My friend and colleague Dr. Michael Kram suggested to me that I join the growing list of bloggers.
Click here to read my entire Mission Statement.
Mrs. McCain / Rush and Hannity
When Sen. McCain threatened to have his mother wash out George Norris' mouth with soap, it sounded funny, and reminded me of Pres. Truman promising to punch out the music critic who criticized his daughter's voice.But after seeing his 96 year old mother being interviewed she is really on the ball,and has perfect mentation.McCain has longevity on his side.
It is sad to hear the conservative radio talk hosts go after Sen. McCain for his alleged lack of Conservative credentials.I have never voted for a Democratic Pres. candidate since LBJ, and I consider myself a Conservative -Independent.I disagree with John McCain in many areas, including Guantanamo,use of torture, immigration and a few others.
However I am not a purist,and on national security and terrorism issues,Israel and most issues he is the best man to lead our country -an of course to attract Independents.
He is a man of Honor,and to attack him day after day,is to weaken him and perhaps allow Hillary to win,
Obama Speaks Up
I was pleased to read the story in todays Haaretz.Com regarding Barak Obama's thoughts on Israel and the Middle East.
Part of the problem that Obama has had, is the underlying perception that his prime interest other than getting the troops out of Iraq,has been domestic policy.There are many if not most Senators who vote correctly on our issues, but really have no interest in the nuances of the Arab-Israeki conflict
In this interview , he is clear,that he believes in Israel as a Jewish State,and opposes the "Right of Return".He agrees that no state can tolerate rocket attacks on its civilian population.
Obama has to realize, that terrorism and national security play a big role in our thinking,and the tilt to the left of his party,gives us cause for concern.
This in no way means that I am prepared to run out and change my party affiliation.However, it has always been important that the Pro-Israel political community be bi-partisan, DEM. and REP., Liberal and Conservative.
This takes me back in time when we blasted Hillary for her ill fated meeting and kiss with Souha Arafat.The pressure on her and the political realities, brought about a great positive change in her. Her service in the Senate, has borne the fruits of these interactions between her and our community.
I hope that this unpleasant period in Obama's political campaign will strenthen his involvement and raise his voice on our issues.Whether he wins or loses now, he will be a political force in the US for a long period.
Parsha Diplmatit / Israel policy
Usually I criticize the Israeli foreign policy establishment and political leadership(as I will do in the second half of todays blog),however, I was pleasantly suprised when I received a present in the mail on Friday.
It was a soft covered book of Torah thoughts ,entitltled PARSHA DIPLOMATIT, written by a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daniel Taub. He writes a personal analysis of each portion of the Torah from a diplomatic perspective.
Yesterday, in my weekly Parshat Hashavuah class,(portion of the Week) I referred to the thoughts of Mr Taub, who I have never met.
The concept of reaching out from the Government of Israel to the Diaspora, not just with political bulletins and updates, but words of Torah that bind us together, made a very significant impact on me.
Kudos to Benjamin Krasna,the number 2 man in the NY Consulate for his efforts in distributing the sefer.His father is Dr Irwin Krasna, a famous pediatric surgeon,who made aliya many years ago,and has brought great honor to the yeshivot he attended.
As one reads the daily news stories from Israel, one cannot but be impressed with the lack of consistency on the part of the leadership.
Everyday,we have Gaza suppliies either being cut-off or restored.We have different ministries announcing opposite goals.
Thus, Israel will never stop building within Municipal Jerusalem,or all permits have been stopped.
Shas will leave the Govt.,if Jerusalerm is discussed with Abbas,except when its(the discussion) not announced publicly.
Barak will leave the Govt. after Winograd, unless it appears his faction cannot win the election.
Israel will not tolearate rockets hitting its cities and towns, except when there is no mass casualties that will cause an uproar.
Israel will respond with mass force to such attacks,unless its not the right time.
It makes for interesting reading,but leaves a lot to be desired in a leadership whose only direction come from keeping away from Condi Rice,and Bibi.
On Dec.2, 2007, I raised objections to Mike Huckabee invoking his "Christian" theme in the campaiugn. I also raised the question as to whether Mitt Romney,enjoying a 4D deferment while I waa serving in Vietnam, used his missionary assignment to attempt to convert Jews?
No one called to complain.
Recently ,I raised the question of a " potential" for an individual born of a Muslim father,in a Muslim environment having a "spark" of Islam within his subconscious ,such that at some time it could influence his decisions.?I used the analogy of a "pintele Yid" who has within him a spark of Jewish feeling. that he never had publicly displayed.
Today , a reporter (not Jim Besser), called me in an angry tone,trying to trap me into making accusations against Obama,none of which I subscribe to.
I simply raised a theoretical question, because people are talking about the topic.The question I raised must be answered by each individual on their own, in a similar way that they accept or reject my statements on the other candidates.
This is a Presidential race.Political correctness has no place on the agenda.
A candidate can refute any charge ,by showing their record, their votes, and a list of their consultants.Again the public can accept or reject this information as adequate.
Romney and Guliani have clearly pointed out that Radical Islam seeks to destroy our country.The Arab world still seeks to destroy Israel
To me the US-Israel relationship, and the war on terrorism ,trump all economic concerns.I want to know the candidates record,including votes etc, as well as his/her PSYCHE as best as possible.
WHY WE NEED A PRO-ISRAEL PRESIDENT/ Fl voting
The involvement of the UN Security Council in the Gaza blockade,once again illustrates the one sidedness of the world when it comes to Jewish lives.Of course they "understand" why the Israelis would be unhappy,but to respond by killing terrorists,or trying to force the population to make Hamas stop,by using economic pressure-that is "genocide'.
And so without a mention of the thousands of rockets that have hit Sderot,etc,theUN would be happy to condemn Israel.
It is the US, that will veto this resolution.
As we look at Presidential candidates, our community should look at the following:
Is the candidate interested in the US-Israel relationship ?
Is there a record of votes, resolution,signing of joint letters on behalf of a strong US-Israel relationship?
Have they visited Israel?
Do they have now or ever a position paper on ME issues?
Who are their advisors? ( Madeline Albright? Podhoretz? bryzinski? (sp?)
Have they spoken or defined their positions on Jerusalem? Har Homa? Iran? settlements? etc.
The Obama -Clinton debate yesterday was brutal.If Bill Clinton is acting this way during a campaign, just imagine how he will be if she is elected!
The lines at the early polling places in some area of Florida are long, and perhaps 40-50% of the people will have voted by next Tues.Some may have voted for Thompson before he got out, and others before the S.C. McCain victory.
How these early ballots will affect the outcome is hard to determine at this stage.
Political Correctness in Gaza /Some more primary thoughts
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter is right on target for blasting Olmert and Barak for failure to STOP (not diminish) rocket attacks aimed at Sderot and the Negev.
This policy is political correctness at the highest level, except it affects the lives and property as well as the sense of security of those who live every day under the threat of a rocket barrage.
Israel has the means to disarm and inflict real damage on Hamas.If Abbas resigns-so what?
The "peace process " is a sham, that can never succeed.As long as the Arabs maintain a hope to drive the Jews into the sea,and destroy Israel then the political maneuverering is just show-business.
Golda Meir was right- there is no such a thing ,nor has there ever been a Palestinian People.A Palestinian State is a mortal danger to the survival of Israel.
The PA will never agree to:
Israel as a JEWISH STATE
No return of "refugees" to Israel
A demilitarized state
Israel maintaining ownership of the Temple Mount
In addition to not getting back E. Jerusalem, Maale Adumim,Har Homa etc.
Let's get the Winograd Report ,and let us see what political courage Labor and Shas have.
It appears that John McCain has found his way.Republican voters like myself,have looked over the field, and concluded his straight talk, consistency and experience trump our disagreement with him over some issues.
The Black-Hispanic divide, as seen in yesterdays Nevada vote is a dangerous problem for Hillary.With Blacks giving her only 16% of the vote, will they stay home if she beats Obama?
My suggestion for a Newt spot on a McCain-Gingrich ticket has an added dimension.McCain has indicated that he would probably serve only one term if elected.Thus Newt would be young enough to run for Pres. in '12. His candidacy would energize the Republican base.
Joe Lieberman for Sec. of State-Newt for V.P? / Der Pintele Muslim ?
I saw an old friend. Joe Lieberman yesterday, campaigning in Fla for John McCain.I am sure he believes McCain is best suited for the job,however it is an opportunity for payback to his Dem. colleagues, who screwed him ( or tried to) in the last election.
It's a long way to election time, but how would a Lieberman appointment for Sec. of State sound.?
This leads me to suggest that Newt Gingrich would be a great running mate for McCain,since he would galvanize all the social conservatives who might not be enthusiastic for McCain.
As we go into Nevada, we see the rancor in the Dem. party increase.Similarly, S.C., presents a challenge which McCain must overcome to march on to Fl.
Again, I have that queesy feeling when I hear Huckabee back on the Christianity track ,as he visits S.C. churches.
Although Obama is not a Muslim,my question is this.In the Jewish religion when someone is far away from observance,however at a certain time he has a spark of Jewishness, we call it a "PINTELE YID " -a smattering , or a deep seated unconscious attachment to ones roots.
With a Muslim father, and being sorrounded in his early youth in a Muslim environment, is there such a thing as a " PINTELE MUSLIM ? - with deep seated feelings,which could color decisions re terrorism and the Middle East?
McCain on a roll /Jerusalem housing
I was away from my computer for a week,as I went up north,to celebrate my grandson's bar mitzvah.In that week, so much has happened in our political drama,as well as in Israel with the Bush visit.
When Rudy announced for President,I thought that his was a candidacy I could support.He talked tough on terrorism, and dwelled on 9/11.As the campaign has proceeded, Rudy looks like a one dimentional candidate, who made a terrible decision to avoid all the early primaries.Thus he is not part of the National debate.What with cable TV giving so much time and coverage to the active candidates, Rudy has been pushed out of the limelight.
As I watched John McCain, fight to victory in N.Hampshire,I realized that even though I disagree with him on many issues, he is a person that would make me proud to have him as our President.
He is experienced,with a long record of service to the country.He is tough, but has the ability to work with Dems to bring some sense of bipartisanship to Washington.
As I think of Rudy's record, I realize he was just in the right place at the right time.He made no foreign or domestic policy.If anything, his crony Bernie Kerick was the wrong man for the Homeland Security post.His personal life has been less than admirable.In the final analysis, we are electing a President, and not a civil defense leader.Of course even Rudy is better than any Dem.
The mud being thrown between the Clinton and Obama camps is not pretty. To attack Hillary because she stated the obvious, that it took Lyndon Johnson , a sitting Pres. to enact civil rights legislation, is certainly not an attack on MLK.
If this continues, then the Dems, will only have themselves to blame if they split the party, and allow a Rep. to win.
Bibi Netanyahu, met with the President, and laid out his objections to this " virtual peace process" with Abbas.What Bibi said ,is right on the mark.The problem is, that when he was PM,he failed to live up to his potential.
Zeev Boim, the Kadimah Housing Minister, is to be applauded,for saying that building within Municipal Jerusalem must go on.If the Har Homa project was stopped now, it would endanger Ramot in the North, and Gilo in the South.The ring of Jewish housing must be completed.
Thus, it is a happy moment, that we witness 60 new apartments being constructed in Ras-al-Amoud.
I have visited there many times, and Dr. Moskowitz ,who purchased the land is to be commended.This property near Abu Dis, is a project that will block (together with the police station and Ir David) any corridor from the West Bank to the Temple Mount,
for Arabs, tring to build a Capital in Abu Dis.At the time when the first Jewish housing was under consideration in Ras -al-Moud, as OU President, I visited PM Netanyahu, to lobby for the final approval.The US vigorously fought both that project and Har Homa.
McCain and earmarks / Olmert and the Road Map
I first met Sen. John McCain , when he was a Congressman, running for the Senate.I was interested in him because we were both Vietnam veterans.Shortly thereafter, I brought him to Monsey for a HUVPAC event.
I have always admired his straight talk, even if I didn't agree with him on every issue.However, yesterday, for the first time I learned that in his entire Congressional career, spanning about 25 years, he has never requested a single EARMARK for the State of Arizona.
That is quite amazing!I can't tell you how many of his colleagues can make the same claim.
Thus when he talks about lowering spending, and vetoing every earmark, we can see his sincerety.
Looking at the Barack Obama phenomonon, it resembles a rock star concert and not a serious discussion on how to bring about change.
It would be nice if he told us how in his career in the Illinois State Senate,or the US Senate,he has worked for bipartisanship or CHANGE !
Olmert is falling all over himself to get in line with the Road Map, BEFORE THE BUSH VISIT.
But, he totally ignores the 14 points of objection that the Israeli Cabinet under PM Sharon raised,when the Road Map was presented.
Where is the backbone of Olmert?
WINOGRAD IS COMING / HILLARY AND CHANGE
They say it's coming Jan 30( yes 2008)!
It's the Winograd Report after 17 months of promising the real story on the Lebanon War.Barak originally promised to withdraw or bring about new elections upon its publication.
I have no idea if the names of those responsible for the political/military fiasco will be singled out.However, this is Israel, and everything has a price.
Thus, the re-creation of a Ministry of Religious Affairs, with Shas at the helm.
I would suppose that this is the price that will prevent Shas from withdrawing from the Coalition. Thus even if Yisrael Beitanu ( Lieberman ) withdraws,because core issues ( Jerusalem ) will be negotiated , Olmert will still have a narrow majority.Unless of course Labor bolts.
Bibi, is trying to get Barak to agree to new National elections this Nov.,instead of 2010.
I love when Hillary screams that she has brought " CHANGE " for 35 years. I must have been sleeping during that period.
Of course the Health Care fiasco was less than something she should brag about.
What change did she bring about in the Senate?
IT APPEARS THE MORE SHRILL SHE GETS, THE LESS VOTERS ARE TUNING IN.
THE PEACE PROCESS /THE ELECTIONS
It seems that everytime Israel responds to terror, and kills the terorists, the familiar cry from the PA is " You are ruining the Peace Process."
When Israel arrests criminals that the PA allows to walk freely,we hear the same refrain.
Talk about a demilitarizd Palestine-Oh No- the peace process will break down!
What Peace ? and What Process?
Mostly photo-ops !
Kudos to King Abdullah,who told Olmert to speak publicly regarding the division of Jerusalem, as he does privately.
The problem is , if he does--that.s the end of Shas and Lieberman, and, he would have to go looking for a job perhaps in industry.
My two least favorite candidates won ! a possible covert Muslim, who preaches change, but has no plan of what change,and how to get there.
And, the Pastor who wants to bring religion into the campaign.
Although I did not think they ever had a chance, the fate of Sens Dodd and Biden are telling.Both with immense foreign policy experience and common sense could not even register
on the meter.
The push for "change" could push us to such inexperience, that we will have to reinvent the wheel.
Perhaps New Hampshire and on to Nev-S.C., MICH, FLA ETC WILL SEE A GREATER DISCUSSION OF ISSUES AND PROJECTED POLICIES.
Olmert / Conservative and Reform failures
The PM, apparently gave the green light for Egypt to allow the Hamas people to enter Gaza through the Rafah Gate. So much for security, and trying to prevent cash smuggling.
Now, we see the PM getting uptight re; construction in Jerusalem,- ie Maale Adumim and Har Homa.
The Bush visit, is making him nervous. Taken together with the Saudis attacking settlements, and Bush criticizing them, now is the time for steel nerves.Stick to the Iranian dangers that loom over the world.Forget the criticisms of the settlements.
Incidentally everyone should condemn those Rabbis who attacked the PM ,and suggested that he and others should be executed.We have been there before and it is ugly and against Torah Law.
The Govt. today announced that 122mm Katushas now endanger 250,ooo Israelis in the South.They also discovered 2 Quassams being put together in Nablus.
The new Security Council President is Libya, and they immediately came out against sanctions against Iran.So What's New?
Thank the Lord that Iowa is almost out of the way.The press have the ability to shape expectations,and results.Thus a 3rd place finish for McCain is a boost for him in New Hampshire.Do you understand?
I have been amused and amazed by two stories in recent days regarding my friends in the Conservative/Reform movements.
The former want to know why their efforts to infuse their movement wth tradition has not succeeded ?The latter want to know why they have not made progress among Israelis?
Suffice it to say, THAT PEOPLE LONG FOR AUTHENTICITY and tradition that is consistent.
Both groups keep changing the goalposts and the rules,and people really get it!
If I wish to be observant, then Orthodoxy is the authentic path.If you desire a real commitment to tradition, then why go halfway? How can I train my children to be Jews,but lack a clear and definitive theology?
No or Incomplete Sabbath observance
A kashruth Standard that reads like a Chinese Menu-1 from Column A...
A lack of Torah Scholarship
Same Sex Marriages
and so on
The similarities to the life of a Torah personality (not a scholar- but a balabus) is just not there.
Thus intermarriage and assimilation are rampant.Even with all the "HALACHIK" changes, that they make, there can no long term future for them, if they continue on their current path.
Olmert / Joel Osteen for Pres.
PM Olmert said that Israelis should "internalize" the fact that the world expects Jerusalem to be divided.Indeed if we allowed the "internalization " of the world to count,we would be dealing with the disappearance of Israel.
Perhaps its time for Olmert to internalize that his days as PM are numbered.He stands with low poll numbers, besieged by the parents of those who fell in Lebanon, his coalition partners,who will not allow any division of Jerusalem, a Defense Minister who eagerly awaits his own turn to
give away the Har Habayit, as he tried when he was PM,and Bibi waiting in the wings.
Yes he will bask in the sun during the Bush trip, but nothing is forever!
Yesh Din Vyesh Dayan! There is morality and law, and there is a G-d who will judge and enforce his verdicts.
One of my favorite TV personalities ( especially with Jay Leno out ) is Joel Osteen.
If you never saw him and his wife speak to the multitudes, you are missing an inspiring event.
He speaks to the goodness inherent in each human,and as he slowly paces the stage, each member of the audience at home or in the "church' feels that he is speaking to them.
He talks about change, and rarely except perhaps at the end does he mention church doctrine.
I just watched Barak Obama speak to a huge throng.Yes he speaks of change -What change?
overpower the Dems and railroad a liberal agenda through Congress?
Bi-partisanship/-HAS HE EVER DONE THAT IN HIS POLITICAL CAREER?
What are his new policies?
He is nothing more than a preacher-like Huckabee, whose gaffes on foreign policy these past 2 weeks have been amateurish.Only Huckabee wants Jesus to be in the Cabinet Room,and I believe in seperation of Church-State.
So if we really want a common sense preacher, who is interesting and non-threatening,Osteen is my man.