And Now on Iraq, Jewishly

Following the announcement that Iraq kicked out the American overseers, the rest of the UN overseers announced that they, too, are leaving. While at first glance this move by the UN overseers is something that should have been taken for granted, apparently it is not so simple.

It had become evident that only after long negotiations did the UN come to their decision, getting in exchange a forced promise by the US to Russia and France that they will ease up in their policies against Iran. That is, a package deal was made – you go with us against Iraq, and we will go with you for Iran.

All this must be paid attention to. Before the Gulf War, Rabbi Kahane said that Israel will yet have to pay a price for the world coalition that stood against Iraq. In the end the Arabs and other nations who allied themselves with the U.S. will now say to the U.S.: “We helped you fight against our brothers, now you be with us against the oppressor Israel!” We can now see flashes of this taking place. The readiness of the U.S., AGAINST HER WILL, to ease her opposition against Iran, is damaging to Israel (and in this case, damaging to America as well); but what is more important, is that this is the first step towards the next “package deal”, when the same Russia and France, whose hostilities towards Israel have grown of late, will demand an uncompromising world coalition to pressure Israel into making concessions,and if not…

He’s All Mouth

Following the mass condemnation of Israel in the UN, Netanyahu said that the UN is back to being a “SHMU-N”, as David Ben-Gurion used to call them. But Ben-Gurion at least held his ground at certain times, and so when he said”UN – ShmU – N”, at least he backed it up occasionally. But Netanyahu’s words are meaningless, for even as he speaks, he plans to do everything in his power to placate the UN-ShmU-N!

It is not the catchy media phrases which are important, but rather the actions which come forth out of such words. If we continue to tremble and grovel before the UN, exercising all the diplomatic means within the UN including the readiness to make concessions in order that the UN smile at us, then Netanyahu can say a million times UN-Shmu-N – his words are hot air with no substance, just like most of the other words he speaks. While there are certain people who feel one way in their hearts, but speak a different way with their mouths, Netanyahu is in a category by himself: ALL HE IS IS A MOUTH.

Pragmatic Fish Eaters

Many are familiar with the ancient parable about the slave who cooked for his master a stinking fish. The master gave his slave three options: Either eat the stinking fish, receive 100 lashes, or pay with his money for the fish. The slave opted for the punishment to eat the stinking fish, but after eating more than half the fish with great effort, he could not take it anymore, and announced to his master that he can’t continue, and would like to receive the lashes. The master began thrashing the slave, and after several lashes, again the slave could not stand the pain, and chose the third punishment – to pay. And so, in the end, he ate the fish, received lashes and paid a high price to atone for his sin….

One can easily remember this parable when watching Prime Minister Netanyahu in action. While one may pity the poor Prime Minister, one can not forgive his wretched and dangerous deeds. Behold, at the beginning of last week, the Prime Minister apparently had made a positive decision concerning the settlements. What was the decision? It wasn’t what he had originally intended, which was to add a new neighborhood to Bet-El, because America and the Shin Bet vetoed the move. And so instead, he decided to give the settlements preferential housing incentives. To all the settlements? No. According to reports, only 20% of the settlements were to fall in such preferential categories. Did this decision have any practical ramifications? Probably not, since the government itself publicly informed the United States that the decision was only a “declarative” one.

But none of this helped in the slightest. For a full week the entire world, from the U.S. to the U.N., to the Arab world, to the Israeli left, to part of the Likud party rose up and sharply attacked and condemned the Netanyahu government in a fashion we have not yet seen, as if the Israeli government at the very least had began an all-out war against the Arab world at large, expelled the Arabs from Israel, and as a late-night snack, annexed all the territories. Ah, the eaters of stinking fish – suffering the lashes and having to pay for it in the end, anyway.

In the middle of last week, an announcement was made from the office of the Prime Minister that could have made one think that we have a government which could bring the Messiah. Here is the exact “Maariv” headline story quote a week and a half ago: “Israel: American Criticism Will Not Dictate To Us Our Way Of Life”. Awesome. Tremendous. Just what we had been waiting for! But only a few hours passed, and Israel was already back on it’s knees, pleading to the U.S. they “didn’t mean it”, and there was a “misunderstanding”, and “things were taken out of their context”. Did this groveling impress the U.S.? Hardly. This was the reaction of the American foreign department to the Israeli children who had the audacity to almost raise their heads up: “This is not a polite way to relate to the words of the President. President Clinton is friendly to Israel, and when it expresses it’s opinion, we hope that friendly governments will treat it respectably.”

As of this moment, the Israeli government has backed down completely. If a week ago it had appeared that someone in the government had some idea about building houses in the Land of Israel, nothing of the sort will be raised today. It’s like we said: Eat stinking fish, receive the lashes and in the end, pay full price.

