Israel, Jews & the World: Spiritual Perspectives on Crisis

With recent events, there could not be a better time to take a break from our busy lives and step back to ask ourselves 'What is really going on in Israel?'.

Join us for an engaging discussion on spiritual themes related to current affairs, historical trends and mystical implications that will shed some light on the state of affairs in Israel today.

How To Stop An Irish Flotilla

and beat them at their own game!

You need bag pipes, food and beer. I’m not joking. Here is my plan.

STAGE ONE
Send several boats with bagpipes blowing traditional Israeli folk tunes. Each welcome vessel should have 100 of the best behaved Israeli soldiers aboard waving Irish Flags. A welcome proclamation should be issued, declaring a Day of Irish Jewish Heritage. Large banners hanging off the Israeli boats read in English “Welcome To Israel” and “Éirinn go Brách (Ireland Forever)” ” In Heaven there is no beer, that is why we drink it here.”

STAGE TWO
After the flag waving and music, a small pontoon boat approaches each side of the boat for the dangerous mission of bringing plates of pita and chumous, Marzipan ruggaleh, and cases of domestic Israeli beer.

STAGE THREE
Other plates would have Irish Whiskey, Irish stew, beef bacon and cabbage, boxty, coddle, and colcannon. Blankets, suntan lotion, beach balls, and other gift items would be handed over to the protesters on board.

The people on the boat will be either visibly moved or start throwing these gifts back at the people bringing them. Perhaps even raining down on them with refuse from the boat. The soldiers stand their ground, and take anything that comes to them – all of this being filmed and witnessed by teams of international Journalist that have embedded into the Navy.

STAGE FOUR
The people on the boat will likely be hesitant to take any of the gifts. In fact they may throw them in the ocean. It’s ok. Seeing the Irish Protesters throwing gifts away will be a huge embarrassment to the Irish mafia running the ship, and replayed millions of times on YouTube, BBC, CNN and others.

Stage four ends in three aerobatic planes from the Israeli Air Force flying over head trailing green air-show smoke, forming the Peace sign.

STAGE FIVE
After a minimum of ten waves of gift laden boats are not successful, things get more serious. A floating saloon is pull up along side the boat, complete with dozens of darts, and cold draft beer, but also a more extensive Irish Menu.

STAGE SIX
Israel prepares the red carpet treatment for the Irish and international protesters. Many are put up at Gaza Hotels while all their personal belongings etc are screened by the border patrol and the boat is turned upside-down. Everyone gets a gift certificate to some great attractions in Israel, a day at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv and Jeruaslem, visit Yad VaShem, and O’Connels pub in Jerusalem.

Now let’s set aside for now that this Irish Flotilla could be delivering aid the the impoverished North of Ireland that has been under British rule since 1921. This is only one set of ideas, and it is 3am – I am sure that the Israelis can come up with something equally creative and effective beyond dropping soldiers onto the boat.

BHL Weighs In On Flotilla, Israel, Provocation

Recent entries in my diary
By Bernard-Henri Lévy

From Haaretz

While in Tel Aviv I learned of the catastrophic interception on the high seas by the Israel Defense Forces of six boats that had sailed from Turkey and were trying to run the blockade on Gaza. As I write these words, I, like the rest of the world, have only a few shreds of information about what really happened. Furthermore, I am convinced that it will soon be learned that this so-called humanitarian flotilla was humanitarian in name only, and that its organizers and implementers were exploiting the signs and symbols of humanitarian aid and essentially exploiting the media, rather than expressing any real concern for the suffering of the people of Gaza. And I am also convinced that the initiators of this provocation − the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is indeed a part of the government in Turkey − had very good reasons for refusing the suggestion that the boats enter the Israeli port of Ashdod so that the real nature of their cargo could be verified.

I am equally convinced that the IDF I know does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties and its soldiers and officers are careful to observe purity of arms. Furthermore, I am convinced that the IDF, which is not only a highly sophisticated army but profoundly democratic, and whose conduct in wartime I have saluted on many occasions ‏(I did so last night as well‏), had other modes of operation at its disposal and could have used them rather than causing this bloodbath. If I had had any hesitation about offering an opportunity to Israel’s friends to redouble their vigilance, and if I had had any doubt regarding the importance of Jcall’s demand for a distinguishing between continued, consistent support of Israel and the criticism for the poor actions of a poor government, this initiative, which was so foolish, irresponsible and criminal and which − for Israel − was so disastrous, has put all such hesitations and doubts to rest. Grief, sadness, and yes, anger are the feelings that have emerged in the face of a temptation that I know exists in the hearts of some Israeli leaders − a temptation to believe that the “whole world is against us” and that “we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t” and to therefore act accordingly. Autism can never be a government policy and it most certainly can never be a strategy. This is a statement that must be made. And it must be made emphatically.

Bernard-Henri Lévy’s latest book, “Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism,” was published in 2009.

The Storm Ahead- Eerie Prediction By Daniel Gordis

From Daniel Gordis’s website – there are 57 comments there already.

THE STORM AHEAD

Instead of trying to convince ourselves that it’s not really raining and that there are only a few clouds in the sky, we should be asking a few basic questions on the relationship between Israel and young American Jews

In October 1994, several days after kidnapped IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman was killed in a failed attempt to save him from his terrorist captors, I was scheduled to teach my weekly graduate seminar at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. But given the horror of what had just transpired, I couldn’t even imagine simply teaching as planned. I no longer recall what had been scheduled for that day. But what I do remember is that I decided to scrap the usual fare and that I taught a text in memory of Wachsman.

As the seminar drew to a close, it was obviously quiet in the room. But just as the students were preparing to disperse, one looked at me and asked, “What does any of this have to do with us?”

More than 15 years later, I can still picture that moment, frozen in time. I remember exactly where she was sitting. I recall the looks of discomfort on the faces of some of the other students, but the nods of agreement with her question from others. And I remember that I had no idea what to say.

And I remember feeling unbearably lonely and wholly out of place. Lonely because it was clear that she was not the only one wondering why in the world we were thinking about Nachshon Wachsman, when my own heart was breaking, and out of place because I had no idea how to engage those students in a conversation about why he mattered to me. I didn’t know where to begin.

What I didn’t know then, of course, was that a question that seemed to me an aberration would soon become the norm.

BUT IT has. Among young American Jews today, the public discourse has been captured by the intellectual and emotional heirs of that graduate student. Today’s is a generation of young American intellectuals and communal leaders without the instinctive bond to Israel that my generation possesses, even when Israel infuriates or embarrasses us. This is a generation of people like the talented writer Jay Michaelson, who wrote in The Forward, “I no longer want to feel entangled by [Israelis’] decisions and implicated in their consequences… count me out.”

Even in the moments of our greatest frustration with Israel, the people that I grew up with could never utter the words “count me out.” Read more