Beyond the Cusp

October 9, 2016

Palestinians After More than Philistine Lands

 

The Palestinian leadership and spokespersons have made the false claim repeatedly that they are the descendants of the long dead Philistines and claim they are simple demanding their ancient homelands. There are any number of problems with this narrative starting with, but not ending with, the fact the Philistines were of Greek descent, not Arab. Then there is the little inconvenient fact that the Arab expansion from their ancestral homelands of the Arabian Peninsula waited until well after the Roman Empire had fallen, somewhere around 625 of the Common Era. All these and other little equally inconsequential truths aside there remains the one as to what exactly were the Philistine lands. Truth be known, the Philistines being a people of the sea held solely coastal cities with their five capital cities being Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and Gath. This would relate to Ashdod as the northern most city and continuing down the coast including Gaza on to approximately the Egyptian border possibly extending into parts of norther Sinai Peninsula. This would be about half again more land than Gaza which is currently held by Hamas and is sometimes referred to in editorials as Hamastan. Claiming to be the Philistines would rule out the entirety of their claims to lands of the West Bank, but why let realities get in the way.

 

Tribes of Israel and Land of the Philistines

Tribes of Israel and Land of the Philistines

 

What brought this on was reading some of the overly forgiving eulogies rightfully praising Simon Peres at his state funeral last week. The picture painted of Peres was one of a man whose life was spent in the unswerving desire for peace and of a gentle soul who was next to faultless and was the measure of understanding. I would have liked to have known of the man described, but that is often how eulogies are, aggrandizing those traits the world found laudable while ignoring those which did not meet the world’s universal measure of greatness. Thus almost none mentioned that Simon Peres was the driving force which drove the building of the experimental reactor at Dimona which could be used for the production of nuclear weapons grade materials, and his deals to acquire French Mirage jets which served as the backbone of the early Israeli Air Force as well. They omitted his support for settlements in what many once believed were lands which at best could have been thought to be negotiable Israeli lands and other Zionist endeavors which assisted in building a strong and viable State of Israel in the 1950s and early 1960s before Peres remade himself into a leftist icon and the man who pursued peace regardless of the consequences and never once saw any of the difficulties resulting from his actions. Simon Peres was a force of wild abandon that wreaked havoc as it broke down every argument and logical caution all in the name of Oslo.

 

Once he had drafted and brought the Oslo Accords, forcing them upon his own nation and government using every coercion and international pressure in order to force Israel to kneel before the altar of Oslo, as if it were the Golden Calf in the plains before Mount Sinai during the Exodus, and the results were similar in both cases. Simon Peres sold the chimera of land for peace and made such into an idolatrous religion with the Oslo Accords as the idol of worship and constructed a virtual Shrine of Oslo where land for peace was to be worshiped and the term Oslo was a sainted and holy word. This idolatrous cult diverted many an Israeli just as idolatrous cults of the Philistines, Egyptian, Hittites, Edomites, Assyrians, Greeks and Romans stole Israelite souls throughout Israeli history. In many of the times past the Israelite people and later the Jews were punished for their taking of false gods and worship of idols in place of Hashem. Some have postulated that the terrorism could have been interpreted as divine retribution for the worship of the doctrines of Oslo over the Commandments in Torah. There are many wisdoms and truths about the Land of Israel in Torah which we are not to question but to protect and serve to make them holy and dedicated to the worship of Hashem as commanded in Torah. Perhaps it would be of interest for this lay person to tell of the few with which even I am familiar.

 

First and foremost, the land of Israel belongs to Hashem and Hashem has assigned the Israelites, many call us Jews but that term defines Jews everywhere while Israelites are the Jewish People who have remained through time or returned to these ancient and holy lands thus making us separate in one aspect from other Jews, to tend and care for the lands of Hashem and the lands will care for us for as long as we keep Hashem’s Commandments. Hashem gave us these lands to sustain us as a reward for living by the Commandments of Torah and the lands will be bountiful in measure with our obedience and pure worship of Hashem as Commanded in Torah. There are more than Ten Commandments, there are six-hundred-thirteen Commandments, Mitzvot, in Torah and the Rabbis have added quite a number of regulations, one might call them, over the years as listed in Talmud and other doctrinaires. We are to follow these directives from Torah as if our lives depended upon them because they actually do depend upon them if the land is to support us and keep us. Those who do not follow Hashem and do these Commandments will be “vomited from these lands” as the lands will reject the sinners. After the last exile which lasted almost two-thousand years we hope we have learned this one truism at long last.

 

There are instructions as to how we are to face those living in the lands which Hashem was to give us and this should probably apply to the modern times as well. We are to give these people three alternatives, each less hospitable than the previous one. The most hospitable is they are welcome to remain in the lands and we will not settle where their cities exist as long as they leave us in peace to follow Hashem and they agree to obey the Noahic Code of seven commandments upon which all civilized nations are to be based according to Torah. These are not dissimilar to the Ten Commandments but are slightly less demanding (see image below). Those agreeing to this may live within the lands and will be afforded equal protection from outside attacks and be treated as equals with equal rights and be free to live providing they reside peaceable and obey the Noahic Code, the Devine Code of seven universal commandments.

 

Noahic Codes

Noahic Codes

 

The second choice is they may choose to leave the lands entirely. If they choose this they will be afforded ample time to gather their belongings, herds, moveable property, vehicles, wagons and household goods and leave to choose a new homeland and we promise not to harm them, chase after them or bring upon them undue hardship once they have left for their future new homelands. Granted, this was much more easily achieved when the Israelites came to the Promised Lands after the exodus from the exile in Egypt (Mizraim). Of the Canaanite Tribes there were a few who chose to remain and did so in peace, some chose to leave and went forth from the land unhindered, but most chose the last alternative to their dismay and eventual demise. The third choice is to bring war against the Israelites and to try and vanquish us. Those choosing to take this stance and bring war face the ultimate response, annihilation. In case of war we are instructed by Torah to bring complete and total war against those who choose to treat us with violence and we are instructed to kill them to the last individual and to destroy their cattle, goods, and all that is theirs so as to wipe their name from history from that point forward. Total war is what we are described to bring against those who bring violence against us in Hashem’s lands.

 

This is not how we have treated the violences brought against us and instead have sought to make a peace with those who have chosen war. Peace cannot be made with people whose stated desire is your eradication. Reading even the school books that the Western nations of Europe as well as the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia and the United Nations have paid for in full and some have sent representatives to review the content of the texts and approved them and they state that the Jew in Israel is a mortal enemy to the Palestinian who must murder them wherever they find them. This is taught over and over again in every class imaginable and such is reinforced through plays and exercises where they reenact the murder of IDF troops and Israeli Jews. They have children’s shows on television where they sing songs about the heroic martyrs who murdered Jews and how they too will murder Jews when they are older. The governments of the world know of these textbooks which they pay to have printed. They know of these children’s television shows and the summer camps which are paramilitary training camps which teach the genocidal murder of all Jews worldwide. The world governments and most of the academics know of the naming of parks, schools, summer camps, soccer teams, sports tournaments, streets, squares, mosques and buildings of all types after murderers of Jews, or terrorists, of what they call blessed martyrs which is their term for suicide bombers who successfully murdered Israeli civilians including often numerous Arab Israeli citizens. The world knows of these things and gives it tacit approval all the while condemning Israel for any defense put forth to protect Israeli civilians. The western nations, especially the United States, demand that Israel remove blockaded streets, remove checkpoints and allow Palestinians free access into Israel basically instructing Israel to not enforce the borders with Palestinian Authority semi-autonomous regions knowing full well that doing so will provide clear access for terrorists into Israeli cities where they can and will murder Israeli civilians and then when these attackers are prevented from murdering Israeli civilians by police and they are shot the world protests the extrajudicial killing as if there had been no threat to life despite the terrorists already having stabbed or shot any number of individuals often resulting in deaths or permanent debilitating injuries which scar, disfigure and disable the victims for life.

 

There is a term in history, more of an explanation really; it is the theory that Jewish blood is cheap, often costless and inconsequential. This was true in much of history both in Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) area under Islamic rule and Greek and Roman before that. One example were the Crusades where when they had numerous troops who were not battle-hardened and had never tasted blood (killed a man) they would assault Jewish towns and ghettos somewhat for sport and for the experience of killing so that when they reached the holy lands they actually had mastered their weapons and no longer gave killing a second thought which made them better soldiers. This training also made the slaughter of entire towns and cities in the holy lands easier on the soldiers’ consciences as they “purified” (rid) them of their non-Christian peoples. Do not believe this was only a Crusader practice as there was also purification in the Islamic world where they too were readying armies for the conquest and spread of Islam and often also for retaking the Holy Lands. As Jerusalem was of obvious value above and beyond that of any normal city as well as was Bethlehem and Nazareth, the Muslims were particularly driven to hold these cities simply to deny the Christians their prized possessions which they found made them lesser fighters, or at least that was the theory.