If the Israeli government had a modicum of pride, it would casually remind Mr. Clinton about his blatant interference in the Israeli elections in support of the losing candidate, and that he should “chill out” a bit. In the meantime, a normal Jewish government would establish new settlements as something taken for granted. For in the Land of Israel, Jews settle the land. The world gets excited? Condemns? The U.N. security council will stay up all night to draft up an Israel-bashing decision? Great. That’s precisely what happened last week, and unfortunately, it was all about nothing. If they are going to condemn us anyway, shouldn’t we at least get something out of it, like start some new settlements? If the security council is going to stay up all night to discuss Israel, wouldn’t it be preferable to give them a good reason to do so – for instance, to expel a few hostile Arab villages near Ramallah from the borders of Israel?

What is there to be afraid of? Did not King David say in Tehilim (2): “Why are the nations in an uproar, and people utter a vain thing? The kings of the earth raise themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His annointed, saying, Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision”.

Goyim? America? The U.N? It is dandruff you brush off, for the Master of the World stands with us, and it is He who changes the hearts of kings and determines the destinies of the nations.

This is what Netanyahu does not understand. Anyone whose world outlook is not based on faith in G-d can never understand this. And so, Netanyahu looks as he does only six months after taking office. He is deteriorating every step of the way, and taking the State of Israel down with him. And he has no other option – because if he is afraid of what America will say, then he will constantly be rubbing them the wrong way no matter how much he tries to placate them, and by doing so, he will bring our country to greater tragedythan the Labor party would have brought us to.

Our sages taught us that the redemption is dependent on faith. And when we finally seize onto this weapon of faith, we will realize that no one and nothing is relevant, other than our firm decision to go in the way of G-d, even if the way of G-d means provoking the gentiles.

On Jews and Judaism

Seven years ago, in the midst of Jewish hysteria over blatant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish positions in the UN and the general world community, I wrote the following article. Nothing has changed, except that Jews have grown more hysterical and have, apparently, learned nothing. That is why the article is so relevant and urgent:

    There is a great wailing in the streets and a gnashing of teeth and a shouting of incantations. There is a wringing of hands and the anger is mixed with depression and nervousness. The Jew is upset because the gentile refuses to accept him, insists upon hating him, keeps him a pariah. The Jew is upset because the nations of the world – the United Nations – lash him, brand him as racist and evil, hate him and openly demonstrate their desire to destroy him.

    Foolish Jew: “Foolish people and not wise” (Dvarim 32:6). Foolish for seeking relief from other gentiles, for not understanding that the condemnation in the United Nations and the increasing isolation of the Jewish people is a blessing and not a curse and a sign of the sure coming of the final redemption, whose beginnings are so obvious to all but those who will not see. Yes, that which the ignorant and the gentilized and the little men of little faith find as cause for anguish – the Jew of faith and trust and knowledge sees as a time for comfort. Our rabbis tell us:

    Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azarya, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem (after the destruction of the Temple). When they reached Mount Scopus, they rent their garments (since they saw the Temple despoiled). When they reached the area of the Temple Mount, they saw a jackal run out of the site where once the Holy of Holies had been. They began to weep, except for Rabbi Akiva, who laughed. They asked him why he laughed and he asked them why they wept. They said to him, “This is the place concerning which the Torah says, ‘and the stranger who enters it shall die’ and now a jackal runs through it – shall we not weep?” And he replied, “This is exactly why I laugh, for it says (Isaiah 8), ‘And I shall call as faithful witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zecharia the son of Yovarchiyahu.’ What connection is there between these two – did not Uriah live during the days of the First Temple and Zecharia during the Second Temple? But the answer is that the prophecy was tied to that of Zecharia. Uriah said, ‘Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be ploughed over as a field.’ And Zechana said, ‘There shall yet come a day when old men and old women will dwell in the streets of Jerusalem… and the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in the streets.’ Until I saw that the prophecy of Uriah was unfulfilled, I feared that that of Zecharia would not be either. Now that I have seen the fulfillment of the words of Uriah, I know for certain that the prophecy of Zecharia will come true.” And hearing this, in this language did the rabbis respond: “Akiva, you have comforted us …”

    There is rhyme and reason, direction and purpose to history and the Jew has a clear and direct place within that history, direct and central for he is the tool of the L-rd, G-d of history, the central player in the drama. The title of the drama? The motif and theme of world history? The knowledge of the L-rd recognition of Him as the true and only G-d before whom all mankind must bow.

    When Moses, our teacher, appeared for the first time before Pharaoh, the mighty emperor and sovereign of the ancient world, he cried out that the L-rd demanded that Pharaoh let the Children of Israel go and worship Him. And the mighty Pharaoh, powerful and arrogant, replied, “Who is the L-rd that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not the L-rd and I will not let Israel go.”

    The theme was sounded, the battle joined – the struggle by the L-rd and His chosen people, Israel, to have the world and the nations therein “know the L-rd” and recognize His kingship, the counter struggle by the nations and their refusal mouthed so arrogantly in the words “I know not the L-rd … ‘ The history of man revolves about that struggle and about the efforts of the nations that ‘know not the L-rd’ to destroy and humiliate His people. Persecution and humiliation of the Jew is the necessary consequence of contempt for any refusal to know their G-d, the L-rd.

    And the greater the contempt for the L-rd, the greater the humiliation and isolation of the Jewish people. And the final redemption, the great moment of salvation and liberation of the Jewish people, the time of the Messiah, is tied irrevocably to the time when the entire world rejects the L-rd, proclaims as never before, “we know not the L-rd, ” and turns fully and totally on His people Israel as the tangible symbol of their hatred and rejection of Him. It is at that moment when the whole world turns upon the Jews, at the time when travail and tragedy unparalleled in Jewish history beset us, when the Jew faces hopelessness and utter isolation, when he stands alone before an entire hating world, when the words of the Law ring true, “lo, it is a people that shall dwell in isolation,” that we are assured that the final redemption is upon us. The promise of the terrible hatred and isolation is the guarantee that we approach the era of the final redemption. Listen:
    “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog: Thus saith the L-rd G-d…In that day when My people Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and mighty army. And thou shalt come up against My people Israel as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the end of days, and I will bring thee against My land, that the nations may know Me… And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains … and I will judge against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will cause to rain upon him and upon his lands and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing torrent, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Thus will I magnify Myself and sanctify Myself and will make myself known in the eyes of many nations and they shall know that I am the L-rd.” (Ezekiel 38:14-23).

    The banding together by the nations of the world against Israel is the guarantee that their time of destruction is near and the final redemption of the Jew at hand. You weep when the nations call Zionism “racist”? You tremble when the cantata of the nations omits the words: “Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep”? I do not weep; I laugh and am comforted. For until I saw that the prophecy of the hatred of Gog was unfulfilled, I feared that his destruction would not be either. Now that I see the fulfillment of the hatred, I know for certain that the redemption of the Jew approaches.

    Enough weeping and wailing and the following of leaders and rabbis who are pygmies of little faith and less understanding. Cease the wailing and shout forth the words of the mighty Sweet Singer of Israel, David the King:
    “O G-d, keep not Thou silence. Hold not Thy peace and be not still, O G-d. For lo, Thine enemies are in an uproar and they that hate Thee have lifted their heads. They hold crafty counsel against Thy people … They have said, Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may no longer be remembered … The Tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagerites, Gebal and Ammon and Amalek … To pursue them with Thy tempest and afright them with Thy storm. Fill their faces with shame, yea let them be abashed and perish that they may know that it is Thou alone whose name is the L-rd, and most high over all the earth.” (Psalms 83)

    Sing, O Israel, and gird your loins and flex your muscles and have faith in the L-rd, G-d of History. Come home to Zion and flaunt, and on that day will the L-rd be One and His name One. Comfort ye, confort ye my people.

It is a Time for Comfort

Seven years ago, in the midst of Jewish hysteria over blatant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish positions in the UN and the general world community, I wrote the following article. Nothing has changed, except that Jews have grown more hysterical and have, apparently, learned nothing. That is why the article is so relevant and urgent:

There is a great wailing in the streets and a gnashing of teeth and a shouting of incantations. There is a wringing of hands and the anger is mixed with depression and nervousness. The Jew is upset because the gentile refuses to accept him, insists upon hating him, keeps him a pariah. The Jew is upset because the nations of the world – the United Nations – lash him, brand him as racist and evil, hate him and openly demonstrate their desire to destroy him. Foolish Jew:

“Foolish people and not wise” (Dvarim 32:6). Foolish for seeking relief from other gentiles, for not understanding that the condemnation in the United Nations and the increasing isolation of the Jewish people is a blessing and not a curse and a sign of the sure coming of the final redemption, whose beginnings are so obvious to all but those who will not see. Yes, that which the ignorant and the gentilized and the little men of little faith find as cause for anguish – the Jew of faith and trust and knowledge sees as a time for comfort. Our rabbis tell us:

Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azarya, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem (after the destruction of the Temple). When they reached Mount Scopus, they rent their garments (since they saw the Temple despoiled). When they reached the area of the Temple Mount, they saw a jackal run out of the site where once the Holy of Holies had been. They began to weep, except for Rabbi Akiva, who laughed. They asked him why he laughed and he asked them why they wept. They said to him, “This is the place concerning which the Torah says, and the stranger who enters it shall die and now a jackal runs through it – shall we not weep?” And he replied, “This is exactly why I laugh, for it says (Isaiah 8), And I shall call as faithful witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zecharia the son of Yovarchiyahu. What connection is there between these two – did not Uriah live during the days of the First Temple and Zecharia during the Second Temple? But the answer is that the prophecy was tied to that of Zecharia. Uriah said, Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be ploughed over as a field. And Zechana said, There shall yet come a day when old men and old women will dwell in the streets of Jerusalem… and the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in the streets. Until I saw that the prophecy of Uriah was unfulfilled, I feared that that of Zecharia would not be either. Now that I have seen the fulfillment of the words of Uriah, I know for certain that the prophecy of Zecharia will come true.” And hearing this, in this language did the rabbis respond: “Akiva, you have comforted us …”

There is rhyme and reason, direction and purpose to history and the Jew has a clear and direct place within that history, direct and central for he is the tool of the L-rd, G-d of history, the central player in the drama. The title of the drama? The motif and theme of world history? The knowledge of the L-rd recognition of Him as the true and only G-d before whom all mankind must bow.

When Moses, our teacher, appeared for the first time before Pharaoh, the mighty emperor and sovereign of the ancient world, he cried out that the L-rd demanded that Pharaoh let the Children of Israel go and worship Him. And the mighty Pharaoh, powerful and arrogant, replied, “Who is the L-rd that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not the L-rd and I will not let Israel go.”

The theme was sounded, the battle joined – the struggle by the L-rd and His chosen people, Israel, to have the world and the nations therein “know the L-rd” and recognize His kingship, the counter struggle by the nations and their refusal mouthed so arrogantly in the words “I know not the L-rd … ‘ The history of man revolves about that struggle and about the efforts of the nations that know not the L-rd to destroy and humiliate His people. Persecution and humiliation of the Jew is the necessary consequence of contempt for any refusal to know their G-d, the L-rd.

And the greater the contempt for the L-rd, the greater the humiliation and isolation of the Jewish people. And the final redemption, the great moment of salvation and liberation of the Jewish people, the time of the Messiah, is tied irrevocably to the time when the entire world rejects the L-rd, proclaims as never before, “we know not the L-rd, ” and turns fully and totally on His people Israel as the tangible symbol of their hatred and rejection of Him. It is at that moment when the whole world turns upon the Jews, at the time when travail and tragedy unparalleled in Jewish history beset us, when the Jew faces hopelessness and utter isolation, when he stands alone before an entire hating world, when the words of the Law ring true, “lo, it is a people that shall dwell in isolation,” that we are assured that the final redemption is upon us. The promise of the terrible hatred and isolation is the guarantee that we approach the era of the final redemption. Listen:

“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog: Thus saith the L-rd G-d…In that day when My people Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and mighty army. And thou shalt come up against My people Israel as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the end of days, and I will bring thee against My land, that the nations may know Me… And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains … and I will judge against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will cause to rain upon him and upon his lands and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing torrent, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Thus will I magnify Myself and sanctify Myself and will make myself known in the eyes of many nations and they shall know that I am the L-rd.” (Ezekiel 38:14-23).

The banding together by the nations of the world against Israel is the guarantee that their time of destruction is near and the final redemption of the Jew at hand. You weep when the nations call Zionism “racist”? You tremble when the cantata of the nations omits the words: “Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep”? I do not weep; I laugh and am comforted. For until I saw that the prophecy of the hatred of Gog was unfulfilled, I feared that his destruction would not be either. Now that I see the fulfillment of the hatred, I know for certain that the redemption of the Jew approaches.

Enough weeping and wailing and the following of leaders and rabbis who are pygmies of little faith and less understanding. Cease the wailing and shout forth the words of the mighty Sweet Singer of Israel, David the King:

“O G-d, keep not Thou silence. Hold not Thy peace and be not still, O G-d. For lo, Thine enemies are in an uproar and they that hate Thee have lifted their heads. They hold crafty counsel against Thy people … They have said, Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may no longer be remembered … The Tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagerites, Gebal and Ammon and Amalek … To pursue them with Thy tempest and afright them with Thy storm. Fill their faces with shame, yea let them be abashed and perish that they may know that it is Thou alone whose name is the L-rd, and most high over all the earth.” (Psalms 83)

Sing, O Israel, and gird your loins and flex your muscles and have faith in the L-rd, G-d of History. Come home to Zion and flaunt, and on that day will the L-rd be One and His name One. Comfort ye, confort ye my people.

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