Friday, December 14, 2018


Is There a Halachic Basis For the Refusal of Haredi Men To Serve in Tzahal? Part I

As I write, our beloved state of Israel is in the throes of a war with Hamas in Gaza—and  whenever Israel agrees to a truce, for the benefits of the Gazan inhabitants, it is Hamas who breaks it, and the lives of the people in the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF, Tzahal, are always at risk.

Unfortunately, most of the male members of the Haredi

The Arab Downward Spiral

The rapid rise of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to global notoriety has taken observers of Middle East politics by surprise. All of a sudden, a new Islamist political movement has stunningly upstaged former global public enemy number one al-Qaeda and establishes an Islamic state, a caliphate encompassing lands in both Iraq and Syria.

ISIS sees itself

UNRWA in the Crossfire? Surprise. Not.

The fact that UNRWA schools are caught in the crossfire of the Hamas war is hardly surpris­ing.

Fifteen years ago, the Gaza-based employ­ees of UNRWA held elections to determine its union leaders. Hamas took advantage of the campaign and took over the entire school sys­tem. By 2012, more the 90 percent of UNRWA employees had become Hamas

China Hacking Iron Dome, Arrow Missile Defense Systems

According to security expert Brian Krebs, writing in Krebs on Security, Chinese hackers have gained access to crucial information re­lated to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense sys­tem. Iron Dome has been successfully inter­cepting rockets fired by Hamas from the Gaza Strip into Israel, protecting the Israeli popula­tion from harm.

Krebs writes

To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas

TEL AVIV—After nearly three weeks of fight­ing…it is time to revisit some basic assumptions about Hamas. Until now, Israel assumed Hamas was the “devil we know,” capable of attacks that were mostly a nuisance; accepting its rule over the Gaza Strip was preferable to risking a vac­uum of governance like what we see in Somalia and Libya. But Hamas’s reckless

Invest in Jewish Children

My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. The uplift­ing ceremony and beau­tiful party left an indelible mark; some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward.

My high school teacher, Rabbi Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and chal­lenged us to choose one mitzvah

Holocaust Survivors, Gaza, and My Uncle the Instigator

My Uncle Sonny (his real name is Arthur but don’t tell) has always been an instigator. The best kind. While I should have been studying about flax production in Iowa, back in eighth grade social studies, Sonny turned up at my parent’s house with a double length John Lee Hooker record. This morning was no differ­ent. Along with about 30 others, I got an email from

Moral Distinctions

The Palestinian Authority has embraced mass murderers as heroes and Israel punishes all murderers, whether they murder Arabs or Jews. There is a major moral distinction between the murders of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel and that of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The difference is that the Palestinian Authority has embraced such mass murderers as heroes and

Reflections on the Murder of Muhammed Abu Khbeir

(reprinted with permission from the author)

Today we confront the terrible revenge murder of an innocent Palestinian boy, Muhammed Abu Khdeir. Much to our horror six Jews have been arrested for being involved and/or perpetrating this evil deed.

What is our view on this revenge murder?

1. It is an evil forbidden act. Yishai

Zealots For Peace: Recent Events in Israel in Perspective of Parshat Mattot

Parshat Mattot concludes the saga started in Parshat Balak with the Jews’ slaying of the Midianites in revenge for their evil plan of trying to seduce the Jewish People to sin. At the head of the army, according to Rashi, was Pinchas, Aharon’s grandson, who stopped the sinning in an act of zealotry at the end of Parshat Balak, stopping a Jewish

Butterflies, Journeys, and Destinations

We all have moments when we feel butterflies in our stomach, but for these past few weeks those moments have seemed endless.

First there was the frantic search for Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel. Our brave soldiers went house to house, college students came together to speak out through social media, and all Jews, religious and non-religious,

Israel in Crisis: Making Sure We Really Care

During the month of Av, the three week mourning period that we began observing this week is intensified, culminating in our national day of mourning: Tisha B’Av.  Some years however, it seems that Av comes early.  With the tragic murders of the three yeshiva boys and the current crisis Israel faces, the Jewish people have already experienced feelings of sadness and