Beyond the Cusp

December 7, 2014

President Obama, King Abdullah II and Israeli Elections

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I probably should have included the United Nations Security Council in the title as well as that is where this drama will eventually play out. It’s a serious game of ‘who will blink first’ combined with ‘truth or dare’ all rolled up into a larger game of ‘chicken’ over the coming Israeli elections. President Obama really is tired of and hates Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. He despises his nationalistic pride, his belief in right and wrong as delineated by his religion, his fierce defense of his belief and most of all, his refusal to be dictated to and obey every last wise council and direction from President Obama. President Obama does not handle rejection very well, believes he is the most knowledgeable person in all matters and absolutely cannot handle when open defiance also results in proof that President Obama’s demands would have delivered disastrous results plus proving that everything the President held as factual was completely erroneous. What is rapidly pushing things beyond the cusp is the inability of President Obama to handle anybody challenging his authority combined with such denials proving the defiant person having a more grounded view of the realities of the situation proving beyond any doubt that the President’s grasp of the situation was completely wrong. Adding insult to injury, President Obama has chosen to fully back the European argument that the Palestinians are angelic innocents who only desire their rightful and historic homeland restored to them which they lost as a result of Israeli and Jewish aggressions and that all the related violence in the Israeli-Arab conflict would come to an end and peace and joyousness would spread across the globe if only the Israelis would yield to the Arab demands and surrender to the Arab demands. Now the game really comes to a head as the Israeli government has opted for new elections which will make the lack of congenial relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu who is seeking to remain in office by having his party, and potentially any other willing and like-minded nationalistic parties, to gain the largest number of seats in the next Knesset (parliament) to return him to the Prime Ministership.

 

The meme that will be used by the leftist parties and their candidates for the Prime Ministership and other spokespeople and candidates for Ministerships is that Prime Minister Netanyahu is risking the destruction of the close relationship between Israel and the United States which could result in some near disastrous ramifications if Netanyahu is not defeated and replaced by somebody more aligned and friendly towards the American President and his views. Never mind that what is driving President Obama in his views and dealings with Israel is an overriding desire to place Israel in such a disadvantaged position as to potentially make their continued existence virtually untenable. Of course should Israel fall in line and follow the desires of the European leaders, the United Nations, the Arab world, President Obama and some of the far leftist in Israel and surrender before all the demands of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and surrender all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, which includes all of the Old City and Temple Mount, for the formation of a twenty-third Arab nation, the resulting situation would place Israel in a severely compromised position which is considered by virtually every last military experts and actual commanders, including both Israeli and those of the United States, to be indefensible borders so vulnerable that they have been named the ‘Auschwitz Borders’, a name first given the pre Six Day War (1967 Arab-Israeli War) borders by Israel’s most articulate foreign minister and former United Nations Ambassador Abba Eban.

 

One might think that no Israeli leader seeking to be the Prime Minister would ever permit such a situation to come to be, but then many thought there was no way for President Obama to win reelection. This is one of the problems with any political system which depends on the people voting to choose their leadership, the people can be misled and follow a charismatic leader sown the primrose path to desolation and destruction. I think the labels given this situation by talk radio and other personalities in the United States is the problem of the low information voters versus the right-minded thinking of the high information voters. Unsurprisingly, Israel also has its share of low information voters; or at least those voters who live in their own bubble far enough away from any untoward events destroying their serene view of the universe who believe fervently in the far leftist polemical views and definitions of the situations facing Israel and nothing is capable of shaking their foundational beliefs. These people form the central core of those who believe that Bibi Netanyahu is a spawn of evil and everything he stands for is dangerous and must be opposed at all costs. Add on top of this the tendency of candidates to tailor their speeches and positions to match their audience and then you have the potential for sufficient numbers of voters led into voting with what they will later realize was a false sense of security. The last elections had a perfect example of such a candidate with Yair Lapid claiming that he was a far cry from any and everything his father stood for when he won a large following in his initial foray into politics coming from a news media personality. His father, Tommy Lapid, did not even receive sufficient votes the next election to gain entrance into the Knesset as voters were then voting on his actual record and not his campaign soliloquies. Yair Lapid campaigned on a nationalistic and rightist agenda which would have been a long cry from what his father proved to believe. Lapid talked the talk but after gaining the second most seats in the Knesset did not walk the walk. His true agendas came out and he was not as nationalist as he pretended, was actually a relative leftist and his main belief and aim is to become Prime Minister. What is even more frightening is that he desires to be Prime Minister not because he desires to serve Israel or the people, but because he believes deep down that he knows the true and best path and only he is capable of making Israel acceptable to the rest of the world and make a lasting and complete peace even with Israel’s most ardent of detractors who would only actually be satiated by the destruction of Israel and its people. But Yair Lapid is far from alone in these feelings as there are many others beyond just Tzipi Livni, Naftali Bennett and Isaac Herzog. I am lead to believe that it is part of the desire to lead a political party in Israel to believe that you are the rightful and sole person capable of leading Israel on a true and safe path which will provide the most advantageous leadership possible and definitely more advantageous than what any of the other party leaders would be capable of providing. Guess it kind of goes with the neighborhood.

