Thursday, January 31, 2013

Second amendment

Second Amendment  by Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:28 pm (PST) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us


Extracts from Wikipedia

A foundation of American political thought during the Revolutionary period was the well justified concern about political corruption and governmental tyranny. Even the federalists, fending off their opponents who accused them of creating an oppressive regime, were careful to acknowledge the risks of tyranny. Against that backdrop, the framers saw the personal right to bear arms as a potential check against tyranny. Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts expressed this sentiment by declaring that it is "a chimerical idea to suppose that a country like this could ever be enslaved . . . Is it possible . . . that an army could be raised for the purpose of enslaving themselves or their brethren? or, if raised whether they could subdue a nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty and who have arms in their hands?" Noah Webster similarly argued:

Before a standing army can rule the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.

George Mason argued the importance of the militia and right to bear arms by reminding his compatriots of England's efforts "to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them . . . by totally disusing and neglecting the militia." He also clarified that under prevailing practice the militia included all people, rich and poor. "Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers." Because all were members of the militia, all enjoyed the right to individually bear arms to serve therein.

The framers thought the personal right to bear arms to be a paramount right by which other rights could be protected. Therefore, writing after the ratification of the Constitution, but before the election of the first Congress, James Monroe included "the right to keep and bear arms" in a list of basic "human rights", which he proposed to be added to the Constitution.

Patrick Henry, in the Virginia ratification convention June 5, 1788, argued for the dual rights to arms and resistance to oppression:

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

While both Monroe and Adams supported ratification of the Constitution, its most influential framer was James Madison. In Federalist No. 46, he confidently contrasted the federal government of the United States to the European kingdoms, which he contemptuously described as "afraid to trust the people with arms." He assured his fellow citizens that they need never fear their government because of "the advantage of being armed...."

By January of 1788, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut ratified the Constitution without insisting upon amendments. Several specific amendments were proposed, but were not adopted at the time the Constitution was ratified. For example, the Pennsylvania convention debated fifteen amendments, one of which concerned the right of the people to be armed, another with the militia. The Massachusetts convention also ratified the Constitution with an attached list of proposed amendments. In the end, the ratification convention was so evenly divided between those for and against the Constitution that the federalists agreed to amendments to assure ratification. Samuel Adams proposed that the Constitution:

Be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.

Hither are we going?

hither Are We Going? by Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:56 am (PST) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us


Whither Are We Going?*

Paul Eidelberg

[*More fully developed in my book Beyond Secularism]


Mankind is tottering on an abyss. Violence punctuates daily life in a world increasingly portrayed as meaningless. We are strangers, not only to each other but to ourselves. The “crisis of identity” has become a cliché. Familial and national ties have been eroded; we are homeless cosmopolitans. Indeed, no less than the President of the United States boasts of being a “cosmopolitan”! Nonsense!

 Not knowing who or what we are, we lack the hauteur and confidence of cosmopolitans of the past. They believed in Universal Man, in man sub specie aeternitatis; we believe in nothing.  Our humanism is empty; we can’t even take our own humanity seriously. Nihilism has rendered the distinction between man and beast problematic in theory and hardly discernible in practice. What, indeed, is noble about man that anyone should boast of being a “humanist”?

When man becomes problematic, enter civilizational decay, but also of the possibility of renewal. Such was the case some twenty-four hundred years ago when Greek sophists like Protagoras exulted in teaching youth that “man is the measure of all things.” This unheard of and skeptical doctrine—the dogma of today's universities—signifies that all ideas concerning the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are human creations, relative to time and place. Socrates saw that this secularism and conventionalism which was then spreading throughout the Mediterranean world, would eventually destroy the Olympian gods and was even then undermining public morality in Athens—the multiculturalism relativism of the Hellenic. The sophists, the Greek counterparts of today's intellectuals and “value-free” social scientists, were broadcasting the death of Zeus, the pagan god of justice. Without Zeus, what would hold society together?  Without the traditional
understanding of right and wrong, men would devour each other like animals.

Enter Socrates. His task, completed by Plato and Aristotle, was to substitute a restrained skepticism for the sophists' unrestrained skepticism, lest men revert to beasts. The world-historical function of these Athenians was to construct a philosophy of man and a world view that would replace the no longer credible mythology of the Homeric cosmos. Accordingly, and as dramatized in The Republic when the god-fearing Cephalus leaves the dialogue), philosophy replaces religion and the philosopher replaces Zeus. No longer are the gods to rule mankind, but reason—unaided human reason—would henceforth determine how man should live.

 Of course, neither Plato nor Aristotle was so naive as to expect the generality of mankind to defer to the rule of philosophers. Apart from other considerations, philosophers are not only as quarrelsome as the offspring of Zeus and Hera, but, unlike the Olympians, they are mortal: here today, gone tomorrow. Something impersonal as well as immutable and eternal was therefore needed to command the obedience of man. What else could this be but Nature—nature divested of Homeric deities. Neither the gods nor man but all-encompassing Nature—was to be the measure of all things.  And this Nature—far from being arbitrary and mysterious, was fully accessible to the human mind.

The magnitude of Aristotle's program has not been surpassed in the history of philosophy. He merely set out to comprehend the totality of existence, to reduce heaven and earth to an organized system of theoretical, practical, and productive sciences. To borrow the terminology of Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik in Halakhic Man’ Aristotle would tolerate no randomness or particularity, no mystery to obscure the fleeting events of existence. Everything had to be fixed, clear, necessary, ordered. Nothing was beyond the grasp of the human mind because Nature, or the Cosmos, was an intelligent and therefore intelligible whole.

With Greek philosophy a new type of man appeared in the forefront of world history, Cognitive Man. Cognitive Man is a secularist who deifies the intellect. He is therefore to be distinguished from his secular rivals, Volitional Man and Sensual Man. Whereas Cognitive Man seeks to understand the world, Volitional Man wishes to conquer and change it, while Sensual Man simply wants to enjoy it. Only with the ascendancy of Volitional Man, personified by Machiavelli, did secularism come into its own as the regnant force of history.

Of course, Machiavelli had collaborators: Hobbes, the father of modern psychology: “The thoughts are to the desires as scouts and spies to range abroad and find the way to the things desired”; Hume: “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.” The influence of these two harbingers of Sensual Man explains why we are not used to thinking of Platonic-Aristotelian philosophy as secular.

Plato and Aristotle pay nothing more than lip service to the divine. True, the refinement of their writings conveys great piety. What gives the lie to this impression is that neither philosopher regarded piety as a virtue. We must also bear in mind their caution and civic-mindedness. Socrates, the master of irony, was given the hemlock for atheism. And what with the widespread corruption in Athens resulting from affluence, a disastrous war, and the unabashed atheism of so many intellectuals, it would have been reckless for these aristocrats of the mind to have joined the scoffers of a religion which, whatever its shortcomings, did provide some salutary restraints on the passions of men.

There are refined and vulgar forms of secularism. Plato's and Aristotle's is couched in pious language not only for political and pedagogical reasons, but because, in their species of humanism, the philosopher is virtually divine. By no means is the philosopher to be confused with the academic professor of philosophy. No one has portrayed the difference more powerfully that Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil (Part VI, “We Scholars).” For these giants of the intellect, Cognitive Man is the passionate lover of wisdom, where wisdom is nothing less than knowledge of the organizing principles of the universe. But what is most distinctive of Cognitive Man, whether philosopher or scientist, is his attempt to reduce the fleeting phenomena of existence to lawfulness. This is as true of Platonic-Aristotelian philosophy as it is of Galilean-Newtonian physics, despite their very different conceptions of lawfulness. Both schools seek to discover the riddle of
existence in some scientific order or pattern of the world. This is the aim of Cognitive Man.

 However refined the quest of Cognitive Man, what unites him with his secular counterparts, Volitional and Sensual Man, is that, like them, he does not pursue the object of his desire to glorify God.  The reason is quite simple: for Cognitive Man such a God does not exist. Aristotle, like Spinoza, is a “pantheist.” His Prime Mover is an extrapolation from the principle of motion (Physics 251b17-25, 266a5).  As for Plato, his Demiurge is not a creator but an artificer that imposes order on a preexisting chaos (Timaeus 30a, 52d-55, 69b). One thing is clear: both philosophers rejected the idea of a personal God. Otherwise piety would be a virtue.

To be sure, the human psyche is not so easily compartmentalized. Cognitive Man may shade into Volitional Man. Thus Aristotle taught Alexander the Great political science; and politics. However, for Aristotle politics is but the application of philosophy to action. Let us see how Aristotle deals with this issue.

When Aristotle inherited the concept of nature from his teacher Plato, that concept had already been demythologized and transformed into the impersonal and immutable standard of how man should live. Aristotle enriched and systematized the idea by developing and organic and teleological theory of nature. Such was the success of this theory that it had no serious rivals in abodes of learning until the seventeenth century.  Vestiges of organicism may be found even in Kepler. Not until Galileo and Newton and their mechanistic conception of nature was organicism laid to rest.

What made the organic (and teleological) theory of nature--so alluring and enduring is that it appealed to common sense.  Observe the growth of a tree from its seed and it will seem that the processes of nature are inwardly directed toward an end or telos. The end is that toward which a living thing strives in order to reach its completion. So it is with man.  Neither force imposed from without, nor chance, so much as an immanent impulse prompts man to form associations that can fulfill his potentialities. The most self-sufficient and comprehensive association is the political community, the polis, which alone can complete or perfect man's nature. Whatever contributes to that end is called good. Nature is thus the standard for judging what is good (or bad); there is no other.

Could there be a more impersonal yet intimate and benign substitute for the Olympian gods?  Must we not marvel at Aristotle's genius?  By creating a new foundation for morality, Aristotle became one of the greatest “legislators” of mankind.

This organic and teleological conception of man and nature was shattered by Galileo and Newton, the founders modern science. Their mechanistic conception of nature left nature devoid any moral compass. Neither the quantum theory of Plank nor Einstein’s general theory of relativism provides a scintilla of light on how man should live.

When Nietzsche announced that “God is dead,” he was also announcing—wittingly or otherwise—the death of man. Modern man had become “human-all-too-human.” Thus was born Nietzsche’s desperate idea of the ubermensch. He asked “whither are we going, and we are living without an answer. This will compel us to return to Israel.

 (To be continued)  

America’s Decline and Israel’s Redemption

America’s Decline and Israel’s Redemption by Prof.
Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:57 am (PST) . Posted by: "Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us


America’s Decline and Israel’s Redemption

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

From an intellectual perspective, signs of America’s decline appeared with the advent of Progressive Movement toward the end of the 19th century. The most prominent leader of Progressivism was Woodrow Wilson.

Philosophically understood, the concept of Progressivism denies fixed or trans-historical truths. Progressivism therefore resonates with historical relativism or “historicism.” It also resonates with evolutionary Darwinism which took academia by storm after the First World War.

 Historicism entered American higher education early in the 20th century. The doctrine was ensconced in Johns Hopkins, Wilson’s alma mater.

Historicism, Progressivism, and evolutionary Darwinism are cousins. Just as Darwinism denies fixed species, so Progressivism and Historicism deny permanent or immutable truths. Both contradict America’s primary foundational document, the Declaration of Independence, whose pivotal concept is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” the ultimate source of man’s inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  These rights entail limitations on the powers of government—of the One, the Few, and the Many.  The academic denial of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” is the first step toward a second American revolution.

Few have probed the intellectual causes of this bloodless revolution. It has been going on with increasing force for more than a century spearheaded by higher education.

Early evidence of this revolution appeared in a book written by, Carl Becker, “The Declaration of Independence” (1922). Becker, a historicist, portrayed the Declaration as a mere tract of the times. He negated the Declaration’s pivotal idea of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” the source of man’s inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  

Becker’s historicism was reinforced by evolutionary Darwinism. Darwinism is a materialistic doctrine. It contradicts the creation narrative of the Bible. So does Becker, who boldly states: “Much serious, minutely critical investigation into the origins of institutions seemed to show that all things human might be fully accounted for without recourse to God or the Transcendental Idea.”

Becker’s materialistic worldview was reinforced by Charles Beard’s Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Such has been the number of its printings since 1913 that it became commonplace for historians and political scientists to explain the political principles of the Founding Fathers in terms of their economic interests. This is an example of the reductionism and crypto-Marxism—indeed, the cynicism—that has permeated the social sciences for more than a century.  Is anything more required to undermine a people’s reverence for their foundational documents?  

Returning to Wilson: he not only rejected the Declaration’s concept of natural rights. He also rejected the Constitution’s system of institutional checks and balances. He targeted the constraints on the Executive branch. He regarded the President as the spokesman of the people, but in a new way. The President, he said, is to “move with the common impulse” and feel what ordinary men feel, to feel “what touches them to the quick.”  

Wilson thus inaugurated what I called in 1974 the “politics of compassion.” This politics opposed the politics of the Founding Fathers, which I termed the “politics of magnanimity.” The latter identifies not with the few, and not with the many, but rather with the nation—with those structural principles and universal moral values that make this nation unique, exceptional, a nation that transcends the paltry and perennial conflict between the rich and the poor, a nation headed by statesmen, not politicians, statesmen whose love of fame is wedded to noble ideas, to immutable and transcendental truths.  

Historical relativism cannot but degrade this lofty concept of statesmanship. This academic doctrine, which makes the philosopher a child of his times, also strips the statesman of intellectual independence. No longer is the statesman an educator. He becomes merely a policy maker, who may be nothing more than a puppet of the masses, for he must “move with the common impulse."

Whereas the politics of magnanimity makes demands on and elevates the people, the politics of compassion undermines the people’s sense of personal responsibility and thus leads to the “nanny” state of which Wilson may be deemed the grandfather.

Fast forward to Barack Obama, the unlearned successor of the learned Woodrow Wilson. But note well that Obama, as a “post-American” President, augurs the end of American Exceptionalism.

 What made his election possible was one hundred years of American “higher” education, an education steeped in the decrepit doctrine of moral relativism. This doctrine, which the present writer excoriated in an article of warning published in the Congressional Record (Senate) in 1968, has degraded the American people. It has corrupted countless opinion makers, lawmakers¸ decision makers, and judges—to which add America’s cultural elite, if we may take a liberal view of the word “culture.”

 There is no way of undoing this insidious, century-long revolution by conventional politics. America has become a “Humpty-Dumpty.”

This decadence is of course symptomatic of what has happened to Western Civilization. This civilization ceased being civilized in proportion to its forsaking the Biblical heritage and yielding to the atheism spawned by scientific materialism and multicultural moral relativism.

The First World War that engulfed Christian Europe was a bloody refutation of “Progressivism” or the Idea of Progress—the conceit of the “Enlightenment.”  That war put a question mark on Christianity. Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook (d. 1935), Israel’s first Chief Rabbi of Mandate Palestine said Western Civilization was bankrupt.

The most distinctive and greatest intellectual achievement of this civilization was science, above all, mathematical physics. It so happens, however, that the founders of modern science, Galileo and Newton, had bestowed upon the West a science devoid of any moral compass. The truth is that paganism still lurked in Christian Europe, whose nations, in contradistinction to saintly individual Christians, had not fully assimilated the ethical and intellectual monotheism imported from Israel.

The Great War brought this paganism to the surface. Europe, the heart of Western Civilization, of Christianity and humanism, was again drenched in rivers of blood.  Neither the religion of love nor humanism had made the nations of Europe truly righteous or humane. While the works of Goethe and Schiller, Herder and Schelling, Lessing and Schlegel may have illumined the salons of Europe, their influence was invisible during Hitler's long night. Once against Jew-hatred has erupted in Europe. We see this sign of paganism in Europe’s support of the Arab Palestinians, an invented people that adorns its paganism in the guise of monotheism which threatens the world.

 We should also recall, however, that the Great War not only terminated the Ottoman Empire, but also produced the Balfour Declaration, thus facilitating the rebirth of the State of Israel.

No doubt it will appear fanciful to say that just as a daughter of Israel saved Rome from utter barbarism, perhaps Israel herself will come to America’s? Since America no longer has the heart and the mind to confront the greatest enemy of civilization, perhaps the task has been left to minuscule Israel whose complete redemption requires the convergence of science and the Book of Truth.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Two-Gun Cohen: Hillarious!

Two-Gun Cohen: Hilarious!    > > >  In November 1947, the United Nations was considering the creation of a Jewish state in parts of Western Palestine and a new Arab state in the other parts. >The hopes of the Jews rested in large part on China.The five-member Security Council had to approve putting the resolution before the General Assembly, but China, one of the five, was threatening to veto it. >The head of the Chinese delegation was approached by a hero of the Chinese campaign against the Japanese during World War II, a man who had been a general and senior adviser to President Sun Yat-sen. The general persuaded the delegation to abstain.The Security Council voted approval and the Partition Resolution was sent to the General Assembly, where it passed. Modern Israel came into existence. >The general who persuaded the Chinese not to oppose the resolution was not Chinese himself but, in fact, a Jew born in Poland in 1887.>Morris Abraham Cohen was brought to London from Poland when he was still a toddler and grew up in the impoverished East End of London. By the time he was 12 he had become a skilled boxer and a pickpocket. >He quickly amassed a police arrest record and his family sent him to reform school until he was 16. Once released, he went to Canada to work on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, near some Indian reservations. The farming bored him; he preferred work as a carnival barker and con man. This got him arrested yet again and he did some jail time. >While wandering the Canadian West he became friendly with the local Chinese. Cohen liked Chinese cuisine (what Jew doesnt?) and the Chinese outlook on life. >One day Cohen wandered into a Chinese eatery and realized the owner was being robbed. Cohen beat the robber to a pulp.The Chinese were so impressed, they embraced Cohen as one of their own. He joined the local chapter of nationalist leader Sun Yat-sens political movement and started to pick up some basic Chinese. Cohen raised funds for Suns movement and helped procure arms. >After serving in World War I as a Canadian soldier, Cohen headed off in 1922 to China with plans to work as a railroad developer. But once in Shanghai he found work as a writer on the English-language newspaper associated with Sun Yat-sens movement. >The Chinese called him Ma Kun (clenched fist), which was as close as they could get to Morris Cohen. He procured arms for a warlord of Canton in the 1920s and was adviser to Wu Tiecheng, the Canton police chief who later became mayor of Shanghai. Cohen began to serve as part of Suns guard force, and eventually commanded the entire 250-man presidential bodyguard unit. >Always armed, Cohen managed to defend Sun from more than one assassination attempt.After Cohen was wounded in his hand while driving off one group of assassins, he started carrying a second pistol and local Westerners immediately dubbed him Two-GunCohen,the nickname he carried with pride for the rest of his life. >Eventually he was appointed head of the Chinese secret service.His sidekick was another Jew, an anti-Soviet Russian named Moses Schwartzberg who had been part of a plot to assassinate Lenin in 1918. >Because of the importance of the Schwartzberg-Cohen pair, Yiddish became one of the three languages of the Chinese secret service, after Mandarin and English.Schwartzberg would later organize a regiment of 1,200 Jewish volunteers to fight for Israel in its War of Independence. >After Sun Yat-sen died, Two-Gun Cohen was named commander of the Chinese 19th field army. He worked for a while for Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek. He led Nationalist troops in fighting against both the Japanese and the Chinese communists. He was the only European ever to serve as a Chinese general. >When the Japanese invaded China in the 1930s, Cohen worked for British intelligence. Just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong was invaded by the Japanese. Two-Gun got Sun Yat-sens widow out safely on one of the last planes to escape. Cohen himself was captured by the Japanese and thrown into the Stanley Prison Camp, where he was beaten and mistreated. >After the war he lived in Canada, where he helped the Zionists obtain arms for Israels War of Independence. He eventually returned to England, where he died in 1970. On his tombstone in Manchester his name appears in English, Hebrew, and Chinese characters. His funeral was attended by representatives from both Chinas, which were still at war with each another. It was the only thing in the world on which they could agree. >There is a special entry about Two-Gun in the Spy Museum in Washington. Two books have been published about Two-Guns life. Rob Reiner is working on a movie about Two-Gun. >Two-Guns cousin, the journalist Marion Dreyfus in New York City, tells me her family still has many scrolls and silks that Two-Gun sent them from China. She found a plaque on the wall of the Shanghai synagogue commemorating Two-Gun as one of the ten most important Jews in Chinese history. >When Cohen returned to Manchester after the war, he and his cousins went into the raincoat business, the weather in England being ideal for such a venture. Two pistols and a Chinese generalship notwithstanding, Two-Gun was a proud Jew and he could even get you a raincoat wholesale!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Israeli Election

 Israeli Election, 2013 – a Reality Check from Yoram Ettin

Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:44 am (PST) . Posted by:

