Catriel Lev's Blog: VeHaShalom VeHaEmmet

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Catriel Lev
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Apr 3, 2019

Assessing Lisa Liel’s Response to Benjamin Kerstein's Essay about "Zehut"

[This essay has also been Posted on my Times of Israel Blog]

Since the word "screed" has become so popular in discussions of essays about the upcoming Israeli elections, this essay can be described as a response to the screed by Lisa Liel which attacked Benjamin Kerstein’s composition and argued in favor of the Zehut Party!

First of all, Definitions (from Merriam-Webster online):

Screed has 3 meanings in Merriam-Webster relating to compositions:
  1. 1. a lengthy discourse
  2. 2. an informal piece of writing (such as a personal letter)
  3. 3. a ranting piece of writing

Rant, as a verb (of which ranting is a participle) has 3 meanings in Merriam-Webster:
  1. 1. to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner
  2. 2. to scold vehemently
  3. 3. to utter in a bombastic declamatory fashion

Therefore, both Lisa Liel’s essay supporting Zehut, and Benjamin Kerstein’s essay exposing certain aspects of Zehut, are legitimately “screeds” – as they are both pieces of writing which scold vehemently. They may scold different things, but they certainly scold vehemently.

If some Zehut supporters have called Kerstein’s composition, “rubbish” because of its inaccuracies, which they don’t view as being as minor as they appear, then it is certainly appropriate to call Liel’s composition “rubbish” for running off in many directions which avoid actual response to the basic complaints against Moshe Feiglin and Zehut!

Liel’s title “The true danger comes from lies” is certainly correct (though that is NOT the only danger), but it applies to her and Zehut’s misrepresentations as well!

On a relatively minor issue: Liel even admits that what she calls ‘Kerstein’s misquotes’ “stem from the English translation of the previous edition of the ZEHUT platform which appears on the ZEHUT International website” – which leads to the question of why Liel thinks that something on the ZEHUT International website doesn’t represent Zehut’s outlook!

My views on the Zehut Party and Moshe Feiglin, and the basic complaints against them (based upon years of examining their statements and actions), can be found in my previous blogPost on that topic, and now I will relate to Lisa Liel’s essay, which, in truth, requires little response, since it doesn’t truly respond to the basic complaints against Moshe Feiglin and Zehut. Nevertheless, I’ll run through some things quickly, though I DO mean quickly, so I won’t delve too deeply – just comment “on the fly” about things that it sure seems that Liel has simply “gotten wrong”.

Liel begins with a picayune argument as to whether Moshe Feiglin’s attempts to gain power in the Likud were “quixotic” or not, and then she concludes that paragraph hinting that Netanyahu used his power within the party to make it difficult for Feiglin to succeed! What a surprise for that to happen in politics! Ask Gidon Saar and Moshe Kachlon about it! But for Moshe Feiglin who repeatedly proclaimed that the ONLY way to get his policies implemented was through a large party (and the Likud was the only appropriate large party), his “taking his marbles and running away” exit from the Likud, just because the fight had become “dirty”, sure seems like hypocrisy to me (but that is also a side issue)!

Liel then begins a name-calling type of game with the “Third Paragraph”. Really! Calling claims against your party (which are supported by some clear evidence) “lies” is just sooo convincing!

Then Liel goes on to argue about some more terms, in a picayune fashion. Though I don’t think anyone truly cares about the term “theocratic” (they are simply concerned that Feiglin may be planning to introduce religious coercion, through the “back door”, on topics he feels particularly strongly about), it WAS totally unnecessary for Kerstein to mention it – he simply opened himself up to a fight about that term instead of Liel having to deal with the real issues!

Then some more disputing of terms like “Christian Dominionism,” –  which, depending upon how you define it, COULD have things in common with Feiglin’s statements – so we waste some more space on that, and on the Jewishness of liberal democracy (which many Zehut supporters have told me IS un-Jewish, so Kerstein’s claim is not the “wild jump” that Liel wants it to be)!

Then Liel goes on to “misquotes” which however “stem from the English translation of the previous edition of the ZEHUT platform which appears on the ZEHUT International website” as we have noted above!

On and on, capitalizing on Kerstein’s admittedly poor choice of words in many cases, Liel continues to be combative, but does nothing to dispel the clear indications that the basic complaints are very likely to be true!

In her paragraphs about the “Eighteenth Paragraph”, at least Liel translates the Zehut platform correctly, in my opinion, but the term “hostile elements” is still vague enough that Kerstein’s concerns about it may even be too limited – it could easily include lots of Jews who don’t think as Feiglin does, as well as Arabs!

Then arguments about who is the bigger liar and who is laboring “under a demographic fantasy,” along with other demographic claims, which may have some basis, but are not as verified as Liel claims.

Liel also has a dispute about how bloody the removal of the Palestinian Authority could be, somehow assuming that the “rising unrest in the territories” would help ISRAEL in the end!
Then Liel has the temerity to compare the first Lebanon War – which, you may have noticed, occurred in LEBANON – to the situation in Judea and Samaria, a totally unwarranted comparison in my opinion!

Next Liel continues into arguments about “ethnic cleansing” instead of relating to the unethical nature of refusing citizenship to people (who have the Halachic status of “Ger Toshav”, for those of you interested in the Halachic [Jewish Law] aspects of this, as noted in my previous Blog Post, linked to above) whose living area you are annexing.

It just goes on and on, and in her comments on “the Thirty-fourth paragraph”, Liel states that ‘in a Jewish Press interview in 2013, Feiglin spoke well of Rav Meir Kahane, and said, “But I can definitely say that the slogan ‘Kahane tzadak — Kahane was right’ has proven itself many times.” Does anyone seriously dispute this?’
Leil is totally disconnected from the Israeli political discourse if she doesn’t know that most people very seriously dispute the statement that ‘Kahane was right’.

Specifically, Kahane’s statements of support for Jews who attacked innocent Arabs (which I personally heard at least once, and I heard several reports of other such incidents) – though he appears never to have made a statement inciting violence against Arabs before it happened – render him beyond the pale to all moral people (including Halachic Jews, of course).

Therefore, I certainly feel that what Liel says about Kerstein’s opinion (with appropriate emendations) is applicable to her pronouncements, “[She]’s entitled to h[er] opinion, but it’s a pretty sad opinion”!

Apr 2, 2019

Food for Thought about the Zehut Party and Moshe Feiglin

[This essay has also been Posted on my Times of Israel Blog]

Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut Party has been discussed quite a lot, especially recently, and I feel that it would be a public service to point out the core reasons for being very wary of what the messages transmitted by Moshe Feiglin and his Zehut party might mean, and to advise people not to vote for Zehut – therefore, I shall work toward those goals here.

Some of the people whom I have seen supporting the Zehut Party have even given justifications from Halachah (Jewish Law) for their support. Therefore, I will also relate to Jewish Law in certain parts of this essay.

To be absolutely clear, the basic complaints against Moshe Feiglin and Zehut are:
  1. 1. Political Chauvinism (in the sense of “undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs” – the group being “correctly thinking people,” according to Feiglin’s definition of that), if not outright totalitarian thinking;
  2. 2. Abusive, racist attitudes toward innocent Arabs (who clearly fit – even nowadays – the category of “Ger Toshav,” according to the Kesef Mishneh [who is Rav Yosef Karo, composer of the Shulchan Aruch] on the Rambam, Hilchot Avodah Zara 10:6, who states that the Rambam also accepts this – for those of you who wish to relate to the Jewish Law aspects of this).

Complaint #1 certainly seems supported by various statements by Feiglin over the years, including his statements along the lines of “Oslo traitors must be brought to trial,” which he reiterated to me personally in one of his visits to Bet Shemesh as part of his campaigning to gain power within the Likud. This attempt to make political decisions, as naïve and incorrect as the philosophy behind them may be, into something justiciable reeks of totalitarian regimes, and should be a red flag for all moral people to question the wisdom of voting for the Zehut party.

Complaint #2 also certainly seems supported by various statements by Feiglin over the years. One of them was the statement that ‘Kahane was right’ (from his 2013 Jewish Press interview), since, among other things – though Kahane appears never to have made a statement inciting violence against Arabs before it happened – his statements of support for Jews who attacked innocent Arabs (which I personally heard at least once, and I heard several reports of other such incidents) rendered Kahane beyond the pale to all moral people (including Halachic Jews, of course).

Additional support for Complaint #2 derives from the Zehut platform (the options for Arabs of Judea and Samaria given in section 5 [ה] of the “Stages of the [Judea and Samaria] Political Program” [שלבי התכנית המדינית] – which appear on pages 181-182 of the current Hebrew version of the Zehut platform which I have downloaded as a PDF file from the Zehut website).

  • a. Option #1, with its “emigration package” for Arabs who agree to leave the territories, based upon an overly optimistic estimate of how many Arabs would emigrate if given the chance, is something that could easily degenerate into violence fomented by Jewish extremists desiring to “encourage” Arabs to accept the emigration package. The atmosphere that I have observed in almost all of the Zehut gatherings, leads me to fear that a Zehut government might be quite likely to “turn a blind eye” to such violence “to promote the cause,” and might even discreetly encourage it! Of course, the likelihood is high that Arab extremists would employ their own violence against any Arabs willing to emigrate – though I doubt that a Zehut government would “turn a blind eye” to that violence!
  • b. Option #2 is simply granting second-class citizenship to Arabs, and even that is “after a period determined by security considerations” – a phrase open to many possible interpretations!
  • c. Option #3 is a “long term track” subject to all kinds of examination of those Arabs who wish to achieve Israeli citizenship! It appears that this would be possible only for a minute fraction of those Arabs in the annexed territory, which, as we all know, is in direct contradiction to the behavior of democratic countries toward people living in territories that they have conquered (and I use the term “conquer”, since that is what we did in a defensive war for our survival, as we had the right to do!).

    Despite the claims of various apologists for Zehut that this is not so, the vast majority of the conquests by democratic countries resulted in citizenship for the residents of the areas conquered. One must relate to the major, large-scale conquests – like the United States conquest of “the Mexican Cession” – rather than to the minor holdings the USA has in the Micronesia area, whose final status has not yet been decided. In Puerto Rico the denizens have been granted US citizenship, and it even appears to be on its way to statehood – so that example does not support the Zehut apologists either!

In closing, I must point out that after encountering many cases of a person who opposes Zehut, or Moshe Feiglin, being called someone who doesn’t “value an authentic Torah government,” and/or other phrases implying that only those who support Feiglin are Torah-true Jews, I must comment that this type of behavior is atrocious, ad hominem attacking of people whom the attackers rarely even know much (or anything) about!

Of course, it is extremely difficult to communicate any facts which dispute the views of “True Believers” to those believers, but I am hopeful that people with open minds will, at the very least, be wary of what the messages transmitted by Moshe Feiglin and his Zehut party might mean, and perhaps reconsider if they were thinking of voting for that party.

Mar 6, 2019

The 21st Knesset Elections and Netanyahu’s Crisis

This essay may also be found on my Times of Israel blog!

My Facebook Post from Sunday, 3 March, 2019, and the ensuing discussion it caused with my friend Jason Elbaum, caused me to hone my thoughts about Binyamin Netanyahu’s crisis, as a Prime Minister of Israel who is likely to have a few indictments brought against him in the coming year, and as a candidate to be Prime Minister again after the upcoming elections for the 21st Knesset, which will be held on Tuesday, 9 April, 2019.
As a result, I have composed this essay on what seems to me to be the most reasonable approach toward what we know about Netanyahu’s legal troubles, and toward his behavior in general.

First of all, I wish to bring to everyone’s attention that most (if not all) of the articles on the internet about the Netanyahu Crisis, have related to only some of the aspects of this subject, while I hope here to present my analysis of every issue that has some relevance to this subject.

I wish to begin with Netanyahu’s performance as Prime Minister: I am basically pleased with it. I suspect that a few (not many) politicians (such as the late Moshe Arens) might have done better, and there are statements and policies of Netanyahu’s with which I disagree, but, overall, he has handled the difficult job of balancing a coalition and running a government in a manner that I think deserves praise.
That said, no one is irreplaceable! “The cemeteries of France are full of people the world could not survive without”, as was once stated by someone I knew decades ago (and is often attributed to Charles De Gaulle).

If someone has committed a criminal offense, or has behaved in such an immoral or unethical manner as to be unfit for office, s/he must go – no matter how much I may like the way they performed their job! So the criminal, moral, and ethical aspects of this subject must also be examined – as I hope to do a bit further on.

Then there are the issues about how Netanyahu’s personality has affected his performance. The late Moshe Arens, one of Netanyahu’s mentors, was my paradigm for excellence in an Israeli politician. Arens navigated the intricacies of coalition politics, international relations, and internal Israeli affairs with superb skill, while being completely committed to the civil rights of the individual, and being a modest and unpretentious person with all that!
Netanyahu appears to have many of Arens’ skills, but seems to be sorely lacking in the area of being a modest and unpretentious person, and his commitment to the civil rights of the individual seems to waver when that might interfere with his own political power. Additionally, unlike Arens’ mentoring of him, Netanyahu never seems to groom people to succeed him, and appears to have done his best to stifle the chances of anyone who might rival his popularity.
These types of personality traits do not tend to promote the building of a strong cadre of qualified people in one’s own party, and tend to push the person exhibiting them toward an almost paranoid fear of anyone who isn’t a “yes man”.
These issues about Netanyahu’s personality are not criminal, and may not even be immoral or unethical, but they make him less of an ideal leader than he could be, given his excellent skills in other areas.

Another issue that is present, though obscured by larger questions, is that of the length of term in office. Netanyahu has served as Prime Minister for more than thirteen years (a large part of that consecutively), in our country which has no limits on the amount of time a person can serve as Prime Minister.
Of all Israel’s Prime Ministers, only Menachem Begin supposedly resigned of his own free will (and that is debated by historians – though there are reports which note that he submitted his resignation soon after he reached the age of 70, which, apparently several years before, he had noted as an appropriate age to retire from being a Prime Minister [and I remember Begin being quoted as saying something to that effect]).
All other Prime Ministers to date have either been forced out of office (although Ben-Gurion and Meir resigned, most historical portrayals that I have seen portray them as having been forced out of office without elections), or died in office. Israel has had no leader who, like George Washington in the USA, set a limit on how long he would serve and then retired (with the possible exception of Menachem Begin).

I believe that this is a mistake (as my friend Miriam Friedman Zussman has noted on Facebook, “One of the major problems of having no term limits is that leaders don’t cultivate successors and sometimes actively fight anyone that can potentially lead, so no one in their party can challenge them.” – deficiencies that Netanyahu seems to suffer from, as I noted above). Though this issue is not directly related to Netanyahu’s legal troubles, it may have contributed to them indirectly. A Prime Minister who serves for a long period of time may begin to feel himself somewhat “above the law,” and feel that, “since the country needs him so much,” he can bend the laws and norms of public service.
I suggest that there be legal limits set on how long a person can serve as Prime Minister – something like, “Ten years or two terms (which, in certain cases, can be as long as ten years or even a little longer), whichever is longer,” seems appropriate to me.

Now, to the legal cases against Netanyahu themselves:

Traditionally, bribery has been defined, conceptually, as giving something of value to someone in return for receiving illicit favors from that person (especially if that person has the ability to influence governmental/judicial decisions). [Since the law in Israel also takes “משפט עברי” (Jewish Law- Halacha) into account, I will also bring examples from Jewish Law.] Therefore, bribery includes all things of value, even if it is non-monetary value, as has been specified in Jewish law [הרמב”ם (הל’ סנהדרין פרק כג, הלכה ג), ובעקבותיו ה’שולחן ערוך’ (חו”מ סימן ט), פסק: “ולא שוחד ממון בלבד אלא אפילו שוחד דברים”.]. This is what Netanyahu is charged with in Case 4000 (officially named in Hebrew “מעבר לאופק”, and also called The Bezeq-Walla-Elovitch Case).

Of course, there is the claim that the change from the negative news coverage to positive news coverage (by the Walla news site owned by Bezeq, in which Shaul Elovitch holds the controlling share) that Netanyahu allegedly demanded in return for approval of a merger which would monetarily benefit Elovitch, cannot be bribery because “there is no clear monetary value to positive news coverage”! However, such a claim appears totally baseless to me. First of all, there is value other than monetary value (as Jewish Law, states, as I noted above). Additionally, as my friend Eliyahu Shiffman has noted on Facebook, “How much would a political party be willing to pay a PR firm that credibly promised that party more positive news coverage? Of course it has monetary value!”

There is also the question posited by many Netanyahu supporters that “"Plenty of communications ministers have issued decisions that favor Bezeq. Were they all guilty of bribery?” However, this sounds to me like a totally invalid comparison made as an apologetic, in order to create an artificial justification for Netanyahu’s alleged actions. It seems to me the equivalent of justifying a bank robber by saying, “Plenty of people have walked down Main Street and given money to a beggar there, as the bank robber did on his way to rob the bank – were they all guilty of robbing a bank?”! The part of Netanyahu’s alleged behavior that is a crime is the demanding quid quo pro for approving the merger that favored Bezeq – not the benefit which accrued afterwards to Bezeq!

Then there is the claim by Netanyahu diehards that the merger that benefited Bezeq would have gone through anyway without any intervention by Netanyahu! However, this again is a shift of focus made as an apologetic, in order to create an artificial justification for Netanyahu’s alleged actions. What was wrong about Netanyahu’s alleged behavior was the demand of quid quo pro for a decision – not the decision itself! As Jewish law states: רמב"ם, הלכות סנהדרין, פרק כג, הלכה א: אלא אפילו לזכות את הזכאי ולחייב את החייב, אסור, ועובר בלא תעשה – making it clear that accepting a bribe to make the correct decision is also a crime.

There is also the claim that (even if the alleged actions are actually the ones Netanyahu took) finding Netanyahu guilty of bribery in Case 4000, or breach of trust in Case 2000, also called the Netanyahu-Mozes Case (where Netanyahu is alleged to have offered Arnon Mozes, the owner of a newspaper that was critical of Netanyahu, promotion of legislation which would limit the competition to Mozes’ newspaper, if Mozes would reduce the criticism and be more praising of Netanyahu’s policies) would make “political dealing bribery by definition, since any politician would be willing to pay for political support for their priorities”! However, this has an easy refutation also, as my friend Eliyahu Shiffman has noted on Facebook, “When a politician offers to pass legislation, not for the public’s benefit, but to benefit a media mogul in exchange for better coverage of the politician, that’s bribery. When a politician agrees to pay money to a PR company to influence/convince key media people via legitimate means, that is purchasing services. To me, the distinction is obvious.”!

Therefore, I do not see any legal weaknesses in the cases against Netanyahu, if the alleged actions are actually the ones Netanyahu took. This also indicates that accusations by Netanyahu and his supporters that these cases were inflated into something criminal because all sorts of officials in the Police Department and the Justice Department (up to and including the Attorney General himself) were leftists out to illegitimately weaken Netanyahu’s right-wing government, or weak people cowed by the leftists, appear to be totally baseless!

There have also been various claims by Netanyahu diehards that leftists have been pressuring the Attorney General (as noted above) to ensure that he indicts Netanyahu.
This disingenuousness, as if only leftists have been pressuring the Attorney General, is actually unworthy of any response, since rightists have also been pressuring the Attorney General very strongly (to ensure that he does not indict Netanyahu), and even middle-of-the-roaders, like myself, have been pressuring the Attorney General with our requests that he ignore the pressure from the left and from the right, and just do his job properly and announce whatever conclusions he reaches whenever he reaches them!
As my friend Daniel Goldman responded on Facebook to someone’s query as to who, from which side of the political spectrum, has been pressuring the Attorney General, “Who isn’t pressuring the Attorney General?!

Next, we come to the strategy of accusing almost the entire justice system of tremendous bias and illegitimate attempts to undermine Netanyahu’s lawfully elected right-wing government. This certainly sounds like the frantic effort of a person who will use any means possible to hold on to power, including undermining the very governmental system of which he is a part!
That, of course, is a very dangerous course of action, which also brings into question Netanyahu’s judgement and his fitness for high governmental office.

After that, are the questions about the moral and ethical implications of Netanyahu’s alleged actions in the situations described in Case 1000 (also called The Gifts Affair), Case 2000, and Case 4000. None of those implications reflect favorably upon Netanyahu, though the public has to decide for themselves how poorly they reflect upon Netanyahu and whether that is significant enough to affect whether they will vote for him and his party!

The result of the analysis of the issues, as far as I can see, is to make Netanyahu clearly unfit for office if his alleged actions are actually the ones he performed (which can only be determined finally at the trials of these cases), and certainly of questionable character based upon the way in which he “defends himself” in the public arena from the charges which are to be brought against him (pending a hearing with the Attorney General), and perhaps unfit for office ethically and/or morally by the excesses he appears to have been guilty of.

As to what Netanyahu should do now, and whether we should vote for him and his party, I leave that open to suggestion by others.

Here is an essay by David Horowitz, founding editor of the Times of Israel, on Netanyahu’s behavior as an indictment against him has moved nearer.

And here is an interesting suggestion from notable right-winger Ben-Dror Yemini (in Hebrew) as to what Netanyahu (can do without actually admitting to wrongdoing and) should do.

Nov 3, 2018

Feiglin Conspiracy to Support the Israeli Left - Satire

Moshe Feiglin the Shabak Agent – SATIRE!

DISCLAIMER: This is a SATIRE, written by a person who doesn’t believe it at all!

This was written as a parody of conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. However, you conspiracy theorists out there who want to believe it can go right ahead – it is parodying your extremely exaggerated willingness to believe ridiculous things, so it would be Poetic Justice if you did believe it!

Running into my friend Mike Miller recently (for those conspiracy theorists who take things too literally, let me clarify that I did NOT have a traffic accident with Mike, I just met up with him 😊 ), who also appreciates sarcastic parody, reminded me that I had been meaning to write this satire for a while now. Therefore, I am finally writing it – enjoy!

After realizing that the vast majority of Moshe Feiglin supporters that I know in my neighborhood are conspiracy theorists (in fact, it seems that I can think of only 2, or maybe make that 1½, who are NOT conspiracy theorists!), I came to the conclusion that the best parody that I could write at this point is a conspiracy theory about Moshe Feiglin and his followers. That is how this satiric essay was born!

So let’s begin this parody with noting that Moshe Feiglin was born neither on the west bank nor in the USA, but rather in Haifa, which is already suspicious! People from Haifa just never start political movements, so there is probably some conspiracy going on to cover up where he was REALLY born!
Also Feiglin’s father served in the Jewish Settlement Police, in which served such notable extreme leftists as Yigal Alon and Ariel Sharon, and which cooperated with the British mandate sometimes, which must also be very suspicious!

Also, despite the fact that the commonly accepted enlistment path among religiously observant Israelis is through the Hesder program, which allows Orthodox Jewish men to pursue religious studies for a year and a half at an approved Yeshiva, Moshe Feiglin enlisted in the Israeli army for the full mandatory three-year term – making his membership in the Israeli Dati-Leumi community rather suspect!

Also, Feiglin once ran a snapling company that also used rope rappelling in the construction industry – a very suspicious occupation! In fact, Feiglin is proven to be a disguised leftist by the Gematria relating to this occupation. The Gematria of Snapling in Hebrew [233] and that of Glishat Matsukim [1,029], another phrase for snapling in Hebrew, add up to 1,262; and the Hebrew Gematria of Smolan Mitchapes [disguised leftist] is 1,249. The difference is 13, just like the deeply unknowable 13 attributes of God – which shows that in a hidden way, undiscernible to regular human methods of searching, Moshe Feiglin is actually a disguised leftist! But WE have broken through the barriers in order to protect you all from left-wing deception! Additionally, snapling supporters generally support the slave farms on Mars, where left-wing dictators force right-wing people to study the writings of Bernie Sanders and Louis Farrakhan!

It is well-known that Moshe Feiglin co-founded the Zo Artzeinu movement with Shmuel Sackett in 1993 to protest, and hopefully cancel, the Oslo Accords, but those accords were not, in the end, cancelled by Israel, but rather ruined by the actions of the Palestinian leadership – thus making Feiglin a PARTNER WITH THE PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP to undermine the Oslo Accords!
In 2000, Moshe Feiglin and his followers in the Manhigut Yehudit faction joined the Likud, in what seems to have been a clever move. Feiglin declared that the only way for his ideals (which his supporters understood to mean the ideals of extremists like Rabbi Meir Kahane) to be attained was by working through a big party in the Israeli political system and eventually taking over that party, and the Likud seemed to be a party within which his group could hope to obtain influence. Indeed Feiglin’s group had some success in Likud primaries, and in 2013, after that success, Shmuel Sackett authored an article on the Manhigut Yehudit website rejecting calls from supporters that he and Feiglin renounce Kahane.

However, Moshe Feiglin DID NOT author such an article, which creates a suspicion that he may be a Trojan-horse agent working to undermine the power of the right and to use all the votes of his supporters to actually support the left-wing!
After all, with so many known Shabak agents masquerading as right-wing politicians in order to destroy right-wing influence (such as, Avishai Raviv, Oren Hazan, Yigal Amir, Yigal Bibi, Yigal Yasinov, Yigal Guetta, Yigal Yadin, and basically anyone named “Yigal”) doesn’t it seem logical that Feiglin would also be a Shabak agent masquerading as a right-wing politician in order to destroy right-wing influence?

After that, Moshe Feiglin also pulled his faction out of the Likud in January, 2015, despite impressive gains within the party, because of a minor personal setback in the December, 2014, primaries. Feiglin then announced that his faction would run as an independent party for the Knesset – in direct contradiction to his entire avowed political philosophy of running ONLY as a faction within a major party! Doing that, rather than hanging on and hoping to improve his position the next time primaries would be held, also provides strong indications that Moshe Feiglin must be a Shabak agent trying to undermine the strength of the right-wing by getting so many votes into an independent party which disguises itself as right-wing, when it will actually support left-wing agendas in practice, as do all of the breakaway protest parties!

Now that we have proved beyond all doubt, with everything from political truisms to Kabbalah, that Moshe Feiglin and his party are actually left-wing entities masquerading as right-wing forces, we have AN ADDITIONAL SPECIAL OFFER FOR YOU ALL!
AS AN ADDITIONAL BONUS, if you Share this Post with 50 other people, and also send all of your banking information and passwords to the Moshe Feiglin Shabak Agent Brooklyn Bridge Foundation, you will receive the $4 million prize awaiting anyone who does so!
Come on now, all you true believers, CASH IN BIG on this great offer!

Aug 1, 2017

Thoughts on Sovereignty and the Temple Mount, on Tish’a B’Av

As Posted on my Times of Israel Blog.

As the fast, and day of mourning (and, hopefully, repentance), of the ninth of the Jewish month of Av (Tish’a B’Av) has drawn near this year (2017 – 5777), I have seen a few Posts on FaceBook, and comments elsewhere, proposing the thesis that our problems dealing with security and other arrangements on the Temple Mount, which have heightened in the past several weeks, show that the Jewish State does not yet have actual sovereignty on the Temple Mount.

After pondering this thesis, I propose a different thesis which, in my mind, better fits the situation.

First, I would relate to the Temple Mount itself. It would very likely be a mockery to rebuild our Holy Temple at this stage in our national regeneration. As a great Tzaddik (Righteous Person) told me many years ago, rebuilding the Temple now would probably produce exactly the opposite of the Temple’s purpose.

Instead of being a place which unites all Israel and brings peace to the world, a rebuilt Temple at this time would probably immediately become the focus of all that divides the nation of Israel, increasing internecine struggles and producing almost daily vehement quarrels, which would disgrace the Name of Heaven – perhaps even to an unprecedented degree!

That being the case, the great Tzaddik told me, it is beneficial to have a monotheistic religion in charge of things on the Temple Mount, as is the present situation. As to the Jews’ right to pray there as well, that has already been addressed by the late Israeli Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, z”l, years ago, though the issue itself is far from being fully resolved.

Now, at present, the question is: How do we balance out these various aspects of the administration of the Temple Mount?

To my mind, the problems we have been having, both recently and in the long run, are an indication that the State of Israel DOES have sovereignty over the Temple Mount!
When you don’t have sovereignty, someone else confronts the problems and makes decisions as to how to handle them, and all that you can do is to complain (and, perhaps, demonstrate, if you are permitted to do so) if you disagree with the results.

However, when YOU have sovereignty, then YOU have to make the difficult decisions regarding the administration of the Temple Mount (and of anything else over which you have sovereignty) – you can’t pass that off to someone else, whom you can then blame without having to take responsibility for the results!
Sovereignty conveys responsibility as well!

One must remember that the sovereignty to decide what steps to take regarding the Temple Mount means that the Israeli Government has the responsibility of caring for its citizens in the wake of those decisions – and decisions regarding the Temple Mount have great impact on what occurs.
It seems to me that much of what occurs, or can occur, with regard to the Temple Mount is influenced by our enemies search for excuses to incite violence against the Jews, and that is reprehensible and should be addressed and opposed. However, until this problem is completely resolved, it is, unfortunately, part of the situation to be dealt with.

The results which will (or, will likely) occur, for whatever reason, are part of the equation with which Israel’s leadership deals in practice, and when they do so, they are exercising sovereignty. I have seen numerous analyses which claim that the Israeli government should have acted differently, and numerous ways in which it is suggested that it should have acted. Perhaps our government should have chosen one of those alternatives, but, for now, it has chosen the path it has chosen to exercise Israel’s sovereignty, and I remind us all that it has led to a new peak in the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount on this Tish’a B’Av.

Though many issues, including the right of freedom of prayer on the Temple Mount for Jews, have not yet been fully resolved, we must also recognize the progress made so far.

We may have utilized our sovereignty to make unwise decisions regarding the Temple Mount, or to make the wisest decisions in the world, but those decisions were made by Israel’s elected government and on one else, and, to me, that fact makes those decisions an exercise of sovereignty by the government of Israel.

Nov 11, 2016

Thoughts about the Electoral College of the USA

As posted to TheTimes of Israel Blogs, and to FaceBook.

We have just completed the process of electing a new President of the USA, and, as occurs every four years, the Electoral College of the USA has again come under scrutiny.

As my friend Stuart Schnee has queried on FaceBook: Is there a good reason to keep the electoral college now?

Like Stuart I am conservative about changing things in the political structure of a reasonably successful democracy (actually, a Republic - as James Madison says [“A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place” …] in Federalist No. 10 of "The Federalist Papers").
However, I have been hearing about this and thinking about it for at least fifty years now (political awareness begins early in my family), so I have some thoughts to share on the topic.
It DOES seem to me that that there is no longer a rationale for keeping the US Electoral College (and I say this without any relation to the present Presidential elections, in which I understand that Hillary Clinton has actually won the popular vote, though having lost the Presidency – after all, four other Presidential elections have gone that way over the years as well).
Looking over the Federalist Papers, I see a host of explanations for having an Electoral College of which few, if any, seem to have any applicability today.

The electors aren't even people whom we, the voters, know, anymore. We are much more likely to have in depth information about the candidates than to know anything about the electors (even their names) - the opposite of the situation which pertained when the US Constitution was written.
There is no reasonable, democratic way to guarantee that at least one of the houses of Congress be dominated by a different party than the President's - which seems to me the best way to guarantee against "the tyranny of the majority" which so many of the USA's Founding Fathers were fearful of - but, I assume that this why we also have the Judicial Branch of the USA Government.
Therefore, it seems to me that the Electoral College has "run its course" and should be abolished, and that the President might just as well be elected by direct popular vote - the other checks and balances of the American system should protect against the gross abuses that many feared, and wanted the Electoral College to protect against, in the late 18th century.
However, this change will only come to pass when enough of the USA electorate and legislators actually invest enough of their time on this issue to come to an informed opinion about it (and even then, there may be a majority who, nevertheless, want to remain with the traditional Electoral College), and I, personally, am not particularly concerned about this.

After all, the system is NOT UNFAIR to the CANDIDATES for President, since they all know how it operates and all plan their campaign strategies in order to win a majority of the electors – it is just silly, in the age of instantaneous electronic communication, to continue with a system constructed largely based upon the constraints of a period when one could not communicate between one end of the (much smaller) USA and the other in less than a few days of travel by horse or boat!

Since altering the Constitution is a serious matter the Founding Fathers made approving an amendment a rather involved process, though it is possible and has been done several times when enough public interest was raised on a topic.
Therefore, whenever there is enough popular pressure (from citizen actions groups, or whatever – if this ever actually occurs), the houses of Congress, or the legislatures of the states (each option is possible), can, by a two-thirds majority, cause the initiation of the process which can, if ratified by three-fourths of the states, alter the situation to something less silly.
Or maybe not enough people are really interested enough for this process to occur with regard to the Electoral College, and most people are willing to live with this silly institution even in this day and age?

Aug 6, 2015

Shtikipedia 0001 - Internet Encyclopedia Parody

This is an entry on my blog solely for the purpose of use for the "Shtikipedia" internet encyclopedia parody:

This an official Shtikipedia entry, which is ABSOLUTELY TRUE (since it says it is!  ;-) ), verifying that:
1. Pittsburgh, when written on a birth certificate from the State of Pennsylvania, really means Zimbabwe!
2. Ally County, when written on a birth certificate from the State of Pennsylvania, really means Africa!