Hamas War

Saturday, May 31, 2008

There are lots more posts under the reminder to pray for Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu

The reminder is "sticky-taped."
so please check the new articles
under it

"Gaza Belt?"

When I hear or read the term "Gaza Belt," this is what I think of. Look at these pictures of Arab explosive belts, the types worn on suicide terrorists.

The Arab version of WWII Kamikaze pilots, who would ram their planes into their targets and then die in the crash. They flew solo, unlike the Bin Laden's Arab terrorists of 9-11 infamy.

Now, I've been trying to figure out who and when did Israel's south, the Sderot, Ashkelon area get that new name, "Gaza Belt." The term isn't used in a the media. For instance, when I did search of Ynet, the closest was:
For some reason, Arutz 7 uses it a lot:
The Jerusalem Post, too:
and in other places:
Just like people are influenced by the names they're given, so are places. And since we all know that the vast majority of people have negative associations with the name "Gaza," it's clear that by calling Ashkeolon, Sderot and the smaller communities near them as the "Gaza Belt," people will think of them as dangerous and their residents suicidal or risk-takers.
The term Gaza Belt must not be used. It must be added to the list of forbidden words like "territories," "settlements," "in 1967 Israeli conquered," "Palestinian," etc. Please let me know which I forgot.

Friday, May 30, 2008


I cannot stress how urgent this is. Many of us have been following this for days, even weeks, but now the situation is of utmost urgency. Please pray, in whatever way you can, for this wonderful Rabbi [name is below] who has done SO MUCH for the Jewish People, the Land of Israel, and the Torah!!!
15:36 PM - 16 Iyar 5768, May 21, '08 - IsraelNN.com
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former chief rabbi of Israel and a widely respected leader of the national religious movement suffered a stroke a short time ago. He is partly unconscious and is hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit of Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem.
Psalms are to be said for a recovery for Rabbi Mordechai Tzemach ben Mazal Tov.
UPDATE, Wed. evening: Later today, Rav Eliyahu regained consciousness, and was brought to Hadassah Ein-Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Please continue your prayers, thanks!
UPDATE, Thursday 10 AM: Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu returned to Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in the early morning hours Thursday following a delicate neurological procedure carried out overnight at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, also in Jerusalem.
The venerable rabbi suffered a stroke as well as cardiac arrest on Wednesday, a scant month after suffering a major heart attack. The public is asked to continue with their prayers.
UPDATE, Sunday afternoon: Hebrew websites are reporting further improvement for Rav Eliyahu Shlita. He has been breathing completely on his own since last night. His condition remains very serious, however, and we are to continue praying for Mordechai Tzemach ben Mazal Tov.
UPDATE, Wed. May 28: The Rabbi is still in intensive care. He is conscious, but has difficulty speaking. A prayer rally will be held on his behalf this afternoon at 5:30 PM at the Kotel, see above.
A wonderful post, with pics of the Rabbi and the Prayer Rally, can be found at Planet Israel, here.

South of Jerusalem

We live north of Jerusalem, in Shiloh. South of Jerusalem is Gush Etzion. Even though the earliest of the post Six Days War returnees to our precious Land were similar, whether moving to Ofra or Alon Shvut, today there are enormous differences between Gush Etzion and Mateh Binyamin (the Benjamin Regional Council, where Shiloh is.)

There are many more Jews in Gush Etzion, and the housing values are tremendous. That's not just because the average home is larger.

Efrat 1
Before I became an English teacher, over ten years ago, I worked "in advertising" for the regional phonebooks. There was no comparison. The Gush Etzion book was full of ads, large expensive ones, many from local businesses. My area's book was much tougher to fill, even though there were many more communities.

Efrat 2
Gush Etzion is concentrated in a much smaller area, and most of the communities are just a few minutes from Jerusalem, while Mateh Binyamin is enormous, and the closest Jerusalem neighborhood, Pisgat Zeev is an outlying one, far from the city center, which can't be accessed by a simple sidewalk.

Within minutes most residents of Gush Etzion can travel to a local shopping center and visit the various yishuvim. Mateh Binyamin is spread between Latrun, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the Jordan Valley and Samaria. Our "shopping center" is an isolated spot in southern Binyamin, north of Pisgat Zeev. There's a big discount supermarket, health clinic, clothing store and a few others.

Efrat 3
Many of our Gush Etzion friends built their large homes rather cheaply with local Arabs, even in some of the more ideological communities. Quick, easy access to Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh mean that the simplest homes are worth more than ours.

Egged bus company seems more "forgiving" than they are by us. When we were waiting for the bus to Jerusalem in Elazar, after the Bar Mitzvah, I was amazed to see the bus stop unlabeled and blocked off by a large garbage bin and cars.

If we would dare do that, we'd get hell from Egged and no bus.

All in all, I'm not sorry that we didn't move to Tekoa or Efrat, the first yishuvim we had seriously looked at. Shiloh is where I'm meant to be.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This! I Kid You Not

Take a good look. How does this... uh... bird make you feel?

I wouldn't quite call it majestic, nor classically anything. It' the hoopoe, "duchafit," Israel's new "National Bird."
My neighbors told me when driving me home today. The best they could say was that it's a "land-lover." So, lets spin this into something good. Israel's national bird loves the Land of Israel.


Is Tsippi Livni really going to step into the role of Prime Minister, thereby preventing the calling for new--early elections?
Many of us consider her a prime example of Peter's Principle, but for others she has done so little that she seems effortlessly going up the totem pole. Sliding up, that's an amazing feat! Actually, I must admit that she isn't proof of Peter's Principle, since she has been promoted regardless of her lack of success.
I guess that besides people like me, who find her lack of ideals and patriotism repugnant and dangerous, many people like having someone who doesn't really stand for anything, other than herself.
Tsippi is typical of the Kadima Party, the party without ideals,
The "Imagine" Party--
"Imagine we can do whatever we want,
No court would dare oppose us."
I'll never forget how Tzachi Hanegbi described his Kadima Party as being like a supermarket:
"You can find someone of any ideology."
That means that its members believe in one thing, that's power. And now they're scheming to stay in office, even if their brilliant leader, Olmert, is turning into a serious liability.
It shouldn't surprise anyone. Remember that Olmert should never have had become Acting Prime Minister. The law states that an Acting Prime Minister is appointed when the elected one is temporarily "indisposed." Now, it was clear to everyone, that Ariel Sharon would never be able to resume the duties of office. He has been in a coma for almost two and a half years, and the only surprise is that he's still alive. There were supposed to have been new elections, but Olmert and the Sharon coalition were scared. They didn't want to go to the people so soon after Disengagement.
And now, the Olmert coalition doesn't want to risk the people's choice and hold elections any earlier than originally scheduled. Polls show that they are losing public support all the time. And that means that many of them won't be reelected.
Can Tsippi save the day? "Save?" For whom? I doubt if the State of Israel will benefit from a government led by Tsippi Livni.


Unlike many commentators, I don't see anything new or important in Ehud Barak's demand that Olmert "take a vacation." He's always spouting campaign-like sound bites. After experiencing his Baruch Hashem aborted reign of terror, I'll never forget his big words and wimpy actions. Or more simply put, he's all talk and the few things he has ever done, like that election-promise withdrawal from southern Lebanon, only facilitated our enemies' attacking us.

If Olmert actually falls as a result of Talansky's testimony, it will be because of a deal between the police and one of his cohorts. Will loyal secretary-assistant Shula Zacken take the plunge to save herself and make a deal?

As an interesting little "aside," while looking for a link which lists terror attacks during Barak's nightmare for Israel as Prime Minister, I found a letter Natan Sharansky wrote opposing Barak's proposals to the Arab terrorists. Barak's offer is so similar to Olmert's policies, if not worse, that no rational Israeli would ever want Barak back in power. I said "rational Israeli," didn't I? Well, according to the polls, 30% of the Israeli public believe Olmert's version of things. And many don't see what's wrong with having a "private bank." Don't forget that Shmuel Flatto-Sharon had no problem getting elected to Knesset on the platform, of "elect me to Knesset, so the French won't jail me for embezzlement."

Nobody could ever say that Olmert's stupid. He knows how much Israelis admire unrepentant crooks, so he's not about to go without a fight. Are the gamblers taking odds on whether Talansky will return for cross-examination?

What are the odds that Olmert will really lose his power? Will it all just burst at some point? He's quite the poker player.

Will we ever know what's in his hand?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


[Click to Enlarge]

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Rav of Tzfat and son of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Shlita, is calling for a prayer rally today at the Kotel [Western Wall, Jerusalem] at 5:30 pm. The details are above in Hebrew [click on it to enlarge]. Those coming from outside Jerusalem can call 02-651-4399 for info about travel arrangements. New signs that were posted today have many other Rabbis joining the call, from across the spectrum: Ashkenzaim, Sephardim, Chassidic, Lithuanian, etc.
We will continue to provide updates on the Rabbi's condition as they come in. See post below.


Click to Enlarge
From Shofar.net. The Hebrew says, "After Talansky's open testimony in the Jerusalem District Court, it's clear that there's no escaping elections. But the politicians weren't waiting, and have already shown that they know that elections are imminent, by dividing and jumping parties..."

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Both the Prime Minister and Labor chairman Barak are anxious to keep Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni from heading the government. They consider her to be too weak to lead a government (complete article)

Laughing is so healthy...

Just Curious

Morris Moshe Talansky has been in the hot seat for his gifts, loans, contributions to Ehud Olmert, but Olmert isn't the only Israeli politician who benefited from rich, generous friends.

Legendary Ezer Weizman was forced to leave the country's Presidency for receiving similar "gifts."

Lots has been written about how Shimon Peres's Peace Center makes it easy for his supporters, including foreign organizations, to give him much more money than the measly few hundred thousand dollars Talansky admits he gave to Olmert.

And I remember only a few years ago taking my parents to the Israeli Supreme Court to see the Israeli Movement for Quality in Government petition the court to have Ariel Sharon removed from office for accepting money from foreign businessmen.

Now I wonder, I'm curious about how many Israeli politicians have never received similar "gifts" from friends and supporters, here and abroad. We only know what has already been revealed.
No doubt there's plenty more being kept secret, at least for the time being.

Because of this, Olmert feels safe.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I should have read the NY Times first

Just a few minutes ago I posted about Talansky and Moskowitz, two American Jews who have donated money to Israeli politicians, and then I checked my email and saw this editorial about American election laws concerning money, contributions to campaigns.

Elections are big money. American legislators have been trying to regulate donations. Of course it's a bit like the cat guarding the cream, but there must be regulations.

Israel has laws, but they're not adhered to.

Olmert's legal "problems" are beginning to sound like the perils of Pauline...
... Will he or won't he lose office and be jailed?


I feel sorry for Morris Moshe Talansky. He was burnt by his support for Olmert.

I honestly believe that he thought he was helping a true patriot with the expenses needed to win elections and become the Israeli Prime Minister. He did help Olmert, and Olmert did become Prime Minister, but he's now out of the closet as an extreme Leftist.

Before the last elections, some good people, looking desperately for a right wing leader, propelled Uzi Landau into front stage. I had my doubts from the beginning, feeling that Uzi was weak, and in tough times, leaders can't be shy. If someone needs pushing, he's no leader. But they got Irving Moshkowitz to back him financially. Not to prolong the suspense, Uzi fled the ring, and Moshkowitz found another way to support his causes.

The Talansky's and Moshkowitz's are going to be much tighter when the political shnurers (beggars/fundraisers) come begging.

Is It Treason?

Or does "the law" change without notice like the clouds in the sky? Is MK Dr. Arieh Eldad, MD, correct in his diagnosis that:

"Whoever removes land from the State of Israel's sovereign territory is subject to the death penalty.... Giving away the Golan Heights to Syria is treason, and the punishment for a person who commits treason under Israeli law is death." (complete article)

I remember when the Golan law was passed. It was to prevent even talk of negotiations about the Golan.

It was considered preposterous that any loyal Israeli citizen would even contemplate allowing the Syrians back in the heights with control over our security.

How foolish, fickle and forgetful the Israeli public is.

Don't people remember what it was like here before the Six Days War?

Hasn't the younger generation been taught of the constant danger and terror ordinary citizens, all over our tiny country, had to endure?

What a distorted history has been taught to them? What a lovely romanticized view of the terrorism, deprivation and suffering?

They must think that the roof and walls were taken off this room for ventilation, not the result of an Arab kassam attack.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What A Web They Weave

G-d willing, Ol' Etrog Olmert and gang will be caught in it, and caught good.

It has been revealed (peculiar verb for this) that Olmert has been offering more and more and more of our HolyLand to our enemies, those who unabashedly propose by fire, by bullet, by rocket by any means in their arsenal to destroy us, G-d forbid!

We have to listen to the politicians and military of both sides very carefully; read the fine print. Shaul Mofaz is campaigning "at this time."

"Handing the Golan over to Syria at this time constitutes handing the Golan over to Iran. There will be Iranians there very soon. I am opposed to handing out deposits at the beginning of negotiations," he said. (complete article)

Mofaz is a very dangerous man. His military history make people think that he can be trusted to make the right security decisions, but like Ehud Barak, he's a Left wing politician willing to do and say anything he thinks will increase his chance of being elected. Remember that it was Barak who, during elections, offered a unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon which facilitated Hizbulloh's attack on northern Israel barely two years ago.

Remember that there's no real difference between Fatah and Hamas.

France's Sarkozy is pretty blunt about his opinion of the Olmert-Livni policies:

And I have a feeling that US businessman, Morris Talansky, regrets the day he met Ehud Olmert. I'd say that most Israelis agree with him. Talansky may consider it a classic-tragic example of how good intentions lead to hell, but it's no cliche` for us. Olmert and gang are endangering the very existence of the State of Israel.

Nu, you're probably waiting for me to announce my new leader. Sorry, but so far I'm praying and searching. That's the main focus of my prayers at Tel Shiloh, just like Biblical Chana prayed for a son who would be dedicated to G-d's work and lead the people to the next stage. And our next visit to Tel Shiloh for prayers will be on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 9:45am.

The Tel is open for visitors, prayers and special events at all times. For more information, call the Tourist Office of Tel Shiloh, 02-994-4019.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hiding behind the Cross to Evade the Burning Issue

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

Reality Test…

The Problem:
"We came [to Israel] to be Jews...The missionary activities
have crossed the red lines and could incite the community and cause bloodshed."..."The missionaries persecuted us in Ethiopia, and [we must] not permit them to persecute us in the Holy Land"
...members of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel

"Despite the fact that opposition to Christianity is absolute in the Ethiopian community, there is great poverty, indigence and disrespect for elders in the community, and so the Ethiopians are easy prey for the missionaries,"
…. Rehovot Chief Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook

"This aliyah [of Christian Ethiopians] is causing irreversible damage to the State of Israel," ... "These people aren't Jewish. It is tearing apart the Ethiopian and Israeli community. "
....a leader of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel

"Ethiopian Jews resisted Christian efforts for 1500 years - not so that they should come to Israel to be assaulted again. I would have thought that an independent State of Israel would have the self respect and courage to ban and banish missionary activity - but unfortunately it is not so."

....Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold, founder and dean of the Avrom Silver College and Center for Jewish Unity in Jerusalem.

"despicable behavior." "...a travesty of Jewish ethics and historical experience..." "this heinous act" is a "violation of basic Jewish principles and values."
...The reaction of the American Jewish community to the collection and incineration of missionary material which was disseminated to Ethiopian Jews in Israel last week

Now make no mistake, these voices of American Jewry are not speaking up on behalf of their poor Ethiopian Jewish brethren who are being accosted by missionaries. You forgot we live in Chelm?

What you hear is the remnant of our people - left in comfortable exile - empathizing with "the persecuted church", because some Israeli Jew had the good sense to collect the offensive material and destroy it (albeit, publicly burning it may have been a poor judgment call ). But this rousing, unified Diaspora defense of the cross basically translates into an endorsement of Evangelical/Messianic/Jews for Jesus missionaries.

Under these surreal circumstances -and knowing full well that American Jewish leaders would rather hide behind a cross than seriously grapple with the gut-wrenching, burning Jewish issues of our time - I have decided to issue the following:

Guidelines for the Perplexed: the Proper Disposal of Hazardous Missionary Materials:

a) In general, when we Jews are confronted with soul-snatchers pushing their wares, we should firmly but tactfully make it clear that we don’t need to be saved.

[Note: there is the exceptional Jew
who may feel obligated to take the material in order to prevent another Jew from being accosted with it.]

b) If one finds oneself in possession of noxious, idolatrous books and pamphlets, then it’s best to dispose of it in such a way that no other Jew will ever be exposed to it.

[Note: I imagine tearing , shredding or burning would do the trick. Use your imagination – the stuff is yours to trash, but just be discreet about it - and stay clear of the Press.

[Note:It’s very important to note that the above applies to the disposal of missionary materials, and not the disposal of missionaries . ]

c) Regardless of how provoked, or offended you may be, take a deep breath, count to ten, and report the soul snatcher/s to the police, municipal officials, or to the counter-missionary organization of your choice (you can try the Knesset, but at this rate a Christian may answer the phone).

You might want to warn your neighbors too. If you feel particularly violated - and if by some bizarre stroke of luck you’ve got money to spare - call your lawyer (But not Calev Myers - Because the Jerusalem Institute of Justice has a very“discriminating”

I hope you find above guidelines helpful.

Remember, above all, keep a sense of humor, because the day of the pseudo-Jew will pass…it’s in “G-d’s plan” and in Talmud Yerushalmi:
"Rabbi Acha says in the name of Rabbi Huna: In the End of Days, the evil Esau will don his tallis and go sit among the righteous in Gan Eden, and G-d will drag him out of there."

In the spirit of Tevya and for the sake of Jewish unity, I would like to close with a joint Diaspora-Israeli prayer. The first half is American and the second part Israeli :

May God bless and keep the Evangelical Missionary... far away from us!

Could this be true?

We all know that US Bush would never endanger his own country, and he has always claimed to be "tough on terrorism." What really makes this interesting is the mantra we keep hearing that "the Americans are forcing us." So if Bush really thinks there's a screw loose in Etrog Olmert, it's more proof that Olmert and the Left are lying.

And you know what happens, one lie leads to another and another and... when did it all start?

Some of the latest
twi$ts in the Olmert $candal would make good fiction. But who would believe it? And what is "Hamas leaders in Syria 'very disturbed' over peace talks" supposed to mean? Are they jealous, or is it just one of their pr exercises?
What about these four musketeers? Who's going to break first?
It would be a nice little "writing exercise" to see how some of the top mystery/detective writers would handle it? Grisham? Ludlam? Michael Connelly? Who's your writer of choice?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting Ready For Jerusalem Day

Jerusalem is a lot more than golden lights at the kotel.

Sorry about the blur, but the bus wouldn't stop for me as I photographed the first of the Jerusalem trains. I hope they're moving us commuters before they need to be replaced.

When I first came to Jerusalem, almost 40 years ago, vehicles were rare and pedestrians ruled. Now...

But, still, the streets of Jerusalem are the best theater.

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach

Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

For them it's ok...

Last night's wedding was in a kibbutz, a non-religious Left wing kibbutz.

It's not the usual place to have a member's family marrying into a Shiloh family, but life is always full of surprises. During the ceremony, I looked around and noticed the figures and people watching. It's a pre-state kibbutz, one of those established contrary to the ruling mandate. They had to protect themselves and even kill Arabs.

Now, why don't they see us as the true successors to their Zionism?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Praise the BBC for "Bible Burning" coverage!

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

I can't believe I have to thank the BBC for fairly fair coverage, and for exposing the crux of the matter on the recent "disposal" of missionary material. This comes within days of having issued kudos to Haaretz for the best Jews for Jesus trashing article I have ever read. Don't tell me that salvation for Torah observant Jews is going to come from the secular Left! Leave it to G-d to pull off something like this.

While the
American Jewish community is wringing their hands over the burning of "Christian holy books" - and memories of Kristallnacht, pogroms, and medieval blood libels dance through their heads - we have Messianic lawyer/pastor Calev Myers demanding that the Orthodox Jews be rounded up, arrested and put on trial for their crime of being loyal to G-d and the Torah.

So I can't believe I have to turn to the
BBC to shed true light on another very important angle of the issue:
"Proselytizing to Ethiopian Jews is an historically sensitive issue".

Not only is it historically sensitive , but it is downright explosive. As the
Jerusalem Post reported over a year ago, the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel was threatening "violent reactions to the missionaries if their activities are not stopped". "People here are threatening to resort to extreme measures, such as blowing up the missionary headquarters with gas tanks."

Maybe the Deputy Mayor should be thanked for acting quickly and doing the right thing.
I have been pleading for proper halachic guidelines and Knesset legislation for a year now. Nobody wants this issue to blow up in our faces, but there is nothing more provocative to a Jewish soul than a missionary who wants to snatch it.

At the end of this post is a fair and balanced sampling of articles on the Ethiopian Jewish issue.
This is not an easy one to grapple with. But American Jews and other politically correct friends should stop worrying about "what the goyim will think" and take a good look at what's happening in Israel. We have a major missionary problem here, which is a direct consequence of an unregulated relationship with Evangelicals. The simple Jews of Ohr Yehuda found themselves, inadvertently, in possession of idolatrous material - and American Christian sensitivities were not first and foremost on their minds. But getting rid of the stuff as quickly, efficiently and in an halachically permissible manner was. And the true Torah observant Jew always turns to Halacha before he or she turns to America.
Remember how the BBC and other news agencies had a heyday over the wig burnings in Brooklyn a few year back....
Rabbis spark wig burning rumpus
Hundreds gathered in the Brooklyn suburb of Williamsburg on Sunday to ignite a bonfire of more than 300 wigs. ..

I lashed out at the BBC back then (but today's another day).
I am concerned about the sacrilege that takes place when the BBC and other worldwide media outlets man-handle the story...Very few major news services bothered to investigate the facts, but they did revel around the bonfires of burning wigs in Brooklyn. Now, I don't want or expect your average indolent reporter to delve into the complex workings of Jewish religious observance...

Articles: Ethiopian Jews and Christian Missionaries

The Golan Heights-- Background

Unfortunately, too few people remember what life was really like in pre-1967 Six Days War Israel. Besides the difficult poverty, making life here much more difficult and technologically primitive than most people, today, can ever imagine, there was constant terrorism.

The 1949 ceasefire lines put most Israelis in continuous danger. Most people were working so hard just to survive that they didn't question Israel's moral right to exist. Today's affluent Left wing has fermented a dangerous brew, and that's what has propelled Olmert's government into more and more dangerous negotiations. Now the Golan is being offered to Syria, a country not shy in claiming its dream to see Israel as a footnote in history.

Here's some background about the crucial importance of the Golan for Israel's security:

The Man Who Convinced Eshkol to Take the Golan
by David Bedein,

The course of history can be changed by the determination of one man who stands up for what he believes in when he is listened to by people who are in a position of power.

The initiative to demand that Israel take the Golan Heights came from not from real estate-seeking settlers who wanted to move to the Golan, but rather from the residents of the Upper Galilee, or, to put it better, directly from the regional Mayor of the Upper Galilee, Yaakov (Yankela) Eshkoli, the man who led the delegation of Upper Galilee residents to lobby Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and the Israeli government on the fourth night of the Six Day War.

Eshkoli's mission: to convince Eshkol to issue an order to the Israel Defence Forces Northern regional command to take the Golan Heights and to remove the Syrian threat, once and for all, from over the heads of the Galilee settlements.

Eshkoli, now 88, was elected four times to be the regional mayor of the Galilee, and served in his position from 1955-1971

Speaking with remarkable resilience and a clear memory after 20 years of severe heart disease, the aging Eshkoli, with his ninety year old wife Yaffa at his side, cannot keep repeating how pleased he is that he has lived to tell his story, while talks with Syria get under way and while the future of the Golan is indeed on the agenda.

"13 years ago I had a heart attack and the doctors declared me to be clinically dead. I guess I recovered so that I could tell my story today", Eshkoli says, with a wink and a twinkle in his eye, when I met him on his porch, on Kibbutz Cfar Giladi.

Cfar Giladi is one of the oldest Galilee settlements, located just north of Kiryat Shmoneh and sandwiched in between Lebanon and the Golan Heights, where he and Yaffa, now 90 years old, have been kibbutz members since 1932.

Eshkoli says that he is always eager to relate the role that he played in convincing the Israeli government to take the Golan in the midst of the 1967 war.

As Eshkoli tells it, by the fourth day of the 1967 war, it was clear that Israel had delivered a solid defeat to Jordan and Egypt.

That left Syria, which had been raining a steady stream of rockets into the Hula Valley below, leaving the residents of 31 settlements in the Upper Galilee region in Eshkoli's jurisdiction to spend those glorious days of 1967 in deep underground bunkers, glued to their transistor radios.

Eshkoli recalls how he placed constant calls into Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon from his underground bunker on the Kibbutz to ask to see Levi Eshkol, then Israel's prime minister, to demand action on the Syrian front.

Allon, the 1948 war hero who with liberated the Galilee, promised to get Eshkoli called him on the fourth day of the war with the good news that Eshkoli could meet Eshkol and the Israeli cabinet that evening, warning him that at least one senior Israeli cabinet minister opposed any move towards the Golan Heights . . . .

Leaving his kibbutz in an army jeep , picking up Kibbutz leaders from other settlements in the region, while every kibbutz member was ordered into the shelters because of the continuing Syrian artillery bombardment, Eshkoli remembers that he had the feeling that his Hula valley was burning while the rest of the country was dancing in the streets

Eshkoli speaks of his descending the steps into the underground headquarters of the Israeli government in Tel Aviv as if it happened last night. Eshkoli gets tears in his eyes when he describes the hug that Levi Eshkol gave him when he showed up. Eshkoli that his full delegation of four be allowed to enter the cabinet meeting, and he recalls the Bible that he was asked to swear on that any matter of security that he would hear would be kept in strictest confidence.

Eshkoli was given five minutes to speak. "The longest five minutes in my life", Eshkoli remembers. His appeal was simple and clear, when he reminded Eshkol that he and every Israeli leader who had ever come to visit him in the Galilee after Syrian rocket attacks had promised them that if there would ever be another war, that they would use that opportunity to remove the Syrian threat, once and for all.

Eshkoli reports that the one Israeli minister to oppose the idea: Moshe Dayan, the former Israeli commander in chief who had just been appointed to be Defence minister. Dayan had given the veto to his northern regional commander, "Dado" Elazar, whom he forbid to attack Syria on the Golan, "lest this cost us 30,000 dead and risk a war with the Soviet Union", which had just pushed through a cease-fire in the UN Security Council. Dayan the war hero from the 1956 war with tremendous popular following, also made a great impression on the cabinet.

Eshkoli recalls that he then thought to himself: "Will I be responsible for world war", and then said that " I could only think of my wife and the children of the kibbutz who at that moment were in the shelters". It was then that Eshkoli made a threat, which he says to this day that he meant with all his heart, which was that if the IDF does not remove the Syrians from the Golan then he would recommend that all Kibbutzim pack their bags and leave, and that the people of Kiryat Shmoneh would follow. Silence followed Eshkoli's emotional appeal to the Israeli cabinet.

As Eshkoli turned and began to leave the meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol grabbed his hand and proclaimed that "The words of Eshkoli have entered the heart of Levi Eshkol, and they will play a crucial role in what we decide to do on the Golan Heights".

Eshkoli could not know when he left the government meeting, heading back north, whether he had succeeded in his mission. Would his words hold greater weight than Moshe Dayan?

Heading back to Kfar Giladi, Eshkoli stopped off at the bunker of the IDF Northern regional command. By then it was 5AM. "Dado" was slumped over his desk, next to a bottle of half-empty scotch .

Eshkoli reported to "Dado" what had happened at the government meeting. And while they were talking, "Dado" received a call from the Israel Defence Ministry. Moshe Dayan's resonant voice was on the line with an order - "Ascend the Golan and Succeed" were Dayan's words, and they were repeated on the 6AM Voice of Israel radio newsreel.

"Dado" loudly said to Eshkoli that he had succeeded with Dayan where he, the IDF northern regional commander had not.

Indeed, Dayan's vote in the government was the lone voice in the government to vote against the Golan attack . . . .

Dayan never forgave Eshkoli for besting him at the government meeting. Eshkoli shows me a yellowing news interview from 1976 with Moshe Dayan with the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot, where Moshe Dayan could only recall Eshkoli and his delegation with anger and resentment, characterizing them as "Dado"'s agents, claiming that , anyway, "the provocation's of the Galilee farmers and fishermen in no-man's land were the cause of the Syrian shellings".

Eshkoli looks at the picture of Moshe Dayan and starts to yell at him "Right - All of my 31 communities provoked the Syrians from their shelters. Our provocation against the Syrians is that we live and prosper here in the Galilee, which the Syrians see as a province of their country".

Asked about the current negotiations that might bring the Syrians back to the Golan Heights that face down on his kibbutz, Eshkoli could only raise a trembling hand and point to the hills and say that to "bring back the Syrians would be suicide for us".

Eshkoli's successor as regional mayor of the Upper Galilee region, fellow Kfar Giladi member Aharon Valenci, is much more sanguine in his attitude to the possibility of territorial compromise on the Golan, saying that he trusts Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and that if the Syrians are serious about peace, then the issue of the Golan would not be as important as it once was, noting that "99%" of his kibbutz were supportive of the peace process with Syria. Valanci said, however, that he will wait to see what the Syrians convey to their own people in their own media.

However, another prominent Galilee kibbutz leader, Muki Tzur, from Ein Gev, on the shores of the Sea of the Galilee and meters away from the Golan Heights and what might again be Syria, writes an interview with KIBBUTZ, the magazine of the Kibbutz movement, that it was premature to take a position on the peace process.

Tzur, the 1967 author of the best selling book known as the Seventh Day: Conversations with Fighters from the Six Day War, writes in his article that Jewish and Israeli history has taught us that any peace process with Israel's adversaries will be long, hard and complex, and that no decision can be made under the pressure of an immediate desire for peace. The price of a mistake in the peace process in the North would be guns in place once again on the Golan, trained on the 31 settlements of the Hula Valley in Israel's lush Upper Galilee region.

Yankela Eshkoli stood up to Moshe Dayan.

That is why the guns in the Golan were removed, and that is why 33 Israeli settlements replaced 15 Syrian army camps on the Golan Heights.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

NY Times-- Wrong Again

"President Bush’s visit to the Middle East last week offered a graphic primer on his failed policies — and the many dangers his successor will face."

At first I thought that there would be some common sense in this New York Times editorial, but then I continued reading. The writer/s has/haven't a clue.

I'm sick and tired of this attitude that Israel and the Arabs are just bickering kids who need a firm hand to "make peace." Now, I'm a mother, grandmother, teacher etc. I've spent close to 40 years living in Israel, and I didn't come here as a toddler.

Too many* Arabs here are blood-thirsty terrorists. That's the truth. There's no way to sugar-coat it, when the proof is dripping with blood and gore, not Al. Take off those rose-colored goggles and unplug your ears. This is no computer game. It's real life!

The Arabs here, cheered on by the world, want us gone, dead, banished--they're not fussy. Bush's dream/goal of another Arab terror state, shared by almost the entire world, is the key to Israel's destruction. You don't have to read "fine print;" the Arabs are very blunt about it.

I hope that the next US President will just busy him/herself with American problems, like the economy, health care for all, better education, safer roads, etc. And butt yourself out of my neighborhood!

*After taking everything into consideration, I edited this line. The story is in the comments.

Punishment In Which World?

It's hard to believe that for over two years, Ariel Sharon, the once-bulldozer has been hospitalized in an undignified, helpless vegetative state.
Before then, he was one of those people you either hated or loved or both, but you could never be neutral.
The neighborhood I live in was his "inspiration." On a visit to Shiloh in early 1981, he was shown around the small Shiloh community near the ancient Tel. he heard the plans and looked around. Two hills up and over a kilometer away was a gorgeous, large, mostly flat piece of land, much more suitable for building than where Shiloh's founders were excavating for their permanent homes. When they seemed doubtful of his idea, he sweetened it by offering fifty pre-fab homes.
Chazal, our Sages, say that the righteous are punished in this world, so the next will be all rewards. Arik Sharon built, but he also destroyed. He destroyed Yamit so that Begin could give the Sinai to Egypt, and then he was the Prime Minister who declared Disengagement. Only G-d knows how much longer he will have to suffer in this world. Sins between man and his fellow man are the most difficult to repent.

Now, why am I thinking of Arik?

It was announced that Teddy Kennedy of
Chappaquiddick Island infamy has a malignant brain tumor.

Does G-d punish non-Jews in the same way as Jews?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Unequal Justice

It's not that I believe that all people are created equal, because we're not. We're all different, very different. But we should all be equal in terms of the law of whatever land we live in.

Unfortunately, here in Israel, there's a blatantly different standard for different people.

Today the Halamish brothers were sent to jail, even though their legal status, awaiting a Supreme Court Final Appeal and Presidential Pardon does not require waiting in jail. But Danny and Itzik Halamish are Jewish nationalists, lovers of the Land of Israel, so they get the "short end" of Israeli Justice.

Compare that to Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister, and supporter of Disengagement and additional destruction of Jewish communities. There are multiple criminal and corruption investigations against Olmert, but since Israel's highly politicized Justice Department supports Olmert's policies, he's home, at leas for now. It seems like the Israeli legal system may have to take the charges against Olmert more seriously, as they are multiplying.

Let's hope and pray that there will be equal justice for all.

Human Rights! Civil Rights!

Where are the great activists, the idealists, those fighting for the rights of the persecuted?

How do they reconcile, excuse their silence in the face of judenrein land?

What does judenrein mean?

It's the German term the Nazis used to describe the goal of cleansing Germany of Jews.

Judenrein and Judenfrei (German: free of Jews) were Nazi terms to designate an area free of Jewish presence.[1] The words bear slightly different connotations; while Judenfrei merely refers to "freeing" an area of all of its Jewish citizens, Judenrein (literally "clean of Jews") demands that any trace of Jewish blood be removed as an impurity.[2]

Now, everyone but Holocaust deniers are adamant that the Nazis were bad. Right?

Then why didn't any of the many human rights or civil rights activists protest the expulsion of Jews and only Jews from Gush Katif during Disengagement?

Then why don't any of the many human rights or civil rights activists protest the fact that many Arab countries don't allow Jews?

Then why don't any of the many human rights or civil rights activists protest Bush, Rice, Blair, the Left etc and Olmert's plan to banish Jews from their homes and communities again?

It seems clear to me that their plans and goals are totally immoral!

"Battling" On The Roads

Those of you who read my husband's blog know that he frequently posts about posters he sees in Jerusalem, especially the chareidi neighborhoods. Well, I don't wander those same streets. We have a different genre where I hang out waiting for rides.

At Givat Asaf, the t-junction to Beit El, and at the "ride stop" outside of Ofra, the latest posters concern Moetzet YESHA, Council of YESHA Communities. Many people are totally disgusted with its activities.

It has been years since Moetzet YESHA has been involved with actually establishing new communities, or even neighborhoods. They headed the
totally disastrous, F for Failure campaign to cancel Disengagement.

Now they've been busy
negotiating with the government about the destruction of Jewish communities, shades of the Judenrat. I know that many people don't like it when modern Jews are compared to such people, but you can't deny the parallels.

Pinchas Wallerstein, former head/governor of Mateh Binyamin, the Benjamin Regional Council, is now head of Moetzet YESHA. Recently there were reports of opponents damaging his car. This first poster decries the act. A slew of rabbis signed the "emotional" letter.

This second poster claims to have the actual agreement between the government and Moetzet YESHA.
This entire issue of whether or not Moetzet YESHA is doing what it should be doing for yishuv HaAretz, settling our HolyLand, is one of the reasons why the youth has no respect for authority. The phenomena began during the Disengagement protests and has continued. Personally, in all honesty, I must admit that I admire them and am embarrassed that we adults cannot offer them the leadership and role models they deserve.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blessing or Curse: Praying for us or Preying on us?

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

Jews for Jesus invade the Holy Land: “making the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people.”...
Targeted proselytizing has made a comeback in Israel. Democracy, liberty, and tolerance rule the day - and so does chaos, blasphemy and idolatry. Is Israel ready for this 5-year, mega-budget campaign? Websites and full page newspaper ads in English and Hebrew, Billboard and bus banner campaigns, and an army of missionaries in public and private places.

When it comes to soul-snatching even the most secular of Jews will remember who they are and rise to the occasion. Just how provocative is Jews for Jesus in Israel?

The veil momentarily lifted from the eyes of Haaretz
The very thought of one of their leaflets brought Bradley Burston of Haaretz out of that "Special Place in Hell" to see the light.
This is a must read (from 2006):
Why 'Jews for Jesus' is evil

Zachariah 8:23 gone awry?
Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'
It appears that certain gentiles have interpreted the above to mean that they can cling to us like leeches, or rip those hems and spiritually rape us.

Nightmare scenario: Playground from Hell?
Evangelical Christians continue to give generously to Jews in distress, while insisting on their religious and democratic right to express themselves via evangelism in Eretz Yisrael.
Now here’s a frightening thought…
What if, while your child or grandchild is frolicking on a plastic playground donated by evangelical friends, an evangelical Jew for Jesus - who loves and craves Jewish souls – happens to meet up with your child at the bottom of the slide?
I always told my kids to forget the playgrounds and preferred that they climb on the rocks, run up and down the hills, and roll in the dust of Eretz Yisrael. "For Your servants have cherished her stones and favor her dust" (Psalms 102:15).

The obvious solution (and a real blessing) would be for those Christian friends who truly love and respect Israel and the Jewish people to take real action. Rather than issue another denial of their direct involvement in missionary activity, they should issue a clear, public, and unequivocal condemnation of such activity in Israel (but I doubt that an Evangelical can condemn evangelism any more than a Palestinian can condemn terror?). Friends of Israel, take the challenge and prove me wrong!

But then there is another problem. We Jews are so afraid to alienate our best friends and lose our monopoly on the plastic playground market that…
A legal opinion prepared by the Justice Ministry opposes legislation that would strengthen efforts to combat missionary activities in Israel
"Anti-Missionary Bill Undermines Freedom of Expression"

Of Blessings and Curses
Bilaam tries to curse and ends up blessing. I imagine a prophet like Bilaam looked upon the Israelite camp and saw the beauty of a structured, moral and ethical community- and he just couldn’t help himself. So despite all of his rottenness, a blessing emanated from his lips.

And now we have millions of Christians who claim to have every intention of “blessing” the Jewish people, and we know that some of those people are very sincere (and others quite insincere), but if we - the recipients of their “love offerings” - are bereft of Torah guidelines, values, accountability and legislation, than this entire enterprise is in danger of being nothing more than a major curse.

The Righteous Gentile Among Us

I just gotta close with another rare, but grand, Haaretz moment (Mashiach must be around the corner)

Look at this truly moving clip of Jon Voight. His heart is with the Jewish people.

Note that Voight was raised a devout Catholic. He is not affiliated with evangelical groups or mega church leaders. He appears to take and individual, moral, and authentic heartfelt stand with the people of Israel. This is a man who has done some real soul wrestling. And although he is biblically inspired, he handles himself with the utmost respect while in Israel. I doubt you will find him publically referring to Jesus, spreading the gospel, or hailing Christianity while on his visit here.

But you will find him endorsing the Noahide laws and expressing great respect for Judaism as a religion:

Voight was brought up Catholic and has no intention of converting to Judaism. But he says that of all the religions he studies, he has a special fondness for Jewish learning and values. "Judaism is an amazing fountain of information. It’s not the only answer, but I have tremendous regard for it." ...
“,,,They [the Noahide commandments] appeal to my own sense of what I feel is a high purpose, which is to try to get everyone to an understanding of what they’re asked to do, what life’s responsibilities are. These very simple seven laws of Noah are good basics."