Beyond the Cusp

February 17, 2019

Has the Time Come for Women as Rabbis?

 

We understand that the obvious answer is, ‘No,’ and that there really is nothing to debate, but when has that stopped us. There are the numerous arguments put forth by the Open Orthodoxy or New Orthodoxy, Modern Orthodoxy, Neo-Orthodoxy or the more realistic, Reform Judaism with a few additional Commandments. The crux of the problem is, as almost anybody who has read anything about this tempest in a teapot, the ordination of women as Rabbi. The easy answer is to stand with the nearly unanimous decision by virtually every Poskim, the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and declare from the rooftops while standing next to a scarecrow of a man playing his violin and scream, “Tradition!” But that is taking the short road to an answer which leaves out all the intricacies and ignores the pressures and times of modernity. Women’s rights will need to be addressed at some point, but that point has not yet arrived. Far too many of those in positions to accept this challenge are mired in the rules and morals of early in the past century. Then women took care of the home and the men took care of the world just as the Bible and Torah instruct are the responsibilities of each gender. The world had gone through a period of rocketing change with gender roles being blurred and the responsibilities often being turned on their heads. But Judaism has not survived by being reckless and rushing to accept every change which has come down the halls of time. Tradition has been the watchful eye which kept the boat upright and it is not about to allow for the boat tipping too far left just as it kept it from tipping too far right as the political pendulum has swung back and forth.

 

 

The best approach might be to take small steps and see how they work and if they place too much of a burden or cause things to become difficult or produce side-effects which are arduous, then the small steps can be retraced and a return to normalcy. It is not as if Judaism has not gone through some tumultuous traumas. When we left Egypt we found that the generation which had been in Egypt were not fully capable of change and this resulted in forty-years of wandering almost aimlessly in the dessert until a new generation could be born and reach age. Then, with a fresh population unencumbered with the ravages of slavery and dependence filled with self-confidence was capable of the task of winning a homeland. Then Joshua, one of the two spies who came back with a report of a land ready to be taken, the other was Caleb. The fight was probably far more difficult than it would have been for the Israelites when they first perched on the borders of what is today Israel. But in time the lands were conquered and became the initial state of Israel (see map below). That was how nations were built and how many an empire would start out, taking a small regions for their own and then embarking on greater conquests often incorporating the conquered people initially into their empire as full citizens. This was the name of the game and the Jews started with no king or queen but lived only with the guidance of Judges and Prophets. Prophets continued into their period with Kings which turned sour all too quickly. Then there came the years of conquest by foreign empires with short stints of self-rule. Eventually the Jews, as they had come to be known as most were Judeans by birth, as they were from the Tribe of Judah, were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire, with some even thrown into slavery in further lands, and there appeared to be no way for this small group surviving such treatment. The Jews remained dispersed throughout the world and only in the past century and a half have really begun to return to the ancient homelands reestablishing the nation of Israel. So, yes, we have seen dire times and persecutions and even the Holocaust, a persecution unparalleled in, at the least, modernity. We survived and remained a people through one factor; we remained steadfastly true to our holy books and based it all on Torah. The Torah became our homeland, portable and able to be applied in any region, setting, situation and so forth. This is partly why the leaders of the Jewish Faith, not necessarily the Jewish Nations but the faith, remain resistant to change, without foresight to see what is over the horizon, one remains reluctant to change, especially change that appears to be drastic, that which has guided and kept your people as one through the harrowing threats of history.

