Israeli rabbi: Coronavirus outbreak is divine punishment for gay pride parades


Meir Mazuz falsely claims Arab states spared, because they ‘don’t have this evil inclination’; modern Orthodox group blasts him for ‘inciting against the LGBT community’

By TOI staff

Ultra bigot Rabbi Meir Mazuz speaks at a press conference the 'Yachad' political party in Bnei Brak, March 27, 2019. (Yehuda Haim/Flash90)

An Orthodox Israeli rabbi has claimed the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Israel and around the world is divine retribution for gay pride parades.

The remarks by Rabbi Meir Mazuz, reported by the Israel Hayom daily on Sunday, drew condemnation from rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which urged him to apologize.

An influential Sephardic rabbi, Mazuz is the former spiritual leader of the defunct ultra-nationalist and homophobic Yachad party, and is head of the Kiseh Rahamim yeshiva in Bnei Brak.

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On Saturday night he gave a talk at the yeshiva, during which, according to the report, he said a pride parade is “a parade against nature, and when someone goes against nature, the one who created nature takes revenge on him.”

Mazuz said that countries all over the world are being called to account because of their gay pride events, “except for the Arab countries that don’t have this evil inclination.” That was why, he claimed — falsely suggesting there has only been one case of infection in the Arab world — they have not seen a spread of coronavirus.

The outbreak in Iran, one of the most serious in any country, he explained as being due to the wicked ways of Iranians and “their hatred of Israel.”

According to the newspaper, Mazuz had earlier claimed Israel would be protected from the coronavirus.

“It is regrettable that in times like these when the whole world comes together to eradicate coronavirus, Rabbi Mazuz finds it appropriate to blame the virus’s outbreak on the LGBTQ community. We harshly condemn his statements and urge him to apologize,” the ADL’s Israel branch said in a statement.

The modern Orthodox Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah group also condemned Mazuz’s remarks.

“Using this time of need to incite against the LGBT community is unacceptable. Trying to get people to return to religion cannot come at the price of harming others,” it said in a statement.

Israel has thus far had 39 cases of coronavirus, including 14 new cases announced on Sunday night, but no deaths.

Mazuz is no stranger to controversy or hateful rhetoric. In November 2015 he claimed gay pride parades and other forms of “sinful behavior” were the reason terrorists murdered Eitam and Naama Henkin on October 1, 2015.

At a memorial event for the Henkins, Mazuz said that their shooting death at the hands of Palestinian terrorists had been a form of divine retribution.

In 2016 Mazuz attributed the collapse of a Tel Aviv parking garage that killed six people and an explosion that destroyed the Amos-6 satellite to Shabbat desecration.

Israel has two major gay pride parades each year, one in Tel Aviv and another in the capital, Jerusalem, which is billed as promoting tolerance.

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Jewish Racist Rabbi | Goyyim Are Murderers And Thieves, Blacks Might Have Killed Jews Over Obama Loss


Satmar Rebbe: Goyyim Are Murderers And Thieves, Blacks Might Have Killed Jews Over Obama Loss

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum

“President Obama is from the Children of Ham [the biblical Noah’s Black  son], and in America there are many millions from the same race as  Obama. [Make no mistake, the] Children of Japheth [another son of the biblical Noah who was white; White Europeans, Caucasians] are not  any better than the Children of  Ham. Like all other goyyim, there are very many murders and thieves among them.”

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum

Originally published at 10:39 pm CST 12-5-2012. Updated 10:32 am CST 12-6-2012 to reflect this correction: “Like all other goyyim, there are very many murders and thieves among them.”

This is a three-and-a-half minute excerpt from Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum’s speech last night at the massive Satmar dinner in Williamsburg.Please click the gray bar to listen:

Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum 12-4-12

What follows is a free translation done by a hasid. I Put that free translation into standard American English (whenever possible) to make it more easily understandable:

The president [Obama] is from the Children of  Ham [the biblical Noah’s Black son], and in America there are many millions from the same race as him.
[Make no mistake, the] Children of Japheth [another son of the biblical Noah who was white; White Europeans, Caucasians] are not any better than the Children of Ham. Like all other goyyim, there are very many murders and thieves among them.

Jews are in exile here [in America]. We are spread out in between the goyyim to earn our livings.

We should think about what would happen if the results in the US elections would have been different and President Obama would have had a downfall and lost.

It would now be known to whole world that Jews campaigned [against Obama and] that caused Obama to lose.
What kind of hatred against Jews [would have come from that]?!?! It would have caused massive sinat Yisrael [hatred against the Jewish people], [hatred] against thousands of Jews living here in US! The results for thousands Jews in all 50 States would have been terrible!

Simply put, the head of the Zionist regime [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] made Jewish blood hefker [free, connoting “Jewish blood is cheap”] in America. [Through his open support for Mitt Romney is risked many Jewish lives].

The Jews have not forgotten the pogroms in Crown Heights when the blood of Ya’akov Rosenbaum, may God avenge his blood, was spilled [by Blacks]!
With so many goyyim [non-Jews], [what Netanyahu did] is a great danger [to Jews] that has no end!

The politics that the state’s [Israel’s] prime minister does with the leaders of the Nations of the World, and what he did in Gaza – the provoking of conflict! – is very terrible!

It is very surprising that his religious [coalition] partners agree with him. They practice shtika k’hoda’ah [silence is equivalent to agreement] and give him endorsement with full mouths…

Israel Planned a “Nuclear Armageddon,” New Book Shows


Israel planned a “nuclear Armageddon,” new book shows
Rod Such
The Electronic Intifada

Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country — And Why They Can’t Make Peace by former New York Times and Washington Post reporter Patrick Tyler is an unflinching history of the role of militarism in Israeli society. Tyler previously wrote A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East — from the Cold War to the War on Terror (2009), which examined how US presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush responded to events in the Middle East.

In this new work Tyler narrows his focus to the Israeli establishment. He sums up his thesis in the prologue: “Israel, six decades after its founding, remains a nation in thrall to an original martial impulse, the depth of which has given rise to succeeding generations of leaders who are stunted in their capacity to wield or sustain diplomacy as a rival to military strategy, who seem ever on the hair trigger in dealing with their regional rivals, and whose contingency planners embrace worst-case scenarios that often exaggerate complex or ambiguous developments as threats to national existence. They do so, reflexively and instinctively, in order to perpetuate a system of governance where national policy is dominated by the military.”

In Fortress Israel, Tyler mines a trove of US government documents declassified in 2007, many of which were obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, where Tyler is a fellow.

These documents, especially those from the administration of Richard Nixon, have received scant attention from the corporate media. Tyler also relies on interviews he conducted with many Israeli leaders, as well as secondary sources — the most prominent of which is The Iron Wall (2000), a book by the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim.

Both The Iron Wall and Fortress Israel demolish key pillars of Israel’s long-standing propaganda effort to portray itself as the perpetual victim of surrounding, hostile Arab nations. They show instead that Israel was the aggressor in nearly all of its military conflicts.

The 1956 Suez Crisis, for example, resulted from a conspiracy hatched by France, Britain, and Israel in which Israel attacked Egyptian forces so that Britain and France could pretend to intervene as “stabilizing” forces and thereby maintain control of the Suez Canal. Similarly, both studies reveal that Israel launched the 1967 war not because it believed Egypt was about to attack but because it saw an unprecedented opportunity to destroy the Egyptian army.

Imperial interests

Tyler’s research demonstrates that the Israeli elites long ago recognized the usefulness of aligning Israel with Western imperialist interests in the Middle East and openly courted the US on that basis. Although the Eisenhower administration forced the withdrawal of Britain, France and Israel from Egypt in 1956, angered that all three countries acted without its support, it soon realized that Israel represented a valuable Cold War ally — especially as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser tilted toward the Soviet Union.

But Tyler argues that whereas the Eisenhower administration acted to restrain Israel “so that it might find accommodation with its neighbors,” the Nixon administration, especially National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, sought to use Israel to achieve US interests in the Cold War.

Drawing on the 2007 documents, Tyler quotes from a 1969 memo to Nixon from Richard Helms, then director of the Central Intelligence Agency, saying Israeli aggression against Egypt should be encouraged “since it benefits the West as well as Israel.” A cover note by Kissinger argued that if Nasser were toppled, any successor would lack his “charisma.”

“Hit ‘em hard”

An Israeli bombing campaign against targets deep inside Egypt followed in January 1970. In May that year Nixon told Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban and Yitzhak Rabin, then the Israeli ambassador to the US, to “let ‘em have it! Hit ‘em as hard as you can!” One of those hits had already included an Egyptian elementary school, killing 47 children.

During this same period, Tyler notes, US officials became aware that Israel was a nuclear weapons power, after years of Israeli denials. Kissinger had just received a CIA estimate that Israel possessed at least ten nuclear weapons. According to a Kissinger memo, Rabin told him there were two reasons for developing the bomb: “’first to deter the Arabs from striking Israel, and second, if deterrence fails and Israel were about to be overrun, to destroy the Arabs in a nuclear Armageddon.’”

Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons — along with the peace accord it subsequently reached with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat — established Israel as a regional superpower, Tyler notes, adding that Israel reluctantly agreed to recognize Palestinian national rights as part of that accord. At the same time, he writes, the Israeli military establishment was determined to remain independent of the great powers and never allow them “to become the arbiters of peace.”

Nakba overlooked

Tyler demonstrates convincingly that the Israeli military often either ignored or overrode civilian authority. Although numerous examples support his thesis that the military is the dominant force in Israeli politics, he provides insufficient evidence to indicate that there were ever any substantive strategic differences between Israel’s civilian and military leaders in relation to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. He overemphasizes the “sabra [native born] culture” within the military as the wellspring of Israeli militarism, failing to note that Israel’s civilian leaders, even though many were not sabras, nevertheless were strategically aligned with Israel’s principal military ambition — to erase Palestine from the map.

But perhaps the book’s most significant failing is that it ignores the Nakba (catastrophe), the systematic ethnic cleansing that led to Israel’s foundation in 1948. This omission tends to frame the narrative as simply an ethnic conflict among nation-states rather than a conflict between a Palestinian national liberation struggle and a racist settler-colonial state.

To his credit, Tyler ultimately does address the core issue — the suppression of Palestinian national rights. He suggests Israel’s military elites may be determined to keep Palestinians permanently subjugated under occupation. However, his one-sided focus on the military obscures the role of Zionist ideology and its grip on both civilian and military elites.

Even the two-state solution favored by “liberal” Zionists anticipates the ongoing second-class status of Palestinians in Israel and the denial of refugees’ right of return. Ultimately, this is why the Israeli elites cannot make peace. Instead of envisioning a peace based on human rights, they can only propose a “peace” based on violence.

Rod Such is a freelance writer and former editor for World Book and Encarta encyclopedias. He is a member of the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign and Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights.

Crazy Jewish Haredi Rabbis Claim Hurricane Sandy Sent By God | The Sophistry of Theodicy


A Frustrated Reader’s Hurricane Sandy Theodicy

Satmar yeshiva Sea Gate post-Hurricane Sandy 1 watermarked

Upset with haredi rabbis claiming that God sent Hurricane Sandy because of gay marriage or abortion or the US policy toward Israeli settlements, a reader sent in the following hurricane aftermath photos with a brief note…

Satmar yeshiva Sea Gate post-Hurricane Sandy 1 watermarked

Satmar yeshiva Sea Gate post-Hurricane Sandy 2 watermarked

The Satmar yeshiva in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, after Hurricane Sandy

The disgusted reader’s message, referring to the photos posted above, reads, “That’s god’s message to stop MBP [metzitzah b’peh], and all that’s wrong with yeshivohs.”

It does make some twisted sense, especially when you realize that Hurricane Sandy’s damage was done by very strong winds that blew ocean water past the beaches and into the city proper, and which blew down power lines, trees and upturned cars as it blew out windows, ripped off roofs, and even destroyed houses.

I mean, the operative words here are “blew” and “blow,” and we all know what MBP looks like to most people – an act commonly known as a “blow job.”

As sick and bizarre as this analogy is, it makes as much sense as anything claimed by haredi rabbis like Yehuda Levin and Amnon Yitzhak.

That demonstrates the foolishness of theodicy – and the foolishness of those haredi rabbis who feel the need to practice it

Catholic and Jewish Right Wing Extemists Behind anti-Muslim Schlock


Inside the strange Hollywood scam that spread chaos across the Middle East

A group of rightwing extremists aimed to destabilize post-Mubarak Egypt and roil US politicians. They got their wish

Via:- Max Blumenthal

The Innocence of Muslims

Palestinians protest against The Innocence of Muslims. Officials confirmed ‘Sam Bacile’ was an alias used by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Photograph: EPA

Did an inflammatory anti-Muslim film trailer that appeared spontaneously on YouTube prompt the attack that left four US diplomats dead, including US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens? American officials have suggested that the assault was pre-planned, allegedly by of one of the Jihadist groups that emerged since the Nato-led overthrow of Libya’s Gaddafi regime. So even though the deadly scene in Benghazi may not have resulted directly from the angry reaction to the Islamophobic video, the violence has helped realize the apocalyptic visions of the film’s backers.

Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

The Associated Press’s initial report on the trailer – an amateurish, practically unwatchable production called The Innocence of Muslims – identified a mysterious character, “Sam Bacile”, as its producer. Bacile told the Associated Press that he was a Jewish Israeli real estate developer living in California. He said that he raised $5m for the production of the film from “100 Jewish donors”, an unusual claim echoing Protocols of the Elders of Zion-style fantasies. Unfortunately, the extensive history of Israeli and ultra-Zionist funding and promotion of Islamophobic propaganda in the United States provided Bacile’s remarkable statement with the ring of truth.

Who was Bacile? The Israeli government could not confirm his citizenship, and for a full day, no journalist was able to determine whether he existed or not. After being duped by Bacile, AP traced his address to the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a militant Coptic separatist and felon convicted of check fraud. On September 13, US law enforcement officials confirmed that “Sam Bacile” was an alias Nakoula used to advance his various scams, which apparently included the production of The Innocence of Muslims.

According to an actor in the film, the all-volunteer cast was deceived into believing they were acting in a benign biblical epic about “how things were 2,000 years ago”. The script was titled Desert Warrior, and its contents made no mention of Muhammad – his name was dubbed into the film during post-production. On the set, a gray-haired Egyptian man who identified himself only as “Sam” (Nakoula) chatted aimlessly in Arabic with a group of friends while posing as the director. A casting notice for Desert Warrior listed the film’s real director as “Alan Roberts”. This could likewise be a pseudonym, although there is a veteran Hollywood hand responsible for such masterpieces as The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood and The Sexpert who goes by the same name.

Before Nakoula was unmasked, the only person to publicly claim any role in the film was Klein, an insurance salesman and Vietnam veteran from Hemet, California, who emerged from the same Islamophobic movement that produced the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Styling themselves as “counter-Jihadists”, anti-Muslim crusaders like Klein took their cues from top propagandists like Pamela Geller, the blogger who once suggested that Barack Obama was the lovechild of Malcolm X, and Robert Spencer, a pseudo-academic expert on Muslim radicalization who claimed that Islam was no more than “a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers”. Both Geller and Spencer were labeled hate group leaders by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Klein is an enthusiastic commenter on Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugged, where he recently complained about Mitt Romney’s “support for a Muslim state in Israel’s heartland”. In July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized to demand the firing of Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca, whom he painted as a dupe for the Muslim Brotherhood.

On his personal Facebook page, Altar or Abolish, Klein obsesses over the Muslim Brotherhood, describing the organization as “a global network of Muslims attacking to convert the world’s 6 billion people to Islam or kill them”. Klein urges a violent response to the perceived threat of Islam in the United States, posting an image to his website depicting a middle-American family with a mock tank turret strapped to the roof of their car. “Can you direct us to the nearest mosque?” read a caption Klein added to the photo.

In 2011, during his campaign to oust Sheriff Baca, Klein forged an alliance with Joseph Nasrallah, an extremist Coptic broadcaster who shared his fear and resentment of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nasrallah appeared from out of nowhere at a boisterous rally against the construction of an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2010, warning a few hundred riled-up Tea Party types that Muslims “came and conquered our country the same way they want to conquer America”.

Organized by Geller and Spencer, the rally was carefully timed to coincide with the peak of the midterm congressional election campaign, in which many rightwing Republicans hoped to leverage rising anti-Muslim sentiment into resentment against the presidency of Obama.

Through his friendship with Nasrallah, Klein encountered another radical Coptic separatist named Morris Sadek. Sadek has been banned from returning to his Egypt, where he is widely hated for his outrageous anti-Muslim displays. On the day of the Ground Zero rally, for instance, Sadek was seen parading around the streets of Washington, DC, on September 11, 2010, with a crucifix in one hand and a Bible implanted with the American flag in the other. “Islam is evil!” he shouted. “Islam is a cult religion!”

With another US election approaching, and the Egyptian government suddenly under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, Klein and Sadek joined Nakoula in preparing what would be their greatest propaganda stunt to date: the Innocence of Muslims. As soon as the film appeared on YouTube, Sadek promoted it on his website, transforming the obscure clip into a viral source of outrage in the Middle East. And like clockwork, on September 11, crowds of Muslim protesters stormed the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, demanding retribution for the insult to the prophet Muhammad. The demonstrations ricocheted into Libya, where the deadly attack that may have been only peripherally related to the film occurred.

