Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Fast of Gedaliah and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

(Please  note: there are conflicting dates given for the story I am about to tell. I have chosen one time-line. Others use different dates)


(Last update: October 4, 2019)

The Jewish Fast of Gedaliah always falls on the third day of the Jewish month, Tishrei. In the Jewish calendar, the 3rd of Tishrei is the day after Jews around the world celebrate the two-day Holiday called, Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year. This year, 5780 (2019 on the secular calendar), this Fast occurs today, Wednesday, October 2nd.

Today's title suggests a connection between this day of public fasting and Israel's current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. If you wish to see this connection, consider first what this Jewish Fast day commemorates. Then, consider the story of Mr Netanyahu. 

The name, Gedaliah, belongs to a man we know today as, Gedaliah ben Achikam ben Shafan. This Gedaliah (the son of Ahikam, the grandson son of Shafan) lived in Israel more than 2,400 years ago (here). His story is referred to twice in our Tanach, once in the Book of Yirmiyahu (chapters 40-41) and then, again, more briefly, in Malachiim 2 (Book of Kings 2, chapter 25) (ibid). You can look up those chapters for details of his story.

Not long after the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Jewish Temple--and most of the Jewish settlement enterprise in Israel [in 586 BCE (here)]--he decided to allow a remnant of Jews to remain in Israel. He appointed the Jewish Gedaliah as governor over this remnant (here).

Gedailah ruled over Israel at a time when Babylonia was the most powerful nation in the world. Gedaliah is said to have believed that maintaining a strong and peaceful relationship with this all-powerful nation would be good for Israel. That is, he appears to have believed that staying on Babylonia's 'good side' would mean that Israel would thrive (ibid). 

Indeed, following a policy of 'staying in line with' Babylonia, Israel's economy improved under Gedaliah's rule (ibid). By arranging a 'foreign policy' that favored Babylonia, Gedaliah was able to use his domestic leadership skills to strengthen Israel's ability to stand alone economically.  Through this combination of a shrewd foreign policy with a skilled domestic policy, Gedaliah created a success formula for Israel's existence. 

Netanyahu is no different than Gedaliah. Like Gedaliah, Netanyahu has a foreign policy that works closely with the interests of the modern world's most powerful nation, the US. Like Gedaliah--or, perhaps more successfully than Gedaliah--Netanyahu has combined a shrewd foreign policy with excellent domestic leadership skills to guide Israel to historic economic gains. 

Despite these achievements, both Gedaliah and Netanyahu are plagued by enemies. In Gedaliah's case, some Jews were jealous of him--and hated both his leadership and his policies (ibid). Disaffected Jews plotted against him. They wanted him gone. Gedaliah was warned to tread carefully with these plotters, but he didn't listen to that advice. 

On a Rosh Hashannah, he invited his main opponent to join him for the Holiday meal. At that meal, that opponent--along with men he had brought with him to the meal--rose up and murdered Gedaliah (here). 

This murder not only ended Gedaliah's life. It also ended the Jewish settlement enterprise in Israel (ibid). Gedaliah's leadership was such that his murder represented a devastating blow to Israel's well-being. Without him leading, Jews abandoned Israel. Israel withered into weakness and decline. 

We mourn today that loss. We fast, both for his death and the treachery which preceded it.

This, in essence, is the story of Gedaliah's Fast. It's short. It's ugly. Its consequences were disastrous for the Jewish remnant in Israel struggling to remain in Israel.

Today, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces what some feel is a similar treachery. What is at stake today isn't Netanyahu's life. No one seriously fears for his physical survival. But what some do fear today is for Netanyahu's political career. Netanyahu's enemies have, it seems, a lust to destroy him; and some in Israel fear the international and domestic consequences Israel will face should he be toppled.

Netanyahu's and Gedaliah's enemies share a starling similarity. Both sets of enemies hated their national leader. Neither wanted the leader they hated to remain in office. Both sets of enemies chose to destroy that hated leader--one through murder, the other by destroying the leader's reputation.  

