Archive for December, 2006

“PALESTINE: PEACE, NOT APARTHEID” a Book Review by Fern Sidman

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Since it’s release several weeks ago, Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid”, has received enormous publicity as well as a litany of reviews, both critical and praiseworthy. After reading this book, one can begin to understand why Jimmy Carter’s place in presidential history will be not be one of the “great peacemaker” in the Middle East, but rather of the president who holds the dubious distinction of bearing the most animus towards Israel and the Jewish people.

In this one-sided, totally skewed and highly subjective piece of Arab propaganda, Mr. Carter presents a premise and thesis that reeks of vacuity, while presenting ostensibly specious arguments that obfuscate both fact and truth. According to Mr. Carter’s gospel on the Israeli-Palestinian debacle, the blame for the continued tensions between these two peoples rests squarely on the shoulders of Israel. His use of the word apartheid in the title says it all. Carter makes it abundantly clear that his accusations of racism and systematic oppression of the Palestinians is tantamount to the South African version of apartheid, which has been universally condemned.

According to Carter, “‘The book is about Palestine and what is happening to Palestinian people. Which is a terrible affliction and oppression of these people. There is no doubt that in Palestine, the people are treated with, in many cases, much more harsh treatment than existed in South Africa, even in the apartheid years.”

Carter fails miserably in presenting his argument because his book is riddled with gross historic inaccuracies, colossal factual errors, glaring omissions and a plethora of distorted statements. This book also lacks any footnotes or scholarly references and the miniscule amount of research done does not buttress his claims. The publication of this book was followed by the resignation of Professor Kenneth Stein of Emory University and the Carter Center.Professor Stein had a long-standing association with the Carter Center in his capacity as an expert in Middle East politics and history. Professor Stein was in fact the first director of the Carter Center (1983-1986). Professor Stein is apparently terminating his association with the Carter Center, solely as a result of Carter’s new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. The reaction of Professor Stein — a formerly close associate and collaborator of Carter — to Carter’s new book is as follows:

“President Carter’s book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade.

Falsehoods, if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for policy-making. The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths; more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins.”

Carter devotes many chapters of this book to lambasting Israel for constructing the security wall dividing the Palestinian population from the Israeli population. He mentions nothing about Israel’s right to defend herself against Palestinian suicide bombers, nor does he mention the clear and present danger of a Hamas government. Carter displays no understanding or sympathy for Israelis whose lives have been snuffed out by Palestinian terrorists and even justifies such actions as a result of Israeli tyranny.

As Carter takes us down his own personal memory lane, he speaks of his thorny relationship with former Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin. He blames Begin’s “instransigence” for his failed peace making attempts at Camp David and insists that Palestinian claims of land ownership are indeed factual. It is clear that Carter is a man who is seething with anger that his political career came to a demise when he was not re-elected. Rather than taking personal responsibility as a failed leader during the Iranian hostage crisis, her turns to Begin, making him the scapegoat for his shortcomings. It is clear that Carter couldn’t manipulate Begin nor coerce him to make even greater territorial compromises, so he concludes that it was Begin who was at total fault for not guaranteeing him his place in history as the “great peacemaker” in the Middle East Carter obviously feels threatened by the “pro-Jewish” lobby in the United States which he claims stifles any debate on the Middle East. He strongly asserts that a countervailing political force is necessary for assuring long lasting peace. It is noteworthy to mention that Simon and Schuster, Carter’s publishers, delayed releasing the book until after the mid-term elections that saw an upsurge in the Democratic party at the polls. Surely, releasing this book prior to that, might have jeopardized the Democratic candidates chances for a victory. He aims his diatribes against the Jewish lobby to Christian evangelicals, whose support of Israel has been unwavering. He implores them to reconsider and re-think their position on Israel and points out the secular nature of the Israeli government and its lack of religious committment. He mentions nothing of the religious devotion and committment of the Jewish settler movement as well as other Orthodox religious organizations. He also chides President Bush for not forging ahead with his “Roadmap To Peace” and for his support for Israel.

Carter’s book can be summed up as an ill conceived and egregious attack on Israel and the Jewish people. It is a shoddy attempt to present his own biased and anti-Semitic views in the form of an intellectual treatise. This book couldn’t be farther from anything pretending to be intellectual in nature. The Arab propogandists of the world must be thrilled. After all, an ex-president of the USA touting their line is something money can’t buy.


Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Saddam: Defiant to the very end By: Michael Mickey

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Saddam Hussein, whose wicked hands cost many people their lives, literally thousands in fact, is now dead, having been executed last night. As horrific as his death by hanging is to imagine, it was nothing compared to where he finds himself today. Presently, Saddam is in hell where he is awaiting his resurrection to be judged by Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment.

In the days leading up to Saddam’s execution and even last night, in total agreement with author Joel Rosenberg who said we, as Christians, should pray for the salvation of Saddam Hussein, I hoped and prayed to hear that he’d come to faith in Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t to be.

Having been an evil man his entire life as far as I know, an Associated Press report states the following of Saddam’s execution (in part, emphasis added mine):

Saddam Hussein struggled briefly after American military guards handed him over to Iraqi executioners. But as his final moments approached, he grew calm. He clutched a Quran as he was led to the gallows, and in one final moment of defiance, refused to have a hood pulled over his head before facing the same fate he was accused of inflicting on countless thousands during a quarter-century of ruthless power.

Sami al-Askari, the political adviser of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told The Associated Press that Saddam initially resisted when he was taken by Iraqi guards but was composed in his final moments.

He said Saddam was clad in a black suit, hat and shoes, rather than prison garb. His hat was removed shortly before the noose was slipped around his neck.

Shortly before the execution, Saddam was asked if he wanted to say something.

“No I don’t want to,” al-Askari, who was present at the execution, quoted Saddam as saying. Saddam repeated a prayer after a Sunni Muslim cleric who was present.

“Saddam later was taken to the gallows and refused to have his head covered with a hood,” al-Askari said. “Before the rope was put around his neck, Saddam shouted: ‘God is great. The nation will be victorious and Palestine is Arab.’”

Rather than repent of his nearly immeasurable sins, Saddam chose instead to go out of the world with the Quran in his hand, cursing the nation of Israel’s existence in outright defiance of Almighty God.

Isaiah 14:4-6, 9-11 comes to mind as appropriate in this instance:

4. That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

5. The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

6. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.


9. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

10. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

11. Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

Last night hell rose up to meet the mighty Saddam Hussein at his coming - the one who blasphemed God and wished until his dying breath to see the lands that God gave His chosen people handed over to those determined to destroy Israel. It didn’t have to be that way.

Saddam could’ve chosen to bless Israel as God commanded, but he didn’t. He chose to curse Israel throughout his life, even with his final words spoken.

Genesis 12:3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Game over, Saddam

Saddam Executed

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

After three years in prison, Saddam Hussein has finally been put to death.

Saddam Hussein, the ex-Iraqi dictator who probably supported al-Qaida during its preparations for the 9/11 attack on the U.S. and then abandoned Baghdad in front of advancing American military forces to retreat to an underground bunker, has been executed for ordering the deaths of his own countrymen.

Al Arabiya TV reported Hussein was hanged shortly before 10 p.m. Eastern. along with his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former judge Awad al-Bander.

He had been sentenced to hang by the new democratic judiciary in the nation he once ruled with not only threats but actual executions and exterminations. Iraqis also had told how he once ordered the use of poison gas on Kurds, killing an untold number.

He had been in custody since he was found hiding in a pit near Tikrit in 2003, eight months after his government disintegrated and fled Baghdad, and American soldiers had been posted as guards over him so there would be no breach of security.

Original Link

Saddam in his Final Hours

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Sounds like they are going to hang Saddam sometime in the next several hours. Guess we’ll have to see.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein’s date with death appears to be just hours away. The former president of Iraq will be hanged “within a matter of hours,” a Bush administration official told FOX News on Friday.

“The final meetings have taken places,” the official said, adding in Iraqis have requested Sddam be turned over to them. “The process is now in the final stage.”

Earlier, the Associated Press reported via a top Iraqi official that Saddam would be hanged before 10 p.m. ET Friday night (6 a.m. Saturday in Baghdad).

The official witnesses to the impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, and state television broadcast footage of his regime’s atrocities.

Saddam’s chief lawyer said the U.S. had turned over custody of the mass murderer to Iraqi officials, one of the last steps necessary before the execution. An Iraqi parliamentarian, Methal Al Aloser, backed up the lawyer’s claims. Al Aloser said not only had Saddam been handed over, but all papers and documents were finalized and the execution will be soon.

But Bush administration sources, apprised of Al Aloser’s remarks, reaffirmed that Saddam Hussein remains in U.S. custody.

Original Link.

Christians Flee Iraq, Find Syria ‘Ruthless’

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Radical Islam (as if there is any other type) continues to be deadly to anyone not willing to appease them. Continue to pray for Christians who are persecuted throughout the world.

Christians may be fleeing war-torn Iraq and the fighting Islamic factions there to Syria, but that nation also holds “ruthless” positions against Christianity which range from life in prison for talking about your beliefs to death for a Muslim who converts, according to a ministries working there.

“It’s better than Iraq, but it’s no bed of roses there for sure,” Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, told WND. “The Christians (there) are stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

While Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Middle East nations are well-known for persecuting Christians, Syria’s actions are of a lower profile. But it is listed among those nations around the world that persecute Christians by everyone from Jacobson’s organization to the U.S. government.

In Syria, the constitution requires the president to be a Muslim and specifies that Islamic jurisprudence is a principal source of legislation. And sharing your Christian faith with someone – anyone – is discouraged as “posing a threat to the relations among religious groups” and carries a penalty of up to life in prison, he said.

“For Christians, one of the core tenets is the ability to share your faith, but in Syria that can lead to arrest (and) persecution,” Jacobson said. “We list Syria as one of the top … countries where Christians are facing real persecution.”

“Syria isn’t Saudi Arabia, but it’s one of the big untold stories out there,” he said. For those who want to convert from Islam to Christianity, “you’re disowned by your family, if the local mosque issues a death threat, no one is going to do anything about it, you’ll just end up dead. Nothing is done, no police action, that’s just understood.

“If you convert you’d better leave the country,” he said.

For those who already are Christian, the government allows them to practice their religion – but within harsh and restrictive guidelines. A Christian is not allowed to proselytize – ever. And churches who want to hold an extra service must get a government permit. Sermons are routinely monitored, as is church fundraising.

He said the issue for Iraqi Christians is the choice of being dead soon in Iraq, or taking your chance in Syria and so they are flooding into Syria. An Iraqi population of Christians estimated at 1.2 million before the war now is holding around 500,000, he said, with a good many traveling to Syria.

The status of Christianity in Syria reached the headlines recently as Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” visited there and was quoted by Syrian media describing it as a “moderate” nation.

Warren also said in a video that was posted briefly on the Internet that Syria is a “moderate” nation, although the video was pulled when he was asked about the comment.

According to SANA, the Syrian government news service, Warren said “many Americans don’t realize that both Christianity and Judaism are legal in Syria. In addition, the government provides free electricity and water to all churches; allows pastors to purchase a car tax-free (a tax break not given to Muslim imams); appoints pastors as Christian judges to handle Christian cases; and allows Christians to create their own civil law instead of having to follow Muslim law.”

Others, however, noted that his praise for Syria wasn’t proper.

“It’s a tragic, tragic, tragic situation. We’re very concerned about the future of Christians in the region. When people are choosing to go to Syria, which certainly is no friend of Christians at all, it’s a pretty bad situation,” said Jacobson

He said one project his organization has been developing is to encourage the United States and other nations to be willing to accept as refugees many of those fleeing Iraq, Syria and other Mideast nations.

“If you’re going to a place like Syria, it’s really because you’ve got no place to go,” he said.

He said the government in Syria uses a lot of “window dressing” such as formal recognitions of Easter and Christmas and the like, to give the impression of an open and tolerant atmosphere.

However, that’s common from a lot of the “brutal regimes” whose agendas include the destruction of Christians. For example, North Korea offers tours of “Christian” churches operating within its borders.

“The treatment on the ground is far different,” Jacobson said. “If you’re a Christian, you don’t talk about it. If you try to share your faith, distribute Christian literature, distribute a Bible – something any religion should be allowed to do – you’re going to get arrested and asked to leave the country. You can’t do that there.”

Original Link.

Saddam to be Hanged by Sunday

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Goodbye and hope you are prepared to meet God.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for his role in 148 killings in 1982, will have his sentence carried out by Sunday, NBC News reported Thursday. According to a U.S. military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins this Sunday.

The hanging could take place as early as Friday, NBC’s Richard Engel reported.

The U.S. military received a formal request from the Iraqi government to transfer Saddam to Iraqi authorities, NBC reported on Thursday, which is one of the final steps required before his execution. His sentence, handed down last month, ordered that he be hanged within 30 days.

Original Link.

AP: “Israel Threatens to Renew Attacks”

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Where, but in the mainstream media, can a country deciding to respond to continued attacks against it, be labeled as “derailing the truce” As usual, the “truce” is one sided, with the slimy pali terrorist continuing to break it on a daily basis, while Israel is expected to sit on her hands and allow her innocent civilians to be killed.

JERUSALEM - After weeks of restraint, Israel said Wednesday that it will renew attacks on rocket-launching militants in the Gaza Strip, threatening to derail an already shaky, month-old truce.

A new round of fighting in Gaza could undermine Israel’s efforts to bolster the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in his standoff with the Islamic militants of Hamas who control the Palestinian government and legislature.

The Israeli decision, made at a meeting of top officials, came hours after a Palestinian rocket seriously wounded two Israeli teenage boys in the southern town of Sderot, next to Gaza.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said Israeli retaliation would be limited to “pinpoint” operations meant to foil rocket launches. “At the same time, Israel will continue to abide by the cease-fire,” the statement said.

The truce was reached Nov. 26, ending five months of deadly fighting in Gaza. But since the cease-fire declaration, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Israel, the army said.

Israel has so far refrained from responding, but Olmert had warned in recent days his patience was wearing thin. The wounding of the two boys late Tuesday increased pressure on Olmert from political opponents and members of his Cabinet to take action.

Hamas government spokeswoman Ghazi Hamad denounced the Israeli decision to “continue their aggression against our people,” but added: “We still believe that this agreement is alive, and both sides should respect this agreement because it is (in) the interest (of) our people.”

Hamad’s comments were directed not only at Israel, but also at the rival militant group Islamic Jihad, which has been responsible for most of the rocket fire. After the Israeli threat of retaliation, Islamic Jihad fired another rocket. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

The fate of the truce appeared to lie in the hands of Islamic Jihad, a tiny Iranian-backed group that wants to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state. Over the past two years, Islamic Jihad has repeatedly sabotaged efforts to halt violence, firing rockets and carrying out a string of suicide bombings.

Islamic Jihad officials said the rocket fire was meant to avenge Israeli arrest raids in the West Bank, which is not covered by the truce. The group also believes that igniting conflict with Israel will help unite Palestinians after a bitter round of infighting that has killed 17 people this month.

“That’s one of the main reasons for resuming attacks,” said Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for the group.

The infighting has pitted Hamas, which also rejects Israel’s existence, against Abbas’ more moderate
Fatah. Hamas, which won legislative elections early this year, controls most government functions. Abbas, who was elected in a separate presidential vote, hopes to restart peace talks with Israel.

Israel’s threats of retaliation could harm its recent efforts to bolster Abbas in his standoff with Hamas. After meeting the Palestinian leader last weekend, Olmert agreed to release $100 million in frozen Palestinian tax money and to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank as goodwill gestures.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said limited military strikes in Gaza should not lead to widespread conflict.

“As long as operations are prudent and pinpointed, there is no reason for things to deteriorate,” Livni said at a news conference with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Aboul Gheit, in Jerusalem to prepare for a Jan. 4 summit between Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, urged Israel to show restraint. “We need to continue with the peace process because that is the way to progress,” he said.

In Egypt, Abbas said he had proposed opening secret “backdoor” peace negotiations with Israel.

“It is the right time to talk about this issue seriously,” Abbas told reporters after he talked with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Abbas said he raised the issue with Olmert last weekend, and the Israeli leader promised to consider it.

There was no immediate Israeli reaction.

The endangered truce in Gaza ended five months of fighting that erupted after Hamas-linked gunmen tunneled into Israel, killed two soldiers and captured a third. Egypt, which frequently mediates between Israel and the Palestinians, has been trying to negotiate the release of the soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Aboul Gheit said that “we are sure that he is still alive.”

Shalit has not been seen or heard from since he was captured, though Israeli officials have said they believe the soldier is alive.

“What he said is nothing new,” Noam Shalit, the soldier’s father, told The Associated Press. “I hope there is more behind it … I wish we could know more.”

Original Link.

Muslim Sensitivity Training For Airport Employees?

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

About 45,000 airport employees will be required to take a course in Muslim sensitivity. Muslim sensitivity? If I recall correctly, it was Muslims who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center in the name of their god. I think Muslim sensitivity should be the last thing concerning our government. How about the fact that Muslims are taught to hate and kill anyone who doesnt bow to their god. Let’s stop catering to the Muslims and learn what their religion is REALLY about.

The Transportation Security Administration – created after 9/11 to safeguard America’s airports – is providing Islamic sensitivity training to 45,000 airport security officers so they’ll know what to expect when Muslims fly from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia to participate in the annual “hajj,” or pilgrimage to Mecca.

“We put out information telling everyone that hajj is coming; this is the time frame; individuals are going to be traveling with these types of items,” TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser told the State Department’s USINFO Web site Tuesday. Calling it “cultural sensitivity training,” Kayser added that airport security officials need “just to be aware that they may also be praying.”

Ironically, just last month six Muslim imams were ejected by federal authorities from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis because they were deemed a potential security threat. Among the various behaviors that unnerved fellow passengers was the group’s prayers in the airport prior to their flight.

Welcoming TSA’s Islamic sensitivity training is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which describes itself as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” In a press release praising the program yesterday, CAIR noted that it distributes a pocket guide titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim.”

“As an airline passenger,” the CAIR guide states, “you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory.”

Original Link

Hillary Hires Evangelical Advisor

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

At long last, Hillary Clinton has decided that there is some benefit to embracing “religion”. Too bad it is just another way to further her career. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the Dems only call on God when they need to win an election?

An “evangelical consultant” has been hired by Hillary Clinton to help attract Christian conservatives in her likely 2008 presidential campaign.

More than one-quarter of U.S. voters identify themselves as evangelical – a group that has long been courted by Republicans. In addition, a similar political operative has successfully aided Democratic candidates in several states in the midterm elections.

Clinton’s new hire, Burns Strider, is an evangelical Christian who directs religious outreach for House Democrats and the lead staffer for the Democrats’ Faith Working Group, headed by incoming Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the group last year when Democratic strategists observed that the party lost ground in the previous election in part because candidates failed to reach centrist and conservative voters in rural areas, who tend to be churchgoers concerned with moral issues, according to the Washington, D.C.-based publication The Hill.

Strider was an aide to Pelosi when the group was formed and joined Clyburn’s staff as policy director of the Democratic Caucus earlier this year, the paper reported.

“Observers of Clinton’s expressions of faith say religion has always been important to her, that she attended prayer group meetings while first lady, and that she joined a Senate prayer group shortly after winning election in 2000,” The Hill reported.

“Reporters anticipating Clinton’s ’08 presidential run wrongly discount her expressions of faith as cynical political maneuvering,” the observers added.

Original Link

“More Frightening Than Nuclear Weapons” by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

In my last column, I mentioned that even as there is a law of gravity in nature, there is a law of Jewish gravity that guarantees our survival - and that is our Torah the covenant that we sealed at Sinai. If that covenant is abrogated, we place ourselves at risk, but if it is upheld, there is no power on earth that can prevail against us.

Our ancestors in ancient Persia, which is today’s Iran, understood this well, and when Ahmadinejad of yore - Haman, threatened to annihilate them, they invoked two powerful little words that have the capacity to deflect all weapons, no matter how lethal.- “Keymu V’Keeblu - “We shall fulfill and accept”. Yes, it is as simple as that. By reaccepting the Torah and recommitting to the Covenant, we can overturn the evil and vanquish all our foes.

Bearing all this in mind, our course is mapped out for us. It’s not Ahmadinejad and his ilk who pose the greatest threat, but our own neglect of Torah. And sadly, we have an added scourge to contend with – our enemies have adopted many of our values as their own and even though they perverted them, they nevertheless loyally cling to them - and that is a painful indictment of us.

A few weeks ago, my daughter Chaya Sora related a story to me that illustrates this point and should give us all pause. Her friend’s husband does a great deal of business with Pakistan and visits there frequently, flying first class on Air Pakistan on which Islamic law is faithfully adhered to. The amenities distributed to the passengers are not the usual toiletries, but prayer rugs. As the plane prepares to take off, the flight attendant doesn’t go through the usual ritual of explaining safety regulations - fastening seat belts, etc. Rather, the passengers are asked to direct their attention to the screen on which an Imam (Moslem clergyman) appears and exhorts everyone to pray for a safe journey and repeat after him the words of Mohamed from the Koran – and everyone raises his voice in fervent prayer.

But the story doesn’t end there. This man has a factory in Pakistan in which male and female workers are separated by a mechitza…and more…. This businessman likes to relax by jogging. Now the heat in Pakistan is intense - as early as 6:00 am, the temperature can hit the high 90`s, so the man went jogging in shorts and was almost killed! No one in Pakistan, neither male nor female dares to appear in public in shorts.

Why am I relating all this? Because, as I said, the story should give us all pause. We are the nation that created the language of prayer. We are the nation that is the architect of faith and trust in

G-d; we are the nation who, throughout the centuries has sacrificed for the laws of tzniut - modesty and morality - but where do we stand today? I invite you to make that judgement call yourself. When G-d looks at us, what does He see? How well are we fulfilling His precepts?

Just consider what happened a few weeks ago with Shabbos and Kashrus violations on El Al.

Shabbos and Kashrus are not just traditions. They are the very fiber of our faith for which our ancestors sacrificed their very lives. Who would have believed that the first Jewish airline in history - El Al, would publically desecrate the Sabbath. El Al officials tried to justify their shameful act by pointing to the financial losses that the airline had incurred during a strike. What does such a rationale imply? Are those El Al officials telling us that the almighty dollar takes priority over the Almighty G-d? Was it for this that we returned to our homeland after almost two thousand years? How low have we sunk? What a chillul HaShem!

And the El Al story is just the tip of the iceberg. One can only shudder at how far we have distanced ourselves since those days at Sinai! And so, once again I ask, “How do we rate? Yes, how do we rate in prayer, in trust in G-d, in tzniut - modesty? The answer is all too painfully obvious. The time has come to put our house in order. And as long as we are in the “cleaning mode”, we must also place into cherem and divest ourselves of those so-called Jews who masquerade in Chassidic garb, kiss and hug Ahmadinejad and anyone whose agenda is to annihilate Israel and desecrate the memory of our Six Million holy martyrs. Such people have no place in Am Yisrael.

We are a nation that can be likened to passengers on a boat. Should one individual drill a hole under his seat, in vain would he protest that that is his right, and is no one’s business but his own - for once the hole is drilled, the water will gush in and the boat will sink. At Sinai, our nation stood “as one man with one heart” and in unison, we proclaimed, “Na’aseh V’Nishma” - we shall do and we shall hear,” rather than “I shall do and I shall hear.” At Sinai, “all of Israel became responsible for one another.” Therefore, all of us have a mandate to rectify the wrong and return wholeheartedly to our Divine Covenant.

On the Shabbos that the El Al chillul HaShem - desecration of G-d’s Name, took place, we read parshas Vayetze. On Sunday, I had occasion to speak to Rabbi Aaron Brafman, Menahel of the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway, who pointed out that in the first passage of the Haftorah of that parsha, are the words, El Al - “My people is unsure about returning to Me. It is summoned to ‘El Al’ the Most High One, but it does not rise in unity.”

“How do you understand this, Rebbetzin?” Rabbi Brafman challenged.

After giving some thought to those prophetic words. it occurred to me that Hashem has granted us so many opportunities to see His protective guiding hand, but we have become blinded by our materialism, in our belief in “Kochi V’otzem Yodee” that “my might and my strength did all this”, that we no longer hear G-d’s summons and all His loving miracles are lost upon us. We live in a world in which all airlines have become targets of terrorist attacks. El Al however, enjoys the reputation of being the safest and the most secure. Are we to imagine for even a moment that this security is due to “our own cunning, our own might and strength”? Are we to imagine that Israel’s stunning survival in a sea of hostile Arabs who are ready to devour her is due to her military might? Alas, ours is a generation that has fallen into the trap of “My strength and my might have done all this/” So, despite all the miracles and G-d’s protective care, we fail to hear His call. We are unsure about returning to the Most High One. Yes, individuals have embarked upon the road of tshuva, but we have yet to arise as a nation in unity.

The words of the Haftorah speak to us anew, but we continue to grope in darkness and seek our salvation through political compromise, through negotiation, through placing our trust in our own might and in the empty vain promises of the nations of the world. . The time has come to put our house in order and respond to the summons of the Most High One - El Al.


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was born in Hungary. She came to the United States after surviving the Nazi’s Bergen Belsen concentration camp. Determined to devote her life to fighting the spiritual holocaust among Jews in the U.S. and around the world, the Rebbetzin founded Hineni. She writes a weekly column for the Jewish Press, the largest Anglo-Jewish paper in the world, teaches Torah on TV and over the Internet, and has authored two best selling books, “Jewish Soul of Fire” and “The Committed Life.” The Rebbetzin lectures across the globe, has been featured in numerous publications, and has been given formal recognition for her accomplishments by major religious and civic organizations in the U.S. and Israel.

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