Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Two weeks ago while in Washington, I asked an old friend, a liberal Democratic Senator from the Northwest, whether John Bolton will be confirmed? He answered, “yes, eventually.”

The leadership of his party is making a great error, if they believe that Americans beyond their party base are supportive of their tactics. The U.N. is a sick organization and we, not only as the only superpower in the UN, but more importantly as its prime financial provider must provide the tough leadership necessary for a turn-around.

I challenge the Democrats to tell us which of their colleagues is without a temper or has never rebuked an underling or colleague? Toughness, intelligence, integrity a clear vision of our national needs, a proven record and most importantly the confidence of our President are the key ingredients for our UN representative and that describes John Bolton.

I close my eyes and see a tough Adlai Stevenson standing up to the Russians in the Security Council. I recall vividly the video of Patrick Moynihan hugging Chaim Herzog the Israeli UN delegate after the “Zionism is Racism “ vote was lost . Moynihan can be seen clearly saying to Herzog “let them go F—K themselves." And I remember Jean Kirkpatrick taking no nonsense from our adversaries.

John Bolton is in that tradition. I have had the honor of meeting him when he appeared before the Presidents Conference. The last time was in his suite at the Waldorf during a UN meeting. He is tough, competent and to the point. There is no doubt that he understands the War on Terrorism and his views have certainly made him a target of the Presidents opponents.

The battle over judicial nominations has brought the issue of the filibuster to the forefront. Federal and Supreme Court nominees who serve for a life-time tenure at least highlight the issues of Conservative vs. Liberal philosophies. The Bolton nomination is an attack on our foreign policy and the right of the President to choose his team and his approach to the world. As the victor in our elections, that is his right and his candidate deserves an up or down vote.

It is time for that vote. President Bush should not hesitate one millisecond to act and use his recess appointment powers if the Senate continues to obstruct the needs of our country.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


It is always interesting to observe Shimon Peres, attempt to weave a repetition of Oslo into the current disengagement planning. His upcoming trip to meet Egyptian officials is an attempt to undermine Mr. Sharon who looks upon the upcoming disengagement as a necessary tactical move and unrelated to the Road Map. The Prime Minister believes that absent an end to incitement, the dismantling of terrorists groups, the institution of the rule of law etc, there can be no progress toward the Road Map.

Mr. Peres seems to fall closer to the Egyptian governments point of view that disengagement must be accompanied by major Israeli concessions regarding Egyptian troops in the Sinai, the granting of air and sea sovereignty for the PA in Gaza with a port and airport, and the immediate progress to the road map talks which would include a contiguity between Gaza and the PA in the West Bank. Implicit is the further immediate Israeli “disengagements ‘from West Bank settlements. His theme is that unlike the Prime minister this is not the end of a process (of giving back settlements), but is only the first step.

In addition Mr. Peres allegedly is in favor of arming the PA in order for them to police their territories .The Prime Minister not only is not prepared to commit himself to immediate road map talks, he equally is reticent about the concept of “contiguity “ preferring to think about a rail line as a connecting link.

In any case it is sad that we have not learned the proper lessons from the spilled blood of Israelis. When Mr. Peres in another life arranged for PA sharpshooters to be trained by the CIA ,Jewish blood flowed. If the disengagement occurs, there must be a demilitarized PA entity. without air rights. The PA currently has enough firepower to do the job of disarming Hamas and Islamic Jihad..IT IS THE WILL THAT IS LACKING..

Inviting Egypt for a greater role in the Philadelphia corridor and the Sinai is an unwise slippery slope that will prove disastrous for the Israelis.

Despite his age Mr. Peres has all his faculties and he brings his considerable world prestige to bear on his aim to destroy the settlements, divide Jerusalem and turn the clock back to pre 1967. The voters of Israel have rejected his concept of transforming Israel (from a Jewish State to a “Hong Kong “) each time, but like an Ever-Ready battery he keeps ticking. Sadly he occupies the number three position in the government and Mr. Sharon has himself to blame for depending so much of his policy on this sly politician.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


This weeks celebration of Yom Yerushalayim ( Jerusalem Solidarity Day ) brings forth much emotion within me .The famous 1967 words of General Motte Gur “HAR HABAYIT BEYADEYNU “ the ancient and holy site of the Temple Mount is in our hands still rings out each year as we celebrate.

Yet coupled with this joy is a sense of trepidation and concern. The sovereignty and absolute sense of ownership that so many of us have believed in, since that glorious day at the conclusion of the six Day War is under attack.

That Mr Abbas publicly attacks us, I am hardly shocked. However when Mr. Peres publicly states that Israel should never have annexed the old city and MK Tommy Lapid calls for an Arab assistant--Mayor, in Jerusalem not because there is someone worthy to support the State, but because he is an Arab then we are in trouble.

For many years I have made the issue of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv a personal one. Each candidate for President I asked the same question, and falsely received an assurance that their election would bring about a change. Even Sec of State Condaleeza Rice prior to then Gov. Bush’s’ election assured me that we could trust him on this issue.

When Pres Clinton was in office I raised the Embassy issue at a large White House meeting of the Pres Conference, reading back to him his own statements on the subject. As I relate in my book, he differentiated between the promises of a candidate and that of a sitting President subject to competing interests.

Sadly over the many years I have been told repeatedly by members of the Congress that quietly Israeli officials never felt this was a key issue. In essence they have undermined their American supporters

Yesterday HUVPAC made its annual mission to the Capitol..Sen Sam Brownback ( R-Kansas) brought to our attention the fact that he recently introduced SR (Senate Resolution )14

SR 14 states among other things, that not later than 180 days before the US recognizes a Palestinian State, we must move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
While I found some interest among Senators in supporting this, some demurred because they felt we are so close to peace in light of the Israeli withdrawal ( they are wrong) that we should not muddy the waters so to speak ( I disagree )
One Democratic Senator believed that this is part of a born-again fundamentalist move in order to convert Jews.

In any case those of us who love Jerusalem, and believe it is our eternal capital should take heed .Our enemies and even some who should be among our supporters seek to divide the city and give away our holy places to those whose battle with us is not over boundaries but our very existence as a people living in a Jewish State.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

The German reality 6/4/05

From the day that I was able to understand the tragedies of the Holocaust, I never ever considered the possibility of visiting Germany. Moreover I avoided the purchase of autos and medical equipment that originate there. Even in regard to reparations I had ambivalent feelings, and understood the minority who felt strongly about normalizing Jewish/Israeli-German relations.
As a member of the Jewish Agency (Sochnut) I was witness to much recent discussion regarding the 100-120,000 halachic Jews who are living in Germany in addition to a similar number of FSU immigrants who are not halachically accepted by the Khillah (community) Taken together with the close military/political/economic ties I felt that it was time to visit and observe for myself.
I have already described our shiur’s visit to Israel with our donation of a torah scroll to the IDF Navy. From there we went to Moscow, which I shall subsequently report on
Allow me to start at the end. On Shabbat,I walked to the Orthodox synagogue which was located four blocks from our hotel. I wore a large blue and white kipah srugah (knitted skullcap). Though I passed hundreds on the street,as well as huge groups sitting at sidewalk cafes, I did not detect a single double-take or untoward reaction. There were about 300 worshippers at the synagogue Sat morning, a little less Fri and Sat evenings. Many were Russians who obviously did not know how to pray or read Hebrew. They had a wonderful young Cantor originally from Israel. The security was similar to that present in synagogues around the world.
The kosher restaurant was crowded each evening we were there, although for Shabbat lunch it was more relaxed and not as hectic. I was told that a second dairy kosher establishment had just opened.
Throughout our short visit to Berlin we were impressed time and again with the importance the City, Federal government and as far as we could tell the people ,placed on these sites. Clearly they were coming to grips with the holocaust tragedy, but also of the role of their parents and grandparents. in this period.
In front of homes where Jews once lived, there were bronze sidewalk plaques imbedded in the pavement with their names and disposition. In the formerly Jewish neighborhood, large pictures and signs were placed on light poles etc, each one representing the edict of the Nazis against the Jews, such as Jews cannot sit on the park bench. On many of the bus shelters there was an entire story in picture and prose dedicated to holocaust era events-such as the Wansee Conferenc, where Eichmann plotted to kill 12 million world Jews, or the story of Adolph Eichmannn .
We were fortunate the much publicized Holocaust Memorial opened the week we were there and thus had an opportunity to spend a few hours there. The Holocaust museum, the Reform Temple, the Jewish cemetery, the Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens ran, the Brandenburg Gate ,the Wanssee center and the Potsdam Center (where Truman, Stalin and Churchill met at the end of the war), and so many other sites that are being built regarding Nazism, brutality and mans inhumanity to his fellowman all speak to the feelings of a new German generation .
As we sat the first evening in the kosher restaurant,located on the second floor of the Jewish Community Center, a train passed by on an overhead El that could be clearly seen through the open windows. Earlier in the day we had gone to a memorial for Berlin Jews at a railroad depot from whence they were deported to the Camps. Many in our group commented on the eerie feeling that the passing passenger train elicited within our thoughts. Yet we realized that was in the past, never to forget, yet praying for a saner tomorrow.
The hi-level visits in the past two weeks by Foreign Minister Shalom, and President Katsav are further proof of this trend. Interestingly World Mizrachi (Religious Zionists )have 23 shlichim ( representatives )in Germany to service the community.
None of this is to suggest that we ever forget. Nor should we be naive and believe that it could not happen in other countries and regions. However the German response under the circumstances is admirable as far a short visit can determine