|Accusation of Amalek|
|image of Amsalem via davidvaaknin.blogspot.com|
Yishai publicly slams Amsalem; MK appointed bodyguard
By JONAH MANDEL
Shas newspaper compares maverick lawmaker to Amalek; lawyer files complaint on threats, incitement to violence appearing in newspaper.
In his first public statements on the maelstrom raging in Shas around MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem, party chairman Eli Yishai spent an hour on Thursday lashing out against the lawmaker.
Amsalem is refusing to resign from the Knesset, despite the demands of the party’s spiritual leadership.
Shas’s Torah Sages publish letter slamming Amsalem
Amsalem defies Ovadia Yosef’s order to quit Knesset
“Nobody knew who he was a minute before he joined Shas,” Yishai said in an interview with Radio Kol Berama, which is affiliated with Shas.
As for the possibility of Amsalem forming a new political party, Yishai said that “without a rabbinical council of leaders behind him, not even his wife would vote for him.”
Amsalem was recently officially ousted from the party for expressing opinions such as that only a select minority should dedicate their lives to Torah scholarship, while the others should combine work with study; that non-Jews in Israel from the former Soviet Union with Jewish roots should be provided an easier way into converting to Judaism; that everyone should acquire the basic skills of mathematics and a foreign language, as provided in the state’s core curriculum; and that Sephardic Judaism should not bow its head before the Ashkenazi Lithuanian haredi leadership, which Amsalem says Shas is doing in its stances on matters of religion and education.
Yishai also denied Amsalem’s assertion that he and others prevented the MK from meeting with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, head of the Shas Council of Torah Sages, in order to truthfully present his stances on Torah scholarship, employment, secular studies and conversions.
“There wasn’t even one time that Amsalem wanted to meet with him and he couldn’t,” Yishai said, and added that recently “Yosef himself told his secretary he doesn’t want to meet with Amsalem, since he doesn’t listen to him and distorts his opinion.”
Amsalem did not respond to Yishai’s interview.
Earlier on Thursday, Shas newspaper Yom Leyom took the hostilities against Amsalem to new heights, comparing the lawmaker to Amalek
The front page of the weekly paper, as well as much of a supplement, were dedicated to Amsalem, the Shas Council of Torah Sages’s Monday decision, and elaborations on the “sinful ways” of the MK.
“We demand of Mr. Haim Amsalem by the law of Torah to return his mandate to Shas,” the four-man body of senior Sephardi rabbis had written in their edict. “If he doesn’t do so, he is a thief in broad daylight… And we call on all of those who care about the Torah to keep far away from him and his strange and heretical opinions.”
A wealth of quotes from the council’s decision condemning Amsalem, strongly worded by council head Yosef, were quoted and analyzed by various writers throughout the newspaper.
But Ron Halevy, writing in the supplement, outdid all others in comparing Amsalem to a biblical-era foe whom Jews are ordered to eradicate.
Writing about the “vast damage” that Amsalem’s “empty claims” have caused, Halevy wrote that “with arrogance and boastfulness, that man did the deed of Amalek who the Torah orders us to wipe out his memory, ‘who met thee by the way.’”
The verse from Deuteronomy continues, “and smote the hindmost of thee.”
The Knesset’s master of arms on Thursday ordered a bodyguard to accompany Amsalem at all times.
Amsalem’s office said that “the incitement in wall posters and newspapers that are tantamount to wall posters is very severe. The comparison to Amalek has but one meaning that is clear and dangerous. This is certainly not the way of Torah.”
Sources close to Amsalem were undecided on what they would do in response to the alleged incitement, but Idan Abuhav, a private attorney, decided on his own to both file a complaint with the Tel Aviv police about threats and incitement to violence, as well as write a letter to State Attorney Moshe Lador and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein asking that they order a criminal investigation into the implicit incitement to violence in the newspaper.
“We secular folk cannot sit on the sidelines and observe how a haredi MK with an agenda of bringing the publics closer to one another, encouraging haredim to join the workforce and study core curriculum subjects, will be the victim of combined attack from all sides,” Abuhav told The Jerusalem Post.
Abuhav stressed that his complaint was not against the council and its harshly worded decision, nor against Shas, and noted his good working relations with some of the party’s other members.
This is only against the statements in Yom Leyom that contain violent incitement, he said.
“We’ve already seen a public figure [prime minister Yitzhak Rabin] here murdered in part due to talk and an atmosphere created. In this case we should be all the more cautious, and not let every bully say what they want,” Abuhav said.
The ambush by Amalek: Exodus 17:8-16
At the time of the exodus, the Amalekites has moved out of their traditional transjordan territory into the Negev just west of Petra: Numbers 13:29
Deuteronomy 25:17-19 Amalekites were a tribe had their origin within the Edomites, being descendants of Esau. They are often associated with Edom, living in the same area as Edom. Their traditional territory is transjordan between Babylon and the gulf of Aqaba.
When American author and Israel expert Jeffrey Goldberg recently asked a Netanyahu confidant to explain this fixation, he simply replied: “Think Amalek.” This is the Jewish concept that forms a potentially disastrous parallel to the Islamic Haqqani school — a pair of mirror-image concepts that could spell war. In a biblical context, Amalek was a descendant of Esau who, with his tribal warriors from Canaan, launched a treacherous and unprovoked attack on the Hebrews as they were traveling to the Holy Land, Eretz Israel. In a broader sense, the term Amalek refers to the existential threat to Judaism at all times, under all circumstances and by all enemies. The Torah, Devarim 25, Fifth Book of Moses, reads: “Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt–how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear.”
No Jewish generation is permitted to forget the conflict with Amalek, because Amalek embodies the intrinsically evil and destructive. Fighting Amalek is the duty of every devout Jew, a “mitzvah aseh” or commandment of action. According to some interpretations of ancient scripture, this mitzvah is more far-reaching, namely a commandment to eliminate the original enemies of the Jews.
Rabbis like Bibi Netanyahu’s grandfather taught, and continue to teach today, that Jews are forced to combat the Amalekites, who are constantly, as Goldberg puts it, “reappearing in new forms”: the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar and of the Spanish Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada, Adolf Hitler’s thugs, and now the Iranian hardliners ,who are vowing to destroy Israel, together with their president, Ahmadinejad. Those who, like Netanyahu, see Iran’s nuclear program as Amalek’s arsenal of weapons, are not just entitled, but are in fact obligated, to take preventive measures to destroy it. According to Jewish apocalyptic constructs, a Jewish state would cease to exist after a possible Iranian nuclear first strike. In other words, it is better to attack first in the case of doubt.The notion that Iran, if it were to use nuclear weapons, would be acting suicidally and would see its government and hundreds of thousands of innocent people wiped out in the inevitable counter-attack is irrelevant. In fact, say the anti-Amalekites, Ahmadinejad literally yearns for such an inferno, because it would pave the way for the return of the Mahdi in the resulting end-time scenario. The Israelis reject as naïve the idea that Ahmadinejad is “merely” a populist and, with his nuclear program, could “only” be pursuing tactical goals like the regional strengthening of Iran to bring it to the same level as Israel, a nuclear power.
But the signs are currently pointing to stormy weather ahead: to Haqqani versus Anti-Amalek, and to a showdown between the unlike twins.via euro-med.dk