Eretz Yisrael Time

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Lots of thoughts floating around, but none seem to have made it down to the keyboard.

One thing I always noted was the significance of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) immediately preceding Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day).

Israel is a country that pays a high price to continue to exist and the placement of the memory of those who sacrificed for the country just ahead of the celebrations for the existence of Israel provides tremendous meaning to both days.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I recently had a strange discussion with an American liberal. She put forward the question as to why does the US have the right to try to stop other countries from acquiring the same nuclear weapons the US has?

At some point in the middle of answering that question, I realized that my answers would be meaningless to her.

I initially put forward the response that there is simply a moral yardstick that we can measure these countries by, and the US is at one end and Syria, North Korea, and Iran (for instance) are clearly at the other end.

A country that uses chemical weapons of mass destruction on its own citizens, a country that will keep its citizens permanently impoverished just to gain a WMD, and a country that openly declares it will use a nuclear weapon to commit genocide is simply not a country that should be allowed to have a nuclear weapon in its arsenal, and everyone has a right to prevent them from acquiring nukes.

But that argument fell on deaf ears as the question repeated itself, what right does the US have to make itself the nuclear policeman of the world and prevent others from acquiring nuclear weapons.

I tried again and asked if Iran had a bomb and planned to send one over in a cargo ship, doesn’t the US have a right to stop them before they get it.

Still no go.

It would appear that to the American Liberal, there is no relative or objective morality. Perhaps there is no morality at all. Or perhaps just a complete level of naïveté when it comes to accepting that there is good, and more relevantly, evil in this world, and what evil is willing to do.

Sort of like Obama meeting with Chavez.
I recently had a strange discussion with an American liberal. She put forward the question as to why does the US have the right to try to stop other countries from acquiring the same nuclear weapons the US has?

At some point in the middle of answering that question, I realized that my answers would be meaningless to her.

I initially put forward the response that there is simply a moral yardstick that we can measure these countries by, and the US is at one end and Syria, North Korea, and Iran (for instance) are clearly at the other end.

A country that uses chemical weapons of mass destruction on its own citizens, a country that will keep its citizens permanently impoverished just to gain a WMD, and a country that openly declares it will use a nuclear weapon to commit genocide is simply not a country that should be allowed to have a nuclear weapon in its arsenal, and everyone has a right to prevent them from acquiring nukes.

But that argument fell on deaf ears as the question repeated itself, what right does the US have to make itself the nuclear policeman of the world and prevent others from acquiring nuclear weapons.

I tried again and asked if Iran had a bomb and planned to send one over in a cargo ship, doesn’t the US have a right to stop them before they get it.

Still no go.

It would appear that to the American Liberal, there is no relative or objective morality. Perhaps there is no morality at all. Or perhaps just a complete level of naïveté when it comes to accepting that there is good, and more relevantly, evil in this world, and what evil is willing to do.

Sort of like Obama meeting with Chavez.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Defense Minister Barak is offering the residents of Ofra a deal.

Peace Now claims that 9 homes (from the hundreds) built in Ofra are illegally built on Arab land (the Left of course claims that almost all of Ofra is built on "stolen" land, but they have to start the ball rolling somewhere).

They have been pushing for those homes (to start off with) be destroyed.

The residents of Ofra of course claim that the land is legally theirs as Ofra was built on State-owned land given to them by the Rabin-Peres government, on what was once an IDF military base (and before that a state-owned Jordanian military base).

So now Ehud Barak is coming with a deal.

His deal is straightforward. If the residents of Ofra agree to a building freeze, then the government will recognize the disputed land ("disputed" - just like the State of Israel), as legally belonging to Ofra.

Amazing how he can do that. Makes you realize that there is really nothing illegal at all, besides the illegal lack of recognition of a Jew's right to live everywhere in Eretz Yisrael.

Of course it's not clear what Barak is defining as the borders of Ofra, or the rest of the fine print.

But the real problem (besides the concept of the settlement freeze itself) is that we've learned from experience that Barak simply can not be trusted when he cuts a deal.

So far he's cut a few famous deals with the Settlers, and each time he's openly lied and tricked us, and simply used the negotiations and deals as a deception tactic to get what he wanted.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
I'm wondering if there isn't an advantage to the Ichud Leumi not being in the government right now. Right now they can say what really needs to be said and should be said without fear of official reprisal against Israel.

It would be hard to describe Rahm Emanuel as a great (or even a secret) supporter of Israel, and when he made a recent remark to the effect of, "In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us who is the prime minister" there is certainly serious cause for concern.

Katzeleh responded to this remark with a letter that included "For many Israelis, this report is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US, and all the more so from an Israeli Jew who has succeeded in being appointed White House chief-of-staff."

And he continued with, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" quoting from the Book of Esther (4:14).

Unfortunately, while Katzeleh was right to write this, it was kind of wasted.

I honestly don't think Rahm sees Mordechai or Esther as the actual heroes to be emulated from Megillat Esther - if you know what I mean.

I suspect that in this case Revach v'Hatzalah will be coming from another place.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Who cares about an Obama seder when you can have Jerry Garcia.



With Jameel on vacation, I just couldn't leave the blog unattended, especially after I heard rumors (by a DovBear commenter) that the Grateful Dead used to run a Seder on Pesach during intermissions backstage.


As Jerry was a veggie (and not Jewish), I wonder what they did about the shank bone and Matzah Ball soup (especially as it was catered by Lou G. Siegels - wasn't that place awesome).



Anyway, I've been doing a lot of research on it, and so far I found out the following.

First of all, there is an article about the rumors from 1996.

Second, there are apparently Grateful Dead Kipas and Haggadot somewhere in the world, but I haven't been able to find any pictures.

Not an original

So readers, if you can find a picture of the Grateful Dead Haggada or Kipa, send us a link and I'll post it. Or better yet, send us the Haggadah or Kipa - that would be so cool.

In the meantime I found other interesting things, like this Tel Aviv bikers bar that ran a Grateful Dead Tu B'shvat event.



And then there is the Grateful Yid.


So if anyone knows more, the more you tell over, the bigger the mitzvah.
One thing that has bothered me (only one?) with Pesach in Israel is the water issue.

As you might know (or not), the country's water supply from the Kinneret is shut off and all water comes from underground aquifers.

The reason?

Certain groups claim that if a drop of Chametz falls in the Kinneret then the entire Kinneret becomes Chametz as there is no legal concept of "Batel b'shishim" when it comes to Chametz, and therefore you can't drink the water!

The only problem is that this is such a strange ruling, and worse, I couldn't find any real source for it (not that I looked very hard). Yet the country does it.

Finally, I found something on Treppenwitz (of all places) that discusses this question.

Rav Dov Lior writes:

משהו חמץ במי כנרת

חמץ בפסח אוסר במשהו בין במינו ובין שלא במינו. אולם כלל זה אמור דווקא בדבר תלוש, כגון פירור חמץ שנפל לתוך סיר גדול או לבור מים, אך מחובר לקרקע אינו נאסר.[21] ולכן אין מקום כלל להחמיר שלא לשתות מי כינרת וכיוצא בזה.

A Bit of Chametz in the Kinneret Sea
Even a tiny amount of Chametz which mixes into food or drink on Pesach causes all of it to be forbidden. (This is true whether the Chametz mixes with food similar to itself or dissimilar.) However, all of this is relevant when the food or drink is detached from the ground, as in the case of a crumb of Chametz falling into a large pot or into a water reservoir (which the water was drawn into.) However, whatever is attached to the ground does not become forbidden. Therefore, there is absolutely no basis to be stringent and not to drink water from the Kinneret or any other natural body of water.

[21] ריטב"א מס' ע"ז דף עג. לגבי איסור הנאה מעבודה זרה, שאף היא אוסרת במשהו, כדתנן 'מים במים במשהו' קובע הריטב"א, שבאופן עקרוני מחובר אינו יכול להאסר, ומתיר באר של ישראל שגוי שפך לתוכה מים של ע"ז. וה"ה לחמץ בפסח, וכן כתב ערוך השולחן בהל' פסח סי' תס"ז סעיף ל"ג, שכל מקום שכתוב חמץ שנפל לבור, הכוונה דווקא בור של מים מכונסים ולא באר שהם מים הנובעים מן האדמה.
Again, one can only hope those calling to boycott Israel are faithful to their message.

Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University working together with scientists at the Weizmann Institute may have found the first step to curing certain types of deafness caused by aging, noise, drugs and genetic influences.

The solution they found involves something called microRNA and the small hair follicles that help receive and transmit sound in the inner ear.
Monday, April 13, 2009
While the saving of the Merchant Marine captain from the Somali pirates was a success (and thoroughly amazing in that the Navy snipers hit their targets from a rolling boat at sea with one bullet each), the rescue operation as a whole revealed a fundamental flaw that ran through the entire operation.

The US Navy trailed the lifeboat holding the pirates and the hostage for days.

Two times before the Navy believed the life of the captain to be in “imminent danger” and received explicit permission from President Obama to utilize “lethal force” to save the captain ("act only if the captain’s life was in imminent danger, and the opportunity of having clear shots at each captor"). The third time the same thing, and this time they were able to act and killed 3 pirates, capturing a fourth while saving the shipping captain.

Jeez. It sounds like an episode of 24.

And that’s what is exactly wrong.

If the Navy had only been waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill the pirates without harming the hostage, that would have been one thing.

But that wasn’t the case.

The Navy was waiting until the captain’s life was in “imminent danger” – 3 times, until they felt it was legally legal for them to act. And even then they needed explicit permission from the President.

Isn’t it enough that the Captain’s life was in danger once (or even twice) that he would be in danger again. Or isn’t it enough that his ship was boarded by pirates in the High Seas (or Low Seas) and he was kidnapped?

How ridiculous can you get? These are pirates!

If that is how the US is going to react to piracy, and obviously to terrorism, and worse, to Iranian nuclear warheads, then there is a serious problem. There is a failure to act when needed.

And that is going to be a problem for all of us.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Hameyvin Yavin

Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Don't forget Birchas Hachama if you are saying it.

Interesting interview with Katzaleh on his side of what is going on.

(And what he says about Makor Rishon, I've also noticed how they've treated Ichud Leumi in not just the polls, but also in the articles).

The Muqata has great Pesach stuff (and you all know the link to there).

Anyway, Chag Kasher v'Sameach.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Interesting article in the Hebrew paper this weekend.

It seems that the Kibbutz youth leaders are in a tizzy because their brainwashing is no longer working on the Kibbutz youth. Or more accurately, they are unable to convince the youth living in the South that what their leaders are telling them makes any sense whatsoever in the face of the reality they see with their own eyes.

The far Left preaches passivism and appeasement in the face of Arab aggression and demands.

What tends to result from these teachings are passivism and appeasement of the Arab enemy, but heavy handed violence and incitement against those who disagree with that philosophy (you know who I mean).

But Darwin may have the last laugh after all; Survival of the Fittest in the realm of political ideology.

The youth in the South around Gaza are openly revolting against the teaching of their leftwing leaders.

Kibbutz Youth Leaders (KYL) are reporting that when watching news reports of IDF hitting back at the Arab enemy, kids in the youth groups are cheering. They are actually happy that the IDF is fighting and killing the Arab enemy – and they are verbally expressing it.

Some KYLs are reporting that they don’t know who is making the remarks in their groups, because they are always said when their backs are turned.

They KYLs are beside themselves.

They actually give speeches to the kids that that isn’t the proper attitude and outlook. But the inculcation isn’t sticking. These kids are proud that for a change Israel is hitting back.

The KYLs are telling the Kibbutz leaders that this behavior is only superficial and temporary, but the youths say something quite different.

The youths are saying that the media elites should live where they live for a week, and then see if they continue to spout their ideology. The youths say that they understand who the enemy is.

Could this be the beginning?
Well that didn't take very long for the first step in a bad electoral reform bill to introduced.

The first part of the bill makes it more difficult to take down a government. I have no comment yet on that.

But here is the part with the problem.

Once again they plan to raise the electoral threshold.

I'd like to see UTJ and Bayit Yehudi vote for this one, since if the threshold is raised from 3 to 5 seats they probably won't be in the Knesset next time around.

The big parties are trying to murder the small parties. Plain and simple.

And it's not like the big parties are giving away ministerial positions (or MK positions) to those not like them, who might also be members of their party.

I don't see Effie Eitam in the Likud government. Can you see the Likud letting in a Chossid to be a Likud minister any time in the near future once they wiped out representation from the Chareidi sector?

Nope. No time soon.

In fact, let's look at a real-world example instead of hypotheticals.

How many people from sectors that would be disenfranchised did the Likud turn into ministers in this government -particularly after all that partying with Effie Eitam before the elections, while calling them equal partners?

Look what happened to Leah Ness, Tzippy Hotovely, Ze'ev Elkin and Ayoob Kara.

I think that answers the question.

So all this move does is kill the competition during the elections and disenfranchise huge swaths of the population.

One can only hope a move like this backfires.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Here's my Pesach D'var Torah as told to me by my wife. Feel free to use it at your own Seder.

As you all know we drink 4 cups of wine at the Seder. And we also place a fifth cup on the table, which we call the Cup of Eliyahu (Elijah).

(The fifth cup is the one that someone at the table always shakes when we open the door so that the little kids at the table think that Eliyahu is drinking it. You know what I'm talking about.)

The reason we drink 4 cups is for the phrases of redemption listed in the Torah: (1) I released you, (2) I saved you, (3) I redeemed, and (4) I took you.

But there is actually a fifth phrase that is also connected to the story of Pesach: "And I brought you in...".

There is a disagreement whether the 5th phrase is part of the 4 or not.

It it is, then we should drink 5 cups, and not 4 (could you even handle 5?).

Since the Rabbis didn't have an answer, they decided to leave the question unanswered... until Eliyahu Hanavi returns to answer the question about the fifth cup.

Hence the fifth cup is called the Cup of Eliyahu.

Pretty Cool.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Finally, Lieberman did something right.

I don't have much hope pinned on him, but he at least kicked things off on a good note with his first remarks as Foreign Minister.

It's about time that senior government ministers started saying that Annapolis was a pointless failure and Israel isn't committed to it. And it's about time that the government openly said that Oslo was a failure.

That Livni thinks that Lieberman wiped out years of "Peace efforts" in 20 seconds indicates to me that those 20 seconds were well worth his getting the Foreign Ministry.

One can only hope that that will be his actual unmoderated position in the future too.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
There you have it. Once again Palestinian society has shown its true colors as it deifies a terrorist as a holy martyr who succeeded in murdering innocent children. Nothing more need be said.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Already the government's stability is threatened, and I won't be giving out prizes to whoever guesses right as to who is threatening the stability.

There is no question that there is something fundamentally wrong with the system where among other things Netanyahu believes he must overstuff his government to prevent any single party from being able to take it down.

Currently of course, the only single party that can do that is Lieberman's (until Agudah is added, and then now that UTJ has signed this morning it will require 2 parties).

And of course, not even hours into the new government and that is exactly what Lieberman threatened to do.

Lieberman has taken offense at 2 recent events in the past 2 days.

First, some Likud person was overheard saying that when Lieberman finally gets indicted, the Foreign Ministry will go back to the Likud.

Lieberman's response to that was that it will take 13 years to indict him, and the Foreign Ministry will stay with his party even if he is not there, and then some other choice remarks.

The second event was when Netanyahu added Silvan "Steve" Shalom to the "Kitchen/Security Cabinet" to create stability in his own party.

The original agreement between Bibi and Lieberman was that this security cabinet would only include (Former Sayeret Matkal/Special Forces officer) Netanyahu, (Former Chief of Staff) Barak, (Former Chief of Staff) Ya'alon and (former nightclub bouncer) Lieberman (which reminds me of the song "one of these things is not like the others").

Lieberman's response was a temper tantrum and threats to topple the coalition right there and then (perhaps he might also then disappear to Russia again for a week).

Does anyone really think we're going to have such a stable coalition with such an unstable ego in such a key position?

Haaretz poll
: 54% of public dissatisfied with new government.

When I do the math, that comes out to around 65 seats - quite coincidentally, 54% is the percentage of citizens in this country that voted overwhelmingly for a Right-wing government.

So of course they are unsatisfied with the new government.
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