Beyond the Cusp

April 25, 2015

Israel Has Some Wonderful News to Ears Seeking Something Positive


There were a few tidbits of news which may have snuck by many of us during the rollercoaster of one’s emotional equilibrium of the last couple of weeks. It happens after Pesach where we have in rapid succession Holocaust Remembrance Day and then the topsy-turvy of Memorial Day immediately followed by Independence Day where we for from the solemn remembrance of those we have lost, both soldier and terror victim, to have brought us to this day and at sundown of this day of remembrance we immediately shift gears, pop the clutch and within a few dizzying hours we fire off fireworks and are celebrating our hearts out in joyous rapture celebrating like tomorrow may never come the anniversary of the rebirth of the nation of Israel. During all of this some lists and reports came along with these days. The first is likely the less critical in importance, but it is still nice that somebody outside of Israel took notice. It turns out that last year Israel rose a couple of more slots towards the top of the list of happiest nation of people on Earth. Such steps are difficult once a nation hits the rarified atmosphere of being within the top twenty. Israel is about to enter an even more exclusive club as she has made it to number eleven happiest nation. This is not an expected slot for Israel to hold when one reads the accountings in the regular news every day about Israel in the mainstream media but then again, many of us have known all along that they had a slight bias against Israel. Apparently being demonized in the media day and night has not taken off the shine of our smiling faces and cheerful outlooks on life. But wait, there is even better news.


Believe it or not, the old story about the “demographic time bomb” has also been laid to rest. The birth rates for Israel also were released recently and the news should fill every heart with joy if they are believers in the future of Israel. The predictions of doom and gloom claiming that Israel would soon be overrun by the Arab superior fertility rates have been struck what might be a fatal blow. The significant figure was the fact that Israel has reached a population total of 8.345 million people. This includes the births of the last year which were numbered at 136,000 Jewish births and 40,000 Arab births. Compare those numbers to the 1995 statistics where one finds that there were 80,000 Jewish births and 36,000 Arab births. This means that the Jewish population inside Israel has increased from a ratio of 2:1 to now an ever more respectable ratio of 3:1, imagine that. Further, since 1995 the Israel rate of Arab births has increased by ten percent while Jewish birth rate has increased by over forty percent. That is a rate of change respectably higher than have Arab births. The immediate response from the ever seeking the darkest possible news with which to bludgeon Israelis and their supporters into submission would be that these numbers are for within Green Line Israel and ignore the numbers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.


OK, let us go look into the reports given on these numbers but instead of using the inflated numbers provided by Abbas to attempt to frighten Jews that their days are numbered, let’s use numbers from World Bank. According to the World Bank, the birthrate in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has declined from as high as 6.5 in 1990 down to about 4.0 today. Quoting Ambassador Yoram Ettinger speaking on the reasons behind the decrease in the Arab women’s rate of births per individual, it is mostly a result of higher levels of education such that, “Instead of having kids as early as 15, they are waiting until their mid-20s and that number is approaching age 30.” Additionally, “family planning has proliferated throughout the Muslim world – possibly because of economic reasons but maybe also the increased standard of living.” Ambassador Ettinger concludes, “The surge in Jewish fertility has to do with communal responsibility, patriotism and roots.” There is an interactive graph where you can plug in any set of greater regions or their individual countries and contrast and compare nearly anything you desire provided by Google. By doing a comparison of the individual groupings of nations Israel was ahead of every grouping with the sole exception of Sub-Saharan Africa. Every area, even that of Sub-Saharan Africa at a birth rate per woman at an astounding 5.11, has shown a serious and marked downturn in their population statistics from their high at 6.79 births per women and with every other national group reaching a reproductive ratio of between thee births per woman and just below 2 births per woman with the highest coming in at 2.75 births per women for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the lowest coming in at 1.72 births per women for Europe and Central Asia. East Asia and Pacific came in at 1.82 births per women followed closely by North America at 1.85 births per women with the next being Latin America and the Caribbean at 2.18 births per women, thus being the first region to be equal to or above replacement rate in reproduction. Continuing we find the World’s average at 2.47 births per women with next being South Saia at 2.59 births per women followed by, as noted above, MENA at 2.75 births per women, and also reported above, Sub-Saharan Africa having by far the highest at 5.11 births per women. Meanwhile, Israel had hit a highpoint of 3.97 births per women in 1960, the first year figures are provided and ending at 3.04 births per women which was a rebound slightly higher than the low of 2.7 births per women in 1992. One can expect that the numbers for Sub-Saharan Africa to drop precipitously at some future date which will be marked by greater levels of education and the industrialization of their societies after which the human population of planet Earth, or if you prefer the population doomsday predictors’ favorite phrase, spaceship Earth will finally reach a steady level of minimal growth with times of feast having a steady if slow increase and times of turmoil and frustrations giving a slow rate of decline.


