Breaking news: Massive Fire outside of Jerusalem and Pfizer Chief: Bibi Was on Top of Everything, Knew Everything By David Israel and What happens when anti-vaxxers contract COVID? and When the Jew-bashers are Jews by MELANIE PHILLIPS and my trip to the Czech Rebuplic pictures two of four
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.
A massive fire broke out Sunday near Beit Meir, a religious Moshav nine miles from Jerusalem, just off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. At least six nearby communities — Beit Meir, Ksalon, Ramat Raziel, Shoresh, Sho'eva and Givat Ye'arim — were evacuated, with thousands of residents ordered to leave their homes in the Judean hills as a precaution. Houses were burning in the town of Ramat Raziel as firefighters and rescue workers urged residents to evacuate.
Three individuals were treated for smoke inhalation by medics from Magen David Adom's emergency medical response team, although none required hospitalization.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Here is pictures two of four from our trip to the Czech Republic in the beginning of August to visit my wife's parents and then on to Prague.
On this part of the trip, we saw some of the many closed synagogues and Jewish Graveyards in Moravia (eastern part of Czech).
The area we were in were between the mid-size cities of Zdar nod Zasavou and Velke Bites
What happens when anti-vaxxers contract COVID? by Brian Blum
Should anti-vaxxers get a taste of the "fake news" they've been peddling?
Is it OK to have schadenfreude (the German expression for "pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune") when an anti-vaxxer contracts COVID-19? The Internet seems to think so.Every day in my US news feed, I'm sent stories about some vaccine denier who caught the virus, is now fighting for his or her life, and who in many cases has had a very public change of heart, to the point of urging friends and family to get vaccinated ASAP.One of the most prominent examples in recent weeks was Phil Valentine.
A conservative talk show radio host from Nashville, Tennessee, Valentine repeatedly spread misinformation about COVID-19 and even mocked vaccines, turning a Beatles hit into an anti-vax ditty he dubbed the Vaxman."Let me tell you how it will be," he sang on-air. "And I don't care if you agree. 'Cause I'm the Vaxman, yeah I'm the Vaxman. If you don't like me coming round, be thankful I don't hold you down."Even after Valentine was diagnosed in June, he retained the anti-vax mantle. "Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I'm going to make it," he wrote with no small amount of snark.Two weeks later, he was hospitalized in critical condition.Valentine hasn't yet come out vocally to promote vaccines (he's hooked up to a ventilator), but in neighboring Alabama, Christy Carpenter told The Washington Post that her anti-vax family was now urging others to get the shot after her unvaccinated son died of COVID-19."If Curt were here today, he would make it his mission to encourage everyone to get vaccinated," Christy said. "If we can help keep people healthier and possibly save lives by encouraging others to take the vaccine, then Curt's death was not in vain. We did not get vaccinated when we had the opportunity and we regret that so much now."Danny Reeves is an unvaccinated pastor from Texas who, after contracting COVID, was told he might need a lung transplant. "I didn't mean to be cavalier," he said, after two touch-and-go days in the ICU. "But there's a lot of people just like me that haven't gotten the vaccine. I've been taught a lesson and I'm big enough and humble enough to say I was wrong."Another conservative radio host, Dick Farrel, caught COVID. He texted a friend two words from the hospital regarding the vaccine: "Get it." He died shortly afterward.THE MORE I read these stories, the more I am confronted with an ugly feeling inside, one which I try my best to tamp down because it seems so wrong:These anti-vaxxers should get a taste of the "fake news" they've been peddling.So they know that, no, it's not "just" a flu.That no, you don't have an innately strong immune system that can easily fight this off without assistance from a vaccine.That no, being young or strong or healthy won't save you nor will faith in a supernatural deity (unless that deity's last name happens to be Bourla or Bancel, the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna, respectively).So, when anti-vaxxers get COVID, my schadenfreude-leaning self wants to say, "Ha, they brought this on themselves. Let them get a tough case. Not one that sends them to the hospital or kills them, but enough that they'll get scared straight and start talking sense to their unvaccinated followers."And then I feel terribly guilty that I ever had such inhumane feelings.That hasn't stopped other people from expressing similar sentiments – or getting angry like Alabama Governor Kay Ivey who commented that it's "the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down [not to mention] choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain."Others are less restrained. "It makes you want to smack people upside the head," vaccinated 66-year-old Elise Power told NBC News.But what else can you do? Over the course of the pandemic, it's become clear that trying to change people's opinions about getting the vaccine is as futile as convincing Donald Trump he's no longer president. No amount of persuasion gets through. Only action seems to make the difference – and getting coronavirus is as big an unfortunate action as you can imagine.Indeed, vaccine skepticism evaporates once one has experienced time in intensive care. "You can see it dawn on patients that they potentially made the biggest mistake of their lives," Dr. Samantha Batt-Rawden told the UK newspaper The Guardian.An anti-vax movement certainly exists in Israel but it's less intense than in other parts of the world given that the vast majority of the adult population here (90% of those over 50) – and nearly everyone who's most at-risk – have gotten their jab. We're even giving third booster doses now, something I happily went for even before they were offered to the general public. (Blood cancers like mine make it difficult for the body to produce the same level of antibodies as a healthy person.)Mark Valentine, brother of radio talk show host Phil, was shaken to the core by what he experienced."Having seen this up close and personal, I'd encourage ALL of you to put politics and other concerns aside and get it," he said, referring to the vaccine.Phil Valentine's diagnosis has already made an impact: Listeners have reported they went ahead and got the vaccine."The Lord works in mysterious ways," added Mark, who got inoculated the same day that his famous brother was admitted to the hospital. "Maybe this happened so Phil could talk to people and make sure that more people don't die."Said with entirely no schadenfreude.
Pfizer Chief: Bibi Was on Top of Everything, Knew Everything
The Financial Times' David Crow mentioned during his Friday interview with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla (Pfizer chief Albert Bourla: 'We are the most efficient vaccine machine') a recent report in the FT that recounted how revelers in Tel Aviv's bars now exclaim "to Pfizer, l'chaim" when toasting their drinks. "I have heard of it," Bourla responded, and was "beaming with pride."
Crow notes that Pfizer's popularity in Israel is rooted in the deal Bourla struck with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whereby Pfizer guaranteed sufficient supplies of its vaccine for the entire population of Israel, in exchange for clinical data on the results.
What made him decide on Israel? Crow wants to know. Bourla explains that he was looking for a country with a small population that also offered good data collection systems. They considered Greece, but discovered that its medical digital system "was not up to scratch." He considered Sweden, but was concerned about staring a brawl among the rest of the EU countries.
"The biggest thing that became clear was Bibi was on top of everything, he knew everything," Bourla told the FT. "He called me 30 times, asking: 'What about young people … What are you doing about the South African variant?' I'm sure he was doing it for his people, but I'm also sure he was thinking: 'It could help me politically.'"
Crow quipped that it turned out to be a miscalculation, seeing as Netanyahu ended up losing power. "Maybe," says Bourla. "But he did it very well."
Bourla is the son of Holocaust survivors. "I was never vocal about these things," he told Crow. "Even my closest friends knew only a little of it."
In 1945, his father came out of hiding in Athens after the war, only to discover that his parents and two of his three siblings were among the tens of thousands of Saloniki Jews who had perished in the death camps. Bourla's mother narrowly escaped being executed by a firing squad, after her Christian brother-in-law gave "all his money to pay bribes."
Bourla resisted Crow's pressure to share his family's suffering, insisting this was his "mother's history," not his. "I don't want it to become folklore because, it may be inspirational or not, but … she was the one who was arrested, she was sexually abused, and physically abused at 17, 18 years old."
"'Life is miraculous,' she told me. 'I was in front of a firing squad seconds before they pulled the trigger, and I survived. And look at me now. Nothing is impossible. You can do anything you want,'" Bourla recalled. As to his father, he mused: "What I got from my dad was to identify what can go wrong."
Their values turn Jewish principles of justice and truth on their heads, and their Israel-bashing is but a thin veneer for a hatred of other Jews or Judaism itself.
(August 12, 2021 / JNS) The latest move by President Joe Biden to appall many American Jews as an act of wanton hostility is his appointment of the progressive rabbi, Sharon Kleinbaum, to the U.S. commission on International Religious Freedom.
Kleinbaum has been accused of repeatedly using her pulpit at New York's Beit Simchat Torah—the world's largest LGBTQ congregation—to demonize Israel.
During Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza in 2014, Kleinbaum read a list of Palestinian and Israeli casualties, including the names of Hamas terrorists, in special prayers during her synagogue's services. A number of members quit the synagogue in protest.
Her other half, Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, distinguished herself in turn by saying in April that American Jews were part of an "ownership class" in the United States who want to take opportunities away from others.
Kleinbaum is but the latest in a series of anti-Israel appointees by the Biden administration. The twist in the knife is that she is a Jew and even boasts the title of rabbi.
Such Jewish individuals are routinely used as human shields by Jew-bashers on the left. In Britain, the former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who presided over an eruption of Jew-baiting and Israel-bashing in his party, boasted as his friends certain anti-Israel Jews—particularly if they were religious—in order to rebut accusations that he was an anti-Semite.
Those who know nothing about Judaism may therefore think that the malevolent views such Jews express about Israel represent authentic Jewish values. Certainly, many of these anti-Israel Jews themselves think that.
In fact, their values turn Jewish principles of justice and truth on their heads, and their Israel-bashing is but a thin veneer for a hatred of other Jews or Judaism itself.
Part of the explanation for this is the influence of Marxist ideology that now dominates left-wing thinking through "social justice" (which is anything but). Since most American Jews subscribe to this view of the world, they are not only increasingly turning against Israel; they assume, shockingly, that the anti-Jewish precepts of leftist ideology are Jewish ones.
Today, this muddle takes vicious form through the doctrine of intersectionality. This grotesquely demonizes Israel and the Jewish people as representatives of white supremacism, colonialism and racism and holds that their victims are people of color, the LGBTQ community and Palestinian Arabs.
However, the phenomenon of Jews turning against each other reaches deeply back into history with innumerable examples. The very first blood libel is thought to have been promoted by a Jewish convert to Christianity in medieval England.
In his essay On the Jewish Question, Karl Marx wrote: "Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist."
The financier George Soros, who has been the target of much anti-Jewish prejudice, has nevertheless funded anti-Israel initiatives through his Open Society Foundation and nauseatingly blamed the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe on Israel's behavior.
There are many different reasons for such problematic attitudes towards the Jewish people among some Jews.
Marx was the son of Jewish parents who converted to Christianity, itself a principal historical driver of demonization and persecution of the Jews. Soros's complex personality was almost certainly forged in his experiences in Holocaust-era Hungary.
Today's intersectional Jew-bashers subscribe to the view of Jews as predators that itself derives in large measure from Marx.
But the distortions go far deeper. Such Jews are often called "self-hating," but this is a misnomer because they tend to be intensely narcissistic. Moreover, there's one part of their Jewish ancestry that they do embrace; this is their identification with Jewish victimhood, which they think gives them moral nobility.
So they will talk up their family's victimization in the Holocaust; or in Britain, they may wheel out as evidence of their "proud" Jewish identity the fact that during the 1930s, their fathers marched against British fascists in London's East End.
But they don't like much else about being Jewish. They don't like its moral codes getting in the way of the free and easy life they want to lead. They don't like being associated with attributes associated with Jews by disdainful polite society, such as materialism, pushiness or vulgarity. Above all, they don't like being viewed as different from the rest of society—and similarly, certain Israelis don't like their country being seen as different from any other.
Of course, other people revolt against their own religion, culture or nation. With the Jewish Judaism-haters, however, this takes pathological form. They obsessively seek to expunge Jewish particularism from themselves and the world.
Anti-Jewish Jews are perhaps the greatest danger facing the Jewish people today. Despite being on the left, they make common cause with neo-Nazis and jihadists in seeking to harm the Jews. Wildly over-represented in the universities and cultural elites, they are to be found at the very forefront of campaigns designed to damage the Jewish people.
Take the recent announcement by Ben & Jerry's that the company would no longer sell its ice-cream in what it calls "the occupied Palestinian territories."
Although Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield sold their eponymous company years ago to British-owned Unilever, they have said that this illegal and discriminatory boycott, which will hit both Jewish and Arab residents of the disputed territories, is "one of the most important decisions the company has made in its 43-year history."
The boycott was applauded in turn by Kenneth Roth, the Jewish director of Human Rights Watch, which obsessively and maliciously demonizes Israel with serial falsehoods.
And to combat the furious pushback, the Ben & Jerry's board has brought in Peter Beinart, a Jew who now notoriously argues for Israel's dissolution and advocates that it should be stripped of its nuclear capability—its last-ditch deterrent against a second Jewish genocide.
In his book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege, the psychiatrist Kenneth Levin provides a magisterial analysis of the psycho-pathology of the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish Jew.
Much of this pathology is deeply defensive. Blaming Israel for the murderous war waged against it, writes Levin, provokes an illusion of control over a situation that otherwise would be unbearably terrifying. It's easier for certain Israelis and Diaspora Jews to believe they can stop the violence by getting Israeli policy changed than it is to cope with the reality that millions of fanatics are bent on Israel's extermination.
Similarly, such Diaspora Jews believe they can fend off anti-Jewish attacks by ingratiating themselves with the enemies of the Jewish people. Identifying with fashionable social causes appears to offer protection against the charge that the Jews are concerned only with their own interests. Which is why so many subscribe to the "social justice" agenda, equate anti-Semitism with Islamophobia and relativize the Holocaust.
As Levin observes, however: "Yet the path they advocate is no less delusional than that of abused children who blame themselves for the abuse they experience. All too often such children doom themselves psychologically to lives of self-abnegation and misery. In the case of Jews indicting Israel for the hatred directed against it, the misery they cultivate goes far beyond themselves and ultimately, undermines Israel's very survival."
Perhaps the most savage analysis of the anti-Jewish Jew was written by Uzi Silber in Ha'aretz more than a decade ago. Jewish anti-Semitism, he wrote, was a condition in which being "more sensitive to pain suffered by members of a group other than (one's) own metastasizes into a malignant emotional and moral identification with people committed to (one's) annihilation."
No other people does this to itself. Attitudes expressed by the likes of Kleinbaum, Beinart, Roth and a myriad others constitute a particular and devastating Jewish tragedy.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for "The Times of London," her personal and political memoir, "Guardian Angel," has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, "The Legacy." Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.