Hamas War

Monday, April 30, 2007

Olmert's greatest miss-calculation!

Last summer, when it was clear to everyone, even the Israeli Government, that there had to be a "commission of inquiry" to "investigate" and affix blame for the badly-managed war, the public wanted an "independent" commission. That wasn't what Prime Minister Olmert wanted. He did not want ambitious politicians, from the coalition and opposition and "independent do-gooders" to have control over the investigation.

So Olmert appointed his own "inspection team," the Israeli public was disappointed. It was just another example of the political corruption. Everyone expected the Winograd Commission, which met in secret, unlike Israel's previous commissions, to find ways of white-washing the disaster. That's common sense, nu?

But this is Israel, where common sense does not rule. Just like the elections that brought Arik Sharon to power, when we celebrated the election of pro-Eretz Yisrael politicians. We were certain that this new government would be the best ever. But what did we get? We got Disengagement, the unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif and the Northern Sinai! Jewish communities were destroyed, and thousands of innocent, patriotic Israeli citizens were exiled from their homes. Their businesses were destroyed, and now almost two years later, most are listlessly, idling their days in "caravilla"-refugee camps, buying food with the lasts cents of their "compensation."

And what did the Winograd Report say?
Winograd Blames Olmert, Peretz, Halutz
Winograd report: PM was unprepared
Olmert, Peretz, Halutz failed in their roles, war report says
War probe report accuses Olmert of 'severe failure' PM to Kadima: I have no intention of resigning

Yes, it put most of the blame on the politicians in charge, Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz.

Now, of course we all knew that Olmert and Peretz were out of their league, trying to run the country. That's no surprise. The report also had some serious things to say about the top army brass. Personally, I think that the ones most to blame are Ehud Barak and Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz. Barak, former Chief of Staff and the one competing with Olmert as Israel's worst Prime Minister. Remember that he was PM when the intifada became most deadly, and his government didn't last. Now he considers himself rehabilitated and is running against Peretz and others to head the Labor Party. Mofaz is a former COS and also Minister of Defense. They built today's IDF.

The question is:

Why didn't the Winograd Commission concentrate its criticism on the army?
I think that because most of us had such little faith in them, it bothered them. The commission is made up of good people, and they wanted to show that Olmert didn't control them. That's why they made a point of blaming him over all others.

If the same people had been appointed by the Knesset or courts as an independent commission, they most probably would have been more even-handed.

Of course, Olmert's still in power and I'm pretty sure that the government, or at least this Knesset, will hold onto their seats until the two-year pension kicks in. ! הם לא פריירים Hem lo friyerim! They're not fools to miss out on such a good deal, nu?

But in the meantime, down in the Heartland, we're working hard and praying.

If a cool operator like Olmert can miss-calculate, what about ordinary folks like us?

confusing headlines

Clinton doubts Bush will pull troops out of Iraq

I thought that "Clinton" meant Bill, and to refer to presidential-hopeful instead of past president, one just called her "Hillary."

Or is this another "two for one," as Bill campaigned in his time? Or was he just the "dummy," and did she run the show behind the scenes?

Good luck, America!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Exculsive: New Aid Package Falls Far Short of Expectations

New Aid Package Falls Far Short of Expectations

By a former resident of Gush Katif

April 29, 2007

Recently it was reported that the Israeli govt. approved 500 million NIS additional compensation for Gush Katif expellees. There were several reports in the press detailing the distribution of monies to individual families, particularly Ynet , April 25, 2007 "Gush Katif evacuees to get new aid package" by Itamar Eichner. According to a recent pamphlet compiled by involved Knesset members, the amounts of money to be given to expelled families have been exaggerated in the press. For example: former residents of Gush Katif over 3 years of age will not receive any "vetek" money (based on years of residence). That is, family members will not receive the 7000 NIS as reported on Ynet. Children 3 years of age and under, who previously did not receive vetek compensation will now receive 1-3 years of vetek money for years lived in Gush Katif. Also the lump sum grant of 230,000 NIS as reported in Ynet was exaggerated. The grant varies from 125,000 to 185,000 NIS depending on the number of minor children and only applies to home owners. Further, this payment will be paid out over several installments over several years from now. Families that lived in public housing receive only 50% of this grant and families that rented private housing in Gush Katif do not receive this grant. Private renters, who in the original compensation law received no housing compensation will now receive a paltry 35,000 NIS per adult and 15,000 NIS - 20,000 NIS for each additional minor child up to 4 children only. Again this money is paid in installments over several years and ONLY paid if the family builds a home in a reestablished Gush Katif community.

The new allocation does allow families from "unrecognized" communities (eg. Tel Katifa, Shirat Hayam) to receive what their fellow residents received in "recognized" communities. Additionally, home owners who were paid the minimum ($ 750 per meter) housing compensation will be upgraded to $ 850 per meter – still far below the average building costs in Israel . Those reestablishing their businesses will receive 15% of the startup costs instead of the previous 10%. There will be a continuation of rent subsidies for those in temporary govt. "caravillas" provided they build new homes in reestablished Gush Katif communities.

As for unemployed residents, only those who are currently unemployed and previously qualified for unemployment payments (histaglut) will be able to receive an extension of this benefit.

Finally, no benefits will be given unless the residents sign a form that gives up their right to sue the govt. for any additional compensation.

For those who previously were unable to afford to buy a new home in their new location outside Gush Katif or the northern Shomron, they will still be unable to afford such a purchase. Bottom line, the government continues to deny the former residents of Gush Katif the financial means to recreate their previous housing and high levels of unemployment will continue to plague expellees.

Transitions aren't always beautiful

Dawns and sunsets are usually very beautiful, with glorious spectrums of color. The key word here is "usually."

Here in Israel the transition between winter and summer is sometimes grey and depressing.

Usually, when I focus my camera on the west at the end of the day, I photograph gorgeous colors. Not now. Dawn and dusk are dull at best, and sometimes even frightening.

seasons changing
Is Israeli society also going through some sort of winter to summer transition?

Shimon Peres is the last of the politicians who was involved in pre-state activities and is still active. But unlike most, he denies the importance of history. (hat tip Israel and The Sin of Expulsion)

Emotionally healthy and successful people are always learning from the past, building on it and going forward. What horrors await a country and people who only think of the here and now?

Nobody lives forever, and even Shimon Peres will die someday.

Forty years after the Six Days war, Israeli society is beginning to resemble that pre-war time, when it looked like the struggling young country was about to fold.

A popular joke ended with:

Will the last person leaving, please turn out the lights?

Our 59th Anniversary statistics included the depressing fact that some statisticians claim that more Israelis are leaving than immigrants are arriving.

Contrary to the first 19 years of the state, today, Israel is one of the most modern and technically advanced nations on the earth. Materially, we are on par if not higher than western Europe. People come from the third world to work and save money.

The Left wing and the media (actually one and the same) have been predicting a "civil war." They demonize the most patriotic sector of society.

That's how they motivate the police to attack the innocent.

Israeli society is now in a stage of transition. It is up to us whether Redemption is next.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Six Days in June, 1967

Here's my article which appears in the latest Voices Magazine, April, 2007.

Six Days in June, 1967

I guess this will reveal to you how old I am. That's the price of "fame," no privacy, no secrets.

I was a senior in high school, and Great Neck North was my alma mata. For those of us who remember the time, we remember well that from May, 1967, there was a terrible fear that Israel would be destroyed.

Israel and World Jewry had put its faith in the United Nations to protect Israel, and when Egypt's Nasser told the UN forces patrolling the Suez Canal area to leave, they just hightailed and left. All that was left for us was to pray. I'm sure that Great Neck Jewish community wasn't alone in having massive meetings to which "everyone," Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and unaffiliated attended. In Great Neck all of the rabbis sat together on the podium; I was one of the ushers.

I was relatively new to Zionism, having been introduced to it by another of the Great Neck Jewish "activist" kids maybe a year before. Zionism and Aliyah were not on the NCSY curriculum in those days. Due to his influence, I had joined Betar where I learned pure Zionism without the "socialist-kibbutz" adjectives. Previously, I had thought of Israel as a place one leaves, since I knew Israelis who lived in New York but had never heard of a New Yorker moving to Israel. At the same time I was a SSSJ activist, with the emphasis on Russian Jews leaving the USSR, but nobody seemed to ever reveal for where.

Great Neck is the kind of place, at least in the mid 1960's, which thinks and acts through its pocket, bank account and the like. Yes, that means that two of my strongest memories were of fund-raising during those stressful weeks.

The Great Neck Synagogue, which at the time was the only Orthodox Synagogue, sponsored a "clean-up" campaign. I don't remember the snappy slogan, but we, the members of the "Teen Club," the Great Neck Chapter of NCSY, offered to send kids to clean anything and everything for a donation which would be sent to Israel. I spent most of that day coordinating things, and if I'm not mistaken most people told the kids to wash their cars. One home I did go to was one of those enormous, stately mansions in Kensington, where we were asked to clean out the not-recently-used child-sized "dollhouse." People were very generous.

My other fund-raising venture was on Senior Class Beach Day. In those days one never missed school, on threat of dire punishments, and even something as ridiculous and frivolous as Senior Class Beach Day had to be attended. As a "newly religious," I did know that Jones Beach and a bathing suit weren't very proper, so I armed myself with a "pushka" and asked the hundreds fellow Jews in my class for donations.

Some kids politely put their ice cream money, or change after getting ice cream, into the "pushka," but others told me how their fathers had "just donated three ambulances to Israel, so I don't have any money for you!" Another one, a Jewish guy going out with a shiksa from the class, quickly emptied his pockets of change into the "pushka" and then "got it" from his girlfriend: "Why are you giving money to them?!"

During the war, we wanted to know what was going on, so my good friend (to this day) brought a transistor radio to school. Today, in the days of almost "microscopic" ipods and the like, it's probably hard for many to imagine, but a transistor radio was big, very big, like a large dictionary and just as comfortable if you're sitting on it. Yes, that's what we did to hide it from the teacher.

During most classes we wouldn't dare, but there was a substitute in "Accounting for Seniors." As we both recall, we were the only females in the class, both of us being daughters of CPA's… but that's another story. The "sub" couldn't control the class at all, and none of us had the patience to even attempt to be nice to her. She knew that my friend had brought in the radio and heard it, but she couldn't find it. I was sitting on it while it broadcast the news to the class. That was probably the only "funny thing" that happened to me during the war.

Did I have an inkling that I'd be living in some of the Biblical Land liberated in the Six Days War? Honestly, no. The concept of Aliyah was still "jelling" in my mind, and I still wasn't very familiar with Eretz Yisrael beyond the abstract. If I had been asked about Shiloh, I'd have been stumped. But Shiloh has been my home for almost twenty-six years already, and I have no plans on moving.

Shhh! Can't you keep it secret?

Honestly, are they nuts?
Blabbing and debating and nudging all in public. Do these international politicians really think that an army action against Iran's reactor could succeed without the element of secrecy?

German magazine stands by report despite PMO denial
Focus quotes PM as saying brief attack on Iran using a thousand Tomahawk cruise missiles could cripple its nuclear program.
for complete article, click title

Friday, April 27, 2007

Must muzzle him. He's at it again.

Who's the "him" and "he?"

Yes, as an English teacher and writer, I know that you don't use a pronoun without any indication of what it represents or refers to. I teach my students pronouns, as if they're the "X" in Algebra.

I'm referring to YESHA's irrepressible turncoat, Otniel Schneller. As I've said before, you can't be a little bit pregnant. In our context that means that a person who's willing to give up one part of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, will have no compunctions about giving up other parts.

Kadima MK Schneller shocked his neighbors and old friends when he joined forces with Olmert and became his enthusiastic salesman for "Realignment," aka Disengagement--meaning withdrawal (G-d forbid!)-- from most of Judea and Samaria.

I remember seeing him on TV, positively salivating over maps showing what he'd be giving to the Arab terrorists in exchange for... absolutely nothing. It's like going to a whopper of a Jewish wedding, eating the equivalent of four full meals and then insisting on sampling all the desserts. What's the point?

Disengagement has just brought the Arab rockets closer to the Israeli south, and Barak's Lebanon withdrawal only made it easier for Hizbullah to attack Israel's north. Schneller and Olmert are just making it easier to the Arabs to G-d forbid cut through our center.

Now, since those plans have proven more difficult, thank G-d! for them to implement, ol' Schneller has a new idea.

Yes, I kid you not! If you don't understand what this could mean to the State of Israel, look at a map. The ones here aren't my favorite, but you get the picture of what Israel would look like if we had to return to May, 1967, G-d forbid.
Simply put: We wouldn't survive. Today's Arabs aren't the technologically primitive ones they once were. It was Israel that set up the electrical lines and piped water. The British Mandate and Jordan never developed the area.
And there wasn't peace pre-1967 either. There were terror attacks and then they threatened war, to destroy us and push the survivors into the sea. Baruch Hashem, than G-d, He made a miracle and not only did we survive, but we liberated our Biblical Homeland.
Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach!

Impetus to Soviet Aliyah to Israel

I don't care what all the big pundits say, but I'll never forget what the many olim (immigrants to Israel) from the USSR told me.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident was a great impetus to make them leave the comfort of the familiarity of their homes. They worried about the health of their children, and that's why they packed up the little they were permitted to bring. The people who treasured their books were forced to desert their libraries.

I met people who had trusted family heirlooms to visiting Israelis to smuggle here. I witnessed the return of precious jewelry. The family preferred taking that chance rather than giving their ancestors' rings to the corrupt Soviet officials.

The material shortages which so shocked us in the free world didn't bother them. Soviet Jews found ways to get the food they considered important. And they enjoyed the affordable cultural events the regime provided.

But once the Soviet public realized that their children's health was in danger, they wanted out, and they came in numbers which amazed everyone.

Twenty-one years later, families are still sending their children to a healthier future in Israel with Chabad, even if they can't be with them.

Peretz, not the army

For whatever miss-guided perverse reasons, Israel's Defense Minister Peretz has declared the most patriotic and idealistic members of Israeli society as enemies.

He thinks that he can retain his position as head of the Labour Party by persecuting the patriots. The Yom Ha'Atzma'ut Return to Chomesh March is an example. First he gave approval, and then at the last minute he rescinded it and ordered the army to block the roads.

Twenty thousand good Jews, of all ages and medical conditions marched through the hills, mountains and Arab villages to get there.

I spoke to a friend who gave me a detailed first-person account.

It was a hard hike. Not all the people were young. Elderly and infirm, some being wheeled, got up. Some of the women were pregnant. It was hot and dry. My friend and family realized that they had to stock up on extra water and that the army would not be helpful. They understood that buses would not be allowed to ferry the marchers back to the nearby yishuvim of Shavei Shomron and Kedumim.

Because they didn't want to hike down through the difficult mountain paths and Arab villages after dark, they left immediately after eating lunch. That was difficult enough.
The people from Shavei Shomron and Kedummim were very helpful in ferrying marchers, since non-residents weren't allowed to Kedumim by Peretz's orders to the army.
Remember that the army takes orders from the politicians, and it's the politicians who must be blamed for the cruelty. Let's make sure that Peretz is retired and not allowed back in public life.
Of course, if every soldier refused orders, that would be something else. But it doesn't seem very likely. We need a very serious and total change in government!

from Passover visit

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Insanity? Yes, delusional!

Maybe it can be considered a version of the Stockholm Syndrome, this irrational and dangerous obsession of Jews and Israelis to be liked/loved/accepted by the rest of the world.

Maybe that's why most of European Jewry followed the various edicts of the Nazis until it was too late. Maybe that's why the rest of World Jewry of the time didn't protest in every way possible until America and its allies would militarily stop the Nazi civil discrimination and later murder of European Jewry.

"L'havdil," that's why halachot, Jewish Laws, like tzniyut, modesty, and married women's hair covering were ignored for generations. Jews, in general, have always wanted to please the goyim more than pleasing G-d.

No matter what we do, the world will hate us, so why bother. Recent polls prove it.

The more we twist and bend and try to adapt and deny, the less they like us and the less they respect us, and honestly--WHO CARES?!

There's only one Being we have to please
Hu baShamayim u'b'Aretz!
He's in the Heavens and in the Earth!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Has Olmert really miss-calculated?

It looks like Olmert's in real trouble. The left are after him. Here's the "talkback" I sent to this (click):

Olmert's vaccination didn't work. He thought that by going left, he'd be immune from all these attacks and charges.Right now, they're shooting darts at him, next come the arrows and then the firing squad. The left knows how to do the job well.
My guess is that he knows, and has documented proof, secrets about some people, which he uses to protect himself. But the enormity of the corruption may just bring him down.

Actually it probably will, in one way or another. The question, of course, is when. And the real mystery concerns...
Who will succeed him?

Will it be enough?

Arik Sharon's and the Disengagement Authority's hype about a "solution for every family" is recognized by even the most enthusiastic disengagers as a bluff.

Thousands of innocent Jews were exiled from their homes and set up in all sorts of temporary setups, without the minimal financial compensation needed to buy or build new homes.

Almost two full years have passed, and most are unemployed, living in refugee camps far from employment possibilities. The "lucky ones" who received some money have eaten most of it or spent it on new appliances, since their old ones were broken or lost "in transit."

Now, the Knesset, led by Ichud Le'umi (National Union) MK Uri Ariel has allocated more money.

Will it be enough? Will it solve the problems? What's the point of just giving without providing homes to buy or land to build on?

I also think that they should give up on their unrealistic dream to recreate their former lives. It's a humpty dumpty dream, just impossible.

Why aren't their leaders encouraging them to look further afield to establish new lives and stop mourning their old one?

59th Independence Day--the Highs and Lows

Yes, everyday has its ups and downs, but yesterday's Yom HaAtzmaut certainly had some contrasts.

The high was the well over ten thousand patriotic Jews who defied the army's political decision to ban Jewish entry to Chomesh. Remember that Israeli governments will come and go, but Eretz Yisrael will always be ours.

The low was the attack by over a thousand Arabs against some innocent picnicking Jews near Haifa. Tying for "top low" is the Hamas rocket attack on Israel, which our army ignored.

And the "winner" for most disappointing:
Degel Hatorah close to joining coalition

Zionist Montage

This looked much better on the site.
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