Goliath vs David – Exposing The Lies in Gaza!

An older post, but still good.

The Spirit of Zion

THE PITCH: “THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT PALESTINIANS ETHNICALLY CLEANSED AND MURDERED BY THE EVIL ZIONIST REGIME!” Or so the read the headlines. Gaza is once again in the news after the United States officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem and and to no surprise, thousands of angry Palestinians stormed the border fence of Gaza with Israel in an effort to tear it down and invade Israel’s territory, their “Day of rage.” Headlines like these are the common narrative for most -“Pro-Palestinian” activists, echoed by many celebrities and world leaders on the political left. Even more, media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, among others, often publish headlines which read, “Israel Attacks Gaza,” or Palestinian Youths Killed by Israeli Soldiers.” And just like that, David is painted as Goliath and Goliath puts on the mask of David. What is worse is that most of popular society drink up these mainstream media…

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From the river to the sea Israel will stay free!

Free speech, it is a cherished natural right. It is also, however, a grossly underestimated responsibility, one which some individuals take for granted and abuse on a daily basis, and yes, I am talking about radical left groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.

Oh boy, here I go again, and no I won’t shut up thank you very much.

For one, they present the public with a very biased view of Middle East history while at the same time accusing people like me of doing the exact same thing.

I really can’t make this stuff up folks, you can go read a book and brush up on the subject yourself, but since I’m feeling pretty generous and also happen to really love world history, allow me to present a brief factual account of Israel’s side of the story and address certain troubling statements made by students on our own campus at Florida International University.

One of the most famous claims SJP makes is that Israel stole the land from the Palestinian people.

sjp wall (2)

Correction, prior to May 15th, 1948, there was never an independent Palestine, and the lands they claim we stole were won fair and square after their fellow Arabs from Jordan, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in 1948, and 1967. So according to international law, Israelis could do pretty much whatever they wanted in lands captured in their defense, and that includes settling in ancient Judea and Samaria, regions with huge cultural and historic significance to Jews.

Plus the term “Palestinian” referred to not only Arabs, but also Jews and anyone else who was a citizen of the Ottoman occupied and later British occupied territory of Palestine which was, prior to World War I, only considered the south-west back water regions of Syria.

Another thing, the security wall around parts of the West Bank was originally put up to stop suicide bombers, snipers, and other terrorists from harming Israelis and attacks have dramatically decreased ever since, so it seems to me the wall is very effective for protecting many Jews, Christians and Muslims living, working and praying , shopping and dining,  every day in places like Jerusalem.

Anti-Blackness? Really? Do they even know that a significant portion of Israeli and Jewish culture is black? Have they never met Black or even Arab Israeli soldiers? I have, but for some reason certain media outlets choose not to cover their stories. I wonder why…

Oh and by the way, thanks  to SJP for the newspaper shout out! I’m sure you really liked my previous articles on Zionism. Well there’s plenty more coming so get ready, you’re gonna really love what I have in store next!

As I was saying, both Arabs and Jews have shared the same homeland for centuries prior to this conflict, and there were both good times and bad.

For the most part, Arabs and Jewish neighbors tended get along very well, even intermingling cultural customs and traditions, but there are also plenty of times where radical religious sects came to power and carried out several massacres upon Jews living throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world.

You see my friends, Jews haven’t always had the freedom we enjoy today, in fact only 70 years ago we were still a people with no country, wandering for centuries since being forced into a near 2,000-year exile by the Roman Empire, although there were always a few remnant Palestinian Jewish communities surviving from Jerusalem to Safed.

I am part Arab on my father’s side, and I’d like to clarify that my father’s people are united by one of two things, the Arabic language which became dominant in the region especially with the rise of Islam in the 7th Century.

For the most part the region of Palestine was a desert wasteland for many centuries, although Arabs began to arrive and settle from the 7th Century and on, but especially after the Crusades from the 11th to 13th Centuries.

Since that time Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, Jews, Druze, and other communities have almost simultaneously coexisted as the indigenous people of the region of Palestine.

In fact, many thousands of Jews lived throughout Arab countries of the Levant, North Africa, Ethiopia, and even as far as modern-day Iran.

Jews were constantly a minority, and an easy scapegoat for Christian and Muslim Empires to pin the blame on when something goes wrong, directing the people’s fury away from the government and onto us.

If we really had so much power, how have we so easily been targeted and so brutally slaughtered throughout human history, surely we would do something to protect ourselves right?

You see, we did, because for years people told us, “Jews go home,” so we did, and we fought, bled and died for it, and called it by its ancient name, Israel.

You see my friends, Zionism, contrary to popular belief, is not racism.

The people who claim this fail to take into account the thousands of Jews from India, Ethiopia, and other parts of the non-European world, but you know how they like to paint us all as old white guys.

It’s simple, our people were walking targets for international anger for millennia until some of us decided enough was enough and that it was time for that age-old dream, recited in our daily prayers, and prophetically spoken at every religious holiday and an inseparable part of Jewish identity, the longing to return to the land of Zion, into a tangible reality.

In all that time though, when Arab/Muslim rulers actually ruled Palestine, why did they never claim independence? Oh but when the Jews do it it’s wrong right?

The double standard is astounding!

Now on to another famous claim of theirs, that Israel is a racist state which commits genocide upon the Palestinian people.

SJP protest

Yea guys, we’re such a racist state that we actually invited our Arab neighbors to help build up the country together in our declaration of independence.

We’re such a racist state that we promised the United Nations partition of Palestine to protect every religious/ethnic minority living in the country, which we do to this day.

We’re such an apartheid state that Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis can vote in elections, women can openly drive, own businesses, men and women are free to love whomever they want, and believe whatever they want, and even serve in the Israeli army together, an obligation for Jewish citizens, an option for Arabs. That says something about Arab Israelis  who volunteer to serve in the IDF, doesn’t it?

The “genocide” they refer to, are the operations of the Israel Defense Forces working within the West Bank and around Gaza responding to and preventing terror threats against Israeli citizens because Hamas and Fatah have never once ceased to indoctrinate their people to hate and rage against us from the cradle to adulthood, conditioning them with a victim’s mentality to provoke global sympathy for them, while provoking hate toward Israel.

Yea, there is a genocide alright, and it happens when mothers teach their children that to kill a Jew is somehow pleasing to God, in the name of the “occupation of Palestine.”

It happens when fathers place their children in front of Israeli soldiers to provoke them to kill a child and blast Israel all over the media.

While real genocide is happening in Syria, Myanmar, China, Sudan, Nigeria, and other parts of the world, the United Nations somehow focuses most of its condemnation on tiny Israel, where there is absolutely no genocide occurring.

What members of SJP and their supporters are really after is the demise of the Jewish state, replacing it with one called Palestine, so according to them the only people in the world who have no right to self determination are the Jews, now if that is not racist, I don’t know what is.

Members of SJP support the legacy of Yasser Arafat, a known and very dead terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people. My job is to dismantle that legacy of terror, piece by piece. And mark my words, I will not rest until the memory of Arafat and the PLO, Hamas and Fatah, are wiped from existence.

The State of Israel is a vibrant, thriving, and technologically advanced democracy, filled with culture and rich diversity. We protect our identity as a Jewish State because we literally have no other homeland on Earth, and so we will fight those who threaten her with all of our might, and we will never apologize for that.

I remember debating with one of their members on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, reminding them of all the terror attacks committed by Palestinians against Israelis, when my friend recalled the suicide bombing of a Sbarro’s Pizza in Jerusalem 2001, which killed 15 people including 2 Americans and wounding 130 people, the SJP student simply replied, “They deserved it!”

Our jaws dropped open in disbelief, and I really don’t have to explain why such a grotesque statement is just plain wrong for any normal human being.

So long as we have breath, we will continue to raise our banners, and proudly wave our beautiful blue and white with that big blue Star of David, and I also happen to have some fond Arab Israeli friends who would be happy to join me.

So the next time you see people passing out “free Palestine” stuff, just tell them that Palestine is already free, and from the river to the sea, Israel will stay free.

By Uzi Darwiche/ SpiritofZionBlog.com 

PS: Israel isn’t perfect, no country is, but we fight to make it better, and as a future Israeli, I plan to fully support the rights of the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Thoughts of a Jewish Student at FIU

We have been blind to the shadow of a rising threat on our own campus and community. As a Jewish student at Florida International University I know I’m part of a minority, but it is a minority which is under constant attack. As Eli Cohen once said, “Jews are hated for remaining insular and for assimilating, for participating in leftist politics or rightist politics, for being white and for being non-white, for Communism and for Capitalism, for being weak and for being strong, for being stateless and for having a state.”

Hatred of Jews is baseless hatred, no matter how you look at it. Its perpetrators create justifications for their hate in order to convince others and themselves that they are still moral people. In this day and age, the Arab world seeks to justify its antisemitic rants by claiming they are anti-Zionist, not antisemitic. I am here to show you why that is wrong and to expose those on our campus who seek to indoctrinate our own student population.

At the beginning of December 2018, members of the Student Affairs staff and the Dean of Students himself managed to bring several usual opposing groups together to a table of discussion. Among attending groups were members of the Interfaith Council, Hillel, Shalom FIU, Students for Justice in Palestine, Young Democratic Socialists of America, Muslim Student Association and Pakistani Student Association.

SJP and YDSA students practically took over the meeting and began to accuse Shalom FIU and Hillel of supporting Israel’s “genocide” against the Palestinian people. While we wholeheartedly disagree, we were willing to come to the table. SJP and YDSA students, however, made it quite clear to us, “We are not your friends, and we do not want to work with you.”

When we expressed to them our desire to see coexistence between our two peoples, they flat out told us that they want to see Israel completely destroyed, and that means every Jewish man, woman and child “from the river to the sea.” To witness such fervent hatred welcomed as a legitimate voice on our campus is an insult the core values of Florida International University.

These students and faculty members present a twisted view of Middle Eastern history, teaching students that Islam is the only real culture of the Levant, while completely ignoring indigenous minorities like Jews, Druze, Kurds, Yazidi, Armenians, and others. I recently sat down for a lecture which an adjunct professor gave on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian culture and its contemporary issues. Now having known this professor previously, I was looking forward to an educational unbiased look at the situation, but boy was I wrong.

He claimed that Jews in the Middle East were just fine before Israel and that Jews were treated far better in Arab lands than in Christian ones. And while I nostalgically look back upon a time when Jewish and Arab society did get along more, the facts of history clearly show it was never all sunshine and rainbows. There are several historic accounts of Middle Eastern Jews suffering through brutal persecutions, public humiliations, and even the massacre of entire villages in both ancient and modern times. There are some heartfelt accounts of Muslims protecting their Jewish neighbors and Jews helping Muslims, but since the beginning of Islam in the 7th century, Jews were mostly ostracized and treated as second class citizens.

He depicted historic defense forces like the Haganah as terrorists, while calling for the global community to engage Hamas, a known terrorist organization, suggesting that somehow the normalizing of relations with Hamas in the Gaza strip will encourage them to renounce their violent tactics against Israel. Hamas’ charter clearly and unapologetically calls for the destruction of Israel along with the murder of every Jewish soul that “occupies Palestine.”

When the lecturer turned his attention to “two state solution or one,” he was quick to share his opinion that a two-state solution is impossible at this point, and that only a single “democratic” state of Palestine would work. When I asked him what would happen to my people in such a scenario and why Jews don’t deserve a country of our own, he said that Jews would have to settle for a “metaphoric state,” and that the idea of a “religious ethnocentric state” is equivalent to apartheid and what he called complete “baloney.” I found his response to be extremely hypocritical seeing as it was coming from a professor who represents Islamic Middle Eastern culture at FIU.

Now just to be clear, the State of Israel, whom I proudly represent at FIU, isn’t perfect. It is, however, a democracy and not an apartheid state. In Israel both Arab and Jewish Israelis have full and equal rights under the law and are even represented in the Israeli government. The Israel Defense Forces do constantly operate in the West Bank because that is where most terror threats in the region emanate from.

Finally, I would like to address this professor’s most disturbing claim, that Jews are a religious group, not an ethnic people, and that Arab Jewish families somehow consider themselves Arabs. Not only is that completely wrong, but it is definitely antisemitic. Judaism is the religion of an ethnic group of people called Jews, aka Hebrews, or Israelites who were mostly, but not completely, expelled from their native land of Judea/Israel.

To say we are not a people is to say we have no place in the world, and that is why I am compelled to stand against these views. Israel represents a better, multicultural, more prosperous future for the entire Middle East and that is why I represent her culture at FIU. To allow student groups and professors like these to spread their propaganda under the guise of “free speech and education,” is to deceive ourselves and will only set the FIU community on a dark and dangerous path of extremism. The time to act is now!

The Shields of Zion

In an age of terror, racism, hatred and bigotry, fake news and the dark tides of antisemitism, the Nation of Israel and her people are constantly singled out by the United Nations and the Media as an apartheid state while Zionists  and our ideals are continuously demonized and accused of being Nazis. In the face of all these accusations, a few brave young men and women from all over the world have risen and are uniting as we speak, standing up against all of it. They are ready to fight back and expose these lies for what they are, by shedding the light of truth upon a misinformed world. Let the Star of David shine over the world once more, burning through the dark clouds of hatred and indifference, ignorance and deceit. Allow me to tell you the story of these unsung heroes, these rising leaders, these Shields of Zion.

Just yesterday, I returned from a four day journey which led me to Boston, Massachusetts, that near four hundred year old bastion of liberty, which witnessed the birth of the American Revolution with the “shot heard round the world” at Lexington and Concord in 1775. America’s patriotic message of liberty, justice and equality for all men and women has since spread like fire throughout the nations of the world. Among them have been several modern states, none of which have broken the shackles of oppression, shaken the dust of exile off of their feet and declared their own freedom and self determination as  one such nation,  inspired by the same principles two centuries later, ironically liberated from the same imperial force, the State of Israel.  I was joined by over seventy students, community leaders and activists from all over the world, all of whom came for the same reason, united by a common mission, to defend Zion – Israel, against all the lies spoken of her in the media and on college campuses across the United States, Europe and the world.

Among the most common political battlegrounds of our day, are unfortunately our universities and academic institutions. In the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France and many other counties, Jews and their Zionist allies from all walks of life have been targeted and subjected to the most vicious attacks, humiliations, and even anti-Semitic threats reminiscent of, dare I say it, Nazi Germany in the mid twentieth century.  These students, who simply believe in the right of the Jewish people to live peacefully in their own country, just like any other peoples, are unfairly punished and accused of being supporters of the “Zionist regime,” which is in turn falsely accused of war crimes and human rights violations. But one thing our attackers never fail to accomplish, is using their protest of the Israeli Government’s policies as an excuse to attack the very existence of a Jewish State in the world.

Jews Attacked on College Campuses

Jewish Institutions vandalized… THIS IS IN THE UNITED STATES!

Jews Attacked 2

These are just some examples of a dangerous trend rising not only in Europe or elsewhere, but right here in the United States of America. I have spoken to several students in my community and beyond who have informed me of various incidents, attacks and public humiliations which they have suffered. It is becoming dangerous for Jews on college campuses, the very places which must be institutions of education and higher learning are becoming havens of hatred and bigotry. One student from London told me he would never dare to wear his kippah (Jewish head covering) in public for fear of being physically attacked or even worse. Another student from Paris told me it has become dangerous to be even remotely identified as a Jew or have any connection to Israel. On my own campus last year, a celebration for the one hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration was canceled due to a bomb threat made by a student, the target being the vary event I was supposed to attend, and which my own student group was co-sponsoring.  I have even spoken to students on campus, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, who have criticized me for supporting Israel, which they say is responsible for committing genocide and ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people. What is the source of these students’ radical opinions? For one, I have met several professors on my campus and others, who have all held similarly bitter views towards the Jewish state, many of them being party to the support of organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine.

Besides these accusations being baseless, what does any nation’s policies have anything to do with its basic and natural right to exist?  Why are Jews harassed, humiliated, physically attacked, and in some places of the world, much worse, in the name of “Justice for Palestine?” To answer these questions we must answer two other questions: 1.) What is Zionism? 2.) What does it mean to be Anti-Zionist? We can also answer other essential questions such as: What is apartheid? What is genocide? Does the Israeli government actually seek the destruction of the Palestinian people? Do Palestinian leaders call for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews? Is this a religious, or even an ethnic conflict at all, as many would suggest? Is peace even possible? Is it possible for Israelis and Palestinians to coexist and finally bring an end to this long and bloody conflict? We do not deny that the Palestinian people have indeed suffered, and continue to suffer in Gaza, the West Bank, and in refugee camps across the Middle East. But is Israel’s existence really to blame for all of it? Who is the real culprit in this crime scene? As Thomas Jefferson himself stated in America’s Declaration of Independence, “Let facts be presented to a candid world!”

     The images and video I think speak for themselves. But allow me to continue to divulge to you the truth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

The world has been deceived my friends, but not by Zionism, but the radical forces of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and many others… They do not represent the Palestinian people or the peaceful tenants of Islam. The media shows you the Palestinian plight every day, but they ignore the plight of Israel. The double standard must stop! For instance they do not tell you that Zionists, include Christians and Muslims, Druze, and other minorities who proudly serve in the Israel Defense Forces. So what is Zionism?  What does a Zionist look like?

The “wise and all knowing sage” Google defines Zionism as “a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.”

As you heard, Zionism simply means the belief and support of the right of the Jewish people to self determination, living freely and peacefully in their own land. And as you heard, the Palestinians have been offered a state of their own time and time again, and actually, this has been happening since 1947, and their leaders have continued to reject every offer. Instead, Hamas actively engages in terrorism, while the Palestinian Authority continues to praise suicide bombers and encourage stabbings, shootings, and vehicular attacks in the West Bank. Palestinians continue to indoctrinate their children with hatred, raising a generation of killers rather than peace partners. It is a sad reality, but it is a truth which must be addressed, and education is the key to changing all of it. I personally do not believe in a two state solution, but I am practical and willing to accept one if our Palestinian  neighbors prove to us they will no longer continue to seek the destruction of my family, my people, and myself. But the conflict indeed existed long before 1967, proving that the conflict is not about Gaza or the West Bank, it is about the Palestinian political leadership keeping their own people oppressed while seeking the complete and utter destruction of Israel. Thus we answer the second question, what it means to be an Anti-Zionist. To be an Anti-Zionist is to deny the recognition of the Jews, an indigenous people, to their own land, and that my friends is a true example of racism. If a Palestinian State is established in the West Bank, will Jews and other minorities even be allowed to live there, as Israeli Arabs live in Israel as full and equal citizens under Israeli law? Why has Israel agreed to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to their own state, while the Palestinian Authority repeatedly refuses to recognize the right of Israel to even exist? I think anyone can logically see what’s wrong with this picture.

Now let’s play devil’s advocate, and say the Palestinians are right, and Israel came and stole Palestine and a new Palestinian State is established not just in the West Bank, but “from the river to the sea,” as “peaceful protesters” so often chant. Where do we the Jews fit in to the picture? Where do we belong in the world? Where will we go? For millennia Jews have wandered as a homeless people. Shall we be doomed to wander forever? Shall we always be subject to the whims of the nations just as our ancestors? Shall we again be the victims of random radical voices who call out, “Death to the Jews?” I am not seeking to delegitimize the fact that Palestinians suffer a great deal of injustice; I am simply saying that it is not the responsibility of the Jewish State, but the fault and blame is on the Palestinian leadership. Israel’s fight is in no way to ethnically cleanse the Arab inhabitants, it is the fight of a tiny Jewish state for survival against the gargantuan fury of the Arab world expressed through the raging Palestinian narrative. It is not a religious war, it is not a war of race or ethnicity. In Israel Jews and Arabs coexist peacefully, Druze and Muslims serve in Israel’s army, yes Muslims serving Israel voluntarily and fighting against Hamas and Hezbollah. But of course you never hear their voices in mainstream media, because tragically some seem to think peace doesn’t sell as well as war. If you don’t want to listen to me, listen to these beautiful people living in Israel.

Or listen to my beautiful friend and brother from another mother… (WARNING: Video contains some disturbing images. But the world needs to know.)

These are the real voices the media refuses to interview, they are the evidence that Zionism is not racism in any way shape or form, but is for all who support the right of Jews just as for Palestinian Arabs or even Kurds and any other people, to live independently in their own natural land. That’s all it is. Does discrimination exist? Yes, unfortunately every country and culture has some small pockets of ignorant individuals. Is Israel perfect? No, we have many internal problems like any other nation, ok, maybe a little more, have you been to a Knesset session? Oy vey! But one thing is for sure, Israel is a democracy, and an island of freedom in the middle of a region filled with violence and intolerance. Think of it as a really nice house in a really bad neighborhood, everybody just wants a piece of it.

And so she must fight on, and on, and fight for her life, against the rising tides raging against her from all sides. And we in the diaspora, Jews and non-Jews alike, who support the rights of a free people in their own land, must do everything in our power, risk persecution and suffering humiliations or even losing friends, for the survival of the only country in the world Jews can call their own, and the only real democratic country in the Middle East. Think of that the next time you encounter movements such as SJP and BDS; remember if you choose to persecute and attack our young people who are simply defending their people and culture’s right to self determination, you are being the aggressors. Remember that at the end of the day, we are all members of the human race and we all want to live and watch our children grow up in peace. In my next series of posts, I will explore and discuss each and every religious and ethnic group of peoples who call Israel home, and how only the Jewish State actively protects all of them. From Israeli Arabs, Muslim and Christian alike, to Druze and Bahai, Kurds and others. We will talk about the LGBT community living in Israel and how they feel living there every day.  You may think this all sounds like propaganda, but I hope my article will encourage you to either visit Israel yourself, or talk to Israelis. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you may have, we want to answer you. For in the end, I too am Israel and Israel is me. They are my people and my home, and I also would like a peaceful resolution to this old conflict. At the end of the day it’s like my brother Muhammad said, we are all human beings, and this is a struggle for humanity. Please, in the words of John Lennon, “Give peace a chance.” Just… imagine…

Peace

 

 

  !שחרר את דעתך —- Free Your Mind!

Netiv Haavot

     In June of 2018, another Jewish town, Netiv Ha’avot, in the Judea -Samaria region, was forcefully evacuated. My heart broke as I witnessed Jews forcing Jews out of the very land our grandparents longed to return to. I was even more disturbed, when fellow Jews began to tell me that this action was right, because we cannot steal land from the Palestinians.  There are so many responses I could give, and passionately answer in ways that would only serve to further divide us as a people, playing into the hands of our enemies. Instead, I will tackle this issue academically through an article. In this article, I will enlighten you with a review of Jewish history, and keep my arguments as diplomatic as possible, so that perhaps I can show some of you, why I believe your narrative is erred, if you are willing to listen, as I am willing to listen to all of you, whether you agree or disagree with me. I am not a radical, but I am an idealist, and I consider myself the next generation in Zionism. It is that vision I seek to impart to you, and inspire you to dare to dream as Herzl, Pinsker and Ben-Yehuda did in their day.

     The time has come, my friends. The time has come to free the mind. To rid our psyche of tyranny and oppression. To loosen the shackles of pain and exile, which keep us prisoners to our own conscience. It is time for the liberation of the Jewish mind. You may challenge me, “Liberation from what? In the twenty first century, Jews are slaves to no man, but are educated and free from the oppressive regimes of the past.” But with all our education, with all our affluence and blessing of abundance, our decadence has left us in want. We are lacking in one major concept in our generation, which Jews always had in generations past, UNITY! We say we are proud of our Jewish identity, but tell me, what is the Jewish identity to you? Can you define it? Indeed, our people have returned from the nations and have rebuilt the nation of Israel, through blood, sweat and tears. And yet we are still scattered, not only geographically, but mentally and spiritually. The time has come for an exhaustive review of history, where if you bear with me, we will explore piece by piece until we arrive to the big picture that is the scope of Jewish history. Perhaps then, I will convince you, perhaps then I will inspire you, to be prouder of your Jewish heritage, and stand up more often to defend the rights of your brothers and sisters, the pioneers, of Judea, Samaria and all of Israel.

Israel, Judea, Samaria, Homeland of the Jews!

Map of the kingdom of David and Salomon

     Three thousand years ago, Israel was a Kingdom, established under the rule of King Saul of the tribe of Binyamin, and secured under King David and his son Solomon of the tribe of Yehuda  who reigned from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) as the declared capital of the people of Israel. That Kingdom stretched from what was described in Moses’ prophecy, from the stream of Egypt to the Great River Euphrates. All of it, was then a part, of the Kingdom of the House of David, the Kingdom of Israel. After Solomon’s passing, the Kingdom was divided in two. Ten tribes settled in the northern Kingdom of Israel and two tribes remained in the southern Kingdom of Judea with Jerusalem as Judea’s capital. In the years that followed, the Assyrian Empire rose to dominate the Middle East, invaded the northern Kingdom of Israel and led much of the ten tribes captive, scattering them all over the empire so that they would not be encouraged to unite or rise up against their oppressors. And yet Judah they could not conquer. Years later, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon arrived and sacked Jerusalem, destroying the city, and the first Jewish Temple, carrying most of the Jews into a 70-year exile in Babylon. It was after those 70 years that Cyrus the Great of Persia decreed freedom for the Jews and allowed us to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubabel. The Second Jewish Temple stood proud atop of Mount Moriah for generations. Eventually the Empire of Alexander the Great broke into pieces, and the oppressive Seleucid Empire rose up and conquered the region, attempting to force the Jews to abandon their faith and worship their Greek gods and become assimilated into Greco-Syrian culture. But the Maccabees rose up and fought back, bravely resisting and actually winning the war by a great miracle which happened there. They liberated Jerusalem and the Temple, from which story derives the celebration of Hanukkah. The Hasmonean Kingdom lasted for over a century, until the rise of the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered much of Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Judea was among their captured prizes for Caesar Augustus who named Herod as his puppet king over Judea, reigning once more from Jerusalem. Herod began planning the enlargement and renovation of the Temple which even noted historian Flavius Josephus mentioned as one of the wonders of the ancient world, a true site to behold.

Artwork by Alex Levin, Israel.

     It was that Temple which saw the rise of historic figures such as the great Rabbis Hillel and Shamai, and even spiritual revolutionaries such as Jesus of Nazareth, and Saul of Tarsus. But around the year 67 CE, the Jews had enough of the brutal oppression of the Roman Empire and revolted. They managed to kick the Romans out and establish a brief but independent Jewish State. But Titus -Vespasian would not accept the might of Rome to be bested by a band of Jewish Zealots. The Romans returned and besieged Jerusalem, breaching her walls, destroying the city once again, the Second Temple and carrying Jews off into slavery. Little did our ancestors realize, they were entering the longest period of exile which would last for the next near two millennia.

Jewish History 1

Judea Capta coin

     The words “IVDEA CAPTA” which is Latin for “Judea Captured,” can be seen on an ancient Roman coin from the reign of Vespasian, showing the Emperor’s image as was tradition, while on the other side, a Roman stands triumphantly over a weeping Jewish woman. Then the Empire issued a decree, that Judea would be renamed “Palestinae” after the ancient Philistines, and Jerusalem would be known in Latin as “Aelia Capitolina.” Jews were forbidden to enter Jerusalem, and the few numbers who remained in the Holy Land, settled in outer villages such as Yavne, where Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai and other Jewish leaders and scribes would come together to begin the long process of redefining Judaism in a world without the Temple. Eventually, Jewish leaders managed to convince their Roman conquerors to allow them to visit Jerusalem at least once a year, on Yom Kippur, but they were also forbidden from ascending to the ruins of the Temple Mount, and instead gathered before the Western Wall, where Jews would continue to visit through the generations, to weep, and pray for the exiles to return, for the Temple to be rebuilt, for the Messiah to finally come, and for Zion aka – Jerusalem and the people of Israel to be redeemed. Though the Land became desolate without her indigenous peoples, The Hope remained ever present, alive and well in our families and communities, no matter where in the world we wandered.

JH2          JH3 J4

     These renditions express a time in history when Jews were considered outcasts and a nuisance, much like Gypsies and other nomadic tribes of people in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Since the destruction of the second Temple and for the next near two thousand years, Jews were destined to wander from country to country, region to region. Sometimes we settled for centuries, sometimes for much less. Wherever our families went, there has always been a repetitive cycle where Jews are welcomed to a country by the local government, we establish communities and flourish for some time, eventually become an integral part of the local government and society, until anti-Semitism rises like the tides of a dark and turbulent ocean, pinning the Jews as an easy target for religious and political persecution. In Europe and the Middle East both Christian and Muslim powers were responsible for carrying out random pogroms, attacking Jewish communities and wreaking havoc on the Jewish populace. Christians blamed Jews for the death of Christ often ignoring the historic fact that Christ himself was a Jew as well as all of his first followers, and Muslims targeted Jews because they would not submit to Islam. The Crusades lasted for centuries, and with them the stain of religious fanaticism, where untold numbers of Jewish, Christian and Muslim minorities were often massacred in the name of some religious establishment.  Soon after we come to one of the darkest eras of history often ignored by mainstream educational institutions and seldom spoken of in modern classrooms, the so called, “holy inquisition.”

Sefarad

     For nearly eight hundred years, the Iberian Peninsula was home to a rich melting pot of cultures. The Moors, who were predominantly Muslim ruled the land, overseeing one of the greatest golden ages of science, medicine and theology, though imposing a strict “Zakat” tax upon all non-Muslim residents. For centuries, Jews, Christians and Muslims, Gypsies and Africans, Catholics and Protestants, scientists and theologians, all coexisted here and often mixed their cultural influences. Some of the greatest scholars and philosophers of history such as the great Maimonides, called Iberia home during this time. But the marriage of Queen Isabel of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon, sealed the fate of countless communities in the region and brought the golden age to an abrupt and violent end. Under Vatican influence, the Christian King and Queen declared war on Granada, proving triumphant over the region and conquering most of the Iberian Peninsula, claiming the entire region in the name of Christ and the Church and establishing the Kingdom of Spain. Soon after, the Edict of Alhambra was issued in the year 1492, which began the expulsion of all non-Catholic populations from Spain, especially the Jews. Jews, Protestant Christians, Muslims, Gypsies, and others were forced to leave their homes behind and all their possessions, and venture into the unknown. Those who desired to remain were required to be totally converted to the Roman Catholic faith or face the torture of the inquisition. Those who resisted would often be burned at the stake, beheaded, or subjected to some other means of execution. Historians believe that more than three hundred thousand people were killed during this time, and some estimate that number to actually be in the millions. It is depressing, and yet necessary to note that the Spanish Inquisition alone, as well as all the other inquisitions imposed by the Church, lasted for over five hundred years.

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     Jews were forced to roam once more, most settling in the regions of Morocco and parts of the Ottoman Empire. Some eventually found their way on a strange and yet remarkable journey which brought them to the region of Palestine and the Levant, joining and adding to the population of native Jewish communities whose families had remained in the region since ancient times. In other parts of Europe Jews were subject to various pogroms, where myriads of Jewish men, women and children fell victim to the horrors of anti-Semitism. Often working humble trades and establishing communities on the outskirts of countries such as Russia, Poland, Germany, Belarus, Romania, Greece, Italy, France, and others. These communities withstood the persecutions and grew over time, with newer generations eventually moving out of their Shtetls, (Jewish Villages) and settling into the newer cities and metropolitan areas. Many Jews became vastly successful, often serving as physicians, lawyers, and money lenders. Some were drafted into local armies but were often barred from holding positions of power and governments, or from owning land.  A new wave of anti-Semitism swept across Europe in the age of Nationalism. With new nations rising, new excuses were found to target Jews. Pogroms became more and more common. The situation grew to its climax, until a few Jewish intellectuals decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.

Leon Pinsker (2)Herzl     Ben-Yehuda Israel Zangwill

“By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we remembered Zion. And by the rivers of Basel, we resolved to weep no more.” – Israel Zangwill

     They were despised, they were mocked, ridiculed and harassed by their fellow Jews. Most of the world called them dreamers, and yet their leader – Theodore Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” In Basel, Switzerland in the year 1897, he and his compatriots founded the First Zionist Congress. The ideas first expressed in Leo Pinsker’s book Auto-Emancipation and later in Herzl’s iconic book The Jewish State, that in response to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world, The Jewish people, just as any other people on earth have the natural and historic right and moral duty to return to Zion, their ancient homeland, also known by the names Judea, Israel, Palestine, the Holy Land, Zionism was finally revived. Judea was the last independent nation that existed in the region under the Bar Kokhba revolt from 132 to 135 CE, and after so many imperial occupations, it was time for the Jews to reclaim their native home. Why should Jews continue to wander around the world? Why should we continue to suffer at the whims of anti-Semitic governments? No more! Enough was enough. It was a dream that gained much support, but not enough for that time. And so, the people waited, immigrating and purchasing land in Palestine from the Arab inhabitants. The Jews bought several plots of land and turned them into communities. Those communities sprang up into towns, and cities. The pioneers who led them, such as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, insisted despite religious protest, that Hebrew, the ancient mother tongue of our Israelite ancestors, should be revived and spoken by Jews as the national modern language of the Jewish State. He created the first official Hebrew Lexicon, learned perfect Hebrew, and taught it to his wife and children. They in turn taught it to their communities, printing books and newspapers. As the years passed, one generation died, and another grew in its place; a new generation of Hebrew speaking Palestinian Jews grew, living along-side Palestinian Arabs. But while they built, sowed and worked the land, the nations of the world grew wrestles with their own problems. It would take two world wars, and one final disaster of nightmarish proportions, before the Zionist dream would be realized.

                    Armageddon 1918

Battle of Megiddo 2

     The War to End All Wars, known today as the First World War, was fought from the summer of 1914 to the fall of 1918, and in that time, almost all of Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East were engulfed in some of the bloodiest conflicts of human history. The Allied powers – Great Britain, France, the United States, Russia, Canada and Australia all rallied to fight the Central powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Turks. Perhaps one of the most important battles of the war, and yet one which receives little attention from the history books, was General Allenby’s Sinai campaign against the Ottoman Empire, which was concluded in September of 1918 with the Battle of Megiddo.

Battle of Megiddo

     Strangely enough, the battle was fought from the 19th to the 25th of September that year, about four days after Yom Kippur and during the great holiday of Sukkoth. It is also worthy of note, that in the New Testament, the Apostle John, who was himself a Jew, foretold of an epic “end-time” battle which would take place here that would determine the destiny of the Jews and the world, famously called “Armageddon.” Whether this battle was it, or not, it certainly fits the description. Here British and Ottoman forces clashed bitterly, in a campaign which began miles away in the deserts of Sinai, engulfed several towns and parts of Judea, and finally reaching its climactic conclusion on the mountain of Megiddo. The Turks lost to the British crown, and Great Britain assumed total dominance in the region, taking control of Palestine, while carving up and dividing the Levant into individual Arab States. It would inevitably mark the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the rise of a new era of opportunity for the Jews of Palestine and the world. Precisely one year earlier, on November 2nd, 1917 Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote a remarkable letter to Lord Walter Rothschild which read as follows:

“Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour”

Allenby Enters Jerusalem

              General Allenby enters Jerusalem.

     One year later, at long last, after nearly two millennia of longing and wandering, Zion was within our grasp. But there was still much work to be done. As Jewish communities continued to grow in Palestine, so too did Arab riots and prejudice. They protested the immigration of Jews into the region, while Arab leaders such as King Faisal of Hejaz praised the Zionist movement and openly welcomed Jews as fellow descendants of the patriarch Abraham. His agreement with Chaim Weizmann in 1919 was as follows:

     “His Royal Highness the Emir FAISAL, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of HEJAZ, AND Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations, is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them, have agreed upon the following articles:

Article I

The Arab State and Palestine in all their relations and undertakings shall be controlled by the most cordial goodwill and understanding and to this end Arab and Jewish duly accredited agents shall be established and maintained in their respective territories.

Article II

Immediately following the completion of deliberations of the Peace Conference, the definite boundaries between the Arab State and Palestine shall be determined by a commission to be agreed upon by the parties hereto.

Article III

In the establishment of the Constitution and Administration of Palestine all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantees for carrying into effect the British Government’s Declaration of the 2nd of November 1917 (Balfour Declaration-SEH).

Article IV

All necessary measures will be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures the Arab peasants and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights, and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.

Article V

No regulation or law shall be made prohibiting or interfering in any way with the free exercise of religion; and further the free exercise and expression of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall for ever be allowed. No religious test shall ever be required for the exercise of civil or religious rights.

Article VI

The Mohammedan Holy Places shall be under Mohammedan control.

Article VII

The Zionist Organization proposes to send to Palestine a Commission of experts to make a survey of the economic possibilities of the country, and to report upon the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will place the aforementioned Commission at the disposal of the Arab State for the purpose of a survey of the economic possibilities of the Arab State and to report on the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will use its best efforts to assist the Arab State in providing the means for developing the natural resources and economic possibilities thereof.

Article VIII

The parties hereto agree to act in complete accord and harmony in all matters embraced herein before the Peace Congress.

Article IX

Any matters of dispute which may arise between the contracting parties shall be referred to the British Government for arbitration.

Given under our hand at LONDON, ENGLAND, the Third DAY OF January, one thousand Nine Hundred and Nineteen.

Provided the Arabs obtain their independence as demanded in my Memorandum dated the 4th of January, 1919, to the Foreign Office of the Government of Great Britain, I shall concur in the above articles. But if the slightest modification or departure were to be made. I shall not then be bound by a single word of the present Agreement which shall be deemed void and of no account or validity, and I shall not be answerable in any way whatsoever.

FAISAL IBN HUSAIN

CHAIM WEIZMANN”

(Courtesy of jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

     It seemed a Jewish and Arab state side by side was within reach, but alas, King Faisal’s voice was among the minority. For much of the Arab world hated the notion of a Jewish State in Palestine and resisted the Zionist movement to the point of violence. In 1929, that hatred was made distinctly visible as an angry mob of Arab rioters stormed the ancient city of Hebron, and massacred the Jewish inhabitants, raping and pillaging, murdering 67 Jews which included women and children. The Hebron Massacre was but one example of the deep seeded hatred which the Jews were up against in Palestine and Europe, but sadly, there was something much worse on the horizon, for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis loomed like a shadow over the entire world. In 1933 Hitler was elected into power, and soon after declared himself führer, establishing absolute control over Germany. In 1935 he passed the infamous Nuremberg Laws, which forbade Jews from marrying or having relations with Germans, holding public office, owning businesses, or even sitting on public benches. Meanwhile, Hitler secretly violated the Treaty of Versailles by building up the German army to near imperial proportions. Wherever the Germans took control, Jews were forced to be registered and wear arm bands or yellow stars of David to identify them as Jews. In November of 1938, Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) happened…

     By September of 1939, Germany attacked Poland and World War II officially began. Meanwhile, Jews were rounded up and put into ghettos, beaten, publicly humiliated, and murdered. Many were deported and forced into cattle cars, sending them by trains to concentration camps. I think we can all agree, that the Holocaust was most certainly the most horrific and darkest time in all of human history, showing us just how much evil human beings are capable of. But there is another side to the same story, because throughout the years of suffering, blood, fire and billows of smoke, yes even after six million Jewish souls and countless people from other minorities had been senselessly murdered in the most barbaric of ways, the Children of Israel held on to “Ha Tikvah” (The Hope), to one day live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem. It was that Hope our grandparents and people held on to, it was our song as we were burned alive in the crematorium, it was our song as we were choked in the gas chambers, it was our song during in the death marches, it was that Faith, that Song which became our Salvation and led to our survival as a nation. The war ended in 1945, the survivors were liberated from the camps. Many of the survivors had no homes or families to return to. Those who did return were no longer welcomed by the anti-Semitic locals. Incredibly, incidents like the pogrom of Kielce, Poland in 1946, where 42 Jewish men, women and children were murdered by a mob of Polish citizens just one year after the end of the war only worsened an already desperate situation. It was clear to the Jews we had no where in the world to go where we were welcomed.

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Israel Independence 2

     It was at long last time for Jews to take matters into our own hands and fight if we had to, for our return to Zion. Organizations like the Haganah led by David Ben Gurion took charge in sending rescue ships to start bringing Jewish refugees from Europe and bring them home to Palestine. Against all odds, Jews poured into Palestine in more massive numbers than ever before. The Arab populace, encouraged by their leaders, began to riot, and even attack Jews. Over the next few years the British government seemed to all but forget the Balfour Declaration when they tried to appease the Arab world by attempting to halt, detain, even going as far as firing cannons onto Jewish refugee ships to stop Jews from entering Palestine. The Haganah went to war with Arab fighters, focusing on defending Jewish communities and fighting diplomatically in the newly formed United Nations for statehood. The Irgun on the other hand, was a Jewish resistance force led by Menachem Begin, who took a more aggressive approach and actively attacked British military and civilian targets. By 1947, it was clear to the whole world, Jews would no longer be led like sheep to the slaughter; from now on Jews would be strong and fight our enemies wherever they may rise against us. In November of 1947, the UN voted with a two thirds majority for the Partition of Palestine for the establishment of a Jewish State, and the British Government began preparations to leave Palestine in the coming year. The Jews gratefully accepted the two-state plan, which would have established an Arab and Jewish state side by side. The Arab leaders rejected the plan, and refused to recognize a Jewish state. 

 מִי-שָׁמַע כָּזֹאת, מִי רָאָה כָּאֵלֶּה–הֲיוּחַל אֶרֶץ בְּיוֹם אֶחָד, .אִם-יִוָּלֵד גּוֹי פַּעַם אֶחָת:  כִּי-חָלָה גַּם-יָלְדָה צִיּוֹן, אֶת-בָּנֶיה

Israel Independence 1

     “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Is a land born in one day? Is a nation brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”  – Isaiah 66:8

     It was prophetic, that after nearly two thousand years in exile, Zion’s children return, and a nation is re-born in a single day, on the 5th of Iyar 5708, May 14th, 1948, the State of Israel declared her independence. The joy and elation felt by Jews all over Israel and in the diaspora abroad was electric, you could feel it in the air. The longing, the Hope of so many generations having passed, not being able to see this day with their own eyes, but indeed they did see it, through their children. The voices of our ancestors echoed throughout Eretz Israel as people sang with pride the words of Ha Tikvah, Israel’s modern national anthem.“So long as yet within our breasts, the Jewish heart beats true, so long as yet to the east, to Zion looks the Jew. So long our Hope is not yet lost, two thousand years we treasured them, to live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”It is the same song that survivors sang after being liberated and can be heard in this rare recording. The sound of which honestly gives me chills, bringing tears to my eyes for everything it means, and every life represented in these voices. We remember them, and we remember all our fallen fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, neighbors, rabbis, doctors, artists, actors and musicians. All of them, we remember, and it is in their memory and honor that every subsequent action was taken. When Jews raised the Israeli flag over Eretz Israel for the first time, the Jews gave an answer loud and clear to the rest of the world, NEVER AGAIN! The Nazis are gone, and so are all our enemies of the past. The people of Israel live, Am Israel Chai! Od Avinu Chai – because our Father still lives!

     Almost as soon as independence was declared, five Arab nations simultaneously declared war on the day old Jewish State and attacked Israel from all sides. The people of the world thought the Arabs would drive the Jews into the sea, after all, the Israeli army was hardly equipped for such a large-scale war against five military giants. Israel had no tanks, just guns and grenades. A few very brave Jewish and non- Jewish American pilots and soldiers had volunteered and joined the fight to help the Israelis. The war was brutal as it went on until 1949, and yet somehow, by sheer miracle, the tiny “pipsqueak” nation won the war, and the wars that followed in years to come. Veterans of the Haganah and Irgun, now forming the Israel Defense Forces, could tell you all about their strategies, and yet they admit that they were up against incredible odds. They can tell so many mysterious stories of miracles and wonders, unexplained phenomena which somehow aided their efforts and worked in Israel’s favor. As David Ben Gurion himself said, “To live in Israel and not believe in miracles is not logical.”

Exodus and “Nakba,” the real untold story…

Palestinian nakba

Palestinian Arabs fleeing the war.

Refugees In Amman

Years later, Palestinian Arab refugees remain in camps at the whims of Arab states…      WHY?!Palestinian Refugees 2

     The images speak for themselves. But the whole picture must be shown, and not just one side of the story, as Arab and Western media so often report. Too often we hear about Palestinian refugees, and how they suffer because of Israel. Israel is thus painted as the big bad wolf, and Palestinian Arabs are portrayed as victims. But is this the whole story? Are these accusations backed by evidence? Let us review historic events.Arab propaganda claims that between 1947 and 1949, one million Palestinians were kicked out of their homes and fled the country. But this is a blatant lie!Firstly: Palestinian Arabs left their homes for several reasons, not because they were forced out.

–   Many thousands of wealthy Arab families fled Palestine in anticipation of war.-        Arab leaders constantly encouraged the people to flee their homes to make way for their armies, and in protest of Jewish “occupation.”    – A small number were indeed expelled by Jewish forces for strategic military reasons in response to constant Arab attacks on Jews.Secondly: A census taken by the British Government in 1945 found 1.2 million Arabs living in the region of Palestine. An Israeli census taken in 1949 revealed 160,000 Arabs living in Israel after the war. In 1947, over 800,000 Arabs lived in the region. The numbers indicate that Palestinian Arab refugees must have been no more than 650,000. A United Nations report counted 472,000 refugees, of which only 360,000 required aid.Thirdly: The plight of Jewish refugees is all but ignored in main-stream media. Why could that be I wonder? These were Jews whose families had lived in Arab countries for generations, flourishing and coexisting peacefully with their Arab neighbors. And yet, throughout that time Jews sometimes fell victim to radical attacks, riots and violent pogroms. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, Arab governments persecuted and expelled most if not all Jewish families from their countries. Between 1948 and 1972 the number of Jewish refugees was actually about 820,000, that is almost twice the number of Palestinian Arab refugees. They were forced to leave their homes, with Arab Governments confiscating most if not all their wealth and possessions. Jewish refugees were often expelled with little more than the clothes they were wearing and perhaps their Torah scrolls and other sacred texts carried with them throughout their very long journey to reach the Promised Land.

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     One of the reasons we do not hear much about Jewish refugees, is because the Israeli government settled them relatively quickly, even at great costs. Israel took care of her own. Why did the Arab governments not do the same with their own? The answer is quite simple really, Arab refugees from Palestine would be dubbed “Palestinians,” implying that they were once citizens of an imaginary independent nation called Palestine, and using them as political pawns, making them out to be victims of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Since then, the descendants of Jewish refugees live peacefully in Israel, while many Palestinian Arab refugees are kept in refugee camps by Arab regimes. Since then the Israeli government maintains that any future compensation to Palestinian Arab families must come with mutual Arab compensation to Jewish refugee families, Israel has once again offered a peaceful solution, but not one Arab regime has offered any such compensation.

Jerusalem/Judea & Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights

Jerusalem Today

     When Israel declared its independence in 1948, they won the war and declared West Jerusalem the capital, but East Jerusalem which included the old Holy City was captured and occupied by the Jordanian army. The Jordanians did as every other Arab state did in 1948, expelling all Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. For 19 years, Jordanian forces occupied the Holy City and Jews were forbidden from entering, or even so much as visit the Western Wall on holy days. The Jordanians not only expelled Jewish families, but went as far as to demolish their homes, ripping out the sacred mezuzah from the doorposts and using them as pavement to demonstrate their hatred toward Jews. Jerusalem remained occupied and off limits.

     Then in June of 1967, the Arab nations decided to strike again, planning an all-out invasion of Israel which would, in theory, spell out the ultimate demise of Zionism. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon declared war on Israel, the radical move being spearheaded by Jamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt. Egyptian armies expelled the UN peace keeping forces from the Sinai Peninsula and stationed themselves to attack the Jewish State. But this time Israel was prepared, having perfected her Mossad intelligence network in the years following independence. Israel Defense Forces carried out a preemptive strike, a surprise attack on Egyptian air forces in Sinai. In the first few hours of the day, Israel decimated Egypt’s air force and achieved air superiority. Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces immediately attacked from every border of Israel and fought savagely for six days, in a conflict which would come to be known as The Six Day War. In that conflict, Israel not only defended itself most effectively, but managed to capture the territories of Gaza and Sinai from Egyptian forces, the Golan Heights from Syrian forces, and the Judean-Samarian regions, also known as the West Bank, from Jordanian forces. Perhaps the greatest prize of all, came on June 7th, 1967, when the Holy City of Jerusalem was finally liberated after 19 long years; and for the first time in two thousand years, Jerusalem was in Jewish hands again. Many brave men and women gave their lives in that war, but the famous words declared in the following recording, proved that they did not die in vain. “Har ha Bait b’yadeinu! Har ha Bait b’yadeinu!” – “The Temple Mount is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands!”

Jerusalem Liberated.jpg

     Jerusalem has since been liberated, united, protected, and opened to the free expression of every religion whose sounds can till this day be heard emanating from within her walls. Jerusalem is home to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Armenians, and many other groups of people who seek refuge here. Never again shall it be divided, never again will we ever let her go! Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people; she is our home and eternal capital, and only the Jews have protected the rights of every religion to be freely practiced here. She is not a bargaining piece and should remain off the table of discussion. She is not-negotiable! Jerusalem and all of Israel stand as a shining light in the midst of a dark chaotic region of the world. In several modern Arab states, Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities suffer discrimination or much worse. Israel protects all of her minorities, and has become the protector of several religions and peoples; Jerusalem is a brilliant example of that protection and coexistence.

     Israel subsequently won the Six Day War, and years later also won the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when Arab states surprise attacked Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The Arabs nearly won that war, had it not been for miraculous events which were put into motion many decades before. Golda Meir was Israel’s first female Prime Minister, and a great leader. But when the Yom Kippur War reached a point of desperation, she made a phone call to then United States President Richard Nixon. Nixon’s entire cabinet stood against the idea of helping the Israelis. Nixon, however, recalled his childhood and religious Christian upbringing, when his mother prophetically warned him that one day he would be placed in a position when the Jews will need his help, and that when that day would come, he had to help them because no one else will. As crazy as it may sound, this is a true story, and one of many stories of miracles which led to the existence of modern Israel. Nixon then ordered a large shipment of arms, tanks, and other vital supplies to the Israel Defense Forces, turning victory from a dream into a reality for the Jews. Since those days Israel has fought several wars, carried out many vital operations, fought terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and protected Israeli civilians from harm. Israelis have suffered through two violent Palestinian Intifadas, including a knife intifada in recent years, two wars in in Lebanon in 1982 and 2006 , several operations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.  Twice now, has Israel saved the world from a nuclear holocaust – having bombed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in 1981 in Bagdad, Iraq – and having recently bombed a potential Syrian nuclear reactor near Damascus. Israel has also made headlines this year when Mossad agents exposed the Iranian nuclear weapons program to the world. Looking further back, Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed a historic peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and received the Sinai Peninsula. Jordan made history by signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Even now, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have made headlines, admitting the necessity of recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to exist in their own land and to defend themselves.

             Judea & Samaria

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     I now turn my attention back to the main subject of this article, that is – the Jewish “Settlements” of Judea and Samaria. They are not settlements, but towns and villages. It is not called the West Bank; the land is historically known as Judea -JEW-DEA! It is time for the world to recognize that the Jews are the indigenous people of this land. It is time for the world to see that we are as much victims of this conflict as the Palestinians, but that they are the aggressors, not Israel. It is the Palestinians who constantly attack Israel with terrorism, not because they are oppressed but because they are fueled by indoctrinated hatred fed to them since the crib. Hatred is at the root of all this conflict, not on the Jewish side, for Jews have long coexisted peacefully with all societies including with Muslims. The hatred stems from the radical minded Palestinian Liberation Organization. They are the oppressors of their own people, not Israel! I have never heard a single Jewish family or Christian family for that matter, teach their children that Muslims are not human, or teaching them that killing Muslims is a righteous thing to do. This sort of hateful brain-washing is the sort of thing I have always heard only from the Palestinian camp, not the Israeli. It is time the world recognize the truth and stop being politically correct. The issue is not two sided. Is Israel perfect? No, we have plenty of problems in our camp, but we don’t teach our kids to hate! We don’t turn them into cold blooded killers or suicide bombers! It is time for Jews to take back the name of David upon ourselves and leave the Palestinian camp no choice but to bear the name of Goliath to their shame. I am not trying to be radical, I am trying to expose the lies of our enemies! I am trying to ignite a fire of inspiration among our people that will bring down the radical empire we have come to know as the PLO and all its branches. It is time for Jews to stop apologizing for who we are, for where we are from! We did not steal the land from the Arabs, that land is our birthright! And Arab Muslims, Christians, and any other religion or ethnic group is welcomed to coexist with us in peace upon our own ancient homeland of Israel, Judea, Samaria, all of it belongs to the Jews. We gave Gaza, sacrificing our own people in the process, Jews forcing Jews out for the sake of peace.

     The result? Years of endless barrages of rockets and bombs lobbed towards Israeli towns and villages. Terror tunnels, kidnapping Israeli soldiers and civilians, mass murders, stabbing attacks and much more. And the world wants us to give up more land? After watching the above video, can you who are reading this article honestly tell me that we are doing the right thing in the eyes of G-d?  You know it is wrong and you know it plays into the hands of our enemies. I do not blame the soldiers of the IDF, but they also know what you and I know in the deepest places of our hearts. We the Jewish people are being way too apologetic to the anti-Semitic demands of the world, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Anti-Zionism is indeed anti-Semitism. It is the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to their natural and historic homeland, but to simultaneously graciously recognize the right of a violent and brutal Palestinian regime. The double standard against Jews could not be more evident to the world.  Enough is enough!

     Even Arafat said it when he outlined his agenda – to demand and take land from Israel piece by piece, until they can call upon their Arab brothers to come and give the final blow. Tell me, why are we playing into their hands? Because Peace Now demands it? Peace at any cost does not work! It never has, and it never will. Even the rest of the Muslim world is beginning to recognize that Israel is a nation with people and families just like them and must be equally recognized as a member of Middle Eastern states. They realize that is time to put the conflict of the 20th century behind them and move forward together in the 21st century for the betterment of the Middle East and the world. Just imagine how much good can be accomplished if our enemies lay down their weapons and actually decide to work with us. Imagine the innovation that would come to the Middle East and imagine the impact it would have on the world. I believe it starts in Israel, and Judea and Samaria are the keys to opening that door of prosperity, not by handing them over to the Palestinian Authority, they are but offshoots of the PLO and have proven to be instigators of terrorism, and by that fact have forfeited any and all diplomatic rights. Instead we must turn to new solutions.

     I propose, that the Israeli Government assume full control over Judea & Samaria, in both Arab and Jewish towns. I call for the complete dismantling of the Palestinian Authority and for the Israeli Ministry of Education to enforce a reformation of the education system. Throw out the old hate-filled textbooks, replacing them with new and proper textbooks conducive to a real human education. Re-name the streets named after suicide bombers! I propose that a reformation in education and tougher Israeli military and police presence could truly reshape the quality of life in Judea and Samaria. With better education comes new opportunities. With new opportunities come new economic incentives, new jobs, new innovative start up companies, Israelis and Arabs living and working together. As the quality of life progresses in the region over time, I propose a new aggressive Aliyah campaign should be implemented, providing powerful incentives for a new wave of young Jews from all over the world not only to come live in Israel, but to settle and build in Judean and Samarian territories. Eventually, I believe the Knesset should pass a new law, to annex Judea and Samaria, thereby uniting all of Israel from Eilat to Golan, Tel Aviv to the Jordan River, as one nation at long last.  Israel is the only Jewish State in the entire world! And it is the only Jewish State in a region of 22 Arab states. Is it too much to ask to finally be left alone? The Jews of Judea and Samaria are not “settlers” but pioneers. They follow in the footsteps of Theodore Herzl and those who first settled at Rishon L’Tzion. They are not terrorists, or obstacles to peace in any way shape or form. We the Jews of the diaspora should unite with our brothers and sisters in Israel, our only definite home in the world, to defend the rights of Jewish pioneers in Judea and Samaria and to declare to the world with one voice, THIS IS OUR LAND!  Once more I emphasize, that Muslims, Christians, and any other people are welcomed to become full and equal citizens under Israeli law, so long as they live peacefully and obey Israel’s laws. That any citizen or non-citizen engaging in acts of terror or violence shall be captured and dealt with most severely as the commanding officers of the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet or Mossad see fit. Promote Zionism more among Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and other communities in the region, because it is for all of them as well. Inspire them all to serve together in Israel’s military, let them have a sense of pride and love for their fellow Israelis and for their land, whether they be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Bahai, Druze, or any other indigenous group of the Middle East. Think my ideas are crazy? Remember they said the same thing about Herzl and the first Zionist Congress. Peace through strength and leadership, not through weakness and cowardice. You never know, it may actually work. After all, Herzl’ s dream is far from finished, and there is still much work to be done.

     Almost all modern Israeli cities once began as settlements, if they were stopped at that time, where would Israel be today? There should be no more incidents like that of Netiv Ha Avot. Our ancestors dreamed of returning to this land. We have returned, and we should never be moved from her again. For Jews to be doing this to Jews, only to please the world, indeed shows how much Israelis want peace, but is also naïve, because our enemies will only demand more and more from us until there is nothing left.

     And so, I believe it is time for Jews to be free of mind and come together in strength. For we are the Jews! The Children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are Israel and Israel is us. We gave the world the Holy Bible, we inspired Christianity and Islam, both of which have contributed to shaping the modern world. I AM A JEW! Yes, that’s right I said it! No, I won’t apologize. No, I’m not afraid of being targeted or ridiculed. It’s time for the Jewish Nation as a people to rise up worldwide and unite in strength! No longer will we be silent! No longer will we sit idly by while our brothers and sisters are murdered overseas and then painted as war criminals by the very assassins and murderers who have the audacity to claim the identity of David while somehow masking their Goliath-like stature from world view!

     I am an American, but first and foremost I am a Jew, a Hebrew, a Son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! To my brothers and sisters in Israel and the diaspora I say, royalty flows in your veins, the blood of prophets and kings from Moses to David and Solomon, from Queen Esther to Golda Meir! We are the Jews, and we will no longer be silent, for Zion is our home! Yes, I am a Zionist and proud, no apologies to anyone. Our journey is just beginning, Herzl’s dream is not over. It’s up to us to take the next steps. To my fellow Jews in America and all over the world! Stop apologizing for who we are! Embrace your identity! Remember Moses and David, Deborah and Esther! Remember our parents and grandparents who gave their lives for Zion’s sake. Rise up! Defend Zion! Defend Israel’s right! From the border of Egypt to the Lebanon! The Arab world will hate us, what else is new? But let them learn to respect us! It is time for Jews to stop thinking of ourselves as the weak minority and start remembering Who we have on our side and believe! Assimilation will have us believe these stories are fairy tales. Tell that to our grandparents who survived countless onslaughts of the nations to destroy us, and are alive today to keep the flame of Faith burning! And to never let it go out!

       ! עם ישראל חי

Judea4

The People of Israel Live! – And we are not afraid!

