January 30, 2005

More on Israel's peace partner, Mahmoud Abbas

By Evelyn Gordon, The Jerusalem Post, International, January 14, 2005

The Palestinian Authority election campaign has made one thing crystal clear: This election will not be the prelude to an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. Both in Israel and abroad the theory had been that elections would give the new PA chairman the public legitimacy needed to make peace with Israel. But thanks to the positions he has adopted during the campaign, even a landslide victory for front-runner Mahmoud Abbas will not be able to provide that.

Rather than constituting a mandate to make concessions for peace, his election will constitute a mandate for positions unacceptable to even the most dovish Israeli government. This was first evident in Abbas’s insistence on a “right of return” to Israel for Palestinian refugees and their descendants — a demand that would spell the end of the Jewish state.

“We will not rest until the right of our people to return is granted," Abbas told the Palestinian parliament bluntly on November 23. Usually, as in a Newsweek interview later that month, he uses a more innocuous-sounding formula, “a just and agreed-upon solution for the refugees according to UN resolution 194.” The Palestinian interpretation of 194 has always been that it grants an unlimited “right of return” to Israel.

And Abbas has been equally uncompromising on other issues. On borders for instance, he explicitly told a campaign rally on December 25: “We will not accept settlements, and that includes Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel,” he declared. Yet even Yossi Beilin’s Geneva initiative calls for leaving Ma’aleh Adumim and parts of Gush Etzion under Israeli control - and Beilin is of the leftmost fringe of Israeli political opinion.

Thus Abbas has effectively precluded any agreement on borders. He has also backtracked on ending the violence. Even in mid-December, in his clearest statements on this subject he could not bring himself to say that blowing up school buses or senior Israeli citizens celebrating a Seder was morally wrong; he merely insisted that it was bad tactics.

Equally disturbing, he has explicitly promised not to enforce an end to the violence. He refers to Hamas terrorists as “brothers” and says the PA will never use arms against them; instead, he advocates integrating them into the PA security services —meaning that the PA will give them weapons instead of obliging them to arm themselves. He has called local gunmen “heroes... fighting for freedom,” adding: “We say to our fighting brothers that are wanted by Israel, we will not rest until you can enjoy a life of security, peace and dignity, so you can live in your country with total freedom.”

In short, terrorists will be honored, not arrested. Moreover, he has coupled this with impossible security-related demands of Israel. A week ago, for instance, he declared that peace depends on Israel dismantling its security fence. But expecting Israel to remove the fence while the PA is offering to arm Hamas and guaranteeing “total freedom” to wanted terrorists is a clear nonstarter. As long as the PA refuses to fight terror, the fence will be vital to Israel’s security.

The same is true of Abbas’s demand that Israel release every last Palestinian prisoner. After its bitter experience with prisoner releases under the 1993 Oslo Accords — when many freed prisoners promptly resumed anti-Israel terrorism — Israel cannot again release confirmed killers to a PA that offers them arms and protection, instead of trying to ensure that they do not kill again. No less important is the conspicuous omission of Abbas campaign; He has not even hinted that Palestinians might need to make concessions for peace. Every Israeli prime ministerial candidate stresses that Israel must make “painful concessions.” Yet Abbas, by omission, has sent his voters the message that they need not concede anything for peace: Their role is only to make demands, and wait for Israel to deliver.

Finally, Abbas has ruled out any interim solution. “We will not accept a temporary solution,” he told reporters in Egypt on November 28. “It’s a waste of time. Even a state with interim borders is a waste of time” But if he rejects an interim - solution while simultaneously posing demands that make a permanent solution impossible what option, is left except continued war?

The ever-hopeful international community and even Abbas’s own aides insist that this is mere campaign rhetoric; his “real” goal remains a negotiated peace. But campaign rhetoric is far from inconsequential — because even if he truly wishes to make peace, this campaign has ensured that he will have no public mandate for doing so.


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January 10, 2005

Part I: The Illusions of PM SHARON and US SEN. KERRY

Vs.

Part II: The Reality of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen)

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Monday, 10 January, 2005

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this morning (Monday), 10.1.05, in his
Jerusalem office, with US Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who is on a regional
visit in order to - inter alia - observe the election process in the
Palestinian Authority (PA).

At the beginning of the meeting, Prime Minister Sharon said, "Senator John
Kerry is a friend of Israel. We are certain that his visit will contribute
to the strengthening of Israeli-US relations and the peace process in our
region."

Sen. Kerry said: "It's a great honor. it's a great privilege for me to be
back in Israel. I have had the pleasure of visiting here many times now,
and visiting with the Prime Minister, who has always received me graciously.
This is a trip I'm making through the region in order to make judgments
about where we stand now that the [PA] elections have taken place."

Sen. Kerry emphasized that Israel is a special ally of the US and that the
network of bilateral relations can not be torn apart: "I am proud to be here
to talk with the Prime Minister about the days ahead, which are potentially
historic and important obviously to all of us."

Sen. Kerry added that, "The security of Israel is the paramount concern. The
United States - both parties, Republican and Democrat - stand behind Israel
in that effort."

Prime Minister Sharon thanked Sen. Kerry for the clear positions on Israel
that he held to during the recent US presidential race and told him about
his meeting with his brother Cameron. Senator Kerry replied that while he
and President George Bush had differing views regarding Iraq and other
issues, in the issue of Israel there was no argument.

On the Palestinian issue, Prime Minister Sharon said: "At the current stage,
after yesterday's elections, the main thing is to focus on what the
Palestinians are doing vis-a-vis terrorism. We were in constant contact
with the Palestinians and provided them with all necessary assistance in
order to hold a successful election process. The Palestinians are still not
fighting terrorism and Abu Mazen's statements during the election campaign
were not encouraging, but he will be tested by his actions after the
elections. He will be tested by the manner in which he fights terrorism and
works to dismantle its infrastructures. A ceasefire is an internal
Palestinian issue that Israel has no part in but if there is quiet, as a
first step, Israel's response would be quiet."

Prime Minister Sharon added that Israel would be prepared to revive security
cooperation between the security organizations and would be ready to
coordinate various issues in the framework of the Disengagement plan. The
Prime Minister said that if terrorism continues until the implementation of
the Disengagement Plan, Israel's response would be sharper than ever before.

Prime Minister Sharon updated Sen. Kerry on progress in the Disengagement
Plan and said that Israel would fully implement the Disengagement Plan
according to the timetable that has been determined. "Implementing the
Disengagement Plan has the potential of returning to the diplomatic
negotiations according to the Roadmap if the Palestinians do what they have
committed to doing vis-a-vis fighting and eliminating terrorism and enacting
comprehensive government reforms."

Sen. Kerry said that everyone hopes that Abu Mazen will be a different
leader than his predecessor and asked what the US could do to help the
Disengagement Plan, especially regarding the development of the Negev and
the Galilee.

Prime Minister Sharon briefed Sen. Kerry on political developments in Israel
and on the government that would be established this evening.

Regarding Syria, Prime Minister Sharon said that it was important to
continue pressuring Damascus and not to let up in response to Assad's peace
statements. How President Assad deals with the terrorist organizations will
be a true indicator of his intentions. Syria is playing a negative role in
the region and continues to be a transit country for various terrorist
organizations, including Hezbollah. Syria must stop providing sanctuary for
the terrorist organizations (including Hezbollah and the Revolutionary
Guards), close the terrorist organizations' offices, dismantle the missile
infrastructure in Lebanon and end the Syrian occupation there in fulfillment
of UN Security Council Resolution #1559 ( http://tinyurl.com/4qlac ).

Prime Minister Sharon added that Israel would be happy to hold talks with
all Arab countries but said that we do not see any indication of goodwill by
the Syrians apart from their desire to ease the international pressure on
them.

The two men also discussed Egypt's role in the process, the unauthorized
outposts and the Iranian issue.


Part II: The Reality of Mahmoud Abbas

January 10, 2005

ZOA CONDEMNS NEW PA LEADER ABBAS’ FIRST SPEECH PROCLAIMING:

“WE OFFER VICTORY TO MARTYR ARAFAT AND NOW BEGIN OUR BIG JIHAD.”

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly condemned the first speech of Mahmoud Abbas, newly-elected leader of the Palestinian Authority where he said, “We offer this victory to the soul of brother martyr Yasir Arafat and to our martyrs (suicide bombers) and to 11,000 prisoners” in Israeli jails. He also said, “the little jihad (holy war) has ended, and now the big jihad’s beginning.” In his victory speech, Mr. Abbas also pledged to work for the release of all Palestinian Arabs in Israeli jails and to protect Palestinian Arabs wanted by Israel for their role in terror attacks.

The Palestinian Arab crowds responded by chanting “A Million Shahids (martyrs-suicide bombers) marching to Jerusalem.” During his campaign, Abbas was regularly greeted with chants “We will give you our blood and our soul.”

Other disturbing news has surfaced concerning actions before the election. The Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported that Abbas gave at least $100,000 to wanted terrorists during the Palestinian Authority election campaign. The New York Sun reported that “one of the reasons none of the other candidates received much support is intimidation by the PA. ‘People are afraid to be seen even reading their campaign literature’ said one Palestinian; the message that the people have received from various leaders of the PA is that if they vote for a candidate other than Mr. Abbas, they will either lose jobs they already have in the PA or will not be hired by the PA in the future. (The PA is the largest employer in Judea, Samaria and Gaza).”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza has alleged massive fraud. The independent human rights group petitioned the Palestinian courts to cancel the election results. They allege that thousands of people voted twice. The New York Sun reported that Palestinian Arab sources in the West Bank claimed that Fatah party activists were rounded up to vote in the afternoon and re-vote in the evening in order to obtain a large mandate for Abbas.

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply disturbed by Abbas’ statement during the campaign saying he will implement Arafat’s policies, praising terrorists as ‘heroes,’ demanding that all Palestinian Arab ‘refugees’ to be allowed to move to Israel, referring to Israel as the ‘Zionist Enemy,’ and stating he will not crack down on Palestinian terror groups. Recently, he even met with all the major terrorist leaders, proclaiming they have the same objectives.

“Analysts and leaders actually claimed this was merely pre-election talk. Now in his first post-election speech, Abbas has made it crystal clear, his policies and platform doesn’t differ from Arafat’s.

“Should we be surprised? Abbas was Arafat’s top Deputy for 40 years, co-founded the terror group Fatah (which calls for the ‘eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence...and for demolishing the Zionist state’) and wrote a Ph.D. thesis denying the Holocaust’s occurrence. Abbas also worked to provide the funds for the Munich massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists during the 1972 Olympics, and was also intimately involved in the Ma’alot massacre of 22 Israeli children.”

The ZOA urges that no more U.S. funds should go to the PA and that there should be no consideration of negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas until he arrests terrorists, closes the bomb factories, gets rid of illegal weapons, changes the Palestinian Authority maps to show Israel, publicly supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, ends all the promotion of hatred and murder of Jews in the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks, media, children’s camps and mosques. Most people were fooled by Arafat and Oslo. Let’s not be fooled again by Abbas.

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January 09, 2005

Professor Paul Eidelberg's response to Dr. Anbar

I have often said, “all honor to those who re-established the State of Israel in 1948; they made possible the in-gathering of the Jews.” But, to say, as Dr. Anbar puts it, “the urge to reestablish Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, is a far more profound conceptual premise of Judaism than the separation between eating meat and dairy products, the Torah parchment placed in the mezuzah, or the lighting of Shabbat candles on Friday nights,” not only trivializes the Judaism of religious Jews but also obscures the fact that religious Zionism preceded secular Zionism.

What is more, no less than the novelist and Knesset Member Moshe Shamir—a “non-observant” Jew—said that Hareidi Jews are the best Zionists! As for David Ben-Gurion, again, all honor to him. But already in 1949, after the War of Independence, Ben-Gurion told Martin Buber that Zionism had become an anachronism!

In view of Oslo and “disengagement,” Shimon Peres and Ariel Sharon are Ben Gurion’s political heirs. But unlike them, I do not think he would have tolerated, as they have, the murder of more than 900 Jews since Sharon became Labor’s surrogate prime minister in 2001.

Ben-Gurion was indeed a Bolshevik (as admitted in his Personal History), and he very much wanted to induct yeshiva students into the army but was deterred from doing so by the Hazon Ish. Of course Marxism, as I wrote many years ago, contradicts Zionism, a nationalist idea. But the Zionism of Ben Gurion, as just indicated, died in 1949—without Judea and Samaria and the Temple Mount.

What kind of Jew was to emerge from Ben Gurion’s “Zionist” dispensation? For an answer, ponder a recent report of Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick: “A survey carried out by the left-wing Israel Democracy Institute on
Israeli attitudes toward the state [indicates that] … a mere 58% of Israelis are
proud of being Israeli, while 97% of Americans and Poles are proud of their
national identity.” This deplorable state of affairs in Israel is the long-range result of a government whose goal, back in Ben-Gurion’s time, was to produce “normal” Jews.

As for my looking forward to a New Israel rooted in the Torah—which so much
disturbs Dr. Anbar—my understanding of the Torah is not a conventional one, as may be seen in my book A Jewish Philosophy of History, whose central chapter discusses the convergence of Torah and science. But with all respect to Dr. Anbar, and to ease his mind regarding my views on “religious” and “non-religious” Jews, I will republish a brief article I wrote some seven years ago.

Beyond the Galut


There are three types of Galut Jews in Israel -- and if we are humble and
understanding, we will be grateful to all three. The first type is secular. It
matters not whether this type of Jew is a leftist or rightist: His mentality is
not rooted in the Torah, of which he is basically ignorant. For him the Torah
(including the Oral Law) is neither the touchstone of his personal life nor of
his outlook on public affairs, domestic or foreign. For the secular Jew the
Torah is irrelevant in the domain of Statecraft.

Yet it was secular Jews who founded the modern State of Israel. It was secular Jews who facilitated the ingathering of some two million of their oppressed brothers and sisters. It was secular Jews who hastened Israel’s
scientific-technological infrastructure, which has enabled Jews, including religious Jews, to flourish in the land of their forefathers.

Notice, however, that the founders of modern Israel were Marxists as well as
Zionists, which means they harbored contradictory doctrines. For whereas
Marxism is a form of anti-Jewish internationalism -- Marx hated Judaism --
Zionism means Jewish nationalism! The founders of the State of Israel thus had a split mentality, which they could never overcome. To the contrary: Their Zionism has metamorphosed into anti-Zionism with unJewish overtones.

Witness the pronouncements (and policies) of politicians like Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin. While Peres denies the concept of Eretz Yisrael, Beilin baldly admits he has no objection to his children marrying non-Jews. The second type of Galut Jews is religious, of which two varieties may be distinguished. Whereas one may be called “politically correct,” the other may be
termed “politically incorrect.” Both are deserving of gratitude.

Politically correct religious Jews have shown that Jews can be observant and yet "modern." They established yeshivas and even universities. Hence they have contributed to the preservation of Judaism. And yet the uncritical attitude of these Jews toward contemporary democracy —the secular religion of our
times—hardly differs from that of secular Jews. They ignore the obvious
contradictions between the indiscriminate egalitarianism and libertarianism of
contemporary democracy on the one hand, and the moral and intellectual standards of the Torah or Jewish law (Halakha) on the other.

Hence the mentality of these religious Jews is also split: Their religiosity is
compartmentalized -- operative on the personal level but without significantly
affecting their politics or political ideology. Lacking is the unity of thought
and action distinctive of Torah Judaism. They too have failed to develop Torah
Statesmanship.

As for our politically incorrect religious Jews: to them we owe perhaps the
deepest gratitude. They do not mislead Jews by exalting contemporary democracy; and more than other religionists, they have uncompromisingly preserved the Oral Law. The trouble is they represent the “dried fruit” of the Oral Law (without which, of course, the Jews would have become as extinct as the Mesopotamians).

In other words, their religiosity is rooted in the Galut, in the “desert of the
nations.” They simply transplanted the “dried fruit” of the Oral Law to the
Land of Israel without unsealing the Oral Law’s original freshness, its
emotional richness, its profound wisdom. (We can understand this withdrawal
from the mundane world; but the time has come for the Oral Law to burst forth
and bloom as in the time of King David.

The illustrious Rav Abraham Kook has written: “All of our sacred treasures, the concepts and insights of the entire Torah must be couched in modern style so as to attract our contemporaries ... the colossal wealth of sacred art they harbor must be drawn upon daily and propagated in the current literary idiom.” The halakhic “principle of action” and the Agaddic “principle of heart and mind” must impregnate each other.

Required are openness to veridical secular knowledge and a positive and creative attitude toward Jewish national affairs. This is perfectly consistent with the Oral Law. After all, the Sages of the Talmud were men of the world. They studied gentile knowledge; they debated with Roman emperors; they were statesmen! Theirs was a living Torah, a Torah that confronted the knowledge and challenged the pretensions of the secular world. Their religiosity was not disembodied.

The Torah is more than a religion. It is the infinite wellspring of the highest
civilization -- Hebraic civilization. Hebraic civilization transcends all the
dichotomies of mankind: individual versus society, freedom versus authority,
morality versus law, reason versus revelation, science versus religion, theory
versus practice. Think of King David: poet, philosopher, prophet, and, above
all, Jewish statesman. Rashi clinches our point: Jacob sent Judah (and not
Yisachar) to Goshen to establish centers for Torah learning. Why? Because
Judah symbolizes Kingship (malchut)!

Plato dreamed of the philosopher-king, who unites wisdom and power. Israel
alone has had many philosopher-kings. Indeed, Theophrastus, Aristotle’s
successor at the Lyceum, regarded Israel as “a nation of philosophers” -- a view shared by other Gentile thinkers.

The era of the Galut Jew is now drawing to a close. Jewish philosophy, rooted
in the Torah, is reappearing in Israel. To be authentic, Jewish philosophy must
not only be consistent with the Oral Law, it must reveal the beauty and wisdom
of the entire Torah. In Jewish law will be found the most comprehensive
understanding of human nature, hence the profoundest psychology, now waiting to be articulated. That psychology will reveal Judaic Man as the pinnacle of mankind.

It seems, however, that those most likely to facilitate a renaissance of Jewish
philosophy will be secular Jews who have returned to the Torah, but who have
knowledge of the rigorous sciences. An increasing number of such Jews live in
Israel. Some are revealing, by means of statistical science, hidden codes in
the Torah, codes which signify the Torah’s divine origin.

While we must be grateful to Galut Jews who, regardless of their restricted
views, have contributed to the preservation of Judaism -- G-d works in
mysterious ways -- still, Israel needs the fresh fruit of the undivided Torah,
the Torah of Hebraic civilization. Indeed, Israel urgently needs a Torah
statesman, one who can translate the Torah into a national strategy of world-historical significance.

Professor Eidelberg lectures at Bar Ilan University, Israel



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January 07, 2005

An ongoing dispute between Professors re: The essence of the Jewish State


My Response to Professor Paul Eidelberg’s
“For a Breath of Truth and Courage


By Michael Anbar Ph.D.

I was deeply saddened to read Prof. Eidelberg’s essay distributed today, December 29, 2004, in which he viciously attacked the non-observant Zionist Israeli political leadership. I highly respect and do support Prof. Eidelberg’s views on the need for reform of the political structure of the State of Israel – the need for a constitution and for an electoral system where each member of the Knesset would be personally responsible to his constituents, like in the US and the UK. However, I am quite critical of his views on the religious nature of Judaism.

First, Zionism – the urge to re-establish Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel is a far more profound conceptual premise of Judaism than the separation between eating meat and dairy products, the Torah parchment placed in the mezuzah, or the lighting of Shabbat candles on Friday nights. Zionism is as fundamental in Judaism as monotheism, the belief in the Covenant and the uniqueness of the “chosen” people.

The Zionists who founded the State of Israel were probably more Jewish than the young Yeshiva students wearing their side-curls and fringed garments without having even an inkling of Jewish history or the destiny of Judaism. The non-observant Zionists who founded the Jewish state were not atheistic Marxists, i.e., espousing an ideology of atheism and anti-national universalism, as Eidelberg states.

Those Zionist were nationalists adhering to an anti-thesis of Marxism. Those of them who have considered themselves as members of international egalitarianism, i.e., communism, have never realized the vast contradiction in terms between Zionism and Communism (Stalin understood this contradiction far better than many Jews).

