A Supposed Letter from Joseph B. Soloveitchik Praising Meir Kahane Is a Fake

In 1984, Israel’s then-President Chaim Herzog refused to meet with the newly seated parliamentarian Rabbi Meir Kahane, the leader of the now-outlawed Kakh party, despite meeting with the heads of every other party in the Knesset. The refusal no doubt owed to Kahane’s anti-Arab bigotry and sympathy for vigilante violence. Discovered in Herzog’s archives was what appeared to be a letter from the revered American rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik upbraiding him for his frostiness toward Kahane and stating that the latter was “despite his many, many errors, a God-fearing Jew who fights for the honor of Heaven and of the Jewish people.”

Mosheh Lichtenstein cites extensive textual evidence to argue that the letter is a forgery. Not only does it use numerous uncharacteristic turns of phrase, but the signature does not match Soloveitchik’s—either in the handwriting script or in the spelling of his own name. Lichtenstein adds:

I am not judging the letter based upon any presumed attitude of Rabbi Soloveitchik regarding Rabbi Kahane. However, the content of the letter is extremely problematic for . . . other reasons. [The] letter concludes with a clear admonition and rebuke to President Herzog in no uncertain terms regarding his own [lack of religious] observance. Not only does the writer allow himself to criticize Herzog’s standards of public observance, an obviously sensitive topic for someone raised as an observant Jew, he also doesn’t shy away from introducing the extremely sensitive and intensely personal issue of Herzog’s relationships with his parents and [his own] children.

The Soloveitchik that I knew . . . would never enter into such personal matters and grant unsolicited advice or pass judgment upon his correspondent’s personal life and relationships. For that matter, I cannot imagine that any rational individual who is requesting a favor from a person of stature would conclude his message by rebuking the person and making it clear that he is a disappointment to his parents. . . . Soloveitchik would not, and could not, have written such a text.

Read more at Seforim

More about: Israeli politics, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Meir Kahane

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada