Step Up For Israel: September 25 at Temple Beth Hillel Beth El

— by Lee Bender

This Sunday, September 25 at 10:00 am, the Israel Action Committee at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El is co-sponsoring with Sabra Hadassah the showing of the first of 4-part mini-series course from Jerusalem Online University (the
folks who produced the film Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus) called Step Up for Israel. The first film, which we will be showing on Sept 25 is entitled, Creation of a State.  This is very timely, given what is happening in the United Nations this week.

This course will be very informative, professional and educational.  Please come and bring your friends. Cost is only $5.00 and includes bagels and coffee. The next program, entitled, “Israel and the West” will be presented on Sunday October 30.  

The Jewish People’s 3000-Year Presence in Palestine

Lee Bender and Jerome R. Verlin

— by Steve Feldman

Two of the most malignant lies promulgated about Israel and the Jewish people are the invectives “occupier” and “colonialist.” Separately and in tandem, our enemies use them as weapons to delegitimize us.

But one local man, fed up with the anti-Jewish mythology, has written the verbal equivalent of a sledgehammer to smash these attacks. Author Jerome R. Verlin’s Israel 3000: The Jewish People’s 3000 Year Presence in Palestine is now in its second edition, and Verlin discussed the book‘s key points at a recent Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El Israel Advocacy Group breakfast.

More after the jump.
Both Israel’s enemies and those ignorant of the facts claim that Jews have been in the land for a mere 63 years — since David Ben-Gurion read Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Others use 1897 — the year of First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland — as the purported beginning point of the Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael to depict the Jews as an ersatz indigenous people.

Then there are those who acknowledge that Jews began living in the land more than 3,000 years ago but were exiled and claim Jews were devoid from the area following the Roman conquest.

But Verlin, using historical, archaeological, and other data, plus the conclusions of noted past experts and observations of travelers to the Holy Land, to document that yes, Jews began living in the territory thousands of years ago, and despite the slaughters, name permutations and repeated conquests, Jews have consistently and continuously lived in Israel.

“The truth of the matter is, we didn’t go away,” Verlin noted, after it went from being called Israel and Judea to “Palestine.”

Yet figures from President Jimmy Carter and Mahmoud Abbas to The New York Times ignore all of the evidence, according to Verlin, to erase or weaken the legitimate Jewish claim to the land.

Verlin went through the history of the settlement of the land from the biblical period to today, explaining the many times control of the region changed hands from the Jews, Babylonians, Persians, Jews, Romans, Greeks and Byzantines, various Middle Eastern groups, crusaders, more Arabs and Turks, the British and finally the Jewish People. All along the way he documented that through it all, Jews were the lone constant.

Meanwhile, there is no evidence to support the claims that the land belonged to the Palestinian-Arabs or that the Muslims pre-dated the Jewish presence there. Also, the people who today call themselves “Palestinians” are not related at all to those Middle Eastern peoples who had temporary sway over the region in different periods, Verlin said. Therefore, previous or theoretical land concessions Israel or the Jewish people have made or will be asked to make should never be referred to as “giving back” territory, he stressed.

“Jews” and or “Judea” or “Israel” turn up in artifacts, the Bible, accounts of wars, chronicles of pilgrims and official records and censuses. Verlin offered numerous examples that none but the irrational could dispute in their totality.

Further, since the mid-19th Century, Verlin noted, Jews once again were the majority in our holiest city: Jerusalem.

“We have to make the case to the world,” Verlin stressed, because our adversaries would like public opinion to shift away from the Jews and Israel in favor of the false Arab and Muslim narratives. If most people viewed the Jews as interlopers or a people who have displaced the native “Palestinians,” it would endanger Israel’s very existence and give credence to Arab and Muslim claims that Jews stole “their” land or that Israel was “created” only as a refuge for Holocaust survivors.

“Each of us has to do what each of us can,” said Verlin, to dispel the lies and myths to solidify the Jewish right to the land. “Either we disappear or we stand up for ourselves,” he added, stressing: “We have to be [on the] offensive, not just defensive.”

It might be awkward for Israel’s advocates to walk around with sledgehammers, but Verlin’s paperback will go a long way in countering the libels and slanders that we are the new kids on the Middle Eastern block.

An Exchange between Friends on J Street, Israel and Its Security

Mitchell Clair and I have been having friendly arguments about Israel for years. Here is a recent email exchange:

To: Lee Bender
From: Mitchell Clair
I know you read Jeffery Goldberg. I would say that his editorial, Goldblog is a Pro-J Street Blog, pretty closely reflects how I feel about J Street.

Extract: Ordinarily, I would not be so vociferous in the defense of J Street, but the hearing last week in the Knesset held to determine whether or not J Street is a pro-Israel organization….

Let me be clear about something: There are many things about J Street I dislike. I think some of its members actually don’t like Israel very much, and especially don’t like the idea of Israel. I think many J Street supporters are cringing Diaspora Jews who are embarrassed by displays of Jewish muscularity…. There is much about J Street policies that I don’t like; I think J Street believes that settlements are the root cause of the Middle East conflict…

But: J Street is still a Zionist organization. …The Knesset is debating whether or not J Street is Zionist. This is a farce. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, refuses to meet with J Street. This, too, is a farce. The Prime Minister, in fact, will meet with Sarah Palin (whose politics are favored by a tiny minority of American Jews) but he will not meet with J Street. He should argue with J Street, yell at J Street, grapple with J Street, but most of all meet with J Street.

To: Mitchell Clair
From: Lee Bender
Thanks. While this is a very spirited defense of why J Street should still be in the pro-Israel tent, it is real hard to believe they really deserve to be based on so much of what they espouse, who they are funded by and how antagonistic they are to Israel’s security needs, and their blind faith in Palestinian politics, intentions (see PLO, PA and Hamas charters, let alone incitement in media, schools and mosques) and terrorism. J Street wants Israel to bargain away its security to Hamas, who rules Gaza.

Really, is that being pro-Israel?  

More after the jump.
If Netanayhu and Knesset members don’t want to talk to J Street, so what?  It is clearly their prerogative, after all Israel is a democracy.

Frankly, this is really all a small part of the recognition, finally by Israel, that there are many NGOs out there, funded by many anti-Israel sources, especially Europeans and European governments, who are meddling in Israeli politics.

In the US, we have a statute since 1930s, Foreign Agents Registration Act, that mandates disclosure of funding by groups lobbying the U.S. Government if they are funded by a foreign entity or government. Israel is finally trying to do the same, and J Street is one of those organizations that is coming under its purview. Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, a very intelligent, deliberate articulate scholar would not meet with J Street recently due to is very disingenuous positions on Israel.  I disagree with Goldberg here that Rabin would have too; in fact, the Zionist Organization of America’s (full disclosure, I am a Vice President of the Greater Philadelphia District) positions on Israel and any two-state solution mirror Rabin’s. Israel’s security must be paramount-period.  Otherwise, what is the point?  

When Palestinians demonstrate true readiness for peaceful co-existence and recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, then we can talk.  Read Khalid Abu Tomeah, a very respected Palestinian Arab journalist who writes frequently for Israeli newspapers; he argues the Palestinians are not ready for peace, don’t want it with Israel, are corrupt, and in disarray politically (between Gaza and West Bank).  Now is not the time. Pressure must be on them. Israel has extended its hand for peace consistently, Palestinians have not.

J Street wants Israel to basically give it all up and be vulnerable and defenseless — for nothing, no guarantees. And frankly, many of the at J Street are real ashamed to be Jews or that Jews have demonstrated a strong will to be alive in their own state.  They want to birth the 23rd Arab state no matter what, no matter that it will be a failed state, a terrorist launching pad at Israel’s heart.

Need proof:  Gaza.  

Those are just a few of my very quick thoughts.

To: Lee Bender
From: Mitchell Clair
I have, as does Goldberg, many of those same concerns about J Street. I think the bigger issue is whether there is a  secure peace from the left that might work better than the belligerence we see from the right. The settlements are not the cause of the conflict or the reason there is no peace, but they are political if not moral and legal obstacle (and I mean the settlements, not the neighborhoods). 1967 borders are not workable, neither is the settlement in Hebron

To: Mitchell Clair
From: Lee Bender
Right now, this is the best “peace” Israel has and will have for foreseeable future with Palestinians. Do you want them to control territory overlooking Ben Gurion Airport, technically in Judaea and Samaria, which they want for their state?  I’ll never trust them to secure Israel’s borders and peace, and neither will Israel, rightfully.  If Jews are not permitted to live anywhere they want, including in communities (they are not settlements), then anyone who argues such is making a racist argument.  Why are Palestinian Arabs, then, allowed to live where they want, or in Israel itself? If that is the case, then move everyone both ways over borders. That’s not going to happen. But I am real sick and tired of hearing that Jews are not permitted to live where they want. Jordan did not permit Jews to live in the West Bank (from 1948-1967), nor in Jordan for that matter, though that land was part of the British Mandate and envisioned for a Jewish state.  What gives the Palestinians the right to demand Jews to be moved from these areas?  

“Settlements” are NOT immoral; the deliberate targeting, rocketing and murdering of innocents are, and that is Palestinian policy and doctrine. How about starting there first?

To: Lee Bender
From: Mitchell Clair
There is not much that you said that I disagree with. We have to find a way to disengage. As Sharon said “occupation is not good for them or us.” The status quo is not sustainable.

To: Mitchell Clair
From: Lee Bender
Leaving Gaza was a horrible, terrible move, and not what Sharon sold it as or envisioned the move would be, and he would probably express regret if he had the physical capacity. It has provided them with a launching pad for terror on Israel’s doorstep; per Sharon’s plan, there would be no justification for Palestinians to fire at Israel once Israel removed every single Jew from that territory, and retaliation would be swift and punishing. That has obviously not been the case and they are emboldened now to wage yet another war. And Hamas took over Gaza completely, something also not envisioned- Israel’s “peace partner”, the corrupt Palestinian Authority, was supposed to be in charge. Gaza is the best example of what Israel will face with another Palestinian state in its midst, in Judea & Samaria, on the high ground, with a dagger at Israel’s heart.

By the way, polls consistently show that Palestinians given the choice, want to be inside the security fence on the Israel side, not the Palestinian side.

To: Lee Bender
From: Mitchell Clair
Yes, they are bad. Complaining and punishing them is not the answer — that just feeds the problem. Another solution must be found.  Wishing we could just kill them all is not a productive answer.

To: Mitchell Clair
From: Lee Bender
I did not say kill them; contain them until they respect our rights to live as human beings in peace, dignity and co-existence. They turned down a state of their own in 1933, 1948, 1967, 2000 and 2008.  So what is your answer?  Right now, status quo is best for protecting Israel.

To: Lee Bender
From: Mitchell Clair
I would do two things.

  1. I would stop protecting the outpost settlements. If they want to stay they can–but they send a terrible signal and are too expensive to protect.
  2. I would do everything possible to build up the West Bank economy–people who are happy and earning a living don’t want to fight.

I think that example and stability is best chance to bring prestige to the PA and make them more attractive to the Gazans.  We need the people in Gaza to feel inspired by the Egyptians, Tunisians and Libyans.

To: Mitchell Clair
From: Lee Bender
How do you deal with Hamas, who is ruling Gaza and if not for IDF (Israel Defense Forces) would swamp the PA in West Bank? Do you advocate that Israel give up the Jordan River Valley?  In fact, NO Israeli leader has stated that Israel would do so in any deal for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.  Do you think Palestinians would go for that — IDF patrolling border with West Bank and Jordan?  I agree building up West Bank economy is great. In fact over the past year that area has experienced amongst the highest growth rate of any economy in the world.  Has that changed their tune, from their leaders, what they preach in Arabic in media, TV, text books, schools and mosques, about Israel and Jews?  Hardly.  The brainwashing, especially since Oslo Accords in 1993, has poisoned a generation of Palestinians, who are not at all prepared for peace, unlike Israel’s curriculum which has indeed, and miraculously a large segment of Israelis were prepared to separate and give them a state; but they have lived through Gaza, Lebanon and are rightfully and understandably skeptical.

Lee Bender and Mitchell Clair are attorneys and members of the Men’s Club of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El and share a healthy, friendly rivalry.

Human Rights Council Acts to Investigate Iran

— Sharon Bender

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted March 24 to appoint an investigator, called a special rapporteur, to look into Iran’s human rights violations. The 22 to 7 vote, with 14 abstentions and four not taking part, indicates the council is taking serious notice of Iran’s long-standing human rights violations.

More after the jump.
B’nai B’rith also applauds the U.S. mission in Geneva for its hard work in support of the resolution. U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told the council that the United States and other nations were “gravely concerned at the situation in Iran, where respect for human rights has deteriorated dramatically in recent years.”

In high-level meetings in Geneva earlier this month, a B’nai B’rith International delegation urged council members to support the resolution implementing a special rapporteur.

“Iran’s human rights record is deplorable,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “The Human Rights Council did the right thing in voting to formally investigate a government that does not allow dissenting voices, that jails opposition figures in brutal conditions, and that uses the death penalty as a growing form of punishment, even on minors.”

This is the first country-specific special rapporteur to have been instituted since the creation of the council in 2006.

During the 16th session of the council, much of the four-week long gathering has been focused on Israel.

“It is encouraging to see the council can in fact see beyond Israel,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “It is significant that the Human Rights Council members, some voting outside their traditional lines of support, are taking Iran’s escalating human rights abuses seriously.”

Book Review: “East Wind” by Jack Winnick

— Lee Bender

In the genre of international spy thrillers from Daniel Silva and Vince Flynn, Jack Winnick’s East Wind is a fast-paced, page-turner novel involving a credible scenario: Muslim terrorists have penetrated the United States, detonated one small nuclear dirty bomb in a major U.S. city and are threatening further attacks if the U.S. does not cease its support for Israel. Mr. Winnick knows of what he speaks: he has an interesting resume as an engineering professor with 40 years expertise in chemical and nuclear engineering, the author of a popular textbook in thermodynamics, a consultant for oil and gas industry and NASA, and he is a professional actor. He dedicates the book to the many thousands of intelligence officers “who toil anonymously, day and night, to defend the free world from those who would destroy it.” The protagonists are a team consisting of a young female FBI agent from America’s heartland, Lara, a computer whiz who has been able to coordinate the security services’ clumsy efforts to successfully track Islamists, and Uri, a daring, accomplished Mossad field agent on loan from Israel. The climax of the book is their race to thwart the next attack by these unknown terrorists. Along the way, Mr. Winnick introduces many characters from across the spectrum of the intelligence services, Arab and Muslim students, agents, and terrorists, and gives each a credible voice for their own causes. It is his fluid ability to describe nuclear thermodynamics, the makings of a bomb, and the ability of those who want us to “succumb to the forces of darkness” which allows this scenario to be utterly believable.

Basics for Defining a “Pro-Israel” Organization

— Lee Bender

To be considered a true “pro-Israel organization” there are indeed simple, basic, clear-cut, line-in-the sand guidelines that must be adhered to:

  1. Believing that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people who are entitled to self-determination in their homeland;  
  2. respecting the vibrant Israeli democracy and its courts and not elevating one’s judgment for those of Israel’s citizens;
  3. respecting Israeli military judgments and those who are responsible for protecting its citizens, and not being an armchair general;
  4. not joining forces with Israel’s enemies;  
  5. emphasizing the good in Israel while acknowledging the faults;
  6. supporting Israeli government efforts to make peace;
  7. understanding what Israel’s enemies say, advocate and do (i.e. Fatah and Hamas charter to destroy Israel);
  8. being pro-peace, but not to the point that advocating for Israeli concessions damages Israel’s existence.

More after the jump.
Unfortunately, it is clear that too many of our young people on campus are ill-equipped to even enter into an intelligent discussion on the Middle East conflicts to form an opinion, let alone defend Israel from its vast and vociferous critics. And the same goes for too many in our own community who are blinded by doing tikkun olam at all costs, political correctness, self-hating/loathing of their Jewishness, or apathy. Be proud, firm but fair- but be not afraid to defend our people who have survived the most incredible odds in human history, now thrive, and are indeed “a light onto the nations.”

Proposed Guidelines for Balanced Reporting on Israel

— Lee Bender and Jerome Verlin

For many years, the pro-Israel community has been deeply troubled by the inaccurate, unbalanced and misleading portrayal of Israel in the mainstream media, These negative views unjustly prejudice the public and do great harm to Israel.  The organizations and individuals joining in this document believe that adopting the guidelines and terminology below will lead to more fair and balanced reporting on Israel. We also cite specific instances from news sources that use inaccurate and misleading terminology and portrayals.


