by Roy Tov
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
A few days ago, in Alawi Republic of Latakia Saves Syria, I commented on the international conference that took place in Geneva regarding the ongoing violence in Syria. The event ended in nothing, with no formal decisions taken and a proposal on general elections that could not be accepted by the actual Syrian regime. The answer to the failure was fast; international media reports of Turkish army movements towards the Syrian border. A war may erupt at any moment. Israel is a silent side of this conflict; it is not expected to participate on an international attack on Syria, but certainly might profit from it by the possible cementing of its illegal Golan Heights’ annexation. What Israel cannot publicly say, was uttered by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who openly encouraged an international attack on Syria. His public statement laid down the Jewish religious base for an attack on Syria.
This rabbi was apparently carefully chosen by the establishment to deliver this very unusual message; rabbis seldom incite wars. As a Hasidic rabbi affiliated to the Bratzlev Hasidic movement (often spelled Breslov by Yiddish speakers) Rabbi Eliezer Berland is in a unique position to perform exactly that. The Jewish ultra-Orthodox world is divided into hundreds of courts; the main division is between the Haredim and the much smaller Hasidim. The main difference is that Hasidim are led by charismatic leaders, while Haredim stick to the Talmud. Another important difference is that Hasidim engage in proselytizing to secular Jews, while Haredim refrain from that. The best known Hasidic court engaged in this activity is Chabad, which is present in more than a thousand cities worldwide, with notoriously large branches wherever released IDF soldiers favor to spend their army-release cash gift (Thailand, Nepal, Bolivia). Another place where they can be found is in IDF bases, where they are the only civilians to be allowed free entrance; they visit them on Fridays and do their best to bring the soldiers back into the Jewish religious world. This process is referred in Hebrew as “hazara bitshuva” (literally “Return-in-Answer;” religion offers answers, as opposed to the manipulative uncertainty of the humanist world). Bratzlev is much smaller and thus less prominent than Chabad. Yet, they run the Shuvu Banim (also spelled “Shuvu Bonim” by Yiddish speakers) Yeshiva. The name means “Sons Return!” It refers to the fact that most of its students are former secular Jews seeking for a way back into the religious world. Rabbi Eliezer Berland runs this yeshiva and is also a member of the World Committee of Bratzlev Hasidim.
This proselytizing is limited in nature. The process is open only to people recognized by them as Jews. Even after their students graduate, they are not considered equal to their peers. They can’t marry Haredi or Hasidic people since they would always be suspected of being impure (there might be gentiles among their ancestors), thus they marry among each other, creating yet another racist division within the Jewish society. Yet, the relevant point is that Rabbi Eliezer Berland speaks to former soldiers. In this occasion, he seemed to bring a message from the IDF’s high echelons.
His activities are not limited to proselytizing; the location of his yeshiva is also significant. Shuvu Banim is located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The only worst provocation towards the legitimate population of the area would have been placing the yeshiva atop the adjacent Dome of the Rock, al-Aqsa Mosque. Can’t Jews live without provoking their neighbors? This is not the attitude preached by the Bible. Rabbi Berland’s closest religious movement is the abovementioned Chabad. Chabad is a Hebrew acronym for “Chochmah, Binah, Da’at,” or in English “Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge.” Yet they demonstrate none of this while ignoring “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” in Lev 19:18. Provokers invariably have bad and violent intentions. Rabbi or not, Berland is a bad man with evil intentions.
Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter in the Old City
On Saturday, June 30, 2012, shortly after the end of the Sabbath, a crowd of almost 10,000 gathered at the Ramat Gan Stadium to hear the rabbi in a revival gathering. The attendants were mixed, ultra-orthodox and secular Jews, who had paid up to $125 to attend the event; considering the economic strata of the attendants, the entry fee was hefty. They should have been surprised to find that the rabbi didn’t engage on the promised faith-revival speech but on a diatribe against Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin. Yet, he was standing in front of a non-judgmental crowd. They would applaud anything uttered by this weapon of Syrian-destruction. Eventually, they applauded to a very long list of atrocities. Let’s take a look.
He begun softly, urging the Israeli government to intervene in Syria, or demand other countries to intervene. This was justified “to prevent the slaughter of children, even if some of them will grow up to be terrorists.” Luckily, the relevant kids were spared this message. In the following part of his discourse it became clear why a Hasidic rabbi had been chosen to deliver this message.
All people are created in the image of God, and all have a Godly spark; therefore solidarity between people was essential whether they are Jew, non-Jew or even Ishmaelites.
This text wouldn’t have been delivered by a Haredi rabbi, since they stick to the racist Talmud. Hasidic rabbi have a bit more latitude, but slightly so. This small difference allowed him to incite a war.
The nations of the world are silent, and we, the Jewish people, the people of justice, the people of conscience and integrity, are the conscience of the entire world.
This is a truly odd statement; I have commented extensively on formal IDF testimonies delivered in military environments and published by the Hebrew media, in which IDF officers boast on assassinations of women, children and elders by Jewish snipers. Is this the justice the rabbi is referring to? Do you really claim to be a man of God, Rabbi Berland?
We must stand before the entire world and demand immediate intervention in Syria, to stop the terrible massacre, to stop the terrible oppression by the ruling cult and the army and stand up for these miserable, desperate people. It doesn’t matter that they are Ishmaelites and it doesn’t matter even if some of them grow up to be terrorists; the first thing is to save the unfortunate children, babies, women – that’s the first mission.
Afterwards, he called Russian President Vladimir Putin “the chief terrorist.”
His speech was highly unusual, and very clear. He justified a war against Syria. He justified attacks by the IDF and the Western Hydra on Syria. Instead of behaving as a rabbi, this prominent member of the Israeli religious establishment spoke like an IDF Head of Staff on the eve of a war. He delivered this belligerent speech shortly after the failure of the Geneva international conference on the Syrian issue. Syria, brace yourself for an Israeli cowardly attack.