Beyond the Cusp

February 1, 2016

Blessings We Have Found in Israel

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Israel gets some bad public relations if one depends on the news, editorials, talk radio and just about any mass media, even movies and other entertainment. Living in Israel very quickly dispels all the lies. Are there a few choice people who might make one take a less than superb view, but such are rare and even they warm with time. Needless to say, not knowing or speaking the language causes some difficulties but there is almost always somebody there to lend a translating hand. There was the time we were at a McDonalds and the woman at the counter spoke no English and two what had to be young High School age girls came in and realizing the communication problem immediately became our translators without being asked. Generally there are those who willingly offer to give directions to whatever place you need to find in ten minutes to make the appointment and it is your first time in the city and you got off the bus where you thought was the closest stop. That time we only missed by one or two stops and had to walk about a mile or so, you get used to walking in Israel because so much living is city center style European life, an initial system shock after life in the outer suburbs in the United States.

 

Our friends, acquaintances and relatives are quite surprised when we relate the ease and general atmosphere in Israel. When we tell them that we have found Israel more accommodating and generally having a softer and more easy and comforting nature they tend to express great surprise. One might expect that in Israel life would have an edge on it with the constant threats from virtually any direction and the added unpleasant surprise with the Iranian nuclear threat and President Obama and his team’s animosities and threats thrown at Israel but they would be quite wrong. Probably the best description we could give as a true barometer of Israel and Israelis would be to take everything ever attributed to Israel and her people by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Commission or virtually any other United Nations agency etcetera and take it all and place the initials of the United Nations in front of them but in small letters and then read the entirety as one word. An easy example would be if some United Nations commission claimed Israelis harbored a genocidal hatred then all one need do is take the two words and place the letter un in front giving you ungenocidal and unhatred and you would produce an honest appraisal. Sure it would take ignoring your spellcheck and do some translations where ungenocidal would become accepting of others people who are different and unhatred would become lovers making the entire accusation translate into accepting and caring for peoples who differ from Jews and accepting, caring and considerate of people who are of any other stereotypical, racial, religious or nationality different from Israeli or Jewish. A closer inspection of Israeli actions around the world will better exemplify this example.

 

When Haiti was struck by that devastating earthquake, the Israelis were amongst the first to have responders on the ground evaluating any special needs. Israel had the first field hospital which was equipped with X-ray equipment, a gynecological unit, a neonatal unit, burn center, surgical rooms, prosthetics and physical therapy, emergency room, and virtually every department and specialists which was on the ground and set up within six days of the earthquake. This hospital remained on the ground even after the search and rescue units had stood down. Israel also opened clinics in areas where urgent care not requiring the abilities of a full hospital were present and when the Israelis left Haiti a number of these clinics remained completely equipped with diagnostic, monitoring and other equipment and Israel had trained people in the area such as orphanage, school or other personnel who would be capable of offering care after the Israelis had left.

 

When Typhoon Haiyan spread destruction throughout much of the Philippines, Israel arrived with an one-hundred-forty-eight person team, including search, rescue and medical services and a fully functioning field hospital with one-hundred tons of aid. Making rescue and aid assistance even more difficult was when the typhoon struck, the region was still reeling from the Bohol earthquake in October before. One of the more interesting reports on the Israeli presence at the time was on television news where an on the scenes reporter had been directed to a small village not on one of the main Islands by the Philippine government when she requested assistance in reaching the “most remote village” to report on how they were coping with the aftermath of the storm. Imagine her surprise to find a clinic operated by Israelis already set up and operating while training the local villagers on how to treat people for emergency aid and familiarizing them with the equipment which the Israelis would leave behind as well as the clinic itself with one Israeli aid worker to remain behind and work for the next six months or so with the villagers to assure that they have received whatever training might arise.

 

When Nepal recently had their massive earthquake, once again Israel was amongst the first to respond and the operation was much like the one in Haiti with one exception which was remarkable; Israel took care to the most remote of places, some of which had rarely if ever seen support even from the Nepalese government where Israel set up satellite care units often referred to as clinic in a backpack, though we would hate to have to carry such a backpack, they are quite heavy (pictured below). These remote aid clinics provided urgent and critical care close to the, and often on the, mountain slopes treating climbers and vacation goers as well as native Nepalese citizens. They also operated as a remote triage for when victims were stabilized and given what treatment was available at the clinic and once the patients were stabilized for transport having them taken to the main Israeli or other field hospital.

 

 

The Israeli and Nepalese medical staff who operated the IsraAID mobile clinic in the village of Tar, ten hours northeast of Kathmandu. (Photo credit: Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

The Israeli and Nepalese medical staff who operated the IsraAID mobile clinic in the village of Tar, ten hours northeast of Kathmandu. (Photo credit: Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

 

 

Israel has sent aid groups to other areas struck by natural calamities with teams having gone to Japan after their earthquake and tsunami disaster, Myanmar after the tsunami, Turkey after they suffered an earthquake and offered assistance to the United States after hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans and destroyed entire fishing towns along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and reportedly one of a very remote few to offer assistance to the United States. When one considers the Save a Child’s Heart program and how it saves children of all ages who have debilitating if not life-threatening heart problems as well as setting up entire departments in hospitals around the world and training their staff and physicians on how to diagnose and treat these children including training the heart surgeons on how to perform these sensitive and vital surgeries, Israel leaves all the equipment the staff was trained on with the hospital.

 

And the Israelis you meet, see, work with and just generally run across are some of the most patient people and really do try to help in their own manner. They may sometimes have difficulty in expressing things in English but many are actually happy and anxious to use their English and respond well when one states the words in the correct syntax as that is important to them. Sentence structure in Hebrew is different than in English and thus literal word for word translations quite often makes for what at first one takes as Yoda speak from Star Wars, perhaps it was direct translation of Hebrew to English that was the basic transference used to make Yoda syntax. Our Hebrew is embarrassingly inadequate to even make a scheduled appointment and get the day of the week correct not to mention the time as some places use a twenty-four hour clock which reminds all of military times.

 

Then there is a tight knit group of what are referred to as Anglos, basically English speakers, and we have events, trips, sightseeing, Torah, Talmud and Bible classes for men and women and we have found our level of social activities is vastly more active and on a level of friendliness equal to our best of times and friends back in the United States. Another thing which leads to such is that Israel is a rather small nation, approximately the size of New Jersey, though that is misleading as the southern two-fifths, or forty-percent, of Israel is made up of the Negev Desert which is rather sparsely populated. Where New Jersey has a population of nine-million, Israel’s population is just over eight-million. Of course there are some groups who pretty much stick to their own group of like-minded and religious viewpoints such as the Haredi. In much of Israel where there is a mix of Arab and Jewish populations there is no evident difference in the treatment and the interactions are natural and as normal as humanly possible. In the area we reside there are Arab and Muslim stores and employees in larger stores or other places of employment are seamless as to their fitting into the society as a whole. At the regional hospital there are Muslim and Arab nurses, physicians, technicians and all positions and everything functions, as we said, seamlessly. The street signs are all written in Hebrew, Arabic, and English with some towns sporting French or Spanish or Russian, though we have yet to see one which had more than four languages and usually just the three required languages. What is always amusing is when a store has its name actually an English name but the letters on their sign is in Hebrew. What gets confusing is that when you read some of these signs you try to think what the prefixes and suffixes are as Hebrew has many words result only in a letter prefix or suffix. Some examples of prefixes are the ‘v’ which means ‘and’ along with an ‘h’ which means ‘the’ while the suffixes often give one the gender of the word as well as if it is singular or plural or includes the speaker or listener in the plural group and so on. Over half of learning Hebrew are the prefixes and the gender and singular versus plural of the words. Someday we will get a reliable translation program for our phones, or should we call them what the phones have become, life assistants and general applications from pictures to recordings, getting e-mail, surf the Web, record our every move and change of mood on Facebook, well, not quite, and most important movie or still camera and recorder.

 

Basically, virtually everything UNcomplimentary about Israel are UNtrue. Contrary to popular belief they are not contrarians. Israelis are like all peoples, there are the great, the good and the we wish they were nicer types. Many fall all over themselves attempting to make our lives as stress free as possible which had to be stressing on them. Of course it might be that as the ancient Hebrew scholars made a point of hammering into our stories and writings, people will only treat you as well as you treat them and life can be like a mirror to one’s soul which is revealed by ones actions when it appears nobody is watching, because, as we are taught in Judaism and is likely taught though with a slight difference, there is always somebody watching us from on High and nothing escapes that view as our innermost thoughts to our most expressed emotions. We can also count that such observations tell whether we’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Still, there is something else which permeates through the society at large. There is an air of optimism and hopefulness. You feel a vigor for living life and finding meanings where other places simply ignore and accept things as is. In Israel there is this striving to be better as a people and as individuals. There is also a level of acceptance which makes one more comfortable simply being themselves as all will be just fine in the end. There are more young children than we were used to in the United States. This too adds to the optimism as a society with declining populations is what is destroying Europe right before our eyes. They are dancing their last dance in Europe and if things continue as has been the scenario we in Israel will become all the more isolated and an Island of freedom and democracy in a sea of misfortune. There is still hope for Europe but only if they turn their ship of state around and rediscover what gave them the impetus to live life to the fullest and explore the world, that spark of life which made passing their ideas and ideals on to the next generation, something difficult to do when there are so few children born to the indigenous Europeans. Israel will only grow stronger as the Jews of Europe make their final decision and that plague may soon prove to be a prophesy for the United States though that need not be their future written in stone. The United States has a far better opportunity to reverse the slipping trend before the slope becomes too steep and wet for any traction and down becomes the only direction. We are both glad we have come to Israel and Israel has proven to be a wellspring of optimism and life, a future of light and enlightenment, more than a completion as it is an opportunity to grow with such splendor and a kaleidoscope of choices each colored so vividly and vibrant. It is really hope eternal or as close as we have seen on Earth. It is great to be at home, the home which was destined and a good, no, great home it is and will grow from there. Needless to say, but we do not expect the United Nations to understand as they are the people of ‘UN’ and that sums them up in total.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 16, 2016

Israel and the Jews

 

Allow us to revisit some of the items we have had in articles and draw them together here in one article. This will not be a rehashing of the legal matters, treaties, conventions and other documents and agreements. This is about the Jewish People and the Land of Eretz Yisroel and there are effects which can be observed often only through experiencing and seeing the changes and other effects between the Jewish people and Israel, the land itself. The first thing is that Israel in modern times attracts Jew for any number of reasons. There are two main groups which sometimes cross over and merge for some Jews. There are Jews who feel this strange pull that can only be fulfilled by making Aliyah and return there to their ancestral home which is exactly how many Jews explain there coming to Israel. For some it is the commandment to settle the land which commands the Jewish people to sojourn and commit their only expansive conquest taking the lands promised to Abraham, Izsak and Yaakov in Genesis in the Bible, the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible. Some come to Israel to escape anti-Semitism as Israel is the sole nation which promises to take whatever necessary actions to protect Jews from persecution.

 

Despite the actions of the world to tie Israel’s hands by court threats, protests world-wide, coordinated violence from the Arabs both within Israel and from the areas of Judea and Samaria which have been granted autonomy where their government rewards families whose members attack and murder Jews with higher rewards for more Israelis murdered or mutilated for life. This is what drives the suicide bombers as they know their family will receive a greater salary for life called a pension for a martyr of the cause of freedom, which means literally that they died in the attack, often due to being a walking human bomb, making their family honored and given a pension which is often higher than most Arabs make even those working for their government. This pension, blood money, is an incentive for Arabs who find they are poor and have little hope of providing for the family, often a wife and more than four children that the only way an Arab may decide that a suicide assault on the Jews is their only hope for their family. There have been Arabs from the autonomous region, who have charged at IDF soldiers at a checkpoint with a knife in their hand hoping to be caught and not shot so they can be sent to an Israeli prison as, and some have confessed this, their life would drastically improve where he would have better food and general conditions. Some attacks are carried out by the younger males in a family who know that they will receive next to nothing as an inheritance and for a farming family that is close to a condemnation to poverty and helplessness and they believe their only hope is to kill Israelis so their family will receive a pension should they be martyred and a salary should they be caught and imprisoned.

