Posts Tagged: Jewish

Oct 10

Teaching English and Math Means “Imposing Western culture on Jewish culture”

(David Bernstein)

Here’s an article that reads like a parody, but isn’t. A former education minister of Israel, Yitzhak Levy, objects to the imposition of a core curriculum on state-funded Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools. This core curriculum, apparently, consists of English and Mathematics, neither of which, to my knowledge, are in tension with any known version of Judaism. Indeed, there seem to be tens of thousands of English-speaking Haredim in the U.S. But among Levy’s arguments is that many Haredim may rather “earn a living modestly in manual labor, religious teaching, agriculture and small trade”.

My libertarian instincts tell me that Haredim shouldn’t be forced to learn anything they don’t want to learn, though the issue presents more difficulties when you’re dealing with children whose parents are preventing them from having the means of earning a decent living. Beyond that, much of Haredi culture in Israel relies on government subsidies and preferences of various sorts to sustain it. Families with an average of eight children simply couldn’t exist with a father who studies Talmud all day without government welfare payments, child credits, and so forth.

So my preference would be to wipe out the subsidies (and the exemption from national service), and the Haredim will start to learn English and math on their own accord. Indeed, many Haredim, tired of the poverty imposed on them by their rabbis’ demands that they remain perpetual yeshiva students, are already learning computer science and other useful subjects. But the idea that somehow forcing Haredi kids to learn English and Math is a declaration of war against Jewish culture is absurd.

The Volokh Conspiracy

Oct 10

Code for Stuxnet super-worm that’s attacking Iranian computers contains Jewish cultural references


Rick Sanchez just e-mailed to say, “I knew it.” That use of the word “Myrtus” — which can be read as an allusion to Esther — to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Sep 10

Hamas not thrilled with “Jewish” ship to Gaza

A ship of some 9 Jews is now being intercepted by the Israeli navy en route to Gaza. The Islamic Jihad newspaper Palestine Today notes, that, unlike other flotillas and vessels, Hamas has been ambivalent at best towards the entire idea of this particular pseudo-aid ship.

The reason? Because it has some Israelis on board who do not fully support the destruction of Israel.

Political writer Dr. Issam Shawar wrote that the reception of these peace activists in the Gaza Strip means recognizing the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of the areas occupied in 1948. Even though they claim to recognize the right of the people of Gaza and the West to exist, they do not recognize the right of the majority of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland and do not recognize as well as the crime of occupation for the rest of our territory. Those people are trying to ignore the usurpation of people’s rights, and trying to mask the ugly face of occupation with this photo-op. Do not fool us this trick, which is widely practiced in the West and the rest of the world….This is much different from allowing Israeli journalists [into Gaza] as that does not imply recognition of the [Zionist] regime.

“We must stop them so as not to burden the government with responsibility to have to protect them or even hand them over to the Israeli side in the event that their lives become at risk by organizations see their arrival as an opportunity to increase the number of hostages or to avenge the victims of the holocaust of Gaza.”

Spokesman for the Hamas parliamentary bloc al-Masri did not reveal a clear position on receiving the ship, but stressed that his government would welcome any sincere effort and motivation to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Elder of Ziyon

Sep 10

Polish Neo-Nazis Discover That They’re Jewish

This, my friends, is what you call irony:

(Sept. 25) — Two Polish neo-Nazis who were childhood sweethearts and later became skinheads have discovered what for them is a shocking family secret: They’re actually Jewish.


Outside the Beltway

Sep 10

PA authorities now say Jewish supermarket is a Mossad operation

The Rami Levy supermarket chain has been attracting many Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank because of its good service and low prices, and has become a model of peaceful co-existence between the Jews and Arabs in the West Bank - a perfect counter-example to the thousands of news stories vilifying “settlers” as evil Arab-hating bigots.

Already in May, PA leaders were darkly warning Arab residents not to shop at Rami Levy, saying that  the PA is watching and keeping track of those disgraceful people who want to shop at this Jewish-owned chain.

In August, they tried a different tack. They claimed that the meat at Rami Levy was poisoned and rotten. And they reiterated that they are watching exactly who goes shopping there

Obviously these efforts at demonizing great selections of good food at good prices failed, because now the PA is trying yet another method to discourage peaceful co-existence between Arabs and Jews: They are claiming that the Mossad is recruiting collaborators between aisles 3 and 4.

Palestine Press Agency says that the Consumer Protection Agency in Hebron has warned that one of their members was approached by a woman in Rami Levy asking him for information about any terrorists he might be know about.

Besides the fact that the story is almost certainly bogus, there is another point about this article.

The subtext of the entire accusation is that protecting terrorists from Israel is a key moral imperative for all Palestinian Arabs.

Elder of Ziyon

Sep 10

Creeping Sharia: NJ: Jewish Children’s Camp Website Attacked by Islamists

Have you heard about this in the media? No, no you have not.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Sep 10

Jewish belly dancer performing at West Bank weddings?

YNet reports:

A mysterious belly dancer from Israel has become a recent sensation in the West Bank.

The woman of mystery has become the talk of the town among Palestinians, after appearing in many wedding celebrations and leaving the crowd flabbergasted.

Recently, the woman, dubbed “the Jewish dancer” appeared in a wedding at Bethlehem. Guests who saw her perform said she quickly turned into the highlight of the night, and came up in almost every conversation during the event.

The wedding sensation, whose name and other identifying details remain unknown, reportedly charges an astronomic amount of NIS 1,600 (about $ 425) for every 15 minutes of performance.

Her much acclaimed appearance in Bethlehem earned her at least NIS 2,700 (about $ 718) for the night.

Palestinian website PNN also wrote about the mystery woman, discussing whether the Jewish Israeli’s presence in the West Bank is legitimate or controversial.

Maybe she should perform at the next round of negotiations.

The PNN article is here. It says that  she performed until past midnight in her Bethlehem appearance.

Elder of Ziyon

Sep 10

Arab League rejects “Jewish state”

From Ma’an:

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Thursday decided to reject a demand made by Israel, asking Palestinian negotiators recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Arab League supported President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian negotiators have recognized Israel’s right to exist, but not as a Jewish state, which officials say would prejudice the right of return for refugees and violate the rights of Israel’s non-Jewish residents.

If recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would violate the rights of non-Jews in Israel, then defining “Palestine” as Arab would likewise violate the rights of non-Arabs, and defining it is Islamic would - by their definition - mean that non-Muslims will be discriminated against.

Here are parts of the “Constitution of Palestine” that mentions the word “Arab” or “Islam”:

Palestine is part of the large Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation. Arab Unity is an objective which the Palestinian People shall work to achieve.

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

In addition, in five instances, the constitution refers specifically to the “Palestinian Arab people” or the “Arab Palestinian people.” For example,

Laws shall be promulgated in the name of the Palestinian Arab People, and shall be published immediately in the official gazette. These laws shall come into force 30 days from the date of their publication unless the laws state otherwise.

It sounds like non-Arabs cannot become “Palestinian” and that any non-Arabs who happen to live in Palestine would be, by definition, in a lower class.

Equal rights only apply to Palestinian Arabs:

All Palestinians are equal under the law and judiciary without discrimination because of race, sex, color, religion, political views, or disability.

Since all Palestinians are Arabs by their definition, this means that there would be discrimination against non-Arabs.

Furthermore, since the constitution says that “Respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions shall be maintained,” that means that the Constitution of Palestine is enshrining discrimination against other religions that are not considered “heavenly” by Islam. In other words, Hindus and Buddhists can expect to be treated in a bigoted way should they want to visit or live in any Palestinian Arab state.

Of course, every Arab state’s constitution says things that are similar.

The hypocrisy behind the outrage at calling Israel “Jewish” cannot be more blatant.

Elder of Ziyon

Sep 10

The Jewish High Holidays, Personal Responsibility and Progressivism

With the setting of the sun  tonight, Jews across the world will begin the observance  Yom Kippur  which ends the High Holidays a ten day period book-ended by  Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This year’s High Holiday period comes at an interesting time for America as this Yom Kippur comes a mere 45 days before the United States goes to the polls to choose between two radically different directions, one which emphasizes personal responsibility, the other emphasizes a reliance on government. Only one of those directions is compatible with the true meaning of the High Holidays.

The popular view is the two holidays are observed by going to Synagogue saying a few prayers and begging God for forgiveness. Nothing can be further from the truth.

The High Holiday period is all about personal responsibility. All the prayers and readings are just tools to help us look inward and formulate a personal accounting of our deeds over the past year, good and bad, and to understand what we have learned, or need to learn to correct our deeds. As for forgiveness, we are taught that our maker is not like a big massive government who will fix everything.  For earthly-type mistakes, we must approach the people we may have harmed for forgiveness and if necessary make restitution to them, then we must discover what within ourselves led us to err and correct them. Only then can we approach God for absolution.

It’s not that God couldn’t fix everything, but his direct involvement would destroy the delicate balance he set up during creation.

The creation narrative in Genesis explains that man is created in God’s image.  The Torah is not teaching us that we are all dead ringers for the “big guy upstairs.” If that was the case everyone’s driver’s license would have the same picture, the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue would seem a bit creepy, and no one would be able to solve crimes as eye witness testimony would be useless and everyone would have the same DNA.

“Created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being, without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. God does good deeds as a matter of his own free choice. Because we are created in his image, man does the right thing as a matter of free choice also. Only through free choice, can man truly be “in the image of God”.  That is why God created a world where both good and evil can operate freely. The Rabbis explain this when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b). God controls all the options we have, but it is up to man to pick between the correct or incorrect option.

Free will is the divine version of limited government. God picks the winning direction, but does not pick winners and losers, nor does he interfere with the process of learning through repentance and understanding ones actions. We are not divinely perfect, nor are we meant to be. We are only supposed to be closer to that divineness when we leave this world, than when we entered it.

Because we all are created in God’s image, Jews believe that  ”All men are created equal,” This does not mean, as many in the progressive establishment will tell you,  that when it comes to talents, looks, preferences, or natural abilities we are all equal. Nor does it mean we all should have the same big screen TV, wireless internet, or savings account balance. Jewish tradition respects economic success, so long, as it is obtained honestly, and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it.  That social responsibility is a personal duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government. The Hebrew word for charity, tzedaka, has in its root the word tzedek which means righteous, because we are taught that personally giving charity is one of the keys to righteousness.

What is actually meant by all men are created equal is we all have the same ability to be infinitely good or wicked, we all have the same ability to forge a relationship with God regardless of our intellectual capability, social background, physical strength, wealth, etc. During the high holidays, we evaluate how well we have used the “lot we have been given” for good deeds and to forging that heavenly relationship.

Some of the Sages have suggested that when God created the world, sparks of his holiness were spread across the earth. Every time that a person makes the choice of  performing a righteous act, one of those sparks is purified and sent back to heaven. Through that process we become closer to God.

A Liberal/Progressive government takes away that choice. They believe that if it was left up to the individual, they would do the wrong thing. Therefore government needs to take an omnipotent role and control our decisions. By taking away our free will and giving it to the government, liberals retard our spiritual development and remove our opportunity to get closer to God. In a progressive society, the ten “Days of Awe” are not necessary because the government makes our choices.

In a dictionary the word sin is defined as any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle. There is no word in Hebrew matching that definition. Instead Jews talk about “Chet” missing the mark. It is an archery term referring to an arrow which “missed the target.”  The person who missed the mark is considered to have made the mistake due to a lack of focus, concentration or skill.  Through personal reflection during the High Holidays Jews can determine why they missed the mark. The answer cannot be someone else made me. We are told to look for what is in ourselves that made us miss.

In the same vein the word for repentance is “Teshuvah” which means return. In other words we have returned to the correct path to once again hit the target. Repentance implies simply feeling bad for what you have done; Teshuvah involves changing what it is inside you that led you to go off course. And, as the Rabbis tell us, the only way to do that is personal reflection.  God may give us a road-map in the Torah, Prophets, Psalms and other sacred texts, but to truly change ourselves and ultimately to truly change the world, we have to discover for ourselves the best way to read the road map.

In its purest essence the Jewish High Holiday period is the antithesis of the various forms of Liberal and Progressive government. We learn from those “Ten Days of Awe” that we must be honest with ourselves and rely on our own introspection to find the right path. We learn that while God may be evaluating the path we take and how we correct the times we’ve missed the mark; he gives us the free will to find the right way.

Progressive and Liberal governments take that free will away from you, they determine the path, eliminate the need for introspection and your opportunity to find those sparks of God in the world.  In the end what those governments take from its citizens is the greatest joy of all, finding a path that will draw one closer to God.

Jeff Dunetz is editor of the Political Blog The Lid, a contributor to American Thinker, Big Government,Big HollywoodBig Journalism, and Big Peace.


Liberty Pundits Blog

Sep 10

Feeling the Loyalty to the Jewish State of Israel

The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the twenty percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens while forcing the ultra Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship.

Israeli leaders committed to a classic secular political Zionist platform have always fought at all costs to guard Israel’s “Jewish character,” even while they reveal their inability to properly define exactly what it is. The loyalty oath and push for a two-state solution are the most profound examples of the insecurity that has roiled beneath the surface in Jewish Israeli society since the state’s inception. Without a Jewish majority exhibiting clear legal and political dominance over the non-Jewish or non-Zionist minority, the Zionist movement becomes meaningless. So as the Palestinian-Israeli minority actively resists its dispossession and the ultra-Orthodox stubbornly reject the concept of a Jewish state, the Israeli establishment feels increasingly compelled to seek draconian measures to salvage its vision of Zionism.

The loyalty oath was one of the main platform issues for Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s far right Yisrael Beitenu party when it campaigned in 2009. “No citizenship without loyalty,” was among Lieberman’s most effective campaign slogans (his other slogan: “Only Lieberman speaks Arabic”), helping guide his party to an astonishing third place, with 15 of the 120 seats in Israeli Parliament. The draft bill currently debated in the Parliament would allow the Interior Ministry to strip even native Israelis of their nationality if they refused to swear allegiance to the Jewish state and “its symbols and values,” and failed to profess their willingness to perform military service. Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has explicitly endorsed the bill.

After the proposed law failed its first reading in the Knesset due to opposition from a handful of liberal members of the ruling Likud party, Yisrael Beiteinu released the following statement: “Yisrael Beitenu will continue to act for Israel’s basis as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and will fight against disloyalty and the negative exploitation of Israeli democracy.” In July, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet has approved a similar bill requiring all new citizens to take an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state. The measure would make attaining citizenship nearly impossible for Palestinians residing inside Israel.

The following month, we met the loyalty bill’s author, David Rotem, at his home in the illegal West Bank settlement of Efrat. A self-described “very Zionistic” politician with a hulking frame and a pronounced limp resulting from a bout of polio, Rotem described in a gravely voice his vision of Israeli democracy. “Tyranny of the majority is the heart of democracy,” he declared. “Call it what you want but democracy is the rule of the majority. And it’s not a tyranny if the majority decides against the minorities.”

Besides the loyalty oath bill, political factions ranging from far-right settler parties to opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima Party have proposed no less than 14 pieces of legislation this year which the Association for Civil Rights in Israel defines as anti-democratic. (Rotem is the author of six of the bills). They include laws that would send citizens to jail for encouraging the rejection of Israel as a Jewish state, strip filmmakers of state funding if their work was deemed anti-Israel, and prosecute any Israeli who publishes material calling for a boycott of Israel. Other lesser-publicized bills have been introduced to block Palestinian residents of Israel from returning to confiscated land or from reuniting with family members from the West Bank or Gaza.

While leftist Israelis chant, “Fascism will not pass!” at demonstrations in East Jerusalem, former Knesset member and commentator Yossi Sarid entitled a recent column, “Fascism is already here.” Citing the swath of anti-democratic bills being debated in the Knesset, the support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet have offered for most of them, and the near total lack of opposition from the Israeli mainstream, Sarid remarked, “Israeli democracy is mainly for decoration, like a tree grown for its beauty, not to bear fruit. Few people actually use it or the rights it affords.”

Of all the anti-democratic bills recently introduced in the Knesset, Rotem’s loyalty law carries the most disturbing undertones, recalling some of the darkest periods in recent history. Well before the Nazi government initiated its campaign of genocide against Germany’s Jewish minority, its political leadership introduced the “stab-in-the-back” legend, accusing Jews in a virtual mantra of disloyalty to the German army and a general lack of patriotism. During the anticommunist furor of America’s McCarthy era, teachers and lawmakers in several states were forced to sign loyalty oaths to prove they were not “subversive,” prompting a crackdown on public servants, including a disproportionate number of Jews, who believed their constitutional rights were being violated.

