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Sunday, December 31, 2006

What happens when terrorism comes to a small town. by Dr. Linda Halderman

hat tip Fred

December 30, 2006
Qassams Fired on Central California
What happens when terrorism comes to a small town.
by Dr. Linda Halderman
Private Papers

SELMA, CA For the eleventh consecutive day, residents of rural Selma, California have sustained vicious and unprovoked rocket attacks.

Selma’s working-class population of 22,800 includes a large number of immigrants. The small, friendly town’s economy in central California’s San Joaquin Valley is based on agriculture and built on generations of farming families. Despite the financial hardships, they stay to cultivate and harvest fields of grapes that earn Selma the title, “Raisin Capital of the World.” Eleven schools and 35 churches support both the young and elderly residents of the town, as do the local hospital and rural health clinics.

It is hard to imagine, but this little town has been the target of over 1,200 Qassam rockets since August 2005. In the past month alone, nearly 300 rockets assaulted the rural community, each one accompanied by the “Red Dawn” air raid warning system Selma initiated in 2001 when the first rockets hit. The “Red Dawn” announcement blares out of an elaborate intercom system installed in nearly every building and throughout residential neighborhoods. The warning allows residents between 15 and 60 seconds to find shelter before an incoming rocket blast. Every home, commercial building and school in Selma is built with a “safe room” or bomb shelter. In a town with 50 percent of its population over age 65 — and 3,000 children — less than 60 seconds is not always enough time to hide.

A Qassam (kah-SAHM) is a crude but lethal weapon designed to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Too crude to be aimed with any sort of precision, it has absolutely no military applications. It is useful only to murder civilians and terrorize survivors.

The Qassam’s power lies in the explosive payload stuffed in the rocket’s metal shell, which is then packed with more than 7,000 metal ball bearings. Each ball bearing, less than ¼ inch in diameter, has a blast force capable of tearing through human flesh with deadly effect. One ball bearing, in other words, can create a hole in the human liver sufficient to guarantee that the victim will bleed to death before reaching Selma Community Hospital just a mile away. A single ball bearing that penetrates the human skull might leave a devastating neurological injury…provided the victim survives long enough to demonstrate the damage.

Who would fire such a horrifying weapon — indeed, over three thousand since 2001 — at the peaceful residents of this central California town? Look no further than the terrorists elected to govern the citizens of nearby Fowler just four miles north of Selma on Highway 99.

Today is Jake Jacoby’s funeral. The entire city of Selma mourns the loss of the 43-year-old father of four whose life was taken earlier this week when Selma’s Blocklite manufacturing plant (where he worked as a concrete mason) sustained a direct Qassam hit. Blocklite built the concrete reinforcements that protect Selma’s kindergartens from incoming Qassams.

Jake’s co-workers survived to witness the destruction of the rocket’s impact. Immediately after the blast, despite their own injuries, they attempted to slow the bleeding from Jake’s head and torso. Doctors at the nearest trauma center (20 miles away in Fresno) also tried to save his life, but the ball bearings had done too much damage. He died within hours.

Jake’s 12-year-old son, Brandon, speaks to a reporter after his father’s memorial service, explaining why his family has chosen to remain in Selma despite the constant barrage of rockets:

"I love Selma very much, and I won't leave it because I love California. If I leave Selma, if all of Selma were evacuated, then the state would fall apart. The [terrorists in Fowler] will see that they are succeeding in Selma, and then they'll shoot Qassams at San Francisco and Los Angeles too, and do the same in the whole state until nothing is left."

* * *

The horrifying event described above actually happened. But it didn’t happen in Selma, California.

Change the names, travel 8,000 miles east, and visit the working-class town of Sderot, Israel. But be prepared to heed the Shahar Adom (“Red Dawn”) Qassam rocket warning system activated before every one of more than 1,200 attacks the community of 23,000 residents has endured since August 2005. Since 2001, the total number of rocket attacks sustained by Sderot is 3,000.

Sderot is a blue-collar town consisting largely of immigrants who escaped persecution in the former Soviet Union or starvation and sectarian violence in Ethiopia. The economy is based on agriculture — no easy feat in the arid soil and scorching climate of western Israel’s Negev desert. But neighbors help neighbors, and there is a strong sense of community often found among those who choose the small town life. There are eleven elementary schools, but playgrounds have remained empty since a Qassam took the life of 4-year-old Afik Zehavi as he played.

The need for Trauma Services, including counseling and support groups, overwhelms social workers in Sderot. Fifty percent of the town’s children under age five show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Who would fire such a horrifying weapon — indeed, more than three thousand times — at the peaceful residents of this southern Israeli town? Look no further than the Hamas terrorists elected to govern the citizens of the Gaza Strip, just one kilometer west as the crow (or Qassam) flies.

On November 21, 2006, the chicken processing plant where 43-year-old Yaakov Yaakobov worked as a forklift operator was struck by a Qassam rocket launched by Hamas terrorists from a residential neighborhood in the Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanoun, six kilometers from Sderot. Yaakov suffered massive head trauma when shrapnel and ball bearings tore through his body. Hemorrhaging and unconscious, he was rushed to the nearest hospital (20 miles away in Beersheba), where he died within hours from the blast injury to his skull.

Yaakov’s son, Hanan, answered the question of a reporter after his father’s memorial service. Asked why his family had already decided to remain in Sderot despite the constant barrage of rockets under which they live, the 12-year-old boy whose father was just murdered by terrorists responded simply:

"I love Sderot very much, and I won't leave it because I love the State of Israel. If I leave Sderot, if all of Sderot were evacuated, then the country would fall apart. The Palestinians will see that they are succeeding in Sderot, and then they'll shoot Kassams at Ashkelon and Ashdod too, and do the same in the whole country until nothing is left."

* * *

Central California’s rural, friendly town of Selma is a special place. I am grateful to be a member of this small but close community. I am grateful that our neighbor to the north, Fowler, is a good one.

I am also grateful that not once since 2001 has a siren blaring “Red Dawn” disturbed Selma’s peaceful residents. Not a single Qassam rocket has destroyed a Selma building or torn through the body of any of the 23,000 residents calling the town home. Our homes and businesses do not have to furnish loudspeakers and bomb shelters for terrified citizens to cower in as our city is assaulted. We have not had to watch helplessly as our vineyards and fruit trees burn after the explosion of a Qassam’s payload. We have held no funerals for victims of terrorist attacks at Blocklite or Garfield Elementary School, and our Social Services deal with problems very different from that of four-year-olds whose entire lives have been punctuated by rocket blasts.

It is easy to digest news reports of terrorism victimizing faceless strangers in remote places. It is far more difficult to recognize that what distinguishes us from those who suffer is something as random as geography.

Dr. Halderman (www.drhalderman.com) is a Board-Certified General Surgeon practicing in rural south Fresno County.

©2006 Linda Haldermanj

10th of Tevet, Remember

thanks Boris for the cartoon


Today is the 10th of Tevet, and we're supposed to remember.

Today is the 10th of Teveth, the day when Nebuchadnezzar - the king of Babylon - began his siege on Jerusalem, that culminated in the destruction of the First Holy Temple and the exile of our people. This is one of the four public fast days.


Our politicians here in Israel refuse to remember.

photo credit Qassam lands in Negev kibbutz, damaging house; no one injured
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave the Israel Defense Forces permission on Wednesday to attack rocket-launching cells in the Gaza Strip as long as they are identified shortly before the launching, but the Prime Minister's Office said the Israeli commitment to the cease-fire in Gaza still stands. His decision to authorize only pinpoint operations while generally upholding a policy of restraint raised ire among senior IDF officers Thursday who argued that that the only effective way to curb rocket attacks was to send forces into the northern Gaza Strip.
and

Hagai Huberman: Deep IDF operations thwart terror - not separation fence
Let us repeat and say what has already been noted innumerable times in the
past: the separation fence is by its nature a political fence. It is meant
to set the future border between Israel and the Palestinian state, more or
less on the Green Line, with minor changes and adjustments. It has no
security significance. Its contribution to thwarting attacks is marginal,
if at all. The IDF succeeds in thwarting attacks only thanks to its
intensive activity deep in the territory of Judea and Samaria - within
Nablus, within Jenin, within Hebron - in each and every place without
limitation."

Israel is in danger.




Saturday, December 30, 2006

No, G-d forbid!

This had better not be true, but since the words are out, it's bad news!

In Face of Kassams, Battered Town Councils Prepare to Evacuate

Less than two weeks ago at the Annual Begin Prize Ceremony, the People of Sderot were given the Begin Prize for their heroism in the face of the ongoing barrage of kassams, the Arabs have been shooting at Sderot.

Just verbalizing the word "evacuate" creates a new reality. Words have power. And "evacuate" is a dangerous word.

The encroaching terrorism should never be victorious, but if G-d forbid, Sderot evacuates, it's a horrendous precedent.

At the Begin Ceremony, an army friend of Emanuel Moreno , one of the other recipients spoke about heroism. He talked about the line attributed to Betar legend Joseph Trumpeldor, "Tov lamut l'Artzeinu," "It's good to die for our Land." I didn't take notes, so I hope that I remember what he said. It's not that dying is good. What's good is to have strong faith, belief, attachment to our Land and motivation.

Especially in the post-Disengagement Israel, these feelings are mocked by the government and media. Everything's disposable! Homes, schools, businesses and ...land, too.

We have to stop this before our country is gone, G-d forbid!

Friday, December 29, 2006

National Cruelty

Olmert's government should be called the National Cruelty Government. Each announcement and policy is worse than the previous one.

There are/were those who thought that the inclusion of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party would improve things. No way. Olmert's version of the "Midas Touch" turns people into selfish oportunists. Who ever touches Kadima becomes tainted. What else can explain:


Lieberman supports arms delivery to Fatah
... Lieberman said... it was "a calculated risk worth taking."
But the very worst is its treatment of the very same people, innocent, law-abiding Jews, who were thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif and the northern Shomron.

Terrorism-Stricken Gush Katif Family Denied Compensation
13:19 Dec 29, '06 / 8 Tevet 5767
by Hillel Fendel

MK Yitzchak Levy has written to the Prime Minister, asking for his personal intervention on behalf of a Gush Katif icon family being denied State compensation for having been expelled from its home.

Eliezer and Chana Bart lived in the Gush Katif community of Kfar Darom for over 18 years until they and their eight children were thrown out in accordance with Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement/expulsion plan. They have now been informed that as far as the government is concerned, they are not eligible for compensation.

Chana was paralyzed in the lower half of her body in a terrorist shooting attack in 2002, and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. Two years later - a day after Sharon's bombshell announcement of his plan to throw the 8,000 Jews of Gaza out of their homes - Chana and Eliezer celebrated the brit [ritual circumcision] of their week-old son. They named him Amichai [My Nation Lives] Yisrael.

The scene of Chana carrying her baby to the brit in a wheelchair marked a poignant moment in Gush Kaif history, and was immortalized in films prior to the expulsion.

"The government is relating to us as if we were not expelled from Gush Katif," Eliezer told Arutz-7's Amatzia HaEitan. "This means that we're not receiving compensation for our house, or for the years we lived there, or rent money for the two years following the expulsion, moving expenses, etc."

On what basis has the Disengagement Authority made this determination? Bart explained:
"In Nov. 2003, just after the major bomb attack on the bus in which Miri Amitai and Gabi Biton were killed [and the three Cohen children lost limbs - ed.], we and some other families moved into new houses, adding some security to Kfar Darom by pushing the fence back a little to the south. The government claims that our house was not on recognized land - and therefore it's as if we didn't live there.

"However, the fact is that when we moved in, we had talks with the Arab neighbors in order to buy the land - I was one of those who had the merit of dealing with it - and in the end, we bought the land legally and received title to the land, as well as all the necessary permits and authorizations to build there. We gave all the papers to the Disengagement Authority - but the problem is that their approach is negative, always looking how not to pay and how to find clauses by which not to pay us. They never explained why the papers we gave them are not relevant, but it doesn't matter; we lived in Kfar Darom over 18 years, our 8 children were born there, and we were thrown out...

"The house at issue was planned according to the exact specifications of my wife Chana's needs, with wide doors for the wheelchair and the counters at the right height, etc."

MK Rabbi Yitzchak Levy (National Union) wrote a personal letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, strongly asking that he intervene personally in the Bart case. "The abuse of the Bart family must be stopped immediately," Levy wrote, "as well as of the other families. I ask you to correct this injustice immediately."

Eliezer said that the houses that were built across from him do not face the same problem, "as they were built on state-owned lands known as the King's Way, on which the Tel Aviv-Cairo train tracks were once located."

Eliezer repeated the charge heard by others who were thrown out of Gush Katif: "It's a terrible feeling to see respected and well-educated people sitting on the Disengaement Authority committee, yet they have no heart. They simply treat us coldly and with great hostility... On a personal level, we invested all the money that we had - the money we received for the injuries caused to Chana, and many loans, in order to help our family live."

The Disengagement Authority can be faxed at 02 (or +972 from abroad) 652-9217. For those who cannot fax, email is second-best: "sela@sela.pmo.gov.il"

Civil Rights?

There are no true civil rights for Jews, even in the State of Israel. A "secret law" was passed by MK's who weren't even allowed to read it.



