Archives For Israel

Rami Kleinstein, Israel’s version of Elton John or Billy Joel, and like me, an American immigrant to Israel (albeit, he came as a child), has a song called Matanot Kitanot, or Small Gifts. In it, he speaks of the cultural experience of Friday. You see, there is no comparable thing in other countries to Friday in Israel. I am not merely speaking of Shabbat, which begins Friday night—but all that is Yom Shishi in modern Israel.

There are only two verses in this song, and I can only assume that his intention is to compare the Friday experience from his childhood to the Friday experience as an adult living in Tel Aviv. Let me explain. Friday as a child meant coming home from from school, mom cooking all kinds of ethic wonders and then, dressed in white, fathers take the children to the synagogue. After prayers a delicious multi-cource meal—the Erev Shabbat meal—was waiting at home.

This meal is the central, galvanizing force of the Israeli family. I have no doubt that many broken marriages were saved as a result of the spouses realizing that divorce meant no Erev Shabbat family meal. Almost everyone—atheist Jews, religious Jews, not-so-sure-what-I-believe Jews—gather with their families for Erev Shabbat. Klienstein writes:

Another Friday, breathing the air,
 Light and shadow are playing “tag” again.
 The table is set, childhood photos on the wall,
 White processions are returning from the synagogue, 
And that smell which scratches my heart,
Sneaking in and opening doors,
 To a small joy, to the same old song
which is being passed along for generations.

But then Kleinstein grows up and marries a woman who would become one of Israel’s most beloved singers, Rita, divorces many years later, as he continues his successful music career. Now in his fifties as a secular Jew living in Tel Aivi, it is different. For Tel Aviv’im (people from Tel Aviv), Friday morning is sacred. The kids are at school, but you are not at work. It is like Saturday morning in the U.S. but without children. Shabbat, or Saturday here, is family day, but Yom Shishi is a break for the adults.

You go to a café, newspaper in hand—or more recently, your iPad. You could be alone or with friends. Maybe a date to the farmers’ marker, like Elana and I had this morning.

For others its mountain biking on Mount Carmel or hiking through the hills surrounding Jerusalem. Or maybe a walk with your dog on Rothschild street with all it’s trendy cafés and restaurants. I presume that the adult Kleinstein, a Tel Aviv celebrity, seeks to convey this picture in the second verse.

Another Friday—balcony and newspaper,
The sun, like worries, is slowly being erased, 
Simple melodies crawl through the window and there is no longer any storm which can hide the silence.

I remember my first trip to Israel. On Friday night in June 1991, I went with Elana’s brothers to their Moroccan synagogue. Moroccan Jews are Sephardic (as opposed to Ashkenazi [European] like my family) and their style of worship is much more lively than the stoic chanting in Hebrew with which I grew up. Dressed in white we retuned to Elana’s mother’s matchbox apartment and had a festive meal. I felt like I was dreaming and had gone back in time. Every family in that city was eating together.

That was 25 years ago. Thirteen years ago we moved to Israel and raised our kids here. However, in the past few years our children, now adults, have moved back to the U.S. How quiet Erev Shabbat has become for me and Elana. It’s hard. And a little sad. We are not used to ‘quiet’ on Erev Shabbat. And many of our friends who have dual citizenship are in the same boat.

But on the other hand, Elana and I, who had our first child nine months and three days after getting married, are enjoying the freedom at the young age of 50 of waking up on Yom Shishi, going to a café, shopping at the farmers’ market at the port of Tel Aviv or taking a walk on the beach—we are getting to live like a young couple, 28 years after the fact. That I like.

And with FaceTime, Skype and the like, our children are always only a few megabytes of bandwidth away.

Times change and so do we through the different stages of our lives. But one thing is sure: Elohim, who does not change.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Gen. 2:2-3)

Kleinstein ends his melodic tune with the words that we pray every week in the Kiddush, as we invite in the Sabbath, words that we will pray tonight at our congregation and will be chanted very shortly all over Israel:

Ki banu bacharta , ve’otanu kidashta…
Baruch ata adonai mekadesh hashabat

For thou hast chosen us and sanctified us…
Blessed art thou, God, sanctifier of the Sabbath.

This morning the sirens will blare at 10:00 AM and we will stand in silence all over the nation of Israel. Every year we remember the 6,000,000 Jews slaughtered by Adolf Hitler. However this year, sadly, we must answer again, the absurd question: Was Hitler a Zionist?

According to former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, he was definitely a Zionist. The Leftist Labour party member, who has a long history of anti-Israel activity, said this:

“Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this, before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

When Mr. Livingstone realized that he just claimed that Hitler “went mad” meaning, he was a normal bloke when elected (by the way, he was not elected, but that is another story), he backtracked, while still doubling down on his ‘Hitler is a Zionist’ claim,

“He was a monster from start to finish but it’s simply the historical fact. His policy was originally to send all of Germany’s Jews to Israel and there were private meetings between the Zionist movement and Hitler’s government.”

The next day after he came under intense attack for his absurd comments, he seemed to backtrack, claiming,

“I’ve not said that Hitler was a Zionist, what I said was his policy in ‘32 was to deport Germany’s Jews to Israel.”

Actually Kenny, you did, you said, and I quote, “He” meaning Hitler “was supporting Zionism.” Supporters of Zionism are called Zionists.

But was Hitler a Zionist?

It is true that Hitler made conditions so bad for the Jews—even before the Holocaust, that 60% of Germany’s 300,000 Jews had fled by 1939. Some of the Jews, 50,000, only 1 in 6, made their way to British controlled Palestine[i]—as Israel was not yet a nation.

British historian and author Roger Moorehouse was quick to set the record straight.

“Indeed, there was a scheme in place called the Ha’avara (or transfer) Agreement, made in 1933 between the new Nazi government and Zionist German Jews, to facilitate emigration to Palestine.”

But to be clear, this had nothing to do with Hitler wanting to see a Jewish homeland created—it was about getting the Jews out of Germany. And the Zionists who met with him were not colluding with the Nazi, but terrified at what would happened if the Jews didn’t get out of Germany. Just listen to Hilter in Mein Kamph.

“While the Zionists try to make the rest of the World believe that the national consciousness of the Jew finds its satisfaction in the creation of a [Jewish] state, the Jews again slyly dupe the dumb [Gentiles]. It doesn’t even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organisation for their international world swindler, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.

You can’t be a Zionist and an anti-Semite at the same time!

A Zionist is one who believes that the only safe plan for the continuing existence of the Jewish people is their own homeland in their historic birthplace—the Land of Israel. A Christian Zionist is one who believes that the promises of God to Israel regarding the Jews returning to Zion are valid, such as:

 “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24)

‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’ For the Lord will deliver Jacob … [The Israelites] will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion.” (Jeremiah 31:10-12)

“New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, and I will bring my people Israel back from exile … They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them … I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted…” (Amos 9:13-14)

Hitler hated Jews. Hitler wanted to kill every Jew. That would be make him an anti-Zionist. He was not weeping over Ezekiel 37, praying for the dry bones to come back to life as he enjoyed his morning Weiner schnitzel.

“Zionists are Nazis!”

But none of this is the issue here, friends. Anybody with half a brain knows that Hitler was no Zionist. The goal of these leftist elites, like Ken Livingstone, is to connect the word Hitler with the word Zionism. If you can somehow justify the ridiculous claim that Hitler was a Zionist, then you can make the claim that so many on the far left love to make—ZIONISM IS ACTUALLY NAZISM…IF YOU ARE A ZIONIST, YOU REALLY JUST A NAZI IN DISGUISE.

Founding editor of the Times of Israel agrees. He writes:

…that what the ex-London mayor has been trying to achieve by asserting, obscenely, that Hitler was a Zionist, is to push all right-thinking people who consider the Nazis the epitome of evil toward a similar conclusion about Zionists. In short, Livingstone wants as many people as he can reach to equate Zionism with Nazism, and thus to intensify hatred for Israel, weakening it and isolating it.

Make no mistake, that is their goal, to equate Jews, fulfilling the call of God by settling the land that God promised to return to them, with bloodthirsty, demon-possessed Nazi, killers.

But God is not intimated by their unequal weights and balances.

When “the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed … The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” (Ps 2:2, 4-6)


 

[i] The word Palestine was a name that the Roman’s had given to the region. Since the Roman conquest in 135 CE there has never been an independent state there, until 1948 when Israel was rebirthed. There has never been a nation of Palestine.

In the 2012 Presidential race, former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich got into trouble when he said that the Palestinian people were invented. We live in a day and age where honest history submits to revisionism, so as not to hurt people’s feelings. While we don’t seek to intentionally hurt anyone, as Israelis, we feel it is urgent that the world knows the truth. In this three part series, you will be equipped to answer the lies perpetrated by the enemies of Israel. (Part 3, coming)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

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In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Brussels, a hotline was established. One of their responsibilities is to coordinate the transportation of foreign victims to their countries. You would think that these workers would feel a kinship with the Jewish state, as we have endured decades of similar attacks. And you would think that they might understand at this point that the issue is not Israel/Palestine, but radical Islam.

However, when one caller, a volunteer for Antwerp’s Jewish Coordination Committee , called in to arrange flights home for Israeli victims, he was in for an anti-Semitic shock. And we have the recording, albeit in Flemish. But you can clearly hear the worker insist that he not use Israel, but Palestine.

Below is a translation in English.

XXX: Good afternoon, my name is XXX, I am a volunteer in the Jewish coordination committee of Antwerp. We are contacted by persons… we have 2 persons of the Jewish community that were hurt in the attacks in the airport

Crisis Centre: Yes sir

XXX: They are prepared to be transported back to Israel. Our volunteers are busy with it and take care of everything but we received information from the hospital that we need special papers from the police that they can be released. Is this correct and to who should we ask that? Can you tell me more about that?

CC: That is effectively.. I will take a look. So … they go back to Palestine.

XXX: Not Palestine, Israel.

CC: Yes, but that was before Palestine, of course. OK

Just so our readers will know, that is a lie. There has never been an Arab nation called Palestine. The Turks controlled the land of Israel for 500 years until the British in 1917. They asked the UN to solve the problem in 1946, and in 1947, the UN voted for two states to be established, an Arab one and a Jewish. The Jews rejoiced, the Arabs rejected. Ironically at time, Jews associated with the term Palestinian, and most Arabs rejected it as ‘Zionist.’

XXX: Could you repeat that again, please? What is the name?

CC: That … Palestine.

XXX: Can I get your name, please?

Cc: Of course, Zakaria.

XXX: And you know only Palestine?

CC: Sorry?

XXX: You don’t know Israel, only Palestine?

CC: I know the Jews went to there, that Palestine received (opvangen) them and that there is a war between Israel and Palestine, of course. And the occupation… that’s what’s on the news of course.

XXX: Can you help me with the question I have, or not?

CC: Naturally, of course. Thus they go back to Palestine and ask that they could get an attestation. Voila, it is noted.

XXX: Can I have you name again, I didn’t understand it well.

CC: Zakaria

XXX: Zakaria?

CC: That is correct.

XXX: Zakaria what? What is your last name?

CC: I am not obliged to give it. (ArutzSheva)

The Jerusalem Post writes, “Michael Freilich, the editor- in-chief of Joods Actueel, said it ‘defies imagination’ that a Belgian state employee would display the anti-Israel behavior that is commonplace in Arab countries.

“He called for punishing the operator instead of issuing the ‘standard apology.’”

One of the things that have learned here in Israel is that not matter how evil radical Islamists become, anti-Semitism is here to stay.

UPDATE: Reports are surfacing that the operator has been fired.

 

Trump has not only proven again that he is thin-skinned, but also that he is a thug and bully and will seek to discredit anyone who dares to challenge him.

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