Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Nephew, The Hero

Two posts today!

My oldest nephew is from a settler family (that's my sister's family, whom Fatah proudly but falsely claimed to have murdered last summer). There is a lot of venom directed against settlers by the left wing in Israel; the settlers are condemned as parasites, who are just out to leech the lives of Arabs and the money of the rest of the country. And so some of them decided to start a meme, entitled "Ani mitnachel v'ani lo mitnatzel - I am a settler and I do not apologize about it." My nephew, a modest and quiet young man, joined the meme. Here is what he wrote:

הורי צאצאים לניצולי שואה עלו ארצה מאנגליה ובנו בית במטה בנימין.
הקימו בית ומשפחה לתפארת במו ידיהם מאפס ללא כל סיוע.
התחנכתי לאהבת אדם, אהבת העם והארץ.
הורי נפגעו שניהם בפיגוע ירי ולמרות כל ההצעות לתמיכה מארגונים למינהם סירבו לקבל כל סיוע.
חינכו אותי לעבודה ונתינה. כל אחי ואחיותי שירתו ומשרתים את המדינה בשירות משמעותי.
הדרכתי בתנועת נוער, התנדבתי במד"א, עשיתי שנת שירות בשדרות שם בית הקומונה חטף פגיעה ישירה בעודי בבית.
שירתתי 5 שנים ביחידה מובחרת, חיפשתי את החטופים בחברון, לחמתי ופיקדתי בצוק איתן.
היום אני סטודנט להנדסה, מתנדב בבית-הגלגלים מוסד לילדים בעלי מוגבליות, אני מלווה באופן אישי שני חניכים, אחת ערביה ישראלית והשני דרוזי, אני אוהב אותם מאוד.
כל חיי היו ויהיו נתינה.
אני מתנחל ואני לא מתנצל.
And here is a rough translation:
My parents, descendants of Holocaust survivors, came to Israel from England, and built a house in Mateh Binyamin. They established a home and a wonderful family, building it up from nothing without any help.
I was educated to love people, to love the nation and to love the land.
Both of my parents were injured in shooting incidents, but despite all the offers of support from various organizations, they refused to accept any support.
They educated me to serve and to give. All my brothers and sisters served and serve the state in significant ways.
I was a counselor in youth movements, I volunteered for Magen David Adom, I fulfilled a year of service in Sderot (as a yeshivah counselor - NS), where my apartment sustained a direct hit from a missile while I was in it.
I served for five years in a select army unit, I searched for the kidnapped teens in Hebron, I fought in Gaza.
Today I am an engineering student, and a volunteer at a home for children with disabilities. I personally assist two students, one an Israeli-Arab and the other a Druze. I love them very much.
My entire life was, and will be, about giving.
I am a settler and I do not apologize.
My nephew is a hero and an inspiration to me. May Hashem bless him and keep him safe.

63 comments:

  1. Nice essay until this part "I personally assist two students, one an Israeli-Arab and the other a Druze. I love them very much."
    Haa? This isn't something to be proud about. We are commanded to drive the enemies out of the land and not to support and build them up so they get stronger.

    Ssvi

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    1. Druze are not enemies of Israel. They serve in the army - which is more than most Haredim do. Are you planning on driving out the Haredim?

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    2. "commanded to driver the enemies out of the land" Really? Are these student Hittites or Jebusites?
      Were there not always non-Jews in Israel - the talmud is replete with stories and kind relations between Jews and non-Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

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    3. That's why people dislike settlers so much.

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    4. There's nothing wrong with having geirim toshavim living among us.

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    5. Akiva- yes. But a Ger Toshav has to be a Ben Noah and accept upon him/her self taxes and servitude.


      Ssvi

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    6. Mr Ssvi. Do you emotionally feel that ISIS is doing anything objectionable in implementing these ideas?

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  2. What a beautiful piece. Your nephew sounds really, really special and I wish him much hatzlachah in all that he does. You have great reason to be proud!

    Will I get stoned for saying that I once wrote an essentially similar piece, substituting "kollel wife" for settler?

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  3. Really, Devorah? You served the country for 5 years in an elite unit, and are studying engineering, while being a kollel wife? If so, that is similar, and therefore you would not deserve to be "stoned".

