Monday, November 30, 2009

Name that Planet -- in Hebrew.

Enough politics, enough already! Here's something completely different...

The "traditional" planets seen to the naked eye all have Hebrew names that date back at least 2 thousand years.

Mercury: כוכב חמה [ko-chav khamah]
Venus: נוגה [no-ga]
Earth: כדור הארץ [kadur ha'aretz]
Mars: מאדים [ma'adim]
Jupiter: צדק [tzedek]
Saturn: שבתאי [shab-tai]

Some of the above planets are even alluded to in the Shabbat morning prayer, א'ל-אדון, in the phrase, "שבח נותנים לו כל צבא מרום" ("Praise they give to Him, all the army of the heights"), and the first letter of each word matches a planet's name.

As with many "newer" words, the remaining planets, Uranus and Neptune do not have "official" Hebrew names and are simply transliterated into Hebrew and pronounced the same as they are in English.

Till now.

Israel's Academy of the Hebrew Language has decided that these 2 planets deserve their own names in Hebrew.
Brought into being by legislation in 1953 as the supreme institute for the Hebrew Language, the Academy of the Hebrew Language prescribes standards for modern Hebrew grammar, orthography, transliteration, and punctuation based upon the study of Hebrew’s historical development. The Academy’s plenum consists of 23 members and an additional 15 academic advisers, all outstanding scholars from the disciplines of languages, linguistics, Judaic studies, and Bible. Its members also include poets, writers, and translators. The Academy’s decisions are binding upon all governmental agencies, including the Israel Broadcasting Authority. (from the Academy's website) On a side note, ever wonder why the "Academy" could never come up with a proper "Hebrew" word for Academy!?
The Academy has narrowed the choices down to two names per planet -- and every Israeli citizen is invited to cast their vote for their choice.

The options for the voting are as follows:


אוֹרוֹן [orone] means "small light" which alludes to the pale light of this planet, as it is seen from Earth due to its great distance from the sun. The name "orone" also has a similar sound to the planet's Latin name.

שַׁחַק [sha-chak] A synonym for sky. This proposal relates to the meaning of the name, "Uranus", "a god of the sky." The Jewish/Hebrew tradition does not have a parallel for a "god of the sky". The word and is used in modern Hebrew as a word for sky. (A sky-scraper is a גורד שחקים). The singular is therefore appropriate for a planet.


רַהַב [rachav] “The proposal follows the meaning of the name Neptune - the name of the god of the sea. The synonym in Jewish tradition is Rahav - the name of the master of the sea. For example, the Babylonian Talmud explains the 'By His power He stilled the sea; By His skill He struck down Rahab'] (Job 26:12) as describing the victory of the master of the sea. The name Rahav bears mythological connotations to the Latin name.”

תַּרְשִׁישׁ [tarshish] “This is the name of one of the stones of the breastplate [Exodus 28:20] whose Aramaic translation (Onkelos) is ‘the color of the sea’ (among other opinions) — and this is also Neptune’s color as seen from Earth — bluish-green. ‘Tarshish’ is also connected to the sea in its other biblical use: the name of a place on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, whose identification is not certain (recall the flight of Jonah the prophet to Tarshish). And on the phrase ‘the ships of Tarshish’, Rashi says ‘Tarshish - name of a sea’. In rabbinic literature and in liturgical poetry ‘Tarshish’ is a synonym for sea, and also a name of angels. Thus the name Tarshish combines the connection to the sea (like the Latin name) and the mythological foundation (angels).”

Voting is only open to those with a Teudat Zehut (Israeli identity card number). Make a difference -- and vote for the planet's name of your choice!

Voting Link here

Details and source for above, here.

After translating this post and putting it together, I found a similar post over here at "Mah Rubu" (I borrowed his translation for "tarshish" when I saw what a good job he did). He even picked one of the planet names on the short list! Kudos...

Credit to NASA for the planet photos.

PS: Pluto's status as a planet is still up for discussion, which might be why it wasn't included in this vote...


1. Pluto is definitely NOT a planet, hence no name is being considered for it.

2. The AddeRabbi Blogger, is one of the official nominators of the "Rahav" name for Neptune. He posts on the topic here and here. Go Vote!

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Purim on Chanukah (Ban the Bam)

The Original Sin of Purim was the participation of the Jews at Achashveirosh’s party. I write this as Chanukah approaches, because we will soon seen history repeat itself at the Obama’s Chanukah bash.

400 or so of the Obama’s closest Jewish friends, leaders of the Jewish community and Jewish organizations will be falling over themselves to get a 2 second photo shoot with the Obama.

Leaders of all the 2 and 3 letter organizations (and even the 4 or 5) will convince themselves that in their 2 seconds of kowtowing, they will have the President’s ear where, if they are brave enough, they will express their displeasure with the Obama’s policies against Israel.

Unfortunately Jewish Leaders you are fooling yourselves. The Obama will not hear what you have to say, the Obama will not care what you have to say, the Obama will only note that you showed up and kowtowed to Him.

Dear Jewish Leaders, there is only one thing that scares the Obama – his falling polls, the public dissatisfaction with Him and His policies.

Your going to the Mishte HaMelech will not send him that message. Your whispering sweet nothings in His ear will not convince Him to hear you.

There is only on one message that the Obama will hear.


