Breaking news: Israel expanded on Monday its travel ban to ten new countries, including the United States, Canada and Germany, as the total number of omicron cases in the country reached 175 and Into the Fray: You Couldn’t Make this Up By Dr. Martin Sherman and The Jew who cracked Japan's war codes before Pearl Harbor and Fortress from Hasmonean wars discovered in Lachish Forest and Rabbi Eliezer Waldman Ztz’l, President of Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba, Passed Away at 84 By David Israel
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.
Israel expanded on Monday its travel ban to ten new countries, including the United States, Canada and Germany, as the total number of omicron cases in the country reached 175.
Israel's cabinet expanded the list of so-called "red countries" to include the U.S., Canada, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Turkey and Switzerland. The ban will come into effect Tuesday at midnight.
Travel to and from so-called "red countries" is expressly forbidden, unless permission is granted by a special committee. Those who return from the blacklisted countries must enter a seven-day quarantine.
On Sunday, 10 percent of a flight from Miami tested positive for COVID, with most of 17 cases suspected of carrying the omicron variant.
The Health Ministry, meanwhile, announced it discovered 40 new omicron cases, taking the total cases of the variant to 175.
Assessments presented to Bennett on Saturday predicted that the number of omicron cases in Israel will reach 400 to 600 over the next week, in light of the number of cases that cannot be traced back to people who traveled abroad.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Into the Fray: You Couldn't Make this Up By Dr. Martin Sherman
Photo Credit: wikimedia
Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad."—Anonymous ancient dictum misattributed to Euripides.
Israel is a country of paradoxes and colliding opposites, many of which make it one of the most fascinating and dynamic countries on the face of the globe. It's a country that has overcome almost impossible odds to drive its way to the forefront of virtually every realm of human endeavor, including medicine, agriculture, cybertechnology, arts and entertainment. There's one jarring exception: the functioning of its body politic.
This is particularly true regarding the paradox embedded in Israel's perverse, perilous and puerile approach to what has become known as "the Palestinian problem." It would be no exaggeration to state that it is a patently self-contradictory policy, certain elements of which manifestly contradict and annul others.
Thus, in 2018, Israel passed a law—with disconcerting reluctance—mandating the reduction of payments to the Palestinian Authority by deducting a sum equivalent to the amount that it pays to imprisoned terrorists and the families of those killed while perpetrating acts of terror. This legislation reflected a compelling rationale that Israelis should not be complicit in compensating their Judeocidal Arab assailants or their dependents.
Oddly, rather than spearheading such a measure itself, the Israeli government found itself belatedly echoing the punitive initiative—taken previously by the U.S. Congress—known as the Taylor Force Act. The bill provides for ending U.S. aid to the P.A. unless and until it ceases to pay stipends to the incarcerated terrorists and to the families of deceased terrorists, including the families of suicide bombers.
One legal expert, Thane Rosenbaum, designated these payments for terror as "lavish incentives to commit violence," which, in effect, constitute "a bounty system … enshrined in Palestinian law, provided for in the Palestinian Authority's budget and indirectly supported by foreign aid."
Noting that the compensation paid to convicted terrorists and to the families of deceased ones is markedly higher than average salaries in the P.A.-administered territories and paid according to the loathsome criterion that the more heinous the terror, the higher the remuneration, The Wall Street Journal wrote of the "pay-for-slay" practice: "Incentivizing the murder of civilians is barbarism, and it happens to offer a career path for ardent and enterprising Palestinians."
Aid as a transfer payment for terror
In endorsing the move to curtail U.S. funds to the Judeophobic P.A., The Wall Street Journalpointed out that, for all intents and purposes: "U.S. aid [had] become … a transfer payment for terrorists" and urged that "ending the P.A.'s bureaucracy of terror should be atop the agenda."
However, the Palestinian-Arab Judeocidal campaign continues unabated.
Last month, a member of Hamas opened fire with an automatic weapon on passing civilians in the old city of Jerusalem, killing one and wounding several others, before being killed himself by armed police. The perpetrator, one Fadi Abu Shkaydam, was considerably different in his socioeconomic profile from that which has often characterized previous "lone wolf" terrorists.
In his early forties, he was married with children; was a well-known and well-respected figure in his community; had a steady job as a religious preacher; was relatively well off economically—reportedly even owning property abroad—and was not suffering from any known personal crisis or trauma.
None of this prevented him from leaving a four-page testament to his family, in which he revealed that he had been planning his terror attack for a long time. In the document, he called on others, including family, colleagues and students to emulate him, and conveyed his elation at the prospect of carrying out his planned massacre: "I write these words with great joy … I end years of hard work with a meeting with God."
The middle-aged Muslim cleric urged the Arab residents of Jerusalem to prepare for a holy war (jihad) to protect the Al Aqsa Mosque. Indeed, the prospect of Jews on the Temple Mount (heaven forfend!) reportedly so enraged him that it set him off on his gory rampage to murder or maim innocent passers-by. Poor fellow. One can only imagine his anguish and torment…
A worthy objective
As asserted previously, government policy on the Palestinian issue has been incontrovertibly self-obstructive and self-contradictory—with one policy element impeding the goals of another. To fully grasp this, consider that when the law mandating the deductions from tax receipts accruing to the P.A. was passed, one of its two initiators, MK Elazar Stern of the Yesh Atid Party, explained the rationale behind the legislation and the objectives it was designed to attain as follows: "… [T]his historic law will significantly weaken the encouragement of terrorism by the P.A. It is our duty to stop the economic incentive that the P.A. gives terrorists, an incentive that encourages others to commit terror attacks. That way, any Palestinian youth will realize that it's not worth it for him to choose the path of terrorism. No more encouraging terrorism at our expense."
In the law itself, the above aim is clearly laid out: "The objective of this law is to bring about a reduction of terrorist activity and to abolish the economic incentive for terror activity by stipulating rules to freeze the funds which the Palestinian Authority paid for terror affiliated activity, out of the funds that Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority."
So far so good, but now for the kicker.
Working at cross purposes
But then, in Sept. 2021, following a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, and totally counter to the rationale of the legislation passed, Israel agreed to lend the P.A. the sum of half a billion shekels ($150 million), "in order to prevent its collapse."
As Yossi Kuperwasser recently wrote: This move makes a mockery not only of Israel's protests against the P.A.'s terror stipends but also of Israeli law, which mandates that the government take action against the P.A. over these stipends."
Seemingly oblivious of the fact that it is the P.A. that "pays for slay," Gantz "explained" the decision, declaring: "As the Palestinian Authority gets stronger, Hamas gets weaker, and so long as it has greater governance, we will have more security and we will have to act less."
However, Abbas has made it unambiguously clear that he has no higher priority than paying-for-slaying, proclaiming; "We will never stop paying the families of the martyrs and the prisoners, despite the efforts to prevent us from doing so … even if we only have a penny left, we are going to first put it toward these payments."
This, of course, casts significant doubt on the logic and wisdom of Gantz's argument for giving the P.A. considerably more "pennies."
After all, until recently, Israel had frozen 1.3 billion shekels ($417.26 million) in tax revenues since the law went into effect. Accordingly, the loan that Israel extended to the P.A. pumped back almost 40 percent of the liquidity withheld by Israel to penalize the P.A. for incentivizing terror—thus considerably undermining its intended impact.
Clearly then, this is a portrait of a government hopelessly at cross purposes with itself.
Fungibility and foolishness
While Israel presented the loan as an advance on future tax payments, which were to be repaid in full, the Palestinians hotly disputed this. According to the P.A., only 100 million shekels of the total sum was an advance on future tax revenues, while the remaining 400 million were funds that Israel had owed to the P.A.—i.e., the amounts deducted because of P.A. payments related to terrorist activity—and for which Israel would not be reimbursed.
In other words, the P.A. made it clear that it would not repay 80 percent of the funds that it received from Israel.
This starkly underscores the earlier contention that government policy on the Palestinian issue is decidedly self-obstructive—even self-contradictory—with one policy element (designed to penalize the P.A. for incentivizing slaughter) impeding another element of it (designed to shield the P.A. from the effects of the penalties imposed on it for incentivizing slaughter).
Moreover, even if Israel were given credible assurances that the money transferred to the P.A. would not be used for "pay-for-slay" stipends, the policy would be no less perverse and paradoxical. After all, money is fungible, so even if the funds, transferred in the "loan" from Israel, were only used for legitimate humanitarian purposes, it would still free up other money to be channeled to "pay-for slay" recipients—hardly something that would enhance Israel's security and Israelis' safety as Gantz attempted to claim.
Funding corrupt kleptocracy and tyrannical theocracy
Sadly, the grave lack of consistency and rationality is sadly evident elsewhere. For instance, earlier this month, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej, of the far-left Meretz Party, traveled to Oslo as the head of Israel's delegation to the biannual gathering of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, comprised of donor countries for the P.A.
The purpose of Frej's trip was an endeavor to drum up donations for a financially floundering P.A., which has suffered an 85 percent drop in donor funding from $1.2 billion in 2008 to $184 million this year.
Frej called on the international community to resume its funding to the P.A. He lamented: "Unfortunately, due to 'donor fatigue,' contributions have fallen." He warned: "My friends, the risks are too great; the stakes are too high. We are in a state of emergency," and urged donors: "Please continue and increase your support for the Palestinian people."
One can only wonder what twisted rationale motivates a country to solicit funding for sworn enemies, undisguisedly dedicated to its own destruction.
Accordingly, as Ruthie Blum points out in a recent op-ed, Frej's assertion that it was in Israel's best interest for the P.A. to be "strong and stable" is enough "to elicit a raised eyebrow, if not a belly laugh."
After all, the P.A. is an economic basket case, which, for three decades, has squandered billions of international aid—only to end up with a corrupt kleptocracy in the so-called "West Bank" and a tyrannical theocracy in Gaza, both totally dependent on the largesse of its alleged "oppressor."
Of course, there may well be things more depraved than an Israeli minister soliciting funds for a self-declared mortal foe, but none comes readily to mind.
The confused, conflicted and contrary nature of Israeli policy on the "Palestinian issue" is largely the result of two fatally flawed assumptions that underlie the substance on which it is based and undergird the context in which it is formulated.
The first is that Israel should relate to the Palestinian Arabs as potential peace partners. The second is that the Palestinian public is somehow the victim of its leadership, which has a vested interest in keeping the conflict with Israel unresolved. Thus, giving greater voice to the people, rather than their leaders, will somehow lead to greater rapprochement.
These are both misleading misconceptions.
With regard to the former, the Palestinian Arabs, as a collective, are not a prospective peace partner, but—as they themselves undisguisedly declare—an implacable enemy, who will never be satiated by any show of Israeli goodwill. Indeed, concession and appeasement, no matter how far-reaching, will never satisfy Palestinian appetite; on the contrary, it will only whet it.
Failure to recognize this will merely lead to a policy of successive and ever more far-reaching—yet unrequited—conciliatory gestures in a futile pursuit of some elusive concession, which if only made, will result in a lasting resolution of the intractable Judeo-Arab conflict over the Holy Land.
Crucible not victim
With regard to the latter, the Palestinian public is not the victim of its leadership, but the crucible in which that leadership was formed and from which it emerged. The Palestinian leadership is a reflection of, not an imposition on, Palestinian society.
Indeed, opinion polls clearly indicate that the Palestinian public strongly identifies with the perpetrators of brutal and lethal acts of terror against Israelis and almost uniformly endorses the "pay-for-slay" practice. Thus, Adam Rasgon, today of The New York Times, noted: "Polls have found that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians oppose the P.A. suspending its payments to the security prisoners, including terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians, and their families."
Quoting a "high-ranking Palestinian official," he wrote: "These payments are one of the most sensitive issues in Palestinian society … If the P.A. were to get rid of them, it would be committing political suicide," and cited a poll conducted by a leading Palestinian Institute according to which "91 percent of Palestinians were against stopping them."
