Friday, October 24, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 10/23/2014 05:13:00 PM
|By Zvulun Orlev|
The Setting and the Rising Sun
"Moshe is better liked than Noach. Noach was first called 'a righteous man' and then 'a man of the earth,' while Moshe was first called 'an Egyptian' and later 'a man of G-d'." [Bereishit Rabba 36:3]. As the Meshech Chochma explains in the following abridged quote, "There are two ways to serve G-d. One is to be totally dedicated to Him and to remain isolated, and the second is to be involved in public affairs and for the person to minimize himself for the good of the community. From our point of view, one who isolates himself rises to greater and greater heights, while the public servant falls down in his spiritual level. But experience shows that the opposite is true. Noach, who kept aside and did not admonish the people of his generation, descended from the status of righteousness to being a man of the earth, while Moshe was at first called an Egyptian for being willing to forfeit his life in killing the Egyptian. But in the end he dedicated his life to leading Yisrael, and he was called a man of G-d when he reached an ultimate level of perfection."
Noach's life was a descent, going lower and lower. Moshe, on the other hand, was privileged to rise up to the level of "a man of G-d." Why did Noach sink down while Moshe rose and began to shine? Some people concentrate all their efforts on serving G-d, and they are constantly involved only in their own spiritual advance. Others are involved in public affairs and minimize themselves for the good of the community. As opposed to our intuitive feeling, Moshe the "public" person rose in spiritual level while Noach, the "isolated individual," sank into the depths. Thus, it seems that being involved in public matters brings a person to a higher status. We can suggest that this stems from the fact that public service lets a person achieve a potential that an isolated person would not be able to bring out.
However, can we really believe that Noach, a righteous man, was completely apathetic to the fate of his generation? According to the Midrash, didn't he warn the people of the impending deluge? Evidently he did not put their welfare above the importance of his own spiritual level. It is also possible that he feared being mocked and becoming unpopular. Moshe, on the other hand, acts without any personal considerations and without any concerns for his status among the people. He is even willing to leave his leadership position when he begins to feel that he no longer has the proper influence on the people. Rabbi Shach is quoted as saying the following: It is said that a Jew loves to eat fish on Friday night (sweet "gefilte fish" for the Ashkenazim and spicy for the Sephardim). But does the Jew really love the fish? No, he loves himself...
The Test of Sacrificing Popularity
In the end, both Noach and Moshe were involved in public affairs, and we thus have a way of comparing them. Noach was chosen to save the entire world, while Moshe was chosen to take Yisrael out of Egypt, to receive the Torah, and to bring the people into Eretz Yisrael. According to the Meshech Chochma, the criterion for leadership is not how popular a man is among the people. Rather, the opposite is true. How ready is the leader to "sacrifice" and give up his personal popularity in the face of the challenges that face him? Noach failed in that he feared the people of his generation, who were sinners and robbers, and he was not ready to put his status and his fate in danger. In this way he was transformed from a perfectly righteous leader into a man of the earth with no influence. Moshe, on the other hand, was willing to pay for his actions with a loss of popularity and "rating," in his effort to influence the others on his Divine mission. He therefore succeeded, and after starting out as an Egyptian he became a man of G-d at the very highest level, a man who had the greatest possible influence on the nation of Yisrael.
In our generation, when (some) leaders are chosen democratically within their parties, and when candidates are elected to the Knesset and in municipal elections – they are all facing a personal and leadership challenge that is not at all simple. This is the test proposed by the Meshech Chochma. Should they prefer a popular approach, based on public relations and surveys, which promises to give them ratings and votes, or should they give preference to true values and ideologies which they espouse in order to gather the trust of the voters, while ignoring electoral considerations? Which is the better way to gather the votes of the people?
If Moshe would run for office today he might well lose! He would not be ready to give the people all that they want. Noach might have had a better chance of succeeding!
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 10/23/2014 05:08:00 PM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 10/23/2014 05:04:00 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
A prominent leftist policy activist went on Israeli radio to gloat right after Britain’s House of Commons symbolically recognized a Palestinian Arab state.
“We have been working hard in Europe,” declared Dr. Alon Liel, a close protégé of Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin, who built Israel’s NON-peace with the PLO.
Neither Liel, Peres or Beilin will admit error. They prefer to have foreign governments and organizations try forcing their idea of “peace” down Israel’s throat.
This is sad testimony to the state of Israel’s so-called “peace movement,” which is so unpopular inside Israel that it spends most of its energies outside Israel trying to lobby inside Britain, the European Union, Scandinavia and especially with the U.S. government.
Israel’s Left is more popular in Britain—where the Establishment hates Israel—than inside Israel, where Israelis love Israel and realize that Great Britain is no longer great.
The Israeli Left has taken its show on the road to a once-Great Britain that had to fight to hold on to Scotland. British leaders and security forces seem hapless to stop beheadings of Britons on the streets of London or in Iraq and Syria. Britain’s prime minister cannot get his own party to fight the Islamist scourge abroad or at home.
British politicians preen and flirt with a growing Muslim audience that is not at all moderate or peace-loving. That has become the audience of the Israeli Left.
British authorities seem hapless in trying to control radicalized Muslims who publicly threaten Jews or non-religious Muslims or who sexually abuse great numbers of girls in some British localities. Some of these same phenomena—on the street and in government—are taking place in France, Belgium and other countries.
Israel’s Left also likes Scandinavian countries whose leaders love to hate Israel or pass resolutions limiting the religious freedom of local Jews (eg: kosher food and circumcision), and whose central cities are controlled by Islamic workers who are growing as an extremist force in political and cultural life.
Dr. Liel also cheered Sweden’s announcement that it would recognize a PLO-led state “governed” by Mahmoud Abbas, a worthless figure-head with zero legitimacy, whose term ran out five years ago.
Abbas tells some forums he wants peace but when he talks in Arabic, he has a different message.
“Let our rifles, all our rifles, be aimed at the Occupation,” he declared in a big Fatah Day speech in 2005. “Occupation” (Al-Ikhtilal in Arabic) actually was code for Israel. Abbas knows he is weak and he has always wanted to link up with Hamas.
When the Left preaches to Israelis about talking to Abbas or Hamas, it is like trying to recite poetry from an overdue library book—all of whose pages are missing.
In Europe, where they cannot see the writing on their own walls, they like the Israeli Left’s message. Europeans would rather not face their own problem with Islam, the rampant Jew hatred in academia and on the streets.
Some European leaders want Israel to be equally clueless. Most Israelis have a clue, and the opinion polls and elections results show it.
The sad truth about Israeli Leftists is that they refuse to see the sad truth—that Mahmoud Abbas is not merely a shadow of a leader but more like the ghost of a castrato in the choir who never could sing and never will.
The Leftists call him “Abu Mazen”—an affectionate nickname that recalls how an earlier generation of wishful thinkers referred to Josef Stalin as “Uncle Joe.” But an affectionate name does not change a harsh reality.
Abbas is worse than Yasser Arafat. Abbas will not talk to Israel without getting a consent note from the Arab League. Several Israeli prime ministers have offered him and the PLO everything. They gave Gaza, but he could not hold it. They offered 95-98 percent of the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, but that is somehow not enough.
It is part of the reality problem of the Israeli Left and its forlorn leaders that they cannot even admit that Abbas does not want peace with Israel. He only wants a piece of Israel, and then another piece and then another piece.
Most Israelis realize the Israeli Left does not realize Abbas cannot blow his nose in Ramallah without Israeli protection, let alone go to the bathroom unescorted in Gaza.
Shakespeare once said that a rose by any name would still smell sweet, but PLO plans and policies are no rose, only manure. Israel’s Left still wants to sell fertilizer as flowers. Nobody is buying its merchandise or its message.
That is why the Israeli Right has a built-in advantage in elections in Israel, and that is why the Israeli Left takes the anti-democratic route of trying to impose its will through foreign governments, NGO’s, the UN, etc.
Part of the Israeli Left would rather go to the World Court in the Hague than face the court of opinion in Israel. This is not democratic or ethical, but it is not be the first time that the Israeli Left has chosen this route.
For years, Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin reported that they had reached all kinds of deals with PLO officials like Yasser Abd-Rabbo or Mahmoud Abbas, but it was not true. Beilin even violated Israeli law in the 1980’s to talk with the PLO when it was illegal.
Beilin has never apologized for law-breaking or being wrong about PLO intentions—a strategic error that cost hundreds of lives in Israel. That is why Beilin went from a position of power in the Israeli Labor Party to being unable to get elected even in the Left-wing fringe party Meretz.
Peres had a similar journey and also stretched the law. Peres used the ceremonial post of president to try enact his failed peace ideas. It got him many interviews, but the last time he was elected to anything functional was alongside Yitzhak Rabin in 1992.
The last time Peres ran for a functional job, he was beaten in the Labor Primary for the job of head of the Israeli Labor Party by union organizer Amir Peretz. Peres defected from Labor in the middle of the election cycle to join Ariel Sharon’s Kadima Party.
Democratic norms and legal niceties are only good for the Israeli Left when they can be used for its agenda.
Peace—even a phony peace—trumps democracy, sovereignty and the rule of law.
“You have to do what you can,” said Dr. Liel in his radio interview when asked why he and his friends did not work harder in Israel, instead of taking the non-democratic route.
The response to Liel is simple: if you want to make Israeli policy, make it in Israel.
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 10/20/2014 08:35:00 AM
Sunday, October 19, 2014
By Moshe Feiglin
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 10/19/2014 10:53:00 PM
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The elitist media outlets of Israel, Western Europe and the USA are wrong! Israel is increasingly appreciated and embraced - not ostracized – by the global community.
In defiance of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in Britain, and despite the Gaza War, Israel's exports to Britain, and the Israel-Britain trade balance, surged by 38% and 28% respectively from January-August, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, expanding employment in both countries. In addition, 37 Israeli-British mergers & acquisitions and British stock market IPOs occurred during the same period.
The swelling Israel-Britain trade balance highlights Israel's special capabilities in the global market, generating cutting-edge technological and scientific developments which have given rise to unique medical, healthcare, agricultural, software and defense technologies and products. Moreover, most of Israel's export is business-to-business-based, supplying leading international businesses with critical components and technologies, which enhance the quality and reduces the cost of their own products, revolutionizing quality of life, in general, and commercial/defense performance, in particular. The Israeli exports provide American, European, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and additional global giants with a competitive edge in the global competition.
Israel's unique niches in the area of healthcare were underlined in the June 2014 Forbes' list of ten health companies changing the world, five of them were Israeli. "It's amazing that Israel – a country of only eight million people – produces so many leading health technology companies," David E. Williams, president of the US-based Health Business Group, told the Grapevine. According to Williams, "Israel's highly educated technical and medical workers are reared in a society that prizes problem-solving and innovation, placing tremendous value on curing illness and saving lives."
Barbara Opall-Rome, the Israel Bureau Chief of Defense News, sheds light on the global added-value of Israel's defense industries and Israel's rising weapon exports, which have grown since the Gaza War. The war revealed the potency of Israel – the world's largest and most advanced battle tested laboratory - especially in the area of shielding civilians from the wrath of short-range missiles and defending tank crews against guided missiles. According to Opall, "over the past five years, Israel has had military sales of around $7bn annually, and it puts Israel in the top five of the world's arms-exporting nations.... India is one of Israel's biggest customers, buying everything from ship and air defense systems to anti-tank missiles and drones."
Bloomberg News reported, following the Gaza War, that Shite Azerbaijan is the leading supplier of oil to Israel and a major buyer of advanced Israeli military systems, in spite of criticism from its neighbors, Iran and Turkey.
The California-based Entrepreneur suggests that "One country that stands out from the rest of the rest when it comes to research and development (R & D) is Israel. In fact, it ranks second only to Silicon Valley for startups…. The pool of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent in Israel is huge. There are 140 scientists, technicians and engineers for every 10,000 Israeli employees, compared to 85 per 10,000 in the USA.... Israel is flush with entrepreneurs, second in numbers only to Silicon Valley. The country is filled with people with courage, drive, creativity, boldness and tenacity, who will move mountains to achieve their goals and dreams…."
Israel's educational standing in the world was noted by the recent OECD's 2014 Education at a Glance study, published by Yahoo Finance on September 11, 2014: Israel ranks fourth in the world as far as post-high school educated population (46.4% of the population), trailing Japan (46.6%), Canada (52.6%) and Russia (53.5%), ahead of the USA, Korea, Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Ireland.
The respectable, growing slate of more than 250 high-tech global giants, with R & D centers in Israel, clarifies how integrated Israel is in the global economy: Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Motorola, Computer Associates, Qualcomm, HP, EMC, GE, AT&T, Xerox, Dell, AMD, Marvell, Cisco, GM, Google, Oracle, Paypal, McAfee, Polycom, Telefonica, Ebay, AOL, Yahoo, SanDisk, SAP, Siemens, Philips, Deutsche Telekom, Samsung, etc. A recent arrival in Israel is the Russian Internet Security giant, Kaspersky Labs, which will inaugurate its first Israeli R & D center in Jerusalem.
2014 is shaping up to be an Israeli record year for raising capital, with Israeli IPOs on Wall Street surpassing $3.5bn. Two of the top ten Wall Street IPOs were Israeli companies, Mobileye ($890mn) and Israel Chemicals ($507mn).Intercontinental Exchange, the global network of exchanges and clearing houses, acquired Israel's SuperDerivatives for $350mn, as its R & D center. Pulse Secure acquired Israel's cyber company, Mobile Spaces, for $100mn.
On September 22, despite the Gaza War and because of Israel's brain power and cutting edge and game-changing technologies, Intel announced an additional $6bn investment in its existing Israeli arsenal (four R & D centers and two manufacturing plants), which will develop the next generation of Intel's chips.
Intel's substantial investment constitutes a resounding vote of confidence in the long-term, geo-strategic and economic viability of Israel, as confirmed by Moody's credit rating, sustaining Israel's investment grade at A1 – a low credit risk.
And where does that leave the anti-Israel DBS movement, the Gaza War and other conventional and terrorist threats? Based on Israel's track record, they are bumps on the road of unprecedented growth and acceptability.
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 10/15/2014 03:51:00 PM