 

Jews native born to Israel, Sabras (Hebrew: צבר‎), is the name of a cactus Opuntia cactus (pictured below, known in Israel as “tsabar” (צבר) and as the fruit of the Sabra cactus has a hard and thorns outside and its fruit is sweet, soft, juicy and did I mention sweet. That description is really fitting in describing many original Israel born native Jews, some of which are my family. A few native families have resided in Israel since the early and mid-1800s while others have their family’s tree going back beyond and to before the 135CE and earlier 70CE Roman destruction of the Holy Temple and dispersal of the Jews from their land. This was executed in the hope that would destroy the Jewish people as they would no longer be attached to the land. This had worked just as they had done to the remnants of Carthage and possibly numerous other civilizations which we never knew as they did disappear from the face of the Earth. Some have family records which show their families having returned to Eretz Yisroel from the Babylonian Exile when Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire on his way to establishing the Persian Empire, one of the largest and most storied in all history. Cyrus the Great gave the Jews his blessings to return and rebuild the Holy Temple and serve Hashem as directed by Torah. Some Israeli families arrived from Europe after the calamities of the Shoah and World War II. An equal or potentially greater number were expunged and forced from the Arab and Muslim nations of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) as well as Iran through edict, pogroms or legal restrictions making life next to or actually impossible. In most cases all property and wealth was confiscated and in the worst instances, forced out with one suitcase per person and those were inspected and anything of worth was removed.

 

 

Sabra Cactus with Fruit and Flowers

Sabra Cactus with
Fruit and Flowers

 

 

When they claim that the Jews of Israel return to their real homeland they are actually there. When the demand is for the Jews return to the lands where they arrived from, do they include the approximate half of Israelis whose former nation was throughout the Islamic world. Further, look at Europe with the European Union and their labelling of products from parts of Israel and the numbers of Jews literally fleeing European nations such as France, Sweden and others as well as the clincher, the unapologetic denunciations of Israel in every manner such that these are so egregious as they can only be described and blatantly anti-Semitic coming from the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. Her inflammatory accusations and denunciation along with her prejudging determinations which would be ruinous for Israel and against every agreement, convention, treaty, Mandate and other legal arrangements and pronouncement or still to be determined through formal negotiations and not the decree of some other nation not involved or even mentioned as a party to the situation are simply over the top. An example of her adamant refusal to take any moderation of her views is easily displayed in this recent debate in the Swedish Parliament where a member demanded of her an explanation of her extremist views shown below.

 

The lands of Israel have been conquered by nearly every empire which showed out of the Middle East, Europe and even from the Mongols from Asia and Egypt from Africa. The only empire to ever get production from the lands of Israel, which did not include simply ruling over and taxing Jews working the lands, were the Egyptians. There are those who claim the lands which today make up the nation of Israel, even if one were to concede Israel all the lands except Gaza from the Jordan River west to the Mediterranean Sea, were originally inhabited by a group of peoples, numerous tribes and city states, known as the Canaanites. This was a valid point in the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but by the time the Israelites left Egypt this was no longer the case as the Egyptians collected taxes and provided protection against the Hittites who resided further north possible within what is today Turkey, and from any other invaders. As the Exodus from Egypt was a revolt against Egypt, there would be a natural series of events that a group who had been originally welcomed and over time and a change in the lineage of the Pharaoh that they had been enslaved as had much of the Egyptian people who revolted with a shove and assist from Hashem who arranged ten incentives to persuade Pharaoh to allow the Israelite nation to leave and have their own homeland. The lands the Israelites took forty years later, give or take a few months, was land which belonged to the Egyptians and it was the tribal chiefs and some Egyptians that were defeated over some time and finally the lands were solidified by King David and King Solomon with a fair bit to spare. This marked the end of Israelite expansive designs. Here are some maps of the areas in question.

 

 

Left side map depicts the division of the Promised Land amongst the tribes and right side map compares the modern promised land from the Jordan west to the Mediterranean Sea compared to the maximum of area during King David’s and King Solomon’s reigns.

 

 

Eventually the land fell to the Babylonians who forced the Israelites into exile working them in Babylon. What is interesting is that the records show next to no Babylonians remaining in the Promised Land more than likely because it refused to produce a decent crop or provide grazing lands. The Persians having some knowledge about the Hebrews and the Promised Land had those Israelite who desired to return to their lands to do so and required only a tax be paid each year. This arrangement worked for a while and the Persian Empire finally fell to the Greeks led by the Macedonian Alexander the Great. The land was again worked by the Israelites but rifts politically had split the lands with the norther ten tribes taking the name of Israelite with them and the southern kingdom was largely made up by the tribe of Judah along with the considerably smaller Benjamin. These were called Judea and had control of Jerusalem and the Temple. The northern tribes were conquered by the Assyrian Greeks and were dispersed throughout their holding and eventually went their separate ways becoming the ten lost tribes of Israel, literally. Judea fell eventually as well but remained in the lands. The Romans replaced the Greeks and from this point forward the life of the lands of Judea and their people who were called Judeans which eventually shortened to Jew.

 

The next part of the lives of the Judean, Jews, was related by a former MK Yaakov Katz in an editorial 407,118: The up to date number of Jews in Judea and Samaria, not counting Jerusalem. In the article he gave a description of what is a Jew which I hope to never forget as it was very relevant to Jewish history, our history. He said that the way to define a Jew is to define us by what others destroyed in order to eradicate the Jewish People, a depravity which has a way too often horrific number of repetitions throughout human history. The Egyptian by restricting us through slavery kept us from our Promised Lands yet we did not simply accept their gods, their idols or leaders who claimed they were gods. The Babylonians destroyed the Holy Temple hoping that would dishearten us and we would assimilate and they would be done with us. Then the Romans dispersed us such that we were scattered with only a few families in any one location which the Romans had done to others to destroy their cohesion and family. This, the Romans hoped would put an end to the Jews. Eventually, after many centuries it was the Catholic and, in turn, other Christians who forced conversion and removed us from our Torah and normal prayers hoping this would end the Jewish problem. Finally we would face the Nazis who decided they would simply annihilate the Jews and finally solve the Jewish Problem. So, if we learned anything, it is that we are defined as Jews by all of our enemies starting with the Egyptians through the Nazis and we find a Jew is the Promised lands of Eretz Yisroel from the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A Jew is the Holy Temple, may it be built in our lifetime. We find a Jew is community and one another as then we have a support group with whom we are more able to remember our commandments and perform mitzvahs and observe the Sabbath. The Jew is nothing without Torah and finally the Jew celebrates life. So, what is a Jew? A Jew is the Promised Land as we were made for each other as well as we are enriched by the Holy Temple which allows for certain Commandments to be fulfilled as they require the Holy Temple and we are to complete the Commandments but those remain unfulfilled. Our need for community becomes evident when after the Roman dispersal we quickly gathered where and how we could and made our little communities where we observed our customs which with time were adapted to the world around us. A Jew without Torah is a Jew unstuck and disconnected from the commandments and mitzvoth which was part of the reason that the greatest of the Rabbis wrote commentary and put the oral law into writings. And finally, a Jew is all about the celebration of life and the great gifts that Hashem has shared with us. What is a Jew in the fewest words possible? I will give it a try. A Jew is the land of Israel with the Temple in Jerusalem and community to be a part of with Torah and celebrating life, Torah, Mitzvoth, and Hashem.

 

All the empires, the Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Assyrian, Roman, the various Islamic and Christian conquerors, the Ottomans and the British all could not make the land bloom; but bloom they finally have done. But that works both ways. The Jews make the land and the land completes the Jew.

 

Coming home to Eretz Yisroel was the most wondrous thing in my life and has lifted burdens from me in ways I find impossible to quantify, let alone to define. For the first time I feel accepted to an extent which surpassed even Colorado in the 1970s and I thought that was heaven yet that barely compares with the coming to Israel. I often need to go look out the window to once again impress on me that I truly am home. The people I meet are mostly willing to go out of their way to help and their efforts mostly are beyond belief as they put up with us not having learned to speak Hebrew. We have found a couple of closely defined niches where we can speak freely and not fear being told to never return. As I explain, we have finally found the Jews we had searched for in the United States and they are all mostly here. I have likely been exposed and learned more about being a Jew here in the last couple of years and the rate of learning is only increasing daily. There are so many people making sure I get things correct that my biggest hope is that I remember one third and I will be far wiser than I was upon our arrival. How would I sum up Israel and the Jews in the fewest words possible? Mutual Fulfillment.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 1, 2015

The Family that is Israel

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Friday was a special day as we had family come and visit us making the long trek from southern Israel almost to the northern border where the train tracks end and go no further. We had a slow lunch enjoying good company and pleasant conversation enabled by somewhat relaxed service as the place was crowded and the kitchen was probably a place of ordered confusion. But the leisurely service mostly passed notice as we were lost in conversation with my cousin playing the role of translator since she is fluent in a number of languages, or at least in Hebrew and English, which was all that was required. We also took a strolling paced walk to the shuk and they got some fruits and such for their Shabbat and then had to make the trip home so as to arrive before sunset. This visit made me all the more aware of family and the warmth and closeness one can feel when in their company. There is a serenity mixed with enthusiasm and excitement making for a cacophony of emotions which blend making even diametric opposite coexist in a smooth and yielding blend satisfying the soul. This completeness felt from the all too short, as such pleasantries are always too short, time we were enjoying being together also leaves a lingering warmth and joy that makes one aware of other such relations some of which opens one’s eyes to things which otherwise are missed or simply taken for granted.

 

The next Morning, Shabbat morning, I started my trip, a short walk for most but a strenuous traversal which requires a few rest stops at spots now memorized as suitable, to attend services at the synagogue where my Torah Shiur Rabbi presides and leads the Shabbat service after the initial prayers have been chanted and leading to and performing the reading of the Torah and Haftorah. As my wanderings take me past a few other synagogues and there are other worshippers whose paths cross, we often wish one another a polite, and oft friendly, “Shabbat Shalom” and almost always dotted with a warm smile and a brightened countenance from the exchange. But this was but my initial realization that my view may have changed and become brighter, more optimistic and hopeful. The realization and recognition of this transition came upon my arrival slightly before services were to start as I require that I leave some extra time just in case my strolling pace is less efficient than normal, not to imply my walking speed approaches normal. This cemented the realization that in Israel we really are a family just as Torah teaches.

 

The Synagogue I attend may be graced with a Rabbi who speaks both Hebrew and English but for the large part the congregation speaks only Hebrew. Still, despite our language differences the other congregants treat me with warmth and friendship which came home more today as I was sensitized to see and realize the acceptance which has greeted me honestly from the first service I did partake of a Shabbat morning services there. This got me to thinking and realizing the many people who have become like friends at the various stores where we shop. In every store there are those who have taken the initiative to befriend us and make our lives so much easier and, better yet, warmer. Without these friends our lives would be more difficult, not impossible, but more difficult and far more cold. The difficulty would be overcome with technology, cellphone translation software and the fact that money honestly makes people desire to understand you and for more so in a town with mostly smaller family run stores. But even technology has its limits and life would be far less enjoyable without these wonderful people. Yes, there have been exceptions but even some, if not most, of these more difficult people have come around with time and their realization that we have made Aliyah and truly are here to stay. These people have become our extended family. These people we meet in our weekly ritual of shopping are but one family but there are others.

 

There have been developed groups within the Anglo communities which provide social, religious and study groups which add much to enrich the lives of us from the Anglosphere who have made Aliyah to our little corner of Israel. There are Torah study groups, social events around the Jewish holidays, expeditions to the near countless historic and religious sites which exist throughout Israel and other events which are simply for entertainment such as game nights. Much of this is possible as there are a fair number of Anglos who are retired or work via telecommuting thus giving them the time to shift work around events. But the reality is that despite many of us coming from many completely different backgrounds, completely disparate locations both within the separate nations as well as around the globe as the tentacles of the British Empire reaches into the farthest corners of the planet. The camaraderie is unlike anything I have ever experienced even in other Jewish communities. Probably the closest to the trust, cooperation, acceptance and mutual respect I have found in Israel was the camaraderie in my infantry platoon in the military and even there it was not as universal nor was it as close as the feelings and friendships I have found here. The mutual relations amongst our Anglo community are, as one might expect, made all the more obvious by the brightening of each other’s faces when we run into one another in unexpected meetings during our daily travels. The same bright eyed and extra bounce in their step is evident with those who have befriended my wife and I in the locations where we stop and despite the claim that most Israelis do not know how to treat people, customers, the many people we have met have gone to great extents to provide any and all assistance we have ever needed. But it goes further as even when we run into a problem in a store while shopping and there is no one we know to assist, often out of the blue a customer steps up, often a stranger and other times somebody we barely know, such as somebody we have interacted with during other completely unconnected matters, will step forward and take as long as required to make sure that every and anything required has been done to take care of whatever the problem or requirement you needed. Sometimes this even has the effect of the store or wherever you are, going the extra step and finding what it is you requested even after initially believing they had none in stock, a very surprising but not actually all that unusual case, just was not the reputation of the particular instance we recently experienced.