When one looks at the birth rates per woman of the world compared to the individual sectors it becomes readily apparent that it is the high but still dropping rate of births per woman of Sub-Saharan Africa which force the rate for the entire world to a higher than otherwise expected level and once they drop to the range of between 1.7 and 3.3 births per woman then the World replacement rate will fall just under 2.5 births per woman, a steady level of measured and manageable growth ever so slightly above replacement rate numbers. Equally important has been the decline towards replacement rate rather than the far higher rates over the Israeli reproductive rates for Judea, Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza which had buried the demographic time-bomb which has been touted and predicted by those who would seek out any statistic to prove that Israel had no choice but to give the Palestinians anything they demanded if they would only permit the Israeli Jews to survive and keep their ever diminishing numbers against the super-reproductive rate of the Arab Palestinians which promised to drown them in a sea of births. This does not for an instance mean that we will stop hearing the sky is falling doomsayers from touting old data over and over ad nauseum predicting the demographic destruction of Israel because they need to have something to show to back up their demands that Israel completely surrender and beg and grovel for table scraps which the rest of the World including the Arabs who would reproduce Israel into extinction or the Europeans who would end Israel through an embargo if Israel does not comply and surrender or the United Nations will bury Israel in paperwork responding to the human rights charges which would end if only Israel would surrender to the Arab Palestinian human rights demands or any of the plethora of doom and gloom woe is Israel who will be subsumed by whatever calamity that can be found in the statistics if they do not surrender to the Arabs as is their sole chance to survive-mongers. The frustration those who seek ever more diverse ways to attack Israel and claim that Israel is a pariah amongst the nations, the new Apartheid, a genocidal raging, the force behind every calamity, the reason for every ill, the one holdout from a past era, the remaining anachronism amongst the nations and whatever else that can be dreamed up from the furtive minds of conspiracies and intrigues who will borrow through mountains of statistics even to the point of reformatting them in such a manner as to provide the data they require to damn Israel once and for all. It is at this point we must stop and pay homage to the originators of the quotation, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” which many attribute to Mark Twain who himself attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli thus we must conclude that it is insightful, humorous, erudite and witty as both men were long and stood tall in all those areas abilities. The one thing that those who are in love and pay tribute to the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland, you will never run out of reasons to need to defend her nor will you ever reach a period where there are none who seek her destruction until the day arrives that all the Earth finds peace and harmony and are ruled from Jerusalem, not by the Jewish people but ruled by a divine source.


Beyond the Cusp


April 16, 2015

Anti-Semitism Rising Yet It Can’t Happen Here


Any sane person, one might think, would not doubt that anti-Semitism is rising in the four corners of the globe. While that is true, each admission of that carries an additional modifier. That modifier is the exact same modifier used by Jews everywhere from the beginning of Judaism as a major religion, “It can’t happen here.” Now, that modifier always has some accompanying rationalizations such as the following: We Jews are an intricate part of the society; we are accepted in society; we are seen as judges, lawyers, businesspeople, and are even elected to positions in government; we Jews are accepted and assimilated; and my favorite, this isn’t Nazi Germany, this is America. There is one item from the previous which has always puzzled me, how it is such an intelligent people, as Jews presumably are, can misunderstand that their being assimilated does not infer automatically that the population has assimilated them into the whole. There are other qualifiers and whatever one you can dream up is probably used by some Jews somewhere. What is really ridiculous is when there are leaders of Jewish society, the central pillar around which the community seeks wisdom and guidance, the Rabbis who when asked, “Should not the Jews leave here and seek someplace less threatening to live?” They answer, “No, of course not. Why would you suggest that? This has been our home and the homes of our families for generations. We have a lot invested in this community.” And my favorite and usually their final rationalization, “The authorities have promised to help us and keep the peace and guard against any further anti-Semitism.” Do not get me wrong, they honestly feel that these rationalizations are completely valid and hold water. They refuse to see that the actual realities have struck holes in their every argument.


Things in Europe are at the worse and mostly beyond the cusp range of realities; so I will stick with the queries and responses we received when we began telling the other members of the congregation with whom we had a familiar friendship. First allow me to point out that those with whom we still converse online and the Rabbi all supported our making Aliyah and gave it their blessings if not their desire that it be they who were going to live in Eretz Yisroel. But the others gave responses such as, “Why would you want to go there? You are leaving the United States? But things are so much more civil here. Aren’t you worried about the terrorism? And our favorite, you will be returning here within a year once you see what it is like in Israel. I’ve been there and I know. Those naysayers were wrong. We’ve been here well over a year and are loving it. I, myself, have never felt more comfortable and accepted as I have here and can only imagine how much more so once we have mastered Hebrew, at least master enough to, through spits and starts, get through an entire thought.


That little anecdotal trip down memory lane was to point out we have seen this attitude play itself out in our own experience. Of course, as mentioned, our friends all expressed their longing to make Aliyah and come to Israel and many expected to do so in the near future, but time will tell on that. Getting to make Aliyah as a Jew is no longer you show up and announce that you are Jewish, kiss the ground, and be granted immediate citizenship. The paperwork we filled out made a pile almost rivaling the stuff we brought with us. OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Still, the process for us was a little complicated and took over two years to complete and during that time it had its many ups, downs and why would they need to know this questions. Eventually we completed the process and many of the items we were puzzled why they were necessary proved not to be required but was stuff they gathered for statistical reasons. OK, so you were collecting mega-data, why didn’t you just say so, we’ve heard about Edward Snowden, we would have understood, honest.


Our making Aliyah had to do with a young nine year old boy promising himself, the worst promise you can make because it requires you to either complete the promise or let yourself down, that when the time came and all things in America were fulfilled he would retire in Israel, something the wiffie really might have preferred knowing about before we got married, but she already knew I was a bit strange, right, quite strange, well, if you insist, beyond the cusp strange! There, I’ve admitted it, happy? Still, it may have been the most advantageous thing we ever did as it changed our lives for the better and really opened up our lives much as a rose stretches out its petal to greet the morning sun and drink up the warmth and the blessed energy G0d has seen in His wisdom to provide for that rose bud so tightly shuttered to awaken stretching out revealing its beauty and spreading its fragrance for all to inhale and exclaim that this is a beautiful day. That is how we awaken here most mornings.


Back to the subject which is as horrific and threatening as our returning home to Eretz Yisroel was rewarding and enriching. The news we read about places in Europe such as Malmo, London, Toulouse, and numerous other places are horrific and makes us feel for those Jews residing amongst such hatreds it amazes us that they don’t simply pick up their lives and come to Israel. Surprisingly, even including all the terrorism within the Green Line in Israel, you are still safer in Israel than you are from crime in the United States or Europe, surprising but true. Yet not only do these people continue to live in places where their lives are under threat both day and night, but their Rabbis all tell them it is the Jewish thing to do to remain in defiance to the threats. Where in all that is holy is that written? Looking back over the past year or so in the United States, pulling solely from news stories, I am able to remember we have had some horrific acts of anti-Semitism. There was the Rabbi visiting family in Florida walking to synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood who was approached by two youths, at least younger adults if not teens, a brief exchange of words, the sound of gunfire and the two youths walked away calmly leaving the Rabbi sprawled out dead on the pavement. The Florida local police listed this as a robbery gone bad, as if the youths had no realization that religious Jews, which the attire of the Rabbi was obvious, do not carry money or items of wealth on the Sabbath. There have been near countless desecration of Jewish cemeteries or the Jewish section of a cemetery yard throughout the United States and ten times worse in Europe. There have been desecration committed against Holocaust memorials often accompanied by writings on such structures of “Jews to the gas,” “Hitler was right,” “Jews get out,” “Holocaust was a myth,” “We are the new Holocaust” amongst numerous other defamations of this ilk. Then there was a stretch of time where a “game” which became known as the “knockout the Jew” game where a member of a group of youths as they passed somebody sporting Jewish identifying clothing would attempt to one-punch the targeted Jew at a minimum knocking them off their feet or knocking them unconscious, scoring howls and celebratory knuckle tapping in recognition of this person’s singular accomplishment. Eventually this happening caught sufficient attention from the authorities, especially after one elderly man died from his wounds from striking his head on a curb after being struck as part of this fun game. There have been defiling of synagogues with such an event just this past week in Gaithersburg, Maryland. which is located in Montgomery County. which is heavily Jewish with a percentage of eighteen and two-tenths. That is actually a very impressive percentage when one figures in the percentage of people in the world who are Jews, a whopping two-one hundredths of one percent, for those who might be having difficulty with realizing how small a percentage that is, allow me to reference it in other ways, 0.02% which mathematically comes out to 0.0002 Jews per unit of population, one would require counting out a section of any random grouping of people from around the world a staggering five-thousand people in order to have relative assurance that there would be a single Jew in the group. Perhaps placing a bit of writing that Mark Twain once wrote about the Jewish people will be far more impressive than anything I could ever imagine up, so the rest is from Mark Twain’s essay “All Things are Mortal but the Jew”* also referred to as “The Eternal Jew.”


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, 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?”


Beyond the Cusp

* “Concerning The Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899
The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Doubleday [1963] pg. 249

December 29, 2014

Time for Israelis to Proclaim Their Dreams Proudly


The world has proven beyond any doubt that they have chosen sides in the Arab Israeli war, and make no mistake; it is most definitely a war where the loser loses completely in the small tract of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The idea of two states living side by side in peace and security is a miasmatic dream. The deadly nature of this concept was made all too tragically evident Thursday evening when eleven year old Ayala Shapira and her father were ambushed while driving the last few miles to their home and an Arab youth and young Arab adult threw firebombs at their car penetrating the interior and setting the vehicle ablaze lightly injuring her father and seriously wounding Ayala with smoke inhalation damage, severe heat damaged airways and third degree burns over most of her body, head and face landing her in the intensive care unit where she received the initial surgery of undetermined numbers of other in her future. She has stabilized but is still as near to death as she is life. Video clip showing the car as firefighters extinguished the flames and the body is shown after being extinguished and the warping of the frame and body panels are evidence of the ferocity of the fire all in our previous article “May These be the Last Victims of this and All Intifada.” European politicians largely have chosen to support the Arab claims against Israel to such a point that they echo any and every claim made by Arab authorities against Israel, especially the charges against the Israeli Defense Forces and other Israeli enforcement personnel, even repeating such charges even after they have been disproven and shown to be defamations holding absolutely no validity such as the claims of thousands having been murdered during the Jenin Massacre during Israeli sweep of Judea and Samaria on April 8, 2002, as we discussed in our article “Abbas Lays Plan to Turn American Public Against Israel.” There are some exceptions who are also vocal but are almost lost in the cacophonic debates and completely lost in the mainstream media which produces possibly an even more slanted coverage of all things Israel with Geert Wilders, and from a more personal story of an awakening experience weaves her story, Brigitte Gabriel.


