Friday, October 16, 2015

That's Not What It's About!

Reading the media coverage of current events in Israel gave me flashbacks to the notorious ban on my books. At the time, many followers of the Gedolim were deeply uncomfortable with the notion that the Gedolim deemed it heretical to believe that the universe is billions of years old and that Chazal's statements about the natural world were not always correct. So instead, they recast the Gedolim as being opposed to the "tone" of my books, even though the Gedolim did not read my books and were explicit about what they were really objecting to. A similar attempt to avoid reality was the claim that "it was the kanna'im, not the Gedolim" even though the Gedolim signed off on it and in some cases drove it.

The same thing is happening with the current situation. The Palestinians have been quite clear what this is about. It's about Israel "attacking" the Temple Mount by letting some Jews pray there, thus sullying it with their "filthy feet." As David French put it: "When there is a shared holy site, Palestinians demand exclusively Muslim faith practice. And if they don’t get it, they’ll kill innocent men, women, and children until you relent."

But this is deeply uncomfortable for the Western media. First of all, it's not even true that Israel is letting Jews pray there, but even if they were, what would be wrong with that? After all, the West prizes tolerance, so if Moslems can pray at their third-holiest site, why can't Jews pray at their holiest site? Therefore, you'll see that much of the Western media are trying to re-cast it as being about the occupation or the oppression or anything except what the Palestinians say it is actually about.

Fantasies are always easier than reality.

61 comments:

  1. Not to mention the fact that the kana'im are at it again trying to rally the "Gdoilim" into saying that Jews should not be praying at the Temple Mount because it is against Halachah. Clearly there are differing opinions on the matter. Regardless of which side one might be on in the Halachic argument, it will certainly weaken the current status quo if Jews would cease to pray there...

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    1. Just two days ago the US State Department published its annual Religious Freedom Report. The one for Israel was critical of the practice of prohibiting non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount. This criticism has appeared in previous years.

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    2. I met a Chareidi guy over Sukkos who blamed people going up to the Temple Mount for the violence because "the Gedolim" said it's assur and then he really got mad when I pointed out that not only is that not a universal view but if they would let us, we could offer the Pesach offering next year on the Mount and then start arranging the rebuilding. Of course that was totally forbidden so I asked him why around 363 CE there was attempt, with the approval of the religious authorities of the day, to rebuild it? Then I told him to read Derishas Tzion and how he describes the way it could be done nowadays. He wasn't terribly happy and just repeated that "the Gedolim" said no.

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    3. I recently came upon this on the Wikipedia article about the Temple Mount. It seems there might even have been animal sacrifice on the Temple Mount, between the years 610-615:

      "In 610, the Sassanid Empire drove the Byzantine Empire out of the Middle East, giving the Jews control of Jerusalem for the first time in centuries. The Jews in Palestine were allowed to set up a vassal state under the Sassanid Empire called the Sassanid Jewish Commonwealth which lasted for five years. Jewish rabbis ordered the restart of animal sacrifice for the first time since the time of Second Temple and started to reconstruct the Jewish Temple. Shortly before the Byzantines took the area back five years later in 615, the Persians gave control to the Christian population, who tore down the partially built Jewish Temple edifice and turned it into a garbage dump, which is what it was when the Rashidun Caliph Umar took the city in 637."
      The Wikipedia article doesn't go into details about the types of offerings, etc.

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    4. Just two days ago the US State Department published its annual Religious Freedom Report. The one for Israel was critical of the practice of prohibiting non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount. This criticism has appeared in previous years.

      @Charlie Hall: Where do you see that in the report? I see the opposite; they are encouraged to maintain the status quo (which includes a prohibition on prayer):

      In response to a rise in tensions at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and several high profile violent incidents in Jerusalem in October and November, the U.S. Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, the Ambassador, and embassy officers engaged government officials and relevant Knesset leaders on the importance of maintaining the agreed-upon status quo at the religious site and not escalating an already tense situation through provocative actions and statements.

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    5. Charlie Hill: You are simply wrong . The statement you refer to is descriptive not critical. In the section of US government policy we find the following: "In response to a rise in tensions at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and several high profile violent incidents in Jerusalem in October and November, the U.S. Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, the Ambassador, and embassy officers engaged government officials and relevant Knesset leaders on the importance of maintaining the agreed-upon status quo at the religious site and not escalating an already tense situation through provocative actions and statements." "Status quo"-- that is, no prayer. Didn't you read it? How can you be so naive???

      Lawrence Kaplan

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  2. Unfortunately, people would rather believe what makes them feel good rather than the truth. I have witnessed this myself many times in the Chareidi world.

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  3. Not always. I have some pretty disturbing nightmares sometimes (perhaps you won't include them in the "fantasy" category). The parallel is apt. More specifically it is a matter of the dangers of extremely specific ideologies meant to apply extremely widely. In the case of the western media it's the assumption that all peoples are essentially liberal deep down. In the case of the Haredi people it is the assumption that whatever position regarding Torah matters they consider reasonable is also the position of the Gedolim.

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  4. But it's not about the Temple Mount either. It's about anti-Semitism, plain and simple. The whole Temple Mount thing is just an excuse, albeit a poor one in how clearly it reveals their intolerance and bigotry.

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  5. So you're saying that we should confirm the Palestinian claim that we are attempting the change the status quo on the Temple Mount and allow Jews to pray there? Something tells me that this is a bad idea.

    The Western Wall is not exactly the center of religious pluralism. Should we start by lifting all restrictions there to show how liberal we are? Maybe, in addition to the Ashkenazi, Nusach Sefard, and Sefardi prayer books, they can start to stock the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist versions? And put some Koran and New Testament next to the Chumashim?

    Not to mention the fact that the kana'im are at it again trying to rally the "Gdoilim" into saying that Jews should not be praying at the Temple Mount because it is against Halachah.

    From that great zealot, Rav Aviner:

    Temple Mount

    Q: Is it permissible today to visit the Temple Mount?

    A: Since the Chief Rabbinate of Israel posted signs there saying that it is forbidden, there is not even a question. There is therefore no need for an answer.

    Ascending to the Temple Mount

    Q: Why don't we ascend to the Temple Mount? There are great Rabbis who permit it and other great Rabbis who prohibit it, and these and those are the words of the Living G-d.

    A: 1. There are different levels among Torah scholars. Those who forbid it are the greatest Rabbis of our generation 2. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which is the deciding body in national issues, prohibits it. 3. Our Rabbis, Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, forbid it.

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    1. Without picking sides on rabbinic disagreements, Mr Ohsie, is surrendering the Temple Mound to the Jordanians, especially now, a good idea? With the tactical doctrine of the proverbial camel's nose in the tent in mind, Abbas is way ahead of everyone on this one. He is approaching the UN to declare the Kotel a world heritage site or something. Open to all and sundry, with tours, cotton candy and pony rides, perhaps. And as night follows day, the Waqf will recoil with horror at the blasphemy and will declare the site as the penultimate Western mosque, perhaps as the very spot where Muhamnad's trusty steed warmed up for his grand leap into the Heavens. One notes that Aish has already provided handsome facilities for a future mosque, and with a fancy mihrab and a few minarets as add-ons.... Point being that these things seem to follow predictable and even more absurd patterns than even Temujin can conceive.

      And in all seriousness, the famous status quo assumed a civilized arrangement, one where Jewish visitors would be treated with customary Arab courtesy and hospitality. Or at least the late Moshe Dayan hoped that would be the case. A "reset" ot was to be, one of the first generous gestures by the victor which were to open up a new chapter on Arab-Jewish relations.

      Temujin

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    2. If you think R' Aviner is a moderate or something, you really don't know what's going on. In this matter especially, he absolutely refuses to even acknowledge that there is another point of view.

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    3. Temujin, not sure of you're being sarcastic, but of course having the Kotel so recognized as a *Palestinian* suggestion would only serve in and of itself as an attempt to limit Jewish access, or at least make it a "cultural" site. And of course Muslims already refer to it as the place where the horse was tethered.

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    4. Without picking sides on rabbinic disagreements, Mr Ohsie, is surrendering the Temple Mound to the Jordanians, especially now, a good idea?

      The agreement to Waqf administration of the Temple Mount was made in 1967. The notion that orthodox Jews could and should go up there is something that grew over time since then. If you ask me what whether I think that this is halachically permissible, it makes sense that it must be, since the Western Wall is a retaining wall and so has to be farther out west than the location of the temple. Nevertheless, I think that we can take the long view, and go up there when it is not going to be a religious provocation. Let's take care of things using our best political judgement, not relying on miracles, and God will take care of the rest. Thank God, we have the Western Wall, let's use that for now.

      f you think R' Aviner is a moderate or something, you really don't know what's going on.

      I think that he is moderate on some issues, including this one. I don't think that he is lying when he says that there are two sides of this issue halachically, but that we must follow the Rabbinate (which he understands is a poltical body). If you look at some of his other stuff on his website, it is clear that he thinks that going on the Temple Mount is also a positive. This contrasts with various Charedim who will claim it is absolutely Assur to go up and discount all of the DL poskim who say otherwise.

      He is also moderate on the Charedi draft issue. He says that they should be drafted, but forcing them isn't going to work (and I agree with him on this issue).

      I'm not claiming that his P'sakim, in general, are moderate, although they do seem to be in many areas (not all), just going by what they post for him on his website.


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    5. I truly appreciate Mr. Oshie's tongue in cheek remarks about allowing Jews and prayer on the temple Mount. I am in search of the rating body that decides the 'status' of talmedei Torah. "There are different levels among Torah scholars. Those who forbid it are the greatest Rabbis of our generation" I Only want to put pictures of the truly great scholars on my wall where there is limited space.

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    6. I had the privilege of asking Rav Hanan Porat what was Rav Zvi Yehudah Kook's position on Jews going on the Har HaBayit and his answer to me was "not clear"....so if we assume that he was reflecting his father's point of view, then I don't know if all would agree that Rav Kook unambiguously opposed it. Certainly many of the talmidim of Rav Zvi Yehudah do go up to the Har HaBayit.

      Regarding the Kotel, the Palestinians have made it absolutely clear they will never agree to Jewish control of the site. Olmert understood this and he agreed to hand over control of the Kotel and the rest of the Old City including the Jewish Quarter to an "international body" consisting of the following member countries IIRC: Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the US. If I am correct, you can see that a majority are Arab states, and security and Jewish access to the site would be controlled by them. In actuality there would be Palestinian control and Olmert tried to sweeten the pill for Israelis by calling it "international control" but once Jews would be harrassed at the Kotel the "international control body" would have to meet and would not be able to come to any agreement on how to protect the Jews.
      I , for one, am glad to see the Pals state openly their demand for the Kotel...it makes it clear to Israelis what the real agenda of the Palestinians is, and that is NOT peace.

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    8. 1) As far as I know, it remains forbidden to ask Aviner halachic questions. If the ban has been lifted, I, of course, retract that statement.http://shlomo-aviner.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/rabbinic-announcement-to-torah-public.html

      2) There is no source anywhere that Jews may not in our present condition up to the Temple precincts. A mishnah states where we can and can't go, this is codified by the Rambam and there is, literally, nothing left to discuss. No-one, short of a Sanhedrin, has any right to tell anyone they cannot do what halacha permits them to do.

      3) I had a flashback when reading this to Aviner's teshuva on tekhelet. If this is the kind of thing that impresses you, I really don't know what to say.

      4) David Ohsie, in your opinion, are goyim allowed on the Temple Mount, including the place of the kodesh hakedoshim?

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    9. I am in search of the rating body that decides the 'status' of talmedei Torah. "There are different levels among Torah scholars. Those who forbid it are the greatest Rabbis of our generation" I Only want to put pictures of the truly great scholars on my wall where there is limited space.

      I was not expressing an opinion on this. Rav Aviner was answering someone who was coming to him to ask, and he makes it explicit that Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook and Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook are who he follows. Anyhow my point is that it is not only the azionists and anti-zionists "zelaots" who are against Jews praying on the temple mount.

      I had the privilege of asking Rav Hanan Porat what was Rav Zvi Yehudah Kook's position on Jews going on the Har HaBayit and his answer to me was "not clear"....so if we assume that he was reflecting his father's point of view, then I don't know if all would agree that Rav Kook unambiguously opposed it. Certainly many of the talmidim of Rav Zvi Yehudah do go up to the Har HaBayit.

      If you search the Rav Aviner website you will see some of the same ambiguity. I think that it's clear that Rav Zvi Yehudah would actually have preferred to go up on the permitted parts of the Temple Mount to pray. But he was also sensitive to the political situation and felt that this is not an individual decision and he also placed halachic and spiritual value on the decisions of the State. Same way that he was probably very unhappy with the evacuation of Yamit, but acquiesced because this was what was agreed to politically.

      You can see this same approach in Rav Aviner to the evacuation of Gush Katif. Some examples:

      Q: If they arrest me, should I identify myself and cooperate with the investigators, or should I reserve the right to remain silent?
      A: Cooperate. They are not enemies. This is our police.
      Q: Is it permissible to sleep in an orchard which belongs to someone else?
      A: If you can definitely assume that he would agree.
      Q: How many prohibitions does a person violate who lights a garbage can on fire?
      A: He definitely violates various ones.
      Q: Should we try to block the evacuation with physical force or already leave from the Gush today?
      A: Remain as long as possible without using physical force.
      Q: I am twenty years old. Should I listen to my parents, or prevent the evacuation of the Land of Israel which is equal to all of the other mitzvot.
      A: Work for the sake of the Land of Israel but without confrontation.

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    10. 1) As far as I know, it remains forbidden to ask Aviner halachic questions. If the ban has been lifted, I, of course, retract that statement.http://shlomo-aviner.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/rabbinic-announcement-to-torah-public.html

      I've seen this before, and I don't have any way to know who is right. But it is irrelevant to my argument: Even Rabbis who are Zionist and absolutely want to go up to the Temple Mount refrain from doing so because they take a rational approach and don't rely on miracles, not because of anti-Zionism. It is not just Rabbis who think that we should all be back in the shtetl.

      2) There is no source anywhere that Jews may not in our present condition up to the Temple precincts. A mishnah states where we can and can't go, this is codified by the Rambam and there is, literally, nothing left to discuss. No-one, short of a Sanhedrin, has any right to tell anyone they cannot do what halacha permits them to do.

      Sorry, this is just plain incorrect. There are lots of things that we haven't done in order to avoid religious conflict and unfair persecution of Jews. Censoring our own works of Torah and our prayer is the most common examples. Simply avoiding the Temple Mount much easier to justify.

      3) I had a flashback when reading this to Aviner's teshuva on tekhelet. If this is the kind of thing that impresses you, I really don't know what to say.

      I never read his teshuva on Techelet and he is not my Posek. I think that he is right on this issue and the general issue of avoiding both civil war and unneeded holy wars with Islam. But even if he is wrong, my point was that avoidance of the Temple Mount is not a monopoly of the a/anti-zionists.

      4) David Ohsie, in your opinion, are goyim allowed on the Temple Mount, including the place of the kodesh hakedoshim?

      I'm not qualified to give an opinion. My vague understanding was that they are not absolutely prohibited, given that the Bais Hamikdash is to be place of prayer for all nations and the fact that we accept sacrifices from non-Jews. Please enlighten me. I presume that halacha prohibits establishing a mosque there.

      But what of it? Are you going to claim now that the Torah requires us to go up knock down Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock and prohibit all Gentiles from going up?

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    11. @Gavriel M: In any case, you can dismiss my opinion out of hand: Not only did I do Kapparot this year, I did it with a chicken (humanely), wearing only white strings while standing on the unholy ground of Baltimore, MD, US, Chu"l. Rav Aviner is an angel by comparison :).

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    12. "and go up there when it is not going to be a religious provocation."

      At one point it was considered a "religious provocation" for Jews to daven at the kotel, blow shofar at the kotel, put a bench at the kotel, separate men and women at the kotel, etc you name it. It is quite possible that we daven there today in large part because of the people who davened there when it was considered a religious provocation to do so.

      There really is no end to the list of things that can be construed as a "provocation" for Jews to do, a "frustration" to the Muslims/Fakestinians, or some other imagined offense. And with each item we acquiesce to these crazy definitions meant to keep us away and meant to erode our self-determination and freedoms, that list grows with more items added until we break on the next item...

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    13. Speaking of which, want to guess the reason that today the Arabs are openly claiming Kotel belongs to them? Because they already "conquered" the Mount when they attempted to murder Yehuda Glick, when they threw rocks and mauled Jews there regularly, and in response to that the Israeli govt rather than stripping their rights or enforcing the law all these years, cowered in fear and gave them protection while routinely prosecuting Jews for attempting to pray there and of course banned certain MK's from traversing the Mount. They publicly beat their breasts over it too. A gift-wrapped victory handed to the terrorists and provocateurs, so now they move to their next intended "conquest" - the Kotel. Just as when Netanyahu (or his successor?) tries to divide up Jerusalem and give them half, if they at some point finally accept that free offering, they will use it to try to move their way in and gain the other half.

      It will also make it more "palatable" to the Israeli public if Bibi gives away the Temple Mount
      entirely to the PLO because "hey at least I kept some of our hold on the Kotel."

      Some wonder, why did Abbas say no to 96% of "west bank" etc. Because they are not looking for a deal that solves a problem or establishes some kind of western ideal like self-determination or fakestinian rights. They are looking for the particular deal which they see as enabling them to enact the next step of their plan of phases, which means it can be used as a base from which to attack and take more.

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    14. At one point it was considered a "religious provocation" for Jews to daven at the kotel, blow shofar at the kotel, put a bench at the kotel, separate men and women at the kotel, etc you name it. It is quite possible that we daven there today in large part because of the people who davened there when it was considered a religious provocation to do so.

      There really is no end to the list of things that can be construed as a "provocation" for Jews to do, a "frustration" to the Muslims/Fakestinians, or some other imagined offense. And with each item we acquiesce to these crazy definitions meant to keep us away and meant to erode our self-determination and freedoms, that list grows with more items added until we break on the next item...


      You present a false choice between either ignoring the impact of our actions and giving in completely to a heckler's veto. We have the Western Wall and military control over the Temple Mount. This is a division which has been recognized for some time as "good enough" for everyone to minimize the religious conflict. You bring no evidence that a different agreement would somehow have made things better.

      As Gavriel M pointed out, it if you want to take the religious argument to its logical conclusion, we should prevent all Muslim prayer there. I think that even you think that this is a bad idea. If not, then it explains why that side doesn't, thankfully, gain a majority.

      Speaking of which, want to guess the reason that today the Arabs are openly claiming Kotel belongs to them? Because they already "conquered" the Mount when they attempted to murder Yehuda Glick, when they threw rocks and mauled Jews there regularly, and in response to that the Israeli govt rather than stripping their rights or enforcing the law all these years, cowered in fear and gave them protection while routinely prosecuting Jews for attempting to pray there and of course banned certain MK's from traversing the Mount.

      This explanation is lacking. Why did it take 45 years? And if the govt allowed Jewish prayer on the Temple mount, you think that would have somehow reduced the demands of the other side? What has changed is these various politicians who have such fervent dedication to God that they can only express their religious fervor by going up to the Temple Mount. For the rest of us, the Western Wall is enough, but they must be on some higher spiritual level.

      Here's the frustrating thing: we're in a position of asymmetry. When we consisted of a number of militias trying to get rid of the British, then blowing up a hotel made some strategic sense (whether or not morally justifiable). Once you win the war, the calculus changes. Hamas lobbing missile with essentially random paths makes some sense from their PoV (however morally repugnant). A similar action by Israel into Gaza would have zero value. The other side gains by indiscriminate chaos. As the ruling authorities, Israel loses badly from the same. Responding in kind is just a dumb strategy sometimes.

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    15. David Ohsie, I'll pass over (1), except to observe that since, as you say, you don't know who is correct, you should probably ask a sheilah before quoting Aviner again.

      On (2) I don't think your examples are very persuasive, but even if they were, you would still be missing the elephant in the room. During the galut when Jews are obligated to submit to the local sovereign and when, in any case, the circumstances of our existence left us no other choice, then we cannot simply practice our religion oblivious to the objections of others. Now the situation is different. We are a wealthy nuclear power and our enemies are primitive imbeciles. If they object to someone going up to the Temple Mount, the correct response is to rebuke them for their impertinence and tell them that it is they who needs to beg us for things, not the other way round. If they express their opposition through violence then the correct response is to kill them until they stop.
      The bottom line is that it is the Arabs who should be constantly debating whether this or that action might provoke us into a violent response, not the other way round.

      3) No, it's a monopoly of people of a certain sort of mindset, specifically the mindset of people who think the rediscovery of a mitzvah after nearly 1500 years is some sort of trivial non issue or, in you case, a big joke.

      4) It's no big mystery. There are some places they may not go and some they may, but only under certain conditions. It goes without saying that both of these stipulations are being routinely trangressed and it also goes without saying that we are obligated to remove any mosque on Har Habayith (Rabbi Gluck is of the view that the physical structure can be incorporated into a future temple, which seems reasonable though I couldn't comment on whether it is technically possible).
      That is not really the point though. Rather I am wondering why those who presume to invent prohibitions out of thin air don't at least have the basic respect for the intelligence of their audience to say whether, according to their shitot, goyim are allowed up.

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    16. David Ohsie, I'll pass over (1), except to observe that since, as you say, you don't know who is correct, you should probably ask a sheilah before quoting Aviner again.

      1: As you mentioned before, there is no Sandhedrin, so I'm not sure what you are getting at here. There is no prohibition to quote writings of Rav Aviner from his website.

      2: You've explained well why most don't with your position. No person who has any inkling of foreign policy will agree with what you said. Maybe they are all wrong and you are correct, but this is a root of the disagreement, not your greater devotion to Ur-Judaism.

      3: The thing that amuses me is not the Mitzvah, but your sincere but IMO very misguided and over-the-top writings.

      4: You answered that my answer was correct; there is no absolute prohibition. We are not obligated to risk provoking a holy war with the tacit support of the rest of the world and this is not a "prohibition out of thin air" as you agreed to. Where you differ is that you have what appears to be an Alice-in-Wonderland view of Israel's position in the world, and of the orthodox position within the Israeli world. Again, it is possible that everyone else is wrong and you are right, but that is a root of the divergence.

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    17. 1) If you say so.http://shlomo-aviner.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/rabbinic-announcement-to-torah-public.html
      "Therefore we are warning every Torah-observant community, those who are interested in the sustenance of Israel in its land through the Word of the Almighty, not to ask nor to accept any instruction or guidance from the aforementioned individual, and thus, not to rely on any of his books or articles."

      There is no need for a Sanhedrin to apply already existing halachot to specific cases.

      2) Have you ever wondered why the Arabs walk around as if they thumped our butt in 1967 and we need to grovel before them lest they give us another spanking? Because we walk around like they thumped our butt. In reality, we are strong; they are weak - indeed, this is the basis of their appeal to westerners who believe in the sick upside down morality in which being dysfunctional and backwards is in itself an infallible mark of virtue.

      I repeat my assertion: If Arabs object to us doing something or other on the temple mount, we should firmly tell them that they should mind their own business, or they'll live to regret it. Just as when Great Britain tries to tell China about something. If you have some sort of actual counter-argument I'm all ears.

      3) You should read Tanach once in a while, it's pretty wild.

      4) Your pragmatism is phoney for 2 reasons.
      (i) You and I are not trying to get elected we are, mouthing off on a blog. I'm perfectly aware my position commands little support in the Jewish world. The substantial obstacle to my suggestions is just that: namely most people think otherwise. It is simply a non sequitor to suggest that I, or anyone else, should come up with some other policy that will be more popular. I am saying what we should do, not what I think Netanyahu can get away with, and that if we do otherwise (as we indeed shall), the situation will get worse, as it has done year on year since Oslo.

      (ii) You have certain moral objections - most pertinently to killing an uncapped amount of Arabs if they choose to attack us, until they stop and submit - and you act as if these moral objections are facts of nature that we can't remove. I repeat again: we are strong, they are weak. You think it is immoral to use our overwhelming military superiority to crush our enemies; I don't. That is the distinction. Most Israelis agree with you, certainly. That's why the Jewish people have to cower in air-raid shelters and build walls in their capital city like a bunch of schnooks, even though our enemies are militarily inept primitives. There's no need for you to belabour the obvious.

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    18. " This is a division which has been recognized for some time as "good enough" for everyone to minimize the religious conflict. You bring no evidence that a different agreement would somehow have made things better."

      This is Obama Logic. (Ie, my deal is good because you haven't presented a better one). The current situation results in Jews not being allowed to pray when they ascend the mount, and if they try to pray, they are arrested. Meanwhile, these same Jews are harrased, screamed at, have rocks thrown at them, spat at, etc while they ascend the mount, and those "rioters" are allowed to "riot" in such fashion because cracking down on their abuses or not allowing this violence would "upset the status quo." It is a submission to arab hegemony just with an Israeli soldier to enforce it instead of a PLO or Jordanian officer.

      The current reality is an atrocity so therefore it is self-evident that an alternative would be an improvement. It was a mistake and a travesty to begin with that Dayan gave the control back to the Waqf, but that doesn't mean we are stuck in the same place from now til eternity just because the Arabs prefer it.

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    19. "Here's the frustrating thing: we're in a position of asymmetry. When we consisted of a number of militias trying to get rid of the British, then blowing up a hotel made some strategic sense (whether or not morally justifiable). Once you win the war, the calculus changes. Hamas lobbing missile with essentially random paths makes some sense from their PoV (however morally repugnant). A similar action by Israel into Gaza would have zero value. The other side gains by indiscriminate chaos. As the ruling authorities, Israel loses badly from the same. Responding in kind is just a dumb strategy sometimes."

      Here we go again with the moral equivalence nonsense. It is well documented that this "a hotel" was a british military HQ at that time, and that they did not intend to blow up hotel goers as they warned several times imploring them to evacuate the civilians but they refused to do so. In addition by that point it was already an ongoing conflict between the underground and the British after the British had blocked immigration during the holocaust and people had eventually come to know what was happening and what was done to their fellow Jews and in many cases family members. They saw no other option than to oust the British and prevent the next and future holocausts via Jewish statehood. Why must we ignore the goals and values of the Jewish national movement and simply equate it to those of Hamas and the Fakestinian movement and pretend they are the same when in fact they were/are very different?

      Why must we ignore the predicament Jews were in at that time globally or pretend that Arabs today are some oppressed minority who need a 65th (or whatever) state or else they will be exterminated by a boogeyman?

      It boggles my mind that you would see the King David Hotel operation as being on the same footing as Hamas lobbing rockets into Israeli cities, just one is their pov and one is our pov. That is just twisted.

      "A similar action by Israel into Gaza would have zero value. "

      Perhaps in your opinion, but I personally don't see how it would have zero value. Rather than randomly lob rockets over there, there are better options, but the current "Iron Kippa" approach certainly does not solve the problem and needs improvement. Certainly the strategy of strengthening the enemy and weakening ourselves (mostly applied to Judea and Samaria) is suicidal and wrong.

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    20. @Student V

      " This is a division which has been recognized for some time as "good enough" for everyone to minimize the religious conflict. You bring no evidence that a different agreement would somehow have made things better."

      This is Obama Logic. (Ie, my deal is good because you haven't presented a better one). The current situation results in Jews not being allowed to pray when they ascend the mount, and if they try to pray, they are arrested.


      Since the ovwhelming majority of Jews are either happy to go the Kotel (or don't care about prayer at all), what is the problem. Yes, it is a problem for those very few people who are at such a high spiritual level that they can only have complete prayer by getting a few meters closer to where the Bais Hamikdash stood. But how many of the people who go up also always insist to pray at Warren's Gate so that they can always be as close as possible to the Bais Hamikdash even when not making a political point. I think it is very few. I'm sorry that I can't agree that this is an "atrocity" and I think that it is unreasonable to ask the vast majority to bear the burden for the small minority that considers it so.

      Here we go again with the moral equivalence nonsense.

      You completely miss the point. The success of a tactic is not determined by its morality. An insurgency can helped by blowing things up randomly whether moral or not. A regime cannot.

      "A similar action by Israel into Gaza would have zero value. "

      Perhaps in your opinion, but I personally don't see how it would have zero value. Rather than randomly lob rockets over there, there are better options, but the current "Iron Kippa" approach certainly does not solve the problem and needs improvement.


      If you think that randomly lobbing missiles into Gaza would be any kind of improvement, then I think that we've hit upon a root disagreement.





      Delete
    21. 1) If you say so.http://shlomo-aviner.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/rabbinic-announcement-to-torah-public.html

      That is not a Sandhedrin, so I am not bound.

      There is no need for a Sanhedrin to apply already existing halachot to specific cases.

      But I am not bound by their application. I also don't know of any halacha that says that someone that paskens Niddah questions must not have any of his material read. Ramban felt that Rambam had some heretical ideas the Moreh, but didn't prohibit reading his other works.

      BTW, the situation with the Temple Mount is completely different. My reading Rav Aviner messes me up only. When a few decide to ascend, it has consequences for the whole country. Someone has to make policy, regardless of the Sanhedrin's existence.

      2) Have you ever wondered why the Arabs walk around as if they thumped our butt in 1967 and we need to grovel before them lest they give us another spanking? Because we walk around like they thumped our butt. In reality, we are strong; they are weak - indeed, this is the basis of their appeal to westerners who believe in the sick upside down morality in which being dysfunctional and backwards is in itself an infallible mark of virtue.

      The lament of all loser in asymmetrical warfare. If we had just leveraged our strength even better!

      I repeat my assertion: If Arabs object to us doing something or other on the temple mount, we should firmly tell them that they should mind their own business, or they'll live to regret it. Just as when Great Britain tries to tell China about something. If you have some sort of actual counter-argument I'm all ears.

      Setting aside any moral or religious questions, we live in a larger world where we have to pay attention to what the world thinks. Besides the number of Israeli's that don't support your policy. The world has been down the path of the Crusaders and various holy wars. We've learned to try to avoid them.

      3) You should read Tanach once in a while, it's pretty wild.

      Do you consider yourself a prophet?

      4) Your pragmatism is phoney for 2 reasons.
      (i) You and I are not trying to get elected we are, mouthing off on a blog. I'm perfectly aware my position commands little support in the Jewish world. The substantial obstacle to my suggestions is just that: namely most people think otherwise.


      It is not an objection; it is observation that perhaps your assertion that others are so obviously wrong is incorrect. If they are wrong, it has to be more subtle than that.

      Delete
    22. It is simply a non sequitor to suggest that I, or anyone else, should come up with some other policy that will be more popular. I am saying what we should do, not what I think Netanyahu can get away with, and that if we do otherwise (as we indeed shall), the situation will get worse, as it has done year on year since Oslo.

      In statistical terms, your argument is based on endpoint bias. Oslo was the result of a successful uprising by the Palestinians. The current problems didn't start at Oslo, whether or not Oslo was a good idea.

      (ii) You have certain moral objections - most pertinently to killing an uncapped amount of Arabs if they choose to attack us, until they stop and submit - and you act as if these moral objections are facts of nature that we can't remove. I repeat again: we are strong, they are weak. You think it is immoral to use our overwhelming military superiority to crush our enemies; I don't.

      You are committing the fallacy above again. Overwhelming military superiority doesn't always win an assymetrical conflict. And whatever your morality is, your order to the army have be executed by soldiers with their own moral compass. You might think that a mass slaughter would help, but almost no one else does and they won't do it.

      That is the distinction. Most Israelis agree with you, certainly. That's why the Jewish people have to cower in air-raid shelters and build walls in their capital city like a bunch of schnooks, even though our enemies are militarily inept primitives. There's no need for you to belabour the obvious.

      I can accept that although I don't agree with the "schnooks" part.

      Delete
    23. David Ohsie,

      You conveniently ignored the part where I said,
      "Meanwhile, these same Jews are harrased, screamed at, have rocks thrown at them, spat at, etc while they ascend the mount, and those "rioters" are allowed to "riot" in such fashion because cracking down on their abuses or not allowing this violence would "upset the status quo."

      So you critiqued my labeling of the situation as an "atrocity" because you believe only a small percentage of Jews feel the need to pray anywhere beyond the Kotel. (Again I remind you that at one point in our history not too long ago, only a small percentage of Jews "felt the need" to daven AT the Kotel and they were deemed radicals and provocateurs by the establishment and those who didn't feel the need). And you feel that Jews not being allowed to pray while they stand in a certain place, a place that happens to have religious significance to the religion we follow, is just something we should put up with and therefore not an atrocity. But what about the

      "Meanwhile, these same Jews are harrased, screamed at, have rocks thrown at them, spat at, etc while they ascend the mount, and those "rioters" are allowed to "riot" in such fashion because cracking down on their abuses or not allowing this violence would "upset the status quo."

      Is that part not an atrocity? How about the Soccer matches by goyim on the Mount?

      Your argument basically amounts to "small numbers of people care about the issue, so it can be ignored" - That's a new one!

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    24. Correct. Suicide bombing is an atrocity. Kids playing soccer on the Temple Mount is not.

      Here is a video of what I think that you're talking about: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/196242#.Vio1s9WrT4Y. Are you really ready to call this an atrocity? Was it the Kol Ishah that raises it to that level? And is it surprising that a "Temple Mount activist" can provoke a reaction? It furthers his end to up the ante until he gets a reaction.

      I presume that this "soccer" issue is brought to show that they the place has no religious significance to them. Just like synagogues with playgrounds outside means that they have no religious significance.

      My argument amounts to: this is not a significant restriction on Jewish religious freedom. The numbers and grandstanding are simply a reflection of that.

      If the goal is to protest deviations from Judaism, why not first fix the vast majority within the religion who don't keep Shabbos. Perhaps you can block the streets on Shabbos and see the warm reception that you get. When that is solved, you can refocus on Moslems following halachah.

      Delete
  6. Like Dennis Prager says, the main point you need to know about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is that one side wants to kill the other.

    If the Palestinians laid down their weapons and ended their hostility, there would be peace (and probably a Palestinian state.)

    If the Israelis laid down their weapons.......

    Andy

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's not about the Temple Mount, it's about the Kotel. (Not really, see below.) "Kol haposeil bemumo poseil -- all who declare something invalid do so with their own flaw." They yell about Israel acquiescing to Jewish prayer on one side of the wall, with fears that it could lead to dividing control of Har haBayis, while they have the UN declare the Kotel a Palestinian site.

    Actually, it's not about either Har haBayis or the Kotel. It's about a Palestinian leadership that prefers to spend its resources fostering hatred than making the lives of the people it is responsible for worth living. So that enough teens and others can consider the fame and glory given martyrs a comparable outcome to life, nothing major to risk. This lowers the threshold for what causes are valid reasons to attack over, which I think is more the issue than the excuse itself.

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  8. "When there is a shared holy site, Palestinians demand exclusively Muslim faith practice. And if they don’t get it, they’ll kill innocent men, women, and children until you relent."

    There is a mosque here in the Bronx that hosts an orthodox Jewish minyan every Shabat. (It follows the Chabad nusach.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting--where in the Bronx? (I'm from the Bronx originally.)

      The Tomb of Samuel the Prophet, just north of Jerusalem, is used as a mosque and as a synagogue/kollel. There was an incident in 2007 when Arabs broke in and desecrated the books in the synagogue, but generally people pray and learn there without incident. But there have been recent complaints by the Waqf when they wanted to renovate the synagogue: http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2014/12/muslims-slam-plan-to-renovate-tomb-of.html#.ViK9i9IrIgs
      I think the atmosphere in Israel is a lot more charged than in the Bronx, since the Muslims typically deny any Jewish connection to these sites.

      Delete
    2. I don't see what your comment has to do with this. For the Muslims, it is VITAL for them to control the Har Habayit, not because it is holy, rather because they view it as ANTI-holy. Islam has an inferiority complex regarding Judaism and Christianity, viewing them as obsolete and superseded by Islam, because Jews and Christians will say that Islam is superfluous.. They view the proof that Islam has taken over is by destroying holy places belonging to other "obsolete" religions and building mosques on top of them, as if to prove those other religions are finished. That is why they built on Al-Aqsa on the Har Habait, and why, when they pray, they point their backsides towards the site of the Beit HaMikdash. The Muslims view their relationship with the Jews in Eretz Israel as a zero-sum game, that is why there never can be de-jure peace, but if we show we are strong and exercise our rights, we can reach an unofficial modus vivendi, but nothing more.

      Delete
    3. I didn't know the Fakestinians also lay claim to the Bronx as part of their state. Nice try though.

      Delete
    4. We are talking about Israel, not the Bronx.

      Lawrence Kaplan

      Delete
    5. I had to look it up. Wow! http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/88849/a-bronx-tale-3

      Delete
  9. I don't agree with R' Slifkin here. This isn't about the Temple Mount, it's about politics. Abbas unleashed and encouraged this for political (and/or ego) purposes.

    RM

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    Replies
    1. For abbas, this is a tactic to strongarm netanyahu and rebuild his own political capital among arabs. He does not care how many Jews will be murdered for it. And it worked for his predecessor (arafat) so why wouldn't it work for him too? Netanyahu has been groveling and begging to him the whole time.

      Delete
    2. You should add that Abbas doesn't care how many young Arabs die, for that matter. Do you see any major outrage among the local Arabs about the massacre of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria? Is there any outrage among the internaional Muslim community regarding the fratricidal slaughter in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, and now Egypt saying that this butchery in the name of their religion is a disgrace? Not that I can see.

      Delete
  10. “One [New York] Times opinion editor, Matt Seaton, even admitted last year [2014 CE] that the newspaper has a policy of veering away from criticism of Palestinians.”

    SOURCE: Final sentence of article titled: “New York Times Editor: Coverage of Israel Most Criticized Aspect of Opinion Pages” by Shiryn Ghermezian, 2015 October 14, found in: The Algemeiner.
    www.algemeiner.com/2015/10/14/new-york-times-editor-coverage-of-israel-most-criticized-aspect-of-opinion-pages/

    ReplyDelete
  11. PAT CONDELL SAID:

    “I no longer believe that the Israelis should give back Jerusalem...

    Experience has taught us that the Islamic mentality views ANY concession as weakness to be exploited further. And besides, too many so-called Palestinians seem less concerned with peace and freedom, than with driving Jews into the sea, so the bombings would not stop.”

    SOURCE: Why do Muslims always blame the Jews? by Pat Condell
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziXyfLf-oxI

    MICROBIOGRAPHY:
    Pat Condell is an atheist, who was born in Ireland around 1950 CE, and raised in England as a Roman Catholic, and educated in Church of England schools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The link you provided didn't work. This works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziXyfLf-oxI&safe=active

      Delete
  12. Israel is being buried-alive under an
    avalanche of media bias and false accusations.

    These web sites can help refute those
    biases and false accusations:


    ************************************************
    HELP DEFEND ISRAEL FROM UNFAIR MEDIA:
    ************************************************


    www.camera.org

    www.FactsAndLogic.org

    www.HonestReporting.com

    www.memri.org

    www.memriTV.org

    www.MythsAndFacts.org

    www.TheIsraelProject.org

    www.BBCwatch.org
    www.jhrw.com
    www.PalWatch.org

    ************************************************
    HELP SUE THE TERRORISTS:
    ************************************************


    www.IsraelLawCenter.org

    ************************************************
    HELP FIGHT ISRAEL-BASHING ON-CAMPUS:
    ************************************************


    www.CameraOnCampus.org

    www.DavidProject.org

    www.JewHatredOnCampus.org

    www.SSImovement.org

    www.TheIsraelGroup.org

    ************************************************
    HELP-ISRAEL ORGANIZATIONS TO JOIN:
    ************************************************


    www.afsi.org

    www.IronDomeAlliance.com

    www.IsraelBonds.com

    www.KeepJerusalem.org

    www.rza.org

    www.zoa.org

    ReplyDelete
  13. That's why the western media, including US State Dept, uses the euphemism "status quo." That allows them to frame the narrative with Jewish victims recast as the criminal. They claim it's some kind of crime to upset the "status quo" and they won't mention the fact that status quo itself stands in opposition to the principles of religious freedom, tolerance, and all the things the West claims to uphold and actually tries to enforce in other situations. Remember the memo from the Obama administration, in the name of religious freedom of course, lambasting Israel for its supposed unfair treatment of Reform Judaism by virtue of the fact that Orthodox rabbis have a monopoly on religious institutions? The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Student V-
      Really good point regarding the problems the hypocritical State Dept. has with the "status quo" at the Kotel!
      Just to remind everyone.....Obama and his cronies view Israel as an anachronistic colonialist vestige that has no right to exist and his policies should be seen in this light, given the restraints that Jews are at the moment largely support the Democratic Party.. Of course, Obama's people don't care about the "status quo"...they simply want to bash Israel...being for the status quo on the Har HaBayit and against it at the Kotel. There is no prinicple involved.

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  14. I wish for once the press would mention the fact that the Temple Mount was a Jewish holy site for well over a thousand years before there was such a thing as Islam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! The press often describes it as "the third-holiest site in Islam, and according to some Jews, has some Jewish religious significance too."

      ABout time we shouted from the rooftops that this is our no 1 holiest site, with a richer longer tradition that that of Islam.

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    2. The irony is that there is no Muslim claim to Mt Moriah if it weren't the Temple Mount.

      The Sura al-Isra ("The Night Journey", #17) describes Mohammad as going to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, the Furthest Temple (Mosque), which is only identified with the current site of al Aqsa because it was the location of our Temples. See v.1-7 http://quran.com/17 , but do not rely on the default Sahih International translation, because it interpolates words. The word Jersualem is not in the original; although the twice destroyed Jewish Temple is.

      Linguistically, the Temple Mount is referred to as Bayt al-Muqaddas; a traditional Muslim name for the Temple Mount is literally "Beis haMiqdash"! Similarly, they call Jerusalem "al Quds", just as our Sages often refer to it in the mishnah as "Hamiqdash".

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. The article is good, but it still concludes that the problem is "[M]utual distrust between the two populations" and "There will not be peace between Israelis and Palestinians so long as parties on both sides of the conflict continue to deny the national and religious rights of the other."

      And if Arafat would have agreed to Barak's offer, and not have started a Second Intifada--Israel was still continuing to deny the national and religious rights of the Arabs? Really? And there was a lot less building in the "settlements" when that offer was made--so "settlements" weren't the problem.

      Why can't anyone write an article in a major news outlet (not Arutz Sheva or the Jewish Press) that puts the blame squarely on the Arabs-both Arafat and Abbas? What are they afraid of?

      Delete
    2. They're afraid of being the next Daniel Pearl, that's what.

      Delete
  16. Rabbi Slifkin, is there anything that DOESN'T give you flashbacks to the ban on your books?

    ReplyDelete

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