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 May 2000 - Return to Complete Index     MiddleEast.Org         5/02/00
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                   THE MULLAHS OF ISRAEL


 "Opening the warehouses would void the sale of the
 chametz (non-Passover food), and would render the
 chametz forbidden for consumption even after Pesach...
 'The moment that one of the warehouses that were sold
 to a non-Jew is opened, all the food in all the army's
 warehouses will be forbidden for consumption even
 after Passover.  Do as you please!'"
MID-EAST REALITIES - Washington - 5-01-00:
No wonder the Israelis repeatedly use all kinds of legal subterfuge and rhetorical contortions when it comes to the political negotiations with the Arabs.  The latest of course is that Barak wants the world to believe -- and Arafat is playing along desperate to pretend as well that he hasn't been badly tricked and used as he obviously has -- that the Arab village of Abu Dis is really Jerusalem.   A few thousand years of history suggest otherwise; but the political needs of the moment require it.

At a time when "autonomy" is being called Statehood, "settlement blocs" are being contrived to mask keeping large areas of Palestinian lands and resources, military bases are being "relocated" and disguised, and Jewish only "by-pass" roads are being paid for by the secular Americans, the propaganda services know their power.

There are cultural and religious factors that play into the way the Israelis handle all these things, creating a kind of psychological justification for what others see as out and out deception. The Israelis often do this kind of double-talking among themselves to get beyond the huge divide between their religious and their secular components.

For instance, when Passover comes, religious Jews "sell" their non-Passover foods to a non-Jew.  Now actually nothing happens.  Everything remains just where it was to begin with. A symbolic payment of dollar might be made, but nothing more.  But the idea here is that by saying "sold" the food is no longer really owned by the Jewish person, but by the gentile.  Then when Passover ends, it is "sold" back.

But if one thinks these matters are just symbolic and of no import, read on.  For Jewish theology and practice is actually full of all kinds of twists about how to get around this rule and that.  Just look at the little battle last week between Israel's Chief Military Rabbi and the Chief of Staff of the Army.  And guess who won?

This little story about Passover and relief food for Ethiopia (from Arutz 7, one of Israel's energetic right-wing news services) shows the extraordinary legalistic lengths to which the Israelis are used to going; as well as the omnipresent power of the Israeli clergy.


The firm intervention of General Gad Navon, the Chief Rabbi of the Israel
Defense Forces, saved many IDF warehouses full of food from becoming
unkosher last week.  HaModia reported on Friday that when Israel decided to
send planeloads of food to famine-plagued Ethiopia during the week of
Pesach, the original list of supplies included "crackers, cookies, and
biscuits" - all to be taken from the strictly non-Passover army warehouses.
The warehouses and their contents of chametz (leaven, which is forbidden
to be eaten or owned on Passover), had been sold to a non-Jew in order to
avoid the chametz prohibition.

Rabbi Navon immediately issued an order forbidding the opening of the
warehouses.  If food is to be sent out on Pesach, Rabbi Navon said
forcefully, it must be Kosher for Passover, such as matzot and special
Passover cookies.  Opening the warehouses would void the sale of the
chametz, and would render the chametz forbidden for consumption even after
Pesach.  Rabbi Navon made sure to emphasize that this was not a
life-threatening situation, since Kosher for Passover foodstuffs could just
as easily be sent to Ethiopia.

Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Sha'ul Mofaz decided, however, in a surprising and
unprecedented move, to override Rabbi Navon, and ordered the chametz flown
to Ethiopia.  Rabbi Navon, unfazed, relayed the following message to Mofaz:
"The moment that one of the warehouses that were sold to a non-Jew is opened,
all the food in all the army's warehouses will be forbidden for consumption
even after Passover.  Do as you please."

Mofaz backed down, and several tons of matzot, Pesach cookies, meat, and
vegetables were sent to the starving Ethiopians.

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