Monday, February 20, 2012

Have UN-Inspectors ever helped in any crisis?


UN-Inspectors historically have been good to make scientific assessments which have been more or less close to reality, but their inability to produce any kind of change in a world of politics that uses science to their evil goals, has been frustrating.

However, once their assessment was done, what has been their impact? Not meaningful, to say the least.

In the case of Iran, with the pretext that "if anyone" would have attacked Iran earlier to stop their evil nuclear program would have caused uproar among the otherwise Western-friendly Iranian population has instead, bought time to the bad guys and brought strictly no positive change whatsoever.

Thus, the so-called Iranian resistance, whether popular or student movements, have been unable to produce any kind of result to remove their "unwanted" leaders, in essence, because of a tangible weak spirit of resistance among the people of Iran. And, that's a fact.

And, now, as Churchill says "... the worst case is to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it's better to die than to live as a slave..."

We are slowly entering a world of demonic savagery, where massacres, beheading, stoning, honor killing, mutilation, and so more are the rule under the evil Muslim Islamic Sharia law, unless Western populations worldwide react and fight before it's too late.
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Iran nuclear crisis: UN inspectors arrive in Tehran
From the BBC News

UN nuclear inspectors have arrived in Tehran for the second time in a month to discuss Iran's nuclear programme.

Chief inspector Herman Nackaerts said his team's "highest priority" was to clarify the "possible military dimensions" of the nuclear programme.

But he cautioned that progress "may take a while".

Iran insists it is enriching uranium to use for power generation, but Western nations believe the programme is geared towards making weapons.

Tensions have risen over speculation that Israel may carry out a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

US national security adviser Tom Donilon arrived in Israel at the weekend for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials.

But the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, warned on Sunday that it was still unclear whether Iran was at a stage to assemble a nuclear bomb.

"On that basis, I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us," Gen Dempsey said.

'New developments'
Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took part in an elaborate ceremony to unveil new developments in his country's nuclear programme.

Tehran said it had used domestically-made nuclear fuel in a reactor for the first time, as well as developing faster, more efficient uranium enrichment centrifuges.

State TV showed the president inspecting the fuel rods as they were loaded into a reactor.


Iranian media showed President Ahmadinejad (at right) at a ceremony to unveil "new developments" in Tehran's nuclear programme
The IAEA inspectors described their last visit, in January, as positive, and said Iran was "committed" to "resolving all outstanding issues".

Mr Nackaerts said on Sunday that he hoped to have a "couple of good and constructive days in Tehran".

"Importantly we hope for some concrete results from the trip. The highest priority remains of course the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme, but we want to tackle all outstanding issues," he said.

"This is of course a very complex issue that may take a while. But we hope it can be constructive".

The inspectors' evaluation of their visits may form part of the next written report on Iran's nuclear programme, expected later in February.

But last November, the IAEA said it had information suggesting Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".

That information led to a decision by the US and the European Union to tighten sanctions against Iran, including measures targeting the country's lucrative oil industry.

Iran said on Sunday it had halted oil sales to British and French companies ahead of an EU oil embargo set to begin on 1 July. Analysts say the gesture of retaliation is largely symbolic.

On Monday, the head of Iran's national oil company said the ban might be extended to other EU members that continued "hostile acts" against Iran.

Ahmad Qalehbani said exports to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands could be stopped, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

BENADOR: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vs the West


As History unravels in front of our eyes, the West finds themselves with a most formidable enemy, Iran.

And, whether some may pretend that the people of Iran are not the government of Iran, just as everywhere else, the inept behavior of that same people to stop the Mullahs tyranny, is giving tacit legitimacy to an evil regime that does not hesitate to be vociferous in their intentions to destroy one country that legitimately exists on this Earth.

Iran's Ahmadinejad explict will to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jewish people makes the world miss the point, as we see, because the issue is not only with Israel but, as Mr. Khamenei shows, with the whole Western civilization.

Israel is the gate to civilization... or is it...?

In these threatening times, the corrupt liberal Israeli leadership misses the point in that they have had until now the utmost military power in the region. However, if they wanted the best for the country, namely the security of their own people above all, it should time for them now to turn to their best weapon, the One who gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people: G-d.

Righteous Jewish people in Israel and abroad, read this with your heart and your soul, raise your voice so G-d can hear all of us trusting Him, Our G-d, Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father Our King:

"If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, let Israel now say;
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us;
Then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the proud waters would have gone over our soul!
Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth!
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth!" Psalm 124
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Khamenei's outlook dims hope for Iran nuclear deal
By Alistair Lyon
LONDON | Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:05am EST
(Reuters) - As tensions over Iran's nuclear program ratchet higher once again, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's aversion for the West remains a formidable barrier to any diplomatic solution.

A visit by U.N. nuclear inspectors to Iran this week, a few days after Tehran wrote to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton promising "new initiatives" in negotiations, suggests the door to diplomacy has not slammed shut.

Harsher Western sanctions are damaging Iran's economy and Israel is debating military action, with or without a U.S. green light, lending fresh urgency to efforts to defuse the crisis over the Islamic Republic's sensitive nuclear activity.

Yet a sea change in policy seems unlikely while the tall, bearded Khamenei, 72, holds power in a country whose Shi'ite Muslim religious leadership has made "Death to America, death to Israel" its mantra since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

This month Khamenei said sanctions would not alter Iran's nuclear course, military threats would "harm America" and any nation or group fighting Israel, thought to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, would have Tehran's backing.

"In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time," he declared.

Khamenei has in the past denied that Iran seeks atomic bombs, saying: "It is against our Islamic thoughts."

But he has shown little interest in genuinely assuaging Western worries about Iran's activities, authorizing what the U.N. nuclear watchdog regards as only incomplete cooperation, as well as intermittent talks with six world powers that Western officials suspect Tehran pursues primarily to gain more time to attain nuclear "breakout" capability.

The bespectacled cleric, who ultimately decides all matters of state, including nuclear and foreign policy, simply does not trust the United States, once described by his late mentor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a wolf to Iran's lamb.

In 2009, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself no friend of the West, leaned toward a compromise involving a nuclear fuel swap to allay concerns about Iran's intentions, hardliners shot it down, apparently with Khamenei's blessing.

WARY OF RIVALS

Khamenei has long sought to ensure that no group, even among his conservative allies, musters enough power to challenge him.

And when Ahmadinejad appeared to do just that last year, Khamenei was swift to react, reinstating an intelligence minister sacked by the president against his will.

Iranian analysts say the Supreme Leader is keen to ensure that Ahmadinejad emerges weaker from next week's parliamentary election, expected to be mostly a contest among hardliners.

After Khomeini died in 1989, Khamenei, who served two terms as president in the 1980s, was picked to succeed him, a surprise choice for some, as he was then only a mid-ranking cleric. He was swiftly promoted to ayatollah.

Khamenei inherited enormous powers, but could not hope to emulate the towering political and religious authority of Iran's revolutionary founder. His allies say he tends to reach major decisions after consulting a tight-knit group of top officials.

He can count on the loyalty of the elite Revolutionary Guards and Basij religious militia, which quelled the worst unrest in the Islamic Republic's history after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in June 2009 in a vote opponents said was rigged.

TAKING SIDES

Khamenei then cast his weight behind Ahmadinejad, declaring that defeated opposition leaders would be responsible for any bloodshed in what proved to be eight months of street protests.

Soon after the election, Khamenei, the final authority in Iran's complex system of clerical rule and limited democracy, appeared to offer his own life for the Islamic revolution in an emotional Friday sermon that drew tears from the congregation.

"We will do what we will have to do," he said. "I have an unworthy life, a defective body and little honor, which was given to me by you. I will put all of these on the palm of my hand and spend them on the path of the revolution and Islam."

The message of the Supreme Leader, whose right hand was crippled in a 1981 assassination attempt, was that defiance of his will amounted to a counter-revolutionary act.

Khamenei should stay above the political fray, according to Khomeini's system of "velayat-e faqih", or rule by a religious jurist. His one-sided intervention in the uproar after the 2009 vote, which divided Iran's religious and political elite, further stoked a crisis of legitimacy that still lingers.

In practice, Khamenei has long favored hardliners, helping to thwart reforms and feelers toward the United States when the moderate Mohammad Khatami was president from 1997 to 2005, and for years backing his radical successor, Ahmadinejad.

In theory, he could be removed by the 86-man Assembly of Experts, but the clerical body is never known to have challenged a man who controls many of the levers of power.

Khamenei, whose black turban signifies he is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints many senior figures, including the heads of the judiciary, security agencies and state radio and television.

Born into a clerical family in Mashhad in northeast Iran in 1939, he became involved with underground groups opposed to the U.S.-backed Shah in the 1960s and was jailed several times.

In a study of Khamenei's writings, Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment argued that his hostility to U.S. "global arrogance" was matched by fear that any opening to the West would allow foreign influences to dilute Iran's Islamic purity.

