Hamas War

Friday, June 28, 2019

Knesset Elections 2019 Redo, Left Split by Ehud Barak

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Ehud Barak is throwing his hat into the ring yet again. It's a generation since he had served the country, horrendously poorly, and many Israelis don't remember. Of course I remember. As you know, I haven't supported the Likud since before it, led by then Prime Minister Menachem Begin, gave the Sinai to Egypt and had Jewish communities destroyed and uprooted Israeli citizens.

I'm glad that the television newswriters/casters kept identifying Ehud Barak as seventy-eight 78, even though he has quite a few months until his February birthday. That makes Bibi Netanyahu look young. He'll only be turning 70 in October. Bibi's younger than US President Trump and the two Democratic frontrunners, Biden and Sanders.

In terms of basic policy, "anyone but Bibi," there isn't much difference between Barak's nameless party and the Gantz-Lapid-Bogi etc ad nauseum Blue & White. The biggest difference is that with the exception of  Lapid, none of the Blue & White leaders have much political experience, while Barak had been Prime Minister, though a failed one, from 1999 to 2001.

Are you among those who can't remember Barak's very short term as Prime Minister of the State of Israel?

To be as concise as possible... Barak's funders, yes, he had backers (and no doubt has some rich ones now, too,) paid for an American "campaign expert." This expert insisted that he needed a catchy, attractive slogan. Their polling info was that many Israelis didn't like the fact that the IDF had been fighting in Lebanon, because soldiers had been killed, etc. So Barak promised that if he was elected Prime Minister, Israel would leave Lebanon.

When the Americans left, OK pulled out of Vietnam, there was dangerous bedlam. But remember that Vietnam is thousands and thousands of miles away from the United States, so there was no direct danger to the United States of America. Israel and Lebanon share a border, and it isn't the Pacific Ocean. After Barak was elected Prime Minister, Israel had to flee Lebanon and ended up leaving valuable security information and equipment. His opponents called him "Barach," which sounds similar to Barak, but it means "fled." Israel's security plummeted, but that wasn't Barak's only problem. His coalition was shaky, because he had to include the Shas Party, which is Chareidi-Sephardi.  They were at loggerheads with Barak's Leftist followers. The Israeli political system requires a working coalition of a minimum of sixty-one 61 Knesset Members. A Prime Minister must be able to control his MKs. Barak couldn't.

Since Barak, Blue & White and Israel's Labor Party are after the same voters, you can guess. I'm curious about what's next....

Monday, June 24, 2019

Every Time I'm About to Bite The Bullet and Support Likud, Bibi....

Every Time I'm About to Bite The Bullet and Support Likud, Bibi says something that turns my stomach:

With the next Knesset Elections looming, I don't see any alternative. There isn't a political party I like at all. I feel totally burnt by New Right and can't stand the clowns in the NRP, whatever they now call themselves.

I'm politically orphaned and homeless.

For someone like me who has always taken my politics seriously and personally, I'm in a position that I really don't like. In addition, I have too good a memory about politics, so there isn't a politician I can trust. No doubt I'll be holding my nose and grimacing in the polling booth. Does anyone feel the same?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Elections? Do I Really Have To Choose Political Pary?

We'll be celebrating forty-nine 49 years since making aliyah a bit after the upcoming Israeli elections. Choosing which political party to vote for has been getting harder and harder. These upcoming elections will be the second this year. The first were a bust, a failure.

I haven't had a favorite reliable political party for decades. I never know which party would be best to vote for. Usually, I eliminate them all for various reasons, and then I have to start from scratch. More than once, the party I voted for never even made it to the Knesset, and my vote was "lost."

The other day I met with a couple of friends who know a lot more insider stuff about politics, so I asked their opinions after hashing over the previous results. They confirmed what I had suspected about the party I voted for a couple of months ago, The New Right. Now I'm mulling over their suggestions for the next "try." Sigh...

For all the Israelis reading this:

Which political party are you going to vote for in the next elections? Why?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Nebi Samuel and Questions

Nebi Samuel photo by Batya Medad

Last week I went on a tour which included Nebi Samuel. Our guide, who's a Bible teacher, explained why she went against her usual practice and called Nebi Samuel by that non-Hebrew term. She said that there are serious doubts as to its being the burial spot of Samuel the Prophet.

In the Bible it's written that Samuel the Prophet retreated retired to Ramah, where he lived, died and was buried. Most experts believe that Ramah is north of Jerusalem, south of Shiloh. That's not the location of Nebi Samuel.

In the 6th century, some Christian explorers, who didn't get very far from Jerusalem, came across that hilltop and decided that it must be the Ramah of Samuel the Prophet. They built a church there and publicized their "discovery." That was the beginning of Nebi Samuel. Later on the Muslims adopted it and the Jewish prophet as their own. They even renovated the church into a mosque.

Here we are fifteen hundred 1,500 years later, and most people take for granted that Samuel the Prophet must be buried in Nebi Samuel, even though there's no real proof. Before Israel's victory in the 1967 Six Days War, few Jews knew the Land and the Bible in order to discover true locations of biblical sites. Now is the time to examine more carefully. We live here in the Biblical Land and study the Bible, Tanach.

It's a great privilege to be a Jew alive today and living in the Holy Land, which Gd gave us and our religion, Judaism, was established.

 All photos by Batya Medad, yes, me

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Jewish Israeli Blog Roundup Sivan, 5779, June, 2019

Old picture of me
I talk, not only blog
There are lots of people still blogging. I just wonder how many people actually still read blogs. Do you? Obviously "yes," or you wouldn't be reading this. But who comments? Who shares posts around to others? If you have any blogs to recommend, please do so in the comments, thanks.

The format I use for these roundups is just to list a bunch of blog post titles, embedded, so all you have to do is "click." Please tell me which you like or don't like. I'm only responsible for my own blog posts. Contents that I didn't write are the responsibility of the writer.

I also suggest reading other posts in the included blogs.

Enjoy, it's free!

The Jewish Book Carnival: June 2019
A Special Guy
Adventures on Public Transportation
Why are the Arabs Renewing Violence against Israel?
Playing with the Grave Issue of Conversion Annulment
Parshas Beha’alosecha – The Egg
Ruth, The Completed Jew
Double-Tweaked My Challah Recipe, Better Results
Booked in Jerusalem
If Gantz Had Been Able to Form Coalition, He Would Have
Human Rights Watch Confirms Palestinian Toddler & Mother Were Killed By Their Own, Not Israel
Just Dance!
Enjoying Jewish Month of Sivan, Tammuz is Next

Please remember to read, comment and share, thanks.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Enjoying Jewish Month of Sivan, Tammuz is Next

We're now a week into the Jewish Month of Sivan, after celebrating Shavuot. The joyous seven weeks of holidays, and counting the Omer, when we celebrated a week of Passover, Israeli Independence Day and Jerusalem Day  are now in the past. Of course, we'll repeat the cycle next year Gd willing. Let's stay on that holiday high, because next month begins a more somber time on the Jewish Calendar.

Next month is the Jewish Month of Tammuz, and Tammuz leads to Av, which has the saddest day of the Jewish Year. But don't get depressed; it's too early. Rosh Chodesh Tammuz is a happy day. Actually it's doubly happy, since we celebrate it on the 30th of Sivan and the 1st of Tammuz. My Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayer Group has decided that we're praying together on Wednesday, the 30th of Sivan, July 3, 2019.

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, Wednesday, the 30th of Sivan, 5779, July 3, 2019 at 8:30am, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. For more information email me shilohmuse@gmail.com, subject: Rosh Chodesh.

תפילת נשים בראש חודש תמוז תהיה יום ד', ל' בסיון, ,8:30 3-7-2019 בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה. לפרטים נוספים, shilohmuse@gmail.com subject: Rosh Chodesh.

We pray traditionally, silent prayers silently, and Hallel is sung together.  We hope more women will join us at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

It is agreed by Biblical and archaeological experts that Shiloh Hakeduma is the Biblical site. Every year during the archaeological seasonal digs, more artifacts prove it and give glimpses of life thousands of years ago. For more information, arrange special tours, events and more contact visit@telshilo.org.il, or call 02-5789111.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

If Gantz Had Been Able to Form Coalition, He Would Have

I know I said that as was taking a break from politics, but...

Many Israelis, media etcetera are saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu should have officially gone to the President to declare that he couldn't form a coalition, so that Blue & White's Gantz-Lapid party could try. But the truth is that Gantz and his crew could have been negotiating all along with other political parties. They didn't need an official "green light."

The scenario could have been that Gantz had enough MKs lined up to give him a coalition, and then during the vote to disband the Knesset, Bibi and the Likud would have lost the. There wouldn't be new elections, because a majority of MKs would have announced that they wanted to join a coalition with Gantz-Lapid/Bogie/Ashkenazi.

That didn't happen.

One big reason is that forming government coalition is much harder than even electing over thirty MKs. You have to be a strong, wily politician. Lapid is the most experienced politician in the Blue & White Party, but he can't hold a candle to Bibi, Tzachi and the other Likud leaders.

I hope that Avigdor Lieberman fails to reach the minimum to be in the next Knesset. He's not a team player. I don't trust him. The new patchwork quilt NRP is a mess, too.

I'd really like to know what you think, thanks.

Maybe I should go back to hybernating. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Sick and Tired of Politics, A Short Break

The Israeli political situation seems worse than it has been for years. As I wrote  not long ago, I'm pretty disgusted with the lack of idealism in MKs of today. Instead of being willing and wanting to serve the citizens of the State of Israel, idealism is far behind the opportunism and "gimme, gimme," "I want" you hear from those elected.

Just the thought of another election campaign after the worst one in my memory makes me sick.

So far, I just can't get excited and optimistic. I also haven't a clue as to which party I'll support or vote for.

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved politics and found it very fascinating. But politics have changed. Not only have campaigns become really nasty, off topic and very negatively personal, losers try to delegitimize winners. In my youth we'd call them "sore losers." Today instead of losing with dignity and recognizing that democracy doesn't guarantee the results you may have dreamt of, losers try to galvanize the judicial to jail or impeach the winner. This is happening in the United States and Israel.

Sorry for this depressing post. What do you think?

I feel sorry for the youth. They expect to get paid for things we did as volunteers. They are for sale, rather than like us idealists of olde.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Castle of Concrete, Book Review

Castle of Concrete by Katia Raina is an amazing and well-written novel about life in the late twentieth 20th century during the fall of the USSR and how it affected a Jewish teenage girl and her family. To be honest, I think it's a mistake to market it as Young Adult fiction. The genre of Castle of Concrete is really much broader.

I'm far from a young teenager in age, and I found Castle of Concrete fascinating. During that very same era, we had hosted and "adopted" a number of Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel, not that much older than the characters depicted in the book. The young men who spent a lot of time with our family had finished military service in the USSR, and some had even begun university studies before making their homes in Israel. Not all were happy about their family's decision, but staying alone in the deteriorating and collapsing Soviet Union wasn't an option. I could see similarities with Sonya, Katia Raina's main character.

We meet Sonya as she reconnects with her rebellious mother, after spending most of her childhood in the care of her Jewish grandmother in Siberia. Sonya has to make a new life for herself, and in the process she tries to reinvent herself from the quiet nerdy, always good girl, to a daring, rebellious attention-grabbing teenager. Sonya is Jewish from her mother, though she inherited her non-Jewish father's looks. Soon she'll have the option of choosing which nationality to put on her identity card.

Castle of Concrete follows Sonya as she experiments with different identities and behaviors in her new life in Moscow with her mother. Instead of being the conscientious student, Sonya begins to rebel and get interested in boys. She has to decide whether or not to identify as a Jew, especially since her boyfriend is a Russian nationalist and antisemitic. In the background to the usual teenage angst we are made aware that her mother is hoping to be able to move with Sonya to New York, where they can have a better life.

I enjoyed reading Castle of Concrete, which is very nicely written and sincerely hope that Raina's writing a sequel in which we'll follow Sonya and her mother in their next new life, this time in New York.

  • Publisher: Young Europe Books (June 11, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0999541633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0999541630