Heading Toward a New Government
I have quite a lot to report to you this week. For one thing, there is the constant, unending incitement against the chareidi and right-wing communities. There is also the recent discovery of an entire industry in Israel providing passports for “immigrants” from Russia and Ukraine who come to Israel with the full intent of immediately moving on to other countries. I must also report on the recent decision of the enlightened American government to deny visas to Israelis who are suspected of harming Palestinians, and about the skyrocketing prices of all sorts of consumer goods and basic products in Israel. (The price of electricity is going to be rising modestly now, but since the beginning of 2022, it has made a cumulative increase of 20 percent, which is an extremely steep jump.)
Another important topic this week is the ongoing provocation of the Women of the Wall movement; these women come to the Kosel every month on Rosh Chodesh to foment chaos and discord. This month, they were joined by the representative of the Reform movement in the Knesset, who brought a sefer Torah and used his parliamentary immunity to enter the ezras noshim while holding it, bringing the group’s audacity to an unprecedented height. Of course, his actions sparked an immediate outcry, and the ushers from the Western Wall Heritage Fund hastened to inform him that he was violating the law that requires visitors to respect the “local customs” at the Kosel. But let us just say that he wasn’t exactly swayed by their objections…. It was very sad to see this spectacle unfold, but I have to say that there was a certain positive side to it: It was a reminder that this man is no longer relevant, and that he had to come to the Kosel in order to make sure that someone would remember his existence. However, I will not discuss this at any greater length—because he doesn’t deserve the attention.
So let us move on to the latest political developments. At the last possible moment, Netanyahu informed President Herzog that he has succeeded in forming a government and a coalition. That leaves him with one week to finish the legislative work that must be done in order for the government to be formed, and to have the new government sworn in. The new government should therefore be installed no later than next Monday, when a full parliamentary week will have elapsed; however, Netanyahu reportedly hopes to have it happen this Thursday, so that he will begin the year 2023 as the prime minister of Israel once again.
That isn’t to say that everyone is celebrating this development. It cannot be said that all of Netanyahu’s coalition partners received everything they asked for. In fact, his main hurdle now is the need to satisfy everyone on his team—mainly the members of Degel HaTorah. Agudas Yisroel, on the other hand, has already signed an agreement with him. I won’t get into this subject right now, but I will say only that there are some very hard feelings within Degel HaTorah toward their partners in Agudah.
The Times and Netanyahu Face Off
There is a battle underway between Binyomin Netanyahu and the New York Times. It began on the Shabbos before last (the Shabbos of Parshas Vayeishev) when an article in this markedly unfriendly (to Israel) publication labeled the upcoming Netanyahu government a substantial threat to Israel’s future. The Times proclaimed that the government’s direction would imperil the country’s security and even the very concept of a Jewish homeland, and the article called on the Biden administration to take a stand against the incoming Israeli government. The Times even went so far as to argue that the “extreme right-wing government” that is due to be installed soon, headed by Binyomin Netanyahu, is more worrisome than any other government in Israel’s 75-year history.
The truth is that the Times sounds just like a classic Israeli leftist. The writer warns ominously, “The new cabinet he [Netanyahu] is forming includes radical far-right parties that have called for, among other things, expanding and legalizing settlements in a way that would effectively render a Palestinian state in the West Bank impossible; changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, an action that risks provoking a new round of Arab-Israeli violence; and undermining the authority of the Israeli Supreme Court, thus freeing the Knesset, the Israeli legislature, to do whatever it wants, with little judicial restraint.” But I would ask the editorial staff of the Times a simple question: Don’t they realize that this is the will of the Israeli people? The voters have spoken; the majority has made its position clear. Or do they, the editors of the New York Times, agree with the idea that the people should not be calling the shots (when they support the right wing, that is)?
Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu did not allow the Times’s attack on him to go unanswered, in spite of the fact that he spent a long period of time in New York (as the Israeli ambassador to the UN) and he is quite familiar with the Times and its writers. Last Sunday, Netanyahu launched his own attack on the Times, noting that he was especially perturbed by their claim that he is a threat to Israeli democracy. He described the newspaper’s position as shameful and announced that he plans to ignore their unfounded suggestions.
A Dose of Realism from Ambassador Nides
Here is another piece of news relating to America: There are constant dire predictions echoing in Israel that the Biden administration is going to be locked in constant conflict with Netanyahu’s government. According to these predictions, relations between the two governments will be sour, and the average Israeli citizen is bound to suffer as a result. These gloomy forecasts have already begun to sow alarm and panic.
This week, however, a different perspective came from an unexpected source: Tom Nides, the American ambassador gave us a very loud indication that all the naysayers were wrong.
Just a few days after marking the end of his first year as the ambassador to Israel, Nides remarked that he was waiting for the new government to be sworn in so that he could begin working with Binyomin Netanyahu, the third Israeli prime minister to hold the office since the beginning of his brief term as ambassador. Yes, the American ambassador is eager to begin working with Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s relationship with President Joe Biden has had its ups and downs over the years, and there have been significant tensions between the two men. Nevertheless, Nides is convinced that there is a good connection between them and that they will manage to work together, in spite of the extreme positions of some of the senior members of the incoming coalition. “I have known him for a long time, and I have spoken with him at length since the election,” Nides said about Netanyahu. “For the president and for many of us in his administration, he is a known quantity.” And for the time being, Nides has a good deal of praise for Netanyahu. “We believe that he is very intelligent and that he understands American politics,” he said, “and we believe that he has a very good relationship with Joe Biden. He has said that he intends to be the prime minister for all of Israel.” And then came the coup de grace: “I have never met Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, and I have never spoken with them,” Nides said, “but if Prime Minister Netanyahu wants us to work with them, then we will.”
Did FDR Refuse to Bomb Auschwitz?
Binyomin Netanyahu needs help—help from someone with historical evidence supporting his assertions, that is.
Netanyahu could really use some proof that President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to bomb the death camps in Auschwitz during World War II. Netanyahu insists that this is the case, but a historian in Israel insists equally adamantly that he is wrong and that FDR was never even advised to bomb Auschwitz at all.
Not long ago, after Netanyahu’s book was published, he was interviewed by the press and spoke about his father, Benzion Netanyahu. The younger Netanyahu explained that his father had understood that there was a need to change the views of President Roosevelt, who adopted a solid anti-Zionist stance. Netanyahu added, “It is a bit more complicated than that—actually, a lot more complicated—but I have one thing that I must say here. When Roosevelt was told about what was happening in the death camps in Auschwitz, and he was asked to send American pilots to bomb the camps, he responded, ‘Over my dead body,’ and ‘Not one American airman!’” Netanyahu’s account goes on to describe how his father reacted to the president’s determination.
Netanyahu’s claims are disputed by a renowned Israeli journalist named Nadav Eyal. “There is no doubt,” Eyal wrote, “that in July 1944 the Zionist movement asked for it [for the death camps to be bombed] and there is no doubt that the American War Department did not agree to the request and attributed their decision to the needs of the war. These facts are not in dispute. However, I never, ever read that President Roosevelt himself dealt with this issue or that it was even brought to his attention. There is no evidence whatsoever that he knew about this request. I certainly have never heard that the president of the United States, the man who is still considered the most admired figure in the Democratic party to this day, answered a request for pilots to bomb Auschwitz with the words ‘over my dead body’ or ‘not one American airman.’ In fact, I have never heard that anyone used such language or responded in that way. Churchill, for instance, ordered his air force to bomb the camps, although they did not do so, in spite of his orders). If the president of the United States had used such words, we would have learned about them in high school in preparation for the matriculation exams.”
Nadav Eyal relates that after reading Netanyahu’s account, he consulted with Holocaust experts and researchers. Professor Yehuda Bauer told him, “To the best of my knowledge, this question never reached Roosevelt’s desk.” Eyal also spoke with Michael Birnbaum, one of the founders of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, who told him that there was no record of the question of bombing Auschwitz ever being discussed with Roosevelt. He claimed that this issue would have fallen under the jurisdiction of the Under Secretary of War. Eyal also contacted Professor Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman, the authors of FDR and the Jews, and asked them about the veracity of Netanyahu’s account. He claims that Breitman responded to him, “Allan Lichtman and I have found no evidence that the recommendation to bomb Auschwitz-Birkenau was ever presented to President Roosevelt, nor have we found any verbal testimony to that effect.” Eyal’s next move was to ask Netanyahu for the source for his contentions, but he received no response. And that is why I said that Netanyahu can use some help. If anyone has any evidence supporting Netanyahu’s version of the story, I am sure he would appreciate receiving it.
France Turns Against Israel
Hassan Salah Hamouri, a lawyer and terrorist, was deported from Israel to France on Sunday. Three years ago, then-Interior Minister Aryeh Deri declared that Hamouri should be expelled from the country, with his permanent residency revoked. Deri received the support of the judicial system at the time. The religious community also had a score of its own to settle with Hamouri, who had plotted to assassinate Rav Ovadiah Yosef. The message conveyed by his deportation was that even the residents of East Yerushalayim are not immune to facing the consequences for terror, even if they hold Israeli identity cards.
Hamouri was greeted with joy in France, and the French government condemned Israel for expelling the terrorist from “his” country. This is a stark reminder that France seems to have a knee-jerk reaction of siding with Israel’s enemies, which is both morally deplorable and a danger to the Jews of France themselves. The anti-Jewish political orientation in the country is likely to encourage acts of anti-Semitism. Last week, MK Yossi Taib discussed the matter with the Foreign Ministry in Yerushalayim. However, in the aftermath of the former foreign minister’s actions, it is questionable if the ministry has any relevance anymore, since Lapid seems to have left it in shambles.
On a related note, the French Senate passed a resolution last month calling for sanctions against Azerbaijan and for a European Union embargo on the purchase of natural gas and oil from the country. This resolution was obviously intended to weaken Azerbaijan, a country that is not hostile to Israel and just recently decided to open an embassy here. The decision thus plays into the hands of countries that are hostile to Israel, especially Iran, since the alternative to purchasing gas from Azerbaijan is buying it from Iran. The only conclusion we can reach is that someone must put an end to France’s animosity to Israel.
A Million Starving Children
A couple of sobering news stories published in Israel last week have served to confirm the picture painted by the chareidi parties during the election campaign of the intense poverty levels and skyrocketing cost of living in the country. One of the stories bore the headline, “Welfare Ministry Statistics Show 261,000 Children and Youths in Danger in Israel Today.” Another story quoted a report from the organization Latet, which showed that 1.176 million children in Israel are living in poverty today. How terrible, and how sad!
A Word of Caution to Motorists on Short Fridays
As you know, this is the time of year when erev Shabbos is exceptionally short. Last week, hadlokas neiros was at 4:05 p.m. in Yerushalayim, which meant that shekiyah was at 4:45 p.m. That is very early, and makes for a very short day, although the shortest Friday of the season has already passed; two weeks ago, the time for candle lighting was two minutes before 4:00, with sunset at 4:38. In any event, Shabbos is still beginning very early, and the chareidi newspapers have begun publishing notices from gedolei Yisroel and from other concerned parties warning the public to avoid leaving their homes late in the day, even if it is difficult to make an early departure for Shabbos. The problem is that too many people seem to rely on miracles….
Let it be known that things sometimes go wrong on the road. For instance, Highway One has recently been chronically congested, due to a new lane that has been designated solely for vehicles with at least three occupants (a phenomenon that exists in certain parts of America as well). This new lane confuses motorists and has therefore caused major traffic jams, which is bad enough on a regular day but causes even greater problems on erev Shabbos. Sure enough, this traffic on the highway slowed to a crawl past Friday, during the critical hours leading up to Shabbos. In these situations, many people use Route 443 as an alternative route to Yerushalayim, but this time the flow of traffic on the other highway was also maddeningly slow. The problem was that there is a security checkpoint on that road near the entrance to Yerushalayim, and at that time the checkpoint had only a single manned station, which resulted in a major backup along the length of the highway. Many of the motorists began to panic, fearing that they would not arrive at their homes in time for Shabbos, which was indeed a valid concern.
How did they solve this problem? This might strike you as a bit strange, but this is how things work in the State of Israel: MK Uri Maklev began receiving dozens of calls from frightened motorists who were stuck in traffic and feared that they would not make it back in time for shekiyah. Maklev intervened, and dozens of soldiers were dispatched to the checkpoint to open additional lanes for vehicles to pass through, thus opening the bottleneck and allowing the traffic to begin moving normally again. But until that time, thousands of travelers in hundreds of private cars and dozens of buses spent many long, agonizing hours on the road. According to Maklev’s staff, he had anticipated the situation before it happened. In the middle of the week, he called on the army and police to station additional forces at the checkpoint on Friday, in light of the short period of daylight and the expected erev Shabbos rush. Apparently, they failed to heed his advance warning.
Another incident that nearly left travelers stranded this Friday occurred when El Al flight 5148 from Salonica, Greece, which was scheduled to land early on Friday morning, ultimately arrived in Israel just a short time before Shabbos again. There were a number of shomer Shabbos passengers on the flight and whom do you suppose they contacted for assistance? If you guessed Uri Maklev, you were right. Maklev contacted the Airports Authority to expedite the process of releasing the passengers from the plane and the airport. The plane touched down at 3:50 p.m., less than an hour before sunset in the center of the country. As soon as the plane entered Israeli airspace and began coming in for a landing, the ground crews of the Airports Authority were prepared to process hundreds of arriving travelers at top speed. Maklev’s staff, working together with El Al and the Airports Authority, ensured that the travelers who were unable to reach their destinations would be able to spend Shabbos in the communities near the airport, including Kfar Chabad.
A Trap in Kfar Kassem
There were two incidents of terror in Israel last weekend that attracted attention throughout the country. Unfortunately, there is nothing unusual about the mere fact that an attempted terror attack takes place; there are so many such incidents that they are barely reported in the press anymore, even when they nearly result in a loss of life. In these two cases, however, each incident drew the country’s attention for its own unique reasons.
The first incident occurred on Friday night in Kfar Kassem, an Arab village in the heart of Israel. The victims in this case were three police officers, who were lightly injured after being run over by a driver from the village, who shot at his victims before ramming his car into them. Video footage of the incident shows the terrorist taking the policemen by surprise, drawing a weapon and presumably firing at them, and then entering his car and driving back and forth to run them over. This was actually an ambush; the terrorist himself had called the police and pretended to be in distress in order to lure them to the site of the attack. The police officers returned fire and the terrorist, 23-year-old Naim Badir, was seriously wounded and later died of his injuries. In a statement after the fact, the police announced that they would be treating the incident as a terror attack.
What made the matter even more outrageous was that the mayor of Kfar Kassem attended the terrorist’s funeral. In an effort to justify his actions, he explained, “The residents of this village and the family of the deceased do not identify with his actions. I came to the funeral in coordination with the police, and my job here was to preserve public order and to ensure that no external forces would take advantage of the event in order to disturb the peace.” The mayor’s explanation was seen as a flimsy excuse at best, and many public figures have called on the Minister of the Interior to dismiss him from his position.
Gunfire at Shaked
In the second incident, a hail of bullets was fired at the Jewish settlement of Shaked in the Shomron. The terrorists were so audacious that they filmed themselves firing at the settlement and then disseminated the footage online. Several bullets hit one of the homes in the community, even penetrating the children’s bedroom through the window; however, boruch Hashem, no one was harmed by the gunfire. Naturally, the community was outraged. “How is it possible that we cannot be secure in our own homes in the year 2023?” they demanded in a public response to the attack. “How can it be that the terrorists come to the same place over and over and open fire on us wildly?” The residents of Shaked and several neighboring communities have called on the incoming government to restore the security checkpoints around the villages in the northern Shomron.
The Jewish residents of communities in the area have good reason for their grievances: This is the fifth time in recent months that the settlement of Shaked has come under fire. Last month, terrorists from the village of Tura al-Arabiya opened fire at another house in the community, and it was only by a miracle that there were no injuries in the attack. Two months ago, three more houses in the settlement were hit by bullets in another shooting attack.
And that is not all. Last Friday night, during an exchange of gunfire near Kever Yosef, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 23-year-old Palestinian terrorist. About 1000 Jewish mispallelim had entered the compound of the kever after receiving official permission for the visit; since their presence was coordinated with security forces, they were accompanied by soldiers. Upon entering the compound, however, they encountered a violent mob, which was dispersed with the use of riot control measures. In addition to the terrorist who was killed, four other Arab terrorists were injured, one of them very seriously. There were also 17 individuals who suffered from symptoms of choking due to exposure to tear gas. Had the Jewish visitors not been accompanied by soldiers, the incident might have ended in tragedy, chas v’sholom.
In further terror-related news, for the umpteenth time, IDF soldiers stationed at the border managed to foil an attempt to smuggle weapons from Jordan into Israel. This time, they uncovered a shipment of hundreds of guns—and the thought of the devastation that can be wrought even by a single firearm is absolutely chilling. May Hashem protect us all!
The Elie Wiesel Plaza
Last Wednesday, a new plaza was inaugurated in Yerushalayim bearing the name of Elie Wiesel, the famous Holocaust survivor, Nobel Prize winner and human rights activist. The brochure handed out to participants in the ceremony related that Wiesel passed away five years ago, after a lifetime of humanitarian work spanning the globe, which led him to become famed as the premier Holocaust author and as a man who dedicated his life to preventing human beings from suffering harm or persecution for any reason.
The plaza dedicated to his memory is located near the Yad Sarah House in the neighborhood of Beit Hakerem in Yerushalayim. Yad Sarah also hosted the event, which was attended by Moshe Lion, the mayor of Yerushalayim, who spoke in honor of the occasion. The audience was also addressed on behalf of the family by Dr. Steve Jackson. Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky, the founder of Yad Sarah, remarked in his speech, “The commemoration of Elie Wiesel in the Yad Sarah square reminds us of his struggle and his victory in the uncompromising battle to promote love and brotherhood among all of humanity.”
After the ceremony in the plaza, an event was held in the Yad Sarah House, featuring a exhibition in memory of Wiesel. The speakers at this event included Natan Sharansky, who was a close friend of Wiesel; Tzipporah Feivelovitz, a renowned Holocaust survivor, and Serge Klarsfeld. I also spoke with Rav Yisroel Meir Lau, who revealed to me that he attended only the event inside the Yad Sarah House; he did not feel that it would be proper to him to join the outdoor ceremony.
Yerushalayim Looks Out for the Elderly
Israelis sometimes seem to be chronically negative. When the Begin Highway was under construction, residents of Yerushalayim complained ceaselessly and vigorously about the project, which caused plenty of hardships in its time but ultimately gave us a road that everyone agrees was sorely needed by the city. The same is true of the work on the light rail, which seems as if it is bound to continue for a long time. This week, I was told about an elderly man who tripped on one of the many patches of road that have been torn up to make room for the light rail and suffered a sprained ankle as a result. In addition to the physical pain, he was outraged and indignant.
Nevertheless, I have something positive to say about the mayor of Yerushalayim. Imagine that someone came up with an idea to provide support for the city’s elderly populace, a project that would involve activists visiting the homes of elderly people and installing safety bars in their showers, carpets that would prevent slipping, smoke detectors, emergency lights, and other fixtures to promote safety in their homes—all at no charge. If you heard of such an idea, you would probably write it off as an unrealistic dream. The truth, however, is that this is a project that has been taking place for quite a while already. Under a municipal initiative dubbed “Batuch Babayit” (“Safe at Home”), the municipality has already dispatched workers to install these fixtures in 14,000 homes belonging to senior citizens in Yerushalayim. All it takes is a telephone call to the municipal hotline (106, extension 6), and any eligible resident can receive a free visit from the team. Perhaps one can say that the municipality has set an example that ought to be followed by all children of elderly parents. In any event, statistics show that thousands of elderly people suffer extensive health damage that begins with a fall at home, and the city’s initiative is therefore the ounce of prevention that is worth more than a pound of cure.
Last week, the mayor met with a group of people who might be dubbed professional complainers. One of them asked Lion if it is true that he feels that his record of kibud av is the secret key to his success. The mayor was somewhat flustered by this question but replied, “Absolutely. Kibud av va’eim is the key.” Not many people are aware of Moshe Lion’s outstanding dedication to his own parents: his righteous father, Chacham Shalom, who visits his son every Shabbos, and his pious mother, Chana, who passed away eight years ago. Moshe Lion’s parents have been his role models and guides, and he has always been a dedicated son to them. Perhaps that is the reason for his compassion and concern for all the elderly residents of Yerushalayim.
Twins from Above
Rav Zvi Tress is a distinguished Jew from Toronto, who is currently visiting Yerushalayim. I can say that I am actually quite fond of him, even though we haven’t met yet, for one simple reason: As a young man, he was a talmid in the Yeshiva of Beer Yaakov, where my father served as a maggid shiur at the time. In addition, he was a very close talmid of the illustrious rosh yeshiva, Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro. And that is aside from his zechus avos; I presume that the name Elimelech Tress needs no explanation for an American audience.
In any event, someone shared an interesting comment with me, which I would like to share with you in turn: Tzvi Tress recently met a friend of his in Yerushalayim whose daughter had been childless for many years. When they met, Reb Tzvi asked his old friend, “Well, is there anything new?”
“Yes!” his friend exclaimed. “Boruch Hashem, my daughter and son-in-law have been blessed with twins.”
Reb Tzvi was overjoyed, sharing his friend’s ebullience just as he had shared his pain throughout the long years of waiting. “Just remember,” he said, “that everything comes from Hashem.” In other words, he was cautioning his friend to avoid attributing the birth to medical treatments, segulos, or anything else other than Divine Providence itself. And then he shared an interesting thought: “I heard that Rav Don Segal drew this idea from the posuk ‘Tovim hashnayim min ha’echad’ (Koheles 4:9), which can be read as a statement that the two twins who were born were both brought into this world by the One—in other words, Hashem Himself.”
“We Are Late for Mincha”
On Monday afternoon, there were a few moments of alarm in the Knesset building. Monday is a very busy day in the Knesset (unlike Tuesday and Wednesday, when very little has been happening in the Knesset in recent weeks). Every Monday, each political party gathers for its weekly meeting, and the Knesset generally hears motions of no confidence in the government. On Monday afternoons, the area where the party offices are located tends to be very crowded and busy.
This Monday, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the afternoon, the door to one of the stairwells suddenly burst open, and five hulking members of the Knesset Guard emerged from the stairwell and began racing down the corridor. This was certainly a disconcerting sight, if not downright frightening. If the security guards had chosen to bypass the elevator and take the stairs, there must have been an urgent need for their presence. And the fact that they were barreling down the corridor at top speed only served to make all of us all the more apprehensive. What was going on?
Fortunately, one of the men slowed down long enough to allay our fears. “Don’t worry; there is nothing wrong!” he called out. “We’re just rushing to the Knesset shul because we are late for Mincha!”
The Upbringing of a Future Rosh Yeshiva
I had a brief respite from all the reports about the ongoing coalition talks this week, which gave me an opportunity to be exposed to an entirely different world. From the halls of government, I made my way to the city of Beit Shemesh to attend a Chumash party for the young talmidim of Talmud Torah Darchei Yosher.
The event was held in a large, impressive-looking auditorium in a local facility. The children were seated in three rows at the front of the room, with a choir on one side and a row of rabbonim seated on the other. In the middle of the room were two separate sections for the audience, one for fathers and grandfathers and the other for mothers and grandmothers. From my vantage point, I found it difficult to discern which of the participants were the most emotional—the children, their parents, or their rabbeim.
Rav Chaim Fishman, an accomplished speaker who represented the parents, delivered a captivating address, in which he told the story of a melamed who once took an unruly child aside and said to him, “I should really give you two slaps on your face for the way you have misbehaved … but how can I slap a future gadol?” After that experience, he related, the child grew up aspiring to become a gadol.
Another speaker was Rav Chaim Tarnovsky, a celebrated educator and the mefakeach (educational supervisor) of the school, who delivered a masterful speech replete with pedagogical insights. Rabbi Tarnovsky took care to praise every single member of the staff, which was itself a lesson to the parents. He also told a fascinating story that he had heard from the late Rebbetzin Rivka Ezrachi about Rav Chaim Shmulevitz: “When Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, whose yahrtzeit is this week, was five years old, he was once walking in the street with his father, Rav Alter, who was a maggid shiur in Novardok and a rosh yeshiva in Stutchin. While they were walking, they happened to spot a worker standing on a roof. The young boy was startled and exclaimed, ‘Abba, look! That man isn’t learning!’”
At the age of five, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz had never seen a Jew who wasn’t learning Torah. Such was the chinuch of the future rosh yeshiva of Mir.