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Jewish Shari’a in Israel

BS”D

 

Or rather “the State of Halachic Courts in the Jewish State of Israel”.

As part of the curriculum for my studies in Shari’a in Israel, I read Adam Hofri’s “A Plurality of Discontent: Legal Pluralism, Religious Adjudication and the State”, which deals with the question of legal pluralism – i.e. the existence of more than one legal body in one state, as is the case in Israel (the secular legal body of the state, as well as the religious courts), and whether a modern state can “provide its citizens, residents and others subject to its power with a just and stable legal order by referring them to norms associated with their several religions and enforced by state courts”. He deals with the situation of Halachich Courts, i.e., Jewish religious courts, particular nonstate ones, which appear more and more. Basically, he argues by focusing on Israel as a case study, legal pluralism, where the state gives room for religious courts to cover at least some legal fields, most often matters of family and personal law, will only encourage the religious to struggle for more influence and authority.

 

In Israel we have seen the later years a growing rate of Halachic nonstate courts, which offers an alternative to the secular courts on matters of economical disputes, but not so much on matters of family law or personal law, which he explains as being because the latter is already covered by Rabbinical authorities, that is, the Rabbinate supervised by the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox), and as such holding recognition from the group behind the Halachic nonstate courts, the conservative element among the Religious Zionist, the HarDal (Haredim Dati-Leumi). He also explains why criminal cases is not covered, by relating to the most likely aggressive response by the state, should they choose to cover these cases.

 

It is no secret that the religious influence in Israel (as well as other places), have grown within the last decade (or even more). This – of course – also leaves its imprints on the legal system and the relation between the secular state and her religious citizens in regards of legal questions, particularly in context of the Judaic focus on law, so that there will be growing demands for religious alternatives and conflicts between religious and the state (as for example was the case in 2006, when the Supreme Court of Israel ruled, that the Rabbinical courts could not hear private and commercial cases as arbitrators, something the Rabbinical courts has since ignored, though the number of cases brought to them are descending since).

 

Still, it could wonder why Religious Zionists chose to establish nonstate courts, rather than put pressure or force the state to accept a growing religious influence in its courts (which I personally believe is happening), to which Hofri offers six reasons:

 

1: Identification of the State Legal System as a Standard-Bearer for Secularism.

2: Delegitimation of the State Rabbinical Courts’ Practice of Arbitrating Private Law and Commercial Cases.

3: An Increased Supply of Religious Zionist Halachic Experts.

4: The Religious Radicalization of Part of Religious Zionist Society.

5: The Impact of Israel’s 2005 “Disengagement” from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria.

6: Hopes that Non-Observant Use of Halachic Adjudication will Encourage the Adoption of Halacha as State Law.

 

That is, the Religious Zionist, or at least the more conservative element among them, see the growing secularism in Israel, or more at least in the Israeli legal system, where the Supreme Court in the recent years mostly have ruled against the Religious Zionists or what they hold as important, such as the settlement activity.

Furthermore they see that the Rabbinical authorities have lost influence and authority on matters, where the Religious Zionists otherwise would have turned to their courts, which leads them to create their own alternatives. It is not without reason that commercial matters is the most covered field in Halachic nonstate courts.

Also the growing number of Religious Zionists being educated in Halachah at Yeshivot, as well as Religious Zionists with a Rabbinical degree receiving even more advanced training in Halachical issue, as well as their feeling with “real life”, something the Haredim are lacking, is a reason for wanting to create more job opportunities.

We see the radicalization of the Religious Zionist right, where some groups even are calling to struggle against the (secular) state of Israel, as a protection of Jewish values and homeland, thinking in terms of wanting to establish a Jewish religious alternative to the secular courts. Where some Religious Zionists are becoming more “secular”, wearing their religion “lightly” and taking more part in the secular society, others are becoming more “haredized”, turning closer to the strict understanding of Halachic law and principles.

The disengagement from Gaza and some settlements in 2005 made the Religious Zionists feel let down by the state, even betrayed, which created a split between them and the state. They don’t trust the state now as they did before, and are more ready to confront and challenge the state on principles, which they hold as important, such as the implementation of Halachah.

And finally, some Religious Zionist halachic thinkers are hoping that by creating a cheaper and more effective legal alternative to the secular courts, they can make the less religious or even non-observant public realize the ethical principles of Halachah, and by that making it easier to implement Halachah into Israeli law.

 

This is of course mostly related to Jewish religious law in Israel, but I believe that we can see some of the same factors in the Muslim case. First and foremost, Israeli Palestinian Muslims have never felt close to the state of obvious reasons, so relating to a state institution might seem hard already. We also do experience a radicalization of Muslim youth, both in the territories and in Israel proper, where the Islamic Movement has gain ground within the last two decades and publicly is challenging the Shari’a courts and their qadis.

But where I see a big difference is in the attitude of religious judges in the Jewish courts to the nonstate courts, compared to the Muslim ditto to the Islamic Movement’s call on nonstate Shari’a courts. Where the former is positive, the latter is negative. How this is portrayed and why, is something I’m going to look into later on.

Nakba-Day

BS”D

Tomorrow it’s the 15th of May 2012. This day marks the 64th year after what is known as yom an-Nakba among Palestinians. Nakba is Arabic for ‘catastrophe’ and relates to the several hundred of thousands of Palestinians, who had to leave their homes when the war between the Arab alliance and Israel broke out, a war which was the result of Israel’s independence just the day before. It is a day which marks the tragic destiny for more than 700,000 Palestinians, and a day which coincides with a day, which for the majority of the Israelis, is a day of joy, namely the Israeli Independence Day, Yom Ha’Atzmaut.[1]

In Israel Yom Ha’Atzmaut is celebrated all over the nation with barbeques, parties, and concerts. Yom an-Nakba is not, it shouldn’t be, it’s a day of mourning, but it’s not even commemorated. Okay, one could understand that, it’s part of the Palestinian narrative, not the Israeli, but the Israeli Palestinians are not even allowed to commemorate the day. I find it criticizable.

I am a Zionist, a Jew, married to an Israeli, and living in Israel. I do celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, as well as I commemorate the fallen Israeli soldier, who gave their lives protecting the country. I do doubt some versions of what happened during the independence war with the Arab armies, but I know that at least part of the Palestinians leaving their homes were forced to do it by Israeli soldiers, that is – or should be – beyond doubt. There are a lot of discussions surrounding the war. Who were really the evil ones, who did the greatest atrocities, did the Palestinians leave freely, and so on. But those are for the historians to discuss, and while many people choose to be one-sided, only relying on those historians who give the account which fits their narrative, I try to be objective, or at least as objective as I can.

That aside, discussion aside, no matter how big a role Israel played in this, no matter how many Palestinians left of their own will, we still witness the consequences of the war (and the later war in 1967), having millions of Palestinians still living in refugee camps, under terrible conditions. True, some camps are more reminding of cities today, but that doesn’t go for all of them, probably only few of them. I wouldn’t like to live in them, and I bet that most would agree with me that no one deserves to live in them. I don’t blame Israel for this, at least not alone or totally. Many refugee camps are either found in Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan, and while Jordanese Palestinians, I think, have somewhat normal lives, that’s not the situation for the Lebanese or Syrian Palestinians. It actually doesn’t matter much who is to blame, that won’t change their situation.

I can’t do anything personally, besides raise awareness of the situation millions of people are living in. I can do that without blaming people, I can do that in order to change that situation for the better. True, there are people out there who live even worse lives, but the Palestinians are part of my destiny, as a Jew living in Israel. And – again – though I do celebrate the day Israel came into existence, no matter how much or little I might agree or disagree with various Israeli policies, I do mourn the sacrifices which had to be given for this. I do mourn that we, 64 years after the establishment of Israel, still have to live and experience the consequences of war.

I can’t change their situation, but I can raise awareness of it. And I won’t tell Israel to solve it, not alone at least, nor to take blame, not all at least. But at least allow people to mourn. At least that.


[1] These days rarely fall next after each other today, since Israel is following the Jewish calendar, which is a lunar calendar, whereas the date for the Nakba-day follow the Western solar calendar.

May the Compassionate One bless the State of Israel, first Flowering of our Redemption

BS”D

I read an article, “Who Broke their Vow First? The ‘Three Vows’ and Contemporary Thinking about Jewish Holy War,” by R. Reuven Firestone on the Three Vows and the concept of Holy War in Judaism. For those of you who have dealt a little with discussions on Jewish religious approaches to Zionism and the existence of the State of Israel, the Three Vows probably sound familiar, but for those of you who haven’t, I can shortly explain that they are three ‘vows,’ which are based on three verses in the Song of Songs, interpreted as God forbidding the Jewish People to immigrate to the Holy Land as a ‘wall,’ as well as not to ‘rebel’ against the nations, and the nations not to ‘overly succumb’ the Jews.

It is a very interesting article, which is part of the book “The Just War: Violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” where Firestone reviews the basic understanding of the concept of ‘Holy War’ in Judaism and according the Hebrew Scriptures, the basis for the Three Vows, as well as later reactions for or against them, as well as interpretations of them, particular in the period of 1948 to recent days.

I can strongly recommend it for anyone wanting to get an idea of religious Zionist approaches and thoughts both on the State of Israel as well as the Three Vows.

Anyway, the article made me think a little on my own position as a religious Jew and as a Zionist. Not that I haven’t thought so much about it before or that I wouldn’t be able to explain my position, but still, the article did make feel more clear about some points.

As you might have noticed I formulated my position as a religious Jew and as a Zionist, not as a religious Zionist. There is a reason for that, namely that I differ on my positions between the two, not being a religious Zionist Jew, but rather a religious Jew and a Zionist. Sounds confusing? I know, and I see why. The thing is, I am a Zionist because I believe that Jews, as well as every other people out there, be it Italians, Tibetans, Kurds or Samis, not necessarily based on the expulsion of others, but rather as defining a homeland for them and their’s. I’m not going into so much details about that here, nor about how I differ between ‘people’ (as in German ‘Volkschlag’), ‘ethnicities,’ and ‘races.’ Rather that this is a pragmatic approach, which is not motivated or based on my religious faith. And I am a religious Jew, because I believe in God and that He gave the Torah as a Divine Guidance for His People. I’m not going into details about what I mean by this either, for anyone being curious enough, you are more than welcome to ask.

So on the one hand I am a Zionist, and on the other a religious Jew. The two of those don’t necessarily have to be opposed, but they are differing approaches to how I view myself, my people, the existence of a ‘Jewish’ state, and our relation and responsibilities to God.

I would define the difference between my position, as a Zionist, and a religious Zionist, as a religious Zionist believing that the State of Israel is the beginning of redemption, seeing that this is a Divine Plan, or something the like. In that sense the State of Israel, while not being the Land of Israel (Medinat Yisrael vs. Eretz Yisrael), is inheriting some kind of divinity. That is, as a Jew you are supposed to be loyal to it.

I don’t see it that way, I see the State of Israel as a state, a Jewish one (whatever that means), as I see Denmark as a Christian state, both being secular, but both giving a special place for Judaism and Christianity respectively as the main religions, but not the only religions. Neither do I see the State of Israel as the beginning of redemption, though I certainly pray for its wellbeing, as I did and still do with Denmark, and for the whole humankind. For example, when I pray the ‘Birkat HaMazon,’ the prayer said after eating bread, the Koren Siddur, which I use, has the addition of blessing Israel being the beginning of the Redemption, which I have used as title for this post, though this is in no way standard for the most Siddurim. This addition I don’t pray, though I do pray for the wellbeing of the soldiers in IDF, who are ‘standing guard’ over Israel.

That also mean, which I believe has been the case until now at least, that you never will see me use any religious arguments for Israel’s presence in the West Bank/Yehudah v’Shomron, though I do believe that it is good and right of Jews to live here, but not only Jews, and not necessarily under Israeli authority.

So in conclusion, being a religious Jew and a Zionist, does not necessarily makes you a religious Zionist, though that certainly most often is the case. And, I have to stress, this also mean that I’m leaning to a separation of state and synagogue, letting religion be part of the private sphere of life (not invisible though, nor ignored, on the contrary), at least until the Coming of Mashiah, may it happen speedily in our days, BE”H. Until then I’d rather support a secular state for the Jews and its citizens.

 

Israel and the Middle East

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Professor Zachary  Braiterman, who teaches Modern Jewish Thought and Philosophy, is authoring an excellent blog called Jewish Philosophy Place. I recommend you to take a look.

In a post called  Politics & Imagination (Nissim Rejwan: Israel’s Place in the Middle East) he reviews mentioned book by Nissim Rejwan, a review I found interesting enough to consider buying the book myself.

In the review Braiterman talks about Israel’s role in the ME, and attitudes and relation connected to this. I won’t talk so much about the review itself, rather encourage you to visit Braiterman’s blog and read it for yourself, but it did make me think a little about Israel and the ME myself. Well, truth be told, that is a subject I do think a lot about, considering that I live here.

As things are now, we most likely won’t see neither peace nor justice, whether it be for Israelis or Palestinians – or probably more correctly; Jews or Arab Palestinians. Sure, many Israelis, at least the Jewish Israelis (or non-Israeli Zionists even), probably feel okay with the status quo, but here’s why you shouldn’t be satisfied with that. In the south it has become “normal” to experience rockets being fired into Israel. Of course we could attempt to stop that by attacking Gaza, and maybe even re-occupy it, but my guess (and that’s in no way the guess of an expert) would be that the militants (or extremist jihadist fundies, as some like to call them) just continued from Egypt instead. We have already seen this being the case, though only once with rockets (targeted at Eilat) but more seriously several attempts to infiltrate the border, of which at least one attempt has succeeded. That is status quo, and we can’t live with that.
In the north we have Hizbullah pointing several thousand missiles at Israel, and we know from bitter experience that they are able to hit some of the larger cities, such as Haifa, and most likely by now have the capacity to hit even Tel Aviv. Sure, as it seems now the situation seems a little like between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but – seriously – who like to live with that status quo? The solution, you might ask. I don’t know. Of course, war could be one, but I’m not much for wars if it can be prevented. But having to be honest, I don’t know if a war with Hizbullah can be prevented, I don’t trust them much, and I certainly don’t see them as just freedom fighters as many of my Muslim friends do. I always have a problem with groups demanding and taking authority and power the way Hizbullah has.

And then we have the general Palestinian population, which is a chapter on its own. As it is now we don’t leave them much hope. Honestly. I’m not saying that Israel is solely to blame for this, they also have a bunch of lousy and corrupted leaders (I believe Salam Fayyad is the only example of an actual political leader with visions). Not that the Israeli ditto differ much from the Palestinian leaders (sadly), but at least Israel does hold elections once in a while, though I’m not always sure that it makes much of a difference. Anyway, we need a solution which involves the Palestinian’s acceptance. Of course we could just throw them all on trucks and transfer them to Jordan, as some people would suggest, but come on, let’s be rational here. That simply won’t happen. Let’s say – for the sake of argument – that all the Israeli citizens, every Jew, and the whole world would be totally okay with this (here’s one Jew who won’t), but to take around four million people and move them from their homes, is even more insane to talk about transferring 600,000 Jews from their homes (and here I’m thinking about the settlements), and that’s only from the West Bank (sorry, Yehudah v’Shomron). We probably have to find another solution here also.

I’m not going to mention Iran (well, just did), since I believe that that’s a totally different case, which isn’t only a threat against Israel, and most likely only use the Palestinians as a (bad) excuse, to spread propaganda against Israel. If I was a Palestinian living in the West Bank, I would be as terrified for what the regime in Iran would do, as I would being a Jew in Tel Aviv.

So what to do? Braiterman mentions four points (he does write five, but I see only four) we need to consider:

[1] to place discussions about Jews and Arabs and Israel and Islam in a historical arc that is broader than this 100 year old conflict. [2] to establish commonalities between Jews and Arabs,, [3] to highlight the fungible nature of identity, and [4] shift the argument away from nationalism and other collectivist ideologies towards democracy and shared citizenship.

I agree with these five points, at least to a certain extent.

If we take them from the top:

1: to place discussions about Jews and Arabs and Israel and Islam in a historical arc that is broader than this 100 year old conflict.

Most definitely, and that’s what I’m attempting to do with most of my posts, while not expressed clearly (they are most and foremost part of my studies). Of course, I’m not the person the world, or even a small part of it, refer to, so what do my posts and thoughts matter in this. But still, I – as well as you – am part of a wider discussion, and I do believe that to base the relation between Jews and Arabs, or Jews and Muslims, only on the last hundred years is a, well, bit ignorant. Surely, we can find many bad examples on how Muslims have treated Jews terrible, but so can we with the Christians. We can also find many good examples on Jews being treated better and even saved by Muslims. Especially the Ottoman empire is an example on this, as well as Muslim al-Andalus, with the exception of the Almohads. As the ME historian Bernard Lewis expressed it Jews were “never as bad as in Christendom at its worst, nor ever as good as in Christendom at its best.” It is worthwhile to note here, that what he means about “Christendom as its best,” found its place within the last three hundred years, where we saw a magnificent change of attitudes in the Western world. But even here we still witnessed Russian pogroms, the French Dreyfus affair, and the Holocaust.

2: to establish commonalities between Jews and Arabs

I don’t see Jews and Arabs as being that different, at least not here in Israel. And that is both when we talk in the positive and the negative. I do believe that we have many similar interest, hopes, dreams, and so on. For sure there are corporate projects involving Arabs and Jews, on several levels.

3: to highlight the fungible nature of identity

Identity is something wonderfully confusing, ’cause it changes all the time. When you, the readers of this blog, relate to me and my identity, you surely don’t relate to me the same way my wife, my mother, my friends or the stranger on the street relate to me. Identity changes as we meet other people. And even on the general level. Being a Jew is one thing, but being an Israeli is another. Israel have around 7.2 million citizens. Of them around 2.5 million are not Jews. So does being Israeli mean being a Jew? Most likely not. And what do we talk about when talking about Jews? Israel offer a different definition of who is “Jewish” enough to receive citizenship, than what Judaism does. And what about Arab? When are you Arab? It also depends on terms of definition, having some Muslim scholars (e.g. Imam Shafi’i) stating that he who speak Arabic is an Arab, making Arab-speaking Jews Arab. How do we define?

4: shift the argument away from nationalism and other collectivist ideologies towards democracy and shared citizenship

Here is where I might differ a little, not thinking that the “collectivist ideologies” is a threat in itself. In Israel we already have shared citizenship, as I already stated. You don’t have to be a Jew to be Israeli. I would rather believe that Israel, as a state, needs to embrace its minorities as well as majority – or that is to say, I don’t believe Israel has a majority per ce, since there always are ways to define oneself different from the other: Jew-Arab, Jew-Muslim-Christian-Druze, Religious-Secular, Zionist-non/post-Zionist, and so on.

But changing these things takes will and effort from all players, not only Israeli leaders or Palestinian leaders, also religious leaders, civilians, and Arab Israeli leaders. It is a problem when an Arab-Israeli politician, who is elected by voters to take care of their interest the best way possible, is seen with the enemy (and I mean enemy literally), whether it be visiting Hizbullah or participating in a “peace flotilla.” Most important of these are the religious leaders, I believe. Religion plays a huge role here, and if we look at the rhetoric it isn’t hard to say that some of the elements being presented are based on religious rhetorics, such as Israel being “the Promised Land,” or “Jerusalem is being Judaized” and “the Zionist attempt to destroy al-Aqsa.” Both sides are so steeped in religious self-understanding, that the religion cannot be left out, and both sides feel that the other side attempt to eradicate their religious connection to the land. And I somehow understand it, for both sides. As I have stated in other posts, Islam has played a huge role here in Israel, maybe even more so than Christianity. But so has Judaism, and this is the center of Judaism, there is no place anywhere else, which is so steeped in Judaism as here, maybe besides Babylon (or Iraq, as we call it today).

