Leon the tourguide

Leon the tourguide
Leon the Tour Guide

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Israel and her Arab neighbors

I would like to point out to the various pessimists on both the Israel side of the "Dialogue Table" that the two groups of people, the Israelis and the Arabs are discussing peace between them. Perhaps we're not sitting at a table but the UN is that table.

I remember when an Israel representative stood up to speak all the delegates of the Arab countries got up and walked out also some of their sympathisers.

I am favourably surprised at how Netanyahu speaks and all the Arab delegates listen to him and even comment on his speech. They don't agree of course but they are listening and hopefully they are figuring out a way to live at peace with the Jewish State.

When there's dialogue there isn't war. War starts when there's no dialogue. In spite of what anyone may think there is dialogue. We're not cursing each other and not threatening. I didn't hear a word of that in either Netanyahu's speech or Abas' speech.

At this point, even though I believe in dialogue, I'm getting used to the idea that a Palestinian State can be declared by the Palestinians before a dialogue takes, or before an official dialogue takes place.

The ultimate dialogue is only for fixing the borders of the two states, Palestine and Israel. It's not about the establishment of a Palestinian State. There's no doubt about that in anyone's mind.

Once there is a state dialogue over the borders, water rights etc. can take place. We already have an agreement on borders, the Oslo Agreement. Some people, Palestinians and Israelis would like to change that agreement. Changes can only be made when a Palestinian State comes into being, respected by Israel aswell as the world.

When Abbas visits Israel as a respected head of a state there is a basis for dialogue.

This will be inshalla.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Origin of Anti Semitism

It always comes as a terrible shock for someone who sees themselves in one way to find that everybody else sees them in a completely different way, even in a way diametrically opposed to the way they see themselves.

The Jews see themselves as being kind, humane, generous, peace loving, sympathetic and more. The world sees them as aggressive, stubborn, sly, ambitious to the point of trampling over others, money grabbing and more.

A question about these negative characteristics was put to me quite bluntly by a charming lady tourist who hadn't had much contact with Jews untill her visit to Israel on bussiness. Her question came naturally after she had visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial. She asked why the Jews were so hated.

Basically the only source of information available to most people about the Jews, untill they visit Israel is the Bible, specifically "The New Testament" which contains many references about the Jews taken from the "Old Testament" all these references describe the Jews in very negative terms. So most people who read the "New Testament" understand why the Jews are hated.
Obviously my lady tourist hadn't read much of the "New Testament". This is more common today than in past centuries, so she had no pre-concieved ideas of Jews, as people used to have in the past.
Today also the State of Israel does a lot to present the Jews as a positive, good nation, being quite a successful country, quite well known for it's contribution to science, agriculture, medicine etc and it's readiness to come to the aid of other countries in need as in Africa or in the wake of a natural disaster. In many cases Israel is the first country to send aid.
Before the "New Testament" appeared on the scene in about the 4th century of the Christian Era, at the time of St. Jerome and Constantine the Great the only book available that told about the Jews was the Tanach, known as the "Old Testament", since the advent of the "New Testament".
The Tanach had been read for at least 1000 years befor the "New Testament" appeared. It was a best seller already long before the time of Jesus. It was read extensively throughout the Greek and Roman world and was just as popular as other books of the time like The Illiad and the Odyssey or Plato's Dialogues.
The Tanach contains descriptions of both good and bad deeds performed by people in general and the Jews in particular. This is as it should be in a book that purports to give a true account of history as it related to the Jews and the Land of Judea,
Before the "New Testament" people who read the Tanach knew that there were many good Jews, like Abraham who sometimes faltered because of temptation and did bad things, like sending his wife Sarah to Pharoah in exchange for good treatment from the Egyptians, or Jacob who did many good things like having mercy on Esau, but who erred in being decietful and taking his brother Esau's birthright.
Nobody appears perfectly good in the Tanach excepting the Angels and nobody appears completely bad even Satan who tries to prove that Job is loyal to God only because of his wealth and large family.
Ant-Semitism didn't exist untill the "New Testament" appeared. Nobody saw the Jews as better or worse than any other nation. In fact according to the large numbers of converts to Judaism in 1st century of the Christian Era it's quite clear that people admired the Jews and wanted to be a part of the Jewish Nation.

The "New Testament" by it's very name presents a new alternative negative description of the Jews by means of bringing only Tanach quotations that describe the Jews as sinners and people diobedient to their own God, who in the "New Testament" becomes the father of Jesus, making those who believe this the protectors of the honor of the Father and the judges and rightful persecutors of those who have been disobedient to Him, namely the Jews.

The "New Testament" takes the place of the Tanach as the official description of the Jews and their history and the Tanach is relegated to the secondary position as the "Old Testament".

According to the "New Testament" the Tanach is at best only a description of the future true book which is to come, namely, the "New Testament". The Jews are at best a group of people whose sins have made it necessary for God to send His own son to absolve them.

The more sinful the Jews appear to be, the more pure the Christians. The New Testament cannot describe the Jews as being good and kind etc because then Christianity would be a secondary religion. Belief in Jesus would only be the secodary way to qualify as a child of God. The primary way would be to be a Jew.

It's an honor to be a Jew but it requires a more strict adherence to righteous behavior than is required in Christianity or in Islam.

Every prophet warns Jews of their special task and they even call curses down on us if we don't observe the high moral behaviour set out in the Tanach.

The prophet's censure of backsliding applies to backsliding from a very high moral standard to a lesser moral standard, not from morality to immorality as presented in the "New Testament".

The day of Judgement is for moral people who must constantly be careful not to lessen their morals. It's not a day of judgement for a bunch of criminals. It's a day of Judgement to review our current moral level.

We don't need a day of Atonement for crimes like theft or murder, God forbid. Only punishment can atone for those crimes. We need a day of Atonement to help us go higher on the ladder of moral behaviour, to help us reach out even to the ultimate high standard of morality of God Himself.

According to the "New Testament" those who believe in the saving power of Jesus on the cross are perfect and don't need a day of judgement or a day of atonement.

Sad to say it's our own learned rabbis who have forgotten to explain what is meant by a sinner standing before God. Sinners who've committed really bad crimes don't stand before God, only moral people who want to be more moral.

Our rabbis have been teaching us incorrectly and Christians have followed their way of teaching for thousands of years.

By considering ourselve a stiff necked people it shouldn't surprise us that Christian priests teach this to their flock. They enhance the goodness of Christianity by doing that.
As long as our rabbis and Christian priests continue to teach negative descriptions of the Jews there isn't a hope that Anti Semitism will vanish.
In my opinion the State of Israel is the most righteous nation in the world but nobody's going to acknowledge that because it's a Jewish state and everybody, especially devout Christians have learnt about the Jews from the "New Testament" and the Koran and "knows" the lie that "the Jews are liars, cheats, betrayers of God etc etc."

We need a dialogue with Christianty and Islam at long last. This dialogue must start with putting our cards on the table. We must start explainng the "New Testament" as the second Bible and the Tanach as the first Bible.

We need to explain what the prophets mean when they "O you nation of sinners,when will you return to the Lord." We have to start figuring out what really was the sin that that the prophets are referring to.

We must stop teaching non Jews the traditional rabbinic interpretation of the Bible. The time is long overdue for a complete revue of Jewish Biblical teaching.

If we don't explain what the Bible means then the non Jews are going to give their explanation. We must first see ourselves in a good light before we can expect non Jews to see us in a good light. It's not enough to demonstrate how humane and peace loving is the state of Israel. We need to explain how this humanitarianism harmonises with the dastard, disgusting picture portrayed in negative verses of the Tanach and the "New Testament" which presents only the negative verses.

It's all very well for our leaders to quote from Isaiah and Micah about their dream of world peace and say "look these guys were Jewish". 

Non Jews didn't learn that chapter in Sunday School, it's not even quoted in the "New Testament", at best most people think that Jesus said it and  don't believe the Israeli leader who quoted it.

They learned the curses in Sunda school. We always read those qurses quietly as if they won't be noticed and that's the part of the Bible they notice most. It's about time we started explaining what those curses are all about.

We owe Christians and Moslems an explanation of how we appear to be such sinners in the Bible and the Koran yet such humanitarians today. We must explain that there's no difference between the morality of the Jews living today and the morality of the Jews at the time of Jesus. We've always been a moral nation. We didn't suddenly become moral when the State of Israel was established.

Sad to say Jewish scholarship as great as it is, has let us down in this respect. It hasn't addressed itself properly to the Christian world. I look for explanations in vain. When asked why people hate the Jews we get shrugged shoulders and side stepping answers.

It's about time we called a spade a spade and put the "New Testament" descriptions of Jews in their correct perspective.

I apologise if this attempt doesn't do the job but that's the only thing I'm capable of, being just a simpleton from Krugersdorp, trying to explain something that is difficult to people who don't want to hear. That is the way of simpletons, they don't understand that nobody really wants to hear these things.