Sunday, November 22, 2020

Bennett-Bibi Parallels to Kings David and Saul

Tonight on tv, Israel's Chanel 11, I watched מהצד השני Mehatzad Hasheini "On The Other Hand" with Guy Zohar.

Guy Zohar picks a few issues each program and gives his own spin. Tonight he talked about something he thought peculiar. Naftali Bennett, head of the Yamin Hachadash (New Right) Party, a name I really don't like, though their platform is good, refuses to say that he's campaigning for the position of Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Of course, it's clear that he is, and he is doing very well in the polls under the question "Who should be the Prime Minister of the State of Israel?" For the longest time number two after PM Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu was "none of the above," and now Bennett is well ahead of all competitors and closing in on Netanyahu. His biggest problem is that we don't vote for Prime Minister, we only vote for party Knesset lists, and the party that does the best gets first crack at trying to form a coalition which will be headed by its number one.

Zohar showed clips, almost ad nauseum of New Right's Ayelet Shaked and Matan Kahane saying that Bennett is best suited to be Israel's next Prime Minister. He seemed to find that rather strange. I guess that Guy Zohar isn't familiar with the Tanach, Bible. 

This Bennett-Bibi scenario as presented by Zohar immediately reminded me of King David while King Saul was still alive and ruling. No matter what King Saul did against David, which included trying to murder him, David held back his followers from harming King Saul. Even though Samuel the Prophet had already anointed him, David insisted that he would never harm the king. And Bennett keeps saying that no elections are happening right now, so Bennett is not campaigning against Netanyahu to replace him as Prime Minister.

As I've said many times, as rocky as the present coalition is, the two main components Likud and Blue and White are both terrified of elections, since their leaders know very well that they've lost popular support. That's the glue holding the Bibi-Gantz government together. The political party showing most improvement in the polls is Bennett's New Right.

This is very much a three way competition. Gantz has no real chance to form a ruling coalition on his own. Bibi's attacks on Bennett over the years, even though he did give him good positions in his last interim government, also parallels King Saul's treatment of David. Even when trying to kill David, King Saul would sometimes order him to come and calm him with sweet music.

David eventually became King of the Jewish People and Land. I wouldn't dare try to predict who will be the true successor to Bibi Netanyahu. It may take a few short terms by successors until a new strong leader takes the helm.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Rosh Chodesh Prayers, Tevet 5781, Save The Date

This morning I walked down to Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh to meet friends for our Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers. 

Next month Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be Wednesday December 16, 8:30am.

 תפילת נשים בשילה הקדומה ראש חודש טבת, יום ד', תשפ"א, 16\12\2020 8:30 בבוקר מוזמנות 

Save the date and join us.

Shiloh Hakeduma is a wonderful archeological park with all sorts of activities for all ages. It's open every day except Shabbat and Jewish Holidays. 

Contact the office for more information. 02-5789122, There should be special activities during Chanuka. 

Yes, this is the real Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for close to four hundred years, and Chana prayed for a son.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

American Election Results- Was There Cheating?

I've never voted in American Elections. When we made aliyah, moved to Israel, twenty-one 21 was the voting age. I was twenty-one, but there was no way I was going to wait around in New York another couple of months just to vote. So I never did. But I've always made every effort to vote in Israeli Elections.

Voting laws are different in Israel. First of all we have Identity Cards with photos, and you can't vote without showing yours. Your name/number is marked off when you come to vote. You can only vote in your assigned voting station, with very few exceptions. There are no overseas/mail or any other way of voting, except for active soldiers and diplomatic staff. Those ballots are double or triple packed with all ID information listed. They can't be counted until all other votes have been tallied. Then the ID numbers on the outside envelopes are checked with the IDs which had been listed as voted in the various voting stations. If that number is listed as having voted, the ballot is declared invalid. Cheating is possible, but difficult. Also voting laws are the same in every city/locality, so all citizens have equal rights.

It is very different in America. The United States does not have picture IDs. Apparently, states and even cities have their own different voting laws and regulations, so all citizens aren't equal, no equal voting rights. There are even locations which declare that it's illegal to demand identification. Cheating is easy, and that can't be refuted. And anyone who thinks that there's no cheating is naïve at best.

IMHO for the United States to have any semblance of fair elections, the entire process must be overhauled, including the introduction of picture Identity Cards. And voting laws should be national, not local laws. That's the only way all citizens will have equal rights.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Exploring Local Shopping Center aka Shiloh Industrial Zone

About a mile from my house, downhill, is the "Aizor Ta'asi'ah," Shiloh Industrial Zone, which also has all sorts of stores. I hadn't been there for a couple of years, since we shop in the supermarket closer to our home. We also don't have a car, so although walking down is easy, walking up is another story. But this week, just before the rains began, a neighbor and I decided to do our walk down there to look around. She drove over, and then she drove me back up. 

Besides the more industrial carpentry shop and aluminum door/window place and the large hardware/building supply place, there are stores. There's a supermarket, discount toy, crafts, miscellaneous store like the old time "five and dime." We discovered a barber shop, shoe shop and other businesses that have closed down. There's a state of the art fitness center, which is closed until the government decides otherwise; the owner was there, so we stepped in to look around. There's even a very attractive store that sells wall tiles, bathroom fixtures and faucets. I'd like to take a better look when we redo our bathrooms. Not everything was open, because of the lockdown. 

The Shiloh Industrial Zone can be easily accessed from Highway 60; turn off to Shiloh.

Here are some photos.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sort of Locked-down Jerusalem, Corona COVID Life

Yesterday I escaped to Jerusalem for a few hours. To be honest, it's rather risky. For me, my age makes me one of those who should be avoiding people. And in terms of corona COVID statistics, Shiloh is much, much greener/safer than Israel's Capital Jerusalem. But I'd been home for over a month and a half. To say I was going stir crazy is no exaggeration. As "jails" go, Shiloh may be rather benevolent and friendly, but waking outside, zooming with friends and family, facebook, whatsapp etc just aren't enough. 

Following are photos, some with captions of sorts to illustrate what I found in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Body language says it all. 

No eye contact. People are masked in more ways than one. No unnecessary touching of anything. It's like we're all within our personal portable jails, even when on the lightrail.

Depending on where you're looking, life looks almost normal, but for after 10am too many stores are totally shuttered.

With typical Israeli ingenuity, these fabric and notion stores are trying to sell their wares. Those who know how to sew are the lucky ones, because clothing stores were boarded up. 

Shopping for fabric required explaining to the sales staff what you wanted, choosing and then "ordering" for immediate "delivery." I discovered that many storeowners adopted this method of sales, as if they were pizza or felafel places.
Very lonely Jerusalem street with most stores totally shut until the government allows them to open.
Even some shoe stores have adopted the immediate order/delivery system, though I presume they permit people to try on their shoes first.

I just can't imagine buying shoes I haven't tried on. My feet and body are just too unique and delicate to trust online shoe shopping.
I almost bought a few packs of these gorgeous masks, but then I ran into a good friend who told me that she bought the same ones much more cheaply in Rami Levi. I must find someone to buy me some pretty colored masks there.

One thing for sure, disposable masks have dropped dramatically in price.
Prices have dropped, but the stores are locked. I guess you can order online, but I like to see and touch items first. That's how I judge quality.

Just in case those trying to get into the main post office have no idea of what two meters, aka social distancing, means, there are little boxes on the sidewalk to show you where to stand. 

People were very obedient. It's taking awhile, but Israelis are beginning to accept the concept of physical distancing when downtown doing errands.
After filling my backpack with Israeli craft beer, Shapiro's to be exact, I was overjoyed to discover that HOBBY was "open." Of course "open" meant that customers couldn't enter.
I stuck my head and phone in as far as I could to see the colors of the jersey yarn HOBBY was selling. Then the salesgirl had to bring them to me. 

Not all of them looked the same up close, but I had no time to have her run back and forth the way I would have chosen. Also there were people lined up waiting to "shop." I'm glad to have a new stock of jersey yarn to crochet more bags.

In all honesty, I think that these craft, sewing notions and fabric stores should be open the public just like pharmacies are. For many of us crafts are valuable medical tools, occupational therapy. And this is a great time to teach children these wonderful arts and crafts instead of their just using computer apps to make "works of art."

Gd willing corona COVID will disappear quickly, and everyone should be healthy and healed. Let this lockdown nightmare be quickly over. 

I'm glad to have accomplished a lot in my Jerusalem escape. And in case you're wondering, I ate nothing while there, but I walked a lot.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Save The Date: Rosh Chodesh Kislev

Chances are that Rosh Chodesh Kislev will be colder than Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan was. And Gd willing we'll have already been blessed by a nice rainfall or two or more by then. But whether we'll need to equip ourselves with coats, umbrellas or whatever's... we'll still need to mask up. 

The world has changed, but the Jewish Calendar hasn't. We're still governed by the moon's cycles, adjusted periodically so holidays will fall in the correct seasons. There's nothing more amazing than the Jewish Calendar which has rooted us to the Land of Israel, even during millennia of exile. I consider our ancient/modern calendar the unmistakable proof that the Land of Israel is the true home for the Jewish People. Our religion/calendar revolves around the seasons in the Land of Israel.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev falls in early winter. I keep track of Rosh Chodesh, because of our Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma. This year:

Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers, Tel Shiloh

Tuesday, 1st of Kislev 17-11-2020, 8:30am

For more information

תפילת נשים שילה הקדומה

יום ג', א' כסלו תש"פ 8:30

לפרטים נוספים 

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh is a stunning archeological site, the location of the Biblical Tabernacle. Tours can be arranged for the entire family, all ages. 02-5789122 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Simchat Torah in Stereo Plus

Eleven years ago I didn't celebrate Simchat Torah. It was the Jewish year 5770 I had rushed to New York to bring my elderly father to Israel. The holidays fell like this one, 5781, with Succot beginning on Shabbat and Simchat Torah the following Shabbat in Israel and Sunday in New York. I kept thinking of that crazy time yesterday as I could simultaneously hear the prayers of two, and sometimes three different outdoor prayer groups near my house. Yes, stereo plus.

Perched in my "private row of seats" by my front door I could usually hear most words very clearly from the outdoor minyan (prayer group) in the park across the street and the sounds of the prayers from where our neighborhood synagogue was praying behind our house. Sitting in our livingroom I could hear much of the prayers across the street and sometimes even some of the praying even further away.

Photo of the outdoor minyan prayers in the park across the street, taken on Succot Chol Hamoed, when permitted.
But the stereo plus, three different outdoor prayer prayer groups could be heard very clearly when I went to hear the Yizkor* prayer behind my house. The Yemenite minyan was praying outside on the other side of our synagogue building very loudly. So I heard them, our prayer leader and the prayers from the park. 

Simchat Torah was full of songs and prayers in the air.

Our neighborhood has so many outdoor prayer groups; it's amazing. I think that more people are praying together than ever before. We're in lockdown, so few people have to rush to work or school. I really enjoy that the sounds of prayers fill my house.

We have turned life of lemons into lemonade.

*Yizkor is the prayer said for the dead on certain Jewish Holidays.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rule of The Streets/Mobs/Demonstrations Anti-Democratic and Very Problematic

I was born and grew up in the United States and came to age in the 1960s when anyone how cared about an issue demonstrated in the streets, sidewalks or wherever we could, generally with police permits. I chose Jewish causes, Israel and freeing Soviet Jewry. I even met my husband at a SSSJ Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry demonstration. Most of my peers in public high school demonstrated for Civil Rights for black Americans. While some states technically had the same laws for all citizens, other states treated Negros, as they were called then, as second class citizens, not even allowing them to practice all their rights. 

One thing our demonstrations had in common were that we cared about issues. The idea that one could dare protest/complain about the results of elections, like the recent Not My President protests in the USA, or try to replace an elected official by shouting in the streets was unimaginable. I had been taught that such a thing would be illegal, immoral and anti-democratic going against the principles of due process or electoral system. When a mob aka demonstration demands that only their political opinion is correct certainly is not democratic.

When you live in a democracy, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you're happy with the results, and sometimes you're not. You may even be very upset and think your fellow citizens are WRONG or insane, but that's life. You may even think the law should have prevented someone from holding office, but you're not the law. Even if you and your friends are all convinced that someone shouldn't be in office, street demonstrations aren't the way to change leadership. There are laws, electoral process.

I'm no fan of Bibi Netanyahu, and I don't think that I've ever voted Likud, but those demonstrators out every night near the Prime Minister's residence don't represent me. In a very biblical Korach* way, they're just saying "no" to Bibi as Prime Minister, and their leadership is not revealing whom they want as PM. 

That's because saying "NOT BIBI" can get a bigger mob than touting Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid or some other name they haven't had the guts to pull out of their hat. A big reason is because the polls are very clear. Bibi Netanyahu is still number one when people are asked:

Whom do you prefer as Prime Minister of Israel? 

Number two in the polls is Naftali Bennett, and the fiscal funders (follow the money) of these demonstrations dread Bennett even more than they dislike Bibi. I heard one of the leaders on TV complaining about that. The ultimate aim of the protests is to put one of "their people" in as Prime Minister, and they see it a failure that davka Naftali Bennett of Yemina is rising in the polls. 

For years the anit-Bibi leadership has been looking for a figurehead from the Left to galvanize the Israeli public and succeed him as Prime Minister. It hasn't happened for two reasons:

  • There just isn't anyone from the Left capable of leading a Center-Left party and attracting enough votes to knock Likud out of the running.
  • Getting lots of Knesset Members voted in does not guarantee its party leader becoming Prime Minister. Tsippi Livni as head of Kadima preceded Gantz as a losing winner. 
Crafting/negotiating a coalition is a skill, apparently more complicated and difficult than getting votes. That's why we needed three elections in such a short time. The present coalition is the most chaotic and dis-united ever. The only reason the two main parties haven't divorced is that their leaderships are terrified of new elections. That's the one thing they agree on.

Back to those demonstrations. 
  • Only elections can change the government,
  • Only internal Likud primaries can change the leadership in Likud.
  • The street isn't where prime ministers are chosen in a democracy.
A few thousand people chanting in the streets or even tens of thousands chanting in the streets can't and shouldn't have the power to change a government. And it's immoral to even think they can do so. They should follow legal process and the electoral system. Politics is a profession demanding many skills. If they want to change the leadership, they must use the electoral system not loud speakers. 

Photo by Rachel Brynien, Used With Permission
For the first time, tonight's demonstration was set up with chairs for social distancing. Previous demonstrations were crowded, as one can see in newspaper reports and TV news. 

For more of my Korach posts click here.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Forget "Herd Immunity," "Swedish Model," It's Evil

Israelis who don't like the idea of wearing a mask and keeping "social distance" to avoid contracting or spreading coronavirus/COVID tout the "Herd Immunity," "Swedish Model." Unfortunately they're ignoring the truth. It's evil.  "Herd Immunity," "Swedish Model" is just a benign sounding euphemism for Survival of the Fittest, or killing off the weak.

They see the financial ramification of this policy is "good," because it eliminates the physically weaker members of society. The old and weak are the people who will get sick and die much earlier. 

The higher the average age in a country the more vulnerable its financial stability. They have fewer young productive earners supporting the needs of the elderly and medically vulnerable. Allowing a pandemic to rage "eliminates" those who will be costing the country large sums over the years.

Thank Gd Israeli politicians, as rotten as they may seem at times, have been trying to protect the elderly and weak.

I just hope and pray that ordinary Israelis will be willing to keep their masks on and follow the other guidelines to keep us all safe and healthy. Please remember that even previously healthy people have died or become infirm from corona/COVID, not just the obviously vulnerable.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Celebrating Fifty 50 Years in Israel, Part 2

Yes, I was pregnant that first year in Israel, and before the
year was up, we became parents.
Many of you have been asking for more of my stories about our early days in Israel, fifty 50 years ago. So here goes...

If you've walked to the Kotel from Jaffa Gate, or reverse direction, by following the inside of the city walls, you'll recognize where I'm standing.

Living in the Old City of Jerusalem, which wasn't referred to as the Rova Yehudi, Jewish Quarter, in those days was thrilling. It was both a tourist site and building site.

Some days we'd open the door of  our home the Maon Betar, corner of Rechov Plugat Hakotel and Rechov Hayehudim and discover it blocked off by swarms of tourists. Once some tourists got all excited to see us, because they were friends of my parents and had promised to look for us.

Another day, when I was already close to my due date with our first child, I discovered that the pathway had been dug up, and it was a deep drop to the planks of wood that had replaced it. I closed the door and turned around. That was the end of my shopping, or I had thought. One of the guys living in Maon Betar insisted it was safe and helped me down. Later that day when he stepped down, the wooden plank broke. I'm so grateful I hadn't fallen; I would have needed the Emergency Room.

The photo on the left is from a few weeks after we had docked. If you look carefully you'll notice that my jaw is a bit swollen. No I wasn't hit.

About half way through our voyage to Israel, I began feeling what I suspected was an impacted wisdom tooth. I was in terrible pain. Our table mates in the dining area gave me a bottle of strong booze and instructed me in simple pain control. I'd dampen some cotton with the booze and keep it where the pain was. It got me through the rest of the boat ride.

Soon after we docked, we began inquiring about top notch dental care. While today's Israeli dentists are on a high level, fifty years ago, the situation wasn't as good, to put it mildly. A friend possibly Emanuel "Adam" Hanegbi, the father of Tzachi Hanegbi ,or David Federman, the father of Noam Federman, recommended that I go to Hadassa Hospital in Ein Kerem which had a dental clinic considered the most modern in the country.  They agreed with my guess; it was an impacted wisdom tooth. That's where I had it operated on. When the surgery was over, I was told to keep ice on my jaw. The only problem was that I didn't have any ice. So when we got off the bus we asked for some in a restaurant. And when we got back to the Old City, we got more from our neighbor Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Segal.

These two photos are from our first Chanuka. The guys in the Maon Betar took the mitzvah of pirsum haness, publicizing the miracle very seriously. With the help of cans and kerosene thy lit up an "impromptu" Chanukiya (menorah) using the rooftop domes of our building.

Further installments will get harder, because I don't have too many photographs.

I'd love to hear your reactions to these stories.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Yes, Things are a Mess Here

Blogger is having some sort of age crises and has decided to make major changes. The graphics/layout that has kept me happy for years has gone demented or to the "next world." I've just wasted tons of time trying to restore it all, but for nought. AKA yes, I've failed.

At the present this is the best I can do.


I don't have any more patience for this. It's just a "blog," not major heath, life/death whatever.

No real surprise that they've chosen a time when we're masked, almost gagged.

Gd willing, I'll soon be laughing about it. Yes, this blogger mess should be my biggest problem.