Thursday, November 06, 2008

Riskin lecture: "Living in a West Bank Settlement"

Doctor Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (that's the way he was introduced) spoke Monday night, November 3, at the 92nd Street Y on the subject "Living in a West Bank Settlement: Biblical & Personal Ethical Dilemmas."

Speaking from a biblical/historic perspective, he said that the offer of one's handmaid as a surrogate mother was sanctioned by the Code of Hammurabi, as was the surrogate mother's demotion from co-wife if she behaved arrogantly toward the first wife. But he said that the rabbis condemned Sarah's treatment of Hagar as unduly harsh. He also said that the Akeidah/Binding of Isaac was Hashem's punishment of Abraham for having sent Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness with inadequate provisions and no money with which to buy more, essentially condemning them to die (in the chapter immediately preceeding the Akedah), in that Hashem forced Avraham to witness the near-death of Yitzchak (Isaac) just as Avraham had forced Hagar to witness the near-death of Yishmael (Ishmael). This, I hadn't heard before, and it certainly puts an interesting spin on the Akeidah. I regret that the text itself does not seem to support this interpretation, since nowhere in the Akeidah story does Hashem (or the angel) indicate that the near-sacrifice of Yitzchak was a punishment for the near-death of Yishmael.

Riskin also opined that, when Sarah said, based on Yishmael's mockery (m'tzachek), interpreted to be mockery of Yitzchak (Genesis 21:9), "the son of this bondwoman will not be heir with my son (Parshat Vayera, Genesis 21:10)," she was not proscribing, she was predicting. Yishmael's descendants, or, at least, their leaders, are not interested in sharing with Yitzchak's descendants--they want it all. The Arabs of the villages are interested in peace, he said, but the leadership is determined to rid "their" turf of Israel completely, one way or the other, even assassinating a local Arab who'd been working with him to help establish a medical clinic run by Palestinian doctors for Palestinians. Consequently, though he still believes that, eventually, there should be a two-state solution, he doesn't see it happening until the Muslim world is willing to see the Temple Mount shared between the mosques and a Jewish house of worship. When I asked him whether he was concerned that this struggle for control of the land might turn into a 200-year war, he answered, "We waited 2,000 years . . ." and said no more.

36 Comments:

Blogger katrina said...

Riskin, whom I have respected over the years as a well-rounded scholar and generally sane person, has clearly gone off the reservation. He has been moving farther to the right recently, and this just confirms it. I love the folks who live on the Arabs' land and then say, "Why are they so mad at us?" Efrat is a big settlement, of course, and we all know which side of the fence it will be on, but the settlers clearly are moving towards common cause with each other, regardless of where their settlements are. The inability to see the difference between living on the Israeli side of the fence and living on the other side threatens to be disastrous.

Thu Nov 06, 08:15:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Katrina, you said, "The inability to see the difference between living on the Israeli side of the fence and living on the other side threatens to be disastrous." I'm sorry to say that the Summer 2006 War turned this former Shalom Achshav-nik/Peace Now supporter into a cynic--I haven't noticed that the Palestinian leadership particularly cares on which side of the fence an Israeli lives. (S'derot, Ashkelon, or, for that matter, Tzfat or Haifa, anyone?)

As for the settlers banding together, I have three thoughts:

2) The settlers learned from the Summer 2006 War that any land that Israel abandons will be turned by the Palestinians into a missile-launching site.

1) The settlers see that their government is unable and/or unwilling to protect even those citizens who live within the State of Israel's internationally-recognized borders--S'derot is not in Gaza--and, therefore, they have no reason to assume that packing up and moving will make them and/or their fellow and sister citizens any safer.

3) The settlers also learned from the Summer 2006 War that the Israeli government will leave them to rot for years in "temporary" housing, with no real plans for helping them find new employment if necessary and/or otherwise reintegrate them into the general Israeli society.

