May 14, 2006

30 Pieces of Silver

Look into this face. It is a drawing of Pavel Frenkel. At the age of just 23 he was commander of Betar forces in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943. Alas there is no grainy photo because Pavel – and all trace of him – was wiped out by the Nazis shortly after the Ghetto was incinerated.

But through painstaking research by former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, the courageous role of Frenkel and his Revisionist comrades has now come to light and been spliced into its rightful place in a chapter of history originally written by the predominantly Labor-Zionist survivors of the resistance.

Their resistance marked the first manifestation of what Menachem Begin coined as ‘the fighting Jew’ not seen since the days of Bar Kochba and the Macabees. Their message to the Nazis was: “We shall not go silently into the night. We shall survive and one day return to our homeland.”

Their demonstration of courage in the face of impossible odds, spurred the Hagana and the Irgun to rise to the same challenges in 1948 and in all of Israel’s wars since. Theirs was the ultimate sacrifice, for the noblest of ideals: the secure future of the Jewish people in their homeland.

And so, with the help of G-d, the land was won. Inch by inch, in blood and tears. And our people tilled until the desert turned green. The chants of Jewish schoolchildren echoed again in the alleyways of Jerusalem and Sabbath songs wafted from the windows of thousands of new homes in Judea and Samaria.

It is a success story that begs for belief in an afterlife, so that heroes like Pavel Frenkel and all those like him could look down and behold the wonderful gift of nationhood for which they paid with their lives.

But today I am thinking, perhaps not.
Forget the afterlife.
Better they shouldn’t see what is going on 63 years after their ultimate sacrifice.

You see today the Hareidi Knesset members of United Torah Judaism are walking all over the graves of our latter-day heroes in negotiating their fee for joining Olmert’s convergence party. Determined to better Shas’s joining-fee of 1.8 billion shekels, the leading UTJ Rabbi announced: it’s not worth joining the government for less than a 500 shekel increase in child allowances.

Even under the worst deprivations of Netanyahu’s cuts, no child starved to death in Israel. Just as they improvised in war, Jews overcame the poverty challenge with acts of charity and personal support unknown anywhere else in the world.

But the blessed land and the sanctified lives of all those who died in its capture and defense are now being sold in the corridors of the Knesset for 30 pieces of silver.

If you are looking down today Pavel, I hope you will forgive them.
For they surely know not what they do.

[More about the Pavel Frenkel story can be found at this link]

A.B. vs. A.S.

Letter to Jerusalem Post

Sir, - In "Speak for yourself, A.B. Yehoshua" (May 11) I learned a few things about A.B. that I had not known before. Uri Dan may be right to call Yehoshua a post-Zionist "big mouth" of the Oslo camp. But even for a Likudnik like me that did not mar the beauty of his words in Washington.

Far from demeaning Jews of the Diaspora, Yehoshua was encouraging them to come home and experience Jewish life in Israel as a second skin rather than be content with the clothing of the Diaspora, which our people have so often been forced to change, mostly at short notice and under threat.

Dan's mentor, Ariel Sharon, often peddled the same message, although not in such beautiful words. In his Paris speech in 2004 Sharon enraged locals by urging French Jews to leave for Israel. But just a year later he was bulldozing Jewish families out of their homes in Gush Katif.

Yehoshua may have softened in his old age. Sadly, Sharon did the opposite.

May 09, 2006

Land of no hope and far from glory

Just when we thought France had all the problems, a tiny scratch on the highly polished door of Britain's Home Office has revealed a structure so rotten, that it threatens to bring the whole country down.

A total loss of control over its borders and mindless capitulation to a warped charter of human rights, has created a subculture of crime, welfare fraud and jihadist incitement in the UK.

If you really want to know what is happening in the UK - and how it came about - read the just-published book: "Londonistan" by Melanie Phillips.

It's a real eye-opener.

May 04, 2006

Well Said A.B !

"For me, Avraham Yehoshua, there is no alternative... I cannot keep my identity outside Israel. [Being] Israeli is my skin, not my jacket. You are changing jackets... you are changing countries like changing jackets. I have my skin, the territory," the author told the audience, adding that Israeli Jews live a Jewish life in a totality that the American Jews do not know. [Novelist A B Yehoshua in the US this week]

May 01, 2006

Too Late for the Hero

Israel’s complacency on defense reached a new low today with the appointment of former defence minister and decorated IDF general Shaul Mofaz to minister of transport in Kadima’s coalition government.

That Mofaz is prepared to accept such an insult from Olmert is indicative of the depths to which ministers will stoop to preserve their perks of office. Then again, perhaps the tranport portfolio is linked with further work on the discredited Road Map.

It needn’t have been this way. A year ago, when he was being tipped as a future candidate for Prime Minister, I wrote a letter to Mofaz inviting him to set an example and walk out on Sharon’s disengagement cabinet.

Sadly he clung to his office and has now plummeted to the feeble figure of a man who will accept even the lowly ministry of transport. It is indeed very very sad, for this is a man of enormous talent, a soldier and hero of Israel.

Back to my point about complacency. That General Mofaz is now put in charge of transport whilst trades union convenor Peretz is trusted with the defense of the State against 300 million Arabs in 22 countries is at least consistent with the developing security plan instituted by Barak, Sharon and now Olmert.

So far this 'strategy' has handed over South Lebanon to Hizbullah, handed over Gaza to Hamas and opened Sinai to the Egyptian army. Phase 4 is to open a Gaza port for the next flotilla of Karine-A’s and to hand over Ben Gurion’s air traffic control to Hamas, behind a new border that is within Stinger range of its main runway.

How sad that such an insult to our military is handed out on the eve of Yom Hazikaron. A day when we weep for those who fell in battle in the defense of the State of Israel.

We should all be reciting tehillim (psalms) to beg for the divine help necessary to ensure our survival despite the best efforts of this Government of Chelm.

Perhaps even Mr Olmert has finally found G-d?
With his top generals on traffic duty, he's going to need all the divine help he can get.

The Real Villain

As the row rages over the failure to control thousands of immigrant criminals, I think it’s quite unfair to blame Charles Clarke. He has been home secretary for barely 6 months. With his predecessor David Blunkett already ousted (and for a lot less sinning than Blair’s own philandering deputy) the focus should be turned sharply on Jack Straw. He ran the Home Office for 4 years at the most critical time for immigration. Doubtless much of Straw's softness on immigration earned him points with his electorate in Blackburn, one of Britain’s largest Muslim constituencies.

Whilst poor Charles Clarke takes the blows this week, the real villain hides at the foreign office where he has been up to the same game of appeasement. With his Riyadh speech espousing a softer line on relations with Hamas, Straw is setting up the free world for the same anarchy as he has spawned locally as our home secretary. Just as the rapists and murderers freed by his appeasement policy make it unsafe to walk our streets, Straw’s appeasement of Jihadists threatens to empower their Iranian and Saudi-Wahhabist sponsors and thereby further endanger our wider world.
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