Hamas War

Monday, October 31, 2011

Handicapped Accessible Israel

No doubt that there will be comments complaining that things aren't all that pleasant for the handicapped here.  Of course, nothing's perfect and never will be.  But I do see great improvement here in Israel.

Last week on the newly running Jerusalem lightrail I noticed someone strapping/belting a wheelchair to the wall/side of the train I was in. 

From my first ride I had noticed that there are sections to each car with the handicapped logo.  The seats there have spring hinges, so that they are only "down" for sitting if someone pulls them down.  Otherwise it's the area for baby carriages or wheelchairs.  During my most recent visit to the states, I saw that the Air Train, LIRR and the trains going to Westchester also had them, which helped when we traveled with luggage and a baby stroller. 

Even though the Jerusalem Lightrail provides an extremely smooth ride, I was impressed that there was the safety option of these straps.  Over the years decades I've traveled on public transportation I've seen too many babies slide around and fall in their carriages.

Our local Shiloh synagogue has two entrance ramps.  One to the back which provides wheelchair and baby carriage access to the lower Women's and Men's Sanctuary, and the other is to the front door, where we have our "social hall," which we rent out for events, (up to about one hundred people.)

Decades ago, when we first came to Israel, there wasn't even an elevator at the main Jerusalem clinic of our health fund, and you needed to climb stairs to see doctors or get x-rayed.  It is already forty-one years since our aliyah to Israel, and there really has been great improvement in so many different fields.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rain of Rockets

Since yesterday after Seuda Shlishit, the entire southern portion of Israel has been living a living hell. ('scuse my language.) It's a terrifying experience to hear a siren and know one has X number of seconds to reach a 'safe space.' Sadly, many of my dear friends expelled from Gush Katif are still living in trailers with no 'safe space' to run to. My sister-in-law in Beer Sheva not only has no safety in her entire building (built in the early 1960's) but the nearest bomb shelter is locked.

Absurd as it seems, I am pleased that Sederot and Netivot are no longer chief targets as they were for almost 8 years. For, the suffering of plebian citizens of development towns in the south was taken for granted for too long. ("More rockets in Sederot. Ho hum; what's for dinner?") However today with major cities such as Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva targeted, the government cannot be apathetic as it has been for years.

I would like to quote from a blog post of a dear friend of mine. These are her words:
"I live in Ma’agalim, home to four hundred families. Ma’agalim is an Yishvu [community], in the Southern Negev, just outside of Netivot, half hour from Beer Sheva and nine kilometers from Gaza.

Our 4 month old puppy Patches needed to be taken out and I said that I would walk her. Patches and I had just gotten down the street when the warning air raid siren went off. That meant in 20 seconds a grad missile would land. I started to run home. The puppy was scared and running as fast as her little feet could. Just as I reached my home, I saw two flashes in the sky that looked like lightning and a ball of fire flying over my backyard.

Then boom, boom! The sight is mind boggling. The booms are so loud. The flashes were not lightning but the iron dome getting ready to take out the rocket. The iron dome is a mobile air defense system. The boom was the iron dome doing its job and destroying the rocket before it could land.

As I write this piece, rockets have been falling for over five hours. Almost every town and city in the south has been hit. From Beer Sheva to Netivot, to Sedrot to Ashdod to Ashkelon and every little town in between has had a siren. The IAF is retaliating over Gaza. I can hear the booms.

Two grads were sent to Beer Sheva around 3:00 a.m. and at 5:00a.m. a grad was sent to Ashkelon. There is nothing worse than being woken up during the night with an air raid siren. The booming is continuing. I just heard two very loud booms.

The drones and helicopters are out. Egypt supposedly brokers a ‘cease fire’ to start at 6:00 a.m. This was already broken. The IDF is reporting thirty-nine kassamim, mortars or grads landed in Southern Israel.

We have nothing stopping us now. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the other terrorist groups must be put out of business for once and for all.

Terrorist own video: Shooting into Israel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Bg5HGW8qY&feature=share "

I have little to add as my very eloquent friend said it all! With Gilad Shalit now home, we should bomb/ eliminate each and every known terrorist leader in Gaza. As a citizen in Ashdod told Kol Yisrael Radio last night after a grad fell nearby, "Bibi, bomb the hell out of them! Bomb the hell out of them! Do you hear me?" I hope he does.

Please, Save the Date!

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh 
 Rosh Chodesh Kislev

Sunday, November 27, 2011
Shiur Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש כסלו בתל שילה

יום א' 27-11 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Women came from four different communities on Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan. We had a wonderful, inspiring tour led by Miryam Bloom of Eli. Shiloh is a traditional site for prayer, so please join us.

We're Being Attacked! Fight Force With Force!!

Arab terrorists have been launching rockets on Israel from Gaza.  Their aim is getting more accurate.  The terrorists have hit homes, buildings and people. 

At least one Israeli was killed by the Arab terrorists. 

Israel is a small country, and Gaza is very close to major cities and population centers.  (Thanks to Carl for this map.) 

All of the Israeli politicians and IDF officers who have kept on insisting that Israel does not need to rule Gaza are guilty of endangering the country.

It's clear, simple physics that these attacks on Israel will only stop when there are no more terrorists.  They are out to kill us. 

This is no computer game, no joke.  The Arabs are out to destroy the State of Israel, not live in peace.  There's nothing to negotiate.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Ever Happened to "Direct Negotitations?"

In all honesty, if there was even the slightest chance that we could have REAL PEACE with the Arabs, the only way of getting to that state would be direct negotiations.  I don't see that happening.

Over the years, lots of countries, politicians etc have tried to "help" us by mediating.  Now there's a whole crew of mediators called the Quartet.  As Arlene Kushner writes, they haven't a chance.  The Arabs have gotten even more determined with the disproportionate and dangerous agreement to free Gilad Schalit. 

Think about it.  Over one thousand of committed, convicted, unrepentant Arab terrorists have been freed by the Israeli Government.

How does that hit you in the kishkes?

Why should the Arabs want to negotiate with Israel?  They know we're crazy and the longer they wait and the more outrageous their demands, the more they'll get.

That is unless our political leaders get the wisdom we keep praying they'll get.  The Prayer for the Government is just that.  It's a prayer to G-d that we'll be ruled wisely by the people entrusted to take care of us. 

G-d gave us all free will.  That means that we can make mistakes, and boy, do we make them.

And back to direct negotiations.  If the Arabs refuse to talk to us, to negotiate directly, without intermediaries, then it's clear, as newly cleaned glass, that there can't be peace with them.  It's so obvious I just don't understand how otherwise intelligent people can keep ignoring that simple truth.

The Arabs are not ready for peace with Israel!

