Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer Courtesy

Abu Mazen (also known as “Mahmoud Abbas,” the octogenarian Arab terrorist in a suit) just met with Joe Biden. Abu Mazen has been leading the “Palestinian Authority” in Judea and Samaria ever since Arafat died.

Besides being a terrorist, Abu Mazen is among the worst of Jew-haters. His doctoral thesis argued that the Holocaust is a myth and that Zionists were in bed with Hitler and the Nazis. He also argues that “Palestinians” - to be accurate, Palestinian Arabs - have been the predominant population in Judea and Samaria since time immemorial and that it is a lie when Jews claim to have been there. Thus, the Biblical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel I, Samuel II, Kings I, Kings II, Chronicles I, Chronicles II, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all else are fabrications of history. Never happened.

Although his motive is to negate Jewish bonds with the Land of Israel, by definition he likewise deems Christianity a lie. If there were no Jews in Israel — Bethlehem, Galilee, Jerusalem — then the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are falsehoods too. Never happened. If there was no Jewish Temple on Mount Zion, then there was no Jesus there. Thus, Jesus likewise is a myth.

That is Abu Mazen and the ideology on which his “Palestinian Authority” are based. Joe Biden just had a warm meeting with this terrorist. Moreover, to the degree that it now is an Article of Faith for Biden and his Democrats that Trump never should have raised questions about the November 2020 election, what of Mahmoud Abbas/Abu Mazen? He was elected on January 9, 2005 to a four-year term as President of the “Palestinian Authority,” and he now is in the 17th year of his four-year term. He will not allow new elections.

FACTS: Jews entered the Land of Israel under Joshua. The First Jewish Commonwealth saw the Biblical judges like Deborah and Shimshon (Samson); Kings like Sha’ul (Saul), Dahveed (David), Shlomo (Solomon), and Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah); and Prophets like Yeshaya (Isaiah), Yirmiya (Jeremiah), and Yechezkel (Ezekiel). In all, the First Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel lasted more than 600 years until the Babylonian Empire burned down the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) on Mount Zion (hence the term “Zionism”) and exiled us. (By the way, the Babylonian Empire has disappeared from the face of the earth.)

The Second Jewish Commonwealth began taking shape seventy years later with the fall of Babylonia and lasted more than 600 years, too. During that era, the Jews rebuilt the Temple, later endured efforts by the Greek Empire to conquer Israel, an effort that was stymied by the Maccabees. (By the way, the Greek Empire has disappeared from the face of the earth.)

Next came the Roman Empire, and they succeeded in burning down the Second Holy Temple in 70, eventually exiling Jews from Israel with the fall of Beitar in 135. (By the way, the Roman Empire has disappeared from the face of the earth.)

When the Romans conquered Judea and Samaria — Israel — they undertook to wipe out memory of the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel by re-naming it “Palestine” for the Biblical Philistines who lived in parts of Gaza. Like mud, the name stuck. For the next two thousand years Israel was called “Palestine.” Even Jews ultimately used the term (just as some Jews now call Judea and Samaria “the West Bank” just for the convenience of using terms that other people use.)

Through all this time there were no Arab “Palestinians.” Mohammed shows up in the 600s — long, long later. Look at any encyclopedia, and you will find that the fiction of an Arab “Palestine” was fabricated only in 1964 and did not gain wide use until Israel won the 1967 Six-Day War that saw Judea and Samaria return to Jewish sovereignty. Before 1967, the Arabs never attacked Jordan, who was occupying the “West Bank” nor Egypt who occupied Gaza. Rather, the original “Palestine” that the “Palestinians” suddenly claimed saw Arab terrorists aiming at Tel Aviv and Haifa, arguing that all of Israel was theirs. Only after 1967 did they suddenly redefine “Palestine” to include Judea and Samaria.

It is telling that they have no name of their own for Judea and Samaria. Obviously they cannot say “Jews never lived in Judea.” So they call it the “West Bank” (of the Jordan River). The name is nonsense. The 800,000 Jews living in eastern Jerusalem and throughout Judea and Samaria are not living on a river bank. Rather, that is Jersey City and Hoboken. The “Palestinian Arabs” have no name for the Land because there never was an Arab country sovereign there.

Even the term “Palestine” immediately became synonymous with “Israel.” After WWI, when the spoils of war were conferred on the winners, Great Britain received the “Palestine Mandate” with Lord Arthur Balfour declaring that the land was earmarked for a Jewish national home. Jews raised money to make the desert come to life under the rubric of JNF — the Jewish National Fund for Palestine. When Britain proved unwilling through the next qiuarter century to honor the Balfour Declaration, the Irgun Jewish underground, along with the Haganah and the Lechi (Freedom Fighters for Israel) finally blew the British colonialists out. To help raise money for their effort, the Irgun raised money through an organization called the “American League for a Free Palestine.” The Jewish daily English newspaper in Israel was called the “Palestine Post.” “Palestine” was synonymous with Israel.

It is miraculous that, long after the disappearance of the Babylonian Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire, Israel and the Jews never lost their bond. Through nearly two millennia of Exile, Jews never wavered on our claim to Jerusalem and Israel.

Examples:

1. We pray three times daily. The centerpiece of those prayers is the “Amidah” (also called the “Shmoneh Esrei.) It is a prayer of some 25 paragraphs. Through 2000 years in ghettoes and facing anti-Semitism, here is one of the prayer’s core paragraphs:

And may You return with mercy to Your city of Jerusalem, and may You dwell in its midst as You have spoken. And build within it speedily in our days a permanent structure (the Third Temple), and may You restore the throne of [the Davidic line to the Messiah]. Blessed are You, Who rebuilds Jerusalem.

2. After every meal at which bread is eaten, even meals mundane as a tuna sandwich, we recite a “grace after meals” that includes thanks to G-d for having bestowed on us through our forefathers a wonderful beloved land, expresses our longing for rebuilding the House of David, the city of Jerusalem, Zion the site of His Home [upon which His name is embedded].

3. A series of days of mourning were inserted into the Jewish calendar for grieving and fasting on days that were central to the fall of the First Commonwealth and the Second. We have marked these days for more than 2,000 years. See, e.g., Zechariah 7:5 and 8:19. This year, the saddest three weeks of the year began on Sunday, July 17, a time known as "The Three Weeks." The period of mourning began with fasting (no food or liquids) on the day hours of the 17th of Tamuz (this year, last Sunday July 17) and culminates on Tisha B'Av with a full-blown 25-hour fast on that day. (This year, Tisha B'Av will be Saturday night, August 6 - Sunday nightfall, August 7.)

The Mishnah of the Talmud tells us that five tragedies occurred on the 17th of Tamuz:

1. Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses), upon seeing the Golden Calf incident as he descended from Mount Sinai, broke the two tablets on which G-d had inscribed the Ten Pronouncements.

2. With Babylonia having laid siege to Jerusalem for two-plus years, the Jews no longer had enough lambs left to offer the twice-daily sacrificial offering ("Korbon Tamid") and were compelled by that reality to stop the daily offerings.

3. The Romans breached Jerusalem's walls on the 17th of Tamuz as they began their military assault that ended with burning the Second Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) three weeks later on Tisha B'Av in the year 70.

4. The Jews who survived that period still remained in Israel until the final series of battles 65 years later that ended with Bar Kochba's fall at Beitar Fortress in 135. Shortly before those battles, Roman military leader Apostomus burned a Torah scroll on 17 Tamuz.

5. An idol was placed in the sanctuary of the Holy Temple on 17 Tamuz. (Shulchan Arukh w/Mishnah Brurah 549:1)

During the period of The Three Weeks, we observe traditional forms of Jewish public community mourning:

1. No weddings, engagement parties, or other general celebrations are conducted during The Three Weeks. However, a bris on the 8th day of the baby's life is not delayed. And a man may propose to a woman during The Three Weeks.

2. We do not attend public entertainment during The Three Weeks (such as "going out to the movies" at movie theaters, attending theater, concerts, etc.)
A. However, some watch TV at home. For them, there is a difference between "going out to the movies" versus streaming or otherwise watching casually at home.
B. We may "eat out" at restaurants during The Three Weeks. "Eating out" is not regarded the same as going out to movies, theaters, or concerts. However, we do not conduct parties or other such celebrations at restaurants during The Three Weeks.

3. We do not get haircuts (nor do our own haircuts) during The Three Weeks. Many men do not shave during The Three Weeks.

4. We do not listen to instrumental music during The Three Weeks, whether live concerts or even playing CDs or listening to music on our smartphones, iPods, etc., at home. However, it is permitted to listen to bits of non-entertainment music, such as jingles that come up in commercials or at starts or ends of TV shows, etc. That is, one does not have to mute the sound as soon as one hears the jingle "For the best night's sleep in the whole wide world, it's My Pillow dot come." Likewise, small bits of music are permitted for educational purposes. Professional musicians may earn their income by playing their instruments during The Three Weeks. Some follow a practice that permits listening to non-instrumental music -- i.e., a cappella (singing without instruments -- e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovJlVeyIZLg // https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIe217qTUi4) during The Three Weeks. Others do not.

Perhaps most importantly, this period of Three Weeks, which Jews have observed annually for more than 2,000 years, is a core reason that Israel came back into being as a Jewish country after two millennia of Exile and why we lived to see in our own days the reunification of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people. Simply put, we never gave up our claim. We never stopped yearning and praying for The Return. Through 2,000 years of persecution by other nations and religions, who challenged us to give up our faith and belief in The Restoration, we continued remembering Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, continued praying for her three times daily, praying for her in our prayers after meals, and observing customs like these affirming that, despite all odds and despite the presumed impossibility of it all, we would return.

And we did.

Biden and Abu Mazen can talk about a Two-State Solution until their faces turn blue. Israeli politicians can give it lip service, too.

But — “just between us girls” — it will never happen. It will never ever happen, not with more than 800,000 Jews now living in eastern Jerusalem and throughout the rest of Judea and Samaria. Jews waited and prayed for 2000 years. Even those Jews who could not relocate because of severe illnesses and political impossibilities. Jerusalem will not fall again.

Adapted by the writer for Arutz Sheva from a version of this article that first appeared here in The American Spectator.

Arutz Sheva is glad to see Rabbi Fischer back writing again."Baruch rofe cholim"