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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Parshat Trumah: Are You Sure About That Tree?

Here are pictures I took of the עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים acacia-wood during my recent trip to Eilat.


Exodus XXVI
י וְעָשׂוּ אֲרוֹן, עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים: אַמָּתַיִם וָחֵצִי אָרְכּוֹ, וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי רָחְבּוֹ, וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי, קֹמָתוֹ. 10 And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.


The tour guide pointed this out to us. This is the tree which in Hebrew has the name used in the Bible for those large planks of wood needed to build the Mishkan, Tabernacle.

עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים acacia trees are thin desert trees.

Out of Israel, the translation is of ceder trees, which are massive enough to construct large planks, but the Bible is in Hebrew, and that's the tree...

I'm no botany expert. Does anybody know more?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Good Jews Have Been Had



Many people voted for Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu, Israel is Our Home party, because they perceived it as Right Wing anti- Pseudistinian State.

Lieberman was saying all the right things. They refused to believe anti-Lieberman hasbara, information like this youtube. Sorry, it's in Hebrew, but the graphics make it pretty clear. Basically, it says that if you vote Lieberman, you'll get various extreme Leftist politicians instead. The pictures make it very clear to understand the gist of it.



But now Lieberman is letting the truth out. He's probably to the Left of Bibi in more ways than one. Don't let his Judean Mountains address fool you.

Israel Beiteinu head supports 'creation of Palestinian state'

Yes, that's what we've been trying to tell you, but the elections are now over, and he got all those votes. Avigdor Lieberman ran a great campaign. Many of those votes should have gone to the National Union or Likud, if the voters hadn't been so naive as to fall for the slogans of the slickest and most charismatic politician in Israel today. True, Olmert is slicker and more "professional," but he's not charismatic.

All that's left for us is to pray that G-d, in his mercy and love for his People, will give wisdom to our leaders...

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You Have A Peaceful & Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Crew-Cut For The Vines

Here in Shiloh, Bible Land--Where It All Happened--a good portion of the flora is Biblical. Even in my pathetic garden I have an amazingly large olive tree and grape vines.

The olive tree doesn't demand much care. It was planted about twenty-seven years ago, even before we chose the land for our house.

But our grape vines are a bit more recent. They were probably planted about twenty years ago. The vines are supposed to be pruned every winter, while they look dark and dead.

I presume there's an art to it, but I try not to ask too many questions. It's not the type of job I can take over, and I don't want my gardener to up and leave.

When the work is done, when it's shorn of all the unnecessary branches, it does look like it has had a crew-cut.


I'll bli neder have to post about it throughout the spring and summer. Soon the first leaves will appear and then "miniature" clusters of grapes. It takes a couple of months after that for there to be any edible grapes and even longer for them to really sweeten.

Last year, for the first time ever, we had the most delicious grapes I have ever eaten in my life. For a couple of months we and neighbors enjoyed the most impressive supply imaginable.

Now most of the trees are still in their winter modes, like the grape vines. One of the others is the willow, which is used as one of the four species during the Succot holiday. There's much symbolism in the willow. Some say that the willow is like the Jewish People. In the winter it looks dead. And sometimes in our long, long history, it has looked like we, the Jewish People, were finished. But just like the willow tree comes back to life in the summer, massively full of leaves by the Succot fall Holiday, we the Jewish People also have renewed strength.

I guess you can say that about the grape vines, too. I'd say that the grape vines are even more like the Jewish People, because after we appear dead, cut down, shrunken, life returns to us. Not only does the grape vine in summer look impressive; the leaves can be eaten as food before the grapes are sweet and ripe. Extra grapes can be dried for future food. It's certainly a more valuable plant than a willow tree. And we the Jewish People really are more like the grape vine... in so many ways.

The Right to Smash Idols

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz for JewishIsrael

"Do not bow down to their gods and do not serve them. Do not follow their practices. You must tear them down and you must utterly shatter their monuments." (Parashat Mishpatim 23:24)

The above was from last week’s Torah portion. G-d with His infinite sense of humor handed that one down to a people who don’t have much of a hankering for violently pulverizing pagan ideas, altars and places of worship.

How does one reduce idols to mere dust in a civil society, in a modern Jewish state?

Ideally, we Jews should counter idolatry by using our intellect to enable compassionate and just laws which are both considerate of human dignity and in keeping with Jewish tradition. But with Western democracies cramming the mantras of tolerance, political correctness, and freedom of religious expression down our Israeli gullets, we sometimes find ourselves preserving and protecting that which we were commanded to uproot. What’s a Jew to do?

Well, there’s always humor… and it’s been a funny week.

Headlines reported that the results of a survey on Israeli attitudes toward Christianity indicate a sharp division between religious and secular Jews on topics ranging from missionary activity, to accepting funds from evangelical sources, to visiting churches. Despite the sharp divide, both secular and religious Israelis did find some common ground, as only 50% of Israeli Jews agreed that Jerusalem was central to the Christian faith; and 75% believe the state should not allow Christian groups to buy land to build new churches in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile secular Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit of Kadima saw fit to set up a special committee to discuss amending Israel's Law of Return. Sheetrit feels the law has been abused by non-Jews with no connection to Judaism as a way to obtain Israeli citizenship. "In a few years Israel will no longer be the state of the Jews, and I do not want that," Sheetrit said.

But by far the most bizarre interfaith clash of this past week was over a skit, broadcast on Israeli Channel 10, which the Vatican claimed had "ridiculed -- with blasphemous words and images -- the Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary."

C’mon Mr. Pope, Lior Shlein is just a secular Jewish entertainer - it’s not like he is one of your devout and disciplined Catholic bishops. Israel should be the place where Jews can express themselves fully as Jews; and a late night Hebrew program televised on a private channel in Israel should surely be a safe haven for satirists - and out of the sights and clutches of the “Holy See”.

A virgin birthing a deity who can walk on water is – for the Jew – absurd to the point of being hysterically funny. For the Jew, there is simply nothing reverent about it.

Besides, satire by nature is irreverent, and it’s a given that unconventional artists and entertainers are prone to going over-the-top and dabbling in the tactless, tasteless and insulting. Monty Python, Mel Brooks and Mr. Bean have all pushed the religious humor envelope to the outer limits. Alternatively, politically conservative comedienne Jackie Mason took his rants in defense of Christmas, Christianity and Mel Gibson to the brink, too ( but drew the line in the form of a law suit when Jews for Jesus put out a broadside entitled: "Jackie Mason… A Jew for Jesus?!)

Were Shlein’s antics heresy? Were they tanamount to “denying Christianity” as Palestinian-Arab-Catholic and Israeli Arab newspaper CEO, Zohir Andreus, claims? Well, Mr. Andreus, we have a dilemma because to acknowledge Christian belief is to deny Judaism.

What is sacred for the devout Christian is oft-times blasphemous for the Jew. Even the currently in-vogue fascination many Christians are having with “messianic hebraic roots” movements and Jewish rituals cannot mask, nor bridge, the very fundamental differences between faiths.

If we adhere to the philosophy of the late and very great Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, then it seems the secular Mr. Shlein did us all a favor with his “blasphemy”. Rav Kook found a holy spark in Jewish heretics and atheists. In their denial of a Creator, they refuse to ascribe form to G-d or define His attributes and character in limited human terms. The heretic does not fall into the trap of creating a false image. This attitude intellectually and spiritually challenges the religious community and compels it to strive for a more profound knowledge and perception of G-d. The Pope should thank Lior Shlein for expanding his horizons, and for giving him the opportunity to grow beyond the confines and imagery of the Sistine Chapel.

We have to remember that it was the patriarch Abraham who, according to Jewish (and Islamic) tradition used common sense and a sense of humor when, as a young boy, he smashed all of his father’s idols except for one, and when asked what transpired replied, “The idols all got into a fight and the biggest idol won." At the time, little Avram must have appeared as a very disrespectful and rebellious blasphemer.

They just don’t make Jewish leaders like they used to. I bristled as Ehud Olmert submitted to Vatican demands and confessed and repented with a public apology, It is so in character for our outgoing Prime Minister to take his final bow facing Rome.

These are dark times and disputes with the Vatican and other Christian denominations over property rights, rights to proselytize, and the right to freedom of Christian expression, appear to be on the increase. Christian influence is growing in Israel exponentially and we Jews had better find our voice and assert our rights to laugh, legislate, smash idols, and bloodlessly slaughter sacred cows.


Holocaust Proof vs the Catholic Bishop


I don't think that this CBS "Sixty Minutes" TV program is very recent, but comparing it to Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson, who was just expelled from Argentina for claiming that there was no Holocaust:
"Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders from the devil and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism."
He was quoted as asserting that "the Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new state of Israel."
The pope had ignored this when trying to "make peace" with extreme factions in his church.
Read: Revisiting The Horrors Of The Holocaust for more details. Whether this TV program is really recent, or not, it's worth watching.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Connected- Kever Rachel and Tel Shiloh

Firstly, Chodesh Tov, May the Month of Adar bring us all joy, true goodness, and may all the bad, all the evil be reversed...

On Monday the Eve of Rosh Chodesh Adar, I traveled to Kever Rachel, which I do quite often. Though recently, I've lamented the fact that Shiloh, Holy Shiloh where one can still scent the fragrant Ketoret, hasn't attracted anything near the visitors who loyally visit Rachel's Tomb.


Last week I got a call from
Evelyn Haies the tireless worker for Kever Rachel, Rachel's Children Reclamation Foundation and the Bnei Rachel Simcha Center at Rachel's Tomb.

So this time I was able to see what she has accomplished. And how she managed to get two young women to help her out.



Then I went in and saw the beautiful place.

Evelyn requested that I bring pictures and more about Shiloh, and I hung them up.


There's even a synagogue, so there can be prayers for Kohanim who are forbidden to enter tombs. The building is also used for celebrations.


I hope for more opportunities to go there.
And today was our monthly Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh. I had been wrroried that I wouldn't make it, because I had been sick, so I made a few phone calls and found someone who was going down by car.
Adar is the most beautiful time in Israel. The wild flowers bloom.


Even a drought year like this one is green. When you're at Tel Shiloh, the spirit is so different from Kever Rachel. Here's we're part of nature, part of G-d.



One of my neighbors told us a short Dvar Torah, that the Ketoret, the fragrant incense used in the Mishkan, Tabernacle prayers was the last thing man had to produce for G-d. It's made up of many herbs, some sweet and some sharp. Just like the Jewish people ציבור Tzibbur congregation-community, צ- Tzaddikim righteous, ב beinoniim ordinary people, in between, ר rashaiim evil people.

I then pointed out that the Ketoret is not restricted. Like G-d it's every place. We feel its presence in Shiloh. We're not walled in.



G-d willing, we'll be back for Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Thursday March 26, 9:30am.


Of course one can go to Tel Shiloh any time, not just Rosh Chodesh. For more information, contact the Tel Shiloh Tourist Office 02-994-4019 or telshilo@gmail.com

We All Knew That

UNRWA providing political cover for Hamas, Israeli official says
Agency blasted for passing a Hamas letter to US Sen. John Kerry; UNRWA denies the allegations: "We are not supporting one side over the other."


All of a sudden Israel is making a fuss over something that has been going on for decades. Why now?


