Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Guardian Reveals: Jewish Zionists In Israel’s Jewish Zionist Army

Extraordinary revelations from the Guardian:

In the large study halls, millions upon millions of young Jewish men are bent over religious books or debating in pairs the meaning of their extremist religious bloodthirsty texts. Many wear the large knitted kippa associated with the settler movement and extremist religious Jews – you know the type, those really Jewish Jews who study – and even practice – Judaism, and who might even live in some parts of Israel that Jews and Israelis say are part of Israel. A few have great big guns by their side which they shoot with wild abandon at innocent Palestinians.
This scene is typical in settlements all over the West Bank – all over Israeli towns in fact, as well as Jewish Homes Of Plotting, globally – where the hesder yeshiva movement has gained strength in recent decades. The programme, backed by the Israeli Defence Forces allows crazy religious Jews to combine intensive theological study with a shortened period of military service. Frankly, we can’t decide which is worse – a Jewish army, or Jewish studying.
For these young religious Zionist Zealots, serving in the army to defend the illegitimate state of Israel, even going so far as to try and protect the settlers from Palestinian murder attempts (which the Jews then use as an excuse to accuse certain Palestinians of trying to murder Jews), is a crucial element of a theology that at its centre has the horrific and sinister aim of sustaining the existence of the Jewish population.
But some critics fear the influence and advancement of these highly motivated soldiers could turn the traditionally secular IDF into an ideological instrument and create conflicts over whether the men's duty is to obey their rabbi or their commanding officer. Because whilst their commanding officers order these soldiers to run amok with their weapons killing innocent Palestinians for fun, the Rabbis would tell them to run amok with their weapons killing innocent Palestinians as their religious duty.
Gabriel Slater, 20, a hesder yeshiva student who will begin army service within weeks – so it’s probably too late to stop him - said the programme had helped him to develop strongly held ideological and religious goals, which are probably something to do with running amok shooting with wild abandon murdering Palestinians babies. "I have deep beliefs and I'm going to the army to fulfil them," he said, in a really deep, growly, threatening voice that would shake anyone to their very core. He expected to face dilemmas – "moments of difficulty" – in the military and planned to consult his rabbi if he felt he was being asked to "cross a boundary", suggesting that if asked to murder more Palestinian babies than he is comfortable with,  he will consult the Rabbi – who will most likely tell him to kill ten times more.
But there are bigger questions about whether such soldiers would agree to participate in military operations to evacuate Jews from West Bank settlements. If there is ever a peace deal with the Palestinians requiring a large-scale evacuation of tens of thousands of settlers, the issue could become critical. But if we’re denied the Jew versus Jew scenario, my suggestion is, just let the Palestinians drive them out. Brandishing their weapons, the Peaceful Palestinian Freedom Fighters For Peace will drive the Jews into the sea! Finally, a solution!
Pro-settler religious Zionists (unscaled levels of dangerous crazy!) are reaching the higher ranks of the military. According to the army magazine Bamahane, in 2010 one in eight of company commanders in ground forces came from West Bank settlements; the same year, a majority of top commanders in the elite Golani brigade were religious Zionists. Yes, it is hard to believe the chilling fact that in the army of the Jewish state of Israel, there are Jews – Jews who act like Jews! – who believe in defending the Jewish state! Hard to believe, but true. Seriously. I’m not lying. I swear on the Very Liberal Atheists’ Bible. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

No Pain = All Gain

In a very astute blog post on the Times of Israel, Marc Goldberg analyzes the pros and cons of Israel having a right or left wing government, pointing out the significant fact that “When Likud is in power fewer Israelis die... [because] there is less chance of war when Likud is running the show.
This may seem contrary to the left leaning MSM, who relish portraying Netanyahu as an extreme right wing hawkish warmonger – but the fact is there have been no wars under Netanyahu.
Goldberg explains:
“Likudniks aren’t interested in rocking the boat by changing anything. They will approve more settlements — more than the left would like to see and less than their own partners in government want. They will not try to make peace with anyone — they won’t even sit down with the Palestinians — and in the meantime, everyone, on both sides of the wall and in Gaza, will get on with their lives, firm in the knowledge that their daily routine won’t come under threat…It is when the left is in power and politicians attempt to actually make things better in the long run that the attacks begin.”
Goldberg is correct but he misses out one thing: in August 2010 (the same month Abbas made statements that he’d support a war on Israel if other Arab countries joined in, and eulogized one of the terrorists behind the Munich Olympics massacre), Netanyahu and Abbas agreed to begin direct peace talks together – however this resulted in Palestinian extremists responding with a campaign of terror attacks on Israeli citizens. It would have been understandable if Israel had pulled out of the talks then, but Netanyahu didn’t. The talks petered out when Abbas refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, in return for a settlement freeze. Attempted terror attacks also decreased.
So whilst under Likud the situation could remain relatively calm (as in not engaged in an actual war), according to Goldberg “In the long term, the left may offer the eventual possibility of normalization of relations with the rest of the Middle East, a state of Palestine alongside ours, and a corresponding improvement of our standing in the international community. But in the short term, that spells nothing but more hardship.
Call me a cynic/psychic/crazy religious Jew, but Mashiach will come before that scenario plays out – and I don’t just mean that as a figure of speech! 
It doesn’t seem worth it to take the risks for an impossible solution, just to see if it will make people like us better. Elder of Ziyon has written a great piece explaining why the status quo is not actually as ‘unsustainable’ as people think:
“A genuine peace is one where Israel's neighbours do not even fantasize about attacking Israel. Not one where they are coerced into not attacking by an ephemeral government, not one where they do not attack because of the military consequences - but one where they simply have no desire to...”
Currently the Palestinians have not demonstrated why this would be possible, with no serious efforts made to end incitement to hatred and terrorism, and the brainwashing of children with this.
“The best we can ever hope for realistically is a detente where the weaker party has no desire to stir things up, even if it covets everything owned by the other” - because the repercussions outweigh the benefits. “This means that the best that Israel can hope for is a "Palestine" that keeps a short leash on its terrorists out of fear. Not love, not friendship, but fear. And this is exactly the status quo today... Anything that upsets this status quo will inevitably increase the danger to Israel's citizens.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Happy Independence Day, Israel!

This time of year is always an emotional one for Jews and for Israel.
Last Thursday was Yom Hashoah when we remember the 6 million men, women and children who died in the Holocaust.
Last night and today, less than a week after, is Yom Hazikaron when we mourn the victims of terror attacks and the 22,993 soldiers who sacrificed their lives to defend and protect our homeland Israel.
This is immediately followed by Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, reminding us that those lives were not lost in vain, but also that Israel's very existence is a miracle to be celebrated.
May G-d protect our soldiers, people and country Israel so we may celebrate many more Independence Days.
Happy 64th Israel!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Responding To Terrorism

I should probably just change the title of my whole blog to ‘Better Late Than Never’, but here goes anyway.
A month ago on Friday 9th March, Israel decided it’d had enough of the continuous yet intermittent rocket fire from Gaza (50 over the last two months), and responded to the two rockets launched that morning.
As well as targetting Palestinian terrorists about to fire more rockets into Israel, the IDF killed the leader of the PRC Zuhir al-Qaisi, and another member, who were involved in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. The IDF had intelligence that al-Qaisi was planning a terror attack along the Israel-Gaza border, similar to one the PRC had carried out last August along Israel’s border with Egypt. In that multiple-stage attack, eight Israelis were killed when Palestinian terrorists attacked them in their cars and buses with guns, missiles and a suicide-bombing. In the days following, two more Israelis were killed by rocket fire.
After Israel killed the PRC leader last month, terrorists bombarded Southern Israel with over 300 rockets in the space of just four days. Myself and friends and family would flock to Facebook to find updates from friends and family in South Israel on their status, inbetween them flocking to their bomb shelters. In response the IDF targetted weapons depots, manufacturing facilities and rocket launching sites in Gaza. 24 Palestinians were killed, 20 of whom were terrorists, most whilst actually in the process of preparing to launch more rockets.
At the funeral of one of the terrorists, Palestinian gunmen fired into the air, with one bullet striking an eight year old boy in the head. This was of course blamed on Israel, although Palestinians later revealed the truth. Two days later the child died, and the day after that two more Palestinian teenagers died from trigger-happy Palestinians’ gunfire at another terrorist’s funeral.
A picture of a young Palestinian girl was circulated online, originally tweeted by Khulood Badawi, who claimed it was “another child killed by Israel”. It was discovered that the picture was from 2006, and the girl had died in an accident. Meanwhile it transpired that Badawi works for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as an ‘Information and Media Coordinator’, with Honest Reporting calling for her dismissal:
it is absolutely unacceptable that a UN employee working specifically on dissemination of information to the media and public tweets malicious and false information to libel Israel... [when it] is trying desperately to defend more than 1 million of its civilians from the incessant murderous rain of Gazan rocket terror”.
Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN also called for her dismissal, pointing out that she was “actively engaged in the demonization of Israel, a member state of the United Nations. Such actions contribute to incitement, conflict and, ultimately, violence.”
A week later in an indescribably horrific terrorist attack at a Jewish school in France, an Islamist fanatic rode up on a motorbike and murdered a Rabbi, Jonathan Sandler, his 3 and 6 year old sons Gabriel and Arieh, and 8 year old Miriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school principle.
Strangely, the EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton appeared to compare the attack to “what is happening in Gaza”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the French-Algerian terrorist Mohammed Merah, who was a member of Al Qaeda, claimed that his actions, which also included the murder of three unarmed French soldiers was to “avenge Palestinian children”. He was killed after a 32 hour siege on his apartment, in which he injured several French police officers, preventing him not only committing further attacks but also from spewing any more excuses for his barbaric, evil acts. Possibly the best response to Merah’s comment about Palestinians came from the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, who stated:
"This terrorist crime is condemned in the strongest terms by the Palestinian people and their children... No Palestinian child can accept a crime that targets innocent people. It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life”.
In any case which Palestinian children was Merah referring to? Which children in Gaza was Baroness Ashton talking about? The ones brainwashed into wasting their lives by becoming terrorists? The ones oppressed by their own government? The children killed when they’re exploited by terrorists and used as human shields, who launch rockets into Israel from civilian areas? Or the ones killed in accidents because they’re surrounded by militants building weapons or ‘symbolically’ firing guns at terrorists’ funerals?
It has been pointed out again and again by pro-Israel activists that the actions of most supposedly ‘pro-Palestinian’ activists do nothing to help the Palestinians, in fact do the opposite. There seems to be a link; and somewhere between all these incidents there are lies, distortions and exaggerations about Israel’s actions that far from helping solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict simply trigger cycles of violence, not only manifested in antisemitism against Jews and Israel but with the much wider target of ‘the West’.
Our battle for support for Israel and the truth may sometimes seem unwinnable, but there are constant reminders of successes and the importance of this battle, and who knows the effect that each of these instances can have. So whether it’s blogging or tweeting or demonstrating, we have to keep spreading the truth.
Most importantly, everyone should see the words of Eva Sandler, who lost her husband Rabbi Jonathan and her two young sons Gabriel and Ariel in the France school shooting. In a heart-wrenching article on the Chabad website, she referred to Pesach, which Jews worldwide are currently celebrating, and wrote:
Along with our tearful remembrance of our trials in Egypt so many years ago, we still tell how ‘in each and every generation, they have stood against us to destroy us.’ We all will announce in a loud and clear voice: ‘G-d saves us from their hands.’…  The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished; its connection with Torah and its commandments can never be destroyed.”