In my opinion, no past Israeli government--Labor, Likud, or whichever--is free of responsibility for having created this quagmire. For decades, Israelis were encouraged to move into over-the-Green-Line areas with such incentives as cheaper housing and, if I understand correctly, outright pleas to create "facts on the ground." Now the Israeli government is paying the price. If the West Bank and Gaza had been declared strictly off-limits for settlement, to be used only for Tzahal/IDF/Israel Defense Force bases and as a bargaining chip for peace, much of this mess would never have happened.

Here are some previous thoughts of mine regarding a two-state solution.

Sun Nov 09, 03:04:00 PM 2008  
Blogger katrina said...

I think that many of your points are theoretically valid, Shira, but what about the facts on the ground? I'm talking about the demographic problem. In 20 or 30 or 40 years (I'm not particularly interested in the various studies that are quibbling with each other about exactly how many years it will be), there are going to be more Arabs than Jews in Israel/Palestine. At that point, the Palestinians are going to demand "1 man, 1 vote."

What will the Israelis do then? They're supposed to be a democracy, right? If there are two socities at that point that are actually separate (or separable)from each other, then theoretically the Israelis could withdraw to their side of the fence and at least salvage the state. If the Palestinians attack, which they probably will, the Israeli army can beat the crap out of them. They will be another country then, not a group of stateless freedom fighters.

What is the alternative to some version of what I have just described? Transfer? Apartheid? If you think either of those is an option, then frankly we don't have anything to talk about. Packing up the Jewish state and going home is obviously two painful to think about. But we should be thinking about it, because our actions now (and the settlers', and the US's, and the Israeli government's, of course) will directly affect what we have to do in less than half a century. A 2,000 year war? We don't have 20 years to start planning for the future.

Mon Nov 10, 11:01:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Good question, which I've asked a couple of times, too (follow the link within the linked post). But how does Israel get from here--"occupying," (or whatever), the West Bank/Yehudah and the Shomron (heck, people can't even agree on the terminology!) to there (a two-state solution)? Putting aside, for the moment, the notion of displacing hundreds (thousands?) more people when the evaucuees of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron have yet to find permanent housing, how can the Israeli government ensure that the transition will not result in more deaths? I would say "sign on the dotted line" in a minute flat if my own parents, brother, ex-sister-in-law, nieces and nephew weren't prime targets--during the most recent Intifada, one of my nieces had to abandon her bedroom because Palestinian terrorists were shelling her neighborhood from their own, which is on her side of the building. Sure, it sounds like a broken record, but that's because it *is* one--where is Israel's peace partner?

In all seriousness, how can Israeli (and Diaspora) Jews help Israel foster peace and avoid a possible demographic time bomb while, at the same time, preventing the Jewish State from being pushed into the sea while trying to both maintain its Jewish majority and do the right thing?

I ask my readers for suggestions or other thoughts. As a strong believer in *civil* discussion, I have only one rule for my blog, and that rule is that comments must be phrased in a respectful manner. The floor is open.

Mon Nov 10, 01:07:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

R' Riskin's moderate shift to the right is due to the facts on the ground.

The current intifada which started in Sept 2000, just after Barak offered Jerusalem, and 99% of the West bank to the Palestinians, errupted into a war with over 1000 Israelies killed by the weapons and training given to the PA by Israel and USA.

He hits the nail on the head by saying that most Palestinians want to live in peace, but its their leadership that incites them.

The "fence" is not the primary reason for the reduction in terror attacks against Israel, but because the IDF has free reign in the Palestinian cities. The fence around Gaza has certainly not helped the security of Sederot or Ashkelon, nor did it help Gilad Shalit (who was on the politically correct "right" side of the fence when he was kidnapped).

The "quagmire" of the current problem, is of course, the result of Oslo and the promise of Palestinian statehood, based on the importation of tens of thousands of PLO terrorists and their leaders into Gaza and the West Bank. No matter how much money was pumped into the PA by the USA and EU, it did little to curb the enthusiasm for killing Jews. In fact, most of the terror attacks over the past 2 years have been committed by official PA "policemen" on the PA payroll. These terrorists were not killing out of impoverished destitution, but out of the ideology that they do not want Jews living anywhere from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. PA school textbooks routinely show "Palestine" in place of Israel, routinely incite children to murder, violence, and hatred.

The "why are they so mad at us" has little to do with the settlements, and much more to do with the place of Jews in the middle east.

Solutions? There are many -- the problem is the preconditions being brought to the negotiating table.

Tue Nov 11, 06:45:00 AM 2008  
Blogger katrina said...

Jameel--I realize that the settlement movement is not the only reason that the Arabs hate us. I think your analysis of the fence situation is comparing apples to oranges. Sderot and Ashkelon are being attacked by rockets, not suicide bombers, like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other cities in eastern Israel were.

You say there are plenty of solutions. Shira asked for some, so what are yours? Name your preconditions. We're throwing ideas around here.

Tue Nov 11, 08:46:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Why is it apples and oranges? They've realized that suicide bombings are harder to carry out and don't get them any sympathy. Rockets are easy to send over, the people don't get caught, and any measures taken by Israel makes Israel look like the aggressor!

Tue Nov 11, 10:12:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Elie said...

Don't have to much to add to Jameel's excellent comments, but just a word about the so-called "demographic time bomb". To quote a recent post by my good friend Soccer Dad:

"The demographic "clock" has stopped ticking. Whatever will be in the future for the Palestinians, the vast majority of them [ed note: i.e., Gazans] are no longer under Israel's jurisdiction. The demographic threat is simply a device to force Israel to make the concessions the Palestinians demand of them."

Tue Nov 11, 12:27:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Jameel, you said, "The "why are they so mad at us" has little to do with the settlements, and much more to do with the place of Jews in the middle east." Your point is supported by the historic fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded *before* the State of Israel "occupied" (whatever) the West Bank. If they hadn't wanted to wipe Israel off the map, why would they have been founded?

However, I'm still hoping to see a peaceful division of the land. I just can't see how that can be accomplished.

Ezzie, you made a good point about rocket attacks--they are more "efficient and effective," killing people without phyical risk to the Palestinian terrorists and *with* *political* risk for the Israelis.

Elie, is it true that most Palestinians live in Gaza? And/or does that fact solve the "demographic time bomb" problem?

Katrina, your point--and mine--has yet to be addressed: What are the solutions?

As Katrina said, "Name your preconditions. We're throwing ideas around here." I'd love to hear some practical--and workable--solutions, or at least some preliminary ideas.

Tue Nov 11, 02:00:00 PM 2008  
Blogger katrina said...

Here's what I mean by "apples and oranges": I say, "We built the fence, and the suicide bombings in eastern Israel were reduced by more than 90%." You say, "Yes, but what about the rockets from Gaza?"
I say, "Does that mean you're pooh-poohing the success of the much-lowered suicide-bombing rate and all the lives it saved? Clearly, it was not better when both of those kinds of attacks were going on. I am all for stopping the rockets, but some progress is better than none."
That's all I'm saying.

And in answer to Shira (who I think may agree with me, but of course she should speak for herself), the demographic problem is NOT solved by Palestinians being under their own control. Much of the world, not least the Palestinians, views the whole landmass of "Israel/Palestine" as being essentially one unit. If the Palestinians demand one man, one vote, who will defend Israel, other than the US? That's why I think that the election of Obama is a good thing. He will raise the US's stature in the world so that the US can advocate for us. If the US is no longer seen as betraying fundamental democratic ideals, the country will be in a better negotiating place when it comes to debates over Israeli democracy in the future. And for those who might say, "It doesn't matter what the US does. The Europeans and Arabs will s-c-r-e-w us anyway, that may be true, but why not try to stack the deck in Israel's favor?

Tue Nov 11, 03:12:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"the demographic problem is NOT solved by Palestinians being under their own control."

Sorry, Katrina, but I have a problem with that statement: If "the demographic problem is NOT solved by Palestinians being under their own control," then, from Israel's point of view, what's the point of supporting the creation of a Palestinian state? I thought the whole point of a Palestinian state was precisely to give the Palestinians one-man, one-vote status in their *own* state, not the *Jewish* State.

Tue Nov 11, 09:25:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Elie said...

. Much of the world, not least the Palestinians, views the whole landmass of "Israel/Palestine" as being essentially one unit.

And much of the world once viewed India and Pakistan as "one unit". But when it became obvious that a partition was necessary, it was implemented, including enormous population transfers involving several times as many people as live in Israel and the territories today. And not only was this not viewed as "racist", those involved were honored for hugely advancing the cause of peace and world stability.

There is already a Palestinian state on 70% of historic Palestine. It's called "Jordan". Israel should have taken this as their opening position for discussions with the Palestinians. Instead, they severely undercut their negotiating position by conceding this point from the outset. In fact, over the past few decades, Israel has moved 9-10ths of the way towards the Palestinian position, while the Palestinians have not moved an inch.

Wed Nov 12, 10:22:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elie, you appear to be arguing for both sides. If Jordan is the Palestinian State, why should the Jewish settlements on the West Bank be evacuated? If not, should Israel have to deal with yet more evacuees, and, if so, how?

Let's talk "tachlis," folks, nuts and bolts, nitty-gritty details. The evacuees of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron are still in temporary housing over three years after their evacuation. Is there any way to reintegrate them and another few thousand people into within-the-Green-Line Israel?

Wed Nov 12, 03:11:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Elie said...

Shira: I did not mean to argue for both sides, sorry if I was a bit oblique. To clarify, what I meant by the Pakistan/India analogy is that there should have been a population transfer back at the *beginning*, Arabs from the portion of Palestine west of the Jordan river (i.e., Modern Israel including Judea/Samaria), and Jews from TransJordan and the other Arab countries. The latter occurred, but not the former.

Obviously, I don't have a magic "tachlis" solution to this problem, or I would be a lot more rich and famous than I am. :-) But at a high level, I feel that Israel needs an entirely new approach to negotiating, where their opening position involves the optimal, best-case position for them, and where they only give concessions in return for equal concessions from the other side. As I've often said, if I negotiated with my clients (on *vastly* less important issues) the way Israel does, I'd have been out of a job long ago.

So for example, given where they are today, Israel should certainly not withdraw from any more areas without something in return - i.e., full annexation of corresponding areas.

Wed Nov 12, 03:52:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Elie said...

One more point, Shira you stated:

The evacuees of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron are still in temporary housing over three years after their evacuation. Is there any way to reintegrate them and another few thousand people into within-the-Green-Line Israel?

That's precisely what should *not* be done. The Gazan evacuees should davka be resettled *outside* the Green Line, to strengthen other communities in Judea/Samaria. That way, Israel's net population in the disputed territories does not diminish, which would weaken their negotiating position for those territories.

Wed Nov 12, 03:59:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elie, I'll address your points in a moment, but I think it might be wise for me to backtrack a bit and comment on something Katrina said, to which I didn't (and don't) really know quite how to respond: "Much of the world, not least the Palestinians, views the whole landmass of "Israel/Palestine" as being essentially one unit." The problem with that statement, in my opinion, is that it basically bespeaks a denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist as a separate country.

Alternatively, putting a positive spin on it, as Elie does, using the India/Pakistan analogy, it's time for the great divide. If partition is the path to peace, that let's draw up a "map" for the surgeon, already, and separate these Siamese twins once and for all in a way that both can survive, as happened with India and Pakistan (and, later Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan).

Wed Nov 12, 06:03:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

It is naive to think that such a thing would be accepted any more now than it was in 1947.

Wed Nov 12, 06:04:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elie, you said, "The Gazan evacuees should davka be resettled *outside* the Green Line, to strengthen other communities in Judea/Samaria. That way, Israel's net population in the disputed territories does not diminish, which would weaken their negotiating position for those territories."

Okay, now let me ask my more geographically-aware readers where the line should be drawn, literally: Where should the borders be? I say we keep Ir HaItikah/the Old City of Jerusalem, because history has already proven that, without control of the Old City, Jews have no access to our holy sites there.

Question: Should any part(s) of Jerusalem be given back? Please give your reasons, pro or con.

Question: Which part(s) of the West Bank should be retained, if any? (Kindly name at least some of the cities/towns/settlements, etc. that you would keep or give back, for Ms. Geographically-Challenged.) Again, please give your reasons.

Question: Should Israel keep the Golan Heights? Reasons requested, as usual.

I've been sitting on the fence long enough that it's getting downright uncomfortable. I'm trying to come to a position on these matters. I want to feel comfortable advocating defensible and reasonable borders, borders that are fair to those Palestininians who are peace-inclined while not leaving Israel exposed to the perpetual-war-inclined ones. I am no longer a Shalom Achshav/Peace Now advocate, willing to give away anything in the hope that peace will result, but neither do I feel comfortable with instant settlements springing up on hilltops. Surely there must be a shvil hazahav, a golden mean or middle path between the extremes. Please help me seek it.

Wed Nov 12, 06:27:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Ezzie, sorry I missed your comment, "It is naive to think that such a thing would be accepted any more now than it was in 1947."

Okay, so maybe I'm naive, but I also can't help but hope that there's been so much bloodshed since then that both sides are willing to say, dai, maspik/genig, shoin/enough, already!

Still, I'm not so naive that I don't ask why I see no positive response from the other side. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza was a major concession. Why does it seem to have resulted in less peace, rather than more? I'd settle for a *real* hudna/ceasefire, in a pinch. Let us live--literally--and we'll let you live. But I find it difficult to see a ceasefire as a permanent solution.

"Daresh shalom v'rodfehu/seek peace and pursue it." (I hope I have the Hebrew correct.) If you (Ezzie or any other reader) don't think that that's a viable approach under the current circumstances, what would you suggest? Again, should Israel withdraw from any territory, and if so, which ones and why and under what circumstances, and if not, why not and what's the alternative?

Wed Nov 12, 08:22:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bakesh shalom. :) But Shlomo says in Koheles "Eis milchama", too.

No, they should not pull out of anywhere. It has never accomplished a thing. Rather, they must decide for themselves what borders they wish to make that are defensible and that don't cut out portions of Jews, and be willing to fight if it comes to that.

Wed Nov 12, 09:40:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I sent this post (and the comments that had been posted at that time) to Noam, former principal guest blogger at the House of Hock [his own blogs are no longer available], who has trouble getting past his 'Net Nanny to read or post, and here's his reply:

thanks for thinking of me and sending me your post. I tend to side with Ellie and Jameel. The issue has to be seen in its historical and religious perspective, which is a long and drawn out discussion. There are no easy answers, but here is an outline of what I think are salient issues:

1. Many Moslems feel that there is a religious duty to liberate all territory that was ever held by Moslems. This includes all of Israel, Spain, and a lot of other territory. This is not a fringe view.

2. Much of Islam does not have a theology that allows them to not in power. Non Moslems are supposed to be second class citizens(dhimmi). While some will inevitably argue that Judaism according to the Torah treats non-Jews as second class citizens, one only has to look at 2000 years of history to see that Jews have lived peacibly as a powerless minority in other countries(except when we have been attacked).

3. To paraphrase Golda Meir, there will only be peace when everyone cares more about the life of their kids than killing people on the other side.

4. The bottom line is that one side cannot make peace without the other. Even though some Palestinians want peace, as long as they are not willing to enforce their will on the ones who dont, there will not be any peace. Pretending otherwise is stupid and just leads to concessions that bring nothing in return.

5. My suggestion: give a deadline for the total cessation of terrorism, offering a two state solution with negotiated borders. When that doesn't work(and we all know it wont), establish the borders that are best for Israel- geographically, security, historically, getting rid of the moslem control over the temple mount, and trying to disrupt the existing palestinians as little as possible, but some may have to move. build a really big wall for security, keep doing security patrols as we have been. Do what is best for Israel. Up until know we have tried to do what is best for everyone. But if the Palestinians cant get their act together and care a little about us too, at some point you have to put yourself first. I am certainly not advocating inflicting needless pain and suffering, but at some point in time difficult decisions have to be made. The other options are the status quo, mass expulsion of arabs and annexing the entire area to the Jordan, giving up and letting the Palestinians have it all and just going into the sea, or massive war. All these years of negotiations with the PLO have brought Israel absolutely nothing, a trend that I think will continue. As I think Henry Kissinger said, they never miss a oportunity to miss an oportunity. Its time for them to actually face consequences for their actions.

noam

Thu Nov 13, 06:47:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

If the US is no longer seen as betraying fundamental democratic ideals, the country will be in a better negotiating place when it comes to debates over Israeli democracy in the future. And for those who might say, "It doesn't matter what the US does. The Europeans and Arabs will s-c-r-e-w us anyway, that may be true, but why not try to stack the deck in Israel's favor?

Sorry, but that is just day dreaming. Obama is not going to be viewed any differently. If he does anything that is viewed as supporting Israel they will say that he is a tool of AIPAC etc.

As long as the oil dollars can influence opinion there is going to be a real problem.

Thu Nov 13, 05:39:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I guess I'm stuck with Katrina's point combined with Noam's:

Katrina: "Much of the world, not least the Palestinians, views the whole landmass of "Israel/Palestine" as being essentially one unit."

Noam: "All these years of negotiations with the PLO have brought Israel absolutely nothing . . ."

As long as much of the world doesn't view Israel as a separate, legitimate state, they'll continue to force Israel to concede more and more territory without any improvement in Israel's security. I would love to see a two-state solution--it strikes me as the most logical resolution of the territorial dispute--but I don't see how that's possible unless the Palestinian leaders are sincerely interested in a separate state, rather than wanting to push the Jewish state into the sea and take over the entire land mass on it currently sits.

To me, this is a classic case of everyone being right, and that's why I can never seem to come down on one side or the other. Those who say that there will never be peace until the Palestinians have a state of their own in which they're the majority are right. Those who say that there will never be peace until the Palestinians accept Israel's right to exist and stop trying to bomb S'derot, etc., back to the Stone Age are also right. Those who say that Israel should withdraw from at least part of the West Bank are right, and those who say that Israel shouldn't give up even a centimeter more land until the Palestinian leadership enforces the disarming of terrorists are also right.

That's why I always end up on the fence. The only thing between me and Riskin is the mechitzah.

Thu Nov 13, 07:02:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

B"H

Doesn't anyone care about halacha?

See D'varim 7:2 which is the basis for the halacha of which I speak.

And if we can't get rid of them right away, like in the time of Yehoshu'a and Shoftim, we certainly don't make their stay here an easy one. {Ramba"m Hil. Avodah Zarah 10:1-9}

But what do we, or Riskin, or any number of other "rabbanim tze'irim" {lashon haRamba"m} care about halacha?

It's primitive, archaic, behind the curve, and counter progressive.

< sigh >

This is Western Galuth speaking.

Now hear this, Torah has nothing, I repeat nothing to do with Western sensibilities, except for when it has succeeded in influencing it.

Sun Nov 16, 04:28:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

I am referring to getting rid of Arabs, of course, which seems to be beyond the comprehension of so many Jews,...not getting rid of settlers.

Just wanted to be clear.

;-}

Sun Nov 16, 04:30:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Batya said...

What about civil rights for Jews? Why should we be banned because of our religion. If some of you oppose my living in Shiloh with its rich Jewish History, then no Jew has a right to live in Tel Aviv.

Sun Nov 16, 01:31:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Ben-Yehudah, I checked your reference. You neglected to mention that the sentence immediately preceding "thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them" refers specifically to "the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite . . . " Do any of these peoples still exist?

Batya, the question is this: Must Jews and Palestians be totally separated in order for there to be peace and/or at least security? I would hate to think so, but I honestly don't know. There used to be a slogan some years that I hope I still remember correctly: "Yoter tov shalom mi-Yisrael ha-shalem." (The rough translation is "Better peace than the Entire Land of Israel," though it's usually translated "Better peace than a piece of land" because the original is based on a play of words in Hebrew--shalom, peace, is grammatically related to shalem, whole). I not as naive as I was when I accepted that idea as a workable one, but nevertheless, as dreadful as it may sound, it may come down to a cost-benefit analysis: How many chayalim (soldiers) is Israel willing to sacrifice to keep Chevron (Hebron), and/or how many Chevrons is Israel willing to sacrifice to keep its chayalim?

Mon Nov 17, 06:05:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

It appears that you looked up a pasuq, and perhaps what some of the meforshim said about it.

I said "halacha."

You are of course familiar with Torah sheb'al peh, and the halachic process, no?

Halacha has almost nothing to do with how we "feel." Even though many who identify with various "movements" will tell you otherwise.

The Malbi"m, the Ramba"m and others teach us about concepts including, but not limited to, 1. that the halacha is about removing goyim, period, and the pasuq mentions these particular people as they are the ones who were there and 2. possessing the "din" of various nations. The list goes on...

Nations existing today,...genetically? The Arbarbanel has some very interesting ideas about this.

Americans need to understand that Riskin really isn't in the heshbon, as it were, when it comes to poseqim, Zionist, or otherwise.

He's in Efrat, in his own little world.

Furthermore, it's more of a suburb of Jerusalem, that a "settlement."

He certainly gets credit for assisting many people to make aliyah, and following through on his commitment to build up Efrat, and to have it meet the border of Jerusalem. {It's almost there.}

But poseq halacha?

Once while debating Rav David Bar Hayim, Riskin brought up the Ramba"m or a gemara. I don't remember. RBH pointed out to Riskin that the version of the source he brought up was a well-known censored version, and no longer accepted as valid. He then quoted the correct version. Riskin's reply was that he would go by his version anyway, as he has a tradition to do so.

Poseq, huh? Good speeches do not necessarily equal good sense.

Mon Nov 17, 06:32:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

There is no halachic basis that I know of supporting your statement to Batya.

Besides that, how many more times must Jews repeat the same mistake over again expecting different results?

But it goes deeper than than.

People like Yossi Beilin and Shimon Peres {before you go yelling lashon hara here, I'll say sorry but what I am saying is well in line with Hil. Shmirath Lashon} are liars and are not in the least bit interested in preserving a Jewish state, or people for that matter. They would be perfectly happy having us join the EU, and finishing the job of wiping out Sefardi and Yemenite cultures, and thus a rich tradition of a Torah observant segment of our people, through assimilation, and other means.

They are today's Eruv Rav which has been causing us problems since Egypt.

Mon Nov 17, 06:39:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ben Yehuda: While you may or may not like R' Riskin's personal politics, he *is* a posek within his community (as the official Rabbi of Efrat), and he is also the posek and founder of the Ohr Torah Stone yeshiva network, which includes its own rabbinics, smicha, and kollel programs.

Shira (sorry Ive neglected this thread a bit).

The Torah states that the best case scenario for the Jewish people in their land if they follow the laws of the Torah: (from Parashat Bechukotai, Vayikra, 26:3)

3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; 4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread until ye have enough, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 And I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you; and will establish My covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old from before the new. 11 And I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright. {P}

The "peace" in the land is very clear -- our enemies will flee and fear us. That is "peace". It doesnt say "you wont have enemies, and everything will love each other." That will only happen in the "end of days" according to the prophet when swords will be beaten into plow shares.