Does this herald a change? Or is the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs trying to get ready for Bibi Netanyahu?


The odds are that it's just a momentary aberration, and soon Israel will be back to its usual.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When Was the Last Time Moetzet YESHA Established a New Jewish Community?

I'm too weak right now for a full post, but this short news item about the NRP and Moetzet YESHA had me chuckling.

Jewish Home Meets with Yesha Council

Reported: 12:25 PM - Feb/24/09

(IsraelNN.com) As part of its role in any future government, the Jewish Home party says it is committed to promoting Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Party representatives met with the heads of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) Council on Monday to discuss the issue.

At the meeting, leaders of the Jewish Home party and the council agreed upon some of the demands the national-religious party will make in coalition talks with Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu. Among them will be protecting natural growth and development in Jewish towns and cities in Judea and Samaria, which is threatened by both international and internal political pressure. The Jewish Home and Yesha Council reached a detailed agreement on the matter, which is meant to guide the party in its negotiations with the Likud party.

Click here for the full story



What do you think?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Netanyahu, the Voters are against False Unity

The following is my translation of a Hebrew op-ed piece which appeared today on Yoav Yitzchak’s News1 website. It was written by Guri Grossman, a self-described “publicist.”

(Take advantage of the historical opportunity given to you, and grasp the reins of government with courage. The false coupling that the media tries to coerce you with, is a trap. Don’t give in to the brainwashing and the Left-wing campaign, which tries to threaten us with pressure from Obama…)
▪ ▪ ▪
Binyamin Netanyahu, the people gave you 65 precious mandates, enabling you to establish a solid nationalist government, with which you'll enjoy a most solid Knesset bloc. The Jewish electorate gave only 44 mandates for continuing the failed policy of the Kadima Government.

Set the Kadima horses free
Take advantage of the historic opportunity given to you, grasp the reins of power with courage, and don’t saddle yourself with the failed agenda of Kadima. Avoid placing a millstone around your neck, under the slogan of a "unity government." Unity such as this is not all it appears to be: it will be a false unity, which will not allow you to keep your promises to the voters. The voters have not asked you to join Tzipi Livni. To join hands with them will bring you paralyzed knees and trembling legs. Didn’t you say, "It’s beyond her!" and the voters believed you?
This false coupling that the media is trying to coerce you with, will lead you to a trap: the division of Jerusalem, and withdrawal from the Golan Heights. They will try to force you to continue the Oslo policy, and continue the distorted policies of uprooting communities and deportation of Jews from their homes. These policies ignite terrorism and increase the range of rockets.
Israelis expressed unequivocal no-confidence in the failed policies of the Kadima government; therefore, G-d forbid you should hitch this wretched party to your wagon.

Voters’ disgust
Israeli citizens are disgusted with the weak policy of the government which worships the golden calf known as the "peace process." This bloody and miserable process has so far yielded no less than three wars: the Intifada War, the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead.
The voters said a clear "No!" to the policy of restraint. The end of the Operation Cast Lead yielded unripe fruits: Gilad Shalit is still rotting in captivity, weaponry is still smuggled through the Rafiach tunnels, Hamas leaders continue to spit in our face, Israel is accused of war crimes, anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world, Kassams and mortars continue to explode in the western Negev.

With a strong hand, and an outstretched arm
Binyamin Netanyahu, don’t bend to the brainwashing and the Left-wing campaign, with their threats of pressure from President Barack Obama. The hypocrisy of those support more withdrawals is quite objectionable. Who, if not the government of restraint, was it that caused the expulsion of the Ambassador to Venezuela, upset relations with Turkey's government, had our IDF officers accused of war crimes, and, because of political zigzagging, damaged our relations with Egypt?
Binyamin Netanyahu, do not fear, you have an excellent candidates to choose from, which no other parties have. Form your government as quickly as possible: appoint Boogie Ya'alon as Defense Minister; Minister of Foreign Affairs - Silvan Shalom; Benny Begin, Minister of Education; Minister of Justice - Gideon Saar; Gilad Erdan, Minister of Transport; and Yuval Steinitz as Minister of Internal Security. Ruby Rivlin would be happy to go back to the position he so successfully held, as Chairman of the Knesset. The rest of the portfolios, give to your partners in the national coalition, you may even be able to whittle down the number of posts.

Rise and succeed, your success is our success...

***

As an interesting PS, the following is a translated excerpt from another piece which appeared today on the Hebrew website, b’Chadrei Chareidim, which is thought-provoking:

The Wondrous Paradox of Kadima
And here I raise the paradox that for so many years I could not solve: How the Israeli Left has the ability to live this contradiction - on the one hand, to be prepared to make concessions, compromise, talk, negotiate, provide a state, territories, withdrawals, donations, gestures and what not, for the benefit of the Palestinians; while on the other hand, the same mouth, the same woman, reveals stubbornness, coldness and lack of desire to talk, compromise, make a gesture and cooperate with her brothers on the Right.
He who resolves the paradox – wins a spin.

"How do you report ballot stuffing?"

I thought the driver was going to lose control of the car. A voice from the backseat had piped up with the question. It was a big, crowded van, and I couldn't even see who was talking.

Apparently, someone who had taken the call of Likud to supervise voting stations in Arab towns was troubled by the experience.

There was obvious cheating by people with "non-standard" and multiple Identity Cards. The person talking was even offered a "tit for tat."

"Let's go 50-50, your party and mine."

The organizers of this operation didn't think it through. It ended up being more a smokescreen to protect the cheating. Only one person was sent to each location, and most of the police were Arabs. It was made clear that "cooperation" was pikuach nefesh, life preserving. Even worse, there was no post-election debriefing. A debriefing should have enabled the workers to report violations and help with all the bureaucracy and subsequent follow-up.

For me this was deja vu, having heard a similar story about the previous Israeli Elections.

People should be suspicious about the results of the polls in the Arab towns and cities. During Election Day the media kept reporting the quiet, how few people were seen going into vote. But when the results were counted, the percentage was surprisingly high. The media can't imagine why. Can you?

America Beware: Your New Neighbors

One of the first things your new President, Barack Obama, did was to make it easier for refugees to enter the United States. That's refugees from the Middle East, to be more specific, from Gaza, and they're not referring to the DP's from Gush Katif.


Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related To Gaza
Memorandum for the Secretary of State

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (the ``Act''), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2601), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Act, that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

(Presidential Sig.)
THE WHITE HOUSE,Washington, January 27, 2009

Maybe Israelis should be happy that it's getting harder to get visas to the states. I feel safer in Israel.

Hat tip: SLS

Will We All Pay For U.S. Naivete?

Craig Karpel wrote another of his factual and hard-hitting articles in which he points out how America's movers and shakers are oblivious to the true dangers Iran's nuclear development.

Iran’s satellite launch earlier this month should have been a wake-up call. Instead, the West has reached over and hit the snooze button.

Swift, vigorous measures need to be taken to deal with the new reality that Iranians, who could possess a nuclear weapon by the end of next year, have demonstrated that their Safir 2 rocket, which was used as the launch vehicle, is able to deliver a warhead to southern Europe....

It's the same "not us" mentality that controls the world's attitude towards the Arab terrorists, Hamas=Fatah, which attack Israel and Jews. "The world" thinks that if they let them attack us, then the terrorist appetites will be satiated, and the rest of the world will be safe.


That's a fatal delusion. The terrorist mentality isn't like the modern diet:

"If you have a small bite of something sweet, before you're craving sweets, it will prevent your eating high calorie foods."

"Never let yourself get hungry."


That's why the keep telling Israel to "turn the other cheek."


"If you ignore the terrorists, they'll lose interest and stop attacking you."



Yeah, sure. If you believe that you also believe that better booze and cookies left for Santa will guarantee you better presents.

Of course, actions prove that many Americans don't take the same medicine they're prescribing for Israel. That's why Bush attacked Iraq.

Rather hypocritical... Yes, but that's another story....

Continue to Pray For Moshe Avitan (Moshe Rafael ben Aliza A'isha)

Here's the letter I received from Moshe's mother-in-law, but because of Internet problems, I'm only posting it now.

Moshe and his wife Sarah were shot at by Arab terrorists over a month a go. Moshe was very seriously wounded in the head. He has made a miraculous recovery, but as you'll read in Ruth's letter, there are still very crucial and difficult problems.



Dear Relatives and Friends,

Well, Moshe's long-awaited appointment with the eye doctor took place yesterday. The verdict is that there is scarring on the retina and the macula in both eyes. As I understand it, the vision in the left eye may improve slightly when the hemorrhaging there clears. This may require an operation. Moshe has another appointment in a month to get another evaluation. The doctors say that at the moment there is nothing that can be done to improve Moshe's vision. However, there are new advances being made all the time and it may be that something can be done in the future. In the meantime, we need to keep praying!!

Moshe sounds to be in good spirits and is trying to keep occupied in between doctors' appointments and therapy sessions.

I'll try to keep you all posted if there is anything new to report.

Have a Shabbat Shalom (a good and peaceful Sabbath),

Ruth

Refuah Shleimah, A full and speedy recovery, to Moshe Rafael ben Aliza A'isha.

If The "Best Defense Is Offense," Where Are We?

IMRA reports that this poster was banned by the University of Ottawa. Very nice, but what are we doing to promote the true situation here in Israel?

At the recent Jerusalem Conference I attended a session which showed us how sophisticated and professionally the Arabs are using the media to promote their lies. We just don't rate in comparison.

I'm just a blogger. I'm not a graphic artist. I'm an amateur in the media world. Our hasbara, information campaign must be moved up a hundred notches.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Test!

Maybe I should have written in plural, since simultaneously there are more than one test.

The big one, no they're both big, so I'll start again:

Both Tsippi and Bibi are being tested now. It's rather funny that both of them have such child-like names. Neither has a name which inspires confidence.

Bibi has the difficult job of forming a government coalition and then an even more difficult job trying to keep it united for a full Knesset term.

Tsippi's job is to turn her defeat into victory. There are two ways, but both require that she admits defeat. Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post wrote an excellent piece of advice for her. She should use Al Gore as her model. He made peace with his "technical defeat" and is more respected now that he's not in politics. Or Tsippi can take Bibi's offer to join the government and be a mature loyal member, not some Trojan Horse.

As the cliche goes... time will tell.

Shavua Tov
Have a Wonderful Week

Friday, February 20, 2009

Does This Make You Feel Better?


Honestly, I don't. I don't want Bibi as Centrist. I don't want Left nor Center as Israeli Prime Minister.

I don't want the incompetent opportunists in Kadima either.

I wish that the National Union had gotten lots more seats, so that Bibi would really need them. As is Moledet's Uri Bank just missed getting in. Ketzeleh campaigned well, but will he be effective as an MK?

Ketzeleh signed an agreement that if he's a minister he'd resign from the Knesset to give Bank the seat. That would be great, because it would increase the power of Ichud Le'umi.

It's minutes to Shabbat.

We must pray for rain.
And we also must pray that G-d will gift our political leaders with wisdom.

The "Perils of Screenwriting"


By chance I got hooked on Seraphic Secret's ongoing series about his research for a prison movie, a women's prison.
It's beautifully written, but the material is frightening. The women are powerful con artists. He's always wondering how much truth is in their stories, or are they just playing him as a fool.
There are haunting similarities to politicians. The best are great actors. We never really know how seriously to take their words....
Shabbat Shalom

The Slow Wheels of Justice

It seems like "a million years ago..."

Pre-Disengagement, Nadia Matar felt taken back in time when she read the official letter by Yonatan Bassi to the families of Gush Katif. It so profoundly echoed letters Jews in Nazi Germany had received before losing their homes.

Nadia, who established WIG Women in Green with her mother-in-law Ruth, wrote about her feelings of deja vu.

Ever since, she has been embroiled in a court case for "insulting a public official."

The Israeli establishment is extremely selective in how it permits Nazi and Holocaust symbols and examples and comparisons to be used. There are some very general rules:

  • The Left may use them against the Right or religious Jews
  • The Right and religious are forbidden to see comparisons
  • Pro-Land of Israel Jews can't use Nazi symbols

When the Jews of Gush Katif put stars on their clothes reminiscent of what Jews in Nazi Germany had to wear, the official "survivor" groups were horrified, even though some of the Gush Katif Jews were themselves "survivors."

Many of those who were forced out of their homes in Gush Katif find the term "DP," Displaced Person, the most accurate for their status, but again, since it was used by survivors post WWII, there are protests.

It's three and a half years since Disengagement, and the case against Nadia is still going on, in fits and starts. There was a hearing this week; I'll post the report at the end. And the next one won't be until mid-June.

The "caravillas," those cardboard houses so quickly assembled for the Disengagement DP's are rapidly disintegrating. I wonder what will take longer, the trial or the life of those "structures."



Press Release

Summation of the Magistrates' Court session
State of Israel v. Nadia Matar, who is charged with "insulting a public servant"
(Yonatan Bassi),today, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

before Justice Mintz
criminal proceedings 001470/06

present: Adv. Yoram Sheftel, representing the defendant, and the defendant herself
Adv. Erez Padan, representing the prosecution

This morning Nadia Matar admitted to the facts of the charge sheet, without admitting guilt.
(i.e. Nadia admitted she wrote the letter to Yonatan Bassi)

In order to prove her innocence, the defense attorney Adv. Yoram Sheftel stated his desire to examine Yonatan Bassi, in order to prove from Bassi's answers under cross-examination that the charge sheet should be canceled "on the grounds of justice."

The prosecuting attorney Adv. Erez Padan asked the Court to convict Nadia Matar , based on her admission to the facts in the charge sheet. The court rejected his request, in light of the defense attorney's statement of his intent to examine Yonatan Bassi.

Adv. Yoram Sheftel further stated that, as part of the defense, he intends to call Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to deliver testimony in court, along with former State Attorney Eren Shender, who, too, will be asked to testify in court.

The Court rejected the prosecutor's request to immediately convict Nadia Matar , and ordered Yonatan Bassi to present himself to give testimony in the Court in its next session, on June 16, 2009, at 1 p.m.
For details please call Attn Yoram Sheftel at 03-7515001

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dust, Not Rain

They sure didn't have weather like this where I was growing up on Long Island, New York.

The sky has been a heavy yellow. Doctors are warning people with lung conditions and other weaknesses to stay indoors, and keeping the windows closed. Visibility is so bad that
air travel is dangerous.

Even though the meteorologists are predicting rain, the clouds aren't moist. There's no humidity. My sheets dried very quickly. The rest of the laundry is hanging in the house, not very attractive but it helps me to justify having the heat on all day.

This isn't our usual dust storm. Usually, dust storms are after Passover, not before Purim.

These almond trees are very pretty, filled with pale pink flowers, but the flowers are a little earlier than usual.

I was totally shocked to see our little almond tree, the Purim one, flowering a full month earlier than expected. It's always the very last almond tree to flower. Generally, it blooms on Purim, and that's in over two weeks.

This year we've had only a very small fraction of what's considered "average rainfall." It's astonishing that the trees are blooming at all.

There's no call for water conservation. The news is just of coalition politics. How many "tikkim," cabinet portfolios will the Likud's Bibi Netanyahu give to those willing to join his government? Even the media has admitted that Tsippi Livni's 28 MK's may be more than Bibi's 27, but he has additional support, and she doesn't.

The biggest "water" news to make the media is the fact that Israel's mineral water is now contaminated. The Israeli Marie Antoinette will just order her water from Turkey, Poland or France.

There is only one thing which can reverse our water shortage, and that would be if Israel stopped toying around with supporting an Arab terror state in its heartland. No country gives away its land, so why should we?

We must make it clear that everyone must obey the law. Terrorist aren't to be freed for anything or any one.

We must stop apologizing for defending ourselves. For every kassam, we must bomb three buildings in the area from which they were launched. If the terrorists don't get the message, then we bomb five buildings. The United States didn't apologize for killing thousands when they bombed Iraq.

As soon as we make it clear that we don't care what any other country thinks, they'll stop harping and condemning.

We are the only ones who can defend us. We must not rely on anyone else, no UN, no US, no Europe!

Yisrael, Batach B'Hashem

Israel, Trust in G-d

That's the slogan on American money:

"In G-d We Trust"

Don't trust America! Trust G-d!

Dry Bones Celebrates "Lamed Vav"

Too bad I didn't see this last night when I posted what Barry Silverberg wrote about the recent Israeli Elections. It's the perfect illustration.

מזל טוב Mazal Tov to Dry Bones on thirty-six years of being the best political cartoonist in Israel!

Now For The Really Dirty Part

The voting was the easy part. In Israel's Election system, we vote for Knesset, parliament, Members but not Prime Minister, not the executive. The elected MK's then, post-election, wheel and deal to form a government. That's when the fun begins. It's fun for them I guess, since the big prizes go to those in the cabinet, the coalition.
Shimon Peres, as President, now has the power to decide who gets first crack officially.

But unofficially, the negotiations have been going on since before we even chose our ballot, put it in the envelope and placed it in the box.

There are 120 MK's Members of Knesset, and no party gets the necessary majority of 61 plus. There are just too many political parties.

Kadima keeps screaming that it "won," but with only one seat more than Likud, and neither of them getting even a quarter of the seats, they sound like bratty little kids squabbling in the playground.

The Likud's Bibi Netanyahu has been working hard to keep up good relations with the former Likud members who are now in Kadima.
There were no surprises on Wednesday night at Beit Hanassi, other than the fact that Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi, in a break with accepted practice, stayed behind after other members of the faction left the grounds to make way for the Likud.
Hanegbi lingered as a symbolic one-man welcoming committee for former colleagues Gideon Sa'ar, Silvan Shalom, Yuval Steinitz and Dan Meridor, as if to convey the impression that Kadima had already been awarded the mandate to form the next government.

Could this forebode a major change? Hanegbi is one of the most, if not the most, powerful wheeler dealers in Kadima.

Avigdor Lieberman has returned from his vacation to discover that the Likud can probably put together a coalition without him.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

THE KNESSET LESSON by Barry Silverberg

THE KNESSET LESSON

a comic piece
in the tradition of ‘theatre of the absurd’

Teacher: Good morning. Your parents. . . invited me today. . . to give you a private lesson in Israeli . . . citizenship.
Pupil: Yeah, we made Aliah from Vancouver last month and I ‘m missing a lot of material in Ezrahoot, though I did try to follow the news before we came.
Teacher: Not to worry. Today we’ll talk about, ‘how the Israeli electoral system works.”
Pupil: That’s great. I’m really confused by what I read in the papers and blogs.
Teacher: Let’s start with the results of last week’s . . . elections.
Pupil: OK. Who got the most votes?
Teacher: Tsippi Livni, head of the Kadima (=forward) party, with 28 seats.
Pupil: So Ms. Livni won, right?
Teacher: No, she lost. It doesn’t look like she’ll be able to get enough partners to form a majority government.
Pupil: What about Bibi Netanyahu?
Teacher: He got 27 seats. As the leader of the right, he may form a coalition of 65 right wing party seats.
Pupil: Then he won, I guess.
Teacher: No, Avigdor Lieberman (Israel is Our Home) won.
Pupil: How many seats did he get?
Teacher 15.
Pupil: So how did he win?
Teacher: That’s the way politics in Israel works.
Pupil: It’s confusing with three major parties!
Teacher: What, three? Who told you three? There’s also the labour party. They once were the largest party in Israel, and ruled for the first 30 years. Today they have 11 seats.
Pupil: Four parties? How do you ever get anyth-
Teacher: Stop interrupting me! Four? Who told you four? There’s also Shas:
Pupil: What’s Shas?
Teacher: Ultra orthodox Moroccans. They appeared on the scene some twenty years ago and they have around 12 seats today.
Pupil: How bewildering. What are the main issues that divide the parties?
Teacher: The crucial issue is the ‘territories’ that Israel gained during the war in 1967. If you believe that these areas are an integral part of Israel and that Jews should continue to live there, you are on the ‘right.’ If you believe that Israel should withdraw from these territories, or make some kind of compromise, then you are on the ‘left.’
Pupil: I read that Bibi supported the retreat from Gaza and the expulsion of 10,000 Jews . His party must be really far left. Right?
Teacher: Right. I mean, no, he ’s on the right. His Licud party has always been right.
Pupil: What about Lieberman?
Teacher: He says that there’s too much power in the hands of rabbis. He wants secular marriage and religious freedom.
Pupil: So he’s the extreme left. Right?
Teacher: Wrong! Wrong! Wrong again! He’s way right. Extreme left is “Meretz”. Their slogan is “We won’t compromise.”
Pupil: That makes them radical right, right?
Teacher: You have snow for brains, I see. Wrong; LEFT! They refuse all compromise , unless, of course, it is with Arabs. Some of them actually believe that the Jewish state should not exist.
Pupil: I’m getting dizzy. So, all 120 Knesset seats will be taken by these six parties. That’s really a lot.
Teacher: You’re kidding me, right? What, six? Who told you six? You’ve forgotten National Religious parties: The Jewish Home party, for Jewish settlement of Judah and Samaria, and the National Union, who are really really absolutely for Jewish settlement of Judah and Samaria. Then there are also ultra orthodox Ashkenazim. Some of them actually believe that the Jewish state should not exist.
Pupil: Like Meretz, correct?
Teacher: Corr- what, are you crazy? Stop blathering and let me finish: There are also three parties exclusively for Arabs.
Pupil: Let me guess: Some of the Arabs actually believe that the Jewish state should not exist.
Teacher: Now you’re catching on.
Pupil: I can’t catch on to anything. I’ve had it! This is too much for me! No country has twelve separate parties!
Teacher: What twelve? Who told you twelve? Where are you going? We’ve just started. There’s the male rights party, so all those divorced men whose wives got custody can take their kids out of the house. There’s the pensioner’s party, to help the elderly get more often out of the house. There’s the handicapped party, who want to get out of the house and have a place to go, and there’s For the Kids’ Sake, which is trying to put kids taken out of their non functional households back into the house. Of course you can’t overlook “Hadash.”
Pupil: (glazed eyes): That means ‘new.’
Teacher: Very good. They want a new system: Communism.
Then we have ‘The Strong Israel party. They promise to fight organized crime. Unfortunately, Kadima is organized crime. There’s also Tsomet--
Pupil: STOP! STOP!
Teacher: Very good. Stop for the Tsomet party. The name means ‘intersection.’
Pupil: NO! STOP STOP!! I can’t take any more.
Teacher: You must listen! What about ‘Leader?’ -- to curb the monopoly of the banks?
The ‘Light’ Party? The ‘Responsibility Party?’ the ‘Noodleman Renewal Russian Party?’
Pupil: (writhing on floor): No, this cannot be real. Make it stop!
Teacher: The Green Party to save the environment.
Pupil: ( weaker) Nooooooooooooooooo.
Teacher: The Leftist Religious Green Party, who are in favor of territorial compromise as long as we first separate the territory into glass, plastic and organic.
Pupil: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Teacher: The Green Leaf party fighting to legalize cannabis.
Pupil: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Teacher: And most important, The Green Leaf Senior/ Holocaust Survivor Merger Party, who will fight for the right to smoke their old cannabis and get more reparations at the same time.
Pupil: ( is now lying motionless on the floor).
Teacher: What’s the matter with him. We’ve only gone through the first 28!
Twenty -eight? Who told you twenty-eight! Hey, get up! There’s a lot more to do!
. . . . . . . . . (sighs). . .What do you expect a Canadian kid to know about democracy!


Note: The above is based on a true political system. In the Israeli elections held on Feb 10, there were THIRTY SEVEN separate lists! While the above sketch is not conclusive, not one party mentioned above is made up; no matter how much they look it.

Barry Silverberg
February, 2009
Kiriat Shmona, Polling Station 37, Poll 12

Negotiate From Strength

How many more innocent Israelis will be murdered if the Olmert-Livni Government frees the thousand plus terrorists for Gilad Schalit?

Gilad should be rescued. We should use force, real force to make it clear. Why haven't Arab terrorists been executed as punishment in Israel? If Eichmann was executed, why not the Arab terrorists?

In another two weeks, it will be thirteen years since I was run over by an Arab terrorist.

Dry Bones, I Expected A Different Punch Line

Ya'akov, I was certain that you'd have something about Israel, building in the Judea and Samaria or our defending ourselves. I didn't think of the economy at all.

Actually, I wonder how many people do, unless they are personally affected.

Most, in this very credit card world, can avoid reality. The banks are happy to extend credit, for a price. Many people will discover that their "home equity loans" have to be paid back by taking out more, and the bank owns their home plus.

It's only when the bank refuses more loans that people realize how poor they really are.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Mother’s tehillim project / A Single’s tehillim project

A Mother’s tehillim project / A Single’s tehillim project
http://www.writeinvite.ca/tehillim/index.htm

Rosh Chodesh Adar – Wednesday, February 25th

... people around the world will join together and pray for their childrens', relatives', or friends' soul-mates PROJECT 1.

… single people around the world will pray together for their destined soul-mates PROJECT 2.

In order to accomplish this goal, I am asking that everyone goes to
http://www.writeinvite.ca/tehillim/index.htm and fill out the respective form. Once groups of 40 people are formed per project in your timezone, I will send you your portions of tehillim to recite along with the names of the rest of your group and further instructions. Your allotted tehillim should be recited once on Rosh Chodesh day. Check your spam if you don’t hear back from me.

Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Lazeh. All of Israel is responsible for one another - pass this email on to others who may be interested in participating. Please also help me advertise for this project by posting on any email group you may be on.

May our prayers be answered sweetly and speedily,

Tamara

* Your email address will NOT be distributed or displayed. No last names will be displayed. Questions can still be sent to
a.mothers.tehillim@gmail.com, but it may take time to respond.

The Missing Ingredient...

I was sent an interesting little article (hat tip: Errol Phillips) which blames the MBA's from Harvard for America's financial collapse OK difficulties.

It has some good points, but it misses the most important one. The young, confident MBA's from Harvard were put in all sorts of top positions, replacing and supervising those without the fancy diplomas. The more veteran employees had something that most of the MBA's will never get, experience.

Yes, there is an over-reliance on theory, courses and certification in the modern world. It's not only a problem on Wall Street, New York City.

These guys, with the ink still wet on their certificates have been, are being given, top jobs without learning the business from the bottom up, or even the middle up. There are things you just can't learn in school. And how many of these young well-educated graduates can calculate in their heads? If you take away their calculators, computers and Blackberries, they're lost.

Without good experience there's no "gut feeling." The most brilliant have that touch, and it can't be learned.

If everything could be learned, then a computer program could do it all. And if you trust the computer, then you'll have the mistakes which have been discovered in America.

In terms of security, there's the same problem. Armies are investing more in technology to "replace" the ground work. Only experienced soldiers can understand and interpret the information.

Journalism majors may write great articles, but if they're not knowledgeable in history, economics, sociology, biology, political science etc they won't understand what they're writing about and they won't know when the people they are interviewing are lying. We see that here in Israel. Newspapers send writers who have no idea of local history to report.

Teaching is almost impossible to learn. So much is personality. Anyone can learn how to plan a great lesson, but getting the students to cooperate is the tough job. It can't be taught.

Good luck world!

Who's Being Naive?

Obama Naïveté at the U.N. by Anne Bayefsky, has a very inaccurate title. I don't think that she believes Obama to be naive in his decision that America attend Durban II which is expected to be even more anti-Semitic/anti-Israel than the first one.

"In a major foreign-policy decision taken over the weekend, President Obama has decided to legitimize the United Nations’s “anti-racism” forum known as Durban II. State Department officials announced in a press release buried on Saturday, that starting today the United States will attend for the first time the preparatory meetings of this controversial U.N. conference. The “Durban Review Conference,” scheduled for April in Geneva, is the progenitor of the anti-semitic hatefest that took place in South Africa in early September 2001....

But the Durban Declaration asserts that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. This is also the only country-specific accusation in a document purporting to address international racism and xenophobia. Regardless of the quantity of new vitriol in Durban II's final product, therefore, participation legitimizes the mantra of Israeli racism. What is new is that the new president of the United States doesn’t care about the U.N.’s reincarnation of ‘Zionism is racism’.

The position is not only repugnant, but naïve. Evidently, American officials believe that an African-American president can climb into a U.N. anti-racism ring, throw his weight around, and the 56 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference will roll over and play dead. Or hard-liners like Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand, and developing countries like South Africa, will jump on a U.S.-led bandwagon...

In truth, this Obama trip to the U.N. represents an abandonment of Israel. All his campaign promises to the contrary, sacrificing Israel for the sake of currying favor with others — demagogues included — is clearly at the top of the new president’s agenda. Israel asked Obama not to attend. Canada also pulled out of Durban II and expected American support. Instead, today’s American foreign policy leaves America’s closest ally and its biggest trading partner out in the cold.

The speed at which President Obama is selling off American assets is breathtaking. The speed at which he is selling them out is even faster."


I wonder if the Israeli movers and shakers, politicians and media have a clue as to Obama's real feelings towards Israel, our security and our legitimacy.

As Israeli politicians wiggle and wrangle, trying to make deals, they're not paying attention to what's happening in the real world.

The loony Left which dominates our politics and controls our media are totally smitten by the Obama bug. I wonder if they'll ever realized that there's nothing benign in Barack Hussein Obama. He said what he needed to say to get elected, and now he'll do what he wants.

Just Because She's Israeli!

Nu? I haven't heard any shouts of outrage. Have you?

If Israel had refused a visa to some Arab athlete, academic et al, we'd be roundly and totally condemned by the world's human rights activists. But when an Israeli is denied a visa.... eh! Whispers.
Larry Scott said barring entry to Pe'er could have ramifications beyond tennis because it threatens the principle that sports and politics should not mix.
Speaking in a telephone interview, he said the WTA will consider "what types of sanctions are going to be deemed to be appropriate in light of what has happened, including whether or not the tournament has a slot on the calendar next year."

The chances are that next year Shachar Pe'er will be urged not to apply to the tennis tournament, because WTA doesn't want trouble with UAE, Dubai.

Making A Difference

At the wedding we attended the other night, I was overjoyed to see the variety of beloved old friends at the table we were assigned to. There were people I had first met when we were in our teens. One of them, Jeff Gabbay, is the CEO of CUPRON, a company which is making a difference in the health of people all over the world.

CUPRON manufactures antimicrobial fabrics; that means fabrics which protect against bacteria and fungus. It sounds more like some futuristic science fiction, but apparently it's real.

The fabrics are used for a variety of things, from superficial cosmetic wrinkle-removal to surgical bandages and diabetic socks. And all sorts of "inbetweens."

Jeff absolutely glows when he talks about it. I haven't tried any out, but maybe I'll get the opportunity. The list of products is amazing.

As my friends and I enter the age of "senior discounts" and retirement, I wonder how many of us have really made a difference in the world, or have we just schlepped along. For sure, Jeff is doing something special for other people. Yes, it's a business, but science and medicine do cost money. Free and "natural" have their limits.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Marbim B'Simcha Increasing Joy!

Joy takes many forms
Not only weddings

The Jewish Month of Adar
Is a time of Joy


So, please join us and tell others, too
at Tel Shiloh
For Women's Prayers
On the First of Adar
Rosh Chodesh
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 9:30am
ראש חדש אדר
תל שילה
יום ד' 25-2, 9:30
נא להזמין נשים נוספות
אפשר לבקר בתל שילה כל יום
להתקשר
02-9944019
You may visit the Tel Shiloh any time
Contact:

The Will Of The People

The media keeps telling us that because Kadima got a few more votes, equalling one more Knesset seat than the Likud, it means that the people chose Tsippi Livni to be the next Prime Minister of Israel.

The Israeli political system is not all that simplistic. We have neither a two nor a three party "situation." These big "winners," in Kadima got less than 25% of the popular vote!

That is the truth. There are one-hundred and twenty, yes 120, Knesset seats, so you need thirty to have one quarter of the Knesset. And a majority, more than half, means a coaliton of more than sixty. Whether 27 or 28, that means that the "ruling party" will be less than half of the coalition.

I'll start a new paragraph to give you time to digest it.

The Israeli media is working overtime to promote little (she's tall in body, but obviously short in leadership qualities) Tsippi. It's rather pathetic how hard the media has to struggle to make her seem like Prime Minister material.

Bibi is more intelligent and has more grass-roots support, but he hasn't shown true leadership. His disgusting manouver to change the Likud primary results made him look like a mean cheat, not a true worthy leader.

So, we're stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I find this Jerusalem Post survey very revealing. Of course, the participating public was readers of the Jerusalem Post.



Forming a new government won't be easy for either party, and if they manage something, it will be so top heavy and expensive with every MK and his/her mother as a Minister or Assistant Minister, "Volvos & driver plus."
And if a government isn't formed, then we're stuck with Olmert for even longer, and we'll need new elections, which may have even less clear results.
I've been taking a course in Matan about our ancient prophets, and it's horrifying to see the paralells today, thousands of years later. Hashem Ya'azor, G-d, please help us.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What People Like To Avoid



FACTS!

Yes, if it's uncomfortable or proves one's presumptions totally wrong, then facts are conveniently ignored. It's sort of like when nobody has the guts to mention to some guy that his fly isn't fully zipped.

In Israel, it's much more serious. Every "peace agreement" has made life more dangerous.

Someone sent me a link to a very informative post about an Arab journalist, Michael J. Totten's A Minority Report from the West Bank and Gaza. I also like his more recent A Dispatch from the Border with Gaza. The photos are from it.