Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kadima! Where should Omri go?

You decide! Ariel Sharon's son Omri Sharon, was such a great Member of Knesset, that he deserves a great game of his own -- and everyone deserves to play.

Just click on the picture above, or click here
*Kadima (Forward) - Sharon's new party.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Gadgets don't always deliver on Israel's security.

The more you Disengage, the more things stay the same...well, the terror does.

After a totally meaningless "treaty" was signed yesterday condemning terrorism, the rockets are back at us, after a 2 week re-arming.

Palestinian Terrorist Qassam missiles attack Israel, once again. After two weeks of calm, Qassam rockets were fired Monday at Israeli targets once again. One rocket landed at an Israeli town close to the southern Gaza border, falling in a field near the fence. The IDF chose not to respond. In addition, a mortar shell landed in an Israeli town north of Gaza, causing light damage to a house. (hat-tip: ynet)

Residents also said the Red Dawn alert system, designed to warn of imminent rocket and mortar attacks, failed to go off.

Israel's leadership is becoming more and more dependent on high tech military gadgets, then on putting the fear of the IDF into its enemies. Instead of really scaring the PA into reigning in the terrorists (fine, there's no chance of that ever happening), Israel signs silly treaties in an attempt to define terrorism...with the Palestinian Authority.
Other high tech gadgets include;
  • The "Security" Wall (which even Haaretz had to begrudgingly admit that it doesn't help against car theft)
  • The Arrow anti-missile system
  • Merkava IV tank armor

When Israel starts defending itself through massive retaliatory force (even though DovBear doesn't approve of collateral damage), instead of relying on gadgets, we'll be in much better shape.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Off Topic: "You've got to find what you love" -- high tech hero

I always had 2 career dreams; high-tech and media communication. Moving to Israel meant I had to sacrifice the media communication dream of movie direction and theatrics in favor of the solid economic decision of working in high tech. The financial responsibility of wanting to start a family outweighed the dream of going to Maaleh, Israel's religious film school. I don't have any regrets, but the dream still lives on -- and that's why I blog.

One of my high tech heroes is Steve Jobs. He spoke this past June at Stanford University's commencement address. Though speeches like this usually find me sooner, Jobs' speech found me later. Find a few minutes today to read it. Enjoy.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Click here to read more.

Haaretz Darlings injure 7 IDF Border Policemen.

"The newspaper for thinking people" is the proudly branded slogan used by Haaretz. If you think, you read Haaretz, otherwise you must be a rightwing radical. Lets look at some of the Haaretz news stories today.

Over shabbat, Jewish Hevron organizers claim that more than 30,000 Jews spent shabbat in Hevron/Kiriat Arba to commemorate shabbat parashat Chayei Sara. To describe this newsworthy event, Haaretz uses the headline, "Settlers throw stones at Palestinian homes in Hebron." Yet, the very first sentence of the paragraph reads, "Youth from the Jewish enclave in Hebron and Palestinians threw stones at each other on Saturday and caused damage to property. Hebron police held two settler youths for investigation."

The shabbat gathering of 30,000 Jews is mere background information for the Haaretz libel attack. Instead of being the main news story, with reciprocal stone throwing as a backdrop, Haaretz ensures that its "thinking" readership first see the attention capturing headline which immediately implicates the settlers. Only in paragraph 3 is the statement from the Jewish Hevron leadership that the incident was reciprocal stone throwing in response to the Palestinians. Haaretz also ignores any further reporting on Palestinians throwing stones at Jews, or investigating the Jewish Hevron statement.

Nothing beats a great summation, "The left-wing organization Peace Now called for the evacuation of the Jewish settlers from the city, Army Radio reported." Why didn't they report on the Jewish Hevron council's call to build tens of more apartments in Hevron, to meet the huge demand for Jewish housing in Hevron?
Here are a few questions that come to mind:
  1. Why does the picture of the Palestinian woman not include the backdrop of 200 cut down trees? A much more impressive and meaningful picture would be a full grove of olive tree trunks. I've heard from many people today that this entire story is in the spirit of Pallywood productions.
  2. Why does Haaretz not have any single independent source of this atrocity? A "thinking" person would want to know if there are any other sources to the story. There isn't any corroboration to the story -- not even by the police or IDF! I assume that "thinking" people need to believe every word printed in Haaretz, and from the Palestinians in Salem.
  3. Most of the article is dedicated to quotes from social Kibbutz activist, Yoel Marshak. He doesn't have any eyewitness quotes at all. He's basing everything on what he heard (or read in Haaretz, or was told by the Haaretz reporter).

Why is there no mention that this land is disputed between Elon Moreh and Salem? That Palestinians continuously harass the settlers from Elon Moreh, with shootings and rock throwings on a daily basis? (Makes for good background information).

Yet, there is one story that happened yesterday that is blatantly absent from Haaretz. In fact, its missing from almost every single newspaper. The story appears as a "newsflash" on some sites, and briefly mentions that 7 border policemen were wounded and hospitalized yesterday by International Solidarity Movement "activists", Israeli Leftists, and Palestinians who were rioting against the building of the security fence. One of the soldiers is now in serious condition.

During the disengagement, Haaretz had screaming headlines of acid being poured on soldiers by anti-disengagement activists (which was proven to be false). Condemnations were heard left and right and PM Sharon decried the threat to Israel's democracy by the wild weeds of law breaking settler youth. Not one policeman or solider was injured to require hospitalization during the disengagement, (as opposed to quite a few anti-disengagement activists). Yet, the anti-disengagement protestors were vilified by Haaretz as the threat to democracy. When it comes to Haaretz's darlings -- the Leftists, not one word on condemnation at all.

Their hypocritical silence is deafening.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A day at the Knesset

My daughter's kindergarden teacher: "Children! This is gan, NOT the Knesset, please be quiet!"

HaAretz: Dislike the Media? You must be a Radical Fanatic.

In a hatchet job against Kibbutz Sha'alvim, the HaAretz newspaper tries to show us that this kibbutz has turned into a monstrous den of right-wing fanatics. Ordinarily, a newspaper would try to bring objective facts to the table -- at least in the first paragraph. Yet the way HaAretz reports the news, they first shoot an arrow and then draw the target around it, "cleverly" showing how top notch their reporting is.

The article states:

עד לאחרונה נחשב שעלבים לקיבוץ מתון. היום, חצי שעת נסיעה מירושלים או תל אביב, ההרגשה היא שאתה חוצה גבולות ונמצא באחת מההתנחלויות היותר קיצוניות בשומרון. השנאה לתקשורת בולטת, הפרנויה שולטת ואדם הבא מבחוץ ונראה כאיננו שייך למקום, נתפס בקלות כאיום

"Till recently, Shaalvim was considered a moderate kibbutz. A 30 minute drive from Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv, the feeling is that you pass a border and are found in one of the most radical settlements in the Shomron. The hatred towards the media is pronounced, paranoia rules, and any arriving outsider is automaticaly suspect as a threat."

HaAretz wants its readership to know the following "facts"
  1. Shaalvim gives you the feeling of being in a different country. (or political entity)
  2. If you hate the media, (or don't subscribe to HaAretz) you are a radical right wing fanatic.
  3. HaAretz is very good at doing hatchet jobs against anyone who has a different viewpoint than their own, so if you are paranoid they will write something bad about you, you are probably correct (which also makes you a radical right wing fanatic).

Hevron, Shechem and Yerushalayim.

Painting by Hevron's famed artist, Baruch Nachson.

This past shabbat, parashat Chayei Sara, marks the annual "Shabbat Hevron", in which tens of thousands of Jews visited the biblical cave of "Machpela", which Avraham purchased from Ephron the Hitite. Visitors stayed in the city of Hevron and in the adjoining city of Kiriat Arba, prayed in the landmark cave, and toured the Jewish neighborhoods in Hevron.

In a rare glimpse of solidarity between Hebron's Arabs and Jews, Hebron's Arab population asked for help from the city's Jewish residents in ridding the city of the radical anarchist leftists from the International Solidarity Movement. Several local Arab residents told the Kol Ha’Ir newspaper that the ISM activists have been exposing the local youths to drug use and sexual promiscuity.

Picture of Hevron from the 1800's.

One has to wonder what in the world the midrash was thinking, when it wrote, that there are 3 locations which the world can not say were stolen by the Jewish people, because each site was purchased outright for hard cash.

Mearat HaMachpela in Hevron was purchased by Avraham

The field containing Kever Yosef in Shechem was purchased by Yaakov

The Makom Hamikdash in Yerushalayim was purchased by King David.

If anything, the world does everything possible to ignore our claim to these 3 sites! I guess the midrash was referring to Jews needing to understand that these locations belong to the Jewish people. Only once we are convinced and understand that these places of historic and religious importance actually belong to us, will the world admit it as well.

This picture of Kever Yosef in Shechem, taken around the time of WWI by a British soldier is more interesting in what's missing, than what you see. Note the almost total absence of Arab homes. If you want to see pictures of what the area currently looks like, you can see many pictures on the Kumah website.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Milluim...every bone in my body aches.

I haven't posted in 2 days. Two days of intensive milluim (IDF reserve duty) has left me exhausted. Every bone in my body hurts, every muscle feels over-stretched. Walking up the stairs is a major effort. My legs hurt from every ligament. One big mess of throbbing pain.

I have to admit, putting on my uniform on Wednesday morning before shul gave me a very weird feeling. Its the first time I've put it on since the "Disengagement", and while I used to be proud putting it on, I just felt very strange this time. Not proud...but I also didn't have any of the "revulsion" which some try to make a big issue out of, saying that religious Jews have "Disengaged" from the army.

I can't go into much detail about what we did, but part of the exercise was 8 hours of tactical paintball, where you shoot at terrorists (or vice-versa) at a distances of 2 meters, instead of the regulation 7 meter minimum distance in civilian paintball. Everyone has black and blue blisters all over them. I "killed" lots of terrorists, and was killed just as many times.

Yet, at a bar mitzva tonight I was able to dance with more energy than I've had in a long time.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Historical Coincidences?

First, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon destroyed Gush Katif. He then set out to destroy the Likud. He ignored the party referendum he personally called for, which voted overwhelmingly for Israel not to "disengage" from Gush Katif.

Using his personal clout and cadre of 1000 hand picked members of the Likud Central committee, he defeated a motion to advance the primaries in the Likud party, claiming that it was in the party's best interest. This week, he abandons the party which brought him to the Prime Minister's chair of the Israeli government.

Sharon's new party is called in Hebrew, "Kadima", or Forward/Ahead.

Nobel Prize award winner, Shimon Peres often speaks about the importance of not learning anything from history. That's probably good advice, since the name of the Fascist Revolutionary newspaper edited by Benito Mussolini, was also called "Avanti" (Forward/Ahead in Italian).

Don't ask me who put up this link, but it wasn't me. I'll try to follow Shimon's advice, lest I get in trouble.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hesder Yeshiva student/soldier, single-handedly kills 4 Hizbullah Terrorists

Yesterday afternoon, 4 Hizbullah terrorists on motorcycles and ATVs attacked the Israeli border town of Rajar. Ynetnews reports:

IDF Paratrooper David Markovitz shot, killed 4 Hizbullah terrorists who planned to abduct soldier Monday on northern border. Markovitz, recruited only 8 months ago, 'functioned extraordinarily,' commander says.
Markovitz joined the army in the framework of the Hedser Yeshiva program in March 2005. He resides in the community of Gamzo, and will celebrate his 21st birthday next week.

The incident took place Monday during an ambush near the border crossing in the village of Rajar, which is located on the border between Israel and Lebanon.

"The soldiers spotted four terrorists dressed in black, and moving in an orderly fashion toward the roadblock. Behind them the soldiers noticed jeeps and motorcycles - logistic support for the abduction operation," Elaluf recounted.

"The group was carrying an antitank missile, which was ready to be launched. They approached the force and at a distance of about 40 meters from the force, soldiers opened fire before the terrorists had a chance to respond," he said.
Markovitz, who was the force's marksman, "calmly conducted precise shooting. He shot, diverted the weapon, and hit all four men. The missile they were carrying blew up. Three were killed immediately, and the fourth terrorist fell on the ground, crawled for a short time and then died as well," Elaluf described.

'Remained calm under fire'

The precise shooting by the young marksman, Elaluf said, was what thwarted Hizbullah's plan. The four men were armed from head to tow, and had they been able to get closer to the soldiers, they could have easily abducted one of them.

These "Hesder" yeshiva student soldiers are among the most highly motivated in the Israeli army, and know exactly why we are living in Eretz Yisrael, and have no doubts of our validity to live here. Its unfortunate that General Elazar Stern (Head of IDF Manpower) has no qualms about shutting down the hesder yeshivot, and Shulamit Aloni never has a nice word to say about these top quality soliders either.

"Members of the hesder yeshivas, as well as their rabbis, have a lot of atoning to do this coming Yom Kippur, as none of them are unemployed or starving, and none of them were disinherited or abandoned. They are going back to Israel; back to their sovereign country, where the IDF, police and treasury tend to their every need."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Haveil Havalim #45 - at Mirty's Ranch.

As the lead-off story, how could I not advertise this week's Haveil Havalim #45 Mirty's research lets you know instantly what's really worth reading.


Zionist Turkey?

Click Turkey for a Special Thanksgiving Message from the GodolHador.

Every year when I casually mention that I'm going home from work early for a "Thanksgiving" dinner, it blows someone's fuse. Its one thing to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, where there are very clear viewpoints on the matter.

There is a 3-way halachik argument between HRHG R' Feinstein, R' Soloveitchik, and R' Hutner about whether Thanksgiving is considered a holiday of the gentiles, and can one "celebrate" Thanksgiving. R' Soloveitchik held that Thanksgiving is religion-agnostic, thereby allowing an annual celebration including turkey dinner. R' Feinstein considered it a problem to celebrate a secular holiday, and permitted turkey dinner, but not a "celebration". R' Hutner considered it a full gentile holiday, and forbade turkey dinner and any celebration. My family in the US always held from R' Soloveitchik, and had an annual celebration, turkey and all.

An excellent roundup of the halachik issues can be found here and I would also suggest seeing Appendix A for an interesting postscript on Halloween.

Still, holding onto the Thanksgiving tradition in Israel is a completely different issue. Am I betraying the Zionist cause by celebrating an event that occurred between Gentile Pilgrims and Native American Indians in North America a few hundred years ago? What does Thanksgiving have to do with living in Israel today (if anything)? My friends in Israel who made aliya from Canada are totally against Thanksgiving, because its a totally Christian holiday in Canada, undertones, overtones, and gentile themes everywhere -- including a different date then US Thanksgiving.

Of course, the entire issue of Turkey being a kosher bird is fascinating; had it been discovered today instead of a few hundred years ago, you would be hard pressed to find an Orthodox Rabbi that would consider it Kosher.

This year, I have milluim, a wedding, and a Bar mitzva to go to, so I guess the point is moot unless we have turkey another day.

Thanksgiving on a Friday Eretz Yisrael.


Israeli Soldier Provides Weapons to Terrorists...Doesn't Win Nobel Peace Prize.

In the Jerusalem Post breaking news section, the following item was pointed out to me by my friend Robert Klein. An IDF Soldier allegedly provides terrorists with arms (3 rifles) and is arrested. However, if you give 50,000 guns to Palestinian terrorists then you win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Refugees Forgotten (Katif, Chomesh and Katrina)

Since I work in Jerusalem, I have the "privilege" of being a chief daily shlepper of stuff from Jerusalem to the Shomron. Suitcases, boxes, airline tickets, even 2 bags of registered Israeli mail (I'll blog about that another time)...and of course, passengers. Neighbors, their kids, their parents, grandparents. Who needs Egged, with a normal time schedule if Jameel is going back and forth to Jerusalem.

Yet, when it comes to helping the refugees from Gush Katif/Northern Shomron, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Last week I was given 9 boxes of winter coats for Chomesh and Sa-Nur refugees to bring to their temporary location in Shavei Shomron from the warehouse in Jerusalem.

Driving in the Shomron at night is always exciting, so I took along my M16, and a neighbor (who's even scarier than my M16). The roads were deserted and dark, except for an orange Arab taxi or two, and an IDF hummer projecting bright beams of light on the sides of the roads, looking for danger.

Arriving at Shavei Shomron, we called our refugee contact, and she directed us to their campsite. It was a bit depressing. There were about 20 families sitting around a campfire, on the top of a hill. Little kids milling around, some sitting on foam mattresses. I said, "Hi everyone, here with the coats!" Everyone was thrilled to get them...and I saw some people from Chomesh that I had met during the summer when I was camping out on someone's front lawn before the expulsion.

If you took a step back, you saw a group of people, on a windy hilltop, around a campfire. While they may have looked like refugees at first glance, when speaking to them, they were still full of determination and faith that things were going to get better. Better for them, and better for Am Yisrael.

I'm glad I drove there last night, so they know I haven't forgotten them.

I guess forgetting refugees is another parallel between the refugees here, and those from Katrina.

Ha'Aretz wants to you know whats going on in Gush Katif today; Good for them.

Shabbat at the Muqata - Tranquility Shattered.

Friday evening at the Muqata. Surrounded by the green, rolling hills of the Shomron mountains, our family is eating the Shabbat meal. My older children are talking about the parasha, the younger children interject their insights, and (surprisingly) everything is calm and relaxed. The food is great, no one has spilled purple Fanta on anyone else, the shabbat candles are glowing and I'm sure the good shabbat angels were happy and content to see this tranquil shabbat home.

Thinking it was a good time to surprise my kids with a treat, I bring up the subject of Rav Natan Slifkin's latest article, about "Can Elephants Jump?", and the kids get all excited. Everyone wants to see a picture of Rav Natan on an elephant and the different color pictures in the article which I printed out on Thursday evening at work. The article is going around the table, when...

"I didn't say you were pathetic for using the name, 'Jameel', I said it was 'yichey' to use it." I look incredulously at my wife. "Where did that come from?", I asked, "During Friday night's shabbat meal, while talking Divrei Torah you ask out of left field, about my blog??" I was rather shocked to say the least. (note: my wife's not a blogger in the slightest)

"Well, you probably read about the Elephant story on that website...that blog...what's his name?"

"The GodolHador's Website", I replied.

"Right, so that's why I thought about your name/blogging question of changing your name, and you got it wrong...with your 'great' memory and everything...I didn't say 'pathetic', I said 'yichey', and I still think it's weird to masquerade around with an Arab's name".

"Well, the vote is currently about 18-1 in favor of keeping it," I said, "and you know I will post this conversation on my blog on Sunday."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Who is Jameel at The Muqata?

Does the shock value of a blog called the "Muqata" with a blogger called Jameel, outweigh the disadvantage of having such a "radical" sounding name? Would a calmer sounding blog name, such as "settlerabba" be the right thing to do?

