30 November 2005

Elections are 28 March 2006. But this time we're seeing a new phenomenon that we've never really seen before.
Kol haZével Kofétz l'Otó Pahh - All the Trash is Jumping into the Same Bin

Copyright ©, Reuven Kossover 2005

It's always fun to look out the window and write an article while a sandstorm blows in from the south. It contributes to one's sense that what one writes is clarifying rather than "muddifying."

On 21 September Debkafile www.debka.com reported that Ariel Sharon had decided to leave the Likud and possibly retire, and had informed President Bush of his intentions. Shlomo Wollins of Israel Reporter said that he believed this story to be unsubstantiated http://israelreporter.com/2005/09/22/.

At the time, there was a fight within the Likud as to when the party primaries would be. Party “rebels” wanted to move it up and try to unhorse Sharon. Sharon wanted to push the primaries off as long he could. Sharon, generously applying pressure to party hacks afraid of losing their seats, succeeded in keeping the party primaries held off until May 2006.

In the meantime, there were elections within the Labor Party for the position of leader of the party. One by one, Shimon Peres, a man of not inconsiderable influence, succeeded in getting his opponents to drop out of the race. By the time the actual vote took place, only two opponents remained. A party hack named ben Eliezer, who had been security minister for a time, and the head of the much-weakened Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation, Amir Peretz. Then came a surprise.

Around the time of the primaries, the Labor hacks were waving the bloody shirt of Yitzhak Rabin, who had been assassinated a decade earlier. News started to leak out that the man who had been convicted of the crime, Yigal Amir, had actually shot blanks at Rabin and that his assassination had been the work of Shaba"k (acronym for Sherút Bitahhón Klalí - General Security Service) agents – who were in the pay of Shimon Peres. It was just enough to defeat Peres in the election, and Amir Peretz, a fellow familiar for his continual strikes to protect Histadrut control over pension funds, was now leader of the Labor Party in Israel.

The newspapers all rumbled “Earthquake in Israel! Peres ousted as Labor leader,” as Amir Peretz moved forward to pull Labor out of the governing coalition, thus forcing early elections – and very possibly an early primary in the Likud.

Sharon had been dropping broad hints that he might leave the party from even before the election within Labor, and now he kept the rumors alive. A few of days ago, a poll came out indicating that were elections held that day, Labor and an unnamed political party headed by Sharon would pull even with 28 seats each, with the Likud falling to 20 seats. Shinúi – a political party of militant secularists whose leader, Yosef Lapid, is remarkably like an Israeli Archie Bunker - would drop to six or seven. Several polls have come out since with similar numbers

To form a governing coalition in Israel you need a majority of the 120 seats in the Knesset. If you were to add the seats of the Sharon's new party, Kadima, Labor and Shinúi together in this poll, you get 61 – a majority.

Nu? Do you really need to ask?

Sharon bolted his own party and informed us Israelis, who were allegedly waiting with baited breath, of his intentions. The phrase "earthquake in Israel” made its appearance again in the English language on-line edition of the left wing paper, Yediot Ahronot.

The last time we had elections here in 2003, Amrám Mitzná, the mayor from Haifa who headed the Labor party, pounded his fist saying, “Gaza First,” meaning that we should pull out of Gaza first. Sharon ridiculed him, sweeping Likud to its highest number of seats in the Knesset ever, 38 and shrinking Labor to 19 seats. Sharon then proceeded to do exactly as Mitzná recommended.

New elections are scheduled for 28 March 2006. The silly season has returned to the Holy Land – again. But we're seeing a new phenomenon this time round that we've never really seen before.

First, just a brief paragraph about how elections work here, for those who are not used to following politics in this fair country. Israel's government operates in the form of a parliamentary régime, meaning there is a prime minister who keeps power by retaining the confidence of a majority of the Knesset, the parliament. Individual members are referred to by the abbreviation, MK. Like the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Israel does not have a written constitution. Unlike these two countries, it has no legislative districts. There is no MK for Haifa, or Natzeret or Eilat. The whole country is one single legislative district. You vote for a political party, and the percentage of votes the party gets determines the number of seats it gets in the Knesset. In the last election, the Likud got about 31.5% of the vote, and therefore got 38 seats in the Knesset. There is a minimum percentage of votes required, but it is lower than the 5% required for election to the Bundestag (the equivalent of the House of Commons or House of Representatives) in Germany.

Now, let’s look at this item from Arutz Sheva, a right wing news source with ties to the National Religious Party in Israel. I show the whole story because I believe this will happen. It is worth looking at in full.

Sharon Plans Massive Withdrawals Sunday, November 27, 2005 / 25 Heshvan 5766

Reports are increasing that Prime Minister Sharon has drafted a plan for Israel's withdrawal from almost all of Judea and Samaria by 2008.

Middle East Newsline (MENL) reports in the name of "political sources" that Sharon has begun briefing senior U.S. officials of his intention to withdraw unilaterally from more than 95% of Judea and Samaria. Sharon is hoping to be elected Prime Minister for a third time - this time not in the Likud, however, but as head of his new Kadima Party.

One of the most valuable "acquisitions" of the Kadima Party, MK Haim Ramon, formerly of Labor, said openly last week that Sharon will unilaterally withdraw to final borders in Judea and Samaria if Palestinian terror continues.

IMRA reported that Ramon said this on a live interview on Channel 10's "London and Kirschenbaum" news program just hours after he announced his decision to join Sharon's Kadima.

Ramon explained that Sharon will keep his plans secret until the elections because he wants to give the Road Map a chance.

Many public figures said, both immediately before and after Sharon's decision to quit the Likud, that this decision stems from his desire to carry out dramatic diplomatic moves that he knows the Likud would not approve.

Among those who have said this are Binyamin Netanyahu, former Ashkelon Mayor and long-time Sharon confidante Eli Landau, Likud ministers, and others.

The MENL report indicates that Sharon would seek a U.S. and international security presence in Judea and Samaria, as well as yet another commitment for the dismantling of Palestinian terrorist groups.

Sharon's reported plan is to order a unilateral withdrawal, at first, from more than 90% of Judea and Samaria, while retaining control over air space. The pullout would be accompanied by a pledge of an additional withdrawal, as well as full Palestinian independence, once the PA dismantles terrorist groups and maintains security cooperation with Israel. The MENL sources said a version of the plan has already been drafted by Israel's National Security Council.

Though Sharon has denied that he plans any further disengagements, he pledged last week to "lay the foundation for a peace in which we set the permanent borders of the state, while insisting on the dismantling of the terror organizations."
So here we see what "Kadima" (forward) seeks to lead us forward to. The State is to be shrunken further in size and the idea of occupying Judea and Samaria is to be erased from the minds of Jews, and thus from Judaism. This was the precise analysis of Dr. Paul Eidelberg in the summer of 2004 when he spoke at the Root & Branch Association English Lecture Series at the Israel Center explaining what he believed to Sharon's long-term strategy...

Only today news reports circulate about Shimon Peres having reached a deal to leave Labor and support his friend, Ariel Sharon, in the Kadima party. The former leader of the Meretz party, supposedly on Israel's extreme left,Yossi Sarid, has left his party. Where is he going? One of the founders of the Shinui party, that great group of secularists who hate religion and pretend to represent the Ashkenazi (upper) middle class that used to solidly vote for Labor and before it, MAPAI (acronym for Mifléget Poaléi Yisraél, the Israel Workers' Party), has left Shinúi and joined Kadima. Is all the trash jumping into one basket?

This would be an interesting phenomenon indeed.

In the past, the great enterprise that sucked many would-be leaders down the sink-hole of failure in Israel was the attempt to create a "centrist" party that would be neither left nor right, but sit at the center, like a vacuum cleaner, drawing all the sane elments of the polity into it and making the "ism" parties irrelevant. This has been attempted many times here, particularly since the downfall of the MAPAI in 1977.

Heretofore, it has been a miserable failure.

Lo and behold, the prime minister bolts his party (which he helped found), leaves it broke and sets up a new political entity suspiciously like the itty bitty party he founded when he left the army thirty years ago, Shlomtzion. And he appears to be vacuuming up leading figures from the secular establishment in his country like a Hoover out of control. Yesterday he called a meeting of local councils and mayors in his office and collected more people for his party.

For decades, good government types have been dreaming of accomplishing what this thief seems to have pulled off in a few days. In addition, a major pillar of the Labor party leaves after being booted out as leader, while several of his close colleagues (including a rumored mistress) join Kadima.

It appears to the cynical eyes of this Middle Easterner, who was once a Middle Westerner, that all the trash is indeed jumping into the same basket. Sharon is the bought out flunky of the US. Peres is the bought out flunky of the EU. So I expect to see huge amounts of western money being poured into the coffers of this political party. It is easier to pour money into one pail than several, and attempt to make one single political party the holder of power, rather than coordinate the efforts through several political parties as has been done in the past. What I'm saying is that this strange phenomenon of the "successful center party" is the result of manipulation of foreign powers determined to control events here.

I will make one further observation here, given that this is the Holy Land, and according to Jewish ideas at least, G-d always has His Eye on the place. Two m'kubalim (holy men who recieve kabbalót, Divine messages) have stated that Ariel Sharon will be the last prime minister of Israel and that this will be the last time we see a government of this type.

Given that, I'm going to make some predictions. Naturally, they are only my opinion, and I am no prophet (though it would be nice if I could pull off a profit). I really do not think I'm going out on a limb, but I have learned that whenever people make predictions others stand at the ready to debunk them if they don't come out correct, like loggers with a saw.

1. If the elections are held, Sharon will wind up as prime minister.

2. Whether elections are held or not, Sharon will remain prime minister.

3. Sharon will leave office, for some reason or another, during 2006.

4. During the next year, we will see the rising visibility of American and European soldiers in this country.

5. (this is the biggie - here I am going out on a limb) Reality has begun to become unhinged. What this means is that events are leaving the path we define as "normal" and taking another path. This process will accelerate after 1 January 2006. This is also 1 Tevet, the day that G-d begins executing judgment against non-Jews (according to Rav Yehoshua Friedman).

If I were you, I'd really celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah this year, and if you can, buy some gold coins and store them in a safe place. Pick up Yeats' poem, "The Second Coming" and read it over a time or two. K'dái l'khá - it will be worth it to you.

16 November 2005

The Smell of Fear


Originally published at the now defunct website,  Isralert.com
Copyrights © 2004, 2005, 2011, R. Kossover

Before I went on patrol Sunday night, 12 Sept 2004, I wrote a brief description of the first wedding on the Temple Mount to take place there in over 1,900 years. It had taken place on the previous Thursday. The Arabs were so enraged over it that they were practically threatening war. My last line in the description was, “I'll be on patrol tonight, watching for incoming.”

I never seem to learn not to crack wise. There was a massive demonstration down town against the planned expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, the group of Jewish towns on the Mediterranean shore near Egypt. I was stationed far from the demonstration in a quiet duty post made even quieter by the fact that there were so many people down town.

After 2½ uneventful hours, several small trucks bearing policemen and heavily armed border patrolmen came hurtling down the road to our post. They exited their vehicles quickly and the commander called me over and outlined very quickly the situation. He explained that a terrorist was on the way in a certain vehicle and we were to keep watch. I was assigned to a bus shelter. I stood ready with the rifle, eyes peeled for the vehicle.

For the very first time in the two years that I’d been doing this, I was afraid. Questions gnawed at my mind. I’m not a war veteran or a member of the reserves, and had never faced a battle situation, which was what this had the potential of becoming. When should I shoot? Under what conditions? If a terrorist were to exit his car, should I cock the gun or no? Should I get pedestrians to lie down on the sidewalk in case firing broke out? No one gave me clear instructions and I had had no training for battle situations either.

So I clutched my rifle tight, finger hovering just near the trigger on the stock, as I’d been trained to do. I watched and waited. Minutes passed. Traffic passed by. The described vehicle did not pass by. I continued to watch and wait. I could practically smell my own fear. I certainly smelt my own sweat, even though it was a cool evening.

After a while, about half of the border patrolmen left. I was told nothing, but I could feel the tension ease in the other cops there. I stayed at the bus shelter because nobody had told me I could leave – one of those basic principles of soldiering, I guess. In spite of many years experience as a manager and take-charge type, I wanted no part of command. I knew I didn’t know enough. When it was time to leave and return to the base, I was very happy.

When we got back to the base, I turned in my arms, ammunition and equipment. That is a process in itself. Each item has to be accounted for. It took a little while. In the background I could hear the music and the speeches from the anti-expulsion demonstration, which was still going on. The music was prayerful. The speeches were, for the most part unclear. They reminded me of a politcal rally described in H. G. Wells’ story, “The Food of the Gods.” The speakers sounded like “wah – wah – wah!” But one speaker was very clear in his words. He said “Sharon bogéd, Sharon bogéd.” “Sharon is a traitor.”

I couldn’t help smiling. The truth was finally slithering out. I asked the night commander, ‘isn’t that incitement?’ knowing full well that it was. In addition, the speaker was breaking an Israeli law forbidding one to insult a civil servant.

The night commander just waved away my question dismissively. He had more important things to do. There were forms to be filled out before he could go home.I picked up a coupon allowing me to receive up to 50 shekels worth of “gift” at a special sale that ends on 15 September, my reimbursement for bus fair for the month of August and, after wishing everybody there a healthy and happy new year – the next Sunday night it would be the 5th day of the year 5765 on the Hebrew calendar – I headed out into a cool night. I was hungry and wanted a bite to eat.

At the corner of the Jaffa Road and Zion Square is a shop that sells French bread (which they call bagel). Usually, if I am hungry after patrol (and I have some money to spare), I go there and buy a veggie sandwich and cup of café hafúkh (with 1% milk instead of the normal 3%).

As I made my way down Jaffa Road from where the police station is, I could see the street had been closed off for the huge demonstration that was winding down. In most demonstrations where there is no violence, the folks in the crowd usually feel a high from having been with so many like minded individuals. So instead of making my way down a half deserted street with taxis and buses rushing by, I walked in the middle of the street crowded with the happy and smiling people. Most of them were young, young enough to be my sons or daughters, and they were, aside from being a little exuberant, very well behaved. Many of them had small “torch-lights” which they carried in their hands; some had draped themselves in the national flag of the country, which is modeled on the Tallit, the prayer shawl men wear in morning prayers.

The restaurant was crowded to capacity. I found a spot to sit with my sandwich and coffee, and enjoyed the food, the quiet in my mind contrasting with the noisy happy conversation of young men and women around me. I decided to walk up the Ben Yehuda Mall to King George V Street and then see how far I’d have to go to find a bus. It was a nice night for a walk, and I needed the exercise badly.

I ambled slowly up the Ben Yehuda Mall to its end, an uphill walk. There I turned left and slowly wandered down the middle of King George V Street. I asked a fellow cop where the street opened up to buses traveling out of the center of the city and he answered, “ein li muság,” “I have no clue.” So I kept walking down King George V Street, past the souvenir shops, past the bus stop on near haMa’alót Street. The street was still closed and it appeared that it would be for quite some bit. I soldiered on, answering questions from civilians every now and again as to where this hotel or that street was.

When I got to Rambán Street, I felt a strange prickling on the back of my neck. I progressed on to Rambám Street, from where the Prime Minister’s House could be accessed, and the street was blocked by a fence and a line of cops and Border Police. One of the Border Policemen was a big beefy type, with his arms folded, the kind you’d find as a bouncer at a biker’s bar. His face was just as friendly. He looked at me fixedly with a glare that was decidedly unfriendly. A word that I had not used in this context for nearly thirty years slid into my mind like an unwelcome guest, especially considering that I was wearing the blue uniform of an officer in the service of Mishtéret Yisraél, the Israel Police.


This was the word we used as demonstrators in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s to describe cops sent to suppress the demonstrations and “restore order.”The pigs were there.

That was the thought that went through my mind. But the emotion that I felt, the raising of the hair at the back of my neck, was fear. But it wasn’t my fear. It was the fear of the men looking at me from behind their barrier. I could feel their fear.I do not mean to impart the wrong impression. The men and women serving in the defense of this country – soldiers, Border Police or regular police – are not cowards. They are brave men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of Israel every day of the week, every day of the year. But these men were scared.

I passed this line by and decided to hang back and examine the phenomenon and try to understand: Why was the smell of fear in the air?

Understanding was not long in coming. Apparently, the torch-lights that the kids had been holding were part of a torch-light parade to the Prime Minister’s residence. One can imagine the warnings these men got of wild-eyed ideological settlers who would storm the Prime Minister’s residence. And here was this thin line of men facing a huge crowd of kids with torch-lights. The leftist media tried to underestimate the size of the crowd in the street so that the readers would dismiss the demonstration, but the men guarding Rambám Street were seeing the truth of the huge crowd that had come to express their feelings. Had the crowd broken forth in real anger, the righteous anger they are entitled to feel at the prospect of being uprooted from their homes, it would have been a disaster for these men.

It seems clear to me that this country is heading for a very pivotal internal confrontation. The fear I felt in the air that mid September evening was probably the very first dose of what is coming down the pike. We have a lot to pray for.

There needs to be peace and understanding within our people, particularly those of us Jews who live in this embattled vessel of our dreams and destiny.

Otherwise there will be a terrible price to pay. Every day I see it in the news reports of a government determined to uproot its own people from its rightful heritage. In these news report, too, there is the smell of fear.

Author's note: Since September 2004, when I wrote this, the expulsion has been carried out. The rending of the fabric of our society grows greater with each day. I can't look at soldiers and Border Patrolmen with the same respect I used to, after having seen what they did in Gaza and Northern Samaria, creating 10,000 homeless people out of settled farmers and tradesmen. Now, many of the young people I saw last September have pledged never to serve in an IDF that expels Jews from their homes. For them to serve, there will have to be a revolution in this country - a régime change of the most elemental type, one that rids us of the traitors at the top who presently ruin our country.


Copyright 2005, 2011, R.Kossover

Israel has much to learn from General Metaxas. He did not temporize, 
compromise or set up commissions. HE SAID "NO."

"Okhi" is Greek for "no." One bright day in the autumn of 1940, while the Fascists were still in control in Italy, after the Italians had annexed Albania, Benito Mussolini, the prime minister and dictator, decided to expand his new Roman empire by adding the island of Corfu (Kerkira) which was then, as it is today, under Greek control. His legate marched into the office of the Greek dictator of the day, General Metaxas, to outline his demand.

Metaxas was a simple man. He said "okhi" - "no".

I don't know exactly what happened after Metaxas said "okhi." Presumably the Italian legate made threats and warnings, trying to intimidate this simple dictator. One easily imagines the fist hitting the table and the screaming so common to Mediterranean culture occurring in General Metaxas' office that day. The answer remained "okhi."

