Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Tragic Comedy of the ‘Anti-Zionist Synagogue‘.”Recently in the Forward, I read about this “synagogue,” Tzedek Chicago, that has the tragic distinction of being the first anti-Zionist synagogue in America. They claim that they are all about justice, as their name “Tzedek” supposedly implies, and as their website values states:
“…the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against the Palestinian people, an injustice that continues to this day.”
However, the facts do not match the rhetoric. Anti-Zionism, regardless of the source is ultimately about Jew hatred.(Screenshot from @margoexplainsitall on Instagram reel at https://www.instagram.com/reel/CcBMN1bFfpU/)
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Real Unthinkable Option.”Listen, we are forever in a battle of good and evil in this world. We have to rise to the occasion to stand by our faith in G-d and ensure that good prevails. Easier said than done, because of course, fighting to defeat wrongdoing and evil is not only a battle that takes places within our own souls, but with those that have already sold their souls to the devil for money, power, honor, and every worldly gratification. So, the battles and wars ahead are scary indeed, but we have to choose the right side, silence our own inner conflict and turmoil, and put our fears aide.
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Terror in Israel: Time To Take Out The Trash.”Passover, which is the holiday of liberation and freedom, is also when we must acknowledge that hate and terror is inconsistent with faith and holiness. The terrorists impinge on our freedom to live as a free people in our own land. On Passover, we must renew ourselves with the strength, determination, and perseverance to rid ourselves of the chametz, not only as represented by food but metaphysically by those filled with haughtiness, intolerance, hate, and violence towards us.(Source Photo: Zoriah; https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoriah/3170393154/)
As countries, responsible and rogue, pursue ever increasing and deadlier nuclear weapons (as well as deadly biological and chemical weapons), the chances grow for a unilateral bilateral, or multilateral exchange to take place. Whether from a brutal tyrant wanting to grow their base of corrupt power to a rampaging megalomaniac bent of world domination, a paranoid schizophrenic leader who feels that his “back is up against the wall,” or a radical theocratic crackhead convinced that G-d is on their side and wants them to kill all the infidels, we are inching ever closer to the day when nukes or other weapons of mass destruction will be out of the silo, port container, or suitcase.
Israel is a small, but powerful nation that wants to stop attacks before they get to their door, and indeed, their lives depend on that. We can learn from Israel’s military doctrine of deterrence through overwhelming strength, unity, and disincentivizing the attackers to inform other security issues, such as ransomware attacks. I believe that the answer lies in a public-private security partnership financially backed by the government.
First, companies voluntarily join a public-private security partnership in which they adhere to higher security standards and oversight as well as pledge not to pay ransomware. Additionally, these companies are placed on a public list and given a badge or seal of approval/logo like Brink’s Home Security or ADT to display that indicates they are “fortified,” and in this case, that they won’t pay any ransom, and are backed by the government.
Second, the government provides an incentive for companies to participate in the public-private partnership and not to pay ransomware. The incentive provided is that the companies are backstopped (insured) by the government in the event of a ransomware attack to them. This is similar to ransomware insurance, but the difference is that the cost to companies would be a fraction of what they would otherwise have to pay. The benefit to the taxpayer is that the market for ransomware dries up with companies that have pledged not to pay. As the program become universal, there is no one left for the ransomware attackers to target.
While standing up for the Torah to be brought back to the ark, a little boy comes up to me and just gives me a big hug. I learned afterwards that the boy “makes the rounds” in shul giving everyone a beautiful Shabbat embrace. This simple symbolic act of caring and loving others, mainly many older people in synagogue, by this innocent child gave people an uncommon sense of happiness and even hope in our future despite the anti-Semitism and hate of too many others outside.
The love of G-d is our secret for life and for our perseverance throughout history. G-d loves us as His children, but also punishes us as His children. As children, we are always learning and growing, but as adults we have to act in a way of righteousness and holiness, so that we will merit the former, and not the latter. With G-d’s mercy and blessings, hopefully, we will have peace in our synagogues and our lives, wherever we reside in the world, to worship and live as Jewish people free of bigotry, hate, and terror, once and for all.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, Adapted from L. Krestin)
While people can easily utter falsehoods, like Iran saying that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, the documents and computer drives that Israel captured in 2016 when they courageously raided Iran’s nuclear archive shows that Iran has been pursuing a dangerous nuclear weapons program for decades.
The world has tried to contain Iran for decades: From monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities through the IAEA, to sanctions and covert actions to deter and set back Iran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and the JCPOA deal to try to contain Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, nothing has worked, and Iran is intent on getting the bomb.
Moreover, while the costs of a preemptive attack on Iran could be great, the doctrine from former Prime Minister, Menachem Begin that Israel cannot and will not allow countries that threaten Israel’s existence to get the means to carry it out is as true today as in 1981 when Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak.
The Jewish people learned from 2,000 years in exile and persecution ending in the Holocaust that killed six million Jews that we must take verbal threats of annihilation supported by facts on the ground against us most seriously. As children of the Holocaust survivors, we must be true to our words of “Never again” and act with courage and determination to confront the enemy covertly and if necessary, with overt action to stop their genocidal pursuit from ever getting off the ground. (Credit Photo: via https://www.flickr.com/photos/aeneastudio/3657735814 by aeneastudio and adapted by Andy Blumenthal)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really about fear vs. humiliation. The Jews are fearful of the Palestinians and the Palestinians feel humiliated by the Jews. The Jewish people collectively suffer post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders after millennia of persecution culminating in the Holocaust and multiple Wars in Israel against far greater Arab forces. Further, this has been perpetuated by decades of terrorism and Intifadas that have left the Jews feeling vulnerable in their own land of Israel. The net effect of this Jewish history and of being surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs, many resentful and angry, is that Jews are naturally afraid. At the same time, the Palestinians, as part of the greater Arabs, feel humiliated after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the carving up of their lands by the West and the colonialism and occupation that followed by Britain and France. More recently, the Palestinians feel humiliated by the founding of the State of Israel amidst the multitude of Arab lands of the Middle of East, as well as by the barrier wall and regular checkpoints that protects Israel from terrorist intruders, by the West Bank settlements (and actually by Jews anywhere in Israel), and by general Israeli military control over the territories.
There is hope that in time and with G-d’s help, the opposing forces of fear and humiliation will weaken and thereby become less oppositional. At that miraculous time, please G-d in the near future, the factors that prior resulted in a cosmic explosion of war, terror, Jihad, and Intifada will dissipate. Then instead of suicide bombers and terror tunnels and walls and checkpoints, we can have hope for the arrival of a beautiful white dove with an olive branch of peace that knows no bitter boundaries of Jew or Palestinian anymore. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)