SOLDIERS OF IDF VS ARAB TERRORISTS

SOLDIERS OF IDF VS ARAB TERRORISTS

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Israel Matzav: Jeffrey Goldberg blasts Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth

Jeffrey Goldberg has blasted 'human rights watch' director Ken Roth forblaming Jews for anti-Semitism.
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.
Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt  “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.
It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice.
Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.
A question: If a mosque in Europe or in the U.S. were to be attacked (God forbid) by Islamophobic arsonists, would Ken Roth describe such an attack as a manifestation of “anti-Muslim hatred that flared in response to the conduct of Muslim groups in the Middle East?”
...
I don’t know what motivated Ken Roth to blame the Jewish state for the violent acts of anti-Semites. I do hope that he reconsiders his position on the root cause of anti-Jewish prejudice.
Read the whole thing. Goldberg is spot-on.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres Goes Job Hunting

Coming Sunday: Alan M. Dershowitz on fighting terrorism under the rule of law

A Palestinian fighter from the armed wing of Hamas gestures inside an underground tunnel in Gaza Aug. 18.
In a five-part series starting Sunday, Alan M. Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, addresses the trade-offs between civil liberties and national security.
  • Employing military force against terrorists who use human shields: While the commitment to the rule of law constrains democracies in fighting terrorists who have no concern for international law, and we must fight terrorism with one hand behind our back, that does not mean that we cannot use the other hand forcefully, effectively, and legally.
  • Surveillance and the right to privacy: The government is entitled to keep secret the technical aspects of our surveillance programs that give us a competitive advantage over our adversaries, and whose disclosure might provide terrorists with information useful to circumvent our legitimate efforts to keep track of their nefarious plans.
  • Should terrorists who cannot be tried be detained?: Guantanamo contains several detainees who, if released, would almost certainly return to a life of terrorism. Imagine if the masked man who recently beheaded the two American journalists were captured, and a valued undercover source, who couldn't testify without blowing his cover, identified him as the killer. What should we do?
  • Should terrorists be targeted for assassination?: What should a democracy, constrained by the rule of law, do if a dangerous terrorist cannot be captured, or can only be captured with undue risk to our soldiers? The U.S., UK, and Israel have opted for targeted killing. The use of drones with GPS-guided missiles has made this easier and more accurate.
  • Is torture ever justified?: I am categorically opposed to torture, without exception. But I think every president would at least consider the option of torture of one terrorist, rather than permitting thousands of innocent Americans to be blown up.

    The author is an emeritus professor of law at Harvard University and the author of Terror Tunnels: The Case For Israel's Just War Against Hamas.

Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes

"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.

"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.

"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.

"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student

"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.

"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.

While the world's media has been blaming Israel for the death of Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, this correspondent decided to speak with Gazans themselves to hear what they had to say.

They spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people.

Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas's revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of "communicating with the Mossad". "Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists -- or actually any journalists at all," he said, continuing:

"Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas."

When asked what Gazans did think of Hamas, he said:

"The same as Iraqis thought of Saddam before he was toppled. He still won by 90-something percent in the presidential elections. If Hamas falls today in Gaza, people here will do what Iraqis did to Saddam's statue after he fell. But even though Western journalists may not have been able to speak freely with Gazans, they still need a story to send to their editor by the end of the day. So it is just easier and safer for them to stick to the official line."

"What was that," I asked: "'Blame Israel'?"

"I don't know about that," he said. "More like, 'Never blame Hamas!'. Hamas was making a 'statement': Opposing Hamas Means Death. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us."

M., a journalist, confirmed his view. "I do not believe any of the people Hamas killed in the last weeks were Israeli spies," he said. "Hamas has killed many people for criticizing it, and claimed they were traitors working for Israel during the war."

That conversation took place four weeks before Hamas killed 21 alleged "Israeli Mossad agents."

D, a store owner, said:

"There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."

To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:

"Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If I have to guess, the number was more than reported. I am confident that not all of the 21 men Hamas killed on August 22 were collaborating with Israel. Hamas killed those men because it was weakened by Israel's attacks and felt endangered. So it went on a 'Salem Witch-Hunt.' They arrested everyone who opposed them and had to make a few examples to scare people from standing against Hamas. Hamas's tactic worked. Now Gazans are afraid to talk against Hamas even in front of their own family members. Gazans are probably afraid to criticize Hamas even in their sleep!"

As already reported by the award-winning journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas killed one of its leaders, Ayman Taha, and blamed Israel for it.

Asked about Abu Toameh's report, S., a Gazan political activist said:

"Taha was already in Hamas's jail before Israeli operations started. Hamas imprisoned him and tortured him because he was critical of its radical policies. He had warned Hamas not to cooperate with Qatar and Iran. Eye-witnesses said they saw Hamas militants bring him alive into the yard of Shifa hospital in Gaza and shoot him dead. They kept mutilating his body in front of viewers and little children and left it on the hospital's yard for a few hours before allowing the staff to take it to the morgue."

A., a Fatah member in Gaza, spoke over Skype -- fearful that Hamas was intercepting phone lines:

"Even before the Israeli operation began, Hamas rounded up 400 of our members and other political-opposition figures. I would not be surprised if Hamas kills them all and then claims they were killed in an Israeli bombing. Hamas already beheaded a man known for opposing its views on the 22nd day of the war, then reported on its Facebook page that he was caught sending intelligence information to Israel. If Hamas does not like you for any reason, all they have to do now is claim you are a Mossad agent and kill you."

S. a medical worker, said:

"The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas's strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas's official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed."

Another Gazan journalist, D., said:

"Hamas fired rockets from next to homes. Hamas was running from one home to another. Hamas lied when it claimed it was shooting from non-populated areas. To make things even worse for us, Hamas would fire from the balconies of homes and try to drag the Israelis into door-to-door battles and street-to-street fights -- a death sentence for all the civilians here. They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did. They are cowards. If Hamas militants are not afraid of dying, why do they run after they fire rockets from our homes? Why don't they stay and die with us? Are they afraid to die and go to heaven? Isn't that what they claim they wish?"


Hamas boasted that Palestinian civilians were killed while Hamas's terrorists remained alive, hiding in their underground bunkers and tunnels. (Image source: Hamas video screenshot)
K, another graduate student at an Egyptian university who had gone to Gaza to see his family but was unable to leave after the war started, said on July 22:

"When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed. God will ask Hamas on judgment day for those killers' blood."

I asked him if Hamas used people as "human shields." He said: "Hamas held the entire Gazan population as a human shield. My answer to you is yes."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the press on September 6 that Hamas had killed 120 Fatah members who broke the curfew.

T., a former Hamas Ministry officer, said: "Hamas fires from civilian areas for a good reason: The Israelis call the civilians and give them ten minutes to evacuate. This gives Hamas time to fire another rocket and run away."

Why, I asked, did Hamas not allow people to evacuate?

"Some people say Hamas wants civilians killed in order to gain global sympathy, but I believe this is not the main reason. I think the reason is that if all the people were allowed to evacuate their homes, they all would have ended up in a certain area in Gaza. If that happened, it would have made the rest of Gaza empty of civilians, and the Israelis would have been able to hit Hamas without worrying about civilians in all those empty areas. Hamas wanted civilians all over the place to confuse the Israelis and make their operations more difficult."

S., a Gazan businessman, said:

"The cease-fire Hamas agreed to carried the same conditions the Egyptians and the Israelis offered during the second week of the war -- after only 160 Gazans had been killed. Why did Hamas have to wait until 2,200 were killed, and then accept the very same offer? Hamas has blackmailed the world with the killed Gazan civilians to make itself look like a freedom fighter against an evil Israel. Hamas showed Gazans that it could not care less for their blood and their children. And why should Hamas care? Its leaders are either in mansions in Qatar or villas in Jordan. Mashaal [Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas] is in Qatar, Mohammad Nazzal is in Jordan and Abu Marzouk is in Cairo: why should they want a ceasefire? Everyone here in Gaza is wondering why Hamas rejected so many ceasefires. Hamas knows it will not defeat Israel's army, so why did it continue fighting? The answer is simple: Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel by showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar."

I asked S. if other Gazans shared his view. He said,

"Gazans are not stupid. We are now telling Hamas: Either you bring victory and liberate Palestine as you claim, or simply leave Gaza and maybe give it back to the Palestinian Authority or even Israel -- or even Egypt! We have had enough of Hamas's hallucinations and promises that never come true."

O., a researcher who lives in Gaza Strip's second largest city, Khan Younis, said:

"Most of us see Hamas as too radical and too stubborn, especially the way it was refusing ceasefires offered from Israel. They even refused a 24-hour ceasefire during the third week of the war. They denied us even 24 hours of quiet to bury the dead. Even some Hamas loyalists here are asking why Hamas refused several ceasefires and made us suffer. Hamas did this on purpose because Hamas is a slave to Qatar. Qatar wants the war to go on because it is a terrorist Islamist country, and Hamas wants more of us dead to appease its masters in Qatar. Let's be realistic, Hamas is in a bad shape now. Israel destroyed most tunnels; that is why Hamas had to join the ceasefire talks in Cairo. Were the Israelis' hits to Hamas not so painful, Hamas would not be negotiating in the first place. At the same time, Hamas is asking Israel for the impossible, like an open seaport and an airport. Israel would never allow that, and Hamas knows this, but Hamas might just be buying time by throwing out these demands. You have to keep in mind that Hamas is not concerned with our conditions as Gazans. After all it is our children who are dying, not the children of Hamas's leaders. Hamas is weak now, and I believe it lost most of its tunnels. Israel's Iron Dome destroyed so many of their rockets before they landed in Israel; that is why Hamas is being ruthless with Gazans. When Hamas locks people inside homes about to be bombed, when it kills people protesting against it and when it executes alleged traitors without even a trail, these are war crimes."

A report by the Washington Institute, released in July, also reports that most Gazans are not happy with Hamas's governance.

"It is true," said A., a teacher. "I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll. Hamas maintains its control here through a military dictatorship, just like North Korea. People will be killed if they protest. Even Gazans living abroad fear to criticize Hamas because Hamas will take revenge on their relatives who are here."

M., a Gazan television producer, stated:

"Of course I am against Israel and I want it out of Gaza and out of the West Bank, but I still believe Hamas is more of a threat to the Palestinian people. Hamas took over Gaza by killing us [Palestinians] and throwing our young men from high buildings. That is what Hamas is about: murder and power. Hamas is also delusional. Its leaders refused the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, they got hit hard by the Israelis, and then when the war stopped, they declared victory. Even the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, admitted it when he lost Ohoud war [A war in which pagan Arabs defeated Muhammad's army and in which Muhammad was almost killed]. Hamas lives in its own fantasy world. Hamas wanted the dead bodies to make Israel look ugly. The media has exerted a huge pressure on Israel for every dead Gazan. In that sense, Hamas's tactic has worked, and we have seen more Western tolerance of Hamas, especially in Europe. Of course Hamas doesn't care if we all die so long as it achieves its goals. We are not going to accept living under Hamas any longer. Even if there is calm, and the firing stops, we are going to still be under Hamas's mercy, where all basic living standards are considered luxuries. Hamas is just buying time by going to the ceasefire talks. Hamas does not want a ceasefire."

When asked why that was, he said, "Ask Qatar's Sheikh, not me. He is Hamas's god who gives them billions and tells them what to do. May God curse Qatar!"

A first-aid volunteer, E., said that Hamas militants had confiscated 150 truckloads of humanitarian supplies the day before. He said the supplies were donated by charities in the West Bank and that their delivery was facilitated by the IDF. He commented: "This theft angers all of us [Gazans]. The Israeli army allows supplies to come in, and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas."

Another aid worker, A., confirmed that Hamas steals the humanitarian supplies given to Gaza. "They [Hamas] take most of it, sell it to us, and just give us the stuff they do not want."

A Gazan mosque's imam said that the most precious aid item Hamas stole was water. "Gazans are thirsty and Hamas is stealing the water bottles provided to us for free and selling them at 20 Israeli shekels [approximately $5] for the big bottle and 10 Israeli shekels for the small one."

H., who did not want his profession to be mentioned, lost one of his legs in an Israeli raid. I asked him who he thought was responsible for his injury. He stated:

"Hamas was. My father received a text-message from the Israeli army warning him that our area was going to be bombed, and Hamas prevented us from leaving. They said there was a curfew. A curfew, can you believe that? I swear to God, we will take revenge on Hamas. I swear to God I will stand on my other foot and fight against Hamas. Even if Israel leaves them alone, we will not. What had my two-year-old nephew done to be killed under the rubble of our home so Khaled Mashaal [Hamas leader based in Qatar] could be happy? We want change at any cost. I am not claiming the Israelis are innocent, but I know Hamas has fired rockets from every residential spot in Gaza. If that was not hiding behind civilians, then it was stupidity and recklessness. Nobody who is normal, in his right mind, in Gaza supports Hamas. People have lost parents, children and friends, and have nothing more to lose. I believe if given the chance and the weapons, they will stand against Hamas."

K., a Gazan school teacher agreed:

"When Hamas starts caring for our children we will start caring for Hamas. Hamas has one policy, to attack Israel; so Israel attacks back, and gets us killed and Hamas then gets more money from Arabs and Erdogan [Turkey's president]. My son has autism; he cannot handle the sounds of rockets and bombs landing. Why would I support Hamas, which causes this suffering to him? Gazans have had enough of Hamas, any claims that we love Hamas is just propaganda. A recent poll indicates that most of us support Hamas; this is not true, except maybe in the West Bank where they have not yet lived under Hamas rule. I cannot accuse the polling center of fabricating the poll, but my safest explanation for the result is that Gazans polled are too afraid to give their true opinions of Hamas. Hamas watches everything here. Most Gazans now have to deal with the aftermath of the war. Almost 300,000 Gazans are now homeless and Hamas is not providing them with anything. So why would they or their extended families have any love for Hamas? Would there be any common sense to that? Most Gazans are angry at Hamas, and most of us would love to see them replaced by any other force."

Despite all Hamas has done to Gazans, they do not seem to hold much love -- or less hatred -- for Israel.

S., a graduate of an American university and a former Hamas sympathizer, warned:

"Don't get fooled. Gazans are not in love with Israel yet, but they do not want to fight Israel anymore. We do not want to embrace Israel; we just want to live normally without wars. We want to live and work in Israel like we used to. We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation, instead. I would welcome Netanyahu to rule Gaza so long as Hamas leaves, and I think most Gazans feel the same way. We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money, we miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here, but politically speaking, we just think of it as the better of two evils: Israel and Hamas."

M., who lost his 11 year old daughter in an Israeli bombing said: "I will not forgive either Hamas or Israel for losing my daughter. If you ask me if I hate Israelis, my answer would be no, but do I love them? Of course not. There is too much blood between us, but I can only hope someday we both will move on and heal our wounds."

When asked what he would do if he were in Israel's place, being attacked non-stop by Hamas, he responded: "I do not care if both Israel and Gaza burn in hell."

F., a Gazan physician, said:

"I wish Israel never existed, but as it does not seem to be going away, I would rather be working in Israel like I used to before the first Intifada, not fighting it. Hamas sympathizers, apologists and appeasers should be ashamed of themselves for supporting a terrorist organization that has butchered civilians, Israeli and Palestinian. Apparently a group of Israelis is working on bringing Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to trial in the International Criminal Court. But perhaps the world should consider putting all the Hamas leaders on trial for crimes against the Gazan people."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rabbi Kahane on the use of Violence

Yossi Klein Halevi: At Rosh Hashanah: Grief, fear, hope

As we enter Rosh Hashanah, I am, like many of us, a confusion of emotions. I am angry and fearful, grieving and grateful, proud and ashamed and, despite everything, hopeful.
I am angry at how, once again, much of the world has turned an Israeli war of self-defense into a war crime. I am angry at the UN for investigating Israel and not Hamas, at much of the media for falling into Hamas’ trap and blaming Israel for civilian deaths it tried to avoid, at Israel’s critics who seemed disappointed that there weren’t more dead Israelis, as if somehow that would have been more fair.
I am grieving for the fallen soldiers. In Israel a soldier killed in battle doesn’t become a martyr but everyone’s son – a husband, a father, a boyfriend. I grieve too for the three kidnapped boys, murdered as their kidnappers laughed and sang. I am grateful for the nobility of those boys’ mothers, who inspired the people of Israel with their courage and love.
I am grieving for the devastation we were forced, in the process of defending ourselves, to inflict on our neighbors. I am grieving for the dead and wounded children of Gaza, for each life cut short, for the suffering that endures.
I am fearful for the future of Israel in a region that is turning mad. Fearful for an Israel surrounded by Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Qeida on its borders and Islamic State moving toward the Jordanian border, and with a nuclear Iran becoming more of a reality with every passing day, even as the West negotiates and delays.
I am grieving for the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people. For all my anger against Palestinian leaders for poisoning their people with hatred, on Rosh Hashanah I ask God’s forgiveness for what we have done to contribute our share to maintaining the conflict and the suffering. In public, in a political context, my contrition requires Palestinian reciprocity. In prayer, before God, I am required only to face myself.
I am angry at the growing attempt to criminalize the Jewish state, turn the Jews again into the world’s symbol of evil. Angry at the way our history, our story, the essence of our identity, is being distorted by a campaign of lies and half truths. Angry that, the more we succeed in re-rooting ourselves in the land of Israel, producing one generation after another of native Israelis, the more our rootedness, our nativeness, is denied.
I am fearful for the future of Jews around the world. In this terrible summer, many Jews rediscovered the meaning of exile, of living in acute uncertainty, in dread. I fear for the future of the great Jewry of France, a creative and diverse community of Sephardim and Ashkenazim that is now questioning its long-term viability. I fear for the future of the Jewry of Turkey, a magnificent repository of intact Jewish life in a Muslim country, now under assault by a lunatic leader who demands that “his” Jews repudiate Israel, commit an act of public apostasy, as the price for remaining citizens in good standing. I fear for the future of Jews in Venezuela and South Africa, where public figures close to the government have called for violence against Jewish fellow citizens.
I am grateful that, in Israel, the Jews have finally learned to defend themselves, grateful that we have the means and the will to thwart the murderous intentions of our enemies. And I am proud of the heroism of our sons who went into Gaza’s tunnels and booby-trapped houses, who fought not to avenge but to protect.
This Rosh Hashanah I also feel shame. If we had asked ourselves, a few months ago, whether it was possible for Jews – any Jews – to kidnap a teenage boy and burn him alive, our answer almost certainly would have been: Not that. In the following days, young Jews marched in the streets of Jerusalem and chanted, “Death to the Arabs.” As if that death hadn’t sufficed.
I am entering Rosh Hashanah committed to doing all I can to defend Israel from those outside our borders who hate and vilify it – and also from those among us who express their twisted love for the Jewish people with hatred for others, who endanger the precious miracle of Israeli democracy.
I believe we will persevere. I believe this because Jewish history – events we ourselves have witnessed – insists that despair is always premature.
I resist the fatalism contained in the terrible words: The whole world hates us. Israel may well have more active enemies than any other country, but it also has more active friends – and by no means all of them Jews. The largest pro-Israel demonstration this summer happened not in New York or Toronto but in a city without Jews – Calcutta – where thousands of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense. This summer in China, social media was reportedly overwhelmingly pro-Israel. One of the most powerful condemnations of the link between Jew-hatred and Israel-hatred was expressed at a rally in Berlin by Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Among the protesters were thousands of Kurds, Syrian Christians and Africans.
We will persevere because the Jewish fanatics of the far right and the far left — those who have a ready answer to all our dilemmas and who contribute, each in their own way, to Israel’s isolation – are a minority. Most Jews instinctively know that to be a Jew means to balance paradoxes – security and morality, realism and vision, particularism and universalism, self-defense and self-critique.
This year especially, I will pray that we have the wisdom to hold together as a people, despite the growing pressures on us to fragment and turn against each other. I will pray for the courage to defend the justness of our return home against the big lie that is aimed against us, even as we admit where we have erred.
Most Jews share the same hope – of a strong Israel at peace with its neighbors. We will continue to argue about the best way to achieve that – but as partners, aware that there are no easy answers, that none of us can speak for the totality of Jewish wisdom, that we need each other’s insights to be a whole people, that we cannot thrive without being a whole people.
Shana tova.

Yumi Lowy Singing "Kolot-Shwekey"



קולות הנודדים, קולות הילדים
וקול האבודים... המחפשים עוד נחמה
קולן של הדמעות, קולן של השמועות
וקול האמהות... הלוחשות את הברכה

פזמון
קול דממה דקה, עולה מן השמיים
ושר אלי את שיר המעלות
משהו קרוב וטוב, פוקח בי עיניים
וגם אני פתאום רואה את הקולות

קולות מתלהבים, קולות הכואבים
וקול המקווים... הרעבים לאהבה
קולן של המילים, קולות של תהילים
קולות מתפללים... עולים מתוך הנשמה

 

Did you know Christian and Muslim Arabs in Israel have been volunteering to do National Service more than ever before? Very interesting, underreported phenomenon

Photo: Did you know Christian and Muslim Arabs in Israel have been volunteering to do National Service more than ever before?

Very interesting, underreported phenomenon: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24880/Default.aspx

AISH: 8 Lessons from the War in Gaza Points of clarity uncovered by the war

In addition to the most important discovery during the war – unearthing and destroying dozens of tunnels snaking into Israel to be used for terror attacks and the kidnapping of soldiers and civilians – the war in Gaza revealed some important discoveries. And like the tunnels, we may have known about their existence but not the full extent of the story.
1. The war revealed the Jewish nation's underlying unity. There has never been a time in recent history where the vast majority of Israelis – along with Jews around the globe – came together to fight a just battle that was forced upon us. Tens of thousands of yeshiva students delayed their summer vacation so that the merit of their Torah learning would help protect soldiers. We came together at Israel solidarity rallies (some erupting spontaneously in the New York diamond district, and in an outpouring of love to soldiers. And we united in pain, at the funerals for our 64 fallen soldiers.
2. We showed our determination and courage to fight and risk our lives to defend our country. And with the upsurge of anti-Semitism rattling the streets of Europe and the threat of radical Islam intensifying, all Israeli understood that we are fighting not just for Israel, but for the entire Jewish People.
3. Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli, two heroic American lone soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their homeland, displayed what it means to live a life for a higher cause when most Jewish American youth have no idea what they would be willing to die for.
4. The war in Gaza unleashed a wave of Jew-hatred that has not been seen since pre-Holocaust days. With cries of "Death to the Jews" being heard in Berlin and Paris, Natan Sharansky said, “I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe. I see this as a historical moment — as the beginning of the process of distancing Jews from Europe.” It is no longer fear-mongering to say that it is too dangerous for Jews to live in Europe. It is time for them to leave and come to Israel.
5. We witnessed once again the media and segments of the Western world upending truth in its perverse pathology against Israel. , Navi Pallay, the UN Human Rights Council commissioner, blamed Israel for not sharing with Hamas the Iron Dome technology used to protect against Hamas rockets, thus erasing any distinction between victim and aggressor, while calling for an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel – not Hamas. Does anyone doubt that "we are a nation that dwells alone"? We cannot fret about world opinion; we are on our own.
6. Even though the war in Gaza ended with a definite loss for Hamas and an ambiguous win for Israel, one thing became clear: Israel cannot tolerate any neighboring Palestinian state that is not completely demilitarized. We took that risk in pulling out of Gaza and now see the result: terror tunnels, thousands of rockets able to reach 80% of Israel and the closure of Ben Gurion airport and a barbaric enemy intent on our destruction even at the cost of its own civilians.
7. We saw firsthand the amazing protective powers of the Iron Dome, and cannot forget to connect all the dots and give thanks to the Almighty for His unceasing protection.
8. The war may seem to be ending, but it is not over. We bought some time, that's all. There is no simple solution to this. We are surrounded by enemies in a part of the world where tyrants are committing genocide. We live in a small island of sanity and ought to feel our vulnerability, not just our strength. And like a mother who prays for her son clearing out tunnels in Gaza, we must pray every day to God to foil our enemies' designs to wipe us out and to shield us from all harm.

Grandson Of Anti-Zionist Satmar Rebbe Serves In IDF



A grandson of the notoriously anti-Zionist Satmar rebbe is serving in the IDF. He also shaves and wears a small black yarmulke in the Zionist Orthodox style.

Ohad, Gertner, Amiran Dvir and more

עמירן דביר,אוהד,ושלומי גרטנר באקאפלה


Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Time to play "Is This Newsworthy?"


As I look at the stories I covered this week, I always ask myself whether - in a normal universe - the news stories I report would be considered newsworthy to the mainstream media.

So, let's play the game:

  • When the highly-paid leader of one of the world's major human rights organizations tweetshundreds of times about a war, and yet manages to ignore most of the human rights violations being done by one side - Is That Newsworthy?
    • How about when the side whose violations he all-but ignores is a terrorist group?
    • How about when he insists that he is even-handed?
    • How about when he snidely dismisses his critics instead of honestly responding to well-documented criticism?
  • When the world media parrots reports that the Gaza power plant was "destroyed" and will not be repaired for a year, and yet it is back in operation two months later Is That Newsworthy?
  • When the world's biggest NGOs, as well as the UN, explicitly reject the use of standardsthat would ensure that their fact-finding missions aren't biased - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When a purportedly pro-American Muslim parade is held in New York, but it includes insults against America as well as realistic replicas of guns and a representation of a lynching - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When terror groups who were quoted as credible during a war brag immediately afterwards about how they manipulate the media - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When there are reports that a de-facto government is stealing aid meant for their people, and extorts money from people who want to leave - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When a UN agency goes out of its way to traumatize hundreds of thousands of children in order to incite them to hate - Is That Newsworthy?
    • How about when their spokesperson talks about a child who lost his father without mentioning that his father was a terrorist, meeting with other terrorists in military center that disguised as a mosque?
  • When newspapers worldwide reported about a person who saved Jews from Nazis criticizing Israel for killing his innocent relatives, but don't do basic research to find out that there were at least two terrorists in the house - including one of his relatives - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When a former MP of a Western-friendly government goes on a TV show run by a terrorist organization and says that Jews kill Muslims and Christians for Passover matzoh - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When it is proven that the statistics on civilians killed in Gaza were not only wrong, but were obviously manipulated by human rights NGOs in Gaza to inflate the number of "civilians" killed, causing every single news organization to report the war completely wrong - Is That Newsworthy?
  • When the leader of the Palestinian Arabs praises a woman terrorist who bragged about hiding bombs in watermelons at a circus to kill as many Jewish children as possible - Is That Newsworthy?
    • What about if he was an actor or an athlete - would that make it newsworthy then?

Hey - I'm not a professional news reporter or editor or publisher. Maybe I'm missing something, and for some reason these stories don't reach the threshold of newsworthiness. 

I would really, really love to have a media professional explain to me exactly why, though.

Palestinian mother celebrates her son's death: "This is the first time I see joy in my heart"


During a riot in Jerusalem, a 16-year-old Arab named Muhammad Sunuqrut was killed. At his funeral, his mother told PA TV:
"This is the first time I see joy in my heart. This is the first time I see such joy. Thank Allah for giving him Martyrdom (Shahada)."
[Official PA TV, Sept. 12, 2014]
Click to view

PA TV has broadcast many Palestinian mothers who have expressed joy over the deaths of their children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because it grants the deceased the exalted Shahada status - Martyrdom-death for Allah, which bestows many rewards on the "Martyr" and his family.

Mother of Sbarro pizza shop suicide bomber, Izz Al-Din Al-Masri: "I congratulate him: Congratulations, my son, on your Martyrdom, praise Allah..."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), April 30, 2014]
  
Mother of suicide bomber Shadi Hamamreh: "Praise Allah, this is the greatest joy, Praise Allah that he is a Martyr." 
[Official PA TV, Jan. 25, 2014]
Mother of suicide bomber Darin Abu Aisheh: "I want to sing, Darin is a bride."
[Official PA TV, Aug. 3, 2011] 
Palestinian Media Watch has shown that the Palestinian Authority promotes death for Allah as the ideal to strive for, both for adults and children, because they believe this superior status grants the Martyr and his family many rewards in Islamic Paradise.



PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
"After prophecy and righteousness there is no status Allah has exalted more than Shahada (Martyrdom)... They went smiling to their deaths... The Shahidhas merit with Allah, a merit that no one else has... 'The Shahid - his sins are forgiven with the first gush of his blood from his wound... 'The Shahidadvocates on behalf of 70 members of his family, and saves them all from hell. The Shahid lives together with the prophets and the righteous ones.'" 
[Official PA TV, Nov. 8, 2013]
Note: Israel and the PA have released different statements to the press regarding the circumstances of the death of 16-year-old Muhammad Sunuqrut. 

Israel Matzav: 'How we were used as human shields'


Jordanian Mudar Zahran has done what no one in the international media is willing to do: He has actually interviewed Gaza residents about their experiences during Operation Protective Edge.
Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas's revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of "communicating with the Mossad". "Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists -- or actually any journalists at all," he said, continuing:
"Hamas does not want the truth about Gaza to come out. Hamas terrorizes and kills us just like Daesh [ISIS] terrorizes kills Iraqis. Hamas is a dictatorship that kills us. The Gazans you see praising Hamas on TV are either Hamas members or too afraid to speak against Hamas. Few foreign [Western] journalists were probably able to report what Gazans think of Hamas."
When asked what Gazans did think of Hamas, he said:
"The same as Iraqis thought of Saddam before he was toppled. He still won by 90-something percent in the presidential elections. If Hamas falls today in Gaza, people here will do what Iraqis did to Saddam's statue after he fell. But even though Western journalists may not have been able to speak freely with Gazans, they still need a story to send to their editor by the end of the day. So it is just easier and safer for them to stick to the official line."
"What was that," I asked: "'Blame Israel'?"

...

D, a store owner, said:
"There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."
To verify those reports, I spoke to a second Gazan academic, who holds a PhD. from a Western university, who stated:
"Hamas did kill protesters, no doubt about that. But we could not confirm how many were actually killed. If I have to guess, the number was more than reported. I am confident that not all of the 21 men Hamas killed on August 22 were collaborating with Israel. Hamas killed those men because it was weakened by Israel's attacks and felt endangered. So it went on a 'Salem Witch-Hunt.' They arrested everyone who opposed them and had to make a few examples to scare people from standing against Hamas. Hamas's tactic worked. Now Gazans are afraid to talk against Hamas even in front of their own family members. Gazans are probably afraid to criticize Hamas even in their sleep!"
S. a medical worker, said:
"The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas's strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas's official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed."
Another Gazan journalist, D., said:
"Hamas fired rockets from next to homes. Hamas was running from one home to another. Hamas lied when it claimed it was shooting from non-populated areas. To make things even worse for us, Hamas would fire from the balconies of homes and try to drag the Israelis into door-to-door battles and street-to-street fights -- a death sentence for all the civilians here. They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did. They are cowards. If Hamas militants are not afraid of dying, why do they run after they fire rockets from our homes? Why don't they stay and die with us? Are they afraid to die and go to heaven? Isn't that what they claim they wish?"
K, another graduate student at an Egyptian university who had gone to Gaza to see his family but was unable to leave after the war started, said on July 22:
"When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed. God will ask Hamas on judgment day for those killers' blood."
I asked him if Hamas used people as "human shields." He said: "Hamas held the entire Gazan population as a human shield. My answer to you is yes."

...

A first-aid volunteer, E., said that Hamas militants had confiscated 150 truckloads of humanitarian supplies the day before. He said the supplies were donated by charities in the West Bank and that their delivery was facilitated by the IDF. He commented: "This theft angers all of us [Gazans]. The Israeli army allows supplies to come in, and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas."
Another aid worker, A., confirmed that Hamas steals the humanitarian supplies given to Gaza. "They [Hamas] take most of it, sell it to us, and just give us the stuff they do not want."
A Gazan mosque's imam said that the most precious aid item Hamas stole was water. "Gazans are thirsty and Hamas is stealing the water bottles provided to us for free and selling them at 20 Israeli shekels [approximately $5] for the big bottle and 10 Israeli shekels for the small one."

...

K., a Gazan school teacher agreed:
"When Hamas starts caring for our children we will start caring for Hamas. Hamas has one policy, to attack Israel; so Israel attacks back, and gets us killed and Hamas then gets more money from Arabs and Erdogan [Turkey's president]. My son has autism; he cannot handle the sounds of rockets and bombs landing. Why would I support Hamas, which causes this suffering to him? Gazans have had enough of Hamas, any claims that we love Hamas is just propaganda. A recent poll indicates that most of us support Hamas; this is not true, except maybe in the West Bank where they have not yet lived under Hamas rule. I cannot accuse the polling center of fabricating the poll, but my safest explanation for the result is that Gazans polled are too afraid to give their true opinions of Hamas. Hamas watches everything here. Most Gazans now have to deal with the aftermath of the war. Almost 300,000 Gazans are now homeless and Hamas is not providing them with anything. So why would they or their extended families have any love for Hamas? Would there be any common sense to that? Most Gazans are angry at Hamas, and most of us would love to see them replaced by any other force."
Despite all Hamas has done to Gazans, they do not seem to hold much love -- or less hatred -- for Israel.

Unfortunately, the interviews are necessarily anonymous. Wouldn't it be great if someone could take some of these people to the 'human rights council' and show what a farce its proceedings are? Not that it would really matter. So long as it's Muslims killing and torturing Muslims, the world doesn't care.

As long as the excerpts above are, there's much, much more. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: A disgrace to Israel

Israel has introduced a new 50 Shekel note this week, and a call has been issued to boycott it. Here's why.
new 50 shekel banknote bearing the likeness of Russian-born Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky (1875-1943) entered circulation on Tuesday, but Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi of Bar Ilan University refuses to use the new note and calls on others to follow suit.
Ben-Artzi, who is the brother-in-law of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and lectures on the Torah and Jewish Thought, told Arutz Sheva that the new banknote is a disgrace to the state of Israel.
The noted lecturer reminded that Tchernichovsky wasmarried to a Christian woman his entire life, and refused the insistent pleading of former Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Shlomo Goren to have her convert to Judaism as befitting the wife of a key Hebrew poet in modern Israel.
"Shaul Tchernichovsky became a symbol of assimilation - the ideology of assimilation. It cannot be that a man like this, even with all his importance as a poet, should become a symbol of the state of Israel," said Ben-Artzi.
The new note sends exactly the wrong message at a time when "in Europe there's an 80% rate of assimilation and in the United States 60% assimilation," argued Ben-Artzi. "The Jewish people are becoming annihilated due to assimilation; how can the state of Israel be capable of turning precisely Tchernichovsky into a symbol?"
With all due respect to Rav Goren, zt"l, the conversion would have likely been meaningless, but other than that Ben Artzi is spot-on. I just don't know if it is possible to boycott a bank note, but I intend - bli neder (without taking a vow) to try.  

Israel Matzav: Metropolitan Opera sinks to new low in terror glorification

The New York Metropolitan Opera has sunk to a new low. The poster above is how they're promoting their new opera Death of Klinghoffer, which celebrates the 1985 murder of a wheelchair-bound Jew by 'Palestinian' terrorists aboard the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. 
The Metropolitan Opera has sunk to a new low in its glorification of the Palestinian terrorist murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer, on the Achille Lauro in 1995, say outraged Jewish groups. In its promotional materials, including a video on its official website, the Metropolitan Opera features a Palestinian terrorist pointing a gun at the back of a wheel-chair bound Klinghoffer, when he is about to murder him. 
“The Met Opera is clearly trying to sell tickets off of an evil Palestinian terrorist who is in the process of murdering a crippled Jew in the back in cold-blood” said Mark Langfan, President of Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI). The group, headed by Langfan and Helen Freedman, is spearheading an unprecedented coalition of over 60 Jewish and non-Jewish organizations for the demonstration planned for this coming Monday, September 22, at 4:30 pm in front Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway and 65th Street.
Langfan said that the Met Opera’s clear organizational message is that “killing a Jew is not just a good thing, but it’s ‘Art.’ The Met Opera, and all its board of directors are actively promoting Jew-murder in its ugliest form. It’s rank, pure Jew-hate, anti-Semitism in its most vile form.”
For those of you who have forgotten what happened to Leon Klinghoffer HY"D (May God Avenge his blood)....
In 1985, Klinghoffer, then 69, retired and in a wheelchair, was on a cruise on the Achille Lauro along with his wife Marilyn (née Windwehr), to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary. On October 7, 1985, four hijackers from the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) took control of the liner off Egypt as it was sailing from Alexandria to Port Said, Egypt. Holding the passengers and crew hostage, they ordered the captain to sail to Tartus, Syria, and demanded the release of 50 Palestinians then in Israeli prisons, including the Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar.

The next day, after being refused permission by the Syrian government to dock at Tartus, the hijackers singled out Klinghoffer, a Jew, for murder, shooting him in the forehead and chest as he sat in his wheelchair. They then forced the ship's barber and a waiter to throw his body and wheelchair overboard. Marilyn Klinghoffer, who did not witness the shooting, was told by the hijackers that he had been moved to the infirmary. She only learned the truth after the hijackers left the ship at Port Said. PLO Foreign Secretary Farouq Qaddumi said that perhaps the terminally ill Marilyn Klinghoffer had killed her husband for insurance money.[4] However, the PLO later accepted full responsibility for murdering Mr. Klinghoffer.[5]

Initially, the hijackers were granted safe passage to Tunisia, but U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered a U.S. fighter plane to force the get-away plane to land at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy. After an extradition dispute, Italian authorities arrested and later tried the Palestinian terrorists, but let Abu Abbas fly to Yugoslavia.

Klinghoffer's body was found by the Syrians on October 14–15, and it was returned to the United States around October 20. His funeral, with 800 in attendance, was held at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City.[6] Leon Klinghoffer was buried at Beth David Memorial Park in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Four months after her husband's murder, Marilyn Klinghoffer (October 5, 1926 – February 9, 1986) died of colon cancer, aged 59. The Klinghoffers are survived by two daughters, Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer.
By the way, the Met isn't the first group to try to make an opera out of Klinghoffer's murder. 
American composer John Adams' second opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, based on the events of 1985, opened to great controversy in 1991. The concept for the opera was suggested by director Peter Sellars and it featured a libretto by Alice Goodman. The Los Angeles Opera shared in the work's commission but never presented it, after the work was criticized by some as overly sympathetic to the terrorists. A Prix Italia-winning television version of the opera, starring Sanford Sylvan and Christopher Maltman, and directed by Penny Woolcock, was screened by United Kingdom's Channel 4 in 2003.
I hope that the Met goes out of business over this. And I hope that those of you in the New York area show up to demonstrate against it on Monday. Despicable.... 

Israel Matzav: The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l's view on the Six Day War and 'land for peace' was more than you have probably heard

Shavua tov from Boston, a good week to everyone. 

