Category Archives: Jewish Leadership

Rabbis: It’s The Fault Of Provocative Women, Not Ill Behaved Men

According to Arutz Sheva, our dear rabbis of the reconstituted ‘sanhedrin’ have this to say about former Justice Minister Haim Ramon’s conviction for sexual harassment:

The Ramon verdict is a judicial evil, said the rabbis. “After the complainant’s picture was published as it was published,” they said, “there is no reason to expect different behavior on the part of the defendant, in a society in which there is no fear of God and moral restraint.”

Got that, ladies? According to the rabbis, if you’re too pretty, if your blouse is too tight or your skirt too short, it’s your fault. Judaism, meet Stone Age.

[Hat Tip: Pilegesh.org.]

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Filed under Crime, Israel, Jewish Leadership

Another Israeli Leader Falls

Last week, Israel’s president, Moshe Katsav, was indicted on rape and sexual harassment charges. Today, its former Justice Minister, Hiam Ramon, one a prime ministerial hopeful, stands unanimously convicted of "indecent behavior," or, in American terms, sexual harassment. He is expected to appeal the conviction.

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Filed under Crime, Israel, Jewish Leadership

State Looks To Prosecute Rabbis Who Called For Murder Of Army Commander

We noted two weeks ago that the nut jobs from the new "Sanhedrin" had issued a fatwa against a senior army officer. The State has now decided to open a criminal investigation against these rabbis. Ha’aretz reports:

The State Prosecution on Wednesday decided to open a criminal investigation against a group of rabbis who issued a halakhic ruling against GOC Central Command Yair Naveh for authorizing restraining orders against West Bank settlers. The rabbis ruled that in signing such orders, Naveh was guilty of crimes punishable by death according to Jewish law.

About two weeks ago, a group of rabbis linked to the revived Sanhedrin movement – or high court of Jewish law – ruled that Naveh was guilty of three crimes: "Causing the masses to sin"; being a "moser" – someone who informs against fellow Jews or hands over Jews or Jewish land to gentiles; and terrifying the public in a blasphemous way."

In their decision, the rabbis referred to a ruling made by the 12th century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, according to which "it is permissible to kill a moser everywhere, even in this time when the courts do not rule on capital cases."…

The signatories to the halakhic ruling include Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Jerusalem Temple Institute; Rabbi Yehuda Edrey, of the movement to rebuild the temple; Bar Ilan Literature Professor Hillel Weiss; Rabbi Rueven Hass and Rabbi Ido Alba.

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Israel, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy

Haredim And The Holocaust

How do haredim relate to the Holocaust? Ha’aretz reports:

…Professor Menachem Friedman, however, one of the leading experts on ultra-Orthodoxy in Israel, attributes it to Haredi society’s reluctance to confront the most difficult questions arising from the period. Questions like "Where was God in the Holocaust?," and those raising doubts about the rabbis’ performance during those dark years. These questions were seen by ultra-Orthodox society as threatening to their way of life, and pushed it into a defensive stance.

"Even now, the Haredim cannot ask, at least not openly, how the Gerrer, Satmar and Belzer rebbes and others fled and saved themselves, leaving their followers behind. The question is not only why the rabbis refrained from warning their followers, but also why they prevented them from migrating to Israel for fear of ‘spoiling’ them," says Friedman.

Friedman says these questions, which Agudat Yisrael newspapers dealt with passionately immediately after the Holocaust, gradually became taboo over the years.…

The bulk of the article is about one woman, Esther Farbstein, who has changed this to a small degree:

…Farbstein, who presented the research at both Haifa University and Yad Vashem, believes these are historic documents that shed light on various issues and add insights into Jewish life before and after the Holocaust. …

The most interesting dilemmas are those pertaining to survival itself. Rabbi Weinberger of the town of Turka, in Galicia, contends with the question of whether or not to leave. Despite family pressure to leave, he decides to remain with his community. The prefaces also reveal that the option of pretending to be a gentile presented a halakhic dilemma, as adopting a non-Jewish identity can be tantamount to idol worship.

The question of whether to go to the Land of Israel also worried the ultra-Orthodox rabbis, many of whom strongly objected to Israel for ideological reasons.

For it’s part, Chabad was not different. The Rebbe Rayyatz followed in his father the Rashab’s virulent anti-Zionism. (Did you know that a significant part of Neturei Karta’s ideology is based on three hasidic Rebbes’ anti-Zionism, the Satmar Rebbe, the Munkatcher Rebbe and the Rebbe Rashab of Lubavitch?) The Rayyatz told his followers there would be no war and Warsaw was safe for them. He did this in the summer of 1939, a couple of months before the Nazi destruction of Poland.

The Rayyatz was saved by American intervention. As he was being wisked out of bombed out Warsaw, what did he ask his American saviors for? To save more Jews? No. He asked for his book collection (largely secular books like Sherlock Holmes in Yiddish) and his household silver. The Rayyatz wrote several letters to President Roosevelt during the war. He never once asks Roosevelt to save Jews.

Only one man spoke with prescience regarding Europe’s Jews – Vladimir Jobotinsky. And it was followers of Jobotinsky who created and organized the so-called Rabbis March on Washington, which brought the ceation of the War Refugee Board, which saved more than 200,000 Jews. These followers of Jobotinsky were for the most part not Orthodox.

In other words, for the most part, listening to haredi rabbis meant dying on the ash heaps of Auschwitz. Never forget that.

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Filed under Chabad and the Holocaust, Haredim, History, Jewish Leadership

More On Former President Carter

Neal Sher, the former Justice Department official who recently released damaging evidence on former President Carter’s "ethics," blogs over at PoliticalMavens.com, where he writes more about what many say is our worst ex-President ever.

UPDATE: A commenter is quick to bring up Neal Sher’s past misdeeds. I admidt, I did not remember (perhaps I never knew) that Sher had been disbarred. Thankfully, the guys over at Powerline, who issued a warning about Sher when the Carter story broke, have linked to the NY Sun, which has helpfully posted the original documents. Read the Sun piece for more information. The documents are posted below. (Click to enlarge.)

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Filed under Blogs, Jewish Leadership

The Nuclear Holocaust To Come?

Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren have written a comprehensive, frightening article on Iran.  In it they note that Yitzhak Rabin’s acceptance of Oslo was meant to remove the inner ring threat to Israel, to neutralize it, so Israel could prepare for and face the threat of a nuclear Iran. The US under President Clinton did not believe Iran had a military nuclear program. It did and still does. (The authors note that Israeli defense officials began calling George Tennant’s CIA – which insisted that Iran was peaceable and had no military nuclear program – the CPIA, the Central Politicized Intelligence Agency.)

The main message here besides the threat itself and the potential Israeli response is that Rabin tried to remove the Palestinians from Iran’s orbit. He may very well have succeeded in this if the Clinton Administration had forced the PLO to comply with the agreements signed. It did not do so. That led to increasing chaos, the eventual Israeli-enforced isolation of Arafat, and the anarchy we see now.

But Rabin’s goal was good and his attempt to achieve it understandable. One can only hope fringe elements of Israeli society – especially the settlers and their insane "sanhedrin," Chabad, haredim, and the extreme right – can stop focusing on their parochial concerns and instead focus on the real threat – a nuclear Holocaust launched by Iran.

For his part, leftist historian Benny Morris thinks the end is near. His terrifying take on Iran can be read here.

UPDATE — Bernard Lewis on Iran:

…The Cold War philosophy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which prevented the former Soviet Union and the United States from using the nuclear weapons they had targeted at each other, would not apply to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran, said Lewis.

"For him, Mutual Assured Destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement," said Lewis of Ahmadinejad. "We know already that they [Iran’s ruling ayatollahs] do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again. If they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick, free pass to heaven. I find all that very alarming," said Lewis.…

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Current Affairs, Israel, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy

Censorship In The JBlogisphere

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz writes about his website, which he recently reconfigured to function as a blog:

…After giving it some thought, I decided not remove any of the negative comments. (For the record, I removed the posts that mentioned people’s names or names of institutions with regard to the abuse issue.) Why? Because I felt that once I decided to open my website to unedited comments, I felt that the honorable thing to do was to leave the negative ones on the site as well as the complimentary ones. Additionally, I felt that once I chose to solicit funds using the site, it was fair, if not unpleasant, for people to question my motives.

In the greater scheme of things, the flow of comments posted to my columns – positive and negative – in the past month has been eye opening for me, and I feel that my response ought to be to read them all carefully.

Let’s face it. Blogging is here to stay and people will respond to my columns in one way or another. On my website or on someone else’s. If anything, the exponential advances in technology will only add to this phenomenon of instant polling and interactive discussions in ways we cannot even imagine at this time.

I think that I am best off following the sage advice of Dovid Hamelech (Kind David), who, sadly, knew a thing or two about discord and adversity. “Be’komim alay me’reim tish’mana aznei (Tehilim 92:8)– When my adversaries rise against me, my ears should hear [their words].” There is a Chassidic interpretation that Dovid prayed to Hashem that he maintain the moral strength to carefully listen to the rebuke of the people who were criticizing him, rather than ignore their words as those of ‘enemies.’ I ought not get defensive or reactionary, but rather reflect on the criticism of those who took the time to post the comments – and hopefully grow from reviewing them.…

In other words, Rabbi Horowitz removed any specific reference to individuals, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, say, and institutions, like Torah Temmimah and Agudah, but left in any attacks on himself. This is far more open than other haredi sites, which for the most part heavily filter all comments. It’s a step in the right direction – a step other haredim are unlikely to follow.

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Filed under Blogs, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Mikva Abuse, Modern Orthodoxy