Israel - My Love

Israel Flag

Quotes About "Palestine"


Remember: Israel is bad! Its existence keeps reminding Muslims what a bunch of losers they are. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"There will be no peace until they will love their children more than they hate us."

-Golda Meir-
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel'‎

~Benjamin Netanyahu~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Peace of us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all out war, a war which will last for generations.

~Yasser Arafat~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel."

~ Yasser Arafat ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. For our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of Palestinian people, since Arab national interest demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism".

~ Zahir Muhse'in ~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is Israeli Society Unraveling?

On balance, Israeli society is extremely healthy.

Unemployment is at record lows. At a time of global recession, the Israeli economy is growing steadily.

Israeli Jewish women have the highest fertility rate in the Western world with an average of three children per woman. Education levels have risen dramatically across the board over the past decade with dozens of private colleges opening their doors to more and more sectors of the population.

Israel's diverse Jewish population is becoming more integrated. Sephardic and Ashkenazi intermarriage has long been a norm. Secular Jews are becoming more religious. A new educational trend that received significant media attention in recent months involves secular parents who send their children to national religious schools to ensure that they receive strong educational grounding in Judaism.

And as secular Jews become more religious, both the national religious and ultra-Orthodox sectors are becoming increasingly integrated in nonreligious neighborhoods and institutions. Ultra-Orthodox conscription rates have increased seven-fold in the past four years. In 2010, 50 percent of ultra-Orthodox male high school graduates were conscripted.

The IDF assesses that by 2015, the rate of conscription will rise to 65%.

While this is still below the general conscription rate of 75% among male 18-year-olds, the rapid rise in ultra-Orthodox military service is a revolutionary development for the sector.

With military service comes entrée to the job market. The trail towards employment integration was blazed by ultra-Orthodox women. Over the past decade, ultra-Orthodox women have matriculated en masse in vocational schools that have trained them in hi-tech and other marketable professions and so enabled them to raise their families out of poverty.

These ultra-Orthodox women, who are now being followed by their IDF veteran husbands, are part of a general trend that has seen women fully integrated in almost every sector of society and the economy. The fact that women make up the senior leadership echelons in both business and government is not a fluke. Rather it is a product of the largely egalitarian nature of Israeli society.

True, as is the case everywhere, Israeli women suffer from male chauvinism. And like the rest of the world, Israel has its share of sexual abusers, rapists, and criminal and social misogynists. But imperfection does not detract from the fact that women in Israel are free, educated, empowered and advancing on all fronts.

As for the national religious community, its youth remain committed to serving as pioneers in strengthening Israel as a Jewish democracy. Not content to limit themselves to national religious communities in Judea and Samaria, more and more young national religious families are moving to poor towns and communities from Dimona to Ramle to Kiryat Shmona to strengthen their educational, economic and social underpinnings.

Modern Orthodox women are taking on expanded roles in religious councils, synagogues, religious courts and other bodies. Soldiers from the national religious sector remain overrepresented in all IDF combat units and in the officer corps.

Israel's growing social cohesion and prosperity is all the more notable as we witness neighboring states aflame with rebellion and revolution;extremist Islamist forces voted to power from Morocco to Egypt; and economic forecasts promising mass privation.

And in the Age of Obama, with cleavages between liberals and conservatives growing ever wider in America, and with the future of the European Union hanging in the balance as the euro zone teeters on the edge of an abyss, the fact that Israeli society is becoming increasingly fortified is simply extraordinary.

In light of these integrationist trends, the media circus in recent weeks that has portrayed Israeli society as frayed through and through has been startling. With women in Israel presented as underprivileged victims, national religious youth presented as terrorists and the ultra-Orthodox community presented as a gang of misogynist, violent crazies set to transform Israel - in the words of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - into another Iran, an average news consumer can be forgiven for wondering how he missed his country's demise.

What explains this sudden flood of gloom and doom stories? Certainly it is true that in a highly competitive news environment, media coverage tends to over represent marginal social forces. Sensational stories make for banner headlines. And it is at the margins of society that a reporter is most likely to find sensational stories.

So it is that when reporters wish to push a socialist agenda, they descend on urban slums and talk to people hanging out on the street doing nothing. As a rule, these stories will not feature visits to vocational training schools that are educating poor people out of poverty.

Just as poor, uneducated single mothers in Lod can be depended on to blame their troubles on an insensitive government, so groups of ultra-Orthodox extremists in Beit Shemesh, whose own communities decry them, can be trusted to treat nonreligious women poorly.

None of this is to say that we should stand by and allow poor single moms and their children to go hungry or that we should accept abuse of women by ultra-Orthodox bullies. The former is an issue for social services. The latter is an issue for law enforcement bodies. And to the extent that these institutions are failing in their missions, they should be required to improve their performance.

But just as the majority of single mothers, who are not impoverished, don't deserve to be placed in the victim column, so, too, the majority of ultra-Orthodox Israelis do not deserve to have their reputation besmirched because of the bad behavior of a small, vocal and easily provoked minority.

ALL OF this brings us to the issue at hand. Stories highlighting the deviant behaviors of marginal social forces tend to be simplistic and misleading, and to serve identifiable political forces. And so, with our national discourse suddenly dominated by stories describing the demise of Israeli democracy, women's rights and the rule of law at the hands of modern Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews, we need to consider who benefits from the stories.

It is notable that the seam lines being opened by all of the stories, which are again, about deviations from the norm of Israel's social cohesion, all fall within the governing coalition. Stories of "Jewish terrorists" set the security hawks against the ideological hawks. They set the likes of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his supporters against the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and their representatives in the Likud, Israel Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi and other coalition parties.

Stories about ultra-Orthodox misogynists make it politically costly for the Likud and Israel Beiteinu to sit in the same government as ultra-Orthodox parties such as Shas and United Torah Judaism. They also serve to weaken Shas among its non-ultra-Orthodox voters. The fact that the ultra-Orthodox bus lines were inaugurated with the support of the Kadima government in 2007 is beside the point. It is the Likud that is now being blamed for their existence.

The current media-supported outcries against the national religious and ultra-Orthodox sectors follow the pattern of last summer's social justice protests in Tel Aviv. The purpose of those protests was to discredit the government in the eyes of working class voters and young people.

The current protests also follow in the footsteps of the protests of 1998 and 1999 that brought down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's first government. Those protests pitted his Russian immigrant coalition members against Shas. They pitted secular Israelis against his ultra-Orthodox coalition members. They alienated young voters from his leadership. They set his socialist partners against his capitalist partners.

The cleavages wrought in Netanyahu's coalition made members of his own party as well as his coalition partners fear the electoral cost of maintaining their membership in his government. And so one by one, they bolted his government until it finally fell.

Notably, many of the same forces - from the New Israel Fund to various political consultants who work for the Israeli Left to European NGOs - who were active in the protests in 1999 and in the social justice protests last summer are also playing a role in the current protests. The New Israel Fund raised NIS 200,000 in "emergency funds" to pay for buses to transport protesters to Beit Shemesh last week.

It also paid for two rallies in Jerusalem attacking religious bans on female vocalists earlier last month.

Last summer, Israel's New Left movement led by leftist political consultant Eldad Yaniv took credit for organizing the anti-free market protests. Yaniv and his colleagues were assisted in conceptualizing the protests by US Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who was also the architect of the social protests in 1998-99.

Indications of how the political Left has been impacted by the current wave of demonstrations are mixed. A Shvakim Panorama poll from last week, which posited the existence of a new anti-religious party led by popular television personality Yair Lapid and a new anti-capitalist Sephardic party led by former Shas leader Arye Deri, indicated that the Left as a whole has been strengthened against the Right. While Kadima would lose most of its Knesset seats to Lapid's party, it is Deri who would be the undoing of the Right.

The poll claimed that Deri, who since his release from prison has strengthened his bonafides as a secular-friendly political dove, would win seven mandates. Shas would drop from its current 11 seats to five. Deri's rise would decrease the political Right in all its various forms from its current 67-seat majority in the 120 seat Knesset to a minority of 57.

The media have trumpeted this poll as the first harbinger of spring for Israel's political Left. And certainly it provides some reason for celebration among leftist political forces. Like the protests in the late 1990s, and like last summer's anti-capitalist protests, the current batch of anti-religious campaigns serves to turn Israeli against Israeli by feeding on and inflaming sectoral envies and insecurities. And given their success, we can certainly expect them to continue.

For the good of society as a whole, we must hope that the basic health and cohesion of Israeli society that has grown so miraculously over the past decade will prevail in the current contest. We have far more that unites us than separates us. If we focus on this, there is no force either within or without our society that can defeat us.

But if we give in to the forces of contention and chaos, we risk endangering everything we hold dear.



Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beware! Paypal/Craigslist/EbayClassified Scam Alert!!

Craigslist - EbayClassified Scam

Paying via PayPal

I want to warn everyone of this new way to scam via "Paypal". While the real Paypal is reliable and trustworthy, there are many scammers out there trying to use Paypal's good reputation to scam others. I had someone offer to buy my most expensive item for sale on Craigslist and they wanted to pay me through paypal if I shipped it to them because they're in IL. Because I've had some successful sales this way to some out of town mamas, I sent them my paypal address. I then received a bogus Paypal confirmation of a pending payment email that looked pretty official but had some variances from real Paypal emails. It looked suspicious to me, so I answered it to Paypal's spoof@Email.com address and this is their reply:

Hi,
I have made the payment now. You will be receiving the payment confirmation message from PayPal regarding the payment. The shipping company wants $400 for pick up and delivery. So I made a total payment of $1,050. $600 for the Beautiful Dining Table, $400 for the shipping company, and $50 for whatever Western Union will be charging you to send the money to them. Please let me know as soon as you send them the money ASAP. Here is the shipping company details for you to send the $400:

NICK BEARD
1707 Honeysuckle Dr,
Mansfield, Ohio
44905
USA
Victoria
Regards..

NOTE: Nick or Marisa Beard
There is a scam which often originates from Craigslist. Names associated with this can be Nick Beard or Marisa Beard. The victim is asked to send a check to 1707 Honeysuckle Dr., Mansfield, OH. DO NOT SEND ANYTHING TO THIS ADDRESS! EVERYTHING SENT HERE WILL BE REFUSED!


I am STILL getting emails from the fraudulent person claiming they've sent me the money, but nothing has shown up in my paypal account (always open a new browser window and NEVER click on links whenever you have a suspicious email), either pending or received. This person is slick, claiming that I must ship the item first, then Paypal will "release" the money into my account.

Furthermore, if you receive any suspicious emails and refuse to send the item OR cash via Western Union (the "over paid" balance), you will then get a fake "warning message from Paypal", but don't fall in this trap:



The trick to avoiding being scammed in this way is to always make sure the money is actually in your account and if you have any doubts whatsoever, ask PayPal ensuring you have asked through the actual site and not relied on a link to paypal through an email.

Warning:

If you get email that looks like it was sent by PayPal, and it's asking you to update your details such as your name, surname, address, bank account, credit card, etc, while you see the 'text boxes' of the "form" in this email, NEVER write your details, nor reply to this email. If you'll do so, you will send your financial details to the scammer. This is NOT the way PayPal works. PayPal's team asks you to sign into your account to update such details.

This is a scam.

Paying by Cashier Check OR Money Order Scam

The most common Craigslist scam is the fake check. Many people selling top dollar items will not accept checks at all, even if they are cashier’s checks. This is something that you should consider doing yourself, once you are aware of the fake checks now being used to rip unsuspecting sellers off.

It usually starts with someone showing seemingly sincere interest in a high price item you have listed. Sometimes they may haggle with the price to appear to be a legitimate buyer, but often they will simply accept your asking price. However, they will almost always have some excuse as to why they cannot just come purchase the item directly from you.

Some may say they are on vacation or away on business, while others may just say they live in another area or another state and would like to send you a check and have the item shipped to them, or they could claim to have someone else pick the item up later.

Next, they either send you a fake check for the item that will eventually be rejected by your bank after deposit or they will request that you give them your name, address, and phone number so they can fill out a cashier’s check to you.

In the first case they are trying to get the item for free. The fake check will eventually be dishonored by your bank, leaving you with an overdrawn account, fees for INSF checks and no item. In the second case, they are not interested in your item at all. They want your personal information to use for illegal purposes. Escrow companies are now becoming a popular Craigslist scam. Many people have been using escrow services as a way of ensuring transactions dealing with larger amounts of money are safe for both the buyer and the seller. The problem is many of these little known escrow companies are owned by the scammer on one end of the transaction.

In this case, a scammer will set up the escrow account and list an expensive item on Craigslist for a very low, tempting price. When they rope in unsuspecting buyers, they instruct them to use the escrow account to ensure everything goes smooth. The victims go to the website for the scammer’s escrow account (no knowing it is owned by the seller) and put in their personal information, including bank account or credit card number. The scammer, or “seller,” then has their personal information and access to their credit card or bank account and simply disappears to use it.

In other cases, they use the excuse that their "assistant" or "secretary" overpaid you, and they trust you to send the "balance" back via Western Union. Whay they really hope is you're cashing the Cashier Check/Money Order in a cashing sevice agency (not your bank). You will get the money and send the balance to them, but when the check is rejected, the cash agency will chase you in court to get this money back into their hands.

Here is some example:

Hello,
I urgently have bring something to your notice. I just found out that my Assistant overpaid you. The payment meant for another transaction was made out in your name and sent to you. However I want to believe I wont have a problem with you on this. Once you receive the payment,
Please proceed to the bank and cash the Money order, deduct your money and send back the balance to me. So I can proceed with arrangement for pick-up. Once more, I hope I can fully trust you with this? I will await your response on this so my mind can be at rest.
Thanks

Cashier Check Example:



Craigslist Scam Sites

taking advantage of Craigslist by setting up scams.....

Another common misconception that fools users online is that they accidently mistype Craigslist.org, and end up on another site. (make sure you don’t type in craiglist.org or craigslist.com) These sites are designed to look just like Craigslist, but in reality it is another scam. However, there are hundreds of typo’s that lead people to scam sites, if you are ever in doubt; go back and type it in, or Google it to make sure you are at the correct site.

4) Familiarize yourself with the Craigslist scam involving a shipper. The buyer will say the product will be picked up by a shipper--and usually also promises to wire you more money than the item actually costs. This is the most common Craigslist trick.

Tips & Warnings:

1) Type the words "for local pick up only" and "cash only" prominently in your ad--and make no exceptions. This drives away a good share of potential scammers.

2) Never deal with anyone from Craigslist that wants to pay you more than the price you listed. Never ship to an address that has not been verified by Paypal.

3) Never deal with anyone from Craigslist that mistakenly "overpaid" you.

4) Pay attention to the email address where the message came from.

5) If you are a Craigslist buyer/seller, bookmark the page, that way you will not falsely arrive at a site that is not really Craigslist.

6) Do not ever deal with anyone on Craigslist you cannot meet face to face and who won't pay cash - follow that simple rule and you'll avoid almost all scams.

7) Anyone asking you to ship is a scam.

8) Be aware of scams involving fake checks or money orders. A good fake check or money order can pass through the bank's initial screening process--then, days later, you'll get penalized for trying to cash a counterfeit check. By then, the scammer will be long gone. This is why you want to make your transaction cash only. => If you have any doubt, contact PayPal or the company which issue the Cashier Check/Money Order. You might give them the check's serial number to find out if it's a real or fake check.

9) Delete emails from potential buyers who have lengthy sob stories or complicated explanations of why they need to pay by check or money order. Anyone who says their "secretary" will take care of the transaction because they are in a foreign country or are too busy as a famous archaeologist to make the purchase in person is most likely a fraud.

10) Don't accept Western Union or other wire transfers.

11) Never give out any personal financial information to someone who has contacted you through Craigslist.

12) Find the differences:

Fake Email Notification, pay attention for the ® symbol near the word PayPal:



Real Email Notification:



13) When you get in the email message, pay attention if there is a little symbol near the word Paypal. In this case, the symbol is ® - Here is some example: ®service@PayPal.com



14) Pay attention to the email address where you got the email from. In this case, the email address is: pp207@OfficeEmail.net - here is some example:



15) Paypal will never send you such an email, ordering you to pay via Western Union:



16) And finally, notify the Federal Trade Commission of any attempted or successful scams by calling 877-FTC-HELP.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

World Jewish Population

by Ner LeElef

1. OVERVIEW

The worldwide Jewish population is 13.3 million Jews. Jewish population growth worldwide is close to zero percent. From 2000 to 2001 it rose 0.3%, compared to worldwide population growth of 1.4%.

In 2001, 8.3 million Jews lived in the Diaspora and 4.9 million lived in Israel. Just about half of the world’s Jews reside in the Americas, with about 46 percent in North America. (top)

Approximately 37% of worldwide Jewry lives in Israel. Israel's Jewish population rose by 1.6% the past year, while the Diaspora population dropped by 0.5%.

Europe, including the Asian territories of the Russian Republic and Turkey, accounts for about 12 percent of the total. Fewer than 2 percent of the world’s Jews live in Africa and Oceania.

Metropolitan Tel Aviv, with 2.5 million Jews, is the world's largest Jewish city. It is followed by New York, with 1.9 million, Haifa 655,000, Los Angeles 621,000, Jerusalem 570,000, and southeast Florida 514,000.

In 2001, 8 countries had a Jewish population of 100,000 or more; another 5 countries had 50,000 or more. There is not a single Diaspora country where Jews amounted to 2.5 percent of the total population. Only 3 Diaspora countries had more than 1 percent. Gibraltar (24.0 per 1000), United States (20.1), Canada (11.9), France (8.8), Uruguay (6.7), Argentina (5.3), Hungary (5.2), and Australia (5.1) had the highest ratios.

