Friday, July 30, 2004

Revisiting Rawhide

The Arrow missile defence system was successfully tested in California this week. Click here...
Haaretz - Israel News - Analysis / Sky-high interception off the Californian coast

A couple of years ago those of us in Israel had to worry that it would be tested over our heads. That's when Saddam Hussein was still a threat. I wrote a column then about the Arrow for The Jewish Star and I'm posting it here again:

Does anybody remember Rowdy Yates? I certainly don't but I do remember the theme to "Rawhide", that great western t.v. serial (1959- 1966) starring a young Clint Eastwood as Yates. It was all about a cattle drive from San Antonio, Texas to Sedalia, Kansas , set in the wild west of the 1860's. The theme song was made famous to a later generation in the movie "The Blues Brothers" as the one and only western tune that Jake and Elroy knew how to play to save their necks behind the chicken wire.

The real subject of this article is the new Arrow anti-missile defence system that is hopefully going to save us in Israel from Saddam Hussein's missiles, which he'll probably let fly at us if and when he is attacked.

So why all this Rawhide stuff? It's because it has come to my knowledge- thanks again to Google- that Ronald Reagan's Secret Service code name was none other than "Rawhide ". If you couple that with the fact that the Arrow is a direct outgrowth of Reagan's "Star Wars" project, and Israel's participation in it, then the western twang of the chosen name, Arrow, and the Hollywood theme of the whole thing sounds like the prelude to one hell of a show!

Am I making this up? A Pentagon official was quoted in the New York Times on Sunday as follows: "It would be the first time in history that an interceptor that was developed strictly to shoot down incoming missiles is used. The Patriot used in 1991 was designed to shoot down airplanes and modified to give it some kind of antimissile capability. But from the start, the Arrow was built to intercept ballistic missiles. The whole world will be watching to see what happens, and we will be watching."

Well, we'll be watching too! There were two hundred and seventy one episodes of Rawhide over those seven years, fifty two minutes for each and every one. The Arrow will have somewhat less time to rope in them scuds. It takes about seven minutes for one to fly from Iraq to Israel. It'll be a quickie but a goodie!

In any case, the experts over here are saying that the Arrow has between a 90 and 95% chance of getting its target. That's not too bad. Alot depends on how many incoming missiles there are. Estimates are that Saddam's arsenal is limited enough as to not overtax the Arrow batteries. The Arrow works differently than the Patriot, which didn't work very well. The Green Pine radar system picks up the scud and a computer figures the coordinates. The Arrow is fired not automatically as in the Patriot system but according to the discretion of military officers. The Arrow explodes when coming within range of the incoming missile and destroys it, unlike the Patriot which attempted the much more difficult task of making a direct strike- like trying to hit a bullet with a bullet. The interception should be made high enough in the atmosphere that any chemical or biological payload would disintegrate harmlessly up above, but a nuclear payload might be a different story. A nuclear scenario however is not considered a threat at this time.

I like the Green Pine name. Has a kind of Zane Grey feel to it- or Bonanza. I think we'll be O.K.. Anyway, it beats chicken wire. The only thing that bothers me is why we always have to be the missile bait to try out these new systems. Makes you think of unpleasant things.

I suppose if the whole thing comes off well and the Arrow pulls through then it will be a great day of joy and celebration. America would then have its much desired and proven missile defense system and Israel would be free from the fear and threat of a missile attack. Saddam would be gone and maybe Iraq would become a beacon of democracy and freedom in the Arab world. Perhaps the sight of a free Iraq would cause a change of regime in Iran as well. These are apparently the hopes of some in the Bush Administration. Imagine, suddenly the whole Middle East transformed in this way. I wonder what that would mean for Israel.

To round out the whole thing, I've heard say that there are some who maintain that Rowdy Yates and his comrades never made it to Sedalia. There are others that say they most certainly did. Sooner or later the whole matter will get settled, despite the heavy shroud of mystery. Till next time...

July 30 Column : Bork Bashes Barak

For over a decade now, as the Israeli Left has continually lost voters at the polls, there has been an antidemocratic shift of power to the Israeli Supreme Court. With the electorate increasingly and ever more clearly voting for those that promised to oppose the "peace process" and take tough action to restore security and end terrorism -- the tiny leftist elite moved to vastly increase the powers of the High Court in order to maintain control and push leftist policies of appeasement.

I write about the subject of the High Court again because I recently heard an Internet radio program on the subject that turned out to be a real eye opener. The show was on Arutz 7, which has gone online with its radio program after being shut down by the government some months ago. To my regret, I cannot give credit to the show’s host as I missed the introduction.
Mention was made on the show of Justice Robert H. Bork, who is a well-known critic of judicial activism. I was amazed to hear that he had made some harsh criticisms of the Israeli Supreme Court. I searched online and found that he had recently written a book: "Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges,"

I believe that a brief biography of Bork is appropriate in order to understand the gravity of his criticism. Judge Bork was Solicitor General of the United States from 1973 to 1977; acting Attorney General from 1973 to 1974; and Circuit Judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1982 to 1988. He was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on July 1, 1987, although Senate confirmation was ultimately denied.

While Justice Bork has written extensively on judicial activism, and the usurpation of democracy in the United States by the Supreme Court, the present book addresses the international dimensions of the problem. The book focuses on three extreme cases of judicial activism on the international scene: The United Nations, Canada, and Israel.

I have not read the book yet, although I intend to very soon, but I have searched the Internet for reviews. The following is taken from one review that includes the longest and most condemning direct quote from the book that I found. Here it is:

"Israel is the supreme example of judicial imperialism securely entrenched. Bork writes: "Imagine, if you can, a supreme court that has gained the power to choose its own members, wrested control of the attorney general from the executive branch, set aside legislation and executive action when there were disagreements about policy, altered the meaning of enacted law, forbidden government action at certain times, ordered government action at other times, and claimed and exercised the authority to override national defense measures. Imagine as well a supreme court that has created a body of constitutional law despite the absence of an actual constitution. . . . Israel’s Supreme Court has done them all."

The reviewer, Richard John Neuhaus, writing for, rightly identifies the anti-Jewish and antidemocratic ideology of post-Zionism as an underlying force that is directing and driving the High Court in its activism and decisions. He writes:

"The court is decidedly on the side of a post-Zionism that has broken with the founding ideas of Israel. Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court, has blithely decreed that, in cases of disagreement, "the views of the enlightened community in Israel" must prevail, and the court gets to decide who is and who is not "enlightened." Bork’s judgment is grim: "Israel has set a standard for judicial imperialism that can probably never be surpassed, and, one devoutly hopes, will never be equaled elsewhere. The sad irony is that the Supreme Court, operating with a Basic Law that specifies Israel’s values are both Jewish and democratic, is gradually producing an Israel that is neither Jewish nor democratic."

This indictment is astounding. The reality is degrading and despairing to thousands -- if not millions here -- but making it known is hopefully a positive step. Please read the book and discuss the issue. Awareness and discussion in America will hopefully encourage change. As you see, there is not much that can be done here.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Post-Zionism's Latest Gift to Israel's Security

An analysis of "Barak's fence"  -- the new "security fence" -- by Debka.  
"Palestinian terrorists will therefore retain unimpeded access to the following key locations in central Israel:

The Rosh Ha’Ayin conurbation (30 km northeast of Tel Aviv) south of Highway 5; the residential-industrial block of Shoham, Elad, and Beit Arie, as well as Ben Gurion international airport , Israel Air Industries and the urban center of Modi’in that depend on Highway 444 , plus the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway 443 .

All the locations on this list will remain dangerously unprotected against - and within range of -Palestinian mortars and Qassam missiles, as well as suicide bombers. So too will the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway 1.

Should West Bank Palestinians decided to launch simultaneous barrages against the segments of Highways 443 and 1 under their guns, they can cut Jerusalem off from the rest of the country, leaving it dependent on the old, narrow, winding 395 route through Ain Karem. "

Read more here...

Kerry's Multilateralism a Serious Threat to Israel

 Kerry may be the darling of the UN, EU, and post-Zionists but those that would like Israel to survive know that his multilateralism is extremely dangerous. 

"We cannot afford another Clinton era in the Mideast, not at this dangerous time," said an Israeli Likud member.

"We hear speaker after speaker at the Democratic convention talk about joint efforts with the EU and the U.N. Is Kerry going to advocate for releasing Arafat from isolation, like France wants? Will Kerry take a soft approach to Iran, like some in Europe want? Clinton was soft on North Korea and now they have the nuke. What about the security fence? Is Kerry going to tow the U.N. line that we don't have the right to protect ourselves from suicide bombers?" he said.

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Multilateralism or post-Americanism?

Is multilateralism -- the embracing of inclusiveness with an anti-American and antidemocratic  EU -- America's post-Zionism? Should multileralism -- for the sake of clarity and for the sake of America and Israel -- be better called post-Americanism?

 After reading : Anti -Americanism in Europe by Russell A. Berman, these are two of the questions I am asking myself.

It can be read online here ...

Synopsis of the book: 

"Our tarnished image in Europe: why has it become so pervasive?

Since September 11, 2001, the attitudes of Europeans toward the United States have grown increasingly more negative. For many in Europe, the terrorist attack on New York City was seen as evidence of how American behavior elicits hostility—and how it would be up to Americans to repent and change their ways. In this revealing look at the deep divide that has emerged, Russell A. Berman explores the various dimensions of contemporary European anti-Americanism.
The author shows how, as the process of post cold war European unification has progressed, anti-Americanism has proven to be a useful ideology for the definition of a new European identity. He examines this emerging identity and shows how it has led Europeans to a position hostile to any "regime change" by the United States no matter how bad the regime may be whether in Serbia, Afghanistan, or Iraq.
Berman details the elements—some cultural, some simply irrational—of this disturbing movement and tells why it is likely to remain a feature of relations between the United States and Europe for the foreseeable future. He explains how anti-Americanism operates like an obsessive prejudice and stereotype, impervious to rational arguments or factual proof, and shows how the negative response to U.S. policies can be traced to a larger, more deeply rooted movement against globalization.
Anti-Americanism in Western Europe is not just a friendly disagreement, it is a widening chasm. This book makes a major contribution to understanding this important ideological challenge.
Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, is a senior fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution." 

  Americans should know more about post-Zionism if they are to better understand multilateralism. 

    This Friday I will post my latest column which deals with "judicial imperialism"  in Israel's Supreme Court. Israel's Supreme Court is post-Zionism's greatest weapon as is the United States Supreme Court in the push of multilateralism. Robert H. Bork has taken notice as he looks beyond the judicial activism and multilateralism of the United States Supreme Court towards judicial activism on the international scene -- what he says about Israel is astounding. Look for Bork Bashes Barak on Friday.

The Deadly Threat of post-Zionism

"Post-Zionism is not just an ideology that seeks to replace the preceding, prevalent ideology, or a new theory that analyzes previous theories that it regards as myths. It is not just a new view that aspires to represent more humane, moral, and democratic values than Zionism, which it sees as reactionary, anti-democratic, and immoral. Post-Zionism is also the reality in which the State of Israel functions and in which its citizens live and face the threat of being murdered by Arab-Palestinian terrorists. This terrible fact is closely and directly related to the emergence of the post-Zionist reality." 

From Raya Epstein's piece, POST-ZIONISM AND DEMOCRACY -- read it here...


What is post-Zionism?

The following quote from the World Zionist Organization is a good synopsis of post-Zionism.

See the whole article here:

"The central contention of post-Zionism is that the idea of a Jewish state with its unique calendar, flag, anthems, rhythms, ethos, and history is atavistic, a throwback to the romantic nationalism of the nineteenth century that begat, among other things, fascism and Nazism. In the modern world of the Internet, the global economy, European integration, and growing transnational interdependence, this ethnic particularism is hopelessly retrograde. The advanced peoples of the West are surrendering sovereignty. Israel should, too.

There is something wildly out of place about this idea. This is all well and good for Liechtenstein. Unfortunately, however, the neighborhood in which Israel finds itself shows no sign of giving up nationalism, particularism, or religious fanaticism to join the global bandwagon. No matter. The post-Zionists are morally offended and aesthetically appalled by the grubbiness of their neighborhood and the brutal provincialism of their compatriots. One leading Israeli poet, Dalia Rabikovitch, parodies the longing for the Return in early Zionist poetry with this twist on the twenty-third psalm:

As for me,
He maketh me lie down in green pastures
In New Zealand...
Truehearted people herd sheep there,
On Sundays they go to church
In their quiet clothes.
No point in hiding it any longer:
We're an experiment that didn't turn out well,
A plan that went wrong,
Tied up with too much murderousness."

This is the spirit of the leftist elite that has taken over Israel through the new imperialism of the Israeli Supreme Court. On friday I will be posting my latest column which deals with the subject from an interesting angle.


"Belligerent Occupation"

Those are the words that Aharon Barak, chief justice of Israel's Supreme Court, used to describe Israel's presence in Judea, Samaria and Aza in his recent command to the Defense Ministry regarding the relocating of the "separation fence." Was the choice of the word " belligerent" arbitrary or carefully chosen? Does the fact that the definition of the word  "fascism" contains the word belligerent perhaps have anything to do with Barak's choosing it? 

Here is the definition of fascism as it appears in the fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary: 

a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government. 2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.

Could Barak really imply that Israel is fascist? Yes, indeed -- he is a devoted and most powerful post-Zionist.

"The central contention of post-Zionism is that the idea of a Jewish state with its unique calendar, flag, anthems, rhythms, ethos, and history is atavistic, a throwback to the romantic nationalism of the nineteenth century that begat, among other things, fascism and Nazism. " -- from the World Zionist Organization. 
 It is interesting that the International Herald Tribune chose to quote the phrase "belligerent  occupation" when reporting on Barak's fence decision:

"The Palestinians will fashion the nonbinding ruling from The Hague into a political battering ram, but their greatest victory may lie in the similarities between the international court and the Israeli rulings. In his opinion, Aharon Barak, the Israeli High Court's president, agreed that Israel holds the West Bank "in belligerent occupation" and is therefore subject to international law. The court accepted, moreover, that Israel cannot build barriers on occupied land if their purpose is political or "motivated by the desire to annex territory." It held that Zionist ideology is not an acceptable justification for seizing occupied lands. These, in broad outline, are the same arguments the international court relied on."

 It  does not seem that the term "belligerent occupation" language was lifted from the Hague ruling but rather that it is Barak's choice of language. The IHT apparently approved and quoted it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Column: The Barbary Pirates are History

"Were we to give up half our territory rather than engage in a just war to preserve it, we should not keep the other long."
Thomas Jefferson, newly elected President of The United States, in regard to the Barbary Pirates.

For nearly four hundred years Europe paid tribute as Barbary Pirates in swift corsairs terrorized much less agile and much more poorly armed merchant ships in the waters of the Mediterranean. The Barbary States; Tunis, Algeirs, Morocco and Tripoli were the state sponsors. The Ottoman Sultan, ruler of the region, collected his share from these states who exacted their portion from the pirate loot in exchange for providing ports, bases and stores for weapons. Alternatively, tribute was paid to the Barbary States which sent a percentage to the Sultan and granted protection.

With American independence the Royal Navy no longer patrolled the sea lanes on behalf of the colonies and in 1793 America was forced to pay out more than twenty percent of it’s seven million dollar budget to ransom eleven ships. However, by 1801, with the election of Thomas Jefferson as President, the era of ransom and tribute was soon to come to an end.
Jefferson had long opposed tribute as an affront to the dignity of the nation and as poor strategy. He saw that weakness would only encourage higher and higher demands as the thirst of the pirates and their sponsors only grew greater with each appeasement.

By 1803 Jefferson ordered The U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironside") and its sister ship the U.S.S. Constellation to the Mediterranean. The Constitution had been built at great expense- some $300,000- the equivalent of the cost of a carrier today. It wasn’t the power of its cannon that was novel but the combination of its formidable number of powerful cannon, great maneuverability, and the strength of its "iron sides"- which repelled cannon balls. The Constitution turned its long guns upon the fortress in Tripoli and the palace of the Pasha and all his stores, barracks, and powder magazines were made rubble.

The war continued until 1805 when two decisive events resulted in the most favorable agreement yet made with a Barbary State. The first was when the Marines- backed by the Constitution- landed on the shores of Tripoli and destroyed the harbor citadel at Derna that served as the headquarters for the pirates. The second was the threat of regime change when Yusuf Karamanli, the Bey of Tripoli, learned that his brother was ready to replace him in a plan devised by William Eaton, the American consul in Tunis. Aboard the deck of the Constitution a treaty was negotiated and signed between the Bey and Johnny Rogers that put an end to the raids against American ships and provided for the release of captured American sailors.

Though the the best treaty to date with a Barbary power, the treaty did not not end the threat of piracy to U.S. shipping. During the later Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 the Barbary pirates increased their raids. In fact, Algiers declared war on the United States, a war which continued until 1815 when Decatur forced the dey of Algiers to sign a treaty. In that year the United States paid its last tribute to any Barbary State.

There are valuable lessons to be learned here. The first is that today's terrorism appears to have a predecessor in the Barbary Pirates. The "statelessness" of the pirates and their relationship to sponsor states is familiar. While the pirates perhaps flew the "skull and bones" they took refuge and comfort in the ports and strongholds of the sponsor states. Moneys and goods changed hands- benefits accrued to the states and the Ottoman Empire they served. These types of relationships need to be understood as part of Arab history and culture. The looseness of relationships and apparent statelessness of pirates or terrorists should not confuse the observer or camouflage the connections between the perpetrators and their partners.

Secondly, the events that led to the beginning of the end of the Tripolitan War need to be understood. It was the destruction of the headquarters of the pirates in Derna and the subsequent threat of regime change that put the finishing blows on the Bey of Tripoli-- in that order. Once the headquarters of the pirates at the citadel were destroyed by the Marines the future of the pirates looked bleak indeed. They needed bases to operate. Presented with the threat of regime change, Karamanli reformed - after the citadel was laid waste.

While the above quoted statement of Jefferson was clearly made in exaggeration to make a point, how strange it is that two hundred years later Israel should be expected to do just that very thing in order to appease terrorists who so resemble their pirate forerunners. Based on the history of the Tripolitan War one would be very hard pressed to make the case that the piracy would have ever ended if instead of sending the Constitution Jefferson had continued in the European tradition of paying tribute and ransom-- much less had he handed the Barbary Pirates, the Barbary States, or the Ottoman Sultan half of America's territory.

Column: Edna Arbel -- Untouchable

Two weeks ago I wrote briefly about how investigative reporter, Yoav Yitzhak, has accused State Prosecutor, Edna Arbel, of being deeply involved in a very serious scandal and how Yitzchak has even challenged her to file a libel suit against him.

The matter should be headline news but is being almost completely ignored by the press -- google it and see. This, while at the same time Arbel leads an investigation against Ariel Sharon that many believe may be influencing his decisions on foreign policy and security issues.

Already, thousands of Israel’s most loyal and long suffering citizens -- who helped put Sharon in office -- have been put on notice that they face eviction from their homes, businesses, farms, schools and shuls. This "unilateral withdrawal" is of course seen as a victory by the "Palestinians" and encourages them to continue on the path of terror.

Yitzchak claims that "... During the 1999 investigation into the Barak campaign associations scandal, Arbel, or someone acting on her behalf, asked then-Prime Minister Barak and other ministers under investigation at the time to arrange a position for her husband on the Board of Directors of Israel's shipping company, Zim Lines."

At the time the request was allegedly made, Zim was owned jointly by the State of Israel and Israel Corp which is controlled by the Ofer group, a privately held company owned by brothers Yuli and Sami Ofer. On Feb 5, 2004, The Ofer group, which owned 48.9% of Zim, increased their ownership to 97.5% as the state sold its interest as part of the ongoing privitization of state owned businesses. If Yitzchak’s accusation is true then the state had a controlling interest in Zim at the time when then-Prime Minister Barak was approached by Arbel. Zim is very large company. It is the world's 10th-largest container shipping company and with a fleet of over 81 vessels it calls in 265 ports worldwide. It was no small favor that the Arbels are accused of requesting. Arbel’s appointment to the board of Zim "eventually fell through" according to the Jerusalem Post.

In response to Yitzchak’s accusation and challenge the State Prosecution, according to Arutz 7, issued the following statement:

"These claims are totally groundless. The State Prosecutor never turned to or talked to any minister or anyone in the Executive Branch. These stories make one feel, unfortunately, that there is an attempt to weaken the Prosecutor's hands. She will continue to do her work in a professional manner."

With that the matter was meant to be put to rest. However, if you read the wording of the statement carefully you will notice there is no actual denial of Yitzchak’s charge. First of all it is not clear whether Arbel issued the statement herself and spoke in the third person or it was made by her office for her. Secondly, there is no denial that someone had acted on her behalf, only that she personally made no direct request for an appointment for her husband. The statement, rather than directly denying the accusation, avoids it and confuses the issues. Was this done intentionally in order to protect Arbel from the risks of making what might later be shown to be a blatantly false statement of denial while at the same time giving the misleading impression that a complete denial was made? What about the obvious issue of the fox guarding the hen house?

The Edna Arbel story is exceptional in that it not only suggests the depth of the corruption and politicization of the legal system and it’s influence over the government but it also shows the media’s complicity in supporting their leftist agenda by simply not covering the story. It also shows the intertwining of commercial interests with the government, the court, the press and leftist politics. It is indicative of the kind of forces that come into play to push forward the surrender agenda of the left and keep Israel’s elected officials towing the line.

Just a few days ago the nationalist camp’s expectations were once again crushed when the Prime Ministerial-hopeful Binyamin Netanyahu, who in his last term as Prime Minister also came under investigation, failed to come out strongly against Sharon's unilateral withdrawal. For weeks Netanyahu had played his cards close to his chest and kept everyone guessing what his move would be. It’s hard to believe he wasn’t looking over his shoulder as he played his hand.

Column: A Memorable Meeting

Almost 20 years ago I had a conversation with a man who was at the time an important figure in the Jewish community in the United States.

I met with him while on a visit from Israel where I was studying in a yeshiva or rabbinic seminary. Friends and family were anxious that I stay in New York. I received a job offer or two -- some of my old buddies who were doing quite well while I was to all appearances merely growing some whiskers. My parents were still living in Lawrence and my brothers were still in the area -- everything was open to me if only I would choose to stay.

In an effort to show me that my idealism towards Israel could find a worthy outlet in America and perhaps to "put me in my place" a meeting was set up with the aforementioned VIP. I went to see him in his home on a warm summer day and we sat and talked.

At his invitation I told him about the yeshiva I was learning in and about my studies and routine. He told me also about his activities on behalf of the Jewish people which were very impressive. There were others present and they were all looking at me when he finished telling me about all the good deeds he did. I got the very strong feeling that they were all waiting for "the coin to drop" -- an Israeli expression for "getting it." Why couldn’t I see that all my religious stuff was a mere trifle of a contribution to my brethren, the children of Israel, compared to the deeds and accomplishments of this great and important man? Still, I was stubborn and wasn’t biting.

The conversation moved onto current events in Israel and the issues of the day -- it was then the time of what is now known as the "first intifada." He then asked me a very interesting question: "What do you see as the general direction of the Israeli public -- which way are things moving?" I responded that I had observed a strong teshuvah movement -- a movement back to orthodox torah Judaism and that politically everything was moving right. The teshuva movement, I explained, had started to gain serious momentum after the Yom Kippur War, when victory was snatched from the hands of defeat and the miracles were tangible -- stories abounding throughout the country inspiring a return to faith. That trend was growing stronger every year and yeshivas for returnees were thriving -- new ones opening -- now drawing young Jews from all over the world as well as from within Israel. Politically, I explained, there was a movement to the right as a result of this return to torah which promised all of the land of Israel to us and not to the Arabs and also as a result of the Arab uprising -- which at the time may have been mostly rock throwing, deadly as that could be.

His response is one that I will never forget and it is the point of this article. It left me speechless and unable to respond. It also has provided me with a reference point that I have referred to over the years when things in Israel became particularly perplexing and frustrating. He looked me square in the eyes and in a most deadly serious way -- which conveyed to me that he meant to tell me something very, very important, said: "We won’t let it happen."

I was very much taken aback and didn’t have the poise to ask him who is "we" and who empowered you and what then is your agenda if it is against the return of the Jewish people to the land and faith of their fathers -- a process that appears to be the fulfillment of the words of the prophets and the very promises of the Almighty. I have never had the opportunity to ask those questions of him having missed the chance. I like to think that if I was there now I would have the presence of mind and maturity to carry the conversation forward and learn more about the man I was speaking to and the people he spoke so confidently and authoritatively for.

Over the years I have seen in Israel’s left a strong antipathy towards torah and orthodox Judaism as well as an inexplicable desire to capitulate to the Arabs -- empowering them in every way to wage war against us and take our land. It is apparent in the "disengagement" plan that is afoot to evacuate the religious settlements of Gaza. It is more than a lack of faith that drives these opinions and actions, it is something darker -- something the VIP was trying to let me in on as a favor to those who had brought me to him -- something I needed to hear "for my own good."

Actually, it has been helpful -- in dispelling certain illusions about "Jewish leadership" both here and there -- elected or not. Perhaps it will also be helpful to you.

Column: Yair Har Sinia -- Memorial to a friend

For the sake of remembering and honoring I want to tell you about a very dear friend of mine that was murdered by Arabs a year and a half ago -- Yair Har Sinai, may G-d avenge his blood.

There are unfortunately so many more who have been murdered and maimed. May this be a remembrance and tribute to all of them as well, and may we see an immediate end to the suffering of our people.

Yair was a shepherd in Susiya in the Hebron Hills, about a 30-minute drive south of Hebron. He was shot and killed there while tending his flock on July 21, 2001.

To describe Yair and his life it is necessary first and foremost to describe the hills and valleys around Susiya for he and that land were one.

Driving south from Hebron, the land opens up in a way that reminded me -- the first time I saw it -- of Colorado. The sky is big.

The hills roll more and more gently the further south you travel. There are few trees except for the clusters of pine that were planted by Keren Kayemet on scattered hilltops and the olive trees in the narrow valleys that wind through the hills. Carmel and Maon are two yishuvim (settlements) that lie between Hebron and Susiya. In the time of King David, Naval the Carmelite had the largest flock in all of Israel-- 3000 sheep and a thousand goats -- the land was made for grazing flocks.

Susiya sits near the western edge of the Judean Desert. Climbing the hills to the east of the yishuv -- going up through the pastureland -- one reaches a place where the desert falls down below in a great expanse, dry and mountainous and empty.

Around Susiya the hills roll softly and the walking is easy. Much of the boulders and rocks are white limestone -- soft and very often flat -- making for a pleasant floor. In the springtime when the grass sprouts, the hills are a green and white patchwork.

There are no springs nearby and rainwater is gathered in ancient cisterns that have been cleaned and made good to use. The softness of the limestone makes it ideal for the digging out of the large, round, room-sized cisterns. Dropping a bucket into the cold clean water and drawing it up by a long rope and pouring it out bucket by bucket into stone troughs is the way the flocks are watered in the pasture.

One of the most interesting sights to come across in the hills is the winepresses. The whole area was a great source of fine wine in biblical times and the winepresses are scattered here and there. Arabs do not drink wine. The winepresses testify to the ancient Jewishness of the land.
This is the setting in which Yair spent his years. He was in the mountains day after day, year after year. There were days of icy coldness, days of hard rain, even sometimes snow. And there were long hot days of blistering heat. Springtime brought the green carpet and wildflowers with the newly born kids jumping and hopping all around -- anxious to get out in the pasture too.

Sometimes at night Yair would take off alone into the mountains -- the limestone shining white beneath the moon. He would go and talk to G-d underneath the stars of Judea, wandering his beloved hills.

Born on a moshav near Hadera in the early days of the newborn state, he grew up with the Israel of agriculture, simplicity, and neighborly kindness deep in his bones. Dalia, his wife, grew up nearby on another moshav. When they became religious they looked for a return not only to their spiritual roots but to a way of living that incorporated their great love of the land of Israel. It took some time for them to find their way to Susiya, having first tried the more standard way of life that most of the religious world follows. But Yair loved the outdoors and he loved work and he loved the land. They found their home and had nine children.
One day we were in the pasture together with the goats and sheep grazing around us. It was a cold winter day. I asked him what he would do if this land was given away -- if a "Palestinian" state was created. He looked at me straight in the eyes in his piercing, ferociously forthright way, and, gesturing to the earth beneath his feet said calmly, "I will die here." I looked around me at the hills and the flock and the sky and then back at Yair and I knew that he meant what he said -- that he had no other home -- and never could.

Yair ben Yehuda. May his memory be blessed.

Column: Fenced in

A separation fence will never solve Israel’s security issues because any Israeli withdrawal, from any area, will result in the creation of a new launching pad from which to fire missiles into all of Israel. What we have been seeing in Sderot is a confirmation of this assertion. Upgraded rockets are now a threat not just to the Jewish communities of Gaza but to adjacent communities inside the green line. A fence is not a solution but a ruse. Its purpose is to make a withdrawal from "occupied territories" look like a well-reasoned security maneuver. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The withdrawal from Lebanon has brought an influx of missiles into the one-time security zone that can blanket all of northern Israel. There are even Iranian missiles there -- armed by Iranian soldiers -- that can reach Tel Aviv. The short term benefits of keeping suicide bombers at a distance are just that, short term. Rocket factories have already been discovered in Samaria. Why should what happened in Lebanon not happen there? Why should it not happen in Gaza? It has already started. It is out there in the open for all to see.

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the recent decision of Israel’s Supreme Court to force the Defense Ministry to reroute 30 kilometers of the fence. In a statement following the decision, the Defense Ministry said, "The replanning of these sections will be based on the principles set by the High Court, namely the proper balance between security and humanitarian considerations."

What has happened is that the Supreme Court has ruled that "humanitarian considerations" regarding the sworn enemies of Israel supersede maximum security for the protection of Jewish lives.

What could make the Israeli Supreme Court reach such a perverse decision? Is there nothing that limits their power? Can they simply override the Defense Ministry decisions concerning security matters to meet their latest whim of morality and "humanitarianism?" The amazing answer is that the Supreme Court under Aharon Barak can do just that. It makes law -- law that even the legislative body, the Knesset, is bound to follow.

Nevertheless, one would assume there must be some logic behind the fence decision. Perhaps that logic can be found in the recent, and in some ways, similar decision of the United States Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush. That decision prompted the following relevant comments by Andrew C. McCarthy in an article that appeared in National Review Online:

" ... as manifested in Rasul, yesterday's case involving claims of foreign enemy combatants captured on faraway battlefields and held by the military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — an installation outside the jurisdiction of any US court — the judiciary is no longer a neutral arbiter there to ensure that Americans get a fair shake from their government and its laws. Instead, it is evolving, or morphing, into a sort of United Nations with teeth. It has seized the mantle of international arbiter, ensuring that the world — including that part of it energetically trying to kill Americans — has a forum in which to press its case against the United States."
In the winter 2004 edition of "The Public Interest" there was a very interesting piece that perhaps explains what we are now witness to in both these cases. It is titled "Multilateralism Comes to the Courts." Written by Ken I. Kersch, it shows a trend in the United States Supreme Court that has been identified by Andrew McCarthy in his observation that the Court is "evolving, or morphing, into a sort of United Nations with teeth."

Kersch wrote:

" ... passing references to international agreements and foreign law (in recent decisions) are easily overlooked, and the Court’s appeal to international standards received scant critical attention. The Court’s multilateral turn, however, is no accident. Behind these seemingly benign references to international agreements and foreign practice stands a vast and ongoing intellectual project, one which the justices themselves occasionally acknowledge. Justice Breyer, the Court’s most intellectually au courant justice, boldly declared last spring on ABC’s "This Week" that "whether [and how] our Constitution ... fits into the governing documents of other nations" is a "challenge for the next generations."

Perhaps, keeping in step with the international spirit of this "intellectual project" is what motivated the Israeli Supreme Court to reach it's oh so politically correct decision on the fence -- just as it appears that the "project" has influenced the Rasul decision.

There is however at least one profound difference between the ultimate consequences of these two decisions. Congress makes law. When and if Congress deems it necessary to pass a new law to protect American lives from terrorists and toss Rasul into the trash heap, it can do so -- assuming the law in constitutional. In Israel, the High Court, under Barak’s influence, has become so powerful that it does just as it sees fit -- and whatever it sees fit is the final word.

Column: Don't be fooled

Don’t let anyone fool you. The single most important issue in the upcoming American Presidential elections is the war on terror.

It’s been almost 10 years now since I was completely and totally shocked at just how insane living in a country that appeases terrorists can be.

I was living then in the Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is right next to the outdoor market or shuk known as Machane Yehuda. Bombs were going off everywhere in Israel and especially in Jerusalem. Jewish blood was cheap. Yitzhak Rabin was Prime Minister and Yasser Arafat was his "partner" in the "peace process." The murdered and maimed Jews, whose numbers were growing day by day, were in Rabin’s words "sacrifices for peace." "Sacrifices for peace" was not a phrase that you heard once in passing or that was coined by critics and opponents to Rabin. You heard it all the time from Rabin himself -- after every bloody attack.
Radio reporters would first give the details of the attack including the time and location and an estimate of the dead and wounded and then the coverage would shift to praises of the police and rescue units. The ambulances arrived in record time! We were supposed to be encouraged and distracted and numbed into idiocy. The fact that the rescue workers were getting better and faster and the scene of the attack was returned to normal in record time was meant to calm us down.

I remember going to the site of a bus bombing on Jaffe Road just a few hours after the attack. The street was open for traffic. Body pieces had been collected, all of them, even the smallest pieces -- in keeping with Jewish Law. The blood that had flown in the streets had been hosed down into the sewer system with fire hoses. The charred and twisted remains of the bus had been removed. There were people setting up a memorial to the murdered with fragments of the bus. Candles were lit. Prayers were said.

Life was to go on as usual. We were to be brave. Peace is not easily achieved. Sacrifices must be made. We have no other partner for peace. The victims are "sacrifices for peace." Rabin said all these things solemnly like a wise, caring father. He said them over and over again -- after every attack.

I decided to leave Jerusalem. I went down to Susiya in the Hebron Hills and worked for a friend, Yair Har Sinai, as a shepherd. There were some Arabs in the mountains and Yair had been attacked a couple of times over the course of the years that preceded my arrival. Still, I had visited there a number of times and found that I felt much better and safer with a lot of open space and a chance to defend myself then walking down a crowded street in Jerusalem. On July 2, 2001, some six years after I left Susiya, Yair was murdered in the mountains there. He was shot in the head and chest at close range.

A little more than two months after his murder, terrorists struck in America. In the days that followed I thought about something Yair had told me many times as the "Palestinians" danced and sang on the blood of 3000 Americans. He spoke Arabic fluently and he had some contact with the local Arabs. "The Arabs are obsessed with destroying America," he said. For them, I knew, 9/11 was just a hopeful start -- a start that would know no end -- unless America reacted much differently than Israel had.

Fortunately, for the whole world, America began to fight.
Since then, the American administration, under President Bush, has shown that it understands the threat of Islamo -- fascist terror. It has acted boldly to take the initiative to eliminate the threat in spite of European and UN criticism. John Kerry has said that he will win back global favor for America. That favor was lost to a degree when President Bush began to defeat the terrorists that Europe and the UN would either ignore or assuage. That global favor must by definition come at the expense of the war effort -- and that could be very expensive indeed -- for the whole world.

Column: Beacon of Islamo-fascism?

Could Gaza become the great symbol and beacon of militant Islam and unnecessarily extend the war on terror?

It is, after all -- regardless of the meaning or outcome of the latest violence -- the place where terrorism is best achieving it’s goals. The EU supports terrorism there and so does the UN -- calling it by other names. Only the United States and Israel have reservations, but not enough to stop both countries from supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state there and in Judea and Samaria, and thus rewarding and encouraging terrorists.

Militant Islam needs this beacon because it is a paper tiger. This has been proven daily since the beginning of the war on terror. In Afghanistan, the numbers of Taliban fighters who turned coat when they got a taste of American military might and switched sides was a major factor in bringing the war to a quick and decisive end. This happened in the face of dire threats and warnings by the press about the courage and spirit of these mountain fighters. It was said that American soldiers had no way of defeating them in their own high and remote territories and networks of hidden caves. All that turned out to be nonsense as these fighters caved in and flipped sides.

Looking back to the wars in Israel one can see similar implosions in the spirit of jihad. After the Six Day War the Arabs in Israel were docile for years. The same was true after the war of Independence in 1948. The Arab League had told the local Arabs to leave before the war and that they would come back when Israel was no more. Israel won the war and chased down those Arabs and brought them back as a super humanitarian gesture. The Arabs were afraid at first to come back -- sure that they would be slaughtered -- and lived timidly for years.

Today, Islamo -- fascists are on the run and they lower their heads everywhere in the face of the threat of American military might. Kaddafi has humbled himself. Osama bin Laden’s comrades in arms have begun turning themselves in -- taking advantage of a Saudi Arabian amnesty deal.
There remains perhaps only one great hope for them, one symbol and one beacon -- within the boundaries of "Greater Israel." With no foreseen threat by way of American intervention on even the farthest horizon and Israel preparing to "unilaterally withdraw" -- expelling 8,000 of its own citizens and accepting defeat even while ridiculously calling it a "victory" -- the weakness that Islamo-fascism breeds upon is available in great quantities. That weakness -- that lack of threat -- is the lifeblood of the jihadists. Until that weakness is replaced by overwhelming force or the imminent and palatable threat thereof, terrorism will continue unabated against Israel and there is even the great danger that it will become much worse as the jihadists focus on their softest target. In turn, this softness and any success could encourage the global jihadists in their greater aims, indefinitely and unnecessarily prolonging the necessity for the war on terror.

As long as the Islamo -- fascists know that there is a safe house inside "Greater Israel" they will take advantage of it, but more than that. It will become the symbol of their struggle. With EU and UN backing and US and Israeli ambivalence it will become their final hope for defeating the West -- settling and focusing temporarily on the limited goal of destroying Israel they will look to regroup and strengthen themselves for their greater, global goal.

With the Israeli government acting in ways that are causing a growing combination of despair and disbelief amongst its citizens, appeals need to be made to the American administration to avoid the hypocrisy of supporting the creation of what will certainly become a terrorist state while carrying out a war on terror. This argument has certainly been made and needs to be repeated. However, it might also be argued that the creation of a Palestinian state will severely harm and extend the war on terror if as a symbol and beacon of hope and success it helps keep militant Islam alive.