Friday, July 25, 2014

Israel Can Win if Obama doesn't save Hamas


AP
AP
BY: 


Slandered, despised, insulted, degraded, Israel is nonetheless winning its war against Hamas. 

The number of rocket attacks launched by the terror group each day has been halved. The IDF is uprooting the underground tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons, contraband, and terrorists in and out of the Gaza Strip. On Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel Two newscast carried footage of Hamas terrorists surrendering to the IDF. The jihadists carried white flags. They stripped to their shorts, proving they were not wearing suicide belts. These are facts Hamas does not want you to know, images Hamas does not want you to see.

And you probably won’t see them. Since the evening of July 17, when Israel launched its ground offensive, Western media has been filled with Hamas propaganda. In the United States, the debate over the conflict is invariably couched in terms favorable to Hamas: Are civilian casualties too high? Is it safe to fly into Ben-Gurion airport? Has the IDF targeted schools and hospitals? One MSNBC anchor calls Israel, which abandoned Gaza in 2005, the “occupying authority.” Another praises a “gutsy” Israeli, who refuses to serve in his nation’s military.

On CNN, the Islamist Turkish prime minister says Israel has “surpassed what Hitler did.” A CNN reporter calls Israelis “scum”; a NBC reporter tweets a scurrilous article calling U.S. Jews who join the IDF “America’s Israeli jihadists”; and a writer for Gawker says it’s time to send the Jews back to Germany. Reporters once embedded with military forces. Now the talking points of a military force—the talking points of Hamas—are embedded in the U.S. media.

And yet the immediate danger to the success of this necessary war does not come from the electronic intifada. It does not come from resurgent anti-Semitism, or the United Nations Human Rights Council, or the failure of so many Western elites to recognize the causes of this war, their inability to distinguish between a democratic country struggling to protect its people and a terror state using children as hostages. Hate, law-fare, decadence—they are all challenges for Israel. But Israel can endure them for now. Israel is used to it.

What Israel should not endure is the premature conclusion of hostilities. Disarming Hamas—seizing its rocket caches, collapsing its tunnels, killing and capturing its forces—is vital to Israeli security. And an artificial ceasefire imposed by outside powers, a ceasefire written in terms favorable to Hamas, would undermine the security gains Israel has made to date. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have given no sign that they recognize this fact. Or maybe they understand it all too well: The Obama administration’s top priority is imposing a ceasefire at exactly the moment when Israel’s military success is becoming clear.

Secretary Kerry arrived in Cairo earlier this week. No one wanted him there. Egypt’s ruler, General Sisi, has no interest in saving Hamas through international diplomacy: The Muslim Brotherhood is his mortal enemy. Kerry then went from Cairo to Jerusalem, where he met with U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon, who flew to the meeting on a plane chartered by Qatar, Hamas’ primary source of cash. Kerry also met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is too gracious to tell the secretary to go back to Boston. (Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has said publicly what the Israeli government will not: Kerry is an unwelcome guest.) Next up was Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, who honored Kerry’s presence by endorsing Hamas’s call for a “Day of Rage” in the West Bank. Kerry “will soon decide if Hamas and Israel are willing to agree on a Gaza ceasefire,” Reuters says.

Kerry will decide? Who died and made him king?

There is no ceasefire in Gaza because a ceasefire is in no one’s interest. Israel’s objective is clear: degrade Hamas’ capability to fire rockets at Israeli civilians and attack Israeli communities from underground. As for Hamas, its interest is irrational, macabre, and deranged, but no less obvious: Promote itself as the leader of the worldwide struggle against Zionism and Judaism, while ensuring collateral damage that will foment outrage at Israel. That is why Hamas stores weapons in schools, why its military headquarters is in the basement of a hospital. Hamas is not interested in minimizing pain. Hamas wants to maximize it.

Who wants a ceasefire? Obama and Kerry. They need the diplomatic victory after the failure of their misguided and poorly executed bid to reconcile the irreconcilable. The president’s approval rating on foreign policy is abysmal. A ceasefire might help the American people forget, just for a moment, that their president has failed to influence events in Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq, let alone advance American interests overseas. Since he became president, Israel is the one country in the world in whose affairs President Obama has seemed at all interested in intervening. It is the one country whose politics and actions Obama has had no trouble judging harshly. Next to golf, it’s his favorite pastime.
Who wants a ceasefire? Qatar. The sheikhs who bankroll the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera, and Hamas would see their status rise. A ceasefire would lend credence to the theory that the traditional Sunni powers—Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia—have been eclipsed both by Shiite Iran and by Brotherhood-friendly Sunnis in the Gulf and Turkey. Having lost Egypt and possibly Gaza, the Brotherhood finds itself on the precipice. A Qatari-backed ceasefire that does not include disarmament of Hamas would pull the movement back from the abyss.

“One of the results, one would hope, of a cease-fire would be some form of demilitarization, so that again, this doesn’t continue, doesn’t repeat itself,” said Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, to NPR. One would hope so. Indeed, actual demilitarization—not hoped for, not partial—is exactly what the IDF is doing now, block by block, tunnel by tunnel. Why is the administration trying to stop it? Is a ceasefire that leaves Hamas with its arsenal really more desirable to them than another week of war?

This is not the time for President Obama and John Kerry to play to type, to promote bad agreements for self-satisfaction, for political gain. If they won’t stand behind Israel, they should at least get out of the way. And let the IDF finish the job.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Inseparable: The Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel

By Moshe Feiglin

And you shall inherit the Land, and dwell in it; for to you have I given the Land to possess it. And you shall inherit the land by lot according to your families, to the more you shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you shall give the less inheritance; wherever the lot falls to any man, that shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. (From this week’s Torah portion, Mas’ei, Numbers 33:53-54)
When a modern Jew in Israel reads the words, “And you shall inherit the Land” he understands that this is a directive to put the Land of Israel under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. The way we are used to looking at it, actualization of national sovereignty is the responsibility of the nation state. From the verses in this week’s Torah portion, however, it looks like that assumption is incorrect. It is the State’s responsibility to conquer the Land and to drive out the enemy. But actualization of the bond between the Land and the Nation is not complete until the Land becomes the personal inheritance of every Jew. The Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel; not only on the national level but also on the personal level. “And you shall inherit the Land – by lot, according to your families.”
The bond between a Jew and his Land is holy, similar to the bond of marriage. The Torah commands the relative of a person who loses his property to be the first to buy his lot so that his inheritance will remain inside the family. Further, he is directed to re-sell the lot to its original owner at the first opportunity.
Israel’s current situation, in which 93% of the Nation’s land is in the hands of the State, opposes this Torah directive and the Return to Zion message of world liberty. This is one of the reasons for the housing crisis that Israel is currently experiencing.
Authentic Jewish leadership would ensure that every Jew would have his portion of land in the Land of Israel.
Shabbat Shalom

