Israel is bad!
Its existence keeps reminding Muslims what a bunch of losers they are.
"There will be no peace until they will love their children more than they hate us."
'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel'
"Peace of us means the destruction of Israel.
We are preparing for an all out war, a war which will last for generations.
Throughout his authorized biography (Alan Hart, Arafat: terrorist or peace maker) Arafat asserts at least a dozen times: "The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel."
~ Yasser Arafat ~
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. For our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of Palestinian people, since Arab national interest demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism".
Kabbalah is the name applied to the whole range of Jewish mystical activity. While codes of Jewish law focus on what it is God wants from man, kabbalah tries to penetrate deeper, to God's essence itself.
There are elements of kabbalah in the Bible, for example, in the opening chapter of Ezekiel, where the prophet describes his experience of the divine: "... the heavens opened and I saw visions of God.... I looked and lo, a stormy wind came sweeping out of the north-a huge cloud and flashing fire, surrounded by a radiance; and in the center of the fire, a gleam as of amber" (1:1,4). The prophet then describes a divine chariot and the throne of God.
The rabbis of the Talmud regarded the mystical study of God as important yet dangerous. A famous talmudic story tells of four rabbis, Azzai, Ben Zoma, Elisha ben Abuyah, and Akiva who would meet together and engage in mystical studies. Azzai, the Talmud records, "looked and went mad [and] Ben Zoma died." Elisha ben Abuyah became a heretic and left Judaism. Rabbi Akiva alone "entered in peace and left in peace." It was this episode, the later experiences of individuals who became mentally unbalanced while engaging in mystical activities, and the disaster of the false Messiah Shabbetai Zevi that caused seventeenth-century rabbis to legislate that kabbalah should be studied only by married men over forty who were also scholars of Torah and Talmud. The medieval rabbis wanted the study of kabbalah limited to people of mature years and character.
The most famous work of kabbalah, the Zohar, was revealed to the Jewish world in the thirteenth century by Moses De Leon, who claimed that the book contained the mystical writings of the second-century rabbi Simeon bar Yochai. Almost all modern Jewish academic scholars believe that De Leon himself authored the Zohar, although many Orthodox kabbalists continue to accept De Leon's attribution of it to Simeon bar Yochai. Indeed, Orthodox mystics are apt to see Bar Yochai not so much as the Zohar's author as the recorder of mystical traditions dating back to the time of Moses. The intensity with which Orthodox kabbalists hold this conviction was revealed to me once when I was arguing a point of Jewish law with an elderly religious scholar. He referred to a certain matter as being in the Torah, and when I asked him where, he said: "It's in the Zohar. Is that not the same as if it was in the Torah itself?"
The Zohar is written in Aramaic (the language of the Talmud) in the form of a commentary on the five books of the Torah. Whereas most commentaries interpret the Torah as a narrative and legal work, mystics are as likely to interpret it "as a system of symbols which reveal the secret laws of the universe and even the secrets of God" (Deborah Kerdeman and Lawrence Kushner, The Invisible Chariot, p. 90). To cite one example, Leviticus 26 records "a carrot and a stick" that God offers the Jewish people. If they follow his decrees, He will reward them. But if they spurn them, God will "set His face" against the people: "I will discipline you sevenfold for your sins...." and "I will scatter you among the nations" (26:28, 33). At the chapter's conclusion, God says: "Yet, even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or spurn them so as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them, for I am the Lord, their God" (26:44).
On this series of admonitions, the Zohar comments: "Come and see the pure love of the Blessed Holy One for Israel. A parable: There was a king who had a single son who kept misbehaving. One day he offended the king. The king said, 'I have punished you so many times and you have not [changed]. Now look, what should I do with you? If I banish you from the land and expel you from the kingdom, perhaps wild beasts or wolves or robbers will attack you and you will be no more. What can I do? The only solution is that I and you together leave the land.' So . . . the Blessed Holy One said as follows: 'Israel, what should I do with you? I have already punished you and you have not heeded Me. I have brought fearsome warriors and flaming forces to strike at you and you have not obeyed. If I expel you from the land alone, I fear that packs of wolves and bears will attack you and you will be no more. But what can I do with you? The only solution is that I and you together leave the land and both of us go into exile. As it is written, 'I will discipline you,' forcing you into exile; but if you think that I will abandon you, Myself too [shall go] along with you."'
There are many strands of teaching in the kabbalah. Medieval kabbalists, for example, were wont to speak of God as the En Sof (That Which Is Without Limit). The En Sof is inaccessible and unknowable to man. But God reveals Himself to mankind through a series of ten emanations, sefirot, a configuration of forces that issue from the En Sof . The first of these sefirot is keter (crown) and refers to God's will to create. Another sefira, binah (understanding), represents the unfolding in God's mind of the details of creation, while hesed (lovingkindness) refers to the uncontrolled flow of divine goodness. Most of the sefirot are regarded as legitimate objects for human meditation; they represent a way in which human beings can make contact with God. Through contemplation and virtuous deeds, human beings can also bring down the divine grace to this world.
The greatest scholar and historian of kabbalah in this century was the late Professor Gershom Scholem of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Scholem, himself a nonobservant Jew, was fond of explaining how he became attracted to so esoteric a discipline: "My decision to study Jewish mysticism came the day I visited the home of a famous German rabbi, a person with a reputation for scholarship in the kabbalah.... Seeing on his shelf some mystical texts with intriguing titles, I had, with all the enthusiasm of youth, asked the rabbi about them. 'This junk,' the rabbi had laughed at me. 'I should waste time reading nonsense like this?' It was then . . . that I decided here was a field in which I could make an impression. If this man can become an authority without reading the text, then what might I become if I actually read the books?"
As a rule, mekubbalim (people who actively study and practice kabbalah) are skeptical of men like Scholem, who studied kabbalah as a university discipline and not from a personal conviction of its truth. One mekubbal, Rabbi Abraham Chen, declared on one occasion before a seminar of Scholem's students: "A scholar of mysticism is like an accountant: He may know where all the treasure is, but he is not free to use it." A precisely opposite view on the value of kabbalah was taken by the late Professor Saul Lieberman, the great Talmud scholar of the Jewish Theological Seminary. In an introduction to a lecture Scholem delivered at the seminary, Lieberman said that several years earlier, some students asked to have a course here in which they could study kabbalistic texts. He had told them that it was not possible, but if they wished they could have a course on the history of kabbalah. For at a university, Lieberman said, "it is forbidden to have a course in nonsense. But the history of nonsense, that is scholarship."
Lieberman's caustic comment aside, kabbalah has long been one of the important areas of Jewish thought. Ideas that many contemporary Jews might think of as un-Jewish sometimes are found in the kabbalah, most notably, the belief in reincarnation (gilgul neshamot). Between 1500 and 1800, Scholem has written, "kabbalah was widely considered to be the true Jewish theology," and almost no one attacked it. With the Jewish entrance into the modern world, however-a world in which rational thinking was more highly esteemed than the mystical-kabbalah tended to be downgraded or ignored. In recent years, there has been an upsurge of interest in kabbalah, and today it is commonly studied among Hasidic Jews, and among many non-Orthodox Jews who are part of the counterculture.
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -