22 May 2016

On the freeing of Meir Ettinger…

14 Iyyar 5776
Pesach Sheni
29th Day of the Omer

Before Shabbat I was in touch with someone who has more details about the upcoming release of Meir Ettinger from administrative detention and the people who campaigned for it; this person permitted me to quote without naming; thus, the following interview. 

It is difficult for former Americans and others who have experienced similar government structures to understand how Israel operates; it is a democracy, but certain things don’t work in the same way and thus certain actions taken will not have their intended effects. For instance, protesting and otherwise asserting the people’s will; petitions don’t work here but other things do, as we will see. (That’s why I will not put up notices for petitions here for Israeli prisoners anymore. They do not work.) I learned a lot through this conversation and wish to share.

It is my hope and prayer that this post and similar ones that I have written in the past will join with the writings of others to help with Pidyon Sh’vuyim פדיון שבויים, a very important mitzvah, the freeing of prisoners. Consider all the Prisoners of Zion throughout history: These are Jews who are either 1) in jail for sentences far longer than fitting for their crimes because they are Jews (cf. Jonathan Pollard); or 2) just because they’re Jews (like Meir) — any excuse will do. Nowadays, defending oneself against the enemy is a frequently-employed reason to ban a person from his hometown or put him in jail; in Meir’s instance, it was his writings and even, apparently, manufactured writings attributed to him.

Center: Netzach Binyamin Ettinger. Credit: original video by Kol haYehudi/still derived by Yeshiva World News

CDG: Is there any thought about suing the government to pay the legal bills and for the campaign? After all, our taxpayer shekels went into the injustice, against our will. I for one would rather have the government use what they already have to pay for the injustice they caused, not only to Meir, but to all the other detainees as well.

Source: They can't sue.  Administrative Detention is legal in Israel.

CDG: I apologize for my ignorance. I have never lived under laws like this before. I'm confused, so thank you for patiently explaining all this to me. 

So, if I understand you correctly, because there are no charges against Meir, can there also be no financial compensation for his imprisonment? What about the loss to his reputation (among some sectors; in ours it has been enhanced, surely), his health, the fact that he couldn't see his son born or brissed [circumcised -CDG]? How about how this affects his wife? And all for NOTHING Meir did wrong.

I want Mashiach now, this minute.

Source: They can't sue.  Right now there are 300 Arabs under Administrative Detention.  I am glad for that because it keeps them off the streets, so less terrorists walking around.  The first Jew they used Administrative Detention on was Rabbi Kahane.  He knew it was an ongoing thing so he fasted until he started to lose his eye sight and then they allowed him out.  He had rabbis trying to convince the Rabbi to eat even a piece of bread the size of an olive.  He refused.  His name and organization was too big to allow him to die and they let him go.  Meir Ettinger fasted and start to faint on and off.  They didn't even take him to the hospital, but treated him in jail.  If they want you to confess to something or think you know something or feel you are a danger, or whatever the h*ll they feel they can put you under this administrative detention in jail or even in your home.  They did that to Noam Federman and he couldn't go out even on his porch, not step outside his door.  They watched and if he was caught, he would be back in jail.  No charges:  Old British Law.  They don't have to tell you or your lawyer why they are holding you.  I have lived here since 1978 and have seen much. 

CDG: Well, I hope I did something right, then, when I posted the link to the fundraising site on the notice in the upper right corner. I hope that some people respond to it. This is why I was asking.

Source: We need the flow of money to keep this going with publicity.   Petitions are ok, but government really doesn't care about that.  In America every town has representation, and your representative would care what you wrote or the petition you sent.  She wants to be elected again.  We don't have that in Israel.  You vote for a party and that is it.  Of course, they want to get elected again and try to do what people want, but some change when they become MKs and some are reined in by the Prime Minister if they are in the coalition.   It’s a different system.  Democratic, but much different than America. 

Shabbat Shalom.

DIRECTIONS: To donate to free the rest of the Jewish detainees still in jail since last summer and fall (many are minors, and none of them have conspired to assassinate people, burn houses down or any of those things; many of them are the ones I am asking about along my sidebar), CLICK HERE. If you are donating from outside of Israel, open the "To Donate..." box and fill out the fields, skipping the ID# field, and press Click to Donate. Thank you!

For more recent miraculous events, read this!

16 May 2016

What Is “Pro-Israel”?

8 Iyyar 5776

 Blogger's Note: I started writing this post in 2009, while I was trying to get started helping the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) in Israel. It was decided to have an office, but not a chapter, here. A lot has changed since I first drafted it...

Background: The Desirability of the Pro-Israel Appellation
Since the resurrection of the nation of Israel in 1948, three years after World War II and nearly 2,000 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the expulsion of most of the Jews of Israel (which was called Yehuda, or Judea, back then; a search for “Palestine in Roman times” comes up with this), it has been particularly and painfully socially undesirable to be considered anti-Israel (and need we say, anti-Jew as well) within the worldwide Jewish community. Due to this prominent factor, a wide range of beliefs and activities has been brought under the umbrella of “pro-Israel” over the decades, including both the Jewish claim and settlement of Biblically- and otherwise-mandated land — i.e., the British Mandate, which included Judea, Samaria and Gaza (together known as Yesha and the disputed territories), as well as Jordan — and the British grant of this land, that became disputed territory at best, to Israel’s Arab neighbors (the Hashemite Arabs and Palestinians who populate Jordan) prior to Israel’s declaration of statehood); both the allowing of war against threatening nations (War of Independence, Six Day War and many others since) and the pressure to make cease-fires each time before Israel’s victory could be declared; both leaving her alone to support herself militarily as best she could (pre-1967) and demanding that she obey the orders of other countries in exchange for military support (ever since 1967), both on the part of the rest of the world and on the part of Israel’s successive governments. In retrospect, an objective observer would have to say that some invisible power has been behind the defense of Israel — making it possible for me to write this article today from Jerusalem. A religious one would identify that power as the Creator, blessed be He.

To the extent that this has held true for Jews the world over, it has been largely respected by the rest of the nations, even though Jew hatred runs like a river through the vast majority of them. Now that the nations have succeeded in convincing a significant number of Jews that Israel is considered illegitimate through their siding unequivocally for Israel’s closest enemies, anti-Semites and anti-Zionists alike (when they aren't actually "one and the same") are doffing their fear of being labeled anti-Israel. In fact, I’ve read at least one prominent Muslim saying that Jews would benefit from the disappearance of the Jewish State from the nations (there were more, saying even worse, but I can’t find them right now. On the other hand, true Arab friends don’t need to be disparaged in the process.) It didn’t help when our very own General Ya’ir Golan remarked that Israel was comparable to Nazi Germany. This is what results when loose opinionated lips let fly. Not that he admitted to anything true, mind you; this is his opinion of Sgt. Elor Azaria’s actions toward an attempted murderer in the midst of his act, who would have succeeded if the army had not reacted at all. Israel was surely demonized by what he said. He might as well have followed with, back Israel up against the wall and cue the firing squad.

Abba…we need you now more than ever. The muddy waters grow ever higher...

Some Pointed Questions
Would the Zionist Organization of America and J Street be able to find common ground on even one item? Yet, both, as well as many Jewish organizations taking both positions, call themselves pro-Israel. This could put the person in the middle in quite a quandary. US vice president Joe Biden, when he was still senator of the state of Delaware, was constantly approached by Jews from both sides and ended up asking “What do you people want?” Today, he is squarely behind his President. He actually pointed out to Jews who had been invited to a Rosh haShana party at the White House nearly 3 years ago that they should not rely on the United States to protect its Jews in the event of danger, but on Israel. It has become worse since then.

So. What does it take to be pro-Israel — a true friend of Israel? Who truly deserves the accolade — and who is the impostor? The answer clearly cannot be: Both sides are true friends. For one side is destructive in nature toward its "friend," and the other constructive. Following the one path will lead to the death of not only Israel as the primary land on which Jews live, but also the annihilation of the Jewish People, make no mistake. Iran is quite open about it; but many others have devised clever and sneaky ways BDSUN resolutionsEU supporting illegal Arab settlements and expect to get away with it…and so on and on and on, to further their dastardly agenda, quieting their conscience by telling themselves that it’s only for our good. But heeding the other will lead to life for both. Biblical prophecy says that eventually all Jews will live in the entirety of the Land of Israel, which we already know by the term Eretz Yisrael ארץ ישראל .

On the part of ordinary citizenry and community leaders, pro-Israel activity has run the gamut between the writing of letters to the editors of newspapers when anti-Semitic and anti-Israel articles are published to mass protest on behalf of Jewish prisoners (of the Soviet Gulag, most of whom eventually emigrated to Israel once they were freed — we still have many more to go) to protesting the “Disengagement” of Israelis from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, to begging the US Government to put pressure on Israel to stop settling parts of the previously-mandated Yesha even as suicide bombings were killing civilians and rockets were falling on cities adjacent to Arab communities in Gaza.

Do all these positions deserve the “pro-Israel” label?

Are you pro-Israel?
Now, we can and should determine just what kind of behavior truly deserves the “pro-Israel” appellation. It is exactly like defining what a true friend is on a personal level: kind, wise, seeking the friend’s best interest without a conflict of interest, treating the friend as an equal, encouraging the attainment of the friend’s highest potential, and being happy when that friend achieves it. A true friend does not harm his friend physically, psychologically, emotionally or spiritually. He neither destroys his friend’s property nor allows others to do so; neither advises him to harm himself nor puts him in that position. Any benefit the true friend receives may be tremendous; however, it is but a side effect, and not a goal to be striven for. What do I think this means in terms of Israel the nation?

Every nation is unique, and yet each nation expects all the others to respect certain axiomatic conditions to survive and live together in the world, whether as friends or enemies. The particular uniqueness of Israel (referring to both the Jewish people worldwide and the nation that sits on the Holy Land), her history and the road to the fulfillment of her destiny commands a certain relationship on the part of a true friend, particularly because her enemies, and many who call themselves friends, expect her to put up with conditions they themselves would never tolerate.

Ask yourself whether forcing Israel's civilians — non-combatants — to endure rocket fire on her southwestern flank without striking back has any hint of fairness about it; or allowing the Muslim presence on the Temple Mount to dominate the Jewish landscape below, and the heavy equipment run by Muslims to dig up valuable Jewish artifacts and obliterate the Jewish presence from our (really, we should say the) holiest site on earth. Consider whether forcing the revenants (returnees as though from the dead; i.e., completely unexpected by the world) to the heartland in Judea and Samaria to endure the degradation of the term “settler” to something barely short of a curse word and be threatened with the trampling of human rights and the stoppage of building on the Land, even that which was paid for in advance, even of natural growth building on the land, and even the refusal to allow Jews to visit the grave sites of their ancestors and sages – and even the destruction of some of them, is the mark of a true friend. Would you let this happen without protest in any other country of the world that you considered to be a friend? Is it fair then to let it happen to, and in, Israel? Would you dictate your interests to other ally nations? Then don’t dictate to Israel either.

…Unless your country intends to declare her to be an enemy. Are you prepared to see your country do that? If you are, then promote that with all your heart and by all means don’t claim to be pro-Israel. You are not, no matter how much money you donate! (And, by the way, the people and organizations you choose to receive your hard-earned donation also come into the equation in a big way. New Israel Fund, for example: If they were honest, they would call it the No Israel Fund; they wouldn’t even have to change the initials.) Above all, be honest, out front. You don’t need to be mealy-mouthed with us brash, direct Israelis. But don’t expect to be treated like Jews by your fellow Jews here in the end. It’s only fair.

