Friday, May 13, 2005

For TwennyTwo - about Israel

Twenny asked:

"Are all Jewish people supposed to live in Israel? If so, are they supposed to live there permanently?"

Like everything else (esp. when it comes to us Jews!) it depends who you ask. Amongst Orthodox Jews (which is the grouping I know best) there is a spectrum of answers, ranging from the religious zionist belief that every Jew should live in Israel to the ultra-Orthodox point of view that states that Jews should not go en masse to live there until the coming of the Messiah, i.e. pro-zionist, a-zionist and anti-zionist.

There is a corpus of complex Halachic (Halachah = Jewish Sharia) debate as whether it is an actual commandment to live in Israel. Some say yes (religious zionists again) some say sort of (quite-ultra semi-zionists but not willing to admit to it in public) and some say no (full-on ultra orthodox, represented in the extreme by the Satmar grouping of Chassidim).

"If so, how are they supposed to fit?"

Good question. There are many areas in Southern Israel that are empty and undeveloped. Israel has already absorbed millions who have turned the dry arid marshlands and wastelands into beautiful lush green areas. Furthermore the truth is that, like many other religions, when it comes to religious belief or ideology the practical side of things doesn't seem to have too much influence.

"Can someone explain the whole 'go back to Israel if you are a Jew' concept to me, please? Is it like Hajj where you go for a certain pilgrimage and then leave?"

No. The idea is to live there. There was a religious concept of making a pilgramage to Jerusalem/the Temple area during the three festivals of Pesach (just finished) Shavuot and Succot, aka Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles (as if that helps!). Nowadays (due to lack of said Temple) it is a nice idea but not generally held to be any sort of religious obligation.

Twenny, thanks for asking. Feel free to ask more. If anyone has a problem with you asking questions I'll bitch slap them so hard they'll be eating through the back of their head.

Thanks for listening, and if anyone disagrees with what how I portrayed things (in a brief, concise yet scholarly manner) they can comment - but watch out for my jabs and uppercuts.



At 5/14/2005 2:03 PM, Blogger TwennyTwo said...


God Love You for actually answering a question. As a teacher and as a student I 'preciate it!


At 5/15/2005 8:21 AM, Blogger Chai18 said...

since when was TRK so violent? hahah

At 5/15/2005 1:49 PM, Blogger 2R said...

haven't been on for a while, and don't have time to backread right I don't know if you covered this earlier...but what you skipped here was the basis for the debate (I believe) on whether or not to live in Israel now. Religious Jews in particular believe that Gd (using the Romans)kicked us out of Israel and had our Temple destoryed. We are waiting for the rebuilding of the Temple and the Messiah announcing the end of the exile. The question i think is can we decide that we are ready to come back by ourselves (as a nation, not as individuals, that is clearly allowed) without a clear message from Gd? There was a tribe in the dessert who broke off from the rest of the group and decided enough wandering they are just going to enter Israel and start living their lives as Jews, they were killed in a war, which I think is the basis of the argument that Israel is not ours officially until the Messiah comes...

At 5/16/2005 12:40 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

TRK, are you OK? Haven't had a post since Friday. Just checking up to make sure all is well. Looking forward to your next post.

At 5/16/2005 5:35 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...

Wasn't today's spontaneous expression of love for the land of Israel amazing? Thousands of people willing to get arrested to show that its wrong to evict Jews from their homes.

Chazak v'Ematz.


At 5/17/2005 3:47 AM, Blogger menachem said...

hard to tell if you're being sarcastic or not...

i wonder what the halachik ramifications of inconviniencing thousands of motorists to gain attention to your cause is. namely, punishing one group for the sins (if indeed evacuation is a sin) of others. i dont understand how a religious jew could go to one of these protests.

on the other hand, ain't nothin gits a rally goin like a burnin tire... sheeeit.

At 5/17/2005 7:22 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...

menachem -

No sarcasm at all. The histadrut can destory the country by causing 100's of millions of lost shekels during their strikes, inconvenience MILLIONS of Israelies by striking, and all we did was block traffic for 2 hours to keep Jews from being expelled from their homes in Eretz Yisrael. Its not like they were blocking roads to prevent a monoploy breakup (which is all fine and dandy in Israel, just don't block the roads G-d forbid to prevent Jews from being thrown out of their homes).

At 5/17/2005 7:44 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Jameel, and what exactly did your blocking traffic for 2 hours accomplish? Do you think that burning tires and blocking traffic actually stopped or will stop Jews from being expelled from their homes?
You and all the rest of those kinds of protestors suffer from the Vietnam protestors' syndrome. Yeah, protesting at colleges, burning bras, hurting police, getting arrested, smoking whatever's handy, and sleeping with any indiscriminate number people. Yeah, it made them feel better and feel like they were doing something. However, it did nothing to help the soldiers risking their lives and dying for these people. It destroyed their morale, and denied the protestors the reality of the situation. Soldiers and police were spit on, etc. So, tell me, what did these protestors accomplish? Destroying the pyche and morale of a country, oh, and lead a country into the AIDS epidemic, bring on Roe Vs. Wade, etc.
Instead of burning tires and blocking traffic, why don't you do something contructive, instead of giving people false hopes, and helping in keep them in denial. Denial is a disease, and you're not helping bring a cure with this stupidity. Why don't you help create some sort of volunteer group that helps the settlers cope and accept the move. Once the settlers can accept the finality of what's happening, the trauma factor will decrease. So, instead of sitting around making people more angry, do something positive with your time. Helping the settlers cope and spending time with the children, to help them understand what's happening does not mean that you're betraying the cause and becoming a pro-disengagement supporter. It means you are voicing your opinion in a positive and not negative light. I hope I don't see you at the next traffic circle.

