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"It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than to put one's trust in princes." -Tehilah 118:8-9

Annapolis and the Fall of America: Part III

Israpundit reports:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday categorically rejected assertions by American Jewish leaders that Jerusalem is not an Israeli issue but "a Jewish one."

Speaking at a news briefing Monday, Olmert said that the Jerusalem issue had "been determined long ago" and that "the government of Israel has a sovereign right to negotiate anything on behalf of Israel."

He said that at this stage, the matter was a theoretical rather than practical one, as the subject of Jerusalem was not yet on the negotiating table.
This morning, I got to sip my coffee while listening to Olmert declare, "I have no doubt that the reality created in our region in 1967 will change significantly." Somehow, I don't think he was talking about corn fields in downtown Bethlehem.

For a brilliant news wrapup with commentary, check out Carl in Jerusalem's post on the announcement of the division of Jerusalem on Israel Matzav. Most interestingly, note the Palestinian "demand" to separate the concepts of "Jewish" and "nation of Israel."

Of course, should anyone be in doubt as to the Jewishness of Jerusalem or Israel, check out the JPost's Aaron Rubinstein's edifying op/ed.

The most phenomenally interesting thing to come out of this entire escapade so far stems not from the American Naval academy, but from a group of Jerusalem-friendly Jewish Israelis calling themselves The New Jewish Congress. Excerpts from their press release published on Israpundit read:
Rabbi Dov Stein, a central rabbinical activist in an attempt, spearheaded by talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz, to revive the Sanhedrin, described the civil service and warned of the dangers of nepotism in the ranks of the civil servants of the Jewish state. Blanat favoritism toward relatives and friends is not conducive to the Jewish sovereignty that is to be striven for, Stein said.

Dr. Amnon Hever spoke of social justice in the spirit of Israel’s prophets, such as Isaiah, Amos and others, and emphasized that this was a prerequisite for rebuilding of the Temple according to various Jewish sources. Hever regretted that Israel’s early pioneers, who were committed to social justice, attempted to implement it relying on the principles of communism and socialism as opposed to sterling Jewish principles.

...Former Knesset member Elyakim Haetzni lashed out at the Annapolis Conference, which he said was intended to create two Quartet protectorates which are to entirely replace and eradicate the independent Jewish state of Israel. These protectorates, Palestine and, in name only, Israel, would be “defended” by NATO. Neither would enjoy sovereignty; the Palestinian entity so as not to endanger world peace and the Jewish entity because its people and supporters worldwide would, perhaps, not speak out sufficiently for Israel to retain the Jewish sovereignty it currently enjoyed. Haetzni repeated his known position regarding the advisability of civil disobedience.
And if you think the Arabs really plan on letting any Jews OR Israelis survive, Carl in Jerusalem reminds you to think again.

Of course, the real downer for American Jews in this is the disappointment many of our Israeli brothers and sisters have in President Bush who, ironically, was the first Republican President to garner 25-30% of the Jewish American vote in the 2004 election. Many, of course, attribute this to his strong pro-Israel platform, a platform that was quickly forgotten around January 21, 2005.

For some historical perspective, check out Caroline Glick's comparison of Annapolis with U.N. Resolution 181, aka the "partition resolution" passed in 1947, along with Frank Gaffney's analysis from the Washington Times, comparing Annapolis to the infamous "peace in our time" meeting in Munich in 1938, where Chamberlin and the French decided to allow Hitler to have his way with the Czechs.

...I'm still letting all of this sink in before I make any commentary of my own. Not that I don't already know what I think of it all-- but I'd rather make an attempt to forge some new insight, rather than simply mimic the already brilliant thoughts of others.

Stay tuned...

posted by Shoshana @ 8:00 PM

Jewish America: Beware

"Jewish university students forced to flee from campus" at York University in Toronto, Canada. View this headline in light of the short-term goals of the North American Union and the rhetorical question "Who's the Bigger Threat to America", and suddenly what's going on in France (and what has been going on for quite a while according to Ken Timmerman's excellently researched book Preachers of Hate) will be happening State-side sooner rather than later.