The number one way people come to this blog is by reading comments I've made on other blogs...and they must think to themselves, "What the heck is this guy Jameel writing about...what sort of Jewish name is Jameel...and the muqata?!" Curiosity gets the better of them, and they click on my blogger profile. From the blog...and then they read this.

My wife thinks it's pathetic to have a blog named "The Muqata" (sorry dear)

Let me know what you think...the jury's still out.

Shabbat Shalom - no new posts till Sunday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Collectible Expulsion Stamps

Want to remember the horrible Disengagement this past summer? Remind a Leftist that there are still thousands of Gush Katif Jews without proper homes and jobs? Add these stamps to your envelopes. At least on these stamps, you know which side to spit on. Hat Tip: Arutz Sheva.

Israeli Moonbats "understand" suicide bombers

Seeing this headline really makes one wonder about objective absolutes. Why do liberal Jews always turn black and white into grey? Is nothing definitive anymore? The terrorists which tried to kill me yesterday are really freedom fighters? Suicide bombers can be "understood"? I guess it comes down to not understanding what Judaism is all about in the first place.

David Forman wrote in the Jerusalem Post that Israel can only be a Jewish State, when its Jewish, Democratic and Humane. Zeev at IsraelPerpectives has a great analysis of what's wrong with these people; "Authentic Jewish Values for a Jewish State"

A Prayer of Thanks - HaGomel LeChayavim Tovot

Yesterday was a very busy day. First I attended the brit of a neighbor's newborn son. The young family lives on a nearby hilltop in a caravan overlooking the entire coastal plain of Israel, from the power station smokestacks of Hadera to Ashdod. A bit later, there was a funeral for an elderly woman who had lived in our community for the past 17 years. Needless to say, I was in a bit of a rush as I took off for work in Jerusalem at 12:20 PM.

Driving down the road, I was speaking on my mobile phone to a co-worker, when I suddenly said, "Hey that looks like a Baktab" (molotov cocktail/firebomb) . I hung up and saw another one landing about 4 feet my van as I tried veering to the right. The car in front of me was also narrowly missed, and started pulling over to the side of the road. I pulled up alongside them and motioned for them to keep driving, since were there are 3 baktabim, there might be more. I called them up to see if they were OK (which thankfully they were) and then I called the regional IDF command center.

Surprisingly, I was called back almost immediately by 2 different senior officers asking if I was 1. OK, 2. Any damage, 3. Exact location...and they said they would get right on it. Even more shocking was the phone call I received in the late afternoon from one of the officers that they tracked the suspects to a house, and arrested the terrorists! I won't go into more details, but they know for a fact that these 2 terrorists were the same ones who threw the firebombs at my van.

Almost every hour of the day, my MDA beeper goes off telling me where to go to help accident/terror victims, or just regular people needing Emergency Medical care...and it a blink of an eye, I've seen families' lives changed forever. People who get up in the morning to go to work for a regular day, kids going off to school, and then in a heartbeat, everything changes. Hospitals, funerals, excrutiatingly painful rehabilitations, family "reorganizations". I was very fortunate to avoid injury yesterday, in fact, I was lucky that NOTHING happened to me at all.

When one escapes injury (or serious injury) one is supposed to bring a Korban Todah - a sacrifice of thanks to G-d. Today, since we don't yet have the Beit HaMikdash, the Jewish Temple to bring sacrifices, one announces a special bracha, "HaGomel LeChayavim Tovot".

I hope to be in shul tomorrow morning to do just that, and Thank G-d for not turning my life, and that of my family upside down in a heartbeat.

I guess G-d has more plans for me.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Why I don't cry during Rabin Memorial Month.

The Altalena burns off the shore of Tel-Aviv,
after Yitzchak Rabin ordered the targeting and killing of 16 Jews
Read the whole story of the Altalena here.

Many blogs have been dedicated over the past few weeks on Yitzchak Rabin's death, Clinton's speech "Shalom Chaver" and the tears that have been shed..."and the hope for peace that was killed along with him."

I don't get all mushy when I hear Rabin's name. I remember the 16 Jews swimming to the Tel-Aviv shoreline from the Altalena weapons ship, who were shot dead on direct orders from Yitzchak Rabin. He wanted to see dead Jews. He wanted to teach the Etzel a "lesson" on who runs Israel and the IDF...and it wasn't Menachem Begin. Those Jews were willing to fight and die for a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael. Those Jews were potential Jewish families that never got a chance. The weapons on the boat could have been enough to make the difference in the 1948 battle for Jerusalem (which the fledgling Jewish State lost till 1967).

That's something worth crying over.

The GodolHador Blog has left the Building

As the entire planet is well aware, the GodolHador (tm) Blogspot has committed blogocide, and has voluntarily (well, so he claims) stopped blogging.

While cruising through the J-blogosphere, the homegrown memorials are now everywhere, as famous, not so famous, and infamous bloggers post their tributes to this amazing blog, which garnered more than a quarter millions hits in under a year.

AskShifra even allows you to wager on whether the GodolHador will return. Since no definitive replacement was pre-determined by the GH, DovBear has his selection of possiblilities...will the GH readership be reduced to this?
For those worried that they can't access any of the site in its previous glory, the site archive instructions can be found here (as written in the comments section, its a form of hester panim). No need to worry - sites which are under the hashkafic certification of the GH will be presented with a genuine, unforgeable, digitally signed te'udat kashurt so you can be sure your emuna threat doesn't peak above elevated when reading them.

Bye GH - it was fun while it lasted. The Muqata eagerly awaits the GH's aliya, (and even if he stalls, and doesn't come today, we'll wait for him tomorrow), so we can invite him for a shabbat to realign his misguided misconceptions on Israeli politics and fullfilling mitzvat Yishuv Ha'Aretz.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Peres Paradox

If Shimon Peres were to enter the contest to determine the "World's Biggest Loser", would he win? Now that's a tough call. He's lost every possible election he's tried at win in the past 20 after the other. Some of the easy ones that come to mind:

1991 Peres vs Rabin (Labor party chairmanship)
1996 Peres vs Bibi (Prime minister of Israel)
2000 Peres vs Katzav (Presidency of Israel)
2005 Peres vs Peretz (Labor party chairmanship)

In fact, the only time he ever managed to make it to the Prime Minister's position in Israel, is succeeding Rabin, after Rabin's murder. (Pretty lame, don't you think?)

The world loves him, yet for some reason, he's Israel's biggest loser.

Famous quotes from Peres:

"Why don't you go back to where you came from?"
(Peres yelled this at a Women in Green anti-Olso demonstrator in 1995. She was a concentration camp survivor. )

"What, I'm a loser?"
(Shimon Peres asks the Labor Party central committee, and they yelled back a resounding "YES!" )

"I think violence is the intervention of the past in the attempt to change the future."
(Speech at the Peres Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, April 2001)

"Instead of dwelling in the history of the past, we have to look to the history of the future."
(Speech to American Jewish Committee, May 3, 2001)

Many more from our Nobel Peace Prize winner can be found here.

Lots of other good posts on our Award-winning Loser Friend can be found at:

JoeSettler commenting on The Economic Terrorist who beat the Messianic Adventurist"

Israel Perspectives on "How do you spell LOSER? P-E-R-E-S"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cartoon show worth a million words

Hat-tip of the week to Amshinover. I wonder if PA TV is broadcasting this here yet.

Without further ado, prepare yourself for the show.

(Update: Link Fixed - thanks JoeCool)

Good night from the Muqata

Hevel Havalim #43 - Jewish BlogWorld Roundup.

Kudos to Jack's Shack. This week's Haveil-Havalim

Topic Handoff from JoeSettler - Israeli poll: 74% say: Arab violence will only increase

picture hat-tip to Tovya

JoeSettler handed this off to me, so I'll run with it a bit. The poll can mean alot:

  1. Israelis are die-hard dreamers. Peace will come one day...really...if we keep wishing, giving land to money to them...there will be peace, right?
  2. Israelis are masochists. Hit me again! Let me turn the other cheek...WHAM. Was that another Qassam rocket? Its not like they are falling in Gush Dan...and the shootings are only in the occupied territories (let the settlers get what they deserve).
  3. Israelis are tired, will give away everything, and will cling to any hope that things will get better, even though they know its a farce.
  4. Israelis aren't stupid, but the leadership is...and there's no real electoral alternative. Kach was a real alternative in the 80's, till the Likud, Techiya and Labor got rid of them. How's that for democracy -- outlaw your political opponents in the name of democracy.
  5. Deep-down, many Israelis don't believe we are entitled to live here in biblical Israel, and the Palestinians have lived here for thousands of they deserve everything.
  6. Maybe someone from the right just kept voting on the Haaretz site? (cookies disabled)

Handoff to Ze'ev.

Monday, November 07, 2005

On Organ Donations, Arabs and Co-Existance

Concerning an email I received from one of my left-wing friends, and the posting on Orthomom's site today about the Palestinian Arab family that donated their child's organs for transplant "as a sign of peace" after being shot by the IDF, in a case of being mistakenly identified as a terrorist in Jenin, due to the fake plastic rifle he was brandishing.

Orthomom correctly identifies this story as a beautiful one, though I didn't get choked up when reading it. Honestly, I was very surprised by it, and I wonder what their Arab neighbor's have to say about their decision.

However, its an individual story, by a unique family. I'm not writing this to say there's no chance for any peaceful coexistence with Arabs in Eretz Yisrael, but the past 5 years have been a real eye-opener about what depths the Arabs will go through to hurt us. Going back more than 10 years before Oslo, everything was different, and there was actual Arab/Jewish co-existence. Jews could safely enter Arab neighborhoods and cities without fear of a lynch or massacre. Arab businesses freely sold and exchanged good with Jews...including settlers. There was the Arab video-lending store in Beit Lechem which served Gush Etzion. There was the Mitsubishi garage in Kalkilya which serviced cars from the Kfar Saba area. I remember driving through Ramalla, Jenin, Tulkarem, Shechem, Kalkilya, relative safety...even walking along the beach from Neve Dekalim to Rafiach.

The original sin which ruined everything was the importation, training and arming of 40,000 Palestinian terrorists and their leader Yasir Arafat. Under Rabin and Peres, the Oslo accords brought more tragedy from terrorism to the State of Israel than any other 10 year period in the history of the State. Oslo ruined it for the Palestinians as well, who had it much better before the corrupt and murderous Palestinian Authority ever appeared.

Scrambling to find a band-aid solution, the "Disengagement" appeared. Its clear by now that this has only weakened Israel, as the rockets keep coming over, and the terrorists appetite has only grown, and Israel has no real response available.

As an MDA medic, I have been to all sorts of medical emergencies on the roads. What kills me is that Palestinians can throw rocks at ambulances, even as they go to help Palestinian traffic accident victims. Those are not isolated incidents, but the norm. Palestinians have even used their ambulances for transporting terrorists, guns, bombs, and homicide bombers.

So what do I think of the Organ Donor from Jenin? Good for them. Unfortunately, I won't think about it too much till I hear of these incidents occurring more than once in 5 years. In the meantime, I need to watch out for rocks.

Euro-Jihad: Gaza Today, Tomorrow Marseille

Arab apologists are trying their best to camouflaged any linkage between Islam and the intifada rioting going on in France, yet the Arab Press itself isn't denying anything. What's most damning is that France, which does everything in its power to criticize Israel for its behavior towards the Palestinians (any behavior!), has a long history of poor treatment of its Moslem citizens.

"France, the country that stands for freedom, equality and fraternity, has failed to protect the Arabs and provide them with jobs that helped integrate earlier immigrants.

"This is the paradox of integration faced with the promises the republic failed to keep," said criminologist Alain Bauer."

The rioting has started taking lives, and I'm curious how France will react. Regardless of what their reaction will be, you can be sure they will be blaming Israel the next chance they get.

Five cars were torched yesterday in Germany. I guess my prediction of the spread to Germany happened sooner than Germany. The true litmus test of whether this is a EuroJihad or not, will be if the intifada spreads to other countries. If it spreads, then there's something bigger and badder in the picture. If not, then the French are Eurosnobs who treat everyone equally poorly.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vive La Intifada à Paris - "That's Hot!"

First off, Kudos to JoeSettler, probably the first to blog about the France uprising. Between him and Israel Perspectives, they had an impressive start.

Amid the worsening Arab intifada in France, French Police have found a gasoline bomb-making factory in a rundown building in Evry, a southern Paris suburb that contained 150 explosives, more than 100 bottles, gallons of fuel and hoods for hiding rioters' faces. Hat-tip: Washington Post

But wait - there's more! The intifada is now spreading to Denmark as well. I guess its only a matter of times before the Qassam rockets start falling all over Europe. My guess - you'll see the spread of the intifada to Germany by midweek.

I love the current CNN poll: How should French officials handle the continuing violence in Paris suburbs?

1. Impose Curfew
2. Deploy Troops
3. Withdraw Police.

The correct French answer is 4, "Surrender"

It couldn't happen to a nicer country. For those of you that think it's not really an "intifada" -- Al-Jazeera has decided to conduct an opinion poll on this very subject! Poll here: Poll Here

PS: Apparently not everyone liked the Drybones comic about the situation, and some of the pent-up (latent?) anti-semitism of the blogosphere has emerged. Hat-tip: Cosmic-X

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Squashing opposition. Democracy at its Finest.

What I've been blogging about for months now, is the depths that Sharon, the media, and the Israeli Left went to, to ensure the success of the "Disengagement." No one really cared what civil rights of protestors were trampled on. It didn't bother anyone that youngsters were illegally jailed without due process. Judges and prosecutors blatantly projected their political world-view against those who dared to have a different view. The mountains of evidence are more than damning. Yet, in Israel life goes on as usual. Chief Justice Aharon Barak continues on his merry way, the police commanders who illegally threatened protestors are still in their positions, and life goes on.

When you find some time, read this terrible indictment of how Sharon, Barak, & co., pushed the disengagement forward. In a normal western democracy, there would be resignations, public outcry, maybe even rioting in the streets. Not here. Israelis honestly think they live in a democracy. The truth is, every few years Israel gets to democratically choose their next dictator.

