Netanyahu announces additional coronavirus restrictions and ‘Gaza is Everywhere!’: Anti-Zionist Activists Latch on to George Floyd’s Death to Bash Israel and The Great Threat to America, and to American Jewry By Caroline B. Glick and parsha Shalach and Just because G-d is a forgiving G-d doesn't mean you don't have to follow G-d's instructions
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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Knowing that G-d forgives you doesn't give you the right not to listen
Knowing that G-d forgives doesn't give you the right not to listen
Great lessons for today are to be leaned from the inspirational stories of the bible.
Against the backdrop of the greatest Exodus in history, the Jews of 3333 years ago spend 40 years in the desert, going from place to place and essentially waiting for a Generation to die.
If you think I lockdown was bad, imagine it extending for 40 years!
One of the most famous inspirational stories is the story of the spies that went into the land of Israel, as advance men. The spies were either sent by G-d or by Moses depending on which version of the bible story you understand. It is not clear at all from the narrative. Arguments are made both ways and it is purposely left unclear as to whether they were on a mission from G-d (forgive me Blues Brothers movie) or Moses making an executive decision.
Whichever version of the story you believe, the Torah (bible) is very clear that the spies failed their mission. The ten spies that spoke against the land of Israel all died in a plague. All of the spies, except Joshua and Caleb, were struck down with a plague and died.
Obviously they didn't get a good result, but what lessons are we to learn today from the incident, which is why the Bible is a direct "ways" from G-d to teach us lessons for our time.
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, is the founder of the Tanach Study Center www.tanach.org, is an internationally acclaimed Bible scholar and pioneer of Jewish Education on the internet. Rabbi Leibtag states that the people were not ready to do the Mitzvahs in the land of Israel. According to the Rabbi, it's not enough for Jewish people just to live in the land, they have to accept G-d's instructions regarding the Mitzvahs fully in their heart.
The people including the spies didn't have that in their heart. Knowing that G-d forgives doesn't give you the right not to listen to the commandments. This is the lesson we are still learning today. Although G-d is a forgiving and loving G-d, he also has a set of instructions that we don't follow at our own risk.
Speaking of following the instructions here is a quick story, though not biblical.
The Wailing What?
Maureen and Patrick O'Connor are visiting Jerusalem for the first time and are pretty darn excited. On their first day, they get into a taxi and say to the driver, "Our friends told us of a very interesting site in Israel that we must visit. We can't remember the name, but could you please take us to the place where the Jews do their crying."
So the taxi driver promptly took them to the Income Tax Authority building.
The Portion of Shlach Lecha
The portion of Shlach Lecha
One Unusual Letter Reveals a Complete Story
The portion of Shlach Lecha deals with one of the most painful incidents which occurred in the desert as the Children of Israel made their way to the Land of Israel.
The Children of Israel are within reach of the Promised Land. In order to plan the strategy needed to conquer the land, the leaders of the 12 tribes are sent to collect intelligence.
The spies embark on their mission and upon its completion, they return and present their report to Moshe and the people.
Each of the spies saw the very same things but their interpretation of what they saw was different, and so they presented a majority report and a minority report. Ten spies reported that the local population was strong and well-fortified and that it would be impossible to defeat them in battle. The other two spies, Joshua and Calev, saw things differently. As Calev declared "Let us go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it (Numbers 13;30)."
The punishment for this lack of faith is pronounced immediately. The Children of Israel will continue their trek in the desert for 40 years until the entire generation which violated their covenant with G-d will pass away. The next generation will merit entering and possessing the Land.
The Talmud (Tractate Sotah 37) lists this covenant as one of the eight covenants (britot) between the Almighty and the Children of Israel and this is alluded to in the unusual manner in which the letter "chet" (the numerical value of the letter chet is 8) is written in the word "vayishchatem bamidbar"- and He slaughtered them in the desert" (Numbers 14;16).
And in the words of the Baal Haturim: the broken letter "chet" shows that they violated the Torah which they agreed to in eight covenants and therefore G-d gave permission to His ministering angels to administer the punishment for their sin and break them.
Coronavirus Cabinet Ministers unanimously decide on steps to limit gatherings and social functions.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today convened the Coronavirus Cabinet to discuss further restrictions required in light of high morbidity data.
Coronavirus Cabinet Ministers unanimously decided on the following steps to limit gatherings and social functions:
- Halls and cultural performances: up to 250 participants.
- Circumcisions and funerals: up to 50 participants.
* Up to the 16th of Tammuz, July 9th 2020 - up to 250 participants. The public and hall owners are called to hold them as much as possible in open spaces. * From the 16th of Tammuz to the 10th of Av, July 31st 2020 - up to 250 participants in open spaces. In confined spaces, up to 50% of occupancy and no more than 100 participants.
- Prayers and other gatherings: up to 50 people.
- Higher education - switching to online exams (except for cases that have been agreed upon between the Health Ministry and Higher Education Council).
- Public sector work - 30% work from home (in accordance with arrangements to be determined by the Civil Service Commissioner and with administrative flexibility for the office Director).
'Gaza is Everywhere!': Anti-Zionist Activists Latch on to George Floyd's Death to Bash Israel
Anti-Israel activists on social media have recently launched a campaign that attempts to draw parallels between police violence in the US against African Americans and the alleged violence against Arabs by the Israel Police and the IDF.
Following the police's killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, anti-Israel activists immediately began drawing comparisons with what they describe as systematic and deadly Israeli brutality against Arabs, and that in some cases, Israeli policemen trained the US cops to be employ brutality.
One image, typifying the campaign, depicts a photoshopped image of George Floyd on the security barrier between Israel and parts of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The anti-Israel German Das Palästina Portal published an article titled "Gaza is everywhere! What the current unrest and protest in the US have to do with Israel," arguing that police brutality can be attributed to an "ongoing Israelization of the world."
Several groups have applied violent terms such as "Intifada" (Arabic for uprising) to the current eruption of protests in the wake of Floyd's death.
The term Intifada was the name given to the first and second Palestinian violent riots in the late 1980s and early 2000s, which saw daily terror attacks, including suicide bombings, stabbings and shootings against Israeli civilians that claimed thousands of lives.
By describing the current wave of protests as a "black intifada", the groups' statements appear to constitute an incitement to violence and terrorism.
Samidoun, a global delegitimization organization with close ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a US-designated terror organization, released a statement titled "From Gaza to Minneapolis, one struggle for justice and liberation!" in which it called the protests an "intifada."
The statement declared: "We support the uprising in Minneapolis, the intifada of people subjected to an ongoing, vicious and structural racism, inheriting a lengthy and rich tradition of Black resistance, organizing and struggle."
The PFLP itself published a statement in Arabic in solidarity with protestors, stating that "it is not surprising for a country like the United States, which has a strategic alliance with the Zionist entity [Israel], to intersect with it in the discrimination, racism and repression that embodies its treatment of Palestinians."
The BDS National Committee (BNC) stated that "as long as this system of oppression continues, it is up to our grassroots movements to work collectively and intersectionally to dismantle it, from the US to Palestine."
BDS US group Adalah Justice Project linked white supremacy and Zionism, accusing them of being "underpinned by anti-Blackness."
The hashtag #PalestinianLivesMatter, inspired by #BlackLivesMatter, has been used on Twitter since at least 2015. However, the hashtag's popularity surged following the killing of George Floyd as BLM protests gained momentum in the US. Many activists campaigned to highlight intersectional parallels between African American and Palestinian causes, once again reviving this hashtag.
Usage of #PalestinianLivesMatter on Twitter grew exponentially from May 28-30, and was also highly visible to Twitter users from June 2-3, reaching an estimated 29.4 million users in this 24-hour period
This exploitation of the tragedy in the US is a strategic attempt by delegitimization groups to entrench themselves and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as a focal point of the progressive Movement.
The Great Threat to America, and to American Jewry . By Caroline B. Glick
Scattered among the thousands of cellphone videos depicting looting and destruction in the streets of America's greatest cities are clips of a different sort. In these short videos, we see throngs of white people on their knees, bowing before black people and asking for forgiveness for their "white privilege" and the "structural racism" in the deplorable, irredeemable United States of America.