Bourdain-A Past Unknown

I have to take a minute, break from the politics for a bit, and get something important off of my chest. It is with great sadness that I write about the passing of one of my television inspirations, celebrity chef and world traveler, Mr. Anthony Bourdain. When I woke up Friday morning and heard the news, well, my day officially started with a dark twist. I’m not going to say the man was my idol, no way, but I was a fan of his work. After all not only was he a great human being with a beautiful outlook on life and the world, he was also a Jew.

No, he wasn’t religious at all. In fact, he was quite the opposite, and yet life was his religion. What were his rituals? To explore the world, not tourist traps, but to get down and dirty, to sit down with the lesser known people of the world and have a meal with them. This unique method of culinary wonder earned Bourdain a most impeccable reputation not only in media, but in the hearts and minds of millions of viewers all around the world and the people who crossed paths with him.

Born in New York on June 25th, 1956, Bourdain was the eldest of two sons born to a French Catholic American father and a Jewish American mother.  He was raised in New Jersey, growing up on rock music and his love of literature. He eventually graduated from college and earned his title from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978. In the years that followed, his exceptional skills as a chef were proven to all. After many ups and downs, a lot of sweat and hard work, he quickly rose the ranks and became the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998. Soon after he began to write culinary reviews, his sumptuous reputation already firmly established, his books became best-sellers, his first infamous article was titled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.” In the year 2000 he published his best-seller – “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” In 2002, Bourdain embraced his destiny as he started his first tv-series on the Food Network titled “A Cook’s Tour,” where he traveled the world in search of delicious cuisines from the most exotic cultures. His love of food and normal-every day people, along with his rough-n’tough personality became world renowned. In 2005 he started his hit series, “Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations” on the Travel Channel. I was in high school at that time, and remember watching his show for the first time and thinking, “Man, I wish I had his job!” I was hooked, I loved tuning in after school, and occasionally whenever I stayed home “sick in bed,” and watch the episodes.

In 2013 Anthony once again made a come-back, this time on CNN, his most famous show titled, “Parts Unknown.”  The title says it all, and this was my favorite series. Like him, I love to travel to new exotic places, and much like him, I hate being “the tourist.” I’d much rather strike up a conversation with a local cab driver and ask him to point me to the places he likes to eat, share a drink or two, and get a real taste of the local culture on my tongue. In fact, I got much of my travel habits and personality from watching his shows. So, I guess you can say Anthony unknowingly had a hand in raising me. Some of my favorite episodes he ever did, were his visits to Miami – my hometown, Lebanon – my father’s country, and ISRAEL – OF COURSE! Like Bourdain I’m also Jewish on my mother’s side. It was his unique unbiased approach to sitting down with folks on both sides of the political fence that really won my heart as a viewer. He began his Israel episode by saying, “By the end of this hour, I’ll be seen by many as a terrorist sympathizer, a Zionist tool, a self-hating Jew, an apologist for American imperialism, an Orientalist, socialist, a fascist, CIA agent, and worse.” He also stated, “It’s easily the most contentious piece of real estate in the world, and there’s no hope — none — of ever talking about it without pissing somebody, if not everybody, off. (https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/08/world/anthony-bourdain-middle-east-intl/index.html) I laughed hysterically at both comments, because growing up attempting to avoid the subject with either my paternal Muslim family, and my maternal Judeo-Christian mixed family, but always caught in the middle and being forced to talk about it – I KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE MEANT!

You may think my favorite scene of him was when he posed for a picture wearing tefillin at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which was an awesome pic, but not my favorite scene. It was actually from an episode where he sat down with a couple in the West Bank territories of Judea-Samaria. The husband was Palestinian-Muslim and the wife was Israeli-Jewish, and an AMAZING blend of culture and tastes. It was a very colorful display as Bourdain sat down with the couple, proving to the world that when love is involved, peace is indeed both possible AND DELICIOUS! Anthony passed from this world on Friday, June 8th, 2018 and left a sorrowful after-taste in my heart and that of so many fans around the world. His humor and rough-around the edges manner of connecting with the most unexpected of peoples from all corners of the globe, will be sorely missed and I can only hope, to one day be half as successful as he was.  The final and most heartbreaking way I related with him, is depression. While I probably could never understand his exact predicament or the reasons why he made his fateful decision, I do not judge him either because I know exactly what depression is like.

Quite frankly, I wish I could have known him personally, or at least have maybe been there in his final moments. Perhaps I could have talked him out of it, and showed him how many people he inspired, and maybe he just didn’t realize we were there the entire time. But in the end, the sad reality is what hits us, and we are left with the sour ending of a modern icon whom I consider to have been one of the first legends of the 21st century. But that itself is what I loved about who Anthony was, because he had a way of taking the bitterness we thought we knew and showing us an entirely new side of the same story. If you ever thought someone else’s food smelled funky, he had a way of putting you in their shoes, and letting you know your food smells just as funky to them. Anthony showed us the world in a way so many of us had never seen before, and proved that the fastest way to the human heart, no matter what the difference, was through our bellies. So as a fellow Jew, I will keep him and his family in my prayers. As a fellow human soul,  I toast and raise a glass in his memory. RIP Mr. Anthony Bourdain 1956 – 2018.

Here’s a clip from an episode of “Star Talk” where Anthony is interviewed by another favorite celebrity of mine, Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

Why We Fight: In Defense of Israel!

“Blessed be The Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” – Psalm 144: 1 

I said I would tell you what it is exactly that the young soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces fight so hard to protect, and since I like to keep my word, here I go again. Although memorial day in Israel has already passed, I believe it is not only appropriate but absolutely necessary to honor all who have fallen as well as all who still fight to protect the values and cultures we know and love. The soldiers of the IDF are the real martyrs and heroes of the Middle East that history will remember, not hamas, not hizbollah, not even the Iranian regime or their puppet in Syria – for these regimes will fall just like every one of their predecessors, and Israel will live on strong and vibrant. Contrary to popular belief, Israel is a Democracy, that means that the rights of every Israeli citizen are protected, whether you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Bahai, Druze, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, ALL ARE PROTECTED IN ISRAEL! Don’t believe me? Take a glimpse at modern Israel, in case you have never been.

If you still thought it was nothing but desert, bombs and camels, I hope you’ve been pleasantly suprised. Each and every one of the faces you see in Israel, each religion, each work of art, every innovative industry, every institute of learning, every sight and sound, every inch of rich and holy land for farming, settling, or for archaeology, is all protected by the Jewish State, and young Israeli men and women put on that uniform every day to protect all of it. True, Israel has a Jewish majority, but did you know that not all Israeli soldiers are Jews? Many Muslims, Christians, Druze and other minorities proudly serve in the IDF. And the most interesting part? Not all are compelled to serve. Some Bedouins, for example, voluntarily fight for Israel, because although they are Muslim, their ancestors were kicked out of every Muslim country they went to, and the only country in the region which gave them shelter and protected them, was the one and only Jewish State, so as far as they are concerned, they are also proud Israelis. You never hear about them on mainstream media outlets do you? All you hear about is the bias on the left, accusing Israel of genocide and war crimes and how Israeli soldiers kill “peaceful protesters” from Gaza. But you never hear from the Israeli side, CNN and New York Times will never interview this guy for example.

As my young brother Hananya stated, Israel wants peace! We do not want to harm or kill anyone, but will do all that is necessary to protect all Israelis from danger. I would also like to take a moment to remember a young Israeli soldier whose life was brutally taken by terrorists in the West Bank regions. Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky was only 20 years old, and a member of an elite IDF unit called the Duvdevan who were performing an arrest operation inside a West Bank town on Thursday. According to reports, a terrorist dropped a marble slab on Sergeant Lubarsky from the third floor of a building. The young soldier died from his wounds today in an Israeli hospital. May his memory be for a blessing. Baruch Dayan Emet!

Ronen

Ronen’s sacrifice and bravery are one powerful part of an incredible story of rebirth and defense of The Hope of our people. Like Ronen there have been countless other young men and women whose lives were cut too short by the viciousness of terrorism. And yet it is because of young people like Ronen and the countless who currently serve like Hananya, that Israeli men women and children can sleep soundly in their beds tonight. May God protect all the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and deliver our enemies into our hands.

In my next series of posts, I will dedicate a whole article to each and every religious and ethnic minority living in Israel today. I will also discuss Israel’s economy, technology and booming industries. I will share my views on Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and why the BDS movement is more like the “BS” movement – pun intended : ) Stay tuned!

 

 

Goliath vs David – Exposing The Lies in Gaza!

THE PITCH: “THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT PALESTINIANS ETHNICALLY CLEANSED AND MURDERED BY THE EVIL ZIONIST REGIME!” Or so the read the headlines. Gaza is once again in the news after the United States officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem and and to no surprise, thousands of angry Palestinians stormed the border fence of Gaza with Israel in an effort to tear it down and invade Israel’s territory, their “Day of rage.” Headlines like these are the common narrative for most -“Pro-Palestinian” activists, echoed by many celebrities and world leaders on the political left. Even more, media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, among others, often publish headlines which read, “Israel Attacks Gaza,” or Palestinian Youths Killed by Israeli Soldiers.” And just like that, David is painted as Goliath and Goliath puts on the mask of David. What is worse is that most of popular society drink up these mainstream media biases like milk. But for people like me, this milk is pretty tough to swallow, in-fact, I have become lactose intolerant because of it. Take it from me, the Arab-Jewish guy who has been on both sides of the fence quite literally. I love to travel, and if you have not noticed by now, my favorite place to visit is Israel. When I was last there I noticed the reality on the ground was very different from what the media usually describes as a war-torn desert region of the world full of ruins and camels. Israel is a vibrant, thriving democracy, the only functioning one in the Middle East at the moment. In Jerusalem, the Holy Capital, you could sleep with your windows and doors open. In Tel-Aviv, you will feel like you are in Miami or Cancun, except everything is in Hebrew. In fact, most of modern Israel is pretty calm and quiet, safer than other regions and it is one of those regions I will now turn my attention to, that is – Gaza.

Since ancient times, Gaza was first home to an ancient people called the Philistines, if that name sounds familiar, it should, because not only is that the name of the ancient mortal enemy of Israel from which the giant Goliath of Gath was said to have hailed, it is where the name Palestine comes from. Remember, it was King Hezekiah who last dealt with the remnants of the Philistine kingdom after-which the Philistine culture vanished from the earth. Generations later, the Roman legions laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the city along with the Jewish Temple and her people carried off into exile. The Romans renamed the region from Judea to Palestina, as a means of further humiliating their conquered enemy by naming the land after an ancient enemy and attempting to blot out any trace of Jewish connection to the Homeland. Since then until the 20th Century the land was commonly known to most people in the world as Palestine. Jews, Christians and Muslims were all considered Palestinians because they lived in that region. There was never an independent nation in that region called Palestine, it was always a political territory of one of many empires who occupied the Holy Land for the last two millennia. It was only after Israel’s independence in 1948 and the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, that angry Arabs who had lived in that region resisted against Israel and took on the name of Palestine as their identity, with no historic connection to the ancient Philistines. It was Yasser Arafat who ultimately promoted this title as a banner for the Palestinian people to rally behind, the banner of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, AKA – the PLO. Over time different factions grew from the PLO, among them are today’s Hamas and Fatah, the former being the more radical militant wing and the latter being the seemingly diplomatic wing, although it is a well-known fact Fatah often funds and supports terror activities. In yet another one of Israel’s numerous attempts for peace with the Palestinians, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, to give into the hands of the Palestinian Authority for the establishment of an independent state. As fate would have it, the plan quickly backfired when Hamas was elected to power, chased Fatah out of Gaza and began a rocket campaign against Israel. Since then countless rockets have been fired from Gaza onto Israeli cities, targeting civilians and military alike. In response Israel has carried out several wars and operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the last one being Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. That was only one month after I had left Israel that same year and was able to visit this region myself and see the conflict with my own eyes. Below are some of the photos I took at the time.

Rockets1

Sderot

Sderot2

Let the evidence clearly demonstrate the true aggressor of this conflict! Here are hundreds of exploded rocket fragments recovered and collected over the years by Israeli forces. I took these photos in the town of Sderot, not far from the border fence with Gaza. This little town gets pummeled with rockets whenever there is a conflict going on. The Israelis have a siren warning system in place, but even that only gives the women and children of Sderot a mere 15 seconds or less to drop whatever they are doing immediately and run for cover to find a safe bomb shelter, which the town now has no shortage of, because you never know when or where the rocket will hit. What struck me the most were the bomb shelters placed on children’s playgrounds, children whose youth is suddenly ripped away from them by the brutality of terrorism. These bomb shelters are often painted or built into playful images to somehow lessen the trauma for the children. Now that Israel uses the iron dome, Hamas decided to start building underground terror tunnels, and now that Israeli forces have stopped those, Hamas now sends the people of Gaza to storm the border fence with Israel, in an effort to tear it down and “tear out their hearts,” referring to killing Jews. Hamas uses these people as human shields, setting Israel up for world condemnation as they are forced to defend Israeli civilians only yards behind them. They burn tires, throw Molotov cocktails, fly burning kites, and wearing masks, waving swastikas and wielding knives in a radical fervor shouting “Allah Haikbar! (God is Great).” The media portrays these people as “peaceful protestors,” but all evidence shows their intentions are anything but peaceful. The stated goal of Hamas, Fatah and all who openly wage terror against Israel is not just the complete demise of the Jewish State, but the complete and total annihilation of the Jewish people. And they have the nerve to accuse Israel before the world of genocide! We know that genocide is the deliberate targeting of a specific race or group of people for the purpose of complete and utter extermination, which I testify to the world that Israel does no such thing, BUT THAT IT IS HAMAS AND THE RADICAL ISLAMIST FACTONS WHO ENCOURAGE THE GENOCIDE OF THE JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND ALL WHO STAND AGAINST THEM! The people of Israel have every right to their natural and historic homeland! No apologies! They must defend themselves from all enemies on every side, and of duty ought to use every resource under their power to protect themselves! I support the Israel Defense Forces as they protect Israel from the real invaders, any other nation would do the same exact thing when faced with a similar situation! There is absolutely no excuse Palestinians can give to justify these brutal actions. We do not desire to kill anyone, but if your intention is to invade my country and harm either myself or my family and people, believe me when I say I will not hesitate to shoot and make sure you never threaten us ever again! We want peace as much as any rational minded human being, but unfortunately, we live in a very real world where people hate us and war becomes the necessary means of survival.

gazaswastika

pp3

I conclude by saying this; as I have always said that the root and key to ending all this hatred is a complete recall and reformation of Palestinian education. Palestinian culture, textbooks and classes in both Gaza and the West Bank indoctrinate their students from the crib to adulthood to believe that Jews are naturally evil and that their duty as good Palestinians is to murder as many Jews as they can. Israeli textbooks never once indoctrinate their children in such fashion. Some people paint this as a conflict with both sides to blame, when I stand firm in my belief that, while Israel is not perfect, we have absolutely NOTHING, to apologize for! Golda Meir once said, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” Indeed, as she also warned us, that if the Arabs lay down their arms, there will be no more war, but that if the Jews do so, there will be no more Jews. It seems there is a double standard in the mainstream media and world governments, that every other nation on earth has the right to defend its existence by any means necessary, except the Jews! Well, here is one more Jew who no longer cares about world opinion. We are in a fight for our very existence, between a Jewish state which champions and defends the principles of democracy and coexistence versus a regime which seeks the complete annihilation of another people. The people of Gaza who are trying to break the border fence into Israel are not peaceful protesters but dangerous and brainwashed militants seeking to kill Israeli civilians and Israel must and will always do whatever necessary to defend all of her people. Israel is like a very nice house in the middle of a very bad neighborhood, everybody wants a piece of it, so we must be tough and aggressive as a matter of defense and survival. Over six million Jews were led to the slaughter by the Nazis during the Holocaust, and before that Jews were always the target of society and we now say in the twenty first century, NEVER AGAIN! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

IDF Soldiers

The next time you hear someone call the IDF war criminals, remind them that Israel’s Defense Forces are made up of normal young men and women fresh out of high school, doing their part to protect their only country on earth. They do not want to kill anyone, but will do whatever is necessary to protect the people of Israel. Stay tuned for my next report, as I show you what it is exactly that they fight so hard to protect.

NEW BEGINNING – ISRAEL AND THE USA

My friends, this day is almost prophetic, it is a historic day which marks a new era in Israeli – American relations. Today the United States of America opens its embassy in Jerusalem, the rightful and eternal capital of the People and Nation of Israel. There are few words to express the joy we feel on this occasion. Jerusalem has always been and will always be our capital. It can be said that today we celebrate the recognition of that age old fact by a great and mighty nation and ally, the USA, but what we really celebrate today is the breaking of the shackles of fear and terror. Not far from Jerusalem, on the Gaza border, and around the world, our enemies rage, and terrorize, and destroy and kill, outraged at the notion that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews and Jerusalem is our heritage. They threaten the world with violence and terror, but today our two countries and others who will follow have declared in one voice, “We are not afraid!” We are not afraid of the aggression of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran or even ISIS or Al-Qaeda, we are not afraid of you! We will no longer apologize for who we are and what we believe. From now on, we stand firm on our hallowed ground, to champion and defend our right and the rights of every people “to live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” We have declared with one voice, that for Zion’s sake we will never be silent again. Our opposition tells you Israel is the bully, but they ignore the fact that Israel is the only government in Levant history which has respected and even protected the rights of all religious and ethnic minorities, and Jerusalem is a perfect example of that freedom and coexistence. In her streets you can find the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian quarters united within her walls. As you enter the city you are awestruck by the sounds of Church Bells, the Islamic call to prayer, and the sounds of Hebrew prayers and songs echo as they bounce off the walls of the three thousand year old city. How appropriate it is, for this epic occasion to fall just one day after Mother’s Day, for she is the mother of us all. Jerusalem is the City of Peace, and believe it or not, she is the key to eventual world peace. Those who have sought to destroy her, have all but disappeared from history, and yet she stands firm as a silent but ever present witness. If her walls could speak, one could only imagine the  lessons she has to teach us. Jerusalem is an example of how the world should be. Though this battle is won, the war is far from over, and there is still much work needed to be done. There is a long road ahead of us, but together, we can walk through this adventure triumphantly until the days of Mashiach the Prince will come. Until that day, let us not leave all the work to him, rather as the teaching from the Ethics of Our Fathers says, “In the place where there is no one, be the one.” Let us work together to draw real solutions to the problems facing the Middle East, in Syria, Gaza and other regions. Even now, for the first time, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other Arab nations have chosen to break with old customs and make history by declaring that Israel has not only the right to exist, but the right to defend herself. It is a sign of changing times, it is a sign that peace is possible, and it is a sign of a future where peace and prosperity is a reality in the Middle East, and the words of the Prophets would be fulfilled, “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they study war any more.” Now let us say, Amen!

A Bold Message to the Arab World

I recall a certain Arab woman come up to me to tell me falafel is a Palestinian dish, not Israeli. And all my life I’ve encountered plenty of people who say the Middle East is Arab and that Jews don’t belong. My question to many Arabs and all people who say we don’t belong is: Where do we belong? Do Native Americans not belong in America? Do Arabs not belong in the Middle East? Of course they do! My address is not who invented humus or falafel, this is stupid and irrelevant, my address is to my Arab people because yes I am half Arab too. When will you stop the double standards? The hypocrisy! Jews are an indigenous people of the Middle East just like Kurds, and just like Arabs. When will you stop insisting the entire Middle East belongs to you alone? When will you finally realize that Arabs have over 22 states while we Jews only have one? When will you stop persecuting your own people who dare to disagree with your regimes? When will you stop demanding the world conform to the same broken systems you fled from? Jews belong in Judea, Samaria, and all Israel. We will not apologize for who we are. We have tried several countless times to make peace with our Arab neighbors to no avail. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, you are. Until you admit that, nothing will change. Mashiach will rise and avenge us. May the day be close at hand.