Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Standing Tall, for Now ...

In the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia (the former Dutch East Indies, where Sephardim from Holland settled, to be followed later by Jews from Iraq and Aden) there’s still, despite emigration, assimilation, and worries about Islamism, a tiny Jewish community. It’s divided between Surabayo on Java, which is Indonesia’s second-largest city, and Manado, a city on Sulawesi in a mainly Christian district. Almost infinitesimal in number, the community is so insignificant a presence that Judaism isn’t officially recognised as a religion in the country, where everyone is required to state their membership of either Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, or the two principal Christian divisions on their state-issued identity cards.
Islamists protesting Israel’s actions in Gaza succeeded in closing down Surabayo’s historic synagogue towards the end of 2009. But in Manado, where about ten worshippers attend what’s consequently Indonesia’s only house of worship, a gigantic menorah, costing $150,000, was erected at public expense that same year on a mountain overlooking the town. The idea was that of a local legislator of Pentecostal Christian faith, hoping to attract tourism and business from Europe. He’d suggested the project after learning of the giant menorah that stands outside the Knesset. But it seems he wasn’t motivated solely by economic considerations – “It is also for the Jewish people to see that there is this sacred symbol, their sacred symbol, outside their country,” he told the New York Times (22 November 2010).

Explained that newspaper:
‘Increasingly strong pro-Jewish sentiments also appear to be an outgrowth of an evangelical and charismatic Christian movement that with the help of American and European missionaries has taken root here in the past decade. Some experts regard this movement as a reaction against the growing role of orthodox Islam in much of the rest of Indonesia.
“In Manado, Christianity has always had a strong identity mark in the belief that it’s opposed to the surrounding sea of Islam,” said Theo Kamsma, a scholar at The Hague University who has studied Manado’s Jewish legacy. Christianity and a reemerging Judaism share a “rebellious” nature, he added.
Two years before the menorah was built, a Christian real estate developer raised a 98-foot-tall statue of Jesus on top of a hill here; the statue is about three-quarters the size of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. In the town center, churches belonging to a multitude of denominations now sit a few hundred yards apart.
During Dutch colonial rule, Jewish communities were established in major trading cities where they often dealt in real estate, acting as mediators between colonial rulers and locals, said Anthony Reid, a scholar on Southeast Asia at the Australian National University. Given Indonesia’s traditionally moderate Islam, anti-Jewish sentiments were never strong.
“The anti-Jewish feelings really came in the 1980s and 1990s, all because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Mr. Reid said.’
Certainly, Islamism is growing in Indonesia, and in Australia Muslim students from Indonesia have been among anti-Israel demonstrators, including ones by extreme Islamists such as members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

I owe the following to Assad Elepty, of Sydney, a Coptic activist and Islamist-watcher; as to whether the inferences drawn are accurate, that remains to be seen:
'Al-Jazeera’s Arabic-language online newspaper,, recently published what can only be described as a targeted hit piece against Indonesia’s tiny Jewish community. The article (English here) describes them as, “…provid[ing] unlimited support to the Israeli occupation in Palestine,” and also as being “among the Jewish religious extremists who previously went out in marches supporting the Israeli aggression on Gaza.” Then comes the real kicker: “These Jews have constructed a tower for a menorah in Manadu, which is considered the largest in the world.”
What does this al-Jazeera piece mean? To understand, we must first examine how Islamic law treats non-Muslims. Generally-speaking, non-Muslims living under Muslim rule have two options: die, or convert to Islam (see Qur’an 9.5). However, for Jews and Christians, who are given special status in Islam as the ‘People of the Book [i.e. the Bible]‘, a third option is available: become a dhimmi, or protected person. The basis for this comes from Qur’an 9.29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” [emphasis added].
Regarding this last phrase, Ibn Kathir, the most widely respected Qur’anic commentator, explains, “Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah [i.e. Jews and Christians] or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated.” Jews and Christians living in Muslim countries are to live as second-class citizens. When the caliph ‘Umar entered Jerusalem in the 7th century, he codified this by creating several rules for the conquered Christians to live by, called ‘the Pact of ‘Umar,’ which is the basis for Islam’s treatment of Jewish and Christian minorities today. These rules include, but are not limited to, the following:
• they may not construct new places of worship, or restore old ones;
• they may not teach the Qur’an to their children;
• they may not dress like or otherwise imitate Muslims;
• they must refrain from erecting religious symbols and displaying them outside of their places of worship; and
• they may not prevent any of their people from converting to Islam.
When the Indonesian Jews constructed that towering menorah, they were explicitly breaking the terms of the dhimmi covenant. According to Islamic law, this means they lose their protected status, and it becomes incumbent on Muslims to attack them until they either convert to Islam or are killed.....
We’ve seen how Muslims responded when they believed that Coptic Christians in Egypt had broken their dhimmi covenant. How will they respond to Indonesian Jews breaking that same covenant? Only time will tell, but it certainly points to the danger and threat of violence that constantly hangs over the heads of Jews and Christians living in Muslim countries.'
Read the rest of the article here:
(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)


  1. From what I read . There were only a handful of Jews left, but now it seems that kibbutznick type people are settling there.

    Goodness only know why?

    "About 200 Jewish families have spread to the areas of Manadu and Manhasa in the Sulawesi Peninsula in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago, and have named themselves "the Congregation of Indonesian Jews." "They are among the Jewish religious extremists who previously went out in marches supporting the Israeli aggression on Gaza two years ago," according to Arta Wijaya, researcher of Zionist affairs in Indonesia."

    This is rather strange in a country that until a few years ago, wouldn't allow people with Israeli passports to enter the country. Also South African and anyone who had travelled to either country ??

  2. Thanks, Shirlee - what would I do without you?!
    The figure I had is ten, which of course is just a minyan. I'd be hightailing it out of there myself ...

  3. Jizya is a poll TAX that exempts the payor from military service. Taxation and conscription are two functions of the modern national government. This is only one example of Islam as a form of government. Islam has an economic policy and a foreign policy. Islam is currently fielding an army. Another function of a modern government that is openly at war against us and our way of life.

  4. Talking of army, Joe, I'm told that the Russian Army has a preponderance of Muslims in its ranks ...

  5. Thanks actually inspire me to investigate further !!

  6. You come up with the most amazing stuff.

    Someday it would be nice to be able of know of your marine y writings as I have a special interest there, too. I am sure many do.

  7. Thanks, David.
    I've only written one nautical book - a Trafalgar-era biog. (The age of sail is my interest.)
    I am editing something for the NRS at present.