Azaria Alon -Lover of Zion and The Land of Israel

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Azaria Alon z”l – Lover of the Land of Israel
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Whenever we travel throughout our beautiful country or enjoy our streams and our clean well-kept trails it is thanks to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and their development of Israeli nature reserves.
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Azaria Alon, who died this morning, was one of Israeli nature’s greatest lovers and guardians.As a Bar Mitzvah gift I received an encyclopedia titled “HaChai V’HaTzomach Shel Eretz Yisrael” (The animals and greenery of Israel), edited by Alon. I loved turning the pages and afterwards going on a hike in those very same places.
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The Nation of Israel owes much gratitude to this very special lover of our beautiful country. He was a Humble and good Jew.and Zionist
May his memory be blessed.

יהי זכרו ברוך —
18 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Stephen Darori In 1972 , 76 and again 1980 the South African Railways proposed taking over the Administration and Development of Israeli Railways ( at the expense of the SA Railways entirely).The negotiations were led by my late father Morrie Drus. In 1980 he came on Aliyah with the entire Drus family but remained the Right Hand Man of the then Director General of the South African Railways , Dr Johannes Marais ,a great Christian Zionist. Between 1980 and 1982 he worked closely with Azaria Alon and produced a 10 years development plan for the Israeli Railways that included railway lines from Rosh Hanikra ( the tunnel by the way and line to Beirut was built by the South African Engineering Corps within the British Army during the Second World War… my father led this Unit) .The Plan included Railway lines from Katsrin on the Golan, Metulla and Rosh Hankra through the Shomron to Ashdod , Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot , Dimona, Yerocham , Beer Sheva to Eilat with an additional Narrow Gauge commercial line from Eilat to Tel Aviv and the Jewels of the Development Plan a Fast Net to Jerusalem and a MonoRail System in the Mercaz ( the water table is to close to the surface for an underground) . 47 Israeli Railway workers ,all members of the Histadrut objected and the high level contract was never signed. The Cost to Zion of the 47 in today’s money is estimated at $63 billion dollars and counting. The Fast Net to Jerusalem has already cost Zion about $9.4 billion and is slated to open in early 2016. ……………………My father walked the length and breath of Zion with Azaria Alon and his Society for the Protection of Nature clutching their Nature Biblehttp://www.amazon.com/…/038514…/ref=la_B001JOIT6I_1_2… …..Azaria Alon’s contribution to Zion’s landscape is his legacy. A very Great Man. May his his Memory be Blessed.Wonderful………………… … For the last 6 months I have been transitioning back to a position in Zion ( the White Silicon City would be nice) but I have been repeatedly tagged with ” too much experience ” or “too many degrees”… it is very frustrating especially as remuneration isn’t an issue ( unless it is insulting or/and a disincentive). If you have any contacts or know of companies looking for a mutlifaceted skilled person, please contact me Tel 0524182849 ( stephendarori@gmail.com)http://www.linkedin.com/…/stephendarori… the 6th September 1986 , Drus ( pronounced Darus) was Hebrewaized to Drori. The “a” in English was added for branding purposes. Darus is the gerund of “Le Dareis ” to be trodden on . we couldn’t live with that.Dror is the Biblical word for Sparrow. Achad Ha’am wrote … “cage a sparrow ad it will die” ( think about it .. it is true) . Eliezer ben Yehuda included the word Drori in his 1930’s New Hebrew dictionary with a meaning of “freedom, liberty”

    www.amazon.com

    Describes the flora and fauna of Israel and adjacent areas. Geographically Israel…See more
  • Larry Williams It’s sad to loose someone like that who is so in touch with nature !
  • Lisa Kamins bauruch dayan emet
  • Stephen Darori

The Commandment to Settle the Land of Israel Rabbinical Assessment and in Maps

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1 – The Commandment to Settle the Land of Israel
The commandment, or Mitzvah, to settle the Land of Israel is obligatory upon both the individual Jew and the Jewish nation as a whole. The Mitzvah requires that the nation conquer and settle all of the Land of Israel and that each individual Jew dwell in the Land. Regarding the nation’s responsibility to take control of Israel and settle it, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, the Ramban, writes (in his commentary on Maimonides’ Sefer HaMitzvoth): “We are commanded to inherit the land that the almighty God gave to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not to leave it in the hands of other nations or in desolation, as it says, ‘Inherit the land and live in it, since it is to you that I am giving the land to occupy…'” (Numbers 33:53).

If we examine the Ramban’s words carefully we will discover that there are two parts to the Mitzvah of settling the Land. The first part involves the Jewish people ruling exclusively over the Land of Israel, or Eretz Yisrael, thus leaving no room for foreign governing in the Land. Even when this is accomplished, however, the Mitzvah is still not considered complete. The second part of the Mitzvah requires the settling of every part of the Land, including the most desolate areas. The Mitzvah obligates us not only to dwell in developed cities or towns, but to make the wasteland bloom as well. Only when the Land is under Jewish rule and every part of it is settled, cultivated and flourishing, will the Mitzvah have been completely fulfilled.

The Ramban emphasizes that this Mitzvah is applicable not only to the period of time during which the Jews made their exodus from Egypt and subsequently conquered Israel, but for all generations. In all generations we are obligated to rule over the Land and to settle it. Unfortunately, for much of our long history we have been incapable of fulfilling this Mitzvah, for we, the Jewish People, have been confined to exile in both body and soul. Yet in recent times, through the goodness of God, the end of the exile has begun to reveal itself – our situation has changed and we are now once again able to fulfill this Mitzvah 1 .

2 – The Individual’s Part in the Complete Mitzvah

There are many levels involved in the individual’s part of the mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael. Those who dwell in Israel are partners in this mitzvah, for their presence strengthens the Jewish control of the Land. Those who live in areas that are more desolate, such as the desert, or in Judea and Samaria, fulfill the mitzvah on even a higher level. Their presence in these parts of the Land contributes doubly to the mitzvah, for they are not only strengthening the rule over the areas in which other nations are attempting to wrest away from the Jews, but they are also helping to ensure that all of the Land is cultivated and settled. Those who live in other places in Israel that are more isolated from Jewish presence and are surrounded by enemies, are fulfilling the mitzvah to an even greater extent. The wise sages have said that Eretz Yisrael is only acquired through pain and suffering; the greater the suffering, the greater the reward.

The mitzvah to settle the Land of Israel is unique in that, unlike most other mitzvot, its fulfillment doesn’t involve the performance of any specific act, such as laying tfillin, giving tzeddakah or praying. Each Jew who lives in Israel is performing the mitzvah of settling the Land just by his dwelling in it. It follows, that for those who merit to reside in the towns of Judea and Samaria, mundane daily acts, such as breathing, eating and sleeping become mitzvot in themselves.

For those who live outside of Israel but financially support its settlement, their partnership is limited as they are not fulfilling the mitzvah with their physical presence. And those who do live in Israel and also help to support its settlement towns are partners in the settling of the Land’s holy places, which of course raises the level of greatness for this mitzvah.

3 – The State of Israel
On the fifth of Iyar 5708 Israel was officially declared a state and Am Yisrael was once again able to return to its homeland and perform the mitzvah of settling it. After two thousand years of living in the diaspora, Jewish rule over Israel was finally back in effect, thus fulfilling the nation’s obligation to conquer and control the Land. Even if the majority of the inhabitants residing in Israel were Jewish, as long as the Land was under foreign rule, the complete mitzvah obligating both the individual and the nation to settle it could not be fulfilled. Only upon the establishment of Israel as a Jewish owned and governed state, did Am Yisrael merit the opportunity to begin the process of performing the complete mitzvah of settling the Land.

Jewish rule over the Land is such a basic concept that the rabbis and sages decreed that one should tear one’s clothes and say “Your holy cities are desolate” upon seeing a destroyed city in Judea. As long as the city is in the hands of another nation, it is considered destroyed and desolate, even if the majority of its population is Jewish. The same applies to the opposite. If the city is inhabited mostly by non-Jews but Jewish rule has been established, it is a redeemed city and it is no longer necessary to tear one’s clothing and mourn over it. (See Beit Yosef Orech Chaim 561, Mishne Brura 561,b).

Rav Kook also emphasized that on the day of Israel’s Independence the mitzvah of settling the Land once again became possible and we could begin to fulfill it.. On one occasion during an Independence Day celebration at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav one of the great Rabbis of the Yeshiva stressed that the importance of the establishment of the State of Israel was attributed to the fact that now there is more Torah learning and it is easier to perform many of the mitzvot. Rav Kook did not agree with that idea and he addressed the matter saying that the importance of the establishment of the State of Israel is the mere fact that Am Yisrael is again enabled to fulfill the mitzvah of settling the Land. That in itself, he stated, is a great reason to celebrate. Eretz Yisrael under Jewish leadership has its own intrinsic value and is not a means to an end. Once the complete mitzvah of conquering, controlling and settling the Land is performed, it is inevitable that other mitzvot will be more easily and readily fulfilled and the redemption will be closer at hand as a result. 2 

Am Yisrael was not able to perform this mitzvah of conquering and settling the Land in previous generations because it did not have an army or weapons while it was in the Diaspora with which to fight for Israel. However, the establishment of an army in Israel before it officially became a state enabled the nation to take control of the Land. Therefore, in addition to saving Jewish lives from enemies, the presence of an army is essential for performing this mitzvah. This will be the situation until the time of better days arrives as it is stated in the verse in Isaiah (chap.2,2-4) “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills’ and all the nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say, come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the G-d of Yaakov; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall come forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Yerushalayim. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall decide among many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war any more.”

4 – Conquering the Land and Pikuach Nefesh

The Torah is given to man in order for him to live by it, not die by it. Therefore, if one is in a situation where he must do a forbidden act or die, the Torah usually permits one to transgress mitzvot. Transgressions such as idol worship, murder or illicit relations are the exception to this rule. One is permitted to break Shabbat or feed a sick person non-kosher food if it is necessary to heal him for the sake of pikuach nefesh (transgressing a mitzvah in order to save one’s life). Pikuach nefesh, however, does not apply to the waging of war in order to conquer the Land of Israel. Even though it is inevitable that people will die during a war, the Torah commands us to take control of the Land through battle and not to rely on miracles (Minchat chinuch 425, Mispat Kohen page 327). And so it seems that in order to perform the mitzvah of conquering and settling the Land, one must be altruistic and self sacrificing just as was demanded of Am Yisrael in the times of Joshua, King David, during the building of the Second Temple, and the period of the Chasmonim rule.

We should however categorize these concepts. The rule that one should live by the Torah and its mitzvot and not die by them also applies to the Jewish nation as a whole. At times, the good of the nation, as opposed to individual soldiers, need to be taken into consideration. For example, if there is a high risk that Am Yisrael will lose the war and its inheritance, then the welfare of the nation is at stake and the army should not go to war. It is clear that the Torah is an instrument of life and does not command the nation to commit suicidal acts. However if chance of success is great then there is an obligation to wage war in order to conquer the Land and settle it, even if that involves loss of Jewish lives.

It is of necessity to point out that if a nation does not fight for the sake of its own country or land, then it is leaving itself vulnerable and exposed to its neighbors and enemies, which is a greater danger. If a nation doesn’t succeed in recruiting its sons to sacrifice their lives in battle for the sake of defending the borders of their country, it will eventually be conquered, subsequently endangering its citizens to greater perils. Thus, the mitzvah to fight for Eretz Yisrael actually involves the saving of lives as well as fulfilling the mitzvah of settling the Land.

5 – The Greatness of the Mitzvah
The sages and rabbis declared the mitzvah of dwelling in the Land of Israel equal to all the other mitzvot combined. Although there are other mitzvot about which the same is considered true, this mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael supersedes them as it is the only mitzvah that demands of us to sacrifice our lives in order to conquer the land and keep it from our enemies. In addition, this mitzvah is unique in that the transgression of shvut on Shabbat is allowed in order to regain control of the Land. 3 

We can learn more about the importance of this mitzvah from the Tanna dbei Eliyahu’s descriptions of the greatness of Eretz Israel. “Once I was sitting before the great Rabbis in Yerushalayim and I asked them what was so different about King Omri that all the Kings preceding him did not have any continuation, whereas Omri’s offspring produced three more kings? They responded: ‘We didn’t hear.’ I then said to them: ‘Rabbis, Omri merited having three kings on his throne because he built a great city in the Land of Israel.'”

And so, in spite of the fact that Omri was not a righteous person, he merited to have his offspring rule because he fulfilled the mitzvah of settling the land by building a great city in Israel. Omri’s intentions were not to help Israel develop or flourish; rather he built the city for his own benefit -to strengthen his kingdom and to keep his subjects away from making the pilgrimage to Yerushalayim. Nevertheless, Omri was rewarded, despite his impure intentions.


^ 1 These concepts were examined thoroughly by Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook tz”l. Some examples of his writings: “The Mitzvot Connected to the Country” (Lenitvot Israel publication 5739 chelek 1 page 120-122) Rav Kook first explains the greatness of the mitzvah that it is the only mitzvah that pushes aside certain prohibitions on Shabbat (i.e. shvut-to tell a non Jew to perform certain forbidden acts on Shabbat for your own benefit). It is permissible to push aside shvut in order to buy land in Israel from a non Jew on Shabbat (as explained in Gitin 8,b and Baba Kama 80,b see Tosafot there) This indeed is a great thing, as the Rabbis decreed not to blow the shofar and not to carry the lulav on Shabbat, mitzvot that are brought down directly from the Torah. But in order to buy land on Shabbat the Rabbis saw fit to permit one to transgress shvut (something which the Hasmag holds is a transgression that is rooted in the Torah) in order to buy land. Rav Kook further states to those that do not think that the mitzvah is valid today, basing their arguments on the words of Rav Chaim in Ketubot 110, that the Mahrit (Yora Deyah 28) and many of the Achronim (see Gilion Mahrsha Ketubot 110) found that one of Rav Chaims student’s made a mistake in his writings. Harishba in his book 187 writes that the mitzvah of settling the land is for all generations. He further writes that one can not separate the two parts of the mitzvah, i.e. the rule over the land and the individual dwelling in it. Just as we are obligated always to conquer the land so too are we always obligated to dwell in the land. It does not stand to reason that the Rabbis would allow us to transgress shvut if this mitzvah was not from the Torah. The concept that this mitzvah is equal to all the other mitzvot is something that is not said about a mitzvah drabbanan (these ideas were brought down after the destruction of the second Temple). The reason the Rambam did not enumerate this mitzvah with the rest of the 613 was not necessarily to lower the value of the mitzvah, rather to stress that its value is above the rest of the mitzvot. The general rule of the Rambam was not to include mitzvot that are of a basic nature in his enumeration of the 613 mitzvot as stated in mitzvah 153.
It should be further pointed out that the mitzvah is to inherit the whole of the promised land, thus the Ramban mentions the verse in Dvarim “You have dwelt long enough in the mountain: turn and take your journey to the mountain of the Emori and to all the places near it, in the plain, in the hills, and in the lowland, and in the Negev and go by he sea side, to land of the Kennanni and to Levanon, as far as the great river, the river Perat.”
^ 2 In addition to this, on Independence Day we thank Hashem for helping us defeat our enemies, and for a place of escape for Jews, and for the uplifting honor in the eyes of the world by the establishment of the Jewish state.
Therefore there are two major reasons to say Hallel on Independence day 1)That we are able to fulfill the mitzvah of settling the Land and 2) The saving of Jewish lives from our enemies. Rav Goren would emphasize the second reason, whereas Rav Tzvi Yehuda would stress that the miracle was the awakening of valor in the self sacrifice made for the defense of Israel.
^ 3 We have seen a similar idea in mila (see Ndarim 32,a), tzeddekah (Baba Batra 9,a), Tzizit (Shavuot 29,a), Tfillin (Minchaot 43,b), Shabbat (Yerushalmi Ndarim 83 halacha 9), Gimlut Hasidim (Yerushalmi Peah 81 halacha 1), and the mitzvah of Talmud Torah in many places.
However the mitzvah of settling the land has a uniqueness that allows one to transgress shvut on Shabbat even if this involves transgressing some of the Rabbinical enactments (this is explained in Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 206,11). This does not occur in the rest of the mitzvot where we are allowed only to do shvut dshvut, i.e. a lesser transgression. This idea has been repeated by many of the Achronim that in order to clarify the greatness of the mitzvah of Eretz Yisrael.
Written by the rabbi

