Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Open Letter to King Adbullah II

shofar_1967In 1948, King Abdullah the First of Jordan, joined in a war to push the Jews into the sea after he and his fellow Arab leaders rejected the UN Partition plan that would have divided the remaining 1/3 of Palestine (2/3 of which had already been pilfered to form his government), into two states - an Arab one and a Jewish one. In the land grab that followed, Abdullah I took all of what is known as the West Bank to some, Judea and Samaria to others. He took the Old City of Jerusalem as well; the Jews gained land in the north, south, and kept Western Jerusalem, widely known as the New City.
For 19 years, Jews were denied any chance to visit the Old City, the Western Wall, the Mount of Olives. Over 40,000 headstones were vandalized, latrines built from the tombstones. In 1967, in a preemptive attempt to head off attacks by Syria and Egypt, Israel responded to the mobilization of Syrian and Egyptian troops, the closing of the Straights of Tiran, and the mounting and increasingly threatening rhetoric. As Israeli jets flew to cripple the Syrian and Egyptian air forces at the outbreak of what was to be called the Six Day War, Israel sent a very clear message to King Hussein, son of Abdullah I. Stay out of the war, Israel said. We will not attack you.
Hussein answered back that he would fight with his brothers, as he sent his forces on the attack. His motives were not nearly as noble as his words. In reality, he anticipated - incorrectly - victory for the Arabs and was afraid he would miss out on another land grab like the one that brought his father east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Hussein's forces were pushed back beyond the Jordan River. Lost was Judea, lost was Samaria and lost was the Old City...which was, once again, reunited with the newer parts of the city, which had been under Israeli control from the beginning. And then, in a landmark move of monumental stupidity, Israel's Moshe Dayan handed over the keys (figuratively speaking) to the Temple Mount and the game was on.
The Western Wall was clearly returned to the Jews who could once again pray before the last remnant of a Temple that was destroyed 2,000 years earlier. The Temple Mount was given to the Muslims, who have spent the last 45 years attempting to return to the 19 years of Jordanian intolerance.
Slowly over the last few years, Jews have become more and more aware of the absurdity of our being denied the right to simply whisper a prayer at our holiest site. Would worlds really fall if a Jew were to close his eyes and ask God for peace, safety and health for his family? Apparently so.
Over this Passover holiday in Israel, hundreds of infidels Jews and Christians have visited the Temple Mount. Today, two young men lowered themselves to the ground of the Holy Temple Mount and as they attempted to...yes...pray...they were attacked, beaten, arrested. In response, the Jordanian government, under the leadership of King Abdullah II issued a demand that Jews be banned from the Temple Mount.
In the past, the Jordanian government demanded cameras be installed and then when Israel welcomed the suggestion, knowing what violence there is up there is mostly not started by the few Jewish visitors, Jordan announced that it has canceled the plan and no cameras would be installed.
As I contemplated the demand by Jordan, I wondered if perhaps the Israeli government would be willing to appoint me as the temporary spokesperson to respond. I know exactly what I'd say to Abdullah.
Dear Abdullah,
In response to your government's threat that there would be consequences if Jews were not banned from the Temple Mount, please note that 45 years ago, when Jordan last threatened Israel...they lost the Temple Mount and all of Judea and Samaria. If the consequences involve an attempt to bring this holy site under your control, I have to say, bring it on...but this time, Abdullah, this time we don't give it back. This time we won't let another idiot like Moshe Dayan hand over the keys.
Bring it want no Jews on the Temple Mount...try it...and quickly find that we have learned much since you last held our holiest site and we will not return to those days. It was ours long before your precious Mohammed ever lived; it will be ours long after you are dust.
Arabs pray on the Temple Mount because WE allow it, and in our utter stupidity, rather than insisting that we TOO have a right to pray, we catered too long to an unfair and impossible situation. The site is holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Either everyone is free to pray there, or no one is free.
No, you will not keep it from us entirely, not now. Not ever. Your threat shows that 68 years after the 1948 war, your nation still fails to understand the Jew. We will tolerate much to avoid what bloodshed we can but if you insist on attempting to take the Temple Mount from us...there will be war...because this time, we will insist that the Temple Mount be open to all religions - as we have kept it for the last 45 years, and as you refused to do for the 19 years it was in Jordan's hands.
You kept us from the Temple Mount for 19 years...we'll take full control if you dare to think the consequences to be paid will be ours. We will never forbid Muslims from praying there, but nothing says the WAKF has to be in charge; nothing says that Jews who go up to Har Habayit have to be beaten and abused and if your religion is insulted by seeing Jews pray, that is your problem, not ours.
If the problem is so insurmountable that the mere sight of Jews whispering in prayers sends Muslims into rioting, I suggest we initiate a rotation plan. There are three great religions. Each can be given the Temple Mount for 8 hours a day. Each can choose to share it with others. For the record, we will allow Christians up during our 8 hours and will seek permission in return such that Jews and Christians, tolerant and accepting of each other, will be allowed 16 hours per day. Muslims may have the Temple Mount, alone and unbothered for eight hours. What eight hours would you like?
Also, I recommend that each religion be given a specific number of days in which the Temple Mount will be closed to all other religions for a period of 24 hours. How many days would you like and which ones? I recommend 10 days, as we do in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Please note that you'll need to remove your prayer rugs during the 16 hours that the Temple Mount is not in your control and on the full days as well. We can build three separate storage units (perhaps Keter would donate them, but if you prefer a Jordanian brand, that's fine too). You can store your holy stuff in it and we'll store our holy stuff as well. Not sure what the Christians have, so we'll need to check with them as well.
Please note that you will also no longer be allowed freedom to build additional mosques up there unless we can build up there as well and I suppose we'll have to let the Christians build up there too if they want. It might be a good idea to tell the teenagers that they can no longer play soccer up there as well, as access will now become fully equal and balanced for all. Domination of the Temple Mount has come to an end. Your people have occupied this historic and religious site for too long, abusing it by storing rocks and fireworks, endangering the infrastructure by illegal excavations.
You are correct; it is time to implement a true status quo based on equality; and there must be consequences for those who riot and refuse to accept the sanctity of the place.
Let us know when you want to begin implementing the 24 hour cycle - I suggest we do it quickly as Israelis would really love to have the Temple Mount to ourselves this coming Independence Day in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Today In My Little Country

Today in my little country, Israelis are coming out of their homes to hike, to swim, to picnic, to laugh, to eat, to play. Today we celebrate a miracle that happened...yes, about 3,000 years ago because, well, that's what we are.

Thousands of years ago, and seventy years ago, we were slaves. Slaves to the ancient Egyptians, slaves to dozens of nations who tolerated our living among them but didn't really want us. And God took us out of Egypt and made us free; and God gave us back the land He had promised to us long, long ago.

It took us 40 years to reach the Promised Land...and another 2,000 to return to it after the last exile.

In a land too often plagued by violent neighbors, today, for just a short while, our biggest problem is getting the barbecue going, finding a parking spot, or waiting for our spot in line.

We are crowding the beaches, hiking the mountains, playing in the rivers and springs, kayaking down the Jordan. We are sitting in cafes, walking the streets of our cities.

In short, today we are normal. Deep down, we are praying that nothing explodes; that no one will die today as a result of violence. Today, we just want to be normal.

We want to think about what we are going to make for dinner, who will be joining us for the second part of the holiday that begins tomorrow night.

Davidi is coming home from the army and I find this week harder than most. When I am working and he is in the army - it's like that's his job, his task. When I am on vacation, I feel guilty. I swam in the Sea of Galilee, barbecued on its shores. I watched as my oldest, Elie, joined my two adopted - Yaakov and Chaim. And in the most gorgeous picture that I cannot post, the three men...because yes, they are men now, held four little girls. Elie's daughter refused to let him hold her - she wanted to be with Chaim, and so Yaakov held one of his daughters, Elie held another, and Chaim got to hold one of Yaakov's and Elie's little Michali against the backdrop of the beautiful sea.

Aliza insisted that I take a picture that I had taken a few years ago...this was from a little over a year ago on the same beach...three of my men...two who are fathers...two who are brothers...three who were soldiers...three who are brothers...

And these were taken two days ago...

Aliza tried to remember who was standing where and so she made them switch places a couple of times...we forgot about holding up the meat!
The funny part is that we didn't get it right...

But we laughed, we smiled, we enjoyed, and the day was perfect...and normal. So normal.

Normal is a gift here in Israel and when we get to the end of the day and can say "well, today was normal" - it is a celebration.

This week has been filled with normal's almost scary to say that because immediately comes the fear of jinxing it.

But the gift was given and so I embrace it. Memories were made. Little girls giggled and played, another generation growing up in the beautiful sunshine of our land...and this time, we were blessed with a new baby - Yaakov's youngest - little Leora, their first sabra - Israeli born - child.

And that too reminds me of my first sabra - David.

We ate, we swam, we played, we laughed. And I missed Davidi so much. And I remembered a picture from the last time we were was before he went into the army.
When I looked at the pictures from that last time, I noticed this one - Yaakov was sitting on one mat, Chaim lying on another.

And then I saw David and wondered what he was doing.

And so, with the wonders of Photoshop, I blew up the picture and laughed. Then I sent it around.

Davidi insists he was not pulling out the plug of Yaakov's raft, but it seems to me that he was...and I love the expression on his face.

So, today in my little country, some soldiers took a wrong turn and their car was stoned in an Arab village but thankfully they found their way out to safety; and our ever-alert soldiers captured three armed terrorists before they could launch the attack they were planning, and tens of thousands of Israelis got stuck in traffic jams on their way home.

And David was in the army, as he has been for months. But he'll be home tomorrow...and for now, as we think about what we'll do today, we stop for a moment and thank God for the beautiful land in which we live, the sunshine that covers the land, the seas and the river and the springs that provide us places to play, and we thank God for normal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Vacation Day in Israel

There is nothing like Chol Hamoed in Israel. There are two major holidays in Judaism that have what is considered a "holy" day at the beginning and a "holy" day at the end, with what is referred to as the "intermediary" days being considered as...wait for it...half-holy. What this means is that the first and last days are like the Sabbath - we don't drive, use electricity, phones, computers, etc. and have special prayers. These two holidays are Sukkot and Passover (Pesach). The intermediary days are called Chol HaMoed and while you are allowed to drive, use electricity, phones, etc. it is considered holiday-like and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Israelis take vacation and take to the parks, the beaches, the streets.

It isn't about shopping; it's about just relaxing. Some families go different places every day; others use the time to catch up on resting and just doing nothing. Yesterday, we went north.

For once, I'll use pictures to speak, rather than words. It was an amazing day...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Are bus bombings because of the occupation?

Not according to Isreallycool:

A Depressing Image

 I love Google. It tells you, shows you, everything you want to know...or nearly everything. And it helps you, more than you can imagine. So you search for something. I wanted a picture of the bus bombing in Jerusalem a two days ago.

And so I typed in "jerusalem bus bombing" and even before I finished, my attention was diverted. It didn't even get to 2016. It listed five others, but really, each listing can represent a single terror attack or, in most cases, many bus bombings not just one.

Then I thought of something...what if I just typed "Jerusalem bus" and so I did. And while the Google search didn't return a whole list of years in which Arab terrorists blew up buses, it was still the top return.

Is the whole world like this? No, not at all.

 Search for New York bus, Brussels bus, London bus, even Istanbul bus and you get what you'd expect to get - maps, tours, stations...

But search for Jerusalem bus and Jerusalem bus bombing comes right there.

Yes, it could be because we just had one, our first in thankfully a relatively long time, but it is still disheartening, especially given the absurd response this horrible attack had on the international media. Oh, they were quick to report the bus fire. After all, the pictures were quite dramatic. They even reported that 21 people were injured.

The only thing they forgot to mention, forgot being a euphemism here for a much more sinister reality, is that it was, indeed a bombing and so, for that at least, I thank Google.

Now, the reality is that I likely caused these results myself by doing previous searches but I searched for Istanbul bus bombings and that didn't change the results, so who knows...

And then, despite the depressing search results, I changed the outcome to pictures and got these offerings...yes, it's a sad time in Israel. For those of us who lived here when buses were exploding pretty much every week, it's a time when we cringe and pray it isn't happening again. We're hoping the knife and rock and ramming intifada doesn't turn into the explosions intifada as it was back then.

So, mission accomplished - I found more pictures than I needed...and a bit of depression as well.

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Part 2 of a series:
I have decided to write to each candidate because I have the right to express my opinion, my concerns, my fears. Because as America contemplates and prepares to go to the polls, my nation has a stake as well. If you have a different opinion, I celebrate the freedom we have to express it. This is my opinion, nothing more…and perhaps equally as important, nothing less.
The first open letter went to Bernie Sanders
Dear Hilary,
You seem like a bottom line type of person. So let me start with the bottom line. Oh. My. God. No. There is no way in hell that I would consider voting for you, not for a single moment. Perhaps that is too blunt in the diplomatic world in which you live, but I don't live in that world and so I will express my feelings and thoughts and hope you will listen. I don't know if American Jews will vote for you - as they voted for Barack Hussein Obama. They were wrong then...many of them now admit that. IF they vote for you, they will be wrong again. Of all the candidates, you are the easiest to dismiss; the first to fall as even a possibility.
I grew up in a liberal family, strong on social issues, strong on civil rights, focused on believing that we lived in a nation of opportunity - opportunities that must be open to all. The success of America, back then, was that from all over the world, people had come to create a better place, a better world. America was the great melting pot where you threw in immigrants from all over the world and out came proud, grateful, dedicated Americans. It was, it turns out, a lie, but we didn't know it back then.
So my mother served in the Democratic party and to my mind, in my formative years, the Republicans were all male, white businessmen who understood nothing of life outside Wall Street. On a key issue in my life - Israel - they were neutral; and on all the other issues such as social justice, the rights of the individual, they were on the wrong side. It was so clear back then. Only, that was a lie too.
Your husband was the last Democrat I voted for, the last time I came close to trusting the Democratic party. He was young, enthusiastic, energetic. He was, we all thought, the answer to what America needed. That was him and that was the it is you, and you bring nothing of that charisma to the playing field.
Over the years, the truth about your husband...and you...came to the forefront of America. Honestly, I felt bad for you back then. Who would want to be married to a man like that? But you don't vote for someone because you pity them or are embarrassed for them. And after 30 years of marriage I have learned the one great truth of marriage is that it is what both husband and wife put into it. 
My memory of you as the wife of the President is overall, one of failure. Gracious, you were not. Intelligent, you certainly are but despite what you think, you actually are not smarter than everyone else. You have been blessed in your life - at least in some things. Perhaps not in love, but certainly financially and yet, you insulted millions of Americans who worry how they will pay their mortgage or dream of financing their children's education by trying to gain points by claiming you too were impoverished. Whatever your roots might have been, you have been a governor's wife, a president's wife, a US Senator and Secretary of State...there is nothing in your life for the last 40+ years that comes close to enabling you to claim that you know poverty and helplessness from a firsthand point of view.
As a woman, I question how you could take donations for your Clinton Foundation from nations that have notoriously poor records on women's rights - for example, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates. My God, women can't even drive in Saudi Arabia. In many of these places, an unaccompanied woman is considered one with loose morals. Are these really the people you want to claim as supporters of the causes you champion?
As a Jew and as an Israeli, I can tell you that I don't trust you. Honesty seems to be rather low on your scale of priorities. You sat there as Suha Arafat slandered my country, my sons. You smiled as she said we poison the air they breathe; the food they eat. You nodded your head as a polite listener should, while that vile and stupid woman spoke and never bothered to point out that the only poison that could be confirmed was what was coming out of Suha's mouth.
You have shown no respect to Israeli leaders, and little respect for the real issues that face my homeland. You would think someone with your intelligence could understand the facts and the challenges we face here. And yet, consistently, you choose to pressure Israel to make concessions while giving the Palestinians a free pass. For those who care about Israel, you are not the answer for the 2016 presidential elections.
And finally, as an American, I just can't get past the image of four brave Americans waiting to be rescued in Benghazi while you played politics. Under your watch, these men were abandoned and left to face a brutal death when rescue, for at least some of them, was close enough to become reality.
And as an American, I am disgusted with the idea that you can think Americans are so stupid as to believe the nonsense you told about using a non-secure email account referencing classified information. You consistently play by your rules believing yourself to be higher than others. But worse, when caught, you believe that any lie you tell will automatically be accepted, as if it were your due.
I don't believe a Black man or a Jewish man, a Chinese man, for that matter, would inherently make a better president simply by virtue of his race or religion or gender. Perhaps I am biased when I say that I do believe that a woman could bring great character traits to the office of the White House. A woman's perspective is often different from a man's. We are often more compassionate, slower to anger, more open to listening to others. Some day it will happen...but that day won't come in November with the elections (or January, 2017 and the inauguration ceremony). And when it does happen, I hope she will be the best women have to offer, not some senior politician who has spent her life playing the game.
As I write to each candidate, my thoughts become more clear...I can explore their stand, the good things they could bring to the office of president of the United States, and the bad things that would come with it.
For you, Hilary, I have the least to say. I don't trust you. I don't like your politics. But most of all, Hilary, I believe that you would sell out anything and anyone. You sold out those men in Benghazi; you'd sell out Israel without the slightest hesitation but the fact is, Hilary, you'd sell out America too.
No, Hilary - even if you said world peace depended on your becoming president, I would deem you lacking. At this point in your career, my suggestion for you is retirement. Let America be governed by someone with less of a history, less errors and misjudgments. Let America move forward without all the tremendous baggage you bring with you. Retire, Hillary. 
I feel bad for African Americans who will always have to look at Barack Obama as their first foray into the presidency. I would wish more for American women than you. When there will be a woman in the White House, let her be a true representative of women - compassionate, honorable, focused on what is best for America. Till then, we'll have to settle for the best man for the job and you, Hillary, are not that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Terror's Greatest Accomplice

I write in anger... Not a good thing to do at all.

I write in astonishment, in pain.

Yesterday a bomb went off... No, that's wrong. It didn't go off. That is a ridiculous, passive way to describe a completely avoidable event.

Yesterday, a Palestinian terrorist set off a bomb. I don't know all the details; I know the result. Twenty-one people (or perhaps it is 20 people and a this moment, as I think of the suffering, I find it hard to credit the terrorist as having enough humanity to be human), were injured - two critically. One is likely the bomber...the second...the second breaks my heart and calls forth my anger. In so many ways, this could be me.

A mother and daughter - her's 15, mine 16 - got on a bus. The daughter went to the back of the bus to get two seats; the mother went through the line to pay for her and her daughter. The bus exploded. The terrorist was in the back of the bus. The daughter, Eden Dadon, had already made her way there. Her mother, Racheli was in the front of the bus when it exploded and flames tore through the bus.

The sound of the explosion is too is the silence. It is the sound I hear this morning as I sit in Israel, afraid to check the news. And so, in anger, I write. Not to everyone but to those who have family living in Israel, to those who claim to love this land. To those who should know the price of silence, if they no nothing else of our history, our people. I tell you with all honesty, if you didn't take two minutes of your precious time to condemn the latest terror are part of the problem.

If you take the time to come on Facebook and post the latest picture of your children, what movie you just saw, your latest vacation pictures...swimming, skiing...whatever, but didn't take two f******g minutes to tell others that they blew up a bus in Jerusalem, injuring 21 people, including several children...shame on you.

I have no words to describe our justifiable anger at your silence.

And I will leave you with one last thought - silence is as great a crime as the terror itself. One ignites the bomb...the other enables its power and success.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I Promise I’ll Still Love You

The great thing about the Passover holiday is that you get to clean everything, find everything. It’s a journey of discovery…at a time when you really have no time or patience for it…and yet…there you go. Years ago, faced with the fact that my oldest son was going to be coming home very close to the start of the holiday (and I was just grateful he would be home to share it with us), I realized that I had to go clean his room. And so began an adventure for me and Elie’s 8 year old sister (Bullets, Buttons, and Batteries).

David went into the army 5 months ago, which was probably the last time I cleaned his room. Since then, I’ve asked, suggested, whatever, but mostly left him to his own unless someone was coming over to sleep (and then I go with a quick straighten and mop but ignore the cabinets and under things). Like his oldest brother, he is comfortable in the chaos of his own making and so his room suffers tremendously when he comes home, only eased a bit by having guests stay over. For the last two weekends, I’ve reminded him…for the last two weekends, he’s told me he’s “working on it” which is, as any mother can tell you, another way of saying…”it ain’t getting done” or “it’s a work in progress” that will, if left to him, always be in progress.

Days left, I have no choice but to enter the lion’s den. I’m prepared this time, having cleaned his room many times in the past. I have large garbage bags for all the wrappers; I have another for the laundry I knew I would find. I took old plastic contains, as I did years ago with Elie, to begin organizing…batteries, and pieces of phones, coins, and the like. The books go back on the shelf, the clean clothes back in the closet. The extra sheets left from the last time we used the room for guests goes into the laundry. A bullet…yes, there’s a stray bullet on his floor. And a remote control car…and a gun that looks too real, but isn’t, and a broken water gun, long since abandoned.

Dishes…and I knew I was missing some forks…and a certificate for the course he finished long ago for the Magen David Adom first aid training. There are pieces to the new shaver we bought him last year and the blanket that I knitted last winter…I was wondering where that went.

And socks…more laundry if I can only find the second one…but there’s still time and what to clean. Another dish…another spoon. How many times have I told him not to take food upstairs. And some candy bars that his older brother and younger sister quickly grabbed…he’ll come home too close to the Passover holiday to be able to eat them anyway.

And as I clean the room and think of how many times I asked him to clean it, and how he’ll apologize and really be sorry that he didn’t…and how I’ll tease him about the missing fork and those dishes, I thought of a child’s book I have. The child asked the parent in many ways, “will you still love me if” and each time the parent says, “I’ll love you even if you…”

I'll love you even if I can't find the matching pair to your NEW and expensive New Balance sneaker.

I'll love you despite finding four plates, 7 utensils and two cups upstairs.

I'll love you despite finding that you brought home those great plastic boxes that I use to send home-baked goodies with you to the army...and two of them were crushed.

I'll love you even though I had to pick up all those wrappers and try matching up all those socks.

And my Davidi, I promise I’ll still love you – even if the rest of the room is as bad as the first half was…

Today, In My Little Country

In my little country today, a bus exploded and 15 people were injured. Some seriously. Some moderately. Some lightly. People began calling right away - a son to check on everyone here; my mother to check as well. 

It's what you do...first you worry about your family...and then you realize that even if you are blessed - that your family is fine...there are families now rushing to the hospital, rushing to call others, waiting to speak with doctors, praying...praying...making deals with God and with themselves.

At first police hesitated and now it has been confirmed - in my little country, our enemies intentionally exploded a civilian bus, intentionally targeted innocent passengers heading home from work, from shopping. In my little country, again we mourn. 

We mourn and we yearn for a day when our enemies will choose to talk instead of kill. There is no justification for what was done today. It is not about the occupation, it is not about economic hardships. It always will be about hatred. So long as they hate us enough to kill...even the most innocent among us...there will be no peace.

Friday, April 15, 2016

In My Little Country

Yesterday in my little country, a woman was lightly injured when Arabs threw rocks at her car; a soldier was lightly injured when another Arab attempted to stab him in the head with an ax, luckily - with the help of God, the soldier's head was protected by a helmet. Two young Arabs...12 years old...went into Jerusalem with knives and a "goodbye note" - wanting to join in this wonderful knife-intifada. Gratefully, they were caught. A rocket was fired from Gaza setting off Israel's advanced warning alert rocket was detected as landing inside Israel...and yesterday, Israel decided to charge a 19 year old solder with manslaughter for killing a terrorist.

Yes, I know that despite the testimony of medics on the scene, the MAGAD and MEM-MEM, the video continues to speak to people. It looks like the soldier shot an unarmed man lying on the street looks that way...but how often are looks deceiving and the truth elusive?

We don't know the truth - we know the soldier's side and we know the side of a leftist organization. We know the side of the journalists who jumped to say the soldier should "rot in jail" and the settlers are evil and let's all wave our flags together and sing kumbaya....and we know the truth of dozens of people murdered, hundreds of people attacks just like the one that happened moments before the soldier shot the terrorist.

Manslaughter? For doing what he thought was the right thing? When his own commanding officer admits the terrorist was NOT neutralized and that he feared the terrorist was armed with a bomb?


Dear Army - please send my combat soldier home. He is barely 20 years old and if you will not stand by our sons...send mine home. Take some mature 30 year old man who has lived long enough to know all the angles...a 30 year old who will hesitate long enough to either discover the terrorist is not armed with a bomb...or who will die for that hesitation. Or more likely, a 30 year old trained combat soldier who will know how to make sure the threat is known...and who will THEN shoot the terrorist in the head, rather than allowing this travesty of justice to unfold in the media rather than the courts where it belongs.

But send my son have no right to take them that young if you do not accept that at the end of the day, they are 19 and 20 years old. And unlike their American counterparts, they aren't going out drinking and hanging out in bars every night; they aren't getting pregnant and having abortions without even knowing who the fat

her is, or waking up in the morning not even remembering her name.

You dare to take them to be soldiers; then you put them on a combat line when they aren't even fully trained (even the commanding officer admitted the soldiers had not been trained to handle a situation where there is a live but injured terrorist who might be armed).

So send my son home. I have given you two sons already to fight in your combat units. I have let you send one son to war twice while I sat home and cried and prayed and made deals with God to keep him safe because he was doing something so important for our country. I kept my side of the bargain. I trusted you.

Well, forget it. If you don't keep up your side of the bargain - send him home.

In my little country, my son is now on a combat line, a check point, somewhere in Israel. He's been in the army only five months...and I have lost my faith in the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the Chief of have no right to take these amazing boys if you don't train them right, if you put them in situations and expect them to decide how to handle it...and then when they do...before you even have the abandon them.

I suggest you put the leftist journalists and the Chief of Staff on that check point...and when the Arabs pull out the can all sit down and sing together.

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders

Part 1 of a series...I have decided to write to each candidate because I have the right to express my opinion, my concerns, my fears. Because as America contemplates and prepares to go to the polls, my nation has a stake as well.

As in all things in life, a personal message is just that. It is about what is important to the person...and from the start, I will say that each person is different. Where you are in your life is likely different from where I am in mine. So if you have a different opinion, I celebrate the freedom we have to express it. This is my opinion, nothing more...and perhaps equally as important, nothing less.

The first open letter goes to Bernie Sanders - because if all was right with the world, he would be the man most able to understand my reality, my world. Ah, but he's not and yet still I write to him first.

What should have been a celebration - a Jew running for President, is instead a great embarrassment and worse, a greater threat to Israel because though we recognize the lie and the manipulation in Bernie Sanders' words, much of the world is fooled. No, this man is not a friend of Israel. He is, in reality, not just a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust, but, in truth, one who lost himself from his earliest years.

Dear Bernie,

How is it possible that a Jew could be running for president of the United States of America? What a wonderful place we have come to in history for that to even be possible. And is it possible, if you get the nomination, God forbid, I will do all in my power to convince others not to vote for you?

The answer is actually quite simple and explains what was so wrong with Barack Obama coming to office. If America is to learn anything from the travesty that was the eight years of Obama's reign, it is that you must vote for a person not based on the person's color, gender, or religion but based on what the individual has done and what he or she says will happen if the voters deliver victory his or her way.

What we have in this election is a woman who hopes that despite her poor record, women will vote for her because they think there is some inherent principle that women should vote for women, that Blacks must, by definition, believe that a Black man (or woman) is the best person for the job. That is as flawed as assuming that you will be good for the Jews because you are Jewish.

The fact is, a quick review of your life will show that you haven't really adhered to much of the Jewish religion. Other than bagels on Sunday, the religion, the essence of our faith, seems to have eluded you. You can claim no real understanding of what Judaism is...or spirituality, for that matter. Commenting on this subject in 2016, you stated, "My spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me." That's humanity, Bernie, not spirituality.

You seem to be very confused when it comes to the basics of Judaism, Israel, our laws and holidays. You work on Rosh Hashana and yet I'm sure you take January 1st off as New Year's Day, don't you, Bernie?

When someone asked you about what it means to believe in God, you said, "To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together" Well, Bernie, that's kumbaya, not God.

Sure, it sounds great when you tell the cameras proudly that you're "proud to be Jewish" but you see need to be proud you are a Jew - a noun, Bernie, not an adjective. That's what it is to be a Jew - it is not a description, it is the essence...and even this is probably beyond your ability to comprehend.

Bernie, Judaism is so much more but you've spent the last 20 plus years of your life married to a Roman Catholic woman so while you're enamored with her religion, proudly speaking of how great a man you think the Pope is, you've simply gone about losing your own religion. You have no understanding of Israel, that's for sure. And, for the good of Israel AND the United States, a president has to understand the strong ties that bind our lands.

Obama hasn't...and the relationship has suffered but more than that. Both the US and Israel were able to survive Obama's attempts to isolate Israel because ultimately, despite your being unwilling to accept it, Israel offers tremendous benefits to the United States. It is shameful and sad that I feel that I have to point out the fact that we are the ONLY democracy in the Middle East, that we are the only nation in the Middle East to consistently stand by the US and its interests, that we stood by you on September 11, when while throughout the Middle East, others celebrated...and finally, that for all the financial aid you give to Israel, you are more than compensated by the tremendous military intelligence we share with the US military and the strong support we show consistently while most of your allies are silent.

Bernie, I will tell you one more thing. We here in Israel are watching you. We will not let you get away with slandering the Jewish State. The fact that you were born a Jew does not entitle - even you - to do that. My son was there in the Gaza war; he and thousands of other Israelis worked around the clock to do two things - the first was to stop the missile fire coming from Gaza into Israeli cities. The second was to do all that was humanly possible to minimize casualties on the Palestinian side. They held fire when it was clear there were civilians nearby; they dropped leaflets warning civilians to get out of the way. They used precision weapons as far from what was being fired at us as humanly possible. And you condemn Hamas for firing at hundreds of thousands of people? Do you praise Israel for the tremendous efforts we made to protect our own civilians while trying not to harm theirs?

No...none of that for good old, Bernie. You have to lie...worse, use Hamas to guide you. Ten thousand innocent civilians, Bernie? Is that the best you could come up with? More than five times the actual number! And then, days later, when hundreds of programs and articles and individuals call you on your "error", what do you do? You admit that you were wrong...and then proceed to be wrong again. So, with your second "estimate," you still overestimate by at least 25%...even the UN numbers show you are wrong. Why, Bernie?

Why would a man who proclaims that he is proud to be a Jew, slander the Jewish State?

Bernie, I'll be honest with you. There isn't a chance in hell that I'll vote for you. What I will say, is that I will be watching all Israelis. This isn't the first time the huge chasm between Israel and the American Jewish community has centered around politics and political choice. It probably won't be the last.

So, from Israel, I tell you, Bernie, that we will show more honor than you. Unlike you, we will be honest and we will watch. And just as you clearly feel no reason to show any special consideration to Israel just because you were born into the Jewish religion, let me assure you that just because you were born a Jew, that doesn't mean we have to support you.

So the lines have been drawn, Bernie. Fact is, no one thinks you are going to win...there won't be a Jewish president in the White least not starting in January 2017. What there will be, however, is one man pushed to the wall to declare his true feelings, who proved that he is no friend of Israel. So, Bernie, perhaps something good has come of this election.

We in Israel have felt the "bern"...and now we send it right back at you. Israel will not support Bernie Sanders for president.

And, on a personal note, as it appears you have no Jewish children or grandchildren, I will say that your greatest failure won't be the loss of this election; it will be the carelessness with which you abandoned the people of your father and mother.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Wedding...

Years ago, two sisters moved to Israel with their husbands and young children. As is the Sephardi custom, the oldest two boys were both named for their grandfather. One goes by his Hebrew name and is called Tsadok, which means righteous. The other goes by the name, Justin...which also is from the root just, righteous.

Shmulik's wedding - five years ago
When they came, they were adorable boys; now they are both such handsome young men. I went through my first experience with the army with my oldest son; the two sisters each watched as Tsadok and Justin were my sons, both of the boys went into combat units and like my oldest, their oldest sons were sent to war.

Two summers ago, I reached out to try to help one sister...and didn't make enough of an effort to help the second one. I love them both. I don't know what happened. I heard the worry of the first and somehow focused on that. Towards the end of the summer, we were all invited to a wedding and there I saw the second and realized that I hadn't been there for her. We held each other and was all I could do.

Last night, I hugged her with one of the greatest joys a mother can feel. Her son is out of the army and more, he was getting married. And more, his bride is just beautiful and sweet and gracious. There is something so amazing about a wedding attended by many young men who are soldiers. They dance with a joy that fills the room and the hearts of everyone there.

The two sisters were so filled with joy. They are incredibly beautiful women and dressed as they were, in such beautiful gowns, they were simply stunning. It's hard to believe that the two little boys are grown; that the two sisters are old enough to have children even close to getting married.

It rained enough during the outdoor reception before the ceremony that people moved inside but rain in Israel is seen as a blessing and so as the rain stopped, everyone moved back outside so that these two beautiful children of Israel could start their married life under the stars and the skies of this land.

I love weddings. Mostly, I like watching people dance, talk, socialize. I love watching the look on the groom's face when he first sees his future wife; I love watching the mothers as that moment comes. He's all grown up, a husband now. She's his wife, forever his.

Last night, as I listened to the music at a place that has the most incredible view, I thought simply of all the blessings. The one that brought these sisters to be my next-door neighbors...but more...their families came from the same place as my husband's family and so Lazer has known the father of the groom for probably 40 years...definitely 40 years. And the rabbi who married us, who was Lazer's rabbi back then...he was at the wedding too, as was his wife, who has always had a smile for me and greeted me with so much warmth...and we got married in her dining room for the civil part of our married life.

Circles...of life, of love.

They danced in circles last night, around and around the bride and groom. If you want a recipe for a perfect isn't about the weather but about the people. The food was great, but it isn't even about the food. It's about a family... a boy who now has a wife; parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins and tons and tons of friends. There's something wonderful about being at the wedding of two kids from the same neighborhood or city...

Through the rain and the wind, the message of last night's wedding was that here was a young man who came from across the world to meet his future bride. Here are parents who picked up their young family to fulfill a dream. Here is a family that has come together to celebrate, to dance, to laugh. Here is a community that is celebrating the marriage of two of its children and finally, here is Israel, watching as the future takes shape.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Keeping Him Up to Date

The holiday of Passover (Pesach) is coming very soon. It's a major holiday preceded by major cleaning and organizing. I haven't been feeling well for a few weeks...a second bout of pneumonia in one winter, laryngitis...on and on...and the house has gotten away from me. What little energy I had was spent trying to keep up with work.

So now I'm focusing on claiming back the house...

David is in the army - he's been home for the last few weekends and he'll be home this one as well. It's somehow easier to send him off...knowing I'll see him again at week's end. After this weekend, it'll be two weeks before he is home. We won't have him at our Seder...and that's hard for me. First time in 20 years, his entire life, we won't have him home.

And as the week drags by and I'm organizing and cleaning, I send him pictures. First of his niece, hiding under pillows...then a video of her kicking them off. Then a video of the bookcase that I moved out of one room to another place...and soon, the cleaned out and empty small refrigerator.

As I send him pictures that he hasn't even seen yet because he is, apparently, once again without his phone...I realize it's my way of sharing what is happening here. Letting him know that I'm thinking of him.

It's been five months since he entered the army. He's in the advanced training segment we'll take this as another test, another thing we have to get through...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Writing the Great Israeli Play

Have you ever dreamed of writing the great American novel? How about the great Israeli play?
I've decided to write's Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3...

Act 1: The Plot

Scene: Three Arab men sitting at a cafe, drinking Turkish coffee.

Ahmed is bearded with a bit of a belly and his teeth darkened by too much Turkish coffee and too much sugar. At 25, he is the oldest of the three and somewhat the ring-leader. He needs to make a dentist appointment, but like many, he simply can't stand dentists.

Mahmoud, who is 23 and filled with the need to do something, is sitting to Ahmed's left. He was just fired from his job and hasn't yet told his wife, so he comes each morning to sit at the cafe until it is time to go home and pretend he is exhausted.

Mohammed, is 21 and though it is unusually hot for March, has decided to wear his new leather jacket. His back is slick with sweat and he isn't happy about drinking the Turkish coffee until it cools down. He's been thinking about ways to get back at his father's brother, who has refused to allow Mohammed to marry his 16 year old cousin.

Ahmed has an idea - it will bring them glory, maybe money, and definitely attention. He needs three people to pull it off...first, they have to decide fairly who will do what. "Okay, at the count of three, hold your hand out with your coffee. Let's see who can hold it longer," Ahmed says.

All three men pick up their cups of coffee and hold them over the center of the table, as Middle Eastern music plays in the background. Enter Fatima, a beautiful Arab woman modestly dressed with extremely tight jeans, a hot pink shirt with a plunging neckline, and a matching pink hijab that seductively covers her neck and ears. Mohammed turns to watch her as she walks past and pours his coffee on the table.

Mahmoud screams at him, "Kol Khara, would you watch what you're doing!" Mohammed realizes what he has done as Fatima moves off into the distance. He is annoyed at Mahmoud and decides to say something about Mahmoud's mother. Mahmoud gets angry and shoves Mohammed's arm. Mohammed drops his coffee to the table and as it splashes and runs down the side of the table, Ahmed speaks up.

"So it is settled, I will hold the video camera for B'tselem; you'll both go stab a soldier. Pick one, but make sure you face this way so the camera can see you. If they shoot you, fall in the middle of the road so I have a clear view. Don't go stumbling down the alley," Ahmed warned his friends.

Act 2: The Attack

Scene: A street in Hebron, Israel; two Israeli jeeps are on patrol. They are now parked by the edge of the road; the soldiers standing outside looking around. One soldier slips his phone out of his pocket and leans towards another to show him something.

Mohammed and Mahmoud, now referred to as M&M walk past the army soldiers. They signal to Ahmed, who begins filming innocently and purely coincidentally. M&M pull out knives and stab one soldier. The other soldiers shout an alert; in seconds, Mahmoud is shot.

"Damn him and his camel," Ahmed says from behind the camera. "Didn't I tell them to fall in the middle of the street! Idiot! He's partially behind the truck!" He swings the camera around to focus on Mohammed.

Mohammed has been shot as well, but at least he has obediently staggered to the middle of the street before falling to the ground. Ahmed keeps the video on Mohammed. Mahmoud can rot, as far as he is concerned. "Lucky he is dead! He'll never be in one of my videos again!"

Ahmed watches as an Israel soldier walks up to Mohammed, whose leather jacket is still closed to the neck and looks quite elegant. Ahmed hears the medic call out, "Watch out. He moved. He might have a bomb."

Ahmed keeps the camera rolling as the soldier shoots Mohammed in the head; Ahmed focuses on the blood. What amazing acting! What a hero! Ahmed rushes off to edit the video. He needs to cut out the scene where M&M stabbed the soldier and where idiot Mahmoud went off to fall behind the car...but he is so proud of Mohammed. What a martyr!

Act 3: The Accusation and the Betrayal

Scene: Images from the internet splash across the back wall of the theater. "Guilty," "Execution," "Assassination," "Rot in Jail," and more headlines fill the screen, while Ahmed sits left stage in the cafe drinking more Turkish coffee. He really needs to call the dentist.

Ahmed's edited video has been released to the public and is shown to the audience. As expected, Israel's media falls for the trick immediately, lashing out that the soldier is a murderer, beating their breasts in shame; and, of course, demanding that the soldier be punished. Ahmed has an unexpected boost from clips of the Prime Minister and Defense Minister both condemning the soldier and promising justice will be done. The media rallies to abandon the soldier and condemn him.

Surrounding the video is a montage of voices condemning the soldier. Some call for all sides to wait until the evidence is in. As the voices and headlines fade, a single light focuses on a woman as she slowly walks to center stage and looks around, She is the mother of the soldier who shot Mohammed. She faces the audience.

"What of democracy? What of innocent until proven guilty? How can the commanding officer say the terrorist was neutralized when his leather jacket was still buttoned closed...and why, on such a hot day, was he even wearing a leather jacket? My son is a medic. He's 19 years old. He did nothing wrong. He shot a terrorist. I'd rather have him in jail than have him in the ground."

The mother walks to the right side of the stage, as another actor walks to center stage, "I'm a medic. I was there. I called out to warn the soldier. I thought the terrorist had a bomb. Why won't they listen to me? If he'd been cleared, I would have had to treat him...but I didn't have to, did I? Because he wasn't cleared. Why won't they listen to me?"

The medic walks to the right side of the stage beside the soldier's mother, as the Division Commander walks to center. "We didn't train for this scenario. How could a young soldier know what to do? We didn't follow protocol...we didn't act fast enough to secure the area after the terrorist stabbed one of our soldiers. Why do they judge the soldier so quickly before they even asked me? I heard the medics...I was worried that the terrorist had a bomb too. Why won't they listen?

The Division Commander walks to stand beside the others as the Platoon Commander steps to center stage. "The media is reporting that I said the terrorist has been neutralized. When did I say that? I said I'd checked him but do I look like bomb detection expert?  If he'd been neutralized, would his leather jacket still be closed all the way? And why was he wearing a leather jacket?"

The Military Judge walks to center stage, "It is too early to know what happened. Both sides are credible. Murder this is not. Execution this is not. Did the soldier act properly? That's why there will be a trial. That's why we are a democracy. Why won't anyone wait until we finish our work? How can you judge when you don't know the evidence. I know the evidence and I will not judge. Not yet."

Act 4: The Irony

Stage left: The soldier is sitting in prison gazing out the window.

Center stage has been set with many couches, a small coffee table. Ahmed is sitting with Mohammed's father, known as Abu Mohammed because Mohammed was his eldest son. His other sons are sitting nearby. Mohammed's mother is sitting in the kitchen.

Ahmed turns to Abu Mohammed, "you need to get involved. Demand that the Israelis apologize for killing Mohammed."

"But he stabbed a soldier, how can I ask them to apologize? What did you expect them to do? Whose stupid idea was this?"

"Don't worry - the media will support you," Ahmed assures him. "Demand they, wait, better. Threaten that you are going to take them to court!"

"Are you mad? That will cost us a fortune and they might come and destroy our house. Aren't we better off saying that we don't support what Mohammed did?"

"Anta kalbee," Ahmed curses (you're my dog). "Assam Alyakom" (death should be upon you). Ahmed thought for a minute, "You can do this. Just get your wife to wail a lot. Call Haaretz and get one of their reporters to come here and interview you. "

The scene fades as Ahmed and Abu Mohammed discuss future videos and the chance for more of Abu Mohammed's other sons to star in them.

Act 5: The Streets of Israel

The soldier is now at left stage, being detained on base rather than prison...there are drinks and cake on the bench on the side. Through the window, another soldier leans in and hands his phone to the soldier and they speak quietly.

Right stage is Ahmed being led off by the police, who are now investigating the amazing coincidence of having a B'tselem videographer right there at that moment to capture the video.

Center stage are dozens of people waving Israeli flags with signs "Support our Soldier," "A Terrorist is not a Victim" and "If you don't want to be shot, don't stab our soldiers".

A voice comes on, Israel radio announcement. "The courts have made it clear that it will not entertain any charges of murder. They state there is not enough evidence to convict and clear evidence that the true story may never be known. Government and army representative are urging everyone to allow the judicial system to render judgment. Meanwhile, across Israel, support for the soldier has grown in the face of rising evidence that the soldier and others believed the terrorist to be an ongoing threat, and acted accordingly."

As the lights fade, you hear the Chief of Staff stating, "if the soldier believed he was in danger, he acted properly."

Just as the stage falls into complete darkness, the voice of the soldier's mother is heard, "My son is a medic. He's 19 years old. He did nothing wrong. He shot a terrorist. I'd rather have him in jail than have him in the ground."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Challenging Yourself in 52 Frames

I've always loved to take pictures. A few years ago, I did something about it. I bought camera. I was smart. I went to my amazingly talented son-in-law and asked him to help me pick out not just a camera, but a good camera...and the right camera. For me, camera lenses are almost like gears in a car - more than I want to handle; more than I know what to do with and so Haim picked out an amazing model so below anything that he would use and so far above anything I imagined owning.

I tried to buy the model, but it wasn't available...and so I followed as closely to Haim's recommendation as I could, only just a little bit better. A slightly more advanced model with more zoom than I expected. The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. Haim tried it out and declared it perfect for me...and it is. He would teach me how to reach beyond...but I'm content.

Davidi fell in love with it and began testing it. He took pictures of things that are miles away, he focused in on the smallest things. I'm almost a little jealous of his ability to find these beautiful pictures but still, I didn't do too badly myself.

And then, a few weeks ago, I finally looked into this group I'd seen on Facebook. 52 Frames. A frame each week for a year...a challenge. There are some amazing photographers in this group of almost 500 people...and there are a lot of people like me who just go outside and look at the world a little bit differently than we did before.

The first week, the challenge was "from above" and so I asked David to go with me and we drove to a beautiful place overlooking the Dead Sea.

I took a picture of a boy walking a dog. I was standing up on our balcony...I took another with the yellowish mountains of winter and the old city of Jericho in the background and then I took a picture of the mountains and decided this would be the one.

The next week there was another challenge, and another and another. The man who runs the group encourages you to submit a picture EVERY week. The quality is less important, he assures us all, than the consistency, the going out there and trying to find the right picture.

And with each challenge, often comes a lesson. Concepts that I have never known. Rule of Thirds...I thought they wanted us to take a picture of three somethings and already was remembering seeing three flowering trees. I was so grateful that I didn't ask.

With the challenge came the explanation. Your picture should be divided into thirds - from top to bottom, from side to side.

Imagine a grid of 9 even cubes...and then I realized - my camera has those lines. I never knew what they meant and so the challenge was easy...or so I thought. You are supposed to position your subject on one of the side lines vertically and ideally at the intersection with one of the side lines horizontally. This way, the story you are trying to tell, continues into the picture. And so the runner is on the one third line, as he jogs into the picture. It's not a great shot, but I learned the rule.

I debated between the runner and the apple. I saw it sitting there in the middle of a parking lot, lost, abandoned...and took the picture. It isn't placed exactly right - it's on the third of the vertical lines, but in the middle of the horizontal ones and so I went back to the runner...even though that was the more predictable shot.

Another week was more unusual. "A line in a song." That was hard and I thought at first I wouldn't even try. I'm not really good with music and for some reason, the song "Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head" came to a country that barely has rain!

I thought of the line about the feet being too big for the bed, but didn't really figure out how to set that one up...and then, as I drove through my city in the week before the Purim holiday, I saw that my city had set up cute and funny figures and suddenly, the song from Man of La Mancha came to mine and there was Don Quixote.

Another week, it was easier. It was simply "chair". I took dozens and didn't love the one I turned in but some of the pictures in the weekly album were amazing.

Haim got hooked on the group as well - his pictures are stunning, mine remain predictable. And then, last week, the challenge was "negative space" and I was clueless again.

I took a lot of pictures and submitted to the challenge again. And once again, there were so many just like mine - flowers placed in a background.

I think I liked the lemon better, but somehow the flowers seemed to follow the rule better. And sometime between last week and this one, I realized a few important truths.

A challenge is something that you have to meet to the best of your ability, not someone else's. It isn't about beating someone, but about beating, or at least conquering yourself.

I go out each week looking for whatever the challenge is and that means going with eyes open and seeing the beauty of the world.

This week's challenge was "Magic Hour" and again I was to learn that this refers to that special light that happens as the sun rises and sets and so two days ago, I found myself awake and on my rooftop balcony waiting for the sun to crest the mountains.

I've also decided that as a relatively new photographer... well, no, I'm not a photographer, see, but as someone going out there to take a picture...yes, that's better...I'm being very predictable.

They say take a picture and I take the obvious one rather than the artistic one. But I also realized that this is okay because it's all about learning.

I took so many pictures. First before the sun had even broken over the mountains. Then slowly as it began to rise. Each picture told a story; each was a conquest, a challenge met.

I stayed focused on the is amazing how fast it rises. I focused, pulled back and watched the light.

Another limitation is that I don't yet have the ability to fully edit pictures, to bring out the best and filter out what distracts. Sharpen the horizon, Haim tells me, but I don't know what that means. I've learned to straighten the horizon, so that counts for something, right?

Then I get to look at the pictures and decide which one to submit. They don't let you choose two or three...only one. And that's hard too. But it's all part of learning. Pick the best picture you has to be this week; it has to be something that meets the challenge.

What it doesn't have to be is the best picture anyone can take...just the best picture YOU can take. You aren't actually in competition with anyone other than yourself.

So, as the sunrises and sets on this week's challenge, I click the submit button. It won't be the best picture of the 500 amazing ones that will be shot.

It won't be unique. There will be amazing pictures that use that magic light to shine on a face, on a unique building.

Those other pictures will be more precise, taken with equipment infinitely more complicated and sophisticated than my simple Canon camera.

But all that doesn't actually matter. All that matters is that I've challenged myself to take 52 pictures over the course of the coming weeks and months. I can't tell you on what. I can't tell you that I'll manage them all.

But what I can tell you is that I will see the world each week through the simplest of challenges. And that is what 52 Frames is all about...having fun, meeting the challenge...and looking at the world through the eyes of a camera.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Haaretz Gets it Wrong Again - The Cook Poisoned the Truth

Just when you think people might actually be opening their minds to the truth of what happened, along comes Haaretz's Carol Cook, apparently their "token" soldier's mother who claims she has three sons who served in the IDF. OMG, I wish I knew if even one of them actually served in a combat unit because my current guess is either kitchen duty, bathroom cleanup, or mopping the halls.

Her latest article, apparently one in a long string of virulently anti-Israel posts, is entitled, "No, the Israeli Soldier who Executed a Palestinian is Not My Son."

I'll admit that my first thought when reading this was actually not something publishable...well, except as a headlines for a The Times of Israel blog post. My second thought, as the red haze over this woman's inaccuracies and insensitive rambling began to fade was that the soldier, all soldiers of Israel, are probably blessed not to have a woman such as this as their mother.

My children have been raised to know that I will cross oceans for them, or at least drive across the city when they burn their hand and they are afraid. They know I will drop everything and drive hours to get them simply because they need me. Being a mother is, Ms Cook, about loving your child and offering him support while the facts become known. It is not being the first to throw him in the street, start up the car and run over him as many times as you can.

From what I can see, this woman epitomizes nothing even close to motherhood and little related to being a journalist. Israeli courts have already released enough information to confirm that the army isn't charging the soldier with murder. Thus her claim that the soldier "executed" the Palestinian is libelous and I hope the family of this boy will sue her for every penny she has.

She writes that she feels compelled to write because "otherwise I won't be able to continue living with myself in this country." Please, if you need a ride to the airport, I will either take you myself or hire a cab. Hell, I'll probably hire a limousine if you promise not to come back. Left wing people love to claim they can't live with themselves and they're afraid of where our society is going and oh, heavens (not that they believe in heaven), what will become of our eternal souls?

I assure you, our souls are fine and luckily, because we are ever vigilant, we're doing okay physically too, thank you very much. And each time our sons and daughters leave, we warn them to be careful, not to take chances because yes, if someone is going to try to murder you, you SHOULD try to kill them first. The Jew of the ghetto that took the punch in hopes the next one wouldn't be so bad doesn't live in this neighborhood, in fact, he doesn't really live at all because the next punch was worse, always worse.

Carol Cook feels she has to urge "all the mothers who are horrified by this to stand up and shriek." Luckily, assuming that there are as many left wing male fanatics in this country as left wing female fanatics, that population would rate at less than 2.5% of the country (and most of those are probably journalists and people contemplating leaving the country anyway)... so our eardrums, at least, are safe from her vicious diatribes and shrieks.

Then she shouts out "This is not my son." Well, lady, I agree. He's not your son but he is mine. You say you sent your sons to the army "all three of them." Well, guess what, I didn't send my sons - they went. They CHOSE to serve. More, they chose to go into combat units. I would guess if your sons had served in combat units, they would be trying to change their names now and hope no one recognized their connection to you. It's a different world when you actually have to face a terrorist who might have a bomb strapped to his body and you only have seconds to decide what to do.

And then, Cook does what you'd expect of a Haaretz journalist. She crosses the line from hysterical to fanatical, from sticking to the facts, to trying to invent them: "we do not want our sons to shoot a wounded man lying bleeding on the sidewalk."

Good to know, but just to be clear, first, the Arab wasn't lying on the sidewalk - he was actually lying in the street, where he'd been shot after stabbing an Israeli soldier. Yeah, minor point and who cares where he was lying but the job of a journalist is to tell the facts, even the minute ones, not make them up to suit her political agenda.

Second, besides the location problem, you got the subject wrong too. The soldier didn't shoot "a wounded man" - that person lying on the street gave up his right to be called just a "wounded man" the minute he stuck a knife into one of our soldiers. From that moment, we refer to him as a terrorist, even if...especially offends your left-wing sensitivities.

Then, this Cook lady figures her article is too short and she doesn't actually want to discuss the facts of the case because other than the initial silent video released by her fanatical friends at B'tselem, the evidence has almost completely been in the soldier's how's she going to finish her word count?

Oh, here we go. let's talk about a terror attack in Jerusalem in which "two teenaged Palestinian girls" attacked and stabbed an elderly Arab man (by mistake thinking he was a Jew). See, now, the minute those "girls" took a weapon in their hands and attacked someone, they became terrorists. But calling them terrorists would ruin Cook's whole day, as would the point that those "girls" then attempted to attack two men who stepped forward to stop them.

One was a policeman, trained during his army career in dismantling bombs. Oh, Cook doesn't mention that, but I thought I'd add it here. The trained policeman realized that while he was trying to disarm one of the "girls," the other was trying to stab a civilian and so he quickly shot the one he was dealing with, pivoted and shot the second Arab female terrorist who was dancing with scissors (what looked like a knife and again, had already been used to stab someone), and then pivoted back to shoot the first little terrorist girl again.

Cook mistakenly, it isn't actually a mistake but more likely a deliberate attempt to blur  and slur the truth, that all the police did was question the policeman. "That was all," she writes. Clearly, she is distressed that after investigating, the police deemed it feasible that in the heat of battle, the armed guard, who had done his army training as a bomb detector expert, was concerned about a potential explosives belt...similar to our soldier in Hebron. No, it seems Cook wouldn't be satisfied unless we took the policeman out and whipped him in public, as might happen in the Ar
ab culture she so clearly prefers to ours.

Cook's article is indeed worthy of being published in Haaretz, after all, is there another media site in Israel willing to publish such nonsense? I won't waste your time or mine answering Cook's other ridiculous statements. I will tell you that I'll close by responding to her last comments:

"Where are you, mothers of soldiers? Isn’t it time to break your silence?"

Silence? Are you kidding me? We mothers have not been silent! We have taken to the streets to protest - FOR OUR SON, the soldier.

We have written articles and posted all over Facebook. If you are hearing only silence for your misguided position, it is because Israel sees through your pathetic attempt to promote your anti-Israel agenda this time.

We are united, the nation of Israel, behind our sons and daughters. That young man IS our son, you, however, are correct. You are not his mother. You are not a soldier's mother even if...IF...IF your sons served this whatever it is they did.

You really are pathetic, Ms Cook, because despite your attempt to "mobilize" mothers, you recognize that no one agrees with you.  You write that "when hearings on the case have to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate hundreds of supporters; when the social media explodes in solidarity with him" ...well, there you go. Mothers (and fathers) aren't being silent. It's time that YOU understand... mothers of Israel stand with our sons, even if the Prime Minister didn't, even if the Defense Minister didn't, even if the Chief of Staff didn't and even if the chief idiots at Haaretz didn't.

We support our soldier because we understand that what he did was neutralize...oh yes, neutralize a terrorist who, even the platoon commander now admits was NOT neutralized. Even the battalion commander admits he was concerned about the terrorist when he heard the medic cry out that the terrorist was moving and might have a bomb. In short, Ms Cook, your attempt to poison Israel has failed. The truth is coming out...leaving you to look, once again, like a fool.

You'd think Cook would get tired of it but no, she is nothing if not a faithfully ignorant and lost soul forever searching for non-existent unicorn.

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