 

The ultimate test of a society is how they react when a person appears distressed, especially somebody they do not know and likely may not have even ever crossed paths. Suffering, as I do from a disability which often limits my ability to walk distances which are embarrassingly short on my worst days that I often end up sitting on low walls or the benches at bus stops and around town, of which there are numerous as this is a resort location, and I am usually breathing rather hard and sweat rather profusely partially from physical exertion and additionally likely due to the cocktail mix of medications physicians assure us are required for our betterment as they will place our blood tests and other medical tests within their preferred ranges. Needless to say, I make quite a site at times when I am out and around and more often than I may be completely comfortable though I am very appreciative and would probably be more ill at ease if things were the opposite and everybody just passed a person in distress by without any concerns sufficient to stop and offer to help. These good citizens will even seek the assist from another to work as a translator just to make sure you are not in need of medical or other assistance. This would have been a real rarity before I made Aliyah as my limitations are far from something new and I had sufficient opportunities to test the situation before reaching Israel.

 

Many of you are probably wondering if I have lost my mind or is there something towards which I am working and you would be correct. As many of us have been reading here there has been a steadily increasing levels of violence with stabbings, vehicular assaults, rock attacks, Temple Mount rioting replete with assaults on the police and some shootings as well. Further, there have been calls from Hamas for Arabs to start using poison on their knives as well as to start utilizing homicidal suicide bombings. The idea behind the terror assaults, the rocket attacks and every other form of attacks against Israeli citizens and the IDF are intended to accomplish two things, first to chase the Jews out and destroy Israel or second to murder every Jews thus destroying Israel. There is absolutely no desire to actually form an Arab nation called Palestine unless it replaces Israel after which Fatah and Hamas allied with Islamic Jihad will fight to see who gets to rule on their state founded on the corpses of the six-million plus Jews living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly enough it often appears that the Europeans and the United States State Department and others from all over the globe, as indicated when the General Assembly voted to accord an Arab state of Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations with one-hundred-thirty-eight in favor and nine against which were Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States and with forty-one nations abstaining. One-hundred-thirty-eight nations decided to recognize an Arab state which has refused to accept any offer for a state from the initial offer in 1948 to have the lands divided evenly between Israel and an Arab state, and again including a series of times during the last weeks of the Clinton Administration while President Willian Jefferson Clinton worked with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offering over ninety percent of Judea and Samaria with the remainder covered through land swaps as well as all of Eastern Jerusalem including all of the Old City and the Temple Mount even to include the Western Wall and the plaza before it where Jews currently pray as close as possible to the location of the Holy First and Second Temples on the Temple Mount. Then there was the nineteen years when the lands were occupied by Jordan in Judea and Samaria and Egypt in Gaza when there was no desires, claims, votes at the United Nations or calls about occupation over the presence of Jordan and Egypt in the lands now being recognized by the United Nations as an independent nation with overwhelming accordance.

 

The reason which will stop the aims of Fatah, PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO plus additionally Iran and the Islamic State who have also expressed their desire to destroy the Jewish State of Israel, or the Zionist Entity if one listens to their propaganda, is this family feelings between the majority of Israelis and particularly within the religious Zionist community which has been and continues to gain new adherents every day. Even in Israel there are those in the political classes who are attempting to take whatever they can to prevent the eventual surge in the religious Zionist camp from coming to the forefront and take control of the Knesset and the office of Prime Minister. What has been holding these groups back have been efforts to subvert their rising power in the right wing parties, a conflict here in Israel which might come close to the same resurgence in the United States of religious right in the Republican Party. It is just with the political zoo of parties in Israel such subversion is sometimes accomplished by some being driven by the old party power structures while others are lost through the foolish rivalries within this community which in too many cases are due to differences too insignificant for many to even understand. But politics are the same across the world and often make little sense to the average person but apparently are humongous in the political realms. Politics aside, in the real world within Israel, as best as I have been able to discern, there is an attitude which bodes well for the future and the taking on the challenges no matter what the world might try to throw our way. It took close to two-thousand years for the Jewish People to return to our ancient homeland making Israel the first nation to return into existence from exile twice (thrice if the four-hundred years of slavery in Egypt) and one of the few peoples to keep their original language and genetic integrity while in such an extended existence spread over as many differing nations as was the case of the Jewish People. This was extremely well worded in a recent article we read where it was simply stated,

 

“Israel, rooted in the Jewish people as an Abrahamic people, is a prototypical First Nation or aboriginal people, just as the Jewish religion is a prototypical aboriginal religion, the first of the Abrahamic religions. In a word, the Jewish people is the only people that still inhabits the same land, embraces the same religion, studies the same Torah, hearkens to the same prophets, speaks the same aboriginal language – Hebrew – and bears the same aboriginal name, Israel, as it did 3,500 years ago.”

 

The central congealing, central, and treasured truth which held these numerous communities was Torah. Torah cemented our history. Torah preserved our language (even if many of us have yet to remaster our ancient language, the language from where the first two letters, Aleph and Bet gave the English language the word ‘alphabet’). Torah retained our laws. Torah safeguarded our covenant with Hashem reminding us of our special responsibility to work the lands of Eretz Yisroel. Torah gave us hope during the darkest hours. Torah also challenged us through the ages to be better people despite the events which were often collapsing around us. Torah taught us the importance of reading and study. And Torah steeled us to remember our roots in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Exodus with Moses and the entirety of our history and some of the wisest and most sagely rules and advice on life, relations and virtually any situation we might encounter in life. It was the Ten Commandments and the rules establishing moral codes establishing the basis for Judeo-Christian society and the teachings of Psalms and Proverbs which filled out the basis for conscience and morality when most of the world still worshipped idols sacrificing children and others before great stone edifices.

 

 

Ten Commandments Arranged in Hebrew Reading from Right to Left with English Translations Underneath the Hebrew

Ten Commandments
Arranged in Hebrew
Reading from Right to Left
with English Translations
Underneath the Hebrew

 

Much of the basis for a just society was everything opposed by the Nazis as evidenced in this song sung by the Hitler Youth;

“We are the joyous Hitler youth
We do not need any Christian virtue
Our leader is our savior
The Pope and Rabbi shall be gone
We want to be pagans once again.”

That about says it all and many in the Arab Palestinian leadership and the leaders in Iran and other Arab and Muslim nations, terror groups, Islamic religious organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the anti-Semites, anti-Israel and anti-Zionists such as the leaders and members of the Islamic State all share an admiration for Hitler’s and the Nazis’ stand on exterminating the Jews with a special note for perhaps one of the main influences to inculcate these thoughts and concepts into Islamic and especially Arab Palestinian thought was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Hussein, the man who mentored Yasser Arafat and had a great deal of influence on Mahmoud Abbas who all dream of causing another Shoah, another Holocaust while a number which includes some of the Iranian leaders, other Arab and Muslim leaders both political and religious, as well as some like Mahmoud Abbas whose doctoral thesis revolved around a version of Holocaust denial. A few final thoughts which need telling, the Arab Palestinians are being fed lies about their state being denied them by the Jews in Israel as it is their leadership which will only accept replacing a destroyed Israel and placing their nation on the corpses of six-million plus Jews and the people, especially those being forced to remain in refugee camps are all being denied basic human rights by the Arabs who refuse to assist their brethren as they would hurt and impose hardship on generation after generation in the hope these refugees descendants will be permitted to flood Israel and vote their subjugation of all the Israeli Jews when they elect the leader who will surrender the lands to the Arab Palestinian state ending any two state solution making all the land between the Jordan River and the Sea one Arab nation and the Jews in Israel stand ready to enforce their idea which is summed up in a single concept, “Never Again!” As we actually are a family whose tree dates back to Abraham and Sarah over four thousand years ago, and yes such things matter and they matter to our family greatly.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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