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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Potential Security Deterioration in Mateh Binyamin

For years when there had been reports of terror attacks, drive bys, rammings, shootings, stabbings at various roadside bus stops in Gush Etzion and the Shomron (Samaria), I'd be able to say that in Mateh Binyamin our security experts have tried to protect us by not approving roadside bus stops. This has now changed.

There have always been trempiadas, hitchhiking posts on the main roads, but official bus stops had been restricted to either inside of communities passing guard posts, like in Ofra, Kochav Hashachar and Sha'ar Binyamin or inside junctions, where there are soldiers stationed, like near the gas station on the way to Psagot/Tel Zion. And until two days ago, January 20, 2019, Givat Asaf, the T junction to Beit El and Ramalla.

When the road "planners" of Mateh Binyamin "upgraded" that junction, which has been plagued by traffic jams and terror attacks, they somehow forgot that not only are there buses that go to and from Beit El, but all of the buses on Highway 60 in both directions turn in so that passengers can board and unboard. More frequently than you'd like to imagine, the buses got stuck, because various vehicles blocked their way. In addition, there was no coordination between where the buses turned and the exiting bus stop. The whole setup had become a major nightmare, but at least if I caught a ride going into Beit El, I could wait relatively safely on the inner road for a bus going towards Jerusalem.

For me, ramming terror attacks are something I've experienced, so I fear them more than other terror genres. I was lightly injured in the very first ramming terror attack over twenty years ago. 

I was horrified to discover that from now on the official bus stops are on the main road. There is now a traffic light, including a pedestrian one, but that decreases security. I've passed by a few times already, and travelers are on their own there. Security personnel stand in relative safety inside structures on the inner road leading to Beit El and Ramalla.

Here are some photos I took yesterday going north on my way home to Shiloh:

the new Givat Asaf Junction, showing its traffic lights

bus stop going south towards Jerusalem
buses stopped to pick up and let off passengers will stop traffic

going north to Ofra, Shiloh and Ariel

going north to Ofra, Shiloh and Ariel

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Embarrassed to Admit I Even I Mixed Up Bible Text and Commentary, Torah Portion, Beshalach

A couple of days ago, I had a blog post in my head based on Parshat Shavua, the Weekly Torah Portion. When I began writing it I discovered that the specific event I was comparing to Israel's legendary and totally effective bombing of the enemy airfields, isn't written in the Torah. The story of Nachson's step in the Reed Sea is from a Midrash. I felt like a total idiot. I've always made a point of basing my understanding on what's written in the Tanach/Bible, not on commentary.

I wrote the following on facebook:
I'm devastated to discover that the story of Nachshon stepping into the sea, which caused it to split is just midrash. I was looking for the Bible verse and it doesn't exist.
Many friends admitted to the same mistake. Scrap that blog post.

Then I read the whole Torah Portion, Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16), in shul. Among what's really written towards the end a couple of verses, which I've chosen as crucial lessons for us Sh'mot, Exodus 17:11-12.


וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יָרִ֥ים מֹשֶׁ֛ה יָד֖וֹ וְגָבַ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְכַאֲשֶׁ֥ר יָנִ֛יחַ יָד֖וֹ וְגָבַ֥ר עֲמָלֵֽק׃
Then, whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; but whenever he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

וִידֵ֤י מֹשֶׁה֙ כְּבֵדִ֔ים וַיִּקְחוּ־אֶ֛בֶן וַיָּשִׂ֥ימוּ תַחְתָּ֖יו וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב עָלֶ֑יהָ וְאַהֲרֹ֨ן וְח֜וּר תָּֽמְכ֣וּ בְיָדָ֗יו מִזֶּ֤ה אֶחָד֙ וּמִזֶּ֣ה אֶחָ֔ד וַיְהִ֥י יָדָ֛יו אֱמוּנָ֖ה עַד־בֹּ֥א הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃
But Moses’ hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur, one on each side, supported his hands; thus his hands remained steady until the sun set.
I have no doubt that nothing has changed for the Jewish People, from three thousand plus 3,000+ years ago, until today. When we, the Jewish People and State of Israel use our strength, united against our enemies we will prevail, but if we show weakness we will lose.

Our security and survival isn't dependant on others, only on how we behave.

The State of Israel does not need the approval and support of foreign leaders and countries. Our greatest victories occurred without any outside help. When we have depended on others for security advice, like the 1973 Yom Kippur War, we were almost defeated.

King David explains it very simply when he prepared for his fight with Goliath. At the time, David was an unknown shepherd who had been sent to bring supplies to his older brothers. When he heard the taunts of the giant Goliath, he rushed to the fore and discovered King Saul and soldiers paralyzed with fear. ISamuel 17:10-11

וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֔י אֲנִ֗י חֵרַ֛פְתִּי אֶת־מַעַרְכ֥וֹת יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה תְּנוּ־לִ֣י אִ֔ישׁ וְנִֽלָּחֲמָ֖ה יָֽחַד׃
And the Philistine ended, “I herewith defy the ranks of Israel. Get me a man and let’s fight it out!”
וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע שָׁאוּל֙ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖י הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיֵּחַ֥תּוּ וַיִּֽרְא֖וּ מְאֹֽד׃ (פ)
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and terror-stricken.

וְדָוִד֩ בֶּן־אִ֨ישׁ אֶפְרָתִ֜י הַזֶּ֗ה מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה וּשְׁמ֣
David volunteered to fight the giant and then rejected the offer of Saul's weapons and protective gear. He became our king, and even the Messiah is descended from him, because he always recognized that it's Gd's power that controls our victories and defeats, not conventional armies and weapons.
גַּ֧ם אֶֽת־הָאֲרִ֛י גַּם־הַדּ֖וֹב הִכָּ֣ה עַבְדֶּ֑ךָ וְֽ֠הָיָה הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֨י הֶעָרֵ֤ל הַזֶּה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֣י חֵרֵ֔ף מַעַרְכֹ֖ת אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּֽים׃ (ס)
Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and that uncircumcised Philistine shall end up like one of them, for he has defied the ranks of the living God.

וַיֹּאמֶר֮ דָּוִד֒ יְהוָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִצִּלַ֜נִי מִיַּ֤ד הָֽאֲרִי֙ וּמִיַּ֣ד הַדֹּ֔ב ה֣וּא יַצִּילֵ֔נִי מִיַּ֥ד הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖י הַזֶּ֑ה (ס) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר שָׁא֤וּל אֶל־דָּוִד֙ לֵ֔ךְ וַֽיהוָ֖ה יִהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ׃
The LORD,” David went on, “who saved me from lion and bear will also save me from that Philistine.” “Then go,” Saul said to David, “and may the LORD be with you!”
The State of Israel will only be safe, secure and truly sovereign when our political leaders are willing to accept what King David instinctively knew. Gd is our "secret weapon," and as long as we stay loyal to Gd, we will be victorious and thrive.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Looks Like The End of The NRP National Religious Party מפדל

Way back when, even before the Establishment of the State of Israel, people chose their political party according to the Zionist Youth Movement they were active in. Betar voted Herut, Bnei Akiva voted NRP National Religious Party מפדל etc. A relatively high percentage of Israeli youth were in a youth movement, whether it promoted Leftist kibbutzim, religious moderation or שתי גדות לירדן Shtay Gadot Layarden, Two (Both) Banks of the Jordan.

In the days before internet, television and even a phone in every home, Israeli kids kept busy with their youth movement friends. One's youth movement ideology was one's politics, sick fund, school, address, bank and pretty much everything. Things have changed in Israel, and the political polls show it.

The last surviving and relatively strong ideological youth movement is Bnei Akiva, which has always been connected to the NRP aka Jewish Home Party. In recent decades, the strong ideologues graduating from Bnei Akiva haven't supported the NRP, finding it too weak and compromising on ideology and idealism. Those controlling the coffers and properties of the NRP found themselves in the embarrassing and risky position of having to recruit ambitious politicians from the outside. That's how Naftali Bennett and the more secular Ayelet Shaked ended up running it.

Bennett and Shaked did their staj, internship as party heads and then must have done a secret poll that showed that the NRP voters would vote for them without the label NRP, so they left it and have established the New Right, a name which I consider absolutely awful.

Ever since Bennett and Shaked announced their new political party, polls are showing that the NRP won't pass the minimum votes to get into the Knesset. Read the latest from Jeremy's Knesset Insider.

Israeli society has changed enormously in the half century we're in the country. It's very rare for a country and society to change so quickly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Lion's Roar, 3rd of Tzvi Fishman's Tevye Series

I finished reading The Lion's Roar by Tzvi Fishman, and now I have to wait almost a year to read the next installment, Anonymous Soldiers. #1 Tevye in The Promised Land was reviewed here, as was #2 Arise and Shine.

Before I go any further, I'll get straight to the point. Buy the series for yourself, friends and family. The books suit all ages, and if you're careful about what your kids read, no problems. There's nothing to censor.

Fishman's series is also a fantastic way to learn and teach Jewish and Israeli History. The Tevye series can also be used to teach Jewish History in Jewish Schools or English in Israeli ones.

The Tevye series should be turned into movies or television shows. The plots are actual history, though characters are a combination of real historical figures with fictional ones. And as I've said before, consider Tevye of the Forrest Gump genre. The big difference is that Tevye is highly intelligent and ideologically motivated, unlike the also fictional Gump, who finds himself in real historic events by chance.

The Lion's Roar gives us an excellent view of the controversy and then break in the Zionist Revisionist movement that Zeev Jabotinsky had established. In addition, we read of the tension, competition and inside story between all of the Zionist groups, from Left to Right.

For those who are familiar with the history of the time, when Jews in the Promised Land had to decide between supporting Britain against Germany or attacking British police, because they supported Arab rights over Jewish ones, Fishman's characters and plot are well-written. It's also an enjoyable challenge for us to pick out which of his fictional characters are based on real people.

I'm anxiously awaiting further installments about Tevye and his family in the Promised Land.

Product details

  • Series: Tevye in the Promised Land Series
  • Paperback: 526 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 14, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1726116107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1726116107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Alternative News Sources, Blog Roundup, January, 2019, Shevat, 5779

Enjoy, these tasty morsels of journalism
A blog roundup is like an internet magazine. I'm offering a variety of topics from various blogs. I hope you enjoy them; read, share and comment. I'm not responsible for opinions/statements on blogs which aren't mine, and posts written by others. Enjoy, and if you have any blogs you'd like to recommend, please list their names and links in the comments, thanks.

I just offer the titles of the posts and not the names of the blogs. And they're in no special order. Enjoy!

Moshe (Misha) Arens 1925-2019
The Israeli "Queen of Beer"
3 Suggestions to Enjoy Jerusalem in Stormy Weather
American Football in Israel, Lions in The Lead
Two Pro-Israel Arab Politicians The Mainstream Media Aren’t Talking About
Ben-Gurion, Zionism, and democracy
Jews are Thinking of Leaving Scotland. Good!
Why Do they Refuse?
Rosh Chodesh Shevat, Wet, Cold and Sunny, Onward to Adar
Last 2 Radio 103 FM Polls
"Arise and Shine," More Adventures with Tevye by Tzvi Fishman
The Brigade
Blessed Rain Water at Jewish Legion Memorial, Shiloh Junction
Thanks for the rain
All Shuk Up: Mujadra Basmati Rice Recipe, Vegetarian Jerusalem Mixed Grill, and More!
Wikipedia, We Have a Problem
Tech in the Shomer Shabbat Home
Books Read in 2018 #MyYearInBooks
100 + Books from 2018

Which is your favorite post, and why?
Favorite blog, and why?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Blessed Rain Water at Jewish Legion Memorial, Shiloh Junction

Yesterday one of my walking partners called and suggested that we take a walk to see streams of water at the Shiloh Junction. Her timing was great, and I was able to take a break from my Shabbat cooking to join her.

Since our time and walking prowess are rather limited, we took her car to the Shiloh Junction and walked across the road to the Shiloh Valley park and hiking trail. It has also been dedicated as the Jewish Legion in Binyamin Memorial.

During World War One, the first Jewish fighting force was established, the Jewish Legion, and one of the areas it got to was Shiloh. So, last summer a memorial was set up at the Shiloh Junction.

Today, the area just west of Shiloh is a Jewish agricultural area with olive groves and vineyards. Since it's part of the Emek Shiloh, Shiloh Valley, it's extremely fertile. When we came to live in Shiloh in 1981, the entire area was barren. But in the past twenty years, this area has been one of the most profitable agricultural sites around. Prize-winning Meshek Achiya Olive Oil grows olives here, and a number of prize-winning wine companies get their grapes from here, too.

Experts can taste the difference between rain-watered produce and artificial irrigation, so the accumulation of rainwater here is very important, Baruch Hashem, thank Gd.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

My Really Dumb Question About That "Wall"

I may have gotten this all mixed up, but I have a question to those who don't want the American Government to construct a wall to keep out illegal immigrants.

Maybe I'm just stupidly simplistic, but if I understand those against the "wall" correctly, they think that anyone who wants to move/migrate to the United States should be able to, whenever they want, without being forced to go through the legal, bureaucratic procedures. If I understand correctly, those against the "wall" consider what they call "migrating" as a human right.

So if "migrating" shouldn't be a difficult hassle, then why should there be border control anyplace? Why should tourists, who just come to spend money, enrich the American economy have to worry about visas, passports and entrance laws? And what if some of those tourists decide to stay in America, shouldn't they be welcomed with open arms and allowed to live in the USA without fear of being deported? What makes the hispanics coming from the south of the border be more desirable as "new Americans," than those who fly in, or enter any other way?

Just curious. Did I misunderstand something? Or am I just stupid?

New York City

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Bibi's "Big Announcement" Total Dud

Last night before 8pm Israel Time, I hurriedly tried to find a link to listen to Prime Minister Bibi Binyamin Netanyahu's "important announcement." About a week ago, there had been a similar situation from Naftali Bennett, and that's when he and Ayelet Shaked told us all that they were leaving NRP-Jewish Home and officially starting their own political party.

So, unlike those on facebook who were making jokes out of Bibi's possible "news," I thought maybe he was going to announce that a dynamic, charismatic vote-getter would be joining Likud.  I was wrong. A very tired and uninspired looking Binyamin Netanyahu just kvetched that the "judges were against him." He wanted the opportunity to confront his accusers. To be honest, knowing my criminal law more from American television, than anywhere else, I agree with him. But I don't see this as suitable material for a big public announcement.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Belgium Joins The Antisemitic Hypocrites

Over ten years ago, I wrote a post here about the blatant hypocrisy of countries that ban shechita, the Jewish method of slaughtering animals. Yes, the same countries generally ban Islam's hallal slaughter, too. These countries claim that our ritual method of using a super sharp knife to cut a very specific part of the neck by highly trained slaughterers is immoral and cruelty to animals.

You don't have to be one of those traumatized as a child by the iconic Disney cartoon/movie Bambi, find that reason peculiar to say the least. Bambi's mother was killed by a hunter. Hunting is the killing and wounding of animals, frequently leaving them in horrendous pain, not the instant death of properly done shechita.  The research I did twelve years ago showed that  every single country that bans shechita permits hunting.

So, just to make sure I'm not mistaken, it was very easy to check if Belgium permits hunting, the epitome of cruelty to animals. Yes, of course hunting is legal in Belgium. Click the following links:
That proves it. The new law forbidding shechita in Belgium has nothing to do with morality and animal protection. It's just to make life more difficult for Jews.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

"Arise and Shine," More Adventures with Tevye by Tzvi Fishman

I'm truly enjoying the adventurous Tevye in the Promised Land series by Tzvi Fishman. I've coined them the Forrest Gump genre of literature, a subgroup in historical novels. Now for the second in the series, which tells what happens to Tevye the Milkman and his growing family, once they're well settled in the Promised Land, Arise and Shine.

Life isn't simple and calm for Tevye and his clan. Like the fictional Forrest Gump, Tevye and his family not only participated in the most important and game-changing events in post World War One Mandate/Palestine, but they knew and interacted with all of the main historic figures. For me, personally, it's a sign of Fishman's writing skill that he created very realistic younger versions of some people I actually knew. The young and idealistic Moshe Segal in Fishman's books could very well be what our elderly neighbor in Jerusalem's Old City had been like a half a century before we knew him.

You can see in the cover of Arise and Shine, the fictional Tevye is flanked Zeev Jabotinsky, David Ben-Gurion, Yair Avraham Stern and Yosef Trumpeldor. That simple illustration summarizes this entire series by Tzvi Fishman. Tevye was much more than a simple milkman.

Even more than that, Fishman doesn't sweeten the story, making Tevye and his family immune from the violence and dangers of the time. In Volume #1 Tevye in the Promised Land, illness and Arab terrorists were the killers of Tevye's daughters and friends. But in Arise and Shine, Arab terror becomes the biggest danger. And to make matters worse, the British, who are supposed to be keeping the peace and facilitating the establishment of a Jewish State favor the Arabs and restrict Jews, even from self-defense.

Tevye and his family gave up on their rural, agricultural life and are living in Jerusalem, where Tevye the milkman has a milk route. Chief Rabbi Kook is the rabbi Tevye looks up to, as he has since his earliest days in the Promised Land. In the struggle for a Jewish State, most of Tevye's family find themselves firmly in the Revisionist camp. David Raziel, Uri Tzvi Greenberg, Moshe Segal and Avraham Stern are among those who visit Tevye's home.

The mix of true history and fiction Tvi Fishman cooked up in this series is a perfect blend. For those readers who aren't familiar with the history and historic characters, I highly recommend reading the books slowly and supplementing with a bit of quick research if necessary.

Again, I must say that the book could be made into a riveting television series. It's also a great book to read to children, instead of letting them watch the "screen." The book is a lot "cleaner" than what you'll find on television or in the movies.

I highly recommend Tzvi Fishman's Arise and Shine as a book for all ages. I'm now almost half way through the third volume, and I understand that there's a fourth in production, which Gd willing will be published in under a year.

  • Series: Tevye in the Promised Land
  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 15, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1724652672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1724652676

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Israel Elections 2019, 5779 Latest Polls

Two interesting polls are out on Jeremy's Knesset Insider, both hot off the press, meaning that they include both the New Right of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and Labor running on its own, sans Tzipi Livni.

The shocker for many is that Bennett and Shaked are correct in their guess that they had brought most votes to the veteran NRP (National Religious Party,) now called Jewish Home. The polls show that without them, Jewish Home may not even get into the Knesset. The NRP is doing worse than Livni, which even has me shocked.  And I'm pretty sure that the polls were done before Caroline Glick publicly joined the New Right. She should bring votes from Likud and NRP.

I'm just going to copy/paste from Jeremy's Knesset Insider and let you take a good look. What do you think? Of, course, we still have a while to go before the actual elections, but so far it looks interesting. Honestly, I love this stuff.

PS Please remember that these are just polls; they aren't election results.

Kan Channel Poll: Likud 28, Israel Resilience 14, Yesh Atid 13, Joint List 12, HaYamin HeHadash 9

TNS conducted a poll of 543 people for the Kan Channel that was broadcast on Jan 2 2018.
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
28 [30] Likud
14 [-–] Israel Resilience (Gantz)
13 [11] Yesh Atid
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
09 [03] Hayamin Hehadash (Bennett & Shaked)
07 [18] Labor
07 [10] Kulanu
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [07] Shas
06 [05] Meretz
06 [01] Gesher (Orly Levy)
05 [05] Yisrael Beitenu
00 [06] Livni Party (close to the threshold)
00 [05] Bayit Yehudi (far from the threshold)
00 [–-] Telem (Yaalon), Zehut (Feiglin), Yachad (Eli Yishai), Eretz Chadasha (Eldad Yaniv), Green Leaf, Ofek Chadash (as other) under 3.25% threshold
62 [66] Current Right-Religious Coalition+Y.B.
58 [54] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition+Gantz-Y.B.
Additional Questions:
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
40% Netanyahu, 30% Gantz, 30% Don’t know
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
40% Netanyahu, 36% Don’t know, 24% Lapid


Channel 13 Poll: Likud 31, Israel Resilience 12, Joint List 12, Yesh Atid 10, Labor 8

Midgam conducted a poll for Channel 13 that was broadcast on Jan 2 2018.
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
31 [30] Likud
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
12 [-–] Israel Resilience (Gantz)
10 [11] Yesh Atid
08 [18] Labor
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [03] Hayamin Hehadash (Bennett & Shaked)
05 [10] Kulanu
05 [07] Shas
05 [06] Livni Party
05 [05] Meretz
05 [05] Yisrael Beitenu
05 [01] Gesher (Orly Levy)
04 [05] Bayit Yehudi
00 [–] (1.8% of vote) Yachad (Eli Yishai)
00 [–-] (1.3% of vote) Telem (Yaalon)
00 [–] (1% of vote) Eretz Chadasha (Eldad Yaniv)
00 [–] (0.4% of vote) Zehut (Feiglin)
00 [–] Green Leaf and Ofek Chadash (as other) under 3.25% threshold
63 [66] Current Right-Religious Coalition+Y.B.
57 [54] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition+Gantz-Y.B.
Scenario Poll: Gantz + Livni
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
31 [30] Likud
15 [06] Israel Resilience (Gantz) + Livni
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
11 [11] Yesh Atid
08 [18] Labor
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [03] Hayamin Hehadash (Bennett & Shaked)
05 [10] Kulanu
05 [07] Shas
05 [05] Meretz
05 [05] Yisrael Beitenu
05 [01] Gesher (Orly Levy)
04 [05] Bayit Yehudi
00 [–] (1.8% of vote) Yachad (Eli Yishai)
00 [–-] (1.3% of vote) Telem (Yaalon)
00 [–] (1% of vote) Eretz Chadasha (Eldad Yaniv)
00 [–] (0.4% of vote) Zehut (Feiglin)
00 [–] Green Leaf and Ofek Chadash (as other) under 3.25% threshold
63 [66] Current Right-Religious Coalition+Y.B.
56 [54] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition+Gantz-Y.B.
*Note: Scenario poll total is 119 seats, not 120.
Additional Questions:
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
37% Don’t know, 35% Netanyahu, 28% Gantz
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
55% Don’t know, 38% Netanyahu, 17% Lapid

The Knesset can be seen in the background. Remember that Israeli Elections are for Knesset seats, not for Prime Minister.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Political Surprise from Israeli Left, Politics Never Dull

Pundits weren't really shocked when Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked announced that they were divorcing the NRP Jewish Home to start an independent New Right party.

But Labour's Avi Gabay's sayonara to Tzippi Livni's did take people by surprise, and that includes Tzippi herself. Yes, the Zionist Union is no longer "united." Apparently, it was a marriage made in hell, at least for him.

Livni has bounced through Israel's political spectrum probably more than any other politician. She also may be the only one as "party head" who although getting the most Knesset seats, couldn't or wasn't given the nod to form a ruling coalition. Maybe she should just take the hint and retire.

When elections are scheduled, it's never dull here in Israel.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

More on Bennett-Shaked, Israel Not Governed by Laws of Nature and Math

It's less than twenty-four 24 hours since  Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked shook things up by announcing that they're breaking from the NRP-Jewish Home Party and establishing the New Right. No surprise that many people claim that they are making a mistake.

The popular  reason that most everyone is giving is one of Mathematics. By breaking away and forming a new party, they are diluting the chances of the so-called Right wing Likud to continue in power. Of course, according to logic, the Laws of Nature and Numbers they seem correct. But as I titled this post:
Israel Not Governed by Laws of Nature and Math
If the State of Israel, the Jewish People and the Land of Israel were like any other in the world:
  1. We certainly would be been defeated/destroyed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, 
  2. if we hadn't been invaded and destroyed in the 1967 Six Days War.
  3. Most probably, there never would have been a State of Israel, since on paper we had so little going for us when we declared Independence on May, 14, 1948.
  4. A "normal" people would have been so beaten, both physically in terms of numbers and emotionally, that any remaining Jews would have taken the express train to complete and utter assimilation after the Holocaust. 
  5. Or most probably, like our ancient contemporaries/enemies, we'd be no more than a footnote in history. 
Israeli politics is more than plain numbers. There must be balance in the ideological spectrum, and our political spectrum has been over-heavy on the Left for a long time. There are quite a number of Far Left parties, both Arab and Jewish, but there hasn't been a strong unabashed Right Pro-Jewish Rights in the Land of Israel for much too long. That's why political positions that had once been only heard from the Far Left are now heard in the Center and what I'll call the "Lite Right."

Although the media loves to call Likud an ideologically Right party, the truth is that it's Center-Right. As is the NRP establishment which  controls certain aspects of the Jewish Home Party. It kept reigning in Bennett and Shaked to the Center, which is what the NRP is all about. For the NRP, it has always been a claim to fame that they could mould themselves to suit any coalition, Right, Left or Center.

Think of the ideological aspect of the political scene here as a Tug of War. The Far Left has been tugging and there is no equivalent balance/weight from the Right. Some of you may be saying:
"What about Avigdor Lieberman?"
To be perfectly honest, he has his own unique views, which change periodically according to what he thinks will give him more electoral support. Or to follow my "Tug of War" analogy, his rope isn't attached to the one everyone else is tugging. He's just faking it.

I don't pretend to be a fortune teller, and I don't have any recent direct contact with Naftali Bennett or Ayelet Shaked. So, I certainly can't guarantee that the New Right will be what they are saying it will be. One thing I do know is that Prime Minister Netanyahu firmly believes that to be Prime Minister, he must keep to what he considers the political center. I heard him say so in person. Gd willing, Bennett and Shaked don't hold that opinion.

Naftali Bennett visiting us when he was head of YESHA Council

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2019, 5779 Israeli Elections, Party Time, Bennett-Shaked Shake Things Up

Tonight, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked announced that they were breaking away from the NRP (National Religious Party) aka Jewish Home Party and establishing a new political party that would be to the Right of the political spectrum and open to all shades of religiosity. Bennett and Shaked are calling their party the "New Right."

In all honesty, I'm not surprised. I'm more surprised that they managed to stay in the rather staid NRP for five years. When Bennett told the old leadership, the ones who handle the money and property of the venerable old party, that the secular and female Ayelet Shaked was an indispensable part of his leadership package, I have no doubt that they were more shaken up than the British Royal Family when Harry made his relationship with Meghan Markle public.

Just under forty years ago, the Techiya Party was established by legendary Geula Cohen and Yuval Neeman. It was a straight-talking Right party, which I supported and mourn its demise. In the 1992 elections, it didn't receive enough votes to pass the minimum threshold and ceased to exist.

My guess is that the New Right is a 21st century version of Techiya, and from what Bennett and Shaked said at the press conference tonight, they would be happy adopting something I heard Geula Cohen say at a Parlour Meeting in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem.

Geula was asked:
"Is Techiya a religious party?"
Geula replied:
"Techiya isn't a religious party; it's a Jewish party."
I have never liked religion as a criteria for politics and government. We have to work together.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Just Wondering, How Accurate are The Polls?

Do the election polls really show what the 2019 results will be in Israeli Knesset Elections?

First of all, we don't yet know for sure which parties, new and old, will be vying for a share of those one hundred and twenty 120 seats. We must also take into account that the votes for parties that don't reach the minimum number are added to a "pot" of surplus votes which are then distributed among the winning parties by a very complicated formula. And the parties running still have to decide on their lists. Some of them use the democratic primary system, frequently with "reserved" spots given to wannabes chosen by the party leadership. Other parties are run like private "families." Some are run by committees, and the question is:
Who appointed the committee members?
With all this uncertainty, it's really hard to know today what will be in three and a half months' time. For the latest political election polls, I check on Jeremy's Knesset Insider. He keeps track, and in each post he also shows the right/left balance. Of course, this is just the "potential" and lots of guesswork, since there are political parties which shift right/left according to which way they think will bring them votes during election time and power in coalition negotiations.

Just to remind you that in Israel we vote for Knesset seats only. We do not vote for Prime Minister. Also, no political party gets a majority of the 120 seats, so that a potential prime minister must be a tremendously skilled and talented wheeler-dealer aka negotiator. This is the reality of Israeli government, political system.

Will Bibi's "center" policies win him another term as Prime Minister of the State of Israel?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Have You Heard The News?

Here I am voting in the most recent Knesset elections, March 2015
Bibi has called for elections. This year 5779 and soon 2019, Passover cleaning will also mean cleaning up all the campaign litter.  Yes, the date chosen is April 9, which is the 4th of Nissan, just a week and a half before the Passover Holiday. Yes, here in Israel we function on two calendars simultaneously.

And if you're curious, I haven't a clue as to which political party to support.

I don't know if I've ever voted for the Likud. The first time we voted, in 1974, there wasn't a Likud Party. There was Gahal, which was the Herut and Liberal parties. Herut, Freedom was headed by Menachem Begin. In those days, Begin was our political and ideological hero. And the Liberal Party was the non-socialist one. They were the two parties on the Right, while the Labor Party was on the Left, and the 1st of May was still celebrated by them.

We missed the 1977 elections, since we were on shlichut, doing Zionist youth work in London. Shlichim don't get absentee ballots, though embassy staff do.

When we returned home to Jerusalem, miraculously, Menachem Begin was Prime Minister. For the first time in Israeli history a non-Labor/socialist was in charge. But then Begin did what Labor never dared to do, something that Begin if in opposition would have condemned, he made a treaty Peace Agreement with Egypt's President Sadat, gave Egypt the Sinai and destroyed a slew of Jewish communities. After that I supported Geula Cohen's Techiya Party. I voted for them until they faded from the political scene, when they didn't get enough votes to make it into the Knesset. Since then I feel like a political orphan.

Over the next three and a half months, until Knesset Elections, I'll be in political pundit mode. Gd willing expect more posts. I warn you that I have more questions than answers. Let's talk. That's what my comments are for. Also please feel free to share this post and the subsequent ones.

What do you think? I welcome your comments.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tevye in The Promised Land, Great Adventure

Last night I finally finished the first volume of Tzvi Fishman's Tevye trilogy, Tevye in The Promised Land, and I loved it! I have the following two volumes waiting for me to read, but I'm taking off time in between each one to write reviews.

Fishman's jam-packed historical novel is superb. Tevye in The Promised Land is an extremely well-written example of a very difficult literary genre. He manages to create both believable characters and place them in accurate and factual historical context. Tevye in The Promised Land is full of surprises and actual historical figures. And if you were wondering, Fishman's Tevye is based on the character invented by the famous Yiddish author Shalom Aleichem, which can be seen on stage and screen.

Especially since I had read and reviewed Rebels in the Holy Land, which is about the early history of Mazkeret Batya, I can really believe that so many things could happen to one family and the awful things about Baron de Rothschild's administrators. The early Zionist pioneers, even the least religiously observant, were true tzaddikim, holy Jews. They had to put up with and overcome difficulties that dwarf everything that modern olim, immigrants to Israel must deal with. And in modern olim, I include people like myself who made aliyah almost a half a century ago.

The early Zionist pioneers had to cope with and conquer difficulties that rival the greatest fictional adventure stories. First of all, traveling in those days was extremely dangerous and difficult. Today you can safely and routinely fly to Israel from places in less than a day. Over a hundred years ago, lovers of Zion had to trek by foot, horse-drawn carts, unreliable boats and more. The trip could take months or longer.

When the immigrant arrived, he/she wasn't always allowed in to the Holyland. Whether the ruling occupier was a Turk or British, they had the same agenda, STOP JEWS FROM ENTERING. Their sympathy was with the Arabs, who had no national aspirations, which was what the occupying powers liked.

Even when Jews, like Tevye and his family, managed to get permits to enter the Promised Land, that didn't promise them an easy time. Besides the utter poverty, there were illnesses, locusts, Arab terrorism, impossible regulations by the Baron's staff, land unfit for agriculture, continued antagonism from the occupiers, tension/competition between the religious and secular Jews and even more challenges. Fishman has Tevye and his family encounter and cope with them all. They also get to know and work with some of the greatest real life historical giants of the times, such as Rabbi Kook, Zeev Jabotinsky, Yosef Trumpeldor among others.

Before Tzvi Fishman's aliyah, move to Israel, he was a Hollywood screenwriter. And I must say that his Tevya saga is just perfect, not for a two hour movie, but for a long-running television series.

I highly recommend Tevye in The Promised Land. It's a book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Children will love it, too. If they are too young to read it themselves, it's the perfect book to read to your children or students. As you read it, you can supplement it with history of the time, if clarification is necessary. I've already started on volume 2 and the third is waiting for me.

  • Paperback: 580 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466220872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466220874

Friday, December 21, 2018

Saga Riding the Ariel Arab-Filled Buses, Yesterday

Yesterday, again, I needed to catch a bus to Ariel from the "shfeilah," west of Shiloh, after a festive luncheon with friends in Pardes Chana. This time I was dropped off at the Oranit/Elkana bus stop, which I hoped would give me a better chance to get on a bus than at the Yarkon Junction. 

In the afternoon, buses to Ariel are full of Arab workers who get off before Ariel. The buses are so full that most don't even stop unless someone needs to get off. At the Oranit/Elkana bus stop, generally a few people get off, so there's a better chance to get on the bus, and in addition there are a few more lines going to Ariel. 

After close to ten minutes of waiting a bus came that did let passengers off from the back, but the driver didn't open the door. BTW, I was waiting with a bunch of Arab men for a bus to Ariel, no other women or Jews. A few Arabs went/snuck in by the back door, something I wrote about a few weeks ago. I got closer to the front door and tried to get the attention of the driver and succeeded. 

The bus driver opened the door and signaled to the men waiting that only I was to board the bus. Happily I did, even though all I could see on the bus were Arab men. The driver also asked the man sitting in the first seat to get up so I could sit. Yes, not for the first time, I sat next to an Arab on a bus. 

My view from the front seat of the bus to Ariel. Our road was clear, while most vehicles were traveling towards Yarkon Junction and beyond.
The bus was packed, with people standing in the aisle until we got to the Revava Junction. That's the last stop on the Trans-Samaria Highway before turning into Ariel. And that's where all of the remaining Arabs got off. Look to the right of the picture below, and you will see dozens of cars, Arab cars. Sometimes I've seen a market setup there, too. There was lots of noise coming from it, which we could hear on the bus. That's where the Arab workers leave their cars or get rides home to their villages. Also some Jewish passengers get off there at the Revava Junction and cross the street to go to communities in the northern Shomron, Samaria.

When we pulled out of that bus stop, the bus was almost totally empty. A few minutes later we entered Ariel, and I got off at the Ariel University. I walked to the trempiada, hitchhiking post there and miraculously got a ride to Shiloh within a couple of minutes. My neighbor took me straight to my door. Gd is great!

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach
Have a Blessed and Peaceful Shabbat

Thursday, December 20, 2018

American Left Defends Anti-Israel BDS as "Free Speech"


While Democratic leadership supports the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which targets US companies that join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state, two powerful senators in Democratic politics expressed their opposition to its passage on Wednesday....
Among the senators claiming that BDS should be protected as "Free Speech" are Jews, and no surprise that the extreme Leftist J Street also opposes the bill.

American Jewry on the whole are extreme in their unquestioning support of the Democrats and the Left. I don't think there's an actual Mitzvah, Torah Commandment they observe more than voting for Democrats.

Even today, when the 21st century Democratic Party has adopted policies that support the destruction/annihilation of the State of Israel, Jewish Americans have continued their unquestioning support.

It's no secret that most American Jews eat the Torah-forbidden ham and shrimp, besides not having a clue that there's a fast day mid summer called the 9th of Av when we mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Intermarriage has passed the tipping point, and it is now the norm, except in the most Torah observant circles. It is also rationalized/justified with Leftist slogans of "equality" and "free speech."

American Jewry has become so pro-Left Democrat that many actually oppose the American Embassy in Jerusalem, davka, because it was opened by a Republican President. That's the proof that they have ceased to think as Jews; they are now religiously Leftist Democrats.

I'm saddened by this development. And I'm pessimistic. The future of the Jewish People is here in Israel, no place else. Europe and other parts of the world are no better for Jews to remain true Jews.

Here I am marching in the 1970 Salute to Israel Parade with NCSY, just a couple of months before making aliyah, moving to Israel. It was the best move we could ever have made, B"H, thank Gd.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Is This Art?

It could be. Maybe it's a glass mosaic aka stained glass? There's something haunting about it, like a Vincent Van Gogh painting when his demons were overpowering him.

Well, the truth is that the "technique" is related to "demons," but not the imaginary kind, not the kind of a schizophrenic, chemically imbalanced mind.

Yesterday, when I got on the bus home from Sha'ar Binyamin burdened with heavy shopping bags, the closest unoccupied seat was by a cracked window. I try not to sit by cracked windows. The buses that ply our routes have bulletproof windows. They are also strong enough to stay whole/unbroken if a rock is thrown at it. To be accurate, that's true until you see cracks like this one had.

bus window cracked by Arab terrorists attack

The recent increase in Arab terror attacks, davka, on the road we travel, has killed, injured and caused damage. Thank Gd yesterday's trip to and from Jerusalem was uneventful, but we can never take an easy and safe trip for granted.