Yochanan Ezra ben Avraham (John Mauritz Hummasti) is an Orthodox Convert to Judaism. He converted in December 2003 through the Bet Din of Rabbi's Yonah H Geller and David Rosenberg of Congregation Shaarie Torah in Portland, Oregon.
He was a victim of Human Rights Abuses from 1990 until May 2000 while hospitalized and incarcerated in the US Bureau of Prisons and the US Medical Center for Federal Prisoners for Attempted Bank Larcency/Robbery.
As a passionate Jewish Monarchist, I want to see the Jewish Monarchy restored to the House of David and the Third Temple Rebuilt.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Tuesday sharply criticized the United Nations Security Council for not holding the Palestinian Authority leadership accountable for its actions, the Council’s decision to invite Hanan Ashrawi, a former senior leader in the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority, as a member of Palestinian Arab civil society to brief the Council, and for willfully choosing to ignore Iran’s malevolent behavior during a discussion on the Middle East.
In his remarks, Ambassador Erdan said, “Unfortunately, rather than pushing peace forward, the Security Council’s debates on the Situation in the Middle East, only seem to perpetuate the conflict. Rather than helping to turn the vision of peace into a reality, these debates create an alternate and false reality. These biased debates give the Palestinians the illusion that they will never be held accountable for their crimes and that all of their radical demands could be granted by the international community. The unbalanced discussions only serve to strengthen Palestinian rejectionism of any further negotiations with Israel, thereby maintaining the conflict.”
Ambassador Erdan added, “The latest example of this absurd approach is the decision to invite, as a representative of civil society, an individual who was a member of the PLO Executive Committee, and who has been a Palestinian politician for decades. What’s next? Will you invite Hassan Rouhani and Javad Zarif as representatives of Iranian civil society? Ashrawi is not just a lifelong spokesperson for the Palestinian political leadership. She is an opponent of peace. Following the Abraham Accords, she condemned these historic peace agreements, and claimed that the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain had been “coerced and cajoled” into making peace with Israel. Does the Security Council really want to give a platform to an enemy of peace?”
On Iran, Ambassador Erdan said, “While some members of the Security Council remain stuck in the mud of their anti-Israel obsession, the real threat to global security, is quickly advancing. Iran continues to progress towards its goal of becoming a nuclear threshold state. The murderous Ayatollah regime continues to openly violate its international commitments in the fields of enrichment, stockpiling, uranium metal and advanced R&D, while obstructing the IAEA. It is using the diplomatic talks, to buy time, so that it can enrich uranium to near weapons-grade levels, while gaining nuclear know-how that can never be reversed. At the same time, Iran continues to spread death, destruction and instability throughout the region, as it seeks to advance a Shiite hegemony over the Middle East, and exports terror around the world.”
“Let me be clear – Israel favors a diplomatic solution. A diplomatic solution that would truly prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold stat
“Yet seeing as Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, the State of Israel can never and will never, allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. We will do whatever is necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear drive, and counter the threat from its armies of proxies, along our borders and beyond our borders,” Erdan concluded.
A disparaging piece in “Jewish Currents” magazine is deeply troubling for many reasons, most notably because it ignores Jewish and Middle Eastern history from the days of the Bible through World War II. Op-ed.
The 1,000-year-old Washington Bible is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Alejandro Matos/Museum of the Bible
(JNS) Late one night as I was falling asleep, I was reading a narrative cartoon from Jewish Currents (see below*) called “When Settler Becomes Native.”
I was jolted up out of bed when I saw a cartoon image of myself with a quote from a JTA article I wrote about my efforts to ensure Jewish history was included in California’s ethnic-studies program. I asserted that thanks to new material from JIMENA, “Students will not be taught the lie that Jews are somehow foreign interlopers in our ancestral homeland. Instead, students will learn that all Jews are indigenous to Israel.”
The Jewish Currents piece meant to disparage me. But I am very proud of JIMENA’s work on ethnic studies. The Jewish Currents piece, which seeks to deny Jewish indigeneity to the land of Israel, has only deepened my commitment to continue asserting Jewish indigeneity to the land of Israel and the larger Middle East in a variety of contexts.
The piece was deeply troubling for a multitude of reasons, most notably because it ignored Jewish and Middle Eastern history from the days of the Bible through World War II. Instead, it asserted that Mizrahi Jews, and organizations like JIMENA, have “mythologized” a Jewish link to the land of Israel, despite the fact that Jews lived continuously in the region for more than 2,500 years. The article was filled with contradictions, mischaracterizations and cherry-picked definitions of indigeneity, motivated solely by a desire to exclude Jews and Jewish history. My history. Our history.
Issues around indigeneity as a whole are certainly complex. Still, there are specific historical, cultural, geographical and spiritual truths that need to be taken into consideration when exploring Jewish indigeneity to the land of Israel and issues of Middle Eastern indigeneity as a whole.
