Friday, June 19, 2009
Monday, February 02, 2009
Obamalama and the 24 State Solution
Here is a new video by The18, which is beginning to instruct Americans as to how they can stop Obama:
PS - I have my own multi-state solution. It's called the 24 State Solution - we give the Muslims 24 states (gee, that's a lot of states!) and we give the Jews one tiiiiiny little state (gee, that's not a lot of states!). Then we see if there's room enough for everyone! Whadya think?Full post and comments...
Monday, January 19, 2009
Ignorance Really is Bliss
Everyone has their pleasure buttons. For some it's cigarettes, for others that slice of chocolate cake on the table. Me? I'm a news and politics junkie. If left to my own devices I would spend all day online reading news articles and blogs, and when I ran out of those I would go on Wikipedia and look up everything I had read about. Recently I took on a resolution (yes it was around New Years, no it wasn't for New Years) to cut down on my media consumption. It was inspired when I went out to dinner with a few of my frummie friends, most of which were serious talmidei chachamim in their own right. Yet a little ways into the night I found us discussing things like electric cars and George Bush. I thought silently to myself, "If we were having this discussion ten years ago it would probably include something about Bill Clinton and maybe the internet or G-d knows what. Yet I could look back on that conversation today and the content would be meaningless for me. So too I could look back on this current conversation 10 years from now and it would be equally meaningless. I was sitting here with Torah learners who could be imparting upon me and each other thoughts of Torah which, Torah being eternal, would be just as enlightening and relevant 10 years into the future as right now. Indeed, Torah thoughts and insights are like a fine wine, as you come to understand the insight better through life experience it often improves with age.
Upon this realization I decided that I spend to much of my time concerning my brainwaves with things that, while interesting or fun to talk about, really have no bearing in the grand scheme of things and therefore I needed to trim some of the intellectual fat. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world, and probably 90% of it has absolutely nothing to do with my day to day life. While the thought of giving up all news was a little to intimidating, I decided from now on Bli Neder (that's a BIG bli neder!) I would try to stop reading non-Jewish and non-Israel related news websites. This was an especially tough move for me because of the main English language Jewish news sites, I find Haaretz way too leftist and JPost mildly too liberal and often too bland. Though I get the feeling Ynet is somewhat anti-religious I'm keeping them around (for now) because they usually have up to the moment updates of what is going on in Israel and of course there's always good ole' Arutz Sheva. Plus I've developed a deeper appreciation of Rabbi Lazer Brody's "Lazer Beams" of which I was already a big fan.
So how has it been? Well first of all it's interesting how when one tries to go up a level the Sitra Achra combats them with extra challenges to block the path. On day one of this new resolution the country went to war in Gaza. So I had a few peaks at the Drudge Report but other than that I'm proud to say I've been pretty good about it for the past couple of weeks. And you know what? It feels great! I can actually see extra time in my day that I'm spending in much more fulfilling ways and while I'm still keeping informed of issues facing the Jewish people, I no longer carry the weight of the entire world on my shoulders. I did take a quick peak again a day or two ago and was shocked at two things: A)How much is going on in America and the world I didn't know about (apparently some miracle jet crashed into the Hudson without anyone dieing and America is going to have a new president tomorrow or something like that... who knew?) and B)How I suddenly could care less about all these things I was missing out on knowing about- their importance suddenly became non-existent, as if they weren't real headlines but just some irrelevant fiction story written by an author nobody has ever heard of. For anyone thinking of trying this I really recommend it. If your as into the news as I am then you might have to get rid of things in stages but I've found the age-old adage really is true... ignorance turned out to be bliss after all. And besides- you've always got Kumah to read!Full post and comments...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Satire: The International Media
(I found the clip on the Jerusalem Post's blog called 'Must Sees'...
Full post and comments...
Monday, August 25, 2008
Media Wrap Up
Pentagon Finds Religious Bias In Army Probe - i.e. they are anti-Israel and anti-Jews-who-like-Israel. Washington Post
U.S. entrepreneur makes aliyah seeking 'next big invention' - cool guy! Haaretz
Presenting Matisyahu the model - is this guy cool and making a Kiddush Hashem, or is he just selling out? YNET
Utopia – Israel's Perfect Park - a beautiful picture essay of a nice place in Israel. IsraelNationalNews
Enjoy!Full post and comments...
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Torat Yisrael: Israel's Newest English Torah Publication
How often does the truth become distorted in the Israeli media? We live in a society where the major newspapers run stories of how terrorists are not antisemitic (See J-Post and Haaretz about the recent Jerusalem attack) and where companies who refuse to hire Arab workers are lambasted. In response to this trend, a new publication has been put together called Torat Yisrael. Torat Yisrael is Anglo Israel's first bi-weekly magazine of Jewish political and social thought. Based on Torah values, every article is filled with authentic, historical Jewish ideas and concepts. From economics to warfare, education to law, every topic is approached from the perspective of tradition.
Distributed bi-weekly in the main Anglo centers in Israel, Torat Yisrael is a sixteen page color mini-magazine available free in your synagogue. I am the associate editor, Kumah's co-founder Yishai Fleisher is a regular contributor, as well as such notables as the Likud's Shmuel Sackett and Nahal Hareidi founder, Rabbi Yoel Shwartz.
If you are interested in reading Torat Yisrael online, receiving copies, subscribing to the Torat Yisrael mailing list, or advertising to the English-speaking population of Israel, then you can find Torat Yisrael online at www.TorahFromZion.com or you can reach editor Shmuel Sokol at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 0526720779. There is also a Torat Yisrael blog that you can check out at http://TorahFromZion.blogspot.com.
Full post and comments...
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Weapons of Mass Production
The story focuses on an initiative undertaken by B'Tselem, a controversial Israeli human rights organization, providing Arabs living throughout Judea and Samaria with video cameras enabling them to document violent attacks against them.
The article then shares with us the immediate success of the initiative:
Muna Nawajaa, one of the two wives of a Palestinian shepherd from Khirbet Susiya, used a handheld video camera to film what appeared to be masked Jewish settlers viciously beating members of her family with clubs — images that have since been broadcast by news networks all over the world.Alongside this quote is the picture featured above, with the caption:
Mrs. Nawajaa, 24, said it was the first scene she had filmed.
A still image from the video that Muna Nawajaa recorded of the attack. The men at the right appear to be Jewish settlers.Similar language is found throughout the article.
Sitting on the floor of a tent in the family’s encampment in mid-June, Imran Nawajaa, 33, a nephew of Khalil Nawajaa, recalled the morning of the attack. He said he was out tending a flock with his young sons when two masked settlers rode up on a tractor and ordered him, in Hebrew, to leave.And again,
The camera captured four lean men, their heads swathed in colorful cloth, striding toward the farmers, clubs in hand. In the background are the whitewashed, red-roofed houses of the settlement.Now, what is it about the masked men in the picture above that makes them appear to be "settlers"?
Are there no other people in all of Israel who know how to say "leave" in Hebrew, aside from the Jews of Hebron?
Is it not possible that those against the presence of Jews throughout Judea and Samaria, whether out of political or ideological motivations, could have simply put on masks and carried out the actions described in the article, knowing full well that their actions were being filmed and would be broadcast around the world, further demonizing those referred to as "settlers"?
“The only weapon we have is the media,” said Khalil Nawajaa...And it is a role that the media seemingly embraces, as can be seen from the fact that Isabel Kershner, who wrote the article for the New York Times, doesn't include any response from the Jewish community of Hebron regarding the incident in question.
In the end, we are left with an article presuming guilt on members of the Jewish community of Hebron, with little actual evidence to back it up, aside from the fact that the masked men spoke Hebrew, and the incident took place with a "settlement" in the background.
At this point, it hardly matters whether the masked men were "settlers" or not, because the guilty verdict has already been handed down by an international media willingly allowing itself to be used as a weapon of mass production against the Jewish State, in order to drive the Jewish people from their Homeland.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Why Do Palestinians Get Much More Attention than Tibetans?
By Dennis Prager
The long-suffering Tibetans have been in the news. This happens perhaps once or twice a decade. In a more moral world, however, public opinion would be far more preoccupied with Tibetans than with Palestinians, would be as harsh on China as it is on Israel, and would be as fawning on Israel as it now is on China.
But, alas, the world is, as it has always been, a largely mean-spirited and morally insensitive place, where might is far more highly regarded than right.
Consider the facts: Tibet, at least 1,400 years old, is one of the world's oldest nations, has its own language, its own religion and even its own ethnicity. Over 1 million of its people have been killed by the Chinese, its culture has been systematically obliterated, 6,000 of its 6,200 monasteries have been looted and destroyed, and most of its monks have been tortured, murdered or exiled.
Palestinians have none of these characteristics. There has never been a Palestinian country, never been a Palestinian language, never been a Palestinian ethnicity, never been a Palestinian religion in any way distinct from Islam elsewhere. Indeed, "Palestinian" had always meant any individual living in the geographic area called Palestine. For most of the first half of the 20th century, "Palestinian" and "Palestine" almost always referred to the Jews of Palestine. The United Jewish Appeal, the worldwide Jewish charity that provided the nascent Jewish state with much of its money, was actually known as the United Palestine Appeal. Compared to Tibetans, few Palestinians have been killed, its culture has not been destroyed nor its mosques looted or plundered, and Palestinians have received billions of dollars from the international community. Unlike the dying Tibetan nation, there are far more Palestinians today than when Israel was created.
None of this means that a distinct Palestinian national identity does not now exist. Since Israel's creation such an identity has arisen and does indeed exist. Nor does any of this deny that many Palestinians suffered as a result of the creation of the third Jewish state in the area, known -- since the Romans renamed Judea -- as "Palestine."
But it does mean that of all the causes the world could have adopted, the Palestinians' deserved to be near the bottom and the Tibetans' near the top. This is especially so since the Palestinians could have had a state of their own from 1947 on, and they have caused great suffering in the world, while the far more persecuted Tibetans have been characterized by a morally rigorous doctrine of nonviolence.
So, the question is, why? Why have the Palestinians received such undeserved attention and support, and the far more aggrieved and persecuted and moral Tibetans given virtually no support or attention?
The first reason is terror. Some time ago, the Palestinian leadership decided, with the overwhelming support of the Palestinian people, that murdering as many innocent people -- first Jews, and then anyone else -- was the fastest way to garner world attention. They were right. On the other hand, as The Economist notes in its March 28, 2008 issue, "Tibetan nationalists have hardly ever resorted to terrorist tactics..." It is interesting to speculate how the world would have reacted had Tibetans hijacked international flights, slaughtered Chinese citizens in Chinese restaurants and temples, on Chinese buses and trains, and massacred Chinese schoolchildren.
The second reason is oil and support from powerful fellow Arabs. The Palestinians have rich friends who control the world's most needed commodity, oil. The Palestinians have the unqualified support of all Middle Eastern oil-producing nations and the support of the Muslim world beyond the Middle East. The Tibetans are poor and have the support of no nations, let alone oil-producing ones.
The third reason is Israel. To deny that pro-Palestinian activism in the world is sometimes related to hostility toward Jews is to deny the obvious. It is not possible that the unearned preoccupation with the Palestinians is unrelated to the fact that their enemy is the one Jewish state in the world. Israel's Jewishness is a major part of the Muslim world's hatred of Israel. It is also part of Europe's hostility toward Israel: Portraying Israel as oppressors assuages some of Europe's guilt about the Holocaust -- "see, the Jews act no better than we did." Hence the ubiquitous comparisons of Israel to Nazis.
A fourth reason is China. If Tibet had been crushed by a white European nation, the Tibetans would have elicited far more sympathy. But, alas, their near-genocidal oppressor is not white. And the world does not take mass murder committed by non-whites nearly as seriously as it takes anything done by Westerners against non-Westerners. Furthermore, China is far more powerful and frightening than Israel. Israel has a great army and nuclear weapons, but it is pro-West, it is a free and democratic society, and it has seven million people in a piece of land as small as Belize. China has nuclear weapons, has a trillion U.S. dollars, an increasingly mighty army and navy, is neither free nor democratic, is anti-Western, and has 1.2 billion people in a country that dominates the Asian continent.
A fifth reason is the world's Left. As a general rule, the Left demonizes Israel and has loved China since it became Communist in 1948. And given the power of the Left in the world's media, in the political life of so many nations, and in the universities and the arts, it is no wonder vicious China has been idolized and humane Israel demonized.
The sixth reason is the United Nations, where Israel has been condemned in more General Assembly and Security Council resolutions than any other country in the world. At the same time, the UN has voted China onto its Security Council and has never condemned it. China's sponsoring of Sudan and its genocidal acts against its non-Arab black population, as in Darfur, goes largely unremarked on at the UN, let alone condemned, just as is the case with its cultural genocide, ethnic cleansing and military occupation of Tibet.
The seventh reason is television news, the primary source of news for much of mankind. Aside from its leftist tilt, television news reports only what it can video. And almost no country is televised as much as Israel, while video reports in Tibet are forbidden, as they are almost anywhere in China except where strictly monitored by the Chinese authorities. No video, no TV news. And no TV, no concern. So while grieving Palestinians and the accidental killings of Palestinians during morally necessary Israeli retaliations against terrorists are routinely televised, the slaughter of over a million Tibetans and the extinguishing of Tibetan Buddhism and culture are non-events as far as television news is concerned.
The world is unfair, unjust and morally twisted. And rarely more so than in its support for the Palestinians -- no matter how many innocents they target for murder and no matter how much Nazi-like anti-Semitism permeates their media -- and its neglect of the cruelly treated, humane Tibetans. Full post and comments...
Saturday, March 08, 2008
JPost: Now Those Nutcase Righties Will Attack!
Here’s the spin the self-hating, murder-loving, religious-hating, Arab-loving, G-d-hating, grossly irresponsible – and frankly downright dangerous - extreme left wing media. Oh, they also happen to be exceptionally clueless. That or they just are malicious liars but I’m trying to be optimistic.
Take Amir Mizroch, news editor for the Jerusalem Post. He still just doesn’t get it!
Let me sum up his article entitled: Attack will be seen in Messianic terms
In a nutshell Mizroch claims that those “Nutcase Religious Zionists” are going to be so “seething with anger” that they are going to run into the streets shooting wildly blowing up anything that moves!
Moron! (I’m not name calling – it’s a scientific term.)
(Parenthetically, more evidence of his sheer stupidity is demonstrated in this flatly false assertion: “Very few people outside the religious Zionist population have even heard of Mercaz Harav, let alone know somebody who studies there.”)
Mizroch continues, “There may even be some on the fringes of the settlement movement who will want to take the law into their own hands and carry out a revenge attack, maybe even against targets in East Jerusalem, where it looks like the killer came from.”
Let me give you a clue Mr. Mizroch. Have you ever looked inside the Torah? Do you even know what a Torah is? Or should we say “Very few people outside the religious Zionist population have even heard of a Torah, let alone looked inside one?”
Sir, since we know very few people outside the religious Zionist population even own a Bible I’ll just have to fill you in here.
The angel of G-d said to her, “You are pregnant, and will give birth to a son. You must name him Ishmael, for G-d has heard your prayer. He will be a wild-ass of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him.” (Genesis 16:11 – 12)
Wild-ass men shoot rockets at innocent civilians. Wild-ass men blow up public buses in the middle of cities. Wild-ass men brutally murder defenseless teenage Yeshiva students in cold blood. Wild-ass men fire their weapons into the air at funerals demanding revenge and then hand candy out to their children when it transpires.
The Jews - even those “right-wing nut-job Jews” are not wild-ass men. (Wise-guy leftists are itching to yell out “Baruch Goldstein” – very good. The fact that you remember his name proves how unique he is. Now can you name even one Arab terrorist that blew himself up on a bus? What’s that? No? Why not? Oh, I see. There are just too many?)
The way Mizroch writes you would think that at the funerals on Friday all the Jews were firing their weapons into the air. Guess what? They didn’t. Jews aren’t the wild-ass men. So stop your shameful, hateful, attacks – incitement even - that claim that the Jews are something they are not!
Amir Mizroch – Wow, what a dork! (Now I’m name calling!)
Full post and comments...
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
"Defiant West Bank Settlers Vow To Stay On"
by Oakland Ross
BEIT EL, Israel - Do not talk to Yishai Fleischer about peace.
The 31-year-old Israeli radio-station manager has heard it all before, and he doesn't believe a word.
"I don't buy any of it," said the bearded, rapid-talking ideologue who also hosts a thrice-weekly current-events program on Arutz Sheva, an Internet radio station that promotes a conservative Jewish agenda. "We're not living in a time of peace. I don't think Israel should make any concessions. Israel should be strong."
For Fleischer, the concept of strength includes an all but absolute refusal to live anywhere other than this airy hilltop settlement high in the Samaria Mountains, some 20 kilometres north of Jerusalem.
It is a fair bet the same defiant sentiment is shared by his neighbours, who number about 5,300 people, almost all of them religious Jews who did not wind up living in Beit El by accident.
The town's name means "House of God" in Hebrew and it is one of dozens of Jewish communities speckled across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on rocky, arid real estate that most of the world considers to have been confiscated from Palestinians.
Many differences separate Israeli and Palestinian negotiators who this week formally launched a new Middle East peace effort during an international gathering in Annapolis, Md., but none of the challenges ahead is likely to be more daunting than the task of sorting out which tracts of land belong to whose side.
"The key is the territorial," senior Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo said in a recent interview. "If we solve the territorial, other issues will be easier."
After 40 years of nearly relentless expansion, approximately 450,000 Israelis now dwell on soil that much of the world considers to be Palestinian land – 270,000 of them in the West Bank and an additional 180,000 in East Jerusalem, which the Israeli government annexed in 1967. If the new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks goes ahead more or less as planned, the Israeli government may soon find itself under intense pressure to withdraw people from some of these settlements and to give at least a portion of this land back.
Just be careful broaching this subject in the presence of Yishai Fleischer.
"To envision it happening is almost impossible," he says. "The underpinning to our presence here is spiritual and religious. Our essence here is our antiquity, our legacy here, our promise from God. This is our heritage, our gift. Our return was prophesied."
In other words, his people were here yesterday, he's here now, and he damned well means to be here tomorrow, along with his wife, their six-week-old daughter, and a lot of their equally determined friends.
As the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proceeds along a road that may – or may not – lead to an eventual peace agreement with approximately 3 million Palestinians, it will have to confront a plenitude of adversaries, no small number of whom will be in possession of Israeli passports.
Fleischer is just one of them, an Israeli-born, U.S.-educated young man who moved to Beit El four years ago, largely for religious reasons, and who won't be leaving town without a fight.
"I could have been a hotshot lawyer in New York City," he says. "Instead, I live in a trailer home. Our project is not greedy. It's a holy project."
Almost no one believes that Israel will withdraw entirely from the West Bank, if only because any government rash enough to propose such a measure would not long survive in power.
"This would be civil war," said Arnon Sofer, head of research at the Israel Defence Forces' National Defence College and a leading Israeli demographer.
Sofer believes some 70 settlements might be dismantled and about 60,000 settlers withdrawn. The rest of the settlements would remain in Israeli hands, but the Palestinians could be compensated with land swaps, mostly involving territory in the Negev Desert of southern Israel, some of which could be added to the West Bank and some to the slender Gaza Strip.
But Sofer's vision would also see Israel retaining control of the entire Jordan Valley as a military buffer zone, to prevent the possible smuggling of weaponry into Palestinian territory in the West Bank from the Kingdom of Jordan, which stretches to the east of the Jordan River.
Even that rather stingy arrangement would fail to satisfy Fleischer, who flat-out rejects the idea of peace between Arabs and Israelis, either now or, quite possibly, ever.
"I respect Arabs," he says. "I don't hate them. But you have to be tough. Israel needs to fight.'
As an example of what happens when Israel fails to fight, Fleischer points to the Gaza Strip.
Under a policy championed by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the coastal territory two years ago, removing some 8,500 Israeli settlers by force and closing down its military posts.
Now Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a militant Islamist movement.
"It wasn't months before Gaza became a terrorist state," says Fleischer, who predicts the same pattern would unfold here if Israel withdrew from parts of the West Bank – a prospect he and others vow they would mightily oppose. "There would be resistance, civil disobedience on a grand scale."
But Fleischer does not believe it will come to that, primarily because he does not believe the current search for Middle Eastern peace will prove any more successful than have all the failed searches of the past.
"We have been through this wringer before," he said. "We Jewish people are not terrorists. We're here because we love the land." Full post and comments...
Monday, December 10, 2007
Compare and Contrast
Israeli Extremists March To Set Up New Outposts in West Bank
Hundreds of hardline Israeli activists fanned out across the occupied West Bank on Sunday, setting up eight wildcat outposts to protest possible evacuations of Jewish settlements....
Pioneers Establish Six New Points of Light
The nuclei for six Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were either established or strengthened Sunday by Jewish pioneers, in a special Chanukah settlement project. Despite scuffles with police and the IDF, which declared the points of settlement closed military zones, Chanukah menorahs were lit in at least three of the sites.
Full post and comments...
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Media Analysis for Rosh Hashana
Class, let us look at this piece in Ynet B'Ivrit, shall we?
The headline says - Soldier's Mother: "I'm Calm, the Kid Isn't Going Back to Zikim"
You see, this item and the talkbacks to it actually encapsulate much of Israel's pacifist problem, and its solution.
As we learned in the first semester of this course, the Left in Israel has been using a Cindy Sheehan "Mother" type approach very successfuly over the past 20 years. The discourse is 50% radical post-marxist feminism, 50% Yiddishe-mameh castrative.
The article's heading and the use of of the word "child/children" with regard to the soldiers doing basic training in Zikim are classic Yiddishe-feminist-pacifist defeatism. The Middle East's toughest army, the IDF, is not being bombed by terrorist scum, the subtext says. Jewish children are being bombed and their mothers/parents will save them by evacuating them from Zikim. There is no masculine army defending us, it says. There are only children who long for their mothers' comforting hug.
Sub-subtext: WE ARE DOOMED.
As of 8:15 Wednesday, the item is top story in Ynet. The lowdown on the attack on Syria is (pardon me) lower down, despite being much more significant militarily and more recent. Taking it a step further - the headline actually tries to answer the criticism that the editor (probably one of the feminist-pacifists who abound behind the scenes in Ynet) knows is coming: no, the mother says, I'm not being hysterical. "I'm calm." But my child is staying home, i.e. refusing to serve. Because the big bad men of Gaza shot a rocket at him.
Those of us old and wise enough to know how this kind of discourse took over our lives during Shelly Yechimovich's years in Voice of Israel, and how it featured in the "Four Mothers" campaign, and how IDF bases have been taken over by mothers (and fathers) with the help of Yechimovich sidekick Carmela Menashe, and how sick and weak this made the army - know what the danger is.
What I am happy about is the talkbacks. If you want to enjoy them, you'd better learn you some Ivrit.
Shana Tova - this bodes well.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Aliyah To Lakewood, NJ, Hashem's Temple
Lakewood is not Yerushalayim!
Lakewood is not Yerushalayim!
Lakewood is not Yerushalayim!
BMG is not the Bais Hamikdosh!
BMG is not the Bais Hamikdosh!
BMG is not the Bais Hamikdosh!
What's got Pinchas so worked up? Well "a former Talmid of BMG" wrote a letter to the editor of the Yated and it was printed on page 88 of the 10 Elul - Aug 24 edition. In this letter the former Talmid continually compares Bais Medrash Govoah (BMG) to the actual Bais Hamikdosh! He ponders as he approaches BMG if he is feeling "what oleh regel felt like." At one point in the letter he calls those that live in Lakewood "choshoveh bnei aliyah." To this guy there are two buildings one can refer to as "bayis gadol v'kadosh shenikrah shimcha olov." And by feeling BMG is one of them, he concludes, we will merit for the other one to be built.
What more can I write but Berlin is Jerusalem Syndrome strikes again.
However there is a ray of hope. I happen to know for a fact there actually are holy Jews from Lakewood, New Jersey that are indeed making Aliyah (the kind where you move to Eretz Yisrael.) May the merit of these Jews protect those "lost ones" and the Jewish community in Lakewood and may it inspire them to wake up and realize that "Ain Torah K'Toras Eretz Yisrael!" And may they all become true "choshoveh bnei aliyah."
Because Yated has no real viable website the letter in question is reproduced below in its entirety. Be warned though... it may get you worked up a bit...
INSPIRED BY BMG
We returned a few days ago from a bain hazmanim vaction in Lakewood, or rather, I should say a week's worth of recharging our batteries and basking in the light of the greatest makam Torah in America.
Although I have never written a letter to the editor before, I want to use this forum to share my feelings and deep hargashas with the choshuveh yungeliet who are zocheh to make up this makom kadosh, and the parents, who in large part are the ones who make it possible. I hope my words can serve as divrei chizuk to these all important members of Klal Yisroel.
We approached the buildings of Bais Medrash Govoah during bain hazemanim with great anticipation and emotion. I thought to myself that, in reality, we are approaching a bayis gadol v'kadosh shenikrah Shimcha olov; a place that is great, a place that is holy, a place where Hakadosh Boruch Hu is mashreh Shechinah, a place which creates a tremendous Kiddush Hashem - (I wondered to myself that, perhaps, this is a sample of what oleh regel felt like during the times of the Bais Hamikdosh as the Yidden approached Yerushalayim and the Bais Hamikdosh.)
It is in the halls of this makom kadosh that I was zocheh to learn for many years. Much of our ruchniyus, both my own and my family's, has come from these botei medrash. My rabbeim and roshei yeshiva were omel b'Torah in this very yeshiva for years. My children's rabbeim shteiged here. Leaders of our generation, roshei yeshivos and rabbeim, have grown in Torah, tefillah and yiras Shomayim in these very buildings.
I toured the various botei medrash. I reminded myself that in this corner we learned this mesechta, on the other side of the bais medrish another mesechta and on the stage of Bais Shalom a third. I remember where I was standing during Rav Matisyahu Salomon's first shmuess, and where my seat was for the Yomim Noraim…
We thoroughly enjoyed our bain hazmemanim, from the yeshiva davening, slowly enunciating each word with its own sweet taste, to learning sedorim in the various botei medrash, surrounded by Bnei Torah, yungeliet and bochurim learning with hasmada even during bain hazemanim, I found myself imagining how much more geshmak it much be during the zeman with six botei medrish packed with lomdei Torah learning with a bren.
Which brings me to the point of this letter.
The Chofetz Chaim writes that when Dovid Hamelech also davened, "Shivri b'vais Hashem kol yimei chayai... u'livaker b'haychalo," the he should dwell and visit the Bais Hashem, he was really davening for two things. First and foremost, he davened to dwell constantly in the Bais Hashem to feel the enthusiasm and the hispailus that only a visitor can feel and that can sometimes be lost on the permanent resident of the Bais Hashem. Dovid Hamelech was mispallel that he should never lose the hispailus and appreciation that only a visitor can feel. (In fact, the Chossid Yaivitz explains that the reason a visitor to the Bais Hamikdosh much leave through a different door than the one he entered is so that he should not lose the hispailus that he felt when he saw the Bais Hamikdosh from the first angle and seeing it again from the very same angle. Instead, each door should be seen only once, to create a lasting and breathtaking first impression.)
It is with this thought from the Chafetz Chaim in mind that I want to take the opportunity to share with those who are zocheh to be shivtie b'vais Hashem the feelings and impressions of a visitor, a mevaer b'haychalo. I'm well aware of the daily tirdos of the choshoveh bnei aliyah who learn in this bayis gadol v'kadosh, including babysitting, carpooling, playgroups, wives working full time, parnassa issues, etc., and the koach of hergel on top of it all. But I wish that each and every one of you should be zoche to fell the excitement, the magnitude, the awe, the hispailus, the love, and the longing the we, the former talmidim - those who were once zoche to be shivti babayis hazeh - feel when we are mevaker b'haychalo. May Hakadosh Boruch Hu help you feel anticipation and excitement each day as you enter this great makom Torah and walk its hallowed halls.
To the parents, in-laws and relatives of these choshuveh yungeleit, I would like to share the following. As we were leaving Lakewood, something I saw got me thinking. We all have different ways in which we are able to support out precious chavrei hakollel. Some offer financial help directly to the yeshiva. Others can afford to give financial help to their children and relatives. Others support yungeleit in the form of gifts and clothing, and yet others can supply emotional support, a compliment, a good vort, or words of appreciation to our young treasures who do so much for, and are tremendous zechus to, their families and the entire Klal Yisroel.
Whatever it is that we can do, let us do it proudly, with a deep understanding and great appreciation of the chashivus of Torah, chashivus of lomdei Torah, chashivus of a makom Torah, and while bearing in mind what Torah, limud HaTorah and a makom Torah does for us, our families, for Klal Yisroel and for our future.
May Hakadosh Boruch Hu bentch us that our appreciation and understanding of what this bayis gadol v'kadosh shenikrah shimcha olov means to us and Klal Yisroel should hasten the bulding of the bayis gadol v'kadosh shenikrah shimcha olov that we refer to in our bentching.
A Former Talmid Of BMG
Full post and comments...
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Neo-Zionist Vidyas - Anarchists, Confirmed Kills and London, Oh My!
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.
Full post and comments...
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Forward Admits Reporter Orly Halpern Made Stuff Up
"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.Full post and comments...
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.Full post and comments...
Monday, June 11, 2007
Olah Olot Strike Back at Der Forvard ('The Forward' - so this will be Googlable)
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.
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.
Full post and comments...
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Glenn's History of the Middle East... in a Couple of Minutes
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
SDEROT - CITY UNDER SIEGE
Ezra, Tamar Yonah, and I had the opportunity to head down to Sderot to do a live broadcast with some amazing people including Rabbi David and Mechi Fendel, Noam Bedein, Shlomo Wollins, and others.
Here is a photo album of our time there.
Here are the links to our two hours of amazing broadcast:
Full post and comments...
Sunday, May 20, 2007
BREAKING: Elders Hold News Conference
A spokesman for the Elders of Zion, Mr. Larry Elder, is holding a news conference in which he is stating the Elders' recommended course of action in Sderot. I am liveblogging, here goes:
LE: ... the Elders recommend the following:
a) we get a normal Prime Minister instead of this meshugener shaygetz.
b) the new PM gets the IDF to build The Gazanator.
c) the new PM holds a news conference in Sderot in which he unveils The Gazanator.
d) The Gazanator is a computer connected to some Howitzers on one end and the Color Red incoming rocket alert system on the other. Basically, what it does is confirm that there is an incoming rocket and have a Howitzer fire a shell into a randomly selected point in Gaza's populated areas.
e) The PM then proceeds to load the Howitzers with shells himself, so as to make clear the responsibility for any "war crime" is his and his alone. He explains that once the Gazanator is turned on, the only thing that will make it fire shells are incoming rockets from Gaza, and the only thing that will make it stop firing shells is a cessation of incoming fire from Gaza.
f) PM turns on The Gazanator. End of story.
(silence, then commotion)
Full post and comments...
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Exclusive: Meeting of the Elders, 10/05/07
Anyhow, this meeting was devoted to a Stages Plan and to updates regarding the tunnel work currently being painstakingly carried out under the Temple Mount. When I say painstaking, I am understating to the maximum degree: the digs are performed by teams that include archaeologists and explosive experts - this is not just your ordinary tunnel. Plus there are acoustic issues - it's important that the people praying in the mosques don't hear the guys chiseling away. Sipur mehahaftara as we say!
So the tunnel part is confidential, I was not even allowed to look at the protocol dealing with that.
As for the Stages Plan, here is the relevant section:
Reb Moishe ben Duvid: Hey, why do Jews have big noses?
Reb Itamar ben Fishel: Because the air is for free, yes we know that one! Go on if you want to present your plan!
Reb Moishe ben Duvid: OK OK. So here is the plan I suggest. I have been speaking with Reb Effie [Eitam] about this by the way, he is leaking the plan in bits and pieces so the public can get used to it.
Stage A as you see in this chart is to make the public discourse in Israel a bit more aggressive and violent, get the pacifists in the media to gradually shut their yaps. This is progressing nicely. The tone is less sissyish and more violent, and this is good. I am seeing graffiti that says 'Kahana Tzadak' and it is not getting wiped away as fast as it used to.
Stage B is to get 'the cocktail' in government. I say cocktail because while we do not have a leader who can cure us from our AIDS, we can, through a combination of leaders, hold off the Arabs for quite a while. The cocktail looks like it will include Netanyahu and Eitam.
Stage C is to whack the Israeli Arab population over the head as we say. This we will accomplish by staging a provocation and then getting the 'cocktail' to declare martial law throughout the major Arab concentrations, from the Galilee to the Negev. There will be a curfew for at least a year, probably much longer, and it will be strictly and harshly enforced.
Stage D will be to convince the government to start bombing the Arabs in Yehuda Shomron and Aza, and show the world that we can be as mean, crazy and underhanded as the worst of them if need be. We don't play by the rules when the other side doesn't.
Stage E will involve a 1948-style expulsion of 90% of the Yesha Arabs.
Stage F will involve resettling 2-3 million Jews who will stream here, mostly from the USA, as a result of the massive anti-Semitic wave stage E will engender.
Stage G will involve getting some serious allies with us as we prepare for Stage H, the showdown with the Mohammedans. This means Zionist Christians but also countries like India and possibly Africa [I must say I agree with him: some sub-saharan African countries were the only ones who did not boycott the Jerusalem Day event! They have a simple, true belief, they love us and we need to be less racist and accept their love - G.R.].
Stage H will be the showdown! If we lose we die. If we win - we get tons and tons of oil and we die laughing!
END OF PROTOCOL
That's all I have for now.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Is Christian Support for Israel Legitimate?
Is Christian support for Israel legitimate? Israel National News has an article up about the Chief Rabbinate banning Jewish participation in a Christian group's (Bridges for Peace) women's conference scheduled for next week in Jerusalem. They claim that the organization's concentration on "Judeo-Christian values" and the study of "the Jewish foundations of Christianity" are forbidden. The rabbis ruled that these efforts are actually part of a long-running campaign to bring Israeli-Jews to believe in Jesus.
At the same time Pastor John Hagee gave a rousing "sermon" at the AIPAC conference which people are talking about.
I hate when people say "Israel - you are not alone".
A. We are not alone, so you don't have to worry about it, G-d is on our side, and so are people who are truly with G-d and B. We don't mind being alone. Nothing wrong with individualism. Sometimes when your leading you are alone at the head.
I hate when people say "Israel - we support you". Support means that there's a big entity and a small entity, the bigger helping the smaller. I don't think Israel needs Christian help (nor do I think Evangelical Christianity has helped Israel one iota) and detest the email I get from Christians who tell me that I should stop ripping Jesus if I want to continue receiving their support. The good people of this world do not need to flaunt their support if it comes from the heart. Have you ever heard Micronesia make demands on Israel in return for its support?
BUT while I hate "support", I do not mind cooperation and friendship. I have met Christians who are leaving their false beliefs in favor of a more Bible-oriented world-view. I have met Christians who believe in Israel with all their hearts. I have met Christians who inspire Israelis to believe in the Torah, and to our right to the whole land of Israel.
If we do not come to Christians from a position of the low-self esteem and neediness we will be able to recognize our true friends. If we impress upon them that missionizing will not be tolerated, they will learn to sublimate whatever false beliefs they have left in them. Israel does not need support, nor is Israel alone, however, Israel does know how to appreciate a good friend, colleague, or partner.
When it come to the "word" - I never stand for any Jesus-talk - I say plainly "We do not believe in that, and it goes against the Torah - do yourself a favor and rid yourself of false beliefs." Christians love when I talk this way because they know they are not dealing with someone who is trying to smooth talk them to get something. We must always know and radiate the fact that we are the Chosen people and we are the guardians of the Torah - anyone who is thirsty may come and drink. We, on the other hand, are not thirsty. This is they key to a healthy relationship.
Full post and comments...
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.Full post and comments...
Friday, May 04, 2007
Fox uses this caption: "Maybe the taco wasn't the best idea for lunch, Tzipi."
Lots of readers have submitted their own. My favorite so far came from a reader named Heather who sent in:
"Man tough crowd... its not like I gave away our land geez!"
Read them all here.
And submit your own right here in our comments!
Full post and comments...
Thursday, April 26, 2007
While You Were BBQing... (Disturbing Photo Warning)
This is the caption that ran with it:
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish followers of Neturei Karta burn an Israeli flag against Israel's Independence Day in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 24, 2007. Neturei Karta, which means 'Guardians of the City', is a small group of Haredi Jews who oppose Zionism and believe that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Messiah. Israel is celebrating its annual Independence Day, marking 59 years since the founding of the state in 1948. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Full post and comments...
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Vineyards Uprooted, Trees Destroyed, Media Silent Because They Were Planted and Tended by Jews
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Post-Pesach Links That Make You go Kumah
Sunday, April 08, 2007
A Really Bad Beer Ad
Meet Kevin Peraino. I'm fairly certain (though not completely) that Kevin is not Jewish. Hey, nobody's perfect. Mr. Peraino is also a journalist for Newsweek - their Jerusalem Bureau Chief actually. And this Newsweek reporter understands Israel's purpose better than many, many, many Jews do.
Flashback: The early Zionist dreamed of building a nation where "Jewish criminals are arrested by Jewish police officers, tried before Jewish judges and incarcerated in a Jewish prison." When that occurred, they declared, we will have become a "nation like any other."
But the Zionist dream of being "a nation like any other" is perhaps the most destructive idea a Jew can come up with. Indeed it is this very thought process that led to the post-Zionist movement. It is this thought process that leads Jews to uproot Jewish families and Jewish communities from holy Jewish soil all in the name of being accepted on the world stage. Being accepted as "a nation like any other."
The Jews are not a nation like any other. We are, in fact, a nation unlike any other. We are a light to the nations. Israel's purpose is to promote G-d to the world. Simply that and nothing more. Even if we Jews don't know it - the rest of the world sure does.
Take David Saranga, the Israeli consular official based in New York. Did you hear his latest ploy to help tourism, particularly for the 18-35 male demographic? "...what's relevant to men under 35? Good-looking women," he says. Yep. That's what Israel should highlight about itself.
Benny Elon rightly calls that a waste of money. "It's the only state where you can take the Bible as your tourism guide." Think, Saranga, think!
And though he doesn't agree with Elon, even Alan Dershowitz admits it's "completely not the way to go. I can see models anywhere." One commenter on Newsweek's site wrote that it looks like a really bad beer ad.
And that is exactly the point. Once Israel becomes "a nation like any other" we are thrust onto a world scale we have no right being on. On that scale, Israel appears to be a pretty crummy nation with nothing special at all. Hence the post-Zionists. But if we stay on the scale we are supposed to stay on, the "light-to-the-nations" scale we are untouchable! When we promote G-d, no nation anywhere can come close in terms of history, culture, food, family life, beauty, and spirituality. Indeed we have something no other nation has.
Kevin Peraino ended his article with this sentence: "The reality of Israel is often having to choose: go with the girl, or go with God."
I'm pasting the Newsweek article below in case it "disappears" from their site.
Girls: Israel's racy new PR strategy
Israel flirts with a racy new public-relations strategy.
By Kevin Peraino
April 9, 2007 issue - Jim Malucci has two tattoos, one on each bulging bicep. On the left one, the photographer for Maxim magazine has etched an image of a seductively dressed pinup; on the right, he has stenciled the words GO WITH GOD in Portuguese. He leans on his left arm and points his camera at a model in a bikini on the Tel Aviv beachfront. "That's hot, that's wicked," says Malucci, as the model shifts her hips and parts her lips. "I wanna see the curves. That's it, honey. On your knees, legs apart. Nice arch in your back-boom!" The flash flickers as the sun drops toward the Mediterranean. A Hassidic man in a black hat accidentally steps into the frame. "Love the guy with the hat!" Malucci says, chortling.
Taking in the scene, David Saranga can't help but grin. The Israeli consular official based in New York approached Maxim six months ago. His proposal: the government and other pro-Israeli groups would fly a camera crew across the Atlantic in an effort to remake the Jewish state's public image. Israel's reputation had suffered after last summer's war with Lebanon; in a recent BBC poll taken in 27 countries, 56 percent of respondents considered Israel a "negative influence" in the world, higher than both Iran and the United States. But Israel's real PR problem, according to Saranga, is that Americans-particularly men aged 18 to 35-either associate the country with war or holy relics, or don't think of it at all. "We have to find the right hook," he says. "And what's relevant to men under 35? Good-looking women."
Saranga's effort is the latest volley in a long-running battle over how to sell Israel to the world. Tourism is a nearly $2 billion-a-year industry in Israel, and the art of public relations is something of a national obsession. In Hebrew it's called hasbarah, which means "explaining." For a country that's always craved international acceptance, hasbarah was "the first growth industry of Israel," the American author Richard Ben Cramer wrote. "We almost have a psychological disorder when it comes to public image," adds Eytan Schwartz, the first winner of Israel's top-rated reality TV show, "The Ambassador." Schwartz's prize is proof of that: the winner of "The Ambassador" gets to become a public-relations flack.
Still, by definition, hasbarah is open to interpretation. One of the central dilemmas is which aspects of Israel's wildly diverse society to emphasize. Israelis disagree about which is more likely to appeal to Americans-Tel Aviv's freewheeling, secular charms, or Jerusalem's holy sites. Settler leader Benny Elon, a former tourism minister, says he considers ads touting Israel's beaches a waste of money. For Elon, it isn't only a cultural issue; it's also bad business. Tourists in search of sunshine will always favor the French Riviera or the Caribbean. Israel's "unique selling proposition" is its religious heritage, says Elon. "It's the only state where you can take the Bible as your tourism guide." A recent study by the consulting firm Ernst & Young recommends that the Jewish state target American evangelical Christian tourists-one of Elon's pet projects.
Yet trying too hard to lure Christian tourists could end up alienating secular liberals. "Benny Elon is just dead wrong," says Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, author of "The Case for Israel." "It puts Israel in the camp of arch-conservative people." Already, a recent study by the New York marketing firm Wunderman has concluded that Israel's "brand" is perceived similarly to those of Philip Morris and the NRA. Ultimately evangelicals' support for Israeli tourism will evaporate, says Dershowitz; Christians will eventually become "disappointed" with the Jewish state as their interests diverge. But even Dershowitz thinks the idea of paying to fly a magazine crew across the Atlantic is a little over the top: "Completely not the way to go. I can see models anywhere."
Saranga insists his campaign is just smart niche marketing. "You have to match the message to the audience," the diplomat says. And his supporters argue that the Jewish state's diversity is one of its strongest selling points. Ultimately, says Dershowitz, "Israel is both countries ... a country where models pose at great holy sites." The tattoos on shooter Jim Malucci's biceps make the balance look easy to find. But marketing budgets are finite, and cultural rifts aren't so easily bridged. The reality of Israel is often having to choose: go with the girl, or go with God.
Full post and comments...
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Things That Make Ya' go Kumah
Birthright B'Aliyah (B'Taoot?)
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 siteFull post and comments...
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Media Round-Up: Israeli Arab Edition
Consider the following recent headlines about Israel's Arab citizens:
MK Sarsour calls Muslims to free J'lem
MK Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL-TA'AL), Speaking at the "Jerusalem First" conference in Ramallah, the lawmaker emphasized the importance of Jerusalem to Islam, and called on participants to "act together to become a torrent on the road to liberation."Poll: Over 25% of Israeli Arabs say Holocaust never happened
"Just as the Muslims once liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders, so must we today believe that we can liberate Jerusalem. It is not an impossible dream," he said.
In its most dramatic finding, the poll showed that 28 percent of Israeli Arabs did not believe the Holocaust happened, and that among high school and college graduates the figure was even higher - 33 percent...Majadele refuses to sing national anthem
While 89 percent said they view Israel's bombing of Lebanon as a war crime, only 44 percent said they see Hezbollah's attacks on Israel as such. Hezbollah pelted northern Israel with nearly 4,000 rockets.
Half of Israeli Arab respondents said Hezbollah's capture of Israel Defense Forces reserves soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in a cross-border raid was justified.
Israel's first Arab minister said in newspaper interview he would not sing anthem, because song was written 'only for Jews'...The articles speak for themselves... (and no, the solution is not to promote co-existence programming!)Full post and comments...
In the interview, Majadele said, "Of course I would not sing the anthem in its current form. But before we talk about symbols, I want to talk about equal education for my children. It's more important that my son would be able to buy a house, live with dignity… the Arabs are not in a mood to sing right now."
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Meat! Fresh Bleeding Meat! Arf Arf!
All of the major news web outlets are feasting on MK Esterina Tartman's gaping wound: Sunday night it was Amnon Abramovich of TV Channel 1 who took the first big bite out of the newly appointed, yet to be sworn in tourism minister for the right wing (?) Yisrael Beiteinu faction, whom the Left hates for being good looking, the IDF record holder for parachute jumps by a woman, a survivor of cancer and a very bad car accident, and of course for her politics. Abramovich revealed that Tartman received 1 million NIS from an insurance company when she left her previous job at Yahav bank in 2001, following her accident.
She and her lawyers had convinced the judge that she left the job because she could only work 4 hours a day and was permanently disabled. The insurance company had claimed she was lying and that she was leaving because she was entering politics. So the question is, how can she work a full time job as an MK and now as minister, if she can only work 4 hours a day, wink wink?
The way I see it, it is quite possible that at the time she could only work 4 hours and now she can work more. In any case, it is clear that the media would never ever feast this way on, say, Supreme Court Judge Edna Arbel, who has quite a few corruption scandals attached to her name, or Dorit Beinish, even, who is also far from clean.
Today they have added a new indictment: Tartman claimed - on the Knesset website and Yisrael Beiteinu's website - to have a Master's Degree in Int'l Relations from Hebrew U., when in fact all she had was some graduate courses from Touro College.
I guess that is pretty embarrassing. But still, if you take a look at Yoav Yitzhak's website - NFC.CO.IL - you won't see the item at all. Yitzhak, on the other hand, has been the one hounding Arbel and Beinish for years about their scandals, which are worse than anything Tartman may have done. This is because Yitzhak, besides being a fighter and a nonconformist, is a Yemenite Jew and an outsider. He used to work for Maariv and then fought with them and went independent. He seems to be doing OK.
If you want to publish an opinion piece on his site, you can. He rarely censors stuff. Even if it isn't PC at all. But still, NFC's ratings are nowhere near Ynet.
Maariv's op-ed editor is also a Yemenite, Ben Dror Yemini. Yemini is a lawyer and he once represented the Yemenite residents of Pinkas St. in Tel Aviv, when fat cat landlords were buying them out for real estate development purposes. I believe he won that case and that was what launched his career in some ways, though I am not sure of the details. In any case, you will find Maariv's op-ed section is less PC conformist than others, and that Yemini attacks the "rule of law mafia" quite a lot, too.
Haaretz in Hebrew reports on a meeting between Condi Rice and Krazy Kooky Loon Spikey Haired Bee***ch MK Zehava Galon. Galon fed Rice a bunch of hyperinflated stats about the supposedly terrible situation in Israel re: exploitation of women (i.e., prostitutes).
I do not want to offend anyone's sensibilities here, but let me just say that it has been proven to my satisfaction that Galon & co. lie through their teeth about these stats. However, nobody calls them on it, and you are "not allowed" to talk about it (are you?). They make Israel look like a festering hellhole of woman abuse, when in fact it is probably the safest place for women in the entire world.
Now notice what is happening here: were it not for the feminist angle, Galon would never have gotten on Condi's schedule. However, once in there, she also went on and on about the supposedly terrible humanitarian situation in Gaza.
If the Right - and specifically, right wing women - had more sense they would understand that lefties like Galon have succeeded in creating a semi-secret ultraleftist feminist agenda through which they emasculate the entire West. If you can't see the connection between women's politics and left/right politics, well then - I think you are not trying. I always thought if the women of the Right took these women on we could have a fighting chance against the Left.
A true feminist would have pointed out the increase in Arab sexually predatory crimes against Israeli women in the past few years. Just today, five Galilee Arabs from Bir el-Maksur were arrested for allegedly carrying out a series of gang rapes of Jewish girls - as young as 13 - over the past two years for nationalistic motives. These guys apparently went around the roads of the Galilee prowling for girls, and they actually told at least one girl being attacked that this was in revenge for IDF activities.
Is this on Ynetnews in English or Haaretz.com? I don't see it. Why? Because it sends the wrong feminist message, you see. It makes Arab men look very bad, and could actually cause someone to think strengthening Jewish men is part of the solution. It could also make a lot of people very angry, and it is precisely that kind of anger which we now lack.
I personally used to think if feminist issues are so PC and beloved by the media (any and all sexual allegations are front page news, despite the very high rate of false allegations in divorce cases and by disgruntled employees, jilted lovers etc.), a group of right wing women should mount a protest against Arab sex crimes in front of Israeli police stations. However - this is not in the Right's oeuvre: it is not directly about Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, the fence or Pollard. It is a different tack, and one that could have been very effective. Maybe they wouldn't have reported about the group the first time, but by the third or fourth demo they would have. It could have knocked some wind out of the Left, which is very dependent on its feminists for its media and moralizing power.
Yes, sex is not a modest topic. But why is it OK and progressive when broached by "Kolech", for instance, against leading rabbis? Why is the fact that there is an intentional Arab campaign of sexual molestation against Jewish women not an issue?
What women like Galon do is lobby and pass laws that make it very hard for a Jewish man to even carry a gun, because supposedly, he is likely to use it against his wife. I cannot even begin to say how twisted this is, and how central it is to the emasculation of this nation. I wish I were less alone in this belief. I think it is a central issue, and one that the Right wing media, especially right wing female journalists, should try and push onto the national right wing agenda.
There is only one figure who can save Israel: the Jewish hero. If we hate our men, we will have no heroes. If we have no heroes, we will have no leaders.
Full post and comments...
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)
Full post and comments...
Deliberately Violates Wishes of Grieving Jews
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.
Update: 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.Full post and comments...
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Here are a few great audio selections for your weekend:
Today I called the White House. I was calling about Jonathan Pollard but it turned out to be even more important. The clip is 3 minutes long.
Click Here To Listen
Click Here To Download
Here is some Rabbi Judah Torah for Shabbat! What did Yitro hear that made him come out to the desert to meet Moshe? What do the nations hear from Zion? It's about 10 minutes long.
Click Here To Listen
Click Here To Download
From Tamar Yonah: "We've all been there.... sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper and seeing the movers and shakers of the world in print and in full color. A gnawing yearning rises from the depths of our soul, to our consciousness, telling us, "Gee, I wish I could be GREAT. I wish I could do something unique, that I will be remembered by." And then we sigh, andn turn the page of the paper and read another story, burying that yearning deep down again, so as not to disturb our comfort bale and safe, daily routine.
Recently I did a monologue on the yearning in each one of us, that longs to make a dent in this world. None of us knows how long we will be granted life, and the times we are living in demand even more attention to how we lead our lives today. Take a listen, and pass this on to others. Together, one by one, we'll make a difference. But we first have to make 'the appointment'. (about 20 minutes)
Click Here To Listen
Click Here to Download
Full post and comments...
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Propaganda - My Fave
First of all, how incredibly cool is this new blog? I love the smell of Neo-Zionism in the morning. Smells like victory.
Amidst numerous calls we'll be making for a better Israel on this blog, we'll be adamantly calling for real Jewish control over the Temple Mount and the ultimate rebuilding of the Third Temple (hey - it's good for everybody).
Just in case you weren't aware, this is actually what this "second Intifada" is about - control of the Temple Mount (which is code for spiritual control over the Holy Land).
I am no fancy political analyst, but I predict major violence throughout Israel in the next 2 weeks, and onward, because of (or rather, on the pretext of) construction by Israel at the Mugrabi gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Some of you may recall a certain destructive earthquake 3 years ago which destroyed this path to the Temple Mount, revealing an ancient arch, and significantly reducing the size of the women's section at the Western Wall. Israel built a rather ugly wooden ramp on to the Mount as a temporary fix, but is now embarking on an 8 month project to revitalize the ramp and extend it (foreboding good times of massive Jewish ascent to that area, I hope).
In response, the local Arabs are swinging from the trees. Both Fatah and Hamas have issued raging, testosterony vows of havoc and terror if Israel touches any of their mosques (remember: this is about rebuilding a bridge outside the Temple Mount, in the Jewish Quarter), creating a rare moment of Jew-hate-inspired unity between warring Arab factions.
Israel National News, JPost, Haaretz, Ynet, and all the others have articles up on this story. However, I found the real gem at a website that we Jews don't often visit: Hamas'.
I dare say that such boldly delicious propaganda is rarely found in languages you or I could read, so I invite you to the capital of Flavor Country:
Israel starts demolishing parts of Aqsa Mosque amidst world silence
Feb 6, 2007, 11:25
Occupied Jerusalem - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) started on Tuesday destroying two rooms and a bridge leading to the Maghareba gate, one of the entrances to the Aqsa Mosque.
Two Israeli bulldozers were involved in destroying the Muslim landmarks in the early hours of Tuesday morning amidst reports revealing that Israeli settlers were actively involved in the demolition...
Israel alleged that it was constructing a permanent pathway connecting the Western Wall adjacent to the Aqsa Mosque in place of an old way, which was destroyed by snowfall.
Palestinians, for their part, belied the Israeli allegations, and accused the Israeli occupation government of conspiring to finally destroy the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Muslim shrine world-wide, and to install the alleged Third Temple on its ruins.
They also refuted Israeli claims that the old pathway was destroyed by snowfall, affirming that the road’s foundations were weakened by the persistent IOA excavations under it over the past years.
Palestinian Chief Justice Tayseer Al-Tamimi affirmed that the IOF troops sealed off all roads leading to the occupied city of Jerusalem and beefed up security measures in an attempt to prevent angry Palestinian masses from blocking the IOA plans.
He also noted that the Israeli occupation government exploited the recent unfortunate inter-Palestinian fighting in Gaza Strip and the West Bank to execute their plans.
"The Aqsa Mosque is in real danger and needs Muslim support to defend and spare it the rancorous Israeli conspiracies", Tamimi asserted as he urged Palestinian masses to organize massive demonstrations against the IOA procedures.
... The PA Awkaf (endowment) ministry hailed efforts of the Islamic Movement in unveiling Israeli connivances against the Mosque, adding that the Movement was the only party blocking the IOA atrocities against the Aqsa Mosque amidst unexplainable silence on the part of Arab and Muslim leaders and peoples.
... In the past, Israeli fanatic groups, which are secretly sanctioned by the IOA, attempted to storm and demolish the Aqsa Mosque, including the 1969 attempt to burn it at the hands of a Jewish settler of Australian origin, and the desecration attempt that former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon carried out in the Mosque in the year 2000, which triggered the Aqsa intifada, among other attempts.
That was cute.
Now, I want to share with you some related information, about excavations in the City of David, and the incredible finds (and the incredible lies of our enemies). Listen to this great interview with Doron Spielman, Director of Development at Ir David.
Press "Play" below to listen the interview with Doron Spielman
He speaks about the recent discovery of an ancient stairway from the Shiloach pool all the way to the Temple.Full post and comments...
Sunday, February 04, 2007
To Bowl or Not To Bowl, That is the Super Question
I can honestly admit that there is probably no event in the world that is as anti-Zionist as the Superbowl. Professional sports at their best or worst, with billions, yes billions of dollars being wasted in just 4 short hours.
The Superbowl probably consumes more money in just one evening, than most countries registered in the United Nations produce in an entire year. And at the end of the night, there will be virtually nothing to show for it.
And while some cute writers like those at the Jerusalem Post will try to tell you that there are parallels between this Superbowl and Israel's political and security situation; I can assure you, no such similarities exist.
So, now I've bashed the pinacle of pro-football, alienating hundreds if not thousands of American olim and future olim, who all proclaim their Zionism, but for some unknown reason, just can't miss the big game.
Well, I have alienated myself as well.Full post and comments...
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Blogmaster Ezra's Blogtastic Blog Post
So three planes landed yesterday and another last week. Those hyperlinks are articles I wrote on each event.
In other news - did you know you could watch the nightly news together with the rest of Israel, complete with the subtle insinuation and innuendo that make state-run media to enjoyable? Channel 10 and Channel 1 news are each available. For the real deal try IsraelNationalTV - and don't be bashful about sending them constructive criticism.
For entertainment, click here to see why anti-Semitism probably isn't what is going to bring American Jewry home to Israel (and that is a good thing - Aliyah-by-choice is what will fix all the things that need fixing here).Full post and comments...