"After three decades of being immersed in a 'death to America' culture, it may be asking too much for Khamenei to reinvent himself," Sadjadpour wrote.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Monday, January 23, 2012

BENADOR: It's about Saving America

Below you will find a great article by Bret Stephens.
However, in this particular case, with all due respect, I do not care what Bret Stephens says. After all, he is on Murdoch's payroll, and all that it implies... Sure, this may have no connection, but after all whatever happens, America MUST stop Obama before it's too late.
The bottom line is that *anyone* will at least stop the Obama destruction machine and give a respite to find the person who will be able to stop America's further destruction.
GOP may deserve to lose but it's not about GOP.
This is about saving America.
So, I still have hope.
As a believer in G-d, I still have hope that someone will come through, a valiant white knight in his white horse will come to America's rescue.
Bret says that when Obama will be re-elected, failure will lie on his shoulders AND on those of the GOP current front runners.
Let me add that the guilt will be shared by the voters of all sides.
IF Obama is re-elected, it will be thanks to liberal, progressive voters AND to the conservative movement of America in its entirety, voters and candidates as could-have-been candidates alike will share the responsibility of America's further demise.
The conservative movement in America is in disarray.
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The GOP Deserves to Lose
That's what happens when you run with losers.

Let's just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose.

It doesn't matter that Mr. Obama can't get the economy out of second gear. It doesn't matter that he cynically betrayed his core promise as a candidate to be a unifying president. It doesn't matter that he keeps blaming Bush. It doesn't matter that he thinks ATMs are weapons of employment destruction. It doesn't matter that Tim Geithner remains secretary of Treasury. It doesn't matter that the result of his "reset" with Russia is Moscow selling fighter jets to Damascus. It doesn't matter that the Obama name is synonymous with the most unpopular law in memory. It doesn't matter that his wife thinks America doesn't deserve him. It doesn't matter that the Evel Knievel theory of fiscal stimulus isn't going to make it over the Snake River Canyon of debt.

Above all, it doesn't matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing. All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won't be another fiasco. But they can't be reasonably sure, so it's going to be four more years of the disappointment you already know.

Is this the best they can do?
As for the current GOP field, it's like confronting a terminal diagnosis. There may be an apparent range of treatments: conventional (Romney), experimental (Gingrich), homeopathic (Paul) or prayerful (Santorum). But none will avail you in the end. Just try to exit laughing.

That's my theory for why South Carolina gave Newt Gingrich his big primary win on Saturday: Voters instinctively prefer the idea of an entertaining Newt-Obama contest—the aspiring Caesar versus the failed Redeemer—over a dreary Mitt-Obama one. The problem is that voters also know that Gaius Gingrich is liable to deliver his prime-time speeches in purple toga while holding tight to darling Messalina's—sorry, Callista's—bejeweled fingers. A primary ballot for Mr. Gingrich is a vote for an entertaining election, not a Republican in the White House.

Then there is Mitt Romney, even now the presumptive nominee. If Mr. Gingrich demonstrated his unfitness to be a serious Republican nominee with his destructive attacks on private equity (a prime legacy of the Reagan years), Mr. Romney has demonstrated his unfitness by—where to start?

Oh, yes, the moment in last week's debate when Mr. Romney equivocated about releasing his tax returns. The former Massachusetts governor is nothing if not a scripted politician, and the least one can ask of such people is that they should know their lines by heart. Did nobody in Mr. Romney's expensive campaign shop tell him that this question was sure to come, and that a decision had to be made, in advance, as to what the answer would be? Great CEOs don't just surround themselves with consultants and advance men. They also hire contrarians, alter egos and at least someone who isn't afraid to poke a finger in their chest. On the evidence of his campaign, Mr. Romney is a lousy CEO.

But it's worse than that. The usual rap on Mr. Romney is that he's robotic, but the real reason he can't gain traction with voters is that they suspect he's concealing some unnameable private doubt. Al Gore and George Bush Sr. were like that, too, and not just because they were all to the proverbial manor born. It's that they were basically hollow men.

Thus the core difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama: For the governor, the convictions are the veneer. For the president, the pragmatism is. Voters always see through this. They usually prefer the man who stands for something.

What about Rick Santorum and Ron Paul? They are owed some respect, especially for the contrast between their willingness to take a stand for principle against the front-runners' willingness to say anything. But Messrs. Santorum and Paul are two tedious men, deep in conversation with some country that's not quite America, appealing to a devoted base but not beyond it. Sorry, gentlemen: You're not going anywhere.

Finally, there are the men not in the field: Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour. This was the GOP A-Team, the guys who should have showed up to the first debate but didn't because running for president is hard and the spouses were reluctant. Nothing commends them for it. If this election is as important as they all say it is, they had a duty to step up. Abraham Lincoln did not shy from the contest of 1860 because of Mary Todd. If Mr. Obama wins in November—or, rather, when he does—the failure will lie as heavily on their shoulders as it will with the nominee.

What should readers who despair of a second Obama term make of all this? Hope ObamaCare is repealed by the High Court, the Iranian bomb is repealed by the Israeli Air Force, and the Senate switches hands, giving America a healthy spell of Hippocratic government.

All perfectly plausible. And the U.S. will surely survive four more years. Who knows? By then maybe Republicans will have figured out that if they don't want to lose, they shouldn't run with losers.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com

Sunday, January 22, 2012

BENADOR: Paterno dies: Righteousness does not Compromise

Joe Paterno has died. He leaves a lesson hopefully learned by many: Righteousness does not compromise.

At a time and point where American life is going astray as a result of the constant liberal, hedonistic quest to please the senses in an increasingly godless society, the shock in the aftermath of the outrageous abuse of young, defenseless boys, the moral attitude of those surrounding the case cannot but disgust those who still hang on to the principles of G-d.

No matter how much may Mr. Paterno have contributed to the sports life among the American youth, what will survive is the cowardice in missing to use his influence to stop the massacre of young lives.

May this serve as proof and as a lesson that moral righteousness does not compromise and cannot be compromised and that at any rate, it will sooner or later be discovered and bring shame to the perpetrators and those accomplices who looked idly by and for whatever reason, remained silent as the crimes were committed.

Sadly, nothing will ever repair the destruction and desolation, the attack on the human dignity of the innocent victims.

Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach, whose tenure may considered as the most successful coach in major college football history, tarnished his record forever when he missed to grab the opportunity to defend innocent victims. He chose to cling to his success, and he remained silent

So, as Mr. Paterno dies, my thoughts go directly to his victims, those who continued being spiritually and physically slaughtered while he decided to look elsewhere and turned his back on them.

source

Saturday, January 21, 2012

O'NEILL: The True Story of the Patton Prayer

The True Story of The Patton Prayer
by Msgr. James H. O'Neill
(From the Review of the News, October 6, 1971)

Many conflicting and some untrue stories have been printed about General George S. Patton and
the Third Army Prayer. Some have had the tinge of blasphemy and disrespect for the Deity. Even
in "War As I Knew It" by General Patton, the footnote on the Prayer by Colonel Paul D. Harkins, Patton's Deputy Chief of Staff, while containing the elements of a funny story about the General and his Chaplain, is not the true account of the prayer incident or its sequence.

As the Chief Chaplain of the Third Army throughout the five campaigns on the Staff of General Patton, I should have some knowledge of the event because at the direction of General Patton, I composed the now world famous Prayer, and wrote Training Letter No. 5, which constitutes an integral, but untold part, of the prayer story. These Incidents, narrated in sequence, should serve to enhance the memory of the man himself, and cause him to be enshrined by generations to come as one of the greatest of our soldiers. He had all the traits of military leadership, fortified by genuine trust in God, intense love of country, and high faith In the American soldier.

He had no use for half-measures. He wrote this line a few days before his death: "Anyone in any walk of life who is content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition." He was true to the principles of his religion, Episcopalian, and was regular in Church attendance and practices, unless duty made his presence impossible.

The incident of the now famous Patton Prayer commenced with a telephone call to the Third Army Chaplain on the morning of December 8, 1944, when the Third Army Headquarters were located in the Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France: "This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war." My reply was that I know where to look for such a prayer, that I would locate, and report within the hour. As I hung up the telephone receiver, about eleven in the morning, I looked out on the steadily falling rain, "immoderate" I would call it -- the same rain that had plagued Patton's Army throughout the Moselle and Saar Campaigns from September until now, December 8. The few prayer books at hand contained no formal prayer on weather that might prove acceptable to the Army Commander. Keeping his immediate objective in mind, I typed an original and an improved copy on a 5" x 3" filing card:
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness,
to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

I pondered the question, What use would General Patton make of the prayer? Surely not for private devotion. If he intended it for circulation to chaplains or others, with Christmas not far removed, it might he proper to type the Army Commander's Christmas Greetings on the reverse side. This
would please the recipient, and anything that pleased the men I knew would please him:

To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas.
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God's blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.

This done, I donned my heavy trench coat, crossed the quadrangle of the old French military barracks, and reported to General Patton. He read the prayer copy, returned it to me with a very casual directive, "Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one." The size of the order amazed me; this was certainly doing something about the weather in a big way. But I said nothing but the usual, "Very well, Sir!" Recovering, I invited his attention to the reverse side containing the Christmas Greeting, with his name and rank typed. "Very good," he said, with a smile of approval. "If the General would sign the card, it would add a personal touch that I am sure the men would like."

He took his place at his desk, signed the card, returned it to me and then Said: "Chaplain, sit down for a moment; I want to talk to you about this business of prayer." He rubbed his face in his hands, was silent for a moment, then rose and walked over to the high window, and stood there with his back toward me as he looked out on the falling rain. As usual, he was dressed stunningly, and his six-foot-two powerfully built physique made an unforgettable silhouette against the great window. The General Patton I saw there was the Army Commander to whom the welfare of the men under him was a matter of Personal responsibility . Even in the heat of combat he could take time out to direct new methods to prevent trench feet, to see to it that dry socks went forward daily with the rations to troops on the line, to kneel in the mud administering morphine and caring for a wounded soldier until the ambulance Came. What was coming now?

"Chaplain, how much praying is being done in the Third Army?" was his question. I parried: "Does the General mean by chaplains, or by the men?" "By everybody," he replied. To this I countered: "I am afraid to admit it, but I do not believe that much praying is going on. When there Is fighting, everyone prays, but now with this constant rain -- when things are quiet, dangerously quiet, men just sit and wait for things to happen. Prayer out here is difficult. Both chaplains and men are removed from a special building with a steeple. Prayer to most of them is a formal, ritualized affair, involving special posture and a liturgical setting. I do not believe that much praying is being done."

The General left the window, and again seated himself at his desk, leaned back in his swivel chair, toying with a long lead pencil between his index fingers.

"Chaplain, I am a strong believer in Prayer. There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by Praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that's working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That's where prayer comes in. Up to now, in the Third Army, God has been very good to us. We have never retreated; we have suffered no defeats, no famine, no epidemics. This is because a lot of people back home are praying for us. We were lucky in Africa, in Sicily, and in Italy. Simply because people prayed. But we have to pray for ourselves, too. A good soldier is not made merely by making him think and work. There is something in every soldier that goes deeper than thinking or working -- it's his 'guts'. It is something that he has built in there: it is a world of truth and power that is higher than himself. Great living is not all output of thought and work. A man has to have intake as well. I don't know what you call it, but I call it Religion, Prayer, or God."

He talked about Gideon in the Bible, said that men should pray no matter where they were, in church or out of it, that if they did not pray, sooner or later they would "crack up." To all this I commented agreement, that one of the major training objectives of my office was to help soldiers recover and make their lives effective in this third realm, prayer. It would do no harm to re-impress this training on chaplains. We had about 486 chaplains in the Third Army at that time, representing 32 denominations. Once the Third Army had become operational, my mode of contact with the chaplains had been chiefly through Training Letters issued from time to time to the Chaplains in the four corps and the 22 to 26 divisions comprising the Third Army. Each treated of a variety of subjects of corrective or training value to a chaplain working with troops in the field. [Patton continued:]

"I wish you would put out a Training Letter on this subject of Prayer to all the chaplains; write about nothing else, just the importance of prayer. Let me see it before you send it. We've got to get not only the chaplains but every man in the Third Army to pray. We must ask God to stop these rains. These rains are that margin that hold defeat or victory. If we all pray, it will be like what Dr. Carrel said... [the allusion was to a press quote some days previously when Dr. Alexis Carrel, one of the foremost scientists, described prayer as "one of the most powerful forms of energy man can generate"]... it will be like plugging in on a current whose source is in Heaven. I believe that prayer completes that circuit. It is power."

With that the General arose from his chair, a sign that the interview was ended. I returned to my field desk, typed Training Letter No. 5 while the "copy" was "hot," touching on some or all of the General's reverie on Prayer, and after staff processing, presented it to General Patton on the next day. The General read it and without change directed that it be circulated not only to the 486 chaplains, but to every organization commander down to and including the regimental level. Three thousand two hundred copies were distributed to every unit in the Third Army over my signature as Third Army Chaplain. Strictly speaking, it was the Army Commander's letter, not mine. Due to the fact that the order came directly from General Patton, distribution was completed on December 11 and 12 in advance of its date line, December 14, 1944. Titled "Training Letter No. 5," with the salutary "Chaplains of the Third Army," the letter continued: "At this stage of the operations I would call upon the chaplains and the men of the Third United States Army to focus their attention on the importance of prayer.

"Our glorious march from the Normandy Beach across France to where we stand, before and beyond the Siegfried Line, with the wreckage of the German Army behind us should convince the most skeptical soldier that God has ridden with our banner. Pestilence and famine have not touched us. We have continued in unity of purpose. We have had no quitters; and our leadership has been masterful. The Third Army has no roster of Retreats. None of Defeats. We have no memory of a lost battle to hand on to our children from this great campaign.

"But we are not stopping at the Siegfried Line. Tough days may be ahead of us before we eat our rations in the Chancellery of the Deutsches Reich.

"As chaplains it is our business to pray. We preach its importance. We urge its practice. But the time is now to intensify our faith in prayer, not alone with ourselves, but with every believing man, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or Christian in the ranks of the Third United States Army.

"Those who pray do more for the world than those who fight; and if the world goes from bad to worse, it is because there are more battles than prayers. 'Hands lifted up,' said Bosuet, 'smash more battalions than hands that strike.' Gideon of Bible fame was least in his father's house. He came from Israel's smallest tribe. But he was a mighty man of valor. His strength lay not in his military might, but in his recognition of God's proper claims upon his life. He reduced his Army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred men lest the people of Israel would think that their valor had saved them. We have no intention to reduce our vast striking force. But we must urge, instruct, and indoctrinate every fighting man to pray as well as fight. In Gideon's day, and in our own, spiritually alert minorities carry the burdens and bring the victories.

"Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere. Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose good is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace.

"We must march together, all out for God. The soldier who 'cracks up' does not need sympathy or comfort as much as he needs strength. We are not trying to make the best of these days. It is our job to make the most of them. Now is not the time to follow God from 'afar off.' This Army needs the assurance and the faith that God is with us. With prayer, we cannot fail.

"Be assured that this message on prayer has the approval, the encouragement, and the enthusiastic support of the Third United States Army Commander.

"With every good wish to each of you for a very Happy Christmas, and my personal congratulations for your splendid and courageous work since landing on the beach, I am," etc., etc., signed The Third Army Commander.

The timing of the Prayer story is important: let us rearrange the dates: the "Prayer Conference" with General Patton was 8 December; the 664th Engineer Topographical Company, at the order of Colonel David H. Tulley, C.E., Assistant to the Third Army Engineer, working night and day reproduced 250,000 copies of the Prayer Card; the Adjutant General, Colonel Robert S. Cummings, supervised the distribution of both the Prayer Cards and Training Letter No. 5 to reach the troops by December 12-14. The breakthrough was on December 16 in the First Army Zone when the Germans crept out of the Schnee Eifel Forest in the midst of heavy rains, thick fogs, and swirling ground mists that muffled sound, blotted out the sun, and reduced visibility to a few yards. The few divisions on the Luxembourg frontier were surprised and brushed aside. They found it hard to fight an enemy they could neither see nor hear. For three days it looked to the jubilant Nazis as if their desperate gamble would succeed. They had achieved compete surprise. Their Sixth Panzer Army, rejuvenated in secret after its debacle in France, seared through the Ardennes like a hot knife through butter. The First Army's VIII Corps was holding this area with three infantry divisions (one of them new and in the line only a few days) thinly disposed over an 88-mile front and with one armored division far to the rear, in reserve. The VIII Corps had been in the sector for months. It was considered a semi-rest area and outside of a little patrolling was wholly an inactive position.

When the blow struck the VIII Corps fought with imperishable heroism. The Germans were slowed down but the Corps was too shattered to stop them with its remnants. Meanwhile, to the north, the Fifth Panzer Army was slugging through another powerful prong along the vulnerable boundary between the VIII and VI Corps. Had the bad weather continued there is no telling how far the Germans might have advanced. On the 19th of December, the Third Army turned from East to North to meet the attack. As General Patton rushed his divisions north from the Saar Valley to the relief of the beleaguered Bastogne, the prayer was answered. On December 20, to the consternation of the Germans and the delight of the American forecasters who were equally surprised at the turn-about-the rains and the fogs ceased. For the better part of a week came bright clear skies and perfect flying weather. Our planes came over by tens, hundreds, and thousands. They knocked out hundreds of tanks, killed thousands of enemy troops in the Bastogne salient, and harried the enemy as he valiantly tried to bring up reinforcements. The 101st Airborne, with the 4th, 9th, and 10th Armored Divisions, which saved Bastogne, and other divisions which assisted so valiantly in driving the Germans home, will testify to the great support rendered by our air forces. General Patton prayed for fair weather for Battle. He got it.

It was late in January of 1945 when I saw the Army Commander again. This was in the city of Luxembourg. He stood directly in front of me, smiled: "Well, Padre, our prayers worked. I knew they would." Then he cracked me on the side of my steel helmet with his riding crop. That was his way of saying, "Well done."

(This article appeared as a government document in 1950. At the time it appeared in the Review of the News, Msgr. O'Neill was a retired Brigadier General living in Pueblo, Colorado.)

BENADOR: Thanks to Godfather Hussein Obama, Egypt's MB and Ultras in the Rise

Results of recent Egyptian elections have, unfortunately, failed to disappoint us. The fact that an alliance of ultraconservative Islamist have won 25 percent of seats, is a determining factor for what will most likely be a turn for the worse in Islam, if that only is possible.

Muslim Brotherhood, thanks to godfather Barack Hussein Obama, is being launched into eternal notoriety as we see a definite factor in this turn for the worse in this fight of civilizations and battle of the minds.
_________________________

CAIRO — Egyptian authorities confirmed Saturday that a political coalition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the 84-year-old group that virtually invented political Islam, had won about 47 percent of the seats in the first Parliament elected since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. An alliance of ultraconservative Islamists won the next largest share of seats, about 25 percent.

The military council leading Egypt since Mr. Mubarak lost power last February has said it will keep Parliament in a subordinate role with little real power until the ratification of a constitution and the election of a president, both scheduled for completion by the end of June.

But the council has assigned Parliament the authority to choose the 100 members of a constitutional assembly, so it may shape Egypt for decades to come, although the military council has sometimes tried to influence that process.

The election results were expected because of preliminary tallies after each of the three phases of the vote, but the confirmation comes in time for the seating of Parliament on Monday.

The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades.

But the two groups have described very different visions and appear to be rivals rather than collaborators. The Brotherhood has said it intends to respect personal liberties and will focus on economic and social issues, gradually nudging the culture toward its conservative values. By contrast, the ultraconservatives, known as Salafis, put a higher priority on legislation on Islamic moral issues, like the consumption of alcohol, women’s dress and the contents of popular culture.

Among the remaining roughly 30 percent of parliamentary seats, the next largest share was won by the Wafd Party, a liberal party recognized under Mr. Mubarak and with roots dating to Egypt’s colonial period.

It was trailed by a coalition known as the Egyptian Bloc. It included the Free Egyptians, a business-friendly liberal party founded by a Coptic Christian businessman, Naguib Sawiris, and favored by many members of the country’s Coptic Christian minority, about 10 percent of the public. The Egyptian Bloc also included the liberal Social Democratic Party, which leans further to the left on economic issues.

A coalition of parties founded by the young leaders of the revolt that unseated Mr. Mubarak won only a few percent of the seats, as did a handful of offshoots of the former governing party.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Parashat Va'eira – Does Redemption have to be violent? - Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane


But I shall harden Pharaoh's heart and I shall multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh will not heed you and I shall put My hand upon Egypt; and I shall take out My legions - My people, the Children of Israel - from the land of Egypt with great judgments. And Egypt shall know that I am Hashem when I stretch out My hand over Egypt; (Ex. 7:3-5)

Throughout the episode of the Plagues and the Exodus, the concept of yad chazakah (“mighty hand”) recurs consistently. The explanation is that without proof of G-d's power, there is no way in which the Gentiles will understand the reality of His existence in the world. Nowhere in all the prophetic writings does G-d ever suggest that He will prove His existence to the nations in any way other than through His and His nation's strength. And since the purpose of the Exodus was that “Egypt shall know that I am Hashem”, He had to demonstrate His power.

[However], if the purpose of the plagues was to force Pharaoh, and Egypt, to know Hashem, then why did G-d “harden Pharaoh's heart”? Had He not done so, then perhaps Pharaoh would already have freed the Israelites after the Plague of blood. Certainly, after the Plague of hail when he already confessed, “Hashem is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones” (Exodus 9:27), Pharaoh would have released the Israelites, had G-d not hardened (i.e. strengthened) his heart – as the Torah testifies. The Sforno (on Exodus 7:3) provides a clear answer to this. He explains that Pharaoh probably would have released the Israelites far sooner – but this would have been done out of fear of the Plagues, rather than unconditional acceptance of G-d and His might. That is to say, he would have attributed the Plagues to Moses' unique witchcraft, or a thousand and one other factors – and would have released the Israelites purely in order to spare himself the terror of these dreaded Plagues. Had this happened, the entire purpose of the Plagues would have been lost. G-d therefore strengthened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not release the Israelites merely out of fear of the Plagues. The Plagues' progression forced Pharaoh into ever-deepening realization that there could be no cause for these Plagues other than Hashem, the G-d of Israel – as Moses had said right from the start.

Rav Binyamin Ze'ev's father, Rabbi Meir Kahane, writes similarly on this in “The Jewish Idea”: Likewise, regarding the hail, it says (Ex. 9:14) “This time I am prepared to send all My plagues against your very heart. They will strike your officials and your people, so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the world.” [...] That is, they were to bring their livestock inside because of the hail. Indeed, “those of Pharaoh's subjects who feared G-d's word made their slaves and livestock flee indoors”(Ex.9:20) This was the first time G-d gave the Egyptians the chance to save themselves from a Plague. Why did He do so? Were they to heed G-d, it would constitute acknowledgment that indeed the L-rd is G-d and that He, alone, controls the laws of nature. This, in turn, would be the beginning of the collapse of his nation's abominable idolatry. The purpose of the plagues in Egypt was to sanctify G-d's name and to prove to the world that indeed Hashem is G-d, Omnipotent Creator of all. Pharaoh had shown G-d contempt by saying (Ex. 5:12), “Who is Hashem that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Hashem.” Through the degradation and punishment of the idolatry of Egypt, Pharaoh was humiliated. Therefore, G-d warned the Egyptians that He was bringing the hail and that the princes and deities of Egypt would be unable to prevent it. The Egyptians would be saved only if they abandoned their faith in their abominations and subjected themselves to G-d through belief in Him, expressed by making their servants and flocks flee into the houses. Through this, their faith in idolatry would be destroyed and G-d's name sanctified, the whole purpose of the Plagues.

“With a mighty hand”. G-d had to direct His strength against the Jews, too in order to bring them out, for they did not want to leave. As Chazal[our sages of blessed memory] say, four-fifths of the Israelites died in the Plague of darkness. But even those who did eventually leave, did so unwillingly: G-d said, “For with a mighty hand shall he [Pharaoh] send them away, and with a mighty hand shall he expel them from his land.” Chazal's commentary on the verse, “They did not listen to Moses, due to anguish of spirit and hard labor” (Ex. 6:9), is truly astounding: Is there any man who receives good tidings and does not rejoice?...But they found it hard to abandon idol worship. (Mechilta, Pis'cha 5, end of first paragraph) That is, they were willing to remain in the dungeon of slavery and oppression, in order not to accept upon themselves the yoke of Heaven – that yoke which liberates man from the shackles of animalism, freeing him from bondage to those passions that dominate him. And when the children of Israel complained in the wilderness: ”We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt free” (Num. 11:5), Rashi says there: “Free from the commandments”. The truth is that the Jews were never ready to leave exile of their own free will, and when they were able to assimilate, they did. But all these attempts were to no avail. On the contrary – precisely when the Jews tried to be accepted by Gentile society by blurring their unique, separate identity, the hatred towards them only increased. Such was the case in Egypt, as the Psalmist said: ”He turned their [the Egyptians'] hearts to hate His people, to conspire against His servants. (Psalms 105:25). So too has it been throughout the generations. And even those who do eventually leave, do so only out of necessity. Slavery, pogroms and holocausts force some of them to realize, albeit grudgingly, that there is nothing for them there – and then they ascend to the Land of Israel, as witnessed in our generation. Chazal identified this mind-set in the following words: “Among the nations you will not know peace and you will not find rest for your feet” (Deut. 28:65) – had Israel found peace, they would not have returned. (Genesis Rabbah 33:6) That is to say, if the Jews will not return to the Land of Israel willingly, then G-d will inflict such troubles on them, that they will be forced to return. And in our days, in spite of all that has happened, most Jews have not learned the lesson.

“And Hashem our G-d brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand” (Deut 6:21). Since G-d secretly weeps over the lost pride of Israel, He therefore yearns to redeem them both from the actual place, as well as from the mentality of exile. Had Pharaoh given them better economic conditions, eased their enslavement slightly, flashed an occasional smile at them or the merest nod of encouragement – then they would have felt a debt of gratitude to him. Out of respect for him, they would willfully have submitted themselves to slavery, and all future generations would have effaced themselves at the mere mention of Pharaoh's name. The physical and spiritual enslavement would have been worse – our forefathers would never had left the exile of their own free will, and the exile mentality would never have left them.” (Mishna Yeshara of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane's grandfather, Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Kahane).

Israel's redemption is not merely the story of one more people's national liberation. Israel's Exodus from Egypt ushered in a new era – a divine nation was established, as well as a purpose for the world. The mission of this liberated nation is Kiddush Hashem, and the erasing of the heresy of chillul Hashem, of [Pharaoh's words] I do not know Hashem. Therefore, had Hashem Himself not brought our forefathers out of Egypt with this intention, then even had a good king freed them, it would have been meaningless, because it would not have led to the establishment of that divine nation, and the fulfillment of its glorious destiny.

The Exodus had to be implemented, directly and unequivocally, by G-d and not through any agent, because the battle here is a paradigm of all subsequent history, the basis for Israel's faith throughout their generations – the knowledge of Hashem, versus “I do not know Hashem”. It is concerning this struggle that G-d promises, “I will execute judgement against all the gods of Egypt.”

This is a religious war: the G-d of Israel versus the gods of the nations [and, one has to add, against Israel's trust in the nations!] Just as Israel was redeemed from Egypt without having to turn to any outside party or human ally (which was precisely what the Egyptians originally feared : “If war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country”[Ex. 1:10]), so must we understand that in our generation, too, G-d is Israel's sole Redeemer – not Lord Arthur Balfour, not the United Nations, not the U.S.A.

Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from "The Haggadah of the Jewish Idea" and "The writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane; HY"D " and from "The Jewish Idea" of Rav Meir Kahane.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BENADOR: Israel's Judeans and Samarians speak up

It was long overdue that finally Judeans and Samarians would begin to rally in Jerusalem and let their voices be heard loud and clear.

However, because of the actual situation on the ground, which is far from favorable to our friends who have chosen to live in the earth of the Land G-d gave to our people, Israel, it is our opinion, that only organizing a massive march to the Knesset will give a clear message to the leftist, liberal Israeli Government, to Obama and to the whole world, that the roughly 300,000 Jews residing in Judea and Samaria are there for good, by the Will of G-d.
___________________________

Nationalists Demonstrate in Jerusalem: Settlers Are Not Enemies

Dozens of nationalists demonstrated outside police headquarters in Jerusalem against the treatment of Judea and Samaria's residents.

By Elad Benari

As hundreds of hareidi-religious Jews were demonstrating in Jerusalem Saturday night against what they said was the unfair treatment of them in the media over the past several weeks, dozens of nationalists demonstrated in front of the Russian Compound in the city, where police headquarters are located, under the title: “The settlers are not enemies.”

The demonstrators protested against what they described as the police's “witch hunt” against nationalists. They carried signs which said that the settlers are not enemies and that supporters of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are not spies.

The protest came following recent allegations against nationalists, according to which a group of young people sent messages to residents of communities warning them against an impending demolition of their homes.

In at least one such case, video footage showed that police officers were harassing a nationalist inside his own home after he was arrested on suspicion of leaking military information to other residents in Judea and Samaria.

“The main message is that the finger that arrested the activists and is accusing them of spying is not only directed towards those young people but at all of us,” Binyamin Gal, one of the organizers of the protest, told Arutz Sheva. “All the residents of Judea and Samaria are being accused of espionage and we must understand that those who ignore the arrests of these young people will at one point find themselves being accused of those same crimes.”

Among the participants in the process were members of the legal aid group Honenu, which provides free legal counsel to those Israeli citizens and soldiers who, despite claiming that they acted in self-defense against Arab attackers, find themselves accused of illegal acts by Israel’s law enforcement authorities.

The Honenu members told Arutz Sheva that they have noticed a rise in the serious violations by police of the basic rights of youth who are arrested. They added that there has been a significant rise in the number of detainees from Judea and Samaria in recent weeks. One such incident involved the arrests last month of seven girls, six of them minors, over events which occurred two months earlier.

Source

BENADOR: Dutch Queen dismisses anti-Muslim Party over her Headscarf



When Beatrix, the Queen of the Netherlands, recently visited the United Arab Emirates and Oman, she covered her head, out of respect of local religious traditions.

Back home, Geert Wilders, the head of the Freedom Party, one of the largest parties in the Netherlands and a staunch opponent of Islamic head scarves and head-to-toe burqa robes for women, did not see with good eyes the Queen's gesture to her Muslim hosts.

It's important to note that in the Emirates, one can find women with heads uncovered, so the Queen *may* have had to cover her head to go into the mosque. Fine so far.

However, the Queen, Wilders et al, are missing an excellent opportunity to promote in the Islamic, Muslim world, the notion and the imperative need for reciprocity.

Reciprocity, in the sense that Muslims are welcome in the West, and most particularly in this case, in the Netherlands where they are authorized to build their mosques. So, in the same way, the Queen should have taken that opportunity to check out some spaces that the Netherlands could buy to build a few churches, so when their people visit in Oman or the Emirates, they can also have places to worship.

Another point open for reciprocity: The head covered in the Emirates and in Oman. The quid pro quo must be the uncovered head in the Netherlands.

Complaining that the Queen has covered her head due to protocol and politeness is a waste of time. But, it could have been used as the best opportunity to demand reciprocity.

And, so, Mr. Wilders, with all due respect, should stick to continue influencing policy making, not fashion and protocol issues.

Source

Saturday, January 14, 2012

COMPILATION: IMAM KHOMEINI'S TEACHINGS ON SEX WITH INFANTS

Islamic Teachings on sex with infants

On Sex with Infants & Animals, Ablution, & Women on Period!

Imam Khomeini's Teachings

On Sex with Infants and Animals, Ablution, and Women during Period!

Compiled by Parvin Darabi and HDF

"A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. If he penetrates and the child is harmed then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however would not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl's sister."

The complete Persian text of this saying can be found in "Ayatollah Khomeini in Tahrir-ol-Masael, Fourth Edition, Darol Elm, Qom"

Imam Khomeini Watches over Children!

Islamic Teachings on sex with animals

"The meat of horses, mules, or donkeys is not recommended. It is strictly forbidden if the animal was sodomized while alive by a man. In that case, the animal must be taken outside the city and sold."

Editor's notes: I wonder if it is OK to sodomize a dead animal? What happens if the buyer brings the poor animal back into the city?

"If one commits an act of sodomy with a cow, a ewe, or a camel, their urine and their excrements become impure, and even their milk may no longer be consumed. The animal must then be killed as quickly as possible and burned, and the price of it paid to its owner by him who sodomized it."

Editor's note: The poor animal first is sodomized and then killed and burned. What an Islamic justice toward animals? Where are the animal rights groups?

"It is forbidden to consume the excrement of animals or their nasal secretions. But if such are mixed in minute proportions into other foods their consumption is not forbidden."

"If a man (God protect him from it!) fornicates with an animal and ejaculates, ablution is necessary."

Editor's note: It does not say who should have ablution: the animal or the man?


On Ablution

During sexual intercourse, if the penis enters a woman's vagina or a man's anus, fully or only as far as the circumcision ring, both partners become impure, even if they have not reached puberty; they must consequently perform their ablutions.

Note: Therefore, homosexuality and pedophilia are accepted in Islam.
Why then the punishment for homosexuality is death?

A man who has ejaculated and has not yet performed his ablution must avoid the following ten acts: eating; drinking; reading more than seven verses of the Koran; touching the binding of Koran, or the margin of its pages, or spaces between the lines; carrying the Koran on his person; sleeping; dyeing his beard with henna; anointing himself with grease or oil; having sexual intercourse after having ejaculated in his sleep.

If a man becomes aroused by a woman other than his wife but then has intercourse with his own wife, it is preferable for him not to pray if he has sweated; but if he first has intercourse with his wife and then with another woman, he may say his prayers even though he be in a sweat.

A man who has ejaculated as a result of intercourse with a woman other than his wife, and who then ejaculates again while having coitus with his wife, does not have the right to say his prayers while still sweating; but if he has had intercourse with his wife first and then with a woman not his wife, he may say his prayers even though still sweating.

Note: If a man can have sexual relation with a woman who is not his wife why is adultery punishable with death by stoning? Is the woman only to be blamed?

If a fly or any other insect settled first on something impure that is moist and then on something pure that is moist, the later in turns becomes impure, provided one can be certain that the former was impure; failing that, it remains pure.

Note: let¹s run after flies and insects to find out where they settle.

Besides the ablutions that are necessary and unavoidable there are a number of ablutions that are highly recommended in order to please God. A few of them are:

Ablution performed Friday between dawn and noon.

Ablution performed on the eve of the first day of Ramadan and the eves of all the odd days of that month, (third, fifth, seventh, and so on). The ablutions on the eves of the first, fifteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth, twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, and twenty-ninth days of Ramadan are especially recommended. On the eve of the twenty-third day, one would be well advised to perform two ablutions, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the night.

Ablution performed by a woman who has used perfume for a man other than her husband.

Ablution of the man who has fallen asleep while in a drunken state.

Ablution of a man or woman who, during a total eclipse of the sun or the moon, have not
said their prayers.

Ablution of one who has witnessed the hanging of a person condemned to death. If he did not witness it of his own free will, ablution is not necessarily required.

Note: This is one way of keeping them clean.


On Woman and her Periods

"During the time a woman is menstruating, it is preferable for a man to avoid coitus, even if it does not involve full penetration- that is, as far as the circumcision ring ­ and even if it does not involve ejaculation. It is also highly inadvisable for him to sodomize her during this time.

If the number of days of the woman's menstrual period is divided by three, a husband who has intercourse with her during the first two days must pay equivalent of 18 nokhods (each nokhod is about 3 grams) of gold to the poor; if he has it on the third or fourth days the equivalent of 9 nokhods; and if he has it during the last two days, the equivalent of 41/2 nokhods. Sodomizing a menstruating woman does not require such payment.

If a man has intercourse with his wife during all three of these periods, he must pay the equivalent of 31/2 nokhods in gold to the poor. If the price of gold has changed between the time of coitus and the time of payment, the rate in effect on the day of payment will prevail.

If during an act of intercourse a man notices that the woman has begun menstruating, he must withdraw, if he fails to, he must give alms to the poor.

If such a man cannot afford to give alms to the poor, he must at least give something to a beggar. If he cannot afford that either, he must ask forgiveness of God.

After a wife's menstrual period, her husband may repudiate her, even if she has not yet made her ablutions. He may also indulge in relations with her, but it is preferable that he waits until she has made her ablutions. In the interim, the woman is not authorized to do anything which is forbidden to her during menstruation, such as going into a mosque or touching the writings of the Koran, until she has completed her ablutions."

Notes: It seems it is a lot better if the couple have sex during the entire menstrual period. It would cost 31/2 nokhods rather than 18 nokhods if happens in the first two days. It also says that a man should not sodomize his wife only during this period. However, if he does, no alms is required.

Source

BENADOR: King Abdullah of Jordan busy agenda in D.C.

Until now, Jordan has been one of the few countries in the Muslim Middle East that has survived the chaotic situation among Muslim countries, but it won't last for long time, it appears, as dangers are coming his way from inside and from the Syrian border... according to how developments will evolve in the next days and weeks.

It is noteworthy to mention that King Abdullah has already one asset in his hands, his Palestinian Queen Rania -ideal candidate to be the Queen of the Palestinians.
____________________________

By David Schenker and David Makovsky

King Abdullah's trip to Washington will provide ample opportunity for crucial talks on Jordan's stability, the Syrian insurrection, and the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

President Obama will host Jordan's King Abdullah II this Tuesday for a meeting in the Oval Office. The visit -- King Abdullah's second since the onset of last year's Arab uprisings -- occurs amid a backdrop of increased tension in the kingdom. Not only is Abdullah facing a spike in domestic economic and political foment, but violence across the northern border in Syria threatens to deteriorate into civil war. Making matters worse, across the river to the west, Israeli-Palestinian relations are facing yet another crisis that could see the Palestinians resume their controversial unilateral drive for statehood at the UN later this month, notwithstanding Abdullah's laudable mediation efforts. These developments, along with the general regional trend toward political change, are once again raising concerns about Jordan's stability. Although neither leader is likely to mention these concerns publicly, such issues will shape the context of the discussion.
Domestic Unrest

In early 2011, like several other states in the region, Jordan was racked by mass demonstrations. Atypically for the kingdom, however, the protests were crowded with East Banker Jordanians, a constituency traditionally considered the most loyal to the monarchy. Topping the list of their demands was an end to corruption, a decrease in food prices, and serious political reform. Abdullah responded by dismissing the cabinet, raising civil service salaries, reinstituting subsidies, and setting in motion a real process of constitutional reform. To underwrite the subsidies, he increased deficit spending. These steps proved popular, enabling the monarchy to withstand the initial surge of the regional uprisings.

Still, the protests have continued across the country for the better part of the past year, occurring nearly every Friday. In addition to corruption, the economy has proven a key driver of the demonstrations. Indeed, today's demonstration in Amman was called "Ahmed Matarna Friday," a reference to a former municipal employee in the capital who, laid off during government restructuring, lit himself on fire on January 9. Matarna's tragic self-immolation was the second in Jordan since September. A third man died this week after setting himself alight. A week earlier, a large anticorruption demonstration led by Islamists in Mafraq was broken up by thugs widely believed to be working for the government's security services. The clashes culminated with the burning down of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood's political offices in Mafraq.

Problems across the Jordan River

Another problem for the king (albeit a perennial one) is the Israeli-Palestinian situation, which appears headed for another crisis. The origins of the latest tension date back to September 23, when Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN to request recognition of a Palestinian state. In the aftermath of that speech, the Quartet for Middle East peace (comprising the United States, EU, Russia, and the UN secretary-general) called on Israelis and Palestinians to hold a preparatory meeting within one month, at which they would agree on an agenda and method of proceeding with unconditional talks aimed at putting forth final-status proposals on territory and security within three months. To move the parties toward an overall agreement on these issues by the end of 2012, the Quartet called for "negotiations without delay or preconditions," urging them to "refrain from provocative actions" -- interpreted as a call to avoid new Israeli settlement activity.

Israel welcomed the unconditional dimension of the Quartet proposal, but the PA would accept only exploratory talks, insisting instead that Israel accept the 1967 borders and a West Bank settlement freeze as prerequisites to negotiations. While discussions commenced in Amman on January 5, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has since said that talks will not continue beyond January 26 -- a mere three weeks after they began -- if the Israelis do not provide a map of the future borders. Similarly, Abbas stated, "After that date, we will take new measures. These measures might be hard." In other words, if Israel does not comply with their demands, the Palestinians will return to the UN regardless of the call for unconditional talks. This week, the State Department publicly called for talks to continue and said not to view January 26 as a deadline.

Conciliatory King

Abdullah has taken a number of steps to alleviate Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Not only did he play host to the talks, he also tried to improve the atmosphere between the parties by negotiating with Israel in December to release the $100 million per month of Palestinian taxes collected and held since November 2011.

He has been even more active on the home front. After the Mafraq incident, for example, he met with both Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Hamam Said and Irhal Gharabah, head of the organization's political office. Afterward, Gharabah all but exonerated the king from responsibility for the clashes and instead blamed the security apparatus, claiming that the violence represented "a conflict within [the kingdom's] power centers."

At the same time, the king apparently gave the green light for the courts to try several high-profile corruption cases. The first casualty to date has been Omar Maani, who served as mayor of Amman from 2006 to 2011. The kingdom is also moving forward with a serious investigation of the 2007 Dead Sea casino scandal, in which the government made a deal with a foreign investor that was subsequently cancelled -- a breach of contract that cost the country $1.4 billion.

More significant, the king has said in recent months that he is amenable to having the elected parliament select the cabinet, an unprecedented concession that could conceivably put Jordan on the path to constitutional monarchy. Perhaps most important, though, Jordanian security forces have been remarkably disciplined in the face of sometimes-intense demonstrations, killing not a single protestor to date.

Saudis to the Rescue

Abdullah's politically astute response to the agitation has been greatly facilitated by Saudi largess. With few natural resources, Jordan has been a debtor nation almost since its inception, counting on the generosity of neighbors -- particularly Iraq -- and Washington for financial assistance. After Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, however, Jordan had to scramble to find patrons who could replace the lost grants from Baghdad. Intermittently over the past decade, at Washington's behest, Saudi Arabia has filled that gap, usually by providing discounted oil to Jordan.

More recently, though, concerned about the stability of regional monarchies, Riyadh has moved to provide Amman with significant cash infusions. Indeed, by June 2011 -- just six months into the Arab uprisings -- the Saudis had already donated some $1.4 billion to Jordan, contributions that enabled Abdullah to continue substantial food and fuel subsidies while still decreasing the state's budget deficit. This donation is all the more impressive when one considers that Riyadh has yet to provide any of the nearly $4 billion in aid it has promised to Egypt. The Saudis also helped secure Jordan's recent invitation to join the Gulf Cooperation Council, despite the country's location in the Levant. Membership clearly has its privileges: in September 2011, the council committed to providing $2 billion per year to Jordan for the next five years.

Complementary Agendas

With Syria imploding and Jordan under pressure, King Abdullah will want to avert the potential implications of renewed diplomatic turmoil similar to last September's Palestinian confrontation with the United States and Europe at the UN. Having just narrowly avoided a diplomatically costly Security Council veto of Palestinian statehood in the fall, Washington hopes to prevent that scenario as well. Although significant progress on the peace front is unlikely this year, a statement from Abdullah at the White House could help end the manufactured crisis and return the parties to the negotiating table.

While the king would no doubt be pleased to defuse tensions next door, maintaining stability at home is a higher priority. To date, the combination of Saudi funding and proactive steps toward reform have insulated the monarchy from the sweeping and abrupt changes that are engulfing much of the region. But should reform stall, the economy further deteriorate, or Syria's Assad regime fall, Jordan could be shaken.

In the aftermath of Egypt's latest elections -- in which Islamists advocating the end of the peace treaty with Israel are poised to assume control of the parliament -- Jordan's stability has taken on added importance. Not only is the kingdom a peace partner and advocate of political and religious moderation, it is also a reliable strategic friend to the United States. If the past is any indication, Abdullah will likely seek additional financial support from Washington during his visit, even beyond the $360 million in economic aid and $300 million in annual military assistance Jordan already receives. Given the current U.S. political environment, such a request will no doubt be unpalatable. Yet when the administration contemplates a Middle East without King Abdullah's Jordan -- and, perhaps, with the pro-Hamas chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood at the helm in Amman -- it may find additional funding worth consideration.

David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute. David Makovsky is the Institute's Ziegler distinguished fellow and director of its Project on the Middle East Peace Process.

Source

* The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Friday, January 13, 2012

RABBI KAHANE: Parashat Shemot -Jeopardizing all our accomplishments

By killing the Egyptian, Moses bound himself inexorably to his nation and to his destiny. He jeopardized all his property, his glittering life-style, even his very life, if his deed would be discovered – but nevertheless, he did not hesitate. As the Mekhilta says:
[Moses] gave his soul for Israel, and they were called by his name… And where do we find that Moses gave his soul for them? – It is said…“and he went out to his brothers…and he smote the Egyptian”. So, because he gave his soul for Israel, they were called by his name (Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael, Shirata 1, s.v. “et hashira hazot”).

Now, Moses could have thought this through carefully, and run away from the problem. He could have reasoned: Is it really worth while to endanger myself by killing this Egyptian? Would it not be better for me to ignore this one incident, to remain the king’s son, and thereby be able to help the Israelites in the future? More than this: perhaps it is not worth killing this Egyptian, for in any case, he has already killed the Jew, so what good will killing this Egyptian do? Will that bring the Jew back to life? And in any case, maybe it is forbidden for me to endanger myself, since this is not a case of saving a Jewish life, since this Jew is already dead? And more than this: perhaps I am not allowed to kill this Egyptian, for I am not a duly constituted court, and perhaps the verse Neither is it good for the tzaddik to punish (Proverbs 17:26) applies to me. (See Berakhot 7a: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi wanted to harness G-d’s “moment of fury,” which occurs once every day, to curse a heretic and kill him, but when the time came, he dozed off. His response was that presumably this happened because Neither is it good for the tzaddik to punish.)

Moses, however, understood that this accounting is false. He understood that in a situation of hillul HaShem, all these arguments together carry no weight – even pikuah nefesh (saving of lives), which usually takes precedence over all other commandments, does not justify hillul HaShem (even for an individual in private, unless there is definite danger to life; in public, even if there is an absolute certainty of being killed).

Neither can one make a finely-balanced accounting, to the effect that “perhaps I can do better another way, in another time and another place”.

In the commentary that Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane wrote on Parashat Shemot, we find a similar concept that he also links to our present situation:

At the end of “Parashat Shemot” we find a confrontation between Moses and Aaron on the one hand and the officers of the children of Israel on the other: On the one side stood Moses and Aaron who had been assigned by HaShem to carry out a seemingly suicidal mission: to enter uninvited into the house of the king, of the imperial, menacing kingdom of Egypt, and to request that he let the Jewish slaves go free. In spite of the odds, Moses and Aaron, with faith in HaShem, went and fulfilled their mission completely. (According to our sages, all the elders that accompanied them dropped out along the way because of tremendous fear, until Moses and Aaron alone remained to face Pharaoh). And certainly Pharaoh rejected their request out of hand. [The officers then accused them:] “May HaShem look upon you and judge, for you have brought us into foul odor in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to place a sword into their hands to kill us!”.(Shemot 5:21). And truthfully, reality proves the officers were correct.

Seemingly, just after Moses and Aaron leave Pharaoh's presence, a harsh decree is put upon the nation. And with all this...the officers were not right! The reason (and also the lesson from this) is that there is almost never a revolution or change where the first stages do not involve a loss of accomplishment!

...And sometimes, even in the case of true accomplishments, we must know that in order to bring change, there is no choice but to lose real accomplishments, at least temporarily. Because there will always be one Pharaoh or another who will threaten that if we don't sit quietly he will nullify our achievements, “and you will lose out because of this.” But if we give in to his threats, we will remain captives in the hand of Pharaoh, we, our children and our children's children ... until the end of the generations. ...Whoever wants change needs to warmly thank the “existing officers”for their accomplishments, but say to them: now we are going further, we are going to progress.

It is possible that part of your accomplishments of some of your accomplishments will be lost, either temporarily or permanently. But this is the price to pay for reaching the greater and ultimate goal. We were not born in order to be slaves with improved conditions in Egypt; we were born to be redeemed. We were not born to live in villas in settlements surrounded by fences, like ghettos [...], we were born to conquer and rule all of the land of Israel. [...] And if the price, more or less temporarily, is the loss of status...due to lack of participation on the part of the existing regime, or the necessity to gather our own straw to make bricks for a while, the price is worth it. For we were not born to live with the status quo, after the fact. We were born to establish and ideal world, as it was at the beginning!

Rabbi Meir Kahane continues in Peirush HaMaccabee on Shemot: And he smote the Egyptian, measure for measure. He killed the Hebrew, and Moses killed him. Samson expressed this same sentiment to the Jews who were afraid when they came to hand him over to the Philistines after he smote them: And they said to Samson: Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?! And he said to them: As they did to me, so I did to them (Judges 15:11).

This is a Jewish response – not to let the Gentile smite with impunity, for every single blow desecrates the Children of Israel and is blasphemy against G-d’s Name. Anyone who smites a Jew must be smitten in return. More than this: Moses’ smiting the Egyptian was the Children of Israel’s first response ever to the blows they had received, and foreshadowed all the blows, all the plagues, that G-d would yet inflict upon Egypt.

And buried him in the sand. This symbolizes the humiliation of the arrogant Gentile who, in his self-pride, thinks that he can reach the very heavens. The prophet said, Take up a lament for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say to him: You likened yourself to a young lion among the nations, but you are like a crocodile of the seas… With the swords of the mighty I will bring down your multitudes…and they will despoil the glory of Egypt (Ezekiel 32:2, 12). But now, instead of ascending to heaven, the Egyptian whom Moses killed was buried in the sand, in the ground – as low as possible – foreshadowing the humiliation of the whole of Egypt.And such will be in the future, too, when G-d will destroy the nations’ pride and show the glory of His might. Enter the rock, and bury yourself in the dust because of the fear of HaShem and the glory of His greatness. Man’s arrogant eyes will be humiliated, and people’s haughtiness will be humbled, and HaShem alone will be exalted on that day (Isaiah 2:10-11).

BENADOR: Another Friday, Another Erev Shabbat

“So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BENADOR: KING DAVID PSALM 9


May King David words always inspire in us our emunah, our faith in Our G-d Almighty, Avinu Malkeinu... Our Father, Our King...

To the chief Musician, on the death of Labben, A Psalm of David.
I will praise you O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O you most High.
When my enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at your presence.
For you have maintained my right and my cause; you sat in the throne judging right.
You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked, you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
The enemies have come to an end, in perpetual ruins; for you have destroyed the cities; their memorial is perished.
But the Lord shall endure for ever; he has prepared his throne for judgment.
And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
And those who know your name will put their trust in you; for you, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; declare his acts among the people.
For he avenges blood, he remembers it; he does not forgets the cry of the humble.
Be gracious to me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer from those who hate me, you who lift me up from the gates of death;
That I may tell all your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion; I will rejoice in your salvation.
The nations have sunk down in the pit that they made; their own foot is trapped in the net which they hid.
The Lord is known by the judgment which he executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
The wicked shall be turned back to Sheol, and all the nations that forget Gd.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O Lord; do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in your sight.
Put them in fear, O Lord; that the nations may know themselves to be only men. Selah.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

BENADOR: G-d gave His Land, Israel, to the Jews: More Proof

G-d gave His Land, Israel, to His Chosen People, the Jews, and unmistakably, G-d made sure to give the border lines that were to be where Israel had to sit and stand.

While these artifacts have been found and they are a material proof that the Jewish people *have* a most certain right to the whole of the Land of Israel, and not only to the tiny strip where they are based right now, there is more than enough proof to support this universal truth.

The Torah is actually not a religious prayer book. It's a History book, it's a Moral Code of Conduct for the Jewish people and human beings in general.

We, Jews, every single week read a portion of the Torah. Week after week, month after month, year after year, until we die...

And, throughout each weekly reading of the Parashat HaShavuah, the Torah portion of the week, Israel's name is always mentioned. There is not one single Parashah or Torah portion where Israel, the Land G-d gave to His Children, the Jewish Children, is not mentioned...

So, it is with great joy that I read the article written by my friend Gil Ronen, a great Jewish journalist.

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Temple Menorah Stamp Affirms Jewish Claim to Land

By Gil Ronen for 7Arutz

Just two weeks after a Temple era seal was displayed to the public, archeologists continue to dig up breathtaking proofs of the ancient and never-severed connection between Jews and the Land of Israel. This time, the find is a 1,500 year old tiny stamp discovered near the city of Akko, bearing the image of the seven-branched Temple Menorah.


Menorah stamp
Dr. Danny Syon, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The stamp was used to identify baked products and probably belonged to a bakery that supplied kosher bread to the Jews of Akko in the Byzantine period.