6 – Settling the Land: Planting Trees and Economic Development
We have already learned that the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel does not involve only conquering it, but also requires the settling and developing of every part of it. The Ramban stresses this point that “We should not leave the Land under foreign rule or desolate, as it says: you should inherit the land and settle it.”
Planting fruit trees in the Israel fulfills one aspect of this mitzvah, which obligates Am Yisrael to cultivate every part of the Land and not to leave it desolate. There is no mitzvah to plant fruit trees outside of Israel and usually one only does so for the purpose of providing a livelihood. Those living in Eretz Yisrael, however, have the mitzvah of planting fruit trees regardless of their profession.The wise sages expanded on this concept (Vyikra Rabba 25,3), “It is said that one should go after Hashem. Is it possible for flesh and blood to go after Hashem? It is also said that one should cleave to Hashem. Is it possible for flesh and blood to cleave to Hashem? Rather one should go in his ways, and cleave to his character traits. And just as Hashem, at the beginning of creation, first planted and tended to the Garden of Eden, so too should Am Yisrael upon entering the Land, as it is written: ‘You should come to the Land and plant.'” We learn from this that one that plants a tree in Eretz Yisrael is cleaving to Hashem’s character trait.
There are two advantages to planting trees, one being a future investment. Sometimes people invest their efforts in transient matters, but the Torah guides us to invest our efforts in planting trees in order to root ourselves in the Land through permanent means. The second advantage is that with the abundance of trees the Land bears fruit that has intrinsic holiness and when Am Yisrael eats these fruits many other mitzvot are performed, such as trumah, maasorot and orlah.The Chatam Sofer writes (in his commentary on mesecht sukkah 36) that working the Land of Israel in order to harvest its holy fruit fulfills the mitzvah of settling the Land and the mitzvah commanding Am Yisrael to harvest the grains of the Land. Boaz, who was considered a great man of his generation, did not deem it bitul Torah to spend night working and harvesting the Land. Just as one who is busy learning Torah still needs to stop in order to perform the mitzvah of laying Tfillin, one should stop his Torah learning for the sake of harvesting the crops. The Chatam Sofer adds another important comment on this subject: It is possible that all the work and skills that enable us to settle the Land are in themselves mitzvot. According to this idea, one that assists in the economic development of Israel may be considered a partner in the mitzvah of settling the Land. Eretz Yisrael is holy in both its physical and spiritual attributes and those who assist in its development are partners in its holy building.

7 – The Individual’s Role in the Mitzvah

We have explained the first part of the mitzvah which obligates the Jewish nation to establish rule over the Land of Israel. The second part requires each individual Jew to dwell in the Land. It is a mitzvah for every Jew to live in Israel when the Land is under foreign rule and even when it is under Jewish rule. The Rambam wrote (hilchot Malachim 5,12) “A person should live in Eretz Yisrael forever. He should live in Israel whether it is in a city where the majority of its inhabitants are not Jewish or where the majority of its citizens are Jewish. He should not live outside of Israel, for one who leaves Eretz Yisrael for the galut is as if he is worshipping idols.” 1

The Sefrei (Dvarim see 53) recounts the story of a few rabbis who lived in the time period after the destruction of the second Temple and wished to leave Eretz Yisrael. At the time, the Romans were cruelly and viciously ruling the Land and because of the famine and great troubles many people were leaving Israel. The Sefrei narrates the story of Rabbi Yehuda ben Battera, Rabbi Mateya ben Cheresh, Rabbi Chananya ben Achi, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Natan when they left Israel. Upon arriving at the border town of Paltiya they suddenly remembered Eretz Yisrael. They raised their eyes and began to cry and tear their clothes in mourning while reciting the verse that states: “You should inherit the Land and dwell within it and keep it.” They agreed that the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael is equal to all other mitzvot and they returned to Israel.

Throughout the generations when Israel was not in Jewish hands Am Yisrael was unable to fulfill the first part of the mitzvah of the nation conquering and ruling the Land. However, any Jew that lived in Eretz Yisrael during these times did, to a certain extent, fulfill this part of the mitzvah of settling the Land. His presence in provided a continuous connection between the Jews who lived outside of Israel and their Land, and also provided a base for future growth of Jewish settlement and eventual control over the Land. If these are one’s goals while living in Israel then, just as the Vilna Gaon’s students who made aliyah with great sacrifices, one becomes a partner not just in settling the Land on an individual basis, but also in conquering it and acquiring control over it.

8 – Praises for the Land
The Rambam wrote a unique halacha (Melachim 5,10): “Great Rabbis would kiss the ground of Eretz Yisrael, and kiss its stones as well as roll in its dust as it states: because your slaves wanted its stones and begged for its dust.” At first glance one would ask how could the Rambam write about such actions and deeds in a book devoted to halacha? Which halacha that we learn from our rabbis would involve kissing the earth and hugging the stones of the Land of Israel? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to write about these actions in books of ethics rather than halacha? Indeed this is a great halacha to learn: It is not enough to live in Eretz Yisrael, one should also love the good and holy Land.

At the end of Ketubot (112,a) it is written that when Rabbi Chanina was traveling in Eretz Yisrael and would see a obstructions in his path he would remove it. Rashi explains that he would do this in the different areas of the city because of his great love for Eretz Yisrael, as he didn’t want anyone to think or speak badly about the roads or the places where the obstructions were located.
It is also told that in order to prevent complaints about Israel, Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi would be extremely cautious as to where they sat their students. In the cool morning hours they would sit them in the sun and in the warm afternoon hours they would sit them in the shade. Their students were comfortable and, therefore, did not think badly about the Land or its climate.
It is also Am Yisrael’s responsibility not only to love the Land, but also to praise it, to enjoy its scenery, to decorate it with flowers and trees, to keep it clean, to fix its highways, and to build comfortable and nice looking homes. As a result, the mitzvah of settling the land will be performed, as more Jews will desire to live in Israel and less will leave it for other countries.
The spies sinned when they spoke badly about Eretz Yisrael, claiming that it is (Bamidbar 13,32) “A land that eats its residents,” thereby causing the Jews who were in the desert to despise it. They also sinned by declaring that Am Yisrael did not have enough strength to conquer the Land, thus weakening the hearts of the rest of the nation.

The greatness of Eretz Yisrael is evident in the mere fact that it is a sin to speak lashon harah (speaking badly about another) about the Land. The prohibition of speaking lashon harah is basically limited to people for the prevention of causing them hardships, troubles or bad feelings. There is no concept of speaking lashon harah about physical objects such as rocks. However, lashon harah isconsidered a sin in regards to the Land of Israel, for it causes a delay in the revelation of Hashem in this world. Hashem only reveals himself by way of the holy Land of Israel. It follows that the punishment for speaking badly about Israel is unusually stringent, to the extent that even a generation that received the Torah at Mount Sinai could not escape the punishment to die in the desert and not enter the Land which they had slandered.
The generations following that of the spies are obligated to rectify the spies’ sins, to praise Eretz Yisrael and to thank Hashem for giving us the Land as a precious gift. This especially applies to our generation in which millions of Jews have merited to settle the Land and raise their families in Israel-something even previous generations of righteous people did not merit. Therefore it is doubly important to continuously repeat the words of Yehoshua and Calev (Bmidbar 14,7) “The Land is exceedingly good” and the words of Calev (Bmidbar 13,30) “Let us go up at once; for we are well able to overcome it.”

9 – Honoring One’s Parents and Dwelling in the Land
What is the law pertaining to a situation when a child wishes to make aliyah (to live in Israel) but his parent’s are against him doing so? Does the child have to abide by his parents wishes in an effort to perform the mitzvah of honoring ones father and mother, or does the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel over ride that? First, it is necessary to clarify that there is no mitzvah of honoring one’s parents if it does goes against another mitzvah that is derived from the Torah or even one that is derived from the wise rabbis. It is forbidden to transgress a mitzvah from the Torah even if parents tell their child to do so. The child also has the mitzvah of honoring Hashem and fulfilling His Torah (Shulchan Aruch yoreh daya 240,14).