 

Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Original Borders for Israel

Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Original Borders for Israel

 

So, perhaps, in the not too distant future, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel might venture into permitting equal seating for men and women in a section of the main hall, not necessarily the entirety. They could permit those synagogues which were inclined to set aside an area where husband and wife, of course with children, to be seated together but leave sufficient space for those opposed to such a liberal concept to sit where this area is not bothersome. Yes, we know some people will find it bothersome that a synagogue in the next town allows such seating and they will claim it unnerves them. Change is not easy, ask the Vatican, as we Jews have been about traditions and the literal applications of the rules for far longer than the Christians have. Perhaps there might be some other half-step we have not considered, but change will need to come in small doses as we Jews are a stiff-necked and stubborn people, or so our Torah tells us. Still, we have changed and kept pace with the world as when we reestablished our homelands, we did not return to a monarchy as it last was nor did we try to rely on prophets and judges as even earlier times, nope, we went with a parliamentary democracy and one far more convoluted than even the European versions. Even the Jews who returned home making Aliyah often comment on how Israel has made a parliamentary system of government even more contentious than their home countries could have imagined. For further proof, simply start to read and follow the machinations and other finagling which are sure to play out along the way to the April 9, 2019 Israeli elections and see for yourself.

 

We have somehow gone from Exodus Chapter fifteen verse twenty and twenty-one where it says, “Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel (tambourine) in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam called out to them, Sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its rider He cast into the sea.” This was then and today there are numerous groups within Judaism where men are forbidden to see women dance or perform or even hear them sing as it became considered immodest. There is proof that we can change, and not always in a more progressive direction despite the uncomforting fact that many times the Jews were at the forefront of revolutionary change. Too often these very same revolutions turned against the Jews and persecuted them claiming they were the enemies of the state they assisted in forming. Such was the case in the Soviet Union and in other cases before that and since. These such outcomes went quite some distance in imprinting caution in the Jews who survived, escaped or were fortunate enough to read of these events from a distance into a dread for change. We have held to our traditions which for centuries slowly drifted to being more and more conservative as this is the result of persecution. The Jewish People are barely a full generation beyond what was a cataclysmic conflagration to our people who lived on the European continent as the Germans and the Russians took their turns persecuting and executing Jews. This did not endear that generation or the following ones to favor radical change, well, except in the United States where much of the radical changes politically and culturally have manifested. They may have found their start in America or in Europe, but if it did not play in America, it likely did not play for very long.

 

Change in Judaism has mostly run at a slow pace making sure that the ground was solid before taking that next step. Wild and reckless are not exactly words which have described the religious Jewish communities. Insular, reactionary, conservative, traditional, stoic, intractable and other similar adjectives have all been used, even by Jews themselves, in defining the Jewish communities, as there are in the United States and Europe as well. Still today in Israel, there are religious communities which all live in a closed community which one need apply and be interviewed, fact-checked, virtually investigated and their religious credentials checked and rechecked before they are permitted to reside within the community. These are some of the communities where the most influential leaders of the Jewish community reside. Asking these individuals to change something so central to Judaism is something which is simply not going to play well. The fact that there are congregations, mostly, if not solely, in the United States and Canada trying to introduce such changes to the Orthodox community, as it has been initially only in Reform and Reconstructionist and later spread to Conservative, is potentially the initial steps. For Jews, though, simply playing well in America is not sufficient for it to become accepted, it must play in Israel. Were the RCA to accept such a change, an alteration in what has been tens of century’s worth of tradition, then perhaps it might be considered by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, though the RCA does not tend to make such moves without working with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The two operate very much in tandem with much and often deep communication and coordination. This is due to their being the two organizations which preside over the two largest Orthodox communities in the world, one all of Europe does not match. The first sign that there might be a crack in the bricks through which changes will eventually pour through would probably be the permitting, even only on special occasions, for married couples to sit together. Currently, the men sit in one area and the women in a separate area simply because having the women sitting with the men is considered a potential distraction. What some Rabbis might notice is having the wives sit separate from their husbands also provides distraction as they may wish to see how the other is doing or even suddenly realize something which urgently need be communicated, but that is what cell phones are for, right? Kidding aside, the experimentation with women being ordained as Rabbis will very likely have to wait until it starts to make cracks into Israeli society, and that might be closer than we think. No matter the number of Open Orthodox (by whatever name they decide to use this week) Synagogues who have women as assistant Rabbis or Rabbinical interns or outright Rabbis, they will remain shunned, rejected and refused continued sanction by the RCA as they remain lockstep and in sync with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. No matter how many influential American Rabbis join a bandwagon calling for the liberation of Orthodox Judaism, that change will not be leaving the station any time soon. Wait for coed seating to be accepted universally, and then, just maybe there will start to be the inkling of a discussion on going further. First coed seating will need a full period of testing, say about a century or two, then we can talk. Should things go faster than this, it will be a surprise and a sign that the Jews have begun to feel safe and beyond threat in Israel. Currently, we have bigger fish to fry then even coed seating, let alone women as Rabbis.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 30, 2017

Greatest Threat Israel Faces

 

There have been quite a number of articles since the election of President Trump listing the presumed greatest threat Israel is facing and we figured, why not give our thoughts. Before we delve into the deep end, why not list a number of the reasons we read about. They list from Hamas and Hezballah to Syria or Iran. Still others believed it to be the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas while others thought Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The list actually does not end there as some have listed the extreme left or the extreme right or just plain extremists. Europe and the United Nations were mentioned with some degree of frequency while some came close with post-modernism. Basically, it appears that Israel needs some friends as enemies she has plenty.

 

In our opinion, Israel has problems far closer to home than all those we mentioned above. Her biggest challenge are those willing to allow the dream of Zionism to die withering on the vine by sacrificing in the name of peace. This is one of the goals of Fatah as a means of destroying Israel as the Jewish State. Do not take our word for it as it is the same words of senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki who states,

“In my opinion, the two-state solution will bring about Israel’s collapse. If they leave Jerusalem, what will all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People be worth? What will the sacrifices they have made be worth? They accord a spiritual status to Jerusalem. The Jews see Judea and Samaria as their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse…to implode. Then we will be able to go forward….” (ANB/TV, May 7, 2009)

Abbas Zaki, despite being a Fatah official or because he is a Fatah official, is absolutely correct. The lifeblood of the Israeli spirit is Zionism and the love of the land, the idea, the history and the entire story. Zionism has been apart of Jewish life and incorporated into Judaism through prayers, rituals and practices. The end of the Passover Seder Jews read in their Haggadah, “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Jews throughout history have moved to Israel, very often into Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria even more than the areas which today make up Israel. Reading in the Torah the verses which instruct the Children of Israel (Jacob) to conquer the lands promised as their inheritance west of the Jordan River read as if they applied to the founding of Israel and the war brought against the nascent nation by the Arab world. The verses include Numbers 33:53 through 33:55 which come with an instruction and a dire warning which was not obeyed by the biblical Jews. as it was not completed in 1948, leaving parts of Judea and Samaria in Jordanian hands which has been a problem for Israel ever since. Read the verses below.

(33:53) You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it.
(33:54) You shall give the Land as an inheritance to your families by lot; to the large, you shall give a larger inheritance and to the small you shall give a smaller inheritance; wherever the lot falls shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers, you shall inherit.
(33:55) But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.

The Jews did not drive all the tribes from the land and that cost them through years of war with the Philistines and the Phoenicians and other enemies finally being conquered by the Babylonians and after them the Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, Muslims, Ottomans and finally the British before finally establishing the Jewish state of Israel. On dawn of the morning of May 15, 1948, when Israel was to celebrate their first day as a nation, they were attacked by the Arab world and lost approximately one fourth of the lands promised under the Mandate System which was part of the San Remo Conference codified in the Treaty of Sèvres and backed once more under Article 80 of the United Nations Charter all of which define the eastern border of Israel as being the Jordan River. Jordan illegally occupied the area known at that time as Judea and Samaria and Egypt illegally occupied Gaza. Israel has since released and renounced claims to the Gaza passing it to the Palestinian authority who lost it to Hamas and the rest has been conflict after conflict just as promised when the Hebrews did not conquer the entirety of the land as instructed by Hashem. Even when Jordan attempted to annex the lands they illegally occupied, they were rebuffed even by the Arab world and only Great Britain and Pakistan recognized the annexation attempt. Even the United Nations rejected their claims yet today the world is telling Israel that they have no claim to those lands. Under International Law, Israel not only has legal claim to all of the lands west of the Jordan River, as almost all of the Palestinian Arabs are from other nations and arrived in these lands after 1920 and the majority after 1945, Israel has a legal right to deport them either into Jordan or to whichever Arab or other nation they can claim citizenship. Anybody over the age of twenty-five and having a passport will most likely have a Jordanian passport. Most children’s parents have Jordanian passports. Jordan claims they are not Jordanian yet the majority of their identification papers are Jordanian. Even the original Biblical definitions of the land as pictured below show the Jordan River as the eastern border and the picture of the original twelve tribes from the book of Joshua shows the routes he used in conquest and the original Tribes of Israel which were founded on both sides of the Jordan River (see one further down).

