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Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.

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PostThu Sep 02, 2010 7:23 pm     L'Shanah Tovah    

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L'Shanah Tovah...

by Gerald A. Honigman

In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you,
a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation...
Leviticus 16:24

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishrei, the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar . Since the latter is lunar, it differs year to year. This is year 5771. The Hebrew Bible (aka, "Old Testament") refers to this holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). In addition to the opening reference, the holiday becomes more formalized in Leviticus 23:24-25.

Jews begin the Ten Days of Awe, which fall between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with a confession of sins committed in the eyes of G_d. Additionally, it is required that transgressions against mortals be addressed as well. Without a true turning of the heart in attempts to rectify both (t'shuva), the confessions and fasts associated with the High Holy Days remain meaningless, useless words.

In terms of Arab-Israeli politics, Jews have been accused of countless sins by much of the world today...that same world which is now, once again, mum (or, blaming the victims themselves) after four Judeans (Jews), including a pregnant woman, were recently ruthlessly murdered for no other reason than being Jews living in a land--Judea (known also as the "West Bank" only as of the last century)--which their ancestors have called home for millennia. Jews owned land in Hebron, the sight of that above recent slaughter, until they were massacred by Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s, and then returned after the '67 War.

Where in Israel do Arabs, living among Jews, have to fear for their own lives this way?

Where in Israel are Arabs deliberately butchered so?

If Jews are not to be permitted to live in Judea, then why should Arabs (many who are indeed a danger to the state) be permitted to do so in IsraeI?

I know, I'm just being a Zionist extremist...Jews are not allowed tit for tat.

During these Days of Awe (even more so this year, with a resumption of troublesome "peace" negotiations in Washington over the fate of the Jewish State), as is noted in terms of another Jewish holiday, Passover, while it is perhaps regrettable that any hardship had to be suffered even by enemies who would slaughter them in cold blood (as Jews symbolically remove drops of wine from their cups at the Seder dinner to diminish their joy of deliverance), they must thus offer no apologies for wanting to put an end to their own millennial nightmare.

Massacres, forced conversions, expulsions, ghettoization, pogroms, dehumanization, Inquistions, dhimmitude, demonization, the Holocaust, and being labeled either killers of G_d by the Christian West or kilab yahud "Jew dog" killers of Prophets in the Muslim East were the all-too-typical attributes and circumstances of Jewish existence prior to the miracle of Israel's rebirth in 1948--the Prophet Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones arriving just in the nick of time as the stench of Auschwitz began to subside.

At a time when Arabs and their fellow jihadists and hypocrite supporters elsewhere offer no confessions and ask no forgiveness from neither G_d nor man for deliberately murdering innocents, subjugating, enslaving and massacring millions of non-Arab peoples (Kurds, Black Africans, Jews, Copts, Imazighen/Berbers, and others as well) just in the last century alone on behalf of the Arab nation and what they claim as "purely Arab patrimony," Jews can honestly say that they have tried--repeatedly--to reach an honorable and just solution to their problems with Arabs. To any objective observer, this is not debatable.

While wanting to put an end to their own perpetual nakba (as Arabs like to refer to the rebirth of Israel, the catastrophe ), Jews nevertheless agreed to one compromise after another over the past century so that Arabs could gain their 22nd state, and second--not first-- within the original April 25,1920 borders of the Mandate of Palestine.

After 1922, Arab nationalism (in a variety of manifestations) would be given almost 80% of the land with the creation of the emerging state of Jordan, and would later be offered another proposed partition in 1947 which would have granted it another 10%...for a total of roughly 90% of Palestine. Arabs rejected that offer. In their eyes, Jews--and tens of millions of other non-Arab peoples in the region whom they have murdered, oppressed, and subjugated--were/are entitled to nothing.

In 2000 at Camp David and Taba, Arabs rejected yet another offer which would have eliminated most of the Israeli settlements on disputed, non-apportioned (i.e., not "purely Arab") lands and would have turned over some 97% of those lands to Arab control.

In short, Jews do not have to pound their chest and recite an al chait shechatanu (for the sin of) on Yom Kippur for a resurrected Israel which exists today on a bit over 10% of the original Mandate of Palestine. They have honestly tried, without sacrificing all of their own rights in the process, to reach a more than fair accommodation with those whose idea of justice is merely for Arabs only.

Despite all of the whitewashing being done on behalf of the so-called "moderates," that Arabs want their new, additional state to exist in place of Israel, not along side of it, has always been the problem. "Occupation" and "settlements" are not the core issues of the debate, despite what makes the news. And since Arabs see all of Israel proper in those terms, we have an even more serious dilemma in these regards.

This problem has always involved Arabs not granting anyone else but themselves political rights in the region, with the possible exception of some of those whom they successfully Arabized/Islamicized centuries earlier.

While this holds true for Turks, Afghanis, Pakistanis and Iranians, for example, this is largely not the case with Kurds, Black African (Muslim and non-Muslim) Sudanese and Imazighen (Berbers). For the latter, the issue becomes more of a clash of nationalisms than of religion with the Arabs' still ongoing forced Arabization process still under way centuries after they burst out of the Arabian Peninsula in their imperial Caliphate conquests of the region. And while they demand that others confess and address their "imperial" sins, Arabs see their own conquest, forced imperial Arabization, colonization and settlement of other peoples' lands (including in the Mandate of Palestine, where most Arabs were newcomers themselves in the last century) simply in terms of their own just dues.

So, as the New Year of 5771 begins, Jews have lots -- both individually and collectively, as a people and community -- to work on to make amends both before G_d and man. The latter will include continuing to try to find an honorable solution to problems involving Arabs, in Washington right now, and beyond..

But, to do this, they must have true partners for peace--ones who recognize the rights of Jews as well as their own, and understand that others besides Arabs are entitled to a bit of justice in the region. Unfortunately, this is not how Arabs have ever dealt with any of their own national competitors. Furthermore, everything that Arabs say, write, teach and preach to their own people works against this from ever happening. Under such circumstances, no amount of Israeli concessions will ever be "enough." So much for "negotiations" under such circumstances.

Until such a day arrives, however, Israel must do what it must do to thrive, not just survive...and with no apologies or poundings of the chest.

Of all of their real sins that they must seek forgiveness for during this High Holiday season, Jews must remind themselves that the rebirth of the Jewish State and their unique struggle to survive are not to be counted amongst them. And the latter requires decisive action, not just words..

Issues related to the survival of the Jewish people in their sole, reborn nation are not debatable, regardless of such things as Israel's current, so-called moderate "peace partners" swearing to never recognize it as a "Jewish" State, openly planning to inundate it with millions of allegedly "returning" jihadi refugees. To date, there are almost two dozen members of the "Arab" League, despite scores of millions of non-Arabs living in those supposedly "purely Arab" lands. Now think about these two things a minute...

Finally, may we all be blessed with a new year in which all people will reach out to find better, more equitable ways to live with each other.

L'shanah tovah !

May the entire world be blessed with a new beginning, a new, good year...

And may 5771 begin with G_d granting Israel's leaders the courage to resist the one-sided pressures their tiny nation will undoubtedly be subjected to, by both "friend" and foe alike, during the potentially momentous days ahead.




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