Somebody’s Mad I Didn’t Say the Prayer for the State of Israel

I have a hard time praying for something I don’t want. I have an even harder time praying for something I think is objectively a bad thing. I think that to ask God to protect and watch over something I don’t want and that I think is bad, makes a mockery of what prayer is.

In my shul they  say the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel and its leaders and advisers. I know that to try to change that minhag and convert everyone in the shul to libertarianism is futile, so I just ignore it. My personal policy is that I don’t stand during the prayer, but I do stand during the prayer for Tzahal. I will pray for the safety of the slaves, but never the masters.

There’s very little that I dislike about the prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel, except for the first line. If ברך את מדינת ישראל were replaced with ברך את עם ישראל היושב בציון then I would gladly stand for the whole thing and even say it. But I know that the intent of the prayer is for the government, that group of people that takes money and labor by force, just like any other form of slavery. That is something I cannot and will not pray for, especially given the Torah reading, smack in the middle of the exodus from Egypt.

The fact that most people in my shul also hate the government of Israel and its prime minister, more or less, makes the prayer for the state and the prime minister’s welfare even more dissonant. Not that I don’t understand it. I do. The State is “holy” to them, so no matter how much evil it does, how many people it kills, how many homes it tears down, and how many people it expels and how much money it steals, it’s still “holy” so you pray for it. And its leader, even though you’re sick of him.

Well, last week I was called to daven from the amud, (lead the prayers), I did not volunteer but was asked, and I was supposed to say the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel. I refused, and said to the gabbai that if he wanted it said, someone else would have to do it. So someone else came up and said it, and I stood on the side. I wasn’t going to outright skip it and go on because I knew that would cause a riot or something close to it.

This has happened before, but in a smaller minyan. This time it was in the main minyan.

One week passed, and yesterday after shul, I stopped at a kiddush with my two daughters at someone’s house who was celebrating the birth of a grandchild. On my way out, someone stops me and asks “Why didn’t you say the תפילה לשלום המדינה last week?”

“Because I don’t believe in the מדינה,” I answered.

“You are a disgrace, a disgrace to the shul,” he says.

“I didn’t ask to daven,” I say, “I was asked to.”

“Well I’m going to do everything I can so that you can never daven from the amud again, you’re an embarrassment,” he says.

“So do it,” I say, and I leave with my 4 and 2 year old.

It is especially…I won’t say “strange” because I understand the State Worship Avoda Zara thing…but I will say ironic, that it was davka this person to call me a disgrace for not saying the prayer for a gang of thieves writ large, because I remember this person. On the night that Ariel Sharon finally died, I was walking past this same person. I don’t recall exactly if he said it or someone else said it first, but somebody said “Sharon died!”

And he said, this same person that thinks I’m a disgrace for not saying the stupid prayer for the State and Prime Minister, and I quote exactly, “Good fucking riddance! It’s about fucking time!”

And I said to him, “Well I wouldn’t go that far.”

I, the anarcho-capitalist, who hates government and everything it stands for, wouldn’t go that far. I don’t celebrate death. But he, the guy who thinks I’m a disgrace for not praying for the State, says good fucking riddance to one of its leaders.

It’s interesting. I was at a meeting of Shomron activists last night with Feiglin, and he spoke about people calling him the “Israeli libertarian.” He said, not so surprisingly but it still hurt a bit, “But I’m not at all coming from that direction. I believe the State is holy, but it’s not holy above everything, and I know it’s very dangerous. The first commandment is ‘I am God,’ not ‘I am the State.'”

He also described how hard it was, even for him, to vote against the budget to prevent the release of terrorists. It’s like voting to tear down the government, he explained, and only he was able to do it, with difficulty, not even Orit Struck of Bayit Yehudi was able to. Because voting against the budget as part of the ruling coalition is voting against the State. Voting to tear it down. Even for Feiglin, who believes in the legitimacy, even the holiness, of the State, that’s hard to do.

But he was able to do it because despite believing the State is “holy”, he understands that it is not holy in and of itself. It is only holy as a tool, if it does the right thing. Nevermind the fact that it can never do the right thing, in his mind it theoretically can. So OK, it’s theoretically conceivable even if practically impossible. Even so, he can still vote against the State because it is not inherently holy for him.

For Orit Struck though, who is the perfect example of the State’s beaten wife who keeps returning to her abusive husband, the State is holy in and of itself. No matter what it does, she is incapable of voting against it. She is a survivor of the Yamit expulsion and lives in Hevron, the most hard core of hard core settlements.

I clearly remember hearing her speak that night that Jewish sovereignty on Har Habayit was being discussed in the Knesset for the first time in history. I was in the audience, and she comes up to speak. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember the introduction. She said something like this, “Every day I get up and I’m in awe of this State, its institutions, its symbols, the Knesset. I love it so much and it thrills me that I’m a part of it and that God gave us this gift…” etc. Sycophantic praise of the Ruling Class from A to Z. State worship. As a thing in itself. She then went on to blather about how much it hurts her that the Holy State she loves so much is preventing Jews from praying on Har Habayit. Like the perfectly obedient beaten wife.

Again, not that I don’t understand that. You go through 2000 years of exile being enslaved to goyim who systematically kill you and it can be a thrill to finally at least be only systematically enslaved, expelled, and robbed by your own people who at least won’t try to systematically kill you. So I get it. But it doesn’t make it any less State Idol Worship.

That’s why Orit Struck could not, I mean could not, vote against that budget, even if it meant saving lives and stopping a terrorist release. Because to her, the State is holy in and of itself. She loves it like a god. She worships it. It is her intermediary to God. Nothing less than that.

It’s the same with this guy who thinks I’m a disgrace. As much as he hates what the State does, and can wish “good fucking riddance” to Ariel Sharon, the State of Israel is a demigod to him. I can break Shabbos, stop keeping kosher, steal lie cheat and spread gossip and I wouldn’t be a disgrace to the shul as long as I say the prayer. But if I dare not pray for the State in public, I have disgraced God himself, ah…then I am a disgrace, because I have voted against the budget. I am an insult to the Father and His Son, The State of Israel.

The Jewish People do not need a State. The State is not holy. It is nothing more than a gang of thieves that conspire to rob you and hire intellectuals to convince you that your slavery is necessary. To see why no State is needed, read my Zero State Solution.

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Adventures on the Temple Mount, Elul Edition

We’re circling. Even HaShtiya, the Foundation Stone, the Holy of Holies, the Kodesh HaKodashim is just a few feet in front of us. Huge heavy double doors are the only things standing in our way to the very center of the Jewish People’s soul. The doors must be extremely heavy, but a child could push them open on their hinges.

As we circumambulate the Dome of the Rock, we keep our faces towards it. It’s a building that only once you get close enough, you notice that it is completely covered not in Muslim crescents, but in Stars of David. All over the walls in blueish patterns, hexagons surrounded by triangles on every side, so many of them you don’t even know what to think.

Notice the Stars of David on the Sides
Notice the Stars of David on the Sides

 

But we’re not going in today. Something is keeping us out.

When I first started going to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) with Moshe Feiglin about two years ago, nobody thought of approaching the Dome of the Rock itself. We would do a lap around the Herodian extensions of the Temple Mount, stare in silent prayer at the building in the center, and then we’d leave.

Two years ago, few people knew about Feiglin or what he stood for. He was just some “right wing guy” from Likud that fought with Netanyahu in a comic perennial quest to unseat him as Likud Chair and in some wacky world, become Prime Minister. It was a fun political game that people could enjoy watching on TV every election cycle, but the Jewish People were not yet acquainted with him otherwise. And nobody went up to the Dome of the Rock back then. We all stayed back.

Then Moshe made it to Knesset, that dirty, disgusting place filled with all the scuzzy politicians that eat our money and run our lives, tell us how much and how little we are allowed to work for, in what industries, for how many hours, and how much we have to pay them for the privilege of barely earning a living that they so gracefully bestow on us.

But the Knesset, as gross as it may be, is the only place you can talk to the Nation as a whole and reach its soul.

Soon after he was elected, we went up to Har HaBayit again, but this time Feiglin, alone, approached the Dome itself. We did not follow him. He approached it under the Halachic purview of Din Kibbush, that one may enter even the Kodesh HaKodashim itself for the purpose of conquering it from a hostile enemy.

