He seems to have developed a unique approach to fighting Islam. That is, if you can’t beat them, join them. A few days ago I discovered the American way. True, I grew up in the states, (a long time ago), and knew and heard about the great American dream. But the authentic ‘American Way’ crossed my path only earlier this week. A friend of mine gave me a short article published in a New York newspaper, headlined, “Mosque Going Up in NYC Building Damaged on 9/11.” It didn’t take too long to discover that this building adjacent to the Twin Towers, was making news, big time. The thirteen story mosque, a $100 million dollar project, is being called the Cordoba initiative.
Before continuing, it should be made very clear the exact significance of this name. Do you remember Cordoba? Here in Hebron we also have a Cordoba, - the Cordoba Girls School, across from Beit Hadassah (teaching sweet little innocents how to win a place in the next world by killing Jews). What is the connection between the Cordoba initiative in New York and the Cordoba girl’s school in Hebron, you ask!? Very simple.
Cordoba was, for about 500 years, the capital of Islamic Spain. According to Wikipedia, “in the Middle Ages it was a capital of an Islamic caliphate and one of the largest cities in the world.”
What is the best way to keep such memories alive? Of course, to name important places after them. Why keep the memory alive. Because Islam believes that this city, Cordoba, still belongs to them.
Following the attack on Spanish trains in 1994 in Madrid, an Al-Qaeda associate, Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, who took ‘credit’ for the bombings, wrote, “"This is part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader...” [http://goo.gl/SOBg]. In other words, there are still Islamic groups who blame Spain for the fall of Cordoba and the Caliphate hundreds of years ago.
As a result, mosques and schools are named, not only in memory of Cordoba, but as a means to maintain that memory in expectation of future conquest. And now New York will have the great honor, adjacent to the site of the most horrific crime in the United States, to conserve the name of those who perpetrated it.
This has, of course, stirred great debate in the land of the free. But now, let’s jump one step further, to mosque number two.
That’s right. A second mosque is being planned in the same vicinity.
“FOX News has learned that an effort to place a second mosque close to the hallowed site in New York City is in its advanced stages. The Masjid Mosque has raised $8.5 million and is seeking an additional $2.5 million to begin construction. While it apparently has not settled on a final location, it has told donors it plans to build very close to where 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 terror attacks. In fact, the website appealing for donations boldly states that it plans to “build the 'House of Allah' next to the World Trade Center. Help us raise the flag of 'LA ILLAH ILLA ALLAH' in downtown Manhattan." [http://goo.gl/qrq0].
All in the name of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to kill anyone and everyone who doesn’t think like you.
But New Yorkers shouldn’t feel bad. Jerusalem too, the holiest city in the world, is also being maligned. Not only by extremist Islam, but from the highest echelons of America the Beautiful.
Following 9/11, President George W Bush initiated the Homeland Security act and added Homeland Security to his cabinet. This organization’s job is to protect the United States from terror such as struck nine years ago, and has almost struck again, numerous times.
Of course, there are many ways to an end, to prevent such atrocities. Bush had his ways. America, 2010 has changed.
Today’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security is a wonderful fellow named John O. Brennan. Johnny grew up in my old haunting grounds, in New Jersey. He seems overly suitable for his position, having dealt with counterterrorism for many years. However, be it his own initiative, or that of his boss, Brennan seems to have developed a unique approach to fighting Islam. That is, if you can’t beat them, join them.
In a youtube video [http://goo.gl/FjRl ], Johnny-Boy says, and I quote, (at 1:00) “and in all my travels, the city I have come to love most is al-kuds, Jerusalem.”
Yes I have to admit, he does mention Jerusalem, after al-kuds. What is al-kuds? That’s what Arabs call Jerusalem - ‘the holy.’ In the words and thoughts of a senior presidential advisor, one of the top anti-terror officials in ‘Oh Say can you See,’ Jerusalem is, first and foremost, al-kuds.
Our Arab, Islamic neighbors have names for all Jewish places. It makes no difference that Jerusalem was Jerusalem thousands of years prior to the advent of Islam. It is, according to JohnO al-kuds. A modern example: Tel Aviv, a hundred and fifty years ago still sand dunes, is called, on a map of palestine, Tell ar rabbee. And again, back in time, Hebron, al khalil. Just as Eretz Yisrael - Israel, is palestine.
I guess I shouldn’t feel bad. After all, Washington DC Imam Abdul Alim Musa wants to establish an "Islamic State of North America no later than 2050" http://goo.gl/lQTc.
With good guys like Brennan, and precedents such as NY city mosques next to the late twin towers, and presidents like Hussein Abu Bama, who knows?
I know. Abu Bama will be the caliph, and Washington DC the capital. But the city's name will be changed. It will no longer be called Washington DC, rather Al-KooKoo.
Yesterday I witnessed a unique event. Early in the afternoon, following a visit to Hebron by Communications minister Moshe Kachlon, Noam Arnon called and asked if I’d like to take a ride out to Eshel Avraham.
Simple question, right? Well, almost, but not quite. Eshel Avraham, a well known site in Hebron, has been off-limits to Jews for the past 13 years, since implementation of the Hebron accords, dividing our holy city into two sections, with about 80% controlled by the Arabs and off-limits to Jews. Every once in a while we have a chance to ‘take a look on the other side’ but not too often.
Actually we visited Eshel Avraham about a year ago. But never one to pass up an opportunity, I immediately jumped at the chance to participate.
What was the occasion, why now? The answer I can supply while describing the actual event, after our arrival there.
But first, what is Eshel Avraham. The site, really not too far from ‘the Jewish side of Hebron’ is home to a Russian Orthodox monastery. But it is famous for an extremely old tree, probably between 1,000 to 1,500 years old (at least), called Eshel Avraham. The Hebrew word ‘eshel’ means, in English, ‘Tamarisk’ – which is a kind of tree or bush. In reality the tree is not an ‘eshel’ rather it is an ‘alon’ which, in English, is an Oak tree. The reason for the mix-up is rooted in a faulty translation, but the site has been known as Eshel Avraham, and legend has it that the tree has existed since the days of our Forefather Abraham.
Unfortunately not too many years ago the tree dried up, but we still have photos of this magnificent tree while it was still alive.
In any case, we drove out there, together with about two dozen IDF officers, including the commander of the Hebron Brigade, Col. Udi. Next week the Colonel is concluding his two year stint in Hebron, and actually, this was his farewell to his officers. In his words, usually such farewells center around food. But he preferred to do something special, and decided to take a short trip to this site, which is usually not visited by Jews, at least not in the past thirteen years.
The main event was a fascinating explanation given by Noam, describing the history of the area, and its significance over the years. (The explanation will hopefully be posted on our web site (in Hebrew) in the next few days.)
Two things set me off. First, and most importantly, that a high-ranking officer in the IDF, a man who does not walk around with a kippa on his head and is not outwardly religious, decided to bestow, again, in his words, a ‘parting gift’ to his officers’ staff, not by celebrating with wine and whiskey, rather by taking them on an educational jaunt, to a site in Hebron. I must admit, I was very impressed. And also very happy, that after two years of serving in Hebron, he viewed a visit to a special site in Hebron as a ‘treat,’ as a way to celebrate, not only for himself, but for his entire staff. Very special.
I was also taken by the greeting we received by the local Arab caretaker, who’s been there for over 40 years. Noam, in the past, visited this place fairly frequently, and the caretaker knew him very well. When we arrived he was overtly happy, and when Noam stepped out of the car, the Arab man, really thrilled to see him, hugged him. And it wasn’t a show for the camera. He really was happy.
The visit was short – we were there less than an hour, but it was enjoyable, educational, and impressive, none the less.
An interesting prelude to Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day.
A couple of hours later I participated in another event, this time not in Hebron, rather at Bar Ilan University. Last night they awarded honorary doctorates to a long list of people, rewarded for years of service in different fields.
I was there, together with some of my friends and colleagues from Hebron, to honor one woman, who was among the awardees. Actually she was there by herself, but I think it’s fair to say that she represented not only herself, but also her husband, who was not able to attend.
Cherna and Dr. Irving Moskowitz deserve much more than an honorary PH.D. But I don’t know if there’s any reward in this world that can ever pay them their rightful due. Their philanthropy knows no bounds. According to the Bar Ilan web site, she received the award ‘for her unstinting support of educational and medical institutions, synagogues and social programs throughout the Jewish nation.’ At the ceremony , she was noted for contributing to a new university department dealing with nanotechnology.
Dr. Irving and Cherna, ’through the Moskowitz Foundation, have been an anchor in the resettlement of Eretz Yisrael, and most recently, with the creation of the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, are recognizing individuals whose contributions to Israel are exceptional. Many of these people, who should be recipients of the prestigious “Israel Prize” will never be so honored due to ‘political considerations.’ The Moskowitz’ have rectified this problem and are now awarding people whose efforts for the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael and Torah are outstanding.
The only problem is, that those people most deserving of the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism are none other than Cherna and Dr. Irving, themselves. But, as written above, there isn’t really any prize that can reward their contributions. I fully believe that these two righteous people will be remembered it the annuls of Jewish history as two others: they will surely be considered the modern day Montefiore, (Moshe Montefiore, whose philanthropy in Israel was second to none).
But I think that this is only the beginning. Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz must be acclaimed as the ‘Nachshon’ of this generation. Nachshon ben Aminadav, it will be remembered, was known to be the first person to jump into the Red Sea during the Jewish exodus from Egypt. Despite the inherent danger, without knowing how he could survive, his faith paramount, he did what had to be done. And as a result of his courage and faith, G-d split the sea and the Jews were saved. His actions have served as an example of faith and action for the past 3,300 years.
So too, the Moskowitz’, following in the footsteps of Nachshon, have tread where others dared not. Their heroism, and heroism is not an exaggeration, is a paradigm of faith and action, no less than that of any before them.
I would, therefore, award them, not the Moskowitz Prize, rather the Nachshon Prize for initiative, faith, courage and action, on behalf of the Jewish people, especially but not exclusively in Eretz Yisrael.
Happy Jerusalem Liberation Day and Happy Hebron Liberation Day!
The state of Israel has filed a damage suit against the Jewish community of Hebron for the sum of over 300,000 NIS (approximately $80,000) to cover the costs of explusion of Jewish families from Beit HaShalom a year and a half ago. (See also ynetnews article: http://goo.gl/P2cD)
Beit HaShalom was purchased a numnber of years ago by a family from New York for over one million dollars. (A video of the seller counting the money can be viewed on youtube: http://goo.gl/j0EU). Jewish families moved into the building and resided there for almost two years prior to being forcibly expelled by police and riot squad officers. The expulsion orders were issued by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. At the time of the expulsion members of Hebron’s leadership were involved in serious talks with high-ranking members of the defense ministry in an attempt to bring a peaceful end to the crisis. However, despite these negotiations, Barak decided to violently expel the building’s Jewish residents.
It should also be noted, despite media report to the contrary, that the Israeli Supreme Court did not order that the building be vacated. Rather, they upheld the defense ministry’s right to vacate the building, should they choose to. However the decision to expel the Jewish residents was taken by the Defense Minister, not by the Supreme Court.
Hebron’s reaction to this suit:
This claim constitutes a gross violation of the principle of equality before the law, which is one of the basic principles in a democratic country. As long as similar lawsuits are not filed against criminals such as thieves, robbers, traffic criminals etc., and as long as the state does not require all citizens to pay the cost of enforcing the law against them, it cannot take such a drastic step towards those who are fulfilling the right to protest, which is the is the very soul of democracy.Certainly such measures cannot be used against right-wing demonstrators only.
This suit is contrary to the decision of the Knesset Constitutional Law and Justice Committee, which made a unanimous decision (February 2004) that "with regard to payments for operations involving eviction, the government will utilize the same principles by which it operates in response to protest actions of every citizen or group of citizens protesting government policy. "
Moreover, the Court did not order the government to vacate Beit HaShalom, rather permitted it to do so. Over several weeks, the Defense Ministry carried out an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the residents together to explore various options following the ruling. Barak’s settlement advisor Eitan Broshi, and a representative from the attorney general's office, Attorney Ben-Ari, participated in these discussions. The expulsion was implemented during the negotiations, by means of deception, when, concurrent to the actual expulsion, working papers were exchanged between the parties dealing with compromise proposals.
In light of these circumstances, the state can only sue itself for the costs of this unnecessary expulsion!
Beware: It should be noted that the state's position is not limited only to Hebron. The government declares: "The State Attorney's Office intends to submit such claims wherever necessary. These claims, as well as others, promoted by the prosecution, are part of its strategy, whereby the state intends to use civilian tools for preservation of the rule of law and public expenditures."
In conclusion, this suit can only be defined as unfair, ugly, political, discriminatory and lopsided, which, in other words, perfectly describes the state’s conduct concerning Beit HaShalom all along.