3/31/2017 An Orthodox Jew at an Arab Summit - History

3/31/2017 An Orthodox Jew at an Arab Summit - History

Most residents of Tel Aviv, and for that matter, the rest of Israel, missed a very dramatic story— An Orthodox Jew from Queens, New York attended the Arab Summit in Amman. Furthermore, President Trump's envoy to the negotiations stated a long accepted American norm, though often disputed by Israeli leaders, i.e., Israeli-Palestinian peace would benefit the Mid-East and entire World.

While the Arab Summit was in session near the Jordanian Dead Sea, in Israel, it was a week of political victories for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both large and small.

In an overnight meeting on Thursday, the Israeli security cabinet reached two unanimous decisions — both of which Netanyahu wanted. The first, was to approve, in principle, the creation of a new settlement for those who were forced to leave their homes in Amona (after the courts had declared that those homes were built on private Palestinian land.) This was a promise Netanyahu made and which he feared the domestic political consequences of not keeping.

The Trump administration reacted with acceptance to the decision, stating that Netanyahu had promised to create this new settlement before Trump had asked him not to build. The second security cabinet decision was to severely limit new building in the West Bank to areas that already have buildings on them. In short, not to increase the footprint of Jewish settlement in the West Bank. This was done as a gesture to President Donald Trump, who had demanded that Israel cut back settlement construction, something he indicated he did not think was helpful in his goal of negotiating an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

At Netanyahu’s urging, the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, unanimously agreed to a significant settlement freeze. The decision to limit any building in the settlement to its existing physical footprint was made, despite the fact that the Trump administration has not agreed to even that level of building. Many on the right-wing hailed it as a historic victory. The left-wing, while decrying any additional construction on settlements, saw this decision as a ray of hope, that the new Trump administration was serious about limiting Israeli building in the West Bank.

Netanyahu's other victory this week came after days of meeting with Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon. These discussions were not about important matters of state, nor important matters of Israel’s economy, but rather attempts to avoid new elections — i.e., new elections that Netanyahu threatened to call, if he did not get his way in stopping the new Public Broadcasting Authority; an Authority whose creation he had supported, but whom he stopped from taking to the air at the end of April. It seems Netanyahu had cold feet about allowing the Authority to begin broadcasting because of a key provision of its charter, calling for its employees— especially the senior officials — to be selected in such a way that would preclude political influence. Netanyahu, who has been obsessed with controlling the news media as much as possible, had threatened to force new elections unless his demands were met.

Two weeks ago, Netanyahu put the Israeli political world on notice — if he did not get his way with the Public Broadcast Authority he would call for new elections. The political world took him seriously, since he had done this before. His coalition partners, particularly the ultra-Orthodox were furious. They are enjoying the fruits of being a members of the current coalition and oppose new elections, so much so, that Netanyahu could not be sure of their support next time, if he were to call for new elections now. In his role as Finance Minister, the one time Likud member who split from Netanyahu and the party over social issues, Kachlon insisted that the authority begin to operate in April, for budgetary reasons. (The new authority had already been funded and was spending money preparing for broadcast).

The two reached a compromise in their final meeting, in which Netanyahu achieved his key goal — meaning, the Broadcast Authority would begin operations, but without a news division. The news division would be put into a separate authority, whose directors would be political appointees, whom Netanyahu (as long as he remains Prime Minister) will be able to control. Kachlon hailed the agreement a victory, since the Broadcast Authority would indeed open, and Netanyahu agreed to pull a draconian bill that would have given him unprecedented control over the the media. Political observers, however, lambasted Kachlon for agreeing, since according to most of them Netanayhu was playing poker with Kachlon, but with a hand that everyone understood was empty. So, in the end, Netanyahu achieved his goal of stifling the possibility of a new independent news operation from coming into being.

Despite these recent victories, Netanyahu faces two significant challenges in the coming weeks. Much to the Prime Minister's surprise, the Trump administration has placed trying to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians center-stage. Trump's designated negotiator, Jason Greenblatt (mentioned above) has surprised everyone, both with his level of professionalism and the extent of his understanding of the issues in the conflict. Moreover, many had assumed Greenblatt, who is an Orthodox Jew, would automatically support the position of National Religious parties in Israel. However, at least to date, he has turned out to be the consummate negotiator, trying to understand the positions of all sides. His attending the Arab Summit is just an example of that fact. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas are all meeting with President Trump in early April. The three men met recently to coordinate their positions. Netanyahu fears that the Trump Administration is about to make demands he is going to find almost impossible to meet politically. Finally, of course the police investigations into the Prime Minister continue. For the past few weeks, they have gone largely silent. It is unlikely they will remain silent for long.

Why do Jews and Arabs / Muslims hate each other?

First, it is important to understand that not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. While a majority of Arabs are Muslims, there are many non-Muslim Arabs. Further, there are significantly more non-Arab Muslims in areas such as Indonesia and Malaysia than there are Arab Muslims. Second, it is important to remember that not all Arabs hate Jews, not all Muslims hate Jews, and not all Jews hate Arabs and Muslims. We must be careful to avoid stereotyping people. However, generally speaking, Arabs and Muslims have a dislike of and distrust for Jews, and vice-versa.

If there is an explicit biblical explanation for this animosity, it goes all the way back to Abraham. The Jews are descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac. The Arabs are descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. With Ishmael being the son of a slave woman (Genesis 16:1&ndash16) and Isaac being the promised son who would inherit the blessings of Abraham (Genesis 21:1&ndash3), obviously there would be some animosity between the two sons. As a result of Ishmael’s mocking Isaac (Genesis 21:9), Sarah talked Abraham into sending Hagar and Ishmael away (Genesis 21:11&ndash21). Likely, this caused even more contempt in Ishmael’s heart toward Isaac. An angel told Hagar that Ishmael would be the father of a great nation (Genesis 21:18) and, interestingly, that Ishmael would be “a wild donkey of a man his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).

However, the ancient root of bitterness between Isaac and Ishmael does not explain all of the hostility between Jews and Arabs today. The religion of Islam, which a majority of Arabs follow, has made the hostility predicted of Ishmael more profound. The Qur’an contains somewhat contradictory instructions for Muslims regarding Jews. At one point it instructs Muslims to treat Jews as brothers and at another point commands Muslims to attack Jews who refuse to convert to Islam. The Qur’an also introduces a conflict as to which son of Abraham was truly the son of promise. The Hebrew Scriptures say it was Isaac. The Qur’an says it was Ishmael. The Qur’an teaches that it was Ishmael whom Abraham almost sacrificed to the Lord, not Isaac (in contradiction to Genesis 22). This debate over who was the son of promise further contributes to today’s hostility.

Another root of the conflict between Jews and Arabs is political. After World War II, when the United Nations gave a portion of the land of Israel to the Jewish people, the land was ruled by the British and primarily inhabited by Arabs (although one third of the population was Jewish). Most Arabs protested vehemently against the new Israeli state, even as they refused an Arab Palestinian state offered as part of the UN plan. Arab nations including Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria attacked Israel in an attempt to drive them into the sea, but they were defeated. The defeat of the Arab forces soon became a human tragedy when the surrounding Arab nations refused to absorb the Arab refugees from Israel.

Ever since 1948, there has been great hostility between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The tensions have been stoked by political rhetoric and the existence of groups such as Hamas with their continuing obsession with wiping out “the Zionist entity” and “reversing the results of 1948.”

Israel exists on one tiny piece of land surrounded by much larger Arab nations such as Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt. It is our viewpoint that, biblically speaking, Israel has a right to exist as a nation in its own land that God gave to the descendants of Jacob, grandson of Abraham (Genesis 12:7). While there is no easy solution to the conflict in the Middle East, Psalm 122:6 declares, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.”

Is anti-Zionism anti-Semitic? Jewish critics speak.

When individuals, activists or politicians in the United States and Canada criticize human-rights problems in Israel or question the tenets of the political ideology of Zionism, they are attacked, and accusations of bias and even anti-Semitism are made in an attempt to discredit them.

The allegation that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is used as an effective political weapon. To quote one anti-Zionist Jewish writer:

Joel Beinin in "Silencing Critics Not Way to Middle East Peace," an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle, discussed the campaign to silence critics of Israeli policy. Beinin, a professor of history at Stanford University, is active in Jewish Voice for Peace and an editor of Jewish Peace News) Here is what he had to say about the campaign to attack critics of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians:

In "Why It Is Essential for Jews to Speak Out as Jews, on Israel," Internet blogger Philip Weiss interviewed longtime Jewish activist Dorothy Zellner. She is now working with "Jews Say No." As Weiss notes, "A lot of activists would say that this is an American issue everyone should be engaged. And a lot of left-wingers would say, religion/ethnicity is a tiresome traditional category, I don't want to identify myself in such a manner." Zellner responds to these arguments and explains why she believes that it is essential to address the Palestinian issue "as Jews, and speak to other Jews as Jews":

Here is what Norman Solomon has to say about anti-Semitism: "As with all forms of bigotry, anti-Semitism should be condemned. At the same time, these days, America's biggest anti-Semitism problem has to do with the misuse of the label as a manipulative tactic to short-circuit debate about Washington's alliance with Israel." (6) He added,

Professor Michael Neumann had the following to say about anti-Semitism:

To quote George Soros on the use of anti-Semitism, a tactic he described as "the most insidious argument" to silence the political debate on Israel's policies toward the Palestinians:

Soros can hardly be considered a radical. He is also Jewish.

Ben Ehrenreich, author of the novel The Suitors, wrote in the Los Angeles Times on whether criticism of Zionism is anti-Semitic:

Dissident Jewish groups and individuals, however, are generally ignored. For political purposes they simply do not exist. The mainstream media rarely cover these alternative Jewish perspectives. To publically recognize Jewish criticism of Zionism and Israel would raise serious questions about American support for Israel. However, there are rare exceptions sometimes views critical of Zionism are published in the mainstream North American press.

Most of the rest of the world has a much more critical view of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and supports the right of Palestinians to self-determination. On December 16, 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the right of self-determination for the Palestinians. The vote was 170 to 5 with one abstention. Those voting against were Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and the United States. Australia abstained. (11) In another vote, held on December 19, 2006, on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the tally was 176 to 5 in favor of the Palestinians. The countries that supported Israel were the United States, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia. Five countries abstained: Australia, Canada, the Central African Republic, Nauru and Vanuatu. (12) The entire rest of the world voted in favor of the right of Palestinians to self-determination. However, in the mainstream North American press, these one-sided votes are almost never reported.

All human beings are entitled to basic human rights. Violation of the human rights of Palestinians have been documented by respected organizations such as Amnesty International, (13) Human Rights Watch, (14) the International Red Cross, (15) the United Nations (16) and even Israeli human-rights organizations such as B'Tselem, (17) Rabbis for Human Rights (18) and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (19) and many Israeli journalists. (20) However, these well-documented violations are attacked and buried under a barrage of criticism that they are biased, unfair for singling out the Jewish state or even anti-Semitic. (21)

My own record as a lawyer representing refugee claims against Israel by Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, is 29 positives to one negative, a 96.66 percent success rate. However, in the eyes of the supporters of Israel, this does not mean that there are serious human-rights problems in the Occupied Territories. To them, Israel can do no wrong. Therefore, they consider the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to be "anti-Semitic," and the Jewish members of the IRB who rendered positive decisions on Palestinian refugee claims against Israel to be "self-hating Jews."

A Palestinian is simply an inhabitant of Palestine. There are Jewish, Christian, Muslim and non-believers who are Palestinian. The indigenous Palestinian Jews were opposed to the European Jewish settlers who flooded into Palestine with the support of Great Britain. (22) Palestinian is simply a national designation like Canadian or American. (23)

There are no racial, ethnic or religious criteria for being a Palestinian. Only by fight of birth, naturalization and descent does one become a Palestinian, as in most other countries.

The Jewish state's citizenship and immigration processes are unique in the world. To qualify as a "Jew" in "the Jewish state," one must meet racial, ethnic or religious criteria. (24) The Jewish Law of Return grants almost immediate citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world. Palestinians who were born in the country and forcibly expelled are, for the most part, forbidden to return. Israel defines itself as "Jewish" and structures itself to advance the interests of Jews at the expense of non-Jews, especially the indigenous Christian and Muslim Palestinian population. (25)

In March 1919, U.S. Congressman Julius Kahn presented an anti-Zionist petition to President Woodrow Wilson as he was departing for the Paris peace conference. The petition was signed by 31 prominent American Jews, including Henry Morgenthau, Sr., former ambassador to Turkey Simon W. Rosendale, former attorney general of New York Mayor L. H. Kampner of Galveston, Texas E. M. Baker of Cleveland, president of the Stock Exchange R. H. Macy's Jesse I. Straus New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs and Judge M. C. Sloss of San Francisco. (26) Part of the petition read:

The fact that these and many other Jews have criticized Israel and Zionism is deemed irrelevant today. Jewish critics are attacked as "self-hating Jews." (28)

Here is the response of Bruce Jackson, one American Jewish academic, for being included on the Self-Hating, Israel Threatening (S.H.I.T.) List, which includes the names of over 8,000 Jewish academics, writers and other activists deemed to be critics who threatened Israel.

Mainstream Jewish organizations have also made similar charges. The American Jewish Committee published on its website (www.acj.org) an article entitled "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism" by Professor Alvin H. Rosenfeld of Indiana University. The author argued "that Jewish critics of Israel, through their speaking and writing, are feeding a rise in virulent anti-Semitism." David Harris, executive director of the AJC, writes in his introduction, "Perhaps the most surprising--and distressing--feature of this new trend is the very public participation of some Jews in the verbal onslaught against Zionism and the Jewish State." (30)

The article provoked a storm of controversy within the Jewish community. (31) Allan Brownfeld, the editor of the American Council for Judaism's Issues magazine, wrote in response to the AJC attack on Jewish critics of Zionism and Israel that they are promoting anti-Semitism:

One of the leading Jewish papers, Forward, responded to the attack launched by the AJC in an editorial entitled "Infamy":

One of the targets of Rosenfeld's ire, Professor Tony Judt, argued that the real purpose behind the campaign was to stifle harsh criticism of Israel. "The link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is newly created," he asserted, adding that he fears "the two will have become so conflated in the minds of the world that references to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust will come to be seen as just a political defense of Israeli policy." (34)

Judt was joined in his criticism of the AJC article by Alan Wolfe, a political scientist and the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Wolfe stated, "I'm almost in a state of shock" at the verbal assaults directed at liberal Jews. He lamented the growth of "illiberalism" within the organizations that claimed to represent the American Jewish community. (35)

Michael Posluns, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, states on a web site that discussed anti-Semitism: "Sad and misbegotten missives of the sort below make me wonder if it is not the purpose of mainstream Jewish organizations to foster anti-Jewishness by calling down all who take from their Jewish experience and Jewish thought a different ethos and different ways of being as feeding anti-Semitism." (36) Here is the response of Lawrence Davidson, another Jewish academic, published in the American Council for Judaism's Issues magazine, to the equation of criticism of Zionism and Israel to anti-Semitism:

The prestigious Economist magazine in January 2007 also joined in this debate over criticism of Israel with an article entitled "Israel and the Jews: Diaspora Blues":

Rabbi Michael Lerner, head of the Tikkun organization, also entered the fray:

Meanwhile, the media has been abuzz with stories of Jews denouncing former President Jimmy Carter for his book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid. The same charges of anti-Semitism that have consistently been launched against anyone who criticizes Israeli policy are now being launched against the one American leader who managed to create a lasting (albeit cold) peace between Israel and a major Arab state (Egypt). Instead of seriously engaging with the issues raised (e.g. to what extent are Israel's current policies similar to those of apartheid and to what extent are they not?), the Jewish establishment and media respond by attacking the people who raise these or any other critiques--shifting the discourse to the legitimacy of the messenger and thus avoiding the substance of the criticisms. Knowing this, many people become fearful that they too will be labeled "anti-Semitic" if they question the wisdom of Israeli policies or if they seek to organize politically to challenge those policies. (40)

Another example of Jewish opinion that is critical of Israel is an Open Letter signed by 375 Jewish peace activists in defense of Hermann Dierkes, a trade unionist and leader of the Left Party (Die Linke) in the German city of Duisburg. The opening statement of the letter reads: "We are peace activists of Jewish background. Some of us typically identify in this way others of us do not. But we all object to those who claim to speak for all Jews or who use charges of anti-Semitism to attempt to squelch legitimate dissent." (42)

There is clear evidence that the American Jewish community is not of one mind on the issue of Zionism, Israel, and America's relationship with the Jewish state. The formation in 2008 of J Street, a new pro-Israel lobby group, is one example of divergent American Jewish opinion. The group defines itself as Zionist but "with progressive views" on Israel. In particular, it opposes the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and supports a two-state solution. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and executive director of J Street, does not accept the "public harmony" dictum on Israel. In an interview published in the New York Times, Ben-Ami explained: "We're trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don't have to be noncritical. You don't have to adopt the party line. It's not, 'Israel, right or wrong."' (43)

Since the organization was founded, J Street's budget has doubled, to $3 million. Its lobbying staff has also doubled, to six. It is tiny compared with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose "lobbying prowess is a matter of Washington legend." (44) J Street is still not much more than "an Internet presence, launching volleys of e-mail messages from the netroots, as it is a shoe-leather operation." (45) However, with President Obama committed to moving the Israel-Palestinian peace process forward, over the strenuous objections of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government, the organization sees a role for itself. To quote the New York Times article, "on these issues, which pose a difficult quandary for the mainstream [American Jewish] groups, J Street knows exactly where it stands 'Our No. 1 agenda item,' Ben-Ami said . 'is to do whatever we can in Congress to act as the president's blocking back.'" (46)


There is no rational basis for the argument that criticism of the state of Israel and the political ideology of Zionism is anti-Semitic, just as it makes no sense to consider criticizing apartheid South Africa's racist policies toward blacks as evidence of racism toward whites, or that criticism of Nazi policies toward the Jews should not be allowed because it is evidence of racism against Germans.

Similarly, if you criticize American policy toward the Iraq war and torture at Abu Ghraib Prison, or the Jim Crow laws that institutionalized discrimination against blacks in the southern states, (47) that you are racist against Americans. This argument is obviously absurd and should not even require a response.

In a free society, one has a basic right to evaluate and criticize a political ideology or movement and to review and criticize a state's policies. A critique should be evaluated on the basis of the truthfulness of the facts and the logic of the arguments presented. One also has a right to present alternative facts and engage in debate. When one side wants to avoid debate, divert the discussion or suppress the topic and launches personal attacks against its opponents, it is almost certain that it is hiding some uncomfortable truths.

Palestinians are, however, charged with anti-Semitism if they complain about the destruction of 531 of their villages the ethnic cleansing of their cities (48) the loss of their country and rights to citizenship, and then not being allowed to return to their homes in contravention of international law or the discriminatory policies of the Jewish National Fund (49) the inequities of the Jewish Law of Return (50) house demolitions (51) discrimination against Muslims and Christian Palestinians (52) illegal Jewish-only settlements (53) the more than 600 Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank (54) the 42 years of military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank the program of targeted assassinations (55) the well-documented cases of torture (56) the imprisonment of more than 11,000 Palestinians, including women and children, many held without charge under what is called Administrative Detention (57) or the recent slaughter in Gaza. (58)


The Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims have many legitimate reasons to criticize the policies and actions of the Jewish state. No state is above criticism, particularly not a state that aggressively and repeatedly at tacks its neighbors, discriminates against its Arab population and is slowly but systematically ethnically cleansing its territory.

There is also much to criticize in the Arab world, but it would be absurd to say that one cannot criticize Saudi Arabia for its treatment of women or its human-rights record, because such criticism is racist against Arabs or is anti-Muslim. A person who made such an argument would be laughed at. No one would take him or the argument seriously.

Yet the allegation of anti-Semitism is a frequent smear tactic that has been used against non-Jewish individuals who have publicly supported Palestinian human rights. (59)

To conclude, here is what Ran HaCohen, an Israeli academic, has to say about using anti-Semitism as a means of silencing criticism of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.

(1) Palestinians, and for that matter everyone else, have every right to criticize the political ideology of Zionism and the policies of the state of Israel, but for the purposes of this article I am focusing almost exclusively on Jewish critics. I am solely responsible for any errors and omissions. An earlier version of this article was published by Dissident Voice on September 1, 2009, and republished in Occupation Magazine on September 5, 2009. The Canadian Jewish Outlook Society, which publishes Outlook, has also accepted the short version for publication.

(2) Lasse Wilhelmson, "'Anti-Semitism' as a Political Weapon," Palestine Remembered, posted May 25, 2005.

(4) Joel Beinin, "Silencing Critics Not Way to Middle East Peace," San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2007.

(5) Dorothy Zellner, "Why It Is Essential for Jews to Speak Out as Jews, on Israel," www.mondoweiss.net, August 23, 2009.

(6) Norman Solomon, "Gag and Smear: The Misuses of Anti-Semitism," www.counterpunch.org, May 8, 2006.

(8) Michael Neumann, "Anti-Semitism: A Minor Problem, Overblown: Criticism of Israel--and Its Jewish Supporters--Is Not Anti-Semitism," Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2003.

(9) George Soros, "On Israel, America and AIPAC," The New York Review of Books, Vol. 54, No. 6, April 12, 2007.

(10) Ben Ehrenreich, "Zionism Is the Problem: The Zionist Ideal of a Jewish State Is Keeping Israelis and Palestinians from Living in Peace," Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2009.

(11) UN General Assembly Resolution 60/145.

(12) See Annex V: Vote on Palestinian Self-Determination: Draft Resolution III on the Right of the Palestinian People to Self-determination (document A/61/442) held on December 19, 2006.

(13) See, for example, "Israel and the Occupied Territories: Israel Must Put an Immediate End to the Policy and Practice of Assassinations," Amnesty International Index Number: MDE 15/056/2003, 3 July 2003 "Israel/ Occupied Palestinian Territories: Impunity for War Crimes in Gaza and Southern Israel Recipe for Further Civilian Suffering," Amnesty International, July 2, 2009 "Israeli Troops Reveal Gaza Abuses," Amnesty International, January 22, 2009 "Israel Used White Phosphorus in Gaza Civilian Areas," Amnesty International, January 19, 2009. "Israel Cuts Electricity and Food Supplies to Gaza," Amnesty International, January 21, 2008. The Report states: "Israel has cut off the supply of electricity, fuel and humanitarian assistance to the population of Gaza, a move Amnesty International has condemned as collective punishment."

(14) See for example, "Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military's Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing," Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2005 see also "Israel: Investigate 'White Flag' Shootings of Gaza Civilians: Internal Israeli Military Investigations Inadequate," Human Rights Watch, August 13, 2009 and "False Allegations about Human Rights Watch's Latest Gaza Report, Human Rights Watch, August 14, 2009. To quote the Report, "Instead of seriously addressing the findings of human rights groups in Gaza, the Israeli government is waging a propaganda war against them. If the Israeli government wants to silence critics, it should fully investigate allegations of wrongdoing and take action to end the abuses." lain Levine, program director at Human Rights Watch.

(15) See for example, "Dignity Denied in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," International Committee of the Red Cross, November 2007 Reuters, "Red Cross: Israel Breaking Int'l Law, Letting Children Starve in Gaza," Haaretz, January 8, 2009.

(16) See for example "UN Rights Chief Criticises Israel," Irish Times, August 14, 2009 Associated Press, "UN Investigator 'Shocked' by Scale of Destruction in Gaza," Haaretz, June 4, 2009 UN Press Release: "UN Fact Finding Mission Finds Strong Evidence of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Committed During the Gaza Conflict Calls for End to Impunity," September 15, 2009.

(17) See, "One Big Prison: Freedom of Movement to and from the Gaza Strip on the Eve of the Disengagement Plan, B'Tselem, March, 2005 and "Utterly Forbidden: The Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees," B'Tselem, April 2007. "Beating & Abuse: B'Tselem and ACRI Demand Investigation of Officers Who Testified to a Policy of Routine Use of Violence Against Palestinian Civilians," B'Tselem, May 21, 2009.

(18) David Forman, "Counterpoint: Rabbis for Human Rights the 20th anniversary," The Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2008 Yaheli Moran Zelikovich, "Rabbis Call for Immediate Truce in Gaza," www.ynetnews.com, January 13, 2009 by Tal Rabinovsky, "Authors Oz, Grossman Sign Petition Calling for External Probe of Gaza Op: Following publication of soldiers' testimonies according to which commanders in Gaza told them to shoot first and worry later, Rabbis for Human Rights calls on Netanyahu, Barak to order non-military probe of IDF offensive," www.ynetnews.com, July 22, 2009. Rabbis for Human Rights web site is www.rhr.org.il/index.php?language'en

(19) "Ticking Bombs' Testimonies of Torture Victims in Israel," Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, May 2007.

(20) See, for example, Uri Blau, "IDF Killed Wanted Palestinians despite Court Guidelines, Documents Show," Haaretz, November 26, 2008 Tomer Zarchin, "Abbas: Israel must free all 11,000 Palestinian Prisoners," Haaretz, December 15, 2008 Gush Shalom, "A Government, Stained with Blood, Refuses to Release Prisoners with Blood on Their Hands," Occupation Magazine, March 17, 2009 Uri Blau, "Dead Palestinian Babies and Bombed Mosques--IDF Fashion 2009," Haaretz, March 20, 2009 Avi Issacharoff, "88% of Prisoners in Palestinian Jails being Held without Trial," Haaretz, May 12, 2009 Mervav Yudilovitch, "Roger Waters Slams Israeli Occupation," www.ynetnews.com, June 3, 2009 Avi Issacharoff and Unshell Pfeffer, "Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Protester at Na'alin Rally," Haaretz, June 6, 2009.

(21) For one example of a Jewish critique of this viewpoint, see Ran HaCohen, "Abe Foxman's Anti-Semitic Pandemic," www.antiwar.com, February 17, 2009.

(22) The first British governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs, reported that virtually all indigenous Palestinian Jews were adamantly opposed to European political Zionism. Ronald Storrs, Orientations (Nicholson and Watson, 1945), p. 340, cited in Henry Cattan, The Palestine Question, ( Croom Helm, 1988), p. 34 See also Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972), pp. 407 and 409.

(23) See Uri Davis, Citizenship and the State: A Comparative Study of Citizenship Legislation in Israel Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon (Ithaca Press, 1997), pp. 83-113.

(24) Ibid., pp. 39-65. See also Amos Schocken, "Citizenship Law Makes Israel an Apartheid State," Haaretz, June 26, 2007 see also Moshe Gorali, "So This Jew, Arab, Georgian and Samaritan Go to Court. The state Denies There Is Any Such Nationality as Israeli," Haaretz, December 28, 2003 also see Marjorie Arsht, "Who and What Are the Jews?" Issues, Winter 2005.

(25) See Hanna Braun, "A Basic History of Zionism and Its Relation to Judaism," www.informationclearinghouse.info, April 21, 2009.

(26) Alfred M. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? (North American, 1982), pp. 768-769.

(27) "Jewish Anti-Zionist Petition Presented to President Wilson in 1919," American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism Report, No. 52, p. 138. The text of the statement is reproduced here at pp. 135-139.

(28) See "SHIT LIST . 7000+ Self-Hating Israel-Threatening Jews. Self-hating, Israel-Threatening, Israel-Bashing Jews are a threat to Israel. This page lists 8,000+ of the worst offenders. Yes, a few of these Self-Hating and/ or Israel-Threatening Jews may be well-intentioned but grossly misinformed . call it brainwashed by wave after wave of anti-Israel propaganda" (www.masada2000.org/shit-list.html). This site is no longer available on the internet. However, the author has a copy of the list. It was a most valuable resource for critics of Israel's policies.

(29) Bruce Jackson, "An Honor Roll of Self-hating Jews: Making the Shit List," www.counterpunch.org, January 10-11, 2004. Jackson, the SUNY distinguished professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture at the State University of New York at Buffalo, edits the web journal www.Buffaloreport.com. His most recent book is Emile de Antonio in Buffalo (Center Working Papers). Jackson is also a contributor to The Politics of Anti-Semitism, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Claire (CounterPuneh, 2003)

(30) Quoted in, Allan C. Brownfeld, editor, "Those Charging Jewish Critics of Israel with Aiding 'Anti-Semitism' Are Accused of Trying to Stifle Free and Open Debate," Special Interest Report, March-April 2007.