The top twelve Jewish populations in the world are:

1. USA: 6,500,000

2. Israel: 4,950,000

3. France: 750,000

4. Russia: 650,000

5. Canada: 364,000

6. Britain: 275,000

7. Argentina: 250,000

8. Germany: 115,000

9. Ukraine: 112,000

10. Hungary: 100,000

11. Brazil: 97,500

12. South Africa: 65,000-88.000

Current Demographic Shifts

Countries with growing populations:


(Mainly due to immigration)

Germany

Canada

Australia

Hong Kong

Panama

Germany is the fastest growing community of any size due to mass emigration from USSR. The non-Russian population of Germany is quite small, about 15,000 out of approximately115,000 Jews today.

Countries with Decreasing Jewish Populations:

South Africa - now between 88,000 and 65,000, down from a peak of 120,000 or possibly more. Immigration primarily to: Sydney, Melbourne, Atlanta, Toronto, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Israel and to a lesser degree London, Manchester, Perth and New Zealand.

Argentina – Leaving for Mexico City, Miami, Spain and Israel. However, the vast majority of Argentineans are staying put.

Russia – Population beginning to stabilize due to a developing economy and the Israeli security situation. However, together with all CIS countries, still experiencing emigration. Largest current exodus is to Germany, followed by Israel and the USA.

Ukraine – Represents the biggest immigrant group to the USA over the last 10 years.

Mexico – Steady immigration to the States. However, replenished by immigration from other Latin American countries to Mexico. Those leaving are much wealthier than those coming, though immigration to Mexico has positively impacted on its Judaism. Most Klei Kodesh in Mexico today are from Argentina.

Projections for the Future:

One study predicted that in the next 80 years America's Jewish population would decline by one-third to 3.8 million if current fertility rates and migration patterns continue. In the same period, according to the study, the number of Jews in Israel would likely double, swelling to 10 million. The study also anticipated a severe decline in the number of Jews in the former Soviet Union. By 2080, the data suggested, the Jewish community there would be virtually non-existent.

Among the study's conclusions was that Israel would be home to the world's largest Jewish community as early as 2020, and the majority of the world's Jews by 2050. Between the years 2030 to 2040 the majority of Jews will be living in Israel rather than in the Diaspora, where communities are aging.

In 2000, 48.35% of Jewish children 14 and under lived in Israel. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 59.20%.

The study noted in particular the rapidly aging Diaspora community, saying that by the year 2080, more than 40 percent of Diaspora Jews would be 65 and older.

Ira Sheskin of the University of Miami, a principal architect of the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey, which is currently under way, called the recent projections "a great starting point for discussion." But, he added: "Think if this were the year 1900, what could we have predicted? The Holocaust? The State of Israel? The very concept" of projections "is a difficult one."

Historical Perspective:

In 1939, there were 17 million Jews in the world, and by 1945 only 11 million. While in the 13 years following the Holocaust the Jewish population grew by one million, it took another 38 years for it to grow another million. These sobering figures reflect how severely Jewish population growth has slowed down over the past 40 years. Even a fertility increase of 0.4% will add millions of Jews over the next 50 years. But this is not happening right now.

As we know, the distribution of the Jewish population now is completely different from before WW II. Europe was decimated of its Jewish population and Israel and America became the new major centers of Jewry. France, the Soviet Union and Hungary were the three Holocaust-hit countries left with reasonable populations. The war left 250,000 displaced Jews who were mainly supported by the Joint Distribution Committee until they could relocate.

But there were further changes after the war. The Moslem countries emptied out, and the world Jewish population has continued to consolidate over time in fewer countries with large urban Jewish populations over time. The main counter trend in Europe has been Germany, with a large Russian immigrant influx of over 100,000 Jews.

The Jews from Arab Moslem countries went in the main to Israel, but not always. The Algerian Jews, and also considerable numbers of Moroccans (75,000) and Tunisians (80,000), especially the more wealthy ones, went to France, doubling the French community from 300,000 to 600,000 overnight and creating a large Sephardic presence. (The Algerian Jews had French citizenship already in Algeria and had automatic rights of immigration to France.) The vitality of Orthodoxy in France today is largely a result of these immigrants, giving France a high kiruv potential to this day.

Many people do not realize how large and vital the Jewish populations of these Moslem-Arab countries were, with our historical consciousness swamped by Holocaust and pre-Holocaust literature. A number of these countries would make it to the top ten in numbers, were they to exist today. Morocco had 285,000 Jews, Iraq 140,000, Algeria 135,000, Iran 120,000 and Tunisia an estimated 105,000. Several others would be in the next ten. Libya, which was down to 20 Jews in 1974, had a population of 48,000 in 1948. Egypt had 75,000. Of these, possibly the most tragic was Iraq, for the community there had a direct lineage back to the original exile in Babylonia.

Some 150 Iraqi Jews have managed to leave the country in the past five years, leaving just 38 Jews in Baghdad, and a handful in the Kurdish-controlled northern areas of the country. There are just two or three young people left. Whereas Baghdad once had 53 active synagogues, only one remains open. Amazingly, Saddam Hussein's regime has in recent years shown reasonable tolerance toward the Jewish community, even refurbishing the tombs of Yechezkiel Hanavi and Ezra HaSofer (also considered sacred by Muslims), as well as that of Yonah.

2. The State of Orthodoxy

The present estimate for Orthodox Jews in Eretz Yisrael is between 900 thousand and one million; in North America, between 550-650 thousand; and in the rest of the world between 120-150 thousand, making for a total of between 1.67-1.8 million.

In virtually every city in the world, institutional Orthodoxy is on the rise. As an example, in 1975 there were 480 Chabad institutions worldwide. By the year 2000, there were 2,600. Or take the number of Yeshivas and Kollelim that have been established outside of North America and Israel in the last ten years. Cities that can be counted here include Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Caracas, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Moscow, Saratov, Tula, Kiev, Budapest, Berlin and Manchester amongst others.

In Russia and other former Soviet countries, Orthodoxy is the overwhelming presence. Claims by Reform in Russia are widely exaggerated, with many of the Reform communities barely existing or not at all. Orthodox shuls are the majority in Germany too, though other streams of Judaism remain well represented. (Below we will discuss Russia and Germany in greater depth.)

In South Africa, there is no Conservative, with almost no Reform to speak of. Becoming frum in South Africa is as legitimate a choice as becoming a lawyer or a doctor. Like England, Australia and many Southern towns in the USA, a good deal of the South African Orthodox are mechalelei Shabbos, but would fire the Rabbi if they caught him breaking Shabbos. South Africa has the most successful outreach movement of any country outside of Israel. Australia has the largest Lakewood Kollel in the world (Melborne), though in kiruv terms it is still waiting to take off.

South America is also dominated by the Orthodox in the main. Buenos Aires has 50 Orthodox synagogues, five Conservative, and one Reform. In Uruguay, there are 14 Orthodox synagogues and a Conservative one. There are some 15 synagogues in Venezuela, all but one considered Orthodox.

Yet, not everywhere is Orthodoxy already at the forefront. In Hungary, Orthodoxy can boast only one Orthodox shul and another two minyanim. Most Synagogues are Neolog, which as a movement is more observant than Conservative, and at least two Neolog Shuls are fully halachik. However, despite the painful tragedy of Hungarian Jewry, there is now a little kollel of locals and an initiative is underway to open a yeshiva. Alternatives to Orthodoxy remain strong in Brazil as well. Until 1930 the main religious stream was Orthodox. Today most synagogues are Conservative or Reform. However, there too the direction is definitely towards Orthodoxy.

In some countries, notably France and Argentina, there is a notable distinction between Sephardim who are quite involved with their Judaism, and Ashkenazim, who are overall more well to do and much more assimilated. In Argentina, 80% of the Jews are Ashkenazi, but 80% of the frum Jews are Sephardic. Moreover, the religious population is highly ghettoized, and in one area, Villa Crespo, there is one Shul left to service a population that may be as high as 50,000 Jews. The Israeli baal teshuva movement also attracts few Ashkenazim, though efforts by Shorashim and others are showing that this need not be the case.

Orthodoxy in Israel:

Last year, the AviChai foundation put out the results of a study it commissioned on the relationship of Israelis with Judaism in 2000. The results were in the main very encouraging. While 43% of the population described itself as non-religious, only 5% of the population described itself as anti-religious. A majority described themselves as traditional or more (35% traditional, 12% religious, 5% haredi), and even the secular population keeps quite a few Mitzvot as we shall see. The Israeli population still overwhelmingly identifies itself with their Jewish identity. 98% put up Mezuzahs, and a large majority fast on Yom Kippur, don’t eat chometz on Pesach, have a Seder and light Menorahs on Chanukah.

Yet, in a much smaller way, Israelis are beginning to mimic the trends of personalized religion we wrote about Americans in our last edition. On the one hand belief in G-d is slightly up from the 1990 survey (from 63% - 65%). Belief in reward and punishment, that the Torah is G-d given, and that we are the Chosen Nation is all up. Yet, the number of people defining themselves as traditional has dropped from 42% to 35% while the number who define themselves as non-religious has risen from 38% to 43%. This reflects a greater polarization of Israeli society, and it means that future kiruv efforts towards the secular Israeli population are likely to become more challenging.

3. Assimilation and Birthrate

Established (approximate) assimilation figures for the year 2000:

Over 70% of Jews in Russia, Ukraine and some Western countries, with small Jewish communities. (Moscow may be as high as 90%)

55% for Europe overall.

54% for South America overall.

53% for former CIS countries overall.

50-52 % among Jews of America and France.

Close to 40% among British Jews.

Over 30% among Jews in Canada and Australia.

Overview:

It is difficult to come up with exact population figures on a country by country basis, let alone city by city around the world. Figures for Russia and other CIS countries are but educated guesses. Chabad and the Jewish Agency tends to give the highest figures, although the Jewish Agency is talking about Zakaeh Aliyah (Right of Return), making no pretense that most of those are not Jewish. In addition, some countries have large numbers of missing Jews, those who do not identify with being Jewish in any way. For example, the official figures for Buenos Aires show a Jewish population of 200,000 Jews. However, all leading communal figures believe that the figure could be as much as twice that. France is given a population of 600,000 Jews. In the field, a figure of 750,000 is used. We have generally put the official figure down first, with a second ‘field’ estimate in parentheses.

Israel

On eve of 5761, (2000/01) Israel’s population reached 6.3 million. During 5760, the country's population grew by 2.5%, or 165,000, slightly less than in the previous year.

Jews and immigrants arriving under the Law of Return constituted 82% of the population, growing 2.5% to 4.95 million, a growth rate that is still high by world standards, where the average rate is 1.3%. Registered Jews were 78.57% of the total population.
There are some 200,000 non-Jewish immigrants and their families living here, of which 180,000 are Christian and 20,000 unclassified.

The Arab population reached 1.15 million, 18% of the total. This includes Moslems, Druse, and Christians and has remained constant for the past few years.
Net immigration constituted 34% of the rise in the Jewish population, compared to the previous year's 36%. Some 63,000 immigrants arrived, down from the previous year's 73,000. Almost 90% of the immigrants came from the former Soviet Union, 36% from the Russian Federation.

Israeli populations abroad:

Israelis are included in the figures for Israel and not the host country. However, this is misleading, since most Israelis are de facto permanent residents of the host country. Current figures are

US: 350,000 - 500,000

Canada: 40,000

France: 40,000

UK: 30,000

South Africa: 10,000 - 15,000

Germany: 8,000

Australia: 5,000

In 2001, the Indian embassy in Israel noted a 50% increase on applications for immigration of Israelis to India. The British embassy recorded a 25% increase and the American embassy a 10% increase. (These figures may include Israeli Arabs and West Bank Arabs.)

Demographic Balance with Israeli Arabs:

The overall fertility rate of the Moslems is 4.6%, while that of Israeli Jews is 2.6%. The 110,000 Bedouins of the Negev have the highest fertility rate, with a 5.9% growth rate. Half the Bedouins are below the age of 13. The population doubles every 12 years. Excluding the Bedouins, the Moslem growth rate is 3.2%, still way above the 2.6% of the Jews. Put differently, there are 2.6 births per Jewish woman, against 4.6 births per Moslem woman. (In 1970, there were 9 births per Moslem woman.)

Within the Jewish population, the Hareidim as well as the Ethiopians have a growth rate of 3.5%. The annual growth rate of the rest of Israeli Jews is about 0.8%, somewhat higher than the average in Western countries.

Since independence, the Arab population has risen more than sixfold, from 160,000 in 1949 to 1.1 million today.

The immigration policy of Israel also favors a demographic shift away from a Jewish population. It is generally believed that 60% of those who have made aliyah in the last ten years are not Jewish.

Total immigration to Israel has in any case fallen significantly. In 2001 it was down to 33,858 and by September of 2002 there were 25,296 immigrants. Only 13,792 came from Eastern Europe this year, meaning probably less than 6,000 Jews. (This is compared to close to 26,000 the previous year and close to 38,000 for 2000.)

There are an additional 1.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and a further 1 million in Gaza.



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Simple to Remember

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Is Judaism?

What is Judaism? What does it mean to be a Jew? Most people, both Jewish and gentile, would instinctively say that Judaism is a religion. And yet, there are militant atheists who insist that they are Jews! Is Judaism a race? If you were to say so, most Jews would think you were an antisemite! So what is Judaism?

Is Judaism a Religion?

Clearly, there is a religion called Judaism, a set of ideas about the world and the way we should live our lives that is called "Judaism." It is studied in Religious Studies courses and taught to Jewish children in Hebrew schools. See What do Jews Believe? for details. There is a lot of flexibility about certain aspects of those beliefs, and a lot of disagreement about specifics, but that flexibility is built into the organized system of belief that is Judaism.

However, many people who call themselves Jews do not believe in that religion at all! More than half of all Jews in Israel today call themselves "secular," and don't believe in G-d or any of the religious beliefs of Judaism. Half of all Jews in the United States don't belong to any synagogue. They may practice some of the rituals of Judaism and celebrate some of the holidays, but they don't think of these actions as religious activities.

The most traditional Jews and the most liberal Jews and everyone in between would agree that these secular people are still Jews, regardless of their disbelief. See Who is a Jew? Clearly, then, there is more to being Jewish than just a religion.

Are Jews a Race?

In the 1980s, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Jews are a race, at least for purposes of certain anti-discrimination laws. Their reasoning: at the time these laws were passed, people routinely spoke of the "Jewish race" or the "Italian race" as well as the "Negro race," so that is what the legislators intended to protect.

But many Jews were deeply offended by that decision, offended by any hint that Jews could be considered a race. The idea of Jews as a race brings to mind nightmarish visions of Nazi Germany, where Jews were declared to be not just a race, but an inferior race that had to be rounded up into ghettos and exterminated like vermin.

But setting aside the emotional issues, Jews are clearly not a race.

Race is a genetic distinction, and refers to people with shared ancestry and shared genetic traits. You can't change your race; it's in your DNA. I could never become black or Asian no matter how much I might want to.

Common ancestry is not required to be a Jew. Many Jews worldwide share common ancestry, as shown by genetic research; however, you can be a Jew without sharing this common ancestry, for example, by converting. Thus, although I could never become black or Asian, blacks and Asians have become Jews (Sammy Davis Jr. and Connie Chung).

Is It a Culture or Ethnic Group?

Most secular American Jews think of their Jewishness as a matter of culture or ethnicity. When they think of Jewish culture, they think of the food, of the Yiddish language, of some limited holiday observances, and of cultural values like the emphasis on education.

Those secular American Jews would probably be surprised to learn that much of what they think of as Jewish culture is really just Ashkenazic Jewish culture, the culture of Jews whose ancestors come from one part of the world. Jews have lived in many parts of the world and have developed many different traditions. As a Sephardic friend likes to remind me, Yiddish is not part of his culture, nor are bagels and lox, chopped liver, latkes, gefilte fish or matzah ball soup. His idea of Jewish cooking includes bourekas, phyllo dough pastries filled with cheese or spinach. His ancestors probably wouldn't know what to do with a dreidel.

There are certainly cultural traits and behaviors that are shared by many Jews, that make us feel more comfortable with other Jews. Jews in many parts of the world share many of those cultural aspects. However, that culture is not shared by all Jews all over the world, and people who do not share that culture are no less Jews because of it. Thus, Judaism must be something more than a culture or an ethnic group.

Are the Jews a Nation?

The traditional explanation, and the one given in the Torah, is that the Jews are a nation. The Hebrew word, believe it or not, is "goy." The Torah and the rabbis used this term not in the modern sense meaning a territorial and political entity, but in the ancient sense meaning a group of people with a common history, a common destiny, and a sense that we are all connected to each other.

Unfortunately, in modern times, the term "nation" has become too contaminated by ugly, jingoistic notions of a country obsessed with its own superiority and bent on world domination. Because of this notion of "nationhood," Jews are often falsely accused of being disloyal to their own country in favor of their loyalty to the Jewish "nation," of being more loyal to Israel than to their home country. Some have gone so far as to use this distorted interpretation of "nationhood" to prove that Jews do, or seek to, control the world. In fact, a surprising number of antisemitic websites and newsgroup postings linked to this page (in an earlier form) as proof of their antisemitic delusions that Jews are nationalistic, that Israel is a colonial power and so forth.

Because of the inaccurate connotations that have attached themselves to the term "nation," the term can no longer be used to accurately describe the Jewish people.

The Jewish People are a Family

It is clear from the discussion above that there is a certain amount of truth in the claims that it is a religion, a race, or an ethnic group, none of these descriptions is entirely adequate to describe what connects Jews to other Jews. And yet, almost all Jews feel a sense of connectedness to each other that many find hard to explain, define, or even understand. Traditionally, this interconnectedness was understood as "nationhood" or "peoplehood," but those terms have become so distorted over time that they are no longer accurate.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has suggested a better analogy for the Jewish people: We are a family. See the third essay in his recent book, We Jews: Who Are We and What Should We Do. But though this is a new book, it is certainly not a new concept: throughout the Bible and Jewish literature, the Jewish people are referred to as "the Children of Israel," a reference to the fact that we are all the physical or spiritual descendants of the Patriarch Jacob, who was later called Israel. In other words, we are part of his extended family.

Like a family, we don't always agree with each other. We often argue and criticize each other. We hold each other to the very highest standards, knowing that the shortcomings of any member of the family will be held against all of us. But when someone outside of the family unfairly criticizes a family member or the family as a whole, we are quick to join together in opposition to that unfair criticism.

When members of our "family" suffer or are persecuted, we all feel their pain. For example, in the 1980s, when Africa was suffering from droughts and famines, many Jews around the world learned for the first time about the Beta Israel, the Jews of Ethiopia. Their religion, race and culture are quite different from ours, and we had not even known that they existed before the famine. And yet, our hearts went out to them as our fellow Jews during this period of famine, like distant cousins we had never met, and Jews from around the world helped them to emigrate to Israel.

When a member of our "family" does something illegal, immoral or shameful, we all feel the shame, and we all feel that it reflects on us. As Jews, many of us were embarrassed by the scandals of Monica Lewinsky, Jack Abramoff and Bernie Madoff, because they are Jews and their actions reflect on us all, even though we disapprove. The Madoff scandal was all the more embarrassing, because so many of his victims were Jews and Jewish charities: a Jew robbing from our own "family"! We were shocked when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was killed by a Jew, unable to believe that one Jew would ever kill another member of the "family."

And when a member of our "family" accomplishes something significant, we all feel proud. A perfect example of Jews (even completely secular ones) delighting in the accomplishments of our fellow Jews is the perennial popularity of Adam Sandler's Chanukkah songs, listing famous people who are Jewish. We all take pride in scientists like Albert Einstein or political leaders like Joe Lieberman (we don't all agree with his politics or his religious views, but we were all proud to see him on a national ticket). And is there a Jew who doesn't know (or at least feel pride upon learning) that Sandy Koufax declined to pitch in a World Series game that fell on Yom Kippur?



Judaism101

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Adolf Hitler's First Antisemitic Writing

Hitler returned from a military hospital to Munich in early 1919. There he underwent a Reichswehr sponsored course of systematic political education for demobilizing soldiers that featured Pan­German nationalism, antisemitism, and anti­socialism. These same themes were prominent in Bavarian politics following the repression of the Munich revolution of 1918­19. Because antisemitism had not played a notable part in Bavarian politics prior to the revolutionary disturbances, a Herr Adolf Gemlich was prompted to send an inquiry about the importance of the "Jewish question" to Captain Karl Mayr, the officer in charge of the Reichswehr News and Enlightenment Department in Munich. Mayr referred him to Hitler, who had distinguished himself in the above­mentioned course by the vehemence of his radical nationalist and antisemitic views, and by his oratorical talents. Hitler was already feeling his way toward a political career; four days before responding to Gemlich in the letter translated below, he had paid his first visit to the German Workers' Party (eventually renamed, the National Socialist Workers' Party) as a confidential agent of the Reichswehr.

In the letter to Gemlich he appears anxious to establish his credentials as a knowledgeable and sober anti-Semite. Compared to the inflammatory mass­meeting oratory that he was soon to make his specialty, Hitler's rhetoric here is quite tame, stressing the need for a "rational" and "scientific" antisemitism. Some historians have interpreted the letter's call for the "irrevocable removal [Entfernung]" of the Jews from German life as a prefiguring of the Holocaust. But it is clear from the context and from later statements that, at this point, Hitler meant segregation or expulsion rather than systematic liquidation.

The letter, Hitler's first explicitly political writing, impressed his Reichswehr superiors and he soon gained a reputation among radical rightist and socially respectable nationalist conservative groups as a man who could help inoculate the masses against revolution and whose antisemitic rhetoric could help discredit the democratic Weimar Republic. The letter may thus be seen as the launching of his political career. Source: Eberhard Jäckel (ed.), Hitler. Sämtliche Aufzeichnungen 1905­1924. (Stuttgart, 1980), pp. 88­90. Translated by Richard S. Levy.'

Now, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles has acquired what it believes may be the original version of the document, known as the Gemlich letter and the center bought it in cost of $150,000. In July, the center plans to put it on public view for the first time, at its Museum of Tolerance, making the letter the centerpiece of its Holocaust exhibit.

TEXT [September 16, 1919]

Dear Herr Gemlich,

The danger posed by Jewry for our people today finds expression in the undeniable aversion of wide sections of our people. The cause of this aversion is not to be found in a clear recognition of the consciously or unconsciously systematic and pernicious effect of the Jews as a totality upon our nation. Rather, it arises mostly from personal contact and from the personal impression which the individual Jew leaves­­almost always an unfavorable one. For this reason, antisemitism is too easily characterized as a mere emotional phenomenon. And yet this is incorrect. Antisemitism as a political movement may not and cannot be defined by emotional impulses, but by recognition of the facts. The facts are these: First, Jewry is absolutely a race and not a religious association. Even the Jews never designate themselves as Jewish Germans, Jewish Poles, or Jewish Americans but always as German, Polish, or American Jews. Jews have never yet adopted much more than the language of the foreign nations among whom they live. A German who is forced to make use of the French language in France, Italian in Italy, Chinese in China does not thereby become a Frenchman, Italian, or Chinaman. It's the same with the Jew who lives among us and is forced to make use of the German language. He does not thereby become a German. Neither does the Mosaic faith, so important for the survival of this race, settle the question of whether someone is a Jew or non­Jew. There is scarcely a race whose members belong exclusively to just one definite religion.

Through thousands of years of the closest kind of inbreeding, Jews in general have maintained their race and their peculiarities far more distinctly than many of the peoples among whom they have lived. And thus comes the fact that there lives amongst us a non­ German, alien race which neither wishes nor is able to sacrifice its racial character or to deny its feeling, thinking, and striving. Nevertheless, it possesses all the political rights we do. If the ethos of the Jews is revealed in the purely material realm, it is even clearer in their thinking and striving. Their dance around the golden calf is becoming a merciless struggle for all those possessions we prize most highly on earth.

The value of the individual is no longer decided by his character or by the significance of his achievements for the totality but exclusively by the size of his fortune, by his money.

The loftiness of a nation is no longer to be measured by the sum of its moral and spiritual powers, but rather by the wealth of its material possessions.

This thinking and striving after money and power, and the feelings that go along with it, serve the purposes of the Jew who is unscrupulous in the choice of methods and pitiless in their employment. In autocratically ruled states he whines for the favor of "His Majesty" and misuses it like a leech fastened upon the nations. In democracies he vies for the favor of the masses, cringes before the "majesty of the people," and recognizes only the majesty of money.

He destroys the character of princes with byzantine flattery, national pride (the strength of a people), with ridicule and shameless breeding to depravity. His method of battle is that public opinion which is never expressed in the press but which is nonetheless managed and falsified by it. His power is the power of money, which multiplies in his hands effortlessly and endlessly through interest, and which forces peoples under the most dangerous of yokes. Its golden glitter, so attractive in the beginning, conceals the ultimately tragic consequences. Everything men strive after as a higher goal, be it religion, socialism, democracy, is to the Jew only means to an end, the way to satisfy his lust for gold and domination.

In his effects and consequences he is like a racial tuberculosis of the nations.

The deduction from all this is the following: an antisemitism based on purely emotional grounds will find its ultimate expression in the form of the pogrom.[1] An antisemitism based on reason, however, must lead to systematic legal combating and elimination of the privileges of the Jews, that which distinguishes the Jews from the other aliens who live among us (an Aliens Law). The ultimate objective [of such legislation] must, however, be the irrevocable removal of the Jews in general.

For both these ends a government of national strength, not of national weakness, is necessary.

The Republic in Germany owes its birth not to the uniform national will of our people but the sly exploitation of a series of circumstances which found general expression in a deep, universal dissatisfaction. These circumstances however were independent of the form of the state and are still operative today. Indeed, more so now than before. Thus, a great portion of our people recognizes that a changed state­form cannot in itself change our situation. For that it will take a rebirth of the moral and spiritual powers of the nation.

And this rebirth cannot be initiated by a state leadership of irresponsible majorities, influenced by certain party dogmas, an irresponsible press, or internationalist phrases and slogans. [It requires] instead the ruthless installation of nationally minded leadership personalities with an inner sense of responsibility.

But these facts deny to the Republic the essential inner support of the nation's spiritual forces. And thus today's state leaders are compelled to seek support among those who draw the exclusive benefits of the new formation of German conditions, and who for this reason were the driving force behind the revolution­­the Jews. Even though (as various statements of the leading personalities reveal) today's leaders fully realized the danger of Jewry, they (seeking their own advantage) accepted the readily proffered support of the Jews and also returned the favor. And this pay­off consisted not only in every possible favoring of Jewry, but above all in the hindrance of the struggle of the betrayed people against its defrauders, that is in the repression of the antisemitic movement.

Respectfully,
Adolf Hitler

NOTE

[1] Pogrom in Russian means devastation. Until recently, the term described exclusively the organized or spontaneous massacres of Jews. In Russia the worst pogroms occurred in 1881, 1903, 1905, and during the civil war following the Revolution of 1917 in areas controlled by the anti­Bolshevik White armies, especially the Ukraine.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Renewed Spirit for Israel

Ten Commandments aim to ensure that yesterday’s slaves do not become evil masters

by Avraham Burg

On the sixth day of Sivan, in the year of the Exodus from Egypt, the former slaves gathered at the foot of the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments; ten defining commandments from God. The commandments are fascinating both in what they say and in what they choose not to mention.

The Commandments attach sanctity to holidays and history - “…who brought you out of the land of Egypt - and not to places, temples or people. Also, the Commandments indicate a normative relationship with one’s friends, surroundings and Creator, without saying anything about the relationship with government, the sovereign, or any other human authority.

Unlike many biblical narratives that are intentionally set outside of any specific historical time, for “there is no ‘early’ or ‘late’ in the Torah,” the Ten Commandments are fixed in their specific time and place: exactly forty nine days after the Exodus from Egypt at the foot of Mt. Sinai (very soon after leaving and a long while before finally reaching the Promised Land.)

Why so? Any reasonably intelligent reader grasps that those few dramatic weeks that elapsed from that fatal moment when centuries of bondage ended were hardly sufficient to negate the experiences of slavery or to counterbalance them. It is obvious that many generations have to pass in order to rectify the results of national trauma on such a scale.

It is equally obvious that, less than two months after the bondage of our ancestors in Egypt ended unexpectedly and miraculously, they could not have been expected to understand, assimilate or apply those absolute values of freedom expressed in the declaration of independence to which they pledged allegiance at Mt. Sinai.

Nevertheless, the timing is of immense importance for creating the foundations of values which would become the underpinnings for Jewish culture throughout the ages. At the time, the covenant was contracted between God on the giving end and the people on the receiving end; eventually, it became a contract of basic social existence, for controlling our sometimes animal instincts, overcoming desire, and subjugating power and force.

When we in modern day Israel talk about the chances of reaching an agreed constitution, the discussion nearly always peters out in a collective sigh of “oh, well, too bad.” Too bad that Ben-Gurion failed to draft a constitution back in 1948. Things that are feasible upon the establishment of a state often become impossible over the intricate course of life.

This was understood quite well by God and Moses, who therefore proceeded to articulate the first stage of the constitution at the very first opportune moment. The principles underlying the Ten Commandments, along with the way in which they were delivered, make them one of the most relevant events for modern man, and a good point of departure for the renewal of the Jewish spirit in our time.

They – God via Moses - addressed, in the first person, each individual who was present at that event, and, through them, each and every one of us. God addressed not the collective but each individual conscience.

You shall not murder” – yes, you! “Honor your” father and your mother” – your own, personal parents. “I the Lord am your God” – it’s between the two of us, all alone, intimately, without the corrupting mediation of the establishment and its organizations.

Hence, the Ten Commandments are a Law for the individual; for the individual’s rights and liberty.

In the circumstances of contemporary life during this festival, it becomes evident that the Ten Commandments can serve as a moral platform for a new relationship between individuals. What is a covenant between individuals? There are two basic methods for the governance of society. One is by metaorganization: state, community, or ghetto where the source of power and authority filter down from the organization to the individuals.

Another method is a social, constitutional agreement upon the basic rights of each human being, which can never be compromised. Men and women have innate liberties of which they cannot be deprived, under any circumstances whatsoever. The social organization of individuals sanctifies the rights of the individual just as we dreamt of in Egypt, and just as we pledged at Sinai.

Henceforth, the Exodus from Egypt will no longer be merely a heroic, symbolic slave uprising but an effort toward a renewed beginning for human culture and interaction. The totalitarianism and tyranny of the Egyptian empire left no room for individual sense of self or personal liberty. In this sense the violent empire and the beast of prey are identical: inhuman creatures, insatiable, with uncontrollable desires.

Such animal totality is the object of the rebellion by Moses and the Israelites, with the Ten Commandments as its alternative: from bondage to freedom. But not to be free of one’s shackles only to become a savage, driven by animal appetites; on the contrary, the Israelite who signed that accord committed to being a free man who can curb his own whims, by choice. Not to kill, or steal or do other things harmful to the liberty of others.

In contradistinction to the Egyptian monarchy with insatiable desire for unlimited power, we set up a model existence of a human being who is attentive and sensitive to his or her surroundings, with the freedom to master his or her instincts and not to live at the mercy of animal appetites.

The values of the Ten Commandments are set up in order to create a better future, ensure that yesterday’s slaves do not become the evil masters of tomorrow. This is not just a chapter in the history of a nation and of Egypt; it is a call for the utopia for which every human reality must strive. For we are the citizens of the new, alternative empire; the empire of Israeli values, which came into being in the desert but has yet to fully manifest itself.

The piece originally appeared in Tikun Olam, a collection of articles published by The New Israel Fund on the occasion of Shavuot. All the articles are available here

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Anti-Semitic OWNED on Youtube!


Hasn't Steve Pallister been locked up before? That guy needs some serious meds and should not be allowed anywhere near a computer. The walls of solitary confinement would be too good for that guy. Hell, he LOOKS insane; he never quit promoting anti-Semitism also when the Australian police put him behind bars time after time and he get time after time sue at the court by the Australian anti-Defamation League. He is sending death threat to people on Youtube and put money on their head for killing them, this guy should be behind bars for good.

Well he's officially lost it...



Please keep reporting Steve Pallister to the Australian police at:

CANNING VALE POLICE STATION
Address: 449 Nicholson Road, Canning Vale, WA , 6155
Phone number: (08) 9456 9555
URL: http://www.police.wa.gov.au/

Emails:
Direct: Media@police.wa.gov.au

Through their website: http://www.police.wa.gov.au/ContactUs/tabid/922/Default.aspx



Friday, April 29, 2011

Messianic Jews Are Not Jews

by Rabbi Jonathan Waxman

What's in a Name

Hebrew Christian, Jewish Christian, Jew for Jesus, Messianic Jew, Fulfilled Jew. The name may have changed over the course of time, but all of the names reflect the same phenomenon: one who asserts that s/he is straddling the theological fence between Judaism and Christianity, but in truth is firmly on the Christian side.

Theological Divide

Over the centuries, Jews who converted to Christianity left behind their Jewish heritage. Some returned to the community to attempt to convert other Jews to their form of Christianity, but the Christianity they offered was devoid of Jewish content, of Jewish imagery, and of Jewish connections. Beginning, however, a few decades ago, a new phenomenon emerged: Jews who meta-physically wanted to have their cake and to eat it, too. They adopted Christianity but brought along Jewish trappings, perhaps to make the abandonment of their natal religion more palatable. Hence they conduct their services on Shabbat instead of Sunday, they hold sederim, albeit with a few significant changes (i.e., the three Matzot symbolize the Trinity); they wear kippot and tallitot; they pray and chant in Hebrew and more. These converts to Christianity (and that is what they are) pose both an enigma and a serious challenge to the Jewish community. Though they may argue that they are reviving the pattern of the early Jewish Christians, a great theological divide separates them from their so-called theological ancestors and most importantly from those of us still firmly in the Jewish community.

What are we to make of these people? They often appear to be more observant of Jewish ritual than many other Jews, including members of our own congregation. Shouldn't we welcome them? There is a rabbinic declaration to the effect that a Jew remains a Jew though he sins. (Sanhedrin 44a) Although this is true, nevertheless, we must affirm as did the Israeli Supreme Court in the well-known Brother Daniel case that to adopt Christianity is to have crossed the line out of the Jewish community.

What follows are highlights of the points in contention; demonstrating how Messianic Jews have indeed crossed the line out of the Jewish community.

Mistaken Jewish Notions of the Messiah

Don't we Jews believe in the coming of the Messiah? Yes, we do. At our seder we make arrangements for Elijah, the fore-runner of the Messiah. Similarly, in Havdalah we sing about Eliyahu HaNavi coming to us as a foreshadowing of the messianic era. Several prayers refer to the Messiah. For example, in the weekday Amidah we find the following passage: "Bring to flower the shoot of your servant David. Hasten the advent of Messianic redemption.".

Historically, of course, Jews have labeled various men as the Mashiach (the Hebrew term). In the second century, many Jews believed that Simeon Bar Kosiba, better known by his messianic name Bar Kokhba, to have been the awaited redeemer. Similarly, countless Jews believed that the 17th century pretender Shabbtai Tsvi was the Mashiach. Some of the great rabbis of these and other ages were beguiled and seduced by the prospect of having the messiah in their midst. Ultimately, they, and those who believed in these men and the many other claimants were wrong. Though the messianic era did not dawn, that did not make these messianic believers any less Jewish.

How is it different then with people who believe in Y'shua (their designation for Jesus)? Why should the assertion that Jesus was the messiah place a Jew outside of the community, any more than other mistaken messianic beliefs?

Christian Conclusions

First is the assertion that Jesus remains the messiah, though dead for over 19 centuries. Judaism has held that the Mashiach will come and usher in a new era; not that he will proclaim his arrival, die and wait centuries to finish his task. To continue to assert that Jesus was the Mashiach goes against the belief that the Mashiach will transform the world when he does come, not merely hint at a future transformation at some undefined time to come. One should note that a substantial part of Christian Bible scholarship recognizes that the claims for Jesus' return were of a very temporal nature. For example, Luke 9:27 declares that the kingdom of God will arrive while some of those whom Jesus is addressing are still alive. This is one example that underlying the Christian Bible is a sense of imminent messianism, not one deferred for two millennia. For this reason alone, one must look askance at the claims of current Messianic Jews that Jesus is the Mashiach. We would admit that the claim by some in Lubavitch that the late Rebbe was the Mashiach and continues to be active in that role, though deceased since Tammuz 5754/June, 1994, undermines this argumentation. Therefore, it is no wonder that many in the Jewish community including many within Lubavitch itself are sorely disturbed by these beliefs. This false belief, however, has not impelled its believers to abandon their fidelity to Jewish praxis.

Secondly, it is acting upon those beliefs. When some Jews continued to believe that despite his conversion to Islam that Shabbtai Tsvi was the Mashiach, the rabbis of that era made an effort to suppress them. The religious leadership was adamant because the believers asserted that with Shabbtai Tsvi a new era had begun. For his followers things previously forbidden were not permitted, in particular forbidden sexual acts.

Christianity has made the bolder assertion, that Jesus ushered in a new era, one in which Halakhah, Jewish law, is no longer of significance. What matters is but faith and belief in Jesus, as Romans 10:11 asserts: "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." Belief in Jesus as the divine messiah and son of God is all that is necessary. Messianic Jews accept this belief but recognize that some Jewish observances are permissible if it makes the "product" more palatable. Judaism rejects the claim that a new covenant was created with Jesus and asserts instead that the chain of Tradition reaching back to Moshe continues to make valid claims on our lives, and serve as more than mere window dressing.

The use of Hebrew. "Y'shua makes me more Jewish" is one of their assertions. We would argue that giving Jesus a Hebrew name does not make their beliefs any more Jewish than before. More problematic in terms of appeal, but none the less still "unkosher" as an approach in Judaism. Similarly, reciting prayers in Hebrew doesn't ensure membership in the Jewish community. If Israeli Christians recite their prayers in Hebrew, that does not make them Jewish.

The use of Jewish objects and ceremonies. They may pray with tallit and kippah, they may designate their religious leaders as "rabbis", they may light Hanukah candles, etc.; none of that vouchsafes their acceptability. They have taken the externals of Judaism and altered them. Their prayers include mention of Jesus and/or of the Holy Spirit. Ceremonies are given Christological spins. As previously noted, the three matzot of the Seder have come to symbolize the Trinity and the Seder itself is seen as a recollection of the Last Supper.

The use of Biblical citations by Messianic Jews as prooftexts. This practice goes back to the Christian Bible which used texts from the Tanakh in a midrashic fashion, wrenching verses and fragments of sentences out of context and applying them to the mission of Jesus. For our purposes here it is enough to know that Biblical verses are frequently misused as proof texts by midrashically minded authors.

Messianic Jews Misuse, Misinterpret, and "Mis-Midrash" Texts

Example #1. We begin with the classic, "A virgin shall conceive" cited in Matthew 1:23. In our text from Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew word translated as virgin is "Almah", which means young woman not virgin. There is a perfectly good Hebrew word for virgin: "Betulah". It is conceivable that behind that Greek text there was an alternative textual tradition which in fact had "Betulah", but that foray into textual analysis takes us astray and is not even the essence of the argument. We would hasten to note that the child born is given the name Jesus not Emanuel as per Isaiah. Beyond the issue of language is the issue of the message. Isaiah offered his prophecy as one of hope to King Ahaz in the late eighth century B.C.E. What kind of hope would have been implicit in a message whose fulfillment would be 700 years in the making? "How could Ahaz receive consolation from prophecy, the fulfillment of which he was not to live to see?" (Isaac of Troki, Faith Strengthened, p.231) By and large, if one reviews the words of the prophets, the visions are not for some far distant time, but for the proximate future.

Example #2. A few verses earlier in the same gospel, Matthew 1:14 and 15, we find a description of the "flight into Egypt", where Jesus and his family remained until the time of Herod's death "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying 'out of Egypt have I called my son.'" The quotation from the prophet Hosea is clearly a distortion of the original text. The full verse in Hosea 11:1 proclaims: "When Israel was young I did love it; and out of Egypt I called my son." It is obvious that for the prophet Hosea the son is none other than the people of Israel mentioned in the first half of the verse.

Example #3. In speaking of Jesus' resurrection, Luke 24:46 cites as prooftext Hosea 6:2 "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead." The first issue is that of chronology: Sunday, the day of the resurrection, was only the second day. (In Matthew 12:40, Jonah 1:17 is cited as proof of Jesus's forthcoming three day and night burial before resurrection. Clearly, this citation is even more problematic in terms of matching elapsed time with predicted time and even less relevant to Jesus' mission as it speaks of being "in the belly of the fish", not of death.) Secondly, it is clear that the reference point of Hosea is not to the revival of the messiah (Christ is simply the Greek word for messiah capitalized), but rather to the revival of the people of Israel as is clear from the previous verse (Hosea 6:1): "Come, let us return to God, Although he tore us apart he will heal us. Although he smashed us, he will bandage us."

Example #4. Isaiah 53, often referred to as the chapter about the suffering servant, has been applied to Jesus, beginning with the Christian Bible Epistles and the Gospels. (So, for example, I Peter 2: 24-25 and Matthew 8:17.) Modern scholarship is sharply divided as to the identity of the servant but we would cite John L. McKenzie who wrote in his Anchor Bible: Second Isaiah commentary: "The Servant is not the same figure as the Messiah, but a parallel figure which as it stands, cannot be reconciled with the messianic king. A higher synthesis of the two figures, such as Christians believe was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, was not within the vision of the prophets of the Jewish Bible. Each figure, it seems, reflects the period of Israelite history in which it arose..." (pp. il-l)

Warning

Note. Unless you are very familiar with Biblical texts, do not attempt to debate. We have offered but a few of the many Biblical citations found in Christian Scripture (New Testament) literature and used by those who wish to mislead Jews unfamiliar with the entire corpus of Biblical literature. There are many more!

Differences Between Judaism and Messianic Jews

* Adoption of Christian Testament as part of their scriptural tradition. Messianic Jews may still refer to the Tanakh by that name or by Hebrew Scripture, but that does not disguise the fact they have grafted onto their canon the Christian Scripture (New Testament). Whether they read it in Hebrew or in English is irrelevant. The Christian Scripture (New Testament) has never been part of the Jewish Biblical tradition.

* The adoption of the Christian concept of original sin. In brief form the concept is that we are all sinful from birth because of the sin of the first couple and only the sacrificial cleansing blood of Jesus can remove this stain. This is contrary to Jewish belief which asserts that we are born with free will and each of is the author of our own life. Adam and Eve sinned and they were punished by exile from Eden. The taint of their sin has not been transmitted through the genes.

* The Pascal (Passover) sacrifice was not a sin offering. The association in the Gospel of John of Jesus with the pascal sacrifice is faulty. For example, John 19:36 cites "Not a bone of him shall be broken". This is a reference to the protocol for the pascal lamb found in Exodus 12:46. (The idea of Jesus as pascal sacrifice appears also in the Pauline epistle, I Corinthians 5:7.) One should also know that the other three Gospels place the crucifixion a day later, on the first day of Passover, posing a problem for Christian Biblical exegesis in terms of reconciling the divergent traditions.

* Jesus/Y'shua as part of the Trinity. When we proclaim the opening words of the Sh'ma, we assert God's unity as the heart of our faith. No theological fudging of three-in-one will allow for the transformation of the One God into three distinct personalities of God. It is true that we speak of different characteristics of God: God as compassionate; God as just. Furthermore it is true that the mystics speak of various forms of Godhead. No part of the Jewish tradition ever allowed for a trisecting of God, and that is what Christianity has done and what Messianic Jews accept.

Conclusion

One is reluctant to preclude from membership anybody, especially those who seem to be more spiritual, perhaps more observant. However, because a line has clearly been crossed, as we have demonstrated above, there is no place for so-called Messianic Jews or Hebrew-Christians within our congregations and within the Jewish community.



by United Synagogue of Conservative Jews

Jewish Roots in Judea and Samaria

JEWISH, NOT ARAB, ROOTS IN JUDEA AND SAMARIA

by Hillel Fendel (IsraelNationalNews)

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama’s demand that Israel not settle Jews in the Biblical areas of Judea and Samaria ignores thoroughly-documented Jewish roots in the Land of Israel, and in Judea/Samaria in particular.

Yoram Ettinger, a former liaison for Congressional affairs in Israel’s Washington embassy, lists in the latest of his periodic position papers some of the evidence showing that Judea and Samaria has Jewish, not Arab, roots.

Area Always Known as “Judea and Samaria” – Ettinger negates Obama’s claim – enunciated during his June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo University – that “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in” the Holocaust. For one thing, Ettinger notes, many world-renowned travelers, historians and archeologists of earlier centuries refer to “Judea and Samaria,” while the term “West Bank” was coined only 60 years ago.

Jordan gave the region this name when it occupied it after Israel’s War of Independence. No nation on earth other than Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordan’s claim to Judea and Samaria.

Among the travelers, historians and archeologists who referred to Judea and Samaria are H. B. Tristram (The Land of Israel, 1865); Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad, 1867); R.A. MacAlister and Masterman (“Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly”); A.P. Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, 1887); E. Robinson and E. Smith (Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1841); C.W. Van de Velde (Peise durch Syrien und Paletsinea, 1861); and Felix Bovet (Voyage en Taire Sainte, 1864). Even the Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as official British and Ottoman records until 1950, used the term Judea and Samaria, and not the West Bank.

Ettinger goes even further back, and says that the name “Palestine”, which had nothing to do with a people that existed, but was given to the Holy Land for the sole purpose of erasing the previous name of the country – Judea – from human memory. The Romans, whose plan this was, similarly sought to extinguish Jewish presence in Jerusalem by renaming it Aelia Capitolina.

Arabs Came in the Last 150 Years – When speaking of “Palestinian national rights,” it must be similarly kept in mind, Ettinger notes, that most Arabs residing today in Israel – anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean – have their origin in a massive 19th-20th century migration from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and other Moslem countries. They adopted the title “Palestinian”, which gives the impression of ancient ties to the land.

Town Names Betray Their True History – Finally, Ettinger says that almost all Arab localities in Judea and Samaria have retained Biblical Jewish names, thus reaffirming their Jewish roots.

Examples include the following:

• Anata is Biblical (and contemporary) Anatot, the dwelling of the Prophet Jeremiah.
• Batir is Biblical (and contemporary) Beitar, the headquarters of Bar Kochba, the leader of the Great Rebellion against the Roman Empire, which was suppressed in 135 AD.
• Beit-Hur is the biblical (and contemporary) Beit Horon, site of Judah the Maccabee’s victory over the Assyrians.
• Beitin is biblical (and contemporary) Beit El, a site of the Holy Ark and Prophet Samuel’s court.
• Bethlehem is mentioned 44 times in the Bible and is the birth place of King David.
• Beit Jalla is biblical (and contemporary) Gilo, in southern Jerusalem, where Sennacherib set his camp, while besieging Jerusalem.
• El-Jib is biblical (and contemporary) Gibeon, Joshua’s battleground known for his command to stop the sun and moon (Joshua 10:12).
• Jaba’ is the biblical (and contemporary) Geva, site of King Saul’s son Jonathan’s victory over the Philistines.
• Jenin is the biblical (and contemporary) Ein Ganim, a Levite town within the tribe of Issachar.
• Mukhmas is biblical (and contemporary) Mikhmash, residence of Jonathan the Maccabee and site of King Saul’s fortress.
• Seilun is biblical (and contemporary) Shilo, a site of Joshua’s tabernacle and the Holy Ark and Samuel’s youth.
• Tequa is biblical (and contemporary) Tekoa, hometown of the Prophet Amos.

Arabs Never Wanted Palestinian State – In another of his posts, Ettinger has negated the US government position that a Palestinian state is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that its formation would resolve the situation. He cites proofs from recent history showing that Arab antipathy to Israel not only predates Palestinian concerns, but often sidesteps such interests.

Israel’s war for its independence in 1948-9, for instance, was conducted by the Arab countries at the expense of local aspirations. Though Egypt conquered Gaza, and Jordan took Judea and Samaria, and Syria claimed the Golan, in none of these areas was a government of local Arabs allowed.

When Egypt conquered the Gaza Strip, it proceeded to prohibit “Palestinian” national activities and expel its leadership. Not only did Jordan not grant locals independence to Judea and Samaria, it actually annexed these areas to its own country. When Syria occupied and annexed the Hama area in the Golan Heights, the Arab League outlawed a provisional “Palestinian” government there.

In short, it can be concluded that Arab “rights” to a state in Judea and Samaria are historically weak and were long ignored by other Arab countries.



This article was posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2011 and is filed under Articles.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Israel Foreign Policy Manuel Project

About the FOREIGN POLICY MANUAL PROJECT
The Foreign Policy Manual Project has created this Foreign Policy Manual in order to provide the Israeli government with a comprehensive, Zionist “rights based” foreign policy. Israel is currently facing a diplomatic disaster, due to its self-defeating foreign policy positions, based on the false premise that surrendering Israel's national rights will advance Israel's quest for peace. The fault lies not in Israel's failure to explain its policies, but in their substance. The Foreign Policy Manual Project proposes to act as think tank, which can provide Israel with a winning strategy in dealing with its enemies. Support for the Foreign Policy Manual Project is greatly encouraged. Comments, criticisms, and new ideas are welcome. November 10, 2010 For more information on the Foreign Policy Manual Project: Contact: Alan M. Lurya, Esq.(949) 440-3230
alanlurya@yahoo.com

↓Read in Full Screen↓
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=61350763

Foreign Policy Manual 11-10-10

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Israel a Safe Haven for Arabs

Israel is only place in Middle East where Arabs are entitled to full democratic rights

Eddie Yair Fraiman

The Tunisian revolution began when a green grocer, Mohamed Bouazizi, self-immolated after suffering from severe police harassment. Through this brave, desperate act, he was transformed into the symbol of the new Arab revolution. Reflecting on Bouazizi’s ultimate act of protest, one can hardly conceive of what atmosphere and surroundings would compel an individual to resort to such an extreme.

The Arab states in the Middle East are ruled by dictators who act without mercy towards their own people and deprive them of their basic civil democratic rights. The anger rooted in decades of oppression and repression has finally bubbled up to the surface and erupted in the so-called “Arab Spring,” the wave of revolution and protest sweeping the region.

This cathartic expression of Arab peoples demanding their rights has in turn been met not with reform or concession, but with brutal, bloody crackdowns. The images broadcast from our regional neighbors are hard to watch: Live fire directed at protesters with lethal intentions in Syria and Yemen; missile fire on rebel and civilian positions in Libya; shelling, rape and mass killings of civilians by regime forces in Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria.

Civilian protests and freedom of expression are basic principles integral to and respected in any advanced state. The violence unleashed against protesters is antithetical to these important values, but reflective of the old patterns that Arab regimes have consistently employed; brutality and political repression have been the hallmark of Arab political control for more than half a century.

Even those states which offer some democratic privileges to their citizens are in fact engaged in a type of political theater - their elections are farcical in that the despotic leadership fails to allow any real pluralism. Opposition groups are denied true free expression and a real, effective voice.

Full civil rights

The extreme events we witnessed in recent weeks are contrary to all democratic and enlightenment principles. But they are the expected response from regimes that have already long demonstrated their total disregard for human rights and international values. Exactly as happened after Hamas took control of the Gaza strip in June 2007, these regimes have shown the inevitable outcome that results when non- and anti-democratic forces are given free rein over their populations.

Perhaps ironically, the only place in the Middle East where Arabs enjoy full democratic rights is the State of Israel. Arab citizens of Israel take for granted their freedom of movement, freedom of speech, the right to elect and be elected, freedom of assembly and protest - in short, all the individual and collective rights that are the essential and unassailable prerogatives of any citizen in any democratic state.

These rights don’t exist in any Arab state, but in Israel all of us, Jewish and Arab citizens alike, receive full civil rights. Everyone is equal in the eyes of Israeli law; all receive national insurance, education and national health care. Israel’s Arab citizens are also afforded affirmative action measures in educational institutions and government offices.

A poll published two months ago showed that a majority of east Jerusalem Arabs prefer to stay under Israeli rule rather than come under Palestinian Authority control. Many claimed they would be willing to leave their homes and relocate into Israel if their cities are transferred to PA control. Those living in Jerusalem are familiar with the phenomenon of east Jerusalem residents moving into Jewish neighborhoods - a trend in large part fueled by the fear that certain Arab communities in the city may be turned over to the PA. Apparently, Palestinian Arabs understand what we Israelis have often forgotten in recent years - the uniqueness of the state of Israel in the wild east.

Maybe the revolution in the Arab world will bring change, and the death and slaughter will bring about freedom of expression and, eventually, democracy. Alternatively, Islamic organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which represent a significant portion of the opposition, may take power, and true democracy will remain a distant dream.

One thing is certain: Israeli Arabs have nothing to worry about. They can freely exercise their democratic rights, and nobody will shoot them in the streets.



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