Tuesday, June 28, 2011

They Are Starting to Get It!

Article Found on YNetNews

I would just like to congratulate the Israeli Government.It only took 60+ years...but this is the way to get new olim!!! Keep it up!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

B'nei Menashe

Found on Arutz 7

Shavei Israel and Michael Freund have done some truly amazing work in the past. They continue it today with Israel's acceptance of approximately 7,000 "lost" Jews from India.

This is not a halachic discussion on their status of Jews. I will not posit if they are or are not. I do believe a few things regarding the Aliyah of these individuals.

1) Definitive Status: In today's environs, many Jews have questionable halachic statuses. Mixed marriage and assimilation have run rampant in countries like the US. This is with the yeshiva system, groups like the OU, Agudah Yisrael, NCYI and other Jewish organizations re-establishing Judaism in the diaspora. Many people, including myself, have been subject to accept Judaism and have a conversion process that is not as stringent as a true goy going through the process. Even more so, in a country like India, where organizations like those in the US and Europe, have not set their roots, it is impractical to think that a community, no matter how they view themselves, is fully Jewish. This is not to say that they aren't, but we have no way of knowing. There have been Jews in India for many hundreds of years, via the Spice Route, Silk Road and other trade routes. There was mention of them, I'm sure, but what could hurt for a group such as this to reaffirm the faith that they say they adhere to.

2) Slippery Slope: I think that without this definitive status, it can open up a flood gate of people that would play the system, as has been reported with a large number of the Russian Aliyah, looking for a better life, but refuse to play by the legal rules of the country.

3) Placement: There needs to be a system in place to help integrate this beautiful community with the general public. Mistakes were made with the aforementioned Russian Aliyah, as well as the Ethiopian and Yemenite Aliyah. Unfortunately, many of these beautiful communities struggle to gain footing in Israel. Often times, they live in extremely poor neighborhoods with no integration into the Israel public, and not for lack of trying. Israel was just not set up to handle these types of communities and the social mores that come along with them. If the Bnei Menashe community would like to stand a chance, it would behoove the Israeli government, Shavei Israel and other groups, to acclimate them before making Aliyah, including Ulpan, social classes and setting up community centers that provide help, both financially and socially. This is not to say that there haven't been cases where people have succeeded, because there has, but generally, an infrastructure would lessen the hardships of leaving a country and reestablishing their community in Israel.

4) Location: It is extremely important for Israel, specifically the Ministry of the Interior, to settle this community in areas that are well guarded, but lacking in a Jewish presence. It sounds like I am calling for the ghettoization of Bnei Menashe, and I guess in a sense, I am. It is not to say that they can't leave these areas, but establishing them in these communities, giving them a home base to grow and strengthen is not a terribly bad idea. After settled and acclimated to a new country and social structure, and when they feel comfortable enough to venture out, they could, and have something to fall back on. Support for such a large migration is so important.

It is so amazing to see the ingathering of the exiles like this. I am so lucky to merit seeing it and I welcome it whole-heartedly. I wish Shavei Israel could do this in so many other countries. In fact, I read an article about the Hidden Jews of the Island of Majorca. It would be beautiful to help them out of hiding and to bring them home with their family. It is, however, a situation that can backfire for both Israel and Bnei Menashe, and I hope that steps are taken to help this beautiful, history rich community thrive in Israel. I believe that with the right tools, they will be a shining example of what Olim and Jews can be and can do in Israel.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

GO NORTH!

Article on Arutz7

Nefesh b'Nefesh, probably one of my favorite organizations of all time, instituted a program called "Go North." that settles new Olim in the North of Israel. Their goal is 1,500 olim in 5 years. I do believe that is a tremendously low number. Realistically, I believe that they will meet this goal, but when it comes to programs like this, I like to see big numbers.

Lets say 5,000 to 7,500 new Olim in 5 years.

My logic is simple. Just like a raffle, people on the fence would like to help out and may buy another raffle ticket or two, so to with Aliyah. To be a part of a movement can often be the deciding factor on major life changes. Making Aliyah is an ideological move, so to do it with the incentive that you are part of a large group settling the land, its sweetens the deal.

With a goal of 5,000 to 7,500 new Olim, the government will pay attention a little more. Such a major influx in a relatively short amount of time, lofty, yet reachable goals, and a proven organization, if Israel didn't pay attention, they would just be stupid.

What the government should do to help facilitate this type of program is to promote the North. Start to build commercial centers, where businesses can open. Opportunity for a livelihood will be a major factor in the decision of future Olim as well. Along with the building of commercial centers, tax breaks, incentives for business owners and potential start-up businesses in that area of the country should also be instituted. Programs like this have a high track record of success and can help the country become a highly developed, profitable center.

On a side note: I would really like to see Nefesh b'Nefesh start pinpointing communities, both in Israel and Abroad. For example: Tiberias needs to expand, or gain ground in the great Arab land grab. There are roughly 1,500 Jews in Norway. There should be a major push from Nefesh b'Nefesh in Norway. Helping with moving costs, business replacement, etc. Focusing on bringing Jews home.

