April 1, 2010


A Right to Build
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jerusalem Post, 1.7.10)

MOST OF THE WORLD thinks settlements are illegal. US President Barak Obama calls them "illegitimate." Defense Minister Ehud Barak casts his crusade against settlers as mere "law enforcement." Appeasing such sentiments, the government approved the 10-month freeze on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria. But while the world calls the settlements illegal, the ban on settlement construction may itself violate Israeli law and its protections for human rights. More.
Even for Gilad, this is not the way
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jerusalem Post, 12.22.09)

THE PLIGHT OF YOUNG GILAD SHALIT, and the struggle of his family and parents who have worked so hard for his freedom, have captivated the nation. Never before has the absence of one person been such a personal matter for all of Israel. Yet, even for Gilad, who is still alive, there are lines that cannot be crossed and deals that cannot be made. More.
Ben-Gurion's 'Pragmatism' (Letter)
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jerusalem Post, 11.25.09)

SIR, - YOUR REFERENCE to former prime minister David Ben-Gurion's "uncompromising" pragmatism ("Principle & pragmatism," November 24) is somewhat puzzling, as pragmatism in politics is the art of compromising on values and principles. More.
The IDF's "War on Beards"
(The Jewish Press, 4.07.09)

AN IDENTIFYING MARK of the Jew has been, and for many still is, his beard. The foundation for this is the commandment in the Torah: "You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shall you mar the corners of your beard" (Leviticus 19:27). . . . Despite the significance of a beard for many Jews, the Israeli military has initiated a "war on beards," as a headline in the major Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot put it. More
Adoption & the Law of Return
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jewish Press, 2.25.09)

IT MAY NOT BE A "BASIC LAW," Israel's set of of semi-constitutional laws, but the Law of Return is probably the most fundamental law of the state. It certainly is the most Jewish and Zionist of all Israel's laws. The Law of Return states that "[e]very Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh." It fulfills . . . More
PA Death Sentences Symbolize a Return to Arafat
By DANIEL TAUBER (The American Thinker, 2.06.09)

ON THE EVE of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell's mission to Israel as U.S. envoy in the aftermath of Israel's recent anti-terror Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, a Palestinian Authority military court in Hebron sentenced a former member of the Palestinian Authority presidential security service, Force 17, to death for the crime of collaborating with Israel in anti-terror operations. More

In Defending Jewish Identity, Sharansky Falls Short
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jewish Press, 12.10.08)

NATAN SHARANSKY is a modern-day Jewish hero. Not without its faults, Sharansky’s newest essay, Defending Identity: Its Indispensible Role in Protecting Democracy (written with Shira Wolosky Weiss), is a welcome addition to Sharansky's last one, The Case for Democracy, which attracted the attention of U.S. President George W. Bush. More

The U.N.'s 'Greatest Failure' (is Ours too)
By DANIEL TAUBER (The American Thinker, 12.05.08)
GENOCIDE IN DARFUR, aids in Africa, the Rwandan Genocide, Communist China, the rise of Islamic terrorism, the plight of women in Islamic and Arabic countries, and the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons and threats to wipe Israel off the map. The world sure has a lot of problems and these are just a few. None of them, however, measure up to what the U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto termed the "single greatest failure" of the U.N. More

Is Israel a Banana Repubic?
By DANIEL TAUBER (The American Thinker, 11.20.08)
THE ISRAELI LEFT seems to think so. After Barack Obama’s victory, Kadima and Labor were quick to argue that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu “was too Republican” to work with Obama. More

George W. Bush: Political Punching Bag
By DANIEL TAUBER (The American Thinker, 11.09.08)

THERE WAS A TIME when people prayed for President Bush. But watching Oliver Stone's W., you would never know it. Perhaps expecting anything else was naïve. More

Their Word is Their Bond
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jerusalem Post, 11.06.08)
IS THERE ANY PROMISE an Israeli politician will not break? It may be common knowledge that politicians lie, but in the last few years, the country's politicians have reached new lows breaking their promises on matters both large and small. More

Olmert's Parting Gift
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, 10.12.08)
HIS RESIGNATION already signed and submitted, disgraced Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is still selling the Land of Israel, piece by piece, to the lowest bidder. The latest of Olmert’s giveaways is a $3.2 million piece of Jerusalem real estate known as Sergei's Court, which currently houses several Israeli government agencies. More

Hizbollah's Final Victory
By DANIEL TAUBER (The Jewish Press, 7.16.08)
BY EXECUTING the so-called prisoner swap with Hizbullah on Wednesday this week, the Israeli government concluded its shameful role in shirking its responsibility for the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah almost two years ago. Far from being a fulfillment of the government's obligations, the deal is both a chillul Hashem (desecration of God's name) and the completion of Hizbullah's victory in the war it began with Israel in the summer of 2006. More
The Iron Wall
By ZE'EV JABOTINSKY, 1923 (Posted 6.15.08)
IT IS AN EXCELLENT RULE to begin an article with the most important point, but this time, I find it necessary to begin with an introduction, and, moreover, with a personal introduction. I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true. Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations – polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles. More

More HADAR Articles
Rav Kook’s Orot (Posted 6.15.08)
American Jews Celebrate Israel’s 60th (Fern Sidman, 6.02.08)
Shmuel Katz, Eretz Yisrael Loyalist, Dead at 83 (Larry Tauber, 5.13.08)
Protesters Clash Outside Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration (Fern Sidman, 5.11.08)
When the Nazis Came to Columbia (Fern Sidman, 4.01.08)
Our Response to the Mercaz Massacre (Daniel Tauber, 3.28.08)
Shas and the Golden Calf (Daniel Tauber, 2.27.08)
A Theory of the Ten Commandments (Daniel Tauber, 1.23.08)
The Complicity of the Collective (Daniel Tauber, 1.03.08)
The Legal Claim to Eretz Israel in the Torah (Daniel Tauber, 12.12.07)

More Articles on the Web
Out of the Mouths of Bombers (Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, Jerusalem Post, 7.16.08)
Why Olmert Must Go (Yossi Klein HaLevi, The New Republic, 5.29.08)
1948 & the Palestinian-Arabs: The True Story (Efraim Karsh, Commentary, 5.01.08)
Zionism's Bleak Present (Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem Post, 10.10.07)
Herzl on Judaism and the State (Alex Safian, Camera, 9.30.02)
Jabotinsky Most Popular Street Name in Israel (Ynetnews, 11.11.07)

January 7, 2010

A Right to Build

Most of the world thinks settlements are illegal. US President Barak Obama calls them "illegitimate." Defense Minister Ehud Barak casts his crusade against settlers as mere "law enforcement." Appeasing such sentiments, the government approved the 10-month freeze on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria. But while the world calls the settlements illegal, the ban on settlement construction may itself violate Israeli law and its protections for human rights.

The country's first law, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, is also its first law dealing with human rights. The Declaration states that Israel will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants, will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets, will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex. In the landmark case Kol Ha'am v. the minister of the Interior, the Supreme Court held that the Declaration was more than just a law - it was a law whose principles would be used in interpreting all other laws. This empowered the court to more strictly scrutinize and more easily strike administrative actions which violated human rights.

In 1992, the Knesset further entrenched legal protections for human rights, approving two semi-constitutional basic laws which stated that the basic rights of human beings are founded on the recognition of the worth of the human being, of the sanctity of his life and of the fact that he is free, and they shall be respected in the spirit of the principles in the Declaration on the Establishment of the State of Israel.

One of them, Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation, protects the right of "every citizen... to engage in any occupation, profession or line of work." The other, Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, states that "the life, body and dignity of a human being must not be injured by virtue of the fact that he is a human being," that "a human being's property must not be harmed" and that "every person is entitled to the protection of his life, limb and dignity."

BY 1995, on the basis of the new basic laws, the Supreme Court controversially held in Mizrahi Bank v. Migdal Village that it could review and strike laws approved by the Knesset. Right or wrong, that decision allowed Gush Katif residents and their supporters to seek judicial cancellation of the disengagement on the basis of the basic laws in the case of Gaza Shore Regional Council v. the Knesset. There, the Court agreed that the disengagement "infringes the human dignity of evacuated Israelis... protected in... the basic law."

The Court described how
the disengagement cuts the evacuated Israeli from his house, his surroundings, his synagogue, the cemeteries in which his dead are buried. It infringes on his personality. Indeed, at the foundation of human dignity as a constitutional right, "there stands the recognition that man is a free creature that develops his body and spirit according to his will... This right of a person to shape his life and his fate encompasses the essentials of his life, how he will live, with what will he work, with whom will he live, in what will he believe. This is central to the existence of every individual."
The Court further held that the disengagement violated the evacuees' property rights and their right to engage in their chosen occupations under Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation.

Nevertheless, the court held that the Knesset-approved disengagement met an exception in the basic laws for "a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required."

YET, DESPITE authorizing the expulsion of a particular class from an entire region, the court still affirmed that settlers have protected rights to their property, to choose their place of residence and make a home, family, community and life. This includes the right to physically accomplish those things - the right to build. The freeze violates that right exactly as the court described it. Unlike the disengagement, however, it was not approved in law and does not meet the above-mentioned exception.

In addition, there is the Declaration of the Establishment of the State, whose "spirit" the basic laws are supposed to protect. The Declaration speaks of the "natural right" of the Jewish people to "Eretz Yisrael" and approvingly how "Jews strove... to reestablish themselves in their ancient homeland," "made deserts bloom," "built villages and towns, and created a thriving community." That community extended beyond the Green Line into the heart of the "ancient homeland."

As discussed, the Declaration also calls for equal protection and development of the country for all inhabitants, regardless of religion and race. As a restriction on Jewish settlement, the freeze utterly contradicts both the democratic and Zionistic values of the Declaration.

In the final analysis, the question is therefore not whether the settlers have the right to build their houses, their communities and their lives, but whether that right will ever be vindicated by the government that violates it, or by the court which only recently recognized it.

December 22, 2009

Even for Gilad, this is not the way

[As published in The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2009]

THE PLIGHT OF YOUNG GILAD SHALIT, and the struggle of his family and parents who have worked so hard for his freedom, have captivated the nation. Never before has the absence of one person been such a personal matter for all of Israel. Yet, even for Gilad, who is still alive, there are lines that cannot be crossed and deals that cannot be made.

"Thou Shalt not Kill" is probably the most important rule for civilization. No society could survive long, let alone flourish, if men could kill each other without consequence. We therefore have a justice system, at the head of which stand judges, who are, arguably, among the most respected members of society. These judges conduct fair hearings and render harsh judgments against those who have taken the lives of other human beings. Their judgments prevent the killers from killing again, exact retribution in the name of the victims, deter would-be murderers and enable society to function normally.

The worst of those who take life are those we call "terrorists," who kill because they hate Jews and desire to terrorize Israeli society. Due to the heinousness of their crimes, our justice system locks away these "beasts on two legs," as Menachem Begin called them, forever.

Today, organized gangs of these murderous animals seek to overturn the rulings of our justice system by having hundreds of terrorists, among them many convicted murderers, freed. Hamas seeks to boost its standing as a terror organization that can obtain the release of prisoners and bring Israel to its knees.

ENCOURAGED BY Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, terrorists attacked an IDF unit, killed two soldiers and kidnapped Gilad Schalit, holding him captive for over 1275 days. They knew that with an act of such barbaric simplicity they could get practically whatever they wanted from Israel, including the release of their murderous comrades. They knew this because, unfortunately, this is the public policy Israel: to release murderers when other murderers demand it.

The Lebanon War of 2006, in which over a hundred IDF soldiers and thousands of Lebanese were killed, was the result of this policy. Shortly before the war, Hassan Nasrallah announced publicly (as was reported in Time Magazine, July 25, 2006) that Hizbullah would obtain the release of the child-murderer Samir Kuntar by kidnapping IDF soldiers. This kidnapping sparked the war. Two years later, the Olmert government traded hundreds of terrorists for the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The Olmert government thought it were being merciful and populist. In reality it played right into the Hizbullah's hands.

Today, the Netanyahu government faces the same demand: Release a thousand terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit. But is this really the only way to obtain Gilad's release? Israel continues to have opportunities to obtain Gilad's release without sending hundreds of terrorists into the world. Israel could make Gilad's release a diplomatic imperative in which no discussion with foreign officials or press would begin without calling for Gilad's release. Gilad's release could be a precondition for continuing the construction freeze, for resuming negotiations, or allowing international aid into Gaza. Israel could resume targeted strikes on Hamas leadership in Gaza.

All of these actions, if done correctly and persistently, would force Gilad Shalit into the international arena, rally public opinion in the US to Israel's side and make his release a top priority for other international players who want to ease the Palestinian's suffering and resume the peace process, including US President Barack Obama.

Yet no such proactive steps have been taken. In Netanyahu's speech at the UN earlier this year, which was televised on major news networks in the US, Schalit was not even mentioned. The Goldstone Report, which was mentioned, is an important issue but is it more important than Schalit? Surely Netanyahu left Gilad out because he feared confusing the issues and ruining the chance to achieve other diplomatic goals, like defusing the Goldstone Report. It is this refusal to take the initiative which has left us with the passive option - releasing the murderers.

Netanyahu, who once harshly criticized prisoner exchanges, is surely taking into consideration the fact that some 80% of Israelis are reportedly in favor of the deal. If he concludes the deal, this 80% would hail him as a leader able to succeed where others (Olmert, for example) failed. But are Netanyahu and those millions prepared to take responsibility for the lives of the future victims of those released and any future "Gilad Schalits" who will be taken captive? For these are the consequences that will surely follow.

Releasing the terrorists may mean saving Gilad's life, but it also means that more Jews will die and more soldiers will be kidnapped. It means that justice can never be served even against jailed murderers.

Surely this is not the way for the Jewish state to conduct itself. Let us put an end to this dangerous and embarrassing policy of negotiating with hostage takers and releasing convicted murderers once and for all. Let us obtain Gilad Schalit's release without giving our enemies the opportunity to murder more Jews.

November 25, 2009

Ben-Gurion's 'Pragmatism' (Letter)

The following letter, of Nov. 25, 2009, was in response to the Jerusalem Post's editorial Principle & Pragmatism of Nov. 24, 2009.

Sir, - Your reference to former prime minister David Ben-Gurion's "uncompromising" pragmatism ("Principle & pragmatism," November 24) is somewhat puzzling, as pragmatism in politics is the art of compromising on values and principles.

Ben-Gurion did believe in supreme loyalty to the state, but only when he ruled it. His socialism meant loyalty to a non-Zionist cause - the cause of the workers - which hurt Zionism. He led a movement that promoted class warfare between Jewish owners and workers even in the still-developing Yishuv, hindering economic development and foreign investment. His party could not accept even the concept of national arbitration to resolve strikes. As for loyalty to Zionism, until 1942 he refused to declare a Jewish state as the goal of Zionism, even denying this before the Peel Commission.

Ben-Gurion and his movement led a vicious smear campaign against Revisionists because they were perceived as enemies of the workers, despite the fact that on all major issues - the need for Jewish defense, operations against the British, the need to evacuate European Jewry, the need to openly declare the need for a Jewish state, the need for illegal Jewish immigration - Jabotinsky was right and Ben-Gurion was wrong and would later adopt Jabotinsky's positions.

You mentioned the travesty of the sinking of the Altalena, in which Jewish immigrants and fighters were killed by Jews, which Ben-Gurion had the audacity to praise. But what about the saison, during which members of the Hagana kidnapped and informed on members of the Irgun to the British? What about the Arlosoroff affair, where two obviously innocent Betarim were accused by the Labor establishment of killing Labor leader Haim Arlosoroff, even though Arabs had confessed to the killing? And Ben-Gurion's refusal to bury Jabotinsky in Israel? Was all this laudable pragmatism?

Of course, Ben-Gurion achieved much for the State of Israel, but it's time we stopped glossing over his campaign against any and all who disagreed, particularly some of the greatest Zionists like Jabotinsky and Begin, as holy pragmatism - which is, as you point out, often a justification for unbridled ambition.

April 23, 2009

European Delagates Walk out on Ahmadinejad at Durban II