Sunday, June 29, 2008

Haveil Havalim #171 Is Up

26 of the Third Month 5768

Check out the "Packing For Camp" edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival, hosted this week at Ima On The Bima.

Mehadrin Buses

26 of the Third Month 5768

Well, I guess it's about time that I jump into the mehadrin bus fray.

We have Rafi giving us a relatively comprehensive overview of the various incidents, scuffles, and protests which have occurred in and around mehadrin buses.

Then we have American, "modern orthodox" Jews chiming in from thousands of miles away in the Galuth, wanting to tell us how things should be done. They actually rely on the Jerusalem Post for factual and objective information regarding Haredi communities, so their opinions [in my humble opinion] are not relevant regarding this issue.

Then we have the leftist media lapping up any opportunity they can to demonize Haredim. They are actually more relevant to this issue than the armchair Zionists back in the ol' U. S. of A. I'll get to that later....

After reading the countless takes on mehadrin buses in Hebrew and English, and riding mehadrin buses myself within Jerusalem, I have a few patterns in my observations. Since I do not have experience with mehadrin buses outside of Jerusalem, save for the Jerusalem-B'nei Braq run, I will be careful only to make non-judgmental hypotheses regarding those lines running outside of Jerusalem. "What's the difference?" you may ask. Well the answer to that can be found in the first pattern which arose from my research.

1. More conflicts seem to arise on mehadrin buses running outside of Jerusalem [and B'nei Braq].

This is only speculation, but it seems to me that those living in Jerusalem, for better or for worse, are more used to dealing with the issues of living in mixed areas. Jerusalem residents will take cabs, or just "deal with it," on a non-separated bus if they are only traveling a short distance.

This is not to say that residents of Ramath Beth Shemesh, for example, are not used to "dealing with it." After all, many of them grew up in Me'ah Sha'arim or Beis Yisroel or similar neighborhood in Jerusalem. When they moved to Ramath Beth Shemesh, Elad, or Beitar, part of the deal was supposed to be homogeneity. They are simply asserting what they thought they were supposed to getting in the bargain of paying to live in a homogenious neighborhood, with mehadrin bus service.

Within Jerusalem, conflicts arise on the #1 and #2 lines from the Kotel HaMa'aravi (the Western Wall) when the buses are often packed to the brim. Thus no one can argue the necessity of mehadrin buses, in order to maintain an atmosphere of modesty, and to prevent the squishing together of, sometimes massive numbers, of men and women standing in the aisle.

While traveling on the crowded #40 and #56 lines, there always seemed to be a couple of school girls or an elderly woman stuck in the very front of the bus, followed by the men and the women's section. No one even batted an eyelash. There was clearly nothing those women could have done about it. Perhaps it was easier for them to get on in the front, or perhaps they needed to pay for a new pass or card. The spirit of a mehadrin bus was in tact. There was no need to raise the issue further, which brings me to the next pattern.

2. Mehadrin buses are not for the religious so much, as for the non-religious.

First off, I say "religious" so as to include the, albeit silent and small, national religious minority which also cares about this issue.

Why is it that the #143 bus is not mehadrin? The #143 connects Haredi Tel-Tzion community and the town of Kokhav Ya'aqov with Jerusalem. The Tel-Tzion community leases this line. If if was so important for them to have a mehadrin line, all they would have to do is ask. Kokhav Ya'aqov residents probably wouldn't mind, at least I don't think that they would. It is more on the religious side of the spectrum than most communities in Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria). But, the #143 doesn't have to be mehadrin. When space is limited, the adjust. Men automatically sit next other men, and women next to women, married men with their wives. If fraternization between boys and girls ever became that much of a problem, I have no doubt the community would address the issue, and explore its options.

Likewise, talk of making the #15 mehadrin would be more due to the Arab workers, and the non-religious Jews going to work in Giv'ath Sha'ul and Har Hof. Of course, I am only speculating here. It is certainly possible that people want to have a mehadrin running through their neighborhood so that they can feel frumer. However, the #15 is often crowed, particularly during rush hour. Making the #15 mehadrin does have some logic to it.

The #16, on the other hand, connects religious neighborhoods to one another as well. Yet, I rarely see non-religious on this line. I do not think this bus is officially mehadrin. Passengers naturally sit in appropriate seats, women not necessarily in the back. Passengers just use common sense and good judgment.

Thus, there only seems to be a need to make a bus mehadrin when the bus is generally crowded or when non-religious, who don't know any better or who don't care.

3. Those who seem to have the biggest problem with Mehadrin buses are Americans, "modern orthodox," and national religious.

Americans? Well, "they" know better, of course. "They" never did THAT in the U. S., so it's obviously not something necessary. Not all Americans are opposed to mehadrin buses, obviously, but of those who are, the women include those who identify as Haredi, and those who do not.

Someone just told me the story of the time he took a mehadrin bus to the Gallil and back. The men's section was crowded, but the women's section had only a handful of seats filled. He went into the women's section to go sit in the back, but was stopped by the women, even though he would have been separated from the women by several empty rows. He that if he can't go sit down in the back, then the women could move back a row. The women refused, saying that they would get car sick, or have to breathe the fumes from the exhaust. He was furious. "One row back is going to make a difference?" He then said that if someone wanted to bring something to hang up in the back as a mehitzah, then please feel free, but no one was going to stop him from sitting down for the long trip back to Jerusalem.

The women were American. Yes, of course, we cannot generalize from an isolated incident. Let us not forget the ballagan being caused by She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,...a "religious" woman from America who is suing in the secular, Israeli court system against mehadrin buses.

"Modern Orthodox"
"Everything modern (ie. progress) is good."

"Hassidim in particular are primitive and are going nowhere fast."

And, finally, they confuse Western sensibilities with Torah sensibilities. To them there are no stiroth (contradictions) between the two.

I heard a great quote quite some time ago, which is a great response to the above sentiments of the modern orthodox:

"Modern orthodox end up either being modern or orthodox, because they eventually come to the realization that they cannot exist as both."

Their idea of dialog on this issue is, "We're right; you're wrong."

National Religious
In many ways, they are not too different than the so-called modern orthodox. But, I believe they are actually worse.

Modern orthodox at least do not try to make excuses, nor cover up their sentiments about what they believe and why. I include your average "hafifniq" or "datti light" Israeli in the M/O category. Whereas the official, national religious leadership makes excuses for its lousy educational approach in this area which seems to leave the issue of how boys and girls should relate to one another to parents and youth groups. Sure, if a boy were to sneak a girl into his dorm room, there'd be hell to pay. But what kind of effort is made to teaching the boy why this kind of thing is not OK in the first place.

They don't even justify their approach with any sources. They don't have an approach. Then when issues like mehadrin buses come up, their "rabbis" fumble through a politically-motivated response, devoid of any halachic reasoning.

There are some scholars among the national religious, and there are some yeshivas and girls' schools with strong foundations in Torah and hashqafah. Yet there is a lot of inconsistency across the board here, and its educational system is what's going nowhere fast.

I would love to see the bus from Jerusalem to where I live, #148, be a mehadrin bus. But it'll never happen. Like I mention above, it would be not so much for those of us who care, but for those passengers who don't care, to keep those girls from a particular "religious" town and "religious" high school [which shall remain nameless] out of MY way. Their behavior is often atrocious, and not in the least bit modest. Yet, the girls from the three other schools in the area are all relatively well-mannered, do not sit next to boys as a rule, accept that the bus is not there personal clubhouse, that passengers like to have relative quiet at 10:30 at night on the long trek home, etc. But like I said, it'll never happen....

In conclusion, I will leave with my last observation. Why is it that it's the women who sit in the back of the bus, and not the men? Well, isn't it obvious.

On the #49A, I saw a Haredi woman get on the in the front. Again, no one batted an eyelash. It was obvious she had a good reason for doing so. In this case she did not have the exact change for the con box in the women's section, and wanted to make sure that she paid. The driver was polite, and said not to worry, that she could pay when she got off.

Women can be trusted to punch their own tickets or put their fare into the coin box....


Under the "Modern Orthodox" section, the "they" and "their" are referring only to those Modern Orthodox who have issues with Mehadrin buses. Certainly, not all Modern Orthodox Jews having issues with Mehadrin buses hold to all of the points of view stated above, and some of those who do hold to one or more in varying degrees. However, I have no doubt that there are exceptions even to this.

Bus Lines:
#15 - connects Har Nof and Giv'ath Sha'ul with Me'ah Sha'arim, Sha'ar Shchem, and City Hall.

#16 - connects Har Nof to Ramot, running through Giv'ath Sha'ul, Suratzkin Street, Qiriyath Belz, Shmu'el HaNavi.

#40 - connects Ramot with Shmu'el HaNavi, Beis Yisroel, and Me'ah Sha'arim.

#49A - connects Neve Ya'aqov with Shmu'el HaNavi, Qiriyath Belz, Suratzkin Street, and surrounds.

#56 - connects Ramath Shlomo with Ezras HaTorah and surrounds.

#143 - connects Tel-Tzion and Kokhav Ya'aqov with Jerusalem.

#148 - connects towns in Binyamin (Giv'ath Assaf, Ofra) and the Shomron (Shilo, Eli, Ma'aleh Levonah, K'far Tapu'ah, Ariel) with Jerusalem.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Curiouser And Curiouser....

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Qorah 5768

A week ago, police arrived to cause problems [yet again] in the town of Yitzhar, which lies just east of the ancient city of Shchem. Unfortunately, some of you only know this city by its fake name of Nablus, a bastardization of the Roman "Neopolis."

The police visit resulted in nine arrests and one hospitalization of Yitzhar residents. The leftist, State (yes, this is redundant, I know) news media spent the entire segment, dedicated to this news item, presenting the police perspective of what had occurred, demonizing the settlers. No surprises here.

However, there appears to be a connection between the police action to demolish two caravans (mobile homes) to the alleged firing of a Qassam rocket by a Jew from this same town toward an Arab target.

When I heard about this incident, the first question I asked was, "Did they determine the trajectory of the rocket?" It could easily have been a failed attempt by an Arab, now trying to cover up his attempt [or his failure, or both] by lying and blaming Jews. It would not be the first time.

So what really happened in Yitzhar over the last couple of weeks? The following is a report from my source, a resident of one the hills adjacent to Yitzhar:

Last week at 4:30 in the morning a mob of forces from the riot police, plain clothesmen, and Shabba"k (General Security Service), came to Yitzhar and did a raid over the town on the claim that someone from the town fired a rocket into the air. They searched thoroughly for two hours with special bomb-detecting dogs for explosive material, but found nothing. Then they arrested Rabbi Itzik Shapira (Principal of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshivah) and the Ravsha"tz (town security chief) for investigation. No results in the end.

At 7:30 AM, they made their way to the main entrance of the town to leave, and then suddenly they went in the direction of the hills, order to cause destruction. They caught us by surprise and succeeded in destroying two structures.

The question I should have asked was, "Did anyone actually see any evidence of a rocket?"

My guess that there may very well have been a rocket, fired by whom, I do not know. What I am sure about is that Yitzhar serves as one of the government's "Expulsion Laboratories," testing various ways to aggravate the residents and then observe their reactions.

If the government is able to destroy Yitzhar (May God forbid!), then many of the residents of the less ideological towns in Efraim and West Mennashe (Samaria) may just pick up and go quietly. That seems to be the government's working hypothesis, at any rate.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Embarrassed To Live In Tapu'ah

20 of the Third Month 5768

A video of a known Christian missionary group's visit to Israel was sent to me by Ge'ulah Girl, along with her important commentary.

Tomer Devorah also provides an analysis of this group and its visit.

This group was invited to K'far Tapu'ah, where I have lived for four years. I simply cannot bring myself to post this video on my blog. So please see the sites above, and be sure to check out time marker 6:27, for the Tapu'ah and then Beth-El segments of their trip.

I looked at the section of this video with a neighbor of mine. He suggested by the signs that this visit was made quite recently. I am embarrassed to say that I had no knowledge of it.

Why are these people allowed to have mixed dancing in a town which would never suggest such a thing?

Why was this done in front of our children? What kind of message did they receive from this kind of behavior?

Why were our children allowed to have any contact with them at all?

From Ge'ualah Girl's The Key To Redemption blog:

They are called the Israeli Celebration Dancers (ICD)led by Michael and Marty Gale from Greeley, Colorado.

From their website:

At this time, the vision for the ICD is to build a bridge, using music and dance, joining the Christian church and the Jewish people together in praise. In this way, the Christian church can join in the revival and learn that it is possible to be so in love with God that you just have to dance wildly around the room! From this bridge, the Jews may come to see that their Messiah, who is to come, has already come! Then we can all dance together in the Kingdom of Yeshua the Messiah

This dancing is almost exclusive to the "messianic" movement. It is called "Davidic dance and worship". It is also referred to as spiritual warfare.

Please be sure to read the rest of her commentary.

The Kitath Konanuth (First Response Team) received a very expensive, and much-needed equipment from these people.

And, now to show Tapu'ah's gratitude, it's pay back time.

I am very torn about this. This equipment will, no doubt, be used to save the lives of Jews, and after speaking to one of the Kitath Konanuth's members, I know that they had no knowledge of this group's missionary goals and tactics.

This all-volunteer force, has given a great deal of their time and energy to protect the town. I do not hold them responsible; I hold those involved with helping to arrange the visit responsible. This group has visited Tapu'ah before. Two years ago "someone" neglected to do a web search on their leader's name. How convenient.

No doubt I may get run out of this town after I post this, or at least when I write it up in Hebrew. But I cannot remain silent. We must recognize that this, albeit generous, gift is a short-term solution, and not a long-term one, and that this group has ulterior motives.

At the VERY least, this group's visit should have been have structured according to our community's standards. Mixed dancing should not have been allowed, and children should not have been present, nor should they have had any contact with these "soul-snatchers." If possible, some control should have been made over their video taping, and their subsequent use of the tape.

I am confident that these Christians would have been happy to accommodate Tapu'ah's community standards, and mention this in their promotional video about how that much closer they are to the Jews.

I was told by a Tapu'ah resident a long time ago that Rabbi Me'ir Kahane HY"D, addressing the listeners of a Christian Talk Radio show in the U. S., on which he was the guest, said...

Rabbi Me'ir Kahane ztz-l hy-d"If you want to support us, support us from afar. If you come to Israel to missionize us, then we'll have to cut your heads off."

Where is this Tapu'ah resident? He can be seen in the video.

Six of Rabbi Kahane's grandchildren live here, the orphaned children of Rabbi Binyamin and Talyah Kahane HY"D.

What would the Rabbis Kahane say now?

I am so embarrassed that I live here.


See who brought them here in the first place by clicking here. They're not even embarrassed about it. But let's see how long this link stays up now.

Olmert Resign! Button

19 of the Third Month 5768

I would like to encourage my fellow bloggers, especially those in Israel, to add the "Olmert Resign!" (seen top right) button to their side bar, or anywhere on their websites.

If you do not have a website, you probably know someone who does, and who may be interested in it.

The button comes courtesy of Lemon Lime Moon, and all she asks is that you link the button to her blog.

Update: Lemon now tells us that...

People can have it without linking if they wish. It's nice to have that but letting the sentiment be known is more important.

Just right click on the button, "Save Image."

Then use Blogger's (or your other blog host's) "Picture" page element to upload the image.

Please insert into the "Link" line.

Haveil Havalim #170 Is Up!

19 of the Third Month 5768

Haveil Havalim is up at HH founder, Soccer Dad's Blog!

Shabbath In Tapu'ah With Dov Shurin!

19 of the Third Month 5768

Dinner was a packed house last Leil Shabbath with Reb Dov and his wife, nine of us from Tapu'ah, and 13 yeshivah students from all over the country, including Jerusalem, B'nei Braq, Tel-Aviv, and Tiveriah.

