Sunday, December 27, 2015

Not Every Mitzvah Deserves A Song

This is a uniquely difficult time for our nation. Usually, it is the non-Jews that are our enemies. But right now, it is a team of Jews who are exhibiting appalling and brutal behavior. Even more confusingly, while everyone agrees with the previous sentence, there is a distinct split regarding who it refers to. Some would take it as referring to the Shabak, while others would take it as referring to the people dancing with guns and worse in the notorious wedding video. There may even be some people who take it as referring to both, but not many.


Before I address one of the theological aspects of this topic, I should clarify my position regarding the politics/ conspiracy theories. First: I am very right-wing, politically. Second: I am well aware of the notorious history of the Shabak, especially with provocateur Avishai Raviv. Third: Much of my immediate family are right-wing settlers in the West Bank. Fourth: Before writing any of this, I consulted with a reliable source who is connected with the leaders of the Yesha communities. I was told as follows: The vast majority of Yesha residents were as shocked and horrified by the video as everyone else. My Yesha relatives have never, ever seen people dance with guns, let alone the worse things shown in the video. (Regarding the impropriety of dancing with guns, see my post Swords, Guns and Judaism.) However, the Yesha leadership, who have been engaging in extensive discussions with the security services, did accept that there does indeed exist a small fanatic group. To claim, as some do, that the notorious video is only showing Shabak agents dressed up, is a silly conspiracy theory, tragically advanced by those who cannot bring themselves to accept that "their side" might have any serious problems.

But I want to deal with the theological aspects of something incontrovertible and much more widespread: the song about Shimshon's declaration of revenge against the Philistines. This song has been quite popular in some right-wing circles for at least fifteen years. Some are astonished that any religious person could challenge its legitimacy - after all, it is a verse from Tanach! And Shimshon was surely carrying out the will of God!

Yet carrying out the will of God is not always something to sing about. As I wrote in the post Killing In The Name Of God, a mitzvah involves two components; obeying God’s words, and committing an act. One can feel satisfaction at fulfilling God’s command at the same time as feeling revulsion at committing an act.

Before giving examples, let us look at a parallel concept in the world at large. We certainly find that one can commit an act which one feels to be ultimately good, and to take pleasure in that knowledge, even while the performance of the act is itself brutal and repulsive. The simple example is a surgeon or a dentist. The dentist is happy to be healing someone, even though drilling out his tooth is a brutal, painful act. You wouldn't want to go to a dentist who sings about how much he enjoys drilling teeth! Judaism likewise acknowledges that certain acts are themselves brutal and unpleasant, even though they are performed for ultimately noble purposes. There is no celebration of bloodshed.

For example, King David was not allowed to build the Temple because of the blood on his hands—notwithstanding the fact that he was absolutely justified and even praised for all the blood that he spilled. And, in a very different sphere, according to many halachic authorities, one does not recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu at the circumcision of one’s son, for the reason is that one cannot pronounce such a declaration of joy at an act that is a source of pain to one’s child.

One case that would appear to contradict our thesis is that of Abraham’s planned slaughter of Isaac. The Midrash tells us how Abraham complied with this command with alacrity, joyous at the opportunity to fulfill the will of his Creator. Yet further analysis and contemplation proves otherwise. The Midrash also tells us that Isaac was blinded by the tears that Abraham spilled. Abraham had mixed emotions; joy at fulfilling the Will of his Creator, grief at spilling the blood of his son. He certainly wouldn't have been singing a song as he did it - "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-A! I'm gonna slaughter my son today!"

Not every mitzvah and not every verse is to be sung about. With all due respect to a certain chassidic singer who is a wonderful person, I don't think that Timcheh Es Zecher Amalek should be made into a upbeat song. (And at a time when people are all too casual about calling other Jews Amalek, one should be especially vigilant about this.)

And neither should Shimshon's declaration of vengeance against the Philistines be something to sing joyously. Opposing that song would be a good first step to impressing upon others - and ourselves - that we will not tolerate any inclination towards celebrating combat. Let's leave such celebrations of violence to the Palestinians, who excel at it.

156 comments:

  1. Little shop of Horrors is partially a story about a sadistic dentist who enjoyed drilling
    His end was rather gruesome.Especially posthumously.

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  2. Replies
    1. but they did kill that is what they where singing about

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    2. We sing about killing, while stabbing a picture of a baby we previously killed. That is not the moral high ground. At all.

      "מִי יִתְּנֵנִי בַמִּדְבָּר מְלוֹן אֹרְחִים וְאֶעֶזְבָה אֶת עַמִּי וְאֵלְכָה מֵאִתָּם"

      *Sobs*

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    3. If Jews really did commit the Duma arson which resulted in the deaths of the Dawabshe family, it would be a rare example of "mesirus nefesh" to perform an aveirah. A Jewish person would have to be quite fanatical to risk his life, going into an Arab village in the middle of the night, in order to throw Molotov cocktails into people's houses.

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    4. God bless hilltop youthJanuary 1, 2016 at 2:00 AM

      Garnel, there is a 614th commandment now. Its to feel so terrible and beat my breast that some Arab clans killed each other in duma. Especially after my friends were taken hostage in response, to be tortured and pinned to the crime they didn't commit (in some cases they even admitted certain of the incarcerated individuals were not connected) so the media and politicians can have their Jewish culprits. And especially because the establishment insists the culprit was Jewish. That made it a deoraissa commandment to wail and condemn and write articles and apologies, all while the enemy stabs Jewish men women children and elderly every day.

      No, these men and kids do not follow that religion and that's what this dance expressed. I don't care about your duma martyr who belongs to the enemy and I don't care about your pr agenda. Stop making war against us. That's what it means. Whether shabak handed out photos or not.

      It is also absurd to suggest a soldier has to perform his duties and mitzvah with regret and guilt over it. My dentist takes pride in his craft and he sees its significance in the big picture sense of my life.

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    5. God bless hilltop youthJanuary 7, 2016 at 4:21 AM

      Drill baby, drill!

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  3. Not every mitzvah deserves song, but doesn't every mitzvah deserve a ברכה? If so, what is it for this "mitzvah" (your words, not mine); and, if not, perhaps a rewrite is in order?

    In any case, surgeons and dentists operate on anesthetized patients, so where's the pain? how is this applicable? PS: Back in the day, my Jerusalem dentist performed root canal surgery without my being anesthetized (and, with a finger-twisted drill); he said it was so he would know when he'd gotten out all of the infected tissue (root).

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  4. Nice try, but:

    "וַיְהִי בְּבוֹאָם, בְּשׁוּב דָּוִד מֵהַכּוֹת אֶת-הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי, וַתֵּצֶאנָה הַנָּשִׁים מִכָּל-עָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לשור (לָשִׁיר) וְהַמְּחֹלוֹת, לִקְרַאת שָׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ--בְּתֻפִּים בְּשִׂמְחָה, וּבְשָׁלִשִׁים. ז וַתַּעֲנֶינָה הַנָּשִׁים הַמְשַׂחֲקוֹת, וַתֹּאמַרְןָ: הִכָּה שָׁאוּל בַּאֲלָפָו, וְדָוִד בְּרִבְבֹתָיו"


    " אֶרְדְּפָה אֹיְבַי, וָאַשְׁמִידֵם; {ס} וְלֹא אָשׁוּב, עַד-כַּלּוֹתָם. {ר}
    לט וָאֲכַלֵּם וָאֶמְחָצֵם, וְלֹא יְקוּמוּן; {ס} וַיִּפְּלוּ, תַּחַת רַגְלָי. {ר}
    מ וַתַּזְרֵנִי חַיִל, לַמִּלְחָמָה; {ס} תַּכְרִיעַ קָמַי, תַּחְתֵּנִי. {ר}
    מא וְאֹיְבַי, תַּתָּה לִּי עֹרֶף; מְשַׂנְאַי, וָאַצְמִיתֵם. {ס} מב יִשְׁעוּ, וְאֵין מֹשִׁיעַ; אֶל-יְהוָה, וְלֹא עָנָם"

    "וַיִּוָּעַץ, אֶל-הָעָם, וַיַּעֲמֵד מְשֹׁרְרִים לַיהוָה, וּמְהַלְלִים לְהַדְרַת-קֹדֶשׁ--בְּצֵאת, לִפְנֵי הֶחָלוּץ, וְאֹמְרִים הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. כב וּבְעֵת הֵחֵלּוּ בְרִנָּה וּתְהִלָּה, נָתַן יְהוָה מְאָרְבִים עַל-בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן מוֹאָב וְהַר-שֵׂעִיר הַבָּאִים לִיהוּדָה--וַיִּנָּגֵפוּ. "

    And I could go on literally almost all day.

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    1. Well, I guess that's just yet another example of how rabbinic Judaism is very different from Biblical Judaism. Let's face it: virtually no-one actually wants to replicate Biblical Judaism.

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    2. To clarify what we are talking about, it is Rabbi Slifkin's claim that Jews are not supposed to, in general, find it joyous when our enemies die at our hands, and, specifically, sing songs about it. This is based upon the claim that there is a distinction between the *final cause* of a mitzvah (fulfilling G-d's will) which must always bring us joy and the actual act itself, which we can - and should ? - find in itself repulsive. This might, just about, be squared with the Shimshon narrative if we take everything out of context and make a few wildly ahistorical assumptions.

      My response is simply to point out that there are plethora of places in the Bible where positive (or at least neutral) figures express joy about the death of our enemies and, in fact, sing about it.

      Your response is (contradicting Rabbi Slifkin) to say that Rabbinic Judaism is different from Biblical Judaism. If you mean by "Rabbinic Judaism" the philosophic and ethical teachings found in the Mishna, Tosefta, Midrashim and Talmudim then I say "prove it". If, as I suspect, you mean exilic Judaism, then I'm still not sure you are right, but its not really worth arguing about.


      BTW. It goes without saying that the collection of Kabbala idiots (clearly identifiable by their pagan hairdos) in the video are borim (or boors if you prefer). Nevertheless, I'm not sure they are really celebrating the arson. It seems to me they are making a more general statement of "F**k You* to mainstream Israel's reaction to the Duma case, which is laughable mixture of hypocrisy (how many children died in the three wars we fought in Gaza to prop up the Oslo process?), sentimental cant (how may children are killed in utero every year in Israel without anyone crying about it?), non sequitors (in all likelihood the Dawabadshe family are not "innocent" but support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians), judgement on scant evidence and a quite shocking disregard for the democratic values that, it seems, are only really valuable when they are being used to degrade the Jewish character of the state. To use an analogy that perhaps some people here will appreciate, they are behaving like Millwall fans.

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  5. "And neither should Shimshon's declaration of vengeance against the Philistines be something to sing joyously."

    In the past parsha, Rashi says Yaakov prayed for Shimshon, a descendant of Dan; “Zachreini” can similarly be made into a tearful tefilah. Yerachmiel Begun composed such a “Zachreini” that is on the Miami “Bederech Hatorah” album(released in 2001) that can be sung at a Kumzitz, and it stops before the word "v'enakmah"(one can sample it on the “Mostly Music” website).

    Re. “Zachreini” and weddings, see also "The Three Cardinal Sins of Singing"(Cross Currents, 11/6/14). Also related, from R. Shlomo Brody's "Ask the Rabbi: Is revenge a Jewish value?"(Jerusalem Post, 10/23/14) "we must remain watchful that our actions stem from calculated judgments of justice, and are not rash expressions of pain and anger".

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    1. "Zachreini"

      - I didn't look it up, but isn't it zochreini

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  6. Why should we not celebrate combat? And maybe these settlers are singing about combat because they're so frustrated at their leadership that for 30 years now has refused to fight to the point of "unconditional surrender" -- the only conclusion that would result in peace.

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    1. i didnt realize killing an innocent baby is called combat
      yehuda

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    2. So they can take the law into their own and do as they please, accountable o nobody but themselves?

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    3. Rav Slifkin, please correct my typos. My reply should read:

      So they can take the law into their own hands and do as they please, accountable to nobody but themselves?

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    4. When the government doesn't protect its citizens, yes, the citizens have the right to take the law into their own hands. According to the Western tradition, every man has a basic right to life, liberty, and property. He voluntarily forgoes the full use of these rights to establish a government which will do a better job than he at protecting himself and his interests. When the government fails to fulfill this function, it loses its legitimacy and the basic right to life, liberty, and property returns to the individual.

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    5. I guess the baby was a threat to them. Some strong baby

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    6. I am talking in general -- as was Rabbi Slifkin. That said, American bombers deliberately killed many German and Japanese babies during WWII and almost none of our grandfathers had a problem with that. Before condemning such attacks, just consider for a second the possibility that our grandfathers weren't immoral fiends.

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  7. OK, I'm scrapping my plans for writing a song entitled "Ashrei Sheyocheiz V'nipeitz." (Gallows humor.)

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  8. "Uniquely"? You never heard of the sicarii?

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  9. My Facebook feed was full of Religious Zionists in Israel and America condemning this video. And of news stories of Religious Zionist politicians doing the same. But I have of course seen anti-Israel diatribes on the internet using the video to "prove" how horrible are Israel in general and Religious Zionism in particular. :(

    I also had never heard this song until this week.

    I also had not heard that Shimson was someone to admire -- he committed many aveiras and eventually died as a result.

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    1. Evidently, many people in this very comment thread disagree with that assessment. We have been blind to how far things have gone.

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  10. This topic was also once addressed on Cross-Currents: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2014/11/06/thethree-cardinal-sins-of-singing/

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  11. HaRav Ratson Arusi spoke regarding Shimshon and the inappropriateness of appropriating his situation for a revenge song: http://net-sah.org/audio/24181 from 15:19. (Or listen from the beginning regarding circumstances relating to the wedding event in general.)

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  12. It is actually standard practice at many (if not most) right wing dati leumi wedding to play this song. Its viewed as somewhat of a highlight of the dancing.While there usually aren't molotov coctails or stabbing baby pictures, it is not unusual for the guys to put matbucha on there hands or to hold knifes. Either way, the sentiment of the dancers is shared by the majority of the settler community even if they don't express it so horrifically.
    As for the "torture" where were you Rabbi Slifkin and all those other people complaining now for the past few decades when hundreds of Palestinians were subjected to theses methods? these people have proven that they are just as dangerous and need to be stoped before the next Duma happens. Even if you don't carry about palestinian babies (which Im sure many people don't) the incitement it causes surley leads to more jewish deaths and also causes much damage to Israels image worldwide.
    yehuda

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    1. Well, R'Natan,is Anonymous correct that right-wing RZ people brandish knives at weddings while dancing to this Shimshon niggun? After all, you labeled yourself as "very right-wing politically", but claim that your right-wing RZ settler relatives have never seen anyone dancing with guns. Perhaps only with knives, then? If true, that would cast a very unfavorable light on this faction who are hardly better than the idiots in the subject video. I also wonder about the title of the post. How can the burning of a sleeping family be called a mitzvah - much less celebrated in song?

      Y. Aharon

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    2. Why you leftist traitors always obsess about the "Palestinians" ? What don't you get? They are our enemies. They would drink our blood, and eat our hearts if they had the opportunity. Knowing they are our enemies we should behave towards them accordingly and not be self-hating capos.

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  13. 1. As Rav Yoel Bin-Nun pointed out, Shimshon's last words didn't lead to much good for am yisroel.

    2. Regarding mitzvohs to sing for: legend has it that the Satmar Rebbe was here during elections and saw the signs that said it's a mitvah to vote Gimmel (agudah). He asked the Gerer Rebbe who was a signature to those signs "what kind of mitvah is this?!? Like eating matzoh on Pesach?!?". The Gerrer answered, "no, it's like eating marror."

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  14. There is a lot more singing which takes place at a bris - especially in Sephardic circles. I know it's not the same as singing about murder. But it negates your dentist comment.

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    1. I don't think so. Of course we are happy to bring a baby into the Bris. The point is that the baby's father cannot feel a complete joyousness, especially at the moment of the act, because of his sympathy. You can celebrate a successful operation, too.

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    2. "joyousness"

      - I didn't look it up, but is that a word, and how does it differ from joy

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  15. There are many problems with the video. I'm not going to go into them here. Anyone who wants can find plenty of blogs, etc, that discuss the problems with the video. I want to make one point. Nothing justifies torture and doing away with due process. I believe that 100% both with regard to Jews and with regard to Arabs. If there is evidence, then indict. If there is no evidence, then there is no evidence, period. What gets my goat is Ya'alon saying that we know who the terrorists, we just don't have evidence yet. And everyone joins the bandwagon.

    Admittedly, the dance was in poor taste, to say the least, but it's a far cry from committing murder and certainly a far cry from Bennett's claim that these people are trying to bring down the government. Please, give me friggin break.

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    1. again they where celebrating a murder

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    2. the headline is confusing are you saying it was a mitzvah to kill the infant? I know you are not. I guess is was worded poorly

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    3. Thankfully due process was followed. And don't pretend you give a hoot about due process if the 'victims' are Arabs.

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    4. fozziebear: Agree with 1/2. When it is done to Arabs, some people are not as concerned.

      However, it is still a violation of peacetime norms. Whether it is justified or not, is something else.

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    5. Due process must always be followed in all cases if one wants to live in a just society

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    6. Seymour: There can be differences of opinion about what process is "due". So if you could say that shooting someone who a policeman thinks is the midst of a violent act is "due process", but I think that stretches the definition. Rather, we can say that we attempt to process, but sometimes have to rely on police action.

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  16. At both our boys' bar mitzvahs, I told the DJs *not* to play that song even if requested. Shimshon is a very negative role model (i.e. we learn from him what *not* to do), especially for teenage boy. Let's see, he gives his parents orders and marries/sleeps with goyish women, including whores (think of the commander of the IDF Gaza Division having affairs with women from Khan Yunis, you get the idea). Look at the mefarshim on Shoftim 16:16 ("And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed unto death") to see what did Delilah did to Shimshon to drive him that crazy. This is a role model for teenage boys??!! And then there is the scene with the line of the song in question. The Plishtim are committing a whopping chilul Hashem ("Our god has delivered into our hand our enemy...") and all Shimshon can think about is...himself. Again, this is a role model for young people? But the kids (I refer to anyone younger than me as a kid; my wife points out that this is an increasingly larger subset of humanity) like him becuse he bashed the Plishtim, because he took action & killed as many sonei Yisrael as he could. That the lasting, practical value of all of Shimshon's Plishti-bashing was basically nil (only David, many years and wars later, would bring the Plishtim to heel) escapes their notice. Like the Zealots and the Sicarii, this nihilism brings only ruin. I agree with Rav Slifkin, this is not a song that we should be singing.

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    1. "That the lasting, practical value of all of Shimshon's Plishti-bashing was basically nil"
      That's not correct--on Shoftim 16:31, it mentions Shimshon's passing, and then that he judged Israel 20 years. The Yerushalmi (Sotah 1:8) says that the fear that Shimshon instilled in the Philistines deterred them from attacking for 20 years after Shimshon's death.

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    2. "That the lasting, practical value of all of Shimshon's Plishti-bashing was basically nil.."

      That's your opinion, but not that of the author of Shoftim:

      "וְהוּא, יָחֵל לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל--מִיַּד פְּלִשְׁתִּים"

      and, of course, by your logic, David's wars also had no "lasting, practical value.

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    3. 1. Shimshon judged Israel for 20 years; what does that mean vis-a-vis the Plishtim?

      2. The Yerushalmi & Bavli say lots of things that don't necessarily hold. The Plishtim were at our throats until David's time.

      3. My other criticisms of him stand.

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    4. Gavriel, David's wars had plenty of lasting effect.

      Beginning to save us from the Plishtim does not equal saving us from the Plishtim. Perhaps if his predilection ofor non-Israelite women hadn't gotten in the way he might have done more in that regard.

      If you want to know my logic, ask. :-)

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  17. Perhaps you're correct that there does exist a small fanatic group, but the video in this case was a clear shabak provocation and you have to be willing to close your eyes not to see through it. I mean, they showed up not invited, the guy holding the picture has face covered, plus the timing is just right, you really don't have to be Vatson to smell something. By calling it a conspiracy theory you're basically adding your voice to the politicians who're pinning this on the hilltop youth. I'd be ashamed of yourself. If you want to think rationally you should first try to separate facts from fiction. Admit that all the facts of the video point to a provocation in this case. And then go and criticise the "small fanatical group" (that must be so small and illusive that as you yourself admit nobody's seen it). Although I agree that if it really did exist (I mean if there really did exist Jews who'd dance with a dead child's picture) I'd love to be the one to take them to task for it. (And probably discover that I'm dealing with a few mentally deranged individuals, and not with any "group". Seriously, if they're a group, have anyone pointed out their leader?)
    moshe

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    1. Are you claiming that the numerous people dancing with guns are actually all Shabak agents in disguise?

