Hamas War

Saturday, September 30, 2006

War, isn't it?

Israel isn't defending its citizens!

Qassam hits house in Sderot; 2 people lightly injured
Firing of Qassam rockets toward Sderot continues: Rocket fired from northern Gaza Strip directly hits house. Two people injured by shrapnel and seven others suffer from shock. In cabinet meeting this week, Dichter says: 'State not providing sufficient response to Sderot residents' (picture credit)

What is the government waiting for?

For years, Kiryat Shemoneh suffered from rocket attacks, and the Israeli government did nothing, too. It was only when Haifa and Nahariya were attacked did they show some interest.

Sociologically, Kiryat Shemoneh and Sderot are similar places. They aren't populated by the Ashkenaz elite. Could that be one of the reasons?

Friday, September 29, 2006


None of us are perfect.
We should all be searching for ways to improve, redo and undo.
People in public life have it much worse.
Think of the outgoing Chief Rabbi of the Army, Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss. He made a speech in which he stated that Disengagement was a mistake. But he fully took part in it by not resigning in protest. That was over a year ago when as a good soldier, he obeyed orders. Moshe Burt says that his statement shouldn't be considered repentance.

If he had stood up before Disengagement, said that it was wrong and encouraged all moral soldiers to refuse, there would not have had been Disengagement. The entire evil scheme would have fallen apart.

Big deal that he NOW realizes that it was bad and there shouldn't be any more "disengagements." Even some anti-religious leftists have admitted that it was a mistake and endangered the country.

We're a people desperate for true leadership to take us in the right direction to save and develop our People and country. I have no patience for people like Rabbi Weiss. Of course, he lives and breathes and therefore can still grow into a better person and maybe even a good leader.

In just over an hour (Israel time) I'll be lighting the Shabbat candles and then will enjoy the 25 hours which gives us a taste of the World to Come. I love the fact that all must be cooked and prepared before Shabbat, none of the mundane chores and cares. I can devote myself to prayer, Torah study and reflection.

In 48 hours (Israel time) we'll be eating the meal before the Yom Kippur fast. Yom Kippur is on an even higher level than Shabbat, since we neither eat nor drink. Our energies are focused on our prayers to G-d.

Shabbat Shalom
Gmar Chatimah Tovah
picture credit

An Important pre-Yom Kippur Story

Another Woman and Girl Rescued from Torment in Arab Village

12:50 Sep 29, '06 / 7 Tishrei 5767
by Hillel Fendel

A Yad L'Achim special: Eight hareidi-religious Jews in disguise rescued a Jewish girl from her Moslem father's home in the PA-controlled city of Tul Karem, east of Netanya.

Accounts differ as to how precisely the rescue took place, but it was clearly planned thoroughly in advance. The story began several years ago when an Arab man from Tul Karem met a Jewish girl from Ashdod, and it was "love at first sight," according to the Arab. The Jewess has a different version, however; she says he first fooled her into believing he was Jewish - and neglected to mention that he was already married with children. In fact, when the two later married and moved to Tul Karem, the first wife and five children lived nearby, without her knowledge.

The Jewish woman said her husband forbade her to go outside and beat her, and also later beat her daughter, born five years ago.

The story is similar to that told by hundreds of women who marry Moslems and live in Arab villages in Judea and Samaria. See the five-part Arutz-7 series by Mayaan Jaffe of two years ago, including:

'I Was Totally Alone'
'The Verbal Abuse Was Worst of All'
When Israeli Women Marry Arab Men
'He Was Taking Over My Mind'
'I Was Silent and I Was Alone'

After a while, the woman went to visit her mother in Ashdod, taking her daughter with her. A few days later, she informed her Moslem husband that she was not returning. The man was willing to accept his second wife's departure, but not that of his daughter - and he traveled to Ashdod and snatched her back to Tul Karem. He later claimed that back in Tul Karem, she "flowered," and that she had complained of being beaten by her grandmother "and not being allowed to stay up past 8 PM."

The mother then called Yad L'Achim, an organization that actively combats Christian missionaries and helps Jewish women suffering in Moslem villages. One account says that the religious men came into the town dressed as Arabs and asked directions for the man's house, while others say they were dressed as IDF soldiers and arrived under the guise of a terrorist-arresting operation. In any event, they entered the house, took the man and the 5-year-old girl, sped out of town, and immediately afterwards, released the father.

Meanwhile, another car was bringing the mother and grandmother to meet them. A Yad L'Achim operative who took part in the rescue was quoted in the Maariv newspaper as describing the emotional reunion: "The little girl had been sitting curled up in the car, then she got out, barefoot and with pajamas, and when she saw her mother, they embraced and fell together on the road, together with the grandmother."

The reunited mother and daughter are now in an undisclosed location, planning the legal battle to allow them to stay together. The father, for his part, has filed a complaint with the police of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Yad L'Achim (lit., Hand to Brothers) reports that it has saved "hundreds of Jewish women" in this manner in the course of the past year. Chairman Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz said, "Hundreds of Jewish children and youths are rolling about in Arab villages, not knowing a thing about their Jewishness."

In the Jewish year 5765, which ended last Rosh HaShanah, the organization rescued 58 such children and 34 women in 47 rescues. The story that generally repeats itself is that the women regret having married Arabs, but their husbands refuse to allow them to return to their original homes.

"The children we saved would never have cried out 'Shma Yisrael,' would not have known they were Jewish, and certainly would have had no way of growing up as Jews," Yad L'Achim sources say.

A spokeswoman for the group said that the rescue was a last-resort mission, "after we turned to all the relevant authorities and were not answered, and after we saw that there was a definite threat upon the girl and others." She noted that two Arab women had recently turned to the group for help as well, "and we helped them happily."

Yad L'Achim also says it brought about the closure of 27 missionary centers in the past year, as well as 18 the year before.

One of the issues the group is currently dealing with involves the revelation that a missionary cult is running a nursery in a municipally-owned building in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. Yad L'Achim reports that it recently discovered that for the past three years, an educational association has been illegally subletting the building to a missionary organization, which in turns operates a nursery there, "spreading its racist, anti-Semitic teachings, with missionary objectives, without the knowledge of the parents and children."

City Councilmen Rabbis Yosef Deitsch and Yaakov Shnor have asked Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky to immediately cancel the lease.

The two discovered the missionary activity when they were looking for better quarters for two Chabad nurseries, which are currently serving 90 children in a nearby bomb shelter in very crowded conditions.

Behind the news

Recently, there was a news report about a rich American who had covered the debts to the grocer for Gush Katif refugees.

The report bothered me. Those who just spent without considering the amount were given a larger gift than those who were more frugal or managed their money better.

I'm glad to report that the story isn't quite the way it was reported, but my sources report lots of other and more serious problems:
The article on Israel National News about the philanthropist paying the
grocery debts of Gush Katif expellees at Nitzan is not quite accurate.

I spoke to the proprietor of the macolet directly. The philanthropist
distributed a total of 30,000 NIS among those people with the largest debts at
macolets at many locations where Gush Katif expellees are located - paying a few
hundred shekalim on the largest debts of families at each of these

The debts were not "cleared" just reduced somewhat. Not a big story

The major issues facing the expellees now are: no movement on the
building of permanent homes or infrastructure work in the various locations where
families have been living in temporary housing (today there was a demonstration
in Jerusalem about this),
  • high unemployment among expellees -especially among farmers that have yet to
    be allocated land or money to start growing
  • stalled negotiations with govt. bodies about planning the new permanent
    communities including such issues as:
  • no land rights for renters in Gush Katif,
  • no land rights for the next generation of grown children,
  • no govt. provision for "replacing" the public institutions that we had in
    the Gush such as yeshivas, ulpanas, sport center, etc.

A major cause of all these problems is the original "chok pinui/pitzui"
(compensation law) passed by the last govt that only dealt with individual
financial compensation for each family based on a formula. The law didn't
provide for replacing communities as if the government didn't want or anticipate
that Gush Katif families would want to recreate their towns after the

There is no provision in the law for this and SELA, even with the best of
intentions, is incapable allocating funds etc. So, community leaders
at each site are meeting with all the govt. ministers and director generals to
get the money and permits - an endless and frustrating process given
the amount of bureaucracy - ie little to no movement after a year and 2

I guess that some 10% of the families from the Gush simply went their own
individual way and are not involved with this process.

By the way,
out of some 20+ locations intended for permanent communities, only in
Nitzan has infrastructure work begun, intended as one location for
families from Neve Dekalim.

Shabbat Shalom
Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bad News

During the 19 years that Jordan held Judea and Samaria it did nothing to develop it. Providing the cities and towns with modern infrastructure waited until Israel took over after the 1967, Six Days War. While I'm mentioning this "ancient history," I must remind or inform you that only two countries recognized Jordanian sovereignty, and they weren't even the Arab states. They were Great Britain and Pakistan.

During the 1970's and 1980's there would be periodic announcements in the Jerusalem Post saying that various cities (by name) were just connected to the Israeli water system or electric grid. When we moved to Shiloh in 1981, we could see that the generators in the Arab towns, we passed on the road, were turned off before midnight. At that time, even our telephone, the very few lines that went to Shiloh, were the old fashioned kind, via Arab operators. There wasn't even the availability of direct local dialing in 1981.

Now, of course, we and the Arabs here have the same modern life as all people in the western world.

I consider the news that "W. Bank city of Jericho to connect to Jordanian electricity grid" to be very dangerous and disturbing. It shows that Israel wants "out" of Judea and Samaria after investing so much.

63% among Palestinians agree that Palestinians should emulate HizballahÂ’s methods by launching rockets at Israeli cities compared to 35% who disagree. doesn't make me feel any better.

And don't forget that Russian-built Iranian reactor will be fully operational November 2007.

It shouldn't surprise you that Hizbullah moving rockets to Palestinian camps.

Sorry to be depressing you, but it's important to know our enemies.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Did someone say that the war was over?

If that's the case, then how was a Soldier hurt in Qassam strike in Sderot yesterday?

And how come the terrorists in Gaza managed to launch more kassams on Sderot today?

And why was there a Kassam Rocket Attack South Of Ashkelon , too?

And what's Egypt's role in all the attacks on Israel's south?

And why doesn't Olmert consider those attacks as attacks on our sovereinty?

Why is Olmert attacking Sderot's mayor instead of protecting the city and south of the country?

Aren't Sderot and Ashkelon part of Israel?

map credit

War Thoughts and Politics

There are two important articles in the Jerusalem Post. One is a very complete analysis of the recent war by Shmuel Katz, which I also posted on Blog Free!, just in case it disappears from the JP site.

The second is: Peretz: We have no partner for peace

Yes, I'm impressed. He actually seems to be paying attention to the facts rather than letting ideology rule his mind.

Peretz also voted against the budget, while none of his fellow Labor ministers joined him. The old-time Labor Party leaders never really liked him, since they're of the Ashkenaz elite, and he's a Sfardi "worker." You got it! The Labor party isn't of the "amcha," the ordinary "man in the street." It's the core of the Israeli left. Somehow Peretz was elected its leader, but its other politicians won't accept him. They thought they could control him.

I guess Peretz realized he had been set up and was left holding the bag. It'll be interesting to see what he does next.

There should be some interesting political maneuverings within the next few months. Let's see which Kadima rats try leaving its sinking ship. That's besides the Labor infighting...

If the Likud wants to gain the trust of the nation, it had better not accept any of the rats back!

I'm just an observer, and it looks like a nice show.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No surprise!

This is too important to ignore, so I'm doing something I rarely do. Here's the latest update on the Disengagement victims, the refugees from Gush Katif:

13 Months Later: No Progress on Permanent Gush Katif Homes

20:47 Sep 26, '06 / 4 Tishrei 5767
by Hillel Fendel

Former Gush Katif leaders warn: At this rate, thousands of people will be forced to spend between 5 and 7 years in the tiny temporary homes in their various refugee camps.

The damage caused by the Disengagement - the unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif and northern Shomron, in which nearly 10,000 Jews were displaced from their homes - is still being felt. Despite being nearly totally forgotten by the media, the residents continue to live in small temporary homes in transient communities, with no word on when they will be able to resume their lives in permanent locations.

Not one house has yet been built in their planned permanent neighborhoods - despite the government's publicity campaign boasting a "solution for every settler." Nearly two dozen leaders of the destroyed communities gathered for an emergency meeting last week, attempting to find a solution for the government's inaction on the matter.

The leaders demand that the government declare it a "national mission" to build the permanent towns and utilize emergency regulations for this purpose. "Just as the government had a deadline by which the families had to leave Gush Katif," the residents say, "there must be a firm timetable for the building of the different permanent communities."

Dror Vanunu is the head of the Gush Katif Development Fund and a former resident of Gush Katif's largest town, N'vei Dekalim; construction on his house was completed just months before the expulsion. Vanunu writes,
"The plan to expel the settlers from Gush Katif was announced by [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon in December of 2003 - 21 months before it was carried out. During this period, though there was comprehensive and professional planning for the expulsion of thousands of Jews from their homes, the 'day after' was almost completely ignored."

"They knew very well how to throw us out," another woman summed up, "but had little concern for what would happen to us afterwards."

The government's policy at first was to compensate the residents financially, and have them worry about their future living quarters on their own. This policy was in direct contradiction of the recommendation of the Legal Forum of the Land of Israel for the retention of the community structures that had been built up over they years. This recommendation was based largely on the lessons learned from the evacuation of Yamit in 1982. Only three months before the actual expulsion did the government begin to take action on building a new temporary community in Nitzan, with the verbal reassurance that permanent communities would be planned "afterwards."

A report issued by the State Comptroller six months ago found that "The State and its institutions failed in their treatment of the expelled citizens of Gush Katif... One thing dragged along another, and things got stuck. Everyone worked with the approach of 'Trust me, it will be OK' - until it was too late... The Prime Minister and Finance Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] did not steer their workers properly. The relevant ministers should have used all their influence to push things forward..."

"At the present time," writes Vanunu in a summation report released to the press, "the various communities of Gush Katif are all suffering from various stages of stagnation as regards to permanent housing. While each one of the villages and groups knows exactly where they are planning to settle, they are all suffering from pointless administrative delays. Some of the planned areas still are only in the initial planning stages. For some, the Government Planning Committee has given its approval, and in some areas there are significant delays due to governmental foot-dragging... If there will not be an immediate change in the attitude of the government toward this problem, thousands of people will be forced to spend between 5-7 years in the tiny caravillas in the different refugee camps."

The Residents Committee demands that the usual governmental procedure for building towns - which involves several stages involving different ministries and bodies - be accelerated, via the use of emergency orders if necessary, so that the families can end their in-limbo state and move into their permanent homes as quickly as possible.

Some 16 different future communities are stuck because of various delays. Some examples:

Kibbutz Mavki'im - 21 families from Pe'at Sadeh (southern Gush Katif) are waiting for construction on infrastructure to begin, despite the fact that the urban plan has been approved - and despite the fact that they signed an agreement with the State of Israel a full half-year before the expulsion.

Nitzanim - the showcase plan of the Sela [Aid to the Expellees] Administration in which hundreds of housing units were to be built, according to plans signed before the expulsion, for residents of several different agricultural settlements. In spite of promises by the Sela Administration that families that signed up for this project would be able to rebuild their homes quickly, preparation of the infrastructure has not begun because of "government foot-dragging" and legal procedures undertaken by the City of Ashkelon at the High Court of Justice.

The "Golf" Neighborhood of Ashkelon - 150 families from northern Gush Katif signed up for this project before the expulsion. In spite of government promises that work would begin immediately, the State has yet to complete the purchase of the land from the original owners.

Nitzan - 350 families, mostly from N'vei Dekalim, have signed up for this project. Considered to be at the most advanced stage of all of the various projects, the infrastructure is expected to be ready in December 2006. However, many unresolved issues are still outstanding, and the final agreement with the government has not yet been signed. The issues, as in other places, include disagreement over community buildings, solutions for second-generation residents, "non-eligible" residents, building assessments and so forth.

Egoz and Mirsham - Fifty families from N'vei Dekalim and additional families from all over the country want to move to Egoz, in the eastern Lachish region - south of Judea and east of Kiryat Gat. Forty families want to move to nearby Mirsham. Urban plans for the two do not even exist. For years now the government has been searching for pioneers willing to settle here and make the barren hills bloom.

Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim - A neighborhood adjoining the kibbutz is supposed to be built for 80 families of Ganei Tal. However, no work has begun in the area for the infrastructure.

Yesodot - intended for some 50 families from Netzer Hazani, but no agreement has been signed and the urban plan is only in the early stages of planning.

A Replacement for Ollie-mert?

Instead of our present Prime Minister, whose motto, more than ever appears to be [in his own words]: “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.”

And with a Defense Minister, who was described by Sever Plocker of Yediot Acharonot as: “The Histadrut labor union federation's secretary general was appointed to the post of defense minister and almost immediately embarked on a war whose objectives were vague and its conduct scandalous.”

And as Plocker goes on: “Intelligence sources assured us Hamas would not win the elections in the Palestinian Authority, and of course it did. The Gaza Strip went up in the flames of the Israeli Air Force's bombing, but the firing of Qassam rockets towards Israel has not ceased.”

And: “Tens of thousands of poor Israelis were abandoned for weeks in neglected bomb shelters in the north, desperately waiting for a moment of grace between the falling of one Katyusha rocket and another.”

Perhaps someone like this would do a bit better?

“The MK suggested that in order for Israel to secure the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers Israel should take terrorists hostage.
She also suggested that Israel destroy Arab infrastructure and ‘cut off all oxygen so that they cry “Mercy”. ‘Why should they have electricity if Shalit has not been returned?’ she asked. ‘Where is our strength? Where is our logic?’ she asked.”
“The way of humanitarian gestures towards the Arabs has failed,” she added.

Who is she? MK Esterina Tratman of the Yisrael Beitenu party.

Ollie, step down and make way for someone who knows how to do the job!

Nu? Jewish Civil Rights?

Considering that Jews are always in the forefront of every civil rights movement in the world, it's strange that their antennae aren't buzzing over the lack of religious freedom for Jews. Yes, I'm calling these a simple Civil Rights issues.

These abuses of Civil Rights took place in Israel, actually in Jerusalem, within the old city walls. To be more specific, the first one took place near the kotel, the Western Wall of what remains from the ancient Temple Compound.

What's known as the "kotel" isn't the only remnant of the Temple Compound walls where Jews gather to pray. Another popular spot is the Kotel Katan. On Rosh Hashannah, in the middle of prayer, a young Jew was forcefully arrested for blowing the shofar, ram's horn. Shofar blowing is an intrinsic part of the Rosh Hashannah prayers.

Another recent police action is the ruling that Jews in the, sic, Moslem Quarter must stay locked inside 8-10pm every evening. Instead of preventing violent Moslems from attacking them, the Jews are being restricted. Oops! did I write "violent Moslems?" Didn't the pope get into trouble for saying something like that?

Is this general situation comparable to the saying:
The cobblers' children go shoeless.

Or is it much more insidious?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good thing today's a fast day

Yes, fasting, like in starving...
because the latest news is just the thing to lose one's appetite or latest meal.

The last thing Israel needs is another political party. But the "who me? I'm no extremist" YESHA crowd thinks that they should form a new political party.

What a waste of money, votes, etc. I'm not naive enough to think that the public is smart enough not to vote for them. It's clear that another "center-right" party will just lose us seats.

I'm sure your comments will make more sense than their plans. I hope that they don't do it. Let them join the Likud.

Here's the article:

Yesha Supporters May Form New Party
13:19 Sep 25, '06 / 3 Tishrei 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Gush Etzion leader Shaul Goldstein has said the movement backing Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) is considering a new political party, the Washington Post reported Monday. Describing Goldstein as "a settler leader who is identified with the movement's pragmatic wing," the newspaper described the "hard-line wing" headed by National Union Knesset Member Effie Eitam as having little chance of winning public support.

MK Eitam recently came out twice in favor of moving "a large majority of Arabs out of Judea and Samaria." Goldstein stated that the nationalist movement in Israel is frustrated, "even though many in the left wing can now see that our warnings about withdrawing from Gaza were not simply propaganda."

Kadima MK Otniel Schenller, who backed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's program for more expulsions before shelving the idea after the war in Lebanon, told the Post, "No settlement will be dismantled until we get legitimacy for the settlement blocs."

Another reason not to support Likud

There's talk of a deal between Bibi and Mofaz to sweeten Mofaz's return to Likud in an attempt to topple Olmert and his government. Mofaz should not be given any further public office. He has proven himself selfishly ambitious and incompetent.

Mofaz, along with Barak and Ya'alon should be "credited" with bringing the IDF to its present sorry condition.

As far as I'm concerned the MK's who deserted parties to join Kadima should all be shunned. They mustn't be accepted as candidates to the Knesset by any other party.

Yes, they should be put in political cherem. That's what they deserve, and that would be the best lesson for all present and future Israeli politicians!

Rare Situation

Here's a picture I took at last year's Od Avihu Chai March, and here are more.

I generally perceive things differently from others. My mind lives naturally "out of the box." It's not a thinking process, or technique I've had to learn and adopt. So it feels pretty peculiar to see these two polls, one by Dahaf for Yediot Ahronot and the other by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute for Israel Policy Center and discover that I'm in the "majority" more than once.

Of course, a sizable percentage of the people asked are frequently changing their opinions. The fact that today we agree doesn't mean that they will agree with me tomorrow or they agreed with me last year.

Now, 73% oppose "an additional unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria," but that doesn't mean that they won't support it, if and G-d forbid when the government proposes it "packaged differently." We shouldn't relax and get over-confident. This is a sign that with the right approach the country is with us.

Here are four very crucial questions, basically the same, and look at the consistent replies:
Do you agree or disagree with the assertion that the Israeli foreign and
security policy towards the Arab State and the Palestinians in the last five
years was not responsibly managed?
Agree (was irresponsible) 57% Disagree 23% Other 20%

Do you agree or disagree with the assertion that today, in retrospect, the
push to reach peace with the Palestinians caused damage to the State of
Agree (damaged) 57% Disagree 31% Other 12%

Do you agree or disagree with the assertion that the citizens of Israel
should make a basic change in their relationship towards Arabs and
Palestinians, and relate to them with considerably more hardness and not
seek simple ways to resolve the Israeli Arab conflict?
Agree (change) 62% Disagree 27% Other 11%

What position do you identify more with:
17% Make peace with enemies
60% Israel's enemies don't want peace with us
16% Both to same extent
07% Other

But this is the one closest to my heart:
What position do you identify more with?
82% The lives of IDF soldiers
should not be endangered in order to preserve
the lives of innocent Lebanese civilians.
04% The lives of IDF soldiers should be endangered in order to
preserve the lives of innocent Lebanese civilians
10% Neither
04% Other

My neighbor, Moshe Keinan was the first to bring this point to the public after his son, Avihu, was killed in a badly planned army action.

Join the Od Avihu Chai March to Jerusalem, on Succot, Thursday, October 12. For details call Orit 0545-649-140. It's possible to join us at any part of the route, even when we're approaching the Old City Walls of Jerusalem and then sing and dance with us to the Kotel!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Year in Review

The pictures are from the August 10 Nefesh B'Nefesh flight.

It's already the new year, 5767, and like many Israelis, I'm not very optimistic. This past year was just awful.

The good news is that we're still here, and olim chadashim, new immigrants are arriving. And the bad news is that not only is the government filled with incompetent, selfish politicians, but this summer's war, showed that the army isn't much better. Our soldiers are wonderful, and so are most of the people, but those giving the orders should be sent packing.

If there were elections tomorrow, I wouldn't know whom to vote for. The party I voted for the past few elections, ever since the demise of the T'chiya Party, has totally disappointed me. Yes, the Ichud Le'umi, the National Union, which was deserted by Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu Party, "divorced" him and "married" the National Religious Party. Considering how many of the NU leaders originated in the NRP, it seems like the Moledet contingent has been diluted to almost nothing.

Our nation is starving for leadership, and I don't see any coming from the National Union. I'm not at all comfortable with Lieberman. And I don't trust Bibi and his Likud to do what's necessary. Nobody is voicing the National Vision I'm dreaming of.

This is not a good way to start the new year.

Gmar Chatima Tovah

Friday, September 22, 2006

Three years already?!

Yesterday I went to our local cemetery for Avihu Keinan's Azkara, Memorial Ceremony. Three years after his death in a badly planned army action, and the cemetery was packed.

Avihu was killed by terrorists in Gaza, because the army, in their miss-guided, perversely "moral" thinking decided that it was safer for possibly "innocent Arab civilians," if our soldiers would carefully go through a building, known to harbor terrorists, rather than just blowing it up. In simple words, Avihu was "set up" by our own army. The terrorists had no problems killing him, and he didn't have a chance to defend himself.

In anger and in pain, his father, Moshe, declared that he would march to Jerusalem and spend the Succot Holiday in a protest succah at the President's Residence. And that's what he did. It is now a Shiloh tradition to march to Jerusalem during Succot. The picture in the banner of the flags at Sha'ar Shechem is from the second march. Everyone's invited to join us for all or part of the march, which will end at the kotel. For more information call Orit 0545-649-140.

From the cemetery we went to the Dedication of a new park, next to the Keinan home, Gan Avihu. The beautiful and well-constructed table and swing were made and designed by a friend of his. Moshe gave a short shiur, Torah lesson, and we ate and watched the sunset over the Tel of Ancient Shiloh.

The picture below is from the third Od Avihu Chai march to Jerusalem. That's Moshe with his grandsons.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

27%? No vote of confidence

The media is proclaiming that 27 percent of the public believe that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is the most suitable person to head the government. OK, yes that's a plurality, but it's no vote of confidence. You can't reword it as "most Israelis want Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister." All it means is that in Mina Tzemach's poll, when people were given a list of possible Prime Ministers, more chose Bibi than any of the others.

Bibi was the only Likud choice. Avigdor Lieberman got 15%, and they were the only choices not from Kadima or Labor.

In another poll, the percentages of support, "approval rating," for the government ministers dropped by an average of half or more. For instance, Olmert "plummeted to 22 percent, compared to 48 percent six weeks ago."

And the ongoing saga of President Katzav is dropping to a new low, as he is now trying to show that the charges are from Bibi supporters, since he could have had been considered serious competition to Bibi. Honestly, considering how Bibi and his wife were hounded during his previous time in office, I don't think he has that sort of power.
photo credit

New Year's Wishes

All that glitters isn't gold
Be neither blinded nor distracted
by fancy phrases
and empty promises

Redemption isn't from

the UN, US

or any earthly being

Yisrael, Yisrael, Batach B'Hashem

ישראל ישראל בטח ב...

People of Israel, Trust in G-d

Wishing you and rewarding, wonderful year of health, happiness and true peace.

and for the past year in pictures,

you don't need to understand Hebrew

Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all that glisters, gold.

[Thomas Gray (1716-1771), British poet. Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes (l. 40-42). . . Gray's English Poems; Original and Translated from the Norse and the Welsh [Thomas Gray]. D. C. Tovey, ed. (1922) Reprint Services.]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


If you have the wrong address on the envelope, or in the "to:" space, your message won't get where intended.

As I write this, Rosh Hashannah, the two-day holiday ushering in the Jewish New Year, is just over 50 hours away, Israel time.

The State of Israel and many Jewish people devote their energies trying to get recognition and support from the wrong "bodies" or "beings."

As the month of Elul, when we concentrate our energies on "tshuva," repentance, comes to a close, we must focus our worship, our energies in the right direction. And the kotel isn't it either. It's just a remnant of the outer wall of the compound. It is not a wall of the Holy Temple.

Shannah Tovah!
Have a truly wonderful year.
Chag Sameach

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More on the Legal Chelm in Israel

From our friend, Yitzchak Heimowitz, the lawyer I mentioned in No Joke!:

I certainly do remember.

This Chelmite situation existed and still exists whenever people purchase apartments. The basis is the fact that kablanim do not pay their lawyers. The lawyer does the work of buying the lot, getting the zoning changed, making combination deals with the original owners, etc. without any payment from the kablan. The latter promises him that anyone who buys an apartment will have to pay the lawyer a fee (usually 1 1/2%). If not, that person will not be able to buy.

Many years ago I tried to get the Bar Association to rule there was a conflict of interest and one lawyer should not be allowed to represent both sides. However the economic interest of the lawyers who represent kablanim was so strong, that all the Israel Bar did was to adopt a requirement that the kablan's lawyer must put a clause in the contract stating that he represents the seller and that the buyer is entitled to get his own lawyer, BUT he still has to pay the 1 1/2% to the seller's lawyer in addition to his fee to his own lawyer.

Lots of Israelis who are making the largest investment of their lives decide to cut the expense of the fee to their own lawyer and just pay the kablan's lawyer.

Welcome to Israel (Chelm)!

about my trip to Kever Rachel... don't ask!

If you saw this, then you can guess where we ended up. Yes, we ended up at the kotel, and I was very wrong. It was crowded, as you can see in that picture. The ones below are close-ups.

So, let's start at the very beginning, A very good place to start...

The women of Shiloh and nearby yishuvim (communities) go to Kever Rachel (Rachel's Tomb) every month before the start of the Jewish, lunar month. So, this month, because of all the Rosh Hashannah preparations and Avihu Keinan's Memorial events, we scheduled it a couple of days early.

Some months I can't make it because of work and babysitting for my granddaughters, but this time everything fell into place. It was my short day at work, and I planned on taking the junior high bus to Ofra to meet the bus from Shiloh to Kever Rachel. I'd even have time to rest in my daughter's house. Then...

It seemed a bit too quiet at work. The junior high was on a school trip, and there wouldn't be the ride to Ofra that I was counting on. OK, I refused to allow myself to get hysterical. I had plenty of time. Another teacher offered to take me, but later. OK, still enough time and an option to wait at the "T" Junction, which I ended up doing. Thank G-d for cell phones.

The bus was very crowded, more crowed than ever before, which meant that expenses were covered. There were a lot of young mothers with children, besides the more middle-aged regulars. That was good.

When we got to the "Ma'avar Michmas," Kochav Yaakov junction, we turned into the gas station parking lot, and I discovered that we were changing buses, since ours wasn't working well, as if the new one was. Have you ever heard of passive solar heating? That was it! The bus was a sauna, and the air-conditioner wasn't any stronger than a weak fan. But we're tough! We're pioneers, and we kept on going to Kever Rachel.

Then we arrived at the "border" and discovered that there were many buses ahead, waiting. No one was being let in. "They," the "authorities" had decided to do some repairs and ripped up the streets. The girls in the picture above were also waiting.

Not being carefree high school girls we quickly came up with an alternative plan and got approval from the organizers and bus company. We would go to the kotel. There was no way that we would go home without something "special."

One neighbor told us that it seemed strange that it was closed since her husband had gone with the junior high that morning. When she phoned him later, he reported that yes, they had gotten in fine, but suddenly when they were supposed to leave, they weren't let out because of the road repairs, and they were "imprisoned" several hours, with those junior high boys! There had been no notices of closure in advance. The school had all the necessary permits!

On our way to the kotel, we checked the time and realized that we'd probably arrive too late for mincha, the afternoon prayer, so we prayed in the bus. I mentioned that we'd end up arriving too late for mincha and too early for ma'ariv (the evening prayer) and we'd waste time.

I should have kept my mouth shut. Immediately we were stuck in a traffic jam. So we didn't waste any time at the kotel and we were too late for me to take pictures of the sunset. I had also predicted that the kotel would be empty-- wrong again! It was comfortably crowded, and for the first time in a long time, I dovened in the little room on the side (next picture,) where I had gone frequently as a student.

Shannah Tovah!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Don't Fire the Speech Writers!

picture credit

picture credit

There's nothing the pope could say to pacify, or apologize to the Moslems, no matter how hard he (with the help of the best speech writers) tries. They're always looking for excuses to hate and murder. They don't care who the victims are.

Sorry for the bad news, but it's the truth.

Remember that the terrorists don't see the world the way most of us do.

Know Your Enemy!

ACTION ALERT :: National Solidarity Rally in NYC

Dear Friend of Jerusalem,

This Wednesday, thousands of us are joining a mass rally in solidarity with Israel, in support of the war against global terror and its state sponsors, and to demand the immediate release of the three Israeli soldiers being held hostage.

The demonstration will coincide with the presence of world leaders, taking place at the opening sessions of the U.N. General Assembly, in New York City. It is expected that Iranian President Amadinejad will be in attendance.

Mark the date! The rally will take place Wed., September 20th, 12:00 Noon
(Rain or Shine), at UN headquarters at: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 2nd Avenue at 47th Street, New York City. Take Subways: 4, 5, 6, or 7 to Grand Central Station.

The event is co-sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, in conjunction with United Jewish Communities, UJA-Federation of New York, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, as well as scores of national and local organizations.

Please join us there, spread the word, and invite your friends. Let's join forces in demanding the release of Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, and Gilad Shalit.

For more information, see here, email the organizers: or call 212-318-6111.


Allen Roth and David Goder

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Countdown's and Updates

This will be cross-posted on me-ander.

It's less than one week to Rosh HaShannah, the "Jewish New Year." We don't celebrate it like they do in Times Square and all sorts of parties when the secular (actually Christian) year changes. First there's a month of reflection, then a two day holdiay of prayer, including hearing the "shofar," a ram's horn, blown in a soul-searching pattern.

Rosh HaShannah isn't the end of the holiday season, because a week after it's over, on the 10th of the Jewish month of Tishrei, is Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment, when G-d, judges what rewards or punishment we will receive, whether we are to live or die. And then a half a week later we begin the week long holiday of Succot, when we are reminded how temporary our material possessions are, since we are commanded to live in "booths." As that holiday ends, we celebrate, Simchat Torah and finish the annual cycle when we read the Torah.

Yes, it's the busiest time of the year in the Jewish Calendar.

Three years ago, just before Rosh HaShannah, a tragedy happened to a Shiloh family. Their son was killed in a badly planned army action. Ever since, each Succot, Moshe Keinan, the bereaved father of Avihu, leads a march to Jerusalem. This year it will take place, G-d willing, the 5th Day of Chol Hamoed, October 12. To meet up with us and march along, contact Orit for details, 0545-649-140.

They were all people

The 20,946,000 victims of Nazi Germany were all people, and some people, amazingly, survived, and some of the murdered are lucky enough to have living descendents. Today, over 60 years after the defeat of the Nazi Regime, the custodians of the possessions looted from the victims refuse to return the objects to the actual owners or their descendents.

The art world is plagued by discoveries that museums and private art owners are holding and displaying works which were stolen from Jewish families. Some of these families have descendents who can prove family ownership and want their families' possessions back. A number of the paintings are worth millions of dollars, painted by world-reknown artists, and they've been traded a number of times over the decades. So here, the controversy is more than nostalgia. Money adds to the pain and complications.

But there are cases in which only nostalgia is involved, like the saga of the suitcase. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland shows a display of suitcases packed by the Jews who thought they were were just being "transferred" to a ghetto or "innocent" work camp. It was part of the psychological preparation used by the Nazis to prevent organized "refusal." It just so happens that one of the suitcases, artistically arranged by the French artist Christian Boltanski , belonged to the father of Michel Lavi-Leleu, who is alive and fighting for the right to reclaim the bag.

Language shows a nation's culture and values. Whenever I have to teach my students the meaning of the term "Lost and Found," I tell them that there is no exact translation in Hebrew. In Hebrew we have the phase " Ha'shavat Aveida;" it mean "Returning the Lost Item to Its Owners." It is light years away from the phrase I grew up hearing: "Finders keepers; losers weepers."

The curators and administrators of the various museums which have been set up in the Concentration Camps and those responsible for items stored by the Nazis never saw their mandate as being the return of the items to their original owners. For them, the Jews were murdered and that's it. The fact that some survived and others have descendents is more an annoyance than anything else.

I generally avoid Holocaust memorials. I don't like the fact that they are commercialized and that funds which should be going into Jewish Education to perpetuate the Jewish Nation is instead "celebrating" murdered Jews, without even stressing the fact that they were murdered. The verb used in Yad Veshem is "perished."

Combining these two issues means that, "never say never," I have no plans of visiting any Holocaust memorials.

I hope that there will be a change in policy, and survivor families will receive all items without having to spend thousands of dollars and untold emotional energy on legal battles.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilech!" Stand Up Straight, Tall and Proud

I usually write my Parshat Shavua in me-ander, but this, even the pshat, the simple text, has such an important political message.

The Jewish Year is ending, less than a week to go. Next Shabbat will already be Rosh Hashannah, the Holiday of the Beginning of the New Year. Our Biblical readings, Parshot Hashavua, are also coming to their annual close. Moshe's reign is about to end, and he is giving his final instructions to the Jewish People.

Today we read the double Parsha (Portion), Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilech. They are in Dvarim, Deuteronomy, 29, 9 until 31, 30.

It begins:
29:9 Ye are standing this day all of you before the Lord your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,

Actually, we should remember that we are always before G-d, whether standing, sitting, awake or asleep. G-d sees everything we do and knows our thoughts.

As I was reading the Parsha as the Torah was read, I found words that expressed so much of what is important for our survival:
31:6 Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be affrighted at them; for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'

This is the message I have been trying to pass on. We have G-d on our side. That is what is written here. With G-d on our side we don't need the United States, the United Nations, Europe, anyone else! We just must live according to G-d's instructions.

This week in Israel, the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was sworn in. The Israeli Supreme Court, especially under Aharon Barak made laws according to his "revolutionary principles" rather than Israeli Law.

Back to the Parsha...
Moshe prepared the people to accept Joshua as his successor:
31:7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel: 'Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt go with this people into the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

31:8 And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed.'

and then...:
30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil,

30:16 in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shalt live and multiply, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.

30:17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

30:18 I declare unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it.

30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed;

30:20 to love the Lord thy God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for that is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Shavua Tov
Shannah Tovah
Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Friday, September 15, 2006

No Joke

If only this was just a fictional tale from Chelm, that mystical, mythical place where miss-guided fools do such absurd things...

But it's happening in the real world, unfortunately.

Yesterday, or the day before, I caught my daughter's boss, Eliad Shraga, on the TV trying to explain why Olmert shouldn't have the right to appoint the committee to investigate the war.

It reminded me of the time we were looking to buy an apartment in Jerusalem. We were very young and I was pregnant with our first child. One thing we knew was that we mustn't sign a contract without having our own lawyer approve it.

We found an apartment, which was under construction, met the contractor, got a contract and contacted an old friend, who pre-aliya, was the lawyer who specialized in getting our friends out of jail after "illegal demonstrations."

It helped that
  • he was a friend
  • he spoke English
  • was qualified to practice law in both countries
  • and of course we trusted him

After going over the contract, he had a couple of recommendations, that things be changed, or we shouldn't sign.

So the three of us went to the contractor's office, in the Sansour Building, Zion Square, Jerusalem. He was our spokesman and explained it all to the contractor who replied:

What do you need a lawyer for? I
have a lawyer. Everything's legal. Use mine.

We tried to explain that his lawyer protects him interests, and our lawyer protects ours. Finally we left, walked down the stairs, then stopped, looked at each other and burst out laughing.

The TV guy said exactly the same thing to Eliad:

What's the big deal? Olmert appointed a
judge. Isn't that what you wanted?

Eliad tried to explain that the judge was Olmert's judge, beholding to Olmert.

So, 36 years on, and nothing has changed.
picture credit

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Time to Roar

Consider where the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) summit is to take place.

Sep. 14, 2006 0:52
Jerusalem braces for usual 'bashfest' at nonaligned parley

Israel is bracing itself for yet another Israel bashing festival when the triennial Nonaligned Movement (NAM) summit opens Saturday in Fidel Castro's Havana.

"We expect to be taken to the cleaners, criticized for everything short of breathing," one government official said Wednesday.

Why should our government officials sound like a bunch of nebichy wimps? Of course Israel will be treated like the world's punching bag when it acts like a bunch of whining kids! the bashing won't stop until we act like a strong self-reliant nation!

Look at Fidel Castro and take the good from him. We must learn from everyone. Yes, I know he's far from perfect, but he didn't let the United States boss him around. And I know that his medical condition isn't good. His poverty-stricken country has had the U.S. quaking for almost 50 years. Believe me, Cuba has a lot less resources than we do.

Like in the science of Body Language. We're sending out messages that are endangering us.
And if it really bothers you to use Castro as a role model, how about learning from literature or cinema? The Mouse That Roared has more truths than most Political Science texts.

Because we have been so weak and apologetic for "breathing," Israeli Arabs are no longer shy about expressing their true feelings. Even Arab Knesset Members aren't afraid to show "solidarity" with our enemies. This is very dangerous for the State of Israel.

The Israeli Government has always tried to show the Arabs that they are part of the state, even reducing the official Jewish identity and giving Arabs equal status. But this isn't working the way it was "planned." Instead of grateful, loyal Arabs, we have terrorists and traitors. They want us dead, destroyed, gone. G-d forbid!

And to quote from a favorite song of mine:

I Whistle a Happy Tune
by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows
I'm afraid.

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows,
I'm afraid.

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are....

Tit for Tat

Oooh, that's an easy one!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Jordan to send doctor to check on health of prisoners in Israel

Jordan to send doctor to check on health of prisoners in Israel
Amman, Sep. 13(Petra - Jordan News Agency)-- The Foreign Ministry is
exerting intensive diplomatic efforts to send a Jordanian doctor to check on
health conditions of the Jordanian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially
Sultan Ajlouni.

Contacts of the Ministry are also expected to enable prisoners' families to
visit their relatives in Israeli jails.

//Petra// Salem
13/09/2006 18:21:54

We must demand to see all of our captured soldiers as a pre-condition! It doesn't matter that Jordan isn't the "guilty party." Let them take responsibility. The Red Cross hasn't seen our soldiers; so the damand makes sense if we really care about them.

Remember: Jordan is Palestine!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Scandal de jour

If the papers were serving this as a Main Course, we'd either be seriously obese or feeling so overstuffed and nauseous that we're ready to run to puke rather than even glance at the next "sensation."

I think the Israeli public is numb from the over-sized daily scandals about our politicians being dished out by the local muckrakers, aka investigative reporters.

Are we supposed to judge which crimes are better or worse? Are the sexual harrassers, rapists, more honest, more suited to lead the country, since they didn't break any "real laws?" They didn't steal money, just "kisses," self-respect and human dignity. Should Chaim Ramon and Moshe Katzav be banished from public life? Hillary forgave Bill!

Or are Olmert's financial corruption charges signs of a "better person?" It's not like he cheated on his wife! All he did was get the "best deal" for a family home.

And why should Tzachi Hanegbi be punished for providing jobs for his friends? Hadn't the Labor party been doing it for decades?

Yes, I could go on, ad nauseum.

I'll tell you what really worries me. That's the message our kids are getting. The bigger you are the more you can take, whether it's someone's body, money you didn't earn, or a job via "protexia."

High school teachers see it all the time, when students demand higher grades. They think they can bully us into helping them pass. There are even schools that play that game.

Cheating is an international epidemic, no matter the realm. Was the world always like this?

Sorry, Dry Bones

Usually you're right on target, but not this time.

It doesn't help to fight for peace. One must do everything to be strong and independent and take care of our own national needs first. Our priorities must be our civilians and soldiers. We mustn't try to please others.

We must strengthen ourselves. Then no one will touch us, and then we will have peace. Peace shouldn't be our aim. It's a side benefit to this internal strength.

Here's the comment I wrote:

It's more complicated. Peace comes from strength. The Arabs
don't want peace, and nothing we ever do will give us peace with them except to
be strong and say and mean: We don't care how many of you die; if you touch us,
you're dead!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Why not Jerusalem?

New York has been commemorating five years since the massive terror attack on 9-11. Yes, it's very understandable. The trauma can never be forgotten. I know, since I had my own brush with terror, Arab terror, in Jerusalem, ten and a half years ago.

Unfortunately, for many people Jerusalem is so associated with terror attacks that they are afraid to visit. That was one of the ironies during our recent war with Hezbollah, when Jerusalem was considered one of the safest parts of the country, along with Judea and Samaria. Many Israelis from the north of the country have avoided going to Jerusalem for years, out of fear. I remember when my daughter was doing Sherut Le'umi, National Service, in Kiryat Shmoneh, 1989-91, the teachers in the school demanded that they cancel a trip to the capital. They were afraid of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. And over the years, things only got worse.

Actually, there were so many terror attacks just days before I was injured, that the police were ordered to try to prove that the Arab could have rammed into the dozens of us by accident.

So, when I saw this headline: Terrorism’s Grand Tour in the New York Times, I was sure that Jerusalem was included. How dumb can I be? Why should the NYT encourage its readers to think of us as victims? It goes against policy.

Therefore I included a couple of pictures. They're worth "a thousand words," nu?

photo credits