Time has Come to Connect to the European Right
Matteo Salvini, the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and a leading candidate for Prime Minister, visited Israel and expressed enthusiastic support for it – but the political Left preferred to ignore his warm feelings, and accuse him of anti-Semitism * Regrettably, President Rivlin also failed to respect the important guest, and could not make time to meet with him * The Left are still confined to the concept that it is preferable for Israel to tighten its ties with the European Leftist parties, disregarding the situation in Europe – it is precisely the Right that is growing stronger, and it is also renouncing the anti-Semites
The Friend from Italy
Last week Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister, and head of the ‘Northern League’ party, Matteo Salvini, many of whom believe will eventually be elected Prime Minister, arrived in Israel. Matteo is considered a friend of the State of Israel. Before his visit, he told a Ma’ariv reporter that “Israel is an example of democracy in the world. I feel honored to visit Israel. Italians have a lot to learn from her. Israel should sit alongside the most developed democracies in Western Europe. We must strengthen ties between the two countries … and contribute to strengthening its borders.” His associates believe that if given the power, chances are he will transfer the Italian embassy to Jerusalem.
During his visit, he met with the Prime Minister and other dignitaries, and declared that he was “proud to be here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Anyone who wants peace must support and defend Israel. Israel is a bastion for the defense of Europe and the Middle East.” He called Hezbollah members “terrorists”. When his Left-wing rivals in Italy, who tend to support Israel’s enemies, attacked him for this, he replied on his Facebook page: “It’s strange to read in the Italian press that some people were shocked when I called Islamist terrorists by their name… if we do not define our opponent… it is impossible to win this game.”
Criticism from the Left
The Israeli Left criticized the government for the warm reception given to Matteo Salvini. Knesset Member Tamar Zandberg said: “Netanyahu reaches out to fascist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic leaders.” In other words, according to her, one who respects Israel, is committed to the struggle against anti-Semitism, and even works for it in Europe in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress, and supports Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is an anti-Semite and a fascist – in contrast to Abu Mazen, denier of the Holocaust and supporter of terrorism, and all his cohorts, who are respected friends. They, of course, are not anti-Semites or fascists…
Salvini is the head of the largest party in the Italian parliament. If the Italian people are concerned about refugees, its apprehension and position should be respected, rather than putting him in line with all those who hate Israel, spitting on him and his people, and moreover, claiming that it is done for moral reasons.
A Disgraceful President
Reuven Rivlin, who whenever interviewed in the media, opens his statements by pronouncing in an impassioned voice: “This is Ruvi Rivlin from Jerusalem”, who made his political fortune from being a descendant of the builders of Jerusalem, could not find the time to meet Salvini for a quarter of an hour, shake his hand, and strengthen his support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – due to his “crowded schedule” of visiting children in kindergartens. Perhaps in his visit, he made a commitment to tell the young children it is forbidden to oppose assimilation, or that Arabs, like Jews, have equal rights to the Land of Israel. It’s regrettable to see how President Rivlin repeatedly humiliates the people and the state and harms Israel’s international standing, while at the same time flatters the Left, who continually distance themselves from sane political positions.
If we were talking about a refined public figure, one who had never met with individuals above reproach, in character or opinion, it would be understandable. However, after the fact that Rivlin sits fawningly with interviewers from the international media – who repeatedly spread blood libels about Israel, and lecture about the settlers dripping with venom – he still dares to refuse a meeting with the friends of the State of Israel?! If the president has a role, then it is to receive such dignitaries with honor, and certainly not to create provocations in opposition to elected officials of a large and important nation.
Support for the European Left – Short-Sightedness
In addition to the moral hypocrisy of Rivlin and the Left, it also signifies political shortsightedness. They persist in telling themselves the story that the more they align with the liberal Left in various countries, the stronger the State of Israel will be. They pay no attention, however, to two fundamental facts: First, in all European countries and other important regions in the world, the national Right is growing stronger, and therefore, the main political effort today must be devoted to cultivating ties with Right-wing parties. Second, the Left is becoming increasingly anti-Semitic, for example, the British Labor Party, which even Left-wing English Jews, members of the Labor Party, admit to it being anti-Semitic today.
Support for the European Right – a Solution to Anti-Semitism
True, in the European Right there remain remnants of murderous nationalism, the legacy of generations of the past. However, it is precisely the connection between the Right-wing parties and the State of Israel that is the best remedy for this, because this connection refines and distances them from the evil anti-Semites, who are unable to bear the connection with the State of Israel.
In other words, the only way to combat anti-Semitism is through a healthy connection of the State of Israel with the emerging national movements in Europe and throughout the world. And the only way to eradicate murderous nationalism is precisely a position of healthy nationalism, designed to express the unique identity of each nation.
On the other hand, the attempt of Diaspora Jews to eradicate national identities evokes the terrible demons of murderous nationalism. While their flawed and destructive stance does not in any way justify physical or verbal harm to Jews, nevertheless, the facts must be recognized – the extreme Leftist Jews in the world, determined to counteract the foundations of the national identity of various countries, provokes enormous hatred towards the Jewish people.
More about Vaccinations
Following my previous column on the obligation to be vaccinated, a number of women wrote me with questions and complaints about how I expressed a halachic position on the basis of the opinion of one doctor, and questioned if it was not appropriate to study the issue thoroughly and ask numerous doctors.
Answer: I did not study the vaccine issue, and I do not intend to, because halakha does not deal with clarifying issues of medicine – rather, it is only after doctors form a professional position that halakha determines, according to Torah values, what is forbidden and what is permitted, what is obligatory and what is a mitzvah. Out of trust in the medical system, we vaccinated our children without asking a doctor. However, in order to write an answer for the public, I found it necessary to consult with a God-fearing, experienced, and wise doctor, to know the weight of the claims of those opposed to vaccines in accordance with the opinion of experts and researchers in the field, expressed by health organizations throughout the world. According to this, I wrote it is an obligation to vaccinate.
Do Not Falsely Accuse Doctors
Some people accused doctors of taking bribes from the pharmaceutical companies to spread the “lie” of the obligation to be vaccinated, and thus increase the profits of the companies. They also claimed that any doctor who dared to oppose vaccines would have his corrupted colleagues make sure he was fired.
This argument must be firmly and completely rejected. First, blaming an entire group of doctors with malice is a grave sin. Even when disagreeing and arguing, nevertheless, the debate should be kept in check, and libelous accusations must not be made. For example, the doctor I asked is known to me as a righteous and God-fearing person, and it is inconceivable for him to express a position endangering life for financial gain. Moreover, without firm proof that doctors take bribes, it is forbidden to say such a thing, and anyone who says so transgresses the prohibitions of loshon ha’ra (derogatory speech about another person) and motzi shem ra (defamation), which are among the most serious prohibitions in the Torah. There may be doctors and researchers who lie, but to accuse an entire group of doctors, people involved in saving lives, of lying in exchange for money, is appalling.
Besides, this argument is senseless, since the pharmaceutical companies cannot bribe all the doctors. Moreover, any doctor or laboratory researcher who discovered something problematic with one of the drugs would earn eternal glory. And while pharmaceutical companies tend to finance and publish studies encouraging the use of their products, they cannot bribe all researchers in all laboratories not to reveal problems in them.
The Kashrut of Milk for Example
From the issue of kashrut of milk, one can learn how to apply the rules of rov (majority) and chazaka (presumption) in halakha, which I have also applied to the topic of vaccinations and doctors – that we rely on the majority of doctors, and rely on the presumption of each and every doctor to be trustworthy until proven differently. I will preface by saying that this is a complex issue, which can be difficult for someone who is not used to studying Gemara and poskim.
As is known, milk milked from a treif (non-kosher) animal is forbidden to be consumed. A treif animal is one that a predator tried to devour but did not succeed, however, as a result of its injury, it is known that it will not live for more than twelve months. Similarly, any animal that has a defect or disease that is known to cause its death within twelve months is considered treif. Since death gnaws at the flesh of the treif animal, even if it is ritually slaughtered, its flesh is forbidden to eat. And since its flesh is forbidden to eat, its milk is also forbidden to be consumed. A treif animal that got mixed in a herd and was milked together with the other animals – if the kosher animals were sixty times more than the treif animal, all the milk milked from the herd is kosher, but if they were not sixty times more, all the milk is forbidden (S. A. Y. D. 81: 1-2).
According to this a difficulty arises, for it is known that among the cows we milk, at least ten percent of the cows are treif as a result of sirchot (adhesions) of the lungs, and since they are at the rate of mi’ut ha’matzuy (a significant minority), from Divrei Chachamim (rabbinic ordinance), they are obligated to be examined after slaughtering in order to permit their meat to be eaten. Since it is impossible to check them while they are alive, how is cow’s milk permitted when it is known that the mi’ut ha’matzuy of cows are treif, and there are not sixty times as many cows not treif in comparison to them?
Rashi (Responsa Rashi, 60) explained that since it is impossible to examine the cow before the slaughter, we rely on the principle Torah law that we follow the majority of cows that are not treif. This is agreed upon by the Rishonim and Acharonim. Another important foundation clarified by Shibolei Ha’Leket is the general rule that as long as we haven’t seen that the cow is treif, the milk is b’chezkat heter (presumed to be permitted). And even though, in practice, after the slaughter we find certain percentages of treifot, as long as the cows are not slaughtered, the milk of each cow is b’chezkat kosher, since no ri’uta (a fact that weakens the power of chazaka) arose in regards to the cow from it was milked. This is the essence of this complex issue, through which one can clearly understand the rules of rov and chazaka, which every Jewish household follows daily when eating dairy products.
This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper and was translated from Hebrew.