For thousands of years, the Middle East has been one of the most ethnically and racially diverse corners of the world and is home to a multitude of indigenous communities, including Jews, Bedouin, Copts, Kurds, Shabaks, Tabaris, Samaritans, Assyrians, Yezidis, Chaldeans (the list goes on … ). The indigeneity of any one of these communities does not negate the indigeneity of another.
Unfortunately, imperialism and colonialism have had a devastating effect on the religious and ethnic diversity of the region. Luckily, many Middle Eastern diaspora communities, like the Jewish people, have clung tightly to their heritages, practices and ways of living that indelibly root them to land and place.
US definition: “Indigenous peoples are the holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable management of natural resources. They have a special relation to and use of their traditional land. For Jews, it is this rootedness—not vague and ephemeral “ties,” but concrete, ongoing, unbroken practice—that connects us directly to the land of Israel and the Middle East. To deny this is to render it nearly impossible to have an honest conversation on Jewish and Middle Eastern indigeneity.
The Jewish Currents piece, however, arbitrarily defines the term “indigenous” as only applying to those colonized after the 15th century. This is at odds with well-established descriptions and definitions used by the United Nations, Amnesty International and a host of nonprofit organizations working on indigenous-rights issues.
The U.S. does not delineate indigenous groups based on time in a region or when their land was colonized, but instead uses this description: “Indigenous peoples are the holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable management of natural resources. They have a special relation to and use of their traditional land. Their ancestral land has fundamental importance for their collective physical and cultural survival as peoples.”
As we all know, the common language of the Jewish people is Hebrew, passed down to Jewish children from generation to generation as part of their shared patrimony and link to Jewish peoplehood. It is no quirk or historical triviality that young Jews, as part of their rite of initiation into Jewish adulthood, learn Hebrew for their bar and bat mitzvahs.
Hebrew, a Semitic language from the land of Israel closely related to Arabic and Aramaic, dates back to the second millennium BCE and has remained the Jewish liturgical language for more than 2,500 years in the Diaspora, regardless of the foreign lands we’ve lived in. Our language is rooted not only in prayer but in the actual land of Israel, where our Jewish faith was built upon our ancestors’ ecological knowledge of the region.
In so many conversations around Jewish indigeneity, we fail to mention that at its root, Judaism is an earth-based practice that is grounded in strict laws created in Israel to govern agriculture, land management, environmental stewardship and food security. The three Jewish pilgrimage holidays of Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot are not just relics of our collective memories; for thousands of years, they have embodied and sustained the core of Jewish practice and ritual and have kept us deeply connected to the land of Israel and to each other.
We would do well to acknowledge and learn how our Jewish ancestors observed these specific holidays as agricultural festivals that celebrated the harvests and natural elements of the land of ancient Israel.
As “wandering Jews,” we’ve rightfully defined ourselves as a people in the diaspora, dispersed from our original homeland and yearning for our ingathering back to our ancestral land. There is no better testament to this than the ancient Passover ritual of echoing the words, “next year in Jerusalem.”
This is not a construct of modern Zionism, but an embedded element of Jewish faith across race, ethnicity and location. It is our 2,500-year-old cry for freedom and self-determination.
Sadly, like many other uprooted indigenous communities, Jews have been forced to live as “others” in lands around the world. In the face of threats ranging from forcible assimilation to violent genocide, we have adapted our earth-based practices to the environments we live in.
We should be proud of these innovations and of the resilience we’ve displayed over generations of efforts to see our people destroyed. But does this mean we should not try to reclaim what’s been lost and forgo our tie to Israel because our exile began before the 15th century? Do they really think that divorcing ourselves from Jewish peoplehood will help solve the Arab-Israeli conflict?
What is most sad is that a Jewish publication seems intent on undermining Jewish self-determination (Zionism), while lifting up the rights of other indigenous groups in their quest for political self-determination. Because let’s be clear: The Jewish Currents piece was not, and scarcely claims to be, about affirming the rights of Palestinian Arabs. The piece was exclusively aimed at discrediting the claim that Jews are entitled to our right to self-determination.
Whereas I proudly wrote that “students will not be taught the lie that Jews are somehow foreign interlopers in our ancestral homeland,” the Jewish Currents yearns for a day when students are taught exactly this—that Jews in Israel are invaders, outsiders, foreigners, and, ultimately, expendable.
The piece claims that indigeneity is about “naming power relationships in present-day conflicts.”
If it is serious in this definition, then it must look at the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole. Neither the status nor the history of Jews in the Middle East is reducible solely to a story of powerful Israelis and dispossessed Palestinian Arabs.
Erasure and denigration (as “mythology” or as political opportunism) of the realities of Mizrahi history may make for catchy cartoon punchlines, but they betray a fundamental disrespect for the full diversity of the global Jewish community. Our history, our rootedness to the land and our indelible ties to Israel are neither mythology nor opportunism, and we will not stand silent when libeled as foreigners and invaders in the lands that nourished us.
For Jews, like most indigenous groups, the spiritual is political and also ecological, and we should not be afraid to lean into deep connections to the land of Israel. We can do so and uphold the dignity and rights of Palestinian Arabs and all other indigenous Middle Eastern peoples.
As so many of us continue to support and identify with the decolonization of Israeli Jews, we should build relationships with other indigenous Middle Eastern communities and support them as they strive for land rights, cultural survival and self-determination. The lessons learned from our successes and failures as a dispersed indigenous group that has been successful in our quest for self-determination can help the world find equitable solutions for oppressed indigenous peoples on every continent, while simultaneously strengthening our collective ability to care for and protect our fragile planet.
*Editor’s note: Jewish Currents was founded in 1946 as a communist magazine, later abandoning communism as its political ideology, becoming more generally a magazine for the Jewish left. Today, Jewish Currents seeks to make itself the base for left-wing, secular, millennial Jews.
Sarah Levin is the executive director of JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, an advocacy and education institution dedicated to advancing the rights and the heritage of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran.
A missionary watchdog organization is calling on the Israeli military to crackdown on Christian missionary operations aimed at IDF soldiers.
According to the Yad L’Achim anti-assimilation group, Christian missionary organizations in Israel are training their members who are IDF soldiers in how to get their Jewish comrades to convert.
Yad L’Achim said it had obtained an internal missionary publication, which shed light on the missionary operations targeting IDF soldiers.
The publication, put out by a missionary organization called Natzor, is aimed at members of the “Messianic Jews” cult who are doing their military service.
Officially, the organization claims it is helping its members cling to their faith in the army’s Jewish environment.
But Yad L’Achim claims the publication in fact instructs Messianic soldiers on how to take advantage of their service to preach Christianity to Jewish soldiers.
“Military service is a unique period, challenging and full of opportunities,” the publication states. “The day-to-day interaction in the army opens many doors to preach the gospel… This pakal [Hebrew acronym for Standing Battle Order] is meant to give you practical tools for preaching and presenting the gospel to different groups in Israeli society that we encounter during military service…”
The publication presents a general overview on Christian preaching and even offers specific missionary arguments that should be used with religious soldiers, as opposed to those that are to be used with secular ones.
Yad L’Achim sent an urgent letter to Defense Minister Benny Gantz calling on him to remove active missionaries from the ranks of the army and to stop drafting members of Messianic groups and ‘cult members’.
The letter states that Christian preaching in the army “is in complete contradiction to the orders of the army and to moral logic. The Israel Defense Forces must take a tough stand against unrestrained preaching to convert to Christianity in its ranks. It is clear that there is no place for missionary cult activity that seeks to change the delicate fabric of the army and to stab a knife in the back of the Jewish nation.
“To remind you, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, during his time as defense minister, dismissed from military reserve duty the missionary Richard (Arye) Sorku-Ram, who preached Christianity.
“In response, the soldier petitioned the High Court (329/87), which ruled against him, saying that Rabin did the right thing. We ask that you put an end to the military service of soldiers who act to get Jews to leave their religion and stop drafting cult members, in the knowledge that they are being trained to preach to their fellow soldiers.”
Some Jewish liberals say that they saw this coming. There were those who believed that the movement to stop the teaching of critical race theory in the schools was bound to negatively impact teaching about the Holocaust. They claim that those fears were vindicated by the comments of a Texas educator in Southlake, Texas, who was taped telling teachers in a training session that “make sure that if … you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has opposing, that has other perspectives.”
The context for this absurd suggestion was how to abide by a law recently passed in Texas that said “a teacher may not be compelled to discuss a particular event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs” and that those who do so “shall, to the best of the teachers’ ability, strive to explorer the topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving difference to any one perspective … .”
The purpose of that law was to halt the way left-wing theories about race have been incorporated into school curricula and lesson plans, and which effectively amount to a form of political indoctrination.
While critical race theory is defended as merely teaching about America’s troubled racial past, it goes much further than that by seeking to enshrine race consciousness at the heart of every discussion and to make us view people solely through their skin color or origin rather than as individuals. Rather than advocacy for civil rights, it discounts the enormous progress towards greater liberty and equality, treating America as an irredeemably racist nation populated by people who are defined as either privileged or unprivileged. Linked to the fallacious narratives of The New York Times’“1619 Project,” it amounts to a form of dangerous historical revisionism that undermines the teaching of civics and puts in its place a biased political doctrine.
Nevertheless, legislative efforts to arrest this toxic trend are, at best, blunt instruments that can confuse more than help educators. Laws that seek to micro-manage teaching are bound to create havoc, even if the motives behind them are basically fair-minded.
Those who claim that the truth about the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators is a matter of debate are anti-Semitic liars whose only motive is a desire to erase the record of Jewish suffering so as to justify or rationalize contemporary hatred of the Jews. Nevertheless, the attempt to link Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism to the movement seeking to push back against the teaching of critical race theory has a lot more to do with the polarization of American society along partisan lines than anything else. The problem here is not so much one about vaguely worded laws as it is the comparison between teaching historical facts and that of teaching theories about history.
The Holocaust is a historical fact. Denying that it happened is not a legitimate point of view or scholarly school of thought. Those who claim that the truth about the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators is a matter of debate are anti-Semitic liars whose only motive is a desire to erase the record of Jewish suffering so as to justify or rationalize contemporary hatred of the Jews.
Similarly, slavery and the facts about the role that despicable practice and its defenders played in American history, in addition to the way Jim Crow laws perpetuated its legacy after the Civil War, is not up for debate.
Unfortunately, modern American primary and secondary education have to some extent discarded the traditional teaching of history. In its place, we now have educational experiences that talk more about concepts and ways of thinking about the past while downplaying supposedly unimportant facts and dates.
Learning to think critically about history or any field of study is vital, but that can only succeed if it is based on a solid factual foundation—something that is often left out of contemporary schooling. That’s the only reasonable explanation for the fact that surveys consistently show that most Americans, especially those under 45, have an abysmal lack of knowledge about the history of their own country.
Nor is the teaching of the Holocaust exempt from this problem. Some 38 states, including Texas, have passed laws mandating some form of Holocaust education. But many of the courses designed to comply with those mandates tend to emphasize concepts that seek to universalize the lessons of the events in question instead of sticking to the facts about the attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
This has helped create a general belief in American society that the Holocaust is more a metaphor for anything or anyone that people think is awful than a reference to a particular set of events. In this way, inappropriate Holocaust analogies have proliferated, as, for example, right-wingers demonizing vaccine mandates and left-wingers comparing former President Donald Trump to the Nazis. Both sides of the political spectrum condemn their opponents’ misuse of the past while remaining blind to their own mistakes.
Another layer to the problem is the general contempt for the idea of objectivity in studying either the past or the present that has come into fashion.
On college campuses, freedom of speech and scholarship is considered less important than enforcing bans on saying or teaching that offends sensitivities about controversial subjects. With respect to journalism, there is a popular movement among many in the profession—linked to their support of critical race theory—that claims that attempting to tell both sides of a political dispute is an inherently misguided effort that serves only to prop up an allegedly all-powerful edifice of white supremacy that still dominates American life. The resemblance between this didactic approach to both scholarship and journalism to traditional Marxist dialectics about history is no coincidence.
In that context, a defense of objective study and the rejection of one-sided narratives in both journalism and history are not defensible, but a necessary response to these troubling trends.
None of this excuses what that Texas educator said, but it does help explain why Americans seem so confused about the past or even what is going on today. The correct response to that idiotic comment that set off outrage across the Jewish world is not an effort to discredit those who oppose critical race theory. Due to its links to intersectionality and the labeling of Israel and its supporters as possessors of “white privilege,” that idea continues to grant a permission slip to anti-Semitism. That remains true even if some Jews on the left ignore it because they prioritize solidarity with political allies over the security of their own community.
Instead, we should be focusing on a return to a more rigorous approach to the teaching of history. That a growing number of Americans, including some teachers, continue not to know the difference between a historical fact like the Holocaust and a toxic idea like critical race theory is the real problem. As long as this is true, we’re probably doomed to continued confusion and more troubling statements about both the Holocaust and racism.
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS—Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.
Participating in the meeting were police commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman, Jerusalem district chief Nati Gur, and also representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the National Security Council, and the General Security Service.
During the course of the discussion, Bar-Lev was presented with the background to the prevailing situation with regard to the Temple Mount, which permits Muslim prayer on the Mount and Jewish prayer only at the Western Wall, although Jews are permitted to ascend to the Mount for visits. This arrangement has been in existence almost continuously since 1967.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Bar-Lev stated that, “Israel Police are meticulous in maintaining the current situation on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is sacred to Jews and Muslims alike, and therefore the situation there is both sensitive and liable to explode if any changes are made to the prevailing conditions. With regard to the issue of prayer on the Mount, it is important to continue maintaining the current practice as was first established by the government in 1967, immediately following the Six-Day War, and which has been reinforced by successive governments since.”
Bar-Lev added that, “Israel Police has safeguarded the current situation on the Temple Mount with the exception of isolated incidents which were swiftly identified and dealt with. The State of Israel has an overriding interest in continuing its cooperation with the Jordanian Waqf,” he noted.
“The present wave of interest in Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, like many previous in decades since independence, is one that repeatedly arises,” said the Mateh Irgunei Hamikdash in response. “We now call on people to ascend to the Mount for both personal and formal prayer, as we have been doing for many years.”
Last week, the Jerusalem District Court upheld an appeal lodged by Israel Police against the ruling of the Magistrate’s Court permitting Jews to conduct “quiet prayer” on the Temple Mount. The ruling, by Justice Bilha Yahalom, overturned a restraining order that had been issued to Rabbi Aryeh Lippo, who was accustomed to ascending to the Temple Mount on a daily basis.
