Friday, July 30, 2010

Success is a Gift of G-d

By Michael Fuah

"Because G-d, your G-d is bringing you to a good Land. And you shall eat and you shall be satiated and you shall bless G-d, your G-d for the good Land that He has given you." (From this week's Torah portion, Eikev, Deuteronomy 8:7, 10)

Sometimes we are so involved in man-made troubles that we forget to give thanks for all the wondrous good that G-d gives us. Just 70 years ago, we were at the receiving end of the prophecy that opens this week's Prophets reading: "
And Zion said G-d has abandoned me and my Master has forgotten me," and now we have merited "And He will love you and He will bless you and He will make you many and bless the fruits of your womb and the fruits of your earth, your grain and the juice of your grapes and your oil." (Deuteronomy 7: 13).

Gratefulness does not come naturally; we must work on acquiring it. On the contrary, when all is going well, one often forgets the feelings of lack and dependence that he feels in times of trouble. In truth though, all is a gift from G-d, and we must thank Him for every detail throughout the day.

The good that we have been promised is not a given. The feeling that we are on a direct route to the Final Redemption often dangerously combines with the plague of "
My strength and the power of my hand brought me this success," causing us to forget our responsibility to nurture the process in which we are living. G-d directs us to build a kingdom of priests and a holy nation that calls out in the Name of G-d and is a moral beacon for the world. Nowhere in the Torah does He call upon us to establish a normal state that will find its place among the nations. The reason that Israel - strong and prosperous - is losing the legitimacy for its existence hinges on this understanding.

It is up to us: "
And if you will listen to My voice - "No man will stand in your path, G-d, your G-d will put fear and trepidation of you on the entire Land upon which you will step."

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Connecting Heaven and Earth

By Moshe Feiglin

18 Av, 5770
July 29, '10

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

At the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, which we began reading last week, Moses reminds Israel of the most serious crime that the nation committed - the sin of the spies. When the spies returned from their reconnaissance tour of the Land of Israel with a negative report, the Children of Israel wept. That day was the ninth day of the month of Av. G-d said to Israel: You have cried needlessly (on this day), but I will give you something to cry about on this day for generations. (Tractate Ta'anit). And sure enough, it is the Ninth of Av that time and again provides us with reason to cry. Both the first and second Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on that day and many additional catastrophes, including the recent expulsion from Gush Katif, took place on or around the Ninth of Av.

What is so terrible about the sin of the spies? What is it about this sin that prevented the Israelites from entering the Land of Israel, sending them instead for a desert trek that lasted forty years? And if that is not bad enough, why do we continue to pay the price of this sin until our very own times?

In Hebrew, the word for "sin," chet, also means to "miss the mark." With the sin of the spies, we missed the mark - the mission that Abraham started and that continued with the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. We were simply unprepared to carry out the mission for which we set out on this journey. The forty year delay in the desert was not a punishment. It was a consequence of the dismal reality that surfaced with the sin of the spies.

To understand how this happened and how the sin of the spies is connected to the Ninth of Av and the destruction of the Holy Temple, we must understand the Jewish mission. We must understand why G-d directed Abraham to establish the Nation of Israel, why He brought us through the crucible of Egypt, miraculously redeemed us from there, gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai and brought us to the Land of Israel.

Our mission as Jews is to connect heaven and earth; to live our physical lives in the most natural and realistic manner - but with G-d ever-present in our midst - as individuals and as a nation. This is how we testify to the presence of the Creator in our world and to the manner in which humanity is expected to conduct itself.

A skeptical Frederick the Great once asked his court chaplain for proof that G-d exists, to which his chaplain replied, "The Jews, your majesty, the Jews." "The Jews are the conscience of the world," said Hitler, may his name be blotted out," and thus must be destroyed."

The purpose of our journey is to create a modern and completely relevant nation that conducts itself morally and whose very existence and way of life points to its Father in heaven: a nation that is predicated on G-d. In the past, this was called an "exemplary society." In our prayers, we express this idea as "perfection of the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty." The pinnacle of this mission is embodied in the Holy Temple - the royal palace of the King of the world, the place where the physical and metaphysical converge; a place where all the inhabitants of the world can come to touch the eternal.

In the desert we lived like angels. Our war with Pharaoh was conducted by none other than the Creator, Himself and our sustenance fell daily from Heaven. When it came time to enter the Land of Israel and to work for our bread, to fight our wars and to conduct ourselves on the basis of earthly reality, we turned our backs on our national mission and preferred to remain in the desert. We preferred to be "religious" and to leave the responsibility for reality to others. We attempted to prove the complete opposite of our destiny -to prove that a nation is incapable of living in this world with G-d in its midst.

When the entire generation of the desert died, we entered the Land of Israel and later built the Holy Temple. But then the opposite problem surfaced. We clung to simple routine and surrendered our connection to holiness. In the Land of Israel, we preferred to be strictly "secular." The Holy Temple was no longer the means to connect the holy and mundane. On the contrary - the religious rituals in the Temple took place detached from the corruption outside its walls. The Temple became a fig leaf for life devoid of holiness. Thus, it was destroyed.

We are still motivated by our Jewish destiny: to connect heaven and earth. Without this destiny, we cannot exist. The lesson of the Ninth of Av is that in order to carry out our mission we must be simultaneously secular and religious - responsible for reality and firmly ensconced in holiness. The separation between the two is the sin of the spies. The destruction of the Temple is its consequence.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jewish Family, Jewish Pride

By Michael Fuah

The Jewish Nation has brought many important values to the world. One of those is the value of family. The nuclear family that Jewish tradition and culture have nurtured throughout the ages has been a source of strength and love for those who are blessed to experience it. Family harmony, mutual respect between husband and wife and respect for elders have created fertile ground for the Jewish creativity with which the Jewish Nation has been blessed throughout the ages. The State of Israel is the only Western state in which the family is growing instead of contracting. This good news is true for observant and non-observant families, alike. It is part of the traditional Jewish values system and has been accomplished without dazzling media campaigns.

Currently, the State of Israel, under pressure from a small, marginal yet vocal minority is working through the offices of the Tourism Ministry and the Tel Aviv Municipality to market Tel Aviv as the homosexual capital of the world.

Nobody asked the many families in Tel Aviv if this marketing is in harmony with their values. Nobody asked the citizens of Israel if the encouragement of debauchery in our Holy Land is consistent with the morals in which we believe. Nobody asked us if we are willing to be advertised world-wide as the standard-bearers of the "homosexual awakening."

Nobody in the State of Israel invades his neighbor's privacy. The homosexuals are the only group that is actively working to externalize their sexual preference in the most public way. Essentially, they are coercing their way of life on the majority that is opposed to public displays of lewdness.

Homosexual activism has a purpose. It dovetails with many other struggles in Israeli society. Some of the activism is carried out by naive people with good intentions. But the ultimate goal of all these struggles is to strip Israel of its values and legitimacy as a Jewish state.

It is fascinating to see how (secular) journalist Ben-Dror Yemini has begun to go public with what we have been feeling for a long time. His series of articles on the New Israel Fund is a ray of welcome sobriety in a society being driven over the brink. Those of you who read Hebrew can see his articles
here, here and here.

The drive to detach Israel from its Jewish values has become a mighty weapon in the war against our country. To triumph, we must "market" - and make - the State of Israel a Jewish State firmly planted in its Jewish values.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Concept

By Moshe Feiglin

15 Av, 5770
July 26, '10

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper

The Eiland report on the Gaza flotilla fiasco makes it clear that no facts were hidden from the people who planned and carried out the operation. The Navy commander displayed leadership; he did not watch the operation on a plasma screen, but was present in one of the boats at the scene. He saw the first attempts of the commandos to climb onto the boat and understood what type of welcome his soldiers would be receiving.

The presence of senior commanders in the field in this case turned out to be an impediment. The person who eventually came back to his senses, shook off the false assumptions and unfounded concept upon which the entire operation was based was S.S. - one of the regular commando soldiers. He killed six of the Turkish attackers one after the other and turned the situation around. We can safely assume that if less senior commanders had been on the scene, reality would have detached the ropes of the erroneous concept sooner - and the desecration of G-d's Name with the humiliation of Israel's soldiers - would have been prevented.

Paradoxically, the Eiland Report reveals that the authors of the report, themselves, are also captive to the same concept that determined the planning and execution of the operation. They cannot even understand the implications of their own conclusions; conclusions that every child sees clearly: The flotilla fiasco was a serious defeat for Israel. The Report does not examine the concept - it simply examines if the procedure that was supposed to implement the concept was properly performed. And if the procedure was properly executed and all involved acted faultlessly, then the only conclusion that we can reach is that the operation succeeded.

The depth of the dependence on the concept that was revealed in the commando cooperation is no more than an illustration of a mindset that is much more broad and faulty. The entire existence of the State of Israel is founded on a concept detached from reality that repeatedly explodes in our faces. But just as with the flotilla, due to the fact that we were born into this mindset, we cannot think out of the box to change it.

As far as we are concerned, if we have managed to put off US pressure until after the congressional elections, if we have squeezed a smile out of Obama, then all is well. The mindset is that the Nation of Israel is a nation like all others; that the Nation of Israel returned to its land out of purely nationalistic aspirations and that the G-d of Israel must be left in exile - outside reality. Alternately, He may be encased in the synagogues and yeshivot in Israel. The religious sectors also share this faulty mindset. At most, Jewish faith and culture are nothing more than obligation-free folklore (on the national level). Certainly - the mindset continues - Jewish faith must not be allowed to influence national concerns.

Since the first days of Zionism, this concept has ruled. At its inception, it looked like it had even proven itself. The opposite concept - that the Nation of Israel must cling to the G-d of Israel and leave the Land of Israel outside the political game - seemed like a total contradiction of reality. Its negation was the secret of the power of Zionism. That is how we established a state without G-d; a state whose existence in the impossible reality that surrounds it is dependent upon the American superpower.

Since the Six Day War, the Israeli leadership has done all that it can to empower this basic assumption. As a result, our national frame of mind depends on which side of the bed Obama wakes up in the morning. This morning - until the congressional elections- Obama is smiling, the erroneous concept gets a temporary reprieve and just as with the Eiland conclusions - everything is fine.

But everything is not fine. The sinking feeling in our collective stomach and the national distress after the flotilla fiasco are alive and kicking. The existential distress engulfing all Israelis as our international standing relentlessly sheds the "nation like all other nation" concept is becoming ever more pronounced. Everyone feels that the Western world is turning its back on us. As we have no alternative concept, the existential distress gets worse and worse.

"Israel does not have foreign policy," Henry Kissinger once stated. We cannot have a foreign policy because we are always busy with simple survival. Not our personal survival: The survival of the concept. If we were really concerned with our own survival, the Marmara would have been stopped at sea - above the water or under it. But within the framework of "the family of nations" it is impossible to act at sea as reality would dictate. We sacrificed the Navy commandos for the survival of the concept - not for our own survival.

Time and again, leaders of the Right come into power and after a short while, the Right is back on the streets, demonstrating against its new leaders. The assumption that lies at the foundation of the demonstrations is that we could do better from within the existing concept. The time has come to understand that that is a false assumption. If the people demonstrating would come into power on the arena of the existing mentality, they would find themselves taking measures strikingly similar to those that they are protesting today.

The existing arena is disintegrating from under our feet. Our role is to create a concept that befits the historic destiny of the Nation of Israel and to prepare our nation for the alternative arena - an arena in which G-d is the decisive factor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Conversion Controversy in Israel: Not Very Complicated

By Moshe Feiglin

"And you who cling to Havayah your G-d are all living today." (From this week's Torah portion, Va'etchanan, Deuteronomy 4:4)

The Jewish Nation is alive today in the merit of its attachment to G-d. Our wondrous history and the very fact that the Nation of Israel is eternal testify to His existence. The Jewish Nation has a pact - a covenant - with the Master of the Universe. G-d frees us from the laws of nature and makes us an eternal nation and we cling to Him and testify to His existence. There is no other nation that has consistently starred on the stage of human history, been intricately involved with all the empires throughout the ages - and survived. It is a wonder outside the bounds of the laws of history.

There is a caveat, though. G-d's promise of national eternity is reserved for those who cling to Him. All those sects of Judaism that considered themselves "liberated" from the basic pact with our Father in heaven have eventually dropped out of Judaism altogether. All the sects that revised the Torah as per the dictates or constraints of the times - from the Second Temple era desert sects to "Progressive" Judaism - eventually lost their charm and were erased from the pages of Jewish history, or are on their way to dropping out.

In our day, the Reform movement has become the dominant movement for Jewish assimilation. This movement is now demanding that the Jewish State relax the requirements for conversion to Judaism.

The rationale that preserves the authority for conversion in the hands of the stream of Judaism that perpetuates the tradition of the covenant with G-d, the stream that is loyal to the Oral Law - is stronger by far than any flaw that may be found in Orthodox Judaism. A person who would like to be a Jew according to Jewish law must convert according to the requirements of that very same law. It is as simple as that.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Oslo Syndrome Self-Evaluation Quiz

Peace broke out in our region 17 years ago. The New Middle East came to life, the wings of the white dove of peace fluttered through all the network news shows and only a few strange prophets of doom opposed the peace process that was going to save the world.

When reality began to broadcast voices of pathological hatred from our peace partners and the flutter of the dove's wings was replaced by bombs exploding on buses and the cries of Jewish victims of terror on Israel's streets, nothing changed. The reality was suppressed or explained away in Newspeak. The victims of Arab terror became the Victims of Peace.

f an official commission of inquiry had been established to investigate the Oslo fiasco, it would likely have found a number of flaws in the decision-making process. Doubtless, though, the commission would have praised the courage of the statesmen who initiated the process and may possibly have offered suggestions for improvement the next time around. Those are exactly the conclusions of the commission of inquiry into the Second Lebanon War, the commission of inquiry into the state of the refugees of Gush Katif and now, the Eiland commission of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla debacle. It is only reasonable to assume that the Turkel Commission will present similar findings. It is the Oslo Syndrome striking once again.

How can you know if you suffer from the Oslo Syndrome? If you think that relations between people and nations depend only on written agreements; if you think that a signed and sealed contract with a murderous liar is better than facing off against him in reality; if you stand face to face with a terrorist and think that he is a peace activist or if you see a public relations campaign that says that there is a solution for every settler and you don't understand that for that to be possible you have to see real houses in real settlements for 10,000 real people. If you have any of the above symptoms, you are suffering from the Oslo Syndrome.

There is no point in establishing commissions of inquiry if they are to be chaired by people with Oslo Syndrome. Just six years ago, General Eiland drew up the operational plans for the Disengagement. As part of the main objectives to be accomplished by the Disengagement, he wrote that the plan would improve Israel's security and political reality. A captive of the Oslo Syndrome cannot possibly conclude that Israel really didn't need better intelligence to understand the motives of the "peace activists" on board the Gaza flotilla. Just as there was no need for better intelligence during Oslo to understand what Arafat wanted.

The commission of inquiry into the expulsion from Gush Katif concluded that the expulsion was the most serious abuse of human rights in Israel's history. But it did not point to the reasons that lurked behind this major abuse of human rights. Instead, it devoted an entire chapter of its report to improvements for the next time around.

Israel is suffering from reality blindness. Not only do the commissions of inquiry headed by people suffering from Oslo Syndrome not help - they are detrimental - creating the impression that the problems have been analyzed and rectified, when in truth they have been buried under volumes of Newspeak.

Pollard and Gilad

Jonathan Pollard has been in a US prison for over 9000 days - an incomprehensible amount of time to be rotting in a jail cell. We have prayed, written letters, demonstrated and lobbied. But we cannot ignore this sad milestone.

Gilad Shalit has been held captive for four years, just a stone's throw from the State of Israel. That is also incomprehensible.

Yes, things could definitely be different. The State of Israel could officially demand Pollard's release. Every meeting between Israeli officials and American representatives could begin with the Pollard issue. And Israel can also embarrass the US by revealing the identities of all sorts of American agents who spied here and were released, unharmed. But tragically, Pollard is not on Israel's official agenda.

The State of Israel can demand the release of Gilad Shalit at any price. At the price of the food that it transfers to Gaza, at the price of the electricity and water that it provides for Gaza, at the price of the millions of shekels in cash that it transfers to Gaza or at the price of the comfortable conditions that the Hamas prisoners enjoy in Israel. But tragically, the only price that the State of Israel is willing to pay is the release of one thousand murderers. That is not enough for the Hamas, of course. If the Israelis are such pushovers, why shouldn't they demand more?

The German Professor

By Moshe Feiglin

11 Av, 5770
July 22, '10

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website

Editor's note: Moshe Feiglin wrote this article last Sat. night. Since then, his son David has opened his eyes once.

Yafim lives near our house. As a young soldier in the Golani brigade during the Six Day War, Yafim fought in the intense battle of Tel Fachar in an open half-track. He somehow made it through that terrible battle, but immediately after the war, his jeep drove over a land mine. Yafim was severely wounded.

Every Shabbat, I visit Yafim with my son, David. They have become good friends. I thought that I had already heard everything there is to hear from Yafim. But Yafim came to visit me in the hospital where my son is still in intensive care with a story I had never heard:

"I had shrapnel in my head and was unconscious for a month," Yafim told me. "My brother did not leave my bedside. He got a large needle from the professor, and pricked me daily in all parts of my body. There was no response. A Syrian pilot was in the bed next to me. He was seriously injured in his head and the professor cared for both of us with the same dedication. The military police stationed a guard next to the Syrian, but he was unconscious and the guard would help my brother care for me. At that time, the doctors in Israel did not know how to care for severe head wounds and they brought in an expert professor - from Germany."

"You mean a German Jew," I said to Yafim.

"Not at all. Professor X was a doctor in the German army in World War II and had plenty of experience with severe head wounds," Yafim answered.

I was shocked. 22 years after the Holocaust, the IDF brought a German professor who had served in the Nazi army to care for the wounded of the army of the Jews.

"And how did he treat you?" I skeptically asked Yafim.

"Great," he answered. "A month after my injury I woke up and began to function."
"What about the Syrian pilot?"

"He didn't make it."

"And what happened to the German professor afterwards? Did he return to Germany?"

"No, he stayed in Israel. Today, his son is the head of _____ Hospital."

G-d's ways are truly wondrous. I am not certain of the significance of this story, but it can surely be the basis for a captivating historical novel.

The novel has a sequel. Thirty years later, Yafim's son Tzviki - a decorated officer in the IDF - got an order to stop a car of terrorists that was leaving one of the Arab villages on its way to perpetrate a terror attack in one of Israel' cities. At the entrance to the village, Tzviki encountered a demonstration that blocked his way. He understood that the Arabs there were simply buying time to allow the terrorist vehicle to escape. Tzviki shot his gun in the air and in a strange twist of events found himself in jail. To protest the travesty of justice, Yafim sat outside army headquarters in Tel Aviv with a large sign. I visited him there with David.


I am writing this article in the wee hours between Sat. night and Sunday, next to David's bed. David is still unconscious. A number of days after the accident David blinked his eyes once. It is hard to describe how happy we were and how much we thanked G-d for that one, heavy blink of the eye. We are learning how much we have to thank G-d every day for all the millions of blinks that we just take for granted. Afterwards, the doctors closed David's beautiful eyes with pressure bandages and we do not know what is going on underneath them.

The blessings that we recite every morning have a new significance for me. 'Blessed are You, G-d, Who opens the eyes of the blind.' 'Blessed are You, G-d, Who liberates the imprisoned.' 'I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.'

Please, G-d, restore with mercy and in completion the soul of my son, David.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Letter from Moshe Feiglin

By Moshe Feiglin

8 Av, 5770
July 19, '10

To my dear brothers and sister, supporters of Manhigut Yehudit and readers of the weekly update,

My family and I are in the midst of difficult times. These words are being written during the night between Tuesday and Wednesday at the bedside of my beloved son, David, who is still unconscious. Every so often, our Father in Heaven sends us an encouraging sign. This morning, David opened his eyes and even moved his hand. We are in the throes of a long process of ups and downs, but with G-d's help, we will get through it, David will heal and we will all emerge strengthened from this trial.

It is hard to describe to you the extent of the solidarity, support and love that have surrounded us from the moment that word of David's accident got out. From the man in the street to the Prime Minister - everyone was concerned about David.

We are extremely grateful to all those who have been praying for David's recovery and to all those who took upon themselves a good deed or mitzvah for the healing of our son, David Yosef ben Faigeh Perel. All of your prayers and good deeds add up and we have no doubt that they are helping David to heal.

As to my role in Manhigut Yehudit, there is no reason to fear. Naturally, for the past two weeks I have not been able to perform many of my regular duties. But this difficult period has inspired me with a deeper faith, deeper understanding and new strength. I am continuing to work, holding meetings in the hospital and in other places as well and working on Manhigut Yehudit's future all the while.

From the tremendous support that we have received from all facets of society, I understand more than ever the importance of the role that we are playing in Israel.

Reality is closing in on our country. Israel's leaders attempt to wriggle out of our impossible position, but the prevalent mentality leaves no room for escape. We must understand that Manhigut Yehudit is not competing against anybody. Israel's current leadership is doing the best that it can within the paradigm of the "rules of the game" upon which Zionism established the State of Israel. From this framework, none of us could do any better.

We compete with no one because we are not on the same arena. We are firmly ensconced within the current political reality. However, we do not view it as a goal, but as a means to an end that will prepare a new arena for the Nation of Israel for the day when the present arena will simply disappear.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Leadership that Listens Can Rebuild the Temple

By Michael Fuah

And to the tribes of Reuven and Gad I gave from the Gilad. And I commanded you at that time, saying: 'Havayah your God has given you this land to possess it; you shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all the men of valor. (From this week's Torah portion, Devarim, Deuteronomy 3: 16,18)

Just last week, we read Moses' criticism of the tribes of Reuven and Gad. He suspected that they preferred to remain on the East bank of the Jordan River where they would enjoy their wealth and not have to fight for the Land of Israel with the rest of their brethren. In this week's Torah portion Moses gives Reuven and Gad the parcel of land that they requested and commands them, as per their request, to fight at the head of the Israelite army that conquers the Land of Israel.

In the interim, the tribes of Reuven and Gad had quietly convinced Moses that they were sincere in their intention to head the conquering Israelite army despite the fact that they would already have their portion of land.

Moses could have stubbornly refused to change his mind. But he was a true Jewish leader. He listened and was willing to change his opinion 180 degrees, from accusing the tribes of shirking their national duty, to actually commanding them to do what they had requested to do. The heads of the tribes of Reuven and Gad also displayed true leadership. After Moses' criticism of their request, they responded by quietly and respectfully explaining their position, as we learned in last week's Torah portion.

Baseless hatred is often the result of a simple lack of willingness to listen, to accept another point of view and to be convinced. Often, it is also the result of a lack of willingness to respectfully convince another of one's point of view. The example of Moses and the leaders of the tribes of Reuven and Gad must be a guiding light for us. In the days preceding the Ninth of Av, we must redouble our efforts to rectify the sin of baseless hatred and rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem - the city that unifies the entire Nation of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom

Monday, July 12, 2010

An Article that should not have been Written

By Moshe Feiglin

The following article was written by Moshe Feiglin last Friday and appeared on Ma'ariv's NRG website. In the meantime, thank G-d, David Yosef has moved his arms and legs. He is currently heavily sedated and on a respirator. Please continue to pray for David Yosef ben Faigeh Perel.

20 Tamuz, 5770
July 2, '10

My dearest son David lies unconscious in the hospital with a serious head injury. His friends, the fire department volunteers, saved his life, and now the doctors continue to save him. If you would like more insight into this incredible kid, see the article I wrote about half a year ago, "
Sweet Defeat on the Hermon."

Since David's accident last Monday, I have practically not left the hospital. The last thing that I planned was to write articles, and I had already notified NRG that - at least this week, I would not be writing my weekly article.

My wife and I and the entire family are focused only on our David. Not on the newspapers, the radio, television, internet – none of it. I had no idea what was going on in the world and it also did not interest me. Many people have tried to call to wish us well. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart and apologize for the fact that my phone is off.

Now it is Friday, and I came home to bring clothing to the hospital for Shabbat. I decided to turn on the radio to hear the news as I drove home. I also saw the headlines of the newspaper at the grocery store and I understand that extreme pressure is being applied to Netanyahu to have Gilad Shalit released at all costs. I decided to write this article simply to attempt to save lives.

Every day, I pray for two captives: Jonathan Pollard and Gilad Shalit. Every day. I have the utmost respect for Gilad's parents, Noam and Avivah Shalit. It is impossible not to be impressed with them. It is also inappropriate to argue with them. I think that from my situation now I can identify with their pain even more.

But I ask all the people marching and pressuring Netanyahu to please stop. The Prime Minister is simply right. I know that you are motivated by warmth and love and that you want only the best. But there is no such thing as "at all costs." The statistics do not lie: Most of the terrorists murder again. There are those who argue that just because the sun set yesterday does not mean that it will set again tomorrow. Logically, there is truth to that argument, but practically, it is totally unacceptable.

Please understand that for all practical purposes, you are demanding that the Prime Minister allow an unknown number of soldiers and citizens to be murdered in exchange for Gilad. The question is not
if they will be murdered – just how many will be murdered.

I am returning to the hospital. I will continue from there to pray for Gilad and I ask everyone who can to pray for the complete recovery of my son, David Yosef ben Faigah Perel. Thank you.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thorns in your Side

By Michael Fuah

"And you shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land and you shall dwell in it. And if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you and it will come to pass that those that you leave will be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and they will harass you in the Land in which you dwell. (From this week's Torah portion, Matot, Numbers 33:53-55).

The Midrash tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites came to conquer the Land of Israel, they presented the Canaanite inhabitants of the Land with three options: He who wishes to leave should leave, he who wishes to make peace may make peace and he who wishes to make war may do so.

The severe warning issued in this week's Torah portion refers to those inhabitants of the Land who choose to make war. But what happens to those inhabitants of the Land who choose to remain? Do they automatically become equal citizens? The answer is a resounding "no". Full citizenship in the Land of Israel is reserved for Jews. If a non-Jew wishes to be a full citizen, he must undergo a complete conversion, accept all the Torah commandments and become an inseparable part of the Jewish nation. If he chooses not to convert he can remain as a foreign resident who accepts all 7 Noahide Commandments and enjoys full human rights in the Land of Israel, without citizenship.

The warning in this week's Torah portion is the reality in which we live today. If Israel is simply another state of all its citizens bereft of its Jewish destiny, what gives us the right to "conquer" Tel Aviv and Haifa from its inhabitants? Our enemies are empowered by our weakness. We do not know how to explain what we are doing here to ourselves, and lose the moral justification to fight, as a result.

The way to regain our moral high ground is to renew our connection to our Jewish identity and destiny. Once we have set our sights firmly on our Jewish goals, we will be able to tell the non-Jewish inhabitants of this country that they can make peace, leave or fight.

With prayers for a complete and speedy recovery for David Yosef ben Faigeh Perel,

Shabbat Shalom

War and Technology

By Moshe Feiglin

Like everyone else in Israel, I applaud Israel Aircraft Industry's success in launching the Ofek 9 satellite. This is a technological achievement that we can all be proud of. The Ofek 9 will give us a clearer picture of how close the Iranians are to their nuclear bomb. Now, an Israeli satellite will pass over Bushehr every half hour instead of every hour, and its telescopic lenses will penetrate deep into the ground - a truly remarkable feat and we salute the Israeli engineers for their accomplishment.

But a nagging question must be asked: Will this information advance Israel's defense capabilities even one inch?

In Israel, technology is rapidly replacing content. Paradoxically, the stronger Israel becomes both economically and militarily, the weaker it becomes politically. To paraphrase Churchill, when leadership chooses disgrace in fear of war, it gets disgrace - and war as well. When advanced technological capabilities interface with true leadership and a clear vision, the technology becomes a significant power multiplier. But when advanced technology interfaces with small-time politicians concerned only with dousing the crisis at hand, it becomes a fig leaf.

Apparently, Israel's current leaders have already decided to stand by as the Iranians race toward nuclear capabilities. They will look the other way as Hezbollah acquires more advanced missiles that reach Eilat and will smile sheepishly as the Gaza port freely unloads state-of-the-art weaponry - because we have nothing to worry about: We have advanced technology.

Tragically, we are repeating the mistake of the Yom Kippur War. Instead of acting with conviction in the justice of our Jewish destiny in the Land of Israel, our leaders hide behind pompous military theories that glorify our technological ability to contain the first strike.
Israel's leaders must change the rules of the game and make the act of tampering with Israel's existence a venture too painful to consider. Its civilian population must be prepared for war - not peace. Protective gear must be distributed swiftly to the populace. Every person in the greater Tel Aviv area must know where he will find shelter in Judea or Samaria in an emergency.

Gaza and Lebanon must understand that missile attacks against Israel will be dealt with according to the
Golan Heights model: Pictures of the abandoned Syrian villages there must be distributed widely. Since the Yom Kippur War, the Golan Heights model has proven itself as the only way to achieve lasting peace.

Those who think that they will be able to hide behind cutting edge technology in the approaching inevitable war would be well-advised to think again. Israel must go to battle with firm faith in the G-d of Israel and its Jewish destiny. With those two decisive factors in place, our cutting-edge technology will be a powerful tool for victory and not a fig-leaf for catastrophe.