 

Adding in Jordanian King Abdullah II, the Jordanian King recently had a head-to-head talk with President Obama after which President Obama was quoted by UPI as having stated, “We share concerns about the continuous tensions between Israel and Gaza. We are going to work together for a Palestinian State.” This is interesting in a frightening sort of way as currently Jordan sits in the United Nations Security Council and will assume the Presidency in January and is planning on presenting a proposal seeking a binding resolution under Chapter Seven setting a deadline for Israel to surrender to the territorial demands of Mahmoud Abbas permitting the formation of another Arab state consisting of all of Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem. These lands will be necessarily denuded of their Jewish residents. This confiscation of their lands and businesses will be made without any manner of remuneration for their value; any financial compensation would be left to Israel to provide which basically comes to a form of double financial jeopardy. Of course all of this leads us to the recent revelation that President Obama and his close knot inner advisors are mulling exactly what sanctions they should place on Israel if Israel does not immediately adopt policies in line with the concepts which President Obama has expressed repeatedly to Prime Minister Netanyahu without any obedience from the Israeli leader. The particular area which has President Obama incensed is any building which Israel allows in areas beyond the Green Line, the 1949 Armistice Lines which denoted Israeli controlled areas up until the Six Day War in June of 1967. What makes this seem frighteningly identical to what Israel perceives as its perfect storm would be the presentation by Jordan under Chapter Seven Resolution bindingly stipulating that Israel surrender all lands beyond the Green Line and return to controlling only the lands it held before the Six Day War and force the Israeli Jews living currently in any parts of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem to be resettled within Israel at Israeli expense and have the United States refuse to utilize their veto and allowing the resolution to be adopted.

 

This may be the exact meaning of the threat supposedly revealed to the Israeli leftist newspaper Haaretz which printed the report this past week. This has been considered the opening salvo from the Obama White House team to affect the Israeli elections. American perfidy intervening in Israeli elections attempting to influence the results has a history. The Clinton White House dispatched members of their election team to Israel to assist the Labor Party and other left leaning Parties in their successful, well, one might call it a putsch others a campaign with a smidgen of foreign interference, whichever you prefer in assuring the then Prime Minister Netanyahu was not successful in retaining his position. The following results from this intervention led indirectly to the Gaza divestment under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was elected to replace Netanyahu as the leader of the Likud Party as a result of his loss partially due to the intervention by President Bill Clinton’s operatives in the 1999 elections. President Clinton pulled this coup of sorts in order to put a more pliable leader into the Prime Minister’s office in order to permit him to reach that ever difficult Arab-Israeli peace accord. President Clinton went forth arm-in-arm with Prime Minister Ehud Barak who succeeded Netanyahu thanks to the political assist from the President of the United States onto make peace with Yasser Arafat by presenting him with the most generous of offers by the Israelis working with President Clinton. Despite their best combined efforts, the end result was a scene covered visually by many news reports showing United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright running to the best of her ability after Yasser Arafat in Paris calling out pleadingly for him to please return to the negotiations as Arafat strode out into his limousine and departed. Chairman Arafat found himself presented with a plan by Israel which met his every demand set forth the previous day which the Israelis made their offer as President Clinton gave them whatever assurances were required for them to make the sacrifices. We will never know whether President Clinton was being forthright or simply telling the necessitated tale to reach the desired goal as this offer was refused by Arafat by his walkout as he could not say no to the exact terms he had demanded, only walking out could provide the needed escape from reaching an agreement. Why President Clinton was taken at his word is baffling as previously President Clinton had made a verbal agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu to release Israeli spy Johnathan Pollard in return for Netanyahu meeting some demand and after Netanyahu complied, President Clinton told him he was a fool believing that Pollard would ever be released by the United States. There were rumors of a more pointed rejection which will not be quoted here as there is no way to verify the comments.

 

All things considered, it will be interesting while covering the Israeli election cycle on how exactly President Obama sticks his fingers into the mix and attempts to stir it to his desired pleasure. The one guarantee is that there will be interference with the Israeli campaigning by not just President Obama and company but also many Europeans will do what they are able though their injections will come through the use mostly of NGOs that they pay to lobby Israel to meet European wishes. The European Union is liable to interfere more directly likely making bellicose demands that Israel consider certain realities before electing their next leader. Realities is defines as the world according to the European union and has little if anything to do with what is best for Israel except most often being directly opposed to what is best for Israel. Then there will be the campaigns and their loose dealings with the truth which in our case means disagrees with our sensible perceptions of reality. We will also continue to cover other items of concerns including the negotiations of the P5+1 and Iran, Arab terrorism, and general items of interest concerning Europe, the Middle East, the United States, the United Nations and the world and beyond, especially if that much anticipated UFO landing on the White House lawn, in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem, or on the Temple Mount in which case Israel will be blamed for attempting to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque with their spaceship which had been hiding on the far side of the Moon.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 11, 2014

Attack on Israeli Chief Rabbinate or Liberalizing Conversion?

Yesh Atid and Hatnua Parties members of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, have introduced a bill in conjunction with left-wing social action organizations and Reform and liberal rabbis which would revamp and alter the standing traditions and rules governing conversion to Judaism within Israel. The normal problems with conversions within Judaism has been assuring that any conversion performed outside of Israel would be recognized if and when the convert applied to move to Israel, especially if their return is planned to be as part of the “Right of Return” laws in Israel regarding Jews returning to their ancient homeland. With the introduction for changes to the rules and governing body deciding conversions within Israel a completely new and otherwise unexpected reaction has recently reared up. Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau in a meeting with rabbis in London was informed that should this proposed law be enacted that there would be a definitive split in Judaism as outside Israel any conversion performed under the new directions could see mistrust or even outright rejection outside Israel. This would be a complete reversal of the current situation. One of the originators of this proposal, Minister of Knesset Elazar Stern of the Hatnua Party stated one year ago in November of 2013 in an emergency session of the Knesset People, Religion and State Caucus to address Chief Rabbinate’s policies stated, “We came here today with the belief that Israel is a Jewish-Democratic state, not only Jewish or only democratic, and that sometimes it comes at a price; that sometimes Judaism needs to bow to the rules of a democracy, and sometimes a democracy needs to bow to the rules of Judaism.” This is an interesting statement which is at the core of this argument and also gives a deep insight to the desires of Minister Stern and those backing the call to alter conversion in Israel.

The first necessity to this discussion is to define what the new law would change and what such changes would mean to somebody seeking to convert to Judaism in Israel. The law would place the sanctioning and licensing of Rabbis permitted to perform conversions in the hands of each local government removing this power from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. The reasoning is that currently only Orthodox Rabbis are permitted to perform conversions and the rules they must adhere to are straight forward and considered to be too demanding by those backing this legislation. The main complaint they have is that the only Rabbis permitted to perform conversions are Orthodox Rabbis and Reform and Conservative Rabbis are not given such license. The backers of the new rules for conversion also believe that the requirements an individual must meet to complete the conversion process are too lengthy and require a rather great amount of study and proof of understanding of the history and commandments in Judaism. They feel that there should be different and varied levels of requirements and length and depth of study necessary for conversion more attuned to the various different schools of Judaism. Their argument is that those born as Jews often do not have as deep an understanding or have ever taken study to the depths and breadth required of converts and that if a convert plans to join a congregation which is other than Orthodox, then their level necessary to meet standards for conversion should reflect the branch of Judaism to which they plan to belong. Those are the stated arguments, but are they the real basis and driving ideology behind those proposing the changes?

Minister of the Knesset Elazar Stern judging by outward appearances would be thought very religious. Judging by his statements and actions one gets an entirely different perception. In acts Minister Stern appears to oppose the hierarchal structure of Orthodox Judaism and wishes to undermine the hold the Chief Rabbinate has over the rules for who is permitted to perform conversions, to officiate Jewish weddings, and to conduct or oversee other rites which currently fall under the Chief Rabbinate. He has been rather outspoken about his distaste for many of the Orthodox and Hasidic rules, practices and especially control over the governing bodies of Judaism, and not only over their control within Israel but the seemingly fairly strict governance of what may be considered to be truly Orthodox Judaism worldwide. Minister Stern would prefer a more liberalized and inclusive form of oversight of that which should be seen as approved practice of Judaism. Where there is a degree of merit to this path of thought, it also leads to some potentially questionable results once this path is first tread.

Once the hierarchy is challenged and altered the question would soon arise as to how far should the new structure depart from the former limits and exactly who now decides who and what is acceptable and what would be considered straying too far from the path of traditional Orthodox Judaism. Who would be trusted with the powers to choose who approves and regulates conversions and would these same authorities also make decisions on weddings and other societal religious licenses. Would it be possible that in certain cities or towns that a secular board might be empowered with these decisions and if so where does that leave those seeking a strict Orthodoxy able to turn to find those who would meet such requirements when the ability to legally act as a certified Rabbi or other officiating religious position is no longer under the control of the Chief Rabbinate. Then there is the most dangerous result where people wishing to enjoy the fruits of being a Jew in Israel but are unwilling to put forth the efforts under Orthodox systems would be able to shop municipalities seeking one with a more lax and relaxed set of standards and be converted without receiving sufficient education in the doctrines and requirements of a truly religious Jew who observes all the commandments. Somebody could receive a conversion from such a locality and then present themselves as being Jewish to a Jew who is actually Orthodox in their practice and should their relationship lead to marriage without the convert’s lack of full knowledge of the commandments being revealed, the consequences of such could be heart wrenching. It would not be that the convert lacking complete knowledge could not be further educated by their spouse, it is that such should never be a possibility as it would place an undue strain on the relationship from the outset and one member of the union might bear resentments even not fully cognizant of those regrets and the animosity they produced. These and other difficulties are in addition to the potential of a lack of credibility in Israeli conversions elsewhere in the world requiring that each convert carry with them the license with the name of the Rabbi who officiated their training and education in the traditions and commandments of Judaism to be checked against a list of acceptable Rabbis within Israel similarly as to how in Israel there is a list of which Rabbis across the globe are considered Kosher to oversee a conversion for it to be recognized in Israel.

The final argument which should be addressed before this legislation is voted on, let alone passed, is that should not Israel be the standard of what it means to be Jewish and thus their conversions, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Brit Milah, and any other Jewish sanctification or ceremony performed and considered and sanctioned as truly Jewish in Israel be accepted without question the world over. If the rules are altered and are actually different from one location within Israel to another or even defined by each individual congregation such that even within a community where there exists more than one congregation that there be uncertainty as to the Jewishness of a conversion etc. Furthermore, is it even the place for the Knesset or any other political and secular body to make any final decisions as to who, where and what constitutes true Judaism the opening of Pandora’s Box? The Chief Rabbinate has not taken to attempt to rule on the qualifications for anybody to hold a position in the Knesset or as to who may be considered for the position of Prime Minister, serve on the Israeli Supreme Court or any of the multitudes of political positions within Israel. Could not the Knesset be counted upon to at the very least return this favor? Granted there are those in Israel, even among Israeli Jews, who do not particularly have any great affinity for the Chief Rabbinate, but the Chief Rabbinate concerns themselves almost entirely with the decisions relating to Orthodox Judaism and the rulings and regulating those things religiously bound and independent of the secular government. One might hope that the majority of those for whom Judaism and their being a Jew is of great importance and who grant such a strong measure of control over their lives and actions would also be the individuals who would get to decide if they would prefer some other manner of setting the rules, regulations, standards and official decisions concerning the practicing of Judaism and what and who is considered to be truly Jewish. Has there been a hue and cry from the body of Jewish society for the Knesset to interfere with the current manner where the Chief Rabbinate decides those things Jewish to be challenged and altered or is this the dream of those for whom Judaism is not their guiding light and whose religious observance does not hold as primary a place in their day-to-day decisions and lives such that it would meet the preferred manner of Jewish life as would be recommended by the Chief Rabbis. If secular authorities decide to take legal control over religious decisions then those secular institutions should expect the religious to do all in their power to elect only the most religious into those offices. Minister of the Knesset Stern, are you and your cohorts really interested in kicking the religious community so hard in those things they hold so very dear that they rise up and vote only by their religious beliefs those who hold every government position from top to bottom within Israel wherever they have the votes to do so? You might receive a real surprise should you insist in playing that game. I understand that you are watching Israelis becoming more and more religious with each passing day and this frightens you but it really should not as thus far the religious mostly keep a separation between their religiosity and their duties as a citizen. So, could we please leave religious matters to the religious and secular matters can remain with the secular? Somehow I doubt you will agree as you know so much better than the rest of us who are less enlightened simply because we believe that there are those things that are written in stone. One example is the Ten Commandments which were originally written in stone; twice.

Beyond the Cusp

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