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If you've never been to Israel, let me tell you just a few things about it. 

Israel is a country TEEMING WITH LIFE.  It's a place where Jews have come to escape persecution from ALL THE PLACES IN THE WORLD WHERE THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED THAT - which, of course, is all too many places - all over the world.

  • Israel is a place where people want to study and practice the most traditional forms of Judaism -
  • AND it's a place where Jews barely practice Judaism at all! -
  • It's a place where people want to be doctors and nurses and social workers and teachers and HELP other people! (a value straight out of the Torah - straight out of Jewish tradition - going back to the very beginning of time!) 
  • AND it's a place where people want to grow veggies! - big, beautiful, healthy, happy veggies! - and FRUIT! -
  • AND it's a place where people want to write and dance and make pottery and jewelry and write poems -
  • AND it's a place where people want to invent the latest technologies for the Internet - and medicine - and science -
  • AND it's a place where people want to dig up the amazing historical, biblical past -
  • AND it's a place where people want to PRESERVE the ancient artifacts of Judaism -
  • AND it's a place where people want to take care of orphans and those who are sick and ill and in need of help -
  • AND it's a place where people want to be entrepeneurs and make money! 
  • AND it's a place where people YEARN TO LIVE IN PEACE - so they can do ALL THESE WONDERFUL THINGS that are so productive and creative and good for the world! 

And all this takes place in this unbelievably ARID, stony, dry, hot, cracked land!  How they managed to get a single fig to grow in the dry, rocky soil that abounds throughout that land - where the sun beats down mercilessly on the parched earth - day after day after day - is truly BEYOND ME - BEYOND MY IMAGINATION.  But out of this arid, dry, hot, UNCOMFORTABLE DESERT Jews have created a true Rennaisance - a magnificent country - TRULY A MIRACLE - full of life and vigor and creativity and productivity and innovation and committment and contemplation and so much more.  It's EXOTIC and ancient and timeless - and yet up-to-the-minute modern, too - all at once.  You can't really DESCRIBE Israel - you SIMPLY HAVE TO GO THERE!

And if you do, you will come away with a much greater understanding of all that is Jewish - of all that is recounted in the Torah - of all that makes up Jewish history and that IS MAKING history today in the world. 

It's an incredible place.  But don't take my word for it - go and see for yourself.  You will be changed by the experience - this we can assure you. 

Here is an e-mail I just received from my Russian neighbor, Yuri:

Dear Gillie! I just came from Israel. I have been swimming in the three seas.  Red, Dead and Meditererrian Seas.  I saw Jordan mountains.  I traveled from north to south.  I am full of expression.  I was almost crying, when i saw yong kids with machine guns.  This is a small, but great country.  I have a lot to tell you, when i will see you.

          Truly yours,  Yuri.

Isn't that a great note?  Touched my heart - and says it all....

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 The following is an excellent article, in our opinion, from The New York Post - April 21, 2003.... 

Post Opinion - Columnists


 PALESTINIAN REALITY
By RALPH PETERS

April 21, 2003 -- IN the aftermath of the allied victory in Iraq, the international pressure to create an independent Palestinian state will be irresistible. And the Palestinian people unquestionably deserve a government and homeland of their own.

Israel's vital interests must be protected, but even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recognizes that some West Bank settlements must be vacated. Despite legitimate misgivings in Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood is on the way.

We may hope that this new state will honor the dignity of its own people and the security needs of its neighbors, that democracy - and peace - will be given a chance.

But extravagant optimism guarantees disappointment. This politically independent, but financially dependent Palestinian state is likely to disappoint everyone except the most corrupt Arabs and the most cynical Europeans.

For the United States and Israel, the greatest disappointment will be that Palestinian statehood will not put an end to anti-Israeli terrorism. There may be an initial drop in suicide bombings, but terrorism will remain a fact of life. Palestinian authorities will sign the treaties and make the right noises, but will take only limited action - under duress - to suppress violent extremists.

Even were a Palestinian government to behave with flawless integrity, terrorists would simply stage their operations from Lebanon or elsewhere. The key fact that Western advocates for the Palestinian cause refuse to recognize is that the terrorism directed toward Israel is only superficially about Palestinian independence. At its core, it is about the old passion for killing Jews.

Once there is an independent Palestinian state, Israel will be accused of countless other sins - among them hindering the economic and political development of the new entity. While many Palestinians do, indeed, yearn for freedom and a just society, the hardline killers desire the complete destruction of Israel. Nothing less will do.

For the profoundly unscrupulous Arab governments of the region, the Palestinian cause has been a cherished convenience. All home-grown ills could be blamed on the need to sacrifice for the Palestinians - although the Palestinians never received sufficient aid from other Arabs to build decent lives. The image of Palestinian poverty and deprivation has been essential to the Arab world's myth-making.

Now Arab insistence and rhetoric have backed the myth-makers into a corner: For the region's decayed regimes, continuing Palestinian misery and powerlessness remain preferable to a Palestinian state. But the United States and even Israel now seem to accept the inevitability of Free Palestine. The Arabs have gotten their public wish, but will regret it in private.

