Friday, December 19, 2003

Another Tack: The prostitute's price (JPost)

by Sarah Honig

No need to worry about Ehud Olmert's latest pronouncements. He has evinced such dubious originality in the past, most glaringly when he sabotaged the Likud's 1999 campaign and starred in Ehud Barak's electioneering broadcasts, vouching that Barak won't divide Jerusalem. Shortly thereafter, Barak was about to sign everything away save for the subterranean strata of the Temple Mount.

That's not to say, however, that there's no cause for anxiety - not so much about Olmert, as about his boss, ultra-pragmatist Ariel Sharon. His cronies informally reassure us that our interests are in capable hands, that the wily old man knows best.

That's precisely what should deprive us of sleep at night. Crafty expediency may get us out of assorted jams but land us into life-threatening quicksand.

In this case, the road to disaster is paved with pragmatic considerations.

Pragmatism is akin to focusing on specific potholes in our national path rather than sometimes lifting our eyes from the ground to scan the horizon, survey the sweep of the land and behold the full track ahead. We bog ourselves down with details and neglect the whole. We quibble about issues and forget the basics.

Occasional pragmatism has its uses, but had Zionism's founding fathers been dogged by the demographic demon like Olmert, this state would have never been born. It came to be because of the Herzlian "irrational" resolve that "if you will it, it's no myth." Unlike visionary, against-the-odds Zionists of yesteryear, pragmatists reject dreams, absolutes and truths. Everything is judged by the practical outcome. The quicker and more facile the solution, the better, because impatient pragmatists rarely commit for the long haul.

THUS IF the world, for a host of ulterior motives, contends Israel is the villain and the Arabs its downtrodden victims, we don't quarrel with this basic premise. We throw the howling hostile hounds a few bones to mollify them, ease the pressure, win time.

If the world, for cynical self-serving reasons, equates us with South Africa's old apartheid regime and the Arabs with the oppressed indigenous masses, we don't challenge this odious distortion. We try to improve our image.

If the world decides we're foreign colonists who forcibly usurped the land of peaceful natives, we remove several settler outposts, rather than refute the brazen fabrications and stress our right to our only homeland.

If the world falsely depicts us as the many and the mighty and the Arabs as the few and defenseless, we shy from military solutions to violent conflicts. If the world calls us aggressors, we apologize.

If the world misrepresents this bloody dispute as being about a Palestinian state, we don't protest that it's really about denying the right of a Jewish state to exist. Instead, to please our critics, we concede the Palestinian cause.

By repeatedly conceding the basic assumptions against us, we aggravate our own distress and inevitably succumb to the inimical international axiom that we're in the wrong and that those who would annihilate us are desperate insurgents against injustice. Any means to which they resort are thereby quasi-legitimized and terrorism against Israel not entirely cast out of moral bounds. Our accommodating pragmatism effectively removes Israelis, even Jews, from what the world's anti-terror warriors define as terrorism.

Insidiously, terrorism becomes the indiscriminate targeting of non-Jews.

It's therefore quite counterproductive for us to exclusively harp on the terror theme. We'd do better to go back to basics, proclaim loud and clear that we are here by right; that we were attacked; that the Arabs only conjured Palestinian nationality in order to stake rival claims; that a Palestinian state never existed (i.e. we certainly didn't conquer and subjugate it); that we didn't drive out hapless refugees (who themselves started the war); that they caused their own downfall by plotting genocide and ethnic cleansing against us; that our only sin is surviving. We can remind the world of the Nazi legacy of "Palestinian" hero Haj Amin el-Husseini. We can point to Ahmed Yassin's recent declaration that there's no room in the region for a Jewish state.

Admittedly, we may not convince anyone. The dice are loaded against us. But we've nothing to lose by rediscovering our defiant spirit and lost Zionist ideals. Excessive pragmatism - the sacrifice of national honor for temporary gain - will lose us everything, from our own sense of justice to the souls of our youngsters.

Pragmatism will turn us into the woman once asked by George Bernard Shaw whether she'll go to bed with him for a 1,000 Pounds. When she answered in the affirmative, he offered her a mere 2 Pounds. Outraged, she railed: "What do you take me for? A prostitute?" Shaw replied: "We've already determined that. Now we're haggling over the price."

Sarah Honig is a political analyst and columnist who writes for the Jerusalem Post, where this article appeared on December 12, 2003.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF or The Maccabean Battles - Reloaded

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Dear Friends,

Israel's Prime Minister Sharon, under heavy American pressure, has made the decision to destroy Migron, a community in the Judean Hills just minutes from Jerusalem. Migron is home to 43 young Torah-observant Jewish families with over 60 young children. They are professionals, teachers, students, and soldiers. They work in Migron or in Jerusalem, or in the surrounding communities, such as Michmash. (Michmash was the stronghold of Judah Maccabee, who reestablished Jewish sovereignty in this whole area, during the time of the Chanukah wars.)

It is important to understand that Migron is not some little collection of huts. The community has built a Synagogue. They also have a library, their own health care center, a petting zoo, and a kindergarten.

Why Migron? It seems that U.S. Ambassador, Daniel Kurtzer, has instructed Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that Migron has to be the first "Jewish settlement" to be evacuated, so as to make possible a contiguous Palestinian State. (More than shameful: Kurtzer, a supposedly Orthodox religious Jew, because of personal ambition, lends himself to try to destroy the Jewish State.)

The truth is that Migron was approved by Sharon and the Defense Ministry. In fact, successive previous Defense Ministers have insisted that Migron is essential strategically and must never be abandoned. Migron was built on Land owned by Jews, and the Migron residents have all the legal papers to prove these facts.

What right does Prime Minister Sharon, or U.S. President George W. Bush, (or the State Department?) or the European Union, have to uproot these Jewish families from their homes? What right does anyone have to give away portions of the Jewish Homeland, the Land given to us eternally and irrevocably by G-d, to a bunch of terrorists, or to anyone else for that matter?

This Friday night we are lighting the first candle of the Chanukah holiday. What exactly are we celebrating?

In children's books the story is very simple:

"Many years ago, a wicked king, named Antiochus, captured the Land of the Jews. He ordered them to give up their religion and to worship his Greek gods. All who refused to obey the king's command, were put to death."

But also for adults -- in the popular perception -- the story is not much more complex:

"Chanukah is the victory of a small band of the courageous Maccabees fighting the mighty Syrian-Greek army of King Antiochus. The miracle of Chanukah is the rededication of the Temple, and the triumph of freedom of religion in the face of oppression."

The TRUE Chanukah story is not so simple. Yes, the Maccabean wars were fought against a foreign occupying force, the Syrian-Greeks. But these wars were also waged against another enemy trying to destroy Israel as a Jewish entity, an enemy WITHIN. The Hellenized Jews at the time of the Hasmonians were a dedicated group of "worldly" Jews drawn to the "beauty" of Greek culture and alienated from their own heritage and from the G-d of Israel. They existed to ingratiate themselves by serving the whim of their foreign patrons and to eliminate the yoke of their own heritage -- the Torah. They longed to be like the other nations of the world, free to indulge in whatever they wished, and to eradicate any vestige of what makes a Jew Jewish in the first place: The G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Land of Israel, and the Holy Torah itself.

The REAL battle of the Maccabees was not only against the Syrian-Greek army of Antiochus. It was also against their fellow Jews, who were willing to sell out their Jewish identity for universality, world citizenship, economic advancement, and of course, acceptance by other nations. They were even willing to give up the Holy Temple, and to allow Jerusalem to become a Greek city, all in order to obtain for themselves "the good life", and to become enlightened "citizens of the world".

Today, our modern assimilationists are very much like the Hellenists of old. We have our own version of disloyal High Priests and our own Hellenizers -- the Sharons, the Olmerts, the Yossi Beilins, the Yossi Sarids, and the Shimon Pereses, and others too numerous to mention.

It is not widely known that Antiochus did not issue anti-religious decrees against any other people than the Jews. He simply conquered many nations POLITICALLY, but did not attack their RELIGION in any way. It was ONLY against the Jews that he instituted anti-religious decrees.

Why just against the Jews? Historians say that Antiochus had no intention of issuing anti-religious decrees against the Jews, but his Jewish friends and collaborators, the Hellenists, advised him to do so. The Hellenists of that time - THEY were the ones who advised Antiochus how to break the Jews.

You want to break the Jewish People? Forbid them to study Torah and forbid them to perform circumcisions, allow their holy places to be desecrated and, above all, forbid them to live on their own Promised Land.

History, in truth, repeats itself! Or in modern terms, we now have "The Maccabean Battles - Reloaded!" The internal Jewish enemies counsel the external enemies, and give them advice on how to break the People of Israel. Hellenist Yossi Beilin is funded by the European Union and goes around the world selling his treasonous Geneva Accords. And Mr. Olmert and Mr. Sharon compete with each other as to who can announce more "painful concessions" to the world on Israel's behalf. THE GREAT TRAGEDY of our present situation is that the war of the Hellenized Jews, who joined the enemy against their Jewish brothers, continues to this very day!

Today, we are faced with the same enemies: world powers that are pushing the tiny Jewish state, pushing hard to divide and give away large portions of the Jewish Homeland, the Land given to us eternally by G-d. The same enemies are still here, including the enemy within.

Like then, the enemy within has the political power in our Land, cow-towing to the world powers that urge the weakening and diminution of our tiny nation. And for what reason? Astonishingly, to appease and reward a vast multitude of Arab terrorists who strive to destroy tiny Israel along with the United States and the rest of Western Civilization. Make no mistake: these are the same Arabs who cheered the destruction and massacre of the Twin Towers, and who today, weep because of the capture of Saddam Hussein, as he hid like a rat in a filthy hole in the ground. Their other role model and hero, Yasser Arafat, also cowers like a rat in his decaying compound in Ramallah, but, alas, he is dangerous. This enemy continues to order and organize the murder of Jews in Israel, inside and out of the absurdity known as the 'green line'. Is he brought to justice for these atrocities, is he stopped, is he captured or killed? No. Instead, he is protected by the United States, and courted by Peres, Beilin, and those of their ilk, the Jewish Hellenists of today.

We cannot afford to loose this fight -- THIS FIGHT IS FOR SURVIVAL.

Yesterday, December 17, our Women in Green went to the Judean Community of Migron, to show our solidarity with the 43 families with their 60 children, who are rebuilding this Biblical city. (Biblical references to Migron: Isaiah 10:28, Samuel I 14:2.) We brought the children toys and candy.

Also yesterday, a large number of Rabbis, under an umbrella called the "Land of Israel Rabbis", went to Migron. Last night they issued the following statement:

"The government is forbidden by a total religious prohibition to evacuate any outpost or settlement and has no right to give away parts of the Land of Israel to strangers, and anything done toward this aim is void. "

The "Land of Israel Rabbis" also stated that thousands of Yeshiva students will come to Migron to try and keep Israel Defense Forces troops from evacuating it.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the Chief Rabbi of the Elon Moreh settlement, said that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government was, "disintegrating the Land of Israel. We have never had a worse government than this one. The core of the problem does not lie with the IDF, the Ministry of Defense, or the Interior Ministry. All roads lead to Ariel Sharon. We are telling Ariel Sharon: You have 24 hours (before his speech at the Herzliya Conference tonight) to regain your composure and to examine your position. Otherwise you will lead us to the biggest disgrace in the history of Israel," the Rabbi said.

The Women in Green support these statements in their entirety. Judah Maccabee started the Maccabean battles by his statement: "He who is for G-d, follow me!" Women in Green will join and follow all those who believe in the G-d of Israel, in order to prevent this shameful attempt of the Hellenist Jews to abandon our Homeland.


With Blessings and Love for Israel,

Ruth Matar

P.S. Go to our website to see pictures of the children of Migron

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Nadia Matar: About Pigs and Transfer of Jews

(The following is a translation of Nadia Matar's Hebrew show on Arutz 7 Internet)

We are now in a new period. Until a few days ago, we did not know where the Israeli Government was leading us, and we could still think that Ariel Sharon "is only talking, but doesn't mean it"; now things are crystal-clear: the Sharon Government intends to betray, hand over, uproot, destroy, and transfer.

The Prime Minister's mouthpiece, Minister Ehud Olmert, said this: in his opinion, Israel is incapable of controlling the entire area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, and, therefore, we must withdraw. This is Sharon's political plan: to withdraw from most of the regions of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District, and even from part of Jerusalem. Why? We all know that this will only increase the enemy's appetite. A withdrawal will be interpreted as surrender to terror - and if we withdraw from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, the Katushas will start to fall on Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion, and Haifa. But nothing fazes Sharon and Olmert. According to them, we have to fold.

It is not important now whether Sharon implements this as a unilateral withdrawal, or as a withdrawal that is the result of yet another disastrous agreement with the Arabs. What is important to know is that this time Sharon is serious, and that he wants to be rid of most of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, to uproot settlements, and to transfer Jews. As Sharon already said in the past, only he is capable of doing this.

This is not the place to begin a lengthy analysis of how it happened that people from the national camp suddenly become Yossi Beilin clones. In my opinion, the reality proves that only a believing leader, who believes that God gave us this land, is capable of standing firm in the face of pressures. The moment that you base our being in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza on a security reason, without the Bible, without any Divine promise, you have no "case," and, ultimately, you surrender and cave in.

But, as we noted, now is not the time for analyses of what and why, now is the time to ask: What is to be done? How do we organize in order to thwart Ariel Sharon's malicious plans? First of all, we must state, clearly: 1) What the entire struggle is all about? The struggle is not over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The battle is not to save one settlement or another. The struggle is to save the State of Israel, and for the Jewish people's right to exist in its land. The moment that the government of Israel will agree to uproot settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, it will have swept away from under its very feet our moral right to be in any other place in Eretz Israel. For if we were to retreat from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, what moral right do we have to remain in Sheikh Munes in Tel Aviv? [Sheikh Munes is the neighborhood where Shimon Peres lives, which used to be an Arab village before 1948]. Accordingly, when we will act to prevent the uprooting of a settlement such as Migron, we actually will be struggling to save Tel Aviv, Beersheva, Tiberias, and Jerusalem.

2) This is not an evacuation! We must not use the expressions "evacuation or removal" or "shifting" of settlements. This is the uprooting of settlements and transfer for Jews. Politicians who want to mitigate and downplay the crime that they intend to commit use words that do not shock the public. We have the task of crying out that this is actually the brutal uprooting of settlements and the transfer of Jews. It is extremely racist, anti-Semitic, and would involve a virtual Civil War with Jews fighting Jews.

3) About the eating of pork and the uprooting of settlements Question: if 120 Knesset members and an overwhelming majority in the government were to legislate the obligatory eating of pork, would those who observe kashrut obey this "democratic decision"? Obviously not. They would say that despite the decision having been made by majority vote, this is a patently illegal decision, over which a black flag flies. Such a decision is not to be obeyed. If they insisted and sent companies of policemen and soldiers to feed us the pork, we would forcefully resist and we would proclaim: We shall not let you! Period. In other words: over my dead body. The same holds true for the uprooting of settlements. A majority in the government or in the Knesset does not make the handing over of portions of Eretz Israel legal and moral. We shall not obey if the government or the Knesset were to betray the homeland. Accordingly, the residents in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza must remain in the settlements, and IDF soldiers must refuse to participate in the uprooting of settlements and the transfer of Jews.

According to various reports in the media, the authorities believe that some 85 percent of the residents in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would consent to leave of their own free will if they were to receive suitable compensation, and that the security forces would be required to deal with "only" about 15 percent of the "problematic" ideological inhabitants. We must show them that the numbers are exactly the opposite, and that an overwhelming majority of the residents will remain where they are and refuse to leave. If this will be the situation, uprooting and transferring would not be possible.

4) On the Judenrat and the serious fear of a provocation by the authorities, Yair Sheleg, a journalist and member of the Israel Democracy Institute, wrote a position paper on The Political and Social Significance of Evacuating Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In this paper he compares the uprooting of the Yamit settlements to what is liable to happen in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and he gives the authorities recommendations how to facilitate the work of uprooting. (Incidentally, it must be understood that Yamit and Judea, Samaria, and Gaza cannot be compared. We were in Yamit only for several years, while a third generation of children is growing up in Judea. Samaria, and Gaza. In Yamit we were only a few thousand, the majority of whom left of their own free will. In Judea, Samaria, and Gaza we are at least a quarter of a million people - not including the massive amount of relatives, friends, and supporters who live in pre-1967 Israel and are willing to come on the day of reckoning.) The bottom line in Sheleg's position paper is that the work of uprooting the settlements will indeed be difficult, but he hopes that the local leadership of the settlers will honor the democratic decision to uproot settlements, aid in calming the waters, help the authorities, and cooperate with them. In more blunt language: Yair Sheleg hopes that the leaders of the settlers (the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, rabbis, educators, and the like) will constitute a sort of "Judenrat" that collaborates with the transfer government. I would like to hope that this would not be the case, and that the leadership in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza will head the total resistance to this crime.

In such an instance, there exists the frightening possibility that the authorities will find another way to expedite the labor of transfer for them. We must already warn against such a possibility, and declare that we are aware of the fact that the authorities may plant several provocateurs within the public in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and that these agents will commit some terrible act (such as shooting at soldiers) to shock the public, to delegitimize us, and to silence our struggle. If this should happen, we will know that these individuals do not belong to our camp, and that they are new "Avishai Raviv"s.

5) What has to be done: It is time to awaken and begin to organize. I believe with total faith that, with God's help, it is within our power to prevent the crime that the government intends to commit. Battalions of lawyers are already working on appeals to the High Court of Justice to prevent the uprooting of outposts and settlements, using legal tools. The national members of Knesset must organize and give Sharon a clear and unequivocal message that if even a single family will be uprooted, his government will fall.

And we must begin to take to the streets in droves, to show the world that the people of Israel firmly opposes defeatist and suicidal political plans. In the emergency meeting of the joint staff of the extraparliamentary organizations, that was attended by the rabbis of "Piku'ah Nefesh," Professors for a Strong Israel, Gamla Shall Not Fall Again, Matot Arim, and the Women in Green, the following decisions were taken:

(a) the uprooting of outpost settlements and settlements that the government is plotting would constitute patently illegal racist transfer and ethnic cleansing, over which a black flag flies. This uprooting itself constitutes civil war. We call upon our soldiers to take advantage of the opportunity given them by the IDF not to participate in such actions.

(b) We stand behind the rabbis of "Piku'ah Nefesh" in their announcement to the public that they regard the "uprooting of Jews from their land" as a betrayal of the Jewish people. We ask the Attorney-General to add us to the list of those to be interrogated.

(c) We call upon all those loyal to Eretz Israel to mobilize on behalf of the settlements. We, for our part, have prepared the means for sending out the alert, transportation, and the method for bringing people.

(d) the upcoming activities are: a demonstration, under the slogan: "Olmert Is Dividing Jerusalem" on Sunday, December 14, at 7 p.m. opposite the Jerusalem Theater, against Minister of Communications Olmert who is to speak there. There will also be a demonstration against the Prime Minister on December 12 in Herzliyah during the time of the speech in which he is to announce his intent to hand over the heart of the land to the enemy. Details will be forthcoming in the coming days.

We conclude with the words of Simon the Hasmonean (I Maccabees 15:33-35): "We have not taken other people's land, nor are we in possession of other people's property, but of the inheritance of our forefathers; it was wrongfully held by our enemies at one time, but we, grasping the opportunity, hold firmly the inheritance of our forefathers."

Nadia Matar, Co-Chairperson of Women in Green