Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hanukkah: against all odds

The irony of miracles

Dec. 28, 2005


Thank God it is Hanukka this week - the holiday could not possibly have come
at a more opportune or meaningful moment for the Jewish people.

Israel's elections may be just three months away, but the mud and dirt
associated with campaigning have already begun to fly, filling the air and
the news with a pall of internal dissension and political strife.

The Palestinians continue to fire rockets at Israel's towns and cities and
to dispatch their youth on lethal missions of murder and mayhem, all of
which are aimed at breaking our collective spirit and forcing us off still
more of our land.

Neither Right nor Left seems able to offer much of a vision for the
country's future, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between
them, while a seemingly record number of elected officials have either been
indicted or are under investigation.

In light of all this, it is hardly surprising that some have started to
wonder whether the dream that gave birth to this country might be running
out of steam.

Yet it is precisely at times such as this, when our people are divided from
within and under assault from without, that Hanukka takes on added resonance
and significance.

Consider for a moment the principal ceremony of the holiday. The ritual
centers around fire, which escalates in power and magnitude each night as we
kindle additional candles over an eight day period.

I don't mean to be facetious, but the fact is that our nation's experience
with fire over the centuries has been far from pleasant. From the flames
which consumed the Temples in Jerusalem, to the medieval burning of the
Talmud in places such as Paris and Venice, to the ovens of Nazi Europe, fire
has served time and again to wreak havoc and destruction on the Jewish

In recent years, the shells of burned out buses on the streets of Tel Aviv
and Jerusalem, and the inferno that consumed Joseph's Tomb in Shechem,
served as painful reminders of our enemies' timeless, and searing, hatred.

IT ALMOST seems incongruous, then, to be using fire, of all things, to
commemorate our deliverance from the Syrian-Greeks over two millennia ago.
Couldn't some other less ironic instrument have been chosen instead?

But that is exactly the point, for it is irony which lies at the root both
of the miracles of the past, and of those still yet to come.

Indeed, one of the central themes of Hanukka, as the special Al HaNissim
prayer inserted into the liturgy states, is that God "turned over the strong
to the weak, and the many to the few." In other words, what was incongruous,
inconceivable and downright inexplicable nonetheless became reality.

And it is that theme - the irony of Jewish survival despite the odds - that
embodies not only the story of Hanukka, but of our modern-day return and
rebirth as a nation.

By striking a match and bringing a small flame into the world to light the
Hanukka candles, we are sending a message of defiance. We are telling our
enemies that all their efforts to consume us have and will come to naught,
for we are still very much here.

And despite all the devastation they have wrought on us through the use of
fire, we will not be deterred from kindling our own unique light, with which
we will one day illuminate the world.

But there is, I think, still a deeper message to be found in Hanukka, one
that is especially apt for a nation such as ours that finds itself so
utterly divided.

When you next light the candles, take a few steps back and watch. If you
look carefully, you'll see how the flames dance from side to side, each one
moving with its own unique rhythm, flickering and sparkling independent of
each other.

Some candles will burn faster, others will go slower. There are those which
sit on the right side of the Hanukkia, and those whose place is on the left.
Regardless, all come together at the base, which unites the disparate
branches to fulfill one central purpose: creating a crescendo of light whose
sum is greater than its parts.

That is the challenge facing Israeli society - to craft a framework in which
each flame has room to dance individually while still remaining part of a
cohesive whole. Obviously, this is far more difficult to achieve than merely
kindling a few candles. But the lesson of Hanukka is that it can, and will,
be done.

The writer served as deputy director of communications & policy planning in
the Prime Minister's Office under former premier Binyamin Netanyahu. He is
currently chairman of Shavei Israel (, a Jerusalem-based
group that assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Religious Zionists Share Hanukkah Light with Secular Israelis

Religious Zionists Share Hanukkah Light with Secular Israelis

By Debbie Berman and Baruch Gordon

In the wake of the Disengagement, the religious Zionist population is taking a more active role in outreach activities directed at engaging the secular Israeli public in an open religious dialogue.

During the holiday of Hanukkah, hundreds of religious volunteers were welcomed into Israeli homes to light candles together and enhance the celebration of the festival of lights.

Under the auspices of the OU Israel Center, Israel Outreach Project Manager Meir Schwartz says the religious Zionist world began developing outreach programs four years ago. "But," says Schwartz, "the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria this past summer served as a wake up call for many in the religious Zionist public. People realized after the Disengagement that if we want to connect to the Israeli public, we need to do more than face the challenge of settling the Land. We need to reach their hearts through increasing our outreach efforts.”

Schwartz runs training programs to prepare religious Israeli students and adults to engage in dialogue with secular Israelis. “We are in the middle of our fourth 10-week course right now with close to 100 attendees. Participants always arrive thinking that only when they master the entire Torah can they do outreach work. They think that to engage in outreach, they must be able to answer any and every question about Judaism on the fly. What they see is that there is much room for work on all levels and that they can and must be an integral part of it. They simply get ignited. It's a new kind of activism,” Schwartz said.

“We have special programs for all the holidays. During Hanukkah we sent hundreds of people out to knock on doors, armed with menorahs and candles. Many people were happy to open their homes and let our volunteers in. What was surprising to us was that we really did not need to send the menorahs because people already had their own,” Schwartz said.

“You see, secular Israelis are already celebrating Hanukkah without us. What we added was a religious perspective to a seemingly secularized holiday. We found that people in the State of Israel are happy to keep commandments that are not forced upon them. Hanukkah is a holiday of light, transcending the rational, and appealing to the spiritual. With the increased popularity of the Kabbalah trend, there is a greater familiarity with the concepts of external vs. internal light or black vs. white light,” explained Schwartz.

Meir related a fresh story: "One of our people who went house to house on Wednesday engaged a grandfather with his two grandchildren. The man said that they were at a public Hanukkah candle lighting that night and didn't need to do it again. Our activist, Baruch, explained that in addition to the public lighting, each person must light the menorah in his home or where he is staying. The grandfather hesitated, so Baruch kneeled down and asked the kids if they want to light their very own menorah. Their eyes lit up and a few minutes later, the menorahs were lit as well, including one for the grandfather. Baruch chanted the blessings with them, word by word. Then, he danced around the menorahs singing with his three new friends and spun around the room with the kids like a dreidel."

Schwartz says that his organization has recently launched several programs including face to face meetings and the creation of open Jewish homes throughout the country. He invites people who want to work and help to contact him [050-794-8613,]. The programs are coordinated with the support and guidance of rabbinic leaders like Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and Rabbi Uri Sharki.

Schwartz explained, “A ‘Beyit Yehudi’ [Jewish Home] is a vibrant spiritual center where we offer people to come and encounter Judaism in ways they never have before. There are lectures, musical events, evenings of singing, one-on-one study, festive meals, and much more. It's a chance to experience firsthand a taste of Judaism without having to walk into a synagogue. The ‘Beyit Yehudi’ is an open house that invites people.” There are currently Beyit Yehudi homes operating in Ramat Hasharon near Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Ariel, Moshav Lachish and Kibbutz Naan.

Talking about the hareidi-religious outreach organizations, Schwartz said that they have many successful programs. "They were the first to deal with outreach work in Israel. Every hareidi-religious group has their outreach branches, including Belz, Chabad, Breslov, Arachim etc. I speak with their directors and learn from their experience,” explained Schwartz.

“Two problems that the hareidi-religious organizations must deal with is that the black hat and clothes traditionally worn by them are often perceived as threatening to the secular Israeli. Also, the hareidi-religious communities tend to associate only amongst themselves. This creates a situation in which it is more difficult to connect," Schwartz noted.

“We found that on a practical level a person wearing a knitted kipah has a greater chance of being received by the secular population for two reasons: we serve together with them in the army, and we are involved with them on a day to day level,” Schwartz stated.

Schwartz concluded, “The story of Hanukkah is really about a cultural war against Greek assimilation. Although secular Israelis associate themselves primarily with secular culture, most of them are lighting the Hanukkah menorah and reciting the traditional blessings. There seems to be some kind of contradiction. The truth is that deep inside of the secular Israeli is a Jewish soul guiding him to continue lighting Hanukkah candles.”

US Jews Celebrate Chanukah By Moving to Israel

Photo Essay: US Jews Celebrate Chanukah By Moving to Israel

By Ezra HaLevi

A plane filled with North American Jews landed in Israel on Wednesday, the third day of Chanukah, topping off a year or record Aliyah-by-choice to Israel from the United States and Canada.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The holiday of Chanukah?


Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

30 Kislev, 5766/30-31 December, 2005


Ever wonder how great it would be to be alive in the times of the
Maccabees? Sitting around the campfire, eating latkes and sufganiyot (jelly
donuts)... Exchanging presents and giving Chanukah gelt (money) to the
kids... Oh, how I love this holiday. And how it falls out at the same time
as the pagan holiday, why, that just adds to the wonderful atmosphere that
there is at this time of the year, with great holiday sales going on all
over... And wouldn’t you know it, why, there's Yehuda Maccabee walking down
the street now. Hey, what's that in his hand??? Oh my, a very big sword, now
what on earth is he doing with that??? Oh my, he just chopped off the heads
of the local Jewish Council. Oh my, why would he be doing that?? I better
get out of here; come to think of it, I do not want to be here at all!

The holiday of Chanukah. Everyone loves it, and why not - it’s a nice
holiday, the Jews get to eat, sing songs and play draidle. But if you lived
in the time of the Chashmona'im, would you be one of the people that Yehuda
and his brothers fought in their 25-year war against the Greeks - or would
you be on the side of the few against the many? In truth, not many were.

More than any other holiday, Chanukah has lost its way. What once was a
fight of the "tahurim"/the pure and just against the wicked - the light
against the darkness - has turned into one big salad. Most people today who
proudly show off their large chanukiyahs and eat their hot, oily latkes -
would have found themselves on the other side of the sword, along with the
Greeks running for their lives from the strong hand of the Maccabees.

Interestingly enough, we find that when our Rabbis, of blessed memory,
wrote the "Al Hanissim" (On the miracles) which we recite in our daily
prayer books during the days of Chanukah, they talk only about the war of
the righteous against the wicked, the few against the many, good against
evil. Strikingly absent is the most famous of all the Chanukah stories, the
story of the small amount of oil that was found among the broken vessels and
which lasted for eight days. How could our Rabbis of old leave out this most
famous part of the Chanukah story?

The war against the Greeks in the Land of Israel was a very hard and
bloody one, with tens of thousands of Jews being put to death by the hands
of the Greeks and their mercenary army. Good people began to question if the
war was really worth the huge cost. True, life under the the Greeks was
unbearable, with yeshivas being closed down, Jews unable to keep Shabbat and
holidays or any other aspect of Jewish life... as the Greeks tried to close
down Jewish life as we know it. But still, with whole villages being razed
by the Greeks, the thought came up that just maybe, the war was not really
worth the price.

With the liberation of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the answer came
from on high. More than anything else, the miracle of the oil was Hashem's
way of telling His people that this was the right direction - His seal of
approval, so to speak, on what was going on in the battlefield. That is why
our Rabbis did not place the miracle of the oil in the daily prayer books -
because it came just to reinforce the main aspect of Chanukah, namely, the
culture battle which the Maccabees waged against the Greeks.

The essence of Chanukah is the spirit of the Jew rising up for his
religious freedom, a freedom without which it is certainly not worth living.
For just to be as all the other nations, as the Greeks so much wanted the
Jews to become, has absolutely no meaning. If the Maccabees stand for
anything, it is that it is worth dying for the merit to live as a Torah Jew
dedicated to the service of Hashem.

Now, which side of the fence would you be on if you lived in the time of
the Maccabees?

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

two witness

the two witnesses of revelation 11

Temple Mount Faithful Hanukkah Demonstration

Three exciting events and demonstrations of The Temple Mount Faithful Movement on the 8th day of Hanukkah in Modi’in, the old city of Jerusalem, and on the Temple Mount

On the eighth day of Hanukkah, Monday 2nd of Tevet 5766 (2nd January 2006), the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will perform three events. We shall gather ourselves at 9 a.m. that day in the parking place of Binyanei Haumah in the entrance of Jerusalem. From there we will travel by bus to the tombs of the Maccabees which are located in Modi’in in the ancient area where the Maccabees lived and started their revolt against the Greeks. From Modi’in we shall return to Jerusalem and demonstrate in the old city of Jerusalem and then march to the Temple Mount.

This important event will occur 2173 years after the great historical uprising of the Maccabees against the Hellenistic Greek Empire which controlled the land of Israel. The Greeks placed their idol in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem and desecrated it terribly. They tried to force their pagan faith and culture on the Jews in the Land of Israel in a very cruel way. They used to go from city to city and from village to village and place the idol in their midst and to force the Jews to bow to it and to eat pork.

Most Jews, especially in the big cities were strongly under the impact of the Hellenistic faith and culture after years of cruel subjugation to the Greeks. The Jews lost their land, their independence, and their identity. They were in terrible danger of losing their national existence as the people of the G–d of Israel. However, the Greeks did not understand or appreciate how strong the godly spirit of some of the faithful Jewish people was who still survived in the villages of the country area.

The revolt of the Maccabees, a small minority against a big majority of the greatest empire of that time started in a small village, 20 miles from Jerusalem, called Modi’in. When the Greeks came to the village and forced the Jews to bow to the idol that they placed on the alter which they built there and forced them to eat pork G–d raised his faithful messenger. It was Mattityahu the Hashmonai, the High Priest, the father of the Maccabe family, that created the great Maccabe revolution and revolt and in the name of the G–d of Israel defeated the greatest empire of that time, the Greeks. He called: “Those who are with G–d will come with me”. He killed the Greek soldiers, destroyed their alter and the idol, and burned the pork.

The Maccabees started an heroic revolt which its goal was to liberate the land of Israel and to throw out from the land the Greek rule and their big army and to save the Jewish identity of the nation from the Hellenistic influence. Their main goal was to first liberate the head, the heart and the soul of the Jewish people where the G–d of Israel dwells: the Temple, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. After very difficult battles by a small minority against a big army that the Greeks sent again and again against the Maccabees they defeated the Greek armies, liberated Jerusalem and all the land, purified the Temple, and renewed the worship to the G–d of Israel. It was the G–d of Israel who fought with the Maccabees and gave them the great victory exactly as in the time of Gideon. Then the Maccabees made their godly national struggle against the Hellenists Jews who were the national majority and renewed the faith in the G–d of Israel, His Word and culture among the Jewish people who became faithful to their eternal G–d and creator, the G–d of Israel. The Maccabees saved the Jewish people from losing their G–d, His Holy Temple, Jerusalem the eternal capital of the G–d and people of Israel and the land of Israel that gave G-d them in an eternal covenant.

Israel is now in a very similar and critical time in our history. Israel is surrounded by so many enemies, the Arab Islamic world who want to destroy her and to rob from her the land that G–d gave only to Israel forever and for a godly purpose. A very strong pressure is coming from all the world, especially from the west and the United Nation organization to give away the main biblical parts of the land and the heart and soul of the Jewish people, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem to the foreign and cruel enemies and terrorists, so called “Palestinians”. All of this is coming in a time of weakness of leadership in Israel while so many Israelis are under strong influence from western secular culture.

The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement decided like the Maccabees to again answer the call of the G–d of Israel and the Maccabees and the call of Mattityahu the Hashmonai: “Those who are with G–d will come with me”. This is a godly and heroic struggle to liberate the Temple Mount to purify the holy hill of G–d from Arab Islamic desecration, to rebuild the Temple and to consecrate it to the name of the G–d of Israel so that He can dwell there. The Faithful Movement decided to liberate Jerusalem from Arab Islamic and international pressure and to liberate all parts of the land of Israel which are under Arab Islamic and foreign control. The Faithful Movement decided to save the godly identity of Israel and to again make Israel to be a biblical nation with a biblical mission faithful only to the G–d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to His Word and His Law. This is the same battle as the Maccabees and like the Maccabees we shall win together with the G–d of Israel this critical godly battle.

The exciting godly events that the Faithful Movement will hold on Hannukah will be in this context and an important stage of the heroic campaign of the end-time vessel of G–d. When we shall come in the morning to the tombs of the Maccabees, we shall swear faithfulness to the godly heritage of the Maccabees. We shall light the Maccabees menorah and torch and after this special ceremony we shall run with the torch of the Maccabees, carrying their heritage to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It will be through the same way of the mountains of Bait Heron where the Maccabees made their main battles against the Greeks on their way to liberate the Temple Mount and Jerusalem .In the middle of the plaza of the Jaffa Gate in the old city of Jerusalem we shall demonstrate against the founding of a foreign, terror and anti-godly so called “Palestinian” State in the midst of the holy Land of the G–d and people of Israel which will desecrate the Name of G–d and His Covenant with His people Israel. We shall reject the foreign pressure which is coming from the whole world to divide the land of Israel. The chairman of the movement Gershon Salomon will warn especially President Bush of the U.S.A., the European Union and the U.N. organization from putting pressure on Israel to found a so called “Palestinian” State in Israel. He will tell them in the name of the G–d of Israel that His judgement upon them, which has already started, is soon to come on all of them. Then we shall light again in this place the Channukah menorah with the torch of the Maccabees which we shall bring from their tombs.

From Jaffa gate we shall march in the old streets of the old city to the Temple Mount where we will light the Hannukah menorah with the torch of the Maccabees. We shall swear faithfulness to the G–d of Israel, His Word, and to the eternal heritage of faith and way of life that He gave to His people Israel. We shall swear to continue our godly campaign to rebuild the house of G–d in our lifetime. Gershon will call on the government of Israel to obey the word of G–d to His people Israel, to follow the godly heritage of the Maccabees and to immediately rebuild the Temple and to make it as G–d commanded us a house of prayer, worship and love for Israel and all nations (Isaiah 56).

This event will take place in a very critical time of birth pains of redemption of the people and the land of Israel, like it was in the time of the Maccabees. Everyone should know that despite the critical events which are happening in Israel now, the land and the people of Israel are in the middle of the prophetic godly time of redemption. The pains are just the last stage before the complete redemption of the people and the land of Israel that will open the door before the redemption of all the world and mankind. Like the whole world, the leadership of Israel is unfortunately blind to understand and to accept this. The historical task of the Faithful Movement is to open the eyes of the leadership of Israel and the entire world, to follow the word of the G–d of Israel, and to rebuild His house so that He, His values, Word, Laws, and right way of life will dwell among His people Israel and among His creation all over the world. We shall never stop our historical godly campaign, as G–d expects us to do, until it comes to pass in the life of our generation that needs this revolution more than at any time in the past and G–d will be with us as He was with the Maccabees and our forefathers. In G–d we trust!

Everyone is called on to participate in this historical godly Hannukah event of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement. It will be an important stage in the fulfilment of this great godly vision. If you need more details please call the office at 02-625-1112 or 02-625-1113 or e-mail us. It is time for everyone to be a part of this historical godly campaign. In this opportunity we want to thank so much to so many dear friends of the Faithful Movement and Israel who stand with, encourage and help us in such a devoted way that makes our historical campaign so successful. We are thankful to G-d who put them together with us at such a great and critical time when it is so needed.

Temple Mount Faithful
4 Yochanan Horkanos
P.O. Box 18325
91182 Jerusalem
TEL: +972(2)625-1112
TEL/FAX: +972(2)625-1113

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The triumph of Chanukah

The triumph of Chanukah
By Jeff Jacoby

Dec 26, 2005

Because Chanukah usually occurs in December, it is sometimes thought of as the "Jewish Christmas." It isn't, of course. And yet it is fair to say that the reason for Chanukah's popularity -- especially in America, where it is the most widely observed Jewish holiday after Passover and Yom Kippur -- is precisely its proximity to Christmas.

Chanukah used to be regarded as a minor half-holiday, cheerful but low-key. It has become something bigger and brighter in response to Christmas, which transforms each December into a brilliant winter festival of parties, decorations, and music. Attracted by the joy of the season, not wanting their children to feel left out of all the merriment and gift-giving, American Jews in the 20th century began to make much more of Chanukah than their grandparents ever had. Today Chanukah is well established as part of the annual "holiday season," complete with parties, decorations, and music of its own. Its enhanced status is a tribute both to the assimilating tug of America's majority culture and to the remarkable openness of that culture to Jewish customs and belief.

Ironically, Chanukah was established to commemorate the very opposite of cultural assimilation. It dates back nearly 22 centuries, to the successful Jewish revolt against Antiochus IV, one of the line of Syrian-Greek monarchs who ruled the northern branch of Alexander the Great's collapsed empire. Alexander had been respectful of the Jews' monotheistic religion, but Antiochus was determined to impose Hellenism, with its pagan gods and its cult of the body, throughout his domains. When he met resistance in Judea, he made Judaism illegal.

Sabbath observance, circumcision, and the study of Torah were banned on pain of death. A statue of Zeus was installed in the Temple in Jerusalem, and swine were sacrificed before it. Some Jews embraced the new order and willingly abandoned the God and faith of their ancestors. Those who wouldn't were cruelly punished. Ancient writings tell the story of Hannah and her seven sons, who were captured by Antiochus's troops and commanded to bow to an idol. One by one, each boy refused -- and was tortured to death before his mother's eyes.

The fight to reclaim Jewish religious autonomy began in 167 BCE. In the town of Modi'in, an elderly priest named Mattathias -- in Hebrew, Mattityahu -- refused a Syrian order to sacrifice to an idol. When an apostate Jew stepped forward to comply, Mattathias killed the man and tore down the altar. Then he and his five sons took to the hills and launched a guerrilla war against the armies of the empire.

When Mattathias died, his third son, Judah Maccabee, took command. He and his band of fighters were impossibly outnumbered, yet they won one miraculous victory after another. In 164 BCE, they recaptured the desecrated Temple, which they cleansed and purified and rededicated to God. On the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, the menorah -- the candelabra symbolizing the divine presence -- was rekindled. For eight days, throngs of Jews celebrated the Temple's restoration. "All the people prostrated themselves," records the book of Maccabees, "worshipping and praising Heaven that their cause had prospered."

In truth, though, their cause *hadn't* prospered -- not yet. The fighting went on for years. It was not until 142 BCE -- more than two decades later -- that the Jews finally regained control of their land. Geopolitically, that was the moment of real triumph.

But Chanukah isn't about political power. It isn't about military victory. It isn't even about freedom of worship, notwithstanding the fact that the revolt of the Maccabees marks the first time in history that a people rose up to fight religious persecution.

What Chanukah commemorates at heart is the Jewish yearning for God, for the concentrated holiness of the Temple and its service. The defeat of the Syrian-Greeks was a wonder, but the *spiritual* climax of the Maccabees' rebellion occurred when the menorah was rekindled and God's presence among His people could be felt once again.

Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday not found in the Hebrew Bible and the only one rooted in a military campaign. And yet its focus is almost entirely spiritual, not physical. For example, there is no feast associated with Chanukah, the way there is with Passover and Purim, the two other Jewish festivals of deliverance. Its religious observance is concentrated on flame, nothing more. And the menorah's lights may only be gazed at; it is forbidden to use them for any physical purpose -- not even to read by.

The lack of a physical side to Chanukah is unusual but appropriate. For the Maccabees' war against the Hellenists was ultimately a war against a worldview that elevated the physical above all, that venerated beauty, not holiness; the body, not the soul. The Jews fought to preserve a different view of the world -- one with God, not man, at its center. Had they failed, Judaism would have died. Because they triumphed, the Jewish religion survived. And from it, two centuries later, Christianity was born.

Monday, December 26, 2005

This Hanukkah, Let’s Teach Our Children How to Give

This Hanukkah, Let’s Teach Our Children How to Give

By Gil Troy

Updated December 2005 version of article first published in The Canadian
Jewish News - 28 November 2002, B2-B3

Jews are preparing to celebrate Hanukkah, our festival of lights, during a
particularly dark period. The world seems to have gone mad. Islamic
extremists declare war on the West, and many, especially in Europe and
Canada, deny and dither, afraid to respond too assertively. Palestinians
declare a war of terror on Israel, and too many, including Israelis and
Jews, are quicker to blame Israel, the victim, than the Palestinian
perpetrators. The terror has slowed but not disappeared -- Israel has stood
strong, but there are too many victims throughout the world, still reeling
from the blows in Hadera and Sderot, in London and Bali, where fresh wounds
this year were added to communities already scarred by this scourge. It is
precisely during such bleak moments that we are compelled to celebrate.
Rejoicing in past victories helps put our current troubles in perspective,
reminding us that we have suffered before, and not just survived but
thrived. Moreover, with terrorists trying to rob innocents of any joy, and
any semblance of a normal life, observing holidays becomes yet another act
of defiance, a leap of faith asserting our commitment to stick to the

Nevertheless, even as we celebrate, it behooves us to reassess the meaning
of the holidays how we observe them. Precisely now, during this time of
crisis, we should be rededicating ourselves to Jewish renewal, finding the
joy in Judaism, not just the "oy." Such a reevaluation is particularly
necessary in the case of Hanukkah, a holiday whose meaning has changed over
the years.

While Hanukkah’s basic plot line has remained unchanged for almost two
millennia, the Hanukkah we know and love is a twentieth-century invention.
The central themes we associate with Hanukkah, of heroism and power, both
physical and spiritual, were Zionist ideas; for centuries the Rabbis dwelled
on the miracle of the oil. When the Zionist revolution a century ago
reevaluated Judaism, the Maccabees’ story proved that Jewish history was not
just about the anti-Semites who hated us and the Rabbis who taught us. The
Maccabees were home-grown heroes, rooted in Israel’s ancient soil, and
willing to fight, if necessary, for their homeland, their beliefs, and their
freedom. In fact, before World War I, many Jews used Hanukkah as an
opportunity for giving not receiving, donating the modern equivalent of the
"shekel" the Biblical coin, to the Zionist cause.

At the same time, the other great twentieth-century Jewish revolution, the
rise of North American Jewry, also transformed Hanukkah. As with Passover,
the theme of "freedom" resonated in the land of liberty, giving the ancient
Jewish holiday a contemporary American flavor. But, even more important, the
quirk of scheduling, as well as the anthropological linkage to another
winter-solstice festival of lights, made for the gift-giving frenzy we see

As a delightful holiday of dedication, Hanukkah has long been
child-centered. Traditionally, Jewish communities used Hanukkah to
rededicate themselves to their children’s Jewish education. In that spirit,
parents gave children "gelt" or coins to sweeten the experience of Torah

In the modern world, this festival of gelt-giving and of lights became the
popular Jewish response to Christmas envy, the malady that seized many a
Jewish household each December. In fact, with eight nights, and thus eight
opportunities for gift-giving, Hanukkah became a way for Jews to trump their
Christian neighbors.

Tragically, both Hanukkah and Christmas have become "Festivals of
Consumption," in historian Daniel Boorstin’s apt phrase. A minor sweetener
to facilitate Torah study has become the major focus of the holiday, even as
this traditionally minor holiday has become a major highlight on the North
American Jewish calendar.

This, then, is the year to rededicate Hanukkah, and ourselves, to reorient
the holiday. It is time to rejuvenate the holiday by making it a highpoint
on our tzedakah calendar, our schedule of giving, while teaching our
children about generosity not just materialism. It is not realistic, nor
necessary, to declare a gift-giving ban. Most of us, thankfully, do not have
to choose between self-indulgence and good works. Moreover, to set up false
choices by being too austere, defeats the educational purpose behind the
gelt-giving. But is it too much to ask for this year, that every family,
every school, every Jewish institution, every Hanukkah get-together carve
out some time to think about others who are less fortunate, others with whom
we should share our good fortune? Is it too much to ask that as we teach our
children the joy of receiving gifts from loved ones we also teach them the
joy of giving gifts to strangers?

The smallest of gestures can teach this most important of lessons. During
the traditional Hanukkah grab bag, one additional toy can be thrown into the
hopper, and that toy can be designated for a child in need. Similarly,
children awash in presents could be asked to give one old toy and one new
toy to tzedakah. Relatives from far away who are going to send Hanukkah
checks can be encouraged to allocate part of their gift to a charity of the
children’s choice, or parents and children can agree on a certain percentage
of all gifts to be donated. Even more important, acts of loving kindness,
good deeds, should be encouraged so we go beyond many Jews’ tendency to
assume that the only way to help others is materially.

This Hanukkah, of all Hanukkahs, why not take advantage of the eight nights,
the eight candles, to designate our thoughts, our prayers, and our gifts of
time, talent, and money in the following directions:

On the First Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to the Victims of
Palestinian Terror, hoping to bring a little light into their lives:
Terrorists have slaughtered more than 1000 people, and maimed thousands. We
must adopt families of the victims, embracing them, supporting them,
befriending them, sending both love and money. For more information on how
your family, school, synagogue, friendship circle, etc., can adopt a family,
send a Hanukkah toy basket, or take any number of initiatives visit

To support Camp Koby, a summer camp, in memory of victims of terror for
victims of terror and their siblings, visit

On the Second Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to the Israelis
who are still Missing in Action, honoring their heroism, and that of their
families: In 2004, the painful purgatory for the families of Adi Avitan,
Binyamin Avraham, Omer Souad, and Elchanan Tenenbaum ended, with only one
happy ending. As Tenenbaum was reunited with his family, the survivors of
Adi, Binyamin and Omer mourned, along with everyone who rejects the cruelty
of Hizballah. These four families share a unique bond of anguish with the
families of Ron Arad, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who have
been missing since the 1980s. For more information, including addresses of
public officials to whom you should write, access

On the Third Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to the Children of
Israel, who deserve to live in freedom, free of fear: Israeli society has
proved itself remarkably resilient, but the war, combined with the economic
troubles of the last few years, took its toll. Even as the security
situation has stabilized, and the economic numbers have improved, there is
far too much poverty in Israel, and there are fears that the gap between the
rich and the poor is growing greater than ever. We must be proactive not
just reactive, thinking about how to help improve the quality of Israeli
life. One lovely initiative is the Jade Bar Shalom Books for Israel Project,
an attempt to get new and slightly used English books sent to Israeli
schoolchildren to help compensate for budget cutbacks. Since July 2005, over
41 tons of donated English literature and reference books have been
delivered to over 200 of Israel's Jewish, Druze, Bedouin, Christian, Bahai,
and Muslim public schools. For more information about this project,
including how to set up local chapters, access

On the Fourth Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to the
Institutions of Israel, the well-oiled infrastructure which keeps the
society functioning: Even as we champion new initiatives, we need to
continue supporting agencies that have laid the foundation for the Jewish
state, and help make it thrive. To name only a few, during these difficult
times, Hadassah continues to maintain and modernize Israeli medical
facilities, the Magen David Adom (Israeli "Red Cross") serves all people in
Israel under very trying circumstances, the Jewish National Fund continues
renewing and rebuilding the land.

On the Fifth Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to Our Local
Jewish Community, renewing our collective ability to help us renew ourselves
and our own Jewish identities: Even while fighting fires abroad, we need to
keep our home fires burning, as it were, by supporting our local synagogues,
schools, Federations, agencies. This Hanukkah is a perfect time to
rededicate ourselves to Jewish education, on all levels, for young and old
alike. We all need to be engaged in lifelong learning, the more formal, the
better, the more time-intensive the better. More broadly, let us challenge
ourselves by asking not only how much money am I willing to donate, but how
much time am I willing to volunteer this coming year?

On the Sixth Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to neighbors in
need, bestowing gifts on neighbors who are suffering: Most of us live in
cities marked by huge disparities between haves and have-nots. Those of us
who have should take the time to help those who have less, both Jews and
non-Jews, seeing what we can do to make sure that none of our neighbors go
to bed hungry, cold, or lonely, that none of our neighbors are deprived of
the joy of celebrating this season. Wherever we stand on the War in Iraq, we
should all stand united in support of the American troops, our idealistic,
vulnerable, heroic knights in Kevlar willing to risk so much. Creative ways
of supporting the troops include donating Frequent Flyer Miles so troops on
leave can fly home for free (see ); buying pre-paid
calling cards so soldiers can call their loved ones for free (see ) or sending messages of support
(see ) Given the coincidence between
Hanukkah and Christmas this year, we have a lovely chance to make Christmas
and Hanukkah wishes harmonize, as we celebrate Hanukkah by helping neighbors
celebrate Christmas.

On the Seventh Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to non-Jewish
friends and causes, understanding the power of affirming our common
humanity, and helping one another: It is too easy, during these times of
Jewish stress, to turn inward. These last five years we have certainly seen
the power of Hillel’s teaching, that "If I don’t care for myself, who am I?"
And the strategy worked. The situation has improved dramatically. But let us
not forget the second part which is "And if I only care for myself, what am
I?" The United Way, Centraide, and dozens of other organizations are happy
to help us help others, as are our local Federations and Jewish groups such
as Young Judaea, the Zionist youth movement which organized an impressive
aid convoy from the Northeastern United States to Katrina-stricken New
Orleans. The crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan demands our action and our
outrage. Let us not stand by idly, complaining of others' inactions, yet not
doing anything ourselves. The American Jewish World Service has been a
particular leader in this, combining education, advocacy and intelligent
giving. Check out

On the Eight Night of Hanukkah, let us dedicate ourselves to the Power of
Teaching, of Leading Our Children by Example: If every night, we channel our
children’s charitable impulses, giving a guided tour of the possibilities of
giving, on this, the last night of Hanukkah, let us ask our children to take
the first baby steps in this world of responsibility and great satisfaction,
by asking them to pick a charitable deed, a mitzvah for someone else they
plan on doing.

The time and resources are limited; the work is great – and overwhelming.
Yet our sages teach that it is not upon us to complete all the work, nor are
we free to evade it. No one should feel guilty for failing to carve out a
charitable moment every one of the eight nights – yet no one should feel
free to ignore this challenge completely.

For decades now, kids have greeted each other every morning of Hanukkah with
the question: "What did you get last night?" This year, perhaps, we can also
teach our children to ask: "What did you give?"

Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and the author of Why
I Am A Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today.

Great archaeological discovery on the Temple Mount!

For the First Time a Seal with Hebrew Writing from the First Temple was Discovered on the Temple Mount

Archeologists: “This is an Exciting Greeting from the House of King David”

Recently, an unprecedented archeological find was made among the rubble removed from the Temple Mount. This rare discovery, made by archeologists Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Tzachi Sweig while sifting this rubble
is a broken seal, impression, or bulla written in Hebrew from the time of the First Temple. It was discovered among the earth that the Arabs removed from the Temple Mount during illegal diggings in the area of Solomon’s Stables on the Temple Mount. The discovering of the seal raised great excitement in Israel. The seal was made of baked mud and it’s size is less than one centimetre. It was drawn on a string that tied documents, certificates, and letters. One of the names on the seal ended with the Hebrew letters “yehu”. Dr Barkay stated that this is a direct greeting from the house of King David. He dated the seal to the 6th Century B.C.E. He also said that we can learn new things from the three lines on the seal. The tremendous importance of this discovery is this is the first time that we have a written discovery with Hebrew text from the First Temple age that was discovered on the Temple Mount

The rubble that Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Tzachi Sweig have been sorting through the last few months was removed from the Temple Mount by the Arabs and dumped in the area of the Kiddron Valley and on a garbage dump not far from there. The rubble came from their digging on the Temple Mount when they built an illegal mosque in the holy area of Solomon’s Stables (which were never stables but were an important part of the Second Temple complex). These diggings were undertaken by the Arabs on the Temple Mount to destroy the remains from the First and Second Temple and to convert the Jewish Temple Mount to an Islamic site. This is a terrible desecration of the holy hill of G-d, His Holy Temple, and His Holy Name. It is a terrible crime against the G-d and people of Israel and all the world. When they dumped the rubble from the Temple Mount they not only wanted to desecrate the G–d of Israel and the universe and His Holy Temple and Name but also to contempt them. The late Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori stated that it is an archeologic crime against the Jewish people and the whole world. The Israeli Attorney General, Eliakim Rubenstein stated that it was a kick on the history of the Jewish people. It is a shame for the Israeli authorities and all the world that they did nothing to stop this terrible crime and desecration but preferred to ignore it. The judgement of G-d will soon come not only on the Arabs and Muslims on the Temple Mount who did this barbaric anti-godly crime but on all of those who ignored it. The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement made a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court to immediately stop this terrible crime and the Islamic diggings on the Temple Mount and to prosecute the Arabs who did it. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not do anything to stop it and to prosecute the criminals who made it in the name of the terrorist, so called,” Palestinian” Authority and in the name of the Arab countries. They did it as a part of their battle to destroy Israel and to deny that the Temple Mount , Jerusalem and the land of Israel were given by the G–d of Israel and the Universe to His chosen people of Israel only in an eternal covenant. They are not only fighting against Israel but they are also trying to fight against the G-d of Israel but they have illusions. They have never learned from the experience of other nations who tried to fight against the G-d an d the people of Israel and were defeated and disappeared from the history of mankind. The same will happen to them. The judgement of the G-d of Israel and the Universe is soon to come upon them as well and it will be even more terrible for them. He will never allow anyone in the world to stop His end time prophetic plans and activities with His people Israel as an opening for the redemption of all the world.

This discovery is one of the most exciting discoveries in the last time on the Temple Mount and in the city of King David. About the other discoveries in the city of King David I will write in another separate article later. However, the very exciting discovery on the Temple Mount of the seal and other discovering in the city of King David indicate that we are living in the exciting end times, especially when they come from the house of King David. This is a message from the G–d of Israel to His people to understand and to accept the godly time that they are experiencing and living in now and must no more delay the rebuilding of the Temple and the purification of His Holy mountain and that He is so eager to send Maschiach ben David to be again the King of Israel and all the world. It is no accident that they were discovered at this time and at no other time before. It is a clear message from G-d that it is His timing and that all the end time prophetic events are focussed on the Temple Mount, the City of David and the biblical Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel is the capital of the G-d of Israel and the Universe as well. Everyone is called on to lift his eyes to the Temple Mount and the biblical Jerusalem for other exciting discoveries and events that will change the life of Israel and all the world.

Gershon Salomon
Chairman, The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement

Temple Mount Faithful
4 Yochanan Horkanos
P.O. Box 18325
91182 Jerusalem
TEL: +972(2)625-1112
TEL/FAX: +972(2)625-1113
Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement

Papal Official Wants to Divide Jerusalem

Papal Official Wants to Divide Jerusalem
14:30 Dec 25, '05 / 24 Kislev 5766
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Arab League and a Vatican official separately, but simultaneously, are campaigning for Israel to divide Jerusalem. The PA recently asked to the Pope to help make the capital part of a new state.

EU Jackboot to Stomp Jerusalem!
David Ben-Ariel, Toledo, Ohio, USA/Menashe (22:19, Dec-25, 05)

The increasing calls for the division of Jerusalem are the consequences of Jewish and Israeli sins against God and Israel: woefully neglecting the Temple Mount, letting Jerusalem's abomination of desolation - a Temple Mount without a Temple - shamefully continue and become the deplorable status quo. The Prophet Zechariah foretells the Gentile EU occupation of Jerusalem. Will Jews and Israelis repent and avert such a national disaster or is it too late?

Sunday, December 25, 2005



Sunday, December 25, 2005
(The Eve of Chanukah)

Dear Friends,

This Sunday night, we are lighting the first candle of the Chanukah Holiday. What exactly is this holiday all about, besides eating potato latkes and donuts, spinning the "dreidel", and lighting one additional candle for eight days?

We tell our children the story of that bad wicked king, Antiochus, who captured the land of the Jews, and ordered them to give up their religion, and to worship his Greek gods. We make our children proud that a small band of courageous Jews, the Maccabees, defeated the mighty Syrian-Greek army of King Antiochus, and rededicated the Temple, which had been desecrated. And we explain to our children the reason for lighting an additional candle each day ­ that a small vial of oil, miraculously lasted for eight days in the rededicated Jewish Temple.

The real Chanukah story is not so simple. Some years ago I interviewed a prominent Hebrew University professor of Jewish History, Isaiah Gafni, on my weekly Arutz 7 English Program.

Professor Gafni gave me invaluable background material concerning this period in Jewish History. He explained the internal conflict between the Jews who wanted to remain Jews, and the Jews who wanted to be like all the other nations, and to adopt their customs, their dress, and their religion, the Hellenists. The real battle of the Maccabees was not only against the Syrian-Greek army of Antiochus. It was also against their fellow Jews, who were willing to sell out their identity, the Holy Temple, and to allow Jerusalem to become a Greek City. All this in order to obtain for themselves "the good life", and to become "enlightened citizens of the world."

Some background history is important.

The cultural and political elites of the Jewish Community in Judea in the early 2nd Century B.C.E., that is the vast majority of the priests and nobility, drew their power and hopes for advancement from the ruling Syrian-Greek Empire. They adopted Greek culture, imitated Greek customs, and abandoned their Jewish Heritage. Some of them even went so far as to attempt to remove the marks of their circumcision.

When Antiochus IV came to power in 175 B.C.E., the brother of the reigning High Priest Onias III, a man by the name of Jason, offered the new Greek King many times the tribute that his brother paid. The office of High Priest was actually the most powerful position in Judea at that time. He also made the king an offer to establish within Jerusalem a city-state called Antiochia. He erected a gymnasium in Jerusalem, and other Greek institutions. His actions led to a strengthening of Hellenistic Culture, and to a weakening of traditional Jewish life and religious worship.

Three years later, another leader of the Hellenists, a priest named Menelaus, outdid the corrupt Jason, by offering Antiochus even greater tribute and even more Hellenizing measures.

Menelaus, in order to keep his promises to King Antiochus, plundered the Holy Jewish Temple of its gold vessels, provoking rebellion among his fellow Jews.

These policies of the corrupt High Priests, Jason and Menelaus, were the chief causes of the Jewish rebellion.

When Antiochus IV brutally suppressed this rebellion, he began an official persecution of the Jewish religion in Judea, outlawing the Sabbath, Torah studies, and circumcision. He instituted pagan idolatry in the Holy Temple all this with the advice and connivance of Menelaus and his supporters, the Jewish Hellenists.

It is probably not widely known that Antiochus did not issue anti-religious decrees against any other people than the Jews. He simply conquered many nations politically, but did not attack their religion in any way. It was only against the Jews that he instituted anti-religious decrees.

Why just against the Jews? Historians say that Antiochus IV had no intention of issuing anti-religious decrees against the Jews, but his Jewish friends and collaborators, the Hellenists, advised him to do so.

Today, Israel's modern politicians are very much like the Hellenists of old. We have our own version of disloyal High Priests, and our own Hellenizers, the Sharons, the Peres's , the Beilins and others.

A striking example of Sharon's Hellenistic behavior is the sending of his personal advisor, Dov Weisslass on a secret mission to Washington, to promise U.S. Secretary Rice that Israel will give the Arabs Jewish Gaza as a down-payment on the Saudi Road Map plan. Sharon did this to take away the attention of the Israeli people from the corruption of his self and his sons.

Sharon told the Jewish People that in return for the abandonment of Biblical Gaza, President Bush was going to insure the safety and integrity of Jewish settlement blocs. Just another one of Sharon's lies! There never was any such promise. In fact, President Bush insists that the Arabs need to approve each of Israel's borders!

Since the disengagement from Gaza on August 15, Arab missiles continue to be fired, and specifically on Ashkelon, which was previously not within range. The Arab terrorists are trying to immobilize Israel's most sensitive installations ­ such as the Rothenberg power plant and an oil pipe line from Eilat. These rockets are fired regularly from the former Jewish Communities in Gaza, which Sharon destroyed and leveled in order to obtain his make believe "peace".

The rockets are also continually directed at army bases. The Zikim Army Base just south of Ashkelon was targeted and five Israeli soldiers were wounded in this recent attack.

Former Southern District Commander Tzvi Fogel asked on Israel Radio, "Why can't the IDF display the kind of determination it used in the disengagement, in its efforts to stop the rockets?"


A brilliant analysis of Israel's situation can be found in Caroline Glick's December 23, 2005 op-ed article in the Jerusalem Post. I am quoting from her article verbatim:

"Since he took office, Sharon and his advisers have portrayed the status of Israel's relations with the US as one of unprecedented harmony. On a superficial level, this is in fact the case. But this surface tranquility masks its problematic cause. The appearance of smooth sailing in Israel's relations with Washington is the result of the unprecedented weakness of Israel's position in Washington.

This week Ma'ariv reported that IDF commanders are becoming increasingly disturbed by the Bush administration's meddling in the minutiae of the operation of Israel's passages with Gaza. The State Department consistently brushes off Israel's growing security concerns and intervenes on the Palestinians' behalf. This American interference not only constitutes a political blow to Israel's sovereignty, it also manifests a military blow to Israel's national security.

But there is nothing new here. Since taking office five years ago, Sharon has received Washington's support - such as it is - by abandoning Israel's national interests every time that they are challenged by the institutionally anti-Israel State Department. In every single dispute that has arisen over the past five years - from the Mitchell Report in 2001 to the road map in 2003 to the passages agreement Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rammed down our throats last month - Sharon has abandoned Israel's national security interests at every turn in exchange for public declarations of support for him personally by central Bush administration figures.

Sharon has succeeded in the domestic political arena by presenting the support he has received on a personal level to the public as if it were a national achievement. Israelis have been duped into believing that the trust Sharon demands of them has actually conferred some advantage on the nation when in fact, Israel has never been weaker than it has become under his leadership.

And as with the Americans, so too with the Palestinians. Sharon's success in basing his political fortunes on consolidating his image as a strongman has made it impossible for anyone to impugn his withdrawal from Gaza in spite of the fact that it has been a colossal disaster for Israel's national security. The Kassam missiles that now fall on Ashkelon meet with what can effectively be considered no Israeli response. The seeding of al-Qaida cells in Gaza has been strenuously ignored. And the Hamas takeover of key Palestinian institutions has been greeted by yawns all around."

Was King Antiochus IV such a bad guy after all? According to Professor Gafni, we have to hold the Jewish Hellenists just as responsible as Antiochus, and perhaps even more. After all, Antiochus IV was the head of the Syrian-Greek Empire, the mighty super-power of that age. Possibly, he just wanted to protect his strategic interests by subjugating the Jews. Also, Professor Gafni says the Maccabean revolt came at a most inconvenient time for Antiochus IV, as he was then at war with Egypt.

Sharon and his band of Jewish Hellenists are definitely responsible for the dangerous situation in which Israel now finds itself.

President Bush heads today's greatest superpower. If he feels that America's strategic interests lie with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabs, and is therefore willing to sacrifice the Jewish State, he is making a giant mistake. Bush should not exclude the enemies of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, and Hamas from his global war on terror.

America is a Christian country. Don't forget that the most popular graffiti in all the Arab countries remains unchanged: "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people." As it goes with Israel, so will it ultimately go with the United States.

The great tragedy of Israel's present situation, is that the War of the Maccabees continues to this very day. The Hellenist Jews, Sharon and company, have joined the Arab enemy against their Jewish brethren. Please, dear G-d, send us another Judah Maccabee!

With Blessings and Love for Israel,

Ruth Matar

Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380

Saturday, December 24, 2005

When will Jews learn the lessons of Hanukkah?

A few excerpts from:

Another tack: North to Alaska
Dec. 23, 2005

"In those days before the war," Chaim Weizmann recalled international vexation with the Jews, "our protests were regarded as provocations. Our very refusal to subscribe to our own death sentence became a public nuisance."

Words that could have been spoken today.

This also goes for Weizmann's warning to Anthony Eden: "The fire from the synagogues may easily spread to Westminster Abbey… If a government is allowed to destroy a whole community which has committed no crime… it means the beginning of anarchy and the destruction of the basis of civilization. The powers which stand looking on, without taking measures to prevent the crime, will one day be themselves visited by severe punishment."/

Now if you apply those words to the wanton destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and Shomron, whole communities who committed no crime, we can see that Israel is on the edge of the abyss and the fascist EU will push it over and occupy Jerusalem and let their Roman wolves in sheep's clothing ("peacekeepers") pollute the Holy Land.

When will Jews learn the lessons of the Holocaust? When will Jews learn the lessons of Hanukkah?

David Ben-Ariel

Friday, December 23, 2005

There are PERMITTED PLACES on the Temple Mount for bar/bat mitzvahs!

On A FORUM ON THE MIDDLE EAST it was reported:
"50,000 bar and bat mitzvahs this year at Kotel Ham'aravi" - to which I responded and said they should have all been performed upon the Temple Mount at the permitted places.

One gentleman inquired about this at AskMoses:


I realise it's not practical at the moment, but could you please let me know whether from a halachic point of view it would be permissible for a bar/batmitzvah on the Har haBayit(Temple Mount).



and received the following response:

No, it wouldn't be possible.

Below is an article about this from our searchable knowledgebase. It can be
found at:

Is it permitted to visit the inside of the Temple Mount?
Since the Divine Presence is still present on the Temple Mount and the Temple area, all the laws prohibiting the ritually impure from accessing the Temple remain in effect. We all are presumed to be impure due to contact with corpses (either direct contact, being under the same roof, or the possibility of having trodden on an unknown grave), and therefore are barred from entering the Temple area. Although the actual Temple area doesn't encompass the entire area of the Temple Mount, still, since we are uncertain of the exact location of the Temple area, most Rabbinic experts agree that it is forbidden to enter the entire walled area of the Temple Mount.

If you have further questions, please click reply or logon to AskMoses and ask a live scholar. Thank you for coming to AskMoses!

Simcha Bart

Shame on him for offering such unclean information! For expressing such a ghetto-mentality that would keep Jews at their Gentile/Turkish-designated Wall of Tears rather than upon Judaism's holiest site - the Temple Mount - at the permitted places! Everybody needs to read and understand this holy

"Issue of the Temple Mount"

And what appropriate reading for Hanukkah!

Why Jerusalem is Not Holy to Muslims

Why Jerusalem is Not Holy to Muslims
by Leah Bat-Chaim - May 18, 2004

We often hear the Muslim claim that Jerusalem is their "third holiest city", after Mecca and Medina; and specifically, that this is because our Temple Mount is mentioned in the Koran.

As a result, Muslims are allowed sole control over our Temple Mount - to visit it whenever they choose, to destroy priceless archaeological relics while building additional mosques, etc. - while Jews are only occasionally allowed to visit, and never allowed to utter a prayer there. (Like in the old joke that ends "...but don't let me catch you praying." Except this isn't a joke.)

This situation has always amazed me. Even if Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were truly the "third holiest place" for Muslims, why should that give them more rights than Jews, for whom the Temple Mount is our first holiest place?

But in fact, even the claim of being the "third holiest place" is not true. It cannot possibly be true, for several very logical reasons.

First, the claim of being "the third holiest place" is based on a dream described in the Koran. That's right, not an actual event, just a dream. In the dream, Mohammed "visited" a place referred to as masjid el-aksa, which means "the farthest mosque".

The Arabs claim that this refers to their mosque of that name, located on the Temple Mount.

But the El Aksa Mosque was built about a hundred years after Mohammed. In Mohammed's time, Jerusalem was ruled by the Byzantine Christians, and there were no mosques at all in Jerusalem, not on the Temple Mount or anywhere else. So obviously, Mohammed couldn't have dreamed about a mosque that didn't exist.

Moreover, the very name "El-Aksa" for the imaginary place mentioned in Mohammed's dream proves that the reference could not possibly be to Jerusalem. Because Jerusalem would never be referred to as "the farthest place".

Jerusalem is centrally located. Within the Land of Israel, it is located on the mountain ridge between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. On a larger scale, it is located at the junction point of three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. We see this shown in ancient maps, such as the Medeba map.

In Mohammed's time (or earlier), "the farthest place" would never refer to Jerusalem. It would refer either to a coastal city, such as Jaffa, Acre or Haifa, or it would refer to the end of the Mediterranean Sea – Spain, Gibraltar or Morocco. We see this in the book of Jonah, where the prophet attempts to flee to the end of the earth by going to Jaffa and catching a boat headed for "Tarshish" (usually considered to be Spain).

So, how did the tradition arise of Jerusalem's "holiness" to Muslims?

It's very simple. It has always been a Muslim policy, when conquering any area, to take over the holy places of the local people and to turn them into mosques. It is a way of putting down the conquered people – to show them that Islam will take away the most important thing to them, and there's nothing they can do about it.

They have done this not only in the Land of Israel, regarding both Jewish and Christian holy places, but also in India (regarding Hindu holy places), in Afghanistan (regarding Buddhist holy places), etc.

So, when the Muslims conquered the Land of Israel in the 7th century, they looked for the holiest place around, and found a Byzantine church that was built on the Jewish Temple Mount. So here we have a no-brainer – an opportunity to take away a holy place from both Jews and Christians at the same time!

In addition, the Muslim ruler of the Land of Israel wasn't happy with the fact that he was stuck with a backwater province. So, to make it more attractive to tourists, he named the new mosque "El-Aksa", and told all the tourists that it was the very same one mentioned in the Koran. Voila! The birth of a "tradition".

It would be the equivalent of Christians believing that the founder of their religion was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, or that he grew up in Nazareth, Texas. Obviously, these places are simply named after the original Bethlehem and Nazareth; just as El-Aksa Mosque was named after the imaginary place described in Mohammed's dream.

It's time that more people were aware of the simple facts and logic involved. Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are not holy to Muslims, and never have been, except as an attempt to take them away from the Jews.

©2004 -

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Light of the World

The Light of the World
’Tis the season to celebrate the triumph of liberty over tyranny.

By Emanuele Ottolenghi

Let's embarrass Iran's evil regime. During this festive season, let's light some Hanukkah candles in front of their embassies.

In Jewish tradition, Hanukkah is the festival of lights, because it celebrates the survival of the Jewish people against the onslaught of a tyrannical regime that denied them the freedom to practice their faith freely. Under the leadership of a priestly family, the Jews rebelled and fought against their oppressors. Eventually, they managed to gain back control of Jerusalem's Holy Temple, which their enemies had turned into a pagan shrine where pigs — that most unholy of animals in Jewish tradition — were being sacrificed to pagan gods. Having smashed the idols, so the story goes, the revolt's leaders sought the oil necessary to light the Temple's candelabra, in order to re-consecrate the sanctuary. This they only found in small quantities, enough to last a day, but well short of the minimum eight days needed to prepare the oil in conformity with the needs of worship. And here's the miracle: The tiny oil quantity, meant to last for just a day, kept the lights on for the full eight days.

The Hanukkah lights thus symbolize the triumph of light over darkness, of hope over despair, and of freedom over tyranny. In remembrance, Jews light candles for eight days, starting from one candle the first night and adding one candle each day, to show how freedom's light, and the hopes it feeds, grows from strength to strength.

This symbol makes Hanukkah not only a Jewish holiday. The triumph of liberty over tyranny, through the resolve believers who refuse to bow to a brutal regime is the story of America's Founding Fathers and of their ethos of freedom. Their pursuit of religious freedom brought them to unwelcoming shores. There, despite the odds, they eventually built a free society, where belief, however outlandish and deviant from established church doctrine, would never again become ground for persecution. Americans should therefore find no difficulty identifying with Hanukkah lights. Though a Jewish tradition, their message is universal, a powerful reminder that tyranny can be defeated and freedom restored.

Americans fought for their freedom long ago. But freedom should know no boundaries; and tyranny should be given no quarter. A tyrant rules over Iran today and his mad quest for nuclear weapons is now matched by a murderous rhetoric against the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Despite placing its genocidal designs and its quest for the tools to achieve them in the plain light of day, the decent nations of the world have so far done little to dissuade Iran. With Iran so close to completing a nuclear fuel cycle and with its arsenals now acquiring new and longer-range missiles, the threats of its leaders may soon become more than just bellicose verbal abuse.

Yet, there is little sign that the international community will act. Forget military action, forget sanctions: Even the highly symbolic idea of launching a ban on Iran's soccer team from next year's world cup, though gaining momentum in Europe, has so far been dismissed by FIFA (the international football association in charge of the tournament).

So here's an idea that ordinary citizens can adopt as a reminder to governments that in the end, for any hope to survive, we need freedom to triumph over tyranny. This year, Hanukkah coincides with Christmas. On December 27, the third night of Hanukkah, Hanukkah candles should be lit in public ceremonies across the streets, in front of Iranian embassies around the world. Jewish communities should organize a lighting ceremony in all those capital cities where Iran has an embassy, and in New York it should be done in front of the U.N. building, right beside the Iranian flag. According to Jewish law, anyone can light the Shamash, the candle that is used to light all others. Prominent leaders with bipartisan support should be invited to perform this symbolic act to reaffirm the light of freedom over the darkness of tyranny. And other public figures should endorse this initiative as a message to the Iranian authorities.

The idea was recently launched by two London activists, and is already gaining support and sympathy elsewhere. Rome may soon follow, and so should other capitals of Europe and the Western world.

Since the free world's leaders remain unwilling to give a strong and decisive answer to Iran's tyranny, ordinary citizens should perform this simple gesture of defiance, which for centuries Jewish families and communities across the world have done. This is a reminder that in the end, despite the odds, the light of freedom must, and therefore can, triumph over the darkness of tyranny.

— Emanuele Ottolenghi teaches Israel studies at Oxford University.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Whose Jerusalem? Whose Israel?

The fact that some dare question this today is the dreadful result of the Jewish and Israeli peoples' horrible sin against both God and man. The sin that stinks to High Heaven is the miserable failure to immediately liberate and annex Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael without apology in 1967. The world should have no doubt whose Jerusalem and whose Land.

This national sin must be repented of or Jerusalem will suffer EU occupation and Roman troops will again pollute the Holy Land! Jerusalem's abomination of desolation - a Temple Mount without a Temple - must end. Let every Jew and Israeli turn from such woeful neglect of the Temple Mount and take such matters into their hands, taking the Law and the Prophets to heart. Now is better than never. God is a forgiving God. What better time to do something like this than Hanukkah? "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

David Ben-Ariel

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Biblical Robe Produced for Use by High Priest in Holy Temple

Biblical Robe Produced For Use by High Priest in Holy Temple

By Ezra HaLevi

After much hard work and research, the Techelet (azure blue) robe of the High Priest has been completed by the Temple Institute and it is hoped to be fit to be worn in the Third Temple.

The blue coat, or me'il techelet as it is called in the Torah, sports 72 golden bells alternating with 72 pomegranates attached around its hem, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet wool.

The project was researched and undertaken by skilled artisans over the past three years. It will join the already completed ephod and choshen (breastplate), featuring the 12 precious stones associated with the 12 tribes of Israel. They are located at the Temple Institute in Jerusalem's Old City, and it is hoped they will be found fit to be used by the High Priest in the third temple.

Master weaver Yehudit Avraham wove the robe using the Navajo "two-sided" weaving technique. The Techelet dye used is the most widely accepted of the blue dyes thought to be the Biblical Blue.

The commandment to make such a robe appears in Exodus 28: 31-35: "And you shall make the robe of the ephod entirely out of blue wool. Its head-opening shall be folded over within it, its opening shall have a border all around of weaver's work - it shall be for it like the opening of a coat of mail, that it should not be torn. And you shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet wool, on its hem all around, and gold bells between them, all around; a gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, all around. It must be on Aaron in order to minister. Its sound shall be heard when he enters the Sanctuary before Hashem and when he leaves, so that he not die."

"This is the first robe woven entirely out of techelet in nearly 2,000 years," Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute told Arutz-7. "Next week we shall begin to observe the holiday of Chanukah, which marks the rededication of the Second Temple in the days when the wicked King Antiochus rose up against the Jewish people with decrees meant to separate them from G-d and His Torah. Chanukah also marks the day when the original desert tabernacle was completed. Our sages emphasize that every year on Chanukah, when we kindle the festive lights, there's a sublime illumination of holy light that is released into the world - a continuation of the original hidden light of creation and a spark of the light of the holy Menorah in the Temple. Above all, Chanukah is the time of miracles and thanksgiving to G-d. The completion of this sacred garment marks a great step forward towards the renewal of the Divine service in the Holy Temple."

Click here to listen to Rabbi Richman speak about the robe on Temple Talk.

In the near future, the Institute plans to embark on another major project: the production and supplying of the Torah-specified white garments of the ordinary priests for every male Jewish descendant of Aaron. "Every Kohen from all over the world, will be given the opportunity to register and order his own uniform so that he can be ready to serve in the rebuilt Holy Temple," Richman said.

Click here for additional photographs of the meil and here for more information on the priestly garments.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Germany and the Vatican covet the Temple Mount!

by Barry Chamish

Just a few weeks ago, the following was the issue of the day in Israel:

Report: Israel to hand control of Jerusalem holy site
to Vatican
Haaretz November 6, 2005
By Amiram Barkat
Israel is to give the Vatican control over one of the
most sacred Christian sites in Jerusalem, several
European newspapers have reported recently. According
to the reports, Israel will give the Holy See
possession of the Coenaculum, or the Room of the Last
Supper (also known as the Upper Room or the Cenacle),
on Mount Zion.

In response to the news, I wrote an article which proved the handover of the Old City of Jerusalem was a done deal. In fact, it was one of the secret clauses of the first Oslo "peace" accord signed by the Israeli government.
A week after, I received a phone call from a rabbi of the Diaspora Yeshiva. He explained that the Tourism Minister was visiting their school the next day and he was trying to fill the study hall to prove to the government that their yeshiva was too valuable to be given away.
I replied that I would not partake in such a spectacle. I might come if the students forcibly barred the Minister or any government official from entering the property. Hadn't he learned anything from Gush Katif? The government of Israel couldn't care less about him and could care even less how many students he can pack into a room. Mount Zion was a litmus test of how much opposition the government and its corrupted army could expect when all of the Old City was turned over to the Vatican.
He said I must talk to the headmaster of the Yeshiva, Rabbi Goldstein.
An hour later, I was honored by a call from Rabbi Goldstein. Soon, however, I was in despair. As far as he knew, the Vatican wanted to turn his school into a money making tourist site and the Ministry of Tourism was being enticed by the prospects of millions of Catholic tourists visiting Israel to see the Last Supper room.
I did my best to wake the Rabbi. I told him that tourism was the facade, not the issue. I tried to explain the global forces using their muscle to get the Jews out of Jerusalem's holy sites. I noted that the government of Israel was the worst enemy of Judaism and that he must block the entrance of their representative with whatever force he could muster.
However, as with the Rabbis of Gush Katif, my words were wasted. Mount Zion will give up without a real fight. You watch.
Nonetheless, the truth marches on. A brilliant Jerusalem-based German-born historian, Dr. Asher Edar, also honored me with a conversation. Vive le difference:

BC - Why is the Vatican suddenly so interested in getting its hands on Mount Zion real estate?

AE - There's nothing sudden about it at all. In fact, the roots of the desire go back 1200 years to the time of Charlemagne. He was the Vatican's military tool for converting Europe to Roman Catholicism.
He succeed magnificently and created what is known as the Holy Roman Empire but what was then called The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation. Charlemagne's capital was at Aachen and there he built his first cathedral.

BC - Excuse me but, so?

AE - Next to the yeshiva on Mount Zion is the Dormition Abbey, built by the Germans starting in 1906. It is an exact duplicate of Charlemagne's Aachen Cathedral.

BC - How did that happen?

AE - Kaiser Wilhelm II came to Jerusalem in 1898 to build two churches, a modest Lutheran Church of minor religious significance and a magnificent Catholic structure on Mount Zion. In 1898, the ruler of a nation didn't make such a difficult journey to a diplomatic backwater unless it was extremely important. The Vatican was worried that the British had an operating church in Jerusalem and its presence could solidify and spread. The Vatican provided much of the funds for the trip and the bribe to the Turkish Sultan, Khamid. Since Wilhelm had a Protestant population to appease, he put up a smaller Lutheran church as well, but the real prize was Mount Zion.

BC - Why all the money and trouble if the Vatican gets the real estate? What was in it for Germany?

AE - Germany has never given up its dream of reviving the Holy Roman Empire. At the height of that empire, their greatest king, Frederick the Great, marched into Jerusalem and became the city's king. Jerusalem was once part of the Holy Roman Empire and the dream is that it will be again. In this empire, the delineation of powers was strict. The pope was the spiritual leader, but the political leader was whoever ruled Germany. This dream led straight to World War I.

BC - Where do the Jews fit in all this?

AE - Nowhere. Herzl tried to get a role for the Jews and met with Wilhelm in Jerusalem. Wilhelm would have nothing to do with him. His goal was to save Jerusalem for a Christendom led politically by Germany and spiritually by Rome. Nothing has changed except now the pope is a determined German. The Vatican want the Jews out of the Old City and apparently our government is agreeing with them.

Now a history lesson with little comment:
Encyclopedia—Frederick II, Holy Roman emperor and German king
King of Jerusalem
Having married (1225) Yolande, daughter of John of Brienne, he claimed the crown of Jerusalem, but again postponed his departure on crusade. He further offended the pope by reasserting at the Diet of Cremona (1226) the imperial claim to Lombardy. The Lombard League was immediately revived, but open conflict did not break out until 1236. On the insistent demand of the new pope, Gregory IX, Frederick embarked on a crusade (Sept., 1227), but fell ill, turned back, and was excommunicated.
In 1228 he finally embarked. His “crusade,” actually a state visit, was a diplomatic victory. At Jaffa he made a treaty by which Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem were surrendered to the Christians, with the Mosque of Omar being left to the Muslims. In 1229 he crowned himself king at Jerusalem.,_Holy_Roman_Emperor
In 1226, by means of the Golden Bull of Rimini he confirmed the legitimacy of rule by the Teutonic Knights under their headmaster Hermann von Salza over the Prussian lands east of the Vistula, the Chelmno Land.
At the time he was crowned Emperor, Frederick had promised to go on crusade. In preparation for his crusade, Frederick had, in 1225, married Yolande of Jerusalem, heiress to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and immediately taken steps to take control of the Kingdom from his new father-in-law, John of Brienne. However, he continued to take his time in setting off, and in 1227, Frederick was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for failing to honor his crusading pledge - perhaps unfairly, at this point, as his plans had been delayed by an epidemic. He eventually embarked on the crusade the following year (1228), which was seen on by the pope as a rude provocation, since the church could not take any part in the honor for the crusade, resulting in a second excommunication. Frederick did not attempt to take Jerusalem by force of arms. Instead, he negotiated restitution of Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem to the Kingdom with sultan Al-Kamil, the Ayyubid ruler of the region.


Some forty knights were received into the new Order at its foundation by the King of Jerusalem and Frederick of Swabia, who selected their first Master in the name of the Pope and Emperor. The knights of the new confraternity had to be of German birth (although this rule was occasionally relaxed), a unique requirement among the Crusader Orders founded in the Holy Land. They were drawn predominately from the noble or knightly class, although this latter obligation was not formally incorporated into the rule until much later. Their blue mantle, charged with a black cross, was worn over a white tunic, a uniform recognized by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and confirmed by the Pope in 1211. The waves of German knights and pilgrims who followed the Third Crusade brought considerable wealth to the new German Hospital as well as recruits. This enabled the knights to acquire the Lordship of Joscelin and, soon thereafter they built the castle of Montfort (lost in 1271), the rival of the great hospitaller fortress of Krak des Chevaliers. Never as numerous in the Holy Land as either the Hospitaller or Templar Orders, the Teutonic knights were nonetheless a formidable power.

© Guy Stair Sainty

The origins of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher have been disputed for centuries. In this examination of the history of what is today a major Catholic Order of Knighthood, under the direct protection of the Holy See, it has been my intention to separate fact from fantasy and outline the historical development of this great institution. It now has a world-wide mission to support the Holy Places, particularly in Jerusalem, and has approximately eighteen thousand members across the globe. [1]

Two Christian sources who are certain the goal of the "peace" process is to establish a German/Vatican capital in Jerusalem are David Ben-Ariel, and the Philadelphia Trumpet:

Looking to Jerusalem

We have also said that the next pope would have his sights set on Jerusalem. Ratzinger was known for statements he made concerning a reconciliation of sorts with the Jews. That reconciliation being, “the moment in which Israel too will say yes to Christ.” After all, the “star points to Jerusalem,” Ratzinger said once. Watch for this new pope to have a more fervent interest in Israeli politics and affairs surrounding Jerusalem.

For the rest of the story:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Every Jewish leader should call for the Temple's construction

Feiglin:"Throwing Out Candidates You Don´t Like is Democratic?"
19:04 Dec 14, '05 / 13 Kislev 5766
By Hillel Fendel

Two Likudniks have submitted a party court petition, demanding that Moshe Feiglin be barred from running for leader. Currently running third in the 4-man race, Feiglin says the move is undemocratic.

The two Likud members, Moshe Ifregan and Eli Hazan, say that Feiglin represents an undemocratic outlook and vision that does not correspond to the Likud Party platform.

Their petition states that Feiglin encouraged refusal of army orders during the Disengagement - an alleged negation of the Likud platform's mention of the supremacy of the rule of law. They also quote Feiglin's recent interview with the Yediot Acharonot weekly supplement "Seven Days." Feiglin reportedly said there that his vision is one of a State that encourages the emigration of Arabs from the country, and the construction of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple)..../

The vision of every Jewish leader ought to be one of a State that encourages the emigration of Arabs from the country, and the construction of the Holy Temple. Every Jewish leader should call for the Temple's construction and mean it - not just to get votes, but to bless the Jewish homeland and all nations. Kol hakavod to Moshe Feiglin for raising the holy issue that it may soon become a reality. Bibi used to talk tough about restoring Jewish worship upon the Temple Mount but once elected he forgot about the Temple Mount and continued the Oslo treason.

The Western Wall is Muslim Property?

The Western Wall is Muslim Property?

Kislev 13, 5766/December 14, 2005

A major story in Israel this week reports the Palestinian claim that the Kotel, or Western Wall, is Muslim property. This should come as no surprise to all those who understand the true nature of the spiritual struggle being waged over the Temple Mount, Israel's heart and soul. It is a struggle which emanates from Mount Moriah and reverberates throughout the entire land; a struggle with implications not only for Jews the world over, but for all humanity. The prophet Isaiah, referring to the Third Temple, says that "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." Yet today the forces of Islam celebrate the Temple's destruction and keep on destroying… finding more and more creative ways to rewrite history and fabricate a mythical Jerusalem where Jews never existed.

While no one should be surprised, many are indignant, dismayed and shocked at this new level of Moslem chutzpah. But as for us, we expected it to happen. And what disturbs us more is the reaction people are having to this affront to the honor and sanctity of the Western Wall. But what about the holy Temple Mount itself? Where was everyone while the Moslems have been systematically destroying remnants of the Holy Temple from the Temple Mount for years now? Why should we be surprised if the Moslems claim the kotel, too, as their own, if they have destroyed the Holy Temple all over again in broad daylight, under the open skies of the State of Israel, and this destruction has gone unchecked and unchallenged? The silence at the Temple Mount's degradation has been deafening. Why shout about the Western Wall?

We confront this provocative and important subject in this week's edition of Israel National Radio's new expanded, 2 hour weekly Temple Talk internet radio program. The show also features a discussion of the patriarch Yaakov's experience in Beit El, and his singular connection to the Third Temple, as well as a special spiritual insight into the secret of Chanukah… and much more.

Temple Talk can be heard or downloaded and saved from our Multimedia page. Live listeners to the show on Mondays now have the opportunity to communicate with the program's hosts directly during the broadcasts, to comment or pose questions. To learn more about Israel National Radio's "Virtual Studio" capabilities and technology, click here.

Please take note of an important new feature on the Temple Institute's web site, : An internal search engine which locates any word or phrase found on the site. This device can be accessed from the navigation bar at the top of each page, or from the bottom of each page. We hope this will enhance and improve your use of the site.

With blessings from Jerusalem,
Rabbi Chaim Richman - Yitzchak Reuven
The Temple Institute

PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

The Arabs play 'bakshish' card

The Arabs play 'bakshish' card

December 14, 2005

By Joseph Farah

© 2005
You've all heard of Arab traders.
They are famous throughout the world.
It's not an ethnic stereotype. It's a cultural reality. I say this as an American of Arabic heritage – someone with close to 30 years of journalistic experience covering this part of the world.
Just when you think you have finally struck a deal with an Arab, they play what I call the "bakshish" card.
There are many ways to explain the term "bakshish." It can mean a bribe for the seller for cutting you such a great deal. It can mean a "tip" or gratuity. Or, more precisely, I have always thought of it as a way to up the ante, raise the stakes, even nix a deal that is already all-but consummated.
Here's the way it works in the real world. Picture yourself at an Arab bazaar. You find a nice item you wish to purchase. You haggle back and forth over the price for what seems like an interminable time. Finally, when you think you have agreement on the purchase price, the seller says: "You forgot about the bakshish." Then it starts all over again.
Last weekend, the Palestinian Authority played its bakshish card in its continuing efforts to raise the stakes in demands on Israel for land concessions. The PA's Office for Religious Affairs claimed the Western Wall – revered by Jews since A.D. 70 as the last structural remnant of the Second Temple.
You've seen the pictures of Jews worshipping at the Western Wall, sometimes called the "Wailing Wall." You've seen the TV video streams of Jews sticking prayers scrawled on tiny pieces of paper into the cracks of the wall. For nearly 2,000 years, it has been considered along with the Temple Mount it supports the only truly holy site for Jews all over the world.
Now, the Arabs say it legitimately belongs to Muslims only. Bakshish.
This shouldn't be surprising, given Muslims claim no Jewish temple ever stood upon the Temple Mount, despite overwhelming archaeological and historical evidence to the contrary.
So now the Western Wall, the most Jewish piece of real estate in the world, is on the negotiating table.
It's a move so audacious, it is mind-boggling.
But, ultimately, Israelis have only themselves to blame.
A little history is in order.
In 1967, Israel was surrounded by Arab armies hell-bent on a coordinated attack by Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other Arab countries. Badly outnumbered and outgunned, Israel's only hope was a pre-emptive attack, which was launched June 6. In a lightning-like strike, Israeli forces attacked first on three fronts. In what we now call the Six-Day War, Israel rolled up the Egyptian Army, the Syrian Army and captured Judea and Samaria from Jordan, Gaza and Sinai from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. Israel could have gone much further – all the way to Damascus and Cairo if the Jewish state had desired.
Most significantly, however, Israel captured all of Jerusalem – including the Temple Mount.
And what did the Israelis do with the only Jewish holy site in the world? Nearly immediately, after this miraculous, hard-fought victory, Israel's secular leaders turned administrative control over the Temple Mount to Muslims.
They apparently believed this act of "good will" would be perceived as a demonstration that the Jewish state only wanted to live in peace with its neighbors. But the Arabs saw it as an act of appeasement, a show of weakness, not strength.
In effect, Israel turned over to the Arabs the most Jewish piece of real estate to the Muslims – a move that chipped away at Israel's very legitimacy. You see, if the Jews don't have an absolute claim to the Temple Mount, how can they defend Jewish control of Tel Aviv or anything else?
It was not only a huge strategic and political blunder that has never been rectified, it was also, in my personal opinion, an offense to the God of Israel – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Most Israeli political leaders don't really believe they have a biblical mandate to the land. They don't want to defend that. They don't want to stand on that promise. They prefer to rely on their own military might and compromise.
If Israel has a claim to any land in the Middle East, and I believe it does, that claim begins with the Temple Mount. Turning over control to radical Muslim clerics hasn't bought any good will for Israel. On the contrary, it has brought the Jewish state 38 years of terror and strife.

Every time Israel makes a land concession to the Arabs, it encourages more demands, higher stakes, the dream of annihilation – more of the old bakshish.


Joseph Farah is founder, editor and CEO of WND, a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host, and a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate. His latest book is "Taking America Back." He also edits the weekly online intelligence newsletter Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, in which he utilizes his sources developed over 30 years in the news business.

"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest." Isaiah 62:1.