Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where were you when Rabin was shot?

The following golden oldie is back for republication. It is not criticism in anyway of the late Prime Minister Rabin, rather a reflection of Israeli society.

Where were YOU when Rabin was shot?

The Forum

Jameel Rashid: Good evening! I'm Jameel Rashid, and welcome to "The Forum". This week marks the 14th anniversary of the death of Yitzchak Rabin. I suppose every Israeli remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard that the Prime Minister had been shot. Now, this week we have asked three Israelis, chosen completely at random, to come on the show and tell us their stories. What is your name, Sir?

Shlomi: Uh, Shlomi.

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

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

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

Shlomi: I'm 25.

Jameel Rashid: Mmm-hmm.

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

Jameel Rashid: I..I'm sorry, Shlomi. I don't mean to interrupt you again. You were 11 years old, and you were a freshman at Hebrew University?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anat: Anat.

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

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

Jameel Rashid: What?!

Anat: Backstage. Just before the show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jameel Rashid: Yes!

Third Guest: Oh, what. Did something happen?

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

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

Jameel Rashid: [ disgusted ] That's it for me. Join us next week on "The Forum", when our guest will be Shai Agassi, the founder of BetterPlace, the leader of environmentally-friendly, electric powered cars in Israel.

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

Jameel Rashid: [ angry ] Yes!

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


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

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Why the Israel Economy Is Where It Is.

Why is Israel so economically successful? Dan Senor and Saul Singer go beyond stereotypes and beyond the continuing Mideast conflict to analyze this question in their new book, Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. Senor, a former Bush-administration official in Iraq, took questions from National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez on what Israel’s done right, what stands in her way, and how we can learn a little from our ally.
A very fascinating interview with the authors. Worth a read.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Post Noach thoughts.

by Lurker

A couple of thoughts on Noah's rainbow:

Is the rainbow "bad"?

Ever since I was a child, I have been taught in yeshiva that the rainbow is a "bad" sign, rather than "good", because even though it represents God's promise not to destroy the earth, it also indicates that God is angry at us for our sins.

Frankly, I find this notion that the rainbow is a "bad" sign to be perplexing. On Yom Kippur, we believe that God, after having reviewed all our many sins, nevertheless forgives us, and spares us punishment. So in that case (using the flawed logic above), Yom Kippur must be a "bad" thing, since it centers around our sins, for which we deserve punishment. Haza"l, of course, did not see things that way: In fact, R. Shimon b. Gamliel said (Mishna Taanit 4:8) that Yom Kippur was one of the two most joyous days of the year -- in celebration of the very fact that we gained God's forgiveness on that day.

The rainbow, then, is like Yom Kippur. It, too, indicates that we have sinned -- and that God, in his mercy, chooses nevertheless to forgive us. Therefore, like Yom Kippur, the rainbow, too, ought to be seen as a happy, joyous thing -- and not a "bad" thing.

Were there rainbows before Noah?

Rashi (as opposed to the Ramban) posits that the first rainbow that ever existed was the one witnessed by Noah. And presumably, Rashi feels compelled to say this because he finds it untenable to believe that rainbows already existed previously -- since the rainbow is described by God, after the Flood, as a sign that He will not destroy the world again. Therefore, Rashi seems to be saying, the rainbow must have been something "new under the sun", first created at the time of Noah, rather than having been a pre-existing part of the original Creation.

However, it should be pointed out that there exists a completely different school of though in Haza"l -- one that says that the laws of nature are permanent and inviolate, and that these laws have never changed since Creation -- not even in the context of things that are commonly regarded as "miracles". This idea is the basis for the mishna in Pirkei Avot (5:9) which tells us that the following ten things were created during the six days of Creation: The pit that swallowed Korah, Miriam's well, the mouth of Bilam's talking donkey, the manna that fell in the desert, Moshe's staff, the shamir (with which the Temple was built), the alphabet, the inscription of the Ten Commandments, the two tablets of the Ten Commandments -- and the rainbow.

This mishna is saying that nature doesn't change, ever: Even things we call "miracles" do not actually constitute changes in the order of nature, but rather, were built into the fabric of the universe from the very beginning. And by including the rainbow in the list, this mishna is rejecting Rashi's idea that the rainbow was something "new under the sun", and supporting the Ramban's contention that it was, in fact, always part of nature.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prevent Swine Flu - Say "Asher Yatzar" (now, in ENGLISH)

After posting about this flier yesterday, issued by the NYC Board of Health -- in Yiddish, my good friend, Special Ed, found it for me in English as well.

