Beyond the Cusp

October 27, 2014

Israel Defense Force Commander Criticized Over Religious Reference

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Commander Ofer Winter from the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has raised the ire of the secular media, NGOs and other general busybodies over his using a reference to G0d when addressing his troops right before they entered Gaza and potential life-threatening situations in combating Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities during Operation Protective Edge. Commander Winter received generous compliments from the founder of the brigade, Brigadier General (res.) Yehuda Duvdevani at an event honoring the Givati soldiers held Tuesday at Nahshonit Park east of Tel Aviv where he, remarked “I hope that in the future we will have more commanders that will walk in his (Winter’s) path.” The Southern Commander of the IDF Major General Sami Turgeman when making an address at the same ceremony lauded Commander Winter saying, “the brigade, under the command of Ofer and the battalion commanders, came wherever it was needed and through creativity, planning and determination defeated the enemy every time.”

 

As part of the calls denouncing Commander Winter for his religious reference and invoking G0d, when he cited the Shema prayer in his last address to troops before entering combat, came from the Israel Democracy Institute which took a novel if not incorrect approach claiming that religious soldiers might decide that G0d’s Will runs contra to specific orders. They were obviously unaware that Halacha mandates obeying commanders’ orders when defending the Jewish People. Further, there is likely no more appropriate prayer than the Shema prayer when the task at hand is potentially life threatening and where death can come over one with a suddenness that would preclude the individual soldier from reciting the Shema before expiring. What this entire tempest in a teapot is all about is the secularists in Israel knowing their numbers barely mount to ten percent of the population, if that high, feel they must scream, shout and attempt to intimidate the religious Jews from the public square or else face religious references resulting in what they would view as an Israel that would be too Jewish.

 

The truth be known, the answer to many, if not all, of the Western world’s problems could be resolved by a returning to G0d and religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Shinto, Hindu, Taoism, Islam or any religion where man is placed under a more moral structure and especially those which provide either a more perfect role model or G0d above the normal human such that each individual must work towards a more moral and perfect life and live with the realization that they are not the highest form of being defining what is correct individually and measuring their lives by their own defined and usually lacking standards. Such a return to a life spent thriving for a perfection defined traditionally which places the societal goodness and the dedication to the continuation and aiming to provide a better future than the present day instead of living entirely in the moment and almost exclusively for oneself placing the self at the pinnacle of creation and foremost in the plans and seeking of desires controlling each and every action would even solve the problems of the death of the civilization through birth rates below replacement levels. It has been the loss of faith which has also brought on the loss of community; loss of the sense of belonging; the collapse of the family, including as an enduring relationship, as the path to the future, the creation of that future through children and as the nurturing development of children; and the cause of an emptiness inside and in our lives which we forever seek to fill often at the cost of fulfilling others around us.

 

The loss of faith and decline of religion can be measured simply by taking measure of the extent which government has enlarged itself and how it has succeeded in replacing religion in the societal roles such as assisting the needy, sheltering the homeless, clothing those in need of clothes and every other societal function previously seen as the calling of the religious entities most often through the community’s house of worship be it a Synagogue, Church, Temple, Mosque, or other such group. This societal problem of the death of religion is only the initial stage, a stage that Europe and the United States, if not all of Western society, has already passed and would take an enormous effort and years of taking apart the government behemoth returning to religious entities those roles for supporting the needy and providing a guidance which has been replaced with cold regulations and laws. The next measure is to what extent the government has replaced the family and also broken the family function making it more of an empty, cold, hollowed out existence of two people who are often too drawn-up in their work relations to actively support and nurture each other, let alone children. Government provided meals at school even to the point of forbidding parent prepared lunches from home insisting on the student consuming the government provided and carefully planned and measured correct caloric count and meeting nutritional guidelines, before and after school activities making government the nanny caring for the children, and final stage is government provided and licensed day care for even the newborn. Many in the West have surrendered their responsibilities to the government allowing the government to actually nurture their children, assuming they even bothered to have children and did not resort to birth control or even resorting to abortive actions waiting for that perfect right time to have children, a time which never comes. We in much of the Western world have replaced religion with regulations and government programs and now spend our lives in supplication to the State even to the point of tithing of fifty percent of our gross salaries or more to support that State. Even our healthcare and the critical decisions over life and death are surrendered to a government panel as part of our healthcare. Is there much left we can surrender to government, will we actually move into government provided cubbyholes called our environmental residences and allow constant monitoring of our every move with warnings not to act in ways which may cause harm and cost the government revenue which could be better used?

 

The current growing and seemingly unresolvable conflict is between Western society and its government as religion system against Islamists who want a religiously controlled government where religion has replaced government. Some of the accusations made by the Jihadists against Western nations have lost their souls and engage in a lifestyle that represents what they define as debaucherous desires and actions and a society consisting of people whose only concern is their own pleasure and who have no piety or belief in Allah, or even G0d or other guiding enlightened archetypical standard. Their accusation is that, especially in Europe and the United States, lives are wasted and only strive for sexual pleasures while abstaining from religion completely. What would be amusing, if was not so much a threat, is that the best weapon the West could have to successfully resist the Islamist extremist would be their Judeo-Christian roots and a return to a living religiously guided lives, returned to our houses of worship and reestablished our sense of community intertwined with our religious observance. This would provide the glue which could unite us and give that unity a bonding agent which would be unbreakable and further provide the citizens in the Western world a sense of belonging which was worth defending. Without a return to the basics which gave Western society a strong and moral base, the conflict with Islam will only grow and eventually result in the end of Western culture and with that the Judeo-Christian ethic which resulted in the advancement and pursuit of truths which our science provided and the benefits from those discoveries. Should the extremist Islamists win in what they perceive as their primary source for Jihad, then further advancement of science will be stymied for the foreseeable future and this would be catastrophic.

 

The future of mankind is currently resting on a single decision which history will make over the next decade or two and we reach the conclusion of this culture war which we have entered into whether we chose to accept that or not. The medical and biologic discoveries alone that the next half a century could produce are beyond belief and would have astounding application in extending life expectancy, prolonged or even restored youthfulness, replacement of organs using one’s own cells and so much more. The advancements in physics, chemistry, computer sciences and engineering will be almost as impressive and produce items and opportunities some of which are beyond our comprehension or ability to even imagine. But lose the Western based culture and enter into a religious straightjacket which insists that study of the Quran is the end-all of necessary knowledge and study beyond the Quran and the Hadiths is forbidden unless it is for advancement of the conquest and conversion of the entire world as Allah commands will result in a new Dark Age. Should the Jihadists succeed the losses for society and mankind will be immeasurable. We should have no problem with Muslims who accept a plurality of religions and a separation between religious influences and government and the basic freedoms spelled out in the United States Bill of Rights and the acceptance of common law in its historic and modern interpretations. Militant Islam which believes in Jihad as the spread of Islam over the entirety of the world and the forced conversion or death to all inhabitants within must be terminated and if that means a reinterpretation or even rewriting of the Quran and the Hadiths, so be it. Judaism and Christianity have experienced reformations which adapted them for a harmonious world where all enjoy equal rights under the law and within the society. These beliefs do exist in the Quran and were the entirety of the Quranic writings when Muhammad joined with a scribe to inscribe the revelations for the Quran in Mecca. Those writings were all about harmony, peace, coexistence and the recognition of the rights and continued existence of other religions. This earliest rendition of the Quran provided for the conversion of the willing and those accepting its teachings but did not provide for the violent conversion or the sword approach currently being put on vivid and horrific display by ISIS. Either path for Islam and its adherents matters less than the return to religion and restoring the place for the houses of worship returning to them those powers and responsibilities taken from them by force of law by the government, more often than not, the Federal Government of the State. That restoration is of the utmost importance despite the seeming lack of ability for Western society to perceive this imbalance and their respective losses.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 9, 2014

Why the United States Cannot Return to Greatness

You will hear how the United States will make a comeback and return to sane governance just as it did after President Jimmy Carter brought the nation to the brink of economic meltdown and had much of the public pessimistic to the point that the ‘Misery Index’ which had been used as a guide for politicians became a household word and was updated on many daily newscasts. Part of the reason that the United States recovered after President Carter was because they elected Ronald Reagan rather than trust President Carter a second term. President Obama was given a second term but there were some mitigating circumstances such as weak opposition by the Republican Party, the media almost taking a supportive position in backing the campaign of President Obama and foreign policy lapses had yet to prove disastrous and devolving to the threatening level it had with President Carter who faced a hostage crisis where Iran had held Fifty-two Embassy diplomats and citizens for 444 days, until President Reagan’s Inauguration Day. Had the foreign policy missteps by President Obama and his administration been made more evident before the election for his reelection, then he might have had a far more difficult time. Some may remember that the one area which Candidate Romney performed well was on foreign policy where President Obama made his best retort claiming when Romney answered that Russia was the United States number one adversary that, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for twenty years.” The clincher came not from President Obama but from the moderator Candy Crowley countered when Romney claimed that President Obama had not called the assault on the Consulate in Benghazi a terror attack and when Romney repeated his claim after President Obama challenged him to read the transcript and Crowley exclaimed with great authority and emphasis, “He did in fact call it an ‘act of terror.” That ended any challenge Romney might further make over Benghazi as he had been deflated and his argument flattened giving President Obama the impetus he needed to win that debate and escape any further claims on Benghazi, the subject had been poisoned.

Still, if anyone thinks that President Obama would not have received a far better bid for reelection than had Jimmy Carter no matter how the debates went or who he was running against obviously has no idea how almost completely President Reagan won that election, it was a virtually unanimous electoral vote except for the District of Columbia and Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii and West Virginia. The electorate of the United States has witnessed a sea of change in the past ten years as certain critical demographics have changed with much of that change coming during President Obama’s time in office. Do not get this wrong, President George W. Bush made some huge influences which gave the changes an initial impetus which would have forced much of the change even without any additional shoves which they have received since. We need to remember that the prescription drug assistance granted to those who received government aided medical insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid very soon became the largest single government giveaway program. Sometime during the years when President Bush was in office the percentage of American citizens who were dependent on government at some level surpassed the fifty-percent fulcrum point where it had been theorized that their votes for increased government contributions to their pockets. This was predicted longer ago than many people are probably aware as it was said by Alexis de Tocqueville explaining the breaking point which would inevitable come and destroy the nation he saw as the most exemplary governance in existence when he stated, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

There was one Founding Father who foresaw and gave the resolution that would treat this eventuality when Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter upon receiving his copy of the Constitution in which Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” And earlier in the letter he commented on the frequency such watering the tree of liberty would require, he mentioned his view of the purity of purpose of the American Revolution and the necessity of the purifying fire of refreshment where he wrote, “And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.” Yes, that is what Thomas Jefferson predicted, that the government of men would so far run adrift from the founding principles that every twenty years the nation would require the reset of another revolution and the reinstatement of the Constitution anew. Well, perhaps Thomas Jefferson was wrong though a serious inspection of the governance of the United States over the years there have been the historians who have made a convincing argument that the twenty year measure may not have been as ridiculous as we might think. Even if the measure of twenty years may appear too drastic, would one offer the same argument should one suggest that perhaps a two century timeframe were the measure in place of twenty years?

Whatever the measure one might place, it matters not. The fulcrum point has been surpassed and the preponderance of weight of votes are now likely to be cast in favor of retaining the programs and expanding the payments and the loosening the requirements as the first grants greater funds into their pockets and the latter brings more people into the program thus guaranteeing its continuation and potentials for increased funding. Once we see evidence that the balance has gone to the side of those who receive more from the government than they pay in taxes of all varieties plus those who are dependent on government, state, federal, county, or other elected body for their salaries compared to those whose tax payments are greater than payments received from government programs, then as long as the former vote at an equal or greater percentage than the latter the government will continue to grant greater payments while increasing taxes as those paying the taxes will have been silenced at the ballot box. The predictions that this point was surpassed during the Presidency of George W. Bush may have been correct but when the line was crossed is not as important as whether it was crossed. The numbers of Americans who were collecting the majority of their funds from government; be they welfare, disability, salary or other forms of receipt of government payments; passed the tipping point by a sufficient margin that there may be no turning back. The demographics of the next Presidential election in the United States may prove just as important as who actually wins the election. Once the demographics are studied and become known we may be seeing numerous articles signaling the death of the America which so impressed Alexis de Tocqueville causing him to state as well as to give an ominous warning in the same quote with, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” What would Mr. Tocqueville conclude visiting America’s churches and listening to the preaching within today? Would he surmise that the greatness persists or would he fear the empty pews and the generally milquetoast sermons and preaching just as empty as the pews signify the demise of American greatness?

Beyond the Cusp

October 1, 2014

Dozen Families Face Riotous Neighbors in New Neighborhood

The Shiloach neighborhood in Jerusalem is known to its Arab residents as Silwan which they believe is their land and must remain inviolate from any Jewish presence. The twelve newest residents came thanks to a purchase through an American company, Kandel Finance and are owned by Jews. Immediately on realizing that Jews had managed to buy residences in this predominantly Arab Muslim neighborhood they began yelling foul and demanding that the residences in question were owned by Arabs and the Jews were stealing them and must be forced out. There are actual logical and understandable reasons that Arab, especially Muslim Arabs, will deny that Jews bought any lands or apartments in what are traditionally Arab neighborhoods, especially in those areas which were previously held illegally by Jordan before the June 1967 Six Day War. Under Jordanian law selling any property to Jews was punishable by death; trials for such often optional and proved unnecessary. The future for these twelve families promises to be interesting as the Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood has been a flashpoint for anti-Semitic attacks of varying degrees of ferocity. Attacks have spanned the gauntlet from yelling epithets to shoving to assaults to rock throwing and slinging to assaults using two-by-fours with nails protruding to fireworks and Molotov cocktails being hurled at passing Jews. These twelve families are aware of the threats and challenges they can be promised to have to survive and endure but have that pioneer spirit to take life and its difficulties in stride and seeing each as another step through which they can strengthen their resolve and reinforce their spirits.

The Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood had contested ownership of the majority of residences and lands similarly to much of the areas in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) resulting from the occupation of the lands by Jordan resulting from their attacks during the 1948-9 Arab war of elimination to drive the Jews into the sea and destroy Israel, an effort it is claimed they lost only because some of the state of Israel remained in Jewish hands when an armistice was set. At the end of the fighting Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan, and occupied Judea and Samaria which they gave the title of West Bank to remove the obviously Jewish denotations. Both Egypt and Jordan forced the Jews off of the occupied areas taking their properties, homes, apartments and other possessions by force and threat of death and then granting these assets to Jordanian Arabs. After the 1967 Six Day War Israel liberated these lands from Jordan and Egypt and when making peace with both nations, Egypt and Jordan surrendered their formerly occupied lands to Israel and relented any claim. Despite Egypt and Jordan relenting their claims granting the lands back to Israel, the Arabs did not return any of the confiscated properties to their former Jewish owners and when Jews bought back any of these properties the Arabs would claim they were stolen and challenge the Jewish ownership in the courts often preventing the new Jewish owners from taking possession of their properties for years. Even larger problems have developed when Arab landlords sell properties to Jews, often the landlord lives outside Israel and Jordan, not just outside the West Bank. These landlords often do not inform their tenants of the new owners or the tenants were advised but simply refused to believe they have any obligation to the new owners. This has also led to long court battles and growing frustrations. What has made these court battles even more threatening has been the propensity of the Israeli courts to decide that the Arab claims were valid and supercede the new Jewish owner’s claims returning the property to the Arab claiming he had not sold the property. This has led to a cottage industry where Arabs, either the actual owner or a counterfeit pretending to have ownership sells a property and then when the Jewish owner tries to take ownership there comes the challenge in the courts which often takes years and the Jewish defendant has at best a fifty-fifty proposition in retaining their newly purchased property instead of the Arabs retaining ownership and the money paid for the sale. When the Jewish purchaser loses these cases, they still have a remaining mortgage owed to the loaning institution which becomes an unsecured loan which leads to the possibility of a change in the interest rates, always to a higher rate. That leaves the former prospective Jewish owner of a property with no property and still a mortgage to pay on that property which was rewarded to its former owner. One of the reasons that the Arabs have for fighting in courts claiming that they had not sold the properties is because, just as when the lands were under Jordanian occupation, selling of property to Jews was punishable by death. This law is still applied by the Palestinian Authority over lands under their control in Area A and often enforced in vigilante fashion in predominantly Arab areas in the rest of former Jordanian controlled lands and even has started to become a problem within Green Line Israel in Arab neighborhoods.

The heart of the matter might have one asking why would a Jew or anybody with an ounce of common sense ever take such risks and take on such a struggle with such a large amount of doubt and possibility to be indebted for much of the rest of their life and impoverished should they have their ownership challenged and lose in a liberal court system that tends to support any Arab claim? Believe it or not, the answer is easy even if it may be a bit difficult to understand or believe. It is considered a blessing and an imperative to settle the entirety of the lands with some believing that settling the lands of Eretz Yisroel is required for the coming of the Messiah. What there is no argument is that settling the lands is definitely a mitzvah. Whether it actually is a mitzvah denoted in Jewish holy books and writings which include at the least; Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud, and Kabbalah, is and has been a debatable subject. Actually, whether it is actually a blessing or a commandment is unimportant as it is only important that those intending to buy lands believe they are performing mitzvahs.

This is simply another facet of the conflict in which the Arabs are contesting whether Jews will be permitted to own properties and rule their own country in an area formerly part of Arab Muslim lands which according to the Quran, or at least what many Arabs and Muslims believe, makes the lands inviolate and permanently to remain Arab and Muslim lands. This form of this conflict is less known than the more obvious forms which include terrorist acts and the Israeli responses to terrorism and organized, aggressive attacks by terrorist fighters using rockets, explosives and the other tools of war in open conflicts as the two month open warfare which threatens to become open warfare in the near future as Hamas is threatening to restart rocket barrages of Israel if Israel refuses any of their demands in negotiations such as an open and unencumbered seaport and airport through which they would be permitted to import weapons without any limitations or restrictions. The different forms of Arab and Muslim resistance to the existence of Israel has gone through changes from warfare by neighboring Arab Muslim nations which met with various levels of failure to remove the Jewish State to the multi-facetted resistance which uses open warfare, Lawfare in the courts (Israeli courts thus far which has given the Arabs and Muslims numerous victories), through international demonstrations and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), terrorisms, rioting, public relations assaults using productions often with the aid of European leftist agitators who excel in making and editing videos for upload to social media and with which to charge IDF and Police with abuse again in Israeli and IDF trials with varying successes, and numerous other methods. There are also numerous new methods that may develop with time, some sublimely devious and some grotesquely violent, and everything in between.

Beyond the Cusp

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