JBlog Carnival Updates, HH, KCC & JPIX

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Leadership Bankruptcy in NRP aka Jewish Home Party

One of the most veteran of Israeli political parties, those that predate the Establishment of the State of Israel, is NRP (Mafdal) aka Jewish Home Party. It's traditionally Center Left, religious, but not too extreme, Zionist and always in the ruling coalition.

In the early days of the State of Israel, their aim was to establish and strengthen the Mamlachti Dati, State Religious School system and add Jewish Tradition wherever possible to Israeli life and law. In many ways they seemed closer to mainstream Labor Party, because both had kibbutzim and moshavim to protect and coddle.

As time went on, and especially after Israel's totally miraculous victory in the 1967 Six Days War, the NRP began to change. Its first generation raised in the State of Israel became the most enthusiastic in Israeli society for settling the Land liberated in the war and Israel's increased security and prosperity enabled more and deeper Torah learning.

Children and grandchildren of old NRP leadership and graduates of the Mamlachti Dati, State Religious Schools began looking to emulate the heavy Torah learning of the chareidim, even establishing full-time Kollel programs and chareidi-like elementary and high schools for boys, where the graduates wouldn't be qualified to pass Bagrut tests for a high school diploma, which is necessary for university and certification in most vocational studies.

At the same time, in the political sphere, they've established numerous other political parties, more religious and Right ideology then the venerable NRP aka Jewish Home Party.

That's why  unlike Likud, descended from prestate Revisionist Herut, the veteran Labor Party and the chareidi parties, there's no internal competition or primaries for the leadership role in the NRP aka Jewish Home Party. There's a leadership bankruptcy; its graduates have moved on and away.

Every few years a new "leader" is recruited from various other occupations or parties. The NRP backroom mafia controls the party and all the property that has been in the "family" for probably close to a hundred years.

The words behind NRP are "national religious party." Honestly I, like Naftali Bennett and many others, some who vote Likud, are ideologically against a party that labels itself as dati, religious.

I believe that we all, no matter how many and how carefully we keep Gd's commandments, must work together to govern and steer the State of Israel. I look for a political party with vision and commitment to the Torah, Land of Israel and the entire Jewish People.

Gd willing, I'll be voting for the New Right, although I honestly don't like the name Bennett and Shaked chose. And it's reassuring to me that Caroline Glick has chosen to run for Knesset in the New Right. Gd willing, we'll see her in the Knesset soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Unthinkable is Happening in The USA

This is a sad post. What I must write is not something I had ever imagined could happen in the United States of America, the USA. It's no longer Jew friendly.

Read carefully, please. I'm not saying that the USA is like Nazi Germany in the mid-late 1930's, but today unabashed antisemites* and those who support the destruction of the State of Israel have now been easily elected to the United States Congress as Democrats. The media is publishing and broadcasting even their most antisemitic statements and policies.

 all Photos all by me, Batya Medad when accompanying a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight from JFK International Airport to Israel over a decade ago

Photo by Batya Medad
I find it most frightening that as smart as Jews are supposed to be, too many can't connect the dots.  The Democratic Party has gone far Left and supports a Palestinian State over the State of Israel. This has not stopped the majority of American Jews from supporting the Democratic party and its candidates. American Jewry still professes support for Israel, but they refuse to see that their support for a "State of Palestine" means the destruction of the Jewish State.

The Arabs who would govern "Palestine" are unabashedly pro terror against Jews and Israelis. Their envisioned country would be  Judenrein, cleansed of Jews. These policies won't change one iota if those Arabs had a state. 

At present, convicted and jailed Arab terrorists and their families get payments from the PA-Palestinian Authority. They are also lauded as brave heroes to be idolized. Children are taught in their schools to follow those terrorists, even if it leads to death. 

So, honestly, how can anyone claim to support Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian State?

In the past, American public officials would claim support for Israel at the same time that they promoted "Palestine." In the newly elected Congress, there are members who don't even bother with that carefully worded preface. They accuse Israel of being immoral and propose reducing or totally stopping all support and aid to Israel. They said this while campaigning and beforehand.

You can check it in all the news sites. I can't bear to quote them on my blog.

I have two requests:

  1. Americans, please connect the dots. Recognize that support for Palestine means the destruction of the State of Israel. There can never be a Two State Solution, sic. Palestine=terror and instability for the region and the world. 
  2. American Jews, your welcome mat in the USA is badly ripped and won't be replaced or repaired all that soon. It's time to move again. I suggest moving to Israel for many reasons. Contact Nefesh B'Nefesh to consult with them.

Photo by Batya Medad
*And please don't give me the double-talk about Arabs being semites, so an Arab or pro-Arab can't be anti semitic. I specifically wrote the term antisemite as one word which means "The hatred of Jews; an antisemite is one who promotes policies discriminating and/or endangering Jews and Jewish life."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Normalization and Acceptance of The Datiim, Torah Observant

Not all that long ago, you didn't see Datiim, religious guys in kippot holding the microphone, being part of the news team on Israeli television. Datiim were allocated an hour or two a week, for the pre and post Shabbat programs. As far as I know, there were media men who kept traditional Jewish Homes, Kashrut and Shabbat, but their kippot stayed in their pocket when on camera.

After a long break, since IBA Israel Broadcasting Authority closed, we can now watch the  Kan Israeli television stations and the newscasts at home. I'm noticing kippot, and I can't help but to smile.

For me, this is a new Israel.

And since we're in Elections mode, I'll explain the connection. Today's young datiim, aka the "national religious," see themselves as full participants in the State of Israel in a way that their grandparents and even parents couldn't have imagined.

Sociologically speaking, of course, in the early days of the State of Israel, the datiim, were usually educated in the State Religious, mamlachti dati schools. It was believed that without the NRP National Religious Party, today the name has been changed to Jewish Home Party, in the coalition their school systems' survival would be in danger. That's why the NRP had to be in every coalition, and the parents of the students and the system's graduates had to vote for it.

Post 1967 Six Days War, two things happened. One was that the NRP voters became more ideological; they were the most enthusiastic Israelis for settling all the the Land liberated in the war. Two was that the State Religious school system had become strongly part of the Ministry of Education establishment, and the NRP could no longer campaign that they were needed to preserve it. That's one of the reasons the NRP is having such an identity and leadership crisis.

Today's young datiim don't like to be restricted. More and more girls are doing army service, and not as teachers. Their brothers are also taking on more challenges in the IDF.

Israel is the only Jewish country in the world. Our people are an ancient people, whose historic peers no longer exist. At the same time, Israel is a new country and always changing, innovating, growing. Even after close to half a century here in Israel, I find it all very exciting.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Remember: Even The Best of Election Polls are Inaccurate

Here in Israel the political parties are revving up their campaign machinery for the 2019 Knesset Elections. Once all the primaries and committees (depending on the political party) submit their lists of Knesset candidates, then election fever will really heat up. Like in all democracies, genuine ones at least, polling companies and experts are big business. And the polls can have a very dangerous influence on voter/results.

Even the best of polls only take "samples" of a small percentage of the potential voters. In Israel, that means that just a few hundred are considered sufficient for predicting what the entire country is going to vote.
"Midgam conducted a poll of 503 people with a 4.4% margin of error for Channel 12 that was broadcast on Feb 9 2019." See Jeremy's Knesset Insider.
Now, we all know that if we sniff out the politics of  people living in different locations, we're going to get very different, contrasting, conflicting opinions. Because of the large range of political parties here in Israel, which do make it to the Knesset, even people who profess the same ideology/opinion about issues will vote for different political parties.

Frequently, people will preface their opinion with the phrase "Everybody says/thinks..." Honestly, I hate that word "everybody," since there is no such animal.

Too many times, people are influenced by the polls. Either the campaign workers are overconfident and don't work hard enough. Or people think it's "wise" to change their vote to a political party they think won't get enough votes to make it to the Knesset. Sometimes people hear that their party or "side" hasn't a chance, so they don't even bother voting.

Some people who answer polls, purposely announce they're voting for a party they'd never vote for. It's a big joke for them. In addition, there are those who don't fully make up their mind until they're actually voting, or change their mind at the very last minute.

We should vote carefully, according to which party, or candidate we honestly feel will do the best job. And then pray that Gd will not only give them wisdom, but they will use their Gd given Free Will to do what's truly best for the public good.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Shabbat, Shalva Band and A More Jewish Israel

I see the entire Shalva Band, Shabbat and Eurovision saga as a wonderful example of how I see Israel as becoming more proudly Jewish than ever before.

It would have been impossible to imagine Israelis falling in love with anything resembling the Shalva Band a decade or two or more ago. And the suggestion that Israeli entertainment moguls and stars would be praising them and suggesting that they represent Israel in something as prestigious as Eurovision blows my mind.

A few decades ago, there was more separation between the Torah observant performers and all the others. A number of popular performers have become strictly Torah observant, but then they'd either stop performing or change their style and audience and ambitions.

When someone (I haven't a clue who) suggested that the Shalva Band compete for the chance to represent Israel in Eurovision, I wonder if the person thought it would be chosen, or just figured the exposure would be good publicity. Or were they naive enough to think that since Israel was the host country a solution could be found for allowing the Shalva Band to observe Shabbat and also compete.

We all know what happened. Shalva Band, which is an amazing band, was chosen to represent Israel, but since the Eurovision management refused to be flexible and allow the band to honor and obey/observe Shabbat, Shalva Band dropped out of the competition. In the end, Kan-Israeli TV has included the Shalva Band as part of the local entertainment the host country provides during the contest. So, anyone watching Eurovision will see them. Honestly, I think this solution is much better than competing. As far as I'm concerned it's a win, for Shalva and Shabbat. It's also a win for Israel as a Jewish country.

The growing popularity of the Shalva Band is also a win for people with disabilities. In a sense, we all have some sort of disability, some more limiting than others. I'm proud of my country Israel and fellow Israelis for how this is being handled. And I'm glad that the Shalva Band isn't part of the competition. I'd hate to have those wonderful, talented singers and musicians in the Shalva Band have to suffer being judged by viewer/voters all over Europe and beyond.

They are Number One and don't need the confirmation of Eurovision.

And if one of the reasons the Shalva Band had been chosen to represent Israel, was the "novelty," then they got the "last laugh." Performing without the stress of competition is much better.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Voting in The Likud Primaries, A Day in My Life...

Tuesday night, after a very full day, which included Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, a reunion lunch with college friends, a dentist appointment, lunch at a son's home after some quality time with his baby, I finally made it to Binyanei Hauma to vote in the Likud Primaries.

Now, I must admit that I've probably never voted for the Likud in Knesset Elections, but I am a member of the party. That does sound strange, but if you understand the Israeli political system and history, there's a logical reason or two. This post isn't the place for an explanation, but if you're curious, please ask.

In theory I could have voted in Shiloh, where we had a polling station. Davka, in Shiloh voting would have been rather simple. That is if I had been home when it was open. I had carefully checked and calculated my day's plans and logistics and realized that I just didn't have time between the poll's opening and the bus to Jerusalem. Besides that, I sleep in Jerusalem Tuesday nights in order to get to Matan early Wednesday for my chevruta, group learning. 

