Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
The United States of America is no longer a Superpower, it used to be, but it can no longer claim such, and what’s more, the entire world knows it. (Such is the case, even if Americans refuse to admit it; nay, much because Americans are incapable of viewing it.)
(This article is written by guest-blogger, scientist, defense industry expert, and author, Mordechai Ben-Menachem)
23 Adar 5773 (5 March 2013)
The definition of a “Superpower” is a nation that can project power, anywhere in the world, at short notice. To differentiate, the definition of a “Regional Power” is a nation that can project power within its region (the notion of ‘notice’ is one measure of its degree of power within that region, relative to rival powers).
Previously, at least from the time of Eisenhower until the time of George W. Bush, the US was clearly a Superpower, with the Russian Empire (USSR) as a rival power for part of that time. History showed that the US was the superior superpower with the collapse of the USSR and formation of the existing Russian state. Geographic size is not a prime factor, access to resources is. Power takes many forms, not all military, but military power must empower others for affectivity; “… carry a big stick” as international relations’ key.
David Goldman claimed in November, “America is in incipient decline.” I disagree. Decline began either with the first Bush or with Clinton. Obama is reaping the fruits of the incipient decline he inherited, and is taking it further. He desires such, while his predecessors’ orientations were limited their own ego-needs. Clinton’s administration can best be characterized as “eat, drink and have sex; who cares what happens after my term is finished”. I believe Obama genuinely cares about America, but not for America – he desires a humbled America.
The decline takes many forms, from fertility through welfare recipients, through budgets and debts.
By the end of this decade the percentage of population over 60 crosses the 25% threshold. The ‘replacement’ population is both significantly less educated and less motivated – 40% of all births in 2011 were out-of-wedlock. Unemployment for those with a high-school diploma or less stood at 12.2% in 2011 and is growing, rapidly. US overall fertility stands now at 1.6 and continues in rapid decline, including the Hispanic population; the American population pyramid is distinctly top-heavy. What all this means is a smaller workforce, addicted to welfare (why work!), with much lower education (high functional illiteracy) and non-patriotic (in 2012, only 49% of the population considered themselves patriotic). US population rose from 200 to 300 million since 1970, but the number of two-parent families with children remained unchanged 25 million. Today’s labor market is dominated by corporations sourcing labor globally. Corporations neither desire nor need lazy dolts.
America is a nation of takers: - Entitlements, after inflation and population growth, grew by over 700% in 50 years, - half of Americans live in a household that receives one or more payments, 18% of all personal income; - only half the working-age population works.
Americans with a stake in economic growth are a shrinking minority of the population. The US administration has a policy of extrication from the ME, as it no longer imports significant energy from the region. What does the diminishing role mean for Jordan and other allies? Vacuums are always filled by other forces – in nature and in politics. "The Libyan fiasco reflects the American policy's sad reality" reported the official Chinese newspaper, The Global Times. China smells America’s weakness. Libya is a source of NATO-quality small arms and World-class Jihadis, creating havoc throughout Africa and the Middle East. Everyone outside America knows this. Americans do not.; the founders’ vision of “an informed populace” has ceased to exist.
The budget crisis is a result of poor political management of defense spending. “We are facing the prolonged specter of sequestration [$500 billion additional cuts over 10 years], while under a continuing resolution [no budget], while we are just beginning to absorb $478 billion worth of cuts from 2011 and while we’re still fighting and resourcing a war,” US Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs testified. “That’s unprecedented.” Under Eisenhower, the US spent 51% on defense; today, 72% of federal government expenditures are entitlements. Reagan’s 600-ship Navy was down to 285-ships when Obama took office, it is now declining to 230, the smallest level since 1915 (and that number includes at least two carrier flotillas that cannot sail for lack of fuel); the Air Force is loosing 200 more airplanes, according to General Philip Breedlove, the Air Force vice chief of staff. According to Breedlove, the average fighter age is 22 years and tankers average 47 years. There is a gross shortage and obsolescence of parts. We mention unemployment above. Nearly a million persons are expected to loose their jobs in the defense sector from sequestration; while US enemies are increasing efforts to develop advanced capabilities. Timely recovery will not be a viable option, even if funding is somehow restored.
If the Government of the United States decided that it wishes to attack Iran, to destroy or seriously inhibit, that nation’s nuclear aspirations, the military capability for such a prolonged air strike no longer exists, neither from land-based or carrier-based aircraft. Global power projection is no longer an option, and such an option cannot be restored within a foreseeable timeframe. The United States of America is no longer a Superpower. The US of A is going down in the annals of history as the world's shortest-lived empire. This is here, now, not a long-range prediction.
I didn't vote for the Yesh Atid Party. My mother always taught me that before one tries a new medicinal drug or 'pill', one should wait for about 20 years that it has been on the market, and researchers have had time to see if it has caused any long term damage or negative affects on people. I tend to look at a lot of things that way. Though politicians aren't a cocktail of dangerous chemicals (well, some might actually agree with that description), I do look at them to see their track record, and Yair Lapid, though he was the darling of the media, had no track record in politics except for his famous father, Tommy Lapid, who also came in like a flash of lightening into the political world where his party, 'Shinui' became the 3rd largest party at one time in the Knesset. That party was mainly voted in, as an anti-Charedi party, and is now defunct.
Yair Lapid, in one of his campaign speeches to a religious audience, stated that the religious people in Israel 'won'. He admitted that the secularists had a certainvision for the modern state of Israel, yet through the years, the religious population in Israel grew stronger, and their political representation and influence didn't go away as the secular population had hoped. Therefore, he said, we have to learn to accept you, and you (the religious population) have to accept us. We have to work together.
I am not endorsing Yair Lapid. Like I was taught as a child, I take the wait and see approach, and frankly, I am not starry eyed about him at all and still do not trust him. He will have to earn that. However, there could be something to work with there. He is new to the knesset, and he is fresh and energetic, and has put in rabbis in his party -even if only to be used as a fig leaf. It will be interesting to see how much influence and weight they will carry in the party. Time will tell. However, this is not really what I wanted to focus on for this blog.
Actually, I wanted to bring to your attention a very inspiring speech, that gives hope, for this new party. And that is not with the #1 candidate Yair Lapid, or even his #2 man, Rabbi Shai Peron. It is about #17 on the Yesh Atid list, Rabbi Dov Lipman (who has been a guest on my show before). Rabbi Lipman gave a speech at the knesset, and let me say, I was extremely moved and touched by his words, spirit, and idealism. Though I may not agree with everything his party stands for, I could very much relate to his idealism, desire for Jewish unity, and the concept of Torah V'Avodah (Torah study and working). I urge you all to watch this video below and pass it on, because whether you voted for his party or not, you will be inspired and impressed by his speech, as the other knesset members who came up afterwards (even from other political parties) to shake his hand and congratulate him.
I wish the best for Rabbi Lipman, and hope that he will inspire a positive change in the knesset and to all of the Nation of Israel.
Congratulations for a beautiful speech, Rabbi Lipman!
Do you know the real history of the Christmas holiday? Is it really the birthday of Jesus? Why is a tree cut down and brought into a house? Why is mistletoe hung, and why are people encouraged to kiss under it? Where does Santa Claus come from, and who was he really? What is the original idea of 'gift giving' on this day? Did you know that the celebration of Christmas was banned by law in Massachusetts in colonial days? Why?
Holidays are given to us to in order to remind us who we are. We remember the history and the importance of the day and use it to develop and mold us into better people so we can serve G-d better.
***Note: This post is a re-post from 2007 entitled: CHRISTMAS AND PAGANISM. I want to remind everyone that this piece is not meant to hurt anyone's feelings or put anyone down. This is merely to enable people to make an educated decision as to what they want to teach their children and bring into their home.
Growing up in the West, where people are steeped in a xmas atmosphere with trees, lights, mistletoe, santas and manger scene decorations, I decided to do some research to find out more about the symbols of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, some of the holiday decorations are very beautiful to the eye, but I believe that one should know the truth behind these symbols in order for them to be true to themselves and serve G-d the best they can. We should not be deceived by 'cosmetics' or decorations, if behind these symbols lies darkness and leads people away from truth.
And so, below are some questions posted on the internet asked by people wanting to know more about their own holiday, and some of the answers posted by their own fellow holiday celebrators.
Why do we celebrate Christmas in December when Jesus was born in March or even around the feast Of Tabernacles (sukkot) in the Fall? Why did the Catholic Church choose December 25 for the birth date of jesus?
Answers: "It was chosen in order to compete with the pagan winter solstice festivals. It was not chosen because it is the correct historical date…"
"The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 apparently originated in the 4th century. The Catholic Church wanted to eclipse the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity's existence. The Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras during this time of year. Although it was not popular, or even proper, to celebrate people's birthdays in those times, church leaders decided that in order to compete with the pagan celebration they would themselves order a festival in celebration of the birth of (their god)…. Xmas was slow to catch on in America. The early colonists considered it a pagan ritual. The celebration of xmas was even banned by law in Massachusetts in colonial days."
Question: Why do "Christians" use a Pagan symbol, like the Christmas tree, in their celebration of the birth of Jesus?
Answer: "Because way back in the day, the Catholic church started to absorb Pagan symbols in order to make conversion less of a drastic step for Pagans."
"Pagan and Christian families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months. Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when a spirit was present. Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree. The colors of the season, red and green, also are of Pagan origin, as is the custom of exchanging gifts."
Christians, you believe in the Tanach, the Bible. G-d specifically commands:
Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
This is what the Pagans did. Are you are carrying this on?
Question: Why do they allow a plethora of other Pagan symbols?
Answer: "Mistletoe and Holly: Two hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They believed the plant had special healing powers. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief. The early church banned the use of mistletoe in Christmascelebrations because of its pagan origins."
Elves are a pagan idea from Scandinavian countries. Santa never existed. He is based on the original St. Nicklaus who lived in what is now modern-day Turkey back in the 3rd or 4th century.
Answer from another Christian site:
"Christmas is a Pagan holiday - "Christmas" is not in the Bible, and we are not commanded to celebrate the Messiah's birth in all of Scripture. The Messiah was not born on or near December 25. He was born sometime in late September (most likely Sept. 29) or early October during the Feast of Tabernacles, but no one can be sure of the exact day. If the Almighty Sovereign Creator wanted us to celebrate the day He would have told us in Lev. 23.
"December 25th was celebrated by the Pagan sun-worshippers of Mithraism as the "birthday of the invincible sun," because on that day the sun began its return to the northern skies "the winter solstice." And so, the sun and the Son, have become a deliberate Pagan mix. Tammuz, the Babylonian Pagan sun deity, was also the first counterfeit savior… December 25th was also the date of the Pagan Brumalia (winter) festival in Rome. It was preceded by the Saturnalia festival Dec. 17-24 - in honor of the Roman god Saturn, as a period of unrestrained merriment in celebration of the winter solstice. The Saturnalia and Brumalia festivals were so popular among the heathen and so deeply entrenched in their customs, that rather than attempt to reform the Pagan populous the Roman Church, the Emperor Constantine, chose instead to absorb their festivities into the Constantine Roman Catholic Church."
Friends, is this what you wish to perpetuate? Do you wish to continue pagan ways in today's world?
Paganism: It's the fastest-growing religion in Australia, according to the 2001 census. Sydney pagan worshippers learns about spells, covens and the importance of being "skyclad"( being clad/covered only by the sky, Ritual nakedness performing their rituals naked).
So, to my brothers and sisters on this planet who celebrate xmas, this is not an attack, but an honest query to you: What’s the deal here? What are you bringing into your homes? What rituals are you really observing? Will you embrace a holiday that brings paganism into your homes? Should you not go back to the word of G-d as given to Moses on Mt. Sinai? Should you not embrace instead the 7 laws of Noah as commanded by G-d to all Gentiles, whom He created and loves and wants to be closer to Him? To read about what your obligations are as a Gentile, you must RETURN to the source.
Wishing you truth and a closer relationship with the One Creator of the Universe. May you remove darkness from the world and let in the light!
Why do we take it? How is it that a society chooses to sleep, rather than wake up from their bad dream and fix things? Sometimes it takes a 'the shock factor' to do what 'rationalization' smothers. The little known Chanukah story of how the Hasmonean revolt started, was actually because of a very brave woman!
(This is a re-post of a previous chanukah blog)
The background of the Chanukah story recalls the struggle for religious freedom from the Hellenistic Syrian-Greeks in the year, 165 B.C.E. Antiochus, who was the occupying King at those times, sought to crush our Jewish identity and passed decrees against the practice of Judaism. We were forbidden from studying the Torah, we were forbidden to keep the Shabbat (Sabbath) and we were forbidden from making a brit milah (circumcision). To do so meant the death penalty.
"Hellenistic rituals and sacrifices were instituted in the Bet HaMikdash (the holy Temple in Jerusalem), thus desecrating the sacred center of Jewish ritual life. Many Jews were impressed by the culture and power of their Greek conquerors and adopted their customs and practices. These Jews came to be known as "Hellenists". – Sound familiar to our situation today?
“Other Jews were infuriated by the oppressive decrees aimed at destroying their religion, and vowed revenge. They were led by Mattityahu, a Chashmona'i (Hasmonean) who lived in Modiin with his five sons, who came to be known as the Maccabim. This name is derived from the first letter of each word in the phrase "Mi kamocha ba'elim Hashem?" ("Who is like You, O L-rd, among the mighty?". After three years of guerrilla warfare in the hills and forests against the strong and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus, the relatively small and poorly armed Maccabim won, and recaptured Jerusalem. But WHAT started this revolt? What shocked the Maccabim into action?
