Sunday, November 30, 2014

THIS WEEK'S MISHPACHA MAGAZINE: "Catch up with Baruch C. Cohen, trial attorney in Los Angeles

I was privileged to appear in three Mishpacha articles, two of which were cover stories.

I received a lot of positive feedback in response to Binyamin Rose’s Bitachon Hollywood Style article (issue #169), which was about a shiur I gave to a small group of Jewish men whose jobs were in Hollywood in memory of my daughter Hindy, based on material I learned to give me chizuk during her illness. I heard from a lot of bereaved parents struggling to survive and hoping to transcend. A prominent rosh yeshivah who read the article asked me for guidance in helping a family in his kehilla cope with multiple tragedies. I probably received 50 phone calls after it was published from people across the country seeking validation and chizuk for their painful nisayon. I responded to all feedback and was able to help those who reached out to connect with me—it was very gratifying. As a result of the article, my book Reb Yochanan's Bone: Chizuk to the Bereaved Parent was given out to about 250 bereaved parents. However, I have since retreated somewhat from the public spotlight of being connected and identified with grief, because as we say on Friday night in Lecha Dodi, “Rav lach sheves be’emek habachah”—Too long have I dwelled in the Valley of Tears. It was time for me to move on, and the law of diminishing returns started to kick in. I have since written: Grieving & Healing Through the Prism of the Torah: A Bereaved Parent's Journey Beyond Pain in honor of my daughter Hindy’s tenth yahrzeit.

Mishpacha also published Trying Times for Beis Din by Binyamin Rose (#286), which was an investigative report of the beis din system and the root causes of Orthodox Jews going to secular courts to challenge beis din decisions. Seder in the Court by Eytan Kobre (#495) was about the role of Jewish law in the secular courtroom. Both of these articles generated a lot of healthy inquiries about Beis Din. Of the twenty-plus people who contacted me (all from the East Coast / Tri-State area) after those articles, eight actually retained me for their litigation needs in state court and in Beis Din in Los Angeles and New York. 

I was a bit taken aback by the fair amount of harsh criticisms about people’s negative experiences with batei din, and I was surprised that some went through the effort to contact me from across the country just to vent their outrage and contempt about rabbis in general (which is a serious problem in and of itself). I made it clear that I do not share the negative perception of rabbis. On the contrary, my natural gravitational pull is towards our rabbanim and the wealth of Torah knowledge they have accumulated. I explained that (1) I believed strongly in the institution of Beis Din; (2) the serious prohibitions of suing a fellow Jew in arkous (secular courts); (3) the economic and strategic benefits to Beis Din; and (4) my personal and positive impressions of rabbanim, all of which made an enormous differences in their attitudes. Mind you, I’m not oblivious to the problems that exist, but those problems are technical and are not what feeds the public’s distrust. I also don’t advocate the notion that a rav is infallible and cannot make a mistake. They are human just like me and you, just like the judge in court, but the rabbis that I know try their best and dedicate their lives to following a Torah path—and we must support them. I would like to think I have influenced these callers, who reached out because of what they read in Mishpacha, to alter their perceptions and litigate according to halacha, and that I was mekadesh Shem Shamayim in doing so.

Andrew Klavan: How to Behave During an Islamic Massacre

Life with Arabs in Jerusalem The Har Nof massacre has stripped away the veneer of security, leaving us feeling vulnerable.

Jerusalem has gotten a bit scarier the last couple of months. Israeli authorities are not  officially calling it the third intifada, but living in our nation’s capital is not as tranquil as it used it to be. After a spate of terror attacks by lone drivers (right around the corner from where I live), the horrific massacre in Har Nof’s largest shul, and two men being stabbed by Arab assailants near Jaffa Gate, (five minutes after I walked by that very spot), fear has gripped the city. It’s just been reported that the Shin Bet foiled a Hamas plot to attack Teddy Stadium. There is a shortage of pepper spray (which my wife and kids now carry) and a greater mistrust toward Arabs living and working in the city due to fears that they may be the next terrorist who goes on a rampage.
Terror hits everyone. We are being attacked by an enemy that wants to annihilate the Jewish people and drive us from our homes. And while many Arabs certainly do want peace, it is becoming harder to differentiate which Arab genuinely seeks peace and which Arab is prepared to grab an axe or car to kill innocent civilians. This is not in any way meant as a racist statement. It is the very real concern every Jew living in Jerusalem faces daily. Just take one ride on the Jerusalem light rail to experience what I’m talking about.
This week’s Torah portion gives us some insights in how we as Jews need to prepare to encounter someone who wants to harm us.
Jacob gets word that Esau, his twin brother and foe who he has not seen in over 20 years, is coming to greet him with an army of 400 soldiers. Jacob is afraid, and implements three different strategies in preparation to meet his mortal enemy.
First, hoping to bribe Esau, he sends messengers with an enormous gift consisting of waves of livestock and servants. Then he prepares to do battle with Esau in case his gifts do not appease him. And finally Jacob prays to God to save him.
The order of Jacob’s three-pronged defense strategy is not random. Why did he leave prayer for last? The Jew’s primary weapon is prayer. Shouldn’t praying to God to save him be the first and most significant act of preparation?

Gifts and Confrontation

The Torah is teaching us several important lessons through the steps that Jacob took and their specific order.
Jacob first sends gifts to Esau because if a confrontation can be avoided through bribery, that is the best possible outcome at the least cost. If some gifts can buy peace and avoid bloodshed, that is the preferred route.
Gifts that are not backed up by a clear readiness for confrontation become a statement of capitulation that breeds contempt, not peace.
But a gift alone is a very dangerous strategy. A bribe is effective only if the enemy knows that beneath the velvet cover lays an iron fist. Esau needs to know that if conciliation fails, Jacob is fully committed to waging war and doing whatever it takes to protect his family.
Gifts that are not backed up by a clear readiness for confrontation become a statement of capitulation that breeds contempt, not peace. The enemy smells weakness, and his appetite is only whetted.
This is one of the reasons why the Oslo accords were such a dismal failure. Our Arab enemies realized that the nation of Israel was tired of war. The Israeli government was offering concessions without the readiness to go to war, if need be. As a result, land for peace brought only conflict and escalation. The Arab leaders viewed our concessions as capitulation and as a result they were emboldened to harden their stance and attack Israel.

Prayer: Escape or Responsibility

Jacob’s decision to make prayer his third and final act of preparation teaches us a crucial lesson about the interplay between prayer, relying on God and taking responsibility.
Prayer is appropriate only once we have undertaken as much responsibility as we possibly can.
Trusting God and putting in our necessary effort is a delicate balance. We have to do both. Prayer is appropriate only once we have undertaken as much responsibility as we possibly can. In the absence of assuming responsibility, we can cloak ourselves in self-righteousness and use prayer as an escape from our obligations. This is antithetical to what God wants from us.
Imagine stumbling across a butterfly as it struggles to break out of its cocoon. You look in wonder at the metamorphosis that is occurring right before your eyes, and out of compassion, you break open the cocoon to help the poor butterfly break free. You think you are doing a kindness for the emerging butterfly, but in fact you are harming it irrevocably. The butterfly needs to exert its muscles by breaking out of its cocoon because through this effort it gains the strength to flap its wings and fly.
The Almighty wants us to exert our muscles, to put in the necessary effort and learn what it means to be responsible. Turning to prayer as a quick fix that sidesteps responsibility runs counter to God’s overall purpose in this world because it robs us of the opportunity to emulate Him by utilizing our free will.
At the same time prayer reminds us that ultimately, everything comes from the Almighty. We must realize that God is in control and trust that He has our back. But prayer is not appropriate until we have demonstrated to God that we are acting responsibly and doing all that is in our power. That is why Jacob prays only after he has completed the other two steps of preparation, and why we need to ensure that we are doing our utmost in being responsible before relying on prayer to save us.
The Har Nof massacre has stripped away the veneer of security, leaving us feeling vulnerable. We must be strong and firm. We must take responsible action, as a nation and as individuals. If you do not live in Jerusalem, that includes coming to visit to demonstrate your solidarity and that you will not give into to terror. (Just last 400 women from around the came to Israel on a JWRP mission. No one cancelled their trip.) And lastly, we must put our trust in the Almighty and turn our hearts to God in sincere prayer, recognizing that ultimately He is the only One who can save us.

Is CAIR a Terror Group? Daniel Pipes

We who follow the Islamist movement fell off our collective chair on Nov. 15 when the news came that the United Arab Emirates' ministerial cabinet had listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as one of 83 proscribed terrorist organizations, up there with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.
This came as a surprise because the UAE authorities themselves have a record of promoting Islamism; because CAIR has a history of raising funds in the UAE; and because the UAE embassy in Washington had previously praised CAIR.
On reflection, however, the listing makes sense for, in recent years, the Islamist movement has gravely fractured. Sunnis fight Shi'is; advocates of violence struggle against those working within the system; modernizers do battle against those trying to return to the seventh century; and monarchists confront republicans.
This last divide concerns us here. After decades of working closely with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its related institutions, the Persian Gulf monarchies (with the single, striking exception of Qatar) have come to see the MB complex of institutions as a threat to their existence. The Saudi, Emirati, Kuwaiti, and Bahraini rulers now view politicians like Mohamed Morsi of Egypt as their enemies, as they do Hamas and its progeny – including CAIR.
While the Gulf monarchs have not become any less Islamist, they have acquired a clear-eyed appreciation of the harm that MB-related groups can do.
Having explained why the UAE listed CAIR on its terror manifest, we must pose a second question: Is the listing warranted? Can a Washington-based organization with ties to the Obama White House, the U.S. Congress, leading media outlets, and prestigious universities truly be an instigator of terrorism?
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan explains why his government considers CAIR to be terrorist.
CAIR can rightly be so characterized. True, it does not set off bombs but, as the UAE's foreign minister explains, "Our threshold is quite low. … We cannot accept incitement or funding." Indeed, CAIR incites, funds, and does much more vis-à-vis terrorism:
Apologizes for terrorist groups: Challenged repeatedly to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, CAIR denounces the acts of violence but not their sponsors.
Is connected to Hamas: Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and many other governments, indirectly created CAIR and the two groups remain tight. Examples: in 1994, CAIR head Nihad Awad publicly declared his support for Hamas; and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas front group, contributed $5,000 to CAIR; in turn, CAIR exploited the 9/11 attacks to raise money for HLF; and, this past August, demonstrators at a CAIR-sponsored rally in Florida proclaimed "We are Hamas!"
The Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas front group, made an early $5,000 donation to CAIR to help establish it.
Settled a lawsuit: CAIR initiated a libel lawsuit in 2004 over five statements by a group called Anti-CAIR. But two years later, CAIR settled the suit with prejudice (meaning that it cannot be reopened), implicitly acknowledging the accuracy of Anti-CAIR's assertions, which included:
  • "CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists";
  • "CAIR … is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries";
  • "CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists"; and
  • "CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations."
For two years, 2004-06, CAIR sued Anti-CAIR, eventually to settle with prejudice.
Includes individuals accused of terrorism: At least seven board members or staff at CAIR have been arrested, denied entry to the US, or were indicted on or pled guilty to or were convicted of terrorist charges: Siraj Wahhaj, Bassem Khafagi, Randall ("Ismail") Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Rabih Haddad, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, and Nabil Sadoun.
Is in trouble with the law: Federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR (along with two other Islamic organizations) as "unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers" in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas financially. In 2008, the FBI ended contacts with CAIR because of concern with its continuing terrorist ties.
On learning of the UAE listing, CAIR called it "shocking and bizarre," then got to work to have the Department of State protest and undo the ruling. Nothing loath, department spokesperson Jeff Rathke noted that the U.S. government, which "does not consider these organizations to be terrorist organizations," has asked for more information about the UAE decision. The UAE minister of state for Foreign affairs replied that if organizations can show that their "approach has changed," they are eligible to appeal "to have their names eliminated from the list."
Pressure from the Obama administration might reverse the UAE listing. Even so, this will not undo its lasting damage. For the first time, an Islamist government has exposed the malign, terroristic quality of CAIR – a stigma CAIR can never escape.

Shloime Gertner & Yedidim - Vseirov

Differing Views On Meir Kahane | Luke Ford

I read an interesting discussion between two of my Facebook friends.
Daniel: “Grind up their bodies [of Arab terrorists] and feed it to pigs. Wait for the pigs to excrete them. Put it all in a gift wrapped box and send it to Abbas with a note saying: “The future of Palestine”.
If the Israeli government had the wisdom to listen to the prophetic words of Rabbi Kahane and the balls to implement his ideas back in the 80’s, the thousands of holy Jews who were murdered by savage Arab scumbags would still be alive today. But the short sighted Israeli leaders of the time, whose fear of being called racists by the world overcame their duty to protect the lives of their citizens, made suicidal deals with terrorists. And despite their liberal policies and their foolishly giving away precious Jewish land, they were STILL called racists, while our people were being slaughtered. Only now is the government finally coming closer to Rabbi Kahane’s ideas. Unfortunately, not quickly enough.
I’ve heard the Rabbi speak many times throughout the 70’s and 80’s. His love for his people and his desire to protect them shone through in every speech. He spoke the truth about Jews and Arabs. But most people are incapable of accepting the truth, even when they’re staring right at it.
So, like many biblical prophets, his words were mostly ignored, and he became one of the many victims of the Arab terrorism he tried to prevent.
Some of the Jewish blood that was spilled these last three decades is on the hands of ignorant fools like Christoph Donnellan, who created an environment of undeserved hostility toward Rabbi Kahane, but, in fact, didn’t even deserve to be in the same room as him, may his memory be a blessing.”
Christoph Donnellan: Good expose of ‘Rabbi’ Kahane, ‘The False Prophet: Life and Times of Meir Kahane, by Robert I. Friedman. Google it.
He was a huckster and con artist who regularly did the Gefilte fish circuit in L.A. and NYC every time he needed money.
Half his speech in L.A to a bizarre audience of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, most of whom looked like extras from Fiddler on The Roof, he was asking for Gelt.
DANIEL: Christoph, you’re a lying piece of crap!
I attended many of Rabbi Kahane’s LA speeches. They were usually held in a synagogue called B’nai David-Judea, which was, at the time, Conservative. Not Orthodox. I don’t recall seeing one person in chasidic garb. The very large shul was filled to capacity with mostly Modern Orthodox and Conservative Jews, who were united in their concern for the welfare of Israel. And there were NO requests for money.
As a proponent of Arab terrorism against Israel, you are used to being lied to by the likes of Al Jazeera and the liberal media outlets that feed your inherent bias. Now, being the good little brainwashed propagandist you are, you fabricate your own outrageous lies, like the makeup of an audience you were never part of. But unlike your feeble minded friends, I WAS THERE, and I’m calling you out as the lier you so obviously are.
The terrorists murdered Rabbi Kahane, even though he was no longer in the Knesset, because he spread the light of truth on the darkness of Islamic lies.
Nowadays, more Israelis, including those in the Knesset, now understand the folly of peace talks with bloodthirsty savages and are waking up from their Oslo-induced comas and starting to admit Kahane was right. But back then, he was the only one with the guts to speak the truth. Those Arab rats knew they could not win their PR war when someone was shining the light of truth in their faces. So they snuffed that light out. And it’s taken a quarter of a century and thousands of lost Jewish lives for Israeli leaders to start rekindling that light.
Christoph Donnellan: ‘Terrorists’ didn’t murder the FBI informant, phony Rabbi, and associate of the mafia in NYC, Michael King aka ‘Meir Kahane,’ but some mentally ill Egyptian national. I went to a speech by ‘Kahane’ in 1988-89 out in the San Fernando Valley and the bulk of his audience were rather grubby Ultra-Orthodox Jews who looked and smelled as they had been alergic to soap and water for some time, and the venue was not a Synagogue. Other than the orthodox there were real life terrorists, some of whom are now deceased, from the Jewish Defense League (JDL).

Life in Israel: Becoming a combat soldier in 90 seconds #IDFStyle (video)

R. Eliyahu Stewart, z”l By Yitzchok Adlerstein

Seldom do maspidim capture the essence of a person as well as they did on Thursday when they eulogized Rav Eliyahu Stewart z”l, a home-grown Angelino who was beloved to thousands. In an hour and a half of hespedim, no one needed to exaggerate his accomplishments. They stood proudly on their own. No one needed trivial filler to round out his life story. There was no time for that; the richness of his achievement didn’t allow for it. His rov of many years, and a succession of family members, spoke of someone who loved people, loved learning, and loved presenting Torah to talmidim. The massive number of people who essentially spent their rare holiday afternoon at his levaya was impressive testimony that the love was reciprocated.
Perhaps one element was missing, through no ones fault, from the hespedim – the perspective of a friend. Maybe I am looking for catharsis. Maybe the shock, the grief, the void draws me to the keyboard, but I am driven to share some thoughts as someone who lost a decades-long friend and confidante.
The parallels to the life of Yaakov Avinu would be compelling even if Reb Eliyahu had not died during parshas Vayeitzei. He was the ish tam, the self-contained person, who dwelt in the tents of Torah. He had simple needs, and had no use for a faux-dignity created by uniforms. He proudly pedaled the five miles to work, where others wouldn’t think of it. In a community where even many bnei Torah participate in the spirit of indulgence, he just wasn’t interested in luxury items, hobbies, or vacations. They were distractions from avodah. Esav needed the adrenalin rush of adventure, of the novel – of the sadeh. Yaakov – and Reb Eliyahu – could find deeper contentment in a self-made castle of Torah values. Reb Eliyahu authored no seforim, but like Yaakov his chief legacy was a mitaso shelemah. Like Yaakov, and unlike Avrohom and Yitzchok, Reb Eliyahu’s offspring are all gems, all ne’emanim l’Hashem u-le-soroso.
As R. Samson Raphael Hirsch observes, Yaakov in our parshah labors for fourteen years not on behalf of his family, but simply to acquire one. Yaakov, whose cognomen would later grace our entire nation, shows thereby the central importance of wife and children. So did Reb Eliyahu. If Yaakov lo meis because his children remained a powerful living legacy, keeping his understanding of Torah alive without missing a step (see Gur Aryeh), Reb Eliyahu approximated this in our times.
Speaker after speaker noted Reb Eliyahu’s non-judgmental love of all Jews, indeed all people. (Yaakov taught us all how to rebuke others when we have to. The only time that the Torah uses the word achai/ my brothers in regard to strangers is when Yaakov approaches the shepherds at the well to question their dawdling on the job.) This is true. But the picture would be incomplete if we did not note that there was a definite limit to his tolerance. He was decidedly intolerant of policies and attitudes that tarnished the reputation of Torah. (Sweet, gentle Yaakov could not be roused to anger or retribution in all the years that Lavan cheated him day after day. When does he get angry? When Lavan accuses him of theft, which, if unchallenged, would have created a chilul Hashem.) So many times, throughout the years, he unburdened himself to me, and I to him. (He did so with more grace, and less cynicism than I.) There were so many – too many – ways:
It is true that he loved his connection to his Satmar roots. He cherished it, rather than turned his back on it. He loved his relatives, even those with a life style very different than his own. But he was also profoundly disturbed (to put it mildly) that some in the frum would not be grateful and appreciative of the soldiers that protected them with their bodies, and the government that supported their physical needs, directly and indirectly. He could not accept that some attitudes in the frum world were stuck and mired in ideological battles of the past, without noting that history had left them mostly behind.
It is true that Reb Eliyahu loved and ministered to all kinds of talmidim, who respected and loved him in return, and kept up a relationship with him decades later. At the same time, he was critical of the way some of those talmidim were shortchanged through policies that ensured a substandard general education, which meant that many would be headed for a lifetime of underemployment and perhaps poverty. That was not the way he understood the Torah’s instruction for living.
He had little tolerance for people who were intolerant of non-Jews. He saw this as both an aberration of Torah, as well as a fossilized carry-over from a different reality in Europe that had changed in great degree in the medinah shel chessed.
It is true that Reb Eliyahu advocated, as the maspidim said, that everyone should play to their own strengths. This meant, though, that he was less than happy with systems of Torah chinuch that were monolithic, that failed to accommodate and nurture individual limitations, strengths, and talents. This could not be authentic Torah.
It is true that he was part of a small group of Beverly Hills residents almost a half-century ago who continued to upgrade their Torah learning and never looked back. In Reb Eliyahu’s case, that meant a high-school year in Israel (perhaps the source of his enormous love for Israel), Kerem B’Yavneh, Ner Israel, a lifetime of daily involvement with limmud Torah. This background and breadth (and his relationship with gedolim of the Rav Ruderman generation) made him more tolerant of Jews of different stripes, particularly within Orthodoxy. Yet, this did not diminish his deep sense of disappointment about some of what he observed in teaching in the Modern Orthodox community – the tenuous commitment in some of the students to the full scope of halachic demands, convenient or not; the frequent non-davening that had little, if anything, to do with conversation with G-d. He did not blame the kids, of course. He frequently said that they could not possibly get beyond what they observed in their parents’ behavior. And he was pained that too many of those parents accepted so much Judaism-by-rote, stripped of real kabolas ole and genuine avodah. This is not what Torah was about. Why didn’t they see it?
He had a beautiful voice, and used it as a chazzan. But he also loved Ivrit. He refused to compromise dikduk, even to make the words fit familiar nigunim. He doggedly insisted on respecting every mi-l’eil and every mi-l’ra, even when no one comprehended why his syllable-stresses were so unfamiliar. I suspect that it was not just a matter of his understanding of dikduk, but his core belief that nothing in life should be chaotic and random, including pronunciation. Yaakov’s tiferes led to a rule-driven world, including speech itself.
Some of the maspidim mentioned that he knew where to find the least expensive places to purchase things, a talent not uncommon with children of survivors. And Yaakov Avinu, who went back for the pachim ketanim, also knew that money shouldn’t be squandered. Unlike others, however, this did not make him a tight-wad. He was generous to a fault in regard to tzedakah and otherwise helping people, just as Yaakov was willing for a mitzvah to place his entire net worth before Esav to buy out the latter’s claim to Me’oras Ha-Machpelah.
Like Yaakov, he knew tragedy and loss. His levaya today was held in the same large shul that housed the levaya for a daughter who succumbed to the same tumor. Like Yaakov, he moved on, although never fully getting over his mourning.
In one regard, Reb Eliyahu was not like Yaakov at all. Bikesh Yaakov leisheiv be-shalvah. At some point, Yaakov believed that he had fulfilled his necessary complement of suffering, and might be entitled to coast for a while. Reb Eliyahu learned from Yaakov’s experience; he had no such expectation. Life ahead was to be like the long bicycle rides he organized: just keep pushing on. Rest was not for the living. Alhought he never sought it so early, HKBH decided to give him the early retirement option of eternal tranquility. We mourn only that his taking it leaves us without husband, father, rebbi, friend.
Yehi zichro baruch.

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Wailing Wall by Gustav Bauernfeind

File:Wailing Wall by Gustav Bauernfeind.png

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Gustav Bauernfeind's painting of the Temple Mount entrance, 1886

From Israel HaYom:
In one of the rooms of the Jordanian royal palace in Amman hangs a famous painting from 128 years ago by the artist Gustav Bauernfeind. This breathtaking piece of art depicts a group of Jews standing at the Cotton Merchant's Gate, one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.

The artist wrote of the painting: "A group of Jews stand at the gate, their heads thrust slightly forward as they peer into the paradisiacal sun-drenched precinct within, with its gleaming domes and coloured tiles and marbled walls, which once had formed their most sacred national shrine; whereas now, seated before that very portal, sword in hand, the gatekeeper (I nearly called him the Temple watchman) bars their way. Within, Mohammedans dressed in vivid costumes stroll, sit, loll about, and the like. A fine contrast, don't you think?"

King Hussein, the late father of the current monarch, Abdullah, noticed the painting during a visit to Germany more than two decades ago. He fell in love with it immediately. His emissaries paid a fortune to buy it. Through his deft use of the paintbrush, Bauernfeind unwittingly provided the snapshot image that reflects the manner in which the Hashemite kingdom views itself -- the guardian at the gate and legal custodian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.
The piece sold for $533,755 in 1999*.

The rest of the article is very good as well, but this painting encapsulates how Muslims want the Temple Mount to look today: smilingly holding spears to prevent the hated, wretched Jews from visiting while Muslims use the holy place as a park. 

(h/t YMedad)

*UPDATE: There was a similar painting by Bauernfiend that is the one that was sold in 1999, but the description Christie's quotes gave doesn't quite match it, I cannot find a Muslim guard with a sword. (h/t Irene)

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: The saga of the Israeli "Arab Idol" contestant

Last Saturday, one of the two contestants for "Arab Idol" who have Israeli citizenship lost the competition when she gathered the lowest number of votes:

Manal Mousa, an Israeli contestant on the Arab world's premier singing competition, was eliminated on Saturday's live-performance episodes.

The judges of Arab Idol were shocked by Mousa's elimination, and she thanked them graciously for their support before turning to her political message. "I want to pass a message for the yellow journalism that fought me – I am Palestinian and Palestinian blood flows through me."
She had made a number of anti-Israel statements during her competition:
Mousa, a 27-year-old resident of Deir Al-Assad in northern Israel, set off massive shockwaves with her statements during her time on Arab Idol, as she took to Facebook to demonstrate her pro-Palestinian credentials.

Mousa called Khair Hamdan, the Kafr Kanna who was killed by Israeli police officers, a "martyr" and encouraged protests and demonstrations across the Arab sector. "Palestine is revolting, Israeli Arabs are revolting, Kafr Kanna is revolting," she wrote.
But it seems that one reason she lost is because Arabs were starting rumors that she was pro-Israel! 

After Israel's Arabic spokesman Avichai Adraee noted that Israel allowed the two Israeli contestants to travel to Lebanon to compete in the show. This apparent "support" by Israel for the contestants seems to have started a number of rumors, including that she was in the Israeli army, or that her father was in the IDF.

This was the "yellow journalism" she was referring to.

As "evidence" of her family's pro-Israel credentials, a video surfaced of her sister Sabrin auditioning for anIsraeli talent show program. 

Even though Sabrin sang a classic Arab tune, that fact that she was on the show at all, speaking Hebrew with the judges, and otherwise acting like a person who doesn't hate Israel seems to have turned the Arab voters against Manal by association. 

The subtext of many of Manal's critics is that all Arab citizens of Israel as traitors to the Palestinian Arab cause, something which would seem to be a bit contradictory with the idea of "return." Until you realize that "return" is meant to destroy Israel, not to solve any "refugee" problem. As long as Israel exists, Israeli Arabs are considered to be collaborators with the Zionist enemy.

So far, I have not seen the same kind of backlash against the remaining Israeli Arab in the competition,Haitham Khailily.

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Jordanian MP: "I hate the Jews, I hate the Jews, I hate the Jews"

But don't call him antisemitic! That would be Islamophobic!

Following are excerpts from a show featuring Jordanian MPs discussing parliament's moment of silence in memory of terrorists who attacked a Jerusalem Synagogue, which aired on Roya TV on November 26, 2014:

MP Khalil Attieh: By Allah, it is an honor to incite against the Jews. It is a great accomplishment to provoke and incense them. Let us continue with similar decisions, because this is what the Jordanian people want. Our people in Palestine expect us to support them, and to recite Koranic verses for the souls of their martyrs. This is the very least we can do for the sake of those heroes, who defend the honor of the Arab nation.
MP Bassam Al-Manaseer, chairman of the Arab and International Affairs Parliamentary Committee: Are we going to call the French who fought the Nazi occupation "terrorists"? If so, we are all terrorists. If what we did in parliament is considered incitement, just because we stood by the Palestinian people, then we welcome the policy of incitement. I thank brother Khalil Attiah for his heroic position. That is the very least that he can do for our people in Palestine.

MP Khalil Attieh: This position is supported by all.

Moderator: The [Israeli] ambassador said that you use anti-Israel sentiment as a means to serve your own personal interests…

MP Khalil Attieh: As my colleague said, if this is terrorism, we are terrorists. Indeed, I make use of the hatred of the Jews, as all Arabs should, because the Jews respect neither treaties nor human beings. They respect nothing. That accursed ambassador did me a great honor by saying that I hate the Jews. Yes, I hate the Jews. I hate the Jews. I hate the Jews.

What have the Jews ever given us? They do not respect Jordanian custodianship [of the Al-Aqsa Mosque]. They do not respect treaties. They kill our people. They prevent worshippers from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They destroy homes and seize control over everything. This is the least we could have done. Thank God that we got them mad.
Hating the Jews is a great honor for me and it makes me walk with my head high, because they are worthy of hatred. They are not decent people. Any man of honor should hate the Jews.
[Parliament should debate] the statements of [the Israeli ambassador], that pig, the descendent of apes and pigs, who tried to drive a wedge between the parliament and the king. We should hold a debate, and if the government refuses to expel the Israeli ambassador, we should hand in our vote of no confidence in the government.

"There's No Coexisting With Cancer,” “Kahane Was Right” -

A fire police believe to a likely arson damaged the playground of the leading Hebrew-Arab bilingual school in Jerusalem Saturday night. "Kahane was right," "There's no coexisting with cancer," and other anti-Arab slogans were spray-painted on the building, as well.

Above and above right: "Kahane was right" painted on a wall of the Max Rayne Hand-in-Hand School in Jerusalem, 11-29-2014 (Jerusalem Fire Department)
Updated at 12:14 am CST 11-30-2014
"There's No Coexisting With Cancer,” “Kahane Was Right”
Shmarya Rosenberg •

A fire police believe to a likely arson damaged the playground and building of the leading Hebrew-Arab bilingual school in Jerusalem Saturday night, Ha’aretz reported.

"Kahane was right," "There's no coexisting with cancer," "Enough assimilation," Death to Arabs" were reportedly spray-painted on the building, as well.

The 16-year-old Max Rayne Hand-in-Hand Jerusalem School is reportedly Israel’s largest Jewish-Arab institution and is co-headed by both a Jewish and an Arab principal. It’s parent body, Hand-in-Hand, is a nonprofit organization.

Over the past few months the school was reportedly repeatedly hit with similar racist graffiti, but this is the school’s first apparent arson.
The fire started in the playground in the school but reportedly burned parts of the structure itself, including classrooms, and bears hallmarks of arson.

"Even if they manage to dirty the school's walls, they will not manage to bring down our enterprise [of civil cooperation]. In addition to denouncing [these actions] expressing support, we invite the entire Israeli public to join us in the building of Jewish-Arab civil partnership in Israel. We will continue to develop our educational and social project, where every day 1,200 students come to study, some 200 teachers come to teach, and in which thousands of family members are involved,” the executive director of Hand in Hand, Shuli Dichter, said in a statement.

Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the incident, but appeared to be downplaying its racist, anti-Arab aspects.

"We will not allow pyromaniacs and criminals who take the law into their own hands to disrupt our daily lives. We will continue to denounce the extremists and do whatever it takes to restore the quiet to Jerusalem,” Barkat said – as if there could be some justification for the apparent arson but was condemning it primarily because was carried out by vigilantes rather than law enforcement.

Barkat also said the he spoke with Jerusalem’s Police chief "whose top priority is the investigation and the security of Jerusalem's children.”

Israel’s tepid and often nonexistent response to anti-Arab hate crimes and discrimination has drawn international condemnation, including from the United States Department of State, and a growing number of Israeli journalists and social commentators note that leading figures in Israeli life – like Barkat – are often tone deaf regarding this discrimination.

While it is not yet known who painted the graffiti at the Hand-in-Hand school or who set the fire, Israel’s internal security service commonly known as the Shin Bet has said that many, if not most, of the “price tag” anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Christian hate crimes committed over the past several years were committed by students and disciples of Chabad Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh.

Ginsburgh – who holds no official position in Chabad – is the senior rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the radical West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. He is also one of the most popular Chabad rabbis in the country with a large following among Chabad Anglo-Israelis, ba’al teshuvas and West Bank settlers and is seen by many as a spiritual successor to the late radical Rabbi Meir Kahane, who is considered by Israel and the US to have been a terrorist.

Israeli Amb. Tells EU, "You Failed Israel"

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, addressed the UN General Assembly on November  25, 2014.

"Today’s debate is not about speaking for peace or speaking for the Palestinian people – it is about speaking against Israel."

Ambassador Prosor's spoke at the UN General Assembly which was part of the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian People debate. This debate commemorates the UN's Partition Plan for Palestine, and results in numerous anti-Israel resolutions.

Usually, during the UN International day of solidarity with the Palestinian People debate, the European Union makes a collective announcement. This time, Sweden decided to honor us with its presence and hold its own speech.

To the Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs who attended the debate (that results in numerous anti-Israel resolutions) and to the rest of the European nations, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said:
"You, the European nations, never stood beside us, and it is no surprise that you aren't standing beside us today. There is not one Israeli who trusts your hollow promises on matters of Israel’s security. You failed us. You failed us in the 1940s. You failed us in 1973. And you are failing us again today."