I know this sounds ridiculous and practically insane, emptying the Jews out of countries to bring them to Israel. First off, it is not so crazy. Operation Solomon, Operation Flying Carpet, etc. Secondly, I didn't say start in the United States. Countries like Norway, which have historically been pretty good with the Jews. Now, however, the climate of Anti-Semitism has reached a point where the echoes of WWII anti-Jewish sentiment. It is like this in many countries in Europe. So..why should they remain there? Make it easy for them to get out before it gets too bad. Make it completely worth their while. Short term, a lot of money may be spent, but long term, the more citizens, the more money. The government wins because it is another taxable income and the economy is boosted because it has another person or family to spend money.

Plus, 1,500 people moving to Israel? That would fill the Go North goals...think about it NBN.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Volunteers

Recently, a family member approached me, asking if I knew of any kibbutzim or programs that are looking for volunteers. Sadly, I didn't, but that got me thinking about some of the problems in Israel that I have been hearing about since I started writing Supporting Our Israel in March.

In the North, Ranchers are in the fields almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, protecting their land, herds, livelihood and families. I am not exaggerating either. It is more than a full time job. With the wildlife in the area, including Israeli-Arabs, the European cattle are often stolen, mutilated or slaughtered, left in the fields to rot and to be found by their rightful owners. Besides for the need for a more self-sufficient cattle (if you would like to help support this project, please follow this link: The Israel Longhorn Project), the need for an extra set of hands on the ranch could afford the ranchers an opportunity to rest, build fences and other security measures.

In Judea/Samaria, Yesha, a force of volunteers could help with the building of houses, fences and agriculture. Since the Shomron has many smaller towns that are dependent on agriculture, the building of a new barn, vineyard, orchard or even a chicken coop, would boost the monetary value of their yields, as well as provide the families with food, if need be.

Organizations, such as the Shomrim HaChadash, I'm sure, could use a few extra hands. One Israel Fund could also probably use a few extra hands, helping to install the new security systems, including fences and camera placement.

For as long as I can remember, I have heard of people volunteering their time in Israel. It always made me wonder why people would give up their time, and many times, their money, to fly to Israel, work very physical labor and then just...leave. Then, during my year in Israel, I heard someone speak about the mitzvah, or commandment, of tzedakah, or charity. It was explained that putting money in the pushka is nice, and should be done often, but to really give, your physical presence is required. It shows you connect with someone on the most personal of levels. It shows that you share in their pain, as well as their pleasure.

Working next to someone who lives Israel, not just lives in Israel, is life-altering. To try and understand, let alone explain, why someone lives in Israel, especially over the silly "Green Line," is impossible. Until you experience the beauty of the rolling hills of the Shomron, the hospitality of the "settlers," the locally grown food and drink, you cannot and will not understand.

This is why volunteers are needed. It is not just for the helping hands. It is to bring all of the Congregation of Israel into their world. To support them when the volunteers go back home, university or wherever their travels may take them. It produces soldiers in the hasbara army. They are armed with emotional connections to the Land of Milk and Honey. They are armed with information. They are armed with the images and faces of the people who risk their lives, in many cases, to live in their ancestral homeland. Its makes it personal when an Anti-Israel propagandist spews their lies and hatred about Israel and its citizens.

Over the next several weeks, unless someone beats me to the punch, I will be adding a column and website to SupportingOurIsrael.com. It will be of a new project I have decided to start. In many Jewish communities, there are systems where the high school seminary girls go out into the community, helping mothers cook for Shabbos/Shabbat/Sabbath, babysit for free or just generally help families that may need an extra set of hands every once in a while. This is the idea for my new project. The website will be a gathering place of information to help find and place volunteers and volunteer opportunities, as well as opportunities to help fund projects, flights, food and lodging.

This was not the reason I started Supporting Our Israel, but life does take funny turns. One family member looking to give his time to Israel and now this.

How are you helping Israel?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Freelance Op-Ed: American Politics and Israel

I am going to try something new here Ladies and Gentlemen. Without an article to start myself off with, I am going to attempt to write and Op-Ed piece and not sound like a moron. Of course, this is a publicity stunt, as I am trying to get my foot in the door with some of the bigger names in Pro-Israel media. So shameless promotion… here I come!

With 2012 around the corner, the American Political landscape could have another massive change, as it did in 2010, with the Republican take-back of the House of Representatives. There are some fairly heavy Republican candidates throwing their hats into the Presidential ring. Some are well known, such as Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain; and others not, Fred Karger and Andy Martin. As a Pro-Israel blogger, Jew and as someone who has family living in Israel, obviously I will be focused on Israel, but what interests (can also be read as scares) me are the reactions to the Arab world.

The Republican Party, as well as many Democrats, are staunch supporters of Israel. Undoubtedly, all GOP candidates support Israel in some way.  However, how do the candidates feel about the growing unrest in the rest of the Middle East? Extremist threats? Terrorism?

This issue is much more important than their cookie-cutter, albeit welcomed, answers on Israel.

Iran

The most awe-inspiring, fear inducing site in the Middle East today is Iran. They have blatantly disregarded UN resolutions*, calls to disarm, cease assisting Terrorism in the Middle East, as well as providing funding to terrorist cells worldwide.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, has repeatedly lied to the US and its allies. He has called for the downfall of the governments of the US and Europe, as well as many other countries; called for the annihilation of Israel and Jews, as well as officially not recognizing Israel as a legitimate sovereign nation. A constant Holocaust denier and 9/11 conspiracy theorist, his insane rantings are still listened to by millions of Muslims and sympathizers worldwide.

The connection between Iran and Syria is also well known. Steady supplies of Iranian weapons have been found in Syrian hands, specifically in the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. Iran has also had ties with terrorist groups in Yemen, Lebanon, the Philippines, Bosnia and many other countries, both monetarily and with weapons. Furthermore, the continued ties with North Korea and the shared interests and building of Nuclear Power plants, fitted to produce weapons grade Uranium, has deemed Iran the foundation of threat in the Middle East.

If candidates want to win my vote, Iran must be dealt with harshly. Sanctions do not work. Strongly worded resolutions are even less effective. To fight fire, you must have fire. As far as I could tell, Libya was a mistake. Ghaddaffi is actually relatively harmless to everyone outside of Libya. Starting their first day in the Oval Office, if there should be a new President, the focus should be moved from Libya to Iran. Troops in Iraq should be pushed towards the Iran/Iraq border. Alliances, such as with Israel, NATO and other such forces, should be consolidated into a joint force. If we are going to have a war on Terrorism, it should be with the masterminds, not the grunts. Iran is the true enemy. Once it falls, the other will tumble.

Egypt

Although the treaties between Israel and Egypt were shaky at best, they were still enforced. With the “Arab Spring” gaining serious momentum, the major Middle East upset was Egypt. Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt was overthrown, the opposition jailing him and arraigning him for crimes against the State.
Many times since the original sales agreement between Egypt and Israel of Natural Gas, members of the opposition parties have cried foul.

“We oppose any agreement with this rapacious entity Israel," Essam al-Arian, a leading member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, which controls a fifth of the seats in parliament.” (IPSNews.net) 2008.
This sentiment was again voiced after the fall of Mubarak and has been one of the rallying calls to all Egyptians from the “Moderate” Muslim Brotherhood. If Egypt falls into the extremist’s hands, it will be yet another border that Israel must defend. Considering earlier this month, Egypt opened the Rafah Crossing into Gaza, it seems the relationship between the two countries may be cooling further. Interesting side note, almost days after the initial opening, a restriction has been placed on the Rafah Crossing because of the inability to secure the border and because the Palestinians are seen as a nuisance and unreliable.

If Mubarak is still alive in 2012, the candidates should do everything possible to save him and his family. I may not agree with him or his stances on Israel, but the devil you know is often better than the devil you don’t. His more moderate leanings could spell calm for at least one border for Israel, making it that much safer.


Lebanon and Syria

Although I am aware that Lebanon and Syria are two separate entities, because of their shared history together, as well as with Israel, they must be grouped together.

Syria, Iran’s little brother, has been a regional bully for years. Only recently, in 2005, did they un-occupy Lebanon. Earlier this month, to take focus off of the protests happening in Damascus and his killing of innocent civilians, Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, paid people to rush the borders of Israel on Nakba and Naksa days, days of protest towards Israel. There are even reports that Assad paid protestors to be shot, to make it look like Israel was aggressive towards “peaceful, civilian protestors.”

Lebanon, whose government is in the process of completely crumbling, has Hezbollah. Placed on the US Terrorist entity list in 1999, Hezbollah has continued to perpetrate terrorist attacks, including the murders of Eyal Banin, Shani Turgeman and Wissam Nizal, as well as the kidnappings and eventual murders of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, which was the ignition of the Second Lebanese War in 2006. Hezbollah’s mouthpiece, Hassan Nasrallah, is a self-styled leader, who in look and in actions, copy the vicious Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khameni. This is no coincidence.

Candidates would only have to have harsh words towards Syria and Lebanon, as well as a strong vocal support of Israel in dealings with these two countries. Words will be strong enough, because if Iran were to fall, the despotic government of Syria and Hezbollah would be rendered ineffectual. There would be no support, money or weapons.


Jordan

With the hopeful fall of Iran, including its puppet governments in other Muslim countries, Jordan, which has the most stable peace treaty of Israel, will quiet down. At the moment, the “Arab Spring” is running rampant through the streets of Amman. Without the extremists supporting these uprisings and fanning the flames, Jordan can remain on friendly-ish terms with Israel.

Like Dominoes, everything will fall in order. With the major players quieted, a new status quo can replace the hatred in the Middle East. Moderate governments, who can be coerced to recognize Israel, should recognize the benefits of being moderate. A higher quality of life, economic security and a noticeable lack of bodily harm from extremists, these countries would have a chance.


Palestinian Authority

This is a touchy subject for many. Are you a Single State believer? Two State Solution? Kahana Chai? Peace Now? Neturei Karta? Whatever your personal beliefs are, for the sake of argument, let’s say Israel decides that a Two State solution is too dangerous, the “West Bank” is becomes “officially” part of Israel, and Gaza is reunited with the rest of Israel. Where will the Palestinian Authority turn to? The funding from the Terrorist states will have dried up. The weapons pipelines will have stopped. The vocal and fraternal support, which is a joke to begin with considering Palestinians in other countries are treated as Second-class citizens, unlike in Israel, where they have access to full rights and citizenship, will have quieted.

My fervent hope is that someone is already planning this, or at least parts of it. Evil begets evil. When the keystone is taken out, the entire network will crumble because chaos, which Terrorism is, is unsustainable without millions of dollars and access to weapons.

We all, hopefully, pray for the peace and safety of Israel. Its mere existence is the Western world’s hope. If the GOP were to take back the White House and/or Senate, as well as keep the House of Representatives, or a mixture of the three, its foreign policy must revolve around Israel. Their support, vocally, monetarily, and physically, is not just a vote of confidence for Israel, but a vote of confidence in the ideals that the United States was based off of; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

UN LOSES ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO REMAIN SILENT. IS SOMEONE SURPRISED?

Editors Note: Again, I would like to thank my dear friend Lizie for another article. She asked me to correct her English, which I will not be doing. She is from Brazil and I think that the language she uses adds to the flavor of her literary terroire (a wine term in reference to the conditions of the soil, its a good thing). I am personally honored that she has chosen to write for Supporting Our Israel and I look forward to printing more articles from her.

According to the report of the refugee support agency of the United Nations (UNRWA), "If the goal was to weaken the blockade of the Hamas government, the numbers of public employees (of Gaza) suggest a failure" - are the words of agency spokesman, Chris Gunness. He also said, moreover, that "it is difficult to understand the logic of a policy that was deliberately designed to impoverish the population and condemns millions of people with a potentially productive life living in misery." It would be comical if it were not so shameful and disgusting. The UN has accused the Israeli blockade of being the cause of poverty in Gaza. The same UN that have not justified the investment of the countries in itself. That who loves to send critical notes and never presents viable solutions. The same UN that, as we say here in Brazil, "does not move a straw" for Israel.
 
Let's see. The Israeli blockade of Gaza was a response to the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, in 2006 (incidentally, the spokesmen for the UN ever forget this detail, the case is that it's been almost five years). In 2006. The UN believes that the karma of the region started since. Very good. However, the area suffers from a chronic shortage of water and has virtually no industry. It has a poor infrastructure, as well as an economic hardship. Since ever. "Ever" is more time than five years. Okay, "from 1967 to 2005 Israel occupied the region militarily." Yes, and it was Israel that made the soil of the Gaza Strip was barren? It was Israel who wanted only 13% of the arable land was composed? Moreover, it was the Israelis who put him there one of the largest population densities in the world with 1.5 million inhabitants for an area of ​​360 square kilometers - with no natural resources? The farms are few, due to lack of space, and nearly all foods consumed are imported. But to the honored UN, Israel is the cause of all evils in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, before the creation of Israel, the region was prosperous? That is a lie so big that it serves neither as a joke. And if Israel ceased to exist - as the Hamas intends- all these other problems that critics and Hamas, which controls the region, do not bother to address it, would disappear by magic!
 
It is common knowledge that this region is used by terrorist groups to attract civilians to participate in protests and present a risk to Israel. The goal is let them, poor alienated, die, to have something that might accuse Israel of having done. All but the UN knows that the Israeli blockade is indeed a matter of safety. Organizations as the UN can not get carried away with frivolous speculations as "possible shortages of basic commodities in Gaza". Should focus on facts. The fact is that Israel constantly makes concessions, including territorial, in exchange for promises that are just scams used by Hamas and Fatah as well. So that today the last Jew "resident" in Gaza is Gilad Shalit. But about it the UN prefers do not to speak.

Shalom from Brazil,

Liz Moz. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ruth: the Israeli Citizen?

Original Article on +972 Magazine

It is few and far between when I will bring an article from a source that I have little to no agreement with, let alone an author that I have diametric opposition to. It is also rare that I will react to an article, as opposed to offering my commentary.

However, I find this article to be a personal attack. I must state in the beginning that I have never met Anat Hoffman, nor would I like to. Her views, I find, are harmful to Israel and to Torah True Judaism in general and I feel she should be forgotten about in the annals of Jewish History. Strong words, I know, but when you are fired upon, it doesn't make sense to sit and offer a peace treaty.

This article, written by Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center of Jerusalem, is nothing more than an attack on the standards of Israel and its laws of Aliyah. Her almost humorous attempt at trying to show the "flaws" in the Aliyah process and standards of Israel is the epitome of short-sightedness. I laugh at her ability to bring the Holy Torah into the mix when discussing the semi-Secular laws in Israel.

Ruth the Moabite, from Megillas Rus, which is read on the holiday of Shavuos, was a convert. She converted to marry and was proven to be a serious convert and was accepted into the Jewish people. She was so accept, in fact, that her progeny, David ben Yishai is known to us as David haMelech, King David. Her acceptance into the Jewish people is unquestioned. Ms. Hoffman's farcical citizenship letter is an embarrassment to Judaism in general.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Why is it so important to have a correct halachic world view when dealing with the right of Citizenship? Why do I reject her views on Israel and Judaism?

This is not because I am object to Reform or Conservative Judaism. I have my personal feelings on these sections of Judaism which are not important. I reject her views because in her world, which spews rhetoric of  acceptance and openness, refuses to accept the Torah and people who accept the Torah. We, the Torah observant community, are the backward ones. We are antiquated and we are close-minded. In fact, it is so close-minded that it took me, a halachic Ger, a convert, from Seattle and accepted me into Israel, into Yeshivas in Israel, into Yeshivas in New York and accepted my marriage to my wife, a Jew born into being Jewish. My little daughter will have no problem, in the eyes of the Haredi world, will have no problem marrying a Jew in the Haredi world or, please G-d, have no problem making Aliyah if she so chooses.

When Ms. Hoffman brings the "halachic" view of Ruth, it is an absolute oxymoron and when she brings halacha into the mix, it is like an amateur chess player playing Bobby Fischer. The foundation is weak, therefore the structure of her entire argument is not solid.

Israel has it's flaws. It is not a perfect country. Far from it. It is, however, our country. The country where Jews can live as they like. If you want to be secular, be our guest. If you want to be a Haredi, be our guest. It makes no difference to government, as long as Israel remains strong. Israel's laws of Aliyah and Right of Return were established for a reason. To make exceptions in these rules can be called Nepotism. Israel has enough troubles in the world then to start calling attention to their flimsy laws. The Ministry of the Interior's rejection of this application for Ruth would have been correct then as it is now. Regardless of her pedigree, which is well documents in Jewish literature, supporting documents attesting to her conversion, her marriage and other important pieces, were not included.

The reason why Israel doesn't, and I hope continues to not accept "verbal" conversions, is because Judaism is not all inclusive. Everyone, Jewish or not Jewish, has a share in the World to Come. Everyone has a right to settle into Israel. However, without a showing of commitment, why would we accept people into the nation that have no intention of following the rules. It leads to the destruction of the Jewish people. Our history is fraught with cases and time periods of people trying to destroy the Jewish people from the inside, Hellenism, Reform movement, Haskalah. We should have a standard of conversion, which leads to stronger Aliyah laws, that keeps to the tradition of Judaism that has kept the Jewish people around for 3,000 + years.

Ms. Hoffman, I am sorry that you feel that Judaism is meant to be bent to your will. Obviously, you don't know better. Please align yourself with the side of Pro-Israel and Pro-Jewish groups. Your liberal views will not prevail. There may be small victories here and there for your liberal camp, but pay no attention to them. In the end, what is right will prevail and your close-minded groups will be merely a footnote in Jewish history, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of Jews.

My Favorite Word: Build

See article on Arutz 7

I often speak about the importance of building, especially in the North. I find that the conditions there are perfect for entire communities to move, en masse, and settle the area in a relatively short amount of time.

With the approval for the construction of 6,000 residential units, and I did say 6,000, the Haredi community in Israel, which is known to have high concentrations of people in very little space, can begin to expand outwards, freeing space up, giving the families room to grow. With a Total Fertility Rate of 8.51 children born to a woman in the Ashkenazi Haredi family and 6.57 children born to a woman in the Sephardi Haredi family, it stands to reason that they just need more room.

6,000 units is only the present as well, long term plans call for roughly 13,500 residential units to be built and bought by Haredi and Dati- Leumi Jews. The religious make up of this community will be very interesting, but even more than that, it will bring in businesses. Little Ma and Pa shops, bigger chains, business centers (Yes, I know Haredim don't work, blah blah blah. Except they do. Way to continue stupid lies of anti-Religious people. The rate of unemployed Haredim is higher, granted, but a solid majority of Haredim do actually work.)

Let that number sink in for a second. 13,500 residential units. It is beautiful to say and it is beautiful to hear. That being said, it isn't enough. As I was speaking to many of the wonderful fundraisers in Israel, someone who works on buying land in Israel so the PA land grab is effectively stopped, he mentioned to me that when he returns from a fundraising trip in America, he has enough to purchase 45 dunam, usually. Within the time he has gone, however, an Arab landowner has bought several hundred dunam.

This is no joke. I have mentioned in a previous article that the Aliyah rates are have been plummeting since 2000. With the Aliyah rates low, the major influxes of Olim into Israel will not be enough to slow the PA plans of domination in Israel. For Israel to retain sovereignty over its land, it MUST provide its citizens the tools to develop the land to strengthen Israel. Easier zoning laws, easier permit issuing, tax abatements and other things to help developers build housing for lower costs in these under developed parts of Israel. At the same time, bringing down taxes, helping businesses keep some of their money in Israel, reusing it within the local communities, helps build the wealth and the strength of the communities and the regions.

I have an interesting idea, however, to help jumpstart development. Drop the Ego! Many charities don't mix with each other. They don't work together because everyone is trying to get the same donors and the same money. If they worked together, or better yet, combined forces, that would be double/triple the money and could do some serious work. Until then, I think I'd like to form a charity that develops the underdeveloped land in Israel. Then, whatever rent and profit from the developments comes, reinvest it into building more residential and commercial units for Israelis. Who knows? Maybe we wont be seeing anymore caravans in Israel, but beautiful homes, filled with beautiful Jewish families, living in the Jewish Homeland.

One can dream...

Stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sefer Lech Lecha - Rabbi Mordechai Attiah

As my family, friends and basically anyone who knows me, will testify, I love books. My apartment is overflowing. My shelves are filled with history books, business books and, mostly, Sefarim/Jewish books. On both of my computers, I have Sefarim that I find and download online if I can't buy a copy. It is extremely important to have Sefarim in your house, as Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt:"l says "Today, the mitzvah of Kesivas Sefer Torah (Writing a Torah Scroll) can be fulfilled by accumulating a large Torah library."

So for the sake of strengthening people's love for Israel, I decided to bring some halacha and hashkafa (Jewish Law and Jewish Philosophy) to Supporting Our Israel, because let's face it, without Torah, Israel isn't Israel and Jews aren't Jews, whether you subscribe to Torah or not, it defines you as a Jew.

The following is from the Kumah website, where I got this amazing sefer from:

"Rabbi Mordechai Attiah was born in 1898 in Syria. He later moved to Mexico City to lead the Jewish community there, before making aliyah with his wife and nine children in 1936. Before his death in 1978, he founded the “HaChayim VeHaShalom” (The Life and The Peace) yeshiva of kabbalah, the esoteric and mystical discipline in Rabbinic Judaism, and wrote prolifically, urging Jews to return from the exile and lauding the miracles of Israel’s War of Independence."

Now, esoterically, this book is full of surprises. I am not putting this up to have esoteric discussions. In fact, if you do not know basic halacha (or even not Jewish, I'm looking at YOU Madonna!!) Kabbalah, or Jewish Mysticism is not for you. And even if you do know basic stuff, chances are, you think you'll understand the finer points of Rab Attiah's sefer, and you won't. Its not something you can just "pick up." That being said, the basic gist of this work is to strengthen Jews and their love of Israel and build their desire for Aliyah.

I do hope that you enjoy!

You can find the PDF file on the Kumah website HERE!! 

Mishnayos: Seder Zeraim Maseches Peah 1

Monday, June 6, 2011

Erasing Our Heritage, An Artifact at a Time

Thank you to World Net Daily for this article. Aaron Klein is amazing!

Whether or not one believes in G-d and the Bible, if you are an ethical human being, this should infuriate you. Not to mention the pain and agony it causes the Jewish people and history buffs alike, the destruction of the grounds on the Temple Mount/Har HaBayis goes on without anything being said.

The rewriting of history that the Waqf, the Palestinian Muslim Authority over the Temple Mount, is trying to accomplish doesn't only have the goal of erasing the image of Jews in Jerusalem, but the Christian religion too. The Temple Mount, which was captured in the Six Day War in 1967, was under the control of the Jordanian authority until then. When the Jordanians ruled, the sight of Jews at the Western Wall was enough to invoke the ire of the Muslim groups, which physically assaulted Jews praying at the Wall.

In 1967, after the defeat of the Jordanians in the Six Day War, which is recently called the "Naksa", it also established the mythic "West Bank." The "West Bank" is defined as the West Bank of the country of Jordan, across the Jordan river. Obviously, this silly nomenclature defies logic and the internationally established and agreed upon rules of self defense known as protectorate. It would mean that the "West Bank" was owned by Jordan and, after losing an aggressive war, lost the control of their territory. The truth of the matter is as follows:

"The West Bank was never legally owned by Jordan. Under the UN's 1947 Partition plan - which the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected- it was to have been part of an independent Arab state in western Palestine. But the Jordanian army invaded and occupied it during the 1948 war. In 1950, Jordan annexed the West Bank.

Only two governments - Great Britain and Pakistan- formally recognized the Jordanian takeover. The rest of the world, including the United States, never did.

