And The Award Goes To…

“The prize is being given to him fifty years after the reunification of the city [Jerusalem]. He initiated, established, led and leads this praiseworthy effort” 
“Israel” Prize Committee

Awards ceremonies are often times little more than spectacles of self-congratulation, a way for us as humans to stretch out our arms and give ourselves a seemingly well-deserved pat on the back.  The complacency of the “Israel” Prize, though, always surprises, even when you would think that you’ve already seen it all at this point with this smuggest of awards committees.  But being perennial overachievers in the realm of chutzpah, they have yet again surprised us at True Torah Jews.  

Of the two “Israel” Prize recipients, one is David Be’eri, founder and director of the Ir David Foundation, better known as “Elad”, an organization which works to build the Israeli Settler presence in East Jerusalem, tirelessly.  

The second prize-winner is Tzvi Levy, the so-called “Father of lone soldiers” those poor misguided individuals who enlist in the Tzahal from abroad and have no family in “Israel”.  Their story is too bitter to go too far into.  Suffice it to say, these lone soldiers’ youthful drive for purpose is, bluntly put, milked by a regime which uses them as walking commendations for their government.  Lone soldiers propagandize in much the same way as immigrants to the Zionist State do.  Just like the well-rehearsed Israeli immigration campaign scripts say: “If well-educated, successful Diaspora Jews are willing to pick up and move half-across the world to a country widely considered a sociopolitical train wreck, than there must be more to this little land than we previously thought.”  Volunteers of whatever stripe are generally doing whatever they’re doing for a supposed higher purpose and these youths are no exception to the rule.  Israeli government rightly looks at them as ideal photo ops, those starry-eyed idealists ready to build the nation, forsaking, at least for a time, the comforts of the countries from which they came.  And Tzvi Levy is their chaperon.  Three cheers.

Coming back to David Be’eri and his organization Elad, Meretz Knesset member Tamar Zandberg had this to say, “If there is one party that is responsible most clearly and in the most organized manner for driving a wedge in East Jerusalem…it’s Elad…” If such a staunch Zionist as Tamar Zandberg finds fault with Elad’s shenanigans, then they find themselves in very deep and dangerous waters.  Though Zandberg’s reasons for opposing Elad couldn’t be more different than our own (her leftist Zionism compared to our Torah Judaism, two polar opposites) the point remains.  David Be’eri and his ilk are pro-actively placing others in a very precarious position.    

The Ir David Foundation was founded in the 1986 when David Be’eri sought to make inroads in East Jerusalem neighborhoods, hoping to expand the settler presence in that part of the of the city.  After failing in their first bid to build 200 housing units in the City of David area in East Jerusalem, Elad quickly switched tactics, moving to the adjacent Silwan neighborhood and, using a combination of intimidation, unscrupulous law bending and plain construction they forced out the existing residents, creating a ticking time bomb in their wake.  Ostensibly, Be’eri’s favorite route was through “Israel’s” controversial Absentee Property Law, which states that the state may reclaim homes whose owners were not present in 1967, when “Israel” took control of East Jerusalem.  How convenient!  If there ever was evidence that “Israel’s” past criticisms of the settler movement were less than completely forthright, this is it.  Though some of the unit purchases in Silwan as well as other East Jerusalem neighborhoods were in fact above board, most would not pass muster for an ethics committee of any kind.

Innumerable smoke screens have been made throughout the years since Zionism’s founding, designed to tug at the heart-strings of the listener.  Those unfamiliar with the background and motivations of the movement’s founders could be excused for thinking they simply desired to escape persecution and this was the only viable means at their disposal.  History, when not dressed up or given a facelift for aesthetic purposes, has a way of effortlessly smashing our understanding of events.  The forced secularization of the Yaldei Tehran.  The thousands of Yemenites who were torn from their religion against their will and literally robbed of their children.  The Sephardim who were sent out to the front lines in “Israel’s” many wars, soldiers regarded merely as material to be expended in war.  These are only a few of the countless efforts on the part of the Zionists to “escape persecution”.  Rabbi Chaim Brisker, z”l, once declared:

“The Zionists don’t need to tear Jews away from their religion because they want a country.  They need a country so they can tear Jews away from their religion.” David Be’eri and Tzvi Levy, among others, have changed the recipe of Torah.  And the result is poison. 

For David Be’eri and Tzvi Levy, peace, a central tenet in Jewish thought and practice, is an inconvenient principle which can and should be pushed to the side in the interests of nationalism. For them, peace is war. Though they would no doubt vociferously disagree with me, the empirical evidence is too strong to refute.  For them, G-d has been replaced by country, an intangible idol but an idol nonetheless.  And for their service of this idol both Be’eri and Levy deserve an award.  Or so goes the State of “Israel’s” logic.  It makes sense…to them.          



David Be’eri

Rabbi Chaim Brisker