The Galut Years: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Mas'ai

BS”D 
Parashat Mas’ai  5774
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
My personal prayer to our Father in Heaven:
Avienu Sh’be’shamayim. You are the essence of perfection, in need of nothing – least of all my counsel, so let these words be for the protocol in my personal file, if for nothing else.
Twice in Your world, the earth opened its bowels to ingest the evil wrought by lowly man.
While Hevel’s life blood was flowing from the murderous blows of his brother Kayin, and was devoured by the ground, You called out to Kayin (Bereishiet 4,10)
מֶה עָשִׂיתָ קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן הָאֲדָמָה:

What have you done? Your brother’s blood is calling out to me from beneath the ground!
And again, when the earth opened to ingest the rebellious Korach, Datan and Aviram who so brazenly challenged Your directives.
Today, we are witnessing a reverse phenomenon. On our side of the Gaza border, the earth opens its bowels to release the most evil, vile and sinister dangers to Am Yisrael and the civilized world – the depraved men of Hamas.
They have absconded with tens of millions of dollars which were earmarked by European and American donors for food and development and used them for digging deep tunnels – some even 7 stories underground – to penetrate under army bases, settlements, childrens’ kindergartens and kibbutz dining rooms. These tunnels – and there are hundreds of them along the border – are intended to spread terror, murder and kidnapping as a stepping stone to the destruction of the Jewish State. The State of Israel is fighting a battle to protect the civilized part of the world from the murderous Yishmaelic-Islamic non-culture of death.
My suggestion is, in fact, not original. It appears in Your holy Tanach. Yishayahu (chapter 24) voiced Your prophetic words concerning the future enemies of Yisrael who will hide in the ground, when he said:
יח) וְהָיָה הַנָּס מִקּוֹל הַפַּחַד יִפֹּל אֶל הַפַּחַת וְהָעוֹלֶה מִתּוֹךְ הַפַּחַת יִלָּכֵד בַּפָּח כִּי אֲרֻבּוֹת מִמָּרוֹם נִפְתָּחוּ וַיִּרְעֲשׁוּ מוֹסְדֵי אָרֶץ:
יט) רֹעָה הִתְרֹעֲעָה הָאָרֶץ פּוֹר הִתְפּוֹרְרָה אֶרֶץ מוֹט הִתְמוֹטְטָה אָרֶץ:
כ) נוֹעַ תָּנוּעַ אֶרֶץ כַּשִּׁכּוֹר וְהִתְנוֹדְדָה כַּמְּלוּנָה וְכָבַד עָלֶיהָ פִּשְׁעָהּ וְנָפְלָה וְלֹא תֹסִיף קוּם: ס
כא) וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִפְקֹד יְקֹוָק עַל צְבָא הַמָּרוֹם בַּמָּרוֹם וְעַל מַלְכֵי הָאֲדָמָה עַל הָאֲדָמָה:

18 The one who runs away from the sound of the terror will fall into the pit;
the one who climbs out of the pit, will be trapped by the snare.
For the floodgates of the heavens are opened up and the foundations of the earth shake.

19 The earth is broken in pieces, the earth is ripped to shreds, the earth shakes violently.

20 The earth will stagger around like a drunk; it will sway back and forth like a hut in a windstorm.
Its sin will weigh it down, and it will fall and never get up again.

7 Pachad (fear), and the pachat (pit), and the pach (pitfall, snare), are upon thee, O inhabitant of Ha’Aretz.
There are two Gazas: the one above the sands and an equivalent one below. May the upper Gaza meet the underground Gaza, and with it may tens of thousands of our deadliest enemies be destroyed.
I see the handsome faces of our holy soldiers who have given their lives for Am Yisrael, and contrast them with the ugly, snarled look of the Hamasnik as he holds a Kalashnikov rifle in one hand and an Arab child in the other for protection.
Dear God. We have long believed erroneously that the Germans and their allies had reached the depths of human depravity. However, there is no recorded instance of any of them who sacrificed his life to kill a Jew, while we know that there are thousands of Hamas and other Islamic believers who have and would blow themselves up in a bus or mall in order to kill a Jew.
When I see these people, I understand why You saw fit to destroy the generation of Noach and the cities of Sodom and Amora.
No one knows better than You that this war is merely a prologue to a much bigger world war. There is no way to prevent it from happening. The Islamists who don’t actually believe that You exist, use You as a weapon in their compulsive drive for world conquest.
I conclude with a fervent prayer to You, our Father in Heaven, that Your miracles continue to protect Your children in Eretz Yisrael. And that You open the eyes and the consciences of your children still in the galut to come home where they will be under the protective wing of Your holy Sh’china.

(The Galut Years)

This Shabbat we will conclude the reading of the Book of Bamidbar. The fourth book of the Chumash begins in the second year of our sojourn in the desert and concludes 39 years later with the proud Jewish nation standing on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, waiting to enter the Promised Land.
There is total blackout of the 38 intervening years of our sojourn in the desert. The message is that life in the galut is enclosed by parentheses, because they are really not an essential part of the God-Jew dialogue. Also, those 38 years were years of sadness and mourning when 16,000 men would die every Tisha Be’Av. Not very different from the sadness and mourning our people have experienced in the 2000 years of our galut.
This lesson has yet to be learned by the vast majority of even religious Jews in the galut. In contrast, the Jews of France and other countries of Europe are beginning to sense that something is amiss.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2014 Nachman Kahana

Forty-two Journeys

By Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh
"All of her pursuers caught her between the boundaries (bein hametzrim)" [Eichah 1:3]. The Maggid of Kuznitz said: "'Her pursuers' can be read as two words – "Rodef yud-heh," which means to pursue G-d – He wrote that one who searches for the holy Shechina, the Presence of G-d, will find it during the Three Weeks (between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av). These are great times, since the prophets promised that all the fast days would be transformed to holidays. And even Aharon the High Priest said, referring to the seventeenth of Tammuz, "Tomorrow is a holiday for G-d" [Shemot 32:5].
The Haftarah that we read at the start of the Three Weeks (Bein Hametzrim), describes how Yirmiyahu saw a vision of a staff of wood from an almond tree. Rashi writes from the Midrash, "the time from when an almond starts to bud until it is ripe is twenty-one days, the same as the time between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av."
There are 21 types of holy days when special sacrifices are brought in the year, as described in the Torah portion of Pinchas (Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, Pesach, seven days of the holiday of Matzot, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and eight days of Succot and Shemini Atzeret). The 21 days of the Three Weeks are the foundation of the sanctity of the holidays. When in the future they will be revealed as additional holidays, the total will be forty-two. This is the number of stops that we encounter in this week's Torah portion. "These are the journeys of Bnei Yisrael" [Bamidbar 33:1]. Starting with the Exodus from Egypt and up to the Jordan River at Jericho, there were forty-two stops. The GRA wrote that these forty-two journeys encompass within them the stages of the future redemption. What is the secret of this number?
When Moshe said that the people would ask him, "What is His name?" [Shemot 3:13], the Holy One, Blessed be He, replies, "I will be what I will be... 'I will be' sent me to you" [3:14]. The Meshech Chochma notes, "The numerical value of 'e'heyeh' is twenty-one. 'I will be what I will be is twice that, or forty-two. This refers to the long version of the Holy Name, which has forty-two letters. And whoever knows this name is feared by the creations (Kedushin 71)."
The same concept can be seen with respect to Tefillin. The name of G-d appears twenty-one times in the four sections of the Tefillin. Adding the two Tefillin on the hand and on the head together, we again reach the total of forty-two. This is what is referred to in the Talmud: "'And all the nations of the earth will see that you are called by G-d's name, and they will fear you' [Devarim 28:10]... This is the Tefillin worn on the head" [Berachot 6a].
The Tefillin on the head shows that there is open Divine guidance, and that on the hand, which is normally covered, shows that there is hidden guidance. G-d told Moshe that sometimes the guidance will be exposed to all, as in the verse, "I will be what I will be" and at other times it will be hidden, as in the phrase "'I will be' sent me to you."
The Talmud tells us about a religious debate between a Tzeduki and Rabbi Yehoshua (Chagiga). The Tzeduki turned his head away, hinting that the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not look at us, while Rabbi Yehoshua raised his hand, as a sign that "his hand is still stretched out over us." While we might not be seeing revealed guidance as in the Tefillin on the head, the hidden guidance of the Tefillin on the hand continues to exist.
And that is what the Holy One, Blessed be He, promised Shlomo at the dedication of the Temple. "And my eyes and my heart will be on you for all the days" [Melachim I 9:3]. The eyes and the heart signify the Tefillin on the head and on the hand, implying revealed guidance. But this is only during the day and not at night, during the exile. Then, the guidance will be hidden.
Two Talmud scholars lived in the Shaarei Chessed neighborhood of Jerusalem, Rabbi David Baharan and Rabbi Betzalel Goldstein. One time Rabbi David told his friend that he had studied the words of the GRA, and he felt that he understood the secret of the forty-two journeys of Bnei Yisrael. In reply to the insistent requests by his friend, Rabbi David explained that before the coming of the Mashiach three significant events will take place, and they will be followed by the arrival of the Mashiach: 5707-5708 (1948) - the War of Independence; 5717-1718 (1957) – the Sinai War; and 5727-5728 (1967) – the war for Jerusalem.

Unethical to Endanger IDF Soldiers in order to Protect Gazans

By Moshe Feiglin

The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel.
For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for the choices they have made.
It is enough for the IDF to make one announcement for residents to evacuate a given area, giving them reasonable time to get away.
Any other measure taken to protect the population against the results of its choices – at the expense of the IDF soldiers – is unethical.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spiritual and Identity Lessons from Operation Protective Edge

By HaRav Dov Lior
Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba

As there is a physical "Iron Dome" over Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel), there is the spiritual Iron Dome or Hashgacha over Am Yisrael (the Nation of Israel), and we must ask ourselves what has caused the current tzarot (troubles) to happen to the nation.  Maimonides writes in Hilchot Taanit that every tragedy requires reflection. There is no doubt that Am Yisrael has yet to understand the significance of our generation and is constantly searching for a partner to turn over lands to. We have an obligation to settle the land and yet we continue the Sin of the Spies. Even in the generation of the desert this was the biggest sin.


As a manifestation of the weaknesses that appear in the various circles within our nation, we see laws that attempt to strike against the Torah and the land. Some of our own are trying to erase our Jewish Identity, the key to our survival for the 2000 years we spent in exile. Am Yisrael has the unique quality of our faith and the Torah, so how is it possible that we should come to our land and try to blur the nature of our people?! For instance, how is it possible that there should be legislation against keeping Shabbat, with public transportation?! Or to join to our nation people who are not really Jewish, with the law regarding conversion to Judaism.


Is it for this that the Jews suffered for 2000 in the diaspora? To come home to our land and have our identity obscured? 


In Bilaam’s prophecy it says "From the top of the rocks I see him..." and the pasuk is interpreted to mean that if this nation maintains its culture and uniqueness - it will grow physically and spiritually stronger, but if it does not then the other nations will overcome it. The land of Israel belongs only to Am Yisrael, we must stop this so-called "peace process" and stop giving away regions. So long as Am Yisrael does not understand its destiny among the nations, G-d forbid, we are prone to much suffering of this sort.


I fear that the situation might only get worse as far as the other nations are concerned; the suffering we are going through is a result of weakness of our nation regarding Jewish life and regarding the land of Israel. 


We must strengthen ourselves in these matters, strengthen our leadership, in interpersonal relations, and regarding laws, not to legislate rules that harm the uniqueness of Am Yisrael. We are, first of all a Jewish state and only then a democratic one.

This is Our Land! We must return to Gaza to stay!

