Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Emily Latilla Wannabes

JoeSettler has a great post about left wing bashing, false accusations, and confirmation that those in Meretz could take a lesson from Emily Latilla. Can you say, "never mind"?
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough...Go Shopping

Things are a bit jittery at the Westbank household lately. Between the threat of terrorist attacks, nuclear war, and the less lethal but nontheless scary possibility of being thrown out of our house hanging over our heads, the stress level has risen.

I don't know if this is an instinct that all couples with children have, but I find that when one of us is freaking out about something, the other parent is relatively calm. Perhaps this provides the kids with at least one functioning parent at all times - or is just a matter of different personalities marrying each other.

In any case, what this amounts to is that mama and papa have a very different take on one of these threats.

Papa announced out of the blue yesterday that he was going to do a "survival shopping".

My intelligent response to this announcement was, "huh?"

It turns out that he wants to lay in a good supply of things we may need in case Ahmalittlecrackpot, (you know the guy who thinks he has a halo around his head) really does get to play with the new toys his country is building.

My response to this was a bit skeptical. "If he really nukes us, we'll be dead, (G-d forbid)," I said. Papa's logical response was that if he does nuke Israel, and we survive an attack, we will probably be cut off from supplies, living where we do in our bucolic little village in the mountains.

I had to agree with him, so we proceeded to discuss specifics, like shopping lists. My contribution to the list of course included the item most necessary to female survival - chocolate. This suggestion was accepted with the requisite rolling of the eyes. When I innocently said that we wouldn't need batteries for the flashlights because we would probably be glowing in the dark anyway, I received a very annoyed look, indicating that my stab at humor fell flat. It definitely was time for the "yes, dear" mode.

Pappa wants to store our survival goods under my bed. (Why there? I have no idea. Do I look like Freud to you?)

So, sometime next week, the dust bunnies are going to have some company.

I wonder what kind of chocolate to buy?

Monday, January 30, 2006

They All Look the Same to Me...

The Jerusalem Post has an article today about Palestinian gunmen storming an EU office in the Gaza Strip, where they demanded an apology from both Denmark and Norway. This is in reference to the cartoons, supposedly insulting to Mohammad, that were published in papers in both countries.

This is in spite of the fact that Norway has been in favor of an economic boycott of Israel.

It turns out that the paper that published the cartoon in Norway is identified with evangelist Christians.

I guess the distinction between the Norwegian official policy and the opinion of a subgroup of its citizensis is a bit nuanced for the average gun-toting thug who likes to engage in these activities.

(P.S. They said that citizens of both countries would be prevented from entering the Gaza strip. THAT'S a punishment??)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

For Your Information: The Hamas Charter

There is a suggestion going around the web that we publicize the Hamas charter, so that everyone knows what Israel is dealing with.

Here is a link.
Bloggers That Link and the Bloggers That Love Them

I love reading blogs, because you never know what you will find. I'll try a new blog, and if I really like it and I am not too distracted, I will usually put it into my favorites list. But what usually happens is that I read a few posts, glance at the links list, and say to myself, "Hey, that looks interesting!" and click away. Without virtual bread crumbs, I usually can't remember that really interesting blog on x-topic, because I've already lost my way in the blogosphere.

That is why I really like bloggers who link to others. Even if I can't remember where I saw something, if I go to certain bloggers I have a chance of finding it again.

For Jewish blogs, Haveil-Havalim is of course the best place. Organized by SoccerDad, it is published once a week. You can find out where here.

Ezzi at Serandez posts a blogger roundup, in case you don't want to wait for Haveil-Havelim. (Where does he get the time?)

TelChaiNation links to a ton of people in his posts. What I also like about his site is what I think is the best organized links list I have ever seen.

And for those of you looking for a new place to register your blog, check out Jewishnet. I found it on the DryBones links list.

Happy blogging! And if anyone comes up with some virtual bread crumbs, I'm in the market!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Those Who Live by the Sword Go Broke By the Sword

The Jerusalem Post has a report on the Palestinian stock market's reaction to the Hamas win in the election. Basically, it is tanking. It seems that people are worried that foreign investors are going to pull their money out.

Slightly Mad (otherwise known as the Artist formerly known as purple parrot) confirms that this is the prevailing mood, at least in her office.

Welcome to the real world, where actions have consequences.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

And the Whitewash Begins

Daledamos examines how Haaretz is starting the inevitable whitewash of Hamas. I am very happy to link to him, and others on this subject, because the whole subject makes me so crazy that I can't think straight.

Warning: Take a deep breath first.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Trying to Read Between the Lines

There is something I think about at least twice a year - once during the winter, when we read the Torah portions regarding the exodus from Egypt, and again in the spring when we read about the same topic at the Pesach (Passover) seder.

The Torah and Chazal (an acronymn for Our Sages of Blessed Memory) detail the hardships that the Jews suffered in Egypt. In addition to enslaving the Jews, the Pharoah decreed that the boys born to the Jews would be killed by throwing them into the Nile.

Those of us with children share a primal fear of losing a child, which most of us lock up in a dark basement. Unless we actually experience this type of tragedy (G-d forbid), most of us rarely approach the door to this basement, let alone screw up the courage to take one or two steps downward to confront this fear.

The Jews in Egypt lived in this basement.

For years one end.

Our sages write that the Jews were saved from Egypt because of the righteousness of the women. They used their femininity to attract the men, so that they would continue to have children. The women helped the men overcome their despair.

Every year at this time I take pride in being a Jewish woman, but I feel that there is still something missing, the answer to a very simple question.

Who helped the women overcome their despair?

In my more flippant moments I think that there must have been REALLY great chocolate back then.

When I am more serious, though, I remain mystified.

If a leader can be described as having an iron fist in a velvet glove, then Jewish women have soft hearts - covering a diamond-hard faith in G-d. This faith that G-d has a plan for the world, and that we have to keep going no matter what, has sustained the Jews for centuries.

I keep trying to read between the lines to see how they developed this faith, but I can't find it.

All I see is white space.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Checkpoint Compared to Auschwitz - and The Silence is Deafening

The Jerusalem Post has a potentially explosive article on today's website. Holocaust imagery and the calling of IDF soldiers Nazis - all the stuff that usually causes an uproar and gives politicians an excuse to take to the airwaves to issue sharp criticism.

The interesting thing is, there are no politicians expressing righteous indignation. And the JPost is the only mainstream website with the article at all, Ynetnews.com and Haaretz seem to be out of the loop.

Puzzling, no?

Not when you read the article. It seems that the ones using Holocaust imagery and calling IDF soldiers are the "ladies" of Machsom Watch (Checkpoint Watch).

Although their official spokesman denies this, the article quotes soldiers who were called Nazis by them, and there is a direct quote by a member of Machsom Watch that agrees with the comparison of a checkpoint to a concentration camp.

As usual, if you are a radical left organization you can get a free ride in the Israeli press.

Kudos to the Jerusalem Post for carrying the article.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Everything's Political in Israel - Even the Chocolate

You've heard of political parties, political slogans, and political bumper stickers, but have you ever heard of political chocolate?

You have now. Israel is competing in the World Pastry Cup (I know, I know, I couldn't help laughing when I read this also), and its entry for the chocolate competition is a tasty brown sculpture titled, "A Hand for Peace". The Jerusalem Post has the whole story here.

Hmmm, gives new meaning to the phrase "biting the hand that feeds you..."
This Week's Haveil Havalim

Jack is hosting this weeks Haveil Havelim (#54) and he calls it "Big and Beautiful". I think that about sums it up.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Good Post About the Proposed Platforms

Carl Sherer has a good post about the Labor and Likud party positions at Israel Matzav: Israeli Election Update - a Primer. Good reading.

Friday, January 20, 2006

One Woman's Rags Are Another Woman's Riches

Yesterday was westbankmamma and pappa's wedding anniversary. We haven't celebrated "officially" yet - our usual dinner out didn't fit into this weeks schedule. But the youngest of the westbankkids couldn't resist and presented us with gifts.

They handed us two packages, one small, one medium sized. The small one contained a red stuffed heart, complete with a suction cup attached by a string. It is now enjoying pride of place near our computer.

As I slowly opened the medium sized package I gave my teenager a questioning look, but he only shrugged. I finished opening the lovingly taped wrapping paper and beheld...


In plain Yiddish....shmattes.

Ok, ok, for those of you who are both Hebrew and Yiddishly challenged....rags.

In Israel we don't wash the floor with regular mops. We use a tool shaped like an inverted T with a cloth wrapped around the bottom. My youngest boys had given us those cloths.

Of course my teenager burst out laughing, and I couldn't help but chuckle. My husband looked at the kids and said, "You see these two front teeth? If I gave these to your mother I wouldn't have them for long!"

Now, before you think that we callously crushed their feelings, you have to have some information about my two youngest. They are at that wonderful stage of being on the cusp between innocence and "roll your eyes". So at the same time that they knew their gift was a bit silly, their innocent desire to give us something won out.

I, of course thanked them nicely. My husband did also, after claiming that he needed to have a serious man-to-man talk with both of them sometime before their wedding.

Obviously the best part of their gift was the thought and the effort behind it. But they also unwittingly gave us a gift very highly prized in Jewish families, which will be brought out at all of the appropriate, and not so appropriate occasions.

The family legend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hevron - Treppenwitz Says It All

Go read Treppenwitz's post here on what is going on now in Hevron. He says it all.

My only question is, where do I get one of those Settler 8-Balls?
Escher Moments

One of MC Escher's famous symmetry prints is of birds and fish. You look at the print and see one thing, then you shift your focus just a bit and you see another. First you see the birds, then the fish, and back again.

I've had a few experiences lately that make me feel as if I'm looking at his work.

I grew up in an assimilated Jewish family, and I discovered Orthodox Judaism through NCSY as a teenager. I've been observant for about 25 years already, and I feel completely comfortable in the frum (Orthodox) world, but I still remember what it is like to think that religious Jews were, uh...wierd. To be honest, I still come across obscure halachot (Jewish laws) which I think are wierd. The main difference in my attitude now is that I've learned a bit of humility - and I know that my perception of "wierd" is more from my finite understanding as a human being than from some inherent flaw in G-d's law.

I came across Chana's post about her feelings about clothes and modesty in Havel-havelim #52. I could completely relate to her feelings - but I could also understood her teacher's point of view.

Birds, fish, birds, fish...

I worked very hard to stop the disengagement from Gush Katif, and I fully believed that G-d would perform a miracle and it wouldn't happen. I only accepted the fact that it would happen when I heard Rachel Handel's live interview on Galei Tzahal radio. In between her sobs she described how painful it all was, and when she said that she had to go and pack her bags I finally accepted that it was all over.

Until this time I would hear others gently trying to suggest that there was little hope - but I deliberately didn't pay attention.

After Arik Sharon had his second stroke I listened to some of the talk shows on the radio. There were people expressing hopes that he would fully recover (or at least recover enough to be able to go home and enjoy his family) and there were others, both doctors and those with loved ones in similar situations, trying to gently explain that the odds were against this kind of recovery.

I could not only understand but feel both ways at the same time. I rooted for the hopeful ones (don't give up, Hashem is in control so anything can happen!), and I agreed with the rational ones (it's important to keep your eyes open, and prepare for a disappointment).

Birds, fish, birds, fish...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Justice for Avri Ran

Avri Ran, a Jewish farmer living near Itamar, was falsely accused of beating up Arabs. He has been cleared of the accusations against him, detailed here in Ynetnews.com.

My only complaint is why it had to take so long. This man farms. He was forced to undergo "house arrest" at his brother's house in Netanya. How was he able to make a living like that, while the courts took their sweet time in clearing him of these charges?

The judge herself said that the testimony given by the Arabs was contradictory and "defied logic". So why did it have to get this far in the first place?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Making Lemonade with the Israeli Voter (A Saga in Mulitple Posts)

Why Lemons?

You know that annoying expression, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?". I think I have found a good use for it. It expresses the plight of the Israeli voter before national elections - presented with choices that most find less than ideal, we find ourselves making the most of a bad situation.

Why is it that the choices presented are usually less than ideal?

In a word, the Israeli electoral system stinks.

For a detailed explanation of why, read Evelyn Gordon's excellent opinion piece appropriately titled "Throw the Bums Out".

The "Readers Digest" version is this: In Israel, you don't vote directly for a Prime Minister or Knesset Member, you vote for a party. The larger parties have primaries (open to all members) for the leader of the party - but the smaller parties don't. A small subset of party members (sometimes called a central committee) are solely responsible for electing the Knesset slate. Consequently, the quality of the slate is dependent on the decision making skills and the good intentions (or lack thereof) of this small subset of people. Worse, the elected Knesset Member is on a practical level only responsible to this subset of people.

To be fair, there are Knesset Members who are upstanding people who work hard and are a credit to us all. But there are also Knesset Members who are nothing more than party hacks, and I wouldn't trust them to pick out an ice cream flavor for me, let alone make decisions affecting my childrens' safety and the future of the country that I love so much.

The obvious question is, why don't we change the system?

Simple really. The Israeli governmental system may be democratic in that we have open elections, but this is where the similarity to American democracy ends. There is no system of checks and balances in place. Therefore, the only people who have the power to change the system are the ones who will lose the most from changing it.

So, what is the poor hapless Israeli voter to do? Heave a great sigh and make the best of it.

Stay tuned for the next episode, where our hero tries to make sense of platforms and polls. (Hint - salt is required).
Great Reading at Elie's Expositions

Elie's Expositions is hosting this weeks Haveil Havalim #53. Take a look, there is a lot of great reading there.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Magen David Adom Calls for Emergency Blood Drive - Israeli Bloggers Take Note

As reported in the Jerusalem Post, Maged David Adom is calling for an emergency blood drive, because their blood supply has hit a "dangerous low". They especially need type O, and RH-.

See the article for details on where to go to donate, or call: (03) 530-0400. Organized groups please call (03)530-0402.

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Ouch - This Pigeonhole Is Too Small"

While commenting on a blog a few months ago another person, noticing my name "westbankmama" felt the need to slam the settlers, and came up with an interesting analysis. He said that there are two types - those who decided to live in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza strip because of "idealogical reasons" and those who decided because of "practical reasons" (cheaper homes). According to this commenter, the "idealogical" settlers were crazy and the "practical" settlers were ok - after all, who can blame someone for wanting to buy a cheaper home?

While rushing to brand us all religious fanatics, this person must have tripped over the inconvenient fact that 60% of those living in what people call the west bank do not, in fact, call themselves religious. This apparantly caused him to have to invent a new stereotype.

I didn't have the patience to reply to him, but the question his opinion posed has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while. Did he have a point? What are my motivations for living here?

Did I choose to live in the Shomron (Samaria) because I believe that G-d gave the Jews this land and, after our people have spent thousands of years wandering the world, I am unabashadly thrilled to have the opportunity to actually make my home here?

Did I choose to live where I do because I think that I am helping Israel hold on to areas crucial to its security?

Did I choose to live in a yishuv (settlement) because I wanted to raise my kids in a warm, supportive environment, especially in light of the fact that for a number of years I had no extended family here?

Did I choose to live here because I could afford to buy a private home, and not just a small apartment?

Well, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

We are complex human beings who make decisions based on a whole range of factors. Sometimes ideological reasons are in the forefront, sometimes practical ones - and in most cases it is a rather jumbled mess.

The person on the other blog took a somewhat juvenile potshot - but I'm afraid that we all succumb to this immature thinking at least once in a while, and indulge in the "label wars".

I, for one, will try to remember that human beings are too big to fit into pigeonholes.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Likud Knesset Slate to be Decided Today

Today is voting day for the Likud Knesset slate. Central committee members will determine the quality of those who will be elected to a seat on March 28th.

My main interest is to see how many of the Likud faithful (which some have called the Likud "rebels") will be elected to a decent spot.

Judging from the bits of news and polls I have read, Uzi Landau, Gideon Sa'ar, and Natan Sharansky (who was not officially one of the faithful but gave his support) seem to have a good chance.

What about Ayoub Kara, and Michael Ratzon - two of the faithful that were particularly outspoken? Will they be remembered?

I hope so. This Likud member remembers them, at least.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Olive Trees, Lies, and Videotape

There has been a flurry of reports in the news lately about the supposed damaging of olive trees by, you guessed it, settlers.

The police have not found any solid evidence, but this hasn't stopped the media from throwing around accusations.

JoeSettler has an excellent post on this called Bubblegum, bullets, and branches. He explains things better than I could. (Hint - they have videotape of the Arabs cutting down the branches themselves.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

IDF Says "No" to Pilot School, But "Yes" to the Paratroopers

In an earlier post I linked to an article in Ynetnews.com about an Arab who wanted to join the pilots training course.

Today there is a report that the IDF has rejected this request, but has asked him to join the paratroopers.

According to the article, the IDF did not specify a reason for this rejection. The young man expressed his disappointment, and he will apply again when the opportunity arises, but for now he will join the paratroopers.

I think his decision shows maturity. He is accepting the situation as it is now, he is proving that he wants to serve, even if it isn't in his first choice of unit, and he will not give up on his dream but will try again later.

Kol HaKavod.
Call for Volunteers

The farmers of Gush Katif who have found alternative greenhouses need help next week (January 15th +). Those of you who can organize a group (high school principals, tour group leaders, etc.) please call Michal at 054-621-0069, or the main number for the organization L'Maan Acheinu - (08) 973-8000.

The greatest form of tzedaka (charity) is helping someone find or perform a job. These farmers have found a place to grow their produce, but now they need some helping hands (literally).

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Blessing From the Grocery Clerk

After reading this weeks Haveil Havalim and seeing the posts concerning aliyah, I wanted to share an "only in Israel story" that happened to me last week.

I went to do the family grocery shopping, a chore that I particularly hate. After filling my cart and paying for it, I made my way to the exit. There is a man who stands at the exit and checks your receipt to make sure you've paid for the contents of your cart, and then he stamps it.

This time an older gentleman was in charge. After he stamped my receipt he said "You should have a lot of happiness, health and nachas from your children."

It made my day. Only in Israel do you get a blessing from the grocery clerk.

And in a related point, if you haven't seen the new flash film on aliyah, check it out.
Havel-Havelim is Up!

Israel Perspectives is hosting this weeks Havel-Havalim (number 52). Check it out.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

On Defensible Borders and the Tenth of Tevet

While reading this weeks Makor Rishon newspaper I came across Gilad Katz's article titled "Yes to Israel's Self-Interest, No to the the Palestinian Dream" (my translation). In it he describes the new national security policy called Defensible Borders for Israel, (see here in English, good maps included) which is the proposed alternative to the "Road Map" put forward by Member of Knesset Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Dr. Dore Gold, Maj -General (retired) Yaakov Amidror and the retired diplomat Meir Rosen.

This plan's advantage, according to its formulators, is that it focusses on defensible borders for Israel, versus the focus of other plans on the future of various population centers in Israel. According to Steinitz in the article, the policy of the Labor party is the return to 1967 borders, and the policy of the Kadima party speaks of the desire to retain certain settlement blocs in Israel's hands. Neither of these policies takes into consideration Israel's security interests. Only a plan that "widens Israel's narrow shoulders" is one that will provide security to Israel, even in times of peace, states Steinitz.

Another point made in the article, is that one of the selling points in marketing both the Road Map and the Geneva Accords is that the basics of their plans seem to be acceptable to the Palestinians, or to at least some of their representatives. The unique quality of the Defensible Borders plan is that it is based foremost on Israel's security interests, and the plan's founders state that whether or not the Palestinians accept it, Israel should stand by its principles.

After reading the article in Hebrew, and going on to the website in English, I couldn't help but think to myself, "this is so simple to understand, why is it considered so revolutionary to insist on our security interests first?"

It brought to mind a comment made by an English professor many years ago, in an aside about current events in Israel. He said that your point of view about the mideast conflict all depends on "how far back you go". In other words, where you pinpoint the beginning of the conflict is crucial to your understanding of it.

There are those in Israel who believe tht the conflict started in 1967 with the Six Day War, and that going back to pre-1967 borders will solve it. There are those who see the conflict starting with modern Israeli history. There are those who see the conflict starting during the time of the Bible (Old Testament).

Unfortunately, here in Israel at least, where you pinpoint the start of the conflict is too often defined by your religious affiliation. When I first came to Israel I studied Hebrew in an ulpan, and one of the frequent topics was the calendar and its significance. A non-religious teacher described the tenth of the Hebrew month Tevet as follows: The tenth of Tevet (which this year falls out on January 10) is the day that the religious here in Israel commemorate the Holocaust, and they say Kaddish (the mourners prayer) for those whose date of death is unkown. The secular chose the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising to commemorate the Holocaust.

Her explanation was somewhat crude and partially innacurate (religious people commemorate both days, for example). But it says worlds about how a lot of Israelis relate to their past.

The tenth of Tevet was chosen by the Israeli Rabbinate as the "Yom HaKadish HaKlali" - the day to say Kaddish for those whose date of death is unknown. The date was chosen because it also marks the date that calamitous events affected the Jewish people (see more here) primarily when Nebuchadnezzer started the siege on Jerusalem, which eventually led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Jews' expulsion to the Diaspora. In other words, the beginning of the end of our sovereignty which led to thousands of years of intermittent physical persecution.

This day was designated a fast day, and observant Jews do not eat from sunup to sunset. Why the religious community's observance of this law somehow makes it "the religious Holocaust remembrance day", and nullifies the historical significance to every Jew, regardless of their observance level, is a complete mystery to me.

This disconnect from our ancient past affects how some Jews see our present problems - and leads to the sometimes mistaken decisions about what to do in the future.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I'm It

I've been tagged by Jerusalem Cop to do the 4MEME, so here goes:

Four jobs I've had:
2. Editor
3. Secretary
4. Grocery store clerk

Four places I've lived:
1. My yishuv
2. Ranaana
3. New York
4. Jerusalem

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chocolate
2. Potatoe Kugel
3. Salmon
4. Coffee ice cream

Four books I would read over and over:
There are so many good books to read, why would you waste time re-reading?

Four movies I would see over and over:
Not really applicable, since the only movie I've seen in the past 15 years that hasn't been made for children is Ushpizin.

Four places I've been on vacation:
1. Toronto, Canada
2. Washington, D.C.
3 Eilat
4. Cape Cod

Four places I would rather be:
None, I love where I am right now.

I tag Balabustainbluejeans, Ellitot Cahan, 2rs, and Tova Yehudis

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Reporters Are Circling...Part Three

Ok, Ok, I was more than half right, it just took them a little while to get their act together.

The Jerusalem Post has the obligatory report on the far right extremists who said that their bulshi...de'nura...uh, ahem, "pulsa d'nura" (a completely fake ceremony that gullible secular people think is a religious ritual) was responsible for Sharon's stroke, with of course a few comments thrown in by Baruch Marzel, Noam Federman, and everyone's favorite stooge - Ben Gvir.

Ynetnews.com though, went after bigger fish. They have an article here about comments made by Pat Robertson.

Who says that the evangelical Christians aren't really our friends?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Someone is Celebrating...

My mother-in-law called a little while ago to tell me that she read on the internet that a bomb blew up between my yishuv and the next one. I recall hearing a boom, but since the army practices in our area at all times of the day and night I don't usually pay attention.

Thank G-d noone got hurt, but they closed the road for a while. My husband is late coming home from work because of this.

Maybe some of my non-Jewish neighbors are "celebrating".
Reporters Are Circling...Two..

Earlier today I predicted that the Israeli mainstream media would make an effort to find Jews who publicly expressed happiness at Sharon's medical condition, and that it would be a matter of hours before it would appear.

Well, I was half right. They must be having a hard time finding someone to film or quote, because Ynetnews.com had to make do with a lonely paragraph at the end of this article.

