Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lessons From Space

by Chaim Goldberg

Scene from the film 'Apollo 13'
Believe it or not, I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life, from the movie 'Apollo 13'. We all know the story. Three astronauts in space. Something goes horribly wrong. And the world holds its breath for days, wondering if they'll ever make it back to earth.

The most powerful moment, for me, is when the three up in space, realize that something bad has happened. They instantly begin pointing fingers of blame at one another. Things begin to get very heated. That's when astronaut Jim Lovell stepped in:

"All right, we're not doing this, gentlemen. We are *not* going to do this. We're not going to go bouncing off the walls for ten minutes, 'cause we're just going to end up back here with the same problems!"

A few simple words, but an incredibly powerful concept, if you really stop and think about it.


Extend this idea to the concept of 'war'. Someone gets mad at someone, they decide they can't handle it diplomatically, so they start fighting with one another. The fighting rages on and on and on, until eventually, maybe after days, maybe after weeks, maybe after years, but eventually the war ends. And what do the two sides end up doing? Handling it diplomatically of course.

The question is never, 'will the war end'. The question is always 'when will the war end'.

Will the Japanese surrender before we drop the bomb on them, or after?

Will Saddam Hussein go peacefully or will we have to drag him out of a spider hole?

Will Osama give himself up, or will we have to hunt him down in Pakistan?

All wars eventually end. It's one of the few sure things in life. And yet, people (usually people deluded by power) never seem to learn this lesson. They prefer to bounce off the walls, forgetting that eventually they're going to have to come back to the same place, and figure out a real solution.


This week was an especially annoying and frustrating week, in the long history of the conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.

Where to begin?

Shall we start with the Palestinian terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons who decided to go on hunger strikes? An effort, I suppose, to try to gain the world's sympathies.

Or perhaps with the people of the West Bank who began rioting in the streets, for exactly what reason I'm not sure. Perhaps it was, as they claimed, to show solidarity with their terrorist brothers in Israeli prisons. Or more likely, it was just a show in advance of President Obama's visit to the region. Like kids who act up just before daddy comes home from being away...a childish tactic to get daddy's attention.

Or perhaps with the terrorist in Gaza who broke the ceasefire with Israel, this week, by firing a terror rocket into Israel. By God's grace it landed on an empty road in Ashkelon. No one was injured.

Or perhaps it was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, speaking in Vienna at a U.N. summit on tolerance, who called Zionism a "crime against humanity".

Or perhaps it was the leaders of Iran, who met with representatives from the 'six world powers' in Kazakhstan over the Iranian nuclear program. Another brilliant stalling tactic by the Iranians, pretending to be interested in resolving the issue peacefully, while simultaneously new satellite photos came out showing a heavy-water factory in operation at an Iranian nuclear plant, indicating the production of plutonium, which is an alternative to uranium used to build nuclear bombs.

And on, and on and on and on...

You get the point.


Yes, it's easy to be pessimistic in this part of the world. Were I not a believer in Yeshua I honestly don't know how I'd survive, mentally or spiritually. Had I not read the Bible, and therefore got a sneak peek at how this all will end, I'd be consumed with despair.

The bottom line is, people will continue to sin, continue to hate, continue to make war...until they're finally ready to stop. Until they finally realize what Jim Lovell said, that there's no point to going round and round, when we're just going to end up in the same place, having to find a solution to the problem.

The late King Hussein of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt
The late King Hussein of Jordan and the late President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat are perfect examples of this. Both had made war against Israel numerous times. Until one day they were both ready to stop. One day they both realized that war was fruitless and pointless and that peace was the better path.

Since those two historic peace agreements, Israel has stood waiting for more peace partners. Our hands have always been out-stretched. We've never said 'no' to a sincere offer for peace.

When the Jordanians were ready, we gladly said 'yes'. When the Egyptians were ready, we gladly said 'yes.' And so we wait. For the Palestinians. For the Iranians. For the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists. For the Saudis, the Lebanese, and so on and so on. We wait.

Yes, this was a frustrating week for those of us who are tired of war, tired of childish games, tired of propaganda.

But yet, we hope, we persevere. What other choice do we have?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Cantor Comment: Stop Haggling on Hagel - Choose Someone Else

by Ron Cantor

How many people are capable of being Secretary of Defense in the United States? I mean, I am clearly not… and probably you’re not. But it seems reasonable to me that there are perhaps at least 100, give or take a few, men who are equipped to govern this agency.

So why in the world does the supposedly pro-Israel president pick Chuck Hagel—someone who has gone on record criticizing our closest and maybe only ally in the Middle East—Israel?

Last week the Washington Free Beacon reported on the synopsis of a speech that Hagel gave in 2007 by a close supporter.

The report, written by Hagel supporter and political consultant George Ajjan, claimed Hagel had described the U.S. Department of State as an extension of the Israeli government.

Hagel says he doesn’t remember making those remarks, which might as well be an admission. The fact that he can’t recall at least reveals how he thinks. Imagine if someone had confronted him: “Senator in 2007 it was revealed that you encouraged men to wear women’s clothing.” Do you think he would say, “I don’t recall?” No, he would outright reject it because it is not something he believes (I don’t think…) or would say.

However, according to the words of someone who does remember another speech at Rutgers University, the senator is quite hostile towards Israel. Kenneth Wagner sent this email in April of 2010:

“I am sitting in a lecture by Chuck Hagel at Rutgers,” Wagner wrote in the email. “He basically said that Israel has violated every UN resolution since 1967, that Israel has violated its agreements with the quartet, that it was risking becoming an apartheid state if it didn’t allow the Palestinians to form a state. He said that the settlements were getting close to the point where a contiguous Palestinian state would be impossible.”

“He said that he [thought] that Netanyahu was a radical and that even [former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi] Livni, who was hard nosed thought he was too radical and so wouldn’t join in a coalition [government] with him. … He said that Hamas has to be brought in to any peace negotiation,” Wagner wrote. (Washington Free Beacon)

But rather than admit they made a mistake, the White House is pushing for a Hagel vote because “we have the votes,” believing that they have the 51 votes needed. But why would they want him? It was already revealed that he once said:

"The political reality is that... the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.... I've always argued against some of the dumb things they do, because I don't think it's in the interest of Israel.... I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel." (

Come on President Obama, swallow your pride and choose one of the dozens of other qualified candidates who is not hostile against one of our best friends.

The White House is not budging:

WH Source: No more deal making needed on #Hagel. "We have the votes for cloture. Happy for others to join but Hagel will be confirmed" (

Politics before the people!