Earlier this week, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden symbolically embraced these genuflecting denunciations of "white privilege" as the official position of the Democratic Party. Biden had himself photographed on bended knee with a group of African Americans standing behind him during a visit to a church in Wilmington, Delaware.
These videos point to a socio-political phenomenon that sparked the riots throughout the country following George Floyd's brutal death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. They also make clear the reason that the liberal media in the United States continues to back the protests despite the fact that from the outset they have involved wide-scale violence, destruction and looting.
Contrary to the narrative being pushed by the media and America's elites, the riots are not a consequence of increased police brutality towards African Americans. As Heather McDonald documented this week in TheWall Street Journal, over the past several years, police violence against black people has decreased significantly.
The violence we are seeing is a result of the steep radicalization of progressive white Americans. Biden gave voice to this radicalization last summer when, during a campaign appearance in Iowa he said, "We choose truth over facts."
Last year, political scientist Zach Goldberg published an article in Tablet online magazine where he presented statistical data demonstrating the depth and breadth of the radicalization of white progressives over the past 10 years. Goldberg revealed that between 2010-2019, white progressives became the only demographic group in U.S. history to prioritize the interests of other groups over its own interests. White progressives prioritize the advancement of the interests of minorities and immigrants over their own and over those of American society as a whole. Moreover, as Goldberg showed, white progressive positions on race and immigration are more extreme than the positions black, Latino and Asian progressives hold on these issues.
Goldberg argues that the massive increase in internet usage by white progressives over the past decade is responsible for the radicalization. Online platforms have created an information bubble that has created a warped presentation of reality to those inside the bubble. In this warped reality, race relations are far worse than they are in reality. Hence, those who inhabit this bubble prefer "truth" as presented in the bubble to facts.
Goldberg is undoubtedly correct that the more time people spend inside their internet bubble the more removed they become from objective reality. But the internet isn't the only source of the radicalization. The Obama presidency was also a factor.
When Barack Obama won the presidential race in 2008, many Americans believed his victory was proof the United States had overcome its racist past. Obama however, did not support this view. Throughout his tenure in office, Obama used the power of his position to resonate and legitimize positions on race that until then had been relegated to the leftist margins of American politics.
Obama cultivated the view that far from being a post-racial society, America is inherently racist and that American racism is structural—that is, it was baked in and impossible to overcome. In so doing, Obama gave credence to the false claim at the heart of the riots: that black Americans are under continuous, existential threat from the state as a whole and from law enforcement bodies first and foremost. Calls by Hollywood celebrities and Obama administration alumni to defund the police take this view to its logical endpoint.
A third cause of the radicalization of white progressives is the higher education system. The more radicalized campuses are, the more radicalized graduates become.
The radicalization of white progressive politics has been given its most dramatic expression in the refusal of progressive mayors and governors to act forthrightly to end the violence in their streets. Instead, we had the likes of New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio (whose daughter was arrested for participating in the mayhem) stand with those burning his city.
In a letter to police sergeants in the New York Police Department, Ed Mullen, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, gave expression to the distress of New York police officers. "I know we are losing our city," Mullen wrote.
"We have no leadership, no direction, and no plan. I know that you are being held back and used as pawns," he continued.
He then asked the sergeants to hold the line.
"Remember," he added, "you work for a higher authority."
For American Jews, the violent riots constitute a challenge on several levels. First, there is the challenge of squaring their political identity with their Jewish identity. As the 2014 Pew survey of American Jews showed, around half of American Jews identify as progressives. As progressives, many American Jews share the views of their non-Jewish progressive counterparts regarding the need to prioritize the interests of minority communities over their own interests.
But the Jews' progressive desire to work on behalf of those demonstrating for African Americans places their political identity on a collision course with their Jewish identity. Black Lives Matter, the radical group leading the demonstrations, is an anti-Semitic organization. BLM was formed in 2014 as a merger of activists from the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, the anti-Semitic Black Panthers and Dream Catchers. In 2016, BLM published a platform that has since been removed from its website. The platform accused Israel of committing "genocide" and referred to the Jewish state as an "apartheid" state.
The platform accused Israel and its supporters of pushing the United States into wars in the Middle East. The platform also officially joined BLM with the anti-Semitic BDS campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. BDS campaign leader Omar Barghouti acknowledged this week that the goal of the BDS campaign is to destroy Israel. BDS campaigns on U.S. campuses are characterized by bigotry and discrimination directed against Jewish students.
BLM's platform's publication was greeted with wall-to-wall condemnations by Jewish organizations from across the political spectrum. But today, Jewish progressive are hard-pressed to turn their backs on the group, despite its anti-Semitism. As white progressives, they believe they must fight America's "structural racism" even at the cost of empowering social forces that reject their civil rights as Jews. As Jews, they feel that their rights should be protected. One progressive Jew tried to square the circle writing in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, "Today Jews need to support Black Lives Matter; tomorrow we can talk about Israel."
As white progressives radicalized over the past decade, radical Jewish progressives built a formidable Jewish organizational framework whose mission is to advance the progressive revolution. They have worked to recast Judaism itself as the apotheosis of progressive revolutionary ideals. under the banner of "tikkun olam."
Last week Tablet published a 20,000-word essay titled "Bend the Jews," on Bend the Arc, the flagship organization spawned by those efforts.
Bend the Arc first rose to the attention of the general public in 2018 in the wake of the massacre of worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The organization quickly put out a statement blaming President Donald Trump for the massacre. When Trump came to the congregations to pay his respects, Bend the Arc organized demonstrations against him.
Bend the Arc may not have members, but it has an annual budget of tens of millions of dollars. $28 million of its budget comes from three non-Jewish foundations that have no other foothold in Jewish organizational life. On the other hand, one of the funders, the Rockefeller Foundation, is well known for its generous support for radical anti-Israel and BDS groups.
To achieve its goal of reshaping the worldviews of American Jews, among other things, Bend the Arc trains Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinical students. It also pays the salaries of associate rabbis in various communities. With many synagogues long steeped in financial crisis due to dwindling membership, Bend the Arc's ability to pay rabbis makes its involvement with synagogue hiring an attractive option for many communities. This is doubly true for synagogues whose members are progressive.
As progressive politics paralyze Jews from acting against anti-Semites in their political camp, levels of anti-Semitic sentiment among white progressives are rising. As Goldberg reported, as white progressives became radicalized on issues related to minorities and immigration, they also turned against Israel. Today white progressives are hostile to Israel. And Goldberg argued that while they express support for Jews, "their sympathy toward and concern for Jews has become more conditional."
What is it conditioned on? On Jews not being opposed by blacks or other minorities that are considered by white progressives to be less privileged than Jews are.
On the burning streets of America today, leftist Jew-hatred is on clear display. Although New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has prevented New York police from taking firm action against looters and arsonists, he did instruct them to use all necessary force to prevent ultra-Orthodox Jewish children from going to school. Earlier this week, police in Brooklyn chased a group of Hassidic children and their mothers off a playground in Williamsburg.
Even worse, synagogues have been vandalized in New York and Los Angeles. According to Yeshiva World News, 75 percent of Jewish-owned stores in an Orthodox enclave of Beverly Hills were looted last weekend. Graffiti in Los Angeles made clear that the businesses and neighborhoods were targeted deliberately because they are Jewish.
Between BLM's establishment in 2014 and the publication of its platform in 2016, anti-Israel activists went to great lengths to create an utterly false conceptual linkage between the Palestinians and African Americans. Today, anti-Israel activists in the United States have stepped up their efforts to capitalize on the riots. Anti-Israel activists in Bethlehem painted a picture of George Floyd wearing a khaffiyeh and draped in a Palestinian flag on the separation barrier. Photos of the picture are being heavily promoted on social media.
Democrats believe the riots will wreck President Trump's reelection hopes. Polls this week indicate that at least in the short term, the unrest is hurting Trump's chances of being reelected. Then again, it's possible the chaos in the streets will strengthen public support for President Trump, who voters may view as the last bulwark separating them from national destruction.
Whether Trump wins or loses in November, the radicalization of white progressives at the heart of the mayhem represents the greatest short and long-term threat to social cohesion in America. It also represents the greatest threat to the communal future of American Jewry, to relations between the American Jewish community and the rest of the Jewish world, and to US-Israel relations.