Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Actual Value of a Palestinian Terrorist

Breaking news from the Jerusalem Post: (link)
The security cabinet on Wednesday morning approved the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners and detainees in exchange for an up-to-date video tape of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, in the first concrete move toward freeing the soldier since he was kidnapped over three years ago.
The actual value of seeing Shalit on videotape is worthless because the German mediator Urlau has already seen the video, which is believed to have been taped within the last few weeks.

So if he's seen the video, why do we need to release 20 Palestinian Female Terrorists?!

We now all know the true value of a Palestinian Female Terrorist: One-twentieth of a video tape. Actual Value: 15 cents. Guppies are worth more.

However, Judge Goldstone values Palestinians at far, far more than 15 cents a person. He assigns that value (or less) to the Jews hurt and killed by Hamas rockets.

Dr. Mirela Siderer's face is still scarred from injuries she sustained when a Gazan rocket hit an Ashkelon mall in May 2008 Since that fateful day, the gynecologist, a 53-year-old mother of two, has undergone seven operations for her wound, and she is in need of an eighth.

On Tuesday, she spoke at the UN Human Rights Council, which on Tuesday debated the 429-page report on Operation Cast Lead compiled by a four-person investigatory team led by South African Judge Richard Goldstone. She told the council how upset she was to discover that her story had been reduced to one line, in which the document states that she was one of three people seriously wounded in the rocket attack.

"Judge Goldstone, in a 500-page report, why did you completely ignore my story? My name appears only in passing, in brackets, in a technical context," said Siderer, who spoke on behalf of the Geneva-based UN Watch NGO.

"I feel humiliated," she told the council. "Why are there only two pages about Israeli victims like me, who suffered thousands of rockets over eight years?"(JPost)

The entire evidence of Dr. Siderer's testimony was reduced to a single line...even less than 15 cents.

98% of the report attacked Israel for defending itself from Hamas terrorists.

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Scary Sukka (Don't Try this at Home!)

The following sukka was erected yesterday in Jerusalem -- actual photos below. (source)

Excuse me?

Who are they kidding?

This looks like suicide to me -- its far from being is the safest sukka out there.

Did they discus this adventure with a structural engineer?

Actually, they probably discussed this with the same elevator technicians and engineers responsible for informing R' Elyashiv that Shabbat Elevators are forbidden.

I'm sure they'll have kavana when saying "סוכת דוד הנופלת"

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tzomet Blasts Anti Shabbat Elevator Ruling

R' Yisrael Rozen, head of the Tzomet Institute [post about Tzomet] slams the halachik (Jewish law) ruling forbidding Shabbat Elevators.

"In one shot, the announcement turns the Shabbat of sick and elderly from pleasure to distress. Every Rabbi signed on the ruling received from me numerous requests to meet with me [to discuss the Shabbat Elevator issue], but I received no answers."

Interviewed on the Chareidim website, R' Rosen stated he is obligated to listen to the Rabbis, but only after they meet with him and here my reasons in favor of a Shabbat elevator. If afterwards, they will issue a halachik ruling, I will follow it. He added, "Meanwhile, the Rabbis have never heard this side of the issue [in favor of Shabbat elevators]. I have proof that great Charedi/Ultra Orthodox Rabbis use Shabbat elevators in hotels on Shabbat.

According to R' Rosen, he and the Tzomet Institue rely on the rabbinic rulings of R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach and his students such as R' Yehoshua Neubert, the author of Shmirat Shabbat k'Hilchata.

"It is inconceivable that one announcement changes Shabbat from a day of pleasure to a difficult day despair."

TheYeshivaWorld follows up with the following quoting from an interview on Radio Kol Chai:

In addition, Rabbi Rosen questions those in the “court of the rabbonim”, explaining gedolim are obviously called upon to affix their signatures by rabbis who have access to them deciding to bring this specific issue to their attention. He asked how such a decision can be reached, quoting experts in the field, when Zomet, which is one of two institutes in the field working to find technological advances that can be incorporated into permitted shabbos use, was not contacted by any of the rabbonim who brought this to the attention of gedolei yisrael shlita. He stated, “I am not a ‘bal plugta’ with any of the gedolim” but question how such a ruling can be issued without even conferring with rabbinical experts such as those at Zomet.

Rabbi Rosen added that it is difficult for him to comment since the p’sak circulating in chareidi circles is not detailed.

Rabbi Rosen told Kol Chai Radio that he feels the gedolim at times are led by those who have access to them, pushing certain issues before them and in this case, opting to ignore the experts who address the issues for the past years, relying on torah giants such as Reb Shlomo Zalman.

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Hizbollah Micro Terror Cells Could Overwhelm Israel

A recently published article in Ma'arahot, a monthly journal on military issues by y Lt.-Col. Robi Sandman received an award by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenaz.

Besides scoring Hizbollah a victory over the IDF in the Second Lebanon War, he outlines a rather sobering picture of an attack scenario to which the IDF currently has no solution.
The next war, he wrote, will likely include Hizbollah sending hundreds of teams comprised of 4-5 fighters each, armed with anti-tank missiles and sniper rifles, into the Galilee.

"We need to recognize that the IDF with its current structure cannot provide a response to the unbelievably well-equipped force that is rising up to destroy the State of Israel," he wrote.

These hundreds of squads will be able to rely on local Israeli-Arab infrastructure in the Galilee, Sandman wrote. He recommended that the IDF immediately establish small, elite reconnaissance squads capable of countering this threat.(JPost)

If Hizbolla sends "hundreds" of these squads, then the IDF will need to train hundreds of small elite units as well. I don't see the IDF rushing to do this, considering how they don't overly invest in the counter terror squads in the Yehuda vShomron/West Bank Settlements.

Unfortunately, he also didn't recommend additional intelligence against the local Israeli-Arab infrastructure. If we're sure they will turn against Israel -- we need to make things extremely clear to the Israeli Arab population now. No silk glove treatment as is currently given to incitement-spouting MK's like Amhed Tibi -- treason requires severe imprisonment at best.

Even more scary is the report's assessment that Israel might have to turn to the US for support during the war...and we may not receive it either.
Sandman also warned of the possibility that in a future conflict, the United States might not help Israel as it had in the past. During the 2006 war and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the US airlifted advanced weapons and ammunition to Israel to refresh dwindling stockpiles.
Israel needs to stop playing around with PR peace initiatives and deal with the immediate threats at hand: Iran's nuclear ambitions, their Hizbollah proxy in South Lebanon, and their Hamas proxy in Gaza.

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Damned if you do...

Israel's Defense Minister approved (yesterday) the import of Lulavs from Gaza, due to a lulav shortage and fears of an emerging lulav "cartel" monopoly which hopes to gouge prices.

Yaakov Mergi, the Minister for Religious Affairs requested that Ehud Barak allow the imports, and he signed the approval immediately. He thanked Barak for his immediate response saying that the imports will "prevent the possibility of a [lulav] seller's cartel from taking advantage of the shortage at the expense of the consumer." NRG


We're stuck between supporting the Hamas Rocket Brigades and their supporters, and a greedy lulav mafia.

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R' Elyashiv: Shabbat Elevators Forbidden

Yated Nee'man Newspaper: In a landmark Halachik (Jewish Law) ruling, 4 of the foremost rabbis in Israel, R' Shalom Elyashiv, R' Chayim Kanievsky, R' Nissim Karlitz and R' Shmuel Vosner have forbidden the use of "Shabbat Elevators" (elevators which automatically go up and down on shabbat, stopping at every other floor; who would have thought that Wikipedia would have an entry on it!?).

They say outright that one may not rely on any certification from any organization, and that its an outright desecration of the Shabbat to ride in a Shabbat elevator (up or down).

I'm curious who is behind this -- its not like these Rabbis woke up one morning and said, "hey, lets make everyone's life incredibly difficult." Though it could be someone else did...
Shabbat Elevators are prevalent everywhere throughout the world -- in Baltimore, there was even a landmark shabbat elevator case this past summer.
"After a lengthy legal battle that involved allegations of First Amendment violations, the board of Strathmore Tower voted to install a Shabbat elevator in the 56-unit, nine-story condominium on Park Heights Avenue on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

At the request of some Strathmore Tower residents, the state of Maryland Commission on Human Relations looked into the matter. In 2008 it issued a report in which it found “probable cause” that discrimination by the condo board had occurred against the condo’s Orthodox residents. The finding raised the possibility of legal action against the condo board at the time of the investigation.

Prof. Kenneth Lasson of the University of Baltimore School of Law has been representing the complaining residents to the commission on a pro bono basis. Mr. Lasson said he spoke to commission members following the board’s most recent vote and “they are very pleased to hear this finally went through.”

The commission will be monitoring the situation to ensure that the Shabbat elevator is in fact installed, Mr. Lasson added.

“The commission also wants to see that Strathmore Tower’s bylaws are amended to reflect that accommodations for religious preferences will be made and there will be no discrimination of the basis of religion,” he said. Baltimore Jewish Times

Crazy legal issues like this are non-existent in Israel. Now we just need to either see if elevators are really forbidden, or build a better one, which isn't.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Best Way To Break Your Fast

The best way to break your fast is to have a waffle breakfast with Jameel. The best way to accompany that meal is the chance to read Haveil Havalim. It is where you going to find all sorts of interesting things to discuss with family and friends.

Go now and read Haveil Havalim: Pre-Yom Kippur Edition. It is the best of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere and it is the only place you are going to find some of this content.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah to all.


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Unfinished Business: Erev Yom Kippur

A few comments since I doubt I'll be blogging till after Yom Kippur (Monday evening).

1. Israel's changing its clock tonight, gaining an hour at 2 AM, going back to 1 AM.

2. The Hevron winery has regained their Kashrut certification of the Kiryat Arba rabbinical authority.

3. Hakarat Hatov (Appreciation)

I would like to thank WebAds and Nefesh b'Nefesh for organizing the 2cnd annual Jewish blog convention. Everyone has so been busy kvetching about the food, admission fee and content (you can't please everyone), that I've seen almost no one thank these 2 organizations which invested countless hours. Thanks!

I would like to thank the Muqata staff for posting during the Cast-Lead operation, Litvshe, JoeSettler, Lurker, BOTH, and others.

Thanks to my wife and kids for putting up with the blog.

4. I would like to ask forgiveness:

- if I didn't answer your email
- if I forgot to link to your blog/add you to my blogroll
- if I neglected to write a post about something requested.
- if I wrote anything factually incorrect on the blog over this past year.

I have tried extremely hard to only post factual updates, complete with sources and hyperlinks and have tried to correct any story or post that I found to be inaccurate.

To that note, I would like to say that of this time, it appears that there is no Obama Administration intention to announce a plan of internationalizing Jerusalem. At the time, I purely quoted from IDF radio which broke the story -- August has come and gone, the Cairo speech has come and gone, and it would appear there is no initiative.

This does not mean I believe the Obama administration is making life easy for Israel as they press the issue of settlements over and over, calling them illegitimate, and calling for the halt of Jewish building in post-67 unified Jerusalem.

Personally, I think the Palestinian issue will fall by the wayside in the coming weeks due to Israel vs. Iran and Israel vs. Hamas in Gaza.

5. Yom Kippur in Israel is a fascinating day. This past Friday, my wife showed me a flier from our mailbox that a traveling bicycle company was at our local mall for a few hours -- and that it would be a good opportunity to fix one of the kids' bikes. Only when I was there getting the tire fix did I realize why they had come this past Friday.

Yom Kippur, the day when there's virtually zero vehicular traffic is also known by secular children a "chag ha'ofanayim" -- the bicycle holiday. As many go to shul for the Kol Nidre prayers, there are kids biking everywhere as well.

Not the ultimate realization of a Jewish State...but its a start.

Our settlement is participating yet again in the "Biyachad" (Together) community prayer service, in which secular and religious Jews come together in prayer on Yom Kippur. It takes place in a local school, not in an official synagogue -- yet in neutral ground so that no one feels "out of place."

A community praying together, with ALL sectors represented is truly special. On this day of solemn holiness, the Jewish people put aside their difference, politics, and quibbles -- and beseech G-d's forgiveness.

From R' Ari Enkin at the Hirhurim blog:
"The Holiness of an ordinary weekday in Eretz Yisrael is like that of a Shabbat in Chutz La'aretz. The Holiness of Shabbat in Eretz Yisrael is like that of Yom Kippur in Chutz La'aretz. The Holiness of Yom Kippur in Eretz Yisrael cannot be found anywhere else in the world" -Zohar

I first saw this teaching shortly after making Aliya five years ago and it has been with me daily ever since. Frankly, for me it is one of the most compelling pieces of introspection and mussar – to know that I am in the palace of the King, where the Holiness is incomparably powerful - and even tangible. How those of us who live in Eretz Yisrael must properly prepare for, utilize, and appreciate Yom Kippur.
May we all be inscribed in the book of life, health and prosperity.


Jameel R
The Muqata

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Attack on Iran: A few grains of sand remain in the hourglass

A few grains of sand remain in the hourglass before Israel will be forced to step up to the plate, and deal with Iran's nuclear capability. It appears the United States has failed to get past the mindset of "diplomacy" as Iran races ahead to finalize the final pieces to create a deliverable nuclear weapon.

The weekend Iranian announcement of a uranium enrichment centrifuge facility built underground near the city of Qom (photos here and reports here) is accompanied by taunts from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Tehran's announcement was "a blow for Western powers", according to Iranian news agency ILNA.

NPR and ABC News offer the following excuses why the US won't attack the facility:
One: The goal of the U.S. government is not to close this one facility at Qom, but rather to convince the Iranian government to end their nuclear weapons ambitions writ large.

Second: Bombing the facility might only make the Iranians more determined, whereas if Western intelligence agencies catch them violating their agreements every time they cheat -- and this is the third time since 2002 -- the Iranians may conclude, ultimately, that any aspirations for a nuclear weapon are futile.
Point one is a long term goal. Unfortunately, Israel doesn't have the luxury of waiting for diplomacy to fail to convince Iran of ending their quest for nuclear weapons. Iran is literally days to weeks from creating their first bomb.

Point two originates from the failure of Western culture to understand the Middle Eastern mindset. While bombing the facility will definitely annoy the Iranians, it will prevent them from bombing Israel. A few more strikes on their facilities will get them to conclude on their own that maybe a nuclear option isn't in their best interests.

Iran is starting tomorrow, the"Great Prophet 4" 3-4 rocket drill for medium and long range rockets, capable of hitting Israel and Europe. Is it a coincidence that this "exercise" is being conducted in the time frame of Yom Kippur?

My prediction is that Israel will be required to act within an immediate time frame to prevent Iran from succeeding in creating nuclear weapons.

The world will condemn Israel making the Goldstone report look like child's play.

Yet anyone who doesn't relish the idea of nuclear weapons being in the hands of madmen will breathe a sigh of relief.

We'll do the dirty work, get blamed, save our skins, and get lambasted in the court of world opinion.

Its a much better legacy for our children, than no legacy at all.

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Will Goldstone believe anything?

Makor Rishon had a strange article in the paper this weekend. I’ve looked around the internet, and there seems to be a lot of confirmation that this story is true, and it doesn’t say much for Goldstone's credibility as an investigator of war crimes.

From 1994 until 1996 Goldstone was the head Prosecutor at the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the UN.

It seems that the Prosecutor’s office had a case of mistaken identity, and the person linked to this mistake was Goldstone himself.

In 1995 the ICTY prosecutor’s office listed a certain Serb named Gruban as a serious war criminal. Very serious. They had a lot of details of his war crimes.

Here is a link to the text of Goldstone’s indictment against Gruban. The ICTY PDF is here.






Richard J. Goldstone, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, pursuant to his authority under Article 18 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ("The Statute of the Tribunal"), charges:


But in 1998 the ICTY dropped all charges against the above named Gruban.

The Hague, 8 May 1998
On 5 May and 8 May respectively, Judge VOHRAH and Judge RIAD granted the leave requested by the Office of the Prosecutor to withdraw the charges against 14 accused in the Omarska and Keraterm indictments:

The charges against the following 11 accused in the Omarska indictment are withdrawn: Zdravko GOVEDARICA, GRUBAN, Predrag KOSTIC, Nedeljko PASPALJ, Milan PAVLIC, Milutin POPOVIC, Drazenko PREDOJEVIC, Zeljko SAVIC, Mirko BABIC, Nikica JANJIC and Dragomir SAPONJA

Now this Gruban is not to be confused with Momcilo Gruban who was imprisoned in 2002 and is also mentioned in that first document and indictment.

the charges are maintained against 5 accused who are still at large, namely Zeljko MEAKIC (the alleged Omarska camp commander, who is charged with genocide), Dragoljub PRCAC (one of the two alleged deputy commanders), Milojica KOS and Momcilo GRUBAN (one the three alleged guards shift commanders) and Du{an KNEZEVIC (one of the five persons who allegedly visited the camp to commit atrocities).

There are two Grubans here and this Gruban is obviously a different Gruban entirely than the one who had the charges against him dropped.

So who was this “Gruban” who turned out to be completely innocent?

Well his full name is Gruban Malić.

Gruban Malić is a very well known character in Serbia.

And a character he is.

Gruban Malic’ is a fictional character in the book “Hero on a Donkey” written by Miodrag Bulatović'.

Not to comment at all on that war, but Goldstone fell for a joke someone pulled on him and his court. All the Serbs were laughing at how stupid he and his court was. It certainly destroyed any credibility they might have had for the court.

Sound familiar?

Is this any different then what happened in Gaza?

The Gazans of Pallywood told Goldstone stories which he willingly and unquestioning swallowed up whole, and spit back at us.

Like in Serbia, the Gazans are laughing at him while Goldstone uses their lies to attack Israel.

What is more interesting is that besides in Serbia, in the office of the ICTY this embarrassing mistake was apparently well known, and of course it wasn't publicized outword, instead they tried to basically cover up Goldstone's mistake by "dropping the charges".

That's a shame about the coverup, because certainly everyone should remember to associate Richard Goldstone's name with the Serbian war criminal Gruban Malic' - and his donkey.

Now, is it any wonder why Goldstone was sent to Gaza to investigate Israel for war crimes?

He's the perfect dupe!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Visiting Israel? Learn to Shoot

Everyone knows, when you visit the Muqata one of two things happen. Either you get waffles for breakfast, or you go out shooting at the range. If you're really lucky you get both.

But not everyone can get invited to the Muqata when they visit Israel, so what are they to do?

Simple. You go to the Caliber-3 shooting range in Gush Etzion, and you take their 2 hour "terror tourism" class.

Where else can you meet up face-to-face with IDF special forces officers and soldiers, watch them demonstrate anti-terror techniques, and then have them teach you how to shoot a variety of different combat weapons?

Nowhere else, except at Caliber-3. And that's why this is such a unique adventure.

Turn the volume up before you start this video.

Turn the volume up before you start this video.

So go to the Caliber-3 site, and sign up for a session while there are still slots available this Sukkot.

It's a lot of fun for the entire family.

(Yes, for all of you in Israel, you can also renew your license at their range. And no, I don't know what to tell you to do about the waffles.)

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Who stayed in for Ahmadinejad's UN Speech?

Q: Who stayed in for Ahmadinejad's UN Speech?

A: The Palestinian Delegate

Q: Who walked out during Netanyahu's UN speech when he discussed the IDF Cast-Lead operation?

A: The Palestinian Delegate

Israel PM's Netanyahu's UN speech was clearly aimed at the Palestinian Delegate:

"To those who gave this Holocaust denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people. ... Have you no shame? Have you no decency?" Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu scolded the United Nations for giving the Iranian president "legitimacy" just six decades after the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad addressed the body Wednesday, and in the run-up to the session repeated his belief that the Holocaust is a myth.

"What a disgrace," Netanyahu said. "What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations."

Netanyahu challenged the international community to step up and prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but expressed broad disappointment with the United Nations.

He accused the United Nations of remaining silent on attacks on Israelis from Hamas, while blasting the U.N. Human Rights Council for its "twisted standards." The Human Rights Council issued a recent report that condemned Israel for its offensive in the Gaza Strip last January.

"What a travesty," Netanyahu said. "Israel justly defended itself against terror."

He said the latest report presents a test to the international community: "Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?"

Let's review:

The Palestinian Delegate gave the Holocaust denier a hearing. [check]
...thereby proving they have no shame or decency

The Palestinian Delegate gave the Iranian president "legitimacy" just six decades after the Holocaust. [check]

Don't forget, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also denies the Holocaust...thereby proving he and the Palestinian Delegate are "a disgrace," and they have made "...a mockery of the charter of the United Nations."

The Palestinian Delegate to the United Nations has remained silent on attacks on Israelis from Hamas. [check]
...thereby demonstrating that the Palestinian Delegate is a "travesty"

The Palestinian Delegate does not stand with Israel yet stands with the terrorists. [check]
So we need to create another disgraceful, shameful, and indecent terrorist state because...?

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President Obama's Unintentional Incitement?

Over the past few months, I've received negative feedback from readers who don't understand why I mention US President Obama on this blog, if this is simply a pro-Israel, pro-Aliya, pro-settlement blog. The truth is, I would be more than happy to ignore him and let him deal with internal issues of the United States.

Unfortunately, my home is a target of the Obama administration -- if they would leave me alone, I'd would as well.

Its undeniable that the US is ratcheting up the pressure on Israel, and President Obama focused world attention on my home again yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly.

His quote:
"We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel. And we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements"
How curious to call on Palestinians to "end incitement" and then immediately followup that the US does not accept "illegitimate Israeli settlements." Lumping these 2 unconnected issues together is morally unjustified. Incitement, terror and violence cannot be compared to settlement activity, especially while the Palestinians continue to build, creating their own "facts on the ground."

Its not only this humble blogger's opinion that Obama's after my home, but also that of former US Ambassador to UN, John Bolton. He stated about yesterday's speech by President Obama, "He put Israel on the chopping block"

Yisrael Medad found the connection. President Obama calls settlements illegitimate, and immediately the Palestinians translate this into "illegal"
Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Obama’s address to the UN was "encouraging."

"We very much appreciate President Obama’s statements on settlements being illegal and his calling for an end of the occupation," Erakat said in a telephone interview. "
Medad correctly connects the dots and points out that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Israel a "counterfeit and illegitimate regime that cannot survive", in a live broadcast on state television.

"The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive," he said in a speech to a crowd in the town of Islamshahr in southwestern Tehran.

In an atmosphere of the Obama administration targeting Israel's Jewish population in the Yehuda vShomron/West Bank settlement communities, its no surprise that violent Palestinians Arab attacks are increasing over the past weeks. Its irrelevant for President Obama to call on Palestinians "to stop incitement", while mentioning settlement activity over and over again whenever Israel is the topic of discussion.

The Kalkilya/Shechem road 55 has seen a marked increase in rock and firebomb throwing attacks against Jewish motorists, including rock attacks on Rosh HaShana.

In the same area at the Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm) outpost, Arabs torched the fields surrounding the caravan community, resulting in the destruction of 2 caravans.

My 4rth grade daughter called me up the other day. almost tearfully asking how much money we could give. I asked her to calm down and slowly repeat what she was talking about.

"During Rosh HaShana, Arabs burned down the fields around my teacher's home in Havat burned down their home...and now they have nothing...we're collecting money to help them".

From A7:

The fire destroyed two buildings. One, the home of a couple and their young child, was completely destroyed. The family did not have time to remove any property before the blaze demolished their home, and their clothing, furniture, and other belongings were lost.

The second building, which was home to a couple and three children, sustained serious damage.

In addition, the electric lines and the main sewage line connecting Havat Gilad to the Samaria infrastructure were destroyed. The total cost of the damage is estimated at half a million shekels. (more here)

Photos Courtesy of the Shomron Regional Council Liaison Office.

When the President of the United States incessantly spotlights Jewish communities, it tacitly understood by Palestinians that these communities are now legitimate targets.

It was not intentional, yet the message clearly heard by Palestinians is that no one will weep over the fate of "illegal" settlements or any terror attacks against them.

Note: Anyone wishing to send some tzedaka/charity before Yom Kippur to help these families rebuilt their homes, the following information was sent to me.

Dear Friend,

You may have heard that a fire destroyed two caravans in Chavat Gilad on the first day of Rosh Hashana. One of the caravans was occupied by the family of my son-in-law’s sister. The fire was deliberately set , by Arabs, while she was inside with her husband and infant son. The fire spread underneath the floor. They smelled smoke and managed to get out just before their home was engulfed by the flames. The young couple lost virtually everything they owned.

We are soliciting donations to help these unfortunate victims of terror to replace what was lost. The contributions are being administered by the Moetza Datit of Karnei Shomron. Checks should be made out to Keren Achiezer (קרן אחיעזר). I will be happy to pass them on to the Moetza Datit or they can be sent directly:

PO Box 250
212 Mishol HaCalanit
Karnei Shomron
Doar Na Lev HaShomron, Israel

Receipts will be given.

Gmar Chatima Tova.

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GPO still considering Press Creds for Bloggers

This JPost articles mentions many of the salient points in my posting from last week and the accompanying comment thread.

Yet its always nice to get mention in the JPOST...especially as a "leading blogger" :-)
Ron Dermer, a senior adviser to the prime minister, took the opportunity to formally recognize the work bloggers do in defending Israel and uncovering fraudulent claims against the Jewish state at the International Jewish Bloggers Convention last week.

Lauding the work of bloggers in defending Israel, Dermer claimed that "The blogger [Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs] who revealed Reuters' doctoring of images during the Second Lebanon War did as much as any Israeli intelligence officer did."

Following Dermer's praise of the work bloggers do in protecting Israel, he was asked by leading blogger "Jameel" of the Muqata blog whether the government would consider extending bloggers the same accreditation afforded to journalists.

In his response, Dermer stated at the Jewish Bloggers Convention in Jerusalem that the "government should identify a number of good bloggers, serious bloggers, and give them journalist IDs." (JPost)
We'll see if I get a response from Dermer's office. I wrote to them last week, yet have received zero response.

I guess they're busy...or they got turned off by a blog name "The Muqata"

(then again, look at all those who do have press credentials from the GPO: Al Jazeera, AP, Reuters, etc...)

hat-tip: Wallid.

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Perseverance -- a Rosh HaShana/Yom Kippur message

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Self Restraint

It's true you can never know what to expect from politics or politicians in Israel. Far too often personal issues (such as internal party threats, legal threats, and other petty politics) can overly influence important policy decisions.

For instance, one minute Ehud Barak is trying to rip down all outposts, the next day he says he's stopped. What changed? Who knows.

On the other hand Bibi pulled an Israbluff when he permitted only very limited and specific (old) construction to happen, while still prohibiting new construction in most settlements. (How he chose where it would be allowed is worthy of a post by itself).

But to the outside world, Bibi stood up to Obama with that decision.

One thing is very clear though. If Israel stands firm, and delivers a strong unwavering message, then it can certainly restrain US policy against us.

Unfortunately Obama is verbally still ignoring the Jewish right to live and rule in Eretz Yisrael when he says "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements" and then demanding an "independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967" (which of course includes the Kotel, Har Habayit, the Mount of Olives, half of Jerusalem, my home in Judea, and the homes and land in Hebron that my extended family lost to Arab terrorism in 1929).

Yet on the ground, where once George Mitchell was vehemently describing only Israel and the settlements as obstacles to peace, while working hard to force Obama's Judenrein policies on us, Mitchell now stutters, backtracks and says there are many obstacles.

In Mitchell's recent press conference, the reporters were repeatedly calling him on the Obama adminstration backtracking, while Mitchell repeatedly denied that his and Obama's actual position and focus had changed.

From the questions repeatedly asked and rephrased on Obama's new position on the Settlements and if they are still obstacles and the primary focus, it was clear to all that the reporters weren't accepting Mitchell's denials of no flip-flopping in the Obama administration.

Clearly Obama hasn't changed his desires (just like the Palestinians who still want to destroy and replace the Jewish State), but his failure to implement them have forced him to try new tactics. I guess that's called change.

Personally, I am also perplexed by Obama's comparison of the "Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water" to the "Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night."

Both are the results of actions and decisions by Hamas and the Palestinians in general, so while he blames it on the "conflict", it is primarily a conflict created and perpetuated by one side (theirs). I guess that is another example of his moral egalitarianism.

In the meantime, we Jews (Settlers) have no plans to let Obama (or Bibi) restrain us.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IRS & FBAR: Time to panic [yet?]

Good News for US Citizens living in Israel -- the IRS has extended the FBAR Voluntary Disclosure Amnesty Program from September 23 to October 15, 2009.

Of course you filed the FBAR form for the past 7 years, right? And you declared Earned Israeli Interest on your bank account and keren hishtalmut, right? Or perhaps that savings plan where you squirreled away a few shekel a month hoping you'll have something to pay for your kids' declared that as well, right? It may have been pennies worth of interest, but you had to declare it on your 1040.

For a scary article on the subject, the JPost calls in a US Tax Attorney, who paints a rather bleak (perhaps alarmist?) picture.
Applicants to the [voluntary disclosure] program need to hire a tax attorney, as they are in effect taking part in a criminal proceeding, admitting to breaking US law.

Wolf said American-Israelis shouldn't think they're okay simply because they have filed their US tax returns.

"It's irrelevant," he told the Post. "You need to file the American tax return form and report the worldwide taxable income, in addition to filling out the FBAR form in which you declare your accounts around the world," he said, referring to the US Treasury Department's Form 90-22.1, "Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts."

"You have to get your name into the program before the deadline," stressed Wolf. "It might be all legitimate - but you need a US tax attorney to register you and your activities for the past six years with the voluntary disclosure program. It's serious, and it's a criminal offense, period."
Is this more than a Tax Attorney trying to drum up business?

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Goldstone Trash

This twitterer is busy fisking the Fools Goldstone report. Well worth reading.

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Weekend News Roundup

1. The Yoreh.

Israelis were treated to the "Yoreh" over Rosh Hashana, our Jewish New Year on Saturday and Sunday. The "Yoreh" are the first heavy rains of the winter season -- (the word and blessings of rain are mentioned in the Jewish "Shma" prayer, recited daily). The accumulated rainfall in just 2 days (30 to 40 millimeters fell in Northern Israel, and up to 60 mm. in the Golan Heights) surpassed the average of the entire average rainfall for the 2 months of September and October! 10 millimeters worth of rainfall fell on the Kinneret as well, though woefully low.

My daughter asked me over Rosh HaShana that if a cloud appeared over the Kineret and started to rain, how long/much would it take to fill up the Kinneret.

Assuming 10 millimeters an hour (which is generous), it would take 500 if we're really lucky and get 10 hours of rain a day, it would take 50 days.

Seems like we're off to a good start, but need a lot more. (more here at the JPost)

2. The Outstanding Thinker Targets Israel.

President Obama's "one of our most outstanding thinkers" Zbigniew Brzezinski, has urged Obama to make it clear that if the IAF tries to launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities via Iraqi airspace, the US Air Force will shoot down the Israeli jets.
"We are not exactly impotent little babies," Brzezinski told The Daily Beast in an interview published Sunday. "They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? ... We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren't just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. " (JPost)
With such outstanding thinkers like that, I think the SAT's need to be recalibrated.

3. Probably the most newsworthy of all: Simpsons to Visit Israel in 2010.
The Simpsons are taking a trip to Israel in an upcoming episode of the popular animated series that will be screened in 2010, during the show's 21st season - and their tour guide is going to be none other than Sacha Baron Cohen.

The comedian behind Borat and Bruno will play an aggressive Israeli tour guide who leads the family around during their church group tour of the Holy Land, according to Entertainment Weekly magazine.

The show's executive producer Al Jean told the magazine that Cohen's character is "trying to get Marge to give him good grades on the comment card, and she goes, 'You people are pushy,' and he goes, 'What do you mean, you people? You try having Syria for a neighbor! What do you have - Canada?'"

Jean also disclosed that in the episode, titled "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed," Homer Simpson gets Jerusalem Syndrome and believes that he is the messiah.

The episode is scheduled to coincide with Palm Sunday.

"It'll be a show that all faiths can come together and be offended by," Jean quipped. (Jpost)

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Obama Promises Security for Israel

In his Rosh HaShana greeting to the Jewish People around the world, US President Obama promised "To work to achieve lasting peace and security for the State of Israel so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors and its children can live their dreams, free from fear."

Just last week, President Obama could be seen brandishing a presidential Star Wars (tm) blue and white Zionist lightsaber on the White House lawn -- ready to defend Israel.

To be fair, Michelle Obama said in response to Obama's lightsaber jousting, "He was pathetic."

On the other hand, it's a good start that President Obama referred to Israel as the "Jewish State", since the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as such.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Unifying Israel News Item Contest

Hey JBlogworld!

The JGooders.Com organization is dedicated to making the world a better place.

They're offering a chance to win a $25 "do good" card to the participating charitable project of your choice. I get to run the contest, so I decided that in honor of Rosh HaShana, the upcoming Jewish New Year -- the contest will be who can email or comment-in the best "Best Unifying Israel News Item Contest."

Find that news item that demonstrates unity in Israel. With all the political strife going on, religious/secular tensions, and stress in general -- I'm looking for feel-good news stories -- submit the best one, and win a JGooders $25 tzedakka donation.

Here's a good example:

This past week, I posted about a rather nasty Chareidi website that had some rather awful things to say about fallen IAF pilot Assaf Ramon, the son of fallen Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

Within an hour, Lurker posted a followup about how the general Chareidi/Ultra Orthodox population has tremendous respect for Israel's soldiers, and how the majority of the chareid community is mourning Assaf Ramon. One Charedi website (B'Hadrei Haredim) even set up a campaign throughout the haredi community for people to learn mishnayot in Ramon's memory. This is a traditional Jewish mourning practice, that represents an effort to contribute "extra points" in heaven for a beloved person who has passed away.

My contribution to this story would be that the editors of the website, paid a shiva call (condolence call) to the bereaved mother, Rona Ramon. They introduced themselves as from the website, and told Rona about the outpouring respect from people on the website, and those learning mishna in the memory of Assaf Ramon.
Rona Ramon told them: Your actions touch me, and make me happy. How good is it to see for a second when there isn't strife within the nation. Everyone, everyone is with us [in our pain]. I very much thank you for your visit, and I very much appreciate and value the mishnayot study [in my son's memory] -- it's heartwarming. I wish it wasn't needed [for this reason.] A son who left us...during a training exercise on behalf of the security for all of us.

There wasn't a dry eye in the room. (B'Hadrei Haredim)
Wishing all our readers, commenters and submitters a wonderful new year!

A year of health, happiness and prosperity. A year of unity, redemption and the ingathering of the exiles.

תש"ע = תהיה שנת עליה

Shana Tova!

Jameel and crew
The Muqata

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Sweden Outraged by Israeli Lampoon video

Sweden needs to chill out.

The Israeli "Latma" satire site puts up weekly satire news and commentary videos -- and Swedes doesn't appreciate the negative publicity after a Swedesh newspaper libeled Israel for "allegedly" selling Palestinian body parts.

Hundreds of angry Swedish comments appear on the youtube video clip (with Swedish subtitles). The video is getting publicity in Sweden through their own media which reported it.

Here it is with English Subtitles...

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Breaking News: Bloggers to get Israel GPO Press Credentials

NRG Reports (in Hebrew, this isn't in English anywhere yet):

Israel's Prime Minister's Office announces its intention to give accredited press credentials, issued by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) to leading bloggers.

Press credentials entitle reporters (and now bloggers) to receive invitations to media events, as well as the ability to report on events without interference from the police and IDF.

Ron Dermer, special adviser to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would be conducting an investigation this year to determine the leading blogs and bloggers -- so that they can receive accreditation.

Unlike the USA, Israeli bloggers do not yet significantly make their mark on local opinion, but the Prime Minister's Office's announcement is tacit acknowledgment that Israel's bloggers are starting to influence the public via their reporting.

Ron Dermer: Kudos for taking my suggestion seriously!

hat-tip: AST.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

IDF Commandos Rescue US Hostage from Palestinians

While the world gloats over the rabid Goldstone report which accused Israel of "war crimes" for defending itself against Hamas terrorism, 10 former IDF Commandos rescued US hostages -- that were held by Palestinians for over 3 years.

Of course, this sort of kidnapping doesn't warrant a fact finding mission -- unless someone wants to smear the 10 IDF commandos for blatantly violated the human rights of the innocent Palestinian husband who held his wife captive.

Ten former IDF combat soldiers rescued a US citizen and her two-and-a-half-year-old son from a Palestinian village in the Tulkarm area where they had been held captive for 3 years, Israel Radio revealed on Wednesday morning.

The woman, who had married a young Palestinian man she met in the United States, was being held captive in his house, together with their son. The man's first wife and four children from the first marriage also live in the house.

The woman's husband allegedly hit her, prevented her from leaving the house and threatened that if she left, she would never see their son again. He also threatened that if she left the home, she would be apprehended by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

After efforts to bring about the woman's release by contacting Palestinian Authority officials failed, the woman's parents contacted a Jewish American man who had served in a combat unit in the IDF. He contacted friends in Israel who planned the rescue operation for several weeks, gathering intelligence on the family's routine, and carrying it out successfully on Monday, according to Israel Radio.

The woman and her son were transferred to the US consulate in Jerusalem and left the country on an airliner to Ohio on Tuesday.

Giora, one of the men who took part in rescuing the woman and her son, told Israel Radio that while the IDF was not aware of the operation, the US consulate was updated about every step of the mission.

"The rescue mission was planned in a similar way to operations carried out during my time in the military in a way that ensured no lives were endangered," Giora told the station.

The family promised a financial reward to the men for freeing their daughter, Giora said, insisting, however, that "we didn't do it for the money." (JPOST)

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The Goldstone Report: A Warning to Israel

The expectedly scathing report by Richard Goldstone who "investigated" alleged "war crimes" by Israel in this past January's IDF "Cast Lead" operation, did not disappoint.

The investigation concluded that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity."

The bottom line of the report is a recommendation that the UN Security Council require Israel to launch its own investigation into the conflict within three months. Otherwise, the investigators called on the Security Council to refer the matter for action by the International Criminal Court prosecutor within six months.

That means: IDF soldiers, commanders, and political leaders being convicted in The Hague.

Despite Israel being up-in-arms about the report, I'm rather happy it was so clearly biased.

Prior to the Disengagement, we were promised that Israel would be able to defend itself from any attack from Gaza -- with total world support.

The champions of the Oslo Accords promised us that the IDF would always be able to win a war against any Palestinian army.

Yes, we could win any war -- but the result would be international condemnation that would make the current Goldstone Manifesto look like a Dr. Seuss book.

Israeli Leaders would be keen to heed this warning. Any terror that would emanate from a future Palestinian entity; be it rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, the Ben-Gurion Airport, or even the Knesset in Jerusalem is under the protection of the world community.

If Israel's "Cast Lead" operation -- the most moral and just of self-defense retaliations possible -- against an Iranian-backed terror state like Hamas results in the Goldstone report, then Israel's retaliation against any terror attack from a West Bank quasi-Palestinian State would result is world condemnation never seen before.

While the world's antisemites rejoice in this biased trash of Richard Goldstone (obviously the Palestinian Authority praised the findings), Israelis need to realize that we do not have the world's support for self defense.

The more we Disengage, run away, and give away security assets and our homeland -- the faster our enemies gleefully plot the end of Israel.

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