Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The Unity Committee of the Jewish Agency has just completed its meeting for February.There is good news and bad news.
The bad news is that of the 10,000 olim from the FSU in 2005 over 70% are not halachic Jews.This figure is greater than the number of converts for the year from the Conversion Courts.Incidentally this is the first tim e in five years that the number of FSU olim to Israel has exceeded the number who went to Germany.
Secondly , the Reform leadership have filed now at least 11 Supreme Court cases in order to destabilize the efforts of the Prime Ministers Office and those working quietly to correct this major problem.
On the positive side much progress has been made in the past two years.Of the 1 million Russian olim, 300,000 are not halachic Jews .Of these close to a half are under age 35 and half of them are female.
In 2005 the budget for the Conversion process was 26 million shekel.A total of 7475 students are in classes preparing for conversion. 3300 soldiers have now completed the course, however because of unit assignments have not been officially converted.In 2006 , 2500 students will appear before the conversion courts.
In a few weeks I will analyze the works of the Jewish Agency.

Monday, February 20, 2006


The Zionist Congress is four months away yet we know that as of now there is a marked diminution of registration in the US. Despite this, the organizers are calling it a SUCCESS.
As I wrote four years ago in an op-ed, the whole election process is a waste of money, manpower and only underlines the fact that the ZIONIST MOVEMENT is no longer the maqnet that it was 40 or 50 years ago.
The dream of Zionism is alive and well, albeit under attack.The Institutions that lead ORGANIZED ZIONISM however,especially in the US consist of the same cast of characters in leadership positions who provide little exciting or fresh to the movement.In a country with 5 or 6 million Jews,the fact that you can only register 80-100,000 after a costly campaign proves that there is something wrong.And then again, history tells us that only 60-70 % of those registered will vote.We will await March 7 when the results are released.
For example charging $7 to register with ss number (even if only a partial) is a turnoff for many.
The real Zionists have made aliyah.
We also live in an era where individuals do not like to be labelled by ideology.I can love Israel, the State and the people,visit, support it politically and financially but refrain from any desire to join a ZIONIST ORGANIZATION.
Indeed, many Rabbis of all streams rally their congregants to vote in the Zionist elections for one reason only-to obtain more money for their streams.
There are too many parties competing in this election,and aside from allocation of funds we are left with the classic fight over PLURALISM.
Why for example do the Reorm or Conservative movements need special Zionist arms when in reality they use the same base as their synagogue -temple movements.Remember the Reform movement was initially anti-zionist.
The answer of course has notrhing to do with zionism,but funding for their organizations programs ,and a desire to weaken the Chief Rabbinate.
This battle is never-ending and in my opinion does not excite anyone in American Jewry other than the organized leadership.
In the Orthodox camp, its time for the Religious Zionists of America to call it a day and allow the Orthodox Union a vibrant Synagogue organization be designated as the official Zionist organization in the US. Indeed they are ZIONISTS and best represent American Orthodoxy.
The RZA had a wonderful history but its membership has aged and thinned out.It has been negatively affected the the decline of the Religiuous Zionist parties in Israel.
The RZA has no professional leadership at present, few members,questionable effective independent programs and no hope for real growth under present conditions.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Hamas is now a reality! Not only is it a terrorist force, but a governing entity in the Palestinian areas. But worse than that, it is coordination its murderous machine and program with the entire Islamic world, especially Iran.
Thus Israel faces a two -headed crisis namely the nuclear potential of Iran as well as Hamas teaming up with Iran to create havoc to what was called the PEACE PROCESS. which soon will be only a distant memory.
The only positive point so far is the announcement that Hamas will never allow the Jericho Casino to open.Israeli politicians who allegedly were involved in this are now out in the cold
This mornings editorial in the Jereusalem Post, clearly points out the fact that despite the Kassam rockets being only CRUDE, a major disaster could occur if one of them hit the Ashkelon energy complex in a critical area.
Instead of planning for a response to a mega-disaster, it is time for Mr. Olmert to issue an ultimatum to Mr Abbas and the new Hamas leadership, that 7-8 Kassams a day is intolerable.The government has many potential responses including financial,military and cutting off electricity and phone service.
Whatever the response and its timetable, it is clear that no civilized country would tolerate daily rocket attacks etc upon its soil from a neighboring country or territory.


The argument that Hamas is a democratically elected government that deserves respect despite its denial of the holocaust and its advocacy of the destruction of a member state of the UN is totally without reason.
Did not Hitler,who came to power by democratic means,and advocated pure evil,bring the wrath and fury of the free world down upon him?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


While ordinarily the Cheney buckshot fiasco would be just that,(fodder for Leno and Letterman) todays news is cetainly a complication.
Even admirers of the Veep,are somewhat dismayed that early on some sort of announcement was not forthcoming.For political pros they handled it amateurishly. Part of this was because of staff turnover. The fact that they were not in Washington with a full complement of staff did not help.
Having said that, the conduct of the press corps was truly disgusting.
Look, it was an unfortunate accident.I am not a lawyer, however ,to my way of looking at it, there is certainly the suggestion of negligence on the part of the VP . However this is a tort matter, and not a political scandel.
The suggestions by reporters that he resign etc are over the line. Once again the bias of the fifth estate against Bush-Cheney is clear.
Let us try to place this unfortunate incident into some perspective and get back to security and important domestic issues as the prime news of the day..

The daily reports of rocket attacks deeper into Israel do not seem to interest the world. How many democracies in the world would allow such activity, and at the same time hand over millions in dollars to help pay for the civil servants of the attackers?

The UN and EU are calling for countries to enforce and discourage attacks on religions .Great ! Does that include the anti-Semitic filth from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria etc?

Sunday, February 12, 2006


The hypocrisy of Putin and the French in inviting Hamas for talks, once again demonstrates who our friends ARE NOT. It won’t be long before Sec Rice will be negotiating behind the scenes with Hamas or their intermediaries, as a result of European, UN , and Egyptian pressure. I hope I am wrong.
The departure of Wolfowitz ,Libby, Zackheim , and Perle as well as Cheney’s problems,in addtion to the political savvy of Rice has diluted the neo-conservative atmosphere in the administration. Thank G-d for John Bolton who is doing a terrific job.

The description of PM Sharon’s colonic gangrene appears to have left out a great deal of information;
Why and how they suspected and diagnosed the condition?
Was there a perforation and peritonitis?
Did they sew the bowel back or did they do a colostomy or ileostomy?

A must read is the article in the current Commentary magazine on Spielberg’s Munich.While it reinforced my initial impressions, kudos to Gabriel Schoenfeld for a splendid in-depth analysis .
I personally thought the movie to be totally fictional based upon a true event.So much of the dialogue and the scenes of massive food preperation were trite.The final scene showing the WTC implyng that destroying terror will only lead to further terror speaks to the heart of the Spielberg thesis.
But read the article and if you have seen the movie you will understand .
Allow me to quote the last line of the article “The movie deserves an Oscar in one category only: the most pernicious film of the year.”

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Virgin Mary Controversy in 1999-2/8/06

The current rioting over the Danish cartoon has been featured on all the cable shows ad-nauseum.
Interestingly the NY Times and most major American papers have not reproduced the cartoon. Certainly a victory for fear and Political Correctness. They certainly have no compunction about printing the “Pentagon Papers” or leaking the wiretap story-which could harm our national security.

Very few people ask why with each Islamic suicide bomber we don’t have similar outbursts for the insult that such an barbaric attack has on the honor of the Prophet.

No religion or religious person enjoys seeing their holy beliefs being either ridiculed or insulted. However, freedom of the press and free speech are paramount in our culture.

Had no riots or protests occurred, surely the cartoon would have long been forgotten.

I recall the Brooklyn Museum exhibit in Sept 1999 which featured a painting called “the Holy Virgin Mary” in which artist Chris Olifi had a clump of elephant dung smearing one of her breasts. The Church and Mayor Guliani were furious calling it “Catholic bashing”.

As President of the OU, I felt that though it probably had no discernable artistic value, the artist certainly was free to express his opinion, but not in a publicly supported institution, meant to serve the entire community. The artist certainly had the right to go to a private gallery and exhibit his paintings. I urged that a more sympathetic Lay Board be appointed. to oversee the Museum.

Despite its incendiary nature, there were never riots or threats to property or persons. This type of violent reaction we are now witnessing, with the encouragement of radical elements, certainly makes discourse all the more difficult if not impossible—unless we abstain from all critical remarks, editorials or cartoons. But then, we wouldn’t be America.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Islamic anger; An approach to the Energy problem 2/6/06

The torching of the Danish Embassy in Beirut ,and demonstrations against the Danish government in the Muslim world, speaks again to the cultural war we are undergoing.
Islam cannot function with criticisms by either their own or certainly from infidels from another religion.
We are slowly creeping back to the middle ages and only the uneven distribution of both conventional and nuclear weapons prevents some in the Islamic world from replacing verbal threats with military action. Islamic propaganda continually calls for a world that is all green,(100 % Islamic).
Thus the popularity of OBL,Hizbollah and suicide bombers among so many in the Islamic world.

It appears to me that Pres Bush in calling for an end of our dependence on fossil fuel missed the boat.
Today many countries in the world face the same problem of ME oil in the hands of OPEC .
Instead of viewing the solution as an all American one, this is a unique opportunity to gather together all of the governments of the world who are fearful of oil blackmail, and together with their respective scientists, create a well funded Marshall, Plan or Manhattan Project dedicated to solving this pressing world energy problem within 10-15 years.
It means doing away with SUV’s, and insisting on real mileage improvement per gallon on autos and trucks. Alaska oil and gas exploration, the creation of wind mills free of State interference will need to be on the agenda as well as the creation of economically sound new fuels as done in S. America. New nuclear plants will have to be built, and we should go back to encouraging solar energy where feasible.
When scientists are given a free hand, with proper funding, they can solve the mystery of polio, create a nuclear device, get us to the moon or solve our energy problem.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sen Kerry ; Hamas and Aid ; Bi-lingualism 2/1/06

Now that the Alito debate has concluded, I would like to paraphrase my son Elli who said” Sen. John Kerry (D. Mass) is a gift to the Republican Party that never stops giving “.

Money is fungible and we should not be swayed by the argument that aid for the Palestinian people is “humanitarian” and therefore we should ignore Hamas as the new heir apparent.
The role of Iran is already a factor, and the threat to turn to them for help will not alter the Islamic fundamentalist outlook of Hamas one way or the other. In any case Arab countries should be the main source of aid to the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian people voted for Hamas, knowing they would have to sacrifice economically in order “to defeat Israel.” We should not relieve them of the burdens which they voluntarily placed upon themselves.
The President while quoting Sharansky supports Democracy as an antidote to Islamic fascism. The problem is that merely voting does not a Democracy make. The rule of Law, a functioning judiciary, the end of private militias and the acceptance of diplomacy instead of State terror are hallmarks of a society wherein a free election will have democratic significance. This does not describe the PA.

We just came back from two months in S. Florida. It is shocking how many people including young couples with children speak no English.
Bi-or tri-lingualism is terrific.HOWEVER all Americans should speak and learn English as our NATIONAL LANGUAGE This should be enacted into law.
Our parents and grandparents came to these shores as foreign speaking immigrants. They had no choice, and within one generation, their progeny were proficient in English .Bi-lingual education should be restricted to a short period of time until children can make the necessary adjustments that they will need to succeed in life.