RabinFest 2005 - Where where YOU when Rabin was shot?

RabinFest 2005 - Where were YOU when Rabin was shot?

The Forum

Jameel Rashid: Good evening! I'm Jamil Rashid, welcome to "The Forum". This week marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Yitzchak Rabin. I suppose every Israeli remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard that the Prime Minister had been shot. Now, this week we have asked three Israelis, chosen completely at random, to come on the show and tell us their stories. What is your name, Sir?

Shlomi: Uh, Shlomi.

Jameel Rashid: Okay, Shlomi. Do you remember where you were when you heard that Rabin was dead?

Shlomi: I sure do, Jameel. I'll never forget it. I was a freshman at Hebrew University at the time, and I remember walking across the campus to go to class, and I heard a couple of guys talking. They were talking..

Jameel Rashid: [ interrupting ] Whoa, whoa, whoa.. hold on a second. How old are you?

Shlomi: I'm 25.

Jameel Rashid: Mmm-hmm.

Shlomi: So, anyhow, I was walking across the campus, right? And I heard these two guys..

Jameel Rashid: I..I'm sorry, Shlomi. I don't mean to interrupt you again. You were 15 years old, and you were a freshman at Hebrew University?

Shlomi: No, no, no, it was last year, I was 24. Anyhow, I was walking across campus, and I saw these two guys talking..

Jameel Rashid: Hold on, Shlomi. Again, I'm sorry. Let me get this straight - you didn't know that Yitzchak Rabin had been shot for nine years?

Shlomi: Well, Jameel, you know, I was never really big, you know, on current events..

Jameel Rashid: We're talking about the Prime Minister getting shot, here! I mean, Yitzchak Rabin the Historic Leader of Israel, IDF Chief of Staff, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Founder of the Oslo Accords! How could you have missed it?

Shlomi: Well, you know.. I usually turn to the Sports page first. I like to catch that first.

Jameel Rashid: [ exasperated ] The Sports page?! This was one of the biggest stories of the decade!

Shlomi: Well, maybe it was a big story in Ramalla, but..

Jameel Rashid: This was not a local story! I can't believe this! Have you ever heard anything so stupid in your life?

Shlomi: [ defensive ] Yeah, well, I'm sure I know a lot more about sports than you do!

Jameel Rashid
: Fine! Fine! [ turning to the next guest ] Uh, what's your name, please?

Anat: Anat.

Jameel Rashid: Tell me, Anat, how did you first hear that Yitzchak Rabin had been shot?

Anat: Well, Jameel, this is a little embarrassing, considering what transpired here.. but, uh.. he told me. [ indicates Shlomi ]

Jameel Rashid: What?!

Anat: Backstage. Just before the show.

Jameel Rashid: You mean, you didn't know about the Rabin assasination until tonight?!

Shlomi: [ laughing proudly ] What a tembel (dork), Jameel!

Jameel Rashid: Have you people been in a coma, or what?

Anat: Well, I.. I must have been watching another channel..

Jameel Rashid: [ outraged ] Another channel?! It was on all the channels! He was the Prime Minister, for God's sake! Everybody on Earth knew about it the day it happened, except for you two people sitting right here!!

Third Guest: Uh, excuse me. Are you people talking about Yitzchak Rabin?

Jameel Rashid: Yes!

Third Guest: Oh, what. Did something happen?

Anat: He's.. he's been shot.

Third Guest: Oh, no! No! No, he's been shot! [ starts weeping ]

Jameel Rashid: [ disgusted ] That's it for me. Join us next week on "The Forum", when our guest will be Gil Shwed , the founder of CheckPoint, the first firewall software company in Israel.

Shlomi: [ intrigued ] Wait a minute.. you mean, there are high tech companies…in Israel?

Jameel Rashid: [ angry ] Yes!

Shlomi: [ excited ] Alright! [ turns to Anat ] Give me five! I can't believe it! In Israel!


Postscript: I was a kid when this was first aired on Saturday Night Live in 1983, and could not forget it. It kept me laughing all night long. In the US, this was considered very funny at the time. You can be sure that there will be people in Israel who read this and will want to kill me. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Collateral Damage

Last night on my way home from work, my oldest son (12) called me up to ask if I heard the news. I asked what news was he referring to? He said, "Didn't you hear, the IDF shot at a terrorist's car killing him, and now the Hamas has declared war on us -- till now has been a joke between us and Hamas, but NOW they have declared war on us." My son is so cynical.

Here's a picture of the terrorist, looking all happy and smug that he's been so successful in killing Jews.

Fouwzi Abu Kra - terrorist in red circle on the left.

Here's what's left of his car.

Collateral Damage? The terrorist in the seat next to him who was riding shotgun.

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