Israel News

A collection of the week's news from Israel
A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto

August 24, 2001
Issue number 341


Shalhevet's Father Arrested

Yitzhak Pass, whose 10 month old daughter Shalhevet was murdered in March by Arafat terrorist soldiers, was arrested by Hebron police Wednesday afternoon. He, his wife Oriya and their newborn daughter, Renana, who was born about a month ago were stopped at the entrance to Kiryat Arba by police, who after identifying them, arrested Yitzhak. They were taken to the Hebron-Kiryat Arba police station for questioning.

A Hebron spokesman issued the following statement: It's not enough that we are attacked and shot at daily. It is not enough that gunfire echoes throughout Hebron late at night and in the early hours of the morning. It is not enough that women and children are shot at. It is not enough that a 10 month old was shot and killed. What is enough? Harassment of Hebron's residents, harassment of Yitzhak and Oriya Pass, bereaved parents whose first daughter was murdered in front of their eyes. Since the arrival of Hebron's new police chief, Hebron's police have began a campaign of intention harassment against men, women and children. Police are crawling around Hebron neighborhoods, and are stopping busses and automobiles, demanding that people identify themselves, as if we were living in Russia. However this is not Russia, this is Israel. And the year is not 1951, it is 2001. Rather than deal with the terrorists who attack us and shoot at us, the police have chosen to harass us. We call on Internal Affairs minister Uzi Landau to put an immediate stop to unwarranted police actions against Hebron's Jewish population. (Hebron Press Office August 22, 2001)

Tourism Continues to Plummet

 Tourism in Israel in July was down 56 percent as compared to the same time period a year ago. Since the Oslo War began on September 29, 2000, there has an overall decline in tourism of 46 percent. According to a study conducted by the Association of Incoming Tour Organizers, the ongoing PA warfare will have cost Israel some $3.1 billion in lost foreign currency revenues by the end of the year. On Wednesday, the Knesset Economics Committee was presented with the bleak findings of the study which also predicts that tourism from organized tour groups this year will be down 77 percent to 190,000 persons. Hoteliers are being hit hard by the tourism crisis as are allied industries servicing hotels and tour guides and their related industries. Hotels are calling for reductions in property taxes, government funding for mass advertisement campaigns and other assistance in an effort to avoid closing their doors. One million tourists are expected to visit Israel this year as compared to three million last year. (A-7 August 23, 2001)(What are you doing about it? -ed.)

Hizbullah Says High Court Decision Not Connected to Captive Soldiers

 Responding to the Israel High Court decision of Thursday pertaining to Hizbullah terrorists in Israeli custody, the terrorist organization issued a statement that the humanitarian position taken by the court will do nothing regarding negotiations towards the return of Israeli soldiers abducted in October 2000. The High Court ruled that Hizbullah terrorists Mustafa Dirani and Abdul el-Karim Obeid are entitled to receive a visit by representatives of the Red Cross. Hizbullah immediately announced that this would not automatically result in a reciprocal move concerning three soldiers being held captive by the terrorists. Since falling into Hizbullah hands, the three have not been seen by any official body including the Red Cross, despite efforts by intermediaries from European and other communities. (A-7 August 23, 2001)

IDF Advises Against Unilateral Separation from Palestinians

 The Israel Defense Forces is opposed to a unilateral separation between Israel and the Palestinians, believing that this is not the best solution for the current conflict. A senior IDF source told reporters yesterday said that huge investments would probably be needed for the Green Line area, and that the IDF does not recommend investing such a large amount of money in such a project. Former foreign minister and Labor Party member Shlomo Ben-Ami yesterday criticized a unilateral separation from the Palestinians. Ben-Ami believes that such a move would mean a perpetual war between Israel and the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim world. "Instead of land for peace, they are offering land for nothing and the creation of conditions for a continued war with the Palestinians," he said. "Israel has no greater strategic weapon than legitimate borders recognized by international law." (Ha'aretz August 20, 2001)

New Immigrants Continue To Find a Home in Yesha

According to the Jewish Agency for Israel, since the start of the PA''s Oslo War on September 29, 2000, over 1,000 new immigrants have established their home in Israel in one of the Yesha (Judea, Samaria & Gaza) communities. Another 120 have moved to the Golan Heights. A-7 Aug-23-01

New Bus Service to Mount of Olives

 After becoming aware that many people who wanted to visit the graves of loved ones on the Mount of Olives were not doing so because of fears of Arab attack, MK Rabbi Yaakov Leitzman of the United Torah Judaism Party decided to see to it that there was public transportation to the ancient cemetery. Starting next week, according to an agreement between the MK and Egged officials, there will be regular bus service to the Mount of Olives, allowing those who fear traveling alone alongside Arab villages the safety of public transportation. A-7 Aug-23-01

Hitting Back at the Mortars

 Up until August 3, the IDF barely retaliated for, or even responded to, mortar shelling of the Gaza Strip settlements. As a result, the shelling became increasingly accurate, and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad mortar squads moved closer and closer. In one instance, three shells hit Kfar Darom less than three meters from a home as its occupants were eating their Shabbat meal.But since that date, the policy has been changed, and a more aggressive stance adopted in an attempt to halt the shelling.

The IDF's TPQ Nurit radar can pick up mortar fire and track its origin. Since then, every mortar shell fired has been traced back to its source, and the IDF has reacted practically in Pavlovian fashion - even when it meant moving into Palestinian-controlled areas to get to the mortar squads.

The IDF has put together mortar-hunter teams that, say senior officers, can be ready to move less than five minutes after a mortar is fired. As a result, the Palestinians have moved their mortars, with ranges of 1,500 to 3,000 meters, deeper into their own territory - seriously hampering their accuracy. Today, most rounds fall in open spaces, or even inside Palestinian areas.

IDF commanders are aware that this is the perfect setup for a trap: Fire at a settlement and wait for the IDF's retaliation. Since it can't get to the mortars, and since it is policy-bound to retaliate, the IDF has adopted "guilt by association" targeting. This follows the defense establishment's long-held line that the Palestinian Authority itself is responsible for every act of violence, since it doesn't try to stop perpetrators - or even actively encourages them. This was the case over the weekend, when mortar squads shelled Nahal Oz and Gush Katif. Israel retaliated Saturday night, firing surface-to-surface missiles at a Palestinian Police position. There were no casualties, but the building suffered damage. Sunday, following further mortar fire, the IDF called in tanks and helicopters to strike at two Palestinian Police stations. Military sources said that the mortars were fired from or near the police positions and the police did nothing to stop the attack. The IDF message: Act or take the consequences. (Jerusalem Post 20 August 2001)

No Fear

 Shortly after the onset of hostilities almost 11 months ago, a Central Command army base in northern Jerusalem opened a new gate. The new entrance was designed to let army vehicles detour the Shuafat road, which was considered "dangerous." This past Thursday, however, the base commander assembled all his soldiers and officers and informed them that senior Central Command officers had decided to close the new gate. "From now on," he said, "all traffic in and out of the base will be via the Shuafat road. We must not show the Palestinians that we are afraid of them." (Arutz Sheva Aug. 20, 2001)

No Temple Mount Visits for Jews

 The Supreme Court rejected this morning another petition for Jews to visit the Temple Mount. Moshe Yogev of Gush Etzion requested that the police allow him to do so, but Judges Barak, Levine, and Cheshin accepted the police position that such permission would lead to "severe disturbances." The Temple Mount has been closed to Jews for almost eleven months. Justice Levine said, however, that he is greatly troubled by the continuing closure of the Mount to Jews, and that he fears that this is the beginning of a "slippery slope" of capitulation to threats of violence. (Arutz Sheva Aug. 20, 2001)

One Chief Rabbi in Tel Aviv

 In a stormy Tel Aviv town council meeting last night, it was decided by a large majority (17-4) that the city would have only one Chief Rabbi from now on. The council thus adopted the proposal of Mayor Ron Huldai, who said that having both a Sephardic and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi was unnecessary andwasteful. Tel Aviv has been without an Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi for eight years, and lacking a Sephardic Chief Rabbi for three. Israel's Chief Rabbis Lau and Bakshi-Doron are in favor of the move, however, and the latter even said three years ago that he would be willing to resign to serve as a personal example. Rabbi Yaakov Meidan said, "I think this was merely an attempt to downgrade the city's religious services in general. It is very sad to see the state of religious affairs in the Tel Aviv of late, such as the recent decision to open restaurants on Tisha B'Av and the gay pride parades. Many very fancy synagogues in Tel Aviv are now standing empty, and this is because many religious Jews no longer feel comfortable in Tel Aviv. Mayor Huldai's decision is another step in this direction, and maybe this was his goal."(Arutz Sheva Aug. 20, 2001)

Quote of the Week...

 "...the Palestinian's policy according to which the fire will continue so long as they do not get what they want will cause them to continue the fire forever until they throw us into the sea." -- PM Ariel Sharon's advisor Danny Ayalon (IMRA-Yediot Ahronot 16 August 2001)

From the pro-PA Media...

Suicide Bombing Is Democratic Right, Says the 'Soul' of Hamas

 In Gaza's deepest summer, an old man wearing modest white robes sits in a wheelchair at home and slowly turns his head towards his friends in the room. He cracks a 'joke' that has his followers giggling - the punch line lost in its translation. 'The use of suicide bombers is the democratic right of Palestinians everywhere,' he says with a knowing smile.

'... it is the only kind of democracy understood by Israel.' ' says Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, 65, spiritual leader of Hamas. 'The Israelis have no appetite for bombing campaigns - they will fall to their knees,' he predicts. 'You can sense the fear in Israel already; they are worried about where and when the next attacks will come. Ultimately Hamas will win.'

On a nearby street, a group of teenage boys watch a friend scrawl the star of David on to the road - so that it will be repeatedly run over by traffic. As Yassin said, on learning of the Israeli flag flying above the seized Orient House: 'We will crush that flag - it has no place in the Middle East.' (The Observer -August 19, 2001)


We Are All the Almighty's Children --By Rabbi Yossi Michalowicz

I am sure that we have all been talking about the events that have happened in Israel during this past month of Av. The shocking bombings and day-to-day warlike activities are upsetting all of us. We are frustrated. We are all asking ourselves, "What should we, as Jews living in Toronto, do to help our fellow Jews in Israel?' "Can we really do anything to help?' "How can we feel more connected to our brothers' and sisters' plight?' "Why am I not crying for them?' These are all frustrating questions. The answers are not so forthcoming. The frustration mounts almost to the point of despondency.

Parshat Re'ah tells us, "...and the Almighty has chosen you for Himself to be a treasured people, from among all the peoples on the face of the earth.' The Torah is telling us that we, the Jewish people are a treasured people. We have been entrusted with the sacred mission of spreading the message of ethical monotheism to the world. We are given the role to teach the world about morality and conscience by role-modeling exemplary behaviour. This seems like quite a daunting task. "Who? Me?' you ask. "Little old me? How can so much be expected from me?'

However, the previous verse tells us how we are able to accomplish this mission: "You are children to the Almighty!' What does it mean to be a child of the Almighty? Not so much different than the relationship a child has to a physical parent. Children carry specific characteristics, DNA, and physical similarities of their parents. Part of the parents is carried on in the children. There is a similarity that goes beyond the externals. The children embody so much of their parents that in many ways they are considered as extensions of their parents.

It is the same way with the Jewish people being children of the Almighty. We carry such a resemblance to G-d because of the pure Jewish soul that each and every one of us has. It is an indestructible soul that is capable of accomplishing more than one's physical talents would enable one to. It is a power that cannot be shackled by limitations and that can break all boundaries. We all have it. Mystically, we all share one common cosmic soul that provides us with a common destiny. This explains the indestructibility of the Jewish people. For thousands of years our enemies have sought to destroy us, but we survive. Why? It is that collective Jewish soul! Our Father in heaven will never let us lose it. Just like the Almighty can accomplish anything, so can we. But only if we don't forget that we are His children!

Anyone with a familiarity of children knows that although we are children of the Almighty, every single child is different. My wife and I are blessed with many children, and each one is a different human being. So too in regard to all Jews being "children of the Almighty.' Every single Jew has a soul, which is unique to that person, with chemistry and a balance of certain strengths that makes his/her soul a unique one. Those differences are for our benefit as a people in order to benefit from the multiple talents that we all can share. Let us not fall into the trap of not being able to get along because we are different. Although we have unique talents, we have too much common purpose because of our souls. We should forever stay united in order to benefit from our differences. Instead of displaying sibling rivalry, we should exhibit familial love. One of those common characteristics that should unite all Jews is our "Bitachon' - trust in G-d, that manifests itself with Jewish heroism and courage. The same courage of Joshua leading the Jews to conquer Israel, of Mordechai and Esther to defeat Haman, of Judah the Macabee during the Chanukah story, is being seen today. The Arabs kill a Jew in Israel - what is the Jewish response? Not to hide, but to build another community, to take another hill, to walk the same street that was fired on yesterday. "Children of the Almighty' understand that they are waging war for the honor of, and with the assistance of, the Almighty. Tragically, there will be casualties, but ultimately justice and morality must prevail. That is our Jewish destiny.

How can we feel connected to what is happening in Israel? What can we do to help? Let us exhibit those same spiritual qualities that we share with our brothers and sisters in Israel. If we are all indeed "children of the Almighty', and we see all the tears flowing from our Israeli siblings, should we not be shedding tears and constantly worrying about their plight - which is really our plight? If one of our siblings were in mortal danger, would we not leave any stone unturned in an effort to save them? How can we feel connected to our fellow Jews in Israel when we don't manifest similar qualities? Are we living up to our royal title as "children of the Almighty'?

The only thing that has saved the Israelis from their enemies overrunning them has been the courage and the concern for the welfare of every Jew, because they believed that there is a destiny to their mission. Should we feel any differently? Isn't their mission our mission?

We must be very much aware of who we are and what we represent as Jews - "Children of the Almighty' united with all Jews, especially during times of crisis. We must continue to run missions to Israel, to take part in communal rallies, to be involved in large-scale events showing support for Israel, and, most important, to educate people about how the current crisis is so vital and relevant to all Jews around the world. We urge you to respond bravely to the call!

No Way to Win a War --Moshe Arens

Slowly, too slowly, Israelis are beginning to realize that the Palestinians are waging war, a war that is now entering its 11th month. Some preferred to believe that it was only the Muslim fanatics among the Palestinians that were intent on killing Jews, or that the participation in the violence by Palestinians under the direct orders of Yasser Arafat was at most marginal. Or, that possibly Arafat was really our partner in fighting Hamas and the Islamic Jihad and eventually our partner in making peace between Jews and Palestinians. But with every funeral of victims of Palestinian violence, there seem to be fewer Israelis who put any faith in Arafat and more who conclude that it is Arafat with the troops under his command aided by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad who is waging a war against Israel.

This war is daily claiming innocent Israeli victims, many of them women and children. There can be no disagreement that it is the Israeli government's foremost task to put an end to the killing. And yet, Shimon Peres remains unconvinced. He still claims that negotiations with Arafat hold the key to ending the violence and threatens to leave the government if he is not permitted to meet with Arafat. He refuses to be confused by the facts - his mind is made up.

But for most Israelis, after a string of disappointments, Arafat has revealed himself for what he really is. His word is worthless and his credo is violence. He is not a partner for peace with Israel, and force must be used to counter his violent acts.

Seeking the support of the international community, the government has been restrained in using force against the Palestinian militias while the killing Please try to do many or all of the following actions to actively show our concern for the Almighty's children in Israel:

In any case, it was the activity pursued in Orient House that was illegal and not the building itself, and it is the people engaged in illegal activities there and in Abu Dis who should have been arrested and put on trial long ago. Using the massacre at the Sbarro restaurant as the trigger to attempt to put an end to Arafat's illegal activities in Jerusalem seems at the very least inappropriate and is in no way commensurate with the crime committed by the Hamas suicide bomber in Jerusalem. There is no alternative to using the IDF to suppress Palestinian violence and terrorism. If, after the latest terrorist acts, there are still those in the international community who fail to see that the Israeli government at this juncture has no choice but to use force against the Palestinian militias and terrorist groups in defense of its citizens, no demonstrations of restraint by Israel are going to convince them. In any case, it is wrong to base Israel's strategy on reprisals for Palestinian acts of terror. It is not a matter of returning blow for blow. No reprisal for an individual act of terror is going to prevent the next atrocity. It is their ability to commit acts of violence and terror that has to be neutralized. Much more than symbolic acts like taking over Orient House will be needed to win this war. (Ha'aretz 21 August 2001)

With Friends like Syria ... by Alexander Rose

How's this for strange bedfellows: Canada is considering backing Syria's bid for a seat on the Security Council. Syria? Security Council? That's like putting Sudan on the UN Human Rights Committee. (Oh, wait. It is.) However, for Canada, a country that adheres to the legal letter and spirit of the UN Charter, to back Syria would be sailing pretty close to the wind. According to Chapter V, Article 23 of the UN Charter, the General Assembly elects the 10 non- permanent Security Council members. In so doing, "due regard" must be "specially paid" to the proposed country's "contribution ... to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization." The "other purposes" bit is a little unclear, but a foreign affairs department spokeswoman has clarified that Canada's "decision will be primarily on our assessment of the value of the country's expected contribution to the Security Council, the country's domestic situation and our overall bilateral relationship, including the extent to which they share our values and priorities."