At 5/17/2005 8:01 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...

OC -

Simple Question: Why is the Histadrut so effective at forcing the government to accept its positions? Because the Israeli government only understands force. (And to keep the Shabak from going after me, I would like to reiterate at this point, that I am ONLY in favor of passive, non-violent civil disobenience.

Sorry to have to say this - but it sounds like you haven't been in Israel long enough to understand that. The Histadrut gets whatever it wasnt through striking - keeping the garbage stinking in the streets, keeping kids out of schools, stopping all government services, no passports, no bituach leumi, no imports, no exports. This costs our economy hundreds of millions of NIS a day. But - you put up with it. All of Israel puts up with it, till the government capitulates. Happens EVERY time.
(And this is considered acceptable behaviour!!!) In the 80's the IAF workers blocked traffic for hours ove the prospect of losing their jobs...and that was fine with everyone.

Yet when it comes to something simple, like evicting Jews from their homes, we should just let that slide? Seems like you brought a real defeatist attitude with you from Chutz LaAretz.

Do you have any red-lines? Doens't sound like it.

And maybe, sitting in traffic will give you time to think about if Sharon's plans are such a good idea in the first place.

At 5/17/2005 10:22 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

First of all, I don't have a defeatist attitude. I have a realistic outlook on what's going. It appears that you don't. You'd rather believe that blocking traffic and burning tires will help your cause instead of see the truth that it's actually hurting it.
You're right. I haven't been in Israel for very long, but that doesn't mean I'm not up to date on what's going on. I have red lines, but they're carefully laid out. I don't see the disengagement on the same line as the Oslo Accords. I also don't agree with and hate the Histadrut and scream all the time that something has to be done to rectify the problem. One man cannot and should not have the power to shut down the country at his will and his desire. That's not a democratic union. I hope that one day it will be changed. My father is a public school teacher and is part of a real union. The Histadrut stands to learn a lot from them. Let me also remind you that people here DO get outraged when the Histadrut goes on strike and nobody knows why. Let me remind you that the last attempt of the Histadrut to strike was stopped after a couple of days b/c nobody could figure out what it was about. There is also the simple fact that having your garbage stinking up the street will get you farther than just sitting in the street. Meaning, unfortunately, they have more power than you ever will when it comes to changing the course of policy. There's no problem with demonstrating and protesting something you disagree with, but there's a way to do it.
Also, sitting in traffic and burning tires doesn't cause anybody to think about the cause. It causes and caused them to hate your methods even more. Case in point, yesterday at Tzomet Sanhedria, a fire truck was blocked from getting to a fire b/c of the traffic blocking. Some-one could have been killed b/c of you. Is that justified? Playing with lives to prove a point, that's ok with you? What if it had been an ambulance rushing a dying man or woman to the hospital, and they couldn't get there fast enough b/c you were blocking traffic and refused to get out of the way. That's ok? Most of those arrested yesterday were kids. You accept the fact that most of them have no idea of the repercussions of their actions? You accept that now most of these kids have a criminal record and will be closed from many jobs in the future? I have plenty of red lines. I also know things aren't black and white. Obviously, you're completely blind from seeing the gray areas and the whole picture. Do any means justify the end if your eyes? If so, I feel very sorry for you, for that thinking is no different than a Pal blowing himself on a bus for his cause.

At 5/17/2005 12:10 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...

OC -

Why is my outlook un-realistic? Since I don't believe every word spoon-fed to me by the Israeli media? Running away from Gush Katif is defeatist. It is the ultimate proof that crime pays, terrorism pays, and killing Jews will always get you what you want.

Accepting the fact that the expulsion from gush katif is a done deal, is also defeatist. If we would listen exclusively to the "pragmatic and realists" we would not have a State, we would not have an army, and we would not have any future. Do you think that believing Mashiach will come tomorrow is a radical and unrealistic idea?

Your point abou the fire truck is so weak. When I demonstrated against Oslo 10 years ago, and blocked traffic then - our entire point was that Oslo will CAUSE many deaths. Unfortunately, we were too right. Remember Rabin's pathetic comments that missiles will never come at israel from Beit Hanun in Gaza? He said they were scare tactics. You tell that to the people in Sderot.

I honestly believe that Sharon's eviction plan will cause thousands more deaths of Jews. So what should I do? Sit at home and think of how to comfort the Jews getting kicked out of their homes, or do something to prevent their eviction AND save lives.

According to you - the Israeli government can play with everyone's lives. Kick people out of their homes, deny them ample security, lock them up in administrative detention, everything is OK for the government. Yet when it comes to PASSIVE civil disobedience, its all of a sudden unrealistic and a danger to society.

Blocking traffic isn't the goal, its a means. It won't be used exclusively - just one of many tactics. At tzomet Morasha, for example, drivers stuck in traffic were given free cold drinks and pamphlets explaining why traffic was being blocked.

Lastly - Sharon's actions are the epitome of how not to run a democracy, which is why civil disobedience is required. Sharon was elected on the Likud party platform. In parlimentary democracies, people vote for party platforms. The Likud platform is against the explusion. If Sharon wants to get elected on one platform and then change his mind, he needs to go back to the people.
Otherwise - its immoral, unethical, and undemocratic.

If the Histadrut (Amir Peretz) can dictate government policy by causing millions of damage to the economy, then when its a matter of life or death, then blocking traffic isn't such a big deal.

I got arrested as part of SSSJ in the US on behald of Soviet Jewry in the '80s. Was that a stupid thing to do? After all - it could impact my future? Who cares that its Jews, right? Just think about "pragmatics." Why did you bother moving to Israel? Its so much better in the US. Have you recklessly endagered yourself by moving to Israel, and given yourself a much lower standard of living?

As for me being "completely blind" and only seeing black and white, I feel sorry that you need to attack people for having a different opinion than yourself.

Actually, I've discussed the going to jail issue with my kids, and explained that there are things important enough to go to jail for.

Kids under 18 have their records cleared, and it won't impact their lives forever. Rather they will have a better understanding of whats really important, and that standing up for fellow Jews is more important than being locked up for a few hours or days.


PS: Feel free to continue this conversaiton via email if you mind its exposition all over the blogosphere.

At 5/17/2005 12:15 PM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...


I am more than happy for you to continue it here. Part of the reason I posted the two open letters was to spark conversation, and it's crucial for people to see both sides, especially when they are being expressed from Israel. Keep it up.


At 5/17/2005 12:58 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Jameel, I don't consider moving to Israel an acceptance to lower living standards. That's a very material way of thinking. My reason for moving to Israel is my own business, and your implication that b/c I don't agree with you makes my moving here irrelevent and pointless b/c I don't agree with you is insulting and hurtfull to anybody who disagrees with you. But, you're right. Every-one is entitled to different points of views. You want to go ahead and think that these methods will accomplish the goal of saving lives, then go right ahead. I don't have to agree w/ it. Again, I reiterate that I do not believe that the disengagement on the same line as the Oslo Accords. I was also against them and believed that they would prove to be disastorous. You believe the disengagement will cost lives. I believe it will save lives and prove to be strategically in our favor. You believe that I don't believe in miracles. I whole-heartedly believe in them. You believe that the disengagement is a reward to terror. I do not, and I have a forensic psychology back-ground to assist my opinion. Go on about your business. I pray that all will be well, and the day after will be sunny and bright, and we'll all go on living our lives. BTW, breaking the law is not passive civil disobedience. It's simply breaking the law. I believe G-d helps those that help themselves. If by your methods, you think G-d is more likely to intervene. Fine, but don't expect a bouquet of roses sitting at your frond door the next morning w/ a whole country behind you.

At 5/17/2005 1:06 PM, Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

I am not going to get into your whole answer but I will comment on a couple of little things that are just plain wrong.
1. About the way sharon is running his democracy, I suggest you take a class or two about how democrocies are run. Being a Poli-Sci Student myself in Hebrew U. I can tell you that what sharon is doing is 100% legal. We might not liek the way he is doing some of the things, but as long as he has a mojority in the Knesset, and as long as he is not voted out what he is doing is legal occording to Israeli law.

2. kids under 18 in this country do not have their records wiped clean once they turn 18. and in this country have a Rishum Plili carries for a long time, and stops you from getting into a lot places. to list some: most security related jobs (even the basic Shmira services),Most intel. jobs in the army, and top courses in the army.
3. There is nothing wrong with civil disobedience, as long as it done wisely. I have no issue with people going and demonstrating (actually I think it's very important), and there is nothing wrong with being active, such as Hasbara and other forms of protesting. you can see the teachers doing it daily over the past week, nothing wrong with that.
as for your opinion I will not get into it at the moment since I myself am torn about the issue, (as I have pointed out on other blogs), but I think that when making such a strong argument you should get your facts strait.

At 5/17/2005 2:12 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...


I didn't say that Sharon's actions are illegal, (although, one could make a case for that, but I'm not going along that path now), rather I wrote: "its immoral, unethical, and undemocratic." As for taking PoliSci courses, I have a very clear understanding of Israeli politics as I'm an elected member of the Likud Cental Comittee. (Please don't hold it against me that I'm on the Merkaz HaLikud - I have a "real" job, work for a living, and I'm only politically active for purely idealogical reasons.

2. A minor's Criminal Record, when based on blocking roads is not going to affect his career in the army. It could affect certain aspects of working for the Shaback or certain intelligence related jobs in the IDF. However, even if a person DIDN'T get arrested for blocking roads, but believes it is a valid form of protest -- you will ALSO not get a job in those same services.

