Author Archives: aharonfr

על אלאור אזריה

בית הדין הצבאי הכריע את פסק דינו של אלאור אזריה. מתוך קריאת פסק הדין נראה שהשופטים התלבטו רבות בעינינו.  כל טיעון של ההגנה (וכמה מאלה היו מגוחכים) נבדק על ידי השופטים בכובד ראש. אני הייתי גאה במערכת הדין הצבאי כשקראתי את פסק הדין. זה לא מובן מאליו שהשופטים יפעילו כזאת רמה של חשיבה עצמאית וביקורתית. במדינות רבות אחרות, כולל דמוקרטיות רבות שנים זה לא היה קורה. בית הדין היה מרשיע אותו לאחר ישיבה אחת או שתיים.  זה ידוע שבבית משפט צבאי בארה״ב אין זיכויים. בית המשפט פוסק לפי רצון מפקדיו.

הנושא של משפט אלאור אזריה אינו נושא לדיון בין ימין ושמאל. אלא עניין לדיון בין אלה החפצים במדינת חוק לבין החושקים באנרכיה. אלא שאינם חפצים במדינת חוק מתקשים להבין שהיום הם כופים את דעתם ומחר מישהו אחר יכפה את דעתו עליהם.  משפט מסודר והוגן לאלאור אזריה אינו רק דבר שאנו צריכים לעשות כדי להיראות טוב בעיני אומות העולם. זהו דבר שאנו חייבים לעשות כדי להראות טוב בעיני עצמינו. אנחנו חייבים לעצמנו להיות אומה מוסרית והגונה עם מערכת משפטית הגונה ונטולת פניות. אל לנו להרשות לפוליטיקה להתערב במערכת המשפט ולהשחיתה. משמעות הדבר היא שלפעמים המערכת תקבל החלטה הנוגדת את דעתנו הפוליטית, ועלינו לקבל על עצמינו החלטה כזו.

לגבי מקרה אלאור אזריה; ברגע שהמעשה שעשה נחשף לעיני הציבור בארץ ובעולם, מעמדו הפך לזה של פושע מלחמה. לרמטכ״ל לא הייתה כל ברירה אלא להעביר את המקרה לטיפולה של הפרקליטות הצבאית. בית הדין בבואו לבחון את אשמתו של אזריה לא יכול היה אלא לבחון את העובדות. נראה שהעובדות מדברות בעד עצמן; אלאור אזריה ירה באדם שוכב חסר אונים על הקרקע דקות ארוכות לאחר שהקרב הסתיים. לא הייתה סכנה מאותו אדם לאף אחד מהסובבים, ולכן כל טיעון של הגנה עצמית הינו מופרך ביסודו. החייל הפר את הוראות הפתיחה באש והרג אדם (אגב, תוך סיכון הסובבים אותו). אשמתו ברורה.

בבואו לגזור את דינו של הנאשם טוב יעשה בית הדין אם ישקול את כל הנסיבות והמניעים שהביאו לרגע גורלי זה. אין ספק שהנסיבות מצביעות לכיוון ענישה קלה. ראשית אין מדובר פה באיזה קורבן מסכן ששכב לו לתומו על הרצפה. מדובר במחבל מרצח שבא להרוג מה שיותר אנשים שכל חטאם הוא שהם ישראלים. מחבל זה, מן הראוי שהיה מומת במהלך הקרב, ולא היה שורד להפוך לאסיר. בנוסף שררה בזירה אווירת אי סדר.  המפקדים בזירה לא ביצעו את תפקידם ולא שלטו במתרחש. מתנחלי חברון שהגיעו לזירה עשו במקום כבתוך שלהם, ונראה שניסו בכל כוחם ללבות את האש, וליצור אירוע משלהם.  אלאור אזריה שהוא חובש לא קיבל הוראות ברורות במי לטפל.

לאור זאת נראה לי שמוטב יעשה בית הדין אם יגזור את דינו לקולא שבקולא.  נראה לי שלמרות ההתלהמות של האספסוף, אין זה מקרה שבו ייקוב הדין את ההר. אלאור אזריה אינו פושע מועד אשר יש לבודדו מהחברה. הוא אדם צעיר, כנראה כזה שניתן להשפעה בקלות, שהיה נתון ללחצים מצד האנשים מסביבו לבצע פשע.  מפקדיו שהיו צריכים לסוכך עליו מלחצים אלה נהגו באדישות ובחוסר אחריות.  יש לנהוג בו במידת הרחמים.

כל הקולות שקוראים למתן חנינה עוד לפני גזר הדין מנסים לערער את אושיות מדינת החוק. יש למצות את התהליך המשפטי עד תומו, ורק אז לשקול חנינה.

אהרן פרידמן

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On the Spiritual Journey

Hubbard, like many others false prophets and charlatans, claimed to have found a path to spiritual enlightenment. He called it “The Bridge to Total Freedom.” The people walking that path found anything but freedom. They found ensalavement, misery, humiliation, and degradation.

But Hubbard was not the first or last to have make that claim. History is full of people who made it. Some were charlatans and some were honest people who found something that works for them, and wanted to share it with the rest of humanity.

When I was 16 years of age (or maybe less), I begun my spiritual journey. Later, I joined Scientology, believing against my own better judgement that indeed, this man has found a way.

As I enter my 60th year of life I have arrived at a few conclusions regarding spirituality. I am contemplating writing a book, but I am not sure, because I do not want to become a guru to anybody. Perhaps, I will just write a bunch of essays on spirituality.

Meanwhile, there are a few conclusions I have arrived at. I urge anyone reading it to not adopt these, unless they totally believe them, and can explain them to another person with great conviction and clarity.

There is no such thing as a Bridge, there is no Ladder, and there is no Path.

Spirituality cannot be quantified, it cannot be a status, it is nothing like a martial art, or an academic degree. There is no belt system, and no hierarchy of degrees.

Spirituality is a journey, as long as you walk the journey you expand it. The minute you stop walking it, you shrink.

The journey is not easy. It involves study, contemplating, self doubt, behavior, mental and physical suffering, and sometimes (very rarely) great happiness.

So what have I achieved thus far in my journey? Not much, but here it is:

Clarity of thought.

Great love, and compassion for humanity, and people.

great interest and curiosity about people.

The ability to emotionally touch other people, and maybe (just maybe) ease their journey a little bit.

The ability to understand a little better my fellow humans motivations and intentions (sometime I consider that a curse).

Have I gained any insight or enlightenment? No. Did I acquire some special powers? No.

It is a great journey and I recommend all to walk it.

Five “Simple” Steps

When you confront a Scientologist about the disconnection policy of the Church of Scientology, they always tell you that a declared person has to do 5 simple steps so he/she can be undeclared.  The way it is presented it is nothing spectacular and should be easy for anyone to do.  Let us look at these steps and see how simple they really are.

A. Tells the person or group to stop committing present time overts and to cease all attacks and suppressions so he, she or they can get a case gain;

Right there an assumption is made that the person is doing something bad.  This paragraph actually requires the person to announce he is no longer committing overts.  By doing that he is admitting that he did commit overts in the past.  As for “ceasing all attacks,” I find it very unnerving that when Scientology attacks you, it is a “justice action”, but when you defend yourself it is a “suppression.”  Is there nobody there who ever played a game of Chess?

B. Requires a public announcement to the effect that they realize their actions were ignorant and unfounded and stating where possible the influences or motivations which caused them to attempt to suppress or attack Scientology; gets it signed before witnesses and published broadly, particularly to persons directly influenced or formerly associated with the former offender or offenders. The letter should be calculated to expose any conspiracy to suppress Scientology or the preclear or Scientologist if such existed;

This is an extremely loaded paragraph.  An innocent person would not pass that paragraph. You are required to admit having done these things you have been accused of.  It does not matter whether actually done or not.

The second half of the paragraph is revealing the true paranoid nature of Scientology.  You are required to tell on all your accomplices.  If there are none? Well, is there somebody you do not like?  You can implicate him.  This is your opportunity.

B1. Requires that all debts owed to Scientology organizations or missions are paid off;

There is only one way to owe Scientology money.  You have been on staff, and now they demand that you pay for all the courses that you have done to do your post, all the interrogations they had you go through before they declared you.  Thank you much Hubbard, I will stay suppressive.  You worked for them for years at below minimum wages, and now you owe them money.

B2. May require that, subject to the approval of the International Justice Chief, an amends project suitable and commensurate with the severity and extent of the suppressive acts committed be completed before further A to E steps are undertaken;

Before any such amends project is begun, the person must submit an Amends Project Petition to the International Justice Chief, using full CSW and stating what he proposes to do as amends, and this must be approved by the International Justice Chief to be considered valid. (Ref: HCO PL 1 May 65, STAFF MEMBER REPORTS, and HCO PL 1 May 65 II, ORDER BOARD AND TIME MACHINE) Evidence of genuine ethics change may be required before approval of the amends project is given. (Examples of such evidence might be, depending upon the high crimes committed: the person  has obtained an honest job; has paid off all debts owed to others; valid contributions have been made to the community; the person has totally ceased those actions for which he was declared, etc.);

An amends project?  Such as what?  Surely not something as simple a cleaning the toilets at Flag for a year.  It must be something that will set the person back many thousands of dollars and will take the majority of his time for a while.

Evidence of genuine ethics change? … What this mean is “show us that you are back to being a good and obedient slave.”  Do what you are told, pay a lot of money and keep your mouth shut.

It is also within the power of the International Justice Chief, when approving an Amends Project Petition, to require, as a protector of the Church and its tenets and membership, that such amends project be carried out entirely off any Scientology organization, mission or network lines, and to require, before the amends project may be considered complete, extensive evidence over a protracted period of time that the person has, beyond any doubt, ceased his or her suppressive actions, has created no problems for the Church or any member of the Church in any way on any line, and has undertaken and completed an action which is clearly and undeniably of benefit to mankind;

In other words while you are out there breaking your back for us, we will treat you like you have leprocy.

C. Requires train beginning at the lowest level of the Bridge at their expense if executives in charge of training will have the person or the group members;

More money and time.  Of course, all the training you have already done is hereby cancelled and gone.

D. Makes a note of all of the above matters with copies of the statement and files in the ethics files of those concerned;

So that Miscavige can brag about how he broke you.

E. Informs the International Justice Chief and forwards a duplicate of the original statements which show signatures.

Wait what? Signatures? What signatures? Are you kidding me?  More humiliation, more money spent.  In Scientology no one will sign anything without benefit to him / her.

If anybody things that by getting through the above steps they are exonerated, they are very mistaken, after the A-E come conditions; more amends, more humiliation.  And then Danger condition with Sec Checks, after which more conditions.

Believe you me my friends; you are much better of staying a declared SP.  If your family and friends disconnected from you, they are not worth you going through these draconian steps.

Terrorism

I woke up on Saturday morning, and the world was different.  Whether it is better or worse I do not know yet. Nobody does.  On Friday, all justification for the terror attack ran out (or so I thought. The Foreign Minister of Sweden managed to disabused me of that idea).  It was not an attack against a special group.  No longer can the victims be vilified by hypocrites. The attack was not against Israelis / Jews / Kurds / Yezids.  It was against regular Europeans who went to the games, the theatre, the restaurant, etc.  Most likely, the victims had no expectation that today they would be shot to death.  After all, the war in Israel / Syria / Africa is not their war.

If Europe’s attitude changes, and terrorism is defeated, than the unwilling sacrifice is not for naught.  However, should the European community continue in the vain of blaming the victims, the terrorists will continue attacking in Europe.  Europe could become a blood bath.

What is terror?  My definition of it is simple – It is any attack against civilian targets.  It is a simple, but encompassing definition.  By this definition we could view incidents and adjudicate whether they are terror or not.

The attack yesterday was terror.

Attacks against civilians in Israel is terror.

Attacks against soldiers or police on post is not terror.  You may call it a crime, a rebellion, freedom fight, etc., but terror it is not.

The attack in Beirut last week was terror.

Let’s view this definition on a broader scope:

Boycotting is always an attack against civilian population.  Therefore it is terror.

Shooting rockets against civilian population is terror.  Shooting them from inside your own civilian population is doubly so, as your leaving your enemy no choice but to shoot at your own civilians.

Who is responsible for the terror?  Of course, the people perpetrating it, and the people sending them.  Definitely, the people who fund them.  But that is not all;  anybody who voices support for terrorism is responsible for it.  More so, anyone who is not willing to openly and unequivocally condemn it is responsible.

This is a good place to say that there is no “Good Terror”, all acts of terrorism are bad.  For me the people who support one terror and condemn another are the worst hypocrites.  They have already agreed that terror is acceptable.  We have just witnessed the Foreign Minister of Sweden tying the terror attack in France to the Palestinian issue.  She basically justified terror.  I have witnessed people justifying terror against Israelis by claiming it is a result of the “Occupation”.  Let me make it clear; occupation just not justified terror (and on the flip side; terror does not justify occupation).  Terrorism is not a legitimate form of protest.  It is not a Freedom Fight.  It is just that – terrorism.

People of Europe; The world has to unite against terrorism.  You can no longer avoid it.  Do not act against the only democracy in the Middle East.  These actions brings legitimacy to terrorism.  That means terrorism against yourselves.  It is time to eradicate terror and terrorism and send them to oblivion.

Aharon Friedman,

Israel

17 November, 2015

Losing Weight – Post 1

This is the first in a series of posts about losing weight. It is not extremely difficult. It requires some willpower, and some dietary changes. It does not require hunger, or suffering. To understand why fat is created, one has to realize that it is caused by excess insulin in the blood. Reduce the insulin, and you stop creating fat. Reduce it even further, and you start losing fat.

I will now give you a list of foods to avoid. As strange as this list may look to you it is the result of a long research with many people. Here is the list:

  1. Artificial sweeteners – there are several mechanisms by which they produce insulin. Eliminate them from your diet. That includes diet drinks. Natural sweeteners such as stevia, xylitol, and lo-Han are okay.
  2. Bananas – I have found that they really hike your blood sugar, producing insulin. If you wonder where your potassium will come from, brokoley, cantaloupe, and sweet potato all have more potassium than bananas.
  3. Wheat – that includes anything made from it; bread, pasta, white beer, etc. it definitely includes whole wheat.
  4. Potatoes – enough said.
  5. Fruit juices – eat the fruit, it has fiber.
  6. Sugar – in any form. That includes sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, etc. By the way, agave syrup is fructose, and so is honey.

Okay, this is it for now. Start eliminating these foods and you will start losing weight.

You are welcome to write me with questions, and comments. Please tell me about your sucesses and / or difficulties.

The Importance of Israel

In recent years, there are many voices against the existence of the State of Israel. Some people go to great length to “logically” explain why Israel should not exist. For me, a descendant of holocaust survivors such question does not exist. The State of Israel is essential for every Jew in the world. Even those who do not see themselves as such need it.

When I first came to the US over 30 years ago, an old jewish physicist took me in his office, and explained what the establishment of Israel did to American Jewery. Until Israel, he said, we were very shy about being Jewish. Once Israel came into existence we became proud. All of the sudden we were part of a nation. We may choose to never even visit Israel, but Israel is there. It is our second home, our refuge.

In western and northern Europe today anti-semitism is raising its ugly head. In most of Western Europe a Jew has to hide his Judaism to be safe. Being an eternal optimist, I believe that it will pass. However, being a realist I KNOW that it will develop in other places. In the US and in South Africa it is already developing. Hungary, Poland, and the rest of Eastern Europe are not far behind. In other words, there is always going to be somewhere in the world where Jews are persecuted.

I cannot imagine being a Jew in France today without the knowledge that I could always seek shelter in Israel. Without the State of Israel the jews in France would be desperate.

One might say: “I am not really Jewish. I will go to Poland, merry a Polish spouse and live as Polish national.” History proved repeatedly that while one may not consider himself jewish, anti-semitism always finds a way of locating him. It is impossible to escape your heritage.

For all the “Post Zionists”, and “Anti-Zionists” who are Jews or Israelis, the message is clear: you are cutting the brunch you are sitting on, and you reducing your own survival potential.

Israel has had good government and bad governments. Morally, we do not always have the upper hand. However, we are here to stay. We are here not only for ourselves, but for every Jew in the world. It is our right, but more, it is our duty.

This is not a political statement about right or left, or about the Palestinian people and their rights.

The Solution to the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict

In my last post (for now) on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, I would like to propose a resolution.  I know that many have offered those before, but I believe that my resolution is the best given the circumstances and the desires of the people.

Before I start I would like to point out to a few assumptions.

  • Israel would like to keep its characteristic as the Jewish State.  It is the belief of most Israelis that while Israel should be a secular state, it is the only place in the world where the vast majority is Jewish.
  • The Palestinians want (and deserve) to be recognized as a nation.
  • There are some areas where there is not and never will be an agreement as to who they belong to.  Chief of these is Jerusalem.
  • A Palestinian state cannot be economically independent.  They just do not have the infrastructure for it.  Building infrastructure can take many years.  It definitely takes plenty of money.

Because of the above points the idea of “two countries for two people” just could not work.  The socio-economic inequities will create resentment and animosity between the two people.  This may well end with renewal of hostilities.  At best, the two countries will remain at hostile-neutrality for many years to come.

When we look at similar situation in the history of man, we find out that it is not a rare occurrence.  Switzerland is not a single nation, but a combination of four.  Germany is a combination of many little countries.  So is are the UK, and of course the United States, and Canada.

A solution that always worked for other people was to create a Federation of States.  Two states to two people, but one country.  In fact looking at the real political – social – economical map, I would say three states are called for.

Here is what I propose:

  1. The Israelis and the Palestinians start by recognizing each other, and acknowledging each other’s right to exist as nations.
  2. Form a federation of three states: Israel, Gazza, and West Bank.
  3. I even have a suggestion for a name; call K’naan that is the oldest name for the country.  No dispute there.
  4. The capital of the federation will be Jerusalem.  It will not belong to any of the states.
  5. The Federation will have a common currency, a common army, and some common ministries (State, Treasury, etc.)
  6. The Federation will have a common parliament, and supreme court.  Election to the parliament will be half regional and half federal.  In other words, you will vote for your local parliament member, but also for your party.
  7. Each state will be autonomous in its education, taxation, and criminal law.  This will be monitored against federal standards.
  8. There will be a constitution that will define civil rights, minority rights, etc.
  9. Citizens will be allowed to move freely between states and to live in any state they desire.

I am not naive.  I know that when two nations are at war, it is hard to envision the two becoming one.  However, I have observed and experienced that on the personal level, Israelis and Palestinians can co-exist, do business, and become friends.  I see no reason why this solution cannot work.  Of course, it has to be implemented in phases.  Trust is not regained in one day, but trust could be there.

Let there be peace.