Misleading: “Two-state solution.” Accurate: “Two states,” meaning one Jewish, one Arab.
Since 1922 when the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate recognized “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine” and called for reconstituting the Jewish “National Home” in Palestine, international agreement has recognized Israel as the Jewish people’s state.  The Road Map’s “vision of two states” is meaningful only in the sense of an Arab state and a Jewish state.  There already exists an Arab state created out of the original Palestine Mandate – Jordan, which is on 78% of the land and has a population that is 70% Palestinian Arabs.  The Jewish State of Israel exists on the remaining 22% of the land- the very part of which this second Arab state would be created. A new “Jewish-free” Arab state alongside a “secular Israel” inundated with millions of Arabs descended from those who left in 1948, added to Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens, is a sham “two-state solution.”  There are 22 Muslim Arab states on a land mass over 600 times that of Israel, with an approximate population of 350,000,000, compared to 5,500,000 Jews in Israel, which is the size of New Jersey.


Misleading: “Arab East Jerusalem.” Accurate: “Jerusalem” or refer to the neighborhood by name.
For only 19 of Jerusalem’s 3,000 years existence was there an “eastern” and western “division,” and that was during the time Jordan illegally occupied it from 1948 until 1967 when it was ousted by Israel and the city was reunited. Jerusalem has been the capital of three Jewish states, but has never been the capital of any Arab entity. Jerusalem has had an ever-increasing Jewish majority since 19th century Ottoman rule.  Prior to the post-World War I Palestine Mandate, Palestine, including Jerusalem, was ruled for 400 years by non-Arab Ottoman Turks; before that for over 200 years by non-Arab Mamlukes; before that by European Christian Crusaders; before that from 636 to 1099 by foreign Arabs increasingly taken over by Turks; before that for over 600 years by European Romans, who in 63 BCE and 70 and 135 CE defeated the twice-independent native Jews, whose two Temples had successively stood in Jerusalem for a millennium, and the Romans’ European Christian Byzantine heirs. At best, Jerusalem is the 3rd holiest city in Islam, although it is not mentioned once in the Koran.  Reference to “Arab East Jerusalem” is misleading as it implies a genuine historical relationship. From 1948-67 when it was illegally occupied by Jordan, no capital or state was established, Jews were not permitted inside the Old City, ancient Jewish synagogues and institutions were destroyed and desecrated. Contrary to this Arab rule of Jerusalem, Israel respects and allows free access for all religions, and permits the Temple Mount to be administered by Muslim authorities (the Waqf).


Misleading: ” “Israel was created in 1948 because of the Holocaust.” Accurate: “Israel regained independence in 1948.”
Israel was not created because of the Holocaust, but is the natural fruition of continuous organized Jewish presence in the Biblical Land of Israel for 3000 years, pre-dating Islam by more than 1000 years. Labeling Israel as “founded in 1948,” whether or not expressly “because of the Holocaust,” inaccurately ignores both 20th century and pre-Zionist post-biblical Jewish homeland history, and echoes Israel’s enemies’ canard that “Israel was created because of a Holocaust that may have happened in Europe, so why should ‘The Palestinians’ suffer?”  Herzl published the Der Judenstaat in 1896 calling for a Jewish state, and the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, incorporated into the 1922 League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate, recognized a Jewish National Home in Palestine. The Yishuv, the Jewish people’s continuous organized presence in the land of Israel, holds one of the longest continuous homeland connections of a people to a place in world history.  Israel is the natural result of that presence.


Misleading: “The war that followed Israel’s creation.” Accurate: “The 1948 Arab invasion of Israel.”
Five Arab states’ armies – Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq – invaded Palestine to destroy Israel on the day Israel declared its independence as the British Mandate ended.  Mislabeling that multi-nation Arab invasion as “the war that followed Israel’s creation” without even naming the Arab invaders is a blatant a mischaracterization of what historically happened: the UN Partition-rejecting multi-nation Arab invasion. Egypt illegally seized and retained Gaza, and Jordan illegally seized and retained portions of Judea and Samaria (which became Jordan’s “West Bank”) and part of Jerusalem, for the next 19 years. The Arab rejection of Israel’s existence as the Jewish people’s reborn homeland continues to this day and is the root cause of the continued conflict. Had the Arabs not invaded and accepted the UN Partition Plan, they would have had their state alongside Israel this entire time.


Misleading: “Palestinian refugees from the war that followed Israel’s creation.” Accurate: “Refugees caused by the 1948 Arab rejection of partition,” or  “Descendants of Arabs who left during the Arab invasion.”
Multiple factors, including inducement and orders by invading Arabs, led to Arabs leaving the part of western Palestine that became Israel in 1948.  The number who left is contested, with Arabs claiming some 700,000, and Israelis (see, e.g., Katz, “Battleground,” p.23) some 400,000.  Long forgotten are that same era’s approximately 800,000 Jews who were forced to vacate their homes and businesses in vast Arab lands (many from Jewish communities dating back to pre-Islam antiquity.)  Tiny Israel absorbed the bulk of these Middle Eastern Jews, while the descendants of the Arabs who left tiny Israel remain today as “refugees.” These Arabs are unique among all the world’s refugees: their Arab brethren refuse to integrate and accept them into their vast lands; in addition, they have their own UN organization (UNRWA), and unlike every other refugee group, refugee status is not just limited to those who left but is also extended to their descendants and their descendants’ descendants.


Misleading: “Gaza is occupied and blockaded by Israel.” Accurate: “Hamas rules Gaza, bordered by Israel and Egypt.”
Gaza is not “occupied” by Israel, which unilaterally uprooted entire Jewish population of 9000 residents, in 2005. Gazans elected Hamas to be their government. Despite thousands of unceasing rocket and missile fire aimed at civilians in Israel from Gaza, Israel still supplies electricity to Gaza, allows in supplies, and even provides medical care to Gazans inside Israel.  What is largely ignored is that Gaza also has a border with the Arab country of Egypt, and thus is not “blockaded by Israel.”


