Monday, June 30, 2008

Prisoner Swap Soon/Earthquake Soon--Coincidence?

Map of Lebanese Fault Lines. For more information, click Here.


Watch out, Olmert. It was an earthquake that warned Sharon that he shouldn’t expel Jews from Gush Katif. There was a huge crack in his office, and in the cabinet room—but no other damage occurred. You would think that would have been warning enough.

Nope. He went along and did what he did.

A disaster for Israel and a disaster for Sharon. Now he is living in his own little hell.

I’m thinking the prisoner swap is not such a good idea. After all, doesn’t it look like this earthquake might be coming from the very same place you are making the exchange? Hmmm. Prisoner exchange planned with Lebanon, earthquake expected from Lebanon . . . There is no correlation, right?

I expect the earthquake to happen the day of the prisoner exchange, and it doesn’t matter what day that is.

I don’t understand why people think that the time of miracles is behind us. I think it is clear that G-d speaks, and speaks loudly.

We just don’t listen.

Hospitals in north instructed to prepare for earthquake,7340,L-3562032,00.html

Health Ministry director-general sends letter to medical facilities in northern Israel, warning them Geophysical Institute believes large quake may hit area soon. Hospitals urged to ready for possible mass casualty event

Meital Yasur-Beit Or
Published: 06.30.08, 12:02 / Israel News

An inter-office governmental committee reviewing seismographic assessments by the Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) concluded recently that a large earthquake might hit northern Israel in the near future.

Following the report, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Avi Yisraeli ordered hospitals in the north to implement the necessary procedures in order to be able to handle a mass casualty event.

In face of grim earthquake casualty estimations, police warn that forensic teams are incapable of dealing with large-scale national disaster; officials ask for $9.8 million to set up national biometric database to simplify identification process, equip labs.

In a letter sent to the northern medical facilities on Monday, Prof. Yisraeli wrote, "Since mid February 2008, abnormal seismic activity has been noted in southern Lebanon, which had suffered some 500 minor earthquakes measuring a little over magnitude-2 on the Richter Scale, in a three-month period.

"Over the month of May, the tremors have become more intense and were felt in northern Israel as well. Data revealed by the Geophysical Institute of Israel have shown the probability of a massive earthquake – to the magnitude of up to 6 on the Richter Scale – originating in Lebanon and being felt in Israel, has become higher.

"The inter-office governmental committee believes that should an earthquake of such magnitude hit northern Israel it may cause substantial infrastructural damage in the area."

In view of the assessments, added Prof. Yisraeli, "All medical facilities and organizations must do everything they can to enhance the level of readiness; in order to minimize the damages caused by such an event and provide those in need with the best medical care possible."

The letter concluded with Prof. Yisraeli ordering all medical facilities in northern Israel to complete all the logistical updates they deem necessary, as soon as they can.

A series of mild tremors, ranging between 3.3 and 3.9 in magnitude, were felt in northern Israel in mid June, causing no injuries or damage. The quake was traced back to Lebanon

GII Director Rami Hofstetter told Ynet that "although such earthquakes are considered low-to-medium in intensity, they are still powerful enough to be felt throughout the northern communities adjacent to the Lebanese border."

MP4s are devil's device, says Orthodox Court


Correct me if I’m wrong . . . But I thought “the devil” was a xtian convention, not a Jewish one.

Don’t we believe all things come from Hashm, and that there isn’t a separate “evil” that tries to entice us away from Hashm? Don’t we understand that, as Alexander Pope once wrote:

All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony, not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

Yes, there is an evil intention that exists in each of us, but there is no prancing pagan devil trying to steal our souls. Are these people really Jewish???

Ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem enraged over sales of MP4 devices, considered 'devil's way of driving people to sin.' Orthodox Righteous Court of Law issues formal ruling banning vendors from stocking devices; two stores selling them vandalized
Neta Sela
Published: 06.30.08, 08:10 / Israel Jewish Scene,7340,L-3561923,00.html

Technological advancements have always posed somewhat of a problem for the ultra-Orthodox community. The rabbis often choose to ban any public contact with any unfamiliar gadget, for fear their users might be exposed to inappropriate content; and so MP4 players, which allow users to watch films, have now become the newest threat to chastity.

The fight against the device reached a new level last week, when an MP4 supplier, whose store is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood, found it vandalized – its window and showcases smashed.

A second store, located just off the capital's Shabbat Square, did not fare much better: It too was vandalized and its repair lab burnt down. Some say that was an event waiting to happen: For several weeks prior to the arson, a dozen-or-so yeshiva student used to demonstrate in front of the store every week and protest the sale of the banned devices.

The storeowners even found pashkevilim (informative ads or posters often plastered in the Jerusalem's religious neighborhoods) distributed against them: "A terrible plague is upon us, calming victims every day… these sinful devices were banned by all the great rabbis, but are still common in the haredi world… their devilish distributors want nothing more than to drive the people of Israel to sin, through movies and other abominations," read the ads.

Another pashkevil, by the "association for the saving of the youth in the Holy Land," informed the public about a rabbis and an Orthodox Righteous Court of Law ordinance banning MP4 devices all together: "This little device is the devil's way to try and gain entrance to our protected homes and yeshivas, disguised as something you can listen to Torah lessons through," it said.

Ynet has learned that the Orthodox Righteous Court of Law had, indeed, held a session on MP4 devices. The court ruled that the devices must be banned and issued a warning to all vendors not to stock them, saying those who do "will be subject to a court hearing," and giving vendors three week to comply with its ruling.

The police have reportedly launched an investigation into both vandalism incidents.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Next Great Idea for Google


A bit off the topic of my usual posts, but I had a really really great idea, and I wanted someone to know it was mine, so I thought I would post it before it gets out and someone thinks it came from somewhere else. . .

OK, here it is: Why doesn't Google Maps have a button for "Mass Transit" on their directions?

If there were such a button, and if we could get maps for the bus/train routes to our location--don't you think Google could, singlehandedly, change the way most of us get from here to there?

Google could give the mass transit maps, tell us in the "directions" which bus/train to take, and provide links to the schedules. Someone out there must be a great programmer and can get this ball rolling, right? After all, Israel is one of the most technological places on earth, and the Jews are no slackers when it comes to smarts!

I think it is the next great idea for Google. Are you listening, Google? Can you hear me?

This is the time, when gas is at its all-time high and we all want to find a cheaper way around.

So, consider this post my copyright on the idea. I had it first. It's published and date stamped!

If you use it, Google, I expect a nice cut, OK?



The Zoo Rabbi, Rabbi Slifkin has a New Blog!!


I don't usually put any mention, specifically, about any blog--but this is a very special blog run by an amazing scholar, rabbi, human being.

The "Zoo Rabbi," Rabbi Slifkin, now has a blog up at:

He writes about the animal kingdom and its relationship to the Torah and Jewish tradition. There is probably no one more apt to discuss this nexus than Rabbi Slifkin. He has dared combine real science and Torah scholarship, as our great sages have done in the past (See Maimonidies!!), but the superstitious backward black-coated hoard has seen him as a threat to their weirdo view of Torah, and have tried to ban his books.

Like a true gentleman and the great rabbi that he is, he has continued to work diligently at what he does best and has ignored them.

Here is an example of his wonderful work:

Killer Quails

The Torah tells us that after the quails arrived, God smote the Jewish

"The meat was still between their teeth, not yet finished, and the anger of
God was kindled amongst the people, and God smote the people with a very
great blow. And he called that place by the name of 'The Graves of Craving,'
for there they buried the people that craved." (Numbers 11:33-34)

We are told that God struck the people with "a very great blow" - but what was the nature of this blow? Was it bolts of lightning sent down from above? It could indeed have been a miracle. But as we saw in the previous essay, Ramban and Rabbeinu Bachya explain that the sending of the quail was not a miraculous event. Perhaps the same holds true for the killing of the people that resulted from their demand for quail.

According to Ibn Ezra and Rabbeinu Bechaya, God inflicted "dever" - pestilence (an epidemic disease). Their source for this information is unclear. But Abarbanel, along with many of those who have studied the natural history of the Torah, gives a different explanation - that the people died due to the known toxicity that sometimes exists with quail.

There is a highly mysterious and unique illness that sometimes occurs after eating quail. It is not known to exist with any other bird, and it is therefore named coturnism, after the Latin name for the common quail, coturnix. Coturnism is a severe type of rhabdomyolysis, which involves violent muscle pain, paralysis (including respiratory paralysis), and renal failure, occasionally resulting in death.

It has long been accepted that coturnism results from poisonous seeds that quails eat,[1] although the identity of these seeds has widely disputed.

Rambam describes the connection between the consumption of quail and human disease, writing that "many people who indulge greatly in eating quail develop cramps in the muscles because of the hellebore, which is the nourishment of the quail."

Many connected the illness to hemlock seeds, but this was disproved by recent research. In the words of Professor Laurence Grivetti, probably the greatest expert on this malady: "Despite several numerous accounts from Classical Greece and Rome, Medieval Jewish and Muslim writers, and 20th century scientists, who sought to explain the intoxications, coturnism continues to qualify as one of the longest unexplained diseases in medical history."[2]

Could it be that the "great blow" with which God struck the Jewish People when they consumed quail was coturnism, as Abarbanel writes? There do seem to be several disparities between the between the plague described in the Torah and known cases of coturnism.

One difficulty often raised is that coturnism begins to take effect one to ten hours after consumption of the meat, with the known fatalities only occurring after several days. The Torah's account, on the other hand, states that "the meat was still between their teeth, not yet finished," when God struck down the people. The Talmud notes that this means that at least some of the people died immediately:

"It states, 'The meat was still between their teeth [when they were stuck down] - and it also writes, '[they shall eat meat] until a month of days' - how can this be? The average ones died immediately, while the wicked ones suffered progressively until a month of days." (Talmud, Yoma 75b)

However, Seforno explains that the Torah is using a metaphor, much like the earlier statement of God that He would provide meat for the people until "it would be coming out of their nose." The phrase "the meat was still between their teeth," says Seforno, simply means that they were still in the month of consuming it, and were not yet tired of it. Likewise, the phrase "not yet finished" does not mean that they had not yet finished swallowing the meat (as most commentaries explain it), but rather that the month of quail supplies was not yet over.

A more serious difficulty with positing coturnism as being "the great blow" is that of the hundreds of known cases of coturnism, only a handful were fatal, and these only in the case of elderly and frail people. The plague described in Scripture, on the other hand, killed "the fattest of them, and struck down the young men of Israel" (Psalms 78:31). Still, research indicates that coturnism is more severe when the victims were exerting themselves before eating, leading some to suggest that the exertions by the
greediest people to collect as many quails as possible would have led to more severe cases of coturnism.[3]

A third difficulty is that coturnism is a curiously limited phenomenon. With quails flying on the western migratory route, it only occurs with birds caught along the northern (spring) migration, while with quails flying on the eastern migratory route, it only occurs with birds caught along the southern (autumnal) migration. The quails in the Torah account, however, do not fit into either of these categories. They were traveling on the spring migration, since the Torah describes the event as occurring in the month of Iyyar, and it was in the eastern route, which passes over the Sinai and
Negev deserts. These birds should therefore not have been poisonous. The only solution to this difficulty would be if the quails somehow changed from their known behavior and ate the poison-causing seeds at a different time of year. As Professor Grivetti writes, "How and why migratory quail become toxic at different seasons of the year at discontinuous geographical regions of the Old World remains poorly understood."[4]


[1] Aristotle, On Plants, 820:6-7; Pliny, Natural History, 10:23.
[2] For more information about coturnism, see Kennedy, B.W. and L.E.
Grivetti, 1980. Toxic quail: a cultural-ecological investigation of
coturnism. Ecology of Food Nutrition 9: 15-42; Grivetti, L.E. 1982.
Coturnism: Poisoning by European Migratory Quail. pp. 51-58 in Adverse
Effects of Foods. Edited by E.F. Patrice Jelliffe and D.B. Jelliffe. New
York, New York: Plenum; Lewis, D.C., E.,S. Metallinos-Katsaras, and L.E.
Grivetti. 1987. Coturnism: Human Poisoning by European Migratory Quail.
Journal of Cultural Geography. 7:51-65; J.S. Papanikolaou, S.P. Dourakis,
V.C. Papadimitropoulos, E. Tzemanakis, N. Kittou, S.J. Hadziyannis Acute
rhabdomyolysis following quail consumption, Annals of Saudi Medicine, Vol
21, Nos 3-4, 2001, pp. 219-220; Aparicio R, Onate JM, Arizcun A, Alvarez T,
Alba A, Cuende JI, Miro M., Epidemic rhabdomyolysis due to the eating of
quail. A clinical, epidemiological and experimental study Med Clin (Barc).
1999 Feb 6;112(4):143-6.
[3] GW Rutecki, AJ Ognibene, JD Geib, Rhabdomyolysis in antiquity: From
ancient descriptions to scientific explanations, Pharos Spring 1998; 61 (2):
[4] L. Grivetti, Reading 14: Toxic Grouse,

(c) Copyright by Rabbi Natan Slifkin 2008, All rights
reserved. This essay may be further distributed free of charge, provided
that the header and footer information is preserved intact.

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Zoo Torah is a non-profit educational enterprise that offers a series of
books, programs for both adults and children, zoo tours, and safaris, all on
the theme of Judaism and the animal kingdom. For more details and a taste of
the experience, see

The Myth of Al-Aqsa

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

No more than a politically motivated holiness.

When the Prophet Mohammad established Islam, he introduced a minimum of innovations. He employed the hallowed personages, historic legends and sacred sites of Judaism and Christianity, and even paganism, by Islamizing them. Thus, according to Islam, Abraham was the first Muslim and Jesus and St. John were prophets and guardians of the second heaven. Many Biblical legends (asatir al-awwalin), which were familiar to the pagan Islamization was practiced on places as well as persons.

Arabs before the dawn of Islam, underwent an Islamic conversion and the Koran, as well as the Hadith (the Islamic oral tradition), are replete with them.

Islamization was practiced on places as well as persons. Mecca and the holy stone - al-Ka'bah - were holy sites of the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and the Great Mosque of Istanbul were erected on the sites of Christian-Byzantine churches - two of the better known examples of how Islam treats sanctuaries of other faiths.

Jerusalem, too, underwent the process of Islamization: at first Mohammad attempted to convince the Jews near Medina to join his young community and, by way of persuasion, established the direction of prayer (kiblah) to be to the north, towards Jerusalem, in keeping with Jewish practice; but after he failed in this attempt, he turned against the Jews, killed many of them and directed the kiblah southward, towards Mecca.

Mohammad's abandonment of Jerusalem explains the fact that this city is not mentioned even once in the Koran. After Palestine was occupied by the Muslims, its capital was Ramleh, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem, signifying that Jerusalem meant nothing to them.

Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Mohammad's death. In 682 CE, 'Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. 'Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph, needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage and settled on Jerusalem, which was then under his control.

In order to justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (sura 17, verse 1) which states (as translated by Majid Fakhri): "Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing."

The meaning ascribed to this verse (see the commentary in al-Jallalayn) is that "the furthest mosque" (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem and that Mohammad was conveyed there one night (although at that time the journey took three days by camel) on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon. He tethered the horse to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and from there ascended to the seventh heaven together with the angel Gabriel. On his way, he met the prophets of other religions who are the guardians of heaven - Adam, Jesus, St. John, Joseph, Idris (Seth?), Aaron
, Moses and Abraham - who accompanied him on his way to Allah and who accepted him as their master. Thus, Islam tries to gain legitimacy over other, older religions, by creating a scene in which the former prophets agree to Mohammad's mastery, thus making him Khatam al-Anbiya' ("the Seal of the Prophets").

After Palestine was occupied by the Muslims, its capital was Ramleh, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem.

Not surprisingly, this miraculous account contradicts a number of the tenets of Islam. How can a living man of flesh and blood ascend to heaven? How can a mythical creature carry a mortal to a real destination? Questions such as these have caused orthodox Muslim thinkers to conclude that the nocturnal journey was a dream of Mohammad's.

The journey and the ascent serves Islam to "go one better" than the Bible: Moses "only" went up to Mt. Sinai, in the middle of nowhere, and drew close to heaven; whereas, Mohammad went all the way up to Allah, and from Jerusalem itself.

What are the difficulties with the belief that the al-Aqsa mosque described in Islamic tradition is located in Jerusalem? For one, the people of Mecca, who knew Mohammad well, did not believe this story. Only Abu Bakr, (later the first Calif), believed him and thus was called al-Siddiq ("the believer").

The second difficulty is that Islamic tradition tells us that al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in Kitab al-Maghazi (Oxford UP, 1966, vol. 3, pp. 958-9), a book by the Muslim historian and geographer al-Waqidi. According to al-Waqidi, there were two masjeds (places of prayer) in al-Gi'ranah, a village between Mecca and Ta'if, one was "the closer mosque" (al-masjid al-adana) and the other was "the further mosque" (al-masjid al-aqsa), and Mohammad would pray there when he went out of town. This description by al-Waqidi, which is supported by a chain of authorities (isnad), was not "convenient" for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th century.

In order to establish a basis for the awareness of the "holiness" of Jerusalem in Islam, the Caliphs of the Ummayad dynasty invented many "traditions" upholding the value of Jerusalem (known as fadha'il bayt al-Maqdis), which would justify pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Muslims. Thus was al-Masjid al-Aqsa "transported" to Jerusalem. It should be noted that Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa and those "traditions" in order to recruit and inflame the Muslim warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th century.

Another aim of the Islamization of Jerusalem was to undermine the legitimacy of the older religions, Judaism and Christianity, which consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. Islam is presented as the only legitimate religion, destined to replace the other two, because they had changed and distorted the Word of God, each in its turn. (ghyyarou wa-baddalou; on the alleged forgeries of the Holy Scriptures, made by Jews and Christians, see the third chapter of M. J. Kister, Haddithu 'an Bani Isra'il wa-l-Haraja, IOS 2 [1972], pp. 215-239. Kister quotes dozens of Islamic sources).

Though Judaism and Christianity can exist side by side in Jerusalem, Islam regards both of them as betrayals of Allah and his teachings; and it has always done, and will continue to do, all in its power to expel both of them from this city. It is interesting to note that this expulsion is retroactive. The Islamic broadcasters of the Palestinian Authority radio stations consistently make it a point to claim that the Jews never had a temple on the Temple Mount and certainly not two temples. (Where, then, according to them, did Jesus preach?)

Read their lips. For them, Christianity is no better than Judaism, since both "forfeited" their right to rule over Jerusalem. Only Islam - Din al-Haqq ("the Religion of Truth") has this right, and forever (e.g., according to Shaykh 'Ikrima Sabri, the mufti of Jerusalem, in a Friday khutbah on Sawt Falastin, the PA official radio).

Since the holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been, and still is, no more than a politically motivated holiness, PA leaders would be putting their political heads on the block should they give it up. Must Judaism and Christianity defer to myths related in Islamic texts or envisioned in Mohammad's dreams, long after Jerusalem was established as the ancient, true center of these two religions, which preceded Islam? Should United Nations forces be sent to the Middle East just because the PA decided to recycle the political problems of the Umayyads 1,250 years after the curtain came down on their role in history?


Prisoner Exchange in Jewish Law

The Maharam of Rothenburg

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

It has been reported that Hamas is demanding 1,000 terrorists now in Israeli jails in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been held hostage for two years in Gaza. Hence, let’s consider an article by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed’s on the subject of prisoner exchange in Jewish law, but only insofar as it refers to the imprisonment of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg in the thirteenth century.

“Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg (1215-1293 c.e.), known as the Maharam, was one of the greatest of the early Jewish codifiers. At the age of seventy he was taken captive and placed in a prison in France. Emperor Rudolf I proceeded to demand an exorbitant sum for his release.

“To understand the full significance of this act it is important to realize that almost all of the rabbis and leaders of the Jewish communities in that generation were the Maharam's students...Even the great rabbis of the generation that followed were greatly influenced by the teachings of the Maharam. The most famous of his students was Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, known as the Rosh, whose rulings are cited extensively in Rabbi Yosef Karo's Shulchan Arukh.

“Because the Maharam was such an important a figure, Emperor Rudolf I hoped to extort a huge ransom from the Jewish community. Indeed, the emperor's evil scheme nearly succeeded. The Maharam's students and admirers were prepared to raise the sum necessary to free their master. They felt that though the law forbids paying more for a captive than the accustomed amount, when the captive at hand is the leading Torah scholar of the generation, and the entire community is in need of him and his Torah wisdom, it is permissible to pay any fee.

“But the renowned Maharam would not permit it to be paid, for he understood that such an act would only encourage the enemies of Israel to imprison other rabbis in the future and demand huge sums for their release. As a result, Rabbi Meir spent the final seven years of his life in prison -- and it was there that he died.”

Rabbi Melamed goes on to say:

“Although … there are opinions that when the captive's life is at stake it is permissible to pay even more than the generally accepted amount, in wartime it is forbidden to give in to any such extortion whatsoever. The rule is that in times of war one does not submit to any of the enemies' demands. In fact, even in a case when the enemy only stole some straw and hey from a border village, the response must be a strong military one. For, as soon as one gives in to them regarding a small matter, they will gain confidence and increase their efforts to strike at us (see Eruvin 45a).

Therefore, if an enemy of Israel takes even a single hostage, we must go to battle against them in order to save the captive, for if we allow them to succeed in taking one hostage they will gain incentive and step up their efforts to strike at us.”

Cabinet Approves Hizbullah Prisoner Swap


If we are going to exchange equally, shouldn't we either require that the hostages are alive, or kill they ones they want released before the exchange?

I think that the crimes that these men are accused of would have brought the death penalty in any arab country, or in the US. Why does Israel insist on keeping these sorry excuses for human beings alive in our jails--so that we can guarantee that justice will never be served? So that we can encourage the terrorists to kill more of our people because there is never a price to be paid for their murders?

I am more than disgusted with the cabinet. Not only have they released men with blood on their hands, they have sealed the deaths of maybe hundreds of Israelis in the future--and the insurance that many Israelis will be kidnapped as well.

When you give into terrorists, you get terrorism. They are fools.

by Hillel Fendel

( PM Ehud Olmert's cabinet voted 22-3 to approve the proposed exchange of five Hizbullah terrorists for two abducted Israeli soldiers. Among the terrorists Israel is to release under the deal is murderer Samir Kuntar and four other living Hizbollah operatives, in exchange for IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said are probably dead. Although the families of the two abducted soldiers were promised entry to the meeting before the vote, they only met with the PM after the cabinet meeting.

The three cabinet ministers voting against the deal were Ze'ev Boim, Roni Bar-On and Daniel Friedman.

The proposed deal involves the release of five Hizbullah prisoners from Israeli prison and ten Hizbullah corpses, for the two IDF reservists. The two abducted soldiers have long been assumed to be dead, but now Prime Minister Olmert has all but confirmed this.

Among the five Hizbullah prisoners is Samir Kuntar, who not only murdered three Israelis and caused the death of a fourth - members of the Haran family and a policeman - but is also considered Israel's final hope of ever receiving information on captured IAF navigator Ron Arad. Arad was captured after his plane was felled over Lebanon in 1986 and was held by various terrorist groups; he was ultimately probably taken to Iran, and his whereabouts have been unknown for years.

Olmert, who said before the meeting that he himself is not sure how he would vote, took a strong position during the Cabinet session. He recommended outright that the ministers approve the exchange, and said that Israel's information is that the two IDF soldiers were killed during the abduction, or shortly afterwards.

"It is a difficult dilemma," Olmert told his aides this morning, "but when I go to the Cabinet meeting, I'll know how to vote."

On the one hand, his top aide Yoram Turbovitz opposes the deal, as do the chiefs of the Mossad and General Security Service. On the other hand, Olmert has promised the Goldwasser and Regev families that he would do everything he could to return their loved ones, and diplomat Ofer Dekel has been working for months to implement the deal.

At the start of the meeting, Olmert said he was torn by doubts: "Even those with the utmost responsibility, such as those in a position like mine, have the right to have doubts and deliberate, as well as the duty to do so, because this decision will have repercussions on our lives in the years to come... We have to be able to look directly in the eyes of the Regev, Goldwasser, Arad, Haran and Shalit families, as well as those of the citizens of Israel, and say that we made the decision with a clear conscience."

The meeting began with a security briefing: Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Shabak (General Security Service) head Yuval Diskin expressed their strong objection to the deal, while IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin supported it.

"Deal Will Encourage Terrorists to Kill Abductees"
Opponents of the deal, including security experts, politicians, the ?Almagor terrorism-victim organization and the Bereaved Parents Forum, said that a deal for dead bodies "would encourage the terror organizations to kill their abductees in the future, and also directly endangers Gilad Shalit who is being held by Hamas." Shabak chief Yuval Diskin has said the same.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, head of the Labor Party, was among those who raised their hand in favor, having said, "We have a moral obligation to bring the boys home, dead or alive." He admitted last week that the deal is "problematic." Vice Premier Chaim Ramon (Kadima) said the deal is reasonable, as "receiving Goldwasser and Regev is for sure, while receiving information on Arad is only a maybe..."

One Cabinet minister said, "You'll notice that we have never received a live body from Hizbullah in any prisoner exchange, except for Elchanan Tenenbaum; the three soldiers kidnapped in 2000, and apparently the current two as well, were returned dead."

Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) actually used this information to support the deal. He noted that back in 1996, the Netanyahu government released 45 Hizbullah prisoners and the remains of 141 Hizbullah terrorists, in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers - Yossi Fink and Rahamim Alsheikh - who had been kidnapped by Hizbullah ten years earlier. Yishai did not mention that 17 Israel-allied South Lebanese Army prisoners were also freed by Hizbullah in the deal.

Beilin: Against
Yossi Beilin, former leader of the left-wing Meretz party, noted that in 1998, Israel returned 40 terrorists corpses and 60 Lebanese prisoners for the body of Itamar Ilya, one of the 11 IDF commandos killed in a terrorist ambush in Lebanon in September 1997. "It was a grave mistake then, and it will be a mistake to repeat it again now," Beilin wrote.

Rabbi Ronsky Expected to Rule That They are Dead
Opponents of the deal also demanded that the government not vote on the exchange until IDF Chief Rabbi Avi Ronsky issued a ruling as to whether Goldwasser and Regev can be considered dead according to Jewish Law. They noted that it is absurd that the government does not even know whether the soldiers to be returned are alive or dead.

Rabbi Ronsky announced his opinion to his aides that the soldiers are, in fact, dead, but refused to make an official statement until the cabinet finished voting.

Karnit Goldwasser, wife of kidnapped IDF soldier Ehud Goldwasser, was amazed Sunday to hear Olmert inform his cabinet ministers that her husband is probably no longer alive. "This is the right direction, but why do we have to learn about it from reporters? If Olmert is in favor of the decision, this is the right direction. Nonetheless, I am surprised by his certainty that they are dead. So far, we have been informed that there is no concrete information," said the wife who just learned that she is probably a widow.

Palestinian group to sue UK over Israel


I suggest Israel should join this suit, stating that the creation of Jordan out of the historic and religiously recognized land of Israel was a great disaster, as the PA claims, and that all the land should be immediately returned to Israel (along with the rest of our historic lands in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait).

The fact that Jordan will not immediately repatriate all the residents of those UN "refugee" camps is proof that Britain should have never cut Israel in half and established Jordan. Israel should have all their land back, the British mistake of giving land to the arabs should be reversed. Israel will then work to make sure the arabs are returned to the former Jordanian areas from whence they came.

Hopefully, this suit will truly uncover Israel's true sovereignty over that land and Britains great mistake.

However, I doubt this will ever happen. Britain will dismiss the case before it even gets to trial. G-d forbid, they ever admit that Israel is legitimate, the "palestinians" are a made-up fictional people, and they should have never created Jordan--which is what they would have to do if the case were to proceed.

Jun 29, 2008 5:53 | Updated Jun 29, 2008 5:59
Palestinian group to sue UK over Israel

A Palestinian youth group announced Saturday that it plans to demand compensation from the British government for "committing a series of crimes" against the Palestinians.

Representatives of the Watanuna (Our Homeland) Palestinian Youth said the biggest crime the British government committed was when it promised a homeland for the Jewish people in the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

They said they were also planning to collect a million signatures from Palestinians in support of the lawsuit against Britain.

