Avi Abelow is the host of the Pulse of Israel daily video/podcast (PulseofIsrael.com) and the CEO of 12Tribe Films Foundation. After working as a change management consultant for Accenture in NYC and opening up their Israel office in Tel Aviv, Avi then produced the acclaimed movie “Home Game” about Gush Katif. Due to the success of “Home Game” worldwide, Avi made a career change to dedicate his time to using media, videos and social media to promote the politically incorrect truth about Israel, the Jewish people and the freedom-loving world. Today, Avi also is the Director of 12Tribe Films which manages IsraelUnwired.com.
I want to update you on an amazing, amazing development that is a reaction to something sad, upsetting and extremely disappointing that happened in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur.
I'm about to break down for you the reality of what is going on in Israel in a way that few have explained to us until this point. And ultimately, it is good, really good. So, please stick with me.
And again, let me start by saying this: Great things are happening in Israel on so many levels, so never let the headlines get you depressed. Please, I beg of you. It is so not worth it.
Truly, we are a miraculous country that could be wiped off the earth by our enemies around us on any given day, because our enemies outnumber us and because they overpower us in the international community.
Despite this, we are still here to live each and every day, realizing the dream of the Jewish people for thousands of years to once again be sovereign in our ancestral homeland, and allowing us to do amazing things for all of humanity. So, you can basically say that G-d's words about the Jewish people returning to our homeland and him protecting us are true :)
Yes, we need a strong IDF to protect ourselves as well. But, we can never allow ourselves to think that we survive just based on the IDF alone. No, it is G-d above who is looking after us.
Now, I want to share with you the amazing development.
I want to share with you a selection of recent posts by non-religious Israelis. (The original Hebrew is at the end of this article)
Post #1, and I'm translating into English:
It's amazing what one Yom Kippur can do to a secular Kibbutznik. From today on I will be wearing the traditional Jewish head covering, a kippa.
Antiochus failed (to destroy us), the Romans failed (to destroy us), the Muslims failed to destroy us. And you too will fail to destroy us.
Don't touch my Judaism. You have crossed a line.
Who is he talking about? I will get to that part soon. But here is another post, for you to understand that this isn't just one person.
I'm a non-religious Israeli Jew who lives in the city of Givataim.
Thanks to the religious Jews being expelled from Dizengoff square in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur, I have decided to purchase Tefillin and put them on.
Because of the horrific event at Dizengoff Square, it is important to me that my children, who live in a non-religious city, see their father putting on a tallit and tefillin every morning (like this), in order that they learn what Judaism is.
And here is one more sample post, and these are just three out of so many:
I live in Tel Aviv. I stopped wearing a kippah 12 years ago.
After seeing the horrific events that took place in Dizengoff square on Tel Aviv, I'm seriously thinking about wearing my kippa again in order to associate with the religious community I come from, instead of the community that attacks them.
Wow! We are seeing a wave of this sentiment in Israel today, showing how the vast majority of the Jewish people in Israel want to feel Jewish and have a connection with their Jewish identity, regardless of how religious or non-religous they are. And this is the beauty of the Jewish people living in the Land of Israel!
So, what exactly happened on Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv at Dizengoff square?
Instead of telling you what happened. I will share with you some eye-witness accounts of people who were present.
The following eye-witness account was shared publicly, yet anonymously:
"I was there Sunday evening.
Hundreds of us came to attend a beautiful outdoor service for Yom Kippur- a service that has been put on in public for years.
First off, neither myself, or any of the 7 people I showed up with (and likely majority of the people in attendance for the service) are religious or "observant" - we are your typical left leaning Tel Avivians who spend our weeks working, our Thursday nights at bars or clubs & Saturdays at the beach- yet we want to experience the energy of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year here in Israel.
When we showed up, we were FLOORED. The Rabbi and a few others were on the stage (bima) which had Jewish flags all surrounding it (this was the solution to not having a real Mechitzah/divider so as not to violate the law) - I will explain that later - trying to begin the services.
Protestors approached and surrounded the stage screaming and yelling in the faces of anyone who was there to pray. They were chanting "BOOSHA" ("disgrace"- a typical chant that is said at the anti-reform protests) to all of us.
Our side was staying calm but trying to talk back, but they were unhinged. There was not even room for debate.
They began aggressively picking up every seat that was set up for those to pray. I’m pretty sure some of them had speakers as to intensify their chanting. They were recording on their phones- you could tell they wanted a reaction so they could gather it on video and frame it in a certain way.
Finally the rabbi etc. came off the Bima and they started getting on the Bima raising LGBT flags and cheering. It was really a disgrace. everyone was so sad.
They said things to people that no Jew should ever say to another Jew (nor to anyone of any religion, period). It was really one of the saddest experiences in my life as a Jew. Every single one of us was in shock, and many people were near or in tears. People of all religious backgrounds, who came to experience the service (wearing everything from short shorts and tank tops to long sleeves and head wraps) were standing there, mouths wide open, in disbelief at what was going on.
The arguments that people try to defend these protestors with are absurd- it was so clear that none of these protesters actually cared about a Mechitzah/divder or "Forced" Gender Separation - they just don't want anything remotely religious happening in public.
Their true problem was any observance of Judaism/the holiday/prayer in a public popular place and their way of showing it was not by peacefully protesting and having conversation and dialogue- it was disgusting, pathetic, and quite frankly childish- in fact one woman was pulling on a man’s Tzitzit/Talit and mimicking him. (And for the record, if anyone actually thinks that any of these outdoor Tel Aviv services “FORCE” gender separation, they have clearly never been to one).
A friend of mine went back the next day, and after trying to talk to some of them and unite them by singing Am Israel Chai together, he said: 'Many of them told me that we are not brothers and one person even called me an antisemite and Satan. In all my life I've never seen hatred in peoples eyes like I did then.'"
And here is another eye-witness account, this one published on an online publication:
This is the story of what I experienced Sunday night, Yom Kippur eve, at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv. I know everything is now seen as “political” in one way or another, but this was not written to be political. It’s simply the story of what happened to me – what I saw with my own eyes.
On Sunday night, they chased me away. They physically and repeatedly shoved my wife. They threatened to punch me in the face as I held my 18-month-old daughter in my arms.
They said to my wife “Your unborn fetus will be ashamed to be born to a mother like you,” and proceeded to harass and menace her, following for over 300 feet with a cell phone shoved in her phone, screaming, “You’re being recorded! You’re being recorded! You’re being recorded!”
We walked around the corner from our home to pray.
When we arrived at Dizengoff Square on Sunday night, I was in shock. Dozens of people with eyes seething with hate, screaming with spittle flying out of their mouths at 150 human beings who had just come to pray. To pray in their own neighborhood – a short walk from where they, like I, live – on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
“Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” They bellowed at the crowd assembled to pray.
They weren’t shouting at Rosh Yehudi, the organization that organized and got the permit for the prayer service, and not once did they yell about the mechitzot, the dividers between men and women.
They spouted hate at regular people. At fathers, at mothers, at children (yes). At grandparents, at secular people who decided they wanted a Yom Kippur prayer experience, whatever meaning that holds for them. At traditional Jews who may not keep Shabbat, but for whom Yom Kippur is incredibly special.
The hate being spewed by these zealots had no connection whatsoever to the issue of gender separation. They were there because of their hate of others, not because they opposed a contentious policy. They were there, really, for one reason: to tell us we don’t “belong.” We, the people who wear kippahs, the people who pray, don’t belong in “their” neighborhood, in their city, Tel Aviv. Because this is a secular city, right?
This is one of the videos of what they experienced at Dizengoff square.
Now, this is horrible.
But, Understand, this was done by an insignificant number of Israeli Jews. They harassed and stopped fellow Jews from enjoying Yom Kippur prayers and celebrations at various locations in the streets of Tel Aviv, and other Israeli neighborhoods and cities, where public prayer services have been held for years.
This second video (scroll down) is from Ramat Aviv, where protesters harassed Jews singing and dancing outside. The disrupters are actually shouting "de-mo-cra-cy!"
Anywhere else in the world, this would have been called out as antisemitic by wall to wall Jewish organizations. Unfortunately, that did not happen with regard to what happened in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur. Too many Israeli centrist and leftist politicians, and activists on the political left, celebrated the harassment of the Jews celebrating Yom Kippur.
Now, stick with me, because even though this looks very sad, and very bad, it actually highlights a reality, and a critical, critical process, that is never talked about. And it is a good process, as I started this post with.
Even more importantly, I want all Jews all over the world to internalize that if you are not yet living in Israel, what I'm speaking about today highlights the key reason of why you should be coming home to Israel as soon as you can, not thinking the opposite, that because of this you shouldn't come. Not at all. Come home asap. We need as many committed, proud, practicing Jews living here in Israel to help mold Israel into the strong Jewish state it is supposed to be. That is our purpose as Jews!
What happened in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur does not reflect the modern Jewish state of Israel. The harrassment was done by a tiny minority of antisemitic, yes, anti-Jewish, Israeli Jews. But they are a tiny minority, just with lots of power.
The reaction in those posts I quoted earlier, about non-religious Israelis today putting on a kippah, talit and tefillin, is the true sentiment of the majority of the Jewish people in Israel today.
Here is another facebook post by a non-religious Tel-Avivian who attended a different public prayer service on one of the beaches of Tel Aviv. He says that over 3,000 people attended, and it had a mechitza/divider, and they were not harrassed.
Do you know also know that of the over 100+ secular Kibbutzim across Israel, most have prayer services on Yom Kippur, with religious people from outside the kibbutzim invited to come help them with the holiday prayers?
That is the real Israel!
A majority of Jews in Israel, of all religious and secular levels, want to be unified and want a connection to their ancestral Jewish identity and traditions.
So, let's go back and understand what is really going on with the protest movement that disrupted some of the prayers in Tel Aviv.
Allow me to give a totally different take than all the other opinions.
First of all, everyone must understand the following basic underlying fact.
These anti-Jewish, very much antisemitic, acts were inevitable, in reality, totally unavoidable.
Some people are blaming the Yom Kippur prayer protests on the Rosh Yehudi religious organization in Tel Aviv that organized one of the public prayer services, and is active in Tel Aviv in bringing religious and secular closer together. One of the people running for Mayor of Tel Aviv is even threatening to end the presence of the Rosh Yehudi organization and all religious people in Tel Aviv who don't hold up to her "standards". Not very liberal of a politician that supposedly stands up for “liberal” values in Tel Aviv.
Other people are blaming the placing of the mechitza/divider, even though the police have officially said that no divider was placed and that the Rosh Yehudi prayer service had all the proper municipal permits.
These protests also had nothing to do with protesting the government and nothing to do with protesting the judicial reform, the other reasons the political left have been protesting the past half a year plus.
Believe it or not, this anti-Jewish backlash was always in the wings waiting to be unleashed on the Israeli public. There has always been an anti-Jewish entity within the Jewish people, forever, and in Israel from even before the State of Israel was established.
Without getting into the theology of it, this entity is called the Erev Rav.
The only reason this anti-Jewish sentiment was never unleashed in Israel like it is today is because we had an enemy, the Arabs, that unified us. So long as we were united in understanding that we had to be unified to defend ourselves against an enemy, the anti-Jewish agenda kept its head low. We were all unified in standing strong against our enemies, so that we could survive as a country.
The judicial-reform protest movement today has changed all that, with IDF reserve soldiers and the brothers in arms representatives explicitly saying clearly that “ this government is more dangerous than our enemies”, hence they announced that they would refuse to serve against our actual enemies. No longer is our real enemy a good enough reason to remain unified.
Hence, we are seeing the undercurrent anti-Jewish agenda finally being unleashed by a tiny minority of the population. It is a tiny minority with support in the media, of politicians, in academia and the justice system.
How do we know this was always in the background just waiting to be unleashed?
And how in the world can I say that this is all good, part of a necessary process?
Well, first of all, Ron Pundak, who was one of the architects of the disastrous Oslo accords, admitted straight out at a presentation a number of years ago that the “Oslo peace process wasn’t about peace. It was about Israelizing Israel and ending Israel being a Jewish state ''. The exact quote is documented in this article in Hebrew.
I want to make sure you understand that. The Oslo peace process, that whitewashed Yassar Arafat and his gang of terrorists, giving them guns and land in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, was never actually about making peace, but about trying to make Israel “normal” by whitewashing a real enemy and turning it into a "peace partner", to then de-Judaize the State of israel!
That's not all.
Shimon Peres, the chief architect of the disastrous Oslo peace process, Ron Pundak's boss and the visionary of "a New Middle East", said basically the same thing when he lost the elections to Bibi Netanyahu in 1996.
When Peres was asked about the loss he said: “The Israelis lost and the Jews won”. His quote is documented in this article (in Hebrew).:
Then we have Yair Lapid writing an op-Ed in 2005 saying the disengagement was about “putting the national-religious public in its place”.
As I said, this anti-Jewish agenda, to erase the Jewish character of the Jewish state, has been waiting to burst for years.
But, again, please understand. It’s all good.
All these years too many of us have ignored the existence of this anti-Jewish attitude that exists in the political system, the justice system, academia and the media. The despicable, antisemitic, protests at the Jewish prayers on Yom Kippur have now exposed this reality for more of us to wake up and recognize, in order to deal with properly.
Yes, It looks bad, very bad, and very depressing...But it will be good!
Only by truly understanding the reality of our situation can we fix it. Until now we have all deluded ourselves, now the delusional period is over.
As I have said from the beginning of the judicial reform protest movement, we will overcome this division, stronger and more unified than before, because most of Am Yisrael, even with our vast and passionate differences, wants to be United in a strong, proudly Jewish state of Israel.
With the pain of seeing what’s transpiring, and it will get worse, I’m holding on to the optimism that this is actually the catalyst for positive change. It will be a slow process, but it will happen. And the posts I shared earlier show that it is already happening!
The tiny minority of Jew-haters in our midst think they are winning, and in truth, they are winning the battle today, but they will lose the war.
Ultimately, it must be understood that an agenda exists by a tiny, yet powerful, minority, to neuter Israel of its Jewish character, and they won't be satiated with cosmetic changes, so no compromises will end their protest.
Even if all haredi Jews would draft to the IDF tomorrow, or if all religious Jews would leave Tel Aviv, this anti-Jewish protest would still not stop.
Ultimately, this tiny minority wants to use the justice system and the misused value of "equality" to erase the Jewish ‘right to return’ law, which allows Jews, under certain conditions, to automatically become citizens of Israel, and they want to change Israel's national anthem to erase all references to Israel being a Jewish state. That is the end goal.
What will ultimately end their insanity today is more and more people waking up and realizing that they don't actually care about democracy, or judicial reform, causing them to lose the public's support for their protests. More Israeli Jews are today seeing this true, anti-Jewish, face of the “democracy” protest movement, and they don’t like it at all. The process of them losing the public support has begun.
So, what’s the continuation of the good news?
As I have mentioned before, Rav Kook clearly wrote, around 100 years ago Igrot Raeya 144, that the day will come when some secular Jews will become so distanced from the Torah that they will hate the Torah and Judaism, and he clearly said that it is part of the geulah/redemption process!
Rav Kook said this around 100 years ago. For those who don’t know, Rav Kook did not want division, he worked day and night to create unity between all Jews during his time!
These antisemitic Jews today are a tiny minority, but they have the support of the justice system, academia and the media, so they are perceived to be a larger group than they actually are.
So, don’t be discouraged! This is all a sign that we are in the right direction! The geulah/redemption is happening! Keep on celebrating the wonderful values of the Torah, and keep on showing love to every Jew, no matter how brainwashed they are with lies.
And if you are a Jew not living in Israel yet, then start making your plans to come home.
We are not supposed to live here in Israel because Israel is perfect. We are supposed to live here in order to make Israel be a light unto the nations. And we need all good, committed, proud Jews to live here with us to take an active part in bringing the geula/redemption.
So, do not be discouraged by the news. Internalize the greater wake-up process we are experiencing, and come home to Israel, if you are not here yet. Good things are happening, and amazing things are coming, even though we still have many bumps along the road. Those are geulah times, baby.
Am Yisrael Chai!