Hamas War

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Statement from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Reaction by Rabbi Sholom Gold

Posted by Jewish Israel

BREAKING NEWS : A response by Rabbi Riskin now on YouTube

Earlier today Jewish Israel received an email from Elie Klein of the public relations agency Ruder Finn Israel.


Ruder Finn Israel is “the leading full-service strategic marketing consultancy and public relations agency in Israel” and their current and past clients include leading government agencies, Hi-Tech companies, and such organizations and institutions as Yeshiva University, Nefesh B’Nefesh, the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews(IFCJ), and Global Evangelism Television (Pastor John Hagee).

Jewish Israel’s Rabbinic Advisor viewed the YouTube video and read Rabbi Riskin’s statement. Rabbi Gold had this to say:

“While recent clarification from Rabbi Riskin is welcome on this matter, I remain concerned. Rabbi Riskin’s consistently radical statements and ambiguous positions on interfaith dialogue and endeavors can be misinterpreted by both Jews and Christians and manipulated and twisted to fit the agendas of those who are trying to undermine the foundations of the Jewish faith and wreak confusion among our people.

Furthermore, it would be advisable for Rabbi Riskin to steer clear of mixing politics, history and Christian theological issues together with what is clearly a halachic matter. I imagine Rabbi Riskin’s revered teacher Rav Yoseph B. Soloveitchik, z”l would have been greatly distressed over the crossing of theological lines between faith communities which is currently taking place under the pretense of an Israel-evangelical alliance.”
----Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold

Jewish Israel
will continue to keep our readership posted on this issue...more

Religious Tolerance in Alyn, A Mixed Bag

Hat tip my husband

 Almost twenty years ago, when my elder son was hospitalized in Alyn the Pediatric Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital in Jerusalem, I told the nurse who was yelling at me that she should really be contacting the Public Relations Department.

Our story didn't have the political background like this one in the New York Times, but it still would have made great pr for the place.  Why was the nurse so angry?  It was past the kids' bedtime and there was a party atmosphere in my son's room.  He had two roommates, one a Moslem and one a Druse.  The Moslem kid's aunt a spinster nurse was with him most of the time, and the Druse kid was cared for by his athlete uncle who represented Israel in international events.  My son had a variety of family members and neighbors with him all the time.  The night in question, we were all having a fine time talking and joking.  And when the nurse complained that it was past bedtime, I asked what difference it made when "...nobody was going anyplace the next day.  The pr people should see what fun we're having."

It wasn't all religious tolerant heaven there, unfortunately.  I don't know what the policy is today.  Shabbat wasn't Shabbat except for the prayers in the synagogue, which were attended by a few neighborhood people.  There were no special Shabbat meals.  Nothing was even served Friday night.  We were there mid-summer.  The ordinary dinner was served before the time of candle-lighting.  And talking about candle-lighting, even worse.  I had to fight with the nurses for the right to light candles.  They didn't allow candles. 

No Planting This Year on Rosh Chodesh (The First of the Jewish Month of) Shvat

It has nothing to do with the drought.  Simply that Rosh Chodesh Shvat will be on Shabbat, Saturday, January 16th.

Generally the first two weeks of Shvat are popular tree planting days in Israel, fruit trees in particular.  That's so their "age" will be considered from the previous year, not after the New Year of Trees, TU B'Shvat.

I have to decide when to make our Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh.  Should it be on Friday or Sunday?  Friday would be easiest for me, while Sunday, I'd need to have someone stay with my father.

Rosh Chodesh Tevet was on Friday, a beautifully blessed rainy Friday.  For that reason we  dovened in the former synagogue/yeshiva.  When we moved to Shiloh in 1981, it was the location of the Yeshivat Hesder Shiloh and the community Beit Knesset, Synagogue.  Now it's the location of a model of the Mishkan, Tabernacle and has the facilities for the movie about Shiloh.  Various events are also done there, including wedding receptions.

Tel Shiloh is a major tourist attraction.  On Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the Elder of Ziyon was here.

For more information about tours, visits, events and facilities at Tel Shiloh, email the office or call 02-994-4019.

The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism

Nomination time again!

The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism was established in recognition of the people who put Zionism into action in today's Israeli society – at times risking their own personal security, placing the collective before personal needs, and doing what it takes to ensure a strong, secure Jewish homeland.

For more information click here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Is Not The "Time For Peace"

There's no "window" to rush through, nothing like when Indiana Jones had to rush out dramatically before being squashed by the boulder.

It's just us, innocent peace-craving Israelis verses terrorists, irrational, dedicated Arab terrorists.  The Arab terrorists who murdered Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai last week have the full backing of their people and leaders.

Those terrorists are considered heroes.  Nobody can "make peace" with people like that.  We're not playing "Queen for a Day" or any other Hollywood type "makeovers."  When the Arabs are ready for peace, the real stuff, the genuine article, there will be peace and we won't have to give or do anything.  Right now, especially because the world accepts their deadly behavior as "normal" and "justified," there can never be peace.  We aren't the problem!  The Arabs are, and that's it, plain and simple.

Where were the outraged shouts and condemnations when Arab terrorists brutally murdered  Meir Avshalom Hai?  All of those who remained silent are complicit in the act.  So, don't preach peace to us.  I'm not listening; I don't have to.

Remember that Hollywood isn't real life.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Joel Bell's Center and Rabbi Riskin's video

Posted by Jewish Israel

Joel Bell opens new WBZ missionary center in Sha’ar Binyamin
Joel Bell has completed construction on a 5000 square ft. facility 15 minutes north of Jerusalem. The World Biblical Zionist Strategic Center is designed to enhance the development of the “ Biblical inheritance” which evangelical Christians now claim to share with the Jewish people (and you thought there were no strings attached).

Bell makes it clear in his latest video that Samaria is his “birthright” - but not only his. He has established a strategic “covenant relationship” with Kenyan evangelical Christians who have opened up offices in Joel’s new facilities.

Meanwhile, Bell’s partner, Don Esposito, has announced that he has “sealed the deal with the Jewish Agency to be able to bring believers [in Jesus] over to Israel for anywhere from 9 months up to 2 years.”…more

Rabbi Riskin video “gone viral” among Orthodox Jews and messianic Christians

In Jewish Israel's December 26th post we made mention of and posted excerpts from yet another controversial video of Rabbi Riskin. That video is now making the rounds among Jewish online news services and blog sites like Yeshiva World News, 5 Towns Jewish Times, and Dov Bear. The video was originally posted on YouTube by “a follower of the Nazarene, Yeshua Ha'Mashiach [Jesus Christ]” who has a messianic site.

Two other Rabbi Riskin videos are available at Jewish Israel here and here, in addition to numerous reports and blog postings (for a complete list, click on JI’s search facility).

Representatives from Jewish Israel (including a well-respected Rav), and a former Christian bible teacher who is now a counter-missionary expert, have met with Rabbi Riskin to discuss his personal take on Christian scripture and his unorthodox stance on interfaith relations. There has been an ongoing article and blog debate between Rabbi Riskin and this writer. The correspondence has been hard-hitting, but civil. This topic demands our continued attention.

Rabbi Riskin's continued pursuit of theological endeavors with evangelicals is especially problematic, because even though he is on record for opposing dialogue with Jews for Jesus or any messianic entities, messianic sites use his material and credit Rabbi Riskin for strengthening the messianic community in Israel:

(Excerpt from a popular messianic site):
“Riskin says that he was ‘truly fascinated’ by Jesus, and considers him a ‘model rabbi’, who lived the life of a Jewish rabbi in Israel. Riskin’s language is honest and refreshing, and his words strengthen the Messianic Jews in Israel…”

Meanwhile, “Christian Zionist” groups regularly make use of Rabbi Riskin’s theological spin in their promotional material which calls for a breaking down of borders between faiths.

Since When Is Abusing A Child More "Humane" Than Profiling?

Profiling is the most humane and ethical way of doing security checks.  When a young child's sleep is disturbed, because it's "no pillow time" on the plane, you know that idiots are in charge.  I wrote a sarcastic piece soon after the new rules were announced, but not even I could imagine that a child's vomit couldn't be considered a legitimate exception and properly cleaned up during toilet close-down.
But on the plane, restricted movement and confiscated comforts took a toll.

“The last hour and a half, they said we can’t move at all,” Ms. Cain said. “That was very hard for her. The flight attendant came by and took the pillow from her head. I didn’t like that. Why did they have to wake her up? It would be better for her to sleep.”

Then Emily threw up, never any parent’s dream, but all the more unpleasant when the bathroom cannot be visited.

L'havdil, to differentiate, last week when I finally got my father's Israeli Identity Card, it was from an older clerk and supervisor, both much more experienced and aged than the one who had stood on principle and refused when one document was missing.  We had other documents which were of a higher security rating.  That's using common sense.

Israeli security personnel are trained to intensify and trust their gut reactions, instincts and know what behavior could be suspicious.  Granted flight stewards/stewardesses don't all have that talent, but they should be given instructions on when to break the rules.  Instead of wasting their time and efforts on disturbing a child's sleep, they should be watching those who could be terrorists.  Yes, that's profiling!  Profiling saves lives and is even more efficient.

Karni Eldad, Doing The Family Proud

It's rare for me to reprint other articles, those you can find in the paper, but this one by Karni Eldad is too good to pass up.  I'm amazed that the extreme Left Ha'aretz newsaper now has her op-eds.

Comment / Settlement freeze is like racial segregation in U.S.

By Karni Eldad

Once upon a time there was a black woman; her name was Rosa Parks. There were racially discriminating laws in the United States, but she continued to sit on the bus even when she was told to vacate her seat for a white person. She was arrested, which set off a process whose end saw the abolishment of racial segregation on American buses. How is it possible that one little black woman, a dressmaker by profession, could change history simply because she remained sitting? Her protest was stronger than any demonstration, op-ed piece or Knesset vote. She opted for the natural choice; that is why she was triumphant.

People get married and have children. The children need space. The children grow up and get married. The children need a house. That is known as life. No one has ever managed to stop it. But every time another evil person arises who plans to destroy us, he does not succeed. And he does not succeed in destroying life itself.

We have enemies who are big and strong. But the defense minister and prime minister are apparently too small to contend with them, so they contend with us instead. That is how we were defined as the enemy. My family and friends were outlawed. Why? Because we are building in the Land of Israel. After all the permits and approvals, in recognized and orderly settlements in which a third generation has already been raised, we woke up one morning to the humming of drones in the sky, taking pictures of us and the situation on the ground. It is forbidden to build. Not even a storeroom. Not a kennel. In certain places, it is even forbidden to add an air conditioner.

The security forces have plans to cut off the area and act with paralyzing force; to achieve the element of surprise. They have a bank of targets that must be evacuated, and they screen mobile telephones to prevent us from calling up reinforcements against the demolition. This is humiliating, insulting and outrageous.

The freeze is an edict that the public cannot tolerate. It is not democratic, nor is it humane. It hits hard at the pockets of law-abiding citizens and embitters their lives. But at its foundation, either intentionally or by accident, is pure and basic apartheid - it is forbidden for Jews to live in certain places. It is forbidden to build. It is forbidden to develop. And it doesn't matter what the reasons are.

What makes me most furious is that there was no normal decision-making process for approving the move in the cabinet and Knesset. It was a wicked act done stealthily. On Wednesday night, the inner cabinet met, and the minutes are classified, of course. On Thursday there were already drones in the sky taking pictures of us. Suddenly there are no individual rights or civil rights because the law is above everything. This is a move that contravenes the substance of democracy, because democracy is the government of the people. And here rights are being trampled on.

And if we are talking about democracy, how is it possible that the system of government in Israel always lets down the right? It happens to us time and time again. We elected a clearly right-wing leader and we got uprooting, evictions, freezes and delegitimation. What are we supposed to do to make our voices heard? The Knesset elections, after all, don't change a thing. Should we demonstrate? We've already had demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people that have had no effect whatsoever. What is left for us to do? How can we stop what is clearly going to happen? How can we influence the reality?

Despite the fury and the insult, let's not turn to violence. There is a simple, natural solution that is full of life - continuing to build. That will perhaps embarrass the prime minister in front of U.S. President Barack Obama, but that's precisely the point. A person with a manual cement mixer in Samaria can change history. Sometimes the man in the field can be a lot stronger than the great leaders. Just like Rosa Parks.

Today's Lesson From the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet

You would think that two fast days and three weeks of national public and religious mourning to commemorate, mourn the destruction of our Holy Temples in Jerusalem and its conquest by foreign nations would be enough for the Jewish People.  I'm referring to the 17th of Tammuz and 9th of Av and the three weeks between them.  They dominate the Jewish calendar and make summer vacations and planning smachot (joyous events) very difficult for Torah observant Jews.

So, why do we also need a third fast day, a half a year earlier, on the Tenth of Tevet?

I'd say that considering what's going to today with international interference in the growth and building in Jerusalem and our historical Biblical Homeland, the 10th of Tevet may be even more important than the 9th of Av.

Medical research and statistics show that the earlier you discover and begin treating a cancer, the better the chances of the patient's survival.

The Tenth of Tevet fast commemorates the beginning of the Babylonian attack on Jerusalem at the time of the First Beit HaMikdash Holy Temple.  If we had been successful in defeating them then, none of the other tragedies would have occurred.

We must be strong and determined to do what's best for our national interests.  No foreign country cares whether we live or die.  One of the reasons I was totally turned off by Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union is because the author made a joke out of the fictional defeat of the modern State of Israel.  Michael Chabon does not understand how dangerously wrong he is.  His "what if" made a joke out of what most probably would have/could have been an extension of the Holocaust.  I'm now reading Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, which gives a more realistic prediction of his own "what if."  He puts Charles Lindbergh as United States President in 1940 instead of FDR.  I'll review that when I finish reading it.

The State of Israel, its citizens and Jews and freedom lovers and civil rights enthusiasts all over the world must take off their antisemitic lenses and recognize that by restricting our rights to build for Jews in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem etc they are causing our destruction.  That's the lesson of the Tenth of Tevet.

Monday, December 28, 2009

World Religions, Who's top dog?

In the comment discussion on my post about New Years, Lady-Light of Tikkun Olam commented on the discussion which focused on Israeli President Peres's Xmas greetings.  Some people consider him too fawning and Lady-Light mentioned that non-Jews are the majority, so maybe "seasons/holiday greetings" would be appropriate.  Yes, for sure.  But then I began to wonder what percentage of the world's population is cristian.  Who else actually has a major holiday at this time of the year?

Being The CPA's daughter I am, I was pretty sure that cristians can't possibly make up over 50% of the world's population, which is the definition of majority.  At most they're a plurality, the largest sector.  Considering the relative birthrates between cristians and muslims, their days are certainly numbered.

Kishkes, gut instincts, aren't enough nowadays.  I googled and found the desired information about the relative size of world religions.

Considering how pathetically small the world's Jewish population is, it's even more incomprehensible that the rest of the world should be so concerned about our tiny country.  Could there be some insidious reason behind their obsession?

I Was Considered A Suspicious Character

Usually, I'm the type who is waved through security checks.  According to all the "profiling" I'm as benign as benign can be.

But even I can "slip up" when I'm not in total control of things.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take advantage of my husband's being home, so he could take care of my father.  I went off to the Sha'ar Binyamin Commercial-Industrial Zone, just north of Jerusalem in southern Binyamin, that's the Benjamin Regional Council, of which Shiloh is close to its northern border.
There is a large discount supermarket, Rami Levi, and there's nothing like shopping to make me feel like I'm on vacation, even if I'm just buying fruit and vegetables.  Of course I prefer Machane Yehuda Market for that, but I "can do" Rami Levi in Sha'ar Binyamin in less than half the time, and on Tuesdays my daughter can sometimes pick me up on her way back from Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus.

I caught a tremp (ride) to Jerusalem which had said "no problem" about dropping me off a Sha'ar Binyamin.  The only snafu was that she forgot and dropped me off quite a distance past the junction.  I wasn't sorry when I saw those goats or whatever peacefully grazing.  I took a few pictures and then walked to the gate.  There I was stopped and questioned, very innocuously of course.  First they just wanted to hear my voice and accent.  They quickly realized that I was just me, a middle-aged trempisitit, hitchhiker, and let me proceed.

Here are some pictures I took while waiting for my daughter, after shopping:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Will They Drug the Airplane Passengers?

Playing chasing tails, airline security "experts" have decided to forbid various normally innocent acts, because they are things it seems that the latest terrorist had done.  Since he activated his explosion device in the WC, Toilets during the final hour of the flight, nobody can go to the toilet during that time span.

Of course, he could have tried to activate the bomb earlier, so will that mean that all passengers will be expected to "hold it in" the entire flight?  I'd hate to sit on a seat of someone who couldn't the flight before. 

Only a government official could decide that passengers can't have personal possessions on their laps during that last half hour.  Nu, what are people supposed to do?

Not everyone is interested in the movies, and they go off the last twenty minutes or so.  I find it hard to watch movies on the plane.  The screen is too far for my reading glasses to be effective and too close and small to see without them.  Does the new ruling then forbid books, crocheting etc?

I'm middle-aged plus, but I remember the days when I traveled with little kids.  There was even one legendary trip when I walked across the Atlantic, no exaggeration.  The flight from London to New York is over the Atlantic, and I had a crying toddler in my arms, and I walked most of the flight.

To travel safely and pleasantly with little kids, you must come prepared, prepared with lots of toys, books etc. There's no way anyone will survive in a plane if the kids don't have personal possessions to play with that last hour.  Beware, or passengers will line up at the emergency door threatening to jump!

Of course, they may plan on drugging the passengers for that last hour...

Survival of the Fittest

It always gets me that the same people who make fun of the story of creation in the Bible, profess evolution and the survival of the fittest get all hot and bothered when they see their pet principles in action.

Whether it's the hysteria over a plant or insect species becoming extinct, disappearing from the planet or a political party which has no objective reason to remain in existence, they just don't get it.

I'm a Torah (Orthodox Jew) and believe in G-d and the Bible.  That means that G-d gave the land and the animals to us, for our care, and now the world has its dynamism. Plants and animals change, evolve.  If we're not careful and we pollute the world, we'll suffer, and certain plants, insects and animals will suffer extinction, cease to exist.

Politics has a similar dynamic, especially in Israel, which seems to be lost from the editorial writers in the Jerusalem Post.  From Knesset to Knesset, political parties come and go, combine and split.  This isn't like the United States which has had the same two ruling parties for over a hundred and fifty years.  Why write such a concerned editorial about the continued (or not) existence of Kadima?  The JPost recognizes some "problems" with Livne's leadership.  Why not take it to the logical and obvious conclusion and say that she isn't suited?  And if we're talking democracy, why not bring out the polls which say that the public isn't all that enamoured with it nowadays?

Remember that Kadima was established by Sharon and Olmert as they bolted the Likud.  It has no long distinguished history and not even a short distinguished history.  There's nothing distinguished about its history at all.  Let it join Free Center, Flatto-Sharon, Shlomzion, etc in the footnotes of Israel's History and Political Science texts.

hat tip Boris

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Did Joseph Have A Plan? Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion Vayigash

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion Vayigash is very dramatic.  Finally after many years of waiting, Joseph's elder brothers have arrived in Egypt.  They've stood in front of him, spoken to him and not recognized him.  He managed to manipulate the situation so they'd be forced to bring his younger brother, Benjamin.

Then Joseph, Viceroy of Egypt, complicated matters further, by framing Benjamin, making it look like he had stolen from Joseph. That's how the previous parsha ended. Now, this Shabbat we read the continuation, Vayigash.  The brothers cringed before him until Yehuda stepped up.  And Yehuda spoke, and then Yosef broke down and told his brothers who his true identity.

It's all very emotional and very dramatic.

I have a question.  Was this Yosef's plan? 
  • Did he expect Yehuda or any of his other brothers to make this sort of speech?
  • Did he think that Benjamin would stand up and deny that he stole from Yosef?
  • Did he think that the brothers would leave Benjamin in his hands and go back to Yaakov?
  • Did he have another plan for revealing his identity?
What do you think?

No Christmas War in Israel

Posted by Jewish Israel

No Christmas War in Israel:
While “the War on Christmas” rages in America, secular Israelis – on a government level – have no problem stepping on Jewish sensitivities in the Jewish State. Official declarations of “Merry Christmas”, “Season’s Greetings”, and “Happy New Year “ are ringing forth from Jerusalem, and all of the state’s apparatchiks seem to be getting into the act this season.

But it’s not just a problem with secular officials, as the Torah observant are no longer shunning the subject and Jesus and Christmas. Jewish Israel notes that the Aish.com site appears to have been hacked by Santa’s elves and we’ve just posted yet another rather “christmassy” video of Rabbi Riskin.

Take a look at how secular and religious Jews in Israel ring in the season…more

Friday, December 25, 2009

Illegal Building! "West Bank" Building Freeze, Do They Have Permits?

Where are the Arab building permits?

¿Dónde están los árabes building permits?
Où sont les permis pour les Arabes du bâtiment?

Looks like Appease aka "Peace" sic Now is barking up the wrong tree! 

Time To Move The Israeli Cabinet Room, Getting Crowded

Bibi's overfilling his cabinet with more ministers than ever, at least that's his plan.  If he succeeds in seducing Kadima into the coalition, it may be a good idea to use the plenum for the coalition and the cabinet room for the opposition.

Kadima MK's aren't "fryerim," suckers.  They have their "principles," so don't expect them to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government without suitably valuable gifts.  Expect more שרים בלי תיק Sarim Bli Tik, Ministers Without Portfolio, and סגני שר Sgani Sar, Vice Ministers.

There may not be enough money in the budget for children's free dental care or medication for metastatic cancer patients, but all those new cabinet members will get cars and drivers and office staff, even if they don't have specific portfolios.  That's politics in Israel.  Bibi learned his lesson after his first short reign as Israel's Prime Minister.

I'm glad that I didn't vote for him or any party willing to join his coalition.  We need a strong opposition, and Bibi would have been better in the opposition.  He's giving Israel a Left wing government and Left wing policies.

No surprise!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Obama Claus,

Thanks to the One and Only Fred for the Oybama Claus graphics! 

As soon as I began reading these "Dear Mr. President" messages in the International Herald Tribune Magazine, I new that I needed Fred to fotoshop me an "Obama Claus."

I guess that if we were in a different time of the year, I'd have him made up as the "Tooth Fairy," or something like that.

