Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You Can't...Just Did

It feels like it's been forever since he was last home. It's been 16 days, just over 2 weeks. I've spoken to him while he was on base, sent him messages, Whatsapped him pictures (yeah, in today's world, Whatsapp is a verb...who knew?).

He walked through the door looking so wonderful. Tired, thin. Wonderful. Hungry. Home, at last.

While he was gone, someone stole my phone. Okay, to be fair, I left it somewhere and rather than take it to the front of the store and say, "hey, someone left their phone here." They stole it; shut it down and from the tracking app I have on it, apparently have taken out the SIM card and acquired themselves a new phone.

It is at times like this that I remind myself - what you steal in this life, you pay for in the next. I've applied that belief several times in the face of injustice and so here too, I offer that warning to the thief.

In any event, I borrowed a phone and went to Pelephone to get a new SIM and, as is the way with salespeople, managed to leave there with a bargain including a new phone for me and a spare phone as well. As for me, goodbye Nexus 6, I loved you well. Hello, Galaxy S6, I could definitely do worse!

Davidi walked in and I asked him if he wanted the spare phone. It's about the same level as his current phone, which is still working fine so he said he didn't need it. He then opened the package and took out the earphones.

"I'll just take the earphones," he said as he turned and walked upstairs.

"You can't," I started to say.

"Just did," he responded as I heard his boots climb.

Why that makes me smile, I have no idea...but yeah, he's got the earphones...and I have him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Death of the Democratic Party

Two images dance in my mind: the first troubling, the second, a stab to the heart, an ending, a death.

The first is a picture from a few days ago taken at the Democratic National Convention. It is a picture of flag of a country that does not exist. They have no language, no culture, no capital, no borders. Congratulations, they have a flag.

They call it the Palestinian flag, and it is. What it is not, is the flag of Palestine - a place that existed only as part of the Ottoman Empire, then the British Mandate. A place from which Jordan was formed, a place that could have been born in 1948 at the same time that my country was reborn. Israel was recreated on our ancient homeland on May 14, 1948. The dream of Palestine was aborted by its people who decided to take a gamble that they didn't have to settle for just half. They gambled, they lost, and they have been whining and murdering innocents ever since.

This flag, waved in pride on the floor of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a flag that represents violence, intransigence, and terror. That there isn't an American flag in sight at the DNC is more telling than shocking.

But the second picture, this one turns shock into fury. This one proclaims more clearly than any other, that the Democratic party of my youth is dead. It was murdered by left-wing extremists, ignorant people like Bernie Sanders and others who have the audacity to try to convince long-time Democrats that they "love" Israel but don't like the current government.

The irony of this picture, taken outside the DNC is that below the Israeli flag being held above the flames is a poster of Bernie Sanders.

The tragedy of this picture is that it happened in the United States of America, a close ally of Israel; that it happened in Philadelphia, a city that represents freedom and liberty and justice, not mob mentality, violence and misplaced anger.

And more, theses two pictures together represent the death of the Democratic Party of my youth; of the fliers I folded and delivered door to door, of the nights I listened to my mother and others plan strategies for strengthening the party in our town, our state.

Police acted quickly and arrested many of the demonstrators, who also burned the US flag. One could argue and say that the Democratic party is not responsible for what a crowd of imbeciles do outside their convention. They could argue that they aren't responsible for the fact that a few morons waved the Palestinian flag on the floor of their convention.

But the fact is, that if the death of the Democratic party is not represented by the waving of Palestinian flags and the burning of Israeli flags, it is represented by the lack of American flags there on the podium and around the room. It is there in the destruction of the US military instigated and conducted by their president over the last 8 years.

Whatever speeches are spoken in Philadelphia, whatever voices are raised, by far, the loudest sound heard from the Democrats today is the sound of it turning its back on America.

You Can Tell a Man By the Company He Keeps

...and you can tell a woman by the company she keeps as well.

They donated to her foundation...and then the Obama Administration/State Department closed arms deals...

And rumor has it as much as 90% of these funds never reached the people they were intended to benefit. Corruption, thy name is Hillary.

Time to Admit this Great and Tragic Truth

This morning, in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, two terrorists walked into a church and murdered an 84 year old Catholic priest. In the early morning hours, as the priest was conducting mass, they entered the church with the specific and clear intention to murder.
They violated the holiness, the sanctity of that holy place because...because...

You know what. Stop there. The because leads you to madness.

This is Jacques Hamel. He was 84 when he was murdered by Islamic terrorists in a terror attack in France. He was a priest but more, he was an old man who hurt no one. He was murdered in the name of Allah. He was murdered in the name of intolerance. They entered a church and violated the sanctity of that place. The priest was murdered because he was a Catholic, an infidel. Yes, that's right. According to Islam, this man of the cloth was an infidel.

This is Hadas Fogel. She was only four months old when she was murdered by Islamic terrorists in a terror attack in Israel. She was a baby, but more, she was the essence of innocence and she too was murdered in the name of hatred and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that's right. According to Islam, this child, this baby of only four months old was an infidel and a worthy and honorable target.

And this is Hallel Yaffa Ariel. She was just 13 and a half when she was murdered by an Islamic terrorist in a terror attack in Israel. She was in her bedroom, asleep when he entered her room and began stabbing her. She was a child on the brink of so much more when she was murdered in the name of hate and martyrdom and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that's right. This sleeping child is, according to Islam, a legitimate and honorable kill.
I keep wondering what level of violence will it take to shock the world into action. They have burned people, hanged them, decapitated them. They have stabbed, stoned, bombed, and shot people. They murdered a Hadas, and many other babies across the globe. The murdered Hallel as she slept, and many other young girls and boys. And today, they murdered a priest in cold blood.

What will it take for the world to be able to say - without lowering their voices - this was the work of Islamic extremism? This was Islamic terror? All No. NO.

But today, and yesterday, last week and last month and last year and ten years ago and twenty. In Madrid, New York, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Jerusalem, Brussels, Itamar, Nice, Kiryat Arba, Orlando, Normandy, Afula and on and on and on.

Say it. Islamic terror. Stop it. Stop it. Be shocked. Be angry. Scream out your anger. Stop terrorism.

Stop them now...before they come to your city, as they have come to mine. Stop them because they will not stop. They will come to yours, as they have come for mine. 

You and yours...that's right...YOU are an infidel and they want you dead. They want your way of life crushed. Does that scare you? Does that terrify you to the depths of your soul?


Monday, July 25, 2016

From One Soldier's Mother to Another

Arranging a holiday in Israel can be very interesting. It seems like the whole country goes on vacation at the same time. Occupancy in the north during the summer and in the south during the winter reaches, quite literally, close to 100%. Get that spot early, or you're not going to find a place.

We found a place - or at least my amazing older daughter did. And then we found out that David would be out of the army...the week before. So we decided to check around and see if we could find somewhere else to stay. I started calling and realized the week we want coincides with a huge musical festival up north...wonderful.

I called a bunch of places and then got desperate enough to ask one if perhaps she knew of another. I explained that I wanted my "soldier" to join us. That we already have a place the following week, but I really, really want to give him that time, that break. I've never gone on vacation without him and I don't want to start now if I can help it.

"Where does he serve?" she asked.

"Givati,," I answered.

And then, the most amazing thing happened. She started to speak. I'll write down what I remember as best I can,

"My son served in Givati too. It was very hard. You know they go into Gaza, right?"

Yes, I told her, already hearing the dread pour into my voice. "I don't want him in Givati," I confessed.

"Listen to me. This is what you have to do. Every day, you have to give tzedukah [charity]. Find a poor family and every day, give them a few shekels. And pray. Say to yourself, 'he should go in peace and he should serve in peace and he should be safe and come home in peace. Him and all of the soldiers of Israel."

I told her again how much it scares me; she told me again that she it will be okay, just to give charity every day. Can you imagine speaking with a complete stranger and having her bless your child and offer you her support? It happens here all the time. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton

My thoughts...mine alone. Not meant to interfere. No money was distributed, no attempt is being made to infiltrate the US to undermine any campaign (as compared to what the Obama administration did during the last Israeli elections).

I'm smart enough to know that if we were stupid enough to attempt this, America...or what is left of it...would respond to us as we responded to Obama (Israel's Message to Obama).

So, I offer my thoughts...and mine alone...on the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton:

I am more amazed by the endless need to attack the other person that typifies almost all Facebook posts. And the only posts I've seen the have been positive about either candidate are usually lies. The best single post I've seen is quite simple "We're Screwed, 2016".

I have been accused of being interested in only one aspect of the US elections - how the candidate relates to Israel. I can't totally deny this because while I believe which candidate you choose will impact on your future economic situation and perhaps some personal freedoms, I don't think the very lives of most Americans hangs on the balance of how the next election goes.

Potentially every Israeli life, including and especially the soldiers of Israel, could be on the line. I am proud of my country, Israel, for taking the necessary steps and cultivating other relationships outside the one with the US. This will be needed if Clinton is elected.

But I will also tell you that again and again, I see that what happens to Israel first, spreads to the rest of the world. We lived through terrible days of suicide bombing attacks, now they are very rare in Israel (thank God and the IDF). While terrorism is still a reality in Israel, far more attacks are averted or mitigated by our strong and constant attempts to fight it. We watch as horrible things happen in Brussels, Orlando, London, San Bernadino, Paris, Nice, and now Munich. Left unchecked, terror will spread and spread. And who the US chooses in this election, will likely have a direct impact on how the US fights terror (or even if it fights terror), in the coming years.

What boggles the mind is how many of you now agree Obama was a disaster, just as we here in Israel said he would be, but are prepared to go with Clinton when we say the same thing about her and the policies she will implement, the people she will empower. Fool us once, shame on him...and Obama did. Fool us twice even, shame on him...and Obama did. Fool you three times, and Clinton will, shame on you.

At some point, however, you can't fight stupid. Do what you gotta do, America. The world is watching. Your society is imploding. It is horrible to watch from outside. Those of us who live in Israel by choice still care deeply for the US and it is very painful to sit here and watch you choose between two such horrendous options. Worse, to watch as you pick the worst of the worse.

Clinton has now picked a Vice President who has a clear anti-Israel position. Oh yeah, he'll mouth the words about supporting our backs...just like Obama did. But like Obama and Clinton, they despise the Israeli government, and the vibrant Israeli democracy that brought it to power.

I firmly believe that in four years, if you elect Clinton, America will be weaker and more isolated, thousands more will have died in terror attacks. As for Israel, you may not believe this next statement, but I do...we here in Israel will be fine. We are strong. We love this land and will defend it.

Four years ago, when Obama was re-elected, I wanted Israel to send the US a message, "God bless you and keep you safe...see you in four years."

Well, it's four years later. If Clinton is elected, I hope we'll send that message because there will be no reason to attempt a closer relationship. Israel gets financial aid...yeah, we do...and we paid for that aid right back in many ways. It is not at all clear that Israel needs the US more than the US needs Israel - ask your military...or what is left of it after Obama has systematically worked to destroy it.

Look at the innovation coming out of Israel. I'll tell you a secret...ready? What you see is nothing compared to what is happening here. You've seen pieces of it - Iron Dome - that WE developed, to meet and knock missiles out of the sky to protect our people, and now a Tunnel Discovery technology that is finding and destroying Hamas tunnels.

What else is there? Don't worry - there's more. We'll deal with what we have to, no matter who you elect. With great disgust and sadness, I hope it will be Donald Trump.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because I'd rather stand with the United States before the Russians, the Germans, Asians and Africans.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because a united stand against Iran is the only way out of the dangers ahead that would (and will) be presented by a nuclear Iran. My country will fly alone if it has to but it would be better for the west if it wasn't Israel alone.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because I don't think the US military can survive another years of Obama under a new name.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because he is a Washington outsider and it's time to bring in someone from the outside to change the corruption that has robbed America of so much of its greatness.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because Israel is an important ally and deserves better treatment than it got from Obama or will get from Clinton and Caine, who supported Obama's ongoing attempts to humiliate and insult Israel's leaders.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because the alternative is so much worse and because the next few years will force America to deal with very similar problems that Europe is struggling with right places like Paris, Nice, Brussels, London, and Munich.

I hope it will be Donald Trump...

I hope it won't be Hillary Clinton. I hope it won't be Tim Kaine.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Watch This Video - Best 21 Minutes You'll Have Today

Strung in the middle of this 21 minute video are three special videos, two of which I've seen before.

It's called A Miracle of Israel...I think the title is wrong. It could be THE Miracle of Israel because Israel is truly a miracle and this video shows that. It could be The Miracles of Israel because this video shows at least two miracles have have happened.

Turn up your speakers, watch my beautiful country unfold before your eyes. Listen to a soldier describe what happened when his unit went into Gaza. Let me know if you manage to listen and not cry...

My only complaint about this video is that it is only 21 minutes long. I could have watched it for hours...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In My Little Country Today

In my little country today, it was sunny and the streets of Jerusalem were filled with people shopping, walking, eating. It was a normal summer day in a normal country. There are those who want to say life is not normal in Israel, but it really is. Kids play in the sunshine; parents balance jobs and kids and camp and summer plans.

Planes are flying in and planes are flying out. Sales; school supplies, the train beeps and then continues on its path.

I went to work, went shopping and bought some new towels, came home and started cooking. Normal. Really.

Same road, NOT our car, someone else. No injuries
Nothing exploded (at least so far); no one was stabbed. For that alone, we are grateful. About four hours ago, my husband called to tell me that after his current meeting, he had yet another one set up. He's going to be home late.

Two hours later, on his way there, Arabs threw a rock at his car. He saw the rock as it came towards the car, heard the boom as it hit. He did the right thing - he kept going.

He called me and told me what happened; I called the police. He's fine. He's fine. He's fine. The car doesn't even seem to be damaged, but who can tell? It's an old car and anyway, he's fine.

Another car was hit, it's windshield broken by rocks; another car, further down the road and a bit later, was also hit - this time by a bullet, which was found in the car.

In all incidents, no one was hurt, thank God.

We called the police and explained where it happened. A short time later, someone from the army called me to ask the exact location and ask what had happened. I told them what I could, that I wasn't in the car, and gave them my husband's telephone number.

And then, as is customary in Israel, I wished him a "quiet" night. Quiet is a euphemism for peaceful, terror-attack free. And then, he wished me one back. That made me smile. He's out there on duty tonight; I'm here in my home.

So, all I can do is wish for peace and quiet in my little country tonight. 

A Scene of Israel

I love taking pictures. Last night when I got out of work...I was speaking on the phone so I couldn't take a picture of what was happening before my eyes. One part of my brain kept the conversation going, wishing I could somehow disconnect with my client and enjoy the scene.

There must be a picture somewhere, but I haven't find it.

Here's a picture of the scene without the scene. This is the location. Look and then try to imagine.

Take away the train, it only came later...take away the sunshine. It was about 9:00 p.m. - completely night, a summer night in a beautiful city.

There, this second one is better. Dark streets...not so empty...and music. That was the first thing I noticed - music.

And people in a group walking in the center of the road, on the tracks...all around me, people were coming out of buildings and gathering near the edge of the tracks. People were clapping, singing, taking pictures and videos.

And there in the middle, about 200 strong, walked along the light rail tracks, straight up the center of Jerusalem. Then, I saw a chuppah, a wedding canopy, being marched down the center of the tracks.

I was wondering if maybe there would be a bride and groom but I couldn't see anyone under the chuppah as four men carried the poles and others danced in and out from underneath. At one point, the train came through and a policeman rushed to order everyone out of the way but still they kept singing and dancing.

It was an event that happens regularly all over the country, each time to great joy. Not a wedding, but the dedication of a new Torah scroll. Often written to honor or remember a loved one, the writing of a Torah scroll is a dream for many of us. It's very expensive, takes tremendous skill and dedication and time and so it is only logical that when it is done, it is brought to the synagogue with song and dance and celebration.

I've seen it many time; but this was the first time I saw it right there in the middle of the city, watched over by dozens, guarded by police and security.

It was, quite simply, a symbol of our life, a scene that is so very Israel. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Worst Day of their Lives

Everyone has bad days. We even sometimes have days that we call, "the worst!" as in "OMG, this is the WORST day of my life." But we usually don't mean it. I think there are few worse things in life than seeing the worst day of your own life, or anyone else's.

Today is the worst day in the lives of several of the people I saw today and it was particularly painful knowing that I could do nothing but watch the horror unfold. I have been, for most of the last nine years, a soldier's mother. I don't think there is a day that goes by when I don't worry, that I'm not working hard to push away the feat

There is no standard for funerals. Sometimes the family is there before the guests and they greet you and speak of their loved one. Sometimes, they are overwhelmed, as would be expected, and so you hug and move on, almost knowing that in the hours and days that follow, there's a decent chance they'll never even remember you were there.

Today, I went to the funeral of a 20-year-old soldier who was killed in the line of duty. I listened as brothers spoke, as sisters cried. All around me, people were holding each other and wishing they could be anywhere but where they were, where they had to be.
He decided to come to Israel, learn Hebrew within a few months, and get into the unit in the army he wanted. And he did it. I admired him so much, and I don't think I even told him that. I told other people, I bragged about my brother, but I'm not sure if I told him."  -- Shlomo's brother Baruch.
Today was the worst day of their lives - this mother who brought this boy into this world, had him for 20 years, and has now lost him. I went because like the hundreds of other people who were there, I wanted to show my support; I wanted them to know that the land that their son, Shlomo Zalman, had chosen to serve, had chosen and loved him in return.
You were the young one in the family, the baby, but you never wanted to accept that. You were so mature and wanted to do everything the older siblings were doing. We might have given you a hard time sometimes, but we loved you so so much, because you were our baby. And I miss you so so much, my baby. -- Shlomo's sister, Baila
He was the one they loved to tease; the one they ordered around. He was the baby of the family, the youngest and yet the one who always knew what he wanted most in life. In another month, he was to return to their home and spend a month playing with his nieces and nephews. Now he never will, and that thought devastated his sister and in hearing it, devastated each of us.

There are so many things that we as a people share. We share a past that dates back thousands of years, a collective conscience in many ways, that allows us to recognize the other in distant lands. A stranger in Amsterdam, in London, even in India will walk up to you and suddenly the reason they approach you is obvious. They too are Jews, seeking the familiar, the connection.

At a conference in Germany, a man approaches me and speaks in Hebrew. For that moment, he is an anchor to my real world, and I am his. It has happened again and again to me when I travel. It is an unspoken, unbroken bond.

Today that bond had me travel to a small village in the center of Israel to stand and watch people that I have never met before, suffer through a day they will never forget. It will always be the day that changed their lives, a day they will wish a million times that they never had to experience.
Today is a day of tragedy for the family, for the army, and for the Jewish nation everywhere. Shlomo joined the army to follow in the footsteps of four brothers and two sisters who did national service. Shlomo, you always smiled, you always were there to help whoever needed it. You could have done a shorter term of service as part of the diaspora volunteer program, but you decided to do the full three years. You will always be an example to all of us, to your brothers and sisters, and everyone who knew you. -- Shlomo's brother Jeff.
I cried today for Shlomo Rindenow, for the sweet boy they spoke about, for the husband and father he never got to be. And I cried for his parents and his siblings and their families and I thought about what a horrible day it was, really and truly, the very worst.

May tomorrow bring them comfort; may the memories of the gift that was their son bring them light in the darkest of days.

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