Hamas War

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bibi, Is He Guilty?

After at least a decade of searching, investigating and more, the legal authorities here in Israel think they have found something crooked in the way Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu conducts the government. Attorney general Mandelblatt has announced that the Prime Minister will be indicted.

Do I think he's guilty? I'm not really sure. I'm not a legal expert, nor a judge. To be honest, I don't think I'm qualified to give an opinion, and I don't think that the media is qualified. We're not judging after hearing both sides. And we aren't judges.

Netanyahu isn't getting due process at all.

The media and too many others consider themselves judge, jury and executioner.

Honestly, I'm suspicious of the entire collection of "charges," because never before had there been such efforts to search for a crime, just to get the Prime Minister out of office. They couldn't beat him in elections, even when the Likud got fewer votes than Kadima. Only Netanyahu was capable of forming a ruling coalition, and since then, he's still the Prime Minister.

Quite a number of years ago, when Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister, I went to a hearing/trial in the Supreme Court, in which he was accused of corruption. And this was a real charge, proven, but the judges let him off, claiming that although it looked and smelled dirty, he was allowed to do it. None of the charges against Bibi are as serious as that one against Arik.

A lot of people think this whole indictment business is to take votes from Likud and convince people to vote for Gantz's party, the one with multiple heads. I hope the Likud voters aren't so stupid, but they're Likud voters...

Three 3 Weeks to Purim 5779 Jewish Israeli Blog Roundup

Not only is it three weeks to Purim, but we're just over a month to the 2019, 5779 Israeli Knesset Elections. Generally these two topics generate some very interesting Jewish Israeli blog posts.

I hope you enjoy the selection of blog posts, I've chosen. Please check them out, comment and share, and if you have any additional blogs to suggest, please let me know in the comments, thanks. As is my custom, I'm just listing titles here. Enjoy.

Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions to The 2019 Finals!
Gala World Betar Reunion, Updated
The Misleading Times of Israel
Generational Baton (Vayakhel)
Searching for Family Roots/Stories, The Spiegelman's of Nasielsk*, Poland
Eating My Way Through (Her) Cancer
Beginning - Middle - End
Who Wrote: "We must be free of the Arabs"?
Dershowitz explains why indicting Netanyahu over petty issues is bad for democracy
Leadership Bankruptcy in NRP aka Jewish Home Party
why is Shas about to disappear? (video)
Hamas Still Fighting a Losing Battle…Against Israeli Food Products
Oh My Goodness (OMG) from Beer Bazaar
Kushner "Peace" sic Deal- Dumb and Dangerous
1001 objects from Israel - The Suspicious Object
The Importance of Being Lit

Which was your favorite and least favorite post? You can tell me in comments, thanks.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Kushner "Peace" sic Deal- Dumb and Dangerous

If Jared Kushner wants to play Peacemaker, he should keep himself busy with Lego and Tinker Toys. His self-proclaimed "Peace deal" or "deal of the century" will only fill more cemeteries.

We all know that you can't impose a "deal." This isn't post-World War Two, when the Allied Forces led by the United States defeated the Nazis and the Japanese and then imposed a "new order" on them.

Israel is a peaceful, vibrant, miraculously successful modern country which is being literally terrorized by Arabs, some rather recent to the area, a contradiction to the popular legends and lies being propagated. These terrorists are being backed and encouraged by foreign agitators, agent provocateurs, to do whatever they can to terrorize and destabilize the State of Israel.

No "deal," regardless how "creative" and "detailed" it may be can rectify the present situation.

Rumor is that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu has been informed of the details of this "deal" and just requested that Trump tell his son-in-law to wait until after the upcoming Israeli elections. If this is true, it's bad news x2, times two or doubly bad. It looks like it's time to go into post-Bibi rule.

Is there anyone in Likud who will be better for the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel? Bibi's successor also must be capable of negotiating a ruling coalition, or we'll find ourselves suffering through continuous successful elections.

To pull Netanyahu in the Right direction, we need a strong showing for the New Right, the Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Caroline Glick party.

The State of Israel needs leaders, not followers. We need a government that has no problem telling Kushner and Trump what they should do with their "deal."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

שתי גדות לירדן Shtay Gadot LaYarden, From Shiloh

Last Sunday we attended a gala Betar reunion in the Jerusalem Theater, and part of the program was singing the old Betar songs. Of course, שתי גדות לירדן Shtay Gadot LaYarden, Both/Two Sides of the Jordan was included.

I always get a kick out of that song. I always wonder if there's anyone besides us whose house faces that very view. Our house faces east. That's why I can take pictures of the sunrise. East of Shiloh is the Jordan Valley, and east of that is the Jordan River. And on the other side of the Jordan River is the British invented Hashemite "Kingdom" of Jordan, which is on the eastern bank of the river.

Yes, on a clear day or night, we can see both sides of the Jordan from our house, including lights at night. Sorry for illustrating this post with a morning photo, which doesn't the eastern mountains.

Friday, February 22, 2019

US Kushner-Greenblatt "Peace Plan" Dangerous Lala Land

I was going to title this:
US Kushner-Greenblatt can take their "Peace Plan" and...
But I was afraid that the "internet police" would find it offensive. Honestly, I find all these so-called Peace Plans sic worse than offensive and foolish. They are dangerous and only encourage the Arab terrorists to murder more Jews.

Whoever keeps on trying to negotiate with and coddle the PA Arabs, whether Fatah or Hamas, is just following in the footsteps of Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain's Appeasement policy and so-called "Peace" agreement with Hitler strengthened Hitler and endangered Europe and Great Britain in one foolish/mistaken stroke.

I hate watching  people who should know much better insist on lying to us and themselves. There is no way to make true  peace with people who not only want us dead and gone, but they support and idolize terrorism against us.

The only way to encourage peace is for us to be stronger and declare ZERO TOLERANCE OF TERRORISM. All Arab terrorists caught in the act are to be immediately executed. And the Death Sentence for convicted Arab terrorists must be mandatory, whether male, female, young or old.

Arab terrorists who try to invade Israel must be shot on the spot. That's the only language they understand.

Peace will take generations, but life will gradually be safer if the policies I listed are followed.

There are many Arabs who prefer living in peace with us, but present policies make their lives dangerous. They, too, are attacked by Arab terrorists.

The world would be better off if Kushner and Greenblatt stop their "peace talk" and condemn all Arab terrorism.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Finally, Farewell to Tsipi Livni, Failed Politician

It's hard to know where to start when discussing Tsipi Livni, who formally announced her exit from active politics today.

I was lucky to catch the live broadcast and to hear and watch it. And to make it even better was the interview from a few months ago, which they showed right afterwards.

Simply put, it was a rather pathetic end to the career of a woman, who had worked her way up the political ladder and got within millimeters of the premiership of the State of Israel. Livni succeeded Ehud Olmert as head of the then ruling Kadima Party, which they had established after breaking away from the Likud. Both Livni and Olmert had come from Betar-Revisionist homes but moved Leftward politically. When Olmert was forced to resign due to corruption indictments, Livni took over the party.

Under Livni's leadership Kadima received more Knesset seats than Likud in the 2009 elections, but she failed in the task of forming a ruling coalition. Likud's Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu succeeded in forming a coalition and has been Prime Minister ever since. This bit of history is very important in understanding the Israeli political system. It's not enough to have good ideas and policies to be Prime Minister of the State of Israel. You must be an extraordinary politician and be able to negotiate and work with people. And this also explains why the polls keep talking about Left and Right blocs. No Israeli Political Party will get over 50% of the votes, over sixty 60 of the one hundred and twenty 120 Knesset seats. An Israeli Prime Minister must be skilled at juggling while walking a circus tightrope.

Tsipi Livni not only failed in her attempt to form a coalition, the breakup of her later political "marriage" to the Labor party showcased her lack of true political skills. Today Livni's claim that her policies are the right ones, but it's her lack of political power that is stopping her, just shows how little she understands. She has insufficient political power, because not enough people like her, and they don't agree with her policies. It certainly hasn't helped that she's with a different party each election.

It's rather ironic that the extreme Left Meretz party is the only one to have shown up to show support to Livni today. But the truth is that Tsipi Livni has burnt too many bridges in her political career to be missed by ordinary Israelis.

Tsipi Livni's still young. Will she join other failed politicians like Ehud Barak on the international lecture circuit? Will she write her memoirs? No doubt we'll be hearing from her. International Leftist "think tanks" love our rejected and failed "leaders." She won't starve; that's for sure.

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.