Friday, December 29, 2006
KNESSET APPROVES DRACONIAN REGULATIONS WITHOUT RIGHT OF PERUSAL

JERUSALEM -- Israel's parliament has approved draconian measures against Jewish opponents of the government's withdrawal policy without being allowed to read the document. The government measures, said to remain in effect today, were approved by a special Knesset committee in late 2005 in a closed session. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who helped draft the proposals allowed only one parliamentarian to review the document, which enabled the detention of thousands of people, many of them without formal charges. "The police have issued guidelines to the prosecutors and to the police prosecutors in regard to implementation of the Disengagement [withdrawal] plan and they said that these guidelines are secret," Knesset member Michael Eitan, then chairman of the Constitution and Law Committee, said. Eitan led the meeting of the committee during a secret session on Aug. 7, 2005, on the eve of the Israeli expulsion of 16,000 Jews from the GazaStrip and northern West Bank. During the meeting, a transcript of which was recently obtained, Eitan acknowledged that the regulations proposed by Mazuz were draconian and violated civil rights. "I received a complaint that the police have issued draconian guidelines to act in a certain way against demonstrators," Eitan said. "And there is a prosecution policy that was especially tailored to repress the demonstrators and to harm their rights." In April 2005, Mazuz, who quashed a police investigation into corruption by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, issued a secret four-page guideline to police, prosecutors and judges regarding efforts to counter the campaign to block the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. The document included the use of administrative detentions, or imprisonment without charges, the treatment of minors as adults and the arrest of peaceful protesters. "A fight that is ideologically-motivated causes all parties involved to become more radical," Mazuz told the Israel Bar Association in May 2005. "This forces us to monitor the process on a daily basis." "The courts have demonstrated a stern approach and approved most of our requests for arrests, including arrests until the end of judicial proceedings," Mazuz added. Officials said the guidelines enabled the arrest and imprisonment of about 4,000 Jewish opponents of the Sharon government by September 2005. They said many of them were ordered to be held for months until trial. "They arrested people collectively," attorney Gadi Tal, who has represented anti-government defendants, said. "No judge checked to see the evidence up front. The worst cases were during the Disengagement: A minor who sat a week in jail and no indictment was issued against him. On the face of it, there was no evidence. From the outset they shouldn't have been jailed." In August 2005, Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan told the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee that his office issued 634 indictments against withdrawal protesters. Nitzan said that more than 200 of them were against minors. The State Prosecutor has acknowledged that authorities have operated in accordance to the secret guidelines. A spokeswoman said the guidelines remain classified nearly 18 months after the withdrawal. "The state prosecutor's office issued specific guidelines for internal use, which were not meant to be published," Justice Ministry spokeswoman Ganit Ben-Moshe told Israeljustice.com. "The guidelines were presented in full before the subcommittee of the Knesset Constitution and Law Committee. The guidelines were then presented with some paragraphs erased to the entire committee." But the transcript of the August 2005 session of the Knesset committee asserted that only Eitan had access to the redacted document. During the hearing, Eitan, who termed Mazuz's secrecy requirements "ludicrous," read portions of the proposed legislation to two other members. At one point, Knesset member Roni Bar-On, today a minister in the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, suggested that the guidelines and their secrecy were undemocratic. Bar-On, who has yet to discuss the hearing in public, protested Mazuz's insistence that nobody other than Eitan, who has refused to comment on the hearing, be allowed to see the document. "Guidelines regarding indictments are secret?" Bar-On asked. "What could guidelines that concern indictments contain? It's every person's basic right to know what are the guidelines of the attorney general or any other decision-making body." "I have a systematic problem," Bar-On added. "If they tell us that we Knesset members can't be privy to material that the state prosecutor and police have seen, then I'm not willing to play the game. I don't understand the purpose of our session. Is it to be able to say in due time that the constitution committee dealt with this?" Still, the committee, which did not hold a vote, was recorded as approving the government guidelines. Eitan said the guidelines related to the prosecution of minors, police treatment of violent protesters and charging demonstration leaders with sedition. "There were certainly issues that upset us," Knesset member Naomi Blumenthal, who also attended the secret session, told Israeljustice.com. In October 2005, Mazuz issued another set of guidelines on the treatment of those practicing civil disobedience against the government's withdrawal policy. The document authorized the dismissal of charges against protesters who did not employ violence or minors without a prior criminal record. But attorneys for the Jewish detainees said the prosecution has ignored the new guidelines and still operate according to the draconian regulations approved in August 2005. They said prosecutors continue to indict minors and others on trivial charges. "The judges do not throw out cases on the basis of 'deminimus,'" attorney Eytan Lehman, referring to the principle that the judicial system does not prosecute trivial charges, said. "They rely on the authority of the prosecutor and his judgement. There is no supervision in the attorney general's office as to whether they abided by the guidelines or not."

That's the Law being used to jail and deprive people from living in their homes in Eretz Yisrael.


Akiva Leibovich of Yitzhar Arrested in his Home
23:49 Dec 28, '06 / 7 Tevet 5767
by Gil Ronen and Baruch Gordon

Akiva Leibovich (23), a resident of Yitzhar near Shchem, was arrested Thursday for violating the terms of an administrative order that forbids him from stepping inside Judea and Samaria.

Leibovich had been slapped with the order three weeks ago.

Similar administrative orders have been handed down recently in a total of 21 cases against Jews living in Judea and Samaria. The military authorities in consultation with the Minister of Defense issue the orders without due process or any hearing before the defendant in court.


Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Bus Ride, a Guest Post by Catriel

A Bus Ride – Part of the Intifada that is NOT Reported
By Catriel Sugarman

It was a warm evening on Thursday, December 15 and I was giving a lecture that night to the Ra’anana Community Kollel. One hundred “modern orthodox” families were spending a “long Shabbat” weekend together at the Nevei Élan Hotel in Ma’alei Chamishi and I was to speak that night on the Beit Hamikdash. Contrary to my usual “custom”, I arrived at the Tachanah Mercazit of Jerusalem (Central Bus Station) with plenty of time to spare. For those who are not familiar with Israeli reality, the security surrounding the Tachanah Mercazit in Jerusalem is similar to that of an airport! After waiting in line for ten minutes, I finally succeeded in inching my way to one of the entrances of the building. Buffeted by people on all sides, I assured a security man that I had no weapons and dropped my backpack on a stand. Placing my wallet and coins in a small container on the side, I went through a “metal-sensitive electric gate”, and a guard passed a metal detector over my body. Despite all my precautions, I set off the alarm and a red light went on. Suspiciously, the security man called me back and asked me if I “had anything else” and glared at a bulge in my front breast pocket. It was my seldom-used cell phone. With a sheepish grin, I removed the offending instrument and placed it in the side container on top of my wallet. This time I managed to stride through the “metal-sensitive electric gate” without arousing its fury. Collecting my wallet, coins, keys and cell phone, I followed the line to the right. Under the watchful eye of more security men, I placed my backpack on a moving ramp that slowly passed under an X – ray machine operated by a soldier. Apparently, the contents of my bag, a laptop, a mouse, various electrical wires, a pointer, and a couple of notebooks held no interest for him and he waved me through. Having (thankfully) passed the final barrier, I retrieved my backpack and entered the massive stone and blue Tachanah Mercazit.

Climbing a few stairs, I quickly came to the escalators that took me to the Bus Departure Area on the third floor where I found Retzif (platform) 17 without any difficulty. Bus 185 services a number of communities in the “Jerusalem Corridor”, Ma’ale Hachamisha, Kiryat Anavim, Telz Stone, Abu Gush and last but not least, the Nevei Élan Hotel. As departure hour approached, I was surprised that there were almost no people waiting for the bus. When the bus left the station, only a handful of people were aboard. Ensconced in the first seat, I turned around and looked towards the back; almost all the seats were empty! I did not realize it at the time, but unlike most intercity busses in Israel, the 185 does not leave the city right away; it first picks up passengers in town. After exiting the station, the bus drove down Rechov Malchei Yisrael picking up passengers on the way and soon entered the bustling Ge’ula section and more people got on. Boarding the rapidly filling bus were bearded patriarchs with Gemarot, suited Yeshiva students with black hats, a group of young women carrying books who looked like they going to a Shi’ur together, boys with Pe’ot, girls with pigtails, and mothers with babies. As we continued down Rechov Yechezkel and up Rechov Yaffo, more people came through the swinging doors; obstreperous teenagers with backpacks, old women burdened down with bags of fruit and vegetables that they had bought in Machaneh Yehuda, the odd soldier. By the time we passed Binyanei Ha’umah on our way out of Jerusalem, there was standing room only. I was very happy to have my front row seat. Making its way through the pine covered Judean Hills, the bus made its scheduled stops, and people started getting off. There were seats for all.
Then we got to Abu Gush and four young Arabs got off the bus. They had been sitting quietly in the last row; no one had paid attention to them. When they got off the bus, they did not use the rear door. They walked the entire length of the bus and got off in the front. The driver then closed the door and the bus started to move. A couple of minutes later, everyone in the back of the bus started to cough violently. And then, the people in the seats ahead of them starting to cough, and then the people seated ahead of them! Babies were wailing. The “wave” of coughing was moving to the front of the bus! Then my throat started feeling raw and I too began to cough violently. Because I was in the front of the bus, I was the last one in the bus to start coughing. People started screaming, “Open the windows and stop the bus!” The driver, taking in the situation at a glance, did not have to be told twice! He stopped the bus, opened the doors, and choking, we all jumped out. Gasping, we filled our lungs with fresh air. It seemed like everybody pulled out cell phones and called their husbands and wives to come and get them. The driver called the police. Milling around under the stars, it took a few minutes for us to understand what happened.

When the four Arabs had gotten off the darkened bus, they had sprayed pepper-spray on the floor. That way it took a couple of minutes for it to take effect, allowing them to get off the bus and vanish into the night. While we were waiting for rides (someone was kind enough to take me to the hotel), a woman explained that in the previous two weeks, there had been three incidents of one kind or another on that line; this had been the most serious. The police did not express much interest.

I began thinking. What would have happened if the perpetrators of this attack – and there is no other word for it - would have used, or had been furnished with a more powerful poison? A whole busload of Jews, men, woman and children, could easily have been gassed! Our enemies are ruthless and their hatred for us is infinite! Perhaps this attack was a “dry run”. Maybe “someone” was training the perpetrators for a more serious attack. When they were spraying the mace, did anyone notice them? How long did it take? Could they get off the bus undetected? Who debriefed them?


I was still coughing when I gave my lecture. On the way home, I had a lot to think about.

Catriel Sugarman - Jerusalem - acatriel@netvision.net.il

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Double Brachot (Blessings) Today!


We have been praying for rain. Although the winter started off looking good, with more than the average amount of rain starting relatively early, Tzom Gedalia, a few weeks ago, we all realized that not enough rain had fallen in Eretz Yisrael. So we have added a special prayer to ask G-d to grant us rain.

Here in The Land of Israel, the quantity of rain depends on our behavior, how we respect G-d's Laws. Considering the political situation, it hasn't been a surprise at all that we're suffering a from a drought. As a People, we deserve it.

When the Israeli news began predicting strong rain, and even snow in the mountains, I was rather doubtful. But when I'm wrong, I admit it. Yes, it did rain today, and it has even been snowing. But more important. Today another few hundred olim chadashim, new immigrants, came to Israel.

They came with the help of Nefesh B'Nefesh and included its 10,000th immigrant! Among those who went out in the rain to greet them was Natan Sharansky.


Every Jew who makes aliya is a blessing for us all. And every drop of rain which falls is a gift from G-d, another blessing.

Yes, today we were doubly blessed.

Actually, I think that G-d allowed it to rain to thank those involved with aliya. The people who come, those who facilitate their arrival and those who help them adjust, become absorbed into the country.

I didn't see anyone kiss the ground today, but G-d's tears of joy blended with ours.

BRUCHIM HABA'IM!

WELCOME HOME!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The best and easiest solution for "peace"


Our TV reception is back, and I was getting very annoyed at all the politicians and pundits expounding on how Israel can and should "make peace" with Israel.

Honestly, take a good look at what's really happening on the ground and the airwaves and media etc. Israel is "at peace" with Syria. It isn't attacking and doesn't want to attack.

So, what's standing in the way of peace with Syria, or "peace" with any other Arab country?

If they want peace, there's one very simple thing for them to do. Stop attacking Israel. Yes, since it's a one-sided war, with all the agression coming from the Arabs, Israel shouldln't do anything but wait and defend itself, of course, when necessary.

I'm not the only one saying that even "breathing" the idea of talking to Syria is dangerous.
According to Dr. Dore Gold:
Israel has already accumulated vast experience during the 1990s when it comes to engaging in talks under fire, both with the Palestinians (under the shadow of terror attacks committed by Hamas and other groups) and with the Syria (despite Hizbullah's attacks.)

These diplomatic contacts failed to bring about a stable agreement and even led to escalation on both fronts – operation "Grapes of Wrath" in Lebanon and the outbreak of the second Intifada following the Camp David failure.
And yes, I do think that on the southern front, it's time for Israel to admit that the ceasefire was a dangerous risk and is a farce. The Arabs keep attacking, launching kasaams at Sderot, the Negev and Ashkelon. Just minutes ago, two innocent Israelis were injured.
Sderot: 2 moderately to severely hurt by Qassam

Rocket lands in one of southern town's neighborhoods at around 9 p.m. Tuesday; many residents report hearing loud explosions. Two teenagers hurt in their legs, one sustaining severe wounds, other sustaining moderate injuries. Seven rockets fired at Israel since Tuesday morning

Monday, December 25, 2006

yes, worse

The irony of seeing these two things on the same day.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz Monday evening and approved the removal of roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, less restrictions at checkpoints and an increase in the movement of goods and merchandise through Gaza crossings. The crossings at Gaza have been a favorite target of terrorists.

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Channel Two television before the meeting that 27 roadblocks would be removed immediately. The IDF has been instructed to remove in the near future another 32 roadblocks among the 400 that exist.


That's to make life easier for the Arabs. So what about the innocent Jews, the victims of Arab terrorism? Read this story:

A Day in the Life of a Girl from Hebron

David Wilder
December 25, 2006

Yesterday morning I was getting ready to leave our Beit Hadassah apartment. It was just after eight. At 8:30 I usually spend about half an hour learning with my friend Rabbi Yisrael Shlissel in the Ohr Shlomo Kollel (Torah study hall) in Tel Rumeida. My cell phone rang. It was Rabbi Yisrael: "We won't be able to study together this morning. The police are all over the neighborhood. I think they're looking for my wife. They were wandering around on our porch. I don't want to leave the house." I, of course, asked: "Why do they want Tzippy?" "I have no idea," he responded.

I drove up to Tel Rumeida to see what was happening. On the way up the hill the police car was making its way down. However, two cops were still in the neighborhood. "Who are you looking for today," I queried? Their answer: "Who are you? Where is your ID card? Show me your driver's license." After carefully examining them, they ignored me. Someone else started yelling at them: "Who are you looking for today – our children. When was the last time you caught a terrorist, a murderer?"

After I while I left, and a few hours later drove up to Kiryat Arba. Who was just inside the town gate, waiting to greet me? You guessed. Another police car, signaling me to pull over to the side of the road. The cop gave my car and my passenger a good once-over, and then, not having discovered what, or who, he was searching for, smiled a cute smile and told me to have a good day. Thanks a lot.

I later heard that the police were swarming around the outside gate of the girl's religious high school building.

Early afternoon. My daughter's friend and classmate, Bitya Shlissel, fifteen years old, was walking from the high school to the lunch room, a few minutes away. Together with a couple of other girls they walked past a group of plain-clothed detectives. Suddenly a police car stopped behind them and one of the detectives yelled, "Batya, get over here fast!" Bitya's two friends, being experienced in such matters, quickly grabbed her arm and started pulling her, just as the detective caught her other arm and too began tugging. Bitya had enough. She told her friends, "why should they arrest you too?" and they let her go. The detective threw her into the back of the car and sped off with his criminal of the day. A fifteen year old tenth grader.

Not just any tenth grader. Bitya is the grand daughter of Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan, who was murdered by terrorists in Tel Rumeida over eight years ago. Sixty three at the time of his death, Rabbi Ra'anan was the grandson of Israel's first Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Kook. Her parents, Rabbi Yisrael and Tzippy, moved to Hebron following the killing and the Rabbi became the dean of the new study hall, opened in his father-in-law's memory.

The Shlissels lived in the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood, formerly the "Arab Shuk" or market. Until they were expelled, with eight other families almost a year ago. A short time later they moved into the newly purchased Beit Shapira, not far from their old home. There too, they were expelled by the police, with several other families. One can image that the kids haven't had an easy time of it. And yesterday, Bitya found herself being dragged away by the police.

At the Kiryat Arba police station, when asked her name, Bitya responded. However, when they police started with other questions, she ignored them.

As a rule, a person who is to be interrogated is presented with an official request to appear for questioning. No such order had ever been issued to Bitya or her parents. She had no idea why she had been swooped up by the police while on her way to lunch.

The police packed her into another car and drove the fifteen year old to Jerusalem for further questioning. Only then did Bitya understand why she'd been kidnapped by the police.

Last summer three Hebron girls, Bitya's friends, were being held in prison as the result of a demonstration in Hebron. One night Bitya and a few of her friends staged a demonstration by the home of Supreme Court Justice Ayala Prokatchia, who was instrumental in keeping the girls in jail. The girls hung some signs outside and chanted some slogans before being chased away by the police. As a result of this demonstration, an arrest warrant was issued against Bitya Shlissel on July 2, 2006 and charged her with: threatening and offending a public servant, trespass, and inciting violence or terror. It seems that yesterday the police suddenly remembered that the warrant had been issued a half a year ago and decided to act quickly, before the terrorist criminal could escape. So, Bitya was arrested. Of course, her parents weren't notified until after the fact, when she was already in Jerusalem.

Bitya told me that during the interrogation she kept her eyes on one of the plants in room and refused to say anything. When the police woman questioning her became bored with her answers, she told her she could go home after her parents came and signed a bond note guaranteeing her appearance in court. Bitya told her: "No way are my parents coming here to sign anything." The police woman then called Bitya's mother, Tzippy, who, as you might imagine, had nothing good to say to her. So the police finally agreed to allow Bitya to sign for herself, and then led her to the door.

"Wait," she exclaimed, "how am I supposed to get home? I don't have any money or anything. You swiped me from the street on the way to lunch." The police response: Our only responsibility is to notify your parents. It's your problem how you get back home. Period!

After a while one of the Shlissels' neighbors, who was in Jerusalem, picked Bitya up and drove her home for a belated lunch and dinner.

A day in the life of a girl from Hebron.

Crazy world? No, worse!

Insanity? Or worse?

Things are beyond reason. Yes, I'm referring to Olmert's announcements, policies etc.

Olmert suggests Palestinian prisoner release
Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:54pm ET
By Ari Rabinovitch

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested on Sunday he could release some Palestinian prisoners this week, even though Gaza militants have yet to free a captured Israeli soldier.


Does this make any sense? Will it solve any of Israel's problems? Is there a chance that this would even endanger Israel?

Diskin: Israel trapped by restraint policy

Shin Bet chief describes current situation as catch-22 that leaves Israel unable to defend against rockets. Ministers slam continuing restraint while Olmert says response will only deteriorate situation


Isn't the situation deteriorating due to "restraint?"

51st Qassam since truce lands in south

Two rockets land in western Negev Sunday morning; cabinet to discuss Israeli response


What "truce?" Isn't it time for Israel to declare that the Arabs broke every condition of the agreement, and therefore Israel is no longer required by any law or "morality" to abide by the truce agreement?

Prime Minister to Give More Concessions
05:08 Dec 25, '06 / 4 Tevet 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to approve a list of concessions for the Arabs this morning, including the removal of roadblocks and easing traffic restrictions in Judah and Samaria.


Remove road blocks? Just breathing such an idea, and another innocent Jew was shot at by the Arab terrorists!!

Israeli shot, wounded in West Bank
An Israeli was moderately wounded Sunday evening after Palestinians opened fire at this car traveling near the West Bank village Dir Abu Mashal, northwest of Ramallah.

The incident occurred on the highway between in the West Bank between Neveh Tzuf and Ofarim.


Not long ago, I was brainstorming with friends, and out came: "Benedict Olmert"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The End of an Era!


The End of an Era
The Very Last
Double Digit
HAVEL HAVELIM!

Number 99!!!

This is a historic moment in Jewish literature, so take a deep breath, and imagine that I've done a good job. Please… I feel the burden of responsibility on me. Enough kvetching…
On with the show!

To start with, if you haven't yet seen it, visit the
latest and greatest Kosher Cooking Carnival!

CHANUKAH

Read Akiva's
favorite Chanukah story.

And from
Reb Chaim HaQoton: The Hasmonean Mistake, the Chanukah story continued.

Here's Parshat Miketz by Moshe Burt.

See the
Chabad Chanukah pictures from around the world. I looked for one of the chanukiya they put at our junction, but it wasn't in the collection. (thanks lakevent)

Read
YID With LID: Fighting for Justice A Shoah Survivor's Story

Read
J O S H U A P U N D I T's The story of Hanukkah; there's plenty there including illustrations.

Life of Rubin found a
Pez Menorah.

Happy Channuka from psychotoddler.

And
Rubicon3 sings The Dreidel Song - Texas Swing Style.

Here's a
great Dry Bones classic!

Check out all of the gorgeous
Chanukiyot ~Sarah~ has posted.

Judy Gruen is
In a Sweat Over Holiday Gifts!

Rachel, again, posts
The Menorah of Courage. Some stories need to be told every year.

Now that Nathan is in Israel, Hanukah has a
different meaning.

Look at Dave Bender's
fantastic photos. I had trouble going into his blog and I'm glad that he sent me the photo link. Thanks Dave.

Here's a
Chanukah meme from Soccer Dad. I was getting nervous, but B"H, he didn't tag me. Besides that post, there's another great post with pictures of the Channuka house.

Ezzie shows
Elianna enjoying Chanukah.

Jameel gives his opinion on
sufganiyot. Mine are different.

And Jack complains of
too many presents.

Here's
nuch epes a chosid: Freilichen Chanuka; I love the picture!

See this new
Chanukah film by Gil Ronen; thank to Brenda.

Mottel writes about
The Sad Case of the Hanukkah Bush.

Take a
look at the candles in the windows!

I just couldn't resist
Modern Uberdox: The Menorah in the Window...

Here's what A Simple Jew's
wife has to say about Chanukah.

By the time you read this it will be
Esser Agaroth: The Day After Hanukkah.... (though at this moment—as I write this—we still have a day and a half left.)

Now for the
NY's Funniest Rabbi: Chanukah Quiz. Let's see how much you know.

And here's
Reb Chaim HaQoton's Rock of Ages.
Elie writes about
the fifth day of Chanukah.

ISRAEL

The big Chanukah extravaganza here was
the Olive Festival! See the pictures.

Read about the
Mt. Zion Redevelopment Project; it's a project funded by the good Jews of Atlanta.

Shiloh Musings: Stoicism is not Heroism! What do you think?

From Moshe Burt:
Which Leader Will Bring Israel to Take Responsibility Instead of Depending upon the Nations for Her Security?? That's a good question.

No nonsense about Migron from Mark!

Slightly Mad tells us about
a cultural boycott of Israel.

Read Moze's
confession, and at the same time you'll see her suggestions to the Histadrut.

There are
many types of heroes, and not all are soldiers.

Cozy corner tells us about
Moderate Muslim politics on Israel.

The Elder of Ziyon says:
Time for the PalArabs to step up. But they won't.

What's the connection between
Begin, Yamit, El Al and Shabbat?

Meryl takes
A closer look at these “crude, homemade” rockets.

And Treppenwitz gives some
details about the Israeli Labor Party.

"Carl's Corner"
I'm giving Carl a special spot, because he sent me a slew of posts all at once, and at this point in my HH preparation, I don't feel like scattering them. Also, some of you may know that last month I challenged you to a
"Who are these bloggers and what do they have in common contest?" And now you know for sure; they are Carl and I. The event was the NCSY Reunion during the OU Convention in Jerusalem. Here are some things we have in common:
Blogging
We were both NCSY Chapter President
We were both NCSY Regional Vice President
We were both NCSY National Financial Secretary
We made Aliya
We're members of the Ben Zakkai Honor Society.
We both thought it "clever" to wear old sweatshirts to the reunion, and we can both fit into our old sweatshirts—take a look at my post to see the picture.
And no, we didn't know each other then (he's younger) and we didn't plan wearing the sweatshirts together.
And now, here are his posts:
Persona non grata in Manchester
US Neocons expected Israel to attack Syria
Main entrance to Temple Mount on the verge of collapse
Why they deny the Holocaust
Olmert's stupidities
What went on at the Holocaust denial conference
Misreading Abu Mazen
'Palestinian' Civil War Update - Five more 'Palestinians' killed; IDF denies it's a civil war
Will France become pro-Israel? Dhimmi Carter's petrodollars Anti-Semitism


MISCELLANEOUS

My husband celebrated Chanukah by
visiting Har HaBayit accompanied by the man who introduced him to it, Menachem Ben Yashar.

For those of us who haven't been in Australia,
Sarah's pictures are very tempting.

Simply Jews shows us that shidduchim are a lot better than
this. And is Allah better than yoga?

Check out
Fred's latest creations.

Have you read
The Jewish Voice? It looks interesting.

Here's the
Yisrael Medad-Ralph Lord Roy Correspondence.

Take a look at Shoshana's new blog,
Kindness Happens; the contributors are some of the most popular Jewish bloggers around.

Read:
Daf notes: Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 13 - Omer and Chanukah and Rosh Hashana 15 - THE TORAH DICTATES THE LAWS OF NATURE.

According to
Emes Ve-Emunah: Hundreds of Children are sexually abused.

Now you can see it,
the shechita; that's right, from Life in Israel.

Cross-Currents » Just for the Record is by Jonathan Rosenblum.

Read about
Women of Valour on Jewish Current Issues.

Meryl says:
There's hope for us yet.

According to
Instapundit.com – read, not quote, the Koran.

There is nothing worse than having a seriously ill child. Amber's parents
Bagel Blogger and Baleboosteh share with us their feelings. Refuah Shleimah, and may G-d give our two friends the strength to deal with it all and give all their children lots of love and support.

Elder of Ziyon reminds us not to forget Islamic Jihad.

A Simple Jew's baby says
her first word! It's "dada," of course.

On esser agaroth you can learn the
most important cooking advice.

Here's the
Jewish Blogmeister: J Blogger Interview: Featuring LakeVent!

Olah Chadash writes about her very tough
Bubby Becky.

An interesting post from Mystical Paths mentions the "catch 24" of
eiruv building.

Read what
The Pragmatician says about Kindness.

According to NYC Educator, there's
hell in NJ for those public school students who don't believe in "j."
AbbaGav reassures us that
he's not dead.

Smooth writes
that Barcelona is restoring its Jewish quarter, but that's not as good as it sounds.

Cosmic X posted a
picture I've thought about taking. OK, Cos' you won!

Westbankmama has
good news.

The Israeli Tikkun Blog tells about his First Official Judaism Lesson; what an adventure! Good luck!

Read the
Weekly Megillah! You can sign up and get it straight to your inbox.

There are some interesting points in
Letters of Thought: The Kapote Conundrum.

Walking for Israel is
calling all Jews. Just that you know, the walking isn't in Israel, but check out this new blog.

Check out:
Jewish Blogmeister: Get your Jewish Hero Trading Cards... he's not talking about Sandy Koufax!

Read what
got to my husband.

If you want to practice your Spanish, check out
Herut חרות.

Penny Stock reminds us that
things aren't as they first seem.

Here are:
Media Backspin, the editor's picks.

And according to
Media Blog on National Review Online, ABC News Analyst: Plight of Palestians Similar to the Holocaust.

Yid with Lid writes about the
60 Minutes show about the Shoah.

Marallyn reminisces about
NYE in the "old country."

And Ya'aqov wonders when he should
take down the succah.

Now, I'm sure that you never expected to see an interview with Santa in Havel Havelim, and I must admit that I certainly never expected to include one, but this isn't your everyday Santa; this is a Santa like you've never met before, but then again, what do you expect from
The Bagel Blogger?

The term “Havel Havelim” is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon, who built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other “excesses” and finally realized that it was nothing but norishkeit, “havel” or in English “vanities.” I think that King Solomon and his father King David were the original "bloggers." The books they wrote, when you take them chapter by chapter, can easily be described as blog posts. The stones they used to write on made them last, so that we can read them now. I doubt if today's technology will give our words any lasting effect.

Here's a special message from
Soccer Dad:
Next week's host is Bagel Blogger. Please note that to make #100 special we're asking everyone to submit a post from this year and, if they have it, a post from last year.
Send your links for the next edition of Havel Havelim via blog carnival, and at the same time you may discover other “carnivals” to visit and enter. You can also use those forms to send kosher recipes and other kosher food posts to the Kosher Cooking Carnival. Blog carnival also has a great listing of recent carnivals for your sidebar. You can either get one for a specific carnival, like HH or KCC, or a general one.

Thanks to
Soccer Dad for his hard work keeping this going, and if you want to host, please let him know at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.

This appears in the
UberCarnival.

Please put up a blurb on your site alerting readers to Havel Havelim. Thank you!

Begin, Yamit, El Al and Shabbat

There's a wonderful article, which I'll post here at the end of this, going around emails and the internet about Menachem Begin and Shabbat. While I googled it, trying to find out its original publication link (which I didn't find), I discovered something else.

The Jewish Agency has a timeline showing what happened each year. Here are some of the things that happened in 1982:

It seems ironic that Begin's famous defense of Shabbat was barely a week after his government destroyed Yamit and the other Jewish communities in the Sinai.


April 25 : Three years after the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, the Sinai is completely turned over to Egypt. The inhabitants of Yamit who refuse to leave, together with their supporters, are evacuated by force. Bulldozers raze the town. "The town looked as if an atomic bomb hit it." Egypt had offered 50 million dollar for the lot, but Israel had refused. The decision to destroy the settlements is made by Begin, on Defense Minister Sharon's prompting. One issue remains unsolved - the status of the Taba area, just south of Eilat.
April: Israel charges the PLO for two minings on the border, a bombing in Ashkelon, and a bus-bombing in Jerusalem.
May 2: Implementing one aspect of the coalition agreement with the religious parties, the government announces that El Al will cease flying on Shabbat.
And then, a little later:

June 4 - 5 : Israeli armed forces bomb and shell Arab terrorist positions from southern Lebanon all the way to Beirut. The PLO retaliates with rocket and artillery shelling of 23 Israeli settlements in western and northern Galilee and of Major Saad Haddad's enclave in Lebanon.
June 6 : Israel launches "
Operation Peace for Galilee".
Menachem Begin was a very complex personality. it was clear that he loved Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, and he was deeply religious, even though he didn't wear a kippah full-time, nor did he join any of the religious parties. For many of us his decision to give Sinai to Egypt and destroy Jewish communities was both unforgivable and incomprehensible.

Personally, I'm very "uncomfortable" when his "peace treaty" is praised by the Begin Center. I think that it was his fatal mistake and the cause of his later depression. He tried to justify it by saying that part of the agreement was a guarantee to preserve and increase Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, but the truth is that his destruction of Jewish settlement in Sinai is used as the justification for Disengagement and all of the demands to destroy Jewish communities in the same Judea and Samaria.

He's now in Olam Haba, the Next World, and G-d is the only one to tally his fate.

El Al on Shabbos: Menachem Begin

by Yehudah Avner

The possible renewal of Saturday flights in the wake of c calls to mind a Knesset oration of yesteryear.

For days, tension permeated the Knesset. Stocky, gesticulating men combed
its corridors, committees and canteens, their numbers rising daily like
tugboats heaving in fresh infusions of lobbying power. They were El Al union
men, accompanied by their whispering lawyers, intent on scotching prime
minister Menachem Begin's resolve to halt the national airline's flights on
the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Without let-up, they
pressured, pestered and petitioned the parliamentarians. Even the
ever-ebullient, highly erudite, and strictly observant interior minister,
Dr. Yosef Burg, was collared.

He was waylaid by a union man who placed an amicable arm around his
shoulder, jabbed a forefinger into his chest and barked into his face so
grimacingly that his head was jerked backwards as if to have the arguments
shoved physically down his throat.

This was on May 3, 1982, the day premier Begin limped into a crowded Knesset
chamber tense with expectancy. He was in pain, recovering from a severe hip
injury, and it was with heavy, purposeful steps that he mounted the tribune
to deliver his El Al speech. He began quietly, factually, declaring that the
government had finally decided to halt all El Al flights on Shabbat and
festivals - a revelation that sent eyes glaring and hatreds flashing in the
public gallery where the union men sat.

Simultaneously, a sudden restlessness seized the opposition benches, which
erupted into a paroxysm of heckling: "So why don't you shut down TV on
Shabbat, too?" screamed one. "What about football matches on Shabbat?"
bawled another.

"Are you going to stop Jewish merchant ships at sea, too?" shouted a third.
This spasm of derision fazed the premier not one little bit. On the
contrary, it supplied him with new inspirations of vitriolic wit.

"Shout as much as you will," he ribbed, his deep-set, bespectacled eyes
scanning the opposition faces with scorn, his gaze finally settling on the
young, secular, radical left-winger Yossi Sarid.

"I have nothing to say to you and your kind, Mr. Sarid," he said, with a
glance that could wither. "In fact, I have nothing to say to anyone who
supports a Palestinian state that is a mortal danger to our people."

And then, changing tone, pitching his voice to a muted, sonorous, trembling
pitch, this man who believed in oratory as the supreme artful weapon, a
matter of style, cadence, and the application of controlled but massive
intellectual energy, intoned: "Forty years ago I returned from exile to
Eretz Yisrael. Engraved in my memory still are the lives of millions of
Jews, simple, ordinary folk, eking out a livelihood in that forlorn Diaspora
where the storms of anti-Semitism raged.

"They were not permitted to work on the Christian day of rest, and they
refused to work on their day of rest. For they lived by the commandment,
'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' "So each week they forswore two
whole days of hard-won bread. This meant destitution for many. But they
would not desecrate the Sabbath day." "So, stop football on Shabbat, too?"
butted in Sarid provocatively, triggering off another squall of jeers,
hissing, and name-calling.

Adroitly, to the delight of his supporters, Menachem Begin put his power of
mimicry to full use by calmly raising his right hand as if to catch a ball,
tossed it back, and resumed his rhetorical flow: "Shabbat is one of the
loftiest values in all of humanity," he said, his voice husky with emotion.
"It originated with us. It is all ours. No other civilization in history
knew of a day of rest. "Ancient Egypt had a great culture whose treasures
are on view to this day, yet the Egypt of antiquity did not know of a day of
rest. The Greeks of old excelled in philosophy and the arts, yet they did
not know of a day of rest. " Rome established mighty empires and instituted a
system of law still relevant to this day, yet they did not know of a day of rest. Neither did thecivilizations of Assyria, Babylon , Persia , India , China - none of them knew of a day of rest."

"So, put on a yarmulke," sneered Sarid.

"Hutzpa!" boomed Begin, bristling. "I speak of our people's most hallowed
values, and you dare stoop to mockery. Shame on you!" Then, arms up, fists
balled, he thundered with the devotion of a disciple and the fire of a
champion: "One nation alone sanctified the Shabbat, a small nation, the
nation that heard the voice at Sinai, ' so that your man-servant and your
maid-servant may rest as well as you.' "Ours was the nation that enthroned
Shabbat as sovereign Queen."

