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Jewish Law And Abortion

By Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Connecticut — May 9, 2022 … Since all that anyone is talking about this week is the first draft of a Supreme Court decision about abortion rights in the United States, I take this opportunity to teach a bit on Jewish Law and how Judaism approaches this hot button, culture war issue.

Let me begin by saying that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court in this country should rule according to Jewish Law. Jewish Law is for Jews. I am speaking this day to Jews so we can know what our tradition has to say about abortion and maybe it will inform our understanding of American Law. I also note that as of this moment, nothing has changed in American Law relating to abortion. What found its way into the press was a first draft of an opinion of the Supreme Court about the status of the ruling that governs abortions in this country.

Jewish Law also starts its own deliberations on issues with a first draft, and many changes are
made throughout the process until other Rabbis can agree with a position. How significant is a
first draft? Actually, it is not all that important. Rabbis have made authors of first drafts go back
and start over again if they do not like what was done. If the first draft cannot be changed
enough, then alternative papers and dissents are written. A first draft is like the list of
ingredients in a recipe. There will be a lot of mixing, pouring, and baking before anything of use
will come out. The reason it is all kept secret is because we really do not want to know how the
sausage is made.

So, what does Jewish Law say about “Abortion” and “Privacy”? Neither word is mentioned in
the Torah. That does not mean that the Sages did not talk about either one. If the Torah does
not mention “abortion” and “privacy,” how is the law decided? What Torah states is that we
are required by God to be a holy people; that is the point of our Parsha this week. This means
we need to follow God’s laws. One of those laws is found in Exodus 21:22. There it talks about
two men fighting and, in the fight, a pregnant woman is pushed and miscarries the child. The
husband can determine how much the one who pushed should pay unless the mother is injured
in which case the usual damages must be paid. The point here is that the miscarried fetus is not
considered a life. If it were a life, then the miscarriage would be a capital crime, punishable by
death. But instead, it is considered an injury to the woman and the damage is assessed by the
woman’s husband. If there is any other injury to the woman, it is treated like any other injury
under the law, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc. Our basic legal document, the Torah, does not
mention everything it needs to cover. It is the job of rabbinic courts to apply the law to new

The Mishna codifies this status for the fetus saying, “if a woman’s labor becomes life
threatening, the fetus is dismembered in the womb and taken out limb by limb, for her life
comes before the life of the fetus. Once most of the child has emerged from the womb, it can
not be touched. For one life cannot be put aside for another.” We are not allowed to say one
life is more important than another life. Here we have the definition of life. According to the
Mishna, life begins at birth, not before. Before the child is born, the fetus is considered as just
another organ in the body of its mother.

Maimonides explains this further, inserting the laws of abortion into the laws of the rodef. The
rodef is someone who is chasing after you with an intent to kill. It is completely illegal to kill
another person unless they have been convicted of a capital crime. The one exception is the
rodef. If the rodef is armed and threatening, one can kill that person first, before he can kill you.
Rambam then compares the fetus to a rodef threatening the life of its mother. It is
permitted/required to kill the fetus to save the life of the mother. Again, once the head or most
of the body is born, it is now alive and, again, one life cannot be put aside for another.
It is interesting that the Rabbis push this idea further. If a fetus is a rodef, once the head is born, it is still a rodef.
The law about the rodef says it can still be killed; but here, the Rabbis will not tread. 

Once the child is born, it is not the child who is threatening the life of the mother, it is
now a decree from heaven whether this woman will die; women die in childbirth for all kinds of
reasons. Once the child is born, it is no longer the source of the threat to the life of the mother.
What we still do not have is a definition of “threat to the mother.” Is her life in danger? Is her
health in danger? How do we know when a fetus becomes a rodef?
How do we know when the fetus is endangering its mother?

It is only in the modern world where we understand more about medicine and the stages of childbirth that we can begin to focus more on the question of the meaning of “threat to the mother.”

We have an opinion from the modern period from a rabbi who is asked the question, “can an
adulterous married woman (who is pregnant) be allowed to abort the child?” This rabbi, in his
“She’elat Ya’vetz,” permits the abortion. He says, “And even in the case of a legitimate fetus
there is reason to be lenient if there is a great need. As long as the fetus has not begun to
emerge, even if the mother’s life is not in jeopardy, but only so as to save her from an evil
associated with it that would cause her great pain.”

Another rabbi responding to this opinion comments on this ruling by adding: “This is because of
the mother’s need to save her from embarrassment and disgrace when the child is born, for all
of her days. … For there is no need, nor physical and spiritual pain, greater for a mother who
has done teshuva than her illegitimate child who will be living reproof constantly. It is simple
and clear that if we permit abortion for this reason, then we should permit it in the case of a
married woman who is raped, for the child would be illegitimate when conceived by rape.
Therefore, it seems that if there is a valid concern that the child will be born deformed or in
constant pain, we should permit an abortion within 40 days of conception and, at the most, up
to three months and providing that the fetus is not moving.”

What has been decided here is that the “health” of the mother should include her physical
health, her mental health, and her emotional health. If the child will cause her embarrassment
throughout her life, or if it is deformed, or will be in constant pain, then it is permitted to abort.
I do want to add here, in none of these cases is there the idea of “abortion on demand.” The
Rabbis have far more respect for life, even potential life, to let abortion be the last chance for
birth control. The Rabbis could be very lenient about the health of the mother, but they did
understand that an unrestricted use of abortion would lead to a disrespect for human life.
What happens then, is that if there is a medical reason for an abortion, due to physical health
issues, mental health issues or emotional health issues, then an abortion is permitted. But no
human being can just remove a part of his or her body just because they do not like it.
Thus, this decision is a decision between a woman and her doctor. It is not a place where a rabbi
determines what is medically necessary.

To be sure, there are rabbis that disagree with these lenient positions. Some major Halachic
authorities forbid abortion in all cases. In their minds, this disrespect for a life that has been
given by God is just too great. These authorities remain a minority opinion. They represent,
however, how serious the decision to abort should be.

In the 1980’s, the chairman of the Law and Standards Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly,
Rabbi Kass Abelson wrote, “There is clear precedent in the tradition… to permit abortion of a
fetus to save a mother’s life, to safeguard her health or even for a very thin reason, such as to
spare her physical pain or mental anguish. Some … also consider the well-being of other
children, and the future of the fetus itself as reasons to permit abortion. All agree that there
must be a reason to justify the destruction of the potential person the fetus will become after
birth. Where there is reason to believe that the fetus may be defective … if the tests indicate
that the child will be born with major defects … It is permitted to abort the fetus.”
What we learn here is, as usual, Judaism takes a position that is not radical to either side of the
current debate. It is neither fully pro-life nor fully pro-choice. Abortion is permitted but not in
every case. A woman has the right to choose, but also must have a reason. But the most
important part of these rulings is that this is a medical decision relating to the health of the
mother and the fetus. There is extraordinary room for a woman and her doctor to decide what
is best in her case. Judaism is supportive, not judgmental, in dealing with this issue and with the
people involved. Abortion is not birth control, but neither is a pregnancy a burden that must be
carried every day of a woman’s life. I should also add that the Jewish community had and still
has a dedicated support network for women who choose to carry their fetus for its full term
and raise the child.

Our American health system still leaves far too many poor people behind. The inability of our
health care system to cover those who are financially unable to pay, this alone makes it difficult
for a woman to choose to have a child. Childbirth is, by definition, a threat to the life of a
pregnant woman. We should not force a woman to endanger her life without consulting her
and valuing her opinion. The right to control our bodies is not a right that is easily revoked. And
here I offer one personal reflection: I do find it interesting that the same people who said that
the government does not have a right to control their body and to make them wear a mask
during a pandemic, these same people also say that the government does have the right to tell
a woman what to do with her body and forbid her to have an abortion.

I teach this lesson not to suggest the Jewish law is superior to American law. They are separate
legal systems that start with different assumptions. I offer this example to show that there is
middle ground, there is a measured way to ensure that abortion is safe, legal, and still respects
women and the children they bear.
May God give us the wisdom to find the proper balance in life and in law as we say….
Amen and Shabbat Shalom

Israel Slams Russia For Saying Zelensky Has Jewish Blood ‘Just Like Hitler’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attacked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky claiming that “Adolf Hitler also had Jewish blood.”

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — May 2, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, made it clear today that Israel is no longer neutral or would work as a go between Russia and Ukraine.

“I view with utmost severity the Russian Foreign Minister’s statement,” said Bennett.

Bennett was directly referring to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attacking Ukraine and its president Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday during an interview in Italy, saying that “the fact that he is a Jew does not negate the Nazi elements in his country. I believe that Adolf Hitler also had Jewish blood.”

Lavrov said: “Zelensky can promote peace between the states if he stops giving orders to his Nazi forces that border on crime.”

Bennett stated: “His words are untrue and their intentions are wrong.”

“The goal of such lies is to accuse the Jews themselves of the most awful crimes in history, which were perpetrated against them, and thereby absolve Israel’s enemies of responsibility.

As I have already said, no war in our time is like the Holocaust or is comparable to the Holocaust.

The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must cease immediately.”

The Israel Foreign Ministry’s summoned Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov on Monday to protest the egregious comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that Hitler had “Jewish blood” marking the end of Israel’s effort to somehow stay above the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Lavrov’s comments came in response to a question by an Italian radio interviewer about how he could call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a Nazi, when Zelensky himself is a Jew. In addition, Lavrov said, “For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-semites are the Jews themselves.”

Bennett, who on Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, declared in a speech at the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem that nothing can be compared to the Holocaust, said it was time to stop using the Holocaust as a political tool.

Israel Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s comments were harsher and less “diplomatic.” Lavrov’s remarks, he said, “are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error. Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism.”

Israel PM Bennett, President Herzog Speak at Holocaust Remembrance Yad Vashem Ceremony

Photo: Karen Gillerman

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

April 27, 2022 — Jerusalem, Israel … Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance and hosted Holocaust survivor Aliza Landau at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Ms. Landau shared her testimony about her childhood during the Holocaust with the Prime Minister, SAHI volunteers and _Zikaron Basalon_ founder Adi Altschuler. Also attending the meeting were actress Maya Boenos, MK Shirly Pinto, MK Efrat Rayten and SAHI CEO Avraham Hayon.

Israel Prime Minister Bennett at the start of the meeting stated: “I am truly pleased to host Aliza, who will tell her story, and Adi Altschuler, who founded _Zikaron Basalon_.

My office, the Prime Minister’s office, is three meters from here, and nearby is the room of the Security Cabinet of the State of Israel where decisions about military operations, and diplomatic decisions, are made; the most significant decisions for the security of Israel.

Not a day goes by that I do not think about the sanctity of the responsibility that I bear, together with my colleagues, for the existence of the Jewish state in the land of Israel.

It is self-evident to us, the big words – we were born here; everything is self-evident. It is not self-evident.

Throughout most of our history, of the Jewish people, we did not live here in the land. Throughout most of our history we were thrown from one exile to another: From Spain to Morocco, from Poland to Ukraine, to Yemen and Iraq. Our existence was to be wandering and weak.

The nadir, the hardest point in the history of our people and in the history of humanity as a whole, is the Holocaust. Never was there an event in which an entire people, so ideologically motivated, sought to annihilate another people, not for some benefit, not to take their homes, but due to a satanic ideology.

My greatest lesson from here is that we have friends. We have allies near and far – and this is good. However, in the end, the Jewish people, the State of Israel, must always hold its destiny in its own hands, by ourselves. We must also be a good people that does good – that is good and strong. We cannot give up on either one of these.”

Holocaust survivor Aliza Landau told she hid in a forest with her father and brother, with very little food, and how one morning she saw her father weeping. A little girl, she felt this was the end of the world. When she asked her father why he was weeping, he replied that her brother had not survived, that he had perished from hunger. And then her father told her: ‘Where there are barking dogs, there are people. In the night, I want you to crawl there and ask the people for help.’ Aliza said that that day, when she was six, her father gave her his last will: ‘You go. You will be saved and you will rebuild our family.’

Aliza Landau concluded her remarks and said: ‘I fulfilled my father’s will. I built a family. I have three children and seven grandchildren; this is my personal victory over the Nazis.’ She added: ‘My message to the young people is that it is possible to overcome harsh traumas and remain a normative person and contribute.’

SAHI CEO Hayon stated: “The Rebbe from Piacezna, who was murdered in the Holocaust, coined the phrase that is a lamp unto our feet and the motto of the organization of thousands of volunteers: ‘The greatest thing in the world is to do good for someone’. The SAHI youth remember this always, draw strength from it and act according to it throughout the year, but especially around Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Israel President Isaac Herzog spoke this evening at the State Opening Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2022 at Yad Vashem:

“There are moments in which a single photograph, in black and white, tells the whole story and echoes all the words that could be said.

I stand here before you, carrying with me, etched on my heart, such a photograph. It is a rare photograph, which nobody who sees it can ever forget. The eyes see, the mind grasps, yet the soul refuses to believe that what appears in black and white is in fact blacker than black. It is not a photograph about big numbers, about thousands, tens of thousands, or millions.

It is a photograph of a single Jewish family. A family executed by diabolical Nazi jackboots and their collaborators.

A mother and her children on the edge of a pit. Rifle butts touching her back. We cannot see the woman’s face, nor her children’s. A moment before her body collapses into the pit of death, she bends over her infant children. And in a single moment, all the rifles send up a plume of smoke. They shoot her together, not making do with a single bullet. Coordinated. Efficient. One child slips beneath her. With her last ounces of strength, the mother grasps her little boy’s hand, sitting on his knees barefoot, on soil drenched with blood.

What did the mother whisper in her little boy’s ear? Did she beg him not to cry? And what of the child? Did he cry? Did he stay silent? Did he understand? Was he afraid? The photograph is silent, but its voice cries out. It shakes us. It stuns us to silence.

“Do not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

“Do not raise your hand against the boy.” (Genesis 11:12)

“Do not take the mother together with her young.” (Deuteronomy 22:1)

“Do not slaughter it on the same day with its young.” (Leviticus 22:28)

This photograph was taken on 13 October 1941. When I saw it in a book by the historian Dr. Wendy Lower, a book about this photograph, and this photograph alone, I felt my entire essence being turned upside down inside me with grief, with fury, with pain.

These atrocities unfolded in many cities and towns, too many to count, in all of which the sun rose over the valley. Birds chirped. The forests were silent. And the butcher? He butchered and butchered and butchered.”

Israel President Isaac Herzog continued: “Holocaust survivors, heroes of the resurrection, families and succeeding generations, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his wife, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy MK and his wife, Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut and her husband, Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, Israeli Government ministers, chief rabbis, heads of the security services, Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel Chairwoman Colette Avital, citizens of Israel, ladies and gentlemen.

Throughout the Holocaust of European Jewry, babies, girls and boys, women, the elderly and men were led to the pits of death and massacred. Like the mother and her little boy, they left behind neither a name nor a memory. “Like sheaves behind the reaper” fell the Jews into the pit, “with none to pick them up” (Jeremiah 9:21).

The mass killing of the Jewish People, mankind’s darkest hour, started thus, with what would in time be called the “Holocaust by bullets.” Later, the insatiable Nazi predator accelerated this process of extermination until it reached monstrous proportions. Millions of our people were tortured, murdered, massacred by the most frightful mechanism of evil that humankind has ever known.

My sisters and brothers, three years after the camp gates were opened, the survivors of the Holocaust became the heroes of the resurrection. They became our standard, our example, our symbol.

The State of the Jews arose as a lighthouse expressing the victory of light over darkness and promising that never again will a Jewish child hide in a dark and isolated cellar from those who want him dead. Never again will parents be torn apart from their children and sent on their final steps, simply because they are Jews. And never, ever, will depraved murderers stand behind a Jewish family, shoot them, and dispatch them into the valley of the shadow of death.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Jewish response to history is the injunction: Remember! Memory not only of sterile science, nor of archival documents, but first of all, fundamentally: profound, existential memory, which gives history its meaning. Memory of the sort that is reflected in every walk of life, that makes us grow, that builds us as a nation, that makes us better, more worthy.

Our beloved Holocaust survivors, your memory is our memory, and the task of bequeathing it falls to all of us. It is we who bear the duty to teach the lessons of the Holocaust and to hand them down, from generation to generation.

We stand no chance, nor have we any justification as a people and as a state, if we do not remember forever what happened to our people, in the ghettos, in the basements of the Gestapo, in the execution pits, in the death trains, in the extermination camps, in the crematoria, and in every other place where the image of humanity was lost and no trace of compassion survived.

And besides all this, we must prove, first and foremost to ourselves, that it is not only history that binds us as a people, and that our shared future is a firm foundation for deepening connections between us, no less so than our past. We must continue building our nation such that it will flourish, grow, and rise to every challenge.

We must act in a cohesive and determined manner in the face of terrorism and hatred, led by states and organizations against us, and fortify Israel’s independence as an iron wall defending us against our enemies.

Casting doubt on Israel’s right to exist is not legitimate diplomacy but pure antisemitism, which must be uprooted. We must continue fighting against ugly expressions of antisemitism, which is returning to rear its head in many places in the world, including on social media. And we must make clear that even today, eight decades after the darkest abyss in the annals of human history, the antisemitism threatening our people is a crime against humanity.

Our dear Holocaust survivors, even as your numbers dwindle, our obligations toward you only grow, and they must be seen and heard from every edge of the earth. You are the pillar of fire before our camp. You provide us with inspiration and hope, and you instill in us faith in the righteousness of our cause and in our willingness to move forward. 

Citizens of Israel, I began my remarks tonight with a photograph, and I end with another photograph, which also echoes all the words that could be said. On my desk, in the office of the President of the State of Israel, is only one photograph, which shocks everyone who sees it. It is another photograph that nobody who sees it can ever forget. In the middle of the picture is the late Dora Dreibelt-Eisenberg, born in Lodz, prisoner number 55374 from Auschwitz-Birkenau. Together with her, her little great-granddaughter, Daniella Har Zvi. Here too, the woman’s face is out of sight, and so is the face of her great-granddaughter. The little girl holds her great-grandmother’s arm. The Israeli flag touches their hands. This photo too, taken by Karen Gillerman, clearly tells the whole story.

The story of the Jewish People and its rebirth. The story of the Land of Israel and its settlement. The story of the chain of generations, and the story of the State of Israel, our beloved country, which is the most profound expression of the Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones.

As the Bible says: “Thus said the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel… I will put My breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil.” (Ezekiel 37:12-14)

Earth, cover not their blood! May the memory of our brothers and sisters, victims of the Holocaust, be blessed and bound in the heart of the nation, from generation to generation, for evermore.”

Israel Prime Minister Bennett Salutes Iron Beam Laser Defense System

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — April 17, 2022 … Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett commented on the successful completion of tests on the “Iron Beam” laser air defense system:

“We have successfully completed a series of tests on our new ‘Iron Beam’ laser air defense system. This may sound like science-fiction, but it’s real.

This state-of-the-art laser system is capable of firing laser beams that intercept incoming UAVs, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles. It’s a game changer.

This the world’s first energy-based weapons system, that has proven to actually work. The Iron Beam’s interceptions are silent, they’re invisible and they only cost around $3.50. We are turning the tables on terror.

I would like to thank the Israel Ministry of Defense and the defense industries on this huge achievement.”

The Israel Defense Ministry revealed Thursday that a laser air defense system it is developing successfully shot down drones, rockets, mortars, and anti-tank missiles in a first series of tests last month.

According to the head of the ministry’s research and development team, Brig. Gen. (res.) Yaniv Rotem, the tests were conducted at “challenging” ranges and timings.

“The use of a laser is a ‘game changer’ and the technology is simple to operate and proves to be economically viable,” he said.

Prime Minister Bennett Visits Terror Victims Wounded in Tel Aviv Attack

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — April 9, 2022 … Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited terror victims who were wounded in the Dizengoff Street terrorist attack, in Tel Aviv at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), this evening.

The Prime Minister spoke with the wounded and their families, heard from them about what happened on Thursday, and wished them a quick recovery and full health.

Hospital CEO Prof. Roni Gamzu participated in the visit.

“I have just finished visiting the wounded in Ichilov hospital,” said Prime Minister Bennett. “They are energetic and maintain a very strong spirit.

We are going from defense to offense and are striking at the sources of the terrorism at any time and any place – at night, during the day, morning and evening, everywhere. As I have said, there will be no restrictions on the security forces – on the IDF, ISA or the Israel Police. We will continue pursuing the terrorists everywhere.”

Israeli security forces on Friday shot dead a Palestinian terrorist who murdered three people in a Tel Aviv bar, in the latest attack in a series amid renewed attacks by Jihadist Palestinians.

The terrorist had entered a pub on a crowded main street of Tel Aviv on Thursday night and began shooting, murdering two people and wounding several others before fleeing. A third victim died of his wounds on Friday.

Hundreds of Israeli security officers, assisted by helicopters with spotlights, combed the streets for hours while residents were told to stay indoors.

The security officers found the terrorist hiding near a mosque in Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Tel Aviv terror attack. 

Videos of celebrations in Ramallah, Jenin, Gaza and Lebanon circulated on social media. Supporters of the terror attack reportedly honked the horns of their cars and handed out sweets to passersby. 

A reporter for the pro-Hezbollah Al-Mayadeen Ali Mortada called the terrorist “a Palestinian hero” on Twitter. His colleague Fatima Ftouni shared a tweet about the attack’s death toll with a heart emoji.

Fourteen people have been murdered in the past few weeks in a series of Jihadist attacks against Jews in Israel.

Terrorism In Israel – Defending Ourselves

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — March 30, 2022 … The Bnei Brak terror attack, which took place next to Tel Aviv, was the third fatal attack in a week and brought the death toll to 11, the highest number of people murdered by terrorists in recent years.

Sarah Tuttle-Singer, one of Israel’s finest writers penned the following: “Last May we had a war — and relatively speaking, my kids and I were lucky: Israel has a missile defense system. We have bomb shelters. And we have sirens. And as soon as those sirens went off, we would run for our lives.

For those living by the Gazan border, it’s a lot harder — there isn’t the luxury of time. And too many people died in rocket attacks down south , and have over the years — including sweet little Daniel Tragerman who was murdered in a rocket attack in 2014. He was the same age as my son. My kids and have 90 seconds to get from our door to the public shelter — and during the war in 2014, we still didn’t make it on time every time, before the ground shook and the air shimmered. But still — I DID know when to run and when to drop to the ground and cover my children with my own body. And the war ended. (But we still have nightmares).

But this is different now — there is no missile defense system against stabbings and shootings. We can’t lock ourselves in a shelter all day. Stabbings and shootings have no siren so we don’t know when to run. Stabbings and shootings can happen anywhere at any time. They can happen in a park on a quiet bench. They can happen in the market, with soldiers standing just a few steps away. They can happen in front of a school or in a synagogue or on the street.

Everyone is on edge right now — most of us feel that prickle of fear just below the neck or deep in our stomachs — because when these attacks are random, everyone is a potential target. Everyone.

The young rabbi at the Western Wall. The barista with the dirty laugh. The soldier who still wears braces. The guy who sells the best pomegranates in the Ramle Shuk. The single mother with two children. The young father who will die for his son. This mother. My children.

The headlines you’ll read outside of Israel or the Jewish world won’t tell you this — but I will. Even though we live in a complicated part of the world, murdering innocent people isn’t complicated: It is wrong, pure and simple.

And while we are a resilient people — after all, we’ve survived THIS long despite devastating odds — It’s hard right now. Please hold the thought — and if you have questions, talk to me. I’m still here.”

Thank you Sarah. Your words could not be more accurate or profound.

The Israel News Agency totally agrees with an editorial in the Jerusalem Post: Israel’s mission for the foreseeable future: Halt terrorism. The Post states that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held consultations with senior security officials, vowing to the citizens of Israel that his government and security forces will do all they can to fight terrorism “with persistence, diligence and an iron fist.”

Bennett said it “requires the security establishment to be creative and for us to adapt ourselves to the new threat and read the tell-tale signs of lone individuals, sometimes without organizational affiliation, and to be in control on the ground in order to thwart terrorism even before it happens.”

The Jerusalem Post and the Israel News Agency totally support the following:

  • Continue to boost security forces with the IDF, police, MAGAV, MAGAV volunteers and keep them on high alert as well as tighten security at checkpoints and in urban centers throughout the country, especially as Muslims approach their month-long holiday of Ramadan that starts next week.
  • Work together with the PA and friendly countries in the region to gather intelligence on ISIS operatives and other terrorist organizations in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Demolish the homes of the terrorists as a punitive measure to deter future attacks.
  • Demand that the PA stop its so-called “Martyrs Fund,” which pays monthly cash stipends to the families of Palestinian terrorists killed, wounded or imprisoned.
  • Urge all citizens to be vigilant, particularly at sites that are vulnerable to terrorist attacks – markets, malls, synagogues, cafés and other places where crowds gather – as well as on public transportation throughout Israel.

Israel has never lost a war. Not against an army from nations with borders, not against an army of Jihadist terrorists who communicate and coordinate on the Internet. Israel has the INTEL and the manpower to protect it’s citizens.
This is a time to embrace and thank the men and women of the IDF, the Shabak (internal security forces) and the Mossad. This is a time to take pride in seeing thousands proudly wearing the uniforms of Israel and for those whose uniforms you do not see.

We do not have the luxury of losing a war nor living in fear.

Four Murdered In Israel Terror Attack

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

March 22, 2022 — Beersheba, Israel … Four people have been murdered and several others wounded in a terror attack in southern Israel.

Three were stabbed to death outside the BIG shopping center in Beersheba, while a fourth was rammed by a vehicle driven by the assailant.

The terrorist was shot dead by a bus driver. The terrorist was an Israeli Arab.

Mohammad Ghaleb Abu al-Qi’an, a former school teacher from Israeli Bedouin town of Hura, was imprisoned in 2016 for trying to recruit others to join Jihadist group ISIS, to fight in Syria

It is the deadliest such attack in Israel for several years.
Tuesday’s stabbing attack was praised by both the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups.

The terror victims named: Two mothers of 3, a Chabad rabbi, a brother of 4.

Doris Yahbas, 49, Laura Yitzhak, 43, and Menahem Yehezkel, 67, were stabbed to death; Moshe Kravitzky, 50, died when terrorist car rammed his bicycle.

Israel, Jewish Agency, Jewish Federations Rescuing Jews From Ukraine

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

March 10, 2022 — Jerusalem, Israel … The Jewish Agency for Israel has begun emergency operations to rescue Jews from the war in Ukraine.

Three flights of Jewish Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Israel carrying 150 Jews from Poland and 100 from Romania . Returning to Israel with the new olim (immigrants) is Acting Chair of The Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel and President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Eric Fingerhut.

The Jewish Agency continues to have ongoing humanitarian and rescue operations in four countries neighboring Ukraine: Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.

As of today, March 10, The Jewish Agency will significantly increase its operations inside Ukraine to maximize the ability to save Jewish lives, Hagoel said on Wednesday during a visit to the region.

A total of 320 Olim from Ukraine landed in Israel on March 6 on two flights from Moldova and Poland. This was in addition to a separate flight that brought around 100 orphans on a flight from Romania. These new immigrants (Olim) are staying in hotels across Israel for about a month, coordinated by the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. Afterwards, the Ukrainian immigrants will be transferred to their permanent residences, located in communities throughout Israel.

The Jewish Agency has initiated a humanitarian aid operation called ‘Torenu’ (Our Turn), which is being organized together with the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel. The humanitarian operation is collecting basic necessities from the Israeli public and transferring them to Jewish Agency centers active along the Ukrainian border. These items mainly consist of winter equipment like tents, sleeping bags, blankets, coats, gloves, hats and scarves and hygienic items like soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper and toothpaste.

The Jewish Agency’s Director General and CEO Amira Ahronoviz arrived in the region on March 6 to closely monitor the large-scale Jewish Agency emergency operations and also meet with heads of Jewish communities. Ahronoviz is accompanied by The Jewish Agency’s Regional Director for the Former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Germany Roman Polonsky.

The Jewish Agency has raised more than $19 million since the beginning of the war to support humanitarian and rescue operations along the Ukrainian border. Over $11 million coming from its partners at JFNA and Keren Hayesod. The current needs of this operation stand at over $85 million.

Over 2,000 Jews have so far arrived at Aliyah (immigration to Israel) processing centers run by The Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) that are located in countries bordering Ukraine. The future immigrants (Olim) are escorted from the border to temporary housing facilities where they receive their visas to Israel.

More than 4,130 beds were rented in hotels and other facilities in neighboring countries along the border to accommodate the thousands of Jews seeking to make Aliyah. Meanwhile, The Jewish Agency is also involved in working alongside local organizations to secure additional lodging for these refugees. Currently, 1,800 beds – including at a facility inside Ukraine on the outskirts of Lviv – are occupied by refugees waiting to move to Israel.

Over 16,000 telephone calls have been received at the special hotline established together with the IFCJ, 6,600 of which were from Jews seeking to move to Israel (Aliyah) as soon as possible. Other calls came from concerned relatives in Israel, seeking guidance on how they could help their loved ones in Ukraine. Call centers also direct refugees within Ukraine and inform them how they can receive rescue services from The Jewish Agency, IFCJ and other local organizations.

Since 1929, The Jewish Agency for Israel has been working to secure a vibrant Jewish future. It was instrumental in founding and building the State of Israel and continues to serve as the main link between the Jewish state and Jewish communities everywhere.

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Meets with King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 15, 2022 … Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an historic meeting today with the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at his private palace. The meeting took place in the framework of the Prime Minister’s official visit to the country.

The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa stated: “I consider it a historical day, to receive the prime minister of Israel. His visit to Bahrain will be a fruitful visit, a successful visit, because of his determination and leadership towards a joint, integrated effort for the best of the two peoples. I thank him for coming here.”

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded: “Your Majesty, it has been a huge honor to visit your wonderful Kingdom of Bahrain, and I admire your courage and your determination to build your country. I think we discussed many ways to build new bridges, and an architecture for a stronger and more stable region. And I’m looking forward to continuing this remarkable relationship.”

The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa: “Inshallah. By the will of G-d.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett: “By the will of G-d. In Hebrew it’s Be’ezrat HaShem. In Arabic it’s inshallah.”

Warm relations have existed between Bahrain and Israel since Bahrain achieved its independence in 1971. In recent years, relations between the two nations expanded and the countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations in September 2020. The foreign minister of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has been quoted saying: “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region, historically. So, the Jewish people have a place amongst us.”

Bennett’s trip illustrated the speed at which Israel has cemented close relations with several Arab governments since the country formalized diplomatic relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, re-established relations with Morocco, and improved them with Sudan, all in 2020.

Bennett told Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Bahraini prime minister, at the start of their meeting:

“Our goal in this visit is to turn it from a government-to-government to a people-to-people peace and to convert it from ceremonies to substance.”

“To substance, exactly,” Prince Salman replied, describing the meeting as “cousins getting together.”

Yad Vashem Invites Whoopi Goldberg To Learn About The Holocaust

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 2, 2022 …

Yad Vashem Holocaust Center Chairman Dani Dayan made the following statement:

“The statement by Whoopi Goldberg on the ABC talk show “The View”, only days after the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an unfortunate indication of a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Holocaust and antisemitism.

We must not mince words; people need to know what led to the Holocaust, the unprecedented murderous drive to annihilate the entire Jewish people their religion, culture and values by the Nazis and their collaborators, primarily due to of the unfounded belief that Jews were their foremost and extremely dangerous racial enemy. 

While her apology and clarification are important, I extend a personal invitation to Ms. Goldberg and other influencers to learn more about the causes, events and aftermath of the Holocaust here at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.”