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

 

December 14, 2017

What Difference Do “Days of Rage” Make?

 

Last week, after President Trump recognizing the reality that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel, though also adding enough qualifiers so as not to actually change anything other than making clear that, at the very least, half of Jerusalem will be the Capital of Israel, the Arabs on all borders and within Israel announced three Days of Rage. Perhaps a little clarity would be of some assistance. Every Friday afternoon the Arabs in Judea and Samaria have demonstrations at specific locations where they act against Israeli security forces, IDF, Border Police and regular police, with varying degrees of violence from shouting curses and spitting to throwing rocks often using slings of the variety with which David slew Goliath or even shooting at the Israeli forces from behind rock throwing children so as to get movies of Israeli security forces firing rubber bullets presumably at the children with the people with the rifles out of frame. So if these outbreaks of violence are almost as regular as clockwork, what is the big deal with announcing Days of Rage? That is simple. Where the regular violence is performed so that the Pallywood cameras can record everything from various angles such that the best editing makes the acts look real to use in Arab propaganda throughout the world to portray the Israelis as savage monsters; the announced Days of Rage are special because that signals the world media to come and record the action for the six o’clock news broadcasts and are aimed largely at the United States media as well as international media such as CNN and the BBC. There will be a less official Day of Rage again this Friday and actually are being carried out in select locations all week for the remaining media who are still hanging around just in case a really good action piece emerges showing Israel in the worst possible light.

 

Three Views of Jerusalem

Three Views of Jerusalem

 

The reality is that there are staged eruptions at the most effective checkpoints often organized by European and other leftist groups some of which include leftist Israelis. Just as are present in the United States, Europe and the rest of the developed world, there are the useful idiots who take the side that their country is a terrible and oppressive nation, as it had not adopted their idea of a socialist utopia. We have them here in Israel as well except here they are far more dangerous as the world, especially in Europe; use these people to demean the government and the security forces which protect them. These are far leftists who would demand for Israel to sacrifice its Jewishness on the altar of a socialist plurality which permitted the entirety of the so-called Palestinian refugees who number closing in on eight-million to become Israelis along with the Arabs in Judea and Samaria giving the Arab Palestinians a majority voice in the government. To them having a Jewish State is an anathema and anachronistic as they argue that no other nation in the world is religiously based. Obviously they have never heard of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq or the other nations which claim to be Islamic States, but it is not that Israel has a religiosity, it is that it is Jewish that bothers them. These often are Jews ashamed of their own Jewishness so they argue that everything Jewish must be made less Jewish until nothing is Jewish. For this reason, they side with their enemies believing that their enemies will reward them once Israel as a Jewish State has been destroyed. Should such an event ever occur, Hashem forbid, then they will find out that they are considered as Jewish as every other Jew in Israel and will receive identical treatment.

 

Pallywood

 

Still, with or without any assistance, the Arab Palestinians will protest and riot on a regular basis with checkpoints which are most effective in preventing terrorist attacks targeted in hopes of forcing their being dismantled, on the Temple Mount, and in Bethlehem and other readily recognized locations which will thus garner the greatest amount of media coverage. The media in much of the world has reported that there have been riots in every part of Israel in response to President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. That is far from the reality. There were some demonstrations along the Gaza border with a small number of rockets launched into Israel, disruptions on the Temple Mount and in Eastern parts of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem and some other locations in Judea and Samaria. As for most of Israel, life has continued uninterrupted and as peaceful as can be. But a peaceful Israel does not make for breathtaking news alerts on the hour and the half hour, only broad rioting wherever the media can see amounts to making for good news reporting. Ask yourself if you saw coverage of rioting in Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashod, Netanya, Herzliya, Ma’alot, Eilat or Akko. Isn’t it remarkable that there have been no reports of rioting or violence in all of these Israeli cities, some of the most well known and largest in the little country? Perhaps the lack of news about problems in all of these locations is because the violence is limited to the few locations where the news coverage was directed and nowhere else. What is not a very well know fact about Israel is that, even including terrorist acts, you are less likely to have a violent crime committed against your person in Israel than you are in the United States. Part of the reason is that Israel has remarkably low crime and a well-ordered and happy society. This is proven by the World Happiness Report where Israel is the eleventh happiest nation on the planet. That is an eye-opener, is it not?

