Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Dear Mr. President,
As a supporter the following has me greatly concerned

“Q    Wait, can I just get one more?  Something that General McMaster declined to answer on two occasions from behind that podium that's causing some unhappiness on the Hill, the refusal to say whether the Western Wall is in Israel or not.  Can you explain why you guys can't answer that question?

MR. SPICER:  The Western Wall is obviously one of the holiest sites in Jewish faith.  It’s clearly in Jerusalem.  But there’s been -- it’s an issues that's had serious consideration. It will be a topic that's going to be discussed during the President’s trip between the parties that he meets with.

But obviously I think this stems from a comment that was made yesterday and which was not the policy of the United States. And so I think just because -- so just to be clear about what was said yesterday.  “ (White Press Briefing May 16, 2017)

True, acknowledging the Western Wall, Kotel is located in Jerusalem and is a Jewish holy site is far more positive than many if not most governments’ policies on the matter. Mr. Spicer did somewhat disavow an earlier comment denying Israel’s sovereignty over Judaism’s holiest site in the Temple’s absence.

Had this word dance taken place during any other administration the statement denying the Kotel’s status would be hardly worth notice, same old, same old. However, in contrast to the overt animus for Prime Minister Netanyahu by President Obama and the on-going support for Anti –Israel/Anti Zionist/Anti Semitism by the Democratic Party, President Trump promised a new chapter.

Indeed UN Ambassador Haly said in an interview with CBN “The Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that is how we have always seen it and that is how we should pursue it,”  Although the Administration after taking office has evidently placed moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem on a back burner equivocation as to where the Kotel is located is as disappointing as it is unacceptable.

Those of us who supported you last year expect better from you Mr. President, do not disappoint us.
Wishing you and the United States the greatest success
Bernard S.Antin Esq.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Identity Crisis

The plan to build a new plaza at the Kotel to accommodate ceremonies and worship that do not conform with Jewish Law is emblematic of The State of Israel's on-going and seemingly endless identity crisis.

The problem lies in where the balance between Jewish and Democratic values. When the State looks at the Kotel, Cave of the Patriarchs, Rachel's Tomb etc... does it see a historic site or a religious/holy site?

As a historic site the Kotel should be available to all humanity and especially to all Jewry. However, as a religious site, a place for prayer for hundreds of years. The place to where Jewish Law mandates Jews face when at prayer it should comport with the requirements of Jewish law. Who should be tasked with setting Jewish Law observance standards within the State of Israel?  One would believe authority and administration would be coordinated under the Authority of the Chief Rabbinate. Yet this new prayer area is under the Prime Minister's office.

How then does this new area promote the interests of the non-Orthodox ? Those who so deeply long for gender mixed prayer at the Kotel believe the Temple is a memory, an anachronism,
best consigned to History. Further, these groups are dubious regarding notions such as Mashiach, Messiah, in gathering of exiles and building the Third Temple. Therefore, the desire for access to the place is rooted someplace deeper in Jewish psyche than logic.

That elusive beyond logic need to connect to the Kotel belies how fundamental and complex this issue is. An additional consideration is that connecting remains important. That in spite of strident denial and defiance of Jewish Law ancestral values remains even if actively suppressed.

Leading a double life reduces life's narrow bridge to a mere hairs' breath all but  ensures a fall.
It is time to be true to one's self and stand with a timeless  G-D connected people.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Be on Gaurd

The death of Ezra Schwartz HY'D exposes so much that compel our shaking off our complacency . While a Department of State spokesperson condemned the murders last Friday. However, it was today Tuesday November 24, 2015 when President Obama called Ezra's parents to offer condolences.
Five days of outrage over the Oval Office's apparent indifference.

Yet how was the story reported? Media showed Ezra during his gap year with his buddies wearing an IDF uniform. Unlikely Ezra was actually serving as opposed to an IDF sponsored army experience designed for students to "serve" or as a volunteer in a support non-combat role. Ezra was not a soldier nor and extremist. Yet, nearly every young Black man shot by police is shown in cap and gown despite these people having criminal records or were under the influence of drugs etc.... This image strongly implies Ezra was no innocent but a soldier. Ezra is no different than any  middle class kid inspired to join ISIS.

The insanity of so called Knife intifada is pronounced by the extreme youth of the stabbers. The choice of what is more heinous the random and extreme brutality expressed or the adults sending 13 and 14 year olds as combatants.

Even more so is the West's slow and equivocal  response. Facing evil cannot be with a smile or in search for common ground.  Evil most be destroyed. Tolerating evil places every one in danger.  Tolerating evil never works out well for Jews, never.


Thursday, July 16, 2015


Before anyone dismisses the linked article's observation. Today 7/16/2015 it was reported that the Secretary of Defense   was dispatched to Israel and Saudi Arabia to sell the Iran deal. It was reported further that the administration would be open to additional arms sales to Israel.

If the deal is so good and the danger is muted why would Israel want additional weapons? Is thee still danger? Or was this gesture an act of contempt, to patronize Israel  and trivialize its concerns.
Either way it is clear this administration is hostile to Israel and it is doubtful the President will ever be called Philo Semitic except by the cadre of sycophants who nourish the President's ego.

Monday, June 08, 2015

SCOTUS JERUSALEM, Anywhere but Israel

SCOTUS decided on Monday June 8,2015 that Congress' law giving Americans born in Israel's capital city , Jerusalem  the option to have their American Passport list birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel. The Court's majority believes Congress overreached by affecting Foreign Policy the sole province of the President. Although there were dissents The Court  6-3 felt otherwise.
It is remarkable that it would appear the majority included the three Jewish Justices. Certainly, no one wants any judge letting anything but the law inform or influence one's decision. However, anyone familiar with the Justice system knows that ideal situation simply does not exist. Judges are people too and bring who they are as well. So where  were the MOTs on the bench?

It is telling that to Justices Ginsberg, Breyer and Kagan the declaration "NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM" apparently has only ceremonial meaning. Why retreat from one's cultural background particularly when  other Justices could have seen their way clear to uphold Congress' law and defend the honor of Jerusalem . It would be far too easy to say these Justices are more dedicated to siding with liberalism than with Judaism. An accusation temping as it maybe is still misplaced.
Or the even more disturbing thought is that if any Jewish Justice sided with Jerusalem being in Israel they would be fodder for Anti-Semites casting all Jews in government as being not fully American. This is 2015 not 1945 what a lesson in exile is exile even in the Goldeneh Medina

 A link to the article.;_ylc=X1MDBGFjdANtYWlsX2NiBGFuA29wZW5MaW5rBGNoA2VtYWlsBGN0AwRldANtdGYEZ2QDQmVybmFyZEVzcUBnbWFpbC5jb20EaW50bANmYWxzZQRsYW5nAwRsdHh0A1N1cHJlbWUEbW8DMARwa2cDBHBsYXRmb3JtA1lIT08tVU5QBHBvcwMxBHNlYwNtb2Qtc2gtbWFpbARzbGsDdGl0bGUEdGFyA25ld3MueWFob28uY29tBHRlc3QDBHRwA3RlbXBsYXRlLm10Zi5lbWFpbC5tYWlsX3RvX2ZyaWVuZF9nc192MTgEdHMDMA--/932419839105592103/SIG=1523o4tgc/**

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Recently, oral argument was heard in the United States Supreme Court concerning the fight of American citizens born in Jerusalem to have "Place of Birth" line on one's passport read Jerusalem, Israel. Federal legislation specifically authorize this. However, The State Department as a matter of policy refuses to follow this statute. The case has made it before the US Supreme Court.

It should be pointed out that the three branches of Government the executive, legislative and judicial. They are understood as being co-equal each which specific powers that do not overlap. Foreign Relations belong to the Executive branch exclusively and it is not Congress' place to dictate to the State Department how o do its job. so there is a legitimate separation of powers question for the Court to decide. However, what is outrageous is the assertion made by attorneys for the Administration through the Solicitor General's office that Israel has no more right to Jerusalem than Russia does to Crimea.

The cultural ignorance and insensitivity behind such arguments border on the Anti-Semitic. Jerusalem is where Jews face at prayer. During the week Jews pray for the return of the exiles to Israel and rebuilding of Jerusalem three times daily. The Passover Seder and Yom Kippur services conclude with the declaration "NEXT YEAR N JERUSALEM".

Though a secular and ethnically diverse society the modern state of Israel asserts its historic antecedents the Kings of Davidic Dynasty. The establishment of the State of Israel was widely heralded as the Return to Zion. Although ridiculed as racist the Law of Return mistakenly seen as unfair to Arabs displaced in 1948 seeking to return to pre-1948 residences misses the cultural aspect of the law.

The Law of Return canonizes  the cultural norm of Israel as homeland. The notion of Jewry's connection to the land of Israel and Jerusalem only eroded in the aftermath of Jewry's trending away from tradition during the 19th century. Even so a proposed Jewish state in Uganda or a  the Soviet Jewish republic of Birobidzhan went  for all intents and purposes, nowhere.

It is quite serious that the Administration actually believes an argument denying  a fundamental aspect of Jewish identity, shame on them.  And if Israel has no right to Jerusalem then where do Jews have a right to belong? 

Monday, July 07, 2014


It is becoming clear that the Arab boy who was murdered was killed by Jews. Part of me wishes to minimize this outrage, that the murder of the three Jewish teens overshadows this boy's death. However, murder is a crime that must be prosecuted to the extent of the law. Yet, there are some distinctions there is a difference between an act done by individuals contrary to society's educational infrastructure and its other institutions. Those who kidnapped the three boys were at best the product of a generation feed hate along with their mothers' milk, a culture encouraging violence against Jews that reaches within every echelon of Arab society in Judea, Samaria or Gaza. No one in the Israel's Jewish community is celebrating this young person's death unlike the three finger salute or passing out candies in celebration. Remarkably a murder denounced by the Israeli government within a short time suspects were arrested and face arraignment the system is working yet the Arabs respond with massive rocket barrages including desecration of Joseph's Tomb. Sorry, the death of the Arab teen is not justifies nor does this murder justify the Arab response. The murder of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali must be responded to not out of revenge. Revenge is exclusively G-D's department but there must serve as a deterrencee to discourage anyone from harming another Jew.

Monday, June 09, 2014


Israel National News/ Arutz Sheva  reported today about a virtual conquest of King David's tomb. Evidently Catholic Mass was celebrated not in the room of the Last Supper but in the room used as King David's tomb. Assisted by Police and  Yassamim, special police Jews were made to leave the holy place to facilitate the celebration of the Mass.

While respecting other people and their faiths may be necessary in a pre-Mashiach world but there must be limits. The Jews' presence in the Holy Land is not as European or Asian interlopers but as a returning people indigenous to the land. How else to seriously claim Jewry's claim of being native to the land after nearly two millennia but by asserting the connection between present day  Jewry and our ancestors. King David has present day descendants an individual  with some knowledge of Jewish law sees indicia of Jewish life going back to antiquity. Ceding any Jewish aspect of a Historic/ Holy site is in effect a ceding of Jewish sovereignty.

Openness and liberalism cannot be extended to the point of virtual suicide. King David despite being a Biblical figure, David was King over all Israel. Allowing Non-Jewish prayer services and ritual is disrespectful and acts as a repudiation of present day Jews in Israel being connected to King David and that present day Israel is the Kingdom's successor. How can the claim be made if the King's honor is not protected?

Respect for others is necessary for a civil society but at the expense of self respect is the price is too high .

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Recently The Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel repeated the opinion of their predecessors, prohibiting the enlistment of women in to the IDF. The Rabbis’ instead suggest girls serve in the national service program.