Make sure your school, shul and workplace remind people about the importance of washing their hands with soap to prevent Swine Flu infection...and don't forget to say, "Asher Yatzar" -- print it up, hang it up, and stay healthy!

Just click the image for a full sized printable version.

This has been a public health message from the NYC Board of Health....and the Muqata Blog.

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How Safe Are You: Airport and Plane Security?

I recently had to fly to the UK for business. Here are some observations:

1. On my return flight to Israel, I did "online check-in", which means I printed out my boarding pass before going to London's Heathrow airport. I found it very amusing that the questions asked by security personnel at Israel's Ben-Gurion airport (did you pack the bags yourself, etc) were all "asked" by the web page I used to perform online checking.

I'm sure that terrorists are intimidated into telling the truth for this on-line check-in, and they will always truthfully answer the check-box questions accurately.

2. What I found slightly more distressing is that when you perform on-line check-in at Heathrow airport, and are not carrying any luggage, you are not asked to show your passport at any time. From the time I entered the airport till I was on the fact, all the way till I got to Israel, the only identification I had to show to anyone, was my self-printed piece of paper boarding pass.

Of course, I can forgive them. While they may not have verified who I actually was, or bothered to check my passport at any time, they did enforce the very strict rule that no more than 300 milliliters of any liquid be in my hand luggage. Why? Because liquids can be dangerous. So are nail clippers...and plastic knives (also forbidden). Needless to say, there was something far more potentially dangerous in my hand luggage, but that went through without a problem.

3. Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport security is something out of science fiction. They profile people, pre-profile people, and have security anywhere and everywhere. Rumor has it that there are over 300 cameras alone monitoring the check-in/departure area. The security people place stickers on your boarding pass and passport that look like this:

Don't even bother trying to figure out what it means -- as every single time I fly out of Israel, they check different boxes for me on the security stickers, and use different names as well that they sign or write on the stickers (even ifs the SAME SECURITY PERSON).

4. You can always spot an Israeli on a plane by the following:

Within 10 milliseconds of touchdown, the Israeli is already opening up the overhead luggage compartment, turning on their cellphone, and preparing for the mad dash off the plane.

They are already talking on their phones while the plane is taxi-ing to the terminal. This particularly annoys the airline staff.

"Sir, you'll have to turn off your cellphone till the plane's doors are open and the engines are turned off."

Why exactly? Will the cellphone cause a accident after the plane has already landed?

Think about this: if cellphones are SO dangerous as they may interfere with a plane when it's flying, why are people allowed to fly with them?!

Nail clippers are dangerous (as well all know), yet cellphones which could cause the plane to explode or crash while flying (after all, that's why we can't use them during flights) -- so why are we allowed to have them in the cabin at all while flying?

I certainly hope Al-Qaida isn't reading this blog -- because they may use this classified information as a threat -- "Fly this plane to Kabul, or I'll turn on my cellphone!"

That's enough travel and security observations for JoeSettler probably has something insightful to post...

Glad to be back home.

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You may be "Pro-Israel" if...

Ben-Ami, the head of JStreet said,
"We are here to redefine and expand the very concept of being pro-Israel."

You may be "Pro-Israel" if... your organization calls for boycotting products made by Israelis.

You may be "Pro-Israel" if... you believe Israel should be investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

You may be "Pro-Israel" if... you are sure Israel should not have attacked Gaza after 7 years of Sederot being bombed.

You may be "Pro-Israel" if... you believe that Israel is illegally occupying the Wailing Wall in East Jerusalem.

If you believe any of those things listed above - you may be "Pro-Israel".

Please contact your local JStreet chapter, we'll be happy to teach you how to turn your personal beliefs into community-wide actions - and you'll never even have to say you are "Pro-Israel".

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"Pro-Israel"? That's just a matter of definition or exclusion.

JStreet has dropped the slogan "pro-Israel" from their campus slogans to avoid alienating students. What was the slogan doing there in the first place?