The Arabs still need someone to blame for their failures. And they will continue to blame Israel and the United States. The Arabs will find countless faults with Israel's implementation of any accords. Then they will attack the accords themselves as unjust.

The Arab world is as addicted to blame as any junkie was ever addicted to heroin.

There may be some meaningful efforts to place new limits on terrorist operations from the soil of states such as Jordan and Egypt. But the terrorists will find ways around any restrictions. They are so consumed with the vision of Israel annihilated that many will never be able to tear themselves away from the delicious comforts of hatred, blame and slaughter.

The best hope for peace would be a regime change in Syria and the expulsion of all terrorist organizations from Lebanon. That may happen. Operation Iraqi Freedom provided the spark that could ignite the entire region, leading to the eventual collapse of one illegitimate government after another.

Anti-Israeli terrorism will never cease entirely - it's simply too alluring to the spiritually dispossessed of the Arab world - but the transformation of surrounding governments into states even moderately observant of human rights, the rule of law and the popular will would seriously hamper terrorist operations.

The other great disappointment will be visited upon the Palestinian people themselves. Most Palestinians would welcome a chance to better their lives - or at least the lives of their children - and to determine who will lead them through free and fair elections.

But the other Arab states will never permit it - at least not until they change themselves. The last thing any of the surrounding regimes wants is a successful, economically thriving, rule-of-law, freely elected Arab government in their midst. The example to their own people would be unbearable.

It's critical to Arab leaders that a Palestinian state remain corrupt, malleable and governed by gunmen - even if the gunmen wear tailored suits to the conference table.

Arab states want the Palestinians to remain needy clients, not to become apostles of change. The situation in Iraq is worrisome enough to Damascus, Cairo and Riyadh.

Elections will be the first real test. Other Arab states will do all in their power to insure they don't happen freely and fairly. A leader like Yasser Arafat is ideal from the perspective of other Arab governments: He's impeccably dishonest, careless of the welfare of his people and contemptuous of individual rights. He's not only willing to be bought, he's willing to be bought cheap.

Any brave Palestinian who attempts to stand for election on a platform of genuine reform had better have the world's best bodyguards.

Israel will get through all this. Israelis know what is at stake, and they will adjust to new realities as necessary. Israel even may be a bit less embattled as long as the celebrations continue in the West Bank, Gaza, Paris, Berlin and other anti-Semitic hotbeds.

The real losers in the new state will be, as always, the Palestinians. They deserve freedom and a real chance to build a decent civil society. But the Europeans don't really care, the Arabs care about all the wrong things, and the current Palestinian leadership cares only about its own continued tenure in power.

A Palestinian state is on the way. Palestinian freedom will remain a dream.

Ralph Peters is a retired military officer and the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."

 

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SHALOM! WELCOME! (HOME)  |  SPONSOR A KEHILLAH AD!  |  OUR MISSION - OUR PLAN  |  NON-DENOMINATIONAL?  |  THE DEVALUATION OF JUDAISM  |  SHOP KEHILLAH! BOUTIQUE  |  18 REASONS WHY IT'S GREAT TO BE JEWISH  |  18 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR JUDAISM  |  THE ONE JEWISH RITUAL FOR YOUR FAMILY...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SHABBAT?  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - FRIDAY NIGHT  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - SATURDAY  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SYNAGOGUE?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT READING HEBREW?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ISRAEL?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MARRYING JEWISH?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ORGANIZED RELIGION?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT "ANCIENT"...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PRESERVING JUDAISM?  |  NOT A BELIEVER?  |  THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING JEWISH  |  YOUR OBJECTIONS - THINGS YOU HATE!  |  ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT?  |  ARE YOU CREATIVE?  |  ARE YOU "MIXED?"  |  SMALL PLEASURES...  |  GOOD STORIES  |  THE "WOMAN" ISSUE  |  OUR BOLD RADICAL PROPOSAL...  |  ADVERTISE TO EDUCATE!  |  OUR PRO-JUDAISM AD CAMPAIGN  |  KEHILLAH RADIO & TV  |  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR JUDAISM...  |  JEW VS. JEW  |  PASSOVER - ONE THING YOU CAN DO...  |  Shrek on Judaism!  |  Mel Brooks - On Being a Jew  |  Kirk Douglas: Why Be Jewish?  |  Rabbi Harold Kushner  |  Joe McCain on The Jews & Israel  |  American Presidents and The Jews  |  KEHILLAH is dedicated to...  |  LINKS TO Jewish Organizations, Charities & Websites  |  CONVERSION TO JUDAISM  |  GILLIE'S RECIPES  |  JEWISH HUMOR  |  NY TIMES: BRING BACK SHABBAT! PERSONAL STORY...  |  DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?  |  Contact Information  |  YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!  |  TO HELP SUPPORT KEHILLAH

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