One of my favorite stories of Chanukah is the story about Chana (Hannah). Not the extremely powerful story of Hannah and her 7 sons, but a different ‘Chana’.
This 'Chana' used what I think is an important strategy to wake people up from their stupor. Shock.
Too many of us do not want to change our daily routine. We are comfortable in our lives and we don’t want disruption, and so it easier to bear burdens if they come in servings that we are able to swallow. If an evil regime passed all their terrible laws at once, people would be convinced they must fight. But if the laws are ushered in one by one, in bite sized pieces, we learn to adapt. We act this way because it is easier to be a little uncomfortable than have to go to battle and face having to risk it all, to lose everything we have worked for and even possibly risk our lives and that of our children. No one likes disruption, and so we swallow the evil.
Sometimes we need someone to slap us, to wake us from our stupor and fight the evil that has embedded itself in our midst. A young woman who lived many years ago did just that. And we should all thank her.
The Marriage of Chana, Daughter of Mattathias (Mattityahu)
As part of their campaign to break the spirit of the Jews, the Greeks decreed that every maiden must spend her wedding night in the bed of the regional governor, and that only afterward would she be permitted to her husband. They wanted to destroy Jewish sanctity and degrade the Jews. As a result of this decree, the Jews stopped marrying. For three years and three months, no wedding was held in Judea. Then it came time for Hannah, daughter of Mattityahu the Hasmonean to marry. In spite of the decree, Mattityahu held a great celebration, inviting the leaders of the nation, for Mattathias' family was extremely prominent. The bride sat, as was customary, at the head table, but suddenly stood up, clapped her hands together, and tore her expensive wedding dress, exposing herself. Everyone looked away in embarrassment, and her brothers ran to fall upon her and kill her for shaming herself and her family.
But Hannah exclaimed to them all, 'now you are so zealous as to shield your eyes?, for THIS you are zealous, yet you are willing to have a Greek see me naked and have his way with me?' She added, "Why, when I shame myself before my relatives and friends are you so filled with embarrassment and anger that you wish to kill me, but you agree to surrender me this night so the heathen governor can lie with me? Why do you not learn from Simon and Levy, sons of our forefather Jacob, who avenged the rape of their sister Dinah (in Genesis, chapter 34)? They were only two brothers who fought and took a whole city to free her, I have FIVE brothers - and where are you?'
This, my friends, is what spurred the revolt of the Maccabees on the Syrian-Greeks and led to the first holiday commemorating religious freedom and the lift of the yoke of Hellenism and Greek occupation.
The story of Hannah goes on:
"Everyone realized that Hannah was right; her brothers discussed the matter and came to a decision. They dressed their sister in the finest garments and brought her with great ceremony, at the head of a large procession, to the King. Hannah's brother's declared, "We are the sons of the High Priest, and it is not fitting that our sister be given to the governor. Our sister is fit only for the King himself!" The brothers' words found favor in the King's eyes.
The brothers accompanied Hannah to the royal bed chamber, and thereupon, seized the King and killed him. Afterward, they stormed out killing ministers, guards, and servants, who were in the palace. So began the Hasmonean revolt. "
A sequel to this story is the story of yet ANOTHER Jewish Heorine named Yehudit (Judith). Yehudit was a beautiful woman who single-handedly saved the Jewish town of Bethulia during the Hasmonean revolt. When her city was surrounded and besieged by the Syrian army of General Holofernes, she made a plan to save her people. She left the city walls of Bethulia with her maid in what looked like her fleeing to Holofernes' camp. She told the cruel General Holofernes that she wanted to save herself and told him that the defeat of the Jews of the city was near. Impressed with Yehudit's beauty and her prediction of his defeat of the Jews, he invites her to celebrate with him 'alone'. Yehudit tells him she must eat her own food which she made, and shows him the cheese delicies she has brought with her. She feeds him this salty cheese, which induces the general to wash it down with wine and he falls into a deep sleep. She then approaches his bed and says a prayer:
"Answer me, O L-rd, as You answered Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, when you delivered the wicked general Sissera into her hands. Strengthen me this once that I may bring Your deliverance to my people whom this cruel man vowed to destroy, and let the nations know that You have not forsaken us..."
Yehudit then unsheathed Holofernes' heavy sword which was hanging near his bed and brought it down upon his neck with all her might.
She leaves his bloody corpse soaking his mattress and takes the head and her maid away from the slumbering enemy camp to Bethulia. She tells the Jews of Bethulia that victory will soon be theirs. She takes the head of Holofernes and puts it on a stake in public view to strengthen the will of the people. She then tells the Jewish men to wait for dawn to make a surprise attack. The enemy's camp is not prepared for a Jewish onslaught on them. When the morning comes with the charge of the Jews towards their camp, Holofernes's men run to their commander's tent where they find his headless body on the blood soaked mattress. In their shock, fear and confusion, they flee for their lives. The Jews won the revolt and Yehudit was their hero.
This Chanukah, we must remember the valor and strength of the Jewish women who risked their lives, to keep Israel Jewish. To Chana and her 7 sons, to Yehudit, and to Chana the daughter of the high priest who shocked the Jews into action, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
"I am coming for you" and "Machine gun in my hand" are just two songs that are on the(tongue in cheek)Palestinian Hit Parade. Can an entity such as this be real partners for peace? It's a rhetorical question, I know. But it is worth a peak into the music coming out of a society, to try to understand them better.
American music is mostly about boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, heartbreaks, new found love, and 'walking on sunshine'. Examining music and poetry from Israel during the early years, it was mostly about 'the Land of Israel, peace, peace, and more peace, and building a better tomorrow. Today, Israeli music has gravitated more towards the American love/relationship realm as the world has gone more global and that's what sells. Love is always a topic of the arts. In the Palestinian Authority, they also play Arabic love songs, but it is the songs of war that also dominate their culture. And this is worrisome. Hatred, guns, bullets, swords, blood, skulls, death, martyrdom and Allah are common themes found in their battle songs. Songs get people to identify with them and songs get people marching.
For a quick 46 minutes of 'fun', take a listen to the show by clicking HERE.
And now, here is a piece written by my weekly guest, Walid Shoebat, an Arab researcher and former Islamic terrorist. Put on your seat belts, he's going to give you an inside look at some of the music his old peers continue to embrace.
SONGS OF DEATH by Walid Shoebat
In my teenage days it was all about defeating Israel. Revolutionary songs played a key role in galvanizing Arab masses to Jihad against Israel; from wedding songs our fathers sang from 1948 glorifying terrorists to 1967 and 1973 during Yom Kippur. But now, it is getting much worse with Islamist Nasheed songs that speak of fortresses of skulls.
I memorized them all and we sang them with joy waiting for the day that we will get at the Jew’s Adam’s apple.
While Israel had Hatekva (Hope) as their national anthem, we had Fidae (terrorist) as our national anthem which originally came from Egypt taking the same music from their famous Biladi (my country), but changing the lyrics to Fidae (Terrorist)
Terrorist, terrorist, terrorist my land the land of my forefathers …
With my persistence and my fire
And the volcano of my vengeance
And my blood’s desire
To my land and home
I climbed the mountains and entered the struggle
I did the impossible and broke the shackles
Palestine is my home and the path of my victory
Palestine is my vengeance
And the land of my steadfastness
“Palestine” is defined as a “vengeance” and not just as a country. But the word “terrorist” in Arabic songs was not only a signature of revolutionary organizations like the PLO. The best Arab classical singers took pride on such songs. Singers like Abdul Halim Hafez, Umm Kulthum, Farid Al-Atrash and Fairuz who were all secular and the most favorite in the Arab world, yet they all contributed providing terror songs. Here you will find Abdul Halim Hafez from my old days:
Arab revolutionary songs are designed to make the terrorist intimate with his guns and his explosives. It is fast speed and its purpose is to move the adrenaline to make one’s blood boil with anger and hatred.
(notice about 1:20 in, the IDF soldiers attacked by rocks)
I am coming for you
I am coming for you
From every corner, nick and cranny
I am coming for you
With my weapons and my faith
I am coming for you
Our war is the war of the streets
I am coming for you
I swear that I will stand in front of you
From every wall and house
We will come down
With knives and daggers
And with our hand grenade
We declared the people’s revolution
I swear my enemy
You will not escape
From the hand of the people and the revolution
And I will jump across the fire
As the people go on the path
Today Islamic revolutionary songs do not only call for eradicating the Zionist occupier but elevates a distinct pride when Islam removed past empires. It is globalist in its aspiration and is void of musical instruments, which are forbidden to use in Islam.
Such songs speak of massacres, beheadings and piling fortresses of skulls. They focus on reviving history of the glory days when Islam reigned, not just as a religion but as an empire.
The most favorite of Muslim terrorists is the song “Sawarem” (The Sword). Here it is fully translated:
When I researched Jewish songs I could never find any song that had the word “war” or “blood” or “massacres”. When I finally found a song that had the word "war", it was Lo Yessa Goy El-Goy Kherev. I noticed the word “Kherev” means 'sword' (war), but the song was saying “And nations will not learn war any longer”: