Monday, August 07, 2006

ISRAEL @ WAR: By the Rivers of Babylon

For the first time in nearly two years, I will be leaving the Land of Israel; visiting family and friends in the U.S.

While ideally, were it up to me, I would never leave (and my family would all be living in Israel), we do not yet live in the ideal world, and as such, I must say goodbye to my Home for 10+ days.

While having to leave Israel is bad enough, leaving now is terrible.

I booked my flight months ago.

Who knew that the Jewish State would be fighting a two-front war this summer - it wasn't scheduled.

While many of my friends and peers are being called up to the army to defend the Jewish People and State, I'm going on vacation.

I have found myself thinking of late about Psalm 137, which expresses the emotions of the Jewish People as they went into Exile after the destruction of the Holy Temple:

1 By the rivers of Babylon--
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.

2 On the willows there
we hung up our harps.

3 For there our captors
asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How could we sing the LORD's song
in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!

6 Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy...

I feel as if I am in a catch 22.

If, on the one hand, I spend the very limited time that I will have on this trip brooding over what's happening back home, then I will be guilty of having wasted the chance to spend meaningful time with my family and loved ones.

If, on the other hand, I spend the next 10+ days living it up in the U.S., all the while my Jewish brothers and sisters are fighting and dying to defend the Jewish State and Homeland, then what does that say about me?

The only way out of this dilemma that I can see is for me to dedicate myself over the next 10+ days to instilling a love for the Jewish State and the Land of Israel in hearts of all those whom I come across while visiting the U.S. - a mini-shlichut, if you will.

For the next 10+ days, I will live the words of a poem by Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi:

My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west--

How can I find savour in food? How shall it be sweet to me?
How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet

Zion lieth beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?
A light thing would it seem to me to leave all the good things of Spain --

Seeing how precious in mine eyes to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.

ISRAEL @ WAR: A Not So Happy Birthday

Yesterday, the 12th day of the month of Av, was my birthday.

Yesterday, on my birthday, there was little rejoicing - for the second year in a row.

Yesterday, 15 of my brothers were killed in Hezbollah missile strikes against the Jewish State, in northern Israel, as the Jewish State finds herself fighting a two-front war against her enemies in the north and south.

Last year, on the 12th of Av, the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif began.

Last year, I took upon myself an oath not to fully celebrate my birthday until the Jewish People return to Gush Katif.

Unfortunately, it wasn't too difficult keeping that oath this year.

Maybe next year will be better year for the Jewish People; a year in which the Jewish People will dwell proudly and securely throughout the Land of Israel; a year in which the enemies of the Jewish People will have true fear of the Living G-d of Israel...

A year in which I will have something to truly celebrate on my birthday - together, with the rest of the Jewish People.

JBlog Me

Sunday, August 06, 2006

ISRAEL @ WAR: We're losing this war

With a UN resolotion calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah expected in the immediate future, slowly but surely, Israel finds itself falling short of achieving any of the objectives that it had hoped to achieve in this war.

1) The destruction of Hezbollah.

Not going to happen.

The upper echelon of Hezbollah remains very much intact, and there is no reason to beleive that they will change their stripes anytime soon, particulalry since it seems that in any ceasefire agreement that will be reached, Israel will agree to retreat from the Shaba Farms (Har Dov) region, which Hezbollah will most definitley point to as a victory.

2) The disarmament of Hezbollah.


To date, hezbollah has fired over 4,000 rockets / missles into the Jewish State, and they show no sign of letting up. Not to mention that there is no reason to expect Syria and Iran not to re-supply Hezbollah at the very first chance they have.

3) Eliminating the rocket / missle threat against the Jewish State.

See above.

We are in the 4th week of the war, and the IDF has not found a way to stop the rocket / missle attacks against the Jewish State. Hezbollah has fired over 4,000 rockets / missles into the Jewish State, of late, firing on average 200+ rockets a day, forcing the one million Israelis of the north to either flee their homes for the relative "safety" of central Israel, or to live in (or near) bomb shelters.

4) Israel's refusal to agree to the deployment of any peacekeeping force between Israel and Lebanon.

Not only is there going to be a peacekeeping force, but it is going to be made up of troops from Iran loving France, from Hezbollah loving Lebanon and from Jew loving Germany!

5) Israel's absolute refusual to accept any peacekeeping force that has anything to do with the UN.

Israel has lifted its demand for the deployment of a new multinational force in southern Lebanon and agreed that UNIFIL, the United Nations force already in place, would oversee the cease-fire...

Initially Israel opposed the expansion of UNIFIL's role and asked that it be replaced, arguing that to date its performance was poor and its troops did not prevent terrorist attacks.

Political sources in Jerusalem said Saturday night that Israel received assurances through diplomatic channels that UNIFIL will be bolstered by quality troops from France.

I guess the Israeli leadership has a short memory.

Perhaps, it's all Israel's fault for not doing anything about Hezbollah's stockpiling of weapons over the last six years since they withdrew (retreated) from southern Lebanon. I mean, did we really expect the UN to disarm Hezbollah, as UN Resolotion 1559 called for?

And the French? C'mon, they were just joking about Iran being a "great country" and a "stabilizing force in the region".

5) Israel certainly will not give up on their demand for the release of the IDF soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Sorry boys. Really. It just doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.

But don't lose hope, sooner rather than later, the government of Israel will likely agree to release a bunch of terrorists with blood on their hands in order to secure their release.

True, the government of Israel has said that there would be no negotiations, but as we have seen, Israel has said lots of things that it didn't really mean.

6) Israel will not withdraw from the Shaba Farms (Har Dov) region - an area that, as part of UN Reslotion 1559, the UN confirmed that Lebanon had absolutley no legal claim to - as doing so could only be perceived as a victory for Hezbollah (and Iran) over Israel.

See above (#1).

It seems that the US, the EU, and just about everyone else who has a say on the matter says otherwise.


On the bright side, perhaps it might be best for Israel to not "win" this war, since Israel's PM Ehud Olmert has made it clear that a victory in this war will only lead to the implementation of his "convergence" plan.

“I’ll surprise you. I genuinely believe that the outcome of the present [conflict] and the emergence of a new order that will provide more stability and will defeat the forces of terror will help create the necessary environment that will allow me… to create a new momentum between us and the Palestinians.”

Thank G-d for the small victories.

JBlog Me

Saturday, August 05, 2006

ISRAEL @ WAR: The Time has come for Israel to Withdraw

It has gone on for too long.

From this point on, every moment that the State of Israel does not withdraw itself is immoral, unjust and inexcusable.

If the State of Israel is interested in doing not only what is in her own best interest, but in also doing something that will earn it the respect of the nations of the world, then it will withdraw immediately.

No, I am not talking about the Jewish State of Israel withdrawing her forces from Lebanon or Gaza, and I am not talking about the Jewish State of Israel withdrawing from Judea and Samaria.

It's time for Israel to unilaterally withdraw itself from the United Nations.

Consider the following examples that not only clearly display the UN's virulent anti-Israel hostility, but the efforts on behalf of the UN to undermine its very charter, by openly and actively encouraging the ongoing war of destruction being waged against the Jewish State:

1) "Israel is the only UN member not permitted to stand for election to the full range of UN bodies. So while membership of the UN Human Rights Commission now includes Cuba, Libya, Sudan and Syria -- four of the seven states designated as state sponsors of international terrorism by the U.S. State Department -- Israel cannot even be a candidate."

2) "In an analysis of the Security Council's record up to 1989, of 175 total resolutions passed by the Council, 97 were directed against Israel, as contrasted with 4 against all Arab states combined. The Council expressed its 'concern,' 'grave concern,' 'regret,' 'deep regrets,' 'shock' etc. about Israeli actions 31 times. Regarding Arab actions, the Council never expressed negative sentiments."

3) The following is a sampling of direct quotes taken from the sites of U.N.-accredited NGOs:

* “That Star of David, which we are told is originally a religious symbol, symbolized hate and evil. Even today, I couldn’t imagine a more hateful sign.”

* “[M]any Americans and westerners, long misinformed by the Zionist-controlled media especially after the events of September 11, 2001…”

* “[A]nti-semitism has been taking place for 100 years in Palestine, against the Palestinian Arab Semites, by European Jewish colonialists. A mini-holocaust.”

* “Zionist apartheid, racism, and settler-colonialism in Palestine… is violative of the most basic human standards…Thus, the Palestinian resistance is justified…”

4) On November 29th, 2005, at a commemoration ceremony, attended by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, marking the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People", the official map of "Palestine" that was displayed made no reference to the existence of the Jewish State of Israel.

5) "The anniversary of the UN partition vote that survivors of the concentration camps celebrated, has been described by Secretary-General Annan as "a day of mourning and a day of grief." Palestinians, and Arab citizens more generally, refer to it as part of "Al-Nakba," meaning the "catastrophe" of the creation of the state of Israel."

6) "Among the most harmful UN anti-Israel resolutions was the notorious resolution equating Zionism with racism, passed in November 1975 by 72 to 35. It said that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination... [and] is a threat to world peace and security."

7) The UN admitted its complicity in the Hezbollah kidnapping and murder of three Israeli soldiers in October, 2000.

(Click here and here for a partial list of UN resolutions against Israel).

here for an article documenting the history of the anti-Israel bias at the UN).

For every passing day that the Jewish State of Israel chooses to retain its membership in such an evil organization she loses a little more of her justness, and morality.

For every passing day that the Jewish State of Israel retains her membership in the UN, she provides the organization and its sick resolutions a legitimacy that they are not worthy of.

Before the UN can pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Lebanon, and the installation of a new "Peacekeeping" force, the Jewish State of Israel must withdraw itself from the UN, and in doing so, make it clear that she is no longer bound by the lies, corruption and immorality of the UN, but to higher standard of truth, justice and morality, as handed down to the Nation of Israel - the Jewish People - by the G-d of Israel.

Friday, August 04, 2006

ISRAEL @ WAR: Hey, brother, got any smokes?

Yesterday, I had the distinct honor of traveling up north to bring our soldiers some relief supplies. (I won't go into the details of the trip in this post short of saying that I was fortunate that none of the 200+ katyusha rockets that Hezbollah fired into northern communities in Israel yesterday - killing 8 people - landed in our vicinity).

I am privileged to live in a community that has raised a lot of money and supplies that have been put towards making the lives of our soldiers up north just a little bit easier during these difficult times. Among the items that we were given to deliver to our soldiers yesterday were: junk food, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, underwear, socks, undershirts... and cigarettes.

Over the course of the 3+ hour car ride up north, from my home to just south of Kiryat Shemonah, I had a lengthy discussion with my friend Josh, as to whether it was appropriate for us to be bringing our soldiers cigarettes.

Here are the two sides of the debate, as we saw it:


* While smoking may not be good for you, it is socially / societally acceptable, and as such, it's not for us to decide whether a soldier should or shouldn't be smoking.

* While it may be a fact that smoking is unhealthy (in the long term), if smoking will help calm the nerves of our soldiers (those who smoke) and thus help them to carry out their duties more successfully, then by giving them cigarettes, we might be helping them (in the short term).


* By giving our soldiers cigarettes, we are basically poisoning them - the very opposite of the purpose of our mission.

* It is highly problematic, according to Jewish Law.

What would you do?

JBlog Me

So much for the "Rule of Law"

This past Tuesday, Israel's Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount on the 9th of Av, the day on which the Jewish People commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples (among other tragedies).

The fact that within the State of Israel, which prides itself on being a democracy, that such a ruling was even needed for Jews to have access to their holiest site (not to pray mind you, just to visit) is intolerable. However, the violation of the right to freedom of worship of every Jew in Israel is not the theme of this post (read more about it here).

What was the response of the Arabs of Israel towards this Supreme Court decision?

Palestinians call for confronting Zionist attempts to invade Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israel's response?

Police chief: We'll use force... if needed

"The scenes we have witnessed throughout last week are very bad. There is something worse than using violence, and that is giving in to violence...".

"This is why we must not accept the phenomenon we have seen. These people are law breakers who do not recognize the state's authority, which is why we have no other choice but to enforce the law and do what needs to be done," Karadi, concluded.

Kadima's Bar-On: Era of restraint in dealing with protests is over

"We will not allow any law-breaker, even if he is a member of Knesset ... to harm the state of Israel as a state of law," Bar-On told Army Radio.

"We restrained ourselves... for a long time. That's finished. The era of restraint has come to an end. From now on, this will be a nation of law, which enforces the law."

"What is more traumatic than a country losing its ability to enforce the law, to carry out the decisions of a sovereign government in Israel?" The result of failure to act against law-breakers, he said, would be "anarchy... No one in the State of Israel will be above the law."

Actually, these quotes were in response to justifying the use of extreme police brutality against Jews who had come to protest the destruction of Amona, a hilltop community, and as a threat towards the Jews of Hebron who were told that if they would not leave their homes of their own accord, they would be forcibly expelled and beaten senseless.

What was the State of Israel's actual response towards Arab threats of violence should the Supreme Court ruling to allow Jews to enter the Temple Mount of the 9th of Av be enforced?

Fearing Violence, Jerusalem Police Close Temple Mount to Non-Muslims

Citing threats of violent Muslim protests at an already tense time, Jerusalem police announced that the Temple Mount would close to all non-Muslims on Thursday, the day Jews mark the destruction of the biblical temples and other historical calamities.

Police received intelligence information indicating that thousands of Muslims were preparing to go to the site to protest a planned visit by Jews, police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby was quoted as saying...

The head of the Waqf, Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein, warned about the consequences of the court ruling, saying the Waqf alone had authority to intervene in the affairs of the site...

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement called on Palestinians to take action and protect the mosque from a Jewish invasion,..

Talab El-Sana, an Israeli Arab lawmaker, warned that the visit would ignite a "third intifada,"

In response, the head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Selah, told Israel Radio that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to rule on the matter, "because Israel does not have sovereignty over [the Temple Mount]..."

Following additional threats by Arab MKs Ibrahim Sarsour and Abbas Zkoor (Ra'am-Ta'al), Police barred not only members of the Temple Mount Faithful group – but all non-Muslims. They said the decision was due to a fear of violent clashes between Temple Mount Faithful activists and Muslim protesters.

Whatever happened to:

* upholding the sanctity of the "rule of law"?

* the only thing being worse than violence is giving in to violence?

* the recognition that "these people are law breakers who do not recognize the state's authority, which is why we have no other choice but to enforce the law and do what needs to be done"?

* the fear of the trauma that would come from "a country losing its ability to enforce the law, to carry out the decisions of a sovereign government in Israel?"

I guess all of that tough talk only applies when it comes to throwing Jews out of their homes and the destruction of Jewish communities throughout the Land of Israel!

But, in reality, this should not have come as much of a surprise, after all, why should one expect anything different if in the Jewish State of Israel a Jew is forbidden from visiting (let alone praying) at his holiest site, while Arab threats of violence and mockery of the law run rampant, unopposed?

JBlog Me

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ISRAEL @ WAR: A Bad Time for "Morality"

Our European friends are really racking up the "morality" points this week - and it's only Tuesday.

1st, there was the vocal European condemnation of the Israeli "massacre" in Qana. (The EU has always found it easier to blame Israel, than to check the facts - remember Jenin?).

2nd, Ireland refused to allow a plane carrying a U.S. shipment of arms to Israel to land within her territory.

3rd, France's Foreign Minister embraces Iran as "a great country", and a "stabilizing force in the region". (Just like Hitler and Nazi Germany were stabilizing forces in Europe during the 1930's and 1940's).

Not to be out done, at the conclusion of a meeting today of EU Foreign Ministers, the EU's Finnish presidency, represented by Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, declared that the EU is not presently ready to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations:

Given the sensitive situation where we are, I don't think this is something we will be acting on now."

I wonder if our European friends would be so kind as to inform us of when it might be a more convenient time for them to consider this pesky issue?

In addition, maybe our European friends, when they have a spare moment, of course, would care to enlighten the rest of us with an explanation as to what Hezbollah is exactly, if not a terrorist organization?

Perhaps Hezbollah is merely a misunderstood social-welfare organization that just happens to have taken up the hobby of rocket collecting?

JBlog Me

ISRAEL @ WAR: How do you say "Never Again" in French?

One question that has been asked countless times throughout the last 60+ years has been how was it that the nations of the world stood idly by while Hitler and Nazi Germany exterminated six million Jews? Didn't they know what was happening? Didn't they care?

History has provided the answer to these questions. The nations of the world did know; and no, they didn't care.

Which is what the slogan "Never Again", in the eyes of the nations of the world, who so enjoy bandying it about, is supposed to be all about.

Never again will the nations of the world sit idly by in the face of such terrible atrocities.

Unsurprisingly, it took France to remind us, that in fact, "Never Again" is merely that, an empty slogan, which should not be taken too seriously.

Iran Foreign Minister meets with French counterpart in Beirut

Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said earlier Monday in Beirut.

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran - a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.

Now, consider that Iran is the ideological, military and financial sponsor of both Hezbollah and Hamas, two terror organizations with who Israel is presently at war, and who seek the destruction of the Jewish State, and has close to ties to Syria, another sponsor and base for Islamic terror.

Consider further, that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for the Jewish State to be wiped off the map (or at the very least, its relocation to somewhere in Europe) and is in the process of developing nuclear weapons to enable him to do just that.

But, in reality, this shouldn't come as a surprise.

Consider the following quotes from British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in the wake of the Munich Agreement of 1938, who sought to appease Hitler and Nazi Germany, and thus avoid war, by forcing Czechoslovakia to cede to Hitler the Sudetenland region (the country's defensive frontier, thus leaving its industrial and economic core within a day's reach of Hitler's Nazi storm troopers) - all in the name of peace.

In reference to the Sudetenland and trenches being dug in a London central park, Chamberlain famously declared in a September 1938 radio broadcast:

How horrible, fantastic it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. I am myself a man of peace from the depths of my soul.

Upon Chamberlain's return from signing the Munich Agreement, he had this to say about Hitler:

After everything that has been said about the German Chancellor today and in the past, I do feel that the House ought to recognize the difficulty for a man in that position to take back such emphatic declarations as he had already made amidst the enthusiastic cheers of his supporters, and to recognize that in consenting, even though it were only at the last moment, to discuss with the representatives of other Powers those things which he had declared he had already decided once for all, was a real and a substantial contribution on his part.

And the British Prime Minister had this to say about the significance of the Munich Agreement with Hitler:

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.

Of course, within the year, as could be expected, Hitler and Nazi Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia, thus negating the Munich Agreement and marking the start of World War II.

I imagine that France, as was the case with Britain, would like nothing more than to believe that if they throw Iran a bone (namely, Israel), as Britain did with Hitler (Czechoslovakia), then everything will be ok - Iran will no longer pose a threat to the Western world, and everyone will go on living their nice, peaceful lives. After all, why should France have to suffer over a country like Israel, that is so far away, and about whom they know nothing about?

Unfortunately for Czechoslovakia, much of Europe, and six million Jews, it didn't quite work out.
Hopefully, the Jewish State has learned that lesson, even if France hasn't.

And consider this last point:

It is France who has volunteered to provide the bulk of the troops that will make up the multi-national force that will be expected to ensure that Hezbollah does not deploy along Israel's northern border, as well ensuring that Hezbollah will not have the ability to re-arm itself through the aid of Syria and Iran - that great country and stabilizing force in the region.

What a comforting thought.

JBlog Me

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