Beyond the Cusp

April 18, 2019

How American Jews Should Influence Israeli Politics

 

So, you either hate or love Bibi Netanyahu winning and likely forming a strong right-wing, Zionist, Religious coalition. There were four Jewish Congress-critters, Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida, and Brad Schneider of Illinois, all Democrats, who came out strongly threatening Bibi Netanyahu against extending Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria. Well, that is all well and good for them to do as private citizens, but when doing so as representatives of other Americans and presuming to speak for Jews throughout the land, that is presumptuous to say the least. We are sure that in numerous leftist Synagogues there will be sermons and the usual gnashing of teeth that the Israeli people had the audacity to ignore the advice of their betters, after all, where would Israel be without American support. Well, let us address the so-called critical monetary support Israel receives from the United States once again (previous articles can be read here, here and here).

 

We will not go into the reason that America provides Israel with military aid as that can be read in any of the above articles. What need be told is the limitations on that aid money. The percentage has shifted over the years but seldom if ever dropping below three-quarters of the aid money being required to be spent on American equipment. The aid money has two main effects in theory. The first is to provide Israel with air superiority, something which has been downgraded slowly over the years to now it is closer to parity with the difference presumably made up for by the skill of the pilots, in theory. The second is to provide supplementary money for the American arms industry. Another effect, many refer to it as a side-effect, is that it makes Israel dependent upon the United States for resupply in times of crisis when Israel is between a rock and a hard place if not resupplied rapidly. President Nixon is loved in Israel for his resolute action during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Israel initially lost a great deal of equipment and used a great deal of her provisions turning the tide. This left Israel short on armor such as APCs and tanks as well as running out of the very essential bullets. From history we know that then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger advised President Nixon to force Israel to promise to give all of the former West Bank and Gaza to form a Palestinian State before resupplying her with the vitally needed equipment. If we remember well, he may have said to make them bleed. Nixon, to his eternal credit, picked up the phone, called the Secretary of Defense and ordered him to provide Israel with everything they required and to do so with the greatest of speed. The next hurdle was Europe as every ally refused to permit any resupply aircraft heading to Israel to overfly their airspace, let alone land for refueling. Portugal permitted the United States to use their airfield on one of their islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the resupply arrived helping to save the day, you might say. After this near disaster, the United States placed one of their ready supply depots inside Israel in a location which is a well-guarded secret, probably which can be found using Google. The premise for this depot is should the United States be required to respond to an emergency, they could send troops and these arms could be made ready and provided faster than attempting to bring them from the mainland. The secondary reason for this depot is that should Israel find themselves pressed for provisions; they have access to this depot which will provide for the immediate while resupply can be arranged without the urgency as in 1973 where Israel came close to the disaster of losing one war. One need remember that should Israel lose a war, it will be the last war Israel fights as after that loss, there would be no Israel.

 

Now for some facts which are often met with disbelief. The United States has not always been Israel’s close friend and military ally. In fact, after President Harry Truman went against every advisor and recognized Israel in 1948, the next thing he did was place an arms embargo across the Middle East, Israel included. For the Arabs this was not a problem as they had the support of Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Israel had as her main ally Czechoslovakia. Israel did not receive much in the way of aid from the United States until the late 1960’s and not very appreciable aid until the 1970’s (see graph below). Two items become blatantly obvious when examining the graph. First, is that aid to Israel was nonexistent through all of the 1950’s and well into the 1960’s. Second, is that United States aid to Israel has leveled out at approximately three-billion dollars annually. This fact will become more relevant later in this article. As stated before, the vast majority of this aid must be spent inside the United States. Most of the funds goes for aircraft as might be expected with the next largest amount going for aircraft parts and munitions for those very same aircraft. But the United States receives far more than these orders which benefit keeping the American manufacturing of the weapons of war remaining in business as the demands of the United States Armed Forces would be insufficient to keep all the weapons manufacturers afloat. Israeli orders may not be the largest ticket, but it is not insignificant either.

