Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Back in Israel

After a great trip, I'm home. I'm living in Efrat in the Judean Hills. The air is fresh, the view is breathtaking and the people are idealists. They believe that they've returned to their ancestral homeland and will stay here no matter what. I'm studying Torah at Yeshivat Ha'mivtar. This is what I've dreamed of for the past 4 years. America is great. Israel is better.

Who's Worse for Israel: Hamas or Fatah?

Arutz-7 reported last week that: “(The PA) ambassador to India says Fatah does not recognize Israel anymore than Hamas.” The report continues: “In an article he wrote in the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, on November 26, Sadeq admitted that Fatah does not respect Israel anymore than Hamas does, and that moreover, the PA and Fatah utterly reject that Israel has any right to exist.”

While Hamas has made its plans to exterminate Israel and the Jewish People abundantly clear, Fatah been taken an alternate route towards the same goal. The "Palestinians" would prefer to see Hamas in a leadership role. They voted them in in Gaza and if Israel were to relax its support in favor of the Fatah in Judea and Samaria, the Hamas would be ushered in as the new de facto leader there.

It seems that Hamas is better for the "Palestinians" in that it's less corrupt than Fatah. As far as which would serve their political purposes the best, Fatah definitely fits the profile. It's a terrorist organization with the stated goal of destroying Israel and creating a terrorist state in its place. It continues carrying out terrorist attacks while claiming to want to pursue dialogue with our leaders. The fact that it's gained international recognition helps allows it to keep murdering Jews with little if any repercussions.

Fatah boasts the support of liberal Jews and many Israeli Arabs while Hamas is seen as the more militant of the two. In fact, Fatah is the less religious one but just as militant as Hamas. It's dedicated to destroying Israel. Israeli leaders should begin paying more heed to Fatah. We should allow Hamas to take over in Judea and Samaria. If the "Palestinians" want to see Hamas in power, so be it!

Israeli leadership started out supporting Hamas; it even fouded it according to some sources. The purpose of this endeavor was to create friction amongst "Palestinian" extremists, thus flaming the fires of internal friction. The experiment failed and we've been left to deal with another terrorist faction. The many attempts at ceasefire and reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah are a show created for the consumption of the West. In fact, Hamas demanded--and was granted the release of Fatah terrorists alngside its own hoodlums. What it boils down is which faction is better equipped to fight Israel. In my opinion, Fatah is the more dangerous of the two because of the factors mentioned above: its appeal amongst liberal intellectuals in Israel and the West, the support Israel's government has alotted it, and the fact that Fatah is worse for the "Palestinians": in other words, what helps our enemies hurts us.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gay Pride?

Chicago, 11/26/11:

Living in suburban America doesn't allow one more than a glimpse into the sex-crazed debacle that has become modern Western civilization. On every street corner there are provocative posters for the newest clothing brands. Every mall features at least one store with access to pornography. No wonder homosexuality has undergone a paradigm shift--from adhorent to tolerable in the West. I'm returning to Israel in less than a month. I'm sure to find a mixture of left wing intellectuals, teenage punksters and junkies, and to top it off, gay rights activists.

Having spent the past four years delving into the mysteries of Jewish oral and written tradition, I've acquired a new perspetive on the meaning of life. It's simply the most precious commodity we can ever hope to acquire. When I hear or witness people wasting their time and/or money, it makes me wonder what's driving them to act so irresponsibly. I believe that one's ability to have kids comes from G-d and like time and money is not to be wasted. What right then do gays have to waste this ability? This questioned may be answered once we've discovered whether homosexuality is a natural phenomenon: if one is born gay. I believe it's not. The Torah and most Rabbis agree with me.

But besides the arguments for or against homosexuality, there's a more wide-spread issue of Gay Pride parades invading the religious sanctity of the Land of Israel. I believe that every and village in Israel is holy so Tel-Aviv also falls into this category. Do gays hold their rallies as a sign of pride or do they do so simply to spite Israel's religious communities? The answer is simple. Thousands of gays and lesbians live in Israel. Many of them serve in the army. Most hold jobs. Yes, they feel oppressed and ignored but why should it be any other way? Just because you've served your country and lead a productive life doesn't mean you should be allowed to get in the way of others doing the same. The reason gays march in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem is oppression. Of the straight community. Especially religious Muslims and Jews.

I just finished re-reading the article I published a few years ago. In it, I stated that the most despicable aspect of the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem was the Rabbis' position. Having spent four years in the Diaspora, I'm forced to disagree. I still maintain that cooperating with Arabs is wrong no matter what. I don't think we should side with Arabs even if it means eradicating Gay Pride parades. But I can understand why there would be those amongst us willing to take this painful step.

Kahane's "Why Be Jewish" talks about "Berny" chasing "Bridgette." The Rabbi asks why so many Jewish men are attracted to Gentile women. The book is a classic and a must-read for those of contemplating marrying outside of the Tribe. When it comes to gays, the questions is "Why is Berny chasing Ben?" This is a question that must be addressed from the Halachic standpoint. Gays must have an alternative to their behavior. If they are provided an alternative, there will be less Gay Pride. There will be less provocation on their part. The bottom line is that Gay Pride parades must be stopped. Not by violence but by petitions to the Supreme Court and the Knesset.

Tel Aviv, 4/2/07: Two days ago I watched a lengthy documentary on the cancelled Gay- Pride parade in Jerusalem.

The documentary, which aired on channel 8, devoted itself to demonstrating a wide range of opinions, both adamantly homophobic ones, and those of gay-rights supporters and members of the Israel’s gay-lesbian community themselves.

I watched as an American Orthodox Rabbi pulled out all the stops to prevent the march from taking place. I watched as a young gay man who had been stabbed by a member of the Haredi community told his side of the story. I watched an elderly Israeli woman calling on all members of the Israeli religious community to sign a petition against the march.

The actions and decision-making of the American rabbi were what appalled and angered me most. He asked Palestinian imams for their community’s support in stopping the march. His reasoning for this: “The Muslim community is most likely to take violent steps in stopping the march.” In a face-to-face sit-down, the man, referring Jerusalem as Al-Quds, the Arabic name for the Israeli capital, called on all faiths to unite in suppressing the homosexual enemy.

Later, when war with Lebanon broke out, he gave an interview suggesting the war had been a result of preparations for the parade. When asked for his position regarding the stabbing of a gay man in 2005, he came up with a version unparalleled in creativity. This was no Rabin assassination conspiracy theory. There were far more intangibles and loose holes. This man tried proving the Haredi “gentleman” had somehow taken hold of the knife one of the protestors was wielding and used it in self-defense.

Other anti-gay activists were less provocative. What all of them shared in common was hatred, hatred of the other; hatred of those who had “sinned.”

The young man who had been attacked by the Haredi nut was neither the biggest intellectual, nor did he come across as especially peaceful and reconciliatory, but then again, why would one expect him to reconcile to having been stabbed because of his lifestyle!? He rattled off large volumes of anti-religious rhetoric, blaming the entire religious community for his sufferings, and vowing to fight “them” on their terms.

Two things struck me about this documentary: the gay community’s eagerness to march in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem in particular for reasons related more to trying to provoke Israel’s religious community than to their comfort level with being who they are, and certain Jews’ willingness to cooperate with the enemy, an enemy far more dangerous than the gay community to stop the march.

I wonder whether the religious Jews involved in actions focused on mutual concerns coordinated with Jerusalem’s Arab leadership realize the price for sitting there, hugging and shaking hands with either terrorists or those who incite terror and are responsible for the death and mutilation of numbers of Jews. I wonder how far they’re willing to go to stop a gay-pride parade. Are they willing to threaten? Malign? Murder? Does Judaism give a go-ahead to murdering homosexuals who want to march in Jerusalem?

I’m no supporter of gay-pride. As I stated above, I don’t care one bit for these “gay pride” parades: their taking pride in their sexual orientation. But I’m also a staunch supporter of freedom of speech.

In the end, the war ended all hopes for a parade in Jerusalem—at least this year. Instead, members of the gay community met in what I supposed to be Teddy Stadium to voice their grievances. They hope to return to Jerusalem and hold a gay-pride parade there one day. And as much as I oppose this kind of activity, I would hate for it to be disrupted by violence. The question for me is not whether we oppose a gay-pride parade in the Holy City but how we go about doing this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Outlook on Kach in its Present State

While a follower of the teachings of R' Meir Kahane (H"YD), I've never been drawn to the crowd mentality and the things the Rabbi's followers preach.

Rav Kahane preached Jewish pride and self determination as prescribed by the Torah. He wanted Jewish in the Diaspora to feel an inextricable connection to the Land of Israel and be able to fend for themselves. He supported Soviet Jewry and our efforts to flee the USSR. His positions were iron-clad. He resisted the impulse to move away from Torah doctrine even when his life was in jeopardy.

The Rabbi did not preach murdering Arabs. His movement has been condemned by the international community and while the Gentiles also condemn most pro-Israel causes they have reason to condemn Kach in its present state. R' Kahane's followers were never under his control. Many of these people joined Kach for the long reasons. Many were frustrated by the Israeli government. In Kach, they found an outlet for their anger. Many had relatives or friends murdered by Arabs.

These are good Jews. The problem with them is that they're hurting the Jewish People's struggle for a Greater Israel. They openly call on others to harm Arabs. I don't know if there have actually been any attempts to do this, but based on the way the Shin Bet has pursued these activists, there have been and this is extremely unfortunate. It's not the Jewish way.

This brings me to the point I've wanted to make for some time now. The call "Death to the Arabs; Kahane was right!" doesn't make sense. Kahane didn't call on his followers to murder Arabs. In fact, while wanting them to leave Israel, he respected them and their national aspirations.

This piece is many years late in coming. By now, Kach is completely irrelevant. The Rabbi's followers have withdrawn to the periphery. They are limited in scope and resources. The movement is stagnant. And illegal. Why? Maybe the Rabbi went too far towards the end of his life, but I think the real reason is that those who claim to follow his teachings are serving their own purposes. In the meantime, those who follow Torah Judaism and hope to create a truly Jewish Israel can be found in the Likud (especially Manhigut Yehudit), the NU and Ha'tikva.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Close Friend's 1st Blog Post Reposted

Article by Max Stesel
 
With the Jewish holiday season over, it is time to turn our focus to the tragic and troubling reality that has been swelling within the Jewish nation over decades and has come to a boiling point over the past week.
 
The State of Israel, for most of the Jewish people has been the greatest gift our nation has merited in the past two millennia. After being butchered, and persecuted across Europe, Near East and North Africa, the Jewish people were finally given opportunity to defend themselves from their murderous enemies, and institutions that are supposed to provide for safety and security for millions of Jews living in their ancestral lands.
 
Over the past twenty years Israeli leadership (from across its political spectrum) had continually gambled with lives and security of its citizens in pursuit of elusive peace, while their enemies had spread terror and destruction in their consistent pursuit of victory and elimination of the Jewish state, which they never stopped seeing as foreign cancer in their midst. As result of consistent security compromise and softness Israel today have missiles that occasionally fly in from Gaza, more missiles that are pointed at them by non-state players from Lebanon and is surrounded by terrorist safe havens on their eastern and eastern flanks within 10-20 miles drive or less from most major Israeli cities.

Israel's commitment to to safety and security of its citizens hit the new low over the past Sukkot, as dozens of Arab murderers were sent to freedom as result of Shalit deal. I lack proper insight to judge weather it is right to release over 1,000 terrorists including dozens of convicted murders for one imprisoned Jewish soldier. That is not the point. The point is no terrorist who either killed Jews or planned killing Jews should be alive much longer after being convicted for the crime. Israel's lack of death penalty for terrorists is a crime against its citizens.
 
It is incredibly sad to see that 60 years after finding the state of Israel the blood of Jews is almost as cheap as it was in any period of Jewish exile. It is even sadder to see Israelis continually elect governments that fail to provide for their basic safety (it is not normal to have major cities under missile bombardment and it was not Israeli reality for most of its history).
 
With this essay and perhaps future entries I call the Jews of the world to action. Weather we make the lofty choice of living in our ancestral land, we can no longer stay silent regarding the foolishness and disregard for human life taking place there.
 
As Jews we are proud that we sanctify life. To sanctify life does not only mean only releasing 1,000 terrorists for one captive soldier. It also means executing terrorists with blood on their hands (after due process, if possible) so that they won't continue murder or inspire other criminals and to make it clear that Jewish blood is not cheaper. Since early 90s we have watched our brothers and sisters being brought as sacrifices on the altars of liberalism and diplomatic initiative. 
 
It is time to scream out to our brothers in Israel. It is time to protest the actions of Israeli government (in constructive manner). Stop being the Country of Fools! You are not in the heart of Europe! Your liberal institutions (read Supreme Court at their forefront) and irresponsible political dreamers had already exacted a high price in lives and suffering. Enough is enough.

Below is the list of monsters which any country which truly sanctifies human life would have send to the next world long time ago instead of being forced to let go to freedom.

· Aad Abu Sharah (19 life sentences), Majdi Amro (19 life sentences) and Fadi Muhammad al-Jabaa[44] (18 life sentences) - responsible for the attack on bus No. 37 in Haifa in 2002.

· Abdel Aziz Salha - participant in the 2000 Ramallah lynching who was iconically photographed displaying his blood-stained hands to the Palestinian mob after having beaten an Israeli soldier to death.[44]

· Abdel Hadi Ghneim - the surviving perpetrator of the Tel Aviv Jerusalem bus 405 suicide attack in which Ghneim seized the steering wheel of a crowded Egged commuter bus line No. 405 and managed to pull the bus into a ravine in the area of Qiryat Ye'arim. 16 civilians were killed in the attack.[45]

· Abed Amro - took part in the execution of the Café Hillel bombing (2003).[46]

· Ahmed Mustafa al-Najar - led a militant squad that killed 3 Israelis in shootings attacks.[44]

· Amana Mouna - lured over the internet the 16-year-old Israeli high school student Ofir Rahum, pretending to be a young American tourist, managed to drive him to a remote area in the outskirts of Ramallah where three Palestinian gunmen showed up and shot Rahum at close range.[47]

· Amar Sarhan - killed three Israelis with a knife in 1990.[46]

· Bassam Abu Sneina and Riyad Asila – murdered the yeshiva student Chaim Kerman.[48]

· Fahad Schludi - took part in the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli soldier Yaron Chen.[48]

· Farouk Aramin - murdered 15-year-old Israeli schoolgirl Helena Rapp in 1992.[49]

· Husam Badran - the former head of Hamas' military wing in the West Bank, who orchestrated the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing (2001), Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing (2001) and in the Passover massacre (2002).[48]

· Ibrahim Shamasneh - took part in the murder of the boys Ronen Kramni and Lior Tuboul, the taxi driver Rafi Doron and the soldier Yehushua Friedberg.

· Idris Rajabi - carried out attacks in which 22 Israelis died.[46]

· Jihad Yaghmur - took part in the murder of Nachshon Waxman. Originally sentenced to life imprisonment.[45]


· Mohammed Aton, Moussa Akawi and Majed Abu Katish - militants that murdered the Israeli policeman Nissim Toledano in 1992.[50]

· Muhammad Douglas - took part in the execution of the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem (2001).[48]

· Muhammad Jose - responsible for the murder of the three Dickstein family members and the Israeli soldier Eliezer Lebowitz.[46]

· Muhammad Karem - directly involved in the planning and execution of a bus attack in Haifa in which 15 Israelis were killed.[46]

· Mohammed Youssef al-Sharatha - head of the militant squad that kidnapped and murdered the Israeli soldiers Ilan Saadon and Avi Sasportas during the first intifada. Originally sentenced to three consecutive life sentences.[45]

· Mohamed (Nihad) Zakout - Tel Aviv construction worker who stabbed three Israelis, murdering two, on the holiday of Purim, March 21, 1989.[51][52]

· Nasser Yataima - convicted of planning the Passover massacre (2002) in which 30 civilians were killed and 140 were wounded.[44]

· Tamimi Ahlam - Assisted in the execution of the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing (2001).[44][47]

· Tariq Hassin - carried out the shooting attack on Highway 6 in June 2003, in which the 7-year-old girl Noam Leibowitz was killed.[48]

· Walid Anajas - took part in the execution of the Café Moment bombing (2002), the Hebrew University bombing (2002) and the Rishon LeZion bombing (2002). Originally sentenced to 26 consecutive life sentences.[44]

· Yehiye al-Sinwar - took part in the kidnapping and murder of Nachshon Wachsman. Founder of the Hamas security apparatus in Gaza. His brother organized of the abduction of Gilad Shalit in 2006. Originally sentenced to four life sentences.[45]

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another New Song Just Released to Youtube



I'm dedicating this song to my best friend. I haven't seen him in over 4 years and miss him very much. Separated by an ocean, as well as other obstacles, we've remained in touch. I talk to him almost on a daily basis.

We met at a chess tournament in Ramat Aviv. I was living at the Milman dorms on Tagor. We became inseparable, sharing our life stories with one another and trying to make it in Israel's harsh reality. My personal life crumbling as was his. We supported one another through everything.

It's been difficult being away from my friend as well as from my homeland for so long. I want to make it back. There are a lot of obstacles in my way. I'd like to focus on the positive aspects of this song for a moment though. First, here are the lyrics:

My brother, this life that was given to you is meant to be yours
My brother, this life has more meaning than what it seems
More feeling, more pain
But you’ll survive all the same
You’ll make it all the way
Every trial, every day
It gets easier in a way
But you need to persist
Your time is limited so you need to do more than just simply exist
You must be a vessel for truth, for G-d’s revelation
It’s up to you, my brother, gotta seek the motivation
You know, you see me and you probably think I’m there
In fact, I’m far you’ll see in my stare
Pain and suffering I’ve lost so much
I’ve gained everything only to lose it and yet I’ve maintained my touch
My ability to grow, my yearning to stay
In a way, I know that it’s only thanks to G-d that I’m here today

Al tivater Yehudi, tahzik ha’rosh le’mala/Don’t give up, Jew, hold your head up high!
Al tivater yehudi, zot rak ha’hatchala/ Don’t give up Jew, this is only the beginning!
Al tivater yehudi, sipur zu rak beineinu/ Don’t give up Jew, this story is between you and me!
Al tivater yehudi, ha’kol od lefaneinu

Al tivater, achi ha’gadol/ Don't give up my big brother
Al tivater ki ani yodea she’ata yachol/ Don't give up because I know that you can
Le’tzmoach kmo perach/ Grow like a flower
Le’tzroach la’melech/ Scream to the King
Ata lo levad/ You're not alone
Ani tamid itcha/ I'm always with you
Afilu achshav kshe’ata mitchalech be’toch hahashecha/ Even now as you walk in the darkness
Ata iti be’halomot/ You're with me in my dreams
U’ksheani margish atzuv/ And when I feel sad
Ata kore ha’machsehvot/ You read my thoughts
Ata tomech bi tamid/ You always support me
Hayita sham be’shvili ba’avar ve’tihye sham be’atid/ You were there for me in the past and you'll be there (for me) in the future
Ata yodea, achi ani godel po be’galut/ You know, bro, I'm growing here in Exile
Lomed Yahadut/ Learning Judaism
Minase le’hatmid/ Try to persist
Ve’ani po yodea she’beolam yesh tachlit/ And I know that there's a purpose to the world
Ein lo yachol/ There's no "can't"
Ata titgaber al ha’kol/ You'll overcome everything
Be’yachad nigdol, be’yachad natzliach/ Together we'll grow, together we'll succeed
Hashem lanu hiftiach/ G-d promised us
Hahayim matana/ Life is a present
Tamid yesh tshuva/ There's always repentance
Az tahzor le’aba, hu mehake lecha/ So return to your Father, He's waiting for you

Al tivater Yehudi, tahzik ha’rosh le’mala/ Don’t give up, Jew, hold your head up high!
Al tivater yehudi, zot rak ha’hatchala/ Don’t give up, Jew, this is only the beginning!
Al tivater yehudi, sipur zu rak beineinu/ Don’t give up, Jew, this story is only between the two of us!
Al tivater yehudi, ha’kol od lefaneinu/ Don’t give up, Jew, everything’s ahead of us!


My story is long
I don’t know where to start
My brother
You know
I wasn’t always smart
Made so many stupid mistakes
Got back up every time
Every time I fell
I felt my life wasn’t mine
Wasn’t mine to take
I just need to make
An impression on this world
Through charity and acts of kindness
That’s my people’s gold
I used to think I had it all
And my brother,
You probably will too
At some point,
You’ll think that life’s a game
But it’s not always up to you
G-d makes the big choices
We are his instruments here
Have no fear
So long’s as your conscience’s clear
Stay strong
There’s no giving up in life
Stay the course
Cause there ain’t no taking flight

Al tivater Yehudi, tahzik ha’rosh le’mala/ Don’t give up, Jew, hold your head up high!
Al tivater yehudi, zot rak ha’hatchala/ Don’t give up, Jew, this is only the beginning!
Al tivater yehudi, sipur zu rak beineinu/ Don’t give up Jew, this story is between you and me!
Al tivater yehudi, ha’kol od lefaneinu/ Don’t give up, Jew, everything’s ahead of us!


I always feel inspired when I think about what it's taken me to get to where I am today. I'm not a Rabbi, a college professor, a sought after professional, or a well-established politician. I can honestly say that I haven't lived up to my parents' dreams--or my own for that matter. Yet I'm alive. That's all I need to know to be satisfied. For most people this is not enough, and rightly so! People want to see progress. They want to grow into better human beings. They want to fix their character flaws. I do too!

But I also know that I need to simplify things. Had it not been for several amazing things that happened to me, I wouldn't be here today. I need to be grateful for every moment I'm alive; every second I breath in the wonderful aroma of this universe. We all have things we should be grateful for: I need to be grateful for literally everything.

In this song, I urge my friend to continue pursuing his dreams; to never give up. I talk about my own struggles and how even though I might appear happy on the outside, there's a lot more to me than meets the eye. Enjoy this song and pass it on!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Kahane Video

In Memory of Rehavaam

I just thought I'd share this since I have a little time to blog right now. I dedicated this to the blessed memory of Rehavaam Ze'evi Gandi (H"YD--may G-d avenge his blood):

The Leader

We did not know you well
And yet, you were a hero to us
We called you names
And yet, we had your trust

But there are those of us who shall never forget
Your strength of will, your dedication
You faced the world alone
Your voice rings true today: “We are the Palmach”
You were a light unto the nations

A man of the Book, of holy inclination
A man of his word
A soldier of our salvation

Bullets could not pierce you
Mortals could not pain you
Yet, you are no longer
“Rechavam” we chant your name
Your life to the Zionist cause you gave
That cause will only grow stronger

Who better than you knew this land?
Its hilltops and its valleys
Who wanted freedom more?
True peace and harmony
A home for the stranger, the hungry, and the old

The day has passed
Dark is the sky over the Temple Mount
And once again we hear your song
We hear the Morning Prayer and make no sound

In memory of the fallen hero of Israel, Rechavam Zeevi “Gandi”-may his name be a blessing unto all Israel

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Latest Youtube Song and a Poem for Israel



This song took quite a while to finish working on. In it, I discuss the difference between liberal, self-loathing Jews such as Yossi Beilin, Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, Mordechai Va'anunu (may their name and memory be erased), and straight-thinking, Torah-observant ones like Noam Federman of Kahane Chai, Benny Alon of the N.U., the wonderful Rabbanim of Yesha (Judea and Samaria), Moshe Feiglin of and many, many more. I was greatly influenced by one of my childhood idols, "Dr. Dre" whose "What's the Difference" I used as a ballast for my song.

I've befriended a very talented Zionist, "Speedy", by way of Youtube. He's been helping me get my message across. I owe him a lot of gratitude for posting 4 brand new videos on Youtube. You can check him out here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SpeedyNeverGiveUp You can see his blog here: http://www.speedymedia.blogspot.com/

I've been having a very difficult time deciding when to return to Israel. On one hand, I'd like to come back ASAP. On the other, I finally have some stability in my life. I've found a good job and am earning some money. I'm putting away almost all the money I earn towards Israel, but it's still going to take me about a year to have sufficient funds to make it on my own for a period of 2 years. I don't expect to get a great job during this time period--especially not in Efrat where I'd like to live (if only initially).

I'm pondering taking up a money-raising project via: http://www.kickstarter.com/. If you have any other ideas, please let me know. I'd like to make some money via my hip hop. I'm pretty talented when it comes to rap, and I'd like to make my efforts pay off at some point. I've been doing rap since about the age of 13-14 and have been interested in this industry for even longer.

I've received mixed reviews as far as my sometimes militant Zionism. I openly subscribe to the teachings of R' Meir Kahane (H"YD). Not only do I not hide this, but I'm proud of it. I would like to think that others will accept me like I've accepted them, but this has proven to not always be the case. All I can do is continue leading an upright path in life.

Here's a poem I wrote at the time of the Disengagement from Gaza. There's a lot of hidden meaning in it. Let me know what you think:

The Dream

And the land wept in grief
For he who loved it most was no more
The land did not flourish, nor did it swell like she who would give birth
He was not there to hold her hand
With her to go forth

As the years passed by, she grew old and frail
She lost vision and speech
Her bones grew dry
But two things remained: her hope and her love
Her hope for the future
The love for him whom she had once loved

And as she lay there
Breathing harder and harder
He came back in a dream
And kissed her and hugged her
And she opened her eyes
He was there again
A dream no more, not a vision-a man

He had gone from her heart
But alive he remained
When she had only hope
When all else had been lost
She remembered the dream
The dream of a nation
A dream to be free, no matter the cost


I haven't been writing any poetry for a long time now. I'd like to start again at some point. I just need some renewed inspiration. Maybe this will come when I come home to Israel. Wishing all of you a shana tova and a g'mar chatima tova!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Several New Songs (Accompanied by Lyrics) on Youtube: Please Watch and Pass On!



Intro.

As I ponder my life I realize
That all the problems I’ve got are half the size
Of what we, as Jews
Endure every day
That every day, another one of my brothers goes his way
And as the world press pokes fun at dirty kykes,
I see my people fighting
A losing battle
The only way for us to survive
Is to put aside our differences
Cause they don’t matter
And when we’re one no one can stop us
But how long will it take
How many lives must be taken for us to make
It clear to the world
That we’re here for good
So let me hear you clap your hands and make it understood

No matter how many enemies come my way
I’ll be here till
Judgment Day
No matter what the world has to say *2
I’ll be here till
Judgment Day

What will it take
For our politicians
To get a clue
I just elected you
But you ain’t even Jew
I gotta go by my instincts and buy me time
With every passing day I leave my feelings so far behind
I know the day will come
When we fight as one
I just don’t know when
We’ll get this business done
I wanna lead my people
To victory
I wanna overcome
This misery
Just who are you to tell me which way to go
And who the heck are you
To tell me so
As long as I’m here
I’ll always get my way
If you don’t wanna play
I guess I’ll make you pay

No matter how many enemies come my way
I’ll be here till
Judgment Day
No matter what the world has to say *3
I’ll be here till
Judgment Day

I wonder why we don’t learn from history
From misery and tyranny
When will my people open up their eyes and see
That everywhere the Jew will go
No matter what he does he’ll be a hoe
That there’s only one place meant for us
Watch out whom you trust
And when you think you know a man
Go slow, son
Cause one can never know
Till the deed is done
It’s greed that drives our leaders most often
And more than once they’ve ended up
Closed in a coffin
I cannot lose my edge
I cannot self-destruct
But almost every move I make I’m getting blocked
How long will we suffer at the hands of Amalek
My sistas and my brothers have got my back

No matter how many enemies come my way
I’m here till
Judgment Day
No matter what the world has to say *3
I’m here till
Judgment Day

No matter how many enemies come my way
I’m here till
Judgment Day
No matter what the world has to say *3
I’m here till
Judgment Day

I’ve come here to fulfill a once-coveted dream
A mighty nation has arisen out of the ghetto scene
We’ve fought in six wars and thousands have died
But in memory of them we stride our Jewish pride
This ain’t no joke
I ain’t crappin’ no kiddy litter
My mouth’s dry and my heart’s bitter
Cause every day I see my people hitting the sack
I ain’t kidding you gimp
Ya know I dream of cappin’ Hassan aka faggoty fag
When hate fills my heart I resort to my brain
When there’s nowhere to go we stand on guard of our domain

My pops took on the Soviet regime
Az lama ani lo yachol leha’amin So why can’t I begin to believe
She’od yavo hayom shebo nahzor le’Tzion That the day that we return to Zion will come
Yo achi ze lo chalom aval ulai ze hachom Yo bro, it’s not a dream, but maybe it’s the heat
So give me your hand and make me wanna believe
Ani amiz, ata amiz ubiyachad nishbor le’Nasralla et ha’piv I’m brave, you’re brave, and together we’ll break Nasralla’s nose
Ke’ikaron ani muchan lehilahem In principal, I’m ready to fight
Kidei lehavi shalom amiti le’Yisrael In order to bring true peace to Israel
So look out Hassan Nasrallah and friends
We’re gonna get you in the end
You’re in no man’s land

In G-d we trust
Cause it’s all 6 million of us
Against a billion of them
Shma Yisrael: ani rak matchil lechichamem Hear O, Israel: I’m just beginning to warm up

No matter how many enemies come my way
I’m here till
Judgement Day
No matter what the world has to say *3
I’m here till
Judgement Day





Israel…Tisha’a

Chicago…2011

Am Yisrael Chai

Ani mitga’agea elaich, eretz moledet

Bibi: Stay strong, we support you!

My love for this land is like the sun
It never sets
Cause my mission ain’t done
If it’s a flower
I’m it’s petal
If it’s a tower
I’m its metal
Don’t no one gonna mess with my land
It’s mine to keep
What belonged to my forfathers
Is mine to reap
My lyrics are deep
And somewhat unique
I just need to figure out a way
For us to keep
Our land in the sun
Truth be told
I’ve only begun
I’m gonna announce transfer
And put you on the run
I’m gonna legalize Kach
Start having some fun
Ata iti, achi? Are you with me, bro
O im ha’islam? Or with the Islam?
Ha’derech od aruka The road is still long
Ani ve’ata You and I
Roim ha’matara See the goal
Tahzkiki hazak Hold on strong
Al tevatri Don’t give up
Tiri See
She’od natzliach That we’ll still succeed
Od nitgaber Still overcome
Le’hadlik et ha’menora (Be able to) light the menorah
Le’maan For the sake
Eretz Yisrael! Of the Land of Israel!

Eretz Yakara Dear Land
Eretz shel shalva Land of harmony
Eretz she’natnu la Land that we gave
Et kol ha’ahava All (our) love

Eretz ha’avot Land of the forfathers
Shfachot ve’imachot Maid servants and formothers
Eretz she’ahavnu Land that we loved
Le’orech ha’dorot In the course of all the generations

It’s been so long
Since I started writing this
How many times
Have I missed
Said the wrong things
In the wrong kind of way
But I’m here to stay
Set a record
For languages used in a rap
Step up to the plate
And put me on the map
Kol hishtaldutay All my efforts
Le’maan achai ve’reai (Are) dedicated to my brothers and friends
Ahavat Yisrael The love of Israel
Mofia be’kol shirai Appears in all my songs
Ani dovek be’emuna I cling to my faith
Mitpalel Le’Kel Shakai Pray to G-d
She’hu yamshich That He’ll continue
La’habit bi To look at me
Ve’leehov oti bli dai And love me to no end
Skolko let (Russian) How many summers
Skolko zim How many winters
Krov techet moego naroda The blood of my people is (being spilled)
Kak mnogo iz nac How many of us
Ne uvidyat cleduyshego goda Won’t (live) to see the coming year
Seychas vesna It’s spring now
Bremya isxoda Time of exodus
No iz Egypta But from Egypt
Naprovlyaetca k nam Bad weather is coming our way
Ploxaya pogoda
Higiya ha’zman (Hebrew) It’s time
Le’hilachem le’maan To fight for the sake of
Ha’am The People
Az bo nishma otchem So let’s hear you
Sharim be’kol ram: Raise your voices and sing:

Eretz Yakara
Eretz shel shalva
Eretz she’natnu la
Et kol ha’ahava

Eretz ha’avot
Shfachot ve’imachot
Eretz she’ahavnu
Le’orech ha’dorot

When will the world
Hear our song?
We’ve waited for Moshiach
But we don’t have to wait long
He’s coming
He’s on his way
Every day we pray
Every day we try
Every day we cry
Cause every day more and more
Of my people die
We face a two-pronged attack
Our enemies are back
Yeah,
They’re smoking crack
Whether it’s Hizbullah
Abbu Allah
Or Jews for Yashke
They’re all drinking mashke (liquor)
They aren’t going to win
Their ways are a sin
They wanna convert us
They say they support us
They want is to deport us
The Arabs at least
Don’t hide their intentions
Missionaries are senseless
And we’re not defenseless
We need to fight back
Go on the attack
We don’t owe you jack
We need to get back on track
Send them to Iraq
Or better yet Iran
Oh yes we can
You’ll get stoned for preaching
You don’t even know
Whom you’re teaching
What y’all doing’s reaching

Eretz Yakara
Eretz shel shalva
Eretz she’natnu la
Et kol ha’ahava

Eretz ha’avot
Shfachot ve’imachot
Eretz she’ahavnu
Le’orech ha’dorot

Ha’torah she’anu lomdim The Torah that we learn
Ha’mitzot she’anu mekaymim The commandments that we observe
Yishtalmu be’yameinu Will pay off in our days
Ein ein aleinu No one is like us
Na’aleh le’har ha’bayit We’ll go up to the Temple Mt.
Nahzir aleh zayit Return the olive branch
Nivne chomat barzel Build a steel wall
Nahzir et ha’shalom Return the peace
Le’kol am Yisrael To the entire People of Israel
I wanna be there
I wanna be there to see
My people rejoice
The prisoners of Zion
Finally go free
Yonatan Pollard
Mechakim lecha We’re waiting for you
Ani neshba I swear
Ha’lev sheli itcha My heart is with you
Gilad Shalit
Od tachzor be’shalom You’ll still return
Ata hofata You appeared
Etzli ba’halom In my dream
Raiti et ha’mechablim I saw the terrorists
She’mahzikim otcha ba’ken That are holding you in a cell
Nehargim al yidei hayaleinu Getting killed by our soldiers
Ve’otcha me’talfen And you calling
La’gid le’olam To tell the world
Lo shichrarten oti You didn’t free me
K’shesavalti ba’shevi When I was suffering as a hostage
Lo azartem li You didn’t help me
Aval ani chai But I’m alive
Dai la’merivot Stop the fighting
Bein achai ve’achotai Between my brothers and sisters
Boa nahzor Let’s return
La’eretz avotai To the land of my forfathers

Eretz Yakara
Eretz shel shalva
Eretz she’natnu la
Et kol ha’ahava

Eretz ha’avot
Shfachot ve’imachot
Eretz she’ahavnu
Le’maan ha’dorot

Reactions to My Last Post and the Latest Latma Hit

Shavua tov to all! My last article was met with some skepticism in the local community. I want to hear what you have to say regarding my understanding of what Zionism means, the validity of my argument that the founding fathers of Israel were righteous individuals without whom there wouldn't be an Israel today, that the State of Israel is on the whole a positive entity, and so on.

I'm open for discussion. Whereas there are some issues I simply won't budge on, I'm open to discussing most of what I wrote. Once again, shavua tov and please enjoy the latest Latma hit (and check out Latma @ http://www.latma.co.il). If you have questions about Latma, feel free to ask. If you like their videos, please subscribe to their Youtube account and leave your comments.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The State of Israel: Good or Bad?

There are plenty of Jews who will argue that the State of Israel is a horrible thing. Many will go a step further and claim that we had no right to create an independent state of our own. These people are wrong. So long as they're not Neturei Karta they aren't bad people and I wouldn't go as far as claiming they are making a "hillul Hashem"--a desecration of the name of G-d. They are misguided and uneducated. Narrow-minded, I'd argue.

Of course, these Jews will call me all kinds of names and tell me I'm completely wrong, or as one individual on Youtube claimed once, "deserve to be hanged." The key in these kinds of situations (when a fellow Jew begins lamenting your birth) is to pretend like you're not there; to ignore this person outright. This fits in with the theme of unity.

What are my claims concerning the State of Israel? Notice: I'm not alluding to the "Land of Israel." This, everyone, besides Neturei Karta followers agree, belongs to the Jewish People and has been given to us by G-d for posterity. The State, however, is an area of contention. To me it's fairly simple. Yehuda Ha'levi wrote about it in his "Kuzari." It's alluded to in some siddurim--prayer books. Some congregations invoke our leaders during Shabbat services, asking the Almighty to provide them with good counsel. We pray for the safety of our soldiers standing on guard on "water and land." Whenever trouble is brewing in Israel, we ask G-d to be merciful to His Land and People AND to counsel its leaders.

In fact, it could be said that Moses was the first Zionist. The term "Zionism" itself has been misinterpreted (with good reason) by many. They like to confuse "Zionism", or the Jewish People's desire to return to the Land of Israel with all kinds of beliefs foreign to Judaism such as Marxism and Liberalism but this is a separate topic to be discussed in a later piece.

I've sat and listened as my brethren seek to destroy the individuals who made the State of Israel a reality. I know. I've heard the propaganda. Hertzel didn't circumcise his son. He sought to forcibly convert European Jews to Christianity. Only after the Dreyfus Trial, did he finally realize that the Gentiles would never allow us to peacefully live amongst them. And Zhabotinsky!? Well he was a secular journalist who was closer in spirit to Tolstoy than he was to a religious Jew. He supported Ben-Gurion's campaign to cut off Sephardic Jews from their spiritual past. And what if hadn't been for these men? Would there be a State of Israel today? Would this state have allowed thousands, if not millions of Sephardi and Russian Jews to have returned to Israel? Would there be yeshivas sponsored by the State?

Hertzl, Zhabotinsky, Aba-Achimeir, Trumpeldor, Stern, the Irgun and Lehi fighters hanged by the British: these were the prophets we have been seeking for two thousand years. Israel? This is the land we face while praying. The "Occupied Territories"? These are the holiest places in Israel; places depicted in the Tanach.

One might think I'm coming from an entirely secular perspective while writing this. I'm not. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I do my utmost to pray three times daily, observe koshrut and Shabbat. It's not that. The only thing that separates me from my fellow Orthodox Jews is my ability to remain open-minded all the while enclosed within a cubicle. This cubicle is a lifestyle which doesn't allow for many of the exercises of modern hedonism. I prefer to live in this cubicle and hope my children will grow up covered by an aura of purity. I do, however, remain committed to certain ideas associated with the liberal camp. One of these things is my belief that the State of Israel is mostly positive.

Notice I say: "mostly positive." Our government and the way it governs isn't beyond reproach. Nowhere close in fact. A lot of the things it does is not only against Halacha, but also against its own best interests. Whether it's risking the lives of Jewish soldiers to board a ship carrying "activists" to Gaza or allowing a plane packed with terrorist supporters to land in Ben-Gurion, the Israeli government is constantly making mistakes genuinely believing that it's serving the best interests of the Jewish People. And what about the decisions it makes that are not meant to serve our best interests? There are those as well.

When I write of loving the State of Israel, I am not referring to loving the decisions it makes. Rather, we must focus on its history and the positive influence it has on the world. The love of the Land of Israel is a component common to almost all Jews. Let's try and make the love of the State another reason to unite.
Shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On the Meaning of Unity

I recently had a chance to eat Shabbat lunch at the home of a friend I greatly admire. Most people in the community wouldn't have lunch at his house, but I would. Why wouldn't they, you ask. Well, he believes the Lubavitche Rebbi (was) the Moshiach. Now, I can deal with that. There's a gigantic difference between Jews who believe the Rebbi was Moshiach and Jews for Jesus.

Christians and Jews who worship false gods base their erroneous beliefs on a a man-made faith whose entire philosophy is predicated upon unjustified concepts. I'm not going to delve into this. Chabad Jews who believe the Rebbi (was) the Moshiach are just another branch of Judaism.

As far as unity within the Jewish People, a good friend of mine once told me something I found very interesting. It turns out that the focal principles the three monotheistic faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) hold most dear are the ones they have the hardest time maintaining. Look at Christianity. Their underlining principle is "love." They preach love for one another, love for all creatures. It's love, love, and more unconditional love. Theirs is the faith that has (incidentally) murdered millions of innocent people throughout history. Their conquests, crusades and pogroms claimed countless lives.

Now look at Islam. It's main principles? Not to steal and modesty. Yet Muslims are known as the biggest thieves and greatest womanizers. Is this mere chance? Judge for yourself!

And now for Judaism. We have been preaching unity from day 1. I don't need to quote the Tanach for references. There's overwhelming evidence for this claim. And what do we have the most trouble with? Unity. I recently learned that just like the Vilna Ga'on predicted the precise year (and month) for the outbreak of World War II, he predicted that it would be followed by an age during which Jews would have tremendous trouble dealing with each other's differences. So when I hear of a Lubavitche Rabbi visiting a different synagogue in Crown Heights every Shabbat, I'm overjoyed. When I hear of Yishai Fleisher sitting down with representatives of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), it makes me smile.

Unity isn't easy. We hate each other. Ashkenazim hate Sephardim and vice versa. The religious hate the secular. Secular Jews hate religious-especially ultra-Orthodox Jews, and so on. It's a perpetual cycle of anymosity. And to think: we were all one happy family just a hundred-fifty years ago. What has changed!? What has shaken our community so much that "there are three opinions for every two Jews"? Maybe, some of you have the answer. I'm just struggling to understand...

Whatever the case may be, I call on you to go "shul-shopping." Make a concerted effort to attend services at a new synagogue every Shabbat. Have dinner with your liberal friends; lunch with your "Yichi" neighbor. Only then will we find out if the Rebbi...

Rabbi Kahane's "Our Challenge: The Chosen Land"--A Review

I've been reading Rabbi Meir Kahane's (H"YD) "Our Challenge" (circa 1974) in which the Rabbi outlines his plan of action for the coming years. He calls for drastic reforms to Israeli education. He says that while our fathers and grandfathers came to Israel with clear attitudes regarding their religious/cultural values, the new, "golden youth" of our day have no such moral roots to base their lives upon. Instead, they have a vacuum of ideas and such a vacuum leaves them open to all kinds of attacks from different directions.

The Rabbi talks about transfer of the Arab Israeli population and of Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Aza. He supports voluntary transfer of those Arabs willing to accept monetary compensation in order to move elsewhere. He says that those Arabs not willing to immigrate from Israel would be faced with the harsh reality of having to swear allegiance to the State of Israel in order to receive Israeli citizenship. These Arabs would be pressured not to receive citizenship status--instead not having voting rights and rights to own land if they choose not to become citizens.

Kahane stresses the importance of Aliya. He calls on all Jews living in the Galut to return to Israel. He calls on the Israeli government to accept Jewish moral values. He confronts Hellenist Jews who would gladly accept all Arab demands for a "return" of "Palestinian" refugees, the "return" of territories liberated in the Six-Day War, etc.

The Rabbi speaks to the people of his age just as much as those of our times. He calls on young Jews not to hearken to false prophets: intelligentsia calling on the Jewish People to succumb to Western culture, thereby losing their Jewish identity. He warns against assimilation and intermarriage. He draws parallels between the events of modern day and Nazi Germany. Our people are becoming increasingly Westernized, forgetting their rich religious/cultural heritage.

The Rabbi doesn't buy into popular myths. He gives no legitimacy to a "Palestinian" people. He claims such a people don't have a unique culture, language, history or religion. These are Arabs who lived in Israel prior to our victory in the 1948 War for Independence. Had it not been for the Roman Emperor Hadrian's brutal assault on Judea, and his subsequent renaming of Judea as "Palestine", today's "Palestinians" would perhaps be known as "Judeans." The fact that not only the outside world, but Israel itself has recognized a "Palestinian" entity legitimizes their struggle. To be sure theirs is the struggle to wipe out the Jewish People--and not just to reoccupy Judea and Samaria as they'd like to have us believe.

One thing I simply cannot fathom is that the media destroyed the Rabbi and the Jewish People vilified him and continue to vilify him and all his stood many years following his death. Are his teachings not the teachings of most clear-headed Orthodox rabbis today!? Are the ideas he presents in his books/lectures not those that every religious-Zionist Jew today adheres to? Why so much hate for a man who died defending the Jewish People and the State of Israel? Why the vilification and eventual murder of his son and family members?

I'll be honest: there's much I don't understand. I don't understand why Rabbi Kahane was a racist. I don't understand why he was a Nazi. I don't claim to understand why the Shin Bet helped murder his son and part of his family. I don't understand why there's so much hatred for the Rabbi and his ideas amongst fellow Jews. What I do understand is why the Arabs hated him and desperately wanted to get rid of him. The Rabbi presented the biggest danger to their cozy existence and perpetuation of Jew-hatred. He was a real threat to their neat little lives of lies and terror 

Funny this is that until I recently became interested in reading Kahane and watching his debates on Youtube, I too, bought into a lot of the lies being perpetuated about him. So deep is the hatred of authentic Judaism amongst today's liberal Jews, that as someone who lived in Israel, this hatred slowly became entrenched in me as well. Partly, I blame some of Kahane's followers who take the Rabbi's ideas out of context. They go too far in their own hatred. Of the Arab. Of their fellow Jew. But a large majority are well-educated, open-minded individuals with a burning desire for a more Jewish Israel.

Let's hope Rabbi Meir Kahane's ideas are fulfilled speedily and in our day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Israel's Struggle for Identity

What is Israel? Who are the people that represent it? Is it the secular army officer with a pretty girlfriend, the successful side job, the array of military accomplishments to go along with his parents' villa in Ramat Aviv, or the Haredi Jew living in B'nei Brak? The latter is an older fellow. He has 10 kids, a nagging wife, three bank loans, and a fledgling business. Which one of these is the face of Israel? Both are.

It's been all of 63 years. In this relatively short span of time, the State of Israel has developed into one of the world's leading economies, an enclave of freedom within a desert of barbarity. Waves of Aliya have come.

They've been accepted into Israeli society; have blossomed and given seed. Some will argue that our Zionist leaders abused their power and put down the righteous olim who fought so hard to make it to Israel. Others will claim that these olim are the ones at fault; that no one asked they to come and that they've become a burden for Israel's Eastern European elite. Which opinion is valid? They both are!

Religious Judaism puts a lot of emphasis on unity. Unity within the Jewish people. In fact, unity is sorely missing from our nation (the very question of whether the Jewish People are a "nation" or "religion" is hotly debated amongst academia and the general public alike). This is why I wanted to delve into the question of who represents the one thing we all share in common: the State of Israel.

Living in Israel, pluralism becomes ingrained in you. You absorb it to the fullest. It becomes second-nature. You stop noticing cultural, religious and ethnic differences. Either that or you die away. Quickly and surely. You stop noticing the minute details. Even local Arabs become a part of your every-day life and you forget that a war is being fought a few miles away.

It's only when you're back in Exile that you learn to hate again. You learn that your brethren are dying every day, that the secular government is coming up with new rules that will make it impossible for the Jewish State to function as you would like it to, you hear of religious Jews breaking every rule in the Torah and you hate them too. This hatred dies out when you come home.

Life in Israel is a far cry from reality in Exile. People tend to absorb things that are going on around them. We become what our surrounding happens to be. It's written that Jews are stronger when there are a lot of them together. This concept may apply to unity as well. As Abe Lincoln put it "United we stand, divided we fall." That's just human nature but it applies even more so to the Jews.

It's heartbreaking to observe what's happening in the Jewish world today. One politician derides the next, one religious leader blames the other for blasphemy, the left blames the right of conspiring against "peace", the right blames the left of treason and so on. Every part of the Jewish world is segmented. There's about as much unity amongst us today as there was at the time of the fall of the Second Temple.

This is a very dangerous trend that we must do everything in our power to eradicate. While its less prominent in the religious community, differences linger. It's not enough for me to call on my fellow Jews to unite (for if we do not, we will lose our precious home). I have to take this fight to the next level and begin to accept every one of my fellow Jews as at least my equal. Every one of us should take this upon him/herself.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"I Was Blind feat. Binyamin": My Newest Song on Youtube

Interview With Joel Pollack

A few months ago, I interviewed Joel Pollack, a staunch defender of the State of Israel and Jewish interests living in Chicago. The following is the contents of my interview...

As the 2011 Congressional race is heating up, Joel Pollak, a religious Jewish candidate, finds himself envisioning what it would be like to serve the interests of his community while standing up for the values he holds dear. I recently had an opportunity to interview Joel. I contacted his representative, Shalom Klein who passed on my queries to Joel.

I asked some rather provocative question. Joel’s replies were, in some ways, what I expected them to be. He’s a blend of a rookie politician with some very insightful opinions and a man with high ethical standards who is not afraid to stand up for people and issues that hit close to home.
Here’s what Joel had to say:

1. Please tell us a little about your background: Who were your mentors growing up? Which events had the most profound influence on your career? How did you decide to get involved in politics?

My most important mentor was my father, who is a doctor of great ability and integrity. His career had a great influence on mine, though I chose not to study medicine. He stood up to corruption in the organ allocation system at his hospital, and fought and won a seven-year battle. I learned from him how tough it is to fight for what you believe in--and also how important. I decided to get involved in politics because of the urgency of the issues we are facing today--especially the economic issues. We are making bad decisions that will have a profoundly negative effect on our future prosperity and freedom--and the freedom of the world--if we don't set things right.


2. What is your political agenda? What would you do to create more jobs in the district? How would you handle the current health care crisis? How would you address the Iranian threat? What would you do about illegal immigrants?

The most important priority is to create jobs. We can do that by: 1. passing an investment tax credit, which will give businesses 10% back of everything they invest in new capital; 2. cutting corporate and capital gains taxes, which are among the highest in the world; 3. cutting wasteful federal spending, which is undermining confidence in our financial future; 4. creating a "jobs budget" for each new regulatory law passed by Congress, so legislators must vote knowing how many jobs it will create or destroy; and 5. turning our district into an innovation corridor by encouraging investment in high-tech industry and infrastructure.

On health care, I believe that we must scrap the bill that passed in March and start over. The bill will increase costs, cut benefits for seniors, and force people out of their current insurance plans--without fully covering those with pre-existing conditions. We need to start with simple reforms: 1. allowing people to buy insurance across state lines; 2. tort reform to lower the cost of defensive medicine; 3. expanded Medical Savings Accounts, and tax credits for insurance, so people can control their own policies and take their policies with them when they change jobs; and 4. create private-public partnerships to cover those with pre-existing conditions in high-risk pools.

We must stand up to Iran and make sure there is a military option on the table and ready to be used if negotiations and sanctions do not work. We have to make the alternative to negotiation worse than negotiation, or else Iran will not concede anything. We also need to encourage the movement for human rights and democracy in Iran, both to pressure the regime and to foster the kind of political change that could make this confrontation a distant memory.

On immigration: we need to secure the border first, and then pass immigration reform that streamlines the process of legal immigration, particularly for skilled immigrants. Those already here illegally, who have not committed additional offenses, should be allowed to either join a guest worker program that would deny the possibility of permanent residency and cut off certain benefits, or else apply for permanent residency but go through the entire process anew at the "back of the line" behind legal immigrants.


3. Please grade the current administration on a scale of 1-10 (1 being worst). Please give your reasoning for this.

I'd give it a 3, which in my view is a failing grade. The administration should get some credit for reinforcing our troops in Afghanistan and for stabilizing the stock market somewhat through the stress tests and easing of mark-to-market rules in 2009. Overall, however, its foreign and economic policies have been very bad and are leading America in a direction that is even worse.


5. Should American continue its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Yes, as long as Iran remains a threat and Pakistan is in danger of being overrun by radical forces. We have to do more to build stronger alliances with countries that share our values and interests in the region--especially Israel and India.

4. If elected to Congress, would you actively pursue the release of Jonathan Pollard? Rubashkin? Why or why not?

Pollard - I would advocate for his release, because his sentence was excessive. Rubashkin - I would advocate for a shorter sentence, because though he will have to serve time, the sentence seems excessive. There is a limit to what Congress can and ought to do about these matters, but I will add my voice to those who are speaking out.


5. How are you any different from people who've been running the State of Illinois in the recent past? Why should people vote for you?

I'm different because I have a fundamentally different philosophy. I believe that a representative should represent the people in Washington, not Washington to the people. People should vote for me because I stand for the right ideas at the right time, and because I listen to my district first.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Interview with Gil: 2nd Old Article Revisited

I met Gil about a year into my studies at Tel-Aviv. He was a loyal Likudnik. Sharon was Prime Minister. This was a man Gil had looked up to for many years. I'd participated in mass demonstrations calling on Sharon to strengthen his resolve to continue fighting terrorism and not give in to the Palestinians' demands. He was already beginning to falter but many like Gil continued believing Sharon could do no wrong. 

It's been some years since then. I gave up on Sharon's "experiment" a lot later than others. I, too, looked up to this man growing up. I interviewed Gil after the disengagement from Gush Katif. Olmert was leading the country. Here is the interview:


It was my first year at Tel-Aviv University. I had by now breathed the stale, oppressive breath of campus politics: empty slogans calling for peace and friendship, rallies praising young Israelis refusing to serve in the West Bank and Gaza for fear of hurting Palestinians.

Me: Please tell me some details about yourself. Where did you serve in the army? What kind of activity were you involved in during your university tenure? What is your political background?

Gil: I served in for 3 years, just like any Israeli draftee. I was assigned to field intelligence, where my job was to operate detection equipment that alerted the army of cross-border infiltrations. At times I was called on to deter the infiltrators.

In the university I studied physics. Now I am completing a degree in Management of Logistics. I used to be an activist in a student cell associated with the Likud. Though I hoped for greater involvement within the party, I soon discovered how childish and short-sighted my ambitions were.

During my involvement with the Likud, I got a heart-wrenching glimpse of the inner workings of the party.  My experience was a mixture of shame and desperation. I realized how limited my contribution was and how little impact the ideals I was brought up with had on the party. I felt helpless.

I’ve since quit working with the Likud, and spend more time and energy on studies and holding a job. I have not forgotten my dreams or lost any of the zeal for the cause I believe in. But I’ve postponed my activity until a better opportunity presents itself. I hope this time comes with a new generation of Likud leadership. 

I am a member of a long line of Ze’ev Zhabotinsky followers. My late grandfather even heard one of Zhabotinsky's legendary speeches in Romania.

I believe the Jewish people are a nation equal to other nations in rights and responsibilities. I was brought up to believe in human rights, and that Zionism’s cause is to pursue and ensure human rights for the Jewish people. Among these rights are self determination, sovereignty and the right to self defense.

These rights are natural for us, Jews, as a nation. The bitter lesson of the Holocaust taught us that these natural rights must be achieved and secured or else we, Jews, perish.

The current political drifts in Israel seem to contradict much of what I believe in. I feel Zionism is currently very low on the priority list of most Israelis. We take so many things for granted while mistaking unrealistic hopes for facts. Lack of knowledge causes vacuums in the souls of modern Israelis. They are filled with twisted morality and foreign values.

The result is a feeling of confusion and helplessness with regards to all major issues in our lives, especially those demanding moral clarity and swift determination. I hope that this is just a phase we are going through. The high ideals of Zionism are coming down from their pedestal and settling down amidst the dust.

Zionism must become a natural, healthy attitude for the masses of Israelis, as nationalism should amongst any other nation that wishes to live safely. Yet, I cannot avoid the ominous feeling that something has gone terribly wrong. Many Jews have forgotten their own rights or even their natural motivation for self preservation. Sometimes I wonder whether we, Jews, wish to exist at all.

Me: What are your opinions concerning the recent actions of the Olmert government?

Gil: All recent events are symptoms of the crisis which lies at the root of all this. They are the result of lost values, ignorance, and the downgrading of Zionism’s legitimacy. We have been left with few role models, after postmodernist "unbiased" research has systematically murdered their character, or placed their motives and actions completely out of context. 

It seems that our society and the government which leads it have “unlearned” all the crises and dangers which propelled so many Jews to flee Europe. Again we throw the responsibility for our defense on others, blaming our inaction on the strategic need to maintain healthy relations with the U.S.  Suddenly, our very right to exist is taken for granted by our society. Suddenly, we blame ourselves for things we are not responsible for and deny ourselves rights we deserve.

Me: What mistakes has the Israeli government made since the elections?

Gil: In the war against terrorism, Olmert's government showed forbearance where determined action was demanded. This signals weakness and results in casualties amongst Jewish civilians. The public’s security is the first responsibility of any government. During the many years of the escalation of terrorism against our civilians, our government has failed to provide either security or   plan for victory. Who needs leaders who can't do their job?

Though security is our priority, there is still much to do in liberalizing the economy, improving government supervision of the great monopolies, and expanding and modernizing infrastructure. The education system in Israel has been deteriorating because of a host of problems. The dreaded red tape is growing and prohibiting development while providing the perfect environment for corruption. Israeli civilians must fear rampaging crime rates alongside with terrorism.

Bad management and too little political backing shrank the police’s ability to combat crime effectively. The legal system functions as an isolated kingdom of its own, resisting any input or attempt towards reform. All this results in bottleneck, an overburdened system, lengthy procedures, waiting lists and rather strange, tragic-comic sentencing in courts.

Olmert's government has a lot on its hands. It's too early, though, to consider whether a real solution is on the way. So far I don't see one coming, and I doubt the ability of the government to deliver.

Me: What, in your opinion, should the government do to stop Palestinian terrorism?

Gil: I have always believed that the "Iron Wall" doctrine is our best path towards real peace. In a nutshell, it means that only the fear of greater violence may prevent current violence. As long as the enemy believes in violence as the best instrument to obtain their goals there will be either war or we will concede our rights, all the natural human rights Zionism tried ensuring in the first place.

While it is a paradox, war can bring peace. The enemy can be taught the errors of his tactics; forced to accept peace the moment he realizes the horrors of war; that violence against us will only serve to draw him away from his goals.

Germany and Japan were turned into pacifist societies only after they were both forced to reject war. They were defeated, humiliated and driven to poverty by the superior powers of the allied nations. Their defeat was burnt into their minds so hard it made them fear and hate militarization.

The spread of Islamist fundamentalism forces me to consider the possibility, in which there are no specific goals for the terrorist's violence. It is more apparent that in the terrorists’ skewed interpretation of Jihad, war and violence are their only goals. They fight and die for the sake of death. Causing grief and despair is not only the means but the ends. All are results of freak interpretations of Jihad’s religious implications.

Me: Describe your thoughts concerning the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Gil: The kidnapping of an Israeli soldier from our border is most troubling.
I dare say “kidnapped” and not “taken prisoner”, because his kidnappers were terrorists. Fighters who are dressed as civilians and hide among civilians, who ignore all articles of the Geneva Convention regarding the rules of engagement and handling of prisoners, are terrorists.

The kidnappers have denied the prisoner any rights. He cannot relate what his conditions are. We don't even know if Gilad is dead or alive. If he's alive, he has the rights to medical attention, food, the right to send letters or meet the Red Cross. All his rights are being denied.

Some people consider attacking soldiers "legitimate". Whatever one may label it, attacking soldiers is a cause for war. Imagine a Mexican militia attacking American soldiers along the border. What do you think the reaction of the American government and its armed forces would be?

The kidnapping is troubling for more reasons as well: One would have thought the Arabs had satisfied their territorial demands in the region, but the kidnapping proved us wrong. A majority of Israelis always trusted the fences and barriers to provide them with security. The kidnapping proved them wrong. Israelis have trusted their government and army to take care of its citizens’ safety. In response for constant Kassam bombarding of Sderot and the Negev, we would expect the army to launch a punishing blow to deter our enemies from carrying out future attacks. We were proved wrong again.

The kidnapping of Gilad and the shelling of Sderot may be viewed as tests for Israelis’ instinct of self defense. Our reaction and subsequent lack of such instinct may be a serious symptom of a much more sinister condition. Are we, Israeli Jews, so disheartened we have lost our sense of self preservation? Is our survival conditional on others’ affirmation?


Me: What is your opinion concerning Jonathan Pollard's imprisonment in the U.S.?

Gil: Jonathan Pollard’s tragedy is a stain on Israel's government, on our peoples’ solidarity with, and compassion toward those who serve it. How can we ever ask somebody to spy or work for us, when we can't offer them real backing?
I fear it seems as if Israel has abandoned Pollard. There is not enough compassion for him in Israel's government.

From what I've been reading, Pollard is held in appalling conditions. Are they necessary? Can't Israel do something to ease his jail time, if not to release him altogether?

Spying on friendly countries does look ugly, but in reality, this is life. Real friends like Israel and the U.S. do not withhold critical information from one anther. Had Israel the need to spy on the U.S, it could only mean Israel and the U.S. are not the good friends we would like to think they were.

Perhaps Israel should complain more of American submarines or spy planes flying into our territory. Maybe American spies have been caught in Israel as well, but the stories have been censored or dumped by the press. I'd love to see Pollard liberated and back in Israel.

Me: Do you see the current government as a "Jewish government"? Why or why not?

Gil: A Jewish government is a government motivated by Jewish vision, one that holds Zionist values and ideals. Zionism is designed to advance the natural rights of the Jewish people, our right for security and self determination, and sovereignty over our land.

Olmert's government seems less and less equal to its tasks. It is bent on further concessions; on putting more efforts into ignoring our security issues and avoiding solving them.

A Jewish government is a government which adopts Jewish morality and justice. Jewish justice may be defined by the three elements: equality, reciprocity, and self responsibility.

Instead, Israel’s government and the society led by it seem to adopt foreign ideas of morality, which include "turning the other cheek", forgiveness at all costs and "innocence or irresponsibility" as definitions for moral superiority. Lacking the sincerity needed to lead a real life with such values, the public is left unprotected, confused, and helpless.    











Newer Posts Older Posts Home