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    2. Why can't they all be shabak agents? How many guns were there? I recall 2, maximum 3. Even if there were 5, why can't it be shabak agents, what shabak is understaffed? Plus most of the hilltop youth don't have guns! But I agree that dancing with guns is very wrong and extremely irresponsible too.
      moshe

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    3. You've gone from "this case was a clear shabak provocation" to "Why can't they all be shabak agents". Kind of like going from "there are ghosts in the wall" to "why can't there be ghosts in the wall". You are on the road to recovery!

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    4. They don't necessariy have to be SHABAK agents. Avishai Raviv, the notorious SHABAK provocateur whose job was to blacken the reputation of the anti-Oslo Right recruited disaffected religious youth to carry out his assaults on Arabs and Leftists Knesset members. They didn't know they were acting at the behest of the Rabin government in political dirty tricks. They would not have done those things on their own, but a SHABAK man put them up to it.

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  18. Replies
    1. That's racist. How dare you mention this song that is sung in Shul's everyday (at least Sefardim who know how to sing).

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  19. It'll be hard to get an honest answer here, but here goes.

    Please compare:

    "I was told as follows: The vast majority of Yesha residents were as shocked and horrified by the video as everyone else. My Yesha relatives have never, ever seen people dance with guns, let alone the worse things shown in the video. (Regarding the impropriety of dancing with guns, see my post Swords, Guns and Judaism.) However, the Yesha leadership, who have been engaging in extensive discussions with the security services, did accept that there does indeed exist a small fanatic group." -- This post

    to this apologetic article on the Orot Chilul Hashem:

    "Part of the blame, many among the moderate Charedi element in Beit Shemesh agree, lies with the official response to such criminality, on behalf of the official communal leadership.

    Some observers contend that despite the claims of the extremists that they represent the Torah and the frum community, few people have been willing, heretofore, to come out publicly and condemn the group. What some in the outside community have forgotten is that the extremists operate by terror; like all terrorists, they have thoroughly cowed their host community…

    The role played by searching courageous members of the Charedi community in protesting the violence and protecting the girls has been largely ignored, as is the police complicity in the violence, by virtue of their inaction. Why? Maybe because it doesn’t fit into the narrative being played out on television screens across Israel: the big, bad Charedim versus the National Religious." -- Beit Shemesh from the Inside

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  20. This whole affair reminds me of Prof. Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay "The Paranoid Style in Americn Politics" (Google it). While his examples are all from American history, his conclusions are timeless (sez me) and could easily apply to what's going on now here in the Holy Land:

    "...The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point...

    ...As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes...

    ...The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind (brainwashing); he has a special technique for seduction (the Catholic confessional)....

    ...A final characteristic of the paranoid style is related to the quality of its pedantry. One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed. Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates “evidence.” The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it...

    (cont.)

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  21. (cont.)

    ...The higher paranoid scholarship is nothing if not coherent—in fact the paranoid mind is far more coherent than the real world...

    ...The paranoid style is not confined to our own country and time; it is an international phenomenon. Studying the millennial sects of Europe from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, Norman Cohn believed he found a persistent psychic complex that corresponds broadly with what I have been considering—a style made up of certain preoccupations and fantasies: 'the megalomaniac view of oneself as the Elect, wholly good, abominably persecuted, yet assured of ultimate triumph; the attribution of gigantic and demonic powers to the adversary; the refusal to accept the ineluctable limitations and imperfections of human existence, such as transience, dissention, conflict, fallibility whether intellectual or moral; the obsession with inerrable prophecies, systematized misinterpretations, always gross and often grotesque.'

    This glimpse across a long span of time emboldens me to make the conjecture—it is no more than that—that a mentality disposed to see the world in this way may be a persistent psychic phenomenon, more or less constantly affecting a modest minority of the population. But certain religious traditions, certain social structures and national inheritances, certain historical catastrophes or frustrations may be conducive to the release of such psychic energies, and to situations in which they can more readily be built into mass movements or political parties...Perhaps the central situation conducive to the diffusion of the paranoid tendency is a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise. The situation becomes worse when the representatives of a particular social interest—perhaps because of the very unrealistic and unrealizable nature of its demands—are shut out of the political process. Having no access to political bargaining or the making of decisions, they find their original conception that the world of power is sinister and malicious fully confirmed. They see only the consequences of power—and this through distorting lenses—and have no chance to observe its actual machinery. A distinguished historian has said that one of the most valuable things about history is that it teaches us how things do not happen. It is precisely this kind of awareness that the paranoid fails to develop. He has a special resistance of his own, of course, to developing such awareness, but circumstances often deprive him of exposure to events that might enlighten him—and in any case he resists enlightenment.

    We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well."

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  22. A lot of people made similar noises and comments like this about the Lechi. Many even made it about Etzel. They said they were terrorists, and this is not the Jewish way, and they will never accomplish anything good, and we should just use persuasion, and everything will be good, and we shouldn't descend to the level of others, and we should be better than them, and....

    Blah Blah Blah. If it weren't for these "terrorists", there would be no state of Israel today.

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    1. 1) As I've noted before on this blog, effective tactics for an insurgency are different from those of a settled regime. Just because randomly blowing up {Palestinian British; N. Ireland British; Israeli} targets has some effect, does't mean that the opposite is a good idea. This is frustrating, but true.

      2) False choice. Just because Jewish terrorism is bad doesn't mean that persuasion will work. Maybe what we have now (without the Jewish terrorism) is the best that can be done.

      If it weren't for these "terrorists", there would be no state of Israel today.

      3) How do you know? (Even if true, see #1, but is it true?)

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    2. @Northward Bound: your analogy is inapt. That there is are numerous enemies out there ready to inflict "regime change" on Israel is not paranoia; it is trye beyond doubt. While this can be used to justify all kinds of counter-productive approaches, it remains the case that there are really enemies out there and it is not just paranoia.

      Here is a very interesting 3 minute clip of Carlo Strenger (a man of the left) talking about the "oversimplifications" that emanate from his own camp on this topic:

      http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/30052?in=29:11&out=32:28

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    3. I was referring to the extreme right-wingers who are in extreme denial about the existence of Jewish terrorists, who see conspiracies against them everywhere and who attribute every bit of unpleasantness to the nefarious Shabak/media/leftists/Arabs/take-your-pick. They seem to have no problem with the fact that we have Jewish thieves, rapists, murderers, etc., but just not terrorists.

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    4. Still inapt, IMO, because this doesn't characterize the right wing or any other large group. Whatever you think of Bennett, for example, he is not in denial about this.

      Delete
    5. Regarding the effect of the ETZEL and LEHI undergrounds, it is not clear to historians that the British had NO intention of pulling out of Palestine. They knew they were going to be pushed out of Egypt but they still wanted to have major bases close to the Suez Canal. The Arab-Jewish conflict was a perfect example of "divide and rule" and so they intended it to be the excuse they would use in order to justify remaining in Palestine. The actions of the ETZEL and LEHI, combined with political pressure by the "Establishment" Zionist leadership lead to the British finally giving up. I recall that the day after the hanging of the two British soldiers in retaliation for the hanging of the underground boys a major British newspaper's headline was something like "OUT NOW!"

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    6. The actions of the ETZEL and LEHI, combined with political pressure by the "Establishment" Zionist leadership lead to the British finally giving up.

      This is why it is hard to tell. The UK pulled the plug on their entire empire eventually.

      I recall that the day after the hanging of the two British soldiers in retaliation for the hanging of the underground boys a major British newspaper's headline was something like "OUT NOW!"

      Assuming that this was a real influence, it still support my point: to the degree that these things work, they are to destabilize a regime (especially a foreign one). It will not defend you against terrorist acts. Hanging enemies didn't work.

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    7. Etzel and Lehi where minority groups within the mainstream Haganah - co-opted out of necessity. When the war was over they were forcibly disbanded. Some committed assassinations of Jews in Israel against 'traitors' in the 50s/60s.

      Delete
  23. There are several people on this comment thread saying that violent tactics are necessary and legitimate. Curiously, there are also several people insisting that there is no such thing as a group that is violent and it's all a lie perpetrated by the Shabak!

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    1. Are you saying there's a conspiracy here? :-)
      By the way, the terms you're using here are way too broad to have an intelligent discussion, and I doubt you'd want an intelligent discussion about legitimacy of violent tactics on your blog and I can't blame you for it.
      Moshe.

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    2. That mentality is not so unfamiliar. It's like Neo-Nazis who deny the Holocaust.

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    3. That is the same as the Rabin assassination. OTOH, "Rabin was a rodef and deserved to be killed." OTOH, "It wasn't really Yigal Amir, it was the Shabak."

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    4. Or maybe you have two different types of right-wingers: those who have no problem with taking extreme measures against our enemies (and enemies are collectives, not individuals) and those who are uncomfortable doing so and therefore blame the Shabak (which is not exactly settler-friendly).

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  24. Why stop at condemning biblical songs? Why not go next to the Halachic authorities such as the Rambam and his Psak against enemies of Am Yisrael and against the Kofrim, bogdim and apikorsim and what should be done against them? In fact why not go after the "racist" and violent Holiday of Hannukah and Purim? Don't forget Pessah where G-D struck the firstborn of Egypt including their children. If your at it why not just do away with the Torah altogether. After all it isn't "democratic".

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    1. Why not go next to the Halachic authorities such as the Rambam and his Psak against enemies of Am Yisrael and against the Kofrim, bogdim and apikorsim and what should be done against them?

      Ummm... You do know that there are authorities from the left to the right that have dealt with the issue of how to deal with the non-observant and Gentiles in modern times and do not support violence against them in any way, shape or form. Have they all "condemned" the Rambam?

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    2. David. You distorted or didn't understand my words. Read them and the Rambam. Its not against Gabriela. Not at all. Its against the ENEMIES, the traitors and the kid from. Hodo Hashem

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    3. I could very well be that I didn't understand your words. I would just say that we have to make decisions based on our current circumstances. If you look at the 20th century, vengeance against enemies after WWI lead to more bloodshed while a more the more realistic attitude of "regime change" after WWII led to the pacification of Germany and Japan. The era of colonialism ended for the western democracies while the Russia tried to hold or expand its empire and failed to produce any benefit even for itself. We understand to a much greater degree that war is almost irredeemably destructive and a very evil necessary evil at best.

      Going back to Tanach has two problems:

      1) There lots of stuff in Tanach that was very bad (there are some Shitos in the Talmud that try to soften every bad thing associated with various good figures, but others that don't do so). Tanach is not hagiography.

      2) We don't live in an age where each country or tribe feels the right to do whatever it wants to the other countries or tribes including genocide and taking the various parts of the population as slaves. Our morality adjusts accordingly.

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  25. In football, you have to establish the run before you can begin to pass, because it keeps the defense honest. A team may may not be a running team themselves, but they recognize its importance to the overall scheme.

    In Judaism, even the most avowedly secular Jew will admit, if he's honest and halfway educated, that it has been the orthodox and observant that has kept Judaism from vanishing like so many other races. They may not be observant themselves, but they recognize the orthodox are vital to the survival of the nation.

    The lesson is obvious.

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  26. There are several factors at work here which must all be kept in mind.
    (1) Almost everyone was appalled at the Duma firebombing, yet people are mystified as to why the authorities have not been able to solve the case.
    (2) Almost everyone admits there is a group, possibly not really organized, of "religious" anarchists who have done things like "price tag" but up unti Duma did not carry out acts of murder
    (3) The SHABAK has a history of carrying out dirty tricks against political enemies. Avishai Raviv was proven to have carried out publicity stunts like that of the wedding and made sure the media covered it in order to blacken the name of the anti-Oslo political Right. The government knew what he was doing, although they claim he was "out of control".
    (5) There are people within the Israel's "Deep State" who are hard-core Leftists who despise the settlers and the religious Right. Recall that a relative "moderate" like Yair Lapid said at the time of the destruction of Gush Katif that the reason it was done, NOT for peace or security, but simply to make the settlers suffer, i.e. payback for killing Rabin.
    (6) There is a tendency among the religious Right not to want to criticize members of the group, even if they privately feel they are wrong.
    (7) Israel Harel wrote recently in Ha'aretz that he knows for a fact that people who had no connection with the case were picked up by the SHABAK and brutalized and this is poisoning relations between the SHABAK and people on the religious Right who are appalled by any violence carried out by these anarchist groups.
    (8) The SHABAK has different sub-groups. I don't know anything on the inside, but the "Jewish branch" is different than the Arab branch. I would imagine this is similar to the Internal Affairs Division of the American police forces. Their job and their careers are based on busting other cops. In theory they are all working for the "greater good" but IAD looks on other cops in a different way than the rest of the police force. Thus, one can appreciate and support the SHABAK people who are protecting us from Arab terror and yet be wary of the Jewish division SHABAK people.
    (9) Ever since the murder of Chaim Arlosoroff in 1933, the Israel Left has always believed that a perception among the public of a "violent Israeli political Right"
    is politically beneficial to the Left. That is why Rabin's gov't employed a SHABAK provocateur, to try to get support for their Oslo fiasco. Many of us believe there are still people in the Deep State who still feel this way. Thus, I can understand why some people might believe that wedding video was some sort of set-up.
    (10) We of the religious Right must do everything in our power to eradicate any violent tendencies among our own people, regardless of who was really responsible for Duma because this is what the Torah and the world-view of Religious Zionism which is predicated on national unity and tolerance among all Jews demands of us.

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    1. Apologies in advance for the nitpicking, since I know that you are not a supporter of Jewish terrorism...

      people are mystified as to why the authorities have not been able to solve the case.

      Why? You have an attack where attackers have no prior connection to the victims and are part of a in-group that will likely remain silent in face of questioning by outsiders. In any case, do you think that the authorities really know that it was a "false flag" operation, could find the real perpetrators and are covering it up?

      (2) Almost everyone admits there is a group, possibly not really organized, of "religious" anarchists who have done things like "price tag" but up unti Duma did not carry out acts of murder

      Don't be so sanguine. There are acts (like destroying someone's livelihood) that can collectively be worse that individual acts of murder.

      There are people within the Israel's "Deep State" who are hard-core Leftists who despise the settlers and the religious Right.

      There are always "enemies" so this can justify anything by anybody.

      There is a tendency among the religious Right not to want to criticize members of the group, even if they privately feel they are wrong.

      Again a tendency of any group in all of humanity including your opponents. Don't be more charitable to yourself than you are to others.

      Israel Harel wrote recently in Ha'aretz that he knows for a fact that people who had no connection with the case were picked up by the SHABAK and brutalized and this is poisoning relations between the SHABAK and people on the religious Right who are appalled by any violence carried out by these anarchist groups.
      (8) The SHABAK has different sub-groups. I don't know anything on the inside, but the "Jewish branch" is different than the Arab branch. I would imagine this is similar to the Internal Affairs Division of the American police forces. Their job and their careers are based on busting other cops. In theory they are all working for the "greater good" but IAD looks on other cops in a different way than the rest of the police force. Thus, one can appreciate and support the SHABAK people who are protecting us from Arab terror and yet be wary of the Jewish division SHABAK people.


      I know very little about the organization of the Shin Bet, but do you think that when arrest Palestinians that they don't do the exact same thing in efforts to track down terrorists?


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  27. To be brutally frank, it must be remembered the the government knowingly brought Arafat and his terror gangs to Israel and turned them loose, leading to THOUSANDS of Israeli dead and wounded. As this was happening, those in power kept making excuses why nothing could be done about it. Finally, when public opinion finally forced the government's hand in 2002, they did something about it. Many people knew that Oslo would lead to a disaster but those in power didn't care and Rabin quite explicitly stated this. Then came the destruction of Gush Katif which again we predicted would be a disaster and again they didn't listen. Then came Amona and brutal violence ordered by Olmert (who today was ordered to prison) against passive resistance by religious youth. Thus, we see that there are people in the Deep State who are quite capable of anything. Add to that recently TWO prominent Right-wing politicians who had their careers cut short simply on the basis of rumors in the media, without even any charges being filed (as if Left-wing politicians never did similar things).
    This is why many of us have are suspicious when yet another witch hunt is being orchestrated by the SHABAK and the media and various other forces in the Israeli Deep State who have a very deep loathing of the religious Right (think Amiram Goldbloom, Amira Hass, Gidon Levy, Garboz, etc). I am not saying there aren't violent Jews. I spoke to someone who knows some of these people and he believes there are young Jews who are willing to commit violent acts against Arabs. Those responsible must be punished but we will not accept a politically motivated war against the religious Right which is exploiting these crimes.
    People ask how I can support Religious Zionism if I feel the Israeli government has elements that act in such a high-handed and anti-democratic way. My answer is that it is the JEWISH PEOPLE who built Israel, not Ben-Gurion (who had his good side and his bad side) nor the MAPAI or other politicians. On the whole the record is very positive, even miraculous and we thus must keep pushing forward the positive aspects of our government while remaining on alert against the negative ones.

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  28. regarding a dentist singing joyfully about drilling, I think a little humor break is in order....
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOtMizMQ6oM

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  29. In the Shulchan Aruch on Simon 224, sif 11 If you see a existing church one should make the bracha “Hashem should destroy the house of haughtiness”, and on destroyed church on should say “kel nikama Hashem”. "Shimshon's declaration of vengeance against the Philistines be something to sing joyously. " The Rashba would disagree when he comments on Yitro after hearing about what happened to the Mitzrim drowning in the Yom Suf, and the war with Amelek that He had only goose bumps, but was not happy. Unlike a tsadik who rejoices when he sees vengence, and he will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked." When benei Yisroel were at the Yom Suf and saw the Mitzrim dead not only did they sing, but according to the midrash Thelim they took their dog and said "eat of the heart that showed no mercy on me, and eat of the hands that beat me". These bracha's , midrashim, and song of the Sea would that also be a good first step "to impressing upon others - and ourselves - that we will not tolerate any inclination towards celebrating combat"?

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    1. The leftists want to ban all of it. 1 thing about the extreme left though that I can admire is that they are consistent. I'm talking about those like Lapid (the father) aloni and others of their sort. They at least acknowledge what the Torah stands for and call those like Rav Kahane modern days "Maccabees" (which they despise). All those distorters on the other hand are the ones making the damages. How can people openly distort the Torah and Halacha? If they don't know or don't agree then fine, bring the sources. But when the sources are staring you in the face then don't distort the Torah and Halacha. Make Teshuva or at least don't be a hypocrite.

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    2. Dear President Rivlin: Stop the incitement of Chanukah!

      To the President of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin and Education Minister Naftali Bennett:

      It has already been seen that words can kill and we must be very careful that what we say not be interpreted as incitement against our “Arab” neighbors. We should not call them enemies because most of them are faithful to the State of Israel and if we call them all enemies, it could be seen as incitement.

      During these sensitive times, as we seek to support the Arab population, it is urgent that a meeting be held to discuss the widespread incitement that takes place every year during Chanukah in homes throughout Israel. It seems that this year it is particularly necessary to ban the singing of the ‘Maoz Tzur’ song which contains the verse, “Restore my House of Prayer

      and there we will bring a thanksgiving offering. When You will have prepared the slaughter

      for the blaspheming foe.” This seems to imply that only when the IDF ‘slaughter’ the enemy will the Jewish people be able to bring a thanksgiving offering. It is also quite likely that the song refers to this offering being brought on the Temple Mount, which could lead to a world war.

      The danger of the Hilltop Youth, who want to create a state that will follow the law of the Torah (which is dangerous to Israeli democracy), is well known. Yet it seems that there are large swaths of the population who encourage this incitement including religious and secular, Haredim, Lithuanians, and Hasidim. They all sing the violent ‘Maoz Tzur’ song with the aforementioned verse.

      I ask myself, “How far have we fallen? How can we sing these words? Don’t these words cause damage to our efforts to raise our children with the value of coexistence?” While it may be acceptable for Jewish blood to be spilled, when blood of the enemy is spilled it is unacceptable.

      Thus I call on President Rivlin, from the depths of my heart, to end the incitement of Chanukah before more Jews “choose the path of terror.” The song ‘Maoz Tzur’ contains violent incitement that could be interpreted as a call to massacre the enemy, Heaven forbid. This goes against our dream to live in peaceful coexistence with our enemies.

      Please act quickly to calm the violent flames and teach the youth about restraint. Even if Jews throughout Israel are being stabbed, rammed into, and murdered, we must continue to use restraint against the enemy population who simply want to live their lives. Therefore we must immediately ban the singing of the ‘Maoz Tzur’ song, which in another verse refers explicitly to vengeance, “Avenge the vengeance of Your servants’ blood from the wicked nation.”

      Remember! Words can kill and we must stop this incitement now!


      http://www.hakolhayehudi.com/dear-president-rivlin-stop-the-incitement-of-chanukah/

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  30. Natan Slifkin - you have started an excellent debate on the subject of Jewish aggression/self defense.
    IMO - The Torah certainly condones rejoicing at the destruction of the wicked. The Pelishtim were certainly wicked people starting up with the Jews unprovoked and for no reason other than hatred of Gods people. All over NACH when you find Jews rejoicing at the defeat of enemies the enemies were wicked and most certainly deserved that untimely end.
    Halacha is that Esav hates Yaakov – we don’t condone the seemingly innocent murder of Palestinians but……..to say they all want the Jewish state of Israel to be wiped off the map may not be far from the truth hence if you go after Rov then the majority presumably are indeed wicked…….

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  31. "For example, King David was not allowed to build the Temple because of the blood on his hands—notwithstanding the fact that he was absolutely justified and even praised for all the blood that he spilled"
    SO? ALL THAT MEANS IS THAT THIS PRECLUDED HIM FROM BUILDING THE TEMPLE, IT DOES NOT MEAN HE SHOULD HAVE FELT BAD ABOUT THE BATTLES HE FOUGHT.
    "And, in a very different sphere, according to many halachic authorities, one does not recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu at the circumcision of one’s son, for the reason is that one cannot pronounce such a declaration of joy at an act that is a source of pain to one’s child."
    EVERY AUTHORITY I SAW QUOTING THIS OPINION DISAGREES (RASHBA,HAGOHOS MAIMONIYOS,GRA).THE MECHABER SAYS WE SAY SHECHEYANU, ALSO THE REMA SAYS THERE ARE CASES WHERE YOU DO MAKE A SHECHEYANU EVEN THOUGH THERE IS STILL PAIN.

    "The Midrash also tells us that Isaac was blinded by the tears that Abraham spilled. Abraham had mixed emotions; joy at fulfilling the Will of his Creator, grief at spilling the blood of his son."

    FALSE!! THE MIDRASH SAYS IT WAS THE TEARS OF THE MALACHIM!!(B.R. 65) ON THE CONTRARY. AVRAHAM SADDLED THE DONKEY HIMSELF BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE OF DOING G-DS WILL (B.R. 55:8) AVRAHAM WHO KNEW HE WAS GOING TO SLAUGHTER HIS SON WENT WILLINGLY AND WITH JOY (RASHI VAYEIRA 22:6)

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    1. Your use of Caps makes your arguments much more convincing.

      Delete
    2. THANK YOU! It just so happens to be, when i argue i speak in caps, its a genetic thing.

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    3. YOU OBVIOUSLY DON'T HAVE THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS


      :)

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    4. God bless hilltop youthJanuary 1, 2016 at 2:42 AM

      His use of caps doesn't make his arguments any less convincing either. In this case it makes for an easy visual separation between what he is quoting and what his response is. Try to refute his arguments. Because "you wrote it in caps hahaha, I'm superior" isn't going to cut it for a thinking person. It's a masked ad hominem.

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    5. Thank You! Indeed the reason i wrote in caps was to make it clearer visually. And yes a smug comment that doesn't address the content of an argument is not so rational.

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    6. @matis: The CAPS don't affect your argument, but when you use all CAPS, it is like using bad grammar or spelling: It is annoying to the reader. It does not make it clearer visually. IMO, you will communicate your ideas better without them.

      If you are trying to set off your text from the quoted text use the following magic incantations:

      Before the quoted text put: <i>
      After the quoted text put: </i>

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  32. One need not resort to conspiracy theories to see the "timely" release of this video as a pathetic attempt to distract from a massive failure and shocking levels of corruption spread among incompetents in the security services, the judiciary and government in their handling of the Duma suspects.

    This cannot be the first and only time that drunken radical nutters have made tasteless spectacles of themselves at various celebrations before dozens of cell phone cams, but it is the first time such has been so prominently publicised at the "right" time to produce a predictable trsponse: vigorous expressions of disapproval and "serious introspection" by decent people who have nothing to apologise for. Yet, it remains to be seen whether this farce, along with the attempt to lay ludicrous charges against a suspect whose release could no longer be delayed, will have the sticking power to generate indifference to the elephant in the room; the disturbing treatment of Israeli citizens in an attempt to conjure up a spectre of "Jewish terrorism" and resuscitate a murky and botched criminal case gone cold. Temujin has faith in the Israeli public and predicts that once the tricks...the attempts to squeeze out confessions or accusations...get old and stale, healthy calm and sanity will return and dozens of careers and reputations will rightfully plonk into the trash-bin of has-beens.

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    1. Glad to see you are back! Please keep giving us your insights which I find both amusing and informative.

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    2. Thank you, Sir, but Temujin never left. Watching, always watching....

      For that, another insight: a good measure of a democracy is how long it takes for a bad shtik to unravel. It may be that today's claims in Ha'aretz about Weinstein's torture permission is the beginning of such an unravelling. This one took a while because of the secrecy protocols in place against foreign terror were applied to citizens. And an obviously much-needed side note to the politicians, who one would think should know better; it's always better to stick to the facts and not embellish along and go ex tempore, especially when you rely on a single source for information...um, like a secretive service. Netanyahu, Yaalon, Bennet and Shaked could have simply reported what they had been *told* by Shabak instead of singing obligatory praises and condemning the suspects as liars. Duh!

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  33. Rav Amital often says that the rabbis clearly believed that Avraham prayed his heart out at the altar. They believed this so strongly that they gave it halakhic expression in the phrase that mentioned in Mishnah Taaniyyot as part of the liturgy of public fast days: "The One who answered Abraham at Mount Moriah, He will answer us!"

    Giving this halakhic expression, Rav Amital said, means that this is not simply a Midrash Aggadah but something that the rabbis held as a deep belief.

    The appearance of the angel, rescinding the order, is God's answer to Abraham, which the prayer uses as a model for the way we ask God to answer us.

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  34. Very often you oppose Haredi Judaism's invention of new principles which Hazal never dreamed of. Similarly, we must reject the invention of a principle whereby it is "against Judaism" to celebrate the downfall of one's enemies.

    We should have celebrated the carpet bombing of Dresden.

    We should celebrate when our Muslim Palestinian enemies are taken down.

    ישמח צדיק כי חזה נקם פעמיו ירחץ בדם הרשע    
    תהילים נח, יא

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    1. Very often you oppose Haredi Judaism's invention of new principles which Hazal never dreamed of.

      In this, you are mistaken. What is opposed here is the advancement of seemingly nonsensical notions based on the supposed authority of Chazal. The Rambam expressed many ideas that were not present in Chazal based on his own reason (even in cases where he thought that they Chazal had the same ideas, he maintained they were often hidden and only accessible via reason and then later understanding what they meant).

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    2. We should have celebrated the carpet bombing of Dresden.

      I think that you mean "firebombing".

      The reason to consider Dresden something of a victory for morality is not a feeling of revenge. It is rather because it prevented enabled the remaining Jewish inhabitants (such as Victor Klemperer who was inter-married to a Gentile) to escape a planned deportation among the confusion.

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  35. This provides some insight on the subject. Not very politically correct.

    http://machonshilo.org/en/images/stories/files/downfall%20of%20enemiesD.mp3

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  36. Seems to me that there are those in the Knesset who if they could would ban the Torah itself for "incitement".

    We need to be intellectually honest and accept Ol Malchut Shamayim regarding those parts of the Torah which do not jibe with politically correct principles.

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    1. It already has been tried. When Shulamit Aloni of MERETZ was Education Minister she ordered that Sefer Yehoshua not be taught in the schools. I don't think it was ever implemented. Uri Avneri tried to get a movement to persuade Israelis not to celebrate Hanukkah because it was a civil war against the Hellenists with whom he identified. In the early years of the state there were attempts by some to change the name of Shabbat to "Yom HaShevi'i" and today some still refer to it as "sof shavua" (weekend).
      In the pre-state era it was popular for Left-wing youth groups to organized loud parties on Yom Kippur (this was done in the US as well).
      In any event all these attempts to eradicate Judaism from the public sphere have fizzled out.

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    2. I'm not really for banning incitement, but there is a difference between studying genocides of the past and advocating one now. Policies need to be based on what can be foreseen in the current circumstances.

      As far as your underlying question, no we should not censor past sources to shape them to current sensibilities, but that also doesn't mean that we should give up our sense of what is right and wrong based on what happened in the past. If you need textual support, consider how Moshe argued with God.

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  37. Just for the record:

    "And, in a very different sphere, according to many halachic authorities, one does not recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu at the circumcision of one’s son, for the reason is that one cannot pronounce such a declaration of joy at an act that is a source of pain to one’s child."

    This is not a matter of "halakhic authorities." Simply, all non-Ashkenazim and Ashkenazim in Israel say it; Ashkenazim outside of Israel do not. It has been compared to the saying or non-saying of Birkat Kohanim in that the practices are identical; they are also similar in that no one really knows the reason they are not said by Ashkenazim in chu"l. Any reasons given are reasonable post-facto guesses.

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  38. Looking at some of the rabid, self-justifying (but certainly creative, mind you) conspiracy theories in some of the posts above, I have to ask why is it that the more right-wing dati leumi / MO community seems to excel at pointing fingers and castng blame in every direction except inwardly, at itself? We are the pure and the righteous; we are the Blessed Elect and we neeever do anything wrong. Right. This is childish in the extreme.

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    1. I don't think what you are saying is true of the DL community at large. All tight-knit groups have a tendency to close ranks when there is trouble...the kibbutz movement did the same when criminal activity took place among its ranks, they would try to cover it up or explain it away as being merely done by a tiny, criminal fringe. I have seen a lot of soul-searching among prominent DL leaders.
      As I pointed out above, the Leftist "Deep State" and its organs of state coercion have a long history of carrying out dirty tricks against political opponents. It is well documented, the Shamgar State Commission of Inquiry on the Rabin Assassination revealed some of it, but it goes back to the first years of the state. Then
      there was Amona where Olmert's political advisers convinced him that massive violence against DL youth engaged in passive resistance to a govenrmental order to destroy houses in YESHA during an election campaign would bring him votes (there are examples available on YOUTUBE and in the end, his popularity dropped afterwards). Just recently two powerful right-wing politicians had their careers destroyed by a couple of headlines in the newspapers, no charges having been filed. (I am not saying they are innocent but the double standard is outrageous because politicians on the Left do the same things).
      So it is not simply "paranoia" or "conspiracy theories". We are talking abou documented history. You must remember that the political Establishment and the Deep State which controls the organs of coercion were created by Jews who came out of the Marxist-Socialist political environment of Eastern Europe which, while it has the word "democracy" on its lips, interprets it in a very different way than those of us who come from a British/American-influenced educational background.
      I am not saying the country is a dictatorship, far from it, but one must look at things in a realistic way, not with rose-colored glasses. Yes, those of us who are appalled by Duma and the wedding dance must do whatever possible to eradicate any violent tendencies, but breast-beating simply to find favor with the Leftist media and political Establishments is not called for.

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  39. Extremists are vitally necessary, because the middle is only defined by the extremes. If the extreme right is passive, the middle will be downright weak. If the extreme right is militant, the middle will at least be strong. The left understands this very well. Why is this so hard for the right?

    Indeed, one wonders why this post was even written at all. I understand the author disapproves of the wedding dance. OK, well, what of it? So there's a fringe element the author disapproves of. Why should anyone feel the need to address it? Because the left wing media makes a big deal of it??? How many acts of lunacy do left wing activists engage in, every day, far more egregious, that no left wing figure feels compelled to denounce or address?

    The only thing that one should be focusing on here is the shameful actions of the Shabak and the politicians covering for them. That is a unit that is out of control. There needs to be a massive housecleaning there, plus a Knesset investigation. If not for this, what on Earth do we have a right wing government for?

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    1. @DF briliant obsevation about extremisim.

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  40. Rabbi Pruzansky's blog gets it right. Let the other side gnash their teeth over the "settlers" and the wedding dance. The real scandal here is the Shabak. There has to be a total cleaning of house there. More than that, there needs to be a public inquiry, and the people responsible for torturing their fellow citizens should be facing long prison sentences. The confidence of the public in a fundamental government agency has been shattered.

    NAFTALI BENNET - are you reading this? This is what you were elected for. You should be leading the charge DEMANDING the inquiry. Silence at this time wont be forgotten.

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  41. We better ban Purim and Chanukah?..Sorry Rabbi you are in Galut mode Judiaism

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    1. On the contrary, it is Galut mode Judaism to simply look back to the old books and study Lishmah but not L'Maaseh with regard to how to run a country. Now we must consider practically what must be done to run a state, we have to do what make sense now, not what would have made sense in a different age.

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  42. King David and the Temple-
    This idea is false. Moshe Rabbeinu was involved in wars and built the Mishkan in the desert.
    Yehoshua{Joshua} was involved in many wars, but yet he built the Mishkan in Shilo.
    The Maccabees were involved in wars but they rebuilt part of the Temple.
    The wicked Herod killed many people, but he still also rebuilt the Temple.
    According to Rambam's view Mashiach{Messiah} will wage wars and will also build a Temple.
    {Even according to Rambam we can still build the Temple before Mashiach, but I won't get into the subject at this point in time}.
    Given all these precedents we must conclude that the fact that David could not build the Temple was not connected to the many wars of Mitzva that he waged. {Except, if you hold by one rabbinic viewpoint that David was too righteous due to all the wars of Mitzva he waged, to build the Temple. A view which I find difficult to accept}.
    If so we must look for other explanations for Divrei Hayamim/I Chronicles 22:8 and 28:3 which will explain why G-d did not let David build the Temple.


    Indeed, David was worthy to build it, but the prophet Natan came and said to him: "You shall not build a house to My name, because You have shed much blood upon the earth before Me" (ibid. 22:7). When David heard this, he was frightened and said: "Surely, I have been disqualified from building the Temple!" R. Yehuda bar Ila'i said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: "Fear not, David, by your life, all the blood that you shed is before Me like that of a gazelle or a deer, about which it is stated: 'The unclean and the clean may eat of it as they do of the gazelle and the deer. Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it upon the earth like water' (Devarim 12:15-16)."[12]

    He said to Him: "If so, why can't I build it?" The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Him: "If you build it, it will stand forever and never be destroyed." He said before Him: "Surely that is good!" The Holy One, blessed be He, said: "It is revealed and known to Me, that in the future Israel will sin, and I will diffuse My anger by destroying [the Temple], and Israel will be spared." This is what is written: "He has bent His bow like an enemy… He has poured out His fury like fire" (Eikha 2:4). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: "Even though you will not build it, since you wanted to build it, I will ascribe it to your name." As it is stated: "A psalm and song at the dedication of the house; of David" (Tehillim 30:1). It does not say "of Shlomo," but rather "of David." Why? This is because he desired to build it. Thus we learn that whoever intends to perform a mitzva, even if, on account of circumstances beyond his control, he fails to do it, the Holy One, blessed be He, regards him as if he had performed it."[13]

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    1. Given all these precedents we must conclude that the fact that David could not build the Temple was not connected to the many wars of Mitzva that he waged. {Except, if you hold by one rabbinic viewpoint that David was too righteous due to all the wars of Mitzva he waged, to build the Temple. A view which I find difficult to accept}.
      If so we must look for other explanations for Divrei Hayamim/I Chronicles 22:8 and 28:3 which will explain why G-d did not let David build the Temple.


      You arguments are not compelling. See Radak and Metzudas David who explain the plain Peshat. Radak explains that not all of David's killing was morally justified (e.g. Uriah and the innocent civilians among the Plishtim that were killed) and that just as there are limitation on the use of iron in building the Bais HaMikdash which symbolizes peace even though Iron has many peaceful uses, the same thing would apply to David even though most of the bloodshed was done as part of a justifiable war.

      The Mishkan was a temporary structure not attributed to any person, but to God. In addition, Moshe himself did not go out to war.

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    2. Moshe not only waged war but even killed the enemies of Am Yisrael himself. This weeks parsha- the Egyptian beating the Jew. Moshe looked left and looked right (to see no one was around) and he killed the evil Egyptian who was beating the Jew.

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    3. And anyway maybe not ALL were justified in this opinion but certainly their were many that were justified and great. It says "AMOUNG" and where does it say it refers to "philistines" ?

      According to this it was about A)Uriah, B)THE BLOOD OF THE PRIESTS OF NOV and C) The Radak continues:
      Also among the blood of the non-Jews that he shed who had not been fighting against him, there may have been good and pious people. *****Nevertheless, he was ****not punished for them, for it was his intention to destroy the wicked so that they not attack Yisrael or to save himself when he was in the land of the Pelishtim, when he spared not a man or a woman.

      Here are other reasons, if you claim it was because he killed "innocent" non-Jews, then the same criteria would apply to his son Shlomo who also made wars with the nations. Thus we see its not something that was a disqualifier for Dawidh.

      http://etzion.org.il/vbm/english/archive/yeru2/05yeru.htm

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    4. @Hodo Hashem:

      Let me try to translate as best I can:

      And when it says "you spilled great amounts of blood to the ground" it was because there was innocent blood among the blood that you spilled. Like that blood of Uriah which is before me. And he was also the reason for the spilling of the blood of the priests (of Nov) as he [David] said: "I have brought about the death of all the persons of thy father's house." And also among the blood of the nations that he spilled, those who were not part of the war, it is possible that there were good and pious men. Even so, he was not punished for them because his his intention was to destroy the wicked so that they could not attack Israel, and to save himself when he was in the land of the Plishtim as it says "he did not allow man or woman to live" [implying he killed non-combatants who could be innocent]. However, since he was involved in such a great amount of killing, he was prevented from building the Temple that is intended for peace, atonement from sin, and the crown of prayer. Just as hewing with iron of the alter or in the temple was prohibited, since vessels of death are made from iron and one should not make from them vessels of peace in quantity.

      1) He is definitely learning the plain peshat and comparing it to the idea that you don't use iron which is used for weapons (which according to you is no problem because the weapons are used for good).

      2) He explains that the blood referred to is innocent blood including innocent non-combatants.

      3) He was not punished for killing innocent non-combatants because it was necessary.

      4) Nevertheless, just like iron is not used, David cannot for that reason build a building that represents peace.

      You can ask all the questions you want about Shlomo, but the fact remains that Radak and Metsudas David explain it this way. But to give a simple answer, Shlomo is not a problem because his reign was "characterized" by peace according to passuk Tet.

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    5. Moshe not only waged war but even killed the enemies of Am Yisrael himself. This weeks parsha- the Egyptian beating the Jew. Moshe looked left and looked right (to see no one was around) and he killed the evil Egyptian who was beating the Jew.

      In that episode, he killed a person in self defense. That is not the same as being a warrior closely associated with bloodshed. The pesukim make the distinction, not me.

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  43. @DF: Extremists are vitally necessary, because the middle is only defined by the extremes. If the extreme right is passive, the middle will be downright weak. If the extreme right is militant, the middle will at least be strong. The left understands this very well. Why is this so hard for the right?

    So the position of the extremist right is very wrong, but pragmatically necessary to prevent the center from sliding into socialism/relativism etc. And based on your reasoning, the position of the extreme left to prevent the center from moving to fascism. I guess that you are Meretz supporter of a sort!

    BTW, isn't it more likely that the center defines how far the extreme edges can go before they get 0 votes?

    Indeed, one wonders why this post was even written at all. I understand the author disapproves of the wedding dance. OK, well, what of it? So there's a fringe element the author disapproves of. Why should anyone feel the need to address it?

    I surmise it is because the author is intellectually honest and realizes that he has more influence on his own side than on the others. Also to avoid an echo chamber.

    The only thing that one should be focusing on here is the shameful actions of the Shabak and the politicians covering for them. That is a unit that is out of control.

    Do you feel the same about similar activities in the West Bank?

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    1. You ask if its not more likely that the center defines the extremes, rather than the reverse. The answer is no. We only know that the 50 yard line is the center of the football field, because we know where the field begins and ends. Those are the starting points from where to measure. And the same is true in politics and in religion. The outer limits tell you where the center is, not the reverse.

      RNS, I'm glad you posted this. It inspired me to look into the matter a little more closely. R. Pruzansky (who I mentioned above) has an interesting lecture on the subject of "the Jewish Underground." The subject begins with the late Meir Har Tzvi, who was called, by politicians of all stripes, the greatest soldier to ever come out of the army. In or about 1953, after Bedouins brutalized and murdered his sister and her fiancé, he and friends from Unit 101 went and murdered 5 Bedouins in revenge. It was a terrorist response, no doubt. But they never had problems from the Bedouins again.

      The tape continues with the Beit Hadassah killings in Chevron, and the attack of the Arab Mayors in response. It continues with the Isalmic College reprisals. Again, I am embarrassed I knew next to nothing about all this. R. Pruzansky understands that it is a sensitive topic, and is careful not to take a stand one way or another. However, he proves - and this is the whole point - in point of indisputable statistical fact, ARAB TEERORISM AGAINST JEWS DRAMATICALLY DECLINED WHEN THE JEWS HIT BACK IN KIND.

      No one on this blog is a fool; we all understand the many moral issues involved in this complicated question. It is my opinion, on balance, when weighing all the options and looking at history, that guerilla-style, violent Jewish responses does far more good than bad. And perhaps, even then, we don't want to affirmatively encourage it. I get that view. But at minimum, when it does happen, by people far braver than us, we should not be criticizing it.

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    2. The soldier you referred to was Meir Har-Tzion.
      I was present at the site of the 1980 Beit Hadassah attack exactly one week before. One of the ladies who was living in the building at the time was complaining to a bored, dumpy reserve soldier standing in front of the building that the situation there was bad and something was going to happen.

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    3. Neither extremes nor the center define each other. What codswalllop. There is a spectrum of opinion - that is all.

      And the intelligent debate happens towards the middle of the spectrum and at the extremes are the idiots.

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    4. You ask if its not more likely that the center defines the extremes, rather than the reverse. The answer is no. We only know that the 50 yard line is the center of the football field, because we know where the field begins and ends.

      DF, is this really a serious argument? Have you ever drawn a circle with a compass? Does the sun define the solar system or Pluto? You can go anywhere you want with weak analogical reasoning. The real question is: by what mechanism could the small, barely known fringes affect the better known larger center of opinion?

      The subject begins with the late Meir Har Tzvi, who was called, by politicians of all stripes, the greatest soldier to ever come out of the army. In or about 1953, after Bedouins brutalized and murdered his sister and her fiancé, he and friends from Unit 101 went and murdered 5 Bedouins in revenge. It was a terrorist response, no doubt. But they never had problems from the Bedouins again.

      What are you talking about? The Bedouin in question were on the other side of the border. Are you claiming that the next Israeli to sneak across the border at that time was safe from attack?

      However, he proves - and this is the whole point - in point of indisputable statistical fact, ARAB TEERORISM AGAINST JEWS DRAMATICALLY DECLINED WHEN THE JEWS HIT BACK IN KIND.

      Indisputable statistical fact??? References?

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    5. I'm telling you what I heard from R. Pruzansky in his lecture. You are welcome to listen if you'd like, and then report back as to whether I've misrepresented it or not [I haven't] and as to why you think he's wrong.

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    6. With due respect to Rabbi Pruzansky, his opinion doesn't establish "Indisputable statistical fact". What stopped the second intifada was not random immoral bombings of Gazan buses and pizza shops but a wall between us and them as well as targeted violence against their leaders.

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  44. Israel's Channel 2 featured an interview with one of the tortured minors.

    Innocents have clearly been tortured.

    There is no doubt.

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    1. The authorities are circulating the idea that the rough treatment these people are receiving, even those who have nothing to do with Duma are really designed to create deterrence against others from getting involved. This is consistent with what YESHA-Establishment figure Israel Harel said in the Ha'aretz article I mentioned above, but as Harel stated, this can end up poisoning relations between the authorities and the mainline YESHA people who oppose what the extremists are doing.

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  45. Ever since Oslo the Shin Bet and the army have been dangerously politicized.

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  46. There was an extensive article in Friday's Makor Rishon newspaper by an anonymous former "Hilltop youth". He got into it more than 15 years ago. He said he and his friends did NOT come form "broken homes" nor did they have criminal records. They despised the bourgeois lifestyle of their YESHA settler parents and felt their RZ education was too lukewarm. Those who joined them wanted to settle the land. They also despised the DL rabbis, even the most Right-wing ones.
    They despise the government for carrying doing Oslo and then allowing Arab terror to run wild in the suicide bomber war 2000-2002. They lost a lot of friends and this really embittered them towards to state and it authorities, viewing them as outright enemies. They even viewed old-time hard-line activists like Avri Ran of Givat Olam near Shechem as sell-outs. He said Gush Katif was NOT the critical turning point, they had already reached this after the suicide bomber war and they had nothing but contempt for the "Love with triumph" campaign against the Gush Katif destruction and refused to participate in it. However, they always respected individual IDF soldiers and did not harass them or hold them to blame for the govt's policies.
    His group would carry out retaliation attacks against Arab villages whose residents attacked the their vehicles and settlements but there was nothing like Duma.
    Generally, he and most of his friends simply outgrew it , married and settled down. IDF service also made them more moderate. He says there is a very extreme group which is very small which is now more extreme than his generation was. This group is not interested in building settlements like his earlier generation but simply fighting Arabs. He says there is nothing the DL rabbis or communities can do to turn them around because they don't listen to anyone, except presumably to educate young people not to go in that path.. He says it is primarily a matter for law-enforcement.

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  47. What was the title of the article? Is it online?

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  48. I find this discussion to be an unfortunate diversion from the fact that we will not have any semblance of peace within our borders until the Muslim-Arab population is transferred. That is the Torah solution and our focus should be on how to implement this. Not agonizing endlessly over a few Arabs who were killed, in all likelihood by fellow Arabs.

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    1. It's people like you who make me ashamed to be Jewish. If you are right about the Torah way then your Torah is foul and I want no part of it.

      I see no reason to allow that kind of talk go unanswered.

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    2. You'll be fine, fozz; it's just jitters from venturing out of Dov Bear's echo chamber to a harsh platform where incorrect thought is not automatically savaged and shamed by a cadre of sycophants. Your principled outrage over that kind of talk has been duly noted and you may go on debating. As an aside, one can not imagine how hard it must be for you to stomach the daily talk in Haaretz and elsewhere about the urgency and moral imperative of transferring Jews out of Juda and Shomron, not to mention Jerusalem...for the sake of peace.

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    3. Haaretz is just as awful.. idiots on the extremes, remember?

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    4. Setting aside the obvious immorality of this, it is not even a serious proposal. It is impossible to implement as no one in Israel would be willing to execute such a plan, and there is no place that will accept the "transferred" (cleansed) population. If implemented, even in part, it would leave Israel completely insecure as a Pariah state and would simply create new borders for terrorism to infiltrate across, except that these terrorists would be recognized by the world as freedom fighters and would openly be supplied with arms and support. This would probably result in armed conflict over the Gaza blockade as well.

      Asymmetric conflict is frustrating, but not a justification for complete foolishness.

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    5. There is no "obvious immorality" here, David; a unilateral population transfer, ethnic cleansing, hailed as the final solution for the latest Jewish problem and even as the panacea for world peace is being calmly promoted as a moral imperative by the entire world and even Israeli mainstream parties where Jewish Israelis are concerned. Sure, we can debate current political conditions, realpolitik, impracticalities and plausibilities and such, but morality and immorality have been rendered irrelevent through selectivity.

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    6. Since you are using sarcasm, it is hard to know your precise position, but since you cite the hypocrisy of insisting that it is OK to make various parts of the Middle East Judenrein, you do agree on the fundamental immorality of such an operation, especially with respect to the Israeli Arab population which has been overwhelmingly law-abiding.

      The reason to pull out of Gush Katif was not morality, but the same motivation that got us mostly out of Europe and the rest of the Middle East. Let's live together in our own territory rather than push for our "rights" and be persecuted. Insisting on various impractical "rights" that will never be fulfilled (particularly the "right of return") is a characteristic of the losing Palestinian strategy that has caused their own group so many problems, including nth generation "refugees" living in continued squalor. Let's not follow them down that foolish path.

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    7. There was no sarcasm intended, David; what is objectively a unilateral population transfer by any definition, whether the completed one out of Gaza or the planned one out of Yesha, is merely a re-branding for political expedience based on foolishness at best and an incremental plan for the weakening or the ultimate destruction of the sovereign Jewish state. "Morality" in this unique demand imposed only on Jews is just another convenient and selective tactic in the strategic situation.

      Since you brought up history, do recall that removals of Jews from lands, often involving limits on housing construction and population growth, didn't begin with the Arab attacks, the UN resolutions, EU directives and the State Department consultations, but are part of an unbroken historical continuum of the total Jewish expulsions, many which were conducted as "voluntary" emigrations, which go back to mediaeval Spain. It may have been impractical then for the defenseless and scatteted communities to resist and even think of rights, but it's not only unnecessary to continue this "tradition" now, but outright suicidal to, seeing that there not that many places left for Jews to slink off to.

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    8. 1) Nothing is truly unilateral. Israel is a tiny nation, and every move has in impact on other movers who can make or break the state.

      2) Repeating what seems obvious for the nth time: the Gaza settlements did not provide security; they drew away resources for their security. If you think that this is foolish, that is fine, but facially, it made strategic sense and the opposition was by those religiously motivated to keep them no matter the cost.

      3) You second paragraph is exactly the kind of reasoning that should be avoided. It goes something like "withdrawal from Gaza was as immoral as the expulsion from Spain". The answer is "so what?". We need to do what makes sense today, not make a stand now just because we can now and couldn't in the past. Our enemies are obsessed with the return of some "pure" state based on their religious worldview divorced from reality, and it leads them to constant strife and failure. We have done better so far by settling for what is possible and moral in the modern world.

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    9. All your points are problematic in the least; 1)Israel demonstrably suffers internationally when in retreat from territories and positions; 2)the surrender of Gaza brought the formation of a terror state, thousands of rockets, wars and billions in additional spending and damage to the economy; and 3 is a straw man; Israel's territorial integrity is primarily a matter of national security and survival, not religious puritanism.