 

Promised Land Boundaries as given in Numbers 34:1-12 and Ezekiel 47:13-20

Promised Land Boundaries as given in
Numbers 34:1-12 and Ezekiel 47:13-20

 

 

Israel Through the Ages Joshua Enters to the Twelve Tribes

Israel Through the Ages Joshua Enters to the Twelve Tribes

 

The Zionist Dream to have the lands of our forefathers has existed in various forms over the three thousand years since Abraham bought a cave and a field as the burial areas for his family. This drive was expressed in the Song of Babylon which was a song by the priest of Israel after the sacking of Jerusalem and the burning and destruction of the First Temple when demanded of them song and mirth by their conquerors. The love of Zion, the root of Zionism, was in the hearts of the Jews as they rose up to throw off the oppressive rule by the Greeks and then the Romans (twice). It has been in the hearts of Jews as they faced oppression in lands across the face of the earth be they in Europe, Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere even to include the United States when early in the Civil War, General Grant and his Order No. 11 of December 17, 1862, expelling all Jews from the territories under his command which included much of Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.

 

Many Jews when in times of mortal danger prayed for the Messiah to come and sweep them away to return to their promised lands as foretold in scripture. Synagogues all have their Ark holding their Torah Scrolls aligned with Jerusalem everywhere in the world. More specifically, they are aligned with the Temple Mount and the site of the two Temples. Jews pray facing to Jerusalem. Jews are buried with a small amount of soil from Jerusalem, preferably from the Mount of Olives Cemetery. This is so they will have a part of Zion with them in their eternal resting place. There are near countless rites which involve the Holy Lands and Israel throughout Jewish life and even unto death all because every Jew believes that Israel, all of Israel, is special and has meaning beyond what can be understood in simple earthly logic. Yes, there are also those Jews who do not feel the Zionist pull just as there are Jews who are not religious and often these two go hand in hand. But there are Zionists who are not religious Jews and religious Jews who are even anti-Zionist claiming that Jews must await the messiah and then the Messiah will bring them home. Hashem helps those who help themselves, so the Jew must establish the return to all of the lands and then the time of the messiah will be that much closer. This is another reason that so many who wish to prevent the Jews their destiny and especially their messiah demand to keep parts of the land from the Jews. In time the remaining Jews, mostly the Jews of the United States as the largest community outside of Israel, will divide into two groups, those who make Aliyah and come home and those who leave the religion and are lost from their brethren forever and their children will likely not even be told they have Jewish parents as their parents will no longer feel as Jews. A little known fact outside of Judaism is that less than one in four Jews came out of Egypt in the Exodus as the majority felt safer being protected and ruled by the Egyptians and they are lost to the Jewish people to this day. The rule was the same when returning from the Babylonian Exile, less than one in four returned to Israel with most preferring the richness of life with the Persians who had conquered the Babylonians. The same rule will likely apply to the remaining Jews from the United States and elsewhere. But the Zionism has already brought many Jews home and should we lose our desire to settle the land, then we will lose the desire to do what it takes to retain the land and our will being broken will falter and we will lose Israel. Abbas Zaki of Fatah was correct in what he stated and we sadly know he was right and just hope that the rest of Israel realizes the truth before they make any disastrous decisions. But to go into that would be pure politics, and this is not the time for our discourse in that realm.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 31, 2015

Please Name With Whom Israel is to Negotiate?

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Israel is consistently demanded upon to negotiate an end to the occupation and allow for an Arab Palestinian nation to be defined with the borders to be established along the 1949 Armistice lines with mutually agreed upon exchanges of lands. The question is with whom should Israel negotiate? Mahmoud Abbas refuses to sit with any Israeli delegations approved by the governing coalition though he gladly meets with members of the opposition who hold little power or with anti-Israel and anti-Zionist Jewish NGOs mostly from the United States, Europe and some from within Israel who are mostly if not completely subsidized by European NGOs or even the European Union or individual European national governments. These sit downs often are held in Ramallah and with a large map of what Mahmoud Abbas demands are the actual borders of Palestine which depicts all of Israel including the beaches of Tel Aviv and Nahariya with not even the slimmest segment of Israel left standing. One might inquire as to how Mahmoud Abbas plans on determining the government for anything which results in becoming the Arab state. Will he finally hold elections which would appear to be a normal result of the forming of a new nation? But Abbas has refused to hold elections totally skipping the scheduled 2009 election cycle out of fears that he would be voted from office. He is now in the tenth year of a four year term, which many would probably claim is very telling as to his actual legitimate power. Abbas has declared himself, for all intents and purposes, President for life, and that might not be too much longer should he actually agree to borders and the founding of the state he claims to desire above life itself, which very well might be the price he could pay. Israel would not have anything to do with his sudden demise as there are those from within Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS and even his own Fatah Party, PLO and Palestinian Authority who would permanently remove him from office. It is interesting that Mahmoud Abbas holds those final three leading posts plus now signs documents as President of Palestine. The world has never known a man with so many titles who wields so little power and controls perhaps the few blocks of his fortified office complex. The one truism which should be made known, especially to the Europeans and United States President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, is that Mahmoud Abbas is a man whose power ranges from the tip of his right hand to the tip of his left hand whenever he stands with his arms extended, and that is the largest area he can claim to control. Abbas is in no position to sign anything which would have any meaning ten minutes after it was signed, if it stood that long.

 

What makes matters even worse is that the leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the other two main power brokers for the time being, have all abdicated their positions to Mahmoud Abbas officially despite retaining every ounce of control they held before the unification of the Arab Palestinian leadership. They claim they are still waiting for the promised elections, the elections which Abbas will never hold unless he has guarantees that he will retain his position whether deserved or not. Do not be too terribly surprised if President Obama with the backing of the European Union and European governments give Abbas a promise that he will be the only person permitted to run for President of any country if he would only reach an agreement and that write in votes will not be considered valid and still he would fear losing. Abbas, with good reason, has become a quivering mass of righteous paranoia which is fully justified after the executions carried out by Hamas at the end of Operation Protective Edge were largely actions utilized on without actual charges or trial simply going from arrest to execution with great efficiency ridding Gaza of numerous opponents and especially members of Fatah or other entities which might have loyalty to Abbas. Mahmoud Abbas got another dose of reality when a diplomatic team was dispatched to Gaza with the intended assignment to gather the name of the Hamas employees who had yet to be included on the paymaster’s roles and thus had not been receiving their paychecks and were less than thrilled over this situation but the team felt so under threat that they cut short their five day assignment after less than twenty-four hours and they never took a step out of their highly guarded hotel suite except to beat a hasty retreat to Ramallah without getting a single name of those Hamas employees. This might seem senseless that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would prevent the Arab Palestinian Authority to garner the names of their own people so they could be included on the payrolls and receive their wages but the reality is Hamas and Islamic Jihad are pushing for the Arab Palestinian Authority to collapse so they can pick up the pieces and be able to force the Europeans to deal through them and thus remove them from any terrorist roles and grant them political power and acceptance as the new chiefs for Israel to reach compromises and eventually reach a peace agreement. This would not be a huge step for most of Europe’s governments and political bodies and NGOs have, unofficially if not outright, removed Hamas from their terror roles and some even Islamic Jihad while the United Nations is set to recognize and legitimize the Palestinian Rights Center (PRC) which is a front group through which Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood operate and granting them full NGO status and all the legitimization which goes along with such. An extensive report on the PRC the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center released concludes that the group is closely affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood as well that several of its members are terrorists who have fled to Great Britain. Such recognition would confer “full access to UN facilities and participation in debates in New York, Geneva, and Vienna, and, perhaps most significantly, global legitimacy,” as well as all other benefits which are granted with being awarded “official UN badges.”

