Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Well, sometimes G-d does show His Justice to man; sometimes He also shows His Sense of Humor. G-d has a sense of humor? Yes!
** An easy example of Hashem's sense of humor is former Knesset Member Shulamit Aloni's grandchildren. A rabid leftist and opponent to anything religious, Shulamit Aloni was blessed with grandchildren who are chareidi (ultra-Othodox). Alonei was so vehemently anti-religious and outspoken in that hatred of religious Jews that, the Jewish Agency website said, in 1992, after a year as Minister of Education, she was "forced to resign her position..." And how did Hashem have the last laugh? By giving her religious grandchildren. I can just imagine her taking her grandchildren - their payot and tzitzit flying - out for pizza. What a site!!
** There are more humorous grandchildren stories, like those of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Marxist, and today his great-granchildren are running along the hills of the Shomron, taking over hilltops and learning Torah.
But I'm jumping ahead.
** As Seder night approaches, and we review the Hagaddah, we see again that every one of the plagues was a punishment for something specific that the Egyptians did. There is Divine Justice on every page of the Hagaddah.
** Having recently completed the holiday of Purim, we know that Hashem's divine justice shines here as well, with Haman ultimately swinging from the same gallows that he himself had built for Mordechai.
** And what a laugh G-d must have had when Haman came up with a fabulous way for the King to honor someone (Haman thought that person was himself!), and Achashverosh told him to do all that he said to Mordechai the Jew!! Egad!
** Fast forward about 3000 years. Yahya Abd-al-Latif Ayyash was a technological genius. His ability to dream up all kinds of technological ways to kill Jews earned him the title of the Engineer. Actually, he is credited with being the father of the suicide bomb. What a claim to fame. Was Ayyash's end G-d's retribution or His sense of humor?? Well, Ayyash himself was blown up with an advanced technical device - an exploding cell phone.
** Next...Surely you remember how the Israeli government did its best during the pre-and-post-State Days to completely assimilate the Yemenite Jews. The Torah-true Yemenite Jews fulfilled their dreams of coming to the Holy Land, and after they arrived on their "Magic Carpet", they were immediately coerced to cut off their payot, abandon their kippot, and turn away from their devotion to Torah and mitzvot. Most of the Yemenite Jews then lost the battle and gave up their observance of Judaism. So, it could very well be G-d's sense of humor today, or you might say His sense of justice, that the biggest Machzir B'Teshuva (person responsible for the secular Jewish people returning to Judaism) is a Yemenite Jew from one of those assimilated homes - HaRav Amnon Yitzchak.
** The Disengagement from Gaza ruined the lives of 10,000 people from Judea, Samaria. Remember those post-Disengagement videos? They showed that the lives of every person (except Shimon Peres) that was involved in the "Disengagement" from Ariel Sharon to Yonatan Bassi and Moshe Katzav were ruined. That's classic Divine Retribution. (I tried to find that video, but wasn't successful. I did however find an interesting video of our misguided politicians speaking up in favor of the Disengagement and all the positive results it would bring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F71vE7C225k )
** Back to G-d's sense of humor. Fifteen years ago, my friends and I had the zechut (merit) to lead a battle to save Efrat's northernmost hill, Givat HaDagan, from being turned over to the Arabs. We spent the summer on the hill and then were pulled down several times by the police. The government was determined to erase the Jewish people's connection to Givat HaDagan. They sent a tractor, as big as a house, to plow up the "streets" we had delineated and the civilization we had brought to the hill. As they overturned stone and earth, they tried to wipe away any Jewish connection to the hill. As the tractor worked, suddenly BOOM, one of its tires fell into a hole. After more investigation, it was found that the hole was actually a cistern that was part of a checkboard of water tunnels built thousands of years ago to bring water to the Holy Temple. So, G-d had a chuckle. "You thought you could cover up the connection of the Jewish people to the Dagan, well, I have helped you uncover Am Yisrael's two-thousand-year-old connection to Jewish history on the hill."
There are more and more examples, AND I INVITE YOU TO SEND IN YOUR OWN. But right now, we return to the source of this particular blog itself:
** Last week, the British government expelled an Israeli diplomat, because "they couldn't just sit back and do nothing" while British passports were used in Dubai where a top Hamas terrorist was assassinated. The British, who assumed that the Mossad, did the deed, refused to sit back and not react.
That's pretty ironic, since in the relationship of the British and the Jews, the British have usually stood by without reacting. They didn't react in Hebron in 1929 when the Jews there were massacred by their Arab neighbors. Neither did they react to the massacre of Jews in the Old City or the Yemenite Village, nor in Sheikh Jarrah when right under the noses of the British Consulate, a convoy of doctors, nurses and security personnel were traveling on a "protected route" up to the Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital. The Arabs ambushed them and 78 Jews were massacred, torn to pieces so that many could not be identified and had to be buried in a communal grave.
The memorial for those 78 Jews and one British citizen stands today at the scene of the tragedy, right outside the British consulate door.
Now...next door to the British Consulate is the Shepherd Hotel. In the 1930s this was the home of Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem. Husseini was the biggest Middle Eastern anti-Semite of his time (if there was a contest) and a good friend and kindred spirit of Adolf Hitler, yemach shmo.
Husseini and his friend Adolf did their best to come up with joint-projects to wipe out the Jewish people to the very last.
Moreover, there is no greater show of Hashem's sense of humor than this Double Gotcha - the fact that IY"H, one day soon 20 young Jewish families (hopefully with many laughing Jewish children) will be living Jewish lives of mitzvot and blessing in the home of Jew-hater Husseini, right next to the British Consulate.
Am Yisrael Chai.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I stopped for a few moments to watch this curious site. I told them that I had never seen such a thing, except perhaps in a movie. One of the workers told me, "You must buy this garlic. It is fresh. It is delicious. It is full of richness." Pointing to my little package of four small white garlics in a mesh bag, they laughed with disdain.
"Ha. You call that garlic. That is dry garlic from Greece. Look at this garlic. It is fresh and delicious; every time you cook, you can take off one head, and you can hang the rest up."
I told them that I really didn't need so much garlic, but they said, "We don't believe it. Do you understand that the little bag of garlic is from Greece, and this large wreath of garlic is an Israeli product (totzeret ha'aretz)! Wouldn't you rather have garlic grown in Israel?
Yes, I would. So I put back the dried garlic and picked up the wreath.
Now I can't wait to start cooking so that I can use my Israeli garlic. Yum.
What? You don't think G-d has a sense of humor?? How wrong you are.
More to come... (running out again)
Still, I found this news amusing for two reasons:
1) When Britain or any country sends its spies out to do a job, do they use passports from the United Hukamagama Islands? No, they use passports of whatever country they can forge at the time. (BTW, it hasn't even been proven that the Mossad assassinated the terrorist.)
2) The British are great in expressing righteous indignation on the killing of a terrorist, but when it came to terrorists murdering innocent Jews over the past century, they have been silent and worse, have turned their backs as terror hit...
In fact, how appropriate that today, just as England expells an Israeil diplomat for its possible connection to the Hamas terrorist's assassination, Israel announced the approval of 20 housing units at the former Shepherd Hotel in the Shimon HaTzaddik/Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
That Hotel is right next to the British Consulate, and just above the scene of the 1948 massacre of 78 Jews and one Brit in a convoy on its way up to the Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital.
From inside the Consulate, the British diplomats surely heard the first bomb that went off on the mile and a half road up to Hadassah. And then they surely heard more of the attack right outside their windows. Unfortunately the British response was slow at best.
The memorial to the 79 Jews killed under the noses of the British is right outside the British Consulate.
Now, IY"H, a new building fill of live young vibrant Israel-devoted Jews will stand right next to that spot as well, a neighbor to the British Consulate and a symbol of the fact that despite the terror of some enemies and the indifference of others, the Jewish People will rise again and continue through eternity.
There's much more to say about this, but gotta run now. More to come.
Am Yisrael Chai.
BTW, I went to the Shepherd Hotel and Shimon HaTzaddik/Sheikh Jarrah.
I recently completed two out of three videos about Eastern Jerusalem. You can see them at http://voices-magazine.com/voices-videos.php?id=121 and http://voices-magazine.com/voices-videos.php?id=122 . Pressed for time...I had a deadline on the Passover Issue of VOICES Magazine, I didn't have time to complete the third of the series. I hope to do it later today.
That video is a much longer one and a bit more complex. It is the story of the Shepherd Hotel, the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood and the Arab protesters in Sheikh Jarrah.
Pop by later today to read/see the rest of my report.
Monday, March 22, 2010
"Why did you come?"
"Where are you from?"
"How long are you here?"
"Who built this house?"
And then..."Whose land are you living on?" "Whose land is your house standing on?"
"My house is standing on the land of the Jewish people. I am living on land that is the focal point of my Biblical heritage. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked here. Eight minutes north of me, our matriarch Rachel is buried. Twenty minutes south in Hebron is the burial place of my matriarchs and patriarchs. Perhaps on the ground on which my home stands, David shepherded his sheep. Across the road is a place called Sde Boaz, the fields of Boaz, from the famous story of Ruth and Naomi."
"I don't mean the Bible. I mean more recently. 1948."
"Ah, 1948, this area was purchased by a man named Holzman (that means tree - like etz, etzion). In 1948 Jews lived here in five beautiful communities in Gush Etzion until the Arabs massacred some and took others into captivity."
"Well, what about those million Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee from their homes and had to run to other countries?"
"Well, what about those million Jewish refugees who were forced to flee from their homes in Arab countries. They ran from Syria and Jordan and Egypt and Lebanon and Iran and Iraq and they made new lives for themselves all over the world, and some thankfully, in the Land of Israel. Why today are there no Jewish refugees in France and English and America? Because they wanted to make a life for their children, and begin productive lives in their new homes. But the Arabs wanted to stay refugees and their host countries wanted them to stay refugees as a weapon against Israel."
"That is your pre-conceived notion."
"That is the truth."
"I am a student of history. I know the history of the Middle East all the way back to 1920."
"Ah, 1920, a good year. Then you know that in 1920, the Jews of Hebron had a very vibrant and large community, until the Arabs massacred them in 1929. And the Yemenite Jews lived in Kfar Teimanim (Yemenite Village) in Silwan until some were massacred and others had to be removed by the High Commission so they would not be killed by their Arab neighbors. And here in Gush Etzion there were also communities that were attacked by the Arabs."
"Well, what about the check points. And I saw with my own eyes an eight-year old on the floor at a check point, waiting for two hours, just because he wanted to go to school."
"And I saw with my own eyes, my friend from Tekoa who was stoned on the road, just because she was driving and for no other reason."
"Well, when people are desperate..."
"I have bad days too. My children also are sometimes late for school or bad things happen. I don't go out to the road and stone Arab cars."
"I don't know that you don't."
"Well, I don't! Do you?"
"No, I don't."
There's more, but chatting together has made me feel better. Thanks. How'd the interview go? Well, as my son Natah would say, "Whatever."
What's this all about?
Can we just take out a red magic marker and draw a line down to Jerusalem and divide it?
Voices joined Ateret Cohanim/Jerusalem Reclamation Project director Daniel Luria on a tour of Eastern Jerusalem to see how its Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are totally intertwined.
Our stops were:
* A Jewish house on the Arab side of Abu Tor.
* Beit Yonatan in the Yemenite Village (Silwan Valley).
* The King's Garden.
* Maaleh HaZaytim on the Mount of Olives.
* Beit Achim and Kidmat Zion on the Jerusalem side of Abu Dis.
* Beit Orot on Mt. Scopus.
* Shimon HaTzaddik (the Arabs call it Sheikh Jarrah).
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Well, whaddaya know?
This morning's news on Israel National News.com
Report: Ramat Shlomo Plan Frozen
"Ha'aretz revealed Sunday that Interior Minister Eli Yishai has decided to postpone progress of the plan for construction of 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo. While the plan will not be officially cancelled, it will be put into “cold storage” until at least September, when the ten month building freeze in Judea and Samaria ends. Yishai's office confirmed that the plan would not be completed before September."
I also wrote about last night's demonstration against the increasing danger on our roads with Arab stone throwing and larger violence. http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/protest-against-arab-violence-on-roads.html
Well, I woke up to this INN news report:
Arabs Rioting in Gush Etzion
"About 100 Arabs were rioting Sunday morning near Tekoa in Gush Etzion. The Arabs were throwing rocks at security forces. IDF troops were using anti-riot measures to break up the disturbance."
And why is all of this happening??
The answer is in a third article on INN.
Netanyahu Commits to New Round of 'Gestures'
"According to reports, Netanyahu wrote that in the upcoming talks with the Palestinian Authority, Israel would discuss the 'core issues' of Jerusalem and the return of descendants of Arabs who fled their homes in 1948 to Israel. Netanyahu has also agreed to a new round of “gestures” for the PA."
As all the speakers at last night's demonstration pointed out. As soon as Israel shows weakness, insecurity and self-doubt (do we really have a right to the land??) http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-country-do-or-die.html, Arab violence grows, whether it is in the form of kassams or in the form of rocks and molatov cocktails and shootings on the road, chas v'shalom.
Until our government takes lessons in self-respect and the history of the Jewish people in its land, we will continue to be on the losing side of the eternal debate, "Whose land is it anyway?"
The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People forever. It is our eternal inheritance. It's time that everyone - our government, the media, alllll our people - discovered that is something to be proud of!
At least two women and several men going to or from Tekoa this past week have been stoned by Arab youth. One woman was injured so badly that she was operated on in the hospital a few days ago. The others were shaken and suffered tremendous damage to their cars.
Jewish residents of Gush Etzion, Binyamin and the Shomron went out to their intersections to protest this rise in Arab violence.
At the Gush Etzion Junction, a crowd listened to local leaders discuss the situation.
Alon Shvut’s Chief Rabbi HaRav Gidon Pearl told the crowd, “We must not be afraid. We must raise the flag, return to our roots. We must learn from the courage of our forefathers, when the Jews killed the sheep (even though they were the god of Egypt) and they weren’t afraid. [The nations of the world] are making fun of us and shlepping us around. We must stop letting ourselves be trampled on.”
Kiryat Arba Chevron’s Chief Rabbi HaRav Dov Lior noted, “We gathered here to protest and request from the government to do something effective against the barbarians that are again threatening our movement on the roads and our quiet lives. They’re ambushing Jews all over the country. We have no doubt that they’re raising their heads because of signs of weakness on behalf of the leadership of Am Yisrael.”
“When the leaders of the Jewish people agree to a building freeze; when we ask the [Arabs] to sit down at the table with us... we’re lucky they don’t even want to come.
The Rambam said Iggeret Teiman explained that the character of Arabs is that when you look out for their good, in return, they always give you war.”
Rav Lior added, “When we tell the Arab, ‘Come. I want to help you and see to your needs,’ he doesn’t look at us like gentlemen. He sees weakness and then the wolf shows what he can do.”
HaRav Lior stated, “After the Six Day War, the government should have declared sovereignty over all the parts of Israel, not just Jerusalem – but all Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It should have begun a massive building everywhere. If they would have moved citizens in to live in Shechem and Ramallah and all throughout the country, our situation today would have been very different.”
“To our great sorrow, the people delayed in this, and since then the government has rolled on from problem to problem,” he said. “After the Six Day War, our brethren from the west should have come and not waited for anything else. Perhaps the present president will help them decide very quickly whether this is the Diaspora or the Exile. Why are Jews still in America? To see if the President of the United States will kick them out like Pharoah?”
Kiryat Arba’s Eliyakim HaEtzni observed, “When the Arabs of Hebron felt the British were with them, they massacred the Jews there [in 1929]. Today the Arabs feel the same way, and there are stonings and molatov cocktails are the road. I don’t want to think of what could come next.”
HaEtzni said that it was rumored that America is going to pressure Israel on things it never thought of before. He said, “The Americans want to make Area C smaller and give Arabs more land now! The Arabs want an Airport in the Jordan Valley, and if they get that, we won’t have control at all of what comes and goes in our eastern border.”
Then a woman whose car was stoned on the way from Tekoa to Central Gush Etzion said, “I am angry at my country. My children go to the Army, I pay taxes, and the government doesn’t protect me. I am angry at the Jews around Obama who forgot what it is to be Jewish.”
Then everyone turned southward and began marching on Route 60 toward El Arub to demonstrate that Jews should be safe to walk on any and every road in Israel.
If the government and the Army doesn’t begin protecting its citizens, the protests will continue and grow.
To watch the video, click on http://www.voices-magazine.com/ .
Friday, March 19, 2010
Then yesterday a woman from Neve Daniel was stoned in Eastern Gush Etzion. B"H, she wasn't injured, so she didn't make the news. But do we need someone to be injured or worse, chas v'shalom, until we do something to save lives!!??
I had a very few minutes and decided to explore Eastern Gush Etzion. With time being so short Erev Shabbat, I didn’t get far.
I think everyone should drive around Eastern Gush Etzion. First of all, it’s interesting looking - green and gorgeous on one side and arid and sandy on the other. Secondly, more Jewish cars must drive through Eastern Gush Etzion, because our presence is important to our brethren and their towns. Thirdly, there’s great stuff to visit too – Herodion National Park, the pool and restaurant in Tekoa, Sde Bar goat and dairy farm, Shdema and nice folks in every Eastern Gush Etzion town.
Gush Etzion is a magnificent central area of Israel, and usually it is pastoral and idyllic. Unfortunately political turmoil throughout the rest of the country even affects the usually quiet region too.
(A perfect point to mention the demonstration against increased violence – Motzei Shabbat, 8:30 PM at intersections throughout the country. More here: http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/me-thinks-lady-doth-protest-too-much.html.)
I thought I’d find out more about the Arab villages around Eastern Gush Etzion. One of the closest ones is the village between Efrat and the T-Junction. It might be overlooked by someone driving along the road. It’s got some big aluminum sheds for stone production, but the village is actually behind the sheds, and more or less hidden from view. It’s called Al Masara. If you are driving toward the T-Junction, Al Masara is to the left, and there’s a decent sized friendly sign, “Welcome to Al Masara” hanging on a pole.
Internet sites say that for a few months, residents of Al Masara have faced off against Jewish soldiers as they demonstrated every Friday against the Wall. Why they’re demonstrating now, years after the Wall began, I don’t know, but…whatever.
After googling the town, I found an interview on the palsolidarity.com site with Mahmoud Zwahre, the Mayor of Ma’sara, member of the al-Ma’sara Popular Committee, and director of the joint council of nine villages South of Bethlehem. Zwahre said that the folks in Al Masara are not really affected by the Wall, but because they’re the educated town in the area, they thought they should be the ones demonstrating. Many Arabs who learn in Israel’s universities learn about social justice and freedom. Unfortunately, instead of applying these ideas to women’s rights or creating a better life for their people, they use their knowledge to demonstrate against Israel. I remember clearly almost 30 years ago, when Shimon Peres said something like, “We will educate the Arabs and then we will have peace.” Beautiful utopian thought. Well, Israel has indeed educated them, and now the educated ones are leading the actions against our soldiers and our country.
I found a two-month old video of an Al Masara demonstration - January 2010. The whole village came out – adults and children. They carried the Palestinian flag, plus a flag with a map of “Palestine” – no Israel – that was cut in half by a rifle and surrounded with PA flags. Peaceful image. They carried photos of their sons/brothers who were arrested for terror activities, and one mother even lamented that her son, serving a 99 year sentence, hasn’t seen much of his six year old son. I’m sorry this man hasn’t seen his child, but what did he think that might happen before he went out on a terror attack?
Rooted to the Land
An English speaking Arab said, “We are Palestinians. We are rooted to the land, like our trees…”
For years, I have advocated giving youth in every community throughout Israel - on both sides of the green line - pieces of land to farm and plant, so they could feel “rooted” to the land, but it seems that we Jews just do not understand this concept.
We build cities, we build giant apartment houses, we build 250, 400, 500 meter homes of stone and steel, but we do not connect to the land. A house can easily be plowed away, just as the foundation of the Western Dekel synagogue was just broken into pieces only a few weeks ago. (See: http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/like-thieves-in-night.html ) But a tree digs its roots into the ground and won’t let go.
The Jewish people should learn from the Arab of Al Masara to become “rooted to the land, like our trees.” If we really do that, and teach our children to feel a deep rooted connection to Eretz Yisrael – and not just Judea and Samaria – everywhere north, south, east and west – they will finally understand why we are here, why this land is our blessed chosen land, and why we choose to live sometimes harder lives here than "the good life" in the fleshpots of Egypt and the rest of the Diaspora.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Actually the Hamlet quote really is, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks," but no one remembers it that way. No matter, it's the idea that counts.
Let's say the Lady is US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The woman had an absolute cow when plans for Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood were okayed last week (or was she just looking for something to make a stink about – and do ladies have cows and make stinks??). Even the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman called Clinton's remarks a "gross overreaction" to a "policy difference among friends." She wasn't the only one to insult and threaten Israel last week. US Vice President Biden said that Israel's move "imperiled" the US plan to launch periphery talks between Israel and the PA Arabs. Since then, Administration officials have been searching high and low for complex Thesauruses to find synonyms for "insult" and "imperil" so they can say the same thing in a hundred other ways and also be shown on prime time TV.
The European Union got into the act too. The leftwing site, Haaretz.com, reported, " In addition to the U.S. condemnation of Israel's announcement, the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers also condemned on Friday Israel's announcement approving new construction in east Jerusalem."
(Middle East peacemakers??? Oh puhlease, Haaretz…Has anything they've done over the years advanced peace, or have they just contributed to the isolation and abuse of Israel? Plus, Ramat Shlomo is NOT some tenement neighborhood in east Jerusalem and not in Eastern Jerusalem either. It is a beautiful area in Northern Jerusalem, next to Ramot, another larger and popular Jerusalem neighborhood.) Meanwhile, with the world against Israel and our own government misguidedly apologizing ad nauseum, our officials have also bought stock in Roget's Thesaurus, trying to find a host of new ways to say, "We are sorry. We are lowly. We are unworthy. Forgive us, master."
I mean, what are they scared of? That Clinton or Biden or PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said the announcement of construction one day in the loooong distant future threatens the periphery talks? Another, puhlease, don't be foolish. Nothing will stop those talks, because through those talks the Arabs can only come out big winners and the Israelis big losers. And the Arabs, US or EU can kvetch all they like, but there's no way, unfortunately, that they're not going to race to the table.
Meanwhile the isolation of truly friendless Israel has encouraged Arabs throughout the country (including Gaza) to step up its violence with stones, guns and missiles.
Hm, sounds like one of my blogs. See list of related articles below.
A Thesaurus of Excuses
Of course, there is an excuse for everything. Arabs shot up Route 443 near Modiin two weeks ago because Israel was going to call the burial places of our ancestors, Me'arat HaMachpela and Rachel's Tomb, protected landmarks. The rioting continued in Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem over the past few weeks, including a rock attack at a bus in Hebron. Then my friend, Valerie, was stoned near Tekoa (she has subsequently been operated on), and the excuse was the announcement of future Ramat Shlomo building, or perhaps it was because the Hurva Synagogue was rededicated (after Arabs destroyed it in 1948). Whatever! They haven't decided which excuse to use.
Back to... the lady and her cohorts protest too much. But the man doth protest not at all.
Instead of letting the US State Department say our municipal announcements "undermined trust and confidence in the peace process," why doesn't Israel's own Prime Minister say, "Constant Arab stone throwing and attacks on innocent Jews throughout Israel – Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – are undermining our trust and confidence in the peace process, in the real intensions of the Arabs toward peace, and the position of the United States as an honest broker."
Why doth the man not protest at all? "Israel will not sit down to periphery talks or any talks until there is a complete cessation of violence in every location in the country, whether within or outside the green line. As long as one rock is thrown, there will be no talks."
But the man doth protest not at all.
FINALLY SOMEONE DOTH PROTEST – and that someone is US
Well, finally, at least someone is protesting against this latest round of violence. And we must all go!! All of us. We must do our part to stop the violence. We are all sick of going to funerals of victims of terror. We're tired of hearing that any more of our friends are in the hospital because they were attacked by Arabs who were mad about Ramat Shlomo, Kever Rachel, the Hurva Shul or any other ridiculous excuse.
On Motzei Shabbat, we're going to protest the rioting – not just here in Gush Etzion, where I live, but all over the country.
Motzei Shabbat, Parshat Vayikra, 5 Nisan (March 20, 2010), 8:30 PM:
In Judea: at the Gush Etzion junction, for details: Yehudit Katzover - 050-7161818, Nadia Matar - 050-5500834
In Samaria: at the Hawara junction, for details: Esther Karish 052-8119042
In Benjamin: at the Talmonim junction, for details: Yitzhak Shadmi 052-2456696
Transportation from Kiryat Arba-Hebron to the Gush Etzion junction will leave at 8:00 p.m. from the Kiryat Arba Local Council.
Estimated conclusion: 10:00 p.m.
In my area, Kiryat Arba/Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, Efrat Rabbi Shimon Golan, Nokdim Rabbi Yaron Dorani and other community rabbis will speak, plus Dr. Amiel Ungar (writer and lecturer at Judea and Samaria University Ariel) and Kiryat Arba's Eliyakim HaEtzni.
The protest has been called by the Samaria Residents Committee, the Benjamin Residents Committee and the Judea Action Committees.
We all must be there. Every one of us.
For related reading: http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-country-do-or-die.html
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Caramel Matzah Crunch
A terrific snack for the kids! No matter how much of this you make it won’t be enough.
6 pieces regular matzah
1 cup (250 ml.) unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup (250 ml.) packed brown sugar
2 cups (500 ml.) chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 envelope vanilla sugar or 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C.) Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cover this with baking parchment. This is very important because the mixture becomes sticky during baking. Break matzo into approximately 2” pieces and arrange in a single layer on foil. Don’t worry if it overlaps. Place butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Do not stir. Cook a few minutes or until mixture comes together and does not look oily. Remove from heat and add vanilla sugar or flavoring. Pour mixture over the matzah. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. As soon as matzah comes out of the oven, sprinkle with chocolate. It will melt from the heat of the matzah. After 4-5 minutes, spread chocolate as evenly as possible. Chill until the chocolate and the caramel are set.
Notes: If you have a Pesach food processor, grind the chocolate fine before sprinkling on the matzah and don’t spread it.
You can also use chopped, toasted almonds (sprinkle on top as chocolate sets).
You can learn more about this recipe on Sue's Cool-inary Show, http://voices-magazine.com/voices-videos.php?id=119 .
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
The State of Israel is 62 years old. In that time, we've put our trust in a whole slew of American presidents from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon and then Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton and George Bush. And what about the French? Like George Pompidou, Francois Mitterand, Jacques Chiraq, etc. etc.
Israel has leaned on all kinds of leaders from different countries, and it seems that the relationship has varied according to the whim of the particular leader. Remember when we were best friends with countries like Turkey?
Well, life turns on a dime, and international life turns on a euro (or whatever the coin is in China) nowadays. Israel has been told by just about every country in the world that it better tow the international line - give a state to the Arabs of Gaza and Judea and Samaria with Jerusalem as its capital, and stop building and developing Jewish life in areas beyond the "Green Line."
Even our good friends don't seem so good any more.
We've tried and failed with world leaders for 62 years, and we have lived from one crisis to another with country after country and with the United Nations too.
So, let me ask you...the world is against us. We feel like lepers. We're afraid of our shadows. We have no one upon whom we can rely. Why not try G-d? For thousands of years, the Jewish people have gone through crises and wars and cataclysmic events. One Being stood behind us and in front of us and above us. And that is the Leader of Leaders, the Master of the World.
Let's stop cowtowing to these so-called leaders of the world. And let's put our trust for once in the Leader of the World and see what happens.
Let's get Bibi to hold a press conference and say, "The State of Israel would like to announce that it is giving up its quest to make the world and its leaders happy with us. And from now on it is going to try to conduct itself in a way that makes the Master of the Universe happy with us."
And then, let's see what happens. I think it will be the beginning of Ultimate Good. How 'bout it?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
This week, 15 years after my first substitute teacher's stint, I found myself in the classroom with about 20 ninth graders.
Somehow, the word Dubai came up, and then the Dubai assassination. None of them had ever heard about it. So, I gave them the blow-by-blow I had seen on youtube. I made football-like diagrams of which spy was where and where he went next. I asked them to analyze the assassination and prove who-dunnit!
A terrorist since his teens, Barghouti was imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s for his terrorist activities. While in prison, he finished his bagruyot (high school matriculation exams) in 1980.
Many Arab teenagers in Israeli prisons today take their bagruyot while in jail. The classes are small, and there are many teachers on site to help them. (BTW, I just called one of my friends whose son was arrested for protesting the destruction of Gush Katif. He was not allowed to study for bagruyot.)
We who believe that prisons should rehabilitate their prisoners surely look at prison bagruyot as a terrific opportunity to improve the future of the wayward and underprivileged Arab youth arrested for rioting, stone throwing, and all levels of attacks on Jews. It's a new beginning.
Young Barghouti also improved himself and began again until he achieved the murder of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox priest, plus the planning of a mega-terrorist attack at the Malcha Mall (that B"H failed). He was tried for 33 other attacks (they were not pinned on him for lack of evidence).
Today an honored guest in Israel's prison system, Barghouti is treated like a superstar - allowed personal family privileges, permission to have meetings with all kinds of political leaders, and has even done television interviews right from jail stating, "I support the Palestinian intifada and the Palestinian resistace." So much for learning about peace in prison.
Now the piece de resistance, when he's not running the activities on the Fatah street from his cell (or cellphone), Marwan Barghouti has completed his doctorate in political science.
Jpost.com said, "Barghouti, 50, is one of several hundred Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons who enroll in studies at universities around the world, including in Israel."Barghouti wrote a 341 page thesis " with the help of hundreds of books and documents that Israeli authorities allow inmates to bring into prison" for the University of Cairo. The topic: “The Legislative and Political Performance of the Palestinian Legislative Council and its Contribution to the Democratic Process in Palestine from 1996 to 2008.” No comment.
So, mazel tov to Marwan. A doctorate is a tremendous accomplishment.
In June, it's almost four years that Gilad Shalit has been in a Gazan prison – just enough time for him to complete his college studies. I wonder what university degree Gilad Shalit has attained. I'd like to wish him mazel tov too.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
The riots this week near the homes of the Jews of the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood are very disturbing. Adding insult to injury is the fact that our own Jerusalem Post (not Al Jazeera or the New York Times) calls the neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah. Why don't they call Ramat Aviv by its Arab name of Sheikh Munis or Har Nof by its name Deir Yassin?
By constantly acknowledging the Arab scenario, the media and the government are weakening our Jewish roots and connections to this country, while strengthening our enemies. http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/01/truth-about-israeli-arab-aspirations.html
The Israeli government should demand that Jewish neighborhoods be called by their Jewish names. But it goes back to the same discussion we've had several times already - our own government's lack of belief/confidence that this is our land.
No wonder they take visiting international dignitaries to Yad Vashem instead of living thriving Jewish sites of growth and development. They feel comfortable with Jews and Jewish communities that ONCE EXISTED but have long since been destroyed. They feel uncomfortable with living doing succeeding Jews today.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Meanwhile, here's the recipe for everyone to follow. It's a perfect Pre-Pesach recipe. Enjoy.
Banana Cream Crumble French Toast (Serves 7-8)
This is a great and extremely versatile dish to use up leftover or stale bread. You can mix and match any filling ingredient to suit your taste. Spread the bread with cream cheese or cheese slices, peanut butter and jelly; sprinkle with nuts, raisins, craisins or any type of canned or fresh fruit.
Spray a 10 x 15" glass baking dish with Pam Spray. Place 14-16 slices of bread* into the dish.
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 bananas, sliced
Mix together and pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 250 degrees. Let baking dish set out while oven preheats. Top with Brown Sugar Crumble mixture and bake 45 minutes, until puffy and golden. Cover with foil last 5-10 minutes of baking so top doesn't overbrown.
Brown Sugar Crumble:
In food processor with steel blade, pulse just until combined:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup molasses or other syrup
(This can be made ahead and stored in freezer until needed.)
A country that cannot grow, that cannot go forward, cannot develop does not stand stagnant. It withers and dies.
Perhaps America's motto, "Our Country - Do or Die", meant that America had to spread from sea to shining sea, had to develop its cities, build its skyscrapers, establish its booming industries or it would wither and die.
Now Israel is faced with a situation of its own foolish doing. Our Prime Minister announced months ago that we would NOT build in Judea and Samaria for ten months (read: we will never build in Judea and Samaria if certain folks can help it). The towns of Yesha (Judea and Samaria) are facing a crisis. Their young people cannot move into their towns, because there are no homes available for building, no apartments available for rent, no vacant caravans. Okay, so young people won't move in? Not so simple. An aging population in Judea and Samaria means that without throwing one Jew out of his home, the communities of Yesha will die sad, but "natural" deaths.
Who needs Yesha anyway, the government might think? We've got Tel Aviv and Raanana and Petach Tikva, and with our "united" capital of Jerusalem, we're fine.
Many years ago, I wrote that the Arabs and the rest of the world know the TRUTH. The Israeli government makes a very definite distinction between Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
Yesha is beyond the green line. It is the West Bank. It's ours today, but tomorrow is unsure. Jerusalem, on the other hand, is our capital and must always be united, or at least we've got to say that until we can sway public opinion into agreeing to give away Eastern Jerusalem.
However, the Arabs and the rest of the world know, there is no difference between Yesha and Jerusalem. And since Netanyahu has proclaimed a freeze (read: stoppage) on buildling in Judea and Samaria, the Arabs and the world want the same freeze (read: stoppage) in Jerusalem as well.
The Israeli government proclaims its sovereignty over Jerusalem with shaking knees. But the world hears the rattling knees and doesn't hear the proclamation.
The vote on building in Ramat Shlomo came up and was passed during United States Vice President Joe Biden's visit. Israel announces it's building in Jerusalem. The US throws a fit.
Instead of saying, "This is our capital, and we'll build where we want," all kinds of government ministers are screaming and yelling at the stupidity of the plan, of the announcement of the timing.
How tragic that our own government ministers don't know whose land this is, and especially whose capital it is.
In the past few months, I've been pretty disappointed in Minister Benny Begin, but he said something today that is true. Jpost reported on Begin: "When would be a good time?" he asked rhetorically. "If it happened 10 days before, they would have said we did it to harm the visit of the US vice president, and if we did it 10 days later, they would have accused us of saying certain things while he (Biden) was here and acting differently afterward."
All this is part of the problem I wrote about a few days ago. We just don't know/believe/understand that the Land of Israel truly belongs to the Jewish People. We do not have the faith to go forward to our national destiny. http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/were-not-sure.html
I hope we wisen up very soon, because if our capital cannot expand and prosper, it will, G-d forbid, just die. And without a heart, the body doesn't have much of a chance.