It is clear, therefore, that one is permitted to settle in the Land of Israel even if it is against one’s parents’ wishes, especially because the mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael is considered by the wise sages to be equal to all the mitzvot. (Mahram from Rotenberg, HaMabit, see Petchai Tshuva). This rule also applies to one who wants to live in a settlement town in Judah, Samaria or Gaza for the purpose of strengthening Jewish control over the Land. Although his parents may be worried and demand that he leaves the settlement, he is not required to do so because he is fulfilling the Torah mitzvah of settling the Land.

10 – A Disagreement Between a Couple
When a couple disagrees on where to live it is not acceptable to force one to leave his or her present place of residence because uprooting one who wishes to remain in a familiar place causes hardship. Therefore, the decision rests with the one who wants to stay put. However, if the couple live in a place where the majority of the residents are not Jewish then one has the right to force the other to move to a place where there are more Jews. This ruling is applicable to couples who either in Israel or in another country. If, however, one wants to move to Israel and the other refuses, the law favors the one who wishes to settle the Land. Regardless of whether it is a woman or the man who wishes to move to Israel, the one who wants to remain in a different country must concede. And even if the situation were such that the couple live in a city outside of Israel that has a large Jewish population and the city where they would be moving to in Israel has a small Jewish population, they should still move to Israel regardless of the number of Jews that dwell in the particular area in which they will be settling.

If, G-d forbid, the situation is irreparable where no compromise can be reached and the couple decide to divorce, the husband -if he is the one who refuses to live in Israel- needs to give up the ketubah to his wife. If the wife refuses to settle in the Land of Israel, she subsequently forfeits her ketubah (Shulchan Aruch orech chaim 75,4).
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1. In my humble opinion it seems that one who lives within the borders that were established by those that left Egypt is fulfilling the mitzvah of dwelling in the Land even if there is no Jewish rule at the time. Am Yisrael sanctified those places by settling in them and was obligated to fulfill all mitzvot that are connected to the Land during the time of the first Temple. However, one that lives in Syria or Iraq, even though he resides within the borders of the Promised Land, does not fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in the Land. If, however, his intention of living in those countries is based on assisting the establishment of Jewish sovereignty over those places, then he is fulfilling the mitzvah. This is not the place to prolong our discussion and it needs to be further examined.

Land of Israel

Cyprus belongs to Israel and was called The Island of Dan. The borders of Israel stretch from the Nile River to the Euphrates. Eastern Egypt, Sinai, Jordan, part of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, part of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and part of Turkey are within the Biblical Borders of Israel; They are “Occupied Territory”. Rabbi M.M. Schneerson of Lubavitch (Chabad) on the borders of Israel.

The Land of Israel

 Brit-Am
Replies to Queries

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  Questions
and Answers 

Questions on the Land of Israel
See also our Separate Article
Brit-Am Replies to Queries:
Returning to the Land of Israel

Contents:
1. What is the Brit-Am position on Ephraimites Coming to dwell in the Land of Israel at Present?
2. Is the Island of Cyprus Part of the Promised Land of Israel?
3. What Are the Boundaries of the Promised Land According to the Bible?
4. Will the Land of Israel Encompass North America?

1. What is the Brit-Am position on Ephraimites Coming to dwell in the Land of Israel at Present?

Answer:
At present Judah is preparing the Land as a Forerunner for the other Tribes.
Eventually the other Tribes will return and receive an inheritance alongside Judah.
If an Ephraimite in the present time comes to Israel it should be either as a guest of Judah or as somebody who identifies with Judah.
This is a sensitive and complicated issue and we have written quite a lot about it and answered numerous questions concerned with it.
See:
“Brit-Am Now”-277
#5. Nachmanides: The Connection Between Law and Land

Returning to the Land of Israel

2. Question: Is the Island of Cyprus Part of the Promised Land of Israel?

Shalom Yair,
Thank you for the work that you are doing towards the reunification of the two houses. We have been living in Cyprus for the last year and was surprised that you included the Island of Cyprus with the Land of Promise.
Could you please explain your reference point as we have never heard this before.
Thank you.
Frank and Shirlianne Whigham.

Answer: Cyprus is Part of the Promised Land of Israel.
Concerning the borders including Cyprus this is admittedly an extreme minority opinion but one that is probably correct. The opinion says that the western border was the western estuary of the Nile Delta in the South (opposite Alexandria, as noted by the late Rabbi M.M. Schneerson of Lubavitch) and a line northward into southeast Turkey and encompassing all the Mediterranean Ocean and islands (including Cyprus within that area.
Cyprus was mentioned frequently in our book, “Lost Israelite Identity. The Hebrew Ancestry of Celtic Races”, (1996).

WHY WE CONSIDER CYPRUS PART OF ISRAEL

a. Cyprus appears to be within the borders of the Promised Land according  to the opinion we consider correct. The Promised Land included all the area up to the Euphrates River and all along its length reaching far into the north. It also included at the least the region of Cilicia (southeast Turkey), and most probably the Isle of Cyprus. At all events all these regions and more were taken by the Israelites for considerable periods of time even though they did not succeed in permanently holding them. In the Messianic era (cf. Ezekiel ch.48) and in the times leading up to it all of these areas and more will be re-gained by

b. The Population of Cyprus suffered the same fate as the Canaanites at the time of the Israelite conquest as did a lot of neighboring areas including Anatolia and Greece. Beginning from around 1200 b.c.e. the well developed warlike states of Mycenean Greece, the powerful empire of Hittite Anatolia, the strong city states in southern Canaan, every important city in northern Syria and Cyprus were all completely destroyed. The population of Greece is conventionally considered to have declined (though the figures given here have since been contested) by 75% and the cultural unity of the Mycenean Age came to an end. Crete suffered a similar fate. There was a population decline of 75% also in northern Mesopotamia and 25% in the south. It is conceivable that the cities of Canaan (that were also once again destroyed) met their end due to a resurge of Israelite conquest. There are grounds to believe that what happened elsewhere in some of the other areas was also due to Hebrew initiative or due to Canaanites fleeing from the Israelites or at least somehow influenced by either one of these factors. Assyria was attacked by semi-Nomadic “Aramaean” tribes who may likewise have actually been Hebrews.

c. Egyptians inscriptions report that the Zekaru and Peleset  were defeated in Cyprus. The Zekaru were part of the so-called Sea-Peoples who at least in part were Israelites. We identify the Zekaru as belonging to the Tribe of Issacar. If this identification is correct we have an Israelite Tribe in Cyprus from early times.

d. Cyprus (i.e. “Caphtor” Isle of the Philistines?) in Assyrian inscriptions was later to be called “Yadnana” meaning “ISLE OF THE DANANU”, i.e. Isle of the Tribe of Dan. e.    The Egyptians counted the Dananu-Danites amongst the Peoples of the Sea. They connected the Dananu primarily with the areas north of the Orontes River1 on the north Syrian coast, with Cilicia, and with CYPRUS, and according to Ed.Meier also with Crete.

f. From the 800s b.c.e. a type of pottery called “Samarian” left its remnants all over Cyprus. Samarian pottery is the same as that known from Samaria capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. Cyprus at that  time has been described as “very largely a Phoenician island”. This means that it used a similar cultural base to that of most of the northern Israelite Tribes. More Phoenician inscriptions have been so far discovered on Cyprus than in Phoenicia itself. Phoenicia encompassed Lebanon and  the coastal part of Syria. The northern Israelites of Samaria spoke a dialect of Hebrew considered closer to that of the Phoenicians than to that of  the Judaeans of the southern kingdom. In many respects the culture of much of northern Israel was “Phoenician”. Alternately, much of what is termed “Phoenician” may actually be “Israelite”.

g. Buildings in the Cypriot capital of Kition and in the city of Enkomi are of a standard and type equaled only by that of the palace of Omri (882-871 b.c.e.) in  Israelite Samaria.

h. The physical type of a Cypriot ruler depicted in an Egyptian illustration is described similarly to that pertinent to Israelites of the period, as,
“light red beard, light coloured eye (blue or pink) skin” as “Traits characteristic of a certain type of Syro-Palestinian which one finds [illustrated] in many Theban [Egyptian] tombs”.
JEAN VERCOUTTER, “L’Egypte et le Monde Egeen Prehellenique (18em et 19em Dynasties)”, Le Caire,  1956. p.219

i.The influence of Israelites is evident in archaeological finds concerning Ancient Cypriot life style and values.

Cyprus had been known as Yadnana meaning “Isle of the Dananu” from the Israelite Tribe of Dan. An area corresponding in the descriptions to Scandinavia had also been called “Keftiu”, or “Kaptara” both meaning Cyprus. Since the Danites were connected with Cyprus of the Mediterranean they may (on that point alone) also have been on Cyprus of the Atlantic Ocean meaning in Scandinavia. Dan was exiled and  some Danites may have departed earlier than the others as explained elsewhere. Scandinavian culture at that time reveals the probable presence of a group hailing from the same Middle Eastern areas which the Danites had frequented shortly beforehand. It may be surmised that the Danites (or rather a portion of them) from the Mediterranean had migrated to Scandinavia.
Cyprus appears to be the area referred to in the Bible as the “Island of Caphtor” (Jeremah 47:7 Amos 9:7) homebase of the Philistines which we believe Israelites conquered. “Caphtor” has been interprted to mean “Top of the Pillar”. Scandinavia tradition in one version traced their ancestral gods to the Isle of “Asgard” which according to Jugen Spanuth (“Atlantis of the Noirth”, 1980, p.94) as “Island of Caphtor”.

Irish legends spoke of the Tribe of Dana (Tuatha De Danaan) who were renowned metallurgists, and scientifically adept. They arrived from the “northern isles” after some disaster, the only “northern isles” as far as Ireland is concerned are those of Scandinavia. The Tribe of Dana, said the Irish sources had originally come from the region of Mount Lebanon, it had sojourned in Greece, been enslaved, fought with the “Phillistines”, and then fled north after which it had come to Ireland.

Welsh legends also spoke of the Children of Don who paralleled the Tribe of Dana.

Irish legends in effect identify the Children of Dana with the Israelite Tribe of Dan according to the above conclusions.

In effect, they say that from Scandinavia the Danites had progressed to the British Isles. The Irish accounts exactly fit what archaeological research has revealed. The Irish records were transmitted orally for generations then written down centuries before archaeology confirmed them.

The Dana of Irish (and Welsh) Mythology belonged to the Israelite Tribe of Dan. Indications exist that the Assyrians or their auxiliaries conquered Scandinavia in about 1200 BCE and the Danites may have reached Scandinavia after that date. Scandinavian Bronze Age Civilisation ended in about 500 BCE about which time the Dana from Scandinavia came to Ireland and to parts of Britain.

Cyprus is identified with Caphtor. It was one of the places the Philistines came out of.

[Genesis 10:14] AND PATHRUSIM, AND CASLUHIM, (OUT OF WHOM CAME PHILISTIM,) AND CAPHTORIM.

Cyprus remained a base of the Philistines and the struggle against them entailed capturing the island. After that the Danites had taken it over. One version of Scandinavian legend says that their ancestors came from an island named Asgard. Another version says that they came from the  Plain of Ida and the Don River area in Scythia (Southern Russia). Both versions are correct and apply to different migrating bodies. The term Asgard however when applied to their ancestral home evidently should apply most strictly to the island.

Jurgen Spanuth, Atlantis of the North (p.211), identifies Cyrpus with Asgard:
“The name ‘I Kaphtor’ [Hebrew for Isle of Caphtor] is a literal translation of ‘holmr Asgard’; both mean island of the heavenly pillar, or literally, island of the top of the pillar, island of the heaven-bearing beam.”

See also:
Question on Cyprus being part of Israel

See also the Map of the Promised Land according to Bar-Deroma

Some Facts About Cyprus

Cyprus was occupied by Britain in 1878 during the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
British occupation continued until 1960. Cyprus facilitated protection of  the  sea route to India and Australia via the Suez Canal and was also important in the administration of “Palestine”.

Cyprus has a “Mediterranean” type climate, warm summers, rain in winter, moderate termperatures.
Natural resources include:
copper pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment.
In the past Cypus was important for its timber and forests still cover about 15% of the surface..
There is also an agricultural potential and a tourist industry.
At present water problems exist due to sparse rainfall, inroads of the Sea, and pollution of natural aquifers.
Control of the country is divided between the Greek (ca 80%) and Turkish (ca 20%) speaking populations who are in a state of subdued hostility towards each other. The population numbers more than 1200,000 people.

Cyprus produces citrus fruits, barley, potatoes, fishing, sheep, pigs, wine, clothing, and banking services.

3. Question: What Are the Boundaries of the Promised Land According to the Bible?
Answer: The Land of Israel stretches from the western confluences of the Nile Delta, encompasses all Sinai, part of Northern Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, parts of Iraq, southeast Turkey, the island of Cyprus, and reaches along the Euphrates River and beyond.
The Biblical Borders of the Land of Israel



4. Will the Land of Israel Encompass North America?
Re
All the Israelites Will Come Back!
by Alexander Zephyr
http://www.britam.org/Complete.html

There are sources that the future borders of the Land of Israel will reach into Western Europe and encompass the British Isles (Eretz Chemda, 20, quotes Levush Mordecai in the name of the Chatam Sofer).
This opinion is based on the understanding of the Great Sea.

Numbers 34:6 As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea for a border; this shall be your western border. 

The Great Sea is usually understood to mean the Mediterranean to the west of Israel.
There is what appears to be a minority opinion that it means the Atlantic Ocean but even this is not certain.
Rabbi Yehudah (Gittin 8a) says “the Great Sea for a border” means the Yam HaOkeanus which refers to the Atlantic Ocean.
What was Rabbi Yehudah referring to?
There are differences of opinion.
One view say he meant the area of the Mediterranean encompassed by a line from Alexandria northwards to Turkey and encompassing island in the Sea in between such as Cyprus. This accords with some other opinions.
See:

#3. Question: What Are the Boundaries of the Promised Land According to the Bible?

http://www.britam.org/Questions/QuesLand.html#Boundaries
and above Map.
Another opinion says it means all the Mediterranean area up to the Atlantic.
Still other opinions (Chatam Sofer) suggest that it means lands of Western Europe and reaching up to the Atlantic.
Or it includes lands of Western Europe as well as Britain (an additional understanding of the Chatam Sofer).
Our understanding is that Britain  would be considered as in the Great Sea (Atlantic Ocean) and if it includes Britain
it would of necessity expand to encompass North America as well!
[Or for some reason even though it should stop at the Great Sea it may include Britain but not reach further?].

There are different ways of approaching differences of opinion such as the above.
One method is take it or leave it: One opinion is right, the others wrong.
Another approach is that they are all right but accord to different time tables.

What exactly all this means is not clear.
It is also not necessarily authoritative.
Matters concerning the Times of the Messiah are of necessity speculative.

The bottom line is the BIBLE.
Our understanding to stress as much as possible a Literal understanding of Scripture including Prophecy.
See:
#2. When and When Not is Scripture to be Taken Literally?
http://britam.org/Questions/QuesLiteral.html#When
#3. Saadia Gaon: The Literal Meaning of Scripture Must be Accepted
http://britam.org/Questions/QuesLiteral.html#Saadia
According to this,
What was prophesied as destined to take place in the Land of Israel will do so.

What do we therefore do with the Rabbinical statements concerning the future borders of Israel?
We may suggest an answer but it is built on a series of “ifs”!
If these sources are correct and mean literally what they say?
If the future land of Israel is to encompass parts of Western Europe, the British Isles, and North America?
If only a portion of the Ten Tribes return and the prophecies are fulfilled through them?
It may be that after that the sanctity of the Land of Israel will be expanded to include all Lands in which the Ten Tribes are to be found?

Anyway for the moment we all have to do what we can as well as we can.
God bless you
Yair.



See “Brit-Am Now“-3
#6. Scriptural boundaries for Israel

Brit-Am Now“-402
#3. The NORTHERN BORDERS of Biblical Israel

Brit-Am Now“-25
#5. From “Lost Israelite Identity”: ARABIA

Brit-Am Now“-742
#2. The Temple at Baal Bek: King Solomon or Only the Romans?
(a) Baal Bek in Lebanon
(b) Photos
(c) No-nonsense posting about Baal-Bek
Not so gigantic! built entirely by Romans!
(d) Painting of Baal Bek by David Roberts
(e) Built by Solomon?
(f) Immanuel Velikovsky 1895-1979)
Baal Bak is Ancient Dan? (An Interesting and valuable article)

Brit-Am Now“-744
#1. Is Israel sitting on an enormous oil reserve?
#2. Maps and Symbols
#3. Israeli Stamps:
Tribal Symbols
Brit-Am Now“-756
#5. The Biblical and Future Borders of the Land of Israel
Brit-Am Now“-799
#4. Land of Our Forefathers and Future: A Map
Brit-Am Now“-822
#2. Did Ancient Israel Reach to the Euphrates?
Brit-Am Now“-830
#3. The Cyprus Reference Again
Brit-Am Now“-832
#3. Photos from Lebanon



‘It is impossible to rightly govern the world without
God or the Bible.’
George Washington

Brit-Am is the “still small voice” that contains the truth.
[1-Kings 19:12] AND AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE A FIRE; BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE FIRE: AND AFTER THE FIRE A STILL SMALL VOICE.

And His Land Will Atone for His People

Parashat Ha’azinu

 

The closing words of Ha’azinu’s song, “Vekhiper admato amo,” “And His land will atone for His people,” teach us that the land of Israel can achieve atonement for the people of Israel. This is why Chazal emphasize the importance of burial in Eretz Israel. Connecting the word “admato” mentioned in our verse with “mizbe’ah adama,” “earthen altar,” the Talmud goes as far as to say that burial in the land of Israel is equivalent to burial under the altar, the site of atonement. Due to its inherent holiness as God’s land, all of Eretz Israel is equated to the place of the altar.
The first to insist on burial in the Land of Israel was our forefather, Jacob. Jacob wished to be buried in Eretz Israel, not only for the personal spiritual benefit that he would derive, but also for a much more profound reason. The Meshekh Hokhmah argues that Jacob wished to prevent the assimilation of his offspring into Egyptian life and culture. Jacob impressed the centrality of Eretz Israel upon the national psyche of his descendants. Many Jews throughout the generations, who were unable to come to Israel during their lifetimes, echoed Jacob’s sentiments and instructed that they be buried there. They too wanted to impress upon their own families and communities that they are but temporary dwellers in a foreign land.

In Midrash Mishlei, Rabbi Levi’s version of the derashah regarding “vekhiper admato amo” reads in a slightly different manner. He says that anyone who lives in Eretz Israel, even for a single hour, and dies there, is destined to inherit the world to come. According to Rabbi Levi, burial alone does not do the trick; living in the land is essential. The Talmud relates Rabbi Elazar’s reaction to the death of Ulla, his student, outside of Eretz Israel: “You, Ulla, should die in an unclean land!” Hearing that Ulla’s coffin had arrived, Rabbi Elazar declared: “Receiving a man in his lifetime is not the same as receiving him after his death.”
Jacob was unable to return to live in Israel, but his descendants living in our present, unique times, are welcome to return. May we all merit to live long lives in the Land of Israel.

Bedpan Conversion to Judaism

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Renee is a very caring lady who spends a lot of her spare time visiting and helping sick members of her Shul. Her car is also well known in the community because it’s decorated all over with lots of Hebrew decals and bumper stickers showing the Jewish charities she helps.
One day, as she is driving to one of the care homes she regularly visits, her car runs out of petrol and splutters to a stop. “Oy veh,” she says to herself, “and just when I’m late.”
Fortunately, she notices a petrol station only a few hundred yards away, so she walks to the station to get help. “Hi,” Renee says to the man behind the till, “I’ve run out of petrol and I’m hoping you can lend me your petrol can. I’ll pay you for the petrol I use and I’ll return your can as quickly as possible.”
The attendant replies, “I’m sorry, lady, but I’ve lent out my one and only can, not more than 5 minutes ago. I’m expecting it back in about half an hour, so if you want, you can wait here for it.”
But as she’s behind schedule, Renee goes back to her car to find something that she could use to fill with petrol. Then, what mazel, she notices the bedpan she always keeps handy in case of patient need. So she takes the bedpan to the petrol station, fills it and carries it back to her car.
Two Christian men are passing by and watch her pour in the petrol. One turns to the other and says, “If that car starts, I’m converting to Judaism!”

Survey: Egypt Overtaking Saudis As Most Conservative

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Survey: Egypt Overtaking Saudis As Most Conservative

Survey of 7 Arab countries: Saudis think women should cover all but eyes in public, yet half for women choosing clothes.
Arab women (file)

Arab women (file)
Flash 90

A recent survey of 7 Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries has revealed conflicting viewpoints in Saudi Arabia, a country that doesn’t let women drive and is often considered one of the most repressive nations in terms of women’s rights.

While nearly 2 out of 3 in Saudi Arabia think women should cover all but their eyes in public, nearly 50% say women should choose how they dress. The latter figure is close to the response in more liberal Lebanon with its large Christian population, and is far more permissive than Iraq, Pakistan or Egypt.

Mansoor Moaddel, lead author of the survey published by the Middle Eastern Values Study at the University of Michigan, claims to CNN that the results show Saudia Arabia has “a considerable liberal leaning.”

“Saudi has had a religious government for a long time,” stated Moaddel. “People tend to develop an opposition attitude.”

While Saudi Arabia recently allowed its first female lawyer, the nation’s religious police enforcing Sharia law have a far from stellar record on women’s rights. In March 2002, religious police stopped schoolgirls from escaping a burning school in Mecca because they were not wearing headscarves and black robes, nor were they accompanied by a man. As a result, 15 girls died and 50 were injured.

Moaddel argues that Egypt is the most conservative of the Muslim nations, as only 14% there said women should choose their dress, the lowestresults among the 7 nations.

Furthermore, 19 in 20 Egyptians said a women should be required to obey her husband, the highest result in that question.

The findings back research last November which placed Egypt the lowest in the Arab world in terms of women’s rights, with Saudi Arabia coming in third worst. A UN report last April found that 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls had been sexually harassed.

However, Moaddel assesses the Egyptian position as being sexist without relation to Islam. “The problem with Egypt is not just religion, it is an intellectual trend,” said the researcher, adding “Egyptians have become more sexist in the past decade. They have become less religious, less supportive of Sharia (Islamic law), but on the issue of gender, more conservative.”

The survey found that the generally agreed mode of dress for women in public among the 7 Muslim nations consisted of a tight white headscarf covering everything but the face.

Interviews with 2,005 people in Saudi Arabia and at least 3,000 in each of the 6 other countries made up the data for the survey.

Israel’s ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies

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Ariel Sharon (November 2005)

Ariel Sharon’s life was intimately entwined with the life of the country he loved from the moment of its birth.

He fought in its war of independence in 1948 and from that point until he slipped into a coma in 2006 it seemed there was hardly a moment of national drama in which he did not play a role.

He was always a controversial figure in Israeli politics – certainly not universally loved – but in mourning his passing, Israelis are marking the loss of one of the few public figures left whose career stretched back to the earliest days of their state.

Ariel Sharon’s roots were in the world of Zionist pioneering zeal – he was born between the two world wars in Palestine when it was under British control – to a Jewish couple who had fled to the Holy Land from Belarus.

Ariel Sharon in Sinai (October 1967)Sharon was admired among Israelis for his military exploits

His reputation as an uncompromising and unapologetic defender of his country’s interests dates back to his military career.

He was still a teenager when he fought in the war of 1948 and in his autobiography, fittingly called Warrior, he described intense fighting against soldiers from the Jordanian Arab Legion for control of a crucial police fort on the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

He and his men lay in fields ignited by gunfire in the burning heat with water and ammunition running low.

He remained a soldier for many years afterwards, fighting with distinction in Israel’s battles with its Arab enemies in the wars of 1967 and 1973.

He helped set up Unit 101 – a commando detachment whose job was to conduct reprisal operations across the border in Arab territories to retaliate for attacks against Israel.

Such was his reputation as a military commander that some accounts of his army career say he was nicknamed the Lion of God after a particularly daring tactical parachute operation against Egypt in 1967 in the Sinai desert.

Shadow of Lebanon

But already there was a dark undertone. Allegations emerged that Egyptian prisoners had been shot and there were questions at home about whether the operation had been a military necessity.

Fifteen years later, it was another dark episode that brought Ariel Sharon international attention.

Continue reading the main story

Political Career

  • 1973: Elected Knesset member for Likud
  • 1975-77: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s special security adviser
  • 1977-81: Minister of Agriculture
  • 1981-83: Minister of Defence
  • 1984-90: Minister of Trade and Industry
  • 1990-92: Minister of Construction and Housing
  • 1996-98: Minister of National Infrastructure
  • 1998-99: Foreign Minister
  • 2001-2006: Prime Minister
  • 2005: Left Likud to found Kadima

He was minister of defence when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. The strategic goal was to bring stability to the country’s northern border by crushing Yasser Arafat’s PLO, which was then holed up in southern Lebanon and Beirut.

But the war was deeply controversial at home as well as in the wider world.

And there was worse too.

Fighters from a Christian militia group which was co-operating closely with the Israelis carried out extensive massacres in Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatilla.

It is likely the names of those camps will be associated with Mr Sharon’s own name as long as the history of that conflict is remembered.

Eventually an Israeli inquiry held that Ariel Sharon was “indirectly responsible” for the killing.

The war cost many lives – Israeli as well as Palestinian and Lebanese – and it casts a long shadow over his historical legacy.

Second intifada

Within Israel Mr Sharon was not finished though.

Long a supporter of the settlers who moved on to the lands Israel captured in the war of 1967 in defiance of international opinion, he saw himself as a natural leader of the Israeli right.

In a volatile place, he could be a provocative figure.

Paul Adams looks back on the life and legacy of Ariel Sharon

In the year 2000, flanked by hundreds of Israeli riot police, he staged a visit to the area of the Old City in Jerusalem which contains sites sacred both to Jews and Muslims – the Temple Mount or Harem al-Sharif.

Even though the area is in the part of East Jerusalem captured by Israel in the war of 1967, Jewish rights to pray there are limited – and it is a microcosm of the tensions that fuel the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

Intense rioting followed his visit there and many people trace the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada to that moment.

Ariel Sharon was characteristically unrepentant.

Bold moves

He became prime minister in 2001, promising to bring peace and security to his country but it was a turbulent period in Israeli politics and he eventually left the governing Likud party to found his own Kadima movement while still in office.

Ariel Sharon in Nitzanim, north of Gaza (May 2005)Sharon pulled Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, a move which divided his supporters

Peace remained elusive then as it is elusive now.

It was on his watch as prime minister that construction of a barrier began with the intention of preventing suicide attacks on Israel from the Palestinian territories.

His supporters would argue that it worked. Its detractors would say it entrenched an already deep sense of separateness.

He did not shy away from bold political moves though. The man who had supported Israeli settlers ordered their removal from Gaza when he decided to withdraw from the Palestinian enclave beside the Mediterranean in 2005.

It was precisely his reputation as a hardliner that allowed him to sell to his supporters a decision with which many felt instinctively uncomfortable.

Not long afterwards, he slipped into the coma from which he was never to emerge and we will never know how he would have followed up that decision or where it might have led.

Ariel Sharon died hated by Israel’s enemies but there are plenty of Israelis who would argue that the depth of that hatred was a measure of the success with which he always defended the country he served.

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A Post on the New York Post and the Post Stark Murder Fiasco

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One of my Jewish brothers was murdered over the weekend. This makes me very sad. One of my Jewish sisters is now a widow. Seven of my Jewish nieces and nephews lost their father. Few things tug more at the heartstrings than children who will grow up without a father because his life was knowingly taken by human murderers. From a personal angle, the murder of Menachem Stark is a tragedy. It hurts so much.

By all accounts, Stark was a member in good standing in his Chasidic community. He gave charity generously. He helped those in need. He was well regarded in his social circles. This is the side of the man that was known in the insular Chasidic community.

There may have been another side to this man. Stark was a high roller. He was involved in huge business deals and multi-million dollar investments. The world of the wheeling and dealing real estate mogul is a far cry from the quiet streets of Williamsburg. Many Chasidic men live with one foot in each of these two very different worlds.

kidnap4n-1-web

Photo: VINNEWS

It seems that over the weekend he succumbed to the outside world. Someone wanted him dead. Someone from the part of his life that was a mired in litigation, massive loans, a less than sterling reputation as a landlord, and a world with associates who would not feel at home in Stark’s shteible or Shabbos table chose to kill him. Stark met his Maker in the wake of unspeakable violence. To snuff out the life of a human being is the most heinous of crimes. There is no restitution. There is no forgiveness. It’s a crime that is deserving of the stiffest punishments available. In my view, murder is never justified. No matter the circumstances.

Almost all the discussion about this man and his death are about a headline in a tabloid newspaper. The Sunday New York Post ran an article that enumerated many of the allegations and rumors regarding Stark’s business dealings. The article was sordid and hardly journalism but the point of the article was that because Stark had so many potential enemies there were a lot of potential suspects in the murder investigation. It’s an immature angle to the story, but that was their angle. The front page was a photo of Stark in his Chasidic garb with the following headline: “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”

It’s hard to imagine a more provocative, attention grabbing, sensationalist headline. Especially because the true king of sensationalist headlines is the New York Post. They do it all the time. It’s also ironic because so many frum Jews in the more insular communities of New York have always thought of the Post as a friend of Israel and the Jews. They share the paper’s conservative bent and thus always thought the Post was something of value. Most serious people have known that the Post is trash for a long time. To them, the headline was gross, but it wasn’t a betrayal. The headline was obscene, but it was completely in character. (Just a few weeks ago, the Post editorial team ran a despicable article saying that New York City was too generous in its meager assistance of the homeless family of Dasani whose story was heartbreakingly portrayed in a superb in-depth article in the New York Times. That’s typical. Disgusting, but typical.)

In response to the terrible headline in the Post, many politicians have called for boycotts of the Post. Other spokespeople have condemned the Post. I join in those condemning the headline and I think the Post doesn’t belong in the home of a God Fearing Jew. It’s trash. We take the trash out. We don’t bring it in. Page Six is enough of a reason for the Post to be assur. Many people have politely called the Post to express their outrage. I admire them for their advocacy.

It seems to me that the headline is terrible because it makes a murder victim into an object of character assassination. It does not wonder who would commit such a heinous crime. It wonders what kind of person becomes an enemy to so many others. That’s an awful angle to take on a murder story. Although, I don’t doubt the Post has taken this approach to other murders. I just wouldn’t know because I don’t read the Post.

Some Chasidic bloggers have penned responses to the Post headline. I think they have a right to be outraged. But I do think some of the outrage is misguided and counter productive. I know that we are in pain, but we still must be responsible and accurate.

First, the headline says “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”. The headline was written by an editor. It was not written by any of the journalists assigned the story. Threats have been made to a journalist. I heard this from someone who knows the journalist personally. Photoshopped images of the journalist captioned “Who Wouldn’t Want Him Dead” have been produced. If you are mad about the headline, please direct your anger to the appropriate party. Do not threaten

Second, please learn English. The headline does not imply that his death was justified in any way. Nor does it give license to kill all slumlords. Please. The headline means that there are a lot of potential suspects because of his many colorful business associates and dealings. No sense in generating anger because of a misreading of the headline.

Third, he wasn’t just a philanthropist. It’s appropriate to eulogize our loved ones and community members by remembering them fondly. Even (and I am not making a moral equivalency here) mob bosses are remembered fondly at their funerals. But we cannot confuse the glowing positive memories with the harsh realities of the real world. We’ve all done things that we wouldn’t want announced at our funeral. But just because they are not cried over at our funeral does not meant that they are not true.

Fourth, let’s try to be consistent. If we hate sensationalist journalism, let’s not do it ourselves. Let’s not support the Post. Let’s try to be balanced and measured in our writing. Combating hyperbole and shoddy journalism with histrionics and wild accusations helps no one.

Fifth, let’s shelve the anti-Semitism card on this one. There is nothing different or unique about this disgraceful Post headline than any others. It has nothing to do with him being a Jew. It has nothing to do with him being a Chasid. It has everything to do with the fact that this is a really interesting story. Crying anti-Semitism when there is none is the easiest way to helping create real anti-Semitism.

Sixth, enough with the Hashem Yinkom Damav please. If the first reaction to death and murder is to take revenge, I think we have to consider whether we have a serious character issue.

So let’s join together and tell the Post how disgusted we are with this story and headline. Let’s also tell them that we don’t like their other nasty headlines either. Let’s be honest and truthful about what we do and do not know. Let’s not cry anti-Semitism.

Most of all, let’s try to compensate for any chillul Hashem that is occurring by increasing our efforts to be mekadesh Hashem. Let’s remember that the first question we will be asked when we reach the Heavenly Court is whether we dealt honestly in business. Let’s make sure that we pass that test. Let’s see if we can generate the same kind of outrage that we have about this headline for things that actually affect our communities. Headlines are harmless. Abuse and corruption are crimes with real victims.

Finally, I can only assume that the Stark family is going to be enduring a very difficult emotional and financial period. I am sure that their community will take good care of them as they always do. Perhaps some solidarity from us outsiders to their community would be a fine gesture in this difficult time. If only as a token of unity, I think it would be an appropriate thing to do. Families of murder victims deserve our help and camaraderie. Let’s give it to them.

– See more at: http://finkorswim.com/2014/01/06/a-post-on-the-new-york-post-and-the-post-stark-murder-fiasco/#sthash.Hmz2djIT.dpuf

PA leader: Stages plan to eliminate Israel is basis of PA policy ( Reblogged)

Standard
Abbas Zaki, close associate of Mahmoud Abbas,
says a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders
is only first stage in the PA’s program
because “the inspiring idea cannot be achieved
all at once. [Rather] in stages”
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Senior Palestinian official Abbas Zaki posted on his Facebook page an interview he gave to Syrian TV in which he said the PA will only agree to a treaty with Israel if the Palestinian state is established on the 1967 lines. However, he stressed that ’67 lines would only be the beginning. After that, the Palestinians will continue with the stages plan:

“Even the most extreme among us, Hamas, or the fighting forces, want a state within the ’67 borders. Afterward, we [will] have something to say, because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. [Rather] in stages.”

Click to view

In an interview on Al-Jazeera TV in 2011, Zaki also mentioned this PA stages plan and referred to “the inspiring idea,” explaining that it means the end of Israel. He said that Mahmoud Abbas shares the goal of eliminating Israel in stages, but that the PA says it only wants a state along the 1967 borders because it is unacceptable politically to say you want to destroy Israel:

“You can’t say it to the world. You can say it to yourself.”

Zaki stressed that the goal is clear-cut because if Israel were to return to the 1967 lines, it certainly could not survive: “Israel will come to an end.”

This is Zaki’s full statement from 2011:

“The agreement is based on the borders of June 4 [1967]. While the agreement is on the borders of June 4, the President [Mahmoud Abbas] understands, we understand, and everyone knows that it is impossible to realize the inspiring idea, or the great goal in one stroke. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, if Israel uproots the settlements, 650,000 settlers, if Israel removes the (security) fence – what will be with Israel? Israel will come to an end. If I say that I want to remove it from existence, this will be great, great, [but] it is hard. This is not a [stated] policy. You can’t say it to the world. You can say it to yourself.”
[Official PA TV, Sept. 23, 2011]

Expressing his refusal to recognize Israel earlier this year during a public lecture, Abbas Zaki started to refer to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport as “Israel’s Airport,” but then stopped himself and corrected himself:

“When Mr. Obama came to the region during his visit, as soon as he arrived at the airport of Isra… [corrects himself], I mean, the airport where the Israelis are. I don’t want… [corrects himself] this whole country is ours, and Allah willing, the airport will also return to us.”
[Official PA TV, April 8, 2013]

Click to view

Zaki sitting in place of honor one seat from M. Abbas at Fatah event in 2011.

These statements coming from Abbas Zaki are significant because he is a senior Palestinian official and a very close associate of Mahmoud Abbas. He was sent to Syria as Mahmoud Abbas’ personal representative a few months ago and has spoken at public events representing Fatah.

Another important statement reiterating that the PA is employing a stages plan to defeat Israel was expressed recently by PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash in
a Friday sermon in the

presence of Mahmoud Abbas. Al-Habbash, speaking after the current round of peace talks was announced, said that the PA’s negotiations with Israel are modeled after the Hudaybiyyah agreement between Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and the tribes of Mecca. Recounting that Muhammad signed a 10-year truce, and yet two years later conquered Mecca, the minister stated: “This is the example and this is the model.”

Official PA children’s TV also teaches children to aspire to Israel’s destruction. Earlier this year the PA TV host told children:

PA TV host: “And of course we will never forget that we have land that was occupied in 1948, which will return to us one day. Remember well, children. Also [remember] to safeguard our folklore, our national games, the folklore in all its forms, our dress and our food and our games and anything that forms the Palestinian folklore – we have to safeguard it. If we don’t safeguard it, then the occupation might steal it as well, as it stole our land. Right? Do you agree with me? Bravo!”
[Official PA TV, Feb. 23, 2013]

Bringing up children to see all of Israel as “occupied” territory and as “stolen Palestinian land” that will “return” at some future time are significant components of Palestinian Authority ideology that are never expressed to Western leaders or Israelis, and are denied during peace discussions. Zaki’s description of the peace process as intended to lead to Israel’s destruction is consistent with these messages to PA children and many other internal messages the PA leadership sends to its population.

See more documentation here.
To read a detailed analysis of the PA’s continuing and ongoing deception and violations of its international commitments see PMW’s book, Deception which documents that the PA policy of saying it wants peace in English is contradicted by its internal political, social and cultural activities, its leaders’ statements and its education of youth in Arabic. Click to see reviews or to purchase Deception.

The following is an excerpt from Abbas Zaki’s recent interview:

Syrian TV host: “When they talk about [the US] imposing a solution, we know that it will be deficient.”
Member of Fatah Central Committee Abbas Zaki: “You can relax. We find ourselves united for the first time. Even the most extreme among us, Hamas, or the fighting forces, want a state within the ’67 borders. Afterward, we [will] have something to say, because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. [Rather] in stages.”
[Official Syrian Satellite TV Channel, Dec. 23, 2013]
The following is a longer excerpt of the sermon delivered by PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash comparing negotiations with Israel to Muhammad’s Treaty of Hudaybiyyah:

“We hate war. We don’t want war. We don’t want bloodshed, not for ourselves, nor for others. We want peace. We say this because our culture is founded on this, and because our religion is based on this. Yes, we want peace, but not any peace. We want a peace based on justice, therefore the Palestinian leadership and the PLO have not missed any opportunity for peace…
The Palestinian leadership’s sense of responsibility towards its nation made it take political steps about 20 years ago (i.e., signing the Oslo Accords). Despite the controversy, despite much criticism and much opposition by some, it brought us to where we are today: We have a [Palestinian] Authority and the world recognizes the [Palestinian] state.
All this never would have happened through Hamas’ impulsive adventure, but only through the wisdom of the leadership, conscious action, consideration, and walking the right path, which leads to achievement, exactly like the Prophet [Muhammad] did in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, even though some opposed it…
The hearts of the Prophet’s companions burned with anger and fury. The Prophet said: ‘I’m the Messenger of Allah and I will not disobey Him.’ This is not disobedience, it is politics. This is crisis management, situation management, conflict management…
Allah called this treaty a clear victory…
Omar ibn Al-Khattab said: ‘Messenger of Allah, is this a victory? Is this logical? Is this victory? We are giving up and going back, and not entering Mecca. Is that a victory?’ The Prophet said: ‘Yes, it is a victory.’
In less than two years, the Prophet returned and based on this treaty, he conquered Mecca. This is the example, this is the model.”
[Official Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 2013]
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