Misleading: “The Israeli-occupied West Bank.” Accurate: “The West Bank,” or “Judea and Samaria.”
Under international law, portions of western Palestine beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines between Israel and the invading Arab armies are disputed, not the indisputable territory of a western Palestine Arab state that has never existed in history. Israel has the right to be in these portions of the former Palestine Mandate, captured in a defensive war, until such time as there is a resolution by the parties.  The Mandate had called for “close settlement by Jews on the land,” not excluding what became “the West Bank” of the kingdom of Jordan only in 1948 when Jordan invaded and seized it.  The historical names of these areas are Judea and Samaria.   Today, 95% of the Arab population of “the West Bank” lives in Palestinian Authority-administered areas.


Misleading: “Moderate” Abbas; “Hardline” Netanyahu.” Accurate: “:”Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu”.”
News reports labeling Israeli leaders as “hard-line” and PA leaders as “moderate” are not only subjective judgments not belonging in news articles, but are factually inaccurate. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas heads Fatah, the largest organization in the P.A.  Fatah’s charter includes the following: “Section 19: Armed struggle is a strategy, not a tactic. The armed revolution of the Arab Palestinian people is a crucial element in the battle for liberation and for the elimination of the Zionist presence. This struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated.” Fatah’s August 2009, General Assembly confirmed these positions. Abbas also financed the Palestinian terrorist assassination of Israeli Olympic Team members in Munich in 1972, and in his doctoral dissertation, later published as a book, he denied the Holocaust.  


Misleading: “Illegal Jewish settlements.” Accurate: “Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”
Jews living on land contested between Palestine’s Jews and Arabs, on which the Palestine Mandate called for close Jewish settlement, is not illegal according to many legal authorities.  At best, the status of the land in question is disputed. The Road Map distinguishes between “settlements” and “settlement outposts,” small sites unauthorized by the Israeli government.  Calling settlements “illegal under international law” is a partisan position on an issue in legal dispute.


Misleading: “The Road Map calls on the Palestinian Authority to rein in militants.” Accurate: “The Road Map calls on the Palestinian Authority to dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.”
Among the Palestinian Authority’s Phase I obligations in the Road Map is “confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.”  Another:  “Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.”  Another “at the outset of Phase I” PA obligations:  “All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.”  Media references to the Road Map frequently cite only Israeli obligations, and when Palestinian obligations are cited they are often couched as “to rein in militants.”  Forms of the word “terror” appear 10 times in the road map, but “militants” are not mentioned once.


Misleading: “Israeli retaliation for rockets/missiles from Gaza.” Accurate: “Israeli defensive measures to prevent the rocketing of civilians.”
For years, Israelis in southern Israel have been subjected to a relentless rain of rockets, missiles and mortars from Gaza, in which they have 15 – 20 seconds warning.  Israel’s large Mediterranean coastal city of Ashkelon has also been hit repeatedly.  Israel’s responses have been surgical and targeted specifically against the attackers and the regime that allows them, not “retaliation” by indiscriminate tit-for-tat rocketing and mortaring Gaza civilian cities and villages.


Misleading: “Militants,” “Extremists,” “Gunmen” attacking civilians. Accurate: “Terrorists”; “Jihadi Terrorists”; “Islamic Terrorists.”
Dispatchers of mass-murder bombers of civilians in buses, restaurants, shopping malls, religious assemblies and the like aren’t “militants” anytime anywhere, but terrorists every time everywhere.  The U.S. government’s long held position is that Hamas, Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Islamic Jihad Group, amongst many others, are terrorist organizations and that acts of violence against civilians perpetrated by the these groups are acts of terrorism.  


Misleading: “The Palestinians.” Accurate: “Palestinian Arabs,” “Arab Palestinians.”
At this late date, no one expects the media or anyone else to cease referring to Arabs living in Palestine as “the Palestinians.”  Yet it is critical that Western publics understand that the region was not named “Palestine” with reference to today’s Arab “Palestinians.”  Eighteen hundred years ago, the Roman emperor Hadrian bestowed the name “Palestine” on former Judaea, to disassociate the land from the native Jews whom Rome had just defeated in two ferocious revolts.  The “Palestinians” whom Hadrian had in mind had been the Aegean “Sea-People” Philistines, who’d occupied the southern Palestinian coast during the era of the Jews’ first kingdom of Judah.  The Jerusalem Post, one of Israel’s leading newspapers was once the Palestine Post, and Palestinian Jews who fought alongside the Allies in World War II were known as Palestinians.  The late David Bar-Illan, editor of the Jerusalem Post and its “Eye on the Media” column, repeatedly cited Mandate era Jewish institutions that included “Palestine” in their title and actual aversions by Arabs to the term “Palestine.” The vast majority of Palestinian Arabs cannot trace their family heritage to the land back more than several generations; most came from elsewhere when the Jews made the land blossom and built cities and institutions.

Trouble Israel & The West Have Making Peace With Arabs & Muslims

Does what they say account for their actions?

When the core of your enemy’s doctrine and religion calls for your subjugation and/or annihilation, it makes achieving co-existence improbable. This is the insurmountable problem in a decades-long peace “process.”