It is sad that some of the most vocal defenders of Israel come from outside of Israel and the political field within Israel is largely silent on the international stage while there are numerous Arab spokespeople who are as vehement as they are loud who speak so often that at least one is quoted almost every day somewhere in the Western mainstream media while Israeli supporters and spokespeople are rarely given anywhere near as much mainstream media coverage. Further, not only is the media editorial content slanted favorably to the Arab narrative; but the same preference is evidenced in the reporting of stories and the inclusion of quotes in such articles as often there are twice as much content by spokespeople favoring the Arab narrative which is also given supportive commentary while almost all pro-Israeli spokespeople’s statements are challenged or left without any supportive commentary. The story in the United States is more favorable but there too problems exist. Many of the most vocal supporters of Israel are often derided not only on their views on Israel but derided for any and everything they support or even the manner in which they choose to give their support. One of the most visible examples might be Texas Senator Ted Cruz who is possibly the most derided and ridiculed members of the United States Congress. Another couple of Israel supporters who have been hounded by the media even after she departed the political arena are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. What has always amazed as well as angered me has been the coverage and Jewish anti-Israel spokesperson receives and the fact they are lauded as being somebody whose opinion must be taken as the most serious and knowledgeable person on all things Israel because of their being Jewish by birth while Jewish supporters of Israel are often assaulted with marginalizing their opinion and even their facts often challenged even if they are simply challenged to give corroborative evidence one could pursue to validate their facts.


Despite such media difficulties, challenges and other obstacles, more Israeli supporters must make themselves heard by any and all possible and available means and to do so loudly and without any remorse or defensive timidity. Israel can no longer depend almost exclusively on the Prime Minister or a few members of the Knesset, party leaders and media personalities to make the case for Israel. But even if all of the pro-Israel members of the Knesset were to become active spokespeople seeking out every opportunity and even forcing the issue and making every possible moment into an opportunity to get the message out and defend Israel, this would still prove insufficient and would still pale as the media would still be critical of their support and use the fact that they are in the government of Israel their support should be expected and hold less weight for that reason. Already when Knesset Ministers who deplore and condemn everything Israel and specifically denounce the Israeli Defense Force in every action they take they are swamped by the media and are lauded and granted great praise and coverage often above the fold on page one. You read that correctly, we stated that Ministers from the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, condemn and denounce Israel and the Israeli Defense Force and the list of whose who is astounding. There is Ahmad Tibi who in a previous position was a close and trusted advisor to Yasser Arafat, the same terror master Arafat who initiated the first Intifada and the second Intifada. Tibi was also actively advising the Arab terror master and political leader, Yasser Arafat, who was also one of the Arabs who’s defaming and violent attempts at replacing Israel through military action was but one facet of his evil, as Arafat also arranged the assassination of the United States Ambassador to the Sudan possibly with assistance of his close advisor turned Minister of the Israeli Knesset, Ahmed Tibi. There is Hanin Zoabi who is possibly one of the most virulent of the Arab Ministers in the Knesset who opposes the existence of the Jewish State and was one of the people on the Mavi Marmara which was one of six civilian ships of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” during May of 2010. She had knowledge that there were terrorists onboard the Mavi Marmara who would be assaulting any Israelis who might board the ship with metal rods, baseball bats, knives and possibly handguns if things went as planned. Hanin Zoabi regularly leads trips to the leaders of enemy nations often in direct contradiction to direct policies even immediately after they were stressed to her personally by the Prime Minister. MK Zoabi regularly makes commentary during debate in the Knesset solely to provoke disgust and revulsion from other Ministers including one recent comment which could have been taken as humor except it was well known that the comment was meant as a challenge to the mere existence of the Jewish State and the existence of Jewish communities when she challenged that the Jews were fortunate that she and the Arabs permitted them to reside in Israel as all of the lands were rightfully Arab and Muslim lands. These were simply the two most well-known of the Israel detractors in the Knesset.


Where Israel really needs desperately to have speaking out and seeking public pronouncements and media coverage are her Rabbis. By Rabbis I am not referring to the Ministers of the Knesset who are also Rabbis but Rabbis who are knowledgeable of Torah and the facts surrounding the claims that these lands were the original homelands where Abraham and Sarah resided as did their children until the Egyptian period of the first exile and was the lands to where they returned as Moses led the Israelites and Joshua led them into their new home. Israel needs the world to hear the voice and certainty of a Zionist Rabbi giving an extensive and illuminating story explaining all that is Israel and its importance to the Jewish People along with further explanations concerning Jerusalem, Hevron, Tiberius and the other ancient cities which were intimate parts of the historic narrative and that the future of the Jewish People is very likely dependent on the existence of Israel. Most of the Rabbis I have encountered through life’s experiences have been very capable speakers, astute debaters and formidable debunkers when challenged while being extremely competent and knowledgeable far beyond my comparatively menial efforts here at Beyond the Cusp; but we all do the most we are able with what the good L0rd gave us. Until, and even after, the legions of Rabbis seek out the media and give them specific and deeply persuasive arguments, the rest of the Zionists and their allies of Israel in all walks of life wherever they may be found must take available opportunities to support Israel and explain to others the truths.


Do some research into the earliest times of the Zionist movements which continues today to bring more Jews home to Israel. Read some descriptions of the barren and forgotten lands turned into an uninhabited wasteland with a desert in the south and swamps and rock strewn hills and fields untilled and cities almost devoid of people which described the lands which would become Israel well after the description made around the late 1800s and back to soon after the fall of Rome. Samuel Clemens, also known under his pen name of Mark Twain, wrote a detailed description in his writings describing his trip around the Mediterranean titled “The Innocents Abroad” which included a section on the Holy Lands even to include details of Jerusalem. Research the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference, the Churchill White Papers, the League of Nations treaty and the Charter of the United Nations Article 80 and the truth that it was not as a response to the Holocause that Israel became the national home for the Jews. Of all the treaties, conferences, papers and other legal proceedings, both binding and not binding, only Article 80 of the United Nations Charter came after World War II. The rest came well before World War II and the general knowledge from the news of the Holocause was made public pushing the formation of the Jewish State as these decisions and treaties and conferences were a direct result of persistent and loud protestations of the Zionists who refused to be quieted until their demands were addresses and satisfied. The decision to reestablish the homeland for the Jews would have eventually been reached as Jews would have continued to return home, as they had been doing since the mid-nineteenth century and is still occurring today and into the future.


The inflow of Jews making Aliyah this past year set a number of records with more French returning set a new high, the United States set a new high mark, the Anglo-speaking nations other than the United States set their new high mark and, almost needless to point out, Jews returning from everywhere combined to set a new benchmark. Israel, that small but innovative nation comparable with New Jersey in size, surpassed the entire United States to become the nation with the highest numbers of Jews with just over six million Jews. That number will increase significantly as the Jewish populations of Europe from Portugal to the Ukraine have been returning at rates well into two, three, even five times all previous record years. This has been part of the housing crunch which has been further stressed by the unannounced building freeze which has remain in effect despite the negotiations having collapsed simply to avoid exacerbating further relations with the problematic United States President. The next few years are going to be very decisive with many threats and actions posing challenges far more of a threat than past crises. Israel is in a decisive, vital and definitive period which at the far end we will be witness to either a land of celebratory rejoicing or a land so embroiled in a war for her continued existence while Europe remains silent in response to Israeli diplomatic inquiries while giving sympathetic voice to the Arab claims of Israeli illegal tactics, tactics producing victories instead of defeats. The more supporters of Israel who place her needs and reputation at the top of their arguments, the better the hopes that Israel will provide the Jews a much needed homeland.


Beyond the Cusp


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