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      by Tamar Yonah
      A biting & sometimes humorous analysis of current events, Israeli politics & the Jewish World.
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      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.

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      Nisan 8, 5773, 3/19/2013

      An Open Letter to President Obama

      by Tamar Yonah

      Obama is coming to Israel. Why?  Is it to pressure Israel into their '2 State Solution' which in essence means, 'The Final Solution'?  Why would Obama want to reward a terror entity like the Palestinian Authority, filled with Fatah and Hamas supporters, and give them land carved from the heart of Israel, to be an independent terror state?  Is this really good for the world?  Is this really what the world needs?  Would this really solve all the problems in the Middle East, let alone the world?  The 'land for peace' formula has failed over and over again.  Why then do they keep pressing Israel to give up more land?  Leave your comments below.  

      Below is a message, from a prestigious group of rabbis, which they want the U.S. President to know.

      By Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander PhD, Foreign Minister of the Nascent Sanhedrin (Rabbinic Supreme Court)

      Dear President Barack Hussein Obama,

      We are pleased to have you visit Israel again, in the beginning of your second term as President on the United States of America. We hope you find the visit inspiring and that the results of the meetings you will hold benefit the United States of America and the Jewish State of Israel. We also hope that your visit benefits the Arab population of Israel, including the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, all part of the Jewish homeland as recognized by international law, according to the San Remo Conference decisions as formulated in the Mandate to Palestine, and as reconfirmed by article 80 of the Charter of the United Nations Organisation:

      In the preamble to the Mandate:

      Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing nonJewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

      Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country; 

      In Article 2:

      The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.

      The eternal basis for this decision of the League of Nations is clearly stated often in the Bible, for instance in Deuteronomy 34,4:

      And the LORD said unto him: 'This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying: I will give it unto thy seed; I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.'

      and also in the Qur’an:

      “We made a people …  inheritors of the Land in both Eastern and Western side [of the Jordan river] whereon we sent down Our blessings. The fair promise of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and constancy...” [Surah al-Ahraf (of the Barrier), verse 137], and

      “Remember Moses said To his people: ‘O my People, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you,… and gave You what He had not given To any other among the peoples. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God hath written for you, and turn not back ignominiously [to this heritage of yours], for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.” [Surah al Maidah (the Table), verse 21]

      Therefore, from an Islamic point of view, the Children of Israel are the legitimate owner of the Land which God ordained to them.

      So, Dear Mr. President, there is no Muslim claim to any of the Promised Land!

      Reassessment

      Mr. President, it is rumored that after your visit, you would like to enter into deliberations to design a new plan for peace. A very worthy idea. Clearly what is needed is a complete open-minded reassessment of all that has been done, and all that has not been successful in the last decades, starting before the Madrid conference. One cannot endlessly repeat mistakes of the past. Israel has made the most liberal offers, all of which were rejected out-of-hand by the Arabs. Israel has relinquished land time and time again to Arab governments - in Sinai in 1948, 1956 and in Gaza, and in Judea and Samaria, only to have these lands used as basis for attacking Israel. The “Land-for-Peace” tactic has been thoroughly proven to fail. The need for reassessment is clear.

      The West consistently relates to the Arabs as primitive people who cannot be expected to live by civilized norms, to keep their contracts. On the one hand, this is insulting to the Arabs; on the other, it is a good reason for them to continue to behave as expected. The West must honor the Arabs by expecting them to behave honorably. The Arabs signed treaties with Israel promising to refrain from incitement. These clauses are not kept. They are principal clauses, thus Israel has the right to consider the treaties as having been beroken by the Arabs, but Israel always, always, tries to live peacefully instead of standing strongly for her rights. This tactic has also proven to be a great mistake.  The need for reassessment is clear.

      The method of negotiation of the treaties has also proven to be a failure: leaders meet together in private, closed sessions, come up with finished documents which are quickly approved by the governmental bodies, without the peoples involved being part of the process.  In our times, closed-room negoitiations are a great mistake. The need for reassessment is clear. The Great`President Wilson had the ormula which is appropriate for this generation of Public Diplomacy: OPEN AGREEMENTS OPENLY ARRIVED AT. The method of open negotiations is a method in which public opinion will change, that the public will learn and be part of the thinking process and will understand and agree with the results. Yes, is it a long process. The need for reassessment is clear.

