Tag Archives: Jewish

Zehut, The Politics of Identity

by Sheila Stokes-Begley

When many people go to Israel, the want to see the historical sights. I do as well, especially military museums. There will most likely be a column on that. A lot of people want to eat the fabulous
food. Yes, me too. They want to shop, I’m SO there, especially when you talk about Yafo. They want to swim, did that. But what I really, really, really, really wanted to do, was interview Moshe Feiglin. At
which most tourist are probably saying “Excuse me?” But that was one of my very highest hopes for this trip. And I was successful.

I first learned about the former MK (Member of Knesset) when in response to something I had written my wonderfully kind team mate Y.B. sent me a portion of a Torah Thought from Mr. Feiglin. I loved it! I asked for more info and Y.B. told me who had written it and who he was. I did online research and signed up for the Manhigut Yehudite newsletter and was soon getting my own copies of Torah Thoughts included with each newsletter which I very much looked
forward to receiving. Each newsletter included Torah and politics. Does it get any better? Well, also a Dry Bones Cartoon. That’s pretty good too.

Last year I got to interview Mr. Feiglin by phone, and it was a great interview. This year it was in person. I feel very blessed.

So why my fascination? My respect first blossomed when he was writing articles calling for the Israeli government to make it easier for everyday Israelis to get weapons permits. Gun Control? Or Citizen Control?

With all that has been going on in Israel, I had a lot of questions for Mr. Feiglin. Especially since he along with the support of a lot of everyday people have founded a new political party. Zehut, which means “Identity”. Zehut is unusual in that they also allow people from places other than Israel to join. And with that I tell you I am a proud card carrying member. Well, I will be when my card gets here, but I am.

My first question was why form Zehut? Was it in response to the betrayal of leadership in politics? They campaign on one platform and then when elected turn and go another direction?

Feiglin: The average Israeli feels disenfranchised from their Jewish identity and the concept of a Jewish state. (I believe he said in a recent poll that 80% of Israelis identify as Jewish first, and as an Israeli second). The disenfranchisement started with the Oslo accords and now takes the form of things like a Judge appointed to the High Court who refused to sing HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem after being sworn in. It shows in an army which is now refusing to allow soldiers to grow beards, “too much Jewish”. And very sadly when a Yad Vashem guide pointed out that the murder of Gil-Ad Shaer,16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel,16 had occurred in Gush Etzion because they were Jewish. (That would seem evident to
me, but I guess political correctness can run amuck anywhere). Israel is a Jewish democratic state, but 10% controls the power and it is eroding Jewish values.

I have a few questions about everyday Israelis being allowed to carry weapons. Why are there areas where people are not allowed to have carry permits? A buddy moved from Jerusalem where he could carry, to Tel Aviv and now he can’t. He’s no less qualified in Tel Aviv. Yafo which suffered a terrorist attack is certainly within walking distance of Tel Aviv, I’ve done so! Why aren’t the military allowed to carry off duty, and why after people are out of the military can they not automatically be allowed to carry a weapon? As it turns out, the answer to all these questions are the same. Mr. Feiglin is very good at seeing the big picture and summing it up.

Feiglin: Because the concept of freedom is wrong. It should be the concept that the right of self- defense is G-d given! In Israel they believe that the right is given by the state. And if the state can give you the right to self defense, they can take that right away. In America they had the right concept, although they are losing the mindset. They believed anyone should be allowed to own guns unless they showed they were not to be trusted with them. (I pointed out that the UN does not believe self defense is a human right at all. Considering how anti-Israel the UN is, that is really not a good
combination). Zehut believes in planting in the Israeli mind the concept of true freedom. That everyone is responsible to defend their life, that of their family and the nation. Of course, there are those that oppose this. When I was in the Knesset I fought for more people to be allowed to carry. There were 150,000 people licensed to carry. But the Knesset wants to decrease that till terrorism decreases. You have the state as “Big Brother”.

What about the shooting in Hevron? (Sheila’s article on this incident) WHY is this soldier being prosecuted? Didn’t the fact that the video came from B’Tselem raise suspicions? This produced a wealth of information. This is so much more to this than a simple case of Katie Couric media malfeasance. I really think you should go read Moshe’s whole article on this topic, but here is what we covered.

Feiglin: This is a war of Israelis and Jews. It’s the soul of the Israeli, for what comes first, a concept of citizen or Jewish state. It’s been going on a long time. For the Israeli (in this comparison, sounds to me like your typical “enlightened” leftist who doesn’t have good sense about how this will play out) it’s the citizen, not Jewish state or identity. It was certainly evident when the Eichmann trial took place in Israel in 1961. A Jewish writer Hannah Arendt wrote a book, “Eichmann In Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,”with basically the premise that Eichmann was just there, wrong place, wrong time. Can’t blame him, can’t blame anyone but Hitler. Anyone would have acted the same. Apparently some Israeli “intellectuals”
felt the need to agree.
This kind of thinking is evident in the IDF today. The former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon recently said that “If someone rises to kill you, kill him first” is not the IDF’s strategy. The Deputy Chief of Staff equated those who subscribe to that value with Nazis. He would rather lose soldiers who protect citizens than kill terrorists. There is no difference in the value of the life of a person just out doing their shopping and the terrorist that comes to kill them. Certainly had nothing to do with ideology, right? But yet today some Arabs want to kill any Jew, soldier, civilian, man, woman, child or baby, it doesn’t matter. It IS the ideology. When Arafat was sick in Ramallah I had a sign on my car that said Hurry up and kill him before he dies. For someone that had that much blood on his hands to die in his own time is immoral. For terrorists to go to trial is immoral. A healthy Jewish response is you kill the attackers. You kill the terrorists that have
declared their own war on Jews. After the soldier killed the terrorist, the stabbings stopped. He did more than all the speeches.

What about the Temple Mount, Har HaBeit? Why are the Israeli police so quick to remove Jews? One young boy was even recently removed not for saying anything but because he had tears in his eyes. And for those that wonder, yes I did express my opinion of Moshe Dayan’s decision.

Feiglin: It has to do with losing identity. We must let Jews have their identity on the Temple Mount. There are those replacing Jewish identity, and they fear what Israel will become with it’s Jewish identity. Arabs do not really have an identity so much as filled with hatred. It’s in their textbooks, their schools, mosques, social media and how they are raised. If Israel disappeared from the map, there would be no more “Palestinian”. Their reason for being would be gone. The first Zionists were colonialists from Europe, and they just wanted to be one big happy family. They didn’t understand the Arab mindset. Most Israelis are Jews first, Israeli second but they are being led by a minority that doesn’t have that mindset.

What about the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) or as I call it (BS) movement? Has it had an effect? Is it just plain anti-Semitism in increments?

Feiglin: BDS is about the delegitimizing of Israel. When did the holocaust start? (He did ask me this, and I thought for a second and answered “the night Hitler was conceived”) That was the correct answer. When Hitler spoke again and again against the Jews it had it’s effect. In 1939 or 1940 when Jews ran to their neighbors to hide, they were killed. It was about eliminating the right of Jews to exist. Israel has to attack Iran, there is a real danger of Jewish history being written in Jerusalem. Not Warsaw. It’s needed to make a moral point. There is a correlation between the speeches made in Iran 12 ½ years ago by Ahmadinejad and the delegitimization of Israel, and it’s growing.

My last question to him “We’ve had a possible Kenyan as a president, at least someone not really raised as an American, I think we should try having an Israeli for a President, would you run?”

Feiglin: I’ve been asked about the current election. My answer is it doesn’t matter which one wins. If Israel will do what is best for Israel, then all will be better.

I started this interview by telling him that I felt like I cared more about Israeli lives than some Israeli politicians did.

After talking to him, I am quite certain that is not how it is when it comes to Mr. Feiglin. He has a very sound political platform based on a Jewish identity in THE Jewish state, living by Jewish laws and principles. Laws that will protect the innocent, laws that will allow every citizen living their daily lives be it in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva, Judea and Samaria to know their lives are worth defending and giving them the means to do so. It will allow the IDF to return to being the fine army it was meant to be and not a social experiment.

Zehut is a party based on knowing who we are, and what we are, and where we belong. And embracing it!

Honestly, I think there is a lesson in this for Americans as well. Because I’m very, very tired of having values that the majority of U.S. believe in being derided and told “that’s not who we are”.
Yeah, it is. And as the politicians and their compatriots in the media crank up to hype another round of gun control tripe, we would do well to remember it. It makes me think so much of “You can live
by G-d’s law or die by man’s.

I want to thank three wonderful people, Aryeh Sonnenberg who is the international director of Zehut and so warmly welcomed me when I joined. He put me in touch with Shmuel Sackett (who I got to talk with on the phone, really) who set the meeting up with Moshe. Shmuel also writes excellent articles. And I very much want to thank Moshe Feiglin for giving me an hour of his very valuable limited time. And since I often like to close with a video, this one is perfect!

(source)

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Never Again? Well, That Didn’t Take Long.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on January 27th, according to the U(seless)N, Germany and many parts of the world. It’s observed on 27th of Nisan which is usually in April or May in Israel. I went to a Holocaust Remembrance service at Ben Gurion University a couple years ago. Phrases you hear often are “Never Again”. The date was chosen because it was the day that the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau occurred. January 27, 1945.

For Germany, “Never Again” didn’t take long. The Munich massacre was September 1972. I can still remember waking up that morning and hearing the news on the radio. I didn’t understand why someone didn’t shoot the terrorists. Young and naive wasn’t I? It just made no sense! The Israelis had a shooting team and a coach. So it was a span of about 27 years before Jews were bound and herded helplessly into the cattle cars of the helicopters.

There are many kinds of hot mess around this additional shameful saga of Germany’s history. Israeli delegation head Shmuel Lalkin had warning bells going off like crazy when he saw the accommodations for the Israeli athletes. Ground floor, no armed guards, anyone could access the hallway, it led to a garage. He howled to the West Germans and the Israelis about it. He begged to be allowed to carry his sidearm, he was recently out of the IDF as a Major. Denied. The West Germans didn’t have any armed guards anywhere in the olympic village. It might make people “feel bad”. They wanted everything to “feel friendly”. So, no armed guards, no moving the Israelis to a higher floor. Nothing that he wanted that would have been sensible preventative safety precautions was done. It might “look bad”. In addition to all this, Der Speigel ran a article in 2012 that said the German authorities had been tipped off something was going to happen.

After the Israelis were taken hostage the “negotiations” such as they were, began to take place. Finally the Germans assembled their crack hostage rescue team. They didn’t have one actually, so candidates were selected by asking them “have you ever fired a gun before?” Not have you ever fired THIS type of gun before, but just sort of asked the willing police officers, “have you ever fired a gun before”. This was after they turned down Golda Meir’s request/beg to be allowed to send an actual Israeli hostage rescue team that did know very well what the heck they were about and what to do. So these Germans are crawling around on the top of the building trying to figure out how to break in and listening for the code word which never came. Probably a good thing. The terrorists peaceful Palestinians who just wanted to liberate their friends and relatives unfairly imprisoned for killing people and blowing up things watched the whole thing on TV, live. TV cameras were set up across from the building and broadcast everything.

Eventually the hostages were bound, herded onto a bus and taken to Fürstenfeldbruck air force base. Where the German rescue attempt continued to exhibit the same finely tuned precision as at the Olympic Village. The police had miscounted the terrorists, they had no night vision equipment, or training and had never worked together before. One terrorist mowed the hostages in his helicopter down with his gun as they sat helpless tied together. The other terrorist threw a grenade into his.

The German government then proceeded to lie and cover up information for many many years. The only reason much of it came to light was Ankie Spitzer who had been married to Israeli fencing coach Andre about a year and a half is a bulldog. The woman never stopped. She kept pressing and going at them and finally an anonymous source called her lawyer and the delivery of information began to flow in. Ankie is amazing. Andre married well.

In the documentary One Day In September, Jamal Al-Jishey, the only surviving terrorist of the attack gave an interview. He was proud of the work he did, the peaceful palestinians did a great thing.

Now we have the shocking news coming from Angela Merkel’s government that Antisemitism is on the rise.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday admitted that anti-Semitism is “more widespread” in Germany than some believe.Speaking in her weekly podcast and quoted by Haaretz, Merkel called for action to “deal with [anti-Semitism] – especially among young people… from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is widespread.”Anti-Semitism, she stressed, is more “widespread than we imagine, and that’s why we have to make intensive efforts against it.” The Chancellor noted the negative effects of anti-Semitic propaganda online and attempts to combat it.

Shocker that. Who could have possibly foreseen that bringing in millions upon millions of people that hate Jews would result in a rise in Antisemitism in a country that has a long proud history of it’s tolerance towards Jews. So ALL possible efforts to combat Antisemitism will be used. Well, except of course re-examining that open door “refugee” policy thingy.

In Israel the stabbing attacks are indiscriminate. Against men women and children. Out in public and in front of their homes, where they die fighting like a tigress to stop the terrorist from going after her children. If you don’t know the name Dafna Meir H”YD, she deserves 2 minutes of your time. Amazing woman.

This has nothing to do with frustration, repression or any other garbage. This is how the peaceful palestinians are brought up. The father of the murderer of Dafna said he is proud of his 15 year old son who stabbed the mother of 6 to death.

Jews in France aren’t especially safe, or Sweden (or Swedish women either for that matter) but at least in America it’s different.  Abe Foxman of the ADL will be quick enough to tear you a new one for something said, but be prepared to defend yourself or family against a life threatening attack? With a GUN??? Perish the thought! Same for the congressional professional victim creation class.

Still, it’s different in America.

Well, except in Michigan. Where former state department employee Lina Allan defended the stabbing of Jews as killing animals and was miffed at muslim who aren’t doing so. She’s talking about killing Jews, Israel didn’t really come into it.

According to MEMRI, Allan claims to have represented the State Department’s U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in the Jameed Festival in Jordan. 

Considering Abu Mazen head of the Palestinian Authority financed a chunk of the Munich Massacre, you would think we would examine links a bit more closely, but apparently, no.

At least in America our own government will never attack unarmed defenseless citizens. Countries that have embarrassing records when it comes to protecting a certain ethnic group charged with spreading Torah will certainly learn from their mistakes and correct lapses in the future exercising all vigilance.

And now I’m going to go pet my unicorn and go to sleep!

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Faith and Firearms

I’m not a religious person, and most people who know me know this. I have a pretty good sense of who I am as a Jew who escaped the Soviet Union in 1979. I have written on the topic of being Jewish, being abused by one’s government, and being able to stand up to it. Being a Jew is what formed my views on gun rights to begin with before I ever knew what the Second Amendment was.

But I’m not religious at all. If I had to describe myself, I’d say I’m more of the agnostic/atheist variety. So when I tackled the subject of faith and firearms for Concealed Carry magazine more than a decade ago, I had to approach my father – a faithful Jew since we stepped foot onto American soil in 1980 – and some of his contacts.

I wanted to know whether many Jewish organizations in the United States had any basis for supporting disarmament, and whether they were misinterpreting Jewish law.

This week’s poll promfaith-and-firearms-coverpted me to see if the article I wrote all those years ago is available online, since it is still as appropriate today as it was more than 10 years ago when I wrote it.

The full article is here, along with a view from the Lutheran perspective. Here’s a bit.

The fact is that gun control subverts and violates Judaic law. According to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), the sanctity of life is a core Jewish value. Rabbi Isaac Leizerowski, after having conferred with several of his colleagues, agrees that the right to self-defense is MANDATED by Jewish law. From the sanctity of Life comes an imperative to safeguard Life. The directive to defend your life is written in the Talmud, the 70-volume Code of Jewish Law, in at least three places. “And the Torah says, ‘If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him.’”

Have a good weekend!

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Faith and Firearms Revisited

Years ago – when I had time to write more than an occasional blog post, I wrote an article on faith and firearms for the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

Having grown up Jewish, I always wondered why it is that major Jewish organizations were always pushing disarmament, and worse yet, leaning on faith to do it!

For an answer in this article, I turned to Rabbi Isaac Leizerowski – a friend of my dad’s and an authority on Jewish law. Rabbi Leizerowski confirmed that the right to self defense is actually mandated by Jewish law.

From the sanctity of Life comes an imperative to safeguard Life. The directive to defend your life is written in the Talmud, the 70-volume Code of Jewish Law, in at least three places. “And the Torah says, ‘If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him.’”

For a reply on the psychology of disarmament, I turned to another friend, who shed some light on the issue.

Jack Feldman, Professor of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology, has one theory: “Jews are called on to care for others who are troubled, suffering, etc. and to stand up for the oppressed,” he says. “It’s a mitzvah. Democrats and socialists (traditional proponents of gun control) have taken that role, in appearance if not reality…A lot of us have yet to get the message about the Left, and [continue to] cling to these fallacies.”

Life is sacred, my friends. We must work to change the mindset that disarmament somehow promotes safety, and is therefore a mitzvah.

It’s not.

Disarmament is death. It’s slavery. It’s tyranny. It’s the antithesis of everything Jews strive to achieve in the social sphere – life, liberty, goodness.

The Nazis knew this, and we should never forget this.

And we must strive to show it for what it is and challenge its proponents – especially in organized Jewish circles!

Because if we allow gun grabbers to control the message and spread the lie that gun control is somehow beneficial, we’ll be swimming upstream for a long time.

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