Israel Articles

Israel in the Crosshairs The Current Threat and its Possible Outcome

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A curious headline appeared online last summer: “Turkey Captures Bird, Accuses It of Spying for Israel.” (The Blaze, July 28, 2013) This headline was not a joke. Rather, it is but one of many bizarre accusations that are daily fare in many parts of the world, and reflect the only-too-real perceptions of its peoples. Nor is it merely a war of words. The headlines are accompanied by increasingly frequent violence against Israel and Jews in general.

As Purim approaches, the Jewish people once again finds itself in the crosshairs of its enemies. Purim also reminds us that attacks on Jews and Israel are nothing new. But, as if to counter the frightening reality of being surrounded by enemies, the Megillah’s hope-inspiring subtext also reveals that those who attempt to destroy the People of Israel are the ones who in the end disappear.

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(The authors are president and chairman, respectively, of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia, and candidates on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.)

Lest anyone think, even for a moment, that there is even the slightest link between Islamic terror against Jews in Paris and Islamic terror against Jews in Jerusalem, the New York Times has rushed in to disabuse us of that notion.


Bnai Brak and Baltimore: Different Worlds

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The first night I was in Bnai Brak – I had come for my niece’s wedding – my sister had to go to a PTA meeting for her daughters. It took her three hours to see two sets of teachers. It reminded me about how PTA meetings used to be in Baltimore about 10 years ago. I told her about the big change that the schools in Baltimore initiated and how we now all make appointments ahead of time, reducing the waiting time. “Maybe you can introduce that concept in Bnai Brak,” I suggested.

“It would be hard to change the way things have been for so many years,” she answered, reminding me as well that Bnai Brak has hundreds of school as compared to Baltimore’s four or five.

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As a little girl fights for her life in an Israeli hospital emergency room, with more than 50% of her body burned by a Palestinian firebomb, all the usual players are lining up to deliver their all-too-predictable responses.

At first glance, you might not think there was any reasonable way to distort or politicize this horrific incident. Eleven year-old Ayala Shapira was a passenger in her father's car, on her way back from a math enrichment lesson. As they approached their hometown of Ma'ale Shomron, a Palestinian terrorist hurled a Molotov cocktail at the car. Ayala and her father leaped from the car, badly burned, as the vehicle was consumed by the flames.


Thoughts After the Massacre

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Today, at around 7:30 a.m., somewhere between diaper changes and trying to convince Yedidya that he could not eat two fistfuls of raisins, we start to hear the sirens. Yedidya runs to the front porch, craning his neck to see the ambulances pass by on the main road. “Nother one! Nother one! Nother one!” As the unexpected light-and-sound show continues relentlessly and he is almost exploding with glee, my hands begin to shake. Oh G-d. Please. No! This was clearly a terror attack, and from the sound of the police and ambulances speeding in the same direction, it is clear something terrible has happened just one neighborhood over, in Har Nof.

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Backs to the Sea


These are hard times for us all, and nobody can say what the future holds. Last week we all experienced, together, the horror of an attack on a shul in Har Nof, in which four pious rabbis were killed, and almost 20 others were wounded, mostly people in the middle of prayers. Pictures of that attack evoked memories of scenes we have not experienced in 70 years.

In this most recent tragedy, just one of many, fate decreed that I had a connection to two out of the four Har Nof families in mourning, and many of you in Baltimore have at least one connection as well. Wednesday evening I paid condolence calls to Agassi Street in Har Nof, where the murders occurred, and where those two families live. Rabbi Arye Kupinsky, hy”d, of Har Nof was raised in Kiryat Arba, my town, and my family has several connections to his family, which still lives there. I also paid a call to the Twersky family, down the street, who were mourning Rabbi Mosheh Twersky, hy”d. There, as I had thought I might, I found Rabbi Twersky’s sister Tzippora, and her husband, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, a close childhood friend from Baltimore. The couple had just flown in from the Bronx, where Jonathan is a rabbi.

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