      In this reassessment, it is absolutely necessary to relate to some elements of the situation which have not been addressed properly by the Israeli governments and by other people with good intentions who have tried to encourage Israel along the peace process.  Some of these elements are more visible today that they were before the Arab Spring.

      Incitement

      Today it is perfectly clear how successful the Arab incitement against Israel has been; that it was a great mistake to ignore the anti-incitement clauses in the Oslo agreements. Since then millions of young Arabs and other Muslims have been educated – not to say brainwashed – to thinking that Jews are descendants of apes and pigs, and that the greatest service they can do to Allah is to kill Jews. Many European Christians realize that Jews are just the first on the hit-list of radical Muslims. After disposing of the Jews, the next act of service to Allah is disposing of Christians, since these Muslims consider Christianity – at least Trinitarian Christianity – is a form of idolatry, which must be physically eradicated by the Muslims.  

      Divestment, Boycott, Sanctions and Apartheid lies

      Incitement against Israel has many forms and many audiences. The Divestment, Boycott, Sanctions movement is taking over American and European universities, boardrooms, Churches, all based upon vacuous lies about “Israeli Apartheid”. While the apartheid lie is fatuous, as any visitor to Israel can easily observe in any mall, in the Knesset – in which there are more Arab members than are Jews in all the legislatures in the 21 Arab states, in the Israeli Court system, and wherever one turns where there is no security threat, the apartheid lie is as successful in warping the minds of its audience as were the lies of the Nazi regime. Israel cannot be secure as long as these lies are perpetrated, as long as antisemitism is part of the background in much of the western world, from London to Washington to Buenos Aires. A prerequisite for peace is truth, as we are told:

      These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth with his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates, and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD. [Zecharia 8, 16-17]   

      Until the Arab leaders adhere to the truth, there can be no peace. In particular, Mahmoud Abbas is a holocaust denier, in other words – a liar; there is no value in a contract signed by him. Furthermore, the PLO charter has declared that any diplomatic arrangement will be the basis for an attack on Israel. The PLO are definitely devising evil in their hearts against their neighbour. So any agreement with the PLO will be used by them against Israel. The charade of amendment of the PLO charter was indeed pathetic:  so many dignified people, including the President of the US and the Prime Minister of Israel, were pleading

      Dear Mr. President, it is not easy for a President of the US to admit that previous Presidents were fooled and wanted to be fooled. But a prerequisite for Peace is Truth, and that is the sad truth. We cannot proceed towards Peace unless Truth prevails.  

      Truth must be not only in the mouths, but also in the hearts and minds. Until the Arab people want the Jewish State of Israel to exist, they will try again and again to kill us all, as they have been doing over the past 130 years. The mindset of the Arabs must be changed. They must return to true Islam, to submit to the will of Allah, that the Holy Promised Land belongs to the Jewish people. This is a great challenge, to the Arabs first and foremost, it is their responsibility, but perhaps the USA – and perhaps Israel - can help.

      Support those seeking peace, vanquish those who wish to conquer

      Looking around, we see that there ARE places where Muslims live in peace with the surrounding predominant Christian culture, for instance in Marseille. There, the local Christian leaders empower only the moderate Muslims, who cooperate in keeping amiable relations between the Christians, Jews and Muslims.  Any radical statement is immediately attacked by the heads the community of the speaker.

      This must also be done on a national basis in European countries and in America: support of true moderates, attack all radicalism. Wahabbism, Salafism and the like, are not to be contained and engaged, but openly fought against, outlawed and punished.  Even internecine fighting, such as Sunni - Shia fighting, must be stopped forcefully.

      The resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict

      In all the negotiations between Israeli political leaders and Arab political leaders, weak-minded Israeli politicians have made concession after concession to Arab demands, but the Arab politicians have consistently refused to accept anything less than everything.  

