Magen David

The Sefer Torah Recycling Network

Moshe Burt's Run-up to a Chet and "Days After" Blog

Magen David

A GAPING WOUND by Rachel Saperstein, Jerusalem Gold Hotel September 18, 2005  

Unesaneh Tokef 5766: Emphasizing the Intense Kedusha of the Day by Moshe Burt  

Parsha Nitzavim 5765: Covenant, Unity; Jonathan Pollard and our Gush Katif Brethren  

Parsha Ki Teitsei 5765: All-Encompassing Care, Kindness and Responsibility for/of Am Yehudi By, Moshe Burt  


Asher Keren

I write these words as the flames engulf the last remnants of the synagogues that served the former residents of Morag, Neve Dekalim, Kfar Darom and the other evicted Jewish settlements of the Gaza Strip. It seems that the first thing the Palestinians (sic) did after the I.D.F. ethnic cleansing was completed was to burn the synagogues, straight and to the point. Morality is relative in the Western world, but not so amongst the Arabs, at least when confronting their enemies. They know what they must do, without mumbling or apologetics.

But Jewish morality today is Western and unfortunately not in any way related to Torah morality, and our mumbling and hypocrisy end in the burning of our synagogues. While the entire rabbinical world, in Israel and in the Exile, managed to maneuver the Israeli politicians into going against the Israeli Supreme Court order to demolish the synagogues before the Palestinians (sic) do, they were unable to speak with one voice in order to avoid the eviction of the Jewish settlements in the first place. And the politicians, while stating that they must heed now this call from the world’s Rabbis against our fervent destruction of synagogues, were deaf to the thousands of Rabbis that stated that the eviction itself must not happen. The moral corruption of our Rabbis and politicians is the issue at hand, not the Palestinian (sic) burning of the synagogues.

To completely and totally destroy flourishing Jewish communities for no reason, with no peace agreement in hand, without even a glimmer of hope that Israel’s security situation will improve, was not reason enough for the rabbinical world to stand together hand in hand and to shout. There were those that considered it politics and therefore something to be decided by the secular Israeli politicians and those that decided that even if wrong, the first obligation is to the State and that therefore to loudly protest is to destroy the state apparatus. And, there are even those Rabbis that agreed with the forcible eviction of Jews from their homes and farms, the most successful agricultural enterprise in all of Israel. But the now empty synagogues, yes, that is something that the Rabbis could agree upon.

The cynical politicians are no better. Thousands of the world’s leading Rabbis did state clearly and without hesitation that the eviction was morally wrong, from both a Torah viewpoint as well as a basic humanitarian viewpoint. But the politicians latched on to their own personal and political calculations. Yet now, all of a sudden, they listen. The Jews have been kicked out and the political system has defeated the great majority of Rabbis. It is no skin off their collective nose to now state that our burning of synagogues is wrong from the standpoint of Jewish law, especially if all of the world’s Rabbis can finally unite around this important lesson.

And so, our synagogues now burn at the hands of the Palestinians (sic) whose message is clear and unambiguous. ‘We are the enemy of the Jewish state and indeed of Judaism. Thank you for giving us your Land, and we will now destroy your synagogues.’ They know that the world will not really protest, because they understand the world’s hypocrisy concerning the Jews. And they know Jewish hypocritical morality as well. They know that the Jews often choose symbols over life, Holocaust museums over the settlement of the Land, nice words and moving ceremonies and shouts of horror at Palestinian (sic) terrorism over fighting the devil itself. They know that the Jews will beat their breasts at the destruction of the abandoned synagogues, but that Jews also prefer assuaging their pain through moving prayers and gatherings, not by securing Jewish settlement.

I respect Palestinian (sic) clarity and honesty and I loathe Jewish mumbling. If I am part of a people that put abandoned synagogues above Jewish life then I will not be silent until our priorities have been reestablished. If our Rabbis can only unite around synagogues of the past and if our politicians can only listen to Jewish values once their political agenda has been served, then I will scream at the top of my lungs until moral clarity is again the call of the day. And I will watch the synagogues burn, admiring the Palestinians (sic) at least for their sense of unabashed purpose.

Parsha Shoftim 5765: Where There's No Just Judgement, There's No Law! by, Moshe Burt
The third posuk of our Parsha reads; "Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof..." Righteousness, righteousness (also rendered Justice, Justice) you shall pursue that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord, your G'd gives you." (Sefer Devarim, Perek 16, posuk 20)  

Parsha Re'eh 5765 -- Collective Responsibility for Our Brethren & for Eretz Yisrael

by Moshe Burt
Parsha Re'eh begins with the B'nai Yisrael assembled to hear the mandate for the future pronouncements on Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval. Moshe Rabbeinu continues his mussar saying, "Behold, I set before you ... a blessing and a curse; the blessing if you heed the commandments of Hashem, and the curse, if you will not observe his commandments.(Sefer Devarim, Perek 11, posukim 26-27)

Toward the end of the parsha, we are informed "If there be among you a destitute person of one of your brothers within your cities in your land which Hashem ... gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother." (Sefer Devarim, Perek 15, posuk 7) I view "V'ahavtah, L'rei'echa Kamocha", what Hillel told the Ger "on one foot" as summing up the entire Torah; wanting for your brother what you would want for yourself, and not wanting for your brother what you would not want for yourself, as the link which binds these two these two p'sukim in our Parsha.

And yet, here in modern-day Medinat Yisrael, we seem lacking in the spirit of unity and collective responsibility which are projected in these posukim. Many seem too busy being self-interested, self-satisfied and self-affectionated in their own narrow worlds to care about the travails, lackings and suffering of their fellow Jews.

I find a large degree of self-emphasis to the exclusion of V'ahavtah, L'rei'echa Kamocha; the welfare of our brethren, particularly evident in the days leading up to the Expulsion, the event itself and in the days following it.

For days leading up to the event, efforts were made to form groups to do different actions to draw the Israeli police and the army away from their main purpose, the expulsion, the violent expulsion of their fellow Jews from their homes, neighborhoods and physical and mental wellbeing.

To my friends with whom I participated in traffic slow-downs between Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv, with whom I marched through Jerusalem creating disturbances near the news conference of the new Finance Minister and Sharon lackey Ehud Olmert, in front of the US Consulate and at the entrance to the Prime Minister's home and to my friends who took to the dirt roads and fields trying to reach the Kisuffim checkpoint and to Gush Katif on Yom Pakuda from various venues, my friends with whom I spent a night in S'derot, etc. my admiration, respect and feelings of brotherhood are overflowing.

Many of these beautiful people ended up either arrested and later set free, or injuring themselves from having fallen into IDF-built trap ditches or destroying their autos which couldn't take the riggers of dirt roads or fields. Many more of these people were committed parents whose committment rubbed off on their young adult children who flocked into Gush Katif by any and all possible means. They too, I hold in the highest regard and endearment.

Unfortunately, events have borne out that, by and large, there was too little tangible commitment; V'ahavtah, L'rei'echa Kamocha, of putting one's lives on hold on the part of a vast segment our brethren, and an abundance of business as usual particularly from certain significant Observant circles.

The business was brisk at the shopping centers, such as the Birkat Rachel Shopping Center in Ramat Beit Shemesh "Alef", on day 1 of Yom Pakuda.

And people ran to their jobs, just like any other day. Too few put their own personal lives on hold in order to help their brethren. Many went on with their vacation plans even though their political hack leaders and surrender artists implemented and carried out mass expulsion -- extortion and legalized theft at gunpoint against our Gush Katif/Shomron brethren. In short, it was appalling, in light of the apparent implications and worldwide consequences of the expulsion, how few took to the streets and highways toward Gush Katif, even though loud speakers blared all up and down every locale throughout Israel urging people to leave their homes for Kisuffim Junction and for Gush Katif, by auto, by bus and on foot. Where were the thousands, the tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews who packed the old city and the Kotel on the Wednesday night before the expulsion and who davened with such feeling and Kavanah to Hashem? Don't they grasp that perhaps Hashem wanted physical commitment and addition to tefillah, V'ahavtah, L'rei'echa Kamocha, acting for our brethren as one would want a brother to act for them?

And so, to my utter disbelief, the Expulsion went off, almost exactly as the Fat Man planned.

And once expelled, things over the past 2 and a half weeks have gone from terrible to unspeakable for the vast majority of the 10,000 Gush Katif/Shomron refugees. And still, no sufficient response from Am Yehudi.

Gush Katif people are temporarily housed in hotels, often a family of 8 or 10 or more in one or maybe two hotel rooms, or in guest houses with the same situation or worse, or in tent cities. These families are destitute and in dire straits for the government has given them nothing other than what currently serves as "roof over their heads." Contrary to some news reports, most of their children have not begun school yet for the school year. The people don't even have carfare money to get from one place to another to take care of personal/family business.

I've read of chassunahs where Gush Katif families have had to try to solicit funds from the public to cover costs as the Israeli government took everything from them and there is no money to defray the costs of the simcha.

There have been individuals who have raised funds to help these refugees short-term. For example, two individuals have seen to raising funds thus far sufficient to give refugees from one Gush Katif towns funds to cover autobus transportation and maybe toiletries for a few days, a mere pittance by comparison with the totality of short-term needs of the town's refugee families.

But where are my fellow Jews? Can we suffice permitting indifference and individual self-concern to condemn and impoverish our brethren, the refugees of Gush Katif and the Shomron who were legally robbed at gunpoint of all of their possessions by an evil government?

My friends both in Israel and in Chutz L'Aretz, if you are willing to step in and help our brethren, please contact me at and I will provde you with venues for short-term assistance to refugees. Or you can click on; for information regarding donations aimed toward helping with long-term needs. But please, " shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother."

B'Ezrat Hashem, may we merit that this past Tisha B'av be the last Tzom for Am Yehudi.

B'Ezrat Hashem, may we soon know the day when Torah is the law of the land, when we pray thanks to Hashem for the Ge’ula Shlaima and for the restoration of our Brethren, expelled by the evil regime from Gush Katif and the Shomron towns to bigger and more beautiful homes and neighborhoods, Bati Knesset, Yeshivot in Gush Katif and the Shomron and only happiness and success for all time. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream. And may we soon see freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael for Jonathan Pollard.

May we see the “Yom Hashem Al Kol HaGoyim,” Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol.

  • Parsha Va'etchanan -- Is There Consolation After Jews Expel Jews??

  • Drive toward Kissufim + some info

    by, Zvi Newman
    Monday Evening 15 August, 2005
    Between 150-200 people from R/BS went down toward Kisufim last night - mostly youth, but many adults and quite a few kids as well. We received destination and driving instructions along the way from people closely associated with the struggle against this incomprehensible disengagement plan, and we did our best to get as close to Kissufim as possible. When the police roadblocks became too numerous and serious, we wound our way through the back roads of Ofakim and the fields of Moshav Patish, with encouragement and navigation advice from the local residents. There were many hundreds, probably thousands of vehicles doing similar maneuvers throughout the area. Some of the police turned a blind eye, some were very serious about doing their jobs (these were the ones blocking the key intersections and accessways, who probably had to give a full accounting after their shift), and there were helicopters illuminating the clandestine convoys with searchlights. The R/BS group somehow got split up after midnight, and our section merged with a group from Jerusalem. Close to 2 AM, we drivers who had to return to work the next day (don't ask me how I feel now! ;-) ) dropped off our passengers in the fields not far from Kibbutz Re'im and headed home. We weren't stopped by the cops like Aryeh's group was. I got home at 03:10 - just about 8 hours door-to-door.

    Morale was high, and I am consistently astounded by the high quality of our nation's dati leumi youth - I had the privilege of driving 4 local teenagers down there, and I can't imagine a better generation for future leadership of our country in all spheres. But that's a big part of what this disengagement exercise is about, isn't it?

    2 big disappointments: hearing that Ganim and Kadim (2 of the 4 yeshuvim slated for evacuation in the Shomron, right next to Jenin) are now competely empty, their residents having chosen to leave voluntarily (I'm not criticizing them for this, I'm referring to the general fact that 2 yeshuvim are as close to lost as can be), and seeing firsthand a bit of the massive waste of our tax money on the hitnatkut - let's not forget that there are plenty of Jews living in poverty, but Arik and co. prefer to let them rot while they gleefully make the heartland Judenrein.

    In any case, here's a piece of info from one of our extraordinary guides - he said that as many as 40-60% of the "inner circle" MAGAVnikim and soldiers are planning to refuse to take part in the evacuation by force, which Arutz-7 says is set to begin tonight at 20:00.

    So, a big yashar koach to the Jewish residents of 'Azza and the northern Shomron, their supporters inside and outside the yishuvim, the organizers, drivers, Tehillim-sayers, political activists, sovevei shearim, and everybody else who's putting in their lot to stop this foolish/evil/suicidal hitnatkut thing. Keep at it, and may all of our mesirut nefesh fulfill R. Nir Ben-Artzi's view that we are doing the final tikkun for Chet HaMeraglim and the big yeshua will come at the the last second. And if not that scenario, than whatever other good one... ;-)

    Miracle At S'derot

    By, Moshe Burt

    Nearly 27 years ago, the event called thereafter, "Miracle at the Meadowlands" took place near the end of an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

    There were 30 seconds left in the football game. The Eagles, who had been down 14-0 at half-time, had scored 12 second half points on a touchdown and 2 field goals but were trailing the Giants 17-12. The Giants had the ball and the Eagles had no further time outs. All the Giants had to do was sit on the ball. Two more snaps with Quarterback Joe Pisarcik taking the snap and falling to one knee while cradling the ball and the game would be history -- a Giant win, another notch in the legendary Eagles/Giants rivalry. As Dandy Don Meredith used to say on Monday Night football -- "stick a fork in the Eagles, their done!"

    But wait, Pisarcik under center takes the snap, doesn't handle it cleanly and bobbles as he tries to hand off to fullback Larry Czonka. Uh oh, the ball bounces on the turf and here comes Eagle defensive cornerback Herman Edwards who collects the fumbled ball on one bounce and races, untouched, 26 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds left. Eagles win 19-17 in the most improbable of ways.

    Fast forward to Chuf Vov Tammuz 5765 (2 August, 2005) and the Hafganah (rally) in S'derot.

    50,000 people gathered in S'derot as the first leg of renewed efforts to break the Regime's seige of Gush Katif. Those gathered braved days of non-stop media mis-information, dis-information and false rumors as well as police and government intimidation and propaganda. The assembled masses heard speeches given by a cross-section of MKs, from Tzvi Hendel, Uzi Landau, Eli Yishai of Shas, Rabbi Porush of Degel HaTorah, Natan Sharansky and more plus Rabbonim ranging from Rav Druckman to Rav Motti Elon and others such as Moshe Leshem.

    During the proceedings, someone I was standing near commented that they had just heard a boom in the distance and surmised that it must have been a kassam.

    And so, the hafganah continued without incident until it's conclusion, except for Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra's unsuccessful sideshow play for media exposure and distraction from the proceedings.

    While I arrived at S'derot via one of the chartered buses from Ramat Beit Shemesh, I got a ride home from friends who also live in RBS.

    Many reading this article may wonder, so nu, what's the end of an American pro-football game 27 years ago got to do the hafganah in Sderot?

    Firstly, S'derot after the hafganah kinda resembled Southwest Philly on a fall Sunday afternoon, post-Eagles game except for the total absence of any traffic management (despite the presence of thousands of police).

    Secondly, if Vice-Dictator Shimon Peres and his "Peres Peace Center" can introduce NY Giant fullback Tiki Barber (whose multi-year, multi-million dollar NFL contract wasn't enough and sought a little kesef on the side from the Vice-Dictator) into Israeli politics, than I can equate last night in Sderot to an NFL game which took place almost 3 decades ago, while Tiki was but a gleam in some "soul brother's" eyes.

    But most importantly, the parallels between S'derot and this football game of a bygone era have to do with the swiftness with which a seemingly fait accompli, done-deal can be divinely reversed and the cheshbonot which the creator brings into play to facilitate the reversal.

    Remember that boom mentioned earlier? On the way home, the radio news constantly spoke about the kassam attack meant for S'derot which actually fell, self-inflicted, upon an Arab home killing an Arab child and injuring several other Arabs. Actually, as noted in the online news on Wednesday, there were 3 kassams launched toward S'derot, the two other ones falling harmless in a field kilometers away from S'derot and the 50,000 protestors.

    Giant quarterback Pisarcik, under pressure of risking a penalty for too much time in the huddle, while incredulous at his offensive coordinator's play call, sought to avoid a repetition of criticism leveled at him from the previous game for overriding his Offensive coordinator's play decision. His indecisiveness led to the bobbled snap from center and the dropped hand-off which led to a touchdown for the other team and loss of the game in the closing seconds.

    So, too, could it be that the cheshbon which led to the miracle of the miss-fired Arab kassam attack constitutes the beginning of a heavenly counter-offensive which will end with the Geula Shlaima and the utter defeat, as with the hard-hearted Pharoh, of the cruel, evil regime -- Memeshelet Sharon?

    The days to come will tell the story. But, in light of the nace, the miracle which some 50,000 of us were zocha to be present for, we must take our emunah up a few notches.

    Today, Thursday is Yom Kippur Katan, as Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Av. It is imperative that those of us either engaged or not engaged in unfolding events near Ofakim, or Kissufim or inside Gush Katif take part in the S'lichos of Yom Kippur Katan, and if possible, to be part of a minyan of fasters so as to enable the Torah reading of Vayakhal.

    Just as B'nai Yisrael fasted in Shushan to beseech Hashem on their behalf, so too we must beseech HaKadosh Borchu even as many of us do our physical part, our hishtadlut to bring an end to the vile, evil decree of expulsion of Jews from Jewish land.

    Every believing Jew belongs taking part in this battle, on all of it's levels, to his fullest and beyond, to the extent that he can.

    B'Ezrat Hashem, may it be that come this Rosh Hashanah, we pray thanks to Hashem for the Ge’ula Shlaima and for keeping our Brethren in Gush Katif and in the Shomron in their homes and neighborhoods and away from the horror and Chillul Hashem of expulsion. And may we soon see freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael for Jonathan Pollard.

    May we see the “Yom Hashem Al Kol HaGoyim,” Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!

    • Parsha Matos 5765: Remaining "in peace" during a War of Survival.

    • Email Thread From a Concerned Mom re: Chaya, P'nina and Moriah
      31 July, 2005

      This email thread came our way via a concerned Mother with contact with the parents of one of the arrested girls. (MB) On sunday, 7 August, the 3 girls were released to house arrest. (MB)

      I spoke again with Yochi before Shabbat and she related some manipulative legal tactics being used to keep the parents unaware and unprepared.

      As I consider the ramificatons of what it being done to these children, I recall the horror of the stolen Yemenite children at modern Israel's birth and why that happened. Sarit is a beloved gannenet in Tapuach, the kind of ever-smiling person who grabs your hands and gets you dancing at smachot. I know her. She is not the Mother of a danger to society. None of the mothers are. Their children are the same kind of teens you find anywhere in functional, happy homes. Please make a concerted effort to follow and to stay in the guidelines that these parents jointly hope will free their children.

      May no Jewish mother or father have to suffer the agmat nefesh we are presently addressing. May H' bring a yeshua gedola and menuchat hanefesh to all concerned, miyad.

      The government fears the unity of upstanding, moral Jews, and that achdut is what will save us all.

      Another Mother in Israel

      ----- Original Message -----
      To: Yochi
      Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2005 8:24 AM
      Subject: girls in jail
      Again I'm sending you a copy of my ex's latest update on Chaiki and her friends. I have also tried to attach a copy of part of the poster that we had made and are posting around the country. I hope it works. (I did a's at the bottom.)

      Anyone, who wishes to send a letter of encouragment to Chaiki and Moriah and P'nina may do so at my address. I have been printing them and taking them to her at court, the only time we get to see her except for one 1/2 hour visit per wk. When she is taken back to jail, the prison inspectors then confiscate them from her, but at least she gets the memory of the concern and support. And the authorities get an idea of how bad they are looking to the world!

      Those of you with kids these ages probably feel as though you sometimes only see your children 1/2 hour a week, but pay attention for a few days, and you will see that you do see them a lot more than that. And 2 of these girls are barely old enough to remember to brush their teeth without being told, much less to eat properly, etc.

      Anyone wishing to help financially can do so as listed at the end of Moshe's letter, or directly to me:

      Yocheved Belogorodsky D.N. Efriam Kfar Tapuach 44829 Israel

      I can also be reached in Israel at: cell phone 054-641-7367 home phone 03-936-6461

      Again, please feel free to forward this.

      Dear Friend,

      Thank you for your support and encouragement of our efforts to free Chaya. We have been flooded with mail and phone calls expressing outrage and offering help. Please forgive us if we didn't reply to you individually, there's just no time.

      We would like to update you on our work in this struggle.

      We realize many of you may not have the time to read this entire email, so we will summarize it first and then add more detail below for those interested. We strongly suggest you read on and find out what is REALLY happening in Israel today.

      A. Legal Lowlights:
      Chaya's case is now being used as a legal precedent to incarcerate other protesters, including children, until the end of their legal proceedings. Thus it is now more vital than ever to fight Chaya's case and challenge this horrifying state of affairs.

      1) 2 other young girls join us in the case.

      2) After a month in jail, the girls are still considered a "danger to public peace".

      3) Freedom of speech in " the only democracy in the Middle East"? Think again!

      4) The Probation Service and the Prosecution proposed the girls be released into a kibbutz. When they argued that this might entail compromising their religious beliefs - the prosecutor insisted they would have to choose between leaving the prison and compromising . It would be "educational" for them, she argued. No, I am NOT making this up!

      B. PR Highlights: 1) Attendance at a special meeting with the Knesset Committee. Members outraged at the situation. 2) Posters put up in Jerusalem, Yehuda and the Shomron to protest the injustice - see link below. 3) Rounds of TV, radio, and newspaper interviews conducted in Israel. 4) Formation of The Committee for the Prisoners of Zion in Zion. 5) Petitions.

      More Detailed Accounts:

      News from the legal front

      We have started the second round in the legal battle. In this round, parents of two other girls - Moriah Goldberg age 13 (!!!) and Pnina Ashkenazi age 16 - have decided to join our case. Moriah and Pnina were arrested at the same demonstration, and were jailed at the same time as Chaya.

      Our goal in this round of proceedings is to get a wider panel of judges to hear our case in the Supreme Court. We have filed another appeal to the lower court, claiming that a month in prison was enough of a "lesson" to insure that the girls will not return to road-blocking activities again. We asked the court to release them into our custody under full house arrest. We brought in precedents from the Supreme Court decisions where the Supreme Court released rapists, armed robbers and drug dealers to house arrest - even those who were re-arrested for repeating similar crimes WHILE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE UNDER HOUSE ARREST. The judge refused our petition, claiming that the "danger to public peace" would be too great if the girls are released. Rape, armed robbery and drugs apparently are less dangerous to public peace than standing on the sidewalk to protest !! Here are some "gems" from the court protocol:

      1. Here are the words of the state prosecutor Ms.Karni Davis, explaining the reasons for keeping these dangerous to public criminals behind bars:" If this court releases the accused to their village to complete house arrest, even if they learned their lesson, and even if they adhere to the house arrest - this is not enough. These girls will continue their protest from home. The prosecution believes that if the girls are released back to their villages, they will talk to other people there, tell them their stories and cause other people to participate in similar demonstrations. Therefore, the danger to public peace still exists, even if they are under full house arrest. "This, from the mouth of a State prosecutor in the only democracy in the Middle East. It is now illegal to talk . No, I am not making this up - it is a direct quote from the protocol of the court from 27.07.2005 proceeding #000917/05 in the case # 001487/05 in Tel Aviv youth court.

      2. It doesn't end there. It gets better. Probation services and the prosecution proposed a "humane" solution to release the girls from prison. "We can arrange for them to go to a kibbutz". The girls turned down this offer. When asked by the judge why, they explained that the kibbutz would be very far from home, so they would rarely see their families. No less important, the religious level of most of the religious kibbutzim is not at the level they keep. Here is the State prosecutor's response :" The accused have to decide between remaining in Maasiyahu prison or being in the kibbutz. I am certain they will choose the kibbutz, even if this means that they'll have to exercise more caution regarding the fulfillment of their religious needs. THIS WILL NOT CAUSE DAMAGE. ON THE CONTRARY, IT WILL BE EDUCATIONAL".

      What the prosecutor is telling 13 year old Moriah and 14 year old Chaya and the world, is that if they want to leave prison soon - they have to be ready to compromise on their religious observance!!!

      When I heard this, I could not sit quietly anymore. I got up and shouted that I couldn't believe my ears! "In Communist Russia in 1930's the State took away the children of the 'enemies of the People' for 're-education'. I cannot believe the State of Israel is doing the same in 2005!" Well, the judge ordered me removed from the courtroom.

      If you find all of this hard to believe - I'll be happy to fax you the Hebrew original. We are working on setting up a site where we will post all the legal documents relating to the case.

      News regarding the public awareness campaign

      1. We participated in a special session of the Knesset Committee for the Protection of Children in Israel. Members of the committee, from MK Gila Finkelstein (Mafdal) on the right to MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) on the left were visibly shaken by both the legal absurdity of this case and by the treatment of the girls inside the prison. MK Ran Cohen said that if they were not released by the end of the week, the entire committee - 5 MKs - will visit the prison once a week. MK Gila Finkelstein was outraged by the obvious discrimination against the girls. She demanded an explanation from the police representative as to why a 14 year old is in prison, while not one member of the Histadrut, who block the roads to get salary increases, are ever arrested. She promised to visit the girls on Thursday, July 28. After the session we approached a number of MKs who agreed to sign the petition demanding the girls' release.

      2. We pasted 500 posters throughout Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. The posters, entitled " Sharon can sleep peacefully - the enemies of the Nation are behind bars", include pictures, a brief summary of the legal proceedings and a request for help to continue the struggle. We would like to raise $ 3,000 to conduct the next stage of poster campaign throughout Israel. You can see the poster here.

      3. We have appeared on numerous TV and radio stations in Israel, bringing the plight of our girls into the public eye and explaining the threat every citizen of Israel faces following the legal precedent set in this case. The case generated a strong response from both right and left, including lawyers for 'Peace Now" who condemned the arrest.

      4. We have spoken to a number of other parents whose children are held in jail for similar "crimes" and an idea was born to form a committee that would represent all of us, in front of both the public and the state systems. The response was favorable, and the initial meeting of all the parents will be called for very soon.

      5. We will send out a petition demanding the release of the girls. The petition should be faxed to all of the Supreme Court judges. We want to flood them with petitions and send them a message that the public is troubled by the abuse of the basic human right that this case represents. Stay tuned for this email.

      We will continue our struggle for the freedom of our children, and we need your help desperately. Please send your contributions to:

      Moshe Belogorodsky
      House # 310
      Shilo 44830

      For tax-deductible contributions please send your checks to:

      Am Yisrael Chai Foundation ( please mark on the check "freedom for Chaya") 6 Hazel Place Woodmere, N.Y. 11598

      Thru the mesirut nefesh of these girls may we speed the Redemption of the Jewish People.

      A Night at Machsom Kissufim -- Wednesday, 27 July, 2005.

      By Moshe Burt

      On Wednesday afternoon, I set out from home via Egged buses just before 4 PM in the hope that, once arriving at the main Kissufim Machsom (checkpoint), I'd be able to slip into Gush Katif by night.

      But, once off of the bus, I found that the protocol at the checkpoint had significantly changed from over the previous few days and from that which a friend told me earlier in the day.

