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      Israelity! with Mark Kaplan
      by Mark B. Kaplan
      Mark Kaplan delivers his TV commentaries in the only way he knows—candidly, with a pinch of sarcasm, and straight from the heart.
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      Mark is the director of the Office for Israeli Constitutional Law (OFICL), advocating Jewish rights to all the Land of Israel under International and Domestic law and lectures and educates about Jewish legal rights.
      From 2002–2006, Mark was INN-TV's news editor, producer, and studio anchor, and he served as the General Manager of Israel Independent TV news from 2006-2009.

      Visit the OFICL web site at
      e-mail me:mkaplan@JusticeNow4israel.com

      Sivan 25, 5773, 6/3/2013

      Howard Grief passes on, but his work lives on...

      I received the news early this morning (Sivan 25/June 3) that my friend Howard Grief passed away. Howard was perhaps the world's foremost expert on Jewish rights to the Land of Israel under international law.

      His book, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel Under International Law (Mazo Publishers) is a 700-page masterpiece of twenty-five years  of research.

      Howard had a passion for Israel and his dream was to use international law to secure the protection of the rights of the Jewish People to the Jewish National Home.

      Howard patiently educated me to understand and communicate our inalienable rights to all our territory.

      Below are the three parts of my July 2009 interview with Howard.

      Nisan 10, 5773, 3/21/2013

      What's Our Priority, Show and Tell or Israeli Lives?

      From the headlines, it appears Israel invited Hamas to fire rockets at innocent civilians in the south.

      Israel and the United States have invested mega bucks developing this wonderful Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system. During the November 2012 escalation of rocket fire by Gaza Arab terrorists, the Iron Dome intercepted some 431 rockets with an 85% success rate. Even if  the system is not 100% perfect, the Iron Dome has been providing an extra level of protection to the men, women, and children who have had their lives shaken for years by the endless bombardment Kassam and Katyusha rockets. 

      All I can say is thank G-d the Iron Dome has been deployed to protect the south!

      This morning (March 21) Arab terrorists fired at least four rockets at Israeli cities. Apparently, two of the rockets fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip. One struck a house in the city of Sderot, causing serious damage and authorities are searching for the location of the possible fourth rocket.

      So, why did the Iron Dome System fail to intercept these rockets?

      President Obama, here in Israel for his first visit as president, did not have time on his schedule to visit the Iron Dome site. In order to allow the President to see the Iron Dome first hand, the Israeli powers that be moved the Iron Dome from the  south to the airport (in the center of the country).

      Was it really worth risking the lives of innocent civilians in order for Netanyahu to have a toy for show and tell? If it is true the Iron Dome was moved from the South, there needs to be an investigation for the negligent disregard for human life and there must be accountability. Honoring a visiting president is not worth risking people's lives.

      Tishrei 8, 5773, 9/24/2012

      Can You Even Picture This Response to Ahmedinajad?

      (Israelity! disclaimer: This article is in no way to be interpreted as advocating violent protests or rioting. Yes, we know how people love to twist words!)

      So, Muslims get offended by a low budget film that no one cares about, by a nobody producer, that no one would have even known existed if someone hadn't brought it to the attention to someone or the other in the Muslim world. These "Islamists" then used the film as an excuse to riot and murder.

      Now, the leader of a rather large and powerful Middle Eastern country  consistently threatens to destroy Israel, uses every opportunity in the media and on the political scene to incite violence against Israel.  
      Picture this scenario happening:

      Ahmedinajad, once again, speaks at the UN with his menacing and inciting language—calling Israel  a foul Zionist entity whose days are numbered. 

      In reaction to Ahmedinajad's provocative rhetoric, there is a "spontaneous" violent reaction by Pro-Israel, Jewish, and Western citizens, and these offended citizens start tearing apart the hotel where Ahmedinajad is staying (in an attempt to tear the Iranian leader to shreds), the UN, any place connected with Iran or the Muslim world.
      Hmmm, you can't picture that happening, can you?  


      Perhaps it is because we have a set of values that does not allow us to behave in such a manner. 

      President Reagan once stated that you cannot negotiate with terrorists. A person who threatens to destroy a country, either in direct words or  in veiled threats, whose actions, under the guise of "peaceful" operations is suspected, with good reason to be producing a weapon of mass destruction, certainly must fall under the definition of  terrorist (not a synonym for "militant").

      It says in this week's parsha: 

      כי לא כצורינו צורם

      Not like our Rock is their rock.

      But this does not mean we should sit by while our enemies threaten/plan to destroy us.

      Should Israel attack Iran?

      I could give you the pros and cons on both sides, and I still could not give you a answer that would leave me feeling comfortable. I could give possible scenarios for destroying the Iranian nuclear reactors, but even if that happened, that would not stop the Iranians from building another one? 

      Iran is laughing at President Barack Obama and view his refusal to draw a red line as an American sign of weakness. Whimpiness is not considered a positive characteristic in the Muslim world, and that is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is adamant that the Obama Administration draws a red line for Iran. Netanyahu knows that a genuine international threat against Iran will corner Ahmedinajad, who will wait until the last moment, and then hopefully back down. No one in Israel or the United States wants to be stuck in a war with Iran. The toll on lives and the world economy would be devastating. However, the alternative of Iran having nuclear weapons would be potentially even more devastating.

      I feel a sense of relief knowing the the Persian leader will appear before the World body to fire his hate and incitement against the Jewish Nation on the 10th of Tishrei—Yom HaKipurim, the day of atonement. Kipurim, atonement can also be translated as K'Purim, like Purim, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the Jewish people being saved from the plans of the evil Haman in Persia in the time of Mordecahi and Queen Esther.

      As we head into Yom Kippur, may Queen Esther's request that 

      אם על המלך טוב, ינתן גם מחר ליהודים אשר בשושן לעשות כדת היום, ואת עשרת בני המן יתלו על העץ.

      If it pleases the King (HASHEM), allow the Jews that are in Shushan to do tomorrow as they did today,  and let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows. 

      Elul 12, 5772, 8/30/2012

      Rachel Corrie's Last Eulogy

      Okay, here’s another no brainer.

      You decide to enter a closed military zone with the intent to interfere with an army’s anti-terror operations. You ignore the warnings and all attempts to remove you from the theater of operations. In doing so, you are assisting an enemy in a time of war, thus becoming an enemy combatant.

      You sit yourself down in front of a D9 bulldozer. 

      This bulldozer is a giant military bulldozer. It is not used for building little pink houses for you and me (see footage of IDF D9 bulldozers destroying Hizbullah buildings). Standard procedure for operating a D9 is to have personnel on the ground, at a safe distance to direct the driver, since the driver cannot see in front of him due to the bulldozer’s large shovel that obstructs the view in front of the machine.

      Obviously, having personnel on the ground is not an option in Gaza. Otherwise, there would need to be medical helicopters on hand to evacuate the dead soldiers' bodies. 

      As you look up at this giant monstrosity to see the reaction of the driver as you have parked your little body in front of this military juggernaut, you notice you cannot see him!

      At this point you should be smart enough to realize, “Hey, I better get my butt out of here, quick!!!”

      With all apologies to the Corrie family’s sensitivities over the loss of their daughter and their openly expressed anti-Israel sentiment, Rachel Corrie’s death is a result of her own reckless stupidity. She wanted to be a martyr. My congratulations to her family, Rachel became a martyr for the Hamas terror organization.

      Now quit blaming the IDF. Rachel and her terrorist allies are the ones to blame; not Israel. 

      Av 10, 5772, 7/29/2012

      Is Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount Terrorism?

      Here it is Tisha B'Av. The day Jews around the world mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples,along with many other great tragedies that occuered on this day.

      How is the Jewish State commemorating Tisha B'Av?

      Israel is honring the Fallen Temples by giving us this headline:

      Temple Mount Closed to Jews on Tisha B'Av

      Is this legal?

      No it is not. Well the headline is; the closure is not.

      Here is the law directly taken from the Knesset web site.

      There is no excuse under Israeli law for preventing Jews from peacefully ascending the Temple Mount. There is also no excuse from preventing Jews from offering the Korban Pesach (Passover Offering) or the twice daily Tamid (Perpetual Offering).

      My point is not to start a halachic question about restoring these Korbanot without the Beit HaMikdash. There is plenty of information available online for those who are looking at both the halachic pros and cons .

      What is important is that barring Jews out of fear the Arabs may violently object means the Jewish visitors must be protected from attacks; not punished.

      We can no longer allow our galut syndrome to allow us to cower in fear from those that want to destroy us.

      We have rights, and we have allowed them to be violated for too long.

      How can the High Court rule there are political repercussions to consider?

      Does a Jew saying Tehillim (Psalms) on the Temple Mount really cause political repercussions?

      Jewish prayer is not  threat to the peace.

      Protection of Holy Places Law 5727 (1967)*

      1.      The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.


      a.      Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of seven years.

      b.      Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.

      3.      This Law shall add to, and not derogate from, any other law.

      4.      The Minister of Religious Affairs is charged with the implementation of this Law, and he may, after consultation with, or upon the proposal of, representatives of the religions concerned and with the consent of the Minister of Justice make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation.

      5.      This Law shall come into force on the date of its adoption by the Knesset.

      Prime Minister

      Minister of
      Religious Affairs

      * Adopted by the Knesset on 27 June 1967.

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