Thursday, December 7, 2023

And Yet, Hanukkah

May Light Overcome Darkness: This year will be one of the most memorable Hannukah’s for our people. As darkness has surrounded us, Hanukkah allows us to turn on the lights. The light from the candles symbolizing the hope for our people. We will persevere!  

Light Shine

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah!

Above: the words of renowned Jewish baseball player Kevin Youkilis

As we and Jews all over the world begin our celebration of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, let us pray that simcha - joy - will always take precedence over sorrow.

Together Ashkelon

We are a people who believe in the future – even in the face of sadness. 

And thus - in the festive spirit of this happy holiday - here are The Maccabeats with their latest Hanukkah hit, We're Still Here.

Festival of Lights

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Honoring Guy Illouz, 26

Murdered in Gaza: ICYMI - the newly-formed Jewish Community Relations Coalition of New Mexico (JCRCNM) hosted a Solidarity Gathering on Sunday, November 26 in Albuquerque. 

That was just after the Israel-Gaza truce began on Friday, November 24. The focus was, understandably, on the kidnapped hostages and - for some - their impending rescue. 

They Are Still There

And you might have missed it. The Solidarity Gathering was an impromptu, ad hoc, "drop-in" event that did attract - Abq Jew's unofficial estimate - about 100 people from all sectors of the community.


JCRCNM Co-Chair Alonet Zarum (Jane Wishner is the other Co-Chair) spoke, calling upon the community to unite over Israel, care for each other, and volunteer. 

The group played Israeli music and sang Hatikvah. Organizer Lea Koshkin (the Gathering was her idea) thanked those who helped spread the word and the organizations which supported the event.

There was a table set up with JCRCNM sign-up forms, Israeli flags, blue ribbons, and Kidnapped by Hamas posters - the type that are being regularly torn down by Israel-haters all over the world.


This is the poster that Abq Jew took home with him. From a stack of (alas) dozens, Abq Jew randomly picked Guy Illouz's Kidnapped poster and brought it home.

Having "adopted" Guy Illouz, Abq Jew (of course) set out to learn more about him, and to (hopefully) track his progress home.

חבל. This is what Abq Jew found out a few days ago. From The Times of Israel:

Israeli taken hostage at music festival on Oct. 7 has died, his school announces

Ra’anana high school says it was holding out hope that 26-year-old Guy Iluz would come home, ‘but today we were informed that he will not return again’

Guy Iluz

An Israeli man abducted into the Gaza Strip during the Hamas terror group’s devastating October 7 attack on southern Israel has died, his high school announced Friday.

Guy Iluz, 26, was attending the Supernova musical festival near Re’im when he was taken by Hamas terrorists.

“For many weeks we hoped and prayed for Guy’s return, but today we were informed that he will not return again,” Mor Metro-West High School in Ra’anana wrote in a Facebook post.

No details were provided regarding how he died and when. There was no confirmation from the Israel Defense Forces, which on Friday announced the deaths of several other Israelis who were abducted into Gaza.

According to the school, Iluz is the sixth Mor Metro-West alumnus to have been killed since October 7.

“Guy was a man of love, happiness and laughter,” the school added. “Music accompanied Guy all his life until the day of his death.”

Iluz, a soundman for Israeli musicians Matti Caspi, Shalom Hanoch and others, tried to flee from the terrorists together with four friends in his white jeep. He called his father, Michel Iluz.

“Dad, Dad, I love you,” said Guy. 
“I wanted to tell you I love you
if something happens to me.”


Rest in peace talented musician,
we will never forget you.

Blood Avenge

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

November 29th, 2023

Einat Wilf Tells The Truth: Everyone - or, at least, every Jew of a certain age - knows why there are streets named "29th of November" all over Israel. 

What happened on that day? In 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to partition Mandatory Palestine at the end of the British Mandate.

November 29th

How was this to be accomplished? Through the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. 

And how did this turn out? The Plan was accepted by the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine. 

The Plan was rejected by leaders of the Arab community, who were supported by the Arab League. The Arab leadership (in and out of Palestine) opposed partition and claimed all of Palestine.

Gazaq Flood

Which - somehow, amazingly - brings us to today. On November 29, 2023, anti-Israel protesters plan to throw the beloved Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony into disarray by "flooding the tree lighting for Gaza."

Macy's Parade

And why not? They tried it during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, chanting and singing and gluing themselves to the street along the parade route.


And they tried it during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Ypsilanti, Michigan, obnoxiously drowning out the children's choir with chants of "America is a terrorist state."

Has the world gone mad? Was the world ever sane?

Einat Wilf

Which - somehow, amazingly - brings Abq Jew to the writing and speaking of Dr Einat Wilf, whose website tells us:

Dr. Einat Wilf is a leading thinker on Israel, Zionism, foreign policy and education. She was a member of the Israeli Parliament from 2010 to 2013, where she served as Chair of the Education Committee and Member of the influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Born and raised in Israel, Dr. Wilf served as an Intelligence Officer in the Israel Defense Forces, Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres and a strategic consultant with McKinsey & Company.

Dr. Wilf has a BA from Harvard, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. She was the Goldman Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and is a lecturer at Reichman University in Israel.

Dr. Wilf is the author of seven books that explore key issues in Israeli society. “We Should All Be Zionists“, published in 2022, brings together her essays from the past four years on Israel, Zionism and the path to peace; the co-authored “The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace”, was published in 2020.

Abq Jew thinks that Dr Einat Wilf's voice is one of sanity and clarity. You know - reason! and good thinking!

Here is one recent example, which appeared on Dr Wilf's Twitter. Abq Jew is thrilled to report that - more than 50 years after his time at the Technion - Dr Wilf's writing (בּעברית) is so clear that Abq Jew can understand it all (mostly)!

If you can, too - here's a treat! If you can't - an English translation will follow.

בואו עכשיו ניפרד יפה מהאגדה המנחמת ש״חמאס לא מייצג את הפלסטינים״. מעבר לעובדה הפשוטה שחמאס נבחר בבחירות בעזה וידוע שינצח בבחירות בגדה (ולכן אין שם בחירות), חמאס מייצג באופן עמוק את האתוס הפלסטיני הרחב ביותר לפיו ליהודים כעם אין זכות לקיים מדינה חופשית בגבולות כלשהם במרחב שבין נהר הירדן לים התיכון. 

לחמאס יש אולי ״רק״ כמה עשרות אלפי רוצחים מאומנים, אבל הם כולם פועלים בידיעה ברורה וגאה שהם עושים זאת למען ״שחרור פלסטין״. הרעיון שיש ״לשחרר את פלסטין מן הנהר ועד הים״ הוא הרעיון המכונן של הזהות הפלסטינית, והוא המכנה המשותף הרחב ביותר לפלסטינים כולם. במובן זה אין הבדל בין חמאס לפתח או כל פלג אחר. ההבדל הוא באמצעים שהם חושבים יהיו היעילים ביותר ל״שחרור פלסטין״, אבל לא במטרה עצמה.

במשך שנים כשהצגתי את הרעיונות הללו למשלחות מכל העולם נתקלתי תמיד בהתנגדות בסגנון ״את מכלילה, כמו שיש ישראלים ויהודים עם דעות שונות, בוודאי יש פלסטינים עם דעות שונות״. תשובתי היתה ונותרה שדווקא האמירות הרחבות שלי הופכות את עמדתי לקלה להפרכה. כל מה שצריך הוא להביא לי פלסטיני האומר בפומבי ובשמו באופן ברור ומפורט: ״לעם היהודי כעם יש זכות שווה להגדרה עצמית ולמדינה משלו במולדתו ההיסטורית. ברור לי שהמשמעות היא שאין לפלסטינים ׳זכות שיבה׳ לתוך מדינת ישראל. הרצון שלנו הוא לקיים מדינה עבורנו לצד מדינת ישראל, שהיתה ותהיה ביתו הלאומי של העם היהודי, ולא במקומה.״ 

כן, תמיד יש מי שיסבירו לי ש״יש פלסטינים כאלה״, אבל למדתי שאנשי המערב כל כך רוצים לעצום עיניהם בפני המציאות, שהם תמיד יפרשו מה שפלסטינים אומרים באופן הנוח להם או לחילופין יתנו תירוצים למה אי אפשר לצפות מפלסטינים לומר זאת. אבל זהו לב העניין. לכן אני מתעקשת שכל אמירה תהיה פומבית, מפורטת (לא אמירות כלליות על ״רצון בשלום וקץ לסבל״) ובשמו של הפלסטיני שאומר זאת.  

אני עדיין מחכה לקולות האלה מצד פלסטינים. 

ולכן אין דבר כזה ״למוטט את החמאס״. גם אם מחר כל הנשקים וכל המנהרות בעזה מושמדים, יקום ארגון חדש, בשם אחר וידאג שכל דולר ויורו של כספי ״שיקום״ שיועבר לעזה ישמש לבנייה מחדש של כח שמטרתו תהיה - שוב - ״שחרור פלסטין״. זו הסיבה שעזה אף פעם לא ״משתקמת״, כי תושביה אינם רואים בעזה ״בית״, ״מולדת״ או שטח שנותן להם הזדמנות להקים מדינה פלסטינית משגשגת. להיפך - הם רואים בעזה כן שיגור (תרתי משמע) ממנו הם יכולים לקחת ״בחזרה״ את ״פלסטין״, ובזה הם משקיעים את משאביהם - הכסף, הזמן והכישרון של אנשיהם. 

אז מה כן אפשר לעשות?

בראש וראשונה, יש להכיר בכך שזהו האתוס הפלסטיני שמגדיר את עצם הזהות הפלסטינית בכל מקום בעולם, ולהבין שזה לא קשור למה שישראל עושה (לא כיבוש, לא התנחלויות, לא מצור - אלה דברים שאפשר לעסוק בהם מהזווית הישראלית, אבל הם לא משנים לאתוס הפלסטיני), אלא למה שישראל הינה - מדינתו של העם היהודי החופשי.

לכן, רק שינוי יסודי של האתוס הפלסטיני יכול להביא שלום. 

וכן, אתוסים של עמים משתנים בהיסטוריה אבל זהו תהליך ארוך שתמיד כרוך בזה שהאתוס הקודם נתפס כלא לגיטימי באופן עמוק וככזה שאינו מתאים עוד לזמן.

ומראייה מפוכחת זו יש לגזור שני כיווני פעולה:

לפעול באופן נחרץ לייבוש כל מקורות התמיכה המדיניים, הכלכליים והפוליטיים באתוס הפלסטיני של ״שחרור פלסטין״, החל ממדינות ערב והמשך בסוכנות אונר״א שנתמכת על ידי המערב ומאפשרת לפלסטינים לשמר את מלחמת 1948 כתיק פתוח שיבוא יום והם ינצחו בה, וכלה בכל ״סיוע״ שמוגש לפלסטינים מבלי לדרוש מהם את ההצהרה שלמעלה. ככלל, צריך לדרשו שכל סיוע מדיני, כלכלי, פוליטי שניתן לפלסטינים ילווה בדרישה ברורה להצהיר את ההצהרה שלמעלה, ושלא יינתן בלעדיה.

ועד לשינוי האתוס הפלסטיני? להבין שאלו הם שכנינו ״המתפללים חולשתנו כי תבוא, כדי שיוכלו לקרענו לגזרים״ וש״על מנת שתגווע התקווה להשמידנו חייבים אנו להיות, בוקר וערב, מזוינים וערוכים״ (מתוך ההספד של משה דיין לרועי רוטברג בנחל עוז). עד לשינוי ישראל תצטרך להיות חברה מגויסת. כל אזרחי ישראל, יהודים וערבים, חרדים וחילונים, יצטרכו להתגייס להגנת המדינה שהיא מדינתם.

Let's now say goodbye to the comforting legend that "Hamas does not represent the Palestinians." Beyond the simple fact that Hamas was elected in the elections in Gaza and is known to win the elections in the West Bank (therefore there are no elections there), Hamas profoundly represents the broadest Palestinian ethos according to which the Jews as a people have no right to have a free state within any borders in the space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas may have "only" a few tens of thousands of trained killers, but they all act with the clear and proud knowledge that they are doing so for the "liberation of Palestine." The idea that "Palestine should be freed from the river to the sea" is the founding idea of ​​the Palestinian identity, and is the broadest common denominator for all Palestinians. 

In this sense there is no difference between Hamas and Fatah or any other faction. The difference is in the means they think will be the most effective for the "liberation of Palestine", but not in the goal itself.

For years, when I presented these ideas to delegations from all over the world, I was always met with resistance along the lines of "you are generalizing, just as there are Israelis and Jews with different opinions, surely there are Palestinians with different opinions." 

My answer was and remains that precisely my broad statements make my position easy to refute. All that is needed is to bring me a Palestinian who says publicly and in his name clearly and in detail: 

"The Jewish people as a people have an equal right to self-determination and their own state in their historical homeland. It is clear to me that the meaning is that the Palestinians do not have a 'right of return' to the State of Israel. Our desire is to have a state for us alongside the State of Israel, which was and will be the national home of the Jewish people, and not in its place."

Yes, there are always those who will explain to me that "there are Palestinians like that", but I have learned that the people of the West want so much to close their eyes to reality, that they will always interpret what Palestinians say in a way that is convenient for them or alternatively give excuses as to why Palestinians cannot be expected to say it. 

But this is the heart of the matter. That is why I insist that every statement be public, detailed (not general statements about "the desire for peace and an end to suffering") and in the name of the Palestinian who says it.

I am still waiting for these voices from Palestinians.

Therefore there is no such thing as "collapsing Hamas". Even if tomorrow all the weapons and all the tunnels in Gaza are destroyed, a new organization will be established, with a different name, and will make sure that every dollar and euro of "rehabilitation" money transferred to Gaza will be used to rebuild a force whose goal will be - once again - the "liberation of Palestine". 

This is the reason why Gaza never "restores", because its residents do not see Gaza as "home", "homeland" or a territory that gives them an opportunity to establish a prosperous Palestinian state. On the contrary - they see Gaza as a launch pad (literally) from which they can take "back" Palestine, and in this they invest their resources - the money, time and talent of their people.

So what can be done?

First and foremost, it must be recognized that it is the Palestinian ethos that defines the Palestinian identity everywhere in the world, and understand that it has nothing to do with what Israel is doing (no occupation, no settlements, no siege - these are things that can be dealt with from the Israeli perspective, but they do not change the Palestinian ethos), but for what Israel is - the state of the free Jewish people. 

Therefore, only a fundamental change of the Palestinian ethos can bring peace. 

And yes, the ethos of nations change in history, but this is a long process that always involves the previous ethos being seen as profoundly illegitimate and as no longer appropriate for the times.

And from this sober view, two courses of action must be derived:

  1. Act decisively to dry up all sources of political, economic and political support for the Palestinian ethos of "liberating Palestine", starting with Arab countries and continuing with the UNRA agency which is supported by the West and allows the Palestinians to preserve the 1948 war as an open case that one day they will win it, and ending with all " Aid' that is provided to the Palestinians without requiring them to make the above statement. As a general rule, it should be required that any political, economic, and political aid given to the Palestinians be accompanied by a clear requirement to declare the above statement, and that it not be given without it.

  2. Until the change of the Palestinian ethos? To understand that these are our neighbors "who pray for our weakness that it will come, so that they can tear us to pieces" and that "in order for the hope of our destruction to die out we must be, morning and evening, armed and prepared" (from Moshe Dayan's obituary for Roy Rothberg in Nahal Oz). Until the change, Israel will have to be a mobilized society. All citizens of Israel, Jews and Arabs, orthodox and secular, will have to mobilize to defend the state that is their state.
Blue Line


Abq Jew's father, Richard W Yellin, of blessed memory, certainly chose an already memorable day on which to pass on to the World to Come. Sixteen  years later, it's the civil date (the Hebrew yahrzeit is still a few days away) that Abq Jew recalls. 

Am Israel Chai