Thursday, 22 August 2013

 Graduating from the Two State Paradigm

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Shalom Friends,  Graduation is upon us. Not from kindergarten or college, but rather from 5773. An old year is almost done, and a new one is coming down the pipe. As Rosh HaShana approaches we hope to graduate to the next level of consciousness having traversed the last year and experienced good moments, done good deeds, and in the process gotten smarter and better.
But there are things that we, as a nation, cannot graduate from, things where we seem to be stuck. For one, the relentless focus of world powers on Israel, with the intent on pushing our country to make dangerous concessions, never seems to end. With all the troubles of Syria and Egypt, one would think that the world would have left Israel alone so that the Jewish State could continue to thrive as an island of stability in our tumultuous region. But there is no graduation there. Instead, the same old Two-State formula is being pushed on Israel, and it will no doubt have the same results as in the past. 
Yet another missed graduation opportunity is Israel's reaction to this foreign pressure. Israel again bows to the boogie man of fear when we are threatened with an international delegitimization campaign - as US Secretary of State John Kerry says - "on steroids." So to show our willingness for peace we release 26 murderers who have taken peace from so many Israeli families. And all for what? Yet another meeting with no results, another memorandum to pile on the 40 years of useless paperwork?
We can't seem to graduate and therefore return to old behavior patterns and long-worn paths which, as we already know, lead to dead ends, and forcing us to repeat a grade in the school of life... 
But here comes Rosh HaShana! Rosh means 'head' and 'Shana' is like 'Shinui' - change. Yes, we can have a 'head change', shift our mindset, achieve a new spirit with new ideas this year - we just have to plug in to the unique opportunity of this renewal holiday!
So, to that end, here are some links to new ideas including my appearance on Al Jazeera where I tried to fight off some boring old antisemitism and classic fear mongering and instead float some new ideas about how to move a real normalization process forward that makes sense in the context of what Israel really wants and what her neighbors really need. Along with that are links to top notch interviews from our radio show, my new Torah class at Yeshivat HaKotel (Book of Yoel), and another fun video from the heartland of Israel.
This Rosh HaShana, let us embrace some healthy change and let go of calcified thinking. Let us not be afraid of our own potential greatness.
With blessings for a happy, healthy, fruitful, and peaceful new year,

VIDEO: Yishai on Al Jazeera Debates EU Restrictions on Israeli Goods

if original video (above) was removed by AL Jazeera for your country - click below to view

I was on Al Jazeera to talk about my favorite topic: the love we have for our homeland, and the vision we have for the future of Israel and the Middle East!

RADIO: Interview with Arieh King, now a candidate for Jerusalem City Council and director of the Israel Land Fund.


Hear about King's run for City Council and problems in Jerusalem that are rarely brought to the surface. Listen in to hear what’s really going on in the holy city!

RADIO: Graduating from the 2-State Paradigm Means Letting Go of Fear


It's that season again folks, we are back to "dialogue" to somehow give away more of our land which is supposed to lead to regional peace. My thoughts on the calcified thinking of the so-called Mideast Peace Process as seen through the prism of history and Jewish identity. Are we doomed to forever repeat the zombie mantras of the past?

RADIO: Political Analysis


Interview with Neil Kressel author of, “The Sons of Pigs and Apes”: Muslim Anti-Semitism and the Conspiracy of Silence”. Kressel explains that in this book he is analyzing a threat to Western liberalism. Tune in to hear the fascinating (sometimes disturbing) scuffles going on behind the scenes of the Middle East news within the world of ideas and academia.

RADIO: Political Analysis


Our Knesset insider, Jeremy Man Saltan, on the Release of Prisoners and Netanyahu’s Political Future.

TORAH: Book of Yoel (New Series!)


In preparation of Rosh HaShana we are studying the book of Yoel which calls to Jews and Gentiles to repent with the refrain "Blow a ram's horn in Zion!". Dig deep with me as we navigate the text and bring it to life with connections to today's vibrant Israel. This is the new Tanach class I am teaching at Jerusalem's Yeshivat HaKotel.

RADIO:  New Olim arrive onNefesh B' Nefesh flight.


Interviews to give us all strength and inspiration ( go to minute 22:00 in the audio) with new Olim arriving from the United States on the most recent Nefesh B’ Nefesh flight.

VIDEO:  Vacation in Israel


Thoughts from summer vacation in Jordan Valley - specifically Gan HaShlosha, Sachne. Relaxing in Israel is not escapism, rather, it is an opportunity to engage with other aspects of Israel's heritage and connect to the spirit of our precious homeland.


The winner of one of the two free round trip tickets to Israel is... Rachel Wiesenfeld, a Pittsburgh native and student at Stern College. She plans on using the ticket to visit her sister who is in an Israeli seminary this year. Rachel says, "I love Israel and I cannot wait until I make Aliyah!"

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