Ben-Ami, the head of JStreet said,
"We are here to redefine and expand the very concept of being pro-Israel."
A statement which needn't speak for itself, as they themselves explained it quite nicely.
"We don't want to isolate people because they don't feel quite so comfortable with [JS: being] pro-Israel," said one JStreet student activist.
All this explained itself in the activist training sessions, where one student expressed surprise when the
"session shifted from the advertised topic of countering divestment, to a discussion of how to effectively call for divestment from products made in settlements without a broader call for divestment from all of Israel."
So there you go. They sound exactly like a European or British labor union. No Antisemitism there.

Bradley Burston wrote an op-ed piece how JStreet supporters are all left-wing dovish lovers of Israel.
" J Street, the new dovish lobbying organization which describes itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace."
I guess someone should tell him that JStreet is no longer "pro-Israel" and their followers no longer need risk excommunication.

Another Burston article that can go in the trash.

In related new, Peace Now in considering removing the word "Peace" from their name to avoid alienating their Peace Partners. It will now just be called "NOW".

JStreet recently added "Brit Tzedek V'Shalom" under their umbrella list of grassroots "Peace" organizations. We expect that negotiations with the pro-Peace ISM (and the British labor union) are underway even as we write this.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The Rainbow from the Parsha

OK, this is from last week's parashat shavua (Noach, the flood parsha) but still interesting enough for a blog post.

Josh Waxman wrote on his parsha blog in 2006 about rainbows...and found the following amazing rainbow photo on snopes (its originally from National Geographic)

He prefaced it by saying that "the keshet in parashat Noach is not a typical rainbow, but an extremely rare sort of rainbow."




Josh also mentions the discussion that "there were no rainbows before the flood"
Thus, this is a real, but extremely rare phenomenon. This rainbow is beautiful. It looks like it is made of fire because it is within cirrus clouds. It looks like a celestial rainbow, from God Himself. (Thus, in the pasuk, Hashem refers to it as kashti, My Bow.)
Indeed, there is a dispute between Ramban and others (discussed in DovBear's post from 2005) whether there were rainbows before the mabul. The others maintain that it did not exist before the Flood, for God sets it as a sign with a specific import, and perhaps the simplest reading of the verse is that this is a new phenomenon. The Ramban, while admitting that this would seem to be the most straightforward meaning of the pesukim, disputes this. Based on Greek science, he states that a rainbow is a naturally occuring phenomenon, and of course there would be plenty of naturally occurring rainbows before this.
However, this past Shabbat a friend commented that the rainbow demonstrates G-d's intention not to destroy the Earth, because the bow is facing away from the ground as a sign of non-hostile intent.

Some of our common-day greetings have similar origins:

The Handshake: "The handshake is thought by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon." -- wikipedia

The Salute: "When men-at-arms wore armour—a friendly approach would include holding the reins of the horse with the left hand while raising the visor of the helmet with the right, so that one would know they meant not to battle them. Another theory is that the salute, and the handshake, came from a way of showing that the right hand (the fighting hand) was not concealing a weapon. A combination of showing an empty right hand, palm outwards, which was then raised formally to a helmet to raise a visor would demonstrate non-aggressive intentions, and therefore respect." -- wikipedia

Or it could have been a friendly Vulcan wishing you to Live Long and Prosper.

So too, my friend posited, the rainbow faces away from the if it were shooting an arrow away from Earth, demonstrating non-hostile intent (or peace).

That said -- there is also a an extremely rare form of rainbow which appears in nature, and would imply that when we see one of those -- G-d is not at all happy with us...because the bow is facing towards Earth -- the inverted rainbow.

The scientific explanation:

Apparently, these have been seen in the United Kingdom a few times. I wonder what G-d has against England...

Sourced: Rainbow Pic

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NYC Health Dept: Wash Your Hands (and say "Asher Yatzar")

Swine Flu (oops, I meant, the H1N1 virus) is under attack in New York City. Targeting different groups, the NYC Health Department and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg (predominantly Satmar Ultra orthodox community) present the following "wash your hands" poster -- in Yiddish -- to encourage cleaner, disinfected hands to prevent disease transmission, and better hygiene.

Its interesting that on this NYC Health poster, step 9 is "Say Asher Yatzer" -- the blessing made after going to the bathroom.

