Warning: Jewish Jerusalem Expiration Date May Be Fast Approaching! By Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein and The Claim That Jesus Was A Palestinian Is Simply An Anti-Semitic Attempt To Delegitimize Israel The Lid with Jeff Dunetz and 74% of Israelis light Chanukah Candles- Why and Happy Secular New Year
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
Warning: Jewish Jerusalem Expiration Date May Be Fast Approaching! By Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein
It's been a month since the U.S. announced that it no longer considers Jewish "settlements" illegal. So far, Israel has treated this announcement like a gift certificate and is ignoring its expiration date, which could be fast approaching. We can only hope that our excuse for not taking advantage of this American gift is Israel's inability to put together a government that will make critical decisions.
In terms of Jerusalem, it would seem that the next step is obvious: Build lots and lots of Jewish homes in critically-strategic areas that were liberated in the Six-Day War. That would solve many of the city's most critical demographic and housing problems, help unite the city, and all but neutralize further talk of dividing the eternal, holy city between Israel and an Arab entity.
Even Ofer Berkovitz thinks the idea is great. Berkovitz heads the generally-left-wing Hit'orerut political faction in the Jerusalem City Council. Following the dramatic announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Berkovitz submitted a proposal to advance the construction of nearly 14,000 homes in the neighborhoods of Givat HaMatos, Atarot, and elsewhere.
The plans exist but are being held up by the government. Whether Prime Minister Netanyahu is under pressure or is possibly afraid of a unilateral game-changer that would truly prevent the division of Jerusalem, is unclear. The only thing that almost everyone in the Jerusalem Municipality agrees upon is that the freeze on Jewish construction must be thawed.
Berkovitz is not that concerned about Jerusalem remaining united under Israeli sovereignty; he has other considerations: "[Building these] 14,000 units, with the accompanying opportunities for job, culture, and education can improve Jerusalem's quality of life and decrease the crowdedness. It can allay the housing shortage and relieve the friction in mixed [Jewish-Arab] neighborhoods," he says.
The held-up plans call for some 10,000 units in Atarot (the site of the old airport in the northern tip of Jerusalem), 1,800 in Givat HaMatos (southern Jerusalem, near Talpiyot and Beit Tsafafa), and 1,500 in Givat Eliyahu (also in the south, between Gilo and Har Homa).
Mayor Moshe Leon's office was displeased with Berkovitz's attempt to hitch a ride on Pompeo's announcement. A statement by the mayor's office assailed Berkovitz for "attempting to score some points" while only "revealing his lack of integrity and experience." The mayor's office added that, "over the past year, 11,000 units were approved – compared with the decade before then, when Berkovitz was Deputy Mayor when an average of only 2,000 units were approved."
Mayor Leon added, "The data speak for themselves: I have totally thawed out the freeze implemented when Berkovitz was Deputy Mayor."
Both sides are playing politics, though. City Councilman Aryeh King told us, "If the critical Jewish projects are being held up, then the obvious question before anything else is: Why are the Arab projects not being held up? All the city has to do, led by former Likudnik and Netanyahu-aide Moshe Leon, is to declare an all or nothing quid pro quo: If there is to be a moratorium on Jewish projects, then there shall be one on Arab projects as well."
The absurdity of the situation cries out the most in Givat HaMatos. The original plan called for 2,600 apartments there, more than a third of which were to be for Arabs. Incredibly, the Arab apartments are being built, while the Jewish ones are not. Why not at least hold both of them up!?
"There is so much Arab construction," says King, "that prices are very low, and as everywhere else in the world, low housing prices bring people streaming in. As such, the demographic balance is again being tilted towards the Arab side."
The request to stop Arab projects as long as Jewish projects are on hold appears so logical that it's not clear why Mayor Leon doesn't adopt it. In fact, we addressed this precise question to him and his office. Unfortunately, no answer has yet been received. But where we failed, perhaps you, readers of this column, will succeed. Simply e-mail Mayor Lyon's office at firstname.lastname@example.org (or fax +972-2-6296014) and ask him why he allows Arab construction while Jewish construction is held up again and again.
Interestingly, a Jewish group is currently seeking to buy apartment blocks in Arab projects, such as the one in Givat HaMatos. Will it change things? Doubtful, but stranger things have happened.
In any event, Jerusalem is facing a double attack in the form of both illegal and legal Arab construction. This comes together with watered-down levels of Jewish construction in non-critical areas. The bottom line is that if not enough homes are built for Jews, and too many are built for Arabs, retaining Jerusalem's Jewish demographic majority will be very difficult.
Giuliani Claims He's 'More Of A Jew' Than George Soros: Liberals Freak (But He's Right) By Jeff Dunetz
In the latest issue of New York Magazine, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he was more of a Jew than George Soros. While it is true that Soros is a Jew by birth and the former may is Catholic, there is truth to what he is saying. After all, Rudy is a good friend of the Jews, and Soros is what is commonly called a self-hating Jew (I call him a Jew-hating Jew because he doesn't hate himself).
"Don't tell me I'm anti-Semitic if I oppose him," he said. "Soros is hardly a Jew. I'm more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about — he doesn't go to church, he doesn't go to religion — synagogue. He doesn't belong to a synagogue, he doesn't support Israel, he's an enemy of Israel. He's elected eight anarchist DA's in the United States. He's a horrible human being."
When CNN reported about Giuliani's statement, it emphasized that Soros was a holocaust survivor–true. They were trying to infer that because he was a Holocaust survivor doesn't mean he is pro-Jewish and Jewish caused today. They also reported the ADL's Jonathan Greenblatt said Giuliani's attack on Soros was anti-Semitic. However, despite its mission for the past decade, or so, the ADL's first priority has been progressivism and the Democratic Party. That is why I recommend that donors to the ADL give to StopAntisemitism.org instead, or if they wish to give to the Democratic Party, send the money directly and cut out the middleman.
I disagree with Rudy on one point, attending Synagogue doesn't make someone Jewish, it makes one observant. However, he is correct in his claim that Soros supports anti-Semitic BDS supporting causes and other anti-Israel organizations.
Since 2001 the Soros network has given $2,688,561 to Adalah. According to NGO Monitor, Adelah describes itself as an "independent human rights organization." Adelah has been instrumental in falsely accusing Israel of war crimes on numerous occasions, including contributing charges to the now-disgraced Goldstone Report and the fake 2002 report of an Israeli massacre in Jenin. Adalah has also called on governments the world over to sever or downgrade their diplomatic relations with Israel.
Another favorite for Soros money is I'lam, is a Nazareth-based Palestinian media center. I'lam claims its mission is "to empower the Palestinian media landscape and society by promoting equal access to the Israeli media, encouraging a fair information-flow, and fostering professional standards." Not stated in their mission but reported by NGO Monitor is the fact that I'lam creates and promotes allegations of media bias in the Israeli media as part of its political agenda. I'lam received about $1.1 million from the Soros organization.
The New Israel Fund (NIF) is also listed as a recipient of Soros' love, at least $837,500 since 2009. The NIF donates money to anti-Israel groups dedicated to making false charges and/or promote the anti-Semitic BDS movement against the Jewish State, including Adalah, B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Physicians for Human Rights, Social TV, and 972 Magazine, just to name a few.
Women Against Violence (WAV): received $1,430,000 of Soros. They are another group supporting the anti-Semitic BDS movement.
Along with advocating for the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research, which received $707K from Soros was one of the creators of the Haifa Document in 2007. The Haifa Document calls for a "change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state" and accuses Israel of "exploiting" the Holocaust "at the expense of the Palestinian people."
Why would Soros, a Hungarian Jew who lived through the Holocaust, spend so much money on the anti-Semitic BDS effort to de-legitimize the Jewish State? The best explanation comes from my late friend and teacher Barry Rubin:
On November 7, 2003, almost five years after the television interview, Soros made a rare appearance at a pro-Jewish Jewish event, a conference of the Jewish Funders Network. Asked about antisemitism in Europe, Soros responded that it was the result of the policies of Israel and the United States, and particularly of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "If we change that direction, then antisemitism also will diminish," he said.
Once again, his words led somewhat in the wrong direction as some of the attendees were outraged. After all, blaming Jews for antisemitism is an old argument of antisemites
A 2016 document leak by DCLEAKS also revealed Soros' association with anti-Israel and pro-BDS organizations.
Rudy Giuliani has always been a supporter of Israel and a fighter against anti-Semitism. Hence, in that perspective, even though he is a practicing Catholic, Giuliani is more of a Jew than George Soros.