      As clear from the Torah and the Qur'an, the only solution to the Arab-Israel conflict is: One single undivided state, the Jewish State of Israel, in the Holy Promised Land, in which peaceful Arabs can live in peace and security, as do Arabs in Israel today, as free citizens, in a better situation - economically and politically - than in any Arab country. Many honest Arabs say so openly. This is the vision of the Torah, this is the vision of the Qur'an, God's vision, and this was also the vision of Man, expressed in the decision of the League of Nations in the terms of the Mandate for Palestine, which is the modern legal basis for Jewish Settlement in ALL of Palestine.   

      Some people fear - and others threaten - that the One-State solution will be the end of the Jewish state, it will become the "State of all its citizens" – including Arabs, who will overrun the Jewish population. That threat is imaginary, not real. Already, Jewish the birth rate in the Holy Land is favorable to the Jewish nation, and when the threat from Iran is removed, there will be a great influx of Jews from all the countries of the diaspora, since many Jews are justifiably afraid to live in Israel because of the Iranian threat. Many have purchased home in Israel, but are afraid to live here until the Iranian threat is removed. One peace is established, Jews and their descendants will return to their homeland by the millions, as described by Isaiah [35,10]: And those freed by God shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

      The Quran, also,  explicitly refers to the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel before the Last Judgment:

      And thereafter We [God] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.’ [Surah of the Children of Israel, verse 104/]

      Mr. President,  there have been rumors that you would like Israel to put together a plan for peace.  Here we will make a two-stage suggestion:

      Stage 1. Burning of all textbooks used in all of Arabia and other countries, Muslim countries and other countries, such as European countries, from which children are taught that Jews are descendants of dogs, vermin, are attempting to rule the world, are racists, are committing apartheid – in short, Stage 1 is when the World will be freed from the lies of classic and modern antisemitism and  hate of Israel. During Stage 1, new textbooks will be taught in all schools, textbooks celebrating  the Jewish State - as promised by God – Allah - in the Holy Land.

      After 40 to 60 years of such education, with no wars, we will arrive at

      Stage 2: the day celebrated by the United Nations at the entrance to the UN Building in Manhattan, but which was corrupted by leaving out essential parts. Here we bring the full description:

      And many peoples shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of God, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of God from Jerusalem.

      And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. [Isaiah 2,3-4]

      Dear Mr. President, if you work thus diligently towards this aim, there is no doubt you will be blessed and remembered eternally as the man who helped bring Peace to this world. God Bless you in this work, and God Bless America.

      Sincerely, Shalom, Peace and Harmony,

      The Nascent Sanhedrin in Jerusalem



      Adar 25, 5773, 3/7/2013

      Why You Should Cry At Weddings

      by Tamar Yonah

      When I was younger, I always used to laugh at older women dabbing at their eyes with hankies while crying at weddings, but now that I am older, I see I'll have to start bringing kleenex to weddings with me too.

      I cried this week.  Not from happiness, but because of the Jewish People's National tragedy that we still are suffering from today.

      A few nights ago I was at a wedding, and though I was so happy for the beautiful young couple, I got very sad at one point.  It was when just after the groom picked up his foot and broke the glass.  I heard the SMASH.  Immediately, tears welled up in my eyes, and I almost broke down and cried - you know, the whole nine yards, with gulps and heaves and shaking shoulders, BUT I was able to put a cork on it as they say.  I certainly didn't want to draw attention to myself.

      It is usual at Jewish weddings to shout 'Mazal tov!' immediately upon hearing the glass break.  However, this is actually a mistaken custom that we see today.  When one understands the meaning of the breaking of the glass, they remember that though we are at a happy occasion, we cannot be completely joyous, as long as the Holy Temple (The Bet HaMikdash) is not here.  The breaking of the glass at a wedding symbolizes the Jewish heartbreak at the destruction of  G-d's Temple, and our longing for it to be rebuilt.  It is a national trauma that we still suffer today, though many cannot contemplate this emptiness, because we are either too desensitized, or too removed.  If we had experienced having the Temple, and then having it taken away from the world, then all of us would realize the enormous magnitude of this tremendous loss, and we would be sitting in sack cloth and ashes, knowing what we lost.  But we alive today do not feel this pain, though the trauma is apparent.

      I have been at other weddings that one does not yell 'mazal tov' immediately following the breaking of the glass.  Rather, after hearing the crushing of the glass, and contemplating a moment what it is symbolizing, we softly sing Psalm 137:

      "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion....  ...If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; If I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy."  

      Only after this pause, of singing this Psalm, do we shout out a congratulations or 'mazal tov' to the newly wedded couple.  This 'pause' between the breaking of the glass, and the reflecting on the loss, and rebuilding of, the Temple, is becoming more common today because of reignited awareness and the coming back to our land and roots. Jewish learning and returning to Torah is growing and growing today. 

      At the next wedding we go to, we should take a pause and reflect on the reason for the breaking of the glass, and remember the Holy Temple.  We can then cry from joy for the new couple and shout a hearty  'mazal tov', with the hopes to not have to break glasses at weddings anymore!

      May this sign become real, G-d willing, very soon in peace and happiness and joy, for all the nations of the world!

      Isaiah 56:7:  " ...for My house (The Temple) shall be called a house of prayer for ALL nations."



      Adar 23, 5773, 3/5/2013

      The US is NOT a Superpower Anymore

      by Tamar Yonah

      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.  
       

      Bibliography

      1. Bismuth Boaz; “The fall of the American empire”; 19 September 2012; http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2571
      2. Eshel Tamir; “Sequestration and the US Defense industrial base – dawn over doomsday?”; 28 February 2013; http://defense-update.com/20130228_sequestration-and-the-us-defense-industrial-base-dawn-over-doomsday.html
      3. Ettinger, Yoram; “Obama, beware of benevolent ethnocentrism”; 1 March 2013; http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=3573
      4. Goldman, David P. (a.k.a. Spengler); “America won’t survive another four years of Obama”; 11 October 2012, http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/10/11/america-wont-survive-another-four-years-of-obama/
      5. Goldman, David P. (a.k.a. Spengler); “Barack Obama and America’s decline”; Asia Times Online; 5 November 2012, http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/11/05/barack-obama-and-americas-decline-crossposted-from-asia-times/
      6. Gur, Haviv Rettig; “Sequestration may have dramatic repercussions for IDF”; 1 March 2013; http://www.timesofisrael.com/sequestration-may-have-dramatic-repercussions-for-idf/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=9a91735c51-2013_03_01&utm_medium=email
      7. Maginnis, Robert; “Taking the meat axe to national security”; 19 February 2013; http://www.humanevents.com/2013/02/19/taking-the-meat-axe-to-national-security/
      8. News Desk; “Secretary of Defense Hagel details sequestration impact on the US Military”; 2 March 2013; http://defense-update.com/20130302_secretary-of-defense-hagel-details-sequestration-impact-on-the-us-military-2.html  
      9. Paul Stella ; “So this is what ‘God D*mn America’ looks like”; 11 October 2012; http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2012/10/so_this_is_what_god_dmn_america_looks_like.html
      10. Smith, Lee; “America's Withdrawal from the Middle East under the Obama Doctrine – A briefing”; 6 February 2013; http://www.meforum.org/3457/obama-doctrine-middle-east, http://www.meforum.org/audio/113.mp3n
      11. Sternlicht, Hezi, Yoni Hirsh and Zeev Klein; “Israel prepares to take aid hit as US enacts budget cuts”; 3 March 2013; http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=7655


      Adar 22, 5773, 3/4/2013

      I Didn't Vote For Yesh Atid, But I Like This Guy...

      by Tamar Yonah

      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 certain vision 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!

      (Pass this video on!)



      Tevet 12, 5773, 12/25/2012

      Everything To Know About Xmas But Were Afraid to Ask

      by Tamar Yonah

      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.

      Question:                                                                                       

      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!  

           

      Hear this even MORE informative lecture/ show.  Click here: Everything You Wanted to Know About Xmas But Were Afraid to Ask