For Sadek, the chaos was an encouraging development. He and his allies had been steadfastly opposed to the Egyptian revolution, fearing that it would usher in the Muslim Brotherhood as the country’s new leaders. Now that their worst fears were realized, Coptic extremists and other pro-Mubarak dead-enders were resorting to subterfuge to undermine the ruling party, while pointing to the destabilizing impact of their efforts as proof of the government’s bankruptcy. As Sadek said, “the violence that [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people”.

For far-right Christian right activists like Klein, the attacks on American interests abroad seemed likely to advance their ambitions back in the US. With Americans confronted with shocking images of violent Muslims in Egypt and Libya on the evening news, their already negative attitudes toward their Muslim neighbors were likely to harden. In turn, the presidential candidates, Obama and Romney, would be forced to compete for who could take the hardest line against Islamic “terror”.

A patrician moderate constantly on the defensive against his own right flank, Romney fell for the bait, baselessly accusing Obama of “sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks” and of issuing “an apology for America’s values”. The clumsy broadside backfired in dramatic fashion, opening Romney to strident criticism from across the spectrum, including from embarrassed Republican members of Congress. Obama wasted no time in authorizing a round of drone strikes on targets across Libya, which are likely to deepen regional hostility to the US.

A group of fringe extremists had proven that with a little bit of money and an unbelievably cynical scam, they could shape history to fit their apocalyptic vision. But in the end, they were not immune to the violence they incited.

According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington’s M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

“If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt,” one of them shouted at him, “you’ll be the reason!”

Jewish Fascism | Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran’s Refusal to Sing the National Anthem


The Hatikvah affair: This is what a Jewish state looks like

The storm about Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran’s refusal to sing the national anthem shows us just what a ‘Jewish State’ means.

A political storm broke out last week, when it turned out Supreme Justice Salim Joubran declines to sing the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah” (The Hope). Many Jewish Brotherhood MKs suffered from an unusually farcical attack of national erection. This was indeed another occasion to note that there is no practical (or even ideological) difference between Kahane’s representative in the Knesset, Michael Ben Ari, or Yisrael Beitenu’s David Rotem, or the Likud’s Danny Danon and Moshe Feiglin. But that is not the main issue; neither is the fact that the Jewish Brotherhood’s attack on Joubran means they think that most of the Jewish population agrees with them on this point.

The issue is the single demand made by Netanyahu to the Palestinians recently: that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Joubran brouhaha is precisely the reasons they cannot accept this demand. A Jewish state is a state, which – inherently by its very existence and by its very declaration as such – discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens. It is a state, which, by its very definition, says they do not belong, that they are unequal and never will be equal, that they are nothing but temporary guests who exist at the sufferance of the Jewish majority. A Jewish state is one that proclaims itself to contain two types of populations, separate and not at all equal.

It would be herrenvolk state, where the will of the majority wouldn’t be just that the minority make it tea (as a famous Israeli song notes ironically) but that it should kowtow as it serves it. This would be a state where people would be ordered to sing, in a broken voice and a trampled soul, “The Jewish soul is moved,” so that day by day and hour by hour, they would be forced to remember their home is not their home. As of now, the Jewish Brotherhood targets justices; soon enough it will target school principals, physicians, advocates – anyone whose head is held too high. Therefore, it is clear that Abbas or any other self-respecting Palestinian leader cannot acquiesce to Netanyahu’s demand: doing so would be selling the rights of Israeli Palestinians down the river, something no one has authorized him to do. This, of course, is precisely why he presses for that demand.

This has happened before. Most Israelis have forgotten 1949-1966, when Israeli Palestinians were under military rule; most American Jews were never aware of it. Under this rule, Zionist Israel carried out a huge land grab – legal, of course; there is no villainy which state attorneys will not commit – which deprived the Nakba-surviving Palestinians of most of their lands. Policemen and secret policemen were on the hunt for any hostile utterance, any unpleasant wedding song, and Palestinian leaders had to learn “Hatikvah” by heart to maintain their position. We are no longer in the 1950s and 1960s, thankfully, but there are people who would like to take us back there.

As usual, one should be thankful for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin for trying to save the dignity of the Knesset and of the Likud party. One should also thank, through gritted teeth, Bogie “Moshe” Ya’alon, who defended Joubran against his own home crowd, which takes courage anytime, but particularly these days. Both of them went on record saying that Israeli non-Jews cannot be expected to sing Israel’s anthem.

This unfortunately is not enough. In this way, they accept the concept of Israeli Palestinians as a tolerated minority, since we can’t demand it pretend to be Jewish. But that should not be the case: a country with a large minority should learn to accommodate it. Former state comptroller and supreme court justice Miryam Ben Porat, who came from a Revisionist home, had no qualms about suggesting some 20 years ago that “Hatikvah” be amended and a new stanza added, and that a new symbol be added to the flag so that non-Jews could also relate to an anthem and flag that, after all, are supposed to represent them as well. There have been other suggestions, like replacing “Hatikvah” with Shaul Tchernichovsky “Ani Ma’amin” (“I Believe”):

Mock me, mock my dreams of glory It is I who dreams, still bowed, Mock my faith in all things human As in you my faith stands, proud.

Yet my spirit still craves freedom Not sold out to calves of gold I still believe in all things human, Human spirit, spirit bold.

(Translated by Dena Shunra)

This did not happen and is not likely to happen soon. This is where we see the importance of civics lessons in schools: the right wing has been sabotaging them for a generation now, claiming they neglect the Jewish aspect of the state. But that, after all, is precisely the point of lessons in civics: to build the supra-religious, supra-ethnic, supra-tribal infrastructure that will create a civic consciousness, for Jews and non-Jews alone. The sabotage was not incidental.

The right wing does not want a civil state: it is looking for an ethnocratic theocracy. And not just the right wing: Yair Lapid, the most accurate barometer of the precise center of Israeli politics, recently wrote he opposes the separation of synagogue and state. Even he understands such a move will undermine the ethnocracy – and he chooses it over a liberal Israel.

There will be no reconciliation in this tortured land, if the country is considered first and foremost Jewish. This would mean a total victory for the Jewish nationalists and would significantly damage (and justly so) Israel Palestinians’ ability to identify with Israel. This ability is surprisingly strong, given the country’s history.

One is led to thinking that the mass hysteria of the past 20 years, the overpowering urge to emphasis Israel’s Jewishness, is the result of a deep fear among central parts of the Jewish population that if this is not achieved, then there will be no escape from living aside Israeli Palestinians. This, in turn, leads to the worst of Jewish fears: the loss of blood purity (AKA “assimilation”). This shouted insistence on Israel’s Jewishness is in some ways tactical: it says to Israeli Palestinians “go away, no matter how hard you try to be Israelis, Israel will never be yours. Keep away from us: you’re getting too close and it’s making us scared.”

And how do you treat a whole population driving itself into post traumatic stress disorder? This is not a question I’m sure I can answer.

Jewish ‘Taliban’ On The Rise | Turning Tel Aviv Into ‘Teheran’


The Growing Influence of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel

By Juliane von Mittelstaedt

Photo Gallery: Battle for the Soul of Israel

Einat Keinan / DER SPIEGEL

Veiled women, radical rabbis and gender segregation: Israel is facing a rise in the influence of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Their efforts to impose a strictly conservative worldview have led to growing tensions with the country’s secular society. A resolution to the conflict is vital for Israel’s future.

Read More:-

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,808252,00.html

The Rise of Jewish “Taliban” Cult


The Rise Of Haredi “Taliban” Women

Burka cropped

What was it that drove haredi women to join the burka cult and cover themselves up almost hermetically?

Burka cult mother and daughter in Jerusalem closeup 

A burka cult/”Taliban” mother and daughter in Jerusalem

When ‘modest’ becomes extreme When the ‘Taliban women’ phenomenon finally reached Mea She’arim, the rabbis of the extremist Edah. Haredit took notice and condemned it. But what was it that initially drove ultra-Orthodox women to cover themselves up almost hermetically? By Tamar Rotem • Ha’aretz

His tall stature and dress – the striped robe customarily worn by men in some streams of the Edah Haredit – made him look older than his age, as if a venerable member of society. But his face is that of a boy. The young groom, whose wedding was the reason for the harsh and unprecedented condemnation that the Badatz, or ultra-Orthodox rabbinical court of the Edah (one of the most extreme of all Haredi communities ), issued last week against the group referred to despairingly as “the Taliban women,” to which his mother and wife belong – seemed at a loss this week as to what all the fuss was about. Yoel Krois, one of the unofficial spokesmen for the extremist factions within the Edah Haredit, said with a smile, once the teenager was out of sight, that the groom had achieved a Guinness record: Before his 18th birthday, and only months apart, he was married twice within the same year. But evidently today in Mea She’arim nobody else finds that joke funny.

In a neighborhood where rumors spread like wildfire, it came to light a week ago, and after the fact, that the young man in question had secretly wed a second time, without having arranged a get, or bill of divorce, from his first wife, whom he had married just a few months earlier. She had refused to divorce him for several months, and had also moved back in with her parents. The community was horror struck.

After the scandal erupted, the young man’s family initially claimed he had been given heter me’ah rabbanim (literally, permission by 100 rabbis ), a license to marry a second wife that is granted in rare cases and acceptable according to halakha (traditional law ): for example, when a wife is not capable of accepting a get, because of a medical or mental condition (say, if she is comatose ), and on condition that 100 rabbis sign the authorization. But there is hardly a rabbi to be found who is willing to declare publicly that he signed such a permit, and not one single rabbi who will admit to having officiated at the couple’s second wedding.

The reason the marriage between the 16-year-old boy and his 21-year-old mate foundered is not their age gap, rather the fact that the latter, whose mother also belongs to the group of women wearing burka-like shawls, would not consent to the ritual immersion in the mikveh. The allegations against her maintain that this was because she did not want to remove the shawl she wears over her clothes, and immersion in a ritual bath must take place without any barriers, in other words in complete nakedness.

The accusatory finger was not pointed at the groom at all, but rather at the rebellious bride, at the groom’s mother for allegedly “stirring” the wedding pot, and more generally at the group of women that has been isolated and singled out in the Edah Haredit in any case for the way they dress.

“Not going to the mikveh is a violation of the essence of the purity of the people of Israel,” pronounced Rabbai Shmuel Pappenheim, formerly a spokesman for the Edah Haredit and editor of its mouthpiece, Ha’Eda.

“He [the groom] said that he received permission from 100 rabbis. But there are not even 10. This way creates an opening to permitting all marriages among the people of Israel. A wife burns the cooking at home one time – you can marry another. Who officiated at the wedding, nobody knows. There has to be a minyan at a wedding. It is impossible that here in Mea She’arim you could keep secret who the 10 people were who attended the wedding,” Pappenheim added.

Another case that involved another family of shawl-wearers was reported last week on the Haredi news website Kikar Hashabbat. It reported that a young woman from the same extremist group of women who went into labor delivered her baby at home, because the family does not go to the hospital for reasons of modesty. Things got complicated when the premature baby went into fetal distress during childbirth.

A man from the emergency medical organization Hatzalah who lives in the same neighborhood was called to the scene, and he took the preemie to the hospital against the parents’ wishes. The hospital called the social services after several hours, when the newborn’s parents failed to appear. They eventually did, and the newborn survived.

It is hard to ignore the sense that part of the impetus for the Badatz condemnation of the group known as “Taliban women” derived from the men’s feeling of intimidation by those women. Fathers of daughters who joined the shawl-wearers in spite of the stated objections of the men, among these some well-known rabbis, as well as displeased husbands, testified for several hours at the Badatz about what is going on within their homes. The women were vilified for not accepting rabbinical authority; for taking their daughters out of school to be educated at home; and most serious of all, for disobeying the most stringent rules of halakha.

The fact that there are husbands who support them was played down, and those husbands were presented as weaklings who allow themselves to be dragged along. Meanwhile, accusations that had surfaced previously began cropping up in conversation with greater force. For example, that the shawl-wearers do not breast-feed their sons, only their daughters, for reasons of modesty.

After hearing the testimonies, the Badatz, in a rare sort of consensus, ostracized the group of women with the shawls, though it did not name it per se. The wording of the unprecedented announcement was unusually harsh: “To our sorrow, we the Badatz have listened to testimony regarding the inequities of these women that have uprooted Torah from Israel, acting on their own, adopting a lifestyle that is void of Torah and educational values. They do not send their offspring to Talmud Torah and schools; they prevent receiving medical care, even in life-threatening cases, as well as issues concerning matters that are not fitting to be discussed, pertaining to the chuppah and kedushin [i.e., main elements of weddings], etc.
“Therefore, we are warning Jewish women and girls that it is prohibited to join them and one must distance oneself from their customs and their ways, since ultimately, they will, has v’sholom, lead to destruction and annihilation” (translation by The Yeshiva World News. )
One may ask, however, since when does the Badatz view the phenomenon of private – or perhaps it’s “pirate” – schools as a problem? And second, as to preventing medical care, objection to Zionist hospitals among the extremist streams has always meant that home births are nothing exceptional, and the same goes for parents’ refusal to vaccinate their children. And this was the story long before the case of “the starvation-causing mother” (an ultra-Orthodox woman who was accused of withholding food from her son, and whose arrest by the authorities prompted violent protests ), which raised higher the walls of suspicion between the extremist factions, and state health and welfare officials.

Apparently, it took especially extreme cases to make it clear to the rabbis that limits must be set. They realized for the first time that the phenomenon of women who wear either a shawl, a cape over their clothes, or a long scarf that covers their heads and faces, has also been gaining momentum among extremist circles in Jerusalem, and that it is not a purely religious matter, but a social one they must eradicate.

So long as the phenomenon remained concentrated in areas far from the Haredi communities in places like Beit Shemesh, it was marked as a symptom of extremism on the ultra-Orthodox margins, among newly religious women, mainly of Mizrahi origin. This is also why the rabbis were not troubled by the phenomenon and did not condemn it – even after the first “Taliban Mother” case erupted (the leader of a group of the shawl-wearing women in Beit Shemesh, a rabbi’s wife, was convicted in 2009 of abusing her children and is now in prison ).

But then, in recent years, the phenomenon of women wearing a cape-like covering over their clothes began to surface among extremist circles in Jerusalem. Many of them started attending parlor gatherings at which “modesty” lessons were given under the auspices of the organization Keter Malkhut, based in the Geula neighborhood, adjacent to Mea She’arim, which also supported the women in Beit Shemesh. They also began reading the kontresim (pamphlets containing a discourse on the weekly Torah portion ) that the organization distributed on the subject.

The message of these lessons and pamphlets was that women should dress as Jewish women have dressed since time immemorial. With the help of various kinds of cloaks and scarves, according to this message, women can bring salvation closer, and shall be blessed for it. Subsequently, since the express goal is to exalt modesty, become more devout, and thus to add more and more coverings – certain women in Mea She’arim began to dress like the women in Beit Shemesh.

The more powerful these women became in terms of numbers, the more blatant became their social condemnation by their extended families and on the Haredi street; they found themselves ostracized and cut off from their families. When the recognized institutions would not admit the younger girls in these groups to school, pirate education frameworks sprung up, which also made it less necessary for the girls to walk through the streets and make themselves a target for stares and curses. Afraid they would not be able to arrange a match for their sons or daughters, the women rushed to marry off their children, and thereby formed some strange and unacceptable matches between 16-year-old boys and older girls.
“It took hold of all the innocents in the communities; everyone who was in trouble,” Pappenheim says. “They say and show sources suggesting that it is a return to something old and innocent. There were several rabbis’ wives on the margins who preached this. From there it developed and began to take hold of women who do not have good lives, who have problems with their husbands, and other problems that the women believed would be solved thanks to the shawl.”

Women’s ‘wantonness’

The mistake of the male leaders, according to Pappenheim, was allowing the women to go in this direction in the first place. “The moment they let the women lead their path, it developed into wantonness, because they do not know how to stop,” he says.

In his capacity as a volunteer ambulance driver, Pappenheim says that he once evacuated to the hospital a man who complained of headaches. “The man collapsed, didn’t speak, and his wife ran away and wouldn’t talk to me or explain what happened. That is madness.”
As one who is close to the family of the two-time groom, Krois sounds less worked up. He says that at issue are a mere four families, and that the significance of the phenomenon should not be exaggerated. They are good women whose behavior is without blemish, he notes – but his daughters and wife would not go around dressed like that.

It may be that only a handful of families are involved, but since every mother in these families has more than 10 children, and the girls are seen on the street with the shawls, it creates the appearance of a much wider phenomenon. Moreover, the women in question had been considered to be important in their community. Two of them were teachers in Edah Haredit schools, until they quit and began teaching in the alternative ones.

Y., a young woman from the Edah Haredit, says she was surprised to see her mother suddenly wearing a shawl that covers her head as well. “She invited me to hear about the shawls. I told her, ‘Do what is good for you, but leave me alone. I’m not interested in wearing more panty hose, more underwear’ (that is, even more layers of clothes in order to appear modest ). These women, they come up to you at weddings and talk to you. One time somebody with a shawl approached me at a wedding. She said that she would like to discuss with me a ‘taste of heaven.’ I told her, ‘I have a taste of heaven with my husband and that is enough for me.’

“These are newly religious women who start brainwashing you,” Y. continues. “They are everywhere, promising women that it will bring livelihood. And also making anyone who doesn’t go about like that feel guilty. The women here have a lot of burdens and difficulties. Distress, poverty. That is why they get caught up in this.”

Last week, while the sheva brakhot (“Seven Blessings” ritual held each evening during the week after a wedding ) was being held for the married couple, the groom’s first wife rushed to finalize the get at a distant rabbinic court, that of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz in Bnei Brak. Everything seemed set to rights, though the storm is not over.

“It is impossible to nullify it or to boycott them completely, but we are now making sure that the phenomenon does not spread,” Pappenheim says.

It is doubtful whether the Badatz will be able to contain the phenomenon, which needs to be understood in a much broader context. As one post noted in the comment section on a Haredi website: “Over the last few years all they have heard is how much women are the mother of all sin. They are blamed for all the disasters that befall the people of Israel, and the young of the flock are taught over there that a woman is the worst thing that can cross their path, so is it any wonder? Women internalize and begin to think that it’s true, that they and their bodies have no right to exist, and they feel guilty for not being able to be invisible, and then try to burrow under as much as possible!”

The Separation Of Synagogue And State


Toward Separation Of Synagogue And State

Israeli FlagIsrael is in danger of no longer being governed by the people; this danger does not come from the multitudes surrounding us who seek our destruction, but rather from those who wish for rabbinic fiat and Torah law to rule supreme.

The question of Israel as a Jewish democracy
Israel is in danger of no longer being governed by the people; this danger does not come from the multitudes surrounding us who seek our destruction, but rather from those who wish for rabbinic fiat and Torah law to rule supreme.
By Ilan Ben Zion • Ha’aretz

The Israel that Herzl envisioned was a bastion of democracy and a haven for all Jews against the evils of anti-Semitism. This is the Israel I grew up on, and the Israel I had hoped to move to; a country based upon Jewish values and liberal ideals.

But this island of democracy in a despotic sea is in danger of no longer being governed by the people. This danger does not come from the multitudes surrounding us who seek our destruction, but rather from those who wish for rabbinic fiat and Torah law to rule supreme.

This faction of Israeli society is multiplying far faster than those who advocate egalitarian democracy, and in the past thirty years has benefitted from an unprecedented and disproportionate increase in religious party power.

What if the Masoretic mullahs of Mea Shearim succeed in the coming decades and take over, turning Israel into a Jewish Iran? Is half the Zionist vision good enough?

Sixty years ago, fearful that Israeli democracy would be overthrown in the future, Professor Yehuda Leo Kohn asserted it would be foolhardy for Israelis to delude themselves into believing that “nothing like [the fall of German democracy] could happen in Israel”.

Having witnessed firsthand the downfall of many European democracies in the thirty years prior to Israel’s founding, Kohn recognized Israel’s need for a constitution that enshrines civil liberties, prevents perfidious government action, and safeguards the rights of the individual.

There are measures that can and must be taken to prevent our fragile, imperfect democracy from crumbling beneath the demographic weight of black hats and coats; Israel needs a constitution.

Ben Gurion and his contemporaries balked at the daunting task of constitution building while struggling to establish the state, instead leaving it for generations to come. Today’s Israel does not have that luxury.

If Israel is to properly protect its citizens’ rights, it must finally reach a national consensus –however difficult and daunting it may be – on what laws are above the state and the people.

We the people must ratify a constitution that guarantees individual freedoms, minority rights, separation of religion and government, and a clear system of checks and balances.

With secular Jews and non-Jews together constituting a majority of the country’s population, the time has come for Israeli identity to be divested of its religious trappings.

How can a large portion of Israel’s population uphold the current state if they do not identify
with the religious Judeo-nationalism it promotes? And what if this ultra-Orthodox perversion over the law only intensifies with time?

An Israeli constitution needs to separate Israel from its Jewish religious trappings, and make the state impartial to the religious identities of its citizens.

If this does not happen, many Israelis my find themselves forced out of this Mediterranean sanctuary, preferring to live a free Jew in another country than shackled by injustice in a Jewish one.

Ilan Ben Zion is an active blogger currently living in Be’er Sheva; he is a graduate of Tel Aviv University with a Masters in Diplomacy.

The Destruction of Israel


Make no mistake, Israel‘s existence is under threat
TheDrum By ABC’s Ben Knight

Updated September 24, 2011 12:17:39

Let’s imagine for a moment that at this time next year, by some
miracle, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas meet on the White House lawn to
sign the accord that will create the nation of Palestine. All disagreements are
forever resolved – from where the borders of the two countries will lie, to how
they will share Jerusalem as their capital.

Let’s also assume that all Muslim and Arab nations will keep their promise to
recognise Israel – and that the militants of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad
are consigned to the dustbin of history.

Israel is finally free to realise its full potential as a nation. Or, to put
it another way – Israel is finally free to let its own internal divisions and
hatreds tear it apart.

If you think Israelis and Palestinians don’t see eye to eye, the gulf between
secular Israelis and the ultra-orthodox religious is probably just as wide.

Go to Tel Aviv on a Saturday morning, and you’ll see one version of Israel –
secular, middle-class sun-worshippers, sitting in trendy beachside cafes,
munching on bacon and eggs, or hummus and salad.

Then, on the same Saturday morning, drive 40 minutes up the highway to
Jerusalem, where you’ll visit an entirely different country. Here, there are no
cars, and streets are closed off with police barriers – as ultra-orthodox Jews
in black overcoats and fur hats walk to the Western Wall to pray.

And no, the two groups don’t get along.

Secular Israelis work, pay taxes, and serve in the army. Ultra-orthodox, or
Haredi Jews, don’t.

Secular Israelis are prepared to die for their country in battle, but have to
travel outside it to get married in a civil ceremony.

Not surprisingly, it’s a pretty sore point. Especially as the demographic
balance is shifting fast.

Secular couples have, on average, around two children per couple. Haredi
couples have closer to eight or nine.

And it’s changing the very identity of Israel – away from the secular,
socialist civil society it was created as in 1948 – to something quite
different.

To see it in action, you only need to take a peek inside an Israeli
school.

Israeli’s government funds three streams of education; regular state schools,
ultra-orthodox religious schools, and Israeli Arab schools.

Back in 1960, only around 15 per cent of Israeli children were enrolled in
religious or Arab schools.

That figure is now around 50 per cent. In 30 years, it will be almost 80 per
cent. That is a frightening statistic for the nation of Israel.

Arab Israelis have long had lower education, and higher unemployment
levels.

But the real problem is in the religious stream.

In religious schools, children don’t learn mathematics, science, or English;
only the Bible. All day, every day. And Haredi men are expected to – and do –
continue that Bible study for the rest of their lives.

It’s all funded by the taxpayers. And the taxpayers are… secular
Israelis.

What does it mean? Well, if the figures are to be believed, in less than 30
years, Israel will have a population where the majority either can’t, or won’t
join the workforce – putting an increasing, and impossible burden on the secular
minority to pay the taxes and serve in the army.

This, in the ‘Startup Nation’ – the country that prides itself on its hi-tech
sector. Israel has the ideas, the inventors, and the entrepreneurs – but
already, it has to import workers from overseas, because there aren’t enough
educated Israelis in the job market.

It’s not sustainable. Israelis know about it, and sometimes talk about it,
but Israel’s government does nothing. It’s just too hard – especially as the
political power of the ultra-religious is growing. It’s almost impossible to
form a government in Israel today without them.

Opposition – and resentment – is growing. Middle-class, taxpaying, secular
Israelis are already so angry about the mere cost of living – and that their
children cannot afford to buy or rent a home – that they have taken to the
streets in huge numbers.

But it’s hard to see how any government – however brave – is going to be able
to turn the ship around without committing political suicide.

Now let’s imagine that in a year from now, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud
Abbas have not reached a peace deal.

All of the current problems are still there; but Israel is even more
isolated, the Palestinians are even more frustrated, and sitting in the midst of
an ever more unstable and chaotic region.

This week’s UN assembly might have put Israel and Palestine back in the
headlines – but it won’t solve the conflict. And soon enough, it will all fade
from view again.

And all the while, behind the scenes, Israel’s
demographic time bomb is still ticking away.

Ben Knight
is the ABC’s Middle East correspondent.

Rick Perry Courts Jewish Taliban


Perry poses for a photo with a supporter after a news conference in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. | AP Photo

Perry held a press conference  with pro-Israel hardliners in New York City. | AP Photo Close

 

By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 9/20/11 4:19 PM EDT   Updated: 9/20/11 8:18 PM EDT
No one running for president in 2012 has been to Israel more often than Rick  Perry—and that includes Barack Obama. The Texas governor has not only  traveled there frequently, he’s written about protections for the Jewish state and denounced Obama for his  Mideast policy.

Never was his longstanding connection to Israel clearer than Tuesday, when he held a press conference with pro-Israel hardliners in New  York City, against the loaded backdrop of the coming push at the United Nations  for Palestinian statehood.

“It is time to change our policy of appeasement toward the  Palestinians to strengthen our ties to the nation of Israel, and in the process  establish a robust American position in the Middle East characterized by a new  firmness and a new resolve,” Perry said, criticizing President Obama as lax in  his approach.

“As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel, so from my  perspective it’s pretty easy,” he said when asked about any theological  implications of his support for Israel. “Both as an American and as a Christian,  I am going to stand with Israel.”

Yet if Perry has essentially become a Zionist over the years, he’s one  without many American Jews surrounding him.

At best, he’s had a minimalist relationship with national Jewish groups,  multiple sources said: until he began meeting with top Jewish leaders over the  past week, his outreach had rarely gone beyond Texas borders. At a moment of  intense focus on the small Jewish vote and an influential group of Jewish  donors, Perry is still struggling to translate his interest into Jewish votes as  he seeks to explain his views on both Israel and his own faith.

“The Jewish community often has had questions about some things he says,” said Alan Sager, a former county GOP chairman in Texas who is Jewish and who has  known Perry for years. That includes, he said, things like the massive August  day of prayer Perry set up long before he decided to run for  president.

“My wife, both of [us]…don’t see any problem with what he’s done. It’s fine  with me. He can be whatever he wants about his religion,” Sager said. “But  that’s obviously not the prevailing feeling in the Jewish community.”

Perry’s focus on Israel is a reflection of the small nation’s ever larger  role in Republican politics—evangelical Christians and defense hawks care deeply  about Israel’s well being, enough to make a pilgrimage there an  all-but-requisite stop in a GOP presidential primary. Yet the governor’s  interest in the issue predates his presidential ambitions, tracking back two  decades to early in his career when he made trade missions to Israel as Texas  agricultural commissioner.

He referred to those trips, which began in 1991, on his first outing in New  Hampshire in August when he was approached by a pro-Israel voter.

“I love Israel,” Perry said, lingering on each word. “I lead trade missions  to Israel.”

During a 2009 visit there, he focused on his personal history in the Jewish  state.

“We have a connection that goes back many years,” Perry said at the time,  according to the Jerusalem Post. “And Israel has a lot that we can learn from,  especially in the areas of water conservation and semi-arid land – Israeli  technology has helped us a lot in dealing with drought.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63970.html#ixzz1YXjffHfz