During the 1950-1967 period of its occupation, Jordan permitted terrorists to launch raids into Israel. Amman lost the West Bank after Jordanian army entered the 1967 war."  Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell C. Bard

1947 Partition Plan
 

Jerusalem Before the Six Day War

Jerusalem After the Six Day War

With those facts in mind, the claims of the "West Bank" and the Waqf are utterly baseless.With the Waqf's authority over Judaism's holiest site in Jerusalem, the slaps in the face keep coming to the Jews and the Israelis.

Their absolute authority, as well, has caused many more problems than just Israel losing face. As the article states, the Waqf is accused of destroying items of historical importance. Not just accused, there are actual pictures of the destruction being perpetrated.







The shame is that no one believes this. The bigger shame is that the Muslim nation is not known for acceptance of other religions or their historical objects or places. We have all seen the images of the 2000 year old Buddhist statues being blown up  by the Taliban.


It is an absolute embarrassment that this happens. We can take solace in the fact that if we were supposed to save these artifacts, we would have, but it doesn't make the situation or the reality any easier to digest.

For the Op-Ed piece of this article: It is time to take the authority away from the Waqf. Their entire claim to Jerusalem and Israel is based off of lies and spin. The insanity must stop. Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish nation must not be divided. Nor should we be parted from our rightful places in these cities. With these intruders ruining our home, it is high time to kick the tenants out and fully move in.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

You Can't Discuss Israel Without El Al

You can find the article on Bloomberg:







I will be honest with the readers of Supporting Our Israel, I know nothing of the airline business. From what I can surmise, it is confusing and logistically, an absolute nightmare. Offer Gat, the CEO of El Al's North and Central American operations, seems to be the man to fit the job. His understanding of the economies in North America, Central America, and seemingly Europe, have helped move this man to be considered an Airline Industry expert by Bloomberg News.

With a steady increase in the North American routes, and a new market route, from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Tel Aviv, El Al seems to be making the right moves in today's extremely hostile economy.

The focus on items of news like this is to showcase Israel's ability to succeed in volatile situations. As mentioned before, with the rise of the Arab Springs in the Middle East, the Nakba and Naksa protest days, Hamas/Fatah unity governments, a threat of a PA state in the UN and all around security issues, companies like El Al are still busy, supporting their homeland by bringing in thousands of people a year for business, pleasure or mixtures of both.

Tourism is on the rise in Israel. Since Expedia put Israel on its Holiday list, it has produced $60,000,000 of new business for the online travel site. Imagine what that is bringing into Israel.

Is Iran, Libya, Syria, Iraq on these sites? If they are, are they bringing in $60,000,000 worth of tourism business? Can regular people go to these places without the fear of being kidnapped, held for ransom or worse, beheaded in an online video? I know in Israel you don't have to worry about it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Even You Are Affected!

Major h/t to Debbie Schlussel for bringing this embarrassment to light.

In a previous article, I wrote about musicians boycotting Israel versus musicians playing in Israel. As stupid as it is, it permeates the air with an aura of hate and anti-Israel rhetoric. That being said, some moron musicians not showing their faces in Israel, who cares? We aren't missing anything.

Then, Ms. Schlussel brought this video to my attention:



Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay and married to Gwyneth Paltrow, a great, great granddaughter of the Divrei Chaim, the Tzanzer Rebbe, has decided to lend his voice to this distasteful song. The lies that are said in these lyrics are enough to make someone's head spin, but then...the video. Oh this beautiful video, made up of people who, under Sharia Law, would be killed or made slaves, women immodestly clad, playing instruments and...GASP..a woman break dancer. At the same time, depictions of Israelis enjoying watching PA towns bombed and killing civilians or soldiers pushing and hitting an Arab woman with a baby in her arms.

It's a good thing Gwyneth Paltrow isn't actually Jewish, because I would move to have her Jewish identity taken away from her. Her choice in a husband is shocking, to say the least. This pseudo-political, hardly intellectual choice in lending his voice to a pro-Palestinian cause is truly scary.

What is the difference between boycotting Israel and singing in an atrocity such as this video? Boycotting Israel, they just won't show their faces, which is fine. Singing a song such as this says much more than a boycott ever could. Martin's influence, mixed with his marital association with Paltrow, is significant. I would venture to say a majority of Americans know who one, or both, of them is. Unfortunately, people listen to rock stars and actors. Bono, of U2, is hugely successful as a Good Will ambassador for struggling countries in Africa. Stars have influence, even if they show their complete ignorance.

I find it difficult not to use my less educated language when speaking about these people. As I mentioned last week, my little sister had a run in with an uneducated classmate discussing the Israel/Palestine debate. Regardless of facts and logic, which when she told me what she had said I found it very logical and true, the true face of idiocy comes through. The debater had little knowledge of the situation in general, let alone facts and statistics. Her cursory glances at newspapers in America and what she heard on the TV and online showed she is easily influenced and blindly follows without a thought of her own.

There is a saying in Judaism, literally translated, "One wisecrack destroys 1,000 rebukes." Even someone who is vehemently pro-Israel is affected. If you hear the same untruth enough times, it still remains untrue, but you begin to doubt your own beliefs. In a world that is generally against the State of Israel, it is important for everyone who is a Zionist, to strengthen their own beliefs and their own knowledge base. By reading, getting active, responding to the anti-Zionist rhetoric and generally preparing ourselves for the most frustrating battle anyone will ever fight, we can help Israel, ideologically, economically and politically.

Don't sit idly by and let these half-wit stars and starlets get away with murder. Hold them accountable. Email their representatives and let them know their client's behavior is unacceptable. The same with anyone who has any influence. It is so important to stand up for yourselves and for Israel. On the flip side, if someone makes a pro-Israel statement, thank them. Show your support for them. This also helps build the bonds that strengthen our community and our land.

Shame on you Chris Martin. I used to enjoy your music, but you make me sick. I hope Coldplay finds its way into the dustbin of history, along with your wife and her pro-Palestinian views. Excuse me while I go throw my Coldplay CDs out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Greater Jerusalem - A Letter to MK Hatovely

Original Article found on Arutz 7

I find myself walking a fine line between Politics and Economy on this site. Its so interesting to see how the two intermingle when actually studied. My lines have been blurred many times on Supporting Our Israel, but my goal remains the same: Stay out of politics, other people talk about them enough.

The problem is, however, when politicians talk and it affects what I am doing. When PM Netanyahu spoke at AIPAC and in Congress, my Twitter was abuzz with congratulatory remarks, backing PM Netanyahu fully. Please don't think I wasn't one of them either, what he said was amazing and should be studied by every wannabe politician worldwide. My problem is the following: Politicians are paid to talk. How many of them actually do? That is the one thing I can say I was impressed with of President Obama, he said he was going to pass ObamaCare and he did, the disaster that it is. His intentions are out there, wide open to the public and he is getting them done, regardless of what the nation thinks, or Congress for that matter.

I wish I could say the same for the politicians in Israel. AS I said before, I was moved by PM Netanyahu's speeches recently, as well as when he spoke to the UN some time ago. His words are smooth, his inflection is solid and, I believe, his heart is in the right place. My parents always said, though, "Say Little and Do Much."

Have we really seen much from PM Netanyahu? Or for that matter, Barak, Olmert, Livni or the rest of the big names in Israeli politics? PM Netanyahu said after the heinous murders in Itamar that thousands of residential units will go up. Where are the plans? Where is the talk? Why haven't we seen or heard of anything? Where will they build? Why aren't the politicians building up the North with infrastructure to start bringing Israeli's there? Or at least Israeli-owned land for Israeli businesses? I'm left with a sour taste in my mouth and feel betrayed by a group of people who are all talk.

Enter MK Tzipi Hotovely(Likud). At 32 years old, she is the youngest member of the Knesset and is a rising star in politics. As the article says, she accompanied a group of roughly 140 English speaking Israelis on a tour of East Jerusalem. She called for a "Greater Jerusalem" plan, something that has been in the pipes since the time of PM Yitzhak Rabin.

"Hotovely said she plans to introduce legislation in the Knesset this session that would create a “Greater Jerusalem” metropolitan area by expanding Jerusalem’s municipal borders to include places such as Ma’aleh Adumim and Giv’at Ze’ev.

Hotovely pointed to undeveloped areas and hills as examples of land that should be incorporated into Jerusalem’s municipal borders and then developed as part of the city.
"

While I agree with her premise and with her desire to see a "Greater Jerusalem," I greet her words with a cautious approach. Although she recognizes that when it was called for 6,000 residential units and only 1,000 were built is a failure, these are easy words. By saying something is a failure doesn't mean you are going to fix it by stating grandiose plans for the Holy City of Jerusalem. What actions are being taken that the municipalities are expanded? What actions are being taken to help contractors build those units? Where is the plan to develop the "undeveloped areas and hills"? Who will pay for it? Will the government give tax breaks and incentives to people who do build and buy in these areas?

We, for the most part, are all aware that Jews and Arabs do live in close proximity to each other and that a majority of the Arab population within the undisputed Israeli borders (Again, I don't think anything is disputed, it is all Israel, but I use that language because it is the common wording) do not want a Palestinian state because they are happy and prosperous in a state that gives them rights. So what is MK Hotovely's plan to deal with the Arab population? Security in the disputed neighborhoods? Local economy? Infrastructure?

I watch MK Hotovely's rise in the Likud party, and Israeli politics, closely. She is interesting and engaging. I do hope, however, that she walks the walk and doesn't just talk the talk. Propose a plan to build, beautify, expand and broaden the borders of Jerusalem. Please be as transparent as possible. Make the plan known. Make sure the public knows what is being proposed. Make the public aware of threats made and of progress within the government. It is so important that the face of Israel's government changes. Will MK Hotovely be the one to change it? I hope so. It is a great start talking about building Jerusalem, but the real test of her mettle is by doing it!

As the movie says "If you build it, they will come."