Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer
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Editor’s Note: This is excerpted from Begin’s address on Israel’s independence day on the Irgun’s radio station. His words are worth remembering in this time of unprecedented challenges to Israel’s right to exist.
Citizens of the Hebrew Homeland, Soldiers of Israel, Hebrew Youth, Sisters and Brothers in Zion! Today is truly a holiday, a Holy Day, and a new fruit is visible before our very eyes. The Hebrew Revolt of 1944-1948 has been blessed with success — the first Hebrew revolt since the Hasmonean insurrection that has ended in victory. The State of Israel has arisen in bloody battle. The highway for the mass return to Zion has been cast up. The foundation has been laid — but only the foundation — for true independence.
One phase of the battle for freedom, for the return of the entire People of Israel to its homeland, for the restoration of the whole Land of Israel to its God-covenanted owners, has ended. But only one phase. We should recall that this event has occurred after 70 generations of dispersion and unending wandering of an unarmed people and after a period of almost total destruction of the Jew as Jew. Thus, although our suffering is not yet over, it is our right and our obligation to proffer thanks to the Rock of Israel and His Redeemer for all the miracles that have been done this day, as in those times. We therefore can say with full heart and soul on this first day of our liberation from the British occupier: Blessed is He who has sustained us and enabled us to have reached this time. The State of Israel has arisen. And it has risen “Only Thus”: through blood, through fire, with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with sufferings and with sacrifices. It could not have been otherwise.
And yet, even before our state is able to establish its normal governing institutions, it is compelled to fight, or rather, to continue to fight satanic enemies and blood-thirsty mercenaries, on land, in the air and on the sea. In these circumstances, the warning sounded by the Philosopher-President Thomas Masaryk to the Czechoslovak nation when it attained its freedom after three hundred years of slavery has a special significance for us. In 1918, when Masaryk stepped out on to the Wilson railway station in Prague, he warned his cheering countrymen: “It is difficult to set up a state; it is even more difficult to keep it going.”
We are surrounded by enemies who long for our destruction. Our one-day old state is set up in the midst of the flames of battle. And the very first pillar of our state must therefore be victory, total victory, in the war which is raging all over the country. For this victory, without which we shall have neither freedom nor life, we need arms; weapons of all sorts, in order to strike the enemies, in order to disperse the invaders, in order to free the entire length and breadth of the country from its would-be destroyers. But in addition to these arms, each and every one of us has need of another weapon, a spiritual weapon, the weapon of unflinching endurance in face of attacks from the air; in face of grievous casualties; in face of local disasters and temporary defeats; unflinching resistance to threats and cajolery.
Zionism 101 Update
In his last years, Herbert Zweibon, the beloved chairman of Americans for a Safe Israel, placed special emphasis on education and Jewish failure in this regard. His last project was to create a site for the Internet age where people could go to learn about Zionism, of whose history even many of Israel’s supporters know little.
The site now contains a treasure trove of film footage about Zionism. The latest video, “General Zionism,” describes one of three visions of the Jewish state–as a liberal, Western democracy like Switzerland. As historian Howard Sachar wrote: “General Zionism for many decades was not really a party at all. Without any particular commitment of its own beyond loyalty to Zionism itself, it simply embraced those members of the organization who did not belong to any specific ideological grouping.”‘
You can watch the video at: http://zionism101.org/NewestVideo.aspx
We encourage you to share information about Zionism 101 with friends, family and co-workers plus anyone else who is interested in learning about the most important development in modern Jewish history.
Coming up next: Military Stirrings, including videos on Hashomer, Nili and the Jewish Legion.
Boris Schatz was an established European sculptor inspired by Herzl to become an ardent Zionist. Migrating to Palestine, he started a Jewish arts and crafts school in 1906, its motto “Art is the bud, craft is the fruit.” He named it Bezalel after Bezalel ben Uri, the Biblical artist who designed the tabernacle. During World War I he wrote a futurist novel The Rebuilt Jerusalem in which the Biblical Bezalel takes Schatz on a tour of the reborn state in 2018.
In his worst nightmare Schatz could not have imagined that in 2014 his Bezalel school would have as its President a moral gnome who, in a lengthy, scurrilous and imbecilic article entitled “47 Years a Slave: A New Perspective on the Occupation” published in what AFSI’s Ruth King rightly calls “Al-Haaretz”, describes today’s Israel as practicing “a form of domination of Palestinians that now increasingly borders on conditions of slavery.” A sample from the fevered rhetoric of Bezalel President Eva Illouz: “The reason for this is that Israel has its own proslavery lobby, which is now in the corridors of power, shapes Israel’s policy and has successfully managed to make the occupation appear to be a containable casualty of war and nation-building.”
What combination of arrogance and stupidity makes Illouz think she can write such malevolent nonsense and raise funds abroad? After all a significant part of Bezalel’s funding comes from U.S. well-wishers. In her article Illouz holds up the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement–she claims “respected” Jewish academics were its “initiators and leaders”–as if it were morally exemplary. So what is her message to Jewish donors abroad? “We are a slave society which the best and most respected Jews demand be boycotted, divested from and sanctioned. Please write the biggest donation you can manage to Bezalel, the art school of the slave masters.”
Any self-respecting Jewish donor to Bezalel should demand the answers to a few questions before providing another nickel. How did this woman come to be appointed President of Bezalel? She is not an artist but a sociology professor. What are her credentials for the job? Who was on the search committee that picked her? And above all, why is Illouz, so clearly unfit for her role, still in her post?
(Editors Note: This is Chapter 6 of Moshe Sharon’s new book Jihad: Islam Against Israel and the West, kindly translated for Outpost by Mrs. Sharon.)
In 1683 the armies of Islam besieged Vienna for the second time. The first time was a century and a half earlier. The great Islamic Empire of the period, the Ottoman Empire under the long reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, was then at its zenith. It had extended its borders on the Danube far to the west of Budapest and was poised to capture Vienna, which stood between its armies and Western Europe. Suleiman regarded himself at that time as the ruler of the world, and treated the great kings of Europe as his subjects. The actual subjugation of the rest of Europe was, as far as he was concerned, only a matter of time.
Fortunately for the world of Christianity, when the Moslem armies attempted to besiege Vienna for the second time, some 117 years after Suleiman’s death, the Ottoman Empire was already on the decline, its expansion westwards had been checked, and the bastions of European Christianity could then begin threatening the Muslim Empire rather than being threatened by it.
Yet for the Ottomans, the Christian countries of Europe remained Dar al-Harb -– “the Land of War” – the term used by the Muslims for all territories not yet under Islamic rule. The term is both legal and political, and is charged with religious belief and emotional fervor.
Legally speaking, it defines the relations between the lands of Islam and the lands of the infidels. Infidels – in Arabic Kuffar (singular: kafir) – are all those who are not Muslims, mainly Jews and Christians. They are, therefore, regarded to be, both theoretically and effectively, in a state of war with the Muslims. This war does not have to be declared, since from the Muslim viewpoint, it is the only possible state of affairs between the two parties. Moreover, it is part of the divine plan. For after Allah sent Muhammad “with the guidance and the religion of truth” there was no other way but that “he may uplift it above every religion.” (Koran, surah 9 verse 33) In other words, Allah made it incumbent on the Muslims, the Community of the Faithful, to subjugate the whole world and bring it under the rule of Allah.
The fire of jihad, Holy War, must burn in the heart of every Muslim. It is a collective and personal duty; and every Muslim leader, particularly the head of the Muslim Empire, is obliged to pursue this duty ceaselessly. Legally therefore, the appellation of “The Land of War” to Europe is understandable. Every Christian coming from the Land of War – dar al harb – has the status of harbi. This is different from being a dhimmi, the status imposed on Christians and Jews tolerated to live under Islamic rule as a third-class subjects. The harbi is simply an alien, an enemy of Islam, even when no acts of war are in progress between the two sides. This legal outlook reflects the religious obligation to keep the Holy War alive. Since no one can abolish this duty that is enshrined in the words of God in the Koran, it remains an open-ended condition. Similarly the Land of War cannot change its status until it is conquered by the Muslims and becomes part of the Land of Islam.
Palestinian Authority figurehead Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) has assured us – at a meeting with a pre-selected group of left-wing Israeli students – that happy days are (almost) here again.
If Israel only improves its act, and conducts its affairs as per Abbas’s directives, peace and bliss will surely be ours. To hear him, there’s no obstructionism whatsoever on his turf. Abbas has absolved himself of any responsibility if things go awry. He’s only seeking justice for an indigenous population oppressed by an artificial entity, a foreign interloper.
Those among us who still possess a historical perspective will recognize the resemblance to contentions made by one Adolf Hitler on the eve of the infamous Munich Agreement, which sold out Czechoslovakia as the alleged cause of all that ailed Europe.
In a long letter telegraphed by Hitler to Franklin Roosevelt on September 27, 1938, the German fuehrer stressed: “I can and must decline all responsibility of the German people and their leaders, if the further development, contrary to all my efforts up to the present, should actually lead to the outbreak of hostilities.” The identical argumentation, minus the national designation, had been repeatedly enunciated by Abbas.
Abbas has a problem with the existence of a Jewish state just as Hitler couldn’t tolerate the existence of Czechoslovakia. Hitler insisted that the root problem arises from “the founding of the Czechoslovak State and the establishment of its frontiers without any consideration for history or nationality. The Sudetenland was also included therein, although this area had always been German… Thus the right of self-determination…had been simply denied to the Sudeten Germans.”
Hitler accused the “Prague Government” of having “attempted by increasingly violent methods” to enforce the Czechization of the Sudetenland:
I should like to advance a conjecture which I lack the qualifications to adequately develop: The global Left, and the Israeli Left most of all, perceives that the clock is running out, and has worked itself up into a froth of hysteria against Israel. The world of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” where there are no countries and no religions, is about to dissipate like last night’s marijuana fumes. The demographic time bomb that worries the Left is not the relative increase of Arab vs. Jewish populations between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, speciously cited by John Kerry and a host of other errant utopians: it is the growth of the Jewish population itself, and Israel’s transformation into the world’s most religious country.
Israel now has a religious majority, as Times of Israel blogger Yosef Bloch observes:
“According to our Central Bureau of Statistics, 43% of Israeli Jews are secular, 9% are haredi, and the remaining 48% are somewhere between masorti (traditional) and dati (religious): 23% the former, 10% the latter, and 15% smack in the middle. These five groups do not parallel the five groups identified by Pew, e.g. Orthodox is a denomination, while dati is a declaration.”
So 57% of Israelis practice a form of Judaism that for the most part Americans would call “Orthodox,” in that it recognizes normative Judaism in the rabbinic tradition (the presence of the “progressive” Reform and Conservative movements is almost imperceptible and largely limited to transplanted Americans). Many Israelis who are dati are far from completely observant, but there is a great gulf fixed between a semi-observant Jew who knows what observance is, and a “progressive” who asserts the right to reinvent tradition according to personal taste.
This majority seems to be expanding fast. I spent the second half of December in Jerusalem promoting the Hebrew translation of my book How Civilizations Die and was struck by the increase in commitment to religious observance, including among people who were steadfastly secular. Almost half of Israel’s army officers are “national religious” and trained in pre-army academies that teach Judaism, Jewish history, as well as physical training and military subjects. The ultra-Orthodox are going to work rather than studying full time, little by little, but the little adds up to a lot. Naftali Bennett’s national-religious party “Jewish Home” has created a new political focus for the national-religious. Outreach organizations like Beit Hillel are bringing once-secular Israelis back to observance. Beit Hillel’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, was in New York recently lecturing about Israel’s religious revival.
Alan Alda’s wife recently signed a letter denouncing the newly elected left-wing mayor of New York for doing AIPAC’s bidding. The Sandinista supporter had been accused of many things, but being an Israeli stooge wasn’t one of them. Signing the letter, along with the spouse of that guy from MASH, were Martha Weinman Lear, the wife of the cousin of liberal producer Norman Lear, Eve Ensler of the Vagina Monologues and diet guru Jane Hirschmann, author of Overcoming Overeating, who took a break from obsessing over food to sail on a Jihad cruise to Gaza.
Signing on to the attack on Bill de Blasio for being a dirty Zionist were such faded celebrities of the literary left as Erica Jong, who hasn’t written a single book that anyone can name in the forty years since Fear of Flying first came out and Gloria Steinem, who peaked around that same time.
These familiar names on the Manhattan cocktail party circuit who grind their teeth every time they hear Netanyahu’s name, give way to the professional activists, the board members of the toxic American Jewish World Service, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Dorot, the Rabbis for Gaza and Rabbis for Obama and the men and women like Peter Beinart of Open Zion and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace who have built their lives around the war on Israel as much as any Islamic Jihadist tinkering with a Kassam rocket in Gaza.
The radical clergy sign on: Rachel Brown Cowan, a Unitarian who married a Jewish writer for the Village Voice, added “Rabbi” to her name and began attacking the Jewish State after her husband’s death, Rolando Matalon, who has yet to find a Latin American Marxist group he wouldn’t embrace and Sharon Kleinbaum, a lesbian supporter of the Fast for Gaza that aids and abets the not particularly pro-lesbian Hamas.
Reading these names feels like reviewing the membership of a small familiar club. Everyone knows everyone else and everyone in the club hates Israel.
Is John Kerry the most anti-Israel Secretary of State ever? John Foster Dulles and James Baker set the bar high. Is he the most dishonest? He is not responsible for the cover-up, the betrayal and the outright lies regarding the Benghazi attack.
Is he the dumbest? Madeleine Albright was tough competition. Poor dear. Imagine the shock of finding out in advancing middle age that you are Jewish, and never having guessed anything, even though all your cousins and their sisters and their aunts were Jewish. On the other hand, even she would probably not have claimed, as Kerry just did, that “climate warming is a weapon of mass destruction” and “the greatest challenge of our generation” and dismiss out of hand the huge number of skeptics: “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact.”
Kerry certainly gives Madeleine Albright a run for the money as our most inept Secretary of State. Remember his claim on the war in Iraq? “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” So let’s cut him a little slack here. Maybe he actually was a friend of Israel before he wasn’t. Or is it that he wasn’t before he was or never was. He was always confused. In October 2003, Kerry said Israel’s unilateral construction of a security fence was “a barrier to peace.” “I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the decision to build the barrier off the Green Line,” he told the Arab American Institute National Leadership Conference. “We don’t need another barrier to peace.” In February 2004, he reversed himself, calling the fence “a legitimate act of self-defense,” and saying “President Bush is rightly discussing with Israel the exact route of the fence to minimize the hardship it causes innocent Palestinians.”
Will Kerry claim one day that he was actually against negotiations with Iran before he wasn’t? The Ayatollah continually affirms :“There is no use [to the negotiations]… It will not lead anywhere.” And it’s reported “Senior Iranian officials say they won’t accept any major curtailment of the program.”