrinsically, be they religious/observant or secular, the Jews of Israel are quite aware of the Jacob-Eisav-Yishmael axis.

Thank You Moshe Feiglin

By David Wilder

David Wilder is the spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron
Exactly four years ago, a few days prior to the Likud primaries, I posted a blog called: The Time is Now! - Moshe Feiglin & Manhigut Yehudit, I wrote: "It is quite clear: should Netanyahu be again elected Prime Minister with a parve Likud list, he will continue in the footsteps of one of his predecessors, namely one Bibi Netanyahu, who signed away 80% of Hebron to Arafat terrorists, and continued by agreeing to the infamous Wye Accords. Moshe Feiglin represents the paradigm Jewish leader: a man of faith and conviction, with a proven track record. This man, together with others, will be a true Kiddush HaShem, bringing to Israeli leadership what has long been so lacking: a belief and understanding of the 'holy triangle' of Am Yisrael – the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel, and Torah - and will be living proof that it is possible to utilize the existing framework of the State of Israel within the boundaries of Kedusha – holiness, thereby bringing about a major tikkun – rectification of the current failings of leaderless leadership."

After years of struggle and hard work, it seems that Moshe will finally speak for Am Yisrael from within the walls of the Israeli parliament. But that is not why I believe we must express a debt of gratitude to Moshe. His presence as an Israeli lawmaker is important, but I, personally, don't think this is his most important contribution to Israeli society.

Four years ago I used the words, 'should Netanyahu be elected with a parve Likud list" – parve meaning, a weak group of centrists, sometimes leaning right, sometimes leaning left, who are more afraid of Obama, Abu Mazen and the EU than anything else, excepting perhaps their own shadows.

In yesterday's Likud primary, a large, or better put, huge group of strong, idealistic, right-wing political activists with proven track-records were elected to represent Israel's ruling party in the next Knesset. I can happily say that all of the twelve people I voted for are in the top twenty, all of whom have an extremely good chance to be in the Knesset.

Ah, you ask, why would I vote in the Likud primaries?! What's with a Hebronite and the Likud?

The answer: Moshe Feiglin.

Moshe Feiglin is, I believe, directly responsible for the list elected yesterday. Almost all of those elected, with very few exceptions, are right-wing superstars, who fully back Hebron, and all other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, who oppose any type of withdrawal from anywhere in Eretz Yisrael, and who will combat, with all their hearts and souls, creation of a so-called palestinian state.

The reason that these people were elected is because of Feiglin. He enlisted the electorate who voted overwhelmingly for them in the Likud primaries.

I won't try to explain all the conceptual ideas behind Feiglin's ideology. He can do that much better than me. But simply put, his original initiative, challenging Netanyahu for the Likud premiership, while attracting a massive ideological political power base into the Likud, was a brilliant stroke of genius which began paying off four years ago, and has presently culminated with the current excellent Likud list.

The Psalmist writes: (34:15), "Depart from evil, and do good"

These politicians can put the brakes on Bibi, preventing him from pulling left, and doing 'evil,' while at the same time, they will 'do much good.' Gideon Saar is sending Israeli school kids to Hebron. Yisrael Katz renovated and modernized miles and miles of roads in Judea and Samaria. Zeev Elkin co-chaired the Eretz Yisrael lobby in the Knesset, etc. etc. etc. Many of them can attribute their victory to Moshe Feiglin's army of people, who, like me, joined the Likud to ensure, not only Feiglin's place in the Knesset, but also to guarantee a list such as was elected yesterday. And their triumph is our triumph.

The above-quoted verse in Psalm concludes: "seek peace, and pursue it." The peace sought and pursued by these words' author, relates not to Camp David, Oslo, or any other future farce. Rather, to real peace, the fulfillment of a Divine promise which includes the right and obligation of the Jewish people to live in their land, all their land, Israel. Only then will the entire world reap the rewards of tranquility and serenity, for ever after.

We cannot live under an illusion that all will proceed exactly as we would desire, that we are 'home free.' Not yet. But we're on the way. Each step in the right direction is a sign from Above that we've done something right. And in this case, we must give thanks where thanks are deserved. That's why we must thank Moshe Feiglin.

And now for a few lines from Shmuel Sackett:
Thanks to David Wilder for a great article.

As I am sure you heard, the primaries were extended to a second day. There were many technical problems and thousands of people could not vote on Sunday. Therefore, the elections were extended another day so that everyone could participate. We agreed with that decision, although it brought us logistical nightmares. Cars and cellphones had to be rented for a second day, additional printing was needed and many items were purchased which were not planned for. In short, because of that change, we ran over budget by $11,300. Please help us with those last funds. As you can see, the campaign was successful but we still need to pay our bills on time.

Please click here to donate to the successful campaign. Be a part of history!!!

With Love of Israel,

Shmuel Sackett

International Campaign Manager

Moshe Feiglin for Likud Knesset Member

The Likud Ballot Box: Bungling, Betrayal--and a new Ballgame

By Tuvia Brodie

On Sunday, November 25, 2012, Likud voters across Israel went to the polls to participate in a process to determine who would run on the Likud ticket in the upcoming January, 2013 national elections. The polls were scheduled to remain open until 9pm Sunday. But as voters reached their polling stations, many found that the computerized ballot machines didn’t work.
By late Sunday, the Likud elections committee announced that, because of complaints, they would offer additional voting the next day, November 26.    
Was that necessary? By the actual end of Sunday voting—which had been extended to accommodate complaints--some 51.6 per cent of Likud voters had voted. A call for an extra day of voting seemed strange because, in the last primary, less than 50 per cent had voted—and no one then had called for an extra day of voting.
What was the motive for another day’s vote?
Some Likud Nationalists grumbled—mostly to themselves--that an extra day was offered because Leftists in Likud grew frightened that Nationalists had captured too much of the vote; the computer issues were simply a pretext to help Likud Leftists more time to vote, to negate Nationalist election-day gains.
Were the computer problems pre-planned?
This looked like paranoid nonsense. Reality suggested that  it was problems with the computerized voting machines, not conspiracy, that prompted the extra day.
But then, a curious thing happened: while Likud polls did indeed open for a second day of voting, many poll stations in Judea-Samaria (considered a Nationalist stronghold) didn’t open at all.
Nationalists complained to the Central Election Committee. That Committee ruled that multiple stations in Judea-Samaria had to open. But as Israeli news reported, even though the Central Election Committee had issued the order for more polling stations on Monday morning, it was only later in the afternoon that the stations opened.
What was going on?
Likud political opponent Yair Lapid scored points for comic political commentary by declaring, “I looked at the Likud primaries: those people want to run a country?”
Our Jewish heritage teaches us about behaviour. We learn, for example, that we must not only avoid doing what is wrong, we must avoid the appearance of doing wrong (see Talmud Tractate Avodah Zarah, 12a).
Likud gives the appearance it is doing wrong. Remember, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has already given an appearance of wrongdoing in two previous primary battles with Moshe Feiglin. In one primary, he used arcane rules to drop Feiglin from the Likud candidate list. Then, in the last Likud primary, enough voter fraud occurred that voters never did learn how many votes Feiglin really received—20 per cent, 23 per cent or 30-plus per cent?
There may not have been wrongdoing in those primaries. But, there certainly appeared the impression of wrongdoing.
Now, computer and poll-place shenanigans raise more suggestion of wrongdoing.
Is there a pattern here? The tactics above focused on Moshe Feiglin. He seems to be the perennial target for Likud wrongdoing. His voter appeal threatens the anti-Nationalist power-makers in Likud. This primary reveals Feiglin gaining support, not losing it. He took a high 14th place in this week’s primary; dropping him again may not be pain-free.
For many Nationalists outside Likud, the incessant pressure against Feiglin is the reason he should leave Likud; clearly, the argument goes, Likud doesn’t want him.
It’s a good argument. But it’s the wrong solution.
Center-stage for Israel politics is not the Nationalist camp. That may sound cruel. But it’s true. Center-stage is Likud, Israel’s largest and most powerful political party.
If Nationalists want to lead Israel, they must lead from a stage that attracts more than just Nationalists. That means Likud; and if you have been paying attention, that also means Feiglin because his base stretches beyond the Nationalist core—perhaps more so than other Nationalists.
Nationalists might not like that. But leading Israel is not about being liked. It’s about leadership. It’s about leading people who don’t like you.
If there is one thing Moshe Feiglin learns in Likud, it’s how to deal with people who don’t like him. It’s a schooling most of us avoid. But it’s a schooling that, if it doesn’t destroy you, builds the strength you need to lead a nation.
You cannot go to that school by standing with your friends.  You do that the way Feiglin is doing it in Likud--the hard way.
The day after the primary, Nationalists dominated the Likud list. The voter message was clear. There is a new ballgame in town. Nationalists gain strength. Feiglin grows ever more prominent.
History teaches us that Likud wrongdoing could shift that list. Betrayal is possible. Feiglin is a target.
Netanyahu should be careful. The ballgame has changed. If he  betrays Likudniks too much, he could ‘cut off his nose despite his face’.
Is that a knife he’s holding?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moshe Feiglin Wins 14th Place on Likud List

By Shmuel Sackett

Click here for a short film of the moments
following the announcement of the winner's of the primaries.

Shmuel's election diary:

Dear Diary, (I actually never write those words but they make this article more dramatic!)

It is Monday night, 3:15AM, and I just returned home from the Tel Aviv Convention Center.

Baruch Hashem, Moshe has just won spot #14 – a GREAT accomplishment!

Here are the key points:

1) Moshe was the ONLY candidate to be elected to the Likud list from OUTSIDE the present Knesset. As Moshe said: "A senior government minister said to me tonight, 'To run against all the ministers, all the deputy ministers and all the Knesset members on the Likud's national ballot and to come in at 14th place (without being a former Chief of Staff or supported by a major player) is almost a mission impossible.'"

2) Moshe's position on the list is ahead of the present Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz.

3) In 2008 when Moshe won spot #19 – before they pushed him to #36 – he received 12,500 votes. This time he received 26,500 votes!

4) The big victors tonight were Danny Danon, Yariv Levine, Miri Regev and Tzippi Hotoveli who all moved up into "The Top 13". All 4 of these people were rookie Knesset members! To understand the extent of Moshe's victory tonight you need to realize that Danny Danon, for example, rose tonight to spot #5 all the way from his rookie spot of #26. Yariv Levine rose from #22 to #7. Therefore a rookie spot for Moshe of #14 is simply incredible! There's no stopping him now! I don't recall this EVER happening in Likud!

5) At the Convention Center tonight, when the names were announced, a nice round of applause was heard from the crowd of 3,000 supporters. However, when Moshe's name was announced the place went wild with chants of: Feiglin – Feiglin – Feiglin!!! Trust me on this one: This NEVER happened in the past!

In short, we are seeing something we never saw in the past and therefore, the tricks that will be thrown at Moshe in the next few days will be much more cunning than in years past. I am sure that the forces of evil will try something nasty – but we are ready for them! PS: We have a few tricks of our own this time!

The final two points I want to make is that while we are all very excited about Moshe's placement on the list, he is still not an MK. Those elections will be held on January 22nd and the combined list of Likud and Lieberman needs to secure victory on that day. Also, based on the arrangement with Lieberman, Moshe'a actual position on the combined list will be #24. Since polls show the combined list will receive 32+ seats, there is no need to worry about spot #24, but we still have to wait until January 22nd.

Last point: Appeals, claims or legal arguments can be made against any of tonight's victors until December 2nd. Bring it on!

It is now Tuesday at 2:00 PM. I managed to get a few hours of sleep and am on my way to a post-election meeting in the Feiglin HQ in Jerusalem.

Moshe gave interviews today! He is all over the radio, television and print media. The online blogs, Facebook and chat groups are buzzing as well. I actually feel bad for Gidon Sa'ar and Gilad Erdan who won spots #2 and #3. They are nowhere to be found! Feiglin is getting all the media attention, but don't worry; Moshe is a team player. His interviews have been focused and sharp. His goal is the success of Likud in the coming elections and he will do everything he can to defeat the Left.

And now for a few lines from outside the diary:

As I am sure you heard, the primaries were extended to a second day. There were many technical problems and thousands of people could not vote on Sunday. Therefore, the elections were extended another day so that everyone could participate. We agreed with that decision, although it brought us logistical nightmares. Cars and cellphones had to be rented for a second day, additional printing was needed and many items were purchased which were not planned for. In short, because of that change, we ran over budget by $11,300. Please help us with those last funds. As you can see, the campaign was successful but we still need to pay our bills on time.

Please click here to donate to the successful campaign. Be a part of history!!!

With Love of Israel,

Shmuel Sackett

International Campaign Manager

Moshe Feiglin for Likud Knesset Member

Moshe Feiglin on Globes TV: I See Myself as the Representative of Liberty in the Knesset

Don't miss this in-depth interview with Moshe Feiglin. The video is in Hebrew.
Click here or on the picture.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Anger Management

By Michael Hirsch

One of the major uses I have made of studying the Torah (Bible) on a regular basis is to learn midot tovot (good character traits) from the leading figures whom we learn about in the text. This past week’s Torah reading, Parashat Va’yetzei, is no exception.

Our forefather Ya’acov, Jacob, has travelled to Charan to his mother Rivka’s family home. The better part of the parasha is involved in the interaction between Jacob and his uncle Laban. To say his uncle is an underhanded character would be an understatement.

He agrees to let Jacob wed his younger daughter Rachel. However, instead of providing his daughter with a dowry, he demands Jacob work for him (salary-free) for seven years! On the wedding night, he substitutes his older daughter Leah for Rachel. The reason—“in our country, we do not marry off the younger daughter before the older one.” Something which Laban had somehow “forgot” to mention at the outset.

