Did Hell Just Freeze Over?

“And Hashem said to Cain, “Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. … Cain spoke with his brother Abel. And it happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Hashem said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:6-9)

It is written in Midrash that Abel was the stronger of the two, and the expression rose up implies that Cain had been thrown down and lay beneath Abel. But Cain begged for mercy. … Abel was filled with compassion, and released his hold, whereupon Cain rose up and killed him. (Stone Chumash, commentary on verse 8) And as we again begin at the beginning, G-d creates the universe in His seven days. He creates man in His image but also gives man free will, along with the reality of brotherly conflict. Although created in G-d’s image, man has now been told that not only will he “live by the sweat of his brow,” he will live in mortal conflict with his fellow man.

Yet as our people look back at the year 5774 and the war in Gaza, there is one reality that has finally taken hold since that fateful September 13, 1993 on the White House lawn, where the charade of peace took place. Never had liberals of all shapes, colors and sizes expounded with the ludicrous words “no more war.” Never were the loony leftists so giddy and self-assured that they had finally accomplished what so many before them had failed to achieve. In a secret coup of sorts, Yossi Bellin, Shimon Peres, Ron Pundak and Yair Hirschfeld had plotted for this moment. Nobel Prizes were being minted, to be passed out amid the euphoria. Those of us who didn’t believe a word of it were castigated as “enemies of peace.” It was a celebration in a fool’s paradise.

For some, a few questions arose after the first bus bombing in April 1994. For others, the suicide bomber attacks began to trigger questions. For some, it was hearing Arafat’s “death to Israel” exhortation in Johannesburg, or his speech in Deheishe refugee camp, vowing that “through blood and fire we shall liberate all of Palestine!” Most liberals still resisted the truth – delusional people willingly following their delusion, assured that after Ariel Sharon expelled 9,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza, surely Israel would have peace.

I am convinced from the depth of my heart and to the best of my understanding that this disengagement will strengthen Israel in its hold of the areas essential to our existence and will earn us the blessings and esteem of those near and far, will lessen hate, will break boycotts and blockades and will move us forward on the road to peace with the Palestinians and the rest of our neighbors. … Could Sharon, who had earlier and often warned of the disastrous consequences of leaving Gaza, have overnight become such a fool? (Arutz Sheva, 10/25/04)

But Sharon had been snookered by the U.S., and Israel soon launched Operation Cast Lead in 2008, which led to Operation Pillar of Defense 2012, which led to Operation Protective Edge (whatever that meant) 2014. There is an Arab proverb, “The blood of the lamb excites the tiger.” I’ve heard that the one thing Israelis hate being called is a “frier” – a sucker, a fool. If the name fits… and if it walks like a duck… But I felt a chill recently. Did hell just freeze over?

Daniel Gordis, rabbi, PhD and recovering leftist, wrote about a colleague for whom he professes to have “great admiration, respect and affection,” (?) describing her as one of the most intelligent minds in the American Jewish community – Rabbi Sharon Brous. Responding to some stupefying gibberish she had written, Gordis wrote, “It bequeaths us a new Jew utterly incapable of feeling loyalty. The need for balance is so pervasive that even an expression of gut-level love for Israelis more than for their enemies is impossible. Balance has now bequeathed betrayal.” (The Times of Israel, 7/12/14) WOW! Judging from a recent sermon by Anshe Emet Synagogue’s Rabbi Michael Siegel, Gordis’ words would be apropos in Lakeview as well.

Yet as I felt the ice freezing in Israel, none other than Amos Oz, acclaimed Israeli writer and uber leftist, admits he’s been living comfortably in his ignorance while espousing platitudes of universal values. Having come to his senses, Oz opines, “This morning I read very carefully the charter of Hamas. [What took him so long?] It says that the Prophet commands every Muslim to kill every Jew in the world. … So I hardly see a prospect for a compromise between Israel and Hamas. I have been a man of compromise all my life. But even a man of compromise cannot approach Hamas and say: ‘Maybe we meet halfway and Israel only exists on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.’ … A relative of mine who survived the Holocaust … always reminded her children and her grandchildren that her life was saved in 1945 not by peace demonstrators with placards and flowers but by Soviet soldiers.” (Deutsche Welle interview, 8/4/14) Bravo! Bravo!

I felt another cold breeze hit the back of my neck with the appearance of an old friend from Israeli radio, Haim Hecht, an acquaintance of scholarly background with whom I used to verbally joust, “You’re too smart to be that stupid—or are you just willingly gullible to keep your job?” A really wonderful guy when he didn’t talk his ridiculous liberal politics, Hecht became a leftist media darling. Yet on July 20, 2014, he went on air with an unusual commentary, which must have stunned his loyal listeners:

My mental conflicts are over. Ended. Now the IDF must scatter notes in all of Gaza [including] Azza hospital, and thus to say: From tonight, the rules of the game are changing. What was, is over. Why? Because now, only now, the Jews are going crazy. From eight o’clock tonight, all residents of Gaza, listen up. Every place from which a rocket is launched, every place, be it a house, school, hospital, a UNRWA camp, every such place will be bombed and erased. From tonight, there won’t be any consideration if that bomb will hit women, children, the elderly, or terrorists. … Whoever does not pay attention to this warning, takes his life in his hands. … As I said, there isn’t any possibility to be victorious over a psychopathic enemy, whose total goal is the killing of its own women and children….We tried. G-d and man are witness that we tried to win…with our gorgeous values, with our Jewish principles and ethics, shmethics, and our pinpoint war. … Now, when the blood of our children is being spilled in vain, this is the end of the pinpoint operations; now we are forced to move to trauma and pathology.

You might call it “Leftist GoneWild!” He kind of makes Dick Cheney look like a squishy liberal. And today, thanks to Hamas, there are many other leftists who have now turned their other cheek. Perhaps the one journalist I found to be most amusing was Pinky “consummate leftist Pollyanna living in a dream world” Rosenthal. I want to be clear – I like “Pinky.” He’s a great piñata to poke fun at. He’s honest in his theology of leftist-liberal orthodoxy, unafraid to write of his obsessions even when he’s totally farmisht. But Pinky admits he’s had a bad few months, as he writes, “for two of his most cherished beliefs” – first, that anti-Semitism is no more; and second, that “it is very much in Israel’s interest to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinians…” Without his rose-colored glasses, Pinky would finally see that after 21 years of “Oslo-ing,” his mythical peace partners of the PA, Fatah and PLO, in tandem with Hamas, continue to prove they are not interested in peace. They are focused on Israel’s destruction and have been for the last 66 years. I’ve never understood how something so obvious could be so difficult for lefties to comprehend. Agreements with infidels (that’s us) are not meant to be kept.

To quote Pinky as he walks back his diatribe of profundities, “What I have always said…is that [anti-Semitism] is no longer something that personally affects us.” Who is “us”? French Jews? British Jews? Belgian Jews? New York Jews? He then lists about a dozen anti-Semitic incidents from all over the world that most certainly affected the Jews who were beaten, taunted, swasticated and beheaded! Excuse me—they are us! Am I my Jewish brother’s keeper! And by the way, did you see the security guards at the front of your synagogues for the High Holidays? They weren’t there just to make sure you bought your tickets. To be fair, Pinky noted that “the government does much to protect us, from enforcing hate crime laws to providing funding for security at Jewish institutions…” If anti-Semitism no longer personally affects us, why the need for all this governmental help?

But what Pinky worries about most of all is that Jews “will once again not trust the world.” The world? – like the United Nations? Right. If Jews want to keep living, perhaps they need to be a bit paranoid about Pinky’s new world order. Just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get us.

Pinky seems to believe it’s all about Hamas, selectively forgetting about their teammates in the Palestinian Authority who partnered up with Hamas just before the war began. “For the missiles to stop, we have to learn to live together [flower-child kumbaya – so “Sixties”] and Bibi has given the Palestinians no hope [for a fair deal].” But here I must confront Pinky’s selective memory. Let’s think back to two befuddled leftist prime ministers: Ehud “What did I get from disengagement but 10,000 missiles” Barak, and Ehud “the Bribester” Olmert. Both were willing to give the PA almost everything, including the keys to the castle—sharing Jerusalem—and… no deal. In some ways it’s painful to be exposed for one’s contemptible delusions. In Gert Stein’s eloquent words, “A frier is a frier is a frier.” Is there any other way to describe it? Pinky admits he is fearful “that this Gaza war will just make us stop working for peace. [Probably a good idea.] Hell, Bibi already said one of the lessons of the war is that Israel can’t give back any of the West Bank.” ?? Fact check! Ding! Ding! Correction: Give back to whom, Pinky? When did the Palestinians ever control the West Bank? Never! In 1967, the territory called the West Bank was taken from illegal Jordanian occupation – not a Palestinian in sight. In 1988, while the land was in Israeli hands, Jordan voluntarily relinquished any claim to the land. It’s sad when an Orthodox fellow resorts to fabrication to make his point and then uses our enemies’ pejorative term for our Biblical homeland known by Jews as Judea/Samaria.

Yet in a final homiletic flourish, Pinky proclaims (as if based in fact, when it is clear at this point that he is totally clueless): “But that does not mean we stop doing the right thing.” Here we agree, but I don’t think we are talking about the same” right thing.” Most recent polls (8/30/14) indicate that 82 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza favor going back to rocketing Israel. If that is the case – and maybe the poll could be off by a few percentage points – what would any clear-thinking person, whether Left or Right, conclude?

Let’s take someone with pristine credentials by Ha’aretz standards, Israel’s leftist newspaper of record. Gideon Levy, one of the most demented pro-Palestinian journalists in all of Israel, was asked in a 7/27/14 televised interview on “The News on Sunday” (TNS) after the last ceasefire, “Why do you support the one-state solution?” Levy’s response: “I preferred the two-state solution previously. Now I do not think it is possible.” BINGO!
Shabbat Shalom, 10/17/14 Jack “Yehoshua” Berger

About the Author
Educated as an architect with a Masters in Architectural History, Jack Yehoshua Berger became a practicing architect and real estate developer. In his late 30's he met a Rabbi who turned him on to the miracle of Israel and he began learning how the amazing country, against all odds, came to be the miracle of the modern world.
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