Jewish people of America-- in the age of the Internet, you can't say you haven't been warned.

More commentary on Annapolis to come... email your thoughts about the conference to: theunifiedbody AT yahoo DOT com

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posted by Shoshana @ 8:24 PM

Annapolis and the Fall of America: Part II

Carl in Jerusalem, AKA Israel Matzav is one of my top primary blog resources for getting the down-lo (yes, I said "down-lo"- what's the Hebrew equivalent?) on what's going on on the ground in Israel. Skimming through the past few days' worth of posts, I learned that a mass prayer rally at the Western Wall and demonstration outside of the Prime Minister's house in Jerusalem were being organized for tomorrow. However, the demonstration has been postponed due to inclement weather. Apparently, those organizing the demonstration are trying to promote some level of civil disobedience. Carl makes a few wise comments regarding the response of the Israeli justice system to civil disobedience (let's just say that palestinian bombers get a better reception) and I can't help but wonder if the organizers won't just lose interest before anything can be organized. After all, if they're willing to cancel because they don't want to get a little wet, how willing are they to get jail time for their beliefs?

Carl also has a great post with links to the J-blogosphere's own commentary on Annapolis. There's also another post with a link to a new mega-site dedicated to the unification of Jerusalem. So far, it's only in Hebrew, but I'd stay tuned.

In an absolutely awesome post titled Will Annapolis Matter? Carl discusses the opinions of former JPost editor Bret Stephen, as published in the Wall Street Journal. Carl concludes:
Fifty countries are to be invited to Annapolis. Unless forty-eight of them are named Micronesia, none of them other than the United States is likely to be a friend of Israel. Israel is going to be overwhelmed with enemies at the 'conference.' And with their legacy on the line, Condoleeza Rice and George Bush seem to be ready to abandon friendship in favor of history.[Emphasis mine.]

That's why I believe Annapolis will matter and that's why I can't dismiss it as Secretary of State Rice's 'pointless fiasco,' however accurate that description might otherwise be.
His most recent post details a report from WorldNetDaily that Olmert has agreed to the "Right of Return" for "palestinian refugees." The report also notes:
Various media reports – denied by Olmert – claimed in recent weeks Israel would also evacuate sections of Jerusalem and would negotiate what are considered core Israeli-Palestinian issues – primarily the status of Jerusalem and the so-called return of refugees.
Meanwhile, over at Israpundit, Ted Belman posts How I Learned to Love the Bomb in which he quotes from Aluff Benn's article in Ha'aretz, "Get Used to the Iranian Bomb." Benn writes,
Neither the U.S. nor Israel has a military option against Iran. Bombing the nuclear facilities would cause oil prices to skyrocket and would only strengthen the extremists in Tehran. In their view, Iran would respond by hitting the American soldiers stationed in Iraq and the oil facilities in the Gulf, and would begin terrorist operations in America.
And Belman agrees,
That’s the way I see it also.

No one is going to bomb Iran.

Israel should keep Judea and Samaria.
Really, at this point, can coalescing even be considered an option, let alone a viable one? Wait, let me guess: Being a brave Jew means kvetching while Olmert coalesces for us, right?

To Be Continued...

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posted by Shoshana @ 8:12 PM

Annapolis and the Fall of America: Part I

We know where Annapolis is taking us to, namely; Auschwitz borders, expulsion and deportation of 200,000 Jews and the division of Jerusalem with the Holy Basin under the control of the Muslims. Need we know more?
-Ted Belman, Annapolis will bring death and destruction. Israpundit 14 Nov 2007

The United States government is in the process of organizing a Middle East "Peace Conference" to be held at the end of November in Annapolis, MD. Of course, Ted Belman and the fine folks at Israpundit have been following the press and providing analysis on the prospective event. To give you an accurate timeline of current events surrounding the Annapolis conference, I summarize mainly from Israpundit's excellent archive:

Oct. 16: Israpundit quotes David Bedein of The Bulletin who writes,
A week ago, in an attempt to show maximum flexibility during the forthcoming negotiations in Annapolis, Md., two senior Israeli cabinet ministers - Haim Ramon and Avigdor Lieberman - declared that they would be willing to cede Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, to the sovereign control of a future independent Palestinian state. “Ceding Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem” does not sit well with many Israelis and conjures up images of what Jerusalem endured from 1949 until 1967, when the city of Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan. In West Jerusalem, on the Israeli side of the divide, people from all religions could visit and reside. In East Jerusalem, on the Jordanian side, no Jew was allowed.


With almost every media outlet in the Middle East expressing doubt the scheduled Middle East summit on November 26th will bear any fruit, public relations advisors to the Israeli, American and Palestinian leadership have suddenly orchestrated a high profile meeting with more than eighty senior Israeli, American and Palestinian leaders to discuss politics, security, communications and economics.

This gathering will take part in a forum that will take place at Saban Center for Middle East Policy Center between November 3rd and November 5th.

The Saban Center is directed by former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk.

...On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his intention to attend the November 3rd parlay and it was announced that the Middle East Quartet envoy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be the main speaker on the official opening evening. The forum has scheduled plenary sessions on the Saudi Initiative, the Iranian nuclear threat, the role of the intelligence community and the democratization policies advocated by the USA and other democratic governments in the West.
Oct. 27: Israpundit publishes the press release,
Jewish Leaders Initiate International Effort to Keep the Jewish Capital Secure, Intact and United

NEW YORK, NY (October 24, 2007) - We are proud to announce today the formation and launch of The Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, for the purpose of uniting American Jewish organizations on behalf of a secure and unified Jerusalem. Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel, founded the initiative as a united public front of Jewish American organizations towards the principle of keeping Jerusalem united. It has been endorsed by hundreds of Jewish leaders in the Diaspora and Israel.

Recently, in preparation for next month's Annapolis summit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, ministers of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government put forth their view that Jerusalem was negotiable and opened the door to concessions of parts of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, world Judaism's holiest and most revered site. Following his ministers' remarks, Olmert himself questioned the value of maintaining Jewish sovereignty over certain Jerusalem neighborhoods. As a result, Jewish leaders around the world are coalescing around a simple bottom-line position: World Jewry opposes Israeli negotiations which would include any discussion of ceding sovereignty over part or all of Jerusalem. ...

The Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, currently in formation, includes Americans for a Safe Israel, Association for Jewish Outreach Programs, Emunah of America, Hineni, Jerusalem Reclamation Project, National Conference of Synagogue Youth, National Council of Young Israel, One Israel Fund, Poalei Agudath Israel of America, Rabbinic Alliance to Save Jerusalem, Rabbinical Alliance of America, Rabbinical Council of America, Religious Zionists of America, Russian Jewish Community Foundation, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (OU), Unity Coalition for Israel, Young Israel Council of Rabbis, and Zionist Organization of America.
Oct. 29: Israpundit quotes David Bedein of The Bulletin who writes:
Jerusalem - Yesterday, following the weekly Israel government cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dispatched cabinet secretary Oved Yehezkel and his official spokesman Yaakov Galanati to brief the press about the steps that will lead to the Annapolis Middle East Summit on Nov. 26.

Mr. Olmert's spokespeople emphasized that the Israeli government did not expect to reach any agreement with the Palestinians at the summit and that that the 'only thing that would happen there would be declarations,' adding that 'Israel will announce its recognition of a Palestinian Arab national state alongside an Israeli Jewish national state, with Israel formally accepting the road map.'
Nov. 6: Israpundit cited David Brooks, in a New York Times op/ed, What is Condi Doing? analyzing:
It's not really about Israel and the Palestinians; it's about Iran. Rice is constructing a coalition of the losing. There is a feeling among Arab and Israeli leaders that an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance is on the march. The nations that resist that alliance are in retreat. The peace process is an occasion to gather the "moderate" states and to construct what Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution's Saban Center calls an anti-Iran counter-alliance.
Nov. 11: Israpundit quotes Yisrael Medad, who writes:
...I do think someone erred in affixing the signatures of the two Chief Rabbis of Israel to the document of the "Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land".

...As we know, Secretary of State Rice encouraged the organizers to have their conference now to dovetail (no pun intended) with Annapolis. The document aids her in her efforts to wrest Jerusalem and more from Israel. That's the first reason the Rabbis should have stayed clear.
Nov. 12: Israpundit quotes Israel National News in reporting,
A dozen Jewish organizations have united to hold a "summit" calling for Jewish sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel, meeting on the same day as the Annapolis summit. The title:

Sovereignty for the Jewish Nation Over the State of the Land of Israel.

..."Recognizing that the Jewish Nation does not have a representative body," the formative statement begins, "and greatly fearing that the government in Israel is undermining the fundamental interests of Jewish existence (based on its declarations and actions in anticipation of the Annapolis summit), we - many right-wing movements and organizations - have united together to convene a counter-summit. Our goal is to emphasize what we stand 'for,' not 'against.'"

...The idea of the alternative summit, the organizers say, is to "establish the first-stage organizational and conceptual skeleton that will promote a congress to represent the entire nation, including hareidim, during the course of Nissan (April 2008)."

Among the initiating organizations are: Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), Land of Israel Task Force, Cities of Israel, the Temple Institute, and the Sanhedrin. Also participating are Mateh Tzafon, Task Force to Save the Land of Israel, Women in Green, Nahalal Forum, and Honenu.

Rabbis who have lent their support include Kiryat Arba/Hevron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, Sanhedrin President Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe of Chabad, Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and more.

Participating public figures include Yoram Ettinger, Prof. Paul Eidelberg, Dr. Yossi Ben-Aharon, Prof. Gabi Barkai, Prof. Hillel Weiss, Atty. Aviad Visuly, Prof. Aryeh Zaritsky, Architect Gideon Charlop, Nadia Matar, Shmuel Medad, Dr. Uri Milstein, Aryeh Stav, Moshe Feiglin, Ronen Tzafrir, and many more.
Nov. 13: Israel National News reports,
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed Tuesday evening that a majority of Israel citizens are willing to give up Judea and Samaria in exchange for peace with Palestinian Authority Arabs.

Rice expressed optimism that progress would be made at the upcoming Mideast summit to be held in Annapolis in her speech to the annual General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Nashville, Tennessee. Most Arab states no longer deny Israel's existence, she said, but rather, what might be the price of peace. She added that most Israelis believe establishment of a PA state will be to Israel's advantage.
Nov. 14: Israpundit cites a Ha'aretz article that reads,
The Knesset plenum passed in a preliminary vote Wednesday a bill that would make it far more difficult to divide Jerusalem in the context of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

54 MKs voted in favor of the bill, with 24 against. The Knesset holds preliminary votes on private bills, presented by individual MKs. Before being enacted into law, however, the bill must still be approved in committee and then pass three more plenum votes.

The bill, which was authored by Likud faction whip Gideon Sa’ar and 25 other rightist and religious MKs, would require the support of 80 MKs for any changes to the Basic Law: Jerusalem.

...The timing of the bill is also significant, and is designed to warn the government that it cannot make concessions on the capital a few weeks before the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
The board is set, and the players are cautiously making their moves.

More to come...

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posted by Shoshana @ 7:26 PM

What's the Hebrew for "Navel-Gazing"?

I make a habit of Googling terms like "Messianic Judaism" and "Israel" together, just to get an idea for what's going on when it comes to Messianic Israel advocacy.

Tonight, as always, I found nothing.

I can't imagine relating to or expressing my Jewishness without channeling it through the lens of Israel. Can't. Won't. It doesn't work. G-d didn't just call Avraham out of the pack and say, "Hey, man, let's chill." He said, "Hey, man, let's chill here in my pad, which will one day be named after your punk grandson, whom I will call, Israel."

G-d repeats to us in Torah the importance of our homeland. He hammers away at it through the prophets. By the time Yeshua walked the earth, 10 of the 12 tribes had been dispersed, over half of the Biblical Israel was in the hands of enemies, and even the territory of Judah in which He resided was governed by an occupying force. In consideration of all of this, did He decide to arrive, to perform miracles, to sacrifice Himself and rise again in downtown Manhattan? Did He look around at all the congestion and say, "That's it, I'm moving my Holy City to Scarsdale"?

I don't think so.

With American Christians it's one thing. One day they'll wake up and decide to start reading the Bible for themselves, and when they do, they'll begin to notice that the word "America" is not next to, near, or even around any of the promises of an eternal homeland spoken of in Scripture. But, Messianic Jews in America-- well, I know they get a lot of money from the Christian Church, but that doesn't make them gentiles. What's their excuse for all this theological discussion, all this insane amount of justification of their identity through readings of this verse or that verse, or this ruling, or that Rabbinic teaching, yada yada yada?

Half a world away, people who call themselves Israelis are busy preparing to attack nuclear facilities in neighboring nations. They aren't trying to justify their Israeli identity to anyone-- they're defending it because, despite over 3,000 years of oppression, hatred, and genocide, they're determined to survive and thrive.

Meanwhile, what is the Messianic community doing with their Israeli-ness? Wait a sec-- that isn't even a fair question, because they haven't gotten that far yet; they're still trying to justify their identity as Jews. What's more, they're attempting to seek justification, not from G-d, but from other human beings, most of whom (when all is said and done) don't give a fig what kind of documentation these Messianics provide. Birth records, family histories, Ketubahs, quotes from Talmud--even Scripture itself does nothing to justify the Messianic Jewish identity to a person who is determined to deny its validity.

Only the Ruach haKodesh can convict a person's heart of the truth. Believers like to remind themselves of this Biblical axiom when they witness to someone who gives them a negative response. But, how often do believers take the lesson to heart when it comes to the rejection of their own identity by the masses? Torah teaches us that Judaism- Israelism, if you will, since "Judaism" is an anachronism to Torah and, therefore, a non-comprehensive term- is an identity comprised of the entirety of a person. It isn't just a faith related to the eternal soul, or a collection of exercises to be followed on certain days or weeks; Israelism is a lifestyle, a comprehensive system of choices and behaviors that act as a testimony to the truth of the Living G-d. So, if you can walk away from a negative witnessing experience with the comfort that the Spirit convicts, why then do you fumble around the rest of the time seeking justification for your very life?

The crux of our faith is the trust we have that our lives have been justified to the One and Only Living Judge, HaShem, through the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua. Our identity as Israel is sealed in that eternal act. Our duty, then, is to live out this truth to the very essence of our being. Therefore, the same lessons we apply to one scenario must be applied to the others. Could it be that when someone rejects our witness, we comfort ourselves with the thought, as subconscious as it may seem, that they are rejecting Messiah-- not us as individuals? Whereas, when someone rejects the idea of a Messianic Jewish identity they are rejecting our very self? Possibly, but dichotomous thinking is the antithesis of the Torah of Adonai Echad!

The Messianic Jewish movement will not focus on Israel until they are convicted of the fact that they are a part of Israel. They will never be convicted that they are a part of Israel until they cease seeking the approval of this world and start understanding and living by the Biblical truth that "we are in this world, but we are not of it." And until the Messianic Jewish community understands this truth and takes it to heart, they will never achieve all the future and the hope that HaShem has for them.

And what kind of testimony is that?

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posted by Shoshana @ 7:26 PM