 

Truth of Middle East Conflicts and their Death Tolls

 

Now for the real brain-teaser, we are about to enter the low rioting season. Arab rioting in Israel is seasonal and when it is colder and rainy, there is far less rioting, terror and violence in general. On the other hand, when it gets very hot in the balmy days of summer there is far greater propensity for violence from the Arab Palestinians. This is similar to crime statistics in most major cities where crime increases when it is very hot and drops precipitously when winter arrives. The rioting in Israel is very seasonal peaking in July and August and dropping off in January and February. If the rioting, terrorism and violence really were about the harsh and terrible treatment imposed by Israel, then one would expect there to be an even number of provocations throughout the year and a very steady level of related violence. But that is not the case as it is actually very seasonal with peaks also coming during Jewish holidays, specifically those holidays when Jews are most likely to desire visiting the Temple Mount. This is why during the weeks leading up to Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur and through Sukkot the rioting on the Temple Mount hits a crescendo forcing the closing of the Temple Mount. What is interesting is this closure of the Temple Mount is more often just imposed on Jews and only when the rioting becomes dangerously damaging that the Temple Mount is completely closed, which leads to greater rioting at the entrances which are barred by Security Forces. Odd that it is during these special holidays that suddenly there erupts violence by the Arabs to close the Temple Mount to all non-Muslims; but when Christmas arrives there is no rioting, instead, there are Arab merchants at the entrances selling seasonal gifts and souvenirs as well as food to the visiting foreigners who have money to spend. Then again coming into and through Passover there oddly enough is no second wave of Temple Mount violence. This would be strange as it is another holiday when Jews desire visiting the Temple Mount. But Passover always corresponds to Easter and that brings those tourists with the money to spend and business takes precedence over preventing the Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. Some things are universal and making money off holiday traffic is one of them.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 12, 2014

The Death of Zionism in America

This coming week we will hold our Passover Seder and say the words as we have traditionally for near two thousand years, “Next year in Jerusalem.” How many of us even think for a moment that we really desire to hold our Seder next year in Israel, let alone make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Pesach? Have those words become simply a sign of our dedication to some quaint notion of a hope which only arises when we as Jews are facing duress and something we simply say when our lives are secure and comfortable? If that had become our truth, then we would serve G0d and the honesty He most certainly treasures to stop muttering these words which many of our mothers and fathers in generations before us spoke as an honest yearning and likely with a small tear in their eyes knowing that such was probably beyond their ability and that there was no Eretz Yisroel to return to anyhow.

 

But what are the excuses today? Are we really far too comfortable in our Diaspora lives or is it something far worse; is it because we no longer have the hunger and desire for returning to our ancestral home, the place the L0rd our G0d gave to us after visiting the Ten Plagues upon Egypt and giving us the Ten Commandments and Torah to guide our lives in the Land of Milk and Honey? Has the spark and inspiration that guided our forefathers’ lives through desperate times of persecution when even holding the Seder was forbidden and they held theirs in hushed tones for fear the neighbors might hear our retelling of the greatest story ever told finally lost its last glow. Now, when we throw open our doors and invite all who wish to join in our celebration of freedom no longer fearing for our very lives have we gotten so free from fear that we have lost all memories of how, as we will also say on this Seder night, that “Every generation there is one that will rise up against us.” Are we so content in our comfort that we refuse to heed that warning believing that it no longer holds any relevance in our enlightened time? Are we so haughty that we believe as did our fellow Jews did in Europe as they felt safe in their assimilated lives and many of whom were even warned of the coming evil by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in 1938 telling of waves of persecution and super-pogroms were imminently coming to Poland and eastern Europe and that for the sake of their safety and their lives the Jews should leave for Palestine as soon as possible. Are you telling yourself the same falsehoods which our forefathers have repeatedly said and believed even mere months before the coming tragedy which would threaten their very existence, “It cannot happen here as we are honored members of the society holding jobs as teachers, lawyers, physicians and are accepted amongst our non-Jewish friends.” If you are fortunate enough to have the diaries from your ancestors, please reread them and see what they uttered just before their world was turned upside-down.

 

This reminder of times past will not be heeded by any in America or elsewhere throughout the world as many Jews are not only assimilated but happily ensconced within the fabric of their exiled existence and attained a level of calm and apparent acceptance that they have lost any concern or desire to return to their home, Israel. They will point to the dangers they perceive threaten Israel and they are not completely without reason to point such out. At least in Israel the soldiers met on the streets, often carrying their weapons with them, are soldiers who are trained to defend Israel and her citizens within including, or actually especially, her Jewish citizenry. Passing one of these soldiers in Israel gives one a sense of belonging and a degree of safety that is difficult to describe. It is a feeling of belonging, of being home. In Israel there are no politicians calling for the banning of items of religious wear, including yarmulkes, nor are there people demanding the end of Shechita calling it a form of cruelty. Yes, such madness has not come to America and the United States is not Europe. The events and problems of anti-Semitism which is growing more prevalent across Europe is not such a problem here in our neighborhoods. These same words were likely spoken not that long ago in the Ukraine, Rabbis in the Ukraine have downplayed the evidence of a growing anti-Semitism there. Then there is the increasing awareness of anti-Semitism in France where the Jewish population increasingly is leaving France with many coming home to Israel. Should one actually take an in-depth measure of trends even in the United States they would see a troubling increase in acts victimizing Jews growing in frequency and severity such as the Knockout the Jew game which has spread to numerous major cities. Make next year the year you came home and hold your next Seder in Israel if not actually in Jerusalem. Listen and believe the words uttered for centuries at the conclusion of the Seder service, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

חג פסח שמח

בשנה הבאה בירושלים

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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