Monday, August 31, 2009

All Guns Are Evil -- when in the hands of Jews

This Reuters article made me sick. Trying to find a negative aspect of a gun range, run by settlers in the Efrat area, the most damning they could come up with was:
James, an Ohio native who did not want his family name published, took the course earlier this month while visiting friends in Israel after a business trip in the West Bank.

"The most shocking part was when they had us shout 'terrorist' before getting into shooting position," he said.

He enjoyed the course and felt it was safe but morally questionable. "It could indoctrinate children with racist beliefs. It was sad to hear young kids express such racism. It makes the likelihood or reaching a peaceful settlement to the (Middle East) crisis seem more difficult." In the group before his, James said, excited children shouted to their parents about being able to "shoot the Arabs."
The parents were stupid for not correcting their kids about who they are shooting at but that has little to do with the shooting range...and the title of the Reuters post was: "Terrorist" targets popular at West Bank gun range

What is so shocking about yelling "terrorist" before shooting at a cardboard cut-out of a soldier? How is that morally questionable?

What would he have preferred they yelled?

Freedom Fighter!
Criminal!
Bad Person with an Axe!
Humus!

I'm sure he would find it even more shocking and racist that the IDF actually trains counter-terror forces in mock Arab villages! (And the IDF also makes its soldiers yell "terrorist" before shooting at a target. The reason is to alert other soldiers why he is shooting, as well as to reinforce to the solider what his target is.)

Here's a picture from one my milluim/reserve duty stints in the IDF. I guess this must be shocking as well.


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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

More than one way to fly to Israel

-- Advertisement --

The Jblogger contest is not the only way to fly for free (more or less) to Israel.

If you sign up for a HAS Advantage credit card you can start earning points towards El Al tickets to Israel.

I know this works, because it's how my parents fly to Israel (and fly their grandchildren in from Israel).

The card has no annual fee. You can use it, or not use it.



But there are Jewish/kosher stores all over where you can even earn double points if you shop there and pay with the HAS card - and get to Israel sooner.

And once your in Israel, the HAS card also gives you discounts in some 100 stores in Israel.

(There are plenty of other benefits too.)

So click on the link to HAS, and apply using the code "WebAds4" (that give the Muqata the "credit" for your signup), and you'll get 2500 points after your first purchase.


Earn El Al tickets to Israel and other rewards with the HAS Advantage Credit Card!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Sunday, August 30, 2009

1800 NIS Cash Prize Contest

The "Matot Arim" organization is holding a bumper sticker contest for the entry that best visualizes (with some of the text) the quote from this past week. of Government Minister Moshe "Bogi" Ya'alon.

Former IDF Commander in Chief Ya'alon stated that when he was in the army, he used to say that "the politicians brought the dove of peace and the army had to clean up after it."

I'm personally reminded of the "Oslo Peace Dove" from Women in Green.

Contest Rules:

1. The sticker design does not need to include the whole quote from Ya'alon, but the general sentiment.

2. Deadline for submissions: September 6th, 2009 -- by the evening hours (Israel time), noon EST.

3. All submissions must contain the name of the designer, profession or school, age, address, telephone and email. (Photos appreciated)

4. The winning sticker design will win a cash prize of 1,800 NIS -- as 18 is "Chai" -- "Life" as we see this is a "life saving" sticker.

5. The winning sticker will be mass produced and distributed throughout Israel, and the rights will be reserved to "Matot Arim"

Please send all submissions to: mattot.arim@gmail.com



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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Sept 1rst...Dragging Kids off to School

September First. Vacation Arrives for Parents as kids go back to school after a much too long summer vacation.

Getting kids off their summer facebook addiction makes this picture all the scarier.


My sister-in-law emailed this picture to her kids, reminding them that she DOESN'T want to see any of them behaving this way on Tuesday...



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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good news from Israel

Israeli scientists find a natural cure for insomnia. The drug is called Circadin and it is essentially a timed melatonin release capsule.

Unlike sleeping pills which suppress brain activity, Circadin simulates the natural functioning of the pineal gland and naturally prepares the body for sleeping.

Cool. The next drug of the Jet Set - and it was developed in Israel.


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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom!


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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Orange Ends Ramadan Signup for Special offer

My scoop was reported everywhere, about the free 2000 Ramadan minutes deal for Orange to Orange cellphones in Israel.

Arutz Sheva was even nice enough to give me credit....as did Carl, Janglo and others.

Facebook was abuzz with the deal.

However, ynet claims because THEY advertised the Orange super secret Ramadan offer, that Orange was swamped with requests, and because of YNET (hear them cheer), Orange ended registration for their special deal.

Sheesh.




Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Its Elul -- and Dogs love the Shofar

See what happens when the Shofar is blown in Utah...



I guess Elul has that affect on everyone.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Mazal Tov: Natural Growth at the Muqata

We were waiting for George Mitchell to finish his meeting with Bibi today (which didn't go well for Mitchell) before making this announcement.

Mazel Tov to Jameel & Mrs. Jameel (Jameela?) and the Muqata family on the birth of their new settler early this morning.

It's a boy, and with the help of God, the bris will be on Wednesday.

Mazel Tov.

(Jameel also just told me that will not be nominating me for the flight, and will be presenting his alternative choices in a day or two.)


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Send a Friend to Israel

JoeSettler here.

I just got an email from WebAds and Nefesh B'Nefesh asking me to nominate a fellow blogger for a free round-trip ticket to Israel to go to the Jewish blogger convention.

You can see more here on the convention website.



My first thought was, who could I possibly convince to nominate me. But then I realized that that list couldn't possibly be very long, so I'm giving up on that idea.

Instead I decided to think about who deserves to be on the flight.

Jameel perhaps, but he was on it last year. I think it would be amusing to meet Dov Bear (and then smack him around a bit), but I doubt he'd emerge from his cave.

Then it hit me. SoccerDad.

It's not that I read his blog that often, but the guy has been at the forefront of pushing Jewish blogging - and has mentioned my blog in his Jewish blog carnivals more than once. If any Jewish blogger deserves a free trip to Israel to the blogger convention, I'd have to give him my vote.

(I'm still going to nominate a few other bloggers though).

I'm curious who Jameel will choose (pick me, pick me).


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

GAP Opens in Jerusalem

Now there's really no excuse to put off aliya any more. Israel's economy is recovering faster than almost every other Western country affected by the global recession.

Last night (Monday), the trendy clothing chain "GAP" opened its first store in Israel -- in Jerusalem.

Throngs of people wait on line for the grand opening...

At 8 PM -- the Mezuza was affixed to the GAP store's entrance by CEO Moti Ziser, and the crowd flocked through, for the GAP buying experience...

Haaretz adds:
The Gap empire opened its first Israeli branch on Monday, after a three year delay. The store on Jerusalem's high-end Mamila Avenue makes Israel the 17th country in the world to host a Gap branch.

Gap's expansion to Israel is a positive sign for the company, which has been strongly affected by the global economic crisis.

The company is entering an apparel market in Israel already saturated with trendy clothing brands and stands to become even more so when the popular clothing store H&M opens in the spring of 2010. That store will be opening in the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv, the same location where Gap plans on opening their second store.
Photos from The Marker

OK American Jewry -- what's today's excuse reason?

Parnsaa? Check.
GAP? Check.

:-)

Nefesh bNefesh still has room for next week's summer flights...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

IDF Combat Medicine (Part 2)

Warning - the following post and pictures are all simulated, yet may be disturbing to some readers...including parents of IDF soldiers.

Viewer Discretion is Advised. (Even JoeSettler was freaked out...)


As I mentioned in my previous posting on this topic (Part 1), I was invited last week to a special presentation and demonstration of the IDF Medical Corps. Part 1 was about the presentation, while this post is about the actual demonstration of training IDF combat paramedics and doctors for the working under the high pressures of combat.

The IDF Spokespeople took us to the IDF Center for Medical Simulation. In this building, combat medics, paramedics and doctors learn and practice intubations, CPR and live saving techniques on highly sophisticated mannequins -- under combat spressure. These mannequins are generations ahead of "Rescue Annie" which I used for EMT BasicLifeSupport training.

Each mannequin is computer controlled - you can actually feel a pulse in the carotid (neck) artery as well as in the radial and femoral arteries (I personally checked them). The computer can make the pulse speed up, slow down, stop, or be felt in different (but not all) arteries -- which is a simulation of what one can expect when dealing with trauma victims.


These mannequins can "breathe" and their chests go up and down, simulating lungs inhaling and exhaling -- the computer can even constrict their airways (in their throats) to simulate a blockage. Some of the mannequins can even "speak" -- and the computer operator can make them say different phrases.

Yet these realistic simulations were nothing compared to the next room.

We entered a large room, about 25 feet by 25 feet; the walls were covered with camouflage netting. The floor was covered with about 6-7 mannequins like the ones we saw earlier, but in much worse condition. All were dressed in IDF uniforms, and were scattered around in various situations. One was obviously deceased as it was in 2 halves.


One was missing part of its leg.


We were asked to move back to the walls of the room for the simulation exercise to begin.

A smoke machine started blowing steam-like smoke into the room, which quickly created a foggy haze.

The lights went out.

And then the sound-track started.

Extremely loud artillery fire shook the room as a Dolby-Surround Sound -- sub-woofer-in- your-stomach-deep-rumbling quality took over.

360 degree automatic gunfire, grenades and artillery shells pounded the room, a strobe light flashed around on the ceiling and I instinctively needed to seek cover.

It was that real.

Into this inferno, the IDF medical team was thrown in -- they rushed through the door. not knowing how many or in what condition the "wounded soldiers" would be in. The fog, noise and confusion brought back memories of mass casualty attacks I attended as an EMT, and I watched the medical team try to make sense of the situation, quickly asses the number of wounded, the seriousness of their injuries, and employ methods of life saving techniques.

A quick triage of the first unfortunate soldier mannequin left him declared as dead, as the team split up to evaluate the different "wounded".

When "working" as an EMT or combat medic, paramedic or doctor, you turn off your feelings completely and go on auto-pilot.

When I've participated in life saving situations, we're taught to turn off all feelings and ignore cries of pain -- as its impossible to work under the intense pressure of saving lives when your feelings get in the way.

Yet as a "spectator" of this exercise I was nearly horrified at the reality of it -- wounded "soldiers," the fog of war, the noise of gunfire and combat, and the cool reports of number of wounded, status of their injuries, and the expected time to evacuation.

After 15-20 minutes, of what seemed to be a lifetime, the lights went on, a voice announced "exercise terminated, exercise terminated."

The fog dissipated, the medics removed the breathing tubes from the mannequins.

And a jarring, light-hearted rock song was piped through the speaker system.

Preparing for reality -- end of part 2.

Part 3 is even more intense. Stay tuned...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Obama's obsession with Israel: Is it just our imagination?

by Lurker

Sometimes good ideas come from the most unlikely of sources.

A couple of days ago, JoeSettler did a post in which he examined the question of how often President Obama and his top officials talk about Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Examining the week of Aug. 17-21, he found (with a little help from yours truly) that Israel was discussed on every single day. And he suggested — quite correctly — that this would seem to indicate an obsession with Israel on the part of the Administration.

Some people disagreed, however. One anonymous commenter wrote derisively that our analysis left him "laughing out loud". He criticized the information as presented, arguing that Israel is not mentioned by the Administration any more than other countries:
Why don't you google Egypt or France or Canada and see how many times the sec of state the labor scty and other major gvnmt officials mentioned them.
Now, I wasn't sure I saw the point of looking for references to foreign countries from the Secretary of Labor, a government official who deals primarily with domestic issues — as opposed to the Secretary of State or the President himself, who also deal with foreign affairs. Nevertheless, the overall idea in the commenter's suggestion sounded quite reasonable to me. So, I decided to carry out his proposal.

Rather than googling, I examined the sources directly, in order to get thoroughly precise and reliable figures: I went through all speeches, press briefings, news releases, and blog posts for the duration of the period that was analyzed in Joe's post (Aug. 17-21), tallying every single reference made to each of the three countries listed by our anonymous critic — France, Canada, and Egypt — as well as Israel. The sources surveyed were the following:
Here are the final results:

France: 0 references.
Canada: 3 references.
Egypt: 52 references. (Of these, 9 were in direct connection with Israel.)
Israel: 87 references.

A couple of notes:
  1. As I had suspected, there were no references whatsoever to any of these countries from the Department of Labor.
  2. This was from a week during which Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was in Washington, holding meetings and press conferences with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. (This explains the high number of references to Egypt, which is considerably higher than the number of references to Egypt during previous weeks.) No high-ranking Israeli officials were in Washington during the week in question. In spite of this, references to Israel still exceeded references to Egypt by more than 67%.
  3. References to Israel exceeded references to Canada (one of the countries our critic advised us to compare) by a ratio of 29:1.
  4. As compared with 87 references to Israel, France (another country our critic advised us to compare) was not mentioned even once.
I found the transcript of Obama's and Mubarak's joint press conference particularly fascinating: In this press conference with the President of Egypt, Egypt was mentioned only 9 times. Israel, on the other hand, was mentioned 19 times.

I want to thank the commenter (pity he was anonymous; otherwise I'd thank him by name) for his shrewd suggestion that we should compare the count of references to Israel with that of references to France, Canada, and Egypt. The results clearly indicate that the Administration is even more obsessed with Israel that I had previously imagined.

Our anonymous commenter is free, of course, to continue laughing at the facts and figures — even the ones that he himself suggested we examine. But intelligent readers can certainly draw the logical conclusions for themselves.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Monday, August 24, 2009

IDF Combat Medicine (part 1)

Last week I had the privilege of attending a special presentation and demonstration of the IDF Medical Corps for the Foreign Press and bloggers (ok, blogger in the singular).

I was definitely the odd one there -- without a huge, expensive camera and sans-official press credentials. Regardless, I'm extremely grateful to the IDF Spokesman's office and NewMedia desk for inviting me -- and I hope these blogs posts do justice to the interesting demonstrations I saw.

On a personal level, I found the topic fascinating since I'm involved in emergency medicine through Israel's emergency medical organizations Magen David Adom and United Hatzala, as well as being on the "comabt" side through my IDF reserve duty.

I arrived at the IDF Tzrifin base and parked at the wrong entrance, but IDF Spokesperson, Captain Benjamin Rutland was more than helpful in directing me to the "correct" entrance on the other side of the base (a ten minute drive since the base is huge). Though at first we spoke in Hebrew, kudos to the IDF for having native (and helpful) English speakers on staff at the IDF Spokesman.

The first speaker was the IDF Surgeon General, Brig. Gen. Dr. Nachman Ash who discussed the current state of the IDF Medical Corps, its activities, and its cooperation with foreign armies in combat field medicine.

Dr. Ash mentioned how the IDF will start outsourcing some of the routine IDF health care services to public HMO's (Kupot Cholim) who will treat soldiers on bases. I found it interesting that there's currently a shortage of IDF doctors, since the massive influx of olim doctors from the wave of aliya from the Soviet Union had subsided.

In additional to the purely military aspect of combat medicine, the IDF Medical Corps take charge of Israel on a national level, when Israel's is faced with national medical emergencies (and we hope swine-flu doesn't require the IDF's assitance)

The following speaker was the head of the Trauma Branch, Lt. Col Dr. Gill Hirschhorn


Dr. Gil described the "lessons learned" from the Second Lebanon war, and how they were applied to the Cast Lead Operation/Gaza War this past January.

As opposed to the Second Lebanon war, where evacuation time of wounded soldiers took up to 8 hours -- in the Cast Lead operation, seriously wounded soldiers were evacuated to hospitals in less than an hour.

New medical innovations already proved themselves on the battlefield saving lives, such as the "Quick Clot" Combat Bandage. This new item already battlefield proven by US marines in Iraq and Afghanistan provides significant blood clotting for severe trauma wounds.

Dr. Gil told me before his presentation that this item proved itself, saving lives of IDF soldiers during Cast-Lead.

Another innovation used by the IDF during CastLead is a ruggedized, lightweight, electrically powered Oxygen ventilator.

However, the 2 innovations that drew the most interest are those in development right now.

The first is a portable, electrical Oxygen generation device that can produce 100% pure Oxygen at a rate of 10 liters per minute (the amount used for emergency respiratory support) -- without the need for Oxygen canisters/balloons.

If this device ever makes it into production, it will be a revolutionary device, not only on the battlefield for combat medicine support, but for civilian emergency medical providers as well.

The next innovation seemed like something out of a science fiction movie.

Dr. Gil showed a slide of an airborne, unmanned medivac transporter for wounded soldiers.


This transporter is already past the planning stages, and is being developed by an Israeli-based company in Yavneh, "Urban Aeronautics." Dubbed, the "X-Hawk", this unmanned, next generation emergency transport vehicle will be able to arrive at a battle scene to evacuate wounded soldiers -- while being remotely piloted from a safer zone, away from the battlefield.

Foxnews reported on the X-hawk a year and a half ago, and the IDF insists that the prototypes are not far away (as close enough as 2010)
Like a similarly sized helicopter, X-Hawk will be able to take off vertically, fly up to 155 miles an hour and as high as 12,000 feet and remain aloft about two hours, Urban Aeronautics says.

But encased fans will replace the exposed rotors that keep helicopters from maneuvering effectively in urban areas or dense natural terrain because they have to stay clear of walls, power lines and mountain ridges. And a patented system of vanes is designed to afford the vehicle greater stability.

Urban Aeronautics says vehicles will be able to sidle right up to a building. (Fox)

The following Urban Aeronautics video gives us an up close and personal example of what we can expect to see.



My 16 year old son didn't believe me at all when I showed him the video, till I showed him the slide with Dr. Gil above it -- with the artist's rendition on his slide.

The IDF is taking this venture very seriously.

We also heard about the "Namer" (the Tiger) which is already on the battlefield.


Laid out on the back table were examples of already-in-the-field innovative equipment.

In my next posting on the IDF Comabt Medicine presentation, I'll describe the 2 exercises we saw -- how the IDF prepares its paramedics to save lives, under the pressures of urban combat.

Stay tuned...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Who's Crocheting Your Kippa?

Who's Crocheting Your Kippa?

Is it Chanie or Shaindey?

If you buy one in the US, its probably crocheted by Fatima. The Arab Times reports via Reuters:

DEIR ABU MESHAL, West Bank, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Of all the cottage industries you might expect to find in the Israeli- occupied West Bank, the crocheting of Jewish skullcaps by Palestinian hands seems one of the oddest.

But creating the colourful cap, known in Hebrew as a 'kippah', keeps hundreds of women busy in villages like Deir Abu Meshal, which have been making the religious headgear for their Jewish neighbours for some 40 years. Almost every house in the village of 3,000 west of Ramallah makes the little caps. It's a social event as well as a helpful cash-earner. Women bring their wool and needles to each other's home to crochet and chat.

'We make qors (the Arab name for kippah translates as 'disc') while having a gossip,' said Umm Ali. 'We meet each other and we make money at the same time,' added the mother of three, whose husband is unemployed.

The women make around five caps a day, worth about 12 shekels ($3) each.

'Women here can't sit down without knitting. We've gotten used to it,' jokes Ruqaya Barghouthi.

Six Palestinian skullcap dealers distribute the wool, needles and the models to women in this village and 10 neighbouring villages.

The finished articles are collected each week and shipped to Israeli retailers. The skullcaps are also exported to the United States.

'The kippah business is what makes my shop busy. Women buy stuff from the kippah money they earn,' said Riyad Ata, whose grocery store serves as a collection point for finished caps from some 100 women.

Observant Jews wear a kippah, which means dome in Hebrew, to cover the head in acknowledgement of the supreme God.

The women of Deir Abu Meshal, known for its traditional dress embroidery, say that to them it's merely a business.

They say they have no qualms about furnishing skullcaps for the people of the occupying power or the Jewish settler, who may be living on Palestinian land.

They say the work is convenient: they don't have to travel.

'Without this knitting business, people here would be very poor,' said Nema Khamis, 50, who passed on her skills to her five daughters and daughter-in-law.

Palestinian weavers used to make the traditional keffiyeh, the chequered Arab headscarf that late leader Yasser Arafat made a national Palestinian symbol. But much of that business has now gone to China, where costs are lower.

The article is a bit silly by stating, " have no qualms about furnishing skullcaps for the people of the occupying power or the Jewish settler, who may be living on Palestinian land," considering as the article also states -- the kippot are mostly for export to the US.

Here in Israel, when not made by a friend, the vast majority of kippot are imported -- mostly from Romania, if my kippa suppliers is being honest.

Hat-tip: Honest Abe.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Orange Phone Ramadan Offer Update

Important Update:

The 2000 free minutes Ramadan offer is between the nighttime (Ramadan party hours) hours of 9:30 PM and 6:00 AM -- and are only from Orange to Orange phones (within the Orange network). The free minutes are NOT to every single Israeli destination.

Not as amazing as being able to call every single number in Israel, but still impressive...

However, the NFC (news first class, news 1) website has an additional scoop about Orange's targeted advertising offers for the "Arab sector".

If you're an Arab and newly engaged, you're entitled to a package of 1500 talk minutes per month, at 9 agorot a minute.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Haveil Havalim #231

Hi Gang,

It is Jack with my weekly message.

Haveil Havalim, The Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere weekly blog carnival is now live.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fleeing Dubai -- Scuba Equipment Under a Burka

This is a great story -- a French Spy escaped Dubai by hiding his Scuba Diving Equipment under a Burka.
On a quiet spring morning, when the Arab villagers were at Friday prayers, Herve Jaubert dragged his rubber dinghy down an empty beach, started the engine, and chugged away to freedom.

As befits a former French naval officer and spy, he had made immaculate preparations for his escape from the United Arab Emirates.

The night before, he claims he had donned wetsuit and scuba diving gear, which had smuggled to him from France in pieces. He dressed himself in women's clothes, and covered himself with a black abaya, the all-enveloping burka-like robe worn to preserve modesty in the Gulf.

Not a small man, he shuffled awkwardly out of the hotel where he was staying under an assumed name, made his way to the seafront and slipped in.

From there, he swam underwater to the nearby coastguard station, on a remote outpost of the emirate of Fujairah, where he cut the fuel lines on a police patrol boat. He knew it was the only one in the area, and the coast would now be clear.

On his dinghy the next day, it took six hours to reach his destination: a sailing boat, crewed by a fellow former French spy, that was waiting just outside UAE territorial waters.

He clambered aboard, turned the prow towards India, and for the first time since he alleges the Dubai secret police had threatened to insert needles up his nose a year before, felt the fear in his stomach dissipate. He was free.

Read the remarkable story here.

I think this would be a great way for people to escape Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. Too bad its landlocked and the scuba equipment isn't that helpful...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Special Muqata offer for Orange Phone Users (Israel)

Special Muqata Offer -- for RAMADAN! (This month only -- as Ramadan started Friday...) [See Update Below]

If you're an Orange(tm) mobile phone user in Israel, there's a super secret phone offer for the "Arab sector" that can be used by anyone who happens to find out about it (hence, this special notification from Jameel at the Muqata) .

If you send the text message "ramadan" to 999 by SMS, you're eligible for 2000 free minutes between the nighttime (Ramadan party hours) hours of 9:30 PM and 5:00 AM.

Based on the hours my kids have been keeping this summer, this should save us a lot of money.

Don't thank me, I'm a giver....
Update: The 2000 free minutes are apparently only within the Orange network and not to all Israeli numbers.
More details to follow...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

How often does Obama talk about Israel?

Although Jameel said there should be a moratorium on anti-Obama posts, we put up some satirical pictures last week - because they were funny, related to current events, and newsworthy.

But one upset anonymous commentor believes we are obsessing about Obama, to which I responded, "I'd be happy to ignore Obama - if only Obama would ignore us."

But the ObamaCommentator then said that, "Obama is not obsessed with Israel. Israel is obsessed with Obama. The number of times he has given speeches about Israel is relatively small."

So I decided to check on that, using the White House Press section as my source.

This is what I found:

I present the Obama-Israel Checklist for last week.

Aug. 21 Ramadan Kareeem speech. Obama mentions Israel.
Check.

Aug. 20 White House Press Briefing. Gibbs said that Obama just spoke with the King of Jordan about... Israel.
Check.

Aug. 19 White House Blog. Obama's blog talks all about Israel and Obama's talking all about Israel.
Check.

Aug. 18 Obama spoke with Mubarak about... Israel.
Check.

Aug. 17 No mention of Israel!
No Check

Conclusion.

In 4 out of 5 workdays last week, Obama spoke about Israel.


Correction: (thanks Lurker)

Aug. 17 Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, held talks with Hosni Mubarak about... Israel.
Check.

Conclusion:

In 5 out of 5 workdays last week, Obama spoke about Israel.

I think only Healthcare was mentioned (a lot) more.

That's not obsessed?

This is not an anti-Obama blog. It's a pro-Israel, pro-Settlement blog. If Obama is constantly mentioning Israel in a negative light, then we certainly reserve the right to respond in kind from time to time.

If he stops, we'll stop.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Please don't miss the many levels of irony

This poster is now all over America...and the Web. But who's responsible for it? The absolute definition of irony coming up below...


Was it a "GOP Jew"? An angry, gun-toting, radical right winger?

No and no. Haaretz provides the answer (which in itself is also ironic...)
A Palestinian-American has been revealed as the creator of the "socialist joker" image, a doctored poster of President Barack Obama found on highways and in cities across the United States this summer.

Many initially took the portrait - featuring the president with the carved-in smile of Heath Ledgers's character in the Dark Knight - to be the work of a conservative opposed to Obama's liberal ways.

But it turns out that Firas Alkhateeb, 20, is actually a liberal himself from Obama's hometown of Chicago, who would have preferred to see Dennis Kucinich elected.

Alkhateeb told the Los Angeles Times - which unmasked his identity - that the poster had been meant more as a joke than as a political statement. The original draft of the image was meant to satirize, or in this case "jokerize," Obama's picture on the October cover of Time Magazine.

Regardless of his intentions, the iconic image has turned into a political statement. An Obama critic downloaded Alkhateeb's image off of the photo Web site Flickr, printed it out as a poster, and tacked on the word "socialism" before pasting it up across Los Angeles.

The image has sparked debate among Americans of whether its message is racist, if it is related to the ongoing conversation of reforming health care, and of just how liberal the new U.S. president may be.

But for Alkhateeb, none of this seems to matter. "After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ," he told the Los Angeles Times. "From my perspective, there wasn't much substance to him.
Reminder: "The Joker [poster] has been called 'mean-spirited and dangerous' by the U.S. President's supporters." (source)

Dangerous...dangerous...oh, it was made by a liberal Palestinian American? I guess it can't be that bad...

[Hattip: JoeSettler]


Additional Update for the google-challenged:

For the benefit of those criticizing your chosen source regarding the reaction of the American left to the Obama/Joker poster, here are some more links (the "well read" commenter is looking dumber by he minute)

· Washington Post:
Obama as The Joker: Racial Fear's Ugly Face: 'Political' Poster Turns On Violent Symbolism
"[The poster is] subtly coded, highly effective racial and political argument. Forget socialism, this poster is another attempt to accomplish an association between Obama and the unpredictable, seeming danger of urban life.... Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time. The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can't be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he's black."

· Daily Kos:
This Pic Will Make You Sick
"There are two ways to view this image. (1) a reference to the 'Joker' in the Batman movie, and (2) as Obama in whiteface as a minstrel show clown. This is dogwhistle racism.... These are Scary Sick People who must not be allowed to 'win'.

· Huffington Post:
Obama as Joker? Dead Heath Ledger? Vampire? ...Or Just Wingnut's Enigma?
"As part of the hate offensive, wingnut blogs… are trying to build buzz around this Obama poster.... [In] this chilling Obama as Joker... 'the only thing missing is a noose'.... Besides the allusion to the President as a psychopath and more insidiously, a man behind a mask, does the chalk exploit race by suggesting the man is playing at being white?"

hat-tip: Lurker.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama's Peace Plan (update)

IBA News said that Obama will be releasing a draft of his Peace Plan in September, possibly ahead of the UN General Assembly.

Now remember, IBA News said it, not me. So don't blame me if Obama waffles again on the date.

Oh, and the far Left Ha'aretz has reported it too, giving the credit of the announcement to Obama's "counselor and friend" the Egyptian dictator leader Mubarak who just finished a love-fest meeting with the One the other day.

Mubarak, no friend (or even sharer of common interests) with Israel left the meeting mightily pleased with the direction that the US is shoving Israel.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Egged Jerusalem Revamp

Borrowing the map from the London Underground, the Egged bus company has revamped their Jerusalem bus routes, and even created bus maps, modestly reminiscent of the London Underground.

Their whole explanation in English, is here.

Familiar routes like the Ramot 35 and 36 lines have been discontinued, highspeed express routes via the Begin expressway have been introduced, and other lines have been "improved."

The Chomat Shmuel neighborhood (Har Choma) gains 2 new routes, as does Gilo and Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, Givat Shaul and Har Nof.

And if this is all new and exciting -- just wait till the light railway starts...(if it ever finishes construction)


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

The Enemy Within - Blaming "Greedy" Victims

Israel's in an uproar today over a Swedish newspaper's allegations blood libel that IDF soldiers are killing Palestinians to harvest their organs.
"Leading Swedish daily Aftonbladet claimed Tuesday that IDF soldiers killed Palestinians in order to trade in their organs, adding that this suspicion may lead to an international war crimes investigation against Israel. (ynetnews)"
You don't have to go to far away Ikealand to see the same sort of venomous libel...unfortunately we have the same, even in Israel.

Nehemia Shtrasler decides in Haaretz that the settlers from Gush Katif actually wanted the Disengagement, so that they could milk Israel dry from government compensation.

The offending passage reads:

The settlers in Gaza won big time. They had two goals: to extract huge amounts of compensation from the government and to keep the issue on the public agenda as an open wound, as a traumatic and costly experience in the extreme so that all politicians who might dream of a similar solution in the West Bank would tell themselves that it is impossible.

Later in the article Shtrasler libels further:

At this point we have spent NIS 8.1 billion on the evacuation, including NIS 4.9 billion in investment in infrastructure and direct compensation to families. It's a huge, unreasonable sum and it's not final. At the evacuation administration, they expect the final amount to grow to about NIS 10 billion! These are much larger amounts than the Sinai evacuees received, but the former Gaza residents continue to play the role of victims of injustice, demanding more and more so that the wound will never heal.

My friend Robert Klein notes:

It is such a patent lie that the victims of Disengagement "extracted huge amounts of compensation", that I hope representatives of the victims sue Haaretz & Shtrasler for libel. Poetically, I do hope they extract huge amounts of compensation from both libelers.

For those unaware or who've forgotten, the Gazan Jews didn't want *any* compensation; they wanted to stay in their homes and communities. They and the Right protested the entire concept of the illegal and immoral evictions. It was the likes of Haaretz and Shtrasler who supported Disengagement and the compensation made necessary by the plan.

Moreover, the compensation plan did not take into account the economic suffering that would be incurred, i.e. loss of livelihood, for the majority whose jobs were tied to their now-destroyed communities.

Worst of all, the government didn't pay, or paid so long after it was promised that when the money arrived, it didn't even cover the evictees' debts due to unemployment.

Shame on the libelers!

In addition to Sweden, Nehemia's is in good company. I found some more examples of those who blame victims as "greedy".

1. Those Greedy Holocaust survivors.

Gonzo: 04-26-2005, 12:47 AM

An Israeli government report that claims to be the first of its kind has set material damage to the Jewish people during the Holocaust at some $240 billion to $330 billion (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/20/news/holocaust.php)

They have blackmailed and are still raping the swiss banks...now with this report, one can see what lies ahead for the Jew mafia .

These greedy jew bastards wont be happy untill they own everything in this world.......The holocaust is a gift to the Zionists...It makes me wonder....If there were no "holocaust" where would the jews be today?...

what a scam !

Gonzo: 04-26-2005, 01:14 AM
there is no stopping them.......Only war can stop the jews and their constant extortion and exploitation.....

They bought up all of Germany in the 1920's for pennies on the dollar due to their ownership of the banks.......Hitler put a stop to the thievary.....and now the thieves are demanding back their ill gotten gains that doesnt even belong to them in the first place.

I just wish once i would hear ONE JEW on Pravda denounce what Zionism is doing in regards to this extortion. not once does a jew denounce the behavior of their leadership.

Thats why i say phuek off to you when someone says......"denounce Zionism and not jews"....This illusion they play is nothing more then good cop - bad cop .....

2. Gaddafi's son: Relatives of Lockerbie Victims 'greedy'

Saif Islam Gaddafi said the Lockerbie families had traded with "the blood of their sons and daughters" during negotiations over payouts for the deaths of loved ones.

His outburst infuriated relatives of those who died in Britain's worst terrorist attack.

Mr Gaddafi, who is seen by many as likely to succeed his father, also told the BBC that the Libyan government had only taken responsibility for the disaster in order to get international sanctions lifted.

"You have to ask the families of the victims," he said. "The negotiation with them, it was very terrible and very materialistic and was very greedy. They were asking for more money and more money and more money."

He added: "I think they were very greedy and I think they were trading with the blood of their sons and daughters."

3. Jail the 'greedy' scam victims, says Nigerian diplomat

THE Nigerian high commissioner says people who are ripped off by so-called Nigerian scams are just as guilty as the fraudsters and should be jailed.

Responding to a story in yesterday's Herald, which revealed Australians lose at least $36 million a year to the online scams, Sunday Olu Agbi said Australians had failed to heed repeated warnings not to deal with shady characters on the internet.

Kudos Nehemia. Why not freelance for the Swedish daily Aftonbladet as well?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Who's the Man (2)?


Photo courtesy of Arutz-7 site

"And then I slapped Bibi like this."

"You slapped Bibi like this?"

"Yes sir, I slapped him like this."

"Can I slap him like this too?"

"Sure, you have my permission."


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Who's the Man?



It looks to me like the conversation went something like this:

O: You're the Man.

M: No, you're the Man.

O: No really, it's you. You're the Man.

M: No, no no. It's you man! You're the Man.

And while we're on the subject, this article seems relevant.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Another NBN Landing Ceremony

Preshow starts today around noon...

Landing ceremony is Wednesday morning (Israel time).



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CSI Israel

A guest post by Lurker:
From today's Jerusalem Post:
A haredi man [was] found dead with one hand cuffed in an empty building in Beit Dagan last Friday...
...
...police say an autopsy revealed no signs of foul play.... "No evidence of criminal wrongdoing was found", [said a police spokeseman].

Once again now: The dead body was found handcuffed in an empty building. But according to the Israel Police, there is "no evidence of criminal wrongdoing".

Anyone besides me see something wrong with this picture?

Note: Given the subterranean editorial standards at the Jerusalem Post, I realize that the idiots here might possibly be the JPost staff, rather than (or in addition to) the police...


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Fascinating new discovery in Ir David

A Guest Post by Lurker.

The excavators in Ir David have uncovered a Roman mansion that was destroyed by the massive earthquake that hit Jerusalem in 363 CE. The JPOST reports:
A "magnificent" two-story Roman mansion of more than 1,000 square meters has been discovered by archeologists in the City of David Archeological Park outside the capital's Old City, the Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.

Previously, archeologist believed 3rd century Roman ruins extended only to the edge of the Ottoman Old City walls. The discovery of the mansion within the Givati parking lot, outside the walls and adjacent to the City of David, however, suggests Roman construction may have stretched to the bottom of the Silwan Valley, Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, the excavation's director, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

"This discovery was very surprising," Ben-Ami said. "We didn't expect to find any Roman building remains within the City of David. We were astonished at how huge the structure is. So far we uncovered 1,000 square meters and the structure still extends beyond the limits of the excavation area."

The find has already revolutionized historians' understanding of Roman settlement in Jerusalem, he said.

"The prevailing supposition among scholars that the City of David hill remained outside the area of Roman settlement at the time of Aelia Capitolina is no longer valid," said Ben-Ami.

The opulence of the building is apparent in its size and in artifacts recovered throughout the structures, the Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

"In the center of it was a large open courtyard surrounded by columns," reads the statement. "The building rose to a height of two stories and was covered with tile roofs... Excavators deduced that some of the walls of the rooms were treated with plaster and decorated with colorful paintings."

Also found within the structure were a marble figurine in the image of a boxer and a gold earring inlaid with precious stones.

The building most likely met its end during a massive earthquake that shook Jerusalem in 363 CE, Ben-Ami said.

This was the earthquake that marked the end of the Roman-sponsored plans to build the Third Temple, and which was apparently responsible for the institution of the fast day that we now know as Lag B'Omer.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Who has Gilad Shalit? Egypt?

POSTED BY JOESETTLER - NOT JAMEEL WHO IS SKEPTICAL OF THIS INTERPRETATION AND BLAMES IT ON MUBARAK'S POOR ENGLISH COMPREHENSION SKILLS.

In a strange interview with Charlie Rose the other day, Egyptian dictator leader Hosni Mubarak made some strange statements, and Charlie Rose kept correcting him.

I understood/understand Mubarak to mean that Egypt physically has Gilad Shalit, and now they are holding him prisoner until Israel agrees to the terms.

Read it carefully, and tell me if you agree.


Mubarak:
For instance, we were just about to facilitate the release of the prisoner, Shalit. You know that he's our prisoner [JS: Outright claim of custody]."

Charlie: Right, held by Hamas in Gaza. [JS: Charlie's first correction]

Mubarak: "We were just about to secure his release in our custody [JS: Did he mean into or from?] and solve this problem, but external interventions, outside interventions hindered that. But we are working on that and in collaboration and cooperation with the Germans."

Charlie:
It is said that ... the Israelis made extra demand[s] and prevented you and Egypt from gaining control of the prisoner [JS: Charlie's second correction] so that you could return him in exchange for Palestinians. That the problem was that you had a deal and Israel made additional demands. Is that true?

Mubarak: "You have a good deal of truth [JS: Meaning it's not exactly true] in what you said. We had agreed on the release of a number of the prisoners, but at one point in time, Israel added certain terms and conditions that impeded progress - that is, in addition to external interventions. So we are doing an effort, and the Germans are willing to join hands and we do welcome them in order to secure that.

Mubarak: The deal or the agreement was to take care of Shalit [JS: An outright claim that they get custody of Shalit from Hamas] and that Israel would release a number of prisoners, and when this is done we will hand over Shalit to the Israelis. We are still following this [JS: Egypt has Shalit]. Our intelligence organization is working on that, and we still have hope to conclude this on a good note."



Charlie Rose felt the need to outright correct Mubarak twice on the issue of who has custody of Gilad Shalit right now.

Mubarak made at least 4 statements that indicate or imply that Shalit is already in Egyptian hands - and not that they still need to get him into their custody from Hamas.

This raises a lot of questions.

Is Shalit a prisoner in Egypt?
Is that why we couldn't find him in Gaza during the Gaza war?
How long has Egypt held him?
Is Shalit alive or dead?
Why can't the Red Cross or Israel see and verify his health or if he is even alive?
When will the public be told the truth?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

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