Please don't preach about getting facts straight. I never said that Sharon's actions were illegal - I said they are unethical. Holding to right wing views is enough to disqualify you for the same jobs you mentioned above. I have many friends in the IDF (officers, and elite units) who were arrested as minors when demonstrating against the Oslo accords 10 years ago.

I'm sorry youre torn on the issue. I hope that you'll find a different form of protest you're comfortable with. HaBayit Haleumi specifically tells people who go to protest to do what they feel comfortable with. You don't want to block traffic? Fine, hold a sign and stand farther away from the intersection. Put an orange flag on your car, hang a sign from your mirpeset or wear an orange wristband.

OC: Obivously I don't know your reasons for moving to Israel, and I'm glad you're here. However, when you wrote above "Once the settlers can accept the finality of what's happening" and how bad it is for teenagers to get arrested for something they belive is of grave importance, I transposed your comments to show you how people from Chuzt LaAretz could say the exact same about your Aliya. Aliya is important to you, and I assume probably idealogically motivated as well. Yet, most Jews will view your aliya with disdain; "Why do something so stupid", "Why ruin your life", "Why lower your standard of living", etc.

I obviously do not believe in any of these above statements, but wanted to show to you how your comments are just as hurtful to those whose actions are idealogically based.

In a coming posting (I really must get back to work), I'll explain why the "Disengagement" is a continuation of Oslo.

As for, "don't expect a bouquet of roses sitting at your front door the next morning w/ a whole country behind you." - time will tell. A Yediot Achronot article I just read says right out that the effects were not conclusively deterimental at all. (And you can;t accuse Yediot of being sympathetic to Gush Katif),7340,L-3086328,00.html


At 5/18/2005 2:12 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Oh please Jameel, continue pontificating about the reasons that the disengagement is a continuation of Oslo. I'm shaking with anticipating for that load of horse turd. Why am I being so sarcastic? It might b/c if you didn't notice Jameel, I said my final comment. You have your opinions on the situation, and I have mine. Both of ours are educated opinions, and I doubt anything you say will change my mind on the situation as I'm sure I'd be able to find an educated rebuttle for what you right. Work hard for your cause. Whatever happens will be for the best, G-d willing. Hakol Ye'hiyeh B'seder. Gam Zeh Ya'avore.
Basically, write what you want. I'll respect your opinions, and I hope that maybe you can show respect for others'

At 5/18/2005 7:38 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...

עברנו את פרעה, נעבור גם את זה

Is that hasata?

At 5/18/2005 7:54 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/19/2005 7:50 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...


Sorry, but there has been zero honest debate about the subject in the open media -- the media which knowingly admits to be exclusively on Sharon's side.

What is your educated opinion based on? Have you visited Gush katif or the Northern Shomron in the past 6 months? Have you spoken to people who live there? Are you clearly aware of the security dangers (as presented by the security establishment?). Are you aware that Ashkelon has been connected to the "Kassam early warning system" - are you aware that the IDF has started reenforcing rooves in over 50 communities surrounding the Gaza Strip?

This isn't pontification (which is what Sharon says) - its pointing out facts about the dangers of this plan.

To say its pontification is to deny legitamate debate.

Too bad the establishment prevented legitimate debate 10 years ago...lots of bad has happened since.

At 5/19/2005 8:15 AM, Anonymous menachem said...

OC: pontificate? nice word.

At 5/19/2005 9:40 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Well, Menachem, I spelled it correctly, didn't I?
Yes, I have visited the Northern Shomron and surounding Gaza areas, so you can stop with the Holier-Than-Though attitude. If you had read my blog on the situation, you would understand how I feel about the people.
BTW, last time I checked, one didn't require a great deal of intelligence or knowledge of politics to be in or get elected to the Likud Center. So, the fact that you are doesn't impress upon a feeling that you are better informed than I am. In a sense, it makes me doubt you more.
I am fully aware of the security situation, as I am in very close contact and connection with top Army officers, one of which who has been in the service for over 20 years. How much time can you say for yourself. He is an expert in the field of miltary sociology, strategy, and tactics. So, we can leave that lecture for another day.
What does the Early Warning System and reinforced rooves have to do with the disengagement? Do you think that being in Gaza has prevented that from happening? Rockets have been falling on Sderot for 2 and a half years, before the disengagement ever came up, so the argument that you make is correct but irrelevent as the disengagement is not for the illusion of peace. Nobody's expecting some magical peace to occur after the disengagement (unlike the Oslo Accords). I have a cerain hope that the disengagement strategy will be the aweful price to pay for the position to live more securely (not necessarily more peacefully).

At 5/19/2005 9:50 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

P.S. Of course there are dangers with the Plan, as there are dangers with most any undertaking that a country does to strategically better itself. (The Oslo Accords were a pipe dream to begin with, and Peres, as well as Barak, were not the right leaders to be in a position to piss Israel's life away. Those undertakings were suicide to begin w/. The goal has to make sense to begin with. As this does. Land for Peace. Who ever heard of such a thing. Hey, I have mice in my house. Maybe if I give them cheese, they'll go away and stop eating at my house and food. Stupidest thing I ever heard.) No-one knows the future. No-one knows what's going to happen next. But, you weigh the pros and the cons, you bite the bullet, and make a decision based on all the facts you have and in the best way you can, no matter how hard it is. Then, you pray that what you're doing will work out the way you planned, and the results will be for the best. Then, the rest is in G-d's hands. So, just b/c the plan includes danger, you back away and chicken out, even if you feel it's in the best interest of your country? That's not a leader does, at least a good. I will then thank G-d that Sharon is our Prime Minister and you're not. Just like I thank G-d every day that Bush is President of the U.S. and Al Gore and John Kerry are not. B/c, they would have chickened out on the hard decisions.

At 5/19/2005 1:19 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...

OC: Why do you think that Oslo was a pipe dream, yet the Disengagement is not?

Sharon has repeatendly told us that the Disengagement will better our security. If the IDF needs to connect Ashkelon to the Missle Warning System then who's security is improving?

Just because you think that Shaorn is a good leader, willing to take huge risks for the sake of the country does not mean that from a democratic point of view, this is ethical if he gets elected on one platform and then changes his mind 180 degrees. Sharon being a "great leader" and willing to take great risks -- is irrelavent, if he got elected on one platform, and changed his views completly (which are completely against his own party's platform)!!

If he's such a great leader - he can call for new elections or call for a referndum. Why is he so scared of these options? If he's so convinced that he has a solid majority supporting him, why is he so scared?

You say that the disengagement is not an "illusion for peace" - yet it is an illusion for security, and illusion that it will save lives, and illusion that it will make our standing any better in the world's eyes.

Look at what Jordan had to tell Israel today:

"As the leaders gather to discuss terrorism, world peace and other issues, host King Abdullah issued a warning today that Israel had better not suffice with a withdrawal just from Gaza. He said that if Israel does not also soon withdraw from areas in Judea and Samaria, "the peace process will be impeded." He made the statements to the Al-Ayam newspaper in London."

You think this is the first disengagement? Its the first of many...(and Olmert has confirmed this, much to Sharon's dismay).

At 5/19/2005 3:52 PM, Anonymous menachem said...

i think it's time to revive the uganda plan. who's with me?

At 5/20/2005 5:52 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

You're right menachem, and I'm with you. But, let's start w/ Sudan/Darfur first. Why start small?
Jameel, a blogoshpere is no place to discuss the security I'm referring to as this is not the place. Secondly, strategically, (I don't really listen or pay much attention to what other Arab leaders say), I don't believe there will be any more disengagements. Time will tell to see if I'm right.
Thirdly, not sticking a party platform may seem "unethical" to you, but I don't agree with you in the slightest. Bush has been criticized for going against his staunch Republican platform, but it's not unethical. It's perfectly OK to change your opinion or agenda on something if the times call for them, as 9/11 did for the U.S., and as current events have for Israel. Also, if you really knew about democracy and politics, you would understand how dangerous a referendum is to a country's democracy, and I think the gov's majority decision agrees with me, as well as the majority of the country.

But, menachem, you are right again. I'm through. Onto Uganda.
When and where do we start?

At 5/20/2005 7:21 AM, Anonymous menachem said...

is it right to say a blogosphere? i don't think i've ever seen that before. i always see it as the blogosphere, and i always took it to mean the opinionated internet, as expressed by (but not exclusively by) weblogs, or, blogs. i've never heard of anything being referred to as a certain particular blogosphere.

on to uganda, minimal research has led me to conclude that this idea is no longer feasible. apparently there are 27 million people already living thereliving there, including some 5 million muslims. not as empty as theodore hertzle thought. also, "Uganda is subject to armed fighting among hostile ethnic groups, rebels, armed gangs, militias, and various government forces," so i think we're better off slaughtering the remaining 2 million palestinians left in gaza, or evacuating our 8,000 guys, or something, you know? whatever seems more practical, really.

At 5/20/2005 11:15 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...

Howabout giving the 2 million Palestinians the money its going to take Israel to evacuate Gaza, modify the fence, reinforce 50 more communities, and resituate the IDF to attempt to protect the country from whats left.

If you're wrong about this being the last "disengagement", then thats a real fine mess you've gotten us into, Ollie.

The US and Israeli political systems are entirely different. Bush doesn't have to be loyal to the Republican platform since he was voted for in direct elections.

The Likud was voted for (as a party) in our Parlimentary Democracy, which is different than the Republic in the USA. Parlimentary Democracy means voting for a party platform, NOT for a person. This is simple aleph-bet of Parlimentary Democracies. However, since you're such a genius, and I'm so oblivious ("Also, if you really knew about democracy and politics, you would understand how dangerous a referendem is...blah blah blah"),
I think you've exhasuted this critically important topic.

Chaval you're both through. The Israeli government is just getting warmed up.

Shabbat Shalom - from the soon to be liberated Muqata.

