Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On the threshold of greatness: the Jewish state, the day before Creation began and the UN

The first day of the Jewish New Year begins this year on September 29th. According to conventional wisdom, this is the day Jews around the world celebrate the creation of the world. But that is not correct, for Jewish tradition teaches that Creation actually began five days earlier. What we celebrate on the Jewish New Year itself is the final act of the Creative process—Man.  As we Jews mark our calendar, Creation began five days earlier on the 25th day of the Jewish month Elul; and this year, that date falls on Saturday, September 24th.  The Jewish New Year is solemn and serious, for as  we celebrate G-d’s creating Man, He begins to judge the entire world all over again. In our tradition, G-d’s Judgment and His Creation are linked, and once we learn that His Creation began on Elul 25, we immediately understand that the day before there was nothing—just void and darkness. The day before Creation is Elul 24, a day characterized by the absolute absence of G-dly Light. This year, the 24th day of the Jewish month of Elul is September 23.

You can read all about it in the Jewish liturgy for the New Year celebration. For an enhanced  experience, purchase a good commentary for the poetry you will encounter and to understand the connections between Creation, G-dly Judgment and the three weeks of Judgment that begin September 29 and end on October 19, a day called Hoshanna Rabbah.  it will be a good investment and, possibly, an excellent overview for both the Jewish High Holy Day(s) process and the unfolding drama at the United Nations.


That’s right—the UN—because, you see, Jews do not believe in coincidence.  We believe, for example, that it may not be accidental that the drama at the UN over Jewish land has begun on the Jewish Elul 24, that day before Creation long ago when all was empty and spiritually dark-- an incredibly inauspicious day, if ever there was one. The Jewish day Elul 24 corresponds this year to Friday, September 23, the exact day that Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the UN with dark distortions and unG-dly falsehoods.  Coincidence?

While many see the events unfolding at the UN as a step towards peace, many also see it as a dark day for the world because it represents a formal and world-wide attempt to strip Jewish land away from Jews.  Think about the arrogance of it all: the Arab currently holds more than 99.5% of real estate in the Middle East. The Jew holds practically nothing.  The Arab says there is no Jewish case for a Jewish homeland.  The Jew deserves nothing.   The Arab must have more land, the Jew must give it to him and the UN must approve. Do you see the timing here? As the world prepares to stand up against G-d’s beloved nation, G-d  prepares His annual accounting of the entire world. Coincidence?

Many feel that an Arab attempt to grab land out from under the Jew is unconscionable, given the regional real estate context and the religious, historical and archaeological record in Israel.  Does Abbas’ UN speech occurring on this day mean that he is asking the world to embrace a spiritual and moral darkness? Do I mean to suggest a connection between Creation of the Universe and the UN’s taking a first step towards the possible ‘uncreation’ of  the Jewish state? Do I suggest that UN action against Israel at this time of year will not be good for the nations of the world because G-d is in His ‘Judgment Mode’?  I am not qualified to answer these questions. I can only wonder at the apparent ‘coincidence’ of these events coming together at exactly the same time.

 UN discussions over Israel began last week. We will watch the UN—and world-wide fallout from their activities—for at least the next three weeks.  The world will consider the fate of the Jewish state just as our G-d considers the fate of both Jews and the world, during a parallel time-period—from (this year) September 29 to October 19. For G-d, the fate of the Jewish people (and the world) is a serious issue.  He will not analyze and judge on the same day. The same appears true for the world; their deliberations, too, will not all be completed in a single day.  The world judges Israel at the same time G-d judges Israel and the world. Coincidence?

Why is this important? Our heritage teaches that those who desecrate the name of Israel desecrate the name of G-d, which means that those who will be the enemy of Israel are the enemy of G-d. To the religious Jew, how we act during our three-week period of Judgment can determine how we are judged.  So as the UN deliberates—or prevaricates-- we will see how the nations of the world act towards Israel and towards the enemies of Israel. We will see how citizens of the world, and the world’s media, act. Already, for example, we have heard French President Sarkozy say, “We cannot respond to [the] aspiration for freedom and democracy..so spendidly and bravely expressed by the Arab peoples [during the ‘Arab Spring’] by perpetuating a tragedy, that of the Israel-Palestine conflict” (Neil MacFarquhar, ‘Palestine bid upstages Arab Spring at UN’, New York Times, September 23, 2011). How, indeed, will the world act during this time of Judgment—and how will G-d Judge those actions?

Will Heaven and Earth speak? 

 Jews believe that G-d watches, counts and measures how the nations speak of Israel and Jerusalem, for our tradition teaches that G-d is zealous for His beloved; G-d is not silent for Zion.  How will the nations of the world speak of Israel? How will the peoples of the world look upon G-d’s Jerusalem?

We will soon find out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Respect the Arab

When Israel responded to Arab attacks that took place between August 18-25, 2011, it did so in a nuanced manner.  The Arab attacks killed ten Israelis (including those who died from rocket attacks) in the most serious anti-Israel assault in years. Nevertheless, despite the length of the fatality list, Israeli military action was muted. Clearly, the military’s goal was not to eradicate terrorism. Rather, it appeared designed to send two messages: (1) back off; and (2) as we strike back at you, we will show respect.  We have seen this type of response before. It is how Israel reacts when Jews are murdered.  It is designed to show that there is a cost for killing Jews; but at the same time, it also shows courtesy and deference to the Arab.

How does that work? Look at the facts. Respect for the Arab is everywhere: illegal settlements—and attacks-- by Bedouin in the Negev region are addressed by a specific government proposal-- to gift to the Bedouin 1.2 billion NIS and up to 250,000 dunams of land; Jewish settlements in Samaria, however, are demolished (see Migron, Ga’on Yarden and Alei Ayin);  illegal building by Arabs in ‘Area C’ (designated by the Oslo Accords as belonging to Jews) goes on unabated while the Israeli government refuses to issue building permits for Jewish construction in Jewish areas of the West Bank; Jerusalem police appear to do nothing as an Arab mob destroys a police vehicle (Arutz Sheva, September 5, 2011) but they fire rubber bullets at Jewish residents at Havat Gilad and use violence on Jews at Givat Ronen (Arutz Sheva , June 2, 2011). Such favoritism is not isolated.  Respect for the Arab at Jews’ expense shows up in the news (Arutz Sheva, Expose: Blatant Anti-Jewish Policy in Judea and Samaria, September 6, 2011) as an accusation of discriminatory (pro-Arab) government policy. It has permeated the work of Shimon Peres for at least twenty years. It so saturates the judiciary that Israel’s High Court appears to have become an ‘activist court’, which is a Court that issues its rulings because of political considerations and not legal precedence—a dangerous behaviour that always threatens to undermine a democracy no matter where it occurs. Such respect for the Arab appears required to reach the highest military ranks—and then shows up in decisions made at that level: read the revised IDF rules of engagement for IDF soldiers in combat against the Arab (see also Caroline Glick, “Our World: Funding the enemy” Jerusalem Post, September 20,2011) . If you have questions about this respect for the Arab, ask Jewish residents of West Bank hilltops. They see it every day.

How do Israel Air Force (IAF) retaliatory strikes show this same respect for the Arab?  Israel military response to terror--or rocket attack from Gaza--is almost always careful, appearing at times to be delicate and meticulous-- only a certain number of sorties are attempted; only specific targets are hit; only certain weapons systems are employed—and always, the typical Gazan resident understands that his neighbourhood and shopping areas will usually remain intact.

Jews in Israel, meanwhile, receive no such respect from the Arab.

Certainly, Israel will not remain idle when Israelis are killed. The IDF will respond. But the response will be muted, even deferential:  in a manner that might be described as considerate, IAF strikes will be quick, limited and surgical.  Arab feathers will not be ruffled too much. Acts of aggression against Israel will be tolerated, if spaced out (think about rockets falling on Jews in Southern Israel).  If the Arab attacks children, infants and women, the Israeli response will invariably use sufficient restraint to show a consideration for Arab casualties and a deference to their sense of safety. The Arab, however, will shoot and then walk up to a wounded Jew and put a bullet in her head (see news stories,  August 18-21, 2011). By comparison, Israel will be dainty.

Does this consideration benefit Israel?   

One could argue that Israeli nuanced response to Arab terror works. Look at the August 18-25 incident:  after Israeli air retaliations,  the Arabs complained, they went to the UN and they denounced Israel’s ‘escalation’--but no international outcry occurred, no UN resolutions were passed condemning Israel,  no Arab armies attacked Israel, and the intensity of the rocket attacks diminished. Was the result perfect? No.  But the response did accomplish three goals of Israel’s current military doctrine: it did not provoke escalation; it fought the terror attacks; and it created a relatively low casualty rate.

Does this approach work? According to Israel’s current military doctrine, the answer is—yes, but only if Israel continues to act with delicacy and deference towards the Arab, and shows respect for the Arab in our military doctrine, our police policies, our judiciary and our government bureaucracy. Is this a correct policy?

This question is important because, as our New Year begins,  Arabs have begun to riot, throw stones at cars, burn Jewish crops and attack isolated Jewish homes—while the IDF issues a warning  that any soldier who fires his rifle at an Arab is subject to legal prosecution, which could be a dangerous new variation of ‘Respect the Arab’. Is this how we protect our soldiers and citizens? Perhaps it is time to look at other forms of ‘rules of engagement’ for our soldiers. After all, we are the Jewish nation; shouldn’t we consult our Torah?

Is our Jewish leadership, both military and civilian, capable of such Torah-based thinking—or do the citizens of Israel have to demand to see a different, Jewish leadership?

What do you think?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the threshold of greatness: G-d, courage and Jewish leadership

On Friday, September 23,   Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the United Nations (UN) about the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) request to be accepted by the international community as a sovereign state. Mr Netanyahu spoke about Israel because it would be from land Israel currently holds that this new Arab state would be formed. He spoke of Israel because, he said, he wanted the world to hear the ‘truth’.  On that, he was right. The truth must be told. There are too many lies surrounding Israel today.  But in that speech, Mr Prime Minister, where was G-d?  You spoke of our Biblical past, but you forgot the center of our Bible—G-d.  Would there be an Israel today without the miracles we all saw during the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973? How many Jewish soldiers who experienced those wars still talk about those miracles, and how many of your citizens and soldiers, Mr Netanyahu, understand that without G-d’s presence in those wars there would be no Israel today? 
If you refer to history, Mr Prime Minister, you should know the historical truth: without a commitment to G-d, we do not remain Jews. If our forefathers had blotted out G-d from their lives, there would be no Jews today. There would be no Jewish nation. There would be no Jewish state.  Without a commitment to G-d,  we cannot and we will not sustain our struggle against haters, deniers and killers. Virtually every Jewish Israeli who has no connection to his religion and no understanding of his people’s history will vote in an instant to end the delegitimization,  isolation and utter rejection he feels from world opinion. We survive and sustain our struggle—indeed, we thrive-- only because we cleave to our G-d.
It is difficult to talk about G-d in the public arena. It takes courage to do that. It takes courage to be a  leader who recognizes (as David the King recognized) the role of G-d in our struggle against Israel’s enemies.  Mr Netanyahu, your military record suggests that you understand the courage a soldier needs for combat. Bring that courage to the existential war we now face. David the King-to-be faced Goliath with the words, “ You come to me with spear and javelin, and I come to you with the name of the Lord of Hosts, the G-d of the armies of Israel which you have taunted.”   Today, we face our  own Goliath. We face the ‘giants’ of our Region, multitudes who would taunt us before killing us. Are you and your advisors like Saul, who feared the Goliath of that day past, or are you like David the King-to-be, who understood that G-d commands us to have courage and be strong?
It is difficult to talk about G-d. Israel has many today who, like Saul, fear the giants; they wish to unJewish themselves, believing that those who hate them would then relent. But David the king-to-be knew that we are a nation both unique and apart; he saw others hate us, but instead of running away he turned to G-d; and because of that, he stood steadfast and firm before the giant who taunts—and for that, he became king.
Mr Netanyahu, It is difficult to talk about G-d. It takes courage. But we face a hostile world. We stand isolated before those who would taunt us.  What do we do? If the UN is going to entertain, essentially, the fate of the Jewish nation, shouldn’t the Jewish people demand a Jewish leader who speaks with courage?
The formal application for statehood presented last week by Mahmoud Abbas to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon contains a request for sovereign borders along 1947 lines (this is not a misprint). This application eviscerates the center of Israel,  extends Gaza’s border almost to Tel Aviv, includes all of Jerusalem and demands a massive chunk of Israel’s North-central landmass that extends down to a point below the southern end of the Kinneret.  It is a plan based on a hostility and an arrogance that is breathe-taking. The darkest enemies of Israel want everything that is precious to us.  This is not a plan for peace, Mr Prime Minister.  It is a plan to uncreate the Jewish state—with world approval.
 Mr Netanyahu, you are a Jew. You are a leader. Mr. Abbas presents to the world a plan to gut the state of Israel. How can the Jewish leader of our Jewish nation at this dark moment in history be truly Jewish—or a true leader—without G-d in his speech?  We have had G-d-less leadership for decades and as a result,  look at where we now stand—cornered.  Remember David the king-to-be; and remember, too, as the Days of Awe and Judgment approach, the Jewish people will reach success only when we call upon our Guardian to stand beside us. We can triumph over the darkness that surrounds us--but only when our Jewish leadership stands firm and steadfast with the courage of David the king-to-be.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the threshold of greatness: how to find truth

If you are like many English-speaking readers, you may be wondering about what the UN will be doing this week. According to published reports, they will be considering the creation of a new Arab state. The Arabs say this is a good thing; Israel says it is not. Would you like to become an expert on this question?  It’s easy. It’s simple. Follow these steps: don’t read English newspapers; learn  Arabic; and, most important, never avoid the obvious. In fact, if you follow these steps, you could become so astute that you might replace the professionals—and if you play your cards right, you may not even have to learn Arabic. But more about that, later.

Here are three case studies—and a language lesson—that will teach you everything you need to know:

Case study one: You are a proud Arab. You tell the world that you want to be free. You say that you want your own ‘place’. You want to exercise your right to self-determination.

Question: If that is what you want, why do you dig up and remove 12,000 – 15,000 tons of earth from my Holiest site (the Temple Mount) and then declare that there is no archaeological record of a Jewish presence on that site?

What does my Holy site have to do with your desire for freedom and self-determination?

Is it possible that your goal is not self-determination, but something else?

Case study two: A proud Arab, you say you want to be a full-fledged citizen in a ‘proper’ state. You say that the Jews do not treat you like a legitimate citizen.  

Question:  If you are so pained about being a less-than-equal citizen, why do you want to strip citizenship away from all Jews living in your new state?

How does destroying citizenship for Jews give you equal rights?

Could it be that ‘equal rights’ is not exactly what you’re talking about?

Case study three: You are deeply religious. You eagerly desire to worship as you please. You want religious freedom.

Question: Why does your desire for religious freedom mean that I cannot have my religious freedom?

How does the existence of my religion deny your religious freedom?

Is it religious freedom you want—or something else altogether?

Each of these case studies come from English-language print material published by, for and about Arabs. Each of the Questions above suggest that the Arab is, apparently, confused: on the one hand, he demands justice, religious freedom and self-determination; on the other hand, he demands the destruction of Judaism and the Jewish state. Where’s the connection? The two are mutually exclusive. Moreover, where is it written that Arab gains must be built upon a Jewish ‘loss’?

 Put another way, how does the desire for justice and freedom justify the Arab war on Jewish Holy sites, Judaism and  Jewish history? Why is freedom, justice and Holiness for the Arab connected to attacking Jews? After all, if what the Arab really wants is self-determination, why all this hatred?

Seems confusing, doesn’t it?

By contrast, once you learn Arabic, you will no longer be confused. Why? Because Arab-language media and print material is very clear. As you will see on Arab TV, the message is simple: they announce almost daily that the Arab Deity wants to see the Jews massacred; the Arab Deity sees glorification in the murder of Jews; the Arab Deity wants the land cleansed of the filth that is the Jew. It’s not much more complicated than that. It’s even simple enough for a diplomat to understand.

Once you know Arabic, you will learn what the Arab street already knows: despite what their friends and apologists tell you, their goal is not a state beside Israel. The Arab goal is not freedom or self-determination or justice or peace.  The goal is an Arab state in place of Israel, so as to rid the Middle East of every Jew.

Do you notice, there is no confusion here. The message is simple. It is clear. It is also obvious: there will be no peace if the Jew remains.

So what’s Israel’s problem? It’s simple: Israel understands Arabic. Israel knows what the Arab tells his people. Israel knows that the Arab public believes what it hears—and Israel believes it, too.

The question is, why doesn’t anybody else believe it? More to the point, why does everybody else so studiously ignore what the Arab says?

The Arab is clear, honest and obvious. When the topic is‘Jews’, the Arab says what he will do—and when he gets the chance, he does it. He kills Jews.  If you want to be an expert on the Middle East, never forget this Arab truth. In fact, if you want to put the so-called real experts to shame, you don’t even have to learn Arabic. All you have to do is ask one very simple question:  what does Arab TV say? Your listeners may not understand the question. But always ask it--repeatedly.

Everyone will think you’re a genius because even the‘experts’  never ask that question.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On threshold of greatness: the world votes

The Jewish nation was gathered together and formed by G-d. It is a nation founded on holiness, justice and service. It is a ‘nation of priests’—except that today, Israel is neither holy nor just. Today, Israel is an international pariah, labelled unjust and evil by a people—and their friends—who seek to steal by unholy diplomacy pieces of the very land G-d gave to another, land that has been given to Jews by G-d and defended with Jewish blood.  Consider the brazenness of it: Israel holds less than one per cent  of regional real estate and the Arabs hold more than ninety-nine per cent of regional real estate; but for the Arab, that ninety-nine per cent is not enough—and it is the Jews’ fault!

This week, as the UN begins deliberating a legal annexation of land away from Israel, evil anticipates a triumph. Remember, in addition to G-d’s gifting Israel to the Jews, international legal contracts have also been completed, to grant legal deed of this same land to the Jewish people. Between 1917 and 1947, more legal paperwork was signed granting this land to the Jewish people than you’ll find for almost any other territory in the world—and the UN has stated explicitly in its Charter that it is required to honor all such international legal agreements that pre-date the founding of the UN. But the nations of the world appear to have chosen to betray those legal agreements and the UN Charter—and to scorn G-d. The nations stand ready to choose evil over Good, treachery over contractual commitment. Evil is ready to dance in the street, to celebrate what they will surely and predictably call the beginning of the end for the hated and putrid Jew; and as these deliberations unfold, G-d watches.

At some point this week or next, the world will choose who is for Israel, who is against. This week or next, Jews all over the world will choose, who will stand for Israel, who against. The same will be true for non-Jews; all will choose. Jewish leadership will also choose: will they stand with David the King for G-d, or will they stand with the worldly diplomats who scorn both the UN Charter and the G-d of Israel?

G-d watches. He watches everyone, including our Jewish leadership. He listens. He waits. As a shepherd counting his sheep, he counts:  who is for, who is against; who will speak up for G-d’s land, who will not.

For how many decades has our Jewish leadership ignored our G-d? For how long has our national leadership embraced the power of man? The Arab does not ignore his deity. Neither does the Christian his. Each is eager to walk the holy streets of Israel. The Arab has even announced that all of Israel is holy—and his (see Arutz Sheva during the week of August 20 -27). The Arab understands the holiness of this land—and look at the power he can now exercise over us. Jewish leadership, meanwhile, ignores the holiness of this land—and look how weak and troubled Israel appears.
During the next ten-fifteen days, the nations of the world will most likely vote. This vote will probably not be binding; rather, it will simply give those nations an opportunity to choose, yea or nay regarding Israel’s Jewish land. As they cast their votes, heaven and earth will stand as witnesses to their deliberate treachery . Everywhere in the world, individuals will stand up and, through polls, surveys, posters and marches they, too, will ‘vote’.Heaven and earth will bear witness to their choice.

History unfolds. Men and women choose. The world will vote. G-d watches-- and His witnesses stand ready to serve their Creator. As more and more of us realize how connected we and our land are to     G-d, must we continue to look silently at a Jewish leadership that cannot speak His name? As the nations of the world show Israel what happens to Jews who—uniquely—refuse their own G-d, when do we as citizens of this Jewish State demand that our national Jewish leadership must fullfil a G-dly responsibility along with its political duties? Indeed, as we watch the UN this week and next, when will we in Israel realize that Jewish leadership without G-d is really not Jewish leadership at all?

Perhaps we do not understand that the nations of the world might be far more spiritually sensitive than we think. Perhaps their actions at the UN teach us something: if our own Jewish leadership would stop showing contempt for our own G-d, perhaps the nations of the world will be less eager to show its contempt for us.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On the threshold of greatness: history unfolds before our eyes. Do you see it?

Have you been following the news? Last year at this time, Leftist Israeli journalists and Left-leaning Israeli politicians were giddy with their ‘land for peace’ scheme. A week couldn’t go by without at least one reference to  ‘land’ or ‘peace’. At one point, it seemed that the Left couldn’t say the words enough—‘land for peace’, as if it were a refrain from a newly- popular song.  Do you remember that?   The giddiness became so infectious that one ingenious Leftist proposed that if Israelis did not choose land for peace, we would end up in Hell. 

It was quite the rage. Even the Arabs were happy. That seemed a rare accomplishment, Jews making Arabs happy. But it seemed true: the Arabs talked about replacing Israel with an Arab country,  Mahmoud Abbas held up a plaster map of a new ‘Palestine’ in place of Israel, and  the Jews  ( the Leftist Jews, that is—the ones who control the media) reminded us how Jews really would end up in Hell if we rejected Arab demands.   This had to make the Arabs happy because that was exactly their idea of where the Jews would end up if we accepted Arab demands.

With Jewish Leftist help, the Arab would win-- because either way,  the Jew ends up in Hell.

Leftist Jews around the world were practically gleeful. Finally, we had common ground with the Arab—and there’d be peace after all: the Arab would get the land and the world would get some peace.  Aren’t Jewish Leftists clever?

Funny thing, though: today, just days away from a Palestinian Authority (PA) bid to become the newest UN member state, few Leftist Jews are chortling about ‘peace’.  The word seems to have lost its top billing. Instead, it has either been dropped from use, or it has become somehow hidden, embedded in sentences as a kind of afterthought or random modifier—like a once-popular song that has lost its lustre.

Jews are an exotic. They are different. As a people, we are bright, creative, intelligent and hard-working. We make wonderful discoveries in science and engineering. We know how to make a desert bloom. We can create thousands of patents to benefit industry, science and medicine. But the same cannot be said about how we treat politics and religion.

 Look at the facts: (1) the Israeli Left says we will have peace with the Arab and the Arab says he will give Jews the peace of the grave. Not offended by this, the Leftist says,‘See, I told you we could have peace.’  (2) The Left says, ‘We will give land to the Arab’ and the Arab says, ‘That’s not good enough. We want Jerusalem.’  Not offended at all, the Left replies,‘Sure.’  (3) The Left says, ‘Peace is  possible’ and the Arab says, ‘Not without our ‘right of return’’.  In no way offended, the Left answers, ‘Land for peace!’

When someone on the secular Right points out the impossibility of the Left’s positions, the Leftist media goes on full alert: the Rightist attitudes are suicidal; Israel can never survive with a Rightist government.  If the Religious speak out,the Left circles the wagons to protect ‘democracy’ against the ‘fascist’ and ‘racist’ Rabbis.  The Left sits as king-of-the-hill. When attacked, they do not need to defend themselves. Facts are irrelevant.  They need only attack ad hominem because the Israeli electorate remains silent, allowing Leftist media moguls to retain almost complete control over what we see, read and hear. As a result, the Left delightfully promotes its ‘peace’ and the Right remains effectively corralled within the pre-set limits established by their trendsetter masters. The Arabs, like the Israeli Left, are also delighted: they repeat sometimes daily their desire to push Israel off the map, and there are few Jews to oppose them in the public domain. This is the best of all worlds for the modern Arab: he gets to tell the truth (he will cleanse all Jews from his new state and destroy Israel) while Leftist Jews cover for him so that the world will believe that the Jew accepts Arab demands. 

Religion, meanwhile, exerts its irresistible force.  This is our poetry and our strength. It is the key to our future.  It is the center of all that happens here. The Arabs know this. The Christians know it. But so far as mainstream Jewish media is concerned, religion here isn't all that important. Haven’t you noticed? The Left is blind to its own religion even as the Arab understands how ‘land’ and ‘religion’ are connected.The Left rejects everything religious even as Christians see miracles and Old Testament predictions being fulfilled daily. The Arab talks of death and ethnic cleansing but the Left would lead us with talk of peace and surrender—and  the spiritually sensitive among us marvel at how the G-d of Israel is arranging the furniture on the stage of history right in front of us, for all to see.

The Left, those Jews of Israel who control what we see and hear, are clueless. Their sole desire is to  de-Judaize Israel and surrender to the Arab majority—because the Left wants democracy and, as everyone knows,  democracy has no religion, and the majority rules. Our current leaders, meanwhile,refuse to recognize their G-d of Israel and worship instead political worldliness, appearing incapable of understanding their religious obligations to us. Bottom line here: when it comes to science, business, medical technology and military hardware, the Jews of Israel are really, really smart. But when it comes to religion and politics, these same smart Jews are really, really stupid. No wonder we need G-d to redeem us;we couldn’t find our way out of a paper bag even if G-d gave us a flashlight, a pair of scissors and written instructions.

What we see today is just the beginning. G-d has a plan—it’s in our Tanach. The moment our national leadership recognizes G-d is the moment Israel begins to stand tall.  Until then, the nations of the world, of their own free will, appear to array themselves against Israel, just as predicted. The Jewish Left, choosing freely, will appear to join with those who would desecrate G-d’s name, just as before (see our Tanach).  History unfolds in front of our eyes: everyone is taking a stand; and when the ‘light-bulb’ goes on, and we figure out collectively the Spiritual nature of what is happening here, we will be able to look around and see who stands where.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks.  The Jewish people stand at the threshold of greatness. Slowly but inevitably, more and more of us realize there is a deep connection between G-d, this land and us; slowly but surely, we understand that when Jewish leadership recognizes G-d as the source of our life— our future will be assured. Increasingly, history reveals G-d’s hand, which in turn reveals how empty are the hands of our current national leadership. For too many decades,  we have not heard Jewish leaders talk about G-d and Jewish destiny; and now, we fear for our future . Get the picture?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On the threshold of greatness: September 11th

 September 11, 2011 is the tenth anniversary of the Islamist attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. It is a day we remember United Airlines Flight 93, which did not reach its terror target that day because the Flight’s passengers fought the plane’s highjackers, and the plane crashed in Western Pennsylvania, killing everyone aboard.  We remember the more than 2,000 souls who died that day because of hate. We remember this moment as the 21st century’s version of Pearl Harbor, a day that lives in infamy.

The world changed on September 11, 2001. All of the advances the world had made in science, medicine and economics were pushed aside as hate took stage-center. How have we reacted to that hate? Tens of thousands have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran declares it will build an atom bomb to destroy Israel-- and Arabs prepare to seek membership in the United Nations as the world’s newest State. This last might appear to be a happy moment. But it is not.  It is an act of aggression: what the Arab has been unable to do through war, he now attempts to do through diplomacy—take land away from the hated Jew.

Is this where we want to be ten years after the most horrific terror attack against America? Is this what ten years of confronting terror has led us to—isolating, demonizing and attacking the Jew? That’s where we are now, for the hated Jew is cornered and the prospects for him are breath-taking. The Jew occupies less than one per cent of Middle East real estate and the world cannot wait to increase the Arab’s 99% holdings at the Jews’ expense. The majority isn’t major enough—and it’s the Jews’ fault!  After all that has happened during the last ten years, the UN sees the Jew--the first and primary target of terror-- as its own primary target: after all the terror that has followed 9/11/01, an Arab success at the UN will be the triumph of Evil over Good, Wrong over Right. Even more startling, however, is the extent to which the nations of the world appear to support this act of aggression, despite having had ten years to see the connection between the Arabs who flew into the World Trade Center and the Arabs who now turn to the UN to attack the Jews (think  ‘radical Islam’); and even more startling than that is the extent to which Jews in Israel support this shame.

Make no mistake. This is not a case of justice. This is not an attempt to give a nation its inalienable rights. This is not about fairness or democracy or freedom. If you want to know what the Arab understands about these concepts, check out the progress he has made with his Arab Spring. This call for statehood is  not about a new life; it is about death—for the Jews. The Arab has stated this repeatedly and openly, year after year. It is no secret. As far back as 1978, in an interview published in 1984, a former UN census expert spoke of the Arab refugee problem as an Arab strategy to destroy Israel (see Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial). The Arab has been abusing its own people for 63 years, housing them in apartheid horror, just for this moment. Beginning almost twenty years after Israel’s birth, Yasser Arafat created the legend of the Palestinian people. Before that moment, a ‘Palestinian’ was a Jewish resident of the British Mandate in the Middle East; no self-respecting Arab would tolerate being called a ‘Palestinian’.  The only ‘Palestine’ was what the Romans called the Jewish Israel after a devastating conquest, during which Jewish blood flowed like rivers through the hills. Arabs who left Israel during the 1948 war had been primarily nomads, with no true historic (or historically provable) tie to the land they left—no archaeology, no written history, no kingship, no wars or state-craft.  But Arafat, like Hitler, was a genius. He knew how to tell a lie. He knew how to turn the cruellest abuse of his own people to his advantage. He knew how to tap into Western prejudices to create a living fiction. He created the fictitious ‘Palestinian people’.  Mahmoud Abbas, so-called President of the PA, has inherited Arafat’s mantel.  Abbas, you may recall, earned a PhD with a thesis that the Holocaust was a lie; so it seems somehow poetic that this evil man should build on the evil Arafat to declare, in October 2010,  this  intent to get Statehood—and land—without having to negotiate with the hated and putrid Jew. This was treachery, for there had been countless past agreements that had stated that all final agreements between Arab and Jew were to be reached by mutual consent.  Reading world opinion correctly, Abbas threw out those calls for mutual consent and simply went for the jugular: no negotiations; Israel must surrender now. It was simple. It was clear. It was brilliant. Abbas has been so successful selling this new siren’s call for ‘justice’ that a recently-elected United States President quickly signed on. So did the UN. Today, the world demands Jewish surrender. Which nations stand for Israel?  How many? Do you hear their voices calling for this evil to be stopped?

What’s there not to like about this plan? The Arab will see a 63 year-old dream come true. The Jewish state will be shrunk, its people will be crowded onto itself as hundreds of thousands are cleansed from newly-won Arab soil and pushed homeless and often unemployed (because of their expulsion) into hundreds of tent cities all over Israel.   Israel’s sewage systems will be overwhelmed; its social welfare systems will be overwhelmed,  and its economy will  teeter under the pressure of it all. Best of all, Israel’s  defensible borders will shrink to nine miles’ width. The Arab world will dance in the street. At last, the world will see’ justice’ against the Jew implemented. In Israel, the nation will realize that the Right was right and the Left were liars, abetted in their lies by a professionally bankrupt media and blind (if not stupid) politicians. Will there be chaos in Israel? Will there be civil war?

  Will this be how the Final Days of our Redemptive Process begin—or will the G-d of Israel be kind, and push events down a different path? Will the Arab request for statehood contain elements that are so outrageously greedy and offensive that nations recoil in horror, or will their request be met with cheers?  Yes, we stand on the threshold of greatness. But how will we get across that threshold? Do we really give away G-d’s Holy Land? Is that how we actuate our destiny?  

How many were murdered on September 11, 2001? Can you imagine the hate that drove those killers? It is the same hate that motivates the Arab drive for another state in the Middle East. Dare we desecrate the name of G-d by remembering the murdered with a surrender to hate?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In the shadow of a military doctrine: respect for the Arab

Israeli political leaders are often portrayed as appearing uncertain about how to deal with a double-edged enemy sword:  terror attacks inside Israel and rocket attacks from Arab-held territory. The recent terror attack that began August 18, 2011 on the highway to Eilat, followed by rockets from Gaza, represent an excellent example of how terror attacks can make a government look weak:  Israeli officials were criticized for not responding aggressively enough—or soon enough; letters to the Editor at the Jerusalem Post called the government’s response ‘cowardly’, characterized more by fear and timidity than anything else; and Leftist columnists have, essentially, called Israel’s response ‘self-defeating’.

But are these criticisms correct?

A closer reading of the government’s response to the attacks of August 18 -25, 2011 suggests a different conclusion. It suggests that this response was neither haphazard, disorganized or cowardly; rather, the response appears to derive from a carefully constructed military doctrine that has been custom-tailored to fit Israel’s security needs, its military capabilities and its Regional and international geopolitical realities.  What we saw might be called, ‘nuanced response’.  This response reflects Israel’s basic national values as they apply to our neighbors, and it reveals what she believes about warfare against terror committed by those neighbors.

 Israeli military doctrine (see http://www.idf.il/english) contains several elements, including: prevent escalation; determine outcomes quickly; combat terrorism; very low casualty rate. We will see these in action; but first, let’s define our terms.  We can start with an over-arching general concept:  ‘military doctrine’ is a set of principles which guide the use of military force to achieve specific goals (a definition similar to NATO’s definition).  Next, more specifically, we can define ‘doctrine’ as a formal expression of thought that the military believes is relevant at any given time which covers the nature of a conflict, preparation for that conflict, and the method(s) for engaging in that conflict (Canada’s definition). We can also state that doctrine will always look at military technology, the national and geopolitical realities facing a country, the capabilities of that country’s military—and the capabilities of its enemies (see Wikipedia, ’Military Doctrine’).

Put another way, ‘doctrine’ is a set of assertions we accept as true in an action domain (Ribbonfarm.com).  Let’s look at some details, to understand how  ‘doctrine’ affects military action by Israel—and reveals basic national values.

-the nature of the conflict: with Hamas and its satellites, Israel faces an  asymmetrical war, which is war between two belligerents whose relative power and resources differ significantly, where the ‘weaker’ combatant will use atypical and illegal tactics to attempt to offset deficiencies in quantity or quality. Tactics of the ‘weaker’ combatant will include what we have already seen with Hamas and Al Qeida: using clearly marked medical vehicles for combat purposes, hiding within civilian populations, using civilian environments to initiate combat aggression, ambush and other tactics that are generally prohibited by conventional war rules, as well as using the media to influence the outcome of war (see Wikipedia,  ‘Asymmetric warfare’). How should Israel, committed to international rules of war, deal with such an enemy?

-geopolitical realities: Israel is a singularly Jewish nation surrounded by hostile Muslim countries that view the Jewish state as a repulsive and foreign form of apostasy, a nation that brings religious impurification to the Region. While Israel occupies less than 1 per cent of total Regional real estate, the surrounding nations are irreconcilably hostile to Jews on any per cent of land they demand to be theirs. Today, the Arabs surrounding Israel believe they have the upper hand in their propaganda war against Israel’s existence, and believe further that the United Nations will, in a matter of weeks, declare land not in their hands (but in Israel’s hands) to be theirs; they see the nations of the world agreeing to isolate, condemn and delegitimize Israel sufficiently, to take land away from her in order to shrink the real estate of the hated Jew and expand the real estate of the Arab-Muslim. There is evidence to suggest that the Arabs may score a success (of some kind) in this attempt, for the nations of the UN do not at this moment appear sensitive to or caring about Israel’s security needs. In addition, while Israel’s closest enemy is Hamas and its satellites, Israel must balance every military decision against a larger Middle East military reality: any time Israel acts against Hamas, it can trigger the simultaneous intervention of heavily armed and professionally trained armies of multiple hostile surrounding countries; a single military action against guerrilla terrorists could, in theory, trigger a Regional form of Armageddon. How does Israel deal with an asymmetrical enemy in this context—and survive?

-national realities:  within Israel, there is no consensus regarding how to handle Arab attempts to expand its territorial control at Israel’s expense. Most polls appear to suggest that Israel might be split close to 50-50 (once you factor in the margin of error) on the topic of a two-state solution (forming a new ‘Palestine’ from West Bank and Gaza). Although the political Left in Israel is a relative minority, it controls enough of the media, the military, the justice system and the bureaucracy to exert an influence far greater than its numbers—and they are aggressive about approving a new Arab state and in  their use of Arab propaganda to attack Israel’s credibility and her  international and Regional reputation. Moreover, the split between the yeas and nays on this question is exacerbated by religion, not just politics, which means that political differences can get nasty.  Every soldier killed in combat (or kidnapped) and every citizen murdered by a terrorist has the potential to be used to bring down a government (recall the Schalit family attacks against the Prime Minister).  Put another way, for every citizen who wants Israel to obliterate Gaza, there might be another citizen who might concede that the Arab might have the right to attack Jews to achieve his political goals. How does an Israeil government fight its enemies when it may not have a clear mandate to do so?

-military technology: the Israel military establishment invents, manufacturers and uses some of the most sophisticated military and intelligence technology in the world. Because the USA sells high-level military hardware to all potential combatants (except Fatah-Hamas)  in the Middle East, Israel must maintain a superior qualitative edge; and one important way to protect that superiority is to keep knowledge secret.  The less an enemy learns about your technology, the better off you will be.  How does Israel use its technological advantage without revealing too much about the nature of that advantage?

-the capabilities of Israel’s enemies: if the only war Israel must fight is against guerrilla-style terrorists who have few sophisticated weapons,  then we can argue that Israel has military superiority.  Israel should be able to contain and control most Hamas aggressions. But we all know that Hamas is not Israel’s only armed enemy. Egypt alone can put a million soldiers into the Sinai. Iran seeks a nuclear weapon for an anti-Israel purpose. How does Israel fight Hamas without drawing these others immediately into the fray?

Israel’s own military capability: Israel is known to be a powerful military adversary. She is believed to have nuclear capability. How does she assert that power without provoking a pre-emptive attack?

The most difficult issues here are national and geopolitical realities.  In the current environment,  one can reasonably argue that any decision Israel makes to initiate military action against terrorists could easily be damned and condemned by 40- 52 percent of Israel’s population, and could be attacked without mercy by perhaps 65% of the media—and that’s before the Arab propaganda machine gets going, before anti-Israel international media crank up and before the UN and both local and International Human Rights groups get involved.  This singular reality reminds one of a poison-snake farmer having to wade ankle-deep into a snake pit in order to remove three trouble-making snakes—without getting bitten. You do not do this with a confused mental state or an incompetent skill-set, and you do not survive the task if you are trembling with fear. Everyone who calls this government confused, incompetent or cowardly may not be looking clearly at the facts on the ground:  to face these variables and survive, you have to know what you are doing, you must have confidence in what you do-- and you have to understand how to balance the risks/realities you face.

For a nation contemplating the nature of war, this understanding becomes a ‘military doctrine’—if it is clear, organized and understood down the chain of command. In Israel, the government’s responses to the terrorism of August 18 -25 suggest that such a doctrine exists for her military.  Without going into a discussion of the differences between strategy and doctrine, let’s simply say that  ‘nuanced response’ fits into that doctrine. Look at what happened after the Eilat/rocket attacks:

-Israel Air Force (IAF) struck quickly;

-the strikes were limited;

-the pin-point nature of the strikes obviously required intelligence gathered from multiple sources;

-the strikes utilized high-tech capabilities--  in communications, intelligence, ordinance or aircraft—or all of the above;

-after limited ‘quick-hits’, Israel stopped its attack.  I would suggest that, at this point, the Israel government monitored national, international and enemy responses;

-Israel struck again;

- the strikes were limited;

-high-tech was employed;

-Israel stopped its attack.

The goal of this ‘nuanced response’ appears specific to terror attacks. It is obviously not designed to eradicate terrorism. It is designed to combat individual acts of terrorism. Its structure and implementation also reflect what Israel apparently believes about her neighbors: their attitudes and behaviour are, generally, to be respected (see below); acts of aggression against Israel are in fact tolerated—to a degree (think about ongoing rockets falling on Israel’s south); response to terror is to be careful, limited and surgical in nature;  and finally, if the purpose of these defensive military actions is to mete out punishment, its purpose seems also to do so with  delicacy, showing deference to a foe even in combat. Nuanced response is not a ‘game-changer’.  It is a ‘tension-reducer’ between two combatants.

Why else would Israel’s response be so nuanced? It is not simply because Israel is afraid of the UN; If she were truly afraid of the UN, she might not have undertaken Operation Cast Lead in Gaza at the end of 2008. Rather, Israel uses a nuanced response because she has defined her basic national beliefs in a way that requires her to respect her neighbor’s needs, beliefs and safety, even if that neighbour does not reciprocate. Respect for the Arab has permeated the work of Shimon Peres for at least fifteen years. Respect for the Arab permeates the judiciary. It appears required to reach the highest military ranks—and then shows up in decisions made at that level.  It also colors and often shapes Israel’s media.  Ask the residents of West Bank hilltops about this. They understand the institutionalized respect for the Arab. Residents of Tel Aviv highrise apartments do not.

The UN PA statehood deliberations will soon begin. In this type of situation (‘peace’ deliberations about to ‘happen’), the Arabs typically will attack. They will ambush and kill Jews. Typically, the Israeli reaction will be immediate—but respectful; only certain targets will be hit, only a certain number of sorties will be attempted, only certain weapons systems will be employed. Arabs in Gaza can rest assured that their neighborhoods will, for the most part,  remain intact. Nevertheless, even when the IDF uses pinpoint retaliatory strikes that minimize collateral damage,--and shows utmost respect for civilian (Arab) safety-- Israel stands to lose: as Barry Rubin reports (What’s really happening in the Middle East today, Love of the Land, August 25, 2011), American news outlets know how to make every Arab attack on Israel look like Israeli aggression. No matter what Israel does—she will be the aggressor and the Arab will be the victim; and every supposed incident of ‘victimization’ brings the potential of another UN vote for the Arab. Observation suggests that Israel national policy is that she must proceed cautiously as she answers terrorist attack.  As we defend ourselves, current government behaviour suggests, we must use sufficient restraint to show respect for Arab safety and anger;  to do otherwise would be to incur the wrath of both the Arab world and the United Nations—and  a nation with Israel’s current respect for the Arab is not prepared  to ruffle anyone’s feathers. So in a sense, while Israel is not afraid of anyone, her national policies seem nonetheless formulated to show more respect to the UN and the Arab than to her own citizens.  This ‘Goldilocks’ approach—not too little, not too much—accepts terror attacks in order to concentrate on balancing Israel’s overall defense needs against  Arab attitudes and UN impatience.  It seems an attempt to assert power, but show respect, even a delicacy. It is also an approach that appears to have worked in this instance: after the air strikes,  the Arabs complained; they went to the UN; they denounced Israel’s ‘escalation’--but no international outcry occurred, no UN resolutions were passed condemning Israel,  no Arab armies attacked Israel, and the intensity of the rocket attacks diminished significantly. Did this approach yield a perfect result? No. War is rarely perfect. But it did accomplish three goals of Israel’s current military doctrine: it quickly ended the attacks; it fought off the terror attackers; and it created a relatively low casualty rate.

To go back to a metaphor, the farmer has successfully waded through his poison snake-pit without getting bitten—this time.

However, we might still ask if Israel’s current military doctrine—with its strategic corollaries—gives Israel its best long-term defense. We could ask if such institutionalized respect for the Arab is truly in our best interest. Does the Arab appreciate that we respond with delicacy, or do they see that deference as a sign of weakness? Does deference provoke further attack? There are three fundamental questions here:  should Israel respond differently to terror;  should Israel rethink this institutionalized respect for the Arab, especially as it affects the military;  and, most important, would the public actually support more aggressive responses when Jews are killed for political and/or religious reasons? Until Israel answers these questions in the affirmative, this country has absolutely no chance to get away from the threat of getting ‘snake-bit’.  So right now, absent a change in basic national values (a change in belief about the snakes)and a proper public mandate for action, we should understand that Israel’s ‘nuanced response’  to terror—after Jewish blood flows—will be the best we can do, so long as it works—which, in August, 2011, it did.

Next time, of course, could be a different story. Such a nuanced response may not work for the next attack. If current Israeli military policy is in fact built upon a respect for the Arab, it may be that the next Arab attack may not allow for such deference; and if that happens, then the next terror attack—and its follow-up—may not be so deftly handled. Let us pray that Israel’s military high-command will be as prepared tomorrow as they were two weeks ago. Let us also pray that we give our national leaders the mandate they need to rethink basic national values—so that they can act as Jewish leaders who represent and respect the Jewish people.