Thursday, September 28, 2006

 

AFSI--CHIZUK TRIP TO ISRAEL in NOVEMBER


JOIN THE AFSI MISSION TO ISRAEL
NOV. 12-20, 2006
BE IN HEBRON FOR SHABBAT CHAYE SARAH

Americans For a Safe Israel/AFSI is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of leading Chizuk missions to the threatened communities of Israel. AFSI follows the biblical “road map” which charts a whole Israel, and an indivisible Jerusalem. We urge everyone who believes as we do to join this trip.

We’ll arrive in Israel on Nov. 13 and tour the threatened hilltop communities in the Shomron. We’ll continue these visits on Nov. 14 and then head north to Tsfat for a two night stay. Tsfat, Kiryat Shemonah, on the Lebanese border, along with other northern communities that were shelled during the Lebanon war, will be our focus.

We will be in Jerusalem on Nov. 16, exploring the eastern half of the city that is being reclaimed by Jews.

Friday afternoon, Nov. 17- through Sunday morning, Nov. 19, we will be in Hebron for the incomparable experience of Shabbat Chaye Sarah, the celebration of the Torah portion that documents Abraham’s purchase of Sarah’s grave.

Sunday, Nov. 19, we will visit the refugees from the Gush Katif expulsion of August 2005. That night we will head for the airport and our return to New York on Nov. 20.

Throughout the trip there will be ongoing meetings with grass roots heroes, Members of Knesset, and Israeli dignitaries.

The cost is kept at a modest $2200 (not including airport taxes, gratuities, and any additional charges for personal changes in the flight arrangements), which covers round-trip airfare, expert tour guides, tour bus and driver, all hotels (double occupancy – additional cost for single supplement), all breakfasts and dinners and some lunches.

Reservations, requiring a non-refundable deposit of $200, are now recommended. Please call AFSI, 212-828-2424; 1-800-235-3658; or email: afsi@rcn.com. VISA or Mastercard charges will be accepted for members only. Land only arrangements are also organized.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

 

The Shabbes Goy by Joe Velarde

hat tip Y


The Shabbes Goy by Joe Velarde

Joe Velarde became the fencing coach of Columbia University in the
1940's-50s and was an early advocate of civil rights in sports, eventually
retiring to California.


Snow came early in the winter of 1933 when our extended Cuban family moved
into the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. I was ten years old. We were the
first Spanish speakers to arrive, yet we fit more or less easily into that
crowded, multicultural neighborhood. Soon we began learning a little
Italian, a few Greek and Polish words, lots of Yiddish and some heavily
accented English.

I first heard the __expression Shabbes is falling when Mr. Rosenthal refused
to open the door of his dry goods store on Bedford Avenue. My mother had
sent me with a dime to buy a pair of black socks for my father. In those
days, men wore mostly black and Navy blue. Brown and gray were somehow
special and cost more. Mr. Rosenthal stood inside the locked door, arms
folded, glaring at me through the thick glass while a heavy snow and
darkness began to fall on a Friday evening. "We're closed, already", Mr.
Rosenthal had said, shaking his head, "can't you see that Shabbes is
falling? Don't be a nudnik! Go home." I could feel the cold wetness covering
my head and thought that Shabbes was the Jewish word for snow.

My misperception of Shabbes didn't last long, however, as the area's
dominant culture soon became apparent; Gentiles were the minority. From then
on, as Shabbes fell with its immutable regularity and Jewish lore took over
the life of the neighborhood, I came to realize that so many human
activities, ordinarily mundane at any other time, ceased, and a palpable
silence, a pleasant tranquillity, fell over all of us. It was then that a
family with an urgent need would dispatch a youngster to "get the Spanish
boy, and hurry."

That was me. In time, I stopped being nameless and became Yussel, sometimes
Yuss or Yusseleh. And so began my life as a Shabbes Goy, voluntarily doing
chores for my neighbors on Friday nights and Saturdays: lighting stoves,
running errands, getting a prescription for an old tante, stoking coal
furnaces, putting lights on or out, clearing snow and ice from slippery
sidewalks and stoops. Doing just about anything that was forbidden to the
devout by their religious code.

Friday afternoons were special. I'd walk home from school assailed by the
rich aroma emanating from Jewish kitchens preparing that evening's special
menu. By now, I had developed a list of steady "clients," Jewish families
who depended on me. Furnaces, in particular, demanded frequent tending
during Brooklyn's many freezing winters. I shudder remembering brutally cold
winds blowing off the East River. Anticipation ran high as I thought of the
warm home-baked treats I'd bring home that night after my Shabbes rounds
were over. Thanks to me, my entire family had become Jewish pastry junkies.
Moi? I'm still addicted to checkerboard cake, halvah and Egg Creams (made
only with Fox's Ubet chocolate syrup).

I remember as if it were yesterday how I discovered that Jews were the
smartest people in the world. You see, in our Cuban household we all loved
the ends of bread loaves and, to keep peace, my father always decided who
would get them. One harsh winter night I was rewarded for my Shabbes
ministrations with a loaf of warm challah (we pronounced it "holly") and I
knew I was witnessing genius! Who else could have invented a bread that had
wonderfully crusted ends all over it -- enough for everyone in a large
family?

There was an "International" aspect to my teen years in Williamsburg. The
Sternberg family had two sons who had fought with the Abraham Lincoln
Brigade in Spain. Whenever we kids could get their attention, they'd
spellbind us with tales of hazardous adventures in the Spanish Civil War.
These twenty-something war veterans also introduced us to a novel way of
thinking, one that embraced such humane ideas as 'From each according to his
means and to each according to his needs'. In retrospect, this innocent
exposure to a different philosophy was the starting point of a journey that
would also incorporate the concept of Tzedakah in my personal guide to the
world.

In what historians would later call The Great Depression, a nickel was a lot
of mazuma and its economic power could buy a brand new Spaldeen, our local
name for the pink-colored rubber ball then produced by the Spalding Company.
The famous Spaldeen was central to our endless street games: stickball and
punchball or the simpler stoopball. One balmy summer evenings our youthful
fantasies converted South Tenth Street into Ebbets Field with the Dodgers'
Dolph Camilli swinging a broom handle at a viciously curving Spaldeen thrown
by the Giants' great lefty, Carl Hubbell. We really thought it curved, I
swear.

Our neighbors, magically transformed into spectators kibitzing from their
brownstone stoops and windows, were treated to a unique version of major
league baseball. My tenure as the resident Shabbes Goy came to an abrupt end
after Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. I withdrew from Brooklyn College
the following day and joined the U.S. Army. In June of 1944, the Army Air
Corps shipped me home after flying sixty combat missions over Italy and the
Balkans. I was overwhelmed to find that several of my Jewish friends and
neighbors had set a place for me at their supper tables every Shabbes
throughout my absence, including me in their prayers. What mitzvoth! My
homecoming was highlighted by wonderful invitations to dinner. Can you
imagine the effect after twenty-two months of Army field rations?

As my post-World War II life developed, the nature of the association I'd
had with Jewish families during my formative years became clearer. I had
learned the meaning of friendship, of loyalty, and of honor and respect. I
discovered obedience without subservience. And caring about all living
things had become as natural as breathing. The worth of a strong work ethic
and of purposeful dedication was manifest. Love of learning blossomed and I
began to set higher standards for my developing skills, and loftier goals
for future activities and dreams. Mind, none of this was the result of any
sort of formal instruction; my yeshiva had been the neighborhood. I learned
these things, absorbed them actually says it better, by association and role
modeling, by pursuing curious inquiry, and by what educators called
"incidental learning" in the crucible that was pre-World War II
Williamsburg. It seems many of life's most elemental lessons are learned
this way.

While my parents' Cuban home sheltered me with warm, intimate affection and
provided for my well-being and self esteem, the group of Jewish families I
came to know and help in the Williamsburg of the 1930s was a surrogate tribe
that abetted my teenage rite of passage to adulthood. One might even say we
had experienced a special kind of Bar Mitzvah. I couldn't explain then the
concept of tikkun olam, but I realized as I matured how well I had been
oriented by the Jewish experience to live it and to apply it. What a truly
uplifting outlook on life it is to be genuinely motivated "to repair the
world."

In these twilight years when my good wife is occasionally told, "Your
husband is a funny man," I'm aware that my humor has its roots in the
shticks of Second Avenue Yiddish Theater, entertainers at Catskill summer
resorts, and their many imitators. And, when I argue issues of human or
civil rights and am cautioned about showing too much zeal, I recall how
chutzpah first flourished on Williamsburg sidewalks, competing for filberts
(hazelnuts) with tough kids wearing payess and yarmulkes. Along the way I
played chess and one-wall handball, learned to fence, listened to
Rimsky-Korsakov, ate roasted chestnuts, read Maimonides and studied Saul
Alinsky.

I am ever grateful for having had the opportunity to be a Shabbes Goy.

 

The real reason that the IDF was unprepared By SHMUEL KATZ

The real reason that the IDF was unprepared
By SHMUEL KATZ


There were two defining moments in the war with Hizbullah. One was the fact that Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz was surprised to learn that there was a war to be fought. Indeed a day or two earlier he was booking hotel accommodations for a family summer vacation.
The other defining point was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's observation that the war would facilitate his plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria and expel the Jews living there. Many of those inhabitants were at that moment on the front line of the war.

The current criticisms of the government are unprecedented, but so are the blunders and misconceptions that precipitated them.

The government failed utterly in its oversight of the strategy of the IDF command. With its experience of Israel's continued inability to overcome the short-range Kassam rockets in the South, it nevertheless acquiesced, with evident equanimity, in Halutz's decision to send the air force alone to crush Hizbullah's similar Katyushas from Lebanon.

It is amazing that the IDF command acted as if it were unaware that the Katyusha launcher is a comparatively light weapon, easily concealed - in a house, under a bundle of hay, in a farmyard or in a hole dug for it. Detecting Katyushas from the air is just about impossible, and they are, moreover, easily mobile. They can only be extricated on the ground - until defensive measures are developed that can shoot down short-range missiles in flight.

IT WAS ONLY when this truth was absorbed that the government mobilized the infantry reserves. But then, when they were at last called up, they were left twiddling their thumbs for days while the prime minister waited for a decision at the United Nations!

Though the army fought hard, the objectives set - at least to reach the Litani River - could not be achieved before that UN decision for a cease-fire, and so the war ended in a "draw"; far from a defeat, but not nearly near enough for a victory.

Meanwhile, a miracle had taken place on the civilian front.

The government had done nothing to cope with the tremendous evacuation of about a million souls from the towns in the North, despite Olmert's warning to ministers that Hizbullah would not take our initial counterattack lying down. Subjected to merciless pounding which reached southward as far as Haifa and Afula and eastward as far as Safed and Tiberias, the people that evacuated needed immediate shelter, food, medicines and to provide for all the special needs of their children, not excluding toys.

Then the miracle happened. A tremendous spontaneous wave of volunteerism throughout the country burst out. Local councils, hundreds of private businesses, thousands of homeowners threw themselves, as though by a single command, into the task. Within two days even a "tent city" was built, conceived and paid for by a great-hearted Israeli millionaire. Without such civic resourcefulness, there would have been chaos and a national disaster.

ALL THIS manifestly adds up to the reality that the people's crisis of confidence in its leaders lies in the government's total unpreparedness for war.

But that sounds impossible. How could we be unprepared? Israel, the one country under constant threat since the moment of its creation. Are not Arab children taught from an early age of the glory of martyrdom in the name of Israel's destruction?

It is not true that the threat to destroy Israel comes only from Iran. What even so many Jews, in Israel and outside, pretend to forget is that the motivation for all the campaigns of the Arabs has been their unabashed intention to destroy Israel.

Ever since 1947, by war, by persistent terror, by bloodletting and by a worldwide propaganda campaign the Arabs have succeeded in mobilizing the Muslim world - with Iran now its most prominent and most dangerous exponent - to achieve this end. In recent years they have even succeeded in gaining substantial support among Europeans - who feel no unease in discussing it at their dinner tables.

But perhaps the worst blow to Israel's security was the notion that giving the Arabs chunks of territory - and that unilaterally - would be a large step forward on the way to peace. That notion was exemplified by the abandonment of the Gaza Strip. This prospect was at once embraced by our media, which preached the defeatists' slogan of "Land for Peace."

As if to prove the provenance of peace, Ariel Sharon invited Egypt - in a careless breach of its peace treaty with Israel - to send troops into Sinai and thence to the border with Gaza, the so-called Philadelphi corridor.

The reliance on Egypt to look after us has resulted in the swift transfer of large quantities of arms into Gaza. Tunnels into the Negev will also soon be available. How Israeli leaders could have perpetrated such a monstrous life-and-death blunder needs a psychological enquiry.

YET ISRAELIS are not the only people who could be manipulated into believing in some cranky fantasy. A weird similarity exists today between Israel's state of mind, to that of Britain after Munich.

Though the British knew enough about the monster named Hitler, a large segment of the population was overjoyed when prime minister Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich with a paper in which that promised "peace in our time." (I arrived in London, as it happens, the day Chamberlain came back and experienced the noisy acclamations in the streets.)

Just 15 months ago, Olmert gave his own "peace in our time" speech to a left-wing audience in New York. After telling them of the wonderful future in store as a result of abandoning Gaza etc., he went on: "We all desperately need it. We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies… We want [the Palestinians] to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors." It was in that spirit that Olmert thought the war would facilitate his withdrawal plan and sent our soldiers into battle.

WHATEVER committee is appointed to investigate the war, it will not have fulfilled the vital obligation to examine the pre-war laxity and self-satisfaction in the behavior of its public servants - and the dangerous delusions the leaders, egged on by the media, disseminated among the people.

That, however, is as far an inquiry committee can go. For taking the obviously tough decisions about the nation's future, the people must gird its political loins.

The writer, who co-founded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset, is a biographer and essayist.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

 

Deja vu

When we first made aliyah (moved to Israel) in 1970, we lived in Jerusalem's Old City in the Maon Betar. Our only Jewish neighbors were Rav Moshe Tzvi Segel and his wife, Rachel. Rav Segel's life was legendary for us. One of his most famous acts was blowing shofar, after Yom Kippur, at the kotel against the ruling of the British Mandate.

It's mentioned in this story:


Man Arrested for Blowing Shofar at Western Wall
13:09 Sep 25, '06 / 3 Tishrei 5767
by Hillel Fendel

Shades of the 1920's: A Jewish man was hauled off to the Old City police station in the middle of prayer for sounding the shofar during Rosh HaShanah services at the area known as the Kotel HaKatan.


The incident occurred around 7:30 in the morning, at the northern-most section of the accessible Western Wall - a little-known area called the Kotel HaKatan, the Small Wall. It is considered to have extra sanctity, as it stands opposite the presumed spot of the Holy of Holies of the Beit HaMikdash.

Yesterday morning (Sunday), a group of some 10 men and two women gathered at the site, as they have done for several years on Rosh HaShanah, for early-morning prayers. The holiday prayers feature the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn) at several different times. Towards the end of the first shofar sounding, a Border Guard policeman came in, made an unclear motion with his hand as if to ask what was going on, and then left. He said nothing.