 

United States Israel Aid (Military)

United States Israel Aid (Military)

 

We stated that the United States gets more than just the return of their investment in Israel with orders for arms production from the United States. Probably the two most famous are the Super Sherman Tank and the rear-view mirrors on the F-16 fighter jet which the Israelis noted the pilot was unable to see if there were any enemies at his six o’clock (behind him). The more modern addition of rear-view mirrors came about when Israeli pilots complained of having a vital blind-spot. Some industrious crew chief came up with the apparently bright idea of using sport mirrors he went and purchased at an automotive supply store which led to a design engineering change which incorporated rear-view mirrors on all F-16 fighter jets (see image below). The above mentioned are merely examples as Israel also has provided numerous improvements, modification and other forms of upgrades, not all of which were adopted by the United States. The Trophy anti-missile defense system is one such example and Israel is working on modified versions for use on other vehicles in cooperation with the United States (article here). Israel also designed some other improvements for other systems including upgraded avionics and targeting systems. Israel agrees with every purchase of American weapons systems to provide full documentation of any alterations, additions or other improvements for the United States to consider whether such would be useful on their own systems. Israel most recent upgrade was the use of the Iron Dome targeting software and related requirements which has upgraded the Patriot anti-missile systems, but this is not supposed to be common knowledge.

 

F16 with After Modification Rear-view Mirrors

F16 with After Modification Rear-view Mirrors

 

Back to the American aid provided to Israel. When the aid reached the three-billion dollars, this was fairly close to the total Israeli GDP and was essential for Israeli military capabilities. Today, that aid is approximately one-percent of Israeli GDP. What is amusing is both Israelis and American Jews believe that Israel could not survive without continued military assistance as Israel is incapable of affording her own military requirements. The truth is quite different. The main reason that the United States desires to continue this aid is no different than when it was first negotiated, they do not desire Israeli competition in the lucrative field of military aircraft. Back in 1970 it was to protect the sales of the F-16 while today the reason is likely to protect the existing F-35 and more likely whatever a sixth-generation fighter aircraft system might entail. By having Israel in continued dependence on American aircraft, the United States avoids yet another aircraft competing with their own. The rising costs of military fighter aircraft forced the Europeans to jointly produce their Eurofighter Typhoon, the world’s most advance fighter, according to their advertising. Israel would be well advised to adjust their dependence upon the United States militarily as their aid could become questionable under a new administration. For that reason and for the well-paying jobs which Israel would gain, adding to her GDP, are two very good arguments for Israel to plan on becoming self-sufficient when it comes to military equipment.

 

 

Now, for those American Jews who wish to force their will and policies upon Israel, we have some basic advice. Make Aliyah and then you can help to elect a Prime Minister and a governing coalition more to your liking. This advice comes with a warning, once you have made Aliyah and are living in a nation the size of New Jersey, and not one reaching from one ocean to another ocean, your views will rapidly become more realistic and fitting to your location. Currently, any advice or demands you place upon Israel do not have any effect on your day to day lives. When you are in Israel, let us say Tel Aviv, and you look to the west and can see the Judean Hills which you currently insist must belong to some Palestinian Arab state, you get this chill down your spine if you have any sense of military strategies. The picture below pretty much defines the result of a Palestinian State along the Green Line. This and the increasing rate of conflict and terrorism are a rude awakening but it is also why Israel seems to be moving more to the right despite the warnings from the left in the United States.

 

Tel Aviv Now Before Green Line Peace and Tel Aviv the Day After Green Line Peace

Tel Aviv Now Before Green Line Peace
and
Tel Aviv the Day After Green Line Peace

 

It is not that Israelis are not listening to their counterparts in the United States, we are. It is just we tend to consider it almost as much as we react to things staring us in the face, so to speak or literally. The last Gaza war, the only reason that buildings in Tel Aviv were not struck and toppling into the streets causing thousands of deaths was simple, the Iron Dome systems which were placed between Tel Aviv and Gaza. Their near miraculous interception rate of close to ninety-percent became the miracle of that war, but eventually a way of getting past the Iron Dome systems will be found and we can only pray that Israel has the next system which will make the Iron Dome obsolete will be ready in time. Israel lives on the knife’s edge with no lack of enemies attempting to press us down and cutting Israel until there is no Israel. Living surrounded by people who desire your complete and utter destruction tends to affect the choices you make when voting. Israel is the safety net for Jews, all Jews. We were the safety net when the Arab world expelled almost all of their Jews during the 1950’s and Israel will be the safety net should Jews anywhere, yes, including America, require finding a home with minimal notice. Israel will not ask if you have any wealth or a job waiting or even an Israeli passport, only that you are a Jew needing refuge. Israel will take such Jews in with open arms and welcome them home, nothing more and nothing less. Jews who believe that tragedy cannot come to the nation in which they live are ignoring Jewish history which should have taught us that nowhere remains safe for the Jews indefinitely. Yes, even the United States has had its time where Jews were evicted from their homes when General Grant ordered the expulsion of all Jews in his military district, comprising areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Sure, President Lincoln countermanded that order, but by the time the orders reached Washington D.C. and were reviewed and the countermand was returned to Grant, much of the damage had been done. With the rising anti-Semitism around the world, Israel as the safe haven for the Jewish People has become more important with every passing attack upon Jews anywhere. With Jews being assaulted in New York City, once a safe haven for Jews, what more evidence is required that things are changing. To quote Frank Sinatra, sort of, If it can make it in New York, it can make it anywhere. That is as true for anti-Semitic attacks and worse as well as it worked for Frankie. What counts, Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida, and Brad Schneider of Illinois, is that Israelis elected a government which will protect them and provide the decisions they find favorable. Further, if the Palestinian Authority can extend their civil law to the regions under their control under the Oslo Accords, why should Israel be prevented from the exact same actions in the regions Israel was granted control by those very same Oslo Accords. If you feel so strongly that you know better than the Israeli public and their chosen governance, then make Aliyah and form a party and run for the Knesset here on those very same ideas. We would wish you luck with your views in an Israeli election, but it is in Israel that you need be to exact the changes you desire for Israel, not in Washington D.C. We would welcome you with open arms, just come here and then you can work to make Israel in your own image. In the meantime, until you make Aliyah, allow us the privilege of electing whom we choose and have them fulfill the promises for which they received so much support. Thank you in advance for your understanding and hoped for making Aliyah so we can discuss this on equal grounds.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 12, 2018

The Big Question Most Heard

 

That question coming from Sabras (Native Israelis), Russians, Europeans and the other sundry Jews from the world over is, why don’t the American Jews move to Israel or make Aliyah. The answer often given is that they will come in good time. Unfortunately, that is probably the truth and the shame is that for the American Jews this will prove to be unfortunate. This may prove to be the most difficult article to write while not making many people very upset with what we write. Some may want to get upset and scream that this is not me; I want to live in Israel, but with my work and my home and everything, in time it will become easier. That is not really true as we waited until we were retired and it was still difficult choosing what to keep, what to sell and what, despite our attachment, to simply throw out. We were fortunate and sold our entire beer brewing system and bar equipment and limited our stuff needing a moving company to at most one container. Whatever the reason, this is a great time to make Aliyah as the building of apartments and residences have been being built at a fairly rapid pace which had lowered prices. That is as much of the advice we can offer.

 

Akko is the Oldest City in Israel Seen Overlooking Mediterranean Port Wall

Akko is the Oldest City in Israel Seen Overlooking Mediterranean Port Wall

 

How to answer why most American Jews are not making Aliyah and also answering the other main questions is difficult for one to be able to explain while remaining positive. This gets particularly difficult when the added question is to explain the reasoning behind the antics and demands of the Open Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and other branches in American Judaism for accepting new definitions for Halachic Law. Not every Jew is overly observant and even fewer attend all three services each day, but a large share of the population we have met are religious and attend services on some form of regular basis. They attend for yahrzeits, almost every holiday, and try to make Shabbat morning prayers every week. From what we remember, we probably have more people attending our Synagogue daily morning prayers than we often had on Shabbat morning prayers in the Synagogue we last attended in the United States. But very few question the definitions of Halachic Law. The Torah says exactly what it says and cannot be twisted to say otherwise. The Written traditions in Talmud and other commentaries are also quite definitive in their final decisions. On the necessity for adopting a new Oral Tradition to partly replace Talmud is accepted as something of a work in progress, but it is in progress by going through Talmudic principles and adding or questioning ideas and concepts within the structure which already exists. Very few desire throwing the entire system into the trashcan and defining all to fit every whim and societal idiosyncrasy existing today in European or American society. Judaism is supposed to offer alternatives from a tried and true history guided by Torah and our history, not a cult turning on every whim and being redefined to fit some leftist ideology. This has been the case of the demands by Rabbis from the ranks of Open Orthodoxy. We found an article which explains the problem likely better than we ever could in probably one of the most liberal media sources in Israel in Haaretz. Will some of the changes made in America eventually become accepted in Israeli Orthodox, probably. They are already accepted in many of the Conservative and Reform communities in Israel and these do exist but are a lesser offshoot than the more traditional Orthodox, which also have their flavors from Hassidic to Religious Zionist and everything inbetween, but all are governed by the Rabbinate.

 

The truth as most see it from many of the Americans already having made Aliyah is not as pretty as most might prefer. They see things differently than many in the United States see things, and perhaps that comes partly from the fact that being religious in Israel is far more readily attainable than it is in the United States. If one could only afford to reside over ten miles from the Synagogue in their city, they could not be expected to walk to Shabbat Services as at some distances one would need almost a full day to walk both directions. Such would not be resting on the Sabbath. But the problems go deeper than that. Many American Jews have replaced Halachic Law with the standards and positions of their leftist political positions. Such things then become “traditionally Jewish” as same sex marriage, inter-faith marriage, women rabbis, mixed seating for prayer (though this may change over time) and other modernisms. There is another problem in that many Americanized Jews no longer believe that the Torah is historically accurate and that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Queen Esther and the others from Biblical history and most of the Torah and Old Testament are fables to reveal a code of law whose people are imagined and never lived. Come and see the history for real here in Israel where discoveries, especially in the area known to have been the City of David and Cave of Machpelah and these people are very real and the history of Torah and Bible are also found to be accurate and as described. There is a reason why the Waqf has carried away truck loads of crushed rock from their “digging to replace old water pipes and to modernize the facilities” on the Temple Mount always digging in places which are described well in the Bible. Below is a montage of a few of the rubble piles and shown at the lower end are the efforts by the Israeli Antiquities Institute which took up with assisting the efforts when proof of their viability for actually producing artifacts, though dating them has posed a challenge as it is often difficult to discern at what depth and period some artifacts represent. Many Israelis offer their time to assist with this painstaking labors of love and dedication to preserving whatever historical remains can be found. These siftings have produced a small collection of the pomegranate-shaped bells that the Levites and Kohanim wore on their priestly robes (pictured below montage). Unfortunately, there have been far less large objects for after finding an intact column block the Waqf began their crushing of all larger stones to assure nothing of consequence might be found.

 

Temple Mount Destructive Arab Waqf Excavation Dumping Site and Reclamation Sifting Inspecting Seeking Remains of Artifacts not Completely Destroyed as Intended

Temple Mount Destructive Arab Waqf
Excavation Dumping Site and Reclamation
Sifting Inspecting Seeking Remains of Artifacts
not Completely Destroyed as Intended

 

 

Collection of Pomegranate Shaped Bells from Biblical Priestly Robes

Collection of Pomegranate Shaped Bells from Biblical Priestly Robes

 

The story of why American Jews are not arriving in Israel with the urgency some European Jews have shown is simple, they are not being targeted as Jews as of yet. The American Jews are not going to be that far different from other populations. The Ethiopian Jews were brought here after they became persecuted and required saving. The Arab countries expelled their Jews who were refused entrance in most nations other than Israel, so theirs was a case of limited options. The first mass Aliyah of European Jews is well remembered as they had been brutally persecuted and slaughtered across Europe. The Russian Jews were escaping Communism and persecution. The Jews in America live lives which are mostly free of any anti-Semitism and only hear of such in the news and they realize how insulated and safe their lives are. They live an almost fairytale existence lacking want or acceptance. They are not the Jews of Babylon, of ancient Egypt building their cities, of ancient Greece where circumcision was punished by death and teaching Torah treated the same, of the Roman Empire where they were dispersed throughout the Empire and some past the Empires borders in order to make them as extinct as the Carthaginians became, or even of Persia where they loved in relative peace until they were targeted by Hamas and their salvation was the Queen, Esther, whose uncle Mordechai gave her the task of intervening with the king to save her people, or the Jews of any other period as none until the United States the Jews have felt persecution, and even the United States is not perfect as General Grant’s General Order No. 11 of 1862 which displaced the Jews in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi before President Lincoln could countermand the order and return to General Grant with a turnaround of almost two months. But history is not a guarantee of the future as the Jews in Germany found out when they went from assimilated to hunted in a matter of under a decade. The other thing that history teaches is that no society is immune from drastic change when the wrong people take power.

 

The American Jews are largely in two communities, the very Orthodox and the varied but mostly assimilated. The main communities of the very Orthodox are found around New York City and a few other major cities and are largely closed communities who look out for one another and can be considered to be insular. The assimilated also seem to live largely in the suburbs or in high-end areas in some cities in communities such as Georgetown within Washington D.C. The assimilated have jobs in virtually every form of employment with the majority in professions which require advanced degrees. They also hold high positions within the government and political office. They are represented at far higher percentage then their percentage of the population in such professions as physicians, lawyers, engineering and college professors. This has made some fringe groups incited over this fact claiming that the Jews are attempting to control the society through these positions. Most of these people are largely ignored and make up an infinitesimal percentage of the population. The real challenge to the Jews in the United States comes from another direction, and they are largely blind to this coming threat.

 

This threat comes from the secular far left who see religion of any kind as threatening and rather than be agnostic or atheist they are secular humanist who believe that their natural and superior enlightenment means that they should dictate future politics and manage all legal and social regulations. Their real threat is that they have risen to numerous controlling positions in many, if not a majority, of the departments of the government. These are the people who control the machinations of the “Deep State” and thus influence regulations. These are the people who in the too near future will be producing legal systems which will make religious observance regulated to such a point that much of Torah and the Bible will have become legally prosecutable. Reading from numerous Bible passages would be considered to be a violation as hate speech. Some similar prosecutions have occurred in Canada as preaching the Bible has run up against legal regulations there. With the Constitutional guarantees, specifically the Bill of Rights, coming under attack from numerous NGOs and other organizations and political lobbying groups, who knows how long the religious protections in the First Amendment will survive. The Second Amendment is under extreme distress and the Tenth Amendment is all but dead as are much of the Eighth and Ninth Amendments. Once the Second Amendment falls, expect the First and then Fifth followed by the Fourth to follow within a decade.

 

What is coming in the near future in the United States will be considered shocking to the older generations but the youth have been indoctrinated to such an extent instead of instructed such that they no longer believe free speech cannot be abridged and any speech which is offensive to their peer groups should be illegal. They find that the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights to be too old to have meaning in our modern society and that the rules need to be changed to reflect their programming they received from their teachers and then their professors and believe that taxes must be raised and equaling income is a necessity. They also do not accept the concept of a Supreme Being and many believe that religion is a concept which is evil and the Bible is just some old book which is basically worthless. What is frightening is that many American Jews appear to believe the same things as the youth as they have joined the leftists and are members of the Secular Humanists. They have a completely new form of Judaism and demand that the Israelis adopt their interpretation of Torah. The difference between Israel with the acceptance of the Torah, Bible, Gomorra and Talmud as real and applicable as written and that the final two can be adapted, but only in reference to Torah and slowly and methodically while the American Jews (non-Traditional Orthodox) have adapted Torah to fit their beliefs completely throwing out the old commentaries as irrelevant to their modern society and in their stead placing the preachings of their new wave Rabbis whose ideas are more suitable to teaching a college philosophy class than to Torah commentary.

 

The immediate reply will most likely be that we have no idea about what we are speaking. Allow us to speak of the Rosh HaShana sermon given by our Rabbi of a Conservative Synagogue, a loveable and kind Rabbi who was a good person and likely his sermon was adapted in order to please the congregants, especially those who only come to the synagogue three or four times per year but also make very large and generous donations to make up for their lack of making it to Shabbat morning services. His sermon was about a same sex marriage he had recently officiated at our Synagogue and how beautiful the service and the loving couple were and the greatness that we, as a congregation, allowed such a celebration to be held and how our acceptance was indicative of our religious faith. This wedding was a great stride in healing the world from old prejudices and the making of a rich, new world filled of acceptances of all varieties of people and making inroads into wedding our faith with the other faiths proven by the inter-faith marriage he officiated at a church with the minister and the wonderful loving couple and how their children would be so rich having both religious beliefs. The sermon went on for close to thirty to forty-five minutes, maybe more; one of us kept nodding off for some wishful bliss. We have found out that our Synagogue was far from an exception of the new definition of Judaism and stretching of Torah to include the leftist ideologies where all forms of coupling are accepted and where sin has become a relative term with no absolutes beyond unacceptance of this new secular humanist theology. Yes, secular humanism is a religion complete with a dogma and its own sins, many of which are political in nature and any of the keeping of the old ways is one of the greatest of sins and now all religions must adopt the secular humanist diktats.

 

This difference has become a serious problem between Israeli Jews and American Jews. Now there are quite a few Israeli Jews who believe in the secular humanist philosophy and probably would not be too deterred should Israel become more akin to American Jewish thought, the non-Orthodox variety. But in Israel, they accept that the majority are religious and orthodox following Torah. The Rabbinate is a fact which in Israel the only change some wish to make is for there to be only one Chief Rabbi, not two. The big change coming in Israel, which will take far longer probably, not allowing us alive today to witness without assistance from Hashem, will be the unifying of the several sects into a single Judaism. There will inevitably come a merging of the Chabad, Hasidic, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Ethiopian, Bnei Menashe, Sabras and numerous smaller sects and there will be a single Judaism finally in Israel, that is our most immediate task. Much of this will take place simply by the most natural means, intermarriage. Whenever we see a mixed couple of Jews, we get a smile and feel that day approaching just that little bit faster. As far as Israel adopting the Secular Humanist views, that is highly unlikely and there are other differences which live in the political arena.

 

The political difference is also fairly stark. The assimilated, secular humanist, non-Orthodox, American Jews are sold on the idea of the Two State Solution because it has that fairness and equality theme they believe the world naturally uses to resolve differences, in their world that is. Even many of the most liberal Jews have surrendered the idea of the Two State Solution as impossible and as having been destroyed by Mahmoud Abbas. The American Jews looked at the recent Gaza border riots as a peaceful demonstration against the Israeli occupation and embargo and there were a small few who hijacked parts of the demonstration using violence and that it is time for Israel to loosen their embargo and end the occupation of Gaza. Israelis know that Israel finished their disengagement from Gaza that was enacted back in August 2005. Israelis also realize that any loosening of the embargo which is established simply to prevent Hamas and Islamic Jihad importing heavy weaponry is not workable and that the vast majority of goods are allowed in, especially aid goods, mostly passed on for Hamas to distribute the same day or the next day. Israelis know that Hamas uses the vast majority of these goods to raise funds charging the Gazans for the aid while keeping any building materials for the construction of underground bunkers for Hamas and Islamic Jihad members to be secured within along with interconnecting tunnels or to build infiltration tunnels into Israel in order to carry out attacks or to attempt kidnapping of Israelis. Many American Jews believe that Israel has no option and that the original idea was to make both an Arab and a Jewish state west of the Jordan River.

 

Israelis know that was simply one idea suggested by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 181 which was negated as soon as the Arab League voted to reject that idea as they refused to permit any Jewish State. The reality instead returned to the San Remo Conference and the related British Mandate agreements. These all made for an Arab State today known as Jordan and everything west of the Jordan River was reserved for the Jewish State. Israeli Jews realize that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority all agree that their goal is for no Jewish State to exist. They disagree on who gets to rule and Hamas also declares that they are to destroy Israel and then continue to kill Jews everywhere while they conquer the world for them to rule. Israeli Jews realize that the recent Gaza rioting had as its intent exactly what Sinwar, Hamas leader, stated, to break down the border fence, murder Jews tearing out their hearts and eating their livers as we have already reported repeatedly, and to replace Israel with a state ruled by Hamas. Had they succeeded, then it would have been not only the end of Israel, but the end of the Palestinian Authority as they would be the next target, as Hamas believes them to be apostates deserving of death. The world might have mourned the dead six and a half million Jews, but we would not expect many would honestly care and the few who did would mourn quietly after the initial solemn announcements which would end as quickly as possible as it would be a bother.

 

We could continue to list the ways Israeli Jews, in general, are different and separate from American Jews, in general. There is no reason to continue, as there are numerous articles written on the subject for those interested. Many are written from the American point of view but there are those from the Israeli view with many simply responses to those other articles. The two groups have taken very different paths and it will take something traumatic for them to forge a single people. As the two societies are, there can be no immediate merging of the American Jews with the Israeli Jews. We know this, as we were not an acceptable fit in our last congregation but once here in Israel found our fit was transformational, as finally we had found a Jewish group of communities where we fit in naturally. There were some in that last congregation with whom we fit and some requested we keep such our secret as they had hid their conservative beliefs and reached general acceptance and they did not desire their work to be undone. As we have told before, many in that Synagogue responded to our announcement of moving to Israel with almost the same words which were, “Why would you want to move to a place like that, they are so backwards.” Well, I guess we like backwards, though we believe that Torah and the Bible are eternal and the proper guide for life, and certain realities which measure the health of a society are proving this to be a valid statement.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 28, 2018

The Threat Israel Cannot Defeat Alone

 

If Israel has a mortal weakness, it is that she cares too much for the protection of innocents even if those innocents are trying to destroy her. That is the most serious threat she currently refuses to face and which will do everything to destroy Israel if only to prove they are correct. The current cases are the numerous NGO’s and the Left wing American Jews who support these insidious organizations working to destroy Israel. The leftists within Israel are also contributing to this situation and the potential of ending the Jewish homelands. Part of the attack comes at the religious in Israel who are also the main answer to allowing Israel to defeat the demographic threats. One of the demands made by many on the left is that Israel must forsake Traditional Orthodox Judaism and instead become a purely secular democracy which favors no religion and allows that all peoples of all religions, and particularly no religion, to live within in harmony. The proof Israel can provide for accepting these demands are to first accept the Two State Solution giving over to the Palestinians all the lands beyond the Green Line and secondly permit those Palestinians in refugee camps permission to return to their homes even if those homes are theoretically within the Green Line and would lead to the Jews being outnumbered by Arab Muslims. When Israelis claim that would be the end of Israel, they are told that this is an unfair accusation as how can Israelis claim that this Arab population cannot also operate within a multicultural democracy if they have not given them any opportunity to do so? They do not accept Gaza as having been a fair example and demand Israel again make the sacrifices and accept their promises that the Arabs will work with the Jews in harmony. When asked what happens if this proves to not be the case, their response is that the Jews can come to the United States or they simply reprimand such as naysayers who have no faith in the powers of Democracy. This is especially true of those on the farthest leftist Jews, even more so those residing in the United States.

 

There are many things which separate the American leftist Jews and their brethren in Israel and much of that have led to numerous misunderstandings. The leftist Jews believe that because Israeli mainstream Judaism is a collection of different Traditional Orthodox forms of Judaism including many Haredi and Hasidic branches, Chabad, numerous Traditional Orthodox congregations and, this may shake any number of American Jews so we advise you be seated, numerous Conservative, Reform and other nonconventional congregations of Jews as well as a fair number of purely secular people of Jewish extraction. The main Rabbinate is selected from the majority and several forms of Orthodox Judaism. There is a reason behind having the Orthodoxy as the prevalent form of Judaism in Israel, and that is because it follows the traditional laws and all the Commandments of Torah, the exact ideas and ideals that even the socialist Zionist founders foresaw as the true future for the State of Israel mixed with Socialism. Israel, politically, still has too much socialism practiced by the government but that is slowly evolving to a more functioning entrepreneurial nation based on the start-up concept allowing for investments to spur the movement of capital and thus leading to a stronger economy and providing higher wages in the future. But the religious base will remain Traditional Orthodox while permitting every other form but retaining the controlling religious administration with the Traditional Orthodox. This is why all marriages and conversions are required to meet the strict Rabbinate restrictions. These religious restrictions are actually sensible in many ways which become more readily obvious once you come and actually live in Israel.

 

First off, a confession, at least one of us is a long time Zionist but spent much of their life completely divorced of any practicing of Judaism. Even when returning to Judaism after a tragedy in the family, still attempted first to join a Reform Synagogue but there were personality differences with the Rabbi so we tried the other Synagogue which was Conservative and that Rabbi was wonderful. What was curious was that the Conservative was very similar services wise to the Reform services remembered from childhood. If questions had been thrown at us back in the United States, we would have been just as confounded by the insistence on only the Orthodoxy having the main levers of power within Israel and been somewhat upset about many of these demands. So, the question is what do we now feel?

 

Star of David Ornate

 

Since moving to our little corner in Israel we have found how much easier it is to be completely Jewish in Israel. Keeping Kosher is as easy as shopping at the food store and only a couple in town needs to be avoided. Many of the restaurants are certified Kosher. Services are easier to attend as there is almost a guarantee that you will discover one within four or five blocks, if not several. With this all taken care of, being Orthodox, Traditional Orthodox, becomes fairly simple requiring even less effort than being any kind of semi-observant Jews in the United States. Given another few generations and while Traditional and other forms of Orthodox Judaism will be prevalent in Israel, other than Orthodox Judaism, mostly Hasidic and Haredi, one will be hard pressed to find other congregations in the vast majority of the United States and all but gone from Europe. This will be due to the rampant intermarriage which will quicken the exodus of Jews from their religious upbringing, assuming they ever received a Jewish upbringing. One quick way of determining the accuracy of our dire prediction would be to simply ask the few Jews you may know who are not Orthodox whether they attended and partook of a Passover Seder and whether it was held in English or Hebrew. Do not be surprised if the answer shows a lack of Jewish participation. Then ask them what does Seder mean and pray they do not say dinner or story or other wrong answer. When they surrender, the actual translation of the Hebrew word Seder is Order, as in structured or delineated. The main defining part of the service is the reliving of the leading events to the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and the initial part of the years in the wilderness.

 

Becoming a practicing Jew and following as much of the laws as possible, as we are still learning some of the rules as we go along, and some are likely obscure and will become obvious with time. One thing about Judaism is that everyone and everything is a work in progress, and some are going to take more time than others.

 

Finally, it is with sadness that we realize that once again so many of our brothers and sisters will become lost to us just as during the Exodus when it was claimed that a mere one-fourth, if that many, of the Jews from Egypt made the trip while the majority decided that they preferred remaining in relative safety and a life, though harsh, still did not require what the new life promised, challenges and the hard work of building a new land. Slavery was a hard life but the Egyptians provided for their food, shelter and other necessary needs. That is what life in the United States will promise, a land of plenty that is easy and there are very few threats in life while Israel is more of a challenge. Getting a job is more of a difficulty in Israel and as an American one need learn Hebrew, not the easiest language to learn. For the youth, there is IDF service which most American Jews would find as a threatening requirement. One of us did serve in the United States military in combat arms but very few of the Jewish kids we grew up with ever gave such the smallest consideration. Serve in the military, that was outside consideration and why so many Jews went to college. Yes, when drafted, they served and what is actually surprising is that Jews have almost always outperformed other peoples in their service in the military in the major wars in history. But the latest generation, such is not considered something a good Jewish boy or girl would want to do. So, having to move to Israel and face military service frightens many. Thankfully, and these youths are treasured and respected in Israel, there are Jewish kids from America who come to Israel with the intent of serving in the IDF and most desire to be placed into Combat Arms. These Zionist youths are a treasure.

 

Back to how to allow Israel to defeat their foes is easy. Step one; stop demanding that Israel surrender, conflicts are not won by the surrendering side. Israel must be permitted to be victorious and defeat every challenge and danger facing her and her people. Stop pretending that Israel need be more like the United States as Israel does not have Canada and Mexico as neighbors. Illegal immigrants in Israel are more likely to be terrorists aiming to murder Israelis than people seeking to make a better life and almost none are actual refugees. Step two; when Israel is forced to defend herself, kindly support her just as she supports the United States efforts in such conflicts. Finally, try to remember and understand that in Israel Judaism is not so much a religion as a way of life and Israel is the Jewish homelands where the religion, the people and society try to operate as one. Israel is also the only place where the Jewish people will be protected and cared for without question should any disaster or threat raise its ugly head threatening our fellow Jews. Israel is the Jewish safety fuse which will trip and give the Jewish People a home forever into the future. That should be sufficient reason for any Jew to do anything required to protect their safety valve. Lastly, whether they realize it or not, Israel is the homeland of the Jews and has been the Promised Land from over three-thousand years back and that only gets us back to King David, Abraham and Sarah were close to another thousand years further back. That is something which will never change.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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