Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Desert life in Israel

I live in the Judean desert. It gets hot in the summer. But 'hot' here isn't the same as hot was in the 'old country' (USA).

In that old place, you sweat when it gets hot (because of humidity). For example, where I lived, in the 'Rust Belt', 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 celsius) seemed often unbearable without air conditioning. If at night, outdoor temperatures dropped only to, say, 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 celsius), you suffered indoors without air conditioning because your indoor temperature wouldn't get down below 88 (31).

Try sleeping in that with no air conditioning.

In our Jewish desert, however, life is different. Israel in the desert is a better place. Here, humidity is low. Plus, in the so-called 'settlement' in which I live, the walls of our homes are 14 inches (35 centimeters) thick, windows are inset from the outside wall by perhaps 8 inches (20 cm) and we all here use 'trissim'--exterior plastic window shutters that we typically close against the sun. Therefore, between the effect of those thick stone/concrete walls and these window shutters, a 95-98 (Fahrenheit)(35-37) degree outdoor temperature might mean an indoor temp of perhaps 83-84 (28) degrees. Air conditioning then would of course drop that temperature.

When we first came here, we ran the a/c all the time in the summer. Then, as we got accustomed to the heat, we realized we didn't need to do that. Now, we find an indoor temp of 82-83 (27-28) degrees to be slightly warm-but-very-comfortable. 72 degrees (22) feels cold.

This summer, our outdoor Fahrenheit thermometer has only registered 100+ (38) degrees a few times. Last year, we seemed to have had long stretches of 100+ (38) temperatures, with perhaps a dozen days (or more) with temps over 110 (43). I recall readings of 120 degrees (48)--on a thermometer that had a stop tab at 120 (48). I can't tell you how far above 120 (48) the temperature on those days actually got. But at that temperature, you know it's hot. 

For us here, summertime isn't just a time for heat. For reasons I still don't understand, it's also a time for lost pets.

In a moment, I'll show you an announcement on a local internet 'community board'. But first, I do want you to understand that our 'settlement' is an urban community. It's no 'settlement', with dirt roads, intermittent electricity and poor water. This city has one of Israel's largest indoor malls (outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem), and it's 'modern' in the fullest sense of the word.

For example, all of our infrastructure--water, electricity, telephone, gas lines (in most neighborhoods), and cable TV lines are all underground. Our city is known for its physical beauty. 

Here are some pictures that show you what our city looks like--and what our desert environment looks like (disclosure: I no longer live in the neighborhood you're about to  see. I now live in the same city, but in a different neighborhood):


                        This is the street I have walked home on from shopping.





     This is a residential street. I have lived here, some 800 metres behind the picture-taker (me).





                                 Our indoor mall, mid-afternoon




          This is a view of the desert from my first home's roof-top porch: the desert at dusk




 A view as I walked home from shopping to my old neighborhood. The desert sand is almost white in the August sun.


To me, our city is delightfully beautiful. I hope you agree. The desert around us is even more beautiful. I never get tired of looking at it.

Now, about our animal problem. Have you ever seen an announcement like this?






FOUND: Large live white chicken in our yard


       July 26, 2016







When you visit our city, you probably won't see any chickens at all. Here. as I have discovered, some families do have chickens for--as near as I can figure--outdoor pets, for 'show' purposes (competition), or, so I've been told, in place of a dog, to create an alarm when someone enters your property (remember, chickens don't have to be walked three times a day). 

I've never seen a lost chicken. True, I once heard what sounded like a lost chicken (don't ask). But I've never seen such a creature.

Here's the rest of the announcement:



Found: Large live white chicken in our yard. 

Rescued earlier in the day from cat attack.

Will the owner please call.....


Hmmm, can you picture this scene unfolding? One chicken, a cat and what--feathers flying, hysterical chicken sounds and lots of running, probably in a circle?

How does one actually rescue an hysterical chicken from a cat attack? Do you crouch down low, arms extended outward and run as fast as you can (in that crouch) after the object of your affection? Is that how that works?

Listen, this is Israel. We are civilized here. We don't have chickens running through the streets (except, apparently, when caught in a cat attack). We're a proud city. We have air conditioned apartments. We have dog parks. We have manicured streets. We have... 

Say... you haven't lost a chicken, have you?


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The truth vs 'Palestinian' Lies

Each of the following pictures reveals a truth that contradicts a 'Palestinian' lie. Take a look at these pictures. Then, ask yourself this question: if the 'Palestinian Cause' is just, why must it use so many lies?

The first picture is about the accusation that Israel has committed genocide in Gaza ("Palestinian leader accuses Israel of genocide", bbc, September 27, 2014, is just one example of this accusation): 















As these population figures show, there is no genocide in Gaza. These figures don't confirm 'genocide'. They confirm growth.



Then, there's a lie about how the supposedly brutal Israelis as they 'demolish Negev mosque as ethnic cleansing continues'. This picture is from the website, MEMRI, which has an excellent reputation for reliability :







This picture wasn't taken in the Negev. It was taken in Angola. If the 'Palestinian Cause' is just, why do 'Palestinians' lie like this?




Here's a lie that's purely manipulative. It wants you to feel sorry for a poor 'innocent' victim harmed by the cruel Israelis. In this picture, the manipulative image is at the right side, with a misleading headline above it: 




Why do 'Palestinians' lie about a child shot by its own relative?





Here's a picture that explains how the 'Palestinian narrative' lies about Israel:


Try to read how 'Palestinian leadership' (lower left) reacted to these partition proposals. Whose to blame for intransigence?




Compare the horrors of the names in red versus the words about Gaza at the bottom of the picture: 




First, no more than 4,000 Gazans have been killed in wars with Israel--not hundreds of thousands or millions.

Second, none of the wars with Israel were started by Israel. All were started when Hamas fired rockets at Israel. Since 2005, when Israel voluntarily pulled completely out of Gaza, Hamas has fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel (up to July, 2014) ("The 2014 Gaza Conflict", mfa.gov.il [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs], June 14, 2015; click on full report, p. 1) . That rocket fire is what started the three wars.

Third, the plight of Gaza is all self-induced. After Israel made Gaza Jew-free, the Arabs of Gaza chose Hamas to rule Gaza. They chose a terror organization to lead them. Hamas then started the three wars (above) with Israel. Now, they lie about their plight--they want you to believe that Israel is more brutal than those who have killed millions or hundreds of thousands. 

Really? Israel fought Gaza in defensive wars, to respond to rockets fired into Israel from Gaza.Israel didn't commit 'injustice' in Gaza; Hamas did.




Take a look at this picture. See how the 'Palestinian Cause' speaks of Israel--and what Israel does (see 'The Truth' at far right bottom):





The truth is simple. Sometimes, a picture is all you need is to see how 'Palestinians' lie about Israel. But then, if their 'Cause' is just, why must they lie?



Here, now, is the real truth about the 'Palestinians':









If the 'Palestinian Cause' were just, it wouldn't need to tell a single lie.

You can tell how unjust they are by the number of lies they tell. What you've seen is just the tip of a very nasty 'iceberg'.

How does Israel survive these lies? The answer is before you--in your Tanach: look up Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 41:9-14. Read that. Then you'll understand.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Seventeenth of Tammuz


The seventeenth day of the Jewish month, Tammuz, is a fast day. On this day, Jews around the world do not eat or drink as part of a remembrance of the events which preceded the destruction of Judaism's two Holy Temples. 

Yesterday was the seventeenth of Tammuz. Normally, that would have been our designated day of fasting. But because yesterday was Shabbat, Jewish law says that this fast is to be postponed one day.

Therefore, this year, the fast of the seventeenth day of Tammuz occurs today. Today is the eighteenth day of Tammuz. 

The fast began this morning at 4:27 am, Israel time. The fast generally ends today before 8:11 pm Israel time. The exact time for you to end the fast depends upon your location.

On this day, we remember horrific attacks upon our two Holy Temples by the enemies of Israel that took place between the years 586BCE -70CE, over a period of 650+ years. During this time-period, there were three such tragic attacks (see below). 

The Talmud tractate, Taanit, tells us (pp. 26a-26b) that five tragic, historic events befell our ancestors on the Seventeenth of Tammuz:

1. When Moshe descended from Mount Sinai on this very day (forty days after having received the 'Ten Commandments'), he saw a portion of the Jewish nation worshiping a golden calf. Outraged by this betrayal of G-d's Second Commandment, Moshe smashed the stone tablets he was carrying from G-d to give to his nation. 

2. The tamid (perpetual daily) offering was ordered to be discontinued during a siege placed against the Temple by either the Romans, the Greeks or the Babylonians (the three attacks mentioned above). There's a disagreement in our tradition as to when exactly this cessation happened--during the destruction of the First Temple (the Babylonia attack), during a Greek invasion of Jerusalem app 420 years later, or during the Roman invasion  of Jerusalem app 235 years after that. All do agree, however, that this cessation had occurred on the seventeenth of Tammuz.

3. During the Roman conquest of Israel, in 70CE, the walls surrounding Jerusalem were breached on the Seventeenth of Tammuz. Three weeks later--on the fast day we call, the ninth of Av--the Romans destroyed Judaism's Second Temple.

4. During the period 168-162BCE, during a Greek invasion of Israel, a Greek general, Apostumos, committed an egregious act of public desecration by burning Judaism's most authoritative sefer Torah (Torah scroll), one used to check the accuracy of all Torah scrolls. This Torah scroll had been written by the prophet Ezra more than 400 years earlier. It was kept in the Second Temple's Courtyard and was considered to be especially precious to the Jewish people. A variant of this episode says that Apostumos didn't just burn this precious Torah scroll, but all Torah scrolls he could find, in an attempt to erase the Torah forever from the Jewish people and cause Torah to be forgotten (Taanit, ArtScroll, the Schottenstein Daf Yomi edition, 2010, p. 26b-1, notes 4-5), 

5.The same vile Apostumos further desecrated the Jewish Holy Temple by placing an idol in the Temple. A variant says this idol was placed into the First Temple by the wicked Jewish king, Menashe (ibid, note 5).  

These horrible tragedies happened because of our own actions. We had turned against G-d. We refused to follow Him.

For hundreds of years, we refused. G-d gave us multiple opportunities to repent, to return to the righteous path. But, always, we refused.

Repeatedly, we refused. As a consequence of this refusal, G-d had no choice but to punish us.

Today, because of that stubborn refusal, we must now mourn for the destruction we had brought upon ourselves. We must reflect upon what we must do to rebuild our Holy Temple: repentance.

Once, we refused. Today, we fast. Will our fasting and reflection help us change?

Stay tuned.





Friday, July 22, 2016

Remember the refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israel war!


This is a refugee story you may not have heard about. It's a story you should remember.

This refugee story begins on November 29, 1947. That's the day the United Nations passed something called, 'Resolution 181'. That Resolution created the original 'two-state solution' for the Arab-Israel conflict. 

The two states referred to in that UN Resolution were a Jewish State and an Arab state. UN Resolution 181 was designed so that this Jewish state and this Arab state would live side-by-side in peace and security. It was the original 'two-state' solution.


These two states were to be created out of the lands of the British Mandate, called also the British-ruled Palestine Mandate ("UN General Assembly Resolution 181-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs", www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace). The Jews accepted Resolution 181. The Arabs rejected it--and attacked the Jews.

(The 'Palestine' of 1947 was never the 'land of the Palestinian people'. It was instead a name ('Palestine') derived from a word ('Palestina') used by the Romans more than 1800 years ago to identify the Jewish state. This name continued in use until 1948, when 'Israel' was born. Arabs seeking to destroy Israel only invented the idea of an Arab 'Palestinian people' in the early 1960's).

Between November, 1947 - July, 1949, Arabs attacked Jews all over Mandate Palestine (Netanel Lorch, "Israel's war of Independence 1947-1949", mfa.gov.il, no date). The Arab goal was to drive the Jew into the Mediterranean Sea so as to make the land Judenrein--Jew-Free. 

This war for Israel's independence lasted, officially, about 19 months between late 1947 and July, 1949. Fortunately for us, the Arabs lost that war---and all subsequent wars against the Jewish state.

As with any war, both Arab and Jewish non-combatants tried to get away from the fighting, if only to protect their children and women. But after the war, the Arabs began to claim that Jews had deliberately set out to expel Arabs from the nascent Israel (Yehoshuah Porath, "War and Rembrance", azure, no. 13, summer 2002).  The Arabs created the narrative that the Jews had forced the exodus of millions of Arabs from their plots of land inhabited by them since time immemorial (Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, 1984, p. 6).

The actual number of Arabs who fled Israel during this war does not range into 'the millions'. According to Arab estimates, the range is 800,000-950,000. According to Jewish estimates, the range is 380,000-500,000. 

Most estimates today (perhaps an accepted 'average'?) seem to focus on a range of 700,000-750,000. Arabs claim that most--if not all--of these refugees were brutally expelled by the 'Zionists'. 

Those refugees and their descendants have never been integrated into Arab countries. Their resettlement was denied by the Arab League (Peters, 19-24, ibid). Instead of resettling the refugees into the many Arab countries of the Middle East, the Arab League kept them penned up in 'refugee camps'. The Arabs have used these 'camps' as proof that Israel is a cruel and brutal nation even though Israelis have nothing to do with them. The cruelty and brutality you'll find in these camps are all Arab-made. The cruelty and brutality of those camps are managed by the United Nations, through a Relief Agency, UNRWA.

The 'Palestinian narrative' claims that the continuing existence of those unsettled refugees is Israel's fault. That narrative claims that Israel built its so-called neo-Nazi Apartheid state on the ethnic cleansing of these poor, displaced Arabs. It is, the 'narrative' says, proof of the true nature of the 'Zionist' beast. 

Then, some 32 years ago, a journalist by the name of Joan Peters suggested that Arabs were not the only refugee victims of the 1947-9 war. She wrote that an equal (or greater) number of Jewish refugees was also created as a result of that war. Peters (ibid) claimed that "the total number of Arabs who reportedly left Israel is almost exactly equaled by the" number of Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries (ibid, p 25). 

She claimed that, if some 700,000-900,000 Arabs (according to Arab numbers) became refugees because of Israel's war of independence, the same number of Jews also became refugees. But these Jews had not been 'expelled' by war events. They had been expelled by Arab countries as a retaliation against Israel for declaring its independence ( Matti Friedman, The Aleppo Codex, 2012, p 6). 

Those Jews were resettled almost exclusively into Israel. Today, there is no 'Jewish refugee' problem. 

But there is still an 'Arab refugee' problem, called now the 'Palestinian refugee' problem. Today, the original 380,000-900,000 refugees (depending on whose numbers you believe) have become close to 5 million Arab ('Palestinian') refugees. These refugees have become part of the war to destroy Jewish Israel (see below). 

These Arab refugees have lost their humanity. They have been turned into a weapon of war. They have been held in squalid captivity by their own brothers in order to become the demographic tsunami that will, the Arabs hope, overrun and overwhelm Israel. 

Arabs believe that tsunami will flood Israel because they demand there can be no peace at all with Israel until these refugees 'return home' to their land (Israel).

When, in theory, these 5 million 'refugees' join their 2 million brothers and sisters already living in Israel, these 7 million Arabs will become the majority in Israel (Israel has 6 million Jews). Arabs could then take over Israel the way Hamas took over Gaza--through the ballot box. 

Through the ballot box, Jewish Israel would disappear. Put another way, those who wish to destroy Israel want to use Democracy to do what they could never do through war, intifada or boycott.

Unlike virtually all other refugee groups, the 'Palestinian refugees' have never moved on. They have never put their bad times behind them. Instead, they fester in Arab-controlled, UN-managed 'camps'. They live in truly Apartheid conditions (Khaled Abu Toameh, "Arab Apartheid against Palestinians," gatestoneinstitute, June 27, 2012). 

One is reminded of this inhumane UN-managed story because there's yet another 'refugee' video making the rounds on youtube. It's a short video--less than a minute. Perhaps you've seen it. It's noteworthy for two reasons.

First, it gives you a different view of the traditional 'Arab-Israel refugee problem'.

Second, it provides specific refugee numbers for specific locations, something most refugee reports do not do.

Take a look:   





Israel's war of Independence created two refugee groups, almost equal in number. One group, the Jews, came overwhelmingly to Israel, mostly between the late-1940's and the 1970's. They became Israel.They and their descendants have helped to make Israel one of history's greatest national success stories. 

The second group, the Arabs, became no more than pawns in an inhumane propaganda war. They are abused. Many have been kept virtually imprisoned in UN-run camps. They contribute little. They suffer. They rot.


You should remember the refugees of that 1948 War. You should remember the cruelty which some Arabs--with the UN's help--have imposed upon other Arabs. You should remember this horrific Arab face of the real Apartheid of the Middle East.

You should remember how Israel has treated its Jewish refugees. You should remember how the Arabs have treated their Arab refugees. 

If you want to understand the difference between Israelis and Arabs, remember the refugees. Their stories will teach you all you need to know.

Support Israel. It embraces life. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What 'Palestinian' children learn about Israel and Jews

(Last updated: July 22, 2016)

Around the world, children between the ages of 6-11 tend to go to school. They go to learn. But they don't all learn the same things. 

Some children learn language. Some learn math. Some learn reading. Some learn religion. Some learn all of the above.

Some learn to cook. Some learn to build. In 'Palestinian' schools, young children learn to kill. 

Here's a picture of a young child demonstrating what she has learned about Jews in Israel. I found it in an essay by William Jacobson ("Video: No truly 'lone wolves' in the Palestinian knife Intifada", legalinsurrection, July 1, 2016). The picture comes from the website, Palestinian Media Watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qqyyM2R5Ms



Here now is the full video from which this picture comes. The video is also from Palestinian Media Watch. It's 1:04 long:








If you look closely, you'll see the child is not looking into the camera. She is looking to the side, watching someone instruct her what to do, how to do it and, perhaps, what to say. You can hear how her 'teacher' leads her through her presentation.

How much instruction she receives is immaterial. What's important here is what the Palestinian Authority is doing to its children: teaching them to kill and attack Jews. 

This video was not posted by a school. It wasn't posted by a parent or teacher. It was posted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) on their official Facebook page. t's what the PA wants the world to see.

A just society does not prepare for its future by highlighting a child stabbing an imaginary Jew. This is not how a just society prepares for anything. But it is how a murderous society prepares for everything.

Support Israel. It understands what a just society must do. It does not teach its young children to kill Arabs.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Islam’s peacefulness is irrelevant

You might have noticed that people are talking about Islam. They want to know if Islam is the religion of peace.

People aren’t just ‘talking’ about this question. They’re raging over it.

You can see this rage on online ‘print’ sites and on youtube videos.  In this brave new electronic world, where opinions travel faster than a speeding bullet, you find both sides of this issue presenting their case. Both sides are passionate.

Depending on which day you troll on youtube, you might conclude on any given day that Islam is not a religion of peace; then, a week later, after a bevy of new videos have appeared, you might conclude that Islam is indeed a religion of peace.

Which is it? Is Islam a religion of peace, as many say? Or, is it a religion of violence, as others claim?

When you look at polls taken on Muslim attitudes, very few Muslims seem to support violence in the name of their religion. Last year (2015), Pew Research Center did a full survey of Muslim attitudes and beliefs in 39 countries (Michael Lipka, “Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world”, December 7, 2015). That survey suggested that Muslims are, typically, peaceful.

Of the questions polling agents currently ask Muslims, one question that might reveal any violence in Islam is the one that asks if suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam are justified.  In this December 2015 survey (above), Muslims appear mostly to say that such violence is rarely or never justified (ibid). For example, 92% in Indonesia and 91% in Iraq suggest they reject such violence. In the United States, a 2011 survey found that 86% of Muslims reject such violence (ibid). That’s an overwhelming rejection of violence.

Among countries where there is support for such violence, the numbers in favour of violence are relatively low.  One place that has among the highest support for such violence is the Palestinian Authority (PA). But even there, the amount of support doesn’t appear overwhelming:  40% of respondents in the Palestinian territories say that such violence is ‘sometimes’ justified (ibid).  39% in Afghanistan agree with that violence.  29% in Egypt and 26% in Bangladesh agree with it (ibid).

These are not big numbers. They suggest that Muslims are peaceful. So why do Muslims kill so many people?

For an answer, translate the survey percentage numbers into population figures. For example, the 8% in Indonesia who support bombings and other forms of violence against civilians means that more than 16 million people agree with that violence--because Indonesia has 200+ million Muslims (“Muslim population”, eenibusiness school, 2015). The 9% in Iraq adds another 2.7 million Muslims to the ‘we justify violence’ group. The 40% in the PA who support this kind of violence adds perhaps another 1.6 million (this is based on an aggressively inflated population estimate promoted by the PA). The 29% in Egypt who support such violence adds another 22 million.

By the time you finish calculating the real population figures, you’ve got at least 100 million Muslims world-wide (even after accounting for PA exaggeration) who support violence in the name of Islam. For some, that’s a low estimate.  

Nevertheless, the majority of Muslims world-wide reject violence. In a world with 1.6 billion Muslims, most are peaceful.

From this, many conclude that Islam is a religion of peace. But that conclusion misses the point about Islamic violence. The point of Islamic terror is that all that peacefulness is irrelevant.

When the Nazis of Germany killed millions of people, the majority of Germans were peaceful (source: journalist Brigitte Gabriel). When Russia’s Stalin killed millions of people, the majority of Russians were peaceful (ibid). When Japan’s army killed millions of people (in World War Two), the majority of Japanese were peaceful (ibid). When Chinese Communists killed millions of people, the majority of Chinese were peaceful.

The point of Islamic terror is not that Islam is/is not a religion of peace. The point is there’s an evil within the Muslim community—just as there was an evil within the German community, the Japanese community, etc.

Islam’s intrinsic nature is irrelevant. Islam’s peacefulness is irrelevant. What’s relevant is the evil within the world-wide Muslim community that incites to kill.

The Nazis and Japanese stopped their killing after they were destroyed. The Chinese and Russians stopped their killing after they’d made internal changes.

Islam faces the same choices. Islam will change only through one of two ways: through a world war which will kill millions of Muslims (and non-Muslims); or, through internal changes—after millions of Muslims (and non-Muslims) are killed.

These are ugly choices. One of them—or both—could gut Islam. Millions will die.

To stop this killing, the nations must confront the evil within the Muslim world. No one’s done that. Instead, nations prefer to remind everyone that Islam is a religion of peace.

That won’t work. That peacefulness is irrelevant. It won’t stop the killing.




Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mahmoud Abbas and the Biblical Balak

If you’re perceptive, you might have already noticed that HaShem, the G-d of Israel, speaks to us all in at least two ways. First, through the words of the Tanach, the Jewish Bible (from which we read each Shabbat); and second, through news stories we see each day. This is the double channel through which HaShem talks to us. Perhaps this double channel is how He reminds us that His Tanach remains always fresh, forever relevant. 

This Shabbat, July 16, 2016, Jews in Israel will read the Torah portion called, Balak (Bamidbar, 22:2-25:9). It presents the story of Balak, King of Moav. Balak wanted to drive the Jewish people away from ‘the land’ (Israel) (Bamidbar, 22:6). This King knew he could not destroy the Jews on his own. Therefore, he looked to others for help. He wanted someone who could enable him and ‘his cohorts’ to defeat the Jews (commentary quoted in The Chumash, ArtScroll, Mesorah publications, The Stone Edition, 1996, Bamidbar, 22:6-7).

This story is Biblical. It’s ancient. But it’s also a modern story you might recognize.

It’s the story of Mahmoud Abbas, is it not? Like Balak, he’s a ruler who is an enemy of Israel. Like Balak, he wants to drive the Jews from ‘the land’. Like Balak, he fears what would happen if he tried a direct military attack against the Jewish people. Like Balak, he looks for the kind of help that would enable him and ‘his cohorts’ to defeat the Jews.

In the Biblical story, Balak seeks a gentile ‘power’ (the prophet Bilaam). This Bilaam was known for his ability to curse others. This powerful Bilaam agreed to work for the benefit of Balak to harm the Jewish nation.

Is this not the saga of Mahmoud Abbas? Like Balak in that ancient day, Abbas today turns to a ‘power’ known for its ability to ‘curse’ a nation.

Like Balak, Abbas wants someone who can so ‘curse’ the Jewish nation that he and ‘his cohorts’ can drive the Jews away. Abbas has found this someone: the United Nations. The UN, like the ancient Balak, has the power to hurl modern ‘curses’ at the Jewish nation. These ‘curses’ will come from the WHO, UNWRA, the UN Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and literally dozens of NGO’s who all work to benefit Abbas and harm the Jewish nation.

To paraphrase a Yogi Berra aphorism, Abbas’ drive against the Jewish nation is a déjà vu story of Balak and Bilaam ‘all over again’. 

This coming Shabbat, as we read this story of Balak, we will see that, in the end, Balak fails. His plan backfires. The ‘power’ to whom he had turned to help curse the Jews ends up blessing the Jews—because HaShem, the G-d of Israel, will not allow the Jews to be so cursed. 

Today, we don’t know how the modern Abbas story will end. We’re not at that point yet. The cursing of Israel hasn’t yet fully begun.

But then, we don’t need to wait for the end of this Abbas story to understand where this story is headed. We’ve already seen enough to understand how this story ends.

Since the 1917 Balfour Declaration 99 years ago, the history of modern Israel has come directly from our Tanach. Jews have ‘returned’ both physically (to Israel) and spiritually, through a religious Jewish revival. Our Jewish nation has grown strong. Our desert blossoms. Our enemies fail before us. Our land flows with milk and honey and fresh water.

When the UN gave Israel its ‘birth certificate’ (UN Resolution 181, in 1947), no one could have predicted that Israel would flower as it has. At that time, few dared believe that Israel could even survive the Arab attacks of 1947-49.

The Jews of Israel have always succeeded against Arab attack. These ‘successes’ prove the power of the Divine protection our G-d gives us. They represent miracles brought to us from our G-d, just as the Tanach promises.

For those who appreciate that Biblical Promises have become reality, the end of the Abbas-Balak story seems simple enough. HaShem, the G-d of Israel, has promised to protect us. For the last 68 years, we have seen how He has done that.

Through our Jewish Tanach, we understand the history of Israel. We learn of the fate of the enemies of Israel: as with Balak before him, Abbas’s plans will backfire. He will fail. We just don’t know yet how and when he will fail.

When you study Tanach, you learn about people like Balak and Abbas. You marvel at how so many want to destroy the Jewish nation. You marvel at how they all fail.

Study your Tanach. You’ll be surprised by what you learn.