However, Israel Police appealed the ruling and Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev expressed the concern that “any change to the status quo is liable to endanger public peace and could cause a regional flare-up.”
MK Gideon Sa’ar with MK Ayelet Shaked Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Possible storms lie ahead within the judicial system, with the upcoming appointments of four new judges to the Supreme Court.
Various candidates are being considered for four available positions, and the Knesset Committee for Judicial Appointments reportedly intends to appoint a “minority” candidate to at least one of them. However, the only “minority” candidate who appears on the committee’s shortlist is Justice Khaled Kabub.
Kabub’s name has been linked to various disturbing incidents in the past and only recently, he was the subject of an investigation into dubious ties between his family and a certain criminal who attempted to bribe him. Sources from within the judicial system have related that his nationalist ideology is no less disturbing than the content of the investigation suggests.
“Walid Kabub, the judge’s son, is known for his nationalist views,” the sources added. “He represents terrorists and publishes posts calling for the Arab sector to ‘fill the streets with fury, fill the prisons, be a rebellious generation, and encourage the brave youth – Al-Aqsa is ours and the faith is ours.’ Judge Kabub himself met with Yosef Mohamir, chairman of the Morbitin organization affiliated with the Fatah terrorist organization, and with Akram Sabri, chairman of the Supreme Muslim Council and a preacher of sermons full of incitement at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, who was then Mufti of Jerusalem.
“At that meeting,” they add, “Walid described his father as someone who ‘protected the mosques and holy places of Jaffa.’ Kabub was also photographed with Sabri with a backdrop of the emblems of Morbitin and the Supreme Muslim Council.”
According to the sources, if Kabub is appointed to the Supreme Court, he will constitute an extremist presence there and will also grant the Left a majority. “Morbitin will likely be granted a foothold on the Temple Mount after being banished during the days of [former Justice Ministers] Gilad Erdan and Amir Ohana], once they have ‘one of their own’ on the Supreme Court.”
The question of Kabub’s appointment will constitute the real test for current Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, the sources conclude. If they give way, they will thereby be destroying every last chance of the Right to bring about change to the judicial system.
The answer to the question posed in the title is: “That would be unthinkable/” However, when we read Arutz 7 news just this morning, Friday October 15, as we do every day, we were shocked by the news.
The headlines are shocking: “The Arabic neighborhood called Lana (“Ours” in Arabic) will be built and founded north of Beit Hanina; a senior American official reported that they continue the American activity to open a US consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinian Arabs, the American President makes it clear that his solution to the conflict is the idea of two states and he speaks of returning to the agreement with Iran.
We may assume, with some degree of certainty, that under the leadership of current Prime minister Naftali Bennett, these ideas will not come to fruition, but someone is already working and preparing the infrastructure for the day when Bennett’s term ends, and it is no other than Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
When Lapid begins his term as prime minister.. within a short time, on the basis of the framework that he is preparing right now, he will be able to make history – in his eyes and in the eyes of the Left.
Lapid skips among world capitals, meets with diplomats and world leaders for discussions and meetings on policies that are nothing but preliminary preparation for the day when he begins his term as prime minister. Then, within a short time, on the basis of the framework that Lapid is preparing right now, he will be able to make history – in his eyes and in the eyes of the Left.
It seems that despite the promises to establish a government that will promote only civil matters that are not controversial, despite the forgotten slogan that “If it’s not Corona, it’s not interesting,” the Leftist elements in the government have gone out of control.
The Foreign Minister’s travels throughout the world, Meretz ministers’ meetings with the terror funder Abu Mazen, the Defense Minister’s meeting with the same Abu Mazen and the promises he made to him, the overtures toward the Gaza Strip, all of these things tell us that there are political processes happening under the surface.
The Prime Minister must take control of the steering wheel and stop these ministers from advancing this agenda.
In his meeting with Angela Merkel, Naftali Bennett stood strong and declared aloud that “A Palestinian state shall not arise”. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked also said this in her visit to the Emirates. These statements are important but are not enough.
We, the residents and activists who live in the area itself, view the Arabs’ accelerated pace of building with great disappointment and sorrow. They are building a Palestinian state de facto.
True, this is not a new phenomenon – it has been going on for more than a decade, led, orchestrated and well-timed by the PA, which is determining facts on the ground according to the Fayyad plan to build a Palestinian state in the area, even without Israeli consent, but the pace of the building has increased and continues to increase due to American and international backing for the PA.
The illegal Arab takeover of Area C was supposed to have been thwarted under Naftali Bennett’s government, it was not supposed to bloom and flourish in the monstrous dimensions that we see today.
Hundreds of illegal villas are being built by the Arabs all along Route 60 from Samaria to South Hevron Hills (by the way, one may view these villas as further evidence of the ”economic misery” suffered by the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, under “the terrible ‘occupation’”).
It is worth remembering and reminding the Prime Minister and ministers of Yamina and Tikvah Hadasha of the text of Article 33 of the coalition agreement: “The parties agree that national interests in Area C must be ensured. To this end, standards and resources will be allocated to the Civil Administration toward the goals of enforcing the building laws and stopping the illegal takeover of lands in Area C.”
We must not allow ourselves to become used to these scenes of the unrestrained Arab takeover of our Land; we must not restrain our response in the face of the Arab erosion and eating away at the open spaces of our homeland.
Every yeshiva, ulpana, youth movement, high yeshiva, midrasha or organization to which the Land of Israel is important, must make a break from the daily routine of our comfortable lives and engage in activities to stop the Arab takeover of Area C and archaeological heritage sites that belong to us all.
With such activism, we must make clear to the Prime Minister that there is unrest and pain, that the right-wing people all over Israel demand that he and the right-wing ministers stand strong to defend the Land of Israel from those who seek to tear it away from us.
We must get organized and go out into the field to prove our sovereignty over our Land and especially, over our eternal capital, Jerusalem, which is at the center of the conflict.
Massive Jewish construction in Jerusalem is what is required now. We must expand the borders of Jerusalem in every direction and turn it into a metropolis, which will have a tremendous spiritual and cultural influence for the entire Land and the entire People.
Jerusalem is what will stop the establishment of another state in the heart of the Land.
No Arab leader would agree to a Palestinian state without Jerusalem and without fulfilling the demand for the return [of “refugees”].
We must strengthen the national consensus on Jerusalem and make it clear that this consensus must include Jerusalem with all of its neighborhoods, both Jewish and Arab, all of the territory that was outlined as a result of the Six Day War. The problematic demographics of the city must be balanced by adding many towns surrounding Jerusalem.
And for all of this to happen, we cannot wait for politicians. We must take the first steps toward the goal:
a. Go out into the field – set up action committees to patrol and guard the settlement’s land reserves.
b. Wage a battle for consciousness over Greater Jerusalem with conferences, publications, vigils and demonstrations of solidarity and encouragement and more
c. Continue the battle for consciousness in the media, social networks, in the street and vis-à-vis decision-makers for sovereignty and governance in the entire Land.
“Silence is shameful” and silence also testifies to the terrible confusion currently reigning in our camp.
Our energetic and resolute return to activity in the field will restore our strength, our power and aspirations and especially, waken anew, the beating spirit of Zionism within us all.
“A dream does not become reality by magic. It demands sweat, resolution and hard work” (C.P.)
With G-d’s help, we will act and we will succeed
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar founded the grassroots organizations Women in Green and The Sovereignty Movement.
(JNS) Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States who is now a candidate to head the Jewish Agency, has rightly said that the decline in support for Israel among American Jews has reached a crisis point. The Jewish Agency, he said, “needs to bring young American Jews back from the brink.”
However, the Jewish Agency won’t address this problem by simply tackling American Jews. The roots of this crisis are broader and deeper.
At a conference at the Al Quds University in Ramallah in June, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas delivered a recorded speech with the title, “The Zionist Narrative: Between Reversal and Cancellation.”
In a piece for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser has written that Abbas “proudly noted” in this speech that international public opinion had recently undergone a gradual shift towards accepting the Palestinian Arab narrative.
As Kuperwasser wrote, this “narrative” is a tissue of demonstrable and idiotic lies designed to promulgate the fiction that the Palestinian Arabs are the true inheritors of the land of Israel rather than the Jews.
But as Kuperwasser also observes, the Palestinian position is that the Jews of Israel must return to the places from where they allegedly came—not the land of Israel, their actual original homeland, but Europe, where they were scattered in exile, persecuted and murdered in great number.
“The narrative,” he writes, “also emphasizes that the Palestinian struggle is national and Islamic at the same time and ultimately states that in light of all this, all of Palestine is included, and Israel should not be recognized in any way as the nation-state of the Jewish people, which, at any rate, does not exist. At most, it is possible to temporarily accept the existence of an ‘Israeli people’ which is a new concept referring to Israel as the state of all its citizens.”
And this narrative also holds that no one has the right to object to the Palestinian Arabs’ use of terrorism to achieve their aim of annihilating Israel and driving the Jews out.
So the claim made by the Palestinians’ supporters that they are backing a state of Palestine side by side with Israel is totally contradicted by the Palestinians’ own exterminatory narrative.
Kuperwasser rehearses all this because he is appalled at the behavior of Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, who has promised a “loan” to the P.A. Kuperwasser says this is a “circuitous deal that makes Israel’s protests about the P.A. paying terrorists’ salaries ridiculous in the eyes of the world and Israeli law.”
The Palestinnian “narrative” is a tissue of demonstrable and idiotic lies designed to promulgate the fiction that the Palestinian Arabs are the true inheritors of the land of Israel rather than the Jews. The broader question, though, is how Western liberals in general can support such an obviously odious, bigoted and murderous Palestinian agenda.
The latest such useful idiot is the bestselling novelist, Sally Rooney. She has refused to have her new novel published by Modan, the Hebrew-language Israeli publisher of her first two books, because she supports a cultural boycott of Israel.
Rooney happens to be Irish; and the Irish Republic—one of the most anti-Israel countries in Europe—is a boiling cesspool of Jew-bashing.
The dogged British anti-Semitism researcher David Collier has just published a 202-page report in which he chronicles horrific anti-Jewish attitudes in Ireland driven from the top down by Irish politicians and echoed by journalists, academics and other cultural leaders.
There are many plausible explanations for this Israel animus in Ireland and the West. Ireland sees itself as the victim of English colonialism and so identifies with the Palestinians’ false narrative of Jewish colonialism.
Rooney is a self-confessed Marxist. Israel is being demonized through a perfect intellectual storm: a combination of Marxist identification of capitalism with oppression; liberal internationalist hostility to the Western concept of the nation-state; and the Palestinian propaganda program cooked up in the 1960s with the former Soviet Union to turn the Arab war of annihilation against Israel into Israel’s oppression of the newly-minted “Palestinians.”
This propaganda narrative is now the signature cause of “progressive” folk who astoundingly therefore make common cause with deeply regressive Islamists, who endorse throwing gay people off rooftops and stoning women to death.
What actually binds these groups together, however, is a deadly animus against Judaism and the Jewish people.
The Palestinians’ hatred of Israel is based on hatred of the Jews founded upon Islamic theological sources. Medieval and Nazi-style anti-Semitism pour out of the P.A. in an unstoppable torrent.
Even those Palestinian Arab supporters who harbor no ill-will towards Jews as people therefore promote a Palestinian narrative that is based on Jew-hatred. So it’s no surprise that threaded through pro-Palestinian western discourse are unambiguous anti-Semitic tropes.
The deeper question, though, is why it’s always the Jews who get it in the neck from so many different groups. No other people has ever had this experience.
People don’t care about the Palestinians. What does animate a terrifying number of their supporters is a deep desire for the Jews to vanish from their world. Many decent folk in the West who know nothing about Judaism or Jewish history simply cannot understand why anti-Semitism, which they don’t understand at all, takes up so much global energy.
Many Jews ask themselves the same question. In an anguished piece for Tablet, the Reform Rabbi Amiel Hirsch writes: “Of all the savageries in the sordid history of human affairs, what explains the singling out of the Jews for unique odium? … No other supremacist ideology is as singularly fixated on one group of people. It is not only the hatred of a Jew. Many antisemites have never met a Jew in their lives. It is the obsession with Jewry, the Jewish people” as “… the source of evil in the world.”
Again, there are many obvious explanations. These include jealousy of the “chosen people,” a term that is widely misunderstood; cultural suspicions fueled by observant Jews keeping themselves apart; the Jew-hatred embedded in dominant interpretations of Christianity and Islam over the centuries.
But the Jews were singled out long before Christianity and Islam. They have always been used as society’s scapegoats. The question is why?
The point is that anti-Semitism isn’t just a form of prejudice or racism. Plenty of other people are victims of that. Anti-Semitism is qualitatively different—and ultimately mysterious.
For there is no other people which is obsessively demonized and delegitimized by double standards, systematic falsehoods and being airbrushed out of its own history. No other people has been subjected to the repeated aim of eradicating it from the face of the earth, to the general indifference of everyone else. No other group has been the victim of a mindset that ascribes to people who form some 0.2 percent of the global population the malign power of a conspiracy to manipulate the world.
And it’s this uniquely deranged, paranoid and incomprehensible mindset that’s been given rocket fuel by the Palestinian Arab narrative.
For people don’t care about the Palestinians. What does animate a terrifying number of their supporters is a deep desire for the Jews to vanish from their world. Palestinianism is not just about the eradication of Israel. It has weaponized Israel against the Jewish people.
Many Jews are frightened of acknowledging the uniqueness of Jewish suffering. Partly, this comes from a principled concern not to denigrate the suffering of others. Partly, lining up Jewish suffering alongside that of others is a panicky attempt to prevent the world from abandoning the Jews once again. Mainly, though, it comes from a deep reluctance to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Jewish people out of fear that this will increase anti-Semitism.
The result is now all around us. For without acknowledging the uniqueness of the Jews and the uniquely unhinged animus against them, there is scant chance of increasing public understanding of Judaism, anti-Semitism and the State of Israel.
This is the nettle, however difficult and painful, that the Jewish Agency should now grasp.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.
An advocacy group that warns about the threat of a nuclear Iran has sounded the alarm after the US Treasury Department last week without explanation lifted sanctions on two firms that produced ballistic missiles for the Iranian regime.
United Against Nuclear Iran is questioning why the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFA) suddenly announced it would be removing sanctions on Mammut Industrial Group and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel.
Both companies were sanctioned in September 2020 for “providing support to an entity in Iran’s ballistic missile program.”
The Treasury Department said at the time that “Mammut Industries and Mammut Diesel are key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs.”
“The delisting follows the July 2021 lifting of sanctions on three Iranians who were major shareholders and executives of the Mammut Industrial Group,” United Against Nuclear Iran said in a statement.
“The Biden Administration has thus far not been forthcoming on the reasons behind the lifting of these sanctions, and it has not confirmed that the delisted individuals and entities have verifiably ceased their sanctionable behavior,” the advocacy group said. “At the same time, the administration denied that its actions are indicative of a broader shift in Iran sanctions policy or are in any way linked to inducements to bring Tehran back to stalled nuclear negotiations.”
The group called for the White House to release more information about why the decision was necessary.
“Reducing economic pressure on Tehran absent meaningful behavioral change would signal to the Iranian regime that it can extract concessions from the U.S. through its intransigence,” they said.
They called on the Biden administration to show full transparency about the context within which the companies and individuals connected to Iran’s missile programs were delisted.
They also urged the White House to “reaffirm its commitment to bringing all the pressure at its disposal to bear on disrupting Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.”
“Rather than undoing sanctions, the Biden administration should prepare to wage a full-scale diplomatic offensive in favor of extending the Iranian ballistic missile development restrictions contained in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 – set to expire just 24 months from now,” they said.
The residential project is considered the largest in eastern Jerusalem and is valued at more than NIS 1 billion, as a joint venture between Massar International and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
By Baruch Yedid, TPS
Bashar Masri, billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the Palestinian Authority city of Rawabi city near Ramallah, unveiled on Monday the “Lana” $300 million, 400 units housing project to be built in the northern areas of Jerusalem.
Announcing the start of the excavation phase, Masri convened a press conference that was attended by the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Patriarch Theophilos III, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, senior members of the Waqf, and church leaders.
“Jerusalem is our top priority, and investing in it is an important means of economic empowerment for the residents of the city. As long as I am able to do so, I will not hesitate,” declared Masri.
“We started excavation operations and will provide a modern and integrated lifestyle for the residents,” he added.
The Mufti of Jerusalem said that Lana “guarantees us life in Jerusalem. Investment in the Holy City is an important matter.”
The residential project is considered the largest in eastern Jerusalem and is valued at more than NIS 1 billion, as a joint venture between Massar International and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
The large project has nine buildings, one of which is for commercial use and eight buildings of 3-4 floors with 400 residential apartments. The first 92 apartments will be ready in two and a half years. 50% of the project area is designated for public buildings, including schools, kindergartens and a commercial center.
Al-Masri claims he waited 10 years for permits from Israeli authorities, including the Jerusalem municipality. The building permit for two residential buildings was granted last September and is registered in the name of Condias Isicius, a member of the Greek Church and a resident of Beit Hanina.
Sources knowledgeable of the details raised a series of questions about the issuance of permits, land ownership and the involvement of the church in the huge project.
Christian sources have alleged that “church leaders have become a cartel of land trafficking for Palestinians in exchange for crumbs, and have betrayed the public trust.”
Representatives of Massar International told TPS that this is a joint venture between the large corporation and the Greek Church, but the Christian community says that this is an improper step on the part of the church that gave up 31 dunams of land entrusted to the Christians in exchange for a very small share of 20% of all apartments in the project.
Church sources say that the church leased the land for 99 years to Massar International, which in turn pledged to cover development and construction costs, charging that “this is a scandal because Christians will be entitled to a total of 80 apartments after giving up 31 acres of Christian land which were handed over to the responsibility of the patriarchy at the end of the Ottoman period and became Christian sacred lands that are forbidden for sale.”
The Christian community says that “the patriarch is not allowed to use these lands and certainly not to sell them. The heads of the church who have become a business cartel are acting against the will of the Christian community in Jerusalem and therefore they are evading the issue by using the land lease method for 99 years.”
One of the parties involved says that Massar International “is not allowed to build on the land even though it has been leased to it and it must return it to the owner for use at the end of the period, but everyone is turning a blind eye, including Israel.”
The church explained that “at the end of the Ottoman period and due to the heavy taxes imposed by the Turks on lands in the area, many Christian residents registered the land in the name of the church exempt from taxes and these lands were given the same status as Muslim Waqf lands, which are forbidden for sale to anyone else.”
“These lands have not been returned to their owners and now the church leaders are trading them in exchange for making money and in dubious transactions.”
The prices offered by Massar International, NIS 1 million for a 90-square-meter apartment, and NIS 2 million for a 160-square-meter apartment, are not suitable for the Christian population in the area, but for the wealthy Palestinians who do not find Rawabi attractive and want to live in Lana due to its proximity to Jerusalem,” said a social activist in the Christian community in the city.