 

Once these cities, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem had finally been conquered, the next city of premium value and declared the third most important city for Islam became Constantinople. It replaced Jerusalem which had previously held that title until it was finally secured and defended and proven beyond the ability of the Christians to challenge. They treasured Constantinople so much they even gave it an Islamic name, Istanbul. Once they had finally broken through the walls of Constantinople and taken the city and renamed it Istanbul, they went the additional step of taking the Hagia Sophia, the largest and most decorative cathedral of the world at that time, and transformed it with the addition of four minarets and named as the Aya Sofya First Imperial Mosque of Istanbul (modern picture below where it now serves as a museum covering its entire history). The Hagia Sophia has had a spotted history of grandeur and falling into gross disrepair as well as suffering a number of earthquakes and one pillaging. Today it has had most of its frescos restored and the plaster removed to reveal others once again displaying its grandeur as a museum open to the public. One can only hope this grand structure and example of glorious architecture remains in all of its historic beauty for posterity but that will remain to be seen.

 

Aya Sofya First Imperial Mosque of Istanbul Hagia Sophia Museum

Aya Sofya First Imperial Mosque of Istanbul
Hagia Sophia Museum

 

Once the Muslims had taken Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul it eventually fell to the Ottoman Turks, themselves Muslims, and to the allies after World War I after which it was returned to Turkish rule as Turkey remained as a nation in the aftermath of the Great War. They needed a new third holiest city for the conquests to continue. This did cause some differences of opinion as there were three separate cities which served at times holding the honor of greatest target of Islamic armies. The Islamic armies of the west which had invaded Europe by crossing the Gibraltar Straights and entering Spain, or Andalusia as the Muslim named the area, first gave the honor to Madrid and then Barcelona as the third holiest city in Islam, simply the manner in which the next targeted assaults intended to conquer were named. The Islamic forces then took most of Portugal so quickly along with Spain that Lisbon, as far as we could discern, was never so honored. The next target was France and the Muslim forces had experienced no real opposition of consequence so set their sights high and named Paris as their next great conquest. They ran into a problem somewhere around Tours, France in October of 732, where the forces under the leadership of Charles “the Hammer” Martel who defeated the Islamic forces in such a definitive battle that they were turned back out of France and back into Spain.

 

Meanwhile, as well as much later in history, the next target was in the west of Europe where the Islamic Ottomans targeted Vienna. The interesting item here is the Ottomans made two separate attempts to take the city laying siege to the city in 1529 and again in 1683. The Ottoman Empire led by Suleiman the Magnificent made the first attempt to take Vienna laying siege to the city for almost three months when nature decided to turn upon the Ottoman forces. First there came rain storms which destroyed what tunneling efforts had not already been defeated by the defenders of Vienna. The frontal assaults broke first at distance by the use of arquebus, a rifle-like hand cannon (see image below), and at closer range the use of long pikes broke the assaults. This was followed by an early and particularly heavy snow leading to a rout where many supplies and artillery were abandoned and many men captured. This led to years of conflict between the Austria-Hungarian forces backed by Spanish and Holy Roman forces against the Ottoman Empire forces leading eventually to another attempt at taking Vienna.

 

Arquebus, a rifle-like hand cannon

Arquebus, a rifle-like hand cannon

 

Beginning on July 14, 1683 the Ottoman forces under Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha and Kara Mehmed of Diyarbakir initially fought their way to the walls of Vienna and laid siege to the city. The siege held for a couple of months until September 12, 1683, when relief forces arrived to relieve the city. King John III Sobieski of Poland had prepared his forces for a total war of relief for the city of Vienna during the summer of 1683. He requested and received guarantees from all the neighboring countries and backed by the Holy Roman Empire states for a pact of nonaggression while he mustered his entire army to march to relieve Vienna. His forces arrived and backed by Holy Roman Cavalry leaving sufficient forces at key junctions and guarding all bridges to sustain resupply of his forces, King John III Sobieski defeated the Ottoman forces laying siege to Vienna and broke the stalemate thus setting his name into the history books as the man who began the eventual defeat of the Ottoman Empire and broke their advances into Europe once and for all. Thank you for tolerating this trip through history though off topic. I do tend to ramble.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 11, 2016

Israel Remembrance and Independence Day

 

Today is Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), and tomorrow is Israeli Independence Day (Yom Haatzmaut). On the Gregorian calendar it will be on Sunday, May 15, but on our Hebrew calendar it is tomorrow. There will be fireworks and celebratory activities all across this small but vital nation and the vitality will definitely be on display for all to see. But that independence came at a price which must be respected and have its day which is why we have Remembrance Day, or Memorial Day, one day before, today. Today we mourn all those lost to anti-Semitic terrorism, anti-Zionist terrorism and anti-Israel terrorism which have a shared root directly related to Independence Day and a more historic foundation, for some possibly remembrance also goes back in their hearts ever further than the official definitions. Officially we are remembering all those lost to terrorist strikes, all our soldiers lost in the battles and wars we have been forced to fight to continue to even have a nation, the six million souls lost in the Holocaust and for me the souls lost to the wars fought as recorded in the Bible and to all the pogroms, cleansings and other atrocities all but impossible to imagine from both sides of the great history of the Jewish People. Most people are familiar with only the modern anti-Semitic history of Europe and Russia and are unfamiliar with the similar history for those Jews who resided amongst the Arab world as well as Spain where when the Muslims were pushed back across Gibraltar and back into Northern Africa that the Jews too were cleansed from Spanish lands despite that the Jews were often victims alongside the Christians when there was persecution in Muslim lands against the non-Muslims. And then there was the particularly troublesome part in the Holy Lands.

 

The conquest of the Holy Lands by Islam, then the Crusaders, then Islam, then more Crusaders and finally Islam, took its toll on the Jews still residing in our homeland but powerless to free it of either curse. Both were a curse as when the Muslims attacked, the Jews were slaughtered right along with the Christians; and when the Crusaders attacked, the Jews were slaughtered right along with the Muslims. The one constant was whoever was trying to conquer the Holy Land and Jerusalem in particular, the Jews were always on the wrong side as far as the attackers were concerned and often we were also seen as part of the enemy to whoever was defending against the attack; so the killing of Jews wholesale was always the outcome. These Jews I also remember because their only sin was to be living in our natural and ancient homeland. We had been thriving in this homeland when these forces of religious intolerance were still sacrificing their own to idols, before the Roman Empire, before Alexander the Great, before Darius and Cyrus and the Persians and before the Babylonians and Phoenicians and were only preceded by the Egyptians of that era, a different group than today’s Egyptians, the Minoans and the Hittites, Moabites and other peoples who existence has disappeared into the dust and only records stand in edifices still baffling modern engineers and archeologists. All the fallen throughout Jewish history should be remembered even if they also have their own holiday as they also were defenders of these lands.

 

 

Sculpture Dedicated to Soldiers Depicting Fallen Soldier

Sculpture Dedicated to Soldiers Depicting Fallen Soldiers

 

 

One might ask why dampen our spirits one day before our celebrating the wondrous miracle of the reestablishment of our ancient land into the modern world? The answer is so that we never forget and Never Again has additional meanings. And not to fret, the greatest transition in a national mood can be witnessed tonight as Jews across Israel go from somber remembrance to unbridled joy in a matter of seconds. We have had a history which has prepared us well for such shifts in our national mood. Remember Haman from the Megillah of Esther where we went from condemned to all be murdered across the Persian Empire in a single day and were instead decreed we would be permitted to defend ourselves without punishment from the King and we triumphed and survived by the thinnest wisp of smoke once again. We had faced similar threats before and would again and again as we are again today as most of the Islamic world has sworn to destroy us starting with our “partners for peace” the Arab Palestinians and Hamas, Hezballah, Islamic State and Iran and those are just for starters. Do not get us going down this road because it is not a road for great worry, we have faced these odds before and we are still here, and I do mean here as in right here in our ancient homelands where we belong no matter what the United Nations or the community of nations and a special shout down to the European Union and all the rest in Europe who support whoever is fighting against Israel despite our posing them no threat. We have survived threats just as severe before and we will very likely face others just as dire in the future. When your peoples have survived for over three-thousand-years you have some history and you have faced threats to end your existence and survived and thus are confidant, rightfully so, that you will continue to do so.

 

There are stories of rulers from France to Russia to the tips of Africa where they asked their wise men and advisors to define or explain such concepts as eternity, the Creator and a whole list of other things which defy definition as they imply that which is limitless and will last throughout the ages even well beyond their empire or other human measure of time and the answer given was always the Jews. Mark Twain once wrote, “The Eternal Jew” which reads:


If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him.

He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, and no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

 

His commentary is a good place to leave these thoughts. Today in Synagogue we will all say prayers of remembrance and tomorrow we will quote prayers which are triumphant, one of the rare moments we do so. Then again, after three-thousand-years we have good reason to celebrate the fact we are still here to attend services but first to the memory of all who made our continued existence their worthy sacrifice and to Hashem who has walked with them whether they knew so or not. And perhaps that is the thread that binds the Jew to their heritage and gives them their spark, Hashem and His Torah which has been the glue that binds every Jew to his brothers and sisters no matter their path through the ages. Our thanks to our soldiers, our defenders and a remembrance to those from amongst our midst, the great sacrifices that were made and to our future; and may it serve Hashem well, with pride and humility, another opposing set of ideals we Jews have learned to hold simultaneously, or are at least still mastering.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 15, 2016

Where Have the Zionists Gone?

 

With the Jewish support for Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders being gauged and taking flak from Jewish Republicans and many Zionists even from the Democrat Party, some editorialists are wondering why the relative silence challenging the Jewish support. Many believe, whether backed by fact or not, that Hillary Clinton would be better for Israel of the two Democrat hopefuls challenging to represent the party in November. There is an easy answer to this quandary by simply looking at the voting record of Jewish voters in the last two Presidential elections where in the United States close to 80% of American Jews supported President Obama while over 80% of Jewish Americans residing in Israel voted against President Obama. This provides the answer that the vast majority of Zionists have already realized their dream and made their move to Israel and those who remain as Jews residing in American have drifted away from concerns about Israel and aligned with leftist politics over concerns for support of Israel.

 

 

Israeli Flag

Israeli Flag

 

 

We realized this when we were preparing to realize our dream and make Aliyah to Israel and the reactions of the congregation in Oklahoma. Where the Rabbi was very supportive and the few Republican conservatives were also supportive the majority had one simple question, why were we going to Israel and what was our problem with living in America, was that not good enough for us? To many of these Jews moving to Israel was not a realization of the Jewish dream of returning to our ancient home as much as it was performing an act of hatred and loss of faith in the United States. The reality was that the decision which brought us to Israel was made by one of us around fifty years earlier as a youth who realized very early that the pull to return to the Jewish homeland has grabbed them and had decided that once all the parents were cared for the time to realize the dream would be addressed. Where that obligation was met in a way unanticipated, we came when it had been satisfied or at least started the paperwork. It is remarkable how difficult it can be to document an entire life to the satisfaction of governments, any government. After many, many months we had completed our documentation and realized we had had full lives, or at least almost a book’s worth of documentable life between us. We still want the best for the United States and will vote and even continue to vote for our former Representative though we will not likely vote on the individual questions which dot every election ballot but as we still have friends and a son residing in our former district we still want the best for them and will likely consult to make sure we grasp the choices for the different candidates.

 

Yes we participate and vote here in Israel and are beginning to understand the parliamentary system of voting for party and their lists and realize its shortcomings which have granted us a greater appreciation for the direct election for the American President as against getting whoever the party that makes the governing coalition decides should be Prime Minister. In order to vote for the person you want to be Prime Minister you need to accept the slate of party ministers listed and hope the ones farthest down the list, the ones you know virtually nothing about, and neither do most others you talk with, are in the government as you need the party of the desired Prime Minister get the most seats. So, everywhere has its appeal and its not so appealing which makes sense on some level and thus wherever one goes there are those benefits and deficits and the sums often are quite surprisingly near identical. So, for those friends who wondered why we would leave America and who claimed we would regret the move we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are things where the United States has great advantages over life in Israel and then there are some things so much greater in Israel. The straightforwardness of politics in the United States and the variety of products available in the stores and malls in the United States have no equal we have found thus far and we are comparing places of relative same size populations except we have yet to spend a week in Tel Aviv (which we have sort of renamed Los Angeles) which might have everything materialistically while the quality and social life here is beyond imagination as the people are by in large very much more accommodating and friendly and it is so much more natural to just be Jewish, no surprise there.

 

The reality is the Jews remaining in the United States are wholly Americanized Jews with almost none if any Zionists remaining in any congregation. The American Zionists are here in Israel with some exercising dual citizenship and others having completely transited and are Israeli only. A small number reside in both nations as they have business interests in the United States which require their presence so they make regular visits, business trips, to the United States. Many of the Jews from the United States and the Anglosphere are retired and some still make trips back to their native country as they have family and this means grandchildren, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other events which they choose to attend. Some of us have insufficient funds for such luxuries and making such a visit would take a concerted amount of savings to make such a trip so any such trip would be extensive as we would desire to visit family and friends which lie spread across the United States.

 

 

Let’s Run Them Up Any Flag Pole and See Who Salutes Them Smartly Showing Your Love of Freedom and Feel Free to Add Your Flag if the Moment Grabs You as You See This Pair of the Flags for Freedom

Let’s Run Them Up Any Flag Pole
and See Who Salutes Them Smartly
Showing Your Love of Freedom
and Feel Free to Add Your Flag
if the Moment Grabs You as You
See This Pair of the Flags for Freedom

 

 

There is one last advantage in Israel, the climate. With no snow or ice along the coast and residing a mere five blocks from the Mediterranean Sea one could claim to have retired to the Riviera of Israel as the weather here resembles San Diego more than anywhere else in the United States, especially Michigan, Oklahoma or the Washington D.C. area where winters can be more disasters caused by serious snowstorms. We would like to say we miss these wintery mixes, well; actually no we don’t miss such wintery blustery weather. We will take the mildly chilly and wet winter weather which makes a serious winter bluster for as long as six to ten weeks where it actually can get into the low 40o F which when it is also raining means hunkering down in place and waiting it out until it at least stops raining. Here in Israel there are those who don their winter coats while others wear their shorts and sandals no matter the weather, even the most blustery of days. Guess which group are Sabras, local Israelis. For those who do not know, a Sabra is both a native born Israeli and a cactus and both are said to have a prickly outer layer but a soft, gushy and sweet inside which in the cactus is edible and in native Israelis comes out as soon as you make a connection with them. The majority of Israelis speak English and many speak Russian as well as Hebrew. There is said that there will be an influx of French speakers we just do not know where they may settle.

 

The one misconception we encountered from our American friends is that due to terrorism living in Israel is unsafe and outright dangerous. We have gotten a handle on the reality and after some research found some unexpected realities. Crime in the United States has a greater possibility of striking one’s life than crime and terror combined in Israel. The similarity is that as long as you avoid known places where such threats are more likely one can mitigate almost completely any threat from anything untoward. So, all things considered, at least for us, Israel has a better quality of life though some things a very different. Instead of living outside of town and relying completely on a vehicle to get around we live right next door to City Hall and can walk nearly everywhere we need to get to in town. When we need to go elsewhere such as for medical appointments the Israeli trains are clean, comfortable, affordable and convenient. For places the trains do not have tracks there are options such as busses or shared taxis which hold eight to twelve people and are very reasonably priced and will drop one near or at where one needs to go. The only drawback is they pick up at set locations so one might need to walk almost a whole kilometer to get to the pickup points. Basically, a car is a luxury and one which is not really necessary. Will we get a car some day, perhaps but such is not a priority. Meanwhile life is good and the Zionists do appear to almost all reside here. The Jews remaining in the United States, as everywhere where Jews are largely assimilated; well, should they continue to have an easy acceptance, they will assimilate and likely cease to be practicing Jews and within two generations be completely secularized and not identify as Jews. Then again, the situation could turn ugly slowly across the entirety of the Western World even including the United States and these assimilated Jews who thought they were completely secularized and not actually Jews would find themselves treated as being very Jewish and if they are fortunate they will be able to get to Israel where whatever the drawbacks, at least being a Jew is not one of them.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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