And for those liberals who are tossing their non-kosher cookies, remember that you didn't complain when Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic called the anti-Semitic Barack Obama, the first Jewish President.
The Claim That Jesus Was A Palestinian Is Simply An Anti-Semitic Attempt To Delegitimize Israel The Lid with Jeff Dunetz
They bring it up every Christmas and sometimes in-between.
Initially presented by Yasser Arafat's PR woman Hannan Ashrawi in 2001 is the claim that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian. But it is a claim that is historically impossible and designed to erase the historical connections between the Jewish people and the holy land. That attempt to disconnect the Jewish people from the holy land is anti-Semitic according to Pope Francis, President Trump's new executive order about Antisemitism, and this writer.
Expect it to come in the next few days around Christmas. The most recent example, however, was in April when the anti-Semitic, anti-American Rep Ilhan Omar, retweeted a tweet from Omar Suleiman, an adjunct professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University,
Just 24 hours before that the NY Times published an op-ed by Eric Copage, which said in part:
"As I grew older, I learned that the fair-skinned, blue-eyed depiction of Jesus has for centuries adorned stained glass windows and altars in churches throughout the United States and Europe. But Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin."
It's a claim that's popular among liberals, during the 2016 Democratic convention Rev. William Barber II received cheers during his speech when he said:
Jesus, a brown-skinned Palestinian Jew called us to preach good news to the poor, the broken, and the bruised, and all those who are made to feel unexpected.
Being Jewish and living over 2,000 years after Jesus' death, I can't speak to what Jesus taught or the color of his skin. But considering when and where he lived, Copage's description of Jesus' physical appearance is probably correct. In fact, scientists who have looked into it believe that Jesus looked like a typical Middle Eastern Judean, as opposed to the way he is usually portrayed as a European. (Yes, Judean. The country was called Judea, that's where the term "Jews" comes from). The land wasn't called Syria Palestina till 135 years later.
After the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE, the Romans punished the Judeans (Jews) for revolting for the second time in sixty years. To poke those rebellious Judeans in the eye, the Romans changed the name of their country from Judea to Syria Palaestina. The Romans used Palaestina after the ancient enemy of the Jews, the Philistines. Not that there were Philistines around anymore (they had disappeared from existence around eight hundred years earlier).
The Romans also threw out many of the Judeans, creating the Jewish exile that lasted till 1948. The Byzantine Empire took control of the holy land around the year 330 C.E., and in the year 638, it was conquered by Muslim Arab forces.
Putting the timeline together, it is clear to anyone with basic math skills that Jesus can't have been a Palestinian. There was no piece of land called Palestine until a century after Jesus died, and the area wasn't controlled by Muslims until 600 years after his death.
If Jesus was a Palestinian, Christians couldn't claim that he was from the line of King David, one of the Jewish Messiah requirements.
The people claiming that Jesus was a Palestinian are trying to create a new history for the Palestinians. If they can convince people of the falsehood that Palestinians were around for two millennia, then the lie that Jews are occupying Palestinian land becomes almost logical.
Anyone who says that Jesus was a Palestinian hasn't the slightest idea of history and/or is trying to delegitimize the 3.500+ year Jewish heritage in the holy land. Both Jews and Christians believe that Jesus was a nice Judean (Jewish) boy who went into his father's business. The real disagreement between the two faiths is his father's occupation.
74% of Israelis light Chanakah Candles-Why
There is an ancient Mishnaic scroll, Megillas Ta'anis, which enumerates some 35 minor festivals that were observed during the period of the Second Temple. The Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 18b), after some debate, concludes that with the destruction of the Bayis Sheini, all of these holidays were annulled save two: Purim and Chanukah.
Clearly, with the tragic loss of our sovereignty, it made little sense to celebrate the many occasions when, during this era, Gd saved us from our oppressors. The question, of course, is why our Sages made an exception for Purim and Chanukah? We can leave the question of Purim for later. Let us now, however, try to understand what perennial message Chazal found in the Chanukah story which convinced them to extend its commemoration long after the victories of the Chashmonaim and their descendants were quashed and eclipsed by Roman domination.
Rav Soloveitchik, among other rabbinic luminaries, was of the view that the custom of lighting the Chanukah menorah in the Jewish home was enacted only after the destruction of the Second Temple, some 250 years after the Chashmonaim victory. For this reason, in the two historical accounts of the festival – the Book of Maccabees I & II and Josephus' Antiquities – while narrating the many military battles against Antiochus, there is no mention of the candle-lighting practice at all. The 8-day holiday was either to make up for the 8-day Succos festival which could not be observed because of the Greek persecution, or to memorialize the rededication of the Temple Altar which had been contaminated by the Syrian Greeks, a sanctification that would last for 8 days. Nothing, however, to commemorate the miracle of the small cruse of oil.
If Rav Soloveitchik's interpretation is correct, we must answer two questions: one, why was the miracle not remembered in some fashion during the Second Temple era; and two, what was it about this miracle that, subsequent to the churban, its observance became the central feature of Chanukah?
The Talmud tells us (Yuma 39b) that while miracles ceased after the destruction of the First Temple, they did not suddenly stop; they flickered on and off for many years. In particular, the miracle of the Menorah was extant and, hence, when the Chashmonaim kindled the Menorah, it did not prove to be such an unusual occurrence when the little oil lasted for 8 days. The more obvious and compelling event was the astonishing and unbelievable military victories of the "many into the hands of the few" (Al Hanissim Prayer). During the Second Temple period, then, Chanukah was certainly celebrated, as the Talmud states (Shabbos 21b), but with only the recitation of Hallel and Al Hanissim.
As to the second question, we must try to fathom and appreciate the sheer enormity of this catastrophic second churban. The Beis HaMikdash - destroyed and razed, the millions – killed and exiled, were both calamitous enough. But, unlike the churban of First Temple, which in its aftermath, there was at least the prophetic promise that in 70 years the Temple would be rebuilt, with the churban of the Second Temple, there was no such prophetic "silver lining." There were no prophets, no sacred text to uplift the mood of utter gloom, the black pessimism, that gripped the surviving Jewish community in the wake of the devastation of Churban Bayis Sheini. The once-proud Jew became the wandering Jew, diminished in number and damned by other faiths. How could he survive the indignities and hatred of the many?
Chazal then remembered something unique and astounding about the Temple Menorah. The Talmud asks (Shabbos 22b), for what purpose was the Menorah lit in the Tabernacle during the wanderings of the Jewish people in the desert? For illumination? Clearly not, as the Almighty provided all the night light they needed with the wondrous pillars of fire. If so then, why the Menorah lights? Answers the Talmud: "It is a testimony for all of mankind that the Divine Presence dwells with Israel."
As our ancestors entered into a dark, foreboding exile, there would be one holiday that would remind them and the world – and by extension, us as well – that no matter the persecutions and afflictions, no matter the toxic reality of anti-Semitism, Gd had not and would never abandon the Jewish People.
"עדות היא לבאי עולם שהשכינה שורה בישראל" . And with that unwavering faith, when the Jew, burdened by worry and frightened by threatening events, lights the Chanukah lamps, hope and optimism are rekindled and restored.
How does a candle generate this incredible hopefulness? King Solomon equated a candle with a mitzvah, כי נר מצוה ותורה אור"" (Mishlei 6:23). The word, מצוה, denotatively means to connect with, to join together. And it is a mitzvah to light the Menorah! And so, when the Jew hears the commanding call of a mitzvah, he can experience the very presence of his Maker – "שהשכינה שורה בישראל" - and in that acute awareness, he feels safe, confident and secure.
Yosef Mendelevich lit a makeshift Menorah in the infamous Siberian Vladimir Prison and knew he would survive the notorious depravations of that terrible incarceration. Yuli Edelstein, present speaker of the Israeli Knesset, on the night he was sent to a forced labor camp in southern Siberia, recounted how, knowing it was the second night of Chanukah, somehow found two matches and lit them. "I stood there in front of the window for a few seconds until the matches scorched my fingers. It was perhaps the shortest candles lit in history…, but that night, a little bit of light pushed away a lot of darkness."
In Israel, 74% of all Israelis light candles every night of Chanukah – an amazing statistic given the religious diversity of the Israeli politic. Apparently, the Jew knows - as he always knew - intuitively or consciously, that when thickening darkness threatens to overwhelm him, the glow of the Chanukah Menorah reminds him of his great and sacred destiny. These small lights give him the courage and resilience to endure, advance and ascend, with the absolute faith that he is not alone, that "שהשכינה שורה בישראל."