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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Matisyahu the Maccabee, From the Belly of the Babylonian Beast

So I caught Matisyahu and the Wailers on the second night of Chanukah. Read about it here - check out the videos.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yemenite Aliyah? Nice.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, greets immigrants prior to a conference in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007.(AP Photo/Jack Guez, pool)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mazal Tovs All Around

In reverse chronological order:
To Yishai and Malkah Fleisher on the birth of a baby girl this morning

To Yechiel Stein on his engagement to Leah Barth

To Shulamis on her marriage to Naftali Tyberg

May you all be blessed with repeated and ever-increasing Aliyot, in familial love, clarity and closeness to your Creator, your people and your land.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Revenge of the Oleh

Revenge of the Oleh.

Share your stories of oleh justice in the comments section.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Avoda Ivrit Roundup

* Haaretz reports that the Supreme Court is actually making Avoda Ivrit more desirable by closing the loopholes allowing Jews in Judea and Samaria to exploit their Hamas-voting neighbors, outsourcing their tax evasion and taking advantage of their proximity to a mafia-run third world empire (my words, not theirs).

* Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who reportedly did not stop at telling his students they did not HAVE to refuse orders, but told them they HAVE to obey, says Avoda Ivrit is Nazism. Brought to you by Jpost and the racists at RamFM, the clueless, yet entertaining South African-run station broadcasting in English out of Ramallah.

* There is once again an Avoda Ivrit web site! The New Israel Fund, through its proxy, Mossawa closed down the old Israel-based Avoda Ivrit directory, with its webmaster replacing the site with an apology. The new site could use some reader participation.

* Hey, even professional settler-hater Jeffrey Goldberg says he once dabbled in Avoda Ivrit (not in 'Nam, of course): "In the late nineteen-eighties, I worked for a time on a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, southeast of Haifa. I was a great believer in the philosophy known as avoda ivrit—the idea that Jews will redeem their land and themselves by hard physical labor."

* - an art studio in Tel Aviv. Nice.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

JOBOPP: Jerusalem of Chocolate

From the Efrat list:

"worker required for centrally located jerusalem chocolatier - cafe.

twentyish, diligent, to operate coffee machine, make sandwiches, serve, wash
dishes. afternoons (4-10 p.m.) and fridays.

call etty 054-8081001"

Mmmmm. Chocolate in Jerusalem.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A 'Fringe' Response to Anonymous

Anonymous comments on this post:
"The Kumah mascots and the Kumatrix disagree. "What Kumah won't do to make their brand of fringe politics hip."..."Got home?"

It's just that some of you guys spew so much vitriol. And at the same time you do the things you criticize. I think it's important for someone to show you your hypocrisy. And I don't even get into the depths of it- the superficial is revealing enough.

There is good in these pages- the shmittah discussion, for example. And the basic aliyah message. But that's gotten lost in your larger fringe ideology. To really get into this website you have to believe that Jews and only Jews belong in Israel and the territories. You demonize the "enemy"- be it Palestinians, Olmert, Livni, the US, conservative Judaism.... This polarization is isolating- you can't have a real dialogue with anyone because we are all the enemy. So what do you accomplish? You become more and more convinced of your own agenda and more removed from the mainstream. And I don't care what you do in a vacuum, but your words and work have impact. I think it's important that someone point out your hypocrisies and let visitors to this site know that your views are far from universal.

My response after the jump

Dear Anon,

While I don't really understand the repeated allegation of hypocrisy, the decision to widen the scope of Kumah's Neo-Zionist message beyond promoting mass Aliyah was not taken lightly. I certainly understand the danger of all the strongly-held positions and sniping providing ear-plug fodder for anyone who is looking for it. But the point of the blog is to provide an honest, authentic voice of a real movement that can't be made to disappear by repeating "fringe" as a mantra.

In this day of media saturation, the only blogs I find worth reading are those with passionate arguments based on strongly held values. There is a huge swamp of timid journalism and self-congratulatory moderate extremists (extreme in their belief in the merit of an idea purely based on its being devoid of ideological bone structure).

I truly believe that there a Neo-Zionists on the left and would be completely open to having them join the blog as readers, commenters and bloggers - but I do not regret widening the scope of the blog's message to include politics though I myself am also sometimes annoyed by individual bloggers' posts picking fights with entire denominations over little things dug up by the amateurs at Ynet (i.e. The Great Mezuza Controversy). Not because these aren't discussions that should be had, but because the Ynet-based route to dialog is paved with ill intentions.

Lastly, your point about the lack of real dialog when opponents are considered the enemy is a blogosphere-wide issue. When someone who is but a bunch of pixels to you attacks your entire worldview, it takes a very secure an confident individual to respond in a loving, yet honest way. Sometimes a good thrashing is truly in order. Often it is not and reflects poorly on a blogger or the blog he/she writes for.

Post-lastly; you wrote: "I think it's important that someone point out your hypocrisies and let visitors to this site know that your views are far from universal."

I do not state or believe that our views are universal. I believe it rubs you the wrong way to see Jews, with and without kippot, unapologetically saying the things we say. That alone threatens your thought-stopping mechanism of being able to label something "fringe" and dismiss it without letting it roam free in your consciousness alongside other ideas, allowing for the survival of the fittest.

Thank you for reading. Please keep it up. You are welcome to choose a moniker that gives you just as much anonymity as "anonymous" but allows us to know it is you when you comment and respond. The Kumah community is universal in its openness to dialog - and I bless our bloggers on this eve of Rosh HaShanah to always type with love and think twice before ripping entire communities of Jews or gerei toshav.

Shana Tova,
Ezra HaLevi
Neo-Zionist Blogmaster

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fatah Gets Hip

What Abu Mazen won't do to make his brand of Jew-killing-while-receiving-training-from-the-Americans-and-money-from-Israel hip.

(Photos: AP's Jihadist stringers)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Great Blogging Material and a Video of Spoiled Westerners in Shechem

*My photo feature from Homesh. A trip.

*This video probably deserves its own post. Rich kids from America and Europe play cops and robbers with an IDF they know is castrated in the middle of Shechem. You can hear shouts of Allahu Akbar and see martyr posters as the Canadian-sounding girl says: "You're not gonna shoot us man!" and "Six internationals run over by an army jeep will look really bad in the papers!"

*Yuli Tamir, the Education Minister, responds to Sderot parents' decision to protest government's failure to crush Gazan terrorism by keeping their ids home from schools: "Homes are less safe than the schools."

*Avoda Ivrit at the Knesset (Hebrew)

*British paper compares Marva program with Hamas day camps

*Mmmmm. Sacrelicious.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007


(stay tuned for comment on picture at end of post)
Some links and brief comments:

Chana at Blogs of Zion
wishes CNN stuck to talking about how rotten the settlers are. She is upset that they extrapolated outward to how bad all the Jews are. I suspect for some, this thing made them hate settlers with a new urgency ('They are making the gentiles hate us").

The GM at Jewlicious posted one of my A7 pieces on the latest wave of refusals. The conversation in the comments section is worth continuing. Refusal is totally and completely what is expected of a Jewish army when faced with the moral challenges of our time. The attempt to paint the soldiers as mindless hesder guys listening to their rabbis robs them of the admiration they deserve, even from their political opponents, for being willing to go to jail for what they believe to be an illegal order.

Shoshi Greenfeld knows where it is at.

It's official: Everyone is making Aliyah

Someone please let the Jewish Exponent know that there is a singular version of the word "olim."

9-11 is coming. Heres a photo of those who were killed.

And finally, the picture: The US and Israel should be ashamed of themselves for arming Fatah terrorists without the slightest safeguards in place making certain that children handling the guns are given at least rudimentary gun-safety training. I mean, the girl's finger is clearly on the trigger!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kumah Resurrection Threat?

Kumah has never received a death threat before, let alone a resurrection-then-death-again threat. We certainly have never been threatened with being "Palestinian Farmers Fertilizer." Guess we are stepping on some pretty nutty toes over here. Enjoy:


How are you palestinian farmers fertilizer?
I will have you slaughtered over and over again, i will torture you over and over again.
God will never forget and forgive the pain you have bestowed on the people of this world.
Every time they kill you I will make you live again so they can kill you again.
Did you enjoy killing cristians?
Did you enjoy killing Muslims?
Did you enjoy killing Princess diana?
Did you enjoy stealing and suffocating workers all over the world?
The time has come to slaughter you, I will make all the people you killed live again and they will tell the world who did it.
It was YOU.
May the slaughter begin, stupid f***ing Jew.

Sister Main Gauche of Compassion

Get your Jihad name from:

For the record, we didn't enjoy killing Princess Di - we were just following orders.

You think this letter was automated in addition to the Jihad name? And don't those Jihad names sound awful Christian?

In other news: Hebrew Yishai! (Check out the talkbacks. Never seen such lengthy, thought-out talkbacks in all my days)

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Neo-Zionist Vidyas - Anarchists, Confirmed Kills and London, Oh My!

Three things for Kumite viewing:

(And you have to click "Full Post n' Comments" to see the third - way better than our old "continue" - Thanks Pinchas!)

Click here for an added bonus!

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Friday, August 03, 2007

AFP Covers Aharit HaYamim

The AFP infiltrates Aharit HaYamim's festival. Not as nasty coverage as I would expect. Good even...

West Bank: Torah, reggae and marijuana at Jewish 'Woodstock'

by Michael Blum Wed Jul 4, 6:02 PM ET

BAT AYIN SETTLEMENT, West Bank (AFP) - A group rocks to reggae in front of a large star of David while a Jewish rabbi urges a return to the faith amid a cloud of smoke: welcome to a religious Woodstock on the West Bank.

At least 1,000 people, from Orthodox youths wearing kippas to hippies sporting multi-coloured ponchos, gathered on a summer night for the 8th edition of the "Festival of the End of Time." The setting is a pine forest in the Gush Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements.

"This festival gives me spiritual power," gushes Elisheva, a 16-year-old girl from Jerusalem. "There are sparks of holiness in the air." Close to her, teenagers smoking nargilas sit on carpets, swaying to the music.

A curtain is supposed to separate females and males during dancing but in the darkness the religious interdicts are quickly forgotten and everyone mixes freely.

The festival is billed as a "unique spiritual gathering." It aims to be a meeting place for radical settlers in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank and non-religious Jews, many recently returned from spiritual journeys to India after their military service.

"Thank God all day long," chants singer Yehuda Leuchter, whose family created the festival of Jewish music in memory of their father, an American-born musician who died in 1994.

But the rabbis too have their say.

Michi Yossefi, the guru of young settlers, seizes the microphone and begins to preach the need to respect Jewish religious values to the assembled youths, who drink in his words.

He is not put off by the earrings worn by the males and the short skirts of the females -- his aim is to win back the lost sheep to the faith.

On sale at the stands erected in the forest are Indian fabrics, jewellery and CDs of the latest bands. Nearby, a couple bake bread in a rudimentary oven and offer salads and cheese to festival-goers at a modest price.

"Our message is that unity between the various strands of the Jewish people can hasten our redemption," says 25-year-old Raphael Barkatz, a Parisian saxophonist.

Moshe Karo, a 57-year-old immigrant from the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, takes the stage to sing a little known song by French artist Serge Gainsbourg, "Sand and the soldiers," the rights of which were offered to Israel in 1967.

"Yes, I will defend the sand of Israel, the soil of Israel, the children of Israel, even if it means dying for the sand of Israel," he sings in French before translating into Hebrew. "The music is a form of prayer to God," says the singer.

As the night wears on, and the families and the few adults leave, the smell of marijuana fills the air.

For Yocheved, 25, who arrived with a group of friends from Jerusalem, the evening is an occasion to relax and meet new people.

"There is a friendly atmosphere, the music is good, there is happiness," she says before taking up a tambourine which she beats in time to the musicians on the stage.

The dawn begins to break. The musicians arrange their instruments and start the morning prayers while the faraway hills glow with the rising of the sun.

OK, well I don't know about the Guru Yosefi part, but kol hakavod Michael Blum for disappointing your editor, who was probably hoping for something with a bit more blood of Christian children in it.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Literally Everybody is Making Aliyah. (Google's AliyRSS-Feed)

As an Aliyah enthusiast I have devised a Google RSS feed that links me, up to the second, to any Aliyah (or Aliya) news (in addition to any articles written by or about anyone named 'Aliyah' - a much more popular name than I ever knew, as can be attested to by this I-Phone story by Aliyah Shahid). Copy and paste this link into your RSS reader to share the excitement.

The excitement? Yeah, lately I would call it that. On a daily basis local papers around the US are publishing human interest stories about the local Jews coming home. Here are a selection:
* Danbury, CT's
American-born Giliah Ruth Librach, who was conceived in Israel and grew up always feeling it was her home, is pulling up her roots this month and going there for good.
The Feed also brought to my attention to this story, though I have reserve duty with her daughter (a mashakit chilutz) in the near future:
* JPost: Woman rabbi flies to US to preach aliya [Jpost hates capitalization -ed.]:
Shiryon's trip to the US to encourage Reform Jews to perform the ultimate Zionist act and make aliya marks a break with the official Reform stance, which could be best described as "lukewarm." Now the Reform Movement is actively encouraging its members to consider immigration to Israel.

"It has nothing to do with fears of intermarriage," said Shiryon. "The Reform Movement is very open to welcoming mixed couples. It has to do with living a full Jewish life."

* The Toledo Blade: Rabbi Heading For His Spiritual Home: Israel:
Looking back at his three years at B'nai Israel, a Conservative congregation in Sylvania, he said the life cycle numbers are not very positive.

"I've officiated at 51 funerals, 27 b'nei mitzvah, and only two weddings, and one of those weddings was for an out-of-town member," he said.

"It reflects the demographic changes in the community. The congregation is shrinking," Rabbi Leff said.
"The state of Israel is the most exciting thing to happen to the Jewish people in 2,000 years," Rabbi Leff said. "The fact that we can live in a Jewish country is truly miraculous."

* Haaretz has even took a break from getting anonymous Jewish Agency sourpusses to badmouth Nefesh b'Nefesh to note the 33-year record Aliyah from North America.

* And in case you doubt the value of an Aliyah/Aliya RSS feed, you now know that the President of Kazakhstan named his daughter Aliyah.

There really is an Aliyah revolution afoot.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Forward Admits Reporter Orly Halpern Made Stuff Up

Forward retracts (following the scathing mighty pens of these Olot). Click here for some good background and emails back n' forth. The article itself has been completely yanked and is now a dead link.

"In response to several complaints about our June 8 story “Suburbia Sells Settlers on the West Bank,” we have checked further into the accuracy of our reporting for that article.

Contrary to what we initially reported, the Kwalbrun home does not have “a Jacuzzi, a fireplace and a manicured lawn.” The sale price of Marc Gottlieb’s house in Cedarhurst was also incorrectly reported. Both Dr. Lara Kwalbrun and Marc Gottlieb report that they were misquoted.

The Forward retracts the article and we offer our apologies to the Kwalbrun and Gottlieb families for the article’s errors, and for the distress that these errors may have caused."

Orly Halpern talked her way out of Iraqi captivity, apparently. Wonder if she can talk her way out of this one (or if that Iraq story is Kwalbrun-Jacuzzi material). Click here for her claim on CNN following Hamas's victory that the Islamist party would have preferred to remain in the opposition.

Sheesh! As though leftist editors handpicking photos and slanting the facts doesn't do enough damage without creative-non-fiction interpretation of reality on the ground. I applaud the Forward's retraction and would advise other publications to fact-check past articles by Ms. Halpern.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Kill Me? You've Hardly Cured Me

"He talked to me about how they were going to destroy British and Americans. He told me that the plans were already made and they would soon be destroying the British. He said the people who cure you would kill you."

Read what an Iraqi Jihadi told a British Anglican.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gaza Caliphate Established Thanks to Jewish Nihilists

Hamas fighters kiss the ground before entering the Preventative Security headquarters in Gaza City in this image taken from TV Thursday June 14, 2007. The Hamas fighters overran one of the rival Fatah movement's most important security installations in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. (AP Photo/Al Aqsa TV Via AP Television)

You, the believers in the end of Abrahamic religion, really thought you could spread your shallow bagels-and-Khanafe religion to the proud Muslim descendants of Abraham's first-born living in the Land of Israel?

You really though that you could create Palestinian Kapos, bribed and blackmailed to perpetrate your fraud that their justice ends at the Green Line? Jews who have traded their birthright long ago for red lentils are flabbergasted that their Muslim cousins are not taking the same bait.

"Don't you see - forget about your foolish Koranic halacha that says we can't even live as non-dhimmi sovereigns here and we will make you prosperous beyond your wildest dreams."

The most bizarre part of this whole situation lately is that Al-Aksa Brigades, fully controlled and run by Fatah, has been carrying out attacks on Jews regularly, with the trickled down funding and weapons supplied by Israel and the US. "Well, they have to maintain their street cred," says some senior government strategist with no relatives in Sderot.

Though b'nai Yishmael are currently at war with us and currently our grave enemies, it is a good day when our murderers execute each other in the streets.

It is interesting that the day Shimon Peres finally rises to power is the day the Islamic Caliphate of Gaza is founded, armed with the arms he handed over, dancing on the smoldering coals of the Jewish towns he torched.

Welcome to the New Middle East. Buckle your phylacteries, it's gonna be a wild ride.

See you in Homesh within the month. Stay tuned.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Olah Olot Strike Back at Der Forvard ('The Forward' - so this will be Googlable)

A new immigrant resident of Neve Daniel figured, hey, this nice girl from Der Forvard wants to come do a story on Aliyah - let me welcome her into my home. Foward's Orly Hapern, bothered by the specter of settlers taking a little bit of Teaneck with them, writes this article (a fun read - possibly even recruiting some olim from Teaneck - but not very nice to her host family and an obvious case of creative quote-bending).

Olah Lara Kwalbrun strikes back:
Dear editors and writers of The Forward,

My name is Lara Kwalbrun and I am a resident of Neve Daniel who was interviewed by Orly Halpern for her June 6th article. I am writing to say that I am both insulted and disgusted by Ms. Halpern's opportunistic use of my hospitality as a means to misquote me and misrepresent the lifestyle my family and I live in Yesha.

To start, our home does NOT "boast" a jacuzzi, fireplace, or a manicured lawn. Neither is it "surrounded by Arab villages" but overlooks the city of Beitar Illit on one side and Efrat (with over 8,000 Jewish residents) on the other. Ms. Halpern asked me if this life isn't better than what we left behind in New Jersey and I told her that we had a nicer and easier lifestyle in America but believe strongly in yishuv haaretz.

In addition, what Ms. Halpern pens as a direct quote is nothing short of a fabrication. She writes, "'Before we found Neve Daniel, my husband told me, 'I love you and I want to live in Israel, but I'm very materialistic and if I don't have a nice house, we're not moving.'" Actually we moved to a rental in Alon Shevut in August of 2005 with no plans to buy for a while. We only purchased the house after realizing that there was very little real estate in the area that we had grown to love that was available. Our moving to Israel had absolutely nothing to do with buying a house; rather, when my husband got a job in Israel we felt that we had no good reason to stay in America regardless of the good lifestyle. We left our jobs, home, families, friends, and native country to move to Israel and Yesha where we felt that our presence makes a difference in what is the ancient heartland of Eretz Yisrael; my family and I resent what we consider to be a libelous and fictitious representation of our goals and the words I used to define them. In addition the openness with which we greeted Ms. Halpern was returned with an attempt on her part to trivialize and reduce the American-Jewish struggle to leave what is easy and safe and re-cast themselves as immigrants in a land that is both strange and wonderful.

My family and I expect that The Forward will take some sort of action to rectify the egregious errors and misrepresentations that make up Ms. Halpern's article. At the very least she should apologize to my husband whose decision to move here was out of love and responsibility despite the fact that he speaks no Hebrew and cannot yet practice medicine in this country.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Dr. Lara Kwalbrun

Her neighbor, Laura Ben-David, wrote:

I was excited to read the article "Suburbia Sells Settlers on the West Bank" by Orly Halpern (June 6) as it is about Neve Daniel, the place that I've called home for the past five years. I'm sorry to say that I was utterly disappointed. We, too, moved from a lovely home, ours in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida. Your article suggests that we are a bunch of rich snobs looking for a great real estate deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. We left Boca Raton and its green, manicured, country club-like atmosphere for something real. We left what was physical and material for something genuine and spiritual. We left what had merely been our home to create a new life in our homeland. A wonderful, meaningful, and truly enjoyable life. One that is not bound by the trappings of "keeping up with the Joneses"; A burden that we were only too happy to be rid of.

Once we chose to make the big move to Israel, choosing where to live was huge. We made several pre-Aliyah trips, and did a lot of research. In the end we chose Gush Etzion for one main reason - neither materialistic nor political in nature. We chose the Gush for its excellent education. Yes, education. Having brought four kids with us, from 7th grade down to kindergarten, we wanted to make sure to meet their needs. So we chose Gush Etzion. As for Neve Daniel, we chose it for the weather, the amazing people and the truly unbelievable 360 degree views.

Our life is nothing like it was in Boca. Like many of our friends who made Aliyah, we sacrificed lots of things like a second car and a swimming pool. Plus, we need to watch our budget much more carefully than we did in America. Is it worth it? And how! We are no longer in the "rat race". Our lives are so much richer than ever before; our happiness is deeper; I can honestly say that we are content. My "take home message" is that Israel is not about a standard of living - it is about living to a higher standard.

Laura Ben-David
Neve Daniel, Israel

Author of "MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal"

My take? It is a blessing that comfortable communities like Neve Daniel exist. Folks like Ms. Halpern are always looking for different ways to mock or mourn the return of Jews to Judea. The moral of the story (for those who didn't know already): The Forward operates under the same ethical assumptions and directives as Haaretz - it ain't your grand-daddy's yiddish paper no more.

There is a tendency among Israel news readers to sometimes be dismissive of Arutz-7, due to what is seen as its obvious 'bias'. The truth is that there exists no Israeli news site without a bias - the problem is dishonesty and lying about the facts. A news agency's responsibility is to be honest about its underlying assumptions: whether they be that UN resolutions and a leftist interpretation of international law are Divine, or whether the Jewish people's right to the Land of Israel is both historically and Biblically mandated; Arutz-7 operates under the latter assumption. The other news agencies operating in Israel are not honest about their underlying assumptions, but far worse, have no compunctions about playing with facts, quotes and statistics to bolster the editorial line. I am not saying A7 never makes mistakes, but I truly believe it is as close as you can get at this point in time to honest journalism in Israel (this is without even going into the corporate ownership and state-control of Israeli media and the Federation and Big-Leftist-Jewish money bolstering papers like the Forward).

Update: Laura Ben-David's letter is due to be printed in The F, albeit they changed her home country from Israel to the narrow strip of land holding the west side of the puny Jordan River from spilling over (hat tip: NG, who would never miss and opportunity to accost such offenders)

Another letter sent to the Forward (and then to me):
To the Editor,
It is too bad Orly Halperin was so focused on the materialistic aspect of the high standard of living found in Yesha communities in Israel. This fact is not really "news", as all over the world communities outside of major cities are more affordable and more spacious. Suburbs in America are always about a better materialistic standard of living. Although I would not exagerrate to the extent that Ms. Halpern has, making Neve Daniel sound like the "Bel Air" of the settlements, when in most cases families still sacrifice much to come here, such as a second car, or a pool, and lets not forget that "jacuzzi and fireplace" which is not standard equipment in homes even in Neve Daniel; it is still true that it is an easier transition for Jews from U.S. suburbs to move to places like Gush Etzion. However, a much more important story would be to focus on the clear improvement in the more spritual aspects of living in a community. No matter how wonderful the Jewish communities of Cedarhurst, Teaneck or in my case Los Angeles, it is another world here in our "gated communities" more aptly described as "yishuv kehillati", or "Congregational Community". On a yishuv, such as Neve Daniel, or Alon Shvut where I am from, there is a spirit and social cohesion which is impossible to create in an American suburb. This is the true reason many American Jews seem to be coming to the 'burbs here in Israel. This enormous improvement in the spiritual quality of life which is attained by coming to yishuvim is the real story and is worthy of an article in the Forward, and not the trivializing of the true nature of "yishuv ha' aretz" (settling the Land) which Ms Halperin's article so deftly does. I invite Ms. Halpern to come visit Gush Etzion again, for any holiday of her choosing, or Shabbat, as my guest, and I and my family and my community will show her the true appeal of Yesha and Israel.

Donna Zeff
Alon Shvut
Gush Etzion

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Confessions of a Shavuot Hater - by Benyamin

The following is an essay called "Confessions of a Shavuot Hater" by Benyamin, the same mysterious semi-anonymous contributor who won Kumah a silver metal for Best Humor Post for his "Becoming a Real Israeli" confessional.

Thoughts on Shavuot
by Baruch Ben-Galut

My earliest memories of Shavuot are of my Consecration ceremony. Although I was very young, I was nevertheless aware that Consecration was not cool. No matter how satisfying or memorable your synagogue experience was, you can probably find something disturbing. My large suburban conservative American synagogue had many. Although I appreciate the religious basis I received, there was a healthy dose of synagogue experiences that turned me off to being Jewish as well. One of these was Consecration.

Somehow I knew even back then that this was some kind of a set-up. Some kind of trick to get me to go to Sunday School or Hebrew School or both every week so I could get a quality Jewish education. Not too Jewish, because, heaven forbid, I could end up making aliyah and then I would not grow up to be a dues-paying synagogue member with a doctorate and 2.5 kids.

Consecration involved the graduating class of 1st grade Sunday School marching around the synagogue with little miniature Torah's. The thought alone of standing in front of that many people was traumatic. On top of this terror, I was convinced there was something worse.

The word Consecration did not sit well with me. It sounded way too much like the word circumcision and I was still trying to figure out what that one meant and if it made me any less of a man then my classmates in public school. Further more, the word Consecration sounded suspiciously Christian to me. It definitely didn't sound Hebrew. And I wasn't going to be tricked into being Christian. I heard some of the students in public school talking about some kind of consecration at their church. I didn't know much about being Jewish, but I knew that we Jewish folks didn't go to church and that we had some kind of unspoken obligation to think of church with aversion.

My Jewish consciousness was strong at a young age. That is until I ruined it by abandoning my people by moving to a strange Middle Eastern country on the shores of the Mediterranean where they barely had any conservative or reform synagogues let alone a Sunday School.

Being Jewish to me meant being a Grinch. I was compelled to flip the TV channel whenever a Christmas movie came on. We received presents on Hanukah, not that other holiday. That's what made me special. But the word 'special' doesn't always have positive connotations.

This brings us up to the holiday of Shavuot, the most forgotten holiday of them all and yet perhaps one of the most important. I get presents on Hanukah. I eat apples and honey on Rusha Shonah. On Passover my whole family comes over and I get to eat a big meal. On Yom Kipper, I don't eat anything, that is, if I�m hardcore enough and punk rock enough to go through with fasting an entire day.

Every holiday seems to have something. Shavuot has nothing. Nothing that is, except Consecration. I eventually went through with the ceremony but it was but a precursor to my Bar Mitzvah. I failed in finding a good way out of that as well. I also failed in my elaborately planned protest against the degradation of Hebrew School Graduation. But I tricked them all by moving to Israel and thus sparing my children from the same experiences.

Shavuot. The day we received the Torah. One of the three pilgrimage festivals. This is a big one. Surely there should be some kind of ritual to celebrate it. But there isn't. Maybe that's the point. The concepts expressed on Shavuot should be taken on their own merit without any extras.

Eventually I discovered that there more to being Jewish then the fact that I get presents on a different day then the people on TV do. I also found that my Jewishness does not end at my bar mitzvah in a 13 year old mentality. That doesn't mean that my thoughts at age 13 are not legitimate. They are. But I'm not 13 any more and my Jewishness has to grow along with me. Because you can't be proud of who you are if you're walking around apologizing for what you are.

My synagogue experience didn't make me feel particular proud of my roots, but I discovered something that did. It had something to do about fighting for a cause and protesting against injustice. I learned all about a movement to create an independent nation in the face of great adversity. It went by a name that begins with the letter Z but I also learned that we're not supposed to use that word anymore. In college it had negative connotations.

By the time I got to college I felt strongly enough that I refused to go to school on Shavuot. Instead I went to shul. Finals happened to be on the same day as Shavuot, the second day, that is. I asked the professor if I could take the test a day later. A fellow Jewish student overheard the conversation. "That's right! Shavuot IS next week, isn't it." He too asked the professor if he could take finals a day later. The professor, smiling, refused on the grounds that he knew I would go to synagogue while my classmate just wanted an extra day to study. The student admitted the professor was right. I took the test a day later and passed.

It wasn't always that easy. Once in high school, I got in trouble and had to get a note from the principal's office. The next day was Shavuot. I thought I could get away with not bothering to go to the principal's office at all. But I didn't get away that easy. At home it was insisted upon that I get the note either before or after synagogue.

And thus came the great dilemma. What would the others students say when they saw me waltzing into school with a button-down white shirt and black slacks? Should I wear the clothes I usually wore to school? But then what would the rabbi in synagogue say? Should I leave my kippah on or not? What would the other students say when they saw me in a kippah? Would I get a nasty comment? Did it make any sense for me to walk in school with a button-down white shirt and black slacks and no kippah? Would that be even more awkward?

That day, I cut school, went to shul, then went to school, got the note and then went home. The next day in school the only comments were the fact that I had cut school. In my school, it was just as likely that I was dressed up because I had to appear in court. Most of my friends just assumed that I cut for fun. My Jewishness wasn't questioned in the least. By the next school year I was wearing a kippah every day, both in school and in the street.

Although my non-Jewish acquaintances were understanding, the yom tov dilemma always cropped up. I dreaded holidays because it meant asking off from work and explaining why I couldn't use electricity. But worse then that was trying to explain why the holiday was celebrated two days in America when it seemed to be that technically it was really only one day. Shavuot was the worst, since, as discussed earlier, it is the least known and least celebrated of the holidays. Even Jewish people didn't exactly understand. In Conservative and Reform Judaism, of course Shavuot is only one day.

Two-day yomtovs are great when it means Passover with two seders and all my favorite foods two days in a row. But on a holiday like Shavuot, especially when it comes on a Shabbos, it means up to three days without showering. It was a happy occasion if The Jewish Press arrived before sunset so I could devour the screaming blue headlines that predicted utter catastrophe for Israel at any minute. And I dreamed of that far off country with blue skies and palm trees where I could fight for the struggle and watch TV on the second day of yomtov.

But those concerns are now worlds away. This year, Shavuot will take on a new meaning. We learned in Sunday School that Shavuot was a day when the entire Jewish people made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Then we were taught of the importance of not chewing gum during synagogue services. I doubt any of the students in 1st grade Sunday School believed that Jewish people in modern times actually make pilgrimages to Jerusalem for Shavuot. Growing up, travelling to Shavuot services required either the Volvo or the Honda. Today I can walk to the site of the Holy Temple where Shavuot has been celebrated for generations.

In Israel, I've barely thought for a second what the reaction would be if I wore a kippah in public or how I'm going to explain to my boss why I need off for yet another Jewish holiday. I'm still afraid, however, to use the Z word in certain circles, let alone neo-Z.

Moving to Israel did not magically transform my life for the better. It's a challenge which I've taken up. The new challenges that are far preferable to the once I grew up with. My identity issues have been transformed for the better.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Exclusive Photos: Dozens of Leading Rabbis Make Aliyah to the Temple Mount

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

See, I Knew it Was 'Tipex'

So Tipex has finally explained why they started spelling their name "Teapacks":

We were originally called Tipex, as in wipeout fluid, because we are trying to wipe out differences between people. We are combining together different kinds of Israel, like Arab Jew Israel with East European kind of Israel. But we found out there are students that are sniffing this fluid and it caused brain damage so we changed our name to Teapacks. We didn't want to take responsibility for this.

I know some guys named Ehud who should maybe change their names so friends of theirs don't maybe vote guys named Ehud into power.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Even Ma'an News Agency Reports Arab Uprooting of Jewish Agriculture While Haaretz Remains Silent

Palestinian Authority-controlled Ma'an News Agency beat Haaretz to reporting on Arab uprooting of vineyards and trees at Sde Boaz.

So they lied about the facts in the article, but at least the title acknowledges for the record the widespread phenomenon of Islamic agricultural warfare.

Ynet, Yediot Acharonot's news site, finally saw fit to acknowledge the campaign of uprooting and destruction waged against Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria by Arabs and leftist activists and "internationals."

OK, they didn't phrase it that way, but reporting that the Arabs uprooted Jewish vineyards is a start. Thanks Efrat Weiss.

Of course, this stuff has appeared in Arutz-7 for years already. Check out my Friday coverage.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Down on Maon Farm, Songweaver and the ADL: A Roundup

  • NRG has a great video of famous Israeli singer Sharon Rotter ("Ani Arutz Aleicha") visiting her relatives, the Dribbens, at Havat Maon (slated for destruction). She performs there for the hilltop/forest community's women. "It's like going to India without leaving Israel" she tells the interviewer.
  • This article takes a phenomenon caused by a pretty clear policy-choice and draws the completely wrong conclusion.
  • Jonathan Mark puts more delicately and less emotionally the sentiment I tried to convey in this piece from before the Disengagement.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You Have to Bear Left When Swimming to the Holy Land

Funny. Featuring Josh Fleisher, who was listed as a guest blogger on this very blog for almost four days. He also designed the graphic atop the right-hand column and is wearing a pretty bitchin hat in this clip. Without further ado...

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Photo Essay: As The Siren Sounds

My Yom HaShoah Photo Essay: As the Siren Sounds

(Thanks Pinchas for sending in a photo from the GS)

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vineyards Uprooted, Trees Destroyed, Media Silent Because They Were Planted and Tended by Jews

If a man is like the tree of the field, as they say, then we were victims of a massacre Friday at Sde Boaz.

Read all about it on A7

Will anyone else (besides Omedia) report it this time?

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Prediction Fulfilled: Peres Says to Prepare Our Move into the Sea

Peres calls to start planning for the "day after" we are thrown into the sea

I SO called this less than a month ago in this post:
We really may see a day when "pragmatic" voices will suggest that we use modern technology to really allow the Arabs to drive us into the sea, where we can live comfortably on man-made landmasses and cruise-ships. ("It is the only way to allow the Muslim world to save face," they will explain. "They were promised by their leaders that they would drive us into the sea and once we are all there, their hatred will subside and we can totally visit mainland, including Hevron and Jerusalem, until nightfall, when we must return to our dingies.")

[Disclosure: Though I work at A7, I had no contact with the author about the story prior to its publication and I don't believe he saw my original blog post either]

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Post-Pesach Links That Make You go Kumah

  • Haaretz offers a fairly accurate reading of the extra-parliamentary lay of the land among the Land of Israel groups, as well as weekly "parsha" sheets (though they forget Yechiel's).
  • Ari Shavit stops short of offering the explanation for what brought us to the place his disillusioned soldiers describe. “No, the war didn't start this. The war didn't cause the crisis…" He can’t quite put his finger on it. Here's a hint, Ari. The D word – no, not that one - you used that plenty. I'm talking the meaningless one Eyal Arad came up with that sounded way better than retreat.
  • Omedia launches in English. Covers the leftist/Arab assault on Sde Boaz orchards.
  • I could have sworn I heard Channel 2 TV call the new Jewish property in Hevron Beit Hameriva (Conflict House) as though that were its name (the real name is Beit HaShalom - Peace House). I though I must have misheard. Turns out I didn't. Ruti Avraham explains (in Hebrew A7).
  • Aviad Vissouly weighs in on the legal aspects of Israel negating the right of Jews to purchase property (also Hebrew A7).
  • ADDeRabbi makes me laugh with: "I was simply surprised that carrying in a ‘carmelis’ would be someone’s ‘line in the sand’ (sorry, bad pun) for observance."

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  • Sunday, April 08, 2007

    From Neve D. to Sde B.

    One beautiful sunny morning, in Sde Boaz, the HaLevi family decided that it was simply a crime to stay indoors. They had persuaded the Brenner family all the way from Neve Daniel (about a two minute drive away) to join them on a short hike, and get to know the outskirts of Sde Boaz. And so- we went on our journey, and Ezra and Miriam turned out to be quite good tour guides.

    We said we would meet at the Ma'ayan (spring) next to Sde Boaz. Ezra had explained to us how to get there, but we still got lost and found ourselves wandering around a vineyard. We didn't mind because the view was absolutely amazing! We eventually found our way back with the help of Ezra calling us from beyond the fence.

    The cold clean water of the spring felt really good, and we sat around and talked for a little while, but it was really difficult to get Ze'evi, our son, to stop throwing rocks into the spring, so we decided to move on.

    As we walked on the dirt road and admired the view we passed a well (or a cistern, I'm not sure), and then our tour guides showed us an ancient mikve full of water, that they and the Neve Daniel youth had excavated.

    At the end we were invited to their house and Ezra made the best matzah-brei we have ever tasted!

    Thank you Ezra and Miriam- you guys rock!!!!

    Here are some photos of our day in the coolest Yishuv ever: Sde Boaz.

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    That ISP Commercial With the 'Kravi Zeh Hachi' Guy in 'Iran'

    The following ad plays on some of the deepest emotions of many Israelis - the very fantasies that allowed the Oslo Accords and their various reincarnations to occur and the instincts that make folks like Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert state plainly that a "political horizon" must be created, whether or not one exists in reality.

    This is not a bad thing necessarily. There is nothing wrong with yearning for a time when we can minagev hummus in Tehran (though the video clip could not even be filmed there, but was shot in Turkey I believe), but making connections over the Internet (the commercial is for an Israeli Internet Service Provider) is truly more likely to bring that day about than surrender of our birthright piece by piece.

    What is even more likely to bring this day about is the Sinaitic Road Map for Peace, aka the Torah. And I'm not talking about going through as many motions as possible until the Temple falls out of the sky, but about implementing the national obligations that have fallen upon us since our return to our land (establishment of a Sanhedrin, observance of the Shemitta year, the assertion of the kind of sovreignty over the Temple Mount that would enable the obligation to bring the Korban Pesach to be actualized, etc.).

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    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Aharit HaYamim: Redemption Rock, Indigenous Jewsic

    Aharit HaYamim is true redemption rock. The members of this musical movement have come on Aliyah from across the globe to bring new songs to the nation of Israel, who will collectively sing them to the harmony of the entire world.

    I have written about the band and the annual music festival they put on ever since hearing them play in a Jerusalem cave and running into lead singer Yehuda around Musrara between gigs. Here are some video clips I just found of them:

    And here is their web site and MySpace page (where a bunch of their songs can be heard/downloaded)

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    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    Ariel Zilbers Sings of Homesh, Kumah and Returning Home

    Israeli pop icon turned radical Land of Israel activist Ariel Zilber nailed the emotion surrounding the return to Homesh with his latest anthem (includes a Kumah shout-out)

    Click here to check it out.

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    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Kumah Does Facebook

    By popular demand: The Kumah Facebook Group.

    (I think the way facebook is built, you can only see it if you join Facebook)

    Viva la Alia Revolucion!

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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Things That Make Ya' go Kumah

    As a news writer, I wade through hundreds of articles, press releases, email forwards and anthrax-laden pieces of snail mail a day. Below, I offer you the most interesting stuff I saw in a 24 hour period sometime last week (or so. It got put aside, but remains riveting):

    Birthright B'Aliyah (B'Taoot?)

    Flora B'Aliyah

    Columbia U Prof On the Teaneck First-step-on-Aliyah-to-Yesha fair (He much prefers Haim Yavin at the JCC)

    If the face of Israel to American Jews is the face of settlement beyond the separation barrier deep into the West Bank - not settlement in the Negev or Galilee, which could enjoy across-the-board support - then the prophecy indeed will fulfill itself. Zionism will become the province of only those who define it most stridently and most controversially. Zionism will become tantamount to Eretz Yisrael rather than Medinat Yisrael. And that is a dilemma for America Jewry just as surely as for its Israel brethren.

    I guess he prefers expropriating land from Arab Bedouin in the Negev and invading the Galilee (from the perspective of the Arab residents). I can't wait for Haim Yavin's documentary on that. Then these folks will start only donating toward building taller and taller skyscrapers in Tel Aviv. We really may see a day when "pragmatic" voices will suggest that we use modern technology to really allow the Arabs to drive us into the sea, where we can live comfortably on man-made landmasses and cruise-ships. ("It is the only way to allow the Muslim world to save face," they will explain. "They were promised by their leaders that they would drive us into the sea and once we are all there, their hatred will subside and we can totally visit mainland, including Hevron and Jerusalem, until nightfall, when we must return to our dingies.")

    Why does The LA Times recognize Israel's 'right to exist'? Excellent question. It is just a matter of consistency and justice.

    Benny Morris, the Christ-turned-Anti-Christ of Post-Zionism and the New Historians explains to the Washington Post why transfer is the way it has got to be.

    If you will it Dude, it is no dream - Im Tirtzu. A neighbor's project (Hebrew only)

    And the grand finale! The Machlises finally have their own web site

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    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Kotel is the Place to be Tuesday

    Two awesome Rosh Chodesh prayers tomorrow at the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount:

    6:45 AM - Nusach Eretz Yisrael minyan with Rabbi Bar Hayim, the man who has revived the original unifying tradition of prayer in Israel.

    8:00 AM - Joyous Reb Shlomo/Rebbe Nachman Rosh Chodesh Minyan led by Master of Prayer Rabbi Ezra Amichai (nee Friedland-Wechsler), known for hosting scores of Jews for Shabbat meals and elevating hundreds each time he leads prayers at the Wall.

    My hope is that folks turn up for both minyanim - a double-header of holistic indigenous Jewish prayer to ring in Nissan, Redemption Month according to our sages.

    As for the Nusach Eretz Yisrael minyan - this is truly a historic event. Though there are weekly Nusach Eretz Yisrael (NEY) prayers in Givat Sha'ul at the Machon Shilo Beit Midrash (and last year, mincha on Purim at Sde Boaz) - this is the first time it is being returned to such close proximity of the Temple Mount.

    For Rav Bar Hayim's (the spiritual leader and inspiration of the not-militant-enough Kitniyot Liberation Front)main mission statement in essay form click here. I recommend his essays on Mordechai's reception by the 'gedoilim' of his time, lulav on shabbat, shofar on shabbat and especially his examination of the blue Techeilet as representative of the deep-seated problem that affects many in our people's God-fearing rabbinate.

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    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Snow Day!!!

    After years of Jerusalem fake-out snow days (You know. You wake up and there is snow and everyone is all excited and there are some good pictures to be taken but then it turns to rain, melts and life goes on) it takes living on a hilltop above 3,000 feet to have a true snow day. We are truly snowed in here.

    The only problem is that the rest of the world has no idea and thinks you are joking when you tell them why you aren't coming to work/a meeting/an appointment.

    Enjoying our personal Sde Boaz snow-day nonetheless.

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    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Internal Post-Disengagement (or Pre-the next one) Struggles in Gush Etzion

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Shin is for Shushan

    I was spotted and snapshotted by Mobius of Jewschool whilst on the prowl for the mother of all Shushan Purim photo essays (to be posted on A7 tomorrow, hopefully). A prize for whoever can explain exactly what my costume is.

    Good Purim everybody. I don't remember saying havdala, do you? OK then. Still Purim, since there is a safek - at least until seder night.

    In that spirit, check out my story on the Old Winemaker. He is the real deal.

    In other news, little kids everywhere, as well is bigger kids who like candy, have begun pesach cleaning - by that I mean they have been eating copious amounts of leavened junk food they received in mishloach manot from their friends and neighbors.

    I leave you with my top ten items received in mishloach manot and invite readers to post their own lists in the comments section:

    10: Mekupelet (who knew chocolate became so good when you ran it through a pasta machine)
    9: A giant tub of assorted Marzipan bakery stuff (with the rugs on the bottom)
    8: Pancakes al haboker
    7: Pumpkin Pie Hamentashen (oznei Haman, for those of you with contempt for any remnant of yiddish)
    6: Pickled veggies
    5: Reese's PB cups
    4: Homemade apple butter
    3: Smirnoff Apple something-or-other Vodka in a super cool bottle
    2: Homemade granola (actually given to someone else who then left it at our place)
    1: Dudaim (Mandrakes)

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    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Israel Sends Sderot Band to Eurovision to Stick it to the (Ha)Man

    The people of Israel - and I'm talking the TV watching, Eurovision-caring majority everyone is always trying to pander to and mind-read - have sent the world a Purim message: We are fixing to hang Hamanadinejad from a pole and are sick of slicing up our tiny birthright.

    Well, after having the Defense Minister as a resident and after the government enacted a one-sided treaty over the heads of their young, most had given up hope in the people of Sderot rising up and taking to the streets. It turns out, a few of them have: Tipex - the band (who insist on spelling their name Teapacks, which they explained in their famous interview with Jewish music radio guru Ben Bresky.)

    Teapacks, representing Israel in this years Eurovision (a competition usually consisting of annoyingly messageless songs that cross borders due to the common meaninglessness of pop music in most countries) submitted songs for the approval of their fellow countryman.

    The song that won is called "Push the button" and ridicules Jihadists worldwide, starting with Hamanadinejad. The Scandinavian Nazi (the great thing about blogging is you can call whoever you want a Nazi!) organizers are already himming and hawing about the song - but the funny part is that should they disqualify it - an even better one is waiting in second place.

    Salaam Salami is that song. It is a hilarious, yet dead focused indictment of the Oslo Accords and their Land-for-Peace successor the Road Map. It is also all in Hebrew, unlike Push the Button, which is in English and French as well.

    In honor of Purim, a song representing Queen Esther has been chosen to enter Europe's pathetic kings' court. Instead of sending a Yemenite Jewish she-male to sing an ode to Cleopatra and Aphrodite (in 1998, when Israel had its third and last Eurovision victory) - Israel is sending a band of good-humored dudes from Sderot with a message to the world: The nation not only lives, but will no longer bow down.

    Salaam Salami comes straight out and calls for en and to the policies of shaving off salami slices of the Jewish homeland, ending: לא כולם רוצים שלום - אז אולי מספיק

    Teapacks's Koby Oz also always acknowledges the Most High.

    (Thanks to Kikar Israel for the streaming songs linked above)

    Here are the live versions voted upon by Israelis:

    After seeing this video of Salaam Salami, I am hoping the Eurovision folks ban the first one - this one rocks!:

    And here is Tipex, back in the day expressing the non-Sabbath observant Israeli's affinity for the restful nature of Sabbath in Israel and giving a shout-out to Arutz-7:

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    Tuesday, February 27, 2007

    Even Though We Ain't Got Squirrels...

    So here in Israel, in the age of globalization, you can now easily procure Heinz Ketchup (In Israel it used to be Pesach year-round ketchup-wise -- you know, cinnamony), Dr. Pepper (Efrat, Raanana and even Chofetz Chaim at the shuk), Dr. Browns (ditto), Mountain Dew (only Efrat), Ortega taco shells (everywhere) and even Ben & Jerry's. But there is one thing that is totally missing: Squirrels.

    So here is your pre-Purim squirrel-fix, fellow Olim. And the guy singing the song is even named Israel (though he is Hawaiian)

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    Monday, February 26, 2007

    We're Dreamin' of a Persian Purim

    Mekubal Rav Batzri has attracted the attention of the Associated Press with his organizing of thousands of Jewish children to pray for a modern Nahafoch Hu for the modern day Hamanadinejad (notice, all I switched was the first three letters - a Persian friend tells me that the local pronunciation is actually more similar to what I just wrote than Ahmedinejad). AP writes (reprinted in the Int'l Herald Tribune):

    Batzri's idea came from the biblical story of Purim, whose protagonist Mordechai organized mass prayers to stop Haman, a royal counselor, from killing all the Jews in the ancient Persian kingdom. In the end, the king hanged Haman instead. Purim starts the evening of March 3.

    When asked what the purpose of the current prayers was, Rabbi Menachem Bassi, head of the school, said: "You know what happened to Haman."

    Jpost printed the story and had the last quote slightly different. "You know what happened on Purim," it read. Indeed, it was not just Haman who met his demise and it was not just the king who got his hands dirty.

    Click here for full story

    (Hmmm, Jpost has now left out that last paragraph)

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    Photos of Erez Levanon, of Blessed Memory, May God Avenge His Blood

    Click here for continuously updated story.

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    Haaretz Deliberately Violates Wishes of Grieving Jews

    (Imagined scenario of how the following insult to the mourning family of the Jewish man stabbed to death last night next to Bat Ayin took place at Haaretz):

    Haaretz editor: They found a murdered settler. Tie it into the IDF's incursions into Nablus and see if you can somehow convey the message that the guy had it coming.
    Haaretz writer: Well, we just got a call that the family asked that the media not publish his name. Usually we respect the family's request, at least until the funeral.
    Haaretz editor: So publish his hometown and stick in his last name. Let the family suffer. They forfeited their right to grieve when they moved out there. Maybe call up the ISM and internationals staying in Beit Omar and tell them today is a great day to uproot the guy's orchard, also. Also, don't mention he was meditating right near his home, make it seem like he was out gallivanting near the Arab village.

    This has been up all morning (blur added by me):

    That kind of thing is inexcusable.

    Update: Name has now been released. Erez Levanon, 42. He was a student of Rebbe Nachman of Breslav who went nightly to recite Tikkun Hatzot and meditate in the forest. It was there that his murderers waited for him.

    : So the name was apparently released around 6 AM, leaving Haaretz in the clear legally for the article pictured above (updated at 8:06). However, they still include the line about the family's request at this time (11:09), as though to advertise the fact that they disregard such requests. Or it could be just a careless mistake. Either way, worth reporting.

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    Saturday, February 24, 2007

    "You Mean It Isn't Climb-Proof?!"

    Amir Peretz, after receiving his daily intelligence report ("just give me pictures - no words, please"): You mean to tell me we are partitioning the land, establishing an Islamic state in the heart of where we are supposed to be building a functioning Jewish entity based on our Sinaitic mandate and the blueprint we call the Torah and we didn't make this danged security fence climb-proof?!

    Advisors/handlers: Uh, sir. We didn't know how to draw this out for you, but a memo was sent out a while back briefing the government on the fact that the security fence is actually a Partition Wall. It is actually detrimental to security due to our having to deploy on either side or abandon a ten mile radius to missile attacks, but we are pretty sure the people are onto us and this is our last chance to ditch the territories. Oh, and the fact that it is a wall - we assumed you could surmise that by looking at it. One of the interns must have left their hasbara booklet lying around your desk - you see, just because some of it is fence does not mean all of it is fence.

    That whole debate was just a distraction anyway. The right was against the idea of drawing a border so we couched it in terms of security and managed to convince the Hague to come out against it. It was a brilliant plan and it worked like a Jedi mind-trick. "If the Hague's against it, I'm for it" said all the right-wingers, and voila - the holy wall was erected.

    Peretz [twiddling moustache]: Um, I'm really sorry. I was not listening to a word you just said. Is the wall climb-proof or not?


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    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Shabbat Shalom.

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    LINKavod Shabbat Kodesh

    So I haven't had a TV in forever. I get all my multi-media via the Internet. Maybe I was ahead of my time a couple years back but this is quickly becoming the norm. By the time my grandkids read this they will guffaw and say to one another "Ha! Saba used a computer to watch stuff - I can't believe he didn't have it beamed directly onto his retinas like we do now!"

    So in what will become a feature on this Neo-Zionist Überblog, allow me to share with you a selection of links and video clips of interest:

    A call to end Jewish prayer at the Western Wall
    (not by a descendant of Ishmael)
    Rabbi Bar Hayyim and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner - virtual debate on following illegal orders
    How to properly sit at your computer
    Palestine National News Talks up the "Zohar Palace"
    Ta Katom (Orange Cell) in Homesh with U2
    Natalie Portman pulls a Natan Gesher with some of the most typical of Israeli news photographers
    Fanta laughs at Rachav. Who is the target audience?
    West Bank Story
    Suha Arafat emails Jack. Hilarity ensues.
    "Winkie" gives the lowdown on the Naveh-Rennert-Bina connection
    David Druce launches Jewish Geography. You'll love it as much as the real sport.
    Captivating and even entertaining documentary by a British dude that bunks with American Nazis for a week.

    And I'll end of with a quote from Bob M. that came on randomly as I was posting:

    "I'm a gonna take a just one step more,
    Cause I feel like bombing a church
    now that you know that the preacher is lying,
    So who's gonna stay at home,
    when the freedom fighters are fighting?"

    -Bob Marley, "Talkin' Blues"

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    Nothing beats oleh art. I call it Olart.

    ("Dude, I just Olarted!")

    Anyway, check out the story and the exhibit itself.

    Speaking of art, here is some Tel Aviv installation art using fruit and a phonograph stumbled upon by Reb Ezra (the other Ezra - the head of the Lamed Vavnikim in the Old City and the soon-to-be opened Jerusalem Soul Center):

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    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Live Burrowing!

    Click here to watch live as we burrow beneath Al-Aksa excavate the ramp leading to the Temple Mount. Three angles!

    Sometimes the archaeologists do little dances or excitedly dig something out of the dirt. I could watch this for days.

    Update: After watching for nowhere near days, it seems it is a video and not a live feed. Kind of like the surveillance tape in 'Speed.' Anyway, a big thank you to the Muslim rioters who led the government to set these cameras up. We have the Kotel Kam, now we have the walkway-cam and soon there will be a Har HaBayit-cam.

    Update: Hmmm. So if you reload, it gives you another twelve minutes. I guess the feed is just on a delay.

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    Even Though We Ain't Got Money, I'm so in Love With Milk and Honey

    I was looking through the search terms that bring people to or and saw one continuously appearing, month after month.

    It was "Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey."

    So I plugged that into Google. Lo and behold, we were number (drumroll...) 81.

    81? Why would people searching for that song lyric click on the 81st link that came up? I still don't have the answer to that (maybe it was number 3 until recently) but I can tell you what post came up that used the lyrics. It was not even a Kumah blogger, but Laya, a member of the Jewlicious blog, whose post was reprinted here by Yishai.

    Now Jewlicious has traditionally gotten a bit hysterical when it comes to Kumah, though Michael actually composed a Weird-Al style song for us at one point. Laya's post, however, is a Neo-Zionist ode to Aliyah that is one of the most sincere I have ever seen. It made my Shabbat to read it:

    Some of the reasons I love living in Israel

    Why did I come to Israel? I get asked this a lot. By Israelis who live here with me, and Americans who don't. Both, I suspect hoping for a glimmer of inspiration in my answer. Why would I leave everything I had going for me in The Land of Plenty and move to a perceived war zone?

    Initially I came at the height of the intifada, with a newfound Zionism, grand ideas and dreamer's visions. I came to be with my people in their time of sorrow, with lofty ambitions of heroism. Since that time, all I can say is I've been humbled and I've grown-up.

    But why do I stay?

    It's as simple as this - because Love makes you do crazy things.

    Sometimes I walk down the streets of Jerusalem singing love songs to it (even though we aint got money, I'm so in love with you honey?). Being in Love with Israel is like being in Love with a person; it defies all reason and logic. At some point the initial Zionistic honeymoon ends, times get tough and you go broke. Sometimes you might turn cynical and forget what you came here for. In terrifying, fleeting moments I have even considered going back to the land of hard wood floors, bank statements in English, and drip coffee.

    Click here for the rest

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    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Feiglin on the Misguided Arrow Missile

    Moshe Feiglin, who led mass civil disobedience in Israel following Oslo and coordinated the road-blockings pre-Disengagement via proxy (not to mention inching ever closer to taking the helm of the Likud), weaves a tale that sums up the progression from Camp David to Oslo to the Wall to the Arrow Missile.

    (Normally I would not reprint a whole article - but this isn't anywhere else online yet - when it is I'll link):

    Happiness is a Magic Gun
    By Moshe Feiglin
    13 Shvat, 5767

    The peaceful townspeople hoped that the new sheriff would succeed; all his predecessors had failed. Time and again, bands of robbers would attack the town, shoot in every direction, murder, rob and get away unharmed. All the people responsible for the town's security had promised to make peace with the robbers. This made it impossible to defeat them.

    It was like a collective mental illness. The townspeople, after all, had built the town in an attempt to create a new, normal identity for themselves. They wanted to be just an ordinary town and live in peace with their neighbors. But the neighbors didn't like the townspeople's new identity. They fought them constantly.

    And so, the town couldn't triumph. Triumph would mean that there was no peace. Without peace, the town could not be an ordinary place. So the townspeople decided that it was "impossible to defeat terror," and tried to solve the problem with protective walls, separation fences and roadblocks. No doubt about it; it was a type of mental illness.

    The situation went from bad to worse. So the townspeople blamed the residents of the isolated houses at the edge of the town. "They upset the robbers," the sheriffs explained to the townspeople. "It's their fault that we don't have peace with the robbers. Why should we die for them, anyway?"

    So instead of fighting the robbers, every new sheriff would fight the townspeople who lived at the edge of town. The last sheriff went one step farther. He even demolished all the isolated houses at the edge of town and threw all the poor townspeople who lived there to the dogs. The regular townspeople were very impressed with the brave sheriff's glorious victory and elected him for an additional term in office by a large majority.

    But then the brave sheriff had a stroke. A new sheriff replaced him. He had already learned how to be popular in the peaceful town. "My predecessor bravely disengaged from a few isolated houses," he said. "But I will be much braver than him. I will have the entire town converge into the Town Square!"

    The robbers got the idea and vigorously attacked all the remaining houses in town. This time they did more than rob and plunder; they also abducted some of the townspeople before getting away. The new sheriff tried to prove to the townspeople that he could protect them from the borders of the Town Square. He tried to fight the robbers according to accepted town practice -- from the plasma screen in his office.

    The robbers laughed and laughed. They went to live at the edge of town, where the isolated townspeople used to live. From there, they would shoot at the frightened townspeople whenever they pleased. The new sheriff even shot back. After a month, though, the new sheriff understood that he could simply not win. So he announced that he won and stopped shooting. The robbers also stopped shooting. What did they care? The hostages were still in their hands, and they needed to rest and re-supply, anyway.

    The Magic Gun
    The new sheriff had a serious problem. The townspeople no longer had faith in him. He had become the laughingstock of the town. His loyal aides explained that he must present some sort of solution. If not, they warned, the fate of his career would be sealed.

    "Do not fear," said the sheriff to the weary and frightened townspeople. "We are working on the perfect solution. We have an unbeatable plan to protect you."

    While the townspeople gazed on in astonishment, the sheriff demonstrated his new Magic Gun solution. "The Magic Gun will allow us to make peace with the robbers -- even if they don't stop shooting. When the next robber comes," the sheriff enthusiastically explained, "we will do nothing to endanger peace. When the robber will provoke the townspeople, I won't even have to leave my office. That could endanger the normalization of our relations with them, you understand."

    "When the robber waves his gun, I will explain that it is nothing more than a water gun. That will prevent unnecessary friction. And when the robber will point his gun straight at the heart of a little towns-girl, I will be able to continue my daily nap. And when the robber pulls the trigger, I will just turn over in my bed."

    "But," the sheriff excitedly added, "when the bullet leaves the gun, everything will change. The Magic Gun will rapidly identify the flying bullet. It will jump from my belt, even while I'm still sleeping, home-in on the robber's gun, shoot a magic bullet at the robber's bullet and destroy it in mid-air. The robber will not be harmed at all, and that way we will be able to continue with our peaceful neighborly relations."

    The townspeople were very excited. Finally, somebody had found the way to make true peace. Finally, they could be an ordinary town, like everyone else. There was one Nuisance there who tried to ask what would happen if the robbers would shoot more than one bullet at a time. He even reminded the townspeople that recently, the sheriff had given the robbers automatic guns. "Furthermore," the Nuisance added, "every magic bullet costs one trillion dollars. Even if the magic works, after one round of robbers' bullets, we will have to leave our town to find food for our children!"

    The townspeople got very angry at the Nuisance. On their television, they repeatedly displayed the amazing new technology that was behind the Magic Gun. They were in no mood to let a few warmongering Nuisances ruin their dream of being ordinary townspeople. They let out their anger on some of the Nuisances' settlements and gave the good and pragmatic robbers more money and automatic weapons so that they could fight the bad, religious robbers.

    And so, the perfect solution was finally found to restore peace and quiet to the town. Finally, the townspeople could blend in normally with their surroundings. The robbers robbed and murdered, the sheriff ruled in his sleep, the Nuisances were gotten rid of, the townspeople paid for the Magic Gun and all the damages incurred-- and everyone lived happily ever after.

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    Pssst! Purim's Coming.

    (You know, MoHo from the Danish cartoon.)

    From a 1990 NY Times:
    SHLOMO CARLEBACH AND ORCHESTRA, in a Purim concert, at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, 65th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Tomorrow at 8:45 P.M. Information: 969-0950.

    Dov Shurin, Jerusalem's Dylan, is a deep poet, but not so concerned with political correctness. He is a Purim Jew - all year round - and on Purim he just goes wild. So here is Dov live on Purim Kattan, 5763. It may offend most. If that might be you - bookmark the page and wait till Purim to watch it:

    Heck, while I'm at it - check out his magnum opus:

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    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Ehud Olmert is Logan and Avi Bieber is Jack

    So if you watch 24 and know there is more to Israeli politics than meets the eye, you probably already know that:

    1. Ehud Olmert is President Logan.

    (Olmert photo source)

    A nobody in a suit who takes his order from big-money men with their hands and hearts in all the wrong places.

    2. Avi Bieber is Jack Bauer.

    Bieber, whose famous words, Zeh lo Nachon, Zeh lo Tzedek, basically summed up the whole Kadimanizatzia of Israel, realized that what makes Jack so heroic is not his skilled use of weaponry, but his willingness to put his own job and self on the line for the higher purpose that job and role was created to serve in the first place. Avi refused orders under the toughest of conditions - Jack usually just hangs up his cell phone and does as he needs.

    It is no coincidence that 24 is aired in Israel on Channel 10, the only channel somewhat independent of government control. Its message of refusing immoral or misguided orders is not lost on its millions of Israeli fans.

    3. Graem, or Bluetooth (as we have known him until recently) is who?

    I know Ami Ayalon looks a bit like him. I even think I spotted Ami using a blue-tooth headset at the Knesset the other day. But no. In Israel there are enough Graem crackers to make a whole meal out of S'mores (most of them receive their money from the EU or US Defense contractors).

    4. Luckily,Israel has within it many Yaakov Bauers ("And your name shall no longer be Jack, but Yisrael"). Jack Bauer's sole extraordinary trait that makes him the noble hero he is is that same trait that led Abraham to smash the idols and Mordechai the Jew to refuse orders to bow down (most of the rabbis and certainly the Jewish leaders of his time screamed that not only was he not obligated to refuse orders, but if he did he was endangering everything the Jews had worked so hard to attain).

    That trait is alive and well in the Promised Land. You see it more every day and tomorrow you yourself may be in a position where you are forced to choose between the orders of misguided men and those of the Most High.

    Whether you are a company commander, a general, a simple torai (private) or a private citizen in a position to choose between good and bad. Ask yourself, "What would Yisrael Bauer do?"

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    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    Translated Uri. The Grinch Who Stole Shabbat?

    Uri Orbach, the one 'Doss' on Galei Tzahal, just wrote one of the lamest pieces I have ever read.

    Click here and make sure you are near the terlit. (There is a great "Malkah from Beit El" talkback I suspect is from a fellow NZU-Blogger)

    I mean, at first, I was sure it was a joke. Uri is funny during morning talk shows on Galei Tzahal, next to his square and usually less-educated co-hosts. I read it again and realized he was using a bit of humor to sugar-coat something that is truly one of the most jarring aspects of Israeli society today. Again, there are folks like Aussi Dave in the talkbacks who insist that it is satire and the more I think about it the more I think it must be:

    Yes, some of my best friends are secular, but on Shabbat I pretend I don't have any. I love them, I cherish them but I won't call them and they don't call me.

    Don't come on Shabbat, stop by on Sunday, Monday, and bring all of your kids with you. But not on Shabbat. It's too complicated. One Shabbat – two nations.

    As someone who consciously lives on a hilltop where half of the people are secular (not to mention having grown up in upstate New York), I certainly am familiar with the issues that apparently drove Uri off the edge. Secular Israelis (as they've been told to call themselves, though most are actually traditional or simply less observant of the outwardly visible mitzvot) still love the Day of Rest and enjoy experiencing the religious aspects of Shabbat now and then - or just being in close proximity to those who do so as to expose their children to it as an option.

    Now maybe it is because Uri lives in the world of Israeli journalists - a truly sordid bunch if there ever was one - that he feels the need to speak on behalf of the Sabbath-observant Jews of this nation and issue a grand un-invitation to our brethren. I mean, I am not sure I want Razi Barkai telling me to "sim nekuda" every time I try to get a word in edgewise at the Shabbat table - but let me speak clearly in the name of those outside Orbach's world: It is a pleasure to have visitors on the Sabbath.

    He must have been kidding. Right? Maybe it's Ynet's translator's fault.

    Update: Here is the Hebrew link. It seems it truly was lost in translation due to the nature of Uri's use of witty words and a certain inflection that Hebrew readers can detect in his written word. I am still not certain of the effectiveness of the satire and unconvinced that he totally feels the opposite.

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    Monday, February 05, 2007

    The Undercover Jewish Settlers of the Palestinian Authority

    So I live on what the Road Map for Peace established as an "unauthorized outpost." The arbitrary date chosen in order to define such a community was the day Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister for the first time (after all, he was the one accepting the Road Map from the aptly named Mafia of nations referring to themselves as "The Quartet" [were their foreign ministers sitting together at a banquet some time and the Russian official suddenly came up with that clever name?])

    Normally, life is quite pastoral in Sde Boaz. It is the highest point in Gush Etzion, overlooking all the main roads, Jerusalem, Jordan, the Mediterranean and the Ela Valley. We have very real relations with the local Arab farmers who tend old vineyards behind our homes and who, in turn, ensure that their progeny do not get involved in the local Jihad groups active in the neighboring villages of El-Khader, Husan and Nahlin.

    To make a long story short (with the help of a link), this happened over Shabbat Tu B'Shvat: Click here for English, here for Hebrew (includes video)

    Incidentally, one of the "Internationals," as she called herself, has a blog and blogged about her excursion to Sde Boaz.

    I am excited for her reply to my hasty, unedited missive in her comments section. I am pretty sure she is going to apologize for taking part in destroying our orchard and ask if she can volunteer to do kind of a habitat-for-humanity gig on the hilltop building our first permanent house. And as she reveals in her blog, she is a Jewess.

    I have this theory that the Neturei Karta folks who set up a synagogue in Ramallah, all the ISM Jews living in villages around Judea and Samaria - in Area A (full PA control) - all of them: undercover settlers. These are just folks that are sick of the bourgeoisie settlement enterprise and looking for the real Chumra of Yishuv Haaretz - the real stringent application of the Biblical mandate of settling every part of the land.

    MK Davis, rock on. You have led the Jewish resettlement of Beit Oumar, under the guise of radical politics, and for that I salute you.

    And thank you for the intelligence photos of the fellow in the yellow jacket who escaped arrest with help from the violent internationals (who are also depicted in the act) and other photos of a young man down by the very trees which were destroyed.

    I hope I didn't blow your cover.

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    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Unity is a Warm Gun. The First Shot Has Been Fired.


    Ever heard of it?

    It's like this: You see something that needs fixing. You have some choices:

    1. Complain about it and walk away
    2. Claim the entire endeavor was either a mistake or the work of the devil from the very start (post-Zionism, Neturei Karta)
    3. Realize that you, as one who sees the problem, are now charged with doing something to fix it. If you believe we humans were given the power to destroy, believe that we have the power to rectify.

    We Jews are a people of extremes. Our 'moderates' are the most extreme of all - so fervently clinging to their moderation that they don't dare analyze new facts as they come to light, for fear of becoming part of 'the problem' (which, of course, is extremists on all sides. Duh.).

    But back to Neo-Zionism. The new, reloaded Kumah mega-blog is a place where complaints and critiques of every aspect of the Jewish State and the Jewish Project will be heard (alongside all the good stuff that the Kumah blog has always provided), but with the starting assumption is that these things can and will be fixed.

    Those who have converged upon Zion - particularly from the comfortable North American corner - are an opinionated and passionate bunch. Things will get heated. There are no allies in this corner of the Blogosphere. We are looking to stir things up and shake everyone out of the boxes that exist even in the roomy expanse of the Internet.

    If a think-tank like the Shalem Center (parent of Blogs of Zion) touts itself as a new voice for the Land of Israel-loyal Jewish Nation and then shut its eyes during the Disengagement, making no mention of it on their web sites or journals, we will point such a thing out and ask whether it had anything to do with its cosmetics magnate-sponsor's politics.

    If a certain super-lefty mega-blog is the only other voice clearly opposing the Partition Wall - we will join forces with them, even as they happily cheer the death of Zionism - because the passion of the leftist Jewish radical is so much closer to the Biblical revolutionary than the comfortable moderate who supported Oslo, Wye, Oslo II, the Disengagement (or maybe he opposed, but felt that 'a government decision simply must be respected') and is filled with hope by Bibi's second coming.

    If a delicious Jewblog embraces the sheer delight of being in 'the middle' on every issue, we will be there alongside them providing them the opportunity to take a stand ,in their snarkiest finery.

    Most of all, we will remind Jews that talking about unity is useless. Our unity is in our realization that we as a people have always been tribalized. There were always tribes with different super-powers from one another. One tribe may be better at noticing the injustice while a little weak in sticking up for our peoples’ rights, another may excel at reaching out to the eternal Jewish party animal and turning him or her on, while yet another may fulfill the Jewish addiction to rationalizing inaction in the name of some lofty intellectual concept - but the unity everyone talks of only happens when those tribes duke it out with words, while managing not to hate each other and get nasty.

    It isn't easy, but it is going to happen. Here, and in a blog near you thanks to our long Elders of Zion tentacles.

    Speaking of which - here is a music video from Reb Shmuel Skaist, who attended and performed at the Canaan Conference, back in the day.


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