This evening, I found in my email a pdf from Zvi S with three pages of Joseph Telushkin's new book Rebbe, a biography of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In the three pages (275-77), Telushkin discusses the Rebbe's views on the Six Day War and 'land for peace.'

I knew - as I am sure many of you did - that the Rebbe opposed 'land for peace.' He did not believe in it. He even opposed the return of the Sinai as part of the peace treaty with Egypt - which I forgot or may not have known.

But what I really didn't know was that in 1967, he felt Israel should have expelled all the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. He felt that during war time, and given the Arabs' continuing threats to annihilate Israel, such an action would have been understandable (and as I have described many times, the Arabs may even have expected it). 

Makes this Litvak misnaged (non-Hassid) want to go out and buy the book.

Friday, September 19, 2014

CHOFETZ CHAIM RECEPTION & KINNUS TESHUVA: INTRODUCTION BY CIVIL TRIAL ATTORNEY BARUCH COHEN & RABBI NECHEMIAH LANGER 9-18-2014

HaRav Dovid Harris, Shlitah and BCC

HaRav Akiva Grunblatt, Shlitah and BCC

----

Thank you for coming to support the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim. 

We are honored that the 2 Roshei Yeshiva are here tonight to bestow their Berachos on us before the Yom Hadin: HaRav Dovid Harris, Shlitah & HaRav Akiva Grunblatt, Shlitah. I wish all of you could get to meet the Roshei Yeshivah and develope a connection with them. It’ll be a great investment for your future.

I would like to share with you my personal story. I was raised as a Modern Orthodox kid who davened at the Young Israel Wavecrest & Bayswater - Far Rockaway NY. Rabbi Moshe Chait’s speeches on Shabbos were masterful, and he brought to life the illustrious mesorah and dynasty of what was known as Slabodkah Derech: The Chofetz Chaim; Reb Naftoli Tropp (the Granat); The Alter of Slabodka; Reb Yisroel Salanter; Reb Zimcha Zissel; Reb Naftali Amsterdam; but when Rabbi Chait spoke about his rebbi HaGoan Reb Dovid Leibowitz there was reverence in his voice. 

My father Rabbi Dr. Samuel Cohen (ah) was always pointing to the way Baruch Chait, Raphie Wachsman, Tippy Wachsman would daven: “watch how a ben torah davens.” My father would tell me that if I worked hard at my studies, one day you could get into a yeshiva like Chofetz Chaim. My learning in Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Great things happened in my life while I was in the Yeshiva for 6 years, post high-school that I credit the Yeshiva; for I do not know that I would have taken the road that I traveled had it not been for the Yeshivah. During this time, I married my wife Adina. I transitioned from college to law school. I overcame an insecurity about speaking up to develop a Torah thought. I developed a confidence in learning and a comfort in attempting to be mechadesh torah. I forged close personal friendships with chavrusas and Bais Medrash bochurim back in Queens, that have stood the test of time and to this day, 30+ years later, I cherish my chevrashaff with them: Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger, Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg, Rabbi Yitzchok Summers, Rabbi Shimon Ishal, to name but a few. And there are more. 

I connected on a very deep and personal level with the Rosh Yeshivah HaGaon Rav Henoch Leibowitz.  Speaking to him privately was unlike interacting with anyone I have ever met in my life. A man with enormous insight and vision, who was able to inspire from his words and actions. I am very blessed to consider myself a Talmid of Rav Henoch Leibowitz. I do not say this out of Gayvah; but out of a sense of chashivus and hakaras hatov and for chinuch to my children. I have found myself in trying situations, asking myself, what would the Rosh Yeshiva do if he was here? And that became my GPS for life

While in the Yeshiva I learned extraordinary and lofty concepts that have sustained me and propelled me throughout my life to achieve what I hope are great things: Gadlus HaAdam; Kochos Hanefesh; Cheshbon Hanefesh; Niskatnu Hadoros; Daas Torah; Negiyos; Ameilus BaTorah, Lomdos, Koveish Yetzer Horah  Finally, that Mussar is a misunderstood word: (“I need to give you Mussar”) but rather the most beautiful tools to access what’s in the heart and to have true intimacy with Hashem.

My father loved doing a "drive-by." He worked in Manhattan and would drive through Forest Hills to get to the Five Towns. He loved stopping by the Yeshiva towards the end of Bekius seder (unannounced), crack open the door to the Bais Medrash and see me learning. (I oftentimes hoped that I was actually learning at the time my father would peer in and not be schmoozing away). 

Our great wish is that our home be a Bais Vaad LeChachamim.  When Rabbi Grunblat called and asked me to host the Yeshivah’s reception in our home, it was the opportunity to fulfil our greatest wish. We wish to state unequivocally, our firm support for the Yeshiva, both financially and spiritually.

The Navi Amos prophesied (8:11): 
Hi’ne yamim ba’im Behold, the days are coming
Ve’hishlachti ra’av ba’arets   that I will send a famine in the land
Lo ra’av la’lechem  not a famine of bread
Ve’lo tsama la’mayim  nor a thirst for water
Ki im lishmoa es divrei Hashem. but of hearing the words of Hashem.

I invoke Amos’ prophecy, because today we live in a Jewish world, blessed with incredible financial successes, in communities that cater to every possible luxury to make our orthodox lifestyles more comfortable, yet, we also see profound problems within that plague our Kehilos, that can cause us to despair. We feel an emptiness, and a raw hunger for authentic Torah values, we want to learn from Rabbonim who have an unbroken Mesorah, who are real Lamdanim, who are Baalei Mussar, & Marbuitzei Torah of the highest caliber.  By supporting the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim we are insuring that the quality of Chinuch in America thrives into the next generation for our children. That we hear Amos’ prediction and we respond and take action to support Torah.