Update: #7 is "neigel vasser" as well (what a frum poster! If this won't get Mike Bloomerg re-elected, I don't know what will)

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Rambam's Visit to Har HaBayit

UPDATE: Watch the conference live on A7.

(click image to enlarge)
Yesterday, the 6th of the Jewish month of Heshvan, marked 843 years since the Rambam -- Maimonides, went up to the Temple Mount -- Har HaBayit, in the old walled city of Jerusalem, and prayed. In 1166 C.C, the Rambam made a pilgrimage to the Temple Mount, as well as visiting other areas around Jerusalem and Hevron.

The event was so special to the Rambam, that he vowed to make a special holiday and commemorate it annually.

The Rambam (Moshe, son of Maimon, otherwise known as Maimonides) was the physician to the Sultan of Egypt in the 12th century. His most well known work is the 14 volume Mishna Torah, (literally, The Repetition of the Torah), which was the first attempt to systematically codify the entire body of Jewish law, (halachah). This work became the basis for later codifications, most notably, the Shulkhan Arukh, written by Rav Yoseph Karo in the 16th century.

In 1166 C.E. the Rambam made a pilgrimage to Israel:

"We left Acco for Jerusalem under perilous conditions. I entered into 'the great and holy house' [the term used to refer to the Holy Temple] and prayed there on the sixth day of the month of Cheshvan. And on the first day of the week, the ninth day of the month of Cheshvan, I left Jerusalem for Hebron to kiss the graves of my forefathers in the Cave of Machpela. And on that very day, I stood in the Cave and I prayed, praised be G-d for everything. And these two days, the sixth [when he prayed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem] and the ninth of Mar-Heshvan I vowed to make as a special holiday and in which I will rejoice with prayer, food and drink. May the Lord help me to keep my vows...." (translation, courtesy of the Temple Institute)

Tonight, Sunday evening, there will be a convention at Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem to discuss the connection of the Jewish people to Har HaBayit. (Schedule and Agenda to be posted shortly)

So far, the list of participating rabbis includes Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch, head of the Birkat Moshe hesder yeshiva in Maaleh Adumim, Rabbis Dov Lior, Re’em HaCohen, Yuval Cherlow, Yisrael Ariel, and others. MKs Uri Ariel, Aryeh Eldad, Uri Orbach, Michael Ben-Ari and Otniel Shneller (Kadima) will also be on hand.

Meanwhile, as the Arabs refuse to acknowledge any Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, they are continuing to riot. You can watch live rioting here via the channel 2 news live feed.

Note: I have personally never gone up to Har HaBayit, but I will be attending the lecture series this evening.

Update: 7:00 PM, Heichal Shlomo.

Jewish Rights and Responsibilities on the Temple Mount

  • Why are Jews discriminated against on the Temple Mount?
  • Why are religious Jews profiled and singled out for body-searches before being allowed on the Temple Mount?
  • Why are religious Jews not allowed to carry prayerbooks or to pray on the Temple Mount?
  • Why are Jews on the Temple Mount kept in small groups and accompanied constantly by the Israeli police and hired "security agents" of the Moslem Wakf?
  • How come when Moslem preachers incite against Israel and the Jews, and as a result Moslems riot on the Mount and stone policeman and Jews, the Jews are prevented from entering the Mount, and some Israeli politicians blame the very Jews whose rights have been violated?
  • Why does the Supreme Court of Israel refuse to uphold the law and the basic human rights of Jews on the Temple Mount?

Jews have the G-d-given right and the responsibility to be on the Temple Mount. On Sunday, October 25, the 843rd anniversary of Maimonides historic ascent to the Temple Mount, Temple Mount activists will be meeting in Jerusalem to discuss these issues, and much more. The conference will take place at 7:00 PM in the Heichal Shlomo Hall. Click here to learn more.

Sourced from The Temple Institute

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What's Going on at the Temple Mount?

Posted 12:20 PM, Sunday Oct 25, 2009

Starting this morning, there have been sporadic, violent Arab disturbances on Har Habayit, the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Police cameras detected that Arabs on the Mount were gathering rocks and oil, and started throwing rocks at a group of tourists. The police immediately responded -- shooting stun grenades at the attackers, and helping the tourists to safety.

12 Arabs were arrested.

Then, the violence erupted again -- with more rock throwing against policemen -- 3 policemen wounded and the riot continues. (12:15 PM).