"Yaacov Levi" jlevi_us

   Click here if you can't read this email message Israeli Election, 2013 – a Reality CheckAmbassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”"Israel Hayom”, January 25, 2013, The political system The January 22, 2013 Israeli election highlighted the urgent need to overhaul Israel's entire political system, not just the proportional electoral system. 34 parties participated in the proportional election, and 12 parties (including anti-Israel parties) will be represented in the next unicameral 120 member legislature, the Knesset.  The more fragmented the Knesset, the more difficult it is for the Prime Minister to establish – and to manage - the governing multi-party coalition.  The Israeli political system is replete with mid-size and small-size parties, devoid of any large-size parties.  Therefore, the political system tends to be volatile and unmanageable, lending itself to short-lived governments and early elections. The proliferation of political parties reflects voters' frustration with the political system, which is top heavy on freedom of association and expression, but very low on accountability – by elected officials – to the constituent.  While voters elect parties, they do not directly elect their representatives, who are therefore not constrained by an effective system of checks and balances and separation of powers (e.g., legislators are also members of the executive).  Loyalty to the leaders of their parties supersedes loyalty to their constituents. Hawks VS Doves While the January, 2013 campaign rarely referred to national security issues, it underlined – once again – Israel's hawkish majority.  The hawkish bloc of Likud-Beitenu (31 seats), The Jewish Home (12 seats), Shas (11 seats) and Agudah (7 seats) is bolstered by Yesh Atid (19 seats) which owes some of its seats to support by moderate hawks.  Yesh Atid's leader, Yair Lapid, made a commitment – at Ariel University in Samaria – to maintain Israeli control of the settlement blocs and oppose the repartitioning of Jerusalem. The hawkish Knesset majority reflects the frustration caused by the 20 year old Oslo Process.  Most Israelis do not trust the Palestinian Authority and do not believe in the viability of further concessions to the Palestinians.  The number of Israeli hawks exceeds the number of centrists, which exceeds the number of doves.  Thus, the most dovish party (Meretz) is represented by 6 seats, the mildly dovish Labor by 15 seats and the centrists Yesh Atid (19) and The Movement (6) 25 seats. It's the domestic agenda, stupid! Irrespective of the boiling Arab Street and Israel's recent war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, thedisillusionment with the "peace process” catapulted the domestic agenda to dominance.   The Israeli constituency expects the next governing coalition to forge a domestic common-denominator, notwithstanding deep national security and foreign policy disagreements among the coalition parties. The key issues which preoccupy most constituents are the need to prevent a global-like economic meltdown; to carefully manage severe budget cuts; to buttress the middle class; to reform the housing market; to introduce significant rental housing; to expedite the integration of the ultra-orthodox youth into military conscription; and to overhaul the entire political system. Averting the threat of a nuclear Iran is the only front-seat national security issue. The Arab constituent The traditionally low turnout of Israeli Arabs during national election derives from their disillusionment with the preoccupation of the Arab parties with Israel-bashing, rather than with pressing domestic Arab concerns: crime, drugs, education, employment and infrastructure.  In defiance of the Arab League which urged Israeli Arabs to vote in order to weaken the Jewish State, the Arab turnout was only 57% (Jewish turnout was a disappointing 67%), compared with more than 80% Arab turnout during municipal elections. The discrepancy between rank and file Israeli Arabs on one hand and the Israeli Arab parties on the other hand is widening as the Israelization process of Israeli Arabs takes roots.  Israeli Arabs are rapidly integrated into Israel's medical, pharmaceutical, banking, industrial, commercial, agricultural, cultural, sports and political infrastructures.  While many Israeli Arabs express their frustration by abstention, an increasing number votes for non-Arab Israeli parties. Therefore, the relative representation of the Arab parties (11, out of 120, Knesset Members) is substantially lower than their proportion in the population (18%). Winners and Losers "Kick the rascals out” dominated the January, 2013 election and highlighted the major winners, producingan unprecedented wave of new legislators: 47 new Knesset Members, a 40% turnover!  The 19 members of Lapid's party – all freshmen – and the 12 members of Bennett's party – mostly freshmen - represent the new wave sweeping the Knesset. The Knesset is the youngest ever with a record number of women (26) and settlers (17). While Prime Minister Netanyahu will launch his third term in office, he lost 25% of his party's Knesset representation, reduced to 31 – from 42 – seats.  However, Netanyahu can snatch a victory out of the jaws of defeat by adhering to the voice of the constituents and forming a domestic-driven coalition with a game-changing domestic agenda.Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend, Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, "Second Thought"www.TheEttingerReport.ComFor feedback and speaking engagements -in the US, Canada and Israel:   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jewish Azores

Jewish Azores

Thu Jan 3, 2013 8:57 am (PST) . Posted by:

"rufina" bernardetti

Jewish Azores by Judith Fien; Photos by Paul Ross | January 2013> | 1 Comment»>[250] By Judith FeinThere were several puzzling things about the Jewish cemetery on the island of Terceira in the Azores — a lush, volcanic, Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. First, a plaque on the outside wall called the cemetery a "field of equality" andprofusely thanked "the most illustrious members of the citycouncil" for selling the Jews the land."Jews believe that everyone's equal in death — rich, poor,old, young," my guide said to my husband Paul and me.Hmm, I thought. I've never seen writing about equality at a Jewish cemetery. And why the profuse thanking for being allowed to purchase land? The words indicated to me that the Jews were trying to ensure their safety, proclaim their loyalty or curry favor in some way. I wasn't sure how.Second, the tombs bore no Jewish symbols. Most of them were horizontalslabs of stone, shaped like the outlines of human bodies, but therewere no lions, menorahs, hands outstretched in a priestly blessing.Instead, each one had a simple, stylized motif of a flower, and all theflowers looked alike.I reflected on the history of the Jews in Portugal. When the Spanish Inquisition forced Jews to convert or leave, many fled to Portugal. Because of their wealth and skills, King Joao II offered permanent or temporary residency to a large number of them. When Joao II died and Manuel became king, he wanted to consolidate his power by marrying into the family of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain; they agreed on the condition that Manuel expel all the Jews from Portugal. In 1496, after some of them had left, Manuel forcibly converted the remaining ones to Christianity. Even after baptism, they had to go to great lengths to profess their Catholic faith. There were secret Jews who, in public, adopted Christian customs while they continued their clandestine religion at home. There were Jews who sincerely converted and became Catholics. But, officially, there were no longer any Jews left in Portugal.For about l5 years, I've gone on the trail of these Jews. They fled to the hills of Portugal and to destinations like Holland, the Ottoman Empire, Brazil, North Africa and the U.S. They often escaped to remote places, and I thought about that constantly in the Portuguese Azores. There were hints and some elusive facts, but I couldn't pin anythingdown about a crypto-Jewish presence. All I knew was that starting in 1818, some Jews from North Africa whose ancestors had fled started showing up in the Azores, which was duty free, and where they could import and resell merchandise to local businesses. The Inquisition endedin 1821, and Jews were "tolerated" in Portugal. A group of themcame to Terceira, and I was staring at about 50 of their tombs, whichbore names like Abohbot, Benarus, Levy, Zagory and Bensabat.By chance, I was introduced to Francisco dos Reis Maduro Dias, an archeologist, historian and museum curator with knowledge about the history of the Azorean Jews. I was afraid he'd laugh at me, but hetook my questions seriously. He had some thoughts about why the word "equality"; appeared on the plaque.In 1820, a liberal revolution in Portugal received widespread support on Terceira. The liberals espoused the idealistic trilogy of the French revolution: liberty, fraternity and equality. They also toleratedreligious diversity, although there were no outward religious signs.Was this why there were no Jewish symbols on the tombs?Then Maduro Dias told me about Mimon Abohbot. He had led the fledglingJewish community in Terceira, because there was no rabbi and he wasknowledgeable and respected, and he wanted to assure Jewish continuity.He had a Moroccan Torah; his home was the de facto synagogue; and hewrote five books by hand, meticulously, lovingly, which contained allthe prayers a Jewish family would need for all occasions. One of themwas in the museum in Terceira.I hate to beg, but at that moment I felt that the most urgent thing inthe world was to see the hand-written prayer book and the Torah. "Please, please, can I see it?" I asked Maduro Dias.He smiled. Was that a yes?It was. A few days later, at the museum where he curates in the city ofAngra do Heroismo, he led me into a classical library, crammed with books, and a long wooden table where he invited me to sit. He handed mea pair of white gloves and gently placed Mimon Abohbot'sgilt-edged, handwritten prayer book in my hands. The owner's namewas on the cover, which also bore a floral motif. At the back of thebook was what looked like a genealogy. As I carefully turned the pages,my eyes lingered on a Hebrew phrase that means, "I was, I am, Iwill be." The Eternal presence of the Divine. Sitting in thelibrary, holding the book, I felt as though I had entered a sacredspace."How can I see the Torah and have someone tell me about it?" Iasked Maduro Dias."Let me see what I can do," he said. "It's in the pubiclibrary in Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel island."Before I left, I asked him why there was there a coastal village namedPorto Judeu — the Jewish port. He said one possible explanation came from l6th century chronicles. Apparently, the first settlers who came to Terceira were afraid when they reached the shore. They said to aJewish man with them, "Jump, Jew!" and this was the harbor wherehe jumped.I jumped on a plane, flew 25 minutes to Sao Miguel and hurried to the public library. We followed a librarian named Margarida Oliveira into a room where the Rabo de Peixe Torah had been lovingly placed in a horizontal glass case. The parchment looked weathered, and had burn marks on it."There is a very mysterious story around this Torah," Oliveirabegan. "It was found in a cave in 1997 by two kids. Unfortunately,they vandalized it, giving away and selling parts of it. They showed apiece to their religious teacher, who contacted the library. Afteranalysis and restoration in Lisbon and Israel, the Torah was dated tothe early l8th century in Morocco, probably the Torah of MaimonAbohbot."But why did the 300-year-old Sephardic Torah have a modern, machine-stitched, blue and gold, Ashkenazi-style mantle? A Portuguese Jew in Israel named Inacio Steinhardt, who's done important researchabout the Azorean Jews, believed that Abohbot purchased the Morrocan Torah in London and brought it and another Torah to Terceira, where he used it in his home synagogue. His will stipulated that the Torah would remain in Angra as long as his descendants were there. But if they left,and no Jews remained, one of the Torahs would go back to Morocco and the other would go to the main synagogue —Shaar Hashamaim — inPonta Delgada. There is no record of what happened to the Torahs.Steinhardt discovered that there was a Jewish captain on the American military base on Terceira named Marvin Feldman who had obtained a Torah locally in 1970. After six years of searching, Steinhardt finally located him in Australia. Feldman said that on the base he led Shabbat services and was known as "the American Jew." Some localsconfided to him that they had Jewish origins, and they piqued hiscuriosity about the Jewish presence in the Azores. His search led himto Porto Judeu where, in a bar, some of the older men told him theirversion of the town's name. In the l6th century, fugitive Jews werecaught in a storm and sought refuge on land on Terceira. The governorof Terceira let them live on the island, but not in the man city ofAgra. They settled in Porto Judeu.One day, the locals handed Feldman a wooden box. Afraid to open it because it might have contained human remains, he looked inside: there was the 18th century Torah, which he took to the base. A Catholicpriest knew Hebrew and read from it during services. As for the mantle,he'd had it made in the U.S.In l973, Feldman departed the base and left the Torah behind. In 1997,it was found in the cave by the two kids. How did it get to Ponta Delgada? Who stashed it in a cave? And why? Was it stolen? Sequestered? Why did it have burn marks? Hmmm, I thought. There are echoes of the Dead Sea Scrolls here.As I turned to leave the library, Margarida whispered to me, "Ithink my ancestors were Jewish."I thought this was the last important stop on the Jewish detective tour, but boy was I wrong. The tourism department informed me that a manwanted to meet me at the old synagogue. I had already walked by it before; it looked like a nondescript row house, with no writing, signs or Jewish symbols, and it was locked.When I arrived, accompanied by two women from the tourism department, Jose de Almeida Mello — a bespectacled man with close-cropped darkhair — stood in front of the door. He greeted me in hesitantEnglish and introduced his friend Nuno Bettencourt Raposo, a lawyer,who spoke English well. The former put a key in the lock and opened thecreaky door of what he said had been a rabbi's home; it was alsoused as a synagogue called "Sahar Hassamain." He explained thathe was a historian, and that both he and Bettencourt Raposo wereCatholic. He said the people who built this synagogue in 1836 came fromMorocco. "What we have here is very important — it is theoldest synagogue in Portugal since the Inquisition," he exulted.Inside, the abandoned house/synagogue was in a sorry state. We walkedfrom an entry room to the room that housed the mikvah, or ritual bath,and saw the hole where rainwater flowed in, and the remnants of a drainand tile work.Almeida Mello said he sees the synagogue as a symbol of religious tolerance. In 2008 he published a book about it and told the large crowdat the launch that it was "an SOS for the synagogue. We must do something now to preserve it, or it will be too late." The city officials placed him in charge of promoting the synagogue and raising money."I descend from those New Christians," Almeida Mello confided."My ancestor was Manuel Dias, a trader. Actually, I believe that 99percent of Portuguese people have Jewish blood because the Jews havebeen in Portugal for 2,000 years."He had a book in his hands, and he showed me that all his life when heheld any book, he turned it over, and then opened it right to left —the way Hebrew is read, right to left."The Jewish religion never interested me," Almeida Mello said,"but I'm fascinated by the culture. I am a religious Catholicman, but this synagogue is my passion."I was intrigued by his story, but underwhelmed by the building itself…until he invited us to follow him upstairs, cautioning us touse the right side of the wooden staircase, as the middle was unstable.Upstairs were the rabbi's living quarters. Light streamed in fromoutside."Now for the surprise," Almeida Mello said. "Up until today,it has been a secret." In the dining room, he opened what lookedlike a pantry door. "Come," he said. I gasped aloud at what Iencountered on the other side: an entire synagogue, with 30-foot-highlight blue walls, a bimah, 65 carved wooden seats around the outside ofthe sanctuary, a chandelier and a circumcision chair. Strewn aroundwere old prayer books, which had probably been unseen and untouched formore than 60 years."The synagogue was constructed inside the rabbi's home because religious buildings had to be behind walls, with no visible identification on the outside. Inside here, it was away from the eyes ofthe townspeople."He said he had found a box in the synagogue and didn't touch it forseven years."There were dead mice inside. Then, one night, in 2009, I started thinking about it. I bought gloves and a mask at a pharmacy, then openedthe box and threw everything on the ground. I was totallyshocked—there were manuscripts, books, parchment, fabrics,mezuzahs, phylacteries." Almeida Mello looked at me with greatintensity. "Now you understand why this is so important!"In a hushed voice, I said that in all my travels, I had never seen anything like this. I had beheld hidden arks and sequestered shelves that held objects of worship, but an entire synagogue?I followed him to the balcony where women once sat and prayed, sequestered behind an iron grillwork railing. I could hear their whispered talk, feel the presence of those souls who were now gone. I picked up a prayer books and held it close to my heart for a moment."I can still feel the presence of the Jews here," I said, to noone in particular."Yes," said one of the women from the tourism board. "It ishere. In us. I think we are all descended from them."

Paralympics-founder-Sir-Ludwig-Guttmanns-legacy-celebrated-in-BBC-drama The Paralympic Games were the creation of one remarkable man, whose story is told in a forthcoming BBC drama. Give it some stick: Rob Brydon as Sgt Wynn Bowen with Eddie Marsan as Dr Guttmann in 'The Best of Men' ByCherrill Hicks 4:51PM BST 03 Aug 2012 It was on November 9 1938, the Kristallnacht in Germany, when Jewish property was destroyed wholesale and some 30,000 Jews arrested, beaten, murdered or dragged off to concentration camps, that Ludwig Guttmann, medical director of the Jewish Hospital in Breslau, instructed his staff to admit without question anyone arriving that night. "The next day the Gestapo came to see my father, wanting to know why so many admissions had happened overnight," Guttmann's daughter, Eva Loeffler, recalls. Guttmann took them round all the new "patients";, inventing diagnoses. "My father was adamant that all the men were sick. He took the Gestapo from bed to bed, justifying each man's medical condition." In his unfinished memoirs, Guttmann recalls that 60 of the 64 admissions from the previous night were saved from the concentration camps. Fully expecting to be hauled off himself, he had donned boots and a coat before setting off to the hospital the next morning. The incident was one of several in which Guttmann risked his life for his compatriots, as the noose tightened around Germany's Jewish population. It illustrates the qualities of this formidable neurosurgeon, according to those who knew him: compassion, a strong sense of justice, and immense courage. They were qualities that would help transform the lives of thousands in the years to come - first in Britain where he, his wife Else and two children arrived as virtually penniless refugees the following year, and eventually, around the world. Guttmann is best known as the visionary founder of theParalympic Games. It is thanks largely to him that, from a small archery competition in 1948 involving 16 paralysed British war veterans, evolved a major international sporting event featuring elite athletes with all kinds of disabilities. Yet the achievements of this clever, humane man were not just in the field of sport. Asked to run a spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital by a British government anticipating the worst as the second front began in 1944, he single-handedly revolutionised the care of paralysed servicemen. Until his arrival they were left to rot (sometimes literally, from bedsores). Mortality was high, with 80 per cent dying within a year of their injury. Those who did survive were doomed to spend the rest of their days hidden away in long-term institutions for "incurables". Guttmann was to change all that. In an era when men suffering horrible injuries were delivered to hospital in coffin-shaped boxes, treated as terminal cases and hidden from sight, he gave his patients hope for the future. His achievements are the subject of a new drama to be broadcast later this month on BBC Two.The Best of Menhas an impressive cast including Eddie Marsan (fromWar Horse) in the role of the stocky, bespectacled Guttmann and Rob Brydon (Gavin and Stacey,The Trip) as one of his patients. Lucy Gannon (Soldier Soldier) wrote the script. "When I was asked to do a film about this bloke who started the Paralympics, my heart sank," she says. "I'm not into athletics. But I fell in love with the character and was caught up in the story." The film, she insists, is not Chariots of Fire for paraplegics. It is less about sporting achievement, more about "a man who never underestimated the human spirit" and its ability to overcome devastating loss.Guttmann himself understood something about loss. Born in 1899 into an orthodox Jewish family in upper Silesia (now part of Poland), he became a pioneering neurologist, only to be dismissed as a "non-Aryan" from his post at Breslau in 1933. In 1938, in line with new racial laws, his licence to practise medicine was withdrawn and he was allowed to treat Jews only. (Yet his reputation was such that the following year he was asked by the Nazis to fly to Lisbon to examine a friend of the Portuguese dictator, Salazar, thought to be suffering from a spinal tumour.) In exile in Britain, Guttmann spent several years doing research at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary, before being asked to head the new spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville, one of several being set up by the government. "D-Day was the real prompt," says Harriet Davison, the film's producer. Spinal injuries were then a backwater in medicine. "The attitude was, no one else would do it, so let this eccentric German." Guttmann's first encounter with spinal cord injury had been as a teenage hospital orderly in Silesia when he came across a miner paralysed in an accident. The young Guttmann could hardly believe what he saw: a strapping 6ft man, encased in plaster and kept behind screens, where he developed urinary tract infections and sepsis. Five weeks later he was dead. According to his memoirs (quoted in Susan Goodman's biography Spirit of Stoke Mandeville, now out of print), the case remained "indelibly fixed" in his memory. He was to see many such "hopeless"; cases at Stoke: heavily sedated men, kept on their backs for months, often immobilised in plaster to help "stabilise" fractures, they developed open sores the size of dinner plates; permanently catheterised, they developed bladder and kidney infections. Many died within months. "No one wanted these patients, who smelt of urine and whose flesh was rotting," says Dr Allison Graham, the unit's current director. "They were left in bed for months at a time. Their pressure sores were ignored on the grounds that spinal patients had no sensation. The attitude was, what's the problem?" Gannon's drama, which concentrates on Guttmann's first years at Stoke, reveals how he overturned this fatalism through a combination of charm, obsessiveness and sheer bloody-mindedness. There were fierce battles with nurses, other doctors (Dr Cowan, played by Richard McCabe, calls the men "moribund incurables") and patients themselves. Bringing together new ideas on rehabilitation from the US and Europe, Guttmann got patients out of their plaster, and off their sedation or "gloop" (which caused complaints), and made them sit up (which made them vomit at first) . Most important, he insisted that they were "turned" two hourly at night to prevent pressure sores. Gradually, an 80 per cent mortality rate was turned into an 80 per cent survival rate. A quartermaster was seconded from the army to start exercises to strengthen the men's upper bodies. In her book, Goodman describes how new skills were introduced to make them employable, including woodwork, watch repair and typing. Guttmann's aim was to send the men out into the world "with ambition and purpose" and with the same responsibilities - such as paying taxes - as anyone else. Gradually "Poppa", as he used to be called, won his staff over: nurses who had previously drawn lots to avoid the unit - "they were embarrassed to be with these dying boys", says Davison - would later fight to work there. Two of the patients in the film are inspired by Guttman's medical notes. Sergeant Wynn Bowen (Brydon) hides his misery behind a laconic, caustic wit: the regular turning at night is, he says, "a bloody pantomime", while he describes Guttmann as "Hitler's secret weapon". Bowen is married but would rather divorce than face potential sexual failure. Telling him "there are many ways to skin a cat", Guttmann forces him to go home one weekend; he returns triumphant . Getting wheelchair patients to play competitive sport was one of Guttmann's most inspired ideas. He saw sport as a way to regain fitness, boost self-esteem and above all, restore personal dignity. As the film tells it, the idea came to him after seeing a group of patients frantically propelling their wheelchairs while trying to hit a wooden puck with upended walking sticks in an attempt at polo. Organised sport, be it archery, table tennis or basketball, was to become a mandatory part of the unit's rehab programme. In 1948, on the day the postwar Olympics opened in London, Guttmann organised the first Stoke Mandeville games for the paralysed. In 1960, Guttmann's vision of a true Paralympic Games was realised: 400 wheelchair athletes from 23 countries paraded through Rome's Olympic Stadium, competing in the same sports as able-bodied athletes. In the 2012 Paralympics, more than 4,000 athletes from 147 countries will participate. Guttmann was knighted in 1966, the year of his retirement from Stoke, by then internationally recognised in the management of spinal injuries. He stayed involved with the Games and travelled the world lecturing on spinal cord injury. He died, aged 80, from heart failure in 1980; Stoke Mandeville's stadium, opened by the Queen in 1969, was named in his honour the same year. "The sports legacy is what he is best known for," says Dr Graham. "But none of those achievements would have been possible without the transformation in care of spinal cord injuries he introduced." In one scene in the film Cowan, the consultant, is fuming at the idea of "wheelchairs racing across the lawn". "The national games," he sneers. "National implies the best - the best national cricket team, the best national rugby team. what are these people the best of?" "They are the best of men," is Guttmann's quiet reply. .The Best of Men, BBC 2, August 16, 2012 To subscribe, please writeSUBSCRIBEin the subject line To unsubscribe, please writeUNSUBSCRIBEin the subject line Janet Lehr If I am not for myself, WHO WILL BE? IsraelLives If I am only for myself, WHAT AM I? janetlehr@IsraelLives.orgIf not now, WHEN ? Rabbi Hillel