But conquering from whom?

He tried to enter the building itself that day, but he was stopped. Not by Arabs, but by the Jewish State, represented by the Jewish police force. The ones with the real weapons.

After trying to get past the police once, Feiglin was not allowed on Har Habayit for six months, until by some miracle he was able to cut a deal with the police, and we all started going up again with him. This time, however, the routine was changed. We would all go up and approach the Holy of Holies, the outside of Dome of the Rock, and so we did, m’Din Kibbush, conquering it…from something.

Month by month it began feeling like a real war, complete with an advance and retreat. Yes, the Arabs would scream every time, but the screams reached a peak and then died out as the months went by. They know they have no power to stop us. Only the Jewish police do. The ones with the guns, stopping us from going in.

We would advance up to the Dome, conquer the area we tread on, and then retreat when we could go no further according to the Officers of the Jewish State, the police.

Conquer it from whom? The Arabs? Not a chance. They are not stopping us. The proof is that during the discussion on Har Habayit in the Knessetthe ones threatening World War III if the Jews declared sovereignty were not the Arab Knesset members. They didn’t even show up to debate. Only the Jews threatened war. The Arabs MK’s said nothing.

We’re conquering Har HaBayit from ourselves, in a war with ourselves. It’s the Jews that are preventing us from going in, and it is the Jews threatening war if we do. In order to go in, we have to conquer the Jews, not the Arabs. The Arabs are just noise.

I began to notice a pattern. The Kodesh HaKodashim is the soul of the Jewish Nation. It always has been. And the closer Feiglin gets to the minds of the people, the more they understand what he stands for, the closer he gets to the Holy of Holies, physically.

Yesterday there were some Arabs screaming, but it was sheepish and pathetic. It was led by a shrieking woman covered in black. Shrill and angry, more pestering than threatening. The Arab men were mostly silent, just glaring. Yes, we are conquering Har HaBayit mi’Din Kibbush, but not from a few shrieking women. They’re not stopping us. We are conquering it away from Jewish self-denial. It’s the Jews that are stopping us from entering the building, not a few shrill Muslim women, hiding behind their burqas in shame, too scared to even show us their faces.

In order to conquer Har HaBayit physically, Feiglin has to conquer the minds of the Jewish people first. The closer he gets to that objective, the closer he gets to the Kodesh HaKodashim physically. And that is happening, and it’s happening fast now.

Here is a Facebook post being passed around, written by a secular leftist named Omry on September 15, 2014. I have kept the curse words intact for the sake of authenticity. They are not mine:

OK, I give up.

We now have a situation where the only human being saying anything logical in the Knesset is Feiglin. Fucking Moshe Feiglin. Do you understand what depths of insanity, immorality and stupidity Israeli politics has fallen?

Understand that this is no longer merely the level of “Oof, I can’t believe I’m giving him a like,” but that I’m actually considering voting for him. Me. A leftist. A Meretz Member. A former Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) activist.

I am considering voting for Feiglin.

What have we come to?

But the doors to the Foundation Stone are still closed. A few more advances are still required. Feiglin will only be allowed in M’Din Kibush, halachically and in reality, after he conquers the soul of the Jewish People and they are ready to elect him. Only then will he be allowed to enter. The screaming Arabs are just noise. A distraction. Shrieking women. Nothing more than that.

The ones stopping him from going in are the police. The Jews. They still own the soul of the people and they are keeping us out. But not much longer. We’re getting closer, both to the minds and to the place itself, circling it, advancing and retreating, like an ideological battering ram, powered with a full tank that does not get consumed.

Once we reach critical mass, once those Facebook posts like the one above start coming out of the woodwork, the police will not stop Feiglin. Once he steps through those huge doors, the Muslim women can scream as much as they want, it won’t matter. The war over the soul of the Jewish nation will be won.

But for now, we’re circling the Holy of Holies, Mi’Din Kibush, conquering it. Slowly at first. Faster now.

 

 

Adventures with Yishmael on Har Habayit – Riot on the Temple Mount

Well that was interesting. I’m the guy in the blue jeans and brown shirt who kind of looks like me.

I woke up this morning at 4:45 to go to the Mikveh and then to Har Habayit with Moshe Feiglin. He stayed in Jerusalem apparently so I drove there myself for the first time though I’ve gone with Moshe several times before, and parked on Derech Hevron because looking for a parking spot in or around the Old City scares me. When I got there at 7:30 it took about half an hour for the police to let us in. Then we had the “No praying no bowing no kneeling no singing, no religious activity” thing and the customary full body search for any religious articles including a complete emptying of the contents of my wallet just like my two year old Daffy does when I leave it within her reach. In case there is religious contraband tucked away in one of the pockets or folds of my wallet.

We get up there, me in my Vibram 5-fingers, others in flip-flops, Feiglin in socks because he intends to go right up to Kipat HaSelah, Dome of the Rock so he can’t have any shoes on at all. I was intending to go one step closer than I usually go, but I’m not ready to go up to the Dome yet, and Moshe asked us politely not to anyway, and to leave the דין כיבוש stuff to him, no problem with that.

We get to the gate and immediately we hear in the background some Alla-hu Akbars. They are faint and I don’t mind them. I know they mean to insult me and intimidate me, but I can’t but wholeheartedly agree with them. God is great. Thank you Arabs for noticing, and for timing your chants with the entrance of God’s representatives here, us. So I can’t but feel flattered.

As we continue on, the chants get louder and more Arabs begin to congregate around us, fine, no problem. Nobody has violated the non aggression principle yet. Everyone has a right to chant God is Great at me as much as they want. I keep smiling and walking slowly. Heavily armed police surround us.

Non Jewish tourists, mostly Jesus-worshipers, stare at us and wonder why we are the focus of all the Akbars. Two old ladies from the Jesus group join us, apparently from Australia. They want to be part of the excitement, apparently.

And then the trigger. The Waqf guy sent each time to oversee that we don’t do anything religious is standing in front of us. Then Moshe goes up to one of the police guys and tells him that it was agreed with the higherups in the police department that at least for part of the time, the Waqf guy would not be our escort. So, to the police guy’s credit, he starts to escort the Waqf guy away from us. A scuffle ensues, and the Waqf guy is removed.

And then the chants get really loud and the number of screaming Arabs multiplies to hundreds, possibly over a 1000, but I’d have to see an aerial picture.

The news says that “a couple of young Arabs began screaming” but that is quite far from what was happening. Arabs of all ages began converging on us, men, women, a few kids, young and old alike, כל העם מקצה as they say in Sodom. מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים.

They start getting closer, and I start feeling a bit smushed. My heart rate only now begins to jump up a bit. Just a bit. Police are on all sides of us pushing away Arabs jumping in our direction.

The old Jesus ladies try to calm us down and say, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Lord!” One Lord for every two Jesuses. The Jesus-thanking is not helping me slow my heart rate, and I really feel caught between Esav and Yishmael now, though Yishmael wants to kill me and Esav just wants me to thank Jesus. I just want to daven, but the Jewish policemen for sure are not going to be happy about that, and they’re busy at the moment pushing away rioters so I’d rather not give them a hard time.

The police turn us around about 1/5th into our circuit. We’re headed back. Michael Puah has the camera, telling everyone to calmly smile, and Moshe is in the middle walking calmly as he always does. As we head back, I see one rock the size of a grapefruit fly above me and land about 10 feet behind me. So I stop looking at Feiglin in favor of keeping my eyes out for any rocks headed toward my skull.

I didn’t see any others.

One of the Jesus ladies asks me what group this is. I say it’s Feiglin’s group. She says who? I say Moshe Feiglin. Sudden recognition and excitement on her face. “Oh, Moshe Feiglin?! Where is he? Can I shake his hand?!”

“Sure,” I say. “He’s over there, in the suit.” She rushes up to him and shakes his hand.

“We’re with you,” she says to Moshe, “the nations are with you. We’re from Australia. Thank you Jesus!” Moshe shakes her hand and smiles back at her.

We get off Har Habayit. Then a Mahane Yehuda-looking Jew sees Feiglin and immediately insists on a picture with him.

“אני לא תומך בך” he says. “I am not one of your supporters,” “אבל אתה בוודאי תהיה ראש הממשלה הבא”. “But you will definitely be the next prime minister.”

He takes a picture, still holding his cigarette, with Moshe. We disperse.

The police now have two choices for next month. Ban Moshe Feiglin from Har Habayit, or ban Arabs from Har Habayit while Moshe is there. Let’s see what they do.

The worst part about the whole experience was not the Arab rioters. Rioting is what they’re good at and it doesn’t disappoint me. It was not the rocks, as I can easily dodge them. And it was not the fact that the rioters were not expelled from Har Habayit instead of us, who were being peaceful. I expect nothing from the police, and the fact that they prevented Arabs from physically attacking us (rocks aside) is more than I expected. Good for them.

No, the worst part was as I was driving away I hear on the news that “Knesset Member and Vice Knesset Chairman Moshe Feiglin was removed from Har Habayit today along with a group of right wing activists after rioters began shouting at them and throwing rocks.”

They had the chutzpa to call ME a “RIGHT WING ACTIVIST?!”

GROSS!

Check in next month for more “Adventures with Yishmael on Har Habayit!”

Knesset to Debate Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount, The Inside Story

Back to blogging. Things are heating up. You may have heard that the Knesset will be debating the issue of Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount this Tuesday. I’ll be going. I don’t really like the term “Jewish Sovereignty” because it’s an Orwellian term. It really means that the agents of the State of Israel will control what goes on at the Temple Mount, instead of what the situation is now, which is that the Jordanian state decides it.

If we are to stick to strict libertarian theory as to what should be done with Mount Moriah, the answer is give it to the nearest Kohen Meyuchas, or ancestor of a Kohen that can actually trace his lineage to someone who served in the temple 1944 years ago before it was destroyed. They are the last ones to have owned the place rightfully, so gather them all together (and there are a few of them around) and give private ownership of Har Habayit to them by shares of stock in it and let them decide what to do with it. The Arabs can take what’s on the surface and get off, or stay on, if that’s what the majority of Kohanim Meyuchasim decide.

But I digress. This won’t happen. So the next best thing is to give it to some State of Israel official who is something of a next of kin, since we’re at least related to the Kohanim. And this just came one step closer to happening 2 weeks ago. It was quite poetic actually.

How it happened

The status of Har Habayit has never come up in the Knesset. Ever. This is the first time since the destruction of the Temple that a Jewish authority will even discuss it. So how did it happen?

The Knesset has its own weird parliamentary rules. Moshe Feiglin brought up the motion to discuss the status of Har Habayit with the goal of having the Knesset pass a resolution to allow Jews to enter the compound from all gates and to pray there. The status quo currently is that Jews can only come through one gate, between 7am and 10pm only on certain days in very small groups, must be surrounded by police at all times, cannot carry any “contraband” including religious articles to the site, move their lips in prayer, bow, look at the Waqf the wrong way, or steal the Dome of the Rock.

The weird parliamentary rules are these: Once Feiglin brought up the motion, the Speaker can either deny a vote, at which point the motion goes to committee, or call a vote. If the vote passes, the discussion will happen. If the vote fails, the discussion will not happen. (A “discussion” is basically when Knesset Members are invited to the podium to bloviate. The only one who ever actually says anything of substance is Moshe.) So basically the speaker can either deny a vote and let the fate of the motion be decided in committee, or he can roll the dice with an immediate vote which will decide the fate of the motion immediately.

The Speaker at the time was the loveable Ahmed Tibi, the loud-mouthed Arab gynecologist and envy of all sewer rats. In the plenum at the time were Tibi, Feiglin, Amir “Unionize this Mustache” Peretz and Yisrael Eichler the Haredi guy. Tibi figured the numbers were on his side. He’d vote against a discussion of Jewish Sovereignty on Holy Al Aqsa, Peretz would too because he’s a lefty, Eichler would too because he’s Haredi and thinks Jews going up to Har Habayit is like Nadav and Avihu offering up Esh Zarah and holy fire will descend from heaven, so he thought it’d be 3 to 1 against and the whole issue would die right there.

But Tibi tracht und God blacht. Tibi called the vote. Tibi votes no. Feiglin votes yes. So far it’s tied.

It goes to Mustache Peretz…and he isn’t even paying attention. No vote.

So it all comes down to Eichler. He looks at Moshe and Tibi, and decides, to hell with holy fire, let the Jews discuss it, and he’d rather be on Moshe’s side on this one than Tibi. He votes yes.

And suddenly, for the first time in one thousand nine hundred and forty-four years, the Jews will discuss their own sovereignty on Har Habayit this Tuesday.

If we take a step back, this is a structurally flawless mircocosm of what’s going on now in Jewish history. The Jewish ideologue proposes a vote to bring geulah one step closer. The Arab, thinking he will win, puts all his cards on the table and forces the other two Jews – the secular socialist and the haredi socialist, to make a decision. The secular socialist is asleep at the wheel. And the haredi tips the scales.

And God takes a small bow, making sure only the astute even notice the divine choreography at play here.

Let’s see what happens on Tuesday.

 

The inside story of Feiglin’s arrest on the Temple Mount

Two months ago, I went up to Har Habayit with Feiglin. The police, as usual, gave us a spiritual strip search and told us that any act of prayer would start a thermonuclear war within seconds led by Muhammad himself  and his army of 72 virgins. These virgins, we were told in our debriefing, were all armed with sharp talons dipped in snake venom for which there is no antivenin. Shiites and Sunnis, they continued, would unite globally in stopping the horror of Jewish prayer. Syrians would cease killing each other just to stop us from singing. Oil fields throughout the gulf would be set ablaze and the Caliphate would suddenly materialize and we would all drown in a deafening cacophony of Allahu Akbars.

So after the police saved the world yet again by making sure the Jews didn’t pray up there, we went up. There is one point along the eastern side where Feiglin looks over an edge into a walkway for yet another mosque and we usually see a pile of old wood. This wood is petrified and has been radioactively dated to the time of the First Temple. On that day two months ago we all looked down and saw this:

In the front you can see the ancient wood. In the back you can see it burning in a trash can. That day two months ago, we all looked over that rail and Feiglin said to us, “This may be your last chance to see the surviving wood from the First Temple.” Apparently, they saw that we were interested in the wood, so they started burning it. Among the very last things we were thinking about doing was thanking the police for doing nothing about this and thereby preventing a world war.

Feiglin was then suddenly escorted by one of the policemen. Allegedly, he had prayed. I was with him the whole time and hadn’t noticed any prayers. Maybe the police have a psychic on the Temple Mount security staff. You need extra security when you’re saving the world. He was arrested, his fingerprints forcibly taken, but a judge ordered him released without preconditions.

That was two months ago. This time, when we went to the same spot, the same policeman who had escorted Feiglin out two months before insisted on showing us this:

This shows the surviving pile of the same wood covered with a plastic sheet to protect it from the rain. We didn’t know there was any left. We thought they had burned it all. But apparently they hadn’t. And the police wanted to show us that they were protecting artifacts. And in turn risking the rise of the Caliphate. Sarcasm aside, our hearts jumped, and we were happy. We don’t know how long it will last there before they burn the rest of it.

A few minutes later, the police were out of site, and one from our group informed Feiglin that while they weren’t looking, he had the opportunity for a quick prostration to his Creator if he wished. The Temple Mount is the only place on the planet where a Jew is allowed halachically to prostrate himself with no barrier between him and the floor. The particular area was secluded, walled on three sides, out of view of everyone. So he took the opportunity and did a quick bow, got up, and kept walking. That was it.

It was not a political statement or a planned exercise in disobedience. It was a spontaneous act of religious devotion meant to provoke no one. Feiglin is not very good at making calculated political statements about anything. He’s not much of a politician. He just does and says what he thinks is right.

A few minutes later Feiglin was escorted by the same policeman from the Temple Mount. Apparently, there was an undercover cop with us who saw his little stunt. The undercover cop, not wishing to pass up the chance to save the planet, reported it.

A few hours later, Feiglin was again released from police custody with no preconditions.

Now the police are recommending that he be put on trial for trying to bring about Armageddon by prostrating himself off the cuff in a secluded area on the Temple Mount.

Extremist indeed. Why do I even hang out with these people?