Monday, March 22, 2010

Kasher LePesach Toiletries and Hygene products

*** UPDATED ***
Every year the same questions come up regarding chomeitz Alcohol in Toiletries. People see alcohol in the product and panic. Very often however, they are suitable for use on Pesach.

These guidelines come from a shiur by Rav Zev Leff (Shlit"a)

Rav Moshe Feinstein (zt"l) ruled that we should only really be concerned about liquids and gels that contain chomeitz based alcohol. In theory, these liquids could be distilled (similar to whisky) and turned back into drinkable alcohol. These items should be put away for Pesach and sold. As creams cannot be distilled we should not be concerned about any alcohol ingredients. Many however are strict and put even creams away that contain possible chomeitz alcohol based ingredients.

Lipsticks: You should buy new lipsticks for Pesach with a Kasher lePesach hechsher.

Mouthwash: You should buy new for Pesach with a Kasher LePesach hechsher. (BTW, the most common mouthwash, "Listerine", contains grain based alcohol).

Toothpaste or Lip ointment: Despite being pastes or ointments, we are strict when it comes to anything that comes near or enters the mouth and so one should buy new for Pesach with a Kasher LePesach hechsher. (BTW, The most common lip ointment, "Blistex", contains grain based alcohol).

Liquid Toiletries: Deodorants, Perfumes, Lotions etc, try to buy with a kasher lePesach hechsher.

However if they have no hechshir then you can follow these general guidelines:

Chomeitz Free Alcohol

Methanol alcohol is made from wood or other organic substances and has no chametz components.
Isopropyl alcohol is made from propene or petrol and has no chametz components

Stearyl alcohol is made from  Stearic acid which comes from either animal or vegetable fat.
There is no problem as far as chametz is concerned but consult your Rav if you find this in any lipstick or lip ointment)

Cetyl alcohol is made from Palm or other vegetable oil and has no chametz components

Danger of Chomeitz based Alcohol

Ethyl alcohol (Ethanol) is made from grain and contains chomeitz components.

Denat (Denatured) Alcohol is a form of Ethyl and contains chomeitz components.

Alcohol. Any product that simply states "Alcohol" should be treated as if it contains Ethanol, as this is the most common form of Alcohol for cosmetics and hygene products such as mouth wash.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Matza Confusion?

You go to the supermarket to buy Matzos and you see mountains of all different kinds ranging from NIS 25 up to NIS 125. It's enough to make one quite giddy. What's the difference between all of them?

Matza "Chametz"

These are identical to Pesach Matza in look and taste but with the word "Chametz" written on the box either at the front or on the side. Do I really have to say that these are Chomeitz Gamor (Actual chomeitz) and should be treated as bread to be eaten or destroyed before Pesach? As a side point, it would seem to me that those who have the minhag not to eat Matza from Rosh Chodesh Nissan, that this would include also not eating even Chomeitz Matza despite the fact that it is obviously not suitable for the mitzvah of Achilas Matza on Leil HaSeder. This is because Chaza"l tell us that the taste of Matza should be fresh in the mouth.

Matza Ashira / Egg Matza / Fruit juice Matza / Sweet Chocolate Matza

This looks exactly like machine Matza but is made with fruit juice instead of water. The halachik definition of Matza is that it must have had the potential to have become chomeitz and that means that it must contain flour and water. Being that Matza Ashira contains no water it cannot be used for the mitzvah of Achilas Matza on Leil HaSeder (at least according to Ashkenazim). Moreover, Ashkenazim do not eat Matza Ashira throughout all the days of Pesach despite the words "Kasher LePesach" on the box. This is because Ashkenazim hold that if one mixes the Matza Ashira with water it might become Chomeitz Gamor on Pesach. Sefardim however hold differently.

If Ashkenazim wish to invite Sefardim to their home during Pesach, it is a good idea in order to avoid embarrassment, to ask them not to bring Matza Ashira which amongst Sefardim is a common gift presented by guests. One should appreciate that the situation is far worse than bringing something containing kitniyos (kitniyot) into an Ashkenazi home as this at least can be eaten by your Sefardi guests or put away until after Pesach. However regarding Matza Ashira, as already mentioned, Ashkenazim hold that this is to be treated as actual Chomeitz!

Most hold that Matza Ashira should be included in the minhag not to eat Matza from Rosh Chodesh Nissan despite the fact that it is technically not Matza (as explained above). Some are however lenient and give it to their young children before Pesach. The reasons given are that it will not turn their Kasher LePesach home treif and that Matza Ashira is sweet and tastes different to regular Matza.

The use of Matza Ashira on Shabbos Erev Pesach

Some use Matza Ashira for Lechem Mishna when Shabbos falls on Erev Pesach rather than using Chomeitz.

The advantages are obvious. If one has young kids then there is a great fear that they will drop Chomeitz in the home just hours before Pesach enters. Having Chomeitz around on Erev Pesach might cause undue stress which leads to a lack of Shalom Bayis. Moreover, if one has left over Chometiz Chometz, it is not easy disposing of this in a halachik manner on Shabbos before the deadline of Biur Chomeitz.

There are however many problems associated with using Matza Ashira for Lechem Mishna on Shabbos Erev Pesach. Some hold that it is sufficiently like Matza to be included in the isur of not eat Matza on Erev Pesach even though technically it is not Matza. Some hold that even if adults can tell the difference, kids cannot and it will spoil the experience of eating Matza for the first time on Leil HaSeder. Moreover, many hold that Matza Ashira is closer to cake with a bracha of Mezonos rather then Pas Lechem. In this case, one would have to eat a huge amount of Matza Ashira in order to be able to say Birkas HaMazon over it. Lema'aseh, (for practical halacha), your local reliable Orthodox Rabbi (LROR) should be consulted.

Machine Matza - Kasher LePesach with a regular teudas hechsher

This Matza is made from Kasher LePesach flour that was supervised (Shemura) from the time it was ground into flour. This is the minimum requirement for Matza which has to be Shemorah – guarded or supervised to be suitable for fulfilling the mitzvah of Achilas Matza on Leil HaSeder.

Most yiras Shomieyim Jews will not use this Matza for fulfilling the Mitzvah on Leil HaSeder and insist on only using Matza whose flour has been guarded from the time of the field harvesting. This is commonly known as Matza Shemura.

Most religious Jews will even avoid eating regular Matza throughout the entire Pesach even though most hold that it is not considered Chomeitz. (There are those however who do consider it Chomeitz Gamor!). The reason for this is that dough gets caught in the machinery and left alone for more than 18 mins. This dough will inevitably become Chomeitz gamor. Moreover, his Chomeitz will inevitably get mixed into the next batch of Matza dough. However, as these Matzos are made before Pesach one can rely on the inyan of Bital BeShishim (one part in 60) and say that this small amount of Chomeitz is nullified. However to rely on this fact leChatchilah (before hand) is very questionable.

It goes without saying that these are the cheapest Matzos to be found bought by the majority of secular Israelis.

Machine Matza "Chai" (18 mins Matza)

They are called Matza "Chai" because the Hebrew word adds up to 18 in gematria as well as the fact that the word "Chai" means "life". These are Matzos made from Kasher LePesach flour, supervised from the grinding only. However, they are made using machines that are stopped every 16 mins and cleaned for loose pieces of dough, stuck in the machinery. This means that no dough will be sitting there for 18 mins to become Chomeitz and then be mixed in with the Matza dough. They usually have a higher teudat hechsher as they are not considered kasher LePesach bedi Avad.

Most yiras Shomayieyim Jews will eat these during Pesach but will buy Matzah Shemurah for fulfilling the mitzvah of Achilas Matza on Leil HaSeder.

Machine Shemora Matza

These are made from kasher LePesach flour, guarded and supervised from the field.
The flour is picked in the heat of the day so that no dew is left on the grain to turn the flour chomeitz. The flour is ground by a machine. The Matza baking process is the same as "Chai" matzos, that is, the machines are cleaned every 16 mins.

Hand Baked Matzos – "Matzot Yad".

It’s a common mistake to call hand baked matzos "Shemorah Matzos" but there are also machine Shemora Matzos as already mentioned above. One should not assume that all hands baked matzos are of equal kashrus level. One cannot even assume that the flour is Shemora. One should check the hechsher of hand baked matzos as well as machine.

Amongst those that have a Chareidi Badatz hechshir there are two kinds.

Matzos RASHA"M and RASH"I. RASHA"M are made from machine ground flour whereas RASH"I are made from hand ground flour. Obviously RASH"I cost considerably more than RASHA"M. Prices can vary from NIS 85 a kilo to hundreds of shekels a kilo.

I have noticed that this year that hand baked Matza is readily available in supermarkets in single kilo boxes. One has a a hechshir from the Rishon LeTzion (around NIS 95), the other is Badat"z Eidas Chareidis (around NIS 117).

Some are machmir (strict) and insist on eating matza Shemorah all the days of Pesach (either machine or Hand baked).

There is a basis for this chumrah as the Ramba"m holds that there is a mitzvah Deorisah (from the Torah) to eat Matza all seven days of Pesach.  If one follows the psak of the Ramba"m then it makes sence to insist on only Matza Shemorah throughout the whole of Pesach.

Some only eat machine-baked Matza, others insist on only eating hand-baked Matza

There are those who insist on only machine baked Matza throughout Pesach. They argue that there is far less chance of mistakes being made and therefore far less likelyhood that the Matza might be chomeitz (chas veshalom). Moreover they argue that quality and hygene standards are higher in commercial factories. From a practical standpoint, machine baked Shemorah Matzos are considerably cheaper than hand-baked.

Others however insist on only eating hand-baked Matzos. This opinion, held by Rav Shlomo Kluger amongst others, argues that machine baked Matzos lack the required kavanah (intention) for the mitzvah whilst they are being produced. The halachah states that the Matzos should be made "beshem mitzvos Matza" and everyone involved in baking Matzos by hand, from the one who mixes the water and flour, to the one who kneads the dough, to the one who cuts the dough up into pieces and rolls them out into circles, to the one who puts the holes in the circles to the one who puts them in the oven and removes them; All have kavanah that they are part of the Mitzvah of producing Matzos for Leil HaSeder. Those who argue in favour of machine-baked will claim that the one who pushes the button to start the machinary has kavanah for the mitzvah and this is sufficient.

Moreover, Rav Shlomo Kluger argued that the machines were taking away the parnasah of skilled Matza Bakers who earned their livelyhood from supplying Matza to the community.

Many insist on only using hand-baked Matza at least for the three Matzos on the ke'erah (the Seder plate). The reason has nothing to do with kashrus standards but everything to do with chinuch (children's Torah education). The simple fact is that hand-baked Matza looks far more impressive to a child and much more like "the real thing" we ate in Mitzrayim (Egypt) than the square uniform boring looking machine-baked versions. Others however argue that machine-baked are easier to chew and swallow and find hand-baked too hard. Whichever one you choose, either hand-baked or machine-baked, you have great Rabbanim to rely on, on both sides.

Cardboard or machine-baked Matza?

Chag Kasher veSamayach

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Britian will soon cease all British passport services in Israel

**** UPDATED ****

It all started with an email that was circulating amongst the British community in Israel that Britain was to cease all passport services in Israel and that from May 3rd, we would have to apply directly to the embassy in Paris, France of all places!

Some thought that it was a hoax or some kind of April Fools joke. I happen to have a contact in the British Consulate in Tel Aviv so I wrote to her. She passed me to the head of passport services who unfortunately confirmed the rumours.

We won't even be able to apply for renewals by post to the UK. We will have to go through Paris.

The Consulate insisted that this was all part of a planned global restructuring:

This is part of a global policy by the British Government to streamline its overseas passport operation to reduce administration costs while improving security and maintaining a high quality of customer service.

I fail to understand how sending British passports, original birth and marriage certificates through the post from Israel to Paris can improve security.

I fail to understand how he can possibly claim with a straight face that this will maintain a high quality of customer service. When they cease to process all passport requests in Israel it will mean no customer service at all!

I'm also curious to know why this radical change of practice was not officially publicised. Indeed it still isn't. The Consulate informs me that they will have an official notice up on the web site by the beginning of April. Only four weeks before this is supposed to come into effect. It looks very much as if this has come as a surprise to them as well.

Nothing the official reply I received will succeed in quashing the rumours that this move by the British Government is somehow connected to accusations that Mossad used British passports in Dubai.

If this is the case, why punish British citizens living in Israel?

I received an email from Melanie Phillips. She is of the opinion that there is no connection between Dubai and the British Government's decision to close the passport office in Tel Aviv. It's simply that Britain can no longer afford to behave as if it's a world power anymore. Staff numbers are being cut back all over the world, not just in Israel.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chain email: Holocaust Remembrance Day - May 2

Just received this chain email twice this morning.

What I find distasteful about this email is the fact that the author thinks that G-d will be somehow impressed if the reader waits 20 secs until he closes the browser! Then we are informed that G-d will be even more impressed and consider it the fulfillment of some mitzvah if we send this email to all our Jewish friends in order to reach the figure of 6 million before May 2nd.

The first thing to say is that this is a chain email, just like for instance, the famous free Nokia phones offer that tells you that if you send it to 10 friends then somehow Nokia will know about this and send you a free phone. These chain emails rely on a common Internet myth that somehow, all these emails can be traced back to the sender and somehow counted. They can't! In fact, the only one who would ever know how many of these silly emails were actually forwarded to Jews who, (according to the "halacha"), also had to wait 20 secs before sending them to all their Jewish contacts (to fulfil the mitzvah according to all the deiyos no doubt), is G-d and as I have already said, I would guess that, out of all the mitzvos that Hashem has given the Jewish people to perform, this gesture would not fit under any of them.

I have a policy of never forwarding any chain emails but had the email asked us to say some Tehillim or to mention a Holocaust victim or even Jewish town in our tephilos or even to learn a single pasuk from anywhere in Tanach then I'd understand the thought behind it. However, getting people to forward this just to show to G-d that there are 6 million Jews who know how to mouse click is actually quite pathetic don't you think? I would advice not to forward this email.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to embed YouTube videos into Blogger using Windows Live Writer

First, select a YouTube video from the site.

1. Click on the Embed button.

2. Copy the HTML code in the field.


3. Open up Windows Live Writer and start a new post.

4. Click on the Source TAB at the bottom left hand side.

5. Paste your TouTube video code into the place where you want to insert your video.


6. Click on the Edit TAB to see the page layout including your embedded video.

7. Click on the Publish button.

That’s all there is to it!

To view the results, click here.

Leil HaSeder in 60 secs

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RIP Fiat M-a-r-e-a W-e-e-kend

It's been almost a year since I wrote about my Fiat M-a-r-e-a W-e-e-kend that was on its last legs.

Well last week at the age of 12, the engine spluttered its last throaty noise. It's a complete write off (actually I was right off it ages ago). It kicked the bucket. It has passed on. Given up the ghost. Pushed up the daisies and gone to meet its [car] maker. It is deceased. Bereft of life it is no more. Departed to a better place. Expired before its road tax did. It is a late Fiat M-a-r-e-a W-e-e-kend. It's resting in peace (actually pieces!). It's a stiff. OK, I can't deny it. The car is dead.

It's two weeks before Pesach. I havn't even started the shopping. Am I in a panic? Well, surprisingly not but maybe it's because I'm still in a state of denial.

The worst part of all this is that I get terrible travel sickness and the Egged bus drivers go round corners with the skill of a Formula One racing driver, leaving my stomach behind at the pit stop.

I'm trying to arrange a loan from my work to get a replacement car but it's proving a slow process.

Actually I still have not made up my mind if I'm gonna go for a regular family car only a few years ol or a seven seater Mazda MPV or Hyundai Trajet from the beginning of the century.

Microsoft .Net in Catch 22 situation

Where do you begin?

Yesterday I tried to install Microsoft's .Net Framework 3.5, SP1 on one of the servers at work. I ran the full edition downloaded from Microsoft's official site.

.Net Framework 3.5 SP1 setup began to install and then it gave me this rather ironic popup window message:

Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks. I have not manipulated the picture in any way. This is direct snapshot from the screen. The installation Framework 3.5 SP1 Setup needs to close itself in order to continue! Before you say that perhaps I was running it twice, the answer is no! I checked in the Task Manager and there was only one process listed.

I chose the Ignore option and the setup continued happily until the end.

That's Microsoft for you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Finding meaning in Pesach Cleaning

Everyone has heard this piece of good advice that is rarely taken (even by the one who said it) which is that one ought to be cleaning for Chomeitz according to the halacha and not spring cleaning. First do the Chomeitz cleaning then the spring cleaning if there's time. Obviously to know the difference between the two requires a certain amount of learning before hand.

I once had a family member from England staying with us two weeks before Pesach and she very kindly offered to do some Pesach cleaning for us whilst my wife and I were at work. When I got home, my relative proudly showed me how she had spent the whole day with an earbud, removing the grime from the gold leaf picture frame in the living room.

BTW, this story would seem even funnier for Americans who understand the word earbud to mean the cover they put on headphones. In British English, earbuds are what you Americans call qtips.

Tachlas, As there are so many of us who do do far more than the halacha demands I thought I'd at least give you some justification for doing so.

Most shiurim on cleaning just talk about what must be done in order to clean your home for Pesach but I'd also like to talk about cleaning as a spiritual preparation for Leil HaSeder. I'm not talking about arriving at the Seder so exhausted that you feel like you have just crossed Yam Suf. I'm talking about the effect that cleaning can have on the psyche.

They say that cleaning is good for the soul. When I was in my early twenties I had a good job in London and lived at home. I had turned my bedroom into a music listening studio and used to spend most of my money on HIFI equipment and vinyl records. I made aliyah with a British Linn/Naim system which I eventually sold to go towards a deposit on our new home  (Yes, it was worth that much!) as our family expanded.

Sometimes I would be listening to music and the sound would seem somehow muffled or stale. I read an article in HIFI Review magazine that even with the best equipment this can sometimes happen. They adviced that after the usual equipment checks, if all else fails, clean the room! Remove all clutter and dirt etc., then sit down and listen again. So I tried it. (When my Mum caught me voluntarily cleaning my room she thought either she or I'd gone mad!). I spent over an hour cleaning my bedroom and then sat down to listen. Amazingly it worked.

It could be that clearing the clutter in the room meant that there was now less obstructions for the sound waves to pass through and hence, purer cleaner sound. However, I always suspected that there was some spiritual aspect to this as well. The very act of cleaning your environment puts you in a more receptive "open" mood to listen.

On Leil HaSeder, we know that the central mitzvah is to speak and relate the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim – the Exodus from Egypt. It should seem obvious but for many it has to be spelled out that there must be a parallel mitzvah to listen to the one telling the story. Perhaps Pesach cleaning clears the cobwebs from your mind and helps you to be more receptive on Leil HaSeder. If that's the case then you should certainly get all your family involved in Pesach cleaning. This spiritual cleaning of the mind is the key to understanding the central message of Biur Chomeitz – the nullification of Chomeitz from your home.

The Mitzvah of Biur (nullification of) Chomeitz

Let's start with the basics.

The Torah tells us (Shemos 12:15) "For seven days you shall eat matzos, but on the previous day [14th], you must TASHBITU (from the source Shabbos – to make rest – means to nullify or eliminate) the sour dough (seor) from your homes, because anyone who eats Chomeitz, on Pesach, that soul shall be cut off from Israel, from the first day to the seventh day."

Shemos 12:19 "For seven days, sour dough (seor) may not be found in your homes, for anyone who eats chomeitz – that soul shall be cut off from the assembly of Israel, whether a convert or native to the land. You shall not eat any mixture of chomeitz (machmetzet) ; in all your dwellings shall you eat matzos".

So we have a mitzvah to eliminate the chomeitz from our homes before Pesach. The strange use of the word "Tashbitu" forces the Rabbanim to understand that this is not just a physical cleaning job but also a spiritual task as well. Furthermore, if we fail in this task then our souls are cut off from Israel.

We must eliminate chomeitz or seor (that which is not chomeitz itself but can turn something else chomeitz) not only from our homes but from our minds as well.

Chazal tell us this chomeitz elimination is preparation in order to eat the korban Pesach on Leil HaSeder. (For the time being, we eat a double portion of Matzah as a substitute). The korban Pesach represents our commitment to Hashem and the rejection of Avodah Zarah – foreign gods and influences.

We should have kavanah that all the physical exertion while cleaning is Avdus Hashem. We are not cleaning by order of a human master who tells us to search for dirt. We are removing the chomeitz from our home (and our mind) because Hashem commanded us to do it. After all, we know that what Hashem tells us to do is ultimately in our best interests. It is good for us.

The term Mitzrayim

Rav Zev Leff explains that when Mitzrayim is used in the Torah, it refers to a state of mind, an illness called Mitzrayim.

When Eretz Mitzrayim is used, it means the physical land of Mitzrayim.

We should be cleaning our mind from an illness called "Mitzrayim".

Shemos 12:39 – 41

39 "They baked the dough that they took out of Mitzrayim into Ugot Matzot, for they could not be chomeitz ! for they were driven our of Mitzrayim for they could not delay, (nor had they made provisions for themselves)".

40 "Bnei Yisrael dwelled in Mitzrayim 430 years".

41 "It was at the end of the 430 years; it was on that very day that all the legions of Hashem left Eretz Mitzrayim".

The dough which Am Yisrael had "taken out" created by, Mitzrayim they made into Matzos, they rejected the chomeitz of Mitzrayim, they were forced out of Mitzrayim.

Am Yisrael were in this state of mind called Mitzrayim for 430 years.

At the end of this period (afer 210 years of actual slavery in Egypt) they left Eretz Mitzrayim – the physical land of Mitzrayim.

The Chocolate cake with a difference

As already explained, Chazal instruct us that while cleaning the physical chomeitz, we should be cleaning the spiritual chomeitz from our homes as well – the foreign influences that detract from a Torah home.

Clean out those magazines, books or DVDs that perhaps are not the most modest in content or go against Torah values. You've cleaned out your kitchen cabinets of chomeitz food products so, while shopping for Pesach products, spend more time checking the hechsher of products rather than trying to get exactly the product you buy throughout the year. A different brand ketchup or mayonnaise, might just add to the uniqueness of Pesach.

(Story based on an email that Rav Tzvi Liker sent me.)

Pesach was 3 weeks away. The father had told his kids to clean their rooms of chomeitz. He also told them that while cleaning out the physical chomeitz, that they should use the opportunity to clean out the spiritual chomeitz from their rooms as well. All those books, magazines and DVDs that contained questionable content that weren’t exactly compatible with Torah values and modesty.

The kids went crazy. "All our friends have these. They are only rated PG-13 for mild content. We aren't fundamentalist Xtians! There is only a bit of sex in them. They only swear using Hashem's name twice. The rest is non stop excitement, quality drama! Its 99% Ok".

The father said nothing and the kids carried on Pesach cleaning. Soon they began to smell this wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen. They all came to investigate. The father was pleased to see them.

"Kids! Because you have been working so hard I've decided to bake you a treat. A large chocolate cake. Its made with the finest ingredients and the most expensive chocolate. Oh yes, and I've also added a tiny tiny amount of dog's poo. Don't worry, it's really a minute amount and you probably won't even taste it."

The kids looked at each other, their faces turning green "No thanks Dad!" they said.
The father shouted after them, "but its really only a very tiny amount of dog's poo".

From then on, whenever his kids asked him about a questionable DVD, book or magazine, all he had to do was remind them of that Chocolate cake with the wonderful aroma.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pesach Story in six and a half minutes

I believe this is edited from an American Mini Series some years ago.
If anyone can give me more information about it I'd be obliged.
It's very dramatic. It sent a tear to my eye.


So what is the most Pro-Zionist newspaper in Israel?

(Apologies for not posting for a long time. I've been busy with my son's Bar Mitzvah. Only Simchas!)

So what is the most Pro-Zionist newspaper in Israel?

The World's Main Stream Media and their war against the Jews

One of the proofs that Anti-Zionism is actually Anti-Semitism in disguise is the many articles in main stream national newspapers all over Europe and America, questioning the State of Israel's right to exist.

Think of all the countries in the world throughout history that have committed the most appalling acts. Has anyone written that because of these things, any of these countries should cease to exist? The MSM wages a relentless war against Israel, printing every lunatic lie of rumoured atrocities on their front page without waiting for confirmation or any reliable sources. Yet, when the rumours are proved false, Israel receives a tiny apology hidden away somewhere on page 16 and that's if we are lucky. They continue to throw mud and some of it is sticking. The goal of this war is the destruction of the State of Israel.

If proof be needed that some of this mud is sticking, just contemplate that for the past 10 years, polls carried out in Europe have consistantly showed Israel as the No.1 greatest threat to the world, well ahead of Iran, North korea China, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or Russia.

Israel is hated for being a parasite upon the world, Israelis as being an inferior race, actually not even a people (a common British view) – but at the same time the Jewish people are accused of dominating the world economy and taking over the world.

Israel is hated because it is claimed that they stubbornly maintain their separateness – yet banned from International organisations that would otherwise accept any tin pot state or banana republic.

Israel was established to be a safe haven for Jews who Europe had persecuted, stolen from, tortured, raped, murdered and finally tried to annihilate in The Holocaust. Yet Europe is at the forefront in the call to "peacefully" dismantle the State of Israel in a civilised manner, as opposed to the Arabs who simply wish to murder every single Israeli and throw our bodies into the sea.

The United Nations racism committee was set up as a direct result of the Holocaust against the Jews, yet today is being used as a major weapon by Anti-Semites to persecute Jews and the Jewish State. You just cannot make this stuff up! Had these facts been a plot for a fictional novel, it would have been rejected by the publishers as being beyond plausibility.

The list of contradictions towards the State of Israel goes on yet all can be explained with this simple statement.

First comes the hatred, then the justification. This is the very definition of classic anti-Semitism.

Instead of supporting Israel, Israel's MSM joins in attacking Israel and Judaism

The Israeli government is still in a state of denial. It has no resources to cope with the fact that the media war against us is in fact anti-Semitism.

Likewise the MSM in Israel bends over backwards to try and be accepted within the international community, showing its liberal, left wing credentials yet is looked upon with the distrust of De Sturmer.

Instead of defending their own country by explaining the lies of the international media against Israel, in a pathetic attempt to be accepted within world media, Israeli newspapers actually print anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic articles themselves.

Take for example this disgusting opinion piece published in Yediat Achronot last week and their Internet site – Ynet.

In a two part article no less, this major national Israeli newspaper published the anti-Semitic rantings of a sick individual called Benny Levy, claiming to be chairman of an organisation called "Shivah" or "Zionism Now". He asks if Israel is in fact not the cause of hatred of Jews around the world and tells us that we ought to be seriously thinking about dismantling our state ourselves. I've waited for a statement from YNet that their site had been hacked by ne-nazis who placed the article on their pages or that in fact the article was meant as a subtle Purim joke. However I have to tell you that no such statement has been published.

Doing a Google for this organisation does not return one result of an internet site for them. However, this man and his "organisation" is being quoted by every anti-Semitic site on the WWW.

One anti-Semite, after quoting Mr Levy's article at length from Ynet concludes with the words:

"There's nothing magical about the 'success' of jews -- they're simply a highly organized and networked gang of thieves and murderers that have been perfecting their craft for over 2,000 years."

Don't think that Ynet is alone. HaAretz often publishes articles that go well beyond criticism of the government and are clearly anti-Zionist. The Jerusalem Post with its reputation for being a right wing pro-Zionist newspaper nevertheless publishes articles, in the name of free speech and broadmindedness of course, articles by leftwing Israelis that spew self hatred.

Moreover, both YNet and the Jerusalem Post publish on a regular basis the most revolting anti-religious articles that ferociously attack the Torah community in Israel with such venom, using the standard anti-Semitic myths to slander a whole population. They don't seem to realise that had these articles been published in any non-Israeli media outlet they would be condemned as outright anti-Semitism. Israeli newspaper editors justify these articles by claiming that a good juicy "Dos" bashing piece sells newspapers and generates plenty of page hits on their site, whether from anti-religious secular Israelis or from incensed and irate religious Jews.

Now let me quote from the main editorial (not an opinion piece) of an Israeli newspaper, published in Hebrew and English that is unashamedly pro Israel and pro Jewish:

The Arabs of Israel, aided by compatriots and sympathizers around the world, recently added a new tact to their agenda of discrediting the Jewish State of Israel.

They are doing everything in their ability to negate historic Jewish claims to the land and are endeavoring, wherever and whenever they can, to erase anything that proves Jewish connection to the land.

The compliant world media and Western powers enable their tale of fiction to grow and gain legitimacy, and provide a platform to promote their fictionalized, distorted, revisionist history of the Holy Land.

No longer is the Meoras Hamachpeilah referred to as the Cave of the Patriarchs. When the media writes about it, they state that “the Jews call the building the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Muslims refer to it as the Ibrahimi Mosque.”

This Arab neighborhood was built illegally on park land which Yerushalayim’s mayor wanted to tear down to restore the original beauty.

In fact, last week, on February 25, the New York Times reported in an article entitled “More Clashes Over Israeli Claim to Shrine” that, “Zahran Abu Qubeita, the mayor of Yatta, a nearby Palestinian town, came on Thursday to pray at the Ibrahimi Mosque. ‘It is an Islamic site, not a Jewish one,’ he said.”

When referring to Kever Rachel, they make sure to let you know that the Arabs refer to the burial place of Rachel as "Quibbat Raqhil", and inform you that there are multiple claims to the area.

This canard was oft repeated last week after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had the ‘audacity’ to announce that he was adding the Meoras Hamachpeilah in Chevron and Kever Rachel in Bait Lechem to the list of official sites of Jewish heritage in the Jewish land which the government spends money on renovation and preserving.

The routine government action recognizes two of the oldest and most famous Jewish religious and historical sites in the world, and whose ancient connection to the roots of the Jewish people are clearly mentioned in the Chumash.

Not only are the Arabs protesting, but so is the US government as well as other Western countries. Not to be left out, the United Nations has also lodged a protest against the Israeli government designation.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the Obama administration viewed the Israeli designation to be “provocative” and “unhelpful” to the goal of getting back to the negotiating table. He added that the US displeasure with the declaration had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.

On Monday, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah complained about Arab “silence” in the face of Israel’s restatement of the Jewish claim to the holy sites. Nasrallah claimed that the Israeli action constituted a threat to Islamic holy sites, and that nobody was actually defending them except the Palestinians.

That same day, the Palestinian Authority held its cabinet meeting in Chevron as a form of protest against the designation.

In Chevron, there has long been a de facto agreement between the Muslims and the Jews on sharing access to Meoras Hamachpelah, which the Muslims have traditionally revered as the burial place of Avraham Avinu, and treated as a mosque. However, until just 25 years ago, Muslims had shown little if any special regard for Kever Rachel, other than its Jewish origins, which are recognized in the Koran. In fact, an Ottoman decree gave Jews living in Israel the right of access to Kever Rachel at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

However, now that it is under Jewish control, Arabs have begun claiming that it is a mosque. They have named it after an Ethiopian slave woman who served in the household of the founder of their religion.


At the cabinet meeting at which the designation was announced, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained the rationale. “Our existence here in our country depends not only on the strength of the Israeli army and our economic and technological might. It is anchored, first and foremost, in our national and emotional legacy, which we instill in our youth and in the coming generations. It depends on cultural heroes and national symbols. It depends on our ability to recognize and explain the justice of our cause, and to underscore our links to the land, first and foremost, to ourselves as well as to others,” Netanyahu added.

Both Netanyahu and Israeli president, Shimon Peres, have described the Arab protests as an artificial attempt to stir up trouble.

A State Department spokesman said that the United States had “asked both parties to refrain from provocative and unilateral actions” that might further hamper US efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


Hamdan Taha, director of the PA Tourism Minister’s antiquity department called the Israel designation, “an act of aggression against the cultural and religious rights of the Palestinian people. Instead of making use of heritage to promote peace, it is being used as a means to promote war,” Taha said. He insisted that designating them as Jewish heritage sites “reflects an artificial history that solely serves Israel’s settlement policy.”

Chaim Oron the chairman of the left-wing Israeli Meretz party also criticized the designation. “This is another attempt to blur the borders between Israel and the occupied territories. All it needs is a bit of pressure from the right, and Netanyahu falls into line. This decision puts Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan declaration of two states for two peoples in an absurd light,” Oron told a reporter for Yediot Achronot.

This unashamedly and blatantly pro-Israel editorial was published in last week's Yated Neeman. Yes that's right. A so called anti-Zionist Chareidi black newspaper. (See Wikipedia article which clearly states that Yated Neeman is Anti-Zionist).

You cannot even claim that the article is only pro settlement of Eretz Yisrael. The editorial clearly states at the very beginning :

"their agenda of discrediting the Jewish State of Israel".

Please don't think that this article is an apparition. There are articles like these published in Yated on a regular basis.

Are they Anti-Zionist?

It is true that if you ask most Chareidim if they are Zionists, the answer will probably be No! However, ask the same people if they support the State of Israel and Jewish control of land of Israel and they will answer Yes!

This apparent contradiction occurs because secular Jews define Zionism as support for Israel whereas Chareidim are using the original classical definition of the term. Zionism was in its origin, an anti Torah secular movement that grew up along side Communism, Socialism, Bundism, Fascism and many other "ism"s whose objective was to tear down the established society and build a new secular world based on humanistic values. Zionism was indeed a direct threat to Torah. The Zionist movement's goal was to seek out Jewish youth and persuade them to reject G-d and His Torah and turn them into good secular farmers, all be it in Eretz Yisrael.

At the founding of the state, the early Zionist leadership took in Jewish immigrants from all over the world and put them in absorption camps. Their goal was to "civilise" the "backward" Jewish youth and strip them of their Jewishness. I remember some 30 years ago publically crying in a Chareidi home in Yerushalayim after I proudly proclaimed that I was  Zionist. One guest there. an elderly softly spoken man, described how a madrich had burnt his tephilin in front of his younger brother's and his eyes upon entering the absorption camp. Despite this, both his brother and himself came out believing Jews. They were the exception though.

So, no the Chareidim are not Zionists yet they recognise that the State of Israel is an open miracle by Hashem. After 2,000 years we are back in the land of Israel as rulers. There are more Jews sitting and learning Torah today in Eretz Yisrael then there have been at any time in the past 2,000 years in Galus. The centre of Torah decisions come from Israel and the Jews look to Eretz Yisrael as their spiritual and perhaps physical home.

Here's to the most Zionist (whoops ! Pro-State of Israel) Newspaper in the country. "Yated Neeman".