So, let's just stop this farce, this horrendously dangerous attempt to make the Arabs "happy."  We don't have to listen to the United States, the United Nations, Europe, university professors ad nauseum tell us the big lie that we must have peace with those who want to destroy us.  We must destroy those who want to destroy us.  No more mister nice guy.

Latma Takes on The IDF

Thank Caroline Glick for Latma.  This week's Latma episode brings up some excellent points about the Gilad Schalit deal, the Israel Defense Forces, Israeli values and more.

This week on the Tribal Update, the television-on-internet media satire review produced by Latma, the Hebrew language, satirical media criticism website, brings you an interview with the IDF commander who was tasked with planning a rescue mission for Gilad Schalit. It also features an interview with pop star Aviv Zefet describing the personal sacrifice he had to make due to Schalit's return home. And that's just for starters.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Israel's Right to Self-Defense, Lop-Sided Prisoner Exchanges Endanger Us

Let's start with HonestReporting's excellent slideshow

Maybe I missed something, but I never quite caught on to the reason why the State of Israel took on responsibility for paying for this Ilan Grapel's release from Egypt with prisoners.

Why is Jonathan Pollard still in an American jail?

Don't forget that the Arab terrorists aren't stupid, cruel and violent, but not stupid:
Hamas TV: Kidnap 6 more Israeli soldiers and free remaining 6,000 prisoners

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Sons of the Foreigners will Plant Strange Worship in Your Land

Posted by Jewish Israel

In the wake of the Waller family's and Hayovel Ministry's continued involvement with a number of communities in Yehuda and Shomron, Jewish Israel has been asked to issue an updated report.

Some of the information presented herein was included in the presentation given to Rav Dov Lior and the Hebron community council on September 14, 2011.

In this report, Jewish Israel exposes the very recent activities of the Wallers and those of their close missionary affiliates, such as Reverend Dean Bye of Return Ministries, who are active throughout Israel and have facilitated in bringing Christian missionaries on aliyah…more

Note : Jewish Israel has added three new clips to our video section, two of which are related to this report, and one concerns a call for the conversion of Jews which took place at Governor Rick Perry's Prayer Rally in August.

Shalit Exchange, Different Opinions

Yes, too many people in the world see the 1,027 released terrorists as just prisoners, not as convicted Arab terrorist murderers.

A neighbor of mine, Jacques Bloemhof, did a survey/poll to see how many people are for and against the exchange agreement to release/pardon 1,027 convicted Arab terrorists in order that Gilad Shalit be returned home from his Hamas Arab terror jail.

The results are:
53 replies
against 35,  66.04%
in favor 16,  30.19%
no opinion 2
Davka, post-Shalit exchange, a Sarid Institute poll for Israel's Channel 2 shows Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu more popular than ever, 41% of the public want him as leader, and Likud would trounce Kadima and Labor if elections would be held now.

Obviously, these two polls asked different publics.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A journey into Gush Katif

A journey into Gush Katif
by Sara Layah Shomron

Seize the opportunity to read an authentic Gush Katif expellee’s first-hand survivor’s account.

This blog post is in response to a recent email I received which reads in part, “I was in Jerusalem a few weeks ago, for the first time in... too long to remember... and I saw Shifra's book nicely displayed in a store. I love that beach scene on the cover. It's rather sad that pictures and memories all we have now. I wish I could visit you there again. The beach at Nitzan just doesn't do it. Anyway, how is the book, and of course Shifra, doing?”

I thought other readers and potential readers would also be interested in knowing that Grains Of Sand The Fall Of Neve Deklim is on the radar screen.

As a pro-Zionist, historically accurate fiction novel written out of a deep love for Israel, "Grains Of Sand" “…vividly awakens dormant memories of the expulsion of 2005.” It is a powerful survival account written by Shifra Shomron, a teen raised in Gush Katif.

“Grains Of Sand” has worldwide distribution via Mazo Publishers. Here's what some readers of diverse ethnic, age, and religious backgrounds who live in various countries have to say:

• …"Grains of Sand," the best book I have read in recent years. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down until I was finished. It's just that good.”
Tom Blalock, (Sept. 2, 2011).

• “I had the same experience, Tom, a real eye-opener by an GK insider - a teenager yet! I learned so much about what was actually going on, not only in GK, but also in the government, media and courts, versus the propaganda that was being spread then...and now.” Janet Clare, (Sept. 2, 2011).

• 2. "To get a more personal understanding of the expulsion
You should read Shifra Shomron's book, Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim. Shifra also keeps a blog My Voice In Israel, which would answer your question at least for one young woman..." Rachel Ann, (July 29, 2011).

• 5. "Right #2 One of those Neve Dekalim girls wrote of it's fall.
I'll give "Grains of Sand: The Fall of N. D." a recommendation too since Shifra Shomron's book is my prized possession for an inside look at GK life before and during the Israel government's crime against its own people. Thank G, Shifra, her parents, siblings and many friends are of great character and have coped with this tragedy. For most of us, the wound hasn't healed, because the govt. hasn't wised up. Never again should a Jewish family hear a battering at their door of expulsion troops!"
Hilltop Savta, (July 29, 2011).

• "This novel furthers the hope of understanding the massive injustice that occurred in 2005... Grains of Sand reminds us that real families and real citizens suffered in 2005 and continue to suffer..."
Menachem, (July 11, 2011).

• “…There is great pathos in the descriptions and the book is a 'must' for people everywhere must be educated about this sad part of our recent history in order to prevent it reoccurring….” Esther Revivo, (July 10, 2011).

• “…Shifra, though, goes beyond mere political commentary and even examines the psychology of denial of many of the soon-to-be expellees…”
Ra’anan, (July 3, 2011).

• “…I found the author's personal and convincing writing style very appealing and touching to read. Grains Of Sand gave me a real feel for the people through the book's characters. Now I wonder, how are the actual people coping?”
David, (July 2, 2011).

• “…If you want an inside peek at the real people of Israel, Grains of Sand" is an must-read.” Janet, (June 30, 2011).

• “…This book moved me. It has stayed with me daily since finishing it. Everyone should read this book and learn about what happened to the Gush and work towards never letting it happen again anywhere in Israel.The flow of the book was great. It was a well paced and it was very difficult to put down.I could not recommend this book any higher.”
Robert Pepe, (June 30, 2011).

• “An absolutely spellbinding book. One of the best books I’ve ever read… You have to go out and get this book. You’ll see what was going through the minds of people before they were being expelled by their own fellow Jews and the biggest black stain on this country that I’ve ever seen…”
Eliyokim Cohen, book reviewed and excerpts read on fb, Jews News ,
(May 29th - July 22, 2011).

• "This is a very compelling book. There are not many fiction Jewish books out there (books that deal explicitly with Jewish themes) suitable for young adults. Grains of Sand helps to fill this gap. With some editing it has the potential to become a classic of English Jewish literature. This is a perfect text for a classroom setting."
Nehemia Stern
, (10 months ago).

• “Elimelech Ben Efraiyam celebrated his Bar Mitzvah shortly after submitting his project: In the Shadow of a World Destroyed, Memories of an Expelled Teenager, based on Shifra Shomron's novel, Grains of Sand. He won for his region in the state-wide competition at Rider University in New Jersey. He was able to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with a newly gained respect for his Jewish identity, his Land and his People because of the book and a personal connection with its author, Shifra.”
TZOMET FRIK 'N FRAK, (July 17, 2010).

• “… I recommend you read Shomron’s book – it’s a beautifully written, riveting work. Amazingly, Shomron was 19 when she wrote it. She’s a great talent and I look forward to reading her future work.”
Chas Newkey-Burden, (May 26, 2009).

• "Thanks Shifra, for keeping the heart and soul of Gush Katif and your lovely community of Neve Dekalim alive through your words. It is because of your efforts that we first learned of Gush Katif and the August 2005 destruction of these vibrant communities. Thanks for giving us a beautiful window into the place that was GK. For all those wanting to learn more about GK and Neve Dekalim, Shifra's book is a 'must read.'"

• "Shifra, we're proud of you! You've brought a piece of Gush Katif to those who didn't merit visiting it and keep a bit of it alive for the rest of us. We're looking forward to the sequel when we return home to the Gush!"

• “…One of the very bright spots in this bleak picture is Shifra Shomron, a very talented writer whose lyrical style and depth are rare in one so young. I wish her great success.” Miriam Adahan, Psychologist, Author, and Founder of EMETT (Emotional Maturity Established Through Torah)

• “…And most of all, the psychological message was powerful. All at the same time, it informed me of the happiness of a regular family, moving onto the frustration and anger of that same family, all because of a government that could not sustain itself…”
Flamingnet book reviewer

• “…I believe this book is of value to all readers, since it shows what can happen when political corruption is allowed to overrule the rights of ordinary citizens - even in a democratic country….” L. Sapir, (April 25, 2007).

• “ …Ms. Shomron provides a single, yet telling perspective, that enlivens integrity in us all.” Leanne Olson, (April 9, 2007).

• “…Grains of Sand reads like a young adult novel with a religious orientation, but it is intended for a diverse readership that seeks to deepen its understanding of Gush Katif life. The straightforward, third-person narrative, interspersed with diary entries by the heroine, takes the reader through the ups and downs of the community: the idyllic, happy, tight-knit religious home and community life of the residents; the terrifying intifada that claimed many Jewish lives there; the struggle to enjoy life amid the constant threat of mortar attacks; and the fears and doubts of the community in the year leading up to disengagement....”
Orit Arfa, The Jerusalem Post, (Aug. 16, 2007).

• “... In the final pages, you will find your cheeks wet with tears as you finish the book - fiction that so tragically became fact. Read it - and remember!”
Dvora Waysman, The Jewish Press, (July 4, 2007).

• "... There is no one who could read this book and not be moved. It is an important book as a testimony... lyrically, poetically and innocently recounted."
Rosally Saltsman, Aish.com, (May 20, 2007).

The book's educational materials include: Literature Study Guide for Grains Of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim, on-line Literature Study Guide slideshare ppt and handouts.

Click on the links for "Grains Of Sand" book information and promotional videos: book details, book excerpt, and book reviews;
“Readers Discuss the Book Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim” Part 1 and Part 2; Meet Shifra Shomron, Book Promo


As for Shifra, she’s blogging on her site My Voice in Israel, teaching adults English, enrolled in a MA English literature program and continuing on…

Be sure to also check out my blog piece about the Gush Katif fb pages, "Authentic voices from Gush Katif"

Being strong enough to be “different”

This week's Torah Portion of the Week reminds us that we shouldn't be afraid to buck the crowd.  By being "different," having the guts to do what's right, even when everyone else is going the "wrong way" could save the world.

Genesis Chapter 6 בְּרֵאשִׁית

ה וַיַּרְא יְהוָה, כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ, וְכָל-יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ, רַק רַע כָּל-הַיּוֹם.

5 And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

ו וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה, כִּי-עָשָׂה אֶת-הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ; וַיִּתְעַצֵּב, אֶל-לִבּוֹ.

6 And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.

ז וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶמְחֶה אֶת-הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָאתִי מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, מֵאָדָם עַד-בְּהֵמָה, עַד-רֶמֶשׂ וְעַד-עוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם: כִּי נִחַמְתִּי, כִּי עֲשִׂיתִם.

7 And the LORD said: 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.'

ח וְנֹחַ, מָצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה. {פ}

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. {P}

ט אֵלֶּה, תּוֹלְדֹת נֹחַ--נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה, בְּדֹרֹתָיו: אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים, הִתְהַלֶּךְ-נֹחַ.

9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.

When I was growing up, my parents would always say:

"If everyone was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump, too?"

G-d was angry, disgusted with the behavior of the humans He had created.  He was ready to destroy them all. But then He saw that there was one man who was different from the others, one who made it worthwhile to save the world.  That man was Noah, Noah.  We, as parents and teachers, must teach that lesson.  Sometimes it isn't easy, because most people like being like others.  They like to fit in.
May G-d give us the strength to do what's right, even if it makes us very "different."

Arab and Leftist-Demanded Apartheid

Will they, too, lose their home?
Where are all those human rights activists when the Arabs are demanding that Jews have no rights to build homes, schools, etc?
"Fatah's central committee member and Commissioner of International Relations, Nabil Shaath said in a press release Tuesday that Fatah rejects any proposal or political solutions to resume negotiations that are not based on utterly freezing settlements.

He said that resuming negotiations necessitates complete commitment to the peace process requirements; an actual and complete halting of settlement activities, recognizing the 1967 borders as terms of reference for negotiations and ending the siege on the Gaza Strip.

He considered that continuing settlement activities represents a flagrant challenge to the world and abort the international efforts aiming to revive the negotiations again." (complete article)
Aren't we Jews human beings?  Nu, so what about our human rights?  There also are these groups with innocuous sounding names like the ISM, International Solidarity Movement.
"...allied themselves with the 'Palestinian cause.' Many endorse 'armed struggle' [terrorism -ed.] against Israel, while at once claiming to be 'rights activists' or 'opposed to violence.'

Their activities frequently include entering closed military zones, harassing Jewish residents and soldiers in Judea and Samaria, setting fire to Jewish orchards and vinyards, interfering with counter-terrorism operations, knowingly distributing food and money to known terrorists, and vandalizing IDF materials and vehicles." (complete article)
The International Left and even those who consider themselves more centrist keep calling Israel "an apartheid state," but the truth is the total opposite.

There's an amazing amount of integration and interaction between Jews and Arabs in Israel.  Look at the universities, the hospitals etc.  In Israeli stores and malls Arabs and Jews work and shop together.  I had no idea how much until I began working in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin.

Arabs come from all over the Arab world to shop in Yafiz.  We communicate in English, Hebrew and pantomime.  They're welcome to shop in Jewish stores, but Jews aren't welcome in Arab stores and cities.  It's a one-way street.  If there's any apartheid, religious and "racial" discrimination here in the HolyLand it's against Jews.

There's a long, ancient, documented history of Jews living here in this part of the Middle-East.  The Bible has been an accepted and recognized history book for thousands of years.  Archeologists are always finding more and more proof that we Jews had lived here.

That's why we're back.  The comparisons between us and the Europeans in the Americas or Africa are totally historically inaccurate.

Opposing Jewish life, building and sovereignty in the Land of Israel is immoral racist discrimination against the Jewish People and a denial of historic rights.

We're here to stay!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women's Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan Prayers at Tel Shiloh

G-d willing, this Friday, October 28, 30th of Tishrei we'll be at Tel Shiloh for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers. 

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
Friday, October 28, 2011
Shiur Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש חשון בתל שילה
יום ו' 28-10 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Tel Shiloh is open for visitors, tourists and pilgrims on weekdays. For more information email office@telshilo.org.il or call 02-994-4019.

"With A Little Help From My Friends"

This post is due to the "help of my friends."  The first two emails I checked out this morning are its inspiration.  Frequent commenter, Keliata, told me to look at the youtube from the extreme Leftist Israeli satire show, and Fred sent me the joke about socialism.  To thank them, I'll include the Beatles' "With a Little Help From my Friends" and "Help!"

Israelis have never been very realistic, pragmatic from before there was an Israel.  I'm referring to the modern Zionist Movement, which was controlled by the Leftist Labor Zionists.  On one hand there was something extraordinarily fantastic about it.  They believed that there could be a Jewish State. That was totally revolutionary.  There hadn't been one for thousands of years, but somehow thousands of Jews, who on the whole were rejecting the practice of Judaism, were substituting the worship of the historic Jewish Land and wanted to make it a modern socialist state.

Those Labor Zionists did the most amazing things.  They left their old professions, studied agriculture and went off to some of the most barren or infested places in the Middle-East and started small farming communities.  The more extreme Left-socialist among them invented a life-style they called the "kibbutz."

The little they had was shared, including children,  who were raised efficiently in "children's homes," so that women could also work for the kibbutz, rather than waste their time and energies on their own private families.  After the State of Israel was established, kibbutz-worship continued, and the government gave them special rights and discounts. This social experiment worked for a few decades, but today, the number of kibbutzim have dwindled to less than a handful, and the surviving ones don't follow the entire communal, socialist principles of the past.  It's just not human nature for such a social experiment to succeed, like Fred's joke tells us:
Yet they keep trying....."what fools these mortals be"

Abraham Lincoln said the same as Dr. Rodgers when he proclaimed "You cannot make the weak strong by making the strong weak!"

Simple Analogy

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A."

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that. This profound short little paragraph says it all:

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

Israeli Television has produced a satire called "Eretz Nehederet," "Wonderful Land," which mocks the Israeli Right and religious, with extra venom against Jews in the yishuvim, like my hometown Shiloh.  Apparently they thought that this was funny.

It would be wonderful if all Israeli (and Jewish) children would be raised understanding these basic truths. No joke.

Unfortunately, the dominant Leftist establishment hasn't changed in terms of their relationship to reality.  They have substituted "peace," at all cost for "socialism."  They put the blame on us for the "lack of peace."  For some very perverse and peculiar reason they blame us for the Arabs' antipathy, as they see it.  The descendants of the brave pioneers who were willing to defend those very same kibbutzim at all costs are sorry we won.

If you delve into the writings of the Israeli socialist Zionist Left you'll see that they always believed that we could live peacefully with the Arabs.  A few years ago I watched the classic movie Exodus and was horrified to see that message as an underlying theme.

The Zionist Left, now called Appease aka Peace sic Now, has been working systematically from its earliest days to fully dominate, control the Jewish State, the State of Israel.  That's why there was always discrimination against the Zionist Revisionists, followers of Jabotinsky, here, and when during the British Mandate they controlled who could get entry permits, they rejected those who didn't follow their party line.

Today the Left controls the universities, the media and the government bureaucracy.  We have a lot of work to do.  Thank G-d in today's world there is the internet for publicizing other opinions.  That's why I blog.
And now some thanks to my friends, though I've never met them in person. Please consider this a thanks to all of those who read and comment on my blogs, facebook and encourage me by saying:
"If I was a writer, I'd want to write exactly what you had just posted."

Monday, October 24, 2011

American Celebrities Should Mind Their Own Business!

The American economy is collapsing, in much worse shape than the Israeli one, and American entertainers and entrepreneurs have come to Israel to tell us how to run our country.  If they are such experts, let them fix the United States.

I love the joke/story in the Dry Bones comments by Elias:
“Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.” ― Ronald Reagan

Just replace Jimmy Carter with Barack Obama to update it!
I try to be careful in terms of my comments about American politics, and I was born, raised in the states and have American citizenship.  What right do these American celebrities have to use their fame to try to force Israeli public opinion to follow their far Left ideology?
"Frank Costanza may have famously asked for “serenity now” on Seinfeld, but George Costanza, also known as comedian Jason Alexander, plans to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at a conference in the Knesset titled “The Knesset and the Nation: A debate in the aftermath of the Schalit deal” on Monday afternoon.
...Alexander is part of a delegation of more than 30 entrepreneurs and entertainers from the US visiting Israel with the “One Voice” campaign. The group will be hosted by MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima), the head of the Knesset Caucus to Promote the Two-State Solution and Separation Between Israel and the Palestinians..."
These American entrepreneurs and entertainers should mind their own business, not only as an idiom.  The United States is suffering serious unemployment and manufacturing is not increasing; importing and outsourcing are.  There's plenty for them to do at home.  They shouldn't interfere with our security, our future.  They haven't a clue and won't pay the price for their mistakes.  Yes, I did see that Yoel Hasson of the Kadima Party is hosting them.  Kadima is the party of opportunism, no surprise.  They're into make-believe, so foreign celebrities are just their speed to try to bamboozle the Israeli public.

I'm not buying!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another "In The Beginning," The Earth is For Human Use"

Genesis Chapter 1 בְּרֵאשִׁית
כח וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם, אֱלֹהִים, וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ; וּרְדוּ בִּדְגַת הַיָּם, וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבְכָל-חַיָּה, הָרֹמֶשֶׂת עַל-הָאָרֶץ. 28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'
It's a Jewish custom to read through the entire Torah, first five books of the Bible, every year.  They are divided into weekly portions, Parshot Shavua.  The latest/newest Jewish Year has just begun, and yesterday, Shabbat/Saturday we started the cycle again.

I've been reading, studying the Torah for decades, and each time I start/study it seems new.  No, it's not that I'm that senile, it's that it is so rich with lessons, meanings and implications.

Davka, the neighbor who gave yesterday's class is starting to build a house right across the street from ours.  They've apologized many times for "spoiling the view," and each time I tell them that seeing more neighbors and homes is the best view, not an empty valley.  I'm sincere.  I really do enjoy seeing our Holy Land populated by Jews.

Taking over, building, populating the Land, all of the land all over the world is what G-d demands of us.
וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ
God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it;
This commandment predates the separation of the male and female in Adam, the first human being. The part of the commandment always publicized is that of פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ procreation, having children, but in that same phrase/sentence is the commandment to use the land, the earth for our needs.  We do not need to see empty land, no matter how beautiful it may look.  Asking people not to build, or to build under the height of the sidewalk goes against G-d's instructions to the first human being.

The earth is for our use, to build and farm it.

Have a wonderful and productive year.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Polls Control Politicians

A few years ago, quite possibly in Newsweek,  read an interview with an American politician.  His answer to one of the questions about his policy or opinion was:
"I have to check the polls first."
Politicians are in the business to get elected, and they tailor their statements to get more votes.  Some Israeli pundits are pretty sure that current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went against all of his previous policies and statements in agreeing to exchange over a thousand convicted Arab terrorists for Gilad Shalit, to increase his standing in the polls.  The summer's faux social justice aka Korach demonstrations are making him nervous.  Elections can only get sooner, not later.

United States President Barack Hussein Obama's announcement that he plans on returning U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 smells of a campaign pledge.  It reminds me of the advice that American campaign expert, James Carville, gave to Ehud Barak to promise to leave Southern Lebanon if elected.  We did, leaving valuable weapons, equipment and Lebanese who had been loyal to us and now know that you can't rely on Israel.

As the American campaign heats up, this should provide those of us who enjoy observing politics with an interesting year.  And Israeli elections are also getting closer.  Things won't be boring for sure.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Next Time Will Be Worse

The Arab terrorists have announced that Tel Aviv is their next major target

The Israeli media treated the return of Gilad Shalit as if it was the arrival of the Moshiach, Messaiah.  Unfortunately, it's nothing of the sort.  Arlene Kushner's article about it is important to read.

More bad news is that Bibi may be declaring another Jewish building freeze.  That will only make things even worse.

Jewish building in the Land of Israel and more Jews here are the best ways of keeping peace and bringing the real Moshiach speedily in our days!

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May you have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

Holiday Broadcast from Latma: Tawil Fadiha's Succot Greeting and a message from an Oxford Professor

Thank Caroline Glick for Latma!  There's information on her site on how to support it.

Latma shows us the Right way to look at the news.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BBC Calls Them "Former Palestinian prisoners"

I went into the BBC site to get news about Gadhafi's capture/execution when I saw this article sympathetic to the Arab terrorists Israel released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.  The video is worse than the article, but the BBC doesn't provide the option of copying the code.

I just went to Fox, where I got the video of Gadhafi's last moments.  It's not pleasant but you can watch it if you wish. 

Look at it as a sociological observation.  What society behaves that way?  Do Americans? Europeans? Israelis?  It's something we must remember.  Different societies have different norms of behaviors.  Different socieites have different values when it comes to human life.

The BBC clip makes the terrorists Israel freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit into kind, thoughtful, sympathetic humand beings.  They totally ignored the barbarity of ther murderous acts the terrorists did.

As far as I'm concerned, when terrorists are captured in the act of attacking others, the most logical and humane thing to do is the let the police, soldier or civilian kill the terrorist as part of self-defense.  I we don't, then the terrorist will just end of being freed to kill again.  That is what has been happening in Israel.  Over one thousand convicted Arab terrorists were freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit.  I wish Gilad Shalit a good, healthy and productive life. I'm glad he's free and back in Israel, but those Arab terrorists who were freed and pardoned should really be jailed or dead.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"... but mine {the Arab terrorist} was released."

In the fifteen and a half years since being run over by an Arab terrorist, I've never had any "therapy" or even been part of a victims/survivors group.  But davka, yesterday, the day Gilad Shalit was released by the terrorists, returned to Israel and reunited with his family, I had a short conversation about our common pasts with another Arab terrorism survivor. 

Readers of this blog probably read that "my terrorist was killed on the spot."  It's a good feeling to know that he's totally "out of circulation."  I don't care if he got 70 virgins in his deserved hell or not, as long as he can't murder or maim or terrorize ever again.  My terrorist was an extremely dangerous one, because he didn't fit the usual criteria Israeli security forces predict will perpetrate terror attacks.  Apparently, he was very "ordinary" and had just gone shopping.  The police tried to prove it "an accident" and prosecute the young men who shot him dead, but the facts were too clear. 

My "therapy" post-terror attack has been to mount my own media campaign, like this blog.  But even before there were blogs, I went straight from Terem, the "first aid trauma center" where I had my foot x-rayed to the Jerusalem Post offices.  There I found David Bar Illan, who was then the editor in chief.

"David, I was there at the French Hill terror attack.  Yes, it was a terror attack, not an accident! Either give me a computer to write up what really happened or send someone to interview me."

I must have looked like a madwoman at the time.  My foot was swelling rapidly, and I was fueled by post-attack adrenalin.  David looked at me as if I was insane.

After we talked a bit, he sent a reporter to interview me, after making sure I was comfortably resting on his couch.  Once I got home, I sketched and faxed a diagram of the attack and sent it to the Jerusalem Post.  I also wrote an op-ed for them.  The Jerusalem Post, based on my information, also published a double-sized editorial condemning the police for trying to prove that the terror attack was an innocent accident.

Besides the Jerusalem Post op-ed, I was taxied to Jerusalem for a live interview on IBA TV News.  My "therapy" was media-based.

Yesterday at Yafiz, because of the lop-sided, badly negotiated Gilad Shalit exchange/deal I was discussing the attack with fellow workers when a friend came in.  He had survived a much more serious Arab terror attack, both in terms of the fatalities and his own injuries.  I asked him if it was strange/peculiar for me to refer to the Arab terrorist murderer as "my terrorist," when telling people that he had been killed on the spot.  He replied:

"No, not at all.  But mine was released.  I didn't check the list, but I was told."

What could I say?

Tough Act to Follow, Gilad and Noam Shalit Finally Together

Here's the movie/youtube of Gilad Shalit exiting the plane, meeting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then embracing his father.

Now for the rest of his life to begin.

I'll be posting more about the Shalit deal and Arab terrorism, G-d willing, tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Terrorism Pays - Gilad Shalit's Release Pardon's 1,027 Convicted Arab Terrorists

My husband and I, like many Israelis and freedom-loving people around the world have had the television on and saw Gilad Shalit being transferred from Egyptian to Israeli "protection."

There are two sides to every coin.  On one hand I'm happy for him and his family and friends that he is no longer in an Arab terrorist prison, but on the other hand freeing and pardoning 1,027 convicted Arab terrorists is a very dangerous price to pay.

Quite a number of people are upset with me, because I can't ignore the uncomfortable issues involved in the entire Gilad Shalit protest movement and final agreement the Israeli Government made with the devil.  Sorry, but I'm not the type to wear blinders.  I'm too ADHD to focus only on one thing.  I see the whole picture and the loose ends on the other side of the tapestry.

But now, what's done is done.  We have to move on.  The Shalit family, especially Gilad, must get on with their lives. 

The Israeli Government now will have a harder job protecting civilians.  Of course it's the IDF's job to do the actual protecting.  Who will protect our soldiers?  That's for G-d.

Chag Sameach.  It's still Succot and Simchat Torah is tomorrow night.  Enjoy in good health.

Gilad Shalit versus Natan Sharansky

As Israelis of all stripes await the return home of Gilad Shalit, my mind keeps taking me back to another Jew who spent even longer in a foreign jail.  Yes, that is Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky, who was imprisoned by the Soviets for ten years.  Sharansky's "crime" was his charismatic leadership of Soviet Jewish Zionists.  His decade in prison didn't dull him a bit, and he quickly became a political leader in Israel, too.

Gilad Shalit was just an ordinary soldier.  He was no different from my sons or those of my neighbors or any Israelis of all incomes, life-styles or ideologies.  That was one of the themes of his parents', Noam and Aviva Shalit, campaign to get him "released at any cost."  The elder Shalits have held themselves as examples of what parents should do under such circumstances.  In response to the Supreme Court petitions by bereaved families, Noam even had the gall to blame those families for not joining his campaign.

The return home of Gilad Shalit is expected any time now.  He will be the country's latest "etrog," carefully cared for and protected.  Nobody is certain of his physical and mental state.  It has long believed that he has been drugged and brainwashed these past five years and probably tortured, too.

Gilad Shalit is no Natan Sharansky and never was. Only in the future we'll see who and what he really is capable of.  I hope he's not pushed into any public position.  May he be the last Israeli captured by Arab terrorists.

Thank G-d "My Terrorist" Was Shot Dead on The Spot

When I put "I'm so glad that the arab terrorist who ran me over was killed on the spot by some guys who were there with me" in my facebook status, people were surprised.  No, they weren't surprised at my sentiments about the terrorist's death, just that I survived a terror attack, or was it that I had been attacked.

Read the post about it from six and half years ago.  I had written the story a year before that, prior to my being a blogger, when I used to send out mailings periodically.

In short, I was run over over, ok, just my foot, by an Arab terrorist.  One woman was murdered and others were more seriously injured than yours truly.

The guys who executed the terrorist had legal problems as a result, but thank G-d it all worked out.  I'm glad the terrorist was shot dead.  That's what he deserved, and I think that's what he wanted or expected.

I have no doubt that most terrorists expect to die immediately.  Once they realize that they hadn't been killed, it's a different ball game.

Why should Israel be spending so much to keep murdering Arab terrorists alive, well, educated etc?  I wouldn't even give the families the bodies.  Why allow them to make a shrine of their graves?  OK, I guess that idea wouldn't be accepted, but there must be a better way....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not To Rain on The Shalit "Parade"

To be honest, I'm getting tired of writing/posting these negative posts rants about the agreement to free Gilad Shalit and bring him home to Israel.  I'm not the only writer, political commentator, blogger who has been writing about the dangers of the price Israel is going to pay for him.  Arlene Kushner has expressed similar thoughts, as have DovBear, Carl and numerous others.

The IDF site gives the hoped for time-table of Shalit's release.  What will really happen?  We'll be a lot wiser in the future. 

There's something so suited, so timely that the hoped for release is during the Succot holiday when we're commanded by G-d to leave the security of a permanent home with a secure, solid roof.  The succah is distinguished by and defined by its roof.  We must be able to see the sky.  There's no real physical protection.

As much as many of us invest in our succah, it does not need to be made of wood or bricks.  It can be very flimsy.

All that counts is the roof.  Yosefa Wruble discusses the Jewish Laws about succah in this Matan, Al HaPerek shiur/class.  (Men and women can sign up for the fantastic Al HaPerek course for learning the entire Tanach, Bible.)

It's not rare for it to rain during the Succot Holiday.  S'chach, the special roof, doesn't provide physical protection.  In many parts of the world it ends up physically impossible to eat in the succah.  It's rainy, stormy and even snowing.  Even here in Shiloh, we've had years when our s'chach has blown away, although our succah walls have stayed standing. 

Many neighbors have had to search for their succot after storms, since the  aluminum frame and fabric many people assemble are not very secure.

Good intentions aren't always sufficient for keeping the mitzvah of Succot.  And good intentions in terms of freeing Gilad Shalit won't guarantee that his promised/hoped for return home will go as planned.  And good intentions by the government won't guarantee us security and safety from the released terrorists.

This agreement to free Gilad Shalit is like a flimsy succah built on a cliff... or just a fake.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Get Me Wrong. I'm Glad Gilad Shalit Will Be Freed, BUT...

Yes, that big "pregnant" "but..."  The  word "but" is loaded with all sorts of meanings and connotations.

None of us who oppose the deal the Israeli government agreed to wants Gilad Shalit to remain in the Arab terror prison.  Please don't put words in our mouths nor read what we didn't say into our articles.  Most of us believe that if the Shalit family and the Israeli Government had campaigned better and negotiated more wisely, Gilad would have had been released a long time ago at a much safer price.  Attorney Yitzchak Heimowitz brings up some good points in his article.

If we can trust the media, the terrorists who are to be released "stage one" have already left their cells, and Gilad Shalit is being detoxed prepared in Egypt for his return home.

There's neither justice, nor Jewish values or morality in the freeing of Arab terrorists, like Ahlam Tamimi, while Jewish patriots remain in Israeli jails

I hate to say this, but it reminds me of Jonathan Pollard's disproportionate jail sentence.  Pollard was never a media darling, like Gilad Shalit's family. The Israeli Government turned him into the Americans, and American Jewry found him an embarrassment.

Now for a couple of points: 
  • Until Gilad Shalit is home, safe and healthy, I don't consider it a "done deal." 
  • I do wish Gilad a good, safe and healthy life.
  • I pray that all of my fears and predictions about the dangers to Israel and the Jewish world by the released Arab terrorists are incorrect.
I pray that I'm wrong.  Yes, you can quote me on that.

The World Doesn't Care About Gilad Shalit or Israeli Terror Victims.

While we in Israel and the Jewish World are waiting in suspense and subsequent dread for Gilad Shalit's liberation and the dreaded terror upsurge from the freed Arab terrorists, I read nothing about it in recent editions of the International Herald Tribune and caught no news about it on BBC TV.

A Jewish email list I'm on has gone "off-topic." The only topic of recent emails has been the pros and cons of the Shalit deals.

In a neighor's succah yesterday, there was a rather heated discussion about the wisdom of the deal by people who generally agree on Israeli politics.

Both debates kept/keep going back to the unpleasant thought that there was an anti-government agenda by whomever was funding the Shalit Family protests. 

Why didn't the Shalit Family focus their protest on the International Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations and demand the Arabs keep to the Geneva Accords?  Why did they put the blame and responsibility on the Israeli Prime Minister?

  • The Israeli Government isn't the guilty party here. 
  • The Israeli Government hadn't kidnapped Shalit. 
  • The Israeli Government isn't holding Gilad Shalit incommunicado.
How many United Nations Security Council resolutions/condemnations have there been concerning the capture and imprisonment of Gilad Shalit?

Imagine if Israel had done something similar... The world would be enraged.  There would be none of this silence.

Davka on Shabbat, when Jews like myself are off-line busy observing the Day of Rest, the list of Arab terrorist prisoners was released.
The list contains includes Walid Anajas, who was convicted for his involvement in the bombing of the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem in 2002. Twelve civilians were murdered and 54 injured in the attack.

Also on the list is Nasser Yataima, convicted of planning the 2002 Passover Seder suicide-bomb attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya, in which 30 civilians were killed and 140 were wounded.

Also included is Chris al-Bandak, the only known Christian member of the Fatah Tanzim terror group, convicted of several shooting attacks which claimed the lives of two Israelis and seriously injured a third in 2002.

Musab Hashlemon, of Hebron, sentenced to 17 life sentences for dispatching two suicide bombers to Beersheba, will be released. Sixteen civilians were murdered when the bombers detonated themselves on two buses in central Beersheba in 2004. (complete article)
The List of Arab terrorists who are slated to be released includes many murders.  Family members of victims are taking advantage of the forty-eight hours before the release to petition the Israeli Supreme Court and are also asking that we sign petitions.

Following is the New York Times article which interviews bereaved Israeli parents, Arnold and Frumet Roth and Esther Wachsman and the orphaned Shvuel Schijvesschuuder.
In Israel, Swap Touches Old Wounds
Published: October 14, 2011
JERUSALEM — Arnold Roth had just returned from synagogue on Friday morning when the phone rang. It was Israel’s Justice Ministry, telling him that two of the people who murdered his 15-year-old daughter Malka at a Jerusalem pizzeria a decade ago would be freed next week as part of an exchange of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held by Hamas.
It was not an unexpected call but it was, for Mr. Roth, a horrifying one.

“This deal is a disaster,” he said of the exchange for the Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, as he sat with his wife, Frimet, on the balcony of their Jerusalem apartment. “Some of these people will go back to murdering. They pose an existential threat to all of us.”
Blocks away, Esther and Yehuda Wachsman were absorbing similar news — that a man who took part in murdering their son, Nachshon, in 1994 was to be freed for Sergeant Shalit. By cruel coincidence, it was the anniversary of the killing — Oct. 14. But Mrs. Wachsman had a different response.

“I’m willing to pay the price for another woman’s son to come home and end the agony,” Mrs. Wachsman said, sitting near a corner of her living room devoted to Nachshon’s memory. “Our hurt will never go away, but I just hope and pray with all my heart that Gilad comes home healthy in body and soul.”

The contrasting responses from two couples who have known and comforted one another were part of the highly charged emotional and political atmosphere in Israel since the announcement on Tuesday about the exchange aimed at ending more than five years of captivity for Sergeant Shalit, 25. Early on Friday, a man who lost both his parents and three siblings in the pizzeria attack that killed Malka Roth defaced the Tel Aviv memorial to Yitzhak Rabin, the slain prime minister. The man, Shvuel Schijvesschuuder, 27, said he was protesting the freeing of his family’s killers.

“People don’t understand the horror of what has been going through my mind,” he said in an interview at his home near Tel Aviv after being detained and freed by the police. His brother, Meir, 32, said all five remaining members of the family would leave the country forever after the deal was completed.

“We feel betrayed and we are going back to Holland,” he said.

As the details of the exchange become public, the near universal joy that greeted the original announcement is being tempered with concern. Israel Radio reported that Sergeant Shalit would be handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza on Tuesday, taken from there to Egypt and then flown to a military base in central Israel, where he will be reunited with his family. They will then be flown to their home in the country’s north.

The full list of Palestinians to be released will be posted on an Israeli government Web site by Sunday, although the Justice Ministry’s calls and lists published by Hamas provided some idea of who is on it. About 477 prisoners will be released in the first round, with 550 to follow two months later. Several hundred of those to be released are serving life sentences, and most of them will go either to the Gaza Strip or go into exile to other countries.

Among those is Ahlam Tamimi, a 31-year-old woman who was a key figure in the pizzeria attack. She is often described as the driver of the car that brought the suicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant and killed 15 people. But the Roths say her role went far beyond that, to the actual planning of the attack.

In interviews from prison, Ms. Tamimi, who was a journalist, has told of having brought the suicide bomber to Jerusalem and then going on Palestinian television’s afternoon broadcast to announce the news of the attack without acknowledging her involvement.

“I’m not sorry for what I did,” she told an Israeli news organization in 2006. “I will get out of prison, and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”

The Roths said their anger over the prisoner exchange was focused on Ms. Tamimi, who is being sent to Jordan. She is young, fervent and charismatic, Mr. Roth said, and proud of what she did. In a documentary on Palestinian prisoners, she was asked whether she knew how many children had been killed in the attack. She did not. When told the number was eight, she smiled.

The Roths recalled that their daughter, known as Malki, was a dedicated volunteer for disabled children. In her memory they started and still run a foundation that helps families keep their disabled children at home by providing equipment and therapy. About 30 percent of the foundation’s beneficiaries are Israeli Arabs, Mr. Roth said.

“This is not a political issue for us,” he said. “I am not some raving right-winger. We too share the joy of the Shalit family. But the victims are being marginalized. We object on principle. We see ourselves as agents of the children who will be killed by the graduates of this release.”

For the Wachsmans, the return of Sergeant Shalit is especially poignant. Like Sergeant Shalit, their son was a 19-year-old corporal in uniform when he was seized by Hamas militants. But in their case, the Israeli military tried to rescue him six days later and failed, leading to his death.

“It happened 10 minutes from this apartment,” Mrs. Wachsman said. “I heard the helicopters.”

One man being freed next week was the driver in the abduction plot, she said. His parents have been interviewed on television saying that it is about time that he was freed. Mrs. Wachsman did not share that sentiment.

“I wish him nothing but ill for the rest of his life,” she said, her gaze steady.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, A Cry to Break the Cycle

Every year during Succot we read Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, IMHO, King Solomon's greatest book.  Two years ago I even heard it in two parts of the world, two different synagogues, my year of "double Kohelet and no Simchat Torah."  I always read Kohelet while it's being said in shul.  I read it in English to myself, and each year it says something very different to me.

Last year I studied a few Tanach, Bible classes in Matan.  One was  "David: From the Wilderness to the Kingship" by Dr. Yael Ziegler.  Another is the Al HaPerek, in which we're learning the entire Tanach, two chapters a week.  In both of these courses, I've been learning a lot about King David, who was the father of Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon the writer of Kohelet.

There's a point Yael brings up frequently when teaching about King David and his failed  predecessor King Saul.  King Saul was a family man, who not only had a close relationship to his father, but his sons stayed loyal and died with him, rather than trying to escape.  On the other hand, King David, who was probably the greatest king and warrior in Jewish history, was abused by his father and brothers and had rebellious, problematic sons.

When King David was old and dying,  1Kings 1:1-10, his family wasn't with him, neither his wives nor his sons.  It was very  much how he was raised, rejected by Yishai, his father, treated as a servant.  When Shmuel HaNavi, Samuel The Prophet went to Yishai to anoint the next king from among his sons, 1Samuel 16:1-13, David wasn't presented to him until Shmuel insisted that all sons be presented.

The royal family in which Shlomo HaMelech had been raised was not of the feel-good, living happily ever after fairy tales.  It was dysfunctional at best, rebellious and even a case of sexual abuse between siblings, Amnon and Tamar, 2Samuel 13:1-20

Prior to his being anointed, King Solomon and his mother Batsheva, most probably, lived in some "royal apartment" far from the other royals and far from his father King David.  His "official" training for office wasn't much more than those few words his father said to him before dying:
1 Kings Chapter 2 מְלָכִים א
א וַיִּקְרְבוּ יְמֵי-דָוִד, לָמוּת; וַיְצַו אֶת-שְׁלֹמֹה בְנוֹ, לֵאמֹר. 1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying:
ב אָנֹכִי הֹלֵךְ, בְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל-הָאָרֶץ; וְחָזַקְתָּ, וְהָיִיתָ לְאִישׁ. 2 'I go the way of all the earth; be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man;
ג וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת-מִשְׁמֶרֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו לִשְׁמֹר חֻקֹּתָיו מִצְו‍ֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו וְעֵדְו‍ֹתָיו, כַּכָּתוּב, בְּתוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה--לְמַעַן תַּשְׂכִּיל, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה, וְאֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר תִּפְנֶה, שָׁם. 3 and keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to that which is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself;
ד לְמַעַן יָקִים יְהוָה אֶת-דְּבָרוֹ, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר עָלַי לֵאמֹר, אִם-יִשְׁמְרוּ בָנֶיךָ אֶת-דַּרְכָּם לָלֶכֶת לְפָנַי בֶּאֱמֶת, בְּכָל-לְבָבָם וּבְכָל-נַפְשָׁם: לֵאמֹר--לֹא-יִכָּרֵת לְךָ אִישׁ, מֵעַל כִּסֵּא יִשְׂרָאֵל. 4 that the LORD may establish His word which He spoke concerning me, saying: If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee, said He, a man on the throne of Israel.
ה וְגַם אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לִי יוֹאָב בֶּן-צְרוּיָה, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לִשְׁנֵי-שָׂרֵי צִבְאוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְאַבְנֵר בֶּן-נֵר וְלַעֲמָשָׂא בֶן-יֶתֶר וַיַּהַרְגֵם, וַיָּשֶׂם דְּמֵי-מִלְחָמָה, בְּשָׁלֹם; וַיִּתֵּן דְּמֵי מִלְחָמָה, בַּחֲגֹרָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר בְּמָתְנָיו, וּבְנַעֲלוֹ, אֲשֶׁר בְּרַגְלָיו. 5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did unto me, even what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.
ו וְעָשִׂיתָ, כְּחָכְמָתֶךָ; וְלֹא-תוֹרֵד שֵׂיבָתוֹ בְּשָׁלֹם, שְׁאֹל. 6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
ז וְלִבְנֵי בַרְזִלַּי הַגִּלְעָדִי תַּעֲשֶׂה-חֶסֶד, וְהָיוּ בְּאֹכְלֵי שֻׁלְחָנֶךָ: כִּי-כֵן, קָרְבוּ אֵלַי, בְּבָרְחִי, מִפְּנֵי אַבְשָׁלוֹם אָחִיךָ. 7 But show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table; for so they drew nigh unto me when I fled from Absalom thy brother.
ח וְהִנֵּה עִמְּךָ שִׁמְעִי בֶן-גֵּרָא בֶן-הַיְמִינִי, מִבַּחֻרִים, וְהוּא קִלְלַנִי קְלָלָה נִמְרֶצֶת, בְּיוֹם לֶכְתִּי מַחֲנָיִם; וְהוּא-יָרַד לִקְרָאתִי, הַיַּרְדֵּן, וָאֶשָּׁבַע לוֹ בַיהוָה לֵאמֹר, אִם-אֲמִיתְךָ בֶּחָרֶב. 8 And, behold, there is with thee Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite, of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim; but he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying: I will not put thee to death with the sword.
ט וְעַתָּה, אַל-תְּנַקֵּהוּ, כִּי אִישׁ חָכָם, אָתָּה; וְיָדַעְתָּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה-לּוֹ, וְהוֹרַדְתָּ אֶת-שֵׂיבָתוֹ בְּדָם שְׁאוֹל. 9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for thou art a wise man; and thou wilt know what thou oughtest to do unto him, and thou shalt bring his hoar head down to the grave with blood.'
י וַיִּשְׁכַּב דָּוִד, עִם-אֲבֹתָיו; וַיִּקָּבֵר, בְּעִיר דָּוִד. {פ} 10 And David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. {P}
Thank G-d, young King Solomon was up to the task.  He became a great king and build the splendid Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple for G-d.

But then, as it is written in Kohelet, King Solomon overdid certain things.  He married too many women, surrounded himself with too much material riches and other excesses.  At some point, he realized that he had been making an awful mistake.  It was all הבל hevel, vanities, norishkeit.

Had Shlomo HaMelech been trying to compensate for his lack of a father figure?