Yom Kippur, in all its weight and power, has passed. We have heard the last blasts of the shofar for this year.
Hopefully it has awakened in us a stronger sense of who we are and where we need to go.
The outpouring of grief over the terrorist murder of Ari Fuld has been enormous. He was an incredible human being, often referred to as the Lion of Zion.
Caroline Glick quotes Ari’s best friend, Avi Abelow:
“Every day we’d talk about what we were doing to advocate for Israel. Ari was committed to what he referred to as ‘changing the narrative about Israel.’
“He always called out the media for their lies. He emphasized always that the Jews are the indigenous people in this land.
“…two weeks ago he went up to the TIPH volunteers [Temporary International Presence in Hebron] and got them to admit that they aren’t neutral…
“That personified who he was…”
If the description of Ari’s determination and tough-minded devotion to Israel awes you, I would suggest that it is not sufficient to weep because he is lost.
Wake up! Wake up! I want to say: Honor Ari’s memory by emulating him. Make this decision while the sound of that final shofar blast still reverberates in the air.
It is time for decisive action, and for commitment: Arm yourself with facts. Seize every opportunity to speak out for Israel and challenge those who demean her or misrepresent the facts. What a difference it would make for Israel. And what a legacy for Ari.
On a related subject:
Very recently I encountered a report that President Trump is disappointed because American Jews do not seem to appreciate what he has done for Israel.
There is a human tendency to express dissatisfaction more quickly than to offer praise. If you are an American Jew who is pleased with what the president has done for Israel, it might be appropriate to let him know.
In your own words, and very briefly, please consider telling him you are glad for what he is doing.
By comment phone line: 202-456-1111 (a bit of patience may be required until you connect)
And there is more to attend to! The time for passivity has passed.
I feel compelled to write here about the dirty political tactics being used to attack President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Columnist Star Parker asks
“How can anyone take this seriously?”
and then explains why no one should (emphasis added):
“Kavanaugh has had a long, distinguished career…he has undergone a half-dozen FBI background checks, with no irregularities arising.
“…It is a travesty to our system of government and justice to now interrupt the progress of Kavanaugh’s confirmation with these tenuous claims…”
“The abuse that concerns me now is the abuse of our system of government by devious progressive political operatives.”
See her piece, which cogently describes what has been happening. It is sharp and on the mark.
The claim, which cannot even be corroborated and which he denies, is that in 1982, when Kavanaugh was 17, he sexually assaulted one Christine Blasey Ford, 15.
Rabbi Dov Fisher, in a far more extensive piece, makes it clear that he does not believe this charge against a man he describes as having very fine character. He believes
“the 65 women who have signed their names to a letter affirming that they knew Brett Kavanaugh during that very same time frame as a gentleman who treated women with respect.”
In any event, says Fisher, if this one incident were true, it would not disqualify Kavanaugh because it would be seen that he had the strength of character to raise himself above one moment of reprehensible action as a teen in order to achieve exemplary behavior through the course of his life.
What is unfolding, writes Fisher, “is the Democrat / Liberal / Progressive playbook: (emphasis added):
“ Try to find the dirtiest piece of dirt possible, and then sit on it for months but do not disclose it until the last weeks, when there will be no time to overcome the allegations.”
He exhorts his readers powerfully when he talks of his
“…inner compulsion to speak out against the character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh. I cannot hold my peace, and I cannot remain silent.
“There has to come a point in time when Americans of all stripes band together and say ‘Enough of the character assassination and social crucifixion! We do not want America to go any farther down this road. It has to stop —here and now.’”
May each of you, as well, find you cannot hold your peace. It can make all of the difference, to Kavanaugh, and to America.
Write letters to the editor and talkbacks. Contact your representatives in Congress. And please share this posting broadly.
I wish I could also advise my readers to yell about what’s happening to our north, and that this would change things. But, alas, of course this is not possible. Right now matters are particularly tense.
On Monday, Israel launched an airstrike inside of Syria, demolishing a Syrian military facility in the port city of Latakia. Because of the circumstances, in a rare move, Israel publicly acknowledged the hit, explaining that it was on a site that manufactured “accurate and lethal weapons,” which were “about to be transferred, on behalf of Iran, to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
It is stated Israeli policy to prevent such transfers from taking place.
“These weapons were meant to attack Israel, and posed an intolerable threat against it,”
said an IDF statement.
Syria responded to the attack and accidentally took down a Russian reconnaissance plane; causing the death of its 15 crew members.
The Russians were livid, and blamed Israel, saying that not enough warning had been provided (so that the Russians would stay out of the area) and that the Israeli plane had used the Russian plane as cover, thereby putting it at risk of attack.
Israel countered that normal procedures had been followed (in accordance with Israeli-Russian agreements) and that the Russian plane had not been present during the attack on the site. Indeed, that strike was completed before the Russian plane entered the area of the operation. The reconnaissance aircraft was shot down after the Israeli fighter jets had returned to Israeli airspace.
Putin, after speaking with Netanyahu, then backed down, saying it was an “unfortunate accident” but warning Israel not to let anything like this happen again.
The initial IDF investigation indicated that the Syrians fired extensively and indiscriminately. It seems they just kept firing after the Israeli plane had left the area. A number of Syrian soldiers who were involved have been arrested and interrogated by Russia.
On Thursday morning, after consultation with Putin, Netanyahu sent an IDF delegation led by the Commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, to Russia with full documentation of the IDF inquiry, as well as evidence of Iran’s continuous attempts to transfer strategic weapons to Hezbollah via Syria.
In light of the above it was bewildering that there were subsequent reports that Putin had backtracked and was again blaming Israel. More information is being demanded.
It was perhaps fairly inevitable that a situation like this would arise. At the moment, tension has been contained but the Israeli-Russian relationship is a bit more tenuous. Israel has carried out more than 200 attacks against Iranian activities in Syria, with the Russians allowing Israel carte blanche as long as they are forewarned. Should the Russian position change, it would be a serious matter.
We cannot presume that Russian interests in Syria dovetail in entirety with Israel concerns, and I will come back to this.
On Thursday, former minister Gideon Sa’ar, tweeted:
“The truth is well known in Moscow: Only Syria is responsible for the downing of the Russian plane…
“The hard truth: Coordination with Moscow is tactical. The conflict of interests is strategic.”
Defense Minister Lieberman has expressed readiness to fully cooperate with any Russian investigation; he indicated that the agreement with Russian would also be tightened.
Netanyahu, for his part, stated that keeping Iran at bay was an existential Israeli concern, and that the IDF would continue to operate as necessary within Syria whether Russia approved or not.
As a corollary to this incident: Hezbollah’s Nasrallah bragged that while Israel imagines weapons are being blocked, in fact precision missiles have come into Hezbollah’s possession.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded:
“I heard the boastful words that came from Hezbollah. This is coming from the same man who, after 2006, said that if he knew what the Israel response would be to the kidnapping of three of our soldiers, he would have thought twice whether to do it.
“So today I recommend that he think not twice, but 20 times. Because if he confronts us, he will receive a crushing blow he cannot even imagine.”
That Netanyahu speaks this way is, I believe, a good thing. We are capable of what he describes. My only concern is that should it come to this, Heaven forbid, he will not shy from acting as is necessary.
Sunday night begins the week-long holiday of Sukkot, my very favorite holiday. What a joy to see the sukkahs go up all around me in my Jerusalem neighborhood, and to anticipate meals in the sukkah with my family. My posting during this time will be intermittent. There will be so much to return to.
As we dwell in the fragile sukkah, we are reminded that we are not protected by strong walls, but by the Almighty. The cartoon by my friend Yaakov Kirschen speaks to this: