Eretz Yisrael Time

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Once again my disappointment with Cellcom shines through.

Less than a year ago I upgraded my phones and signed on to a new payment plan. It wasn’t a great plan, and my wife’s plan was even better (my original plan was better, too good in fact, so they canceled it), but the new plan was good enough.

But go know.

Meanwhile my phone bill has been creeping up and up and my wife and I couldn’t figure it out – well we could have if we had bothered to do the math, but we were lazy and assumed I was talking too much.

The other day my wife gets a call from Cellcom to join a fixed monthly price plan (up to a certain amount of minutes). She could do that because her monthly talk time was pretty fixed, whereas mine jumped up and down by hundreds of minutes depending on the month – so they couldn’t make me that offer.

It was during this discussion that we discovered that Cellcom has been incrementing our per-minute fees and that is why my bills were rising so high (and my wife’s too, but not as high as mine).

What was NIS 0.36 per minute just 10 months ago on my plan (and even less for my wife) was now at NIS 0.43 per minute – a 20% increase over what I signed on with less than a year ago.

We complained to Cellcom. One person said the contract allows them to increase the per minute fees by 7% annually. Another said those are the new rates and that’s that.

Huh?! How do you even answer bold-faced statements like that?

Anyway, my wife took the fixed plan (which wasn’t as cheap as her old plan, but cheaper than what we are paying now) and I went into the Cellcom office to have a chat with them.

Obviously arguing with them was pointless.

Unlike what their phone rep said, it turns out they could offer me the fixed plan, but doing the math, it didn’t make sense for me.

Instead they offered me a new plan that lowered my per minute fees to NIS 0.39 and knocked off the NIS 50 monthly fee for insurance (the equivalent of around 120 minutes/month).

I had to agree to stay on the plan for 6 months and add on 10 months to my 3 year commitment to Cellcom (basically where I was 10 months ago).

But I don’t see them guaranteeing to keep me at those prices for the next 3 years.

This is a scam, plain and simple.

They bump you up as soon as your plan ends (or even before) and then you sign up for a new more expensive plan, and extend your commitment.

This has got to be illegal – but I doubt it is.

At a minimum, this country needs legislation that will require the cellphone companies to inform you every time they change your rates or change your plan.
Monday, March 30, 2009
If only the issue was that the secular Neturei Karta - the left wing of Israel, wanted a fair division of burden in Israel, then at least I could understand their calls to draft Chareidi Jews into the army.

But unfortunately that isn't the case, after all, can the far left really expect the Chareidi populace to join the armed forces, while completely and utterly not only disregarding their needs, but attempting to force secular coercion down their throats?

I mean, it would certainly appear to the Chareidim that the goal is not to share the military burden, but to inculcate their youth with non-Jewish values (to say the least).

And they would be right.

Let's ignore for a minute the self-righteous left wing attacks against the IDF Rabbinate and IDF Chief Rabbi Ronsky (a former Special Forces officer) for daring to provide Jewish motivations to our Jewish soldiers in a Jewish army during the war.

Let's instead look at the recent attacks on the religious Ben"nish (Bnei Yeshiva) soldiers.

Recently, the IDF provided musical entertainment to various units in the form of secular singers and music.

The religious soldiers, yeshiva students all, stepped out of the show for the female singers, feeling that it was religiously inappropriate for them to be there.

And the Left blasted them.

No one thought, from the IDF entertainment manager, to the far left kvetchers, that maybe the venue was inappropriate for religious soldiers, instead they attacked religious soldiers for not participating in their party.

Is it any wonder the Chareidi citizen doesn't want any part of the army if all they see are attempts at secular coercion and hypocrisy?

(Oh, and if you are thinking of responding by discussing Chareidi motivations for not joining - don't. The point of this post is the demand for Chareidim to join the IDF, but then using the army as a club in an overt attempt at secular coercion as well as attacking the religious in the army because they won't conform to the secular's mores).
Sunday, March 29, 2009
This goes beyond entrapment. This new police tactic is simply dangerous.

As you may recall, 2 policemen were killed 2 weeks ago by terrorists when they went to assist a car pulled over at the side of the road that appeared to be in need of assistance.

In turned out to be an Arab ambush.

Last Thursday at the Havat Gilad farm in the Shomron a car with Arab license plates pulled into the perimeter of the farm. Jews in the area noticed something was wrong, because while the Arabs appeared to be changing their tires, they had no flat tires that needed changing.

Some people on the farm assumed it was an ambush being set up.

Some of the Jewish residents went over to check out the Arab car when a fight ensued and the "Arabs" came out throwing tear gas at everybody in the area, and attacking people.

It turns out the "Arabs" were Israeli police in disguise,trying to ambush the Jewish residents. They beat them and then arrested the Jewish residents.


This event was so obvious an attempt to entrap the Jewish residents that on Friday, even Kfar Saba Magistrates Court Judge David Gadol voiced strong criticism of the police, and ordered the immediate release of the detainees.

The judge added:
“For the police to again endanger its men in this way” is unacceptable, the judge said. He noted that the entire incident was an unreasonable provocation in order to create an artificial incident of violence, and was irresponsible from a security standpoint. “The police were liable to have been considered terrorists,” Judge Gadol said, adding that the police request for extension of custody was “unreasonable and disproportionate.”

Of course, the Left-wing media reported all this as settler violence.

It's time somewhat put the police house in order.
Every now and then you hear these ridiculous arguments that the Gazan Arabs don't really want Hamas and didn't overwhelmingly vote for them, and other shtuyot.

In the latest Gazan election, for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) union in Gaza, Hamas won 17 out of the 27 seats. Of those 17 seats, 11 are specifically reserved for (the fundamentalist) teachers.

But before you assume that if they aren't Hamas then they must be moderate, just wait for the next piece of news.

In a rare event, an Israeli-Arab music conductor, 50-year-old Wafa Younis brought her Palestinian Youth orchestra to play peace music to Holocaust survivors in Holon.

Upon hearing about this, the Palestinian Authority (you know, the moderate ones) blasted the event and barred conductor Younis from the city of Jenin where she maintains an apartment.

So much for the moderates.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The comment you won’t see posted on the Manhigut Yehudit site.


Dear Moshe,

I know I tried to kick you out of the party and prevented you from entering the Knesset, but I owe you a much bigger thank you than I do the National Union.

You see, even after I kicked you out, you still worked tirelessly and naively to increase the size of my party, the Likud party, for me at the expense of the National Union and Bayit Yehudi.

In fact, the party which received the most votes in Judea and Samaria went to me, the Likud - all because of you and your efforts.

You gift-wrapped those religious and right-wing voters for me.

What better present could I ask from anybody?


Moshe, you personally prevented me from having to negotiate with a strong right wing and having to deal with their positions.

I know you think the National Union is hypocritical for endorsing me as Prime Minister and wanting to be in the coalition, but if I had kept you in seat 20, you would also be calling me your Prime Minister and sitting in my coalition. As another famous Likud leader said, things look different from here than there.

I know you think you opposed me, but all you did is strengthen me to be in the position to do what I wanted to do. I’m laughing my head off, because all I continue to do is spit on you, and all you had to do was keep your mouth shut and not, so convincingly, tell your fellow right-wingers to vote Likud.

I know you imagine you are forming a formidable opposition against me in the Likud, but Moshe, how many Likud MKs were not afraid to be seen with you in public at your conventions and other events before the elections?

How many now have been publicly seen with you since, while I hold the keys to their ministerial positions?

So thank you Moshe for working so tirelessly in pulling away votes from the right wing parties and giving them to me, Bibi Netanyahu, oh, and to the Likud party.

Thanks to you, I have no opposition and all of my plans should move very quickly. Let’s drink a L’Chaim at the upcoming Knesset Pesach party - oops, sorry, you're not invited. I could have never done it without you.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Netanyahu.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
One of the ideas touted out by those searching for Peace in our Time is the Red-Dead plan.

The idea is to redirect part of the water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea via a water canal or pipe.

The concepts driving this is that the cooperation on this plan would help create peace. The second is that it would help create hydroelectric energy and desalinated water for the region, and the third is that it would refill the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea elevation levels


Of course this plan has some major drawbacks, and let's discuss them (from last to first).

While true it would (probably) refill the Dead Sea, at first glance there is a much higher chance of regional ecological/environmental damage (assuming you want to keep the ecology the same as it is today) from water coming from the Red Sea than if you instead brought in the water from the Mediterranean.

But of course if the water is filtered and desalinated in both cases, than that won't matter and the damage is unlikely, so that is a moot argument.

(Where do they dump the brine?)

And of course there is the real estate issue, that this will turn the Red-Dead Canal into a hotel and real estate zone. It will bring development into the region.

Personally I'm not against that, and that wouldn't happen with a Med-Dead Canal.

But only if you are one of those anti-development environmentalists can this be seen as a bad thing. So that argument in moot in my book too.

Of course, on whose side of the canal would the hotels and real estate development be? Would Israel get any development from it?

If you look at the map, the entire canal is deep within Jordanian territory, there is no real estate advantages to Israel that I can see. (Will Jordan change their law and allow Yitzchak Tshuva, a Jew, to own land in Jordan?)


In terms of hydroelectric energy and desalination, both plans should have a benefit, but I suspect that generating electricity from a 1250 foot elevation drop-off from the closer Mediterranean (80 kilometer) would be much cheaper than the 200 kilometer trip from the Red Sea.

In terms of net electrical production, the Med-Dead would produce more electricity and cheaper (remember desalination and transport costs) than the Red-Dead.

In terms of desalinated water, if Israel is to get any of it, it is much easier (closer) and cheaper to get it transported to our water system from the Med than from the Red, where it would have to be transported back up the incline to Jerusalem and central Israel.

In short, in terms of net energy generation, and water for Israel, the Red-Dead makes absolutely no sense at all, while the Med-Dead makes all the sense.

But now last but not least is the Peace factor.

There are two groups pushing this, the developers and the True Believers.

The idea for this post came up because there is concern that Egypt may scuttle their natural gas sales to Israel.

And if you look at it, there are almost no real (large-scale) joint projects between Israel and it's neighbors with who we have peace treaties (well, we already unilaterally supply a tremendous amount of water to Jordan).

And the projects we do have are always under threat of Arab withdrawal and boycott.

Do we really need yet another project dependent on their good will and political dispositions when we can do this independently, create self-sufficiency, and not be constantly under threat? (Unless that is the goal of the True Believers).

Have any of those other projects brought or helped maintain peace? I'm hard-pressed to say yes (besides US military aid to Egypt, which has its own major set of problems).

In terms of developers, I am sure they will make tremendous amounts of money, just like the Jericho casino did until the PA decided that murder was more important than money.

But regardless, the developers will continue to push this, using "peace" as the emotional motivator (and to get UN and other donor countries money to build it and their expense), though everyone involved knows ultimately its just about the dollars.

In terms of the True Believers, I suspect it is only Peres and Co. that are pushing for it for that reason.

After all, there are no real benefits to Israel that couldn't be had more cheaply, quickly, and profitably by a Med-Dead Canal instead.

In fact, (besides elevating the Dead Sea) in terms of water and electricity there is no benefit to Israel at all - except for "Peace", and we already have a shaky, useless peace treaty with Jordan - this project won't strengthen that.

Personally, I'm not even sure how this project will bring peace as after all, as it all occurs in Arab territory.

In fact, I don't think Israel is even needed to make it happen. Would it relieve long-term water issues for Jordan? For sure, but again, they don't need Israel for that.

So where's the peace dividend?

And finally, as I'm writing this I realize that the Red-Med may actually be counterproductive to Peace.

One idea touted is that there will be a war in the future due to lack of water resources in the region, and this will resolve that pressure.

But at the moment, Israel supplies Jordan with a tremendous amount of water.

Imagine if we no longer had to. Would Jordan continue to need to be semi-cordial with us now that they no longer need us? Or would they revert back to their natural state of undisguised enmity?

Now imagine if instead of yet another peace plan that makes Israel dependent on our neighbors, a peace plan that makes our neighbors more dependent on being nice to us.

If Israel were to build the Med-Dead plan (or the less practical Med-Kinneret plan), and then used that system to sell even more (needed) water to the Jordanians - wouldn't that make much more sense and peace more likely by simply requiring them to continue to be peaceful (nonbelligerent) to us for their own continued benefit, whether they liked it or not?

There would even still be cooperation, but this time Israel benefits too, for real.

Conclusions: Red-Dead - Dead End.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sorry, but the argument that more people should have voted Likud and we wouldn't be in this boat just doesn't hold water.

The argument goes that a stronger Likud would not have been forced to give such key positions to the Left-wing parties.

And their mistake in the argument is exactly in that answer.

From the beginning, Bibi said he will not form a Right-Wing government, and he wanted to bring the Left in.

So bigger or not, Bibi planned on setting up a Left-leaning government. And if he was bigger than Kadima, then Kadima would have joined him in the end as they wouldn't have the whole "I'm bigger than you" issue to deal with.

And Bibi still would have had to give them key positions.

And like I said in the beginning, if only more people had voted Right, then Bibi would not have had a choice but to include Right-wing parties in the coalition and offered them key seats.

Unfortunately Feiglin and others convinced far too many people to vote Likud and now we are all paying for it.

I sleep well at night knowing I voted the right way, and in the coalition or not my representatives will be fighting for what I believe in.

But I'm sure Feiglin also sleeps well at night, because he still doesn't understand that he made a mistake pushing his fellow settlers and right-wingers to vote for a party that simply won't represent or implement their views.

No matter how many Likud MKs Bibi has spurned and insulted, as Bibi forms his government, Feiglin's call for Bibi to quit (for not bringing in more seats) just sound like sour grapes.
Monday, March 23, 2009
New UN report indicates that Israel is the world leader in water recycling.

Israel recycles approximately 70% of its waste water. The next closest is Spain at just 12%.

What is amazing is how much more we could be doing in terms of desalination and of course the Med-Dead plan (which was of course shelved in favor of the Red-Dead plan, which is of course shelved due to a lack of real peace to ever make it happen).
JoeSettler here.

Shas just joined the coalitions. In continuation of seeing which earlier predictions came true, let's check how thinks are shaping up.

I said:
Religious Affairs: /Shas
They did:

Religious Affairs: /Shas

I said:
Interior Minister: Eli Yishai/Shas
They did:
Interior Minister: Eli Yishai/Shas

I said:
Building and Construction: Katzaleh/Ichud Leumi
They did:
Building and Construction: /Shas

I said:
Education: Hershowitz/Bayit Yehudi or Shas
They did:
Education: Not Shas (still open)

I said:
Communications: Ariel Attias/Shas
They did:
Communications: Not Shas (still open)


Some of the Positions/Predictions that are still open:
Finance: Bennie Begin/Likud
Deputy Prime Minister: Lieberman/Yisrael Beiteinu
Finance: Bennie Begin/Likud
Social Affairs: UTJ
Education
Communications
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Yup, Haaretz is on the warpath. Nope, not about the rumors (coming from the left-leaning Yitzchak Rabin Military Academy which ingrains a certain political agenda in their graduates) of IDF atrocities in Gaza (you know, vandalism, nasty graffiti, and targeting civilians), but more importantly, because of (what they deem) tasteless, aggressive, offensive and anti-Arab t-shirts.

Purple Parrot won't be surprised to learn that I also have my own t-shirts, and that I have no problem with these shirts either.

They all depict the soldiers killing the ENEMY. And if it isn't clear enough, the enemy is quite often ARMED - including the little boy with the gun and the pregnant woman with the grenade and AK-47.

That the enemy sends children and pregnant women to attack Jews is a problem with the Arab enemy - not with us.

Female suicide bomber Reem al-Riyashi (Hamas and Al-Asqa-Fatah) with a child holding a shell.

Is it in bad taste in politically correct, civil company? You bet.

But these guys are soldiers, and their job is to KILL to defend us - and you know what, to be proud of it when they do a good job - even if the job is forced on them by the enemy - and even if the enemy isn't the stereotypical battle-scarred terrorist, because a significant number of the terrorists sent to attack us don't look the part.

Seriously, what is offensive with the phrase, "We won't be still until we confirm the kill."

Is the problem because confirming your kill might be illegal according to international law, or that it simply makes good military sense and thus sends a message of politically incorrect self defense violence?






The fact is, unlike what Ha'aretz wants to believe (or have you believe), the IDF does not go around targeting innocent civilians. That is what the Arabs do (like they tried to do today at the Haifa Mall).

And not only is there no shame in killing your enemy, in fact in general it makes you a hero for saving Jewish lives.

Should the soldiers be guilt-burdened if they are forced to kill a child. No again.

They should only be bothered by the fact that Arab society has dropped so far down on the barbarity scale that they proudly send women and children to commit mass murder and acts of genocide.

So if these guys want to express themselves by making t-shirts that depict themselves neutralizing enemy targets who are coming to kill us, then who cares.

It's a variation of Gallows Humor and it is a valid way for them to deal with the very difficult job they have against a very evil enemy, while trying to keep the rest of us safe and alive.

A t-shirt is a long way off (and not even in the same direction) as a Kassam rocket launched at a kindergarten, a suicide bomber at a Pesach Seder, or a car bomb in a Haifa shopping mall.

It does not make the IDF or IDF soldiers immoral, just politically incorrect, and who cares what the Lefties of the world think. They hate us either way.
Friday, March 20, 2009
One of my kids is into the human body. He takes every opportunity to tell us he has bones in his fingers, that there is blood in his body, and when he sees a pirate flag, he tells us he has a skull in his head too. And don't get him started, because when he sees a skeleton in a book...

Anyway, there is a new exhibit in Haifa's science museum.

It's the controversial traveling exhibit of all the plastinated dead people.

I won't deny it, I was thinking of taking him to see it. On one hand I know he would find it completely fascinating, on the other hand I was concerned that at his age he might also be horribly frightened.

The third point (uh oh, which hand is that?) is the religious issue.

There is a serious issue of "dishonoring the dead" that goes along with this exhibit. While I figured that for educational purposes perhaps we could go, I'm not sure how strong that argument is, even those these people agreed to participate in it before they died.

The truth is, I find the display of mummy bones in museums to be utterly barbaric and insensitive. These ancient Egyptians (and other peoples) didn't plan or consent to be shown like that, and I think it is a complete violation of human dignity (everyone's) to display them like that.

I think we'll just stick to the dinosaurs bones.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Can you believe that someone thought this was antisemitic?

It’s not often that one can catch Caroline Glick making a mistake, much less a mistake as big as the one she made in her article this week entitled “Israel’s balance of delusion” (as well as others I mention at the end of the article).

In this article she castigates the right wing parties (specifically the National Union/Ichud Leumi/ Moledet incarnations).

She starts off by saying that these right-wing parties have been nearly 100% correct in their analysis of the strategic issues Israel faces and what their end results will be.

She then faults the right-wing parties for standing adamant in their principles and accurate analysis by not capitulating to external pressures – unlike what the Likud repeatedly does.

Glick doesn’t deny the magnitude of the errors of the Likud, but what comes next is where her analysis falls short.

She pinpoints the blame on the right-wing parties for bringing down the government who has gone ahead and implemented Left-wing policies, which then resulted in farther left-wing governments becoming empowered once the Likud was toppled.

Chronologically that is correct, but it is still inaccurate.

I imagine that one could argue that there is a difference between a party running to implement a Left-wing policy, and one that is merely walking there, but in the long-term they both end up in the same place – as we see with the Likud which eventually (and more than once) implemented the Expulsion.

No, Glick is wrong because we have never had a government that has actually implemented a Right-wing policy (such as Benny Elon’s “Right Road to Peace” to name just one example). The best they have done is try to maintain some sort of status quo (like a finger in the dam) instead of going Left - and that is not a solution.

Perhaps if the Likud had stood up for its principles, had tried to be creative in terms of right-wing solutions, then the electorate would be able to differentiate between them and a Left-wing party. But if a party is going to call itself Right (or Center-Right) and then implement Left, why go for the cheap imitation?

Unfortunately, Glick wants the National Union to be a rubber stamp for the Likud. They shouldn’t make demands for their electorate. They shouldn’t stand up for what is right. They shouldn’t call a spade a spade. And they should vote for something that even Glick admits is evil.

So yes, Netanyahu is frightened of the National Union – because Bibi knows he won’t even try to implement any right-wing solution, just some variation of the Left’s.

But the National Union is hardly wrong or delusional for the Likud’s political incompetence, that the Likud not only can’t implement the policies that its electorate wants, but instead implements those of its political opponents.

The problem is not that the Right won’t compromise, the problem is that the Likud never seems to realize that is has compromised not only too much, but on everything - and that includes offering alternative right-wing solutions.


Another mistake is that Glick makes is that she unbundled the National Union from the other "Right-wing party" - on the assumption that people won't vote Right because the Right doesn't know how to govern.

But most voters voted for Lieberman because he tricked them into thinking he actually was a right-winger who wants to implement right-wing policies.

This mistake is understandable, because only a few of us looked beyond the slogans and actually understood what Lieberman was saying before the elections

That is why so many people are (suprisingly) shocked that Lieberman has now called for a Palestinian state and uprooting even his own town.

Glick is wrong because the people did vote for the right (of the Likud). The people wanted a strong right that would implement a right-wing solution. Not a wishy-washy Bibi/Likud that would once again go Left. The people want a right-wing solution and not the status quo.

And that isn't a delusion. It's a policy decision.

And finally, even Glick should honestly admit that the pre-split Bayit Yehudi list was not particularly exciting, realistic or representative for any right-wing voter.

Whereas the (last-minute) National Union list proved they are completely capable of compromise as shown by the 4 merged parties who are working together.

Sorry Caroline, but you blew it on this one.


You can also read more from Shiloh Musings on the subject.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Already articles are coming out that are saying that Chief of Staff Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi who is currently visiting in the US is getting the cold shoulder. A very cold shoulder.

The Obama adminstration is looking in different directions than the long-term existence, survival and security of Israel.

Certainly Iran is not a primary concern.

Nope, Obama and Co. only care about creating another terrorist state of Palestine.

Israel really needs to start looking for means of self-sufficiency (military, energy, etc.) to get us past the upcoming term or two of animosity/hatred unleashed.

It's going to be a rough ride, and I hope Netanyahu is really up for the job.
I woke up this morning to see one of my kids playing with his toy trucks, cars and animals.

And I couldn't stop laughing.

He had the "bad guy" bulldozer attacking the police cars, and then his "good guy" lion stopping the bulldozer by stomping on it repeatedly.

I really didn't teach this to him, but it was certainly funny to watch.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Back in February I gave my predictions (and here too) for various Ministerial positions immediately after the elections. I've since updated my thoughts on some of them, but now that the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu have finally signed their agreement, let's see how things are turning out, and how accurate my initial predictions were.

I said:
Defense: Boogie Ya'alon/Likud
They did:

Defense: Boogie Ya'alon/Likud


I said:
Foreign: Silvan Shalom/Likud
They did:
Foreign: Lieberman/Yisrael Beiteinu


I said:
Absorption Minister: Danny Ayalon/Yisrael Beiteinu
They did:
Absorption Minister: Sofa Landver/Yisrael Beiteinu


I said:
Transportation (or Interior Security): Uzi Landau/Yisrael Beiteinu or Lieberman/Yisrael Beiteinu
They did:
Infrastructure (or Interior Security): Uzi Landau/Yisrael Beiteinu


I said:
Interior Security: Lieberman/Yisrael Beiteinu
They did:
Interior ("Public") Security: Yitzchak Aharonovitch/Yisrael Beiteinu


I said:
Tourism: No prediction
They did:
Tourism: Stas Misezhnikov/Yisrael Beiteinu


I said:
Justice Minister: Dan Meridor/Likud
They did:
Justice Minister: Yaakov Ne'eman/Joint appointment by Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud



Some of the Positions/Predictions that are still open:
Finance: Bennie Begin/Likud
Deputy Prime Minister: Lieberman/Yisrael Beiteinu
Finance: Bennie Begin/Likud
Religious Affairs: Shas
Social Affairs: UTJ
Communications: Ariel Attias/Shas
Building and Construction: Katzaleh/Ichud Leumi
Education: Hershowitz/Bayit Yehudi or Shas
Interior Minister: Eli Yisha/Shas
Sunday, March 15, 2009
We still don't know if the Ichud Leumi party is in the coalition, but the party has made headway in an important area for the religious public.

Until now, government budgets for Yeshivas (all of them, from Hareidi to Hesder) were a bit of mess (to understate the issues).

The lack of an organized budget always lead to bickering, fighting and horsetrading - and of course nasty media articles attacking the Yeshiva for "taking more than their share" (even though they weren't).

The National Union demanded as part of their coalition demands that the Yeshiva budget be formalized as part of the national budget, just like other educational payments and the like. This would mean that payments would be on time and the amounts would be clearly earmarked.

This solution would remove a lot of the problems that existed previously (mentioned above).

The Likud agreed to this proposal.
As Netanyahu goes overdrive into Left gear, a rotation government with Kadima/Livni is beginning to take coalesce.

All I can say is anyone who voted Bibi/Likud and Lieberman/Yisrael Beiteinu - you should have known before elections what you were voting for.

Bibi said from the beginning that he wants a "National Unity" (read: Left-leaning) government, and Lieberman is just a power-hungry Left-winger who spouts RW slogans for those who can't be bothered to read his party's platform.

But you got to hand Livni the prize for Chutzpah.

She is demanding a two-state solution *. Not a second (or third) Palestinian state (well, that too), but complete autonomy to set foreign policy as she sees fit, independent of the Prime Minister and government policy. And I mean complete. If she wants to enter into treaties and negotiations, she can do it all on her own, and Netanyahu has no say. If she wants to run around behind Netanyahu's back - no problem (deja vu!).

Now that's a two-state solution, or in Hizbollah terms, a state within a state.

And Netanyahu is considering it.

And Netanyahu now has a problem.

He's spent the past month dissing his natural partners.

The best move for him now would have been to say that Lieberman's demands are too much and he leaves it to Kadima to try to form a government. If he had built up trust with the religious and the right, he'd be in a position to trust Shas, Agudah, and Bayit Yehudi not to run into Kadima's arms, as (unless she brings in the Arab parties) without them she can't form a coalition.

But Netanyahu burnt that bridge, so Kadima, Labor, Lieberman (with everything), and 1 of the 3 religious parties is now a viable alternative - because of Netanyahu.

Otherwise, he could have simply threatened Lieberman with new elections, and that would have wiped Lieberman's party off the map - as most of the voters he tricked would have voted for everyone else instead.

But instead, Netanyahu burnt his bridges and now faces the existential threat of a two-state solution.

* Thanks to Jameel for coining the term.
Friday, March 13, 2009
It must be good to be the UN. You've got an effectively unlimited budget, you get to advance Antisemitism worldwide, you don't have to take any responsibility for your actions, and best of all, you can give the United States the finger.

The United States is the largest contributor to the UN coffers - to the tune of 22% of their 5 Billion dollar budget.

But the UN is upset, because the US still has an open debt to the UN, and is always late in paying up. As a result, the UN President called the US a "deadbeat donor".

Below is a chart of contributions by country to the UN. (Click to enlarge).


Payment is loosely determined by the GNI (Gross National Income), with a lot of exemptions and loopholes for poorer countries.

So while the US "holds back" on what it is said they owe the UN, they actually still pay more than any other country in the world. A lot more.

I vaguely recall a period where the US decided not to pay the UN at all for a series of distasteful decisions it was making. I doubt Obama would do such a thing.

But still, you would think that the UN president would be more discreet in his choice of words to the country that basically funds all his little projects and smurf army.
It's about time Katzaleh started playing some hardball.

Until now, Bibi has been seriously dissing Ichud Leumi, and not exactly treating Bayit Yehudi much better. Even going as far as planning to keep IL out of the government! After all, Bibi assumed that Bayit Yehudi was in his pocket, so he can get away with it - and without having to give them the Education ministry.

But Katzaleh and Hershkowitz have decided to unite and conquor.

With Livni, Kadima, and Labor currently out of the picture, it turns out that Bibi simply can't form a coalition without either IL or BY.

To prevent Bibi playing one off the other, both parties have made it clear they will be watching out for the interests of the other.

Suddenly, Lieberman isn't the only game in town that Bibi has to appease. The difference is (and what makes this funny), is that it wouldn't have come to this if Bibi hadn't dissed both of them in the first place the way he did.

If Bibi doesn't start trying to work with them, then its no difference than if Lieberman refuses to join.

Of course Lieberman and Shas can still join with Kadima and Avodah, but will their voters ever forgive them for such an act of pure betrayal?

And some Kadima MKs can still quit as a group and join the Likud, but does a super-weakened Bibi really want to negotiate with them?

Nope, Bibi again painted himself into a corner.

When will we have some real leadership in this country?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This is not really new news, but it is incredibly disturbing news.

The New York Times is reporting on the Rocket-Proof children's park that was built in Sderot.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

I know that Stanley M. Chesley, president of the Jewish National Fund and the man behind the idea, had only the best of intentions in mind (and I don't fault him at all). And obviously the children of Sderot (and the South in general) need to be able to play safely.

But...

That we allow ourselves to continue to be in a situation where rockets fall daily (multiple times in a day in fact), and the solution is to build an underground nuclear bunkers for children to play in - instead of negating the threat at the source is a failure of our government at the highest levels.

This isn't a Purim Post - but it should be.
You have to appreciate the tone the JP writers took when they wrote this article.

Even they couldn't get over how idiotic the foreign-funded agents of Yesh Din come across with their latest claim that Israeli stone kitchen counters are damaging the possible future (G"F) Palestinian State (presumably on the West Bank, because the ones in Jordan and Gaza seem to be OK).

It's like a Purim Post, but true.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As we are in the midst of regifting all the Mishloach Manot that we are getting I was thinking that perhaps I could save some creative effort and regift someone else's blog post this Purim.

Now I know everyone else is regifting their Mishloach Manot, because we've already gotten back a few things we gave some other people, so clearly the whole Jewish world is doing it.

Of course that raises the question as to who is actually eating all this stuff.

Anyone?

Definitely not me (except for the strawberry Hamantashen - that is the best flavor).

So except for the person who keeps regifting Jameel's posts, and all the blog aggregators (and who wants to be equated with a blog aggregator - the lowest of the low), I don't know of anyone else regifting blog posts these days, so I guess I won't do it either.

Which leaves me in the dilemma of not knowing what to write this Purim.

Oh well.

Happy Purim!

(I may have a real Purim post tomorrow - with all the antisemitism today, I found the Megillah story so inspiring and hopeful, and I'll write about that).

UPDATE: I don't know if I'll have time to write the Purim post as I was liveblogging Purim all day today. Read it over at the Muqata.
Monday, March 09, 2009
1)
One more reason to boycott Israel completely.

Israeli scientist Dr. Shimon Slavin has found a cure for the "Bubble Boy" disease, a genetic disorder of the immune system. It has so far cured 8 out of the 10 children with the disease.

In fact, one of the first patients he cured was an Arab girl from East Jerusalem. Add Apartheid to the list.

2)
In other boycott news, Radio Israel interviewer Aryeh Golan asked Ichud Leumi MK Michael Ben-Ari what it's like to be a Kahanist.

Perhaps in the first step in a campaign to get him thrown out of the Knesset?

MK Ben-Ari pointed out that Golan had been photographed wearing a peace sticker at a peace rally, implying that this "unbiased" interviewer has an agenda as a peace activist.

Golan called him a liar and that he isn't a peace activist and ended the interview.

Here is the picture of Golan with radical Leftist Uri Avnery.


Golan claims Avnery put it on him during an interview.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Two monkeys have escaped from the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.
One has been captured, another is still free.


No news of elephants or time travelers just yet.



At least someone in the government has what it takes to say what is needed and when it is needed (even though pressure afterwords may (or may not) have forced him to somewhat recant).

As we all know, the Arabs do massive amounts of illegal construction in Jerusalem in order to Arabize the city, and the Jerusalem municipality is trying to fight these illegal expansions, outposts, and settlements, in part by tearing down these illegally built constructs.

The Obama-Clinton administration stuck their noses in the middle and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said it like it needed to be said:

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat claimed that Clinton had been misled by the Palestinians. "I totally reject the criticism [of destroying the illegally built buildings]," Barkat said. "It is a lot of air. There is no substance. Maybe it is because there is a new administration in the States. I am not willing to say the houses will remain houses. It is the wrong signal to send to people who break the law."

The US Embassy in Jerusalem Tel Aviv complained to the Prime Minister (would that be Olmert still?) saying that Barkat insulted Clinton, and then the Prime Minister's office then offered a retractions saying that Barkat didn't mean that Clinton was being criticized, only the Arabs that were feeding her false information which she accepted as gospel.
I'd say Durban (II) is a good place to drop the first bomb.

Deuteronomy 25:19

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Here’s the latest from the political scammers of Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu.

"No one asked us during the campaign if we were in favor of a Palestinian state," Israel Beiteinu MK Danny Ayalon said.

Wow, imagine that, no one thought to ask, and you forgot to mention it.

But is that really true?

Because it gets better.

The Matot Arim organization said it had received a phone commitment from MK David Rotem during the campaign that the party opposed the creation of a Palestinian state.

And an Israel Beiteinu spokeswoman had told her that Rotem had been speaking for the entire party.

But alas, in the fine print of the Yisrael Beiteinu party position paper it says:

2. The permanent agreement must be based on the principle of territory and population exchange, as well as the creation of two nationally homogeneous states.

Can it be that the party is so confused after duping their voters with rhetoric and slogans that they don’t know their own party's positions?
In February I wrote about the armed LAU missile found in the town of Chareidi town of Elad.

Well, this may or may not be a continuation of that story.

Arutz-7 is reporting that at a "yeshiva at the Judean Desert community of Elad, east of Tel Aviv" sappers were brought in to to neutralize weapons gathered as souvenirs by the students, from a nearby Special Forces training base.

I assume it is the same Elad, as I'm not familiar with any Elad in the Judean Desert. I do know of an Elad, east of Tel Aviv, near Rosh HaAyin and that's the Chareidi town. But in the Judean Desert? That's stretching it a bit.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Far too many Baraks running around these days making headlines.

But here's an interesting one.

Barak (the former Supreme Court President) has spent the day very loudly denying that he in any way spoke with Barak (head of the Labor party) and told him to join the coalition and take the Justice Portfolio (we all know why).

Very loudly protesting the story. Very loudly.

UPDATE:

The anonymous former Supreme Court judge that Ehud Barak hinted he spoke with at the closed Labor meeting was none other than Mishael Cheshin (another winner).
Lieberman ran his campaign under the slogan, that "Only Lieberman understands Arabic".

The dupes that voted for him, thought he meant that he knew how to deal with Arab enemy. Now they are beginning to understand that Lieberman really does understand Arabic, but he meant something else.

The Arabs say they want another Arab State on this side of the Jordan, and Lieberman understands them and hopes to oblige them.

Meanwhile, it was when Ichud Leumi MK Michael Ben-Ari got up to speak at the Knesset for the first time (kudos to anyone who knows what the subject was, and what the first bill he is introducing is) when all the Arab MK walked out.

It seems that Ben-Ari understand Arabic far better than Lieberman does.

In response to the walkout Ben-Ari said, "I am very pleased that the fifth column walked out during my speech. I hope it's a sign for the future and that soon we will see them walking out of Israel's Knesset."
Monday, March 02, 2009
Once upon a time Shimon Peres used to threaten us that the Oslo Process was irreversible.

Certainly much of the damage he did was (and is) irreversible, but the process itself is still reversible.

Peace Now is warning that if the plans on the table to increase the size of the settlements goes into effect then a Palestinian state won't be possible.

Excellent news.

Of course, all the Leftists like to say, "and what about all the Arabs?".

I will reply with one of Moshe Feiglin's intelligent insights.

If all the money Israel wasted on walls, fences, security, catching terrorists (and then releasing them, and capturing them again) had been spent in buying and setting up very comfortable new lives (in other countries) for our Arab neighbors, there would now be no internal Arab threat to Israel anymore.

Now that's a logical Peace plan that would work.
As you know, the world for some strange reason is obsessed with dumping good money after bad into Gaza and the Arabs of the PA. I’m sure they think they have their reasons.

Netanyahu criticized these countries lately when he said they should hold off pouring their money down the drain, at least until Hamas (the recognized Government of Palestine) stops shooting at Israel.

Something the world ignores.

Of course, since the Israeli government also transfers money to Gaza, I find that statement somewhat hypocritical.

More intelligent voices have noted that it is all this aid that perpetuates Arab terror.

After all, these Arabs don’t need to create a civilized country or a productive economy to have a positive cash flow (like the rest of the civilized world does), just an anti-Israel country.

If they don’t have to actually build, educate (positively), construct, or be civilized to continue to get money (not to mention water and electricity) – why would they want to change their ways?

But let’s take it a little further.

Maybe it’s time these countries took things a bit farther, including Israel.

Perhaps the “Palestinians” should be made complete wards of the world, and not be given any money whatsoever to play with.

As it stands right now, the Israeli tax payer loses millions of shekels every month to the PA as the PA doesn’t pay any of its bills.

They don’t pay their water bills, they don’t pay their electric bills, the private vendors foolish enough to have done business with PA residents and the PA found themselves ripped off.

Instead of giving the money to PA, it’s time that Israeli service vendors got paid first - directly.

But more than that.

There is no reason for any money to go into the PA at all. Bring in more UN services. Provide them with everything from construction, food, private chef services, garbage collection, and whatever else you can imagine.

There is no hope that Palestinian society will ever be a healthy one. Treat them as they really are, and fully turn them into Wards of the World incapable of joining civilized society.

Of course, the downside is that experience teaches us that this will just give them more time to plot terrorism.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Once upon a time Bibi supported something called the Norwegian law. This law stated that a Knesset Member who was appointed to be a Government Minister must give up his Knesset seat. The next party member in line would then join the Knesset. If the Minister was fired from the government then he would get his seat back and go back to being an MK, and the last MK would leave the Knesset.

Why is this important?

For one thing it gets more of your party members into the government and the Knesset, but more importantly, it is the beginning of a separation of powers, with at least the idea that a Minister is involved with executive issues, while the MKs are involved with legislative issues.

Why is this relevant?

For the Ichud Leumi party it is important because Katzeleh signed an agreement with Uri Bank that if Katzaleh becomes a Minsiter he would quit as an MK, and Uri Bank would then get in as an MK.

But now there is a problem.

Bibi is politically unstable, and it isn’t clear that if Katzaleh becomes a minister and quits being an MK, that he won’t be fired by Bibi when Bibi starts going far Left, thus leaving Katzeleh out of both the Knesset and the Government.

That’s a bad thing.

The solution to that would have been the Norwegian law, but that isn’t going to be voted in during this government.

Why not?

Because if the Norwegian law goes into effect, and the Likud has 8 ministers, guess who gets into the Knesset.

Feiglin.

So Bibi no longer supports this law.

For the moment Katzeleh is only asking for a Deputy Ministers position so he doesn’t violate his agreement with Uri.

But instead, the Ichud Leumi will probably try to pass a modified version of the Norwegian law (call it Chok Katzeleh) that will allow an MK to voluntarily give up his seat if he becomes a minister, but will get it back if he stops being one.

And that would resolve all the difficulties.
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