Friday, July 27, 2012

Jerusalem and the ninth day of Av

 Each year at Tisha B’Av—the ninth day of the Hebrew month, Av—Jews around the world read our book of sorrow called, Eicha—Lamentations. We think about the destruction of ancient Jerusalem and ask, “How is it that Jerusalem sits so alone?”

Perhaps this year we should reconsider The Book of Lamentations and ask: how is it that our Jerusalem sits so alone, rejected as our Jewish capital by nearly all nations?

How is it that such a city, filled with a multitude of people, seems like a widow—alone and unfulfilled?

Jerusalem is a wondrous city. Millions come every year to see her beauty. She is a princess among tourist destinations, true royalty in the travel industry. But the national leaders of those enthralled tourists reject this beautiful princess. They scorn her. Tourists may indeed yearn to see our regal Jerusalem. But their leaders plot to defrock her.

The nations behave like an enemy.  Jerusalem, always celebrated in the best tourist catalogues, can find no comfort. Her enemies seek to prosecute her. Our beloved Zion becomes an outcast. Her diplomatic gates are desolate. Her defenders sigh. Her righteous are afflicted. She sees only bitterness and gall.

Her adversaries become ascendant. Her enemies prosper in the eyes of the world. Her enemies taunt her.

Many dream of Jerusalem. They dream to capture her. They dream to enslave her. They dream to afflict her. They dream to cleanse her of her splendour—her Judaism.

She has become loathsome. Those who once honoured her despise her. She becomes a pariah.

Look at her. See how her enemies magnify themselves over her. They gloat at her discomfort. Her children sigh. They seek comfort but can find none. Her enemies fashion a net for her feet and neck. They knit the net together.

Jerusalem suffers. Her enemies prevail. There are none to comfort her.  Only adversaries surround her. Her friends deceive her. They deliver her to her enemies.

Her allies betray her.

Her enemies see and gather to give comfort—to each other. They gather to contemplate the moment they can capture and oppress the beautiful Jerusalem.

Her enemies rejoice when they see her pain. Because she appears bereft like a widow, her enemies creep towards her to strip her possessions-- the holy places she loves. Inch by inch they creep, claiming as theirs what is hers.

They want to swallow her whole. They will strip her holiness, trample her gardens, laugh at her lamentation.

Her children find no solace.

We have seen this mourning before (see The Koren Mesorat Harav Kinot, the Lookstein edition, OU press, Jerusalem, 2010). But if we mourn today, we know that, one day, the ninth of Av will no longer be a day of mourning for national tragedies that have punished us across more than 2,500 years. One day, this day of sorrow will become a day of joy because the G-d of Israel has made that promise; and we know that, when we compare history to our Tanach—the Jewish Bible—we see clearly that G-d keeps His promises.

Honour will return to Jerusalem. Zion will once again be a sign of strength to the nations. Zion will again be proud!

Jerusalem has a Jewish Destiny despite her current isolation. Her Destiny is not with our enemy. Her Destiny is not desolation.  Her Destiny belongs to the G-d of Israel. Her Destiny is reserved for G-d’s beloved. 

The G-d of Israel watches. He watches Jerusalem, the Jewish people and the nations. He sees who supports Jerusalem, who attacks her. He records in His Book of Deeds. He does not forget. His Justice could be measure-for-measure. His Judgment could be as exacting as that of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who declares that Jonathan Pollard will not be released even though he has served more time than any spy in US history, has cooperated fully from before his trial, has expressed remorse—and did not spy for an avowed enemy of the United States: Jonathan Pollard, she announced in July, 2012, was sentenced to life imprisonment and that is what he will serve.

Measure-for-measure:  mercy denied could become Mercy denied.

Vile men have oppressed and possessed Jerusalem. She has wailed bitterly.  Even now, her enemies approach.  They would once again strip her, to humiliate her nakedness. But the G-d of Israel watches. He records in His Book of Deeds.

Today, Jerusalem mourns on the Ninth of Av. But one day, Zion will be adorned, not mourned. Those who terrorize her now will bow at her feet. Zion will wear raiment of silk. Once again, her Creator will protect her.

Today we mourn. But our promised day is before us. That is G-d’s promise—and, as we know from our Tanach, the G-d of Israel keeps His promises.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Olympics: Jihad versus the cowardly lion

Sports lovers around the world are excited. The 2012 sports-fest called the Olympics is about to begin. In some countries, TV stations will broadcast Olympic events round-the-clock—or so it will seem.

The world loves sports.

This summer’s Olympic Games will not disappoint. They will be exactly like so many other recent Games, only more so: more coverage, more pictures, more competition, more celebration-- and more security. A lot more.

It may not be enough.

The star attraction for this year’s Games will not be swimmers or runners. It will be Jews.  By Olympic sports standards, Israel is a micro-player. But she will stand at stage-centre during the entire Olympics. Israelis may win no medals. They may not even be competitive. But every morning, sports fans around the globe will start their day with the same question: did anything happen to the Jews overnight?

The Games—the terror Games, that is—have already begun. A week before the Olympic opening ceremony, a bomb went off inside a Bulgarian tour bus carrying Jews.  Several were killed, many injured. A Muslim terrorist group called Ka’adat el-Jihad claimed responsibility for the killings.

In case you forgot, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan coincides this year with the Olympic Games. That’s an important juxtaposition because, as the killers who blew up that Bulgarian bus declared in an email, this year’s Ramadan could become for Muslims a month of Holy War and violence. If Westerners—fans or athletes--are killed as the entire world watches the Games, this Ramadan could become unique: Jihadists will call it the month that Holy War became world-famous.

It would be one of the greatest statements Jihad has ever made and, thanks to the feeding frenzy that characterizes modern TV news, any Jihadic violence will be played and replayed countless times across the globe until billions have seen it; and the more spectacular the violence, the greater will be the reaped glory.

A Jihadic ‘event’ at the Olympics can become Jihad’s most successful recruiting program. Muslims will dance in the street every night of the remaining Ramadan. They will revel in the news that Islam dominates world-wide TV coverage. They will celebrate how their god gives them such Holy publicity.

The threat of violence is magnified this year because 2012 is the 40th anniversary of the murder of eleven Israeli Olympians during the 1972 Munich Games. A violent attack now could become Jihad’s eternal Olympic signature.  What better way to celebrate forty years of Holy War against Little Satan and Big Satan than to start with a 1972 Olympic spectacle and end with an even greater spectacle in 2012!  With both Ramadan and this fortieth anniversary coming together at the same moment, a Jihadist might believe this in indeed a propitious time to strike.

The Israelis take all of this seriously. They are working with the Bulgarians to identify everyone associated with the bus bombing, to see if there is any connection to individuals in London. They work with British police and military to make sure that security for Israeli athletes is at its highest level.

We pray they will be successful.

The British, meanwhile, seem to be serious about this threat. According to reports, there will be as many as 24,000 police, military and private security forces deployed throughout the Games.  Britain’s MI5 Intelligence Service and its Scotland Yard are reportedly working with Israel’s Shin Bet. Israel’s athletes are set to receive enhanced protection.

This threat also explains why there are reported to be surface-to-air missiles installed at six locations around the Olympic village. It’s why London police have begun picking up individuals whose behaviour appears suspicious, even if they have no obvious link to the Olympics.

Will these precautions be enough?  We pray so—but if the driving force behind this threat is Iran, the answer may be, no.   Frimet and Arnold Roth recently appeared on the blogsite, Love of the Land (July 22, 2012, ‘This Ongoing War’,, documenting eleven Iran-sponsored terror attempts since January 2012. Each of these attempts targeted Israelis outside Israel. If these eleven attempts are warm-ups for the Olympics, Iran could be bringing to London its terror A-team. Since the West has been cowardly in dealing with Iran, no one can predict what will happen if something happens in London.

Of course, so far, the Iranians have been targeting primarily Israelis. But we know from their speeches that Iranian leadership has hostile intent for the West as well as for Israel. Will this be the moment we see that intent actualized?

The Olympics are a very big stage. They used to be about sports competition. Now, the big story could be Iran-sponsored Olympic Jihad.

If Iran-surrogates attack, what will the West do? Not much. The cowardly lion fears Jihad.

We should pray for a safe Olympics.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

American Jews, American demographics-- and aliyah

Counting Jews in America is not easy. As far back as the mid-1950’s, when the supposedly first objective Jewish head-count was taken, not everyone agreed with the result. That official census identified an American Jewish population of approximately 5,013,000. But that number did not include (among others not counted) children below age 14; so some researchers have recalculated that there were perhaps 5,250,000 Jews—more or less—at that time. (see Portrait of American Jews, Samuel C. Heilman, University of Washington Press, 1998). Today, census-taking is more inclusive. But counting Jews has become controversial:  when the 2010 Jewish census was taken, officials faced a vexing question--who is a Jew? For example, should census-takers count individuals who say they want nothing to do with anything Jewish?  Should they include Jews who have already opted for another religion? Should they count the growing number of American converts who have come to their Jewishness through non-Orthodox conversion?  These questions were not addressed to everyone’s satisfaction; that might not be possible. But the impact of these questions on the census was clear: the final 2010 Jewish census estimates range from 5,275,000 to 6,400,000+,  depending upon who had been included in the count. (see discussions in World Jewish Population, 2010, Dashefsky, DellaPergola,  Sheskin, North American Jewish Data Bank, University of Connecticut, 2010).

This range seems far beyond any normal margin of error. It suggests unresolved census-taking issues. It might also suggest a national Jewish community undergoing significant change.

Counting small groups in America is not an exact science, and trouble counting heads shows up outside the Jewish community. The number of Muslims in America, for example, suffers the same imprecision—their population estimate ranges from approximately 2,200,000 to 5,500,000.

Nevertheless, while perfect numbers are difficult to come by, we can still look at American demographics and identify some trends. First, American Jews reject aliyah. It appears that less than 150,000 American Jews have moved to Israel since 1948. The true number may actually be closer to 100,000.  This suggests that the total number of Jews leaving America for Israel in the last 64 years may not exceed 2% of total Jewish population (depending upon how you ‘average’ population numbers). Today, the number of Americans moving to Israel is, optimistically, 3,800 per year. At this rate, it would take perhaps 1,500 years for American Jews to come to Israel.

American Jews do not do aliyah.

A second trend is downright dangerous: some estimate that 60,000 American Jews walk away from Judaism every year (see Y. Kemelman, Diaspora is Jewry’s Graveyard, Urim Publications, Jerusalem, 2009). Put another way, for every Jew who makes aliyah, some seventeen Jews voluntarily reject their Judaism. In ten years, we might therefore see 38,000 American Jews opting to go to Israel—and 600,000 American Jews opting to leave Judaism. That’s not a good Jewish trend, especially when it combines with American Jewish birth numbers that are below replacement-rate.

This abandonment of Judaism has consequences for America’s Jews.

One consequence is a third trend, one that reveals the relationship between America’s Jewish population and America’s total population. In 1956, American Jewry represented more than 3% of total American population. Today, that number ranges from perhaps 1.70% - 2.0%.  Our piece of the American population pie shrinks.

Look at it this way: since 1950, total American population has increased perhaps 107 per cent; the American Jewish population has been either flat (using the lower 2010 census number) or has increased only some 22 per cent (using the higher number); either way, Jewish numbers shrink relative to the total.  

This shrinking share of America could create political consequences because of a fourth trend: America’s Muslim population is growing. True, clear census results for American Muslims are difficult to get. But we do know this: according to one survey, between the years 2000 -2010, the number of mosques in America rose from 1,209 to 2,106—a 74% increase. By contrast, in 2001, there were 3,727 synagogues in America—and that number does not really grow. While we may not know exact Muslim numbers, we might suggest that the demographic arc for Jews in America points downward just as that same arc for Muslims in America tilts upward (those newly-built mosques are not empty).

Population sectors, particularly Jewish and Muslim, can have opposing political interests.  At some point, political power for a sector can decrease in the face of a growing population which holds opposing values. This is not prejudice; it is simple politics. As the Jewish population ratio shrinks (most strikingly through Jewish abandonment) and the Muslim ratio strengthens, political influence will reflect those changes.

The handwriting is on the wall. The American Jewish wheel of fortune has reached its apex. It turns downward as Muslim influence stirs.

Will these trends motivate American Jews to reconsider aliyah?

You tell me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Regarding Peter Beinart, J Street and American Jewish leaders

Author Peter Beinart (The Crisis of Zionism) was in the news last week because he completed an extensive interview with an Israeli newspaper. As a self-styled  friend of Israel, he supports a two-state solution and advocates a boycott of Jewish products from Judea-Samaria. He worries that Israel’s democracy might not survive if we reject the two-state solution.

J Street claims on its website that it is a ‘Pro-Israel, Pro-peace advocate for Americans’. It, too, supports ‘two states’. It warns that if you don’t agree with them, you harm Israel.

For these and other American Jews, Israel must make concessions-- now. We must mid-wife a new Muslim state. Otherwise, they argue, Israel may not survive. We must give the Muslim what he wants. Then we will survive.

We have seen such advocacy before. Throughout modern Israel’s history, Jews have promoted anti-Israel ideas as pro-Israel. Virtually all require some form of retreat which, in a neighbourhood of bullies, never works.

Perhaps you’ve noticed: Jews like telling other Jews what to do. It’s a family thing. But families aren’t always warm and cuddly. Sometimes, families are nasty. We know this because Jews wrote the books on dysfunctional families—from Freud to Alfred Adler to Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique). Sometimes, unwise family members recommend behaviour that is not healthy.

Today’s version of the dysfunctional Jewish family is writ large. It’s no longer  about mom-and-pop. Now, it’s national; and because of electronics,  everything gets aired in public. We do this with panache-- a splashy website, an attention-grabbing book, a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister from no less than forty prominent American Jewish leaders: it’s all public-- and critical of Israel.

To respond to this public criticism, some think about these Jewish friends in a startling way: the friend of my enemy, they suggest, becomes my enemy.

Think about it: our enemy is the Arab-Muslim. These Arabs promote, glorify and celebrate the killing of Jews. Their leading religious figure, the Waqf of Jerusalem, says repeatedly (most recently in January, 2012) that killing Jews is an Islamic religious goal. The World Bank and the IMF declare (April 2011) that the survival of a ‘Palestinian’state depends upon cooperation with Israel, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses categorically to cooperate with Jews. Their school textbooks demonize Jews and claim that all of Israel is ‘Palestine’-- not just Judea-Samaria, but Haifa, Tel Aviv and Ashdod as well. Their TV showcases children singing that they cannot wait to martyr themselves by killing Jews. The PA takes UN money for the purpose of educating children to stop smoking and uses that money to create puppet shows that call for their children to put down cigarettes—and pick up guns to kill Jews.

Nice people.

Our enemy calls us apes and pigs who must be slaughtered in a religious Jihad so that his ‘Palestine’ can be cleansed. The Jews, he tells his TV audience, have been ingathered in order to give the Arab the honour of slaughtering them for his god. Our enemy repeats these themes with gusto. Our enemy paints a national dream for his people that feeds on Jew-slaughter in the name of religion. Our enemy lusts to see Jews die—and he is not shy or secretive about it.

Our Jewish-American friends, however, cannot understand how we can reject a ‘marriage’ with these people. These Jews are highly-educated; but they  ignore fact to promote concessions to Nazi-style Jew-hate. Isn’t such behaviour dysfunctional? Clearly, these friends refuse to listen to the Arab reality. They believe that we cannot survive if we remain ‘single’. But we know from that same reality that we will not survive if we ‘marry’ with them.

Why would friends want marriage with unrepentant killers?  Our enemy has killed almost 24,000 Jews in Israel (and elsewhere) since 1948. Every peace effort has enraged him. Talk peace and he awakens-- to kill.

Check the record. Even unilateral efforts fail: Gaza worked out really well, right?

We know what our enemy wants. We see it almost every day. So when our Jewish-American friends ignore those almost-daily calls to kill Jews, we marvel at their dysfunction.

Those who befriend our enemy by advocating their empowerment do not watch Arab TV. Israel does. It’s a harsh world, Arab TV, especially if you’re a Jew. Arab TV is graphic. But it educates. It teaches in detail what our enemy will do once he gets his chance. Arab TV is so graphic it make us think twice about the intentions of our powerful American friends. Mostly though, Arab TV teaches us to be careful: the friend of our enemy could be our enemy.

American Jews should consider which side they empower when they push into the war to eradicate Israel. Do they really want to stand before G-d as the friend of our enemy?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jew-hate in Israel; what’s the antidote?

In an 1871 Pogrom in Odessa, Russia, ultra-right-wing non –Jewish intelligentsia incited for and then justified killing Jews. During the early years of Nazi rule in 1930’s Germany, non-Jewish German intelligentsia rushed to join Nazi right-wing anti-Semitism. In 2012, Western Leftists continue this shameful history with their own version of Jew-hate.
Leftists love humanity. They love Man. They love peace; so it seems odd that Leftist intellectuals should betray their professional belief in humanity by demonizing another human— the Jew. Their love of Man is so powerfully flawed that, like their Nazis predecessors, they see no hypocrisy whatsoever when they exclude ‘the Jew’ from humanity. They don’t flinch when someone calls for war against Jews. They don’t wince when the world’s only Jewish state—an endangered species if ever there was one--is attacked at UN Humanitarian conferences. Apparently, the Jew is too repulsive to be protected by humanitarians.

But as shocking as it may be to watch lovers of humanity behave with such hate, that shock pales when compared to Jewish Leftist reaction to that hate. True, according to Ben Zion Netanyahu  (The founding fathers of Zionism,  2012, Balfour Books, Noble, OK), Jew-hate is not new. The birth of Jewish nationalism in mid-19th century Russia
was born within a context of Jew-hate. Worse, Jewish nationalism itself was motivated in part by its own form of Jew-hate: Jewish secular animosity towards Judaism. But as disturbing as such internecine animosity might have been, Russian secularists were not like today’s Jewish Left. This modern ‘intelligentsia’ is not just secular and anti-religious; it is also rabidly anti-nationalist. Where the early Jewish intellectual rejected only his religion, today’s Jewish Leftist rejects everything Jewish. He prefers instead to embrace those who would kill him.

Would you marry someone who wants to kill you? Such a preference might give insight into Leftists’ understanding of marriage. But it shocks the rest of us. Jewish Leftist rejection of ‘Jewish’ is nonsensical because, taken to its logical extreme, the only place a Jew can go when he rejects everything Jewish is self-contempt; and the only place self-contempt leads to is the existentialist’s ultimate solution—destruction. The French existentialist Sartre created a character about whom he said, ‘she was so self-effacing, she disappeared.’ The same might be said about the Jewish Left: they are so self-hating, they will self-destruct.

How? In America, there is something called, ‘suicide by police’, where a man who hates himself provokes local police to shoot him. Israel’s Left behaves the same way, except it won’t be police who kill: an old Arab friend of an old Sabra (Israel-born Jew), once told that Sabra that, ‘when we [the Arabs] take over, the first ones we kill will be the Leftists; because if they betray their own people, how do you think they’ll treat us?’

Jewish-Leftist self-hate empowers fatal attractions.

The Jewish Left contorts morality. Recall Larry Derfner’s essay (‘The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror,’ Jerusalem Post, August 21, 2011):  he justified Arabs killing Jews for political ends.  He committed two sins with that declaration: first, he openly justified killing Jews; and second, he broke the Left’s code of silence by actually stating publicly what many Leftists dare only whisper.

This support for killing Jews reveals the Jewish-Left’s morality.  To support the Arab, the Jewish-Left cries for justice and peace, neither of which condones murder; but when it comes to Jews, the Left changes the rules: Arabs can murder Jews if that’s good for Arabs.

If you are looking for a definition of moral bankruptcy, this is as good as it gets.

The Left dedicates itself to national suicide. Every ‘peace’ idea the Left has promoted in the last twenty years—Oslo, Arafat and Gaza--have each been a disaster.  Perhaps 1,600 Jews have been murdered by Arabs because of these initiatives, all of which were promoted by Leftists as a ‘cure’. To put these numbers into perspective, they are equal, on a percentage basis, to approximately 75,000 murdered Americans (close to three-hundredths of one per cent of total population).

The body-count is staggering.

What’s the Left’s reaction to this slaughter? Israel Leftist, Ehud Barack, has recently announced a proposal for yet another unilateral withdrawal—this time from Judea-Samaria. The last time Israel implemented such a Leftist plan for peace was with Gaza (2005). The peace dividend from that decision—perhaps 12,000 rockets terrorizing a million Israelis—looks more like war than peace.

 Jewish Leftists submit to our enemies. They prefer to preach self-hate and national suicide. They will not defend their people. They will not join the IDF. They join Arab boycotts.

Sorry. I don’t do self-hate. I don’t create ideologies that promote a fatal attraction to my enemy. My Judaism teaches me that such behaviours are unG-dly. I also do not submit to those enemies: it’s against my religion.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the threshold of Greatness: do you see what’s real?

The Jewish nation is unique.  More than 2300 years ago, the content of our Bible—the Tanach—was selected and approved. Since that moment, Jews everywhere have had before them the recorded predictions of G-d: Jews living in Israel would sin grievously; they would be exiled; they would be scattered among nations; they would be persecuted; their land of milk and honey would become desert; that land would remain a desolation for all who entered; the Jews would return to their land; the desert would blossom again; Hebrew as a language of everyday use would be reborn; a Jewish religious revival would occur;  Israel would become distinctive; she would be a success; she would rise like a lion against her enemies;  and finally, in the days preceding Israel’s ultimate Destiny, the nations of the world would turn against her.

These are the words of our Tanach. These are predictions Jews have read and re-read for 2,300 years. These predictions are now fact.

No other nation can tell such a story of dispersal, desolation, persecution and rebirth. No other religion can match such a record of ancient prophesies fulfilled. No other people have returned to a land filled with surviving historic evidence of their ancient glory. No other G-d has such a list of promises kept.

The G-d of Israel lives. The proof is before us. History is our witness: at least fourteen ancient prophecies have become fact.  Promises recorded more than 2,300 years ago have become history.

And yet, denial is stronger than truth.  Man’s commitment to denial—his irrational pseudo-religion—is so strong that, no matter the weight of the accumulated historic evidence, many refuse to hear. They refuse to see. They refuse to affirm that the G-d of Israel has indeed foretold our history. Instead, they affirm that the G-d of Israel cannot exist. Why do they deny?  The evidence is before them: G-d has turned prophesy into fact. What could be better proof of G-d’s Truth than that?

It doesn’t matter. The power of denial destroys Man’s intellect: the Tanach cannot be correct. It cannot be real. G-d Himself can’t be real because the Jewish narrative of Israel is a lie. It must be a lie—for otherwise, the G-d of Israel lives; and as we all know, there can be no G-d.

Really? What happened to Man’s rational capacity to observe, consider evidence and acknowledge truth--however uncomfortable that truth makes him? When rational Man sees more than a dozen ancient prophecies become historic fact across 2,300 years, does he honestly acknowledge such truth or does he use his intellect to reject reality?

G-d accurately foretells 2,300 years of Jewish history; Man denies it. G-d declares that Israel is His beloved; Man denies it. Instead of acknowledging reality, Man rejects it. Fourteen prophecies come true; Man scorns the G-d of Israel. Man will not acknowledge G-d’s Power because he turns against G-d’s beloved. Man calls Israel intransigent and cries for Justice—but only for aggressor Arabs who have brought sorrows upon themselves by repeatedly starting wars they lose.  As G-d shows He is True, Man uses his intellect to delegitimize G-d’s chosen. Man will not confront G-d. But he will empower those who want to destroy Israel.

Man blinds himself with denial. Irrationally, he denies history. He chooses lies—and then celebrates his intellect.

Here’s proof:  in the last two years alone, the Arab has asserted that there has never been Jewish ownership of the Temple Mount, Rachel’s tomb is a mosque, Joseph’s tomb is Islamic, Hevron has no Jewish roots and Judea-Samaria has no connection to Jews whatsoever. These assertions celebrate Man’s intellectual capacity because only Man has such power to choose lies over truth. Only Man-the-self-appointed-supreme can believe that Arabs are right, Jews are immoral oppressors and the G-d of Israel doesn’t exist. Only Man can design a peace that posits that Jews are Zionists; their Zionism causes terrorism; and peace is possible only after the cause of terrorism is destroyed.

Only Man can celebrate the Arab lie over G-d. Only Man can celebrate denial.

But when Man denies, we should remember: Man is irrational. He is not supreme. He lies. It is the Jewish Tanach—not Man—that accurately predicted how Jewish history would unfold over more than 2,300 years. It is the Jewish Tanach—not Man—that identifies Jerusalem as our capital. It is the Jewish Tanach—not Man—that declares that the G-d of Israel will record in his Book of Deeds, who is for Israel, who against; who is for truth, who lies.

Today, Israel does not stand as an outcast before Man. Man lies. Israel stands--as predicted-- at the threshold of her Destiny. Everyone has his role to play in the unfolding drama of our Destiny and, as recorded more than 2,300 years ago, each player plays his role as foretold.

Do not follow Man. Man is irrational. Man cannot foretell. Instead, he lies. Follow G-d. Read your Tanach.  Read—and marvel at the virtual statistical impossibility of so many ancient prophesies becoming real.

Marvel at G-d’s Power.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Do they lie?

In April, 2011, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank both declared that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was “capable of managing the economy of an independent nation” (see Int’l Monetary Fund, World Bank: PA ready for statehood, Chana Ya’ar, Arutz Sheva, April 7, 2011). Both of these world-class financial institutions had undertaken separate studies and both presented the same conclusion at a meeting in Brussels. The statement quoted above came out at a time when the PA was starting its unilateral push for UN-approved statehood, and because of the reputations of the IMF and the World Bank, the statement served as a strong, credible endorsement of the PA.

It was exactly what Arabs and their supporters wanted to hear.

This endorsement, however, surprised those of us who actually live in the Middle East because even inattentive amateurs here could see that the PA was completely incapable of managing any kind of sustainable economy. The evidence was everywhere: high unemployment, mind-boggling corruption, an unnaturally high reliance on financial help from others and budget shortfalls had persisted so long that they had created an unending economic plague for Ramallah. ‘Economic viability’ was a joke.

Three months later, Evelyn Gordon, writing in Commentary magazine (“The myth of the Palestinian Authority’s readiness for statehood”, July 5, 2011), spot-lighted the statement's jaw-dropping content with a simple reference:  ”one requirement for being a functioning state rather than a failed one,” she wrote, “is being able to pay the bills”—which, she pointed out, the PA has a persistent problem doing. The IMF and the World Bank didn’t see this?

Well, actually, they did see it. But they appear to have sugar-coated their findings. What they did was similar to a doctor looking at a patient on his death-bed, and telling the family, ‘this patient is capable of managing a healthy life’.

It’s worse than that: as Patrick Clawson and Michael Singh have pointed out (“Is the Palestinian Authority really ready for  statehood”, Jerusalem Post, April 24, 2011), that optimistic IMF/World Bank statement depends entirely on two rather stunning assumptions, neither of which have any likelihood of becoming reality anytime soon. First, there must be sustained Israel-Palestinian cooperation. But instead of cooperation, the PA shows nothing but contempt for Israel: Abbas threatens to haul Israel ‘before international institutions’ (April 2012), local Arab TV broadcasts songs yearning for a world without Israel (February, 2012),  the principal Palestinian religious leader, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, declares that the killing of Jews by Muslims is an Islamic goal (January 2012), and, perhaps most telling,  when a meeting between Abbas and Israeli official Shaul Mofaz was announced  (June, 2012, to discuss peace), protests in Ramallah were so violent that the meeting was cancelled.

Cooperation? Don’t count on it.

The second stunning assumption is that Gaza returns to PA control. This is necessary if the PA is to create a viable state because Hamas in Gaza is ‘famous’ for its corruption; any state that includes Hamas would become a failed state. But the reality is that the PA is not worried about taking over Hamas; it worries about the opposite--if elections were held today among Arabs under PA control, Hamas could win and throw out the PA—as it had done in Gaza.

Don’t count on the PA taking over Gaza; worry instead that Hamas will take over the PA.

The IMF/World Bank assumptions require such extraordinary impossibilities to occur that they defy reality. They remind one of that doctor who, with a straight face, tells the family of a patient on his death-bed that the patient can indeed manage a healthy life-- provided two assumptions are met: he sits up to tie his shoes by himself, and he balances his check-book.

Neither one of those things is ever going to happen. No competent doctor would dare speak that way; and the same should be true for the economic case for PA statehood.

The true economic case for the PA is that it survives on a life-support system called ‘donations from foreigners’; they have no economic stability of their own and cannot survive as an independent nation—and the IMF and World Bank know that.

In fact, on July 2, 2012, the IMF itself denied a PA request for money (for ‘technical’ reasons)—and two days later, the Jerusalem Post reported that the PA faces not only another financial crisis, but the worst such crisis in its history; they have no money to pay their 160,000 employees and they cannot settle their obligations to private contractors. In the fifteen months since that glowing IMF/World Bank pronouncement, the PA’s financial situation has gotten worse, not better; every month, they seem to provide additional evidence they are one of the world’s worst financial basket cases. Today’s crisis threatens to collapse the PA.

The IMF/World Bank reports were not economic; they were political. But their politics are dangerous because their misrepresentations support the creation of a failed state that could destabilize more than just the Middle East.

There is also a second danger: HaShem, the G-d of Israel, watches everyone. He watches over his beloved Israel. He watches how nations and the powerful ‘vote’ on the question of Israel. He sees, who is for Israel? He listens, who bends reality to support Israel-haters?

The G-d of Israel watches. He records in His book of deeds. The verbal trickery of the powerful always has consequences; and in this case, the failure to be honest could create a disaster of Biblical proportions.  

Do these organizations lie? Yes, they lie. Can lies destroy? Yes, they can.

Does HaShem watch? You tell me.


Sunday, July 1, 2012


The dream of Zionism no longer exists.  Israel’s Left says so. Their reasoning is simple: as soon as modern Israel was born, Zionism fulfilled its dream. It was no longer something imagined. The dream had become reality.  We now need a new dream. We must move beyond Zionism.

It’s a good argument, except for one thing: it’s fake. To say that the moment Israel was born, the idea of Zionism ended is like saying the moment you get married, the idea of marriage ends. Maybe that’s how marriage works for Leftists. That could explain their view of Zionism. But for the rest of us, the idea of marriage only begins the moment you get married—and the idea of Zionism only began in earnest the moment Israel was created.

In truth, not only does Zionism still exist, it is a dream not yet realized. Consider our national song, “Hatikva”. It is as pure a statement of the dream of Zion as you’ll find. In that song, we sing, ‘to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem’. But we are not a ‘free’ people. Freedom means many things, of course, but it seems always to include the ability to live in peace without fear of being attacked. To test this definition, ask anyone who lives in a neighbourhood where they fear being killed should they leave their homes. Ask a woman living alone surrounded by thugs who taunt and attack her: is she free? More important, does she feel free—or does she feel imprisoned, trapped in her house?

She is not free.

Israel is that woman.

Israel’s Left tells you that the moment Israel was created, our Jewish dream ended; but the truth is, the moment Israel was created, that dream stalled because the Arab nations surrounding her attacked. Their war to annihilate Israel has never ended. We are trapped in our house.

“Hatikva” declares that we will be a free people in our land. That includes Judea-Samaria. According to legal agreements signed at San Remo and the League of Nations-- agreements which are still binding by law—Judea-Samaria is our land.  But we are not free in our land. The United Nations, the European Union and now the United States lead the Arab charge against Israel to strip our land  away from us. Literally every week, sometimes every day, someone in the world declares that this is not our land. Indeed, they affirm that we must give our land away.

We sing about our land in  “Hatikva”. But a Leftist Civil Administration and a Leftist High Court not only deny Jews from living freely in our land, they make those determinations without asking for evidence.

The Left rejects Zionism. They seek a divorce almost immediately after the wedding, rejecting all marriage commitments. They wish to move beyond marriage.

“Hatikva” celebrates ‘the land of Zion and Jerusalem’ as the apex of the Zionist dream. Sixty-four years after Israel announced its independence, we are told that Zionism is oppression and Jerusalem doesn’t belong to us. We declare Jerusalem as our nation’s capital and nearly every nation in the world tells us, ‘no, it isn’t!’ We declare that Zion is our joy and the world declares that Zion is racist; Zionists, the Leftists demand, must be destroyed for world peace to occur.

The Left is wrong. The dream of Zion isn’t over. The dream hasn’t fully come to life. Instead of living freely, Zion chokes on the venom of world-wide anti-Zionism. It gags on Jewish self-hate. “Hatikva” is our hope, our aspiration to be free. But for one million of us, that freedom lasts only fifteen seconds before a rocket explodes on our sovereign land. In mid-June 2012, 130-160 rockets were fired into Israel; since 2005, we have been hit another 12,000 times.

Where is our freedom when we must sprint to bomb shelters? How can we move beyond something that hasn’t fully taken root? Yes, we sing of Jerusalem. But when has Jerusalem been ours to build as we please?

The dream of Zion hasn’t ended. It is still in front of us, waiting.

“Hatikva” is our theme song. It tells us who we are. The Left tells us who we shouldn’t be, what we can’t do and where we cannot live. They mislead us. They insist Zionism is dead. But we know better. We will not seek marriage advice from people who reject marriage and we will not seek our Zionism from people who reject Zion.

Israel is not free. The Left sees to that. They hate our freedom and our land.

But we reject that hate. “Hatikva” is our anthem: we yearn to be free-- in our land. That’s our goal.

It is the goal we must never forget. It is the goal the Left never understood.