David Ben-Gurion was not a Marxist. From personal contacts with him during that period I can tell you this much. An ideological Marxist would never have exempted Yeshiva students from military service as Ben-Gurion did. And he did this not out of political expediency but out of respect to Judaic tradition and his desire to see its perpetuation in the Land of Israel.

However, this has been probably the worse and longest lasting mistake Ben-Gurion made; even worse than his decision to shell Altalena (knowing also Menahem Begin personally, I believe that the conflict could have been resolved in a more constructive manner). It has been a gross mistake to give pious Jews a preferential status for their piety. A democratic society should not reward or penalize people for their religious practice.

On the other hand, many of the pious observant Jews in Israel who have been defying Zionism are in my view dysfunctional Jews, who expect the “secular” “atheistic” Zionists to physically defend them against the blood thirsty Arabs who have been trying to fulfill their own 1400 years-old religious obligation of killing off the Jewish people. If not for that defense by those “Marxist Zionists” (a genuine contradiction in terms!) those pious strictly observant Jews that Professor Eidelberg seems to glorify, would have been slaughtered like their comrades in Hebron and Jerusalem in 1929.

At the same time, I do agree with Professor Eidelberg that the “post-Zionist” Israelis must be ostracized. They are an absolute absurdity, tantamount to “post-Judaic Jews.” Without any self-consistent ideology they are bound to vanish politically and then physically. Before that they might, however, concede to the murderous Muslim zealots something that does not belong to them in the first place. Since they deny their Judaic roots, they must be regarded as Jewish dead wood.

However, I cannot but object vehemently to Professor Eidelberg’s notion of “the formation of a New Israel, one whose way of life and system of government are rooted in the Torah.” Should the Israelis revert to tribalism? Should the social elite be a hereditary priesthood? Should the sacrifice of animals be reinstated? Should polygamy be reinstated? Should Israelis be executed by stoning for doing work of Shabbat?

Professor Eidelberg would respond by telling me that what he has in mind is rabbinical Judaism – one of the interpretations of the Torah, which over the years has abolished many of the ancient Judaic practices and replaced them by others more suited for life in more recent times. But then, why not make Zionism (spiritual and political) and Jewish ethics, not Jewish rituals, the gist of Judaism in the 21st Century? Why should “pious” Yeshiva students be exempt from army service in the State of Israel?

Is this the beginning of a “New Israel?” Why should such students be granted a free economic ride on the shoulders of the “secular” non-observant Israeli Jews that Professor Eidelberg denounces? Why is this shameful, socially destructive, practice perpetuated and defended by the “religious” Israeli political parties that Professor Eidelberg seems to support as a bulwark against the Israeli socialists?

I would have respected Professor Eidelberg much more if he would have denounced the “post Zionists” secular Jews and the orthodox “pious” Jews both of whom who have turned away from Zionist ideology, endangering the very existence of the Jewish people, even if occasionally they pay lip service to it.

Dr. Michael Anbar, Professor Emeritus, University at Buffalo, Before coming to the US he was Professor in the Feinberg Graduate School and Director, Chemistry Division, Soreq Nuclear Research Institute, Yavne.


Professor Eidelberg’s response to Professor Anbar’s response to be published on Sunday. Stay tuned.

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January 05, 2005

How very exciting! What a revelation! What an epiphany?


Rabbi Shlomo Riskin has, en passant, explained our present confusion.
The WEEKLY PORTION (Parsha) of Torah, (Genesis 47:28)

Redacted from a commentary by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
The Jerusalem Post International December 24, 2004

…Jacob was nurtured on the story of the awesome vision of Abraham, making the “Covenant between the Pieces,” (A holy binding act formalized by the cutting of an animal into two parts and he who makes the covenant passes between the severed portions (Genesis 15:9-18). Such an act, it would seem, should be shared by both parties, but in this case it is doubtless to be explained by the fact that the covenant is principally a promise by Yahweh.

In the covenant, G-d tells Abraham: “You shall surely know that your seed will be a stranger in a land which is not their own, and they shall serve and be afflicted for 400 years. The fourth generation will return here.” (Genesis 15:13,14,16).

Now Jacob himself had gone into exile to his wily uncle Laban, with whom he was a stranger and who had enslaved him for 20 years (Genesis 31:41), during which time he had been sorely afflicted. And these 12 sons of Jacob/tribes were indeed the fourth generation following Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, returning to their land.

Jacob had anxiously anticipated that he could announce from his deathbed that his children could return to Israel and be redeemed! Why was it impossible for him to do so? Why was the prophecy of redemption set in some far-off future?

I believe it is because redemption depends upon majesty or pride. Jacob, who comes from Canaan/Israel, is the very personification of dignity and majestic reach. He demonstrates this when he meets Pharaoh for the only time. In violation of accepted protocol, it is the foreigner, Jacob who controls the conversation, opens and closes the interview, blessing Pharaoh both at the beginning and the end.

When we remember that Pharaoh called himself a god, and was thus the chief dispenser of blessings in Egypt, Jacob’s behavior was a breech of good manners. at the very least. Apparently, however, the proud Jacob— heir to the heritage of Abraham and Isaac— cannot imagine accepting a blessing from an Egyptian idolater.

Joseph on the other hand, expresses a very different state of mind. When he realizes that he must fulfill his vow to his father and bury him in Hebron, he is forced to stoop to the level of obsequious petitioner, begging servants to explain to Pharaoh that his father wanted to be buried in Israel.

Joseph suddenly understands with painful clarity that he is, after all, only a foreigner in Egypt, subject to the charge of dual loyalty, if he seems to express too strong a Hebrew or Israeli identity (Genesis 50: 4,5).

This is why I believe our sages felt that — with the death of Jacob came the beginning of the Israelite subjugation; it was while making the request concerning Jacob’s burial that Joseph first understood the need to be circumspect in expressing his identity. Therefore he - and his entire household - was indeed subjugated!

In the final analysis, Jacob is the proud Jew from Israel, while Joseph is the Galut Jew, who, despite his high office, remains the suspected outsider. From Egypt the best we can hope for is survival; only from Israel can emerge the glory that leads to redemption. Hence at the conclusion of Genesis, with even the Jewish Grand Vizier suddenly careful about revealing too much Jewish identify, the subjugation has already begun.


Therein lies the revelation. Back to our roots. When the orthodox rabbis are consulted with a problem, what do they do? They go to the Talmud, of course. Do we not now have a problem? Are we not now lamenting, “Where is the Jewish leadership?” What has happened to the men who appeared so strong? What happened to Sharon? Is he the personification of dignity, majesty and pride of Jacob? Or have not Sharon and all his would be successors become like Joseph – obsequious petitioners in their own land having created their own Galut in Israel itself. Do they stand tall, proud and convinced of the great power of themselves basking in the guidance and protection of their G-d as did Jacob? Or have they all become Josephs before the entire world – pathetically afraid to declare their very being as proud Jews returning to the land undeniably theirs.

Jerome S. Kaufman

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January 01, 2005

Very sorry. There was an error in the Vatican report

Delighted to report this error. It did not ring true in the first place but I felt obligated to publish it.


see: Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=23458

Friday, December 31, 2004

Vatican paper raps Sri Lanka on Israeli aid (not Israel)
www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=34348

Vatican, Dec. 30 (CWNews.com) - The following is a corrected version of a story that appeared on CWNews.com earlier this week, in which a crucial error in translation caused a serious misinterpretation of the news. CWNews apologizes for the error.

[IMRA: Israel did end up supplying a shipment.]

Vatican, Dec. 28 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican newspaper has denounced a
decision by Sri Lanka to reject emergency aid offered by the Israeli government. Sri Lanka declined the Israeli aid because it would have been
furnished by a military team.

Calling for "a radical and dramatic change of perspective" among people "too
often preoccupied with making war," L'Osservatore Romano chastised the
government of the stricken Asian nation for putting unnecessary restrictions
on an Israeli offer to furnish medical help.

The Vatican paper observed that in what "should be a time for unconditional
solidarity," some world leaders seem incapable of escaping a "small-minded
approach that restricts their horizons." The suffering caused by the tsunami
has created "a mass of deaths, across borders," L'Osservatore observed. The
fact that the devastation swept across different societies, cultures, and nations should help to reinforce the universal perspective, the paper suggested.

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