Not long afterwards, the Italian army invaded Greece. One was not supposed to say "okhi" to the great descendant of the Romans, and the descendants of the Roman legions were going to teach this lesson pointedly. The descendants of the brave Romans were hoisted on their own petard by the Greeks. Not only was the Italian army driven from Greece, but the Greeks conquered a fourth of Albania in the process. This is what was found in a Google search at http://www.terrorism.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Countries&file=index&view=95

October 28, 1940: Okhi DayThe third most important holiday (after Independence Day and Easter Sunday) in the Greek calendar; commemorates the Greek rejection of Mussolini's ultimatum to the Athens government, which led subsequently to Italy's invasion of Greece from Albania. The Greeks held the Italian army at bay in the mountains of Epirus until military intervention by the Nazis in March 1941.

Only when Hitler invaded Greece was this embarrassing defeat of Fascist military power rectified. The defeat of the Italians by the Greeks - which began with the simple word "okhi," - "no," spelled the beginning of the end for Fascist Italy.

After this, the obvious guarantor of Mussolini's power, even to the Italians, was the German Army. It is not clear to me whether Hitler forced Mussolini to enter WWII, but the Italian military leaders knew that their army was not prepared for war. Mussolini overruled his generals, and, as is so often the case, the generals were right and the megalomaniac with the authority (fasces) was wrong.

Historically, the Italians dislike the Germans and still dislike them today. When Italy was invaded in 1943, the Germans fought very hard to resist the Americans and the British - the Italians did not.
General Metaxas is known in modern Greek history as a despicable man, but for this one act of saying "okhi" to the Italians, he is a national hero. To this day, the Greeks celebrate Okhi Day to commemorate this event.

We Jews have much to learn from General Metaxas. He said "okhi" to an imperialist's demand on Greek territory. He did not temporize, compromise or set up commissions. HE SAID, "NO!"  We Jews need to begin to say "okhi". And then to stand by the word, "no" and act on it. We have plenty of things to say "okhi" to. 

There are the demands by the Arabs on our territory. There is the pressure of the European Union, the United States, and the United Nations to withdraw from our own land and surrender it to the Arabs. There is the immense pressure of American and European culture - eroticism, consumerism, violence, drug abuse and drunkenness that we need to resist in order not to become mere Hebrew speaking pagans. That is just the beginning.

But even before we get to these things to guarantee our survival, we have to begin by saying "no" - "okhi" - to the traitors who presently constitute themselves as the government. These bought out and corrupt individuals are leading this nation to death and disaster. Every terrorist bombing, every attack on Jews here or overseas is a sign that we need to begin saying "no".


Author's Note: I wish to thank historian and accomplished linguist, Sergio Tezza, for his help in refining points of Italian history. 

07 November 2005

HANUKKAH – Judaism’s Most Important Holiday


Welcome!! You have arrived at Ruvy's Roost.

The main point to remember at this roost, as at any other roost, is to avoid standing under the rooster. It can be hazardous.

I post my stories, articles, and other items here. If you enjoy what you read, please let me know. This blog site is still a work in progress, so please bear with me. My pieces tend to be somewhat on the serious side, so if I am irreverent elsewhere - we all need to smile sometimes.

The first piece that you'll find is the one that follows below about Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday celebrated in winter in Israel and the rest of the northern hemisphere, and in summer in South Africa, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, and the rest of the southern hemisphere.

In Israel, winter is not terribly severe (except in the Heights of Golan) so it is the custom to light candles for Hanukkah outside, where everone can see them. In places like the United States, Russia and Europe, it is the custom to light these candles in windows that face the outside, so that anyone passing by can see them.

HANUKKAH – Judaism’s Most Important Holiday

Author's Note: I originally wrote this in December 2004, just before Hanukkah. I have had to make very few changes in the article published by the Root & Branch Association Information Service (rb@rb.org.il) on 19 Kislev, 5765. This is truly tragic.

We celebrate Hanukkah this year from 25 Kislev through 3 Tevet (December 26 2005 – January 2 2006). I want to thank Aryeh Gallin, President of the Root & Branch Association, for editorial help and substantive and intelligent suggestions

Reuven Kossover, Jerusalem, Israel

"No iron can pierce the heart more sharply than a period put at just the right place."I.E. Babel

HANUKKAH – Judaism’s Most Important Holiday
Copyright © 2004, 2005 – R. Kossover

If you ask a rabbi what the most important Jewish holidays are, he's likely to tell you Yom Kippur and the Sabbath, in that order. There are other holidays he will likely mention –- the High Holy Days, the Three Festivals. He probably will not answer Hanukkah.

First, Hanukkah is not mentioned directly in the Torah, like the aforementioned holidays. Our commentators do give it a nod as being referred to there, but you have to look for the citations. The references to dates in Jewish history that were to yet occur, like Pessah in connection with the visit of the three angels to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (found in B'Reishit/Genesis), and the 9th of Av (mentioned in connection with the events surrounding the Sin of the Spies), are much better known in Jewish scholarship.

In addition, the books of the Maccabees, the works that most directly relate the events surrounding Hanukkah to us, are not even in the Tana”kh.

But, I argue that Hanukkah is the most important holiday we have. Why? Well, Shabbat is our weekly day of respite from the troubles of this world, our taste of Ha'Olam Ha'Ba (the world to come). While the High Holy Days and Sukkot provide an avenue of repentance, the gates or repentance are always open.

However, Hanukkah is the ugly mirror in time through which we Jews see the modern reality of our country and the condition of our people today in an event that occurred 2,100 years ago.

In spite of what the Talmud says, Hanukkah is not really about a cruse of oil that lasts eight times as long as it is supposed to; it is not about Greeks persecuting Jews and not allowing them to practice their religion; it is not about brave Jewish soldiers liberating the country from foreigners; it is not about potato pancakes; it is not about jelly doughnuts.

Hanukkah is about a civil war. It is about a people drinking the wine of madness.

The source for my assertions on this topic is Solomon Zeitlin's "Rise and Fall of the Jewish State: a History of the Second Judean Commonwealth", a two-volume opus that dealt with an era critical to the development of Judaism. In it, he explained how a large number of Jews of the day, very possibly a majority, were very happy to follow the Hellenization of the country spearheaded by Antiochus Epiphanes, the insecure monarch of the Seleucid Empire that ruled over Syria from Antioch. They had no problem with not circumcising their children, eating pork, going to the gymnasia, worshiping the idols placed in various temples by the Greek soldiers, including the Temple in Jerusalem. This was particularly true of the Jews in the higher classes of society.

When I read this book thirty-three years ago, I did not understand its significance at all. In 1972, Israel strode the Middle East like a small colossus, stretching from the Suez to the Jordan. Hanukkah was the time to celebrate how the I.D.F. had kicked Arab butt all over the place, winning wars in six days and celebrating victory on the seventh, much the way G-d created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh after pronouncing His creation "very good".

Today, Israel is a small weak country whose leaders come to heel like trained dogs when called by their masters in the U.S. and elsewhere. Her people suffer terrorism and do not effectively fight back; her oppressors are lionized and idolized throughout the world, even by a large number of Israelis in power here. The Israeli Army does not talk about kicking Arab butt anymore. Instead, on the illegal orders of the prime minister, they have uprooted 10,000 Jews from their homes in this country, and prepare to uproot more. One would think that they were the Greek soldiers putting idols in the Temple. Except that today there is no Temple – the Arabs who control the Temple Mount systematically destroy evidence of its previous existence and the Israeli government does nothing at all but wring its "helpless" hands. Not only this, but the Temple Mount is in the hands of the Arabs – by the consent of the same Israeli government that wrings its hands! Woe to the Jew who seeks to so much as bless the sight of a rainbow from the Temple Mount! He'll be thrown off with all the ceremony of a bum being kicked out of an American shopping mall.

What is worse, the civil war fought then was between those Jews who wanted to follow the dominant secular culture of the day and those who insisted on following the religion of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are fighting that exact same civil war now. The vast majority of Jews of today's world, not merely here but world wide, want very much to follow the secular culture of today, that of America and Europe; they want to dispense with the faith of their ancestors or at least "encapsulate" it so that its observance will not interfere with the pleasures of the secular culture. By and large, they don't care about the Sabbath, they don't care about kashrut, they don't care about teaching their children Torah, and they don't care about the sanctity of the land. Too many of them, even so-called "Torah-observant" Jews, care more about how closely they can model their own lives after the non-Jewish Europeans or Americans.
They want to drink the wine of madness that is the secular culture of Europe and America. This is as true here in Israel as it is in exile.

Some of Israel's leaders are so against Judaism that they try to do whatever they can to weaken the Jewish structure of the state. They've attempted refusing to enforce the ban on the sale of yeast containing products during Passover, and have done what they can to weaken Sabbath observance. They do what they can to sabotage the prohibitions on the sale of pork and publicize the ideas of Jews who are against circumcision, the ideas of Jews who call the brit mila that ties every male Jew to G-d in an eternal covenant "inhumane". They blithely push for homosexuals to parade openly in Jerusalem, conveniently forgetting that homosexual behavior is classified as an abomination in Torah and is one of the reasons that the previous occupants of the land were vomited out. As if this isn’t enough, a crematorium has now opened up in this country. Israelis are lining up to be burned as their grandparents were in Europe. The only difference is that they will not be pushed in alive. They will wait till they die first. This too, is in direct violation of the Torah.

The coterie of un-Jews who run the country are a small clique who have little to do with the decent people who make up most of those who are not "Torah-observant" by Israeli standards. This coterie comprises the modern Hellenists -- the Hiloním who want nothing to do with Judaism or with G-d and who are ashamed of the faith of their ancestors. Today they run the government, and dominate the upper classes of society just like they did twenty one hundred years ago.

At a November 4 2004 conference in Jerusalem discussing the Rabin assassination, Professor Aryeh Zaritzky, of Ben Gurion University, warned the largely Torah observant audience of Jews about these "Hilonim," this tiny coterie of evil men, these modern Hellenists who would abandon Judaism, he said, "they hate you. They are preparing a war against you. Not a war against brothers, but a war against those who are not even brothers!"

My blood ran cold when I heard this.

I wish I could say, looking at the above several paragraphs, that what I've written is unbalanced and one-sided. If I could honestly say that, my reasons for publishing this essay would disappear. I could hit the delete button and I could move on to other, more pleasant things. But the mirror in time that is Hanukkah prevents me from doing so. I look in that mirror and see the realities of civil war reflected from 2,100 years ago then in chilling images today. All that is missing from that picture are open hostilities.

There is a Jewish theory of history describing a "helix of time". The lazy hawk rises on a thermal in the same circular path never quite going over the same place he went a number of feet below. Events don't recur exactly. Yet in this mirror of time, one might see in the American government or in the E.U. the image of Antiochus V - a foreign oppressor. But the High Priest and his associates who actively pursued the policies of de-Judaizing the country - and the many, many supporters the High priest had then - these people were all Jews, just as the cabinet is ruling from Jerusalem today. These are the realities that I see today, whether I like them or not.

Therefore, these then are the lines of the modern civil war. One side - the faithful - doesn't even realize (or want to realize) that it is being attacked, while the other side has the press, the government and the army on its side. One reads from Zechariah 12 and sees that even Judah will come up against Jerusalem. One waits in vain for the modern version of Mattatyahu Hashmonai – the brave Kohen who ran his sword through a Jew willing to worship an idol and then who screamed, "Those who are for G-d come with me!" Every Jew who has attempted to take this mantle up in the last thirty years until now has either been jailed or silenced by the Israeli government. We are again living in the days when Jews, led by blind fools who have neither pride nor honesty nor dignity, who are indeed a "generation of reversals", are determined to bulldoze over their core beliefs to chase after the passing fads of the "modern" world.

For this we will pay – as we always have - in blood.

Happy Hanukkah