Wednesday, January 01, 2003

THE ROAD TO PERDITION - Is Israel being sold out?

Ruth Matar, Women in Green Radio Program
Arutz Sheva, January 1, 2003

In the Hagadda, the story which Jews read on Passover, it is written:

"For not one only has risen up against us, but in every generation some have risen to annihilate us, but the Most Holy, blessed be He, has delivered us out of their hands."

In the last century, the Nazis thought they were going to succeed in what they planned as the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem, the complete extermination of the Jewish People. In this new century, our enemies, the Russian Federation, the United Nations, the European Union, and the US State Department have conceived of a plan, which will finally put an end to the dangerous ideas of those pesky Jews, to return once again to the land which they keep insisting some deity promised them long ago. Not only that, but these Jews actually have the audacity to build their homes in Judea, Samaria and Gaza where, they claim, remnants of synagogues thousands of years old are proof positive that this is their land.

Okay, the nations of the world say, that was then, now is now. Therefore, these nations of the world have come up with a "Road Map to Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict".

* Natan Sharanski calls this plan "a Road Map that leads straight back to Oslo".

* The Jerusalem Post, in an editorial of October 24, 2002, calls it a "Road Map to misery".

* Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post columnist, calls it a "Roadway to perdition".

I, personally, think that Israel is being sold out! The Russians, the United Nations, the European Union and the US State Department are effectively ganging up against Israel. All the signs are there. Last year, a French Ambassador to England described Israel as feces. A Saudi newspaper—controlled, of course, by the Saudi government--wrote that Jews make holiday pastry with human blood. Tony Blair, supposedly America's main partner in the war against terror, invites the mass murderer Assad of Syria to 10 Downing Street for a cozy chat about Israel, the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East. The British Queen invites this murderer Assad for tea and crumpets in her palace. And the head of the US State Department, Secretary of State Colin Powell, makes a remark which reveals his admiration of Yasser Arafat: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Yes, the signs are all there. As A. M. Rosenthal, formerly one of the editors of the New York Times, said in an article in the New York Daily News on April 5, 2002, entitled "Ignore Hate Today, Die Tomorrow", that Jews and Christians have been deceiving themselves that the most violent and virulent anti-Semitism campaign since Hitler has involved only Muslim states. "The noise and stench of hatred are soiling us again, not just from Muslim countries, but from lands we consider our friends."

Rosenthal further says: "Jews, listen and you will hear the sound of breaking glass."

Lately, I have been hearing the sound of breaking glass again. I was a small child at the time of Krystall Nacht in Austria in November of 1938, 64 years ago. No, the Nazis didn't break the glass of the windows of our home. They knew that would be pointless, since our home was to be given in good condition to one of the party faithful. They did, however, break all the windows of our synagogue, where they had herded all the town's Jews. I remember two things very clearly, being terribly cold and so, so hungry. The cold November winds blowing through the broken windows chilled us to the bones as we huddled together on the stone floor. In addition, we were very hungry. They did serve us food. A meat stew that smelled heavenly! But of course, as Jews, we could not eat a stew made with pork. With their fiendish sense of humor, they had put in large chunks of pork to teach us to eat what "normal" people eat.

This is just a small example of the Nazis' hatred and cruelty toward Jews. My brother and sister and I were fortunate to escape on a Kindertransport to Sweden. My parents were also miraculously saved by illegally crossing the Italian border, though they endured great hardship during the war years. Most of the people, however, who were herded into that synagogue together with us on Krystall Nacht, perished in the Holocaust.

I think this is the reason why I stopped doing what I really love to do, which is designing beautiful jewelry and Judaica. Instead, my Belgian-born daughter-in-law, Nadia, and I founded the organization Women for Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green). Sadly, most of Nadia's family in Belgium was also killed in the Holocaust.

Both Nadia and I were intent from the very beginning to fight those cursed Oslo Accords with all our strength. Nadia, of course, was not born at the time of Krystall Nacht. But, she can well imagine the sound of breaking glass which her family heard before they were transported to the Nazi death camps.

In my opinion, this Road Map will surely lead us down the road to another Holocaust, unless we are able to stop the evil designs of our enemies.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION, Is Israel being sold out?

David Weinberg, Director of Public Affairs, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, and Elyakim Haetzni, attorney and former Member of Knesset are going to give us their insights about this important subject.

(A recording of this entire program, including the interviews, is available on Click on "On Demand Audio" on the blue bar.)

We cannot afford to sit around and say: "Well, what can we do about it?"

German Jews asked themselves the same question while the Nazis were coming to power, and then they couldn't even ask the question, because they were being shot, gassed and strangled.

Dissemination of Jew-hate is a prelude to suicide terror just as certainly as making the bomb is the prelude to detonating it.

After meeting with the members of the Quartet to discuss the so-called Road Map a week ago, US President George W. Bush said, "I view the Road Map as a part of the vision that I described, it is a way forward."

A way forward? President Bush should realize that the "Quartet" plan is a stacked deck against Israel and the United States. A prescription for disaster that will have the effect of undermining both countries' security interests. Can President Bush be unaware that his policy is being fundamentally undermined — not least by a member of his own cabinet?

In Israel today, in America tomorrow.

The following quotation by the Philosopher Martin Niemoller is written at the entrance of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, and is very relevant today:

"In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came for me, and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."

Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380

Wedding in Jerusalem

By Naomi Ragen
Last night I went to the wedding of my dear friends’ Nancy and Benny's daughter. I've known the bride and her family for many years. And Nancy and I discovered we were both born in the same hospital in Brooklyn a few days apart. The bride and her twin brother were tiny babies when I first met them.

And now that baby girl, Shira – meaning song- was getting married.

Her future husband was a Talmud student in a study program that combined full army service with religious studies in a yeshiva situated in the heart of Biblical Israel, Samaria (A place our enemies call “illegal settlements”) . It is a yeshiva very similar to Otniel, which less than a week ago was invaded by terrorists with machine guns and hand grenades who killed four students in cold blood, and injured nine more.

Here I was, surrounded by these boys – soldiers and bible students—over a hundred of them, all invited by the groom to the wedding. In my minds’ eye, I could see the dining room in Otniel filled with these faces, dressed in the white shirts that are Sabbath and wedding day finery according to the mores of these modest, religious people.

Security was very tight. We were not in a settlement, we where in the heart of downtown Jerusalem. And Palestinians, who so far haven’t been persuaded by the Israeli left to kill just Israelis over the mythical green line, consider all of us in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Afula, Beit Shean, etc. etc. fair game for slaughter anytime, anyplace. Bible study, wedding, Bar Mitzvah, Passover Seder, Yom Kippur, sabbath meal. While the Western world has great delicacy when it comes to fighting terror “during the Holy month of Ramadan” Muslims themselves have no such sensitivity in halting their murderous activities during Ramadan, or any other day or occasion holy to other religions.

So here we were at a wedding, surrounded by armed guards. There was a pick up truck from the security company parked at the entrance, with a guard standing up in the open back with a machine gun. And there were metal barriers, and armed guards at all the entrances, with metal detectors, who checked our bags and coats and gifts, and back packs, then smiled and waved us through. And none of us wedding guests thought there was anything unusual about it. In fact, we were grateful.

And as the groom walked towards the seated bride, to perform the traditional “bedecking”, in which he takes the veil and covers her face (a custom which comes from the unfortunate experience of Patriarch Jacob who got Leah when he wanted Rachel, so now Jewish grooms make sure it’s the girl they had in mind before she puts on the veil…) the room filled with the roar of joyous song and the rhythm of hundreds of clapping hands. The music of flutes filled the air. We all then went outside in the cold Jerusalem night, another custom, to hold the wedding canopy under the stars.

There, again, the guards again kept watch from all sides. A guest, a massive fellow in a grey and red mustache, held a cherubic blonde two year old on his shoulders so the child could see. Grandfather and grandson, I thought, missing my own grandchildren. And I realized how much life is made up of such small, meaningful things. Sitting on your grandfather’s shoulders watching a wedding in Jerusalem. Holding a grandchild by his little legs. And when the blessings were made, the wine drunk, and the sound of rejoicing filled the night air, I thought: They can force us to hire armed guards for our weddings. They can force us to attend the funerals of young men and women, our sons and daughters, but they can’t stop can’t stop us from getting married, and starting new families, and singing and dancing, and filling Jerusalem’s night air with blessings.

They cannot.

But I wondered, how it must be for these boys, after burying their friends, after suffering such a clear example of what they all are facing in their own community and yeshiva, to now be celebrating. Were they totally able to free themselves from the terror, the mourning, the sorrow, to let their hearts rejoice for their friend at his wedding? Was such a thing possible, or even desirable?

Later, I got my answer.

It was something I’d never seen before at a wedding. Half the boys suddenly sat down on the floor. The rest, including all the men at the wedding, all the Rabbis, all the grandfathers, made a circle and walked around the room and the seated boys, hands on each other’s shoulders. In the very center sat the groom, who led the singing.

The music, unlike most traditional wedding songs, was slow. The movement around the room, slow. I strained to make out the words, and finally I did. They were the words of the traditional blessing from Grace after Meals, words we Jews say three times or more a day:

“Have compassion, O God, upon Israel Your people, upon Jerusalem, Your City, upon Zion, the Abode of Your glory, upon the kingdom of the House of David. O, our Father”—the men sang , and we women formed our own separate circle, shoulder to shoulder, united physically, and with one voice, we sang:” tend us, feed us, sustain us, nourish us, relieve us, and speedily grant us relief, O God, our God, from all our troubles.”

As I looked at the groom and his friends, as I saw the bride and hers, all singing these words, I understood that our enemies are never going to defeat us. Never. Because a people that can bury its dead, and rejoice in its living, and who can move forward into the future without forgetting either is a people that cannot be defeated by bullets or bombs or hatred or evil. It is a people who lives to give light to the world, and that light, despite the efforts of our enemies and those who support them—shines on.

While the world celebrated the beginning of a New Year with noisy blasts of fireworks and confetti, here in Jerusalem we quietly, meaningfully, celebrated the beginning of a new Jewish family. We did it with love, and faith, and trust in the future, asking God for his compassion and His blessing for His people. May He grant it to the young couple, to us, and to all who understand and rejoice in the difference between Israel and her enemies.

Sent by Naomi Ragen