The worshipful tone in these letters is absolutely pathetic.  They read like kids' letters to Santa Claus.  I can't find a nice way of putting it.  It's like a new religion this Obama worship.  It makes no sense, no sense at all.

In the end, Barack Hussein Obama will be like those expensive toys which never quite work right.  The batteries leak and the instructions aren't clear, and the kids have more fun eating pancakes, shaping cookies with cookie cutters or splashing in puddles.

King David got it right:
"Yisrael Batach b'Hashem, Israel Trust in G-d!"

New Year, What Year?

During my career as an Israeli EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, I've come across a surprising amount of students who insisted that they lived according to the Jewish Calendar only.  They were sincerely confused and befuddled when I'd give them a list of the English months and tell them to put them in the correct order.  When I was subbing in Ulpanat (the girls high school in) Ofra, my class of relatively recent olot chadashot immigrants from Ethiopia were sure that the English months must be translations of the Hebrew months which they had just learned in Israel.

In Israel it's legal to write Jewish dates on checks and other documents.  You can call us a "bi-calendar country."

I was raised in America and the "goyish calendar" is the one I was raised on and knew best, but with the birth of our children we adopted use of the Jewish Calendar for birthdays.  And that now includes our birthdays, too.

Living in Israel since 1970, we've also been oblivious to American and goyish holidays.  They're irrelevant to our lives.  That includes Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, the Israeli media and commercial interests are getting more goyish.  Here we are in late December and besides the usual annual "what's happening in Bethlehem news," we're being plagued by "New Years" sic stuff.

January first isn't my "new year."  My year begins on the first of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah.  I celebrate according the the Jewish Calendar, even though I sign my checks with goyish dates.

January 1st is the day I must remember to write in a new number, that it's going to be 2010 and not 2009.  I wonder how long it will take me to get that straight.  Each year it's more of an effort, but then again, each year seems to get shorter.  As we get older, each new year is a smaller percentage of our life.

Before I finish with this topic, I'd like to remind you that the Jewish Calendar is based on the moon; it's lunar.  When I'm out at night, I enjoy calculating the day of the month according to how much moon we see in the sky.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tsippi Cried For Kadima, But Didn't Care About Israeli Citizens Who Lost Their Homes, Businesses and Jobs Due to her Disengagement Policy

Sorry about the overlong title, but I'm too tired to think of a short clever one at this time of the night.

Many of the Israeli political parties have long histories that even predate the State.  Kadima is not in the hallowed club.  Actually Kadima has one of the most pathetic and embarrassing histories of any party in Israel's political history.  It was established by Likud MK's, led by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert who had gone against the platform they were elected on, bulldozed Disengagement on Israel's shocked citizens and then established Kadima.

Nothing held them together more than blind ambition.  Tzachi Hanegbi proudly declared that it was a "supermarket" of opinions, offering whatever anyone wants to hear.

A year and a half ago, when Bibi Netanyahu spoke at the first International Jewish Bloggers Convention, he told us that his aim was to bring the Kadima MK's back to Likud, and now it seems like he's succeeding.  Tsippi Livne hasn't displayed the leadership skills needed to hold Kadima MK's.  Right, Left and Center, Kadima is falling apart at the seams.

Easy come, easy go.  Tsippi is stuck, having painted herself into a corner.  Let her stay there, all by her lonesome.

A Failure to Communicate, Could This Obama Story Be True?

There's a very disturbing story in Pajamasmedia about U.S. President Obama's behavior in Copenhagen.

The US president BO had hardly arrived when he let it be known, "the time for talk is over." From now on, he would take over the leadership of the negotiations.

Together with German Chancellor Merkel, the heads of Russia, Brazil, Japan, the EU and other prominent countries, Obama went to work. But things didn't go like the Nobel prize winner had imagined. Only German Environment minister Norber Roettgen remained optimistic. Despite the tough negotiation, he opined, there could be a resulting compromise. "Today we throw the dice."

Instead, it turned into a fiasco. [...]

According to rumors from the Bella Center, President BO is said to have asked for a conversation with Wen jibao to bring up the matters. But O had to wait. Wen, according to the rumors, almost never left his hotel room and could not be found. Finally the US Delegation succeeded in finding the chinese premier in a conference room. An obviously angry Obama is said to have stormed into the room. "Are you ready yet to talk with me Mr Premier?" he is said to have shouted. "Are you ready now? Mr Prmier, are you ready to talk with me?" What a stage entrance for a US President.

However, Wen was not alone in the room, as Obama literally burst in, according to members of the congress. The Chinese (premier) was in the middle of talks with India's head of state Mammohan Singh and the South African president Jacob Zuma. Suddenly the group found itself forced into a conversation with the US president.

We've noticed his bull-headed bossiness here in Israel.  Obama cares about one opinion, his own.  The he tells others to "negotiate" but they must conclude the way he wants.  Isn't that what has been happening?

Obama is missing out on the fine points of "politikking," negotiating, the give and take while giving the impression that the other has given more when you've really taken the lion's share.

There doesn't seem to be any real positive/friendly chemistry between Obama and the other world leaders.  He's not much of a team player.  Don't blame it on his relative "youth."  He's no kid.  He's an image thrust in a very important role, cast for his superficial characteristics.  But when push comes to shove, it will be shown that he's The Peter Principle personified.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



EULOGY FOR SABA by Shifra Shomron


My grandfather.

The man of medicine and the man of culture.

My mother has told us how dedicated a doctor he was to his patients. How cheerful he was among them. In the past decade or so, though he was no longer a practicing physician, we still asked his advice regarding medical matters – and he was always happy to give it.

He was a cultured man. He loved classical music and attempted to play the cello himself. He was fond of poetry and took to writing his own pieces and even receiving awards for some. In his later years, it became more and more important to him to tell others how much they mean to him. He also started thinking about death, as is reflected in his poems, such as "How to be Remembered" (08-22-06) and "Influential" (05-08-06). All of us think upon the subject, and it's only natural that the older we grow the more we dwell upon it until we make our peace with it.

Our lives are given to us as a present from G-d, and they pass quickly. As King David said in Psalm 90: "The days of our years are seventy; or if by reason of special strength, eighty years; yet their pride is but trouble and wretchedness; it is soon cut off, and we fly away…" Saba was 78 years old at his passing. He had much to be proud of with his loving wife, three daughters and eight grandchildren.

May we all continue to pass on his legacy: his desire of academic advancement, music appreciation and literature. Also, his philosophical musings and ability to start new activities later in life.

May his memory be blessed.

His loving granddaughter,

ה בטבת התש"ע

Broken Record

I'm sure I sound like a broken record, no not the Guinness type of the most and biggest.  The idiom "broken record" comes from the day when recorded music was on a round plastic disc with groves.  If one of the groves was faulty, the sound repeated and repeated until you moved the arm with the reading needle to a better spot.  When it comes to the issue of protests and negotiations to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas three and a half years ago, I'm sure I sound like a broken record.

We need some G-dly Being to lift the arm and place the needle someplace else, totally different tactics.

Palestine Media Watch presents a very comprehensive report explaining why the current policy is so dangerous.

It's very hard to get balanced news about it.  On the IBA's official site this morning, as I write this post, these are the following headlines:
  • Meeting continues on the prisoner release proposals
  • A rally taking place in front of the Prime Minister's Office to free Gilad Shalit
  • Senior ministerial forum continues deliberations on Shalit deal
  • Ben Eliezer: Israel has taken steps to bring Abbas back to negotiations
Yes, half of the eight headlines concern Shalit.  The media campaign is massive, massive but mistaken.  We keep hearing that "the fate of Shalit is in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's hands."  That's not true.  That's because Shalit isn't in "Netanyahu's hands."  He's in Hamas, Arab terrorists' hands, and they are the ones who have the physical and moral responsibility to free him.  It's not up to Israel.  Those Arabs are being strengthened by the Israeli media, because the media blame us, Israel, and not the Arab terrorists who are the guilty ones.

So, I keep rewriting the same message, in different ways time after time like a broken record, hoping and praying that there will be a total turn-about in the Israeli negotiations and in the public campaign to free him.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hyper-Inflation, Terrorists vs Gilad Shalit

Inflation is never good, and the inflated numbers of Arab terrorists in exchange for Israeli Solider Gilad Shalit have passed the dangerous a few hundred ago.  One thousand?  Really!  Think of all the hundreds thousands terror attacks that terrorists can get away with next time.  All they have to do is kidnap an Israeli soldier, and the prisons will empty out.

The campaign for Gilad Shalit is being done all wrong.  Yes, I've written about this before.

We should demand that he be released and we should put strong pressure on the International Red Cross and every country which has relations with those terrorists.

No bribery.  It doesn't work.

Torah Judaism challenged by secular court and Christians in Israel

Posted by Jewish Israel

Torah Judaism challenged by secular court and Christians in Israel
Well, another Hanukah has gone by, but it seems the forces of Hellenism, Christianity and secularism have forged an unholy alliance against Torah Judaism in the modern state of Israel. One secular journalist described it as nothing less than a “modern-day miracle to see the debate regarding democracy vis-à-vis Torah law picking up steam and reaching the verge of explosion precisely in Hanukkah”. Jewish Israel reviews recent developments in the Supreme Court, the Knesset, the press, and on the streets...more

Messianics use “American Idol” to promote missionary activity in Ethiopia:
In mid-October we reported on a scandal involving Kadima Knesset member Shlomo Molla and the messianic missionary organization the Jewish Voice. That organization is working harder than ever to bring their message of Jesus to the many thousands of Falashmura in Addis Ababa and Gondar who are hoping for immigrant permits to Israel, and they’ve recruited former American Idol contestant, Sharon Wilbur to promote their campaign. Meanwhile the Tel Aviv messianic ministry MaozIsrael has released a new video attesting to the missionary targeting of Ethiopians once they arrive in Israel…

Tell it to the Vatican: Christianity is not land or shrine bound:
Mt. Zion was once again in the headlines as Israel-Vatican property and tax negotiations resumed. There are conflicting reports as to the outcome of this latest round of talks – everything from outright failure, to progress in a cordial atmosphere of mutual understanding. But Jewish Israel feels that the words of one prominent Roman Catholic Cardinal may hold the key to resolving any property dispute between the Vatican and Israel.
Recently Cardinal John Foley, the grand knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, delivered a speech at a conference at the Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo. Foley essentially says that Christians are not land or shrine bound.
So any Jew who feels that Israel needs to relinquish property, give tax breaks, or offer tangible good-will gestures to the Roman Catholic Church should read some of Foley’s incredible remarks…more

"Orange," as a Label

Yesterday, a sweet young woman called me about a project/business she's involved with Dapei Katom, Orange Pages.  My reaction threw her for a loop, to put it mildly.

"I don't like the name. Why orange?  The movement failed.  It has been revealed that its leadership cooperated with the government during Disengagement.  Why would anyone want to be associated with such a label?   I wouldn't.  Although residents of Judea and Samaria were the most dedicated and devoted supporters of Jewish rights to live in Gush Katif and opposed Disengagement, the DP's prefer living in Lachish and the Negev.  They've rejected us.  I can't have anything to do with that label; it means loser as far as I'm concerned.  And it never included us in Judea and Samaria.  When I hear the name Dapei Katom, Orange Pages,  I think it means businesses which are owned by former residents of Gush Katif.  Get another name."

What do you think?

PS I promised that I'd blog about her project to publicize it, but I warned her that I'd complain about its name.  The aim of the business/project (whatever it is exactly) is to compile a comprehensive list of businesses based in Judea and Samaria and presumably the Jordan Valley, too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here's the Picture of Me Used in the AP Article

In this Nov. 15, 2009 photo, Jewish settler Batya Medad laughs in the Jewish settlement of Shiloh near the West Bank village of Qariout, northeast of Ramallah. Qariout, a rocky hillside hamlet of 2,600 people, illustrates why Palestinians are so desperate to halt the spread of Jewish settlements. Beyond the political issue of their effect on borders for any future state, the construction constricts life in hundreds of West Bank villages by gobbling up farmland, restricting movement and exposing villagers to clashes with settlers, Palestinians say. Medad sees a different story from the settlers' red-roofed houses: She calls it the return of the Jewish people to land God promised them in the Old Testament. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

The complete article appeared all over the world.

Shades of King Saul

As we come out of the high of Chanukah, the great victory of the weak over the mighty, we're back to hearing familiar, though unpleasant news.  Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak is pulling a King Saul, wasting his military against his own people, rather than fighting the nation's enemies.

In Biblical times the Jewish People asked the Prophet Samuel for a King, like the other nations, to lead them, help fight their battles.  Saul was anointed king, but he didn't do the job needed and he didn't obey G-d's orders.  That was the reason Samuel told him that G-d wouldn't allow him to continue as king.  David was then anointed king, but Saul didn't leave the scene.  Samuel did.  David didn't need the guidance that Saul had needed.  Saul wasn't a natural leader.

Saul then devoted his energies and forces to destroy David.  Saul must have noticed that David was his superior from their first meeting, Samuel I, Chapter 17.  Saul and his armies were standing paralyzed by fear as Goliath goaded them.  Young David was horrified, embarrassed I'm sure, by the lack of response.  He volunteered to kill Goliath.  Saul couldn't believe it, but David was confident:
לב  וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל-שָׁאוּל, אַל-יִפֹּל לֵב-אָדָם עָלָיו; עַבְדְּךָ יֵלֵךְ, וְנִלְחַם עִם-הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי הַזֶּה. 32 And David said to Saul: 'Let no man's heart fail within him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.'
לג  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל-דָּוִד, לֹא תוּכַל לָלֶכֶת אֶל-הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי הַזֶּה, לְהִלָּחֵם, עִמּוֹ:  כִּי-נַעַר אַתָּה, וְהוּא אִישׁ מִלְחָמָה מִנְּעֻרָיו.  {ס} 33 And Saul said to David: 'Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.' {S}
לד  וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל-שָׁאוּל, רֹעֶה הָיָה עַבְדְּךָ לְאָבִיו בַּצֹּאן; וּבָא הָאֲרִי וְאֶת-הַדּוֹב, וְנָשָׂא שֶׂה מֵהָעֵדֶר. 34 And David said unto Saul: 'Thy servant kept his father's sheep; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock,
לה  וְיָצָאתִי אַחֲרָיו וְהִכִּתִיו, וְהִצַּלְתִּי מִפִּיו; וַיָּקָם עָלַי--וְהֶחֱזַקְתִּי בִּזְקָנוֹ, וְהִכִּתִיו וַהֲמִיתִּיו. 35 I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
לו  גַּם אֶת-הָאֲרִי גַּם-הַדֹּב, הִכָּה עַבְדֶּךָ; וְהָיָה הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי הֶעָרֵל הַזֶּה, כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם, כִּי חֵרֵף, מַעַרְכֹת אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים.  {ס} 36 Thy servant smote both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath taunted the armies of the living God.' {S}
לז  וַיֹּאמֶר, דָּוִד, יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הִצִּלַנִי מִיַּד הָאֲרִי וּמִיַּד הַדֹּב, הוּא יַצִּילֵנִי מִיַּד הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי הַזֶּה;  {ס}  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל-דָּוִד לֵךְ, וַיהוָה יִהְיֶה עִמָּךְ. 37 And David said: 'The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.' {S} And Saul said unto David: 'Go, and the LORD shall be with thee.'

With time, Saul became more and more jealous of David and plotted to kill him.  He was furious with his son Jonathan, who had pledged his loyalty to David.  He couldn't understand how his own son would prefer to give up his chance at kingship. Saul's war was against David and not the Jewish People's enemies.

Today, the most motivated soldiers come from national religious families, Judea, Samaria, the hesder yeshivot and similar backgrounds.  Instead of supporting us, the government is fighting us, trying to weaken us.

History does repeat itself, and this one will play out like in Biblical days too.

א  וּפְלִשְׁתִּים, נִלְחָמִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיָּנֻסוּ אַנְשֵׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִפְּנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים, וַיִּפְּלוּ חֲלָלִים, בְּהַר הַגִּלְבֹּעַ. 1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
ב  וַיַּדְבְּקוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים, אֶת-שָׁאוּל וְאֶת-בָּנָיו; וַיַּכּוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים, אֶת-יְהוֹנָתָן וְאֶת-אֲבִינָדָב וְאֶת-מַלְכִּישׁוּעַ--בְּנֵי שָׁאוּל. 2 And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.
ג  וַתִּכְבַּד הַמִּלְחָמָה אֶל-שָׁאוּל, וַיִּמְצָאֻהוּ הַמּוֹרִים אֲנָשִׁים בַּקָּשֶׁת; וַיָּחֶל מְאֹד, מֵהַמּוֹרִים. 3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers overtook him; and he was in great anguish by reason of the archers.
ד  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל לְנֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו שְׁלֹף חַרְבְּךָ וְדָקְרֵנִי בָהּ, פֶּן-יָבוֹאוּ הָעֲרֵלִים הָאֵלֶּה וּדְקָרֻנִי וְהִתְעַלְּלוּ-בִי, וְלֹא אָבָה נֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו, כִּי יָרֵא מְאֹד; וַיִּקַּח שָׁאוּל אֶת-הַחֶרֶב, וַיִּפֹּל עָלֶיהָ. 4 Then said Saul to his armour-bearer: 'Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make a mock of me.' But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it.

Reviewing Two Books I've Just Read

Contrary to my usual, both these books are of the "best seller" variety, but true to my usual, they're both fiction.  I usually pick up books for free or almost free and then pass them around.  My usual reading is either very old, not the ancient classic type variety, just the type the libraries get rid of or "no return" from someone's old 2nd hand book store purchases.

True to form I didn't buy either book.

The first is almost a cult classic now:
The Yiddish Policemen's Union, a 2007 novel by Michael Chabon.  In all honesty, I don't think it's all that great.  I didn't grow up hearing Yiddish inflected and syntaxed English, so the linguistic quirkiness of the book passed me by.  I probably took too long reading it, so it was hard to keep up with all the twists and characters.  I don't understand how it became such a hit.

It's one of those "what if" stories.  What if the nascent State of Israel had been defeated in 1948?  The author placed the refugees from Europe, and what about the HolyLand did I miss something, in a Jewish ghetto in Alaska.  Remember that Alaska, along with Hawaii, only became a state in the mid-1950's.

If I was to imagine such a "what if" I wouldn't end up where Chabon did.  I'd see terrible gangster fighting and manipulation between the the descendants of the various pre-state undergrounds, Haganah, Palmach, Etzel, Lechi and pre-state religious groups Mizrachi and Aguda, chassidim and misnagdim which all had their parallel branches in Europe.

Chabon hasn't a clue in his lokshen-colored story, just too parve or over-cooked for words.

The book I just finished last night is also a murder detective mystery but totally and utterly different.  It's a Michael Connelly, The Brass Verdict, featuring Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller.  The only disappointing thing was that it was over too quickly.  I wanted to read more, but that happens with most of Connelly's books.  He doesn't try to be "too clever," like Chabon.  I like the "could be real" element in Connelly's books.  Chabon's fiction reminds me of the first Star Wars movie.  You can tack on both prequels and sequels.  Maybe he will, but I don't know if I'll bother reading them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dangers of Modern Technology

Earlier this evening I mentioned in my me-ander post that I really don't like all the remote controls for TVs, DVDs etc.  I like getting up, walking over to the machines to turn them on, change channels, volume etc. Those of us who care about our health know that just like every drop or lick of food has calories, we also know that every step we take burns those calories and makes us just that much fitter.

I remember when I first read about the plans to build the "chunnel," that underground underwater train track highway between England and Europe.  All I could think of was a claustrophobic panic.  What if something went wrong and people got stuck down there....?  When we lived in London, 1975-77, we went to France on some ferry.  It took a long time, but it felt as safe as anything could be.  That's except for when some drunken rugby hooligans began fighting near us and fell on me.  It was pretty dangerous especially considering that  I was at least seven months pregnant.

Tonight I read that four trains, carrying thousands of people, in that tunnel did get stuck.  Luckily, they eventually got out.

We made aliyah before the World Trade Center was built, and I remember reading about it, wondering how could people be rescued from something so high...  That's right, when the buildings were attacked, people went to the windows and up to the roofs expecting to be rescued, but there wasn't any way of saving them.  There shouldn't have been so many deaths.  Buildings that tall aren't safe.  There's no King Kong.

Just because something can be built, should it be?  Should there be signs up saying:
"The chances are that nothing will happen, but if it does, don't expect to be rescued."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Different Cultures, Different Mentalities and ...

...Different attitudes towards death and suicide.

Early in my unpaid career in media as Shiloh Spokesperson, I came across the classic  and common problem when my words were totally misconstrued.  As an amateur sociologist, I consider it totally accurate to say that Arabs have a different mentality from American-European.  The journalist criticized me in the article for daring to say something that could be seen as racist.  Since then I always connect such statements with historical fact which can't be denied.

I equate Arab suicide bomber terrorists who murder Jews with Japanese Kamikaze pilots.  Of course, there's a difference, a crucial one.  The Japanese Kamikaze pilots targeted military, while the Arab suicide bombers target civilians.  Regardless, that usually neutralizes any opposition to my statements.

Actually, the Japanese mentality/culture glorifies or at least accepts suicide in a way other peoples could never accept.  With western influence, this is changing.

But one shouldn't forget that we're not all the same.  We shouldn't project our feelings on others.  It's a big mistake to think one knows what others are thinking.  When I hear someone say:

"What he meant was..."

I take for granted that the person making excuses doesn't know and is only guessing, projecting his own thoughts.

When our Arab enemies say they want us gone, dead and gone, I take the threat seriously and I wish our Israeli Government would, too!

Arab Mansions and Castles, Too

The Elders of Ziyon are here in Israel, and I was happy to see that they're impressed by the same humongous, luxurious, enormous Arab Mansions and Castle-like buildings which wow me.

Don't let the press and politicians fool you; life is good for the Arabs here in Judea and Samaria.

You see the proof of it on the roads, not just off of them, since they drive lots of expensive cars.  Granted that a sizable percentage are probably officially owned by Jews.  That's because the cars have been stolen.  Many (most of those who live in the "better" areas)  of our friends on the other side of the "green line" have suffered multiple burglaries, and their cars, cameras, jewelry etc are the first to disappear.

Even if you go into the wealthiest Jewish community, you won't find anything like these Arab mansions.  And of course, the Arabs build whatever they want without being burdened by building codes/permits and obsessive-compulsive government clerks etc.