Another thing: Don’t use anything made by Jews, especially Israelis. It is the height of hypocrisy to use computers with Israeli- or Jewish-made parts and systems for Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions purposes; but if you don’t want Israel to benefit from the rest of the world and intend that we starve to death, then, to be fair, that world should not benefit from Israeli or Jewish inventions or contributions; neither should any Jew who supports them. Who cares whether the world would absolutely fall apart because aspirin was invented by a Jew? Too bad. You are our enemies, just like your neighbors, and shouldn’t care. You deserve precisely the “normal” behavior from us that they have foisted on us for age upon age, with your help.

Remember, if you can, the passage (here, I’ll help you1) where G-d says to the Israelites: According to the number of days which you toured the Land forty days, a day for each year (which happened to be the disparagement the Land of Israel by the Ten Spies). Now, imagine how it would be for your neighboring non-Jews if the same G-d said to them, “A year for every day you mistreated My people…” Do you want to be found in cahoots with them in the event this happens?

Many organizations, leaders and ordinary people — yes, including Jews — claim to be pro-Israel, but they do exactly the opposite of what a friend does for a friend. A true friend of Israel will be careful to examine how an organization goes about expressing its relationship with Israel before s/he joins it or adopts its agenda. At the risk of being cynical, it appears to me that many organizations seek to be called pro-Israel precisely because they seek to maximize the damage they wish to do in the name of the friendship. My advice, therefore: Avoid them at all cost and align yourself with true friends, and you will be part of the solution, helping us out of our dysfunction, rather than inadvertently becoming part of the problem.

Do we, pipsqueak Israel, dare speak this way to the nations? If we want to continue to live on this planet, particularly on the soil given to us, we absolutely must. Not only that, but it would be good to be able to rely 100% on our leadership to speak this way. Will it happen? Will we have to wait only until Mashiach is revealed and crowned, or can we help him out a little? Who knows?

But, only then G-d will help us; and we must then forever acknowledge His help and presence that has been there, albeit hidden, all along.

 Hat tip: Devash

1 Note that the last word in verse 34 is “t’nu’ati.” I find it interesting that in modern Hebrew t’nu’ah means movement — you may recall Tzipi Livni’s party in the last government, HaT’nu’ah. But its more original meaning of “my alienation” as noted in the translation would be one more appropriate reason, among however many there were, that they changed the party name for this government. – CDG
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01 May 2016

Jew Hatred on Campus? Suggestions for Parents and Students, part 2

23 Nisan 5776

Part 1 | Part 2

Ariel University, Samaria - not an ad, but the English home page banner. Just a suggestion - in case you have not heard of this institution before.

Since the academic year — and graduation season — are quickly approaching, I thought I’d address this important topic now, while Jewish moms and dads are stressing more than ever about their children’s transition into the future…and not only academically…this is part 2.


Hope you had a great Pesah!

If parents and their potential college student offspring agree that the latter must go to college, no matter what, it might as well be intimidation-free as possible, right? Safe spaces are the right of Jews as well as anyone else, no matter what they say. Here are some suggestions both sides may want to consider.

You could do all the usual things in America (or wherever you are):

  1.  Investigate all the institutions of higher learning you are considering for anti-Semitic activity, if you haven’t already done so. BDS and Israel Apartheid Week started in academia, as did most ideas the Left is trying out on the populace. Here is a student aid resource hub of colleges and universities listed by percentage of Jewish students . I found this page from Oberlin College to be more confusing than helpful, since one of its teachers caused a scandal with her words and has not been dealt with appropriately, thus earning my skepticism that their earnest language and sincere-sounding presentation reflect their on-campus reality. And, as I noted in part 1, there is still at least one Ivy League school that *until now* has been free of Jew- and Zionist-hatred. Unfortunately, there seem to be no lists of similar schools yet.
  2. If you have found that anti-Jewish sentiment is difficult to get away from, find out whether Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Zionist Organization of America and other pro-Israel organizations have chapters at the college of your choice. I didn’t link to a list of Google suggestions here because I found what I consider to be a mixed list: Some of the organizations listed claim and position themselves to be seen as pro-Israel and are actually not in favor of Jewish life in a state of its own (and don’t even think about a kingdom with Mashiah, a real Sanhedrin and the Beit haMiqdash and all the land HaShem promised…all items on the true Jewish agenda.). A few years ago I drafted an article for ZOA Israel about the definition of “pro-Israel” which included the relationship Israel should demand of a true friend and ally, rather like picking a best friend, as it were (something tells me I should post it next...). You may also want to find out from people who have joined up with them how much protective value organizations like these provide for the Jews on campus. If that’s impossible, I have some thoughts that might interest you.
  3. If you have found one that is blessed not to have this major distraction from the true purpose of a higher education, consider yourself fortunate. At that point it might help to get a chapter of one of the above organizations on campus, if one isn’t there already, before it gets invaded!
But, what if this doesn’t work, or else the task you have taken on is harder than you thought? Here, you can peek outside the box a wee bit and see whether any of the following would suit you (either parent or potential student) better. You might come up with an even better idea!

  1. Consider other professions and modes of education. Engineering, designing, construction, sanitation, support, cooking, painting…you name it. Who says Jews have a choice of only 3 items: doctors, lawyers and rabbis (or, if you're a woman, a job that either doesn't pay enough or one too involved to have a family)?
  2. Consider a whole new life in the Jewish state: Israel. You and your children deserve to live in a place where Jews have a future; and even if we are still working out the bugs, you have the best chance at making a difference here than anywhere else in the world. I understand that education is cheaper, too – whether it’s Jewish education or college. Consider carefully how much it will cost you to send your kids to higher education wherever you are in the world, and then how much it would cost to bring your family to where the Jewish future lies. If you can sell your house to help achieve the latter, all the better. Frankly, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for America’s future, considering that college grads are being stressed out by all that being “triggered” by “micro-aggression” everywhere they go. How can they concentrate on honing the skills they will need for after graduation? How will they even take care of basic necessary matters without bumping into confusing situations? Like, how to support transgender students without violating the rights of students who are clear about their gender? (No matter how I word this, it’ll come out wrong and be misunderstood – I think that’s the idea!) And, today, where America goes, so goes the world (but we also see Russia competing for that place as well). I rather think Israel won’t get like this – there’s a whole different mentality here. Due to galuth, Jews are already multicultural and multicolored; and, due to kibbutz galuyoth, a lot are intramarrying, becoming one people again (when I first arrived a neighbor of mine was an Ethiopian woman who is widowed to an Ashkenazi man; they have grandchildren…yes, of course they’re both Jews.). It is written (don’t remember where now), that Eliyahu haNavi (Elijah the Prophet) will speed up the process by coming back and telling us all the things we need to know about how to prepare for geula and how we will live thereafter (or something like that). For this I imagine all Jews will feel free to eat qitnioth (legumes and other “little things”) on Pesah, and there will be a registry for which group we’ll be in regarding Qorban Pesah. Just for starters. Some are already to be seen helping lessen the Prophet’s load – at least we hope so.
  3.  Consider the intangibles as well as the tangibles. Is it all about money, or does the quality of your life and connection to the Jewish people matter more? Even more relevant to Jews in hu”l is the question of how long your country has left to survive given the direction it is headed in. Again, I don’t hold out too much hope.
Young Jewish neshamas need whatever backup they can get from their family and friends. I know it’s a lot to think about on top of everything else! I hope you will consider my suggestions seriously, even though I’m not a rabbanit and these are just suggestions.
Not to mention, Israel needs Jews to do anything and everything. Although there are a lot of people other than Jews who have work here, a Jew should not be ashamed of any kind of job, even (gasp!) garbage collection or construction. After all, it is our country whether the world likes it or not, and all of us Jews are responsible for its present and future until Mashiach is revealed and crowned.

UPDATE: I would also watch Hillel if I were sending a child to college today. They used to draw a line at anti-Israel shenanigans, but now, you can read for yourself the story of Hillel Commemorating the Nakba...more links within the article there. This occurred at Brown University, an Ivy League institution.

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