O wyzwoleniu i transseksualistach

O wyzwoleniu i transseksualistach

AYELET COHEN


Herrada z Hogenburga, Mojżesz prowadzi Naród Izraela przez Morze Czerwone

QUEEROWE KOMENTARZE BIBLIJNE UKAZUJĄ SIĘ OD BLISKO ROKU W DRUKOWANYCH WYDANIACH „CHIDUSZU”. Z OKAZJI PESACH PUBLIKUJEMY PO RAZ PIERWSZY ONLINE OBSZERNY FRAGMENT JEDNEGO Z NICH – PEŁNĄ WERSJĘ TEKSTU „O WYZWOLENIU I TRANSSEKSUALISTACH” MOŻNA PRZECZYTAĆ W BIEŻĄCYM NUMERZE „CHIDUSZU”

Żydzi przygotowują się do Pesach – zarówno w kuchni, jak i w synagodze – bardziej skrupulatnie niż do jakiegokolwiek innego święta. Na kilka tygodni przed uroczystością w każdy szabat czytane są fragmenty Tory, które mają nas przygotować do jej obchodów. Również kuchnia – podczas intensywnych wiosennych porządków – musi zostać przystosowana do tego, żeby sporządzić w niej tradycyjne potrawy. Ironicznie, te długie przygotowania prowadzą do święta, które ma nam przypominać o przeprowadzonej w pośpiechu i na ostatnią chwilę akcji wyjścia Żydów z Egiptu.

Izraelici musieli opuścić Egipt tak szybko, że do opisu warunków ucieczki Tora stosuje specjalne określenie. Nic do tej pory nie zadziało się w atmosferze takiej paniki. Dzieci Izraela, ryzykując życie, musiały zostawić wszystko, co było im znane, dla zaledwie mglistej obietnicy czegoś lepszego. Do opisu mieszanki pośpiechu i strachu Tora używa słowa chipazon. Tak Izraelici po raz pierwszy zasmakowali wolności. Nakazano im bowiem: „A tak pożywać je będziecie: biodra wasze przepasane, obuwie wasze na nogach waszych, a laska wasza w ręku waszym, i spożyjecie je w pośpiechu (be-chipazon)” (Szemot 12:11).

Pesach to „czas wyzwolenia”. Podczas tych wiosennych obchodów świętujemy odrodzenie się Żydów jako wolnego narodu, wyjście z Egiptu i zrzucenie jarzma niewolnictwa. Hagada na Pesach – tekst, który opowiada historię Exodusu i przewodzi nam podczas kolacji sederowej – zabiera nas w pełną doznań podróż od zniewolenia do wyzwolenia. Zawarte są w niej nietypowe rytuały i elementy świątecznego posiłku, przywołujące smak opresji (a później wolności). Jej charakter ma na celu prowokowanie pytań i dyskusji o historii zniewolenia Izraelitów i naturze wolności. „Po co te wszystkie rytuały?”, zapytają uczestniczący w obchodach. Hagada daje na to pytanie prostą i najbardziej fundamentalną odpowiedź:

Awadim hajinu le-faro be-Micraim we-jocijenu Adonaj Elohejnu mi-szam be-jad chazaka u-bizroa netuja.

Niewolnikami byliśmy faraona w Micraim, i wywiódł nas Wiekuisty z Micraim ręką potężną i ramieniem podniesionym.

Hagada na Pesach ma nam przypominać, że w każdym kolejnym pokoleniu Żydzi powinni przeżywać ten czas tak, jakby sami właśnie opuszczali Egipt. Dobrze bowiem wiedzą, czym jest Egipt. Przez lata zbyt często doświadczaliśmy Micraimu– ciasnej przestrzeni, w której (fizycznie czy metaforycznie) byliśmy zamykani i uciszani tylko ze względu na nasze pochodzenie1. Homoseksualni członkowie naszej społeczności są szczególnie dobrze przygotowani do identyfikowania się z Izraelitami opuszczającymi Egipt, bo każdy, kto w swoim życiu „wyszedł z szafy”, uciekł z niewoli. […]

W judaizmie uwielbiamy kategorie. Obsesyjnie pragniemy poznać naturę rzeczy, nazwać je i pozamykać w oddzielnych szufladach. Święte musi być oddzielone od tego, co przyziemne; szabat – od sześciu pozostałych dni stworzenia świata; produkty mleczne od mięsnych; kobiety od mężczyzn. Kapłani ludu Izraela, o których początkach czytamy w księdze Wa-jikra, opracowali cały system świętości, bazujący na podziałach. Próbując stworzyć porządek w świecie, którego często nie rozumieli, pragnęli zamknąć świętość w prawnych obostrzeniach, bo wierzyli, że jest to najpewniejszy sposób na spełnienie woli Bożej. Te podziały pogłębiały się wraz z rozwojem judaizmu rabinicznego, którego twórcy utrwalili spolaryzowane już w sferze religijnej role płciowe. Kobiety i mężczyźni postrzegani byli jako grupy o różnych duchowych potrzebach i odmiennym charakterze więzi z Bogiem. To mężczyźni byli w pełni dojrzali duchowo, rolą kobiet było zaś przede wszystkim zaspokajanie potrzeb swoich mężów i ojców, ważniejsze od ich własnych religijnych zobowiązań.

W ortodoksyjnych synagogach kobiety i mężczyźni nie tylko zajmują inne miejsca (oddzieleni mechicą), ale też każdego ranka odmawiają inne błogosławieństwa. Co rano mężczyźni modlą się słowami: Baruch ata Adonaj sze-lo asani isza („Błogosławiony bądź, Boże […] za to, że nie stworzyłeś mnie kobietą”). W modlitwie przeznaczonej dla kobiet ten fragment zastąpiony jest wersem: Baruch ata Adonaj sze-asani ki-rcono („Błogosławiony bądź Boże […] za to, że stworzyłeś mnie zgodnie z Twoją wolą”).

W bardziej egalitarnych gminach podziały między kobietami a mężczyznami przestały mieć sens, zatem w wielu synagogach mechice zostały zdemontowane i wszyscy członkowie społeczności modlą się wspólnie. Każdy dorosły bierze pełny udział w nabożeństwie i może przewodzić modlitwie. W postępowych odłamach judaizmu poranne błogosławieństwo zostało zmienione – recytując je, każdy, niezależnie od płci, chwali Boga za to, że został stworzony na Jego podobieństwo. Odrzuca się też lewickie kategorie, według których do świętości można dojść jedynie poprzez stosowanie się do wyznaczonych podziałów. Świętość osiąga się bowiem poprzez pielęgnowanie indywidualnej i grupowej więzi z Bogiem, poprzez modlitwę, studiowanie Tory i działanie. Jednak mimo prób wyrównywania różnic, nawet liberalnym gminom żydowskim i społecznościom gejowskim nie udało się zatrzeć tradycyjnych granic między kobietami a mężczyznami. Choć te kategorie płciowe nie mają już tak dużego znaczenia w sferze społecznej, duchowej czy w świetle żydowskiego prawa, cały czas ciążą na nas emocjonalnie.

Niesamowity wiersz Jehudy Amichaja, narodowego wieszcza Izraela, opisuje rozpacz chłopca uwięzionego po złej stronie synagogi, po złej stronie mechicy:

Uczyłem się miłości w dzieciństwie w bóżnicy mego dzieciństwa

za pomocą kobiet za pomocą kobiet, za taką przegrodą,

która więziła moją mamę z wszystkimi kobietami i dziewczętami.

Ale przegroda, która je więziła, więziła mnie z drugiej strony,

one były wolne w swej miłości, a ja tkwiłem

zamknięty z wszystkimi mężczyznami i chłopcami w mej

miłości i mojej tęsknocie.

Chciałem być tam z nimi i znać ich tajemnice,

i powtarzać za nimi: „Błogosławiony, który stworzyłeś mnie

według swojej woli”. A babiniec –

biała i delikatna muślinowa firanka, jak letnia spódnica

przesuwa się tam i z powrotem na kółkach i pętl-ach,

-ach -ach -ach, pętl-ach, -ach -ach, odgłosy miłości

w zamkniętym pokoju.

A twarze kobiet jak twarz księżyca za chmurami

albo w pełni, kiedy odsłania się kurtyna, jak w zaczarowanym

systemie kosmicznym. Nocą na zewnątrz zmawialiśmy

błogosławieństwo księżyca, a ja myślałem o kobietach2. 

Chłopiec z utworu Amichaja znajduje się po złej stronie mechicy. Nie ma w tym nic zabawnego, tragicznego ani dziwnego. To czysto żydowskie uczucie, bardzo osobiste i niezwykle prawdziwe. Chłopiec znajduje się nie gdzie indziej, jak w Micraim.

Awadim hajinu le-faro be-Micraim.

Płeć jest skomplikowaną kwestią, co wiadomo Żydom nie od dziś. Żydowscy mędrcy uwielbiali kategoryzować, ale byli też świadomi pewnej płynności tego pojęcia. Mimo że ich rozumienie płciowości było ograniczone, bo interesowała ich głównie biologia i stosunki seksualne, z Miszny wiemy, że rabini rozróżniali co najmniej cztery kategorie płci: mężczyzn, kobiety, tumtum i androginos (pisały o tym Charlotte Fonrobert, Margaret Wenig i Rachel Biale).

Ale czy od tego czasu coś się zmieniło? Nawet w społecznościach gejowskich osoby transseksualne często spotykają się z ignorancją i dyskryminacją. W heteroseksualnym świecie zaś codziennie narażone są na drwinę, stają się obiektem dyskryminacji i, częściej niż nam się wydaje, ofiarami przerażającej przemocy. Osobom transseksualnym wciąż odmawia się prawnych przywilejów, nawet mimo przyznawania ich wreszcie gejom i lesbijkom. […]

Izraelici jedli ofiarę na Pesach, ich pierwszy posiłek na wolności, w pośpiechu i strachu (be-chipazon). Dziś, podtrzymując pamięć o ucieczce z Egiptu i o chipazon, Żydzi w czasie święta jedzą macę. Tora każe przez siedem dni jeść przaśny chleb, „chleb nędzy; boś w pośpiechu wyszedł z ziemi Micraim – abyś pamiętał dzień wyjścia twojego z ziemi Micraim po wszystkie dni życia twojego” (Dwarim 16:3). Izraelici jedli ofiarę paschalną w pośpiechu, bo wiedzieli, że są o krok od wolności. Od opuszczenia Egiptu zależało ich życie. Jedli z sandałami na stopach, ze spakowanymi torbami – gotowi opuścić Micraim w każdym momencie i zostawić za sobą wszystko, co było im znane. Nie znali dokładnej godziny rozpoczęcia wędrówki, wiedzieli za to, że faraon może chcieć ich ścigać. Nie mogli więc czekać, aż chleb wyrośnie.

Nie mylmy pośpiechu Izraelitów z brakiem przygotowania. Twierdząc, że Hebrajczycy nie byli gotowi do ucieczki, zaprzeczylibyśmy ich całkowitej gotowości do bycia wolnymi. Powiedzieć, że się nie przygotowali, to jak wyprzeć się historii pokoleń, które przeżyły egipską niewolę. Niewątpliwie nadszedł czas wyzwolenia. 

Wędrówka osoby transseksualnej jest podobna do tej, w którą udały się dzieci Izraela – zakłada porzucenie wszystkiego, co znane, dla zaledwie obietnicy czegoś lepszego, choć zupełnie nieznanego. Od tego, czy zdecydują się uciec, zależy ich życie. Ale porzucenie znanego miejsca napawa strachem, nawet jeśli tym miejscem jest Micraim. Niewątpliwie nadszedł czas wyzwolenia.

PRENUMERATA
Ale gotowość to nie wszystko, należy jeszcze zmierzyć się z faraonem, który nie pozwala odejść – faraonem postępowego świata, w którym wciąż głęboko zakorzeniona jest spolaryzowana wizja płci; faraonem homoseksualnych środowisk, który wciąż nie chce zaakceptować, że osoby transseksualne i ich prawa są nieodłączną częścią queerowej tożsamości, queerowego aktywizmu i queerowej społeczności; faraonem strachu, faraonem ciała… Takich faraonów można mnożyć w nieskończoność. […]

Potrzeba nam Boskiego podniesionego ramienia, podniesionych rąk nas wszystkich do walki z niesprawiedliwością w naszych społecznościach i poza nimi. Tylko w ten sposób będziemy mogli powiedzieć, że pamiętamy wyjście z Egiptu. Dopiero wtedy będziemy mogli naprawdę wyobrazić sobie przejście ścieżką przez środek morza i wspólne radowanie się na drugim jego brzegu.


Tłumaczenie i wybór fragmentów: Jolanta Różyło

Przypisy:
1 Hebrajska nazwa Egiptu, Micraim, w dosłownym tłumaczeniu oznacza wąską lub ciasną przestrzeń (z hebr. car, wąski).
2 Jehuda Amichaj, Bogowie zmieniają się, modlitwy zostają na zawsze [fragment], [w:] Otwarte zamknięte otwarte, Wrocław 2017, s. 19.


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‘The deal for the submarines was clean’

‘The deal for the submarines was clean’

Ariel Kahana


Former acting head of the National Security Council Jacob Nagel, who was involved in the process of acquiring the submarines at the center of Case 3,000, tells Israel Hayom that to the best of his understanding, there were no irregularities.

Former acting head of the National Security Council Jacob Nagel – no one ever thought Israel would maintain a fleet of nine submarines | Photo: Gideon Markowicz

On the home screen of former head of the National Security Council Jacob Nagel, between photos of him shaking hands with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Bill Clinton, there is a picture of his vital meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It took place in Berlin in February 2016. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as usual, headed the Israeli delegation. Nagel, who only a few weeks earlier had taken up the post of acting National Security Council head, joined him.

In the months leading up to that meeting, there were discussions in Israel and Germany about the possibility of signing a memorandum of understanding with the German government. The document was supposed to define what kind of naval vessels Israel would purchase from Germany over the next few years. Nagel and Netanyahu, who had studied the matter ahead of the meeting with Merkel, provided a clear answer. Nagel told his German counterpart, head of national security Christoph Hausmann, that Israel would not be acquiring anti-submarine ships. Netanyahu updated Merkel that Israel did intend to acquire three new submarines.

That agreement would eventually turn into the “submarines affair,” which is the focus of Case 3,000. But Nagel, who saw for himself how things played out, does not believe the claims being made against Netanyahu.

In an interview to the Israel Hayom weekend magazine, Nagel says that “to the best of my professional understanding, the process of acquiring [Israel’s] seventh, eighth, and ninth submarines – from the moment I learned of it in October 2015 – was one of the cleanest, most orderly acquisitions there has ever been.”

‘We need a Palestinian Sadat’

Nagel, 62, lives in Rosh Ha’ayin. He is married and a father of four, a grandfather of five, and a brigadier-general in the reserves. He started his defense and security career on a special track out of high school with the 8200 intelligence unit. After 17 years there, he transferred to the Mafaat – the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Agency – where he served in a number of roles until he joined the National Security Council in 2011. He made his mark with the Nagel Commission (“there were a lot of Nagel Committees, but I’m proudest of that one,” he says), which recommended that Israel develop the Iron Dome missile defense system. Then, too, he and his partners – Mafaat head Shmuel Keren and Director-General of the Defense Ministry Pinchas Bucharis – felt the pressure the system knows how to exert when it opposes the political echelon’s instructions about acquisitions or developments.

“We were the target of insane attacks,” Nagel said in an interview two years ago.

Nagel stepped in to head the NSC after his predecessor Yossi Cohen was appointed head of the Mossad. The appointment of Avriel Bar Yosef, who had been selected to replace Cohen, was cancelled when he came under suspicion of criminal activity. Later on, those suspicions were linked to the submarines affair. Netanyahu was satisfied with Nagel’s performance and asked him several times to take on the job permanently, but Nagel declined for personal reasons.

In effect, Nagel was head of the NSC and national security advisor from January 2016 to April 2017. He led the talks on the U.S. aid package to Israel for the decade to come (and was even the Israeli signatory to it); the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey; and several issues that lay at the core of diplomatic-security activity. Since leaving the post, he has been a guest lecturer at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where he lectures on policy and strategy in research and development and directs the Center for Defense Information and Technology. Here and there, he talks to the media about what he knows about the submarines affair, but after several instances in which his comments were twisted, decided to keep quiet until the election was over. Now that his version of events cannot be accused of being used to influence voters, he is ready to speak.

This week, Israel Hayom revealed elements of an article on Netanyahu’s defense outlook Nagel is writing for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“They always say things here are a mess. So here, for the first time since [Israel’s first Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion, a prime minister who apparently intends to remain in office for several years to come, says ‘This is what you should aim for.’ A defense outlook affects force-building in the IDF 20 or 30 years down the road. A big part of the outlook document is classified, and it includes instructions that cannot be revealed,” he says.

Q: Did Netanyahu write his defense outlook by himself?

He wrote it along with the military leadership, the NSC, and his closest associates. The document was presented in sub rosa forums in the defense establishment and the Knesset. People close to Netanyahu, like the former head of the NSC, read it and gave him notes.”

Q: What are the main differences between Netanyahu’s defense outlook and Ben-Gurion’s?

“Ben-Gurion, for example, decided that we had to be ready for an outbreak of violence against us every few years, which is indeed what happened. Netanyahu says that we need to be ready for an ongoing war. Secondly, today we need to be prepared for all kinds of enemies. Nations, demi-nations, political terror organizations like the International Criminal Court in The Hague and BDS. Netanyahu also added the need to defend Jewish communities worldwide. These are things that didn’t exist in Ben-Gurion’s time.”

Q: If there is constant war, doesn’t that mean that the security situation has gotten worse?

“Not at all. Overall, in terms of security, Israel’s situation is very good, and has maybe never been better. The glass is a lot more full than empty.”

Q: Many people are disappointed that the IDF has not defeated Hamas. What are we missing?

“The Gaza Strip is a problem for which I don’t currently see a solution. The biggest concessions we would make don’t meet their minimum demands, so there’s no one to talk to, or anything to talk about. Will we occupy Gaza? Will we beat Hamas? I’m in favor of it, but what will we do then? Who will replace them?”

Nagel says that the only solution is for a figure like former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to arise, who would change the Palestinians’ thinking.

“They used to think that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas would be someone like that, but he isn’t doing the job – not in Gaza and not in Judea and Samaria. They need someone from inside.”

‘Get China out of Haifa Port’

Q: You were in the NSC for six years. For years, it was the poor cousin of the defense establishment. Is it now doing its job as the prime minister’s diplomatic-security brain?

“The NSC serves as the prime minister’s right hand in all areas of security and diplomacy. The head of the NSC prepares every diplomatic conversation the prime minister holds with world leaders, and is on the line while it takes place. There are situations in which the talks would get into politics, and then I, for example, would get off the line or stop listening.

“The NSC is not meant to supplant the Defense Ministry, and it doesn’t. The NSC looks at the macro, makes observations, and presents alternatives. The way I see it, the strength of the NSC is tested by how far the NSC head sits from the prime minister. Today, a single office – the chief of staff’s – separates us, and the military secretary sits across from us. These are the people closest to the prime minister, and that’s how it should be.”

Q: For quite some time, there has been talk of the Chinese investing in sensitive fields in Israel. This week, the issue was raised in discussions your successor, Meir Ben Shabbat, held in Washington. What is your opinion?

“Of course, I don’t know what was discussed by my excellent successor at the NSC. It’s important to me to make it clear that I have no problem with China or with any other country that wants to invest in Israel, but we need to demarcate what is open to them and what is not. As head of the NSC, I discovered to my amazement that problematic deals could go through without the NSC or the Defense Ministry being aware of them or expressing an opinion. Today, the situation is that if we want to sell something security-related, we need approval from the Defense Ministry. In other words, there is oversight. On the other hand, when it comes to civilian products, anyone can do what they want. The Tel Aviv light rail, Phoenix insurance, Bank Leumi or a port – every ministry decides based on its own considerations. That’s not plausible.

“When we’re talking about vital national infrastructures, or harm to our close allies, there needs to be oversight – and it doesn’t matter if the country is China, Japan, or anyone else. Everyone knows about the cyber threat. Imagine a state of emergency in which a foreign country has control of our traffic lights.”

Q: Should we cancel the construction of the new Haifa Port by a Chinese firm?

“In my opinion, we should consider a change, or even a cancellation, of that plan, if it’s possible.”

The submarines affair, in five acts

Q: Many people, including former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, say that Netanyahu and his people wanted to purchase the submarines and other vessels to line their own pockets, and what Netanyahu did approaches treason. What is your response?

“I don’t intend to address remarks by officials I greatly respect, some of whom were my commanders and even gave me my stripes. I can only lay out the facts as I know them, and it could be that I don’t know everything. I can say that at no stage was there any intention for Israel to be in possession of nine submarines simultaneously. That was never an option, and anyone who says differently is either making things up or doesn’t know the facts.”

Q: So what did happen?

“When people talk about the naval vessels, there are essentially five different stories, some of which have nothing to do with each other. The first story is the sixth submarine. There was an argument for years about whether Israel needed five or six submarines. The defense establishment said five were enough; the political echelon, which by the way included former Defense Minister Ehud Barak, decided back in 2010 that six were necessary. The political echelon has the full authority to force its opinion on the matter to be accepted, as happened with many battles over weaponry, such as Iron Dome, satellite development, and other things.

“Every submarine has an ‘expiration date,’ which is determined the day it is launched and after which it cannot be used. Secondly, 10 to 12 years pass from the moment the contract to purchase a submarine is signed until it arrives in Israel. In other words, theoretically, a replacement for a submarine that is decommissioned in 2027 should have been ordered in 2015, so we were behind schedule for some of the submarines. Practically speaking, when it comes to submarines, there is no country other than Germany to buy them from, and in Germany, you buy from ThyssenKrupp.”

Q: What is the second story?

“The second story, which I know from NSC documents, is about the patrol boats to defend the natural gas rigs. There is not and never was any dispute about the need for those boats. There was a question about whom to buy them from, because unlike submarines, there are alternatives.”

Q: Ya’alon contends that the prime minister stopped an international tender for the patrol boats put out by the Defense Ministry. He sees it as more proof of corrupt conspiracy.

“I don’t respond to things someone says. This is a lengthy process that took several years. The Defense Ministry put out a tender for the boats, and did so against the instructions of head of the NSC at the time, Yossi Cohen. The tender was published in the morning, and the written orders not to put out a tender apparently arrived that afternoon.”

Q: If there are alternatives to the German patrol boats, why not publish a tender?

“The entire time, Israel was making attempts to get Germany to give it a discount on the boats. The Germans dragged their feet and tried to link the discount to the Palestinian issue. At one stage, the Defense Ministry thought they couldn’t wait any longer and decided to put out an international tender. But then the prime minister spoke with Merkel by phone, and he convinced her to give Israel the discount. By the way, the finance minister at the time, Yair Lapid, and the defense minister at the time, Avigdor Lieberman, were both involved in these negotiations. The Defense Ministry still wanted to see the Germans put in writing their willingness to give us the discount, so they put out a tender. The NSC, as I said, opposed it, and the tender was stopped.”

On the matter of the patrol boats, there is no dispute between Nagel and Ya’alon about the facts. They agree that the tender was issued and then canceled, and in the end the Germans gave Israel the discount. The dispute has to do with the reason for the cancellation. Nagel explains that the discount and the importance of maintaining ties with Germany prompted Netanyahu to stop the tender; Ya’alon claims that the decision was motivated by financial interests.

Q: But what about the anti-submarine warships? According to Ya’alon, no one wanted them and there was no need for them.

“That’s not accurate. The anti-sub warships apparently have to do with the third scandal, which is the sale of the German submarines to Egypt. Despite countless reports and comments, the Germans did not need Israel’s approval to sell submarines to the Egyptians. In contrast to what people say I said, I never contradicted the prime minister on this matter. What I said was that I was not aware of any Israeli approval for the sale of German submarines to Egypt, because the Germans don’t need any.”

“For years, when the Germans would ask our opinion about selling submarines to Egypt, we would object. The Germans, as a friendly nation, listened to our position, but they were under no obligation to accept it. For example, in a meeting Netanyahu held with German Foreign Minister Frannk-Walter Steinmeier in November 2014, he told him that Israel objected to the sale of submarines to Egypt, but in March 2015, when he was asked again, Netanyahu didn’t object.”

Q: What changed?

“Apparently something happened that I prefer not to discuss.”

Q: You’re referring to what Netanyahu calls “the secret.” Do you know what it is?

“Today I know. At the time, I didn’t, because I still wasn’t in the job [at the NSC]. When I took over as acting NSC head, before that meeting with Merkel in February 2016, I became aware of the subject.”

Q: Did the defense minister, the chief of staff, and other senior officials know?

“In hindsight, it turned out that everyone knew. There was a process in which the Germans decided to sell submarines to Egypt, and the Defense Ministry no doubt knew about it.”

Q: So why did the prime minister tell Channel 12 news that they didn’t?

“That’s not exactly what he said. Take note of his words. He said, ‘Not everything that the prime minister does the chief of staff or defense minister has to know about.’ Everyone took that sentence to mean that he had kept the defense minister and chief of staff out of the loop. But he didn’t say that, and what’s more, in an interview later on he said that it became clear to him that they did know.”

Shouting matches between Netanyahu and Ya’alon

Q: Again, what about the anti-submarine boats, the ones Ya’alon said “no one wanted”?

“That’s the fourth story, and here it’s possible that part of the process was not entirely in good order. But it has almost nothing to do with the prime minister. From the moment it turned out that the Egyptians were about to receive submarines, the Navy or the NSC thought it could be an opportunity to get anti-submarine warships from the Germans, cheaply. It’s a reasonable thought, but apparently the proposal was not submitted to the NSC from the Defense Ministry in an orderly manner. In October 2015, the prime minister went to visit Merkel, and in the meeting the request to acquire three new submarines to replace the existing ones was brought up, as well as two anti-submarine ships. The Germans responded with a request that we prepare a document and discuss it at the next meeting.

“Ahead of the next meeting with Merkel, in February 2016, and after submitting a draft of the deal with the Germans to the Defense Ministry, I updated the prime minister that the Defense Ministry objected to the anti-submarine boats. He responded by asking me, ‘Remind me what an anti-submarine warship is?’ I explained, and he said, ‘If they don’t want them, take it out of the draft document.’ This shows you how minor the issue of the anti-submarine ships was. It was dropped as quickly as it came up, and that was it.”

Q: What’s the fifth story?

“The fifth story is about the seventh, eighth, and ninth submarines. Like I said, in the meeting with Merkel in October 2015, it was agreed that Israel would prepare an orderly paper on which the request would be presented. At the same time, the IDF’s Gideon multi-year work plan was being assembled. The plan included general instructions from the prime minister that were passed on to the NSC and the IDF, according to which Israel should prepare to acquire three more submarines. It was clear to everyone that this meant submarines that would replace the old ones, not that we’d have a total of nine.”

Q: Ya’alon says he had shouting matches with the prime minister, and he stopped the submarines deal.

“It’s true there was shouting, but nothing was stopped. Netanyahu thought that we were behind schedule and we needed to make a decision about the new submarines. The cabinet gave the green light to sign the MoU [memorandum of understanding] to purchase the submarines in October 2016, and everyone was in favor of acquiring three new submarines, including [then-IDF Chief of Staff Gadi] Eizenkot, because it was obvious the old ones had to be replaced.”

Q: If everyone agreed that there was a need for new submarines, why did the Defense Ministry and Ya’alon object?

“I think, and this is a guess, that they were afraid it would hurt the budget for the Gideon plan, so they wanted to put off the matter for a year. But everyone agreed about the need. The argument was about the timing and the final number of submarines we would have a decade on – five or six. So I say that the acquisition of the seventh, eighth, and ninth submarines was the cleanest one there has ever been.”

Q: You know some of the suspects in the submarines affair. Do you think they did what the police suspect them of doing?

“I won’t address anything that is under investigation by the police. As far as the MoU for the acquisition of the submarines, I dealt with it myself and I can say that no one intervened or tried to intervene, other than the relevant experts. David Sharan (Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, who is suspected of taking bribes from Miki Ganor) was sitting in the room next to me and never said word about it. Others didn’t, either. I said hi to David Shimron (a former Netanyahu advisor, who represented Ganor) in the hallway once, and beyond that I never had any contact with him. I know Sharan, [former NSC deputy director] Avriel Bar Yosef, and [former minister] Modi Zandberg, and it never occurred to me they did what they are accused of. The prime minister’s decisions on the submarines and the boats were, in my opinion, correct and clear of any outside influence. I accepted those decisions.”

Q: What about the possibility that Sharan and the others steered him toward making those decisions?

“That makes no sense, and there is nothing to back it up. I’ve spent many hours with the prime minister. If he says he never talked about the submarines with Sharan, I believe him, and everyone else should, too.”


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Yad Vashem – Be inspired to make a difference

Be inspired to make a difference

Yad Vashem


Sofka Skipwith was born in 1907, the daughter of Prince Peter Alexandrovitch Dolgorouky of St. Petersburg, Russia.  After marrying Gray Skipwith, an Englishman, they settled in France.  In 1940, she was arrested by the Germans and sent to the Vittel detention camp. When 280 Polish Jews arrived at the camp,  Sofka and another detainee, Madelaine White attempted to help them, but their efforts were unsuccessful.  Tragically, at the end of April 1944 most of the Jews were deported to Auschwitz. Nevertheless, Sofka and Madeleine did not give up and used their contacts within the resistance movement to smuggle an infant out of the camp whose mother had been deported directly from the hospital.

In July 1944 Sofka was released in a prisoner exchange between Britain and Germany. In June 1998, Yad Vashem recognized Sofka Skipwith as a Righteous Among the Nations.

It is only due to Yad Vashem’s ongoing work that Sofka’s story and thousands of other like hers, have come to light. Your donation will ensure that this vital work continues and that these stories will be shared with the world for generations to come.

 


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Żydzi w Polsce Ludowej

Żydzi w Polsce Ludowej

IPN


Download the PDF file .


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America’s Jewish Left Just Declared War On Israel

America’s Jewish Left Just Declared War On Israel

Jeff Ballabon and Bruce Abramson


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with President Donald Trump in joint news conference at the White House

We have entered a dark period in American Jewish history. Nine mainstream Jewish organizations just declared war against Israel and America’s Jewish community. There is no other way to read a new letter they addressed to President Trump.

While all clearly aligned with the left, the signatories are hardly fringe groups. The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism represent the leadership of the Reform movement. Joining them were the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, its Rabbinical Assembly, and MERCAZ, the Conservative movement’s Zionist affiliate. These groups, plus the Anti-Defamation League – arguably the most valuable brand in organizational Jewry – Ameinu, and the National Council of Jewish Women are all members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

With the results of Israel’s election still trickling in, these groups called upon the president to reject a position that almost 85 percent of Israelis support as critical to their security in favor of their own progressive preference for rewarding anti-Jewish terror. They demand that Trump embrace a failed “two-state solution.”

After years of spin and lies about what it would mean to create a Palestinian state, it’s important to understand where Israel actually stands on the issue. In the newly-elected Knesset, parties that campaigned on any form of a two-state solution will hold only 10 seats out of 120.

Netanyahu’s center-right Likud and Ganz’s center-left Blue-and-White – together accounting for 70 seats – advocated variations on the status quo, in which Israel exercises security control over Judea and Samaria while granting broad autonomy to peaceful Arab cities and villages. The remaining 30 seats will go to parties even less willing to gamble with Israeli security than is the Likud.

Meanwhile, President Trump ran on a Republican platform trusting Israel to know what is necessary for its own security, refusing to force Israel to risk the lives of its citizens, and rejecting the widely-accepted dangerous lie that Israel is an occupying power.

He has governed accordingly. His protection of Israel against the depredations of the United Nations and International Criminal Court has been extraordinary. His recognition of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the truth about both the Palestinian Authority and Palestine refugees has been long overdue.

Overwrought threats of catastrophic Arab eruptions proved baseless; instead, under Trump, Arab states have become increasingly open and accepting of the Jewish state.

The signatory organizations opposed every one of President Trump’s pro-Israel actions. Worse, they’ve defamed and vilified the president at every turn – including accusing him of anti-Semitism. Likewise, they’ve savaged Israel’s prime minister. Now they attack Israel’s democracy.

They have no credibility, no influence in this White House, and they’re not dumb. If they truly believed they had something useful to offer, they’d work through quiet back channels, keeping their fingerprints as faint as possible. Their very public letter cannot plausibly be taken at face value or as any kind of good-faith overture.

What are they really doing? The answer is evident, political, and ominous. Far from representing the interests of Jews, these organizations serve an ascendant progressive movement growing more aggressive in its anti-Semitism. The leadership clique of America’s Jewish mainstream is protecting a Democrat Party that no longer resists the anti-Israel BDS movement, that embraces anti-Semitic hatemongers like Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Socialists of America, and that welcomes into its own ranks anti-Jewish predators like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Rather than fighting the looming threats to the largely assimilated American Jewish community they claim to represent, these groups are preemptively blaming Israel and its supporters for the anti-Semitism to come from their political fellow travelers.

Their letter is part of a synchronized strategy. J Street simultaneously launched an equally transparent social media campaign urging Democrats to do what they already are doing: nullify Israel’s democratic process and intensify their rejection of Israel’s efforts to survive. And four of the Congressional Democrats closest to AIPAC threatened Israel that future support is contingent on submitting to the Democrats’ demand for an independent state of Palestine in the historic Jewish heartland.

All of this is terrible; none of it is surprising. Every one of these groups has long shown more concern with supporting Democrats than supporting Israel. Big-business AIPAC is just trying to stay alive. For it, the value of the illusion of bipartisan consensus has always trumped Israel’s actual policy preferences, especially on the two-state issue.

As for the rest, now that anti-Israelism has become the price of membership on the left, they’re merely reverting to their roots, returning to the radical anti-Zionism that dominated Reform and socialist circles until the State of Israel’s founding.

Surprising or not, however, what makes these campaigns truly grotesque is their duplicity. Not only do they reject Israel’s sovereignty, democracy, and security, they do so while claiming to be pro-Israel, and in the name of Jewish values and democracy. It is because of their aid and comfort that the Democrats are, as a party, surrendering to the same radical left anti-Semitism that has overtaken the UK Labour party.

Washington has long seen through these groups’ charade. Now American Jews must as well. Will American Jews follow those who militate against the Jewish state in order to give cover to the Jew haters in their party, or will they stand up for Israel and the Jewish people and fight to take back their party from the haters?


Jeff Ballabon and Bruce Abramson
Jeff Ballabon is an advisor to the Trump 2020 Campaign, CEO of B2 Strategic, and a senior fellow at the Center for Statesmanship and Diplomacy. Bruce Abramson is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a contributor to the Haym Salomon Center, a news and public policy group.


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