Finance Minister Yair Lapid posted on his Facebook page that the Rabbis’ opinion was a national scandal and in essence a tone of how dare these state employees who enjoy a good salary as well as other publicly funded perks speak against women serving in the Israeli Military. Minister Lapid railed against the Rabbis’ opinion as an insult to all women serving in uniform and in particular to those women serving in command or in educational roles. Minister Lapid is so enraged that he pledged an all out campaign to oust the Chief Rabbis.


Though there have been some efforts to smooth over the relationship between Minister Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and the Chief Rabbinate what remains is quite disturbing. In the interest of full disclosure this writer identifies with Haredi Jewish practice and ideology, however my issue with Minister Lapid’s posting is more rooting in my capacity as an attorney.


In essence Minister Lapid asserted that as State Employees Rabbis Lau and Yossef should not and indeed inappropriate to express an opinion on a matter of Jewish Law that is contrary to State policy.   Such an assertion offends basic tenants of democracy. Certainly Minister Lapid understands the independence of a democratic state’s judiciary is sacrosanct. An expectation that a Judge have his or her decisions be mere a rubber stamp of state policy, offends all principles of Justice... Among a Judge’s core duties is to tell the State when it is wrong. Indeed the notion of being a state employee as a basis for restraining a jurist’s judgments/legal opinions evokes images of tyranny, not democracy.


It cannot be denied a core function of the State Chief Rabbinate is the articulation of Jewish Law, Halacha particularly in public matters such as service in the IDF. To hold the Rabbis’ opinions hostage to their ideological compliance with those in power at the moment should be considered equally absurd being analogues to muzzling Supreme Justices’ in exercising their duties.


Further it is distressing that Minister Lapid has that profound degree of contempt for religion or complete ignorance about the fundamental aspects of any religion let alone Judaism. Perceiving the Chief Rabbis as being bought and paid for by the State and therefore they had better spin the Halacha to fit the State’s policies.  Such an understanding of the Chief Rabbis is reminiscent of the Former Soviet Union‘s official Chief Rabbinate. The thought that Minister Lapid could make such statements and threats seriously calls in to question how committed he is to democracy.


The larger question is on the Rabbis affiliated with Minister Lapid’s party how they could remain affiliated with someone who holds such deep seeded disdain for Judaism? How could anyone religious or devoutly secular with even a modicum of understanding of democracy allow the Minister’s outlandish posting to stand?  

Sunday, January 13, 2013


What may be more troubling than Senator Chuck Hagel’s tepid attitude toward Islamic terror and annoyance with the “Jewish lobby” is the telegraphing a warning not to oppose who the President wants. The chorus of supporters who denounce what were termed as half cocked baseless arguments against Senator Hagel denouncing him as an Anti-Semite  a allegation dismissed as being preposterous.


There are a few disturbing trends first apparently the sensibilities of the Jewish community at large are irrelevant to the administration. It is remarkable to declare that Jews who perceive Senator Hagel as an Anti Semite are making unfounded accusations. The Senator may truly think he does not harbor any anti Jewish sentiment and his opinions are consistent with being Philo-Semitic. However it should be up to the Jews themselves to decide who is or is not a hater.


Indeed it is troubling that despite repeated protestation of an unshakeable commitment between the United States and Israel the selection of Senator Hagel for Secretary of Defense and Mr. Brenan for the Central Intelligence Agency contradict the President’s pronouncements.


 Further the subtle but clear warning to the pro Israel /Jewish community that if the President does not get his way there will be consequences.  There IS NO PLACE IN AMERICIA’S POLITICAL DISCOURSE FOR THREATS or other rhetoric by those in power to chill freedom of speech especially political speech.  


Aside from the United States distancing itself from a reliable ally these nominees seem to be too accommodating to entities hostile to America’s interests is this the attitude the United States needs at the helm of national security.


Clearly there is something about Senator Hagel’s and Mr. Brenan’s opinions and positions that are not in interest of the United States nor is the matter in how these fellows are being presented for nomination that just does not serve America’s best interests.


Please contact your Senators to protest Senator Hagel for Secretary of Defense and Mr. Brenan  exercise YOUR protected right of free speech