An outstanding speech by Ron Prosor, Ambassador of Israel to the UN
Delivered to UN General Assembly at around 4:00 PM today (Nov 24/14) by Ambassador Ron Prosor
Mr. President,
I stand before the world as a proud representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I stand tall before you knowing that truth and morality are on my side.  And yet, I stand here knowing that today in this Assembly, truth will be turned on its head and morality cast aside.  
The fact of the matter is that when members of the international community speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a fog descends to cloud all logic and moral clarity.  The result isn’t realpolitik, its surrealpolitik.
The world’s unrelenting focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an injustice to tens of millions of victims of tyranny and terrorism in the Middle East. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month. 
How many resolutions did you pass last week to address this crisis?  And how many special sessions did you call for? The answer is zero. What does this say about international concern for human life?  Not much, but it speaks volumes about the hypocrisy of the international community.
I stand before you to speak the truth.  Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, less than half a percent are truly free – and they are all citizens of Israel.
Israeli Arabs are some of the most educated Arabs in the world. They are our leading physicians and surgeons, they are elected to our parliament, and they serve as judges on our Supreme Court.  Millions of men and women in the Middle East would welcome these opportunities and freedoms.  
Nonetheless, nation after nation, will stand at this podium today and criticize Israel – the small island of democracy in a region plagued by tyranny and oppression.  
Mr. President, 
Our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state.  It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. 
Sixty seven years ago this week, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Simple. The Jews said yes.  The Arabs said no. But they didn’t just say no.  Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon launched a war of annihilation against our newborn state.
This is the historical truth that the Arabs are trying to distort. The Arabs’ historic mistake continues to be felt – in lives lost in war, lives lost to terrorism, and lives scarred by the Arab’s narrow political interests.  
According to the United Nations, about 700,000 Palestinians were displaced in the war initiated by the Arabs themselves.  At the same time, some 850,000 Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries.  
Why is it, that 67 years later, the displacement of the Jews has been completely forgotten by this institution while the displacement of the Palestinians is the subject of an annual debate?
The difference is that Israel did its utmost to integrate the Jewish refugees into society. The Arabs did just the opposite.  
The worst oppression of the Palestinian people takes place in Arab nations.  In most of the Arab world, Palestinians are denied citizenship and are aggressively discriminated against.  They are barred from owning land and prevented from entering certain professions.  
And yet none – not one – of these crimes are mentioned in the resolutions before you. 
If you were truly concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people there would be one, just one, resolution to address the thousands of Palestinians killed in Syria.  And if you were so truly concerned about the Palestinians there would be at least one resolution to denounce the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps.
But there isn’t.  The reason is that today’s debate is not about speaking for peace or speaking for the Palestinian people – it is about speaking against Israel.  It is nothing but a hate and bashing festival against Israel. 
Mr. President, 
The European nations claim to stand for Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité – freedom, equality, and brotherhood – but nothing could be farther from the truth.  
I often hear European leaders proclaim that Israel has the right to exist in secure borders.   That’s very nice.  But I have to say – it makes about as much sense as me standing here and proclaiming Sweden’s right to exist in secure borders.
When it comes to matters of security, Israel learned the hard way that we cannot rely on others – certainly not Europe. 
In 1973, on Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar – the surrounding Arab nations launched an attack against Israel. In the hours before the war began, Golda Meir, our Prime Minister then, made the difficult decision not to launch a preemptive strike.   The Israeli Government understood that if we launched a preemptive strike, we would lose the support of the international community. 
As the Arab armies advanced on every front, the situation in Israel grew dire. Our casualty count was growing and we were running dangerously low on weapons and ammunition.  In this, our hour of need, President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, agreed to send Galaxy planes loaded with tanks and ammunition to resupply our troops.  The only problem was that the Galaxy planes needed to refuel on route to Israel.  
The Arab States were closing in and our very existence was threatened – and yet, Europe was not even willing to let the planes refuel.  The U.S. stepped in once again and negotiated that the planes be allowed to refuel in the Azores. 
The government and people of Israel will never forget that when our very existence was at stake, only one country came to our aid – the United States of America. 
Israel is tired of hollow promises from European leaders.  The Jewish people have a long memory.  We will never ever forget that you failed us in the 1940s.  You failed us in 1973.  And you are failing us again today.
Every European parliament that voted to prematurely and unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state is giving the Palestinians exactly what they want – statehood without peace.  By handing them a state on a silver platter, you are rewarding unilateral actions and taking away any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate or compromise or renounce violence.  You are sending the message that the Palestinian Authority can sit in a government with terrorists and incite violence against Israel without paying any price. 
The first E.U. member to officially recognize a Palestinian state was Sweden. One has to wonder why the Swedish Government was so anxious to take this step.  When it comes to other conflicts in our region, the Swedish Government calls for direct negotiations between the parties – but for the Palestinians, surprise, surprise, they roll out the red carpet. 
State Secretary Söder may think she is here to celebrate her government’s so-called historic recognition, when in reality it’s nothing more than an historic mistake. 
The Swedish Government may host the Nobel Prize ceremony, but there is nothing noble about their cynical political campaign to appease the Arabs in order to get a seat on the Security Council.  Nations on the Security Council should have sense, sensitivity, and sensibility.  Well, the Swedish Government has shown no sense, no sensitivity and no sensibility.  Just nonsense.
Israel learned the hard way that listening to the international community can bring about devastating consequences.  In 2005, we unilaterally dismantled every settlement and removed every citizen from the Gaza Strip. Did this bring us any closer to peace?  Not at all. It paved the way for Iran to send its terrorist proxies to establish a terror stronghold on our doorstep.
I can assure you that we won’t make the same mistake again.  When it comes to our security, we cannot and will not rely on others – Israel must be able to defend itself by itself. 
Mr. President,
The State of Israel is the land of our forefathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  It is the land where Moses led the Jewish people, where David built his palace, where Solomon built the Jewish Temple, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace.  
For thousands of years, Jews have lived continuously in the land of Israel.  We endured through the rise and fall of the Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman Empires.  And we endured through thousands of years of persecution, expulsions and crusades.  The bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land is unbreakable.
Nothing can change one simple truth – Israel is our home and Jerusalem is our eternal capital.  
At the same time, we recognize that Jerusalem has special meaning for other faiths.  Under Israeli sovereignty, all people – and I will repeat that, all people – regardless of religion and nationality can visit the city’s holy sites.  And we intend to keep it this way.  The only ones trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount are Palestinian leaders.   
President Abbas is telling his people that Jews are contaminating the Temple Mount.  He has called for days of rage and urged Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount using (quote) “all means” necessary.  These words are as irresponsible as they are unacceptable.  
You don’t have to be Catholic to visit the Vatican, you don’t have to be Jewish to visit the Western Wall, but some Palestinians would like to see the day when only Muslims can visit the Temple Mount.  
You, the international community, are lending a hand to extremists and fanatics. You, who preach tolerance and religious freedom, should be ashamed.  Israel will never let this happen.  We will make sure that the holy places remain open to all people of all faiths for all time.
Mr. President,
No one wants peace more than Israel.  No one needs to explain the importance of peace to parents who have sent their child to defend our homeland.  No one knows the stakes of success or failure better than we Israelis do. The people of Israel have shed too many tears and buried too many sons and daughters.  
We are ready for peace, but we are not naïve. Israel’s security is paramount. Only a strong and secure Israel can achieve a comprehensive peace. 
The past month should make it clear to anyone that Israel has immediate and pressing security needs. In recent weeks, Palestinian terrorists have shot and stabbed our citizens and twice driven their cars into crowds of pedestrians.  Just a few days ago, terrorists armed with axes and a gun savagely attacked Jewish worshipers during morning prayers.  We have reached the point when Israelis can’t even find sanctuary from terrorism in the sanctuary of a synagogue. 
These attacks didn’t emerge out of a vacuum.  They are the results of years of indoctrination and incitement.  A Jewish proverb teaches: “The instruments of both death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
As a Jew and as an Israeli, I know with utter certainly that when our enemies say they want to attack us, they mean it. 
Hamas’s genocidal charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide.  For years, Hamas and other terrorist groups have sent suicide bombers into our cities, launched rockets into our towns, and sent terrorists to kidnap and murder our citizens.  
And what about the Palestinian Authority?  It is leading a systemic campaign of incitement.  In schools, children are being taught that ‘Palestine’ will stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.  In mosques, religious leaders are spreading vicious libels accusing Jews of destroying Muslim holy sites.  In sports stadiums, teams are named after terrorists.  And in newspapers, cartoons urge Palestinians to commit terror attacks against Israelis.
Children in most of the world grow up watching cartoons of Mickey Mouse singing and dancing.  Palestinian children also grow up watching Mickey Mouse, but on Palestinians national television, a twisted figure dressed as Mickey Mouse dances in an explosive belt and chants “Death to America and death to the Jews.”
I challenge you to stand up here today and do something constructive for a change.  Publically denounce the violence, denounce the incitement, and denounce the culture of hate. 
Most people believe that at its core, the conflict is a battle between Jews and Arabs or Israelis and Palestinians.  They are wrong.  The battle that we are witnessing is a battle between those who sanctify life and those who celebrate death.
Following the savage attack in a Jerusalem synagogue, celebrations erupted in Palestinian towns and villages.  People were dancing in the street and distributing candy.  Young men posed with axes, loudspeakers at mosques called out congratulations, and the terrorists were hailed as “martyrs” and “heroes.”  
This isn’t the first time that we saw the Palestinians celebrate the murder of innocent civilians.  We saw them rejoice after every terrorist attack on Israeli civilians and they even took to the streets to celebrate the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center right here in New York City.
Imagine the type of state this society would produce.  Does the Middle East really need another terror-ocracy?  Some members of the international community are aiding and abetting its creation.  
Mr. President, 
As we came into the United Nations, we passed the flags of all 193 member States. If you take the time to count, you will discover that there are 15 flags with a crescent and 25 flags with a cross.  And then there is one flag with a Jewish Star of David.  Amidst all the nations of the world there is one state – just one small nation state for the Jewish people.  
And for some people, that is one too many.  
As I stand before you today I am reminded of all the years when Jewish people paid for the world’s ignorance and indifference in blood.  Those days are no more.  
We will never apologize for being a free and independent people in our sovereign state.  And we will never apologize for defending ourselves. 
To the nations that continue to allow prejudice to prevail over truth, I say “J’accuse.”
I accuse you of hypocrisy. I accuse you of duplicity.
I accuse you of lending legitimacy to those who seek to destroy our State.
I accuse you of speaking about Israel’s right of self-defense in theory, but denying it in practice.
And I accuse you of demanding concessions from Israel, but asking nothing of the Palestinians. 
In the face of these offenses, the verdict is clear.  You are not for peace and you are not for the Palestinian people.  You are simply against Israel. 
Members of the international community have a choice to make.
You can recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, or permit the Palestinian leadership to deny our history without consequence. 
You can publically proclaim that the so-called “claim of return” is a non-starter, or you can allow this claim to remain the major obstacle to any peace agreement. 
You can work to end Palestinian incitement, or stand by as hatred and extremism take root for generations to come. 
You can prematurely recognize a Palestinian state, or you can encourage the Palestinian Authority to break its pact with Hamas and return to direct negotiations.  
The choice is yours. You can continue to steer the Palestinians off course or pave the way to real and lasting peace. 
Thank you, Mr. President.