      But all that is somewhat off topic. Your original contention was that suggesting the transfer of Muslim populations is immoral, under any circumstances it would appear, while implying that the transfer of Jews is moral when it is presumably practical. And to arrive at this position we must accept that Israel and the world will be suspended in amber; that the Arabs will remain wealthy and powerful, that the West will continue to fund and the world will continue to legitimize or care about "palestinianism." We must also assume that all population yransfers are inherently violent and horrible and that a transfer of Muslims cannot be done as peacefuly and humanely as...say, Gush Katif. So again, all Temujin is saying is, go ahead, argue possibilies and practicalities as you understand them, but not moral principles on population transfers, unless you are prepared to treat them as real principles, which by definition must be applied to all equally and fairly.

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    10. All your points are problematic in the least; 1)Israel demonstrably suffers internationally when in retreat from territories and positions;

      This is not true at all. Israel suffers internationally no matter it does, but the pullout from Gaza help Hamas get labeled as the terrorist organization by the EU.

      2) I don't know enough to say whether or not the military pullout from Gaza was a good idea, although it almost certainly was. The settlements did nothing but create yet another border that needed protection.

      3) If "territorial integrity" were the only problem then it would be most important not to have settlements all over the place. The issue is that the West bank areas are too close to our population centers to give up military control.

      But all that is somewhat off topic. Your original contention was that suggesting the transfer of Muslim populations is immoral, under any circumstances it would appear, while implying that the transfer of Jews is moral when it is presumably practical.

      No, I said that making any area of the world Jundenrein is immoral, but that when it is our best strategic alternative, then we do it. The Jews of France should have a right to live there, but if they want to emigrate, it their choice. And yes, it is can very well be moral for a nation to choose to transfer its own population for strategic reasons, even if the underlying motivation is protection against immoral violence by others.

      And to arrive at this position we must accept that Israel and the world will be suspended in amber; that the Arabs will remain wealthy and powerful, that the West will continue to fund and the world will continue to legitimize or care about "palestinianism."

      On the contrary, it is the Greater Israel folks who have always assumed that the world is "suspended in amber" and

      1) That unlike every other place in the world, the Palestinian Arabs would remain passive and subservient to foreign masters.

      2) That Israel, despite a very severe population disadvantage against the Arab and Moslem world, will always retain a strategic military advantage against its neighbors. 1973, the missiles from Lebanon, and Iran are examples of how things can go wobbly there.

      We must also assume that all population yransfers are inherently violent and horrible and that a transfer of Muslims cannot be done as peacefuly and humanely as...say, Gush Katif.

      You again conflate bringing citizens back to the country when the country abandons an outpost, with pushing the less fortunate citizens out of the country. (Which is not to say that the settlers, previously encouraged by policy to live there, got enough compensation). This is appears to me to be a word game.



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    11. ...the pullout from Gaza help Hamas get labeled as the terrorist organization by the EU.

      Seriously? The pull-out from Gaza allowed Hamas to elect itself into power, take total control and develop as an effective and deadly terrorist organization ...with the ongoing assistance of EU aid. Thank you very much, folks, for the o-so-important declaration.

      The settlements did nothing but create yet another border that needed protection.

      So, now major Israeli cities need protection from thousands of increasingly deadlier missiles, not to mention sophisticated tunnels!

      If "territorial integrity" were the only problem then it would be most important not to have settlements all over the place.

      A fair point and a good argument for more effective control of all Muslim areas, instead of the unworkable and dangerous Oslo model of self-government.

      Regarding the mediaeval expulsion of Jews, there was no strategic reason to do so, as they presented no physical danger. Period documents make it clear that the authorities were cynically manufacturing reasons by creating libels.

      What the Greater Israel folk think is a red herring. The issue is the morality of population transfers and why it moral to transfer Jews but not Arabs. You argue that it is moral to uproot the Jews living in the Yesha because it is practical, and preposterously suggest that the uprooting and forcible removal of the Jews of Gaza, many of whom were born there, is not a population transfer...just "bringing citizens back to the country when the country abandons an outpost"! You then conjure up another straw man, that any transfer of Arabs would have to be forcible and without compensation and most astoundingly, after these dizzying acrobatics, you accuse Temujin of playing "word games"!

      Delete
  49. Israel Radio has now reported the bringing of charges regarding the Duma incident and other "price tag" incidents. Then the radio went into a laughable report on how a couple of dozen kids aged between 15-25 are supposedly involved in a gigantic, detailed "conspiracy" to OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL. No less! They also listed various "terrorist" acts they are guilty of including spray painting anti-Arab graffiti.
    Now, don't get me wrong....everyone who broke the law should be punished, including the graffiti vandals. But it is outrageous to call an act like that "terrorism", especially when Jews are being attacked EVERY DAY by REAL Arab terrorist.
    This hyperbole which sounds like what the NKVD said against supposed Trotskyite conspiracies which were invented to inflame the public of the USSR. It make me think they don't have any strong evidence. We shall see. If all the evidence boils down to nothing more than a confession and "secret evidence" provided by sources whose identities can not be revealed "for security reasons" it will leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth and it will irreparably damage relations between the SHABAK and the Jews of Judea/Samaria and those who support them.
    I repeat, the guilty parties MUST be punished, but we have seen in the past dirty tricks by the security services used for political reasons and if they are doing it again, they are making a tragic mistake.

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  50. Come to think of it almost all the Holy songs have the concept of "Revenge" on them. For example Az Yashir, the song of Devorah and so on. Are we to censor them as well?

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  51. According to an article in Ha'aretz, the trial will be held in secret because (1) one of the accused is conveniently a minor, and (2) lots of secret SHABAK witnesses are supposed to be called. Well.....

    Here is a good, skeptical analysis by Martin Sherman:

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Into-the-fray-Duma-dirty-dancing-and-deeply-disturbing-detention-439022

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  52. A hot news item...an 18 year-old from Ma'alei Adumim was just released from FIVE months detention with NO CHARGES FILED.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-terror-suspect-freed-from-5-month-administrative-detention/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Y. Ben David: What are you trying to prove with this? If you give power to a group, they will use it and go past the boundary a bit. They were given the power to keep people detained with little to no justification, and they used it. This gives no support for your "deep state" theory. It is psychology 101. It costs them very little to detain an innocent, since they were given the power under the law, but it costs them a lot if they let the guilty go free. With those perverse incentives, you can expect bad outcomes.

      The next step is to realize that this is true for the detention of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs as well. It may be justified in the fight against terrorism, understand that it will still result in lots of innocents caught up in the net. Life is full of trade-offs.

      Delete
  53. Transfer is the correct solution according to the Torah.

    Assessing the whens and hows, and advancing this goal is something which billions will likely need to be spent on.

    We have thrown away many billions on the failed "peace" solutions such as Oslo and Gush Katif. It is tragic to think of the thousands and thousands of dead and wounded which were caused by these solutions. If only a fraction of those billions had been invested in the voluntary emigration of willing Muslims we would already have been a few steps forward in the right direction.

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    Replies
    1. There's one or two jews we should throw out now we're talking about this.

      Delete
    2. God bless hilltop youthJanuary 7, 2016 at 4:13 AM

      The pedophiles who fled from US justice and hide from extradition in Israel, aided by the sick leftist cabal in the Israeli supreme court, should be immediately extradited to the US to soften the blow to US-Israeli relations when Arab terrorists are expelled (the Democrats will cry many crocodile tears over it).

      The supreme court justices should be sent with the arabs.

      Delete
  54. Transfer is the correct solution according to the Torah.

    Assessing the whens and hows, and advancing this goal is something which billions will likely need to be spent on.


    Shorter Shimon: God told me that I'm right; don't bother me with the details.

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  55. Only a warped, galuti understanding of Judaism sees it as being a mitzvah to allow the Jewish nation's bitter enemies to remain in the land, when the mitzvah is quite the opposite.

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  56. Shimon, you continue to speak in sound bites, so your conclusions are suspect. There was never a time where we did not "allow" the Jewish nations enemies to remain in the land. Besides the fact that if the 20% of the Israeli population which is Arab is one of the Jewish nation's bitter enemies, you've stretched the definition of bitter enemy quite a bit.

    And on the contrary, your attempt to simply read from books what you think is the halacha and then apply it blindly without considering the real world is an example of applying "galuti" concepts. In the galut, we didn't have to deeply consider the governance of a nation because we didn't have the authority to do so.

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  57. I never said to ignore realities. I said to apply the Torah in such a fashion that one sets the Torah's standard as the goal and then puts it into practice. Heard of windows of opportunity? Of course, faith in HASHEM is also necessary.

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    Replies
    1. I never said to ignore realities.

      You did not say "ignore realities". You simply ignored them. If not, please address the obvious objections that I mentioned above.

      Delete
  58. Um, for one, did Dovid HaMelech not act to the best of his ability to rid Israel of her enemies?

    The question which needs to be answered is: how can one possibly reach the absurd halachic conclusion that enemies must be allowed to remain in Israel after learning Tanach, the various sources of Torah Shebealpeh, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, etc.

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  59. Shimon, you are still not making any sense all. Ancient Israel sometimes fought and won, sometimes fought and lost and sometimes didn't fight. There did not fight continuously until all other nations agreed to leave the land; in fact that never happened. If you want to argue for a particular policy, then you need to analyze the pros and cons of the policy. You can't just say "I'm doing the will of God" and then hope for the best, as many of the enemies of Israel do. Well, you can, but thankfully you will have very few companions.

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  60. When righteous Jewish leaders fought to get rid of the enemy they did indeed intend to fulfill the commandments of HASHEM. And those commandments do indeed include these actions. The commandments are commandments for good Jews. Yes,there are times when their fulfillment is not feasible and yes, there must be good strategizing and use of good logistics and tactics. And yes, righteous leaders could not always succeed in carrying out these imperatives.

    But, since when do commandments get liquidated by "policy considerations"?

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  61. Now we're getting somewhere. So you agree that someone trying to do the will of God sometimes make the wrong decisions and fail. And that even when something seems to be a good goal, there are times that one should not try for the goal. Therefore "God said so" and "have faith" can lead to complete disaster.

    Now, taking those issues into account, make your argument.

    ReplyDelete

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