Posted by Orit Arfa
ZOA board members are among the sixty-five American Jewish leaders who signed a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to adopt the findings of the Levy Report, which asserts that the “settlements” in Judea and Samaria are legal in accordance with international law. Click here to read the ZOA statement in support of the Levy Report.
The report, which was authored by a panel of renowned Israeli jurists comprised of Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker, and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court Tehiya Shapira, recommends against the future demolition of communities that had been deemed to be “illegal outposts.”
The letter endorsing the Levy Report, which was spearheaded by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel, is signed by dozens of prominent Jewish leaders from across the United States, with additional people joining in support of the letter daily. The Shomron Liaison Office has initiated a petition to back this effort.
“As the Levy Report correctly notes, Israel is not engaged in ‘military occupation’ in relation to the communities in Judea and Samaria,” the American Jewish leaders wrote in their letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“We believe that this conclusion vindicates the Israeli government, which has been unjustifiably vilified by many in the international community, simply because there are Jews living in this particular area of the Jewish State.”
“Like you, we recognize and respect the fact that the Jewish people have inalienable rights to the land of Israel which stem from the Bible, and we are familiar with the historic legacy of the movement of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, and Herut/Likud, which you now lead, that has long endorsed Jewish rights in the entirety of the land of Israel,” continued the Jewish leaders.
“Viewing it from this perspective, the Levy Report confirms what we all know to be true and just, and it certainly warrants your support and endorsement.”
In addition to expressing their staunch support of the Levy Report, the American Jewish leaders urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to reject the claims about the report that were set forth in a recent letter organized by the Israel Policy Forum.
“In our opinion, the individuals who have urged you not to accept the findings of the Levy Report under the pretext that Israel’s status as a Jewish and democratic state could somehow be compromised by its adoption are doing a disservice to the State of Israel,” the American Jewish leaders wrote in their letter to the Prime Minister. “Despite assertions to the contrary, the conclusions of the Levy Report do not ‘place…the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.’ We categorically reject this absurd declaration and sincerely hope and pray that you do the same.”
Click here to read the letter and sign the petition.
Learn more about Judea & Samaria, and have a lot of fun in the process, by joining the ZOA at its Sept. 10 mega event “A Taste of Judea & Samaria” featuring wine tastings from the region and guest speakers offering an insider’s view into one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented regions in Israel.
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August 3, 2012 | 10:36 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
When the ZOA heard the news that J Street was organizing a launch reception in San Diego for their new branch there, the ZOA San Diego chapter quickly mobilized to ensure no false advertising. J Street poses as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” political home for American Jews when its record and actions actually show it to be a pro-Arab, anti-Israel group. For example, J Street opposed Israel’s defensive Operation Cast Lead military operation to stem rocket attacks from Gaza; it refused to condemn the libelous Goldstone report—which Goldstone himself later retracted; it endorses Congressmen with poor records on Israel while working to unseat pro-Israel Congressmen; and it receives financial contributions from Arab sources that are hostile to Israel.
Members of the local San Diego chapter were on hand with posters and J Street fact sheets to make sure no one who attended the event was fooled by its snazzy marketing and cheery messages of a “peace” that essentially means giving into genocidal terrorist demands. Here’s an except from Donald Harrison’s coverage about the event in the San Diego Jewish World:
What percentage in the overflow audience of more than 100 persons at the historic temple in Heritage Park agreed that the Israeli government’s policies are analogous to the intentions of a would-be drunk driver could not be assessed, For the most part, the audience remained silent and respectful during the speeches, and that was true even of those audience members who before the start of the meeting had been picketing outside with such signs as “J Street; the street to Israel’s destruction;” J Street and Hamas, B.F.F;” “Negotiate with ?;” and another signifying that peace is not equal to Jihad.
Howard Dyckman, president of the San Diego chapter of ZOA, said before the meeting that he considers J Street to be “anti-Israel.” He said that J Street wants “the U.S. to put pressure on Israel and they want to appease Hamas.” Furthermore, Dyckman said, the Palestinians have not given up the idea of destroying Israel.
Buhai said all the members of the House and the Senate supported by J Street are pro Israel, mentioning in particular U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, the latter of whom spoke at the J Street meeting.
Orit Arfa, ZOA executive director in its Western Region, before the meeting decried the two-state solution as an “illusion, because it would only lead to compromising Israel’s security and ultimately the dissolution of Israel.” She added that until the Muslim threat against Israel is neutralized, there is no possibility for a solution. “Whenever you have a trade of value for the cessation of violence, it is not a fair trade. You are compromising your security and your ethical principles.”
August 1, 2012 | 6:11 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
*And Sex Appeal
Being a confident Zionist isn’t merely an expression of a political worldview or Jewish values. It’s an approach to life that can permeate and improve all aspects of our lives, especially our relationships: with our bosses, our family members—and especially our romantic partners.
In honor of Tu B’Av on August 3, the Jewish Valentine’s Day celebrating the beginning of the grape harvest in Temple times, when the single girls of Jerusalem would dance in the vineyards dressed in white, I present a brief common-sense guide on how the principles involved in being a proud, confident Zionist are also involved in singles finding their beshert.
1. Self-respect and self-knowledge
A good relationship is based on the union of two people who have a positive sense of who they are. Self-esteem and self-respect is predicated on self-actualization, which is rewarding but difficult work. It involves understanding and discovering your values and goals, interests and likes, strengths and weaknesses. It involves overcoming past hurts to face the future, particularly relationships, from a non-reactive place of self-knowledge. Self-contained people are more concerned with sharing the bounty of their intellect, kindness, strength and love, rather than merely taking or exploiting another’s virtue to fulfill their own voids, whether personal, emotional, financial, intellectual, or social.
When it comes to defending Israel, Zionists must first and foremost understand and promote Israel’s essence: liberator and protectorate of the land of Israel. Israel’s enemies attack Israel where she is most sensitive: her identity as a Jewish state. They call Israel an “occupier” and “aggressor,” making her doubt her moral foundation. True, Israel has many other virtues, and Israel advocates proudly parade them: Israel built a modern country in 50 years and became a leader in hi-tech, science, education, and world philanthropy despite adversity. Pro-Israel activists should of course be proud of Israel’s economic and cultural accomplishments, but flashing them is like a guy broadcasting his wealth or a woman focusing on her beauty to lure a partner. It’s what pick-up artists call “outer game.” Confident Zionists have “inner game.” They defend Israel from a deep sense of her moral value and her essence as the historic homeland of the Jewish people which Israel miraculously conquered and expanded in several wars of self-defense.
2. Reason as the motivating force in relationships
At the risk of sounding unromantic, healthy relationships are like rational “trades” of mind, body, and soul between two independent people. A great achievement of the modern world is that we can choose our partners based on real love and not on the need for financial security or social status. And the hallmark of a rational relationship is civil communication.
Applied to Israel, confident Zionists encourage Israel to develop rational relationships with other countries. As an overall rational state governed by rule of law, promoting civil liberties, and advancing science and trade, Israel is ill-suited to develop alliances or peace treaties with Arab states, monarchies and dictatorships, including the Palestinian Authority. Yet Israel is being pressured to develop a relationship with Palestinian Arabs not because they share values, but because Israel needs “peace” to be accepted by others. The “peace process” forces a relationship based on fear, not reason. Relationships not built on shared values naturally degenerate into emotional blackmail, misery, and, in worst cases, violence.
3. Don’t settle or compromise on essentials
Well-meaning people, especially Jewish mothers, often tell Jewish singles to “settle!” Contrary to conventional wisdom, no one should settle in the most important relationship of his or her life. People will self-respect and self-knowledge generally can’t or don’t have to settle because they are at peace with themselves. A partner expands the joy they already feel. Knowing who they are, they can identify qualities in others that would increase their happiness.
All too often, other countries act like pushy mothers when they push Israel to make “difficult compromises for the sake of peace.” This pressure undermines Israel’s self-esteem and decision-making power. A more important emotion than peace in a relationship is joy. It’s easy to live in “peace” with another person—simply don’t talk to each other or avoid conflict. Compromises never really have to be made to achieve happiness because in a good relationship the trade is always win-win.
4. Embrace independence
Hastily going into a relationship mainly to ease loneliness, please parents, achieve social status, or fill an emotional void usually leads to choosing the wrong partner. Any divorcee will attest that being single is infinitely better than being in a relationship with the wrong person, or worse, an abusive relationship. No one should have to suffer in an abusive relationship.
Similarly, confident Zionists should prefer that Israel remains “single” rather than be involved in alliances with countries that don’t understand her or, worse, put her down. As for the Palestinians, the “peace process” is nothing more than a severely abusive relationship since the Palestinians use brutal violence against Israelis and Jews as a bargaining tool. If anything, Israel needs a restraining order from Arabs or the courage to fight back and defend herself from attack.
5. Have faith!
Even when it gets lonely, single men and women must have faith that their beloved is around the bend and continue to develop themselves as individuals until their soulmate arrives. Israel must have faith that so long as she acts in the world with integrity based on self-respect, her conflict with her neighbors will be resolved in an honorable way and that she will magnetize world approval and admiration.
It’s widely known that the sexiest quality in a man or a woman is confidence. Just as singles must have confidence in their virtues and ability to find and keep love, so should Israel and the Zionists that love her.