      As I left the bus, I told the soldiers who had just boarded to check IDs that I was not going into Gush Katif, but was planning to spend the night at the Kissufim protest tent. Therefore, they did not check my ID as I left the bus.

      As I stepped off of the bus, the sun was setting, but day had not yet turned to night, and the Bein Hashmashos of Shabbos took on new meaning to me. I was still visible to police and soldiers and would not be able to attempt the hoped-for slipping into Gush Katif until after dark.

      I sighted the protest tent to my left, but I was seperated from it by a row of concrete barriers. I spotted what I thought was the easiest, unobstructed way to reach the tents, but then a soldier called out to me asking where I was going. I told him that I was going to the tent for the night and would leave to return home after Shacharit in the morning. The soldier only let me pass to the tent after extracting a promise from me not to enter Gush Katif.

      I held to the promise thinking, "I gave my word to the young soldier", and why press my luck now, when we have next week's coming provocations and there'll be a time for broken promises in the name of the higher ideals and principles.

      So I spent the night in the tent with a few Bochurim. At Ma'ariv, we were joined by a few soldiers who helped us make the minyan. After davening, I spoke with a number of soldiers at tent, also at their duty stations near the tent and at the little privately owned snack bar accross from the concrete barriers seeking their reactions to events, giving them my 4 Main reasons why we can't permit the Hitnatkut to happen while peppering them with sports, impressions and trivia from the "Ole Country.". I also got to learn some Gemura in between.

      Unlike the previous nights where people came from Gush Katif to protest, on Wednesday night nothing materialized. I heard on Thursday morning that there was a Chassuna and, therefore no protest demonstration.
      As I spoke to the soldiers, I could see the confusion, turmoil and lack of assuredness in their eyes. I feel for them. How horrible, how beyond arrogance and Chutzpah that these beautiful, yet naive neshamot are being used and abused -- tools for maintaining the power and the self-enrichment of the corrupt family at the expense of the people, not just of Gush Katif, but of all of the Jewish people.

      I provided them with my 4 reasons, 1/"Yehudi lo migrash Yehudi" (Jew does not expell and displace his fellow Jew), 2/ the history of the Jewish/Torah/Biblical connection with Gush Katif and that it was part of Biblical Eretz Yisrael throughout our history, The corruption of the Sharon family, alleged crimes for which he and his sons are being blackmailed and for which Kojak Omri has been indicted, 3/ The beauty of Gush Katif -- a barren land made to bloom and to flourish and the terrible impact of it's possible loss on Israel's Agricultural sector and on the economy aas a whole and, 4/ the impact on all Israelis -- their mode of living, their security, the economy, taxes and resources when the Kassams which now fall in Neve Dekalim, Gadid, Ganei Tal, etc. and Sderot, now begin falling large urban centers like Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, etc.

      I slept on and off hearing faint, yet familiar booms off in the distance, presumably Kassams somewhere inside Gush Katif. I awoke early, before 6 AM and started taking pictures of the already developing bottleneck of Gush Katif residents forced to once again humiliate themselves by showing ID to enter or leave at Kissufim. The pictures will be posted to the site soon.

      At Shacharit on Thursday morning, I gave an extra-special Birkat Kohanim for the benefit of not only the soldiers and the police who joined in Davening, but also hoping that the projection of my voice pierced the ears and consciousness of everyone a couple hundred meters away, inside the Machsom.

      As we were davening, one of the Bochurim was continuously on the phone with Atzmona. Where's the Sefer Torah? It finally arrived after we completed davening. And so we leyned and then one of the soldiers helped me to get a tremp back to Ashkelon, while a policeman befriended me with a large bottle of Ein Gedi water.

      As we headed to Ashkelon, I repeated my 4 reasons why the Expulsion can't happen to the driver. She dropped me at Ashkelon Junction where I boarded the #437 bus for Tzomet Shimshon a half-hour later.

      I received this post a few moments ago and felt that it was important to place on the blog. The Regime has clamped severe censorship on the print and electric media in line with their anticipated placement of embedded, censured Journalists once they act to cut off all telephone, internet and cellular service. (MB)

      Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 00:33:36

      Back from Gush Katif

      by, Roberta Feinstein Bienenfeld

      Just back from Gush Katif (a few hours ago) but left our wayward car there as it still isn't fixed...

      It is very hot and humid there and there are visitors and guests everywhere. Despite the fact that noone is allowed in except for close relatives people are getting in. At the beach, the jellyfish, they tell me, are the size of big plastic bags.

      They are checking everyone--in and out. They say there are too many people in Gush Katif and that is why they have closed off the roads to anyone except relatives of the first degree.

      I am still waiting to hear the complaints from our leftist countrymen who have to show their ID cards to move anywhere on the roads down south. I can't imagine what will happen next week when everyone gets to Sderot. Will the police put up wire fences around a city as well?

      Everyone we spoke to there (as I hope you will all read in Tami Wiseman's article in the Jerusalem Post Magazine to appear sometime in the near future--but not this week) is full of Emunah and praying for that miracle.

      Unfortunately I do not think that either Yesha or any radical organizations will provide that miracle at this time.

      I don't know what happened to all the threats of closing down the country. I see the country still running while Gush Katif is closed down and getting tighter every day.

      Two nights ago we were warned of the roundup of all the illegals. Everyone was running scared. The illegals all stayed inside. I don't think it happened--yet.

      Last night at midnight somebody rang my doorbell. We didn't answer.

      Earlier in the evening someone came by trying to collect money. They said they were from Netivot and tried to get into my house. I didn't let them in or give them money. Something was suspicious about them and it was only after they left that I realized--How could a shnorrer from Netivot get past all the soldiers and police?

      I have gotten three calls in three days asking me to anser a survey--a political survey.

      Every day in Neve Dekalim the yishuv gives out another information sheet on what is happening. There are shiurim and activities everywhere and at all hours of the day. Of course one of the favorites is the kids going out to Kissufim every night to talk to the soldiers. People are getting arrested day and night but not a word of it gets to the press. A woman (on the way out) wouldn't show her identity card--off to prison. And the reports of brutality and violence also go unreported. There was also a big march on foot the night after the murder by the Gush Katif Bridge. Noone reported that either. The police/soldiers were unable to contain the 150 women (and some men) who did the marching. They were scared s....less.

      Yes, we were there when the chief army rabbi was there--and booed. I found it hard not to cry as I remembered the last time we stood by the same house, a large group of residents, waiting for the funeral. We were actually asked (unofficially) by at least one of the families there to come and protest by their house against moving the bodies of their loved ones from the cemetery.

      And we were also there when the Sephardi chief rabbi Amar gave a special shiur to the women telling them to be strong and try to keep their families together--no matter what happens and a very, very moving prayer meeting, shofar and all, where representatives of many Edot got up and read the prayers (7 times in all) .

      There are reporters everywhere--all looking for a scoop. The stores had run out of food--I think this is due to all the guests but had filled up a bit when we left.

      And of course the mortars continued to fall and the tanks to roar and the guns continue their rat-tat-tat spitting out bullets in either direction. Nothing about that in the press either--we only hear about Sderot.

      So good night to all--may we only hear good news.

      • Parsha Pinchas 5765: On Zealousness.

      • Parsha Balak: Bila'am's Donkey and Its Parallels for Modern B'nai Yisrael.

        By Moshe Burt

        Our Parsha Balak this year coincides with the possible beginning of the historic and quintessential confrontation between good and the misguided or evil, between Judaism and Israeli'ism. Hanging in the balance is the good and welfare of, as well as possibly the very survival of B'nai Yisrael and the continuity of the divine link between The Jews The Land of Israel.

        And, I must frankly admit that what I write here is both Parsha HaShevua as well as commentary on the contrasts between Bila'am's turning against his loyal and ever-faithful donkey in his head-over-heels rush for honor and today's "leader" who has turned against his entire support base which had supported him loyally through all of the years when no other segment of the Israeli population would.

        Bila'am was to have received great riches from Balak, the King of the Mo'avim, while today's "leader" bows to blackmail in order not to be indicted for the alleged corruption and graft crimes of himself and his sons. And at the same time, today's "leader" stands to benefit from ill-gotten gains made upon the sweat, toil, blood and suffering of the Jews to be evicted from part of Eretz Yisrael.

        That Israel's major population centers will come well within range of the latest generation of Kassams; that Israel's economy will be shattered by the loss of a substantial segment of it's agriculture; that huge oil resources found in the area will be turned over to a hostile enemy bent on the destruction of the Jews; that all morale and self-worth of the entire nation will evaporate are factors totally subordinate to expulsion and persecution of the Jews in exchange for the continued political power, riches and self-aggrandizement of "the Leader."

        It seems that the reality of the attempt at so-called "disengagement" is that this modern-day "leader" has, like his model -- the evil Bila'am, beaten his own heretofore allies like Bila'am did three times to his lifelong faithful donkey.

        Let's recount the three beatings meted out by this "leader" to those who ha supported him loyally and unquestionably for all of those years.

        First, he announced that Jews would be expelled from parts of Jewish Land, of Eretz Yisrael. To bolster his plan, he ran to a US President, just as every other Israeli PM has done(Camp David Accords with Egypt), Olso, Barak's efforts to relinquish nearly all of Jerusalem and Yehuda and Shomron(Judea and Samaria), etc., in order to create a fait accompli that he perceived that the people dare not refuse. Beating number 1.

        Then, when the Likud party managed to force a referendum vote on the expulsion plan which this "leader" lost in an ignominious rout, he merely disregarded the results and commenced a reign of terror upon the people he leads, playing every political cheshbon off against the other and all against the the middle: Mafdal vs National Union, Shinui vs Degel HaTorah, Degel HaTorah against Agudah, Mafdal against Gimmel, Shas vis the Likud Rebels, etc. dividing and conquering Suez-style while firing and expelling from his government anyone daring to stand in his way against his evil expulsion. His evil strong-arm forced into law a measure which would never have seen the light of day among a self-respecting people and government. Beating number 2.

        The third beating took place this past Tueday when this "leader" perceived that he obtained the upper hand and thus invoked the "closed military zone" in Gush Katif and in the four Shomron towns. Many dedicated Jews rushed to Gush Katif and the Shomron towns to beat the closure. Others will be headed to these locations in the next couple of weeks to bolster their brethren as the confrontation between those possessing Yirat Hashem and those with disdain for everything Jewish reaches its climax.

        Shem Mishmuel brings a Rashi which discusses the unusual loshen -- regalim (the word usually used to denote festivals) used in our Parsha Balak where Hashem brings the donkey to speak to Bila'am expressing; "What have I done to you, that you hit me these three times." [1]

        Shem Mishmuel brings Rashi quoting Chazal which notes: "These three times -- it was a hint that he wanted to uproot the Jewish nation, who celebrate three pilgrim festivals each year." [2]

        Shem Mishmuel then states that the Arizal adapts the idea of the three festivals to suggest that "Bila'am's intention was not to destroy the nation in it's entirety, but to eliminate from it the observance of the three festivals." [3] The question is asked why our adversary Bila'am would desire to eradicate the observance of this mitzvah more than any other?

        He then brings a Mishnah which teaches, "Those who have an evil eye, an arrogant spirit and an insatiable soul are pupils of the wicked Bila'am." [4]

        He then adds that the above Mishnah corresponds to another Mishnah where Rabbi Elazar HaKappar says, "Jealousy, lust and the desire for honor remove a man from the world." [5]

        How these citings seem so apt in the times that we face now.

        B'Ezrat Hashem, may it be that come this Rosh Hashanah, we pray thanks to Hashem for the Ge’ula Shlaima and for keeping our Brethren in Gush Katif and in the Shomron in their homes and neighborhoods and away from the horror and Chillul Hashem of expulsion. And may we soon see freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael for Jonathan Pollard.

        May we see the “Yom Hashem Al Kol HaGoyim,” Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!
        [1] Sefer Shem Mishmuel on Parsha Balak, page 347 quoting Rashi on Bamidbar Perek 22, posuk 28.

        [2] Sefer Shem Mishmuel on Parsha Balak, Rashi, loc. cit.

        [3] Sefer Shem Mishmuel on Parsha Balak, page 347 quoting the Arizal.

        [4] Sefer Shem Mishmuel on Parsha Balak, page 347 quoting Pirkei Avos, Perek 5, pusuk 22.

        [5] Sefer Shem Mishmuel on Parsha Balak, page 348, quoting Pirkei Avos, Perek 4, posuk 28.

        Run-Up to a Chet - 18 July - 22 July, 2005

        By Moshe Burt

        Tuesday 19 July, 2005 12 AM.

        On Monday at 11:25 AM, I left Ramat Beit Shemesh by taxi to Shimshon Junction for Autobus 437 from there bound for Ashkelon and ultimately, for Gush Katif. I had missed the 11:30 AM bus and so had to wait for the 1 PM bus. I arrived in Ashkelon at 1:50 PM, still hoping to make the bus 36 at 2 PM for Neve Dekalim. But arriving at Ashkelon, I found that there were tons of soldiers ahead of me awaiting the 2 PM bus. I was unable to board and therefore, I had to wait for the next bus which arrived at 4:30 PM.

        Enroute to Neve Dekalim, the bus passed three checkpoints, including the Kissufim Checkpoint where soldiers boarded the bus to check for IDs, both those of residents and those of guests in order to check the guests for issurim, lest some Jews evade scrutiny by the authorities upon entry to our biblical, historical Gaza area. I was hoping that I'd make the 2 PM bus where I figured I'd be on with all chayalim and somehow sneak through without being checked for my ishur. As I was not able to board the earlier bus, I boarded the 4:30 PM bus with chayalim and a number of other civilians.

        Entry into Gush Katif went without a hitch. The only problems were not being able to board the 36 bus at 2 PM and then facing an hour and a half in delays caused by government closure before arriving in Neve Dekalim at 6:30 PM.

