Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Are There 39 Types of Work Forbidden on Shabbat

By Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin
http://www.jewishideas.org/articles/why-are-there-39-types-work-forbidden-shabbat


Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin is author of thirteen books, including three volumes on philosophy. He is coauthor, with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, of books on Targum Onkelos.

People familiar with the Sabbath laws know that the Torah does not list the activities prohibited on the Sabbath. However, rabbis in the Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 49a, state that the Torah hints at the activities that are banned.

These hints are based on two rabbinical teachings that are applied by the rabbis at times: (1) When facts or incidents are placed near one another in the Bible, one can derive a lesson from the juxtaposition. (2) A halakhah can be learned from such things as counting the number of times an item appears in the Torah.

Thus the rabbis stated:

• Because the Sabbath is mentioned near the laws of the building of the Tabernacle, we are informed that those labors necessary to construct the Tabernacle are forbidden on the Sabbath.

• Since the term melakhah is found in the discussion of the Sabbath and appears thirty-nine times in the Bible, Scripture is teaching that there are thirty-nine categories of proscribed work on this holy day.

Some scholars who attempt to find reasons for the commandments, such as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, suggest that the thirty-nine categories are comprised of melekhet machshevet, a phrase found in Exodus 35:33 which they translate as "creative acts." Creative acts, they say, are forbidden on the Sabbath to remind Jews that God created the world, ceasing to perform acts of creation on the first Sabbath.

Critics of these views point out that no hint of the thirty-nine labors exists in the Torah itself, and that the register of prohibitions is clearly rabbinical in origin. If the Torah wanted to teach that work performed in the Tabernacle or creative acts should not be done on the Sabbath, it would have stated this clearly. Furthermore, the claim that the word melakhah appears only thirty-nine times in the Bible is incorrect. The word appears more than thirty-nine times - it is present in 166 verses throughout the entire Bible, including sixty-five in the Pentateuch alone.

Additionally, hundreds of jobs were performed by Tabernacle workers but were not included in the thirty-nine categories listed by the rabbis, such as carrying work instruments and other items in the Tabernacle structure, washing before and after work and before and after eating, setting the table to eat, using utensils in eating and drinking, cleaning the table after the meal, and clearing work areas when work were completed. Why were these activities not listed as acts prohibited on the Sabbath?

Many "creative acts" in the building of the Tabernacle are also not on the list of forbidden Sabbath activities, such as measuring boards and cloths and placing them in their proper places in the Tabernacle based on the measurements, as well as counting, reading, studying, giving directions to subordinates, and other activities for which a specialist is generally consulted.

Even rabbis who contend that the list of prohibited Sabbath labors was derived from the Torah recognize that there are more than thirty-nine categories of work that are disallowed on the Sabbath. Mekhilta d'Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, for example, adds, in its concluding paragraph, acts unbecoming the tone of the Sabbath day, as well as buying, selling, loaning, placing an article in deposit, legal judgments, legal claims, appeals, other court activities, marriage, divorce, and accounting - eleven more. The Midrash cites what it considers to be scriptural proof for each of these items.

Why, then, if the sages themselves recognized that more than thirty-nine activities were prohibited on the Sabbath, were thirty-nine banned behaviors chosen and not another number? Also, why did the rabbis (in such places as Mishnah Shabbat 73a and the Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 49b) call the number arba'im chaser achat, "forty minus one"? Why did they not simply say thirty-nine?

The Significance of the Number Forty
The number forty is a symbolic figure associated in Jewish thought with a long period or large number of difficulties. It reminds Jews, for example, of the forty years of struggle, exertion and challenges faced by the Israelites as punishment for accepting the wrong-headed assessment of the ten spies sent to evaluate the land of Canaan and for the Israelites' refusal to rely on the divine assurances and advance in armed battle to conquer the land.

The number also recalls the forty days and nights when the flood raged and destroyed all earthly inhabitants; only Noah, his family and the animals he sequestered on the ark were saved.

The number forty brings to mind the forty days and nights that Moses spent on Mount Sinai, with no one but God, without food and drink. This was a period of deep mental and physical exertion, in which he obtained the Decalogue from God, learned its meaning and brought it to the Israelites.

The Meaning of the Words "Forty Minus One"
The unusual phrase "forty minus one" appears to have special meaning, for if it did not, the number thirty-nine would have been used. Aside from being employed in reference to the Sabbath in Mishnah Shabbat 7:2, "forty minus one" is also utilized as the count for the lashes inflicted as punishment upon certain criminals for certain crimes in Mishnah Makkot 3:1-10.

The rabbis were conscious of the severity of the thirty-nine lashes and the enormous strain and bodily destruction it produced, as they stated in Mishnah Makkot 3:10. Only a few rather strong men, undoubtedly, could endure so many harsh beatings. It is, therefore, more than likely that they rarely inflicted the full count of thirty-nine lashes. Indeed, the rabbis required that a doctor examine and evaluate a prisoner's physical condition before lashes were inflicted, and, if the doctor determined that the criminal could not stand the large number of whippings, the amount was reduced. Thus, it should be clear that the number "forty minus one" is more symbolic than real. Why, then, did the rabbis choose the phrase "forty minus one"?

It seems that the rabbis wanted to say two things. First, as indicated by the symbolism of the number forty, the criminal deserved a harsh and unpleasant punishment because of his misdeed. Second, by reducing the number and making it clear that they were decreasing it by using the phrase "forty minus one," they were teaching that people must not act ruthlessly without sensitivity and consideration - even with criminals.

Applying This Concept to Shabbat
Consistent with the usage of the phrase with corporal punishment, it appears that the rabbis were teaching two lessons. First, by mentioning forty, which denotes difficulty, they made it clear that Shabbat should be a day when Jews scrupulously abstain from creative acts. The abstention should be more than symbolic; it must be noticeable, clear, obvious, unambiguous - an unmistakable demonstration of a fundamental Jewish idea, that Jews are thinking of God and recalling that He created the world and ceased creative acts on the Shabbat. This demonstration can only occur when a significant number of acts are noticeably disallowed on the Shabbat.

But the rabbis also stressed a second lesson. The Sabbath is not a sad negative day devoted to abstentions and ascetic behaviors, a time, as the ancient Sadducees insisted, when Jews sequester themselves in their homes, set themselves apart from company, and sit in the dark and cold without light and fire. The rabbis insisted that the Sabbath is a day of pleasures.

Beside thirty-nine seemingly negative certainly restrictive melakhot, the rabbis instituted sabbatical laws that emphasize the enjoyment and spiritual elevation of the holy day, such as eating delicious foods, imbibing tasty drinks, beginning meals with a blessing and wine, wearing one's best clothes, devoting time to study and self improvement, and starting the Sabbath with the lighting of candles, symbolizing the light, warmth and joy that mark the anti-Sadducean quality of the Sabbath.

Thus, the Sabbath labors are "forty minus one," marking a day in which Jews understand both the rigorous duty to remember God and the delightful duty to do so with joy.

Summary
The rule banning "forty minus one" types of activities on the Sabbath raises many questions, including why the rabbis selected thirty-nine labors and used the term "forty minus one" to describe this count when there are clearly more than thirty-nine prohibited categories of labor on the Sabbath.

Since many ancient arduous activities were associated with forty, the number came to symbolize difficulties and work performed with rigor. The rabbis may have used the word forty with the Sabbath as a symbol to challenge Jews to demonstrate the meaning of the Sabbath; the Sabbath reminds Jews that God created the world, and they mark it by abstaining from a list of creative activities, just as God ceased performing acts of creation on the original seventh day.

By reducing forty by one and phrasing the number of restricted Sabbath activities as "forty minus one" rather than thirty-nine, the rabbis were symbolically reducing the difficulties. They were emphasizing that despite the need to remember and demonstrate the fundamental lesson of the Sabbath, the Jew must also understand that the Sabbath is not a gloomy time, but a day of delights, joy and self improvement.

King Solomon's Mines Probably Existed


B”H

Another day, another archeologist finds out that the Bible tells the truth . . .

M
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Jan 29, 2009 22:53 | Updated Jan 30, 2009 2:58
Digs may help decide if 'King Solomon's mines' was a misnomer
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060036.html


A University of California archeologist has found evidence that sheds new light on the venerable question of whether King David and his son King Solomon controlled the copper industry in the Kingdom of Edom, which is present-day southern Jordan.

The term "King Solomon's Mines" was made famous by a 19th century novel of the same name - although, until now, no such mines have been proven to exist during the time period mentioned in the Bible.

Prof. Thomas Levy of UC San Diego, who reported the findings of an international team of archeologists he headed in an issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US) late last year, is expected to reveal more on February 18 at a meeting of his university's Social Sciences Supper Club.

Working with Mohammad Najjar of Jordan's Friends of Archeology and others, Levy excavated an ancient copper-production center at Khirbat en-Nahas ("ruins of copper" in Arabic) down to virgin soil, through more than six meters of industrial smelting debris (slag).

The 2006 dig uncovered new artifacts and with them a new set of radiocarbon dates placing the bulk of industrial-scale production at Khirbat en-Nahas in the 10th century BCE - in line with biblical narrative on the rule of David and Solomon. The new data pushes back the archeological chronology some three centuries earlier than the current scholarly consensus. The research also documents a spike in metallurgic activity at the site during the 9th century BCE, which may also support the history of the Edomites as related by the Bible.

Khirbat en-Nahas is in the lowlands of a desolate, arid region south of the Dead Sea in what was once Edom and is today Jordan's Faynan district. The Bible identifies the area with the Kingdom of Edom, a foe of ancient Israel.

For decades, scholars have argued over whether the Edomites were sufficiently organized by the 10th to 9th centuries BCE to seriously threaten the neighboring Israelite Kingdom. Between the World Wars, during the "Golden Age" of biblical archeology, scholars explored - as Levy describes it - "with a trowel in one hand and Bible in the other," seeking to fit their Holy Land findings into the biblical story.

Based on his 1930s surveys, American archeologist Nelson Glueck even asserted that he had found King Solomon's mines in Faynan/Edom. By the 1980s, however, Glueck's claim had been largely dismissed. Some scholars said that the Bible was "heavily edited" in the 5th century BCE, long after the supposed events, while British excavations of the Edomite highlands in the 1970s/'80s suggested the Iron Age had not even come to Edom until the 7th century BCE.

"Now," says Levy, "with data from the first large-scale stratified and systematic excavation of a site in the southern Levant to focus specifically on the role of metallurgy in Edom, we have evidence that complex societies were indeed active in 10th and 9th centuries BCE, and that brings us back to the debate about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible narratives related to this period.

Khirbat en-Nahas, comprising some 100 ancient buildings including a fortress, is situated in the midst of a large area covered by black slag that can be viewed clearly on Google Earth's satellite imagery. Mining trails and mines abound.

Levy says the mere size is an argument for the ancient existence of industrial-scale production at Khirbat en-Nahas. And the depth of the waste at the site provides what he calls a "measuring stick" to monitor social and technological change during the Iron Age, which spans around 1200 to 500 BCE, a key period in the histories of ancient Israel and Edom.

The archeological team, Levy says, used high-precision radiocarbon dating on date seeds, sticks of tamarisk and other woods used for charcoal in smelting to obtain the 10th- and 9th-century BCE dates.

Additional evidence comes from ancient Egyptian artifacts found at the site. The artifacts, a scarab and an amulet, were in a layer of the excavation associated with a serious disruption in production at the end of the 10th century BCE - possibly tying Khirbat en-Nahas to the well-documented military campaign of Pharaoh Sheshonq I (known in the Bible as Shishak, 1 Kings 14:25; 2 Chronicles 12:1-12), who sought to crush economic activity in the area after Solomon's death.

"We can't believe everything ancient writings tell us," Levy says. "But this research represents a confluence between the archeological and scientific data and the Bible.

"Our work also demonstrates methods that are objective and enable researchers to evaluate the data in a dispassionate way. This is especially important for 'historical archeologies' around the world where sacred texts - whether the Mahabharata in India or the Sagas of Iceland - and the archeological record are arenas for fierce ideological and cultural debates."

In the future, Levy intends to focus on who actually controlled the copper industry there - David and Solomon or perhaps regional Edomite leaders (who had not been written about in the biblical texts) - and also on the environmental impacts of the ancient smelting. Meanwhile, Levy is working with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan and other organizations to have Khirbat en-Nahas and environs recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to protect it from mining in the future and preserve "its spectacular desert landscape and rare, ancient character."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Major International Incident as Erdogan Leaves Stage In a Huff After Debate With Perez at World Economic Forum in Davos


B”H

OK, so it is now official. Erdogan wants to destroy the relationship between Turkey and Israel. He wants to make it impossible for Israel to see anything of their old friends in Turkey, and it is a very bad turn of events.

It is especially bad for the 24,000 Jewish citizens of Turkey. Those Jewish citizens of Turkey have already faced bombings, discrimination, threats, intimidation, and even the editorial page of the Istanbul daily calling for the expulsion of the Chief Rabbi of Turkey.

They are, unfortunately, following in the footsteps of their brothers in Islam and exhibiting, once more, that Islam cannot coexist with anyone, and certainly cannot value the blessings of democracy and openness.

Erdogan is a Moslem, and when he won the Prime Minister position in Turkey, there was a great fear he would turn the comparatively secular, democratic, and free nation of Turkey into an Islamic regime.

Unfortunately, those fears are starting to bear fruit.

It is with a heavy heart that I think of those dear Turkish Jews that have so many close ties to their brothers and sisters in Israel, the US, and Europe. I am hoping they will quickly find their way out of that nation.

M
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Jan 29, 2009 21:50 | Updated Jan 30, 2009 0:08
Turkish PM leaves stage during debate with Peres over Gaza
By HERB KEINON AND AP
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233050211059&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Israeli-Turkish relations took a dramatic turn for the worse in Davos Thursday night when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed red-faced off the stage at the World Economic Forum after sparring with President Shimon Peres over the fighting in Gaza.

Erdogan was angry over being cut off by a panel moderator after listening to an impassioned monologue by Peres defending Operation Cast Lead.

Peres's defense was prompted by harsh criticism leveled at Israel not only by Erdogan, but also by the two other panelists, Arab League head Amr Moussa and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"You are killing people," Erdogan declared to Peres.

However, a finger-pointing Peres told Erdogan that he would have done the same if rockets had been hitting Istanbul.

"Do you understand the meaning of a situation where hundreds of rockets are falling a day on women and children who cannot sleep quietly, who need to sleep in shelters? What is the matter with you? You don't understand, and I am not prepared for lies."

Peres's comments were met by hearty applause, which apparently irritated the Turkish prime minister.

Erdogan asked the moderator, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, to let him speak once more.

"Only a minute," Ignatius replied.

Speaking in Turkish, Erdogan said, "I remember two former prime ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks. I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it's not humanitarian."

"We can't start the debate again. We just don't have time," Ignatius said.

"Please let me finish," Erdogan said.

However, Ignatius responded, "We really do need to get people to dinner."

The Turkish premier then said, "Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I don't think I will come back to Davos after this."

The confrontation saw Peres and Erdogan raise their voices - highly unusual at the elite gathering of corporate and world leaders, which is usually marked by learned consensus-seeking and polite dialogue.

The packed audience at the Erdogan and Peres session, which included US President Barack Obama's close adviser Valerie Jarrett, appeared stunned.

Afterward, forum founder Klaus Schwab huddled with Erdogan in a corner of the Congress Center.

"I have known Shimon Peres for many years and I also know Erdogan. I have never seen Shimon Peres so passionate as he was today. I think he felt Israel was being attacked by so many in the international community. He felt isolated," said former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

"I was very sad that Erdogan left. This was an expression of how difficult this situation is," he added.

Moussa, the former Egyptian foreign minister, said Erdogan's actions were understandable.

"Mr. Erdogan said what he wanted to say, and then he left. That's all. He was right," Moussa said.

Of Israel, he said, "They don't listen."

Erdogan brushed past reporters outside the hall. His wife appeared upset.

"All Peres said was a lie. It was unacceptable," she said, eyes glistening.

The unpleasant incident came at a meeting that both Israeli and Turkish diplomatic officials thought could help improve relations between the two countries - relations that have soured considerably due to Erdogan's extremely harsh criticism since the start of Operation Cast Lead.

"Erdogan's actions in Davos show that he doesn't want to miss an opportunity to further harm Turkish-Israeli relations," sources in Jerusalem said in response to the incident. The sources said that Erdogan's behavior on the Davos stage obviously would not help Turkey's attempts to be seen in Europe as a rational and constructive actor on the international stage.

"Israel's strategic relationship with Turkey is important to us, but it is no less important to Turkey," the official said. "Erdogan is harming his own interests."

The official said that Israel was growing increasingly "tired" of Erdogan's tirades, and was unlikely to make any more efforts to "chase after the Turks."

The official dismissed as no longer valid the argument that Erdogan's diatribes - he has called for Israel to be barred from the UN and said its actions were inhuman and would bring it to self-destruction - were the result of domestic considerations, and that he was playing to his strong Islamic base before the Turkish municipal elections in March.

The incident came even as Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan appeared over the last couple of days to be tempering Turkish rhetoric and taking a more conciliatory approach. On Wednesday he called on Hamas to abandon violence.

The Foreign Ministry had no response to the incident, an apparent indication that it did not want to exacerbate the situation.

From Rags to Riches, From Apostate to BT, From Texas to Jerusalem--This Story Is Completely Inspiring!

B"H

This is one of the most inspirational stories I have read in a long time.

A Jew, raised as a Xtian, tries to convince Tovia Singer that he is wrong to try to get Jews to return to Judaism. Tovia Singer, instead, gets him to see the error of his ways.

He returns to Jewish observance, losing friends, his life, and constantly struggles with family and friends. He almost loses his wife and his family.

He keeps going anyway.

His wife and his family turn around, and, after everyone is set, the man is greatly rewarded. He doesn't stop there, though. He uses his money to help others.

Wow.

May Hashm's blessings follow him every day of his life! May he succeed every day in bringing stray Jews back into the fold.

M
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Oil Tycoon Cashes In on Spiritual Dividends in Jerusalem
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129656
by Israel National News staff

(IsraelNN.com) Amongst the famous names in Israel rubbing elbows at a cocktail reception launching the 6th annual Jerusalem Conference on January 26, Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher spoke with oil magnate and philanthropist Guma Aguiar, the chairman of this year's conference, about using his personal gain in order to transform the Jewish dream into a reality, and using discoveries which changed his life and the lives of thousands of Jews throughout Israel.

"The dream that our parents, grandparents, and great-great grandparents had… it begins with a profound trust in G-d and is accomplished by gathering the Jewish people from the Diaspora to their homeland," Aguiar told Fleisher, in a joint interview broadcast on Israel National News TV and Israel National Radio. "Unless we have the dream of having a Temple that we would be able to serve our G-d with all of the [commandments], then ultimately, what are we doing here in Israel? That's the reason why my family came to the Holy Land. That's the reason why all our forefathers longed set foot in Israel. Based on my studying of our Hebrew scriptures, it is clear to me that our focus must be focused on sacred matters here in Israel. This inspiring endeavor will strengthen the Jewish state and, please G-d, hasten the redemption."

Aguiar has come a long way toward these understandings. Despite having been born Jewish, Aguiar was raised as an Evangelical Christian, encouraged to participate in Christian youth groups and church events throughout his young life. At the age of 26, Aguiar moved to Houston, Texas with the determination to find oil beneath the soil. Seeking out a Christian congregation to join, he encountered Rabbi Tovia Singer who has devoted his life to helping Jews in the church return back to the truth and beauty of the Jewish faith. Rabbi Singer is the founder of Outreach Judaism and popular talk show host on Israel National Radio.

"Initially, when I first heard about Rabbi Singer's efforts I thought that he must be some sort of anti-Christ, and I was really upset about his mission. So I decided to call him and argue with him. As a devout Christian, I couldn't fathom why he was doing this work! I asked him "What are you doing? You're trying to pull Jews out of the church? That's the worst thing you could possibly do," I argued. "Within 5 minutes of talking to Tovia, he entirely disassembled my entire belief system, and all the pieces of the puzzle came together within that first conversation. I repented during that first conversation, and I retuned immediately to my true heritage, the Jewish faith."

His revelation came at a price, however. Soon, his relationship with his family and friends began to crumble. "It was a disaster. My whole life went up in flames," Aguiar said. Yet after some time and discussion, things miraculously began to turn around. "Little by little, I was able to talk to them, and we started to build up a relationship," Aguiar said. "After asking certain questions…. My whole family did teshuva (repented), they've all made aliyah; and they're all living in Jerusalem now. It's a miracle, it's an absolute miracle, so I've dedicated my life to helping other people also find the truth." He has become a strong backer of Rabbi Singer's Outreach Judaism organization, encouraging Christians to "be really honest with themselves", and to understand that they can worship the G-d of Israel, "without any son or intermediary."

Aguiar, who is now known in Israel by his Hebrew name, Yehuda David, attributes his quest for spiritual truth with the blessing of discovering natural gas near Houston – one of the largest natural gas discoveries in North America in the last few decades through his company Leor Energy. In November 2007, the company sold its natural gas holdings for $2.55 billion, and Aguiar has become a generous philanthropist who now supports many vital Jewish organizations throughout Israel.

"How is it possible that I could have pinpointed this one massive discovery that nobody else had ever seen, two hours away from Houston?" Aguiar asked. "I had to be honest with myself. I quickly grasped that my shocking success was not due to a stroke of good luck. Only G-d could have blessed me with this remarkable discovery, and so now, I have to turn around and say - what can I do to bless G-d? What can I do to be His servant, His vessel, and repay Him for His manifold blessing and guidance?"

With this awareness in mind, Aguiar diversified his investment throughout the Land of Israel, providing financial support for rabbis, yeshivas, Jewish outreach and heritage organizations, and recently become a major backer of Nefesh b'Nefesh, an organization which assists North American and British Jews to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel). Aguiar became NbN's Chairman of Finance in 2008, after donating $8 million to the organization, money which Co-Founder and Chairman of NBN Tony Gelbart described as "vital" to record-breaking numbers of immigrants who have received NbN assistance.

Aguiar called his participation in helping Jews move to Israel "a truly sacred task," adding "There is no greater priority for the Jewish people or Israel than strengthening immigration from the US, Canada and the UK."

In 2008, Aguiar was named "Top Industry Executive of 2008" by Oil & Gas Investor Magazine, a distinction which brought with it many offers to head up companies, major public energy conglomerations, and even political positions. Yet instead of pursuing more wealth and prestige in America, Aguiar packed his bags and came to Israel. "In the beginning of 2008, after the sale of Leor's assets, I immediately decided to pack up 42 bags worth of luggage, came over here with my wife and family, and haven't left…I made aliyah in my mind a long time ago." Aguiar told Fleisher. "In terms of my career, I said "that's enough." I knew that G-d had given me what I needed to accomplish, and I was now in a unique position to make a meaningful difference, and that was the time that I left, and I didn't come back [to America]…. I decided to come here and just be a servant of G-d and do whatever possible for my nation."

Since moving to Israel, Aguiar has become increasingly involved in philanthropy throughout Israel and especially in Jerusalem. "I came to the conclusion – G-d has really put me in a position like Esther was in," Guma said. "I could do two things: I could either take my money that G-d has given me, and concluded that 'I'm so smart – my striking success was all because of me, I'm so great, I'm so brilliant'… or I could ultimately recognize this whole thing from start to finish was the result of G-d's blessings. I recognized the truth. I understood that I was bestowed with this success in order to serve the Almighty. G-d has protected and guided me all along the way, and He'll continue, because I have only one agenda, and that's to be His servant."

"You took shares in the G-d Company", Fleisher joked to Aguiar. "That's right," Aguiar said. "I invested in Jerusalem… I'm willing to take that investment and pass it on to my children and my children's children. That will be the most important investment, the biggest return on my capital, of any investment that I could have ever made."

The energy Aguiar is most focused on now is the one that he says he senses on the Temple Mount, the site of two destroyed Temples, and the place he says he hopes to witness the building of the third and final Temple.

"This is the core belief and dream of the Jewish people, I didn't make this up," Aguiar said. "If you're going to argue with me about this, now you've got to argue with Ezekiel, you've got to argue with Isaiah, you've got to argue with Daniel. I just look at them as an example, I listen to Jacob, I look at Abraham – they're the ones who found it, not me. Isaiah and Zechariah promises that the Torah will go forth from the Zion [the Temple], and all the nations of the world will know that there's one G-d, the G-d of Israel. Please G-d, I will merit to witness this final redemption quickly in our time."

Israel Suddenly Discovers the Blogs! Calls for Army of Bloggers To Fight Anti-Israel Posts. Gets A Thousand Volunteers. Now What?



B"H

The war of the blogs is on.

Finally, almost too late to believe, Israel has finally started thinking about PR and tapping into the power of the blogs, facebook, and all the other alternative and social networking possibilities to spread Israel's side of things.

Of course, it probably won't help much. The Israeli Government Spokesperson admits, "We are in the process of thinking how to utilize these volunteers." (I guess they should have thought about that first??)

We are dealing with Amalek. There is baseless hatred boiling over from every direction and there is more than enough need to give our side.

We need to discuss the underlying reason people are hating us right now. My theory? The world is comfortable thinking of Jews as Holocaust Victims. They are not so comfortable thinking of us as human beings.

G-d forbid Israel would lift its head and hit back when we have been attacked and attacked and attacked. How dare we!

We are supposed to be victims, tragic characters in a story that is supposed to end with our extinction. We are supposed to be museum pieces, our Torah nothing but an artifact, our holy places ruins or rededicated as shrines to Islam.

We are supposed to just drift away into the sands of history and disappear.

How dare we actually claim our ancestral lands, demand our right to live in our own country with our own laws and our own people without being constantly attacked!

How dare we assume that we have the same rights as other human beings!

The horror!

From the Catholic Church's Mr. Ratzinger, to the Spanish government's cancelling of the Holocaust Memorial activities, to Turkish hate, to Iranian nuclear bombs and, of coruse, our own idol to self-hate and suicide: Ehud Olmert--we are being attacked from all sides.

It is about damn time that everyone started to rally in our defense.

M

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Pro-Israel media: Bloggers join media war
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3663679,00.html

Some 1,000 new immigrants and foreign-language-speaking Jews volunteer to army of bloggers set up by Absorption Ministry and Foreign Ministry with the stated objective of flooding blogs with pro-Israel opinions

Itamar Eichner
Published: 01.29.09, 09:52 / Israel Culture

Arye Sharuz-Shalicar, 31, whose parents emigrated from Iran to Germany, is a one-man PR show. He speaks Persian, German, English, French, and Spanish and can also get by in Russian, Turkish, Arabic, and Italian.

Sharuz-Shalicar is one of the front-line soldiers in the Ministry of Absorption's new "army of bloggers" that was recently established in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry's public relations department following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

The Absorption Ministry is recruiting new immigrants and Jews living abroad who have access to a computer and who speak a second language to a volunteer effort to improve public relations for Israel on the internet. The campaign was launched last week.

In the cross hairs are problematic blogs, talkbacks, online social networks, online polls, Youtube videos, and more.

The ministry was amazed by the massive response to the effort. More than 1,000 interested applicants contacted them, of which 350 are Russian speakers, 250 English speakers, 150 Spanish speakers, 100 French speakers, and 50 German speakers.

A range of other European languages are also represented among the volunteers: Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Greek, Bulgarian, and Danish. Persian-, Turkish-, and Arabic-speaking Jews also offered their services. The ministry even got an application from a Chinese speaker.

Some 60% of the applicants are immigrants, old and new. The rest are Jews living in the Diaspora, Israelis living abroad, and even non-Jews who support Israel and want to help out.

The Absorption Ministry forwarded the volunteers' details to the Foreign Ministry, which briefed them via email and provided up-to-date material on the situation, including video clips that could help them in the field.

While the Absorption Ministry is tasked with recruitment, the Foreign Ministry will be responsible for directing the volunteers online. Each time the ministry identifies an anti-Israel trend on a foreign-language blog, news site, or other website, it will immediately put out a message to the volunteers to flood the site with pro-Israel opinions.

Absorption Ministry Director-General Erez Halfon commented, "This provides an important opportunity for new immigrants, who have always been a strong Zionist nucleus, to feel like they are contributing to improving Israel's image in the world. The foreign-language-speaking immigrants are a real asset, and it is important to take advantage of this. From our perspective, it was like an emergency call up, and I am thrilled that the response was so great."

Noam Katz, director of the Foreign Ministry's PR department, said, "We are in the process of thinking how to utilize these volunteers not only during conflict, but also during regular times as well."

Miriam Schatzberger, 25, a new immigrant from Germany, joined the ranks of the ministry's volunteers.

Schatzberger said, "I surf the German websites, and I was shocked by the anti-Israel reports. It is really smart to go on these blogs, to introduce myself as an Israeli and just to talk to them in order to try and balance out the picture."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama The Muslim

B"H

I TOLD YOU SO!

(I soooooooooooo told you so.)


Snake.

M
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Obama Discusses his Muslim Background in Al Arabiya Interview
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129641
by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) President Barack Obama chose the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya Arabic satellite TV network for his first formal television interview as president. He cited his Muslim background and Muslim relatives and said that one of his main tasks was to communicate to Muslims "that the Americans are not your enemy."

Obama said the U.S. had made mistakes in the past but expressed hope "that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."

He condemned Iran's threats against Israel, its pursuit of nuclear weapons and support of terrorist organizations, but he added, "It is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress."

Obama called for a new partnership with the Muslim world "based on mutual respect and mutual interest." He talked about growing up in Indonesia, the Muslim world's most populous nation, and noted that he has Muslim relatives.

Hamas likes Mitchell
In a surprising statement, Hamas group softened their stance against Obama Tuesday.

"In the last couple of days there have been a lot of statements [from Obama], some of them very positive, and choosing this George Mitchell as an envoy," said Ahmed Youssef, a senior Hamas official interviewed on the Al-Jazeera news network. "I think there are some positive things we have to count." Mitchell arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for a visit that will also include Israel, the PA, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The interview centered on Israel and the PA, but Obama did not say what his approach to the dispute would be. He said he felt it was important to "get engaged right away" in the Middle East and had directed Mitchell to talk to "all the major parties involved."

The president reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel as an ally and to its right to defend itself. He added: "I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people," he said, and called for “a Palestinian state” that is contiguous with internal freedom of movement and can trade with neighboring countries.

Clinton supports Israel
The United States supports "Israel's right to self-defense," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a Washington news conference Tuesday.

"The rocket barrages which are getting closer and closer to populated areas [in Israel] cannot go unanswered," she said in her first news conference at the State Department.

Better Watch Your Back, Hamas. I Wouldn't Sleep Too Soundly If I Were You . . .

B"H

Those idiot Hamas crazies, who want to commit communal suicide, are continually breaking the cease-fire. They are sending mortars, rockets, shooting at our soldiers, and now planting bombs on the border that killed one of our troops.

Debka is reporting that there is a build-up and some serious plans under consideration at this time.

I'm not sure if anything will happen though. The only people more bent upon communal suicide than Hamas seem to be the government ministers in Israel.

Can you believe that Olmert was going to release 1,300 more Hamas terrorists as part of the "cease fire" agreement with those monsters?

There seems no end to his stupidity.

M
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Major Israeli reprisal pending against Hamas for bomb which killed soldier
http://www.debka.com/index1.php
January 27, 2009, 10:03 PM (GMT+02:00)



The Israeli soldier was killed and three others were injured, one seriously, Tuesday, Jan. 27, when Palestinians detonated a large explosive device against a routine Israeli military patrol near the Kissufim crossing a week after Israeli troops exited the Gaza Strip. Eight hours later, an Israeli air strike killed a Hamas operative involved in the attack on a motorbike near Khan Younis.

DEBKAfile's military sources expected further clashes after defense minister Ehud Barak warned that Israel would respond to the Palestinians' unacceptable breach of the ceasefire.

According to those sources, Hamas initiated the clash for the benefit of US president Barack Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell the day before he arrives for his first visit to the region. It was a reminder to Washington that hostilities in Gaza would not end so long as Washington cold-shoulders Hamas. The Palestinian Islamist terrorists will probably continue their attacks including resumed missile fire against Israel, to which the IDF is bound to respond.

But Hamas will be heartened by Israel's slow response. Israel's war planners, after declaring at the end of Operation Cast Lead that the IDF's deterrent strength had been repaired and it would take Hamas a very long time to revert to violence, ought to have kept instant reprisal plans ready to whip out for contingencies such as Tuesday's attack.

It was obvious quite soon after the ceasefire that Hamas had not thrown in the towel, as DEBKAfile reported in its exclusive analysis Saturday Jan. 24.

They are reigniting the flames in Gaza to show the US president that the instruction to his envoy to stabilize the ceasefire is meaningless because neither he, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak or Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert can make a ceasefire stick without Hamas' concurrence.

So, whether or not Israel opts for restraint, Hamas will seek to underscore this point by escalating the violence, at the same time seeking to refute Israel's claim of restored deterrence. For these Palestinian extremists, the war on Israel is nowhere near over.

The time-lag between the Palestinian attack and Israel's response exposes Jerusalem's commitment to consult with Washington and Cairo before taking any further action - part of the understandings underpinning the Gaza operation. These understandings, reached by Israel's war troika, the prime minister, defense minister and foreign minister Tzipi Livni, are proving now too ungainly and imprecise to fit the realities of Gaza and therefore ill-judged for the sort of rapid response Israel must make to stamp out Hamas' war initiatives.

Earlier, we reported that Israeli tanks fired shells into southern Gaza at the outset of the incident. The Palestinians reported one person killed.

Arab and Western media reported Israeli infantry troops entered the Gaza Strip and IDF helicopters flew overhead.

This was the first major clash since Israel and the Palestinians declared separate ceasefires last week. After the Palestinian bombing attack Tuesday morning, the Israeli army closed the Gaza crossings to aid convoys scheduled to have transited Tuesday, as they did throughout the 22 days of Israel's Gaza operation.

24K Strong Jewish Community in Turkey Under Increasing Threat

B"H

Turkey is becoming increasingly dangerous for Jews, and the Jewish community there has come under a lot of pressure--children have been threatened in school, Israeli Basketball players were attacked by the crowd, and signs have even been posted by the city of Istambul against Jews.

Yet, the Turks are saying that anti-Semitism doesn't exist!

Of course not! Also, Israel doesn't exist, right?

Everyone knew that the new Prime Minister in Turkey would bring Islamic extremism to Turkey and upset its status in the world--and they were right.

Now, Israel faces the very real possibility of having yet another enemy state on her border. So much for "moderate Islam" right?

M
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Turkish Jews fearful of anti-Semitism after Gaza
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3662406,00.html

One of largest Jewish communities in Muslim world faces threatening public atmosphere following Operation Cast Lead. 'I feel worried, sad and scared for myself and for my country's future, which is leaning towards racism,' says Jewish journalist

Turkey's centuries-old Jewish community says it is alarmed by anti-Semitism that emerged during protests at Israel's Gaza assault, and is questioning how this reflects its status in the predominantly Muslim republic.

Tensions between Jerusalem, Ankara translate into slump in outgoing tourism industry, strenuous industrial relations.

Although Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned anti-Semitism, Jews in Turkey and beyond believe the language he employed during the conflict gave some a license to translate their outrage at Israel's action into racial hatred.

Heightened anti-Jewish sentiment comes at a time of rising nationalism in Turkey, blamed for the murders of several Christians in the last few years, as hardliners fight against those struggling for a more plural, multi-ethnic society.

Some 24,000 Jews live in Turkey, making them one of the world's largest Jewish communities in a Muslim country, and their relations with the state, like those of other minorities, are a litmus test for Turkey's readiness to join the European Union.

"I feel worried, sad and scared for myself and for my country's future, which is leaning towards racism," Turkish-Jewish academic Leyla Navaro wrote in Radikal newspaper.

While Turkey is officially presented as a mosaic of cultures and peoples, Navaro said this was an empty tourist slogan in a country where a rigid definition of Turkishness has been imposed from above since the state's inception in 1923.

Turkey's Jewish community, which issued a typically impartial statement as the Gaza conflict began, said it has never seen anything like the anti-Semitism which emerged as public fury over the plight of the Palestinians soared.

Intensifying their fear is the fact Jews have been attacked in Turkey before. In November 2003 truck bombs exploded outside two Istanbul synagogues killing 24 people, mainly Muslims. A Turkish cell with links to al Qaeda claimed responsibility.

As Turks protested en masse, many with Hamas headbands, placards showing mutilated Palestinian children or baby dolls covered in fake blood, virulently anti-Jewish articles began to appear in some Turkish newspapers, and openly anti-Semitic graffiti became common.

Parents fear taking their children to school
Erdogan called Israel's operations, launched with the aim of ending Hamas' cross-border rocket attacks, "a crime against humanity," deploring what he saw as excessive force, and he suggested Israel be barred from the United Nations.

His rhetoric shocked Israel, usually a close ally, and has been interpreted by some as an attempt to shore up support ahead of local elections in March with an electorate deeply sympathetic to Palestinians.

In a recent open letter to Erdogan a group of five US Jewish organizations told him Turkish Jews felt besieged and threatened, adding: "A connection is clearly perceived between the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials and the rise of anti-Semitism."

While Turkey's Jewish community says the daubing of a giant swastika opposite Istanbul's Israeli Consulate or the trampling and burning of Jewish symbols is probably the work of extremist provocateurs, it adds it is particularly unnerved by the messages given by the government and the thinking this reflects.

One example they give is an Education Ministry decree that schools should hold a silence for the dead children of Gaza.

"The Education Ministry saw fit to implant the idea in children's heads that Israel is evil. Children of Turkish citizens of Jewish faith who have nothing to do with Gaza are now being targeted by other children," said a community member, who said she was too anxious to be named.

Some Jewish parents fear taking their children to school.

Turkey's ruling AK Party has Islamist roots and draws its constituency from the pious Anatolian heartland. It has incurred the wrath of the secularist establishment for what critics say is a hidden campaign to Islamize the country of 70 million.

Although the AK Party has made concessions to minority rights, including a national television station broadcasting in Kurdish, those of non-Muslim faith or non-Turkish heritage say they face discrimination.

500 year presence
Turkey's Jews are mainly the descendants of Sephardi Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition some 500 years ago for the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire. Thousands left amid political instability as the secular Turkish Republic was founded, but those who stayed are active in all walks of life.

In Istanbul's historic Galata district, small synagogues nestle alongside mosques and churches in the warren of tiny backstreets. Muslim staff work in a kosher restaurant which has operated for 50 years.

But Jewish buildings have long had a police guard and tight security, and people are wary of drawing attention to themselves. An elderly Jewish man smiles as he demonstrates how he hides his Jewish skull cap beneath a flat cap on the street.

The allegations of anti-Semitism have stung the government.
"Since the 15th century Turkey has been a safe haven for all religious groups... there is not a single case of anti-Semitism in Turkey," Erdogan's foreign policy adviser Ahmet Davutoglu told journalists during a recent briefing on Gaza.

Yet repetitions by officials of the Ottoman Empire's welcome to Jews ring hollow to today's community.

"Am I still indebted because my ancestors were accepted by the Ottoman Sultan? Am I still a guest in this land where I grew up, fulfill my duties as a citizen and actively contribute to its development?," wrote Navaro.

The article moved Turkish President Abdullah Gul to assure Navaro he understood her anxieties and was sensitive to them.

"We love this country and would not want to be anywhere else," said a Turkish Jewish woman, adding precisely because of this emotional attachment there is such concern for the future.

"I am trying to keep my faith in the open-minded majority of the Turkish people."

Weasels Posing as Right-Wing MKs Identified, Refuse to Sign Oath Against Aiding PA State in Eretz Yisrael


B"H

I have been meaning to write to Rabbi Slifkin, the ZooTorah Rabbi, to ask him the difference in species between weasels and Israeli MKs, but it looks like Matot Arim has devised a better way to define the difference.

Matot Arim designed an oath for the MKs to sign, which pledges that the MKs will not aid the creation of a "palestinian" state in Israel.

Congratulations to the National Union, Habayit Hayehudi, Israel Beiteinu and Shas, and individual MKs: Moshe Ya'alon, Yuval Steinitz, Ze'ev Elkin, Ayoub Kara, Tzipi Hotovely, Yariv Levin and Danny Danon. You are NOT weasels.

UTJ's Meir Porush should also be commended AS THE ONLY UTJ MEMBER TO SIGN. The rest of the MKs and their parties should be ashamed of themselves. They are siding with our enemies and will go down in history as co-conspirators in the attempted destruction of Israel.

I hope the electorate is paying close attention.

M
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Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu and three quarters of the Likud's candidates declined to sign a loyalty oath ruling out a Palestinian state that was distributed to all the parties on the Right.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233050185988&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The oath, distributed by the Matot Arim organization, included a vow not to lend a hand to the formation of a Palestinian state.

The National Union, Habayit Hayehudi, Israel Beiteinu and Shas signed the document.

Shas chairman Eli Yishai signed the document on behalf of his party. Meir Porush was the only United Torah Judaism MK who made the pledge.

The only candidates in the Likud's top 28 who signed the pledge or were tied to previous such pledges were Moshe Ya'alon, Yuval Steinitz, Ze'ev Elkin, Ayoub Kara, Tzipi Hotovely, Yariv Levin and Danny Danon.

A similar document was distributed when former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government was formed. While there were MKs who signed it but later supported the Gaza Strip disengagement, and MKs who refused to sign it but later opposed the move, Matot Arim spokeswoman Susie Dym said there had been a direct correlation between who signed and how they voted.

Ironically, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit attacked the Likud for opposing a Palestinian state at a Kadima press conference on Monday.

He called on reporters to do exactly what Matot Arim did and ask the parties whether they support a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu addressed the matter in a meeting with religious-Zionist Likud supporters in Jerusalem on Monday. At the meeting, he ruled out future unilateral withdrawals. He warned about the creation of a Palestinian state but declined to rule it out.

"Any Palestinian state that would be formed under the current conditions would become an Iranian state as we saw happen in Gaza," Netanyahu said. "[But] we all must work to advance peace while considering reality."

Netanyahu's associates said he did not want to govern a single Palestinian, but under certain circumstances, he would agree to a state with limited sovereignty and powers.

Regarding building in West Bank settlements, they said his views were no different than they were when he was prime minister, when he declined to build new settlements but allowed natural growth in those already existing.

"I have no intention of building new settlements in the West Bank," Netanyahu said in a meeting with the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair on Sunday. "But like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements," he said.

Hamas Terrorists Kill Soldier, Wound Three Others--But Livni Pretends All Is Well While Preparing Lips To Kiss Tuchas Of Mitchell


B”H

What the heck does Israel mean to achieve by holding on to this fake “cease fire” that we all know is really a Hudna??

Seriously, does Olmert and Livni think that somehow this time of rearmament will, in some way, help Kadima win the election?

Perhaps Olmert and Livni just want to make sure that they get a well deserved “good little Jew” pat on the head from Obama as he gives his first official interview to Al-Arabiya.

And, of course, Livni is expecting a boost from some sort of Obama support, I’m sure—especially since she tried to trot out the “Obama card” right after the elections, suggesting that the US would deny its support to any government of Israel that isn’t going to support the “peace” plan .

Excuse me, Madam, but it is Obama that needs to worry about getting support from the Jews and the Xtians, not the other way around. Unlike Israel, where the government representatives are elected from the party and do not reflect nor directly represent the people of Israel, America is a representative democracy and, because of that, Obama must be very careful what he does—especially when he got more that 60% of the Jewish vote. He is not going to abandon Israel, that would be political suicide on a massive scale.

In addition to that, all those democrats that won two years ago in congress have single-digit approval ratings from the American people. They are starting their re-election campaigns in the middle of this year, and they are going to need money to get re-elected. American Jews give a lot more than other groups, per-capita, especially to the Democrat Party (which I am still at a loss to understand). Those congress members, who are already facing long odds, would not risk their political futures by dropping Israel from their agenda.

So, my dear Livni, you are a liar. Obama is already on notice, with his approval ratings plunging more than 15 points after less than a week in office, and he will find that, in a short time, he will be completely unable to build support for his more extreme policies for which he needs congressional approval.

Let’s just hope that the new government in Israel can be strong enough to withstand Mitchell and his backward policies. Bibi says he won’t form a strong right-wing government (of course he won’t. Bibi doesn’t want anything but what’s good for Bibi, and a right-wing government could never be possible under his talk-tough-then-knuckel-under philosophy of governance), however, he may end up with one anyway if the Israeli people continue to see how weak and ineffectual Kadima has been and how they let continue to let Hamas destroy the lives of Jews in Southern Israel and threaten Tel Aviv.

How many thousands if rocket attacks must we sustain this time from Hamas before we go in and have to redo everything we just did and put the lives of Jewish soldiers in jeopardy? How many border attacks must we see? How many young soldiers must die at the hands of these terrorists? How many innocent people must live their lives in bomb shelters for this fake peace?

M
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War of Words after Hamas Attack on IDF; Mortar Hits Negev
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129633
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu


(IsraelNN.com) Leaders of major political parties were swift to swing political punches hours after Hamas killed one solider and wounded three others, one seriously, in a bombing of a patrol at the Gaza separation barrier. Hamas escalated the ceasefire violation with a mortar attack on the western Negev, causing no injuries or damage.

The attack near the Kisufim crossing occurred a day before United States Middle East envoy Sen. George C. Mitchell was to meet with Israeli government leaders. Mitchell arrived in Cairo Tuesday afternoon.

It also coincided with a visit by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to soldiers at the Tze'elim training center, near the scene of the attack. He called the fatal incident "serious" and threatened Hamas that "we will respond" but declined to spell out specific action or timing. "Those who don’t know how to defend themselves will not get a second chance," he commented.

Barak also took the opportunity to claim success in the Second Lebanon War. "In my estimation, we are on our way to a period that they [Hamas] will remember very well, like Hizbullah remembers the blow it absorbed in Lebanon two-and-a-half years ago," the Defense Minister added.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, lagging behind the Likud in pre-election polls, asserted, "As I said before the Gaza offensive, if we are attacked we must strike back. The way we conduct ourselves after the operation is just as important... This is a test of actions, not just of rhetoric. Changing the equation has to do not only with what we've already done, but with what we will do next."

Shas chairman Eli Yishai urged the government to immediately bomb Gaza, but Likud chairman Knesset Member Binyamin Netanyahu made no statement. Likud campaign spokeswoman Dina Libster said that he already warned that "we will meet Hamas again" and recalled his opposition to ending the Operation Cast Lead campaign terror in Gaza."

MK Yitzchak Aharonovitch of Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) stated, "The incident at Kisufim is a result of a successful military operation that was ended before its time by a failed political decision without a clear victory being decided. The response needs to be serious, determined, and painful."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mr. Ratzinger Decides to Welcome Holocaust Denier Back to Catholic Church Just In Time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day

B"H

What would ever make us trust the UN to establish an "International Holocaust Remembrance Day" anyway? Is there one organization in the world that hates us more than the UN?

So, they established this day and it has become what we should have expected it to become. Rather than a day to remember the evils of the Holocaust, it becomes a day to trash the Jews . . . Uh, I mean . . . uh, ISRAEL. Yeah, yeah, that's right--it isn't the Jews they hate, its ISRAEL (Phew! Good thing the the UN agreed to the creation of Israel so they could have something else call their hate! It just isn't politically correct to hate Jews, but they can all hate Israel, no problem!! What a blessing! They can hate Jews without ever admitting it!).

Now, the January 27 is no longer a day to remember 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, it has instead become an International Day of Anti-Semitism .

First, Barcelona decides to cancel the planned activities for IHRD because of the Gaza war and the "Holocaust of Palestinians" (everyone knows that it is OK to have Jews as victims, but Jews with guns is entirely a different matter) and then, in Scottland, at the University of Glasgow, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has decided to host Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas Supporter who calls for the destruction of Israel, to speak at their "Resistance ot Genocide and Ethinic Cleansing 1940-the Middle East Today" commemoration. (After all, those terrible Jews had the audacity to fight back when they were attacked OVER 7,000 times!!)

Ah, but these disgusting anti-Jewish expressions aren't the worst of it. Now, in commemoration of the Holocaust, we have the ultimate anti-Holocaust gift from the Catholic Church and Mr. Ratzinger, a.k.a. "Pope Benedict," (You know, the same former Nazi Youth that wants to name the Nazi Pope, and Ferdinand & Isabella as Saints, THAT Mr. Ratzinger. . . why am I surprised??).

I guess this puffed up Pontiff has decided to rescind the excommunication of a famous Holocaust denier and invite him back to the loving arms of the Catholic Church. (After all, what's more Catholic than hating Jews???)

I guess Mr. Ratzinger has decided that it is more important to forgive an unrepentant holocaust denier than it is to admit the truth, preserve any possible future relationship between Jews and Catholics, or provide an opportunity to stand up against evil incarnate.

But, what else would I expect from a guy who also reinstituted the prayer to convert the Jews? Ah, but I'm sure it isn't his fault. After all, Mr. Ratzinger has probably just decided to take sides with the Moslems because, in only a few years, he will be living as a dhimmi in his own country. I guess he realizes he better start sucking up to them now, right? After all, the way Europe is going, even an old coot like Mr. Ratzinger will probably be around when Shariah law is the new way things are done in Vatican City.

I wonder how the Catholics will react when Mr. Ratzinger gets down on his knees and kisses the ring of the Mufti of Rome?

M
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Pope rehabilitates Holocaust denier
Vatican issues decree lifting excommunication of bishop who claims gas chambers didn't exist

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3660903,00.html

Pope Benedict on Saturday rehabilitated a traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust, despite warnings from Jewish leaders that it would seriously harm Catholic-Jewish relations and foment anti-Semitism.

The Vatican said the pope issued a decree lifting the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops who were thrown out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1988 for being ordained without Vatican permission.

One of the four bishops, the British-born Richard Williamson, has made a number of statements denying the full extent of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews.

In comments to Swedish television broadcast on Wednesday he said, "I believe that the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler ... I believe there were no gas chambers".

Williamson said he agreed with "revisionists" who say that "between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber".

Before the excommunication was lifted, leaders in the Jewish community, including groups of Holocaust survivors, said such a move would be a dangerous blow to half a century of interfaith dialogue.

On Friday Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said the possibility that the pope would accept Williamson back into the mainstream church "has been received with shock and consternation".


Pain of the Holocaust
"For the Jewish people and all persons who feel the pain of the terrible years of the Shoah, this development marks a dangerous blow to interfaith dialogue and encourages hate-mongers everywhere," he told Reuters.

Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said he was "shocked by such a horror of denial, which is even more grave since it comes from a bishop".

Di Segni told the newspaper La Stampa that Williamson's re-admission into the Church would open "a deep wound in dialogue with Judaism".

The traditionalist bishops reject many reforms of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, notably its decision that Mass should be said in local languages rather than Latin, and its advocacy of dialogue with other religions.

A statement from the traditionalists said the implication they are racist was "entirely false and unjust".

But it said the group had the right to "pray for conversion (of Jews) to the true faith, to study their recent and tragic history, or to question some of their political objectives".

At the end of the Swedish interview, William says he realizes he could go to jail for Holocaust denial in Germany.

Pope Benedict has already made several gestures of reconciliation to the schismatic group, including allowing the unconditional return of the old-style Latin Mass.

That move angered Jews because the ceremony includes a Good Friday prayer for their conversion.

Friday, January 23, 2009

BASEBALL IS BACK!! IBL Pulls a Grand Slam in the 9th and Saves the Game!


B”H

Yes! Yes! AND YES!!!!! Now, I will go to Shabbat with a even bigger smile on my face!

I am sooooo happy this is happening. Baseball is a gem. A green oasis of rules and order in a chaotic and unruly world.

Israel needs baseball.

Baseball needs Israel.

Shabbat Shalom!!

:)

M
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Baseball in Israel is on deck for a second at-bat
Jan. 23, 2009
ALEXANDER BRITELL , THE JERUSALEM POST
http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1232643727634&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull


Israel may have lost its one and only baseball league after a disappointing single season in 2007, but the dream of diamonds in the desert is getting another chance.

This week it was announced that Maccabi Haifa Heat owner Jeffrey Rosen and New York Yankees minority owner and minor league baseball mogul Marvin Goldklang have reached an agreement with the Israel Association of Baseball to perform due diligence on a possible return of professional baseball to Israel.

"When we saw the old IBL in 2007, the concept struck a chord in a lot of us who would love to see baseball in Israel," Goldklang, who resigned from the IBL board along with a host of notable names after its only season, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

"I had an interest in the concept dating back to that time, before that time, it's something that I think has been at the back of my mind as something I d love to see in Israel for quite some time, well before the IBL."

The new agreement gives Goldklang, Rosen and several as-of-yet-unnamed partners exclusive rights to investigate making Israeli baseball an economic and practical reality.

They will cooperate with IAB to build the foundation for a successful professional baseball operation in Israel, rather than just plop down a league.

Accordingly, a new pro league is not expected for at least another year, and probably two.

The new partners stressed patience, keen on avoiding the mistakes made by now-defunct Israel Baseball League.

Goldklang, who also owns four minor league baseball teams, says that following the dissolution of the IBL, the IAB began contacting those experienced in pro baseball in the US about whether they had an interest in moving forward.

"Our response to them," he says, "was that it would be something in which we might have interest, but only if we could approach it the way we felt it should have been approached by the old league-to do some serious due diligence before opening our doors.

"One of the assets that we have is we have people on the ground, we have an office in Haifa, staff in Israel working with the Heat," said Andrew Wilson, Director of Marketing for Rosen's company, Triangle Financial.

"Jeff was one of the original investors in the IBL, and he is a huge fan of baseball. And a huge fan of Israel. So a match like this is his dream. Unfortunately a lot of the investors got burned with the IBL. There was a lack of funding, a lack of staff, of advertising and not enough communication between anybody behind the scenes.

"The IBL did virtually no preparation in Israel prior to the 2007 season. Marv, Jeff and their group will create a real business plan based on solid research and acceptable business practices," said Haim Katz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball.

"I don't want to speculate as to when we will see a new league. The appearance of the league will depend upon some solid number crunching as well as well planned creative ideas. To simply build it all at once will not be enough to succeed and is pointless. It will take a lot of work and dedication to execute a successful plan. We believe these are the people who can pull it off."

The agreement, which creates a de facto partnership between Goldklang, Rosen and their partners, is going to have two main focuses: marketing, and facilities.

Goldklang said they would test the potential effects approaches which have proven so successful at the minor league level in the States.

"The essence is to work on creating an atmosphere in the ballpark that can be enjoyable even to non-baseball fans," he said.

Some of these marketing tactics, he said, might include increased picnic areas like in US minor league parks, entertaining PA announcers who don't simply announce the name of the batter and promotional events, all with the aim of promoting interaction with fans and creating the type of atmosphere that would hope attract more native Israeli fans.

"It's not like the States, where the games sell out all the time," said Wilson. "You have to connect with the fans. One of the things we do in Haifa is constant emailing, putting out releases, thanking the fans, marketing with posters all over the city - we're community-based."

Wilson said he and Rosen hoped to eventually have live streaming video of Israeli baseball games, as does Maccabi Haifa now.

"We had 15,000 separate visitors to our site to watch the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv. It's not easy to get a lot of fans at the game," Wilson said. "You can't just expect thousands of people to show up, it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of marketing-that's what we learned with Maccabi Haifa, we're very happy with crowds that we're drawing."

"Unlike the prior league, we do have the necessary funding in place to take ourselves through the first phase of our effort," Goldklang says.

"I think we have assembled a group of partners, including people who are prominent names in Major League Baseball. If you look at us as a group, the management of this operation is likely to be different than anything that has been tried before."

One of the key issues will be finding places for teams to play.

"There is no facility in Israel that could be fairly called a ballpark," Goldklang asserts. There are baseball fields that are fine for youth programs, but when it comes to putting professional players on the field, and making the game work at the professional level, you need a lot more than what the old league had to work with."

Wilson said they hope to develop two or three real ballparks, by either building new complexes or expanding existing facilities such as Gezer or the Baptist Village.

The target is for an eventual eight markets including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ra'anana, Beit Shemesh, Modi'in, Haifa, Netanya and the Sha'ar HaNegev region.

Goldklang said the Sha'ar Hanegev region was especially interesting because it included about a quarter of a million people living only 20-25 minutes from Ashkelon who don't have an abundance of recreational options.

There won't be a season in 2009. To try and throw something together quickly, Goldklang maintains, would just bring upon the same problems that caused the earlier effort to fold. The target is one to two years, with some "presence" in 2009 to establish a marketing and fan connection.

"This is a very serious endeavor," Goldklang says. "If I didn't think it was a better than 50% chance we could do this, these are the type of people that wouldn't be getting involved. We're not in the business of wasting our time."

Lookstein Explains His Halachic Reasoning Behind National Prayer Service Participation

After rankling the RCA, Lookstein’s letter explains his move
http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2009/01/23/1002480/after-rankling-the-rca-looksteins-letter-eplains-his-move
By Jacob Berkman · January 23, 2009


After irking the Rabbinical Council of America for participating in the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral on Wednesday, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein sent a letter to his colleagues and co-members of the RCA this week explaining his move.

Lookstein expounded on what he told JTA Wednesday, saying that he felt it was an important moment and that it was necessary for him to represent the Orthodox community at an historic event that included representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements.

He also said there is historical precedent for his decision:


The Shulchan Aruch notes in YD 178:2 that a person who needs to be close to the government may wear even the Torah- prohibited garments of a gentile in order to represent the Jewish community well. The prohibition to enter a church is grounded in the appearance of impropriety, rather than an actual impropriety -- indeed, wearing garments of gentiles is a Torah prohibition and this is generally thought to be a rabbinic one.

It is well known that many Chief Rabbis of England have gone into Westminster Abby when summoned there by the King or Queen, and many other great rabbis have done the same to represent our community. The Chief Rabbis of Israel have engaged in similar activities, and, most recently, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen was involved in similar activities. In fact, he attended the funeral of the late Pope, John Paul II.


I’m not sure if Lookstein is meant to infer he was akin to the chief rabbi of America, but here is his letter in its entirety:

Fellow RCA Members,

The RCA recently issued a press release critical of my participation at the National Cathedral on the morning after Barack Obama's inauguration. I write to explain why I did participate in this service, even though it was in the National Cathedral, an Episcopalian Church.

First, I am very much in agreement with the RCA's view, derived from the writings of the Rav zt"l opposing interfaith dialogue and theological compromise. Indeed, I have been in the rabbinate more than fifty years, and I have never participated in such an event. I followed these guidelines throughout my tenure as President of the now defunct Synagogue Council of America.

Nevertheless, I felt not only that it was permitted to participate in this event, but proper for someone in the responsible Orthodox rabbinate and, indeed, necessary.

Herewith, my explanation for my colleagues:

This event was not an interfaith dialogue or meeting. It was an invitation from the new President of the United States -- a man of incredible importance to the fate of our holy community in the land of Israel and here -- to meet him in prayer. Many clergy were invited, and I felt that the interests of our Orthodox community would be hurt if no one from our community participated.

The Shulchan Aruch notes in YD 178:2 that a person who needs to be close to the government may wear even the Torah- prohibited garments of a gentile in order to represent the Jewish community well. The prohibition to enter a church is grounded in the appearance of impropriety, rather than an actual impropriety -- indeed, wearing garments of gentiles is a Torah prohibition and this is generally thought to be a rabbinic one.

It is well known that many Chief Rabbis of England have gone into Westminster Abby when summoned there by the King or Queen, and many other great rabbis have done the same to represent our community. The Chief Rabbis of Israel have engaged in similar activities, and, most recently, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen was involved in similar activities. In fact, he attended the funeral of the late Pope, John Paul II.

Rabbi Michael Broyde told me that he was once asked by the Israeli government to represent the government of Israel ON A VERY SERIOUS MATTER at an event in a church during a time of worship. He spoke to the Tzitz Eliezer about this issue, and the Tzitz Eliezer told him directly that if it was a matter of significant importance to the Israeli government, then he should go wearing his kipa and looking as rabbinic as he could.

Of course, such events are few and far between, and, in most situations, I and other RCA members would never participate in such events. But, I feel that Orthodox participation in this important national event, and the opportunity to say a few words directly to the President of the United States and begin to develop a relationship with the most powerful man in the world is a chance that our community can ill afford to miss. Indeed, when I spoke to President Obama, I thanked him for his support of Israel and I urged him to remember the unforgettable statement he made in Sderot, where he said, "If anybody
would shoot rockets into my house while my daughters were sleeping, I would do anything in my power to make sure they wouldn't do it again".

The President responded with a clear assent. Maybe this will save a life or two in the future and maybe it will not; but I felt this was not an assignment I could – or should – turn down.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

Rabbi Angel on Shabbat Va-era

Dreaming--and Working--for Redemption
Thoughts on Parashat Va-era

January 24, 2009
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel
Posted January 21, 2009 - 12:22pm
http://www.jewishideas.org/angel-shabbat/dreaming-and-working-redemption-thoughts-paras

"And Moses spoke before God saying: behold, the children of Israel did not listen to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me..."

Moses brought the children of Israel a tremendous message: God was ready to end their slavery in Egypt; God would bring them to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. After generations of harsh servitude, the Israelites would now become free.

Surely, this long-awaited message should have evoked rejoicing among the Hebrew slaves. Finally, redemption was at hand. Yet, the Torah reports that Moses' appearance on the scene did not generate much enthusiasm among the children of Israel. Indeed, after Moses demanded that Pharaoh release the Israelites so that they might worship God, Pharaoh issued orders causing the condition of the slaves to worsen considerably. The Israelites were furious with Moses; instead of improving their situation, he was causing them even more suffering.

Moses must have spoken to the people, trying to make them understand that the process of freedom would take time and effort. He must have tried to inspire them with the dream of liberation from servitude, of freedom to live in their own land, of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. But the children of Israel were not receptive to this message. They could hardly think of such grand and impractical scenarios. They were slaves who could barely catch their breath from their hard work.

Moses wondered: if the Hebrew slaves themselves don't listen to my words, how can I expect Pharaoh to listen? How can I lead to freedom people who do not aspire to be free? How can I confront the enemies of Israel, when the Israelites themselves lack the united will to go out of Egypt? How can I lead, if no one is ready to follow me?

When Moses related his concerns to God, God commanded Moses and Aaron to let the Israelites and Pharaoh know that Pharaoh must send the Israelites out of Egypt. God did not offer Moses words of encouragement. He did not tell him to spend more time teaching the Israelites about freedom. He told him: do your job, regardless of who will or won't listen to you.

God taught Moses an essential ingredient in proper leadership. When the public faces a difficult situation, a leader needs to present a grand vision of how the public can overcome the difficulty. A leader must keep focused on what needs to be done, and must gain the support and willpower of the public. But this often takes much time and energy. The public is not quickly aroused from its inertia. People always have excuses why things can't change: we are too busy with our work, the establishment is too powerful, we don't want to make things worse by calling for dramatic change, let others take the risk if they want--but don't count on us!

When a leader hears these comments, he/she may lose heart. How can we move forward if the public is not with us? How can we bring about change if people are afraid of change, or if people are not ready to make sacrifices to alter the status quo? The answer: do your job! Keep focused on your ideals and your dreams and your goals regardless of who will or won't listen to you. This is what God taught Moses, and it is a lesson for spiritual leadership of all generations. The public will one day be awakened to the challenges of the moment, and will rise with all its power to effect needed change. Do your job! Stay focused! Articulate the dream! Redemption will come.

* * * The Angel for Shabbat column is a service of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. If you share the dream of an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism, please become part of our growing community by becoming a member at www. jewishideas.org

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Children Locked In Houses As Human Shields, Inflated Numbers of Dead Civilians--It's Not Just the IDF Reporting This, It's The Gazans THEMSELVES!!

B”H

We know they use human shields. We know they don’t care about life. We know they aren’t there to take care of the children, women, and elderly of Gaza. They are terrorists. Their goal is to fight dirty, kill people, and try to make Israel look as bad as possible.

When the IDF was surrounding Gaza, did Hamas shoot their rockets at our military? No.

They chose to shoot their rockets at civilian targets.

Now it is not just the IDF that is saying this. According to the Italian newspaper, the arabs, themselves, are saying this.

Congratulations, all you anti-Jewish radicals dancing in the streets with scarves on your heads and Jewish-Stars-Made-Into-Swastikas. We told you that the IDF were the real liberators of the arab people, protectors of the innocent civilians. But, your hate of Jews was so fervent and your wish to be a proper dhimmi was so ardent, that you couldn’t help yourself! You screamed and howled and waved the flags of anti-Semitism. You drank the koolaid of hate, and you were used by the terrorists--you were their patsy (by the way, most of you liberal secularist, feminist, and gay protestors wouldn’t count as dhimmis at all. You have to be a true believer in G-d to qualify. Most of you would be tried by Shariah, found to be guilty of blasphemy or homosexuality, or both, and jailed or executed. And all you women out there with the T-Shirts and jeans—I hope you don’t mind spending the rest of your life in a burqua with no education, no rights, and no ability to even speak to a man who isn’t married to you. So much for feminism!).

I hope you, the great unwashed, know that if those Hamas terrorists saw you, they would probably laugh for a moment at your stupidity and ignorance before they shot you dead.

Wake up, people! They don’t care if you protested. You are just to be used against the Jews and sacrificed. You are just a stepping stone in the path to world domination and forced conversion of the masses. I know you don’t believe me. You are too busy trying to please your arab masters.

M
-----

Last update - 17:57 22/01/2009
Top IDF officer: Hamas use of children during Gaza op was 'monstrous'
By Haaretz Service
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1057874.html



The Israel Defense Forces' Gaza Division Commander on Thursday branded Hamas' use of women and children during Israel's recent offensive in the coastal strip as "monstrous" and "inhumane."

Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg said the civilians were sent by Hamas to transfer weapons to gunmen during the offensive. He also accused the Islamist militant group of booby-trapping many of the civilians' homes.

"Entire families in Gaza lived on top of a barrel of explosives for months without knowing," Eisenberg said.

More than 1,250 Palestinians were reportedly killed during Israel's offensive against Hamas in the coastal territory. According to estimates by Gaza officials, more than half of the Palestinian dead were civilians.

Israel has been heavily criticized for the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties in the operation. Eisenberg, however, asserted that Israel Defense Forces soldiers adhered to moral principles while fighting in Gaza.

Palestinian civilians, meanwhile, have accused Hamas of forcing them to stay in homes from which gunmen shot at Israeli soldiers during the recent hostilities in Gaza, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.

The Italian paper also quoted a doctor at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital as disputing the number of Palestinians said to have been killed in the campaign.

"It's possible that the death toll in Gaza was 500 or 600 at the most, mainly youths aged 17 to 23 who were enlisted by Hamas - who sent them to their deaths," he said.

13 Israelis were also killed during the 3-week operation, which was aimed at halting rocket fire on southern Israel and destroying Hamas' infrastructure.

The Gaza doctor was further quoted as saying: "Perhaps it is like Jenin in 2002. At the beginning they spoke about 1,500 dead, and at the end it turned out to be only 54 - of whom 45 were militants."

He was referring to the Israel Defense Forces battle with Palestinian militants in the West Bank town that took place during Operation Defensive Shield at the height of the second intifada.