Underscoring this widely held public sentiment, one Israeli news channel noted: "These prisoners are often regarded by many Palestinians as heroes or martyrs."
Removing and replacing the current leadership, therefore, is hardly likely to improve matters—as the most probable alternative candidates to ascend to power will almost certainly be more radical than the present incumbents.
Correctly conceptualizing the conflict
For Israel to be able to formulate a cogent and coherent policy vis-à-vis the Palestinian issue, it must first manage to correctly conceptualize the conflict. Failure to do so will inevitably result in flawed policy, which, in turn, will inevitably result in failure—as has been the case with Israel's policy on the Palestinian issue for decades.
This brings to mind the wise words of eminent social psychologist Kurt Levin, who observed: "There is nothing so practical as a good theory."
After all, action without comprehension is a little like swinging a hammer without knowing where the nails are—and just as hazardous and harmful. Thus, good theory creates understanding of cause and effect, and hence facilitates effective policy, allowing measures undertaken to achieve their intended goals. Formulating such "good theory" entails setting aside the previously mentioned misconceptions that underlie—and undermine—virtually all of the conceptual approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: namely, that the Palestinians are a prospective peace partner and that they are unwilling victims of their leaders.
This leads inexorably to the dour conclusion that the conflict must be conceptualized as one between two irreconcilable collectives, with mutually exclusive foundational narratives: A Jewish collective and an Arab collective—for which, today, the Palestinian-Arab collective is its operational spearhead.
Grudgingly accepted or greatly feared
They are irreconcilable because the raison d'etre of the one is the preservation of Jewish political sovereignty in the Holy Land, while the raison d'etre of the other is the annulment Jewish political sovereignty in the Holy Land. Therefore, for one to prevail, the other must be prevailed upon. With antithetical and mutually exclusive core objectives, only one can emerge victorious, with the other vanquished.
Accordingly, as a clash of collectives, whose outcome will be determined by collective victory or defeat, it cannot be personalized. The fate of individual members of one collective cannot be a deciding determinant of the policy of the rival collective—and certainly not a consideration that impacts the probability of collective victory or defeat.
Thus, Israel's survival imperative must dictate that it forgo the pursuit of international amity from the Arabs, which, for the foreseeable future, will remain an unattainable pipe dream. It must reconcile itself to the stern, but sober, conclusion: The most it can realistically hope for is to be grudgingly accepted, the least it must attain is to be greatly feared.
Any more benign policy goals are a recipe for disaster.
The Jew who cracked Japan's war codes before Pearl Harbor
How a Jewish immigrant cracked Japan's military code, revealing Pearl Harbor to be target of secret attack - only to be ignored
USS Arizona memorial at Pearl HarborISTOCK
"Oh, that? I never thought it was eavesdropping, Aslan. Wasn't it magic?
"Spying on people by magic is the same as spying on them in any other way.'
On the eightieth anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, the "date which shall live in infamy" — as President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously put it on December 7, 1941, the controversy as to the responsibility for one the greatest intelligence disaster of World War II continues unabated. An avalanche of books, conspiracy theories, documentaries, cover stories in magazines, revisionist articles, and 'true stories' allegedly 'long-buried in dusty and 'secret archives' have continued to delve into how and why America in the words of the late Gordon W. Prange 'slept at dawn' and failed to exploit the invaluable intelligence collected by a group of gifted cryptographers. The wages of failure were paid in both blood and treasure: more than 2,400 Americans fell and 21 US ships were either sunk or damaged.
While the facts of the Pearl Harbours disaster are well-known, what remains shrouded in mystery is the decisive role played by William F. Friedman, the Jewish cryptographer, and his team in breaking the Japanese codes.
This is his story.
William Friedman was born Wolf Frederic Friedman in Romania, the son of Frederic Friedman, a Jew from Bucharest who worked as a translator and linguist for the Russian Postal Service and the daughter of a wealthy wine distributor. Like many Jews, they fled Russia in 1892 to escape pogroms and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Fast forward, on January 1, 1921, William, possessing an extraordinary 'puzzle-solving' mind, began to work for the US Army Signal Corps to design cryptographic systems. As the danger of war grew in the mid-thirties, three other Jews, Solomon Kullback, Leo Rosen, and Abraham Sinkov, together with Frank Rowlett, joined Friedman, who had become the doyen of US airwave intelligence services. They were destined to make history with 'Operation Magic.' What Alan Turing was to breaking the Nazi Enigma in the UK at Bletchley Park under 'Ultra,' William Friedman was to deciphering the Japanese 'PURPLE'' under 'Magic' at the US Navy's cyptological unit and the SIS.
After Japan's ally Germany declared war in 1939, the German government began sending technical assistance to upgrade Tokyo's communications and cryptography capabilities. One part was to send them modified Enigma machines to secure Japan's high-level communications with Germany. The new system, codenamed 'PURPLE' (from the color obtained by mixing 'RED' and 'BLUE' previous systems), was highly complex; the Japanese believed it was unbreakable.
Thanks to Friedman's uncanny ability to identify structural patterns in astronomic permutations and mathematically devise solutions to decipher messages [he was no mathematician; this made his discoveries all the more remarkable] and the computing work of his collages, a reverse-engineered machine was built in 1939. The team could now decrypt some of the 'PURPLE' codes by replicating the settings of the Japanese. This achievement enabled American cryptographers to read secret Japanese communication in real-time: it was a game-changer; it was magical.
'Magic' worked as follows: the US Signal Services harvested Japanese signals from the ionosphere, 'unbuttoned,' translated, and transmitted the 'raw' information to all key decision-makers rapidly through a secure communication system. Unfortunately, the only civilian agency, the OSS, the precursor of the CIA under Bill Donovan, due to interagency rivalries, was excluded from the list of recipients. The military did not trust the upper crust civilian spies called the 'cardinals' to keep secrets much less analyse the material coherently. It was a prelude to calamity!
"By 1941," wrote Anthony Cave Brown in The Last Hero The 'Wild' Bill Donovan, "'Magic' was producing a great volume of most secret intelligence about Japanese plans, capabilities, intentions, and instructions, not only in the field of diplomacy but also on intelligence matters, on a current, worldwide basis." For example, the 'Magic' intercept dated November 14, 1941, and accumulating HUMINT [human intelligence], made it abundantly clear that Pearl Harbour was the target. Yet, the American security system failed miserably as there was no one in charge of placing the jigsaw pieces, from all sources, on the intelligence board [integrating multi-sourced material], which would have revealed Tokyo's malignant plans.
Writing for the US National Security Agency in 1955, Friedman stated, "In 1946, when we reread those messages...., I realized that it is fantastic that somebody in the US Intelligence did not or could not see that the coming blow was being prepared against Pearl Harbour."
After the war, Friedman continued to work for Signals Intelligence. In 1949 he became head of the cryptographic division of the newly formed Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and in 1952 became chief cryptologist for the National Security Agency. He wrote a series of canonical textbooks on Military Cryptanalysis widely used to train a new generation of NSA staff. During his early years at NSA, he encouraged the agency to invest in mega computers which revolutionized data processing and integration. Today, the multi-billion NSA complex in Utah, containing super computers managing a gargantuan trove of secret intelligence, stands as the affirmation of Friedman's vision.
America recognized William F. Friedman as one of the "world's leading cryptologists," and bestowed upon him many awards for his inventions and achievements, including the War Department's Civilian Service Award, the Presidential Medal for Merit by President Truman, and the National Security Medal by President Eisenhower. Friedman was also inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. Also a building was named after William and his wife Elizabeth, America's first female crypto analyst, at the NSA complex at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland.
On Sunday, November 2, 1969, William Frederic Freidman, the 'Einstein of the airwaves,' the dapper-dressed, ballroom dancer, golf player with exquisite old-world manners passed away in Washington. He was interred with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery. When Elizabeth passed away in 1980, she was laid to rest next to her husband.
His disciple, successor and life-long friend Lambros D. Callimahos, distinguished US Army cryptologist, writing in the Winter 1974 edition of Cryptologic Spectrum, paid him the ultimate tribute: "The legendary figure is with us still- in the works he left behind, in the science he created, in the inspiration to his colleagues and friends."
Fortress from Hasmonean wars discovered in Lachish Forest
2100-year-old fort destroyed by the Maccabees uncovered in Israel's Lachish Forest.
Weapons, burnt wooden beams, dozens of coins and a Hellenistic fortified structure—tangible evidence of a battle between the Hasmoneans and the Seleucids some 2,100 years ago—are currently being unearthed in Israel Antiquities Authority excavations in Lachish Forest. The excavations are being conducted as part of the Kings of Judah Road project, in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund, funded by the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry, assisted by high-school students majoring in the Ministry of Education's Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology program, and students from the Asher Ruach Bo pre-military program in Mitzpe Ramon for youths at risk.
According to Saar Ganor, Vladik Lifshits and Ahinoam Montagu, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The excavation site provides tangible evidence of the Hanukkah stories. It appears that we have discovered a building that was part of a fortified line erected by the Hellenistic army commanders to protect the large Hellenistic city of Maresha from a Hasmonean offensive. However, the finds from the site show that the Seleucid defenses were unsuccessful; the excavated building was badly burnt and devastated by the Hasmoneans."
Works at the site, aerial view.Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority
The excavation revealed a 15 × 15 meter building planned as a well-fortified unit. The external walls, no less than three meters wide, were built of large stones and had a sloping outer glacis to prevent the wall from being scaled. The inside of the structure was divided into seven rooms, preserved to an exceptional height of roughly two meters. The excavation uncovered a stairwell leading to a second floor, which was not preserved. The building is estimated to have been about five meters high.
The site lies on the summit of a high hill commanding a view of the ancient main road, which ran along the Nahal Lachish streambed and connected the coastal plain to the central highland ridge. The building overlooks Maresha, the largest Hellenistic city in the area and the capital of Idumea in the Hellenistic period.
Students majoring in the Ministry of Education's Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology program from schools in Be'er Sheva, Dimona and Nitzan assisted in the excavation as part of an Israel Antiquities Authority's program aimed at nurturing awareness of the country's heritage in the community. The students learn about history through hands-on experience as part of their matriculation studies, thus turning the archaeological excavation into an educational science laboratory. The excavations were also joined by students from the Asher Ruach Bo pre-military program in Mitzpe Ramon for youth at risk, as part of a week in which the youths make a significant contribution to the community.
During the excavation, thousands of large stones that had collapsed from the upper part of the building were removed. A massive destruction layer, about half a meter thick, was discovered beneath the stones. The layer yielded hundreds of finds, including pottery, slingshots, iron weapons, burnt wooden beams and dozens of coins dated to the late second century BCE. "Based on the finds and coins, the building's destruction can be attributed to the Hasmonean leader John Hyrcanus's conquest of the region of Idumea in around 112 BCE," say the archaeologists.
The Hasmoneans, whose rebellion against Hellenistic rule and the Seleucid dynasty followed the anti-Jewish decrees of Antiochus IV, waged many battles against the Seleucid army. John Hyrcanus's conquests, described in the Books of the Maccabees and the accounts of the historian Josephus, led to the Hasmonean state's southward expansion.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority's general director, Eli Eskozido, "The stories of the Maccabees are coming to life before our eyes, and this is the most fascinating part of the Israel Antiquities Authority's work, when dedicated, hardworking archaeologists breathe life into the historical annals of the people who passed through this land. In a few days, we will be celebrating Hanukkah, whose central theme is the Hasmoneans' defeat of the Hellenists, leading to the establishment of the first independent sovereign Jewish entity. The Hasmoneans could have had no idea that 2,000 years later, students living in the State of Israel would be following in their footsteps. It is extremely exciting."
Minister of Construction and Housing, Jerusalem and Heritage, Zeev Elkin: "The impressive discoveries from the excavations in the Lachish region demonstrate the history of our great and wonderful land and the story of Hanukkah. The Landmarks program led by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, for which I am responsible, continues to develop national and historical heritage sites on a daily basis. Over the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, we will be marking Heritage Week throughout the country and I invite the general public to visit, discover and experience our national heritage sites."
Minister of Culture and Sports, Chili Tropper: "The Israel Antiquities Authority's fascinating new discovery is a classic example of how traditional, well-known and well-loved stories become part of the historical and archaeological record. The building's excavation reflects the glorious roots of the
Jewish people in the Land of Israel and brings the Hanukkah stories to life. Added impetus was given to the event by the participation of dozens of youths, who were given a rare opportunity to encounter the history of the Jewish people, face to face. The Ministry of Culture and Sports will continue to support this important enterprise, which combines heritage, history and culture."
After the excavations, the building will undergo conservation and will be opened to the general public in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund's Southern District, as one of the sites along the Kings of Judah Road, which is currently under development.
Rabbi Eliezer Waldman Ztz'l, President of Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba, Passed Away at 84
Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, founder and President of the Hesder Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba, passed away on Shabbat after a brief illness. A National Religious Rabbi, he was one of the oldest students of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook Ztz'l. He was among the leaders of the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria and one of the founders of the settlement in Hebron and Kiryat Arba. He served as an MK for the Tehiya party from 1984 to 1990.
Rabbi Waldman was born in Petah Tikva in 1937, to Rabbi Yoel and Dina Waldman. In 1940, his family moved to the United States, where, as a teenager, he studied with the Rosh Yeshiva of Chaim Berlin in Flatbush, Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, and also earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and philosophy from Yeshiva University. He returned to Israel in 1957 and eventually enrolled at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and became a disciple of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. At Merkaz Harav he befriended Rabbi Haim Drukman and the two remained study partners.
In 1964, Rabbi Waldman was one of the founders of the Or Etzion Yeshiva and served there as a rabbi for several years. In 1968, he was one of the founders of the Jewish community in Hebron, where he led a study group that he considered a branch of the Merkaz Harav yeshiva. He was alongside Rabbi Moshe Levinger at the historic Seder that relaunched the Jewish community of Hebron-Kiryat Arba. In 1972, Rabbi Waldman became Rosh Yeshiva of the Hesder Yeshiva Nir Kiryat Arba. He was later joined by Rabbi Dov Lior and the two served together as co-deans for close to 30 years.
In 1984, Rabbi Waldman was arrested as part of the Jewish underground investigation, on suspicion of knowing about its activities. The arrest shocked his relatives and students, who heard him vehemently opposing the activities of the underground and calling on its members to repent their actions. Rabbi Waldman denied the allegations against him and was released after two days.
Rabbi Waldman was one of the founders and leaders of Gush Emunim, and one of the founders of the Tehiya Party. He served as a member of the Central Secretariat and the Council of the Tehiya until its dissolution and served as an MK on its behalf in the 11th and 12th Knessets. He retired from the Knesset in January 1990.
In June 2021, ahead of the formation of the Lapid-Bennett government, in partnership with Meretz and Ra'am, Rabbi Waldman was one of the rabbis who signed a petition warning against a government "that will harm the most fundamental things in matters of religion and state." As well as in matters of security, when it "leans on terror-supporters."
Rabbi Waldman called on soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate Jews from anywhere in the Land of Israel but called on his students not to use violence against soldiers and police who come to evacuate them.
Rabbi Waldman stated as early as the 1980s that "the prayer of a Jew on the Temple Mount should be the most natural part of living together in the Land of Israel." But he objected to hasty action in this area. Eventually, he encouraged ascent to the Temple Mount according to the ruling of his colleague, Rabbi Dov Lior, and even ascended to the Temple Mount himself.
May his soul continue to ascend for eternity.
Rabbi Waldman's funeral took place today, Sunday, Dec. 19. Eulogies werev said at 12 PM and the procession started at 12:30, from the Nir Yeshiva building in Kiryat Arba, his life's enterprise, to the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron.