Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jameel's Personal Rosh HaShana Message

Dear JBlogosphere and others, (**see below for special update)

I'm reminded of the "outatime" license plate from "Back to the Future" --

since it's Erev Rosh HaShana, and there are so many posts I wanted to write, emails to send, good wishes to convey, and yet, I found myself without enough time to do so.

Luckily, I did managed to accomplish a few important items over the past few days

- completed a pruzbul
- allocated loan money not to be affected by the pruzbul
- managed to get to the bank today so I can pay our HVAC installer before Rosh HaShana
- posted about the opportunity to help save a life.
- went on milluim.
- studied over shabbat with son #2 for his gemara test.

On the other hand, I didn't get to post about milluim, didn't post what I wanted to about Rosh HaShana, didn't post about Nefesh b"Befesh, didn't do a Treppenwitz-type post where he links to many friends of his, which is really a great idea (and I would do it if I had the time...) -- Treppenwitz even calls from time to time, "just to say hi" -- which is truly heart-warming that blog people call sometimes just to say hi.

And therefore, there's something I needed to say. This past year was rather amazing for me on a personal level -- as I managed to meet many of you in person (whether at the JBlogger convention, or in the US, or simply around Israel). Without a doubt, there's something to be learned from everyone, their take on life, their contribution to society, whatever it is that makes them unqiue -- and I appreciate meeting each and everyone one of you.

This past milluim, while sitting around in between exercises I took some pictures of our unit. To my surprise, someone said to me, "Are you going to put that on your blog?" And then another said, "don't put a smiley face on me...put a frowny face on me...", and yet another said, "make my face green"...and yet another said, "don't put anything on my face at all". I guess my blogger identity is quickly becoming the worst kept secret in the JBlogosphere. So I turned to the guy next to me, and said, you really read my blog? He replied that he and his wife read it religiously...

And with that comes responsibility. Not so much the pressure to post quality, informative, and entertaining content -- but that people are actually reading what goes up here. Blogs can ruin lives and have all sorts of negative consequences -- and I hope that this blog still manages to convey something positive.

Some people think that the virtual blogosphere means ignoring "reality" -- and I sincerely apologize if reality took second seat to the virtualness of the blog world.

Additionally, I would like to apologize if you sent me an email to which I didn't reply, to those who sent me links to publish and I didn't, to those I should have linked to...but didn't, and to those commenters who I should have acknowledged with followup comments -- but didn't. It was never malice -- just lack of time...or even a bit of laziness on my part, for which I'm sorry. Not any less important -- is that I'm sorry to those who were upset or offended by anything I may have written (what comes to mind is my posting about shabbat guests).

As we welcome the new year, may we all be inscribed in the books of health, well-being, repentance...and the book redemption. Redemption on a personal level and a national one. May this be a year of increased Jewish unity instead of divisiveness, and may the JBlogosphere bring about positive change.

Shana Tova -- a good year to all of us,


PS: Obligatory Srugim comment: I spoke to Laizy Shapiro for a minute today, and his message to you all is that he appreciates your comments and insights about the Srugim show (they put alot of thought into he writing of it, and many of your comments are spot on.). He also added, "its only a TV show".

Shana Tova!

** Special Update:

Thanks to everyones help & generousity, we managed to raise the full ammount to cover the costs of Gili's surgery.

Gili flew this morning to London, where she is supposed to undergo surgery on this comming Tuesday (first day rosh hashana).

Her name for tefilot is: גילי חיה צביה טובה בת רוית

Shana tova & ktiva vechatima tova

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

Man of the Year

With the year winding down, and Rosh Hashana imminently approaching, we've decided to spend one of the remaining posts of the year to announce our choices for the "Man of the Year" award. As opposed to limiting it to one winner, we've chosen to announce our choices for these awards in a few different categories.

Men of the Year
There was no question as to who should be awarded the man of the year. Though with these candidates, we couldn't choose just one. Each candidate selflessly risked his life to save other Jews, ignoring the possible repercussions of being thrown in jail or killed for their actions.

These 5 are the heroes who lived up to the adage in Pirkei Avot "where there is no (police)men, strive to be a man.". They are Yitzhak Dadon, David Shapira, Yakki Asa-El, Moshe Plesser, and Elad Amar.

[Double Tapper raised a valid point. What about Rabbi Erez Bar-On, who killed the terrorist near Shiloh in April 08? And if we are including him, what about the school counselors who killed the 2 terrorists that tried to infiltrate the Makor Haim (Steinzaltz) High School in January 08?

I think we need to include them all.]

Legal Affairs:
One would hope that is a modern democratic state one can't be arrested and detained indefinitely for one's political views, but we unfortunately know that not to be the case.

This year a group of young girls (all minors in fact) had the temerity and will to stand up against a politicized judicial, legal, and prison system. They successfully fought back by simply not disclosing their names (even though, those in charge knew them already), and in return suffered weeks (and months) of physical abuse at the hands of the police and prison authorities, along with legal abuse and attempts of "reeducation" at the hand the judges. They withstood it all, and prevailed.

Human Rights:
There's a sector of society that is constantly under attack, whose basic civil and human rights are constantly ignored and dismissed, a sector that while suffering terrorist attacks is vilified.

There is a person who has consistently fought for their rights, and created an organization called "The Organization for Human Rights in Yesha" specifically for that purpose. While it was a close race with Nitzana Darsha-Leitner, In the human rights category this award goes to none other than Orit Struck.

There's no question that the most revolutionary cultural event this year which has taken this country by storm is the show Srugim. Probably no other show has so many sectors of society watching and discussing it, and perhaps even influencing them, not to mention the number of comments each post gets on this blog. This award obviously goes to "Laizy" Shapiro for Srugim.

Criminal of the Year
With so many politicians and public figures to choose from, it was a tough choice. Between the Minister of Finance, the Vice-Prime Minister and former Minister of Justice, the Commissioner of the Police, the Director of the Prime Minister's Office, the Prime Minister, the Abutbul crime family, Boaz Yona, this list could go on for pages.In the end we've decided to award this one to "Peace Now", because unlike everyone else mentioned above, they've gotten away with it.

Peace Now has managed to implement a tax fraud scheme on an international level - and get away with it, Peace Now has managed to create standing in the courts, when it doesn't even exist as a legal entity - and get away with it, Peace Now is openly funded by foreign (and not necessarily friendly) governments looking to influence and manipulate Israeli society and policy - and get away with it, and Peace Now has managed to infiltrate into the highest levels of the government - and get with it. Clearly the winner.

Pollster of the Year
While all the media pollsters where giving completely wrong numbers regarding the Kadima primary, only one lone voice gave an accurate number. Despite being off by a mere few hundred votes (which can be explained by ballot stuffing and fraud) this award goes to Shaul Mofaz.

Event of the Year
None other than the First International Jewish Bloggers Convention, Hosted by Nefesh B'Nefesh and Powered by WebAds. No further explanation needed, it was simply awesome.

Blogger of the Year
This is a tough one. I'm biased, but as it's not nice to vote for myself, I'm awarding it to the Muqata.

Jameel adds: Joe, even if you nominate me as blogger of the year, its still not nice to bump down my posts...

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

Haveil Havalim #184 A Barbarian Roars Again

It is now live. You can check it out here.

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

Friday, September 26, 2008

Register to Vote - NOW!!!

-- Public Service Message --

Forget about voting in Israel, Elections for President of the US are coming up quickly.

If you are an American living in Israel and want to exercise your right to vote, you MUST register in advance.

If you don't register, you can't vote. Period.

And registration ends Monday, October 6, 2008. That's in a week!!!!!

Here is how to register:

(1) Go to the Vote from Israel site.

(2) Enter your name and other info to get the registration form.

(3) The form is a PDF.

(4) Fill it out.

(5) PRINT IT OUT. You can not email it. PRINT IT OUT.

(6) Sign it.

(7) Drop it off by October 6 at one of the convenient drop-off points listed on the site.

(8) Wait by the mailbox, and get your voter info.

(9) Vote!

Americans in Israel - Register to Vote before it is too late.

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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Help Save a Life

Ive received the following so many times in the past few days, both from local friends and neighbors...and now even from bloggers in the US, so I decided to post it and do what I can to help out. 

While I don't know the family personally, I do know for a fact that this baby has this condition, and the people behind the campaign are serious and respected individuals. 
Six weeks ago, Gili Rossler was born with a rare defect, which causes severe tracheal constriction -- and only one lung.

The combination of these two conditions is extremely dangerous and causes a constant deterioration in her ability to breathe and to the supply of oxygen to her body.

A surgical procedure has been recently developed for the treatment of this condition.
Only two medical centers in the world have experience in the performance of this procedure:

One in London (where three procedures were performed with a 70% success rate) and one in Chicago (ten procedures with an 80% success rate).

Under the instructions of the treating physician Dr. Tommy M. Schonfeld, Director of Pediatric ICU, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, the procedure must be performed urgently! 

The cost of this procedure, including the necessary ambulatory flight comes to about $600,000.

We welcome any and all contributions (before Hoshana Raba 5769 – the day Yom Kippur’s verdicts are ratified):

Please send cash or checks (even postdated) to “Save Gili”, or wire-transfers to Mizrachi Bank, Account No. 176373, Branch No. 483 (Karne Shomron).
Israeli donors please advise if you wish “Section 46” invoices for tax deduction purposes.

When transferring funds from the USA to the Mizrachi Bank account, please use the SWIFT Code: MIZBILIT

USA donors interested in eligibility for tax deductions, please make out checks to 
"American Friends of Kedumim"

At the bottom of the check, note: Memo : Saving Gili
And please mail the checks to this address:
American Friends of Kedumim
P.O. BOX 55

For further contact, please email Fern at
And write the telephone number where you can be reached if necessary

For further details, please contact:

Shani: 972-3-9089605, 972-57-81-51526, 972-50-74-66771

Rokach: 972-2-9605246, 972-52-5665117 052-5665117 

Please pray for: גילי צביה טובה בת רוית
Tizku L'Mitzvot -- please pass this on.

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bridge over troubled waters

Rafi G, host of the notable LifeInIsrael blog uncovered another gem for us.

The newly opened Jerusalem "Calatravva" Bridge seems to be cursed with problems.  Despite the immense pricetag for planning, architecture, building and planned maintenance (close to 10 millions dollars annually for maintenance alone), Rafi notes that the latest issue is that women are complaining that partially transparent areas of the bridge allow for people below to look up and see beneath the clothes of those walking above.
The Calatravva Bridge is a bridge that has been trouble since day 1, with the main debate being whether it should ever have been built, considering the high cost.
Regardless of that, the newest issue to arise is one in which residents are complaining that in certain areas near the bridge, one can look up and catch a upskirt view of females above.

The newspaper article is comparing this to the fiasco of the dance troupe at the inaugural party of the bridge a few months ago in which women participants were forced to wear sacks and hats to cover their body shapes. That was a true fiasco, because that is something that should have never happened, and whatever solution was going to be implemented should have been dealt with in advance, not at the last minute.

The truth is though, that this problem has nothing in common with that fiasco. that fiasco was part of the battle of the extreme Haredi against the secular over the atmosphere and style of Jerusalem. This is just a problem. It is not just Haredi women who do not want men looking up their skirts. Any woman who wears a skirt would not want to be exposed like that. (read the rest here)
Of course, the bridge has already been been sprayed with grafitti more than once -- so it can now also look like every other building and landmark in Jerusalem.

(click image to see what was spray painted on the bridge)

I wonder how long before this grafitti appears on the Kotel...

photo credit: Amshi.

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thought provoking video

I found this video very thought provoking.

Its not preachy -- and its refreshingly apolitical.

Give yourself 6 minutes to watch it today before Rosh HaShana.

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

Thinking the Unthinkable

After reading Rafi's post which references a burgeoning child molestation scandal in RBS (yes, those are my usual ranting comments down below), I have to ask the studio audience here: If a few students (or even one student) accused a teacher of molestation and the school was refusing to remove him/her from his/her duties pending an investigation, how would you, as a parent, react?

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

Call it coincidence, or is that just Jewish Geography?

Yes, after yesterday's terror attack at Kikar Tzahal, everyone was asking, "who is connected to who?"

Well, of course the terrorist came from the same neighborhood as the previous Jerusalem terrorists: Jabel Mukhaber.

And the IDF officer that killed him?

Hold on to your chairs.

Lt. Elad Amar who killed the terrorist is a graduate of the Pirchei Aaron Yeshiva High School in Haifa, and his former commander in the Paratrooper unit where he served before moving over to artillery was none other than... David Shapira - the hero of Mercaz Harav.


Lurker adds:

For those not familiar with the details behind the last four major terror attacks in Jerusalem, the incredible nature of the coincidence that Joe is describing might not be entirely obvious. In each one of these four incidents, the bloodshed was ended by the brave action of a quick-thinking person who happened to be present at the scene of the attack. And in each case, the hero was a dati leumi (religious Zionist) person. That itself is a statistical improbabilty. But the full proportions the improbabilities here only start to become clear once one realizes the direct, single degree-of-separation connections beween each of these four people. Here is a brief connect-the-dots guide:

  • David Shapira was a passer-by who, along with Yitzhak Dadon, shot the terrorist in the Merkaz HaRav massacre in Jerusalem on the night of March 6.

  • Moshe Plesser, the passer-by who shot the first bulldozer terrorist in Jerusalem on July 2, is David Shapira's brother-in-law.

  • Yakki Asa-el, the passer-by who shot the second bulldozer terrorist in Jerusalem on July 22, was Moshe Plesser's yeshiva high school teacher.

  • And today, we find out that Elad Amar, who shot the terrorist in the attack last night, served in the Paratrooper unit commanded by David Shapira.
I'm not going to attempt to present an explanation of this incredible triple confluence. I will simply note the obvious: That the likelihood of it being random has got to be infintessimally miniscule.

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem

Will update this as information becomes available.

Terrorist attack in Kikar Tzahal in Jerusalem. 15-20 17 Wounded. Two seriously.

Arab terrorist drives through crowd of people.

Many Most of the injured are soldiers that were touring the Old City before Slichot.

Terrorist killed by first shot by armed civilian on Shivtei Yisrael Street, and then killed by soldiers an IDF Officer from the unit, and (perhaps) police.


IDF Soldier may lose his eye after a Palestinian terrorist threw acid at him today.

The terrorist passed through the Shchem (Nablus) checkpoint humanitarian lane (which is meant for those in need of immediate medical attention, and bypasses the normal line) bypassing the normal security check. Upon reaching the soldier, she threw the acid at him and fled back to where she came from.

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

Failing Grade

Cross Posted on JoeSettler

On June 1, a Philosophy bogrut (matriculation exam) was given in the Beit Hannah-Chabad girls' school in Jerusalem, as it has been for decades.

A Ministry of Education proctor showed up to proctor the exam, as always.

But this time the proctor showed up very inappropriately dressed for a Chareidi school (apparently in pants and a tank-top).

The principal, Rabbi Asher Solomon welcomed the proctor into the school, but told her she can’t go into the girls classrooms dressed like that as they are a Chareidi school, and they are teaching their girls that a certain mode of dress is permitted and a certain mode isn’t.

Rabbi Solomon told the proctor that if she fixes her clothing she can go in, the proctor said there is nothing wrong with her clothing, and left.

In the decades that the bogruts have been given in this school, there have been almost no tests disqualified for cheating.

But the ministry (under Yuli Tamir guidance) in retaliation has disqualified all 243 exams that were given.

The only failing grades in this story go to the Ministry of Education and the Proctor.

By the way, this reminds me of the story a few years back of the girl who came for her driving test very minimally dressed. The Tester (not religious) refused to test her saying that her lack of clothing was very inappropriate (and as far as he was concerned, she came dressed that way to help her pass the test), and he wouldn’t test her until she put a shirt on. I believe it may have even gone to court. Either way, the girl had to take the test again, this time with clothing on.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Haveil Havalim- Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere

Hi Friends,

Haveil Havalim #183, the weekly carnival of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere is now live. You're invited to come take a look at what we have been speaking about the past week.

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Srugim Lurkers

** Episode 13 spoiler alert **

Despite the bans, despite the prohibition of owning a TV in the first place, all sorts of people are watching the Srugim TV show.

One of those lurkers is Dan Illouz from the "Tzipiyah" blog. He admits he's a closet Srugim fan:
I’m coming out of hiding and admitting that I have been watching the show “Srugim”. While I’m not necessarily comfortable with everything shown on that show, I do believe it brings up a number of powerful serious issues in the religious community in Israel.
Not surprisingly, his posting about the previous Srugim episode is very similar to what I had planned on writing, including creating the short video segment, as well as using the exact same video clip of the jam-packed shul in Neve Dekalim, hours before the Disengagement eviction.

Dan discusses the issue that "no is also an answer" -- when discussing the theological issue of why G-d didn't answer the prayers, that Israel does not evict and destroy the communities of Gush Katif and the Shomron. I thought the issue was well done, and found the acting of Hodaya's teenage cousin,"Shvut" to be a realistic and accurate portrayal of teenage angst, irresponsibility, rebellion and searching.

While Shvut rails against G-d for abandoning the "good people" and for ignoring their prayer, Hodaya chastises her, "there are worse things than the Disengagement"..."No is also an answer [from G-d]".

Shvut runs off that night, and Hodaya worries incessantly about her. When Shvut returns and Hodaya screams at her for going off to party, and Shvut locks herself in the bathroom, Shvut quiety reveals that she was at the Kotel...praying.

What Dan does not touch upon is that while Hodaya may have scolded Shvut, Shvut is still passionately enraged at G-d -- she still believes.

Hodaya's "no is also an answer" lecture comes from cynicism as she no longer cares enough -- or believes enough -- to be angry at G-d.

The show concludes with Ms. Hodaya...watching TV on Friday night...

But I'm not done.

More and more Israeli Chareidim are watching the show. Despite all the criticism of the show, including this rather scathing review in Maariv, Chareidim are watching the show (not on TV, G-d forbid, but by downloading the episodes from the web)

Popular sites are chock full of discussions about the show, despite it being the about "srugim". (Note: Srugim is definitely IMHO, referring to the crocheted kippot of the national religious crowd, not being interwoven into society or anything to do with bars on Jerusalem windows).

While we continue to discuss srugim, be aware that many eyes are lurking as well...

Lastly, I absolutely despise the Nitzan character. Here she is, playing the scared female to enable Nati to show his masculine bravado and kill a roach (jook). Personally, I would have stomped on it...even barefoot.

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

Day of Judgement for Israel's Pollsters

At 10 PM last night, you could hear the glee in their voices on TV and Radio:

The exit polls predict that Tzippi Livni is the new leader of Kadima!

Channel 10's Poll - 49%
Channel 1's Poll - 47%
Channel 2's Poll - 48%

It's becoming almost routine for Israel's pollsters and media pundits to get it wrong time after time. True, Tzippy Livni did win, but by 341 votes. The margin of error for a win by 341 votes makes it statistically impossible to have accurately predicted that Livni would win -- based on scientific statistical models.

One should tip their hat to the "Yisrael Hayom" (Israel Today) newspaper whose headline this morning read: "Ma'avak Tzamud" (or "neck and neck") and refused to print outright that Livni won. At one point last night during the count, Mofaz was even leading Livni by 40 votes.

So what happened? How does it happen that time after time, Israel's pollsters and media get it wrong? How did every single polling company predict that Livni would win by a double digit landslide, yet in reality she won by 1 percent?

The red-faced pollsters (and Israel's media pundits, like IDF radio host Razi Barkai) placed the blame this morning not upon themselves, but due to "the lying, conneiving Israeli."

Instead of looking at the pollsters for answers, one should be turning to sociologists and societal psychologists...or ask the pollsters why they skew results?

Everyone laughed at Shaul Mofaz when he made his "bombastic" announcement a few days ago, that he would win the primaries with a result of 43.7% of the vote -- after all, Haaretz 's poll predicted a landslide victory for Livni.

Of everyone who made predictions, Shaul Mofaz was the closest to reality! While he did lose -- Livni received 43% and himself 42%, he was closer than any other polster or pundit. Mofaz knew his people were showing up to vote, which is why he was so certain of his win. What is he secret -- perhaps he really should be the leader of Kadima?

Why would an Israeli "lie" to a pollster?

Perhaps because people enjoy getting egg on the face of the arrogant media outlets that try to run our lives on a daily basis.

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

JPost acknowledges, defends censorship

Guest post by Lurker:

To David Horovitz [Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief]:

I am disappointed that you have chosen not to respond to my query below, regarding the Jerusalem Post's censorship of Edwin Bennatan's blog article.

Today, I found a new notice* posted on this same blog, which surprisingly acknowledged that "the Jerusalem Post found nothing improper in Mr. Bennatan's article itself". In spite of this, the notice says, the article "was removed from this site last week in resolution of a legal dispute concerning 'talkback' comments posted in response to his article".

If there were indeed defamatory or libelous talkback comments, then I can certainly understand why the Post would remove them. I can even understand why the Post might pay Mr. Freedman damages for libel. But what legitimate explanation can there possibly be for removing the article itself, which, according to Post's own statement, contained "nothing improper"?

It is painfully clear what happened here: Mr. Freedman obviously threatened legal action, and blackmailed the Post. Removal of the offending talkbacks along with an apology was not enough for him, and neither was an offer of a cash payment. No, Freedman wanted more, didn't he? He wanted the Post to censor an article that contained embarrassing criticism of his political opinions. And the Post cravenly complied.

The Post's capitulation to extortion raises serious questions about your paper's commitment to fundamental journalistic ethics: If a little-known two-bit extremist blogger is somehow capable of forcing the Post to completely censor an opinion piece that politely criticizes his opinions, then who is to say that powerful political figures cannot – and do not – force the Post to do the same thing, or worse? What reason is there to assume that the Post is not refraining from publication of criticism, or embarrassing information, regarding individuals far more important and powerful than Seth Freedman – people who might blackmail the Post into hiding things they don’t want the public to see, just as Freedman has?

If you have a legitimate explanation for your paper’s behavior in this matter, I’d certainly be interesting in hearing it.

In a related matter, I ask you once again: To which "charity", exactly, has the Jerusalem Post contributed money at Mr. Freedman's behest?

Want to let the Post know what you think, too? Send an e-mail to David Horovitz and/or their blog administrator.

UPDATE: This morning, the notice was at the top of this page. But apparently, the Post had second thoughts, and removed the notice a few hours later. However, they seem to have forgotten to remove it from this other page containing the same blog article. I changed the link above to use the page that still contains the notice. And I've saved a copy, of course, in case the Post removes the notice from the second page as well.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Line of the Week

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was just interviewed on Channel 2 Israel TV News.

He was questioned about the US financial crisis and what would he do if he were Prime Minister or Finance Minister.

Bibi's response:

1. Ensure that the Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer quickly examines what the state of Israel's banks are, and their exposure to the US financial crisis, in order to reassure and instill confidence in Israel's banking industry. This is being done already, as Fischer is meeting with all the heads of the banks tomorrow morning.

2. Lower taxes for both citizens and corporations.

3. Improve and invest in Israel's infrastructures and free up land for infrastructure investments, to encourage foreign investment in Israel.

The interviewer then asked about politics, and here comes the line.

Bibi was asked, "Tomorrow is Kadima's primaries, assuming you get a call to join an emergency unity government the day afterwords, what do you say?

Bibi replies, "There is no way I would join."

The interviewer queried, "Why not? This is for an issue of national importance. Why not?"

Bibi responded with this amazing line, "Asking me to join a government led by Kadima, is like asking me to join the board of directors of Lehman Brothers. Just like Lehman Brothers went bankrupt so has Kadima, which hasn't succeeded in anything, in any field."

As transcribed by Jameel in the field (on his way home from work).

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

Can you shoot better than this girl?

-- Advertisement --

Thanks to the Caliber 3 Shooting Range this girl is a crack shot.

And so are the guys!

Even him! (Just Kidding)

What about you?

If you're visiting Israel (or live here) then learn to shoot at the Caliber 3 Shooting Range with top Israeli anti-Terror experts.

The basic package includes explanations of the security situations Israelis face, examples of different anti-Terrorist techniques, and of course the fun part - Shooting pistols and M-16s.

The program is open to individuals, groups, and families. As you can see from the photos on their site everyone is having a great time.

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

Monday, September 15, 2008

Srugim's last episode to air on Rosh HaShana?!

Several Srugim aficionados have already contacted me about this alleged travesty -- how can Srugim's final season one episode be aired on Rosh HaShana night (Monday evening, Sept 29th)?!

This reminds me of life in Israel during the 1970s.

Eons ago, before cable TV in Israel, before Satellite TV, before Channel 2, before commercials, when there was only one TV channel for Israeli viewers (excluding Jordan and Lebanon TV channels) -- a new TV show was due to air..."Eishet Chayil", a woman of valor. The problem was that it was to air on Friday afternoons, either just before Shabbat was about to start or after Shabbat started already.

If I recall correctly, the Ulta-Orthodox Aguda party spearheaded the effort against the Israel Broadcasting Authority to have the show moved to earlier on Friday. After all, a show entitled "Eishet Chayil" should be viewable to all, especially the religious TV-watching community without worrying about desecrating the Shabbat.

As a result of Aguda's pressure, the IBA heeded their request and changed the viewing hour to earlier on Friday afternoon.

Imagine how shocked people were, when they found out that the show "Eishet Chayil"...the show which Aguda had gone head-to-head with the IBA over moving it's Friday broadcast to an earlier time...was the translated name for..."Wonder Woman!"

Have no fear dear readers -- I just got off the phone with the show's director, Laizy Shapiro, and he said YES had moved the viewing date for the season finale of Srugim to the following week, Monday evening of October 6th.

As as an aside, I'm in contact with Maaleh about the full version of Eicha...will keep you posted.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Olmert's Pogrom Against the Settlers

Shabbat Morning, 7:50 AM.

I was rudely awakened by my pager's buzzing, as an incoming message from the IDF spelled out that a terror attack just took place not from from us in the settlement of Yitzhar. A Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the Shalhevet Yam neighborhood of Yitzhar, set fire to a building, and stabbed a nine year old boy. The terrorist fled and was not apprehended. Security should be tightened in the surrounding areas.

Additional details came in ... the terrorist tried burning down a second home as well, and the 9 year old discovered the attack and started yelling for help. It was then the terrorist stabbed him 5 times in the back until the knife broke....he then threw him off the balcony of a caravan -- a 12 foot drop.

What we all found out on Saturday night was that the terror attack against the 9 year old was a minor detail -- the big story was the settler reprisal against the village that hosted the terrorist.

The IDF's inaction of not chasing after the terrorist infuriated the residents of Yitzhar -- this terror attack came on the heels of their fields routinely burnt down by Palestinians. Yes, the settlers reacted, took the law into their own hand and went into the village. Were their actions a beacon of democracy and good will towards their Palestinian neighbors? Nope. Should the IDF have done their job? Yes. Should the police have done their job? Yes.

No one did their job except for the Palestinian terrorist.

Yitzhar's community spokesman reported the following:
The stabbing attack and torching of an empty home in the settlement marked the "climax of the abuse perpetrated by Arab residents of the nearby village," Yitzhar Spokesman Yigal Amitai told Ynet. He also slammed the IDF conduct earlier in the day, referring to the army's failure to identify or capture the terrorist behind the attack.

"It's clear to everyone that this incident could have ended disastrously," Amitai said. "A whole family would have been butchered and burned. Yitzhar residents said that in recent months Arabs set seven fires in the settlement's wheat fields.

"To our regret, in all those incidents no real deterrent activity was conducted by the military and army," Amitai said.

The settlement spokesman also slammed the reactions issued by leftist Knesset members and groups during the Shabbat.

"They knew well that because of the sanctity of Shabbat we won't be able to respond in the media, and therefore took advantage of it," he said. Meanwhile, members of the Jewish National Front said that "the time has come for the Arabs to realize that Judea and Samaria residents aren't suckers…it would be better for the IDF and police to address Arabs who stab a nine-year-old Jewish boy, rather than target those who seek to defend themselves." (YNET)

The media pogrom against the settlers was swift and brutal, everyone conveniently refusing to condemn or acknowledge the severity of the terror attack that triggered yesterday's events.

MK Ahmed Tibi: referred to the settlers as "two-legged animals" following the riots. (ynet)

MK Zahava Gal-on: It's impossible to have a situation whereby the army is doing nothing while this is going on... the time has come to end the policy of inaction vis-à-vis the settlers." (ynet)

Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheim: "The settlers do not miss any opportunity to hurt Palestinians and endanger human life" (ynet)

But the best is reserved for Ehud Olmert to comment:

"There will be no pogroms against non-Jewish residents in the State of Israel -- a terror attack took place over the weekend in northern Samaria against a Yitzhar resident. A terrorist entered the community, a young boy was injured and there was an attempt to carry out a more severe attack. This is a serious and grave matter." (YNET)

It's much more serious and grave to Ehud Olmert that the Yitzhar residents should be upset at the torching of 2 buildings, upset at the IDF's inaction against terrorists, upset at the terror attack against a 9 year old -- and then they overturn a car and charge through the village which harbors terrorists....all that is much more grave and serious than the terrorist attack against a nine year old.

Yet let's take a step back. Can you imagine what the Arabs would do when there's an attack against them by a Jew? I'm sure they are the epitome of calm, and coldly calculated reasoned action. And if they would lose their cool, they would be soundly criticized by Ehud Olmert and the MKs of the left...?

Let's examine an actual case study from 2005.
Situation; Four people were killed and at least six others were wounded after army deserter Eden Natan Zada opened fire aboard a bus in the Arab town of Shfaram, in northern Israel.

Eyewitnesses said angry locals, or possibly bus passengers, managed to storm the bus following the attack and killed the shooter. Police reportedly had trouble retrieving the body, which was lying on the stairs of the bus, as a result of the angry Arab mob gathered at the scene.

Reaction against the terrorist: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued a special statement following the Shfaram shooting saying, “This is a vile act by a blood-thirsty Jewish terrorist who aimed to hurt innocent citizens.” “Terror by citizens against citizens is the most dangerous thing regarding Israel’s future and its democratic character,” the statement said

What happened to the blood thirsty Palestinian terrorist this past Shabbat that tried killed a 9 year old? Did anyone dare call him a vile, blood thirsty terrorist?

At the scene in Shfaram, a lynch mob disarmed the Jewish terrorist, and then rioted, taking the law into their own hands, and killed Eden Zada. In response to the possibility of charges being brought against those who took the law into their own hands MK Barakeh said, "We will take action to break any hand that is raised against us."

Balad chairman, MK Jamal Zahalka slammed the Haifa prosecution's decision to subpoena the Shfaram residents in the case: "This is an act of provocation. The police failed to find out who was assisting Zada and who sent him, and are blaming the victims. If they indict they will have riots on their hands"

Any comments from MK Tibi about the 2 legged animals in Shfaram?

Any comment from MK Zehava Gal-on the impossibility of a situation whereby the police is doing nothing while this is going on -- or has he time has come to end the policy of inaction vis-à-vis the Arabs?"

I don't recall Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheim saying the "The arabs do not miss any opportunity to hurt Jews and endanger human life"

And of course, Olmert was uncharacteristically silent then too.

It seems that its settler season again.

I was reminded of the painful artistic expression on road 60 near Beit-El, 10 years ago after many terror attacks on the roads.

A congregation of benevolent, smart and wise
gave guns to the foxes.
And as the days grew, the era of peace they hallucinated
turned [us] to a flock of ducks.

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

Interview with Srugim's Laizy Shapiro

The early bird gets the worm. 

The Jerusalemite has an interesting interview with Srugim's director, Laizy Shapiro.  

Don't worry -- the Muqata will be interviewing him soon as well (I think I'm going to do the interview with Lurker as well...maybe even this week)

In the meantime, see the interview over at the Jeruselamite.  I'm copying the background info on Laizy because the links are fantastic (see other movie's he's done...including one of my favortie's, "Eicha")

Laizy Shapira, 32, spent his childhood in Philadelphia, where his father served as a shaliachof the Jewish Agency. After moving back to Karnei Shomron, he served in a Hesder programfor yeshiva studies combined with IDF service. Shapira graduated from Jerusalem's Ma'ale School of Television, Film and the Arts, the only communications production program in the country targeted towards observant Jews, when he was in his late 20s.

Professional doors began to open for Shapira in the years that followed, largely thanks to acclaim he received for two of his student projects, Eicha and Saving Private Finklestein,but he soon found himself struggling, with day jobs cleaning houses and giving tours at theKotel Tunnels and at the Davidson Archeological Park. But an association with producerYonatan Aroch eventually landed Shapira a deal to co-create, co-write (with long-time collaborator Chava Divon) and direct Srugim (literally, "knitted")a surprise hit for Yes TV.

The show, which focuses on the lives of five central 30-something religious Jerusalemite bachelor and bachelorettes in a manner that is refreshing and clever, has taken Israeli pop culture by storm. When not attending screenings of episodes at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Shapira is working on plans to hopefully export a translated version of the show to North America and to possibly air Season One on Israel's Channel 2 this winter – all while developing ideas for Season Two, which should air by the end of 2009.

Read it all, here

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

Haveil Havalim #182

Batya has done an outstanding job. You can follow the carnival here or here.

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

Obama Waffles - Not Carried by the Muqata

The Muqata Management would like it to be known that we do not carry Obama Waffles.

While it is true that Obama waffles (quite a lot in fact) and has in the past tried to pander to the Muqata audience, we found parts of the packaging to be inappropriate and the actual contents of unknown origin and quality, which most definitely shift during transport (all the time in fact).

So while it is a brisk seller at US-based Republican conventions, Obama Waffles will not be available in any Muqata outlets.

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

Censorship in the Jerusalem Post

Guest post by Lurker:

Thanks to JoeSettler for bringing to our attention the Jerusalem Post's recent outrageous act of censorship. I sent the following letter tonight to the Post's editor-in-chief, David Horovitz:

To David Horovitz:

Why has the Jerusalem Post censored this blog article by Edwin Bennatan? (The link is a snapshot from Google's cache.)

The entire article has disappeared, and has been replaced with this apology.

I understand from the apology that there were some user comments to the article that were deemed “defamatory, threatening, and inappropriate”, and I can certainly understand why the Post would delete such a comment.

But why was the article itself taken down? Did it contain something that you find to be “defamatory, threatening, and inappropriate”? If so, then what was it, exactly? And if it did not contain anything “defamatory, threatening, and inappropriate”, then why has it been deleted and replaced with an apology?

I would point out that the Post's censorship of this article has already become a subject of discussion in the blogosphere. (See here for an example.) This action calls into question the Post's journalistic standards, and its commitment to freedom of speech.

Mr. Horowitz: In the past, I have admired you for your defense of Israel against egregious media bias against Israel. The article by Bennatan was very similar to many such defenses that you yourself have presented in the past. His article was well-written, reasoned, and free of any ad hominem attacks or anything even remotely inappropriate. I am shocked that the newspaper under your editorship has chosen to censor it. I would not have expected this from you.

I (along with many others) am interested in an explanation of why the Post has done this.

P.S.: I am also quite curious to know which charity Mr. Freedman has selected for the Jerusalem Post to make a contribution to.

If you are also disturbed by the Post's censorship of this article, why not tell them? Here is David Horovitz's e-mail address.

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

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Did the JPost capitulate to legal threats?

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

A brief history of divorce halacha

Shavua tov,

Being that one of the mitzvot in this weeks parsha is about divorce, I happened to see a few divrei torah related to the subject of divorce and agunot. Below is a dvar torah from Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale that I think gives a short history as to why we have the problem of agunot nowadays. This ties in very nicely with Jameel's post the other day.


RABBI AVI WEISS Shabbat Forshpeis

This week's portion touches upon the controversial issue of spouses who refuse to grant a Jewish divorce (get).

The Torah states "and he [the husband] shall write her a bill of divorce and place it in her hands" (Deuteronomy 24:1). In other words, the giving of a get is the husband's exclusive domain. While it is difficult to pinpoint why the Torah so decreed, it could be suggested that since women in biblical times found it difficult and even impossible to fend for themselves socio-economically, they would never desire a get. Yet, as pointed out to me by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the pendulum swung as time went on.

The unilateral right of the husband to divorce his wife was limited by the advent of the ketubah (marital contract) which details the many obligations that a husband has to his wife, including an amount of money that his wife would receive in case of divorce. In this way, a husband's absolute power to divorce his wife was severely restricted through this financial obligation.

The unilateral power of the husband to give the get totally disappeared one thousand years ago when Rabbenu Gershom declared that a get could not be given without the wife's consent. If the ketubah made it difficult for a husband to unilaterally divorce his wife, Rabbenu Gershom obviated that unilateral power in its entirety. The get became a bilateral process rather than a unilateral one.

With time, the get process entered yet a different stage, a stage in which women could initiate a get. In the middle ages, for example, central communities in Europe were governed by the Va'ad Arba Aratzot, the committee of the four major Jewish population centers. Jews there had their own political sovereignty and judicial autonomy. If the bet din found a wife's claim reason for divorce, it was powerful enough to order the husband to give the get. As long as the bet din was strong enough, the agunah matter was resolved.

The situation here in the United States is different. Because of the principle of separation of Church and State, the bet din has no legal power to implement its decisions. This has created a situation where a husband could blackmail his wife by demanding exorbitant sums of money or custody of their child(ren) before giving his wife a get, even when the bet din believes the get should be issued.

While America has seen an unprecedented amount of Jewish life and activity, it has not reached the level of the Va'ad Arba Aratzot. Both the leadership and the people are at fault. The population refuses to submit to the will of the Bet Din, and the Bet Din has not worked hard enough to earn the respect its constituents. Until this vicious circle is broken, the agunah problem, a problem that has been successfully addressed in the past, will remain one of the most painful issues we face today. © 2008 Hebrew Institute of Riverdale & CJC-AMCHA. Rabbi Avi Weiss is Founder and Dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the Open Orthodox Rabbinical School, and Senior Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 News Roundup from Israel

An Israel Air-force Cobra helicopter crashed last night around 6:30 PM in Northern Israel as a result of the tail rotor flying off the helicopter.

It was rather distressing hearing all the MDA volunteers responding trying to locate the pilots -- as ammunition exploded all over the places making it impossible to approach the crashed helicopter.

Two pilots died in the crash -- one of them was identified as Major (res.) Shai Danor, 35, a father of five from Rosh Ha'ayin. The other pilot's name has not been released for publication at the request of his family.

All IAF Cobras have been grounded till an investigation reveals why the rotor flew off.

Today is 9/11.

Two years ago I dedicated my 9-11 post to the memory of Nancy Morgenstern, one of the victims. Go see it, it's worth reading.

In a poll for the University of Maryland, people were asked who they thought was behind the attack.

On average, only 46% believe that Al-Qaida was behind the attack. 15% believe the US was behind it. 7% believe that Israel masterminded it. One in four doesn't have any idea who was behind it.

43 percent of Egyptians say Israel was responsible.


The poll, managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, of surveyed 16,063 people July 15 to Aug. 31. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3-4 percent.

On IDF radio this morning, a professor from Tel Aviv University was asked about Islamic Fundamentalism and 9/11, and out of the blue, he started comparing "Noar HaGvaot" (hilltop youth) with Islamic fundamentalists. To his credit, the reporter was slightly incredulous that the interview had just made such a bizzare turn, and he said, "Noar HaGvaot have never done anything like this, how can you make such a comparison?!" The TAU professor replied, "they are very similar in their mindset, and I worry that 9-11 done by Al-Alqaida was only the beginning and that Jewish extremists like Noar HaGvaot will do the next [mega attack.]"

The hatred from Israeli's left knows no bounds -- and using 9-11 as a springboard to bash "Noar HaGvaot" and Israel's right wing is particularly offensive.

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

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