Friday, July 31, 2009
Here is the continuation of my story of the bomb attack I survived seven years ago.
Return To French Hill, part 1
I got onto the bus in Jerusalem wearing the electric company clothes I was given that morning. More like pajamas than clothes, I did not understand the nurse's concern about my leaving the hospital in hospital clothes. I was grateful for them nonetheless.
I arrived in Ofra, getting off the bus with groceries in one hand, and a sack full of blood and guts infused clothes in the other. I walked the short distance home to my meguron (half a trailer). I had to change clothes; I needed to go to some funerals. I ended up going to only two, the ones held in Ofra for Kindergarten teacher No'a Alon hy"d and her five-year-old granddaughter Gal Eisenman hy"d (Ma'aleh Adumim). They were buried side by side.
I felt compeled to go to more funerals. I wanted to go to all seven of those who murdered. I especially wanted to go to Shmu'el Efraim Yerushalmi's hy"d funeral in Shilo. I taught school with his father Rav Avraham, and knew him well. I had to settle for a shiva' call the next week. I do not know what I was thinking. I did not have the energy to do anything, let alone travel around the country attending funerals.
That afternoon, I called my rav about my clothes. Should they be buried? Yes, he said. Call Ofra's rabbi for specific instructions. As instructed, I wrote a note on the plastic bag filled with my clothes, and left it on one of the benches at the town's cemetery, for the Hevrah Qadishah to deal with.
My friends the Levs in Ofra took care of me that weekend, to the degree that I was willing to let them. I went to the funerals with them, and then they gave me a ride back to Jerusalem that evening so that I could complete some errands which could not wait.
The next day was Friday. I went to work, but have no clue as to what I was thinking. In retrospect, I now see all of the subtle effects the trauma had on me, the effects on the quality and progression of thinking included.
I justified teaching my two Friday morning classes, even though I still could not hear a thing with the normal chatter of 12 year old boys running in the background. Showing them the shrapnel extracted from my buttock, which was so obviously a screw in its original construction, quieted the boys down quite effectively.
My justification for going into work was to show my students how "not to let the Yishma'eli (Arab) enemy win" by interrupting the normal routine of our lives. I had forgotten to show them that it was perfectly acceptable to take care of ones own health as well. Yet, it was not a mistake for me, going in to teach.
One of my 6th graders said that we should have faith that the attack I was in was the last terrorist attack. We already knew that was not true. The day after the French Hill attack, a sniper infiltrated the town of Itamar near Shchem and shot and killed four members of the Shabo Family, the mother and three sons and Yosef Twito, a neighbor who had come to their aid. Another one of the Shabo sons lost his leg, as a result of his bullet wounds.
This same student's brother had escaped another sniper attack in Itamar, only a month beforehand. Shmu'el Efraim Yerushalmi hy"d was there as well. He escaped then, only to be killed a month later.
There seemed to be so much killing going around us. No one had been left unscathed by terror from the Yishma'eli enemy. Every time I began to talk about the attack, because I knew I needed to talk about the attack, I was met with, "When I was in an attack,..." or "When I was shot at,..."
Back home, the Levs had me over for all three Shabbath meals. Mrs. Lev made me promise to make it to "schul" to "bench gomel," and friend Pinny took my mind off of the attack. I lived along the northern fence of the town; they lived a good 25 minute walk away. Surprisingly, my wound did not hurt, walking back and forth all Shabbath.
I taught 3rd - 6th, and 9th grades that year. I only had to get through I week more of school, and submit grades. I finally figured out that I needed to take it easy, and I did.
I made that shiva call to the Yerushalmi Family. Rav Avraham pressed me for details of the attack. Did you see Shmu'el? What was he doing? Did he look happy?
I don't know.
Rav Avraham told me something I never realized until then. I was the last to see Shmu'el alive. He wanted me to tell him about the last moments in his son's life. I did my best to describe what happened. However, I don't think it was exactly what he was expecting.
Rav Avraham and his wife spoke with such great emunah (faith). His next son Yosef wore a photo of his brother in a makeshift locket around his neck.
One story which was recounted was Shmu'el's desire to change yeshiva's. He wanted to transfer to the prestigious Yeshivath HaTze'irim liY'rushalayim (Yashla"tz), the high school on the campus of the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshivah, the site of yet another terrorist attack a year and a half ago. (When will it end?!) The assignment was to make a notebook, writing on the entire Sefer Sh'moth (Book of Exodus) with RaSh"I's commentary. He showed us the notebook, thick, complete, and thorough. He will be in another yeshiva from now on.
His next door neighbor Yonatan Eldad hy"d would killed at Merkaz HaRav several years later. The neighbors on the other side of the Yerushuslamis are the Kesslers, the grandparents of another one of the seven Jews killed in French Hill with Shmu'el, Gila Sarah Kessler (Eli). This street knows great sadness, yet it is not the only street in Shilo knowing such sadness. Shilo is not the only town knowing such sadness,...and anger.
This post may seem a bit "all over the place," or at least it does to me. That is because, at the time, I was all over the place, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So, this post is a pretty good reflection of where I "was at" at the time.
It did not take too long for me to start bouncing back forth for between "denial" and "anger." I was beginning to experience a taste of guilt, specifically what is often referred to as "survivor's guilt." yet several teenagers, and a five year old were killed. I had additional reasons why the others should have survived instead of me as well. I desperately wanted to know the answer to this question.
I sought out my rav, Rabbi David Bar-Hayim. I must qualify this before I continue, that I cannot repeat the eloquence of his etzah (counsel) here in this post. I will do my best to reflect what was key in what he relayed to me, its simplicity.
I told him that I thought about going up to Shmu'el Yerushalmi to say hello. Maybe if I had done that, he would have been in a different place, and so would not have been killed.
"Did you know him?" he asked. No. Then why would you have to go up to him? I could see his point.
"Furthermore, how do you know that the same outcome would not have occurred, even if you had gone up to him to say hello?" I didn't.
"We simply do not know the heshbonoth sheba'shamayim (accounting in Heaven). You don't know what would have happened, and we do not know why."
Many would have balked at these comments. But, they were just what I needed to hear. I felt an immediate calm. However, this would not be the last time I talked about the attack. I was certainly not finished working though it, nor could I have expected to be. It had only been a couple of weeks since having a suicide bomber blow himself up, only a few feet away from me.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
K'far Tapu'ah's Saturday Night Concert Series is returning!
The first concert will be this Mossa'ei Shabbath "Nahamu".
Yes to the Hilltops and the Temple Mount.
No to Capitol Hill and Washington.
"Festival HaMiqdash" in K'far Tapu'ah
10:00pm till dawn
Plus, special guests and Temple Mount Activists
Rabbi Yosef Elboim
MK Dr. Micha'el Ben-Ari
Shomron Council Head
Rabbi Shmu'el HaKohen
Rabbi, K'far Tapu'ah
Only 10 NIS to enter, and includes melaweh malkah!
For more information about the concerts, as well as Shabbath hospitality, call 054-4876709 (in Israel). For Shabbath hospitality, please call by Wednesday.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This 12Tribe Films presentation about the expulsion of Jews from Netzer-Hazani was compiled mostly from video footage shot by the town's youth. It focuses on the basketball game played in Azza (Gaza) before the expulsion of Jews from their homes, and the handing over of their lands to the Yishma'eli (Arab) enemies.
(12TribeFilms.org) “Home Game” is a captivating new film that encapsulates the surreal story of normal teenagers trying to continue an annual basketball tournament during a very abnormal summer in Israel -- the summer of 2005 during the disengagement from Gaza. This powerful film emphasizes the journey of these teenagers and their determination to win against all odds, both on and off the court. "Home Game" tells part of the untold human story to a piece of Jewish history that was overshadowed by politics.
This week only, you can view "Home Game" for free on the up and coming media sharing site WeJew.com. Check it out for all of your media sharing needs. Bloggers, make sure to check out WeJew.com's special blogging tools and promotions page.
Friday, 10 of the Fifth Month (Av) marks the fourth anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Azza and the Northern Shomron (Samaria). This film is important to see during this week of the Fast of the Fifth Month (Tisha b'Av), setting the tone for the commemoration the Destruction of the Miqdash (Temple) with an all too recent Jewish tragedy falling on the same day.
The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles.
Additional Expulsion-related Videos:
Meraglilm: YeSh"A Council Collaboration in the Expulsion
Remembering the Expulsion of the Tashnady Family (bring tissue)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
With opening of the latest Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," reports have been rushing in regarding unusual incidents, which the muggle media has not been able to explain.
Of course, we know what's really been going on, both here in Israel and abroad. Sabotage.
The evidence is incontrovertible. Now that Voldemort has been put out of commission, a group of evil hags has stepped in to take his place in the evil, control and manipulation department.
I personally encountered one of these hags in K'far Tapu'ah, if you can believe it. She caused me quite a bit of trouble over the past three years.
She was one of the reasons I had to leave. She herself was no match for me, of course. But with most all of the muggle residents under her control, constantly causing me problems, it just took much out of me to be on guard 24/7. She would not even give me a break on Shabbath, periodically sending over her young minyons to torment me.
Please be on the look out. Who knows what they are up to, and what damage they can do.
Here I am, casting a Confundus Charm on the Arab workers, in the building across from me. Of course, I must admit that didn't take much of an effort. (OMG! That's racist! I'm offended! *eyes rolling*)
"Don't put your wand away, Harry. They might come back."
-Mrs. Figg, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
*Israeli wands are typically made from olive, fig, grape, pomegranate, almond, walnut, hazelnut, acacia, oak, cedar, cypress, and willow.
In addition to donkey tail hair, cores are comprised of dove tail feather and leviathan heart string.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I made it back to the beach yesterday during PTH. For those of you not from the beach that "Prime Tanning Hours."
The beach was pleasant enough, playful, with good energy, and no "mean-and-nastiness."
The only major "incident" which occurred. One of the lifeguards called me "Abbaleh" (Daddy).
Oh, no. He did not just call me that. Oh, yes, he did.
He asked my to pick up a ripped, inflatable water toy, which had been abandoned, and throw it in the trash for him. I just acknowledged him with a short hand wave, and did what I was asked.
One lesser incident was when the same lifeguard warned some kids to come back closer to shore, as they were drifting out toward the jetty. When that didn't work, he just said, "OK, have fun with the meduzot."
That was effective.
And in case you did not know what this structure was on the beach, there was gigantic sign to inform you of both its identity and function.
I thought that the ice cream menu, stacks of snacks, drinks, and a cash register made it a dead giveaway. But what do I know. Then I realized, the sign was so big so that it could be seen from away.
While commenting on Shiloh Musing's post That Doctored or Miss-identified Picture of Ofra in The Jerusalem Post, I remembered the following two stories I heard while living in Ofra.
There are apparently more than a few U. S. citizens in Silwad, the Yishma'eli (Arab) village bordering Ofra on the north.
A young neighbor of mine recounted the story, that while visiting his grandmother, in a post IDF trip to the U. S., he met a Yishma'eli who said that he was from Israel [or "palestine," I don't remember]. Fulfilling their obligation to play "Mid-East Geography," they each asked the other to be more specific about where he from.
As it turns out, the Yishma'eli was from Silwad. As the Jew was from Ofra, they joked about being "neighbors," which they essentially are.
You see this neighbor of mine and I lived right next to Ofra's northern fence. I would not be surprised if we could have seen this Yishma'eli's house from our caravanim (trailers).
This said that he was not the only U. S. citizen inhabiting Silwad.
"Don't Tread On Me"
One of the houses across from the entrance to Ofra is also inhabited by U. S. citizens.
How do I know?
Well, after a sniper fired from the roof of the house in question, wounding a Jewish girl was waiting for a northbound tremp (ride), the Israeli government wanted to demolish it, as punishment for collaboration with terrorists.
The reason the house was not demolished was the home owner's U. S. citizenship. I am not sure if the U. S. government intervened or not. But, surely, the Israeli government did not want any hassle from big brother U. S. A.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Reclaiming Jewish Property in Jerusalem
Hillel Fendel 27 Tammuz 5769/July 19, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) With the Obama administration turning the corkscrews upon Israeli sovereignty in its capital, the spotlight focuses once again on the growing Jewish presence in neighborhoods such as Shimon HaTzaddik. Arab squatters face eviction this week.
The U.S. State Department has made an unprecedented demand upon its ally Israel to stop lawful construction in its capital – specifically, at a property owned by activist Dr. Irving Moskowitz in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The municipal housing plan calls for the site of the Shepherd Hotel to become a 20-unit apartment complex. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other government ministers have categorically rebuffed the American ultimatum, as did Ambassador Michael Oren when he was called to the State Department to hear the U.S. demand.
Arabs in Shimon HaTzaddik Face Eviction
Just below the hotel, seven Jewish families and an all-day Torah-study program, known as a Kollel, are trying to renew the old Jewish neighborhood of Shimon HaTzaddik. Several Arab families that have squatted on the property since Jordan took control of eastern Jerusalem in 1948 continue to refuse to leave – and face possible eviction this week.
For those of you unfamiliar with Jerusalem geography, the Shimon HaTzadiq neighbor is just on the other side of Kvish (Road) No. 1 from the Ma'aloth Dafnah and Shmu'el HaNavi neighborhoods, and only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Me'ah She'arim, Beis Yisroel, and Morasha (Musrara) neighborhoods.
Let's put some of that left over Haredi anger and energy to good use.
Nah. Never happen. No one wants to get together on this, although I am sure that Land of Israel activists might welcome it.
I guess we'll have to rely on the continued efforts of the bored "Shabbabniqim" from the above mentioned neighborhoods, who often go out tho protect the grave sites in the area from Yishma'eli vandalism.
Do not underestimate this group of bored and searching, sometimes disgruntled, Haredi youth.
"Instead of expelling Arabs, you're expelling me?! What have I done to you?!"
- Mrs. Luber, Qatif, Av 5765 (part 3, 6:10)
Pretty much sums up the expulsion of Jews from Azza, doesn't it?
Finally, a documentary has been produced, exposing the collaborators who were behind the expulsion of Jews from Azza, and the mesirah (handing over) of their property over to goyim (non-Jews), even more so, to bitter enemies of the Jewish People.
The documentary is entitled "Meraglim," after the spies who delayed B'nei Yisrael's settlement of Eretz Yisrael by 38 years, through their lack of faith in HaQadosh Barukh Hu (The Holy One, Blessed Be He), and their lashon hara (See Numbers 13-14).
(Meraglim22) Explanation and evidence of the participation of the "Yesha Council" in the expulsion process.The video is in Hebrew with English subtitles and English narration.
My review? This is a must see film.
Then, after the film, you can read about what a real Religious Zionist is like.
This first part of the series introduces us to the lying liars of the Yehudah, Shomron, and Azza [YeSh"A] Council, and to the activists who regret having listened to them.
I know Rabbi Moshe Cohen of Beth El personally. We taught junior high school together years ago. He's an amazing Jew, and an amazing teacher, now teaching at the Beth El Yeshivah. He's a Jew with his priorities straight. That's for sure.
When meetings of the YeSh"A Council are shown, they include some rabbis, who are not actually members of the council. They are members of the YeSh"A Rabbinical Council, a completely different entity, often disagreeing publicly with the YeSh"A Council.
The lying YeSh"A Council members were honest about one thing. They were concerned about their public image.
This part begins with the real manner in which YeSh"A Council members regard rabbinical ruling it does not like. It ignores them, or worse. (We have seen this approach before, among the members of the National Religious/Jewish Home Party.)
This part also brings forth the truth about then Rosh Yeshivath Merkaz HaRav Rabbi Avraham Shapira ztz"l's opinion regarding which takes precedence, Torah or Israeli law, when there is a conflict between the two. Mamlakhtim (religious, yet undying state loyalists) have tried to distort the presentation of Rabbi Shapira's views.
The YeSh"A Council found "other rabbis," who agreed with them, Hayim Druckman and Shlomo Aviner, emphasized their presence, and then yelled to "listen to the rabbis!" Pure hypocrisy!
The YeSh"A Council's imprisonment of activists at K'far Maimon is the focus of this part, as well as its collaboration with police.
Take note of then MK Effie Eitam hugging the police commander. One year later, he would incur a head injury at the Amona Pogram. Let's hope he has learned his lesson.
Rabbi Avraham Shapira ztz"l did NOT care about public image (ie. PR). The YeSh"A Council distorted the presentation of the plan to enter Southern Azza (Gush Qatif) through its "military expert." This convinced Rabbi Shapira to withdraw his support for the plan.
In actuality, the YeSh"A Council's military expert Ami Shaqed provided activists with a different story, than that which was presented to Rabbi Shapira.
The YeSh"A Council continued to sabotage the protest efforts through the sneaky activities of Pinhas Wallerstein (Ofra, Binyamin Counil Head) and newly appointed member Rafi Ben-Bassad (Neweh Tzuf), including the dispersion of activists and more staged arrests.
Rabbinical collaboration is also exposed in this part.
Some IDF rabbis actually claimed it was permissible according to the Torah to expel all of these Jews from their homes, and to hand over the land to our most deadly enemies.
Shlomo Aviner is shown convincing the residents of Gan-Or to allow the IDF soldiers into their town. Until he arrived, Gan-Or residents had been preventing their entry successfully.
Rabbi Mordechai Elon uses his rhetorical skills to convince Netzer-Hazani residents to leave quietly.
Meanwhile, everyone seems to be ignoring the greatest poseq and dayan of them all, Rabbi Shapira.*
The end of this part exposes the collaboration of YeSh"A Council Head Bentzi Lieberman with police, putting the nail in the coffin of Newe Deqalim, the largest Jewish town in Azza.
This part begins with more collaboration on the part of Bentzi Lieberman, followed by the staged removal of Tzviki Bar-Hai and Ze'ev "Zambish" Hever, who then directs the violent expulsion from the Neweh Deqalim synagogue. (You've got to see this! It's so blatant and ridiculous that they thought they could hide it.)
The last two minutes provides a conclusion of not only this particular blot on Jewish history, but of the deeper issues facing the Jewish People:
We will let this happen again? Will we let the meraglim fool us again?
Will we again hold Israeli law above the Torah?
1. Staged expulsion of Sha'ul Goldstein, Mayor of Efrat.
2. Shlomo Wollins eyewitness account of Shlomo Aviner attacking a rabbi and Jewish children (English with Hebrew subtitles).
Fearless Leader Jack is hosting this week's edition of Haveil Havalim Jewish and Israeli Blog Carnival at his pad Random Thoughts - Do They Have Any Meaning?.
It's the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince edition.
Did you see that one coming??
Go, check it out!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Others, like Life In Israel and Torat Yisrael, have already opined on the most recent series of Haredi hafganoth (protests) in Jerusalem.
I will stipulate [for now] that the Haredim were wrong. On the surface, from what I can gather, the reaction was completely over the top. However, I will take the opportunity to use this case to comment on two important, related issues.
Israeli News Media
When I initially hear a report from the likes of Yedioth Aharonoth ("Idiot Aharonoth"), HaAretz ("Am HaAretz"), Ma'ariv ("Ma'aravi"), and YES, the Jerusalem Post ("Palestinian Post") say anything about Haredim, I have to assume that it is not true, or at the very least, a highly distorted depiction of what is actually happening.
Even the Jerusalem Post, I must treat with suspicion. This so-called right-wing (right of center when convenient) paper has no love for Haredim nor "overly zealous settlers" (Translation: Those who place Torah before the almighty state are subversives).
Israeli "mainstream" radio is just as bad, if not worse. For example, when another case of alleged child abuse popped up, this time in Ramath Beth Shemesh, was it really necessary to spend a half hour on the topic "This is what happens when Jews are hozrei b'tshuvah" (return to religion)? In other words, the radio commentators snatched up the opportunity to bash the religious, and to differentiate between the Haredim and Datti'im Le'umim (national religious), attempting to wide the split between these religious communities ("divide and conquer").
Fortunately, we have bloggers, who travel outside the realm of mainstream media, and what is politically-correct, in search of the truth. The two I mention above, I happen to know to be relatively objective when it comes to Haredim. Therefore, I listen to them
Of course, in this particular case when a representative of the Haredi United Torah Judaism Party [UTJ] himself is quoted by Arutz 7 (Israel National News), I can also start placing validity onto such a controversial story:
Another UTJ politician, Jerusalem Council member Shlomo Rosenstein, supported Barkat. “The mayor can't be expected to put his workers in danger in order to provide services. Or should the workers come in tanks?” Rosenstein asked.
“I respect the right to protest and demonstrate, but the damage done to city property and to companies like Egged [buses] only hurts those of us who live in these neighborhoods,” he said.
Israeli Social Services
Whenever I hear that a social worker, working for the Israeli government, is involved in a case of child abuse, domestic abuse, or senior abuse, I am also automatically suspicious, not just as a Torah-observant man, but as a mental health professional.
While living in the Shomron (Samaria), I came across several cases of divorce occurring, certainly not so unusual, unfortunate, but not unusual.
In each of these cases, the following series of events occurred:
1. Wife seeks counseling from the hiloni (secular) social worker.
2. Wife begins to go off the derekh (cease Torah observance).
3. Marriage ends in nasty divorce.
4. Wife leaves the yishuv (secular) to lead a secular life, with her wallet fillet, and the children confused.
How many of these cases have there been? The better question is how many cases like these have there been since the social worker was replaced. None. No divorces at all, in fact.
But that's just one example of the damage done by the traditionally super-leftist, secular social workers in Israel.
Neighbors of mine were threatened with There were no accusations of abuse nor neglect of the children, no accusations of domestic disputes. Nope. The only factor presented by the social worker was that she didn't think the family was providing an appropriate environment for their three-year old. You see, the oldest son [of eight] had been arrested for protesting the destruction of Jewish homes in the Shomron. The oldest daughter was in prison, awaiting trial for "Anti-Disengagement" protests (Translation She's dangerous*).
In the eyes of the social worker, political and religious views were what deemed this family's child-rearing environment to be "inappropriate," not evidence or facts.
When I was in graduate school, a course in "Cross-cultural Counseling" was a requirement. I'm only guessing, of course, but such courses here in Israel probably only emphasize Arab, Bedouin, and Druze cultures.
Studies in Haredi or Givani (hilltop) culture would be considered unnecessary. After all, social work students are already proficient in anthropology, and are familiar enough with primitive humanoid cultures.
Are you laughing? Would you like to know how many Haredim friends of mine have been called primitivi on the streets of Jerusalem? What about hilltop kids being referred to as rif-raf,...or worse? Let's just say a lot.
This is the prevailing attitude of the cultural elite in this country. Western and progressive are good. Torah-observance is nothing less than superstition run wild, and is only for the small-minded.
The social workers are their front line soldiers, battling such "primitive" ideation at every turn, paving the way for future indoctrination into secular, Israeli (undying state loyalist) society.
In my yishuv, there was a nickname for such social workers, well-before I arrived: Feminazis.
Yep. It is a pretty disgusting term. No arguments there.
That's because it's pretty disgusting what they do.
Fortunately, there are some women, religious and traditional, who are there to do [secretive] damage control. In other words, there are some good social workers out there, but they are few and far between.
The Haredi response to the investigation into alleged child abuse may have been way over the top. But, what is of no surprise and perfectly understandable is the Haredi suspicion of government representatives coming to "investigate" a concern of social services.
1. From Charedim.co.il:
(Tip Credit: Jameel @ The Muqata)"לסיכום, נראה כי הילד סבל במשך השנה האחרונה מ... (פירוט שם המחלה), אשר נמצאת לקראת סיומה, אך תוצאות של המחלה הארוכה הן ירידה קשה במשקל ומצב תת תזונה קשה".
In summary, it appears that the child has been suffering during the last year from [name of the disease] which is coming to its close, the results of this prolonged illness are severe weight loss and malnutrition.
2. Eida Hareidit President Condemns Violent Protests
27 Tammuz 5769/July 19, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, renowned authority on Jewish law and president of the hareidi-religious Eida Hareidit organization, condemned violent protests due to the arrest of a mother for suspected withholding nourishment from her child.
Rabbi Sternbuch wrote in a letter published Friday: “What we have to strongly protest here, in a peaceful manner, are the barbaric actions of the police force in arresting a woman who is allegedly sick according to their claims, and chaining her, putting her in a cell with dangerous criminals. If their allegations are true, then this woman deserves the appropriate medical treatment, but not to sit in a prison cell, with such subhuman treatment.” The rabbinic leader additionally stated, “We condemn any types of violence, I have stressed this many times before. Anyone who commits acts of violence declares that he doesn’t belong to our community. Any talk of boycotting the hospital is against the Halacha [Jewish law] and ‘very self-damaging.’ We have nothing against the Hadassah hospital, and many in our community receive their services in the Hadassah hospital with great care.”
*At one of the hearings for her to be released, until going to trial, the presiding judge was quoted as saying, "It would be dangerous for these girls to be released, as they might 'talk to other children in their yishuv.'"
Talking to friends and neighbors is dangerous?
How very frustrating it is for me that Haredim and Mithnahelim (settlers) cannot get together to work on a few common goals.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Coming back from French Hill (Please don't ask what I was doing in French Hill) toward Jerusalem's "Center of Town," friends of mine and I saw that Kvish (Road) No. 1 was blocked from Shimon HaTzadiq St. to as far as we could see south. Why? I have no idea why that would be a strategic move on the part of police.
We had to make right on . I was hoping that any rioting would be contained to the Kikar Shabbos area. My friend who was driving asked which way to go, left on Shmu'el HaNavi St. or straight on Yehezkel, which would have taken us straight to Kikar Shabbos.
He is apparentally not very good with geography. I told him to make the left, figuring we would avoid the epicenter of the rioting. Why the police were letting people through on Yehezkel, I do not know.
After some trafic and some navigation around additional vehicular, funny business, we were making progress down Shmu'el HaNavi St. On the way, I witnessed Yassa"mnikim (Israeli riot police) lined up against a building, ready and waiting, with a troop of IDF soldiers in formation across the street.
One of the Yassa"mnikim began kicking blindly at haredi passersby for no apparent reason, until his commander ran over to stop him.
The Me'ah She'arim and Beis Yisroel neighborhoods looked as if they were about to go under seige.
My suspicions were supported, as we made our way to Shivtei Yisroel St. Instead of making the usual right, we were forced back around toward Kvish (Road) No. 1. Shivtei Yisroel St. was blocked off by police officers, with billy clubs at their sides, and lit torches on the ground. They meant business.
Well, we made it out of there, but as of 11:30 PM, helicopters could still be heard circling the Me'ah Shearim, Beis Yisroel, and Bukharim neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
I successfully avoided the riots by anticipating the bus route detours, getting to where I was going on time, earlier that evening. But getting a ride back, which I thought would be faster, brought me straight into them.
Check out Astronaut Mark Polansky's Twitter Page. He already has almost 35,000 followers, and you can see why from his last "tweet" (entry):
Now, if you're like me, and want to get a tweet from space, then you'll follow Mark, too.
Let's hope Mark and the rest of the crew of the USS Endeavour make it back to Earth safely, after their mission. It appears that the space shuttle incurred some damage during lift off.
(FoxNews.com) CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Space shuttle Endeavour rocketed toward the international space station Thursday as engineers on Earth pored over launch pictures that showed debris breaking off the fuel tank and striking the craft.
Mission Control told the astronauts late Wednesday that the damage looked less extensive at first glance than what occurred on the last shuttle flight, but it will take days to sort through available data to reach a conclusion.
The astronauts planned a Thursday afternoon inspection of their ship's thermal shielding, using a 100-foot laser-tipped boom. The procedure has been standard since shuttle flights resumed after the Columbia accident.
Update: Just received "tweet" from space...
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Famous Case Ends: Shai Dromi Acquitted of Manslaughter
Hillel Fendel, 23 Tammuz 5769/July 15, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) Shai Dromi, a Negev farmer who shot and killed a Bedouin thief in January 2007, has been acquitted of manslaughter charges.
The ruling was handed down Wednesday morning in the Be’er Sheva District Court by a majority vote. He was convicted, however, on charges of illegal possession of weapons...
...At his trial, Dromi, who had had a horse and tractor stolen and several dogs killed in the few months prior to the incident, testified as follows: “I awoke at 3 AM to the barking of the guard dog that I acquired after my dogs were poisoned. Even though I was incredibly tired, I got out of bed and walked around the house. After I went back to bed, I again heard the dog barking irregularly. I went out with my weapon and didn’t see anything. I kept walking around [the perimeter of my] sheep pen, and noticed large metal wire-cutters. I panicked. I realized there were men around me."
“I heard a crash from the direction of the sheep pen. I saw four men in front of me all of a sudden. I called out to them and tried to shoot in the air, but my gun did not fire. They yelled something at me, I didn’t understand what. I felt them closing in on me. I tried to see what was wrong with my weapon and then the bullet fired… One of the four was holding a large knife or pruning shears over his head. After the first shot, I fired five more shots at the lower parts of their bodies. My life was in danger and I shot in order to chase them away.”
Dromi was kept in prison for a month immediately following the incident, and was prevented from returning to his farm for a long while after wards.
What would you have done?
The good news is that Dromi was released. The bad news is that, in some cases, the prosecution in Israel has the right to appeal the decision to a higher court. (I do not know if this case falls into this category.)
Do not expect that this will be the last case in which a Jew is accused of manslaughter or even of murder, when he was acting in self-defense. It certainly was not the first.
Look for such cases to start popping up among residents of Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria).
Police-Arab collaborative set-ups, and subsequent arrests will be (already is!*) one of the strategies employed to remove residents from their homes, easing the way for expulsions.
In the meantime, I would like to wish Shai Dromi and his family well.
Unfortunately, you should not expect to see him receive any compensation for his losses of time, money, and property.
*This strategy has been used to remove or detain Jews in Ma'oz Esther near Kokhav HaShahar and in Adei Ad near Shilo.
Monday, July 13, 2009
No, the title is not a reference to the recently invented concept of mourning practices during the "Three Weeks" between the Fast of the Fourth Month (17 b'Tammuz) and the Fast of the Fifth Month (9 b'Av).
Clinton’s Top Muslim Aide to Wed Jewish Congressman
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, 21 Tammuz 5769/July 13, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) Brooklyn, New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner will marry outside the Jewish religion to Huma Abedin, a Muslim woman who is considered one of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aides, the New York Daily News reported.
The intermarriage rate in the United States is estimated to be approximately 50 percent and has been one of the strongest forces that has diluted Jewish identity and support of a strong Israel.
This report immediately brought to mind a verse from Megillath Esther. During the chanting of the this megillah on Purim, many Ashkinazim have the custom of chanting the last part of this verse using the mournful ta'amei hamiqra* (music) used to chant Eikhah (Lamentations) on the Fast of the Fifth Month, to emphasize the gravity of what is taking place at this point in the story.
אֵבֶל גָּדוֹל לַיְּהוּדִים, וְצוֹם וּבְכִי וּמִסְפֵּד; שַׂק וָאֵפֶר, יֻצַּע לָרַבִּים...
...there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
It is truly a day of mourning, when one of our own goes off to "marry" a non-Jew. How many more Jewish babies will NOT be born, due to intermarriage?
I have come under fire for daring to call intermarriage the "Second Holocaust."
But, that's essentially what it is.
The above IsraelNN.com article continues with a list of Rep. Weiner's "pro-Israel" stances and actions.
1. Rep. Weiner introduced the "Saudi Arabia Accountability Act" in Congress (2007). (Big deal. Has it helped curb secret Saudi funding to terrorist organizations?)
2. He tried to ban the PA delegation from entering the United Nations (2006). (Big deal. He should have led the charge in the U. S. to leave the U. N.)
3. Rep. Weiner is considered a “defender of Israel” and is a supporter of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), but has not recently taken a strong stand in favor of a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. (Surprised?)
4. He did say that U.S. President Barack Obama went “too far" in opposing building for Jewish “natural growth” in Judea and Samaria. (eyes rolling - I really feel bad for this guy. He REALLY thinks he's trying to help us. But does he consider "us" to be even remotely related to him?)
5. However, Rep. Weiner also justified the president’s position. "President Obama said that part of his mission was to speak the truth to friends," he said. "Well I think that I'm doing that with President Obama--being truthful in saying that he got it wrong when he went as far as he did on settlements. That doesn't mean that I don't support him and that he's not a friend to Israel.” (Are you as confused by this doublespeak as I am? More consequences of assimilated "American Jewish education.")6. He also said that he thinks President Obama’s stand against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is designed to help PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. (Translation: Let's care about keeping a terrorist in power, so that worse terrorists don't get control,...even though that's what these people want.)
If this is "pro-Israel," then I would hate to go back and look at the statements of those members of congress who are considered anti-Israel.
I believe that he believes that he is "pro-Israel," and that he is trying to do the right thing,...even though he obvious is not. Israel is the homeland promised to Am Yisrael, and to no other. Being "pro-Israel" means believing that this cannot be compromised.
Do I blame Rep. Weiner for his marriage to a non-Jew and his distorted views on Israel? No. How can I, considering the spiritual state of the Jewish People residing in the U. S.?
"Once there was a television program which centered on the theme of intermarriage. The heroes of the piece were named Bernie and Bridget. The American Jewish Establishment put great pressure on the network that televised the series and the program was ultimately dropped. Bernie and Bridget were no longer. They had been canceled…
"How relatively simple it was to cancel Bernie and Bridget on television and how much more difficult to struggle against the intermarriage and assimilation that exist in real American Jewish life...
"...Now, Bernie, you know the tragedy, the bankruptcy of the false “Judaism” you were fed. You know it without having to open this book and read these pages. You lived it, and, I say with a sad heart, you have been twisted and crippled by it. You were robbed by all the good people who gave you everything in life except the most important things – truth, meaning, identity.
"But never think that what you have seen is the real Judaism. Far from it. The Judaism that you never saw, and never were given to properly understand exists and awaits you. Stop for a moment and consider it. Forget about trying to escape from your people, your heritage, and your destiny. Forget all the nonsense that poses as “Judaism” – the mausoleums that pass for temples; the rabbis who preach salvation for all causes except the Jewish one; the people who created G-d in their own image, making Him emerge in the form of a UJA Israel Bond, Bar Mitzvah caterer and bagels and lox. Let me help you understand who you are, who your people are, what the times we live in mean for you for them, what the future holds for you, your people, and Israel. Forget the tragedy and consider the glory.
I wish that I could quote this entire chapter here.
In another book, by the same author, the scenario is presented of Jewish parents who tell their children they must marry Jews. The children ask why. But, all their parents can do is repeat their insistence that their children should marry Jews.
They do not know how to answer their children's question. This is the tragedy.
The above chapter is entitled "Intermarriage, Assimilation, And Alienation,"** and comes from the book Why Be Jewish? (1977) by Rabbi Meir Kahane hy"d. The scenario which follows in from the first chapter of the book Listen World, Listen Jew (1980).
I mention the author only now, as for some reason, the mention of Rabbi Kahane's name tends to scare people off, people who have never read any of his work, that is.
Even though I feel like I am talking to a brick wall here, I will conclude by reminding you of the last couple of weekly Torah portions
Is Rep. Weiner familiar with these Torah portions? And, if so, how many thousands of other Jews are not?
When these portions are taught, just how much distortion is needed to ease the assimilated Jewish mind into thinking that everything he does is alright, including marrying non-Jewish women, living in a foreign land, and collaborating in the grave Torah prohibition of mesirah (handing over) of Jewish lands to its enemies?
Probably not much distorted "interpretation" is necessary.
This is the tragedy.
Rep. Weiner,...Anthony,...it's still not too late.
**Special thanks to Barabara Ginsburg for making excerpts of Rabbi Kahane's writings available online.
A buddy of mine, writer Zack Katowitz, tipped me off to an article on Haaretz.com. Of course, I prefer to call the Israeli news daily....
...instead, but that's besides the point.
The article reports on the criticism of a recently released commercial for the Israeli cellular phone (plus) company Cellcom Media, and the founding of a Facebook Group condemning it. The group, called "גם לי יש בחילה מהפרסומת החדשה של סלקום" ("I too got nauseous watching the new Cellcom ad"), is trying to convince Cellcom to pull the ad:
"We could go into the media messages spouting racism any which way, but if you have come here than you too think they're uncalled for," reads the introduction to the Facebook group. "The McCann Erickson copywriter displayed an unbelievable propensity for bad taste."
The group also centered on what they feel is offensive in the new commercial, pointing out the fact that the supposedly "good" soldiers fear the possibility that the "monster living on the other side of the wall could steal the ball - but when the ball returns to Israeli hands, we discover that that monster isn't fierce at all, and actually feels like playing with the soldiers - oh joy!"
"Good enough reason to set up a beach party under the wall, complete with sexy female soldiers and musical instruments."
Unlike fellow blogger Jameel Rashid, I couldn't care less if the ad "makes IDF soldiers look human," or not.
(I was not fooled by the the soldiers in kippoth, crying and "praying" before they threw Jews out of their homes in Azza four years ago. Were you? What they did were acts of evil. Crying did not let them off the hook, nor did citing the "rulings" of their mamlakhti "rabbis.")
I think the Facebook Group has got it all wrong. If anything, I thought that the ad refutes any claims of "Palestinian" monsterhood, and is an advocate against the wall in question, showing that those on the other side are not monsters, but playful,...and harmless.
As you know, I am a big advocate against that stupid [Ariel Sharon's defacto border] wall. My only issue with the ad is the highly inaccurate portrayal of the so-called "Palestinians."
They really are monsters.
You can watch the video below, hosted on WeJew.com, and be your own judge.
You can also check out an "alternative" Facebook Group which has sneaked into the fray...
"Anti Cellcom Ad - IDF Playing Soccer Over Wall With Settler Children"
Sunday, July 12, 2009
While attempting to add a column to my blog template, I neglected to back up my blog roll.
Needless to say that was a big mistake. I lost it, and I have been trying to reconstruct it.
If you think your blog is missing from my blog roll, please let me know.
The Welcome New Israelis Edition of the Haveil Havalim Jewish/Israeli Blog Carnival is up at How To Be Israeli.
Can you believe it's only her first time hosting!
Back in May of this year, I passed on the message that Yahoo!'s GeoCities To Close Later This Year. I only mentioned this, as I have been using GeoCities to host the images presented on my blog, and thought that some of you might be doing the same.
Well, after receiving the following e-mail message, I see that the date has now been set.
My comments can be found below in blue italics.
Important notice: GeoCities is closing.
Dear Yahoo! GeoCities customer,
We're writing to let you know that Yahoo! GeoCities, our free web site building service and community, is closing on October 26, 2009 (8 of the Eighth Month 5770).
On October 26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able to access your GeoCities account and files.
What You Need to Do
If you'd like to move your web site, or save the images and other files you've posted online, you need to act now by choosing one of the following options:
Move your site to Yahoo! Web Hosting.
We know your files are important to you, and we want to make moving to Web Hosting as easy and affordable as we can. For a limited time, you can move your files automatically, take advantage of terrific features like a personalized domain name and email, even redirect your GeoCities web address to your new site — all for only $4.99 a month for a full year.
For more information and complete terms, please see our special offer now.
(Yeah, right, and have that close down, too? I'll be looking into Picassa, Flicker, and other options instead.)
Download your files to your own computer.
With your pages and images saved offline, you can re-create your site with any hosting provider.
To quickly download your published files, visit your GeoCities web site, right-click on each page, and choose Save Page As... from the menu that appears. Choose a location on your computer to save your files, then click OK or Save. Learn more about downloading your files.
Please be aware that after October 26, your GeoCities files will be deleted from our servers, and will not be recoverable. If you'd like to save your files, you must download them now or move to Yahoo! Web Hosting. If you need assistance, please visit the help center.
We want to thank you for being a GeoCities customer, and hope you continue to enjoy our other Yahoo! services.
The Yahoo! GeoCities team
As you know, I do know usually write about American politics, because,...well,...I do not really care about American politics. This video, entitled "60," and released by the National Republican Senatorial Committee [NRSC], caught my attention.
The number "60" is a reference to the 60 Democratic or Democratically-aligned Senators currently serving in the U. S. Senate, now that Al Franken of Minnesota has finally been sworn in. The video focuses on images of Al Franken.
The video suggests that, due to Democratically controlled White House and Congress, including a now theoretically filibuster-proof Senate, we should already be thinking about the 2010 midterm Congressional elections.
Below, I have provided my 10ag on the members of Senate Class III, those up for election in 2010. If the space for commentary has been left blank, it means that I have no opinion or no clue about the Senator in question.
Feel free to leave your own 10ag in the comments section.
(And if anyone can tell me how to get rid of this huge blank space between here and the table below, please do.)
|Bayh, Evan (D - IN)|
Considered a moderate, he is a possible 2012 presidential contender, if Obama really messes up, vice-presidential replacement when Biden steps down next term for "health reasons," which he will undoubtedly do.
|Bennet, Michael F. (D - CO)|
|Bennett, Robert F. (R - UT)||Bond, Christopher S. (R - MO)|
|Boxer, Barbara (D - CA)|
Touted as a champion of the environment in the '80's [by me] while serving in the House, this "limousine liberal" from Marin County has got to go. Who will challenge her? Former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) is too conservative. Former San Diego Mayor Susan Golding (R) has been out of the limelight for too long. So, who will step up to the plate?
|Brownback, Sam (R - KS)|
Not that I care what the goyim think, he is considered Israel's best friend in the Senate. In other words, he believes in supporting Israel financially, yet also supporting the Jewish state's autonomy. Still, one should always be suspicious of the Christian Right's motivations.
|Bunning, Jim (R - KY)||Burr, Richard (R - NC)|
|Burris, Roland W. (D - IL)|
President Obama's replacement in the Senate, recent news reports indicate that he will not seek election to a full term, citing difficulties with fund raising.
|Coburn, Tom - (R - OK)|
|Crapo, Mike (R - ID)||DeMint, Jim (R - SC)|
|Dodd, Christopher J. (D - CT)|
His current term has been marked by allegations of financial shenanigans.
|Dorgan, Byron L. (D - ND)|
|Feingold, Russell D. (D - WI)|
This super liberal senator provided his sister the "rabbi" a turn at giving the Senate's opening prayers. 'Nuff said....
|Grassley, Chuck (R - IA)|
|Gregg, Judd (R - NH) |
He turned down an opportunity to be Secretary of Commerce upon sensing some White House shenanigans. He is considered as one of the few who knows what he's doing with America's wallet.
|Inouye, Daniel K. (D - HI)|
Governor Linda Lingle (R), are you reading this?
|Isakson, Johnny (R - GA)||Leahy, Patrick J. (D - VT)|
The only solution here seems to be to let Vermont secede from the U. S.
|Lincoln, Blanche L. (D - AR)|
Considered a moderate, she has not appeared to be too intimidated by the liberal Senate leadership.
|Martinez, Mel (R - FL)|
|McCain, John (R - AZ)||Mikulski, Barbara A. (D - MD)|
|Murkowski, Lisa (R - AK)|
Look for a possible challenge by her nemesis Sarah Palin, who defeated her father in the Republican primary. Palin will then be well-poised for a presidential run in 2016. I don't think that Palin is "all that," but maybe a term in the Senate will give her some much needed national and foreign policy experience.
|Murray, Patty (D - WA)|
The self-described "mom in tennis shoes" has got to go. Too liberal? Too much of an airhead? Take your pick.
|Reid, Harry (D - NV)|
Believe it or not, when he was in the minority, he was actually a big defender of Israel. Hmm... I wonder what happened. Now, he just sounds all over the place. I thought airheads only came from California. I guess they come Nevada, too.
|Schumer, Charles E. (D - NY)|
|Shelby, Richard C. (R - AL)||Specter, Arlen (D - PA)|
This senator has been in the press most recently for his party switching. Apparently, this was not the first time he has pulled such a stunt. This time around it appears to be some sort of power play, rather than an ideologically led strategy.
|Thune, John (R - SD)||Vitter, David (R - LA)|
|Voinovich, George V. (R - OH)||Wyden, Ron (D - OR)|
Friday, July 10, 2009
Actually written seven years ago, this article is still relevant today.
Good Zionists, Bad Zionists
Yoel Meltzer, 18 Tammuz 5769/July 10, 2009
"Arabs don't make such trivial distinctions."
One of the unwritten laws of war is that the winning side is allowed to do as it pleases after the cessation of hostilities. This law is even more relevant when the victor turns out to be the side that didn't initiate the war, or didn't want the war to occur in the first place.
Thus we find Israel, after its victory in a war that it initially tried to avoid in 1948, utilizing its victory to expand its territory. For several years after this war, new communities started to appear on the map, such as Ashdod in 1956, Karmiel in 1964, Dimona in 1955 and Arad in 1962 (to name just a few).
Then, nearly 20 years later, and faced with the prospect of an Arab onslaught, Israel was forced to fight another war in 1967. Like the war in 1948, that war resulted in a decisive victory for Israel. Then, once again, as it had done after its 1948 victory, Israel utilized this victory to embark on a campaign of expanding its territory. New communities started to dot the map, such as Kiryat Arba in 1972, Kedumim in 1975, Karnei Shomron in 1977 and Efrat in 1983 (to name just a few).
However, this is where the similarities stop. For some reason, the communities that were founded after 1948 have always been considered legitimate by the Israeli public, while the communities that were established after 1967 never quite managed to gain the same degree of legitimacy in the eyes of some sections of the Israeli public. They are, in fact, considered illegitimate by some here in Israel.
Of course, the argument that the latter communities were established in the midst of, or near, large Arab population centers, or "on Arab lands", doesn't hold much sway. This is so especially since the same can be said of many "more legitimate" communities started after 1948, and even of some communities started before 1948. If this is the case, then what is the reason for the different treatment of post-1967 communities as compared to that of their pre-1967 counterparts?
It seems that the only logical answer is that the earlier communities were founded by the Good Zionists (David Ben-Gurion and friends), while many of the latter, post-1967 communities were founded by a different type of Zionist; namely, by the type that believes settling Eretz Yisrael is a mitzvah, and who draws his inspiration and motivation for such ideals straight from Judaism. This is the only plausible answer as to why this second group of Zionists and the communities they have built have become stigmatized and deemed illegitimate by so many here in Israel.
Unfortunately, what many here in Israel who deem such post-1967 communities as illegitimate fail, or perhaps refuse, to understand is that in the eyes of the Arabs, all of the communities (pre-1948, post-1948, post-1967) are illegitimate. The Arabs don't make such trivial distinctions. Only we, the silly Jews, make such distinctions.
Cross-posted on Arutz 7.