Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Taliban Burqa Women Raise the Bar: Concealing the Human Form

Hyper-modest, Hyper-Orthodox Taliban Burqa-clad Jewish women in the Mea-Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem have raised the bar on their attempts to hide themselves when going out in public.

MyNet/Yediot Yerushalayim reports that a new trend is emerging in which the Burqa women place a cylinder on their heads beneath their burqa, to further conceal their human form. (see photo below of the Burqa woman on the left)

Taliban Burqa Jewish Women
MyNet Reports:

According to a source, close to the group of Burqa women, "the more stringent of the women decided that the burqa veil is not enough, because it still shows the shape of the face. The solution found is a tube that they wear over their heads under the veil so you can not identify the shape of their face."

Israel's Ultra-Orthodox rabbis and even the most stringent in the Orthodox community have came out against Burqas. "We warn the wives and daughters of Israel, that they should not be drawn into this. These customs spell doom and destruction, G-d forbid," reads the letter issued. "This is a group of women who have uprooted "Daas Torah" from Israel -- their behavior is against the Torah and is uprooting Jewish education and Torah from Israel. They are endangering the health of their offspring, as well as placing them in danger and the fear of death".




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Monday, November 28, 2011

Breaking: Explosion Rocks Iranian city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility

7:29 PM Update Channel 10 Israel TV reports of another huge explosion in Ishfahan -- this time in a Shahab-4 Ballistic missile facility.

Iran: Keep up the good work!

Reported by FARS (Iranian News Agency) and others...first reports emerged at 6:15 PM, Israel time.

A explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan on Monday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, adding that the blast was heard in several parts of the city.

The reported incident occurred about two weeks after Gen. Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed together with 20 other Guard members Nov. 12 at a military site outside Bidganeh village, 40 kilometers southwest of Tehran. (Haaretz)


The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) updates us on nuclear facilities in Esfahan, Iran:

The Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) at Esfahan contains process lines to convert yellowcake into uranium oxide, uranium metal, and uranium hexafluoride. It began operations in June 2006.

According to information provided to the IAEA, Iran carried out most of its experiments in uranium conversion between 1981 and 1993 at the Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC) and at other facilities at Esfahan. In 1991, Iran contracted to purchase a turn-key, industrial scale conversion facility from China. This contract was eventually canceled as a result of US pressure, but Iran retained the design information and built the plant on its own. Construction of the UCF began in the late 1990s.

Iran declared that it began construction of the UCF without building and testing a pilot scale plant. After extensive analysis, the IAEA accepted this declaration.

The UCF consists of several conversion lines, including the line for the conversion of yellowcake to UF6. The annual production capacity of the UCF is 200 tonnes of uranium in the form of UF6. The UF6 iis slated for the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz. The UCF is also able to convert yellowcake, LEU and depleted uranium into UO2 and depleted uranium metal. Iran has told the IAEA indicates that they plan to build conversion lines for the production of natural and enriched (19.7%) uranium metal for research reactors, and natural UO2 for use in the heavy water reactor. Suspicions remain that the line to produce 19.7% uranium metal was originally intended to produce HEU metal for nuclear weapons.

Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL)

In 1985, Iran began operating a Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL) at Esfahan that it commissioned from a foreign supplier. Iran informed the IAEA of the FFL in 1993 and provided design information in 1998. It is still in operation. According to the IAEA, the FFL is suitable for producing small amounts of fuel pellets.

Uranium Chemistry Laboratory (UCL)

In the early 1980s, Iran commissioned from a foreign supplier the construction at a Uranium Chemistry Laboratory (UCL). According to the IAEA, in 1998, Iran declared that UCL had been closed down since 1987.

Zirconium Production Plant (ZPP)
Iran has built a Zirconium Production Plant which, when completed, will be able to produce 10 tonnes of zirconium tubing per year for nucler fuel cladding. Construction started in 2004. The ZPP, according to Iranian officials, will be able to produce zirconium sponge, zirconium alloy strip and bar, magnesium, hafnium, 99.99 percent pure magnesium, zirconium alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, and can do ferrous and non-ferrous metal casting.

Lastly, YNET (coincidentally) reported the following today:
The IDF intelligence community on Monday commented on the explosion in a military base in Tehran two weeks ago, which killed one of Iran's missile project heads.

"The blast in the site where surface-to-surface missiles were developed can delay or bring to a complete halt the production of the missiles at that site," said head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence Research Section Department Brigadier General Itai baron at a briefing in the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

"However," Baron cautioned, "It must be emphasized that Iran has other development sites other than the one that was destroyed." (more here)
Here's to more "accidents" -- L'Chaim!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Israel's Attorney General: Nothing wrong with Bibi in SS uniform

Everyone knows that one of the key events of incitement that led to Prime Minister Rabin's assassination was the infamous poster of Rabin in an "SS" Nazi uniform. I was even present at the demonstration in Zion Square when they were being handed out -- and the orchestrator of the hand-out was Shabak agent provocateur, Avishai Raviv.

Granted, that was many years ago, and since then, we've all been educated that words and posters kill. We're reminded annually that had the national-religious camp demonstrated their dislike of the government's politics in a more civil way, everything would be different today.

Reminding us that there's nothing wrong for a center-right wing Prime Minister of Israel to be photo-montaged into a similar SS Nazi uniform, a left wing blogger created such a display this past summer.
MK Ophir Akunis (Likud) filed a police complaint Tuesday morning against a blog that published photomontages depicting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a Nazi SS uniform. The Likud's Legal Adviser, Attorney Avi HaLevi, accompanied Akunis to the police station and also signed the complaint.

The blog is named HaOtzer HaEzrachi ("The Civilian Curfew"). It went offline Monday after the press discovered the photos, and news of their existence began to circulate.

The blog featured a demand that Netanyahu and members of his government be put on trial. It showed a caption that read "The Main Suspect: Binyamin Netanyahu," and beneath it three photomontage pictures that show Netanyahu in Nazi uniform. At least one of the pictures also has Netanyahu giving a Nazi salute.

Akunis and HaLevi noted that the bloggers identify themselves as citizens of Israel who represent "the heart of the Israeli protest against the policies of the capitalist-piggish Netanyahu government" and refuse to talk to Netanyahu.

The bloggers compare the Prime Minister to a drunk who has cruelly murdered a loved one. In such a case, they ask their readers, "would you try to create a 'solution' or would you consider continuing to live with the same vile murderer?"

Netanyahu is labeled "the main suspect" and the bloggers demand that he and his ministers be brought to a "field trial" and call on the public to take action in this direction. (INN)
Today, MK Ofir Akunis shared on his Facebook page that he was informed that a photo montage of Netanyahu in an SS uniform is not "criminal incitement" and his complaint will be shelved. He announced that Shai Niztan has ordered the police to close their investigation into the blog which created the photo montage of Netanyahu in an SS uniform. (also reported in Hebrew, here)

Interestingly enough, I found the following in Haaretz's archives from 2005.
The Jerusalem Police have foiled plans by right-wing extremists to distribute posters with pictures of Yitzhak Rabin in an SS uniform to coincide with the 10th anniversary of his assassination, the police said yesterday.

One suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of planning to distribute the posters, which police say violate the laws against incitement and slander.

The posters bear the slogan "rejoice in the downfall of the wicked" and say they are being distributed in honor of the anniversary of the death of "a hater of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, may his name be erased."

Yesterday, the boy was remanded for two days by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, and police are searching for a second minor whom they also suspect of involvement in the affair. (Haaretz)
Note that 2 minors were remanded for two days due to posters with Rabin in an SS uniform...due to "incitement"...(against a person who was already dead).

Please do NOT go and look at the Haaretz link above, which contains the infamous photo-montage of Rabin in an SS uniform (for information purposes only). If you do, I'm afraid that Shai Niztan would have me and this blog investigated for incitement and we would be shut down for good. Therefore, please do NOT go there, please do NOT even think of Rabin in an SS uniform, since that is incitement.

PM Netanyahu in an SS uniform is freedom of speech and is the epitome of our democracy.

Bonus question: What do you think would happen had the photo montage been of someone else instead of PM Netanyau...like Attorney General Shai Niztan, for example?


Legal Disclaimer: The posting the above photo of PM Netanyahu is for informative purposes only, and I do not condone the photo montage. The "bonus question" above is not meant as a suggestion for anyone to actually go ahead and try it, because that would obviously be incitement. Please do not create any photo montages of anyone. Thank you.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Israel ranked #7 in World's Life Expectancy...US is #25

Need yet another reason to move to the Jewish State?

Israel is now ranked at #7 in life expectancy, coming at at 83.5 life expectancy years...with the USA lagging far behind at #25, with an expectancy of 80.6 years. (source)

I doubt the study took in account the stats of immigrants, who probably have higher blood pressure -- as a result of dealing with Israel's bureaucracy and idiosyncrasies. (Even though Israeli bureaucracy and customer service is far better than ever, and improving daily).

To your health! Labriyut (or Livriyut) -- to 120!






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Israel's Contingency Plan - An Alternative to the Palestinian Authority

Exposé: Israel's Plan to Replace the Palestinian Authority
(translation from Makor Rishon by Jameel @ The Muqata Blog)

By Ariel Kahane, Makor Rishon Newspaper: The first exposure of Israel's contingency plan to replace the Palestinian Authority.

Under this plan, supported by some of the government's ministers, Israel will establish an autonomy or Arab autonomous regions in Judea and Samaria, in response to unilateral moves by the PA which breach existing agreements.

Possibilities [of breaching agreements] include [the PA] setting up a joint government with Hamas, or returning to the track of unilateral declaration, as threatened by the PA in September.

The linchpin of the plan is based on Hebron's Sheikh Mukhtar Abu-Khader al-Jabri, who had long challenged the PA and even controls security forces. In recent years, al-Jabari cultivated his contacts with Israeli officials, including settlers. In this context, three months ago, he participated in a secret meeting in Tel Aviv which discussed the possibility of alternative forces that could replace the PA. The meeting was held at the home of former minister Rafi Eitan, who has longstanding ties with al-Jabari clan and other independent forces in Judea and Samaria. Also in attendance were Cabinet Minister Yisrael Katz, a representative of the General Security Service, historians, experts in Palestinian society and figures close to al-Jabari.

At the meeting, Al-Jabri presented details of his worldview that rejects the establishment of a Palestinian State -- he outlined his support for the establishment of an autonomous region which would rely on the State of Israel, and would be free of terrorism. He clarified that he, his staff and especially the Palestinian population are interested in improving their financial situation which greatly deteriorated due to PA policy. As an example, he noted that the PA completely destroyed the Hebron-area marble industry, many of whom made ​​their living from it in the Hebron mountain area, by taxing marble exports. He clarified that in addition to him, there are other area leaders that support his approach against the PA, if they knew that Israel would agree to cooperate with them. "I am not your collaborator. I am not Antoine Lahad or Bashir Gemayel, but I need to know if we act together, you will agree to recognize us and cooperate." To this end he asked that Israel will agree to issue identity cards to him and the rest of the population.

At this stage of the meeting, he passed the ball to the Minister Katz, who is considered close to Netanyahu. Those present at the meeting imply that Katz was represented Netanyahu's position. Katz made ​​it clear that he would not in any way grant Israeli citizenship to residents because it contradicts the basis of the Zionist idea. However, he noted that in the event that the PA violated the agreements, Israel would be liberated from them. And so "if there will be a unilateral move, we will evaluate recognizing them."

Later in the session, other aspects of the idea were discussed. 'Makor Rishon' learned that details about the meeting were transferred to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the GSS and the National Security Council. A senior official in Jerusalem revealed that at one point the idea started to wane under heavy pressure and explicit threats by PA to al-Jabari. With the process slowdown at United Nations [of unilateral statehood], options for alternatives are now off the table. However, the developments over the last days which show a serious effort by Abu Mazen to establish a joint government with Hamas, raises anew the need to examine alternatives to the PA. "If Abbas goes to Hamas, we can definitely establish an autonomy," the senior official said.

Minister Katz yesterday confirmed the information and expressed support for the idea. He said that "if there is a change in the current situation and the PA will break the dishes, I'll lead an Israeli initiative to recognize the autonomy of this kind. This seems a correct and realistic response."

In the context of "internal Palestinian unity", there is a significant meeting in Cairo taking place today between PA Chairman and Fatah member, Mahmoud Abbas, and the head of Hamas, Khaled Meshal. Abbas would like to establish a joint government with Hamas, but is under heavy pressure by the Americans and Europeans. European Union Ambassador to Israel, Andrew Standley, stressed yesterday that the EU "stands with its full weight on the demand that Hamas will fulfill the Quartet's conditions" (recognizing Israel, abandoning terrorism and recognition of agreements between Israel and the PA). He made it clear that any other publication [of an alternative EU policy] is a "fabrication", as he put it. At the same time the U.S. gave Abbas a clear threat that if he establishes a unified government with Hamas, he would lose the budgetary and political support of Washington. This was made very clear to him yesterday by deputy U.S. secretary of state, William Burns.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made it clear yesterday that "if a Hamas and Fatah unity government is established, and it does not sharply and clearly, without reservations or vague statement, agree to the Quartet's conditions -- Israel will not recognize it, nor conduct any dialogue nor transfer it one shekel." Lieberman said that "PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is trying to place lots of pressure on the international community - so that Israel will transfer money to the PA and at the same time he is working energetically to establish a government with Hamas -- which does not recognize the requirements of the international community to stop terror and respect the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians, and continues to call for Israel's destruction. Israel will not transfer funds to those interested in its destruction, and if Abu-Mazan wants to be a partner of Hamas, it is clear that he is not a partner for peace."



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The hypocrisy of it all.

The Left are going nuts. Their latest mantra is “The Right is trying to Rule”. I’m not making that up. It’s really being said in the interviews.

While the Left are upset at the various laws and bills that are being passed, they are apparently even more upset that the elected Right is actually fulfilling the mandate given to them by the people.

Suddenly the Rules of Democracy and the Rule of Law are less important.

Now we’re being told that the majority needs to respect the wishes of the minority and not trample on them. (A true statement, but why is it only now that we here this from them).

Incredible.

Tell that to the former residents of Gush Katif, when the Left were saying the exact opposite of what they are saying now – that the minority must respect the will of the majority.

And let’s consider what laws the Left are so upset about.

1)A law that will limit how much money a foreign government (that right foreign government, not private donor) can filter into Israel to effect political change in our county.

2)A law that will align the Judicial election process with other democratic countries and limit the very undemocratic process where the Judiciary picks its own replacement members.

3)A law that will typically require some connection between a petitioner and the petition when petitioning the High Court. As well as requiring the petitioner to reveal to the court if they are receiving foreign funding for their activities.

Nothing here is undemocratic.

But what it does do, is limit the Left and foreign governments from using non-democratic means to override the will of the people.

I don’t like the phrase that a democracy needs to pass laws to protect itself. On the other hand, a democracy doesn’t need to allow itself to be undermined and overthrown either in the name of freedom and democracy.


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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lord vs. the iPad

Post removed due to clarification from Rabbi Sacks' Office.

Chief Rabbi: I admire Jobs and Apple and use my iPad daily (more here)

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Are you part of the 99% trying to destroy civilization?

It’s like the world’s gone insane. Let’s ignore Egypt and Tunisia where there are real problems. I’m talking about these protests in the first world. Whether it’s the Students for Socialism here in Israel tenting it out all summer demanding that working taxpayers give them free housing; the Israeli Medical Residents in their two-faced war with the government; or the Communist wannabes attacking Wall Street demanding that capitalism and democracy be shut down unless (what exactly?).

It even reminds me of ISM tactics (which might explain the Anti-Semitism coming through too in a lot of these protests).

But there’s something funny here. Step back a second and take a look again. You’ll probably getting that feeling of déjà vu watching all these protest movements.

The rhetoric is the same. The claims of no central leadership is the same. The ambiguous yet anarchistic demands are the same. The theatrics, the antics and the tactics are the same: the drums, the human mics, the face masks, the tents.

The attempts to create crises are the same.

Sure, it’s easy to say that Social Media makes these protests spontaneous and it’s all part of the Facebook generation. But that’s not true. Facebook and Twitter are being used as the tools to make them seem spontaneous, but it hasn’t created this. These protests in no way feel spontaneous. They're organized. Undeniably very well organized.

There's a lot of money being spent to organize these protests.

So why are the people pulling the strings and behind the scenes trying to destroy modern civilization, capitalism and democracy, and dragging us down to anarchy, socialism, or worse?

Sometimes I think it’s just the nature of the Left to want to destroy things, to destabilize things, to constantly want to redistribute other people’s things.

On the other hand, perhaps there are those who expect to see profit (of one kind or another) from the chaos, and they’re taking advantage of the toolish/foolish nature of the Left to make that happen.

I don't know, but it's something worth contemplating.


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Israel's Rabbinate, Religious Coercion, Weddings and Tzohar

Last week, Israel's "Tzohar" organization announced they were going to stop marrying Israelis because Israel's rabbinate wasn't providing them with marriage certificates.

Tzohar is an organization of Orthodox rabbis who perform Jewish marriage ceremonies according to Halacha, but in a manner than non-religious Israelis can appreciate, and without feeling that an archaic ceremony is being imposed on them. Many Israelis request "one stop shopping" at Tzohar, without any interaction with the State of Israel rabbinic authority, so that Tzohar handles marriage registration and the actual wedding ceremony.

Having personally gotten married in Israel, I was shocked at the insensitivity of the official "rabbinate" clerks who processed our request. I always thought that had I not been religious to begin with, I would have become vehemently anti-religious as a result of the process. Tzohar came about offer a friendlier, less bureaucratic, less imposing alternative.

Rabbi Riskin from Efrat wrote the following op-ed piece in the JPOST. I highly recommend you read it.

Has the Chief Rabbinate outlived its usefulness?

By SHLOMO RISKIN 11/12/2011 23:26

There is a profound distinction between the national and religious covenants: citizens of a nation-state are bound by laws promulgated by the legislative, judiciary bodies of that polity.

A number of weeks ago I read with great anguish that the renowned author Yoram Kaniuk wished to remain a citizen of Israel, but was resigning as a member of the Jewish religion. Two days after that a couple came to see me, requesting that I marry them in a religious ceremony, but insisting that their wedding not be officially registered within the Israeli rabbinic establishment.

Ironically, the very next day I was informed by Rabbi David Stav of the religious Zionist Tzohar organization that the Ministry of Religious Affairs would no longer allow couples to choose Tzohar rabbis to marry them, but was rather insisting that a couple can only be married by the rabbis of the community in which they live.

What are the origins of an official religious establishment in Israel, and what is causing the negative feelings towards the Chief Rabbinate and its judiciary system? The frustrating conundrum of Israel, as well as the secret of our eternity, lies in our hybrid personality as both a nationality and a religion. Our status as a nation was formed in the Biblical covenant between the parts when Abraham, the first Hebrew, was guaranteed eternal seed and was granted the geographical borders of a national homeland. It was forged in the Biblical insistence that every human being is created in the Divine Image, thereby guaranteeing the inalienable rights of human freedom and human inviolability. Hence our national narrative enjoins us to re-experience our formative servitude in and freedom from totalitarian Egypt, so that our national mission has been informed with spreading the ideals of loving the stranger, compassionate righteousness, and moral justice throughout the world.

Our status as a religion was formed at the covenant of Sinai. This gave concrete expression to our national mission in the form of ethical, moral and ritual laws, which would hopefully shape a God-fearing, sacred nation and kingdom of priest-teachers. Hence, our Torah and our Hebrew calendar – replete with panoply of feast and fast days with both historical and spiritual significance – serve as national as well as religious expressions. This is what makes a simplistic separation between “synagogue and state” in Israel a near impossibility, but this is what also gave us our ability to survive and recreate our national status after almost 2000 years of exile.

Our national covenant kept alive the dream of our return to Zion despite the destruction of our Temples and our worldwide persecution; and our complex legal system provided our nation with boundaries even though we had no geographical area to call our own.

There is, however, a profound distinction between the national and religious covenants: the citizens of a nation-state are bound by laws promulgated by the legislative and judiciary bodies of that polity, to which they must comply as long as they are residents within that nation-state. Religious law, on the other hand, which its adherents believe has its origins in Divine Revelation and its legal system interpreted by religious legal authorities in every generation, is dependent for compliance upon the free choice of the individual. As my revered teacher, Rabbi J.B.

Soloveitchik, was wont to say, the term religious coercion is an oxymoron; no truly religious act for the sake of heaven can be legislated by legal force and still retain religious significance for the one who performs it.

I BELIEVE with all my heart and mind that the State of Israel ought to feature a Chief Rabbinate as an official and revered representative of Israel before world Jewry and before humanity – for all the historical and existential reasons relating to our miraculous survival for the past 4,000 years. According to recent surveys, fully two-thirds of Israeli Jewry consider themselves to be on the spectrum of “traditional” Judaism.

Most Israelis have profound respect for and even personal involvement in our time-honored rituals of life-cycle passages such as circumcision, marriage under a nuptial canopy, burial in the ground and shiva, and festive occasions such as Friday evening familial kiddush and meal, Passover Seder, Shavuot Torah study and Chanukah menorah lighting. I do not believe that most Israelis are ready to join Yoram Kaniuk in adopting the Jewish nation but resigning from the Jewish religion.

They are not yet ready to join Yoram Kaniuk, that is, but the establishment rabbinate is doing everything in its power to bring them to the brink of doing just that. Once upon a time even so-called secular Israelis were proud of chief rabbis, men like Rabbis A.Y. HaKohen Kook, Isaac Halevi Herzog and Shlomo Goren (all of blessed memory) because these rabbis were inclusive rather than exclusive; they sought to embrace every Jew and bring him or her closer to tradition. These mighty individuals looked to halachah to solve questions of personal status, not to complicate them.

At a time when an unfriendly and inflexible Chief Rabbinate and its courts of law are driving young couples to Cyprus so as not to get married “in accordance with the laws of Moses and Israel,” thankfully the rabbis of the Tzohar organization have been finding user-friendly and welcoming halachic solutions to include them under the Jewish marriage canopy.

Now, in their infinite wisdom, the Chief Rabbinate and Ministry of Religious Affairs have closed yet another door (in addition to the doors of meaningful Jewish divorce and conversion) – the door of Jewish marriage – to a confused and disgruntled Israeli public. All “for the sake of heaven.”

I understand that the present controversy between Tzohar and the Ministry of Religious Affairs is on the road to resolution. But the general and underlying problem still remains in full force. Local religious councils are still setting up difficult roadblocks before well-meaning secular couples who have never heard of Tzohar but who want to be married by a rabbi – if it isn’t too much of a hassle to do so. The rabbinic courts remain extremely reluctant to force husbands to divorce their wives in accordance with halacha no matter the difficulties of their marital situations, and no matter how unreasonable the husband’s demands may be as his price for the giving the get.

Furthermore, close to 350,000 Israeli citizens from the former Soviet Union – “Kanukian” Israelis under the right of return but not halachically Jewish – are still awaiting the establishment of user-friendly ulpanim and courts for conversion devoid of small-minded bureaucracy and whose conversions will not be nullified later on by one of the Chief Rabbis’ court judges.

Our sacred Talmud and the Responsa of Jewish law have loving solutions for the overwhelming majority of problems engendered by these situations; “It din” the law is flexible, but “let dayan,” many of the judges are not, as the Talmudic saying goes. Let us only pray that until the proper changes in the system are put into effect, a disgruntled Israeli populace will not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Postscript
The story is told of Rabbi Aryeh Levin, the famed tzaddik of Jerusalem, who once spotted a young soldier on a short furlough from the army. The rabbi knew the young man from the neighborhood in Geula, and so he crossed the street in order to extend his hand in greeting. “Shalom Aleichem,” said the venerable sage. “Please come to my home. I would very much like to drink tea with you and hear about your activities.”

The young soldier seemed uncomfortable.

“I don’t think it’s right for me to come visit you,” he said. “I don’t wear a kippa anymore.”

Rabbi Levin, in his black hat and black kaftan, smiled warmly at the young man and took his hand in his own.

“Don’t you see?,” he said, “I’m a very short man. I see you, but I cannot look up so high as to notice as to whether you are wearing a kippa. But I can see your heart – and your heart is big and kind, and that’s what counts.

You are also a soldier placing your life at risk for all of us in Israel. Please drink tea with me; your kippa is probably bigger than mine.”


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Flood Hits Modiin Mall


Today's rains brought a flood to the Azrielli Mall in the city of Modiin.

Divine retribution for Xmas Caroling in the Modiin Park...Offensive Billboards in the mall...preventing Jewish youths from putting on tefillin....Missionary Activity...?

Of course not!

It was simply poor urban planning for rainwater and sewage drains...don't worry Modiin, we still love you at the Muqata!

(or, this could simply be proof that G-d approved of today's laws passed in the Knesset)

photo credit: rotter


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Google Maps Car Arrives in Meah Shearim

As the Google maps car continues its trek of mapping street views of Israel's cities, the car paid a visit yesterday to Meah Shearim.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

The curious residents weren't hostile at all...and the question is who gawked more at the other. Soon, everyone will be able to view the streets of Meah Shearim via Google Street Views, no matter what your wearing, with no fear of reprisals.



More photos here.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

SETTLERS WIN BIG -- BIBI BATTLING PEACE!! READ ALL ABOUT IT AT HAARETZ!!

Here's Haaretz's lead headline and lead op-ed as of 8:30 this morning:

Lead Headline:

Israel postpones demolition of illegal outpost, handing settlers a major victory

Initially, the government argued that it was conducting negotiations with the residents of the outposts to evacuate them willingly, which never happened.

Lead Editorial:

Netanyahu leading the fight against Israel's peace activists

Right-wing parties blame Israel human rights organizations for aiding what they call 'campaign to delegitimize Israel', and have turned them into a scapegoat.

Irrelevant Ha'aretz News pushed to back of page 37:

PA concedes defeat in statehood bid after failing to muster votes
Measure not likely to pass the Security Council, since U.S. plans to veto statehood bid, but Palestinians hoped to muster majority needed to trigger veto and embarrass the U.S.

hat-tip: RK.


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Katzav on Israel's High Court

YNETNews: From the Presidential Residence to a jail cell: The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that former President Moshe Katsav's rape conviction and sever-year prison sentence stand, rendering Katsav the first president in Israel's history to be sent to jail.

The Honorable Edna Arble, Miriam Naor and Salim Joubran ruled unanimously against the appeal. The three are considered strict judges, who often favor severe sentences, especially for sex offenders.

The court has allowed Katsav one moth to put his affairs in order. He will begin serving his sentence on December 7.

Katsav arrived in court accompanied by his children and several other family members. His wife Gila stayed in the couple's Kiryat Malachi home. He reportedly "remained stoic" throughout the ruling's reading, but seemed distraught once the sentenced was reaffirmed.

Said Moshe Katzav:
"After a year of difficult struggles and penetrating discussions, the hour has come. You are obligated to respect the decisions of the institutions of the state: the Knesset and the government. It is a decision that has been examined even in the High Court of Justice, and once it has been decided, 'the law of the land is the law.' The Knesset is the symbol of sovereignty and it expresses the will of the people. 'The voice of the masses is like the voice of the Mighty One,' the voice of the Knesset is like the voice of the masses."
Oh, Katzav said that just prior to the "Disengagement" on August 10, 2005 (Erev Tish'a B'Av) in an address to the nation, informing the Jewish residents of Gush Katif and Samaria why they could have no criticism towards the state for demanding their expulsion. (link)

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The Green Prince Speaks



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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Jews: What does Obama say behind YOUR back?

What Obama says behind our backs...
French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly told US President Barack Obama that he could not "stand" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that he thinks the Israeli premier "is a liar."

According to a Monday report in the French website "Arret sur Images," after facing reporters for a G20 press conference on Thursday, the two presidents retired to a private room, to further discuss the matters of the day.

The conversation apparently began with President Obama criticizing Sarkozy for not having warned him that France would be voting in favor of the Palestinian membership bid in UNESCO despite Washington's strong objection to the move.

The conversation then drifted to Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." According to the report, Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" (YNET)
Hey Jewish voters in the USA - guess what Obama says behind your backs, every single day?


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Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Boycott of Lod's Arab Taxi Drivers

Found this interesting tidbit tonight...on Yediot Ayalon/MYNET.

There is a taxi company in the Israeli city of Lod, which employs both Jewish and Arab taxi drivers. Upon the release of the 1027 terrorists in the "Gilad Shalit" exchange, some of the terrorists were Israeli Arabs...who returned to their hometown of Lod. The Arab taxi drivers partied publicly, honking and celebrating in the streets of Lod at the heroic release of their terrorist-brothers, Mohammad Ziada and Mochlis Borgial.

Ziada and Borgial were convicted and sentenced to life in prison for throwing a grenade onto a bus full of IDF soldiers. Luckily, the grenade didn't explode.

The Jewish residents of Lod, were disgusted by this behavior and started a boycott of their own; when calling the aforementioned taxi company, they openly request a Jewish driver. As a result, for the past 2 weeks, the number of calls to this particular taxi company has decreased dramatically, almost to the point of many drivers sitting around all day, doing nothing.

It's probably illegal under Israel law for the Jewish residents to boycott the Arab taxi drivers, and I wonder how long before someone is brought up on charges for this.

The Arab drivers do not see anything wrong with their support for the released terrorists:
"In the recent weeks, people specifically request a Jewish driver," said an anonymous driver. Like all the taxi drivers in this article on MYNET, every single driver spoke only on the condition of absolute anonymity for fear of hurting their livelihood.

"We feel are significant drop of work in the taxi station, and currently I am searching for additional work. On the other hand, this is infuriating. Who are these people boycotting the taxi drivers and telling them how to behave? Drivers have the freedom to behave how they wish. Its true that some of the drivers went to visit [released terrorist] Mochlis, because they are friends of his family. What's the big deal?"

Another driver commented, "We went to visit Mochlis just to wish him well and say, "Welcome home to your city", we just wanted to see him. But now we are talking about our livelihood, and we don't deal in politics."
"We the driver respect Jews and Arabs alike, but when a customer requests only a Jewish driver, it is very humiliating.

One Lod resident saw on TV the tax drivers that she usually drivers with, when they were celebrating the return of the 2 terrorists. "Even if there is no other taxi available, I will never go into one of those [Arab-driver] taxi. It was extremely offensive to their joy and celebration [when the released terrorists returned to Lod....]"

Like her, there are many similarly-minded residents. "Should I need to worry then they drive me, because they lifted the released terrorists onto their shoulders as heroes?", said one of the residents who now refuses to use that taxi service.

"Why did they behave like that -- I thought they respected their customers...their neighbors..."
Link
The taxi station manager replied: "We don't understand politics and don't want our drivers will be politically active. We live here in mutual harmony between Arabs and Jews and see no reason for this issue... (MYNET)"
It's pretty telling that the Station manager has no clue why the behavior his drivers giving a heroes welcome to convicted terrorists might be a turn off to some people. To say "its all politics" shows how little they really understand what terrorism really is...

Here's a short video clip of the day the terrorists were released in Lod (note all the Palestinian flags being waved by the Israeli Arab residents of the city).



So...would you boycott these taxi drivers?



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Saturday, November 05, 2011

More Palestinian Moral Bankruptcy

As if a society that supports terrorism isn't enough, the freed Palestinian terrorists who were exchanged by Israel for IDF solider Gilad Shalit, are now getting from the Palestinian Authority: Free Housing and Big Cash Stipends!
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to build houses for the Palestinian prisoners who were released in the Gilad Schalit exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

The new housing project will be funded by the Palestinian Investment Fund, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. The PIF was established in 2003 as an independent investment company with the aim of strengthening the Palestinian economy through key investments.

The announcement came during a meeting between Abbas and some of the released prisoners in his office in Ramallah on Saturday.

Earlier, Abbas decided to award the prisoners financial grants of several thousand dollars for each inmate.

The prisoners will receive up to $5,000 from the PA and $2,000 from the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. (JPOST)
So where is the money coming from to build homes for the terrorists? The Palestine Investment Fund...(no corruption there). What are their goals (from their webpage):
PIF was established in 2003 as an independent investment company, which aims to strengthen the local economy through key strategic investments, while maximizing long-run returns for its ultimate shareholder; the people of Palestine.

PIF prudently invests through an investment strategy focused on long-term value creation. With an aim to generate high and stable returns through diversified strategic investments in partnership with international, regional and local partners, based on values of transparency, accountability, commitment and in line with its corporate social responsibility and sustainability objectives. PIF has a strong reputation across global markets as a trusted and responsible investment partner.
High and Stable returns by building homes for terrorists? Sounds like a solid investment...


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Friday, November 04, 2011

LatmaTV - Weekend Edition

Their song in the middle is haunting.




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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Yeshiva Expels Students for Getting Driver Licenses

I found the following story rather bizarre.
The head of the prestigious Be'er Torah yeshiva has announced that he will expel 30 students from the institution after discovering that they hold driver's licenses.

The "expulsion letters" were issued a month ago, yet the yeshiva students refuse to comply with the demand.

A letter issued by yeshiva head, Rabbi Gavriel Yosef Levy, informed the students that as they breached the yeshiva's rules, they should find an alternate place to study in the winter term.

According to the yeshiva charter, holding a valid driver's license is forbidden. The charter's third chapter asserts: "A yeshiva boy shall not drive a vehicle and must not hold a driver's license."

According to the students, the institution's staff looked into the driver's license issue in cooperation with the Transportation Ministry. One of the expelled students told Ynet he was furious that his personal details in a government database were compromised.

The ministry issued the following response: "Entering the Transportation Ministry's database while pretending to be the owner of a license is an offense. The ministry is aware of the problem and seeks solutions that would prevent unauthorized parties from eliciting information about driver's license holders." (YNET)
On the one hand, the yeshiva is allowed to make whatever ridiculous requirements they wish for admission. If you don't like it, don't go there... (perhaps, similar to the weird requirements of certain yeshivot that require all their students to follow strict Ashkenazi customs, even the Sepharadim, even outside the yeshiva). Or perhaps, the Beis Yaakov school that expelled 9 girls for having non-kosher cellphones.

Is the yeshiva like the Belzer Chassidim, who forbid women to drive at all? Why doesn't the yeshiva want them to drive; is the process of learning to drive "bitttul Torah" (a waste of Torah time), is the yeshiva worried they will drive instead of being in yeshiva, or is it that yeshiva guys shouldn't be behind the wheel in the first place, because it's not befitting a Torah scholar to drive (and they should be driven around?)

Yet even more distressing is that the Transportation Ministry cooperated with the Yeshiva. In the USA, the ministry would have been sued. Here, there's not much that can be done.

Oh well.

Hoping the yeshiva guys find another yeshiva soon...on the bright side; they can drive there.

Obligatory Joke:

Many years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was being driven to upstate New York to the catskills one Friday. Somewhere along the NY State Thruway, the Rebbe asked his driver if he could pull over. Obviously the Rebbe's driver pulled over at the first opportunity. The Rebbe sighed and said, "How I wish you would let me drive...I've always wanted to drive the car, but I'm always being driven around. Please let me drive the car...even if just for a few miles."

The poor chossid driver had no choice...and he got out, opened the car door for the Rebbe, and sat in the back seat. The Rebbe, gleeful as a child, got behind the wheel and started driving.

It was only minutes before the speedometer's needle crept past 80 miles per hour, as the Rebbe was excitedly, getting into the driving. And then, the siren's wail broke the excitement, as a NY State Trooper called for them to pull over.

The Rebbe's car slowly pulled over to the side of the road, and the trooper got out of his car, and walked over to the driver's side.

A minute later the trooper was back at his car, calling his local commander over his radio.

"We have a serious political problem here boss...I pulled over a mega-serious VIP for speeding, and I don't know how to let him go."

"Who's the VIP?" The commander asked over the radio.

The trooper replied, "I have no clue...but his driver is the Lubavitcher Rebbe..."


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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Israel's Elite SWAT team wins International Urban Shield 2011 Competition


For the second consecutive year since Israel's Police elite SWAT team, the "YaMaM," has participated in the prestigious Urban Shield counter-terror competition in the USA, the YaMam has once again won first place.

Similar to last year's impressive win, Israel's accomplishment remains strangely, highly under-reported. The only mention of this impressive achievement is on the Facebook page for Israel's police.

32 SWAT teams from the USA, the FBI and from other countries, participated in the non-stop 48 hour competition. The competition included counter-terror, dealing with serious crimes, hostage retrieval, and a variety of tactical and urban combat situations.

Last year's winners from Israel's YaMaM - CTU.

The Israeli winners for 2011.

More pictures of the YaMaM in action, at last year's post.

I find it curious that there is no English-language mention of this win anywhere on the internet (or even on the Urban Shield website) as of this posting. Help get the word out!

Update; Israel Hayom has just published about this as well...
For the second consecutive year, a team from Israel's Counterterrorism unit has taken first place in an international competition testing homeland security and readiness to respond to acts of terror.

The team swept the prestigious "Urban Shield" competition, held last week in California in the framework of a national emergency drill organized by the U.S. Homeland Security Office.

During the internationally acclaimed competition, combat teams were tested in a variety of anti-terrorist, extreme crime, hostage rescue, and tactical combat scenarios. An FBI team and a team of royal Jordanian guards were also among the participants.

The national emergency drill was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, with the aim of testing the preparedness of emergency services and anti-terrorist units should another terrorist attack occur.

Although this marked the competition's sixth consecutive year, Israel only began participating two years ago. It has now taken first place in both attempts.

Israel's Counterterrorism Unit is an elite unit in the Border Police, comparable to such global crime-fighting groups as U.S. SWAT teams, the French GIGN, and the German GSG-9, which was established after 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich.

The Counterterrorism Unit is tasked with handling a number of security and civilian-related situations, and its members are trained in various types of drills and simulations -- some secret -- mainly focusing on terrorist attacks and hostage crisis situations.

The Counterterrorism Unit is one of Israel's most in-demand security units. Its members take on complex and dangerous missions, sometimes working in tandem with the Internal Security Agency. They arrest crime bosses and take on missions in some of the nation's most high-risk areas. The unit employs advanced hi-tech equipment and unique methods of operation, some of which were developed especially for the unit.

In September, the same Israeli team won first place in a handgun shooting competition for special IDF and police units. Other participants in that competition were the National Police Undercover Unit, the Border Police Undercover Unit, and several elite IDF units.

Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino congratulated the Counterterrorism Unit on winning the international competition.


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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

American Friends of Peace Now vs. The Jewish People

Next week, a landmark case goes before the Supreme Court in the United States. Despite the attempts of US Congress to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and the resolutions passed requiring the Embassy of the USA to be moved to Jerusalem...the US State Department refuses to print the word "Israel" when followed by the word "Jerusalem."

A US Citizen born in Jerusalem will not have his US Report of Birth indicate "Jerusalem, Israel", rather the country-less, "Jerusalem." Even sadder, the Obama White House webpage removed all references to "Jerusalem, Israel" and replaced them with the single word, "Jerusalem".

And now...the "American Friends of Peace Now" have decided to join the fray. They have asked to join the case next week, siding with the US State Department, insisting that Jerusalem NOT be recognized as the capital of Israel.

When the psalmist wrote, "If I forget Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength," I wonder if he ever thought that Jews would be demanding that the Supreme Court of the United States deny the connection between Israel and its capital city, Jerusalem.

I guess there's a reason they are called, "leftists."

Haaretz:
Americans for Peace Now, the U.S. partner of Israel’s leftist Peace Now organization, has filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in order to oppose listing “Israel” as home country in the passports of those born in Jerusalem.

Since Israel’s founding, the American government has not recognized any sovereignty over Jerusalem, be it Israel, Palestinian or Jordanian. As part of this policy, the U.S. embassy to Israel was established in Tel Aviv, despite a law passed in Congress, calling for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

Furthermore, in passports of Jerusalem-born American citizens, the name of the city appears without any reference to a home country. On the other hand, passports of Tel Aviv-born citizens read “Tel Aviv, Israel”.

In 2002, Congress passed a law which states that any American citizen born in Jerusalem who makes a special request is able to request that “Israel” be written as their country of birth. Former President George W. Bush did not follow the law, stating that the law interferes with the president’s constitutional authority to “conduct the nation’s foreign affairs and to supervise the unitary executive branch.”

On the other hand, the law does not allow Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to list “Palestine” in their passports, despite regulations which allow Palestinians born in East Jerusalem before 1948 to list “Palestine”, with no reference to Jerusalem (Palestine was considered an official sovereign entity before the founding of the state of Israel).

Three months after the law passed, Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem. His parents, both of whom are American citizens, requested his passport to list Israel as the country of birth. When the U.S. embassy refused, the family appealed to the U.S. Federal Court. A federal judge rejected the appeal, stating that the matter was a “political matter”.

The family refused to give up, and decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, which will decide next week on which authority is responsible for recognition of the sovereignty of foreign countries.




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Who Manufactures the World's Best Qassam Rockets?

Every Israeli knows what a Qassam rocket is -- the primitive rockets that our neighbors in Gaza have been lobbing at us for years.

What started as a tube with fins, loaded with solidified fertilizer as fuel, the "rocket" has improved over time and now causes mayhem in Southern Israel.

While Israel's best defense from a Qassam would be deterrence and the fear of serious Israeli reprisals, Israel has been instead working on defensive solutions such as the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system and defensive materials.

This led to the revelation of one of Israel's military secrets, as reported by "Israel Defense"
At the "HomeFront as the Civilian Frontline" conference this past week in Tel-Aviv, Israel Military Industries (IMI) CEO Avi Felder exposed one of the most carefully guarded "Top Secrets" in the military industry...Felder said that IMI develops the most powerful Qassam rockets in the world today.

Felder said that the IMI Qassams are produced to test and evaluate the damage caused by rockets when fired at rocket-proof shielding products from the IMI. The defensive rocket shielding materials are used in protecting Israel's Southern communities.

Felder said that over the past few days of Qassam rockets being shot from Gaza at the Israeli home front, the IMI-owned subsidiary, "Ashot Ashkelon" which is developing active and defensive systems against Qassam attacks -- is located in Ashkelon, a city sufferring from the threat of missiles. "Ashot Ashkelon" now uses the fortification developed by IMI so that they can withstand Qassam and Grad rocket attacks.

He said that IMI protective shelters are located right next to the production lines, proving a safe solution for employees who do not have time to run to bomb shelters when the air raid/color red rocket warning system sounds.



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