Will Israel Have A ‘King’ Soon? The Modern-Day Sanhedrin Say “YES!”

Will Israel Have A ‘King’ Soon? The Modern-Day Sanhedrin Say “YES!”
from Yaakov Katz
THE JERUSALEM POST – January 12, 2005

Will Jews begin proclaiming “Long live the king” in the near future?

According to a group of 71 Jewish scholars who met this week in the Old City of Jerusalem in the form of a modern-day Sanhedrin “a duplicate of the religious tribunal which convened during the time of the Second Temple” a coronation day is growing closer.

As one member of the group put it, “We would have liked it to happen yesterday. But we are willing to wait until tomorrow.”

There hasn’t been a genuine Sanhedrin in Israel for nearly 1,600 years; the last one to be proclaimed was in France, by Napoleon, for political gain. Shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, religious affairs minister Judah Leib Maimon raised the notion of reinstituting the ancient body, to no avail.

The group composed largely of Kahane sympathizers that gave itself the name Sanhedrin in October, however, met Sunday to discuss the creation of a Jewish monarchy in the State of Israel.

For the past several years a group called the Monarchists has conducted extensive research into the lineage of several families in an effort to discover who has the closest bloodline to the biblical King David — a requirement for any future Jewish king.

Rabbi Yosef Dayan from Psagot, known for his recent threats to place a death curse on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is said to be a leading candidate to become the “king of Israel.”

“Dayan has the best lineage to King David,” several members of the Sanhedrin told The Jerusalem Post. They say he has two documented ancient sources which draw a direct line between him and the males in his family to King David some 3,000 years ago.

“Many people can show they are descendants of King David, but they cannot show that the line is only male,” one Sanhedrin member explained. “That makes Dayan the leading candidate to become king.”

The Monarchists have consulted with non-Jewish experts on lineage. They concurred that, without a doubt, Dayan is a direct descendent of the House of David.

The only question now is how to establish the Jewish monarchy in spite of the presiding democratic government.

“There are two possibilities,” Dayan explained. “The first is that the nation or a majority from within will want the monarchy and will uproot the presiding democratic government.”

The second, more realistic option, he said, is “the one cited by Maimonides” and that is that no one will know how it will be until it happens.”

Some of the other ideas discussed at the Sanhedrin meeting included the construction of an altar on the Temple Mount to be used for the Passover Offering during the upcoming holiday.

One of the ideas, members said, is to climb the Mount and build the altar within minutes and sacrifice the lamb before security forces can stop them. Another, said leading Sanhedrin member Baruch Ben-Yosef, is to pray for a tsunami-like disaster on the Mount.

“In one second, God wiped out 150,000 people,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe he’ll help us if we show him we are ready.”

Participants also discussed Ben-Yosef’s idea of reinstating the Sanhedrin’s authority to announce Rosh Hodesh, the beginning of the new lunar month.

“It is very important to reinstate the Sanhedrin’s authority to announce the month, because it will force people to understand that God gave us the power to control the calendar and our own destiny,” Ben-Yosef said.

* * * * * * *

Background on the Sanhedrin

“Sanhedrin” – (m., pl. “Sanhedriyaot”) – 1. the Jewish “Supreme Court;” it consisted of seventy one great Torah Sages, who met in the “Lishkat HaGazit,” the “Office of Hewn Stone,” adjacent to the Temple in Jerusalem; 2. The Masechta, or Folio of the Talmud that discusses the activities of the Sanhedrin, and related matters.

The Rabbis who were the members of the Sanhedrin had all received “Semichah,” the formal passing over of the Tradition from their teachers.

On the floor of the Sanhedrin were debated the fundamental principles of the Torah, and the result was established by majority vote.

Cases that were the most difficult or the most critical for the Jewish People were decided by the Sanhedrin. A majority had to be at least two votes. Any Capital case in which all the votes were for condemnation, was automatically changed to acquittal.

There is discussion in the Talmud of the question of how frequently capital punishment was imposed by the Sanhedrin, although the Torah does explicitly allow for it. Some said that a Sanhedrin that imposed the death penalty once in seven years was considered “bloody;” another opinion is that it was seventy years. Another said that it depended on the generation. Yet another was that restraint in imposing the death penalty would increase the number of murderers in Israel.

After the Temple was destroyed, the Sanhedrin moved from place to place in Israel. It finally was dissolved when, in the absence of the greatest Sages of Israel, the Institution of Semichah could no longer be applied.

During the Middle Ages, there was an attempt to revive the Sanhedrin by re-instituting Semichah. But due to opposition by some of the Torah Sages of that generation, the idea never became a reality.

The Sanhedrin was reestablished in a ceremony in Tiberias, where the original Sanhedrin was disbanded, on October, 2004 (Tishrei 5765).

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Philanthropist calls for archive to lead to better relations

Point of No Return

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Philanthropist calls for archive to lead to better relations

With the Iraqi-Jewish archive poised to return to Iraq in September 2018, businessman and philanthropist David A Dangoor makes a plea in JNS News for the archive to be a bridge-builder for normalising relations between Arabs and Jews and restoring the rights of Iraqi Jews. It does not matter to him where the archive ends up as long as Jews have access to it.

David A Dangoor commissioned the film Remember Baghdad

The answer to what happens next should lie in not whose property it is, but where would it be best preserved and provide access for all, especially in its potential use as a gateway towards better relations between Jews and Arabs.

Between 1950 and 1952, approximately 130,000 Iraqi Jews were airlifted to Israel, where they became fully integrated into the country despite their arrival with no assets. This constituted around 75 percent of the total Iraqi Jewish community at the time. While the creation of the State of Israel was the proximate driver, the Jewish community, which had been living in many places around Iraq, had already been traumatized by the Nazi-directed troubles in the early 1940s that highlighted the need for a safe haven, which Israel now represented.

Those of us who remained behind subsequently fled in the ensuing years—after the Iraqi government stripped us of our citizenship, property and business interests—to places like the United Kingdom.

Many of us, despite how it ended, look back fondly on our lives in Iraq and are deeply proud of our more than three-millennia sojourn there. Some of the greatest rabbis, scholars and artists enriched not only world Jewry with their work, but the non-Jewish world around them.

Arabic was our mother tongue, our culture and a strong part of our identity. Iraq is still in our blood and in our bones. It’s like a distant bell ringing in the back of our heads, always reminding us where we came from.

For those, like for me, Baghdad is the formation of our identity.

To be a Jew is sometimes to be a bridge to the past, but I believe that we can also serve as bridges to the future.

In the Iraq where I was raised, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Sunni or Shia worked, learned, sang and danced together. We lived side by side in peace and harmony.

I believe that while the Jewish community there is no more, perhaps the Iraqi Jewish Archive can serve as a new conduit between peoples, nations and religions.

With ISIS finally expelled from Iraq, this could be an auspicious time for Jews of Iraqi origins to rebuild ties with our former country, and for the leaders of the Republic of Iraq to provide gestures of reconciliation to its Diaspora Jewish community.

We hope it could begin with ensuring the Jewish character of holy sites such as the Prophet Ezekiel and Ezra the Scribe, and that the cemeteries of our families and ancestors are well-maintained. Most of all, we hope to be provided with visas to visit Iraq, or better still, to have our passports and citizenship returned and restored.

I know I speak for many when I say I would love to travel to Iraq to see my family home on the banks of the Tigris and visit the places in my dreams of childhood.

For that to happen, there would need to be a complete change in the way the people and government of Iraq viewed people of different faiths. There would need to be a genuine desire to welcome them, treat them with care and consideration, and respect their national aspirations—something now common in many parts of the world.

If this were to be achieved, it would matter less where the archive resided because we would have access to it. Perhaps an agreement could be formulated whereby the archive would also be on display at various locations, allowing this collection of artifacts to educate and inform others.

For Jews and non-Jews around the world, this could serve as a testament to the good relations that Jews and Arabs shared in the past, and serve as a point of entry in exploring how these ties could become strong and vibrant once again.

To Iraqis, the archive communicates the long-standing Jewish community that lived among them. They could demystify the tradition and culture of the Jewish people in the hopes of exploding certain myths and as a point of greater engagement.

I call on all those who are involved in the issue not to use the Iraqi Jewish Archive as a point of division, but instead, as a point of unity and harmony. Not to hide the materials away in the dark, but to allow the artifacts to shine a light in informing the world about how Jews and Arabs are not so very different. About how we can and should live side by side.

Let these artifacts inspire and not discourage relationships, so that we can regain aspirations of a better future for all the peoples of the region.


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RE: the Iraqi Jewish Archive

Dear Mr. Hummasti:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Iraqi Jewish Archive. I appreciate hearing from you. It is the valuable opinions and suggestions that I receive from my constituents, like you, that help me better serve Oregonians.

Please be assured that if this issue comes before me in the Senate, I will keep your views in mind. Again, thank you for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you. If I may be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Ron Wyden

United States Senator

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‘Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims, enough with this lie!’

ZOA President Klein debunks the myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims, calls on listeners to spread the truth.

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein spoke on Thursday night at the National Council of Young Israel’s annual dinner, debunking the myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims.

“Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, under King David, 3,000 years ago,” Klein said. “It was never, ever, the capital of any other nation except Israel. When the Arabs conquered Palestine in 716, they made Ramla their capital, not Jerusalem.”

“The Jewish holy books mention Jerusalem 700 times. it is never, ever mentioned in the Quran. Even about Mohammed allegedly going from Jerusalem to heaven, in the Quran…this is described as a dream. He simply has a dream, and it says he went ‘from the farthest place to heaven.’ … And the nearest place, in the Quran, is Palestine. So clearly, it was not from Jerusalem.”

Klein also noted that the Arabs, historically, have not cared enough to invest in Jerusalem.

“When the Arabs controlled Jerusalem from 1948-1967, when Jordan controlled it, they built everything of importance in Amman, not in Jerusalem,” he said. “They allowed it to be a slum. There was no water, no electricity, no plumbing there. They destroyed the 58 synagogues in eastern Jerusalem.”

Calling on his listeners to help debunk the lies, Klein said, “We must now tell everyone: It is not holy to Muslims, enough with this lie! Enough with the lie of occupation, there is no occupation, this is Jewish land, enough of the lie that settlements are the reason we have no peace. Settlements comprise 2% of all Judea and Samaria, there hasn’t been a single new settlement built since 1993.”

Slamming both the media and world leaders, he added, “All we get from the media, and even from leaders around the world, are lies, lies, and lies about Israel.”

“Unlike politicians, G-d keeps His promises. And with the help of Almighty G-d and with the help of the Israel Defense Forces, the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) will prevail and will survive forever,” he concluded.

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Petition against PLO – RE: Sokolow vs. PLO

‘Petition against PLO doesn’t meet standard for review by court’

Trump administration ‘deeply sympathizes’ with victims in PLO terror lawsuit, but suit doesn’t meet standards for review by Supreme Court.

The Trump administration in a statement said it “sympathizes deeply” with the families whose lawsuit against the Palestine Liberation Organization may soon be considered by the Supreme Court, but continues to maintain that the lawsuit does not meet the standards for review by the court.

“The United States condemns acts of terror in the strongest terms and the Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting those who commit terrorist attacks against innocent human beings to the fullest extent that the law allows,” read a statement emailed this week to JTA by a Justice Department spokeswoman.

“The United States sympathizes deeply with the American families who, in 2004, sued the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization for acts of terrorism committed against their loved ones between 2002 and 2004,” the statement said. “The court of appeals decided, however, that the suit was not consistent with due process under the Constitution, and its decision does not meet the usual standards for Supreme Court review.”

The Supreme Court will say by March 29 whether it will consider the appeal by the litigants in the case known as Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization. The plaintiffs won $656 million in a 2015 federal jury verdict, but it was overturned a year later by an appellate court.

A filing by the solicitor general last month siding with the PLO drew angry rebukes from conservatives, including some of the Trump administration’s most steadfast Jewish community defenders.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco supported the appellate court’s finding in a Supreme Court filing last month, mostly on technical grounds.

The lead plaintiff, Mark Sokolow, his wife and two of his daughters were injured in a Jerusalem suicide bombing in 2002 that killed an 81-year-old man. His fellow plaintiffs are families of victims of terrorist attacks in Israel that killed 33, including several Americans, and wounded over 450. Their suit argued that the late PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat had paid attackers and their families.

The plaintiffs this week filed a response to the solicitor general. It argued that the Supreme Court should consider the case if only because it is undergirded by a law passed by Congress in 1992 specifically targeting perpetrators of terrorist attacks overseas, the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“The Anti-Terrorism Act is an important, thoughtfully considered, congressional effort to defend United States citizens from international terrorism,” the filing said. “At the very minimum, this law is entitled to consideration in this Court in the face of the Second Circuit’s constitutional decision stripping it of its core purpose and meaning.”

Lawmakers in Congress from both parties have urged the Trump administration to back the plaintiffs.

“Congress passed the Antiterrorism Act to hold accountable dangerous entities for acts of terrorism,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader, said in a statement emailed this week to JTA.

“In the case of Mark Sokolow, the judge and jury found the Palestinian Authority and the PLO guilty in the heinous attack that maimed and killed dozens, including our fellow Americans,” Schumer said. “Despite this, the Trump administration has urged the Supreme Court to not take up this case – a move that goes against the well-decided verdict that would hold accountable the Palestinian Authority and PLO for this repugnant terror attack.”

The Zionist Organization of America, a group that has come to the defense of President Donald Trump when he and some of his top staffers have been accused of insensitivity toward Jews, has been at the forefront of expressions of outrage at the solicitor general’s filing. The Trump administration’s argument “hurts the American terror victims, aids and comforts terrorists, and makes them less concerned about facing consequences for their hideous actions,” said a March 7 statement.

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‘Lost Jews’ Of Colombia Say They’ve Found Their Roots

Latin America
‘Lost Jews’ Of Colombia Say They’ve Found Their Roots

December 20, 2012 4:36 PM ET
Heard on NPR’s All Things Considered

Juan Forero

Many members of the Jewish community in Bello, Colombia, were raised as Christians. They believe their ancestors were Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition, and so they are now Orthodox Jews. Here, a boy reaches out to the 120-year-old Torah that was written in Amsterdam and acquired by the community five years ago.

They are called “crypto-Jews” or “lost Jews,” and in recent years they have emerged in remote places as scattered as India, Brazil, the American Southwest and here in Colombia.

They were raised as Christians but believe they have discovered hidden Jewish roots, prompting many to return to Judaism. Many say their ancestors were Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain more than 500 years ago, as the Spanish crown embarked on a systematic persecution of Jews.

Fleeing for their safety, some wound up in the rugged northwest of Colombia, a region of tradition-bound towns long associated with fervent Catholicism.

But these days, at the small, whitewashed synagogue in Bello, a working-class town next to Medellin, dozens of men and women chant prayers in Hebrew.

Their leader, Elad Villegas, 36, says he and others had long felt a bond to Judaism, one they began to explore a few years ago.

“It was like our souls had memory,” he says. “It awakened in us a desire to learn more: Who were we? Where were we from? Where are the roots of our families?”

The inescapable pull of their ancestors, people in Bello say, led dozens of families that had belonged to an evangelical church to join Villegas as he began the long and difficult conversion to Judaism.

Some of them, like Meyer Sanchez, 37, say it was not easy, particularly the arduous conversion to Orthodox Judaism.

“It’s about showing dedication, lots of dedication, to study the prayers, learn to read Hebrew,” says Sanchez. “You have to sacrifice other things, like time with your wife, time with your family, and other things you may like, video games and music.”

Tracing Their Ancestry To Spain

Hundreds of years ago, on the Iberian Peninsula, Jews converted to Christianity to cloak their real identities. The Inquisition was at the height of its fury. They were known as Marranos, or Anusim, and some eventually made their way to Colombia, a country not known for its Jewish culture. Today, only about 7,000 Jews live here, spread across six cities.

“These people, the Anusim, would inevitably flee to those locations,” says Michael Freund, who directs Shavei Israel, a group in Jerusalem that helps hidden Jewish communities. “They were usually among the first to do so, in an effort to get as far away from the Inquisition as possible.”

In Colombia, the converted Jews founded towns and gave them biblical names, like Jerico. And some of the given names they handed down point to a Jewish past.

“They are people who call themselves Catholic but have names like Isaac, Ruben, Moises, Israel, Gabriel,” says Memo Anjel, a professor at the Bolivarian University in Medellin who has studied the region’s Jewish past. “And then there are also the women’s names — Ruth, Lia, Clara, Martha, Rebecca.”

With the years, they assimilated and their historical consciousness subsided — though that was not the case for everyone, says Freund.

“There are still people there who cling to the remnants of that memory and cling to what is left of that identity, and now want to make it their own,” he says.

Formerly A Christian Evangelical

Ezra Rodriguez, 33, is one of those who sought to connect with his past.

Though initially a Christian evangelical, he’d long wondered about Jewish ancestors, in part because of nearly imperceptible rituals he saw among older family members.

“Before I converted, when I began to study Judaism and Jewish traditions, I began to notice those things in my family,” says Rodriguez, who spoke on a recent afternoon as his son, 4-year-old Yoetzel, played in an apartment decorated with pictures of Orthodox Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

“My grandparents had unusual customs even though they called themselves Catholic,” Rodriguez says.

They refused to eat pork, for instance. His grandfather would also wear a hat at all times, even in church.

And in the countryside where they were from, there were other signs of Judaism. Like the ponchos the farmers wore, with their untied four corners. They’re nearly indistinguishable from the prayer shawls — the tallits — worn by devout Jewish men.

There were also old homes that contained mikvahs — baths used by Jews for ritual cleansings.

There is another piece of tantalizing evidence about the region’s Jewish roots, one discovered in 2000.

That was when the University of Antioquia did a study that showed that 14 percent of the men in the state had genetic markers in their Y chromosome that showed an ancestral tie to the Cohanim, a priestly Jewish cast that goes back three millennia to Moses’ brother, Aaron.

Geneticist Gabriel Bedoya explains that there are other genetic markers he did not study that might also demonstrate Jewish heritage.

“There should be even more Jewish ancestry here,” says Bedoya, who wants to carry out another, more extensive study.

These days in Bello, it’s not hard to decipher the Jewish influence — the new Orthodox Jewish influence. Men in skullcaps stroll the streets. The women cover their heads and wear dresses to their knees. There’s an afternoon Hebrew preschool, and a kosher bakery.

The bakery is run by Shlomo Cano, who used to be Rene Cano, when he was a Christian. But he’d visited Israel, and had also played saxophone in a band that performed Jewish songs for Medellin’s traditional Jewish community. And so little by little, he’d started to feel the pull of Judaism. He explains it as a spark, which led him to a new religion that made him feel comfortable.

“It all began to snowball from there,” he says, speaking of his journey to Judaism. These days, he and his family pray daily; on a recent afternoon, his wife, Galit, leads the chants.

They are working hard to raise their small children, Baruj and Gabriela, as observant Jews. Cano says it all feels right to him.

“We’ve discovered our roots,” he says, “and we refuse to disappear.”

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Meet Regina Waldman

Meet Regina Waldman

January 15, 2010
The forgotten refugees

In June 1967, Regina Waldman received a call from her mother telling her not to come home from work. Waldman’s family lived in Libya, part of an ancient Mizrahi Jewish community that had resided in Libya for more than 2,000 years. That changed in 1967, when the Six Day War broke out between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

“My mother called me at work to tell me that thousands of people had taken to the streets rioting and burning Jewish properties,” Waldman recalled. “She begged me to find a hiding place, because it was too dangerous for me to return home. Killing people, rampaging and burning Jewish properties went on for days.”

Waldman, who was 19 at the time, hid in the home of a Christian British engineer for a month before returning to her family.

“All Jews were expelled,” Waldman said, “and their property, including their bank accounts, were expropriated by the government.”

Waldman’s family barely made it out of Libya and fled to Italy, where they still live. Waldman’s experience, however, transformed her into an activist, leading her to advocate for human rights in Argentina, fight for the freedom of Jews in the former Soviet Union and to call for recognition of the plight of Jewish refugees.

“It was almost like an epiphany for me to realize that I could actually use my history as an example to show what intolerance could do to people,” she said.

Waldman has taken it upon herself to help gain recognition for the “900,000 Jewish refugees, dispossessed and uprooted from their homes throughout the Middle East and North Africa.” She heads an organization called Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA), based in San Francisco.

“Very little is known about this particular area of history,” Waldman said, “so we find that people are not just fascinated by the … narrative of Middle Eastern Jews and what happened to us, but also because they’re so completely surprised that Jews themselves don’t even know about it.”

Waldman said there is very good reason why this history has remained buried for so long.

“Israel had a huge number of refugees from the camps in Germany and people who had suffered horrendous experiences through the Holocaust,” she explained, “so when the Jews from North Africa arrived, there was this sense of ‘oh, don’t say anything about what happened to us, we cannot begin to compare ourselves.’”

Waldman also believes that the Israeli government “felt that if they recognized the Jews from these other countries as refugees, then they would have to turn around and also recognize the Palestinians as refugees, which they do today, but they didn’t then.”

The result is that these histories have had little recognition.

“The issue of the Jewish refugees was not really properly recorded, neither by historians, nor by political figures, nor was it ever recognized by international organizations,” she said.

Waldman’s work has been paying off. She has been asked to speak on the behalf of Jewish refugees at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Wellesley, Stanford and Berkeley. In 1992, she was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award. In addition to these accomplishments, Waldman testified before the United States Congress in 2007 as an expert witness on the experiences of Jewish refugees.

Waldman has also worked with filmmakers to produce a documentary on the history of the Jewish refugees, The Forgotten Refugees, in which, among other stories, she relates her first experience with hatred: a math teacher asking her class, “If you have 10 Jews and kill five, how many do you have left?”

Although some might consider her controversial due to her position that Jewish refugees deserves recognition just like Palestinian refugees, Waldman doesn’t feel that’s the case.

“The fact that we were absorbed successfully either by Israel or by the countries that hosted us shouldn’t make our plight a lesser plight,” she said. “It is to our credit and to the credit of Israel that, without a single penny from the West, we got absorbed but, nonetheless, we should be recognized as a group of refugees and we were not.”

Her speaking tours have gone a long way to righting this wrong, as her testimonies to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations have shown.

“The Palestinian … issues need to be addressed in whatever right way they can be addressed, but the Jewish refugees’ issues also have to be addressed,” she said. “We need to be given the right that is owed to us, the recognition of the suffering we have gone through.”

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