Friday, September 09, 2016

Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Palestinian Leadership's Call for Ethnic Cleansing of Jews


On his Facebook page, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes the following statement about the stated desire of the Palestinian leadership to create a "Yuden-Frei" [Jew free, in the parlance of the Third Reich] Palestinian State.  He questions the legitimacy of those who describe settlements in Judea and Samaria, the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people, as "obstacles to peace,"  when in Israel millions of Palestinian Arabs live peacefully with a Jewish majority.  Which is the apartheid state?  Here is the transcript of Bibi's video, but one is well advised to watch the short presentation in its entirety:

I'm sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace.

I've always been perplexed by this notion.
Because no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel – that they're an obstacle to peace. That's because they aren't. On the contrary.
Israel's diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace. Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.
There's a phrase for that: It's called ethnic cleansing.
And this demand is outrageous.
It's even more outrageous that the world doesn't find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.
Ask yourself this: Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks?
Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?
At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends.
Does their presence make peace impossible?
I don’t think so.
I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don't pursue peace.
I envision a Middle East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace.
Our region needs more tolerance, not less.
So the next time you hear someone say Jews can't live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications.
Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd.
It's about time somebody said it.
I just did.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

We Mourn the Death of Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She'ar Yashuv Z"L

Boruch Dayan HaEmet.  Blessed be the True Judge.  We mourn the death of Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She'ar Yashuv, at the age of 89. Here is a link to the Jerusalem Post obituary.  He was the Chief Rabbi of Haifa from 1975 until 2011. However, to me, the most interesting era of his life was 1948-49, when he fought with the Irgun.  Wounded in the battle for the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, which was besieged by the Jordanian Arab Legion and Palestinian militias, he and his fellow defenders surrendered when the Old City fell, and he became a prisoner of war in Jordan at the age of 20.  He was put in charge of the religious needs of his fellow 600 prisoners. As related by Rabbi She'ar Yashuv to Jerusalem Post columnist Liat Collins, one of his fellow prisoners, Yosef Blustein, was impressed with how he handled the diverse population of prisoners, who ranged from the secular to the ultra-Orthodox.  When Blustein later became Deputy Mayor of Haifa, he recommended Rabbi She'ar Yashuv for the post of Chief Rabbi of Haifa.   “If I hadn’t been a prisoner of war, I wouldn’t have become a chief rabbi,” he said of his experience.

The name "She'ar Yeshuv" means "a remnant will return." In the Book of Isaiah, it is the name of the son of the prophet, and symbolizes the hope for the return of the Jewish people to their land after their long exile.  Rabbi She'ar Yeshuv's life symbolized the miracle of the return from exile that we have merited to witness in our lifetime.  May his memory be for a blessing. May he be a righteous advocate for the People of Israel before the Holy One, Blessed be He. 

Israeli Archaeologists Restore Floor Tiles from the Second Beit HaMikdash (Temple)

A fascinating story appears in today's Jerusalem Post: Israeli archaeologists have recovered fragments of floor tiles from the Beit HaMikdash Sheni, the Second Temple, rescued from the truckloads of excavation rubble dumped during illegal construction projects by the Islamic Waqf, which exercises control over the Temple Mount.  In the course of expanding Al Aqsa Mosque, the Waqf has ignored Israeli law and has destroyed findings of great archaeological and historical importance from all eras of Jerusalem's history, but particularly the Second Temple era.  Indeed the Waqf, like the Palestinian Authority, deny that the Second Temple ever existed.  But truth rises out of the earth. Now, using patterns found in the floor tiles of palaces and other structures built by King Herod the Great, who expanded and renovated the Temple, and also contemporary Roman buildings, the archaeologists believe that they have restored tiles as they originally appeared in the Temple.  For Jews, these are the floors on which our great sages, such as Rabbi  Yochanan ben Zakai and Rabbi Hillel walked.  For my Christian friends, yes, Jesus would have walked on these tiles when he visited the Temple.

Restoration of floor tiles is a start.  May we merit witnessing the restoration of the entire Beit HaMikdash, soon and in our time.