By Moshe Feiglin

In a lengthy interview on Channel 2 Tuesday morning, Moshe Feiglin  made the following points:
The value we are fighting for is  justice, not self-defense. This is our Land – Gaza included. As long as we cannot say that simple sentence, we will always lose. The Oslo misconception has collapsed in the dust of the missiles and bombs. As long as the misconception that this Land  belongs to another nation prevails, we will have to keep fighting in Gaza.
80% of the Gazan population would like to emigrate, according to a recent survey by ynet. We can give them a generous emigration package that would cost us just a fraction of what we are spending now.
When the IDF was in Gaza in the pre-Oslo days, there were no missiles in Tel Aviv. Those who pushed us to retreat from Gaza and now appear in the media as the voice of reason and rationality, saying that I am hallucinating when I talk about returning to Gaza, should look in the mirror to find the hallucinator.
A rocket or tunnel is not the enemy. The Hamas is the enemy and must be defeated. If all we want to do is weaken the Hamas or destroy the tunnels, we are setting the stage for the next war.
It is good to be ethical. But we have lost balance and are not acting ethically toward our own soldiers.

Monday, July 21, 2014

MK Feiglin: End the 'Misplaced Pity' That Endangers Our Soldiers

News
Tammuz 22, 5774, 20/07/14
In order to avoid risking the lives of Gaza Arabs, the IDF has been risking the lives of IDF soldiers, and that has to stop, said MK Feiglin
By Moshe Cohen
In a press conference Sunday evening, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz discussed how IDF soldiers warned residents of the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza to evacuate the area, providing Hamas with advance information on where the IDF would strike.

As a result, Hamas terrorists had time to prepare to “greet” soldiers, preparing traps, ambushes, and attacks - essentially sacrificing Israeli soldiets for the safety of Gaza civilians. That, said Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, is unacceptable; Israel should not be sacrificing its soldiers for the safety of Gaza residents, supporters of Hamas who voted to put the terror group in control of Gaza.

“The blood of ours sons is precious and we must not endanger it for nothing,” said Feiglin. “We must force the enemy to surrender. We have to stop supplying them with electricity, food, and all other supplies until they surrender and disarm.

“We hope and pray that the injured soldiers who sacrificed themselves will get better,” said Feiglin. “These are the times when we must demand that the illogical pity we have for our enemies is put to an end,” he added.

Thirteen IDF soldiers have been killed since Saturday night, the IDF said. The process of identifying the bodies is still ongoing. Golani Brigade, armor and engineering corps forces were met with effective close range guerrilla actions in Shejaiya, Gaza. The dead are all from the Golani Brigade. The Brigade's commander, Col. RasanAlian, was also lightly injured.

Safety for Our Soldiers, Not Mercy for Enemy

By Moshe Feiglin

Our hearts are with the courageous soldiers who sacrificed their lives to save us. We all join in prayer for the complete and speedy recovery of the injured and for the safety and well-being of the soldiers fighting this war.
It is specifically during these moments that it is important to make a clear and ethical demand: Israel must stop with the misdirected mercy for our enemies.
The blood of our sons is more precious than the blood of our enemies. We must not endanger our soldiers for naught.
Israel must defeat the enemy. We must not provide them with electricity, food or any other supplies until they surrender and give up their weapons.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Revoke Israeli Citizenship of Arabs who Support Enemy

By Moshe Feiglin

“It is unthinkable that while our soldiers are risking their lives in Gaza, Israeli citizens are protesting and flying the flag of the enemy, as was the case yesterday, said MK Moshe Feiglin on Sunday morning.
“During World War II, Jewish Americans who had immigrated from Germany and Japanese Americans were put in detention camps, despite their loyalty to their adopted country. They certainly did not wave the enemy flag.
Israel’s willingness to contain Arab rebelliousness is not democracy; it is anarchy – and it will bring Haifa and Jaffa to the same place that the Oslo Accords have brought Gaza.
The leaders of the Arab community have marked their constituency as suspects of disloyalty. Thus, any Arab citizen of Israel who displays his/her identification with the enemy should have his/her Israeli citizenship immediately and permanently

Return to Gaza and Declare Israeli Sovereignty

By Moshe Feiglin

Historically, Gaza is an Israeli, Jewish city. The fact that Israel has mentally disengaged from Gaza does not change the facts. We must conquer Gaza, expel the Hamas and all those who wish to harm us. When Israel ruled over Gaza from 1967 until Oslo, almost zero terror emanated from there. We are frightening ourselves when we say that we cannot rule there anymore. It is not right to be colonialists in Gaza. We must return to Gaza as children who are coming home.
Last week a poll on ynet showed that 80% of Gaza’s residents would like to emigrate. Israel would have to invest just a fraction of what it has spent on security to help them emigrate with a generous sum of money in their pockets.
We have no choice. For twenty years, we have tried Oslo. It doesn’t work. We have to try the solution of those who warned against Oslo and exactly what it would cause.

Like a rudderless ship in a stormy sea

By Martin Sherman, JPOST

Just as Hamas uses its civilians as human shields against Israeli military attacks, so the Israeli government uses its civilians as human shields to fend off diplomatic attacks from the international community.
Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset on Monday Photo: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST
The most righteous of men cannot live in peace if his evil neighbor will not let him be.– Wilhelm Tell, Act IV, Scene III, by Friedrich von Schiller, 1804 
The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.
– Gen. George S. Patton Jr.
There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher.– Jamie Shea, NATO spokesman, BBC News, May 31, 1999, on civilian casualties inflicted by NATO in the Balkans.
As Operation Protective Edge – which could have been dubbed “Pillar of Defensive II” or “Cast Lead III” – drags on, it is becoming increasingly clear that the government is misconstruing its role..
Running the country vs. leading the nation
It seems to believe that its primary role is to run the country, rather than lead the nation. This is a disastrously inappropriate misperception of its task
The manner in which the current round of military operations is being conducted clearly reflects a state of mind preoccupied with tactical management of existing realities, rather than strategic leadership, which strives to forge new realities.
The objective of the campaign – articulated as the restoration of calm – makes any other conclusion difficult to reach. Indeed, when “calm” is chronically impermanent, the desire for a return to the precarious status quo ante has a ring of despairing resignation to it, and conveys little hope of any better realities.
This debilitating syndrome was diagnosed in a perceptive opinion piece titled “Defeatism at its worst” (Jerusalem Post, July 14) by Anya Zhuravel Segal – who interestingly enough served on Binyamin Netanyahu’s staff prior to the 2005 disengagement from Gaza: “We are facing a deep crisis of political leadership, and a deep disbelief in our power to shape reality.”
Sadly, it is difficult to imagine a more fitting characterization of the mindset of Israel’s leadership in recent years, underscored not only by the definition of the objectives of military campaigns undertaken, but by the means employed to wage them.

Tactical brilliance, strategic imbecility
There can be little disagreement that Israel has cutting- edge technologies that few countries can compete with at its disposal. While this impressive technological superiority has resulted in several brilliant tactical achievements by the military, on the strategic level Israel has displayed what can only be called utter imbecility, precipitating situations which have considerably degraded its security.
Ever since the disastrous decision not to preempt the Arab attack in October 1973, which brought the country to the brink of annihilation, and cost it thousands of needless deaths, Israel – and Israelis – have paid heavily for policies of restraint and retreat, whether almost immediately, or with the passage of time.
Nearly all Israel’s subsequent strategic initiatives have involved restoring/transferring territory to defeated aggressors, in exchange for unkept – and often unkeepable – pledges. In every case the areas relinquished have, sooner or later, become platforms on which attacks are planned, prepared and perpetrated against Israel.
As a result of Menachem Begin’s 1977 decision to surrender the strategic expanses of Sinai, Israel faces an increasingly grim situation on its long southern border. The peninsula is descending into one of the most savage areas on the planet, ruled by brutal jihadi warlords increasingly putting Eilat and its booming tourist industry, without which its very viability will be imperiled, at risk.
Strategic imbecility (cont.) 
Faced with an evident lack of Egyptian ability and/or will to cope with the unfolding realities, a situation is emerging which eventually will become intolerable for Israel, one which can only be addressed by jeopardizing the peace treaty with Cairo, which constituted the rationale for relinquishing the territory in the first place.
The 1993/1995 Oslo Accords led to the deployment of armed Arab forces, drawn from the ranks of murderous terrorist organizations, within mortar range of the nation’s parliament. With it came an unprecedented wave of bloody terror, currently held in check only by the effects of 2002’s Operation Defensive Shield, subsequent redeployment of the IDF in the area, and the construction of a multi-billion dollar “separation barrier.”
The 2000 unilateral withdrawal (or more accurately flight) of the IDF turned southern Lebanon into an huge arsenal for the Shia-extremists Hezbollah, bristling with missiles that rained terror and destruction on millions of Israelis in 2006. The poorly conceived and inconclusive Second Lebanon War resulted in a dramatic increase in the deadly ordnance directed at Israel.
True, Hezbollah has refrained from using it up to now. However, the fact that the organization did not join Hamas in the current round of fighting may well have more to do with its involvement in the civil war in Syria, an indication that it is loath to engage on two fronts, rather than an effect of any durable deterrence attributable to a memory of the 2006 engagement.
Indeed, its huge accumulation of offensive weapons, coupled with persistent reports of extensive cross-border tunneling, hardly seem indicative of a diminished appetite to continue battle at an opportune moment in the future.

The most imbecilic of all 
Then came, arguably, the most imbecilic strategic initiative of all – the unilateral abandonment of the Gaza Strip (a.k.a. disengagement) and the expulsion of the Jewish residents from their thriving communities, which generated around 10 percent of the output of the economy and ample employment for its Arab residents.
So far, for Israel this “inspired” decision has resulted in three (and counting) military campaigns, massive disruption of the socioeconomic routine, ongoing trauma and occasional tragedy.
For the Palestinians the consequences have been far more calamitous – except of course for the cruel, corrupt cliques into whose clutches the disengagement delivered them, who have grown prosperous beyond their wildest dreams.
It would be hard to conceive of any policy initiative more counter-productive – indeed, self-obstructive – than this. Unless of course one looks at the current government’s efforts to end the hostilities in the south.
For, despite the precarious and perilous impermanence of the status quo ante, the major – if not the only – demand the government seems to be raising for a cease-fire is the restoration of the situation that led to the current fighting.
Worse, at the time of writing, the government was reportedly mulling some face-saving concessions for Hamas – ensuring that it could not only claim victory by remaining defiantly undefeated, but could flaunt tangible “achievements” – as it did after November 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
Emerging exasperation 
But as the government stumbles on in a seemingly aimless – albeit, pyrotechnically impressive – endeavor, there are signs of growing public exasperation with its performance and eroding confidence in its competence.
These were succinctly articulated by Zhuravel Segal in her previously cited op-ed, in which she echoes many of my thoughts: “I do not believe for a second that Israel, a country with outstanding…logistical accomplishments, cannot stop rocket fire from Gaza. What I see clearly, though, is incredible negligence and lack of systematic, long-term planning effort on behalf of Israel’s top political brass and…the prime minister…These days we are rallying behind our prime minister’s wartime rhetoric as if we were facing an enemy that could actually stand up to the concerted effort of a modern democracy with first-world diplomatic and military means at its disposal….”
‘Defeatism at its worst’
She goes on to lament, in a tone of bitter disillusionment tinged with bewilderment: “… we send our very best people to fight a bunch of fanatics who assemble smuggled rockets at home and hide in tunnels under their wives’ washing machines. Is this really the best we can do? If it is, I am deeply disappointed in Israel’s long-term planning capability…This is defeatism at its worst. It hurts us where it really matters and turns us into an indefensible victim yet again, a complex one hopes Israel would have by now shed.”
There is much to heed in Segal’s anguished words.
For while Israel’s highly effective civil defense apparatus has functioned admirably, reducing the casualty toll to the barest minimum, the ongoing imagery of Jews, forced by a Judeophobic militia to scurry for cover, and cower in shelters, is becoming increasing unacceptable, and is, or at least should be, incompatible with the founding ethos of the country.
The prattle that presents the retaking of Gaza as an invalid strategic objective is ludicrous and should be discounted with disdain.
Retaking of Gaza as a moral imperative
It is becoming difficult to bear the claims that the mighty IDF – portrayed as the strongest army in the region, capable of prevailing over any of Israel’s enemies, or combination thereof – cannot take an objective, barely 11-km. wide and 50-km. long, with no significant topographic barriers to impede its advance.
Such a measure is the only way the government of Israel can discharge its moral duty toward its citizens. To refrain from undertaking this task is a moral abomination on several levels, implying that, just as Hamas uses its civilians as human shields against Israeli military attacks, so the government of Israel uses its civilians as human shields to fend off diplomatic attacks from the international community.
Yes, such a measure will involve casualties – on both sides. But the blame for the blood shed must be laid squarely at the door of those who called for Israel to hand over the Gaza Strip to its sworn enemies – and of those who could have prevented it but, because they preferred privileged positions over political principle, did not.
Retaking Gaza cannot be avoided, only delayed for a less opportune and more hazardous occasion, when the enemy will be better prepared, and casualties higher.

Dismantling of Gaza as a moral imperative
In a recent report, the Post’s Yaakov Lappin wrote: “The experience of Israel’s military planners tells them that toppling the Hamas regime…is not necessarily in Israel’s long-term strategic interests. It remains far from clear who might replace Hamas, and Gaza could turn into a Somalia-like strip of land filled with Islamic State militias that cannot be deterred at all.”
This sort of claim be must rejected out of hand. Indeed it was precisely this kind of thinking that induced Israel to deal with the PLO lest it end up with Hamas. Israel agreed to deal with the PLO and got Hamas….
No matter what Arab regime is installed in Gaza at the end of the fighting, there is always the risk of it being replaced by more implacable and inimical successors.
Israel cannot determine who will rule Gaza…unless it does so itself.
To do this, it must impose unconditional surrender on Hamas and begin the systematic dismantling of Gaza and the relocation of its population in third party countries, as I first proposed two decades ago in “Why we can’t dump Gaza” (Jerusalem Post, December 9, 1992), and in numerous subsequent Into the Fray columns.

Frittering away a unique opportunity
Today Israel has a unique opportunity to eliminate the menace of Gaza and offer its non-belligerent population a better life elsewhere. It is difficult to imagine the current benign circumstances reoccurring:
(a) support of Israel in the US is at near-record highs, outstripping that for Palestinians (even among Hispanics and Blacks);
(b) there is deep hostility for Hamas in Egypt under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi;
(c) the Arab world is distracted by the internal tumult raging across it, with little time or resources to devote to the Palestinian issue;
(d) Hezbollah is entangled in the Sunni-Shia wars in Syria/Iraq, and unlikely to engage in an additional front against Israel.
So in the words of the sage Hillel, “If not now, when? The question is, will the government rise to the occasion.
Will it be equal to the challenge? Or will it let the country continue to drift, rudderless in the stormy sea that surround it – until an unexpected wave swamps it?
Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
www.martinsherman.net

The Palestinian issue in perspective


By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

The Hamas-Israel war is a test of Israel's power-projection and posture of deterrence, which directly impacts the national security of Jordan and other pro-US Arab countries. They rely on Israel's posture of deterrence in their own battle against rogue Islamic regimes.
In addition, the Hamas-Israel war highlights the limited impact of the Palestinian issue – both the PLO and Hamas - on Middle East developments and intra-Arab relations.  The war underlines the gap between the Western perception of the Palestinian issue, on the one hand, and the Egyptian and overall Arab perception on the other hand.
Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Egyptian President Sisi and all other Arab leaders do not consider the Palestinian issue a top priority, a strategic added-value, a core cause of Middle East turbulence or the crux of their conflict with Israel.  In contrast to US policy – as executed by President Obama since his June 2009 speech in Cairo, when he elevated the Muslim Brotherhood to unprecedented heights and dumped President Mubarak - Sisi outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, the "parent company" of Hamas, branded it a terror organization and sentenced its leaders to death.     
The Arab World has not flexed political, financial or military muscles on behalf of the Palestinian Hamas during the current war, nor did they during the recent intensive Israeli military crackdown on Palestinian terrorism in areas controlled by Mahmoud Abbas (in the aftermath of the murder of three Israeli teens).  This low Arab regard toward the Palestinian issue was, similarly, displayed in reaction to Israel's wars against Hamas terrorism in 2009 and 2012; Israel's 2000-2004 comprehensive war on Palestinian Authority terrorism (2nd Intifada); Israel's 1987-1991 military suppression of PLO terrorism (1st Intifada); and Israel's 1982-83 hot pursuit of PLO terrorists in Lebanon, all the way to Arafat's and Abbas' expulsion from Beirut.
Recently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have extended a $20bn emergency financial assistance to Egypt; in 2006-7, the Saudis supported Lebanon with a $2.5bn package; during 1980-1988, Riyadh provided $1bn annually to the Muslim rebels in Afghanistan, compared to $100MN annually to the PLO; but, the Saudi financial aid to the Palestinian Authority has been limited to a total of $1bn-$1.5bn since 1994, reflecting the Saudi mistrust of Mahmoud Abbas and Arafat.  Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States do not forget and do not forgive Mahmoud Abbas' participation in Saddam Hussein's August, 1990 plunder of Kuwait, which provided home to some 300,000 of Abbas' Palestinian relatives, friends and supporters.  They are aware of Abbas' track record of subversion and terrorism since the 1950s in Egypt, 1966 in Syria, 1970 in Jordan, 1970-1982 in Lebanon and 1990 in Kuwait.
President Sisi's attitude toward the Palestinian issue is consistent with President Sadat's and President Mubarak's distrust of the PLO/Palestinians.  For example, during 1977-79, President Sadat defied President Carter's insistence upon placing the Palestinian issue at the center of the Egypt-Israel peace process.  Sadat did not trust the PLO and was convinced that a PLO-dominated state would undermine regional stability.  In 1994, during the signing of the Cairo Israel-PLO agreement, President Mubarak expressed his attitude toward the PLO, scolding Arafat in public: "sign, you dog."  In recent months, the Egyptian military killed scores of Palestinian terrorists in Sinai, as they did in the aftermath of Israel's 2005 "disengagement" from Gaza, killing scores of Palestinians in Rafah.  Moreover, Sisi's fundamental position on the Palestinian issue was influenced by Abbas' and Arafat's key role in the Cairo cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1954, when the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Nasser. Abbas and Arafat fled Egypt due to their involvement in subversion and terrorism.
The Arab League – just like all Arab countries - has been preoccupied with the Arab Tsunami, which is sweeping the Middle East independent of the Palestinian issue, highlighting the marginal role played by the Palestinian issue in shaping the Middle East. The Arab League persists in its historical attitude toward the Palestinian issue: showering Palestinians with rhetoric, but not with resources. Thus, in 1948, the Arab League formed the "All Palestine Government" as an Egyptian-molded phantom, which was reduced by 1952 to a department within the Arab League and officially dissolved, in 1959, by Egypt's President Nasser.  In 1948/49, The Arab countries did not fight Israel for the Palestinians, did not share the spoils of the war with the Palestinians (Hama, Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea and Gaza) and were not interested in establishing a Palestinian state.
While Hamas urges the Arabs to rise in support of the Palestinians, the Egyptian media features unprecedented criticism of Hamas, reminding Egyptians that Hamas murdered 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai in August, 2012, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in toppling Mubarak, broke into Egyptian prisons and released Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, supported the Muslim Brotherhood's attempts to oust the Sisi regime, and undermined the stability of Arab countries.
Putting the Palestinian issue in its proper intra-Arab perspective is a prerequisite for a realistic Middle East policy (focusing on "smothering sandstorms," not on "tumbleweeds"), for any progress in the "peace process," and for the survival of Jordan and other pro-US Arab regimes, which face clear and present Islamic terrorist danger.  They realize that the outcome of the Hamas-Israel war may either embolden or deter their mortal enemies.

1.5 Million to Make Aliyah to Israel in Coming Decade

By Moshe Feiglin

Last Thursday morning, 400 new olim from France arrived in Israel. From the beginning of Operation Protective Edge more than 1000 olim have arrived. Not one of them has cancelled his/her aliyah because of the rocket attacks.
MK Moshe Feiglin repeated his forecast that 1.5 million olim will be coming to Israel within the next decade. Feiglin predicts that they will completely change our perspective on Israel’s situation.
“They are coming home to Israel,” said Feiglin.  “Those of us already here have to fully integrate our deep, natural bond to our beloved Land.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Revenge of G-d


By Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh
"And Moshe spoke to the people... to inflict the vengeance of G-d against Midyan" [Bamidbar 31:3]. According to the Midrash, Moshe said: Master of the world, if we were uncircumcised or rejected the mitzvot, they would not hate us. They only pursue us because of the Torah and the mitzvot which You gave us. This is therefore Your revenge – to establish the revenge of G-d." [Bamidbar Rabba 22].
The Torah which we have received is the reason behind the hatred of Israel, because through it we represent the world of the Master of the Universe, as is written: "You are My witnesses, G-d says... and I am G-d" [Yeshayahu 43:10,12]. The sages taught us: "If you are my witnesses, I am G-d, but if you are not my witnesses – as it were, I am no longer G-d." [Yalkut Shimoni Yitro 271]. The struggle of the other nations is indeed against G-d. But since there is no way to fight G-d directly, they fight against the nation which represents Him. The Ramban wrote: "'I will reply with revenge to my enemies, and I will repay those who hate Me' – They have done all of this because of their hatred for the Holy One, Blessed be He." [Devarim 32:41]. In his letter to Yemen, the Rambam wrote that because of the Torah "the other nations were extremely jealous of Him... and they wanted to fight G-d and struggle against Him, but He is G-d, who can fight Him directly?"
This concept is repeated in many verses. "We have been killed because of You every day" [Tehillim 44:23]. "They have put their hearts together, they have made a covenant against You" [83:6]. And in the beginning of the book, "Why are the nations excited, while the peoples talk in vain? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the princes gather together – because of G-d and His Mashiach." [2:1-2]. What do they want to do? "Let us remove their strings and throw their ropes away from us!" [2:3]. What strings of ours bind the nations of the world? This was revealed by the infamous Adolf Hitler, before he came into power in Germany, in a talk with the author Hermann Rauschning. "Providence has reserved for me the task of being the great emancipator of man. I save humanity from the limits of conscience and ethics, which have become independent goals, from the vile and degrading torment of the vain vision which is called conscience and morality." Hitler declared his intentions to the interviewer: "The war for control of the world is only between us – the war between the Germans and the Jews. Everything else is merely for the sake of appearance... The Tablets of Mount Sinai have lost their significance. Conscience is merely a Jewish invention... Israel, the historical nation of the G-d of the spirit, must of necessity have a hatred as deep as the abyss for the German nation, which worships the god of nature. Peace between these two gods is an impossibility."
Here is what Rav Kook wrote about the reason for anti-Semitism: "Until the coming of the future redemption, the only influence we have on the world is to teach obligations, morality, and justice... The world does not want to accept any obligations, and if they do accept them, they maintain in their hearts a grudge against the main ones who have dissipated the information about the obligations, who do not allow the barbarian soul to expand."
In the future, all the people will recognize the value of the influence of Judaism and its contributions to humanity, and therefore "ten men from all the other nations will take hold of the edge of the garment of every Jewish man, and they will say, we will go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you" [Zecharia 8:23].

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Operation Protective Edge and the Parasha


By Rabbi Stewart Weiss
I have, more than once, quoted my Rav zt"l who said that nothing ever happens in the course of a week that cannot be found within the Torah or Haftora portion of that week; and this week is no exception!

Our Sedra of Matot begins by discussing the laws of oaths, then talks about Israel's war against Midian, Moshe’s anger at Bnei Yisrael’s failure to kill the evil women of that nation, & the distribution of the spoils resulting from the war. I suggest that all of these subjects relate directly to the dramatic events happening this week in our beloved country.

One of the primary attributes of Hashem is that He is an erech apayim; patient, & slow to anger. Rather than punish the wrong-doers right away, He prefers to give His creations time to right their wrongs & do the right thing. But the phrase "slow to anger" indicates that, at some point, anger is totally justified! There is a boiling point (or "tipping point") when justice must be done & punishment must be meted out. At that point, the war must be a total one, where all those who tried to destroy us – the combatants as well as their evil supporters – are legitimate targets.

That is our most sacred national oath & vow - to defend our citizenry from harm.

The State of Israel has, by all accounts, been an erech apayim, patient & forbearing while under fire – perhaps even TOO tolerant. We allowed countless acts of murder & mayhem to be perpetrated against us, giving the adversary numerous opportunities to change their ways & act in a civilized manner. But, alas, they only became worse with time, & increased their deadly belligerence.

And so, finally, we acted and reacted as a proud nation of G-dly people should react. And the scope of our attack against the cruel & barbaric enemy, like that against Midian, must be wide & all-inclusive. As Moshe rebuked his officers, a war of national vengeance cannot be half-hearted.

Let me add one other piece to this paradigm.

The pasuk says that the Jewish soldiers brought the spoils of war to Moshe, Elazar HaKohen & the people. Why did they do this? Rashi explains that they were demonstrating their honesty & integrity, that they took nothing which was not rightfully theirs. This high standard of "t’hor he-neshek," purity of arms, still characterizes our holy chayalim, who make up the purest & most moral fighting force in the world today – perhaps in all of history.

May these amazing virtues compel the Almighty to bring our nation safety, success & lasting security in our land.

The Torah Peace Plan

A Torah Thought for Parshat Matot 

By Moshe Feiglin

And you shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land and you shall dwell in it. And if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you and it will come to pass that those that you leave will be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and they will harass you in the Land in which you dwell. (From this week’s Torah portion, Matot, Numbers 33:53-55)

If you were looking for a peace plan, here it is. Israel must move forward toward the reality in which all the Land is in our hands. No foreign nation should have a foothold in our Land. If they do, we will lose our own hold on the Land and evaporate. Any peace plan that does not take this into account is pure deception.
Shabbat Shalom

Today's Jewish Army: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Matot 5774

BS”D 

Parashat Matot 5774
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Israel is again at war against Amalek. I dedicate this week’s divrei Torah to our holy soldiers of Tzahal, from privates to major generals, from regular army of 18 year olds to reserve soldiers of over 50 years old.

Qualifications for Serving in Hashem’s Army

In our parasha, the nation is about to liberate the western side of Eretz Yisrael, beyond the Jordan River. While Moshe was instructing the leadership regarding the equitable division of the land among the nation, the tribes of Re’uven and Gad requested that their homesteads be in the fertile grazing lands of the eastern side of the Jordan. Moshe understood this to mean that they would not take part in the war of liberation against the seven Canaanite nations and reacted in great anger (32,6):
האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה:
Will your brothers will go to war and you will stay here!?
An agreement was arrived at whereby the tribes of Re’uven and Gad would serve in the dangerous reconnaissance units and would return to their families on the eastern side of the Jordan only after all the other tribes would be settled, each man in his homestead.
In Moshe’s mind, it was unthinkable that an able bodied Jew would not fight in the mitzva war of liberation of Eretz Yisrael and the protection of the Jewish nation.
There is no halachic exemption from military service from a war defined as a Milchamat Mitzva (a war which is halachically ordered). The only exemptions are those mentioned in Parshat Shoftim regarding a milchemet reshut” – war for political or economic gain, with the Sanhedrin’s approval, as elaborated by the Rambam (Melachim chapter 7).
When the troops are lined up in military formation, the Mashuach Milchama (a Kohen who is anointed for purposes of war) stands before them and declares: “Whoever has built a house, or planted a vineyard or became engaged to be married in the last year must leave the ranks to return home”. Then a shoter (military police) declares before the troops that whoever is afraid must also return. Rambam explains תחילת נפילה ניסה- defeat begins with desertion – and soldiers in any of the above mentioned categories are more readily inclined to desert.
I believe that the call to those who built homes, or planted vineyards or were engaged to be married to drop from the ranks is actually intended as a face saving gesture by the Torah to permit those who are gripped with fear to leave under the guise of one of the three categories of home, vineyard and immanent marriage.
Because to serve in HaShem’s army one must be courageous, not meek; determined, not irresolute; of high morale, not cowardly; spirited, not timid; tenacious, not irresolute.
One who lacks these qualities will always find some excuse, either physical, mental or spiritual.
However, in fact it is not the excuse which exempts the shirker, it is the Torah’s dictate to exclude from the army’s ranks people of weak character, whose presence would cause great harm.

Passing the Test

The Book of Judges (chapter 7) relates that HaShem commanded Gideon to bring his army of ten thousand to a river bed, and there, reduce the number significantly through a test. Those who would take the water into their hands and draw it up to their lips are suited to be in the army of HaShem; those who bow to drink the water would be rejected. Three hundred passed the test, the other 9700 failed and were sent home. And it was these 300 soldiers who defeated the entire Midianite army.
By singling out those individuals who did not bow down, Gideon was able to know who was of high personal character and tenacity so necessary for a soldier in HaShem’s army.

Today’s Jewish Army

At the present moment there are over forty thousand Israeli troops on the borders of Gaza, poised to decimate the enemies of Am Yisrael. There is not one among them who does not feel that behind him are the millions of Jews who were slaughtered by the descendants of Aisav and Yishmael during our 3500 year history. How HaShem has changed the destiny of our people in the last 70 years, and how He has changed the character of our people. From the depths of the killing fields of Europe, where we were as helpless as sheep brought to the slaughter, to become today a nation whose army is the envy of the world.
And let us remember that above all we are a Jewish army. Last week the commander of the Givati Brigade sent a message to his troops which was later sent to all, as follows:
אני נושא עיני לשמיים וקורא עמכם, ‘שמע ישראל ה’ אלוקינו ה’ אחד”. ה’ אלוקי ישראלי היה נא מצליח דרכינו, אשר אנו הולכים ועומדים להילחם למען עמך ישראל כנגד האויב המנאץ שמך. בשם לוחמי צה”ל ובפרט לוחמי החטיבה והמפקדים, עשה ויתקיים בנו מקרא שכתוב ‘כי ה’ אלוהיכם ההולך עמכם להילחם לכם עם אויבכם להושיע אתכם’ ונאמר אמן.
I lift my eyes to the heavens and call out together with you,
Shema Yisrael HaShem Elokaynu HaShem Echad,
May we be successful in the path we will be going to fight for Your nation Israel against the enemy who desires to desecrate Your name.
In the name of the fighters of Tzahal and the troops of the Givati Brigade and its commanders, make true the verse “For the Lord your God who goes before you to make war for you with your enemies to bring you salvation
let us say amen.
My son told me that his base has quite a large bet knesset, but it can hold only one third of the soldiers who come to pray there daily. And so it is with army bases along the length and breadth of the land.
In the merit of our holy soldiers and nation, may we see the destruction of all our enemies and our return to the entire Promised Land, including the expanded Gush Katif which will cover all of the Gaza strip.
May all our soldiers return home safely.
May we all rejoice in HaShem’s continued miracles for His loyal people in Eretz Yisrael.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2014 Nachman Kahana