 

Before one starts to believe that things could not become even more bleak, there are a number of other developments which are peeking just over the horizon. Perhaps the more sinister and having the most dire long range ramifications is the threat to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Imagine a threat to Hamas and Islamic Jihad making the identical claim of being weak willed and not faithful or sufficiently devout in their manner and representation of Allah and having diverted from the true path. This challenge has been made by the only groups who might be believable when accusing Hamas and Islamic Jihad of temerity in purpose and inadequate devotion to the cause of Sharia and furthering Islam, ISIS. We have all likely seen reports which claim that ISIS has made inroads in the Sinai Peninsula and were taking control of much of the area closest to the Israeli border and ignored the fact that such positioning also brought ISIS close to the Egyptian border with Gaza and the heart of Hamas and Islamic Jihad power bases. This places ISIS in the perfect position to infiltrate Gaza in small numbers which would fairly soon become sufficient numbers to cause Hamas and Islamic Jihad great amounts of difficulty if not topple them both absorbing those who showed sufficient zeal for the ISIS cause while dispatching the leadership and others found wanting in spirit or purity mostly be depositing their bodies and heads separately. This might place Israel directly in the ISIS crosshairs or perhaps this would simply be the first stage to taking over the entirety of the Arab Palestinian cause and also making inroads to supplant the Arab Palestinian Authority including Mahmoud Abbas and also finding all of Fatah and PLO members to be wanting in their devotion and dedication to Sharia and Allah as these groups are nationalist secular or mildly Islamic and nowhere near the levels of self-proclaimed devotion and purity of spirit shown by ISIS, by their own proclamations, of course.

 

Such a turn of events would place Israel in a heavily compromised position, or that is what one would believe. What needs to remain in our consideration of the likelihood that ISIS would take control in Ramallah and replace Fatah, the PLO and the Arab Palestinian Authority are forgetting that the IDF and Shin-Bet operate an advanced and capable intelligence gathering network which was evident when preventing a Hamas coup through a general uprising such that in the confusion they could readily replace Mahmoud Abbas by whatever means were required and replacing the entirety of Fatah and the PLO from the upper echelons of the Arab Palestinian Authority. One could rightfully assume that any inroads made by ISIS would also cross the paths of the Israeli intelligence gathering infrastructure and their moves would be carefully monitored until the most critical moment and just before they struck their targets they would find themselves being welcomed to the Israel direct information gathering committee which operates from places unmentioned where discreet methods are employed to extract and glean any pertinent and necessary information which might have ramifications for Israel. ISIS taking the place of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza would not be in the better interests of Israel but there would appear to be little which could be done unless the Egyptians cared to assist in preventing such an event. The problem with this is that Egypt has just as much distaste for Hamas as it does ISIS and thus they may not care which evil takes its place in Gaza. All would come down to what the value of the people in Gaza had as far as Egypt is concerned. Where one might not see the connection immediately, allow us to give a hint on the one overriding reason which may give Egypt reason to act; there are numerous families who have Egyptian backgrounds and originated in Egypt and have large and numerous extended families who remain in Egypt and we all know how important clan ties can be, especially when members of one’s tribal group or even more severe, one’s relative from their clan faces an existential threat such as ISIS, the pressure placed on the government because of such ties could be overwhelming and Egyptian President Sisi may see the situation as an unavoidable necessity to intervene. The next question is whether President Sisi might request, through back channels and discreetly of course, for any assistance and intelligence Israel might desire to provide, especially to further the two nations’ unofficial relations and to have a card to play in the future. The truth is that it would be a dangerous development to have ISIS take a foothold anywhere in the region and their presence in the Sinai Peninsula must be unnerving for President Sisi and a concern for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Sometimes necessity makes for the strangest bedfellows and this is even more the case in the Middle East. Who would believe that Turkey and Saudi Arabia would be working together in Syria while at the same time as Saudi Arabia is working with Egypt in Yemen and Egypt with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States would be working with a silent partner in Israel against Iran who is working with Iraq, southern Iraq, Syria, less and less of Syria daily, and Hezballah in Lebanon as well as securing a naval port for the Russians with an assist likely to be provided by Hezballah. Iran will also need to protect as much of the Alawite areas as necessary which will require transferring some of the IRGC assisting against ISIS in Iraq and station them to fight ISIS in the areas Iran deems of military value, such as the roads from Damascus into the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon where Hezballah keeps many of its rockets stored.

 

Hezballah brings us to the final subject. This coming week, and even if this is a secret presently it will be fully evidenced as the week unfolds, Israel is running a full participation, country-wide defense in case of war scenario. This will include Israelis entering their shelters as if under rocket attack and every other contingency. The common prospect behind this according to some postulations is to ready the public for a potential conflict with Hamas and Islamic Jihad this summer. Close but no cigar. The real threat will be Hezballah who will need to make large points with the Lebanese after placing them in peril of attack by ISIS. The reasoning goes beyond just satiating the Lebanese hunger for another war with Israel as the last one proved to be so much fun, but Hezballah also will need to make headlines across the Western World which will supercede any news off of the front pages as Iran takes whatever steps are required in Syria to get Assad out and to solidify those areas which Iran considers vital for their desire which include an operative airport in Damascus through which to supply Hezballah, a safe port for the Russians to utilize in the Mediterranean Sea which is Latakia, Syria. And finally they also would desire to retain some of the natural resources such as mining operations and also have a staging area with direct access to the Golan Heights for wither Hezballah to utilize for an assault on Israel or for the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or Pasdaran Persian: سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی) to have a launch facility to strike Israel or even to assault the Golan Heights. This all means that Iran will require another Hezballah war with Israel to divert attentions from their actions, which will be ruthless and potentially cataclysmic as well as to divert attention from the Iranian dash to produce a number of nuclear warheads and the final preparations for their launch at select targets. Thus Iran will require approximately six to ten weeks of conflict. With the known supplies of rockets and a fair number of larger missiles provided by Iran, Hezballah would be capable of launching over a thousand rockets daily for the entire six weeks and approximately eight-hundred rockets launched daily for ten weeks. Should any higher quantity be required they would need to utilize any Syrian rockets remaining under Iranian control or for Iran to provide a fair number of additional rockets which is why Iran requires the Damascus airport as they are unable to resupply Hezballah through Beirut probably because the Bekaa Valley lies along the Syrian border and the Alawite areas, how convenient. This leaves one with a serious question, what will be the Israeli reaction to a war with Hezballah. As Hamas has also threatened a confrontation this summer with Israel, it is entirely plausible that Israel will desire to keep any confrontation from escalating and to decisively end the conflict leaving little doubt as to who won. Thus any confrontation between Israel and Hezballah will result in Israel striking hard and fast swallowing up the lands south of the Litany River and then sweeping up the eastern banks of the Litani River through the heart of the Bekaa Valley taking out the training grounds, provisions, reserves and bases Hezballah has throughout that region. Any violence from Hamas should also be responded to with great prejudice and force of arms with nothing held back. With the growing challenges and rising threats throughout the areas of the Middle East, Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa, it is starting to appear that the whole area has lost their minds, possibly the whole world even. Then there is the continuing threat with Russia menacingly eying the old regions of her power before the fall of the Soviet Union and China literally building new islands and placing oil rigs and military airbases and other facilities in the South China Sea in order to widen her area of control and claim islands which are also claimed by her neighbors but China is the eight-hundred pound gorilla who can basically do whatever she desires unless the United States takes a stand against her, and that is seeming less and less a possibility as the islands grow. Furthermore, most of Europe is also looking at civil unrest in the near future as the growing immigrant population feels stronger and denied an equal opportunity to get a job and live an equal life. Add that they also desire to start a religious war forcing their religion on those they views as a people who have forsaken religion. Then there is violence threatening to break out full force both on the United States college campuses during the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic and anti-America demonstrations and potentially within many cities possibly escalating and spilling throughout the city, especially if the police are restrained and ill–equipped as was the case in Baltimore and has had continuing ramifications, especially in western Baltimore where the police have basically been chased from the streets. Similar situations are possible throughout the country, especially in the twelve largest cities. One would be hard pressed to find an area on the globe where there are no threats.

 

Even Kathmandu is still recovering from the series of earthquakes which struck there not that long ago. Will Shangri-La be next? Just because it is mythical might not except even Shangri-La from the ravages of societies gone mad. Maybe only the quiet places in our minds where we can concentrate on the peace and love in our hearts can the world be healed as we heal one soul at a time. But with the Churches, Synagogues, Temples and other religious houses all nearly empty even on the holiest of days, what hope will the world have against true and fanatical believers, especially those who cannot be tempted with baubles and glitter that shines at us in every store window beckoning us to worship consumerism. The hectic pace of modern life with so little time that one simply must collapse for those brief moments between the scheduled meeting, workout, night-school, and the children’s activities. Who has time for anything more? But unless we take the time to refresh our consciences and recharge our moral compasses society will continue spinning further and further out of control. What is it we seek with our frenetic paced lives; do we even know any more? Listen to the quiet little voice in the back recesses of your mind, it is still there, trust me. It will tell you secrets that you once knew but soon got squeezed from your life. I know the crippling schedule for those working two jobs, both full-time. The requirement that you take some time to recharge yourself does not disappear just because, it remains and eventually it will come screaming to the fore and demand you stop and take a deep breath. Sigh in from the mouth and let it out so slowly from the nostrils that you barely tickle the air. Again only deeper and with a more measured exhale. This is the easiest way to slow your pace and make you see reason. After you have done this at the end of each day or at lunch or whenever you can schedule your take a breath for sanity, then that voice can finally be heard and its message is simple, you know not every answer. Sure the news and science and everything you read tells how there is so little left that science does not know that is the lie told to make you forget. The little voice remembers and knows the bliss one can feel when we know that there is reason and value in life. Whatever manner of faith you are comfortable in, that is possibly just the recharging you need. It is just once or twice a week unless you desire more once you return and feel the encompassing warmth, love, acceptance, understanding and all those emotions and assurances which were missing in your life, there is a place where they can be found. We all want the world to be a better place but we seem lost in figuring out how. All each of us can do is our own part. Own, a strange word as it is in this case where it has so much meaning. There is our own part; the part assigned us even if that assignment comes from within us. There is the part in the world we own, we are responsible for and we get to structure it just how we desire others to know our part. Part from the business of life and take a moment with which we part from the fast paced caffeinated life and take a lemonade break on a hot day and you can part from the world and just enjoy the moment. We can take part in displaying that we have found the answer and then you can play the part which you know is what is really important. But the most important part is when you realize that the only real thing you can do to repair society and the world is make your little area, your part clean, warm and with its own sparkle and once you have done your part, then you can invite others to slow down and remember that they too can have a part in the world which they can be proud of and eventually the individual parts reach a point where they can change one small part of the world and from there who knows what they can part, maybe the Red Sea and again we can cross and be received. Just remember that the more we learn about the world the more we often realize how little we know, it is as if each answer spawns ten questions, and that’s what keeps scientists employed.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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