Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pre-Yom Kippur Blog.

I'm going offline till after Yom Kippur, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of the Muqata's Jewish readers, a "Gmar Chatima Tova" -- and ask forgiveness if I offended anyone via my blog this past year.

I recall a radio show on Erev Yom Kippur many years ago; the gist was this.

Here in Israel, it's a few hours before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. Stores, factories, restaurants, TV & radio stations, everything is shutting down, as of clouds of purity wash over the country. Dressed in white, the vast majority of the House of Israel go to shul, fast, and commorate Yom Kippur in some manner.

For 24 hours, there is no radio, no television, no food, and a rare harmony envelopes the land.

May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

See you next week.

This is the Muqata signing off...


Jameel.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Some Chizuk This post needs a name

(Click the image for the video...)


On Monday evening, my oldest son excitedly called me as I drove home from work,and yelled into the phone, "Abba, there's this story I just read on the internet; you HAVE to put it on your blog as soon as you get home! It's about this man who was arrested by the police for blowing shofar during davening...at the Kotel HaKatan...in Yerushalayim...during Musaf on Rosh HaShana...can you BELIEVE that? You have to blog that!!"

He was a bit disappointed to hear that I had posted that exact same story a few hours earlier (and that he wasn't the first to tell me), but he was still happy to know that what he thought was "blog worthy", was in fact, right on target.

Yesterday (Tuesday) evening, two of my kids took the bus to Yerushalayim and met me at work. They got off the bus by themselves (they're 12 and 10 years old), found my office, and called to say they had arrived (I was waiting for them at the wrong a different bus stop). We then drove to the Old City -- as we were going to say tehillim at the Kotel for a relative in need.

While some find driving in Yerushalayim to be annoying or difficult -- I love it.

Having driven around Manhattan a lot before moving to Israel, I find the driving experience very similar to Yerushalayim; some streets can be very narrow, cars parked all over the place...drivers who weave in and out of lanes...taxis driven by Israelis (in both cities)...street signs don't always make sense...

Driving into the Old City via Sha'ar Yaffo, my kids started asking me all sorts of questions about the Old City. "Look at this, look at that," they laughed and pointed at different sites and scenes as my van squeezed through the narrow alley-road in the Armenian Quarter towards the Jewish one. As we passed Sha'ar Tziyon, I mentioned that the IDF Tzanchanim (paratroopers) unit entered into the Old City from that gate in 1967, and the walls there are all pockmarked from bullets. A second later, we stopped, stuck in a traffic jam of cars snaking their way from the Jewish Quarter parking lot back to Sha'ar Tziyon.

Since our mission was to say tehillim at the Kotel, I asked the kids if they wanted to get out and walk by themselves to the Kotel while I waited to park the van. "Sure!" they answered, and we agreed to meet down at the Kotel after I parked. Full of self-confidence, they scrambled out of the van...leaving me to find a spot by myself as the setting sun's remaining orange glow bounced off the walls of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

25 minutes later, I found a parking spot and met my kids down below near the flag poles at the Kotel plaza. I marveled that they felt at home in the Old City (as they should) and my 12 year old said that he knew the Jewish Quarter, "like the back of his hand." He explained that during his Bnei Akiva summer camp experience this past summer, they had a scavenger hunt in the Old City over a 24 hour persiod, and he ran up and down the steps to the Kotel over 10 times that day.

Wanting to start saying Tehillim as quickly as possible, my daughter went to the women's side, my son and I went to the men's side, we found some tehillim books from the caves on the side of the plaza, and walked up to the Kotel.

I wasn't sure what perakim to say...which chapters. Tehillim has so many chapters, where should I start? I decided to say the chapters for the 4rth and 5th of the month, since we were in the twighlight between the 4rth and 5th days of Tishrei, and the surgery was going on now.

As I started to recite Tehillim, I was amazed at the chapters designated for those two days. Coincidence that surgery for the person fell out exactly on the twighlight between these 2 days, during Tishrei? The chapters I said for the 4rth day were these (link here) and for the 5th day were these.

The 4rth day's were those one usually says in times of distress and those said during the month of Elul and Tishrei for Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. Very solemn stuff.


מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ה' רֹעִי, לֹא אֶחְסָר.
לְדָוִד, מִזְמוֹר:לה' הָאָרֶץ וּמְלוֹאָהּ; תֵּבֵל, וְיֹשְׁבֵי בָהּ.
לְדָוִד: ה', אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי--מִמִּי אִירָא;ה' מָעוֹז-חַיַּי, מִמִּי אֶפְחָד

That really put me in the correct mood...and then, I finished day 4 and started day 5.

I was surprised by the abrupt change of mood. From solemn chapters beseeching for help, and declarations that G-d is the ruler over the universe -- the 5th day's chapters were a totally different theme. Upbeat. Positive. From Kabbalat Shabbat and davening.


מִזְמוֹר, לְדָוִד: הָבוּ לה', בְּנֵי אֵלִים; הָבוּ לַה', כָּבוֹד וָעֹז.
מִזְמוֹר: שִׁיר-חֲנֻכַּת הַבַּיִת לְדָוִד
רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים, בַּה'; לַיְשָׁרִים, נָאוָה תְהִלָּה

It was as if, these were chapters to say AFTER a successful operation. Saying them, I wondered how I could say such joyous chapters, when after all, I was worried about the ongoing surgery...

We finished saying tehillim and davening almost an hour later and walked back up the stairs towards to Jewish Quarter. A boom shook the air, and my kids looked at me. "Ramadan" I reminded them, and we heard sporadic firecrackers from the Muslim Quarter. Stopping at the top of the stairs, we took another look back at the Kotel and Har HaZeitim, and I felt very content that we said tehillim, davened at the Kotel, and had a good opportunity to walk around the Old City.



Went to Bonkers Bagles for a quick bite, drove home...and found out the surgery was over and things were looking promising.

Baruch Hashem.

Credit for Video: Friday in Jerusalem
Created by Gil Ronen, gil@katzir.com
Video Hosted by
IZFONE -- Izfone is a leading Voice over IP service provider specializing in the Israeli market.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Merry Ramadan.

Every year, hundreds of millions of Muslims celebrate the Muslim month of "Ramadan" which involves fasting during daylight hours, and then eating (and celebrating) after dark. While there was lots of rock throwing during the day at Israeli cars on the roads of the Shomron, last night, it was very quiet. Not a Moslem to be seen -- not a car, not a soul. It wasn't till later in the evening that things picked up again.

To celebrate the start of Ramadan, it is customary for Muslims in the city of Jerusalem, to fire a canon at the beginning and end of the month of Ramadan, and Jerusalem City Mayor, Uri Lopiliansky had the distinct honor of firing the canon (it's fired other times as well during Ramadan, but I don't know exactly when).

The Jerusalem Municipality purchased 87 canon shells for the ceremony, at a cost of 6,800 NIS.

Here are some pictures of the ceremonial canon firing:


Pictures courtesy of NRG and NFC

In light of my posting yesterday that the police aren't happy with Jews blowing the shofar near the Kotel HaKatan, I would like to understand why it's acceptable for the canon to be fired to celebrate Ramadan?

Actually, why is shooting such an ingrained part of Islam? The canon is fired for Ramadan, Rifles and pistols are fired in the air (using live ammunition) at night, and a Muslim wedding isn't complete without lots of shooting in the air as well (again, with live ammunition, and there are cases every year of people getting hurt from the "what goes up, must come down" principle).

In fact, at night, after breaking their fast, it's not uncommon for there to be lots of shooting during Ramadan. I don't understand why the Israeli police allow this "custom" to continue year after year -- in Israeli Arab villages like Abu Ghosh and in Arab villages in the West Bank. If a settler would G-d forbid shoot his gun in the air, the police would be all over him in a second, his weapon confiscated, his license revoked, and he would be criminally charged with "shooting in a built-up location."

The closest that Jews get to, in terms of religious violence in ceremonies, is breaking a glass under the foot of a groom, in-laws breaking a plate at weddings, or using noise makers at Purim.

It may be very un-politically correct to say, but Islam and guns seem to be very intertwined.

Anyone out there have a different opinion?

So the next time you want to use racial profiling for Muslims on airplanes...they may just be bringing that gun, rifle or canon shell with them to celebrate Ramadan in the very best expression of freedom of religion.

Bonus Question: Yet why do knighting ceremonies also use swords? Could Christianity have latent hints of weaponry in it's religion as well?



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, September 25, 2006

1920's Revisited. No Shofar Blowing in Jerusalem

Over Rosh HaShana, a group of Jews gathered to daven at the Kotel HaKatan (the small kotel) which is a smaller segment of the Kotel, located about 200 meters north of the kotel plaza -- in the moslem quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The site has been open for years, and this group has been praying there for a few years as well. As opposed to the purely Ashkenazic custom of blowing the Shofar before musaf, during the "chazarat hashatz" (chazan's repetition of the shemona esreh), there is also a Sephardic custom of blowing the Shofar during the silent shmona esreh. So what happens? During shmona esreh, this minyan blows the Shofar...the police show up...don't like what they see...and start bashing heads (after all, they were still davening shmona esreh and couldn't talk). It's not like they were davening on a Canadian airline...these were Jews praying and blowing the Shofar, in Jerusalem.

The last recorded time this happened, was in the 1920, when the British arrested a Jew for blowing the Shofar at the kotel on Yom Kippur.

The rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, told Arutz-7, "This is a very grave incident, and I have asked the local police commander, Yossi Priente, to check into it - both the violence and the prevention of the shofar blowing. It reminds us of the days of the British Mandate when Jews [had to make] super-human efforts to blow the shofar at the Western Wall."

He was referring to the late 1920's, when the British, in an attempt to appease the Arabs, and following violence at the Wall, forbade shofar-blowing at the Wall. In one famous incident in 1929, a man named Moshe Segal blew the shofar at the conclusion of Yom Kippur - and was immediately arrested by the British. Though he had fasted for the previous 25 hours, the British detained him without food until midnight, when he was released. It was later reported that the release came about when then-Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook informed the commander that he himself would not eat until Segal was released.

Nearly 40 years later, following the first Yom Kippur service at the Wall under Israeli sovereignty, shortly after the Six Day War, the shofar was again sounded - by Moshe Segal.

The Jerusalem police department can be faxed at (972-2) 539-1190.

Read the whole embarrassment on Arutz Sheva over here.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Muqata Report: Milestones (the year in review)

Muqata Report: Milestones (the year in review)

Last September I was still wallowing in my misery of the Disengagement. While going back through the blog, I found that most of the picture links I had up then are "gone"...how appropriate. For next year, I hope to load them into blogger (since I have most of them saved) -- some of them were really good. Looking for decent postings from last year...I found some decent posts I worked on.

Sukkot Neurosis -- how the mitzva of Lulav and Etrog makes me crazy.

Our "Cool Jew Blue" family trip to the Dor beach in search of the murex trunculus snail for making Tekhelet.

I thought this picture had a good potential for a posting which depicts an average day at the Knesset. Since I love pictures and painting of Hevron, Shechem, and Yerushalayim (or most pictures around Israel) -- they inspired this posting (which has some great pictures in it)

Who can remember before the summer war? Even back in November, when our politicians were busy ignoring Hizbolla...there was a terrorist infiltration into Rajar on the border of Israel. Excellent marksmanship by a IDF Hesder yeshiva student-soldier, single-handedly shot and killed 4 Hizbolla terrorists in under 8 seconds.


Great pic of Jerusalem

Ah yes...back when I used to follow the Slifkin controversy daily (as opposed to weekly), it even managed to infiltrate the Muqata home on Friday Night...Tranquility Shattered. And on topic of Erev Shabbat...here's a typically strange Jameel story about Erev Shabbat Creations...

Don't forget the Peres Paradox -- but I think the bigger question is, how is this man still in politics?

Chanuka is always a great family tiyul time in Israel, so the Muqata family went on an exciting visit to the mizbeach of Yehoshua when he entered the land of Israel. Parts 1, 2 and 3. (also with great pictures!!!)

Going to work daily often gives me nightmarish close encounters with hitchhikers from Hell; and it hasn't gotten any better since then, either.

I remember this ominous day as well -- Polls Confirm the Worst: Israeli Chocolate Consumption Lowest in Western World.

I had fun going at DovBear this day...ranting at him about Hypnotic hypocrisy. He fisked me back but it was still fun...(and by the way, DovBear maybe a liberal leaning blogger, but he has always been a mentsch about letting others post their own views on his blog. Kudos to you, DovBear)

I liked this post...being an advocate for Israel...I think I wrote it around the time of the JIB award, when I only received a nomination for best Israel Advocate...I thought I deserved other nominations as well...oh well...maybe this coming year.

Finally, my first major posting which started getting me noticed! The JBlogosphere Anthropologist - The Roarin' 60s. I loved writing that post...and it's so nostalgic for me to look back at it now. Seems like years ago that I wrote it in a hotel room in California somewhere on a business trip. When asked how Jameel managed to get through Israeli passport control, I posted this to explain.

Rav Kadouri passed away...and many thought that was a sign of impending Geula. Hmmm.

While thinking about redemption, I wrote this curious posting about "Judaism Interrupted" -- he's definitely an interesting character.

Yet, my son's Bar Mitzva was coming up...and I had to give up blogging for two weeks. So...I invited a group of talented bloggers to fill in for me, and they did a wonderful job! All those two weeks were summarized in this posting. Some of those posts were classic! (Thanks guys -- you were great!)

I attended this spooky Nighttime Funeral in Jerusalem. Gave me the chills.

Looking back, we all knew that we were destined for for disaster when Amir Peretz ran for head of the Labor party.

(Updated section for typos and broken links)
On a motzei Shabbat, my wife and I went to a local movie about a horrible predicament of a young religious husband who's wife went comatose, and he was given permission after a few years to remarry...the ending of what happened was posted here.
I still drive home from work via "Checkpoint Eliyahu" every day (and it's grown even bigger and ominous since that posting...I'll have to follow up on it with more pictures one of these days)

The Olympics! Was that only half a year ago? Seems like a lifetime ago. We Insane Islamic Hatred from the Danish Cartoon? Some things never change I guess.

With Olmert as Prime Minister, he made sure to show us "who's in charge" by sending in Israel's finest "boys in black" to Amona. That was awful. So we demonstrated (again) and it brought back lots of memories from 20 years earlier in yeshiva and hanging out in Jerusalem. And once I started daydreaming, it brought back many short-term memories from just a few months earlier in Gush Katif.

I attended a MDA refresher 2 day course...and had yet another unlikely Jameel coincidence. Seems like Jewish Geblography is the story of my life.

And then...came the first major JBlogosphere Collaborative Muqata Project...


Purim? Yeah...that was fun with all the parodies. The summary, round up post is here. (you need to scroll down in the middle of it, since the formatting got a bit messed up).

We recounted Israeli Urban Legends though its hard to tell if they are true or not, since in Israel...almost anything is possible.

I posted about Fleeing Manila. Will I put those links back? I need to think about it...the muqata blog was threatened by Philipino bloggers over that posting...

With Pesach coming up, I wrote about extreme matza, and how I "had" to go on a business trip right before Pesach.

In honor of WestBankMama's project to get bloggers to write their Aliya stories, I posted one of the chapters of my upcoming book, Jameel's Excellent Aliya Adventure...but since the feedback wasn't as high, I may shelve the book for now. I posted this in honor of Yom HaAtzmaut, where I compared Israel to a start-up company (for better and for worse).

Back in the days when we though that Godol Hador wasn't too much of a skeptic, we wrote about his fantastic voyage. It was fun writing that at the time...I wonder if he'll have another trip.

Coming home one night, my wife reminded me that I had a school meeting. Ungh. I hate those meetings...but the topic was fascinating and I got to blog it as well, do I didn't mind as much. Even Cross-Currents liked it.

Someone put the city of Petach Tikva for sale on ebay, while Hamas gunmen attacked a cellphone store in Gaza.

In honor of Lag BaOmer I translated an article from hebrew about it all being based on one big mistake. The article's author crumbled under pressure a few weeks later. Oh well.

Recounting other weird stories from college, I wrote about Elvis the Drug Dealer and how he took over my telephone. If we're already discussing strange things, I also wrote about Jewish Handshakes.

In memory of my friend Danny Frei, I posted this about him on Yom HaZikaron.

I visited the graves of Calev and Yehoshua in the middle of a very unfriendly Hamas village...that was some midnight trip. (And that post is worth reading -- tons of exclusive pictures!)

There can't possibly be two billion idiots watching the World Cup...can there?
We demolished the World Cup with the following knockouts; Who Cares, Two Billion Idiots, and Why Jameel hates soccer (a trip to the shrink).

Want to keep your kids from making yerida? Here's my solution: it's all in the name.

Everything till now seems like ancient history. Everything changed in June.

Gilad was kidnapped.

Eliyahu Asheri was kidnapped.

Israel re-enters Gaza after less than a year from leaving it -- in an attempt to save save Corporal Gilad Shaleet. Should we negotiate? Eliyahu's Asheri's mother didn't think so.

I celebrated by First Blogaversary with a whopping 56,748 visitor count since the blog's inception. Woo Hoo! The Muqata welcomed home bloggers making aliya. My kids left on a summer vacation to the US...they had a blast (as did we :)

Two more soldiers were kidnapped...and the hour by hour coverage started when Israel re-entered South Lebanon.

I guest blogged on DovBear's site about a Passionate Yearning for Eretz Yisrael. Everyone liked it except for DovBear and GodolHador. I wasn't surprised :)

Ooops - almost forgot about the Muqata CommentFest with over 339 comments. That was cool :) (Even if I got locked out of my blog by blogger...)

We remembered the Hebron Massacre of 1929...and I attended a very touching and sad funeral for an IDF soldier. Stories continued to emerge about IDF bravery under fire, and I went up North to volunteer for MDA as the rockets fell all around us.

Tisha B'Av was depressing as ever, when Olmert announced the the point of the war was to further his upcoming Convergence/Disengagement plan. Jerk.

Muqata blogger Litvshe got us world attention as we were the first to report ANOTHER photoshopped Adnan Hajj picture. (Woo Hoo again!)

Sarah is planning a new look for the Muqata...the banner above is only temporary! (she also designed the "Muqata @ War" banner)

I had planned on going to NYC and performing there with DovBear...but it didn't work out, and I spent shabbat in London (but not in Uman).

The pope insulted Islam and the moslems went crazy (is that a recurring theme?)

And then...twice in a week, the Israeli judicial system does something right!

What a year...let's hope next year bring us the speedy, safe return of our soldiers to their families, and a quiter year than this past one.

Shana Tova!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Financial Summary for Fiscal JBlog Year 5766


URL: http://muqata.blogspot.com/
BSID # 4216679
Valuation: $61,348.37
Added 04:56 12 Jul 2005
Last Updated 16:08 18 Sep 2006
Status: Available to Trade
Industries: Orthodox Judaism Israel

(Click for full financial info)


My blog is worth $106,698.06.
How much is your blog worth?






Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Muqata Blog Annual Shareholders Report

Muqata Blog Annual Shareholders Report
Jameel @ The Muqata, Muqata CEO & Chief Chicken Griller for Erev Shabbat.

Introduction
Milestones (Year in Review)
Finances
Readership Statistics
Future Plans

(You can click above section names for hyperlinks...)


Introduction:

As another year comes to a close, The Muqata Blog (tm) is presenting it's annual shareholders report to the JBlogosphere membership. After all, it's you people who are the primary shareholders of the blog...I just pass on what's going on over here.

The number one question people ask me about the blog is, "What the heck is the Muqata, and why do you call yourself Jameel?" Yes, it's embarrassing. When I needed to pick a quick name to start a blog, I didn't put that much thought into it. Since most bloggers are anonymous (well, except for PsychoTodder, Ezzie and Treppenwitz...and DovBear who outed himself last week at the Shlock Rock concert's backstage party), I thought, hey, maybe if I use an arabic name, I can provide some good counter-punch views on what's going on in Israel. After all, if an Arab would be pro-Israel, it could be very interesting. Yet within about a day, I decided that it would be obvious I'm just using the name for blogging purposes. The "real" Muqata, was Arafat's compound (may he rot in hell) in Ramalla, which no matter how many times the news reported that the IDF destroyed it...it was back in action the following day.

The Muqata Blog's mission is to promote a love for Israel among Jews, encourage aliya to Israel, raise awareness of Israeli current events, and try to add in a dose of humor/slice of life from the Muqata household, for good measure.

While preparing the milestones section of this report, I cringed. While some of the postings I put up were (I think) very good...some made me cringe in pain. What an awful grammar mistake...how did I spell that word wrong? What was I thinking?!! However, over time, I think the quality improved, the topics improved, and overall, I think the blog is in much better shape than it's been all year.

During the War of Tammuz, we changed modes, and reported news around the clock -- as a means of connecting people to Israel. The concern for Israel was out there, so we filled in the gaps by providing (what we felt) was accurate and breaking news reporting, with textual, audio and visual sources. One project for the coming year will be to organize it so that you can easily follow the war archives on a day by day basis.

As we look forward to the new year, we would like to wish our readership a Shana Tova, a good year for all of Israel and the Jewish people around the globe. A year of happiness, health, and wealth. A year of Redemption and Rebuilding.

Regards,

Jameel.

Milestones coming soon...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

And again...

Something is up. I'm not sure what...and I'm not sure whether I should be uncomfortable or happy. What's going on you ask?

The Israeli Judicial system has done something right. Yeah...big shock. Luckily I was sitting down when I read it, but here's the story.

Elad Pas was convicted of assaulting an Army officer during a demonstration in Chevron (where he lives). Well...sort of. He was brought up on charges of pushing a soldier who was the liason to the officer. The judge in his case, one Aylath Ziskind, of the Jerusalem court (Beit Mishpat L'Shalom Yerushalayim), didn't think that pushing a soldier would give a stiff enough sentence and convicted him of punching the officer. So he was senteced to a heavy fine and 6 months with community service as well.
Well on appeal the judges, surprisingly enough, stated that Ziskind made up the whole thing about Pas punching the officer. Reprimanded her. Ordered the prosecution to purge the record of the conviction. Of course since as Rav Dov Lior Shlit'a once stated, that the Praklitut (the body within the Justice ministry in charge of prosecuting the government's cases) is The Source of Evil in our generation, they still were pushing for at least a month and a half of community service in light of the serious mistake made in case.
Elad Pas will be filing a formal complaint.

Anyway...I'm still flabergasted. Not that a judge in Israel can make stuff up to fit in with her warped political view and use the Judicial system to further those views, that's run of the mill stuff around here. (That one is pointed to Kishnevi and his comment on my previous post about Tirza Sariel) I'm still shocked that twice in one week a judge (or in this case a panel of 3) has put his political viewpoint aside and judged a case on merits.

Aschalta D'Geulah Mamish.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Life in Israel via random photos.

Tzedaka Collectors Ahead. Please prepare cash in advance.



Practice your Hebrew with this sign...comment if you need help...


OK, not politically correct...but since when has that stopped me before?


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Music Video for the New Year. By Nomi

Kol Isha Advisory (for those that are worried about digital audio representation of women's voices)

A hopeful, postitve message for the new year...which doesn't forget our past.




Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Breaking News: 3 IDF soldiers wounded in Gush Etzion Tunnel attack

9:07 AM Initial reports of 3 IDF soldiers wounded by Palestinian Terrorist gunfire near the Gush Etzion tunnels. (Jerusalem - Gush Etzion highway)

9:09 AM Update: Car attempted to crash the IDF checkpoint; IDF soldiers opened fire. 3 soldiers lightly wounded by car hitting them. Car fled the scene was not apprehended at this time...

Update: Palestinian driver stopped by police for traffic violation. Tried to run policemen over. Still at large. I wonder if the policemen had been quoting the Pope which caused this unforseen reaction.


Returning you to regular Muqata programming.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A pleasant New Year's surprise

I don't know how many of you have been following the story of Tirza Sariel. She's the 15 year old girl who has been in prison for the last two and a half months for failing to accept the authority of the Israeli Justice system to judge her. Let me explain...no, not enough time, let me sum up.

In mid July Tirza and some of her friends were protesting against Arabs picking olives in a disputed area. Allegedly one of the girls dumped out a bucket of olives and threw some at the Arabs. Along came the police, accepted the Arab’s story at face value and went to arrest the young girl. Tirza and her friends made it clear that they would not let the police arrest the supposed perpetrator unless they too were arrested, and so they were.

All the other girls were willing to sign guarantees that they would show up their respective court cases, of which they were all found innocent from lack of evidence. Tirza on the other hand refused to sign on the grounds that the Israeli legal system has no authority over her, as it doesn’t judge in accordance with Torah law. And this seems to have irked the judges. So they tossed her in prison. And kept here there for two and half months. Not in a prison for minors, but in an adult prison. With Arab prisoners. To teach her, and her compatriots, a lesson. None of the usual suspects were anywhere to be heard. None of the human rights groups. None of the children’s rights groups. Nada. Nothing. Silence. Except Shelly Yechimovich from Labour, who gets kudos for raising a stink about it.

In any event, she’s been released. The judge claiming that even if she was found guilty of the crime she had been accused of, the maximum sentence is less then what she’d already been incarcerated for. So she’s free without restrictions. So, Baruch Matir Assurim!

You Go Girl!
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

M. Mu. Muqa. Muqata not going to Uman.

Preparing to depart from Ben-Gurion airport last week on Wednesday, a chareidi-dressed person approached as I was walking towards the ticketing line.

"Please, please, you have to help me...I need tzedaka...100 dollars is all I need", he implored.

I thought to myself -- does he need to fly for an operation, to see someone urgently, maybe attend a simcha...or maybe, tragically, for a funeral? He seemed very distraught and the tone of his voice was rather urgent.

"Why do you need to fly? Is everything OK", I asked...trying to be as sympathetic as possible...

"I need money...so I can pay off my ticket to Uman...I want to fly there for Rosh HaShana..."

Uh Oh. Pet-Peeve. Now, I was upset.

Background info: There is a custom among Breslover Chassidim to fly to the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman from Bresolv, who is buried in Uman, and spend Rosh HaShana there, davening.

The saying goes that Rabbi Nachman promised all sorts of salvations and merit to those who come and pray at his grave. That's not my problem with this guy's request. You want to go to Uman? Fine.

However:

1. I don't think that with all the major problems we have to deal with in Israel; poverty, sick people, supporting Kolellim, and the costs of raising a family here, that my primary tzedaka payments...should go to someone wanting to fly to Uman.

2. And Uman? Rabbi Nachman of Breslev was a lover of Eretz Yisrael. If he knew that thousands of his Chassidim would LEAVE Eretz Yisrael for Rosh Hashana, to spend it in Uman, he would probably be rolling his in grave.

I tried explaining this to the guy, but he wouldn't hear of it. For him...the most important use of my money was positively, 100%, to send him out of Israel, to Uman.

The sad thing is, I bet he raised the 100 dollars from others.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Banner Under Construction

Special thanks to Sarah for the temporary Muqata banner...and for the upcoming one.

Stay Tuned for a new look for a new year!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, September 18, 2006

Generosity in North West London

Start Rant: ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH! My ranting now has nothing to do with London, but I'm exhausted and I just spent the past 2 hours helping my son write an excruciatingly long essay for his English class.

A "scary" essay. It sounded like fun, but after 30 minutes, my wife reminded me that my son was supposed to write it, and I couldn't just dictate the wacko fantasy that my brain was churning out.

And I thought I was just going to read Orthomom's post about how she hates homework as a parent, and I would just get off scott free.

Wrong.

Not only did her homework post bite me...but it bit me tonight when I'm ALSO exhausted and mildly jetlagged from England.

Fine. End of Rant.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I wanted to write something about this past Shabbat of mine in London. I spent alot of time in London twenty years ago. Golders Green, Hendon, Finchley...the usual Jewish neighborhoods of North West London. It was nice back then -- I had a great time, but it was similar to many Jewish communities I'd seen in other places.

However, this past Shabbat, I must admit it was completely different than I recall from back then. Walking through Hendon on Shabbat, total strangers would come up to me as I meandered towards Golders Green, say "Good Shabbos" to me, and start up a friendly conversation.

Did I have a place to eat, did I have a place to stay, did I know where the shuls were, did I know about different shiurim...one even asked me if I was looking for a shidduch.

When I davened in shul, lots of people came up to me (in addition to those who recognized me) and invited me for Shabbat dinner, lunch or seuda shlisheet. (And those who know me, were pseudo-upset that I hadn't invited myself over!)

This past Shabbat in London definitely left a very clear impression on me.

When it comes to Hachnasat Orchim, (taking in guests) London's Jewish Community really knows how to do it very right...in a big way.
Thanks for a wonderful Shabbat and weekend -- it's very much appreciated!

--Jameel.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Insulted? Good excuse to kill some people...

The pope "insulted" the Moslems.

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

As DovBear correctly pointed out, the Catholic Church are the last ones to be giving mussar to anyone about moral behaviour, evil and death by the sword. Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition that no one ever expected? The Church has it's own wonderful history of spreading death and destruction in it's name.

However, what is totally unbelievable is that Moslems behave like two-year olds when insulted. Why is the Moslem knee-jerk reaction to an insult, to go out, riot, burn down churches, and wound and kill people? Can't these people CHILL OUT.

Christians seem to have grown up over the years, and can take an insult without going ballistic. The Monty Python "Life of Brian" movie definitely showed that while many Christians in the UK were insulted by the film, they didn't go out and riot.

This blogger seems to have summed it up nicely: “Islam is a religion of peace… and if you don’t agree with us, we’ll kill you!”

And look at us, the Jews.

We've been insulted and accused of things for thousands of years! From being responsible for killing Egyptian gods (sheep), to being responsible for killing the Christian's god (or his son)...using Christian baby blood for our matzot on Pesach...using chewing gum spiked with sex hormones on arabs...there isn't nothing that hasn't been thrown at us.

And how do we Jews react?

We just smile,

laugh,

sit back,

and raise world interest rates by one or two percent.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

A Bitter-Sweet Shana Tova Card

Got this card today by email from a Gush Katif friend, Anita Tucker.
Anita used to send updates weekly, sometimes daily in the months leading up to the Disengagement last year. While her electronic Rosh HaShana card is upbeat and hopeful, there is still sadness in the background.
I suggest you read it...and send her your own Rosh HaShana greetings to her as well.



PS: I'm back in Israel...happy to be back, but missed the opportunity to meet PsychoToddler and others at the concert...and lots of shopping opportunities.

Next trip I guess...



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, September 15, 2006

Negotiations Have Fallen Through.

Despite everyone's best efforts, the Celebrity Duet with DovBear is not going to happen this coming Sunday. The concert still sounds like a ton of fun, and PsychoToddler will be performing (he rocks!) -- but alas, I won't be there.

I won't make it to LA either...sigh. My entire excellent adventure world tour has been limited...to England.

This has this weird deja vu feeling now -- sort of like when he had the first JBlogger comment-fest, and I was locked out of my own blogger account and couldn't post.

In any event - I'm flying back home to Israel on Sunday from England.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jameel.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, September 14, 2006

World Targeting Jameel...

Just when I thought it was "safe" to fly out of Israel for a few days...over 116 countries have decided to target me.

The "NAM" (Non-Aligned Movement) countries are meeting in Cuba this coming Shabbat for their triennial Nonaligned Movement (NAM) summit.

An Israeli government official was quoted to the Jerusalem Post:

"We expect to be taken to the cleaners, criticized for everything short of breathing," one government official said Wednesday.

As they decided last year, "settlers" are specifically being targeted by these countries, and they call upon their members to refuse entry to Israelis who live beyond the "Green Line" in Israel.

The JPOST reports:

While Israel does not have diplomatic relations with 30 nations of the 118-member NAM, it does have good relations with a number of them, including India, Thailand, the Philippines, Ecuador, Honduras and Panama.

There is no expectation, however, that the resolutions that will emerge from this conference will be any different than the lopsidedly anti-Israel resolutions that emerged form the last NAM summit three years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

That summit's "Declaration on Palestine" called upon member states "to undertake measures, including by means of legislation, collectively, regionally and individually, to prevent any products of the illegal Israeli settlements from entering their markets consistent with the obligations under international treaties, to decline entry to Israeli settlers and to impose sanctions against companies and entities involved in the construction of the wall and other illegal activities in the occupied territory, including east Jerusalem."

While they may wish that I do not visit their countries -- I laugh in their faces.

Were they to ask my exact place of residence, I would proudly say, "The Muqata in the Shomron -- I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I laugh in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

But seriously, guess who actively encourages countries of the world to boycott Israeli products from Yehuda and Shomron, and would love for the settlers to be refused entry to Thailand and India? The Palestinians? The Hizbollah?

The #1 group that acts against the Jews in Yehuda and Shomron is Gush Shalom -- the radical Left in Israel.

I must tip my hat though, to Meretz MK Ran Cohen. When he was Israel's Minister of trade, he steadfastly refused to allow for products to be marked as "produced over the Green Line" -- to foil the demands of the European Union, which attempted to boycott these products.

Yet a different MK and the last Minister of trade did capitulate...and passed a law that products for export to Europe that were made over the "Green Line" would be easily identifiable.

Of course, you all know what MK that could possibly be...who else capitulates faster than a speeding bullet...

Be the first to correctly comment, and win!


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Breaking News: JBlogger Celebrity Duet?

After Psychotoddler revealed last week that he would be performing in NY, third-party sponsors approached two other infamous bloggers, and are trying to convince them to appear on-stage.

Despite the initial, immediate refusal from both bloggers, negotiations have picked up as third-parties has upped the proposal. We can’t reveal all the details of the negotiations, but both sides are well represented and this could very well be an event of historic proportions for the JBlogosphere.

Notorious for their anonymity, these two J-Bloggers, DovBear and Jameel have been cajoled, wined, and dined…to perform a JBlogger Celebrity Duet? Could this really be? Both sides are insisting that neither will reveal their real name, neither will reveal who is DovBear and who is Jameel, there will be no autographs, press-conference, or back-stage party.

Making the performance even more difficult, there is a disagreement over how the JBloggers will arrive and be introduced on stage, will they mingle anonymously in the audience, and at what point in the performance will the leave?

What song will they sing? Is it being written specifically for this concert? What will they wear – will it be DovBear’s diminutive, yet trendy black hat, conservative Armani suit and 'gator shoes – and will he appear bearded or clean-shaven? Security will be extra careful, so Jameel won’t be able to bring his trademark M16…and plastic surgery is being considered to remove to the annoying yellow smiley face attached to his head.

What started as a tentative agreement for DovBear and Jameel to meet for Pizza and has now turned into a full bloom performance – the negotiations are in full swing to bring these bloggers out to in the open.

Rumors abound as to the identity of the sponsors as well – with names thrown out including; Jessie Jackson, the Demoratic party, Gush Emunim, Green Peace, Yashar Publications and the Yeshiva University Forum for the Advancement of Torah U’Mada.

It has already been ruled out that this is not a cheap publicity stunt, since DovBear and Jameel’s Muqata blog will not receive rights to the song or performance, but will be posted on-line, on a different blog…

It is unsure if this historic Duet will take place…watch this space for more information!

Disclaimer: The signed, three-way, non-disclosure agreement stipulates that all parties have the option of confirming or denying any, all, or none of the details provided above.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One Year Ago Today: IDF closed gates to Gaza.

If you want to understand how Israel and the IDF fought in the Lebanon War last month and declared their cease-fire without meeting a single objective -- all you need to do is analyze what was said a year ago -- to see how Israel and the IDF backpedaled on everything they promised.

IDF Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz:

The day after the withdrawal, the IDF is maintaining high alert, fearing a renewal in fighting. The chief-of-staff guaranteed a “harsh response and zero tolerancein any such event. (Ynetnews)

Defense Minister (then) Shaul Mofaz:

Now that the IDF left the Gaza Strip, Israel will no longer show tolerance to Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli targets, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says.

Mofaz, who arrived at Gaza’s Karni crossing to bid farewell to the Strip, turned to the Palestinians and called on them to “create a new reality in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria, in order for us to be able to advance to a reality of peaceful coexistence.”

"We won’t be willing to accept, under any circumstances, any kind of terror coming from the Gaza Strip following the very significant step undertaken by Israel," he said. (Ynetnews)

IDF Southern Command, General Dan Harel:

"One Qassam rocket on the day after [we leave Gaza] will be viewed by us as the Palestinians not fulfilling their obligations. We do not plan on searching after terrorists or [terror] organizations, but demand responsibility from the Palestinian Authority. For every [terror] incident [from Gaza] there will be a retaliatory one. The one responsible will be the Palestinian Authority" (translated from Hebrew article in NRG)

Ask any kid in Sederot what he thinks of a politician's promise these days.

Hundreds of Qassams later, Katyusha rockets in Ashkelon, a kidnapped soldier from Kerem Shalom -- why did it take close to a year for Israel to retaliate?

Had Israel actually kept it's word that it would take security seriously, I doubt we would be in the current mess, or that IDF soldier Gilad Shalit would be in captivity today.

In fact, the whole war in the North would have probably been avoided.

The following video recounts how many times we've left Gaza...and returned.


(hat-tip: BoneCrusher)

We will return.




Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, September 11, 2006

The 2996 Project. Nancy Morgenstern HY”D

Nancy Morgenstern

I was sent a link to the 2996 Project from fellow blogger, Smooth Stone – it’s a blogger-based initiative which commemorates the 2,996 victims of 9/11, so I volunteered to post about one of those 2996.


While many of my friends and relatives had brushes with near-death that awful day, and each individual story is more poignant than the next, I knew it was only a matter of time till the diminutive degrees of separation of Jewish Geography would connect me to those less fortunate who did not survive.

I never met Nancy Morgenstern.

Yet I’m good friends with her brother-in-law in Israel, so I guess in theory, I might have met her at a simcha, a family celebration of some sort, at some point in time.

On September 11, 2001, Nancy Morgenstern, 32 worked for the bond-trading company Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of WTC Tower One.

Sometime the next day, I spoke with my friend who told me his sister-in-law was missing, and we added her name to our tehillim lists, Chana Perel bat Sara. Over the coming months, my friend told me more and more about Nancy, as more never-known stories from her friends made their way to Nancy’s parents.

Nancy was first and foremost, a proud Orthodox Jew.

She was also an avid cyclist, and participated in many races. There are many stories on her memorial website from her cycling friends that describe her passion for life and strict adherence to kashrut and Shabbat, even when on cycling tours in a non-Jewish environment.

A kollel was founded in her memory. A Sefer Torah is being written in her memory. A Magen David Adom ambulance in Beit Shemesh was donated in her memory, and besides providing an opportunity to save lives, many new lives saw their first light in that ambulance as well, as over 20 babies were born in Nancy’s ambulance on their way to hospitals in Jerusalem. A whole slew of tzedaka projects came into being dedicated to Nancy’s memory – some are to private recipients and others more public.

Nancy's ambulance at the scene of a bus bombing in Jerusalem


Memorial inscription on the ambulance door


And I continued to follow the story through my friend…since there was no closure. As with many victims from the upper floors of the WTC, Nancy’s remains were not found at first. A burial plot was purchased in the Etz Chayim cemetery outside Beit Shemesh in the hope that one day, Nancy’s remains would be brought to burial in Israel…and the family waited. The psak halacha they received was not to sit shiva as long as there was a possibility that her remains could still be found.

And then, just as the identification process was closing up and it was announced that all possible remains were identified…after 3 long years, DNA typing matched her remains, and were brought to Israel for burial.

I never met Nancy, but I went to her funeral in Israel -- to the cemetery in Beit Shemesh. I clearly remember one of the eulogies; when most people are buried, the memorialization process starts…yet with Nancy, there was already an entire world continuing on in her memory. Torah was being learned in her memory, lives were being saved, tzedaka was given to all sorts of worthy projects and to needy individuals and families.

Most of all, Nancy will always be remembered as an amazing friend to so many, whose passion, love of life and strict adherence to her convictions no matter what environment she was in, was an inspiration to all who knew her.

May her memory be a blessing, a source of comfort for her family – as the projects in her memory continue to add goodness and holiness to the world.


If you are interested in making a contribution to the memorial fund please mail your contribution to:

Nancy Morgenstern Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 458
Brooklyn, NY 11204

The fund is tax exempt. If you would like a receipt for tax purposes, please request one in your correspondence.


More articles about Nancy are here, here and here.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

The Stereotypical Settler. Not.

This post has been updated - so many news sources are enjoying the stereotype, I should have just called this post, The Palestinian Baby-Eating Settlers...**

Many bloggers love to paint the settlers as a stereotypical, monolithic bunch.

Besides from the usual rhetoric describing how we hate and abuse the Arabs by stealing their land, shlep around huge arsenals of weaponry in which to terrorize the Arabs, we obviously all have long beards, huge soup bowl crocheted kippot, crooked noses, believe in Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates river, and are responsible for all of Israel's ills since we started our settlement movement in 1967 to conquer the land. (not to mention the special ingredients in our hand-baked matza)

So how is it, that a settler who kills 4 Palestinians last year, doesn't fit the mold? YnetNews Haaretz JPost reports

An Israeli settler who shot and killed four Palestinian civilians in the West Bank in an attempt to scuttle Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip was convicted Monday in the Jerusalem District Court on four counts of murder.

...

A driver who transported Palestinian laborers, Weisgan grabbed a gun from a security guard at the end of the work day last August after asking him for a drink of water, and then opened fire at the workers in his car at close range, killing three instantly and mortally wounding a fourth, who died later on the operating table at Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem.

The chilling four page charge sheet calls the unexpected shooting rampage near the West Bank settlement of Shilo, "cold blooded and premeditated" murder.

The indictment says that the attacker systematically sprayed five or six bullets at each of his victims, whom he knew well, at one point even refilling his spent cartridge as he sought out his last victim.


All the way at the end of the article is the statement: A father of two, Weisgan, who lived a secular life in a predominantly religious settlement, has since appeared in court donning a skullcap.

When this person went on his killing rampage, he was not at all "religious" -- he lived a secular life.

You will be very hard pressed to find any settlers who approve of this sort of activity. In fact, even in the most "hard core" settlements, this sort of behaviour is just plainly unacceptable. It's wrong. I wonder what goes on in this person's head that causes him to do something like this; his family life will be over. He won't raise his kids anymore. He'll probably spend the rest of his life in jail. So what has he accomplished?

Nothing, except give good headlines to the Israeli Media about "Jerusalem court convicts settler of 2005 murder of 4 Palestinians" and "Settler convicted of murdering 4 Palestinians".

The JPost is the only site to remove "settler" from the equation, with their headline, "Jewish terrorist convicted of murder."

Yet the current picture of him is even more disturbing -- he fits the perfect stereotypical image of Haaretz and Ynet.

Yet, when he committed the murder, he didn't look like this at all...he was a secular Israeli living in a settlement. Yet all the press can do is keep hammering into our heads...settler, murder, settler, murder.

What caused this secular Israeli to go "off the derech" and murder 4 Arabs?

Perhaps he read Haaretz and YNet too often, and the message "settler" equals "murder" somehow permeated into his head?

And only AFTER he killed these Arabs, did he decide to become religious...why is that?

The cynics will say that the religious settlers adopted him after he proved himself -- yet if that's so true, and the settlers are so bad...then why isn't this commonplace behaviour among religious settlers?

Simple.

We don't fit the stereotype that Haaretz and Ynet try so hard to ram down your throat.

**Palestinian Baby-Eating Settlers means Settlers who eat Palestinian Babies, for those who didn't quite understand the grammar.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mars and Venus: The Sting of the Spelling Bee

This may not be a Mars and Venus issue...but if I can't poke fun at myself, what's the point of my blog?

First; an admission of guilt. I am not the world's best speller.

The spell checker is one of my better friends, and the babylon on-line, pop-up, look-up, spelling applet is worth it's weight in golden technical manuals.

In ninth grade, I did reasonably well on my spelling tests, but there are still words which I forget how to spell on a constant basis.

Vacuum. Two C's? One U? Two U's? Which is it?

Surprise. "R-P-R" That doesn't always sound right.

Yes, I've memorized all the spelling algorithms; "I before E, except after C", and I know that "ghoti" can be pronounced as "fish"...

But there are times I've lost miserably to my wife when spelling words -- the most humiliating of all was then I went on and on, telling her that it's unfortunate she didn't have the advantage of growing up in the USA where we learned to properly spell in English.

We even bet on it...and I lost.

I lost, I lost, I lost.

Thankfully, my wife doesn't remind me of my humiliating defeat...which is why I was much more careful last night, when a Yiddish word came into question.

I didn't bet, nor did I make that big a performance over it...I tried to be more modest... perhaps I could be wrong.

I said, "let's find out" -- and I called my father-in-law.

Obviously, my wife was right again. (Or was I wrong again?)

However, I was relieved that I had minimized the damage by:

1. Not betting on it with my wife.
2. Not dancing around the kitchen in advance of finding out the answer, saying how "I am SO going to WIN this"
3. Not making any lame remarks about my superior US education (even my US college diploma wouldn't have help me with this vs. my wife's Israeli college diploma).
4. Not mentioning a word to my father-in-law about the reason for my question.
5. After hearing the correct spelling from my father-in-law (He's a Scrabble Champ, so we trust him on these things), instead of hemming and hawing to my wife, I turned to her, smiled and said, "You were right!"

Just like that.

So she smiled back and we were able to continue on with motzei shabbat.

Important Lessons Learned

1. If guys are going to be stupid competitive with their wives...and you win, be graceful. (otherwise, you've still lost)

2. If guys are going to be stupid competitive with their wives...try to reduce your silly performance of thinking you're going to win, so that the sting of defeat isn't as painful.

3. If your wife smiles at you after you lose, and still doesn't rub your face in your defeat (too much), then you've both won.

4. I really need to brush up on my Yiddish spelling.

If you haven't read the original Muqata posting about Mars and Venus on this blog, now is a good time to read it. Shifra wrote about how differently men and women view the Erev Shabbat 18 minutes, and it's become a JBlogosphere Muqata classic.

Shavua Tov!

--Jameel


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, September 08, 2006

Prisoner swaps and why we will be the real losers.

Every now and again the Israeli government decides for this reason or another to release security prisoners. Sometimes for political reasons (otherwise known as foreign pressure or confidence building measures), sometimes to get information, sometimes to get back dead bodies of Jews, the result is inevitably more dead bodies of Jews. Here is a brief list of what happened with some of those release in various deals. Keep in mind it is only partial and that 70% of Palestinian terrorists released, even those without blood on their hands, take part in other terrorists acts, for the most part much worse then those they were taken in for in the first place.
(Thanks to Arutz Sheva for translating part of Almagor’s report)

Karim Ratteb Younis Awis – released in the context of a ‘good will gesture’:
* November 27, 2001: Carried out shooting attack near Afula, murdering Michal Mor and Noam Guzofsky.
* March 21, 2002: Dispatched a female suicide bomber to Jerusalem’s King George Street, murdering three Israelis, Yitzchak Cohen and Gadi and Tzipora Shemesh – 81 more were wounded.

Nasser Abu Hamiyad – released as part of the Oslo Accords:
* Took part in Ramallah lynch, mutilating bodies of IDF reservists Vadim Norzitz and Yossi Avrahami
* February 25, 2002: Initiated attack on Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood, murdering a female police officers and wounding 10.
* March 5, 2002: Responsible for attack on Seafood Market in Tel Aviv, murdering Israelis Eliyahu Dahan and Yossi Havi, wounding 31.

Abbas ibn Muhammad Alsayd – released in 1996; had a part in three Netanya attacks:
* March 4, 2001: Dispatched Herzl street suicide bombing, murdering Naftali Din, Shlomit Ziv, Yvgeni Malkin and wounding 56.
* May 18, 2001: Responsible for suicide bombing of HaSharon Mall in Netanya, murdering Miriam Wachsman, Yulia Tartiakov, David (Moti) Yarkoni, Vladislov Sorokin and Tirza Tishbi, and wounding 86.
* Helped plan and carry out Park Hotel Passover massacre, murdering 29 and wounding 155.

Ramez Sali Abu Salim – released February 20, 2003:
* Just seven months after release, on September 9: Blew himself up at Jerusalem’s Cafי Hillel, murdering David Shimon Avizdris, Yehiel Emil Toubol, Shafik Karem, Alon Mizrachi, Gila Moshe, Dr. David Yaakov Appelbaum and his daughter Nava – one the eve of her wedding.

Fuad Kawasme – released December 2002:
*Less than half a year later, on May 18, 2003, shot Kiryat Arba residents Gadi and Dina Levi to death near Gross Square in Hevron.

Jihad Alamrin – released as part of the Jibril deal in 1985:
* Founded the Al Aksa Brigades terror group in Gaza
* Planted explosives that killed IDF soldiers Cpl. Asher Zagori, Cpl. Moshe Peled, Cpl. Ron Lavi, Cpl. Matan Biderman and others.

Salah Shahadeh – released in 2000:
* January 9, 2002: Oversaw infiltration into IDF’s Africa Lookout, killing four soldiers.
* March 7, 2002: Shooting attack at Atzmona pre-military academy, murdering Ariel Zaga, Baruch Marcus, Eran Pikar, Aharon Krugliak and Tal Kutzweil.

Iyad Sawalha – released as part of the Wye Agreement in 1998:
* June 5, 2002: Responsible for bus bombing at Megiddo Junction, murdering 17 and wounding 42.
* October 21, 2002: Blew up jeep near Egged bus at Karkur Junction, murdering 14 and wounding 42.

Khalil Hamza Abu Roub – released the final time in 1996:
* September 18, 2002: Organized Umm El Fahm Junction bombing, murdering officer Yossi Ajami and wounding one seriously.
* December 26, 2002: Tried to shoot and kill IDF soldiers attempting to apprehend him. He was killed in the process.

Mahmoud Hamdan – released after serving just 14 months of a lengthy sentence in July 2003:
* September 26, 2003: Two months after his release, he infiltrated the Hevron Hills town of Negohot, murdering Ayal Yaverboim and slaying a baby, Shaked Avraham.

Nidal Salameh – released during Israel-PA talks in 1999:
* Following his release he took leadership role in PFLP terrorist group – responsible for southern Gaza. Oversaw dozens of attacks

Louei Raad Barghouti – released August 2003 as “good-will gesture” to Mahmoud Abbas:
* Planned and oversaw attack at Tzrifin IDF base bus stop, murdering eight.
* Involved in planning of Cafe Hillel attack.

Morad Kawasme – released January 29, 2004 in return for kidnapped Israeli Elchanan Tenenbaum and the bodies of three missing soldiers:
* Became senior Hamas commander in Hevron and shot at soldiers who came to arrest him after he oversaw several attacks.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Real Palestine: Google Lets You Excavate History

Google never ceases to amaze me.

Every few months Google launches a new service that keeps Microsoft lagging in the dust. Be it Google's amazing search engine, picture search engine, Google earth imagery and map program, language translation tools, Gmail and Gchat, or even something boring...like Blogger, Google keeps the web a fascinating place to keep on learning and discovering.

Their latest feature is "Google News Archive Search", that goes back back even before 1900, as old newspapers are being optically scanned into databases for us to be able to query them.

Since XGH and DB are such fans of Palestine, I decided to query it and see what came up. I found a heart-warming post from the most unlikely of newspapers -- The Guardian, from the UK. I don't think I've ever seen a nice word about Israel in their paper...till now.

Their editorial (!!!) from Wednesday November 7, 1917 just leaves you breathless.

We speak of Palestine as a country, but it is not a country; it is at present little more than a small district of the vast Ottoman tyranny. But it will be a country; it will be the country of the Jews. That is the meaning of the letter which we publish to-day written by Mr. Balfour to Lord Rothschild for communication to the Zionist Federation. It is at once the fulfilment of an aspiration, the signpost of a destiny. Never since the days of the Dispersion has the extraordinary people scattered over the earth in every country of modern European and of the old Arabic civilisation surrendered the hope of an ultimate return to the historic seat of its national existence. This has formed part of its ideal life, and is the ever-recurring note of its religious ritual. And if, like other aspirations and religious ideals which time has perhaps worn thin and history has debarred from the vitalising contact of reality, it has grown to be something of a convention, something which you may pray for and dream about but not a thing which belongs to the efforts and energies of this everyday world, that is only what was to be expected, and in no degree detracts from the critical importance of its entry to that world and the translation of its religious faith into the beginnings at least of achievement. For that is what the formal and considered declaration of policy by the British Government means.

For fifty years the Jews have been slowly and painfully returning to their ancestral home, and even under the Ottoman yoke and amid the disorder of that effete and crumbling dominion they have succeeded in establishing the beginnings of a real civiisation. Scattered and few, they have still brought with them schools and industry and scientific knowledge, and here and there have in truth made the waste places blossom as the rose. But for all this there was no security, and the progress, supported as it was financially by only a small section of the Jewish people and by a few generous and wealthy persons, was necessarily as slow as it was precarious. The example of Armenia and the wiping out of a population fifty-fold that of the Jewish colonies in Palestine was a terrible warning of what might at any time be in store for these. The Great War has brought a turning-point. The return of the Turk in victorious power would spell ruin; the rescue of this and the neighbouring lands from Turkish mis-rule was the first condition of security and hope. The British victories in Palestine and in the more distant eastern bounds of the ancient Arab Empire are the presage of the downfall of Turkish power; the declaration of policy by the British Government to-day is the security for a new, perhaps a very wonderful, future for Zionism and for the Jewish race.

Thanks Google!

For your next trick, will you be able to have archived satellite imagery from 100 years ago as well? Now that would be cool...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

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