Today's enemies of the state leader are frustrated. They hate Netanyahu. But they've only been able to keep him out of the Prime Minister's office  just once, some 20 years ago. Since his return to office in 2009, he's become Israel's longest-serving Prime Minister, ever. His enemies hate that he's done that despite their efforts to unseat him. His successes make them look like fools. They hate that, too.

While we don't know much about how and when Gedaliah's enemies plotted, and with whom, we know a lot about Netanyahu's enemies. Beginning perhaps in 2015, these enemies have been trying to remove Netanyahu from office outside the ballot box. Until now, Netanyahu's enemies certainly haven't beaten him at the ballot box. That has seemed pretty much impossible. So, beginning perhaps 4 years ago--some will say this all began much earlier-- Netanyahu's enemies hit upon a new tactic. They decided to destroy him with accusations of corruption. 

In Gedaliah's days, those who plotted against him sought to murder him. Today's plotters against Netanyahu seek only to 'murder' Netanyahu's political career. 

After close to four years of attacks, the accusations against Netanyahu have begun to talk hold in the nation's psyche. More and more voters have come to believe that, where's there's so much 'smoke' (accusations that are repeated some daily), there must indeed be fire (with all these accusations, the man must be guilty, right?). 

Some voters, so convinced, express a visceral hate for the man. They want to see him destroyed; or, if  not destroyed, then in jail (which, of course, amounts to the same thing). Now, with Israel's criminal justice system on the verge of indicting Netanyahu for the accused corruptions he is supposed to have committed, his enemies appear ready to celebrate finally getting rid of him. 

Gedaliah and Netanyahu. Two leaders felled--or brought to  the "felling" post (court)--by plotters and haters. No small irony, this--on the Fast of Gedaliah, no less.

Gedaliah long ago lost his life because of treachery. Will Netanyahu lose his political life now because of an equally hate-filled treachery? The Jews of Israel suffered when Gedaliah lost his life. Will Jews in Israel now suffer again if--as many expect--Netanyahu's political life is destroyed? 

Can Netanyahu save his career and his reputation? Will indictment bring out the howling wolves of 'he must resign now'?

Will a trial save him--or be the final nail in his political coffin?

Stay tuned. This ugly tale of modern Jewish treachery has just begun.  

How is this going to end? G-d knows.

(Some of us are fasting today. Have an easy fast)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Jews, the nations--and Days of Judgment, 2019

(Last update: September 27, 2019)


Beginning Sunday evening, September 29, 2019, Jews around the world begin a Holy ten-day period of Judgment. This period of Judgment means that this is the moment when our individual fates will be decided for the next twelve months. 

On Rosh Hashannah, we tell HaShem, our G-d, that, "Before You all hidden things are revealed" (see the Mussaf service, shemoneh etray, in the paragraph that begins with, "אתה זוכר" --"You remember"). Before G-d, we proclaim, "everything is revealed and known" [to Him] (ibid). 

On this day, it will be decided who will succeed, who will fail; who will be healthy, who will fall sick; who will live, who will die.

In case one believes nations are exempt from such judgment, the prayer cited above goes on: "Regarding countries, it is said on this day which is destined for the sword and which for peace, which for hunger and which for abundance" (ibid). 

On this day, in other words, the entire world is judged. No one is exempt.

This ten-day period of Judgment begins with the first day of Rosh Hashannah. It ends with the Jewish Holy Day, Yom Kippur--the day our fates are sealed for the year. 

This year, Yom Kippur will be Wednesday, October 9th.

The Jewish G-d is merciful. He doesn't just judge and seal our fate on the same day. He gives us ten days between the beginning of Rosh Hashannah (when we are judged) and the end of Yom Kippur (when He decides what will happen to us). We are to use these ten days to try to change or modify His Judgments for the better. 

We can effect this change-for-the-better two ways. First, through heart-felt prayer . Second, by acting with greater piety during this period. 

It's a G-dly gesture for our benefit. We get 'extra time' to mend our ways--and extra time to plead our case, to show we mean to change.

You see, Judaism teaches that G-d wants us to return to Him. He doesn't enjoy punishing us. Instead, He wants us to  repair our behavior and mend our relationship with Him. 

Our Jewish G-d isn't meticulous at this time about how we do this repair. He doesn't require exacting demands to be met or a precise order of actions to be taken in order to receive His favor. He simply wants us to make an effort--any effort--to show we are trying to improve.

Actually, our Jewish G-d is more lenient than that. He gives us a bonus. He gives us even more days to show Him we care about our relationship with Him. 

Our tradition teaches that, even after the Book of Life is sealed on Yom Kippur, we all have an extra eleven days after that to repair ourselves. We have until a holiday called, Hoshannah Rabba (this year on October 20th) to change His Judgment of us.

Because we read in our prayers that nations ("countries") are also judged at this time (see above), we must remember that, while nations are judged on many levels, their ultimate judgment will be based  upon how they have treated the Jewish nation (you can see this most clearly if you study the beginning of the Talmud Tractate Avodah Zara).

So look around the world. How have the nations treated Israel this past year? 

Indeed, how has the United Nations treated Israel? How has the world of Islam treated Israel? How has the European Union (EU)--and the individual nations of the EU--treated Israel? How has the United States treated Israel?

Then, consider how some nations are doing. You'll see that some appear fine. Others appear to suffer. 

Look again at how mother nature (controlled by G-d) treats the nations. In some cases, weather conditions--and future forecasts--are fine.  But for others, weather patterns cause much suffering. 

Look at the effects of immigration on Western nations. How's that going? 

Remember, the UN believes in open migration. The UN also condemns Israel more often than all other nations combined (here, here). Is there a connection between these two things?

You can see a connection by looking at what the UN's belief in the human rights 'sanctity of migration' has done to a Europe that has a history of anti-Israelism and antisemitism. Sweden's migrants threaten to make Sweden the rape capital of the world (here, here)--unless, that is, some other Western Europe country grabs that title first (here). 

Then, as a result of open, unrestricted migration policies, some EU nations now face wild, chaotic Islamic -controlled 'no-go' zones where local police dare not enter for fear of attack. 


Western nations seem threatened in innumerable ways by  non-Western migrants who don't speak the local language and who have  massive unemployment problems--and a hatred for all things 'Western'. National budgets are threatened by the weight of paying benefits for these unemployed; and in too many EU communities, crime in migrant-heavy areas increases almost exponentially.

The West has problems--with weather, birth rates, cultural threats, and crime. The West also spits on Israel. Is their a connection?

The UN proclaims its religion of 'human rights' as often as it  condemns Israel with lies. At the same time, UN Member States experience as host of 'ills': for some, it's an economy that stagnates; for others, it's crops that won't grow; for others, it's rampant crime; for still others it's a growing threat of civil war--or, increasing clashes between groups who entertain diametrically opposed agendas, and who won't abide by the rules of law. 

Yes, Judaism teaches that nations will be judged based upon how they treat Israel. Even as we know that HaShem is patient, often allowing nations (and individuals) to 'roll merrily along' with hardly a hint of rebuke or visible Judgment, if you pay attention to the news, you can nevertheless see how this concept of Judgment begins to unfold. You can see that, after a millenna of Jew-persecution (and now, today's anti-Israelism), Western nations begin to pay a steep price, where the very fabric of national life is threatened by Islam (hereherehere ). 

The lesson that many still refuse to learn is this: those who condemn, attack and scorn the Jewish nation will pay for that scorn and those attacks. Our Jewish G-d will see to that because all are accountable.

Rosh Hashannah lies before us. Our Days of Judgment are close. 

Will nations correct in order to change their fate? 

Will you?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Israel's election highlights an identity crisis



It's been less than 48 hours since national election voting stations across Israel have closed. All ballots have been collected. As of this writing, some 95 percent of votes have been counted. 

Although the dust and the political dirt-clouds from this most recent election season have barely settled, we can nonetheless begin to see, for perhaps the first time (?), what this election was really all about. It certainly wasn't about Left vs Right or the efficacy of a two-state solution--or even, at some level, about Netanyahu vs Gantz.  


Yes, on the surface, we were voting for either a politically Right-leaning Benjamin Netanyahu or for a politically Center-Left Benny Gantz. But some of today's post-election rhetoric suggest that this election was actually about something completely different (here).

It seems that in this election, Israelis were actually voting either to make Israel a Liberal, Progressive, secular and anti-religion modern 'Democracy'--or, to make Israel 'more Jewish'.

The choice of Netanyanhu or Gantz for Prime Minister was the surface debate. It's what we saw most of the time. It's what dominated our three-month-long campaign news cycle. But the underlying reality beneath that surface involved a far different theme, one that appeared not as consciously rational or intellectual, but as mean-spirited political slander--the kind of near-hate-speech we occasionally experience and then quickly ignore as simply too raw, too impolite to think about.

This election wasn't a political election. Apparently, it was a religious election. 

The question which Israel's media framed for Israel was both clear and biased, if not downright bigoted. This question was, what kind of Israel do you want to live in?

This question wasn't framed as a debate. It was framed by religion-denouncing politicians who went to the gutter to say/ask, 'hey Israelis, do you want to live in an Israel that's Liberal, secular Progressive and free like everybody else in the West? Or, do you want to live in an Israel that's run by religious 'extremists and 'messianics' who will (in essence) take away your freedoms and ram their god-stuff down your throats? 

 Well, Israel has voted. Israelis have made their choice. With their votes, they've said--loudly and clearly--we aren't sure what we want.

By voting for what amounts to a stalemate, voters have basically split their vote between Netanyahu (I'll give you a Jewish, Zionist state that will include religious factions) and Gantz (I'll lead you to a secular state that will deliberately exclude the religious) (here). 

Israeli voters have used the voting booth to say, 'look, we like our Judaism. We really do. But we love the supposed freedom and unrestraint we see everybody else in the West has'. 

Israelis, in essence, voted for both religion and the secular. But it seems they're not going to get both. They could get instead a secular government many of whose leaders and members appear to hate most things religious. 

This stalemate leaves Israel with a uniquely Jewish national identity crisis. The Israeli craving to 'be just like everybody else' creates a political mess. It leaves Israel with no definitive choice for Prime Minister--and a strong post-election anti-religious atmosphere that threatens to linger above us like a poisonous cloud, capable of descending upon us with little advance notice.  

The unwanted truth is, our religion teaches us we are destined to be a 'kingdom of priests'. But in these days preceding our Final Redemption, Israelis have not chosen to embrace their Destiny. They've chosen instead to encourage (perhaps without intention) to boost the morale and power of those who want to remove our religion entirely from the marketplace--and from our lives. 

This curiously anti-religious election result leaves us with a quandary: who are we? Are we to be the world's only truly 'Jewish' state, or are we to become just another non-Jewish nation?

Apparently, Israel's voters don't know.

Yet this inconclusive election has had one conclusive result. It has empowered those Jews among us who spit on our religion--in public. It has emboldened Jews among us who appear to hate our G-d, and appear to want us to hate Him, too.

This is not a good thing. If our long and bloody history has taught us anything, it's that denouncing our Faith never leads to anything good for the Jewish people. 

Can we pull ourselves out of this crisis?  Can we show our G-d that we stand steadfast for Him--or will we slip further into crisis?

 Stay tuned. This ugly drama has only just begun.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Israel's election day. Is this why Israel needs HaShem?

(Last updated: September 18, 2019)



Today--September 17, 2019--is a national election day for Israel. Many voters are disgusted. They may not vote.

They're disgusted for one or more of several reasons, among them: some voters see this election as unnecessary--Israel should have found a way to create a governing coalition after the April 2019 election--having to vote again  now is a disgrace and a waste of hard-to-come-by taxpayers shekels.  Other voters are disgusted by the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu because they believe media accusations that he is selfish, ego-maniacal and corrupt, and needs to be tossed into history's dustbin; these voters believe the anti-Netanyahu politicians who are  trying to unseat him in the elections; these accusing politicians declare loudly that Netanyahu is "extremist" and 'corrupt"; they say he's a 'now-disqualified' leader who has finally lost the trust of the 'people' and who therefore needs to be voted out of office. Yet other voters are disgusted by Netanyahu opponent Avigdor Liberman (head of the  Yisroel Beteynu Party). This politician, these voters say, deliberately caused the need for this election re-do; they say he selfishly refused to participate in forming a governing coalition after the April election and chose instead to see the post-election governance process collapse--so he could run again to gain more votes; he ran this second time with an anti-religion campaign, a campaign has used over-the-top anti-Haredi (the ultra-religious here) vitriol. Finally, some believe that all these issues disgust them because they (these issues listed above) represent clear evidence that the entire Israeli election process has failed miserably.

The polls opened this morning at 7 am. My wife and I went to vote just before eight am. Lines to vote seemed short. Does this suggest a pattern?

By 10 am, two local news reports appeared covering early turnout numbers. Both reported that 15 percent of Israelis had voted by 10 am. But one news site said this number compares to a 2 percent turnout by 10 am in the April election--while the second news site said this 10 percent number was 2.1 percent higher than the early-morning April turnout. Which was correct? No one said.

Now, after the noon hour of election day, rumors fly--at least in my neighborhood. A  friend of ours stopped over a little while ago and said she had heard what this election was really all about: you go to vote, she said, if you want to keep Netanyahu, and you don 't vote if you want him to lose.

Is that true? No one knows.

In the ultra-religious (Haredi) world, a desperate call has gone out: if Netanyahu loses, those who win will quickly remove HaShem from all of Israel. These anti-Netanyahu/anti-Haredi elements are campaigning, some Haredi say, on a platform that says, 'HaShem, go away; we don't want you in Israel any more'.

Some Haredi claim that if Netanyahu loses, the Haredi world in Israel will deteriorate badly. Given the anti-Haredi campaign rhetoric we've seen, that could be a correct assessment. Some Israeli seculars truly hate Haredi--and everything 'religious' in Israel. 

One late morning headline declared, "Ultra-Orthodox voters 'fighting for their lives' on election day" (here). That might be only a slight exaggeration.

Some say the Haredi see this election as a battle to protect their ability to live their lives as they want. It's a war, some Haredi say, to protect the 'Honor of G-d' (ibid). Other in the Israeli Haredi world say, 'we must get out and vote!' (ibid).

Will they? G-d knows. After all, some Haredi don't want any Haredi to vote. They want Haredi to boycott the election (here).

This election isn't going to end anytime soon, certainly not when voting stations close tonight at 10 pm. There will be claims of voter fraud, voter intimidation and improper ballot counts. There will be many complaints to the Election Committee (which, in theory, supervises the election process). Indeed, there will be complaints that the Election Committee itself has acted corruptly against certain groups.

Today Israel votes. Tomorrow Israel will complain. Welcome to Israel, the Land where miracles keep us going, not man.

Yes, we need HaShem here. We need His miracles. This election proves it. Man can't govern this country alone, despite his claims to the contrary. Man is simply too busy looking to destroy his political enemies (imagined and real). He has little interest in governing properly.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

National elections in Israel!





Israel goes to the polls: on September 17, 2019, we will vote for a new national leader. 

The current leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has already won a national election this year, just five months ago, in April, 2019. But we now have an upcoming follow-up second election because after winning that April election, Netanyahu couldn't "form a majority governing coalition", something an election-winner in Israel needs to do to become Prime Minister. 

You see, after winning a national Israel election, the winner must convince enough political party leaders who (typically but not necessarily) share his basic philosophy to partner with him--to agree to form a 61-seat majority in Israel's 120-seat Parliament, the Knesset. 

An Israeli election winner goes nowhere without first demonstrating that he has packaged--through agreements--a minimum 61-seat majority in the Knesset. 

This is a peculiar system Israel has, much closer to the English election model that the American. In America, a Presidential election winner wins--subject only to a final vote in the US Electoral College. In Israel, there's no Electoral College. There's just this need for the election-winner to put together a 'coalition' of partners who promise (on paper) to help the winner create a 61-seat majority. 

In Israel, if an election winner can't attract enough 'partners' to get those 61 seats, the runner-up gets the chance to do it. But this year, because the sitting Prime Minister (PM) won the election, he was the one to get first crack at forming a coalition. When he failed to do that, he used his power as PM to shut down the government so that the runner-up couldn't get the opportunity to see if he could gather the 'seats' he needed to rule. That 'shut-down' forced this new election.

For all this is worth, few complained when Netanyahu shut down the government because the runner-up in that April election--former Army Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz--had fewer options that Netanyahu to form a government. Therefore, a new election was the only option--at least, that's what most here believe. 

So what are we going to be doing in two days' time? We're going to voting booths again--and we hope this time to get a different result.

From all the pre-election polls taken during the current election season, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. From those polls, neither of the two front-runners in this new election (who are again projected to be Netanyahu and Gantz) looks to be able to win and get those required 61 seats. 

Either one could win this election. The polling is that close. But neither looks able to form a 61-seat coalition, given how this process traditionally works.

Ordinarily, Netanyahu would win this election. Ordinarily, he'd have few difficulties forming a government. But after more than 13 years in power, Netanyahu will struggle to win this election. 

It's not that Gantz--or anyone else running--is so formidable.  No one against Netanyahu is. No one can match Netanyahu's appeal or campaign style. But Netanyahu is fighting an uphill battle right now against the most formidable opponent he's ever faced--Netanyahu himself.

As in America, the Left here in Israel hates the national leader. Many more voters in what we call the 'Center-Left' feel the same way. They want Netanyahu out. They want him gone. They simply can't stand his politics or his policies.

His enemies say he favors the religious too much (unless you actually ask the religious). His enemies claim he won't negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. 

His enemies hate that he keeps winning. They simply can't beat him at the ballot box. They hate him for that alone.

So they seek, as some have argued, to remove him through Israel's criminal justice system. If they can't get him ousted through the ballot box, they'll do it with accusations of bribery and 'corruption'. 

They'll destroy his name. They'll destroy his family. They'll destroy his reputation.

Or, better yet, they'll get him sent to jail.

They're almost there. The accusations against him have muscle. The police--who have a sordid history of acting corruptly to oust political enemies--have investigated Netanyahu and--some say, no surprise here--have put forward formal charges. The country's Attorney General thinks the police investigations are compelling--strong enough to put the Prime Minister on trial for bribery, corruption and something in Israel called, 'breach of trust'. 

For Netanyahu, this means that, on September 17, 2019, he will try to get re-elected. Then, less than three weeks later, he will try to stay out of jail by appearing at a pre-indictment hearing. If he loses at this hearing, he will go on trial. 

Rafters all over Israel will shake with calls for Netanyahu to step down while on trial. The chandeliers of the Knesset will rattle with calls for him to be forced out of office while on trial.

How would you like to run for office with a sword like that hanging over your head?

Normally, when a politician is this close to being indicted, his political career tanks, if only because he could spend more time with his lawyers preparing his case than campaigning. Then again, there's voter sentiment: why would a voter vote for someone this close to going to jail? 

But Netanyahu is no ordinary politician. He hasn't become Israel's longest-serving elected leader in Israel's history for  nothing. He isn't going to go down without a fight. He might even complete some heretofore unanticipated agreement(s) with other political Parties on the Right just before the election that could drive him across the finish line in first place. 

What will happen in this election? Will Netanyahu be trounced? Will he win despite the pending court appearance? If he actually wins, will he be able to form a government (with those required 61 seats)?

Or,  will we end up as stale-mated as in the April election? 

Stay tuned. We'll have all the answers soon.

If you live in Israel and have Israeli citizenship, go vote. This election is important. Your vote could decide our near-term political future.

The election could be that close.




Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Here's the real reason there's no peace in the Arab-Israel conflict

Last updated: September 12, 2019


If you want to understand why there's no peace in the Arab-Israel conflict--and why there's never been any chance of peace--you would do well to look at some short videos. Together, they illustrate how, despite the fact that so many say our Arab neighbors dream only of peace, our Arab neighbors actually dream of something else entirely.  

By the way, be forewarned. None of the videos you're about to be exposed to are Politically Correct. They're Politically Incorrect.

You know about Political Correctness, right? That's the set of rules which declare that, in the Arab-Israel conflict, the Arab is a victim. The individual Arab is innocent. The politically correct mantra is that these poor, innocent individuals want peace--if only the Nazi-like Jew of Israel would listen to them. 

That's the politically correct view. But the videos below allow you to see and listen to several of those "innocent individual victims". These individuals reveal with their own words what they really seek. 

These videos are important because the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s Mahmoud Abbas has been going around telling people he wants peace. Indeed, he says his PA works at "spreading a culture of peace" (here). 

But in these videos, you won't see or hear a Palestinian talking of peace. You will see and hear Palestinians "speaking their mind". Rest assured, these individuals aren't alone (see below). 

The first video for you is the most interesting because it could mislead you. It's less than 3 minutes long.







This video teaches an illusive lesson--because this woman is old, and looks confused. You might well ask, can one build a case for anti-peace attitudes among Arabs from one so apparently confused? 

The illusive answer is, yes--because she isn't alone. She is simply the tip of an iceberg.

We often see videos like this that appear to be one-off videos. From what we see, we often conclude that, well, that's just one person or one incident. We give the rest of the population the benefit of the doubt. They can't all be this way, right?

That's true. Not 100% of the Palestinian Authority population think and speak this way. But Arab leadership works very hard to get everyone on the same Jew-hate/kill-the-Jew page. 

Want proof? Check it out yourself: the Palestinian Authority, through its education system and TV programming, teaches and celebrates terror suicide (Shaid/Shahadad), Jew-hate and the killing of Jews. See it all herehereherehere            hereherehere (most of these videos run less than 2 minutes).

There are hundreds of these same-themed video-excerpts from Palestinian Authority TV archived here. They do not reveal a Palestinian "culture of peace". They speak of a "culture of war, death and hate".  

The very first video you saw above (of the old woman) speaks of a bloody massacre of Jews 90 years ago in Hevron. But as these more recent videos suggest, you can see that many in the PA today speak similar sentiments because that is what they see on TV and hear in their classrooms. As you can see here, that old woman's hate still lives within the Palestinian culture.


Mahmoud Abbas says he spreads a "culture of peace" (here). He does no such thing. 

Abbas is no partner for peace. He wants no peace with the Jew. 

He rarely speaks of peace. Instead, he speaks almost always of conquest and destruction (here). If you go here, you'll see that for yourself.

Abbas is obsessed. He wants Israel gone.  This obsession is the sole reason there is no peace between Arab and Jew in the  Middle East.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

For peace, apply the Golden Rule to Gaza and the Palestinian Authority



While surfing the internet one day last week--something I occasionally do to hunt down new opinions (either interesting or outrageous)--I came across a youtube video that attracted my attention. It was an excerpt from a presentation by US Conservative political personality Dinesh D'Souza. It was titled, "What's at stake". It was dated September 3, 2019 (here).

D'Souza tells a story in this video about US President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the 16th President of the United States. Lincoln served between 1861 and April 1865, when he was assassinated one evening while attending a theatre performance in Washington, DC. This Lincoln story is the basis for a modest proposal I present to you regarding Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), both of which are dedicated to the elimination of the Jewish state--Israel (or, as they put it, 'the Zionist entity'). 

D'Souza's story is about the US Civil war. This war, 1861-1865, is considered by many to be the bloodiest war in American history. This is to say that more US soldiers died in this war than in any other war in which US soldiers participated (here). Indeed, it may be possible to argue (depending upon whose numbers you use) that more US soldiers died in this war than in all other US wars combined (ibid). 

It was a war fought over the issue of black slavery. There were of course other issues pertinent to this conflict, but it seems safe to suggest that four of the important questions that brought about this war might be phrased this way: (1) was slavery moral? (2) do the economics of slavery justify its use? (3) who has the political right--and authority--to decide 'yes' or 'no' about slavery in a state? and (4) should newly forming Western territories be allowed to have slavery (here)?  

Southern states said, slavery was fine. The federal government, situated in the North, disagreed. 

Passions flared for years over these questions. By 1861, Southern states had had enough: key Southern states seceded from the United States. The war soon began.

D'Souza's story was set into this context. I can't verify the story.  However, the idea within this brief tale nonetheless serves as the foundation for my proposal because it speaks to what I believe is a universal truth about what a civilized, supposedly democratic nation must sometimes do to deal with the barbaric behavior of an enemy: apply the Golden Rule (or, at least, one version of that rule), and do unto the barbaric what they do to you--or seek to do to you). 

During the Civil War, D'Souza related, the Northern States began to deploy black soldiers to battlefields in the fight against the South. The South resented the use of blacks to fight the South. It deployed its own counter-policy: any black soldier captured by the South's (Confederate) army would be shot.  

This was not the case for white soldiers captured by the Confederacy.  But this [blacks fighting against the South] was such an affront to Southern sensibilities, the Confederacy decided to take this action. 

When this anti-black decision of the Confederacy came to the attention of President Lincoln, he issued an Executive Order. It is not very well know, but--D'Souza said--it was the most severe order (in his opinion) to come out of the Northern side during the war: for every black Union soldier executed by the Confederacy, Lincoln declared, one Confederate (Southern soldier) captive [held by the North] will be shot.

D'Souza asked, why would a moderate man [Lincoln] do such a barbaric thing?  The answer is, D'Souza said, Lincoln realized that you have to do to them what they are doing to you if you ever want them to stop--you have to do it [emphasis  mine]. 

My modest proposal is very simple: what Hamas and the PLO do to Israel, Israel should do to them. For example, Hamas captured two wounded or already-killed Israeli soldiers during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war. Contrary to all international laws regarding the treatment and return of wounded and deceased enemy soldiers, Hamas will absolutely not return what Israel now assumes are the bodies of these two men. 

Well, we should do to them what they do to us. Israel should announce that, from this moment forward, the bodies of all Arab terrorists killed by Israel--anytime, anywhere--will not be returned to their homes until all missing bodies of Israelis are returned. 

Israel should then announce that, from this moment forward, any rocket or shell randomly fired into Israeli communities from, say, a Gaza neighborhood, will be answered not by Israeli air strikes on pre-selected targets (which are often empty buildings). Instead, such random attacks on Israeli civilians will be answered by a rocket or shell fired randomly by Israel directly into that Gaza neighborhood from which each rocket or shell was fired. 

 The same should be true for terror coming out of the Palestinian Authority (PA): every murder of a Jew by an Arab terrorist from the PA should be matched by the execution of one PA terrorist (already convicted of murdering a Jew) currently held in an Israeli prison. 

Why should a supposedly modern democratic nation do such a barbaric thing? The answer is simple: it may well be the most convincing way to persuade a barbaric enemy to stop behaving barbarically.

In Judaism, this might be called, measure-for-measure. But it also echoes the Jewish Golden Rule which tells us, in at least one version, to do unto others what they do to you. Such a Rule seems especially appropriate in a region like the Arab Middle East where brutality and barbarity reign--and where there are few if any laws forbidding the killing of Jews.


Remember Lincoln's order. It offset the South's brutal decision to execute blacks. It also helped the North protect blacks in combat because, according to D'Souza, once Lincoln's Order went out, the South cancelled its decision to execute captured blacks.

My proposal, like Lincoln's order, redefines the terms of combat. It establishes clearly what Israel will do when attacked: it will do to the entity behind an attacker what that entity incited the attacker to do to Israel.

This is not rocket science. It's simple. In the brutal world of the Middle East, if Hamas and the PA want peace, the Golden Rule will give them peace. If they don't want peace, the Golden Rule will kill them.