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    1. No. Similar in the concept that I live a life of giving, was raised in a society of giving, I am a kollel wife and I do not apologize, etc. The actual contributions to society that I referenced in my piece (contrary to popular belief that would find the very mention of contributions to society in reference to kollel families an oxymoron) differ from those of this incredible young gentleman.

      I am sorry if that wasn't clear.

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  4. My nephew is a good egg, and he's a settler. Not the most compelling argument for expropriation and provocation.

    I am not accusing your nephew of medical experimentation on prisoners or murder, but the same could be said about Eichmann. A charming man who volunteered for dangerous duty on the Eastern front, was decorated for bravery for rescuing colleagues from a burning tank, and who gave his victims birthday presents.

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    1. Adam from ManchesterMarch 13, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      That is probably just about the most stupid thing I have ever read on this blog.
      Godwin's law ad absurdam.

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    2. Surely you have a skill or two, Moniker. A minor virtue, a something or other you may have inadvertantly done that's vaguely admirable, someone who may like you in spite of myriads of reasons not to? Draw on those fleeting moments or qualities or, if entirely absent, invent a few. Works better in trying to fight that crushing sense of worthlessness than trying to get attention here by screeching that R'Slifkin is a racist or comparing an accomplished, admirable young man with Mengele. Just saying.

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    3. > My nephew is a good egg, and he's a settler. Not the most compelling argument for expropriation and provocation.

      I had the same thought.

      He sounds like a great guy, but that has nothing to do with issues with the settlements. I have no opinion on the settlements, but I have noticed in general that you can't extrapolate from individuals to their communities. The residents of places like New Square are also great people on a personal level, but are members of a community with serious flaws.

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  5. Mengele not Eichman

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  6. Way to go Moniker. Only 4 comments in and we can already invoke Godwin's Law!

    Maybe try a little harder to avoid lazy tropes...

    Your nephew sounds like a great guy, R Natan.

    JK

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  7. Moniker-
    I am somewhat baffled at your presence here. Do you seriously think you are going to convince anyone who hangs around here? You are hardly the first Jew, religious or not-religious to have perverse views about the Jewish people and who plays games with "moral equivalence" with our enemies which your vile comment indicates, , but all I can say it that your views will go the way of the Yevseksia and the Hellenists and will be relegated to being the subject of obscure historical, scholarly interest but of total irrelevancy to the rank-and-file Jewish people. Just 80 years ago the Yevseksia thought they were the wave of the future, but those who managed to survive Stalin's purges have been long forgotten, and their offspring are either religious Jews, Zionists or have assimilated and disappeared from the Jewish people. Rav Slifkin shows great tolerance in allowing disgusting comments like yours through here. This shows he is not afraid of any ideas, unlike so many other religious Jews.

    Rav Slifkin-
    I am reading a fascinating new book by Rav Yoel Bin-Nun about Rav Kook and his relationship with Yosef Haim Brenner who was passionately concerned about the Jewish people and who was also passionately anti-religious and, on other side, he relationship with Hillel Zeitlin and Rav Yosef Haim Sonnenfeld. These men were all deeply concerned one way or another with the Jewish people and the the renewed Jewish presence in Eretz Israel. What I learned is that Rav Sonnenfeld, although the spiritual leader of the Old Yishuv and STRONLY opposed to Rav Kook's views (although remaining personally friendly with him), and the non-religious Halutzim was NOT "anti-Zionist". He refused to oppose the Balfour Declaration and the large-scale aliyah of Jews, many of whom were not religious, and he even declared on the British Mandatory census form that his spoken language was Hebrew, even though the anti-Zionists of the Old Yishuv opposed this strenuously , viewing Hebrew as the language of the secular Zionists (they declared their language as Yiddish). The point is that Rav Sonnenfeld cared very much about all Jews, he supported building up Eretz Israel and the political goals of Zionism. His opposition was to the anti-religious nature of the leaders of the secular Zionist movement and he opposed any cooperation with them.
    This is in stark contrast to what we see today where some children are taught in Heder that "the creation of the State of Israel is the worst catastrophe ever to happen to the Jewish people, worse than the Holocaust" (as one Rav said his grandson was being taught), and that we would be better off without the state and maybe as one Rav in America said recently that we are better off without Eretz Israel entirely because "it is too holy" (Yes, I know that this is an opinion mentioned in Tosafot but it is rejected by most if not all of the commentators).
    This reinforces my belief that many current religious Jews feel most comfortable burying themselves in their books and immediate community because they feel they can tune out the rest, being protected financially by a welfare state and taking a state mechanism that provides services and military protection for granted. Rav Sonnnenfeld and his generation saw real poverty, pogroms and upheavals and they still felt identification with other Jews, even if they vehemently disagreed with them. They were far from today's religious Jewish version of Timothy Leary's "turn on, tune in, drop out". I find reading Rav Bin-Nun's book very refreshing.

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  8. How can a person who wants to destroy the State of Israel by handing it over to it's enemies, can be considered a zionist???

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  9. while your nephew may be a nice person, that doesn't justify his ideology that has no problem with trampling the rights of an entire people. Do the Palestinians not deserve the right to self determination? And don't tell me that the palestinians don't want peace and that they would just use a state to attack us (as Rabbi Slifkin has argued many times on this blog). I happen to agree with that assertion, but we all know that even if we had a 100 percent guarantee (somehow) that giving them a state would lead to an everlasting peace the settlers would still fight to the bitter end to stop it. I'm sure that i am not alone to find such a stance repugnant in principle.
    shimmy miller

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    1. Uncomfortable TruthMarch 13, 2015 at 10:02 PM

      I wholly agree with Shimmy Miller. In my conversations with settlers, they speak of the land as absolutely inviolable, one explicitly told me that Jewish law mandates that we must martyr ourselves for every inch of Israel. They certainly do not care about Palestinian self-determination or the fact that they live comfortably in the former homes and communities of displaced Palestinians. Arabs are routinely dehumanized in these settlements, lets not kids ourselves, we've all been there. Frankly, their stance is abhorrent.

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    2. Still, I remember that when Netanyahu wanted to pass the "Jewish State" bill, the Palestinians said that it's an obstacle to peace. Their wanting a Palestinian state, which will have no Jews in it, will somehow advance peace. Declaring Israel a Jewish state, which will still have close to 2 million Arab citizens in it, is an obstacle to peace. Do you understand their logic? Sounds like racism to me.

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    3. "Do the Palestinians not deserve the right to self determination"

      Do they? No, for the following reasons:

      1. It's stupid, from a security viewpoint, to trust them with any land at all. How's Gaza working out?

      2. By conceding any part of Israel, Jews lose their fundamental right to any of it, including, say, Tel Aviv.

      3. It's forbidden religiously. You don't like that argument (or feel it's fundamentally unsound), don't comment on Orthodox blogs.

      In ant event, where does this "right" come from? Do Basques have it? Welsh? Corsicans? Tibetans? Kentuckians? Gypseys? Lapps? Who doesn't have it?

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    4. "1. It's stupid, from a security viewpoint, to trust them with any land at all. How's Gaza working out?"
      I guess you aren't very good at reading. my point was that in a theoretical world in which we would have a 100 percent guarantee that there would be everlasting peace the settler community would still be against it.

      "2. By conceding any part of Israel, Jews lose their fundamental right to any of it, including, say, Tel Aviv."

      really? I don't see why that should be. compromising for the sake of peace doesn't mean that you give up on your claim on everything. where did you get such a strange idea. Also, see david ohsie's response below.

      "3. It's forbidden religiously. You don't like that argument (or feel it's fundamentally unsound), don't comment on Orthodox blogs."

      see david ohsie's response below. there are many many more orthodox rabbi's who are matir it.

      "In ant event, where does this "right" come from? Do Basques have it? Welsh? Corsicans? Tibetans? Kentuckians? Gypseys? Lapps? Who doesn't have it?"

      I do not have the time to educate you. read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-determination

      shimmy miller

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    5. Gaza is a terrorist swamp because Netanyahu and Sharon preferred to deal with Hamas than deal with Abbas.

      "Rights" come from the product of strength of feeling about independance and mass of people holding those feelings, or, more essentially, the degree of brutality required to maintain suzerainity.The Welsh would be independent if they wanted to be.

      But all your examples are of enfranchised.nations. The Palestinians are not granted a vote in the Kenesset

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    6. "And don't tell me that the palestinians don't want peace and that they would just use a state to attack us (as Rabbi Slifkin has argued many times on this blog). I happen to agree with that assertion, but we all know that even if we had a 100 percent guarantee (somehow) that giving them a state would lead to an everlasting peace the settlers would still fight to the bitter end to stop it. "

      This is incredible. History has shown time and again that Arabs use conceded Jewish land to launch indiscriminate attacks against their 'peace partners', and you even agree that this is the case, and yet you have a bone to pick with R Slifkin and the settlers because in your daydream which completely flies in the face of reality, where giving up land would somehow guarantee everlasting peace, they would still be opposed to it?! Btw, all people have the right to self-determination. To the point that they can go to war to defend it. And when you lose, sorry, you lose. That's how Rome was able to rename the old Jewish Kingdom 'Palestine' and Jews were able to rename Palestine 'Israel'.

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    7. Is that the peace with Jordan or the peaxe with Egypt? There is no intrinsic reason why Israeli and Pals can't have peace.

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    8. With the authority of the 80's progressive campus activist playbook, Shimmy blithely repeats what once was thought to be a self-evident axiom: "Palestinians" deserve the "right to self determination." Because.

      Um, how about: no they don't? Imagine that. First of all there are no "Palestinians" apart from a temporary propaganda construct which even the subjects themselves don't believe in. Secondly, one "government" by Iranian-led terrorists with beards and fatigues in one part of glorious "Palestine" and another by a hodgepodge of terror groups in suits and ties who forgot to have another election...or three...in the other part hardly indicates a burning desire for "self-determination." And third, self-determination is earned, usually by at least indicating a capacity for self-sustenance. In this case, though, we have a classic example of Middle Eastern raider-bandit-pirate culture: No free natural resources gushing from the ground, absence of a work ethic, lack of social unity and civic responsibility and a backward culture voluntarily roaring into backwardness with an ever-increasing zeal. The world's fear of this old Islamic terror trick is gliding on inertia, but the slow-down has started. The oil monopoly is over and after a half-century of kowtowing to primitivism and terror, the lazy West has learned how to push back a little. So, the proud declarations of nationhood and the hair-raising threats are increasingly turning to begging for funds and whining about mysterious "rights." And the Shimmies of the world have neither their former clout, nor credibility to make a convincing case, nor the resources to keep their once lethal, now mendicant pets going. So, no, there is no inherent right for Islamic entities to establish two more bandit enclaves subsisting on tribute and to...Heavens forfend...reward their crimes and dysfunctional behavior with statehood just as they are on a path of dramatic social and financial decline. [Segue into Frozen's "Let it go, let it go..."]

      ...And don't tell me that the palestinians don't want peace and that they would just use a state to attack us (as Rabbi Slifkin has argued many times on this blog).

      O, well, the don't tell me bit settles that argument, then. Not. What constitutes as evidence in Shimmy's Alice in Wonderland world? Certainly not facts as we define facts; the ongoing daily violence all the way from the well-funded and well-armed "governments" down to the trusted day labourers with hatchets and "kids" with rocks and Molotovs. Nor the simple, empirically undeniable evidence that every single concession, every inch of precious land surrendered, every single "gesture for peace" is met with an explosion of hatred and violence quickly followed up with the demand for more concessions and promises of peace...for real, this time, of course. Alas, this isn't the 80s; even the suicidally stupid among us have finally given up at least a few illusions. Or must pretend to. Maybe not the Shimmies among us, though, but sooner rather than later they won't matter as much.

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    9. Uncomfortable TruthMarch 16, 2015 at 11:08 PM

      Unfortunately, it appears that Shimmy's eminently reasonable comments have unleashed the trolls.

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    10. Temujin is right. There is no objective basis for a concept of nationhood. A working definition of a nation would be where brutal force is needed to supress national aspirations. And by his own florid descriptions he has confirmed that Palestinians have met this threshold.

      This is all irrelevant anyway as given that the Pals are denied a vote clearly they are not treated as a part of any country.

      A significant gesture for peace might be to enforce Israeli law and demolish outposts.

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    11. A working definition of a nation would be where brutal force is needed to supress national aspirations.

      Except that the reality is that insufficient, sporadic and much too gentle force is used to suppress rampant criminality and brutal terror.

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    12. The test is the force required not the force applied. But that is hardly inconsiderable http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Bank_Division

      Check out btzelem's website for furthet evidence of brutality.

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    13. Your hypothesis on nation-building and its "test"make no sense. At least not with a clear head and in the morning. Seems like something a second generation neo-Marxist perma-student came up for an overdue essay after an all-night session with his glass bong. And B'Tzelem is a hostile, foreign funded and directed organization, therefore not credible on anything without careful cross-checking and confirmation. Temujin's herds are being readied for the spring pastures and he has no time to waste on such things. Not a good idea to click on such sites anyway, without an electronic version of a haz-mat suit impermeable to Iranian cookies and 'bots.

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  10. He's not a "settler", and if I lived in Yesha I wouldn't use that term. They are no more settlers than anyone living in Tel Aviv. If the Arabs could, they would destroy those living on the sea coast just as much as they would those living in the Shomron. But Kol Ha-kovod to your sister's family and all those living in Yesha, as well as in Chevron, they are real heroes.

    I was asked to attend an Arab-Israeli discussion at a local law school on Wednesday. The Arab speaker, a local lawyer, made for a good advocate for his cause. The Israeli, sadly, (a professor at a different law school) made it clear that he agreed with everything the Arab said. All he wanted to emphasize was that there is no such thing as "history", because everyone has a competing narrative, and so there is no such thing as "right and wrong." Both sides said they wanted peace, and supported land for peace. I stood up and asked them how the hell we are going to have "peace", when whenever we give back land it ends up getting used as a rocket launching pad against us? How, if we can't even stop anti-Semitic attacks on campuses in America (the one thing that the professor said he was bothered by) how can we possibly think that millions of Arabs in their own state wouldn't do worse to Jews? They both fumfered and replied with platitudes. The Israeli, to his credit, admitted that most people felt like me, and that he knew most people thought he was naïve, "but in 2008, it was naïve to think a black man could be president..... etc."

    You can read about it, but when you see and hear such fools speaking live, it gets to you. The willful ignorance among certain sectors of Jews is scary.

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    1. He says he is a.settler, but you disagree. And then you complain of wilful ignorance.

      He's a settler.

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  11. Actually the first gratuitous holocaust reference was befpre any commemts at all. Apologies to anyone offended.

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    1. No. Yours would be the first gratuitous reference.

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    2. Justifying opression of Pals by reference to the Holocaust offends me, you faux-offended opportunist.

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    3. Offended you may be. But that does not make your statement any more correct. This young man's reference places his life in his ancestral home in the context of our people's emergence from perhaps our most terrible national trauma. Two generations ago, his grandparents survived the holocaust. Now, he lives in the land of our fathers, realizing a two-thousand year dream. Really anyone with a modicum of understanding of Jewish history would understand how that makes the reference entirely germane, and rather the opposite of gratuitous. Your comment on the other hand, compares this young Jewish man with the architect of the final solution. Pretty sure that qualifies as gratuitous. I assure you, there is nothing faux about the offense I take with that.

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    4. I wrote "I am not accusing your nephew of medical experimentation on prisoners or murder" because I know people love to avoid talking about the actual issue at hand - the military occupation of millions. I was pointing out that Rabbi Slifkin's nephew's apology for the appropriation of Palestinian land was so vacuous it could even have been applied to the very Nazis who oppressed his grandparents. Anyone with a modicum understanding of Jewish history and particularly Kesubos 112 would not support the racist oppression of minorities "you shall love the stranger for you were strangers in a strange land."

      My grandparents also survived the Holocaust. Does that mean I can do what I like now? If I see someone else's expensive watch I like in the shop "magiya li" because my grandparents survived the Holocaust? Does everyone who thinks they are religiously entitled have a right to engage in brutality against men women and children? As children of Holocaust survivors we have a responsibility to convey the message of the Holocaust - the brutality that extremism brings, the sensitivity to human suffering, the black doom of racism - to future generations - not to exploit it.So I ask just who is desecrating the memory of the Kedoshim of 1939 -1945?

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    5. Oh, got it now. The three oaths, right? That is what you are referring to, no? Well two of the three at least. The Neturei Karta party line. You aren’t looking for the two state solution. You want the one state solution river to sea with no Israel in between. That does explain a lot. We have no basis for further discussion.

      By the way, it’s Ketuvot 111a, not 112.

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    6. Easier to talk about 111a or 112 then the exploitation of the Holocaust, right?

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    7. No. You are doing a fine job of it.

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  12. NachumMarch 15, 2015 at 1:30 AM
    2. By conceding any part of Israel, Jews lose their fundamental right to any of it, including, say, Tel Aviv.

    ??? So by giving up the Sinai and and effectively Gaza, we've already given up Tel Aviv? How does that work? When do we have to leave?

    3. It's forbidden religiously. You don't like that argument (or feel it's fundamentally unsound), don't comment on Orthodox blogs.

    So Rav Ovadiah Yosef and Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik were not Orthodox? Are you speaking of Jewish Orthodoxy or some other?

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    1. 1. Yes, pretty much. We've been conceding land since the 1920's, and it's only led to more and more demands and more and more delegitimization. If we concede that others have a right to parts of our land, what fundamental claim can we make to any of it?

      2. I choose my words very carefully. Note, for example, that I used the word "fundamental" above. Here I used it as well. I don't think you can make an argument that, l'halacha, giving up land is assur. Both people you cited believed (erroneously, as it turned out) that pikuach nefesh dictated a violation of halakha, and perhaps were influenced by their views of the place of the State of Israel in history and halakha, but only someone who doesn't believe in the State of Israel and/or halakha at all- a crazy leftist, a charedi- could deny the fundamental point.

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    2. Dear david:
      Sorry, but you are much too smart to believe in your own comment. The overwhelming number of halochos forbid giving up any land to a gentile. (You can even bend the rules of shabbat to buy back land!) The subject of 'pikuach nefesh' is a red herring- because bitter experience has proven that giving back land makes us less safe-always- and, according to my own logic, war is ,by simple definition "pikuach nefesh' (one endangers one's life when going to war) and yet, not one possek ever said that one should not go to war to protect oneself. As far as your first comment, by relinquishing further land, we give the Arabs encouragement that,sooner rather than later, we will give up even Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Sadly, they are right- as Ehud Barka and Olmerrt both were willing to divide Jerusalem,afer decades of denying this. The only way is to stand firm, eveyrwhere. Moshe Dick

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    3. Bitter experience. Like Jordan, Egypt, and the much declined situatipn for the residents of the North. Head so far in your own echo chamber you make these preposterous declamations.

      Therr is no reason othet than messianic millineraism to believe this inter ethnic conflict is any different from others.

      But by all means stand firm. Vote for a party which will attack Hamas.

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    4. Four wars in 25 years, thousands of Israelis dead, tens of thousands of Egyptians dead, the President -Sadat-assassinated.....yup-great confidence builder for a peace treaty with Hamas and sundry terrorist groups.
      Jordan: thee wars,jut miles from the Min population centers...Yup-great confidence builder for a peace with the PLO- literally meters from the main population centers...
      Moniker: your pale imitation of Chamberlin is wearing thin.Moshe Dick

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    5. Moshe Dick - hysterical Netanyahu style invocation of the Holocaust won't paper over your rather disingenuous failure to face facts.

      How many people died in the Egypt -Israel conflict AFTER the peace treaty was signed?

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  13. The issur of giving pieces of Israel to non-Jews is that of לא תחנם-לא תתן להם חניה בארץ. That applies to Israel alone. Rav Ovadiah weighs that against pikuach nefesh, and argues that if the choice is imminent war, or giving back land and getting peace, it is permitted to cede land, and it overrides the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael.
    However, we see that Rav Ovadiah opposed the disengagement, and said that his previous teshuva does not truly address our situation. Just the opposite--ceding land has not avoided imminent war, but has only helped bring war upon us. The Rebbe used to cite Siman 329 in Hilchos Shabbos, which forbids yielding any land to an enemy which can further endanger the rest of the country--and this is regardless of whether we are speaking of Eretz Yisrael or חוץ לארץ.

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  14. An incredible manifesto
    I would like to know why your hero (and perhaps, R'L,a future dati leader) mentions surviving the Holocaust ,building up the Shomron,5 years in elite units etc WITHOUT MENTIONING G-D.
    WHERE WAS HE?
    The story could read :survived the 2nd World War,built up with their hands a log cabin in Alaska,and 5 years in the Marines-what a boy(GOY).
    This is why Judaism will outlast you -Slifkin.
    BARUCH HASHEM

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  15. The argument that relinquishing territory will endanger Jewish existence in Israel is a matter of conjecture. If a Palestinian Arab state is created in the West Bank, it may possibly revert to Hamas control - as did Gaza. That would increase the danger from rocket fire which could now come from the West Bank as well as Gaza. However, any real increase in such attacks would necessarily result in an invasion of these territories in a war scenario rather than with some limited action. In other words, it would be hazardous for any Arab government to consider such a move. Moreover, failure of an Arab government to keep the peace would justify the long-term occupation of the territories by Israel. On the other hand continuation of the Bibi policy of rejecting a Palestinian state will definitely lead to more loss of life both in increasing individual terror attacks and in a sanctioned Intifada campaign. As it is, Israel is on the cusp of a serious Arab uprising that will be precipitated if the funds allocated for the PLO continues to be withheld. The choice is then to either enter into a potentially hazardous agreement with the Palestinians which may yet lead to peaceful coexistence, or to continue with a policy that will insure increased conflict. The increasing isolation of Israel as a result of Bibi's policy is equally a matter of concern, both economically and militarily.

    Y. Aharon

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    1. That relinquishing territory endangers Jewish existence in Israel is more than a matter of conjecture, Mr Aharon. It's an empirically documented fact established by who-knows-how-many experiments. Expensive, lethal experiments which need not be repeated every few years in case someone wasn't paying attention in class. It's what textbooks and cheat notes are for.

      What is pure conjecture without an iota of evidence is that statehood will magically turn a collection of Muslim Arab clans and towns led by kleptocratic Mafiosi and competing jihadists fed by the World and armed by other jihadists into responsible societies. And the idea that a threat of an invasion by Israel if they should misbehave (yet again) will hold them back is as credible as the promise to re-take Gaza if that experiment doesn't work out.

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    2. Any invasion by Israel of an independent Palestinian state will immediately bring the UN's condemnation and Security Council threats. I is a non starter. This is why no Palestinian state should ever be allowed to b formed in Judea and Samaria. And Israel would be isolated even if Mother Theresa s its President. Get it into your head that Jewish blood is cheap in the eyes of the world and to rely upon them is suicide. Moshe Dick

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    3. Amazing world in which Right wing Israelis are more pro Hamas than the dictator of Egypt.

      Did we ever let fear of international reaction stop us in defensive shield? In lebanon? The only thing holding back the IDF from victory in Gaza was Binyamin Netanyahu.

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  16. 1. Yes, pretty much. We've been conceding land since the 1920's, and it's only led to more and more demands and more and more delegitimization.

    I don't believe this to be historically accurate in any way. 1948>1920 from a legitimacy standpoint.

    2. I choose my words very carefully. Note, for example, that I used the word "fundamental" above.

    If fail to see the point. Whether you state it subtly or not, there are plenty of Orthodox authorities who think that this is a geopolitical issue.

    The subject of 'pikuach nefesh' is a red herring- because bitter experience has proven that giving back land makes us less safe

    That is your opinion on geopolitics with not a lot of factual backup. If someone believes otherwise, then many Orthodox poskim agree that one should go with the standard risk benefit used by every other country.

    However, we see that Rav Ovadiah opposed the disengagement, and said that his previous teshuva does not truly address our situation. Just the opposite--ceding land has not avoided imminent war, but has only helped bring war upon us.

    Again a geopolitical analysis, not a halachic one. Rav Ovadia's position addresses the following issue: can you give back land if you reasonably think that it will promote peace? His answer is yes. He was also a very influential politician who had his own political views, but that has nothing to do with the halacha.

    If a Palestinian Arab state is created in the West Bank, it may possibly revert to Hamas control - as did Gaza. That would increase the danger from rocket fire which could now come from the West Bank as well as Gaza.

    Y. Aharon: while I agree with the "centrist" position that Israel should be looking for a way to get out of the territories; your scenario of a Hamas state in the West Bank is not comparable to that of Gaza. It would apparently be easy to shoot cheap shoulder fired missiles at planes departing TLV from West Bank territories. Ceding control in a peace deal would have to be done in a completely different manner accompanied by demilitarization. Saying that you'll just re-invade the territory is not a very good solution.

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    1. Here is the quote from the 2003 letter of Rav Ovadiah (my translation):
      "I have explained already several times that the halachic ruling that I gave previously "land for peace" is not in effect in face of the present situation. I intended only for a true peace, in which Jerusalem and the surrounding areas would dwell in security, in peace and serenity. However now we see and yearn, that on the contrary giving sections of our Holy Land has caused endangering lives. We did not anticpate such a peace, nor "for this child did we pray". Therefore the Oslo Accords are null and void, for "I speak in peace and they plan for war". And we have none upon whom to rely other than our Father in Heaven."
      "לא פעם הסברתי מכבר שפסק ההלכה אשר נתתי בזמנו 'שטחים תמורת שלום' אינו תקף כלל לרגל המצב הנוכחי. אני התכוונתי אך ורק לשלום אמת, בו ירושלים וסביבותיה ישכנו לבטח, בשלום בשלווה, אולם עתה עינינו רואות וכלות כי אדרבה מסירת שטחים מארצנו הקדושה גורמת לסכנת נפשות. לא לשלום כזה ייחלנו ולא לנער הזה התפללנו. לפיכך הסכם אוסלו בטל ומבוטל, כי אני שלום וכי אדבר המה למלחמה. ואין לנו על מי להישען אלא על אבינו שבשמים".

      It was cited at: http://www.chabad.org.il/Magazines/Article.asp?ArticleID=9989&CategoryID=1789

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  17. "Can you give back land if you reasonably think that it will promote peace? His answer is yes. "
    I don't understand. Rav Ovadiah wrote in 2003 that the facts on the ground show us that giving land does not bring us peace--quite the opposite, they have increased the appetite of Israel's enemies to try to destroy us (I have already provided the link to a letter where Rav Ovadiah says this, when this was discussed last summer on this blog.) What has transpired in the past 12 years that changes that assessment? Hamas and ISIS controlling swaths of land do not build confidence that yielding land will bring peace. Perhaps theoretically giving land will bring peace, in some scenario--but do present conditions support that conclusion? No.

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    1. Obviously! In his old age Maran said many nutty racist things. Are you going to hell because you didn't vote for him?

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  18. So you'll just pick the things that Rav Ovadiah said that you like, and the rest you'll dismiss as nutty and racist. I can also dismiss his earlier land-for-peace psak as being totally divorced from reality and purely theoretical, whereas the letter from 2003 reflects the reality we find ourselves in after Oslo (even before the Hamas takeover, when we just were dealing with our wonderful "moderate" Fatah peace partners that you fawn over so much).

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    1. Not to defend Moniker's recent positions, but Rav Ovadia did say some things that deserve harsh criticism, IMO. For example, his statements about Katrina: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3138779,00.html

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  19. "Can you give back land if you reasonably think that it will promote peace? His answer is yes. "
    I don't understand. Rav Ovadiah wrote in 2003 that the facts on the ground show us that giving land does not bring us peace--quite the opposite, they have increased the appetite of Israel's enemies to try to destroy us (I have already provided the link to a letter where Rav Ovadiah says this, when this was discussed last summer on this blog.) What has transpired in the past 12 years that changes that assessment?


    1) Rav Ovadia rules that giving back land for peace was halachically OK (and perhaps mandated). This is a halachic judgement.

    2) He also says that he believes that giving back land won't lead to peace. This is a political judgement.

    The result is that "land for peace" is well within bounds of orthodoxy. The issue of whether or not that will work now (or have a reasonable enough probability of working) is a factual question. Thus, those on the left can possibly be wrong, but not "unOrthodox".

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  20. The political and military judgements must be part of the halachic ruling as well. When investigating when it is permitted to open a refrigerator on Shabbos, we don't dismiss all the technical details about the workings of the thermostat and the sensors, and say "that's an engineering question, not a halachic one." Taking a ruling about a refrigerator from 25 years ago and applying it to a modern refrigerator is not accurate, because it fails to address all the issues involved.
    The same applies here: Rav Ovadiah's ruling hinges on whether giving back land somehow saves Jewish lives. The political/military situation has bearing on answering that question. It is now clear that giving land endangers lives at this point. It is not accurate to take a ruling which was made in a different situation and say, "Rav Ovadiah said it is permitted to give back land for peace."

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