By the time I was on my way to the #15 bus to Binyanei Hauma, I was exhausted and wondering how long it would all take. So far, none of my traveling had gone as simply as I had expected/planned.

After dovening at the Tel, I had waited at the bus stop to Jerusalem, and the efo bus app showed no sign of the expected bus. Finally, I got tremp after tremp to Jerusalem with enough time to drop off my bag, so I wouldn't have to schlep it around all day.

I ended up waiting a long time for the first leg of my trip to the dentist, because one of the scheduled buses never showed. And then I was shocked to discover that the route had changed. I would have saved time even walking from Cinema City to the String/Chords Bridge to catch the second bus. That's because there was a change in the route of the #15, which I was unaware of. The area around the central bus station was so awful, and the red lights so badly timed, that at least a half hour was added to my travel time. I had to call the dentist office to say that for the very first time, I'd be late instead of early.

Amazingly, the trip to  vote went very smoothly, but then I was stumped trying to find the underground passage to cross the street and then the entrance to Binyanei Hauma. There's so much construction, and it was dark where I needed light.

I was too stressed and rushed to photograph the outside of Binyanei Hauma when trying to enter. The whole area was full of tables and loudspeakers. Papers were all over the floor, and I was constantly accosted by campaign workers handing out promotional literature. I also recognized some well-known Likud ministers and MKs, who were trying last minute personal campaigning. I ignored them. With hundreds of candidates for a few slots, competition and bedlam were rampant. We could only vote for twelve 12, no more no less.

There were mobs of men and teens blocking the way, but finally I made my way in. And when I got to the area where it was forbidden to campaign, what a contrast. There was such silence and space.

All around the room there were tables staffed by two mostly young and very polite and helpful clerks who explained what to do. I was surprised and happy that the Likud gave up on high-tech voting, which it had tried a few times in the past.

Only after I had exited the building could I take the time to photograph the carnival scene. No doubt that the cleanup has been a challenge.

If you're interested in the results, read this and this.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Likud Primaries Today, Gevalt! Haven't a Clue

Today's the Likud Primaries. Somehow even though I've never voted Likud in Knesset Elections, I must have signed up as a Likud member. That means that out of some bank account, we pay dues. That gives me the privilege, and I'm not being all that sarcastic, to influence the rankings/chances of politicians and wannabes in Israel's ruling party.

In previous primaries, I'd had a pretty good idea of whom to vote for. But this time I really haven't paid much attention. But in a few hours I'm going to have to make a choice. There are a few "no ways," and some people I do want in.

The last thing I look for are the platforms and promises they make. That's because, are you shocked, people lie and/or hire slick writing teams. 

Gd willing some wise friends will call me with reliable advice. Otherwise, maybe I should just endendino, or as we say in English:
eenie meenie miney mo

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Biblical גר Ger, Stranger is Neither Convert nor Immigrant

One of my pet peeves is interpreting the Bible Tanach according to modern concepts. Pretty soon, as we're getting closer to Purim, I'll probably write reminding everyone that King Achashverosh and Queen Esther's "marriage" wasn't a marriage in the modern sense. They certainly didn't sit over morning coffee together discussing politics, weather and the children. I doubt if they ever had a meal together, but that's for later...

There's a real problem with how people interpret/translate the word גר Ger as it appears in the Bible, for example in the most recent Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week, Mishpatim, Exodus 21-24.
וְגֵ֖ר לֹ֣א תִלְחָ֑ץ וְאַתֶּ֗ם יְדַעְתֶּם֙ אֶת־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַגֵּ֔ר כִּֽי־גֵרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃
Exodus 23:9 You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.
What did the writer of the Bible mean by גר Ger?

First of all, it wasn't a "convert," known today in Hebrew as a גר צדק, righteous ger. Four thousand 4,000 years ago there was no such thing as a formal conversion. The idea that someone "converts" to Judaism is much more recent. Even the iconic "conversion" of Ruth was no more than a statement of identification and oath to live and die according to however her mother-in-law Naomi does. People lived in clans and were expected to adopt the ways/religion/gods of the dominant clan.

A  גר Ger, if modeled on how Yosef and Yaakov's family/clan lived in Egypt, was one of a clan that didn't follow the dominant religion/gods of the society. When Pharaoh invited Yaakov to live in Egypt, he set them up in a "ghetto" of sorts in Goshen. Pharaoh's Egypt wasn't a 20th century American melting pot, which encouraged assimilation into the dominant culture/society.

The  גר Ger wasn't like modern immigrants; they were more nomadic. They followed the money and didn't own land. There was something intrinsically temporary about the life of a  גר Ger.

Think about it, please. I'd like your reactions.

I expect stormy reactions to this post.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Good News! Ruthie Blum Back in Jerusalem Post

Now that Caroline Glick, has decided to throw her hat into the political ring, the Jerusalem Post knew that they were losing a bit draw, so now Ruthie Blum is being featured on the back page of Friday's paper. If I'm not mistaken she will have an opinion piece there every two weeks.

I'm very happy about this. Of course I'd like it if we could read both Glick and Blum, but...

For complete article click here.

And he's more of Ruthie Blum. Listen, she's great!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Benny Gantz's New Political Party Empty of Ideology

No surprise for you readers of my blog. I don't see Benny Gantz's new political party, Israel Resilience, as worth voting for. He's playing a familiar game of being the newest "tofu" or "chameleon" party with a few vague terms, which hint at no real ideology, other than getting elected.  these "center," or "trust me" parties are extremely common in Israel. Almost every Knesset election has one.

They are very popular with the voters, who for some strange reason, haven't yet caught on to the con. The leaders of these parties remind me of the imaginary politician I had envisioned when I wrote my highest graded composition for a university English class. The assignment was to write a parody of a campaign speech, and the line I remember best is:
"I want what you want."
I can imagine Benny Gantz saying it at campaign rallies and parlour meetings. It follows the principle that as long as you don't say anything negative, many people will like you. The polls give Gantz's parve* party a lot of votes, more than ten percent of the Israeli public.

Israelis like to give people a chance, since most have serious complaints about those they know. I've noticed this rather consistently even in our local Shiloh elections. A first time candidate usually gets a high percentage of the vote. The only time it doesn't happen is if there are a few first time candidates. Then the voters have a difficult choice deciding whom to vote for.

The only way to get an accurate idea of what Gantz or a similar party leader/figurehead stands for is to take a good look at the people on his/her list. What are their ideologies, experience etc? By examining them, you find out two things:

  1. what is important to the main #1 candidate
  2. who is backing him/her; politics is expensive; follow the money

The Israeli political system isn't like most others. Here we vote for party lists of Knesset candidates. Honestly, I think it works well in a country as tiny as Israel. The Prime Minister is the Knesset Member who can succeed in gathering a coalition of at least sixty-one 61 of the one hundred and twenty 120 Members of Knesset.

Yes, that's me voting a few years ago, at the 20th Knesset Elections.
Photo by Linda Fairman

*parve, according to the laws of kashrut, is a food that can be eaten with either milk or meat.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Sovereignty Now!

Here in Israel we've been living in a dangerous absurdity for over fifty 50 years.

In June, 1967, against all odds and predictions, not only did the State of Israel survive the war which began with vicious threats of annihilation from Egypt's Gamal Nasser, who had galvanized the Arab world and easily got the United Nations to withdraw its Peacekeeping Forces, but when the dust settled after battles on three fronts, lasting less than a week, Israel was victorious.

In all honesty, to say that "Israel was victorious" is an understatement. Not only did the State of Israel defeat the three neighboring countries which had attacked, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, but the IDF Israel Defense Forces liberated land on all three fronts.

On the Egyptian front, the unpopulated Sinai desert and Gaza fell into Israeli hands, as the Egyptian soldiers rapidly fled back to Egypt. On the northern front with Syria, Israel succeeded in pushing the Syrians out of the Golan Heights, which has drastically improved the security of northern Israel, most notably the agricultural communities which had suffered greatly from Syrian attacks over the years. And most significant was that Jordan lost what they had referred to as the "west bank," land they had illegally occupied and didn't develop since the 1949 ceasefire. In the UN Partition Plan, that area was supposed to be an additional invented* Arab state.

Davka, the land liberated from Jordan is the Biblical Land of Israel, where most of Ancient Jewish History had taken place. Besides Beersheva, which Israel has held and developed since the establishment of the State of of Israel, the other main Biblical cities, Shechem, Hebron, Shiloh and Walled Jerusalem were all liberated from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in June, 1967.

For some inexplicable, fokokt reason, instead of annexing and declaring full sovereignty over all of that miraculously liberated Land, like any normal country would do, Israeli leaders decided to hold it to use as "payment" for "peace" with our enemies. On the whole, our enemies haven't taken the bribe.

Egypt, under Nasser's successor Sadaat, did accept the Sinai sans Gaza in exchange for what could be called a "cold peace." The price for Israel was extremely high, since it involved the destruction of Jewish communities and the forced exile of their Jewish residents.

The Golan, where there are many Jewish communities, can't be given away without endangering northern Israel. And considering the instability and violence in Syria, the truth is that not even the Arabs in the area really want change.

For some totally mystifying reason, Israeli politicians have been claiming that it's possible to allow a "State of Palestine," sic to established in some of Judea Samaria without causing danger to the State of Israel and the Jewish communities which would be "permitted" to remain. This questionable policy, which is now supported by people all over the world, has caused a dangerous instability and uncertainty among the local Arabs. It has davka pushed them into allying with Arab terrorists. That's because  it's clear to them that if Israel, Gd forbid, leaves, the terrorists will rule.

Sorry Charlie, as the saying goes, but without a strong Israeli presence, not only will Arab terror rage and rule, but the State of Israel would be in serious danger. And obviously, Israel can't buy peace for Land.

The only way we can start on the road to peace is by imposing Israeli Sovereignty on all of the Land Israel controls, including what had been given to the PA-Palestinian Authority.

Sovereignty Now!

Shiloh, Israel
This is my new facebook cover photo, which I produced for 52Frames "Hello From..." challenge. Following is what I wrote:
"Shiloh, Israel"
One of the downsides of being a longtime member of 52Frames is finding a new angle to this challenge. That's why instead of using a picture I took of our iconic Tabernacle Synagogue, based on the Biblical Tabernacle which stood here in Shiloh for almost four hundred years, or the area of the Biblical Shiloh, I looked for a different view. I shot east from the archeological site, but I wasn't fully satisfied with the photo. Then today I was in Jerusalem and photographed an Israeli flag, flying outside a store. Yes, I used the double exposure tool in snapseed to combine a picture of western Shiloh with an Israeli flag. It may be kitschy, but I like it. Sometimes patriotism is kitschy at times, but it's not a crime. Modern Shiloh is celebrating forty-one years this week, perfect timing.
*To this day, there has never been a history of unity, peoplehood among those Arabs living west of the Jordan river. To be perfectly honest, until Great Britain brought the Hashemites in to occupy and rule Transjordan, east of the Jordan River, there had never been an independent country, society, culture, people etc there either.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Potential Security Deterioration in Mateh Binyamin

For years when there had been reports of terror attacks, drive bys, rammings, shootings, stabbings at various roadside bus stops in Gush Etzion and the Shomron (Samaria), I'd be able to say that in Mateh Binyamin our security experts have tried to protect us by not approving roadside bus stops. This has now changed.