(31) See Patricia Cohen, "Essay Linking Liberal Jews and Anti-Semitism Sparks a Furor," the New York Times, January 31, 2007. For a view supporting Rosenfeld's position see Alvin H. Rosenfeld, "Rosenfeld Is Right: 'Progressive' Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism," American Jewish Committee, 2007. Reviewed by Shalom Freedman in the Jewish Political Studies' Review, March 2007, Vol 19: pp. 1-2 (Spring 2007).

(33) "Infamy," Forward editorial, February 1, 2007.

(37) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Great Britain's Chief Orthodox Rabbi. See Jonathan Freedland, "Prophet of Hope," The Guardian, August 27, 2002.

(38) Lawrence Davidson, "The Zionist Attack on Jewish Values," Issues, Winter 2009.

(39) "Israel and the Jews: Diaspora Blues," The Economist, January 13, 2007, cited in Allan C. Brownfeld, "Jews Should Join the Debate about Israel, Not Just Defend It, Declares The Economist," Special Interest Report, January-February 2007.

(40) Rabbi Michael Lerner, "There Is No New Anti-Semitism," Baltimore Chronicle, February 2, 2007.

(42) "On Anti-Semitism, Boycotts, and the Case of Hermann Dierkes: An Open Letter from Jewish Peace Activists," www.zmag.org, March 30, 2009.

(43) James Traub, "The New Israel Lobby," The New York Times, September 13, 2009.

(47) To quote American Jewish academic Tema Okun on the comparison of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to the racist Jim Crow laws in the United States: "I grew up as a white girl in the Jim Crow South and I have spent my adult life in the study of racism what I see when I go to Palestine is Jim Crow on steroids. "A Jewish state--or Jewish values?" www.mondoweiss.net, July 21, 2009.

(48) See Ran Greenstein, "Dispossession in Palestine during the British Mandate Period," Genealogies of Conflict: Class, Identity and State in Palestine/Israel and South Africa (Wesleyan University Press, 1995) Dominique Vidal, "Ten Years of Research into the 1947-49 War: The Expulsion of the Palestinians Re-examined," Le Monde diplomatique, December, 1997 see also Avi Shlaim, "The Debate About 1948" in Ilan Pappe (editor), The Israel/Palestine Question: Rewriting Histories (Routledge, 1999) Eitan Bronstein, "The Nakba--an Event that Did Not Occur (Although It Had to Occur)," 2004 posted by Nakba, In Hebrew, on December 14, 2005," www.palestineremembered.com and also, Shlomo Ben-Ami, "A War to Start All Wars: Will Israel Ever Seal the Victory of 1948?" Foreign Affairs, September/October 2008. Shlomo Ben-Ami was Israel's foreign minister in 2000-2001. He is vice president of the Toledo International Center for Peace, in Spain, and the author of Sears of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy Randall Kuhn, "When Israel Expelled Palestinians," The Washington Times, January 14, 2009 and Carol Cook "The Nakba," Haaretz, July 5, 2009.

(49) Nathaniel Popper, "In Watershed case, Israel Deems Land-use Rules of Zionist Icon 'Discriminatory': JNF Scored Over Jews-only Sales," The Forward, February 4, 2005 Akiva Eldar, "Zionist Groups Facing Legal Problems," The Forward, March 18, 2005 Uri Avnery, "Abolish the JNF," Gush Shalom, April 21, 2007 see also Meron Benvenisti, "With All Due Respect for the 'Blue Box,'" Haaretz, May 29, 2007 Richard Silverstein, "The 'Right' to Discriminate: A New Bill in the Knesset Seeks to Perpetuate Discrimination against Israel's Arab Citizens," The Guardian, July 27, 2007 Leonard Fein, "No You May Not Live in Our Midst," Forward, August 10, 2007 Erik Schechter, "Say Goodbye to the JNF," The Jerusalem Post, August 5, 2007 Avi Kleinberg, "Sale of JNF Land to Jews Only Is Blatant Discrimination That Must Be Stopped," www.ynetnews.com, September 26, 2007 Dror Etkes, "JNF's Blatant Hypocrisy: Why Can JNF Land Be Leased to Non-Jewish Immigrants, But Not to Arabs?" www.ynetnews.com, October 4, 2007. Also see Walter Lehn and Uri Davis, The Jewish National Fund (Kegan Paul International, 1988) and Edward C. Corrigan, "The JNF: Charitable Tax Status for Racism?" Outlook, September/October, 2008, pp. 19 and 39. This magazine is published by The Canadian Jewish Outlook Society.

(50) See Ofer Kasif, "Three Short Remarks on Nazism, Racism, and the Law of Return," Hagada Hasmalit, January 31, 2008.

(51) Meir Margalit, Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, 2007 Annual Report on House Demolitions, March 12, 2008. According to this report, 1,045 Palestinian homes were demolished in 2007. ICAHD estimates that 24,145 Palestinian houses have been demolished in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza since 1967. The web site for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is www.icahd.org/eng/. See also Tomer Zarchin, "Former Chief Justice Barak Regrets House Demolitions," Haaretz, May 28, 2009.

(52) Meron Benvenisti, "A Ridiculous War Against the Gaps," Haaretz, June 29, 2006 also see "Tibi: Will Police Arrest Jews for Eating on Ramadan?" www.JPost.com staff, The Jerusalem Post, October 14, 2008. Here a Muslim Israeli Arab was driving his car through a Jewish neighborhood in the mixed Arab Jewish city of Acre, and religious Jews started rioting. The driver was arrested following a police investigation. He is suspected of driving dangerously and insulting religion. He was on his way to pick up his daughter. On the benefits bestowed on individuals who serve in the "Jewish State's" army, in which the vast majority of Christian and Muslim Israeli Arabs do not serve, see Deborah Howell, "Was 'Excluded' the Wrong Word?" The Washington Post, April 20, 2008 B06.

(53) Roi Maor and Dror Etkes, "An Infrastructure of Jewish Terror," Haaretz, September 13, 2009.

The "Light" of Mashiach Courtesy of the Koreas Leaving the Twilight Zone

For several years now, basically covering the years of this blog's lifespan, I have written several posts about North and South Korea being in the Twilight Zone of our halakhic international dateline and the End of Days implications of their placement there. As Rav Levi Sa'adia Nachmani zt"l said years ago. that the Great light of Mashiach will come from the following two cryptic verses from Parshat Ha'Azinu (Devarim 32:21-22):

כא הֵם קִנְאוּנִי בְלֹא-אֵל, <ר>כִּעֲסוּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶם <ס>וַאֲנִי אַקְנִיאֵם בְּלֹא-עָם, <ר>בְּגוֹי נָבָל אַכְעִיסֵם. <ס>21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god ( atheism ) they have provoked Me with their vanities (nonsensical pursuits ) and I will rouse them to jealousy with a non-people ( the PaLeStinians who are not a nation, just an Arab collection of Squatters from Jordan and Egypt since the P(h).L.S(h). root in Hebrew means "to squat on someone else's land" This is true in all Semitic languages by the way. The derogatory name for Ethiopian Jews in the Amharic language with the same P(h).L.S(h). root, given them by Ethiopian Xtians, was FaLaShah or Squatters in their midst. ) I will provoke them with a vile nation ( Tzarfat or France ).
כב כִּי-אֵשׁ קָדְחָה בְאַפִּי, <ר>וַתִּיקַד עַד-שְׁאוֹל תַּחְתִּית <ס>וַתֹּאכַל אֶרֶץ וִיבֻלָהּ, <ר>וַתְּלַהֵט מוֹסְדֵי הָרִים. <ס>22 For a fire (a nuclear blast) is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world (She'ol or Seoul, South Korea), and devoureth the earth with her produce, and setteth ablaze the foundations of the mountains.

Now Rav Nachmani seemed to insinuate that the North Korean nuclear program MAY first be used against Seoul, South Korea or against Japan or even against the American Pacific Coast, but its final target address would at least be an attempt to nuke Eretz Yisrael. So over the course of the past week we see this, lo and behold, Israel had to bomb a convoy of hi tech missiles from North Korea that were being transported in Syria to Hezbollah! So if the missile and high grade fissionable uranium and plutonium technology, which is being produced in North Korea and disbursed to their Axis of Evil ally in Persia, is now being disbursed to Syria and Hezbollah, we are right now not far away from at least an attempt to actualize Rav Levi Nachmani's nightmare scenario. These are telling moments and telling times while our Supreme Court focuses its evil efforts on the destruction of Jewish life in Yesha, the rest of the world makes no distinctions and focuses in on murdering all of us. But alas they will not succeed. G-d is overseeing this last and final ingathering of exiles which began in earnest in several stages over the last 100 years (1917, 1948, 1967, 1990-1991). The last one was predicted by the Vilna Gaon. The final push to ingather the exiles of Israel would take place 3/4 of the way through the 6th Millennium in the years 5750 and 5751 (1990- 1991) to fulfill the verse in Yeshayahu 27:13 that with the Teki'ah blast of a Great Shofar, the Lost ones in the Land of Ashur and the castaways in the Land of Egypt would come on Aliyah. Since the Lost ones in Ashur were at least in part absorbed by the Khazar tribe, the tenth son of Togarmah (the Turks), who migrated north to form their 500 year kingdom between the Black and Caspian Seas and since the Khazar kingdom did convert en masse to Judaism because of the convincing arguments of Rav Yehudah Almangari (recorded in the Kuzari by Yehudah HaLeivi), and since Khazaria was destroyed by Russia around the year 1240ce dispersing Jews northward into the Pale of Settlement in Russia and the Ukraine mixing in with Ashkenzaic Jews migrating eastward, the ingathering of Russian Jewry which began in 1990 and the ingathering of the castaways from Egypt, Ethiopian Jewry, in Operation Shlomo and Sheba in 1991 were a tremendous fulfillment of this incredible prophesy, right on schedule according to the Vilna Gaon. This ingathering began the last 250 years BEFORE Yom sheKulo Shabbat too. According to Sefer HaLeshem, that final ingathering would take a maximum of 40 years so that Techiyah HaMeitim could begin by the year 5790, 40 years after 5750.

In order to continue this post, though, we need to pause for review of the following three posts that I wrote many years ago on this blog.

1. The Koreas (Are) In the Twilight Zone from December 31, 2005
2. North Korea is Emerging from the Twilight Zone from September 17, 2007
3. The Korean Peninsula is Inching Closer to World War from March 31, 2013

Also ponder the following from the Zohar VaEira 32a:

Zohar 32a continued, after discussing how the Children of Yishmael were given merit for 1300 years, 400 years after the last Tanna, Yehudah HaNassi, wrote down the Mishneh because of the emptiness of Eretz Yisrael.

The Case Against The Jews — By a Jew

“You have not begun to appreciate the real depth of our guilt. We are intruders. We are disturbers. We are subverters. We have taken your natural world, your ideals, your destiny, and played havoc with them. We have been at the bottom not merely of the latest great war but of nearly all your wars, not only of the Russian but of every other major revolution in your history. We have brought discord and confusion and frustration into your personal and public life. We are still doing it. No one can tell how long we shall go on doing it.”
— Marcus Eli Ravage, 1928

The following 2500-word article, originally entitled A Real Case Against the Jews, was written by an American Jew, Marcus Eli Ravage. It was published first in The Century Magazine, January 1928, Volume 115, Number 3, pages 346-350. For more details about this controversial article and its author, see here.

OF COURSE, you do resent us. It is no good telling me you don’t. So let us not waste any time on denials and alibis. You know you do, and I know it, and we understand each other. To be sure, some of your best friends are Jews, and all that. I have heard that before once or twice, I think. And I know, too, that you do not include me personally—“me” being any particular individual Jew—when you fling out at us in your wholesale fashion, because I am, well, so different, don’t you know, almost as good as one of yourselves.

That little exemption does not, somehow, move me to gratitude but never mind that now. It is the aggressive, climbing, pushing, materialistic sort you dislike—those, in a word, who remind you so much of your own up-and-coming brethren. We understand each other perfectly. I don’t hold it against you.

Bless my soul, I do not blame anybody for disliking anybody. The thing that intrigues me about this anti-Jewish business, as you play at it, is your total lack of grit. You are so indirect and roundabout with it, you make such transparent excuses, you seem to be suffering from self-consciousness so horribly, that if the performance were not grotesque, it would be irritating.

It is not as if you were amateurs: you have been at it for over fifteen centuries. Yet watching you and hearing your childish pretexts, one might get the impression that you did not know yourselves what it is all about. You resent us, but you cannot clearly say why. You think up a new excuse—a “reason” is what you call it—every other day. You have been piling up justifications for yourselves these many hundreds of years and each new invention is more laughable than the last and each new excuse contradicts and annihilates the last.

Not so many years ago I used to hear that we were money-grubbers and commercial materialists now the complaint is being whispered around that no art and no profession is safe against Jewish invasion. We are, if you are to be believed, at once clannish and exclusive and unassimilable because we won’t intermarry with you, and we are also climbers and pushers and a menace to your racial integrity. Our standard of living is so low that we create your slums and sweated industries, and so high that we crowd you out of your best residential sections. We shirk our patriotic duty in wartime because we are pacifists by nature and tradition, and we are the arch-plotters of universal wars and the chief beneficiaries of those wars (See “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”).

We are at once the founders and leading adherents of capitalism and the chief perpetrators of the rebellion against capitalism. Surely, history has nothing like us for versatility! And, oh! I almost forgot the reason of reasons. We are the stiff-necked people who never accepted Christianity, and we are the criminal people who crucified its founder. But I can tell you, you are self-deceivers. You lack either the self-knowledge or the mettle to face the facts squarely and own up to the truth. You resent the Jew not because, as some of you seem to think, he crucified Jesus but because he gave him birth. Your real quarrel with us is not that we have rejected Christianity but that we have imposed it upon you!

Your loose, contradictory charges against us are not a patch on the blackness of our proved historic offense. You accuse us of stirring up revolution in Moscow. Suppose we admit the charge. What of it? Compared with what Paul the Jew of Tarsus accomplished in Rome, the Russian upheaval is a mere street brawl. You make much noise and fury about the undue Jewish influence in your theaters and movie palaces. Very good granted your complaint is well-founded. But what is that compared to our staggering influence in your churches, your schools, your laws and your governments, and the very thoughts you think every day? A clumsy Russian forges a set of papers and publishes them in a book called “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which shows that we plotted to bring on the late World War. You believe that book.

All right. For the sake of argument we will underwrite every word of it. It is genuine and authentic. But what is that beside the unquestionable historical conspiracy which we have carried out, which we have never denied because you never had the courage to charge us with it, and of which the full record is extant for anybody to read? If you really are serious when you talk of Jewish plots, may I not direct your attention to one worth talking about?

What use is it wasting words on the alleged control of your public opinion by Jewish financiers, newspaper owners and movie magnates, when you might as well justly accuse us of the proved control of your whole civilization by the Jewish Gospels? You have not begun to appreciate the real depth of our guilt.

We are intruders. We are disturbers. We are subverters. We have taken your natural world, your ideals, your destiny, and played havoc with them. We have been at the bottom not merely of the latest great war but of nearly all your wars, not only of the Russian but of every other major revolution in your history. We have brought discord and confusion and frustration into your personal and public life. We are still doing it. No one can tell how long we shall go on doing it.

Look back a little and see what has happened. Nineteen hundred years ago you were an innocent, care-free, pagan race. You worshiped countless gods and goddesses, the spirits of the air, of the running streams and of the woodland. You took unblushing pride in the glory of your naked bodies. You carved images of your gods and of the tantalizing human figure. You delighted in the combats of the field, the arena and the battle-ground. War and slavery were fixed institutions in your systems. Disporting yourselves on the hillsides and in the valleys of the great outdoors, you took to speculating on the wonder and mystery of life and laid the foundations of natural science and philosophy. Yours was a noble, sensual culture, unirked by the prickings of a social conscience or by any sentimental questionings about human equality.

Who knows what great and glorious destiny might have been yours if we had left you alone?

But we did not leave you alone. We took you in hand and pulled down the beautiful and generous structure you had reared, and changed the whole course of your history.

We conquered you as no empire of yours ever subjugated Africa or Asia. And we did it all without armies, without bullets, without blood or turmoil, without force of any kind. We did it solely by the irresistible might of our spirit, with ideas, with propaganda. We made you the willing and unconscious bearers of our mission to the whole world, to the barbarous races of the earth, to the countless unborn generations.

Without fully understanding what we were doing to you, you became the agents at large of our racial tradition, carrying our gospel to the unexplored ends of the earth. Our tribal customs have become the core of your moral code. Our tribal laws have furnished the basic groundwork of all your august constitutions and legal systems. Our legends and our folk tales are the sacred lore which you croon to your infants. Our poets have filled your hymnals and your prayer books. Our national history has become an indispensable part of your pastors and priests and scholars. Our kings, our statesmen, our prophets, our warriors are your heroes.

Our ancient little country is your Holy Land. Our national literature is your Holy Bible.

What our people thought and taught has become inextricably woven into your very speech and tradition, until no one among you can be called educated who is not familiar with our racial heritage. Jewish artisans and Jewish fishermen are your teachers and your saints, with countless statues carved in their image and innumerable cathedrals raised to their memories.

A Jewish maiden is your ideal of womanhood. A Jewish rebel-prophet is the central figure in your religious worship.


Pietà of Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1440

We have pulled down your idols, cast aside your racial inheritance, and substituted for them our God and our traditions. No conquest in history can even remotely compare with this clean sweep of our conquest over you. How did we do it? Almost by accident.

Two thousand years ago nearly, in far-off Palestine, our religion had fallen into decay and materialism. Money-changers were in possession of the temple. Degenerate, selfish priests mulcted our people and grew fat. Then a young patriot-idealist arose and went about the land calling for a revival of faith. He had no thought of setting up a new church. Like all the prophets before him, his only aim was to purify and revitalize the old creed. He attacked the priests and drove the money-changers from the temple. This brought him into conflict with the established order and its supporting pillars. The Roman authorities, who were in occupation of the country, fearing his revolutionary agitation as a political effort to oust them, arrested him, tried him and condemned him to death by crucifixion, a common form of execution at that time.

The followers of Jesus of Nazareth, mainly slaves and poor workmen, in their bereavement and disappointment, turned away from the world and formed themselves into a brotherhood of pacifist non-resisters, sharing the memory of their crucified leader and living together communistically.

They were merely a new sect in Judea, without power or consequence, neither the first nor the last. Only after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans did the new creed come into prominence. Then a patriotic Jew named Paul or Saul conceived the idea of humbling the Roman power by destroying the morale or its soldiery with the doctrines of love and non-resistance preached by the little sect of Jewish Christians. He became the Apostle to the Gentiles, he who hitherto had been one of the most active persecutors of the band. And so well did Paul do his work that within four centuries the great empire which had subjugated Palestine along with half of the world, was a heap of ruins. And the law which went forth from Zion became the official religion of Rome.

This was the beginning of our dominance in your world. But it was only a beginning.

From this time forth your history is little more than a struggle for mastery between your own old pagan spirit and our Jewish spirit. Half your wars, great and little, are religious wars, fought over the interpretation of one thing or another in our teachings.

You no sooner broke free from your primitive religious simplicity and attempted the practice of the pagan Roman learning than Luther armed with our gospels arose to down you and enthrone our heritage. Take the three principal revolutions in modern times—the French, the American and the Russian. What are they but the triumph of the Jewish idea of social, political and economic justice? And the end is still a long way off. We still dominate you. At this very moment your churches are torn asunder by a civil war between Fundamentalists and Modernists, that is to say between those who cling to our teachings and traditions literally and those who are striving by slow steps to dispossess us.

We have put a clog upon your progress. We have imposed upon you an alien book and an alien faith which you cannot swallow or digest, which is at cross-purposes with your native spirit, which keeps you everlastingly ill-at-ease, and which you lack the spirit either to reject or to accept in full.

In full, of course, you never have accepted our Christian teachings. In your hearts you still are pagans.

You still love war and graven images and strife. You still take pride in the glory of the nude human figure. Your social conscience, in spite of all democracy and all your social revolutions, is still a pitifully imperfect thing. We have merely divided your soul, confused your impulses, paralyzed your desires.

In the midst of battle you are obliged to kneel down to him who commanded you to turn the other cheek, who said “Resist not evil” and “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

In your lust for gain you are suddenly disturbed by a memory from your Sunday-school days about taking no thought for the morrow.

In your industrial struggles, when you would smash a strike without compunction, you are suddenly reminded that the poor are blessed and that men are brothers in the Fatherhood of the Lord.

And as you are about to yield to temptation, your Jewish training puts a deterrent hand on your shoulder and dashes the brimming cup from your lips.

You Christians have never become Christianized. To that extent we have failed with you. But we have forever spoiled the fun of paganism for you!

So why should you not resent us?

If we were in your place, we should probably dislike you more cordially than you do us. But we should make no bones about telling you why. We would get straight to the point. We would contemplate this confused, ineffectual muddle we call civilization, this half-Christian half-pagan medley, and—were our places reversed—we would say to you point-blank:

“For this mess, thank you! And to your prophets and to your Bible!”

My Mixed Jewish-Arab Identity

My father was a Christian Arab, from a town in northern Israel called Rameh.

He met my mother, an American Jew who had made aliyah in the 1980s. He wanted so much to marry her, but she wasn&rsquot sure. When she got sick and ended up in the hospital, he rode on a bus for hours each day to visit her.

They got married and moved to southern Israel. My father&rsquos Arab aunt came to live with them, to teach my mother how to cook. In time, my brother and sister were born.

When my mother was pregnant with me, our family moved to Colorado. My father was an engineer and was having trouble finding work in Israel.

Though my father grew up as a religious Christian (Greek Orthodox), after meeting my mom he became interested in Judaism. Once they moved to America, and he was far from his close-knit Arab family of six siblings, he felt the freedom to embark on a serious spiritual search.

Being Israeli, he was able to read the Bible in the original Hebrew, and he discovered major misinterpretations in the Christian translation. He was a truth seeker, and so he contacted the local Orthodox Beit Din to begin a conversion process.

About a year later, my father became a Jew. And my family was fully observant of Shabbat, kosher, the whole shebang.

My father stayed in close contact with his Arab family. When I was three years old, he took me to Israel for the wedding of his younger sister, my aunt.

That was a very difficult visit for him. He was straddling two worlds &ndash an observant Jew in America, while reuniting with his beloved Arab family in Israel.

The emotional struggle was magnified by the fact that he never told his family he&rsquod converted.

After his sister&rsquos wedding, shortly after we returned to Colorado, my father died. They say that the emotional strain was simply too much for him to bear.

Within a few years, my mother remarried. Our family began to make changes in our Jewish observance. I was taken out of Jewish day school and sent to public school. All my new friends were watching cartoons on Saturday morning and eating pepperoni pizza. Before long, our family was no longer strictly observing Shabbat and our standards of kashrut declined &ndash a little at first, and then much more.

After my bar mitzvah, I never saw the inside of a synagogue for the next five years.

After high school I was hit with some challenges and really lost my way. I got a tattoo on my forearm &ndash spelling out my name in Arabic letters. (see photo below)

I tried college but didn&rsquot know what I wanted to do with my life. I made poor choices, got into trouble, and spent eight months crashing on my friend&rsquos couch and eating corn out of a can.

Meanwhile, my sister had become part of the Aish community in Los Angeles. In time, she came back to full Jewish observance.

Slowly I got back on track. I rented a room with a Jewish family. I joined them for Shabbat dinners and for services at Aish in Denver.

After a few months, I was ready to discover the real me. I knew that the best place to start was in Israel. So I called my sister and she put me in touch with a philanthropist in LA who was willing to pay for my trip.

A few weeks after arriving in Israel, I went for a long walk on Shabbat afternoon and thought about how &ndash having been dealt a difficult hand in life &ndash I&rsquove been carrying a lot of anger around. I knew that in order to move forward, I needed to let that anger go.

The classes I took at Aish Jerusalem helped me realize: Everything I&rsquove been through has brought me to where I am right now.

There&rsquos a reason for it all.

Today I am learning in yeshiva, fully embracing my life. It&rsquos an incredible experience to be studying across from the Western Wall, at the center of history. The Torah learning is intellectually fascinating and emotionally grounding. And the guys are top-notch &ndash bright idealists willing to take responsibility for themselves and for the world.

And yet a part of me is not yet complete.

There is an ever-present yearning to connect with my father, whom I never knew, and whom I long to know about.

So I&rsquove been spending time at the village in northern Israel, getting to know my aunts and uncles and many, many cousins. They&rsquore amazing people. They are very kind and caring, and go out of the way to help each other. They shower me with love and would do anything for me.

I ask them questions about my father, and look at family photos. I walk the same mountain paths that my father walked.

Being there is my connection to him that I never had.

In many ways, too, I represent their connection to my father. Especially since I look almost exactly like him.

My Arab family is very pro-Israel. My uncle runs a social services organization that serves both Arabs and Jews. My aunt was the first Christian-Arab woman to be elected to the Knesset.

Underlying that support, however, is what they perceive as a social inequality. Municipal services and government allocations seem to be less for the Arab community. As much as Israeli society is sensitive to the plight of being a minority, the reality is that Israeli Arabs are the minority. Christian Arabs have it especially tough &ndash feeling excluded by Muslims because they are Christians, and by Jews because they are Arabs.

Yet they still feel 100% &ldquoIsraeli.&rdquo My cousins are highly integrated into the work force and they view their primary identity as Israeli. As Christians, they feel more closely aligned with Judaism than with Islam. In fact, one of my Arab cousins married a Jew.

I am still not comfortable showing my Judaism when I go visit, in terms of praying and wearing a kippah. With the Arab culture being so hospitable, it&rsquos especially challenging for me to keep kosher.

As Israelis, they know all about Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. But it&rsquos still strange for them to see me as a Jew, because in their culture the religious heritage follows the father. They don&rsquot know that my father converted to Judaism, so there&rsquos an underlying question of why I chose my mother&rsquos religion over my father&rsquos religion.

In that way I guess I am following the footsteps of my father &ndash torn between a loyalty to his Arab family and to the Jewish life he so wholly embraced.

My hope is that with time, I&rsquoll have more confidence, and that my Judaism will only enrich the good relationship we have together. And I think I can serve in some way to bridge the gap of understanding between various groups. After all, I've got lots of perspectives: Jewish and Arab, religious and secular, American and Israeli.

The Torah teaches that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I need to take responsibility and make the changes to fix things. In the end, my biggest challenge will be to close the circle of these two lives &ndash Arab and Jew, father and son.

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Comments (71)

(60) Doris Fins, May 13, 2021 4:40 PM

How to embrace being Arabic and Jewish

Excellent article! How wonderful that he got lost but was able to be stable!

(59) Anonymous, July 5, 2019 12:51 AM

An amazing journey. Be safe, be kind

(58) Beatrice, November 21, 2016 8:15 AM

a little different but similar history

i had a non-Jewish father who my mother met in New York. She and her brother and sisters left Orthodox Judaism, as did many people of their generation, so i didn't have much Jewish validation either. It is very rewarding and healing to connect with AISH and Aleph Beta now, even though i am now an old old person., the journey and learning continues. And also-seeing how i was brainwashed over and over by the so-called liberal left. Greetings and thinking of you., blessings.

(57) Anonymous, September 1, 2016 6:10 PM

You Are Jewish.

My friend you are completely Jewish, there is no need to convert

Mikhael, September 9, 2016 4:53 AM

@Anonymous #57 re "You Are Jewish"

You wrote "My friend you are completely Jewish, there is no need to convert"

Dear friend, Please read the essay more carefully, the author is fully aware that he is a Jew. He discussed his late father, Z"L, who was a ger (convert to Judaism), and why his father's extended Arab-Christian family is confused about why he chose his mother's Jewish identity rather than his father's Christian identity (as his father never told his parents that he became Jewish).

(56) Anonymous, March 25, 2014 11:51 PM

"Honesty is the best policy"

Maybe one day this young man will have the courage to tell his dad's family that his father embraced Judaism and converted, living a religious Jewish life. Maybe his Dad's inability to be honest with his family helped to cut his life all too short. As far as the inequality in Israel between Jew and non-Jew Arab is concerned, this is due to the fact that "Pro-Israel" Arabs, for the most part still do not join the IDF or as one Christian Arab, Father Gabriel Nadaf, called it "the University of Israeliness." If Arabs want equality, let them accept equal responsibillity for defending the country that defends THEM.

(55) Ellen, March 25, 2014 11:36 PM

Arab Christians?

It is always interesting to me that Christians in the Middle East, particularly Greek Orthodox or Maronite, identify as "Arab" when in fact the only thing "Arab" about them is the language they speak. The Arabs invaded the rest of the Middle East from Arabia many centuries ago and Islam was forced upon them by the sword, along with the language. Tell me, how many of the indigenous people in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain and the UAE are Greek Orthodox Christians or Maronite? It is a little known fact that even Egypt used to be a Christian country. So when I see Christians identifying as Arab, I have to wonder why they so embrace a culture that has always made them second class citizens, relying on the "good will" of their Moslem neighbors not to kill them. And why they identify the Jews as foreigners and objects of Christian scorn and hatred when their very Lord, Jesus, was not just a Jew but a Judean "Settler."

Anonymous, March 26, 2015 7:54 PM

I'm Arab and Christian

Well, your comment is making me question my ethnic identity.

Anonymous, April 12, 2015 4:50 PM

Do not question your identity

The Arabs as they now call themselves are descendants of many tribes, each with a different name. It is a well known fact that many JEWS too, belonged to tribes. Many were forcibly converted to Islam by Mohammed, and previous to that many of them were brainwashed into converting to Christianity.

It is thus very possible that your ancestors belonged to a converted Jewish tribe.

Edna, April 12, 2015 4:46 PM

Egypt was NEVER a Christian country.

The Ancient Egyotians under Ramses and his descendants prayed to the sun god, and gods who were depicted as animals and birds. This went on until Akhnaten, who believed in one divinity. the God Aten, and built a new capital at Tel el Amarna. This provoked a civil war between the monotheistic followers of Aten, and the priests and followers of Amun Ra. The latter won.

The prince Tutankhaten was brought up by these monks and renamed Tutankhamon. We know him as King Tut.

Eventually the Greeks under Ptolemy(cleopatra was Greek) brought to Egypt their own deities which they incorporated with the Ancient Egyptian gods.

There was a sect who were descendants of the ancient Egyotians, and who were converted to Christianity, and became known as Copts. In Alexandria, these people constantly caused riots, and deadly pogroms, targeting the large Jewish population there, as well as the Greco-Roman community.

Ptolemy had enough of this, and banished them to the desert where the Copts built monasteries, and convents (The opera Thaïs was based on this part of Egyptian history). They still descended on the people of Alexandria, eventually murdering, hacking and burning the body of a much beloved Greco-Roman female philosopher whose sagacity attracted wise people from all over the Mediterranean.

In 650 AD, the Muslim Arab hordes tried to invade Egypt. The Alexandrian JEWS who had enough of the Copts' pogroms, helped the Arab army. The Arabs won, and as a gesture of gratitude the Jews were promised on oath, that they would remain in Egypt for as long as they wished.

Unfortunately, Gamal Abdel Nasser conveniently forgot this oath.

(54) Ra'anan, April 30, 2013 10:06 PM

Tsvi MiSinai's Research Shows MANY Israeli Arabs are really

JEWS! Look him up & read. What would your family do if they found out they were really Jews.

(53) Sarina, March 14, 2013 5:31 AM

Mazaltov to Jake and his Kallah

Mazaltov to Jake and his kallah on their forthcoming marriage in Jerusalem, b'ezrat Hashem.

(52) aline, January 12, 2013 4:10 PM

U r so brave

I was very happy to read your letter. u r so brave. a true jew. Im a jewish Israel tool)

(51) Anonymous, July 10, 2012 11:40 AM

I used to be your babysitter

I have a lot of great memories of your father, I would be happy to share them with you!

(50) Blessing, July 3, 2012 4:35 PM

This made my day

I truly loved reading this testimony. I two come from a mixed heritage and can relate to your story. You seem to have have a balance and I commend that.

(49) Esser Agaroth, July 1, 2012 7:09 PM

Thank-you for sharing your story! :-)

(48) Anonymous, July 1, 2012 7:08 PM

I think that u have an amazing potential to bring ppl together in peace. i wish u lots of luck.

(47) Oshah, July 1, 2012 5:15 PM

You have a true destiny. I beseech you to become a shaliach of good will and mend the broken heart of Israel

(46) Anonymous, June 4, 2012 2:05 PM

Being both of Jewish and Arab culture

I am a Jew of Iraqi and Syrian heritage. My mother speaks Arabic and we grew up with the Arabic language and all its foods and culture. This is our culture too!! Don't feel that you cannot be a Jew and an Arab at the same time, as Jews were in that area for centuries and we are of the same people. So let yourself belong to both without guilt, religion should not enter into it. Respect all religions and keep yours in your soul.

(45) Rita, June 4, 2012 10:31 AM

Lots of people don't feel like they fit in.

What an amazing story. I am so glad you are in Israel, and that you are where you are Mr Halu, I have a good feeling about your future! As I read some of the comments here, they are so loving, and so kind and supportive. God bless you all. There are lots of us in this world who don't feel like we fit in. I imagine that if we polled people it would prove that a majority of us have these feelings. At this point in my life, I say "So what, yes Rita you never fit in. Don't let that stop you from enjoying yourself!" Your story inspires me, and hopefully others will be as well. You can see how much you have touched the others here. Your perspective is unique, and can open doors in the minds of a wider audience. Keep up your good work!

(44) phyllba, June 3, 2012 2:14 PM

In the name of Religion

In every religion there are zealots who do not recognize the harm they do to individuals. In the name of being frum, Jews also can be bigots. We are not immune from bigotry as witness some frum Jews in Israel hurting Africans in Israel.

Anonymous, July 4, 2018 1:19 PM

Not sure what you're referring to

There is still slave trading done by Arabs in Africa. Africans have been treated in a most cruel way and run for their lives for refuge. Sometimes they have been absorbed into Israel when no other land would take them in. Other times Israel has had to be more self preserving in their policies, and it doesn't have to do with the policy makers being more or less outwardly religiously observant or "frum". It has to do with keeping out disease, violence, etc, and being realistic about resources to provide proper refuge as Israel and any country, all of whom need to make immigration policies, do. Remember, it is Arabs who are enslaving and tormenting Africans so they are forced to flee their own African lands that are at the root of this. It is not good Arab Christians like Yaakov's Aunts and Uncles, it is not Jews or frum Jews. The Jews, Noahides and Arab Christian's and other minorities persecuted by muslims in Israel (and Africa) are doing the best they can with One G-d watching over each one's journey. We help each other. We don't understand cruelty against Africans in Darfur, or other such situations, but we pray and help, as G-d's messengers, but imperfect people. Yacov, you are a Jew with a bright future. So many of us have complex upbringings--look at King David's life. He wasn't allowed to eat at the table with his siblings, and was blamed for everything due to confusion about his parents etc. His experience was NECESSARY to develop into someone who could be long of Israel, composer of psalms, forerunner to Moshiach.

Anonymous, July 4, 2018 2:46 PM

Correction in Above Response to Response

I meant King David's unique journey in his complex and somewhat tumultuous family situation, etc. prepared him to be KING of Israel (not "long" of Israel).

(43) Anonymous, April 16, 2011 8:26 PM

Jews and Arabs share similar DNA

I can't understand why Jews and Arabs don't feel like brothers. They share the exact same DNA. What made the difference is that many, but not all, Arabs share some DNA with Africans, about 10-12%, whereas many, but not all, Jews share some DNA with East Asians, about 3%, but not all and about 9% with Europeans. But 88-90% of most Jew's DNA matches with the Middle East, closest with Druze and Cypriots. By the way Cypriots DNA matches with ancient Lebanese/Phonaecians from ancient Lebanon/Syria. And many Palestinians have DNA similar to many Jews, for example the Cohen haplotype and more. Numerous Palestinians are descended from Jews who were converted to Christian and then to Moslem religions in medieval times or between the 2nd and 4th centuries, to Christianity.

(42) Shoshana, January 5, 2011 5:43 PM

Your Moslem-Arab father to anonymous Dec 27

I felt so bad for you when I read you comment. You really had a very difficult childhood. But why do you feel that you don't fit in? Do you know how many Jewish girls are married to Arabs and living in Arab villiages? And they all want get out and many of them are able escape with their children. Why don't you contact Lev L'achim or Yad L'achim and tell them your story? They are experts on helping people of any age to fit in, especially if they had an Arab father. Please give it a try. It's never too late. Anyway, you have nothing to lose. And you might gain a feeling of relief from this burden you've been carrying. With best wishes

(41) Anonymous, December 27, 2010 12:24 PM

My Father the (Moslem) Arab.

My story differs somewhat from Yaakov Halu's. My mother is the daughter of a prominent Jewish Frum South African family. She married and remained with my father a Muslim Arab (Israeli Arab) in his village, a poor Arab Village in the Galilee. Also born of this union were my younger brother and sister. Huge scandal at the time. Made the South African newspapers "bat harav hitchatna le-aravi". Huge family scandal, My maternal Grandmother died of a heart attack as a result a year before i was born. My mothers father came over to Israel together with aunts and uncles to try and persuade her to leave him. Efforts were made to megayer him also to no avail. Rabbis were involved, acrimonius custody battles ensued, against which the three of us were illegally kidnapped and smuggled out of Israel under the guise of being The one Rabbis wife who accompanied us on the plane to South Africa, i was disguised as a 4year old girl, my sister as a little boy to approximate the Rebbetzin's three real children. I was three and a half, my sister, two and my little brother a tender one month old. My mother sought to "repent" for what she had done by thrusting us into ultra frum schools and involving herself and us in the Chabad Community who embraced us along with ,my uncles and aunts with open arms. For those of you who can relate, we were taught to read rashi in yiddish to give u an idea of the level. Mercifully I only learned about my past, signifficantly that my father was a Moslem Arab in Israel when I was about nine. I had to extract this out of my mother like pulling teeth. This was when my shame started. My dirty little "secret". I dealt with this by thrusting myself even deeper into Torah study to an extreme. I memorized pages of Gemara and Mishna and also won the Bible Quiz and Tanya competitions. I am now 38 years old, and a practising attorney by profession. Im no longer frum, but tune into my religion through Hassidic music (mbd etc). Sadly I never have nor will "belong".

sheila, March 22, 2011 3:15 AM

It's a sad story. Many Jews are not frum.You can find spiritual solace in other forms of Judaism. Connect with an exciting and friendly synagogue.You do not have to feel conflicted nor as an outsider.

chaya, March 24, 2011 9:41 AM

I think you know deep down what life you want to live. your father being muslim should have nothing to do with feeling left out. hashem gave you your parents and its up to you to make the best of it.

Leeba, June 3, 2012 8:40 PM

You do belong, to us!

As an Orthodox Jew I say you belong to us. You are without a doubt a Jew and you are welcome with open arms. I feel pain reading your story and I wish there was some way I could heal your heart. Please gain strength in the knowledge that your "brothers" and "sisters" do love you. If you ever need a place to stay in New Jersey, please contact me!

(40) ian senior, December 20, 2010 3:33 AM

my jewishness

for Shoshana My great grand father was a sephardic jew, born in Venezuela of a family that was once the prime Spanish Jewish family. I indeed have other rootings as well, as do many people in Trinidad.As a drop of black ink in milk makes it un -milky, my Jewishness makes me far less un-jewish than several Jewish people who for some justifiable but nevertheless expedient reason, 100% Jewish, claim to be something else. All that came down to our ancestors came to both those of the Mosaic as well as Christian persuasion. I have every respect for your concern as to the well being of Yacov. I am very much aware of the hardships experienced by our, yours and my, ancestors. Nevertheless one must be free to choose the way in which faith allows them to serve the God of Israel . Regards. Ian

(39) Shoshana, December 9, 2010 11:26 AM

to ian senior

First of all, I don't know which part of you is Jewish-if it's your father only, then you are Christian. If you are from a Jewish mother than you are a 郬 Jew who is practicing Christiananity. Now, in answer to your comment "no human people monopolize the truth", for a Jew there is only one truth and that is Judiasm. We are not telling the rest of the world what to do. This truth was handed down to us at the Devine Revelation on Mt. Sinai 3300 years ago. ( By the way, Christianity doesn't deny this Revelation). For a Jew there is nothing more distressful than another Jew choosing another pathway. But I really didn' t want to go into a discussion of this-I just answered so that you shouldn't think that "silence is affirmation. " I realize that an "outsider" (if that's what you are) can't understand this, but we've been in in for, like I said, 3300 years and we kind of know what we're talking about. It's actually 4000 years, to be correct, because we are from our noble Fathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob and Mothers, Sarah, Rebecca , Rachel and Leah. It wasn't for nothing that we Jews gave up our lives in order to remain Jewish during the time of Chanukah, or during the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades and the pogroms. We know who we are and who we came from, and we know what our purpose is in this world and why G-d took us out Egypt and brought us to Mt. Sinai.

(38) , November 30, 2010 4:02 AM

you should be proud of yourself and the honesty that youre using to see yourself and what your going through. hatzlacha in all you do. its clear that your making your Fathers in heaven proud

(37) Devora, November 29, 2010 9:57 PM

A Jew is a Jew is a Jew

Much luck on your journey to reconnect with Yiddishkeit. Just a note - you don't have to go to Israel to learn about being a Jew - wherever you go you are a Jew and H-shem will remind you and be with you and you should always be safe and sound and happy and healthy, and I should follow this next advice - wear your Judaism like a badge of honor like King David did. And hey, if your Arab family is different than you in religion, big deal - look how many families have so much in common and there's still going to be differences. That's how H-shem made the world - like a kaleidoscope. And when you're uncomfortable about keeping kosher around your Arab family, please remember Jews like myself who are determined to keep kosher in the company of immediate Jewish family who do not keep kosher. Enjoy being in the holy land and wherever you go Israel is inside of you.