Your non-participation.

If the leaders of the Jewish community, as one, RSVP their non-participation in Obama’s oil and wine party, only then will the Obama get the message. Only then will the media report your message, and only then do you have a chance to redeem yourselves before you repeat the sins of our ancestors.

Jewish leaders – this Chanukah - Ban the Bam.

It is the only way you have a chance of saving Israel and yourselves.

Otherwise salvation and deliverance will come from somewhere else, and you and your organizations will be lost.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obama Freezes the Muqata

I go away for a week, and JoeSettler can't even manage to hold down the fort.

A short vacation...that's it...and I come back to find out that under tremendous pressure from US President Obama, Israel's government has been forced into freezing all (Jewish) building activity in Yehuda vShomron(WestBank), my own home included.

As a law abiding citizen and taxpayer, as an IDF soldier in the reserves, as an active volunteer medic, I find it abhorrent that US President Obama has forced Israel into freezing all building activity, to the point that I can't even add on to my home. Not even enclose a porch, or add a room.

It's not zoning that's the issue -- rather the government has banned all construction, expansion, and extension -- at the behest of US President Obama, making everything, "illegal."

US citizen tax money was hard at work this past Thursday and Friday, as US personnel drove around settlements throughout the West Bank videoing the current status of buildings so as to help enforce the "freeze."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak added his share of wasted tax money, by sending IAF jets on Friday to scour the settlements from the sky taking detailed high quality photographs of settlements, to ensure not a room, garage or shed is built, no roads or driveways are paved, and not even a patio is poured.

It continued today (JPOST)
The Civil Administration moved swiftly over the weekend to distribute injunctions to settler leaders which immediately suspended for 10 months all new Jewish construction projects in the West Bank that have not broken ground.

According to the Civil Administration, the injunctions were handed out to 22 out of the 24 local and regional council heads in Judea and Samaria. The remaining two will be given out on Sunday.

In protest, Beit El Local Council head Moshe Rosenbaum on Friday ripped up the injunction as he stood in front of the Civil Administration official and said that it was an "illegal document."

Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman plans to file a petition before the High Court of Justice early this week questioning the injunction's legality.

When he received a call from the Civil Administration Friday an hour before the start of Shabbat asking where they could find him to deliver the injunction, a startled Nachman responded, "What is the rush?"

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post Nachman ridiculed the haste with which the injunctions were delivered. "What is this, the start of the Yom Kippur War?" he said.
Actually, this was far quicker than Israel's response to the Yom Kippur War.

Obama must have really turned the thumbscrews on Israel's government for them to implement such a racist, anti-Zionist policy -- and he most probably threatened Israel's very survival via our ability to attack Iran's nuclear program, conditioned on a "goodwill" gesture to Palestinians -- hence the "freeze."

We've survived previous freezes before, and we'll survive this one, Obama, and even Netanyahu as well.

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Ode to the Shnekel

Ode to the Shnekel
By JoeSettler

Two but one, yet lonely be,
The Shnekel is for all to see;

What use are you, you minted swindle,
My carried coins did not dwindle;

Machines will simply not accept you,
And fiscally, you are quite inept too;

And strange you feel in my hand,
Your quality is really, rather bland;

So two but one you Shnekel be,
Two shekels are more, I guarantee.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kick-a-Jew Day

Netanyahu orders settlement freeze.
The ONLY (Security) Cabinet member to vote against was Uzi Landau.
Benny Begin, Avigdor Lieberman, and Moshe Ya'alon voted for the freeze.
Shas ministers excused themselves from the vote (cowards).

Meanwhile Obama is sending representatives to Settlements to inspect and make sure that no new Jews are moving in, and to finally learn where Gilo is.

It was also Kick-a-Jew day in Florida schools.

Seems to be a theme here.

More on this in the coming days.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twitter Spam

It looks like spam has caught up with Twitter - big time.

Often enough we see names signing up to the Muqata twitter that are clearly robots or spammers.

But this is a new one.

One of my throw-away email accounts (to catch spam) just got a request from twitter to sign up, as some robot spammer wants to follow me on it.

How long before twitter becomes overwhelmed with spammers sending junk, or before twitter has to add some overbearing security features to stop slow down the spam?

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

BUYcott Alert for Canadians

BUYcott Alert for Canadians.

Sunday, November 29, 12PM-4PM

More details here:

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IDF to detain Settlers at Roadblocks!

The outgoing commander of the Ephraim brigade, Col. Eran Niv, has ordered soldiers at roadblocks in his sector to detain settlers who verbally abuse them during inspections at the crossing points, and turn them over to the police.

That's pretty funny, because I was just talking to my fellow settlers about how unprofessional some of the soldier's manning the roadblocks have been getting again.

Instead of inspecting cars and the road, they are busy chatting each other up (these are gender-mixed roadblocks) -often to the point where there could be a traffic jam for a kilometer down the road.

And instead of moving cars to be inspected to the side to the inspection area, they check them on the main road - stopping all traffic while the car get checks.

And they certainly never open up enough lanes, despite so many soldiers/security/police hanging out at the booths with the pretty girls in them.

And there is more cellphone usage than ever.

And I've run into one or two (a very small minority) that have been very nasty.

But usually it is the police that are harassing the people trying to pass through the road blocks.

But honestly, the concern here is more for the soldiers.

I think it was just around 2 years ago that the Gush Etzion Machsom was shot up by terrorists - because all the soldiers were busy on cellphones and chatting each other up - and not busy enough doing their job properly.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Evacuate Gilo

As you all probably know, someone is putting up stuff on Obama's teleprompter that is making Him look like a complete ignoramus - not that He could be expected to know anything about Gilo - particularly if He only hears about it from the same group of people who also believe the Kotel is occupied territory.

The sign was up all over Gilo today. It looks like a typical Peace Now poster.

It says:

Evacuate Gilo - NOW!

Peace Now is everyone's problem!

At this rate we'll all live be living in caravans!

Provided as food for thought by Im Tirtzu and concerned Jerusalem citizens.

The 40,000 (brand new) settlers in Gilo seem to echo these sentiments.

(Gilo is a neighborhood in Jerusalem).

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why did G-d "relent" to Isaac and Rivka's prayers?

Jameel was kind enough to invite me to his blog to post weekly Divrei Torah. Please let me know what you think!

You'll find we've already written a Dvar Torah that explains a Pasuk in Toldos, located here

This Dvar Torah blew me away. When it was clear that they would be unable to have children, Isaac and Rivka prayed, and the Pasuk (21:25) says:

'וַיֶּעְתַּר יִצְחָק לַיהוָה לְנֹכַח אִשְׁתּוֹ, כִּי עֲקָרָה הִו וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה - "And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and He relented to him"

A gentleman once told R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld a short Dvar Torah on this. Why does the Pasuk say "and He relented to him". Does this not seems an odd way of saying that G-d heard and heeded his prayer?

The gentleman explained that there is a tradition that all the Patriarchs were meant to live until the age of 180. Yet Avraham died aged 175 (25:2). We can work this out: Avraham was 99 when he circumcised himself, 100 at Isaac's birth, 137 at the Akeida, at which point Isaac was obviously 37. Isaac was 40 at his marriage, and 60 at the birth of Yaakov and Esau (25:26) making Avraham 160 at their birth. Esau first murdered aged 15, making Avraham 175. There is a Rashi that Avraham would live to see Yishmael repent (25:9), but die before Esau killed someone for the first time (25:30). If he died aged 175, where are the missing 5 years?

The gentleman said to R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld that 'וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה is the answer. There was never any doubt that Isaac would have children, his father had been promised "nations", certainly Isaac would have children then, and Rivka would certainly be their mother as she was the one deemed worthy, as evidenced by the miracles Eliezer witnessed. וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה can be interpreted to mean that G-d did not want to give them children just yet, He simply wanted them to wait a bit longer so Avraham would not live to see his grandson become a murderer.

When R' Yosef Chaim heard this, he jumped up and exclaimed that this vort was Emess, because 'וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ ה is Gematria (numerical value) 748 (686+36+26), which is the same Gematria as חמש שנים - five years - 748, which represents G-d relenting to their prayers to have children at the expense of חמש שנים from Avraham Avinu's life.

R'Yosef Chaim also said that we say " רְצוֹן-יְרֵאָיו יַעֲשֶׂה; וְאֶת-שַׁוְעָתָם יִשְׁמַע, וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם - He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him; He also will hear their cry, and will save them ". Isn't this in the wrong order? Doesn't Hashem fulfil their desires to placate their cries? R' Yosef Chaim explains that the prayers of a devout person are able to change what is meant to happen to people, which explains fulfilling their desires. But people don't know what's best for them, and sometimes suffer as a consequence of getting what they desire. The pasuk teaches that Hashem will even repair this later cry of suffering that is of their own doing.

Geshmack !

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gintel Inside

There is an interesting development in the Intel story.

Haaretz is reporting that a proposed solution has been reached by Intel and was presented to UTJ MK Uri Maklev, who presented it to Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin.

The multi-part proposal is that the Intel Shabbat workforce will be comprised solely of non-Jews.

Haaretz Talkbacker Stanley Korman coined a new term describing Intel's Gentile Shabbat workers: "Gintels".

If this solution comes to fruition, it solves a few major problems (Jews working on Shabbat, Chareidi employment, etc.) but creates a new problem (the law of unintended consequences) by opening up the door to all companies to stay open on Shabbat by solely employing non-Jewish employees.

I wonder if the MKs are considering now how to deal with that Genie released from the bottle.

Jameel and I have been having a long-term discussion (behind the scenes) as to how a modern Jewish state is supposed to function on Shabbat. Sometime in the future we will post (a lot) about it, but I will say that Jameel position is that a Jewish state should not be reliant at all on non-Jewish workers to resolve its Shabbat difficulties (he's not saying Jews should work on Shabbat either, but that throwing it all onto non-Jews is not the solution).

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dual-Use Technology (or Oil for Food)

Iran isn't the only group having their dual use technologies under tight scrutiny, or facing sanctions connected to compliance with an Oil for Food program.

Like the Iranians, Chareidim in Israel face similar problems.

As you know Chanukah is approaching rapidly, and the hiddur mitzvah of lighting the Chanukiah demands pure olive oil.

And herein lies the problem.

Pure olive oil one buys in the supermarket is very expensive. Prohibitively so for the average Chareidi family in the quantities they would need.