So, Ottawa has four yardsticks with which to measure Syria's performance before casting its vote in the General Assembly. First, does Syria contribute to peace and security; secondly, is Syria's expected contribution to the Security Council likely to be beneficial; thirdly, what is its domestic situation; and lastly, does it share Canadian "values and priorities" to any extent? The answers, briefly, are: No, no, no, no.

On the peace and security front, Syria has been, and continues to be, one of the leading instigators of Middle Eastern war, the physical annihilation of Israel and expansionist pan-Arab Ba'athist nationalism. Syria today foments hostile Hezbollah activity in Lebanon and has, following the spat between the late President Hafez al-Assad and Yasser Arafat over the latter's signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993, resurrected its links to the most radical rejectionist elements in the Palestinian Authority. In late March, at the Arab Summit in Amman, President Bashar al-Assad made Damascus's objective very clear indeed: "The Syrian method and logic leads to one and one only clear and defined goal -- the return of Arab rights in their entirety ... [This does] not lead to concessions." Returning rights "in their entirety" is common code for destruction of Israel.

When it comes to judging Syria's potential contribution, it is improbable that Damascus will be an objective observer of the Middle Eastern situation. The troubled Israeli-Lebanese border, the Golan Heights and Iraqi sanctions all fall within the Security Council's purview. In any case, because it has broken Security Council sanctions resolutions by illegally opening an oil pipeline to Iraq, Damascus should be disbarred from candidacy.

As for Syria's "domestic situation," Bashar has introduced the tiniest dollop of free-market reforms, released some political prisoners out of the thousands in jail and allowed the publication of a limited number of non-state newspapers. That's it. Of course, martial law (in place since 1963) has not been lifted, those lucky political prisoners are being watched by the omnipresent secret police (as is everybody else), it was either a few free-market reforms or total economic meltdown, and anyone who publishes a non-state newspaper can only do so under the aegis of one of the "political parties" aligned with the ruling Ba'ath regime. Unless Ottawa has taken a very queer turn lately, Syrian "values and priorities" are not altogether consonant with Canada's. Bashar's recent embarrassment of the Pope during his visit (the Syrian leader maniacally declaimed on Jewish deicide as John Paul II looked on helplessly), his strange assertions that Jews are "worse than Nazis" and the incessant anti-Semitism in Syrian school textbooks and media do not sound like the kind of values our multicultural government usually encourages. Or what about Syria's stranglehold on Lebanon? Damascus played a central role in the Lebanese wars and maintains some 25,000 soldiers and intelligence agents there. The servile and corrupt puppets in Beirut answer directly to Syria, the Ba'athist regime uses Lebanese banks for its slush funds, people frequently "disappear," Damascus stirs up trouble between the factions, and the Beka'a Valley is one of the world's great drug routes. Shouldn't it be one of Canada's priorities to liberate Lebanon, not help keep it enslaved? Perhaps, too, Ottawa might raise questions regarding the tens of thousands of Palestinians relegated to terrible camps in Syria and Lebanon. And lest we forget, Syria is an official and proud state sponsor of terrorism, providing cash and safehouses for several exceedingly murderous groups.

At the end of the day, Syria is probably going to become a Security Council member, mainly owing to Arab and African support, as well as that of France, China and Russia. So, shouldn't Canada make a stand, refuse the coward's way out of "abstaining," and vote resolutely against? (National Post August 23, 2001)

Behold! Bias Against Israel --By Yaffah daCosta

 Last week's reading in the Torah (Deuteronomy 11:26 16:17) begins with the Hebrew word "Re'eh," which means behold or see! And, indeed, many people this week are coming to terms with what we are beholding, with respect to media bias against Israel and our own State Department showing their obvious anti-Israel position.

How can the U.S. State Department claim that we (the United States) will track down any terrorists worldwide and give them consequences for acts of terror against American citizens anywhere they happen to be and yet that same scenario doesn't hold for Israel? Why is it that in all the major media outlets this past week, very few of them were willing to use the "T" word (terrorism) as it relates to the bomb blast in Jerusalem last Thursday that killed primarily women and children at a pizza parlor?