(36) Anonymous, November 26, 2010 9:51 PM

A Connection

I am also half Jewish, and have chosen Judaism as my religion, so I relate to you. I am so happy for you that you are pursuing education in Judaism, and connection with your father. I hope that you will soon be able to make peace with yourself and reveal the truth about your religion to your Arab family.

(35) Miriam, November 26, 2010 3:22 AM

I very much respect your efforts and quest to explore your identity. I also realize the depth of your conflict. However, I also feel that it is imperative that you clarify your religious identity first to yourself and then to your family. Otherwise you will suffer the emotional conflict that caused your father's demise. Your challenge requires a personal/ family tikun olam.

(34) ian senior, November 25, 2010 7:30 PM

faith guided choice

Dear Shoshanah It is wonderful for you to be giving Yakov truly motherly advice along the lines of your faith. It becomes evident that you realy care about his deep spiritual wellfare.I am of part Jewish(Spanish) origin but a Christian(Catholic) religion. The reality is that all God fearing people who seek him wholeheartedly are acceptable to him:their souls are intact Thats true faith. No human people monopolize the truth, and anyone should be free to choose what they honestly beleive is most acceptable to Him . If someday, one who realy cared for someone elses spiritual welfare, realizes that that person chose another parthway, because of genuine conviction, there is no need to be distressed

(33) Elie, November 25, 2010 5:04 PM

the spark starts the fire

We are all ben Abaraham.May your spark turn into a roaring fire.Follow your heart you will never be wrong.

(32) Shoshana, November 24, 2010 8:37 PM

what will be in future, con't.

Dear Yakov, The end of my letter from yesterday was cut off by mistake. What I wanted to say was to discuss this with your rabbis from Aish and maybe they can find a warm Jewish "adopted' family where you could be a "ben bayit". It is not your job either to resolve the Arab -Jewish conflilct (which started with Eisov and Yakov Avinu) or the Jewish-Catholic conflict, which is also an old story, also from Eisov, actually.That is NOT your mission in life. Your father's connection with his family was normal and many righteous converts have to deal will all kinds of problems with this. But I must take exception to the last paragraph in your story. You do not have to make the changes to fix things, and your challenge in not to close any circles. Your job is to lead a 100%percent Jewish life. H-shem does not want you to "fix"whatever happened thousands of years ago-that is His job.( I am not saying that you shouldn't be friendly.) Also, you are not in such a unique possition-there are plenty of Jews in our day and age with non-Jewish families. Yours just happens to be Arab. Anyway, Yakov, I am not your mother or grandmother, , but I am worried about you and hope that you will consult with your rabbis at Aish and resolve your own conflict.. With best wishes.

(31) Elle, November 24, 2010 8:47 AM

Minorities Every Where are Targets

What you feel is going on here in NY and other cities where the Jews are the minority. My nephew in public 1st grade was forced to make easter eggs in USA. My aunt found a burning cross on her lawn in Georgia in 1997. Any where you go, unless you are in the majority, you will find yourself as a target for those that are suffering one way or another & look for someone to blame. Alexander Hamilton, a great US Statesmen, was refused admission to Yale because he was a Jew. Look what happened to the Armenians, having to leave Turkey to save their lives & lost Lebanon to Muslims. My own Native American tribe lost more than just land, they lost their freedom forever here in the US. Everyone has their own story, but at least in Israel you have a right to vote, to have health care & even your own schools & religious court which is not possible here. It might be a hard life for the few that believe in freedom of will & religion, but it is an uphill battle to prove to your neighbors that you are sincere & trustworthy, then they will fight for you too! In the Jewish Community building I live in for all peoples, the janitor is a Muslim from Bosnia, saved by Jews from losing everything before he was displaced. Now he is free to work & have a home here, but it took him a while to be accepted by the various races & religions that he lives with today. When we all one day believe all righteous have a share in the World-to-Come regardless of race, creed, disability, origin of birth or gender, then we can begin to live together as a true community seeking true freedom of speech & rights.

Claire, September 9, 2012 9:46 PM

Hamilton not Jewish

Alexander Hamilton was not Jewish. He attended a Jewish school in Bermuda because he was refused entrance to the Anglican school because he was illegitimate. Perhaps that is why he was refused entrance to Yale.

(30) Annette, November 24, 2010 2:16 AM

family conflicts and decisions must be made

enjoy your family while you can however you must know what you stand for, so you don't fall for anything. Just trust in G-d - totally

(29) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 10:01 PM

very complicated/yet simple

The most important part in this story, i think, if you have faith / emuna, no matter what you will not veer off the path. And if the family is so great and have so much love for the boy, then they will accept if not at first but after some time, conversion of Father. Judaism. No one to prove to but oneself.

(28) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 9:56 PM

I admire your courage

Hello Yaacov, I find your journey to be a very beautiful story and as we know, prophetically. G-d tells us we will return to our land. I did not know I was partly jewish. Unitl last year when my dad reveiled to me my grandmother was a jew from spain. I loved to go to Israel many times. It was my heart and have been there many times. But I didn't understand why, until my dad told me about my heritage. The lords blessing be upon you.

(27) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 6:20 PM

I just wanted to say that what you did by returning to your roots was amazing. I have no doubt that if you ask Rabbanim how to cope with your situation, all will come out in the best way possible. Just to end off, one thing I always learned is that when one thinks that he or she accomplished something, and thinks that he or she is perfect in that area, he or she tends to fall backwards. Please don't let yourself become that victim! Keep up the good work!

(26) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 3:03 AM

thank you for sharing your Jewish journey, achi. It is inspiring. so glad you came home. a lot of arab moslems in israel descend from the forced conversion of Jews. who knows? maybe your dad was a 'lost Jew' and found his way back through conversion. all the best.

(25) amy, November 22, 2010 5:19 PM

Yaacov, we would love to see you!

Hi Yaacov, We remember you well. We live in Efrat. We communte to Denver for work. You are a real inspiration. Nate and I and the family would love to see you.

(24) Shoshanah, November 22, 2010 3:38 PM

what will be in the future?

Dear Yakov, Your story is amazing and I really admire you . BUT, as a grandmother, I want to offer the following "food for thought". Please G-d, the time will come when you will marry a fine, religious Jewish girl and have wonderful religious children. Your strong emotional ties to your father's Christian Arab family might be confusing to them and who knows what wrong decisions and wrong path this could lead to, G-d forbid. Especially in our day and age we see so many "off the derech" kids. I also had the feeling from your story that perhaps you yourself are too close to them, and you have to be very careful to guard your own beautiful and holy Jewish soul. I understand that you need a family and that they are your link to your father. But most Christians believe that it is a "mitzvah"to convert Jews, y'rachem H-shem, and they are already questioning your choice of religion. I would advic-se to you to be very careful, and also try to find a Jewish family that you can also be close to. Why don't you decuss this with your

(23) Shelly, November 22, 2010 2:53 PM


I find you story very interesting. I was afraid to tell my extended family that I converted to Judaism. I thought they would shun me. Curiosity happened. We have very engaging conversations and they appreciate the Religious Jewish viewpoint. It is wonderful!

(22) ian senior, November 22, 2010 12:54 PM

multi cultural roots

Its unfortunate that an arab-israeli conflict exists but that is a reality. It is even more unfortunate that christian-jewish conflicts have been going on for the past 2000 years. We all have to cope with some kind of cross in this world and I very much sympathize with this young man's father as well as Yakov. I have both jewish and gentile in my rootings as well as jewish and christian ancestors.Fortunately, a country such as Trinidad is not hung up on these differences as is the case in many other places. So I really cant offer to much advice, but I know that both your Dad and yourself must be people of supreme character. The same applies to your Mum and aunt.We 'part this part that' individuals admire you.

(21) Joanne, November 22, 2010 3:42 AM

Tell Them Who You Really Are -- And Why

At some point, your father's family should be told that your father converted to Judaism under Jewish law, if a child has a Jewish mother, that child is Jewish. Thus, your have followed both parents.

(20) Anonymous, November 22, 2010 3:22 AM

You have a very special mission in life

You are in a very special and unique place in life. Your experience and outlook bridges so very many oceans-literally and figuratively. You will have much influence in bringing people together across the divide of suspicion and misunderstanding. What a tremendous gift.

(19) chaya yehudis, November 22, 2010 2:59 AM

amazing story

Hashem sure does make more interesting stories than a tv soap opera. Thank you so much for sharing your trials and tribulations so openly.

(18) AJL, November 22, 2010 1:30 AM

Hatzlacha rabbah

Yakov, I am a friend of your sister's in Denver and I read your piece with great joy. In fact, when I daven at TRI I still notice your father's memorial plaque. Chai Elul is the yahrtzeit, if I remember correctly. It always stood out to me because that's also the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov. I'm sure your father is shepping tremendous nachas from your journey.

(17) paula, November 22, 2010 12:05 AM

A beautiful sad and positive story. Like others I would love to meet you and your family when I am in Israel next.

(16) Anonymous, November 21, 2010 11:45 PM

Jews originated from Mesopatamia - Semite tribes

Important reflections in this wonderful, earthly story. Arab and Jew are part of that Semitic culture where civilzation first started.

(15) jgarbuz, November 21, 2010 10:13 PM

Many Yemenite and North African Jews are of mixed heritage.

IN reality, there was some mixing between Jews and Arabs, or Jews and Berbers, as there was between some Jews and Gentiles in Europe as well. Our physical features reflect the genetic mixtures that have gone on. AT any rate, under Jewish Halachic law, if your MOTHER was a Jew, you are a Jew, FULL STOP! Tribal membership is matriarchal, not patriarchal. The religion, race, ethnicity of the father is of no account. By contrast, Islam is the opposite. If your father was a Muslim, you are a Muslim. So, the Jewish community sees you legally as a Jew, and the Muslim community regards you as a Muslim, if you have not "converted" to Judaism. So you can live in both worlds, and choose that which feels most natural to you.

Cg, June 19, 2018 2:02 PM

Do you have any proof for this claim? Physical features gradually change based on location, so that is not a proof. I resent your charge that there was "mixing" and the implication that some people from Jewish homes may not be Jewish.

(14) debora karaguilla, November 21, 2010 9:44 PM

what a story. Good luck to you always. Debora from Brazil.

(13) , November 21, 2010 8:57 PM

I really enjoyed this article. its lovely to hear positive stories

(12) Elina, November 21, 2010 8:30 PM

Something many of us know very little about - juggling so many identities! Strength to you, and thank you so much for sharing with us! You never know who you might touch, and in what way.

(11) Yaakov Thaler, November 21, 2010 7:43 PM

Yaakov, You are doing great ! Keep growing and inspiring others to do the same!

(10) raye, November 21, 2010 7:28 PM

It takes a lot of guts to make the courage of your convictions come true

(9) JJ, November 21, 2010 5:59 PM

Israeli Arabs?!

Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story! And your ARAB family is "very pro-Israel"? Most people in this world is unaware of any Arabs being pro-Israel. Please, share that message with the whole world. Because the Israel that has provided so many of her Arab citizens with human rights, freedom and democracy, is at risk of being destroyed (G-d forbid), unless we step up to defend her case.

(8) Jehudit, November 21, 2010 4:27 PM

thanks for sharing! this is VERY important to know!! yasher koach!! would love to get in touch with you. if this is possible

(7) Anonymous, November 21, 2010 4:22 PM

thanks for sharing, I regard this as VERY important. yasher koach!!

(6) Carol Racklin-Siegel, November 21, 2010 3:41 PM

Wow, Yaacov, you've come a long way!!

Yaacov! What a great story you've shared with us! Thank you for that. Remember our art classes?? We live in Efrat, and we would love to have you for a Shabbat! Jackie and Rachel live here too. Kol Ha Kavod on your incredible journey. Lots of love.

(5) ruth housman, November 21, 2010 3:32 PM

mix and match!

This is a beautiful story that does seem to come, full circle. I deeply feel there will be a peace in the Middle East that reached middle ground and is grounding itself. About home and homeland and deeply about the connectivity that does truly exist within a family that was split, and that has had so much bloodshed over so many years of conflict. Your story is representative of the beauty of mingling and most of all, shared LOVE. Why not? Why not tie that KNOT and let it be ribbons, a gift for us all, namely the OM in Shalom itself.

(4) , November 21, 2010 3:27 PM

Wow! What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

(3) syma, November 21, 2010 2:51 PM

hi yaakov! i remember you as a cute little boy of about 3. i live in Efrat with Noach, my hubby, also an old family friend of yours- the Davidovich's (my maiden name is Steinberg). We remember your special father and mother well! If you would like to come for shabbos ever, we'd love to have you!!

(2) Andria, November 21, 2010 2:48 PM

What a journey!

Thank you for sharing your story. Certainly encouraging to those who have faced these same things. May Hashem bless you and keep you.

(1) andres zahav, November 21, 2010 12:41 PM

Hi!! I share some classes with u. its prett nice to know all those things about you..

Google’s diversity head wrote antisemitic blog post ‘If I were a Jew’

Public outrage at Google’s diversity head, Kamau Bobb, called for his termination after an antisemitic blog post he wrote in November 2007 surfaced this week. The post, “If I were a Jew” details Bobb’s critique of Israel’s military actions during the Second Lebanon War and the Hamas takeover of Gaza.

“If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented,” Bobb began his post.

“I would find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the long cycles of oppression that Jewish people have endured and the insatiable appetite for vengeful violence that Israel, my homeland, has now acquired,” he continued.

Bobb mentioned that if he were a Jew, he would recall the Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass, in which Nazis attacked Jews in Germany on the night of November 9th, 1938, smashing stores, synagogues, homes, and Jewish institutions. This event marked the turning point in a series of antisemitic acts that eventually led up to the exportation of Jews to concentrations camps and the start of the Holocaust.

He wrote that Jews who remembered the Holocaust and the human suffering endured or read the accounts of Jewish writers, “Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, or Chaim Potok,” should identify with “human compassion closer to the instinct to offer healing to hurt, patience to anxiety and understanding to confusion.”

“I don’t know how I would reconcile that identity with the behavior of fundamentalist Jewish extremists or of Israel as a nation,” Bobb continued, singling out Israel’s artillery, air, and naval attacks on Lebanon after two IDF soldiers were abducted Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in the Second Lebanon War, as well as its decision to attack the Gaza Strip and restrict electricity, gas, and supplies after IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted on 2006 and Hamas overthrew Fatah in 2007.