The ceramic stamp dates from the Byzantine period (6th century CE) and was uncovered in excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently conducting at Horbat Uza east of Akko, prior to the construction of the Akko-Karmiel railroad track by the Israel National Roads Company.

This find belongs to a group of stamps referred to as “bread stamps” because they were usually used to stamp baked goods.

According to Gilad Jaffe and Dr. Danny Syon, the directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “A number of stamps bearing an image of a menorah are known from different collections. The Temple Menorah, being a Jewish symbol par excellence, indicates the stamps belonged to Jews, unlike Christian bread stamps with the cross pattern which were much more common in the Byzantine period."

There were no Muslims in the region at the time -- because the Quran had not yet been written.

According to Syon, “This is the first time such a stamp is discovered in a controlled archaeological excavation, thus making it possible to determine its provenance and date of manufacture. The stamp is important because it proves that a Jewish community existed in the settlement of Uza in the Christian-Byzantine period. The presence of a Jewish settlement so close to Akko – a region that was definitely Christian at this time – constitutes an innovation in archaeological research."

"Due to the geographical proximity of Horbat Uza to Akko, we can speculate that the settlement supplied kosher baked goods to the Jews of Akko in the Byzantine period," the excavators added.

The stamp is engraved with a seven-branched menorah atop a narrow base, and the top of the branches forms a horizontal line. A number of Greek letters are engraved around a circle and dot on the end of the handle. Dr. Leah Di Segni, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem suggested they probably spell out the name Launtius, which was common among Jews of the period and also appears on another Jewish bread stamp of unknown provenance. According to Dr. Syon and Gilad Jaffe, “This is probably the name of the baker from Horbat Uza."

Horbat Uza is a small rural settlement where clues were previously found that allude to it being a Jewish settlement. These include a clay coffin, a Shabbat lamp and jars with menorah patterns painted on them.

Dr. David Amit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who has made a study of bread stamps, added, “A potter engraved the menorah image in the surface of the stamp prior to firing it in a kiln, whereas the owner’s name was engraved in the stamp’s handle after firing. Hence we can assume that a series of stamps bearing the menorah symbol were produced for Jewish bakers, and each of these bakers carved his name on the handle, which also served as a stamp.

"In this way the dough could be stamped twice before baking: once with the menorah – the general symbol of the Jewish identity of Jewish bakeries, and again with the private name of the baker in each of these bakeries, which also guaranteed the bakery’s kashrut."





Source

BENADOR: Today in 1775: First Jewish American Patriot held Office and died for America

Foreword by Goodwill Ambassador Eliana Batsheva Benador

The situation in our beloved America is dire. Many of us are seeing the tide changing and not for the best.

We live in this beautiful country as free men and women. We have been a striving population of millions of Jews, American Jews.

We are taught from birth to respect and adapt and adopt the customs and traditions of the host country -and our loyalty is unquestioned.

For us, what's good for America, is good for us, for our people, and for the Land G-d gave to our people, Israel.

America has been and is our home away from home.

And it is with love and loyalty that we, unhesitatingly, pledge allegiance to our country, the United States of America, and to our flag:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

It is, therefore, with pride that today, we celebrate that on this same day in 1775, the Jewish American patriot, Francis Salvador, became the first Jew to take his seat on the South Carolina Provincial Congress.

Thus, Francis Salvador became the first Jew to hold an elected office in "the Americas." He was also the first Jewish soldier killed in the American War for Independence
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Born in 1747, Salvador descended from a line of prominent Sephardic Jews who made their home in London. His great grandfather, Joseph, was the East India Company's first Jewish director. His grandfather was influential in bravely moving a group of 42 Jewish colonists to Savannah, Georgia, in 1733 despite the colony's prohibition on Jewish settlers. The Salvadors then purchased land in South Carolina.

After the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 destroyed their Portuguese property and the East India Company collapsed, draining the family's resources, the American property was all the Salvadors had left.

In 1773, Francis Salvador left his wife and children in London to establish himself in South Carolina with the hope of rebuilding his family's fortune. Within a year of his arrival, Salvador won a seat in the South Carolina General Assembly. In 1774, South Carolinians elected Salvador to the revolutionary Provincial Congress, which began to meet in January 1775, and in which Salvador spoke forcefully for the cause of independence.

On July 1, Salvador earned the nickname "Southern Paul Revere" when he rode 30 miles to warn of a Cherokee attack on backcountry settlements. Exactly one month later, while leading a militia group under the general command of Major General James Wilkinson, Salvador and his men were ambushed by a group of Cherokees and Loyalists near present-day Seneca, South Carolina. Salvador was shot and scalped by the Cherokees. Although he survived long enough to know that the militia had won the engagement, he never learned that the South Carolina delegation to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia had taken his advice and voted for independence from Britain.

Salvador was the first recorded Jewish soldier killed in the American War for Independence. He died at the age of 29, never having managed to bring his wife and children from London to the new country for which he fought so bravely.

Source

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BENADOR: Israel needs no potential refugees from Muslim Syria

One can but wonder, a legitimate question. Why would potential Muslim Syrian refugees even think of seeking asylum in Israel of all countries that surround them?

Saudi Arabia should plan on airlifting those potential Muslim refugees... It would be a major mistake to take any Muslim refugees to Israel. But, how could the current anti-Israel Israeli government see that...?
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Israel, Expecting Syrian Collapse, Braces for Refugees

By ISABEL KERSHNER Published: January 10, 2012

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military chief said on Tuesday that Jerusalem was preparing for a potential influx of refugees into the Golan Heights from Syria with the demise of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which he said was inevitable.

Addressing a closed meeting of the Israeli Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said that Israel was preparing to absorb the refugees in a buffer zone between Syria and the Golan, a strategic area controlled by Israel. The plans included defensive measures and humanitarian assistance for those in flight, including thousands from the ruling Alawite sect, the small minority to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

“I am not sure all the Alawites will run toward Israel,” General Gantz was quoted as saying, but he said he could not rule out the possibility that some would. He added that Mr. Assad could not continue to rule Syria, but he did not specify how much longer he thought the Assad government would survive.

Israel has tried to keep a low profile and not take sides in the struggle in Syria, a country that is hostile to Israel, but officials here have been increasingly open in their assessment that the Assad government is in dire straits.

The defense minister, Ehud Barak, told the same parliamentary committee on Jan. 2 that the Assad family’s prospects were worsening. “Though it is difficult to put an exact date on when the government will fall, the trend is clear and every day that passes brings the government closer to its end,” Mr. Barak said, according to a statement from his office. He added: “The cracks in the Syrian leadership are deepening, the economic situation is deteriorating and the military is having a hard time dealing with the opposition and the army deserters.”

Despite the uncertainty about who will take over in Syria in the event of a government collapse, and about the ascendancy of Islamic parties in other countries in the region, many Israeli officials and analysts said they would not shed any tears over Mr. Assad’s demise. Instead, Israel sees a potential benefit, saying that the collapse of his government would deal a severe blow to the “radical axis,” including enemies such as Iran, the Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah and Palestinian militant groups like Hamas.

Though Syria has mostly maintained quiet along its frontier with Israel for more than 30 years, it has forged an alliance with Iran and provided vital support to Hezbollah.

Israel has held inconclusive negotiations with Syria in the past for a peace treaty based on the return of the Golan Heights, which it conquered in the 1967 war. Israel has extended its law to the area, but for the 20,000 or so Syrians of the Druze religious sect who live there, it remains Syrian territory. Most refused to take Israeli citizenship.

One village, Ghajar, which straddles Israel’s frontier with Lebanon and sits close to the Syrian border, is home to more than 2,000 members of the Alawite sect. The village came under Israeli control along with the Golan Heights. When Israel annexed the area in 1981, the villagers chose to become Israeli citizens.

For refugees fleeing Syria in Israel’s direction, heading for the Golan could be risky. The border area became a scene of deadly confrontation last year when Israeli forces shot pro-Palestinian protesters from Syria as they tried to breach the frontier and enter Israeli-controlled territory twice in three weeks. As many as 26 protesters were killed.

Earlier Tuesday, before General Gantz spoke, the Parliament approved harsh new penalties on illegal migrants, a measure aimed at stopping the flow of African asylum seekers and economic migrants across Israel’s southern border with the Egyptian Sinai.

The amendment, to the existing Law to Prevent Infiltration, makes it possible to detain illegal migrants and their children for up to three years without trial. Anyone caught aiding illegal migrants found to be carrying weapons, or trafficking in humans or drugs, could face prison terms of five to 15 years.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, a human rights organization, decried the new legislation as “draconian and immoral,” saying that “its entire purpose is to deter refugees from entering Israel.”

The Israeli government recently announced additional steps to stem the growing number of Africans who enter the country illegally. About 50,000, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have trekked across the Sinai into Israel over the past six years, a source of contention in Israeli society.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has described the illegal migration in the past as “a threat” that could “flood the foundation of the Zionist state.” Others here say that Israel, a nation of Jewish refugees, should show more compassion.

Source