Thursday, June 28, 2012

Battir, West of Bethlehem Not Heritage Site With UNESCO

Nadene Goldfoot
UNESCO turned down the Palestinian Authority's bid to name Battir as a Heritage site because the PA is not a state and cannot make nominations for such.  The PA had nevertheless made the attempt to pass themselves off as a state with this power.

UNESCO has made the mistake of calling the Tomb of Rachel outside of Bethlehem as a mosque.  Evidently people on their board may know the difference between the PA and a real state such as Israel but not the difference between a mosque and a synagogue and to what religion these names belong to.  it must be hard for people to remember who only are familiar with churches.  

Rachel was one of the 4 matriarchs of the Jewish people.  She was the 2nd wife of Jacob, a twin of Isaac and Rebekah, and the daughter of Laban, who was Rebekah's brother..  She had lived in Haran in Aram-Naharaim.  Jacob,  loved Rachel but was tricked by her father into marrying her older sister, Leah, instead.  He had to work 7 more years to wed Rachel and then had 2 wives.  Rachel became the mother of Joseph and Benjamin and died near Bethlehem in giving birth to Benjamin.  

Battir, also known historically as ancient Betar,  is in Judea 5 km west of Bethlehem and SW of Jerusalem.  it is well known as the site of the final defeat of the Jewish leader against Rome, Bar Kokhba's revolt in 135 CE and where  Simon bar Kokhba , the leader,  fell  

The modern village is now administered under the Palestine Authority and has a population of about 4,000 Arabs.  It also served as an armistice line between Israel and Jordan from 1948 to 1967.  It is said that it is also the site of of the tomb of Eleazar of Modi'im, a Tannaic sage.  

After 1967's Six Day War, Battir came under Israeli control .  Since 1995 and the signing of the Interim Agreement on Judea-Samaria and the Gaza Strip, it has been under the PA administration.  The state of Israel has 6 Cultural Heritage sites listed under UNESCO in the Asian zone.  


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tickle-Me Elmo Gone Meshugana- Now Anti-Semitic

Nadene Goldfoot
Elmo, the red Sesame Street character was pounding the cement patio on Sunday  in Central Park while yelling anti-semitic remarks.  I picked up something about the "International Jew by Henry Ford.  He wanted people to read this book telling of the evilness of Jews who don't allow any businesses to start up.  The man is truly meshugana. Even Sesame Street people are upset about him.  He's screaming that he's not making any money and that the Jews will harass you.

He was also seen  ranting in front of ToysR Us in Times Square and spewing out all this vileness about Jews.  What's horrible is to read the anti-semitic comments on UTube.  He's not the only one that's sick.

Finally he was picked up and taken away in an ambulance and is definitely emotionally disturbed.  It was discovered that he's been a panhandler for years in the New York Zoo trying to get handouts from tourists and trying to charge for having their picture taken with him.  (He must have been in costume then, too.)

He has given the real Elmo, a fuzzy red 3 1/2 year old little boy character Muppet puppet a bad reputation by doing this.  There must have been an extra costume lying around that this anti-Semite got a hold of.  He's famous for the line, "Elmo has a question."  He was the star in "Elmo in Grouchland." " Elmo has been referred to as the "Little Red Menace"  Elmo was more than a menace Sunday.  Being anti-Semitic is showing hatred for Jews, and is what brought about the Holocaust that killed 6 million.  It's something that must be brought to a halt and not encouraged.


How Khazarian Jews Got to Hungary

Nadene Goldfoot
Back to the 8th Century, which would be sometime in the 700's CE, Hungarians were made up of nomadic tribes who lived in the neighborhood of a Turkish tribe, the Khazars who were led by their King Bulan.  The Royal House of this new empire of Khazaria had recently converted to Judaism.  A small group joined up with the Hungarian tribes in the conquest of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin towards the end of the 9th Century.

Today the R1a1 haplogroup is found to be in many Ashkenazi Levites traced back to the 8th and 9th Centuries.  R1a1 NRYs are found in high frequency and one could say they came from Khazaria to say this was a European origin. This is only a reasonable possibility of origin.  "It is not possible to use genetic information to pinpoint the exact origin of any putative founder from the currently available data sets".

After a few centuries had gone by, several groups of Jews arrived from other European countries.  Ashkenazi Jews came from Russian and Polish territories while Sefardic Jews arrived from countries of the Balkans.  At times Hungarian kings welcomed Jews and offered them privileges like Saint Stephen, but other restricted the rights of Jews like Andrew 2nd, with his Golden charta.

The Turks occupied Hungary for a period and Jews lived in villages and in the Castle of Buda defending it.  During the Turks occupation Jews had peaceful conditions.  Synagogues were untouched as the Turks had respect for the Jewish religion in those days because of the shared common roots with the Muslim belief.

Finally emancipation came to the Jews at the end of the 18th century with the Habsburg emperor Joseph issued his decree that every religion was equal and gave approval of Jews settling in the suburb of Pest.  The 19th century was called the Reform period.  In 1827 there were 5276 Jews but in 1848 the Jewish population grew to more than 10,000 living in Pest.

The Dohany Temple was built by  Joseph Hild, design by Frigyes Feszl, and Ludwig Forster,  who built cathedrals.  They said, "The Dohany Temple is the most beautiful catholic synagogue in the world.  It is the largest Jewish prayer house of Europe and 2nd largest one in the world after the New York Temple Emmanuel.  it was open on September 6, 1859.

Theodor Herzl, the journalist and one who recognized the need for a state for the Jews, was born here in Pest in 1860 and who died in 1904, known as the father of Zionism.  His parents spoke German and were assimilated Jews originally from Zimony, Serbia which was then part of the Austria-Hungary Empire.

Hungary had been an ally with Germany and was not militarily occupied.  Things changed in March 1944 when Hitler then occupied the country.  Adolf Eichmann headed the Gestapo and entered Hungary with the military troops.  They deported the whole Jewish population of the countryside to Auschwitz in a 3 month period  Pest became the last  ghetto of 162 buildings behind the synagogue for Jews of Hungary  in December 1944.  The Soviet Army liberated the survivors on January 18, 1945 but the 2 months of winter was so harsh that 10,000 Jews froze to death or died from starvation, illness and bloodshed.  They were buried in what had been the garden of the temple.

Before the 2nd World War 750,000 Jews lived in Hungary of which 200,000 were living in Budapest.  At the end of the war 600,000 Jews were killed of which 90% had come from the Hungarian countryside.  The synagogue was hit 27 times.

 However, in 1990, restoration started which finally took almost 10 million dollars to finish.  By September 5, 1996, the temple was again inaugurated.  There are anywhere from 7,000 to 17,000 Jews living in Hungary today.  There is anti-Semitism existing which makes being Jewish unpleasant.

Resource:  The Dohany Street Synagogue by Robert Frohlich and Dr. Alfred Schoner  Study on Jews in Hungary Today

How Jews Eat Affects Relationships With Others

Nadene Goldfoot
One thing that differentiates religious Jews from Christians or Muslims and others  is how they eat.  Jews who follow the laws of Kashrut do not eat meat in the same meal that they would drink milk. If you're eating a meat dish you do not add anything of a milk product to it such as cheese or milk or cream.  This also means we do not eat a cheese hamburger.  In fact, the rule for eastern European Jews is to wait 6 hours after eating meat before you can have a milk product like ice cream, but it depends on the heritage of your grandfather.  Dutch Jews wait one hour  and German Jews wait 3 hours.    The law does allow for people to have a milk dish first and then can follow it up with meat, but be sure they aren't together.  I just about cry when I see a ham and cheese sandwich on a bagel and sure don't eat it.

The reason for this is to develop empathy for life; humane feelings for animals and thus, to carry this over to people.  Picture Bossy, the cow giving milk to her farmer.  She doesn't want to envision that farmer eating her week old calf that he had just taken away from her along with drinking her milk, or knowing that her last year's daughter or son is tonight's dinner and will be mixed with her milk that had been intended for them in the first place.   The thought is repugnant to me.  That would hurt Bossy's feelings so much.  A people that do not want to hurt the very feelings of their cow by doing this certainly will have feelings for other animals and people as well.

Another part of the laws of Kashrut is in the method of killing an animal.  It must be done humanely and the most humane method adopted is for a special person, a Shekhet,  to do it who has very very sharp knives and is well trained.  Then then cuts the throat of the animal, which causes a quick death.  We do not want the animal to have pain, and this is known to be the least painful death. Also, we do not eat any blood, so blood is removed by salting and soaking.

 This also means that we don't go out hunting in the fall for deer.  Hunting is not on our list of things we do, for this means the animals hasn't been killed in the accepted humane way. We even have to say no to Col. Sander's fried chicken.   My father, being a butcher, used to take in the carcass of  hunters" animals and get them cut and packaged for them.  He said he had to throw away most of it as by the time they came in from the hunt, the animals were already decomposing and rotting.  Very little was edible.

That leads to the most important part of our food laws.  We do not eat just any old thing.  It has to be a kosher animal from the list in the bible.  That means we do not eat pigs, donkeys, camels or horses, (thank goodness). Muslims do not eat pigs, either.   There is a phylum of biology that is actually followed.  There are certain requirements that animals must have in order to be on the menu.  Fish must have scales and fins. We don't eat eels, catfish, shark, porpoise or whales.   Without one of the requirements they get to swim away.  No shellfish for Jews, either, no matter if there is a sale on crabs.

Knowing we have certain rules about eating is to also exercise control over our impulses and basic instincts of all our desires.  We have set boundaries so have have the knowledge and responsibility that we are masters of our own lives.

It used to be in the Roman days that the cooks simmered meat in milk.  It was so obvious of the connection, far more than a casserole of today.  It's a very deep psychological imprint in the mind when you are brought up this way of why we don't mix milk with meat that it does affect your associations and brings out empathy for other's pain early.  

So, for 3,000 years our ancestors have been following these food requirements that came from Moses himself.  Sometimes it even led to not becoming victims in some plague epidemic because of the sanitation rules that also go along with it.  The misunderstood part of it was that people thought Jews were being snobbish when they wouldn't eat with them.  It was just that we couldn't eat what they were most likely eating.  In the old days, people were not as understanding with each other's personal requirements and differences.

I had met a young man from a kibbutz, not orthodox but did follow the kashrut laws  who was in the states and the organization had placed him in the home of a non Jewish family.  She called me and asked what to serve him, and I told her.  She couldn't do it.  None of her recipes were so plain as to not mix meat with some milk product.  She just gave up trying to do it.  He managed to eat something from the table in this circumstance, but probably realized that our laws seem pretty difficult for others to follow.  It was a revelation for both of us.

Jews have been leaders in social political life.  Even in Russia they led the break from the Russian Tsars to free people and give them rights.  Caring for people comes from how we are brought up to treat animals and considering their feelings.  Jews have taken special steps to not injure civilians in times where they have had to go into Gaza to stop terrorists from killing them.  They have been more careful and took more precautions  than any other army group would have been.

Israel follows the laws of kashrut.  The hotels are kosher, and so are the supermarkets.  In times of Passover, the matzo products are not mixed into the other bread products.  There just aren't any other bread products around at that time, period.  Israel, surrounded by enemies that want to do her in, is still are raising their children to consider other's feelings and to be kind.  After all, Moses taught us a long time ago not to cheer when we saw the Egyptians drown in the waters when chasing us during the Exodus because they were G-d's children, too.  That was another sensitivity story we were taught by Moses.  So we're not happy when Arabs have been in the way of incoming fire and have been accidentally killed, either.  In fact, I for one cannot understand why adults have been in the line of fire with their children after being told to get under cover by pamphlets and audio systems coming from Israelis.

I want the people of the world to understand that Jews, a religious group who care about the feelings of animals also care very much for the feelings of people as well and would like better than anyone else to have an end to the warfare between the Palestinians and Israel and the the threats coming from Iran that can lead to their extinction.  Doesn't anyone care about our feelings?  One must remember that caring and having empathy  does not equate with being soft in the head or not  being resolute about defending our country.  Israel has been in a defensive mode for some time now, but will be humane in doing so.  

Resource:  The Jewish Catalog by Richard Siegel, Michael and Sharon Strassfeld p. 18-36

Ashkelon's Near-by Neighbor, Nitzan, Needs Bomb Shelters

Nadene Goldfoot
Nitzan, a village in the sand dunes  north of Ashkelon established in 1949, has been under attack along with all the southern Israeli towns and cities.  They need two bomb shelters for their 2 kindergartens.  The village has 610 people living in it.  It is only 53 km or 32.9 miles from Jerusalem.

The people of Nitzan were among the 10,000 Jews that had been living in Gaza.  In 2005 Israel disengaged from Gaza, moving all the Jews out for the Palestinians in order to have peace that was promised.  Instead what happened was that now the Gazan-Hamas Arabs can shoot rockets constantly into Israel.

Zitzan's immigrants from Gaza had been from Gush Katif in Gaza, and now live in temporary plaster homes for their 600 families.  They get a 15 second warning siren to find shelter.  The parents of these young children cannot work unless the kindergartens can remain open and they cannot be open without bomb shelters.  Otherwise, the residents there were Holocaust survivors and established this kibbutz in 1943 on 400 acres that were bought and paid for.  Then Polish and Romanian Holocaust survivors joined them.

 Nitzan is part of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.  which  is  community of 3,000 as of 2007 with 10% to 20% made up of Bnei Menashe or Jewish people of Indian-Myanmar border of India.  

Gush Katif was a block of 17 Israeli settlements in Gaza who had a thriving industrious business of green-housing and selling produce outside the country to the tune of $23 billion dollars per year that Israel gave up in order to bring about peace.  It was also thought of as a good line of defense from attack by Yitzhak Rabin.  

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Women Under Sharia Law : Especially in Egypt

Nadene Goldfoot
In most Arab countries, Shari'a or Islamic law says that the role of women is inferior to men and so women are discriminated against as far as personal rights and freedoms go.  Female sexuality is thought of being extremely powerful and is a real danger to society.  Man cannot carry out G-d's commands if challenged too much.  They may even abandon G-d under a woman's affect.

Egypt has just elected a Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammad Morsi.  Will he now try to implement Shari'a law in Egypt which has been more secular?  Here are things that affect women in Islamic countries.

Ritual sexual mutilation of females is common in rural areas of Egypt, Libya, Oman and Yemen.
In Syria, a husband can stop his wife from leaving the country.
In Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Yemen, married women must have their husband's written permission to travel out of the country, and can be prevented from doing so for any reason.
In Saudi Arabia, women must have written permission from their closest male relative to leave the country or even travel on public transportation between different parts of the kingdom.
In Saudi Arabia's court, testimony of one man is the equal of 2 women.
In Kuwait,, women cannot vote yet.
In Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, women's inheritance must be less than that of her brothers, about half the amount.
Morocco excuses the murder or injury of a wife who is an adulterer (caught in the act).  But a woman is punished if they hurt their husbands doing the same thing.
Arab countries allow wife- beating.  Abused women get no help because the Koran says that a husband can discipline his wife.
Saudi Arabia has the most restrictions against women.  Women cannot marry unless the man is also Saudi Arabian without government permission, which they never give.  They cannot drive a car or bicycles.
They must sit in the back of buses.
In public they must cover their whole body and face.
Religious police Mutawin will harrass women if they don't follow this law.
Women must watch for signs in shops that say No Women Allowed.  Merchants that sell to women are also harrassed by the Mutawin.

Dina Zakariya, a Morsi campaign spokeswoman, said the only way forward is to create a national unity government that represents all political forces and all Egyptians.  Morsi says he will choose a woman to be one of his vice presidents.  He also promises women will have equal rights with men.

Women were able to vote in Egypt and elected a Muslim Brotherhood man, Mohammad Morsi.  Up to now, the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed, and Egypt was more secular.  It will be interesting to see how the women react to a change towards them now, or if it happens, and if so how long it will take to make its appearance.  A Morsi Meter made up of original activists will be watching him during the first 100 days to see that he keeps promises in being inclusive.

Resource:  Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab Israeli conflict by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb pages 195-197

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Dream of Iran to Play War Games with Russia, China and Syria: One Big Nightmare

Nadene Goldfoot
Fars media of Iran just reported in Arabic on the Syrian media outlet ShamLife that Iran, Russia, China and Syria will hold the largest war games exercise in the Middle East in less than one month, meaning it will take place before July 19, 2012, most likely in the early part of the month.

90,000 soldiers will take part and will include air defense and missile units, ground, air and naval forces.  400 planes and 1,000 tanks will be involved including 12 Chinese warships, Russian atomic submarines and warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers along with Iranian battleships and submarines.

Egypt has agreed to allow 12 Chinese warships passage in the Suez Canal to the way to Syria.  Then they  will all arrive shortly in Syria.

However, Russia and Syria have now denied that there are such games planned.  Hopefully it's just another dream of Iran.  One would wonder why all those soldiers would be heading for Syria, of all places right now with them in the middle of their own Civil War unless it would be to stop the Syrian government somehow.  This story just doesn't add up.  If it did, it would amount to one huge nightmare.

We Stand With

Friday, June 8, 2012

Josephus, Witness to Jerusalem's Fall in 70 CE: First Media Reporter About Judah and Jews

Nadene Goldfoot
Josephus was his Roman surname but was born as  Joseph ben Matthias, born in the time of Caligula acceding to the throne of the Roman Empire of 37 CE and died after 100 CE.  He was born into a priestly Jewish family and had a Hasmonean mother and boasted of having royal blood.  He wrote his autobiography "Life and Wars of the Jews."

 Who were the Hasmoneans?  Remember Judas Maccabee, the Hammerer?  Simon Maccabaeus was his brother and had set up a dynasty 20 years after the Maccabean Revolt where Judas had defeated the Seleucid army, giving us reason to celebrate Chanukah.  This created the Hasmonean ruling dynasty of Judea from 140 to 116 BCE but was conquered eventually by the Romans.  They had finally yielded to the Romans in the end.  Herod the Great married a Hasmonean princess, Mariamne to secure his position, and I doubt if she had any say in the marriage.  

The first part of the book  told of his life as a Jewish priest and becoming a prisoner of the Romans.  The 2nd half of the book told of his life in a reserved style of being Flavius Josephus, the Roman citizen and author.

Though he was living by the grace of being hired by the Romans to write history, he was a Jewish man and was trying to write to honor his fellow countrymen and to defend Judaism.  It is he that wrote about the Romans entering the Masada and finding that all 900+ had committed suicide over being captured and slaughtered by the Romans.

He had evidently been one of these very precocious Jewish boys and tells of rabbis coming to him for advice at the age of 14. By 16 he learned all about the 3 major sects of Judaism and spent time with each in order to learn about them.    He liked Banus, evidently an Essene and lived that type of life for 3 years.  At 19 he joined the Pharisees where he remained.  The Sadducees received the littlest coverage.

In 64CE, at the age of 26, he went to Rome to try to get the release of priests who were sent there by Felix to be tried by Nero.  He was in a ship-wreck on the way there, something that is repeated in history.  Paul also had this happen to him.  That was the year of the burning of Rome.  By 70 CE Jerusalem would fall to the Romans.  Not knowing this, of course, his visit to Rome made him realize that Jews could not defeat Rome and wanted to work for peace.  So perhaps he was also the first peacenik as well.

The Roman governor of Syria, Florus, was interested in encouraging hatred and turning it into wanting to go to war in Jerusalem and Caesarea, where the seat of the governor lived.  By 66 CE Cestius Gallus was governor who led a Roman force against Jerusalem which ended in a retreat with the Jewish forces chasing the Romans out of town.  This Roman 12th Legion was put to rout in the autumn and was in disgrace of which it never recovered.  Vespasian's forces arrived in the spring of 67 CE when Josephus was in the Galilee, either as a general of the Jewish forces (Wars of the Jews, II,xx,4) or as an arbitrator to pacify those who were wanting war.   Vespasian advanced and Josephus found himself deserted and withdrew to the fortress of Jotapata, standing against a siege for 6 weeks.  Then he had to surrender to the Romans in July 67 CE.

When Vespasian became Emperor, Josephus was freed and went with him to Alexandria, Egypt.  He had to take the Roman name of Flavius, the family name of Vespasian.  I imagine that he was made to feel that he owed his life to him.  However, the war against the Jews continued then and Josephus returned to Jerusalem with the Emperor's son, Titus and was there to see the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.  The Jews came to hate him for working with the Romans as he had been walking around the walls calling for "surrender."  At the same time the Romans thought he may be guilty of treachery.  It's thought today that he was trying to act in the interests of his own people.  .

Josephus was given a piece of land near Jerusalem after the destruction, which was in line with how the Romans paid off their soldiers.  He didn't retire but instead returned to Rome with Titus, became a Roman citizen and was commissioned to write the history of the Jewish people.  He worked under several emperors but when Titus died, his writing showed he became an apologist for the Jews instead of being impartial as a historian is thought to be.  This writer of history is thought to have been an egotist and opportunist but had redeeming qualities.

We must realize that today's reporters of current events will be no better than Josephus.  They too, write with a slant showing who they favor.  Finding someone impartial without a bent towards one side of an issue is almost an impossibility.  Remember that when you research an issue.  Everyone has an agenda.    When it comes to reporting about Israel, more reports are coming out with a negative take on the events than not.  Just who are they writing for, one must think.

Book:  Josephus:  complete works, translated by William Whiston, AM, by Kregel Publications 1960

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Temple in Jerusalem and the Jewish Exiles from Roman Empire of 70 CE Share Simlar Problems

Nadene Goldfoot
It seems that the exiles among the Roman Empire  had the very same problems that Israel has today.  I've been reading  Psalms, starting with 120:0 where he cries out to G-d in distress asking to be rescued from lying lips and a deceitful tongue which were like the sharp arrows of the mighty with coals of Rotem-wood. These charcoals are especially dangerous because long after they appear to be extinguished on the surface, they continue to burn within (from Rashi).  The psalmist  had come from a journey with those who lived in tents from Kedar.  Kedar was the Arab Empire of Ishmael (Radak; Ibn Ezra).    He had been with these people who hated peace and when he spoke of peace they clamored  for war.  It sounds so familiar.  They clamored for war because they viewed his appeal for peace as a sign of weakness and vulnerability.

There were 15 steps leading from the lower Courtyard of the Temple to the upper Courtyard.  These psalms from 120 to 1134 are called the 15 "Songs of Ascents" which correspond to the steps.  Since then the Temple has been destroyed by conquerors and the Muslim's Al Aqsa  Mosque is now sitting on top of its place.

The Psalmist looks at the mountains and wonders where help will come from and knows help will only from G-d.  In Jerusalem is the Temple and Jerusalem is like a united city where tribes of Israel ascend.  He asks that that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem; and that those who love the city will give thanks and that they will be serene people.  He shall continue to speak of peace for the sake of everyone.

This was a hymn to Jerusalem, the city where every visitor experiences an encounter with holiness.  He goes on saying that Israel's survival against all odds attests to G-d's providential control of its destiny.  He feels that a righteous person is not arrogant.  Let Israel give hope to G-d from this time and forever.  The idea is that the idyllic unity among brothers brings G-d"s blessings.  This psalmist never gave up hope despite the many disappointments (Rashi).

And so we hope today and turn to G-d.

The Stone Edition:  Tanach; 24 books of the Bible-Psalms 20-24

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tunisia's Imam of the Jews: Hassen Chalghoumi

Nadene Goldfoot
Tunisia has a population of about 10,383,577 who are 98% Sunni Muslims with the main fiqh being Maliki.  This is how they interpret Sharia law, how they observe rituals, morals and social legislation.  It's one of the 4 schools of Sunni Islam and is followed in North Africa, West Africa, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.  They have a secular government instead of  it being a state religion.

Before 1948 there were 110,000 Jews living there since the Roman times.  By 2010 there were only 1,000. In 1948 half the Jewish population went to Israel and the other half went to France.    Tunisia was the only Arab country under direct German occupation during WWII in the 40's.

40 year old Hasen Chalghoumi was born in Tunis in 1972 and is the Iman of the Drancy Mosque in Seine-Saint-Denis near Paris today. Before coming to Paris he was a member of the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamaic reformist and spiritualist movement which was started in 1926 by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in India, as sort of a response to the Hindu religion. It has taken on a pacifist stance.  He had been a caller for jihad but had changed his views.  He was different in that he supported Sarkozy's ban on the burqa which put him in good stead with zionist organizations in France causing an uproar in his own mosque.

This Iman has been active with the French zionist organization CRIF which caused him problems.  In 2006 his house was sacked and his children threatened after a speech he had made.  He's been called the Iman of the Jews because he is one of the few progressives that sees his religion in a different light.

He just attended a democracy and religion forum in Tel Aviv where he shared his thoughts on the Holocaust, women's rights and Arab nationalism.  He denounces hatred of Jews and doesn't mingle religion with politics. He said that mosques in Tunisia have turned into hostages held by extremists.

May his age multiply twice and he live till 120.  A man like this doesn't come along everyday.  He's someone that could make inroads to peace in the area.  I only wish he could sway the Palestinians to become more like him.