Ali Ubeidat, a spokesman for the youth group, whose members include many university students, said preparations had already begun to file the suit in a British court.

He said the decision to go after the UK government came after a thorough study of all the legal aspects related to Britain's responsibility for the Palestinians' "nakba" (catastrophe), the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

"We hold Britain responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people over the past 60 years," Ubeidat said. "It's time for Britain to bear the moral and political responsibility for this suffering. The British people should be among the first to support the rights of the Palestinians."

The organizers began collecting signatures over the weekend from Palestinian youth in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel and overseas.

Rami Masharaka, director of Watanuna Palestinian Youth, said the lawsuit would also refer to the time of the British Mandate for Palestine.

He said his group had begun collecting testimony and other evidence about Britain's practices back then, especially "its policy of expelling the Arabs from their homeland."

Calling on all Arabs to support the initiative, Masharaka said hundreds of volunteers were planning to visit Palestinian refugee camps in Arab countries in the context of preparations for filing the lawsuit. Other volunteers would collect evidence from Palestinians living in Europe and the US, he added.

The organizers did not say how much money they were planning to demand from the British government.

First World Noahide Conference Begins


If you think being a religious Jew is hard, you have never known a Noahide! We have established holidays, ways to pray, ways to celebrate, ways to live--they do not.

They have Noahide law, and a lot of questions. Which holidays are for them? Which are not? How do they interact with the Jewish community? What is permissable, and what is not?

This is an important conference, and provides one of the first opportunities for Noahides to define and establish the contours and borders of their own religious tradition.

They are an ancient religion with no clearly defined responsa and few known leaders.

Most are left to try to figure out Noahide beliefs on their own, while dodging xtians on one side trying to appropriate the religion, and Jews on the other side misunderstanding their intentions. Meanwhile, very few people have even heard of them, and they end up, most of the time, trying to define and defend themselves to others.

I salute the Noahides as True keepers of the Torah and G-d's Law, and hope that this conference will be the first of many that lead to a more comprehensive and clear understanding of what it is to live life as a Noahide.

First World Noahide Conference Begins
by Hillel Fendel

( The 1st World Conference of the Noahide Nations is underway in Florida.

The conference is taking place at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport Hilton Hotel, and is designed to bring Jews and Noahides together. The organizers stated that for this purpose, the location was specifically chosen for its proximity to a large Jewish populace.

The conference speakers include IsraelNationalRadio (INR) director Yishai Fleisher, speaking on "INR Support for the Future of the Noahide Movement," and show host Rabbis Chaim Richman, and other rabbinic scholars.

The four-day event features workshops and symposiums led by Jewish and Noahide scholars in the fields of Torah study, science, history and government.

Conference organizer Ray Pettersen, of the Dallas-based Noahide Nations, said, “Our world is plagued with violence and diminishing human dignity. Yet, we are also blessed with an unprecedented outpouring of Torah knowledge that is both timeless and even technological. That knowledge, coupled with a heightened sense of the need for community is the underlying theme of this summer’s conference."

On display at the conference is what the conference organizers call the "Golden Crown of the High Priest of the Third Temple." The crown is actually a headplate known as the Tzitz, fashioned out of pure gold by the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem and completed last December. The Temple Institute stated at the time that the Tzitz "is ready to be worn by the High Priest in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem." The words "Holy for G-d" are engraved on the headplate, in accordance with Exodus 28:36.

Last month, Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, Sheikh Abdaal Salaam and Reverend Michael Kroop addressed a Hebrew University audience on the topic of how the Seven Noahide Laws can help bring world peace. Rabbi Cohen, of The Institute of Noahide Code, who organized the conference, said the goal was to "use the Noahide laws as a starting point for dialogue between representatives of different traditions."

The seven Noahide laws, by which Gentiles are bound according to Torah law and which are being accepted by increasing numbers of non-Jews, are the following:
1. Belief in one G-d; no idol worship
2. Respecting G-d: Do not blaspheme His Name
3. Respect for human life: Do not murder
4. Respect for family: Do not commit immoral sexual acts
5. Respect for others’ rights: Do not steal
6. Creation of a judicial system
7. Respect All Creatures: Do not eat live animals or be cruel to them

At the Florida conference, Pettersen presented Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight with the Zedekah Award for his charitable efforts and public support for the State of Israel, and Vendyl Jones received the Noah Award for his lifetime of work in spreading Torah and the Seven Laws of Noach. Other speakers include Rabbis Y. Hollander, Joel Bakst, and Michael Katz, as well as Dr. Andrew Goldfinger, Judge Rabbi Sander Goldberg, Jim Long, and more.

Dimona, Temple Mount are Iran's Targets


According to this article, Iran is planning to take out the Dimona Nuclear Power Plant and the editorial in their paper says they will target the Temple Mount.

Hmmm. Interesting choices, don't you think? Dimona is awfully close to Gaza--how many Hamas supporters would be fried in such an attack? Also, doesn't Dimona supply most of the power to Gaza? The Temple Mount, the center of Judaism (and NOT of Islam--they pray with their butts toward the Holy of Holies), is, of course, infested with Moslems and their "Al aqusa" Mosque.

Wow. I wonder what kind of backlash those two targets might bring to Iran from the arab world? Sounds like they would bring down a whole world of hurt upon themselves.


June 29, 2008
Iran ready to strike at Israel’s nuclear heart
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv

Iran has moved ballistic missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among the possible targets, defence sources said last week.

The movement of Shahab-3B missiles, which have an estimated range of more than 1,250 miles, followed a large-scale exercise earlier this month in which the Israeli air force flew en masse over the Mediterranean in an apparent rehearsal for a threatened attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. Israel believes Iran’s nuclear programme is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.

The sources said Iran was preparing to retaliate for any onslaught by firing missiles at Dimona, where Israel’s own nuclear weapons are believed to be made.

Major-General Mohammad Jafari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard, told a Tehran daily: “This country [Israel] is completely within the range of the Islamic Republic’s missiles. Our missile power and capability are such that the Zionist regime – despite all its abilities – cannot confront it.”

An editorial in a government newspaper, Jomhouri Eslami, said: “Our response will hit right at their temple.”

The sabre-rattling coincided with a visit to Israel yesterday by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, for talks with his Israeli opposite number, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi. This intensified speculation that Israel was seeking US approval for a possible attack on Iran.

“Although the visit had been planned well in advance, we got the feeling he was coming to make sure we’ll obey the strict timetable agreed with the US,” said an Israeli defence source. He refused to elaborate.

President George Bush has approved the linking of Israel to a US infrared satellite detection system that could spot Shahab missile launches within seconds.

This should enable the Israeli air force to destroy such missiles in the booster stage. The system will also give the Israelis about 15 minutes to seek shelter before any warhead hits.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Spinka Rebbe's Right-Hand Man Found Guilty of Tax Fraud

Rabbi and banker plead guilty in tax-evasion scam
They used an elaborate money transfer network in Israel, New York and Los Angeles' downtown Jewelry District to defraud the U.S. government of millions.
By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 28, 2008,0,5730327.story

Federal prosecutors secured guilty pleas Friday from a Tel Aviv-based banker and a New York-based rabbi for their involvement in a decade-long international tax-evasion scam centered around an Orthodox Jewish sect that defrauded the U.S. government of millions in tax revenue.

Joseph Roth, 66, an account manager for Israel-based United Mizrahi Bank, and Rabbi Moshe Zigelman, 60, admitted to their parts in a scheme in which people made bogus tax-exempt donations to charitable organizations related to Spinka, an Orthodox Jewish sect.

Most of that money was shuttled back to donors through an elaborate underground money transfer network in Israel, New York and Los Angeles' downtown Jewelry District. Those involved in the scheme received cash kickbacks, prosecutors said.

Roth pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge in a district court Friday and Zigelman agreed to plead guilty at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, federal prosecutors said. New York-based Zigelman was executive assistant to Grand Rabbi Naftali Tzi Weisz, the sect's leader, who was arrested last year in relation to the scheme and is scheduled to stand trial in September.

In a plea agreement filed Friday, Zigelman admitted to soliciting donations by promising to refund 80% to 95% of the sum. Zigelman and Weisz collected almost $8.5 million in contributions in 2006 and returned $7.7 million of that to the donors, and Spinka got a profit of more than $740,000 from those transactions, according to the plea agreement.

Roth admitted in court Friday that he established secret overseas bank accounts and bogus loans to facilitate the transfer of funds and charged fees to repatriate the money into the U.S., prosecutors said.

Zigelman's attorney, Michael Proctor, said his client was "atoning for his own wrongdoing" and would not testify against the other defendants. Zigelman faces a maximum sentence of 33 months in prison, Proctor said.

Peer shocks Safina to slide into Wimbledon fourth round

Last update - 02:57 29/06/2008

Shahar Peer, seeded 24 at Wimbledon, upset 9th-seed Dinara Safina in the
tournament's third round 7-5, 6-7, 8-6 Saturday night to win her first spot in the tournament's fourth round. The epic extra-sets battle lasted nearly three and a half hours.

The Israeli will now face Russia's Elena Dementieva, defeated by Safina at the semifinals at the French Open earlier this month. Safina made it to the finals of that tournament before losing to Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in the final.

After winning the first set 7-5 and leading 4-1 in the second, Safina evened the score at 4-4. Peer took a 5-4 lead and even had a match point, but Safina eventually won the set in a 7-4 tiebreaker.

In the third set, Safina looked confident as she led 5-3, but Peer won three games in a row to make it 6-5, as Safina began suffering from a leg cramp. Peer had a second match point but could not wrap up the match as Safina won the 12th game to make it 6-6.

Safina had come within a point of defeat in successive matches at Roland Garros, raising hopes of staging another great escape Saturday night.

After a topsy-turvy contest featuring angry outbursts, medical timeouts and code violations, Safina eventually limped out on Peer's fourth match point, falling after three hours and 25 minutes with a tame double fault.

Peer's next match-up is fifth-seeded Dementieva, who beat Gisela Dulko 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

The win marks the best effort of Peer's 2008 season, which until Wimbledon, was considered the worst of her professional career.

Safina defeated compatriot and world No.1 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of Roland Garros. In the quarterfinals, she stunningly battled back from the brink of defeat for a second straight match to earn a place in her first Grand Slam semifinal, coming from 5-2 down in the second set to defeat Dementieva 4-6, 7-6, 6-0 before losing to Ivanovic in the final.

Scared of Netanyahu?


It isn't just the left that doesn't want Bibi. Too many of us remember Oslo, we remember his last-minute and purposely weak attempt to "stop" the expulsion in Gush Katif.

We know that BiBi is as reliable as a windsock to the winds of politics.

Yes, BiBi, we are afraid--but not OF you, we are afraid BECAUSE of you. You will not protect Israel.


Scared of Netanyahu
Bibi says his rivals don’t want early elections because they know he will win,7340,L-3561294,00.html
Attila Somfalvi
Published: 06.28.08, 15:26 / Israel Opinion

“Hannibal was a military commander who lived more than 2,000 years ago and defeated the Romans in several battles,” Benjamin Netanyahu said at the Knesset cafeteria last week. “For Hundreds of years, mothers in Rome would use him to scare children who wouldn’t eat. They would tell them: ‘If you don’t eat, Hannibal will come for you.’ Now, Hannibal is back. I’m Hannibal.”

Netanyahu looked amused when he told this odd story, yet in reality he wasn’t amused at all. At the same time, not too far away from him, Haim Ramon was saying that Netanyahu will be the next prime minister and referred to Ehud Barak, who was still threatening to dissolve the Knesset that day, as “Bibi’s campaign manager.”

Ramon was not trying to talk quietly, and the Likud chairman could hear that he was the subject of discussion. “Bibi will come, Bibi will come,” Netanyahu imitated his rivals with a disparaging smile. “They are using me to scare the public and other politicians. They’re scared that if we have early elections, the public will democratically elect the person it wants. Oy vey.”

‘No need to commit suicide for Bibi’
The opposition leader may not be Hannibal, but he is apparently right. Labor’s and Kadima’s leaders’ fears of losing to the Likud in the general elections pushed them into each other’s arms. After Barak threatened to dissolve the Knesset and completely shook up the political establishment, he suddenly agreed to compromise and become an easy target for critics who were just waiting for him to yield and change his mind.

Further testament to Barak’s lack of desire to dissolve the Knesset can be seen when examining what happened Wednesday, as MK Silvan Shalom
sought to finalize a document to coordinate the moves of Labor, Likud, and Shas. Shalom wanted to know the name of the candidate to be presented in the no-confidence motion to be submitted after the Knesset is dissolved. Yet Labor Party Minister Shalom Simhon relayed an unequivocal message from Barak: Don’t touch this issue. The no-confidence vote is not part of this; Labor does not intend to vote against Olmert.”

Barak’s close associates admitted, after the deal with Kadima was approved by the Labor faction, that the fear of Bibi indeed played a significant role in the decision to reach understandings with Kadima.

“Why should we play into Bibi’s hands?” wondered a senior Labor figure closely associated with Barak. “The objective here is not to bring Bibi back to power, but rather, to send Olmert packing. We don’t need to commit suicide for Bibi.”

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Rabbi who Freed 1,000 agunot


What happened to true rabbis like this? Rabbis who know that it is with justice and mercy that one studies the law, not with political aspiration and sternness.

He was a young rabbi when he made these important decisions, and he made the bold moves required to implement those decisions as well.

Now we have intellectual dwarfs who cower in corners and, before issuing a ruling, employ professional "go betweens" to inquire how the other rabbis feel about the decision and whether it might affect their employment in the future.

Courage of conviction and a great Torah knowledge is what drove men like the young Ovadia Yosef to make the hard choices and publish the important works. Now, he and another giant, Hakham Mordechai Eliyahu, are at the sunset of their lives and are passing the torch to those much less capable than they were to lead with such intense righteousness.

May Hashm grant the upcoming generation of rabbis with the wisdom of their elders and not with the witless stringency of an inquisitional priest. May Hashm guard the health of these Torah giants to lead them as long as possible

By Yair Ettinger

In late 1973 after the Yom Kippur War, then-chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef received a query from the chief military chaplain, Brigadier General Mordechai Piron, regarding almost 1,000 cases of missing IDF soldiers who remained in the field, all of whom were married men.

Rabbi Yosef, who was just at the beginning of his term as chief rabbi but who had gained prominence as a respected posek (arbiter of halakha, Jewish law), took upon himself one of the most complicated halakhic assignments since the establishment of the state: he was appointed as president of the IDF's Court for Agunot Affairs, which dealt in 1974 with issues relating to agunot - literally, "chained women," because their husbands did not or could not give them a religious divorce, leaving the wives unable to remarry according to Jewish law.

In his vast halakhic treatise, Yabia Omer, Rabbi Yosef devoted long chapters to the matter of agunot, and to the halakhic principles whereby some 1,000 married women could remarry on the basis of various, partial testimonies that their husbands died.
Aginut, or the state of being an aguna, is a complex halakhic issue, which many halakhic arbiters avoid, primarily out of fear that they will mistakenly allow a woman whose husband is alive and one day will return home, to remarry.

In the preface to his Responsa, written in the month of Shvat 5734 (1974), Rabbi Yosef explained the importance of permitting agunot to remarry, and directed a little barb at rabbis who fled from this complex and critical halakhic issue: "I am aware of the way of some scholars in our generation, a way of light, of fleeing from every doubt in the world so that they will be able to present clear and decisive halakhic ruling to the point that it is incontrovertible; and indeed their way is good and honest in all other teachings, but when it comes to the aginut of a woman, I do not take the same approach, I only follow in the path of our early and late rabbis, who sought other sides and other sides of sides with all their might in order to be lenient in the matter of the aginut of a women."

"Rabbi Yosef was called upon to deal with one of his greatest legal, dramatic and humanitarian issues, and by definition one of his toughest Israeli assignments," journalist Adam Baruch wrote years later in his book "Seder Yom." "The ultra-Orthodox posek functioned here like a modern lab (-) his halakhic work in the matter of the agunot was a humane example and a halakhic example; an undertaking that reverberated deeply in Israeli society as a whole."

Now Rabbi Yosef is likely to be called on to handle a similar assignment. From his perspective, the case of the abducted soldiers focuses first of all on the possibility that Ehud Goldwasser's wife, Karnit, will become an aguna.

This past Sunday, the first stop was taken on the long and exhausting journey for the Goldwasser and Regev families, starting in Jerusalem at 45 Hakablan Street, the home of the leader of the Shas party. The soldiers' families asked the rabbi to instruct his four ministers to vote in favor of the deal with Hezbollah, but his involvement in the matter will be much more extensive. The keys are in his hands even in the event that the prisoner exchange deal is not even brought to the cabinet for a vote.

Chief IDF Chaplain Brigadier General Avi Ronsky will not declare Goldwasser and Regev killed in action without first consulting with the supreme halakhic authority, certainly when it comes to matters relating to agunot. Minister Eli Yishai, who also met with the families, told them that as far as Rabbi Yosef is concerned, "the decisive factor is the aginut of Karnit," adding, "it is too soon to say how the rabbi will decide. He is still waiting for additional data."

Is it possible to learn from the experience of the past what Rabbi Yosef will tell Rabbi Ronsky, who has been asked to start working to declare Goldwasser and Regev as killed in action? In his Responsa from 5734, Rabbi Yosef breaks down into their halakhic components the cases in which soldiers' bodies were identified on the basis of the dog-tag, personal documents, "photographs" of the body, or fingerprints. A special chapter is devoted to a case where there was no trace found of the body of a pilot whose plane was hit by a missile, but the pilot's friend, who was flying in the plane next to him, testified that the pieces of the plane fell into the sea.

In this case as well, after a detailed halakhic discussion, Rabbi Yosef ruled with regard to the wife of that same pilot that "there should be a lenient approach and she should be freed from her status, a priori."

But in the hundreds of cases in which Rabbi Yosef decided to permit agunot to remarry, he always had before him some physical evidence or at least reliable testimony as far as halakha is concerned, as in the case of the pilot. In no case did the rabbi permit an aguna to remarry based on an intelligence assessment and analysis by medical personnel.

Minister Yishai said that Rabbi Yosef is careful given the case of Hezi Shai, who was declared a casualty of the first Lebanon War and then two years later was found in captivity.

Rabbi Yosef, say those in his circles, will always favor the physical findings over intelligence and medical assessments, especially when it comes to releasing an aguna. Does this mean that in his two capacities as the leader of Shas and as a posek of halakha, he will prefer a deal? His associates respond in the affirmative, and that is also the view of Rabbi Benny Lau, whose doctoral thesis was on Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's halakhic doctrines.

"If there is any chance that in a prisoner deal some sign from the soldiers will be received, a sign of life or a sign of death, he will say that any price is worth it," Lau said.

Justice Interruptus


This is so absolutely ridiculous. If the situation was reversed, there would be armed troops on the doorstep of the home and Olmert's Stazi would already have pushed the people into the street.

But, these are not Jews, these are arabs, and the government fears them.

Too bad the Jews can't be feared. We used to be the most feared people on the planet--then we learned to assimilate, sympathize, and question our own moral compass. Then we learned to march in straight lines to own deaths.

Now, we forget who killed us, who assisted in the killings, and who is still killing. World War II is not over for these Nazis known now as "Palestinians."

The time is coming for Jews to be feared once again. People can only be pushed so far before they start to push back--with aggression, anger, and a whole lot of reawakened moral outrage.


After 16 Years: Judge Postpones Session Over "Scheduling Clash"
by Hillel Fendel

( Yitzchak Herskovitz, in his late 70's, has been waiting 16 years to move into his property in Jerusalem - but Arab squatters refuse to budge. The latest court session was abruptly canceled when the judge suddenly remembered he had another case scheduled instead.

The property in question is located in southern Jerusalem, at the edge of the Givat HaMatos neighborhood near Gilo and the Arab neighborhood of Beit Tsafafa. Herskovitz purchased it back in 1992 from a man who had bought it from the estate of an Armenian Christian. However, he soon found himself facing a clan of Arab squatters, who claimed it as their own; their claims alternated between "we received it when the Armenian defaulted on a loan" and "he sold it to us."

Last year, after handwriting and document experts testified that the Arabs' documents were fraudulent, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled in Herskovitz's favor, and that he could move to have them evicted.

"But the Arabs were smart," Attorney Anat Ben-Dror, who represents Herskovitz, told Israel National News. "The Magistrates Court judge refused to rule on actual 'ownership,' saying that this was merely a suit about eviction. So the Arabs promptly filed a suit in the District Court claiming they own the property! Unfortunately, District Court Judge Yosef Shapira is now refusing to accept the findings of the lower court, and is making us go through the entire process of bringing in our witnesses once again."

Lawyer: "Justice System is a Circus"
Ben-Dror said the justice system is being unfair: "It's a circus. The judges have many cases and apparently do not pay enough attention to each one. I'm sure he will realize his mistake in the end, but it will cost us another six months - as if Herskovitz has not waited long enough for justice."

Ben-Dror says there are other unbelievable aspects to the case: "Herskovitz has written letters to the police, to the Interior Ministry, and to everyone else, stating that Arabs who do not have Israeli citizenship are actually living in Israel proper - in the capital city of the country. Despite this, the offices don't even take the trouble to answer him - and have taken no action to deport these Arabs or to take other action against them."

Israel National News contacted the Justice Ministry to ask if it plans to apologize to the litigants for the delay caused by the court's scheduling conflict, and how it views the fact that this case - not unlike others - has gone on for so many years without justice being served. The Ministry spokesman's office received the queries Wednesday morning, and on Thursday stated, "We are dependent on others for the answers; we will inform you as soon as they are ready."

Good Sign for Herskovitz
Herskovitz's case did take a turn for the better on Wednesday, however: An order was handed down to the Arab squatters, informing them that if they do not pay the bond they had been previously ordered to pay, plus the total amount of outstanding rent that has amassed over the years - the injunction against the eviction will be withdrawn.

Attorney Ben-Dror said that the judge did not set a date for the money to be paid. However, she said she sent a letter to the Arabs' lawyer saying that if the money is not paid within ten days, "we will be free to begin proceedings" to remove them from the property.

Rabbi Angel on Parashat Korah
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

Korah foments a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and is depicted in Jewish history as an arch-villain and trouble-maker. The Pirkei Avot describes Korah's rebellion as having been conducted "shelo leshem shamayim", not for the sake of Heaven. Like many demagogues, Korah appeals to the masses and tries to turn them against the existing leadership. Korah argues: all the congregation is holy--why should power reside only in Moses and Aaron?

The reason the Torah and subsequent Jewish tradition vilifies Korah is because his goal was not to improve the situation of the Israelites or to serve God in a better way; rather, Korah was interested in gaining power for himself and his followers. It was a personal, egotistical move by Korah to unseat Moses--and put himself at the helm of the nation. He did not offer any particular plan or prove why he would be a superior leader; he simply appealed to the frustrations of the masses and ran a "negative campaign" against Moses.

Korah, then, is justifiably denigrated in Jewish tradition as having caused conflict not for the sake of Heaven, but for the sake of advancing himself.

Unfortunately, it has become fashionable in some circles to brand anyone with new ideas and "anti-establishment" views as a Korah. An egregious example of this tendency occurred not long ago when a respected Orthodox rabbi compared a rabbinic colleague to Korah, because that rabbi dared to criticize the authoritarianism that has taken over within the Orthodox community. By comparing the rabbi to Korah, the intent was to discredit that rabbi as a mean-spirited, egotistical and power hungry demagogue.

By calling an honest and fine rabbi "Korah", the respected rabbi not only sinned against that rabbi, but actively participates in the authoritarianism that seeks to quash all opposition, that wants to crush any new ideas, that wants to protect the establishment at all costs. How can an authoritarian, bureaucratic and corrupt system be changed unless people are willing to step forward and offer valid criticisms? Why should the "whistle blowers" be considered like Korah, when they are risking their own security and peace of mind by opposing the vested interests? The critics are not seeking to usurp power for themselves, and are not interested in egotistical gains. Rather, they are trying to alter a system that has grown self-righteous, imperious and perverse.

Let us criticize Korah and those like Korah. But let us not misuse Korah's name by applying it to good, honest and righteous people who are trying to improve our people and our service to God.

Report: IDF pressuring religious girls to enlist


To those who would say, "Why don't they enlist?" I have to answer that many of these girls want to enlist, but if they do, they will suffer because they won't get the opportunity of shidduchim that they would get if they never enlisted.

Why is that, you say?

Because many of the rabbis have concluded that, because the girls may be subject to close quarters with men, and because many of the girls may be in the situation where they cannot refuse, that all of them should be considered to have been with a man, whether they have or not, i.e. the rabbi will not list a girl as a virgin on her Ketubah if she has enlisted in the army--meaning she is barred from marrying a Cohen, and her prospects of marriage are greatly diminished.

So, before you go off saying these girls are not true Zionists because they won't enlist, hold your tongue.

If you want an army that includes these girls, do what they do for the religious men: put them into combat units made up entirely of religious women, commanded by women, taught by women.

This will not only solve the marriage issue, but it will also provide an opportunity for young religious women to consider staying in the army a bit longer than their required service in order to command and teach other religious women.

Right-wing weekly reports army no longer accepting of girls' claims they are religious, even when backed by rabbinate statements. MK Ariel: Religious community won't put up with this; in any case, women's enlistment harmful to society.,7340,L-3560891,00.html
Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 06.27.08, 07:18 / Israel Jewish Scene

The right-wing weekly Besheva reported Thursday that the Israel Defense Forces has recently toughened its stance on the issue of enlistment of young religious women, and the secretaries at the recruitment offices are no longer accepting the religious statements given to girls by the local rabbinates with the previous ease.

According to the report, the army is attempting to persuade the girls to enlist "using appeals and emotional pressure."

Tzurit Shmuel, an 11th grade student at the Beit Shlomit Ulpana in Jerusalem, described a verbal confrontation that took place between her and the secretary who took care of her file at the enlistment office.

"So what if you're religious?" she was asked. "The fact you have a statement doesn't mean you are exempt… You haven't served in the army, but I have and I'm here to tell you that in the army there is no problem with keeping kosher and the Sabbath. Even if you're religious, you can still serve."

When she attempted to protest, the secretary told Shmuel not to be rude to her, and continued to question her religiousness with questions like, "Do you say a prayer when you come out of the bathroom?"

When the young woman attempted to explain that rabbis prohibit women from enlisting, the secretary told her, "It's too bad you're not religious and don't know why you are not enlisting, but rather merely following rabbis' orders." Finally the secretary agreed to accept the religious statement, but Shmuel's case is not the only one that has been reported.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) has turned to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai and demanded that the latter instruct IDF personnel to stop these encounters from occurring.

"Descriptions of such occurrences at enlistment offices are very serious, and the religious community will not put up with them," Ariel wrote.

"In any case, the enlistment of women to the army is not beneficial to Israeli society in the long run. Israeli society, its values, its traditions, and its economy are damaged by this service."

Despite Ynet's appeals, a response from the IDF has not yet been received.

1948, Israel, and the Palestinians: Annotated Text


Put the great unwashed hoard on the defensive with some very nicely footnoted facts about Israel!

Print out this extensive and amazingly well researched article before Shabbat so that you have something really great to read and share.

Efraim Karsh is devistatingly well educated on the subject, and will make you feel like you are too!


by Efraim Karsh
Tiny URL:

Sixty years after its establishment by an internationally recognized act of self-determination, Israel remains the only state in the world that is subjected to a constant outpouring of the most outlandish conspiracy theories and blood libels; whose policies and actions are obsessively condemned by the international community; and whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged not only by its Arab enemies but by segments of advanced opinion in the West.

During the past decade or so, the actual elimination of the Jewish state has become a cause célèbre among many of these educated Westerners. The “one-state solution,” as it is called, is a euphemistic formula proposing the replacement of Israel by a state, theoretically comprising the whole of historic Palestine, in which Jews will be reduced to the status of a permanent minority. Only this, it is said, can expiate the “original sin” of Israel’s founding, an act built (in the words of one critic) “on the ruins of Arab Palestine” and achieved through the deliberate and aggressive dispossession of its native population.

This claim of premeditated dispossession and the consequent creation of the longstanding Palestinian “refugee problem” forms, indeed, the central plank in the bill of particulars pressed by Israel’s alleged victims and their Western supporters. It is a charge that has hardly gone undisputed. As early as the mid-1950’s, the eminent American historian J.C. Hurewitz undertook a systematic refutation,[1] and his findings were abundantly confirmed by later generations of scholars and writers. Even Benny Morris, the most influential of Israel’s revisionist “new historians,” and one who went out of his way to establish the case for Israel’s “original sin,” grudgingly stipulated that there was no “design” to displace the Palestinian Arabs.[2]

The recent declassification of millions of documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920-1948) and Israel’s early days, documents untapped by earlier generations of writers and ignored or distorted by the “new historians,” paint a much more definitive picture of the historical record. They reveal that the claim of dispossession is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth. What follows is based on fresh research into these documents, which contain many facts and data hitherto unreported.


Far from being the hapless objects of a predatory Zionist assault, it was Palestinian Arab leaders who from the early 1920’s onward, and very much against the wishes of their own constituents, launched a relentless campaign to obliterate the Jewish national revival. This campaign culminated in the violent attempt to abort the UN resolution of November 29, 1947, which called for the establishment of two states in Palestine. Had these leaders, and their counterparts in the neighboring Arab states, accepted the UN resolution, there would have been no war and no dislocation in the first place.

The simple fact is that the Zionist movement had always been amenable to the existence in the future Jewish state of a substantial Arab minority that would participate on an equal footing “throughout all sectors of the country’s public life.”[3] The words are those of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founding father of the branch of Zionism that was the forebear of today’s Likud party. In a famous 1923 article, Jabotinsky voiced his readiness “to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone.”[4]

Eleven years later, Jabotinsky presided over the drafting of a constitution for Jewish Palestine. According to its provisions, Arabs and Jews were to share both the prerogatives and the duties of statehood, including most notably military and civil service. Hebrew and Arabic were to enjoy the same legal standing, and “in every cabinet where the prime minister is a Jew, the vice-premiership shall be offered to an Arab and vice-versa.”[5]

If this was the position of the more “militant” faction of the Jewish national movement, mainstream Zionism not only took for granted the full equality of the Arab minority in the future Jewish state but went out of its way to foster Arab-Jewish coexistence. In January 1919, Chaim Weizmann, then the upcoming leader of the Zionist movement, reached a peace-and-cooperation agreement with the Hashemite emir Faisal ibn Hussein, the effective leader of the nascent pan-Arab movement. From then until the proclamation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, Zionist spokesmen held hundreds of meetings with Arab leaders at all levels. These included Abdullah ibn Hussein, Faisal’s elder brother and founder of the emirate of Transjordan (later the kingdom of Jordan), incumbent and former prime ministers in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq, senior advisers of King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud (founder of Saudi Arabia), and Palestinian Arab elites of all hues.

As late as September 15, 1947, two months before the passing of the UN partition resolution, two senior Zionist envoys were still seeking to convince Abdel Rahman Azzam, the Arab League’s secretary-general, that the Palestine conflict “was uselessly absorbing the best energies of the Arab League,” and that both Arabs and Jews would greatly benefit “from active policies of cooperation and development.”6 Behind this proposition lay an age-old Zionist hope: that the material progress resulting from Jewish settlement of Palestine would ease the path for the local Arab populace to become permanently reconciled, if not positively well disposed, to the project of Jewish national self-determination. As David Ben-Gurion, soon to become Israel’s first prime minister, argued in December 1947:

If the Arab citizen will feel at home in our state, . . . if the state will help him in a truthful and dedicated way to reach the economic, social, and cultural level of the Jewish community, then Arab distrust will accordingly subside and a bridge will be built to a Semitic, Jewish-Arab alliance.[7]


On the face of it, Ben-Gurion’s hope rested on reasonable grounds. An inflow of Jewish immigrants and capital after World War I had revived Palestine’s hitherto static condition and raised the standard of living of its Arab inhabitants well above that in the neighboring Arab states. The expansion of Arab industry and agriculture, especially in the field of citrus growing, was largely financed by the capital thus obtained, and Jewish know-how did much to improve Arab cultivation. In the two decades between the world wars, Arab-owned citrus plantations grew sixfold, as did vegetable-growing lands, while the number of olive groves quadrupled.[8]

No less remarkable were the advances in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the Muslim population dropped sharply and life expectancy rose from 37.5 years in 1926-27 to 50 in 1942-44 (compared with 33 in Egypt). The rate of natural increase leapt upward by a third.[9]

That nothing remotely akin to this was taking place in the neighboring British-ruled Arab countries, not to mention India, can be explained only by the decisive Jewish contribution to Mandate Palestine’s socioeconomic well-being. The British authorities acknowledged as much in a 1937 report by a commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel:

The general beneficent effect of Jewish immigration on Arab welfare is illustrated by the fact that the increase in the Arab population is most marked in urban areas affected by Jewish development. A comparison of the census returns in 1922 and 1931 shows that, six years ago, the increase percent in Haifa was 86, in Jaffa 62, in Jerusalem 37, while in purely Arab towns such as Nablus and Hebron it was only 7, and at Gaza there was a decrease of 2 percent.[10]

Had the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs been left to their own devices, they would most probably have been content to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them. This is evidenced by the fact that, throughout the Mandate era, periods of peaceful coexistence far exceeded those of violent eruptions, and the latter were the work of only a small fraction of Palestinian Arabs.[11] Unfortunately for both Arabs and Jews, however, the hopes and wishes of ordinary people were not taken into account, as they rarely are in authoritarian communities hostile to the notions of civil society or liberal democracy. In the modern world, moreover, it has not been the poor and the oppressed who have led the great revolutions or carried out the worst deeds of violence, but rather militant vanguards from among the better educated and more moneyed classes of society.

So it was with the Palestinians. In the words of the Peel report:

We have found that, though the Arabs have benefited by the development of the country owing to Jewish immigration, this has had no conciliatory effect. On the contrary . . . with almost mathematical precision the betterment of the economic situation in Palestine [has] meant the deterioration of the political situation.[12]

In Palestine, ordinary Arabs were persecuted and murdered by their alleged betters for the crime of “selling Palestine” to the Jews. Meanwhile, these same betters were enriching themselves with impunity. The staunch pan-Arabist Awni Abdel Hadi, who vowed to fight “until Palestine is either placed under a free Arab government or becomes a graveyard for all the Jews in the country,”[13] facilitated the transfer of 7,500 acres to the Zionist movement, and some of his relatives, all respected political and religious figures, went a step further by selling actual plots of land. So did numerous members of the Husseini family, the foremost Palestinian Arab clan during the Mandate period, including Muhammad Tahir, father of Hajj Amin Husseini, the notorious mufti of Jerusalem.[14]

It was the mufti’s concern with solidifying his political position that largely underlay the 1929 carnage in which 133 Jews were massacred and hundreds more were wounded—just as it was the struggle for political preeminence that triggered the most protracted outbreak of Palestinian Arab violence in 1936-39. This was widely portrayed as a nationalist revolt against both the ruling British and the Jewish refugees then streaming into Palestine to escape Nazi persecution. In fact, it was a massive exercise in violence that saw far more Arabs than Jews or Englishmen murdered by Arab gangs, that repressed and abused the general Arab population, and that impelled thousands of Arabs to flee the country in a foretaste of the 1947-48 exodus.[15]

Some Palestinian Arabs, in fact, preferred to fight back against their inciters, often in collaboration with the British authorities and the Hagana, the largest Jewish underground defense organization. Still others sought shelter in Jewish neighborhoods. For despite the paralytic atmosphere of terror and a ruthlessly enforced economic boycott, Arab-Jewish coexistence continued on many practical levels even during such periods of turmoil, and was largely restored after their subsidence. [16]


Against this backdrop, it is hardly to be wondered at that most Palestinians wanted nothing to do with the violent attempt ten years later by the mufti-led Arab Higher Committee (AHC), the effective “government” of the Palestinian Arabs, to subvert the 1947 UN partition resolution. With the memories of 1936-39 still fresh in their minds, many opted to stay out of the fight. In no time, numerous Arab villages (and some urban areas) were negotiating peace agreements with their Jewish neighbors; other localities throughout the country acted similarly without the benefit of a formal agreement.[17]

Nor did ordinary Palestinians shrink from quietly defying their supreme leadership. In his numerous tours around the region, Abdel Qader Husseini, district commander of Jerusalem and the mufti’s close relative, found the populace indifferent, if not hostile, to his repeated call to arms. In Hebron, he failed to recruit a single volunteer for the salaried force he sought to form in that city; his efforts in the cities of Nablus, Tulkarm, and Qalqiliya were hardly more successful. Arab villagers, for their part, proved even less receptive to his demands. In one locale, Beit Safafa, Abdel Qader suffered the ultimate indignity, being driven out by angry residents protesting their village’s transformation into a hub of anti-Jewish attacks. Even the few who answered his call did so, by and large, in order to obtain free weapons for their personal protection and then return home.[18]

There was an economic aspect to this peaceableness. The outbreak of hostilities orchestrated by the AHC led to a sharp drop in trade and an accompanying spike in the cost of basic commodities. Many villages, dependent for their livelihood on the Jewish or mixed-population cities, saw no point in supporting the AHC’s explicit goal of starving the Jews into submission.[19] Such was the general lack of appetite for war that in early February 1948, more than two months after the AHC initiated its campaign of violence, Ben-Gurion maintained that “the villages, in most part, have remained on the sidelines.”[20]

Ben-Gurion’s analysis was echoed by the Iraqi general Ismail Safwat, commander-in-chief of the Arab Liberation Army (ALA), the volunteer Arab force that did much of the fighting in Palestine in the months preceding Israel’s proclamation of independence. Safwat lamented that only 800 of the 5,000 volunteers trained by the ALA had come from Palestine itself, and that most of these had deserted either before completing their training or immediately afterward. Fawzi Qawuqji, the local commander of ALA forces, was no less scathing, having found the Palestinians “unreliable, excitable, and difficult to control, and in organized warfare virtually unemployable.”[21]

This view summed up most contemporary perceptions during the fateful six months of fighting after the passing of the partition resolution. Even as these months saw the all but complete disintegration of Palestinian Arab society, nowhere was this described as a systematic dispossession of Arabs by Jews. To the contrary: with the partition resolution widely viewed by Arab leaders as “Zionist in inspiration, Zionist in principle, Zionist in substance, and Zionist in most details” (in the words of the Palestinian academic Walid Khalidi),[22] and with those leaders being brutally candid about their determination to subvert it by force of arms, there was no doubt whatsoever as to which side had instigated the bloodletting.

Nor did the Arabs attempt to hide their culpability. As the Jews set out to lay the groundwork for their nascent state while simultaneously striving to convince their Arab compatriots that they would be (as Ben-Gurion put it) “equal citizens, equal in everything without any exception,” Palestinian Arab leaders pledged that “should partition be implemented, it will be achieved only over the bodies of the Arabs of Palestine, their sons, and their women.” Qawuqji vowed “to drive all Jews into the sea.” Abdel Qader Husseini stated that “the Palestine problem will only be solved by the sword; all Jews must leave Palestine.”[23]


They and their fellow Arab abetters did their utmost to make these threats come true, with every means at their disposal. In addition to regular forces like the ALA, guerrilla and terror groups wreaked havoc, as much among noncombatants as among Jewish fighting units. Shooting, sniping, ambushes, bombings, which in today’s world would be condemned as war crimes, were daily events in the lives of civilians. “[I]nnocent and harmless people, going about their daily business,” wrote the U.S. consul-general in Jerusalem, Robert Macatee, in December 1947,

are picked off while riding in buses, walking along the streets, and stray shots even find them while asleep in their beds. A Jewish woman, mother of five children, was shot in Jerusalem while hanging out clothes on the roof. The ambulance rushing her to the hospital was machine-gunned, and finally the mourners following her to the funeral were attacked and one of them stabbed to death.[24]

As the fighting escalated, Arab civilians suffered as well, and the occasional atrocity sparked cycles of large-scale violence. Thus, the December 1947 murder of six Arab workers near the Haifa oil refinery by the small Jewish underground group IZL was followed by the immediate slaughter of 39 Jews by their Arab co-workers,[25] just as the killing of some 100 Arabs during the battle for the village of Deir Yasin in April 1948[26] was “avenged” within days by the killing of 77 Jewish nurses and doctors en route to the Hadassah hospital on Mount Scopus.[27]

Yet while the Jewish leadership and media described these gruesome events for what they were, at times withholding details so as to avoid panic and keep the door open for Arab-Jewish reconciliation, their Arab counterparts not only inflated the toll to gigantic proportions but invented numerous nonexistent atrocities. The fall of Haifa (April 21-22), for example, gave rise to totally false claims of a large-scale slaughter, which circulated throughout the Middle East and reached Western capitals. Similarly false rumors were spread after the fall of Tiberias (April 18), during the battle for Safed (in early May), and in Jaffa, where in late April the mayor fabricated a massacre of “hundreds of Arab men and women.” Accounts of Deir Yasin in the Arab media were especially lurid, featuring supposed hammer-and-sickle tattoos on the arms of IZL fighters and accusations of havoc and rape.[28]

This scare-mongering was undoubtedly aimed at garnering the widest possible sympathy for the Palestinian plight and casting the Jews as brutal predators. But it backfired disastrously by spreading panic within the disoriented Palestinian society. That, in turn, helps explain why, by April 1948, after four months of seeming progress, this phase of the Arab war effort collapsed. (Still in the offing was the second, wider, and more prolonged phase involving the forces of the five Arab nations that invaded Palestine in mid-May.) For not only had most Palestinians declined to join the active hostilities, but vast numbers had taken to the road, leaving their homes either for places elsewhere in the country or fleeing to neighboring Arab lands.


Indeed, many had vacated even before the outbreak of hostilities, and still larger numbers decamped before the war reached their own doorstep. “Arabs are leaving the country with their families in considerable numbers, and there is an exodus from the mixed towns to the rural Arab centers,” reported Alan Cunningham, the British high commissioner, in December 1947, adding a month later that the “panic of [the] middle class persists and there is a steady exodus of those who can afford to leave the country.”[29]

Echoing these reports, Hagana intelligence sources recounted in mid-December an “evacuation frenzy that has taken hold of entire Arab villages.” Before the month was over, many Palestinian Arab cities were bemoaning the severe problems created by the huge influx of villagers and pleading with the AHC to help find a solution to the predicament. Even the Syrian and Lebanese governments were alarmed by this early exodus, demanding that the AHC encourage Palestinian Arabs to stay put and fight.[30]

But no such encouragement was forthcoming, either from the AHC or from anywhere else. In fact, there was a total lack of national cohesion, let alone any sense of shared destiny. Cities and towns acted as if they were self-contained units, attending to their own needs and eschewing the smallest sacrifice on behalf of other localities. Many “national committees” (i.e., local leaderships) forbade the export of food and drink from well-stocked cities to needy outlying towns and villages. Haifa’s Arab merchants refused to alleviate a severe shortage of flour in Jenin, while Gaza refused to export eggs and poultry to Jerusalem; in Hebron, armed guards checked all departing cars. At the same time there was extensive smuggling, especially in the mixed-population cities, with Arab foodstuffs going to Jewish neighborhoods and vice-versa.[31]

The lack of communal solidarity was similarly evidenced by the abysmal treatment meted out to the hundreds of thousands of refugees scattered throughout the country. Not only was there no collective effort to relieve their plight, or even a wider empathy beyond one’s immediate neighborhood, but many refugees were ill-treated by their temporary hosts and subjected to ridicule and abuse for their supposed cowardice. In the words of one Jewish intelligence report: “The refugees are hated wherever they have arrived.”[32]

Even the ultimate war victims—the survivors of Deir Yasin—did not escape their share of indignities. Finding refuge in the neighboring village of Silwan, many were soon at loggerheads with the locals, to the point where on April 14, a mere five days after the tragedy, a Silwan delegation approached the AHC’s Jerusalem office demanding that the survivors be transferred elsewhere. No help for their relocation was forthcoming.[33]

Some localities flatly refused to accept refugees at all, for fear of overstraining existing resources. In Acre (Akko), the authorities prevented Arabs fleeing Haifa from disembarking; in Ramallah, the predominantly Christian population organized its own militia—not so much to fight the Jews as to fend off the new Muslim arrivals. Many exploited the plight of the refugees unabashedly, especially by fleecing them for such basic necessities as transportation and accommodation.[34]

Yet still the Palestinians fled their homes, and at an ever growing pace. By early April some 100,000 had gone, though the Jews were still on the defensive and in no position to evict them. (On March 23, fully four months after the outbreak of hostilities, ALA commander-in-chief Safwat noted with some astonishment that the Jews “have so far not attacked a single Arab village unless provoked by it.”) By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, the numbers of Arab refugees had more than trebled. Even then, none of the 170,000-180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centers, and only a handful of the 130,000-160,000 villagers who left their homes, had been forced out by the Jews.

The exceptions occurred in the heat of battle and were uniformly dictated by ad-hoc military considerations—reducing civilian casualties, denying sites to Arab fighters when there were no available Jewish forces to repel them—rather than political design.[35] They were, moreover, matched by efforts to prevent flight and/or to encourage the return of those who fled. To cite only one example, in early April a Jewish delegation comprising top Arab-affairs advisers, local notables, and municipal heads with close contacts with neighboring Arab localities traversed Arab villages in the coastal plain, then emptying at a staggering pace, in an attempt to convince their inhabitants to stay put.[36]


What makes these Jewish efforts all the more impressive is that they took place at a time when huge numbers of Palestinian Arabs were being actively driven from their homes by their own leaders and/or by Arab military forces, whether out of military considerations or in order to prevent them from becoming citizens of the prospective Jewish state. In the largest and best-known example, tens of thousands of Arabs were ordered or bullied into leaving the city of Haifa on the AHC’s instructions, despite strenuous Jewish efforts to persuade them to stay.[37] Only days earlier, Tiberias’ 6,000-strong Arab community had been similarly forced out by its own leaders, against local Jewish wishes.[38] In Jaffa, Palestine’s largest Arab city, the municipality organized the transfer of thousands of residents by land and sea;[39] in Jerusalem, the AHC ordered the transfer of women and children, and local gang leaders pushed out residents of several neighborhoods.[40]

Tens of thousands of rural villagers were likewise forced out by order of the AHC, local Arab militias, or the ALA. Within weeks of the latter’s arrival in Palestine in January 1948, rumors were circulating of secret instructions to Arabs in predominantly Jewish areas to vacate their villages so as to allow their use for military purposes and to reduce the risk of becoming hostage to the Jews.

By February, this phenomenon had expanded to most parts of the country. It gained considerable momentum in April and May as ALA and AHC forces throughout Palestine were being comprehensively routed. On April 18, the Hagana’s intelligence branch in Jerusalem reported a fresh general order to remove the women and children from all villages bordering Jewish localities. Twelve days later, its Haifa counterpart reported an ALA command to evacuate all Arab villages between Tel Aviv and Haifa in anticipation of a new general offensive. In early May, as fighting intensified in the eastern Galilee, local Arabs were ordered to transfer all women and children from the Rosh Pina area, while in the Jerusalem sub-district, Transjordan’s Arab Legion likewise ordered the emptying of scores of villages.[41]

As for the Palestinian Arab leaders themselves, who had placed their reluctant constituents on a collision course with Zionism in the 1920’s and 1930’s and had now dragged them helpless into a mortal conflict, they hastened to get themselves out of Palestine and to stay out at the most critical moment. Taking a cue from these higher-ups, local leaders similarly rushed en masse through the door. High Commissioner Cunningham summarized what was happening with quintessential British understatement:

You should know that the collapsing Arab morale in Palestine is in some measure due to the increasing tendency of those who should be leading them to leave the country. . . . For instance, in Jaffa the mayor went on four-day leave 12 days ago and has not returned, and half the national committee has left. In Haifa the Arab members of the municipality left some time ago; the two leaders of the Arab Liberation Army left actually during the recent battle. Now the chief Arab magistrate has left. In all parts of the country the effendi class has been evacuating in large numbers over a considerable period and the tempo is increasing.[42]

Arif al-Arif, a prominent Arab politician during the Mandate era and the doyen of Palestinian historians, described the prevailing atmosphere at the time: “Wherever one went throughout the country one heard the same refrain: ‘Where are the leaders who should show us the way? Where is the AHC? Why are its members in Egypt at a time when Palestine, their own country, needs them?’”[43]


Muhammad Nimr al-Khatib, a Palestinian Arab leader during the 1948 war, would sum up the situation in these words: “The Palestinians had neighboring Arab states which opened their borders and doors to the refugees, while the Jews had no alternative but to triumph or to die.”[44]

This is true enough of the Jews, but it elides the reason for the refugees’ flight and radically distorts the quality of their reception elsewhere. If they met with no sympathy from their brethren at home, the reaction throughout the Arab world was, if anything, harsher still. There were repeated calls for the forcible return of the refugees, or at the very least of young men of military age, many of whom had arrived under the (false) pretense of volunteering for the ALA. As the end of the Mandate loomed nearer, the Lebanese government refused entry visas to Palestinian males between eighteen and fifty and ordered all “healthy and fit men” who had already entered the country to register officially or be considered illegal aliens and face the full weight of the law.

The Syrian government took an even more stringent approach, banning from its territory all Palestinian males between sixteen and fifty. In Egypt, a large number of demonstrators marched to the Arab League’s Cairo headquarters and lodged a petition demanding that “every able-bodied Palestinian capable of carrying arms should be forbidden to stay abroad.” Such was the extent of Arab resentment toward the Palestinian refugees that the rector of Cairo’s al-Azhar institution of religious learning, probably the foremost Islamic authority, felt obliged to issue a ruling that made the sheltering of Palestinian Arab refugees a religious duty.[45]

Contempt for the Palestinians only intensified with time. “Fright has struck the Palestinian Arabs and they fled their country,” commented Radio Baghdad on the eve of the pan-Arab invasion of the new-born state of Israel in mid-May. “These are hard words indeed, yet they are true.” Lebanon’s minister of the interior (and future president) Camille Chamoun was more delicate, intoning that “The people of Palestine, in their previous resistance to imperialists and Zionists, proved they were worthy of independence,” but “at this decisive stage of the fighting they have not remained so dignified.”[46]

No wonder, then, that so few among the Palestinian refugees themselves blamed their collapse and dispersal on the Jews. During a fact-finding mission to Gaza in June 1949, Sir John Troutbeck, head of the British Middle East office in Cairo and no friend to Israel or the Jews, was surprised to discover that while the refugees

express no bitterness against the Jews (or for that matter against the Americans or ourselves) they speak with the utmost bitterness of the Egyptians and other Arab states. “We know who our enemies are,” they will say, and they are referring to their Arab brothers who, they declare, persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes. . . . I even heard it said that many of the refugees would give a welcome to the Israelis if they were to come in and take the district over.[47]


Sixty years after their dispersion, the refugees of 1948 and their descendants remain in the squalid camps where they have been kept by their fellow Arabs for decades, nourished on hate and false hope. Meanwhile, their erstwhile leaders have squandered successive opportunities for statehood.

It is indeed the tragedy of the Palestinians that the two leaders who determined their national development during the 20th century—Hajj Amin Husseini and Yasir Arafat, the latter of whom dominated Palestinian politics since the mid-1960’s to his death in November 2004—were megalomaniacal extremists blinded by anti-Jewish hatred and profoundly obsessed with violence. Had the mufti chosen to lead his people to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors, as he had promised the British officials who appointed him to his high rank in the early 1920’s, the Palestinians would have had their independent state over a substantial part of Mandate Palestine by 1948, and would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersion and exile. Had Arafat set the PLO from the start on the path to peace and reconciliation, instead of turning it into one of the most murderous terrorist organizations in modern times, a Palestinian state could have been established in the late 1960’s or the early 1970’s; in 1979 as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; by May 1999 as part of the Oslo process; or at the very latest with the Camp David summit of July 2000.

Instead, Arafat transformed the territories placed under his control in the 1990’s into an effective terror state from where he launched an all-out war (the “al-Aqsa intifada”) shortly after being offered an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and 92 percent of the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital. In the process, he subjected the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to a repressive and corrupt regime in the worst tradition of Arab dictatorships and plunged their standard of living to unprecedented depths.
What makes this state of affairs all the more galling is that, far from being unfortunate aberrations, Hajj Amin and Arafat were quintessential representatives of the cynical and self-seeking leaders produced by the Arab political system. Just as the Palestinian leadership during the Mandate had no qualms about inciting its constituents against Zionism and the Jews, while lining its own pockets from the fruits of Jewish entrepreneurship, so PLO officials used the billions of dollars donated by the Arab oil states and, during the Oslo era, by the international community to finance their luxurious style of life while ordinary Palestinians scrambled for a livelihood.

And so it goes. Six decades after the mufti and his henchmen condemned their people to statelessness by rejecting the UN partition resolution, their reckless decisions are being reenacted by the latest generation of Palestinian leaders. This applies not only to Hamas, which in January 2006 replaced the PLO at the helm of the Palestinian Authority (PA), but also to the supposedly moderate Palestinian leadership—from President Mahmoud Abbas to Ahmad Qureia (negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords) to Saeb Erekat to prime minister Salam Fayad—which refuses to recognize Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state and insists on the full implementation of the “right of return.”

And so it goes as well with Western anti-Zionists who in the name of justice (no less) call today not for a new and fundamentally different Arab leadership but for the dismantlement of the Jewish state. Only when these dispositions change can Palestinian Arabs realistically look forward to putting their self-inflicted “catastrophe” behind them.


1 J.C. Hurewitz, The Struggle for Palestine (New York: Norton, 1950).

2 Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 286; Morris, The Birth of the
Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2004), p. 588.

3 Vladimir Jabotinsky, The Jewish War Front (London: George Allen & Unwin,
1940), p. 216.

4 Originally published in Russian under the title “O Zheleznoi Stene,” in
Rassvyet, Nov. 4, 1923, the “Iron Wall” was reprinted several times, including
in The Jewish Herald (South Africa), Nov. 26, 1937 (internet ed.

5 Jabotinsky, The Jewish War Front, pp. 216-20.

6 A.S. Eban, “Note of Conversation with Abdel Rahman Azzam Pasha, London, Sept.
15, 1947,” in Neil Caplan, Futile Diplomacy (London: Frank Cass, 1986), Vol. 2,
pp. 274-76.

7 David Ben-Gurion, Bama’araha (Tel Aviv: Mapai Publishing House, 1949), Vol. 4,
Part 2, p. 265.

8 Palestine Royal Commission, Report. Presented to the Secretary of State for
the Colonies in Parliament by Command of his Majesty, July 1937 (London: HMSO;
rep. 1946; hereafter Peel Commission Report), pp. 94, 157-58; Z. Abramowitz and
Y. Guelfat, Hameshek Ha’arvi Be’eretz Israel Uve’artzot Hamizrah Hatichon (Tel
Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1944), pp. 48-50.

9 A Survey of Palestine. Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the
Information of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry (reprinted 1991 in full
with permission from Her Majesty’s Stationary Office by the Institute for
Palestine Studies, Washington D.C.), Vol. 2, pp. 708-15.

10 Peel Commission Report, p. 93 (vii).

11 For early manifestations of Arab-Jewish coexistence see, for example,
Colonial Office, Palestine. Report on Palestine Administration, 1923 (London:
HMSO, 1924), p. 26; Colonial Office, Palestine. Report on Palestine
Administration, 1924 (London: HMSO, 1925), pp. 28, 32, 50; Colonial Office,
Palestine. Report on Palestine Administration, 1926 (London: HMSO, 1927), p. 33;
Colonial Office, Palestine: Report of the High Commissioner on the
Administration of Palestine 1920-1925 (London: HMSO, 1925), pp. 40-41; Chaim
Weizmann, “Progress and Problems,” Confidential Report to Colonial Office, Feb.
15, 1922, The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann. Vol. I, Series B, August
1898-July 1931 (New Brunswick & Jerusalem: Transaction Books & Israel
Universities Press, 1983), p. 366; Frederick H. Kisch, Palestine Diary (London:
Victor Gollancz, 1938), pp. 48-49, 54, 73.

12 Peel Commission Report, pp. 63, 271.

13 “Conversation with Awni Abdel Hadi,” June 3, 1920, Hagana Archive
(hereinafter HA), 80/145/11.

14 Kenneth W. Stein, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 1984), pp. 182, 228-39.

15 While in 1936, according to official British statistics, 195 Arabs were
killed by their Arab brothers, compared with 37 Britishmen and 80 Jews, two
years later these figures rose to 503 Arab fatalities, compared with 255 and 77
Jewish and British deaths respectively. Fatalities in 1939 remained on a similar
level: 414 Palestinian Arabs murdered by Arab gangs, as opposed to 94 Jews and
37 Brits. Some Palestinian Arab sources put the number of murdered Arabs at a
staggering 3,000-4,500.
In a letter to Abdel Qader Husseini on November 18, 1938, Hassan Saleme, styling
himself “Leader of Jaffa, Ramallah, and Lydda Area,” informed his fellow gang
leader that “complaints are being received from the villagers of the Jerusalem
District as a result of pillaging, looting, killing, and torturing committed by
some of the vile people who are wearing the clothing of the holy warriors [i.e.,
members of “the Holy Jihad,” as Abdel Qader’s force was called]. . . . I admit
that there are among the murdered people some who have been sentenced to death,
but what are the faults of the innocent whose money is stolen, whose cattle are
looted, whose women are violated, whose jewels are pillaged, and who suffer in
many other ways of which you have undoubtedly heard? Our rebellion has become a
rebellion against the villages and not one against the Government or the Jews.”
See: A Survey of Palestine, Vol. 1, pp. 38, 46, 49; General Staff H.Q.,
Jerusalem, “History of the Disturbances in Palestine 1936-1939,” Dec. 1939,
Public Record Office (hereinafter PRO), WO 191/88; Kenneth Waring, “Arab Against
Arab: Evidence of Rebel Documents,” Times, Jan. 18, 1939. For an annotated
Hebrew translation of a comprehensive collection of original documents of the
Arab gangs see Ezra Danin (ed.), Te’udot Udmuyot Meginzei Haknufiot Ha’arviot
Bemoraot 1936-1939 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1981; first published in 1944).

16 Thus, for example, Arab purchases of Jewish wheat dropped dramatically in
1937 but rose sharply the following year owing to particularly poor crops, with
some 70 percent of the Jewish wheat sold to the Arab sector. Conversely, prior
to the 1936-39 violence, about a third of the Palestinian Arab agricultural
output was sold to the Jewish sector. Even land sales to Jews continued apace,
with the lion’s share of the 1,300-plus transactions in 1936-39 involving
ordinary people. Likewise, when in December 1938 the Jewish workers of the port
of Haifa refused service to a German ship after a German naval officer insulted
a Jewish porter, their Arab colleagues swiftly followed suit.
See Abramowitz and Guelfat Hameshek Ha’arvi, pp. 99-105; Stein, The Land
Question, p. 182; “Minutes of the Meeting of the Jewish Agency’s Executive,”
Jan. 1, 1939, David Ben-Gurion Archive, Sde Boker (hereinafter BGA).

17 See, for example, Hashmona’i to Ben Yehuda, “Relations with Neighboring
Villages, Dec. 24, 1947, Israel Defense Forces Archives (hereinafter IDFA)
1948/500/28; Hashmona’i to Shadmi, “The Suba Village,” Dec. 22, 1947, IDFA,
1948/500/32; 01104 to Tene, “Relations between Qatanna and Ma’ale Hahamisha,”
Dec. 23, 1947, ibid.; Yavne, “Beit Hanina,” Jan. 2, 1947 & “The Qiryat
Anavim-Abu Gosh Area” Jan. 7, 1948, HA 105/72, pp. 27-28; 01123 to Tene, “An
Arab Peace Overture,” Jan. 14, 1948, ibid., p. 46; Segal to Ben Yehuda, “Peace
with Maliha, Jan. 10, 1948, IDFA 1949/2644/402; Zafrira Din, “Interview with
Josh Palmon on June 28, 1989,” HA 80/721/3; Noam, “Aqir’s Peace Overture,” Dec.
12, 1947, HA 105/72, p. 6; Tzefa, “Peace Offer by Ghuweir Abu Shusha,” Dec. 16,
1948, ibid.; Tiroshi, “Requests by Neighborhood Arabs for Peace with the Jews,”
Dec. 18, 1947, ibid., p. 8; “01112 to Tene, “Kafr Qara and Kfar Glikson,” Jan.
25, 1948, ibid., p. 68; 01101 to Tene, “Meeting between the Ard Saris Mukhtar
and Dr. Bihem, Head of the Kfar Atta Municipality,” Jan. 22, 1948, ibid., p. 71;
“Tene News—Daily Summary,” Dec. 16, 1947, HA 105/61, p. 59; “For Our Members,
Daily News Bulletin No. 19,” Dec. 31, 1947, ibid., p. 127; “Fortnightly
Intelligence Newsletter No. 58,” issued by HQ British Troops in Palestine (for
the period 2359 hrs 18 Dec. 47-2359 hrs 1 Jan. 48), PRO, WO 275/64, p. 2.

18 See, for example, Naim, “In the Villages,” Dec. 25, 1947, HA 105/22, p. 123;
00004 to Tene, “Qalandiya Opposes Gang Concentrations,” Dec. 30, 1947, IDFA
1948/500/28; Yavne, “Occurrences in Romema,” Jan. 2, 1948, HA 105/72, p. 27;
Yavne, “Silwan-Ramat Rahel,” Jan. 1, 1948, ibid., p. 30; Yavne, “Dissatisfaction
with Abdel Qader Husseini,” ibid., p. 32; Qiryat Anavim people to Yavne,
“Qatanna Residents Expelled an Arab Gang from the Village,” Jan. 5, 1948, ibid.,
p. 32; 02104 to Tene, “Workers from Maliha and Qaluniya who Refuse to Attack
Jews,” Jan. 7, 1948, ibid., p. 33; 00004 to Tene, “Meeting of Bani Hassan in
Maliha to Discuss Attitude to Armed Gangs,” Jan. 14, 1948, ibid., p. 46; 02204
to Tene, “Maliha,” Jan. 14, 1948, ibid., p. 47; 02204 to Tene, “Qattana,” Jan.
17, 1948, ibid., p. 50; 02104 to Tene, “Anti-Gang Resistance,” Jan. 28, 1948,
ibid., p. 72; 02104 to Tene, “Refusal to Provide Volunteers,” Feb. 1, 1948,
ibid., p. 76; 02104 to Tene, “Villages’ Fear of Retaliation,” Feb. 1, 1948,
ibid., p. 80; Yavne, “Battir and other Villages,” Feb. 4, 1948, ibid., p. 84;
02204 to Tene, “Opposition to Abdel Qader’s Operation by Qastel,” Feb. 6, 1948,
ibid., p. 91; Yavne to Tene, “Shu’afat,” Feb. 24, 1948, ibid., p. 114; Hiram to
Tene, “Shafa’amr,” Feb. 26, 1948, ibid., p. 116; “Tene News,” Dec. 31, 1947 &
Jan. 2-4, 1948, HA 105/61, pp. 121-22, 158-59; “Annex to News Concentration No.
100,” Feb. 20 & 24, 1948, IDFA 1949/2605/2; “Maliha,” Jan. 1, 1948, IDFA
1949/2504/4; log of events in Suba, Mar. 2-Apr. 13, 1948, IDFA 1949/5545/114, p.

19 “For Our Members. Daily Information Circular No. 12,” Dec. 21, 1947, HA
105/61, p. 70; “Tene New,” Dec. 31, 1947, ibid., p. 125; Avram, “Jammasin: News
Items,” Jan. 9, 1948, HA 105/23, p. 114; Tiroshi, “Dispatch of Arab
Merchandise,” Dec. 15, 1947, HA 105/72, p. 7; Naim to Tene, “Position of the
Gaza Felaheen,” Feb. 15, 1948, ibid., p. 103; Naim to Tene, “Evacuation of the
Wahidat Territory,” Feb. 22, 1948, ibid., p. 111; 00004 to Tene, “Moods in Sur
Bahir,” Dec. 22, 1947, IDFA 1948/500/60; Avram, “The Miska Arabs,” Jan. 8, 1948,
HA 105/54a, p. 19; Hiram to Tene, “Meeting between the Yehiam Mukhtar and
Tarshiha’s Mayor,” Feb. 22, 1948, ibid., p. 31; Tiroshi to Tene, “Appeal for a
Ceasefire and Good Neighborly Relations,” Apr. 7, 1948, ibid., p. 53; Tiroshi to
Tene, “Peace Overtures by Baqa Gharbiya,” Apr. 20, 1948, ibid., p. 79; Grar to
Tene, “Yasur,” Apr. 21, 1948, ibid., p. 84.

20 David Ben-Gurion, Behilahem Israel (Tel Aviv: Mapai Publishing House, 1951;
third ed.), pp. 28, 43, 54; Ben-Gurion, Bama’araha, Vol. 4, Part 2, p. 284.

21 Meahorei Hapargod (Hebrew edition of an official report by an Iraqi
parliamentary committee on the 1948 war, published in September 1949; Tel Aviv:
Ma’arachot, 1954), pp. 9, 98-99; “Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 64,”
issued by HQ British Troops in Palestine (for the period 2359 hrs 10 Mar.-2359
hrs 23 Mar. 48), PRO, WO 275/64, p. 4. Arif al-Arif, al-Nakba: Nakbat Bait
al-Maqdis wa-l-Firdaws al-Mafqud (Beirut: al-Maktaba al-Asriya, 1956), Vol. 1,
pp. 138-39.

22 Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine
Problem Until 1948 (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1987), p.

23 Ben-Gurion, Bama’araha, Vol. 4, Part 2, p. 260; Hebrew translation of Hajj
Amin Husseini’s interview with Le Journal d’Egypt on Nov. 10, 1947, HA,
105/105a, p. 47; Radio Beirut, Nov. 12, 1947, in Foreign Broadcasts Information
Service (FBIS), European Section: Near & Middle East and North African
Transmitters, 13 Nov. 1947, II2, 5; “Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No.
64,” issued by HQ British Troops in Palestine (for the period 2359 hrs 10
Mar.-2359 hrs 23 Jan. 48), PRO, WO 275/64, p. 4; Arab Press Service (Cairo),
FBIS, European Section: Near & Middle East and North African Transmitters, Dec.
16, 1947, II1; “Weekly Summary for the Alexandroni Brigade, Mar. 2, 1948,” HA
105/143, p. 105; “In the Arab Public,” Mar. 30, 1948, HA 105/100, p. 14.

24 Macatee to Secretary of State, Dec. 31, 1947, National Archives, Washington,
D.C. (hereinafter NA), RG 84/800, pp. 1-2.

25 According to a report by the Palestine Post’s Haifa correspondent, the Arab
workers in the refinery set upon their Jewish colleagues already before the
IZL’s bombing (from Sakran to Tene, Dec. 31, 1947, IDFA 1949/481/62). This claim
was amplified by an IZL radio broadcast on January 4, 1948, which pointed out
that prior to the bombing Armenian workers at the plant had warned their Jewish
friends of an imminent attack, and some Jewish workers took notice and left
before the massacre. The broadcast also noted the pre-positioning of cold arms
throughout the plant and the fact that the massacres ensued in the farthest
corner of the refinery, some two miles from the bombing, where the explosion
could not be heard. See, David Niv, Ma’arahot Ha’irgun Hatzva’i Hale’umi (Tel
Aviv: Hadar, 1980), Vol. 6, pp. 19-20. For contemporary reports on the massacre,
see: “Report of the Communal Commission of Inquiry on the Haifa Refinery’s
Disaster (Dec. 30, 1947), Jan. 25, 1948, HA 80/460/11; “The Refinery Massacre,”
HA 80/460/11; “Information Bulletin,” No. 30, Dec. 30, 1947, HA 105/61, p. 117;
“To Our Members—Daily information Bulletin,” Dec. 31, 1947, HA 105/61, p. 126.

26 The IZL categorically denied any massacres, claiming that the casualties had
been caused in the course of heavy fighting. The eminent Palestinian historian
Arif al-Arif concedes the occurrence of heavy fighting. He claims that the
villagers killed more than 100 Jewish fighters (the actual figure was four dead
and 32 wounded), but alleges that only seven of the 110 Arab fatalities were
killed in action and that the rest were peaceful civilians murdered in their
homes (al-Nakba, p. 173). By contrast, a Hagana intelligence report issued three
days after the event underscores the operational incompetence and disarray of
the attacking forces, as well as their lack of discipline (manifested inter alia
in acts of plunder), but makes no mention of a massacre. al-Nakba, p. 173; Yavne
to Tene, “The Etzel and Lehi Operation in Deir Yasin,” Apr. 12, 1948, IDFA
1948/500/35; Irgun Command, “Statement on the Deir Yasin Affair” & “Statement” &
“Condemn the Hypocrisy,” April 1948, Irgun Archive (hereinafter IA), K4-4/10.
For mid-1950’s affidavits of battle participants denying any massacre see: IA,
K4-1/10, 9/10. An extensive collection of press and scholarly writings can be
found in IDFA 2004/26/70. See also: “Deir Yasin Occupied by the Irgun and Lehi”
& “The Jewish Agency Condemns the Irgun and Lehi Operation in Deir Yasin” & “The
Chief Rabbinate Strongly Condemns the Deir Yasin Incident,” Ha’aretz, Apr. 11,
12, 1948; “Battle Participant Evidence: 60 Hours in Deir Yasin,” Mivrak, Apr.
19, 1948, IA K4; High Commissioner for Palestine to Secretary of State for the
Colonies, “Deir Yasin,” Apr. 13, 1948, Cunningham Papers, Middle East Center,
St. Antony’s College, Oxford University; High Commissioner for Palestine to
Secretary of State for the Colonies, “Weekly Intelligence Appreciation,” Apr.
17, 1948, Cunningham Papers; “An Arab from Deir Yasin Reveals on the Deir Yasin
Anniversary: The Jews Didn’t Plan a Massacre but Conducted a Battle,” Herut,
Jun. 3, 1953; “Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Interview with Lord Bethel: Deir
Yasin--a tragedy in the Irgun’s history, but casualties were caused in the
course of fighting; there was no massacre,” Yediot Aharonot, Jun. 22, 1979.

27 Dov Joseph, The Faithful City: the Siege of Jerusalem, 1948 (New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1960), pp. 74-75; Harry Levin, Jerusalem Embattled. A Diary of the
City under Siege, March 25, 1948 to July 18, 1948 (London: Victor Gollancz,
1950), p. 70; Jerusalem Headquarters, “Haddassah University, Feb. 17-Jun. 22,
1948,” IDFA 1948/500/44; “Conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry about the
Sheik Jarah Disaster of Apr. 13, 1948,” Apr. 18, 1948 HA 57/95; “Report by
Shalom Hurwitz on the Mount Scopus Convoy Disaster in Sheik Jarah on Apr. 13,
1948,” Jun. 6, 1948, BGA.

28 Cunningham to Creech-Jones, Apr. 25 & 28, 1948, Cunningham Papers, III/4/52 &
III/4/117; Tzuri to Tene, “News Items about the Tiberias Exodus,” Apr. 21, 1948,
HA 105/257, p. 347; “Tene News—Daily Summary,” Apr. 18, 1948, HA 105/62, p. 93;
Kenneth W. Bilby, New Star in the Near East (New York: Doubleday, 1950), p. 30;
Filastin, Apr. 13, 14, 16, 1948; al-Difa, Apr. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 1948;
Radio Jerusalem in Arabic to the Middle East, Apr. 13, 1948 & Radio Damascus,
Apr. 14, 1948, in FBIS, Apr. 15, 1948, p. II4; Radio al-Sharq al-Adna
(Jerusalem), Apr. 15, 1948, ibid., Apr. 16, 1948, p. II5; BBC Television Channel
2, “The Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs,” Program 1, broadcast on Mar. 15,

29 From Palestine (General Sir A. Cunningham) to the Secretary of State for the
Colonies, “Weekly intelligence Appreciation,” Dec. 22, 1947, Cunningham Papers;
from Palestine (General Sir A. Cunningham) to the Secretary of State for the
Colonies, “Weekly intelligence Appreciation,” Jan. 24, 1948, PRO, CO 537/3869.

30 “Tene News—Daily summary,” Dec. 16, 1947, HA 105/61, p. 59; “For Our Members,
Daily News Bulletin No. 19,” Dec. 31, 1947, ibid., p. 127; al-Ayam (Damascus),
Dec. 21, 1947, as brought in “News on Arab Military Preparations,” Jan. 1, 1948,
Central Zionist Archives (CZA), S25/3999.

31 Hashmona’i, “News Items: Economy,” Feb. 2, 1948, IDFA 1948/500/60; “In the
Arab Camp: News Summary,” Feb. 29 & Mar. 28, 1948, IDFA 2004/535/479, pp. 3-4;
“Yishuv Circular No. 16,” Jan. 31, 1948, K4-31/1/12, IA; Committee for Economic
Defense, “News from the Arab Economy, Bulletin No. 6,” Apr. 17-19, 1948, HA
105/143, p. 240.

32 Hayogev, Jan. 5, 1948, HA 105/215a, p. 48; “Among the Arabs,” Feb. 22, 1948,
IDFA 1948/500/60; 02204 to Tene, “The Lifta People’s Position,” Feb. 9, 1948, HA
105/32a, p. 61; Tiroshi to Tene, “Situation of the Refugees,” Apr. 12, 1948, HA
105/257; Tiroshi, “Summary of News for the Alexandroni Brigade,” Apr. 16, 1948,
HA 105/143, p. 231; Director of Operations/Intelligence Directorate, “News
Summary on the Eastern and Northern Fronts,” Jun. 3, 1948, IDFA 1975/922/1044;
“Arab News Items,” Apr. 25, 1948, IDFA 1948/500/55; “Annexes to News Bulletin
No. 205,” Apr. 29, 1948, IDFA 1949/2605/2.

33 “Annexes to News Bulletin No. 185,” Apr. 20, 1948, IDFA 1949/2605/2; “Deir
Yasin,” Apr. 17, 1948, IDFA 1949/2605/6, p. 7.

34 Hiram to Tene, “Acre Inhabitants and Defenders Refuse to Receive More
Refugees,” Apr. 27, 1948, HA 105/257.

35 Thus, for example, after an attack on Ramat Hakovesh (on April 19) by the
neighboring village of Miska, the kibbutz mukhtar told the villagers to leave or
bear the consequences of their aggression, which they did. Likewise, in the
midst of a Jewish operation in the eastern Galilee, the secretary of kibbutz
Genossar, together with the mukhtar of the Arab village of Majdal, convinced the
Majdal inhabitants to vacate the village and surrender their weapons. In Khirbat
Beit Lid and Khirbat Azzun, the villagers were advised to leave since the Jewish
forces would not be able to ensure their safety. See: Tiroshi, “Summary of News
for the Alexandroni Brigade, Apr. 27, 1948,” HA 105/143, p. 235; Tiroshi to
Tene, “Vacation of Miska,” Apr. 27, 1948, HA 105/257, p. 79; Tzuri to Tene,
“Arab Majdal,” Apr. 23, 1948, ibid., p. 4; Tiroshi to Tene, “Departure of Arabs
from the Neighborhood,” Apr. 16, 1948, ibid., p. 89; Tiroshi to Tene, “Vacation
of Khirbat Azzun,” Apr. 20, 1948, ibid., p. 3.

36 Ezra Danin, Zioni Bekhol Tnai (Jerusalem: Kidum, 1987), Vol. 1, pp. 216-17;
Zafrira Din, “Interview with Josh Palmon on June 28, 1989,” HA 80/721/3.

37 I have documented the Haifa episode at some length in “Nakbat Haifa: the
Collapse and Dispersion of a Major Palestinian Community,” Middle Eastern
Studies, Vol. 37, No. 4 (October 2001), pp. 25-70.

38 A fortnight after the exodus, British High Commissioner Cunningham reported
to London that the Tiberias Jews “would welcome [the] Arabs back” (High
Commissioner for Palestine to Secretary of State, May 5, 1948, Cunningham
Papers). See also: Tzuri to Golani, “News Summary: Tiberias,” Apr. 21, 1948, HA
105/143, p. 275; Hagana Operational Directorate, “Logbook of the War of
Independence, p. 260; MacMillan, “Palestine: Narrative of Events,” Apr. 17/18,
18, 1948, p. 37.

39 See, for example, Qiryati-Dafna to all fronts, “Occurrences in Jaffa, [Apr.]
11, 1948-[Apr.] 20, 0740,” May 2, 1948, IDFA 1949/8275/162; Palestine
(Cunningham) to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, May 1, 1948, FO

40 Tene to Dan & Hillel, Nov. 30, 1947, HA 105/61, p. 5; 00004 to Tene, “Report
Summary, Dec. 7, 1947,” HA 105/61, p. 9; Yavne to Tene, “For Our Members in the
Bases,” Dec. 9, 1947, ibid., p. 18; “For Our Members in the Bases,” Bulletin
Nos. 15 & 16, Dec. 10 & 11, 1947, ibid., pp. 24, 37; Yavne, “Evacuation of Women
and Children from Lifta,” Dec. 28, 1947, HA 105/215, p. 23; 00004 to Tene,
“Arabs Erecting Military Posts in Lifta,” Dec. 14, 1947, IDFA 1949/5253/104;
“The Old City,” Dec. 26, 1947, ibid.; “Families Leaving Lifta,” Jan. 1, 1948,
ibid.; Hashmona’i, “Demographic Changes in Jerusalem,” Jan. 25, 1948, IDFA
1948/500/60; “In the Arab Camp,” Jan. 25, 1948, ibid.; “Anger in Beit Safafa
over the use of the Village by Armed Gangs for Attacks on Mekor Haim,” Jan. 28,
1948, ibid.; “Beit Safafa” & “The Evacuation of Beit Safafa,” Feb. 15 & 18,
1948, ibid.; Yavne to Tene, “Deir Abu Tur,” Feb. 21, 1948, HA 105/215, p. 81;
Hashmona’i, “Annexes to News Concentration No. 114,” Mar. 16, 1948, IDFA
1949/2605/2; 01204 (Hatzil) to Tene, Jan. 21, 1948, HA 105/72, p. 52; Yavne to
Tene, “Complain by the Beit Safafa Mukhtar to the NC,” Feb. 16, 1948, ibid., p.
105; “In the Arab Camp: News Summary,” Mar. 14, 1948, p. 2, IDFA 2004/535/479;
“In the Arab Camp: News Summary,” Mar. 29, 1948, p. 2, ibid.; Yavne to Tene,
Feb. 15, 1948, HA 105/215, p. 41.

41 “Tene News,” Jan. 19, 1948, HA 105/61a, p. 85; 02117 to Tene, “In Wadi
Hunein,” Jan. 5, 1948, HA 105/148, p. 195; Tiroshi to Tene, “Dannaba,” Feb. 17,
1948, ibid., p. 219; 01132 to Tene, “Vacation of Mir,” Feb. 8, 1948 & “The
Evacuation of Jamala,” Feb. 8, 1948, HA 105/215, p. 44; Tiroshi to Tene, “Arab
Hawarith,” Feb. 18, 1948, ibid., p. 14; Avram to Tene, “Reinforcement from
Syria,” Feb. 11, 1948, HA 105/215a, p. 83; “Arab News Items,” Apr. 17, 1948,
IDFA 1948/500/55; 02112 to Tene, “Arab al-Fuqara,” Feb. 9, 1948, IDFA
1949/6400/66; 02122 to Tene, “From Salim Abdel Rahman,” Dec. 12, 1947, ibid.;
01122 to Tene, “Assorted News Items,” Dec. 2, 1947, ibid.; “Annexes to News
Bulletin No. 114,” Mar. 16, 1948, IDFA 1949/2605/2; “Annexes to News Bulletin
No. 122,” Mar. 23, 1948, ibid.; “Annexes to News Bulletin No. 126,” Mar. 30,
1948, ibid.; “Urgent Arab News Items,” Mar. 29, 1948, IDFA 1948/550/55; Tzefa to
Tene, “Vacation of Khisas,” Mar. 26, 1948, HA 105/257, p. 106; Tzefa to Tene,
“Ulmaniya and Waddi Luz,” Mar. 5, 1948, ibid., p. 33; Tiroshi to Tene,
“Bureika,” Mar. 6, 1948, ibid., p. 33; Yavne to Tene, “Isawiya,” Mar. 30, 1948,
ibid.; Tzefa to Tene, “Vacation of Women and Children from Arab Villages in the
Upper Galilee,” Feb. 25, 1948, HA 105/215, p. 20; Tiroshi to Tene, “Sarkas,”
Feb. 19, 1948, ibid.; p. 14; Tiroshi to Tene, “Arab al-Nufeiat,” Mar. 30, 1948 &
“Sarkas,” Apr. 20 & “Evacuation of Sarkas,” Apr. 22, IDFA 1949/6400/66;
Alexandroni “Sarkas,” Mar. 11, 1948, ibid.; Yosef Weitz, Yomanai Ve’igroti
Labanim (Tel Aviv: Masada, 1965), Vol. 3, pp. 257, 277; Yavne to Tene,
“Deprature of Inhabitants and Entry of Foreigners,” Apr. 18, 1948, HA 105/257;
Hiram to Tene, “Arab Propaganda Regarding Evacuations,” Apr. 30, 1948, ibid.;
Tene, “Migration of the Palestinian Arabs in the Period 1.12.47-1.6.48. Annex 1:
Vacated Arab Villages,” June 30, 1948, IDFA, 1957/100001/781, p. 4; Naim to
Tene, “Evacuation of Arabs,” Apr. 8, 1948, HA 105/143, pp. 171, 185; Yavne,
“Arab News Items,” Apr. 27, 30, 1948, ibid., pp. 309, 319; Tzuri to Tene,
“Assorted News,” May 6, 1948, ibid., p. 343; Naim to Tene, “Vacation of Sarafand
Kharab,” Apr. 8, 1948, HA 105/257, p. 290; Tzefa to Tene, “Vacation of Arab
Villages,” Apr. 6, 1948, ibid., pp. 24, 53; Tiroshi to Tene, “Fajja Vacated of
its Residents,” Apr. 14, 1948, ibid., p. 8; Tiroshi to Tene, “Partial Vacation
of Qannir,” Apr. 29, 1948 & “The Qannir Residents Moved to Arara,” Apr. 29 &
“Qanir,” May 3, 1948, IDFA 1949/7249/129; Yosef Weitz diary, May 4, 1948, CZA,
A246/13, pp. 2373-74; Hiram to Tene, “Vacation of the Arab Zubeidat Tribe,” Apr.
16, 1948, HA 105/54a, p. 67; report by an Arab source on the Arab Legion’s order
to vacate villages, May 12, 1948, IDFA 1949/5545/114, p. 11.

42 Cunningham to Secretary of State for the Colonies, Apr. 26, 1948, Cunningham
Papers; “Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 67,” issued by HQ British
Troops in Palestine (for the period 2359 hrs 19 Apr.-2359 hrs 3 May 48), PRO, WO
275/64, p. 1. See also: General Sir A. Cunningham to the Secretary of State for
the Colonies, “Weekly Intelligence Appreciation,” May 1, 1948, PRO, CO 537/3869.

43 Arif, al-Nakba, p. 179.

44 Muhammad Nimr Khatib, Min Athar al-Nakba (Damascus: al-Matba’a al-Amumiya,
1951), p. 287.

45 Beirut Radio, May 4, 1948, FBIS, European Section: Near & Middle East and
North African Transmitters, May 5, 1948, II2; “Summary of News for the
Alexandroni Brigade,” Apr. 9, 1948, HA 105/143, p. 174; Philip Ernst (American
Consul in Port Said) to Department of State, “Arrival of Palestine Arab
Refugees,” Apr. 29, 1948 (dispatched May 11), RG 84, 800--Refugees; Beirut
Radio, Apr. 25, 1948, SWB, No. 48, Apr. 29, 1948, p. 60; Campbell (Cairo) to
High Commissioner for Palestine, May 1, 1948, Cunningham Papers.

46 Beirut Radio, May 7, 1948, in BBC Summary of World Broadcasts: Western
Europe, Middle East, Far East, and Americas (SWB), No. 50, May 13, 1948, Part
III, p. 57.

47 Sir J. Troutbeck, “Summary of general impressions gathered during week-end
visit to the Gaza district,” June 16, 1949, PRO, FO 371/75342/E7816, p. 123.