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Monday, September 13, 2010

JUDAISM’S THREE TIMELESS INNOVATIONS




JUDAISM’S THREE TIMELESS INNOVATIONS
by Rabbi Isaac Jeret
*Adapted from the Palos Verdes Peninsula News (9/16/2010)


Many of us are aware that Judaism introduced to the world, at least 2,500 years ago, the radical theological principle of a belief in one God, as opposed to the then generally accepted   pagan  belief in multiple gods. What may surprise some of us is that this theological innovation is but one of three fundamental principles that Judaism introduced that serve as the foundational values of Western civilization and that we might also recognize among the core principles of the Judeo-Christian heritage.

In addition to a belief in one God, central to Jewish faith and practice is the principle that protecting and saving human life takes precedence over all other Jewish precepts. In addition to the inclusion in the Torah's Ten Commandments of the prohibition against committing murder, the Talmud states that even the observances of Yom Kippur (the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar) and that of the Sabbath (the second most sacred day) must be abrogated to protect, preserve, or save human life.

This core value of the primacy of human life is drawn directly from several verses in the biblical Book of Deuteronomy, each of which suggests that the one God who created humanity could only have intended to reveal a religious and spiritual pathway that would promote and enhance life, and never to bring harm to us. The value of the primacy of human life is intended, therefore, to serve as an ever-conscious purpose for engaging in the entirety of the Jewish spiritual discipline, not merely as an implicit concern; no circumstance other than protecting our own lives or the lives of others, and only when threatened in earnest, justifies taking or risking human lives.

This value, and its nuanced interpretations, guides Jewish considerations regarding everything from health-care decisions   to  preemptive  and  reactive  self-defense,  and  it  obliges  us  to regard our existence in this world as intrinsically more important than any dimension of existence that might await us upon our passing from this world. How we choose to live our lives is infinitely more important than how we choose to die, unless, Heaven forbid, any of us should ever have to endure so grave a circumstance as one in which how we choose to die is the only life-choice left to us.

A third and somewhat related principle introduced by Judaism is the very notion that the future can and should be made to become more life-enhancing - more beautiful, more sacred, more just, and richer in meaning and purpose - than was the past or is the present of our individual or collective experience. Pagan societies anticipated their annual calendars in a revolving manner, with similar periods and their associated experiences thought to recur annually and eternally. Judaism envisaged at its inception, and continues today to encourage us to affirm and support, a revolving cycle of time that spirals upward, always toward the betterment of the individual and collective human conditions, and aspiring toward the evermore sacred.

Interestingly, and most relevant to the current period of the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), all three of these core values - God’s Oneness, the Primacy of Human Life, and our Commitment to a Better Future - are symbolized by the Shofar (the ram’s horn) that is blown throughout Rosh Hashanah and at the conclusion of Yom Kippur in Jewish synagogues worldwide.

The Shofar first appears in our tradition as Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, erroneously hearing the call of pagan deities to cause harm to human life -- to his son, Isaac -- to satisfy “the gods.” God then intervenes, demanding of Abraham that he substitute a nearby ram as his sacrifice instead of Isaac. This formative narrative in the Book of Genesis introduced the Jewish value of the Primacy of Human Life by rejecting forevermore any notion of human sacrifice as a means to any desired spiritual end.

As God revealed to the Jewish People at Mount Sinai the Divine legislative foundation of Western Civilization - the Ten Commandments (each of which aims to uphold or achieve one or more of the three core values or principles noted above), the  Shofar’s sound accompanied our ancestors’ most powerful, consequential, transcendent, and collective experience of the   Divine Presence. Thus, the sound of the Shofar and the Oneness of God remain today bound inextricably in a shared and timeless Jewish experience. The One God calls to us, urges us, demands of us, and comforts us - each and all toward valuing and enhancing life, and building a better future.  God's Oneness also presupposes a central locus, One Place, unto which the Jewish People turns forever to find its spiritual center, the heart of the Land of Israel, Jerusalem.  It was unto this place - the historic  locus of the Holy of Hollies - that we have turned throughout our history to find direction and hope, and it remains so today, as we face eastward in our sanctuaries and turn eastward with our hopes and prayers, as much as the center of the Jewish      experience rebuilds in the State of Israel today.

Finally, the Shofar is envisaged by the biblical Prophets to herald the onset of a Messianic Age, an era understood in a more contemporary context to be earned by virtue of a comprehensive and uncompromising human endeavor to eradicate tyranny and terror and introduce true understanding among Peoples with real differences in culture and faith. For the Prophets, these human strivings are inspired by God's ethical  urging and spiritual call, and driven by our commitment to God's teaching of the Primacy of Human Life.  The Shofar then symbolizes an era of true and sustainable peace, one based upon an evolved and shared consciousness on the part of all humanity of these three foundational and revolutionary Jewish innovations. Of course, the Shofar does not act as a magical cure, but rather awakens us to action, allowing our prayers to begin our journey of concern and responsive deed beyond the sanctuary, throughout the year.

On Rosh Hashanah, along with all other Jewish communities around the globe, we will awaken to the call of these three sacred values and principles, as we blow the Shofar together as a community. At the conclusion of Yom Kippur, we will conclude the High Holy Days, united as ever with our   People, with a final sounding of the Shofar. Turning toward Jerusalem, as always, we will pray fervently that the   concluding Shofar-sounding will stir our hearts to hear evermore the moral-calling of the One God, strengthening evermore our commitment to the Primacy of Human Life with all of its profound and significant implications, and inspiring us evermore in our efforts to work, given our Commitment to a  Better Future, for the Jewish People and for all of humanity.

Rabbi Isaac Jeret is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes. To learn more about the synagogue’s inspirational Services and classes, please go to www.nertamid.com or call (310) 377-6986.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

THE BLESSINGS OF GOD'S BROKEN PROMISES - Ki Tavo

Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
by Rabbi Isaac Jeret

Rabbi Isaac Jeret is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid (nertamid.com), an inclusive synagogue on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

All too often, we are confronted with life's unfairness. How could someone so kind suffer so terribly? How could someone so ruthless enjoy wealth earned at the expense of the vulnerable and powerless? How is it that with greater or lesser frequency -- and for better or worse -- our own fate does not align with our virtue? Our despair or relief at such moral inequities reflects our intuitive expectation of just consequences for our choices and behavior. Given the Torah's repeted assurances that adherence to God's mandates begets material reward -- and acting otherwise begets punishment -- such inequities often give rise to personal crises of faith.

The latter half of this week's Torah portion, Ki Tavo, appears to present one of the Torah's clearest and most confounding recountings of God's promise of just consequences for our actions: "All these blessings shall come upon you and take effect, if you obey the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 28:2). What follows thereafter is a list of concrete and material blessings, guaranteed as consequences of our adherence to God's commandments. Several paragraphs later, a lengthy list of gruesome punishments follows a promise of severe consequences should we fail to live our lives in accord with God's commandments.

Our personal experience and our observations of others might appear to suggest that God's promise of an equitable world, as the Torah presents it, is a broken promise. However, a midrashic interpretation of one of the material rewards guaranteed in this week's Torah portion for good behavior might hold an important key to uncovering the blessings of what we might mistakenly construe as God's broken promises.

Among the blessings guaranteed in the Torah portion is the following: "You will be blessed in your comings and in your goings" (Deuteronomy 28:6). The plain meaning of this verse seems obvious; our daily interactions and transactions will be blessed with peace and success, if we are to observe God's commandments.

A fascinating midrashic alternative offers a different interpretation: If we live our lives in accord with the Torah's precepts, then just as we are welcomed into this world with joy and celebration (our ”coming”), recognized for the hope and miraculous wonder that each new life represents, we will be similarly celebrated upon our departure from this earth for the good that we will have done along the way (our ”going”).

At first glance, it might appear that the author of this commentary was troubled, as we often are, by the discrepancy between the plain and obvious meaning of God's promise on the one hand (that we would benefit materially and in this lifetime for the good we do) and the reality we live and observe on the other hand (that actions and consequences do not align fairly anywhere near as often as we would like). The central purpose of this midrashic commentary, perhaps, was to avoid a theological dilemma by avoiding one of God's most obvious and problematic broken promises.

It seems unlikely, however, that so obvious an attempt to avoid theological complication could have sufficed for our ancestors any more so than it might satisfy us today. There might, however, be several deeper messages in this midrashic commentary, as relevant to us today as they were to Jews 1,500 years ago or longer.

First, and more generally, God's greatest blessings may be obscured by a more literal reading of the Torah and its promises. These assurances might never have been intended to offer guarantees of God's equitable control of the outcomes of human choices, but rather to share with us wisdom and guidance so that we might both seek and seize opportunities to achieve ethical heights and spiritual depth, and inspire others to do so.

Second, and more specifically, the more likely consequences -- not promises -- of a life lived as much as reasonably possible in accord with God's teachings of Torah are far greater and more important than any literal interpretation can grasp. Not only might we earn the respect and appreciation of our peers for our attempt to live in such accord -- so much so that we might be celebrated upon our departure from this world as we were welcomed so joyously upon our arrival -- but we are more likely to inspire our children to live in such accord, as well. For this reason more than any other, I believe, the Midrash teaches that we will be celebrated upon our passing as upon our arrival; the single most important consequence of a life lived in accord with the Torah's precepts is that our children will know what about our lives is most worthy of celebration, and they are then more likely to merit a celebration of their own Jewishly inspired and connected achievements among those who will one day remember them.

May we all be so blessed, by God's broken promises.


Rabbi Isaac Jeret Spiritual Leader Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay www.nertamid.com

Friday, August 20, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER'S RECENT SPEECHES ON THE HOUSE-FLOOR SUPPORTING & DEFENDING ISRAEL



CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER'S
RECENT SPEECHES ON THE HOUSE-FLOOR
SUPPORTING & DEFENDING ISRAEL

I - REP. DANA ROHRABACHER DEFENDS ISRAEL AGAINST OBAMA, IRAN, & PALESTINIANS
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) addressed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 11, 2010, scolding Iran for its belligerence in pursuit of nuclear weaponry and supporting Israel's endeavors to stop Iran as a matter of American self-interest and moral virtue. In this powerful speech, the Congressman admonishes the Obama Administration for pressuring Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, into further concessions absent of very significant concessions due on the part of the Palestinians, given the numerous acts of good-will and concessions that Israel has undertaken unilaterally to date: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UPX-DrHGOg

II - REP. DANA ROHRABACHER DEFENDS ISRAEL ON HOUSE-FLOOR AGAINST FLOTILLA ACCUSATIONS
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) addressed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, issuing a passionate defense of Israel's right and need to blockade the Hamas-controlled Gaza-Strip. In his powerful remarks, the Congressman admonishes all who refuse to acknowledge the facts of this situation and informs the public of the true intentions and actions of the Flotilla organizers and "activists" as they planned and executed a brutal attack upon Israel's Navy Commandos who were armed with paint-guns, expecting to interdict misguided peace-activists but confronted instead a trained and armed band of mercenaries and terrorists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beuCodiQ20A

Rabbi Isaac Jeret
Spiritual Leader
Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay
www.nertamid.com/rabbi

Friday, June 11, 2010

DEBUNKING THE FLOTILLA INFILTRATION



DEBUNKING THE FLOTILLA INFILTRATION


On the evening of Thursday, June 3rd, Rabbi Isaac Jeret was interviewed by the Desert's #1 talk-show host, "Bulldog" Bill Feingold on KNEWS Radio. A regular guest on the program, Rabbi Jeret was invited as the featured guest on this broadcast, to discuss the Flotilla that aimed to infiltrate the Israeli Military Blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, stemming the flow of ammunition and missiles to the Hamas-terrorists who brutally govern the territory and use it as a launching pad for deadly and indiscriminate attacks against Israeli civilians.


The interview is divided into three segments, each presented individually as an Mp3 file, downloadable in seconds: http://www.nertamid.com/rabbi/audiovideo.html



Rabbi Isaac Jeret
Spiritual Leader
Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay
www.nertamid.com/rabbi

Friday, June 4, 2010

URGENT ISRAEL UPDATE - IMPORTANT INFORMATION & A CALL TO ACTION!

June 4, 2010 / 22 Sivan 5770

Dear Friends:

So many of us have been following the news this week, reading and watching confusing reports about events that occurred off the shores of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, as Israel's Navy interdicted an infiltrating "Flotilla," aiming and intending to break Israel's military blockade of Gaza. I write to you this morning (1) to share background resources and information regarding the reasons for both Israel's blockade of Gaza and its interdiction of the ships attempting to infiltrate this past week, (2) to share facts and their sources that clearly and unequivocally negate wide-spread fiction regarding how and why infiltrators were killed and Israeli commandos seriously injured in the course of the interdiction, (3) to encourage everyone in our community to advocate passionately on Israel's behalf in light of the degree to which Israel has been maligned this week and has had its reputation slandered in the media worldwide and, thereby, in the court of public opinion, and (4) to suggest some meaningful ways in which we can conduct our advocacy most effectively.

To begin, however, I want to encourage anyone and everyone who considers himself/herself a supporter of Israel to please attend and participate in a community-wide demonstration of solidarity with Israel this Sunday. The One With Israel Rally will be held at 2:00pm outside the Israeli Consulate at 6380 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. It is important that each of us be counted among Israel's visible and proud supporters at this vitally important juncture, as Israel rightly perceives itself to be more isolated and vulnerable than ever. Sunday's One With Israel Rally is sponsored jointly by the Israeli Consulate, the Jewish Federation, the Israel Leadership Council, StandWithUs, AIPAC, the Israel/Christian Nexus, numerous synagogues including our own, and a host of other local, regional, and national Jewish organizations. Numbers are critical - please make every effort to attend and be counted among Israel's supporters!

What follows below is a review of facts, sources, and resources related to each of the issues raised at the outset of this email. Please take the time to review these facts and resources carefully, to become better informed, to become active on Israel’s behalf, and to pass this email along to your friends within our community and beyond.

Together, we can make a significant difference on Israel’s behalf. Israel needs us now.

With every blessing for a Shabbat Shalom – for all of us and all of Israel,

Rabbi Isaac Jeret

Spiritual Leader

I - WHY IS ISRAEL MAINTAINING A MILITARY BLOCKADE OF GAZA?

1. Aided and trained by Iran, Hamas, recognized by our own country and most of the free-world as a terrorist-organization, has transformed the Gaza Strip into a launching pad for terror attacks, kidnappings, and indiscriminate rocket, mortar, and missile raids against Israeli civilian targets, still holding as hostage kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (four years this month!) and firing thousands of bombs and missiles at Israeli civilians since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2005 (four missiles were fired into Israel yesterday):

- DANIEL GORDIS ON THE BLOCKADE AND THE OPERATION: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/opinion/03gordis.html
- GILAD SHALIT IN CAPTIVITY (Hamas has not allowed anyone to visit Shalit, including the Red Cross, violating the Geneva Convention and a host of other international legal requirements): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUR5HIHkYUs
- AN INFORMATIVE INTERVIEW OF A JEWISH MOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN IN THE SOUTHERN ISRAELI CITY OF SEDEROT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c-Rk1bGYKs&feature=related
- KASSAM AND GRAD MISSILES AND ROCKETS FIRED BY HAMAS AT ISRAELI CIVILIANS:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dZfYmIPUJg
- ISRAELI HOMES HIT BY HAMAS MISSILES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7GYr5fPM7k
- ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (May 25, 2010): Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza

2. The only way to ensure that Hamas, a sworn enemy threatening Israel’s civilians and pledged to Israel’s destruction, will not further terrorize Israeli civilians (and even Palestinians who disagree with them) is to deny them the weaponry to carry out their attacks. A military blockade of the Gaza Strip is thus a necessity for Israel’s most basic security.

3. As Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, asserted yesterday, the larger picture of this entire event indicates that Iran wants very much to be able to deliver freely to the Gaza Strip military hardware and technology that requires an open port. Manipulating public-opinion to open the port on Iran’s behalf would constitute a rather typical Iranian maneuver. However, alongside an Iranian port on Israel’s southern border, Iran seeks to bog Israel down under diplomatic scrutiny so that it cannot challenge the Iranians’ pursuit of a military nuclear capability, diplomatically or otherwise. Imagine a world, then, in which Iran had both a military nuclear capability and an open port on Israel’s southern border, held by Hamas-terrorists who seek Israel’s destruction. Quite clearly, then, as an existential matter, Israel must enforce this embargo.

II - WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL ALLOW HUMANITARIAN AID INTO GAZA? WHY WOULD ISRAEL INTERDICT A “FREEDOM FLOTILLA”?

1. In actuality, not only does Israel allow great quantities of humanitarian-aid into Gaza, but Israel transports between 10,000 - 15,000 tons of such aid and supplies into Gaza weekly, paying for most of it:

- 15,000 TONS OF AID FROM ISRAEL TO GAZA DAILY: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/HumanitarianAid/Palestinians/MFA_Spokesman_Gaza_flotilla_24-May-2010.htm
- ISRAELI MEDICAL AND HUMANITARIAN AID TO GAZA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK8h7gM8EQo&feature=PlayList&p=DC43001A3FBF67DA&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=32
- ISRAELI CONVOY OF FOOD AND MEDICINE TO GAZA – WHILE HAMAS TARGETS ISRAELI CIVILIANS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8SNdkFBsI&feature=related
- HAMAS DENIES FLOTILLA-AID INTO GAZA: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=177320
- HAMAS FIRES AT ISRAEL AS ISRAEL DELIVERS AID: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Hamas+war+against+Israel/Gaza-+Israeli+aid+and+Hamas+attacks+8-Apr-2008.htm

2. Previous convoys purportedly carrying humanitarian aid for the benefit of Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been proven to have ferried ingredients and equipment intended for Hamas' use in manufacturing bombs and other weapons to kill and maim Israeli civilians and Hamas has used humanitarian cover (in Mosques and hospitals!) to conceal and deploy large caches of weaponry:

- ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE TWO TONS OF EXPLOSIVES INTO GAZA – IN SUGAR SACKS:
http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3494131,00.html
- WEAPONS DISCOVERED IN GAZA MOSQUE IN JANUARY, 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zd55Zhj5gQ&feature=PlayList&p=CED2C9FBC1BA7B79&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=31

3. Widespread propaganda about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused in any way by the Israeli military blockade or otherwise are contradicted not only by the massive humanitarian effort on Israel’s part described and documented above, but also by brave reporters, such as Tom Gross, willing to publish stories about Gaza that conform neither to the politically-correct view of the conflict (demonizing Israel) nor to the storyline spoon-fed to reporters by Hamas with the expectation that reporters and news-agencies will report what they are allowed to see in order to maintain access at all for their next story: http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001114.html

4. The organizing group of the infiltrating “Freedom-Flotilla” was anything but the leadership of a “Freedom Flotilla” of “peace-loving activists.” Headed by the Turkish-based and Saudi-funded, IHH (Turkish acronym), a so-called “Human-Rights group” with known (direct) ties to terrorist-groups, including Al-Qaida and Hamas, the infiltrating vessels were purchased with private Turkish funds, solicited personally by Turkish Premier, Erdogan. Moreover, it is now coming to light that over 50 of the “activists” on the Mavi Marmara, the ship upon which Israel’s rescue mission of its stranded and virtually unarmed commandos became necessary (see below) were either mercenaries or terrorists, trained specifically in hand-to-hand combat, armed with knives, bats, chains, pipes, stun-grenades, and fire-bombs – most of whom boarded the ship in Turkey en-route to Gaza without passports and with the full knowledge of Turkish authorities. It appears, both from soldiers’ accounts and based upon remnant shell casings and other evidence found on the ship that these terrorists on-board had heavier weaponry with them as well, including firearms:

- DOSSIER ON THE IHH: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7544
- DELVING DEEPER INTO THE IHH: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/terror-finance-flotilla
- TERRORISTS CLOAKED AS HUMANITARIANS: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/03/jihad-in-humanitarian-clothing/#ixzz0ptROpWE4

5. Israel informed the Flotilla-organizers in advance that it would not allow their ships to reach Gaza and asked them to dock in Ashdod (in southern Israel, roughly 15-20 miles north of the Gaza Strip), promising to truck all aid on the ships immediately to Gaza upon inspection. The organizers flatly declined the offer.

6. Israel requested that the Flotilla organizers take with them some provisions and aid for Gilad Shalit, Israel’s soldier kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas. The request was flatly denied.

III – IS ISRAEL’S MILITARY BLOCKADE OF THE GAZA STRIP LEGAL?

1. A MILITARY BLOCKADE IS LEGAL: “The belligerent right of blockade is intended to prevent vessels and aircraft, regardless of their cargo, from crossing an established and publicized cordon separating the enemy from international waters and/or airspace.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.1. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)

2. A MILITARY BLOCKADE CAN BE ENFORCED IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS: “Attempted breach of blockade occurs from the time a vessel or aircraft leaves a port or airfield with the intention of evading the blockade, and for vessels exiting the blockaded area, continues until the voyage is completed.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.4. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)

3. A BLOCKADE IS LEGAL EVEN IF TRANSPORTING HUMANITARIAN AID: “Neutral vessels and aircraft engaged in the carriage of qualifying relief supplies for the civilian population and the sick and wounded should be authorized to pass through the blockade cordon, subject to the right of the blockading force to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which passage is permitted.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.3. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)

4. IS IT LEGAL TO BOARD SHIPS AND CAPTURE THOSE ABOARD WHILE ENFORCING A BLOCKADE? “Neutral merchant vessels and civil aircraft are liable to capture by belligerent warships and military aircraft if engaged in any of the following activities: Resisting visit and search; Carrying contraband; Breaching or attempting to breach blockade; Violating regulations established by a belligerent within the immediate area of naval operations. Neutral vessels or aircraft attempting to resist proper capture lay themselves open to forcible measures by belligerent warships and military aircraft and assume all risk of resulting damage.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.10. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)

5. THE HELSINKI PRINCIPLES ON THE LAW OF MARITIME NEUTRALITY: http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/print/0016515

6. ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Law/Legal+Issues+and+Rulings/Gaza_flotilla_maritime_blockade_Gaza-Legal_background_31-May-2010.htm

IV – DID ISRAEL USE EXCESSIVE FORCE, OR EVEN COMMIT A MASSACRE, AGAINST THE INFILTRATING FLOTILLA?

