Alex Rose

The Present

“Do not be distressed by tomorrow’s troubles, for you do not know what will happen today.” [Sanhedrin

The Vilna Geon’s 3rd category of anti-Semitism, which not only has ancient roots but is startle in its relevance for today, with the return to Jewish statehood. “This introduced an amazing paradigm shift in defining a new category of anti-Semitism—the Philistine kind.”

Rabbi Berel Wein, renowned rabbinical leader, historian, author, and educator proclaimed that everyone for whom Israel is dear, both Jew and non-Jew, should have, “The Jewish State—From Opposition to Opportunity” by Rabbi Doron Perez, in their library. It is a book about our past, but just as importantly about our future and the place of Israel in the story of humankind.

We have undoubtedly reached a historical period given that on April 25, 2024, we shall commemorate Israel’s 75th anniversary of the country’s founding and may well still be in the 5th war with Hamas.

Author, Rav Doron Perez was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and made Aliyah at age 18 where he studied for 10 years in some of Israel’s leading yeshivot. He served in the IDF as part of the Hesder program. He has rabbinic ordination as well as a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in Jewish history.

He returned to Johannesburg on ‘shlichut’ to serve a 15 year tenure where he became Executive Director of Mizrachi, the Senior Rabbi of the Mizrachi Shul, and Head of the Yeshiva College school, and the 1st and largest Torah school in South Africa.

With his wife and family, he returned to Israel in 2014 to head the Mizrachi World Movement with its dual focus on Jewish and Zionist identity and destiny.

In his book’s,”Afterword: The Next Seventy Five Years”, Rabbi Doron Perez reflects. “As we celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary, we find ourselves at the same juncture.” He contends that the fate of the state is in our hands. As of the writing of this afterword, Israel is grappling with the roiling and divisive issue of judicial reform, revealing deep fault lines and fissures in Israeli and Jewish society.

How the State of Israel handles this issue, as well as other divisive issues, will greatly define its long-term internal resilience and mutual trust. The currency of a functional society is the level of trust each person and group places in the other.

“As we have shown during the course of this book, the need to find a recipe for Jewish unity and legitimate space for the different ideological perceptions of Jewish identity and destiny is of critical importance. Reclaiming the covenant at the heart of Jewish society and drawing on the dynamics of Dravidian politics is crucial for the future of Israel.

“I have attempted to make the case in this book that as great as the external threats are to Israel—and indeed they are—in many ways the internal issues are no less and perhaps arguably more threatening. I have argued that there is a significant spiritual correlation between the geopolitical reality facing the Jewish people in general and Israel in particular and its metaphysical state. It is impossible to separate the external historic-political circumstances of the Jewish People from their internal moral and spiritual state..

We have highlighted how every attempt at implementing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has failed, and we are currently in an extended stalemate.” How about a studious and repetitive emphasis on Israel’s indigenous claims?

“The Revolutionary Idea of Covenant “[Book Page 113] also appears a 2nd time in Ha Mizrachi Shavuot Vol 6 # 2 magazine. Rav Perez asks “Why does the Torah focus on responsibilities as opposed to rights? The Tanach introduces us to one of the most transformative ideas in all of religious history—the concept of a bit. Mentioned 283 times in Tanach, this revolutionary idea creates a unique framework to define the nature of the relationships between G-d and humanity, G-d and the Jewish people as a whole, G-d and each of the founding fathers of the Jewish people, the founders and their descendants and indeed, the relationships among all members of the Jewish people for all generations.”

While the social contract focuses predominantly on self-interest and personal benefit, the covenant focuses on the collective. The goal of the individual in a covenantal system is to dedicate oneself for the sake of society as opposed to utilizing society to serve oneself.

Values and moral commitments are at the heart of the covenant, whereas parochial individual needs and interests are at the heart of normative agreements and contracts. Returning to the question raised previously, first, it seems that a major shortcoming of focusing primarily on rights is that it is not clear exactly who is responsible to provide them. If I have a right to something without being responsible to provide it for myself, then I am entitled to receive it from someone else.

Secondly, there is another essential difference between human law and divinely mandated law. Rabbi Nissim explains that the primary focus of civil law is to create a functional and organized society, whereas the main focus of civil law from a Torah point of view is of a spiritual nature –to create a more G-dly society [Derashot HaRan 11]

The brit forges a covenantal bond beyond what the rational human mind can conjure on its own. At the very core of all covenantal relationships is the primary value of responsibilities. The idea of the covenantal relationship in Judaism is so positively transformative that it is seen as the very ideal that the nations of the world will wish to emulate in aiming to build a better society. In the famous words of Yishayahu the prophet, a Jewish society will be a source of light to the nations.

Chapter 4: Modern Palestinian Nationalism [Page 40] sets the stage for modern times. It addresses From Judea to Palestina. How did this land, which was known until 2,000 years ago as Judea [and prior to that as Judah and Israel for a 1,000 years] become known as Palestina? Palestina is simply the Latin translation of Philistia, the land of the Philistines.

When did this change transpire? A little history is important to understand the context of this change and its relevance today. In the year 70 CE, the city of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple were destroyed by the Romans. Even so, the majority of Jews did not go into exile, as many remained in the province of Judea in the greater Jerusalem area and southern Negev region.

According to Josephus, there remained 59 Jewish walled cities in this area, where Jewish life continued, despite the destruction of the Temple. While Jerusalem lay in ruins, the Jewish People remained in the Judean region for over 60 years. In the year 130 CE, Hadrian began to build a new Roman city by the name of Aelia Capitolina, dedicated to the pagan God Zeus, which further angered the Jews of Judea.

This fueled the Bar Kochva rebellion, which had great initial successes against the Romans, with the declaration of an independent Jewish state. Most angered by the rebellion , Emperor Hadrian sent a powerful army of elite forces who not only crushed the rebellion, but also destroyed entirely the cities of Judea, forcing the surviving Jews to leave the region. This effectively ended any significant Jewish presence in this area, with the majority of the survivors moving north to the Galilee. Anybody notice the Palestinians?

In fact, most historians, including Professor Benny Morris, Israel’s preeminent historian of the Arab-Israeli conflict, see the earliest traces of the emergence of modern Palestinian Arab nationalism in the early 1920s.

In a world of polarizers and propagandists, Rabbi Doron Perez is a unity warrior—and, most important, an educator par excellence. In this important work, [he calls on all of us, secular and religious, to better define the Jewish and Zionist mission.[Professor Gil troy, author, ‘The Zionist ideas; columnist, Jerusalem Post].

Looking at today’s news headlines makes one somewhat disappointed in how far off we are from introducing the many lessons from Rabbi Doron’s brilliance. Virtual Jerusalem’s major report is titled, “Gloves off for Bibi and Biden as US-Israel tensions boil over”.

Reading further, we learn that unprecedented tensions in US-Israel relations as Netanyahu echoes Menachem Begin’s defiant 1982 rebuke to a young Senator from Delaware. The report informs us that the tensions between the parties echoes Menachem Begin’s defiant 1982 rebuke.

Bumbling Joe Biden confuses Ukraine with Afghanistan in telling Israelis that Netanyahu is harming Israel while he has a messianic vision, apparently including murderous parachute-borne TV meals and a floating pier for Gaza harbor.

All Israel News:” Netanyahu: Pressures won’t stop us.”: Senior Israeli official believes US trying to force Netanyahu out of government . He says ‘Pressures won’t stop us; Israel will finish the job in Rafah.” Prime Minister berates allies for pressuring Israel to agree to ceasefire. The Op-Ed reads as follows:

“Prime Minister Benjamin berated Israel’s allies, 1st and foremost the United states, for pressuring it to hold off on the planned ground offensive into Rafah. He also condemned the mounting criticism being leveled at Israel, highlighting concerns about civilian harm and lack of aid to the Gaza Strip.

In his unusually candid remarks delivered during a televised speech to AIPAC delegates gathered in Washington, Netanyahu continued the ongoing public rift between the White House and Jerusalem over Israel’s conduct in the Gaza War. ‘To our friends in the international community, I say this: You cannot say you support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself and then oppose Israel when it exercises that right..—You cannot say you support Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas and then oppose Israel when it takes the actions necessary to achieve that goal. You cannot say that you oppose Hamas’s strategy of using civilians as human shields and then blame Israel for civilian causalities that result from this Hamas cynical strategy.’

Arutz 7 : Profile of a Political Agitator –Ehud Barak is Endangering Israel’s Unity and Stability by Mordechai Nissan, FPM – March6,2024.

Haaretz: Analysis –Biden’s Red Line: Why US could be Day’s Away from Suspending Arm Sales to Israel by Ben Samuels on March 11, 2024.

WSJ Opinion: Biden’s Middle East is a Fantasy World by Amit Segal on March 13, 2024. He says that when Joe Biden and officials in his administration talk about the Israelis and the Palestinians, they describe two peoples that don’t exist in reality. According to the White House, the Palestinians aspire to peace, reject Hamas and are ready to make painful concessions.

A week after Hamas attacked Israel; Mr. Biden said in an interview on ’60 Minutes’, “Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all the Palestinian people. In reality, according to a November survey by Arab World for Research and Development, affiliated with Ramallah-based Birzeit University, 59% of Palestinians ‘extremely support’ the Oct. 7 massacre, and another 16% ‘somewhat support’ it.

Bennet to CNN ‘US lost 2,400 at Pearl Harbor and killed 3 million. Former Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett defends the ongoing war in Gaza during an interview with Erin Burnett on March 14, 2024. “If we want Hamas to go away, we have to take Rafah. Knowing that Hamas has stated that they will attack us again and again, we have no other choice, if we don’t destroy them completely, they will rebuild and rearm, and we will meet them again in another 2 years. We tried that for17 years and it has failed.”

ZOA Condemns Biden’s Outrageous Uncalled –For Attacks on Israel during SOTU address. This was the most hostile, anti-Israel SOTU speech ever. Biden’s policies clearly intended to harm Israel and Inadvertently benefit Hamas and radical Arabs.[Morton Klein A. Klein, ZOA National President].Key points:

[a] Biden hypocritically claimed to be a great friend of Israel while demanding a Palestinian state ‘solution’ that imperils Israel’s very existence.
[b] Biden overstated number of Gazans displaced and ‘under bombardment’ and never mentioned that 200,000 Israelis are still displaced, living in hotels and people’s homes and tents due to Hamas.
[c] Biden wrongly demanded that Israel must make assisting and protecting Gazan’s Israel’s 1st priority.

“Together We Will Win “are the words of Rabbi Doron Perez as published in Hamizrachi magazine edition Vol 6 #6 5784.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.