Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

Update, March 16, 2010: The meme continues. Here’s another piece (this one by Irwin J. Mansdorf) on engaging new forms of conversation between Israel and the world: The Hasbara challenge: We can’t counter Arab PR by telling people Israel invented cell phone

A new Israeli government effort to bring the average “Yossi Israeli” into the ongoing effort at getting Israel’s position across to average individuals and the media to combat negative perceptions, stereotypes, and anti-Israel sentiment is getting a significant amount of attention in the media, Jewish and otherwise.

The website Masbirim will attempt to begin training Israelis to speak on behalf of Israel when the opportunity arises. It also contains satirical videos poking fun at how poorly Israel is understood or known beyond stereotypes of violence and backwardness. As with much satire, the quality of the work has been widely debated, as well. (more…)

Read Full Post »

I don’t usually mention the same column by Donniel Hartman twice, but clearly this issue is one that is not only not going away, it is heating up: In articles such as this one and this one, we are learning more about the rabbis who are preaching disobedience of orders that may occur in the IDF to participate in evacuations of illegal outposts and settlements and those who are struggling with the issue.

Donniel Hartman, in his latest column, referenced here and also below on this blog, has come out forcefully and clearly as to why this just cannot happen. And Donniel doesn’t just criticize, he, as usual, puts the matter into context and calls on all of Israeli society to engage in the deep and complex debate of how the Jewish religion must be intertwined – or not – with the political and civil life of the Jewish state.

Read Full Post »

Donniel Hartman writes about how the Israeli army must limit the reach of the army rabbis, and how Religious Zionists must declare their loyalty to the State of Israel over the religious aspects of the Land of Israel:

A soldier may thus rationalize that if the army cannot command him to violate the Shabbat, and such a command is deemed illegal, it is even more evident to him that the army cannot command him to dismantle a settlement, as settling the land of Israel is deemed even more important than observance of Shabbat.

I therefore suggest the following practical direction: not only must the army be free from pursuing internal political debates, so too it must be free from any religious discourse outside of the private ritual practices of its soldiers. Every soldier must be told upfront and recognize that he or she must follow unquestioningly the orders of the civilian government of Israel and the laws that it enacts, and the military chain of command so long as those laws are legal….

Anyone serving in the army must swear allegiance to this principle. If they cannot, then they must be designated as conscientious objectors who are not allowed to serve. Religious Zionism and religious communities have thus a critical decision to make: If they believe that their commitment to the holiness of the Land of Israel is so central that it must override all other concerns and that the State has value only to the extent that it brings more Jews to live in more of the land of Israel, then they must declare up front their conscientious objection to serving in the army, and go the path of the ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews.

Click here to read the full article.

Read Full Post »

The London Times (sorry, Times of London) is reporting that – according to Western intelligence sources – Iran has:

perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb

Leaving aside whether we can actually believe that story – assuming it is nearly true if not completely so, that’s a terrible thing, right? Maybe, just maybe, this crisis can be turned into an opportunity; at least that’s the opinion of Shalom Hartman Institute’s Moshe Halbertal. More than a year ago, before this position became the de facto policy of the United States, Moshe wrote:

The Iranian bomb may be a destabilizing force in the region, a watershed in the nuclear arms race and a potential catalyst for World War III. It is also, however, a tremendous opportunity….

It is the jihadization of the conflict which, paradoxically, harbors the possibility of its dissolution. Arab national regimes, once quite content to allow radical Islam to spearhead their war against Israel for them, now find themselves within the fatal range of the nuclear monster they’ve helped create. Millions of Arabs are now realizing, perhaps for the first time, that the prospect of a nuclear jihad is every bit a threat to them as it is to Israel. The Iranian bomb is indeed a destabilizing force in the region, though not quite in the usual sense of the term; driving a wedge into the Arab front, it places the vast majority of the Arab world squarely on the strategic side of the West.

For more unconventional yet logical thinking from Halbertal on this, click here for his full essay.

Read Full Post »

In a lecture this week to rabbis at Shalom Hartman Institute for the annual summertime Rabbinical Torah Study Seminar, Donniel Hartman mentioned that he had just finished a session with senior IDF commanders attending an ongoing program at Shalom Hartman Institute, the Lev Aharon program.

This program teaches Judaism, Jewish moral philosophy, and other related matters to senior officers of the IDF (majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels), in an effort to help them better understand their roles as defenders of the Jewish nation, and to explain the same to their soldiers, some of whom have rudimentary Jewish knowledge. The program is not about teaching kashrut, Shabbat observance, or ritual, but the historical, cultural, and moral underpinnings of the Jewish nation.

So, Donniel was saying how the officers were complaining that some religious soldiers are taking extreme stands on matters and, for example, are not willing to listen to a female singer during Army celebrations or ceremonies. Or, the commanders asked, what do we do when we go away for a unit retreat and some soldiers want single-sex swimming hours in the pool. Donniel said the commanders are struggling with such real, “tachlis” (detailed) conundrums.

It seemed to me that some of the rabbis in the room were skeptical that the situation was so complicated, or at least found it difficult to believe that such internal problems could occur in a Jewish army. I’ll admit, I thought so, too, to a degree.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw this article today on Ynetnews: Rabbi Eliyahu warns of rabbis who ‘kowtow to women’:

Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu warned this week of the rising prominence of the liberal stream in religious Zionism and slammed rabbis who “kowtow to women.”

During a Torah lesson he delivered on Monday, the prominent national religious leader spoke in length about the importance of observing chastity codes. He advised soldiers to cover their ears during military ceremonies that include women singing. “It’s better to go to jail than to obey the commander and hear a woman sing or play.”

….Eliyahu’s son, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, also referred to the issue of women performing in military events. He commented on a recent statement by the chief education officer, who said religious soldiers must stay put during such ceremonies, despite the halachic problem.

“This order is clearly illegal,” said Eliyahu. “A person cannot be forced to go against the Torah. Today it’s singing, tomorrow it’s singing plus half naked women… a breach in such a question is like fire – you don’t know where it’s going to end.”

Just when you thought you had heard it all: “Today it’s singing…you don’t know where it’s going to end.” I don’t mean to make light: this is an important matter. Donniel did not say what he counseled the officers to do. But it is clearly a matter in which the Shalom Hartman Institute can play an important role in helping the jewish army of the State of israel remain both Jewish and democratic.

Hattip to the excellent blog, Religion and State in Israel.

Read Full Post »

UPDATE: Yes, Donniel’s post is already online, and has been so for several days. Sorry it took a while to get back to this post. See Donniel’s post here: “Are Jews Ready for Obama?:

While President Obama’s speech in Cairo was also about settlements, and about the Road Map, in essence it was about neither. It was about putting forth to us all the potential for a new future. President Obama’s speech was not about policy. It was about hope and the need to place a vision of a kinder and a better world, a world in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians – and the United States and the more than 1 billion Muslims of the world – will begin to see each other as partners who inhabit this world and not as enemies engaged in Armageddon. It was about remembering what we want for ourselves and our children and then thinking about what we need to do to fulfill these aspirations.

Here’s what President Obama said on Jews, Israel, Palestinians, two states and peace:

America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

Read Full Post »

The annual Tikkun Leil Shavuot lectures at Shalom Hartman Institute are one of the year’s most anticipated events.
This year’s theme is, “Ethics, Judaism and War,” and features lectures in English and Hebrew from Hartman Institute faculty on issues both classic and contemporary.

Shavuot evening, Thursday, 28 May, 2009

English/אנגלית
22.30-23.45 Rabbi Prof. David Hartman: The Role of the Other in Situations of War and Civic Life in the Jewish Tradition
2.30-3.30 Dov Weiss: “Moshe’s Protest against Divine War: The Case of Sihon.”

Hebrew/עברית
00:00-01:00 הרב ד”ר דניאל הרטמן: מוסר מלחמה במסורת היהודית ובמקורות ישראל

01:15-02:15 פרופ’ אבי שגיא, האלוף ישי בר: “והיה מחניך קדוש”: טוהר הנשק ומשמעותו במסמך רוח צה”ל

02:30-03:30 ד”ר אורית קמיר: מוסר כבוד האדם במלחמה

חג שבועות ביום – יום שישי ו’ סיון, 29 במאי, 2009

16:00-17:00 ביטי רואי: כוח, תפילה ומלחמה בתורת ר’ נחמן מברסלב
17:15-18:15 פרופ’ אבי שגיא: מוסר במלחמה

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »