Saturday, June 25, 2011

Could a new book be in the offing?

How’s this for a proposed new book?:
Yesterday and Today in the Land of Israel: 
How the Middle East Conflict Brings Past and Present Together on the Field of Archaeology
Biblical Archaeology today is more than just an obscure field for academic eggheads, trying to get tenure. It’s a mine field, with implications that may well determine the course of events, geopolitically, for the Middle East and the entire world. It’s exciting enough that there are always “Indiana Jones” adventures lurking in the background, including fantastic new discoveries, as well as age-old discussions about the fate of the Ark of the Covenant, among other things. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yesterday and Today on the “Holy Hill”

Does the Temple Mount in Jerusalem really hold the key to war and peace in the modern world? Consider this… A little more than three decades ago, a radical right wing Israeli named Yehuda Etzion became involved in a dark conspiracy that may well have brought on World War III. Ultimately convicted and imprisoned by the state of Israel for his own brand of Jewish terrorism, Etzion became inflamed over Menachem Begin’s peace deal, whereby Israel gave back the entire Sinai peninsula to Egypt’s Prime Minister Anwar Sadat. As one of the leaders of the Israeli settlers – those intent on a slow annexation of the territories won by the Jewish state in the 1967 Six Day War – he joined forces with the “Jewish Underground,” to hatch a plot right out of an espionage thriller. During his service in the Israeli Defense Force, he had become acquainted with high explosives, and he decided to use them. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Six Day War: Targeting the Dome

The year 1967 changed everything in the Middle East. In just six days, Israel (responding to Arab threats to invade and destroy it) engaged in a blitzkrieg against its adversaries that left the Jewish state in control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the entire West Bank of the Jordan River, including East Jerusalem. Israeli paratroopers stood at the newly conquered Western Wall (the last vestige of the ancient Temple Mount) and wept openly. There was much going on behind the scenes in those tumultuous days, and it took decades before it came to light that the chief rabbi of the Israeli Defense Force actually advocated blowing up the Dome of the Rock.

Friday, June 17, 2011

World War III and the Dome of the Rock

They had a vision. They were actively planning to shake the world, by a single act perpetrated in the holy city, Jerusalem Israel. Their goal was to prepare the way for the Messiah to come, by bringing down the third holiest site in Islam – the Dome of the Rock. We’ll talk about their plot in due course, but first we need to lay out some background. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Virtue of Stubbornness

You can’t win a war without consensus at home. And that's something that every nation instinctively knows. The U.S. certainly learned that during our tragic experience in Vietnam. Well, the lesson is one the state of Israel ought to know, but for whatever reason doesn’t. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reflections on "spirit"...

For those who don't live in Orlando and/ or weren't able to catch my observations on "spirit" at Friday night's Torah service (led by me) at Congregation Bet Chaim, Casselberry, Florida, I thought I'd post an audio file, captured by my iPhone. Enjoy...
Here's the link:
Dr. H.'s Podcast

Thursday, June 9, 2011

“Jerusalem of Gold” – more than a pot of schmaltz!

I’m sharing with my class today (“Modern Israeli Culture”) about the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967… We’re watching a documentary produced a couple of years ago by CNN – only a little bit “slanted” :) – and on comes a snippet of a song written by Israel’s late “poet laureate,” Naomi Shemer, the famous “Jerusalem of Gold” (ירושלים של זהב). 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

9,000 Years Old!

In the news, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has declared that the Palestinian people have a 9,000 year old legacy. Gee, that makes them the ORIGINAL owners of the land of Israel, and the Jews a bunch of Johnny-come-lately usurpers. Where in blazes did Mahmoud Abbas come up with 9,000 years? 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Here They Come Again!

It’s a human wave! In a repeat of last month’s assault on Israel’s borders, an enormous horde of refugees has once more stormed the Jewish state from Syria. What do they want?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Freedom for Palestine?

With all the intricacies of international diplomacy affecting the Middle East today, who can we turn to who has the skill, the training, the background knowledge to sort it all out and point us in the right direction? One name shines out like a beacon: the band Coldplay! Thanks to Coldplay’s hearty endorsement, a new music video is garnering incredible attention: “Freedom for Palestine.” It features pop singers, a catchy tune, a message of hope, cast against a backdrop of squalid refugee camps and Israel’s “Apartheid Wall.” It hails diversity, while celebrating the “peaceful Palestinians” with singers and dancers, and lots of smiley faces. And I’m looking for a barf bag! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heil Hamas!

I know it gets really old making comparisons with the Nazis, but there’s been some ominous language from the mouth of Mr. Abbas of the Palestinian Authority that we just can’t ignore. Yet, most nations do ignore the maniacs populating the world stage right now, while continuing to call Israel “apartheid.” What’s going on here? WHY DO THE BAD GUYS GET THE PASS? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jerusalem Day – ¡Ay, caramba!

Happy Jerusalem Day! Today we celebrate the reunification of the city during the Six Day War in 1967. It’s a time to stand united with regard to the preposterous notion of once again turning Jerusalem into the Berlin of the Middle East (with barbed wire and mine fields) and declare: Never again! How ironic, that Spain has just announced that it will support the creation of a Palestinian State (its capital of course being East Jerusalem)! In fact it will recognize such a state even before the U.N. officially votes on the question in September. ¡Ay, caramba! 
But why are we surprised? After all, Spain is home to some of the most vehement anti-Semitism in history. Though Jews had lived there for centuries under Muslim rule (the Moors), experiencing a “Golden Age” of prominence, creativity and wealth, when the Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula, all that changed. The Jews of Spain were plunged from a pinnacle of success to the depths of deprivation and persecution. Long before Hitler’s systematic persecution, the Catholic Church launched the “Spanish Inquisition.” Oy! (Remember Monty Python?: “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!” In the end, the entire Jewish community of Spain was expelled (lock, stock and barrel), in the worst catastrophe to befall world Jewry since the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in the year 70 of the Common Era. 
The exiles fanned out across the Arab/ Muslim world, many landing in – of all places – Palestine. Many settled in a little town nestled in the hills of northern Galilee called Tsfat, one of my favorite places in today’s Israel. It’s legacy includes generations of Jewish mystics – kabbalists – who made it their headquarters and birthed a whole world of visions, revelations, and metaphysical teaching. Ask Madonna; she’s probably been there as often as I have, just to feel the mystical presence that still resides in its quaint streets and art galleries 
 In any case, those refugees from hostile Spain helped create a Jewish presence in that backwater province of the Ottoman empire, that would one day (May 14, 1948 to be precise) morph into the modern state of Israel. And now, Spain, you want us to step aside while genocidal jihadist fanatics swarm over the ancient Jewish heartland and build a staging ground for our annihilation? Well, think again. Israel’s first female prime minister summed it up well: “We Jews have a secret weapon; we have nowhere else to go!”