There have always been trempiadas, hitchhiking posts on the main roads, but official bus stops had been restricted to either inside of communities passing guard posts, like in Ofra, Kochav Hashachar and Sha'ar Binyamin or inside junctions, where there are soldiers stationed, like near the gas station on the way to Psagot/Tel Zion. And until two days ago, January 20, 2019, Givat Asaf, the T junction to Beit El and Ramalla.

When the road "planners" of Mateh Binyamin "upgraded" that junction, which has been plagued by traffic jams and terror attacks, they somehow forgot that not only are there buses that go to and from Beit El, but all of the buses on Highway 60 in both directions turn in so that passengers can board and unboard. More frequently than you'd like to imagine, the buses got stuck, because various vehicles blocked their way. In addition, there was no coordination between where the buses turned and the exiting bus stop. The whole setup had become a major nightmare, but at least if I caught a ride going into Beit El, I could wait relatively safely on the inner road for a bus going towards Jerusalem.

For me, ramming terror attacks are something I've experienced, so I fear them more than other terror genres. I was lightly injured in the very first ramming terror attack over twenty years ago. 

I was horrified to discover that from now on the official bus stops are on the main road. There is now a traffic light, including a pedestrian one, but that decreases security. I've passed by a few times already, and travelers are on their own there. Security personnel stand in relative safety inside structures on the inner road leading to Beit El and Ramalla.

Here are some photos I took yesterday going north on my way home to Shiloh:

the new Givat Asaf Junction, showing its traffic lights

bus stop going south towards Jerusalem
buses stopped to pick up and let off passengers will stop traffic

going north to Ofra, Shiloh and Ariel

going north to Ofra, Shiloh and Ariel

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Embarrassed to Admit I Even I Mixed Up Bible Text and Commentary, Torah Portion, Beshalach

A couple of days ago, I had a blog post in my head based on Parshat Shavua, the Weekly Torah Portion. When I began writing it I discovered that the specific event I was comparing to Israel's legendary and totally effective bombing of the enemy airfields, isn't written in the Torah. The story of Nachson's step in the Reed Sea is from a Midrash. I felt like a total idiot. I've always made a point of basing my understanding on what's written in the Tanach/Bible, not on commentary.

I wrote the following on facebook:
I'm devastated to discover that the story of Nachshon stepping into the sea, which caused it to split is just midrash. I was looking for the Bible verse and it doesn't exist.
Many friends admitted to the same mistake. Scrap that blog post.

Then I read the whole Torah Portion, Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16), in shul. Among what's really written towards the end a couple of verses, which I've chosen as crucial lessons for us Sh'mot, Exodus 17:11-12.


וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יָרִ֥ים מֹשֶׁ֛ה יָד֖וֹ וְגָבַ֣ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְכַאֲשֶׁ֥ר יָנִ֛יחַ יָד֖וֹ וְגָבַ֥ר עֲמָלֵֽק׃
Then, whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; but whenever he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

וִידֵ֤י מֹשֶׁה֙ כְּבֵדִ֔ים וַיִּקְחוּ־אֶ֛בֶן וַיָּשִׂ֥ימוּ תַחְתָּ֖יו וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב עָלֶ֑יהָ וְאַהֲרֹ֨ן וְח֜וּר תָּֽמְכ֣וּ בְיָדָ֗יו מִזֶּ֤ה אֶחָד֙ וּמִזֶּ֣ה אֶחָ֔ד וַיְהִ֥י יָדָ֛יו אֱמוּנָ֖ה עַד־בֹּ֥א הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃
But Moses’ hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur, one on each side, supported his hands; thus his hands remained steady until the sun set.
I have no doubt that nothing has changed for the Jewish People, from three thousand plus 3,000+ years ago, until today. When we, the Jewish People and State of Israel use our strength, united against our enemies we will prevail, but if we show weakness we will lose.

Our security and survival isn't dependant on others, only on how we behave.

The State of Israel does not need the approval and support of foreign leaders and countries. Our greatest victories occurred without any outside help. When we have depended on others for security advice, like the 1973 Yom Kippur War, we were almost defeated.

King David explains it very simply when he prepared for his fight with Goliath. At the time, David was an unknown shepherd who had been sent to bring supplies to his older brothers. When he heard the taunts of the giant Goliath, he rushed to the fore and discovered King Saul and soldiers paralyzed with fear. ISamuel 17:10-11

וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֔י אֲנִ֗י חֵרַ֛פְתִּי אֶת־מַעַרְכ֥וֹת יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה תְּנוּ־לִ֣י אִ֔ישׁ וְנִֽלָּחֲמָ֖ה יָֽחַד׃
And the Philistine ended, “I herewith defy the ranks of Israel. Get me a man and let’s fight it out!”
וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע שָׁאוּל֙ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖י הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיֵּחַ֥תּוּ וַיִּֽרְא֖וּ מְאֹֽד׃ (פ)
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and terror-stricken.

וְדָוִד֩ בֶּן־אִ֨ישׁ אֶפְרָתִ֜י הַזֶּ֗ה מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה וּשְׁמ֣
David volunteered to fight the giant and then rejected the offer of Saul's weapons and protective gear. He became our king, and even the Messiah is descended from him, because he always recognized that it's Gd's power that controls our victories and defeats, not conventional armies and weapons.
גַּ֧ם אֶֽת־הָאֲרִ֛י גַּם־הַדּ֖וֹב הִכָּ֣ה עַבְדֶּ֑ךָ וְֽ֠הָיָה הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֨י הֶעָרֵ֤ל הַזֶּה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֣י חֵרֵ֔ף מַעַרְכֹ֖ת אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּֽים׃ (ס)
Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and that uncircumcised Philistine shall end up like one of them, for he has defied the ranks of the living God.

וַיֹּאמֶר֮ דָּוִד֒ יְהוָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִצִּלַ֜נִי מִיַּ֤ד הָֽאֲרִי֙ וּמִיַּ֣ד הַדֹּ֔ב ה֣וּא יַצִּילֵ֔נִי מִיַּ֥ד הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖י הַזֶּ֑ה (ס) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר שָׁא֤וּל אֶל־דָּוִד֙ לֵ֔ךְ וַֽיהוָ֖ה יִהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ׃
The LORD,” David went on, “who saved me from lion and bear will also save me from that Philistine.” “Then go,” Saul said to David, “and may the LORD be with you!”
The State of Israel will only be safe, secure and truly sovereign when our political leaders are willing to accept what King David instinctively knew. Gd is our "secret weapon," and as long as we stay loyal to Gd, we will be victorious and thrive.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Looks Like The End of The NRP National Religious Party מפדל

Way back when, even before the Establishment of the State of Israel, people chose their political party according to the Zionist Youth Movement they were active in. Betar voted Herut, Bnei Akiva voted NRP National Religious Party מפדל etc. A relatively high percentage of Israeli youth were in a youth movement, whether it promoted Leftist kibbutzim, religious moderation or שתי גדות לירדן Shtay Gadot Layarden, Two (Both) Banks of the Jordan.

In the days before internet, television and even a phone in every home, Israeli kids kept busy with their youth movement friends. One's youth movement ideology was one's politics, sick fund, school, address, bank and pretty much everything. Things have changed in Israel, and the political polls show it.

The last surviving and relatively strong ideological youth movement is Bnei Akiva, which has always been connected to the NRP aka Jewish Home Party. In recent decades, the strong ideologues graduating from Bnei Akiva haven't supported the NRP, finding it too weak and compromising on ideology and idealism. Those controlling the coffers and properties of the NRP found themselves in the embarrassing and risky position of having to recruit ambitious politicians from the outside. That's how Naftali Bennett and the more secular Ayelet Shaked ended up running it.

Bennett and Shaked did their staj, internship as party heads and then must have done a secret poll that showed that the NRP voters would vote for them without the label NRP, so they left it and have established the New Right, a name which I consider absolutely awful.

Ever since Bennett and Shaked announced their new political party, polls are showing that the NRP won't pass the minimum votes to get into the Knesset. Read the latest from Jeremy's Knesset Insider.

Israeli society has changed enormously in the half century we're in the country. It's very rare for a country and society to change so quickly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Lion's Roar, 3rd of Tzvi Fishman's Tevye Series

I finished reading The Lion's Roar by Tzvi Fishman, and now I have to wait almost a year to read the next installment, Anonymous Soldiers. #1 Tevye in The Promised Land was reviewed here, as was #2 Arise and Shine.

Before I go any further, I'll get straight to the point. Buy the series for yourself, friends and family. The books suit all ages, and if you're careful about what your kids read, no problems. There's nothing to censor.

Fishman's series is also a fantastic way to learn and teach Jewish and Israeli History. The Tevye series can also be used to teach Jewish History in Jewish Schools or English in Israeli ones.

The Tevye series should be turned into movies or television shows. The plots are actual history, though characters are a combination of real historical figures with fictional ones. And as I've said before, consider Tevye of the Forrest Gump genre. The big difference is that Tevye is highly intelligent and ideologically motivated, unlike the also fictional Gump, who finds himself in real historic events by chance.

The Lion's Roar gives us an excellent view of the controversy and then break in the Zionist Revisionist movement that Zeev Jabotinsky had established. In addition, we read of the tension, competition and inside story between all of the Zionist groups, from Left to Right.

For those who are familiar with the history of the time, when Jews in the Promised Land had to decide between supporting Britain against Germany or attacking British police, because they supported Arab rights over Jewish ones, Fishman's characters and plot are well-written. It's also an enjoyable challenge for us to pick out which of his fictional characters are based on real people.

I'm anxiously awaiting further installments about Tevye and his family in the Promised Land.

Product details

  • Series: Tevye in the Promised Land Series
  • Paperback: 526 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 14, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1726116107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1726116107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Alternative News Sources, Blog Roundup, January, 2019, Shevat, 5779

Enjoy, these tasty morsels of journalism
A blog roundup is like an internet magazine. I'm offering a variety of topics from various blogs. I hope you enjoy them; read, share and comment. I'm not responsible for opinions/statements on blogs which aren't mine, and posts written by others. Enjoy, and if you have any blogs you'd like to recommend, please list their names and links in the comments, thanks.

I just offer the titles of the posts and not the names of the blogs. And they're in no special order. Enjoy!

Moshe (Misha) Arens 1925-2019
The Israeli "Queen of Beer"
3 Suggestions to Enjoy Jerusalem in Stormy Weather
American Football in Israel, Lions in The Lead
Two Pro-Israel Arab Politicians The Mainstream Media Aren’t Talking About
Ben-Gurion, Zionism, and democracy
Jews are Thinking of Leaving Scotland. Good!
Why Do they Refuse?
Rosh Chodesh Shevat, Wet, Cold and Sunny, Onward to Adar
Last 2 Radio 103 FM Polls
"Arise and Shine," More Adventures with Tevye by Tzvi Fishman
The Brigade
Blessed Rain Water at Jewish Legion Memorial, Shiloh Junction
Thanks for the rain
All Shuk Up: Mujadra Basmati Rice Recipe, Vegetarian Jerusalem Mixed Grill, and More!
Wikipedia, We Have a Problem
Tech in the Shomer Shabbat Home
Books Read in 2018 #MyYearInBooks
100 + Books from 2018

Which is your favorite post, and why?
Favorite blog, and why?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Blessed Rain Water at Jewish Legion Memorial, Shiloh Junction

Yesterday one of my walking partners called and suggested that we take a walk to see streams of water at the Shiloh Junction. Her timing was great, and I was able to take a break from my Shabbat cooking to join her.

Since our time and walking prowess are rather limited, we took her car to the Shiloh Junction and walked across the road to the Shiloh Valley park and hiking trail. It has also been dedicated as the Jewish Legion in Binyamin Memorial.

During World War One, the first Jewish fighting force was established, the Jewish Legion, and one of the areas it got to was Shiloh. So, last summer a memorial was set up at the Shiloh Junction.

Today, the area just west of Shiloh is a Jewish agricultural area with olive groves and vineyards. Since it's part of the Emek Shiloh, Shiloh Valley, it's extremely fertile. When we came to live in Shiloh in 1981, the entire area was barren. But in the past twenty years, this area has been one of the most profitable agricultural sites around. Prize-winning Meshek Achiya Olive Oil grows olives here, and a number of prize-winning wine companies get their grapes from here, too.

Experts can taste the difference between rain-watered produce and artificial irrigation, so the accumulation of rainwater here is very important, Baruch Hashem, thank Gd.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

My Really Dumb Question About That "Wall"

I may have gotten this all mixed up, but I have a question to those who don't want the American Government to construct a wall to keep out illegal immigrants.

Maybe I'm just stupidly simplistic, but if I understand those against the "wall" correctly, they think that anyone who wants to move/migrate to the United States should be able to, whenever they want, without being forced to go through the legal, bureaucratic procedures. If I understand correctly, those against the "wall" consider what they call "migrating" as a human right.

So if "migrating" shouldn't be a difficult hassle, then why should there be border control anyplace? Why should tourists, who just come to spend money, enrich the American economy have to worry about visas, passports and entrance laws? And what if some of those tourists decide to stay in America, shouldn't they be welcomed with open arms and allowed to live in the USA without fear of being deported? What makes the hispanics coming from the south of the border be more desirable as "new Americans," than those who fly in, or enter any other way?

Just curious. Did I misunderstand something? Or am I just stupid?

New York City

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Bibi's "Big Announcement" Total Dud

Last night before 8pm Israel Time, I hurriedly tried to find a link to listen to Prime Minister Bibi Binyamin Netanyahu's "important announcement." About a week ago, there had been a similar situation from Naftali Bennett, and that's when he and Ayelet Shaked told us all that they were leaving NRP-Jewish Home and officially starting their own political party.

So, unlike those on facebook who were making jokes out of Bibi's possible "news," I thought maybe he was going to announce that a dynamic, charismatic vote-getter would be joining Likud.  I was wrong. A very tired and uninspired looking Binyamin Netanyahu just kvetched that the "judges were against him." He wanted the opportunity to confront his accusers. To be honest, knowing my criminal law more from American television, than anywhere else, I agree with him. But I don't see this as suitable material for a big public announcement.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Belgium Joins The Antisemitic Hypocrites

Over ten years ago, I wrote a post here about the blatant hypocrisy of countries that ban shechita, the Jewish method of slaughtering animals. Yes, the same countries generally ban Islam's hallal slaughter, too. These countries claim that our ritual method of using a super sharp knife to cut a very specific part of the neck by highly trained slaughterers is immoral and cruelty to animals.

You don't have to be one of those traumatized as a child by the iconic Disney cartoon/movie Bambi, find that reason peculiar to say the least. Bambi's mother was killed by a hunter. Hunting is the killing and wounding of animals, frequently leaving them in horrendous pain, not the instant death of properly done shechita.  The research I did twelve years ago showed that  every single country that bans shechita permits hunting.

So, just to make sure I'm not mistaken, it was very easy to check if Belgium permits hunting, the epitome of cruelty to animals. Yes, of course hunting is legal in Belgium. Click the following links:
That proves it. The new law forbidding shechita in Belgium has nothing to do with morality and animal protection. It's just to make life more difficult for Jews.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

"Arise and Shine," More Adventures with Tevye by Tzvi Fishman

I'm truly enjoying the adventurous Tevye in the Promised Land series by Tzvi Fishman. I've coined them the Forrest Gump genre of literature, a subgroup in historical novels. Now for the second in the series, which tells what happens to Tevye the Milkman and his growing family, once they're well settled in the Promised Land, Arise and Shine.

Life isn't simple and calm for Tevye and his clan. Like the fictional Forrest Gump, Tevye and his family not only participated in the most important and game-changing events in post World War One Mandate/Palestine, but they knew and interacted with all of the main historic figures. For me, personally, it's a sign of Fishman's writing skill that he created very realistic younger versions of some people I actually knew. The young and idealistic Moshe Segal in Fishman's books could very well be what our elderly neighbor in Jerusalem's Old City had been like a half a century before we knew him.

You can see in the cover of Arise and Shine, the fictional Tevye is flanked Zeev Jabotinsky, David Ben-Gurion, Yair Avraham Stern and Yosef Trumpeldor. That simple illustration summarizes this entire series by Tzvi Fishman. Tevye was much more than a simple milkman.

Even more than that, Fishman doesn't sweeten the story, making Tevye and his family immune from the violence and dangers of the time. In Volume #1 Tevye in the Promised Land, illness and Arab terrorists were the killers of Tevye's daughters and friends. But in Arise and Shine, Arab terror becomes the biggest danger. And to make matters worse, the British, who are supposed to be keeping the peace and facilitating the establishment of a Jewish State favor the Arabs and restrict Jews, even from self-defense.

Tevye and his family gave up on their rural, agricultural life and are living in Jerusalem, where Tevye the milkman has a milk route. Chief Rabbi Kook is the rabbi Tevye looks up to, as he has since his earliest days in the Promised Land. In the struggle for a Jewish State, most of Tevye's family find themselves firmly in the Revisionist camp. David Raziel, Uri Tzvi Greenberg, Moshe Segal and Avraham Stern are among those who visit Tevye's home.

The mix of true history and fiction Tvi Fishman cooked up in this series is a perfect blend. For those readers who aren't familiar with the history and historic characters, I highly recommend reading the books slowly and supplementing with a bit of quick research if necessary.

Again, I must say that the book could be made into a riveting television series. It's also a great book to read to children, instead of letting them watch the "screen." The book is a lot "cleaner" than what you'll find on television or in the movies.

I highly recommend Tzvi Fishman's Arise and Shine as a book for all ages. I'm now almost half way through the third volume, and I understand that there's a fourth in production, which Gd willing will be published in under a year.

  • Series: Tevye in the Promised Land
  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 15, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1724652672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1724652676

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Israel Elections 2019, 5779 Latest Polls

Two interesting polls are out on Jeremy's Knesset Insider, both hot off the press, meaning that they include both the New Right of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and Labor running on its own, sans Tzipi Livni.

The shocker for many is that Bennett and Shaked are correct in their guess that they had brought most votes to the veteran NRP (National Religious Party,) now called Jewish Home. The polls show that without them, Jewish Home may not even get into the Knesset. The NRP is doing worse than Livni, which even has me shocked.  And I'm pretty sure that the polls were done before Caroline Glick publicly joined the New Right. She should bring votes from Likud and NRP.

I'm just going to copy/paste from Jeremy's Knesset Insider and let you take a good look. What do you think? Of, course, we still have a while to go before the actual elections, but so far it looks interesting. Honestly, I love this stuff.

PS Please remember that these are just polls; they aren't election results.

Kan Channel Poll: Likud 28, Israel Resilience 14, Yesh Atid 13, Joint List 12, HaYamin HeHadash 9

TNS conducted a poll of 543 people for the Kan Channel that was broadcast on Jan 2 2018.
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
28 [30] Likud
14 [-–] Israel Resilience (Gantz)
13 [11] Yesh Atid
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
09 [03] Hayamin Hehadash (Bennett & Shaked)
07 [18] Labor
07 [10] Kulanu
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [07] Shas
06 [05] Meretz
06 [01] Gesher (Orly Levy)
05 [05] Yisrael Beitenu
00 [06] Livni Party (close to the threshold)
00 [05] Bayit Yehudi (far from the threshold)
00 [–-] Telem (Yaalon), Zehut (Feiglin), Yachad (Eli Yishai), Eretz Chadasha (Eldad Yaniv), Green Leaf, Ofek Chadash (as other) under 3.25% threshold
62 [66] Current Right-Religious Coalition+Y.B.
58 [54] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition+Gantz-Y.B.
Additional Questions:
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
40% Netanyahu, 30% Gantz, 30% Don’t know
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
40% Netanyahu, 36% Don’t know, 24% Lapid


Channel 13 Poll: Likud 31, Israel Resilience 12, Joint List 12, Yesh Atid 10, Labor 8

Midgam conducted a poll for Channel 13 that was broadcast on Jan 2 2018.
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
31 [30] Likud
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
12 [-–] Israel Resilience (Gantz)
10 [11] Yesh Atid
08 [18] Labor
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [03] Hayamin Hehadash (Bennett & Shaked)
05 [10] Kulanu
05 [07] Shas
05 [06] Livni Party
05 [05] Meretz
05 [05] Yisrael Beitenu
05 [01] Gesher (Orly Levy)
04 [05] Bayit Yehudi
00 [–] (1.8% of vote) Yachad (Eli Yishai)
00 [–-] (1.3% of vote) Telem (Yaalon)
00 [–] (1% of vote) Eretz Chadasha (Eldad Yaniv)
00 [–] (0.4% of vote) Zehut (Feiglin)
00 [–] Green Leaf and Ofek Chadash (as other) under 3.25% threshold
63 [66] Current Right-Religious Coalition+Y.B.
57 [54] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition+Gantz-Y.B.
Scenario Poll: Gantz + Livni
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]
31 [30] Likud
15 [06] Israel Resilience (Gantz) + Livni
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
11 [11] Yesh Atid
08 [18] Labor
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [03] Hayamin Hehadash (Bennett & Shaked)
05 [10] Kulanu
05 [07] Shas
05 [05] Meretz
05 [05] Yisrael Beitenu
05 [01] Gesher (Orly Levy)
04 [05] Bayit Yehudi
00 [–] (1.8% of vote) Yachad (Eli Yishai)
00 [–-] (1.3% of vote) Telem (Yaalon)
00 [–] (1% of vote) Eretz Chadasha (Eldad Yaniv)
00 [–] (0.4% of vote) Zehut (Feiglin)
00 [–] Green Leaf and Ofek Chadash (as other) under 3.25% threshold
63 [66] Current Right-Religious Coalition+Y.B.
56 [54] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition+Gantz-Y.B.
*Note: Scenario poll total is 119 seats, not 120.
Additional Questions:
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
37% Don’t know, 35% Netanyahu, 28% Gantz
Who is more suited for Prime Minister?
55% Don’t know, 38% Netanyahu, 17% Lapid

The Knesset can be seen in the background. Remember that Israeli Elections are for Knesset seats, not for Prime Minister.