Behold! Add to this that radical Moslem suicide bombers are now being called activists instead of terrorists. Timothy McVeigh must be rolling over in his grave. He so very much wanted to be understood as an activist against the US government for their allowing the FBI-ATF to brutally murder innocent people (including women and children) at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Yet the only thing the media would ever call Mr. McVeigh was a terrorist. Now, in Israel, the Palestinian suicide bombers are called activists rather than terrorists in deference to the Arab- Moslem oil lobby in this country.

Speaking of Mr. McVeigh, the other major issue with the "media bias" of today is moral equivalence of the terrorist attacks against Israel and the Israeli response in trying to find and capture (or kill) the terrorists before they can do their damage. Israel has no choice but to do this, because Arafat's Palestinian Authority is not arresting the Hamas murderers, as called for by the George Tenet Cease-fire and Mitchell plans. Can there be any moral equivalence between an act of terror perpetrated by Mr. McVeigh on the citizens of Oklahoma City and the execution of him carried by the state? Why has the U.S. suddenly accepted such double standards when it comes to Israel? What else do we behold? What was Israel's response to the suicide bombing in West Jerusalem, inside the Green Line, which is not a part of the so-called West Bank? They took Orient House in the eastern part of Jerusalem, which had been established illegally (according to the Oslo agreements) as a political site for the Palestinian Authority. There was no bloodshed, no one died as a result. Israel decided to try a political response instead of a military one that might possibly incur casualties of innocent people.

And the reaction of the World? Behold! Condemnation, of the Israeli response was voiced around the world (including our own U.S. State Department) as if the Israelis are allowed to do nothing in response to terror attacks against their very own citizens. What is behind the media bias and State Department reactions? Collusion! This defined as playing into the hands of others, for the purposes of fraud and/or deceit. Behold! It is a global jihad and Israel is only one of the "front lines" of a global, radical, resurgent Islam (that goes back to the 11th and 12th century Holy Wars with the Crusaders. The media don't want to report on this, but we're seeing radical Islam popping up in many places, and the persecution of Christians and Jews (and also those of other religions, like Hindus) in the following modern countries: Israel, Lebanon, Algeria, Southern Sudan, Afghanistan (Taliban), Philippines, Pakistan & Kashmir, Malaysia, Western China, Argentina, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. In each of these countries, radical Moslems are showing their contempt (lack of tolerance) for those of other faiths (called Dhimmis).

When is the world going to wake up and behold, what is going on? Radical Islam has the worst record of any religion when it comes to basic human rights of minorities (including religious freedom). What can people do about this deplorable situation?

Behold! There are blessings and curses blessings for being obedient to the word of God and curses (I like to call them consequences) for ignoring and blatantly opposing the word of God (see Genesis 12:3). This is all about choices and consequences! Pro-Israel Christians (and others) need to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill and within the media. Write letters to the editors of newspapers when you see their anti-Israel bias in the papers. Start to watch only balanced news reports. Get on e-mail distribution lists for alternate news sources about what is really happening in Israel (I can send them to you). And, go on tours to Israel, it's relatively safe to be with a private tour group, on private buses and going to private tourist sites within Israel. Consider joining one of the many "Solidarity Tours" to Israel that are being planned for this year. Israel needs your love and active support at this critical time. ( August 18, 2001)

A Glance at the Big Picture --By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

 According to Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, wars are indicative of the ""footsteps of the Moshiach."" By the ""Moshiach"" Rav Kook does not mean an individual but rather a series of historical events leading to Israel''s restoration and ascendancy on the one hand, and the decline of western as well eastern civilization on the other. A brief sketch of this historical process follows.

The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the ascendancy of nationalism or the nation state vis-a-vis religion or the universal church. European nationalism spawned political Zionism, the awakening ofJewish nationalism.

The Franco-Prussian War precipitated the unification of Germany, which was a prelude to the First World War. This war not only put an end to the Ottoman Empire and Turkish control of Palestine; the war also produced the Balfour Declaration, which prepared the ground for a Jewish state in Palestine.

Rav Kook, who died in 1935, did not see the Second World War. But as his son Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook often stated on Holocaust Day, this war led to Israel''s rebirth in 1948. (""The death of the righteous granted the Jewish people new life."") It took the War of Independence, however, to establish the State of Israel and facilitate the in-gathering of the Jewish people.

The 1956 Sinai War displayed Israel''s far-reaching power, which the Six-Day War of 1967 awesomely demonstrated, a war that resulted in the unification of Jerusalem and the recapture of the Jewish heartland, Judea and Samaria. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 prepared for the termination of the secular Labor Party''s 29-year monopoly of power in 1977. The Labor Party thereafter became dependent on the Arab vote, which prompted Labor to abandon political Zionism on which the State had been (inadequately) founded.

Labor''s policy of land-for-peace followed and led to Oslo in 1993. The underlying motive of this policy was to put an end to territorial nationalism, ironically, the original basis of the State! Indeed, Oslo was to facilitate the transformation of the Jewish state into a "state of its citizens." To put it more starkly: Oslo was the culmination of a revolution initiated by the Labor-Meretz Government after the June 1992 national election, a revolution whose goal was to secularize the country, denude the public schools of Jewish content, and thus put an end to Judaism in Eretz Yisrael! (This HAD to be the Left''s goal, since the birthrate of religious Jews was twice that of their secular counterparts.)

But Oslo has to be understood dialectically --and by the way, Rav Kook''s philosophy of history is dialectical. For Oslo has led to Arafat's War, a war that has revealed not only the utter bankruptcy of the Labor Party, but of the Likud, indeed, of Israel''s inept and unJewish system of government. All of which takes us closer to the "Moshiach."

I believe it can be said that, thanks to Arafat''s War, Israel is not going to lose Judea and Samaria, as has been feared since Camp David 1978 and especially since Oslo. One can now intuitively foresee the eventual incorporation of Judea and Samaria into the State. This means expanded Jewish settlement and development, which in turn will hasten the departure of the so-called Palestinian Arabs. If, however, a regional war should break out, it will hasten the expulsion of the Arabs, the demolition of the two mosques on the Har Habayit, and the construction of the Third Temple. In any case, from the present darkness light shall come forth. Israel will rediscover its essence and purpose. At last, thank G-d, we shall experience the "Moshiach." (Prof. Paul Eidelberg will be speaking at the University of Toronto on November 29, 2001)

With Their Backs to the Mall -By Lily Galili

A man who was very fearful of his fate went to a fortune-teller. "I see a car and blood, lots of blood," said the seer. The man went home and in fear did not budge from his room. Finally he had to go to the bathroom. He staggered the short distance, tripped and hit his head on the toilet. When they came to take away his corpse, they found next to the toilet a child's toy car and a lot of blood.

This macabre story was told on Sunday this week by Sarah Albitzky, a young ultra-Orthodox woman, as she sipped coffee at one of the counters at the Malha Mall in Jerusalem. The bleak moral about inescapable fate explained how she had dared to go to the mall from the distant Har Nof neighborhood, two days after the terror attack at the Sbarro restaurant, accompanied by her baby, Yosef-Dov, who was sleeping in a stroller next to her. Albitzky is not the only one who is resorting to parables and proverbs. Jerusalemites, active politicians all year around, have now become philosophers in an attempt to cope with the situation. This is the kind of conversation that went on at the tables of most of the cafes and restaurants in the mall, which was surprisingly full of people. Terror, however, had overcome the law prohibiting smoking in public places. No one dared scold the smokers, as if a shared fate had now imposed a kind of tolerance. "We Jerusalemites are already accustomed to terror attacks," said Motti Cardi, 30, as he chain-smoked and enumerated the terror attacks one by one - the buses that blew up, the Mahaneh Yehuda Market: "We shout a bit, we demonstrate a bit and then we forget." But in the mall there was no feeling of forgetfulness, but rather a sense of challenge. The hundreds of people who milled around among the shops, the children who had their pictures taken in cardboard crowns distributed by a fast food chain, the giant rabbit in a stifling costume who went up and down the escalators - it seemed as though they had come to make a deliberate point despite the fear, despite the terror, despite the damage. A visit to the mall became more than leisure-time entertainment; it became a stubborn declaration.

Surprisingly, the first shoppers showed up on Thursday night, a few hours after the terror attack.

`We'll go everywhere,' Elvina, an immigrant from Ukraine who works as a saleswoman at a jewellery store, related that on that same night, people came to the shop to buy jewellery. Many came to pick out wedding rings. Elvina's parents immigrated to Israel a few months ago, in the midst of the tension. They live in Gilo. Now, when she asks them not to go downtown, not to go to the market, they say: "This is the country you chose for us. If that's the case, then we'll go everywhere."

"It's good that we get accustomed to things so fast," says Ronny Amid, the owner of a shoe store at the mall."If we didn't get accustomed to the situation so fast, we would lose the battle. After all, the game is who breaks first - we or the Palestinians - and so far, we have been holding up well," he says. Amotz Kellerman, who came with his family from Hispin in the Golan Heights, turned the whole trip into a display of making a point. He made a point of bringing his children to the mall. He made a point of driving along the empty Jordan Valley road, even though his daughter Tehila, 12, was a little afraid. She got over it, she says, because "This is exactly what the Palestinians want."

"I'm not a total fool," explains her father. "I have a weapon on me and I checked the first aid equipment in the car; but this is a call-up notice for Israeli society. We need to have strength like the people did during the Holocaust." Along the way, they stopped at Kibbutz Merav, where his wife attended the funeral of Aliza Malka, who had been her student. A typical Israeli family outing.

A Tel Aviv cabdriver who was asked to take a passenger to Jerusalem in the evening turned down the fare, and not even politely. He was afraid. All the patriotic arguments about the capital of Israel were to no avail. The Tel Aviv cab driver is definitely in favor of an eternally united Jerusalem, but he was not about to go there. Uzi Zvirkin, a veteran Jerusalem cabdriver, is not surprised. "It used to be that the Tel Aviv cab drivers wouldn't come to Jerusalem on the grounds that the climb burned up their tires; now they're afraid."

Many Jerusalemites say that their friends from the coastal plain refuse to visit them. This week, Rina Babitbul, 22, related: "Our friends aren't coming here. Instead, they invite me to Tel Aviv. I can understand them, Jerusalem is really heavy."Fashionable Jerusalem restaurants that on weekends used to play host to people from Tel Aviv who were seeking "authentic" Jerusalem folklore, are empty.

Eli Chen, a young Jerusalem hairdresser, not long ago, was smitten by the charms of a young woman from the center of the country, whom he met in Eilat, and he invited her to go out with him in Jerusalem "Are you crazy?" she cried. "Not a chance. I'm not going there."

The beauty parlor where Eli Chen works is located in the Gilo neighborhood. On Tuesday morning, when there was lengthy shooting at the neighborhood, the employees at the beauty parlor felt like combat veterans. Chen found himself with a funny problem last week. The shirt he had washed to wear in the evening was hanging out on the clothesline to dry. the bullets were flying all around, and Chen could not go out to take the shirt off the line. The shirt that became a hostage has stuck in his mind as a symbol of the situation. A small group of children sitting at the entrance to a Gilo building sings what has become the unofficial anthem of the place: "Beit Jala, donkeys, mules. All day long they shoot and shoot." The neighborhood children have became ballistics experts, and exchange the latest information about "their" kinds of weapons and "ours."

The scale of values in the "yuppie" and left-wing neighborhoods of Jerusalem has also changed in recent days. Security guards have been posted at the restaurants and cafes along Emek Refaim Street. At the beginning of the Intifada, the attempt to post security guards met with opposition from the peace-seekers in the neighborhood. Now they are gratefully accepted. You call a phone number advertised on Israel Radio and are answered by a recording: "If you wish to recite psalms for the soul, press 1. If you wish to receive chapters from the Book of Psalms, press 2. "Eleven telephone operators are handling the operation. "We are engaged in a project of reciting psalms because of the situation," explains Bracha Perlman, the woman who is in charge of the situation room. "We phone people up and offer them five chapters of the Book of Psalms plus a special blessing from Rabbi Shalom Sharabi. We are now in area code 09, where there have been a lot of terror attacks. Because of this, people are more open, it is easier for them to accept. Many people thank us and bless this brilliant idea. We get a lot of response from secular people." (Ha'aretz 17 August 2001)

Back to Israel News {} Return to CAFI News {} Return to CAFI Home
Recommended Links
  • C and M Law Corporation, the Los Angeles personal injury attorney firm, has been serving the city’s residents for over 45 years. People who think they do not need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, invariably find out the hard way that they should have chosen that right lawyer in the very beginning. Regardless of the type of accident or injury, we have the experience to successfully represent you and your family. If you or someone you know has been injured through the negligence or recklessness of others, come see us. Voted in the top one percent of trial lawyers in the USA, our lawyers go the distance. We can help get you the compensation you and your loved ones deserve. The personal injury attorney Los Angeles firm of C and M Law Corporation has won an excess of 2 Billion Dollars in settlements!