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Rabbis Condemn Charedi Extremists

I've been very upset by recent goings-on in Israel, and for once the left aren’t fully to blame! Two incidents have rightly caused outrage throughout Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, both right and left wing, religious and secular.
The first is of a young Dati Leumi (or ‘Modern-Orthodox’) girl being insulted and spat on by so-called Charedi (‘ultra-Orthodox’) men in Beit Shemesh for not adhering to their extreme version of modest dress for Jewish females.
The second is a Jewish female Israeli soldier being harassed by another so-called Charedi man for refusing to move to the back of the bus (just because she’s a woman) on a route between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.
Inevitably this was followed by demonstrations in Beit Shemesh, with extreme Charedim on one side, and Dati Leumi and the secular on the other (how often does that happen?!). In demos and in the media though, not much has changed for the secular and left-wing, who have used the incidents as another excuse to show their hatred of and contempt for the religious, portraying some fringe extremists as representative of the wider Orthodox community.
Thankfully, the top Rabbis and religious leaders in Israel and around the world have demonstrated why they are in those positions, with their unequivocal condemnations of those who have abused the Jewish religion with their extremist interpretation of it, in a similar way to extremist Muslims who abuse Islam with terrorism ‘in Allah’s name’.
The Chief Rabbis said the Charedim cannot impose their views on the rest of the population and if they want segregated buses they should run their own bus line – the Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said “A person can be strict about himself, but not about others. If the Charedim want to be strict in their own buses, let them. But imposing it on other people is irrelevant."
One Rabbi points out on his blog Thinking Israel that the Jewish laws regarding social interaction and relationships between men and women are there precisely to “facilitate a non-sexualized public space” where men and women can interact in a ‘neutral’ way, not to segregate them.
Ironically, the fact that some Charedim are so concerned with hiding women away only makes the whole situation worse, as they would “identify sexual stimulation in the slightest reminder of a woman”.
“In most places that the Shulkhan Arukh addresses modesty, the man is instructed to restrict his gaze and not to look at a woman in an inappropriately sexual manner. But it doesn't say that a woman is required to button up in order to prevent or ‘protect’ the man. Men are expected to take care of their sexual drives and to control their eyes and minds... modesty in the public arena is not achieved by suppressing women; it is not women who are to pay the price... any man who has a problem must take care of his problem on his own.” 
Rabbi Schochet, a columnist for the London Jewish News wrote on his blog:
“Both these men [involved in the incidents] have been described as ‘Charedi.’ This is typically taken to mean ultra-Orthodox. I take umbrage to that definition. I think of myself as ultra-Orthodox but believe these ‘Charedi’ men to be a disgrace to Jewish society.”
“Maimonides states that if a pious individual acts in a way that the general population would consider inappropriate, this person is performing a chilul Hashem (lit. desecration of G-dliness)”, which is breaking the third of the 10 Commandments - 'Do not take G-d’ name in vain'. He continues:
“If this is, as it is justifiably argued, a fringe group, then that can only be made obvious with vocal protestation. There could be no greater kiddush Hashem (lit. sanctification of G-d’s name) to counterbalance the chilul Hashem. In the words of King Solomon: 'There is a time to be silent and a time to speak'." 
Rav Ovadia Yosef of Shas addressed theextremists, saying “We do not hate seculars. On the contrary – we love them and bring them closer. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself' is the entire essence of the Torah.”
He wrote that he could no longer remain silent after seeing extremists ‘humiliating and insulting people in public, despising and cursing, and causing discomforts among the late Torah sages'", noting that "the Torah promotes graciousness and peace." He warned:
“Do not let the dignity of Torah and Judaism be mocked and humiliated, as this is our life and longevity, the secret of our existence throughout our years of exile, and we must respect each other and bring people's hearts closer to G-d."
In my opinion, the Charedi extremists need to stop checking how girls and women are dressed, go home, learn some more and then practise what they’ve learned, because I don’t recall the Torah anywhere saying to spit on and shout abuse at girls and women. Or just take off their hats and stop pretending that they represent Judaism in any way.