Israel’s Spiritual and Strategic Dilemma: Part II Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Israel’s Spiritual and Strategic Dilemma: Part II Prof. Paul Eidelberg A . Allow me to reiterate the basic points of Part I.1.  An inexpugnable asymmetry exists between Jews and Muslims. Whereas Jews prefer to be loved than feared, Muslims prefer to be feared than loved.2.  Israel’s government fears nothing more than a bad press or anti-Semitism. This fear has grown to neurotic proportions among Israel’s ruling elites as a result of the immediate global news coverage of the electronic media.3.  Muslims use women and children as human shields and use well-concocted TV-clips to portray Israelis as the culprits on Western television. It makes no difference whether Israel’s military forces kill two or twenty Muslims in self-defense. Israel is demonized as guilty of “genocide.”4.  Every year or two Israel will be compelled to retaliate against accumulating terrorist attacks. Every year or two Israel will engage in another futile cease fire, which will enable the terrorists to redeploy and deadlier weapons to attack Israel a year or so later.5.   Although these terrorists are animated by a theology committed to Israel’s annihilation, no Israeli official dares speak of this.6.   Theology aside, Israel, like the democratic world, fails to understand that Arab terrorism or killing Jews pays! Every year the Palestinian Authority receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States and Europe. Killing Jews is good business! It stuffs the coffers of Arab leaders. But it is precisely because terrorism pays that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of overcoming this in-your-face religious conflict!7.     No one can beat the Arabs in business. They thrive on suckers. The suckers are born every day. They graduate from Harvard, Oxford, and the Sorbonne, to say nothing of Israeli universities that stuff the minds of generals with nonsense about “conflict resolution” rather than what Israel must do to win a war against today’s greatest enemy of “civilization,” a term hardly understood by an Israeli prime minister who thinks he can resolve Israel’s conflict with barbarians by economic means and “reciprocity.” B. The Way Out: The Military (but still insufficient ) Approach1.  Since Israel is demonized as guilty of “genocide” whether her soldiers kill two or twenty Muslims in self-defense, and since Israel’s enemy is animated by a theology that exalts the Muslim who “slays and is slain” for Allah (Sura 9:111), Israel’s defense forces should NOT be squeamish about killing Jew-killers.2.  Israel’s government should therefore be guided by principles of warfare enunciated not only by her greatest monarch, King David, but also by Karl von Clausewitz, reputedly the greatest master of military science. Accordingly:a.  Clausewitz: The first object of war is to disarm the enemy. Clausewitz warns: “Philanthropists may readily imagine there is a skillful method of disarming an enemy without causing great bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the Art of War.  However plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as war, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.” It follows that “proportionality” as a principle of war is absurd. To defeat the enemy his power of resistence must be utterly crushed. > >b. The Prime Minsiter of Israel should therefore hearken to these words of King David: “I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and returned not until they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they are not able to rise; …. I pulverized them like dust in the face of the storm …” (Psalm 18:38-43), 3.  Now consider this data (from Wikipedia) on the Allied bombing of Dresden:During the evening of February 13, 1945, more than 800 British aircraft dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs by the early hours of February 14.  A few hours later, 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs. Later on February 14, American B-17s dropped 771 tons of bombs on Dresden. The Americans continued the bombing on February 15 dropping 466 tons of bombs.>>The standard firebombing method consisted of dropping large amounts of high-explosive to blow off the roofs to expose the timbers within buildings, followed by incendiary devices to ignite them and then more high-explosives to hamper the efforts of the fire services. The bombings created a self-sustaining firestorm with temperatures peaking at over 1500°C (2700°F). After a wide area caught fire, the air above the bombed area became extremely hot. Cold air then rushed in at ground level from outside, and people were sucked into the fire.>A Dresden police report written shortly after the attacks stated that the old town and the inner eastern suburbs had been engulfed in a single fire which had destroyed almost 12,000 dwellings including residential barracks, 24 banks; 647 shops; 64 warehouses; 31 large hotels; 63 administrative buildings; 11 churches; 19 hospitals; 39 schools; and 5 consulates. The report also mentioned that the Wehrmacht's main command post and19 military hospitals were destroyed.[21]  The precise number of dead is difficult to ascertain and is not known. 4. We are not advocating a holocaust. But Muslims and their religion, as well as the religion and intelligence of Jews, have been insulted and trivialized the policies of Israeli prime ministers who have sacrificed their intellects, along with the lives of Jews, in pursuance of the mindless and feckless policy of “territory for peace.”5. Israel requires nothing less than an entirely new leadership, indeed, a new mentality, hence new educational institutions, whose curricular reveals the confluence of science and Torah to toughen the hearts and illuminate the minds of the next generation.(To be continued)

Israel’s Spiritual and Strategic Dilemma: Part IProf. Paul Eidelberg

Israel’s Spiritual and Strategic Dilemma: Part IProf. Paul EidelbergLet us start with analysis of the problem. The Part II will deal with the solution.Machiavelli famously said in Chapter 17 of The Prince, “It’s better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” The reason is this: Love depends on the will of the other; fear depends on you. Very clever, but not wholly applicable to the conflict between Jews and Muslims.There is a basic and inexpugnable asymmetry between Jews and Muslims. Whereas Jews prefer to be loved than feared, Muslims prefer to be feared than loved. This may be inferred from Sura 9:111 of the Quran, which exalts the Muslim who “slays and is slain” for Allah. Unlike the God of the Jews who loves life, Allah loves death. Muslims have been imbued with this love of death for many centuries. Their mentors have taught them from infancy on that by being slain in the process of killing Jews, Muslims merit eternal joy in paradise.Jews can thus do Muslims no greater good than by facilitating Sura 9:111, hence, by facilitating their own violent death on the altar of Islam. Accordingly, Jews should not be too squeamish about killing their Muslim predators. In other words, Israel’s government should not worship at the shrine of “Proportionality.”The trouble is that Israeli politicians fear nothing more than a bad press, meaning anti-Semitism or Jew-hatred. This age-old Jewish fear is not irrational. But it has assumed neurotic proportions among Israel’s political and military echelons as a result of the immediate global news coverage of the electronic media.Even if the mainstream media were not anti-Jewish; even if the mandarins of the media were not corrupted by the university-bred doctrine of moral relativism; even if journalists did propagate moral equivalence, let alone moral reversal; and even if Muslims were not so adept at using Muslim women and children as human shields, to be filmed on Western television as victims of Jewish soldiers—Israel’s military and political echelons would find it extremely difficult to counter the Muslim canard of “genocide.” For TV clips it makes no difference whether Israel’s military forces kill two or twenty Muslims as acts of self-defense.Whether such acts of self-defense are taken against Hezbollah or Fatah or Hamas terrorists in Lebanon or in Jenin or in Gaza, Israel is demonized by the Israel-bashing media of the  West and of course by the United Nations. Since this is so predictable, what shall we say of Israel’s political and military leaders? Why do they play the same self-destructive game of self-restraint? Are they stupid, or have they been castrated by the moral relativism that has infected the curriculum at Israel’s Command and Staff College?We all know that every year or so Israel will be compelled to retaliate against accumulating terrorist attacks. This means that every year or two Israel will engage in another futile cease fire, which will enable the terrorists to redeploy and obtain more and deadlier weapons to attack Israel a year or so later. Here let us pause.Let’s get a correct but “politically incorrect” view of why the terrorists—really warriors—persist in killing Jews.  Yes, they are animated by a theology committed to Israel’s annihilation, a theology hardly any political leader dares speak of. But it should also be understood that Arab terrorism or killing Jews pays! How could these warriors earn a livelihood without killing Jews! Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Palestinian Authority receives every year from the United States and Europe. Understand one and for all that killing Jews is good business! It stuffs the bank accounts of Arab leaders. It gives the poor, poor Palestinians with some of the goodies enjoyed by American infidels. BUT KNOW THIS: It is precisely because terrorism pays that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of overcoming this in-your-face religious conflict!No, it’s not just religion, stupid, it’s business, and no one can beat the Arabs in business who thrive on suckers—liberals and humanitarians. These suckers are born every day. They graduate from Harvard, Oxford, and the Sorbonne. And let’s not forget the fools who graduate from Israeli universities—even from Israel’s “war” college, which stuffed the minds of generals like Barak and Sharon with nonsense about “conflict resolution” rather than what is required for Israel to win a war against an enemy that loves death, today’s greatest threat to \’civilization,” a term hardly understood by an Israeli prime minister who thinks he can resolve Israel’s conflict with barbarians by means of “reciprocity.” (To be continued)

The Israeli Constituent ­ Realism over Wishful Thinking

The Israeli Constituent ­ Realism over Wishful ThinkingYoram Ettinger “Israel Hayom”,, December 28, 2012On the eve of the January 22, 2013 Israeli election, the Israeliconstituent demonstrates more realism than Israeli politicians.Israelis highlight security imperatives when responding toreality-driven polls, which pose questions based on the stormy ArabWinter and not on the mirage of the Arab Spring.Increasingly, Israelis recognize that ­ in the Middle East - bolsteredsecurity constitutes a solid base for survival and for the pursuit ofpeace.  They realize that the pursuit of peace, by lowering thethreshold of security, could jeopardize survival, as well as the slimchance for peace.Notwithstanding the overwhelmingly dovish Israeli media and academia,most Israelis ­ Right, Center and Left - have concluded thatsecurity-driven peace supersedes peace-driven security.A December, 2012 most thorough and detailed poll was conducted by oneof the deans of Israeli pollster, Mina Tzemach, on behalf of theJerusalem Center for Public Affairs.  The poll demonstrates thatIsraelis respond to real local and regional developments ­ more thanto wishful thinking - when shaping positions on the peace process,security requirements, land for peace, the two-state-solution andIran.  Such positions are directly impacted by the 20-year trackrecord of the 1993 Oslo accord: an unprecedented Israeli gesture metby unprecedented Palestinian hate-education, terrorism andnon-compliance. Israeli opinions are also influenced by the currentturbulence, unpredictability, unreliability, treachery and instabilityon the Arab Street. The Israeli state of mind is also shaped by theviolent Palestinian response (thousands of missiles launched atIsrael) to the 2005 Israeli “Disengagement” ­ a tormenting, painfulconcession of uprooting 25 thriving Jewish communities.According to the December Mina Tzemach (Dahaf Polling Institute) poll,most Israelis assume that Palestinians are concerned about theexistence ­ and not the size - of Israel, and therefore are veryskeptical about the Land-for-Peace formula.  Most Israelis do nottrust Palestinian compliance with agreements, and therefore aredubious about the Two State Solution, which they increasingly considera Two State Delusion.For instance, 76% (83% among Israeli Jews) believe that an Israeliretreat to the pre-1967 sliver along the Mediterranean would notsatisfy the Palestinians/Arabs. Only 22% (15% among Israeli Jews)assume that such a concession would produce an end to the conflict.74% of Israelis are convinced that strategic depth - a code word forJudea and Samaria- is pertinent to Israel’s national security.  21%discount the importance of strategic depth.  66% disapprove (and 29%approve) a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines in return for a peaceaccord with the Palestinians and all Arab countries. 63% are against awithdrawal to the 1967 lines with minor modifications.A ratio of 65%:33% opposes the repartitioning of Jerusalem in thecontext of a peace accord; 65%: 31% reject a withdrawal from theJordan Valley; 68%:28% refuse evacuation of Ariel and western Samaria;72%:22% insist on retaining control over the blocs of Jewishsettlements; 73%:18% disapprove relinquishing control over the Judeaand Samaria mountains which dominate Ben Gurion Airport; 67%:22%insist that Israel retains control of the Judea and Samaria Highway443 connecting Jerusalem to the coastal plain.Only 20% of the Israeli public assumes that the recent developments onthe Arab Street are irrelevant to the Arab/Palestinian-Israeliconflict.  Only 21% maintains that these events warrant anacceleration of the peace process.52% - compared with 49% in 2005 - consider secure boundaries superiorto peace, compared with 36% who view peace as the prerequisite tosecurity.Most Israelis trust only the Israel Defense Forces to protect thecountry. For example, only 39% assume that Israel can rely on the USmilitary during an emergency. 68% oppose the stationing of foreigntroops ­ including US troops - in the Jordan Valley.  Only 26% wouldsupport such a deployment.68% do not believe that sanctions constitute an effective optionagainst Iran; 53% presume that the US will not resort to the militaryoption in order to prevent Iran’s nuclearization; 53% support anIsraeli military preemption against Iran, if the US fails to preempt.This most comprehensive Mina Tzemach poll highlights the Israelipublic as top heavy on realism and low on wishful-thinking.  MostIsraelis do not indulge in the New Middle East Delusion, March ofDemocracy or the Facebook and Youth Revolution; they brace themselvesfor the Real Middle East and its clear and present threats.  It is arare state of mind among Western democracies, enhancing Israel’spower-projection and Israel’s role as the beachhead of the Free Worldin the economically and militarily critical Middle East. It is asource of optimism.