More after the jump.
Islam teaches that they are superior, while non-Muslim infidels are inherently inferior and must be dominated. Therefore, the success of tiny Israel, the state of the Jews, defies what Allah has told them will happen, and is taken as an affront to their honor – especially since they have not been able to defeat it militarily.
The root of the problem may be in the Koran itself. Here are some notable excerpts:
Koranic Doctrine Regarding “Infidels,” Jews and Christians, and Peacemaking:

  • “Muslims are “obligated to befriend a believer, even if he is oppressive and violent towards you and must be hostile to the infidel, even if he is liberal and kind to you” (Sheikh al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyya: 1263 – 1328)
  • Doctrine of Wala’ wa Bara’ (loyalty and enmity) requires Muslims to maintain absolute loyalty to Islam and one another, while disavowing, even hating all things un-Islamic, including persons, i.e. infidels (Koran 60:4)
  • Taqiyya doctrine revolves around deceiving the infidels, is pivital to upholding loyalty and enmity wherever and whenever Muslim minorities live among non-Muslim majorities: “Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers, Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with God ” (Koran 3:28.) This has been interpreted by Tabari: “Only when you are in their [non-Muslims’] power, fearing for yourselves, are you to demonstrate friendship for them with your tongues, while harboring hostility toward them. But do not join them in the particulars of their infidelities, and do not aid them through any action against a Muslim.”
  • A hudna [also known as a hudibiyya or khudaibiya] is a tactical cease-fire that allows the Arabs to rebuild their terrorist infrastructure in order to be more effective when the “cease-fire” is called off.
  • Jihad,  literally “struggle”, revolves around fighting and killing the infidel enemy, “holy war,” even if it costs the Muslim fighter his life — this is the most native and praiseworthy expression.
  • Dar Al Islam v. Dar Al Harb: Shari’a (Islamic) law divides the world into these two abodes. In Dar al-Islam, the citizenry abide by the ordinances, rules, edicts, and assembly of Islam. The Muslim state guarantees the safety of life, property, and religious status (only if the religion is not idolatrous) of minorities (ahl al-dhimma) provided they have submitted to Muslim control. Dar al-Harb (the abode of war) provides the contrast and denotes territory that is not governed by the assembly of Islam, and is directly contiguous to the abode of Islam.

Jihad can be invoked for the sole purpose of turning Dar al-Harb into Dar al-Islam – in other words, to allow for the prevalence of Islamic edicts and the protection of Muslims. The conflict only is destined to end with the hegemony of Islam, so that the religion reigns supreme, that is the ultimate goal of Islam establish Sharia law  throughout the world, non-believers (infidels) are treated as dhimmi (second-class citizens under rule of Muslims, with limited rights): there are only three choices for non-Muslims: conversion, subjugation or death- this is mainstream Islam as per teachings of Muhammad. (From The Al Quaeda Reader)

Palestinian-Arabs groups have expounded on these concepts:

Palestine Liberation Organization Charter (ratified 1964)

Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it…

Article 10: Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution.

Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination.

Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.

It is important to note that the PLO was established by the Arab League when Gaza was controlled by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan- three years before Israel captured them in a defensive in 1967.

Fatah Constitution

Fateh, or Fatah (which means “victory” or “conquest”) is the leading organization within the Palestinian “resistance.” The date of the Fatah constitution is not given, circa 1964 though it was reaffirmed at its August 2009 convention. It states, inter alia:

Article (4) The Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism and international imperialism.

Article (7) The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organization and method.

Article (8) The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.

Article (9) Liberating Palestine and protecting its holy places is an Arab, religious and human obligation.

Article (12) Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.

Article (17) Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine….

Article (19) Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.

The Khartoum Resolution of 1967

Heads of state from eight Arab countries met for a summit in Khartoum, Sudan shortly after the 1967 Six-Day War. The resulting formulation became known as “Three Nos” and formed the basis of the policies of most Arab states aligned against Israel through the late:  

  • No peace with Israel;
  • No recognition of Israel;
  • No negotiations with Israel

Since then, only two Arab states have signed peace treaties with Israel: Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.  The remaining 20 still abide by these principles.

The Hamas (Islamic Resistence Movement) Charter (1988)

Preamble: Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it… Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized.

Article (7)  The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: ‘The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’

Article (8) Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.

Article (11) The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up…. This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Muslims have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Muslims consecrated these lands to Muslim generations till the Day of Judgment.

Article (13) Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.

Article (15) … It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters. It is necessary that scientists, educators and teachers, information and media people, as well as the educated masses, especially the youth and sheikhs of the Islamic movements, should take part in the operation of awakening (the masses)…. It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Muslim generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis.?

Article (31)Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions-  Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that.

Palestinian Basic Law (ratified 2002)

Article (4)
1. Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions shall be maintained.
2. The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.
3. Arabic shall be the official language.  

Perhaps these explain Palestinian rejectionism: why they incite hatred and violence against Jews and Israelis in their schools, mosques, and media; shun peace talks and direct negotiations; violate their international obligations under the Oslo Accords; engage in terrorism against Israeli civilians; call for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, and “lawfare” against Israelis in foreign courts. By contrast, the State of Israel has offered its outstretched hand from the outset and declared as follows:

Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948)

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

Israel has been the ancestral home of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years –more than 1,500 years before the founding of Islam.  Since 1922 when the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate recognized “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine” and called for reconstituting the Jewish “National Home” in Palestine, international agreement has recognized Israel as the Jewish people’s state. There already exists an Arab state created out of the original Palestine Mandate – Jordan, which is on 78% of the land and has a population that is 70% Palestinian Arabs.  The lone Jewish state in the world, Israel, exists on the remaining 22% of the land- the very part of which a second Arab state would be created. There are  currently 22 Arab League states (not even counting Iran), all Muslim-dominated, none democratic, on a land mass over 600 times that of Israel, with a population of 350,000,000, compared to 5,500,000 Jews in Israel, which is the size of New Jersey.  Moreover, there is a bloc of 57 Muslim states in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, with a population of 1.5 billion.  

So, who are the “infidels” against humanity, decency and tolerance? And why should tiny Israel be forced to make concessions? And who are Israel’s “partners for peace” supposed to be on the Palestinian — Arab side? Fatah?  Hamas? These “revelations” about Islamic doctrine and the governing documents of Hamas, Fatah, the PLO and the like are not secrets. Radical Islam, with its virulent, theologically based anti-semitism, surges through the Muslim realm, spread with Saudi and Iranian funding, to media, mosques and madrassas throughout the Islamic world. Are we – Western governments, media and the populace — just so arrogant or paternalistic that we cannot possibly accept that a people could actually harbor such nasty, ugly beliefs — and act on them? Are we so “politically correct” that we are afraid to be judgmental against others, and their beliefs, no matter how brutal and dangerous?

Ultimately, Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, Arabs and Islam is not territorial, but rather existential.  Unfortunately, peaceful coexistence as co-equals in a pluralistic society is not one of the choices that Islamic law gives to non-Muslims.  In essence, Islam is a religion of the peace that will come when Islam is dominant, triumphant and everyone is Muslim or at least subject to the Islamic state and ultimate caliphate. And to establish that “peace,” Muslims must wage war – global jihadi warfare against nonbelievers is mandated until hegemony is established throughout the entire world. We all need to read their words, because nothing less than our liberty, freedom and Western Judeo-Christian core values are at stake.  

Illegal NGO Lobbying Undermines Israel

With many interests and issues competing for American attention, dollars and sympathy, just who are behind these various causes has become more important than ever in an age of economic woes and a changing political landscape. A law on the books for more than seven decades meant to safeguard America from those with hidden foreign agendas is apparently not being actively enforced, opening the door to American support for positions inimical to our best interests and those of our allies.

More after the jump.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is an important, but little known federal law requiring agents who represent the interests of foreign countries to be publicly identified as such. The Act was passed in 1938 in response to German propaganda before World War II.  The law is in essence a disclosure statute to insure that the American public and its lawmakers know the source behind information used to “lobby” and sway public opinion, policy, and laws. FARA  mandates that persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity make periodic extensive public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, including financial activities, the names and dates of each individual person they lobby in any branch of government, any efforts beyond lobbying including setting up informational booths in public places, handing out tourism flyers regarding to entice travel to the foreign country, and advertising. The Department of Justice’s FARA Registration Unit (part of the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Act. There are criminal and civil penalties for violating the Act; and it is a continuing offense not to file a registration statement.

Today, thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) lobby American officials each year. Many concentrate on the politically volatile and contentious Middle East. But due to mainstream media malfeasance, general apathy and/or ignorance, powerful political NGOs receive and use vast Arab, European Union and European governmental funding right under the public’s noses, especially to advance agendas within America that threaten one of our key allies: Israel.  These forces operate in direct opposition to Israeli policies to manipulate and undermine its security on issues such as borders, “settlements,” military cooperation and armaments. They are nefariously and surreptitiously meddling in Israel’s internal matters like no place else on the planet. They are not apolitical, and use faulty “international law” arguments against Israel’s rights.

Moreover, many of these groups are skirting FARA and need to be exposed. Two NGOs that are currently under investigation by DOJ for potential violations of failing to register with FARA are Peace Now and B’Tselem.  The Israeli Peace Now movement, Shalom Achshav, was established in 1978. According to their website, Peace Now is perhaps best known for mobilizing mass demonstrations, and conducting comprehensive monitoring of Israeli “settlement activity” in Judea and Samaria (a k a. the West Bank).  In 1981, it established “Americans for Peace Now,” and has worked feverishly “to achieve a comprehensive political settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict” through “the creation of a viable Palestinian state.”  

APN, which considers itself a leading voice of American Jews, claims that it is “a non-partisan organization with a non-partisan mission.” Yet APN alleges that “settlements” in the West Bank represent a security liability for Israel and an obstacle to future peace efforts. Peace Now has made aggressive claims in the media that large portions of “settlements” are built on “privately owned Palestinian lands.” In 2008, Peace Now was convicted in Israel of libel for making false claims on this subject and was ordered to apologize in Israeli newspapers.  Even though many of its members and events are in Israel, Peace Now is not a registered legal entity in Israel, however the government of Norway has given it millions of kroners since 2001, including approximately 1.35 million kroners ($230,000) in 2009.  

B’Tselem, “The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories,” was established in 1989. According to their website, b’Tselem “endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.”  This “Israeli human rights organization” claims that it is independent and funded by contributions from foundations in Europe and North America that support human rights activity worldwide, and by private individuals in Israel and abroad. B’Tselem’s Washington office has recently lobbied robustly in support of the blood-libelous Goldstone Report while using donations from European taxpayers and from the New Israel Fund.

While Arab, European governments and the European Union are obsessively focused on demeaning democratic Israel through the American branches or subsidiaries of various NGOs — which they have a free-speech right to do in this country — they are covertly spending millions of Euros, pounds, krona or dinars to do so in potential violation of American law.   These funds are fungible, freeing up money given to theses NGOs outside the U.S. to support their activities and lobbying in the U.S.

Historically, there have been few reported enforcement actions by DOJ under FARA.  Research suggests that DOJ attempts to work out issues without legal action as it has found that most violations of this law are unintentional. But is this still the case, and especially where Israel is targeted?  The bottom line is that these NGOs should not be permitted to deceive the American public or U.S. officials by hiding who really controls and funds them — all while their “parent” organizations receive funds from foreign sources and governments. No such loopholes should be permitted. Free speech clearly should be respected, but FARA is designed as a full disclosure instrument so that the American public and our officials can know with whom we are really dealing.  Just as they have a right to lobby and influence, we the public and our officials need to know if they are in reality a front for a foreign agent or principal.

Lessons From Our Family Bar Mitzvah Trip to Israel & Egypt

My extended family and I just returned from a family trip to Israel and Egypt to celebrate our younger son’s Bar Mitzvah. We are grateful and blessed that our dream trip was realized. We marked Noah’s becoming a man in the Jewish tradition at the Kotel (the western wall in the Old City of Jerusalem) with 14 members of our family, including all four grandparents, an uncle, cousins, and friends. It was a simcha (happy occasion) beyond words: magical; spiritual; exceeding our every anticipation and expectation. We traveled throughout Israel for 11 days, and then spent four days in Egypt.

Observations? Lessons learned?  I have many, but here are just a few:

More after the jump

  • How incredibly fortunate we were, at this rare moment in Jewish history, that we could celebrate this special mitzvah in our ancient homeland at our holiest site, in freedom and security; a mere 62 years after Israel’s re-establishment founding, 43 years after Jerusalem’s liberation, and nearly more than 2,000 years since the destruction of the Second Temple;
  • We were in awe that during the Bar Mitzvah Shacharit (morning) services at the southern section of the Kotel (in the Masorti (Conservative Movement)-sanctioned section of the southern Wall by the Robinson Arch that there was no doubt the direction we bowed and our reader’s table faced — the Wall was right there; we were touching it. Yet, perched directly above us was the Al Asqa Mosque, sitting atop the Temple Mount there is also the  reminder that we are in the shadows of our enemies and detractors;
  • The excitement for the Bar Mitzvah ceremony was palpable. There were four other families close by celebrating their simchas just like us: loud, incessant drumbeating accompanying Bar Mitzvah boys to their celebrations created an atmosphere of even more awe for the occasion;
  • Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday evening services) at the Kotel: a magnet drawing all – haredim (ultra-orthodox), soldiers, and secular– but all there to bring in the Sabbath spirit. Words  do not do justice here;
  • Israel is vibrant, green, gleaming, thriving, a marvel and miracle of history, a true oasis,  given the volatile and hostile neighborhood in which it lives;
  • Religious diversity is celebrated and protected for all faiths in dignity throughout the country, and is especially evident in Jerusalem;
  • It is amazing how much Israel has accomplished, with so little resources, in such a short time and under constant existential threat; from Shoah (Holocaust) to tkumah (rebirth); and amazing how just how small Israel is in size yet feels so big in spirit;
  • Food is plentiful, bountiful, clean and healthy; yet smoking is prevalent;
  • Appreciation of even the otherwise mundane: trucks, signs, roads, stores, products, media, TV: all bear Hebrew names and titles-Israel totally has built its own culture, which we should not take for granted;
  • Patriotism runs high, with flags prominently displayed;
  • Faces of the people, old, young, ultra-Orthodox and secular-brave;  proud; living their lives;
  • We were part of record crowds of tourists; inspiring to see tours of Birthright, college kids, teens, missions, Asians, Christian groups from around the world;
  • Co-existence: Our visit to Hadassah Hospital where all are treated equally regardless of ethnicity, religion or faith, the triumph of biology over ideology; our Egyptian tour guide knew to go to Israel to get the best medical care for his operation;
  • Israelis are generally far more tolerant of their Arab or Muslim citizens than is portrayed by Western media, and opportunities abound for those Arabs who want to participate in the economy;
  • Democracy is thriving, business is booming; construction projects in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are visible everywhere;
  • The markets and streets — Ben Yehuda Street, Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Camel Market in Tel Aviv — are packed with shoppers;
  • The countryside is beautiful: Rosh Hanikra, the Jezreel Vally, Safed, the Hula Valley, Gallilee, the Golan. It is evident that the there is not the same enthusiasm, know-how, or attitude toward growth, agriculture, sustainability in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan — visible just beyond Israel’s borders;
  • Israel must keep the Golan and a demilitarized Jordan River Valley for strategic and security purposes– go there and you see why it is imperative;
  • Without Israel, the raison d’être natural safe haven for the Jewish people, our vibrancy power in the Diaspora is diminished considerably; ie the Holocaust;
  • Go on an archeological dig: feel, explore, sift through and touch direct proof of Israel’s past;
  • We planted trees in JNF forest; Israel is the only country in the world that has more trees in it since its founding, or over the last 100 years; get your hands dirty, plant and bring life to the land;
  • Contrast to Egypt is staggering and instructive. It is clear why you “go down” to Egypt: You are in an autocratic police state and third-world country. Cairo has 25 million residents (itself over three times more people than all of Israel) and is bustling; polluted; dense; poor; scattered animals, donkeys, horses, goats, chickens roam in the streets. Security is everywhere, yet it is tolerant to tourists, who are treated well- far better than the local population. Museums are in poor shape to house their priceless treasures; the Pyramids our Jewish ancestors built, tombs of the Pharoahs in Luxor, and the Nile where Moses was drawn from are still there to see. Food is not as nourishing or attractive as in Israel — especially fruits and vegetables – and lack of hygiene is a big issue (We had to brush our teeth with bottled water even in five-star hotels and tried to avoid any foods washed in water). The vast majority of Egyptians are concerned not with bashing Israel and Jews but making a living and simply getting by;
  • The Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, one of oldest in world, is protected by the state, but it needs work and tender, loving care;
  • We were happy that our exodus was easy without needing Pharoah’s permission;

We Jews need to be strong and proud and mindful – reminded that our strength depends on the security of Israel, the miracle in the Middle East. We should be awefully proud of the  morally-centric nation that Israel is– the nation of the Jews which we have helped build. Stand up for Israel; do not yield to the “political correctness,” and moral relativists. The invitation to all its neighbors to join it in peace and prosperity has been there since its founding; however, its neighbor’s goals are anathema, hostile, backwards.

Go visit Israel.

Be there with our people and celebrate and be proud.  

Am Yisrael Chai!