1. Israeli Navy-Commandos, trained extensively to deal with civilian infiltrators in a most non-confrontational and non-violent manner, successfully commandeered the first five of the six infiltrating ships without incident, boarding them while armed with paint guns to stain and thereby identify anyone offering (unlawful – see above) resistance. The sixth ship, the Mavi Marmara, flying a Turkish flag, seemed, prior to boarding, to present a situation similar in circumstance to the first five ships. As the first five ships, no-one appeared to be on deck and many infiltrators appeared to have been asleep. However, as Navy-troops began to drop from a helicopter by rope, one by one, onto the top-deck of the ship, crowds of violent infiltrators, armed with chains, metal-rods, long and sharp knives, wooden bats, fire-bombs, and stun-grenades emerged swiftly, in a coordinated manner, to confront them. It is now understood that they were an organized militia, pre-arranged in formation below deck, awaiting the virtually unarmed troops (the Israeli troops were armed with paint-guns and concealed handguns while, as mentioned above, it has now come to light that the infiltrators were trained mercenaries and terrorists, armed with considerably heavier and accessible weaponry than Israel’s troops were). As each soldier landed on deck, he was surrounded and violently beaten and stabbed by groups of 15-25 “activists.” One soldier was thrown overboard onto the lower deck, causing a severe fracture of his skull. Two soldiers were shot. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) now confirms that several commandos were dragged below deck, representing an attempt to kidnap them, hold them hostage demanding safe passage to Gaza, and then likely transferring them to Hamas control. As I compose this email, two young Israeli defenders remain in critical condition due to the violence perpetrated against them by the organized and armed mob aboard the ship.

2. As a consequence of Israel’s (perhaps, na├»ve) restraint, allowing its commandos to board with minimal firepower and one-by-one, in the hope of ensuring minimal confrontation with the infiltrators, Israel’s Navy was then forced to conduct a Rescue Operation to respond to the violence seriously endangering the lives of its troops already on-board. What began as an attempt to board the ship most peacefully, ended in a rescue mission against a Flotilla mob that had organized in advance to maim, kill, and even kidnap Israeli commandos whom they had ambushed successfully.

3. No, Israel did not use excessive force. To the contrary, few if any Armed Forces in the world would have allowed their troops to engage in any mission, with any measure of risk, sporting as little firepower as that with which these commandos were provided. This was done to minimize the risk to the infiltrators aboard the ship. And, even in the course of the rescue raid, one might consider the significant restraint employed by Israel’s young but principled commandos who, by virtue of their extraordinary restraint, killed only nine trained, armed, and actively resisting, mercenaries/terrorists, despite the fact that they comprised an angry mob of over 100 that threatened them with mortal danger and continued to beat their wounded fellow soldiers. Given the circumstances, the minimal number of casualties among the armed infiltrators is truly remarkable, and those who jumped to swift and harsh judgment of the Israeli boys who boarded the ship might reconsider their assessments at a later date. Unfortunately, the damage done to Israel’s reputation as a peace-loving and life-affirming nation will already have impacted significantly upon Israel, unless each of us does our part to help.

4. Here are some resources to consult that support the points made in the three paragraphs above:

KNIVES, BATONS AND ATTEMPTED LYNCHINGS - DONT YOU JUST LOVE PEACE ACTIVISTS? http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/douglasmurray/100041868/knives-batons-and-attempted-lynchings-dont-you-just-love-peace-activists/
BOATLOADS OF BLOODY-MINDED PACIFISTS: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/boatloads-of-bloody-minded-pacifists/story-e6frezz0-1225874166305

Close-Up Footage of Mavi Marmara Passengers Attacking IDF Soldiers
Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the 'Free Gaza' Flotilla, violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.

Flotilla Passengers Fire Live Ammunition at IDF Soldiers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFGuwUGaI9o

Gaza flotilla participants created war atmosphere before confronting Israel
Participants chanted Islamic battle cry invoking killing of Jews and called for Martyrdom
Article by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, May 31, 2010

The Israel Navy warns flotilla that the Gaza region is closed to maritime traffic, and invites the ships to enter Ashdod port to transfer humanitarian aid.

MFA Spokesman on Gaza Flotilla - 24 May 2010

True Human Rights Activists don't hug Vicious HR Violators May 27, 2010

Beating the Hell Out of Israeli Naval Commandos BBC Footage posted by user LetsFreeGaza, May 31, 201

IDF Spokesperson 2nd video taken from helicopter

Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom Briefs Forces Set to Intercept Gaza Flotilla

Peace Activists or Violent Agitators: How the Media Narrative on Flotilla Incident is Shaping Up

IDF forces met with pre-planned violence when attempting to board flotilla
Previously, Israel Navy warned the flotilla that the Gaza region is closed to maritime traffic.

First Hand Report from the Flotilla: A Brutal Ambush at Sea
YNet News reporter Ron Ben-Yishai tells his first-hand account of the skirmish on board one of the boats in the flotilla. The Navy commandos descended on to the boat where they were met by 20 armed demonstrators who immediately began to assault them.

V – WHY IS ISRAEL TAKING SUCH A BEATING IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND IN THE UNITED NATIONS IF THE FACTS ARE ON ITS SIDE? WHY IS TURKEY, ISRAEL’S ALLY SINCE 1949, TURNING SO STRONGLY AGAINST ISRAEL? IS THE UNITED STATES SUPPORTING ISRAEL IN THE U.N. AND OTHERWISE IN THE CURRENT CRISIS?

Please consult the following important resources:

FREEDOM FLOTILLA FLOTSAM (Mowbray): http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jun/1/freedom-flotilla-flotsam/

THE TURKISH TEMPTATION (WSJ Editorial): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703363704574503460584848456.html

THOSE TROUBLESOME JEWS (Krauthammer): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304287.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

LOSE / LOSE FOR TURKEY / ISRAEL (Cagaptay): http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=177376

MCCAIN BLAMES OBAMA FOR INCREASE IN HOSTILITY TOWARD ISRAEL: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/100961-mccain-obama-helped-create-environment-for-flotilla-controversy

VI
– HOW CAN ACTIVATE ON ISRAEL’S BEHALF MOST EFFECTIVELY?

1. Email your representative in Washington. Respectfully request that s/he make a statement from the House/Senate floor and/or to the press supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, denouncing Hamas as a terrorist group, and supporting Israel’s right and obligation to interdict infiltrating ships for the clear and obvious sake of Israel’s security. Click here to go to AIPAC’s activist-page to use AIPAC’s web-resource to send your email: http://www.aipac.org/694.asp#36246

2. Send a Letter To The Editor in support of Israel. Log-on to The Israel Project’s website to use their online-tool to assist you: http://www.theisraelproject.org/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.3639297/k.216F/Write_a_letter_to_your_local_newspaper/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?tr=y&auid=6436569

3. Call my assistant, Pat Richman at (310) 377-6986, and register for the May 2011 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Discounted rates are available through my synagogue until the end of July. Alternatively, log-on to AIPAC’s website and register directly: www.aipac.org

4. Show your support for Israel’s soldiers and bolster their morale. They are fighting the good fight, trying perhaps too hard to appease a world ready to condemn their efforts at every turn. They are as much our children as are our own. Please consider making a contribution to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) by calling (310) 305-4063 or on the on-line: www.fidf.org

5. Show your support for StandWithUs, an important grass-roots organization working hard to get the word out on Israel’s behalf: www.standwithus.org

6. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, consider posting one of the following posts (linked to articles and videos), prepared by StandWithUs. Just cut-&-paste them and you’re ready to go:

FACT: Israel transfers 15K TONS supply of human aid EVERY WEEK 2 GAZA http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
FACT: terrorists use AID DELIVERIES 2 smuggle ingredients 4 BOMBS in SUGAR SACKShttp://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla RT

QUOTE: “They are going to have to FORCEFULLY STOP US” (organizers) http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

FACT: flotilla REFUSED 2 supply aid 4 captive in isolation, GILAD SHALIT http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

FACT: 5 boats boarded, protestors complied/ safely let 2 shore http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc#freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza RT

FACT: funding from Islamist organization IHH/ links 2 FUNDAMENTALIST JIHADI groups http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla

FACT: protestors carried out PRE-PLANNED VIOLENCE: threw soldier off top deck http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

FLOTILLA: TURKEY has BLOOD on its hands, NOT Israel http://tinyurl.com/255ksq2#freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

FACT: HAMAS responsible 4 suffering of Palestinians/Israelis: RACIST CHARTER http://tinyurl.com/2e8xlbw #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

EVIDENCE: Weapons found on-board ship, proving PRE-MEDITATED VIOLENCE http://tinyurl.com/2worvzz #freedomflotilla #flotilla

EVIDENCE: Knives used 2 attack IDF sailors (prepared B4 IDF boarding ship) http://tinyurl.com/28y4wre #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

EVIDENCE: footage of weapons found on ship (prepared B4 IDF boarding ship) http://tinyurl.com/275utno #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

TESTIMONY: soldier describes violent mob aboard ship (w/ English sub.) http://tinyurl.com/3xg83xq #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

EVIDENCE: footage of activists ATTACKING soldiers- UN-PROVOKED VIOLENCE http://tinyurl.com/3yqws7n #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

EVIDENCE: activists ATTACKING Israeli boarding UN-PROVOKED VIOLENCE http://tinyurl.com/3yxp62j #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

EVIDENCE: B4 departure: Activists chant INTIFADA songs, praise MARTYRDOM http://tinyurl.com/2bkseol #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza

7. Attend the One With Israel Rally, referenced above, on Sunday at 2pm, across from the Israeli Consulate (see above)

Whatever you choose to do, please do something listed above. Get involved. Together, we can make a difference – Israel needs us now.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jeret

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rabbi Isaac Jeret's Speech - Republican National Committee Dinner



Rabbi Isaac Jeret's Speech
Republican National Committee Dinner
Washington, D.C.
May 11, 2010

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thank you Chairman Steele for your generous introduction - it is indeed my great honor to be here with all of you this evening. I address you this evening not only not only as a leader in the Jewish community, but, most importantly, as the son of a father who survived five treacherous years in Nazi Death Camps, his entire family - my family - tortured and murdered simply for their faith. Sixty-five years ago this month, my father was liberated from the Matthausen Death Camp by courageous young men serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Had my father's life not been saved by the American Army, we should all understand that I would not be here this evening, privileged to address this distinguished gathering. I thank God for America - the torchbearer of light, in a world of darkness!



Indeed, the Jewish community has learned over the course of the last 2,000 years that when tyrants speak words of hate and genocide and then succeed in attaching such menacing rhetoric to the technological means to bring them to fruition, they do keep their word; they perpetrate evil unimaginable and unfathomable to decent people, leaving in their wake a world of wreckage and despair that can never truly be repaired but can only be prevented from recurring in the future.


Sixty-five years ago, we defeated just such an evil. In its wake, a new evil with similar designs has emerged. And, we can intervene to stop it; the future is now!



There is a cold wind blowing in the world, emanating from the evil regime that rules Iran. It threatens not only the State of Israel, not only our own country, but the entirety of Western Civilization. We stand at an historic moment of truth. History is watching us, relying upon us to prove that we have learned its important lessons. Will our country allow Iran to procure the capability to develop nuclear weapons? Will we stand in the way of Israel's military efforts to deter Iran if and when Israel deems such intervention to be necessary for its preemptive self-defense? If challenged, by Iran or anyone else, will we act in our own defense or in defense of any of our allies the world over who depend upon us for their safety and security?



This night, as every night, I pray, ladies and gentlemen.

I pray that our country recommits itself to the doctrine that peace with our enemies results from an unmistakable understanding on their part that we are willing to use our superior strength whenever and wherever necessary to protect and defend ourselves and our allies;

I pray that our allies will thereby, once again, have every reason to know and trust that the United States of America will stand by their side unflinchingly, not because of what benefit they may offer to us materially, however great their contributions might be, but rather because of who they are; because the world's beacon of Freedom defends causes of Liberty and defeats those who cast shadows upon its inspired light;

I pray that a majority in the House and the Senate emerges in November that champions these traditional and historic American values and principles and calls upon the President of the United States to abide by them in the discourse and conduct of American foreign-policy;

And finally, I pray that neither we, nor our children, nor our children's children after them ever again revisit the day, that a President of the United States, the leader of the free-world, bows down to another human being, let alone to dictators, despots, and even kings who sponsor terrorism and brutalize the men, women, and children of their own nations; thirty months from now, when we elect a new President of the United States, we will ensure that the torchbearer of light never again bows to perpetrators of darkness.



Together, today, we can begin to bring about such change - with God's help - we can remember who we are!


Rabbi Isaac Jeret

Spiritual Leader
Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay
www.nertamid.com/rabbi