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Old 02-12-2009, 08:25 PM   #586
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So, because they might never had their own country, they don't deserve their own?
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:30 PM   #587
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So, because they might never had their own country, they don't deserve their own?


A good question for all the Arab countries that surround Israel.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:34 PM   #588
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You're missing my point. Again, you are hearing only what you want to hear.

I asked, because the Palestinians might not have had their country, they do not deserve their own?

Please answer.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:38 PM   #589
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You're missing my point. Again, you are hearing only what you want to hear.

I asked, because the Palestinians might not have had their country, they do not deserve their own?

Please answer.


I agree, they do deserve their own country.


"A good question for all the Arab countries that surround Israel."

The no reply, from the Arab countries, is the problem.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:41 PM   #590
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OK, good. Because before you said:

Quote:
Yes, Israel is the country constantly firing rockets and vowing to drive their enemies into the sea.

The final solution
Now, are you saying that Arab countries should give Israel's right to exist? Because for the record, I agree both sides need their own countries to stop this madness.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:46 PM   #591
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Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
OK, good. Because before you said:



Now, are you saying that Arab countries should give Israel's right to exist? Because for the record, I agree both sides need their own countries to stop this madness.

Yes, they should allow Israel to exists.

And I agree, both parties need a country.

Thanks for your civil discussion Pearl.



Take care,

I'm out for the night
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:48 PM   #592
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Thank you for clarifying your views.

Have a good night.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:48 PM   #593
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Quote:
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I agree, they do deserve their own country.


"A good question for all the Arab countries that surround Israel."

The no reply, from the Arab countries, is the problem.
Since all 22 Arab League countries have endorsed the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which entails full diplomatic recognition of Israel in exchange for the negotiated establishment of a Palestinian state based on Israel's withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders, I don't understand what you're getting at here.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:49 PM   #594
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The Americans will demand that Israel avoid creating new facts on the ground that may burden achieving an agreement in the future. Toward this end, the U.S. administration is preparing to put heavy pressure on the new government to freeze all settlement construction and keep its promises to lift roadblocks. A freeze on settlement activity will be a higher priority than removing illegal outposts...

Measures the Obama administration is likely will be to cut the equivalent sum of the latest investments in settlements from the remaining budget for U.S. guaranteed loans, approximately $1.3 billion out of a total of $10 billion that the U.S. made available to Israel for it to absorb immigrants from the former Soviet Union....

Senator Mitchell's team will include experts who are familiar with the subject of the settlements and the ways in which Israel has avoided meeting its obligations for years.
Excellent development.

U.S. expected to pressure Israel on settlement construction - Haaretz - Israel News
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:09 AM   #595
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^
This bit from near the end of the article was noteworthy as well:
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Meanwhile the State Department is evaluating the implication of reports that MK Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu, was a member of the extreme right group Kach. It appears on a State Department list of terrorist organizations. If the Obama administration confirms the report that appeared last week in Haaretz, and which was not denied by Lieberman, the Yisrael Beiteinu leader may not be granted a visa to enter the U.S. The close cooperation between Israel and the U.S. on matters of strategy, defense, economics, commerce, tourism and transportation means that ministers charged with relevant portfolios often visit the United States.

A new MK, Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union [Ichud Leumi], confirmed that he had been a member of Kach while it was headed by Meir Kahane and may face similar restrictions.
Depending on what the State Department decides, this might have significant impact on both Livni's and Netanyahu's decisions in attempting to form a coalition over the next couple weeks--particularly since Lieberman has let it be known that he seeks the Foreign or Defense Minister post as part of any coalition deal (Netanyahu reportedly counteroffered Lieberman the finance portfolio instead...even though Lieberman is currently under investigation by the Finance Ministry for fraud, money laundering and breach of trust).

A Kadima-Likud unity government without Yisrael Beiteinu would probably be the best of an array of bad choices; unfortunately, as of right now at least, it's still not looking as if either Livni or Netanyahu is prepared to relinquish their claim to the Prime Minister's seat, as a unity government would obviously require one or the other to do, even if only partially (i.e. rotation arrangement). That would almost certainly leave Netanyahu being asked by Peres to pull together a right-far right coalition, inevitably including Yisrael Beiteinu, as the only viable alternative. But it's not actually clear Netanyahu would be able to do that, since the religious parties he'd need to round out the coalition--Shas and UTJ--despise Yisrael Beiteinu and the feeling is mutual.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:30 PM   #596
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A Religious War in Israel’s Army

By ETHAN BRONNER
New York Times, March 21



JERUSALEM — The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war. [A brief overview of those accounts in English from Ha'aretz, here. --y.] But it also exposes something else: the clash between secular liberals and religious nationalists for control over the army and society. Several of the testimonies, published by an institute that runs a premilitary course and is affiliated with the left-leaning secular kibbutz movement, showed a distinct impatience with religious soldiers, portraying them as self-appointed holy warriors.

A soldier, identified by the pseudonym Ram, is quoted as saying that in Gaza, “the rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles and their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.”

Dany Zamir, the director of the one-year premilitary course who solicited the testimonies and then leaked them, leading to a promise by the military to investigate, is quoted in the transcripts as expressing anguish over the growing religious nationalist elements of the military. “If clerics are anointing us with oil and sticking holy books in our hands, and if the soldiers in these units aren’t representative of the whole spectrum of the Jewish people, but rather of certain segments of the population, what can we expect?” he said. “To whom do we complain?”

For the first four decades of Israel’s existence, the army—like many of the country’s institutions—was dominated by kibbutz members who saw themselves as secular, Western and educated. In the past decade or two, religious nationalists, including many from the settler movement in the West Bank, have moved into more and more positions of military responsibility. (In Israeli society, they are a growing force, distinct from, and more modern than, the black-garbed ultra-Orthodox, who are excused from military service.) In many cases, the religious nationalists have ascended to command positions from precisely the kind of premilitary college course that Mr. Zamir runs—but theirs are run by the religious movements rather than his secular one, meaning that the competition between him and them is both ideological and careerist. “The officer corps of the elite Golani Brigade is now heavily populated by religious right-wing graduates of the preparatory academies,” noted Moshe Halbertal, a Jewish philosophy professor who co-wrote the military code of ethics and who is himself religiously observant but politically liberal. “The religious right is trying to have an impact on Israeli society through the army.” For Mr. Halbertal, like for the vast majority of Israelis, the army is an especially sensitive institution because it has always functioned as a social cauldron, throwing together people from all walks of life and scores of ethnic and national backgrounds, and helping form them into a cohesive society with social networks that carry on throughout their lives.

Those who oppose the religious right have been especially concerned about the influence of the military’s chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, who is himself a West Bank settler and who was very active during the war, spending most of it in the company of the troops in the field. He took a quotation from a classical Hebrew text and turned it into a slogan during the war: “He who is merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.” [That's from the 9th-century homiletic collection Tanchuma; in context the quote is part of an admonition against anyone, particularly a king, putting himself above the law when meting out justice--and not, as Rontzki's cynical reframing suggests, some saying to the effect of "Smash all enemies with overwhelming force lest they smash you first". --y.] A controversy then arose when a booklet handed out to soldiers was found to contain a rabbinical edict against showing the enemy mercy. The Defense Ministry reprimanded the rabbi. At the time, in January, Avshalom Vilan, then a leftist member of Parliament, accused the rabbi of having “turned the Israeli military’s activity from fighting out of necessity into a holy war.”

Immediately after Israel withdrew its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005 and then from several West Bank settlements, there was a call to disband certain religious programs in the army because some soldiers in them said they would refuse to obey future orders to disband settlements. After the rise of Hamas in Gaza and the increase in rocket attacks on Israel, that discussion died down. But Yaron Ezrahi, a leftist political scientist at Hebrew University who has been lecturing to military commanders, said that the call to close those programs should now be revived because what was evident in Gaza was that the humanistic tradition from which a code of ethics is derived was not being sufficiently observed there.

The dispute over control of the army is not only ideological. It is also personal, as all politics is in this small, intimate country. Those who disagree with the chief rabbi have vilified him. Those who are unhappy with what Mr. Zamir did by leaking the transcript of the Gaza soldiers’ testimonies last week have spread word that he is a leftist ideologue out to harm Israel. In 1990, Mr. Zamir, then a parachute company commander in the reserves, was sentenced to prison for refusing to guard a ceremony involving religious Jews visiting the West Bank city of Nablus. For some, that refusal is a badge of honor; for others it is an act of insubordination and treason. A quiet campaign began on Thursday regarding Mr. Zamir’s leftist sympathies, to discredit the transcript he publicized.

At the same time, Rabbi Rontzki’s numerous sayings and writings have been making the rounds among leftist intellectuals. He has written, for example, that what others call “humanistic values” are simply subjective feelings that should be subordinate to following the law of the Torah. He has also said that the main reason for a Jewish doctor to treat a non-Jew on the Sabbath, when work is prohibited but treating the sick and injured is expected, is to avoid exposing Diaspora Jews to hatred.

Mr. Halbertal, the Jewish philosopher who opposes the attitude of Rabbi Rontzki, said the divide that is growing in Israel is not only between religious and secular Jews but among the religious themselves. The debate is over three issues—the sanctity of land versus life; the relationship between messianism and Zionism; and the place of non-Jews in a sovereign Jewish state. The religious left argues that the right has made a fetish of the land of Israel instead of letting life take precedence, he said. The religious left also rejects the messianic nature of the right’s Zionist discourse, and it argues that Jewish tradition values all life, not primarily Jewish life. “The right tends to make an equation between authenticity and brutality, as if the idea of humanism were a Western and alien implant to Judaism,” he said. “They seem not to know that nationalism and fascism are also Western ideas and that hypernationalism is not Jewish at all.”
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:35 AM   #597
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Hitchens ran a column about the rise of messianic religious nuttery in the IDF this week
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An Army of Extremists
How some military rabbis are trying to radicalize Israeli soldiers.

Recent reports of atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers in the course of the intervention in Gaza have described the incitement of conscripts and reservists by military rabbis who characterized the battle as a holy war for the expulsion of non-Jews from Jewish land. The secular Israeli academic Dany Zamir, who first brought the testimony of shocked Israeli soldiers to light, has been quoted as if the influence of such extremist clerical teachings was something new. This is not the case.

I remember being in Israel in 1986 when the chief army "chaplain" in the occupied territories, Rabbi Shmuel Derlich, issued his troops a 1,000-word pastoral letter enjoining them to apply the biblical commandment to exterminate the Amalekites as "the enemies of Israel." Nobody has recently encountered any Amalekites, so the chief educational officer of the Israeli Defense Forces asked Rabbi Derlich whether he would care to define his terms and say whom he meant. Rather evasively—if rather alarmingly—the man of God replied, "Germans." There are no Germans in Judaea and Samaria or, indeed, in the Old Testament, so the rabbi's exhortation to slay all Germans as well as quite probably all Palestinians was referred to the Judge Advocate General's Office. Forty military rabbis publicly came to Derlich's support, and the rather spineless conclusion of the JAG was that he had committed no legal offense but should perhaps refrain in the future from making political statements on the army's behalf.

The problem here is precisely that the rabbi was not making a "political" statement. Rather, he was doing his religious duty in reminding his readers what the Torah actually says. It's not at all uncommon in Israel to read discussions, featuring military rabbis, of quite how to interpret the following holy order from Moses, in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 31, Verses 13-18, as quoted from my 1985 translation by the Jewish Publication Society. The Israelites have just done a fairly pitiless job on the Midianites, slaughtering all of the adult males. But, says their stern commander-in-chief, they have still failed him:

Moses, Eleazer the priest, and all the chieftains of the community came out to meet them outside the camp. Moses became angry with the commanders of the army, the officers of thousands and the officers of hundreds, who had come back from the military campaign. Moses said to them, "You have spared every female! Yet they are the very ones who, at the bidding of Balaam, induced the Israelites to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so that the Lord's community was struck by the plague. Now, therefore, slay every male among the children, and slay also every young woman who has known a man carnally; but spare every young woman who has not had carnal relations with a man."

Moses and Eleazar the priest go on to issue some complex instructions about the ritual cleansings that must be practiced after this exhausting massacre has been completed.

Now, it's common to hear people say, when this infamous passage and others like it come up, that it's not intended to be "taken literally." One also often hears the excuse that some wicked things are done "in the name of" religion, as if the wicked things were somehow the result of a misinterpretation. But the nationalist rabbis who prepare Israeli soldiers for their mission seem to think that this book might be the word of God, in which case the only misinterpretation would be the failure to take it literally. (I hate to break it to you, but the people who think that God's will is revealed in scripture are known as "religious." Those who do not think so must try to find another name for themselves.)

Possibly you remember Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the man who in February 1994 unslung his weapon and killed more than two dozen worshippers at the mosque in Hebron. He had been a physician in the Israeli army and had first attracted attention by saying that he would refuse to treat non-Jews on the Sabbath. Now read Ethan Bronner's report in the March 22 New York Times about the preachments of the Israeli army's latest chief rabbi, a West Bank settler named Avichai Rontzski who also holds the rank of brigadier general. He has "said that the main reason for a Jewish doctor to treat a non-Jew on the Sabbath … is to avoid exposing Diaspora Jews to hatred." Those of us who follow these things recognize that statement as one of the leading indicators of a truly determined racist and fundamentalist. Yet it comes not this time in the garb of a homicidal lone-wolf nut bag but in the full uniform and accoutrement of a general and a high priest: Moses and Eleazar combined. The latest news, according to Bronner, is that the Israeli Defense Ministry has felt compelled to reprimand Rontzski for "a rabbinal edict against showing the enemy mercy" that was distributed in booklet form to men and women in uniform (see Numbers 31:13-18, above).

Peering over the horrible pile of Palestinian civilian casualties that has immediately resulted, it's fairly easy to see where this is going in the medium-to-longer term. The zealot settlers and their clerical accomplices are establishing an army within the army so that one day, if it is ever decided to disband or evacuate the colonial settlements, there will be enough officers and soldiers, stiffened by enough rabbis and enough extremist sermons, to refuse to obey the order. Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs. The dress rehearsals for this have already taken place, with the religious excuses given for Baruch Goldstein's rampage and the Talmudic evasions concerning the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Once considered highly extreme, such biblical exegeses are moving ever closer to the mainstream. It's high time the United States cut off any financial support for Israel that can be used even indirectly for settler activity, not just because such colonization constitutes a theft of another people's land but also because our Constitution absolutely forbids us to spend public money on the establishment of any religion.
How some military rabbis are trying to radicalize Israeli soldiers. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:19 AM   #598
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Unfortunately Rontzki, Derlich and their ilk aren't nutters; they're the religious equivalent of gutter populists of the worst sort, and just as skilled at demagoguery. Derlich's "pastoral letter," like Rontzki's sloganeering in the NYT article, is another textbook example of extremist "exegesis"--as a rabbi he knew perfectly well that the Jewish laws of war are already codified in the Talmud, and that you don't just make up new ones as the spirit moves you by conveniently recasting narrative Bible passages as legal texts. Not that those particular laws ought to matter in a secular state anyhow, and chaplains have no business giving military directives; but the cynicism behind their rhetoric is still stomach-turning.
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