Majestic Mt. Arbel fortress to open following 1.5 years of conservation work and When Lincoln Borrowed a Philadelphia Rabbi’s Tammuz 17 Reference for the Gettysburg Address By Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu and Israeli researchers discover breakthrough for early detection, treatment for Parkinson’s and Daniel Greenfield: A Raid on a Political Opponent is Political Until Proven Otherwise and The Portion of Ekev
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 Raid on a Political Opponent is Political Until Proven Otherwise
By: Daniel Greenfield
After the Mar-a-Lago raid, the same familiar voices are once again insisting that we ought to give the DOJ the benefit of the doubt.
(These same folks don't think the police officers in the George Floyd drug overdose case or the Breonna Taylor case, currently being lynched by Biden's racist DOJ deserve that.)
The government doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt in our criminal justice system, the accused do. And there's a big difference between respecting the integrity of the average law enforcement officer on the ground (which, for whatever it's worth, I think stands above that of the average politician, but is certainly far from incorruptible) and the system that dispatches him and tasks him with certain missions. Lefties and Never-Trumpers tiresomely continue to conflate attacks on law enforcement with a lack of credulity for a politicized system that calls the shots.
A political appointee, like AG Garland, approving a raid on a political opponent deserves zero of the benefit of the doubt and all the suspicion that can be mustered. The same would be true if a GOP AG had approved a raid on Hillary Clinton for that matter. Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the target, a raid on a political opponent should be assumed to be political until proven otherwise. And there would be a really high barrier to proving that going after your political opponents is apolitical.
AG Garland and his people had a way out of this. They could have turned the whole matter over to an independent investigation, even now they could appoint a special master to oversee the products of the raid. They've refused to do that. Those are not the actions of devoted civil servants following an investigation wherever it goes. They're the work of political hacks looking to maintain control at all costs.
In China and Russia, the government gets the benefit of the doubt. Americans suspect their government. That's the American way. It's Un-American not to.
The original story told through the media was that the FBI raid was about retrieving documents that the National Archives wanted in its custody. As I wrote at the time, that wasn't the reason, that was the pretext.
And AG Garland is admitting as much by trying to keep the affidavit classified after agreeing to declassify the search warrant.
The Justice Department said in court documents Monday that it opposes the release of the FBI affidavit used to justify the search warrant on former President Donald Trump's primary residence at Mar-a-Lago.
Because the documents are classified? Nope.
In Monday's filing, prosecutors indicated that the affidavit contained sensitive information regarding the testimony of witnesses in the investigation, adding later they feared that releasing the requested documents would "chill" the future testimony of other potential witnesses.
While the Justice Department did not oppose the release of the search warrant last week, the department argued Monday in a court filing to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida that the affidavit should remain sealed "to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security."
The investigation isn't about returning documents. It's about maintaining their informants and keeping a political investigation going.
But while the Justice Department has "carefully considered whether the affidavit can be released subject to redactions," it said in Monday's court filing that "the redactions necessary to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest."
That is some statement. Everything has to be kept secret, not because it's classified information being kept hidden from the enemy, but because it's being kept secret from the target of its investigation, Trump and his associates.
If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government's ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps," the department wrote in its filing.
It's all about the next steps. The raid was a means, not an end, to gather material for a political witch hunt by the Biden administration.
Justice Department officials have defended the Mar-a-Lago search as a necessary step approved by Mr. Garland himself. People familiar with the Justice Department's approach have said a primary goal of the search was to ensure the security of highly sensitive national-security documents after the Trump team didn't relinquish them and amid concerns that the security of the material at Mar-a-Lago had been put at risk.
Justice Department officials have just admitted that's a bunch of lies.
As The Point previously discussed, the warrant they bore allowed them to pretty much take everything, giving them the right to search most of Mar-a-Lago and to take anything potentially classified, anything near anything classified, and anything potentially covered under the presidential records act.
That's the definition of a fishing expedition. Now a few of the fish had to be thrown back.
Passports belonging to Donald Trump have been returned to the former president after last week's FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home, a Justice Department official told NBC News on Monday.
The FBI acknowledged it had had the passports the same day Trump said on his social media platform that FBI agents who conducted the search on Aug. 8 took them.
In a statement on Truth Social, Trump said agents "stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else." He did not provide further details or specify whether the travel documents were personal or government passports. (Presidents receive diplomatic passports when they take office.)
A Justice Department official said Trump's passports have been returned.
They didn't need the passports obviously. But how much else did they take inappropriately?
The whole story that this was a clean search and the only things taken in the raid were legitimate has fallen apart. It's insupportable. They clearly took everything and the kitchen sink.
But that's routine for FBI raids. Look at the US Private Vaults case which is still dragging on.
FBI agents raided the U.S. Private Vaults facility in March 2021, and they rummaged through the contents of every box in the vault. The government attempted to justify the raid on the ground that U.S. Private Vaults—the business—was being charged with federal crimes, but none of the individual box holders were charged. And the warrant authorizing the search specifically said that the government was not authorized to conduct a criminal search of the individual security deposit boxes. Yet, nonetheless, the government opened every box, made a video record of the contents, and even opened sealed envelopes and held documents up to the camera.
The government cannot search your private property when it cannot even say what you might have done wrong. That's what the Fourth Amendment means when it protects the right to be "secure" in your "persons, houses, papers, and effects." So, in May, IJ sued on behalf of box holders Paul and Jennifer Snitko, Joseph Ruiz, and Tyler Gothier.
On the eve of the lawsuit, the government doubled down on its constitutional violations by moving to take the contents of hundreds of boxes through civil forfeiture.
People have had cash, jewelry, and memorabilia seized through civil forfeiture.
Despite the orders in the search warrant, the FBI is alleging that they have rights to the over $86 million in cash that was confiscated during the raid. There are millions more in assets customers of the vault company stored away including jewelry, watches, heirlooms, and other valued memorabilia.
Along with the cash, there are thousands of gold and silver bars, Rolex watches, and jewelry with valuable gems and stones that the FBI wants to confiscate. In one box, there are over $1.3 million in poker chips from the popular Las Vegas casino, Aria.
The contents of 175 boxes are in the process of being returned to their rightful owners, and the FBI has already given back the contents of at least 75 boxes. With the remaining boxes, it's not clear who owns the contents yet.
The Feds returned some items, others were lost.
Next, the agent opens the letter taped to the top of the box, which contains all the necessary information to identify the box's owner—identified in legal filings as "Linda R.," an 80-year-old woman who had stored a significant portion of her retirement savings in Box 8309.
The agent keeps digging anyway, eventually tearing open a heavy-duty envelope that contains an unknown number of what appear to be gold coins.
As the ransacking of Box 8309 continues, the video appears to show at least one of Linda's coins falling to the ground. According to an amended complaint filed last week, the search of the box "was conducted in such a shambolic and disorganized manner that it is no surprise that items were misplaced, lost, or worse."
This is the reality of how Fed raids work even when there's no political bias or other agenda. Once you unleash the government, it doesn't stop where you expect it to.
That's why only fools and totalitarians go down this path.
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
When Lincoln Borrowed a Philadelphia Rabbi's Tammuz 17 Reference for the Gettysburg Address By Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
A rabbi delivering a Shabbat sermon on the coincidental dates of the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Fourth of July in 1863 used the phrase "four score and seven years ago" before Abraham Lincoln made it famous, according to British Professor of Jewish History and Homiletics Marc Saperstein.
Apparently, Rabbi Sabato Morais, the Italian-American leader of Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia, a pioneer of Italian Jewish Studies in America, and the founder of the Jewish Theological Seminary, used the phrase in his sermon in Philadelphia after the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) had been fought but before the outcome was announced (the North won, halting Gen. Robert E. Lee's invasion).
"His sermon contains a phrase that might well have influenced the most celebrated speech in American history," according to Prof. Saperstein.
The Fourth of July often falls during the three-week period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz when the Romans breached of the walls of Jerusalem and the Ninth of Av, when the Second Temple was set on fire. Jews tame their behavior during this period, avoid celebrations and luxuries, and even take on all manner of mortification, in memory of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples which took place during this period.
In 1863, the day of Shabbat, July 4, Independence Day, fell on the first day of the three weeks, Tammuz 17, but because it was Shabbat, as is the case this year, 2019, the fast was pushed off to Sunday.
Rabbi Morais was asked by the Union League of Philadelphia, a patriotic society supporting the policies of President Lincoln, to refer in his sermon that Shabbat to Independence Day – not knowing whether the Confederate army had won in Gettysburg, an event which would have made Philadelphia its next logical target.
However, since it was the 17th day of Tammuz, Rabbi Morais explained he had some difficulty delivering an encouraging address, as per the Union League's recommendation: they suggested that he quote the uplifting verse form Leviticus that is inscribed on the Liberty Bell: "Proclaim liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." Instead, the rabbi chose the lament of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 37:3, "Today is a day of trouble, rebuke and disgrace," which, as a reference to the Battle of Gettysburg, could have been interpreted as mighty unpatriotic – had the North lost.
Rabbi Morais made sure to refer to Independence Day eventually, 87 years after the United States of America had been founded. "'I am not indifferent, my dear friends, to the event which, four score and seven years ago, brought to this new world light and joy," he said to the congregation.
He borrowed the structure of his phrase from the King James translation of Psalms 90:10: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
Prof. Saperstein explains that when Abraham Lincoln spoke to a small group of people three days later, he put the age of the Union at "eighty odd years" – no poetry there at all.
"Needless to say, some three months later, for the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery, Abraham Lincoln elevated the level of his discourse from 'eighty odd years' to 'four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth to this continent,' possibly borrowing from the published text by the Philadelphia Sephardic preacher who, without knowing it, may have made a lasting contribution to American rhetorical history."
Majestic Mt. Arbel fortress to open following 1.5 years of conservation work
Workers carried 20 to 40 kilos of steel supporting elements up 300 meters along the cliff to the Ottoman-period fortress.
The Mt. Arbel National Park will open this weekend after 1.5 years
of complex conservation work on the Ottoman period fortress on the
(photo credit: Asaf Dori)
Towering majestically over Lake Kinneret, looking out over a breathtaking view of the upper and lower Galilee including Mt. Nitai, and further towards the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon, the stark cliff of Mt. Arbel has been witness to plenty of history.
In a secluded plateau on the south and west of the impressive cliff, are the archaeological remains of a Jewish village from the Hellenistic period in the 2nd and 3rd century BC, which was in continued use until the Roman period; inside the cliff is a series of hidden cave dwellings which may have been an extension of the village and which were used as a refuge by Jewish rebels supporters of the last Hasmonean king of Judea, Antigonus II, as they battled, and lost, against the Roman legions of King Herod in 40 BC. The battle was described by Roman-Jewish historian Yosef Ben-Matitiyahu who himself was leader of a Jewish battle against the Romans at the same inaccessible location in 60 CE, later describing how the Romans lit large fires at the entrance of the caves--with many of the Jewish rebels leaping to their deaths--in his famed volume "The War of the Jews" written as Flavius Josephus.
Beneath all this, flint tools and other archaeological evidence of pre-historical occupancy have been found; on top there is also evidence of a crusader fortress and, above all, there is what can be seen today overlooking the region: a stunning work of architectural engineering in the form of a military fortress from 1621 built by a local Druze ruler named Fakhr Al-Din II during a period of instability during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.
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The fortress was not allowed to stand for too long, and within a decade of its construction Ottoman forces destroyed it for reasons unknown. Time and nature did their share, and over the centuries the three-story fortress—a popular site for intrepid hikers to visit--fell into great disrepair making it dangerous for visitors.
Fifteen years ago, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, which manages the Mt. Arbel Natural Park and Nature Reserve, undertook a sweeping conservation project made up of six parts, and in the past five years two major conservation projects of spectacular complexity to strengthen and support the fortress were carried out.
Mt. Arbel National Park will open this weekend after 1.5 years of
complex conservation work on the Ottoman period fortress on the towering
cliff (credit: Rotem Cohen Vider)
This Saturday, July 16, the site will officially reopen to the public after 1.5 years of conservation work.
In July and August, there will be unique behind-the-scenes sunrise tours of the conservation works inside the citadel, and hikers will be able to experience both the spectacular natural beauty at the reserve as well as the magnificent archaeology.
The conservation work on Mt. Arbel was coordinated with the Israel Antiquities Authority, planned by Schaffer & Ronen conservation engineering and carried out by Archo Company.
As part of the conservation work carried out with the Archo Company, many stones were reinforced in the fort, special materials for the thickness of the walls and the ancient structure were injected and about 20 deep drillings were drilled into the rock to create a grip on the hanging walls.
"Another significant process done at the site is the construction of a steel supporting element that simulates the original wall line of the fort, which aims to support the stone walls hanging in the air. The project was accompanied by extremely difficult engineering and logistical challenges that made it challenging and special and we are very happy that it has come to an end and we can return the fort to the visitors," added Yonatan Orlin, director of the INPA conservation teams in the northern district.
The logistics of the work were formidable, said INPA Mt. Arbel Park director Asaf Dori. Special scaffolding had to be built prior to the conservation work in order to allow the process to begin.
"The fortress is in the middle of the cliff and access to it is by foot only. There is a path that reaches to 300 meters below the cliff, but then you need to climb the 300 meters to the fortress, and another 170 steps to the first story and another 80 more steps inside the fortress in order to bring all the materials and tools up," he said.
Different methods of transporting materials were looked into from donkeys to tractors and helicopter, but in the end the only thing that was suitable was manpower, he said, and the conservation work itself was conducted standing on the scaffolding suspended from the cliff.
"All the material, everything went up on the backs of people. Twenty to forty kilos of the steel elements for the wall was brought up piece by piece and built like with Legos. It couldn't be built any other way," said Dori.
