Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chareidim and the Holocaust Siren

Most Chareidim I know stand for the sirens that wail across Israel on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Commemoration Day) and Yom HaZikaron (Israel's Memorial Day), yet every year the news goes out of its way to get video footage or picture stills of Chareidim who ignore the siren.

As explained in this video, many people think the top 3 commandments of the Chareidim are as follows:

1. Throw rocks at ambulances on Yom Kippur
2. Burn the Israeli flag on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day)
3. Ignore the memorial sirens on Holocaust Commemoration Day) and Israel's Memorial Day)

Most just want to get home and be off the streets at that time...the following video has an interesting take on it. (It's in Hebrew, but easy to follow)

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Post Office Privateers

Posted by JoeSettler

I admit, its not as interesting as banning the Israel National Bible Contest, but for some of us, what's going on at the Israeli Post Office is much closer to heart - or at least our pockets.

Since becoming privatized, the Post Office, must have mistranslated the word, as they have since become Privateers.

If someone sends you a package from overseas, beware. The Post Office now charges a fee for you to get your package (above and beyond any taxes that might be added on by Meches).

There are unconfirmed stories going around now that some overseas packages aren't being delivered anymore to Jerusalem (and are left at Tel Aviv), unless you pay an extra fee for local delivery too!

Now I'm not a big fan of bans, but I've told everyone not to send packages to me, and simply hold on to them until I find a friend who will act as a courier.

I'm also not a big fan of petitions, which I think are a waste of time, but if you personally think they have some effect, Sign Away.

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

A Mother's Right?

Update: ZAKA volunteers possibly find ashes of cremated girl (pics here)

A 14 year year old girl from the Haifa area committed suicide a few weeks back, and her mother cremated her daughter's remains. Cremation is extremely rare in Israel.

The father, who was divorced from the mother (he was against the idea of cremation in the first place) demanded that his daughter's ashes be buried -- and he took the mother to court.

In blatant defiance of the court, and to her ex-husband's dismay, the mother appeared in court and announced that upon receiving the subpoena regarding the burial of her daughter's ashes, she scattered her daughter's ashes -- and refuses to cooperate by even disclosing where she scattered the ashes.

I wonder if King Solomon would have ruled that the ashes be split evenly between the parents?

source: here (in Hebrew)

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

Israel's National Bible Championship in Jeopardy

In addition to blue & white, fireworks displays, barbques, and general day off, Israel's Independence Day is also marked by the annual "National Bible Contest" (or in Hebrew, Chidon HaTanakh, חידון התנ"ך). These champions are truly amazing, and I've met many of them over the years from Israel and the Diaspora; one was my Israeli roommate in Yeshiva in Israel, and when I asked him off the cuff (after looking up the answer in advance) how many times it says "bakbuk בקבוק [bottle]" in the Tanakh, he was able to nonchalantly throw out the correct answer (3), as well as cite chapter and verse of each instance. It's no wonder he's now one of the judges for the annual contest.

However, this year's contest has hit a snag. NRG reports today (in Hebrew) that participation of one of the contestants from problematic! The contest is defined on the National Bible website as follows:
The International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth is an impressive annual event, to which a number of young high school students come to Israel and meet with a similar number of Israeli youth, for a number of weeks enrich themselves with many experiences and deepen their connection to Israel, the traditions and the Bible. The process begins with in their own countries tests. The winners of those national contests, arriving in Israel will take part in the contest for overseas youth...and the successful ones will participate in the final contest on the Israeli Day of Independence in Jerusalem.
NRG reports that the counter-missionary group Yad L'Achim is endorsing a ban on this year's contest -- not because one of the contestants isn't Jewish (which is clearly stated in the Mission Statement above), but because the contestant, 11th grade Israeli teenager Bat-El Levy from a follower of the "Jewish Messianic" sect of Christianity.

Yad L'Achim is currently in touch with Israel's Ministry of Education and leading rabbis around Israel -- calling for Bat-El to be disqualified from participating...or for all religious participants to boycott the contest.

**Israel's Ministry of Justice has determined that according to Israeli law, Bat-El is in fact Jewish (although she and her family are part of the Jewish Messianic sect), and she can therefore participate. I guess they are of the opinion that once a Jew, always a Jew, despite conversion or acceptance of another faith.

Some say, let her participate and lose -- which will show that Jews in fact, do excel in Bible studies. Other are worried what might happen if she wins.

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this...

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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Haveil Havalim #163 is Live

I am pleased to announce that Haveil Havalim #163, the Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere is now live at Tzipiyah.

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

Israel's Intelligence Striptease

Interesting 11 minute video on the reactor which Israel someone bombed in Syria a few months back. These images would have been illegal to broadcast in Israel; due to their extremely sensitive nature Israel's military censor would never allow their publication. Israel's defense establishment worked very hard to obtain this information, yet Israel's Prime Minister wished to earn as many public relation points as possible -- and released them all to the US. (Olmert also bypassed the censor, which is probably illegal in and of itself).

YNET provides an excellent analysis:
The publication of relatively fresh intelligence information is always problematic, but what happened this time can be termed a reckless intelligence striptease. Now, after we praised ourselves in public and boosted our national moral ahead of the 60th Independence Day celebrations, it is time to start monitoring the damage caused by none other than those in charge of classified information security.

Those are the people who explain to us how irresponsible the media are – while they proceed to commit the most severe offences, not to mention turning the military censor into a laughing stock.

Defense officials are now infuriated by the manner and scope of the publication, which exposed our intelligence capabilities. The problem is not with the satellite photos, but rather, with the photos taken in and around the Syrian reactor. We are not talking about mere archive photos, but rather, relatively recent ones taken by someone inside the facility or around it.

It doesn’t matter at all who shot those photos: What we have here is the exposure of capabilities and intelligence sources. We also have a possible exposure of a breach in the Syrian security and intelligence apparatus. The moment these photographs were published, the Syrians were sure to be doing everything in their power to identify and block this breach.

There is no way in the world that an intelligence agency would hand over fresh photos of a target taken by its own agents or other sources to a foreign agency, with the knowledge that these photos will be published internationally almost immediately – as if saying: Look at us, we were here.

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

Hiding Behind Ammunition in Gaza

In today's latest exchange between IDF soldiers and Gaza Palestinians, IDF soldiers were attacked from Palestinian positions in Beit Hanoun (Northern Gaza Strip). One IDF soldier was wounded.
"The IDF reported that it had attacked a group of gunmen spotted near forces operating in Beit Hanoun. Soldier belonging to the Givati patrol brigade exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen in the area. During the military activity, an IDF soldier was lightly injured in the leg and rushed to hospital." (YNET)
Palestinians claim that 4 children and their mother, were killed Monday morning in an IDF strike in the northern Gaza Strip -- a shell hit a house in the town of Beit Hanoun. (JPost)

However, IDF radio reports as follows (something not yet appearing in any English language report).
"Unofficial IDF sources report that Palestinian woman and children were not killed by an IDF tank shell.

IDF Givati brigade soldiers engaged 2 Palestinian terrorists in a gun-battle -- the terrorists shooting from within the house of the woman and children. Each terrorist was wearing an over-sized knapsack, apparently loaded with ammunition. When hit by IDF gunfire, the terrorists' ammunition exploded, causing the deaths of the woman and children inside the house. Source: Galei Tzahal IDF radio, in Hebrew)"
For the first time in recent months, the IDF is not apologizing in knee-jerk reaction fashion for the deaths of civilian casualties in a war zone, making the IDF radio report even more believable.

As a result, even more Qassam rockets have been raining down on Sederot and Ashkelon. The following news story was from Friday, but I didn't get a chance to post the pics till now)

Four Palestinian Qassam rockets were fired at Ashkelon on Friday morning, one of then landing in the city's southern cemetery.
The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, as well as for a shooting attack which left two Israeli guards dead in an industrial zone in the Sharon region.

Eli Yifrach, the cemetery's manager, told Ynet that "luckily the rocket landed before the employees arrived for work. It fell inside the cemetery and many graves were damaged.

"One of the graves was completely destroyed, and we are now working cautiously with the police so as not to desecrate the dead. This is a very sad sight." YNET Pics Link

Money Quote from PM Ehud Olmert at yesterdays's Mimouna Celebrations:

"Without being arrogant, God forbid, I think that today we can say that the Israeli people have a government that can defend it; that it has leadership that knows how to care for its people's security and future." (JPost)

Olmert? Arrogant? G-d forbid.

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

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thoughts on the Shomronim

Last Thursday I drove to Har Greizim -- the Shomron mountaintop community of the Samaritans, and had a fascinating talk with Yefet Cohen (pictured on the left), the curator of the Samaritan museum (and son of the previous Samaritan Kohen Gadol/High Priest).

While taking a video clip of him reading the "Shma", he curiously pointed to his arm and head during the verses that allude to "tefillin".

Afterwards, I asked him about their tradition of tefillin, and he replied that the Samaritan tradition of tefillin was lost over the years. I can understand. When a community of over a million has been reduced to only 700, certain skills are bound to be lost. I don't know how to manufacture tefillin (in fact, I'd be willing to wager that there are hardly any people in the blogosphere that are qualified to make kosher tefillin). How long did the Jews lose the tradition of tekhelet? (the blue fringe in tzitzit)

Then I asked about tzitzit -- do they still have the tradition for how to tie them? Jews have many different ways to tie tzitziyot, especially when you include the permutations for adding in tekhelet. Again, Yefet shook his head sadly that they also lost that tradition.

"But over there in the corner of your museum, you have a mannequin of a person wearing a tallit, and I assume you use them in prayer -- where do you get those from," I asked.

He laughed -- "Oh, we got those from you, the Jews." While the tallit and tzitziyot are now worn by the Shomronim -- and are purchased from Jews, the Shomronim have not adopted tefillin in their daily religious prayers.

"And you will make for me a Temple, and I will dwell in your midst -- translation from over the doorway entrance to the Samaritan synagogue"

Pictures inside the Samaritan synagogue, during their afternoon prayers (close to sunset). Its customary to remove your shoes before going in (which we did)

Here's their message board at the entrance: Note the "חג שמח וכשר" (A Happy and Kosher Holiday) message from the State of Israel at the bottom right...and the 6:22 time reminder at the left. Anyone gander a guess what it's the time for?

Other interesting things that I'll post about later:

1. The Samaritans reference "613 mitzvot"
2. The Samaritan mentality of being among the "gentiles"
3. The stolen Samaritan "Torah"s -- currently being held in Lebanon for a ransom of 12 million dollars.
4. The Samaritan Torah they claim written by Avisha (son of Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohen Gadol) about 3400 years ago.
5. Between a rock and a hard place; Israeli Holon and Palestinian Authority Har Greizim

Note commandment #10 of the Samaritans:

1. You shall have no other gods before me.

2. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.

3. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.

4. Honor your father and your mother.

5. You shall not murder.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

7. You shall not steal.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

10. You shall keep the mount Gerizim holy.

Some of the differences between Samaritans and Jews:
  • Small in number (under 700)
  • One level of religious belief -- no divergent streams (i.e., no Reform, Conservative, etc.)
  • Only live in the land of Israel
  • Patrilineal lineage
  • Mount Gerizim is the center of worship -- prayers made facing Mount Gerizim
  • Authority of Torah is the Levite Priests (no rabbis)
  • Complete list of High Priesthood lineage going back to Pinhas
  • Torah not supplemented past 5 books of Moses
  • Messiah, called Taheb, from sons of Joseph or Levi
  • Passover Sacrifice
  • No celebration of Purim or Hanukkah
  • Counting of Omer starts day after the Sabbath after Passover
  • Do not light candles on the Sabbath
  • Samaritans do not have sex on the Sabbath
  • Men do not wear head cover all the time
  • No required number for prayer (minyan)
More Source info here.

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

[OT] Let them eat (rice) cakes


It's kind of freaky how interconnected the world really is.

Take the dollar (who wants it?). Some people think that a weak dollar is good, but they don't consider the long-term effects it will have on the global market, in which the US is the global backbone.

And then consider rice.

A staple food that a significant portion of the world relies on, and which seems to be produced on a massive scale only in third-world countries.

And as those third-world countries stop/slow their rice exports, and with what appears to be the threat of an impending world famine, suddenly there is a run on rice all over the world, with stores limiting purchases, and prices going up easily 50%.

What would happen if the Chinese stopped exporting Chatchkas and fake watches?

I think the world's economy would simply collapse.

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

My Israel, Not Yours

Here is a blog by someone who has holds some very definite opinions, and isn't shy to shout them out loud. Stop by there and tell him what you think.


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

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last but not least

Today we spent the day in the Science Museum (again... free) in Jerusalem.

The kids loved it. It's all hands on, and there is something for all ages.

My favorite is the foam brick arch bridge you can build and walk on. It used to be up front, but now they hid in the back of the gardens.

I should mention (just out of fairness), all these museums were opened to the public during the holiday by way of sponsorship by Bank HaPoalim.

I hope you all had as fun a Pesach as the JoeSettler family did.

Chag Sameach.

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

Chol HaMoed at Har Greizim

Too late (at night) to post pictures, story, and everything.

Till I get my act together, here's a video I took today of Samaritan Yefet HaCohen reciting the "Shma" in the Samaritan dilaect of Hebrew.

Lots more to follow!

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Hot Chol HaMoed

Cross-posted on JoeSettler

Man it was hot outside today. Too hot to go visit Har Greizim in my opinion.

We wanted to do something, but indoors to escape the heat, and not expensive either.

As it turns out, a number of museums were open and free to the public.

We started off the day at the Israel Museum.

But the permanent exhibits (the main buildings) were closed, and only the temporary displays were open. You couldn’t take in baby strollers, and that was just annoying and difficult (and heavy), and walking between buildings was simply too hot.

In short, we didn’t enjoy that section too much.

On the other hand, the Shrine of the Book was open, and it was at least 20 degrees (F) cooler in there, the exhibits are interesting, and you can take in baby strollers. The temporary exhibit is the Aleppo Codex. Very interesting.

We hung out there for at least an hour.

Afterwards we crossed the street to the Bible Lands Museum. Also free.

They had a number of interactive PC/Mac kiosks. The displays are all well documented.

The way the displays and rooms are laid out it feels roomier.

All in all, (I think) it’s a much nicer museum than the Israel Museum.

Baby strollers are allowed in (but children are NOT allowed to touch the antiques, no matter how much they want to and try to – remember that). The displays are much more interesting (to me at least) and they had a nice, cool, shaded garden near the cafeteria on the bottom floor where you could sit and relax (and the very nice workers pushed my kids around on the trolleys).

Definitely a successful Chol Hamoed day.

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tzikiyahu's Cave and Shaar Shchem

Cross-posted on JoeSettler

OK, I have no clue as to what is holding the Old City up.

For years I passed by the sign that said Tzidkiyahu’s Cave near Shaar Shchem (Damascus Gate), but I never went in. I always imagined it as a small room under the Old City.

They opened it up for visitors, so I took the family to inspect the “room”. (Entry fee: NIS 10 / adult)

This “room” is actually an ancient quarry from where the stones for the temple were hewn. Later on King Tzidkiyahu hid in it.

This place is huge (and has lots of rooms), and the place was packed with visitors.

There is around 9000 square meters (around 90,000 square feet) of cave running under the Old City, and I suspect it goes even farther and deeper in, but certain areas were blocked off.

I looked for the Ark, but couldn’t find it.

But I did find a pool of fresh water.

Anyway, this place is HUGE. I simply can’t fathom what is preventing the Old City above from collapsing down.

(This is the secret Freemason's meeting room.)

(They say that these are among the main supporting pillars!)

Afterwards we went to the Roman Guard Room literally under Shaar Shchem.

This guard room blocked the original entrance to the Old City. It had and interesting display of photos of the Damascus Gate over time, and some other displays.

Anyone know what this is, and what it says?
Entry is free during Chol Hamoed if you don’t go for the ramparts walk.

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

She's Back.

The RenReb has returned for the first time in months...probably just a cameo appearance, but I get so much site traffic from her blog, a link in that direction is the least I can do :)

Moadim LSimcha...

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

Don't forget to count the Omer

Found this here.

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

More things to do on Pesach

Hevron, Hebron, however you choose to spell it, these past 2 days it was the place to be.

Exactly 40 years on Pesach (or Passover, again however you choose to spell it) the Jewish community returned to our ancient city. As many long-time readers know, my extended family lived and owned numerous homes in Hevron going all the way back -until in 1929 when the family, just barely, managed to escape the massacre through a series of miraculous events.

The story of the return, the first Pesach in the hotel, how they stayed on is an exciting one - but one for a different post.

These past 2 days were days of music, tours, booths, donkey rides, pottery painting, and other fun events for the entire family.

The extended JoeSettler family had a wonderful time.

I know I told you all about it a little too late, so let me tell you now, the JoeSettler family will be doing the Jerusalem scene today. There are tons of events going on, and don't miss the events around the Walls of the Old City in the evening.

One of the sites we want to try to reach today is Zedekiah's Cave.

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


[Guest-post by (when the cat's away, the mice will play).]

According to Ayman azZawahiri, the Iranians are Zionist puppets.

Well, actually, he's saying that Iran is responsible for spreading the story that Israel was behind 9-11.

But what that really means is that they are Zionist puppets.

The logic is this: If Iran is trying to discredit Sunnis and ElQaeda by claiming that Israel was behind 9-11, and if their reason in doing so is to cover up their collaboration with the Americans (who, as everyone knows, are Zionist puppets - Ayman azZawahiri has also averred no less) in attacking Afghanistan and Iraq (which was on behalf of the Zionists, according to several internet sources, Arab commentators, Muslim politicians, and ElQaeda), then the Iranians and the Americans (Zionists) have the same agenda - which can only mean one thing: Iran is a Zionist puppet!

Appropriate brocha: "boruch atta Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha olam, asher flabberei et gasteinu." But you could also say she-hechiyanu.


We live in a marvelous world.


The statement by Ayman azZawahiri was reported on the BBC website. He recently posted a long video responding to questions from the faithful. It is awfully lonely in the Hindu Kush, so very very lonely, and conceivably he's losing all moorings with reality.

It is not reported whether he issued any psak halacha regarding the ongoing issue of gittin.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Obama panders shamelessly to Muqata voters

Obama: "Lemme Eat My Waffle"
Obama: "Why can’t I just eat my waffle?"
Obama: "Let Me Eat My Waffle!"

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama lost his cool Monday when reporters pressed him to comment on former American President Jimmy Carter's meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus. "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" he said while eating his breakfast, according to MSNBC. The reporter asked him a second time, and Sen. Obama again replied, "Just let me eat my waffle."

Pass the syrup.

Updated Here:

Wherever I am, my waffles turn towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chag Kasher V'Sameach

See you all here on Motzei Shabbat -- The Coming Year in Yerushalayim;
לשנה הבאה (עלינו לטובה) בירושלים הבנויה

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Think twice before you honk!

So I get a call this evening from the United Hatzala* dispatcher -- they want me to shlep (transport) from Jerusalem the "Pesach (Passover) gifts" for the Hatzala EMT volunteers in my area. I don't really have the time, but I'm a volunteer EMT for Hatzala, so I really should help them out. They put me in touch with another shlepper -- the guy bringing the gifts from Jerusalem to Petach Tikva, and maybe I can meet him there. It's getting complicated.

I call him up and he says he's on his way...I say, "me too"...can I meet him somewhere on the Jerusalem-Tel-Aviv highway so I dont have to go out of my way to Petach Tikva to get the gifts? "Sure," he says, and we agree to meet at a gas station along the way.

He tells me he's driving a ZAKA** ambulance with the gifts in it; that's not really surprising -- there are many organizations like MDA, Hatzala, ZAKA, etc, that all have the same volunteers -- so it doesn't surprise me that a Hatzala volunteer is also in a ZAKA ambulance. (I'm in both MDA and Hatzala).

So we stop at this gas station along the way and I drive behind the ZAKA ambulance. I park behind him (there's hardly any spare room in the parking lot). I get out of my car and some guy starts honking. He wants to back out because a tanker truck is blocking the exit. I tell to hang on -- it will only be a minute. He doesn't care, and gets out of his car to yell at me. I tell him to chill out. He keeps yelling.

The Hatzala Pesach present this year is a large duffel bag/suitcase on wheels -- packed 4 at a time into long, gray, plastic bags.

The guy is now really yelling, and I open the back of the ZAKA ambulance and start dragging these huge "body bags" from the ambulance and throw them into my car.

The guy stops screaming at me mid-sentence and turns white as a ghost.

He stares at me holding these "body bag" lookalikes, as I'm transferring them to my car from the ZAKA ambulance. In a flash, he turns around and runs back to his car, slamming the door shut.

That should teach him not to start up with volunteers from Hatzala and ZAKA!

Chag Kasher vSameach!

Jameel @ The Muqata

*United Hatzala (“Ichud”) of Israel is a non-affiliated non-profit Emergency (EMS) Volunteer Organization that assists in responding to medical emergencies throughout Israel. The primary role of Hatzalah volunteers - trained and certified as EMTs, Paramedics and MD’s - is to provide an immediate response within 2-4 minutes from the onset of an incident.

**ZAKA is a volunteer organization that assists ambulance crews, aids in the identification of the victims of terrorism, road accidents and other disasters, and where necessary gathers body parts and spilled blood for proper burial.

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

IsraelChallenge Video

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Want to see what you can be doing on an IsraelChallenge IDF Experience adventure?

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

The Miluim Debreifing

For those of you poor souls who think Jameel was in Syria, that is just part of an elaborate disinformation campaign from his handlers in the Shin Bet.

You see, Jameel was on a mission to spread aliyah one waffle at a time, and my Shul was one of his first targets.

If you're not confused yet the scene is something like this. Shabbos morning I'm sitting in my shul and they announce a brand new Monday morning Halacha shiur, and a waffle Breakfast, all while Jameel is supposedly on Milluim.

Coincidence? I think not!

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fastest Flip-flop in Israel's History

Thursday, 04.16.08, 1:43 PM

Three IDF soldiers killed in Gaza by Palestinians. Fuel shipments to Gaza, remain frozen.

Israel says it has frozen plans to renew the fuel supply to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday because of an attack in which three soldiers were killed. Army spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibowich says the soldiers were killed Wednesday morning in a battle with Palestinian gunmen who were approaching the terminal where fuel is sent into Gaza.

Leibowich says the attack prompted Israel to cancel plans to resume fuel shipments. Israel cut off the flow of fuel to the Palestinian territory last week after Gaza militants killed two Israelis in an attack on the fuel terminal. (AP)
Oh no! We can't possible stop the fuel supply to Gaza! The Disengagement's promise was that we wouldn't have to provide anything to Gaza anymore. Not fuel, not electricity, not food, nothing.

Yet they continue to shoot missiles and rockets at us, and we finally shut off their fuel supply.

Have no fear, Israel can flip-flop faster than you can say "Israel deserves a better Prime Minister than Ehud Olmert."

50 minutes pass -- 3000 seconds.

Thursday, 04.16.08, 2:33 PM

Israel resumes fuel supply to Gaza...
Despite bloody clashes between IDF troops, Palestinian gunmen earlier on Wednesday, Israel renews supply of fuel, cooking oil to Strip.

Mahmoud Khuzandar, deputy director of the Gaza fuel station owners' association, says a total of eight truckloads of fuel have been pumped into Gaza. He says half was cooking oil and the other half was diesel fuel for Gaza's only power plant.

An Israeli defense official says Israel sent only fuel for the power plant.

Israel cut off the flow of fuel to the Palestinian territory last week after Gaza militants killed two Israelis in an attack on the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, but on Monday Defense Minister Ehud Barak, at Egypt's request, ordered the renewal of diesel shipments to Gaza's power station.

The Israeli military said earlier in the day the terminal would not be reopened because of a Palestinian ambush nearby that left three soldiers dead. It was unclear why the decision was reversed.

The soldiers were killed Wednesday morning in a battle with Palestinian gunmen who were approaching the security fence in an apparent attempt to infiltrate Israel. (YNET/AP)

Don't worry - Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak have it all under control.

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

Back from Milluim

Yes, I'm back from milluim.

Despite all the well-deserved comments from my kids about what a fun time I must have had, it was exhausting.

Gone are the days of the longtime IDF motto, "hurry up and wait" -- we were training around the clock and the logistical support ran like clockwork.

And now for the final clarification: contrary to JoeSettler's comment that I was kashering/cleaning IDF kitchens for Pesach, or

Rafi G's alleged video surveillance of me...the picture to your left is where I actually was.

I snapped the following picture during a break for mincha.

Was it fun?

No, it wasn't fun.

It was very satisfying -- doing the right thing, but it's not "fun" like watching a movie or playing a game of Motzei Shabbat hockey.

Then again, hockey's been pretty painful the past few few times.

What is fun these days? Blogging, I guess.

Can't think more about it now or write anything else -- must make up for the past 3 days.

Before I forget, thanks to those who posted the past few days while I was gone. Will write up something more appreciative later.

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

Trading Cards

Cross-posted on JoeSettler

Residents of various outposts are "voluntarily" packing up and moving out.

This is part of a larger package where the government will supposedly "legalize" and permit additional housing in existing settlements in exchange for removing the outposts.

This deal is good for the government, who simply controls the permits and the speed they are processed (most settlements have permits to extensively build going back years, but the final signature on the defense department form is then held back for years).

The government can show the Americans that they are taking down outposts (of course, ignoring what the Americans will ask for next once all the outposts are destroyed, as it doesn't stop there).

The Jews get to build some more needed housing in existing settlements - maybe, as that has yet to be seen - after all we saw how the government reneged in the Hebron deal.

But... this is a bad deal.

The government is likely to renege, and while it is easy to say that an outpost taken down is an outpost that can be returned it is not that simple.

First of all, what is called an outpost in many cases are caravans and farms that have been cultivated for years - on Jewish owned land, mind you.

Once they are abandoned, we all know the process of how the land gets stolen, even beyond Peace Now (notice how no one is talking about their alleged massive tax fraud anymore?) and their documented false reports (notice how outside of Makor Rishon, no one discusses how they fraudulently misrepresented and mistitled the data?) .

Unfortunately, the settlements are feeling the crunch of the government's freeze as we have such a high demand from Israelis all over Israel (and our expanding families) who want to move here and join us, but we don't have sufficient housing available for all those myriads.

The government controls the tap (while the Americans spin the faucet).

This is not a deal to be trusted.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sitting Out the Mommy Wars

I made aliyah shortly before marrying my husband while studying for an MA at Hebrew U. So far I've raised two children here in Israel, God willing a third will arrive around Yom Ha'atzmaut (I'm so Zionist I coordinate my births with Israeli Independence Day!)

Though I've never raised children in the US, I read a lot of online and print discussion of the famous "mommy wars" raging over there, and it really mystifies me. (For anyone living in cave or not that interested in media-hyped social issues, the "mommy wars" pit stay at home moms (SAHMs) against working moms as to who is damaging/raising their children more).

I'm mystified because we don't seem to have that war here in Israel. Though we are far from a working-parent utopia, there seems to be a much better work/life balance here than in the US, due to a number of contributing factors . It's accepted and actually expected that women will return to work after the birth of their children, usually after our three month paid maternity leave, though many moms take longer then that, sometimes stretching out the leave to 7-12 months (the latter months being unpaid.) I know that this puts pressure on women who do want to stay home with their children, but it is a contrast to the US, where SAHMing seems to be the "in" thing and moms who dare to work are considered negligent or worse.

When women do return, there are many different childcare options both private and public. Though some options are subsidized, you still get what you pay for here- day care centers are cheaper but have a higher carer/child ratio. And women just recently won the right to have childcare recognized as a business expense for tax purposes.

Working mothers also get a subsidized "she'at hanaka" (nursing hour) for the first year. That's an hour that can be used for pumping breast milk, feeding (if you have your baby near your work) or for leaving work earlier. Which brings me to work hours- most careers and jobs have mom-friendly work hours here, which is usually 8-3:30/4. It is rarely expected that for women to work or even excel in their careers, they must work an 80 hour week. There are also many part-time/3/4 time jobs available that give moms added flexibility.

Moms are also not the only ones with flexible jobs. When I pick up my daughter from late day gan, I see many dads, in addition to the moms, picking up their kids. On the other hand, I barely ever see babysitters picking up kids at gan, even at four pm. Which tells me that many, if not most working parents have found a schedule that allows them to be with their children for a significant chunk of pre-dinner time at the end of the day, something that seems to elude working parents in the US.

Full disclosure: I work part time from home and enjoy an extremely flexible schedule. I don't have to worry about taking off when my children are sick and I make enough money to cover high quality childcare expenses. I've also been able to arrange it so I've never had to put my children in childcare before age 1, a luxury not all working families have.

As I said, things are not perfect here- I know there are moms who consider the expectation that all children be in a "misgeret" (childcare framework) by the age of one to be unhealthy for children, and this could very well be. (I have a theory that this expectation stems from kibbutz children's houses, but I've never had a chance to research this)

However, from what I've observed, Israel is a lot more supportive of working parents than the US, which is crucial for the simple fact that most families could not manage on one salary, even with free schooling and low cost healthcare. Which makes Israel that much more awesome! (Sorry LOZ, I had to get that in there).

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

More Powerful Than The Foreman Grill

We worked closely with a crack team of expert wafflemakers for two years to conceptualize and design a revolutionary waffle maker. The result: this stainless-steel machine that makes the best waffles we’ve ever tasted. The 1" thick golden waffles turn out deliciously crispy on the outside and meltingly tender inside, with deep pockets that hold plenty of tantalizing toppings. The secret to their incredible tastiness comes from an ancient recipe that was discovered on a tiyul in the Negev.
Advanced heating technology ensures perfectly consistent baking and browning, with an indicator light to let you know when the machine has reached the optimal baking temperature. Nonstick cast-aluminum grids release the two 4 1/2" sq. waffles effortlessly, while an overflow trough channels away excess batter for easy cleanup. 10 3/4" x 11" x 5 1/4" high. A Muqata Waffle Hut exclusive.

Whenever I on am miluim I dream of waffles.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Are you sure it's Matza?

I saw this on Am Kshe Oref, who apparently saw it over at Life in Israel (thanks Rafi for providing the link).

Very funny, but doesn't the word in Hebrew look like it says "forehead"?

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


Guest post - Can also be read at the back of the hill (, which I think is a great place, but you may have some valid doubts about that opinion. That's okay too.

The text below represents a new level of anti-Semitism and cotton-wool Jewish self-loathing in the San Francisco Bay Area. It also represents an ignorant and self-righteous welt-anschauung that is truly and utterly dangerous.

Unfortunately it does NOT represent a minority point of view in many circles. I wish to post it here so that you may know exactly what we're up against in California. And note particularly the mention of a "liberation seder" at a Methodist church - to me this is such a series of misnomers and wrong concepts that it does not, cannot, compute. My mind is boggled.

[I will be attending two seders - both in the East Bay, neither in anyway whatsoever resembling the nakba seder.]

--- --- ---

[from e-mail]

Get Involved! Nakba Bay Area Jewish Anti-Zionist Efforts

Dear Bay Area "No Time To Celebrate" signatories and IJSN friends,

Last Thursday 20 people attended the Bay Area organizing meeting for Jewish anti-Zionist actions around the 60th anniversary of the Nakba. The energy at the meeting was great, and people are ready to step up into action this spring! We heard back from many more of you who could not be there and are very committed to being involved. At the meeting, a decision-making process for selecting areas of work to move forward on, was framed by the call to action from the "No Time To Celebrate" campaign

You can read and sign the pledge at:
and that from Palestinian organizations calling on international civil society to commemorate Nakba through boycott of Israel celebrations and actions to highlight the history of Palestinian resistance at:

Three workgroups were formed to organize the major efforts we identified as most vital:

1. Holding a Liberation Seder is solidarity with 60 Years of Palestinian Resistance;
2. Organizing Nakba Direct Actions;
3. Supporting the Free Palestine Peace and Solidarity Festival.

Following is more information about these efforts and ways you can get involved in each one.

We hope you can all join us for the next meeting on *Wednesday April 16, 7pm at 474 Valencia in San Francisco.
We are so excited to come together with you all to stand with Palestinian resistance on the 60th anniversary of the Nakba!

Areas of work and how to get involved:

Liberation Seder - Sunday, April 20, 5:00-8:30pm, Lake Merrit United Methodist Church, 1255 1st Ave, Oakland.
The Seder will be a community building event and a fundraiser for IJSN and the Palestinian Popular conference. The Seder will be geared towards promoting several Bay Area Nakba activities, including the May 10th Palestinian Cultural Festival, the Handala campaign, and the Palestinian Popular Conference.

What you can do:

1. Come and bring guests! rsvp to
2. Bring an item of food (wine, matzah, parsley, boiled eggs, oranges,
olives, juice, horseradish, a dish). E-mail the Seder Point Person, Eric Romann at to let him know what you are making!
3. Help with set-up and/or clean-up, be there for all the behind-the-scenes action! E-mail to sign-up for a shift.
4. Perform a piece of poetry or music, again, contact Eric at if you have a piece you'd like to offer at the Seder.
5. Spread the word!

Nakba Direct Actions:

We are organizing two major direct actions. We need everyone to participate in order to demonstrate, through our numbers and passion, exactly how substantial Jewish dissent to Zionism is! Please contact the Nakba Actions Point Person Sara Kershnar at to get involved and/or to join the next workgroup meeting on April 21, at 7:30pm.

Roles to play will include:

1. People to participate in direct actions.
2. People to come as allies and in supporting roles.
3. People willing to develop materials for distribution, design visuals for the action, and plan an art party.

Free Palestine Peace and Solidarity Festival:
Saturday, May 10, all day at the Civic Center
This festival is being organized by the local Palestinian Nakba Committee, and will feature a fabulous line up of performers, as well as other cultural and political opportunities.
IJSN has been asked to recruit volunteers, provide logistical support, participate in, fundraise for, and promote the event.

The festival workgroup will be sending out an e-mail in the next few days with a list of ways you can be involved and support the festival.

Please contact Festival Point Person Kinneret Israel at to get active before then and/or join the festival planning conference call on Thursday April 10th at 5:30pm.

--- --- ---

Please note that the e-mail reproduced above shows a clear link between methodists and the El Awda crowd, who advocate the destruction of Israel. El Awda insists upon a right of return to the Holy Land for Palestinians, and obligatory return to Poland for Jews. They are silent about the Jews expelled from Arab lands. It would not surprise me if they have other plans for them.

The Methodists, of course, are simply mis-informed idiots. We have a lot of those in the Bay Area. The involvement of the Methodists with the nakba crowd and anti-Israel Jews is very disturbing. The divestment movement flourishes at present among such people.

Your guest-poster,


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

Tzipi Livni Suprises Us All!

Ahmed Tibi must have thought that he was going to have an easy time of it.

After all, Arafat embarrassed Shimon Peres all the time on TV, and poor Shimon never knew what to answer when put on the spot.

So when Ahmed Tibi publicly called Israel an Apartheid state at a conference right after Tzipi Livni spoke, he probably figured he'd get away with it too (I would have thought so also).

From the stage, Livni said in response that, "The fact is that you are an MK in Israel, and represent 20 percent of the public, and can say whatever you please. This is the proof that Israel is a democratic state."


Who knew she had it in her. She surprised us all.

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

What to do on Pesach (1/many)


Plenty of things to do this Pesach with the whole family:

1) Visit Efrat and buy a home overlooking a park:

Whether as an investment or as your new home, this Pesach, give them a call and visit the construction site. (Barkan also fixed up their website so visit that too).

Give them a call and make an appointment.

2) Go on an IsraelChallenge Adventure

Swing down mountains, bike up mountains, jeep across mountains.

Fun for the whole family.
(Some of our readers already went and had a great time, and now I hear Treppenwitz is getting a free jeep tour - that's just not fair)

There is also a DISCOUNT for signing up through their website.

3) Check out how the other half lives in Israel.

But only if you're a serious potential client of this exclusive Ein Karem villa.

4) It's not over the Green line, but Beit Shemesh is also part of Israel, and that's where Rabbi Rosner and family are moving to and forming his new community.

I'm sure Shelly Levine will be happy to have someone show you around his new neighborhood during Chol HaMoed.

5) If you are going up North, visit the "Leadership Yeshiva Academy". But call first to make sure someone will be there to greet you, as it is Pesach Vacation.

Plenty more tiyullim and fun advice coming up in other posts this week.

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

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