Thursday, October 30, 2014


Michael Rubin raises an important point in the story of White House staffers insulting Prime Minister Netanyahu. He notes that an anonymous senior official is quoted as saying of Netanyahu:

...He's also a "coward" on the issue of Iran's nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. "It's too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger.

Here's the rub: back in 2010 and 2011, Netanyahu did not launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure and weapons laboratories in large part because the Obama administration had asked him repeatedly not to do so. So, first Obama makes a request of Netanyahu. Netanyahu acquiesces against his better judgment because Obama and his emissaries swear that the United States will never let Iran get nuclear weapons. Then, Obama seeks to strike a deal that effective reneges on that promise and has the audacity to have his senior aides ridicule Netanyahu for being a good ally and listening to Obama in the first place.
In addition, the quote from the unnamed official implies that it's too late for a military strike to stop the Iranian nuclear program.  If that is so, it makes other news this week all the more ominous.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. and Iran are currently in a state of "detente," according to senior U.S. and Arab officials:

...[R]ecent months have ushered in a change as the two countries have grown into alignment on a spectrum of causes, chief among them promoting peaceful political transitions in Baghdad and Kabul and pursuing military operations against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to these officials.
The Obama administration also has markedly softened its confrontational stance toward Iran's most important nonstate allies, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese militant and political organization, Hezbollah. American diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry , negotiated with Hamas leaders through Turkish and Qatari intermediaries during cease-fire talks in July that were aimed at ending the Palestinian group's rocket attacks on Israel, according to senior U.S. officials.

The Intermountain Jewish News cuts to the chase on Iran in its editorial last week:

It seems clear what the outcome of the current negotiations with Iran will be: To allow Iran to retain a threshold nuclear capacity. The US is not insisting that Iran close down its nuclear program. The US is not even favoring a bill in Congress to stiffen sanctions against Iran should these negotiations fail. They will fail, or will be further prolonged, which is the same thing, since Iran has ceded not a single point in these negotiations. Iran still insists on its right to a nuclear program sufficient to produce a nuclear bomb, and to deliver it. Basically, the US has not rejected the Iranian recalcitrance.

The only hope to stop Iran is the US Congress.
...As you decide who to vote for on the national level this year, we urge you to evaluate the candidates, above all else, on the Iran question.


The hostility of Pres. Barack Obama and his staff toward Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be escalating dangerously. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

"Last week, the Obama administration went out of its way to 'humiliate' a top Israeli official in retaliation for private remarks for which that official had publicly apologized. Yesterday, the State Department accused the Netanyahu government of lacking a commitment to peace because it had the temerity to authorize housing construction in the capital of Israel. And today, top aides to the president attacked Israel's Prime Minister incoarse, insulting language from behind the veil of anonymity. 

[That last example is how we learned that a senior White House official called the Israeli prime minister a "chicken***".]
"Americans expect their commander-in-chief to keep faith with critical allies in perilous times. This administration is dangerously off-course and its apparent determination to provoke a crisis in US-Israel relations is the latest disastrous evidence.

The response from the pro-Israel community was swift. The Republican National CommitteeHouse SpeakerJohn Boehner (OH), Gov. Rick Perry (TX),  Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC), SenatorTed Cruz (TX), Senator Mark Kirk (IL),  Rep. Tom Cotton (AR) , and Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO) condemned the White House insults to our ally Israel and its leaders. Even the National Jewish Democratic Council felt compelled to rebuke the White House for it "profane and inappropriate" language.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the comments against Israel and Netanyahu do not reflect the administration's views. According to reports, Earnest also said he was unaware of which senior official made the comment and added that he did not "know of any effort" underway at the White House to determine the source of the remarks.

Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary for Pres. George W. Bush, tweeted, "As ex WH staffer, I can safely say staff wouldn't publicly call someone 'chickensh*t' if POTUS hadn't privately said something similar 1st."

How perfect were the patriarchs and matriarchs? Lekh Lekha - Covenant & Conversation 5775 on Ethics 1 November, 2014 / 8 Cheshvan, 5775

In an extraordinary series of observations on this week’s parsha, Nahmanides (Ramban, Rabbi Moses ben Nahman Girondi, 1194 – 1270), delivers harsh criticisms of Abraham and Sarah. The first has to do with Abraham’s decision, after arriving at the land of Canaan, to leave and go to Egypt because “there was a famine in the land.” On this Nahmanides says:

Know that Abraham our father unintentionally committed a great sin by bringing his righteous wife to a stumbling-block of sin on account of his fear for his life. He should have trusted that God would save him and his wife and all his belongings, for God surely has the power to help and to save. His leaving the Land concerning which he had been commanded from the beginning, on account of the famine, was also a sin he committed, for in famine God would redeem him from death. It was because of this deed that the exile in the land of Egypt at the hand of Pharaoh was decreed for his children.[1]

According to Ramban, Abraham should have stayed in Canaan and had faith in God that he would sustain him despite the famine. Not only was Abraham wrong to leave. He also put Sarah in a position of moral hazard because, as a result of going to Egypt, she was forced to tell a lie, that she was Abraham’s sister not his wife, and because she was taken into pharaoh’s harem where she might have been forced to commit an act of adultery. This is a very harsh judgment, made more so by Ramban’s further assertion that it was because of this lack of faith that Abraham’s children were sentenced to exile in Egypt centuries later.

Later in the parsha, Ramban criticizes Sarah. Despairing of having a child, she asked Abraham to sleep with her handmaid Hagar in the hope that she might bear him a child. Abraham did so, and Hagar became pregnant. The text then says that Hagar “began to despise her mistress.” Sarah complained to Abraham, and then “afflicted Hagar” who fled from her into the desert. On this, Ramban writes:

Our mother [Sarah] transgressed by this affliction, as did Abraham by allowing her to do so. So God heard her [Hagar’s] affliction and gave her a son who would be a wild ass of a man to afflict the seed of Abraham and Sarah with all kinds of affliction.[2]

Here the moral judgment is easier to understand. Sarah’s conduct does seem volatile and harsh. The Torah itself says that Sarah “afflicted” Hagar. Yet Ramban seems to be saying that it was this episode in the ancient past that explains Jewish suffering at the hands of Muslims (descendants of Ishmael) in a much later age.

It is not difficult to defend Abraham and Sarah in these incidents and other commentators did so. Abraham was not to know that God would perform a miracle and save him and Sarah from famine had they stayed in Canaan. Nor was he to know that the Egyptians would endanger his life and place Sarah in a moral dilemma. Neither of them had been to Egypt before. They did not know in advance what to expect.

As for Sarah and Hagar, although an angel sent Hagar back, later when Ishmael and Isaac were born, Sarah once again banished Hagar. This time, though Abraham protested, God told him to do what Sarah said. So Ramban’s criticisms are easily answered. Why then did he make them?

Ramban surely did not make these comments lightly. He was, I believe, driven by another consideration altogether, namely the justice of history. Why did the Israelites suffer exile and slavery in Egypt? Why in Ramban’s own age were Jews subject to attack by radical Islamists, the Almohades, who brought to an end the Golden Age of Spain they had enjoyed under the more tolerant rule of the Umayyads.

Ramban believed, as we say in our prayers, that “because of our sins we were exiled from our land,” but what sins had the Israelites committed in the days of Jacob that merited exile? He also believed that “the acts of the fathers are a sign for the children,” and that what happened in the lives of the patriarchs foreshadowed what would happen to their descendants. What had they done to Ishmael to earn the scorn of Muslims? A close reading of the biblical text pointed Ramban in the direction of Sarah’s treatment of Hagar.

So Ramban’s comments make sense within his reading of Jewish history, but this too is not without its difficulties. The Torah states explicitly that God may punish “the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” but not beyond. The rabbis further restricted this to cases where “the children continue the sins of the parents.” Jeremiah and Ezekiel both said that no one would any more say, “The parents have eaten sour grapes and their children’s teeth are set on edge.” The transfer of sins across the generations is problematic, Jewishly and ethically.

What is deeply interesting about Ramban’s approach to Abraham and Sarah is his willingness to point out flaws in their behaviour. This answers a fundamental question as far as our understanding of the narratives of Genesis is concerned. How are we to judge the patriarchs when their behaviour seems problematic: Jacob taking Esau’s blessing in disguise, for example, or Shimon and Levi’s brutality in the course of rescuing their sister Dina?

The stories of Genesis are often morally perplexing. Rarely does the Torah pass an explicit, unequivocal verdict on people’s conduct. This means that it is sometimes difficult to teach these narratives as a guide to how to behave. This led to their systematic reinterpretation by rabbinic midrash so that black and white take the place of subtle shades of grey.

So, for example, the words “Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian … mocking,” were understood by the sages to mean that the thirteen-year-old Ishmael was guilty of idolatry, illicit sex or murder. This is clearly not the plain sense of the verse. It is, instead, an interpretation that would justify Sarah’s insistence that Ishmael be sent away.

Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Chajes explained that the entire tendency of midrash to make the heroes seem perfect and the villains completely evil is for educational reasons. The word Torah means “teaching” or “instruction,” and it is difficult to teach ethics through stories whose characters are fraught with complexity and ambiguity.
Yet the Torah does paint its characters in shades of grey. Why so? For three reasons:

The first is that the moral life is not something we understand in depth all at once. As children we hear stories of heroes and villains. We learn basic distinctions: right and wrong, good and bad, permitted and forbidden. As we grow, though, we begin to realise how difficult some decisions are. Do I go to Egypt? Do I stay in Canaan? Do I show compassion to my servant’s child at the risk that he may be a bad influence on my child who has been chosen by God for a sacred mission? Anyone who thinks such decisions are easy is not yet morally mature. So the best way of teaching ethics is to do so by way of stories that can be read at different levels at different times in our life.

Second, not only are decisions difficult. People are also complex. No one in the Torah is portrayed as perfect. Noah, the only person in Tanakh to be called righteous, ends drunk and dishevelled. Moses, Aaron and Miriam are all punished for their sins. So is King David. Solomon, wisest of men, ends his life as a deeply compromised leader. Many of the prophets suffered dark nights of despair. “There is none so righteous on earth,” says Kohelet, “as to do only good and never sin.” No religious literature was ever further from hagiography, idealisation and hero-worship.

In the opposite direction, even the non-heroes have their saving graces. Esau is a loving son, and when he meets his brother Jacob after a long estrangement, they kiss, embrace and go their separate ways. Levi, condemned by Jacob for his violence, counts Moses, Aaron and Miriam among his grandchildren. Even Pharaoh, the man who enslaved the Israelites, had a moral heroine for a daughter. The descendants of Korach sang psalms in the Temple of Solomon. This too is moral maturity, light-years removed from the dualism adopted by many religions, including some Jewish sects (like the Qumran sect of the Dead Sea Scrolls), that divides humanity into children of light and children of darkness.

Lastly and most important, more than any other religious literature, the Torah makes an absolute distinction between earth and heaven, God and human beings. Because God is God, there is space for humans to be human. In Judaism the line dividing them is never blurred. How rare this is was pointed out by Walter Kaufmann:

In India, the Jina and the Buddha, founders of two new religions in the sixth century BCE, came to be worshipped later by their followers. In China, Confucius and Lao-tze came to be deified. To the non-Christian, Jesus seems to represent a parallel case. In Greece, the heroes of the past were held to have been sired by a god or to have been born of goddesses, and the dividing line between gods and men became fluid. In Egypt, the Pharaoh was considered divine.

In Israel, says Kaufmann, “no man was ever worshipped or accorded even semi-divine status. This is one of the most extraordinary facts about the religion of the Old Testament.” There never was a cult of Moses or any other biblical figure. That is why “no man knows Moses’ burial place to this day,” so that it could never become a place of pilgrimage.

No religion has held a higher view of humanity than the book that tells us we are each in the image and likeness of God. Yet none has been more honest about the failings of even the greatest. God does not ask us to be perfect. He asks us, instead, to take risks in pursuit of the right and the good, and to acknowledge the mistakes we will inevitably make.

In Judaism the moral life is about learning and growing, knowing that even the greatest have failings and even the worst have saving graces. It calls for humility about ourselves and generosity toward others. This unique blend of idealism and realism is morality at its most demanding and mature.

Pastor Kicked off the Temple Mount--Enough is Enough!

A Christian minister who was forced off of the Temple Mount by Muslim officials has released a video of support for Jewish rights on the TempleMount, urging Jews and "the children of Abraham" throughout the world to stand together to end Islamist harassment and discriminatory measures on Judaism's holiest site.
Pastor Keith Johnson told how he recently visited the holy site in Jerusalem when he bumped into veteran Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick. But his warm greeting for one of the leaders of the struggle for Jewish prayer rights on the Mount attracted the attention of the Waqf - the Islamic trust which administers the site and has been behind the pressure to continue a ban on non-Muslim worship there.
Angry Waqf officials surrounded the pastor and forced his group off of theTemple Mount - but he defiantly went back to the entrance and ascended once more. The irony is that Jews who are forced off the Mount by the Waqf are usually banned from reentering.
In the video, aired at a special Temple Mount conference Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Heritage Center yesterday, Johnson called on "my Jewish friends to work together in the spirit of past peaceful protests, and to be resolved not to give in, even in the midst of yelling, cussing, spitting and throwing rocks."
"As an American pastor I am appalled by the actions of some Muslims who chastise Jewish visitors - including children - who desire to ascend theTemple Mount," he declared.
In a show of solidarity for the Jewish people, he began and ended his address in Hebrew, and wished activists "success from the God of Abraham as you continue your struggle to attain freedom to pray on theTemple Mount."
Despite its supreme importance to Jews as the site of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, non-Muslim visitors are banned from praying there and face arrest if suspected of doing so. Visibly Jewish visitors are subjected to particularly rigorous checks for "forbidden religious items", which many describe as discriminatory and humiliating, and religious groups are closely monitored both by Waqf officials and Israeli police.
Jewish groups often face blanket bans from ascending altogether, and Islamist groups regularly riot or engage in organized campaigns of harassment of Jewish visitors, in order to prevent Jews from ascending. The recent Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover) saw particularly severe riots by Hamas-affiliated groups on the Temple Mount - triggering calls forthe resignation of Israel's Internal Security Minister and prompting Tuesday's conference.

International Temple Mount Awareness Day


The Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world; yet Jews and all non-Moslems are denied the right to pray in groups, and even as individuals; this refusal is accompanied by their constant degradation, and they are granted no opportunity for any religious expression whatsoever on the Temple Mount.


  Only Jews are forced to wait an extended period of time before being allowed through security.
  Only Jews are forced to present their ID’s to the police.

  Only Jews are followed and harassed by Israeli police and Muslim Wakf guards throughout the entire visit on the Mount.

  Only Jews are arrested for crimes such as prayer, closing eyes, bowing down or singing.

  The Prime Minister of Israel has failed to include the Temple Mount in his own "Heritage Plan," among those sites of historical, cultural and religious significance to the Jewish people, to receive enhanced government budgeting for the improvement of access, upkeep, and beautification of the sites.


The Mount has completely been abandoned to the Muslim Authorities and is used by Muslims for the following blasphemous activities:

  Illegal digs causing unparalleled destruction of archeological evidence of the Holy Temple and the historical Jewish presence on the Mount.
  Endless incitement against the Jewish State and Nation from within the Mosques.

  Physical attacks against Jews on the Mount and down below at the Western Wall

Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount

Yehudah Glick

5 Facts That Prove Jerusalem Was NEVER A Muslim Holy City Or An Arab Capital!

Arabs turn their back on the Dome of the Rock to pray towards Mecca, Ramadan 2009
Arabs turn their back on the Dome of the Rock to pray towards Mecca, Ramadan 2009
Photo Credit: Mohamar Awad/Flash 90
Let’s play a game of association.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say JERUSALEM?
If your answer was “Holy City”, then you are either Jewish or you believe in the Jewish connection to the city of Jerusalem. If you are Christian, Jerusalem is holy to you because Jesus, who was a Jew, lived there. Therefore, it is holy as the Jewish capital and the home of the two Jewish Temples that stood in Jerusalem.
If you are a Muslim, I am sure you are probably offended by the mere suggestion that Jerusalem was NEVER a Muslim holy city or an Arab capital of any kind, but since you cannot hurt me or blow me up, you’re going to have to face these historical truths and be content with writing violent reactions in the comments section below.
5 Facts To Prove Jerusalem Was NEVER A Muslim Holy City 1. The Quran While Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible (Tanach) over 500 times, it is NEVER mentioned in the Quran, not once! Many Muslims claim this is a lie and claim the word Al Aqsa means Jerusalem. Al Aqsa literally means “The Farthest Mosque” and in no way does it mean Jerusalem.
Taken from Wikipedia    Al Aqsa’s Religious Significance in Islam The mosque is believed to be the second house of prayer constructed after the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. Post-Rashidun-era Islamic scholars traditionally identified the mosque as the site referred to in the sura (Qur’anic chapter) al-Isra (“the Night Journey”). The specific passage reads “Praise be to Him who made His servant journey in the night from the sacred sanctuary to the remotest sanctuary.” Muslims identify the “sacred sanctuary” as the Masjid al-Haram and the “remotest sanctuary” as the al-Aqsa Mosque. Initially, Rashidun and Umayyad-era scholars were in disagreement about the location of the “remotest sanctuary” with some arguing that it was actually located near Mecca.  Eventually scholarly consensus determined that its location was indeed in Jerusalem.[57]
The Quranic passage that talks about the “night journey” of Mohammad to the “farthest mosque” took place sometime in the year 621 while the mosque in Jerusalem was not built till the year 705 CE! Which means, to whichever mosque Mohammad flew, it certainly was NOT in Jerusalem!
Let’s say for arguments sake that I were to accept Mohammad’s flight and let’s say I also accept for some reason that it was to the small sanctuary in Jerusalem, that still does not make the City of Jerusalem holy to Muslims, but rather a small mosque that didn’t actually exist at the time!
2. Direction of Prayer
Muslims turn their back on the Temple Mount when they pray.
While Jews face ONLY Jerusalem and while we mention Jerusalem in every prayer and when we say grace after meals, the Muslims do NOT consider Jerusalem as a holy city, EVER! Here is a picture from the Temple Mount – would you stick your backside out to a place that was holy to you?
3. Jerusalem Was Never An Arab Capital
While King David made Jerusalem the capital of the Land of Israel, never in the history of the world was Jerusalem ever a capital city of an Arab country, certainly not one called Palestine which NEVER existed!
You show me a single Arab country in the history of the world who held Jerusalem as its capital, I take down the Israel Shield blog!
4. Desecration of the Temple Mount
Whether you’re Jewish, Christian or Buddhist, you treat your temples and churches with respect and violence is simply not allowed in a place of worship. Watch these Muslims actually destroy furniture and carpets from the Mosque on the Temple Mount. Their lack of respect is witness to the fact that they clearly know that there is nothing holy to them and that the only reason they are holding on to that site is because they are fully aware that it is where the Jewish Temple once stood and will soon stand again. The mosque located on the Temple Mount was originally called Bayt al-Muqaddas which literally means built on the Mikdash (the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem)
There is one more historical fact that proves Jerusalem was NOT a Muslim holy city and that is, IT WAS A JEWISH ONE!
  • No one who disputes the fact that King David was the first to make Jerusalem a capital city.
  • No one disputes that David’s son Solomon built the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
  • No one disputes the second Temple was also built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
  • No one disputes the fact that the Romans ransacked the Temple, slaughtered the Jews and kicked them out of Israel.
  • No one disputes that Muslims forcible conquered and occupied Jerusalem and built their mosque on the place of the Jewish Temple
For those of you who are planning on visiting Rome, you might want to check out Titus Arch which clearly depicts the Roman ransacking of the Temple vessels.
The fact is, Jews were in Jerusalem before Islam ever existed. Jerusalem was the Jewish capital of Israel before Washington was  called the capital of America or London was the capital of England and Paris was the capital of France, so before you demand we give our Holy Capital City to those who come with a fictitious claim backed with terrorism and Jihad, I would ask you to give your capitals to those who call for your destruction as well!
As Binyamin Netanyahu put it so eloquently:
“The French build in Paris, the English build in London and Israel builds in Jerusalem. Should we tell Jews not to live in Jerusalem because it stirs things up?”
Even the Israeli Shekel comes from the Temple times. On the right is what the new shekel looked like and on the left is a coin from the Jewish revolt against the Romans. 
For those of you pointing a finger at Israel, you are not only strengthening lies, you are actually motivating those who burn your flags and behead those who believe in freedom.

Don’t forget to join me on the IsraelShield Facebook Page as well as on @israel_shield on Twitter!
One more thing, please let me know in the comments below what you thought about this post! 

Stephen Flatow: The Amazing Story of What One Person Can Accomplish. By Rabbi Brenner Glickman

Today, I will tell you a story. It is the true story of a seemingly inconsequential man who, driven by passion and determination, has accomplished the extraordinary. It is a David and Goliath story of our times, and it continues to unfold. When you hear this story, I think you will agree that someone needs to write a book about this man. I can’t believe that no one has yet.
Our hero’s name is Stephen Flatow. He is a real-estate attorney in northern New Jersey. He does title work, mostly, out of a small, cluttered office. He is well-regarded in his field, but not especially well known. He makes a living. He is famous, however, in other circles, as an activist. His courage and determination are unmatched. This lone man has stood up to the greatest powers and has not blinked. He has challenged the State Department, the Justice Department, the courts, and the largest banks in the world. He has failed and prevailed, stumbled and triumphed, over and over again. He does not quit. He is driven by the love of his daughter, a daughter who was killed by a suicide bomber twenty years ago. This is his story.
Alisa Flatow was a student at Brandeis University. She chose to spend a semester studying abroad in Jerusalem. After a few months in Israel, she and her roommates decided to spend a weekend at a beach resort in Gaza. This was 1995, soon after the Oslo accords, and Gaza was still under Israeli control. It seems unfathomable now, but people used to vacation in Gaza at the beach resorts. On the way to the beach, their bus was struck by a van filled with explosives. The terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the killing. Seven Israeli soldiers riding on the bus were killed. Alisa was severely wounded, but she did not die right away. The terrorist van was filled with shrapnel that exploded through the windows of the bus and struck her head. She was unconscious, but her body was unharmed.
The doctors called her father in America, and told him to come right away. When he landed in Ben Gurion airport, government agents met him on the runway, and escorted him straight from the plane to the hospital. By the time he arrived, Alisa was brain-dead. The doctors offered their condolences, and asked the father if he would be willing to donate her organs.
This was not a simple question. The Flatow family was Orthodox and observant. It was not customary for Orthodox Jews to donate organs, and they were not sure it was allowed by Jewish law. So the parents called their rabbi and asked what to do. He told them to donate the organs, and so they did.
That single act became a sensation in Israel. To understand its significance, I need to give a little background information. There is much in Jewish law and custom that would discourage organ donation. It has been our longstanding tradition to treat a dead body as sacred. Our custom is to watch over it, cleanse it, and prepare it carefully for burial. The body is buried whole and unaltered. That is why rabbinic authorities have generally discouraged autopsies.
But organ donation is special. It presents the opportunity to save a life. In Jewish law, the saving of a human life takes special precedence. You can violate just about all the other commandments if you can save a life. Therefore, Jewish law does not just allow organ donation, it requires it. Reform and Conservative rabbis immediately encouraged organ donation, and by the 1970s, Orthodox rabbis did as well.
The problem was that most Jews in Israel were not aware of this. The rates of organ donation were extraordinarily low. Israel was part of a European consortium of organ sharing nations, but was suspended because too few Israelis were registered donors. It was a stunning irony for a nation famous as an innovator of advanced medical technologies. The problem was that Israelis knew about the tradition of burying a body whole; they were not so aware that their rabbis allowed organ donation.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, various medical groups and the government in Israel tried to educate the public, but nothing worked. Organ donation rates were terribly low. People were desperate for organs, but few were donating. It just wasn’t what people did.
And then the Flatows offered their daughter’s organs to the people of Israel. The news made headlines in every newspaper throughout the nation. Her heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and corneas were able to save six lives in Israel. Notably, at least one of the recipients was Arab Palestinian. The people of Israel were amazed, and grateful. They had felt so alone in suffering against terrorism, and here this family from America made such a gesture. They felt that the world Jewish community was with them. We were one.
Days later, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin came to Washington DC and spoke before a gathering of 12,000 American Jews. What he told them would be printed in newspapers throughout America. He spoke about what Alisa’s gift meant to the Israeli people. “Today,” he said, “her heart beats in Jerusalem.” There is more. After Alisa’s death, the Flatows lives were shattered. Alisa’s mother withdrew into herself and her home. But the father, Stephen, decided to take action. He wanted justice. It was widely reported that the State of Iran was the sponsor and financial backer of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It angered him that there were no consequences for Iran. They had funded his daughter’s murderers, and no one was doing anything about it. The bomber himself was killed. The terrorist ring was being pursued by Israel. Stephen Flatow decided to take it upon himself to go after Iran.
A lawyer by training, he sought justice through the courts. He had a brilliant idea. If he and other victims of terror could file suit against Iran, they could exact punishment on the regime. They would make it costly for states to sponsor terror, and then maybe Iran would think twice about doing it again.
But there was a problem. United States law did not allow private citizens to sue foreign governments. It was expressly forbidden. So Stephen Flatow went to Washington to change the law. His senator, the Jewish Frank Lautenberg, happened to be in Israel at the time of Alyssa’s death. He took a special interest in her family and drafted legislation. Flatow testified before congress, and even gained the backing of President Clinton. Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 to make an exception to the longstanding rule. In cases of state-sponsored terror, individual US citizens could sue foreign nations for damages in US courts. It was the first victory.
It did not last. The courts threw it out. So back to Washington he went for a new law, one written specifically to override the objections of the court. Once again he sued the state of Iran in a US court. But his time, one of his allies became an adversary. The Clinton administration began to see Flatow as interfering in national diplomacy. The White House was against Iran, but they did not want Flatow dictating the terms. So the U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case, and actually filed a brief in support of Iran and against the victims of terror. Once more, Flatow returned to Congress and this time he got a third law that gave citizens even more strength to sue foreign governments, this time with teeth.
Finally, in 1997, he received his judgment. A court ruled in favor of the Flatows and against Iran. The family was awarded $26 million in compensatory damages, and over $200 million in punitive damages.
But the issue was hardly over. How do you collect money from a rogue state? They weren’t paying. Stephen Flatow devised a plan. Since the United States had ended diplomatic ties with Iran following the rise of the Ayatollah, the Iranian embassy in Washington and the residence of the Iranian ambassador have been in control of the United States Government. The State Department holds them in trust with the goal of returning them to Iran someday when relations resume. Stephen Flatow now had a ruling that said the Iranian government owed him $247 million. He sought possession of the embassy and the residence, property owned by Iran. The State Department refused. They feared that if the United States confiscated sovereign property here, our embassies and properties abroad would become threatened. So instead, they paid Flatow $20 million from US funds with the understanding that the United States would collect that money from Iran someday.
Stephen Flatow was furious. His goal was not to get money. His goal was to make Iran pay so they would stop sponsoring terror. He had won in court and he had received money, but Iran had still not paid one cent.
And this leads to the third chapter of this amazing saga. Stephen Flatow did not give up. He began to look for other assets in the United States that were owned by the government of Iran. Officially, there were none. United States sanctions prohibited Iran from doing any business in the United States, or for anyone to do business with Iran in the United States. But Flatow had suspicions that a charitable foundation in New York was actually a front, laundering money for the Iranian regime.
Why would the Iranians funnel their money through New York? Because the financial exchanges are there, and you can’t get anything done internationally without going through New York’s markets. Iran’s economy, its nuclear weapons development, its sponsorship of Hezbollah and other jihadists groups - all required moving money across currencies. They needed a secret foothold in New York. The Alavi Foundation was established decades ago by the Shah to promote Iranian culture abroad. It owned a gleaming skyscraper on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, between Rockefeller Center and the Museum of Modern Art. Ivan Boesky used to office there. Stephen Flatow did a lot of digging, and then filed papers in court demonstrating that the foundation and the building were secretly operated by the Iranian government. And if they belonged to the state of Iran, they were subject to his financial ruling.
Stephen Flatow’s case was a civil matter, but it came to the attention of a young analyst sitting in a cubicle at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. If what Flatow was saying was true, there was some serious criminal wrongdoing going on. That young analyst’s name was Eitan Arusy. Before he starting working for the District Attorney, he served in the Israel Defense Force as a spokesman. He was one of the first responders to the scene of the carnage on the day that Alisa Flatow’s bus was bombed. He had a special interest in the case. The district attorney’s office did their own digging, and came to the same conclusion as Flatow - the Alavi Foundation was actually a front for Bank Melli, the State of Iran’s government-owned national bank. But how did the Iranians do it? How did they get their money in and out of the United States? The district attorney’s office soon discovered that two European Banks, Credit Suisse and Lloyds of London, were moving money and falsifying documents for the Iranians. When the FBI raided the records of the charity, they found vast deposits from Credit Suisse and Lloyds. The banks cooperated with investigators. They provided emails and memos detailing how they took Iranian money and sent it to the United States in their own names. Without admitting guilt, Lloyds agreed to pay a fine of $350 million, and Credit Suisse $536 million.
They were not alone. It was soon discovered that most of the major European banks were laundering money for the Iranians into the United States, in direct violation of US law. Barclays Bank settled in 2010, paying the United States $298 million. In 2012, ING, Standard Chartered, and HSBC also settled. HSBC agreed to pay $1.9 billion.
Then came the big one. While all these banks were making deals with the US government, two employees of BNP Paribas became whistleblowers. They shared with investigators that their bank had laundered tens of billions of dollars of Iranian money. They had also laundered money for Sudan while its regime was committing genocide.
BNP is the largest bank in France. This summer you may have seen the news. BNP became the first bank to admit guilt in laundering money for the Iranian government. They agreed to pay $8.9 billion in fines to the United States. It was far and away the largest penalty ever paid by a bank in history. The New York Times headline said it best: “A Grieving Father Pulls a Thread that Unravels BNP’s Illegal Deals.” A dad lost his girl. The hole in his life will never be filled. He thinks about her every day. He never gives up. He is a small-time attorney doing title work in New Jersey. But his tenacity and his grit and his smarts were beyond anyone’s estimation. This one man in New Jersey uncovered an international conspiracy of bank fraud.
The story is not over. Stephen Flatow is not done. The man who instantly changed the culture of organ donation is Israel is trying to do the same here in America. He takes every opportunity to speak to Orthodox congregations to encourage organ donation. Though the rate of donation consent in America is strong at 60%, the rate among Flatow’s fellow Orthodox Jews is only 5%. He is on a mission to change that.
He and his wife have also established a foundation in Alisa’s name. They sponsor young Jewish women from around the world to take a semester of study in Jerusalem. The money they have received in their fight against Iran is now sponsoring women’s Torah study and the vitality of the State of Israel.
And, in the months ahead, he may finally achieve his goal of making Iran actually pay. A federal judge has the ruled that the assets of the Alavi Foundation be liquidated. The gleaming office tower in New York and other properties around America will be sold and the proceeds will go to the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. That will be Iranian money. Finally, Iran will pay a price.
All of this because of one man in Northern New Jersey. One man who never quit.
Earlier this summer, I did my own digging and I found Stephen Flatow’s contact information. I sent him an email.
Dear Mr. Flatow,
My name is Brenner Glickman and I am a rabbi with a congregation in Sarasota, Florida. I admire you and am writing a sermon about you and your family for this High Holidays. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for Israel and America.
You are an inspiration.
He replied the same day:
Dear Rabbi Glickman,
Thanks very much for your note. But it’s really Alisa who has been the source of strength and encouragement these past 19 years. As I like to remind people , I’m still her father and we do anything for our children.
Stephen Flatow

PMW: Fatah: "Celebrations throughout Old City of Jerusalem" after attempted murder of "despicable" Rabbi Yehuda Glick Advisor to PA Chairman Abbas on terrorist: "The heroic Martyr (Shahid)... who carried out the assassination attempt of Zionist rabbi Yehuda Glick"

Fatah celebrated the attempted murder of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, yesterday in Jerusalem, and glorified the shooter. Rabbi Yehuda Glick is the Chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation that works through educational activities to increase awareness of the central place the Temple Mount in Jewish heritage and works to promote civil rights for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.

Fatah referred to him as an "extremist Zionist," called the attempt on his life "the assassination of the despicable Glick," and honored the terrorist who was subsequently killed by Israel as a "heroic Martyr."  

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on NGOs and Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein shared a poster published by Fatah's Jerusalembranch praising the terrorist and referring to him as the "heroic Martyr" on the way "to his wedding":
 "Fatah's Jerusalem branch accompanies its heroic Martyr to his wedding,Mutaz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi, who carried out the assassination attempt of Zionist rabbi Yehuda Glick."

Last week "Palestinian Media Watch" documented that this same advisor toAbbas glorified a terrorist who murdered a three-month-old baby.

In addition, PA TV has presented Abbas himself as a central force promoting violence. A clip of Abbas calling to "use all ways" to prevent Jews from approaching the Temple Mount was aired 25 times in the last two weeks- a indication that the PA is promoting the ongoing riots and terror.

The Fatah poster honoring the terrorist shows his picture with Jerusalem in the background.

The following is the image published on Fatah's Facebook page, "Fatah - The Main Page," followed by the text:


"The heroic Martyr (Shahid) Mutaz Hijazi who carried out the assassination of the despicable [rabbi Yehuda] Glick. Praise and eternity to the Martyrs..."    
Text on the Poster:
"The Palestinian National Liberation Movement - Fatah announces the death of
its heroic Martyr, 'the Martyr of Jerusalem'
Mutaz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi
who carried out the assassination of Rabbi Yehuda Glick
and who rose to Heaven on Thursday, August 30, 2014,
after a gunfight with the forces of the Zionist occupation in Jerusalem"
[Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page", Oct. 30, 2014]

Another Fatah Facebook Text:  
 "Celebrations throughout the Old City of Jerusalem - the attempted assassination of the extremist Zionist Yehuda Glick, who engineered the invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and heads the council of the 'Temple Mount' Faithful, with three bullets as he was leaving a conference of the alleged 'Temple' [Mount] Faithful"
 [Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page", Oct. 29, 2014]

The following are the image and text posted on the Fatah's Facebook page, and re-posted by Abbas' advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein:

"Martyr (Shahid) Mutaz Hijazi,the Martyr of Dawn in Jerusalem, is a released prisoner. He died as a Martyr (Shahid) following a gunfight. The occupation forces accuse him of attempting to assassinate the Zionist rabbi Yehuda Glick."

Text on poster shared by Abbas' advisor, Abu Al-Einein:
"'Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration.' (Surah 33:23, trans. Sahih International)

With great honor and pride
The Palestinian National Liberation Movement - Fatah, Jerusalem branch accompanies its heroic Martyr to his wedding
Mutaz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi,  
who carried out the assassination attempt of Zionist rabbi Yehuda Glick
Who has ascended to Heaven today, Thursday, October 30, 2014
after a gunfight with occupation soldiers in Jerusalem
May he rest in peace
 [Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein, Oct. 30, 2014]
On Oct. 29, 2014, Mutaz Hijazi, an Islamic Jihad member and released prisoner, attempted to murder Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who was seriously wounded in the shooting attack.
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Palestinians: Stop the Children's Intifada! by Khaled Abu Toameh

The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and the media. Human rights groups and the UN have chosen to turn a blind eye to this human rights abuse. Instead of condemning it, these groups are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors.
This strategy works out well for Hamas and Fatah, who can always blame Israel for "deliberately targeting" Palestinian children — an allegation the media in the West often endorses without asking questions.
Even more worrying is that the Palestinian groups often reward the families, who then become less motivated to stop their children from risking their lives.
Adult activists who encourage and send children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israel but by their own people. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers.
Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian groups are using children from east Jerusalem and the West Bank in what appears to be a new intifada against Israel.
Nearly half of the Palestinians arrested by Jerusalem Police over the past few months areminors. Some of them are as young as nine.
These children are being sent to throw stones and firebombs, and launch fireworks at policemen and IDF soldiers, as well as at Israeli civilians and vehicles, including buses and the light rail in Jerusalem.

Masked Palestinian youths hurl rocks at a Jewish kindergarten near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Sept. 2014.
The exploitation of children in the fight against Israel has attracted little attention from the international community and media. Human rights groups and United Nations institutions have chosen to turn a blind eye to these human rights abuses.
Instead of condemning those who exploit the children and dispatch them to confront policemen and soldiers, these groups and institutions are busy denouncing Israel for targeting minors.
Most of the children's attacks occur after school, so they are not deprived of education. But sadly, some of the Palestinian minors get killed or wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Orwa Hammad, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy from the village of Silwad near Ramallah, was shot dead by IDF soldiers last week. The IDF says he was spotted preparing to hurl a firebomb at Israeli vehicles.
Earlier, 13-year-old Bahaa Bader was shot dead by IDF soldiers in the village of Beit Likya, also in the Ramallah area. An IDF spokesman said soldiers responded with live fire when residents threw firebombs at them as they were exiting the village.
Last month, 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokort from the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of Jerusalem was killed during a stone-throwing incident.
This is not the first time that Palestinian groups use children in the struggle against Israel. During the first intifada, which erupted in 1987, children and women were often at the forefront in clashes with Israeli security personnel.
This strategy works out well for Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah. At the end of the day, they can always blame Israel for "deliberately" targeting Palestinian children and women -- an allegation that the mainstream media in the West often endorses without asking questions.
Moreover, the Palestinian groups know that the children who are being sent to confront Israeli soldiers and policemen will not be held accountable.
Most of the minors detained by the Jerusalem Police for their involvement in the violence are released to house arrest. In cases where the children are aged nine to 13, they are referred to social welfare authorities without being detained.
The majority of these children are going out to throw stones and firebombs at Israelis because they are come from poor families or are lacking in good education and other economic and social privileges. But many of them come from middle-class families and do not live in refugee camps.
These children are victims of a campaign of indoctrination and incitement that is being waged by various Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah. It is a campaign that is being waged through the media, mosques, educational institutions and the fiery rhetoric of leaders and activists.
What is even more worrying is that the Palestinian groups often reward the families of the children by hiring lawyers and paying fines imposed on them by Israeli courts. As a result, the families are less motivated to stop their children from risking their lives.
There are also reports that Fatah and Hamas activists in Jerusalem have been paying children small sums of money to throw stones and firebombs at Israelis and block roads in several Arab neighborhoods.
Hamas and Fatah had long discovered that children are one of the most effective tools in the fight against Israel -- especially because of the damage Israel sustains in the court of international public opinion.
Thus far, it appears that the Palestinian groups have been successful in their effort to depict Israel as a country that deliberately targets Palestinian minors whose only crime is that they "resisted occupation."
Dressing children in military uniforms and allowing them to carry rifles and pistols during rallies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is one way of encouraging them to put their lives at risk. But of course Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions do not see anything wrong with this practice.
The adult activists who send and encourage children to take part in violence should be held accountable, not only by Israeli authorities, but also by their own people and international human rights organizations. If these adults want an intifada, they should be the first to go out and confront Israeli policemen and soldiers.
The time has come for the international community and media to pay attention to their disturbing conduct and demand that Palestinian groups stop hiding behind children.