At 5/21/2005 11:06 AM, Anonymous menachem said...

jameel: i'm having trouble understanding you, you jump so quicky between "i'm a terrorist living in the mukata" and "i'm a crazy right wing extremist living in gush katif" that it's hard to gauge your true feelings, and, by extension, take you seriously.

to try to address what i think you are saying, a single representative (such as bush) has all the same responsibilities to his party platform as a party does to its platform (such as the likud), which is none at all. situations change, and a good governmental system has to allow for changes, and allow leaders to change their minds. whether you vote for a party or a person, you are voting them the power to make decisions. and, to take things a bit further, your entire premise is flawed, because ariel sharon was elected in a direct election against ehud barak, which he won in a landslide. the later knesset elections would not have impacted his position as prime minister. later still, Basic Law: Knesset was changed to remove direct elections. from now on, all prime ministers will be chosen based on knesset election results; sharon was the last prime minister elected directly.

on to referendums, polls indicate that disengagement supporters would win in a landslide. sharon has anyways wisely refrained from calling a referendum, because of its true dangers to democracies, as OC said. one needs to look no further than the democracies of Europe to see the government-paralizing results of constant referendums, most notably spain and Ireland.

referendums are at best a temporary solution used by governments that dont want to take reponsibility for their decisions. the likud is taking responsibility for this decision, and you have every democratic right to vote for a different party in the next election (assuming, of course you're a citizen, jameel.)

At 5/22/2005 12:24 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...

Menachem -

Never once did I say I'm a terorrist living in the Muqata, not did I say I live in Gush Katif. OK, so my email is muqata...big deal. I used to drive past the "Muqata" every day to work (before the road was closed to Jews).

I'll address the political issues later - I've got to get back to work now.

Using the "muqata" address is because Israel does not grant true freedom of speech (or worship for that matter), and you can't write what you want, under your own name, without having the Israeli police pay you an unkind visit...and have them confiscate your computer, which they do all the time). (But only to right-wingers)

At 5/22/2005 4:01 PM, Blogger menachem said...

i totaly sympathize with you. the israeli thought police has eyes and ears everywhere... that's why my tin foil hat never leaves my head.

At 5/23/2005 4:12 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Menachem, I thought I was the only one who wore those. You know, if we get more people to do it, it could become a great fashion statement, not just protection...Something to think about.
Jameel, you can get back to the political issues all you want, but you still have no basis to call what Sharon has done undemocratic or even unethical. As Menachem has said, and I have said repeatedly (although, you don't seem to be able to concede the point), a party platform is not law binding. If it was, every party would be in court under indictment for such a charge. The test for a party line to be followed in on election day. As democracies call for, and it seems Israel calls for it more, if you don't like the line the party has taken, you just don't vote for them again. Bottom line is, anything a parliament votes on and passes is theoretically legal. Take it to the opposite extreme. Would a party, like Meretz who calls for peace, be called unethical if a war broke out, and they supported the war? The answer, unlike your logic, would be no b/c what they'd be doing would be in the best interest of the country. Changing your agenda to the dynamic world (4 years is a long time, eg, driving through Jericho in '90 and driving through it in '93 and '94) is part of what a gov has to do, and what democracies allow for. It is NOT unethical and undemocratic to change your line when the times call for it. It is stubborness and a lack of adaptibility that bring the demise to a democracy, a party, or a politician. But, then you may be so entrenched in politics that you can't see that. It's the same in America, as the Democratic party has been constantly critisized for not adapting to the America of post 9/11 and one of the reasons they won't come back into power until they do. But, come back Jameel.

At 5/23/2005 1:42 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...

Hi OC -

I'm back :-)

1. Obviously a leader or a party can change their positions. Yet, when it comes to such an important issue of tantamount importance, its considered unethical for a leader (or party) to do a complete policy reversal. Can you imagine a US president saying as follows:

In order to achieve better relations with Mexico, and stop the illegal border crossings of Mexicans, the US is going to return parts of Texas to Mexico. There is a huge ourcry in Teaxs (how could Bush, a Texan, say such a terrible thing?!). Before you jump on me for this being an illogical analogy that can't be compared, let me take it one step further. Bush then announces that yes, its a critical issue for America's future, and people will suffer (the US citizens to be evicted from their homes), and therefore, he will ask the Republican party for their support by way of a Republican Referendum. Again, the issue at hand is NOT the actual policy shift...yet. The Republican party then goes ahead and votes overwhelmingly against Bush's proposal by a scale of 67% against, only 33% in favor. And here's the point: There is no way Bush would then say, "I don't care what my own party said, even though I asked them, and I'm going to boldly continue on with my plan anyway."

While legally Bush could do that, the uproar in the United States would be unparalled in US history.
Yes its legal - but its not ethical or moral. Going back to Israel; Sharon is making the exact same mistakes that Rabin made in Olso.

1. Demonizing the settlers. Banning the color orange (look how stupid the Knesset looked on Sunday with the Indian delegation). Rabin's greatest mistake (IMHO) is that instead of praising the settler movement, HE called them obstacles to peace. He demonized the settlers, that instead of calling them pioneers (who had moved there at the urgings of the Israeli governments), he viciously attacked them as crybabies, propellers, kuggle-lagers, etc.

2. Rabin rammed through the Oslo accords based on a narrow majority of 1. (who he had bought off). Ariel Sharon is buying off Likud people one-by-one, to support his policies. Granted the actual majority is bigger now than Oslo, yet the same issues remain. Its a huge risk to the Israel's future, and once again, the process is playing with the lives of the settlers. You could never get away with this behaviour towards Gush Dan residents.

3. Stifiling political opposition through brutal police/shabak methods. Be it administrative detention against right wingers, shutting down Arutz-Sheva, or stopping people from visiting the Kotel while wearing orange bracelets -- these methods cannot be tolerated in a strong democracy. Strong democracies are not weakend by freedom of speech, they are strengthened by it.

4. The media is so gung-ho about the hitnatkut, they are refusing the criticize Sharon's behaviour on ANY issue, so that the "ends justify the means". Just let the eviction happen, and then they'll start up on Sharon. The watchdog of democracy in Israel, is a loving poodle, who barks at nothing that would endanger their great hope -- that of the Hitnatkut.

However, back to my main point; Yes, parties and leaders can change their minds. However, to do such a drastic change of policy without being elected specifically to carry it out, especially when it drastically affects the personal freedom of so many people (and was elected on a counter-position platform) -- it is unethical and immoral to do so.

Putting all that aside; is this a Jewish way to act? I would expect a responsible leader to say that the Hitnatkut is a national tragedy, and we all need to tear kriya during the process. Yet, the media rejoices, the left cant wait to kick them out. Did you see the sign at the last leftist demonstration in Tel Aviv, "I DO NOT HAVE ANY SETTLER BROTHERS"

Brutally evicting people from their homes, on a very short timeframe, for questionable security gains (if any), for questionable diplomatic gains (if any), is not the way we need to act, and it doesn't help with our national unity in the slightest.

OK - I have to run. Will continue later. Have a good night!

At 5/23/2005 3:11 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Jameel, I don't even know where to start with what you said. And, like I've been told, I really don't think I should bother. You're a deeply entrenched Likud member, so obviously arguing against your points (you know less about American politics than about security issues. The concept of a referendum in America's democratic system doesn't exist.) is pointless. I really think this argument is moot. You're not going to convince me that your opinions are correct, and, obviously vise versa. G-d, now I sound like a broken record. I believe I've said this before. Oh, and by the way, Bush has gone ahead with pushing his Social Security platform when he doesn't have a clear majority in his own party. Just b/c your party doesn't agree, the only thing that counts is if the Knesset passes it, and they did with a clear majority. So, go cry a river with that moral argument some-where else, like at your Likud meetings every-day. You want to split hairs on what's moral and ethical, then take a philosophy class. This is the real world. Unless, the Knesset passes a law that says going against your party is illegal, then you considering it immoral or unethical doesn't really matter and doesn't change a damn thing.
Now, I'm off to Uganda.

At 5/24/2005 10:41 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...


Don't go off to Uganda, you just got here...and we need you in Israel.

I think you're missing my point. Obviously there is no referendum option in the US (like there never was one in Israel). It was an EXAMPLE, a "mashal" of political cynicism used by Sharon...and how in the USA such behaviour would be deemed unacceptable. You know something, FORGET the entire issue, lets move to the bottom line.

Bottom Line; throwing people out of their houses is a HUGE issue. To "democratically" throw people out of their houses is unethical...and not just some minute philisophical point. 3 people in a boat; 2 decide to democratically throw the 3rd person overboard. He protests - so they tell him to shut up, gag him, tie him up...and throw him overboard. Democratic, moral, ethical, and very Un-Jewish. Not exactly what we want to see in our homeland after 2000 years of exile.

You want to throw Jews out of their houses? Cry about it, do it carefully, humanely, and with love of your fellow Jews. Not by banning the color orange, shutting down Arutz-7, getting the entrie media against them, and putting people in administrative detention, and saying that you are the enemy if you oppose getting thrown out of your house.


At 5/24/2005 11:56 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Listen, I'm not dancing in the streets with this plan. I think it's the least of all evils. With all your writing on this blog, not once have you mentioned an alternative plan that would achieve the same objectives without disengagement.
Secondly, I don't know how religious you are, but a disengagement is not necessarily against Halacha and would, therefore, not necessarily be "Un-Jewish". Please read my blog for futher details.
Thirdly, I haven't seen the media be completely against the protestors. I believe there have been many instances (i.e. a settler protesting an illegal settlement being dismantled, having a police-person drag her away with a BABY in her hand. I won't even go into how much putting a baby in physical and mortal danger to make a political point infuriates me) where the protestors have made themselves look bad, and the media portrayed that image. There have been other times when the certain positive protests have brought positive media to the cause. But, in the end, the media is however you perceive it to be.
I don't like, in the slightest, that people are being thrown out of their homes. If I was in the same situation, I don't know how I would react. But, they are getting compensated and getting new homes. And, I do believe it will put the country in a position where it will be more secure and be better able to deal with security threats and terrorists. This is not Nazi Germany, and they are not being thrown out by the Gestapo holding German wolf hounds. Any insinuation to that comparison is disgusting and desensitizing.
Bottom line: The USA has thrown people out of their homes in the past, and very democratically, I might add. But, that isn't the point. I don't think it's correct to limit freedom of assembly and protest. In that, I agree with you. However, encouraging violence and endangering lives is not a way to make a point and not a way to bring people to your cause. I believe people should protest the disnegagement until after it's done. But, there is a positive and negative way to do it. That's all I'm saying, and that's all I've been saying all along. Good luck in all your endeavors, and may G-d bless Ereyz Yisroel.

At 5/24/2005 1:54 PM, Anonymous Jameel said...

OC: When SSSJ blocked streets in front of the UN on Sundays in NYC, on behalf of the release of Soviet Jewry, do you consider that a good thing or a bad thing. Was it "encouraging violence and endangering lives" or freedom of expression and demonstration?


At 5/24/2005 3:02 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

That depends. Did you have a permit?

At 5/24/2005 3:24 PM, Blogger menachem said...

one last thing and then i refuse to comment any more on this. i am for disengagement, while i'm not exactly thrilled at the way it's being carried out, but the important thing is that it's being done.

like OC, i'm not exactly dancing in the streets with this.

now the part that gets a little machiavellian: while i think it's important in this particular instance to evacuate certain lands, i by no means think it's a good thing for there to be precedent (actually, we're dealing here with more precedent) for giving away parts of eretz yisrael. therefore, i am all for the protests. i am for loud protests, i am for burning tires, i am for hunger strikers to chain themselves to the prime ministers office (i am against all forms of violence, however). this disengagement has to happen, but as turbulently as possible, in my opinion.

At 5/25/2005 4:00 AM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

Guys, thanks for the continuing debate, please keep it going. It is interesting and instructive.

At 5/26/2005 9:57 AM, Blogger Soferet said...

I'd like to quietly mention here that the Land was never "empty", nor are the uninhabited areas of it now. There are Nubian ibex, mountain gazelles, wolves, wild boar, jackals, foxes, hyenas, jungle cats, and rarely seen leopards. We even saw fresh leopard prints along a stream when we were on a hike up north. They were as big as my face. Anyway, I just wanted to differentiate between "empty" the the "un-teyvel". I'm sure there is room for people, who only live in the Land by the grace of G@d, alongside the animals & wild plants if we managed it as an organic process...or if we left that process up to HaMaqom :)

At 5/26/2005 2:52 PM, Blogger menachem said...

thank you so much for adding such a beautiful, poignant, and incredibly relevant angle to the debate. you should write a letter to the Knesset.

Concerns of the animal kingdom (and lets not forget the plants! our oxygen supplying chlorophil friends!) are often neglected in political debate in favor of mundane security and humanitarian issues. people forget that plants have rights too.

At 5/27/2005 6:59 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

You know what, Men? You've just inspired me to come back from the fight in Uganda and fight the war here for the political rights of the plants. I'm going to petition that a security barrier be set up specifically for them, so that if some-one tries to step on one, they get an eclectric shock. Thanks, Menachem. I knew I could count on you for further inspiration. SAVE THE DAFFODIL!!!

At 5/30/2005 4:04 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...

Just got back from outside the land...(quick trip abroad).
While I have no qualms at all about caring for our environment, it irks me that some of the fringe eco-nuts care more about the turtles in Nitzanim, than the maybe-to-be-deported settlers from Gush Katif.

Unless of course, the turtles wear a rare species of orange turtles -- then it would be OK.

Shavua Tov.


At 5/30/2005 7:09 AM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...


You do actually have a point with that one. Some animal rights activists place animal rights over human ones.

A question - don't want to embroil myself to deeply in the disengagement quagmire, you guys are putting forward the arguments nicely, but what is the alternative you propose?


At 5/30/2005 10:15 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

You see, TRK, that's just the point. You saw that I asked the same question, right? With all the screaming on how bad the disengagement is, you see that no-one's shut up long enough to propose something else just as effective w/out the same consequences.

At 5/31/2005 1:32 AM, Anonymous Jameel said...

OC, TRK, and all.

I promise (bli neder) to write about alternatives later today. I'm totally strssed at work.

Perhaps we can open a new "posting" for alternatives, as I think we have worked this "post a comment" section to death. (Though its fun checking this older posting group every day).



At 5/31/2005 2:34 AM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...


I'm happy hosting it here, do you want me to open a new post trying to summarize the views (as long as you all promise to behave?)?

Keep it up - it's very important.

Chill out about work - life's too short!


At 5/31/2005 3:50 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Yeah, that would be good, TRK. Although, I'm still waiting to find out if Jameel's protestors in New York had a permit to protest.

At 6/01/2005 5:43 AM, Anonymous Jam Eel said...

OC: Chill out about permits! Protesting doens't make you a dangerous criminal (even though yesterday, the Israeli AG stated to the contrary that -- "blocking traffic is sedition")

And now - presenting, the outgoing IDF Chief of Staff's opinion on the Desengagement, and the bloody mess its going to cause.

Best news of it all: "In other words, he said, it is too soon to talk about the withdrawal as a fait accompli."

If you wish it (not to happen) it is no dream.

TRK: What did Pirkei Avot say?
"אהוב את המלאכה, ושנוא את הרבנות"

Work's no so bad; it pays the bills, keeps me just busy enough between family, MDA, IDF, and helping keep Jews from getting thrown out of their houses.

At 6/01/2005 3:46 PM, Blogger menachem said...

we're about to cycle off TRK's front page! oh no! (splash)


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