Apparently, the rioters have been incited by Arab leaders in Northern Israel's Galil region and in the Eastern Part of Jerusalem -- due to the convention this evening being held in Jerusalem -- all about the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

I plan on attending the convention this evening to report more about it.
YNET: Another incident was recorded when Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) tried to enter the Temple Mount but was stopped by the police. "This is extremely severe," Tibi said in response. "The police are violating the law. It's not in their authority. The al-Aqsa Mosque is not a closed military zone."

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen told reporters while visiting the Mount, "I identify many large groups of east Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs who have arrived here following calls made by the Islamic Movement, whose leaders are here. I call on them to practice restraint and calm and not to incite.

"The Jerusalem Police will act firmly against any rioters on the Temple Mount. The inciters are the same people you know. It's impossible that the Israel Police will have to deal with the Islamic Movement every Sunday, and so we will handle this on the investigative level."
I'll report more on the convention later on today -- with details of the location, speakers, time, etc.

I urge people to attend the convention this evening to learn more about our connection with the Temple Mount.

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Is your elevator under the Badatz?

I spent this Shabbat with a number of Chareidi relatives and was surprised that the conversation on Shabbat primarily centered around the Shabbat elevator - that is of course "Assur Gamur" - completely forbidden.

Apparently this is the only major topic the Hareidi newspapers have been talking about for the past few weeks.

That 3 out of the 4 Rabbis who have forbidden it in the recent ruling, have always forbidden it - and not because of technology reasons, but because it "cheapens the Shabbat" doesn't phase them.

Only Rav Elyashiv says there is a technical problem - based apparently on testimony of a local Bnei Brak elevator company.

On the other hand, Belze Chassidim say it is permitted to use a Shabbat elevator.

I'm not going to get into the technical discussion, and just make one observation, I bet that within a year there will be a Badatz certification for elevators.

The big sin here that the Askanim (the machers who have a finger in all the money pots) realized (when they created their ruckess and starting riling up their Rabbis) is that Tsiyoini institutions are making money on a "kashrut" certification, and their kashrut organizations aren't.

Call me cynical, but guaranteed that within a year, hotels in Israel will start having new Badatz certificates to satisfy their Chareidi clientelle, meanwhile their existing elevators won't require a single modification at all (other than applying the sticker).

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Refusing Illegal Orders (Early)

It is probably the first time in IDF history that such an event ever happened.

Yesterday, during their graduation ceremony at the Kotel, a few soldiers from the Shimshon Unit in the Kfir Brigade held up signs saying "Shimshon will NOT evacuate Homesh".

Source: Makor Rishon

A number of parents also held up similar signs.

The brigade commander said he is considering what the future will be for the soldiers involved.

Whatever happens to these particular soldiers, one thing is clear, this new generation of post-Expulsion soldiers will not blindly follow orders to kick their fellow Jews out of their homes.

Unlike the Left-wing draft-dodging High School students, these soldiers went through months of grueling training. They have/had bright futures ahead of them serving their country in combat units and as officers. They sacrificed a lot just to reach that point to be able to stand in front of the Kotel and receive their Bibles and berets .

They clearly discussed this action in advance and the ramifications it would have - with their families and with each other. They knew the price they might pay for taking an action like this - and they are obviously willing to pay it to get the message across.

This is a wake-up call for the army and the government.

The army is getting the message (openly and quietly) that many of its soldiers will no longer follow illegal political orders to kick fellow Jews out of their homes, and that those obsessed with Peace had better find a new tool, because it won't be them.

(Some people like to say that those kind of soldiers should all be kicked out, but then the army would be bereft of most of its field combat officers and soldiers).

Obviously there will be critics of these soldiers, but I say better the army knows now they won't have internal support for such actions, because then the government learns that the army is for defending Israel, and not for attacking one's own citizens - and is incapable of fulfilling such an evil mission again.

Yes, there will be those who criticize these soldiers. Some will say they should just follow orders. Some will say they should have waited until they received the illegal orders.

I personally will not judge them. For whatever reason (perhaps they themselves were expelled from their homes during the Expulsion) they felt this was the right time for them to announce their refusal.

Update: Apparently the brigade had received numerous orders to evacuate outposts at the former site of the town of Homesh, and this was their way of protesting those orders.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tzippi Livni the J-Streetwalker and PA Advocate

Today's Bombshell:

Former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk stated that when Tzipi Livni was foreign minister she warned the Palestinian Authority not to accept a "peace" deal offered by then-prime minister Ehud Olmert.

"In a discussion at President Shimon Peres's 'Facing Tomorrow' Presidential Conference 2009 in Jerusalem, Indyk said that the Palestinians should not be blamed for rejecting Olmert's peace offer, because of his unstable political situation at the time, Army Radio reported.

When asked by Channel 2 reporter Udi Segal, who was hosting the panel, whether the Palestinians missed an opportunity when they rejected Olmert's proposal, Indyk reportedly replied that "the prime minister was about to have an indictment filed against him and the foreign minister herself specifically told both the Americans and the Palestinians: Don't you dare sign the agreement."(JPOST)

Top Five Ten Reasons Livni warned the Palestinians:

5. She didn't want them to get involved with another possible scandal indictment with Ehud Olmert the crook.

4. Was worried that signing might still allow Magen David Adom ambulances to provide emergency services to Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

3. Thought Ariel Sharon was about to wake up from his coma (others seem to think so)

2. Was afraid that Abbas would be a guest of honor at a JStreet conference before her. [Thanks YMedad!]

1. She wanted to win the election and give even MORE to the Palestinians than Ehud Olmert.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Knesset Gym to have seperate hours for male and female MKs

Kikar reports that due to the request from MK Dr. Michael Ben Ari, the Knesset gym/health spa will now have separate hours for male and female MKs who wish to exercise in a more modest same-gender environment.

As of next week, 2 hours a week will be allocated for male-only MKs and 2 hours for female-only MKs.

Will separate seating be next?

Now, no one has an excuse not to exercise, except for me who is too lazy to run on the treadmill.

(Though I still play an exhausting Saturday night hockey game. This past Saturday night, one of the players loudly announced, "Jameel, my arch-nemesis...bwahahahah" Good thing they put us on the same team later on in the night)

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The Politics of Saving Lives

The famous Jewish adage, "Whoever saves a single life, it as if he saved an entire world", is adopted by every life saving organization in Israel. Apparently, the mitzva (Jewish commandment) of savings lives is so great, that even organizations that should be working together, end up as rivals. Throw in the politics of Jerusalem as "The United Capital of Israel," and the issue becomes explosive.

As a volunteer for Magen David Adom (MDA) and United Hatzalah, I'm called as a first responder to road accidents throughout the Shomron, West Bank around the clock, 7 days a week. My fellow volunteers and I treat wounded regardless of race, religion, or nationality.

I was impressed with the press release announcement last week from United Hatzala, that they were opening up a new branch of volunteers -- specifically, Arab volunteers in the Eastern Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
"Last night at the YMCA building on King David Street history was made. A group of Arab medics from East Jerusalem joined the growing ranks of United Hatzalah's medics. Arab and Jew, religious and secular, right and left joined together to welcome the 30 new medics.

In addition to the medics, 2 doctors in East Jerusalem have also joined United Hatzalah to help upgrade the level of emergency medical care available to Arab citizens in East Jerusalem. "

Until now, emergency medical care was seriously hampered by the security requirements for police escort of responding ambulances, unmarked and inaccessible alleyways along with simple language barriers.

United Hatzalah developed the concept of community based medics in the religious communities and expanded it countrywide. Expansion to the underserved Arab communities was a logical extension of the concept." (United Hatzalah Website)
So what's the problem? The following attack from Aryeh King was published all over Hebrew web-boards here and here for example, and then followed up on Arutz Sheva in English.

From Aryeh King, Head of the office of public inquiries concerning East Jerusalem issues. [Jameel adds: I have never heard of such an organization]

The "office of public inquiries concerning East Jerusalem issues" hereby notifies all supporters of the following urgent issue:

1. To stop all connections and cooperation with the medical organization called "United Hatzalah"

2. To stop all donations to "United Hatzalah"

His many reasons all boil down to this: Supporting United Hatzalah means you are supporting medical aid to terrorists, Arabs, dividing Jerusalem and supporting an organization that removed the Jewish Star from its symbol for Arabs.

