Yishai Fleisher https://yishaifleisher.com Broadcasting, Advocacy & Public Diplomacy Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:07:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Yishai’s Birthday Show https://yishaifleisher.com/birthday-show/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:50:19 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1980

On his birthday, Yishai hosts Rabbi Mike Feuer at the Western Wall where they discuss false narratives, including those of UNESCO, and Korach’s anti-Moses rebellion. Then, Yishai speaks to young Jewish leaders at the Foreign Ministry.

Settlement tours: a new frontline in Israel’s ideological conflict https://yishaifleisher.com/settlement-tours-new-frontline-israels-ideological-conflict/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:10:46 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1971 Originally posted at Reuters

a new frontline in Israel’s ideological conflict

By Yuval Ben-David | HEBRON, Israel


HEBRON, West Bank The heart of the old city of Hebron is divided, with Israeli military checkpoints, mechanical turnstiles and closed-circuit cameras controlling the movement of Palestinians in and out of an area inhabited by some 800 Jewish settlers.

Inside the secured zone stand two ancient shrines, side-by-side – the Tomb of the Patriarchs revered by Jews, and the Ibrahimi Mosque revered by Muslims, ensuring Hebron’s position as a source of religious friction for centuries.

But as well as the conflict over land, settlements and religion, there is another battle in the largest city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank: an ideological conflict between left- and right-wing Israeli NGOs over how to explain Hebron to outsiders.

On one side stands Breaking the Silence, a leftist group of former Israeli soldiers opposed to the occupation, which for years has led tours of Hebron for foreign visitors, highlighting the restrictions routinely faced by its 200,000 Palestinians.

On the other stands Im Tirtzu, a right-wing NGO that over the last year has run a handful of tours denouncing Breaking the Silence, accusing it of deepening ethnic faultlines and fuelling anti-Semitism with its criticism of Israel’s actions.

“You have to understand, there’s a war of narratives here,” said Yishai Fleisher, a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, as he led a recent Im Tirtzu tour down Shuhada Street, once a busy market road but now mostly closed off to Palestinians and renamed “King David Street” by the city’s Jews.

“There are two wars we’re fighting. The narrative war justifies the other war — the war on terror,” he said. “We’re good at fighting the physical war, but at the narrative war, sadly, we’re behind.”

That is not how Breaking the Silence sees it. Since it was set up in 2004, the organization has shared testimony from former soldiers opposed to the Israeli military’s activities.

Nadav Weiman, the group’s education director, said the aim of the Hebron tours, which happen monthly, was not to level criticism at the army but to open visitors’ eyes to the realities of the occupation, now in its 50th year.”We want people to come here and understand what the occupation is,” he told Reuters. “We think the problem is the policy that sends the soldiers over here. The soldiers and the settlers are a symptom but not the problem.”


As Breaking the Silence led a group of around 20 visitors on one recent tour, two settlers allied to Im Tirtzu began screaming abuse at the guide, a former soldier.

“You’re lying to them!” one of them shouted, filming the scene on his phone. “You’re trash, you’re a stinking traitor.”

Those taking part in the tour filmed the exchange themselves, each collecting a digital record of the battle.

Weiman brushed off Im Tirtzu’s disruptions, saying his organization was focused on shedding light on wrongdoing.

“Violations of human rights are not a domestic issue, they’re an international issue,” he said. “It’s not my secret or the Palestinians’ secret, it’s the truth.”

The growing criticism of Breaking the Silence has been fuelled by right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose supporters in parliament are backing legislation that would prevent the organization from giving talks in Israeli schools.

Matan Peleg, the head of Im Tirtzu, says he wants to expose “propaganda groups”, some of which receive funding from European countries, and are painting Israel in a bad light.

“Breaking the Silence is anti-Zionist,” he said, adding that Jews have lived in Hebron for thousands of years and have the right to live in the heart of the city.

Weiman sees it very differently.

“The problem is the occupation,” he says calmly. “The command given by our government.”

As the shouting and denunciations continued during the tour, local Palestinians could only look on, nonplussed.

(Editing by Luke Baker/Mark Heinrich)


Smack Talking the Land https://yishaifleisher.com/smack-talking-land/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 23:20:38 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1964

The sin of our times is smack talking the Land of Israel and the State of Israel! How do we rectify this sin? How do we overcome the perpetual problem of fear, and the mistake of succumbing to dark reports about Israel? Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai to talk about and the ‘sin of the spies’ and the Torah portion of our times.

Travails of Travels https://yishaifleisher.com/travails-of-travels/ Thu, 08 Jun 2017 23:16:19 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1957

Yishai sits down to discuss the last two weeks of his travels in the United States of America including being scholar in residence in Livingston, New Jersey, and the Israeli Day Parade in New York City. While on the way to a post-Ramadan dinner in Turkey Yishai details the hilarious, yet arduous, travails of travels that he’s had in between Moscow, Tel Aviv and Turkey. Join Yishai for candid thoughts about the Jewish people, American Jewry, Israel and the globe.

An Israeli Sword Dance? https://yishaifleisher.com/israeli-sword-dance/ Fri, 26 May 2017 02:09:20 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1944

In a special program Yishai is on the road between Jerusalem and Hebron, reflecting on 50 years of Jerusalem and Hebron liberation and reunification. But why does Israel put out a sissy narrative in a time where we need to broadcast strength to the world? While President Donald Trump does the Sword Dance in Saudi Arabia, in Israel we take him to the Holocaust Museum…We’ve got God powers, let’s project them!

Let Freedom Ring! https://yishaifleisher.com/let-freedom-ring/ Fri, 19 May 2017 03:44:12 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1936

What does Jubilee even mean? It means ‘lamb horn’ which is blown to signify the freedom of the land on the 50th year. Rabbi Mike Feuer and Rabbi Yishai Fleisher discuss the auspicious confluence of the Torah portion which teaches about the Jubilee year and 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. Plus: Yishai has a new (old) flag for you!

What’s the Hebrew Date? https://yishaifleisher.com/whats-hebrew-date/ Fri, 12 May 2017 03:42:38 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1932

So many of us don’t know the Hebrew calendar at all, and most of us don’t miss it! Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai to marvel at the genius of the Jewish cycle as described by the Torah portion of “Emor” and the specialness of hidden days like Second Pesach and Lag BaOmer.

Because God Said So https://yishaifleisher.com/history-work-progress-2/ Fri, 05 May 2017 03:39:50 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1924

Some things in the Torah make a lot of sense, but others, seemingly, do not. Rabbi Mike Feuer and Rabbi Yishai delve into the secrets that God has placed in the Torah to achieve social cohesion, procreativity, and holiness for the Jewish people. And when we don’t get it, well… God said so!

Our History is a Work in Progress https://yishaifleisher.com/history-work-progress/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 03:30:40 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1914

We’re entering a special holiday season that mixes new Israeli “state” holidays along with Jewish traditional ones – and with the 50th anniversary of the 6 Day War, it’s a powerful and emotional time. Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai on “Spiritual Cafe” in preparation for the celebrations and the tears.

The Occupation Accusation https://yishaifleisher.com/the-occupation-accusation/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:29:05 +0000 https://yishaifleisher.com/?p=1900

The “occupation” accusation is heard ceaselessly around the world. Yet, ironically, nothing is less of an occupation, and more organic, than the Jewish people living in their ancestral and God-given homeland. Join Rabbi Yishai in Hebron to talk about the Passover that just passed, and the continuing fight for Israel’s legitimacy on the Zionist front line in Judea and Samaria.