Speaking in both Hebrew and English, so that everyone would feel included, Dov filled the room with his songs and his stories. I started to wonder, "What's he going to see Mossa'ei Shabbath if he sings all of his songs now?"

Yekutiel Ben-Ya'akov gave a D'var Torah in Hebrew and English as well regarding the spies, the Land and the government. I picked up on the theme in Hebrew, and our friend Pesah did as well, in English, so that there would be a balance.

As I mentioned that night...

"Ashkinazi, Sefardi, Yemenite, native Israelis, immigrants, Haredim, and National Religious sitting together at the same table, singing, eating, celebrating.... This is exactly the kind of thing that the leftists don't want you to see.

"The leftists are worse than the spies. The spies lacked emunah (faith) that the Holy One, Blessed Be He, would be with them as they went up to settled the Land promised to them by the same. The leftists, the Erev Rav, want to give away what is already in our possession, throwing away the Almighty's gift back into His face.

"The pseudo-religious/pseudo-Zionists are worse. They are supposed to know better.

"Every time we invite guests to the parts of the Land, leftists want to throw away, every time Jews choose to come and visit or live here, it is a tiqqun (repair/working against) the Sin of the Spies.

"Even more so tonight, that a group of friends chose Tapu'ah to spend one their last Shabbathoth together as single men. One of their hevre is getting married in a few weeks!"

Not even a suspicious fire threatening one of the adjacent hill top communities was going to stop us from carrying this message of true "Ahduth Yisrael" (Jewish Unity)!

Mossa'ei Shabbath, Dov gave a concert, with Melaweh Malkah hosted by Yekutiel Ben-Ya'akov.

Often controversial, Dov Shurin's politically-incorrect songs always seem to beat Israel government free-speech crack-downs. This is because Dov simply uses pasuqim from Tana"kh (Bliblical verses).

What's the government gonna do? Censor the Torah?

Stay tuned...

Fire On Tapu'ah West!

Mossa'ei Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Shelah Lekha 5768

A fire broke out in the central Shomron Friday afternoon. The fire appeared to begin south of Highway 5 (Trans-Samaria Highway), and move up the hills toward Giv'ath Tapu'ah HaMa'aravith (Tapu'ah West), a community of 10 families located east of the City of Ariel. The fire came right up to at least two of the caravans, and damaged a large amount of grazing area for the community's flocks.

The Ariel fire brigade responded, yet there have been reports that the fire continued to rage after the brigade left the scene. It is unknown why the single fire engine left when it did.

The fire was fought, and eventually put out by residents of the community, along with a few volunteers from neighboring K'far Tapu'ah.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shabbath In Tapu'ah And Saturday Nights Live!

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Shelah Lekha 5768

Shabbath In Tapu'ah
Since the torching of the hilltop Beth Midrash of Elnaqam 4 three months ago, our traditionally guest-filled, Shabbath tables in K'far Tapu'ah have been pretty shvach.

But we will not be broken!

Last Shabbath marked the first in a long line of summer Shabbathoth to be capped off with a Malaweh Malkah concert.

As usual, and in the true spirit of Ahavath EfYisra'el, Shabbath in Tapu'ah always brings together guests from diverse backgrounds, Hassidish, Litvish, Religious Zionist, modern, all sorts.

Everyone came together Erev Shabbath, and was K'far Tapu'ah has one of the only man-made miqwah for men in the area, the next closest being in Eli. In the colder months, men come from all over the area to

After Tefillath Minhah and Qabballath Shabbath, we learned Mishnah Shabbath 2 "Bameh Madliqin" with the perush of the Ramba"m.

The temperature had gone significantly, so it was a pleasant walk back to the main town, especially with song and conversation of everyone getting acquainted and re-acquainted.

Dinner was traditional Yerushalmi, with bread and salads, and thick spicy soup. Ashkinazy hallah could be seen along side Iraqi lafah, chopped liver along side of matbuhah and zhug, and of course zucchini salad. Ezra's spicy soup capped off dinner, which was followed by schmoozing and singing, and jallah till late. Guard had to be kept over Yekutiel's chollent, so that there would be some for lunch the next morning.

Tefillath Shaharith
, qiddush, and lunch, finally ending at around 2:30, was followed by a surprise trip to the miqwah. A great idea in this heat!

The guys got in a few Z's before the walk back up to the hill for Minhah. Then after a tour of the hill, and its livestock, and pointing out the sites in view mentioned in the Torah, we headed back for Se'udath Shlishith and Tefillah Aravith.

But the "Tapu'ah Experience" wasn't over yet!

Saturday Nights Live!
After Havdallah, it was time to set-up for the Melaweh Malkah concert, starring Rocky Ziegler from Jerusalem!

Some of you may already know Rocky from his 'hood in Jerusalem, Nahla'oth. Rocky also owns and operates Hilltop Studio. Check it out.

Also, Ben honored us with his original "There Ain't No Sex In Terrorist Heaven" (23:30).

And, what you've all been waiting for, the video of last Saturday night's concert!

Stay tuned, Dov Shurin, famous for his Biblical Revenge album, is expected this Shabbath. His concert tomorrow night is not to be missed!

Rocky, lead vocals and guitar, Ben, vocals and guitar; Gavriel, keyboard; Yitzi, straight flute; Meilich, harmonica and vocals; Eliyahu (from Tapu'ah), side flute.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ahmed's Bunker

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Beha'alothekha 5768

YNET, the internet site for the Israeli and leftist Yediot Aharanot newspaper, reports that Child's poem entitled 'Ahmed's Bunker' deemed racist.

The YNET translation of the poem reads as follows:

Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bomb!

What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.

Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.

We get blasted while they have a blast!

Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.

So, are there any of you out there who still believe in the myth that there is free speech in Israel?

If anyone knows the identity of this boy and his parents, please let me know. I believe we need to write letters of encouragement to them, and let them know that not everyone agrees with the leftist controlled, so-called "mainstream" Israeli news media.

I would like to encourage you to send [not spam] this poem to friends, to make sure that they know that it represents the real sentiments of a real Israeli child, writing for a school project, something which many of our children in the U. S. and other countries are doing as I write this.

Cross-posted on the B'nei Elim Blog and Stop Raping Israel.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Real "Religious Zionist"

8 of the Third Month 5768

There has been a lot of buzz concerning Caroline Glick's The Two-Pronged Assault on Religious Zionist.

As usual, Glick makes several good points, supported by her keen observations and logical deductions.

Yet, her piece prompted me to provide my Esser Agaroth on what I believe to be a deeper issue here, who is a Religious Zionist.

I know that the following rabbis did not asked to be dragged into this debate, at least not on this blog. However, I would like to start off with a few rabbinic examples of Religious Zionists.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel shlit"a of the Temple Institute and Sanhedrin is arrested for having the audacity to discuss halachoth (Jewish Laws) which are contrary to Israeli Law.

Now that's "religious," but is it "Zionist?"

The late, great Rabbi Avraham Shapira ztz"l, Rosh Yeshivath Merkaz HaRav Kook, took a clear stance that soldiers in the IDF should refuse orders which contravene halachah, like kicking Jews out of their homes, and assisting the government to turn over Jewish-controlled land to goyim, even more so, Arabs which have sworn to destroy us.

He even publicly ripped up the opposing opinion of another popular rabbi. There are those who have tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress this story. But Yes, Rabbi Shapira most definitely did do this.

I say yes, as Rabbi Moshe Tzuri'el shlit"a reminds us: "Zionism is simply a part of the Torah." Now that's "religious" AND "Zionist." I would expect nothing less from someone who was in the same class at Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshivah with Rabbi Dov Lior shlit"a and Rabbi Zalman Melamed shlit"a who led the last stand in Azza at the K'far Darom synagogue.* No one could argue that was "Zionist," or could they?

Other rabbis are called before a beth din, accept upon themselves its authority, say they're coming, then don't show up. That doesn't sound very "religious" to me. Does it sound very "Zionist?"

I don't know. I suppose it depends upon what your definition of "Zionist" is.

Then, of course, we have the YeSh"A Council, which makes secret deals with the government to evacuate Jewish strongholds in Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria). And then lies about it. Now THAT doesn't sound very Zionist. It doesn't sound very religious either. That's because it's not. Neither is beating up religious Zionists, and then lying about that, too.

It certainly does not sound like the YeSh"A Council, which receives its budget directly from the Office of the Prime Minister, is very religious or Zionist.

If "Zionist" means that you believe in Zion as the Jewish Homeland then my friend, the Hassidishe rabbi in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Me'ah Sha'arim, would consider himself a "Zionist." However, if your definition of "Zionist" is Shimon Peres's definition of "Zionist," then you can count him out.

Truly the only meaningful disagreement in hashqafah (perspective) between the religious Zionist and the religious non-Zionist vis-a-vis the Jewish Homeland is not the "where;" it's the "when," "how," and "by whom." Do we take an active part in staking claim to Israel as the Jewish Homeland, the concept of which originates from our Holy Torah? Or is our action to be manifested in prayer and learning Torah alone, waiting for the Mashiah to come and do everything else?

Unfortunately, this difference seems to be played up more than the similarities between the communities. Community leaders across the board are guilty of this, including the secular left, which has a penchant for "mixing in."

Unfortunately, Caroline Click is right. There is an alliance between the non-Zionist and the left wing. I would correct her on one minor [probably unintentional], nit-picky point. It is the leadership of the religious non-Zionist community which maintains the alliance. On Glick's side, voting records tend to indicate that this leadership reflects the opinions of their communities.

I can answer that.

The Belzer Rebbe shlit"a tells his hassidim, "You have the right to vote, but not the right to choose."

How many Belzer and Gerer hassidim and Litvaks have told me they would gladly vote for Baruch Marzel, for example? A lot. I know that they are honest, because in the same moment they tell me that they can't go against their Rebbes. Thus their pipe dreams of rebeldom fade away.

I am not saying that Baruch Marzel is the answer. I am only using him as an example. Just as many of the mamlachtim are unsatisfied with what they're getting, or rather what they're not getting, from their so-called religious Zionist rabbis, and are thus having to search elsewhere, such as in Breslov or Breslov-influenced communities, the non-Zionist youth and young adults are also searching outside of their communities for the answers to their answered questions. "Da'as Torah," which unfortunately has become a glorified substitute for "because I said so," is becoming an increasingly unsatisfactory response to their halachic questions.

Rabbi Me'ir Kahane ztz"l hy"d said that when you ask a halachic question, you are entitled to receive a halachic answer, and "Da'as Torah"

(Watch, as all kinds of "religious Zionists" run away, screaming in horror, as I single-handedly dash all of their PR hopes to de-demonize the settlers, simply by mentioning "his" name.)

But, I digress....

So, what does it mean to be "Religious Zionist?"

I'll tell you what being a "Religious Zionist" inherently does NOT mean. It does NOT mean blind and undying loyalty to the "almighty" (leHavdil) state, in particular a state which increasing shows distain for the Torah, the ONLY justification the Jewish People have for laying claim to Israel as its homeland.

Blind loyalty to the state equated with "Zionist" is the most profound and fundamental error made my both the mamlachti majority of "religious" Zionists and the religious non-Zionists.

Confused? You should be. That's the whole point, to get you to worry about words and labels, to confuse you with hashqafah so that you are prevented from getting down to the nuts and bolts to the actual halachah of how we are to relate to the Land, to those currently have power over it, and to those you are supposed to have power over it.

I may be accused of wanting my cake and eating it, too. But at least I don't hand out cake to reward the soldier for kicking me out of my house.

The point I am attempting to drive home here is that there are many Jews who refer to themselves as "Religious Zionists." Yet, there are clearly two camps, not one: The Torah Zionist camp, headed by the rabbis mentioned above, and the "Mamlachti" camp led by rabbis such as Yuval Cherlow mentioned by Caroline Glick. Admittedly, the "Mamlachti" camp is clearly the majority. We must ask ourselves why. "Loyalty" apparently has its rewards.

The Hesder Yeshiva program faces constant threats of funding cuts, discrimination against the soldiers it produces. Hesder Yeshivah soldiers are now unable to serve in the prestigious Golani and Paratrooper brigades. Soldiers have also received disciplinary actions for refusing to participate in mixed-gender events. Such actions wouldn't have anything to do with the many Hesder Yeshivah Heads signing declarations in support of refusing orders to evacuate Gaza and the Northern Shomron, would it?

Meanwhile, the "mamlachti" pre-IDF "Mechinah" Program flourishes.

No doubt I will be accused of encouraging the various rifts within the Jewish People to continue, contradicting the efforts of others to unify Jews.

Ask yourself this question: What is the value of Jewish unity, if we are unified and moving the wrong direction? Israel was pretty unified around the Golden Calf. And we are still paying the price for it.

In addition, I am hoping that by clarifying some terms which thrown around quite freely, that those like-minded individuals out there, struggling with the insanity of blind and undying loyalty to any non-Torah entity, will finally realize that they are not alone. And there is no requirement to call yourself a "Religious Zionist" to be a part of this unity.

However you choose to self-identify, if your loyalties lie with the Holy One, Blessed Be He, and His Torah, EVEN when that contravenes the dictates of the State [and state] Of Israel, and you believe that Israel is the Jewish Homeland, because HaShem gave it to us, and 60 years ago began to give it back to us, then you are a real Religious Zionist.


* Rabbi Dov Lior is the Chief Rabbi of Qiriyath Arba-Hevron. Rabbi Zalman Melamed is co-Chief Rabbi of Beth-El and the Rosh Yeshivath Beth-El

Cross-posted on the B'nei Elim Blog and on Jewish Indy.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Surprise! Haveil Havalim #168 Is Up!

Erev Hag HaShavu'oth 5768

I was surprised to find my Six Word Memoir up on this week's Haveil Havalim, hosted by Jack, who is apparently a die-hard Laker fan.

I dunno. You be the judge.

I didn't even submit this post. I guess that means I'm moving up in JBlogosphere food chain and that the cat's outta the bag

Monday, June 02, 2008

Six Word Memoir

Yom Yerushalayim 5768

I was tagged for this meme by Snoopy The Goon at Simply Jews, to produce my memoir in six words....

San Diego Los Angeles Israel Hogwarts

Not the kind of response you would expect from a Torah Zionist Jew, who is sometimes called a "right-wing extremist," is it?

I suppose this warrants some explanation, mind you, only "some" explanation.

If I had not been blessed with growing up in cities with two-word names, I probably would have thrown in a few more place names. The fact these cities have more than one word in their names are representative of how I see myself: complicated.

I used location names, as life has been very much a journey from place to place for me, and not just physical, but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well.

San Diego is where I was born. At the age of two, we moved to the suburbs, but I never lost my connection with the "big city," the border of which was only a few miles away. I went into town or to the beach when I could, and after college and graduate school, moved back to "America's Finest City." My education began there. My Jewish education, my secular education, and my street education.

Los Angeles is where my education continued, Jewish education, my academic education, and my street education. This is where I first lived on my own, so I have a connection to this city as well, the city many non-Californians seem to hate, until they end up moving there themselves.

Israel is where I finally made my home, and where I have continued my education. Yes, that includes my street education (Detect a pattern here?), as well as my "hilltop" education, along with my Torah education, which I hope was obvious to you already.

Hogwarts is a fictional place, representative of my increasing access to my developing creative side. Yes, I would like to write a novel some day. But the only thing that should seem unusual to you is that as a Southern Californian, why am I not writing a screenplay....

I do not particular like tagging people, so I'm not gong to, except maybe a few. I do like BEING tagged, though, just to let you know.

Tag List:

(The only one I can think of so far who would tolerate a tag.)

Please leave a link to your tag reply in the comments section.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Haveil Havalim 168 Is Up

Leil Yom Yerushalayim 5768

Check out the Heshman's "first time" hosting the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival at Frum Satire. It's a great compilation of the previous week's Jewish and Israeli blog highlights.