A crescendo of approval from the government benches sent the rafters
rattling, muffling every last vestige of dissent. And he, the Great
Commoner, idol of the common folk, caught up on the wave of his own
enthusiasm and sense of mission, rose to a pitch of almost uncontrollable
fervor, and thundered on: "So, are we in our own reborn Jewish state to
allow our blue-and-white El Al planes to fly to and fro as if broadcasting
to the world that there is no Shabbat in Israel ? Should we, who by faith and
tradition heard the commandment at Sinai, now deliver a message to all and
sundry through our blue-and-white El Al planes - 'No, don't remember the
Sabbath day. Forget the Sabbath day! Desecrate the Sabbath day.' "I shudder
at the thought."

The ensuing ruckus was terrific. The speaker sat ham-fisted, vainly banging
his gavel, which thudded as soundlessly as a velvet mallet. So Begin himself
raised his palms and then lowered them gently, once, twice, thrice, until
the furor quietened of itself. Whereupon, to hammer his point home, he
quoted the words of the celebrated secular philosopher of early Zionism,
Ahad Ha'am: "More than the Jews kept the Sabbath day, the Sabbath day kept
the Jews."

With that, he raised his eyes to the public gallery and vouchsafed its
occupants an intensely solemn stare. "Let me say this to the good workers of
El Al," he told the crowd. "The government has been the object of threats.
We disregard them. In a democracy, government decisions are not made under
threat." And then, like a sudden bugle call to historical grandeur, he
perorated with compelling passion: "Know this: We cannot assess the
religious, national, social, historical, and ethical values of the Sabbath
day by the yardstick of financial loss or gain. In our revived Jewish state
we simply cannot engage in such calculations when dealing with an eternal
and cardinal value of the Jewish people - Shabbat - for which our ancestors
were ready to give their lives. "One thing more. One need not be a pious Jew
to accept this principle. One need only be a Jew."

The writer was on the personal staff of four prime ministers, including Menachem Begin.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Predictions

It was refreshing to read Anshel Pfeffer's admission in Friday's Jerusalem Post:

Behind the Lines: The press's false prophecies


I CANNOT conclude this column honestly without coming clean about my own past practices as an instant pundit. Though my Jerusalem Post track record hasn't been that bad, a few glaring mistakes stand out. Three of these are particularly embarrassing. Despite the fact that no one actually took me to task for them, I'm now inviting your ridicule by pointing them out.

In January, immediately after Ariel Sharon's second debilitating stroke, I predicted that the Kadima leadership would not gather around his replacement, Ehud Olmert, and that a succession battle would sink the nascent party.

On the eve of the election, I advised readers not to vote for the Pensioners Party, confidently asserting that since it had no chance of passing the electoral threshold, a vote for it would be wasted.

Before the cease fire at the end of this summer's war, I wrote that the government's days were numbered, due to its having been discredited and by its being left with no agenda following the demise of the realignment plan.

The first two of these predictions were quickly confounded. As for the third: It is four and a half months later, and the government is not only still here, but no one is prepared to make any more bets on its imminent fall.
The media makes mistakes! wow! He's a brave man to admit it.

What about the weather? Accordinging to the experts, it was supposed to rain all day today. I didn't notice any, though it did rain last night. And they're also predicting some snow on Wednesday. I checked a couple of weather sites and it probably won't be more than flurries. That is unless they're wrong. And if they're wrong, two things--oops! no, three things could happen. Either it won't snow, but it'll rain, or it'll be real stormy, and that could mean either rain or snow.

Last year there were some serious rain predictions by the Israel Meterological Service, and the Jerusalem city workers were all on alert, equipment was set up, and-- no snow. And the TV was also on alert, searching for snow flakes to interview.

Yes, some people made lots of money off the the snowless snow.

Maybe it would be better not to predict at all and just take each day as a surprise and a blessing.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's almost Shabbat, but...

... I must react or I'll explode.

I certainly can't defend our country with just my words, but it's not going to do me any good to remain silent.

Israel is being attacked, and its government thinks that acting like helpless nebichs will help save us. Sounds like fiction, yes, it does, but I don't write fiction.

*referring to highlighted part of article
This entire concept is faulty. There is no such thing as "diplomatic credit." We can only depend on ourselves and G-d. It's immature and irresponsible for the politicians to expect the world to save us. Back to that ghetto mentality.
"pity me, pity me"
We have a state because G-d wanted us to, not because six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis or that the UN voted its approval.

Shabbat Shalom



Rocket Attacks and Israeli Restraint Continue
12:17 Dec 22, '06 / 1 Tevet 5767
by Hillel Fendel and Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Prime Minister Olmert's restraint continues in the face of Kassam rockets slamming into Israel. He and Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas are talking about meeting.


Two rockets slammed into Sderot Thursday, one of them striking a community center and another hitting an empty bus. Three people were injured by shrapnel or otherwise, and heavy damage was sustained. Another rocket frighteningly awakened city residents early Friday morning.

A separate attack on Thursday hit the port city of Ashkelon. The city is home to strategic oil and gas pipelines and a large electric power plant.

Some 45 Kassam rockets have been launched from Gaza against Israel since the November 26 truce went into effect, according to remarks made by Prime Minister Olmert Thursday afternoon.

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi HaNegbi (Kadima) told Voice of Israel government radio Friday morning that counter-terrorist actions by Israel are inevitable.

*HaNegbi supported Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's policy of restraint on the assumption that it will give Israel a diplomatic advantage. He said the world will give Israel more "diplomatic credit" Israel for having held its end of the Gaza ceasefire obligation despite the incessant attacks against her.

The Prime Minister has withstood pressure from government ministers who have said "enough is enough" and that the time has come to strike back. Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor), a former senior IDF officer and ex-Defense Minister, said that "time has run out" for Abbas. Defense Minister Peretz, a resident of Sderot whose bodyguard lost his legs last month in a Kassam rocket attack, also asserted that the policy of restraint should be re-examined.

Opposition leader ex-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on the Prime Minister Thursday night to "free the IDF's hands" and resume counter-terrorist operations. "It is not the nation that is tired," Netanyahu said. "Olmert is tired. There is only one thing worse than a nation that has lost faith in its leaders, and that is leaders who have lost faith in their nation. I call on the Prime Minister to put an end to this restraint. It’s absurd that we are tying our own hands on this matter."

Speaking to a Likud gathering, Netanyahu asserted, "A leader needs to be an active authority, not a passive one [of] restraint and inaction."

Minister Rafi Eitan of the Pensioners Party predicted that Israel's restraint will end "sooner or later," and when it does, "it must be done in a way that will be interpreted by the world as an unavoidable option."

The security mini-cabinet will convene on Sunday to discuss the continued policy of restraint.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Olmert and Abbas say they are anxious to meet with each other before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits the region in January.

"If it's possible to make [Abbas] happy and make me happy, then I can't see a reason not to [meet], and hope that it will happen very soon," Olmert said Thursday.

The PA news agency, Ma'an, reported that a meeting would be held this Monday, but Olmert's office has denied it and Abbas has not confirmed it.