Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Folly

I landed in the US on Nov 7… the “day after”.  Like many others on my flight, if not the majority, when I checked the results of the election, I was not surprised.  I watched as the faces changed from the joy of landing safely and beating out the Nor’easter, to near horror-stricken when realizing that the White House would not be changing hands.
At the same time, I felt a bit of relief.  It’s over, results known; time to assess, and to move forward.  Reports conveyed that approximately 70% of the Jewish vote went to Obama again no surprise there.  There were statements of shock regarding just how many “religious” Jews voted for a candidate who is in favor of ripping the Jewish heartland from its people.   In fact, the chasm between those of us who live in Israel, and those in the US, once again proved to be as wide as ever, with no prospect of attenuating the intensity.
That chasm which is the real problem, that had it been truly addressed, analyzed, and properly challenged would have brought about a different result in the “Jewish” vote, and perhaps even in the election results.
The tens of millions of dollars or more donated to the Romney campaign by our Jewish brethren did little to sway the Jewish vote. Nine percent change in the Jewish voting margin cannot be considered success.
While Israel is not the top swing topic of liberal Jewish voters, it is right up there, next to Women’s and Gay rights and other human rights issues.  The Israel/Palestinian peace efforts have affected many of our voters and I find it troubling that 70% of American Jewish voters do not comprehend what’s at stake. Worse yet, if they do comprehend then they presented a clear statement of apathy.
The support for Obama conveys indifference on the part of American Jewry over Israel giving up its heritage and its heartland. Their apathy paves the way for a new Arab state to rise, void of the ideals and values treasured in western culture, a state, which would undoubtedly be hostile to Israel and the United States.
Conversely, polls communicated unmistakably the over 80% of Israeli support for Romney as their choice for US president.  Israelis, for the most part, recognize that Obama cannot be trusted with regard to Israel’s security.
We are on our own, and we accept that.  
Nevertheless, why is it that US Jews see eye to eye with Obama with regard to his foreign policy vis a vis Israel? What might have been done to precipitate a change, and what can we now focus upon?
The fact is that many US Jews if not most, regardless of their various backgrounds, have a misinformed and misconstrued view of the reality in Israel, especially of Judea and Samaria.

Take a moment to ponder the following:  Barely any of them can actually connect our history to a map. They might send their children to Hebrew school or to day school, but ask them to trace Abraham’s travels on a map or to point out the locations of the names mentioned in the bible, and they can’t.  Ask them about our history in the region and their response would be sorely lacking. Ask them if they have visited these areas, and they will tell you they haven’t.  Then ask why. 
This lack of connection to our land is an orchestrated and nefarious effort that serves to maintain a wedge between our people and our land.  This trend of disconnect to our history in our country has caused a major negative impact in the mindset of the American Jew.
Imagine the effect on the election results had a portion of the millions of dollars invested in the campaign been used to dissuade the lies regarding Judea and Samaria, expose the efforts (our own included) to separate our people from Israel, and used rather to educate and connect our people to the realities of the Middle East.
Imagine the effect had some of the funds been used to aggressively fight the perversions disseminated by groups such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now, as well as Sarah Silverman receiving a lesson and taste of reality, rather than contemplating which straddle position she would use to affect candidacy funding.
This is a real issue of critical importance. We must face it and deal with it.
Our people must be reconnected with their land, their eyes opened to the lies of our enemies, from within and without, and these lies and efforts must be fought.  Complacency is not an option, when our people or our land is at stake.
That Obama was chosen to serve another term, as President of the United States, does not deter me. Such an ominous result actually shines a light on a challenge that we can and must overcome to bring about a brighter future.
How will we in Israel deal with the election results? 
We will do fine. It might get a little difficult. The road might become slippery, rocky, and sometimes seem impassable, but we will engage in the 4X4 mode, put it in low gear, and get through what we need to get through, shoving aside as many obstacles as necessary through the hilly terrain. We are stronger than any candidate, and we have what to show the world.

There is an answer….

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Gauntlet

The holiday season in Israel is readily noticed also by the increase of tourists arriving here.  Indeed many even make their way out to Judea and Samaria, not only the biblical heartland, but where we actually started here in Israel, from Abraham onward.

Always noticeably missing are the secular Jewish tourists, Jews who hail from Conservative and Reform congregations.  They are in Israel, in fact there are always “missions” here, but their leadership makes sure to keep them away from the Jewish Heartland.  Often claiming “too politically charged”, “dangerous” and many other pitiful excuses.

Funny how we can always find mainstream US Jewish “leadership” in Ramallah, but a visit to Shilo, Beit El and more, simply out of the question.  Gd forbid they visit sites directly connected to their own history.  Sites that would strengthen their own identity and connection, their congregations identity and connection, stated challenges they face in keeping their respective flocks at home.  Why would they wish to keep their people disconnected and ignorant to their history?  Why would they deny them the chance to walk in the steps of their forefathers?  What are they afraid of?

I am not talking politics, simply the chance to visit these places that are so important to us as a people.  They all claim to be so “pro-Israel”, so why should these places be so different. 
Federations and so on, will always visit Jewish sites in other countries on “Heritage” tours, but to see their own heritage in Israel, to be denied them by their own leadership??? Seems suspicious.

In almost all Jewish Congregations of worship, the “stories” are read, the Torah and Haftorahs are recited…how many of you and your congregants can point out the locations mentioned on a map, how many have people have visited them, how many maybe would like to?

I would like to issue the challenge to any “Rabbi who avoids places like Shilo, Beit El, Hevron…to throw down the gauntlet, if you will.  If you are not trying to manipulate your congregation’s political leanings, if you are not trying to deny them the chance of a lifetime to really see where they are from, then take them out to Judea and Samaria, no politics, just history, our history.

Of course if you are attempting to mold and manipulate others opinions to match your own rather than develop their own informed opinions and ideas, or allow others to be misinformed, and deny them their history and heritage, you will ignore this letter.

For those of you who are not ignoring this letter, ask your Rabbi about it.  Succot is a time of all Jews coming together…we are here, waiting for you with open arms.

Need help in getting here?  Be in touch,

Chag Sameach!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cirque des Freaks

Cirque des Freaks

The Frenzy grows as the arena sport known as "American Election Day" approaches. One of the latest events connected to this which involves the Jewish world has to do with a group of so-called Jewish religious leaders who are out to prove, among other things, just how blind and ignorant many in the Jewish world can be. I consider their abuse and misuse of the term "rabbi" to border on the "spiritually criminal, but maybe that's just me. In any case, I do not find it surprising.

The initiative of these "rabbis" is called "Rabbis for Obama", and what makes it interesting is that you have some very anti-Israel figures in and around this group. Groups such as “Jewish Voice for Peace”, “14 Friends of Palestine”, and "the Council of American Islam Relations" are only a few of the anti-Israel organizations affiliated with this new "umbrella group". Many of these “rabbis” use these labels and names to hide their anti-Israel activity, and I would have to say, connecting a label like “Rabbis for Obama” to President Obama's campaign continues to add to the myth and illusion that the Obama administration actually cares for the security of Israel. The importance of this to Obama and his campaign is not the topic here, rather it is the fact that a group of supposed rabbis is attempting to dupe the na├»ve and misinformed Jewish world, once again, as to the intentions of this administration towards the state of Israel.

Appalling, you may say. Or you may not see it as appalling. Not yet. Please read on.

I say to you that the diaspora Jewish leadership, especially in the U.S. is deliberately misrepresenting the situation re: Israel's relations with it's Arab/Muslim neighbors, partially as a result of their own narrow political/personal interests and partially because of genuine, but misguided concern for the Jewish state.

Don’t believe me, ask you neighborhood JCC, Conservative or Reform synagogue to host a speaker who has "right wing" opinions regarding Israel- or heaven forbid a Republican!

I have been seeing a slow rise of independent thought among the Jewish communities stateside, but it remains much too slow to keep pace with events on the ground in Israel and the Arab/Muslim world. The truth regarding Israel and our neighbor’s intentions manages to slowly seep through the clenched fists of ignorance of the American mainstream Jewish leaders.  It is indeed uplifting when you see and meet someone who has broken free and opens his eyes to what is going on and not just what he is told. But it is still too rare.

Sure, we need to look at the globe, focusing on Israel with a close-up lens- but then we must pull back, allowing ourselves to take in a more complete and more accurate picture of quickly unfolding events in the mid-east and their possible repercussions for Israel and the "western" world..

Unfortunately, many members of this "bloc'" of "Rabbis" are not only funded but also very much active in anti-israel movements and activities, BDS for example, accusing Israel of Apartheid and so on. One of them even had a nice chit-chat with good ol’ Achmedinejad.  Their continued mission, as a whole, seems to be to keep the Jewish people disconnected from their land.

Also frustrating to me is the lack of interest in the funding of initiatives that would bring disconnected Jews, and especially young people out here, to our heartland, to meet people who can confront the lies of their self-proclaimed leaders, to meet the diverse and wonderful populace of the varied Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria personally. This would undeniably affect our people for the good, and would no doubt strengthen us in the face of our challenges, both now and in the future.

You see, if more of our “mainstream” brethren were able to visit our historic heartland, they would see a different, deeper, more nuanced picture and perhaps gain a better understanding regarding not only the history and current situation of our people and land, but also regarding those who are holding them prisoner, almost literally (their "leaders"), through the chains of deceit and ignorance.

We have to question those that keep our brothers and sisters in the diaspora in the dark from visiting: from seeing for themselves the other Jewish side of the story…what are they afraid of? Why wont their leaders and Rabbis visit and come experience their own history, and why aren’t we doing more to make that possible?

Why are most Conservative and Reform Rabbis afraid of bringing their “flocks” to see and experience what the unfolding history of their own people? Watch as the various Jewish diaspora “leaders” and others visit Ramallah, but will not tour Jewish Judea and Samaria! Forget the politics, just... To see!

Many who are familiar with my work know that I believe in being pro-active rather than reactive.  Because of my extensive experience in the area of security here in our historical heartland and points beyond, I prefer to work to stop terror rather than just respond to it.  The same applies to this challenge also, which is no less a threat to our people than the nefarious actions of our enemies.  In fact, keeping our people disconnected from our land is simply another means used to bring us down and destroy Israel and, as I have pointed out, many of our so-called "leaders" are, wittingly or unwittingly collaborating in this.

In confronting our enemies, we must utilize many strategies, abilities and resources.  We can’t afford to stand idly by as our people have their own past distorted and their future stolen, in many cases, such as that of the "613 "rabbis", by members of our own worldwide Jewish leadership.  We cannot afford to wait to react; we have to act first…and to coin a phrase: better late than never.

If you are concerned about the future of the 613 rabbis, don’t be, I am sure they will find 613 mullahs to commiserate with about the growing strength of Israel.

If this message touches your heart and you want to help the Jewish people overcome it's many challenges, including, and especially, ignorance among ourselves and the terrorism and misinformation of our many enemies, hi. My name is Marc, be in touch.