So an entrepreneurial spirit decided to import, ahead of Chanukah, Badatz certified pure olive oil properly labeled for candle lighting.

The reason this would be cheaper is because the olive oil in the supermarket is taxed to the skies by the tax authorities who categorize it as a food product (oil for food), whereas oil for candles, not being categorized as a food product sidesteps all these additional sanctions and tariffs.

The Customs Authority recognizing this dual-use technology and the importers legal attempt to bypass the sanctions and tariffs (for the more dangerous use of this product) through proper labeling, declared the oil as food, hence taxable to the tune of 850,000 shekel - an amount that would probably guarantee the importers lose any profit from their venture.

After a month of no agreement between the sides, and with their candle oil locked up in Customs ahead of the Chanukah buying season, and having no other choice, the importers agreed to put the sum in escrow until an agreement could be reached by both sides on the oil's proper categorization.

The oil has been released to the Chareidi market in time for Chanukah, but an entrepreneurial venture has been crushed.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Israel's first political assassination attempt.

Long before Yigal Amir was even born, Israel's first political assassination attempt took place Friday, June 20, 1952.

The target: Israel's Transportation Minister, MK David Zvi Pinkas. Pinkas was one of the leaders of the religious Zionist Mizrahi movement, and served on the board of its newspaper, Hatzofeh.

The Motive: In October 1951, when he became transportation minister, Israel was suffering a severe gasoline shortage. He therefore declared that every car would have to be idle two days a week - on Shabbat, and on another day of the driver's choice. This decree caused a huge outcry.

The Venue: A few months later, on the night of Friday, June 20, 1952, a bomb was thrown at the balcony of Pinkas' Tel Aviv house.

It failed to explode, but the subsequent round-the-clock police protection he was given did not prevent another bomb from being planted on his doorstep a day later. That bomb did explode, causing property damage but no casualties.

The Assassin: Ha'aretz (and later, Yediot Achronot) newspaper columnist, painter, sculptor, and award-winning playwright and novelist, Hashomer Hatzair-educated secular socialist, Amos Kenan.

Haaretz fills in the blanks:
"The bomb went off just as two policemen were moving to intercept Kenan and another man, Shaltiel Ben-Yair, whom they had spotted entering Pinkas' apartment building. Kenan and Ben-Yair were arrested. At his trial, Kenan said he had been at the Haaretz office that night and received a tip that something was going to happen at the minister's house at 1:30 A.M.

He and Ben-Yair went to the house, but when nothing happened, they left - and as they were leaving, the bomb exploded.

The Tel Aviv District Court cleared the two men completely, saying it did not find the policemen's testimony credible. The Supreme Court later upheld the acquittal due to reasonable doubt.

Two months after the bombing, however, Pinkas, then 57, died of a heart attack. His widow claimed the attack was brought on by the assassination attempts.

The case rested until last year, when Kenan's wife, Nurit Gertz, published a biography of him in which she wrote that he had obtained the explosives from Yaakov Heruti. In a subsequent interview with Haaretz's Yossi Melman, she confirmed this account.
Reasonable doubt.

His conscious never seemed to bother him (or anyone) that much, as he continued writing books, articles, award-winning movies and founding a political party with Arik Sharon.

Do you think a religious person, accused of attempting to murder a government minister over a religious/political issue, could get a fair trail, could get acquitted due to "reasonable doubt", and then go on to win awards and fame?

Actually, this isn't even hypothetical -- we have an example of such a person, accused of conspiring to murder (or failure to prevent the murder) of Israel's Prime Minister, yet this person wasn't acquitted due to reasonable doubt, this person served jail time, and this person has been ostracized by the left, the media, and most of Israel. Despite the head of the Shin-Bet admitting that this person had absolutely zero to do with Rabin's murder.

Her name is Margalit Har Shefi.

If only she was a columnist for Haaretz or Yediot Achronot...she might have had a chance.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Intel, Jerusalem, and Shabbat Riots

Intel Corporation.

Synonymous with "success", this superpower of a high tech company was at the forefront of bringing "hi-tech" to Israel, and was a crucial factor for the success of Israel's at attracting serious technology ventures.

What does this have to do with Shabbat riots in Jerusalem? Keep reading.

Intel came to Israel as a result of one person, the visionary and legendary Dov Frohman.

Frohman was born on March 28, 1939 in Amsterdam -- his parents, Polish Jews, were Abraham and Feijga Frohman. In 1942, the Nazi grip on Holland’s Jewish community tightened, so Dov's parents decided to give their child to acquaintances in the Dutch resistance who placed him with an orthodox Christian farming family who hid him during the war. Dov's parents died in the Holocaust.

Located by relatives at an orphanage in Israel after the war, he was war adopted by relatives, grew up in Tel Aviv, served in the Israeli army, and in 1959, enrolled at the Technion - Israel's Institute of Technology to study electrical engineering.

After graduating from the Technion in 1963, Frohman traveled to the US to study for his masters and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1969, after completing his Ph.D., he took a job at a foundling "startup" company, Intel Corporation.

It was while troubleshooting a fault in an early Intel product that Frohman in 1970 developed the concept for the EPROM, the first semiconductor memory that was both erasable and easily reprogrammable -- even when power was turned off it would remember what was stored on it. The EPROM became an international cornerstone for all electronics on the planet, propelling Intel towards become a global technology leader.

Many people in a similar situation would simply take their earnings, profits, bonuses, and retire.

Not Dov.

He used his leverage as inventor of the EPROM, to convince Intel of the impossible -- to establish a small R&D chip design center in Haifa. Dov made aliya, moved to Israel, and set up Intel’s first research lab outside the United States -- in Israel. Intel management thought he was crazy, but it was hard arguing with the inventor of the EPROM. While the R&D center in Haifa was a success, Dov wasn't content -- and he convinced Intel to create "Fab-8" -- a manufacturing facility for Intel semiconductor computer chips in Jerusalem.

At the heart of Fab-8 was the "clean room", where the computer chips were made -- over a thousand times cleaner than an operating room in a hospital; where even the smallest of dust particles could ruin a production run.

And there was a mezuza on the entrance to the clean room -- probably the only world-class clean room on the planet with a mezuza on its entrance.

The complexity of running a state-of-the-art clean room meant that you couldn't simply turn off ovens which grow the silicon wafers on Friday afternoon and restart restart them after the Shabbat on Saturday night -- they need to run around the clock.

While no production was actually running at Fab-8, there was s skeleton crew walking around ensuring that nothing was overheating, exploding or causing a life-threatening emergency.

The problem for Intel was that each production facility was compared to the other plants, and Jerusalem's Fab-8 plant wasn't running on Shabbat -- thereby reducing their factory output by 1/7th compared to the rest of Intel's plants which ran 7 days a week.

Intel did their best, using ingenuity, process, smarter ways of working -- even innovative "shabbat clock" robotic operation to help compete with the other plants, yet Intel presented Israel with an ultimatum in 1995. Intel wanted to build another, brand new plant in Israel, but on the condition it would be open on Shabbat.

Intel knew this would never pass in Jerusalem, and looked around Israel for alternatives. The cash-strapped town of Kiryat Gat, just 30 minutes south of Beit Shemesh was more than happy to let Intel work on Shabbat -- if only they would bring thousands of jobs to their town. Yitzchak Rabin's government had absolutely no problem letting Intel operate on Shabbat, so the deal was stuck -- Fab-18 would be built in Kiryat Gat, and would operate 24 hours a day.

The ramifications would be that it would extremely difficult for religious Jews to work at Intel's latest Fab-18 factory, knowing that the company worked on Shabbat, the cafeteria would be open on Shabbat, and they might even be assigned for shift work on Shabbat.

Yet Kiryat Gat is far away from the Jerusalem Chareidi mindset...

The aging Fab-8 Jerusalem plant slowly ramped down its production as it couldn't compete with the latest technology and manufacturing process needed for next generation computer chips -- the Jerusalem plant basically closed down a few years ago.

Yet in a stunning decision, Intel decided to rededicate the Intel Jerusalem plant, revamp it completely, so that it would be able to be part of the manufacturing process again -- not the same sort of work at what's going in Kiryat Gat, but in the "dumber" type of technology -- the type done at Intel's Far-East plants.

Today, Intel dedicated the newly refurbished plant here in Jerusalem...and while the previous Fab-8 plant used to forbid work in Jerusalem on Shabbat except for a skeleton crew, rumors about that the new plant will be working on Shabbat.

And then....boom.

Someone mentioned this to Chareidi community's askasnim, prompting threats of a riot this coming Shabbat.
Last minute attempts to prevent the Intel demonstration had failed after MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) met on Thursday with Intel Israel general manager Maxine Fassberg in the Knesset, together with Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

Maklev's spokesman said after the meeting that while he appreciated the importance of bringing jobs to the capital, protecting the sanctity of Shabbat was more important. "Fassberg, meanwhile, apparently puts the value of employment and production before the Shabbat," said the spokesman, who added that Fassberg had promised to look into operating the factory with non-Jewish staff.

Maklev was scheduled to meet with leading rabbis to discuss how best to respond to Fassberg's suggestions. (JPost)

Too late.

This past Shabbat, Ultra Orthodox Chareidi Jews encroached upon Jerusalem's silicon valley, Har Hotzvim neighborhood, and rioted.

The JPost continues:
Shouting "Shabbes, Shabbes!" some 2,000 haredim demonstrated outside the Intel Corporation's offices in Jerusalem's Har Hotzvim industrial park on Saturday to protest the company's operation of its factory on the Jewish day of rest.

The protest began peacefully in the morning but deteriorated into violence in the afternoon when several hundred demonstrators began attacking journalists, pushing and stoning them.

Demonstrators assailed Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism) upon his arrival, complaining that he had failed to prevent the desecration of the holy day.

Additional police were deployed in the vicinity to prevent motorists from driving into the protest area, but they kept their distance from the demonstrators to avoid agitating them, police sources said.

According to a police spokesman, the great majority of demonstrators left voluntarily after a couple of hours, but about 300 protesters remained at the site for a time. They were later dispersed by police, who did not need to resort to force.
Intel Corporation in the USA is anxiously observing, wondering what sort of mess they have gotten themselves into.

Intel is leaking statements to the Jerusalem Post like this:

Sources at Intel told The Jerusalem Post that stopping the production process could severely damage productivity and endanger the feasibility of Intel's operations in both Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat.

Publically, Intel Israel's spokesman Koby Behar said, "We at Intel Israel are operating in accordance with our business needs and in accordance with the law."

Yes, Rabin's government gave Carte-Blanche to Intel in the mid-90's to work on Shabbat in Kiryat Gat, and I assume this has rolled over to Jerusalem.

Maklev's spokesman said in response that Intel was breaking the Work and Rest Hours Law by employing Jews on Shabbat.

"Intel has not received a permit to work on Shabbat," said the spokesman.

The law prohibits the employment of Jews on Shabbat. Exceptions are made for those who work national security, public health or other sensitive fields, but commerical firms must prove that serious hardship would result from interrupting production and must receive a special permit from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.

I assume that the Intel plant in Kiryat Gat has the special permit from the Labor Ministry, yet I don't know if the Jerusalem plant, reopened today has one.

Who's responsible? Many parties.

1. Rabin's government couldn't care less about the impact of opening Intel in Kiryat Gat in the mid-90s on Shabbat -- nor did they care about the impact on religious high-tech workers. Its a slipperly slope once you permit a commercial, for-profit company to blatantly work on Shabbat.

2. Intel Jerusalem. Instead of releasing banal statements that "Intel works within the framework of the law" that jar on the nerves of the Chareidi population (which surrounds Intel and the Har Hotzvim neighborhood), they should have focused more on real solutions, like the one proposed by Intel Israel's general manager Maxine Fassberg, to have a non-Jewish staff man the plant on Shabbat

3. The Chareidim. A quiet demonstration of tens of thousands, not throwing rocks, not screaming "shabbiss", would have a far greater effect with a likelihood of a mutual resolution to this mess.

Israel managed to work out a solution with the Chareidi population over the Jerusalem parking lot riots a few weeks ago -- and I hope for everyone's sake that a similar solution can be found quickly.

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Deadly Rulings

The Arab former owners of Beit Hashalom in Hebron want to take their case to a Palestinian Court to prove they didn't sell it to da Jews. Of course if they lose the case in a PA court the sentence they face is death.

Their claim is that as Israelis, it is too dangerous for Israeli judges to visit Beit Hashalom as the judges might get killed by local Arabs.

In other news, 20,000 Jews spent Shabbat in Hebron this weekend, and all passed by Beit HaShalom without any of them getting killed.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Just in time for Shabbat

In a strident reversal of his own previous ruling, (where R' Elyashiv clearly ruled that Shabbat Elevators are absolutely forbidden, both going up and down), R' Elyashiv is reportedly going to change his ruling and permit the use of Shabbat elevators (at least for the elderly, sick, and pregnant) both going up and down.

This is a result of the Belze Rebbe requesting from Rav Elyashiv to meet with experts on Shabbat elevators.

More details after Shabbat on this breaking story.

(JoeSettler contributed to this report).

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Persil Gell Detergent: Banned and Forbidden!

This Mea-Shearim-style public notice "Pashkevil" screams the dangers and horrors of using "Persil Gell" (not to be confused with Agel) laundry dare we switch to this new-fangled "gell" detergent, when our mothers and grandmothers used only powdered detergents?!

Awesome advertising gimmick :-)

Kudos/Hat-tip: Gideon, who found it at R' Slifkin's Website.

Update: Hat tip to Gideon’s WIFE who saw the pashkavel up at Bar Ilan intersection on Monday, and at first believed it was for real! But by the time she got her act together two days later to photograph it, it had already been covered up.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Israeli Mannerisms

Found this great tidbit over at "Recessioning In Jerusalem"

Blogger Elaz attended the 2009 Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, and personally heard the following story from previous UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Of note is a story he related about Netanyahu when the two of them were at a dinner party hosted by Netanyahu. It seems the waiter accidentally ladled the soup, matzo ball I presume, onto Netanyahu’s lap. The waiter, rather than gushing over with apologies to his head of state, proceeded to berate him for being in the way while he was trying to do his job. Netanyahu apologized profusely. Back at the convention, Blair asked rhetorically, in which other Middle Eastern nation might one witness such an episode with a similar outcome. Enough said.
I found this in-line with the discussion the other day about Israelis and perceived rudeness, etc.

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Restitution from Arab Countries: Who Gains?

Israeli political specialist Benny Mercury (Ben Caspit) has decided that that a recent Shas promoted and preliminarily-approved legislation, stating that any future political agreement that addresses compensation or relocation for "Palestinian refugees" must be accompanied by a parallel agreement providing compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab countries,-- will deadlock any future peace agreement.

Mercury believes that Netanyahu approved the legislation on purpose, to ensure he won't have to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The legislation states:
"The government of Israel with not sign, either directly or through a representative, any treaty or agreement with any country, party, or authority, that is a political middle east agreement, without ensuring the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries according to the Refugee Charter of the United Nations.

Any discussion in the matter of Palestinian refugees within the framework of peace negotiations in the Middle East, will require the government of Israel to discuss the issue of financial compensation for lost property, and equal compensation to that of Arab refugees that left their properties from the day of the founding of the State, and those of Jewish refugees from Arab countries." [NRG, Hebrew]
Mercury abhors anything to the right of Kadima, and is hardly a fan of Netanyahu, yet I think he missed the point completely.

PM Netanyahu supports this initiative not because it will deadlock future peace agreements, but it will actually give Shas and its voters a very clear reason to support a peace agreement which provides monetary compensation to Jews from Arab countries.

Unfortunately, choosing compensation money over destroying the settlements won't be that hard a choice for Shas.

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A Muqata History Post: 27 years since the Tyre (Zur) Disaster

Today, November 11, 2009 marks 27 years since the "First" Tyre/Zur Disaster -- a massive suicide bombing of IDF forces in Lebanon.

An Islamic Jihad terrorist detonated a car bomb against the IDF Command Center in Tyre/Zur, South Lebanon, killing 75 IDF soldiers, border policemen, and Shabak agents, and wounding 27 Israelis.

27 Lebanese terrorists also being held in the compound were killed.

The initial investigation by Israel claimed it was a gas leak, but over the years it is now accepted that a suicide bomber, Ahmad Qassir, detonated a Peugeot car packed with hundreds of kilograms of explosives -- at the base of the seven-story building, which served as IDF regional command headquarters for the Tyre/Zur region during the First Lebanon War.

A few days after the disaster, Israel commemorated the event with a national day of mourning, including the sounding of air raid sirens.

May their memories be a blessing, and their deaths avenged.

Wiki Hebrew, Wiki English

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Director: Award Winning Israeli films are "mediocre or worse"

In a crushing interview with Haaretz, noted Israeli Director Dover Kosashvili trashes this past year's euphoria in the Israeli movie industry, calling films that won awards "mediocre or worse."

"They're celebrating like this is genuine success," but "it's a load of rubbish."

He attacked the unprecedented success abroad of movies such as:

Ari Folman's "Waltz with Bashir" (Golden Globe for best foreign language film and France's Cesar for best foreign film)

Samuel Maoz's "Lebanon" (first Israeli director to win first prize at the Venice Film Festival)

What's even more interesting, is his reason "why" such mediocre films are winning global awards. The Haaretz English edition left this out altogether, but the Hebrew edition partly explains it...and an interview I heard today on IDF Radio fully explained it.

The recent films all have a common theme: they show Israel spitting at itself and airing Israel's dirty laundry for all to see in public.

This would also explain the success of Yossi Sieder's films:

Beaufort A movie about a 22 year-old outpost IDF commander, and his troops in the months before Israel pulled out of Lebanon. This is not a story of war, but of retreat. This is a story with no enemy, only an amorphous entity that drops bombs from the skies while terrified young soldiers must find a way to carry out their mission until their very last minutes on that mountaintop. As LIRAZ lays the explosives which would destroy that very same structure that his friends had died defending, he witnesses the collapse of all he's been taught as an officer, and his soldier's mental and physical disintegration (IMDB)

Medurat Hashevet The story of a religious-socially shunned young widow, who wants to join the founding group of a new religious settlement in the West Bank, but first must convince the acceptance committee that she is worthy. Things get even more complicated when the younger daughter is accused of seducing some boys from her Bnei Akiva youth movement. (IMDB)

Ha-Hesder In a West Bank settlement, Rabbi Meltzer has a grand design: he's building a movement "to pray at the Temple Mount." His yeshiva has scholars, and the settlement is getting its own military company to be commanded by Menachem, a disciple of the rabbi. He also wants his daughter, Michal, to marry Pini, the yeshiva's best scholar. Michal has no interest in Pini, but she is attracted to Menachem. When she rebuffs Pini, he hatches a bold and secret plan. Is jealousy the motivation or something else? Meanwhile, the army and Moussad are closely watching the rabbi's activities and Menachem's military training. Settlers try to blow up the Temple Mount. (IMDB)

So...if you're an aspiring Israeli Director who wants to win a prestigious film award, just ensure it bashes the IDF, Israel, Right Wingers, Religious Jews, or Settlers.

Quality not Required.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Massive Jerusalem Archeological Dig Planned


A7 reported (and provided the above amazing picture):
Israel is planning a major archaeological dig under the Western Wall (Kotel) plaza, opposite the Temple Mount, officials announced Thursday. The excavations will create an archaeological park directly underneath the area where worshippers currently stand while praying at the Kotel.

The current prayer area will remain open, supported by pillars, while a new area will be added underneath, at the level at which worshippers at the ancient Temple stood in the past.

In other Old City news: New Tram/Subway to connect Kotel Plaza with Jewish Quarter -- specifically helping the disabled:

The tram will enable the elderly and families with small children to easily move back and forth between the two areas. Visitors to the Western Wall (Kotel) could have an easier time getting to the holy site soon. A new tram will visitors to reach to the Kotel Plaza from the Jewish Quarter, enabling visitors who have difficulty walking up and down the many steps between the two sites to more easily visit the Kotel. The tram, which is to be named for Baruch Klein, a resident of the Quarter who is financing the project, will descend from Tiferet Yisrael Street, and then enter a 56-meter long tunnel, where riders will exit. The project is being directed by the Jewish Quarter Preservation and Development Company. Company director Nissim Arazi told Israel National News that the tram could be extended to reach the Herodian Quarter (the Wohl Archaeological Museum) - an area with many well-preserved buildings from the Second Temple era that is impossible for individuals with physical limitations to reach. "Some 10 million visitors come to the Old City each year," Arazi said."The Jewish Quarter has been partially outfitted to enable disable people to reach important sites, but because of worries about preserving the site archaeologically, we were unable to build a connection between the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel Plaza. The tram will enable limited mobility individuals, such as the elderly or families with small children, to easily move back and forth between the two areas."

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US demands answers about illegal student's deportation

While this is apparently big news in the US, hardly anyone knows about this issue in Israel.

CNN reported last week that 21 year old Gazan college student, Berlanty Azzam, was apprehended at an IDF checkpoint between Ramallah and Bethlehem.

She said she was held at the checkpoint for five hours with no explanation, and then blindfolded, handcuffed and put into a military vehicle.

Well, perhaps if she was in the West Bank legally, she might have been treated slightly differently. This is one of the more common ways Israel finds terrorists. The method works.

"I did not know what they were going to do with me or where they were taking me," Azzam said in a interview.

Of course she knew was happening - she was here illegally, she never applied for permission to stay.

As it turns out, Azzam was being removed from the Palestinian West Bank and brought to the Gaza Strip. She called the experience "frightening and dehumanizing."

Yes, Gaza's a frightening place. I wouldn't want to be brought there. Oh, her family lives there? Does she know that Hamas and Fatah terrorists are students too? Does she live in a vacuum and think this is Disneyland?

The Israeli military released a statement saying Azzam was "residing illegally" in the West Bank and had overstayed a permit "allowing her to stay in Jerusalem for a few days in August 2005."

OK, so she was granted permission for a few days to be here 4 years ago, she broke the law, stayed here illegally, and now expects that the United States will bail her out?

The same United States that routinely deports illegal Mexican migrants?

Breitbart notes that: The United States deported more than 154,000 Mexicans and Central Americans in the 2008 fiscal year, in a 46 percent rise on the previous year, an official statement said here Thursday.

What?! The United States of America that deports tens of thousands of illegals, is criticizing Israel?

The same United States that blindfolds, handcuffs and deports illegals?
Immigration lawyers complain that their clients have been moved frequently among INS facilities and often have been difficult for the lawyers to find. Some detainees have been handcuffed, blindfolded and forced to take lie-detector tests, the lawyers say. A few, their lawyers say, have been asked to be informants and offered immediate release if they agree.
She was here illegally, she never applied for permission to stay.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government, said he was not aware of any policy to remove Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza and said that in the past there have been concerns about Hamas using access to the West Bank as a way of placing their activists in universities.

CNN ends it with:

Officials at Bethlehem University said they were worried that Azzam's case could set a precedent for the removal of more of their students who come from Gaza and questioned why it was a problem to allow her to finish her studies.

"She has been here [illegally] since 2005," said Brother Jack Curran, a vice-president at the Vatican-sponsored university. "Name one security concern that she has been involved in."

"It's really not about political posturing," he said. "It's about a young woman's life and her dream and her goal for her university education [illegally]."

Did I mention she was here illegally, she never applied for permission to stay?

For the USA to "demand answers" from Israel over something the US routinely does, is simply the height of hypocrisy.

Perhaps Berlanty Azzam should grow up, officially request permission to study and stay like everyone else, before she goes off crying about her "deportation."

Its called -- the law. Try and follow it sometime,s and maybe the results will be different.

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Lebanon: Global Warning against 'Massive' Israeli Attack

I saw this early today and didn't think much of it, but now Hebrew Israeli websites are picking up on it as well.

Lebanese news-site Naharnet reports:
Lebanon has reportedly received warning of a "massive" aggression Israel plans against Hizbullah, the daily An-Nahar reported Tuesday. The report by An-Nahar Washington's correspondent Khalil Flaihan said international military authorities have warned Lebanon that Israel plans to launch a massive attack targeting Hizbullah positions.

It said Israel is also likely to "widen its aggression to include large areas of Lebanon" under the pretext that Hizbullah continues to receive "heavy and sophisticated weapons" via Syria.

Diplomatic sources in Beirut did not rule out the possibility that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could raise the issue of the seized ship alledgedly carrying weapons for Hizbullah and the explosions that took place in Khirbit Selim and Teir Felsay as well as the Katyusha firing from the southern town of Houla.

The sources pointed out that Natanyahu would exploit these incidents to accuse Hizbullah of breaching Resolution 1701 "posing a real threat to Israel's security and that its armed forces are ready for any emergency."

They said the U.S. and French presidents, however, are unlikely to approve any new Israeli offensive against Lebanon.
1. I wonder if Netanyahu and Obama discussed this last night? I just saw the following headline article on the JPost website -- I wonder if this gives any credence to the Naharnet report?

Unusual media blackout follows Netanyahu, Obama meeting
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a lengthy meeting with US President Barack Obama Monday night which addressed the Middle East peace process, Iran and Israeli security.

The one-hour-and-forty-minute parley was accompanied by an unusual news blackout, as the standard photo op and press availability were not held. In addition, Netanyahu canceled a scheduled briefing with Israeli reporters and Defense Minister Ehud Barak scrapped plans for radio interviews following the talks.
2. If this really is that serious, then Israel would need to act, regardless of "permission" from the US and France. France? Since when does Israel ask France for permission before doing anything?!

3. I don't think this is really in the works right now...[updated in light of the JPost headline emphasis...who knows...]

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