In Israel, a right-wing student group called Im Tirtzu which has gained endorsements from Netanyahu and his education minister Gideon Saar has demanded a purge of all “post-Zionist and anti-Zionist” professors from the university system. To support Im Tirtzu’s campaign, a popular Israeli singer named Amir Benayoun recorded a song hectoring Israeli leftists and Arabs for “knifing” Israel in the back. It contained the following lyrics:

After they failed to kill me from the outside

You come and kill me from inside

I always charge forward with my back to you

But you sharpen the knife

An Experiment In Fascism

With a fascist mood permeating Israeli government and society, we set out into the streets of central Jerusalem to engage young revelers on the issue of loyalty. Because Israel is debating legislation claiming that it is alone the Jewish sovereign state and has the authority to speak in the name of the “Jewish people,” we thought that the opinions of supporters of Israel from the Jewish diaspora were an essential element in any discussion about the proposed loyalty bill. Given the already simmering controversy over ‘dual loyalty’ in the United States, the topic needed to be explored thoroughly and unflinchingly. Did the Zionist loyalty oath represent a fulcrum point in the ‘dual loyalty’ debate for diaspora Jews? Would diaspora Jews have any objection to taking an oath to defend the Jewish state? If so, did that put their allegiance to their country of residence in question?

Ultimately, we sought to determine the extent to which the Jewish public in Israel and abroad was ready to accept fascism in any form. To get a better sense of public opinion — an incomplete snapshot, but a sense nonetheless — we asked interview subjects if they would swear before our camera an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state. Our oath was deliberately crafted with the most provocative language possible, based almost word-for-word on the Führereid, or the oath that Wehrmacht soldiers had to swear to Adolph Hitler from 1934 to 1945.

The Wehrmacht oath read as follows:

I swear by God this holy oath, that I want to offer unconditional obedience to the Fuhrer of the German Empire and people, Adolf Hitler, the commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht, and be prepared as a brave soldier to risk my life for this oath at any time.

And here is the oath of loyalty to the Jewish state that our interview subjects read on camera:

I swear by Hashem [the Jewish God] that I want to offer unconditional loyalty to the Jewish state of Israel, to its leaders and the commanders of its Jewish army. I am prepared as a loyal supporter of the Jewish state to risk my life for this oath at any time.

Were we suggesting that the Jewish state of Israel represented a new incarnation of Hitler’s Third Reich? Of course not. We repudiate sweeping comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany as shallow and ahistorical. Instead, we imagined our video project as a version of the “Third Wave” experiment undertaken by history teacher Ron Jones at Cubberly High School in Southern California in 1967.

Seeking to demonstrate the susceptibility of average citizens to fascism, Jones ordered his students to accept a regimen of strict discipline and community including sig heil salutes, responding to questions while standing and in three words or less, and carrying membership cards at all times. “Strength through discipline,” was the motto of the movement Jones claimed to be promoting. By the fourth day of the experiment, the students’ enthusiasm for the project had spread to other classes throughout the school. Finally, Jones ordered his students to attend a rally where a presidential candidate from their “Third Wave” movement would announce his candidacy. When the students arrived, however, Jones revealed to them that they had been subjects in an experiment about the appeal of fascism, and that they had eagerly replicated the structure of Nazi German society.

Our own experiment exposed an equally disturbing trend among the young Israelis and Jewish supporters of Israel we spoke to. In some cases, our interview subjects eagerly requested to read the loyalty oath on camera without any prompting, and added their own personal touch to it — usually they emphasized phrases like “Jewish state” and “Jewish army.” These subjects were generally new immigrants who had left their families behind in order to join the army and a brand new life in Israel. Jewish internationals (most were studying at Jerusalem-area yeshivas for the year) who took the oath defended it on the basis that Israel was a state for the Jews, and therefore did not have to comply with the regulations of normal Western democracies. Only two interviewees refused to take the oath. Though they based their refusal on the possibility that Israel might commit grave human rights crimes in the distant future, they were admittedly unable to define the nature of the abuses that would turn them against the state.

If our interviews demonstrated anything, it is that anyone in any country can fall prey to the psychological lures of fascism. Jews are no exception.

Max Blumenthal