Wednesday, September 9, 2020

1.5 million dollar coronavirus facemask made in Israel and Commanders Against Israel’s Sovereignty: Look us in the eye …By Dr. Martin Sherman and Aliyah’: Living the Zionist Dream, Building the Modern State and "Bananas" courtroom scene and the Museum of the Seam in Jerusalem and Yehuda Lave link to zoom on October 14 and another chance to see Live Zoom from last week

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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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There was initially scheduled a R&B lecture for today but it has been moved to after the holidays.

Here is the new link

R&B Lecture: TITLE TO BE DETERMINED by Rabbi Yehuda Lave
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 07:30 PM in Jerusalem

Last weeks life lecture on the Virus and Halacha
Museum on the Seam and Elie's resturant in Mea Shearim

Our final stop..

Museum on the Seam is a socio-political contemporary art museum, located on the geographic seam line between East and West of Jerusalem, in the meeting point of the three religions.

The Museum, in its unique way, presents art as a language with no boundaries in order to raise diverse social issues for public discussion and bridge the gaps.

The changing exhibitions in the Museum deal with social issues such as: environment and sustainability, the consequences of capitalism, questions of public conscience, the individual's solitude in the technological age, gender violence, and the relations between men and animals.

The Museum is situated in a neoclassical building that was built in 1932 by the Baramki family. Over the years Jerusalem was divided (1948-1967), the building served as an Israeli army outpost on the border between Israel and Jordan, alongside the Mandelbaum Gate that connected east and west of the city.

The conversion of the Turjeman Post into a museum depicting the history of Jerusalem as a divided city, took place in 1983, through the initiative of then-Mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek (1911-2007), the Jerusalem Foundation, and Georg von Holzbrinck of Germany (1909-1983), who believed in human liberty and equality.

In 1999, the Curator and Art Director of the Museum, Raphie Etgar, with the ongoing generous support of the von Holzbrinck family, developed the Museum into an institution dedicated to dialogue, understanding and coexistence, and in 2005 into the first socio-political museum in Israel for contemporary art, promoting equality, human rights and diversity.

Located only five minutes' walk from the Haredi neighborhood, Mea Shearim, and the Old City, the Museum's rooftop holds one of Jerusalem's most magnificent views, a coffee shop, art books and the Jerusalemite atmosphere.

Shwarma dinner at Eli's resturant in Mea Sherim

Israeli Company Makes $1.5 million Face Mask of Gold, Diamonds for Customer

Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

Israeli jewelry company Yvel is making what it says is the most expensive coronavirus face mask in the world, which will be made of gold and diamonds.

According to a report by the AP, the mask will cost an estimated $1.5 million. It is expected to be created from 18-karat white gold with 3,600 white and black diamonds, and will include N99 filters at the request of the buyer, said Isaac Levy, the owner of the jewelry company.

Levy said the buyer also requested that the mask be finished by the year's end and that it be the most expensive in the world—a condition, said Levy, that "was the easiest to fulfill."

The buyer is a Chinese businessman living in the United States, noted the report.

Of course, the mask is expected to be difficult to wear since it will weigh more than half a pound.

"Money maybe doesn't buy everything, but if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask, and the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that," said the store owner.


Aliyah': Living the Zionist Dream, Building the Modern State

Photo Credit: Yehuda Haim/Flash90

{Reposted from the JNS website}

When I met Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) founder and president Sarah Stern in late 2019, I had my aliyah visa in hand and was the verge of completing a lifelong Zionist's dream of returning to the Jewish home.

I had started my career with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and later took a job with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to recruit young engineers to Israel. I had delayed making the big leap to a life in Israel for years, and finally, the time had come.

Until Sarah handed me an EMET pamphlet.

I reviewed the organization's positions and realized that there was an organization in Washington, D.C., that shared my unapologetic love for the State of Israel and was bold enough to speak truth to power. I put off aliyah once again, joining EMET as its director of development.

Yet with the coronavirus pandemic putting my role as a person-to-person fundraiser on hold, I could not delay my move to Israel any longer. This summer, I will depart Capitol Hill and immigrate to Israel with Nefesh B'Nefesh.

My main motivation is living out the Zionist dream and contributing to the next generation of development of the Jewish state. I grew up a Zionist and believe aliyah to be both the foundational and ultimate step in the Zionist dream of Jews returning to our native homeland.

This vision began when I was a young child and participated in a mock trip to Israel with my Jewish day school. I gained the firm belief that we all as a Jewish community would be making aliyah at some point in my youth or early adulthood. But as I grew over the years, it became apparent that there would be no communal move.

My motivation became less religion- or Torah-based, and more political and practical, in the sense of building the modern Jewish state. I wanted the next generation of Jews to have the choice of being Israeli without having to go through the process that aliyah entails, primarily the difficult decision to separate from family. At the end of the day, the Jewish people's exile is over. We sing about next year in Jerusalem, and there is nothing stopping us from making that a reality.

Israel has always been the Jewish home to me in theory, but what brings it to life is the people. I am fortunate to have wonderful Israeli-born relatives in Israel. My uncle, who I never met, made aliyah decades ago, and his children and grandchildren are authentic, modern Israelis. They are close with our American family, and they took the concept of aliyah off paper, and into flesh and blood. I spent a lot of time with them when I was a student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2012-13, and I don't think that I would have left that experience so intent on returning had it not been for the beautiful connection with my Israeli side of the family.

For now, making aliyah during the pandemic is unnerving. El Al Airlines nearly went out of business; my first flight was canceled; and the economic contraction, quarantine regulations and social unrest caused by coronavirus is daunting—not to mention the virus itself. All aspects of life are limited in some way by the pandemic.

During these fraught times, getting to Israel without Nefesh B'Nefesh would have seemingly been impossible. The organization has assisted at every step of the way, including putting me rescheduled on a United Airlines flight in a matter of days after my El Al flight was canceled. Nefesh B'Nefesh has helped guide my ulpan (intensive Hebrew-language academy) decisions and offered resources to learn about social life in Israel, the country's medical system and career opportunities. Already a valuable resource for aliyah in all times, the organization is now an indispensable force of stability during this chaotic period.

As my life in Israel begins, I plan to return to work in some capacity advocating for the Jewish state, as well as the importance and validity of Zionism. My long-term goal remains to help raise the next generation of Jews with Israeli citizenship and the option to be Israeli without going through immense bureaucracy, and having to learn a foreign language and culture, which is difficult no matter how much we are raised with Jerusalem in our hearts while in exile.

(Asher Daniels, a native of Stamford, Conn., and the former director of development at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), is making aliyah this summer with Nefesh B'Nefesh)

"Bananas" courtroom scene

Entire courtroom scene from Woody Allen's "Bananas"

Commanders Against Israel's Sovereignty: Look us in the eye …

By Dr. Martin Sherman

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion."—R. Inge, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, 1915.

"The most righteous of men cannot live in peace if his evil neighbor will not let him be."—from Wilhelm Tell Act IV, Scene III, by Friedrich von Schiller, 1804.


"When somebody says they want to kill you, you should believe him." —An unnamed Holocaust survivor, commenting on the lessons he had learned from his experiences during World War II.

After several past endeavors—which have produced mixed results, ranging from the unsuccessful to total fiascoes—the organization known as Commanders for Israel Security (or CIS) has attempted to renew its assault on public opinion.

Illustrious past no license for present folly

For readers unfamiliar with the organization, CIS is a group purportedly comprising around 300 former senior Israel Defense Forces officers (from the rank of brigadier general and above) and officials with corresponding seniority in the Israel Police and the Shin Bet.

Although ostensibly "non-political," CIS has very clear political preferences—virulently opposing any move that would entail extension of Israeli sovereignty over areas of Judea-Samaria (a.k.a. "The West Bank"), and proposing extraordinary measures to preserve the viability, however remote, of a two-state solution as a potential means for resolving conflict between Jews and Arabs over control of the Holy Land.

In recent weeks, CIS, apparently as a response to increased focus on annexation in the public debate, launched a new (copiously funded) P.R. campaign in English and Hebrew on social media, prominent billboards and full-page ads in the Israeli press, against any initiative to formalize Israeli control of territory across the pre-1967 Green Line.

As I have written in the past, CIS is an organization for which I would rather express respect than reproach. Indeed, I have great esteem—jointly and separately—for the huge effort and sacrifice its members have made to ensure the security of the nation and the safety of its citizens. Indeed, in the distant past, when I was considerably younger, and discernibly slimmer, some of its more vocal members dispatched me into harm's way on operations in inhospitable environs.

That said, their illustrious past is hardly license to formulate and ferment a highly hazardous and harebrained, indeed borderline hallucinatory, scheme to handle the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of any greater irony than that of the spectacle of scores of ex-senior security officials, who spent most their adult life defending Israel, now promoting a political initiative that will make it indefensible.

In the interest of full disclosure, over the last few years, I have written several harsh critiques of CIS's patently preposterous potpourri of poppycock, liberally peppered with internal contradictions and blatant non-sequiturs—see here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

However, in the most recent CIS campaign, there is one element that is especially galling.

This is a call from CIS to a number of senior government ministers to "look us in the eye and admit that you have no idea how one-sided annexation will end."

Although CIS was not formed until 2014, none of it constituent members ever publicly demanded—individually or collectively—that the architects of the calamitous Oslo process or the disastrous disengagement ever provide such a forward-looking prognosis before embarking on those moronic misadventures—even though their ruinous results were both eminently predictable, indeed even predicted.

But even more infuriating than this blatant display of disingenuous double standards, which demands 20-20 foresight as a precondition for implementation of a political initiative, is that the ominous outcome of CIS's own perilous and preposterous "plan" (for want of a better word) is virtually a forgone and foreseeable conclusion: The inevitable conversion of the entire "West Bank" into a giant South Lebanon—which will replicate both the realities and results that still plague that hapless region.

Indeed, only chronic myopia, moronity—or mendacity—can explain why anyone who purportedly has Israel's interests at heart would possibly endorse and promote such a fatally flawed formula.

After all, it requires no special acumen to foresee—indeed deduce with almost mathematical inevitability—the untoward chain of events that the CIS's ill-omened blueprint is liable to precipitate.

Disaster in a nutshell

Two of the underlying assumptions of the CIS are: 1) At present a two-state solution is not feasible, and 2) until it is, the IDF will remain deployed throughout the "West Bank."

Thus their plan specifically states:
"…Although there is currently no feasibility for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the framework of permanent status agreement based on the principle of 'two states for two people'…" (Page 10);


"…The situation on the West Bank requires the continued deployment of the IDF until satisfactory security arrangements are put in place within the framework of a permanent status agreement. …" (Page 11)

Those familiar with CIS's proposal, which is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to keep the terminally ill two-state formula on life-support, will recall that, in a nutshell, it comprises the following components:

(a) Forswearing sovereignty: Declaring that Israel foregoes any claims to sovereignty over territory beyond the security barrier in Judea-Samaria, including east Jerusalem, and, therefore, by implication admitting that some other party holds legitimate sovereign claim to it.

(b) Freezing construction: Imposing a freeze on all construction of residences, and halt all infrastructure development in Jewish communities beyond that barrier—thus effectively dooming them to shrivel up and die.

(c) Removal of Jewish residents: Encouraging the unilateral evacuation of all Jewish communities, located beyond the security barrier.

(d) Conversion of IDF into an occupying force: Leaving the IDF in control of security throughout the entire area over which Israel renounces sovereignty—thus, in a stroke, converting the IDF from a defense force into an occupying force, on territory over which Israel itself acknowledges that others have legitimate sovereign claims.

(e) Open-ended occupation: CIS envisages this IDF deployment continuing until some yet-to-be-identified Palestinian peace partner emerges—sufficiently pliant to reach an agreement to accommodate Israeli security concerns, yet sufficiently authoritative to enforce its terms on a potentially recalcitrant population.

Pernicious and puerile

As mentioned, the purported "rationale" for this policy prescription is to preserve the viability of the two-state principle for resolving the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs, something that CIS acknowledges is not feasible at the moment—as no prospective partner with the adequate pliancy-cum-authority can be identified.

This obsessive adherence to a hopelessly failed political paradigm creates patently perilous pitfalls, clearly visible to all but those blinded by political bias.

Indeed, it is a prescription that is, at once, pernicious—because of the predictably calamitous consequences it will precipitate—and puerile—because of the naive hope that it will not.

After all, by advocating ongoing and indeterminate Israeli military presence in territory over which Israel concedes it has no sovereign claims (thus implying that others do), CIS not only recommends labelling the IDF an occupying force rather than a defense one, but is, in effect, endorsing the replication of the selfsame conditions that prevailed in pre-2000 South Lebanon—where Israel's armed forces were deployed in territory to which Israel laid no sovereign claims, and in which there was no Israeli civilian presence.

Accordingly, there is little reason to believe that this will not precipitate the selfsame results—a hasty and humiliating unilateral retreat without any final-status agreement or even agreed security arrangements.

Ensnaring the IDF into open-ended "occupation"

The path leading to this grim outcome is not difficult to foresee. After all, all the Palestinian Arabs need to do to ensnare the IDF in an open-ended "occupation" is … well, nothing.

All they need to do is to wait for the IDF to become caught up in what will inevitably become the "West Bank mud" (much akin to the "Lebanese mud"), an easy target for guerilla/terror attacks by a hostile population, backed—in all likelihood—by armed Palestinian security services (which, unsurprisingly, CIS does not recommend dismantling).

Soon, a combination of mounting domestic and international pressure will build up for the IDF to withdraw—similar to that which precipitated the precipitous IDF pullout from South Lebanon. On the domestic front, recurring IDF casualties in a "foreign land" will result in incessant calls to "bring our boys back home."

On the international front, increasing impatience with open-ended "occupation" will create growing demands for the removal of Israeli troops. Eventually, continued IDF deployment will no longer be tenable and evacuation will become inevitable—without any adequate political settlement or sustainable security arrangements.

But, even in the unlikely event that some Palestinian-Arab partner could be located who would, in good faith, agree to conclude a permanent-status agreement and implement acceptable security arrangements allowing the IDF to evacuate Judea-Samaria, the CIS prescription is no less risk-fraught.

After all, how could Israel ensure this agreement will be honored and these arrangements maintained over time? Clearly, it could not!

A change of heart or a change of regime?

Indeed, once the IDF withdraws, Israel has no way of preventing its Palestinian cosignatories from reneging on their commitments—whether of their own volition, due to a change of heart, or under duress from extremist adversaries.

Even more to the point, barring gross interference in intra-Palestinian politics, Israel has no way to ensure that their pliant partner will not be replaced—whether by bullet or ballot—by far more inimical successors, probably generously supported by foreign regimes that repudiate their predecessors' peaceable pledges.

Indeed, it is more than likely that it would be precisely the "perfidious" deal struck with the "nefarious Zionist entity" that would be invoked as justification for the regime change.

Accordingly, no matter which of these outcomes—a change of heart or a change of regime—emerges in practice, Israel is likely to be confronted with a situation in which it no longer has security control in Judea-Samaria and a hostile regime perched on the hills dominating the coastal megalopolis—overlooking its only international airport, adjacent to its major population centers and abutting principal transportation axes.

In the face of all this undeniable risk, it is difficult to fathom the military logic on which CIS calls to contend with such political uncertainty.

Triumph of naïve optimism over bitter experience?

Indeed, if the IDF withdraws from the highlands of Judea-Samaria to redeploy within the route of the security barrier, which largely approximates the pre-1967 Green Line, this would in fact entail a violation of a host of cardinal military principles.

For example, it would entail:

  • Exchanging a short, straight frontier of around 100 km. (62 miles), relatively removed from large urban population centers and commercial hubs for a long, contorted frontier of around 500 km. (310 miles) or more, virtually adjacent to major concentrations of civilian populations and economic activity/infrastructures;
  • Exchanging overwhelming topographical superiority for perilous topographical inferiority;
  • Exchanging minimal strategic depth for the deployment of the IDF for no strategic depth whatsoever;
  • Exchanging the advantage of interior lines for the disadvantage of exterior ones.

Thus, should post-final-status-agreement conditions deteriorate, Israel would find itself, militarily (the field in which CIS claims indisputable expertise) in a situation significantly worse than that prior to the agreement.

This is hardly a scenario that is preposterously implausible or excessively pessimistic. After all, it was Noble Laureate Shimon Peres, the principal Israeli protagonist in the Oslo process, who once warned: "The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring the actual implementation of the agreement in practice. The number of agreements that the Arabs have violated is no less than the number that they have kept." (Tomorrow is Now, Jerusalem: Keter, [Hebrew] 1978, p. 255).

Seen in this light, the CIS plan seems very much like the triumph of naïve optimism over bitter experience.

A political manifesto, not a security plan

Indeed, even a cursory analysis of the CIS plan will reveal that it is not a security plan composed by military experts, but a political manifesto drafted by amateur politicians. Significantly , the "plan" deals very sparsely with military matters (which are CIS's area of expertise) and focuses a great deal on civilian ones (which are not).

Thus, with regard to the "West Bank" and east Jerusalem, virtually all the CIS recommendations refer to beefing up security arrangements along the security barrier and crossing points, and completing the barrier where gaps exist (page 22). By contrast, CIS enumerates a myriad of civilian issues (pages 24-5), which Israel is called upon to address. These include:

  • Addressing the lack of building permits for the growing Palestinian population in Area C
  • Spurring agricultural development in the West Bank
  • Easing restrictions on the transport and export of goods
  • Removing impediments to economic development (Computerizing VAT and SWIFT connectivity with Palestinian banks)
  • Developing Palestinian industrial and employment zones
  • Improving transportation infrastructures
  • Supporting the establishment of another, new Palestinian city (in area C)
  • Issuing a large number of permits for work in Israel

Of course, this leaves one to puzzle not only over what expertise CIS claims in civilian administration, water management, agricultural methods, banking, taxation and so on, and how it envisions Israel being involved in all these fields, if all it has on the ground across the security barrier is military personnel; but also over why Israel should have to be burdened with building the socioeconomic foundations for a prospective independent Palestinian-Arab state—all this in absence of a viable peace process and peace partner.

Unrealistic altruism? Condescending patronage? Or the bigotry of low expectations?

Look us in the eye …

In light of the dramatic and detrimental flaws in CIS's political paradigm, the real call that it should engender is one directed at CIS itself: "Look us in the eye and admit. You have a very clear idea of how your proposal will end—in disaster."

See you tomorrow bli neder

We need Mosiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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