        At the Neve Dekalim municipal building, there was a festive, joyous group of teens surrounding someone with a TV video camera and TV screen. The teenaged boys asked me to be Shliach Tzibbor for Mincha, something I have done only rarely.

        After Mincha, took some pictures of the teens and then headed for the home of my host. At 8:30 PM. I joined a minyan davening Maariv after which I made my own night seder, after which my host gave me dinner while watching the evening news. Then I bedded down for the night, it had been a long day.

        In the meantime, back at the huge rally, domonstration and march slated yesterday afternoon at Netivot, various media sources are reporting various numbers of participants, ranging from 30,000, to 50,000, to 75,000 people. Seemingly, the numbers were well under the goal set by Moetza Yesha in order to force the issue of access to Gush Katif.

        Apparently, the desperate dictator and is mafia regime mob saw that tens of thousands, perhaps well over 100,000 people would participate in the event at Netivot. Therefore, he ordered police throughout the country to stop the buses at their origination points, as passengers were loading on, seizing and confiscating bus operation papers and preventing the buses from leaving for their destinations.

        Therefore, thousands of participants began to proceed, on foot and by personal transportation to Netivot.

        In Netivot, people tell me that as caravans of soldiers drove by, they screamed out to the protestors saying, "We are not going to do it (the hitnatkut)." At the rally, numerous Rabbis spoke including one (some people said it was HaRav Ovadia Yosef and others said it was the son of the Baba Sali) who repeated again and again, "This (the hitnatkut) is not going to happen."

        At about 6 AM on Tuesday, I heard intermittent spurts of machine gun fire in between early AM chirping birds. At about 6:15 AM, I heard 2 huge boomer, presumably Kassams, which were loud enough to seem to be close by. Then there was another 15 minutes of machine gun fire, seeming to come from all directions.

        At 7:12 AM, two more Kassams thudded further away followed by more intermittent machine gun fire followed by silence. The time was now 7:30 AM.

        All the while, and as ever amidst this 2 front war, one against the Arabs and one against an evil, dictatorial government, these beautiful people, the residents of Neve Dekalim and throughout all of Gush Katif carry on with their lives and their daily business spite of an evil government's g'zeira against them and nagging anguish, yet not missing a beat.

        At 8 AM, I went to daven at the Beit Knesset Mercazi. Then onto the library where I am typing this report. The library, which is supposed to open today at 9 AM, was 35 minutes late in opening and then their internet connection was down for a little over 1 hour. I spent the time typing most of this report. At 10:45 AM, I finally got on to check the news, my bank balances and to write this report.

        As I sat in the library writing, rumors were awash that the government is planning to expell the residents of the tent city in Shi-rat HaYam where I hope to visit this afternoon.

        Friends, it is imperative that we show BIG tonight and Wednesday AM at Kissufim. We are in crunch time. This is the LCS, the NFL playoffs, etc. all rolled into one. We need participants, as spectators are of no help. The freedom of movement of Gush Katif residents and all Jewish visitation MUST be preserved. This is a time for action, not for spectators, not business as usual!

        Wednesday, 20 July, 2005;

        Tuesday seemed to be a quiet, uneventful day in Neve Dekalim. We had one boomer in the early afternoon which I didn't hear and only found out about three hours later. The quiet seemed to continue throughout the night. Early Wednesday morning was punctuated by by spurts of IDF machine gun fire but no Kassams.

        A number of people from Neve Dekalim and Shi-rat HaYam left in the afternoon on Tuesday to join marchers at K'far Maimon in order to attempt to divert police on this side of Kissufim.

        In the end, however, since there were no similar diversions in other parts of the country to match, and there were no marches (that I'm aware of) on Homesh, Sanur, etc. in order to further divert and diminish police and military forces, the police are therefore around Kfar Maimon in force. Thus, a standoff between police and Yesha Council has been created. The police in force are blocking the effort of the protestors to break through and proceed to the Kissufim checkpoint.

        This morning, there were various reports and accounts of how many people are in Kfar Maimon. Channel 2 TV said that according to the police there were 7,000, but other reports state the numbers in tens of thousands. About 9:30 AM, this morning, Yesha Council announced that all families with young children, etc, should head home for Shabbos. This will leave only the teens and the hardy to continue to stick it out in K'far Maimon. But it may also signal resorting to concepts of the game Revava -- diversion, diversion, diversion. This is the concept of creating numerous diversions and roving disturbances throughout the country, thus whittling down the numbers and organization of the police. The raison d'etre is to bring the police to the breaking-point and to prove to Bulldozer Sharon that he is in a Holy War with Shemayim which he can be nothing but under-gunned. It is a war B'Ezrat Hashem in which he cannot win.

        Wednesday, 20 July, 2005; 1:30 PM

        Things seem unclear as to when the marchers will continue on. It now seems obvious that the reported counts of numbers of marchers is vastly understated and that the marchers have hung-in with their numbers in the tens of thousands. I have heard estimates as to when the march will continue but will not post info here so as to protect the marchers.

        I continued writing from a site in Gush Katif. Anyone outside the Gush should be making their way to Kfar Maimon. The larger the numbers, the larger are the chances for success. Those not going to Kfar Maimon should be creating diversions via road blocking and other actions to divert police away from Kfar Maimon and from Gush Katif. We must give them a multiple front battle where they are kept busy "putting out fires." The most important thing -- DO NOT STAY HOME!!

        Postscript; Friday, 22 July, 2005;

        The regime and police have gone crazy, outta control to the extent that there have been incidences, coined by some as seleksia, that have taken place this week in Israel, among Jews. On Wednesday, one such incident was reported; Orthodox Jews Removed from Public Bus by Police Wednesday, July 20, 2005 / 13 Tammuz 5765. The regime and the police seem now so spooked that any group of Kippah-wearing religious Jews are deemed a threat to them.

        Also, on Wednesday night, it seemed that just as the marchers at K'far Maimon were about to try bridging the fences and police barracades, Moetza Yesha once again asked for police permission to go forward to the Kissufim checkpoint rather than just going forward. Various reports placed the size of the crowd at over 50,000 even though police reported to the media only 10,000. It was reported that later on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, the police permitted people out of Kfar Maimon, in a direction away from Gush katif and provided buses to enable people to leave, disperse and head home. Numerous people are asking what deal was struck between the police and Yesha Council such that they "asked permission" rather than simply acting to move forward to Kissufim.

        Reports from email lists indicate that there were numerous instances, over the period of Tuesday through Thursday AM, of Kiddush Hashem and Ahavat Yisrael between soldiers and marchers even through the barbed wire and fences set up to barracade the marchers. Particularly poignant are the two pictures attached.

        On a different front, from my venue in Neve Dekalim between Monday evening and Thursday AM, I heard no Kassams hit between Tuesday AM (subsequent to the ones described below)and Tursday AM when I left. I'm sure that the Bulldozer made a deal with the p.a. lest he be embarrassed by Kassams which would have forced a response thus diverting troops from the build-up which surrounded Kfar Maimon.

        I want to suggest that in order to be successful in blocking hitnatkut, we cannot go to a head-to-head direct confrontation with the military and police concentrating everyone in one place. I suggest that we pull Revava out from the dust of our shelves. There need to be enough situations created so that the police are too busy running around putting out fires nationwide. Has there been any movement towards establishing multiple fronts to tie down police and soldiers, i.e. moves toward the Shomron towns, traffic-blocking throughout the country? We also need to ask, is there the manpower among us to do such things? The key to success, as I see it, is to disperse, spread thin and weaken the police on all fronts; to have them running around throughout the country like "chickens without heads" trying to repell Jewish activism everywhere. Only after establishing huge numbers of diversions to occupy the police, is it possible to send a sizeable group against diminished police numbers near Gush Katif.

        I left Neve Dekalim on Thursday morning on the #36 bus at 9:00 AM, finally getting home about 1 PM. For the record, by the time I left Neve Dekalim, the army was checking IDs of all civilians on buses. I have no idea what would happen to anyone who snuck through without ishurim and then tried to leave and had their IDs checked.

        This open letter was written by a local resident and is worthy of repetition here;

        Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2005 From: Tzirel Shaffren, Beit Shemesh

        To My Dear Fellow Jews,

        Jewish history is long and filled with many unthinkably horrible events. Over the last millennia, each new chapter seems to be filled with increasingly worse episodes; expulsions, pogroms, the Holocaust.

        In its short life, the modern State of Israel has had a disproportionate share of historic moments. As outrageous and reactionary as it may seem, in my humble opinion, what is going on in Israel at this very moment is the most historic moment since the destruction of the Second Temple.

        All the tragedies that have befallen us over the last two thousand years have been delivered to us by our enemies. However, not since the destruction of the Second Temple have the Jewish people been so severely splintered within the boundaries of its own land. Never since that black moment in our history have the Jewish people come this close to civil war.

        If you are not in Israel, the reality of these words may be harder to feel. Some of the things you are about to read may come as a shock to you. But you must try your best to feel the weight of this situation at least as heavily as the way you felt the heaviness in your hearts after 9/11 or the London bombings. Try to feel the sensation of "sitting on shpilkis," of hanging on every new email, every news report, and every phone call to know what is going on. Stay plugged in however you can. Don't let this great moment in history be dulled by distance.

        In this day and age of instant communication, there is no excuse for not realizing the seriousness of the situation. The scraps of information that reach you may seem too outrageous to believe - contact someone you know and trust in Israel and discover the reality.

        Civil rights in Israel have been trampled on a national scale and Jews have laid siege to Jews. Police have stopped and revoked the licenses of hundreds of busses in order to prevent protestors from reaching their destinations. The army has encircled the city of Kfar Maimon (outside Gush Katif) with barbed wire to prevent protestors from reaching their destinations. In this sad month of Tamuz when our enemies who had us under siege finally broke through the walls of Jerusalem, Gush Katif has been put under siege by fellow Jews and is now a closed military zone. No one may enter or exit without express permission from the military. Some people manage to sneak around or fast talk their way in, but the fact remains that Gush Katif is a closed military zone. I would not put it past the Sharon Government to try and begin to carry out the actual expulsion on Tisha B'Av to take advantage of the weakened state of the Jews who will be fasting.

        I read an email from someone who is currently in Gush Katif. She asked that every Jew put the rest of their lives on hold and focus all energies on the current situation. It makes a lot of sense. I am not trying to belittle our long, torturous history. But in the final summation, it was sinat chinam, baseless hatred between Jews that caused the destruction of the Second Temple. We have never overcome that baseless hatred, and now it has come to a head. This is the largest test Hashem has given us. Can we find a way through the terrible, terrible baseless hatred and come out the other side still a united people?

        The incredible Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of G-d) that has been unfolding over the last few days offers a tremendous amount of hope that perhaps this time, unlike the time of the Second Temple, we may pass this difficult test that Hashem has put before us. Tens of thousands of Jews have shown by self-sacrifice their stance on the issue of Gush Katif. Much more importantly, however, they have shown the soldiers and policemen who stand in opposition that we are all still brothers. Great efforts have been made to treat each other with respect and caring even under these most trying of times.

        Whatever else you are doing right now that is not essential, please, please put it aside for now. Instead, do what you can to help us all pass this test. To my great regret, I myself am not physically capable of participating in this round of protests for Gush Katif. Instead, I watched a friend's child for two afternoons till her husband came home so that she could be free to camp out in Gush Katif with a clear head and calm heart. I went to the prayer rally at the Kotel, I went to pray at Rachel’s Tomb. Everyone can do something.

        How are you expending your energies? Try to think in terms of the imminent coming of Moshiach - will this extraneous thing that you are devoting your energies to matter in a few short weeks when Moshiach arrives? Will it matter if the new curtains match the carpet? Then don't expend energy on finding just the right curtain, use that energy for something more meaningful. Of course weddings should go on as scheduled, but can that anniversary dinner you’ve been planning be postponed until this is over?

        My dear fellow Jew, the burden and the pain of sinat chinam amongst Jews are for all of us to share and bear. The rift that threatens to split the Jews in Israel is not a local problem. In a day and age where communication is so easy, every Jew the world over has an obligation to be aware and terrified of the potential sinat chinam that is hovering over our heads like a terrible sword. If you can do nothing else to help, at least feel the pain as though it was your own. It IS your own, even if you have been numbed by distance.

        Israelis are renowned for their resilience and ability to get up and keep on living life no matter how hard you knock them down. They celebrate life despite the realities that face them every day. They defiantly continue not just to survive, but to create, invent, cure and master. They truly are a light unto the nations. But, my friends, this is not the same. This is not the Jew showing his enemy that he won't be crushed. This is the Jew being harmed by his fellow Jew. No outside enemy can cause us more spiritual harm than the enemy within. This terrible challenge of sinat chinam that we face, we must face together. It is said that Hashem destroyed the Temple in order to spare us. There is no more Temple to destroy. What will happen if we fail this terrible test?

        What will you say to your children when they ask what you were doing during the biggest test to the Jews in your lifetime? You will not be able to use the excuse that you had no idea. It is within your ability and control to keep up and know what is happening. You will not be able to use the excuse that there is nothing you could do from so far away, because there is. You can feel the weight of the times instead of carrying on as though nothing is happening. You can talk about it so that others become aware. Every conversation of more than five minutes should include your concern for what is happening to the Jewish people. You can form a Tehillim group specifically to daven for Ahavas Yisrael. You can do a concrete act to show your Ahavas Yisrael by spending time helping a neighbor who is not the same “brand” of Jew as you are, or by volunteering. You can give tzedaka to help Jews in Israel. You can ask your shuls, schools and camps to spend time saying the special list of Tehillim issued by R’ Mordechai Eliyahu (120, 124, 130, 20, 133, 140, and the letters of 119 that form the words, “yisrael hashleima.”) The list is endless, think of some of your own ideas. Better yet – come to Israel, even if only for a visit - and feel like you are part of Am Yisrael in the land of Israel.