Shortly afterwards, Eliyahu K., the 20-year-old prayer leader, blew the shofar a second time, in the midst of his silent prayer (in accordance with Sephardic custom). Policemen came in once again and began trying to pull him away. However, Eliyahu was in the midst of reciting the Amidah - a long passage during which one must stand in one place without moving - and he therefore did not move.

The policemen informed their supervisors by radio that he was praying and refused to move, and reinforcements were soon sent - no fewer than 20 policemen, according to several witnesses.

They then started dragging him out, and when they stopped for a moment, he got up and resumed his prayers. They then began to drag him away again, and shortly afterwards again stopped for a moment - and again he resumed his prayers. At this point, the policemen allowed him to complete his prayers.

In the meanwhile, the other members of the prayer group came out and tried to prevent the policemen from taking Eliyahu away. At this point, the policemen started swinging their clubs violently; no one was hospitalized, but "it was a big brawl," in the words of one witness, with many people being dragged around and beaten while wearing their prayer-shawls and Sabbath suits.

Meanwhile, Eliyahu was taken to the small police station at the Western Wall plaza, and several of his friends followed him there. They wanted to go up the steps into the police station, and demanded that at least the shofar be returned, but the police again came down with their clubs.

They finally took Eliyahu by foot, accompanied by his fiancיe, all the way around the Old City, past Mt. Zion and through Jaffa Gate, to the Kishle police station inside Jaffa Gate. At this point, there was no longer any violence, and Eliyahu was released around 11:30 - after being charged with attacking a policeman, disturbing a policeman in the line of duty, and disturbing the public order.

One witness related, "It's not only that they stopped him from blowing the shofar, but rather the fact that the police beat us up very harshly. I was on my way to the Wall for prayers when I saw 5-7 policemen going with Eliyahu and protecting him very closely. I walked after them, and then a few of his friends came, and then the violence started. We asked the policemen to return the shofar, and they started kicking us and punching us."

The worshipers said that the police had apparently been called by an Arab woman who said the sound of the ram's horn disturbed her children.

A Jewish resident of the Old City told Arutz-7, "How ironic. The loud Arab weddings and nightly prayers by the muazzin [over a powerful loudspeaker] at 4:30 AM disturb our sleep every night." Similar complaints are heard from Jews living near Arab villages in Judea and Samaria.

A member of the Jerusalem Police spokesman's office, contacted by Arutz-7 for a statement on the matter and asked whether this signified a new policy towards shofar-blowing at the Wall, said, "When we have an answer for you, I will get back to you."

The head of the local council of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Shmuel Yitzchaki, could not be reached for comment by the time of this report.

The rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, told Arutz-7, "This is a very grave incident, and I have asked the local police commander, Yossi Priente, to check into it - both the violence and the prevention of the shofar blowing. It reminds us of the days of the British Mandate when Jews [had to make] super-human efforts to blow the shofar at the Western Wall."

He was referring to the 1ate 1920's, when the British, in an attempt to appease the Arabs, and following violence at the Wall, forbade shofar-blowing at the Wall. In one famous incident in 1929, a man named Moshe Segal blew the shofar at the conclusion of Yom Kippur - and was immediately arrested by the British. Though he had fasted for the previous 25 hours, the British detained him without food until midnight, when he was released. It was later reported that the release came about when then-Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook informed the commander that he himself would not eat until Segal was released.

Nearly 40 years later, following the first Yom Kippur service at the Wall under Israeli sovereignty, shortly after the Six Day War, the shofar was again sounded - by Moshe Segal.

The Jerusalem police department can be faxed at (972-2) 539-1190.

Monday, September 25, 2006

 

by David Bedein

Olmert: "They Have Never, Never, Never Used Missiles...."

by

Sep 25, '06 / 3 Tishrei 5767


Retired Judge Eliyahu Winograd has been mandated by the government of Israel to "operate autonomously and independently", and to make recommendations that will resonate in the public domain in Israel. To give it some teeth, the "Winograd panel" has been invested by the Israeli government with judicial power to subpoena witnesses, with the power to recommend prosecution of any Israeli public official whom it finds was involved with willful or negligent criminal behavior.

One area that the investigation panel will examine will be the "management of the political echelon as it related to the... preparedness and readiness for the threat from Lebanon, including intelligence preparedness and the force building and its readiness...." (Clause C) In that context, American citizens who witnessed security briefings from Israeli officials over the past few years may be called upon to testify at the Winograd panel.

A case in point:

On February 18, 2005, during a public presentation for the annual Jerusalem meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Israel's then-Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert faced a question from Morton Klein of Philadelphia, who is the president of the Zionist Organization of America. Klein asked Olmert how he could trust the intentions of Palestinian Authority leader Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), since Abu Mazen had been allowing terrorists under his jurisdiction to arm themselves to the teeth.

Olmert pounded on the podium and exhorted his questioner to examine "Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon as a model which Israel would apply to Gaza and Samaria." Although Hizbullah terrorists had stationed 15,000 missiles and mortars in Lebanon, Olmert proclaimed that "they have never, never, never used missiles against Israel on the northern border since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000."

Olmert's response was incredible. This reporter's oldest son served on the northern border in an IDF combat unit for three years, 2001-2004, and was under fire the entire time. This was not some kind of summer camp.

A few days later, this reporter dispatched a colleague to a press reception on February 23, to ask Olmert if he stood behind his statement that the Hizbullah had not fired any missiles into Israel since Israel's withdrawal in May 2000. The reporter showed Olmert the declassified IDF situation report from June 8, 2004, the day that this reporter's son completed his IDF service in the north. The IDF document contradicted what Olmert had reported to 57 American organizations:

In the four years since the IDF unilaterally redeployed its troops from Lebanon, the following attacks on Israel took place from the north: 34 attacks with mortar shells and anti-tank missiles into northern Israel; seven shooting attacks with light arms fire into northern Israel; eight roadside bombs that were planted in northern Israel; 127 times when anti-aircraft missiles were fired into northern Israel; Five Katyusha rocket attacks into northern Israel; 10 infiltrations into northern Israel; 11 soldiers killed in northern Israel, while three IDF troops were kidnapped and murdered; 50 soldiers were wounded in northern Israel; 14 civilians were killed in northern Israel.

Olmert glanced at the IDF report and, surprisingly, stood his ground, reiterating, "I meant to say that they have not fired into Israel in the last five years."

When the reporter showed Olmert that the IDF report demonstrated that the Arab terrorists had continued firing missiles into Israel, killing 28 people, Olmert walked away, saying that he did not want to discuss it.

In other words, representatives of 57 American organizations heard Ehud Olmert, in his capacity as the "heir apparent" to the Israeli prime minister, present a false picture of what was occurring on the northern border; a picture that contradicted official Israeli security reports at the time - of continuing attacks from the north.

Since Olmert assured American supporters of Israel that there were no attacks from the north, that is the message that they conveyed to the US Congress and to the White House.

Representatives of those 57 American organizations who heard Deputy Prime Minister Olmert in February 2005 can now provide evidence to the Winograd Panel regarding the Israeli political echelon's misrepresentation of attacks that were then emanating from Lebanon. It will be instructive to see if representatives of these American groups will come forth to testify.

The question remains: Do those American citizens not owe it to the people of Israel to reveal the distortions that their leaders presented less than two years ago? If they do testify, the Winograd Panel will then be obligated to cross-examine Olmert and ask him why he chose to misrepresent Israel's security situation in the north, as it was reported by the IDF at the time.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! By Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

By Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com

Why did the pope accept the idea that he owes the Muslims an apology? He interpreted certain basic Muslim teachings as encouraging violence in the name of G-d and, as a man of peace, spoke out against such activities. His interpretation is his interpretation and he certainly owes no apology — especially since he read the words as they were clearly written. Having got past the irrefutable logic of the forgoing, one must ask, how many times have the Muslims apologized for the pain and suffering that their terrorist organizations have committed? While we hate the terrorists, we constantly reaffirm our respect for their religion and the people of their faith.


We believe that common decency dictates that we should protect blameless Muslims from the crimes of the guilty. It's ironic that while we are protective of innocent Muslims, despite so many acts of terrorism, the Imams of the world could announce a sentence of death upon any people because of perceived or imaginary insults. How did the Muslims decide that they have the exclusive right to freedom of speech? How did they achieve the right to say and do whatever they please, while the rest of the world only has the right to listen, cower, suffer and sweat? While the leaders of the non-Arab world plead with their populations to protect Muslims from any act of discrimination, the Arabic leaders, both religious and political, encourage vengeance and violence against people of other religions. Logically, if a mere insult deserves a sentence of death, acts that cause the destruction of human life deserve the same fate.


How many countless times have Muslims insulted people of every faith? The fact is, in there mosques and public speeches and in every kind of media, their insults and abuse of other faiths is limitless. If in any Arab city, on the pages of every newspaper and the walls of virtually every building you'll see articles, pictures and paintings insulting, degrading and dehumanizing people of every other faith. While they are practicing acts of humiliation against every other faith, isn't it strange that no leader of any other religion has ever considered any act of retribution or even discrimination against the Muslims? Nobody has ever refused to marry a girl because she has a Muslim brother. Nobody has ever refused to kiss a girl because she has a Muslim father. Nobody has ever left a table in a restaurant because he had an Arab waiter. Nobody has ever refused a toasted bagel because it was made by a Muslim baker. Nobody has ever refused to buy a Slurpee in a 7-Eleven because of an Arab storekeeper.


Isn't it amazing that while we cower in fear of any act of violence they might commit against innocent people, the people of other faiths have never even consider committing any kind of act that could harm a life of an innocent Muslim? Who decides that they have the right to convert the world into a courtroom, with the rest of the world's other religions on trial, with the fate of our lives in their hands, with themselves the self-appointed judge, jury and executioner?


How long will it take for humanity to put an end to this kind of helplessness and cowardice in the face of this inhumane behavior? Instead of cowering in fear of losing our lives from the hands of Muslims, we should immediately and firmly advise them that any act of violence against innocent people will be met with a level of aggressive response that will make them realize that acts of terror against innocent people will cause them to pay an unbearable price.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

 



1623 Third Avenue, Suite 205, New York, NY 10128
Tel: 212-828-2424; Fax: 212-828-1717;
E-mail afsi@rcn.com Website; http://www.afsi.org/
Contact: Barry Freedman, Executive Director

September 20, 2006

PRESIDENT BUSH AT THE UNITED NATIONS


Americans For a Safe Israel is deeply disappointed that President Bush, a strong supporter of Israel, once again endorsed a “two state solution” during his speech at the United Nations.


Herbert Zweibon, Chairman of the organization, stated: “By reviving the ‘road map,’ in spite of the unequivocal evidence that Israel has no ‘partner for peace,’ the President undercuts his own war against terror. The President ignores the fact that Hamas, now the elected government of the Palestinian Authority, is a terror organization openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction. And while the President rightly denounces the Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad, why does he persist in praising and trying to shore up the Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Abbas?”


Zweibon notes that, “The road map is a map for Israeli territorial retreat. How can the President ignore what has followed Israeli retreats since the ‘road map’ was first proposed? Israel’s unilateral retreat from Gaza has produced only endless missile and rocket attacks upon her southern towns. Her unilateral retreat from Lebanon produced the onslaughts by Hezbollah. In simply repeating the slogans of a failed policy, the President is showing a lack of firm leadership, when leadership is sorely needed. It is especially distressing that the President should be making these statements at the deeply corrupt UN, that he should use this forum to gratify Israel’s enemies and encourage the jihadists.”


Americans For a Safe Israel is concerned at the failure of understanding and imagination that still permeates U.S. policy toward the Arab-Israel conflict. The State Department still seems to control policy and to advance the same tired formula, unchanged since the 1970 Rogers Plan calling for Israel’s retreat to the 1949 ceasefire lines.


“It is past time,” says Zweibon, “for the U.S. to abandon its ‘three-state’ solution, its effort to carve up historic Palestine into a Jewish state and two Arab states, Jordan, and a terror enclave in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, to be given the name of Palestine. It is time for the administration to recognize that the effect of adding the ‘third state’ it promotes would merely be to threaten the existence of the other two: both Jewish Palestine and Jordanian Arab Palestine.”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

 

Egyptian Activists Turn Against Israel

Egyptian Activists Turn Against Israel

By HAMZA HENDAWI
The Associated Press
Thursday, September 14, 2006; 4:49 PM

CAIRO, Egypt -- Egypt's best-known democracy movement has switched causes and is now focused on demanding an end to the country's peace treaty with Israel.

The campaign by the Kifaya group is a sign of how the war in Lebanon knocked momentum from democracy efforts and left many reform activists deeply resentful of the United States.

Over the past two years, Washington has made promoting democracy a key part of its Middle East policy. But now reformists accuse Washington of supporting Israel in its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas, which wreaked widespread destruction in Lebanon.

Edward S. Walker, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel, believes Kifaya's new campaign showcases Washington's dilemma as it strives to sell the values of democracy and freedom in a region galvanized for decades by the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"One of the costs of pressing for democracy in the Middle East is the fact that most democratically based Arab parties ... will be hostile to Israel," said Walker, now with the Middle East Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

The Kifaya movement has launched a campaign to collect 1 million signatures on a petition calling for the annulment of Egypt's U.S.-sponsored 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

The move is mainly symbolic, but it highlights the extent of resentment felt by Egyptians toward Israel _ and by association, the United States, its main backer.

"The Lebanon war is responsible," said George Ishaq, Kifaya spokesman and founding member. "The petition is a reaction in part to the (Egyptian) regime's feeble diplomatic handling of the war." He said 100,000 signatures have been collected so far.

The Egyptian-Israeli treaty ended hostilities between the two neighbors, after four wars between 1948 and 1973, and is cited by successive U.S. administrations as a model for peaceful coexistence in the region. But it failed to dent the animosity most Egyptians feel for Israel.

The anti-Israel campaign is a major shift for Kifaya, whose name is Arabic for "Enough" _ as in enough of the 25-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

The movement, made up of politicians, intellectuals and rights activists, burst onto Egypt's political scene two years ago, holding noisy demonstrations aimed at stopping Mubarak from seeking a fifth 6-year term in office or allowing his son, Gamal, to succeed him.

At least for a time, Kifaya's actions captured Washington's attention as a movement with the potential to peacefully bring reform. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Kifaya and other reform activists during a visit to Cairo last year.

The movement succeeded in breaking down deeply ingrained political taboos, particularly by calling openly for Mubarak to step down. Its colorful street protests stirred up Egypt's stagnant politics and made democratic reform a top issue.

Still, Kifaya failed in its immediate political goals _ the 78-year-old Mubarak was re-elected a year ago. Many believe his son is still on course to succeed him.
Many Egyptians strongly oppose an accession to power by Gamal Mubarak, seeing it as a mere continuation of his father's rule.

Now Kifaya is more concerned with Israel. On its Web site, dozens of postings expound on the pros and cons of abolishing Egypt's peace treaty.

Some wrote that peace with Israel was "an illusion" and a "danger to Egyptian national security." Another said it was time for Egyptians to "struggle" against Israel.

"The most prominent casualty of Washington's policy during the Lebanon war was its program for democracy in the Middle East," said Amr Hamzawi, a Middle East expert at Carnegie Endowments, a Washington think tank. "When an elected government in Lebanon faced a challenge, the American administration blatantly took the side of Israel."

Tens of thousands across the Arab world protested Israel's Lebanon offensive, focusing their anger on Washington because it rejected calls for a quick cease-fire. The United States argued a quick truce would not last without new political realities on the ground, but many Arabs saw that as just a green light for Israel to press on with its campaign.

"The Americans' handling of the Lebanon war has undermined an already diminishing U.S. credibility in the Arab world," said Rosemary Hollis, a London-based Middle East expert.

 

Wave of Muslim Attacks on Palestinian Authority Churches

Wave of Muslim Attacks on Palestinian Authority Churches

02:08 Sep 17, '06 / 24 Elul 5766
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz


At least five churches in the Palestinian Authority have been targeted in a series of attacks since Friday. One Islamic terrorist group threatened to blow up all the churches in Gaza.


The attacks and threats represent the response of Islamic fundamentalists in the PA to statements made last Tuesday, at Regensburg University in Germany, by the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI. By reference to a reported discussion from the 14th century between a Christian Byzantine Emperor and a Persian Islamic scholar, the pontiff implied denigration of the Islamic notion of Jihad for the sake of imposing Muslim rule.

Muslims in several PA-controlled cities in Judea and Samaria have taken to the streets in recent days in protest against the Pope's comments, with increasing instances of violence directed at Christian institutions of all denominations.

In Shechem (Nablus), grenades and four firebombs were thrown at two churches, causing significant damage. A formerly unknown group called Lions of Monotheism claimed it was behind the attacks and that they were carried out in response to the Pope's statements regarding Islam.

George Awad, priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the city, told the PA news agency Maan that the local Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches were targeted in attacks overnight on Friday and early Saturday morning. Awad emphasized to the news agency that he condemned both the attacks on the Shechem churches and the statements of the Pope. Saying that comments such as those of the Pope "sow seeds of conflict," Awad added, "The Pope does not represent all of the world's Christians."

The Shechem-based clergyman continued, "The Christians in the Palestinian territories stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Muslim brothers against the Israeli occupation. Many Christians have been killed, wounded and jailed in our common struggle."

On Saturday, a group calling itself Swords of Islamic Justice claimed to have opened fire on a church in Gaza's A-Zeitoun neighborhood. The group also threatened to blow up all the Christian houses of worship in the Gaza Strip.

During the annual conference of the Islamic Movement, held in the Israeli Arab city of Umm El-Fahm on Friday, the head of the northern branch of the organization, Sheikh Raed Salah, said of Pope Benedict's statements, "I hope it was a slip of the tongue, because if it is not, his words are a direct call to the nations of Europe to stand behind President Bush and Israel in their war against Islam."

On Friday, the head of the Palestinian Authority, Ismail Haniyeh, also had words of warning for the Pope: "We call on the holy pope to reconsider his statement and to stop offending the Islamic religion that has a billion and a half followers." Another official of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ismail Radwan, told 2,000 protestors in Ramallah on Friday night, outside the PA legislature, "This [statement by the Pope] is a new crusade against the Arab Islamic world. It comes in different forms, in cartoons or lectures.... They hate our religion."

In light of the worldwide Muslim reaction and threats of violence over the Pope's condemnation of violence in the name of Islam, security around the Catholic Church leader has been tightened and thickened. In a statement issued on Saturday, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that the Pope "sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful...."

 

Islamic History Expert: Moslem Peace with Israel? Never!

Islamic History Expert: Moslem Peace with Israel? Never!

13:06 Sep 15, '06 / 22 Elul 5766
by Ezra HaLevi


Islam History Professor Moshe Sharon of Hebrew University told a counter-terrorism conference Thursday, "There is no possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians whatsoever - ever.”



Sharon, speaking at the annual conference of Herzliya’s Counter Terrorism Institute, said that Iran is dead serious about obtaining and using nuclear weapons in order to bring about its vision of an Islamic End of Days.

The veteran expert on Islam says that Western officials fail to grasp that the Arab and Islamic world truly see Israel’s establishment as a “reversal of history” and are therefore unable to ever accept peaceful relations with it. From Moslems’ perspective, “Islamic territory was taken away from Islam by Jews. You know by now that this can never be accepted, not even one meter. So everyone who thinks Tel Aviv is safe is making a grave mistake. Territory which at one time was dominated by Islamic rule, now has become non-Moslem. Non-Moslems are independent of Islamic rule and Jews have created their own independent state. It is anathema. Worse, Israel, a non-Moslem state, is ruling over Moslems. It is unthinkable that non-Moslems should rule over Moslems.”

Sharon dismissed various peace treaties signed by Moslem and Arab officials over the years as "pieces of paper, parts of tactics and strategies… with no meaning."

Sharon’s assessment focused on the danger posed by Iran. From studying Iranian culture, literature, newspapers, broadcasts and interviews with major players in the Islamic regime, Sharon concludes that a deep belief in a Shiite messiah is at the root of Iran’s nuclear project. “They truly believe that the Shiite messiah, the 12th Imam (also known as the Mahdi), is here, and that he will reveal himself… What moves the Iranian government and leadership today is first and foremost the wish to bring about the 12th Imam."

Addressing the theological doctrine of how exactly the this Messiah will be revealed, Sharon explained: "How will they bring him? Through an apocalypse. He (the Mahdi) needs a war. He cannot come into this world without an Armageddon. He wants an Armageddon. The earlier we understand this the better. Ahmadinejad wants nuclear weapons for this!"

Sharon has in the past insisted that the Western world was engaging in great folly by differentiating between radical and peaceful Islam. “All of a sudden we see that the greatest interpreters of Islam are politicians in the Western world,” he wrote sarcastically. “They know better than all the speakers in the mosques, all those who deliver terrible sermons against anything that is either Christian or Jewish. These Western politicians know that there is good Islam and bad Islam. They know even how to differentiate between the two - except that none of them know how to read a word of Arabic.”

“The difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam is as follows: Judaism speaks about national salvation - namely, that at the end of the story, when the world becomes a better place, Israel will be in its own land, ruled by its own king and serving G-d. Christianity speaks about the idea that every single person in the world can be saved from his sins, while Islam speaks about ruling the world. I can quote here in Arabic, but there is no point in quoting Arabic, so let me quote a verse in English: ‘Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so that it should rule over all the religions.’

“The idea, then, is not that the whole world would necessarily become Moslem at this time, but that the whole world would be subdued under the rule of Islam.”

That, Sharon insists, is the plan, in black-and-white, of the Iranian regime.

“This is why [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad seeks nuclear weapons,” he emphasized. “The faster we realize this, the better.”

 

Life's Stranger than TV

Body washes up near 'CSI' set

MIAMI - A man's body floated up near where a crew was filming a scene for the crime show "CSI: Miami," authorities said.

The body washed up early Friday in Biscayne Bay at Bicentennial Park, which film crews were using as a helicopter staging ground for aerial shots of a fictional offshore investigation for the CBS show, police said.

A homeless man spotted the body and alerted an off-duty police officer who was working security on the set, police said. The body had no signs of injury, and the death was not considered suspicious, according to authorities.

"Unfortunately, it's not unusual during certain times of the year that people who have fallen in the bay, either homeless or people who were asleep or in some cases boaters who had a mishap, fall into the bay and turn up days later," said Detective Delrish Moss, a Miami police spokesman.

It's not the first dead body to unexpectedly appear on a "CSI" set. One was found this week in a Los Angeles building where "CSI: New York" was filming. Police also didn't consider that death suspicious.

 

And There Was Light

" … And There Was Light"

By Sara Layah Shomron
24 Elul 5766 (September 17, 2006)


A Bar Mitzvah is full of special meaning for the boy, his family, his friends, and his community. For the child reared in our beloved Gush Katif it takes on even more significance. He has lost his beautiful Gush Katif; his childhood home now razed and reduced to rubble, his schooling disrupted, his friends mercilessly scattered, his salvageable belongings stored away in boxes or shipping container or storage facility, and his parents most likely unemployed in direct consequence of the expulsion. Even though he and many many people within Israel and outside our Land passionately and fervently prayed and demonstrated against the evil destruction last summer, this child willingly and eagerly accepts upon himself all responsibilities and obligations incumbent upon him as he enters his 13th year.

My 5th child and youngest son Meir has just marked his Bar Mitzvah. It was a delicate and sensitive issue; he told me he wanted it to be like his older two brothers' Bar Mitzvahs. Thankfully he was able to receive Torah reading tutelage from the same instructor as his brothers. As for the rest, we neither have our lovely Neve Dekalim garden in which to invite and entertain friends as we did for my eldest son nor do we have access to a bomb shelter as used for my middle son on account of possible rain. (Contrary to the law that all new housing projects must have security rooms, the "caravilla" relocation sites lack security rooms and bomb shelters). I tried to comfort Meir by saying that his celebration would be uniquely his as were his brothers' celebrations theirs.

We decided on a Thursday Torah reading and class celebration at his re-established Naot Katif elementary school and a Sabbath reading at the Neve Dekalim-Nitzan Mercazi synagogue. His classmates joyously decorated the school synagogue with bright colored balloons the day before. Meir, donning his tallit for the first time, prayed with the school congregation and read from the Torah. My husband joined this all male youth congregation while I listened seated behind the doorway. Meir sang his heartfelt prayers so beautifully and clearly. The boys burst out into song and excitement; Meir's inclusion into the congregation complete now that he's Bar Mitzvah.

Afterwards we celebrated with his 15 classmates; a remnant from his Gush Katif elementary school. The new school principal, his teacher, and my husband all spoke briefly. Meir had prepared and read a speech about his Torah portion. The classmates then broke out in impromptu song as we ate the tasty food I had prepared. A sinfully delicious frosted chocolate cake with the message "Mazel Tov Meir! 13" made by my neighbor followed. And then Meir was lifted up on a chair as is the Israeli birthday custom. There was plenty of food left over so the boys set out to share it with the staff and other classes. It was special, intimate, and oh so very meaningful for all.

This past Sabbath morning Meir read his double Torah portion Nitzavim Vayelech and Haftorah. My son's heartfelt voice rang out marvelously and it is this melody and these words which have echoed down throughout the centuries. Rabbi Kaminetski presented the Bar Mitzvah boy with a set of Mishna Brurah just as he had done many many times in our beloved and now destroyed Neve Dekalim. But this set, he announced with care, was the last Gush Katif set.

Meir, your name means "enlightens." May you continue to go from strength to strength bringing light into our world!

Sara Layah Shomron is a Gush Katif expellee living at the Nitzan Caravilla site

Friday, September 15, 2006

 

By: Joseph Feldschuh


1623 Third Avenue, Suite 205, New York, NY 10128
Tel: 212-828-2424; Fax: 212-828-1717;
E-mail http://us.f538.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=afsi@rcn.com Website; http://www.afsi.org/
Contact: Barry Freedman, Executive Director; September 14, 2006


New York Times Daily Review

By: Joseph Feldschuh


Thursday, September 14, 2006


The New York Times had a front page picture and an article about suffering in Gaza. The article focused on the deprivation within Gaza that has occurred since European countries stopped sending money over to the Palestinian authorities since Hamas, an organization designated as terrorists, took over. The article focused on lack of salaries, hinted that there might be some malnutrition, and mentioned the fact that there is a 50% unemployment rate. It also told the sad story of a 33 year old female married to a partially disabled worker who, however, has managed to have 11 children and is dependent on UN welfare. The husband is obviously not disabled enough to keep reproducing, and they might be good for 15 children.



The article does mention the ambush attack in which 2 soldiers were killed inside Israel and 1 soldier kidnapped is still being held. The article on the inside page was approximately a half page long and was informative because interviews with Palestinians who voted for Hamas indicated they just did not have enough time to accomplish their goals. The reporter obviously didn’t think to question them about their goal to destroy Israel.



Another article revealed that Amnesty International, which in the middle of August accused Israel of committing war crimes, has now announced that Hezbollah also committed war crimes when Hezbollah shot 4,000 rockets into Israel. They said the firing if rockets into civilian centers was an act of international crime. However, they refused to acknowledge Israel’s claim that Hezbollah deliberately placed rockets in civilian areas so as to draw fire.



Taken by themselves, these articles may appear reasonably neutral. Taken out of context, this is another set of pictures of suffering and deprivation among Arabs, this time Palestinian Arabs instead of Lebanese Arabs. This just continues the daily litany by the Times of the dissemination of anti-Israeli propaganda. Again repeated is the quote by the Hamas leader that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. According to Hamas, of course, all of Israel is Palestinian land. A reasonable article would have pointed this out.



We are still waiting to see if the times will interview the family of an Israeli who was killed or seriously wounded by the Hezbollah rocket attacks.



The New York Times made the news in another way today. Mr. Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, asked his board of directors to take a pay cut. The New York Times is vulnerable if its financial base can successfully be attacked. Americans deserve a paper of record where editorials are kept to the editorial page and where balanced reporting is part of the rest of the newspaper.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

Does anyone know more about this?

The ISM-Terror Connection

By Lee Kaplan and StoptheISM.com
As a front group for Palestinian terrorists, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) sends young people from all over the world to the training fields of the West Bank and Gaza to learn from terrorists and to aid them logistically. Stop the ISM has now obtained photographs of ISM leaders and organizers holding AK-47 assault rifles. The images show some of the ISM women disguised as Jews living in the West Bank and in the company of an Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorist.

One of our volunteers in the United Kingdom for Stop the ISM managed to infiltrate the ISM late last June in the Holy Land where the ISM operates in direct support of terrorists. Our volunteer (who prefers to remain anonymous to avoid retaliatory attacks) has had prior experience going undercover for the police in the UK. The photos and intelligence he brought back are proving invaluable to intelligence agencies watching the ISM and have been in official hands for over a month prior to this publication.

Unfortunately, neither U.S. Homeland Security nor the Israeli security agencies have to date regarded the ISM as a serious threat. Some of these ISM people in these photos managed to escape; nevertheless, arrests have been made, and more are forthcoming.

In April 2003, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that "ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, their activity in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip is under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations." The ISM always tries to maintain the veneer of a “peace group”; however, ISM founders Adam Shapiro and his wife, Huwaida Arraf, and Norcal ISM’s leader Paul LaRudee, a man who Stop the ISM recently succeeded in getting deported from Israel as a security threat, began revealing their true colors recently by going to Lebanon to act as “human shields” for the Hezbollah.

Up to now, the ISM has been permitted to use our colleges and universities to find recruits to send to the Middle East to interfere with Israeli soldiers and border police. For example, every Friday, the ISM organizes riots in the West Bank. ISM members openly boast about having been arrested for vandalizing and destroying Israeli security fences and equipment. In March 2003, fugitive Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested in a house the ISM rented in Jenin. Two suicide bombers from the UK met with the ISM in Gaza before blowing up Mike’s Place, a bar in Tel Aviv, killing three people and wounding more than fifty in the process.

Here at home, ISM appears to blatantly violate 18 USC Code 2339a, a statute banning going overseas to aid terrorist groups. The government has also failed to enforce felony passport laws that are continually being violated by ISM activists. This allows the ISM to function across international boundaries. Rico Statutes in the US are routinely violated too through a campus network. Emiliano, an American ISM activist in these photos, was sent to the West Bank with money given to him by New York ISM as a “grant.” That means a conspiratorial subversive group is paying to send subversives to riot in an allied country in this War on Terror. When I called the San Francisco office of the FBI three times to alert them about information in this article, I was disconnected twice and the third time given a voice recorder for the duty agent. Nobody called back.

Continue reading on the site, where there are also pictures
hat tip: ajg

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

Coffee Anan


Sunday, September 03, 2006

 

Shimshon Cytryn Update - Spetember 3



Yes, he's a prisoner of Zion!

Shimshon's appeal to be placed under house arrest until his trial is scheduled to take place this morning (Sunday) at the Supreme Court at 9:00. He currently sites in the Deqel jail in Be'er Sheva. According to Shimshon's grandmother, he is kept in very bad conditions. He is both isolated and not allowed to contact his family.

Shimshon has apparently chosen not to attend the trial. His family does not have any idea as to why, and is very worried about his physical and mental well-being, due to the treatment he is receiving.

In his grandmother's words, " Shimshon is NOT a criminal. He was down in Gush Katif protecting his fellow Jews. We know that the same Muwassi that he was accused of harming are the same ones that were at war with our soldiers recently in Gaza who needed the air force to protect them. We know that this same Muwassi reported on [Israeli radio] Reshet Bet that he was not injured by a 'settler.' We have pictures to verify that the Arabs down in the Gush were the perpetrators of this rock throwing event. How long does this young man need to be tortured instead of being allowed to lead a productive life in Israel."

When information becomes available as to how you can help Shimshon with his legal fees and emotional support it will be published here.

Please help spread the word of Shimshon's plight.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

 

Chomesh Re-visited Elul 5766 by Sarah Feld

Shalom,
Just wanted to share this article with you all.
with prayers for geula shleima,
Sarah

Chomesh Re-visited Elul 5766

I was not quite sure why I agreed to visit Chomesh,
one of four settlements in the northern Shomron that
was decimated in last year’s purge of Jews from that
area. My daughter, Rivki was able to explain her need
to go. ‘It’s an attempt to perceive something that’s
impossible to grasp.’ My thoughts raced to those who
set out on pilgrimages to the disappearing vestiges of
European ghettos and camps. They would be
eye-witnesses to the historic crime.

Rivki and I were driving in the northern Shomron when
we came to the familiar turn off to Chomesh located
just outside of a neighboring community Shavei
Shomron. We had both repeatedly visited the area last
year, before its destruction. Some of my other kids
had lived here for months until the expulsion of Jews.
They had called or sent daily messages informing us of
their activities with the children, the wonderful
people and the beautiful homes. Then they and all who
were willing to offer passive resistance were brutally
removed by the Yasamnikim, black clad special police
force.

Chomesh, together with Gush Katif, has become a part
of our vocabulary and a part of our lives which we
refuse to ignore. Together with Amona, these modern
day sites of expulsions of Jews, cannot be allowed to
fade from memory.

I called my son to let him know our plans just as we
turned into a traffic jam of green licensed cars
(Palestinian Authority). They were being held up by a
single army jeep and several IDF soldiers inspecting
their documents. This might have appeared daunting had
we not lived in areas where army roadblocks are
regularly backed up with Arab taxis, cars and trucks
whose credentials must be checked to weed out
terrorists. Israelis traveling on these roads
generally bypass those cars and the soldiers slowly so
that the latter can see the car’s occupants. We sat a
few minutes, getting some odd looks from the locals,
before deciding to follow the usual routine. Passing
the jeep with no difficulty, we started up the long,
twisting road to Chomesh. In one area, it was
partially blocked by some spikes, but there was enough
room for the car to pass.

We were now outside the walls of Shavei Shomron on the
winding road which appeared not to have been damaged
as we had thought it might have been. Passing another
army jeep, a few Arab cars, tractors and donkey drawn
carts we gaped at the unobstructed, magnificent view
of the major cities at the center of Israel - Netanya,
Kfar Saba and others. We turned in where the
community’s gates had once stood. Passing a group of
Arab men picnicking, we continued driving with a
heightened sense of caution. As we stopped in an area
that had so recently been occupied with beautiful
homes and gardens, an aching sense of emptiness
emerged.

A once vibrant community was a ghost town. Remaining
stairs – led nowhere. Paths could be followed – to no
place. The beautiful homes and community center were
gone. It seemed, that other than some trees and
withering plants, life had evaporated. Even the ruins
of the buildings had vanished. If a place can be
alive, then this place had died. My daughter would
later compare it to a mass grave bespeaking
inconceivable horrors, with grass covering it, as if
to camouflage the disappearance of life.

There was nothing to replace what had existed here. An
army base had not occupied these strategic heights.
Arabs had not moved in. Nothing had been gained while
a beautiful community and its families had been
shattered. Was it then destroyed just to ensure yet
another area in the Jewish Homeland would be forbidden
to the Jews?

We took some pictures, but mostly needed to make some
sense of what we were witnessing. It was as though
time had slipped back 30 years, before all the
sacrifice, the building, the sights and sounds of a
vibrant community life.

After about 15 minutes, an army jeep raced over to us.
The commander jumped out yelling, ‘What are you doing
here? This is a closed military zone. You don’t want
me to touch you, so just get in your car’. Without
hesitating to catch his breath, or allow us to catch
ours, he threatened ‘if you don’t want to get hit, get
into the car.’ We started moving to the car with the
uneasy sense that threatening empty handed, passive
Jewish women rolled off his lips too easily. Having
been present in Gush Katif’s expulsion and having
participated in the passive resistance that resulted
in the pogrom in Amona I knew that his intimidation
might be real.

Later, my daughter and I shared that as the scenario
was playing itself out, we weren’t afraid of the
soldiers - or the Arabs. We were angry that Israel’s
Jewish Defense Forces could condone raising a finger
against its citizens. And the reason that Chomesh had
been destroyed, that the community was dispersed, that
it was considered perilous for us to be there today
was precisely because the IDF, following political
policy, had lifted it’s hands against the nation
instead of combating the people’s enemies.

As we drove down the twisting road, we called the
Chonenu Civil Rights organization to learn what might
happen next. The administrative director Ariel Gruner
had not yet been freed from administrative detention
(he was being held without charges for three months).
Someone else described briefly that if arrested, we
should call them for a representative.

The police repeated what the soldiers had told us.
This was an Area A zone and Jews were forbidden to
enter. ‘Then why’, we asked, ‘had the army jeeps had
not stopped us and why was no sign to that affect? Why
was the roadway so passable and why were we able to
get to the top with the army arriving only 15 minutes
later? How were we supposed to know that the law
regarded this unmarked road a prohibited area?’ In the
Shomron, we often drive past or through unfriendly
Arab villages. Some roads are marked with signs
reading that Israelis (Jews) are prohibited from
traveling there. There was no regulation posted here
at all. The Arab Israeli police officer suggested we
fill out the deposition on the spot rather that at the
local police station, where it would take hours. Eager
to return to our homes, we each signed a statement
that if we return to this restricted area, we risk a
1000 shekel fine.

My thoughts kept returning to the political elite that
ordered the Israeli Defense Force to destroy Jewish
homes, creating a refugee population of 10,000 Jews.
The government policy allowed our southern border,
until Ashkelon to be attacked daily with no serious
military responses. These signal of weakness and
vulnerability emboldened our enemies to launch a war
which damaged Jewish communities in the north,
creating a staggering 1,000,000 refugees.

It also distorted military values. The adversary
became whoever the left wing political camp labeled
the ‘enemy’. These include the heroically patriotic
‘salt of the earth’ citizens of Gush Katif, religious
idealistic youth, settlers and all those whose love of
Zion remains strong.

Perhaps you’re thinking it was foolish of us to go to
Chomesh.

I’m thinking that if the Jewish People - and our loyal
supporters - doesn’t awaken to fight the enemy, first
within and then without, by every means possible -
repentance, prayer, acts of lovingkindness, education
and all manner of heroic acts – we will all be feeling
worse than idiotic.

Perhaps we didn’t expect that the government of Israel
would evolve into the vilest anti-Semites. Perhaps we
just didn’t believe that they would open the gates to
our worst enemies. But it has come to pass.

Will Jews again stand silent and afraid as this time
around it is Israel’s leadership enabling Muslim
terrorism to continue Hitler’s objective?

Some of us would rather look foolish.

Friday, September 01, 2006

 

commentary from IMRA


Thursday, August 31, 2006
Weekly Commentary: Facing up to challenge of reality in Gaza

Dr. Aaron Lerner

The Qassam rockets that slammed into Sderot today along with the huge tunnel
discovered near the Karni crossing served as bleak reminders that the Gaza
challenge cannot be ignored.

A challenge that is growing by leaps and bounds as weapons and military
know-how pour in from Egypt while the various militias compete to build an
extensive network of tunnels and other facilities for the war against
Israel.

The Gaza threat is hardly a "local" nuisance. The capabilities being
developed will put a considerable part of Israel within striking distance -
this when major strategic facilities are already within range of weapons
systems that have already be operated from Gaza. And while a painfully
escalating ongoing war of attrition, in-and-of-itself, would be detrimental
to the Jewish State, this pales in comparison to the danger the Gaza threat
poses should Palestinian attacks take place within the framework of a
regional clash.

What, then, is the solution?

Give Egypt a more active role? They haven't taken seriously their
obligation to control the flood of weapons from Egypt into Gaza and their
chief interest so far has appeared to be preserving the strength of the
various illegal militias.

International inspectors? They've been a farce at the Rafah Crossing.

How about negotiating a "hudna"? But all "hudna" means is that the
Palestinians can focus their resources on preparing for battle as they don't
have to fear Israeli strikes on their facilities.

How about going to final status talks? In the best of realistic scenarios
it means ultimately facing the very same threat but with the added
complication that Gaza is an internationally recognized sovereign entity.

So what's left?

Retaking overall control of Gaza would hardly be a picnic. But it is still
very doable. And at a cost that's a bargain as compared to the cost of
postponing the inevitable.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

 

By Chava Willig Levy

Chavi's a very special person. I love her and her stories. This one was published on the OU site.


I’m All Ears

Ever since I was a little girl, oh, six or seven years old, I knew immediately if people were talking about me behind my back. Back then, only recently released from various polio-related hospitalizations, I prided myself on my ability to detect the slightest hint of a whisper within an 80-foot radius of my immobile position.
Unquestionably, honing my hearing acuity to razor-sharp proportions began when doctors would gather to discuss my case, sotto voce, in the hospital corridor. It reached new heights when aunts and uncles gathered to discuss my case, sotto voce, around my parents’ kitchen table, the occasional “Oy!” tipping me off that I was the subject of conversation.

It was then that my battle cry (some may have called it a whine) became embedded in our family lore: “I have very good ears!”

Nearly half a century later, my sensory hearing may have lost some of its prowess but, I am grateful to report, my spiritual hearing is getting sharper every day. Not that I’m trying to boast; the credit for this talent rests squarely with the Master of the Universe.

The events of this summer offer many a case in point.

On Saturday night, June 24 (as we ushered in the 29th of Sivan), my siblings gathered in my home to commemorate the second anniversary of my father’s passing. When we mentioned that Tisha b’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, was rapidly approaching, my brother referred to a well-known Talmudic teaching (Taanis 29a): God chose the ninth day of the month of Av as the date on which so much sorrow would befall the Jewish people because on that day the twelve spies appointed by Moses returned from Canaan and reported that the Promised Land was unconquerable. Relinquishing their faith in God, the Jews accepted the spies’ report and wept bitterly. God told them, “You cried now for naught. I will make this date one of crying for all generations.”

My brother then added that the chain of events leading to this disaster in the desert actually commenced on the day the spies’ journey to Canaan began. Our Sages comment that the spies already intended to deliver a negative report on the day of their departure. That day was the 29th of Sivan (Sotah 35a).

As we heard this, we nodded somberly because it all made perfect sense. We didn’t have to be rocket scientists to realize that just as the ninth of Av portended sorrow for many generations, the 29th of Sivan – the day we lost my saintly father – had been destined for a similar fate.

The next morning, Sunday, June 25 (still the 29th of Sivan), we learned that eight Palestinian terrorists in Gaza emerged from a secret tunnel dug 300 yards into Israel, killed two soldiers, wounded three and kidnapped another: 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit. Hours later (still the 29th of Sivan) came the ominous report that an Israeli yeshiva student, 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri, was missing and possibly had been kidnapped. We later learned that Eliyahu had in fact been executed by Palestinian terrorists on Sunday, the 29th of Sivan, immediately after his abduction.

This cascade of calamities got my attention. God was talking not only to my immediate family; He was talking to my extended family. No hearing aid was required.

I need not tell you that this was just the beginning. On Wednesday, July 12, Hezbollah terrorists crossed the border separating Lebanon and Israel, murdered eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others: 31-year-old Sergeant Ehud Goldwasser and 26-year-old Sergeant Eldad Regev. A mere eight hours later, with the arrival of the 17th of Tammuz, Jews throughout Israel ushered in the three weeks of mourning that culminate with Tisha b’Av.

It will come as no surprise that August 3rd handed Israel its worst day of casualties since the start of its unexpected war against Hezbollah. August 3rd coincided this year with Tisha b’Av.

Not that the New York Times reported – or ever will report – this “coincidence.” But who needs the New York Times when the Master of the Universe is reporting directly to us? The only question is: Do we or do we not have very good ears?

And, it seems to me, this summer’s messages from on high were not exclusively of the sobering variety. Consider, for example, that:

Time and again, Israeli towns were hit with barrages of up to 250 Katyusha rockets a day, yet the Jerusalem Post’s headlines almost always ended with two miraculous words: “No Casualties.”
In total, Hezbollah fired over 4,000 deadly rockets into Israel, each one capable of murdering scores of innocent people, yet only 41 civilians lost their lives.
Of those 41 innocent civilians, 18 (44%) were Israeli Arabs. Their murder is an obscenity. The loss of those 18 innocent men, women and children fills my heart with anguish. Yet I wonder if God wants us to take note of, to listen to, that extraordinary statistic. Surely, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s diabolical leader, never intended to murder his fellow Muslims; he even implored them to get out of harm’s way. Nevertheless, nearly half of the civilians whose lives were tragically snuffed out by Nasrallah’s missiles were his own brothers and sisters.
Now, in the midst of an uneasy quiet, we have said goodbye to Av and have ushered in Elul, the month preceding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the month in which we prepare to converse more intimately than ever before with our Creator. Our Sages tell us that in the month of Elul, God leaves what for us seems like His distant abode and walks among His creatures, like a king strolling in the field. He is not talking about us behind our backs; He is talking to us, standing by our side.

I pray that, just as so many of us could detect God’s fearsome presence during Tammuz and Av, we will be able to detect His loving presence in Elul as we beseech Him for very good ears – and a new year of joy, health and peace.

Chava Willig Levy is a New York-based writer, editor and lecturer. Her web site http://www.chavawilliglevy.com showcases her lectures, articles and editorial services; her blog, accessed via her web site’s “Talking to Myself” link, chronicles her latest adventures. Chava can be reached at chava@chavawilliglevy.com

© 2006 Chava Willig Levy. All rights reserved.

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