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Monday, December 31, 2007

IDF Soldiers

The New York Times has an article about the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces. Considering that it was written for Americans, it could be worse, but of course it could also be better.

It's funny that only in very recent years, there's talk about the changes which have been going on for twenty years or more. I guess it's because the media here is so Left wing.

The percentage of army officers from religious backgrounds isn't new, but it has become harder for the army to hide it. There used to be a high percentage of kibbutz-raised officers, at leas that's what we've been led to believe. Considering the percentage of the population on kibbutzim, I doubt if they ever really dominated the army the way the establishment wants us the think.

Over twenty years ago, during the "first" Lebanon War, some of us began to notice that an unusually high percentage of "casualties," the dead and wounded were from the hesder yeshiva units, or just religious guys in the army. I hate to think that they were considered "cannon fodder." A bit later, we began hearing that the majority of soldiers in the officers courses were either with crocheted (they can't be knitted) kippot or had been raised with them and stopped being religious. It took a long time for this embarrassing information to leak out.

You have to be blind not the notice all of the proud religious parents at the various army ceremonies, and the la hefech (the opposite) mood at homes of dead soldiers. Also, medals of courage were awarded to yeshiva students. I wouldn't be surprised if the percentage of YESHA and religious kids in the elite units is much higher than the kibbutz ever reached.

The army is scared. It knows that its best soldiers can be pushed only "so far."

Disengagement was "bad" and Amona was "worse." Our soldiers, our sons, aren't comfortable with the Nazi German soldiers' excuse that they were "just obeying orders." We trust our soldiers more than we trust our politicians.

Isn't It A Crime To Be A Terrorist?

Apparently, the Israeli political police think otherwise, or we wouldn't see a headline like this:






Maybe I'm stupid, but I think that terrorism is among the worst of crimes.



Time to Vote!


Yid with Lid has opened the polls to vote for The Most Self-Hating Jew, in a number of categories.
You don't have to choose between David Landau, who gets "excited" by the thought of his country, Israel, being raped by the United States
and the veteran "dreamer," Peres with a lot of opponents. What he calls a "dream" would be a nightmare for the Jewish People.
There's definitely something "off" in the Jewish psyche considering that only we breed such self-haters, those who hate their own people. Is it a result of our communal suffering, like a mass Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or Stockholm Syndrome?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

On the rights of ’settlers,’ by Shmuel Katz

I finally found the article I was looking for. It's on Israpundit and The Jerusalem Post. It's an extremely important article, and not only should you read it, but please pass it around.


Dec 27, 2007 12:47 Updated Dec 30, 2007 16:56
Guest Column: On the rights of 'settlers'




US Ambassador Richard Jones was recently reported to have asked Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch about the legal status of the "settlements."
This is indeed a subject which has long been neglected - or simply ignored. The answer to the question is a simple one, but in view of the obfuscation which has for years gathered around it, it is essential to examine its roots. They lie comfortably in the text of the Mandate for Palestine which was conferred on Britain in 1922 by the League of Nations.
The Mandate's objective was to facilitate the "reconstitution" of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. It was intended to serve as the legal instrument for implementing Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration. The essential obligations of the mandatory were to facilitate the immigration of Jews and encourage their "close settlement" on the land, including state and waste lands. (In accordance with the Balfour Declaration, "the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities" were to be protected.)
The vision of the Balfour Declaration was encapsulated a couple of years later by cabinet minister Winston Churchill, who wrote that "a Jewish state will arise in our day on the banks of the Jordan."
At that time, too, the League of Nations conferred on Britain a Mandate for Mesopotamia (Iraq); and Mandates for Syria and Lebanon were conferred on France, presaging the establishment of sovereign Arab states. Thus did the Allied nations complete the sharing out of the territories they had captured from the Turks in the Great War of 1914-1918.
ADDED UP, these Arab states-to-be accounted for some 99 percent of the total conquered area. In its capture during the war it may be said the Arabs themselves played practically no part. The so-called Arab Revolt against the Turks, heavily financed by Britain and brilliantly portrayed by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), did not in fact take place at all. Eighty percent of the Arabs who fought in the war did so on the side of the Turks. The Jewish people not only fielded a Jewish fighting legion in Palestine, but also a most effective intelligence service in Palestine and Syria.

Shiloh, January 1978. Today it is a thriving community in Samaria. Photo: Lester Millman

Nevertheless, when peace came Arab voices were raised against the British undertaking to the Jews. Balfour admonished them. He pointed out that it was the British who had established an independent sovereignty in Hejaz (the Mandates came two years later), and he added:
"I hope they will remember that it is we who desire in Mesopotamia to prepare the way for the future of a self-governing Arab state and I hope that, understanding all that, they will not grudge that small notch being given to the people who for all these hundreds of years have been separated from it."
Yet - in 1922 at the last moment, the British inserted a clause (Number 25) excluding the provision of the Jewish National Home from the area east of the Jordan River. Zionist protest went unheeded; and so the almost-empty eastern Palestine, renamed Transjordan, ultimately became the Kingdom of Jordan, adding another state to the tremendous Arab domain. The fact that it was a Palestinian state could not be erased, nor that the majority of its inhabitants have come from western Palestine. Thus was executed the first partition of the Land of Israel.
THE STATUS of Jewish settlement in what remained of Palestine remained unaffected. But as the years went by, the steady British retreat from their obligations, particularly by severe limitations on Jewish immigration, finally led to the White Paper of 1939. Apart from new land laws, it projected that Jewish immigration would be allowed at 15,000 souls a year for five years and then completely frozen. There would be no Jewish National Home. There would be an Arab majority, and some form of British overlordship to protect Jewish minority interests.
The White Paper, fiercely attacked in Parliament, was passed - by a reduced majority. But any change in British policy in Mandatory Palestine was subject to the approval of the League of Nations. The League, it was true, had for some years already been seen as an effete body, but its constitutional authority had remained intact. For monitoring the progress of the various mandates it maintained a kind of watchdog commission, and considered any proposed changes in the terms of the Mandate only if approved by the Mandate Commission. When in 1939 the British government submitted the White Paper to the commission, it refused its approval on the grounds that it did not conform to the terms of the Mandate.
Angry British Foreign Office senior officials exchanged notes and discussed among themselves the desperate policy of proposing a change in the Mandate itself. But they were stymied. It was too late - nearly the end of August 1939, and on the first of September World War II broke out. The Council of the League of Nations never met again. With it died the White Paper. The Mandate remained the defining document for governing Palestine.
THE BRITISH government, frustrated, did not relent. It launched a bitter campaign, using diplomatic channels in Europe to prevent Jews escaping and employing the Royal Navy to intercept boats carrying Jewish refugees from Europe and prevent their reaching the Jewish National Home. Indeed, when Churchill was prime minister he wrote in an internal instruction that "the White Paper stands."
The Mandate, however, with its injunction to assist Jewish settlement, remained intact and after World War II was "inherited" by the United Nations. It was a period of considerable unrest which, despite much repressive effort, the British could not subdue. Under the pressure of a highly effective Jewish underground fighting force (and consequent reactive political pressure at home) the Labor government finally returned the Mandate to the UN (in the spring of 1947).
The UN, in a dramatic special session, in effect accepted Britain's resignation and later that year decided to recommend the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. (Not Palestinians. Nobody had heard of such a separate entity.) The Arab states rejected that offer. Thus Palestine, with the rights of Jewish settlement, remained undivided as the Jewish state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The Arab refusal was not a whim. The idea of a non-Arab state (and specifically a hated Jewish state) "in the heart of the Arab world" was anathema to them. It was reflected by a claim of possession of the whole country. Immediately after the UN session, the League of Arab States decided to go to war to destroy the Jewish state at birth.
In the meantime a preliminary campaign of terror was launched against the Jewish community. Then on May 14, 1948, the day the British left, five well-armed Arab states - Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq - invaded the country. The losses Israel sustained in that war of nine months exceeded, in proportion of population, the losses sustained by Britain and America in World War I. The invasion success was limited not only by the inordinate valor of the youth of Israel, but in time by the supply of much-needed arms by Czechoslovakia (with Soviet permission) and France.
HOWEVER, Jordan succeeded in holding on to the eastern highlands (primarily Judea and Samaria) and then even presumptuously announced their annexation. Egypt captured the Gaza "Strip." It is not irrelevant to mention that in the next 19 years of Jordanian and Egyptian occupation, neither Jordan nor Egypt proposed, nor did the Palestinian Arabs demand from Jordan and Egypt, the establishment of a Palestinian state. To the contrary, Palestinian Arab terror continued to operate as before against Israel.
Then in 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan again attacked Israel, again with the repeated announcement that the objective was its "annihilation." Israel turned the tables and won the war. Soon after that victory, Israel offered the Arabs to hand them all the territory it had regained, in return for peace. At a conference in Khartoum the unanimous Arab reply was: No negotiations. No peace. No recognition.
So once again Jewish settlement rights had been endangered, and once again had been saved by Arab intransigence.
It was shortly afterward that the movement of Jewish settlers was launched. It is noteworthy that the last defining document that underwrites the legality was the Geneva Convention of 1949. It dealt with occupied territories. Its second clause, stating its scope, makes it clear that it does not apply to the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria - because Jordan was not a sovereign possessor but an illegal invader, and similarly was Egypt an illegal invader of Gaza. Israel liberated both areas, restoring them to the territory of the Palestine Mandate of 1922.

From the point of view of international law these settlers are as legal as any resident of Manhattan or of Shreveport, Louisiana.
The writer, who co-founded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset, is a biographer, essayist and veteran Post contributor. His latest book, The Aaronsohn Saga (Gefen), has just been released.

European Union Assists Terror

Here's an example why every single thing must be checked by Israeli Security:

6.5 Tons of Potassium Nitrate Used for Terror Discovered in Sugar Bags Marked as EU Assistance

December 29th, 2007
IDF SPOKESPERSONS ANNOUNCEMENT
6.5 Tons of Potassium Nitrate Used for Terror Discovered in Sugar Bags
Marked as EU Assistance

Now released for publication: In a joint IDF and ISA operation several weeks
ago, a truck was caught at one of the crossing points in Judea and Samaria
carrying approximately 6.5 tons of Potassium Nitrate. The Potassium Nitrate
was disguised in sugar bags, and was intended for use by terrorists in the
Gaza Strip.

Potassium Nitrate is a banned substance in the Gaza Strip and the Judea and
Samaria region due to its use by terrorists for the manufacturing of
explosives and Qassam rockets.

The terror organizations disguised the Potassium Nitrate in sugar bags that
were marked as being part of the humanitarian aid provided by the European
Union. This is another example of how the terror organizations exploit the
humanitarian aid that is delivered to the Palestinian population in the Gaza
Strip with Israel's approval.


hat tip IMRA

Young Pioneers

In the early days of the State of Israel, Israelis were proud of the "chalutzim," the pioneers who braved Arab terror and British laws to establish Jewish communities in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Today its the Israeli Government which joins the murdering Arab terrorists in attempting to stop Jewish settlement.

Here's a message from Women in Green:

Last week, seven Jewish girls ranging in age from 14 to 16 year old were arrested in the outpost close to Bet-El for the "crime" of "settling" the area.

In protest of this outrageous arrest, the girls refuse to identify themselves. They were put in the Neve Tirza women prison! Tomorrow, Sunday, December 30th, 2007, they will be brought in front of a judge at the Jerusalem Shalom court at 11:30 am.

We know this is very last minute but still, if you can make it - come to the Shalom Court to show support.

The time has come for us to have a Jewish government that will arrest those who murder Jews and not Jews who love the land of Israel!!

Ruth and Nadia Matar

Thirty Years in Thirty Minutes by Anita Tucker



Constructing a community, a public building, a home all demand defining goals, identifying a location ,planning , permits, financial backing ,building , then planning and filling the structures with functional and aesthetic furnishings .

Most important and most difficult is filling it with people, content, meaning, then evaluating its success in meeting the original goals.

It is a big team effort that can take years.

Destroying it all takes only minutes.


I lived in Netzer Hazani for thirty years –we built this town on bare sand dunes that were not inhabited since Abraham and Isaac, our forefathers, who lived there.


We built from scratch. We built synagogues, mikvahs, schools, community centers, youth centers, homes, businesses, playgrounds sports fields and swimming pools, agro -businesses, community based businesses, light industry.

Most important and challenging, we succeeded in filling them all with meaningful contents.

These communities became known as Gush Katif

When it was decided by the Knesset of Israel that bulldozers would destroy it all, piles of rubble remained of the flourishing community.

Soon the shifting winds of the renewed desert-like area again covered the rubble with sand. This once blossoming oasis is again empty sand dunes as they were after our patriarchs moved.

We were careful to take out with us the Torah scrolls and the pictures and writings of our Rabbi, the renowned scholar Rabbi Yitzhak Arama, murdered by Arab terrorists two years prior.

Our youth carried out the heavy Torah scrolls that sat safely in the sanctuary read and reread year after year, generation after generation.

Many of the scrolls were covered by the traditional Sephardic wood and metal coverings , our youth hugging them with great love, aware that this was what they still had left of the town where they were born, grew up ,loved and had hoped to live.

The traditions, the spirit, the learning, the vision that are the contents of those beloved Torah scrolls hugged and protected our families as they left Gush Katif . We struggled to look forward, yet we could not easily forget the pain of destruction.

The families wandered from tents to hotel rooms to interim caravan type living quarters, struggling for survival as humans, as families as communities, as Jews at home in the State if Israel , as soldiers in our Israel Defense Force

All this interim period, we were, as well, dealing with the drawn out bureaucratic procedure and negotiations to try and receive appropriate compensation for our businesses and homes. This has been a very very trying and frustrating challenge and in most cases is not yet near completion as appeals are yet in procedure.

The communities were spread out in every direction.
However each community made super human efforts to keep together.
Our community leadership wisely utilized those eternal values and spirit carried out of Gush Katif to give strength to the community. The community in turn gave strength to the families and the families to their members.

With the eternal Torah values and spirit keeping the community together we hoped and expected to build anew as a community as defined by the Disengagement –Compensation Law

Two and a half years later, having easily defined our goals we suddenly discovered how much more difficult was to be identifying locations, planning, applying for approvals, etc.


However, my community has accomplished this in cooperation with the Government Ministries.

We now seek to define our financial backing which, not by chance, connects with our long-term goals.

For my town, Netzer Hazani, the first town built in Gush Katif in 1976, we will be receiving a government budget for building anew and we will invest all our compensations and additional loans we will have to take, in building anew.

Yet still we can't begin construction in lieu of destruction as we had so hoped!

According to the latest adjusted government figures required for payment prior to signing contract there are still some gaps in the financing.

Our experiences have taught us to seek the solution in the challenge.

Our big challenge today in building a new town in Israel is how to connect to Am Yisrael, the People of Israel.

There was a terrible lack of dialogue, a lack of identification, a lack of brotherhood between Jews of different thinking and background during and after the disengagement-expulsion from Gush Katif, Gaza .

The position of Jewry around the world, the position of Jewry in Israel all point to a screaming need for dialogue and rallying around the eternal Jewish values of those Torah scrolls that our youth hugged, as carrying them out of the ruins of our communities.

Our beloved Jerusalem, more than ever, prays to us for unity around these values and spirit. I feel this intensely each time I pray at the Kotel, in Jerusalem, each time I word Jerusalem in my prayers. I am certain you feel this with me.

In building these communities anew, those that rally with us around these values will surely choose to enable construction in lieu of destruction, filling the structures with the meaningful content of these values and this spirit of the People of the Torah through the generations.
We yearn that Am Yisrael will connect and partner with us in our efforts to build anew.

Anita Tucker
Netzer Hazani (May it be rebuilt), temporarily in Ein Tzurim
tucker.anita@gmail.com

My grandchildren, who were born in Netzer Hazani, carried a sign as they left home that read "The Tucker family, Thirty years, three generations, this music will continue."

Moving and Shaking in the Wrong Direction


Israel's leaders, the "movers and shakers" like to say that they model themselves on America. In this very extensive interview with US Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, by Ruthie Blum, we read that Israeli jundges are nothing like their American "models."

During his visit here in Israel, Judge Posner has attacked retired Israeli Supreme Court president Aharon Barak's basic premise that a judge should decide cases according to "what's right," personal opinion, rather than law.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I found Shmuel Katz's article

Not only did I finally find the article, but the Letters Editor of the Jerusalem Post even sent me an email to help me. But we still can't find Rabbi Dov Berkovits's article.

There seems to be a editorial omissions in the Jerusalem Post's Internet edition.

Shmuel Katz wrote an extremely important article, which was published in this past Friday's paper. It is not in the Internet edition.

Here's the letter I wrote to the paper:
I'm a jblogger, shilohmusings.blogspot.com, me-ander.blogspot.com and others, and when I see an interesting article in your paper, whether the hardcopy or Internet, I like to alert my readers to it.
There's a big problem. No all of the great articles I see in the hardcopy make it to the Internet.
On Shabbat I was very happy to see Shmuel Katz's op-ed, in which he gives the international legal low-down on the status of Judea and Samaria. This is a crucially important article. It's long past Shabbat and even longer past your publishing time, and the article is no where to be found on your site.
A few months ago, you published a fantastic article in the Magazine section by Rabbi Dov Berkovits about soldiers and conscience (if I remember it correctly.) It never made the Internet. I tried on numerous occasions to find it.
Is this a coincidence that two excellent articles supporting Jewish life in Judea and Samaria are neglected?
If Rabbi Berkovits's article did make it, I'd appreciate the link and apologize.
I'm anxiously awaiting Shmuel Katz's article. I consider it a "must-read."


Batya Medad
Shiloh

The Lost Tribes in Hawaii?!?


That's the only solution I can think of.


We subscribe to A.Word.A.Day, a daily word list. To tell you the truth, I usually ignore it, but the other day I glanced and saw that it was telling about a word I know, "kahuna."
"That's from the Hebrew word, Kohen, priest, I said to myself. Many Kohenim (plural of Kohen) have the family name Kahane, very similar to kahuna."
Then I read the email:

A.Word.A.Day--kahuna

This week's theme: words borrowed from other languages.

kahuna (kuh-HOO-nuh) noun

1. A priest or a medicine man.

2. An important person (usually in the phrase: big kahuna).

[From Hawaiian kahuna. Hawaiian is a Polynesian language spoken in the Hawaiian islands in the Pacific. The number of native speakers of the language has decreased to just a few hundred.]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"It's tough being yesterday's man. At a briefing introducing investors to the new AMP boss Craig Dunn, outgoing kahuna Andrew Mohl appeared a little left out." Michael Evans; Marginbet Takes Even Bigger Bet; The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia); Nov 27, 2007.

Hawaiian? No way!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Strange Bed Fellows



Be careful of judging people by their manner of dress, or accent. Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper's editor, the bearded and kippah-wearing David Landau is a case in point.

He used crude,
graphically sexual language to describe what would" turn him on" to the US's Secretary of State, Condeleezza Rice. No, he wasn't "hitting on her." He was explaining what he thought the United States should do to the State of Israel. He said that Israel needed to "be raped."




“I did say that in general, Israel wants to be raped - I did use that word -— by the U.S., and I myself have long felt Israel needed more vigorous U.S. intervention in the affairs of the Middle East.”Landau, often outspoken in his views, is a bit of an anomaly in Israeli society in that he is a native Brit editing Israel’s oldest newspaper and an observant Jew (and former yeshiva student) with decidedly left-wing views.



He told The Jewish Week that the context of his remarks was that each of the dinner attendees spoke of Israel’s challenges, and when it was his turn he pointed out that since 1967, Israel has failed to resolve its territorial conflicts with the Palestinians.“I told [Rice] that it had always been my wet dream to address the secretary of state” on these vital matters, he said. (complete article)



As you see, Landau's clarification is no better.


If you had ever wondered how an Anglo (native English-speaking immigrant), who considers himself religious, can be editor of the most Left wing Israeli newspaper, you have your answer. There must be some sort of schizophrenic-masochist syndrome to explain people like him. And, of course, there's no doubt that David Landau is the front-runner for Yid with Lid's Self-Hating Jew's Hall of Fame, in the Journalist Category.
Let us all pray that he and his fellow nominees, understand the errors of their ways and words, לחזור בתשובה repent and use their talents for the good of the Jewish People and not encourage and aid our enemies.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Welcoming George, Nu?






A lot of my "crowd" has been sending troubled missives back and forth, trying to decide on a suitable way of "welcoming George." We have to take the initiative, since Olmert may be too tired to do it correctly.
This isn't quite my idea of a greeting,



...but a hug and kiss aren't on the menu either.

I don't think we should imitate Nixon's greeting in Venezuela, 1958.

We have to work from two directions, each separately. I'm trying to think of a way to make Olmert "less attractive" to Bush.

I think we have to stress that Olmert has single-digit support according to all polls, and that Bush should stay away, because hanging out with Olmert will make him look like a loser at best and pro-"dictator," which could be worse for the Republicans' chances at the upcoming elections.
And we have to make Bush less attractive to the Israelis. We have to explain, educate that in the United States lame duck presidents are likened to impotent men. Israelis must be told that whatever Bush promises is just words, hot air; he has no power. America is in the middle of elections, and Bush is history.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Supreme Choreographer by A Friend


A friend sent me this:


I don't like the imagery of this world is a tapestry with us only seeing the tangled mess of threads on the reverse side, because we ARE the threads. And we do sometimes get glimpses of the design on the front of the tapestry -- the glorious manifestation of the infinite attention to the most minute details of our lives that He takes care of.

What I prefer is the image of Hakodesh Baruch Hu as the Supreme Choreographer. He arranges the steps of everyone's dance, making sure the partners come together and come apart at the right points, in the right sequence, perfectly timed. And sometimes, we have a pause, outside the circle of the dance, so that we have a chance to catch our breath, take a peek and see the beauty and majesty of this dance that He is arranging. Because we DO get to see evidence of his Hashgacha Pratit, of His attention to the myriad details of our lives, to arranging the steps from years ago so that years later we are in the right place at the right time, and even appropriately costumed!

The awesome thing for me is that this dance is choreographed for billions of people round the clock, with all the attendant interactions and "change partners and doh-si-doh"s that we go through. It's such subtle, behind-the-scenes choreography that we aren't even aware that we are dancing to Someone Else's tune and steps -- we are quite able to believe that we are making up our own dance free form as we go along. And then comes another of those pauses, and we see why this daycare center didn't work out after all, or why that job is the one that came through 25 years ago, or why, or why, and we are awestruck by the beauty and intricacy of the dance all over again.

May we never lose our ability to perceive the wonder.

Who Else But Peres?!

Shimon Peres and his ideological chassidim, proteges, are my nominees for Yid with Lid's contest for the Self-Hating Jews' Hall of Fame!

Peres is the Jew who tells us to ignore history:



"People tend to remember more and think less," Mr. Peres wrote in "The New Middle East," his 1993 manifesto defending the accords. "Our thoughts, which concentrate on the unfamiliar, are less welcome. However, we must focus on this new Middle East reality … and not wander among memories of victories in long-gone wars -- wars that will never be fought again." Critics of Oslo pointed to Arafat's unambiguous record of hostility to Israel, double-dealing, and ruthlessness. For Mr. Peres, however, history was not a source of wisdom, but a burden. Quoted from here

He doesn't want us to learn from it, or learn it at all, since it makes his hair-brained schemes look like they're endangering the viability of the State of Israel.

It's Shimon Peres who preaches John Lennon's horrifically misguided "
Imagine," the song that praises a world in which


"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too."



According to this, there's nothing to live for either. No future, no past just today, "Imagine all the people, Living for today."

Peres and Olmert and his coalition have no trouble offering our precious Land, and even our Jerusalem to the same Arab terrorists who want to destroy us, because they only care about today. They do not value tomorrow, our future, our children, grandchildren and the coming generations. What can be more self-hating than that?


Bring Pollard Home

It would be nice if Bush would bring a present, Jonathan Pollard. In the entire history of the United States there was never anybody held for so long, under such conditions for giving information to an ally, as Pollard. Israel and the United States had a treaty/agreement at the time, and according to that treaty, the United States was supposed to give us the information.

Israel and American Jewry, not only should have protested Pollard's arrest, conviction and unprecedented punishment, but they should have protested, and should be protesting, the fact that the United States does not live up to its treaties with us.

Here is a letter sent to US President Bush by Jack Lauber:



Honorable President George W. Bush:



I write to you pleading for the release of Jonathan Pollard. Your upcoming trip to Israel on January 9, 2008 is a fitting time to make a gesture to Israel by releasing Jonathan Pollard.



I am well aware that Jonathan Pollard was charged with spying for the benefit of Israel. At the same time it is important to recognize that Mr. Pollard was not charged with treason or spying for an enemy country or even endangering the United States or its Citizens. Generally a person convicted of spying for a friendly country receives a 2-4 year sentence.



Never in the history of our country did a person convicted of one count of passing classified information receive a sentence as harsh as Jonathan Pollard. Something went terribly wrong in Jonathan Pollard’s case. He has been in prison for over 22 years.



Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private letters to the President and others. He regrets having broken the law, and is sorry he did not find a legal means to act upon his concerns for Israel. He has served more than an adequate sentence and he poses no threat to the United States or her allies.



Please review the facts of the Jonathan Pollard case and use the power of your office to commute his sentence to time served. His case cries out loudly for a commutation of the sentence to time served.


Respectfully,



Jack D. Lauber

Latham NY

New Blogger in Town

Yes, there's nothing as beautiful as Shiloh, and...

...you'll be hearing more about it on the latest Shiloh blog, Aliyah to Shiloh. The blogger is our new neighbor, Hillel Levin. I recommend that you pop in and visit him and encourage his new blogging venture.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Aliyah to Shiloh by Hillel Levin

I made Aliyah last fall, shortly before my 50th birthday. With my wife and 10.5 year old son, we landed in Jerusalem. We lived in the religious neighborhood of Har Nof for 10 and half months.

A little over 3 months ago, on Erev Yom Kippur we continued our Aliyah experience by moving to the beautiful Shomron village of Shiloh. Located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Jerusalem; Shiloh, near the place that G-D rested his home, the Mishkan for 369 years, long before the birth of either Christianity or Mohammedism.

As we travel over Eretz Yisroel I am continually the recipient of words of praise when I tell people that I live in Shiloh. We have been to weddings in Jerusalem and received this praise. We have been to Sderot, the town that has borne the brunt of Hama’s missiles for the past 7 years, over 6,400 at last count. This past Shabbos, we were doing our daled amot in Migdahl HaEmek a town of about 30,000, over looking G-D’s beautiful Jezre’el Valley.

I went to the next door neighbor of my Shabbos Host’s for a Shalom Zachor, the Friday night get together on the Shabbos before a Brit Milah. Meir M…s, an oleh of 30 some odd years from Bombay is the grandfather of a new grandson who G-D willing; be entered into the Covenant with G-d on Tuesday morning.

Meir’s son-in-law is an Oleh from Russia. While at their table, my host introduced me as living in Shiloh. I received praise and was asked to speak. It is an interesting experience talking to a group in Ivrit when I do not have full command of the language. It seems that having to pick most of the words slowly is a great device for holding an audience’s attention.

My talk was in reaction to the observation by the Ba’al Simcha, Meir M…s, that it was a tragedy that the mezuzah was removed from the doorway of the Kasbah in Chevron. I asked how many people at the table had ever been to the Kasbah in Chevron. Besides my raised hand, the only other was my son’s. I asked how many had been to Shiloh? I received only one positive response from a table of about 12 men.

This to me was a pivotal moment in my understanding of these words of praise when I say that: Garti b’Shiloh. I live in Shiloh.

I said that more than half of the world’s Jews must agree with PM Ehud Olmert. Just like he fails to see the connection of Klal Yisroel to Eretz Yisroel: the nation of Yisroel with the Land of Yisroel, so it seems that my Jewish Brothers and Sisters who choose to live outside of Eretz Yisroel also seem to miss this connection.

I said to this group of Sabbath observing brothers, that the road from Shechem, Shiloh, Yerushalyim, Chevron to Beer Shevah was called The Patriarchs’ Highway. That it was by their walking this road that they acquired (conquered) this Land. As a new Olim, we have made a conscious decision to do our daled amot in Eretz Yisroel. We have been to places in Eretz Yisroel that people living here 10, 20, 30 years, all their lives have yet to set foot in.

It seems to me that one of the reasons why the Olmert government can so easily throw away the lives and homes of families living in and on Eretz Yisroel is because we have already been abandoned by our brother and sisters living both here and abroad.

Prior to going to Sderot on Chanukah, with the educational non-profit organization that I have been working for since June, Connections Israel, I talked with a cousin of mine who grew up in Seattle and has been living in Ashkelon for roughly 30 years. We had talked about the possibility of getting together following the activities in Sderot.

She said to me, “so, you live in Shiloh, that’s in the West Bank, correct?” I said, “No, it is in the Shomron.” She said, “It is over the Green Line correct, where I won’t go.” I asked, “Why won’t you go there?” She responded, “It’s dangerous.”
When I stopped laughing, I said, “Dangerous? You live in Ashkelon, just a few minutes from Sderot which has taken over 6000 missiles in the past 7 years. Ashkelon has taken missiles too, and Shiloh is too dangerous?”

I told her, “The world wants all the Jews west of the Green Line. They define the Green Line where the Mediterranean Sea meets the sand. They will not be happy until ALL of the Jews in the entire World are in the Sea.”

So, having said this, what do I propose that we as Jews, both here in Eretz Yisroel and outside on Eretz Yisroel need to do?

First, I think that it is important to recognize that whether you live in Sderot, Yerushalyim, Shiloh, Chevron, Tel Aviv or Haifa in Eretz Yisroel, or New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Paris, Buenos Aries or Moscow outside of Eretz Yisroel, EVERY Jew is under siege.

In Sderot they have Hama’s missiles. In Yerushalyim they have security guards at all the bus stops to deter bus bombings. In Shiloh, my 235 neighbor families have suffered more terror murdered family members, then the 10,000 families in Sderot. In Chevron they have the courts and the Arabs. In Tel Aviv they have the Shmootz from the Goyish world. In Haifa they have Hezbollah missiles.

In New York they have a Subway Attack on Jews. In LA a plot to bomb Jewish institutions. Seattle experienced a gunman loose in the JCC, shooting seven women employees, including a 17 week pregnant mother, one fatally. Paris, beating of youths wearing kipot. Buenos Aries embassy bombings. Moscow, anti-Semitic acts.

Second, we need to recognize that everything comes from HaShem. Ever wonder why there is this increase in Anti-Semitism? Could be that the Goyim are just doing their G-D given role: Reminding Jews that they need to act like Jews and not try to assimilate into foreign cultures. Interesting to think about when we read the increasing number of Anti-Semitic acts reported in the Israeli news.
Third, we need to act as Jews. We need to work on ourselves and focus on the learning of Torah and the fulfilling of Mitzvoth.
Fourth, the Jews Chutz L’Aretz need to move back home. Come to the Land that G-D has given to the sons of Abraham as a gift.
Fifth, the Jews of Eretz Yisroel need to walk Daled Amot in The Land that G-D has given us.

I am sure that there are more steps, but these first five will get Klal Yisroel living in the right direction.

Hillel Levin, hillel.leib at gmail dot com
Came over from the old country November 2006, realizing a 31 year desire. In the old world, was a CPA, Executive Recruiter and Door-to-Door Home Security Systems Sales.
Currently Project Manager at Connections Israel, working with schools Chutz to adopt units of Tzahal and write letters and send gift baskets.
Living in Shiloh, home of the Mishkan for 369 yrs. He commutes to Yerushalyim daily.
Connecting with my brothers!
www.connectionsisrael.com
http://connectionsisrael.com/photos-movies/movies-in-action

It's Not That I Have Nothing To Say

I haven't been posting much recently. Baruch Hashem, I'm well, just busy. And I also have a feeling that I sound like a broken record, repeating and repeating much of the same.

I expanded my post on "illegal building" on my Arutz 7 Blog, The Eye of the Storm. There's different commentary and lots more pictures.

Recently, I've been wondering if I should try to replace my Erev Rosh Chodesh, Eve of the New Jewish Month, activity of going to Kever Rachel with something even more important. I think it's more important to establish the custom of dovening here in Shiloh, by the Tel, where Chana prayed.

Something else. While Ariel Sharon is somewhat preserved in his vegetative state, Fidel Castro is regaining his health and planning to run for office for the ?th time. Don't forget that according to the books, Cuba is a democracy. In Perkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, we're told that we must learn from everyone. And I think that Fidel Castro and The Mouse That Roared are the best teachers for us Israelis.

And, yes, I also have a "day job." My EFL teaching job does take time, for the preparations and traveling, tremping. And, Baruch Hashem, I have children and grandchildren, and we do have a social life.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Illegal Building

Take a good look at the pictures. You can see lots of construction.

illegal building
Nobody gives them permits. They don't apply for building permits. The Arabs just build whatever they want, wherever they want, however they want.

more illegal building
Only Jews are condemned for building homes and expanding those too crowded.

Is Birthright All That It's Cracked Up To Be?

Especially ever since my cousin's daughter was on a Birthright trip here, and we couldn't see her, since her "Jerusalem" base/hotel was in Shoresh, sort of like going to see New York City and staying in Great Neck or Woodmere, White Plains or even Livingston, NJ.

I know that some of the groups do stay in Jerusalem, when they're in Jerusalem, but I also understand that they're extremely limited to their bus and itinerary. They could be in one of those fancy media centers anyplace in the world, getting the sensations of Israel.

Does Anyone Care?

Israel just suffered its longest ever teachers strike, which closed many high schools for a couple of months. Teachers' salaries are extremely low. Considering that we teachers are expected to have university degrees, ironically, there's no way we can afford to send our own children to university. They have to work their way to cover tuition and expenses.

I presume that the university students, unable to study do to the ongoing, semester-long, strike of senior lecturers, are taking advantage of their time to earn money to cover their expenses. It looks like the semester is lost. Will the universities return all the money paid? It seems to me that nobody really cares.

Last week it was revealed, and not for the first time, that Peace Now is backed by foreigners, the same one who are working hard to establish an Arab Terror State in our Heartland. But the media is in cahoots, and all that they care about is stopping Jewish building in Jerusalem.

Show you care.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ramon Wants to Offer Us Compensation

You do remember who Chaim Ramon is, yes, that middle aged politician. He has also been mouthing enthusiastic offers to the Arabs to give them parts of Jerusalem and pre-1967 Israel. He talks of destroying my home.

So, if he wants to
compensate me as an apology and as part of Tshuva, repentance, and resignation, we can make a deal.

Our local synagogue has just voted to expand, since there isn't enough room. Seriously, I just got back from the meeting. So, all donations are accepted graciously. Thank you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Arm Yourself With Tissues


What a way to start the morning...

And that was after listening to a very special song last night when traveling to and from a wedding. The music, arrangement and words were so moving. My neighbor told us that it was by one of the Gush Katif refugees. I can't remember the entire name, but what I remember is Elro'i Va'anunu.

Then this morning, the first email I saw was from
Ya'aqov, who lives in nearby Tapuach.



...I would like to share one video with you which I found to be particularly poignant and personal, as it documents the history of the Tashnady Family, from the beginning to the end of their residency in Neve Deqalim in Azza. Actually, it is more of a montage to music, than a video.
I obtained this video from a one of the sons of the family,
Moshe, who was then a college student at the religious, science school Machon Lev. It was produced by his brother Pniel. I had the opportunity to meet the Tasnady brothers right after the Expulsion... complete post

If A picture is worth a thousand words, then this montage of photos set to music says more than all the articles and even blog posts published on Disengagement. So, I've said enough, just watch it, and don't froget the tissues!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

What's Good for the Goose...




I always get a kick out of these great moralists who would never take their own medicine. The latest is that Catholic, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman, who said:



"If there's a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against."

Is he dismantling the Vatican? One thing for sure is that he blames Israel and the Jews for everything and re-writes history by claiming that Christianity and Islam have equal footing with Judaism in the Holy Land. "Minor" historical facts, such as chronology and that his Jesus was actually Jewish, are conveniently ignored.


Another of my favorites is US President George Bush, who keeps lecturing and threatening Israel about how to react to terrorism. Israeli civilians are under a
constant barrage of Arab missiles and threats of destruction, but we're instructed to "turn the other cheek" and suffer, while Bush and his Condeleezza Rice keep shtupping the terrorists with more money.

The very existence of the United States has never been threatened, and as horrific as "
9-11" was, proportionally it wasn't as dangerous to that country's stability and public safety as the Arab terrorism we've been suffering from.

If there was moral honesty in this world, 9-11 would have made America more sympathetic to the plight of Israelis. Instead the opposite happened. We've been chastised for defending ourselves while the Americans killed thousands and thousands of innocent civilians who lived thousands of miles away from the United States. America and its allies took over Iraq by force, killing over two thousand civilians in order to give Saddam Hussein a fair trial.

I'm sure you can add further examples of moral hypocrisy.




Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I stand corrected!


Pat Condell talks about human rights in Europe, oh yes, and Islam.
But now, I received a comment by Witch-king of Angmar who said I wouldn't be so happy if I heard this, and he's right!
Thanks you for pointing it out to me.

Today's the 10th of Tevet

It's a fast day. That means I don't go to work. OK, that's the pragmatic, but Asarah B'Tevet is more than no English lessons in the afternoon. It's the only fast which doesn't have its date changed if it falls on a Friday. But that's technical, not spiritual. Yom Kippur can replace Shabbat, which no other fast can do.


'And it was in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnetzar, King of Babylon came, he and all his hosts, upon Yerushalayim, and he encamped upon it and built forts around it. And the city came under siege till the eleventh year of King Tzidkiyahu. On the ninth of the month famine was intense in the city, the people had no bread, and the city was breached.' (Second Melachim 25).

I wonder how people feel in Sderot about this. Last night on one of Israeli TV's political talk shows, "experts" were discussing how to "protect" Sderot. Their proposals made these (and read the comments, which really get into the swing of things) look so "normal" and non-fantasy-like.

There's a feeling of depression going on here in Israel. So much absurdity. Reality, history and facts are ignored. Politicians blithely propose giving our Land, pre and post Six Days War, to the Arabs as if they were playing with "gogo'im," the old Israeli toy, apricot pits, used for playing "jacks," for girls, and target practice for boys.

The Tenth of Tevet is also considered the Yartzeit, anniversary of a death, for Holocaust victims, whose actual date of death isn't known.

Please don't forget that I believe that we can still save our country. We can turn around all this horror, terror and absurdity. It's not going to be easy, but the first thing we must do is to recognize when our walls were breached.

I have no doubt that it was during Menachem Begin's rule as Prime Minister, when he decided that he was going to "make peace." His "peace offering" to Sadat was to give him the entire Sinai and destroy all Jewish communities there.

It doesn't matter that we haven't had an "all out" war with Egypt. The "peace" icy at best. It's not a true peace, simply because peace can't be bought for Land, like sang by the Beatles in Money Can't Buy Me Love.

I'll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright
I'll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright
'Cause I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

I'll give you all I got to give if you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give but what I got I'll give to you
I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

Can't buy me love, everybody tells me so
Can't buy me love, no no no, no

Say you don't need no diamond ring and I'll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can't buy
I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

Tzom Kal, Have an easy fast.

What's The Moral Thing To Do?

The New York Sun has an opinion article casting doubt on the loyalty of Israel's religious soldiers. I sent the following comment to it, but I'm not sure they'll post it, and if they do, there may be changes:
Why should soldiers be expected to blindly "obey orders?"
Post WWII the German soldiers were condemned for blindly obeying orders in their murder of innocents.
As the world sees in post-Disengagement, the Arabs use former Jewish towns to attack Israel with their kassam rockets. That is what they're planning if, G-d forbid, Jews are exiled from their homes in Judea and Samaria. That is the aim of those who want a 22nd Arab state.
The only sane and moral thing for the Israeli soldiers to do would be to refuse orders.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Surreal or Nightmare in the Making?

This very thoughtful op-ed in the New York Times about Belgium makes me think of the latest and most expensive invented nation. I'm referring to Condaleezza Rice's dream, which I refer to as Pseudistine, aka Hamastan or Fakistine, alternately spelled Phakistine.

Granted, Belgium is not a terror state, but its separate distinct societies have no joint history that predates its founding in 1830. Its government has been in limbo for over half a year; no coalition has been formed. The national personality is rather laid back and mellow, but otherwise their history is very similar to the Arabs in Eretz Yisrael.

The only People-Nation to have an independent, distinct country, in Eretz Yisrael was the Jews. We have kept our religion, history, culture etc alive for thousands of years. The Arabs living here today are descended from people who migrated from nearby lands after the Zionists began coming. All population research proves it. This was a total wasteland, empty, barren and poor. We Jews developed it, and therefore the Arabs began coming, and the British, who had invented Jordon by importing the Hashemites to be kings there, wanted to control the rest of the land and invented a "Palestinian" nation. Just like there never was a "Jordanian" nation, there never was a "Palestinian" one.

One of the reasons the Hashemites kept the Arab refugee camps full and didn't allow the residents to become part of Jordan was because they knew that those Arabs would bring violence and terror and topple them.

All the money in the world won't make those Arabs peaceful and democratic. Belgium may disintegrate from apathy, but the middle-east is make of more explosive materials.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Timna Tabernacle, Thanks JNF

This is by Ellen W. Horowitz

The Reversible, Customized, Missionized Timna Tabernacle, Thanks JNF


Some of you may have been to Park Timna in the Southern Arava. The project,
sponsored by Keren Kayemet (JNF), has quite a lot to offer. One of the featured attractions
- which appears on the Timna Park website -
is a guided tour of the reconstruction of the Tabernacle, where - for an additional cost- you can learn about the roots of the Israelites in the desert.
http://redseadesert.com/html/006timnafamilies.html

It seems that quite a few Torah observant Jews (including Yeshiva and school groups) as well as Bible-believing Christians have been there and done that.
It seems that more than a few secular Jews have been taken on a magical missionary tour off the beaten track.

One alert Israeli forwarded a complaint to Jerusalem Councilwoman Mina Fenton, after he brought his family to the exhibit and discovered that Christian missionaries were the official tour guides (he became suspect when a overly dressed and zealous female worker seemed to indicate that the model Tabernacle was an authentic holy structure).

And so I decided to investigate...

The model of the Tabernacle was designed in Germany by divinity school students per the specifications outlined in Exodus and Leviticus. The Europeans designers did not try to incorporate rabbinical interpretations.

"As a basic method to such questions, the right idea is to stay strict to the facts. Stick to what you know. All the other ideas and interpretations are fine, but it should be clear that they are
not from the original data." http://bcisrael.com/id13.html

It was purchased by representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention - in cooperation with Michael Lavie, a secular kibbutznik and the Director of the Timna National Park.

Herbby Geer, the Southern Baptist Convention representative who facilitated the Timna Tabernacle deal said, ³When Jews tour the tabernacle, it stimulates their interest and encourages them to go back to the Old Testament for more research and study. That¹s
very exciting for us because we believe that as people seek the Lord He¹ll reveal Himself to them.²... and Geer noted that ³there is a messianic movement [in Israel]... but it¹s still a very, very small percentage.²
http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/ip_template.asp?upid=3587

[Note: since that article was written in 2004 the Messianic Jewish population in Israel has more than doubled from 7000 adherents to more than 15,000]

Geer's feeling are echoed by a number of blogs written by Christian visitors, tour guides and Messianic Jewish volunteers who work at the site.
The following is a sample:

Our purpose for visiting Eilat for four weeks was to work on a nearby project
known as the Tabernacle. Out in the desert very near where the children of
Israel would have passed on their way out of Egypt, a full scale Tabernacle has
been set up for people to tour. When the Jewish people see the replica they tend
to identify with a part of their history and worship in a new way. We worked on
many maintenance projects around the Tabernacle and Josh even gave a few tours.
In Eilat, we also worked in cooperation with some missionaries and participated
in a very strong and active congregation of believers.
http://www.pvcplans.com/ISRAEL.HTM


In 2006, Herbby Geer and his wife Anne - the representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention- who brought the Tabernacle to Israel were denied visa renewals by the Ministry of Interior.
ISRAEL HAS DENIED RENEWAL OF BAPTIST VISAS
http://www.persecutionblog.com/2006/02/israel_has_deni.html
You can read more about the missionary intentions of the Baptist Convention at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/sept99/baptists09.htm
http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/AntiSemi/6741.htm

After reading a particularly Christian slant on the Tabernacle, which was fed to Israelis working at the Timna site - along with a copy of the New Testament and picture of Jesus - I gave the Timna Park office a call and spoke to the secretary Deborah.

I told her that I had heard rumors that the Tabernacle tours were being conducted by Messianic Jews. She asked me to hold for a minute ( a rather loud and lengthy exchange of words ensued before Deborah returned to the phone).

Deborah told me that the Tabernacle tours are conducted by Jews, but that they believe in Jesus. Per my request, she gave me the name of the organization and amuta in charge of the
Tabernacle, as well the phone number of one of the current Tabernacle tour guides.

She made it clear that Timna Park is under the auspices of Keren Kayemet (JNF), but the Tabernacle display is a private endeavor and costs an additional NIS 15/person to enter - on top of the park entry fee.

I then called the Tabernacle tour guide - who made it clear that Park Timna officials make the arrangements for all Tabernacle tours (you follow me?) She told me that the Tabernacle display was built by a European Christian Bible School and then sold to the group which currently runs the operation. She told me that Messianic Jews, Southern Baptists and other non-Jews are
involved in the administration (she said that she herself is not Jewish). She told me that she gives Jewish groups a lecture straight from Sefer Shmot, and that she gives Christian groups a spin according to their beliefs.

This customized approach to Jewish history is backed up by the Israir Airlines site...
A fairly new feature at Timna Park is a re-creation of the Old Testament Tabernacle that the Children of Israel carried during their 40-year sojourn in the desert, after having departed from Egypt. Built by a group of German theology students to the original measurements as they appear in the Book of Exodus, the Tabernacle, located adjacent to Solomon¹s Pillars, is an
attraction for both Christian and Jewish groups and individuals, with tours and explanations adapted to the beliefs and cultural contexts of the specific visitors.
http://www.israirairlines.com/guide.asp?id=265&menu_id=246

But I wonder what happens when a mixed group of Jews and Christians shows up...
Strange place that Timna Park...
MYSTERIOUS RELIGIOUS CEREMONY AT SOLOMON¹S PILLARS
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3454241,00.html

Note: JNF (The Jewish National Fund) and the Israel Antiquities Authority are actively meeting with Evangelical leaders to launch a number of Biblical theme Park projects throughout Israel.

Arabs Buying Into Jewish Neighborhoods

While the world cheers plans to destroy Jewish communities in our Biblical Homeland and prevent the building of Jewish neighborhoods, Arab 'Legal Intifada' in Pre-1967 Lines Continues Apace.

Only
Jews are restricted. Arabs go to Israeli Courts to get approval, although the same courts find nothing wrong with trampling on Jewish rights.

Arabs are building and building, and not only doesn't anyone object, they're getting
support from all over the world. hat tip IMRA I must go on another photography trek to photograph all the gorgeous mansions going up in the Arab areas here.


This picture was taken on the road from Beit El, near Ramallah, the area the Saudis have targeted for their buildings.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

In Situ

There was a time when new trailers were just trucked in, fully constructed and ready for residents. Now things have changed in Judea & Samaria. It's "illegal" to bring homes, so they're constructed in situ.


There's a very serious housing shortage for Jews in Judea and Samaria. Many families want to move here for various reasons, some ideology and some quality of life and some a combination plus. The Arabs build wherever and whatever they want, but Jews are restricted. So instead of the gorgeous mansions the Arabs have, we have these little tinker toy homes sprouting up in the bushes.

The Vatican is Still At It!

Israel recognizes the Vatican and other churches as owners of a shocking amount of prime real estate in Jerusalem. But this isn't enough for the Vatican. They've been trying to get Mount Zion, too. Unfortunately, Olmert has been trying to make a deal.


Negotiations on the Fundamental Agreement between Israel and the Holy See continue


13 Dec 2007
A Plenary meeting was held at the Ministry in Jerusalem to advance negotiations on economic arrangements between the State of Israel and the Holy See

Joint Communiqué

The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the State of Israel and the Holy See has held a Plenary meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel today, Thursday, 13 December 2007, for the purpose of advancing the negotiations pursuant to Article 10 §2 of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel (30 Dec.1993).

The Delegation of the State of Israel was led by Mr. Aaron Abramovich, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was composed, in addition, of the following Members:

Mr. Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, Head of World Jewish Affairs & Interreligious Affairs Department, MFA
Mr. Oded Ben-Hur, Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Holy See
Mr. Ehud Keinan, Legal Adviser, MFA
Mr. Oded Brook, Official of the Ministry of Finance
Mr. Moshe Golan, the State Attorney's Office
Mr. Bahij Mansour, Director of Religious Affairs Department, MFA
Mr. Ronen Gil-Or, Adv., Director of General Law Department, MFA
Mr. Eliav Benjamin, Director General's Bureau, MFA
Ms. Yael Weiner, Ministry of Justice
Ms. Leah Antebe, Ministry of the Interior
The Delegation of the Holy See was led by Monsignor Pietro Parolin, Undersecretary for Relations with States at the Secretariat of State, and was composed, in addition, of the following Members:

HE Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, Secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches
HE Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio in Israel
HE Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Auxiliary Bishop
Msgr. Franco Coppola, Official of the Secretariat of State
Msgr. Anani Nicodème Barrigah-Benissan, Counselor of the Apostolic Nunciature
Msgr. Paolo Borgia, First Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature
Archimandrite Maher Aboud
Father Pierre Grech, Secretary General of the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries
Father Dobromir Jasztal, OFM
Father David-Maria A. Jaeger, OFM, Legal Adviser
Mr. Henry Amoroso, Second Legal Adviser
Father Giovanni Caputa, sdb, Secretary
The delegations met in an atmosphere of cordiality, mutual understanding and good will, received with satisfaction the progress reported from the working level, and gave guidelines for the continuation of its work. Among other things, it was agreed to resume the activity of the Working Group on Individual Properties.

The two delegations expressed their determination to accelerate their work in order to achieve further advances in the coming months and to conclude the Agreement as soon as possible.

It was agreed to hold the next Plenary meeting in May 2008, at the Vatican.

That's the Least of It

hat tip IMRA

I'd estimate that this is a gross under-estimate:
Study: Delay in resettling Gaza evacuees cost state $1 billion

It doesn't take into account welfare, extra health costs and more. Don't forget the rebuilding and replacement of schools, clinics and more.

A productive population has become dependent on the government. That adds to the budget. Some people will never be able to put their lives back in order, and this can affect the younger generation. Housing the refugees in ghettos (refugee camps) also raises the statistics for welfare, etc.

On the whole, Gush Katif wasn't a wealthy place, but it developed means to help each other. This very delicate balance was destroyed and cannot be duplicated. So far the government has shown no intention to invest in suitable rehabilitation for those who had their homes, communities etc destroyed by the government.

It all, so ironically, reminds me of the Arab refugees, supported by the UN and other anti-Israel organizations, for 60 years in their camps, just to make Israel look bad. Those Arabs fled voluntarily, because their leaders told them that they'd be returning soon to victory.