Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Going back...

You never know unless you ask. It seems a young lady from the yishuv Tal Menashe asked the IDF commander for the Shomron why it was forbidden to visit the ruins of Sa-Nur. He couldn't come up with any objections and she went and organized a group of 49 people to visit the place.
Aruzt Sheva has the story and pictures.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael
This is a preliminary test of some mobile blogging software that I'm looking into. Feel free to ignore this post. RA you're such a smarta$$.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Happy to see it...

If you're not interested in Chareidi politics, feel free to skip this post...

Pretty much everyone who knows me, and is somewhat interested in what goes on in Chareidi politics knows how I feel about Rav Elyashiv and what goes on around him. Suffice it to say, I'm not a big fan of how decisions are made and things are done. Besides the fact that I'm not 100% it's even R' Elyashiv making most of the decisions in any event. (I'm not the only one, by the way, I heard from a certain Talmid Chacham (really serious, well known Rav and Dayan, not just some Ra"M, he's in the top top level of Lamdanim) who is in the know that R' Elyashiv no longer really gives psakim and that it's all Rav Efrati. That said...I could care less if it's R' Elyashiv or R' Efrati, but I was really impressed with this:

Beis Ya'akov schools in Jerusalem will not be starting on time this year. That is unless a solution is found for all girls who applied, making sure there is no discrimination based on edah. It seems that up to 300 girls were not accepted due to the fact that the schools are Ashkenzi and the girls are from a Sfardi background.

So, with all my criticism of R' Elyashiv, I'm very happy to see he's trying to do something about the quiet racism of the Ashkenazi Chareidi world and how they treat Sfardi students. It seems he's been pushing this for a while. (check)

(Hebrew story here)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Diskin speaks out

Some scary results of the expulsion...

(from Arutz 7)
In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Tuesday, Shabak (General Security Service) chief Yuval Diskin told MKs that Gazan terror groups had been strengthened by the results of Israel’s war in the north.
Diskin said that Gaza’s terror groups have been smuggling Katyusha and Grad missiles into Gaza at a steady pace, preparing to implement the lessons they learned from Hizbullah.


Shabak (General Security Service) chief Yuval Diskin, in his briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Tuesday, said that the IDF is having difficulty maintaining control over the areas of northern Samaria from which Jews were forcibly evicted last summer.
Diskin said that maintaining intelligence information on the terror organizations that now dominate the area was made much more difficult by Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal.

as well as

MK Natan Sharansky (Likud), responding to Shabak (General Security Service) chief Yuval Diskin’s briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Tuesday, said it was the most alarming security assessment he had ever been privy to in his lengthy political career.
"For ten years I have been hearing security reports. I have never heard such an unequivocal and frightening report that calls for immediate action,” Sharansky said. "Every kind of weapon, except for tanks and airplanes, are getting into the Gaza Strip through the Philadelphi Route, including terrorist experts who have been trained in Iran. Hamas is establishing a terrorist army in Gaza.”

That's the New Middle East for you.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Slifkin at Stern

This is a lecture I wished I could have attended, (The Heresy of Intelligent Design) but Chana did such a good job transcribing it, that I don't mind so much :)

Worth reading...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

To add to your prayers

Here is a list of soldiers and civilians wounded in the last several years due to Arab terror. It's long and heart breaking. Take a minute, read through it, say some Tehillim or daven for the speedy recovry of all of them.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

More on Gush Katif

Yesterday, Jameel posted about General Gershon HaCohen making statements of regret in regards to the expulsion from Gush Katif. I added in my bit, doubtful of the efficacy of such a thing when look at it from a Tshuva/Repentance point.
Fern, in the comments asked the following question:
Litvishe--What exactly do you think needs to be done by those that participated in the disengagement to repent and earn the forgiveness of those affected (I'm not being sarcastic, I'm curious)?

I started writing a response in the comments and noticed it was going a bit long, so I decided just to make post out of it. So here is my answer:

To go each and every person uprooted from his house and hand him a check for all that he put into building his life at the very least. Not requiring the people to behave like beggers, supplicating for the money to pay the mortgages of the houses the Government kicked them out of and destroyed. Giving families not only restitution for monetary damage for property lost/destroyed, but enough that they can rebuild their lives with honor. Help them get jobs to replace those that were razed along with the communities they were based in.
Much of the more serious damage that needs to be addressed, and which I think will be harder, if not impossible, to repent for, is that done in the post-expulsion period. Where children saw their parents treated like doormats. Were left to rot in tent cities, hotel rooms where the hotel staff treated them like gargage etc. etc.
That will take years of work and investment to even begin to undo the damage. Before that, there isn't much to talk about.
Additionally, as one reader mentioned to me, it's not enough to make a blanket statement, to get up in public and klap "Al Chet" (beat one's chest and declaim one's guilt), one needs to go to the injured party and personally ask forgiveness. So, when General HaCohen goes door to door, and speaks to every man, woman and child that was brutally thrown from his house and ask for that person's forgiveness, then it is all so much lip service. He's trying to assuage his own guilt without doing anything about it.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Ron Arad...Still Missing?

I was at an MDA ALS enrichment class this evening, when I got an SMS update: Ron Arad's appearance in a Lebanese TV promo (full show to be broadcast next week) was verified by the Arad family as real footage of Ron Arad.

A chill went through my body when reading it. I wordlessly gave my cellphone to my friend sitting next to me, he read it, and his mouth dropped open.

After being told by IDF general after general that Ron Arad was dead...this story has totally shocked the country.

YNET reports the following (and you can see the video trailer as well).

VIDEO - Lebanese television network LBC says it plans to air a new movie soon featuring missing Israeli airman Ron Arad.

The promo to the movie, which was aired Monday evening, shows an Israeli jet fighter followed by Arad speaking to the camera.

The content of the movie is unclear at this time. The network, associated with Lebanon's Christian community, is boasting that the film is an exclusive. The promo promises that the images and sounds will be aired for the first time ever.

In October 16, 1986, an Israeli Air Force jet was hit while attacking terrorist targets south of Sidon. Arad and the pilot bailed out of the plane over Lebanese territory. A helicopter dispatched by the army managed to rescue the pilot, but Arad was not as fortunate and was captured by the Shiite Amal organization.

After being captured, Arad exchanged hands and according to some estimates eventually reached Iran. Israel received no sign of life from him for many years.

In the last prisoner swap with Hizbullah that secured the release of Elhanan Tennenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers, Israel released Hizbullah's top two prisoners, which were held in Israel in an attempt to secure information about Arad and possibly serve as bargaining chips.

The Arad family was infuriated after the release of Mustafa Dirani and the Sheikh Obeid and charged that Israel abandoned Arad. A non-profit organization set up on behalf of the missing navigator is offering a financial reward for any information about him.

This is one story that will keep Israel riveted to the news for the coming days...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our friends...the UN

They'll be in charge of protecting our Northern communities, thanks to Olmert's capitulation. So...what do we have to look forward too?
You can see here.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

The Committee...s?

Let the War of the Amnons Begin!

Seems there will be two investigative committees to check into the latest "Lebanese Conflict".
In this corner...Committee #1 run by the first Amnon. Amnon Rubenstein, founder of Shinui and leader of Meretz party, will be running the investigation of the behavior of the Government leading up to and during the conflict.

And in this corner...Committee #2 run by the other Amnon. Amnon Lipkin-Shakhak, former Chief of Staff, the fellow who negotiated the Gaza-Jericho first deal and Knesset Member for the ill-fated Center Party, will be heading up the second committee which will be tasked with looking into the behavior of the Army during this period.

Ok Amnons, I want a clean fight, since I know you're going to screw it up, try not to make it too obvious.

The war of the Amononim has been cancelled! Amnon Rubenstein has refused to head up the investigative committee. I may need to apologize to Soccor Dad, since it seems Amnon R. doesn't want to be set up for a fall.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

A quick note to all journalists...

If you're in a warzone, you might get:

1) Shot at
2) Bombed
3) Kidnapped at gunpoint by crazed Islamofascists and forced to convert

These things shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's a WARZONE for crying out loud.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Never stops does it...

During the run up to the last elections, when Ariel Sharon was still around, there was an on going joke about the name chosen to represent his new political party. As you all know it is called Kadima, that is to say Forward. The joke was, given Sharon and his son Omri's legal issues, was that Kadima meant, Kadima L'Keleh or Forward to Prison. As we've already seen one Minister from Kadima stripped of his portfolio and indicted on corruption charges as well as Omri Sharon convicted of illegal doings, the name seems apt.
Well...the fun never stops. The State Comptroller has come out with a new report. Guess what? More hanky-panky from the folks in Kadima. This time it's the man in charge. It seems that Ehud, when he was Minister of Industry, used his position to make some appoinments in a less then above board manner. His predecessor to the post Dalia Itzik (formerly Labor, now...ah come on, I don't need to tell you really) also seems to have been up to no good. Certain party members were given positions on certain comitees where they didn't really have to do anything but were able to submit expense reports for hundreds of thousands of shekels...and get reimbursed.
All the relevent information has been passed on to the Attorny General (paragon of truth, justice and incorruptablity that he is...).

Not holding my breath though.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thank you

Jameel and I would like to extend our gratitude to all the people who donated to the Muqata Defense Expansion Fund. We've started looking for a device for Jameel to use to blog remotely and we'll keep you posted(ha ha) when it is in hand.
We are still looking for sponsers, so if you'd like to help out, please purchase an ad either by clicking on the blogads link or contacting me or Jameel directly. Of course feel free to donate!

So Thanks go out to:

We appreciate what you've done to help things on their way!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

And the knives are out...

Well, they started sharpening them while the fighting was still going on, but now they're out. It's time to play the blame game. National Infrastucture Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, has laid the blame squarly on the shoulders of Chief of Staff Dan Chalutz. Ben-Eliezer commented on Army Radio this morning, that Chalutz was the best Head of the Air Force ever, but he thought he could win this one without using any ground forces. So, it's all his fault, neener, neener.

It seems we get the leadership we deserve. And the leadership we deserve is missing the phrase "Personal Accountability" in its dictionary. Me? I'm missing "Tact", but that's nothing new.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Granting Forgiveness - Gush Katif

Since the summer war has kept me very busy, I haven't blogged at all about last summer's Hitnatukut. Yet, as I type this in my living room (I'm on vacation this week) the Disengagement is still all around us. Totally coincidentally, my daughter is playing with my cellphone now, watching movies she made with it last year of her and her friends in Chomesh as we waited for the IDF to arrive.

Up to the Hitnatkut, we went to Neve Dekalim many times, visted the yishuvim in the Northern Shomron slated for destruction, and even camped out in Chomesh in a tent along with thousands of others to show the world that Chomesh, and all of Eretz Yisrael is dear to us. We left just before the IDF and police showed up to start the forced evacuation, since we had a much more important mission -- helping take care of those thrown out of their homes with no where to go.

However, now is not when I'm going blog my personal experiences from last year -- that will have to wait for another time.

Instead, an interesting question appeared on the "moriya" Jewish Issues website. A Rav was asked about granting forgiveness to Gershon HaCohen, one of the IDF generals directly involved in last year's Disenagegement. One of the slogans after the Disengagment was, "We won't forget, We won't forgive" -- and now, a year later, IDF general Gershon HaCohen was the subject of a report on Channel 10 TV in Israel the other week. When paying a condolence call last week to the bereaved family of a fallen IDF soldier, HaCohen was quoted as saying the following:

"The Disengagment was a crime against the nation of Israel, I was part of that crime and I therefore apologize..."

Rav Amiel, one of the rabbis who participatez in the questions and answers forum on the moriya website answered as follows:

"Of course he should be forgiven! If the forgiveness is asked for sincerely, for all aspects of the crime, then of course he should be forgiven." He added that it's important to ask forgiveness publically, from those evicted from their homes -- specifically the people from Gush Katif, and from Am Yisrael in general."

The IDF spokesman categorically denies any of the statements attributed to General Gershon HaCohen... (taken from the NRG website in Hebrew)

Despite anyone's opinion on the Disengament -- the way it was carried out, and the despicable treatement of those evicted from their homes (which continues to this day) is a sign of moral bankrupcy of the previous government, and those that continue to fail to offer solutions for those families.

I don't think it should surprise anyone how many police investigations are currently ongoing regarding the corrupt/immoral/criminal behaviour of so many of Israel's leaders.

Litvshe adds his 2 agorot:

I have a Never Forget, Never Forgive bumper sticker on my car. I've discussed this issue with my wife and my chevrusa several times. Both are in the נזכור ונחזור (We Will Remember and We Will Return) camp. I'm sorry. I'm not there. Part of the path of repentence (Tshuvah) is making right the damage caused. It's not enough for the theif to be sorry for the fact that he stole goods, nor is it enough for General HaCohen to say that what was done was a horrible mistake and that he personally regrets any part he took in the process. Until all the wrongs are righted, the damage done to the residents of Gush Katif and the Shomron is repaid in full, then there is nothing to talk about. So, as Elul starts and the Yomim HaNoraim approach, let's daven for the Nation as a whole to repent fully for the terrible travesty visited upon the People of Israel by its leaders, assisted by tens of thousands of Jews who closed their hearts to the plight of their brethern and that they find a way to make proper restitution.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Haveil Havalim #84 -- live and on-line.

Wonderfully inclusive covering a huge range of topics, Me-Ander has done a wonderful job (again)...
(And while your at it remeber to check out Kosher Cooking Carnival #9 - nah I won't link to it - go to Haveil Havalim and link from there! Yes Me-Ander is the originator of the Kosher Cooking Carnival. It's at Sarah's Images this month -- even though it doesn't have my grilled chicken recipe in it...maybe next month)

#85 - September 3, 2006 - Soccer Dad
#86 - September 10, 2006 - Soccer Dad
#87 - September 17, 2006 - Greetings from French Hill - contact them at israelrulesblog at hotmail dot com.
Sept 24, 2006 - No Haveil Havalim - Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Kidnapped FOX Journalists Released.

Fox News reports network’s journalists kidnapped in Gaza on August 14 have been released by their Palestinian captors; earlier, journalists seen in video accusing Israel of using Apache helicopters, American weapons against Palestinian population (Ynet)
Just think, all the dhimmi had to do was convert to Islam (and whatever else Fox had to pay off the Palestinians). Olmert is probably wondering how bad it would look for our IDF soldiers to convert as well...if it means they would get out of jail.

hat-tip: Fern

Update: Interesting thought raised by Sarah in the comments...about the permissibility of Jews to convert to Islam to save their lives.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Haughty Halutz: We won the war on Day 1.

A Sunday morning article in the British weekly the Sunday Times states that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz phoned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the first night of the war to inform him that the war had been won.

The article reports that, on this day, July 12th, Halutz was stationed in the general staff operations room in Tel Aviv, overseeing Israel Air Force strikes on Hizbullah strongholds in south Beirut. Over the Mediterranean, an F-15I squadron was preparing to strike at the Iranian made Zelzal rockets pointed at Tel Aviv.

At around midnight, the squadron received instructions to fire and, within minutes, had demolished the first rocket launcher. The squadron leader made contact 39 minutes later, reporting that "54 rocket launchers have been destroyed. We're returning to the base."

According to the article, Halutz smiled and called the prime minister, who was smoking a cigar as he waited in his Jerusalem home to receive the general's phone call. "All long-range rockets have been destroyed," Halutz declared. Then, he added three words that haunt him to this day: "We won the war." (Sunday Times via YNETnews)
The words "Kochi V'Otzem Yadi Assa Li Et HaChayil Hazeh" (My own strength and might made this army [instead of admitting that any help may have come from G-d]) keep ringing in my ears when reading this article.

IDF Chief of Staff, Dan "quick, sell my stock portfolio" Halutz not only sells his stock portfolia during the first criticial hours of the war, but has the gall to say "We won the war" after one successful IAF attack on Hizbolla rockets.

Simultaneous to his declaration of victory, 12 soldiers from an elite paratroopers unit encountered an ambush near the village of Maroun al-Ras in south Lebanon.

A soldier who gave an interview to the British paper, and who was identified only as Gad, said: "We didn't know what hit us. Within seconds, we had two dead. We expected a tent and three Kalashnikovs – that was the intelligence that we'd received. Instead, we found a hydraulic steel door that led to a network of well-stocked tunnels."

As the sun rose, the soldiers found themselves under fire from Hizbullah operatives who knew the lay of the land like the back of their hand and used this to their advantage.

"What's happening with the paratroopers?" asked Lt. Gen. Halutz. "They're surrounded," replied Chief of Northern Command Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, "I must send more forces."

As reinforcements from the Egoz infantry unit prepared to enter Maroun al-Ras, a number of them encountered an additional ambush. Exchanges of fire raged for hours, until soldiers succeeded in evacuating their dead and wounded.

The Sunday Times reports that, at this moment, everyone in the operations room in Tel Aviv knew that the fighting would be much harder and more complicated than Halutz had predicted. As the war progressed, the general's optimism crumbled – and along with it, Israel's reputation of invincibility, the paper wrote.

Reports from Egypt are now claiming that within 2-3 weeks, our 3 kidnapped soldiers will be released as part of a "prisoner exchange" between Hizbolla and Israel. So let's try and recap the war:

1. None of the war's objectives were met. In fact, we've proven once again that "Crime Pays" and that Israel will release terrorists to get our kidnapped soliders back (and our war effort didn't succeed in this in the slightest).

2. Our good friend, Kofi Annan is putting UNIFIL troops in South Lebanon, though he explicitly says that UNIFIL's charter is NOT to disarm Hizbolla or keep weapons from flowing into Lebanon from Syria.

Oh, while we're on the topic of UNIFIL, I found the following tidbit:

DURING THE RECENT month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel, U.N. "peacekeeping" forces made a startling contribution: They openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hezbollah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon.

UNIFIL--the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a nearly 2,000-man blue-helmet contingent that has been present on the Lebanon-Israel border since 1978--is officially neutral. Yet, throughout the recent war, it posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction. New information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was posted, and never more than 24 hours old.

On the bright side, I'm on vacation this week...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, August 25, 2006

Shabbat Shalom...

As usual, I'm grilling chicken and shnitzel before shabbat -- but was too busy to also blog something worthwhile. I will say that it will be a pleasure next week to offer my rebuttal XGH and Dovbear, for their reply postings to yesterday's "Passionate Yearning for Eretz Yisrael"...

A quiet and peaceful shabbat to all.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Passionate Yearning for Eretz Yisrael

(cross-posted on DovBear and The Muqata)

Despite DovBear's assertion, one doesn’t need to wear blue and white underwear, madly dance on Yom HaAtzmaut, or even hate Arabs to feel a passion for Eretz Yisrael.

I doubt that Rav Yehuda HaLevi met any of the above criteria, but without doubt his yearning for Zion and his spiritual craving for Eretz Yisrael burned deeply in his soul when he wrote "My heart is in the East, yet I am in the end of the West."

It’s understandable that after 2000 years of exile this passionate spark is slightly dampened in so many. Where should it, where could it emerge from, burning brightly in this day and age to ignite the passion and pathos of "If I forget thee Jerusalem…if I forget you on my day of celebration?"

How many really have the destruction of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash on their minds when they have a day of celebration? As mortals, we can’t imagine ourselves around the clock standing in front of our Creator – the human brain can’t deal with it, and we seek additional metaphors to understand the G-d/human relationship – the father/son one works best for me. Yet, there are many Jews in Israel and around the world, for which "If I forget three Jerusalem" is still a living part of their daily lives.

The posting a few days ago on DovBear’s blog, "How Deep is your Faith?" challenged many of us – if the basis for our faith is unproven, then our actions need to be carefully measured when plotting the course of Israel, and a large dose of humility thrown in for good measure.

The Torah could not agree more; we are warned explicitly to be wary of the pitfalls of arrogant military supremacy, "Kochi v’Otzem Yadi Asa Li Et HaChayil HaZeh", that "our own strength and might did for us this army." As people of faith, we need to understand that at the end of the day, our military prowess, success or failure, comes from Divine Providence. For those of us with less faith, the importance of morality and ethics is just as important.

It’s interesting to see this symmetry in action over the past month – unquestionably, the fiercest and most dedicated fighters in the IDF emerged from two groups: the members of Kibbutzim and Moshavim, and those from the national-religious community.

Seemingly an odd combination after so many years of being told that “the secular have abandoned the country” – the secular, don’t look for me in a shul ,even on Yom Kippur, ‘cause I’m eating my ham sandwich” kibbutznik, fought shoulder to shoulder in Lebanon with religious, kippa wearing, “don’t throw anyone out of Gush Katif orange wrist banded” soldiers.

For the first time in many years, the common denominator between these 2 types of Jews was glaringly apparent. The homeland of the Jewish people needed defending, and both groups volunteered, with their lives, to protect it. The issue of whether or not we could logically prove our cause was totally irrelevant -- our homeland was under attack, our soldiers kidnapped, and the vast majority of us realized inherently that we needed to fight back.

Clearly, those soldiers have a passion for Israel, yet from where does the lack of passion for Israel come from? DovBear appreciates Israel, will teach his children Hebrew, and cares about Israel – yet at the end of the day, wants to watch from America. XGH seemingly chides us to be humble in our fight for survival, apparently implying we need to tread lightly when defending ourselves [or building the land] as we end up “land grabbing”, “occupying another people” and “bombing the Lebanese” based on an unproven faith, that we believe we should live in Israel. After all, how are we any different from Hizbolla?

Yet our quest to live in Israel, based on our faith, is no less valid a right than the existence of the United States through the principle of Manifest Destinty which founded the US. To even question a Jew’s right to live in Israel and defend himself – while writing from the United States which was built upon the foundations of Manifest Destiny is to blatantly ignore history, and might I add, rather haughty and audacious. Or more succinctly, the pot calling the kettle black.

But I digress.

Passion for Israel is not necessarily rooted in nationalism…or blue and white…or kibbutz socialism… Personally, when I spent my first year in Yeshiva in Israel, I didn’t have “the passion” at all. Yet, by the end of the year, a quick poll in my yeshiva showed that 99% of those who came for the year would be interested in staying…in some sort of framework…many even permanently.

What drives the passion? Why does spending time in Israel – either in yeshiva, seminary, kibbutz, college, or army – why does it usually evoke a passion for Israel? I spent a summer in England’s Lake District, which as stunningly beautiful as it was, didn’t ignite any passion within me to want to live there. I grew up in the United States in a frum community that catered nicely to an Orthodox lifestyle: good Jewish schooling, Kosher food, an eruv (agreed to by most), shuls, a mikva, and a suburban surrounding of grass, trees, culture and little league – yet after a year in Israel, the US and my community lost it’s appeal.

Eretz Yisrael offers something else, a connection to our past and future which was missing in the US. And not only from a religious perspective – I recently walked around Raanana and was amazed at the number of secular anglo olim at the Raanana municipal park. What brought them to Israel? Why are they ALSO here in Israel? And yet…they definitely have the passion as well.

I spent time in Northern Israel during the war this past month, and was astounded by the volunteering spirit and togetherness of Israel. Families in Cental Israel’s upper middle class regions were hosting families from the North…Magen David Adom, Hatzala, the Fire Department, Auxiliary Police, social workers, all had volunteers swarming to help provide reinforcements…and the amounts of food donated for Shabbat meals for these volunteers was simply overwhelming. The feeling of unity and commonality in purpose as volunteers left their families to fight in Lebanon, to volunteer, to help, to serve, to distribute food was without a doubt, one of our finest moments as a country. That politics and differences could be put aside for a common goal was heart warming.

And this feeling crossed the boundaries of Israel and could be felt everywhere across the globe, as concerned Jews – some with more faith, some with less – but all bound up with some difficult to prove or scientifically catalog – unity, helped reignite a passion for Israel.

It may not exist for everyone, but the longing for Israel, the passion for Zion is bound up within the spiritualiy of Judiasm. It’s there – so many people felt it over the past month – impossible to explain, but I would bet dollars to donuts that many, many of you reading this posting, know exactly what I’m writing about. XGH and DovBear may scoff and dismiss this posting – it’s unscientific, not provable, maybe even G-d forbid just the messianic rantings of a fanatical settler.

Yet I still believe that majority of the readership here felt the stirring of the passion for Eretz Yisrael over the past month…the longing for Zion…and the unity of our people emerged with a clarity that had been missing for a long time.

It may be intangible, yet the passion for Eretz Yisrael still lives on in our people.

In our heart of hearts, the vast majority of us know it to be true.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Remembering The Hebron Massacre of 1929.

Since today, August 24th, marks 77 years since the Brutal Massacre and rape of the Jewish Community of Hebron, I thought it would be important to provide the following recently found letter from a survivor who recounts the horrors of the pogrom. The letter's author requests that his surviving children read the account every year to recall the survival and the massacre:

"Just one thing, my dear children, may you live and be well, I ask of you that you put away this letter for the generations. Each year, at an agreed‑upon day, you should all meet and give thanks and praise to God, blessed be He, who saved your parents from this great catastrophe, and each one of you should make a generous contribution to charity. The miracle took place on Shabbes, Torah portion Ekev, the 18th day of the month of Av, 5689 [August 24, 1929], in Hebron."

Following is an introduction, and then the letter itself.

Blood dripping down the steps in Hevron following in the Massacre

Survivor mourning the victims of the masscare in Hebron.

The entire 1929 Hebron Massacre photo archive is here. Warning, very graphic images.

The following is required reading for all.

The Hebron Massacre of 1929: A Recently Revealed Letter of a Survivor

The massacre of the Jews of Hebron in 1929 put an end to the ancient Jewish community at the burial site of the patriarchs. The riots which erupted throughout the country were an organized Arab attack against the entire Zionist enterprise with the aim of preventing the eventual establishment of a Jewish state. They were the most violent eruption until that time in the conflict that has been termed “one long war between Arabs and Jews comparable to the Hundred Years War in medieval Europe.”[1]

Unlike other parts of the country, where Jews resisted with force, the Hebron community reflected the mind‑set of the pre‑modern Jew, conditioned by almost 2,000 years of Jewish powerlessness. The reaction of the local leadership to the impending attack was to turn to the authorities -- the British appointed governor and the Arab notables -- for protection, which, when it arrived, was much too late.

The events in Hebron and my grandparents' miraculous rescue are vividly described in a letter written by my grandfather nine days later to my mother, Blanche Greenberg.

In 1907, the peak year of Jewish immigration into the United States, my maternal grandfather, Aharon Reuven Bernzweig, his wife Breine Zuch Bernzweig, and their six children left Stanislaw, Galicia (then Austrian Poland), and settled in New York City. Twenty years later, in 1927, after their children were grown and they had accumulated a modest capital, they were in a position to fulfill the dream of many traditional Jews‑‑to spend their retirement years in Eretz Hakodesh, the Holy Land.

Late in the spring of 1929, my grandparents travelled to the United States in order to attend my brother's bar mitzvah. Upon their return they decided to escape the heat of a Tel Aviv summer by vacationing in Hebron. Five days later the riots broke out.

Zeide Bernzweig's health was affected by the Hebron ordeal, and he died of a heart attack in 1936. Baba Breine continued to live at 16 Bialik Street in Tel Aviv until her death in 1945. That is where I would visit and spend Shabbat in 1937‑38, when I studied at Hebrew University.

Aharon and Breine Bernzweig were buried on the Mount of Olives. In the summer of 1967, after the reunification of Jerusalem, my wife and I found and restored their desecrated graves.

While members of the family knew that Zeide had written a letter about Hebron, we were not familiar with the actual text. I found the original in my parents' papers after their death. The Yiddish is closely written on ten pages and is difficult to read. I am therefore greatly indebted to Helen G. Meyrowitz, who deciphered the text and prepared the initial translation, which I have revised and edited.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Updates from Israel. August 23

7:06 PM Video Released of kidnapped FOX journalists in Gaza.

A previously unknown Palestinian group released the first video Wednesday of two kidnapped Fox News journalists and demanded that Muslim prisoners in U.S. jails be released within 72 hours in exchange for the men, a Palestinian news agency reported.

In the video, Steve Centanni, 60, of the San Francisco area, and cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, appeared to be in good health, seated on the floor in sweat suits against a black background. No armed men were shown.

"Our captors are treating us well," Centanni said, adding that they had access to clean water, showers, bathrooms, food and clothing.

"So, just want to let you know I am here and alive and give my love to my family and friends and ask to do anything you can to try to help us get out of here," he added.

Wiig called for help to get them freed.

"If you could apply any pressure on the local government here in Gaza and the West Bank, that would be much appreciated by Steve and myself," Wiig said. (BREITBART)

6:28 PM EL-AL flight lands safely at JFK airport in NYC.

6:24 PM Apparently a technical problem with the wheels of the ELAL flight...anyone have another update on the situation? Has the flight landed yet?

6:17 PM EL-AL flight 001 from Tel-Aviv to NYC making emergency landing in NYC. Reasons for emergency landing request unknown at this time.

5:32 PM Speechless. Channel 10 just announced the results of a poll they conducted: If there would be elections today for Prime Minister, who would you vote for? Check out the following results:

Amir Peretz 1%
Shimon Peres 2.6%
Ehud Olmert 3.4%
Benjamin Netanyahu 46.5%
Avigdor Leiberman 46.5%

2:30 PM Gotta love this guy. Kadima MK Meir Shitreet says: "You don't topple a government over every little thing..." After all -- the war was such a little thing...just a minor blip in Israel's history, that it doesn't warrant a serious response. Olmert is trying his hardest to prevent an official government inquiry into the handling of the war, rather, using every spin possible to tone down the board of inquiry...(NRG)

1:44 PM IDF Casualties on the border of South Lebanon Cleared for publication, 1 killed, 2 in serious condition, 1 moderate. Senior officers are among the wounded. The soldiers, from the Givati Briagade were hurt by walking in a minefield in South Lebanon near the border.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

We want our kidnapped soldiers home...and Olmert should go home as well

YNET: Reservist protest movement, bereaved parents join forces

The staff of the reservist protest movement and the bereaved parents group agreed Tuesday night to join forces and signed a petition calling on the prime minister, defense minister and chief of IDF staff to resign.

"The pain you have caused us by your failure has succeeded in uniting us. In the name of our friends, in the name of the hostages, their families and our sons, we declare the following: We will not desist in our struggle until the responsible parties hold themselves accountable for their actions," the petition read. YNETnews
It's sort of being ignored by Israel's media...but IDF reservists are starting to demonstrate against Olmert. In front of his front of his office...and coming soon...a march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Correction, it is being reported. Here's an item from today's JPost:
Reservists and their supporters protesting outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Jerusalem office for the second day on Tuesday said their primary objective was to see Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz resign because of "their incompetence in the Second Lebanon War."

Complaints about military mismanagement and the government's failure to free the two kidnapped Armored Corps reservists, defeat Hizbullah, or "protect the citizens in the North" provided the impetus for dozens of angry demonstrators to spend the day in the Rose Garden under the hot sun.
More here.

(And I hope to be home tomorrow morning as heart and blog are in the East...and I'm in Chutz LaAretz...flying home tonight...)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Circle Of Life - Signs of the Times.

A Muqata reader sent in the following:

The Rein family from Karnei Shomron heard about their son Benaya's death in Lebanon the previous Sunday morning. That Sunday night Benaya's sister gave birth to a baby boy.

There were two signs up one next to the other in the shul in Karnei Shomron this week:

Monday, 10:00 AM at the Karnei Shomron cemetery: Getting up from the shiva - הציבור מוזמן. (translation: the public is invited)

Monday, 4:00 PM at shul in Karnei Shomron: Brit for the baby - הציבור מוזמן. This sign also included the passuk.

ואראה אותך מתבוססת בדמיך ואומר לך בדמיך חיי

The baby was of course, was named Benaya [Ori second name].

As Benaya's mother promised at her son's funeral, "We will keep building...and continue on."

בבנין הארץ ננחם

We will be comforted through the building of the land.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

From the Mail-Bag

Jameel is on assignment in a foreign land, a land fraught with the dangers of Islamo-fascist terrorism, a land across the ocean, were getting a good internet connection can sometimes be a pain in the neck...

In any event he has requested I post this for him:

I got this by email the other day...since I'm not web-connected, I have no way of knowing if it's been posted on other blogs. If it has, my apologies...



...that the 7th day of the week is Shabbat and not Saturday
...that your elected officials live on your block and daven in your Bet Kenesset
...that Torah is taken SO seriously
...that people do not spend a year's salary on an SUV
...that a person's home is not a measure of his success
...that my forefathers walked in.
...that the street names are from the Tanach or names of Torah sages
...that the guy delivering water can tell me where the closest minyan may be found.
...that the land itself has Kedusha
...that the land itself is a gift from Hashem
...that the spoken language is the language G-d used to create the world.
...that even secular Jews invoke the name of Hashem
...that has the mountain upon which the Bet HaMikdash will be built (bb"a)
...that we daven for three times a day!
...that you don't have to explain to your employer why you need to leave early on Friday.
...that you can eat Chametz on the "Eighth Day" of Pesach
...that the majority of events in Tanach took place in
...that many of its soldiers DAVEN!
...that people are passionate about politics
...that you can FEEL Shabbat is coming
...that you can FEEL that it is Shabbat
...that it is not Saturday night but it is Motzaei Shabbat
...that Sunday is not "Shabbat Sheni shel Galuyot."
...that Jews have died PROTECTING the land
...that one can be proud to be a Jew
...that SHALOM is not only the name of a cemetery but it is the fervent hope of every resident


...where Erev Rosh HaShana kids from the local Scouts pass out apples & honey and wish you a Shana Tova
...where you can walk around the Old City walls every Erev Rosh Chodesh and Tish'a B'Av
...where you can get a Dvar Torah from the taxi driver (and a political dissertation, as well!))
...where the nightly TV station ends with "Psuko shel Yom" (Torah quote of the day)
...where the local radio station begins with "Shema Yisrael" and the Hebrew date ...where you hear Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) every day
...where you can hear Havdala and Daven in the President's house
...where you have Parshat HaShavua every Erev Shabbat on TV and a special Melaveh Malka program after Shabbat
...where you have radio stations which play only acappella (i.e. no music) songs during mourning times (Sefirat haOmer, the 9 days)
...where you can write the Hebrew date on checks...and they won't bounce!
...where you can get a one line Dvar Torah on your grocery cash register tape (in particular neighborhoods)
...where the mayor and Chief Rabbis invite the public to visit them in their Sukkot
...where public school kids bring home homemade Sukka decorations
...where they grow bug free vegetables
...where you can buy Shabbat toilet paper with a Hechsher, declaring that it is produced in a Shomer Shabbat factory, not using G’niza (!)(remnants of Holy texts) ...where you can buy cleaning supplies with a hechsher for Pesach (though is this REALLY necessary?)
...where on Rememberance Day, cars stop in the middle of the highways and people get out at 11:00 to collectively remember their fallen...not go on picnics!
...where you smell Gefilte Fish, chicken soup and homemade Challot Erev Rosh Hashana as you walk down the block
...where Chametz is sold collectively for the whole country
...where you leave the hospital after having given birth to your baby, and the staff says, "See you next year"!

What would you add?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Monday, August 21, 2006

France...The Bastion Bastards of Hypocrisy

Apologies: when typing on the run to catch a plane, I can't catch all the typos...yes, I should know how to spell "Hypocrisy." Will try harder :)

DovBear's erudite analysis that "The French Win One [over America]" is still ringing in my head.

"The breakthrough is based on the inclusion in the call for a cessation of hostilities for a progressive Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory to go simultaneously with the deployment of the Lebanese army backed by reinforced U.N. peacekeepers."

France, which pushed for the ceasefire (which hasn't helped get our IDF soldiers back) boasted they would send 2500-4000 soldiers to the UN peacekeeper force destined for South Lebanon. And they were expected to lead the force as well...

How French.

How Noble.

But words are so much more French than actions...

Olmert spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy and called on Italy to take a leading role in the international force, according to a statement released by Olmert's office. Italy has offered to send up to 3,000 troops while France, which helped broker the cease-fire, has so far refused to commit more than 200. International Herald Tribune.

Let's repeat that: France, which helped broker the cease-fire, has so far refused to commit more than 200.

From 4000 to 200...that's mighty impressive backpedaling.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary Mrs. @ The Muqata

OK, so it's our wedding anniversary today. I came home early from work, ordered a special flower arrangement, and offered to go out to eat at a nice restaurant.

Everything was going according to a babysitter, the youngest went to bed without complaining for a change...and off we drove.

About 10 minutes into our drive, we saw 3 large arcs of flame and fire crashing down ahead of us on the road from the hills to our left. We pulled over quickly and stopped -- as the cars coming at us did as well.

Firebombs...Molotov Cocktails...bottles with gasoline. Call them what you wish, but they aren't pretty.

Pulled out my pistol, chambered a bullet, and scanned the hills for the terrorists who threw them...and called the local "moked" to report it. Gave a precise location, the road stopped burning, and we drove on. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and no cars were damaged.

The moked and IDF called us back 3 times to get an exact location...we also told the army at the next checkpoint...

Do we have a huge bullseye painted on our vehicle? This happens to me way too often.

In any event...we had an excellent steak anniversary dinner in Petach Tikva.

Happy Anniversary Dear! Maybe next year I'll cook dinner?


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Trying to win the war?

At today's weekly government cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Amir Peretz had the following to say:

"We must prevent the continued arrival of a Lebanese army force up to 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) away from the border, before a multinational force is stationed there first...."We will not allow Hizbullah to approach the border with Israel again" (YNETNEWS)

Can someone please help me out here? Hizbolla flags are flying along the border between Israel and South Lebanon (two pictures enclosed here) and yet, Peretz is saying we will not allow Hizbolla to approach the border?

(** please see below -- this second picture does not to Ironi B.)

Last week Olmert, Peretz and Livni stated that "the war's objectives have been reached" due to the Lebanese army moving into South Lebanon...yet now Peretz DOESN'T want them there? (without a multinational force?)

And where are our kidnapped soldiers?

Please tell me that I'm missing something...


UPDATED CORRECTTION (Hat-tip: Ironi Burgoni) The second picture above is from before the war, and has nothing to do with the current situation. I'll leave it up as a tribute to Ironi who spotted it. The second picture was sent in by reader "Matthew" with the following credit, as is therefore, indicative of Hizbolla, in fact, being back at the border. The JPOST and other papers have been showing pictures of Hizbolla terrorists in Bint Jebail observing IDF forces thorugh binoculars, but I haven't been able to locate the pictures on-line.

August 16, 2006 Kfar Kileh, face à nous, les drapeaux et les terroristes sont déjà revenus
Photo Jean Tsadik © Menapress, moyens techniques, Even Sokol

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

History...repeating itself.

My Rav pointed out an interesting piece from a sefer called Yesod Yisharim. The book is a collection of talks given by R' Eliyahu Weintraub, a student of R' Yitzchak Hutner Z"L. In the talk he recalls a conversation R' Ya'akov Liss Z"L had with R' Yiztchok Ze'ev Soleveitchik Z"L, the Brisker Rav. This was in 1956, after the Sinai Campaign. Rav Liss asked the Brisker Rav what Da'as Torah was on the situation.
The GrI"Z responded that Israel went to war for three reasons.
1. To liberate the Suez Canal
2. To topple (Gammel Abdul) Nasser (the Egyptian leader)
3. To save Israel from those who wish to harm her

The first two, he said, were not accomplished. The third never occured to those in power.

He went on to say that even though the nation was declaiming the wonders of the miracles that happened, it was usless. Since it's not the recognition of the miracle that means something, it's the conclusion you take from the miracle.

He brought as a proof the story of Yitzchak, that he had the exact same facial features as his father Avraham. Why? So that people would not comment and say that Avimelech was his father, since there was a time that Sarah was held in Avimelech's house.
What's the connectin? It's clear that the fact that Sarah became pregnant and had a child was a miracle. No one denied that fact, since it was clear that Avraham, who had proven he was able to father children already, wasn't the cause of Sarah's barreness. The fact that those people refused to learn the correct lesson from the miracle of Yitchak's birth is the main point in the story.
HaShem showers his people with miracles every minute of the day. That 4,000+ missles landed on Israel in a month and that so few people were killed is clearly a miracle. That Syria and Iran didn't get involved directly, a miracle. The question is what conculsion to take from these miracles?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Motzei Shabbat

Motzei Shabbat News Roundup...(posted a 9:49 PM)

1. In a daring early Friday evening raid, deep in the Baalbek valley of Lebanon, IDF "sayeret matkal" commandos carried out a mission which involved the capture of 2 Hizbollah terrorists. One IDF officer was killed and two wounded. Of course, here's what special UN envoy to Middle East thought of the raid: "We had no independent means to verify ... what has happened. But if what has been reported is correct, it is of course a clear violation of the ceasefire," Terje Roed-Larsen told Lebanon's LBC television. Of course, getting our soldiers back is not a clear violation of the cease-fire.

2. Friday night terror attack at Bekaot Checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. One IDF soldier from the Nachal Chareidi was killed, and the other soldiers opened fire, killing the Palestinian terrorist.

3. Motzei Shabbat - firebombs were thrown at the entrance to Nofei Nehemya (East of Ariel). No injuries reported.

4. Israeli police arrest a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death an Italian tourist outside of the Old City of Jerusalem 2 weeks ago. For his defense, the Palestinian claimed he thought we has attacking an Israeli and not an an Italian tourist. That should reduce his sentence a bit...

If you can't make it out to the movies this motzei shabbat, here's a cartoon rendition of "History of the Middle East. (part 1)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday...August 18

6:01 PM Fine, I just had to add the following.

1. Important News Update from AP (via YNET)

Wife of Fox News cameraman kidnapped in Gaza makes tearful plea for his release

The wife of a Fox News cameraman kidnapped in Gaza made a tearful plea Friday for
information about the whereabouts of her husband and a fellow Fox journalist.

Cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, and American 0reporter Steve Centanni, 60, were taken Monday from their TV van near the Palestinian security services headquarters. (AP)

You have to wonder why news agencies and camera crews continue to trust Palestinians/Hizbolla. What did they expect would happen in Gaza -- that the Palestinians would grant them freedom of expression?

2. Though almost all the IDF reservists have left South Lebanon and have been replaced by the Lebanese Army (and regular IDF soldiers), many reservists are still "drafted" and aren't being sent home. Seems like round two is coming soon.

3. Hizbolla is paying (via Iran) every family in Lebanon whose home was bombed by the IDF -- $12,000.

Shabbat Shalom.

5:43 PM The shnitzel is done, and I'm grilling the chicken hour left till mincha and shabbat. Was it only a week ago that rockets were falling everywhere and there was fierce fighting between the IDF and Hizbolla in South Lebanon? Every ten minutes, a news update, another air-raid siren, and the tension of "when are the rockets going to hit Tel-Aviv..."

And's out of the news. Slowly, people are returning to the bombed cities of Northern Israel. The police are finding dozens of katyusha rockets which hadn't been located before. The JNF is reporting that 12,000 dunam of trees at a cost of 40 million NIS were destroyed. The total war cost is expected to exceed 10 Billion NIS...

And yet, the next war is lurking just around the corner, since none of the objectives of WHY we went to war were accomplished.

And words like "Hudna" and "Cease-fire" are Arabic for "Reload"

Shabbat Shalom - catch you next week.


4:29 PM For those of you who wanted to see the video the other day from "Uvda" -- where a reporter is "embedded" with a Nachal infantry brigade in Lebanon, here is a google video link (shortened to 15 minutes...) Worth viewing here. It works better on google then on the previous page...

1:30 PM Our friend in the UN.

1:10 PM Erev Shabbat I'll be grilling chicken and shnitzel later, so I'll be able to blog more then. Till then, some interesting news items:

1. Chaim Ramon, Kadima MK and Minister of Justice will be stepping down from his government ministry position on Sunday, after Attorney General announces that criminal charges of sexual harresment to be brought agains Ramon.

2. Police investigating rape allegations againt Israeli President, Moshe Katzav. Upgraded from sexual harrasment, the charges are getting more serious by the day.

3. Investigation against Israeli Prime Minister, Kadmia MK Ehud Olmert for financial imporieties when buying a house at a very reduced rate to give political kickbacks to the contractor. Without any connection to the moral fiber of Olmert, Caroline Glick has a scathing OpEd piece against him and his government in today's Jerusalem Post.

What annoyed me the most was Olmert's comment yesterday that his administration would never conduct a government investigation of "how the current war is being run."(After all, according to Olmert, "We Won")

4. Hmmm...who else? Ah yes, Kadimda MK and head of Israel's Security Committee, Tzachi Hanegbi was ALSO indicted...something about incorrect political appointees for party hacks.

5. Anyone else from Kadima? Let's give it another few days...

6. In case you had any doubts about the success of the war, there are currently Hizbolla terrorists in Bint Jebeil (the same town the IDF "cleaned out" 3 times) with their flags flying, observing IDF soldiers from Hizbolla outposts. Hizbolla flags along the border next to Metulla. I'll try to put up the pics soon while I'm grilling chicken.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Israeli meets a Lebanese -- in London

Received from a Muqata reader...

If this hadn't happened to me, personally, I would have written this story off as so much humanist propaganda.

During the fourth week of the current war, I was in a hotel in England - where the elevator wasn't working. This ancient grandfather, yours truly, found himself trudging up to his second floor hotel room several times a day. On some of these trips, I would pass a fellow from the third floor. We'd exchange pleasantries like:

I: Every time I see you come down from 3, I realize things could be worse!

He: No, we are still young, we can do this!

On our last such meeting (I was going up), I said "Good News! They're fixing the elevator!". He replied that that was indeed good news, then...

He: By the way, you are Israeli, are you not?

I: Yes, I am.

He extended his hand in friendship, and with a smile said: "I am Lebanese, we are enemies.".

I was astounded. He continued, "Do not worry, I am Christian."

I vigorously shook his hand, and the conversation continued as follows.

He: Your air force is destroying our cities, I had to flee with my car, no other way out!

I: Your people have to break away from Hizbollah!

He: We cannot! (Moves his forefinger across his throat) They will kill us! Do you not see what they have already done in Beirut against those who oppose them?!?

I: (At a loss for words) I don't have to look to Beirut. I see what has happened to your people in Bethlehem.

He: That was a terrible mistake! Look what you have done, giving so much power to Arafat. See how strong you have made them!

Our conversation continued for a few more minutes, on a more personal level, but I will not reveal further information that could somehow endanger him in the future. I came away from that encounter, dizzied with the realization that we have comrades in spirit on the other side of the line. I wanted to meet him again, and apologize for the treatment my government had ultimately given to the South Lebanese, but given my short stay, another such encounter never materialized...

How can we get our OWN people to think so rationally?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

And it starts up, once again...

There is a small Yishuv in Gush Etzion called Ma'aleh Rechavam, named after assasinated Minister Rechavam Ze'evi (HY'D). It numbers about 5 familes and another 11 singles. The Civilian Administration (Minhal Ezrachi, the army body that is in charge of administering Yehuda and Shomron) decided now would be a good time to give out expulsion orders to the residents. Why does it seem to be a good time? 25% of the residents aren't around to do anything about it. They're still in the army having been given emergency call up orders (Tzav 8). 5 where called up and an additional 2 are still in their mandatory service. 3 are still in Lebanon, currently. They are unable to fight the expulsion orders, due to their location.
Meanwhile, the handing out of the expulsions orders has been pushed off for a week due to the PR problem this has caused.

Soldiers fighting for their lives, going when the Army calls, comes back to find the Army has stabbed them in the back. It seems the Minhal Ezrachi is unwilling to comment on this, since they do not discuss ongoing operations as it would endanger the security forces.

Of course, kicking innocent people out of their houses doesn't endanger anyone, as we've seen.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Thursday August 17th

2:46 PM Over 85 fallen Katyushas located in Northern Israel by Police and JNF workers.

2:38 PM MK Effie Eitan predicts that the cease fire will last another few days at most. I would like to know the following:

1. Why the kidnapped IDF soldiers haven't been returned home to their families?

2. Why Hizbollah is allowed to retain their weapons, rockets and launchers -- SOUTH of the Litani, except they must keep them "hidden" -- what sort of joke is this?

3. Why Kofi Annan says that the only way Israel is allowed to fire on anyone is with written permission from the UN?

4. Why are Hizbollah flags flying in the West Bank? (Route 60 south of Gush Etzion, on the "Beit Omar" turn.

So many questions...

11:44 AM Air Raid Sirens heard in Upper Galilee; Kiryat Shmona, Chatzor, Tzefat...IDF homefront investigating whether this was a "technical malfunction"...or if rockets were fired at Israel. In any event, no rocket impacts were heard or discovered. As a result of the Air Raid sirens, panic ensued in many locations as people rushed back to shelters, assuming that this was behind us.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Funeral for IDF soldier.

There was a funeral yesterday (Tuesday) for IDF soldier, Captain Benia Rein, 27. He was killed along with his crew in combat in Lebanon this past Saturday night when an anti-tank rocket hit his tank. Since I live in the Shomron area of the West Bank, I try to go to funerals for soldiers and civilians who are killed from our region. I never met him, but decided it was important to go to his funeral, to offer my last respects to him -- for he fell in service of our country.

Benia Rein's funeral procession started from his home (he lived with his parents) in Karnei Shomron. There was a large crowd -- at least a thousand people, as we stood in the hot sun listening to eulogies. Benia's coffin was draped with an Israeli flag, as it lay inside an IDF transport truck surrounded by soldiers on either side.

Outside the Rein's home in Karnei Shomron.

Over 1000 people attended the funeral.

Captain Rein's coffin.

After the Rav of the yishuv spoke, Benia's friend and brother also spoke of his modesty, his character, and how he strove for excellence in everything he did.

I noticed there were lots of soldiers who came to pay their last respects -- except at this funeral, many of them were wounded and bandaged. One particular soldier caught my eye -- he was wounded in his neck and arm, and I could tell from his Uzi (and mega silencer) that he was from one of those "elite" units you read about that did alot of the house to house fighting in Lebanon.

Wounded Elite Soldier who attended the funeral.

From the Rein's home, the funeral procession followed the truck, as it drove to the local cemetery...about a 45 minute walk. After walking for a few minutes behind the truck, I got into my car and drove to the cemetery, where I saw the honor gaurd lined up, preparing to bring the coffin from the truck -- to it's final resting place for burial. The honor gaurd was comprised of soldiers who served with Captain Rein -- his brothers at arms.

If it wasn't under such sad circumstances, I would have been able to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. The cemetery is surrounded by breathtaking scenery -- the green, rolling hills of the Shomron mountains. The Israeli flag flew at half-mast, as the third soldier in the military section of this cemetery was about to be buried.

The truck carrying the coffin arrived, and the honor gaurd carried it towards the open grave as family members quietly cried...friends and soldiers looking on silently.

Gently lowering the coffin into the ground, the sobbing of the family grew louder, as the military rav said a chapter of tehillim. The chevra kadisha (burial society) quickly shoveled dirt into the grave, and the rest of the eulogies followed. Officer after officer spoke about the leadership qualities of Captain Benia, his lopsided, bashful smile, his determination to excel at everything he set his mind to, how he volunteered with developmentally challenged youngsters, how he was the tank commander that everyone could rely on. One of his commanding officers said, "It's unfortunate that such a cliche has to be used, but he was truly one of the best we have."

An officer from the paratroopers brigade was called to speak, and he said, "I only met Benia for 3 minutes my whole life, and that was last week on Friday when I gave him written instructions that needed to be brought by his tank unit to other paratroopers on the banks of the Litani. The impression he left on me after those 3 minutes, was one that I could rely on him 100%, and that he would do whatever it took to complete his mission....which he did."

Captain Benia Rein's grave.

The final eulogy was from his mother, Chagit. She spoke about her son, his qualities, what made him special, and their last meeting together -- when she convinced him to let her drive him to the Israel-Lebanese border, 3 weeks earlier. She recounted that he would never let her drive him anywhere, but this one time, he relented. When they arrived at his base, he gave her a kiss on the cheek before getting out of the car, and then, he got out, walked around to the other side of the car, opened her door, and gave her another kiss. She was shocked -- he never acted like this before, and rarely kissed her. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she said, "Benia, why do I deserve 2 kisses?" And he replied at the time, "How lucky I am to have a mother who drives me to war...take care of yourself..."

And he was gone.

Chagit continued speaking, "Although my voice is breaking, and I'm crying now -- I turn to you, soldiers and officers of the IDF, and say, "Be Brave...and continue the mission you were given, to protect our country and kill our enemies. Thought I am crying, do not despair, do not break, but as Benia would have wanted, go back, back to the front lines...and decimate our enemies. We will not be broken by Benia's death, but will continue to be pioneers, continue to have joyous occasions, continue to build the land...and we will continue to do all these things..."Bigadol" (in a big way).

There wasn't a dry eye in the cemetery, as she concluded her eulogy.

Final Kaddish was said, and the honor guard fired into the air. I took a short video of it with my cellphone...yet what I noticed as different, was that the shots that rang out...slowly echoed away into the distance.

Normally, when shots are fired the noise dissipates quickly...but this time, the sound slowly echoed through the hills of the Shomron, as yet another brave IDF soldier who died fighting for us to live in a Jewish state, was buried in Israel.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

Search the Muqata


Related Posts with Thumbnails