Subject: my 13 brothers

Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 15:08:37 -0400

From: mark rosenblit <>

Organization: @Home Network



President Khatami:

I am a Jew residing in West Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Although scattered by God across the World, we Jews are one family wherever we may live.  I don't know any of the Jews who have been arrested and now face death in Iran. But, because they are part of my family, I am required to seek their freedom, even to the point of collecting ransom for that purpose.

Frankly, I don't believe that the government of Iran is much affected by public opinion, neither among Iranians nor among those who live outside Iran -- especially public opinion generated in the West. This fact, however, doesn't change my obligation to send this letter. As you know, all of the Jews of Iran are captives -- perhaps, initially, willing captives because they chose not to leave when the Shah fell, but captives nevertheless. Perhaps it would be better for Iran and for them if they all left the country. However, you know that they pose no danger to the Islamic Republic, and they do not engage in Zionist or pro-Israel activities; they are loyal to Iran.

There should be a way for Iran to deal with my 13 brothers which vindicates Iran's honor and yet secures their freedom. Perhaps the government could announce that for their activities against the Islamic Republic they will be expelled from Iran to any country willing to take them except for certain countries specified by the government, such as Israel and the United States -- and the government could further warn the Jewish community that any further activity against the Islamic Republic would be met with expulsion. Perhaps there is some other creative solution.

To murder these people, however, will do Iran no honor, especially in God's Eyes -- He is Just and He demands that we act the same. When he to whom God entrusts power over the lives of other human beings abuses that power, God remembers and punishes measure for measure. Do what is pleasing in God's Eyes.



Mark Rosenblit


Commentary On My Letter To President Khatami:

Normally, even an ordinary Jew is not permitted to flatter Israel's enemies. This is because Israel's enemies are, by definition, God's enemies. This is explicitly established in the Torah, at Num. 31:2-3, where it states: "HaShem spoke to Moses, saying, 'Take Vengeance for the Children of Israel against the Midianites ...'", but: "Moses spoke to the people, saying, '... inflict HaShem's Vengeance against Midian.'" Accordingly, it is even a greater Chillul HaShem (desecration of God's Name) for a Jewish leader to flatter, and humble himself before, the enemies of Israel.

That a Jewish leader is prohibited from flattering, and humbling himself before, the gentile nations -- even if they are not yet enemies of Israel -- is demonstrated by the tragedy of righteous Hezekiah, monarch of the southern kingdom of Judah (see II Kings 18:1 - 20:21 and II Chronicles 29:1 - 32:33). King Hezekiah eradicated idolatry from the kingdom of Judah and restored Yirat Elohim (fear of God) among the Jewish people. Consequently, he was beloved of God. Yet despite his great personal merit and accomplishments, he nevertheless caused the kingdom of Judah, in a future generation, to fall into the hands of evil Babylonia, thereby initiating the destruction of the First Temple and the commencement of the Babylonian Exile. What was righteous Hezekiah's Sin? -- Only that, in a moment of weakness, he flattered, and humbled himself before, Babylonia's leadership. Hezekiah's moment of weakness occurred after a series of events culminating in God's Rescue of Judah from certain destruction. First, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel and exiled its survivors. Next, Assyria captured many of Judah's cities and advanced towards Jerusalem. In response to Assyria's invasion of Judah, and its sacking of the fortified cities thereof (save for Jerusalem), Hezekiah humbled himself before Sennacherib by declaring, "... 'I have sinned. Withdraw from me, and whatever you impose upon me I will bear' " (II Kings 18:14). In response to this plea Sennacherib imposed upon Hezekiah an enormous tribute which the latter paid by giving to Sennacherib all of the treasures found in the Temple and in his palace. However, in spite of Judah's appeasement of Assyria, the latter's army nevertheless laid siege to Jerusalem; and because of Judah's appeasement of Assyria, the latter's spokesman publicly boasted before the Jewish people that the God of Israel was a false god who was incapable of saving Jerusalem from the might of Assyria. Seeing that neither military prowess nor naked appeasement would suffice to rescue Judah from certain defeat, Hezekiah finally appealed to the God of Israel. As the Hebrew Bible relates: "Hezekiah then prayed before HaShem, and said, 'HaShem, God of Israel, Who dwells atop the Cherubim: You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the World; You made Heaven and Earth. Incline Your ear, Hashem, and hear; open Your eyes, HaShem, and see! Hear the words of Sennacherib that he has sent to insult the Living God! Indeed, HaShem, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, and have placed their gods into the fire, for they are not gods, but the work of Man's hands -- wood and stone -- so they destroyed them. So, now, HaShem, our God, save us please from his hand; then all the kingdoms of the World shall know that You alone are HaShem God.'" (II Kings 19:15-19). God responded to Sennacherib's public denigration of Him -- a great Chillul HaShem -- and to Hezekiah's pleas for Divine Intervention by decimating the Assyrian army and by causing Sennacherib to be assassinated by two of his sons. "Thus HaShem saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and from the hand of everyone; and He guided them all around. Many [people] brought tributes to HaShem to Jerusalem, and luxurious gifts to Hezekiah, king of Judah; and, from that time forward, he was exalted in the eyes of all the nations." (II Chronicles 32:22-23); God's Intervention thereby effected a great Kiddush HaShem (sanctification of God's Name) among the gentile nations and among the Jewish people. Ironically, it was after all of these events that Hezekiah converted Kiddush HaShem into Chillul HaShem! Despite being shown by God Himself that a Jewish state's appeasement of an aggressor nation leads, not to a cessation of aggression, but rather to an acceleration thereof, and despite God's very public demonstration in the sight of the nations that He, and He alone, was the Protector of the Jewish people, Hezekiah, nevertheless, attempted to ingratiate himself with a newly-ascendant power emanating from the East -- Babylonia -- by showing the emissaries thereof all of his replenished royal treasuries. This display of Yirat HaGoyim (fear of the nations) by Hezekiah, leader of the Jewish people, enraged God. For, Hezekiah's humbling behavior before the emissaries of Babylonia had effected a great Chillul HaShem due to the inevitable inference that was drawn therefrom by the gentile nations that, despite God's prior exhibition of His Power in order to rescue the Jewish people from a past threat, the Jewish people nevertheless lacked complete faith in God's Ability to protect them from a future threat. As the text continues: "Isaiah, the prophet, came to King Hezekiah and said to him, 'What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?' Hezekiah said, 'They came from a faraway land, from Babylonia.' He said, 'And what did they see in your [treasure] House?" Hezekiah said, 'They saw everything in my House; there was nothing that I did not show them in my treasuries.' Isaiah then said to Hezekiah, 'Hear the Word of HaShem: "Behold, the days are coming when everything in your House, and that which your forefathers have accumulated until this Day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Not a thing will be left" said HaShem.' " (II Kings 20:14-17). The respect and awe that the gentile nations had accorded the kingdom of Judah and its Protector, the God of Israel, as a result of Assyria's rout and humiliation was dissipated when these same nations saw the kingdom of Judah prostrate itself before Babylonia. As punishment for the Jewish people's voluntary humbling before Babylonia -- mida k'neged mida (measure for measure) -- God, in a later generation, effected the Jewish people's involuntary humbling before that very nation.

That a Jewish leader is prohibited from flattering, and humbling himself before, the gentile nations was also demonstrated, in an earlier generation, by the following words of the Prophet Samuel to Saul, first anointed king of united Israel: "'Is this not so? Though you may be small in your own eyes, you are the head of the tribes of Israel; and HaShem has anointed you to be king over Israel.'" (I Samuel 15:17).

However, in the case of the 13 imprisoned Iranian Jews (and their 25,000 compatriots), since Jewish lives are clearly at stake and since I do not presently stand at the head of a Jewish army, I am permitted to employ flattery if it has the slightest chance of helping to save my brothers' lives.

© Mark Rosenblit


[Note:  Although Egypt tirelessly demonizes Israel in its state-controlled media, in United Nations forums, and in the Arab and Muslim organizations of which it is a member (such as the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference) and then turns a blind eye to the hundreds of tunnels originating in Sinai which are used by Hamas to smuggle explosives and weaponry into Gaza, Israel habitually responds to Egypt’s systematic aggression by showering it with flattery.  Read on! -- Mark Rosenblit]

Lieberman: Mubarak can go to Hell

By Jerusalem Post staff

(Jerusalem Post, October 30, 2008) Both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert acted swiftly Wednesday to try and contain any diplomatic damage from Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman's unflattering remarks about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, phoning Mubarak to say Lieberman's words did not reflect Israeli policy.

Speaking at a Knesset memorial session Wednesday marking the seventh anniversary of former tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi's assassination,
Lieberman said, "[Ze'evi] would never agree to the self-effacing attitude of Israel vis-a-vis Egypt. Time after time, our leaders go to meet Mubarak in Egypt, but he has never agreed to come here for an official visit as president. Every self-respecting leader would have made those meetings conditional on reciprocity. If he wants to talk to us, he should come here; if he doesn't want to come here, he can go to Hell."

Olmert, according to his office, called Mubarak immediately afterward and apologized for the "crude" comments. The prime minister told Mubarak that it would have been better had comments like those not been made, and that once they were uttered it was clear they were "unnecessary and harmful."

According to Olmert's office, the prime minister said Israel viewed Mubarak as a "strategic partner and a close friend," and that Israel attributed great importance to the relations with Egypt and to strengthening the ties between the two countries.

Peres also phoned Mubarak and issued a statement expressing "sorrow" at Lieberman's statement.

"The State of Israel has deep respect for President Mubarak and his country for their important and leading role in furthering peace in the region," Peres said, adding that one "lone call" would not harm relations that were wide, varied and full of content.

The quick and unequivocal response by Peres and Olmert indicated concern in Jerusalem that Lieberman's remarks could complicate relations with Egypt if they were not sharply and quickly denounced.

Nevertheless, Mubarak's refusal to make a state visit to Israel has periodically been a point of contention between the two countries. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon, for instance, entered office in 2001 saying he would not make pilgrimages to Cairo as his predecessors had, at least until the Egyptians released alleged Israeli [Druze Arab] spy Azzam Azzam [because the latter was falsely accused, convicted and imprisoned by Egypt for the sole purpose of humiliating Israel and its Druze Arab population which is largely loyal to the Jewish State]. Indeed, Sharon did not meet Mubarak in Egypt until after Azzam's release in December 2005.

Mubarak is expected to host a meeting of the Quartet -- the US, EU, UN and Russia -- on November 9 in Sharm e-Sheikh [located in Sinai], a meeting that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to attend. There is also a likelihood that Livni and Palestinian Authority negotiator Ahmed Qurei will brief the Quartet representatives on the status of the Israeli-PA negotiations, charting out what has and has not yet been agreed upon.

In preparation for that meeting, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to arrive in Jerusalem on November 6, just two days after the US elections, in an indication that the US does not intend to put the diplomatic process in deep freeze until after the Israeli elections or a new US Administration is sworn in.

Another indication that the US wants to try and keep some diplomatic momentum going is an invitation US President George W. Bush issued to Olmert Wednesday for another meeting in the US. Olmert's office said the two men spoke by phone Wednesday and that the visit would take place "shortly."

(©) The Jerusalem Post

Note:  Words in brackets [         ] represent my explanatory comments only; and they form no part of the republished article. -- Mark Rosenblit



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