Sonali Hatalkar of Sr.
I mentioned that I myself had come to very similar conclusions some time before, and he asked when that had happened. I told him it had been inand I think he found my answer quite surprising. I got the sense that date was decades earlier than would have been given by almost anyone else he knew.
My own perceptions of the Middle East conflict drastically shifted during Falland they have subsequently changed only to a far smaller extent.
As some might remember, that period marked the first Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and culminated in the notorious Sabra-Shatila Massacre during which hundreds or even thousands of Palestinians were slaughtered in their refugee camps. But although those events were certainly major factors in my ideological realignment, the crucial trigger was actually a certain letter to the editor published around that same time.
A few years earlier, I had discovered The London Economist, as it was then called, and it had quickly become my favorite publicationwhich I religiously devoured cover-to-cover every week.
And as I read the various articles about the Middle East conflict in that publication, or others such as the New York Times, the journalists occasionally included quotes from some particularly fanatic and irrational Israeli Communist named Israel Shahak, whose views seemed totally at odds with those of everyone else, and who was consequently treated as a fringe figure.
In Israel Defense Minister Ariel Sharon launched his massive invasion of Lebanon using the pretext of the wounding of an Israeli diplomat in Europe at the hands of a Palestinian attacker, and the extreme nature of his action was widely condemned in the media outlets I read at the time.
From what I recall from that time, he made several entirely false assurances to top Reagan officials about his invasion plans, such that they afterward called him the worst sort of liar, and he ended up besieging the Lebanese capital of Beirut even though he had originally promised to limit his assault to a mere border incursion.
The Israeli siege of the PLO-controlled areas of Beirut lasted some time, and negotiations eventually resulted in the departure of the Palestinian fighters to some other Arab country. Shortly afterward, the Israelis declared that they were moving into West Beirut in order to better assure the safety of the Palestinian women and children left behind and protect them from any retribution at the hands of their Christian Falangist enemies.
And around that same time, I noticed a long letter in The Economist by Shahak which seemed to me the final proof of his insanity. He claimed that it was obvious that Sharon had marched to Beirut with the intent of organizing a massacre of the Palestinians, and that this would shortly take place.
When the slaughter indeed occurred not long afterward, apparently with heavy Israeli involvement and complicity, I concluded that if a crazy Communist fanatic like Shahak had been right, while apparently every mainstream journalist had been so completely wrong, my understanding of the world and the Middle East required total recalibration.
I stopped paying much attention to foreign policy issues during the s, but I still read my New York Times every morning and would occasionally see his quotes, inevitably contrarian and irredentist.
Finally, about a decade ago, my curiosity got the better of me and clicking a few buttons on Amazon. He had spent many years as an award-winning Chemistry professor at Hebrew University, and was actually anything but a Communist. My casual assumptions about his views and background had been entirely in error.
Once I actually began reading his books, and considering his claims, my shock increased fifty-fold. Throughout my entire life, there have been very, very few times I have ever been so totally astonished as I was after I digested Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, whose text runs barely a hundred pages.
In fact, despite his solid background in the academic sciences and the glowing testaments provided by prominent figures, I found it quite difficult to accept the reality of what I was reading. My own knowledge of that religion is absolutely negligible, mostly being limited to my childhood, when my grandmother occasionally managed to drag me down to services at the local synagogue, where I was seated among a mass of elderly men praying and chanting in some strange language while wearing various ritualistic cloths and religious talismans, an experience that I always found much less enjoyable than my usual Saturday morning cartoons.
Essentially almost everything I had known—or thought I had known—about the religion of Judaism, at least in its zealously Orthodox traditional form, was utterly wrong. For example, traditionally religious Jews pay little attention to most of the Old Testament, and even very learned rabbis or students who have devoted many years to intensive study may remain largely ignorant of its contents.
Since these commentaries and interpretations represent the core of the religion, much of what everyone takes for granted in the Bible is considered in a very different manner.
And given that so many parts of the Talmud are highly contradictory and infused with complex mysticism, it would be impossible for someone like me to attempt to disentangle the seeming inconsistencies that I am merely repeating. ORDER IT NOW On the most basic level, the religion of most traditional Jews is actually not at all monotheistic, but instead contains a wide variety of different male and female gods, having quite complex relations to each other, with these entities and their properties varying enormously among the numerous different Jewish sub-sects, depending upon which portions of the Talmud and the Kabala they place uppermost.
But large numbers of other Jews believe this declaration instead refers to achievement of sexual union between the primary male and female divine entities. And most bizarrely, Jews having such radically different views see absolutely no difficulty in praying side by side, and merely interpreting their identical chants in very different fashion.
Furthermore, religious Jews apparently pray to Satan almost as readily as they pray to God, and depending upon the various rabbinical schools, the particular rituals and sacrifices they practice may be aimed at enlisting the support of the one or the other.
Once again, so long as the rituals are properly followed, the Satan-worshippers and the God-worshippers get along perfectly well and consider each other equally pious Jews, merely of a slightly different tradition. One point that Shahak repeatedly emphasizes is that in traditional Judaism the nature of the ritual itself is absolutely uppermost, while the interpretation of the ritual is rather secondary.
So perhaps a Jew who washes his hands three times clockwise might be horrified by another who follows a counter-clockwise direction, but whether the hand-washing were meant to honor God or to honor Satan would be hardly be a matter of much consequence. Strangely enough, many of the traditional rituals are explicitly intended to fool or trick God or His angels or sometimes Satan, much like the mortal heroes of some Greek legend might seek to trick Zeus or Aphrodite.Garmi Ka Mausam Essay In Urdu Summer Season: Schools and colleges have summer vacations every year.
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In Pakistan school holidays in summer season are almost two and a half months. These days summer season is in full swing. It is very difficult to study in warm summer weather. About a decade ago, I happened to be talking with an eminent academic scholar who had become known for his sharp criticism of Israeli policies in the Middle East and America’s strong support for them.
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