Bobb called Israel’s behavior “collective punishment.”

if(window.location.pathname.indexOf(�”) != -1)”It would be unconscionable to me to watch Israeli tanks donning the Star of David rumbling through Ramallah destroying buildings and breaking the glass,” he added, paralleling how he depicted the Nazis destroying Jewish buildings during Kristallnacht.

Bobb ended the post by saying, “It cannot be that the sum total of a history of suffering and slaughter places such a premium on my identity that I would be willing to damn others in defense of it. If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.”

According to the Algemeiner, Bobb apologized for his statements in an email to the “Jewgler” Employee Resource Group at Google, saying “What I wrote crudely characterized the entire Jewish community. What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into antisemitic tropes and prejudice.”

Despite his apology, advocates for Israel were deeply concerned with Bob’s statements, especially as the head of Google’s diversity division, which boasts its commitment “to make diversity, equity, and inclusion part of everything we do—from how we build our products to how we build our workforce.”

Comments on Twitter expressed their shock that Google employed Bobb in his position and demanded he be fired from the job.

“How is the obscene, antisemitic bigot still employed there?” tweeted Stop Antisemitism, an NGO established to expose Antisemites and force them to take responsibility for their actions.

“If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing“

“I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others.”

– Kamau Bobb, head of diversity at @Google

How is the obscene, antisemitic bigot still employed there? pic.twitter.com/IzXQkAzmv9

— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) June 2, 2021 Michael Dickson, The Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, wrote that when he searched the terms “antisemitism” and “hypocrisy,” he found Bobb’s blog post.

“Did Google Google him? He’s not fit for this post,” he wrote.

I searched for “antisemitism” and “hypocrisy”.
Here’s what I found.

Google Diversity Head @kamaubobb Said Jews Have ‘Insatiable Appetite for War’ https://t.co/dE7OS7Kw9Q

He’s not fit for this post.
And there’s more:

— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) June 2, 2021 The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan Greenblat also shared his shock, posting that “any Google search on antisemitism can show that’s exactly what Bobb expresses in this blog. An explanation is needed here immediately.”

Friday, June 02, 2017


LUKE 21:28-29
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)

JOEL 2:3,30
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE


He doesn't think the timing is right,' US official says-Trump signs waiver, won’t move US embassy to Jerusalem-Disappointing Israeli government, US president holds off on election promise decision delays any plan to relocate the mission from Tel Aviv for at least 6 months-By Eric Cortellessa and Times of Israel staff June 1, 2017, 5:03 pm

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a waiver that delays for six months any plan to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, disappointing the Israeli government and backtracking on a key promise he made on the campaign trail throughout 2016.Announcing the move, the White House insisted it did not represent a weakening of his support for Israel. “While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the White House statement said.The White House said the president still stood by his promise to move the embassy.“President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”“It’s a question of when, not if,” an official said, adding that Trump “doesn’t think the timing is right, right now.” The official added: “In timing such a move, he will seek to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.”The president had distanced himself from the pledge since taking office and had been evasive on whether he would go ahead with the move.He made no public mention of the embassy during his visit last week to Israel.Before his arrival, several Israeli ministers led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Washington to move the embassy, a measure that would be seen as recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.Trump was facing a Thursday deadline to renew the waiver or see the US State Department lose half its funding for its overseas facilities.A 1995 law mandates the relocation of the embassy, but provides the president with the prerogative to postpone the move on national security grounds. Each of Trump’s three immediate predecessors — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — repeatedly exercised that right.The most recent waiver, signed by Obama, expired on June 1. Without its renewal, the US government would have been legally obligated to proceed with moving the embassy.Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, a move never recognized by the international community. Israel declared the city its undivided capital, but the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would be seen as endorsing Israel’s claim to the city and rejecting the Palestinians’. Countries with ties to Israel typically place their embassies in Tel Aviv some have consulates in Jerusalem.The US says its policy on Jerusalem hasn’t changed and that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.There was intense speculation last month that Trump would use the visit to Israel — which came just before Jerusalem Day, when Israel commemorated 50 years since the Six Day War — to announce the move.In January 2016, Trump told an interviewer that “they want it [the embassy] in Jerusalem. Well I am for that one hundred percent. We are for that one hundred percent.” Two months later, during a speech at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference, Trump declared to applause that if elected, “we will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”He seemingly backed off his promise early in his presidency. It was reported that his conversation with various Arab leaders, especially King Abdullah II of Jordan at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, was instrumental to his decision to put the issue on the back burner.Arab leaders have reportedly told Trump — as well as other members of his administration — that an embassy move at this time would spark unrest in the region while making it difficult for their countries to play a helpful role in the peace process.On May 24, the day after Trump left Israel after his 28-hour visit, Netanyahu reiterated his call for the US, and all other countries which have ties with Israel, to move their embassies to Jerusalem. It was “absurd” that foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said.Trump reiterated on his May 22-23 visit here that he seeks to broker an Israeli-Palestinian accord. While Netanyahu highlighted his skepticism about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s readiness for a deal, he did tell Trump that “for the first time in many years — and, Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime — I see a real hope for change.”For his part, Trump was adamant in his final speech at the Israel Museum on May 23 that Abbas and the Palestinians “are ready to reach for peace.”US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on May 24 that Trump “pressured” Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table during his visit. “There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both PM Netanyahu as well as President Abbas,” Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One. “He put a lot of pressure on them that it’s time to get to the table.”

Orthodox Jewish groups, Evangelical Christians expect president to fulfill campaign pledge-Trump risks ire of millions of pro-Israel voters by keeping embassy in Tel Aviv-Pastor John Hagee: ‘Trump’s promise was of critical importance to millions of Christian Zionists’ who voted for him. ‘They will be watching closely’-By Rebecca Shimoni Stoil May 31, 2017, 10:27 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump will be risking the ire of millions of his pro-Israel supporters — among them Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians — as well as that of Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson on Thursday if, as expected, he signs a waiver that would prevent the moving of the US embassy in Jerusalem.Although Trump campaigned on a pledge to complete the long-anticipated establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem, White House sources indicated Wednesday that he would renew the waiver — a move that may raise hackles among key demographics who supported the president in his 2016 campaign.“A majority of American Orthodox Jews voted for Mr. Trump because of the expectation that he would be a more supportive president for Israel,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union, the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the US. According to Diament, Trump’s strong rhetoric — including his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — was key to building that expectation.“President Trump’s promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem was of critical importance to millions of Christian Zionists who ultimately supported his bid for the White House. They will be watching what the president does very closely,” warned Christians United for Israel founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee.In 1995, Congress passed a law requiring the State Department to open a US embassy in Jerusalem. While the law does not preclude the existence of two embassies, one in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv, it contains a clause allowing the president to delay the opening of a Jerusalem embassy if the deferral is critical for national security. Although a number of candidates, including Barack Obama, have promised to “move” the embassy, every US president from Bill Clinton through Obama has renewed the waiver when it expires at six-month intervals.“I think that there is now an expectation that presidents will sign the waiver, regardless of campaign promises. The only way to surprise voters and potentially get extra credit would be not to sign the waiver, but that has yet to happen,” said Tevi Troy, a former White House aide and author of “Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.”But others — like Diament — say that Trump’s repeated statements on the campaign trail, combined with his positioning as someone who can get things done, have raised expectations.In January 2016, Trump told an interviewer that “they want it [the embassy] in Jerusalem. Well I am for that one hundred percent. We are for that one hundred percent.” Two months later, during a speech at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference, Trump declared to applause that if elected, “we will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”Many of Trump’s supporters – both at home and abroad – expect a delivery from the man who campaigned as someone who would get things done.In congratulating him the day after his election, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) stressed that she “would like to reiterate Israel’s deep appreciation of President-elect Trump’s declared intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.”“It will be disappointing if President Trump does not keep his promise,” warned Diament as the June 1 deadline for the waiver approached.Diament’s message was echoed in recent weeks on Capitol Hill, as leaders and activists gathered at the confluence of Trump’s visit to Jerusalem, the 50 anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, and the upcoming deadline for the renewal of the national security waiver.Speaking to a filled-to-capacity room at the US Capitol, Martin Oliner, the head of the Religious Zionists of America, reiterated the expectation. “We are not giving up hope that President Trump will keep his promise to enable America’s embassy in Israel to move where it belongs,” he told attendees who represented over two dozen American Zionist organizations.Oliner’s message was echoed by many of the members of Congress who addressed the gathering.At the event, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) noted that he worked with fellow Republican congressmen Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) to draft a letter insisting that the president recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.“The law requiring the embassy to be moved has been in the news lately. But people forget that the same law that passed in 1995 but has never been implemented because of presidential waivers would also give formal recognition by America that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Oliner exhorted the audience. “That is even more reason for every Jewish organization here, every congressman, and every simple Jew to push for that law to be implemented now!”The push, in fact, has been underway since Trump’s election in November last year.In December, the Orthodox Union launched a petition drive calling on the president to uphold his promise to move the embassy.Diament said that his organization has been in contact recently with White House officials to communicate his members’ opposition to the waiver.But in addition to Jewish groups, many of the nation’s 60 million evangelical Christian voters – a demographic that largely supported Trump in the 2016 election – are keeping a close eye on the president’s actions.Earlier this month, the Israel Allies Foundation launched a similar petition calling on Trump to “keep the promise you repeatedly made throughout your campaign: recognize Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of the State of Israel and move the US Embassy there.”“Now is the time to keep faithful to our allies in deed and in word, to reflect the overwhelming will of the American people, of Congress and of your own campaign — move our Embassy to its rightful location in honor of 50 years of a united Jerusalem,” the petition read.Sixty evangelical leaders, including Hagee, wrote directly to the president as well, noting in the letter that the Republican National Convention’s official 2016 Platform rightly stated: “We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of US law,” and noting that during the campaign, Trump pledged to specifically uphold this policy in response to a request from the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) coalition.”“Many of our constituents cast their vote for you due to this commitment,” the religious leaders noted in their letter.Many evangelicals were slow to warm up to the thrice-married president who had previously supported abortions and seemed to represent an opulent hedonism alien to their beliefs. But, one evangelical leader said, many were won over by his commitment to appoint a conservative justice to the Supreme Court and his strong statements vowing support for Israel.Hagee’s group, which numbers over three million evangelical Christians in all 50 states, mobilized to support Trump in the close election in November 2016, but has kept the pressure on the president. Hagee noted that “days before President Trump’s inauguration, Christians United for Israel held an emergency fly-in during which CUFI leaders from 49 states met in our Nation’s capital to personally urge their senators to support moving the embassy to Jerusalem Israel’s Eternal capital.”“Since then, tens of thousands of Christian Zionists have called and emailed the White House in support of moving the embassy pursuant to our CUFI Action Alerts,” Hagee continued. “CUFI leaders have also expressed their strong support for moving the embassy to Jerusalem in public pronouncements around the country as well as in private meetings with top administration officials.”Trump’s apparent waffling on the embassy issue could cost him money as well as votes. Adelson was reportedly “furious” earlier this month when Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, indicated that the move might be tied to a renewal of peace talks.Adelson, who was slow to embrace Trump’s candidacy, donated some $80 million to Republicans in the 2016 elections and an additional $5 million to bankroll Trump’s inaugural festivities. In recent months, he has frozen all donations to Trump in protest of the president’s failure to move the embassy.

Israel ‘disappointed’ with Trump for not moving embassy to Jerusalem-Government ministers upset by US decision to sign waiver opposition parties and liberal US-Jewish groups welcome prioritizing the peace process-By Raphael Ahren and Raoul Wootliff June 1, 2017, 6:50 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he was “disappointed” with US President Donald Trump’s decision not to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for now, saying that despite Trump’s declared peace-making intentions, delaying the relocation “drives peace further away.”“Israel’s consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement after Trump backtracked on a key promise he made on the campaign trail throughout 2016 by signing a waiver which pushes off moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for at least another six months.“Maintaining embassies outside the capital drives peace further away by helping keep alive the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem,” the statement said.However, Netanyahu took pains to temper the criticism of Trump and maintain the close rapport seen during Trump’s visit to Israel last month.“Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today’s expression of President Trump’s friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future,” the statement noted.Announcing that Trump had signed the waiver earlier Thursday, the White House insisted the decision did not represent a weakening of his support for Israel.“No one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the White House statement said.Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also expressed his disappointment in a statement, saying, “I regret President Trump’s decision to sign the waiver but am certain that he will keep his word and bring the US embassy to its rightful place – Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. I will continue to provide assistance to the US administration and do all I can to ensure that the relocation happens as soon as possible.”Other ministers from the governing coalition were more critical.Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party said that delaying the embassy move would harm prospects for peace.“There can be no peace based on the division of Jerusalem,” his spokesman said. “Delaying the US Embassy move will in fact have an opposite effect and damage the prospect of a lasting peace by nurturing false expectations among the Palestinians regarding the division of Jerusalem, which will never happen.”“Only recognizing a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty will end illusions and pave the way to a sustainable peace with our neighbors,” he said.Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), in his capacity as minister for Jerusalem affairs, posted on Facebook that he was disappointed that Trump signed the waiver.“I am disappointed with President Trump’s decision. He promised his voters that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem, but did not fulfill [his promise],”he said.He called on the US president to announce that he would move the embassy at the next earliest opportunity.Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (also Likud) affirmed that “President Trump is a true friend of Israel,” before criticizing the decision to leave the embassy in Tel Aviv.“Precisely because of this,” Levin said, “there is very great disappointment over him not moving the embassy. This is not the way to make America great again,” he said, quoting Trump’s campaign slogan.Opposition leaders and liberal US-Jewish groups were more supportive of Trump’s decision.Opposition head, Isaac Herzog, said that “moving the US embassy, or any other embassy, to Jerusalem, is unnecessary.”“Unfortunately Netanyahu learned today another lesson, that there are no shortcuts and anyone who wants international recognition must first reach a courageous political solution,” he said. “I hope that in another 50 years Netanyahu will also grasp what Trump understood.”MK Zehava Galon, leader of the left-wing Meretz party, welcomed the development.“The decision is right at this time. The White House is indicating that the Trump administration is trying to create a process with the Palestinians,” she tweeted. “West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and will be so with or without the embassy. Moving it will not enshrine sovereignty. If anything, it would only push more states to recognize the Palestinian state.”J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group, also welcomed the decision.“We are glad that the administration has heeded the advice of veteran officials in the diplomatic and security communities, and decided to maintain the prudent policy of its predecessors on this issue,” the group said in a statement.The White House said the president still stood by his promise to move the embassy.“President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when,” it said.“It’s a question of when, not if,” an official said, adding that Trump “doesn’t think the timing is right, right now.” The official added: “In timing such a move, he will seek to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.”The president had distanced himself from the pledge since taking office and had been evasive on whether he would go ahead with the move.He made no public mention of the embassy during his visit last week to Israel.Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

Trump 'still talking 'Obamanese,' says Likud minister-Minister says Trump sounds like Obama on conflict with Palestinians-On eve of US president’s expected decision to sign waiver, Ze’ev Elkin ‘disappointed’ over reported decision not to move embassy to Jerusalem-By Times of Israel staff June 1, 2017, 4:33 pm

A senior minister from the ruling Likud party on Thursday said that he was “disappointed” by reports that US President Donald Trump is expected to sign a waiver delaying moving the US embassy to Jerusalem despite promising to do so during the campaign, adding that Trump sounds like former president Barack Obama when talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“I was not surprised. I was disappointed,” Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin told Israel Radio. “It was already pretty clear when [Trump] did not declare this during his visit to Israel. Disappointing.”Elkin, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that while Trump’s foreign policy is “completely” different from Obama’s, the US president is still singing the same tune as his predecessor when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“Trump completely changed the [foreign policy] direction of the previous administration. The only subject [on which he] continues Obama’s policies somewhat is toward the Palestinians,” he said.“[Trump] is still talking ‘Obamanese,’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Elkin told Channel 10 in a separate interview on Thursday.Speaking with Army Radio, Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) said that while moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would be an “important symbolic step for US foreign policy,” Israel will wait patiently if Trump ends up signing the waiver.“We will wait. We waited 69 years, we will wait 70 years,” he said.On Wednesday, White House and diplomatic sources said Trump would sign the waiver, which is set to expire just before midnight on Thursday.Signing the waiver would allow another six-month delay of the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a key promise Trump made on the campaign trail throughout 2016. The president has distanced himself from the pledge since taking office and has been evasive on whether he would go ahead with the move.A 1995 law mandates the relocation of the embassy, but provides the president with the prerogative of postponing the move on national security grounds. Each of Trump’s three immediate predecessors — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — repeatedly exercised that right.The most recent waiver, signed by Obama, expires on June 1. If it is not signed by then, the US government will be legally obligated to proceed with moving the embassy.A senior White House official told CNN Wednesday that Trump was still in favor of the move but wanted to push for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and feared it would anger the Palestinians.Another administration official said the decision to sign the waiver was not yet final and that paperwork both to move the embassy to Jerusalem and to keep it in Tel Aviv had been presented to the president.That person added that even should Trump keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for now, he may act to move it to Jerusalem in the future.A relocation of the US embassy is “something the president supports, something he supported during the campaign, something he still supports,” the official told CNN. “If he signs the waiver this week, that will not be indicative of him reversing his opinion, it will just be a question of timing. It will be when, not if.”“The question is does making this move prejudice” the peace process, the official added. “But it is a fact that the Israeli government’s institutions are in Jerusalem … and the typical definition of a capital is where this government is headquartered.”Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, a move never recognized by the international community. Israel declared the city its undivided capital, but the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would be seen as endorsing Israel’s claim to the city and rejecting the Palestinian’s. Countries with ties to Israel typically place their embassies in Tel Aviv and some have consulates in Jerusalem.There was intense speculation earlier this month that Trump would use the visit to Israel — which came just before Jerusalem Day, when Israel commemorated 50 years since the Six Day War — to announce the move.He seemingly backed off his promise early in his presidency. It was reported that his conversation with various Arab leaders, especially King Abdullah II of Jordan at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, was instrumental in his decision to put the issue on the back burner.Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.


Chopped-CNN sacks comedian over grisly Trump ‘beheading’ clip-Kathy Griffin loses commercial endorsement deal, stand up show and decade-long gig hosting Times Square New Year’s Eve coverage-By Frazier Moore June 1, 2017, 12:35 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

NEW YORK (AP) — Kathy Griffin has lost a decade-long gig ringing in the new year for CNN as backlash builds over her video displaying a likeness of President Donald Trump’s severed head.CNN, which had called the images “disgusting and offensive” after Griffin posted the video on Tuesday, announced Wednesday it would not invite her back this year for the Times Square live New Year’s Eve special she had co-hosted annually since 2007 with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.A New Mexico casino has also canceled a performance by Griffin, who was scheduled to perform at Route 66 Casino, operated by Laguna Pueblo, on July 22.And a commercial endorsement deal was canceled just weeks after she landed it. Squatty Potty, a Utah-based company whose products include toilet stools and other bathroom accessories, said it was suspending an ad campaign that featured Griffin.“We were shocked and disappointed” by the video, said Bobby Edwards, the company’s CEO. “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”“I am a true supporter of free speech, but feel Kathy crossed the line,” Edwards added. “I regret having to make these decisions, but have no choice.”Griffin’s video made Trump seethe. Tweeting Wednesday morning, he said Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” for creating the video. “My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017-First lady Melania Trump issued a statement of her own: “As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it.”Griffin, a comic known for her abrasive style of humor, had apologized on Tuesday, conceding that the brief video, which she originally described as an “artsy-fartsy statement” mocking the commander in chief, was “too disturbing” and wasn’t funny.“I went too far,” she says in her contrite follow-up video. “I sincerely apologize.”I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017-But it was too late.Griffin’s comedy approach trades on a self-deprecating streak while she targets celebs who are higher up the food chain. And while she may never have riled a celeb of the magnitude of President Trump, the 56-year-old comic has gotten into trouble with her wisecracks.In 2005 she was fired from her job as an E! network red-carpet commentator after joking at the Golden Globe Awards that child actress Dakota Fanning had checked into rehab.Two years later, while accepting an Emmy for her Bravo reality series, “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List,” she declared that “a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.”Then she held up her trophy and said, “Suck it, Jesus. THIS is my God now!”Her appearance was during the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, which wasn’t aired live but instead was taped for later broadcast by E! Her remarks were therefore edited. But reports of what she said drew fire from many, including Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who called it a “vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech.”Griffin remained unrepentant.“I have a no-apology policy,” she told CBS News in 2012. “No apologies for jokes. I apologize in my real life all the time. I say ridiculous things, I make mistakes constantly. But when I’m onstage, I’m at a microphone … it’s a joke!”She said the fallout from her Emmy stunt was “heaven” for her: “I mean, it was comedy gold.”

Palestinian town refuses to rename center honoring terrorist-Burqa council head says residents won’t give in to ‘pressure and blackmail’ to remove Dalal Mughrabi’s name from facility-By Alexander Fulbright June 1, 2017, 4:43 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

The West Bank town of Burqa on Tuesday vowed that it “would never capitulate to pressure and blackmail” and would not rename a women’s center named after a female Palestinian terrorist, after the facility’s international backers pulled their support and lambasted the Palestinians for glorifying terrorism.“The center has no intention of caving in to the pressure and changing its name,” Burqa council head Sami Daghlas told the official Palestinian Authority news outlet Wafa.Last week, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende condemned the Palestinian Authority for naming the center after Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70. Oslo demanded its money back.The United Nations also withdrew its support for the center over the “offensive name.”Responding to the decisions by Norway and the UN, Daghlas denied that Mughrabi was a terrorist, describing her as a “hero” and role model for young women.The name was chosen “to commemorate a Palestinian hero who sacrificed herself for her country and therefore they have no intention to change its name, regardless of the price,” Daghlas said, while adding that the facility was built “to serve and empower young women in the village and to help them develop them to become active members in society.”He also said that residents of Burqa would not object to returning the funds used to construct the center to Norway, which he said “was only few thousand dollars used to repair and refurbish the building,” according to the Ma’an news agecny.On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Norway’s decision to withdraw funding for the center, revealing during the weekly meeting of his Likud parliamentary faction that he instructed Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem several days prior to press Norway and the UN to pull their donations from the West Bank project.Norway’s foreign minister “did precisely that. And it’s good that he did,” the prime minister said.Oslo’s rebuke of the PA came after the Norwegian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem brought the matter to the country’s attention last week, the organization said in a statement, thanking Brende for his “swift and clear” response.Palestinian Media Watch, which first brought attention to the naming of the women’s center, recently quoted a local village leader saying that “the center will focus especially on the history of the struggle of martyr Dalal Mughrabi and on presenting it to the youth groups… [this] constitutes the beginning of the launch of enrichment activities regarding the history of the Palestinian struggle.”In addition to the women’s center in Burqa, the PA has named a number of events and facilities in honor of Mughrabi and the other terrorists who died during the massacre in a firefight with Israeli security forces, with the ruling Fatah party repeatedly hailing them as “martyrs.”Marissa Newman and Tamar Pileggi contributed to this report.

Putin: Russian state has never been involved in hacking-‘Russo-phobic hysteria’ makes it ‘somewhat inconvenient to work’ with US but ‘we are patient, we know how to wait’-By ian phillips and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV June 1, 2017, 5:26 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin insisted Thursday that the Russian state has never engaged in hacking and scoffed at allegations that hackers could influence the outcome of elections in the United States or Europe.But the Russian leader admitted the possibility that some individual “patriotic” hackers could have mounted some attacks amid the current cold spell in Russia’s relations with the West.Speaking at a meeting with senior editors of leading international news agencies, Putin also alleged that some evidence pointing at Russian hackers’ participation in attacks — he didn’t specify which — could have been falsified in an attempt to smear Russia.“I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack,” Putin said. “Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily.”US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking into Democratic Party emails, helping President Donald Trump’s election victory, and the Congressional and FBI investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia have shattered Moscow’s hopes for a detente with Washington.Putin said the “Russo-phobic hysteria” makes it “somewhat inconvenient to work with one another or even to talk.”“It’s having an impact, and I’m afraid this is one of the goals of those who organize it are pursuing and they can fine-tune the public sentiments to their liking trying to establish an atmosphere that is going to prevent us from addressing common issues, say with regard to terrorism,” the Russian leader said.Putin predicted “this will end, sooner or later,” adding that “we are patient, we know how to wait and we will wait.”Asked if Russian hackers could try to shape the outcome of German parliamentary elections later this year, Putin said: “We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so.”He noted that Russia can work constructively with any German leader, adding that he had good ties with German Chancellor Angela Merkel despite some differences.Russian meddling was also a concern in France, with Putin publicly expressing his sympathy for President Emmanuel Macron’s rivals in the campaign. Macron’s aides claimed in February that Russian groups were interfering with his campaign, and a document leak hit Macron’s campaign in the final hours of the French race. Moscow has strongly denied all allegations of election meddling.Putin argued that hackers, wherever they come from, can’t sway election outcomes because the public mood cannot be manipulated that easily.“I’m deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country’s election campaign,” he said. “No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America.”Putin added that while the Russian state has never been involved in hacking, Russia-West tensions could have prompted some individuals to launch cyberattacks.“If they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia,” he said. “Theoretically it’s possible.”Russia’s relations with the West have been at post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis. The US and the EU have slapped Moscow with sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.Putin said Thursday that economic restrictions against Russia have had “zero effect.”He predicted that the current strain in relations will ease, because “it’s counterproductive and harmful.”Touching on tensions in the Pacific, Putin said Russia’s military deployments on a group of Pacific islands also claimed by Japan have been caused by concerns about the US military buildup in the region.The four islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the southern Kurils in Russia, were seized by the former Soviet Union at the end of the World War II, preventing the two countries from signing a peace treaty.Putin said the US will likely continue to build up its missile shield in the region even if North Korea agrees to curb its nuclear and missile programs, in the same way it has continued to develop missile defenses in Europe despite a deal with Iran that curbed its nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

2 US senators slam Egypt’s NGO law as ‘draconian’-John McCain and Lindsey Graham urge President Sissi to bring legislation into line with international standards-By Agencies June 1, 2017, 6:03 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

B'seder? B'seder.

B'seder is one of the most frequently used words in colloquial Hebrew. It more or less translates as "OK", but it is used in so many contexts and in so many tones of voice that I have a hunch it's a simple word with several layers of meaning. And many Anglos in Israel will complete their sentences, spoken in English, with a b'seder, as if that single Hebrew word can summarize or encapsulate all of the words that preceded it.

The basic use is to affirm that everything is all right. For example, "Shall we meet for coffee at 4pm?" a friend asks. "B'seder," is the response. One also can say, "B'seder" to the frequently asked, "How are you?" And wandering around various shops and stores with, perhaps with a serious expression on my faced, people have asked me, "Is everything b'seder?", as in, "Are you OK?". "B'seder," I reply.

But there are more interesting uses. One of my teachers at Pardes (Institute of Jewish Studies), commenting in English on an Israeli cabinet member's views on prisoner exchanges, concluded that the man was b'seder, meaning competent and intelligent.

A woman outside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, upon seeing a group of young policemen enter the building, angrily reprimanded them, "You are not b'seder!", suggesting that they are inept or, worse, unethical. They said nothing.

After the bus driver to Eilat lost his temper with boarding passengers, yelling at basically everyone, I fastened my seatbelt and commented to my neighbor, "If he's in such a bad mood he might take it out on the road." She said, "No, no, he's b'seder. I rode with him a month ago and when the bus broke down he dealt with it well," suggesting that underneath his ferocious exterior he was, after all, a mensch, someone who can be trusted to behave appropriately in a difficult moment.

And I've heard many cell phone conversations in which the intense repetition of b'seder suggests that, maybe, things really aren't all that OK but the person just wants to get on with it. The drawn out, somewhat resigned pronunciation, buh..sayder, indicates that the speaker has capitulated.

Then there's b'seder gamoor, which is, "Everything is completely fine (period, full stop)." It's a definitive way to wrap up a line of questioning or a conversation.

Watch the video: What Hasidic Women Have To Say eye-opening experience!