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Posts on the topic of "Jewish History"

Yitzhak Shamir, of Blessed Memory

Jul 2, 2012 at 06:40:00 AM

Back what seems like a lifetime ago, I was making the transition from working in the field of entertainment to working for Jewish causes. The first job I got was as an American liaison for Yitzhak Shamir during his tenure as Israeli Prime Minister (the two of us, pictured here).

Shamir had moved to Israel in 1935, leaving behind his family who were all murdered in the Holocaust. His father had succeeded in escaping from a German death train, only to return to his Polish village where he was promptly beaten to death by childhood friends.

These events greatly informed Shamir's political views, and in the 1940s he became a leader of the Stern Gang whose goal was to drive the British colonialists out of Israel, thus paving the way for Jewish independence.

Yet while Shamir was a firm ideologue, his greatness lay in his ability to be a pragmatist at the same time. Though he was committed to Jewish settlement throughout the Land of Israel, he attended the 1991 Madrid Conference becoming the first Israeli Prime Minister to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians.

On one hand, Shamir was very forthright in Israel's right to defend itself, while on the other hand during the 1991 Gulf War he took the difficult strategic measure of not striking back when Saddam Hussein was hurling scud missiles onto Tel Aviv.

It is these two sides – tough yet compromising – that enabled him to serve so ably.

When he first came to Israel, he changed his family name to Shamir, which is, according to Talmudic lore (Gittin 68b), the name of a worm which can cut through stone. It was used to produce the blocks of the Holy Temple, since metal cutting implements were not appropriate in a place devoted to peace.

To me this sums up Yitzhak Shamir: Firmly devoted to peace, yet stronger than iron and not afraid to use it when necessary.

Yitzhak Shamir has died at age 96, and is being buried today in Jerusalem. He was not a politician who sought glory, fame or riches; he served with modesty and unswerving devotion. May his memory be for a blessing.

Visitor Comments: 8

(7) Anonymous, July 4, 2012 7:17 AM

In memory .....

Israel was indeed fortunate to have had a leader of his wisdom and character, displaying the right qualities at the right times. May his memory continue to be an inspiration to all those who follow in positions of influence in our beloved land.

(6) matania ginosar, July 4, 2012 6:36 AM

Please read my own brief memories of my Lechi-Stern Gang- leader Itzhak Shamir at: http://www.zionismontheweb.org/blogs/index.php?blog=12

(5) theresa, July 4, 2012 4:11 AM

G-d bless you, R Shraga

yes, a beautiful eulogy. while a couple of jewish bloggers have been criticising him, its very heartwarming to read this. what Hashem expects of every jew, loving one another. some jews fought physical wars, some jews fought spiritual wars, while other jews studied torah and prayed for israel. each is equally important in its own way. thank you rabbi shraga. may many read this article and give due respect to the dead.

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stub

“Muslim” Moses

Apr 3, 2012 at 01:43:06 PM

As Jews around the world prepare for Passover ― the celebration of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt ― Palestinians are working overtime to rewrite history by presenting Moses as "the great Muslim leader who liberated Palestine."

On Palestinian Authority television, Dr. Omar Ja'ara, a lecturer at Al-Najah University in Nablus, declared:

"We must make clear to the world that David in the Hebrew Bible is not connected to David in the Koran, Solomon in the Hebrew Bible is not connected to Solomon in the Koran… and unfortunately, many researchers deny the Exodus of those oppressed people who were liberated by a great leader, like Moses the Muslim, the believing leader, the great Muslim, who was succeeded by Saul, the leader of these Muslims in liberating Palestine. This was the first Palestinian liberation through armed struggle to liberate Palestine…"

This outrage is the latest Palestinian effort to dismiss Jewish nationhood, a corollary to the repeated denial of any Jewish connection to the Holy Land. "The claims of historic and religious ties between Jews and Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history," reads the Palestinian National Charter (Article 18).

When archaeologists in Jerusalem discovered a small golden bell, possibly from a tunic worn by a high priest during the Second Temple period, Palestinian officials angrily said this "underlines the efforts of the occupation and the extremist Jewish groups to falsify history and plant Jewish history forged in the region." And following the release of an iPhone app that sends prayers to the Western Wall, Palestinians immediately went into protest mode, insisted that "the Wailing Wall is an integral part of the al-Aqsa Mosque, and it is exclusively Islamic… and non-Muslims have no right to it, even to the dust of the Wailing Wall." (Palestine News Network, January 4, 2011)

This deceit goes straight to the top: In the words of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Jewish people "claim that 2,000 years ago they had a Temple. I challenge the claim that this is so." (Kul Al-Arab, August 25, 2000) The Palestinian ambassador to Washington, Maen Rashid Areikat, claimed that historically the Jewish presence in Israel "never was in Jerusalem, it never was on the coast, it never was in Hebron."

As detailed in my book, David & Goliath, it's all part of an ongoing deligitimization campaign ― aided by a willing media. Le Monde, the French newspaper of record, quoted PA cabinet minister Yasser Abed Rabbo: "Looking at the situation from an archaeological standpoint, I am sure there is no temple."

Even canonized Jewish writings, accepted for millennia by billions of people worldwide, are targeted for revision. Speaking on Palestinian TV, researcher Dr. Hayel Sanduqa claimed that the well-known verse from Psalm 137, "If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem," is not a Jewish source at all, but rather words uttered by a Christian Crusader, now "falsified in the name of Zionism." And when the iconic 1970s disco group Boney M played a concert in Ramallah, Palestinian organizers demanded that the band not perform one of its biggest hits, "Rivers of Babylon." Why? Because the song's chorus quotes from the Book of Psalms which ― in a brazen act of Zionist propaganda! ― refers to the Jewish yearning for the land of Israel.

Follow the steps: First, Palestinians claim that Moses was a Muslim leader and that Jews never lived in Israel. Then before you know it, standard media references to the Jewish Temple ― accepted as historical fact by every legitimate archaeologist and scholar ― is deemed debatable. London's Daily Telegraph referred to "the Temple Mount, where the two Jewish temples of antiquity are believed to have been built," and Time magazine identified the "Dome of the Rock, where Jews believe Solomon and Herod built the First and Second Temples." Not an indisputable fact of history; just something that "Jews believe."

Beyond the problem of factual inaccuracy, these media manipulations can actually impede the peace process. Invariably, the starting point in any negotiation is whatever is defined in common terms as "normative." With these outrageous pro-Palestinian views reinforced in the media, Palestinians sense the momentum predisposed in their favor, and harbor the illusion of bringing these demands to the negotiating table. Inevitably, Palestinians get a rude awakening every time that Israel ― secure in their 4,000-year history and connection to the land ― refuses to allow these skewed perceptions to dictate terms of an agreement.

Looking at the bright side, this is surely a good conversation starter for this year's Passover Seder.

Visitor Comments: 8

(8) Chanah, June 10, 2012 10:26 AM

Unbelievable!!

Lets see...137 CE..Rome renamed Israel "Palestine" (from Israel ancient enemies the Philistines)..less than 2000 years, .and Moshe got the Torah when? about 3500 years ago...Someone cannot do math.!!! I thought people were smarter than that!! My goodness, when hate is stronger than simple reasonning, we truly are in trouble!! Not only the Pals, but all members of the media should be taken classes in ancient history, and yes, in math as well. My only consolation is that G-d doesn't forget one thing!! He remembers EVERYTHING, included the day He choose Jerusalem as His earthly city, and the Temple as His dweeling place on earth. These folks are in for a rude awakening, soon I pray, Hashem will send Moshiach, to undo these awful lies, and to save your people with the truth....2 magnificent Temples, built in 2 different periods, Moshe was a Hebrew man raised by an Egyptian princess....not a Pal!! and not a Muslim, Islam wasn't invented before 680 CEor so....You guys have no shame, to spread such blatant lies.

(7) edgar, April 23, 2012 4:41 AM

In my humble point of view, the history again is repeatÑ The Goliath= Almost nations vrs. David = Israel and littles friends! But the Bible will prevaleced and this liers was exposed by the true of God. The Media is great giant and Israel not is Alone!

(6) Anonymous, April 13, 2012 2:51 PM

JOKE OF THE CENTURY

Surely this must be some kind of April fool's gimmick!!

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stub

Counting the Generations

Feb 25, 2012 at 01:43:26 PM

Here's an interesting tidbit that caught my attention: two grandchildren of John Tyler ― America's 10th president who was born in 1790 ― are still alive.

How is this possible? Here's the math:

At age 63, John Tyler fathered Lyon Gardiner Tyler. Then, in his 70s, Lyon Gardiner Tyler fathered the two sons who are still alive today - now both in their 80s, living in Virginia and Tennessee.

This got me thinking about the Jewish historical chain. We often regard the seminal Jewish event ― the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago ― as impossibly far in the distant past.

But if we consider that the average "generational span" - from parent to child - is 35 years, the number of generations from us back to Moses is less than a hundred. That's pretty amazing, and makes the whole idea of an unbroken chain of transmission much more fathomable.

Bonus info for U.S. history buffs: John Tyler was William Henry Harrison's vice president ("Tippecanoe and Tyler too"), and took office a month into the term when Harrison caught pneumonia and died. Tyler's main presidential achievement is pushing through the annexation of Texas. But his political career ended ignobly; he later joined the South's secession efforts and was even elected to the Confederate House of Representatives. Because of his Confederate ties, Tyler's is the only presidential death not officially mourned.

Visitor Comments: 5

(3) Esp20, March 15, 2012 4:36 PM

John Tyler was a president of the United States that yielded good fruit and works in behalf of his country. He should be celebrated for his positive contributions toward this nation, just like all the other presidents before him and after.

(2) Ilan, February 29, 2012 4:07 PM

Well...

All I know for sure about someone who traces his genealogy back to Moses is that he's not descended from Moses. Not a dig at Doron, who's a good guy, but not of the Moses family.

(1) Jack, February 26, 2012 8:31 AM

Cool!

The chain of tradition is not only fathomable but absolutely true. In his book "Why Be Jewish" Rabbin Doron Kornbluth traces his tradition person by person back to Moses (about 130 generations).

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