Friday, March 31, 2006

And on the 7th Day, I Rested

It's been a very long last few months for me, having been very involved in the NU-NRP Anglo campaign, and frankly, I am drained, both physically and emotionally.

At this point, I can't even begin to think about anything political, and only with great effort can I bring myself to read the news. I am hoping that by Sunday I will have recharged my batteries, and will be back to my normal, pre-campaign routine (which believe it or not, actually included blogging).

Until then, Shabbat Shalom from Ma'aleh Adumim (which as of now is still under the sovereignty of the State of Israel - sort of...).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Israeli Elections 2006: The Bigger Picture...

In about 35 hours, the polls to elect the members of the 17th Knesset are going to open.

In about 35 hours +/-, as many as 40% of those eligible to vote in the Israeli elections won't care - because they have no intention of voting.

The system doesn't work.

Everyone in the Knesset is corrupt.

There are no parties that represent my interests and values.

It doesn't matter whom I vote for, we're going to get the policies of the left...

The above are just a short list of the many reasons given as to why these people don't plan on voting this coming Tuesday.

All I can say is chaval! Chaval for them, chaval for the Jewish People and chaval for the Jewish State.

I truly believe, if we look at the current situation in the proper context, many of those people who are not planning on voting might have a change of heart.


I will not deny that the Jewish State is faced with many challenges, but, consider this:

Over the last 2,000 years, prior to the (re)establishment of the Jewish State of Israel, it is not difficult to imagine that in spite of all of the challenges that we face today, that given the choice, almost every Jew from any of those generations would gladly trade places with us today!

For 2,000 years the Jewish People were powerless, homeless and helpless. For 2,000 years the Jewish People were at the mercy and whim of the host countries in which we resided. For 2,000 years, the Jewish People had almost no control over their fate and over their future.

Today, in the Jewish State of Israel, the Jewish People have a home - having returned to our Homeland - and thank G-d, we have the potential to use the power that comes along with sovereignty - with a Jewish State - for the good of the entire Jewish People and to enable us to fulfill our mission in this world.

True, we may not like the choices that are before us this coming election day - but at least we have a choice.

Thank G-d that we have sovereignty over the Land of Israel.

Thank G-d that we have a Jewish State to call home.

Thank G-d that we have the chance to shape our future and the future of our children.

Thank G-d that we have the ability to choose the leadership of the Jewish State.

Granted, we might not like our options, but if we hope to change the course that the State of Israelis now on, one of the main ways to do so is through influencing the make-up of the Knesset, where the major policy decisions are made - and that can only be done through voting.

It is up to us to vote, and to vote wisely; to use our vote to strengthen Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel and to strengthen the State of Israel as a Jewish State...

But that is only possible if we first recognize how fortunate we are to be living in this generation - in the Jewish State of Israel - with all the challenges that come along with it... by casting our vote this Tuesday.

It's the very least we can do – and it’s more than any of the generations that preceded us could have ever hoped for – to hold the destiny and fate of the Jewish People in their own hands.

Let’s not let them down.

Assorted Israel / Election Thoughts

1) When exactly did the lives of "Palestinians" become more precious than those of Jews living in the Jewish State?

Despite terror warnings, Israel to open Karni crossing

(For a recent post of mine on how Israel should respond to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, click here).

2) Many of the political parties, as well as the Israeli media, are billing the upcoming elections as a referendum (over borders, the character of the State of Israel, and the approach that will be taken in dealing with the "Palestinians" and Hamas...).

Yes, it is a referendum

If that's the case, if / when the parties on the national / religious right form the next government, will the media accept the "will of the people" and stop inciting against the religious and the right, as well as encouraging continued retreat and appeasement in the face of Arab terror and begin advocating on behalf of the policies and ideology of the right?

My hunch is that just as Ariel Sharon didn't honor the results of the Likud referendum that were against the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif, Gaza and the northern Shomron, I imagine that the media will reject any election results that are not consistent with their progressive, liberal, secular, anti-Jewish State worldview - as they are clearly more enlightened than "the people" and as such must speak out as the voice of reason and guide the nation.

3) I personally have nothing against Baruch Marzel and Hazit or Michael Kleiner and Herut, but the chances of them and their parties getting into the Knesset in the upcoming elections are not very good, and there is the potential, between the two of them, to waste 100,000 +/- votes that would otherwise go to established right wing parties (3-4 Knesset seats).

Anyone who believes that 3-4 seats more on the right won't make a difference is fooling themselves. Oslo was passed by a single vote in the Knesset, and who is to say that there won't be additional votes in the upcoming Knesset that won't be decided by a handful of votes (or even worse, that the right ends up with 58 seats, and is unable to form the next government).

Consider the following:

Votes Received by parties that failed to meet threshold - 2003

[The qualifying threshold is now 2%]

28 January 2003 elections: The qualifying threshold (1.5%) from all valid votes is 47,226 votes.

36,202 Herut

When Kleiner and Marzel ran together, and the threshold was only 1.5%, they came up 11,000 votes short. In the upcoming elections, the electoral threshold needed to enter the Knesset is 2% (approx. 70,000 votes) and with Marzel and Kleiner running separately, the votes just aren't there.


4) Not to be a prophet of doom, but I imagine that the study: "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" under the auspices of Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government is keeping many members of the American Jewish community at night.

And if it's not, it should.

There are winds of change blowing through the United States. All one needs to do is look at how Israel is portrayed on University campuses throughout the United States (by top professors) and one can imagine how future policy makers and leaders in the US will relate to the Jewish State (and to Jews).

5) I can only imagine what the State of Israel and the state of the Jewish people would be like today if we invested half the amount of energy towards strengthening our connection to our Heritage, to our Land and to our People, as we did towards hating ourselves and trying to uproot our very right to exist.

One can dream, right?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sex in the Holy City - Part 3

It's back...

I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist the temptation to post the 3rd installment of Sex in the Holy City series (Part 1 & Part 2).

PR, San Francisco-style
New approach: Israel's general consul in San Francisco has tried a new tack in promoting Israel to the cities large homosexual community: A series of screening of the movie, "Keep Not Silent," a movie about ultra-Orthodox lesbians.

The consulate has invited the films director, Ilil Alexander, for a series of events with the highly-influential, traditionally pro-Palestinian community, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday.

"Alexander's visit represents for us an opportunity to deepen our ties with the homo-lesbian community, and to increase cooperation with it," said assistant consul general Omer Caspi.

I will pose once again the questions I raised in the wake of this post:
* What messages & ideas do we want people (both Jews & non-Jews) to associate Israel with?

* Do the ends justify the means when promoting Israel? Is everything and anything OK so long as it increases tourism to Israel, or raises pro-Israel sentiment?

* How does Israel's identity as the Jewish State fit in with all of this? Are these messages serving to bring shame and dishonor on Judaism, the Jewish People and the Jewish State?

Is it really so important that those who identify themselves as Pro-Palestinian come to love us at the expense of making a mockery of our heritage and identity (not to mention the ultra-Orthodox community)? Will that really earn their respect and admiration? And even if it will, is it truly worth the cost?

It's time to completely "disengage"

Over the last week, we have heard incessantly about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. There are critical shortages of food, drinkable water, medical supplies...

And, who is to blame for it all?

Why, Israel, of course.

If only Israel were to re-open the crossings from Gaza to Israel, whereby supplies could be trucked in, the humanitarian crisis would be over.

Not surprisingly, the government of Israel agrees.

Karni to be briefly reopened to let in limited food products

The defense establishment has decided to reopen the Karni cargo crossing between Israel and Gaza on Tuesday morning, despite terror warnings from the Strip, Israel Radio reported.

According to the radio report, the crossing will be opened for a short amount of time, and only in order to let into the coastal strip limited foodstuffs.

I must admit, I am at a loss.

Why is this Israel's problem?

When the State of Israel expelled the thousands of Jews who lived in Gush Katif and the rest of Gaza and pulled the army out, they were said to be completely disengaging from Gaza.

As such, any humanitarian issues that exists in Gaza should be handled by the democratically elected representatives of the "Palestinians" - namely, Hamas. If the "Palestinians" are interested in having independence, they should start taking some responsibility for their own lives and not expect the Jewish State of Israel (which Hamas is committed to destroying) to help them get by.

Furthermore, the "Palestinians" and Hamas are in full control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt (a subject which I have covered extensively: 1, 2, 3 and 4). Why can't humanitarian aid reach Gaza through there? Why isn't Egypt lining up convoys of supply trucks to help their Arab / Muslim brothers? If the EU and UN are so concerned, why not send ships / planes full of humanitarian aid to Egypt, and have them reach Gaza through the Rafah crossing?

It's time for the State of Israel to make it absolutely clear to the "Palestinians" and the rest of the world, that when they expelled the thousands of Jews who were living in Gaza and withdrew the IDF, that she was leaving and locking the door behind her (never to be re-opened until the day that Jews would return to rebuild their homes and communities).

As part of this absolute disengagement from Gaza, the State of Israel will not:

* Provide any aid whatsoever, be it material or financial to Gaza.
* Provide water and electrical services to Gaza (as is currently the case). From now on, Hamas can make its own arrangements in this regard.
* Allow the entry of anyone from Gaza into Israel (in particular, Arab laborers).

The "Palestinians" have been calling for independence.

Here you go.

Hamas wants to liberate "Palestine".


I'm confident that between the EU, UN and the 22 Muslim / Arab countries in the world, the humanitarian crises in Gaza can and will be handled in an efficient, professional and compassionate manner.

And if not...

It's not Israel's problem.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Are Israeli Arabs Loyal to the Jewish State?

I recently argued (here and here) that the State of Israel is first and foremost a Jewish State, and as such, it need not apologize for investing greater funding in areas that will strengthen Israel as a Jewish State and placing the needs of the Jewish People before those of anyone else. Furthermore, I argued that absolute equality is not possible in a Jewish State, and ultimately, one will need to choose whether to place a greater value in the State of Israel's democratic character, or it's Jewish one.

As can be expected, not everyone agrees with this outlook, in particular, my blogging buddy Don, from On the Contrary, who argues about the importance of (absolute?) equality between Jews and non-Jews in the State of Israel in his posts on the subject (here and here).

To Don, and others who share his outlook on this issue, consider this: Poll: Israeli Arabs happy with Hamas win

Two-thirds of Israeli Arabs were pleased with Hamas's win but even more believe the State of Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, according to a survey presented at a conference Thursday about the trends of the Arab voters at the University of Haifa.

Seems like a point for Don and his followers, as the bottom line shows that regardless of their personal political beliefs, the majority of Israeli Arabs recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, and what more can Israel really ask / expect from the Israeli Arabs?

But, before I concede the debate to Don, let's see what else the poll found:

But despite their claims of support for a Jewish state, "What they don't agree to is a Zionist state, meaning a state which has the right to preserve its Jewish majority," Prof. Sammy Smooha, one of three sociologists who made the poll, told The Jerusalem Post. "They accept there is a Jewish majority but not that the state has a policy and law of return to preserve and increase the majority."

In essence, the Israeli Arabs are saying that they accept the fact that today the State of Israel is a Jewish State, but they do not accept that the State of Israel must be a Jewish State tomorrow, and they oppose any actions or policies that work to ensure that the State of Israel remains a Jewish State (such as the Law of Return, or efforts to "Judaize" the Galil, the Negev and Jerusalem).

So, I ask Don, and those who share his outlook the following question:

Are Israeli Arabs who share the above sentiments loyal citizens of the State of Israel?

Can a citizen who seeks to undermine Israel as a Jewish State (even through entirely peaceful means) be considered a loyal citizen of the State of Israel?

I say no, and I imagine that Don would say yes - in the name of maintaining the democratic character of the State of Israel.

Personally, I believe that the State of Israel has an obligation to ensure the rights of all those who live within her borders, however, I do not believe that one of those rights is the right to change the State of Israel from a Jewish State into a State of its Citizens or into a Palestine.

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Religion, Women's Rights... I'm all in favor.

Nationalistic rights (the right to democratically destroy the Jewish State from within) - I absolutely oppose. If there are non-Jews living in the Jewish State of Israel who have nationalistic aspirations, there are 22 Arab / Muslim countries where they can express them (and there's always the EU, of course).

Does this make me a racist?

I think not.

I believe that those who think that the Israeli Arabs nationalist aspirations can be bought off by providing them with a more money and opportunites are the racists; those who believe that the Israeli Arabs love their imagined Homeland - Palestine - less than the Jews do are the racists.

I respect the Israeli Arabs. I recognize that they will never feel equal in a country whose national anthem is the Hatikva, whose flag is the Star of David, whose national holidays are Jewish holidays, and where there is a Law of Return that grants automatic citizenship to any Jew in the world who wants to move to Israel - but not for Arabs.

The State of Israel is a Jewish State, any non-Jew who wants to live here in spite of that should have all their rights protected and ensured by the State - but that will not change the fact that the State of Israel was, is and will always be a Jewish State, and the sooner everyone realizes that, the sooner we can begin working towards achieving true peace, understanding and co-existence.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Kosher Adultery in the Jewish State

Let's pretend for a moment that the Israeli media was not negatively biased towards observant Jews, towards Jews who are against giving away land to those who seek to destroy us, or towards Jews who believe in the right of Jewish People to live in a Jewish State throughout the Land of Israel - as proud Jews.

Let's pretend for a moment that Israel's media was objective, fair & balanced in covering all things political.

Even in this dream world, Israel's media would still pose a grave threat to the Jewish State of Israel.

Consider the following article found in the "Singles" section of today’s Yediot Achronot: The pros-and-cons of adultery

Everyone tries to find excuses for their choices in life, but there are some that do it with commendable creativity. Here is a collection of arguments “for and against” adultery. You won't find this in the Torah.

Following my first (illegal) time, I stayed in bed and filled my pillow with tears... So after I wet the pillow, I fell asleep. When I got up I wasn’t the same person. I knew that I woke up to a different reality, one which you are either in it – or you’re not. In time, and because of the advantages involved, I chose to stay in that reality. And today, as an experienced veteran, I have put together some words of wisdom, and insights into why you should go ahead and do it. Honestly? At least for me, these arguments are the winners, big time.

The author of the article proceeds to list 20 reasons why one shouldn't commit adultery, and 33 reasons why one should - with him personally coming out in favor of cheating on one's spouse.

Or, how about this article from Ha'aretz entitled My life as Don Juan , an article about how men can learn to seduce women.

Here's another article from Yediot Achronot entitled The neighbor's grass is pinker focusing on the dating challenges of a Jewish gay male in Israel.

What values is the media industry promoting for the Jewish State?




Could it be that the glorification of these values might be the reason for headlines such as these (and for many of the social ills that currently exist in the Jewish State)?:

Marriage becomes less popular, family rights 'ignored'

Sharp rise in sex offenses by minors

Men: Provocative women asking for it

Half of Israeli men believe women who dress provocatively are looking to be sexually harassed, a new study reveals

United Jewish Front leader begs local beauty queen Linor Aberjil not to marry her boyfriend, non-Jewish NBA player Sarunas Jasikevicius, and 'divorce the Jewish people'

For those in favor of the State of Israel existing as a Jewish State, is it enough for there to merely be a Jewish majority for the State of Israel to be considered a Jewish State if many of the values and ideals in the country are based on foreign cultures and value systems that are antithetical to Judaism and a Jewish State?

While our attention is seemingly focused on issues such as demography and borders, the Jewish State is being destroyed from within.

Wake up!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The New anti-Semitism: We can hate ourselves just fine, thanks.

- From Israel's National Anthem, HaTikva - The Hope
Our hope is not lost,
Our hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem


That's what it's all about.

Sadly, for too many Jews in Israel (AKA Israelis), Zionism is all about freedom. In their eyes, the State of Israel exists in order that Jews can be free; be normal; be just like everyone else.

If that's the case, then the Zionist movement has been a resounding success.

Consider the following Yediot Achronot headline: Is anti-Semitic humor funny?
Israeli artist announces competition for anti-Semitic caricatures created by Jews; 'this will show the world how sane we are,' he believes.

“We decided to respond to riots in which people are being killed in because of caricatures,” Sandy told Ynet. “We think the easiest thing to do is to laugh at others. It's much more challenging to find your own weaknesses."

"So we decided to set a personal example. Anti-Semitism is always current, so after the Danes laughed at the Moslems and the Moslems initiated a competition of Holocaust jokes, we thought that as long as we are dealing with stereotypes, let’s test our own limits. We want caricaturists and illustrators to submit Jewish anti-Semitic caricatures. It will be good to refresh our anti-Semitic resources,” he said.

Sandy admits that the initiative is provocative. But he also says provocations "enrich" our milieu.

According to a statement to the press, prizes will also include matza baked with the blood of Christian children.

To see the entire gallery of anti-Semitic cartoons submitted by Jews, click here.

There you have it.

Jews in Israel are now free to hate themselves.

Who needs Hitler, Arafat, Hamas or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when we have our own Jew haters right here, in the heart of the Jewish State? If this isn't a sign of our being just like the nations of the world, I don't know what is.

When we lose our ability to answer the questions of "Why be Jewish?" or "For what purpose do we have a Jewish State?", we have lost our reason to exist as a nation.
25:32 And Esau said: 'Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall the birthright do to me?'

25:33 And Jacob said: 'Swear to me first'; and he swore unto him; and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

25:34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.

Perhaps, in the not to distant future, someone will start a contest where Jews throughout the world will be asked to submit cartoons expressing Jewish Pride or any other theme with the intention of strengthening the Jewish People and our pride in who we are, where we have come from, where it is that we are going, and what it is that we are trying to achieve.

Until then, we'll have to settle for enjoying our "bread and pottage of lentils" which is our lot for selling (and re-selling) our birthright.

(If anyone is interested in being in touch with one of the founders of the "Israeli anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest" and sharing your thoughts on the contest with him, feel free to contact Amitai Sandy: or 972-54-316-4117)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On the value of Democracy in the Jewish State

I recently received the following e-mail from a reader of this blog:

Ze'ev, since you support Democracy please write a post about why you feel Democracy is permissible within Halacha.

I must admit that I was rather surprised to receive such e-mail. Of late, the only post that I had written on this issue was one that was highly critical of Israel's Supreme Court for acting to strengthen the State of Israel's democratic character over it's Jewish character by its branding as racist the State of Israel's desire to strengthen 500 Jewish communities throughout the State as "National Priority Zones" while only doing so for 4 Arab communities. As such I am not entirely sure what the exact inspiration for the e-mail was.

That being said, I do believe that this is an important issue to address, although I do not believe that I am qualified to offer my own thoughts on this matter from a Halachic (Jewish Law) stand point, but rather from a Jewish thought perspective.

(If there is interest in my putting together a post on the issue of democracy a system of governance in the Jewish State of Israel form a Halachic perspective, I am willing to invest some time into researching it).

It seems, that for many in the State of Israel, particularly among the ruling elites that democracy has become the (unofficial) religion of the State of Israel. Not a day goes by without a call for the State of Israel to strengthen its democratic character and institutions, while one rarely hears such calls from the ruling elites to strengthen the State of Israel as a Jewish State (short of references of the need for there to be a Jewish demographic majority within the State of Israel - generally a buzzword for the destruction of additional communities and expulsion of thousands of more Jews from their homes).

Do not misunderstand me. I have nothing against democracy per se. I believe that as far as systems of government go, democracy has been proven to be among the better forms (if not the best), and the rights and values promoted within democratic societies throughout the world can be viewed as being generally positive. However, I question whether democracy (at least as it currently exists within the State of Israel, along with the values it promotes) is the best form of government for the Jewish State.

Democracy is not a value, in and of itself. Democracy is a system of government; a means to an end. Sadly, there are many (particularly within the State of Israel) who view democracy as being a value all its own, and an end in its own right. The Jewish People did not hope, yearn, dream, pray, struggle and sustain themselves over the last 2,000 years to return to Zion merely to be "the only democracy in the Middle East".

What sustained the Jewish People throughout their long exile was their belief that one day their prayers would be answered, and that they would merit to return to their ancient Homeland - the Land of Israel, where they would be able to live as proud, strong and sovereign Jews, as "one nation in the Land" where they would be able to create an exemplary society; one that would serve as a "light unto the nations" - and thus sanctify the name of Hashem throughout the world.

Therefore, the litmus test for determining the ideal system of governance within the State of Israel, be it democracy or any other form of government, must be whether it strengthens Israel as a Jewish State. Within the Jewish State of Israel, the system of governance is itself not a value but a means to achieve a greater end, namely allowing the State of Israel to develop as a Jewish State; one that will serve as the natural conduit for the Jewish People to accomplish their unique mission and destiny in this world.

One need not look very far (geographically or historically speaking) to find proof that democracy does not always produce positive ends. One need only look at our next-door neighbor, the "Palestinians" who just recently democratically elected Hamas, an organization that calls for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. (If one looks a little further back, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party were democratically elected to power in the 1933 elections in Germany - and sadly, we know what followed from that election.)

As such, the oft-used phrase that describes Israel as being "a Jewish and democratic State" makes absolutely no sense. How is it possible to equate the means - in this case, democracy, with the end - namely, Israel's existence as a Jewish State?

It is this confusion - the confusion over who we are and what we are aspiring to achieve here in the Land (& State) of Israel that has led to many of the challenges that we face today. When a people is unsure of its direction or mission in this world, it loses its reason (and will) to exist, and sadly, this can be seen very clearly today, as we continue to retreat in the face of our enemies while questioning our right to the very Land to which for 2,000 years we dreamed of returning without ever doubting our moral, historic and religious right to establish a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

(In general, if any of you have questions or suggestions for future posts, please do not hesitate to e-mail me (, and I will do my best to incorporate your suggestions.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Jews of Silence

Let's compare:

1) Some lunatic sets off a few firecrackers in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and in response thousands of Arabs protest / march / riot in response.

2) A less than flattering (but highly accurate) cartoon featured in a Danish newspaper equated the Prophet Mohammed (founder of Islam) with terrorism, which led to rioting, rampaging and murdering by hundreds of thousands of enraged Muslims throughout the world.


A) The only shul (over a century old) in Tajikistan (85% Muslim) - of the former Soviet Union - is being torn down so that yet another Presidential Palace can be built in its place - and the Jews of the world are silent.

B) 30 shuls in Gush Katif are destroyed in a single day by our Arab enemies (likely the largest single day # since Kristelnacht) - with the blessings of the government of the State of Israel - and the Jews of the world (short of some on the religious / political right in Israel) are silent.

C) The Temple Mount, the holiest site of the Jewish People, is systematically cleansed of any physical (historic) Jewish presence courtesy of the Muslim Waqf, as the government of the State of Israel and the Jews of the world are silent. This is in addition to the discrimination practiced against all observant Jews who visit the Temple Mount - a joint initiative of the government of the State of Israel, the Supreme Court and the Muslim Waqf - who said that there couldn't be Jewish - Arab co-existence?

D) Joseph's Tomb in Schem, as well as one of the oldest synagogue's in the world - namely, the Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho, are destroyed and vandalized at the hands of our Muslim enemies, and the Jews of the world and the government of the State of Israel are silent.

E) Qassam rockets continue to rain down upon the Jewish communities of Israel - going on over 4 years now - and the government of the State of Israel and the Jews of the world are silent!

Sadly, one could go on and on providing additional examples of Jewish silence in the face of oppression at the hands of our enemies.

What will it take for us to wake up?!?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Amazing Coincidences: Responses to "American Jewry and Israeli Demography"

Yesterday, I posted about the grave demographic threat posed to the Jewish State by the Israeli (Muslim) Arab population and alluded to a previous post of mine on the subject that dealt with the unique role that American Jewry could play in helping the Jewish State overcome the threat.

In response, I received the following comment by "Chaya":

The alternative is to bring in all those who claim any kinship with the Jewish people: there are thousands of people in the southern part of the U.S. and in South America who are descended from Anusim. They have to be encouraged to come here and live.

Plus, there are thousands of others throughout the world claiming descendency from the Lost Tribes. They should be converted and their arrival should be expedited. That would solve our 'demographic' problem.

Now, let's compare Chaya's comment with a comment I received to my initial post on the subject (just over 5 months ago) from a well-meaning Jew in New York:

There are a few ways that come to my mind. Complete Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews still in Ethiopia. Complete Aliyah of Bnei Menashe in India. Complete Aliyah of Russian Jews. These two alone increase the population by several thousands, and we know they are Jews.

Yet, the biggest issue is over whether Israel is a secular state vs. a religious state. If it is secular it doesn't matter who becomes the majority. If there is some sort of religious context for us as Jews being there, then it does matter. I guess the answer lies in the hands of every Jew collectively and individually.

Absolutely amazing!

Two separate posts - over 5 months apart - and 2 highly original and creative, yet nearly identical responses on how best to solve Israel's demographic dilemma.

As such, I will take the liberty of re-posting my own response to the first comment on the original post (with some minor changes) as I believe it stands as an appropriate response to Chaya's most recent comments:

While these suggestions are certainly a step in the right direction, I find it to be fascinating that these commenters are in favor of bringing every type of Jew (and sort-of Jew) to Israel from every part of the world where they can be found in order to help solve Israel’s demographic dilemma... everywhere except from America, of course. (In short, the commenters came up with suggestions that could be added to this list of other creative (but flawed) ideas on how to solve Israel's demographic crisis).

Sadly, I think that this reflects the traditional attitude of American Jewry towards Israel and Zionism: Israel - we love you. We stand together with you - always. The demographic threat facing the Jewish State threatens us as well. We're willing to give money, lobby our elected officials, hold rallies, and do anything else that might help you overcome the threat... Anything except make Aliyah ourselves, that is - that's more appropriate for the Russians, Ethiopians, Bnei Menashe, Anusim, the 10 Lost Tribes...

As the commenter from NY correctly notes, if Israel is a Jewish State, then it must have a Jewish majority (among other things). The time is fast approaching (if it hasn't arrived already) where Jewish bodies will be of much greater value to the Jewish State than their American $$$. The choice will then be upon each and every American Jew to decide himself what is more important to him - his comfortable lifestyle in America, or the future of the Jewish State and ultimate destiny of the Jewish People...

Think about it - You may be called upon to answer sooner than you think...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Family Day in Israel: A holiday that leaves us with nothing to celebrate...

Yesterday, February 28th, the State of Israel celebrated Family Day.

Never heard of it?

Don't worry. If the statistics that were released in honor of Family Day by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (along with New Family) concerning the makeup of families in Israel ('defined as two or more people living in the same household as partners or as parents with children') are accurate, then it seems that in the not to distant future, there won't be much of a need to celebrate Family Day in the Jewish State.

Marriage becomes less popular, family rights 'ignored'

The latest report published by New Family notes a 35% decrease in marriage rates in 2005 compared with 2004 - down from 40,537 to 26,454 marriages...

In 2004, there were 1.6 million families in Israel who fit this definition, each averaging 3.7 people. Of these, 82% were Jewish and 16% were Arab. Half of all families were composed of parents with children under the age of 18.

The number of single-parent families is growing 1.8 times faster than other families. In 2004, they numbered 103,000, totaling 6.4% of all families.

While 73% of families in the Arab sector are composed of two parents and their children, only 46% of Jewish families follow this pattern - 26% of them do not have children, and 13% have only one parent. In contrast with 4.9 people in the average Arab family, the average Jewish family has 3.5 members.

There are 18,000 families composed of same-sex couples. In lesbian households, 30% of couples are raising children, compared with 20% of male homosexual couples.

Now, let us add to the mix an additional set of statistics taken from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics annual report on the make-up of the State of Israel's population:
* By the end of 2004, Israel's population reached 6,869,500, including 5,237,600 Jews (76.2 percent), 1,340,200 Israeli Arabs (19.5 percent) and 291,700 "others" (4.2 percent).

* In 2004, the Jewish community constituted 76.2 percent of Israel's total population in comparison to 77.8 percent in 2000. However, the Muslim population reached 16.1 percent in 2004, in comparison to 15.2 percent in 2000.

* The Israeli population is regarded as the "youngest" population, with 28.4 percent under the age of 14 years, compared to an average of 17 percent in other westernized countries. However, in comparison to other communities in Israel, the Jewish population is the "oldest", while the Muslim community is considered the "youngest".

* Furthermore, 11.6 percent of the Jewish population is over the age of 65, compared to 2.7 percent in the Muslim community; 43 percent is under the age of 14 compared 25.6 percent among the Jewish community.

* The growth rate among Israel’s Jewish population was 1.4%. The growth rate among Muslims was double the Jewish rate, at 3.3%

* Fertility rates have remained stable, however, among the Jewish population at 2.9 children per woman, according to the CBS. Since 2000, the rate has dropped among Muslims, from 4.7/4.6 to 4.4.

From the above statistics, we can deduce a number of frightening conclusions:

1) The demographic threat to the Jewish State of Israel is not merely from the "Palestinians" but even more so from Israeli (Muslim) Arabs, whose growth rate is double that of Jews within the State of Israel.

2) The foundations of the Jewish family in Israel are crumbling. Fewer Jews are getting married, and the ones that are are having fewer children. Single parent and same sex families are on the rise. All the while, Israeli (Muslim) Arab families remain strong and stable, having more children than there Jewish counterparts.

3) The Jewish population of the State of Israel is aging, and with fewer marriages and children born each year, this trend is not going to change. On the other hand, Israeli (Muslim) Arab's have the youngest average age of any community in Israel, while having the most children.

In my previous post, I highlighted the inherent conflict that exists between the State of Israel being both a Jewish and democratic state (and the preference of Israel's Supreme Court, along with others, democracy over the State of Israel's Jewish character) and it is statistics like the ones above that prove this point beyond a shadow of a doubt.

All of the Statistics above are dealing only with those with Israeli citizenship, so even if Israel were to retreat from all areas liberated in the Six Day War, it would not change a single thing.

If the State of Israel were truly a democracy, it would not matter whether Israeli Arabs were having more children that Jewish Israelis, how old they were, or their growth rate. However, if the State of Israel is a Jewish State, then these statistics should be cause for alarm and for decisive action. Steps must be taken to strengthen the traditional Jewish family within the Jewish State of Israel, while neutralizing the demographic threat posed by non-Jews to the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish State.

* For further analysis of the threat that these statistics pose to the Jewish State of Israel, click here.

* To understand the role of American Jewry in overcoming the demographic threat that is plaguing the Jewish State, click here.

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