The best case scenario we can hope for today is when our enemies fear and respect us to the point that it's not in their interest to fight us. That doesn't mean we should NOT respect them, belittle them, or try to offend and annoy them.

There are extreme hurdles for Israel's survival and existence if there are to be "2 states for 2 people".

We see on a daily basis what happens in Gaza, when Palestinians do not have a "demilitarized" state. Over the past months, tons of explosives and weapons have gone into Gaza and are just waiting to be used against Israeli civilian towns and the IDF.

This is exactly the same nightmare scenario that will take place if the West Bank is turned into another Palestinian State. No Palestinian leader will agree to a demilitarized state.

Unfortunately, the architects of Oslo were so blinded by their hopes for peace, that it never occurred to them that the 50,000 automatics weapons provided to the West bank PA Police would ever be used against the IDF or Israelies.

Now, its almost impossible to round them all up, and Israel's only (foolish) solution is to provide even more weaponry to the Fatah police.

The best case scenario (today) is for the Palestinian cities to be given autonomy (as they have) with their own road infrastructure, yet not large regions.

As they demonstrate responsible, non-military behavior, then autonomy could be extended and expanded - which could include a confederation with Israel and Jordan.

Its not a "perfect" democratic solution by Western terms, yet the Middle East does not function by West Democratic terms (if it did, the Palestinians would never have used all the weapons that Israel and the US gave them, to start a war of attrition with Israel that has claimed over 1000 Jewish lives).

OK, enough for now. I will try to continue answering questions from now on in this thread :)

(update: LOL, word verification is "procast"...all its missing is "inate" ;-)

Tue Nov 18, 05:42:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"The best case scenario (today) is for the Palestinian cities to be given autonomy (as they have) with their own road infrastructure, yet not large regions.

As they demonstrate responsible, non-military behavior, then autonomy could be extended and expanded - which could include a confederation with Israel and Jordan."

Finally, a practical idea. Thanks, Jameel!

Tue Nov 18, 12:48:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

Jameel, I am

As far as the residents of Efrat concerned, HaShem Yishmor.

I stand by my statement. He is not in the heshbon.

Anyone can found a yeshiva, and hand out "smicha."

My view of Riskin was written w/o any mention of his politics. Politics is an artificial construct. Understanding of Torah and its application is all that is relavent.

I see no halachic justification for your autonomy and federation ideas.

We are commanded to fight, and whatever the outcome is, is HaShem's will.

I guess you and I are a lot more different from one another than I thought.

Tue Nov 18, 03:25:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

One of the joys of blogging is discovering that there's such a wide range of opinions--religious, political, and combinations of the two--within not only the Jewish community as a whole, but within the Orthodox community specifically, as well. Those of us not raised Orthodox and/or educated in Orthodox institutions sometimes have the erroneous impression that all Orthodox Jews think alike. I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that there's a spectrum of opinion even among the Orthodox.

Wed Nov 19, 12:37:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Duh :)

Wed Nov 19, 12:39:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Now, now, Ezzie, don't tease the am haaretz (Jewishly-illiterate). :)

Wed Nov 19, 12:47:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Esser Agaroth said...

Those of us not raised Orthodox and/or educated in Orthodox institutions sometimes have the erroneous impression that all Orthodox Jews think alike. I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that there's a spectrum of opinion even among the Orthodox.

I think you're absolutely right on both counts.

I also find it interesting how background does NOT always correlate with the understanding of what is actually going on in Israel {regardless of whether I agree with them or not}.

IOW, I've met secular Jews {who happen to be not so knowledgeable} who seem to have more of a clue as to what's going on here on a day to day basis than a Jew, knowledgeable in Torah.

I've met Jews who've been here countless times who don't seem to have a clue, yet Jews who've been here once you do.

I haven't been able to see much of a pattern.

Wed Nov 19, 04:43:00 PM 2008  

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