by Hillel Fendel
The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria has published a new, colorful, 3-D map of Israel, topographically depicting the dangers of a Palestinian state overlooking Tel Aviv.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the feeling at the Yesha Council is that a 3-D map is worth a million words – and can explain with a glance how Judea and Samaria tower above the Gush Dan (Tel Aviv) area of Israel, in which live millions of Israelis.
Similarly, the Golan Heights are clearly shown towering above the Galilee, just as the mountains of Jordan stand much higher than the Jordan Valley. The surrounding of Jerusalem on three sides by PA-controlled areas is also plainly depicted.
The map is being or will be disseminated by mail, in schools, and elsewhere, and a Powerpoint presentation is in the works as well.
Yesha Council Director-General Naftali Bennet says, "The map is designed to make clear to the citizens of greater Tel Aviv that Judea and Samaria is not far away, but rather overlooks their back yards. Most of the population is unaware of this, because maps are generally two-dimensional. Residents of Kfar Saba and Raanana might not be happy to find themselves literally under the thumb of a State of Palestine, and it's time they knew of this danger."
Work is underway on an English version of the map. The Hebrew edition is currently available; see <www.myesha.org.il> for details.
The flip-side of the map contains the following 11 points that the Yesha Council feels must be emphasized: The area of Judea and Samaria comprises 23% of the State of Israel. The area is full of cities and sites from various periods in Jewish history, including Hevron, the Herodion, Beit El, Shilo, Shechem, etc. Some 330,000 Jews live in Judea and Samaria, divided approximately equally among hareidim, religious-Zionist, and secular. Only 3% of the area of Judea and Samaria is built up. Areas of Judea and Samaria surround Jerusalem on three sides. 43% of Judea and Samaria are under either full Palestinian Authority control or administrative PA control. Over 90% of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria live under PA control and vote for the PA parliament. The mountains of Judea and Samaria are the central mountain range of the Land of Israel, running 140 kilometers from the Jezreel Valley in the North to the Arad Valley in the Negev. The width of the Judea and Samaria mountains is 55 kilometers, and the width of Israel's coastal plane near Tel Aviv is only 16 kilometers. Yesha's main north-south route, Highway 60, is also the national watershed line, and runs mostly along the same route taken by the Patriarchs in the Bible. The mountain aquifer, which supplies half of Israel's water, is in Judea and Samaria.
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Matisyahu's views on Hahanka
The real weapon is not ammunition but ideas. Ideas win wars.
The Chanukah uprising was brought about because the Seleucid Hellenist empire (an offshoot of an empire left behind by Alexander of Macedonia) was imposing its civilization of Hellenism on a nation that believed in one God. Hellenists offered pleasures and a good life — a sensual, body-oriented civilization inhabited with many gods and deities. It sounds quite tempting. But with all its temptation, it negates the deepest recesses of the human search. Human beings search for ideas, for inspiration, for one great redeeming hope that will make us one. This is represented by the belief in one God, as opposed to the many infighting, quarreling deities of the Greek Olympus. True, many gods, with their politics and failings, reflect pretty well human society.
But humans have souls. We all search for one spirit that will unite us, as the ancient Jewish prophets of the Bible said more than 3,000 years ago — that all nations will together serve one God. This idea of unity, of oneness at our core, gives mankind hope and courage against all oppressive regimes and the radicalized, death-obsessed, fragmented dark forces that are out there. This idea, despite all the terror and intimidation, wins: the human belief in one God who created us all in His image. Even though pagan gods are much more visible, accessible and tangible, and one God has no image and cannot be described, this vision that has no shape, the one hope, will prevail. And no weapon or act of terror can overcome this hope.
2. Had the Maccabees lost, the world as we know it wouldn't have existed. We would have probably continued to live in a world inhabited by many gods living on Olympus and fighting with each other, as opposed to a world in which people believe in one God.
This was an observation made by Bertrand Russell. He noted that had the Maccabees been defeated, and glamorous pagan Hellenism would have stomped out the faith in one invisible God, the idea of monotheism would have perished in history. Had this happened, to this very day we would have been fragmented, deeply believing that wars are the right way to go, because even gods fight among themselves up there on Olympus. A world that believes in one God is a world that believes that we share the same world, that we live in the same universe.
3. Hellenists were wise, but they rejected spirituality. They believed in body, not in soul. Body without a soul is dead. Wisdom without spirit is dead, too. We want our children not only to be smart. We want them to be alive.
Lighting the menorah, the candelabra with eight branches for eight candles, represents the eight days it burned in the restored Temple with just a scarce amount of oil. But the very symbol of burning light is the symbol not only of victory but also of the light restored at the Temple. Dark forces can come and destroy the Temple. They can desecrate it and make it lie in ruins. And when we conquer the Temple back, the most important thing we want to do is rekindle the light of inspiration, of hope, of wisdom.
Hellenists represented a civilization of the mind, of philosophy, of technology, of achievement. But they didn't believe in spirituality, as we understand it. At the end of the day, mankind needs spirituality, a light that will burn in the Temple, light that we need to preserve and to keep burning every single day. We want our children not only to be successful. We want them to have the sense of the sacred — the sacredness of life, of love, of relationship, of humanity.
4. Light is not an obvious thing. In a dark, cold world, light is something worth fighting for, and sometimes even sacrificing one's life for.
We see a lot of darkness around us. And mostly what we do is sigh and escape into our own little worlds where we keep ourselves busy. Do we have the courage to acknowledge that there is light in this world? That it has chance? Are we willing to put our lives on the line for the hope that this world can and will become a better place?
5. Even if you have just a little bit of light, light it up! Don't wait to have enough of it. Because it will never happen.
When Maccabees won, they found the Temple ruined and defiled. Remnants of pagan sacrifices, idols were strewn all over. They cleaned it up and started looking around for an amphora full of extra virgin oil that was not desecrated. They found a little jug that would be enough only for one day. Their dilemma was this: wait for a week until a new supply of pure oil will come, or light it up, even though it will inevitably go out after a day and make many people disappointed. They decided to light it up. And the miracle of Chanukah is that the oil in the little jug burned for as long as eight days, not one. We learn from it — you have little light? This light won't be enough to illuminate the world? Light up just one candle! Don't wait. If you wait, it won't come, ever. Do now the little you can.
Related Article: Chanukah's Secret to Greatness
6. Each day must bring more light in the world. If there will be the same light as yesterday, the world will get darker by the day.
Each day of Chanukah it is customary that we add one more candle, so that we go from one candle on the first day to eight candles on the eighth day. By this we signify that the miracle and the wonderment grew from day to day. But it also means something simpler — the amount of light that was good enough yesterday is not enough anymore for today. And what's good enough today is not good enough for tomorrow. We need more. More light. More love. More truth. Every day we need more. Because we grow. If we are the same today as we were yesterday, it means that today didn't exist for us.
7. Sharing light with others requires courage. Courage to believe in light, because unfortunately, many people give in to the darkness.
Chanukah lights are lit when it gets dark, and it is a custom to light them in a public domain, or at least in a way that people on the street can see them. Because it's nice to sit in your living room discussing issues, arguing and creating a better world. But what about bringing the light out? Stepping out of the comfort of your own house and roaming the streets helping others? Making their night a bit brighter?
8. Give yourself a chance to be a hero!
Most of us give up because we tell ourselves, "Who am I to do this? Let me be the way I am. Let me drag my feet through life, oppressed by habit and quiet desperation." You can rebel! You can be free to choose to live your life for the truth!
Matisyahu's annual Festival of Lights concert series takes place Nov. 29-30, Dec. 4-Dec. 5 at the Brooklyn Bowl and the Music Hall of Williamsburg. For details, visit http://matisyahuworld.com.