 

A third way(?)

BS”D

I know that I’ve said earlier that I’m not going to focus much on politics, and I’m intending to keep those words, though only to a certain extent.

The thing is, I live in Israel, in what is popular known as a “settlement”. If you wonder why I’m putting settlement in quotation-marks, then it’s because that the “settlement” I’m living in is basically a city (Ma’aleh Adumim), with more than 35,000 citizens, among them some few Palestinians (yes, you read correctly).

Anyway, I don’t live here based on any kind of ideological motives, especially not that the Palestinians don’t have any rights to live here. I simply live here, because that’s where I’m ended up (more or less, my wife lived here when we got married, and our budget is not to finding an apartment big enough for four people and a dog in Jerusalem or anywhere near Jerusalem – not that I would’ve moved would we have the money, maybe, maybe not).

That said, what bothers me to a certain extent is how Jews and Palestinians in general are being portrayed in relation to each other. Either Jews as evil imperial or colonial settlers, harassing and beating up innocent Palestinians, or Palestinians as fanatic religious extremist with the sole purpose in life being to blow themselves up in the middle of Jewish civilians. Or simply that we hate each other and want each other dead.

There is some truth in the above description, but it is far from the general picture you’ll get when living here. Sure, there are people who want to do everything they can in order to make you believe that, but they are not telling the whole truth, namely that most people here just live, and live together. It has to be added though that it’s not always harmonious or that we hang out together, but it’s not the opposite either.

Anyway, in order to challenge the stereotype presentation of Israel/Palestine, I will once in a while write posts on incidents, groups, organisations, something else, which shows that Jews and Palestinians actually can and in some extent also do live and share lives together. Not only in Tel Aviv or Haifa, but also on the West Bank (or as it is known in Hebrew, Shomron and Yehudah). As far as possible these representations will be nonpolitical, in that sense that it will deal more with the general lives than political discussions. And, if possible, I will invite friends to write posts about their lives here, Jews as well as Palestinians.

The first two incidents I will present is dealing with the Gush Etzion bloc, which is just south-west of Jerusalem, next to Bethlehem. The first is a video presenting the initiative for dialog between Palestinians and settlers in the area (the settlers belonging to R. Froman’s, shelita, group, a group of religious settlers struggling for promoting mutual understanding, acceptance and coexistence.

The other a recent happening, in connection to Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year for the trees, just being celebrated, where Jews and Palestinians planted trees together.

But before we get to it then a short word to all of you guys out there only focusing on the negative in the other, and being pessimistic. Yes, Jews can be evil, Palestinians as well, no group of humans has patent on that one. And maybe we don’t see Jews and Palestinians flocking on the street to jump into each other’s arms, wanting peace, but we won’t get peace, if we don’t believe in it.

Enough talk, here you are:

Settlers for Peace on Youtube

Jews, Palestinians Plant Trees Together in West Bank

Note: All opinions expressed in the material is not necessarily the same as my opinions. Nor am I attempting to promote any political opinion, or saying who is right or wrong.

“Happy Naqba-day!”

Today is Naqba-day.. Some people hope that the third intifada begins today.. They say things like “as long as it is peaceful”, but refuse to understand that intifada is not peaceful, intifada is rebellion, and rebellions are never peaceful.. Most of these people sit in quiet and security far away, so they don’t have to worry.. These people don’t want to have us, who live here in the middle of all the problems, to settle peacefully with each other, then they can’t sit in security and feel as better humans, without having to do what really matters, namely meet the people you disagree with the most and learn to live with them..

About the title.. You can basically not wish anybody “happy” Naqba-day.. For the Palestinians Arab the day symbolizes catastrophe, for the Israeli Jews it symbolizes provocation.. Nevertheless, in a democracy anybody should be allowed to express themselves freely, as long as it is non-violent.. An intifada though is violent, that is the whole idea with it.. We’re not talking demonstrations here, we’re talking hardcore rebellion, something that will only end up worsen the whole situation between Jews and Palestinians in Israel-Palestine.. Nevertheless, some “peace-loving” people wish for exactly this.. Why? As said, they believe that this “is the only solution”.. They might as well say that they see “war” as the only solution, as long as it is not “violent”.. That would be as stupid.. The people making these statements are either lying or naive and ignorant.. I don’t blame them.. They have lost answers on what to do, partly because of lousy politicians who are more focused on obtaining and keeping power, and partly because of their own will to see human beings, even in people they don’t agree with.. It is sad.. I will encourage each and everyone out there, that instead of hoping for war, intifada, more hatred or whatever you wish for, to go out and meet someone you disagree with, buy the person a cup of coffee, and find out where the two of you actually do agree, and make that a base for mutual recognition.. That would be – in my eyes – the correct thing to do a day like this..

Kol Tuv

“Why I’m an anti-extremist”

Most people would probably say, that they’re against extremism.. The problem just being, that there probably are various understandings of this term “extremism”.. I don’t know how many only understand extremism as something related to Muslims or Islams, but that’s the context I experience most often.. On a second place comes the context of settlers and right wing people in Israel.. And the right and left wing in general..

So, here’s what I understand as being “extremist”: An extremist is a person, who – obvious – goes to extreme measures to promote his ideas or to reach his goal.. Extreme measures as – for example – in ignoring facts that goes against his ideas or goals.. Here’s an example of what I think is being extremist: A person who thinks that all Arabs in Israel should be removed from Israel, which also – in his view – include the Yehudah, Shom’ron and ‘Aza.. His reason? Well, “This land belongs to the Jews!” or “There lived no people there, when the Jews came!”.. Ask him where the Palestinians then came from, and he will answer that they came from all the other Arab nations around Israel, just waiting to take advantage of Jews making the land fertile enough for them.. No one lived there before the Jews came, and we should ignore any evidence that goes against this “fact”.. And about the “belonging to the Jews!”? Well, it says so in Torah, so hence it must be true, right? Sure, being a religious Jew, believing that the Torah was given by HaShem, I tend to agree with him, that the land, which would be Eretz Yisrael, not Medinat Yisrael, was promised for ‘Am Yisrael.. But what about the rest of it? This isn’t the only thing the Torah tells us, but this guy – the extremist – doesn’t care much about that, especially not the ones living the great secular life, being more traditional than anything else.. He might wear a kippah, but what about the Tzitzit? Sure, there are religious extremists, who also choose to ignore certain things in Torah, especially the thing about letting the stranger live in the country, as long as he accepts that Torah is the law of the land.. Which, I’m sorry to say, Torah isn’t Israel.. Sure, there are some Halachah incorporated in Israeli law, but that’s it.. And most of the time, the Israeli law pressures socalled “halachah” to accept unhalachic things, such as forcing a rabbinic court to deem a questionable restaurant run by Christian Jews (Has w’Halilah) “kosher”, though it can’t be proven that they really are kosher..

Extremist is also the person, who tells you to “shut up”, when you get enough of the racists quotes from various people in Israel, because you haven’t served in Tzahal and have lived at least ten years in Israel.. I don’t know if I want to, if that makes me racist too, sorry.. I don’t feel a great need to hate, actually, I try not to hate and stay objective.. What in the world am I supposed to tell my Israeli Arab friend, who doesn’t have any troubles living in Israel, but can be suspected of wanting to kill all Israelis, just because he’s an Arab? Hey, Habibi, you’re a terrorist, sorry, but you’re Arab so that’s just the way you are, hevanta?

Extremist is also the religious Jew, who calls non-religious Jews for “nazi” or “goy”, just because he’s not religious.. Hey, achi, what about show him some Ahavat Yisrael.. Or is this what you call “ahavat Yisrael”? Then I have much more respect for the rabbi, who chooses to live in Tel Aviv, to spread some Torah by opening his doors and spending time with the secular people.. I can tell you, achi, that it works so much more, B”H..

Extremist is certainly also the person, who yells about the rights of the Muslims, while he spits on me, because I’m a Jew.. Or the person who’re trying to excuse the actions of Hamas or Fatah, while condemning all of Israel, without even wanting to understand that part of the conflict.. Why should he, no matter what, Israel is evil, and all supporting Israel are evil, no need to understand.. What, Israel helping in Tahiti? Just another scam by the “Zionist” to try to fool the world..

I’m simply against extremism.. I understand people have their opinions, but don’t take it to the extreme, please.. To do that is, well, to be too extreme..

Who’re the Nazis?

Okay, so I’ve been a bit critic on Israel lately, and I haven’t changed my mind about that.. But something I’m really tired about, in the discussions about Israel and the Palestinians, is when people are comparing or making Israel equal to the Nazis.. And it happens quite a lot..

I read this passage in Matthias Küntzel’s book, “Jihad and Jewhatred” about this phenomenon, which I found pretty interesting:

Secondly, for Yassin and Arafat the subject of the Holocaust – the central experience in the establishment and attitudes of the State of Israel – has remainded taboo, as has that of the role of the Mufti in National Socialism. No post-Oslo PA schoolbook so much as mentions Auschwitz. When a PA official asked that this be changed, he was met with furious protests and the request was rejected. The Chairman of the Palistinian Parliament’s Education Committee declared that, “we have no interest in teaching the Holocaust.” His parliamentary colleague and Fatah leader, Hatem Abd al-Qader, added that teaching about the Holocaust would present “a great danger” for the Palestinian identity. “If such a decision [about teaching the Holocaust] is made, it will undoubtedly ruin the Palelistinian dream and aspirations. It will entirely obliterate the past, present and future of the Palestinians”. Not the slightest danger to the Palestinian identity, though, seemed to be presented by the circulation with express PA approval of Hitler’s programmativ work Mein Kampf , which reached number sic in the Palestinian Territory’s bestsellers’ list in 1999. The translator of the Arabic edition refers in his introduction to his author’s continued relevance: “Adolf Hitler does not belong to the German people alone, he is one of the few great men who almost stopped the motion of history, altered its course….. National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star.”

While the PA “sows” the seeds of National Socialism un this way, and reaps a harvest of murderous anti-Jewish actions from it, Israeli policy is presented in all its media as a continuation or even intensification of Nazism. The constant equation of Israeli and Nation Socialist policies – “Nazism of the Jews,” “Nazi-like enemy,” “Nazi-Zionist practices” – amounts to a specific form of Holocaust denial, one which legitimates the pursuit of an anti-Jewish extermination policy, while projecting these murderous intentions onto the chosen victim. – “Jihad and Jewhatred” Matthias Küntzel page 117-118

So the question remains, who really are the Nazis? Israel or the Palestinian leaders?

Now, I’m not trying to say that all Palestinians are Nazis, not even close, but with leaders like this, what can you do? The worst part is that there actually are many intelligent and well meaning Palestinians, who want to make a difference and build a better future for both the Palestinians and Israel, but when all the support goes to the hatemongers among the Palestinians, what can decent Palestinians do? Not much..

And when I’m talking about support, then I don’t only think about Iran, but also Israel herself (who supported Hamas in the 80s), EU (who supports Hamas today) and the States, who is allied with the largest producer and exporter of Anti-Semitism, namely Saudi Arabia..

I really find this sad and it makes me wonder, how much so called “meddlers for peace” really want to make peace..

All the best and Shabbat Shalom

Rabbis for Human Rights

Rabbis for Human Rights.

 

I ran into this organisation on another blog..

 

Any thoughts?

 

A”S