Lets take a look at some salient facts:

1. The facts on the ground are that MDA is ceding East Jerusalem's emergency services calls to the PA-controlled Red Crescent. This alone easily facilitates an eventual transfer of all social, municipal and political control -- a squeeze play straight out the Olmert/Livni/Kadima playbook, as Israel will cut their ties with Eastern Jerusalem.

Eli Beer of United Hatzalah has confirmed this to the Muqata Blog -- based on his numerous sources within MDA that a "secret agreement" of this type exists, brokered by, and involving Livni, Olmert, MDA and the International Red Cross -- that MDA will be phasing out their emergency medical services to Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

2. United Hatzalah (as opposed to Hatzala Israel, which was ordered closed by the Rasham HaAmutot/Non Profit Organization Registrar due to corruption) is the only nationwide fully volunteer emergency medical organization" --- welcomes Jews from all backgrounds Ashkenazi and Sefardi, Chassidish and Litvish, men and women, religious and secular and now non-Jews -- Arabs, Bedouin, Druze and Christians. I have received general greetings on my MIRS emergency radio from United Hatzalah wishing their Jewish volunteers a "Shana Tova", their Moslem volunteers a "Ramadan Kareem"

3. The Arab volunteers who live in Eastern Jerusalem are all volunteers or employees of Jerusalem's Jewish hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, MDA and other entities within the Jewish areas -- and they all want Israeli emergency medical services for their neighborhoods. Why? Because the level of service and professionalism far outperforms that of the Palestinian Red Crescent. Therefore, by United Hatzalah providing services -- they are in fact, STRENGTHENING any Jewish connection to these neighborhoods, instead of abandoning them completely like MDA...and as Kadima and Ehud Olmert would have preferred.

4. MDA (and United Hatzalah) will continue to provide emergency medical support for Jews throughout Jerusalem, but because of pressure from the era of Olmert, Livni, and International Red Cross, it is possible that the first treatment a Jew in Eastern Jerusalem might receive, be from a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance -- because they are already all over the Eastern part of Jerusalem. With their own hands, Olmert and Livni have divided the city (with MDA's tacit agreement), and the "Palestinians" provide emergency medical services.

5. The money donated for the above United Hatzalah project for Arab medics in East Jerusalem is earmarked specifically for that project, by a donor who wanted it only for that project. Not a cent or agora from a regular donation will go to that project (unless specifically requested), nor will the money end up in "Umm Al Fahm" as alleged by Aryeh King.

Oh, and about the Jewish Star symbol -- the Arab volunteers made up their own "United Hatzalah" symbol which doesn't have a Jewish Star on it...yet they wear their emblem proudly alongside the standard United Hatzalah emblem -- which DOES have a Jewish Star on it.

I don't know exactly who Aryeh King prefers you get your emergency medical aid from -- MDA which has already abandoned Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent which is operating in Jerusalem, or from United Hatzalah which has committed the terrible crime of forging a relationship with Arabs in Jerusalem on the basis of saving lives for their OWN population, which if anything, keeps the Palestinian Red Crescent farther away from Jerusalem.

While nationalistic and political aspirations of the PA leadership, Ehud Olmert, Tzippy Livny, MDA, and the International Red Cross are the driving force of bringing the Palestinian Red Crescent into Jerusalem, United Hatzala is trying to offer a more professional alternative -- which not only provides a better medical solution for the Arabs of Eastern Jerusalem, but helps keep whatever little Israeli sovereignty is left in Eastern Jerusalem.

I guess Aryeh King can call ZAKA -- since by boycotting United Hatzalah he's eliminating the last emergency medical organization not totally in favor of splitting Jerusalem.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blueberry Wafflelicious

Actual Conversation:

Writer-In-Training: this is all your influence
I'm stuck in my writing so I decided to make waffles instead

: Awesome!
Waffles rock :-)

: especially blueberry ones

Inspired by the Muqata, a hungry reader made blueberry waffles for breakfast, sending us this picture today:

hat-tip: the no-longer-hungry-writer-in-training

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NYTimes: Force Works better than Diplomacy.

It doesn't get any more politically incorrect than this -- and I wonder if The New York Times was crying when writing this article?
As the Obama administration tries to broker a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a dark truth lurking: force has produced clearer results in this dispute than talk.

...Meanwhile for many Israelis, the past decade looks like a model of the primacy of military action over diplomacy.

Through relentless commando operations and numerous checkpoints, the Israeli Army ended suicide bombings and other terrorist acts from the West Bank; since its 2006 war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, widely dismissed as a failure at the time, the group has not fired one rocket at Israel; and Israel’s operation against Gaza last December has greatly curtailed years of Hamas rocket fire, returning a semblance of normality to the Israeli south.

Two years ago, Israeli fighter planes destroyed what Israel and the United States say was a budding Syrian nuclear reactor; and last year in Syria, Israeli agents assassinated Imad Mugniyah, the top military operative for Hezbollah and a crucial link to its Iranian sponsors, a severe blow to both Hezbollah and Iran.

Diplomatic efforts, whether the Oslo peace talks of the 1990s or the Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria last year have, by contrast, produced little. Every Israeli military operation of recent years — including the December invasion of Gaza that was condemned Friday by the United Nations Human Rights Council by a vote of 25 to 6 and referred to the Security Council following a report by a committee led by Richard Goldstone — has come under international censure.

Today all are viewed here as having been judged prematurely and unfairly but having delivered the goods — keeping Israel safe through deterrence. (NYTimes)
Obviously, they have to compare Israel's self defense to the Palestinian Terror -- and claim that Palestinian Terror works as well (which is true, since Peres and Rabin caved into Palestinian terror which started the Oslo accords, proving that crime pays...kidnapping Gilad Shalit will result in the release of a thousand terrorists...Olso was all about releasing terrorists...)

Read the article. Draw your own conclusions.

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The Mitzvah of Redeeming Captives

Their are those on the Left who actually believe that Israel is responsible for Gilad Shalit not being free - because we haven't compromised and appeased Hamas enough (as opposed to those who think he isn't free because we held ourselves back in the last war to avoid enemy civilian casualties).

But Neturei Karta believe there is no Mitzvah at all to free Gilad Shalit.

I would reverse that question and ask, would there be a Mitzvah to free a captive if he were from Neturei Karta?

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Israel not involved

A lot of discussion is going on about a senior DOD scientist (Stewart David Nozette) who was arrested for trying to spy for Israel.

Just so everyone knows, the Israeli government was not involved in this.

It was a sting operation by the FBI. They pretended to be Israeli officials.

When the FBI was asked why they pretended to be Israeli Intelligence spies they explained that the scientist used to work for a few years as a part-time consultant to an Israeli government owned company, and he expressed an affinity to Israel to a colleague.


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Playing with fire

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Uh-Oh - No evidence of Israeli War Crimes

PA Justice Minister Ali Al-Khashan said Saturday that anyone expecting quick action by the court on the alleged Israeli war crimes needed to "have patience," because "we do not have any documentation for the Israeli crimes."

Source: Arutz-7

I can't imagine why not!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Self-Defense is not a War Crime

To all the loonies supporting Benedict Goldstone's report on Israel (including Israeli Arab MK's, J-Street, terrorists, and others), here's a video from Colonel Richard Kemp delivered at the UN's special "emergency condemnation of Israel session" this past Friday, the 16th of October 2009.

Kemp is a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. He served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. He spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.

The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.
Either watch the video, or read it all here.

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Goldstone slams UN resolution for failing to condemn Hamas

Judge Richard Goldstone criticized the wording of the UN Human Rights Council resolution that endorsed the his fact-finding commission's report on Operation Cast Lead, saying the resolution was wrong to targeting only Israel while failing to condemn Hamas.

"This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel," AFP quoted Goldstone as telling Swiss newspaper Le Temps prior to Friday's vote.

"There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope that the council can modify the text," Goldstone reportedly said.

Source: Jerusalem Post

Um. What exactly did Benedict Goldstone think was going to happen?

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Israeli Arab MK Proposes Nobel Peace Prize for Goldstone

Fifth Columnist Israeli Arab MK Talab El-Sana announced that he intends to approach the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo and request that Richard Goldstone receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his report ostracizing the IDF and Israel.

Speaking to the Walla! News site, El-Sana explained: "While Obama is just talk, Goldstone acts, and revealed the true face of Israel. He is worthy of the prize more than anyone else for his efforts to bring Israeli war criminals to justice."

I guess J-Street now has something new in common with MK Talab El-Sana on the Goldstone report.

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