Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Bamidbar-Shavuos 5776


Bamidbar-Shavuos 5776

New Stories Bamidbar-Shavuos 5776

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Bamidbar-Shavuos 5776

Peace through the actions of the wicked

Introduction

This week I was discussing with a friend of mine the name of the leader of the tribe of Shimon, Shlumiel Ben Tzurishaddai, whose name is mentioned in this week’s parashah (Bamidbar 2:12). I mentioned that the Ohr HaChaim (Bamidbar 7:36) writes that one possible reason that he was thus called was because his name alludes to the fact that shileim lo Keil al cheit Yosef vayeesof oso bamishmar, HaShem paid Shimon back for selling Yosef, by having Shimon locked up [when the brothers met Yosef for the first time]. Alternatively, writes the Ohr HaChaim, he was thus called because sheshileim HaShem bimaasei Zimri tzuri Shaddai, i.e. HaShem had Zimri killed by Pinchas, and HaShem’s wrath was appeased, and HaShem amar likilyono dai, HaShem allowed the destruction to cease.

Why would Zimri merit being called Shlumiel, which contains the name of HaShem?

The interpretations of the Ohr HaChaim should lead one to wonder why Zimri, who was a sinner, merited having the Name of HaShem, which is Shalom, contained in his name. What is even more noteworthy is that Pinchas was the one who killed Zimri and brought an end to the plague that had been catalyzed by the act of Zimri who sinned when he had a relationship with Kazbi, the Midianite woman. Regarding the reward for Pinchas, it is said (Bamidbar 25:12) lachein emor hinini nosein lo es brisi shalom, therefore, say: behold! I give him my covenant of peace. Thus, Pinchas earns a covenant of peace, whereas Zimri is known forever as Shlumiel. How are we to understand this phenomenon?

Through Zimri, HaShem’s Name was restored

To understand why Zimri is referred to as Shlumiel, it is worth examining the act that Zimri performed and its devastating effect on the Jewish People. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 106a) states that Balaam suggested to Balak that since the G-d of Israel despises immorality, they should cause the Jewish People to sin through immorality and then HaShem would become angry with the Jewish People. Balak had the Moabite and Midianite women sin with the Jewish People, and HaShem was prepared to annihilate the Jewish People. Zimri fueled the flames by sinning with Kazbi, and Pinchas stepped in and killed Zimri and Kazbi, thus appeasing HaShem’s wrath. In a simple sense, Zimri caused HaShem to become angry, and Pinchas appeased HaShem’s wrath. On a deeper level, however, Pinchas was rectifying the breach that was manifest amongst the Jewish People through the sin of immorality. It is said (Mishlei 6:32) noeif isha chasar leiv, but he who commits adultery is lacking an [understanding] heart. This verse can also be interpreted to mean that one who commits an immoral sin causes a deficiency in the heart of the nation. Thus, whereas Zimri was bent on breaching the unity of the Jewish People, Pinchas was set on mending the breach and allowing the Jewish People to once again become unified with HaShem. Perhaps it is for this reason that Zimri was referred to as Shlumiel, as through his actions, HaShem allowed Pinchas to bring about unity amongst the Jewish People. When wicked people exist in the world, it appears that the Name of HaShem is not complete, as we find regarding Amalek that the Medrash (Tanchumah end of Ki Seitzei) states that as long as Amalek is in existence, HaShem’s Name is not complete. Thus, when Pinchas killed Zimri, he allowed for HaShem’s Name to become complete again.

The Shabbos connection

Throughout the week we struggle with issues of strife and discord, and it is only with the onset of Shabbos, which is called Shalom, peace, do all harsh judgments depart, and then we can truly experience peace and tranquility. HaShem should allow us to overcome our differences with others and bring us true peace. With the proper observance of Shabbos, we will merit that HaShem will bring us the Final Redemption, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Shimru Shabsosai

The composer of this zemer is Shlomo, a name formed by the acrostic of the first four stanzas. Nothing definite is known about him, although some speculate that he was the famous Shlomo ben Yehudah ibn Gabriol. The zemer concentrates on the requirement to honor the Shabbos with culinary delights and closes with the assurance that the observance of the Shabbos will herald the final Redemption.

וְחִשְׁבוּ עִם הַקּוֹנֶה, לְשַׁלֵּם אָכוֹל וְהוֹתֵר, reckon accounts with the Master, Who repays what you ate and what you left. One interpretation of this passage is that one should prepare an abundance of food for Shabbos and not be concerned that there will be leftovers, as HaShem will put it on “His account.” Alternatively, the passage means that HaShem will reward the Jewish People with even more than they spent. We can suggest a third explanation, that this a command to eat and leave over, as it is said that one should make extra food for Shabbos to eat during the weekday, as the Shabbos food permeates the weekdays with its holiness.

 Shabbos Stories

The enthusiasm of youth

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: A number of years ago a dear friend of mine, I’ll call him Dovy, received a knock on the door of his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A distinguished looking man stood at Dovy’s door. The stranger had a beard and looked at least ten years older than Dovy. He appeared to be either a Rebbi in a Yeshiva or a leader of a congregation. Dovy went for his checkbook.

“I just came to your home to say thank you,” he said gratefully. “Thank you?” asked my friend in astonishment. “I don’t even know who you are! In fact, I don’t even think I ever saw you in my life!” “Let me explain,” said the visitor in a clear and reassuring tone. “About fifteen or twenty years ago, you must have been no more than ten, I visited Pittsburgh. At that time, I was totally non-observant. I was facing many paths in my life. I lacked vision and direction. I explored returning to my roots, but I was not moved. Then I met you.”

Dovy looked at him incredulously. “Me?” He thought. “What do I have to do with this rabbi? And besides I was only about ten years old at the time.”

The Rabbi continued as if he read Dovy’s mind. “You were about ten years old and returning from a ball game. Your tzitzis were flying in every direction and beads of sweat were still on your face. And you were running.

“I stopped you to ask where you were going. You told me about Mincha, we spoke about what you were learning in your school. To you it was just the way of life, normal routine, but to me I saw something else. I saw a pure enthusiasm for everything Jewish from prayer to Talmud. All from a ten-year-old-kid. I asked for and made a note of your name.

“I left college to study in Israel. I did well. I am now a teacher in an Israel yeshiva. All these years I made sure to remember to thank the little kid whose little acts made the biggest impact on my life. You taught me something that no teacher had taught me until that time!”

Torah Study – Pleasure or Responsibility

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffman writes: Perusing the Yahrtzeit section of an old “HaModia,” I came across the following exceptional description of the Yeshiva established by HaRav Yehuda Rosner Hy”d, Rav of Szekelheid. While meritorious in its own right, perhaps it will shed light on a section of this week’s parasha as well:

HaRav Rosner opened a yeshiva in Szekelheid, which he headed throughout his years there. Although he was eventually offered rabbinical positions in larger towns such as Uhel (Ujehly), he refused them on account of his yeshiva. Szekelheid had only 120 Jewish families, and that allowed the Rav to dedicate most of his time and attention to the yeshiva, which ultimately grew until, in the 1930’s, it housed over 300 bachurim.

R’ Yehuda ran the yeshiva almost singlehandedly, serving as Rosh Yeshiva (dean), mashgiach (supervisor), maggid shiur (teacher), and administrator. His Rebbetzin too assisted him devotedly, running the yeshiva kitchen, and adding a motherly touch for the bachurim where it was needed. The yeshiva was always strapped for funds, and making ends meet was always on R’ Yehduah’s mind. Often there was not enough money to pay for Shabbos meals for the boys; HaRav Rosner’s solution was to take the money needed out of his personal salary as town rav. His talmidim recall that when his only son married, and received a dowry of 100,000 lei, the money was used to cover the yeshiva’s deficit.

Yeshiva in Szekelheid began at 4:30 a.m., when the vecker would go around the small town waking up the bachurim at their various lodgings. Sometimes the rav would surprise the bachurim by conducting an early- morning inspection to assure all had arisen.

Meanwhile, the Rebbetzin was already busy cooking breakfast for the students. Anyone not coming to yeshiva on time was not entitled to breakfast, unless of course they were sick, in which case warm, nourishing meals were sent to their rooms.

The learning at the yeshiva in Szekelheid was intense; tests were given every day or two. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, HaRav Rosner delivered a shiur iyun (in-depth lecture) in the mornings and a shiur bekius (comprehensive lecture) in the afternoons. The shiur bekius progressed at the prodigious rate of three blatt a week.

On Friday, Shabbos (no days off!) and Sunday, the bachurim studied Chumash with Rashi, along with Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah (two sections of Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law), on which they were tested Sunday evening.

Every Thursday, a notice was posted with a page of Gemara that the boys were obliged to cover on their own, in order to encourage independent study. On this too, they were tested, to ensure that they were attaining a true understanding of the underlying issues, and to verify that the bachurim were using their time efficiently.

Testing was taken very seriously at the yeshiva. All bachurim were tested, although among the advanced bachurim only one boy was tested each week. Since the boy to be tested was chosen by lottery immediately before the test, every boy in the advanced group always needed to be prepared. The rest of the boys were called in to the rav four boys at a time, according to a list he had prepared. He would ask them questions; those who were clearly fluent with the material were sent off at once, while a weaker student might be held for additional questioning to determine where he was lacking, and what needed to be reviewed. All this contributed to an intense atmosphere that was felt by every bachur in the yeshiva.

Each bachur was assigned a card, on which the rav would write the results of each exam. At the end of the semester, the rav would write each boy a letter, along with a copy of his card, summarizing his achievements. The most advanced students often received an approbation designating them as “chaveir” or “moreinu” – titles of distinction. One would be hard pressed, I believe, to find present-day yeshivos where testing and examination is taken so seriously and with such intensity. (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

Opening Food Packages

 

  1. קורע -Tearing

 

It is an Av Melacha to tear any soft material in a constructive manner, Thus, tearing cloth, leather, cardboard, paper, plastic, or any such material (in a way which improves the usefulness of the item) is a transgression of the melacha of קורע: tearing.

 

Tearing in a destructive manner is forbidden by Rabbinic Decree. The Sages, however, made an exception to this rule and allowed one to tear in a destructive fashion in order to obtain an item needed for the Shabbos meals.

 

Thus, tearing open a bag, wrapper or cardboard box, even to remove food, is forbidden unless the packaging is damaged in the process.

 

 

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Bamidbar-Shavuos 5776

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New Stories Bamidbar-Shavuos 5776

The Yiddish Speaking Latino Cop

Working to protect Rabbi Teitelbaum, he gained insight into the essence of the Jewish people.

by Rabbi Moshe Greene

Living in New York City is tough on cars. Pot holes and sharp debris on the road leads to bent rims and punctured tires.

One day while driving near my home in Queens, the inevitable happened. My tire went flat. I pulled over, took out my cell phone, called AAA, gave my location to the dispatcher, and waited.

About half an hour later a Latino man in his mid-60s pulled his truck behind me. He got out, looked at the car and then looked at me. “Hello, my name is Donny,” he said as he extended his hand. He then began speaking in Yiddish.

“Are you Jewish?” I asked.

He shook his head smiled and said, “No.”

I laughed and asked the obvious question. “So where did you learn Yiddish?”

“I picked it up many years ago when I was hanging out with one of your buddies,” he said teasingly. “Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum from Williamsburg. You heard of him?”

“The great chassidic leader?” I asked in disbelief.

“That’s the one,” he replied.

Donny would dress like a chassid and scan the crowds looking for infiltrators.

Donny explained that he was a retired NYPD cop. While on the force, his job was to protect Rabbi Teitelbaum – not only from outsiders but also the throngs of chassidim that push to get near him. Donny was assigned as the rabbi’s bodyguard – at home, in shul and at public gatherings.

Donny described how he would dress like a chassid – a Latino with beard and sidelocks (peyos), scanning the crowds, looking for infiltrators.

“How could you tell a real chassid from an impersonator?” I asked.

“You guys are always hunched over your books,” he explained. “If someone was standing a little too straight I kept my eye on him. He was either an outsider… or someone who ain’t serious about his studies,” he laughed.

Donny reminisced about the kindness of the rabbi’s wife, and how she supplied him with a steady stream of cholent and kugel.

Donny then asked if I knew the expression “Yiddishe kup.”

“Of course'” I replied. “It refers to Jews as a smart and clever people.”

Donny became serious, knowing he had me where he wanted. “I heard you guys used to live in Israel with your capital in Jerusalem. I heard that you had a Temple – a beautiful place where you all got together for the holidays – right?”

I nodded.

“I also heard that about 2,000 years ago you were exiled because you guys didn’t get along with each other. True?”

I nodded again.

“I also heard that if you guys could just learn to get along with each other, God will move you back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.”

Donny then leaned toward me, looked me straight in the eye and said, “So if you guys are so smart, how is it that in 2,000 years you haven’t figured out how to get along?”

I had no answer.

The Torah tells us that unity of the Jewish people was a prerequisite for the revelation at Mount Sinai. The verse describes the encampment of the Jews by the mountain, united as “one person with one heart.”

It all starts with the realization that while Jews many be different from one another; we are all one family. We are part of the same unit, connected at the core, sharing the goal of Tikkun Olam, making the world a better place.

The upcoming holiday of Shavuot celebrates the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai. Now is an ideal time to work on attaining this consciousness and unite as a people.

Let’s make Donny’s question no longer a question.

The Arab Informant

A Palestinian repudiates the Muslim culture of violence and almost loses his life in the process. Now he’s becoming Jewish.

by Isaac Horovitz

Reprinted with permission from Ami Magazine.

This is the unbelievable story of Zahir Adel and his personal journey from the grazing lands of Nablus to the streets of Bnei Brak. A smiling, baby-faced man who speaks Hebrew like a native, he rejected the violent Arab culture he grew up in and served as an informant for the Israelis for many years, at great risk to his life. Many of the military actions he participated are still under wraps. Most fascinating, though, is that today he is an expert in Jewish law and has been preparing for his conversion to Judaism for the past several years.

“I was born in 1978 in Azun, a little village near the Tapuach Junction between Shechem and Ariel,” he begins. His father was a clothing dealer, and Zahir’s 14 siblings tended to his flocks of sheep. He received the standard Islamic education in school, but even as a child he felt as if he didn’t fit in. “I was a regular kid to all appearances, but I always shied away from violence. It really bothered me but I couldn’t escape it. Violence was such an integral part of our lifestyle. Every time we didn’t listen to our father or displeased him in some way we were beaten. Whoever didn’t behave perfectly in school received a beating. Every minor quarrel between families or clans in neighboring villages morphed into bloodshed. Female family members who didn’t toe the line were brutally murdered by relatives. Petty arguments evolved into horrific killings. If you skipped a prayer at the mosque or said something offensive, you were in for it.

“I was disturbed by the rampant cruelty in my environment. Later, as a teenager, I studied the Koran and was appalled by how much violence it contained. We were taught how Muhammad, the founder of Islam, massacred thousands of people who refused to follow his path. We learned how Islam conquered massive cities by the power of the sword and spread its doctrine through wanton slaughter. The whole culture was soaked in blood. Then there was the anti-Israel component. We were instilled with a hatred of Israel and Israelis and taught to view them as monsters worthy of death. From early childhood we were trained to cut down every Israeli and settler and fight them to the death.

“IDF soldiers were the worst. They were the cruel, barbaric conquerors, and it was our duty to wipe them out. After school let out, all my friends were encouraged to throw stones and firebombs at Jewish cars. Throughout my early years I learned by osmosis that Jews, and Israelis in particular, are murderers who have no right to live in Israel, and that killing them is mandated by the Koran. I was disgusted by these ideas due to my aversion to violence and the beatings I received in school, but that’s how I was brought up. It’s hard for outsiders to comprehend the obsession of Arab society with violence. It’s such an intrinsic part of society.”

Meeting the Enemy

Then came the moment that changed Zahir’s life: “I was a young teenager, and had been beaten for several days in a row because of trivial offenses. I was wandering around aimlessly after school, my stomach rumbling, when I came across a checkpoint manned by a few Israeli soldiers. They were the archenemies, and I knew that I was supposed to hate them and attack, but I was curious. I approached the checkpoint to observe the enemy face to face, and all I saw was a smiling young man dressed in a khaki uniform. The soldier knew some Arabic. He told me not to be afraid and to come closer.

“I was shocked that the enemy was treating me so nicely. He took two sandwiches out of his satchel for lunch, asked if I was hungry and offered me one. I was ravenous, so I accepted it despite my reservations. As we sat and ate together he asked me about my life and told me a little about himself, and it occurred to me someone was actually listening to me. After a while he and his friends started to play soccer and included me in the game. They were very kind – they didn’t try to hurt or kill me – and I realized that these were not the cruel conquerors I’d been led to believe. It was a real eye-opener and I was shaken to the core. All of a sudden I understood that the Israelis weren’t brutal monsters. The whole foundation of my upbringing, that Jews are the epitome of evil, came crashing down.”

“From that moment on I began to take an interest in Israelis,” he says. “I traveled to Tel Aviv and other cities. I got to know Israelis and was stunned to discover that violence is not a fundamental part of Jewish life. I visited the city of Ariel, which isn’t far from where I lived in Samaria, and everyone treated me well. I helped customers by doing odd jobs and earned a modest salary. Amongst the Israelis no one ever insulted me, but as soon as I came home the blows began. That brought me back to Ariel, but when my friendship with the Israelis became too obvious I began to receive threats and even harsher beatings not only from my relatives but from friends.”

Helping Israel

At the age of 14 Zahir endured a beating that was particularly violent and realized that he could not continue to live at home. He packed a few belongings, said goodbye to his mother and left, never to return. He settled in Rosh Haayin, working in a local supermarket and lodging with one of the residents. He has never returned or seen his mother since.

“Sometimes I ask myself if I miss my mother. Of course I do. I try to phone her from time to time, but my relationship with my father is over. To be honest, I feel bad for my mother, who is living under a regime of fear. It’s the women who bear the brunt of the ingrained violence in Arab society. I really miss her, but at a certain point I crossed the line and realized that if I returned to the village, I wouldn’t emerge alive. Visiting my mother would put her in mortal danger as well.”

For the next several years Zahir, who now goes by Udi, gradually integrated into Israeli society, supporting himself by doing odd jobs. Then one day when he was 18 some strangers came knocking on his door. They were brusque but businesslike, and were familiar with his background: where he was born, where he grew up and how many years he’d been living in Israel proper. Then they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. “They told me that they were from the Shabak, the Israeli security agency, and asked me if I would be willing help them prevent terrorist attacks. I had always opposed the murder of innocent people, irrespective of their nationality. So I told them I was averse to doing anything violent but I’d be happy to help prevent attacks, as long as that was my one and only task.”

That is how Zahir began helping the Israelis, operating mostly on his home turf near Shechem. At first his assignments entailed gathering intelligence on the terrorists’ targets, which he would then convey to the Israeli intelligence services. “I can’t go into too many details but I’ll give you a typical example,” he says. “One time I was sent to trail a certain person suspected of involvement with Hamas. It was during the second Intifada, when suicide bombers were blowing themselves up in restaurants and crowded public areas all over Israel. Knowing how to blend into the crowd, I shadowed the guy and saw him getting into a car wearing an explosive belt. I conveyed the information to my superior, and the man was arrested before he could do any harm. God knows how many people were saved. I also helped expose dangerous organizations. Later, I found like-minded fellow Arabs who were also averse to terrorism and they too passed on crucial information.”

Eventually Zahir’s activities branched out and he began to accompany the elite undercover units known as “mistaarvim” on their assignments in Palestinian villages. These are Israeli soldiers who disguise themselves as Arabs and blend into the local population.

“I went with them everywhere, all around Hevron, Jenin and Jerusalem, although never in Gaza. I participated in operations all over the West Bank. One time some snipers were shooting at Israelis from their hiding place up in the hills. One night, disguised as locals, we caught them red-handed before they could open fire. I even helped capture some dangerous fugitives and exposed several terror initiatives by Hamas. I never felt as if was doing something that was against the Palestinians’ interests. All I was doing was preventing the murder of innocent people.”

Incremental Death

Unfortunately, word eventually spread to the Palestinian Authority that Zahir was an informant and he started to receive death threats; apparently a price had been placed on his head. His time working undercover had run out.

“One day I got a phone call from a Palestinian asking to meet with me so he could pass on some information. I wasn’t careful enough, and when I got there I was attacked by a whole mob of Palestinians who beat me, tied me up and threw me into a car. It turned out that my source had been discovered and threatened with death if he didn’t help them capture me. I was taken to a makeshift prison where I was tortured and interrogated. They told me that they had already decided to kill me, not all at once but in increments. Every day I would wake up to heavy blows. It was agonizing. My whole body was full of scars and burns.”

After six months of unrelenting torture Zahir was a shadow of his former self. Eventually his captors became somewhat less vigilant, as they were certain that no one in that condition could ever escape. But Zahir never gave up hope and when the opportunity presented itself he seized it with both hands.

“It was Eid al-Fitr, the day marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. The guards had abandoned their posts and gone out to feast on a lamb they had roasted over an open fire, leaving just one person on the lookout. Then the telephone rang in another room, and I saw him walk away to answer it. This was the moment I’d been waiting for. With superhuman strength I managed to crawl to the door and let myself out. I was surprised to find myself in an area I knew well, Shechem. A few minutes later I could hear that my disappearance had been discovered. Several shots were fired in my direction, but thanks to the familiar terrain I managed to evade them and take cover. With God’s help, I eventually reached an IDF post in the Gerizim area above Shechem. ‘I’m a Shabak informant! I told them. ‘I was held captive but managed to escape. Please let me in!’ The soldiers immediately began to treat my wounds and alerted the regional Shabak coordinator. He had me evacuated me to a clinic in Ariel, and from there I was taken straight to Tel Hashomer.”

I could see the centrality of kindness and compassion in Judaism. I resolved to leave Islam and become a Jew.

It took a long time until Zahir was able to leave the hospital. Diagnosed with posttraumatic stress syndrome and severely disabled, his outpatient care continues to this very day. And the experience prompted him to sever his ties to the Palestinian community for good. “It was the unthinkable cruelty displayed by my captors that convinced me to disassociate myself once and for all. By contrast, I could see the centrality of kindness and compassion in Judaism. I resolved to leave Islam and become a Jew.”

Outstanding Volunteer

Following his discharge Zahir changed his name to Udi Ayalon. He was also awarded Israeli citizenship to protect him from future kidnappings, albeit only after a legal battle.

“At first, the government did not do its duty,” he says. “While they treated me well and I have no complaints in that regard, they initially refused to acknowledge me as a Shabak informant in need of rehabilitation.” It wasn’t until 2001 that he was officially recognized as entitled to subsidized treatment. He was also given rental assistance and a monetary stipend to live on.

Fortunately, Udi has come a long way in his recovery. “Udi received help from a lot of people after his release from captivity” says Rav Aharon Yiktar, a community activist and longtime volunteer in Tel Hashomer for the Atah Imadi organization. “As a Shabak informant he forged many connections with members of Knesset and security people who took him under their wing. He was actually doing well in business for a while but spent all of his money on helping the needy He then fell on hard times and found himself in the street until his minimal stipend was restored. Yet throughout it all he never stopped volunteering at the hospital.”

After developing a relationship with several rabbis Udi began to fulfill his dream of conversion. He threw himself into studying Jewish subjects and is already an expert on the laws of Shabbos. Udi is a familiar figure at Tel Hashomer where he is regarded as one of the most outstanding volunteers. “There’s no one he doesn’t help, and many of them don’t even know it,” Ravi Yiktar says. “For example, an elderly woman once needed her doctor’s appointment to be moved up. Then one day she got a call informing her that it had magically happened. She had no idea that Udi had put in a good word with the hospital director. Udi has connections with people from all walks of life, including in the Prime Minister’s office.”

The only thing that bothers Udi – and prompted him to give his first-time public interview – is the current spate of terror attacks which, in his opinion, is not being dealt with properly by the authorities.

“People say that we can’t stop the wave of terror. They insist that the situation is too complex and that lone wolves cannot be prevented, but they’re making a mistake. The knife intifada can be fought if we want to.”

While you may have heard the following from others, when Udi says it, it’s worth listening to:

“The Israeli government isn’t doing enough,” he insists. “The Palestinian Authority encourages terrorism and incites people to stab and kill Jews and the government does nothing to stop it. Did you know that every terrorist who is arrested automatically receives a bimonthly grant of NIS 1200 as a reward from the PA? Astonishingly, this sum is often transferred directly by the Israeli Prison Authority so they can buy whatever they want from the canteen! It’s unbelievable. The PA openly supports terror and the Israelis do nothing. If the government meant business they would never transfer money to terrorists, and would certainly withhold luxuries in prison. The death sentence would be meted out in serious cases, and the current situation would not continue.”

A realist, Udi has no illusions of instant peace. “The problem is the Muslim culture,” he explains. “It’s a mindset that preaches war, not peace. The Arab world suffers from constant turmoil. They murder each other because that’s what Islam is all about. That’s why I laugh when the Israeli left talks about making peace. They just don’t understand Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. As long as killing remains a central component of the Palestinian children’s education, there is no chance of peace. We have no choice: we must stay strong and never give up. We must continue to destroy terrorists’ homes, deport them to Gaza and deny citizenship to Israeli Arabs who are involved in incitement and terror. There’s no other way.”

In the meantime, Udi continues to study for his conversion. “Next Pesach, I hope to be a Jew and sit down to the Seder with the rest of the Jewish people.”

Reprinted with permission from Ami Magazine. (www.aish.com)

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