Sunday, September 30, 2012

BHO finally draws some red lines...

Iran - The Greatest Threat to Western Civilization

America is a relatively safe place. However, a regime halfway around the world could destroy our way of life. 

From the beginning, the current Iranian regime made it clear that America is public enemy #1. One way to seriously damage America would be a nuke, and one terrifying scenario is a nuclear bomb detonated at high altitude. This is an issue that Congressional commissions and others have investigated, and concluded that it is a credible threat. This would cause severe damage or catastrophic destruction to the electric grid across America. 

In this day and age, everything ultimately depends on electric power: communications, transportation, banking, finance, food and water. The result of such an attach would mean that within a short amount of time, it will be nearly impossible to get food and water, pump gas, provide medical care, withdraw money or use cellular phones. Moreover, without electricity, nuclear power plants melt down. If their containment buildings are breeched, the areas around them could become uninhabitable for centuries. Anarchy. Starvation. Disease. 

As long as the current Iranian regime is in power, we are NOT SAFE..

While in NYC, Bibi Devours Traditional Jewish Food While staying at a Manhattan hotel, on Friday the Israeli prime minister made a phone "to go" purchase from Pomegranate, a kosher supermarket at 1507 Coney Island Ave in Midwood, Brooklyn. The establishment is owned by a Satmar chassid.

While staying at a Manhattan hotel, on Friday the Israeli prime minister made a phone “to go” purchase from Pomegranate, a kosher supermarket at 1507 Coney Island Ave in Midwood, Brooklyn. The establishment is owned by a Satmar chassid.
Shimi Schwartz and Shlomi Leitner, both employees of Pomegranate, told the website JDN that the PM insisted on sampling absolutely every item on the delivery menu, including gefilte fish, tcholent, kugel, and challah.
The two employees reported that the order had been made very close to the start of Shabbat, when most workers were already headed home, but senior chef Meir Iluz, a former resident of Israel, got on top of the order and made sure it arrived on time.
The order came to some $1,800 – not including the delivery tip. The premier appeared satisfied with the contents.

AISH: The Iranian Cloud: Celebrating Sukkot on the brink of a nuclear Iran. by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

As I look up to the sky from my home in central Israel, I take careful notice of the clouds. Not just because I’m living outdoors during the week of Sukkot and want to gauge the weather. But because I’m thinking of something far more existential: the Mushroom Cloud.
Iran is in a race for nuclear weapons. Enriched uranium from thousands of centrifuges has been moved into underground bunkers at Fordow. Iran’s Shahab-3 missile, with a range of 1,200 miles, has been successfully tested. Iranian teams are working to assemble the component parts of a nuclear bomb: trigger devices, missile casings, and delivery systems. This is no “peaceful electricity project.”
Iran’s primary target is Israel. Whether it’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated threat to “wipe Israel off the map,” or the Supreme Ayatollah calling Israel “a cancerous tumor which must be removed,” or Iran’s top military commander Hassan Firouzabadi projecting “the full annihilation of the Zionist regime,” 6 million Jews in Israel are clearly under mortal threat. Just last week, Ahmadinejad reiterated these genocidal intentions in the “hallowed halls” of the UN.
The pressure here is enormous. Eighty percent of Israel’s population resides in the center of the country, an area the size of suburban Chicago. This could all be destroyed with one bomb.
None of us can truly imagine the horror of what would be unleashed. Nuclear bombs today are a thousand times more powerful than the ones dropped over Japan. And for Jews who have already suffered one recent Holocaust, this is no mere rhetoric.
The warning of Eli Weisel rings in my head: “We have learned to take the enemy’s words of hate seriously.”
Illusion of Security
Whenever I speak to friends in the States, they ask: “Are you afraid?”
My answer: Concerned – yes. Afraid – no.
Which is not to say that things here are all doom and gloom. A new survey by the Israel Democracy Institute shows that more than three-quarters of Israelis are optimistic about their country’s future. Still, I updated my family's gas masks and have stocked up on canned goods and bottled water. When I mention it to my friends, most agree it’s a good idea (and frankly, I think those who don’t are in denial).
But no, I’m not afraid of the Iranian Mushroom Cloud. Because I’m tapped into a far more potent Force: the Clouds of Glory, the Ananay haKavod. During the Israelites' 40-year sojourn in the desert, the Manna provided food, the Well provided water, and the Clouds offered 24/7 protection from the elements and enemies – a vital benefit for Jews camping out in flimsy sukkah-huts.
Back then, the miracle of God’s protection was open and revealed.
This miracle is not forgotten. Every year on the holiday of Sukkot, we venture outside the comfort of our homes and dwell in our own flimsy backyard hut. This is not mere theoretics or symbolic lip-service. For seven days, we treat the sukkah as our full-fledged dwelling: eating, studying, entertaining and even sleeping in the sukkah. In doing so, we return to that miraculous state of protection which nurtured the Jewish nation during its vital period of infancy.
Yet there is one crucial difference: Back then, the miracle of God’s protection was open and revealed.
Today, we have to work much harder to attain what the kabbalists term, Tzila d’Hemnusa – the “Shelter of Faith.”
This is not an easy task. In the old days, people were much more in tune with the natural spiritual rhythms. Harvest season and reliance on rain instilled gratitude for the Creator of all life. Roaming bandits and violent kings gave an appreciation for the passing of every peaceful day.
Today it is much harder to click in. Food is plentiful year-round and nobody needs to look Heavenward to see what the clouds foretell. News, shopping and friends are all one click away, enjoyed while sitting in a climate-controlled home with steel-reinforced roof and security gate out front – all protected by the institutions of democracy.
This illusion of security is what Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller terms "the most damaging illusion that blocks our inner eye from seeing God's presence."
This is precisely what the sukkah comes to correct. We leave our bricks-and-mortar homes in order to experience vulnerability, to train ourselves to find another, more permanent and dependable source of security. It is what Rabbi Akiva Tatz calls "an exercise in ego negation," working to build faith in the spiritual Source and not in the material domain of man's control.
To this end, we give ourselves over to total immersion – enveloped by the sukkah’s walls, mindful of the Almighty’s cradling arms.
Miraculous Force
Nowehere is this message more crucial than in Israel. Over the past 70 years, Israel has numerous times appeared on the brink of annihilation, with the Rabbinate distributing supplies of burial shrouds throughout the country and preparing to convert public parks into mass gravesites. Yet when all seems hopeless, that same miraculous Force always seems to intervene:
  • In 1942, Nazi forces led by Rommel, en route to slaughter all the Jews in Israel, were stopped at El-Alamein in Egypt. A massive sandstorm mucked up Rommel's tanks and led his troops blindly into enemy defenses.
  • In 1948, with no planes and only three tanks, the rag-tag Israeli militia staved off attempted annihilation by seven invading Arab armies.
  • In 1967, again on the verge of annihilation by the three-front aggression of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, Israel scored a lightning-swift victory in the Six Day War – returning historic Jerusalem to Jewish hands.
  • In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria broke through Israeli defenses and threatened to overrun the population centers, U.S. President Richard Nixon – embroiled in the Watergate scandal and thus with nothing to lose politically – quickly ordered the largest resupply effort in history, airlifting to Israel tons of ammunition, tanks and aircraft.
  • During the 1991 Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles scored direct hits on Israeli apartment buildings, there was nearly no loss of life.
We acknowledge the tireless efforts of Israeli diplomats and IDF soldiers to protect our borders and promote our case. Our physical response is, of course, equally necessary. But we also recognize that redemption from the vise grip of Iran is ultimately not dependent on political strategy or military might. As David Ben Gurion, Israeli’s founding father and by no measure an observant Jew, famously said: “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.”
The Torah says that for the Jews in Egypt, it wasn't until "We cried out to God, that He heard our voice and saw our affliction" (Deut. 26:6-9). We had to hit rock-bottom, to see there was no other option but to turn to God. At that moment, redemption was under way.
That is the purpose of Sukkot – to reach the point where we recognize that the Almighty is our only option. It is our personal mission and our national imperative.
Taking Action
Yet this does not mean we are to rely on miracles.
God put us into a world of action, where we are to make an effort to affect positive change. Not because He needs it, but because we need to create a change within us and around us. This is the idea of world repairs – tikkun olam– the bedrock principle of Judaism.
So what can we do? It is surely impractical to parachute into Iran and perform covert acts of sabotage. But there is much that we can do. We can lobby representatives in Congress, write op-ed pieces for local newspapers, and work to fight anti-Israel bias. For example, the folks at Hasbara Fellowships mobilized American college students to protest Ahmadinejad’s appearance last week at the United Nations (#UNwelcome). If you have more ideas, share them in the comments section below and let’s get a discussion going.
We are expected to make the effort, yet the results are totally in God’s hands.
On the other hand, we must be totally clear that our efforts do not make or break the final outcome. In the words of the Talmud (Avot 2:21): “It is not up to you to complete the task, but neither are you exempt from trying.” Thus the classic Jewish anomaly: We are expected to make the effort, yet the results are totally in God’s hands.
That is the path we are headed down today. I am concerned that we are not waking up to the threat. A Hitler-wannabe visits New York, makes his intentions plain, on Yom Kippur no less, and where are the protests? Where is the outrage? If this isn’t a wake-up call, what is?
The issue is our very existence. Israel is a tiny country, surrounded by a sea of 250 million Arabs, possessing 640 times greater land mass with great oil reserves. Muslim fundamentalists are calling for jihad – a holy war to forcibly remove the infidels from the land.
Indeed, Zechariah chapter 14 speaks of the fateful War of Gog and Magog, when the entire world will descend upon Jerusalem and try to expel the Jews. Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, a 16th century kabbalist, wrote:
All the nations will unite together against Jerusalem, for they shall make a peace treaty among themselves to turn against Israel and annihilate her, because Israel will have established a sovereign state for themselves. It will be "a time of crisis for Jacob [Israel]," but they shall not be broken, rather, "they shall be saved from it."
Israel is merely the first target, not the only one. The virulent Iranian strain ofTwelver Islam seeks nothing less than a global revolution dictated by full Sharia law.
Yet I believe there is no need to fear. To where shall we run?
Mysterious Foundation
We’ve just completed the High Holidays, the annual opportunity to gain clarity on what we are living for, what is our plan for getting there, and how to best transform ourselves in order to fulfill that dream.
If we haven’t woken up yet, there is still time. As is well-known, our fate for the coming year is written on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur. What is less well-known is that the document is not “delivered,” so to speak, until the seventh day of Sukkot – Hoshana Rabba – which is the final sealing of judgment that began on Rosh Hashanah.
What is the answer? While we must make reasonable efforts in the area of Homeland Security, that’s not enough anymore. As Yonason Goldson wrote onthese pages, we cannot imagine the design and the reach of evil. We can make our best effort, ensconce ourselves in thick walls, but we will never be completely safe. The world is too unpredictable an arena, the mind of the wicked too dark a cavern.
Professor Nicholai Berdysev, writing in Moscow in 1935, described the apparent key to Jewish survival:
“[Jewish] destiny is too imbued with the "metaphysical" to be explained either in material or positive historical terms... The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history; all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny.”
Today, that “mysterious foundation of Jewish destiny” is more crucial than ever, and the mitzvah of sukkah is more relevant than ever before. The Midrash says that following the Clouds of Glory is a "mitzvah for all generations." Every single Jew, both collectively and individually, has a Cloud that emerges to guide him.
Yet we need to search for our Cloud. The very nature of a cloud is ethereal, beyond our grasp, beyond our understanding. So too, the Almighty intentionally does not reveal Himself too clearly, so that we can gain the merit of seeking Him and choosing. It may not always be easy to find, but it definitely does exist.
As we look up at the flimsy thatched roof, the vast expanse of stars offer a glimpse of the infinite power of God. And as the winds of autumn blow through our sukkah, we may shiver with cold but never with fear.

Gaza Mom Chooses Israeli Hospital to Save Baby After losing 3 babies to rare birth defects at Egyptian hospitals, a Gaza mother followed doctors' advice and took her fourth to Israel.

A Palestinian Authority mother from Gaza is home with a healthy baby thanks to Israeli doctors in Kfar Sava, after a complicated surgery.
After losing three babies to rare birth defects at Egyptian hospitals, Jian Abu Agram, 31, was faced with a difficult decision last year after another child was born last April with the same condition.
After speaking with her doctors, Agram took their advice and traveled through the Erez crossing with her infant daughter to Israel, where doctors at Meir Hospital performed intestinal surgery on the little girl. 
"When the doctors told me of her condition and suggested that we bring her to Israel, I didn't think for a moment of the conflict between the two peoples,” Agram told the Hebrew-language weekly local Sharon region edition of the Yediot Acharanotnewspaper.
“What I considered was only one thing: to save my girl. I couldn't allow myself to lose another child.”
The infant has since recovered from the intricate life-saving treatment that she needed, and two weeks ago returned to her home in Gaza.
While Israel is engaged in life-saving efforts to help the children of Gaza, a leftist website last week accused Jerusalem of creating the latest SARS virus strain identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Saudi Arabia in order to attack "specific Arab communities."  
Israel's Health Ministry has issued an alert to all hospitals and medical personnel in response to news of the new SARS virus strain, known as a Coronavirus.

A non-renewable lease

Life in this world is like a fixed-term rented apartment with a non-renewable lease. When your time's up, you pack your bags and out you go.

In this world, all of us are renters. Hashem's the landlord, and he gives us our bodies as temporary shelters for the soul, so that we can accumulate the gems of Torah knowledge and good deeds that will be valuable to us in the next world.
As renters, we have to pay the rent. If we're smart, we happily fulfill our obligations before the landlord comes pounding on our door. If we don't pay our rent in this world, we pay a severe penalty in the next world.
Succoth reminds us that we all live in temporary quarters, and that we're all at the mercy of The Great Landlord. We have to express our sincere gratitude for every single day that He extends our lease; that's why we need to utilize every single minute for Torah and mitzvot, because we never know when the non-renewable lease terminates.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

15 Seconds in Sderot

Kassam Alert - Kindergarten

Sderot- The bomb shelter capital of the world

The government of Israel has invested over half a billion shekels to construct 5,000 new bomb shelters in Sderot. 

By operating in Sderot for the past 4 years, under rocket fire escalations and supposed 'ceasefires', SMC's plans for the future rely upon a clear understanding on the following:

1. The "rocket reality" in Sderot and the Western Negev communities will continue unabated.

2. Gaza is the only Arab territory in the Middle East now ruled by a recognized international terrorist regime and run from Iran by remote control.
3. The residents of Sderot and the Western Negev residents under fire, especially the younger generation, will need decades of psychological help and rehabilitation to lead normal lives.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Kumzits 2 With Hamenagnim Orchestra

Shakin' the Lulav (Sukkot song)

Inside the mind of a suicide bomber

Since May....

Absolutely Uncertain

A new, 18-minute mini-documentary follows the journey of Irina, a 23-year-old liberal, Jewish New Yorker who voted for Obama in 2008. Yet as her connection to Israel has grown, and she has learned more about the President's policies across the Middle East and towards Israel in particular, Irina has come to realize that "when the chips are down," the President may not "have Israel's back" as he says.

The short film features:

Exclusive interviews with leading journalists and politicians in Israel 
(Bloomberg, London Times, Jerusalem Post, etc.) 

Mainstream news reports (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, etc.), 

Clips from longtime Democratic supporters including: Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)

A United Against Nuclear Iran-led protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Warwick Hotel in New York City

Men wearing masks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, center, and Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a protest led by Iranian Americans and Syrian Americans outside the United Nations

CAMERA: A Nuclear-Capable Iran is a Threat to America

Much news media coverage of the past week's General Assembly opening and of Iran’s attempts to achieve nuclear weapons has been framed as a clash between Iran and Israel. This is incomplete. With the exception of an excellent article inUSA Today, little press attention has been paid to the threat Iran poses to the United States and the rest of the world.
A nuclear Iran would pose multiple threats to America:
  • Security
    • It would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East
    • American military bases and thousands of American troops are already in range of Iranian missiles
    • Iran operates in Central and South America in cooperation with organized criminal cartels, terrorists including Hezbollah cells and governments hostile to the United States such as Venezuela
    • Iran is the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror and even if it did not share nuclear weapons technology with its terrorist allies and proxies, would have a shield under which to expand their operations
  • Economy
    • A nuclear Iran could more credibly threaten to or actually close the Strait of Hormuz and would hold hostage much of the world’s oil supply
    • As most transportation relies on petroleum products and virtually all goods have to be transported, prices of everything would rise, consumers would retain less disposable income and general economic activity would be depressed
  • Interests and Values
    • Iran supresses freedom of speech and assembly
    • It persecutes women, homosexuals, religious and ethnic minorities
    • Citizens are subject to torture, arbitrary detentions, unfair trials and cruel punishments
It is vital that the context of the Iranian threat be provided. Media that take the easy route and make this a story about Israeli saber-rattling fail to inform their audiences of the profound implications of an Iran with nuclear weapons capability.

Obama Admits He Is A Muslim

Obama admits that he is a Muslim. Obama bowing before a Muslim king. Obama talking about his Muslim family. Obama quoting from the Koran. Obama defending Islam. Obama visiting a Mosque. And many more clips of Obama and his Muslim connections. Legal Disclaimer: The writers, producers, and editors of this video are not claiming or implying that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, or that Obama said he was a Muslim, rather they are only examining the evidence surrounding the rumor that Barack Hussein Obama might be a secret Muslim.

RJC Ad Blasts Pres. Obama for Snubbing Netanyahu to Appear on "The View"

These are turbulent times. American embassies in Pakistan, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia are under siege. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other brave Americans were murdered. Yet, in a 60-Minutes interview, Obama describes these crises as “bumps in the road.”

Worse, Obama says Israel’s unease about Iran getting a nuclear weapon is merely “noise.” Noise? And while Obama has time to meet with Whoopi Goldberg, he snubs Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, refusing to meet Israel’s elected leader while he is in the United States.

It all follows a pattern. Visiting Egypt, but not setting foot in Israel.

Calling on Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders with land swaps.

Reneging on his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Obama’s Jimmy Carter-style foreign policy is naïve and dangerous in these perilous times.


RJC Presents: "Perilous Times"

The Republican Jewish Coalition presents "Perilous Times," a mini-documentary in which Israeli experts and everyday citizens candidly discuss their concerns about the U.S.-Israel relationship under Pres. Obama.

Among the notable experts consulted for this film are :
• Zalman Shoval, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a highly-respected diplomat;
• Oren Kessler, foreign affairs correspondent at the Jerusalem Post;
• Barry Rubin, an expert on terrorism and Middle East affairs;
• Jacob Levy, Israel's leading pollster and founder of Gallup Israel;
• Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch; and
• Yair Shamir, leading Israeli businessman; former chair of El Al and Israel Aerospace; son of former PM Yitzhak Shamir.

Palestinian art piece shown on PA TV that depicted Israel as a monster impaling Palestinian babies and eating them

Preparing for Sukkos

Israeli leaders meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in NYC

Master of Ceremonies, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, opening speech at the Twelfth Siyum Hashas

Shlomo Rechnitz interviewed by Larry King

Philanthropist and businessman Shlomo Rechnitz was interviewed in a "Profiles in Philanthropy" special by Larry King.  Highlights of this interview were featured on the 2012 Chabad Telethon.   
King and Rechnitz discuss the motivation behind Rechnitz's massive global charitable efforts, the secret behind his business success, his views on the future of the healthcare industry and his commitment to Chabad.  Rechnitz also talked about a special program at his company, TwinMed, LLC, which hires graduates from Chabad's national drug and alcohol treatment center in Los Angeles, helping to integrate them back into the community.   
Rechnitz co-founded TwinMed in 1998, and it has grown to become the largest medical supply distributor of the West Coast and one of the nation's fastest growing distributors of medical supplies and services, serving as the primary distributor to over 2500 Skilled Nursing Facilities nationwide.  In 2004, Rechnitz  founded Brius Healthcare Company, a quality care provider with over 8,000 employees nationwide.   
Rechnitz has utilized his success in the healthcare field to give back to the field of medicine, and has contributed millions of dollars to cancer research. He is President of Toras Emes Academy, the largest Hebrew Day School west of the Mississippi, and is Chairman of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation in New York.   In 2011, Shlomo and his brother Steve were the winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award.  In May 2012, Rechnitz was honored by UCLA with Sidney Poitier, Terry Semel and Morgan Freeman when he received the ICON Award for Visionary Leadership in Business and Philanthropy.   
In August 2012, Rechnitz hosted the largest celebration of Jewish learning since the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., when 90,000 Jews gathered at New York's MetLife Stadium to celebrate the completion of the study of Talmud, a rigorous seven-and-a-half-year-long cycle of Talmudic learning.  
In September, Rechnitz was featured at the Chabad National Telethon as the recipient of the Chesed Award, Chabad's most prominent award.  
Rechnitz is a pillar of the Los Angeles community, where he spends much of his time engaged in philanthropic and community efforts in the field of education, medical and humanitarian assistance.

Israel PM Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu's Address to the United Nations on Iran and Radical Islam

It's a pleasure to see the General Assembly presided by the Ambassador from Israel, and it's good to see all of you, distinguished delegates.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear.
Throughout our history, the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It's their ideologies that have been discarded by history.
The people of Israel live on. We say in Hebrew Am Yisrael Chai, and the Jewish state will live forever.
The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. The masses of our people never gave up the dreamed of returning to our ancient homeland. 
Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home.
We will never be uprooted again. 

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
Every year, for over three millennia, we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past. We pray for our future. We remember the sorrows of our persecution; we remember the great travails of our dispersion; we mourn the extermination of a third of our people, six million, in the Holocaust.
But at the end of Yom Kippur, we celebrate.
We celebrate the rebirth of Israel. We celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David, and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern Jewish state. 
In Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we blaze new trails in science, technology, medicine, agriculture.
In Israel, the past and the future find common ground. 

Unfortunately, that is not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval. 
The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred. 
The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified. 
These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East. 
Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens: men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – all are equal before the law. 

Israel is also making the world a better place: our scientists win Nobel Prizes. Our know-how is in every cell-phone and computer that you're using. We prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia. 
Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man paralyzed from the waist down climb up a flight of stairs, quite easily, with the aid of an Israeli invention. 
And Israel's exceptional creativity is matched by our people's remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world – in Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey Indonesia and elsewhere – Israeli doctors are among the first on the scene, performing life-saving surgeries.

In the past year, I lost both my father and my father-in-law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact, every year, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israel to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.
I know you're not going to hear that from speakers around this podium, but that's the truth. It's important that you are aware of this truth. 
It’s because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace.

We seek to preserve our historic ties and our historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinians.

President Abbas just spoke here.
I say to him and I say to you:
We won't solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. That's not the way to solve it. We won't solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood.
We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish State.
Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.

Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this.
They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world. 
Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to Al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe. 
But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn't submit to their unforgiving creed. 
They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict. 
I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness. 
We've seen that happen before.
Some five hundred years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age. Eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment. 
So too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology. When this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity. 

I think the relevant question is this: it's not whether this fanaticism will be defeated. It's how many lives will be lost before it's defeated. 
We've seen that happen before too.
Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at an horrific cost.
My friends, we cannot let that happen again. 
At stake is not merely the future of my own country. At stake is the future of the world. Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons.
To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda. 
It makes no difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world's most dangerous terrorist regime or the world's most dangerous terrorist organization. They're both fired by the same hatred; they're both driven by the same lust for violence.
Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up till now, without nuclear weapons. 
In 2009, they brutally put down mass protests for democracy in their own country. Today, their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children, directly participating in this murder.
They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They've turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies.
In the last year, they've spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They've even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat.
And of course, Iran's rulers repeatedly deny the Holocaust and call for Israel's destruction almost on a daily basis, as they did again this week from the United Nations.

So I ask you, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs. 
Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?

There are those who believe that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred like the Soviet Union. 
That's a very dangerous assumption. 
Militant Jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers. Yet Iran produces hordes of them. 
Deterrence worked with the Soviets, because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose their survival.
But deterrence may not work with the Iranians once they get nuclear weapons.

There's a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it's an inducement. 
Iran's apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth. 
That's not just what they believe. That's what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.
Just listen to Ayatollah Rafsanjani who said, I quote: "The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything, however it would only harm the Islamic world."
Rafsanjani said: "It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality."
Not irrational…
And that's coming from one of the so-called moderates of Iran.

Shockingly, some people have begun to peddle the absurd notion that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually stabilize the Middle East.
Yeah, right… 
That's like saying a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda would usher in an era of universal peace. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I've been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years.
I spoke about it in my first term in office as Prime Minister, and then I spoke about it when I left office. I spoke about it when it was fashionable, and I spoke about it when it wasn't fashionable. 
I speak about it now because the hour is getting late, very late. I speak about it now because the Iranian nuclear calendar doesn't take time out for anyone or for anything. I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country, it's not only my right to speak; it's my duty to speak. And I believe that this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.
For nearly a decade, the international community has tried to stop the Iranian nuclear program with diplomacy. 
That hasn't worked.
Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program. 

For over seven years, the international community has tried sanctions with Iran. Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date. 
I want to thank the governments represented here that have joined in this effort. It's had an effect. Oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been hit hard. 
It's had an effect on the economy, but we must face the truth. Sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear program either.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, during the last year alone, Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges in its underground nuclear facility in Qom.
At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program. 
Red lines don't lead to war; red lines prevent war.
Look at NATO's charter: it made clear that an attack on one member country would be considered an attack on all. NATO's red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century.
President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That red line also prevented war and helped preserve the peace for decades.
In fact, it's the failure to place red lines that has often invited aggression. 

If the Western powers had drawn clear red lines during the 1930s, I believe they would have stopped Nazi aggression and World War II might have been avoided. 
In 1990, if Saddam Hussein had been clearly told that his conquest of Kuwait would cross a red line, the first Gulf War might have been avoided.
Clear red lines have also worked with Iran. 
Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormouz. The United States drew a clear red line and Iran backed off. 
Red lines could be drawn in different parts of Iran's nuclear weapons program. But to be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program: on Iran's efforts to enrich uranium. Now let me explain why:
Basically, any bomb consists of explosive material and a mechanism to ignite it. 
The simplest example is gunpowder and a fuse. That is, you light the fuse and set off the gunpowder.
In the case of Iran's plans to build a nuclear weapon, the gunpowder is enriched uranium. The fuse is a nuclear detonator. 
For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse. 
For a country like Iran, it takes many, many years to enrich uranium for a bomb. That requires thousands of centrifuges spinning in tandem in very big industrial plants. Those Iranian plants are visible and they're still vulnerable. 
In contrast, Iran could produce the nuclear detonator – the fuse – in a lot less time, maybe under a year, maybe only a few months. 
The detonator can be made in a small workshop the size of a classroom. It may be very difficult to find and target that workshop, especially in Iran. That's a country that's bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Britain combined. 
The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a warhead or a nuclear device that could be placed in a container ship. Chances are you won't find that facility either.
So in fact the only way that you can credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, is to prevent Iran from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb. 
So, how much enriched uranium do you need for a bomb? And how close is Iran to getting it?
Let me show you. I brought a diagram for you. Here's the diagram.


This is a bomb; this is a fuse. 
In the case of Iran's nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages.
The first stage: they have to enrich enough of low enriched uranium.
The second stage: they have to enrich enough medium enriched uranium.
And the third stage and final stage: they have to enrich enough high enriched uranium for the first bomb.
Where's Iran? Iran's completed the first stage. It took them many years, but they completed it and they're 70% of the way there.
Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. 
From there, it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.


Ladies and Gentlemen,
What I told you now is not based on secret information. It's not based on military intelligence. It's based on public reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Anybody can read them. They're online.
So if these are the facts, and they are, where should the red line be drawn?

The red line should be drawn right here

Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb. 
Before Iran gets to a point where it's a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. 
Each day, that point is getting closer. That's why I speak today with such a sense of urgency. And that's why everyone should have a sense of urgency.
Some who claim that even if Iran completes the enrichment process, even if it crosses that red line that I just drew, our intelligence agencies will know when and where Iran will make the fuse, assemble the bomb, and prepare the warhead. 
Look, no one appreciates our intelligence agencies more than the Prime Minister of Israel. All these leading intelligence agencies are superb, including ours. They've foiled many attacks. They've saved many lives.
But they are not foolproof.
For over two years, our intelligence agencies didn't know that Iran was building a huge nuclear enrichment plant under a mountain. 
Do we want to risk the security of the world on the assumption that we would find in time a small workshop in a country half the size of Europe?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb. 
The red line must be drawn on Iran's nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target.
I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.
This will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether. 

Two days ago, from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be contained. 
I very much appreciate the President's position as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program. This goal unites the people of Israel. It unites Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world.
What I have said today will help ensure that this common goal is achieved. 
Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue, and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The clash between modernity and medievalism need not be a clash between progress and tradition.
The traditions of the Jewish people go back thousands of years. They are the source of our collective values and the foundation of our national strength.
At the same time, the Jewish people have always looked towards the future. Throughout history, we have been at the forefront of efforts to expand liberty, promote equality, and advance human rights.
We champion these principles not despite of our traditions but because of them.
We heed the words of the Jewish prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Jeremiah to treat all with dignity and compassion, to pursue justice and cherish life and to pray and strive for peace.
These are the timeless values of my people and these are the Jewish people's greatest gift to mankind. 
Let us commit ourselves today to defend these values so that we can defend our freedom and protect our common civilization.

Thank you.

Lipa Schmeltzer gramming in Nikolsburg Motzei Yom Kippur 5773

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shuffling through the IDF

Bill Clinton on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran: "They don’t have a tenable position"

In New York for his CGI Annual Meeting, Clinton offered his reaction to Morgan's recent interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during which the Iranian president spoke about Israel and potential future military conflict:
"What they are really saying is, 'in spite of the fact we deny the holocaust, we threaten Israel, we demonize the United States, and we do all this stuff - we want you to trust us,'" details the 66-year-old Democrat. "'In spite of the fact that we won’t cooperate with the international regime setup to avoid an arms race in the Middle East and set up to avoid nuclear proliferation, we want you to trust us.' So they don’t have a tenable position."
Sitting directly across from the man who served as the nation's 42nd commander-in-chief from 1993 to 2001, Morgan asks a very straightforward question:
"Do you trust Ahmadinejad?"
"Not on this I don't," answers Clinton in an equally direct manner.
Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, then tune in this evening as the man who left the White House with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II further explains why "no serious person believes" Ahmadinejad's explanation of Iran's stance on nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu on UN: 'Black Day' for those Who Didn't Walk Out Before boarding flight to New York, Prime Minister pens message: Jewish people surmounts all obstacles.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed a letter to the citizens of Israel Wednesday just before he boarded a flight to New York, where he will address the UN General Assembly. In it, he castigated the UN delegates who chose to remain in the UN General Assembly hall as Iran'sPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke there earlier in the day.
"Dear Israeli citizens," he wrote.
"I am taking off tonight to New York, to represent the State of Israel on the UN podium. On the question of Iran, we are all united in the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons."
"On the day that we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life, the podium was given to the dictatorial regime in Iran that takes every opportunity to sentence us to death."
"On the eve of Yom Kippur, a day that the Jewish people holds sacred, the Iranian dictator chose to call for our disappearance in public, with the entire world watching. This is a black day for those who chose to remain in the hall and hear these hateful words. In my speech before the representatives of nations at the UN General Assembly, they will hear our response.
"As the prime minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, I am acting in every possible way so that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. History proves that whoever wanted to erase us from the map – failed in his mission, while the Jewish nation overcame all obstacles.
"We've created a marvelous state, one of the most advanced in the world. Israel is a modern, strong state due to the strength and talent of its citizens and thanks to our belief in the justness of our path. I wish you a gmar chatima tova." 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ten Tips for an Easy Yom Kippur Fast

Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean suffering. There’s quite a bit we can do to alleviate the bodily and mental stress that normally accompanies a fast. The day before the fast, follow the following guidelines:
1. Cut down your caffeine intake to minimize headaches. That means stop drinking coffee, tea, and cola at least eight hours before the fast, and preferably twenty-four hours before the fast.
2. Avoid salty, spicey, and fried foods on the day before the fast.
3. Avoid white sugar, white flour, and white rice. Eat whole-grained foods such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread or challa.
4. Drink a lot of water all day long.
5. Eat a good breakfast that includes fruits, veggies, eggs or sardines, and whole grains.
6. The pre-Yom Kippur meal (se'uda mafseket) should include baked or broiled fish, a veggy salad, consomme, a small portion of chicken or turkey, and a side dish of complex carbohydrates. Substitute sweet deserts with watermelon or other water-retaining fresh fruit, and a cup of herb tea with a whole-grain cookie.
On Yom Kippur:
7. The more you immerse yourself in prayer, the less you'll think about food.
8. Rest between prayers. Don’t run around outside, especially in the hot sun. Save your voice for prayers. Idle talking will make you thirstier, and will detract from the holiness of the day.
After the fast:
9. Drink two glasses of water, and then eat solids gradually, so as not to shock the digestive system. Begin with fruit, like plums or grapes. The worst thing people do is to consume pastries and soft drinks, or “lekach un bronfan” (cake and liquor) right after the fast (these are unhealthy anytime, all the more so right after the fast when they give your body a shock of glucose).
10. Forty-five minutes to an hour afterwards, one can eat a balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. After eating, relax for an hour with your favorite book (preferably Gemara of the laws of Succoth from Shulchan Oruch) and your favorite beverage, then begin constructing your Succa.
Attention diabetics, heart patients, folks with high blood pressure, and people whose health depends on regular medication - you must be especially careful to ask your doctor if you are capable of fasting, and then consult with your local rabbi, giving him the doctor's exact opinion. For many such people, it is a mitzva not to fast on Yom Kippur.
The Israel Cancer Association recommends that cancer patients not fast without approval from their physicians. Fasting could cause considerable discomfort in cancer patients, who need a lot of liquids to alleviate side effects of chemotherapy. Again, first consult the doctor and then the rabbi. Give the rabbi all the details that you received from the doctor.
This past Tisha B'Av, I policed my synagogue looking for sick people who were fasting without authorization. It's no mitzva to get yourself rushed in an ambulance to the emergency ward because you were fasting without authorization.
Don't let children (boys under the age of 12 or girls under the age of 11) be overzealous. Make sure they eat on time.
With G-d's blessing and the above guidelines, you'll have an easy fast. May all of us be signed and sealed in the Book of Long and Happy Lives, amen.