Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wedding...Wedding...Wedding...

This is long - but so beautiful. One hour or so of video - don't feel that you have to watch all of it. The Streaming was done by an amazing website called www.simchastream.com.

You'll see our family - you'll see the sons we have adopted. It's been a big secret we succeeded in keeping from Elie - Yaakov flew in for the wedding. Chaim was the emcee. It's just wonderful. I have so many pictures to share, so many thoughts - and still no time.

So for now, if you have never seen a Jewish wedding - I hope you'll enjoy.

If you have never seen two people who love each other, joining together in marriage - well, I hope that is not the case, but in any event - a thought that went through my mind is that every parent prays for the moment I was so blessed and honored to see - the moment when your son looks at his bride with such love, such devotion. I invite you to join in our happiness.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wedding plans...life moving...soon

I need to write of so many things...of a wedding fast approaching, of a wonderful surprise for Elie, and more.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Flustered Groom...

The wedding is fast approaching. Dish by dish, book by book, towel by towel, they are building their first home together. It is such a joy to watch; to sit back and see how they interact with each other. And it's fun to see the unflusterable Elie, so very flustered; the calm and patient and quite in control Lauren, be just a bit unnerved. It's wrong of me to enjoy it, and yet I do - because even in these moments, I can see the caring, the understanding, the gentle and patient way they deal with each other.

"Where are my keys?" Elie asked. "I put them right here." Well, they aren't there now, are they?

We looked everywhere we could think of and all my questions just bothered him more. "Did you look in your room?" and "maybe you left them in the car?" and finally, "what jacket were you wearing?"

He picked up his jacket - and found his keys in the pocket. "Someone put them there," Elie said will full conviction. We talked about his apartment, the lock, some things he had to do.

"Where are the car keys?" he asked in frustration.

"I handed them to you a second ago," I reminded him.

"Well, I don't have them," he answered in the tone of an ever-so-patient child who is searching for understanding from a completely senile parent.

I looked on the shelves, refrained from asking if they were in his room or apartment, and he reached in his pocket and said, "and here they are."

I have loved Elie from before he was born. I loved him the moment I held him, each time he turned those blue eyes towards me. I have loved him into the army, through it and out of it and I am loving him now - even as the flustered groom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can you imagine...

standing on the balcony in the middle of a city - in this case, Ashdod, on a beautiful sunny morning when air raid sirens sound. I think these guys were dumb for not going to a sheltered room. Videotaping is important to help the world understand - but imagine if one of those SIX rockets had hit their building. I don't want to imagine that. I'm so grateful that they are alive and safe.

So, instead, I'll ask you to imagine wherever you are ate at this very moment - look out your window and imagine you were seeing and hearing what these young men saw and heard. The whole clip is one minute and 16 second long...enough time for Ashdod to be hit...six times.

Artillery! Artillery! Artillery!

Now that I've got your attention - one of the most emotional of days was the day that Elie had his Beret Ceremony - when they exchanged his green basic training beret for the turquoise of the artillery division. I wrote about the march they allowed us to share for a small distance and the incredible feeling of watching him among his brothers here.

Now, the army has just posted this video of another group of incoming artillery soldiers. May they serve this nation with honor and compassion. May they be safe, above all else, please God, let them be safe and let their mothers have nights of sleep and not fear. And please, please God, may they (and we) not know war, as Elie was forced to learn.




Video streaming by Ustream

Unarmed Civilians, an Ambulance...and More Lies

Here we go again...and again...and again. On the bright side, international media such as the Washington Post and others are beginning to see the pattern. Here's a Facebook page of
Only the picture was taking in 2009 (again). Here's the proof - even BBC had the picture on its site. And just think - over 2,000 people liked this lie...

.

Hat tip to @Elizrael for this one!

A Message to Iran and Obama and Us

So, two concepts here. The first is self-reliance and never ever depending on others to defend our lives. The second is determination.

Below is a video showing Israel testing its own bunker buster missile. It has been reported that Obama offered US support in upgrading our bunker bombing abilities - on the condition we agree not to attack Iran before the November elections. To me, that is equivalent of blackmail.

What is interesting here (and cannot be ignored) are two facts. The first is that this bomb/missile was developed by the Israel Military Industries - a government-owned enterprise. The second is that this video was released to the public.

It serves as a message to many:

To the Iranians: don't think you are safe because Obama will cripple our ability to defend ourselves. Don't think you are safe while you plan, plot, and develop Israel's destruction.

To the Americans (mostly to the Obama government): Israel knows more than most what it is to be helpless and at the whim of others. We will not be helpless ever again. We will stand on our own, defend our own. We are so grateful for your help, but if the need is there, we will rise to it. Israel will not fall again.

To the Israelis and Jews all over the world: If you will it, it is no dream. The words of Theodore Herzl remain true, each day, each year, each challenge.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did you know you could be killed in two places? Busted Again

Apparently it's true. Once again, the Arabs are using their children's blood to try to fool the world into thinking that Israel is doing...what they are actually doing to us and to themselves.

Note this picture - posted on Twitter and by @SyrianCommando and others. Retweeted around the world...a lie again. Look, he cries out to you in his agony and pain...look! While the Arabs are slapping each other ont he back, here's what Israel is doing to school children. See the boy? Well, he doesn't tell you his name, but it's clear he is saying Israel killed him in Gaza, no?


And the answer, of course, is really no. His name was Alaa Habroosh. And yes, as you can see in the picture above...and the picture below, he does appear to be dead. But, Israelis didn't kill him - the Syrians did. He died in Syria, not Gaza. And though I sincerely regret his death, all I can say to @Syriancommando and other Gaza tweeters is - BUSTED AGAIN!

http://www.rightnow.io/breaking-news/syria-mazzeh-damascus_bn_1329200960410.html

Palestinian Child Washing His Brother's Blood?

Again, apparently. This is almost not even a challenge anymore.

 The Palestinians are using any photos they can find and claiming they are from now. Some aren't even from Gaza! One journalist - Avi Mayer was diligent enough to get a Palestinian journalist to actually admit her "mistake."

Here's another one. A horrible picture...

One wonders at the parents allowing such a small child to do this work if the caption that comes with it were actually true. So, I decided to investigate the picture myself. Yup, same old lie. This is getting so easy, it isn't even a challenge. Within 5 minutes, the truth comes out. The kid is cleaning up after the killing of a cow in his parent's slaughterhouse. I'm still not sure I'd let my kid do this, but yet another picture debunked.

The picture isn't from now. The picture isn't from Gaza. The blood wasn't from his brother. The Israelis weren't involved. Another day in Israel, another lie from Gaza.

Truth from NYT, Lies from GAZA

Not a source I quote from regularly, but in their attempt to be balanced...they've explained the situation here quite well:

More than 150 rockets [note - this article was published yesterday; the actual count is currently above 300 rockets in 90 hours] have fallen in Israeli territory since Friday, and Gaza officials said at least six Palestinians died Monday, bringing the toll to 24. Though most of those killed have been militants, at least two were civilians.
A Gaza medical official and Gaza human rights groups said that one of the victims, Nayif Shaaban Qarmout, 14, was killed in an airstrike and that five other youths were wounded as they walked to school, but the Israeli military denied having carried out any attacks at that hour. An Agence France-Presse reporter at the scene confirmed that there was no sign of an airstrike.

Later, a missile killed Muhammad al-Hassumi, 65, and his daughter Fayza, 30, as they put out a fire on their land. The Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza said the fire had been caused by a Palestinian rocket that fell short of its target.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/world/middleeast/in-gaza-new-conditions-shape-old-fight.html?_r=1&ref=world#h[]

There are lies, and damn lies, and apparently, even worse than those, are the Gaza lies.

From the Iron Dome Soldiers

A message of love to Israel...it brought me to tears...maybe that's easy in these hard days, but what got to me was the one at the end, speaking to his mother. It reminds me, with sons like this, we will not surrender to this terror.

300 rockets have been fired in the last 90 hours. Yesterday, I wanted to copy and paste the news alerts - in red and bold writing as I have in the past. I was in class all day and so only got to it after a long day of teaching. I couldn't do it...it was so many attacks, an 80-year-old woman was hurt; an 8-year-old girl was hurt - babies were moved out of the hospital nurseries into bomb shelters. I couldn't do it.

But I can post this video - look at them. They are so beautiful. They are not hurting anyone - they are defending their land, their families. One is from Shderot; one from Ashdod - it is their families under fire. Each siren, each launch - an indication that what they love is under fire.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Sobering Reminder

I have a course today and a wedding come up so very soon. I got a dress - yeah for me; still need to get something for Aliza. Got Davidi's suit; still need to confirm everyone else. Relatives are flying in - it reminds me of the weeks before Davidi's bar mitzvah, when the rockets were flying and we knew war was coming - no one can live this way for long. Then too, relatives were flying in - even in the face of a war.

Elie has often told me that Israel is very special in that the moment a war would be declared, more planes would be flying in than flying out - as thousands of Israelis return to fight for the country the love, even if they have made their homes elsewhere. A wedding...a war.

I have to make seating plans and finish delivering invitations and in the midst of all of this is the painful reality that nearly one million people are spending their fourth day in bomb shelters; a second day children are not going to school. As rockets are being fired frequently - 11 overnight; almost 90 yesterday; well over 100 the day before that, parents aren't letting their children outside.

I have a friend who lives in the rocket area with 4 year old twins. How could you go outside with twins? Which one would you grab in the case of an attack? Too much for a mother to contemplate and so inside they will likely remain. This can't continue is a common phrase here in Israel - almost as common as the unspoken thought that this will never end; that their hatred runs so deep, their love of death and martyrdom too firmly entrenched.

No time to write - too much time to think. So here is a sobering reminder of what Israelis are keeping in mind today - every moment, as we plan and hope. The only thing missing from this chart below are the warning times, but you can figure them out - the area nearest Gaza has a 15 second warning; from there, add 15 seconds for each color zone.

In Beersheva, on the outer circle, they have up to 60 seconds to grab and run, to find shelter strong enough, safe enough, to withstand the impact of a warhead fired from at least 40 kilometers away. Make no mistake - Gaza has chosen to wage war against Israel and it has been war for 4 days, on the heads of one million people and more than 210,000 children.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

To Mary Shaw

So often, when someone sends me a comment - they use the default "Anonymous" and sometimes, yeah, I sort of make fun of it. This time, someone has left a name and I am grateful. Of course, if this is the Mary Shaw I have found, she claims herself to be a "human rights" activist and is proud to call herself a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International. I can't even begin to describe the hypocrisy of Amnesty, but it seems Mary will show you for yourself. So allow me please, to respond to Mary's comments, assumptions, and errors.

I will start, unlike Mary, with an apology. No, not to the Palestinians because what is happening now is of their making. They choose to fire over 160 rockets at Israel - not for the ridiculous things Mary claims, but because we dared to eliminate two clear and present dangers to our citizens - before they attacked; before they killed...again. The two were terrorists and how anyone can equate the elimination of self-proclaimed (and proud of it) killers with attacks on one million civilians confuses me, angers me, bewilders me. I'm angry, more, I'm tired. Tired of trying to explain, tired of hearing people - like Mary - spout lies and twist truth to suit their agenda. But most of all, most of all, I am tired of hearing of more attacks against cities - like the ones you live in. Each is a blow to the country, to the land, and I feel each one deep in the pit of my stomach and it burns.

So let's begin with Mary Shaw and her comments...

2 rockets hit Negev; Iron Dome intercepts 2 other rockets 
They are attacking you because you are illegally occupying their land.
So begins Mary, showing her ignorance straight away. Actually, no, Mary, you are wrong. This round is because Israel targeted two senior terrorists. One was serving two life sentences before he was released (with a promise that he would no longer be involved in terrorism) and then immediately contacted his terrorists friends at the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). The second was the leader of the PRC - mastermind behind the murders of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the murder of 8 Israelis in coordinated terrorist attacks near Eilat a few months ago (most civilians), and was, at the time of his demise, planning another major terrorist attack.

Nowhere in their firing 140 rockets over a period of 40 hours did Hamas or the Palestinians refer to occupied territory, nor were they firing at those areas you might consider to be occupied and worst of all, from a human rights activists point of view is that no where in your comment do you even attempt to pay lip service, never mind a sincere and honest understanding of the fact that 1 million Israeli citizens are under fire, that 207,000 children were denied the right to go to school today and that more than a dozen Israelis have been hurt by these missiles being fired at our cities. You won't like my source, but check out the IDF site for background on this organization - than just use Google to substantiate it - it's all out there, if you'd bother to learn.
You control all access to their land.
Wrong again. The Egyptians control the Rafiah crossing and ultimately, the real control of all of Gaza's borders is in their hands - all they really have to do is agree to negotiate for a permanent and real solution. The solution has always been in their hands because anyone who takes an honest look at the Middle East will understand when they stop attacking (and planning future attacks), the war will end. Every day - even today - hundreds of trucks cross into Gaza taking essentially, what the Gazans request. Candy, food, clothes - even appliances, cars, and yes, building materials.

Color Red alert sounds in Ashdod; Iron Dome intercepts 4 rockets 
You destroyed a town so you could build Yad Vashem- ironic ain't it?
I'm researching and I don't know what the heck you are talking about (and by the way...I've actually never destroyed a town, not even a house, although I did break three windows in my parent's house when I was about 12, but honestly, it was an accident and they had not built on an Arab town either). Ironic ain't it? No, your claims are not ironic, misinformed at best; at worst intentional propaganda - ironic is that a person who wants to call herself a human right activist is so easily led by lies and propaganda and so quick to attempt to mislead others.
Women die in labor and child birth at your check points,
Hmmm....so here I could give the angry answer, the sarcastic one trying to boil out of me. I could ask why don't they try going to Arab hospitals instead of trying to get into Israeli hospitals? Oh wait - probably because the health care is so much better. But the truth is that this too is an intentional lie. Have you ever actually been in an Israeli hospital? I have - including to give birth two times and I can tell you a large number, larger than the 10-12% of the population they represent - were in the wards where I stayed. Arabs where there when my children needed something, when my husband had to go recently.

I have NEVER been in an Israeli hospital without seeing an overwhelming number of Arabs. Never. Not once. How dare you belittle the incredible work our doctors do to help Arab and Jew (and Christian). Four of my children have taken the first aid courses allowing them to serve as volunteers on the ambulance squad - as have my two adopted sons. They have ALL treated Arabs...Palestinians. They have been told - if an Arab attacks in a terrorist attack...the minute he is disarmed, he becomes your patient....can you handle that? Can you treat him? And if they do not answer positively, they will not be accepted.

My children have treated Palestinians - my son was at a check point for many, many months. Not once did a Palestinian woman die in labor; on the contrary, when she approached, she was rushed through. You shame yourself with your baseless lies and insinuations. Worse, you've fallen for the propaganda nonsense again. Sure, women have given birth at the check points - usually assisted by army medics and soldiers - but I have a friend who gave birth in an elevator - is the army to blame for that too? One ended up giving birth at home - do we blame soldiers there?

Yes, there might have been a case or two of women dying - usually not at the check points, by the way, but on their way because their stupid husbands didn't get them medical help in time. I don't know if you have children or have ever given birth. Perhaps you don't know that it isn't the most predicable of events. A Palestinian woman shows up at a check point moments from giving birth - she's not going to make it to the hospital and there are far more cases of soldiers helping in the birth than there are of women losing their lives. From a medical stand point, most women don't die because they don't give birth in a hospital...they just give birth where they are.

The incredibly isolated cases of this happening are nothing compared to the "honor killings" throughout the Arab world. Kind of hypocritical to worry about these isolated cases compared to how women are beaten and abused by their husbands, fathers, and brothers in Gaza and throughout the West Bank (and pretty much every Arab country). Do you find blogs of Arab men and ask them about honor killings? Yeah, I was pretty sure not.
you steal land to build settlements,
I'm sure you can point to land that was stolen, right? I mean, we aren't talking about land that was captured in 1967 when the Arabs attacked - and yes, Jordan attacked Israel and lost the west bank (what we call Judea and Samaria). Do I need to explain what a war is? See - one side attacks the other and if they lose...well, they lose. Jordan lost in a humiliating defeat - no land was "stolen."

I'm really wondering where you come up with this...I could point out that before the Jordanians held the land for all of 19 years (1948 - 1967), the land was "owned" by the Ottomans...nope, not the Palestinians (that didn't actually exist during the Ottoman period). The settlements were, for the most part, founded post 1967 on what had been state-owned land from the Ottomans, to the British, to the Jordanians. And we've had the land for 45 years. More than double the few years the Jordanians claimed the area.

And, to rock your boat a little more, you're actually wrong because while areas of Tel Aviv, for example, might have been built on the ruins of abandoned Arab villages, the settlements - to the very last one - were built on unoccupied land, barren hilltops, etc. Maale Adumim is a perfect example. One need only look at EVERY hill that surrounds Maale Adumim to see that not one of them features an Arab village. Wait, that's not true - I'm wrong - on one hill - to the west of the city - there's an Arab neighborhood called Azzariya and it is still Arab today. Every other hilltop - to the north, to the east, and to the south - is barren, was barren when the city was established, etc.

IAF hits Gaza weapons cache 
you build a wall and destroy any hope of a healthy economy,
We built a wall to stop suicide bombers that were coming in and murdering people - something I think a human rights activist would care about. You dare to compare a healthy economy to the value of a human life? The wall, Israel has said repeatedly, is temporary - but effective. Suicide attacks have fallen by 90%. That statistic must really bother you, huh? Nothing worse than being shown to be a fool, and a hate-filled one at that. And by the way, the "wall" is only a wall in about 7% of the whole distance. About 93% of the "wall" is just a fence - and there are numerous crossing points. The purpose of the "wall" was to stop terror. I would assume, as a human rights activist, that would be something you'd be in favor of...

5 rockets hit northwestern Negev 
you deny a whole group of people exist.
Do I? Really? And where did you get that from - have I not referred to the Palestinians numerous times? I deny that their history is anything but brief. They did not exist as a people, even in 1900/1910 and doubtful in 1920 - but certainly today no one can argue that there are Palestinians. I do deny there is a Palestine. It was offered to them in 1948 by the United Nations. Their response, then and often now, remains they will get it all...and so they chose war and so that land that might have been is as non-existent as they peace they continue to thwart. Just today, a Palestinian living in London claimed that Palestine exists from the river (he means the Jordan River) to the sea (he means the Mediterranean). Another told me they were against a two-state solution. Both were saying, as you appear to be - that nothing less than the destruction of Israel is acceptable and so, actually, in a classic case of the the kettle calling the pot black, I think it is actually you who wish to deny the existence of a whole group of people...Israelis.
The Israeli government learned nothing from centuries of oppression,
Now that is impressive! Israel has existed for 64 years and we've gained hundreds of years of experience. Wow.
except how to do it to others.
Oh, I understand - you mean the centuries that others persecuted us. Oh, now I get it...interesting...so, you know of any gas chambers in Gaza? Heard about any pogroms? Did the Nazis allow 10% of their government to be Jews? Are Jews accusing Palestinians of cooking Jewish children in soup (and matzoh) and then slaughtering them? Did the Jews have any right to appeal to the courts in any of those countries? Did Jews have the right to shop in German stores? Did any of these countries in which we were persecuted spend millions of dollars/shekels on infrastructure in Jewish villages? School books in Jewish schools? Did they offer medical assistance on a par with the best in the world? Why did they try to burn the synagogue in my grandmother's village - while she hid behind the curtain? And do you honestly think we do the same to the Arabs (except, of course, those in which they store explosives or hide terrorists?)? Why was my mother-in-law put in a gas chamber? Why did my grandfather become orphaned - losing his mother and sisters? THAT was persecution and NONE of this is done to the Palestinians because, you are correct - we learned how it felt to have it done to us. We also learned about the Big Lie - that which you and others spread.
THAT could be a few reasons why you get bombed.
Ah, I see - twisted that one very fine, didn't you? So, YOU find us guilty, but can't prove how, but because Israel did something, whatever the heck you think we did, that justifies bombing 1 million people - including over 200,000 children? You clearly are not only stupid, you're outright racist. You just won't admit that what drives you is a deep hatred of Jews, no? You'd have to be filled with hatred to see in our treatment of the Palestinians anything close to what was done to us in country after country, century after century.

2 rockets explode near Ashdod, Bnei Shimon Regional Council 
THEY are terrorized everyday, and it is your government doing it, with tax payer dollars from mine.
Really? THEY are terrorized every day? You know that how? Do you mean the ones allowed in to our hospitals? Those that come to work in our towns and villages? Do you mean the Arab that I make tea for? The one who works in my local supermarket? Do you mean the one I gave bags of clothes to the other week? Or the one who wants me to hire him to build my home?

Terrorized - by any chance do you even know what that word means? Terrorize? Really? How? Do we blow up their buses? Their malls? They restaurants - not a one you can think of, right? But hey, there go those pesky little facts. Ah, your tax payer dollars...well, good news for you, I guess if Obama gets re-elected, right?

2 Grad rockets, Qassam explode in Bnei Shimon, Eshkol Regional Councils 
They are ticked off. They are tired, they just want to live their lives without occupation and persecution. Just like you. 
I get they are ticked off - although to be honest, it is more about politics than anger and again, you are stupid enough to fall for it. The truth - beyond the deaths of those two terrorists, is that Iran wants the pressure off; Syria wants the pressure off - so the best way to do that is to shift the focus by making their puppets dance (and fire rockets at Israel). Are they tired of hiding in bomb shelters? Ah, they don't have bomb shelters do they... because they don't face an enemy that indiscriminately bombs civilian areas and so most are safe.

Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired at Hof Ashkelon Regional Council 

You say they are tired - perhaps, like us, they lack sleep. Perhaps, like us, they just want their children to be safe. Of course, they can't sleep because our war planes are flying overhead, patrolling and when they locate a rocket launching team, with pinpoint accuracy, yes - using some planes that we purchased from your government, we fire and take them out. And our children, why can't they sleep?

What occupation are you talking about? Gaza is not occupied by anything other than Hamas - the government/terrorist organization that the people of Gaza duly elected. The fact is, we are being bombed by Gaza. The only Jew that has been in Gaza in the last 5 years is Gilad Shalit (other than Cast Lead of course, the logical response to having over 130 rockets fired at us in a single month (about the number they fired at us in a single day this week!).

For the record, we unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2005. We destroyed beautiful communities - our own - and what we got in exchange (as many of us expected), were rockets - hundreds, thousands of rockets - raining down on our cities, our homes, our children...and you tell me THEY are tired. Wait, we also got a bunch of supposed human rights activists who don't seem to know their elbow from their....well, a bunch of you people who fall for their lies again and again.

4 rockets fired at Beersheba; 1 hits educational institution 

You and others like you love to tell the world how powerful our army is - don't you think such a powerful army could just flatten the whole stinking place if we wanted to? And yet we don't. Have you never wondered why? Don't you think most countries would move to flatten another if they dared to fire missiles directly into their cities?

And yet, in exchange of about 160 rockets - probably more - in the last 48 hours or so, what have we done? As shown in IDF videos, we have hit a training camp for terrorists, an arms depot, and several rocket launching sites. Yes, 18 Palestinians have been killed...or so they claim - and yet, even the Palestinians admit that all or most are "martyrs," and "gunmen," and "activists."

4 rockets explode in open area in Eshkol Regional Council 

So, back to Mary Shaw...as a human rights activist, perhaps you'd like to condemn what happened a short while ago in the Middle East - a school was hit. A school. By the grace of God and the intelligence of the government and parents, the school was closed today - because it was in Israel and we cherish our children above all else.

No, I don't expect you to condemn the rocket attack - that would be to much to ask of the hypocritical "activists" of Amnesty International...even the so-called "former" ones.

IDF thwarts rocket launching attempt 

No, I don't expect you to condemn sending a 14-year-old boy to stab a soldier - though I'm sure you'll condemn the fact that the soldier, bleeding from a neck wound, managed to fire his weapon to defend himself and so, I'm sure you'll condemn his protecting his very life by killing the Palestinian boy.

Rocket explodes in open area south of Netivot; no injuries
So thanks, Mary Shaw - for putting a name to the comment. And if I show little patience and a lot of anger in answering, it's hard, all day long as I sit in my office, every half hour or so, even more actually - more than 40 times today, to hear "Color Red."

2 rockets explode in open area in Eshkol Regional Council
Yes, I'm tired. May the children of Israel's south have a quiet night, a safe night. May we all have a quiet night and may the Mary Shaws of the world understand the most fundamental of truths - that there is a world of difference in pinpoint strikes that target those who perpetrate violence and terror, and those who fire rockets at cities, civilians, schools...and a nation who has done more for peace than almost any other.

Another Day in Gaza, Another Lie Told

I'm sorry to show this picture. I hope you can shield your children and even yourselves, but you have to know and so I'll put this horrible, sad picture well below the frame.

So first, a story - the Palestinian propaganda machine is at it again.@ManaraRam (a.k.a. Diane Alzeer) calls herself a journalist and perhaps that is the greatest testimony to how deep the propaganda and the lies run in this society that will use children to fight rather than make peace. They will send a 14-year-old to kill a soldier and oh yes, they'll parade around the body of a little girl, without shame, to push their agenda.

And so, this fine journalist, promoter of truth...yeah, right...posted this to Twitter:

The link goes to here:

The problem for this journalist is that she by mistake...or perhaps on purpose - is reusing a picture several years old and from another conflict. Search the Internet (as one real journalist in Israel did) and you'll find the truth. As you can easily see - the picture appears under "anotherdayiniraq" - hinting the greater likelihood that it was taken in Iraq and not Gaza. The second picture has the automatic WordPress dating - showing it goes back to January, 2009 and not, as this absurd "journalist" claims - to yesterday in Gaza.

Bottom line - another day in Gaza, another lie told.

Why Have Hamas/Gaza Attacked 1 Million Israelis?

Let me explain. It started Friday afternoon when, according to the Gaza propaganda machine, Israel broke the truce. What truce was that, exactly? I'm not sure, but let me tell you what we did.

We eliminated two senior members of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). Committees? What a funny word to use for a terrorist organization. The PRC was founded in September 2000, and has always strongly refused any form of negotiation or compromise with Israel. The PRC has been confirmed as a sub-contractor for Iranian elements in Lebanon and has strong ties with Hezbollah. It has often carried out terrorist attacks against Israel and Israelis in return for funds.

One of those eliminated on Friday was Zuhair Qaisi, leader of the organization. What did this man do to bring about his violent end? Well, the answer is that he lived violently, committed many crimes, and caused pain and suffering to many. How do we know he is guilty of these crimes? Well, by his own words, we know he was one of those behind the Gilad Shalit kidnapping: "Shalit's value was clear to us," Qaisi told Al-Hayat. "Therefore, there were clear protocols for his care and treatment while in captivity." Two other soldiers died in that raid - and their deaths, like the five years Gilad Shalit suffered in Gaza - were on Qaisi's head.

But even that wasn't enough to sign his death warrant. In addition to the murders of IDF soldiers and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, Qaisi was also responsible for the terror attack in Eilat several months ago in which 8 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed. But even more urgent than that, and a key factor in why Israel moved when it did, was the fact that at the time of his death, Qaisi was in the final stages of planning a terror attack against Israelis to be launched from Sinai.

The second terrorist killed in Israel's targeted attack on Friday was Mahmoud Hanani. Hanani was one of 1,027 prisoners/terrorists freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit. When they were released, they were asked to sign a commitment to not engage in terrorism with the clear understanding that if they did, their pardon would be revoked and Israel reserved the right to hunt them down. At the time of his release, he was serving two life sentences (unless he is the other Hanani from Nablus, in which case, he was "only" serving a sentence of 27 years.

In all cases, there can be not doubt that Hanani violated his agreement with Israel.

So, for taking out these two terrorists - Gaza has decided that Israel violated some imagined truce. Did we ever agree to allow terrorists free reign? I missed that agreement. And, for punishment, Hamas has opened the flood gates of rockets - firing over 140 rockets at Israel in the last 40 hours or so.

Several Palestinians and supposedly well-meaning, peace-loving humanitarians continue to point to the injury level of Israel. Apparently, Hamas is allowed to fire at Israel so long as they only succeed in hurting or killing a certain number of Israelis. Below that amount, we are, I assume, expected to sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

By comparison, the army has carefully eliminated several key military targets - a Hamas weapons dump, several rocket launching sites, a training camp, etc. During these pin-point attacks, 15 terrorists - martyrs, according to Gaza, have died. And so, according to the ill-informed, Israel is at fault and Gaza is unfairly being attacked.

Ignored in this numbers game, is the fact that one million Israelis are being attacked; that tomorrow 207,000 children will not go to school. All schools from 7 kilometers to 40 kilometers have been closed, universities and colleges as well. Thirteen people have been wounded by the rockets, including some seriously wounded, others lightly. Four Thai workers were wounded when a rocket landed close by, and another rocket hit a stable and killed a horse. I can't help but wonder if that will make a bigger story than the other injuries.

In short, as the weekend comes to a close and Israelis go back to work tomorrow, we are once again wait for Gaza to stop firing at civilians.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gaza, prepare to be flattened

No, I don't mean it. Yes, I know it sounds so full of hatred and anger and...

No, Israel will never do it.

We can - quite easily, but we won't.

Elie is always tuned into the news, as I am but with my sons home, there seems to be less urgency and more calm in my life - and with his wedding only weeks away, I have enough details to deal with on a daily basis. Only late in the day did he ask if my phone had been beeping. I keep forgetting to keep it fully charged and sadly, Blackberrys seem to need to be plugged in every once in a while so yeah, it's dead again.

"Color Reds," Elie told me - a lot of them.

Even before the Sabbath had ended, I knew it was bad. First reports on the Internet weren't much better. One report said the Iron Dome anti-missile system had knocked out 25 of 27 rockets. So, on the one hand - hey, great results; on the other, my country was hit by TWENTY-SEVEN rockets. Three people were hurt - one seriously. In Ashdod, when there was a Color Red alert, people scrambled to safety and there was a chain accident and more people were injured there as well in the panic of trying to find a safe place.

But 27 isn't an accurate number - apparently, that was in one city. Beersheva has canceled school for tomorrow - no, not a snow day; a rocket day! And the more accurate count was not 27, but 90! Other schools have been closed. Ben Gurion University has closed for tomorrow as well.

The IDF has released (again), instructions for when there is a missile attack:

If you are indoors: Enter the room farthest from the direction of the threat (Gaza), with the smallest possible number of outside walls, windows and openings; Close the door and the windows. Stairwells are better; protected rooms or bomb shelters are best.

If you are outdoors: Enter the nearest building and act according to the instructions for persons taking shelter indoors; In an exposed area – lie on the ground face-down and cover your head with your hands.

If you are traveling: Stop by the side of the road, leave the vehicle and enter the nearest structure or cover.

If you can't get to safety within seconds (15 seconds if you are in Sderot; 45-60 seconds if you are in Beersheva, lie on the ground face-down and cover your head with your hands.

People are being instructed not to write about hearing military aircraft flying overhead; more rockets are coming in.

There is such anger in the lies people tell. The media reports that 15 gunmen have been killed in Gaza. What gunmen? What guns did they use? These are terrorists firing at our cities. Their targets are our schools, our cities, our people. 

Israel's air force has taken to the skies, repeatedly targeting - and hitting - military targets. A weapons depot, a rocket launching team. This is the truth of Gaza and the hypocrisy of many around the world.

This is a Hamas weapons factory targeted by the IDF. How do I know this is what it is? Yes, I believe the IDF - pinpoint strikes - if it wasn't, we'd hear about it soon enough, wouldn't we? Even the Gaza tweeters are confirming the number of strikes and deaths in Gaza - though what we call terrorists, they call martyrs.

No, I don't want Israel to flatten Gaza but so long as they continue to fire rockets into Israel, I reserve my right to express my anger and blow off steam by dreaming of Israel - just once - doing what any other normal nation would do. Russia, China, England, France, Germany - even the United States...would flatten Gaza if they fired 140 rockets in 32 hours at them. Only Israel...always Israel.

Pinpoint Targeting of a Hamas Weapon Manufacturing Facility


Targeting of a Popular Resistance Committee rocket launching site at El-Atatra camp



Friday, March 9, 2012

Forced into Reflection

I've shared and confessed a lot about me, my family, my thoughts, etc. - so here's another confession. I love country music and I'm a Harry Chapin fan...and it's sad to think of how many of you are going to have to Google "Harry Chapin" to learn about him. He was a mixed bag of things in so many ways. But a line from one of his songs just came to mind, "forced into reflection by this half-hour wait."

It's from one of his songs that I've always had trouble listening to - it's about infidelity and not in a negative way. So, I'll ignore the sentiment and keep the line. I'm sitting here forced into reflection waiting for the yeast to rise a bit before I add the flour, the honey, the oil, salt and more to make tomorrow's challah for Shabbat. And, I'm reluctant to let go of Purim - a holiday we celebrated here in Israel today. I haven't checked the news, except for brief glimpses on my Blackberry phone.

A round up of the news then, is in order. A Palestinian was killed by soldiers today - that's what most of the world media will tell you and Gaza tweeters will announce. Will they tell you that Zakaria Abu Aram and his accomplice stabbed a soldier today, and that Abu Aram was then subdued by other soldiers before he could attack others? Will they tell you the two attackers were actually boys aged 14 and 17?

Three firebombs were thrown at IDF patrols.

A mortar was fired at Israel, and over 200 Arabs rioted and attacked soldiers near Qalandia. All in all, considering it was Purim in Israel, I have to feel we got off easy. Purim is a happy time in Israel, a fun, easy holiday. We had a barbecue on our balcony and listened to all the neighbors making noise as they too celebrated. The phone barely rang and I avoided the news. In short, it was a great day to ponder an important lesson.

The lesson of Purim is timeless. It's a simple story that even Hollywood couldn't beat. That's the way it is with true stories - like the Entebbe rescue in 1976. Can you imagine someone pitching that story before it happened? Telling some Hollywood agent - there'll be a plane hijacked; they'll separate the passengers - like the Nazis did, keeping the Jews behind and releasing the non-Jews. To mix in the heroic factor, we'll have the crew volunteer to stay with the Jews. Deadline approaching, ransom demands - and then Israel sends in jet fighters...with a black Mercedes...and swoops down, commandos jump out and rescue the passengers and bring them home triumphant - except for the commander who will fall.

Hollywood tried to make the movie after the hijacking. There were, if I remember correctly, four movies. The best, by far, was the simplest one that stuck to the truth. That was true in 1976, is true today, and was true thousands of years ago in Iran - only it was Persia then, and the capital was Shushan.

The king was a jerk, weak and ineffective. His right hand man was evil incarnate - much like today's Ahmadinejad. The king killed off his first wife because she refused to appear/dance in front of his advisers...naked as he'd demanded. After he killed her, he felt bad. No, not about killing her, but about being alone. He demanded they bring him all the virgins so he could pick one - reminds me of today's promise to terrorists - kill, get killed, and you get 72 virgins in heaven (and here I won't mention the joke about them being 72 male virgins...or Virginians - right, I won't mention them).

So the king picks - of all people - a young Jewish woman named Esther, whose uncle happens to be Mordechai, a well known and respected Jewish leader. Mordechai overhears a plot to kill the king, saves his life, and will be rewarded. The  evil right hand man hates Mordechai and Jews in general, so he gets the silly king to sign an edict ordering the murder of all Jews in the land. I wonder if this is the first documented case of planned genocide?

So, Esther fasts and prays and then goes before the king, who is still enamored by his lovely new wife. She identifies Hamas as the one who is out to kill her and her people and then, as Haman falls at her feet (and on her bed), perhaps to beg for his worthless life, the king is enraged and orders him hanged. All that was Haman's he gives to Esther and Mordechai and rescinds his edict and the Jews are saved.

It's a simple story with so many levels. The name of God does not appear once in the telling - and yet His Hand is seen everywhere. Fact? Fiction?

If you don't believe the story happened, let me tell you another story. When Israel was re-established in 1948, it became a natural place for Jews to gather - from all the oppressed places of the world - including Ethiopia. There, a long-lost Jewish tribe was found and though most are already back in Israel, there remains a small trickle still coming home each year.

When Israelis flew to Ethiopia to help bring the community back to Israel and stop the persecution there, the rabbis of Israel sat with the rabbis of Ethiopia and compared notes. No one is quite sure when the Jewish community started in Ethiopia; some say it was after the destruction of the First Temple, in 586 BCE. As the holy days were compared, there were some discrepancies. Those holidays that came about after the separation were unknown to the Ethiopians. And then came Purim.

It is a great day of sadness, said the Ethiopians. Sadness? The rabbis of Israel were confused. It's a day of great joy. They asked for an explanation - and were told of the great edict sent by the king of Shushan to kill all the Jews on the 14th day of Adar. And so, each year, the Jews of Ethiopia fasted and mourned - until the rabbis explained - you didn't get the SECOND edict...the Jews were saved!

So, the challah is rising on my counter and its well after midnight here in Israel. As Purim has left us for this year, I'll leave you with the final lesson of Purim - evil will not triumph. It is that simple. By force, by necessity, by God, good will win the battle.

As I left the synagogue this morning, I was not the only one that thought again of the threat that came and comes from Iran. "God should do the same to this Ahmadinejad," the elderly woman next to me said as we picked up our books and prepared to leave.

Amen - may God in His infinite wisdom and mercy, repeat the miracle of Purim speedily and in our days and return us to the glory of what was.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Haveil Havalim #349

Each week, someone does an amazing round up of some great blogs related to Israel, Judaism, related events and more. It's called Haveil Havalim and it switches hosts each week. This week, I volunteered to do it. Yeah, I know - I'm insane. But to make sure I didn't miss the deadline, I've been stealing a few minutes each day to do something I love doing (and never make the time to do). I've been reading blogs!

What a wonderful world of knowledge, of sharing! I knew I would love this - and I was right. It's a fun opportunity to read some blogs I've never visited, get back to ones I've missed reading but always know I'll enjoy, and more. So please join me on a brief trip around the Jewish/Israeli world of blogging. I'll apologize if I missed - well, I know I missed someone - but here's a quick view of some great posts over the past week.

About Judaism
In the About Judaism section, a most interesting post by Batya in Shiloh Musings. How many of us think a rainbow portends good things to come and rush to point them out to our children and share them with others. Quite some time ago, I learned that in Judaism, this is not the case. See The Rainbow is a Warning, a Reminder, Not a Comfort  for a fantastic explanation of why this is.

In Kiss a Mezuzah, there's an interesting post about American atheists targeting religious neighborhoods with signs in Hebrew and English. Click here to see the post.

See The Real Jerusalem Streets' latest posting for some wonderful pictures of Israel in winter and more in Our Heritage is to live.


About Israel
If you've never been to the Israel21C website, you're missing an incredible resource for the amazing and innovative things Israel has created and continues to bring to the world. But since this is about blogs, did you know they also have a blog? If you have a second, please check out this post - and Israel in 180 seconds - it's just stunning: Foto Friday - Time Lapse in Israel.

I love reading my dear friend, Rivkah's blog, Bat Aliyah. She and her husband and their amazing two daughters (one of which I got to adopt for about a year until Rivkah made aliyah and took her back), came to live in Israel almost two years ago. Her latest blog post, Delights, simply fills you with the joys of living in Israel and some of the things that catch her eye as she goes through her days, finally at home in Israel.

It's hard to believe it has been one year since the horrible Fogel murders in Itamar. Here's an amazing post about the children, how they are - and how they remain an inspiration for all of us: A Visit with the Fogel Children on JewishMom.com

Here's another great post from Shiloh Musings on some of the great reasons to live in Israel! See Happy to Be in Israel All These Years/Decades

Me-Ander gives a wonderful view of one of the uncertainties of our lives when living in some areas in Israel. Waiting for a ride, wondering if the person who stops plans to help or harm. See As the Car Slowly Reversed in My Direction, I Wondered...


About Politics
The first time I heard the name Amir Mizroch was during the Gaza War. An Indonesian journalist named Faisal contacted me for an interview and to be safe, I asked him to send his questions in writing. He asked me my son's full name, his rank, his current location. He asked for his cell phone number, what his responsibilities were, what I'd done the night before Elie went to war [cried], and if Elie had taken anything with him. He also broke copyright laws by taking a picture of Elie to put on his blog (called HamasLovers - no, I won't give him a link!). I saw Elie's picture, there on that hateful blog, and I lost it. I threatened to sue him (reasonable), his newspaper (a bit out there, but okay), his city, his country - yeah, I'd pretty well lost it. He tried to tell me he was legitimate and told me I should write to Amir Mizroch to vouch for him. I don't remember if I did or not. But Amir's name popped up again and again in the last few years and he's a name I respect. He's got a great blog called Forecast Highs and a fantastic post we should all read: The Truth About Our Next War.

Casting the first (and last) stone provides a wonderful commentary on the last few weeks in Israel - but more, a video I had never seen - truth in journalism rarely comes better than this. This is an important clip to see - and share! Thanks to Treppenwitz for this one.

In IsraelSeen, a guest post by Lee Habeeb called Arab Like Me - Needs No Comment, shares his interesting perspectives and the hope that "Maybe, Arabs will come to see Jews not as their enemies, but as their neighbors, and as their trading partners." - Here's hoping he's right!

In the Secular Manifesto Spelled Out, Esser Agaroth comments on an article in YNET - yet another attempt to paint the right as evil, the left as righteous. There are no perfect truths, no 100%, no black and white. This post tries to add balance to a subject sadly lacking it.


About Food
Are there any among us that cannot sympathize with the panic many of us feel this time of year? Check out me-ander and It's "That" Time of The Year, Again, Food Inventory. As someone who has tremendous anxiety in the weeks before Passover, I can so relate to this.

If you're looking for a hamantashen recipe in honor of Purim, check out From Miriam's Kitchen and don't miss Yocheved's blog for Have Some Purim Fun.


About Health
One of my favorite photo blogs is Elms in my Yard by an "amateur" photographer in Jerusalem. Unlike Reuters, I've used the quotes properly here. Rachel's photographs are amazing. But beyond that, I wanted to point out this important post about the importance of women taking care of themselves: Big Squeeze/Public Service Announcement. A few years ago, on a scare that thankfully turned out to be nothing, our doctor sent me to the Hala Breast Clinic. There are no words for this place, for the kindness, the efficiency, the humanity they show through every step of the check up. If you should be going on a regular basis - try to get to this place!

Here's a wonderful blog post by Dave Bender on the amazing work of the medical clowns. See Medical Clowning in Israel - No Kidding.

About Funnies
Since Purim is just days away - I get the fun of posting some Purim and pre-Purim offerings.
See the Muqata's latest offering of The Fanat in the Hat and other Purim Stories.

By now, you probably need a good laugh and a reward for getting to the end of this long post. So, check out A Time of the Signs - it's a gem!

General Blogging Ideas and Tips

As bloggers, many of us wrestle with how to handle comments. Some just put them all through, some block them all, some censor. Here's an interesting post from Beneath the Wings entitled, Promoting Hate vs. Expanding Our Internal Eyesight.

Okay, outta time, outta days - but never outta blogs - so hoping I get a chance to do this again soon...I'll close this edition of Haveil Havalim. To my regular readers who have never encountered some of these blogs - enjoy them - I know many of the people behind these blogs and they are - every single one of them - amazing people that I respect who care enough to take the time to share their feelings, knowledge, and love of our people, our land, our religion. Enjoy!

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