Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's starting again!

Tishrei 11, 5770, 9/29/2009

It's starting again!

On Sunday, Yom Kippur eve, Arabs again started hurling rocks at worshipers at the Western Wall from Temple Mount above. Rock-throwing and fire-bomb attacks are continuing in Ir David - the city of David. Similar attacks are continuing on other roads throughout Judea and Samaria. 

Rocket are falling in the south, initiated from terrorist-held Gaza.
And now, again, we receive news of a terror shooting in the Binyamin region, not far from the Shilo community, between Shvut Rachel and Achiya. An Israeli was 'moderately' injured, with a bullet hitting near his elbow. 

It was only a few weeks ago in Bethlehem when the 'moderate' Abu-Mazen terrorist force, Fatah "retained the armed struggle as a strategy in order to liberate the whole of Palestinian and eliminate Israel...calling for ‘the liberation of Palestine completely and the elimination of the state of the Zionist occupation economically, politically, militarily, and culturally’. And ...calling for ‘establishing a sovereign democratic Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian territory’. So clarifies the Jewish Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)

Knessent member Ahmad Tibi, said that the palestinian territory should be “cleaned” of Israeli settlers

In other words, armed struggle is certainly still part of their game. Only a couple of days ago Jibril Rajoub, former PA Hebron chief, and now a leading member of the Fatah committee, was quoted as saying, "Israel won't live securely until occupation ends."

These are the moderates. And the violence is starting again. This is clearly a reaction to Netanyahu's refusal to kowtow to King Hussein's demands for a total 'settlement freeze.' The king wants at least a year. Netanyahu refused, offering 'only' nine months.  King Hussein's Cairo speech and that in the UN make it clear as day: he's backing the Arabs against Israel. 

With that kind of support, why should the enemy wait. After all, following Goldstone, they figure that Israel won't dare retaliate in any drastic fashion, no matter how many rockets fall on southern Israel. 

Israeli leaders must stop the 3rd intifada before it takes off. This intifada will include rockets from the south, and very possibly from the north, as well as terror throughout Israel. It seems that a green light is about to be turned on, signaling commencement of a third wave of killing.

Israel has the ability to stop the terror, even before it begins. In the past, Israeli leaders, for whatever reason, refused to act decisively until many too many Israeli were dead and injured. This is inexcusable. As Israel prepares to deal with Iranian nuclear threat, it cannot ignore the immediate danger to its citizens from hate-filled Arabs close to home, whose only desire is to kill as many Jews as possible and bring about the destruction of the State of Israel. 

Bibi and his government must hit back now, and hit back hard.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Avraham Avinu Synagogue: Miracle past and present

Tishrei 7, 5770, 9/25/2009

The Avraham Avinu Synagogue: Miracle past and present

This place, where previously there had been a goat shed, which had symbolized our disgrace and humiliation, was magnificently renovated and the ancient synagogue was at its center
(A short Hebron selichot video appears at the end of this blog entry)

On one of the pillars inside the Avraham Avinu synagogue is a plaque, with the cover page and introduction of a holy book, titled Emek HaMelech, meaning the Valley of the King. This book was authored by Rabbi Naftali Hertz Bachrach and published in 1648. It's subject matter is Kabbalah, known popularly as "Jewish mysticism."
Towards the end of Chapter nine of the author's introduction is a short paragraph, short in quantity, but quantitatively, immeasurable.

The story is well known. Exactly 490 years ago, the year 1619, in Hebron:
The paragraph, as it is written, in Emek HaMelach:

A wondrous event on Yom Kippur, know that in Hebron there aren't always ten for public prayer, only on Shabbat and holy days, when villagers gather there and pray with ten and more. But all the residents of Hebron are pious.

And it was on the eve of Yom Kippur, and there were only nine men, and they waited for the villagers to arrive, but not even one came, because they had all gone to Jerusalem, which is a quarter of a day's walk. And they were greatly saddened that on Yom Kippur they would pray individually and they wept much, and the sun was setting and daylight was disappearing. And they lifted their eyes and here was an elderly man, in the distance, and they were overjoyed to see him. And when he arrived they offered him a final meal, but he blessed them and said that he had eaten on the way. And they worshipped on the holy day and honored him greatly. And the next night they began discussions, because all of them wanted to host the guest in his home. And they compromised and conducted a draw, and the prayer leader (Chazan) was selected, he was a holy man who had wondrous dreams and night visions. And the Chazan led the guest to his home, with the guest walking behind him. And when he arrived at his home, the Chazan turned to honor the guest, that he should enter first, and he saw that the guest was gone. And they searched the entire courtyard, but didn't find him, and all were greatly saddened, thinking that the guest had left already that night, and did not want to enjoy anything from them. And that night the old man appeared before the Chazan in a dream and told him that he was Avraham Avinu, who had come to complete the minyon because he had seen that they were so upset about having to pray individually. And they were very happy and blessed the Great G-d, who had done wondrous things, Amen, May it be His Will:
From then on, the synagogue was known as the Avraham Avinu synagogue.
When Jews returned to Hebron following the 1967 Six day war, the ancient shul was gone. A sheep sty and public bathroom occupied the place where the shul had stood for over 400 years.

Due to the dedication and determination of one man, Professor BenTzion Tavgar, zt"l, the area was eventually cleaned out and the shul rebuilt.
This year, as every year, Yom Kippur prayers will be heard from this beautiful holy place.
Prof. Tavgar, prior to his death, wrote a book called "My Hebron" which was published a few years ago in Hebrew. It was recently translated into English and is now available. The following paragraphs, dealing with the rededication of the Shul and its ancient Torah scrolls, are from the book.
While I was in the Synagogue, waiting for the Torah Scroll to be brought in, I looked around once again at the walls of the building. The Synagogue was now splendidly built, more or less approximating its original form, before the Arabs had destroyed it in the 1950s. There might have been a few minimal changes here or there, and perhaps not everything had been completed and it was still necessary to fix something or other, but on the whole, the Synagogue now looked beautiful, it appeared splendid. One could even say that it was impressive, though not very modern.

I let my eyes wander around the interior of the synagogue. I had time to think and recall its previous state, five or six years ago, and thought of the sequence of events that had transpired. When I first came here, the place had indeed gone by the name of “Avraham Avinu Synagogue”, but its name had seemed completely disconnected from its essence. Nothing about it had indicated that it was a synagogue. It had been used as a goat shed. On its eastern side there had been a familiar, or rather, a notorious structure – the public latrine – which had been erected for the use of those who frequented the adjacent Arab wholesale market, and the rest of the site was used as a garbage dump.
This place, where previously there had been a goat shed, which had symbolized our disgrace and humiliation, was magnificently renovated and the ancient synagogue was at its center. We can pray in it! This is not something insignificant! It is a great thing, but it is not the conclusive thing, at least not from my point of view. When I had begun to dig here I had not set a goal for myself only to renovate the synagogue and not even the entire Jewish Quarter. My aim had been to change the atmosphere that had enabled the entrenchment of a state of affairs wherein on the site where a synagogue had once been standing in full glory, suddenly three “magnificent” establishments are standing: a goat-shed, a public toilet facility and a garbage dump. According to documents, the functioning of the goat shed within the synagogue had been approved by the Israeli authorities. Someone had signed the leasing contract with the Arab who was using the structure to house his goats. Someone had signed and others had agreed to it, or had turned a blind eye, while on the other hand, there were Jews whose soul had desired to clean the Synagogue, to prepare it and restore its original function, and to turn it once again into a place of prayer.
How had this happened? How had such a disgraceful process come about? The Military Administration had been assigned to guard there. The goat-shed, the public toilet and the garbage dump were being guarded by soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. The government had assigned guards to attack me, with the aim of perpetuating this terrible disgrace. Another thing, possibly even worse, because I find it hard to imagine anything worse, was the judicial persecution, the utilization of the force of the law against me and against others. How many times had they submitted indictments against me?! They had trumped up those indictments. And what were the charges? I am ashamed to say... Sometimes, the “facts” written in the indictment had actually been libelous and impertinent lies completely divorced from reality. Jews had lied with barefaced audacity in order to keep the goats in place of the Synagogue. Many times the trials had been held in military courts. There is no greater shame than to see a scene where the judges, the prosecutor and the witnesses are all wearing the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces, all joining hands to convict you in a field court, without your even having the right to appeal.
In any case, I felt very festive during the ceremony and was completely overcome by joy.

More can be seen at: http://www.hebron.com/english/article.php?id=581#syn 
For more information about purchasing My Hebron: myhebron@gmail.com
Short version of Hebron selichot activities.
See www.hebron.com for more video and photos

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tit for Tat

Elul 27, 5769, 9/16/2009

Tit for Tat

At times we are forced to pay for our misdeeds; G-d takes account of our sins and, sometimes, treats us accordingly.

At first glance, it seems ironic that the author of the scathing report dealing with Israeli 'war crimes' during the Gaza war, is a Jew. And not just any Jew. According to Goldstone's daughter, in an interview published by the Jerusalem Post, Richard Goldstone "is a Zionist and loves Israel."
As the proverbial saying goes, 'with friends like that, who needs enemies?!'
Goldstone reportedly slept during accounts of rocket attacks on Sderot, in south Israel. So related Sderot resident and media expert Noam Bedein on Israel radio this morning. However such accounts are totally irrelevant. When it comes to Jews, only one truth is viable. Jews may be attacked in any manner as the attacker deems fit; however, Jews may not dare to defend themselves, be it preemptive, during or post attack. Why? Because that's why Jews exist; for the world to blame for all problems, and later to take their frustrations out on them.
This simple truth has existed for at least two thousand years, if we prefer to ignore Biblical accounts of the Egyptian slavery over 3,300 years ago. Certainly since the advent of Christianity Jews have been a worthy scapegoat and have paid a price continuing thru the present: expulsions, forced conversions, mass murder, and more. Who today remembers the slaughters perpetrated by the crusaders, or the inquisition, pogroms in Eastern Europe? Of course, today, talking about the holocaust is almost considered to be trite or redundant. After all, how much can you keep saying about it, bringing it up at every opportunity, enough!
The state of Israel serves as a wonderful target for continued Jew-bashing. Perhaps one of the best examples, today so relevant, was Israel's attack against Saddam Hussein's mass killing machine, destroying his nuclear missile facilities in June, 1981. The United States blasted Israel for this attack. The United Nations Security council unanimously passed UN Resolution 487 which “strongly condemns the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct.”
This rule is playing out in front of our eyes, as international policy concerning the Iranian nuclear threat demands 'negotiations' and 'sanctions' prior to any attempts to physically destroy Ahmadinejad's weapons of mass destruction before they are activated and live. By that time, of course, it may be too late, but again, who cares? After all, it's only Israel's existence that seems to be at stake!
The Goldstone Report is only a continuation of an international principle which allows Israel to be attacked, and refuses to accept Israel's right to self defense.
And here is a BIG BUT.
I believe that the drama unfolding before our eyes, such as the Goldstone report, is not the fault of the international community. It is, quite clearly and simply, our fault, the direct responsibility of the state of Israel and a direct result of Israeli policies.
How so?
Exactly nine years ago, tomorrow night, what is known as the '2nd Intifada' aka the Oslo War began, here in Hebron. Just after midnight Arab terrorists started shooting at the Jewish neighborhoods in the city. The source of the gunfire were the hills surrounding these neighborhoods, hills 'transferred'/abandoned to the Palestinian authority in January, 1997 with implementation of the 'Hebron Accords.'
The shooting also started in other areas of Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem's southern neighborhood, Gilo, came under attack from Bethlehem and Beit Jala.
The shooting continued for over two years, with the Barak/Sharon administrations refusing to properly defend its citizens against sustained, incessant attacks. Had the government ordered the army back into the areas and cities handed over to the PA the attacks would have ended immediately. Instead, the state's leaders watched as almost 1,500 Jews were murdered in cold blood by Arab terrorists. And the shooting continued.
But it should be remembered that, prior to this war, Gush Katif communities came under mortar fire day and night, for years. Thousands of mortars were shot at civilian and military populations. With virtually no effective answer from those who were elected to keep Israelis safe, wherever they were.
It also should not be forgotten the missile attacks against Kiryat Shmona and cities in the Israeli north, attacks which remained unanswered for years at a time.
And finally, how many rockets were shot into Sderot before the abandonment of Gush Katif, and how many following catastrophic expulsion and destruction of those communities. Thousands and thousands and thousands.
And let it not be said that the government didn't know, that they weren't warned. Only last week, at the lecture in Netanya: "A secret IDF Intelligence (AMAN) assessment warned as early as 1993 that the Oslo Accords would likely end with rocket attacks on Ashkelon, according to former AMAN Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror. The politicians, however, were not interested.  According to Amidror, who headed the IDF's Research and Assessment Division responsible for preparing the National Intelligence Assessment, the decision to go ahead with the Oslo agreements between Israel and the PLO terrorist organization was made without taking into account the military implications. The Rabin government "completely ignored" IDF assessments, Amidror claimed" .
Writers, myself included, warned, year after year, of the deadly implications of Oslo, Hebron, Wye, Gush Katif. To no avail. But they knew, and did nothing.
In other words, Israel allowed itself to be attacked, without offering any real defense, any true attempt to stop the terror. That being the case, when, at long last, much too late, Israel finally decided to take action, our enemies, enemies from without and enemies from within, raised a red flag imprinted with a huge question mark: What happened – why now? What happened to you Jews? You know you're not allowed to defend yourselves. You know better. Don't you dare start now!
The state of Israel had withheld for so long, had restrained itself, had decided strategically not to protect itself, its citizens, and its cities, that any such action was viewed as bizarre and uncharacteristic. And with this, a great international outcry, coming on the heels of thousands of years of defenselessness. How dare you!!!
Approaching the holy days of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur we try to take stock of the events of the past year, to determine how to correct our errors in the future. At times we are forced to pay for our misdeeds; G-d takes account of our sins and, sometimes, treats us accordingly.
We are taught that one of the ways G-d deals with us human beings is, in Hebrew, 'mida c'neged mida.' Translated this means something like tit for tat. You get back the same as you gave. Ehud Barak, presently Defense Minister, nine years ago Prime Minister, fled from Lebanon and offered Arafat almost all of Judea and Samaria, including Jerusalem. He claims that the Goldstone report encourages terror. Tit for tat Mr. Barak. You did nothing to stop terror. To the contrary, you encouraged it by doing nothing about it, you let Jews die and tried to appease the terrorists by offering to abandon more of Eretz Yisrael.  Now you're getting it back in the face in the form of another Jew, blaming you for trying (and, by the way, not succeeding) to stop the terror, much too little, much too late. Mida c'neged mida.