A dowry for Leah perhaps? Ha! Another seven years of labor, sans wages. And so on, and so on--one dirty trick after another. Even during years 15-20, when Jacob is working for Laban in order to build a nest egg, it’s the same old story—“and you changed my wages ten times” (Genesis 31:41).

But after Jacob has left Laban’s house, on his way back to his father Yitzchak’s home, Laban chases after him, accusing him of a myriad of crimes, including thievery (a story for another time). Would Jacob have every right to “lose it” at this point, to lash into his father-in-law? Anyone, having read how events unfolded throughout the parasha, would undoubtedly respond in the affirmative. But watch how our forefather handled it:

Va’yichar L’Ya’acov, Va’yarev B’Lavan, Va’ya’an Ya’acov, Va’yomer l’Lavan” (31:36). “And Jacob was enraged, and strove with Laban, and Jacob retorted (to Laban), and he said to Laban.” Remember the old expression “count to three”? Well, Jacob counted to four.

And Jacob was enraged—smoke was coming out of his ears; but he says nothing. And strove with Laban—he’s ready to “get it on;” but he says nothing. And Jacob retorted—he’s almost calm, but not quite. And he said to Laban—finally, having put all his anger aside. (Va’yomer is sourced from amirah, which Rashi tells us in a number of places equates to soft-spoken; by comparison, dibur/Va’yedaber is firm/forceful speech).

What a powerful lesson! However off-base your opponent, however despicable, whatever wrongs they have performed against you, curb your anger before opening your mouth. Rambam/Maimonedes tells us anger (ka’as) is one of the worst character traits. Let us all learn to curb our anger.

Gerry Ziering's Zionist Newsletter

Anybody who is looking for a nice relaxing place to live, please don’t pick Israel. Anybody who is looking for the greatest country in the world, please come immediately.  Having just fended off the most recent onslaught by the Islamic enemy in Gaza, who with the help of other radical Islamic regimes such as Iran, Sudan and Egypt, unleashed a barrage of missiles on the civilian population in Israel,  we have resumed our day-to-day lives of being productive and helping mankind. 

On Friday evening with the onset of Shabbat, we in Jerusalem received our first warning with the wailing of a siren during Kabbalat Shabbat. This came not long after we had welcomed in the Shabbat with a similar siren. This time however, we knew exactly what it meant.  We all calmly walked down to the Miklat (Shelter) and continued to welcome the Shabbat with more fervor than usual and we inserted a prayer for the well-being of all our soldiers and citizens of the South. The leader of the prayer service chanted in a mellifluous, haunting melody we had heard so many times before but somehow seemed to have more meaning this time. When we finished the maariv prayers each of us walked quietly home to see our wives and children and to eat our dinners with our families.

We had been riveted to the news all day. We were scared but optimistic. We hung onto every bit of information that emanated from the mouths of the newscasters and we couldn’t help but admire the way we were conducting a war that had been forced upon us. We were comporting ourselves  in the most patient and humane way possible given the situation. We had perfected through home-grown Israeli technology, a defensive system to knock out the missiles directed to the population centers in the South. It was almost science fiction to see how the Iron dome could detect the launch of a dangerous projectile, determine whether it should be intercepted, and then when judging it to be a bona-fide target, would knock it out of the sky. When forced into attacking after numerous months of restraining ourselves and running into shelters, we did so with uncanny accuracy and never directing our aim at civilians.

The following Thursday shortly after the cease-fire had been implemented I attended a bat-mitzvah of my nephew’s daughter in Eshchar in the Galil. My nephew had just returned from duty in Gaza, and with very little sleep began preparing for the happy event. He had figured out a way to detect the launching of rockets during the Lebanon war and had modestly accepted a prize in Haifa for his contribution. His computer technology was now an imbedded part of the Iron-Dome system. As I walked around the new yishuv, I could see all the children playing in the streets without a seeming care in the world. The parents talked about building a new school and enlarging the synagogue.  There was no talk of the war, no talk of hatred or revenge…only moving ahead, building, and looking for a peaceful solution.

We a nation of about 7.5 million people amidst perhaps 400 million Arabs who want to destroy us, have the courage to stand tall, and to continue the vision of our fore-fathers .  As the prophet Bilam uttered many years ago “Behold it is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations (Rashi clarifies that we will not assimilate and when the final reckoning to punish the nations arrives; Israel will not be among them.  The prophet Bilam raised his eyes and saw Israel dwelling according to its tribes, and the spirit  of G-d was upon him, He then proclaimed: “How goodly are your tents O Jacob, your dwelling places O Israel.

How thankful I am to be here.
Gerry Ziering