Much artistic architectural thought was put into the original design of the fortress said Dr. Haim Mamalya, Tiberias and East Lower Galilee subdistrict archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Even when building on such a difficult location, Fakhr Al-Din II put emphasis not only on the fortress as a place for military protection but also as one of beauty using the natural resources available to him, said Mamalya, and the fortress wall was made of successive rows of three of white limestone and black basalt stone he procured from the valley below.
"It is very beautiful and special. It was really thought out."
Dr. Haim Mamalya, Tiberias and East Lower Galilee subdistrict archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority
"It is not easy to carry basalt stone from the wadi to mid-cliff, but the purpose was for more than just to protect the wall against attacks from enemies, or for construction purposes, but for the esthetic beauty of it. It is very beautiful and special," he said. "It was really thought out."
The hundreds of caves that were originally created in a natural process also open on the cliff, and later the natural cave complexes were hewn and expanded by man for residential purposes in ancient times. The impressive structure of the caves include living halls, collection cisterns, stair assemblies, Jewish mikvahs and cisterns which were carved under the natural drainage system of the rock, through its natural grooves, noted the INPA in a statement.
Throughout the periods of its use, in the citadel and the cave village, natural drainage systems were used to fill cisterns and assist the life of the castle. These systems collapsed over the years and as part of the conservation work the natural drainage systems were tilted to reduce weathering and damage, the INPA said.
"This has been a very complex work done in the center of the high cliff, which has led to spectacular results. Today, the visitor's experience in the fortress has improved miraculously, and after 160 steps they will enter a 400-year-old building that provides a spectacular and unique view of the Arbel, Lower Galilee and Upper Galilee," said Dori.
He noted that there are several hiking trails in the reserve. Around the entrance of the site there is an easy circular route along the mountain base that includes four amazing views and from where the fortress can be seen, or the more adventurous route designed for families of good hikers and recommended for children aged 7 and up, which includes descent and then ascent of the cliff—including the use of metal ladders in some places—and also passes through the fortress and refuge caves.
In honor of the new opening on July 16, August 5 and August 20 the INPA will offer free, behind-the-scenes tours along the more challenging path at 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. by tour guides as part of a Tourism Ministry project. In the morning, there will also be professional guides who will guide the hikers on the conservation and development work done at the fort.
Entrance to the site to view the sunrise will begin at 5:15 this coming Saturday, and at 5:30 a.m. during the month of August, but a descent to the hiking path will be only possible starting at 6:30 a.m. to respect the quiet for the many animals for whom the nature reserve is home.
The Portion of Ekev
The Broken "Chet" is an Allusion to the Eight Rebukes
Moses warns the Children of Israel against worshipping different gods, lest G-d's anger befalls them. In the words of the Torah: "And the wrath of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will close off the heavens, and there will be no rain, and the ground will not give its produce, and you will perish quickly from upon the good land that the Lord gives you" (Deuteronomy 11;17).
The letter "chet" in the word "vecharah" (will be kindled) and whose numerical value is eight, is broken. This reminds the Children of Israel of the eight places in the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy where the Almighty's wrath is mentioned. (The Rokeiach on this portion)
In the portion of Devarim, it states: "These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on that side of the Jordan in the desert, in the plain opposite the Red Sea, between Paran and Tofel and Lavan and Hazeroth and Di Zahav (Deuteronomy 1;1)".
The eight places mentioned in the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy are the eight places where the Children of Israel sinned and where G-d was angry with them. (Rashi on the Sifrei)
Israeli researchers discover breakthrough for early detection, treatment for Parkinson's
New qMRI analytic method from Hebrew University reveals cellular changes in the microstructures of the brain area affected by Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's is a progressive and debilitating brain disease that eventually compromises the ability to walk and even to talk.
Diagnosing Parkinson's in the early stages could allow for helpful intervention. But MRI images are not sensitive enough to reveal the first biological changes in the brain of Parkinson's patients.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers, led by Prof. Aviv Mezer, propose quantitative MRI (qMRI) as a new way to detect these cellular changes in the microstructures of the striatum brain area known to deteriorate in Parkinson's disease.
A novel analytic method developed by Mezer's doctoral student, Elior Drori, clearly revealed biological changes in the cellar tissue of the striatum. These changes – previously impossible to see except in a postmortem exam — were associated with early Parkinson's and movement dysfunction.
"When you don't have measurements, you don't know what is normal and what is abnormal brain structure, and what is changing during the progress of the disease," explained Mezer.
Their findings, published today in the journal Science Advances, form the basis for developing qMRI into a tool that can be used in a clinical setting three to five years down the line.
Drori said the method could also be used for identifying subgroups within the Parkinson's population and tailoring drug therapy accordingly, and then monitoring the effectiveness of a particular drug.