On behalf of the government of Ontario, I am delighted to extend warm greet-ings to the Jewish community on the occasion of Chanukah. In Ontario, we derive our strength and unique character from the cultural and spiritual diversity that defines our great province. The Jewish community is a vital part of that cherished diversity and has made, and continues to make, invaluable contributions to the social, cultural and economic life of our province.
Chanukah is a festival that constantly inspires as it tells a timeless story of how courage and conviction have the power to overcome adversity. It is also an affir-mation of remaining true to one’s beliefs and a celebration of the inherent rights and dignity of every human being.
As you gather with family and friends to mark the Festival of Lights, may the glow of the illuminated menorah fill your hearts and homes with a special joy. Please accept my very best wishes for a happy and memorable Chanukah.
Premier of Ontario
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Open letter of gratitude
Without a doubt, Operation Pillar of Defence would have looked very different had Iron Dome not been operational. The system intercepted hundreds of rockets that were headed straight into residential areas. Iron Dome saved lives, protected property and gave people a sense of security, something that they had been miss-ing for more than a decade. Iron Dome was the product of the hard work of dedi-cated and talented people. When I came to work three weeks ago, some friends of mine were running out of the building, telling me they were “off to set up a battery in Tel Aviv.” Turns out that they worked for 48 hours straight, into Shabbat, not pausing to change their clothing, shower, or even to eat, but they set up that bat-tery. And three hours later, that battery shot down a Fajr-5 headed straight for Tel Aviv.
Since 2010, the people of the United States have given the State of Israel nearly $300 million for the procurement of Iron Dome. Another $600 million has been allocated. The Iron Dome batteries that were funded with American money played a critical part in the conflict. Your money, your help, saved lives. There are people walking around today who are eating falafel, learning Torah, or playing with their children, who would not be here today if it were not for the United States. To this end, no words will ever suffice. But let me try: thank you.
System Development, Short Range Missile Defence
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Criticizes Hamas-Israeli ceasefire
Lihyot ’am chofshi be’artzeinu, “to be a people free in our land.” Never has this statement from Hatikvah been proven more false than in the most recent conflict and “ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Israel’s policies, including kowtowing to world pressure, have ensured that for the foreseeable future, Tel Avivians and Jerusalemites will experience their own personal Sderots. Instead of destroying the 400 tunnels Hamas built to smuggle weapons and continuing to target Hamas’ terrorist leaders, Israel did the opposite. It destroyed only 150 tunnels before agreeing to the ceasefire, it agreed to allow the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to arbitrate on any transgressions with respect thereto, and it agreed to halt the tar-geted assassinations that ravaged Hamas’ high command.
As can be witnessed in Gaza, Lebanon and Sinai, Israel’s policy of withdrawal has proven to be a folly of its own creation. Judea and Samaria remains quiet as a direct result of the Israel Defence Forces military presence. Given that world reac-tion to Israel’s military operations elicit identical responses regardless of severity, Israel should have continued until its objectives were realized. Israel needs a per-manent military presence in both Gaza and Sinai, and I believe that such a pres-ence will inevitably reoccur, but only after too many rockets have fallen on de-fenceless Israeli civilians. There has never been an Arab problem, only a Jewish problem in that Israel allows itself to remain a de facto-controlled entity by allow-ing the strategic interests of foreign states to govern its own.
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Western values, Judaism, the Wall
In her defence of Anat Hoffman, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein mischaracterizes both Jewish values, and the holiest Jewish site, the Western Wall (“Provoking change at the Wall,” Nov. 22). Although Jewish values and Halachah may mesh well with some western values, such as democracy and liberalism, western values are not at the core of our belief. Furthermore, the suggested reform by Rabbi Goldstein that we “remove the Kotel’s religious designation,” is not only absurd because of its historical religious significance, but also insulting. The reality is that, historically, the Kotel is a religious site, and any attempt to reform that should be done through halachic means and not through an appeal to western values. Rabbi Goldstein shows a disregard for Halachah and for the religious nature of the Western Wall.