In it they claim that reporters (unnamed of course) received text messages (annonymous of course) that "Sharon essentially got 'what he deserved' for 'harming Israel (alluding to the disengagement). Note the editorial explanation of what "harming Israel" means.

The report has an 11:39 time stamp. Four hours almost to the minute!
Olmert is Temporary Prime Minister for Now, But May Need to be Elected Later

According to Manny Mazuz, Israel's Attorney General, Ehud Olmert is now the temporary Prime Minister and will stay that way as long as Arik Sharon is considered "temporarily unable to function". If this turns into a permanent condition, the Knesset will have to elect a Prime Minister from one of the Knesset Members now in the Kadima party.

If this happens, will Tzipi Livni or Shimon Peres try to push Olmert aside?
The Reporters are Circling..

It is 7:40 am in Israel now. I heard about Sharon's second stroke about an hour ago. After looking at the headlines, and seeing the statement from the head of the PFLP that this is "G-d's gift", my first reaction was disgust.

I think that the MSM here in Israel is also disgusted - and worried. It looks really bad.

What to do?

Even out the coverage of course. Deep in my bones I have the feeling that there are enterprising reporters out there interviewing "right wing nutjobs" hoping to get the same type of idiotic statement.

If the person making the statement has a kippa and lives in Judea or Samaria, all the better.

How long will it take? I give it a few hours, at the most.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Lone Voice

Solomonia posted a link to a report by Khaled Abu Toameh on the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs web site. In it Toameh outlines the difficulties he finds in reporting what is really happening in the Palestinian Authority.

In addition he describes sitting in the cafes in Nablus (Shechem) and hearing the following:

"You know what? We really hope the Jews will come back and re-occupy Nablus. It's not because we love Israel, but because we're fed up with the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian corruption."

Before September 2000, when the Intifada started, Arabs from the nearby villages would come to work in our yishuv. Some worked as housecleaners, some worked as handymen, and some built a number of houses here.

The relationships developed between my neighbors and these workers were sometimes nothing more than cordial, but occasionally they were warmer than that, and in one case a real friendship developed.

This all changed in the fall of 2000. I remember a neighbor telling me how upset she was at the story her cleaning lady told her. It seems that she had to keep her sons home from school, and she instructed them to hide if anyone came to the door. "Arafat's men" (her words) were looking for young boys to send out against Israeli soldiers, hoping that they would be fired upon so that there would be more pro-Palestinian publicity. She was afraid for them and had to take these measures. (I can't help wondering if this same mother is trying to hide her sons for those recruiting suicide bombers).

Not long afterwards it became too dangerous for these villagers to come to work in our settlement.

Toameh's words ring true. He is a courageous man for reporting as he does.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Guess Who's Coming To....Pilot School?

Ynetnews.com has a write up about a young Arab Israeli who wants to join the IDF and go to pilot school. It turns out that he has already learned to fly privately, and wants to use his skills to defend Israel.

This of course brings up some questions about dual loyalties.

My take on this is that the IDF should test him, and if he is indeed qualified (both physically and psychologically) then he should be given a chance.

This past summer we heard a lot about the supposed "dual loyalies" of the soldiers who serve in the Hesder program. The fears (and in some cases hope) of widespread refusal of orders did not become reality.

This Arab young man does not have to serve - he is volunteering. Let him have a chance.
What's Almost As Good As Eating Chocolate...

Reading blogs of course. Me-Ander is hosting this weeks Havel-Havelim, and it is a veritable Viennese table of good stuff.

You know what, I'm coordinated. I think I'll do both at the same time.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Coming to a City Near You...

An article published on Ynet today details information just released by government censors that a Kassam rocket was fired toward the green line from Jenin earlier this month. Of course the author quickly points out that the range of this Kassam is "only" three miles, versus the longer range of the Kassams fired from Gaza.

That last little fact makes you feel much safer, no?


There is no reason to assume that the Arabs in the west bank towns will not figure out how to increase the range of their rockets. Which means that those living within rocket range will be an increasingly "inclusive" group.