Eretz Yisrael Time

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Thursday, December 30, 2010
So I got the following email from a friend (YM). I actually wrote this post days ago, but didn't put it up because I thought it must have been a spoof. How little did I know.

WORLD UNION OF JEWISH STUDENTS (WUJS) CONGRESS,
27-30 Dec 2010


In a tradition dating back to 1924, under the chairmanship of Albert Einstein, the WUJS Congress once again brings together elected representative Jewish student leaders from around the globe, to assess and confront the contemporary face of the age-old challenges facing Jewish students.

On the frontline of the battle against deligitimization of Israel and BDS campaigns on campus, 200 elected Jewish student Union leaders, representing hundreds of campuses, will be arriving from 52 countries to develop creative strategies to combat Anti-Semitism and foster Jewish pride and identity.
Sounds like a wonderful program. WUJS certainly has a great reputation as an organization.

But as you continue to read the program schedule, WUJS surprises us with one particular item:

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Jerusalem Gate Hotel:
10h00-11h00: Saeb Erekat (Palestinian Chief Negotiator)
11h30-12h00: Danny Seaman (GPO)
12h00-12h45: Chief Rabbi Lau

Now I don't know about you, but to me something in their list of speakers looks a bit off.

Since the Palestinian Authority is one of the world leaders and enablers in the field of "delegitimization of Israel and BDS campaigns on campus" I'm not quite sure how having Saeb Erekat as a panelist counts as a "creative strategy to combat Anti-Semitism".

In fact, it wasn't too long ago that Saeb Erekat, WUJS panel speaker on the "deligitimization of Israel" said, "the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state."

So if you think there is a problem here, below is the contact information listed on the email:
Contact Person:
Chaya Singer, WUJS Chairperson: 052-476-0392, chaya@wujs.org.il

Shame on WUJS.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The whole world is eager for alternative energy sources and can't wait for the Arabs (and Iranians) to run out of gas.

But has anyone asked what happens to the Arab (and Iranian) world once their gas does run out? Has anyone considered that their societies might either violently collapse or turn into even worse tyrannies?

Even if they line their deserts with solar panels or nuclear power plants and have unlimited electricity for themselves, there is no real way they can effectively or reasonably export that to the rest of the world (at least no way I can think of off-hand).

Another world crisis in the making?
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
There is a very important debate going on about the legitimacy of using Wikileaks, as it is after all, stolen material, and it doesn’t directly concentrate on exposing the lack of freedom and human rights in countries that truly don’t have freedom or human rights, but instead seems to be trying to undermine the United States.

On the other hand, the information exposed, shows a reality far different than the narrative one typically comes to hear from the mainstream media.

Significant parts of that exposed narrative show and prove that Israel really are the good guys of the world – despite what some may claim.

In fact, the latest nut job conspiracy theories say that the Mossad wrote and released Wikileaks, and the proof is because Israel looks so good in them.

From the raw data we learn that anything Mearsheimer and Walt say and write can simply be thrown into the toilet (where they belong).

In the latest exposure we learn of the extent of Arab fear of Iran, as they called for a joint Arab-US-UN force to enter Lebanon and remove Hezbollah.

That’s right. The Arabs want Hezbollah dismantled. Not for Israel, but for themselves.

Turkey’s Erdogan has had his secret Swiss bank accounts exposed, perhaps pointing him to the exit sign. And that’s perhaps the reason why Turkey and Israel are trying to reconcile and reconnect, as other players in Turkish politics not only see the path Erdogan is trying to take them down – but why.

Which explains why Erdogan is trying to put a spoke in the wheels by demanding Israel apologize and compensate the IHH terrorists from Turkey.

And of course, President Obama’s Iran-Settlement linkage was exposed as his own personal fantasy and aspiration, and also unconnected to political realities, and that, at least temporarily has put an end to the latest freeze demands.

On the other hand, it could be asked, if the latest demand faile simply because Israel asked for the US demands and promises in writing.

Meanwhile, the question remains, will the Wikileak effect be short term, or can it be something that can actually change the bad aspects of world diplomacy and the poor public treatment of Israel.
Monday, December 06, 2010
For the past week, a massive forest fire has been raging in Lebanon, just 45 kilometers north of Beirut. Over 150,000 square meters of forest has been destroyed.

42 separate fires have been reported, 4 of them massive.

So far, the Kingdom of Jordan has sent over firefighter support.

Israel is currently battling its own blazes with an airplane that costs $200,000 a day to use.

I wonder. If Israel were to offer to pay for one day of use, and send the plane over to Lebanon, would Lebanon accept the help?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The one advantage Israel has right now is how transparent Obama has turned out to be. At least knowing what he is really after is a step towards being able to fight back.

For instance, what could be the possible motivation for a 3 month retroactive freeze that ends in just over a month, and has no alleged continuation, and certainly won't bring the Pals back to the table?

Since there is really only 1 item on the table that is going to be discussed, and there is only 1 Obama threat that stands out from all the others, clearly they are probably linked.

The one item up for discussion right now is that Obama wants to pin down and pressure Bibi to deliver the maximalist borders that he will give away. Obama wants maps, Obama wants lines, and Obama wants Jerusalem (and the Jordan Valley).

Once Obama has that, no further negotiations are needed.

He will then begin working in the UN on behalf of the Palestinians to declare a state based on those borders in exactly 1 year 1 month and 1 week. The date his self-imposed restriction on vetoing a Palestinian state will expire.

(Coincidentally, think of that date as a 2011 X-mas present which is timed with the ending of Al-Hijra/Muharram, the Islamic sacred month when Mohammad went from Mecca to Medina).

(And Chanukah too).

That's it. It's that simple and that straightforward.

Now along the way, and for the same money, he can also cause Bibi a coalition crisis.

--

Related rumors and anonymous sources:

Anonymous sources in Prime Ministers office (sorry, nothing online) have said that Israel was to get the extra 20 F-35s anyway (but it is not clear who is to be paying for them, Israeli officials believes Israel will be), also that Obama demanded that Bibi dump Lieberman for Tzippi.

Where Pollard fits into this (part of the game, or an actual demand by Bibi) is still anyone's guess.

And on a final note, one explanation given regarding why the letter with Obama's threats is taking so long to arrive is that Bibi claims to have received certain promises from Obama on Jerusalem. Getting that in writing about ("East") Jerusalem (as it being shoveled to us) would be a 180 degree change in US policy. Don't hold your breath expecting to see in writing what we were told last week.
What do the Palestinians want?

It's fair question. After all, if and when we negotiate with them (and not with the Obama administration) it would be good to know what it is they really want and see as their endgame.

The Israel Project ran a comprehensive poll that tried to understand exactly what they want.

Some of the answers were seemingly contradictory (at first), while most answers were quite clear and consistent. A statement left open and undefined ("peace") received a positive answer, but when the actual terms of what "peace" included was defined (see last graph on this post), it was then overwhelmingly rejected.

To begin with, most Palestinians want to live under Sharia law.



Surprising at first, most Palestinians want a 2 state solution.



But not so surprising when asked to explain that position.

Most Palestinians see a 2-state solution as a stepping stone to replacing Israel with one Palestinian state.



To achieve that 1 state of Palestine solution, most Palestinians approve the use of violence against Israel.



Most Palestinians do not accept the existence of a Jewish state and believe it must be actively destroyed.



And finally, most Palestinians do not expect there to be a Jewish state in 25 years.





In short, the Palestinian position seems to be that Israel should be destroyed and replaced with a single Palestinian state, and the means to do so should be through both negotiations and violence.


Now here is the kicker. When "peace" was defined with the maximalist (peace) terms Israel already offered, and terms that Israel would/could never offer more than, and in fact, presumably the minimum that Obama is trying to get Israel to agree to now (in his secret plan), "peace", now defined, was overwhelmingly rejected.



Ultimately, what this means is that "Palestinian" society is not looking for an end to the conflict or for peace, but rather sees negotiations as another means to destroy Israel.

When Palestinian leaders speak of peace and negotiations, they (and their leaders) apparently believe they are talking about weapons for destroying Israel. They actually believe that they will ultimately succeed in destroying Israel.

Food for thought.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
No longer does just Israel exclusively share that special relationship with the US.

“This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times,” declared US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in announcing the aid, which was taken from the $200 million the Obama administration plans to allocate to the PA in 2011."

Under the Obama regime, the "Palestinians" have been upgraded to "friends" of the US. That kind of makes a mockery out of it when they say the same about Israel.

Palestinian Friends of the US expressing their friendship.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
If the US loses Iraq and Afghanistan there won’t be peace in Israel or "Palestine".

Conventional wisdom in the Obama administration is that somehow peace between Israel and local Arabs is the lynchpin for peace and success in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some Obama officials have gone so far as to imply (if not say outright) that US soldiers are dying because of Israel.

The problem is that once again the Obama administration has the situation completely backwards.

Peace in the Holy Land will only be possible once there is peace and democracy in the rest of the Middle East.

The US troubles in Iraq stem from Iran and other Islamic fundamentalists. And Afghanistan? That’s been a problem ever since the Russians got there, if not before.

And let's not get started on Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon.

And none of them were caused by the problems of the Holy Land. They were caused by fundamentalist Islam and their individual dictatorial forms of government (and the colonial powers that created the artificial Arab states in the Middle East).

And the solution to their problem has nothing to do with the Middle East.

But the opposite is true.

If the US is unable to establish, implement and maintain a strong and stable democracy in these two countries which are lynchpins in US Middle East policy, and if the US can't bring Iran back into the cradle of civilized countries, then the US will have no credibility in being able to implement a solution to the Israel-Arab war either.

As Sharansky pointed out, you can only make a real lasting peace with a stable democracy. Egypt is soon going to go over the Islamic edge, and the Kingdom of Jordan is probably not long for this world either. And meanwhile, Iran will be destabilizing everything.

The PA and Hamastan have both long thrown out their fictional covers as a democracy.

Any peace treaty with them isn’t worth the paper its written on, as there is no other incentive for them to keep the peace (Egypt at least has US military aid to prop up the government).

It's US policy and failure that is preventing peace in the Middle East.

Let the US start introducing freedom and democracy into these hard-line belligerent countries and peace will naturally fall into place everywhere else.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
By tomorrow we should know the results of the US elections. Most reports indicate the Republicans will have won by a landfall.

But that will only mean that half the battle has been won.

With fewer options on his table, the Obama is likely to shift His focus on Israel (or Palestine for him).

That means that Bibi and Israel will be coming under more pressure than ever.

But with better allies in Congress and the Senate, perhaps Bibi will be able to stand strong and ride out the Obama storm.
Monday, November 01, 2010
There is a lot of talk that within a year the “Palestinians” will unilaterally declare a state (again, Arafat already did that once in 1988 at the UN). They will claim the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. What’s not clear if this third Palestinian state (1. Jordan in Mandatory Palestine, 2. Hamastan in Gaza, and 3. Fatahland in Judea and Samaria) will have any close political connection to the other Palestinian states.

I just heard that Bibi said he will grant them 60% of Judea and Samaria if they make their declaration.

But that’s a ridiculous offer. They don’t care what Bibi offers, as they are planning on declaring a state regardless and fully expect the UN to agree with their declarations and demarcations – and they are certainly are not declaring a state of peace with Israel.

And that is one of the two important points that need to be pointed out.

This newest state of Palestine will officially be created in a (permanent) state of war and conflict with Israel.

They are not interested in a peace treaty or arrangement with Israel. If they were, they’d have been able to get what they wanted at the negotiating table at any time.

The other important point to notice is that for all the talk of Dayton’s army.

This army’s loyalty to Fatahland actually remains a complete unknown. The only force preventing Hamas’s assumption of power in “Palestinian” Judea and Samaria is the IDF.

One question will be, what will our government do with our army once they declare their state?

The other will be, does Fatahland actually plan to declare a state knowing that they will completely lose political power to Hamas within a few months of the declaration?

It might be easy to say yes. But I am sure that the more politically astute among them know that declaring a state, and Israel pulling back even a little means the end of Fatahland.

Is the threat to unilaterally declare a state just a bluff?

Fatahland has everything to lose by declaring one.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Baruch Dayan HaEmet - Blessed is the True Judge.

This is the blessing said upon hearing the news of someone's death.

About 11:10 AM this morning (Friday), RivkA passed away.

Funeral plans are in the process, and we'll post them as soon as we know.

May RivkA's family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

http://coffeeandchemo.blogspot.com/
As we were preparing the Shabbos meal this morning, we had some questions.

What do non-Jews eat in their chicken soup if they don't have Matzoh balls and Kreplach?



And what do they put in their Chulent if they don't have Kishke?



Shabbat Shalom
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"This march is a provocative march," Hasan Sanallah of the Islamic Movement told CNN.
"This is a march for inciting violence.
They are coming here to show that the Arab minorities in Israel are barbaric, and we want to prove them the other way.
"



You guys are doing a wonderful job of proving that.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Quite hypocritically the state of Israel will grant defacto ownership over State land in Judea and Samaria, if an Arab manages to work the land for a few years without getting stopped. A Jew gets no such benefit.

If a Jew works state land for a few years, the state will generally recognize the produce and trees as belonging to the Jew, but unlike with an Arab, the land ownership will never get transferred over.

Right outside of the town of Elazar there is a lot of State land. Land that is untouched, undeveloped, and at risk.

Arabs regularly try to encroach on this land to begin farming, hoping that in a few years they will be able to claim it as theirs. The Leftists help them with this game.


Meanwhile, Jewish farmers are planting on land all around Elazar. Not for personal benefit. Not because they will get the land. But because this action simply blocks it from being handed over to the Arabs in a few years time.

Nadia Matar (among others) is leading a fight to protect this state land with the hope that in a few years time the state land will still remain state land and the town of Elazar will be able to expand onto it.

And this battle isn't just happening around Elazar, but around other towns as well.

And this farming project is definitely not simple.

The Arabs regularly come and rip up the plants, destroy the olive trees, destroy the water pipes, burn the fields, and steal whatever they can.

The leftists at the scene always call the police, instigate, and do whatever they can to try to help the Arabs steal the land, telling them to claim it is their private land.

But the Jewish farmers are smart. Each one comes armed with detailed maps showing that the land is state land. Once faced with irrefutable evidence the police and army always back down. Though the Arabs and Leftists still walk free.


Will the state destroy these Jewish farms? Perhaps, but the Jewish communities won't take it lying down. If the state destroys the Jewish farms exclusively, they plan to take action to force the government, whether it likes it or not, to do the same to the illegal Arab farms.

The question is, how far does the government want to go?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The news over the past few days has been about Israel requiring newly naturalized citizens to swear an oath accepting Israel as a "Jewish and Democratic state".

The oath has raised a tremendous amount of criticism from those on the political left.

Apparently there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about the term. We've put together this pop quiz to see what you know about Israel as a "Jewish and Democratic state".

We will be displaying the results (and supplying the right answers) in a few days.

Please respond only once as this isn't a poll to convince anyone that you have the majority on your side, it's a poll to see what everyone knows.



Get a Free Phone when you visit Israel!
Ask your travel agent for details, or click here to learn more.



Get a Free Phone when you visit Israel!
Ask your travel agent for details, or click here to learn more.


Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Ahmedijinidad (who cares how you spell it) is planning to visit Israel's border to throw stones at us.

For some reason I was thinking about those "what if" science fiction stories, where the question is asked, "WHAT IF... someone killed Hitler before he rose to power?" and similar scenarios.

After all, if this genocidal maniac is standing open and clear on our border, wouldn't you rather read 50 years from now a "What if" story that asked, "What if Ahmedijinidad wasn't shot on Israel's border after he called for the elimination of the Jewish state?" than the alternative?

Food for thought.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
תשע"א

5771

תהא שנת עושר - אמן

It should be a year of prosperity - Amen.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Insiders are saying that Bibi is going to extend the freeze 2 more months, starting very, very soon.

I hope they're wrong.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We were at Binyanei Hauma today, when we saw the strangest looking row of metal posts in the ground.

At first we thought they were to keep the cars from parking on the sidewalk (that makes sense in Israel), but at second glance we saw what looked like electrical sockets on them.



At closer inspection we saw that the poles were put there by "Better Places", Shai Agassi's electric car company.



These are recharging posts for electric cars (and there was no obvious pay system connected to it that we could see).

Now, as it happened, there were no electric cars parked in front of them, but the infrastructure is there, in case some did.

Interesting.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
J-Street is in the news. We've discussed Soros's connections to J-Street in the past, but now it's a big story.

J-Street denied the Soros connection. Now it's coming out that Soros and some Filipino woman (Consolacion Ediscul) in Hong Kong (of all places) are the 2 biggest donors to J-Street.

Hmmm.
Friday, September 17, 2010
G'mar Chatima Tova.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Founds these on sale in the supermarket the other day.





At those prices I just had to fill up the shopping cart.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Every year there is a religious battle in Israel. There shouldn’t be one anymore once the compromise was reached (and it was), but some people just can’t let go, just to score cheap points with their electorate in this populist war.

(And it is a religious battle, no matter what other claims and arguments are being sprung forward.)

I won’t deny that I like that Yom Kippur ends around 6 instead of after 7. While the fast may be the same 25 hours, we all count the hours when it ends from the time we wake up.


But changing the clock wreaks havoc. It’s easy enough for me to look at my watch and say “another hour, go back to sleep”, but go tell that to your kids who know what time it really is – and wake up (and stay up) accordingly.

And isn't that the worst?

And wouldn't it be nicer if the Chol Hamoed Sukkot day ended later so the day trips needn’t end in the dark.

Yet it’s nice that Shabbat and holidays starts earlier, while the kids are still awake.

And that brings us to Pesach.

Wouldn’t you rather the Seder started earlier, so the kids could stay awake “later” and enjoy it to the end?

But then, there are the Pesach day trips that would be affected negatively.

In short, changing the clock just messes everything up.

How about we compromise for one year and don't change the clocks at all.

That would be a twist in time.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Shana Tova to all my readers.

May this year bring us a true peace, geula, parnasa, and everything good for Am Yisrael.
Monday, September 06, 2010
Man arrested at Large Hadron Collider claims he's from the future

A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.

The LHC successfully collided particles at record force earlier this week, a milestone Mr Cole was attempting to disrupt by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment's vending machines. He also claimed responsibility for the infamous baguette sabotage in November last year.

Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his 'time machine power unit', a device that resembled a kitchen blender.

Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."

This isn't the first time time-travel has been blamed for mishaps at the LHC. Last year, the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya and Danish string-theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen put forward the hypothesis that the Higgs boson was so "abhorrent" that it somehow caused a ripple in time that prevented its own discovery.

Professor Brian Cox, a CERN physicist and full-time rock'n'roll TV scientist, was sympathetic to Mr Cole. "Bless him, he sounds harmless enough. At least he didn't mention bloody black holes."

Mr Cole was taken to a secure mental health facility in Geneva but later disappeared from his cell. Police are baffled, but not that bothered.

Sunday, September 05, 2010
1. Health funds (Kupot Cholim). I've praised Israeli health funds in the past, but I am going to revise and edit that opinion in a longer post sometime in the near future.

In the meantime I'll say that while Israeli HMOs are excellent for the day to day stuff, if someone get sick with something more serious than strep or an ear ache, there is a big difference between the HMOs, their capabilities, and their policies.

New Olim: Stay far, far away from the Maccabi Health Fund. Without a doubt this is the worse HMO in Israel. I can't emphasize that enough.

Which HMO instead? I'm not yet sure. My wife is in Clallit. She's happy, but she also knows how to push within the system to get what she needs (and she couldn't make any headway at all within Maccabi, which says a lot right there).

But I now think that every family should absolutely supplement their government required HMO policy with private insurance.

For years I had BUPA (from the UK). It was expensive, but over the years they refunded every claim I made.

I don't have any recent experience with them, so I can't specifically recommend them, but when evaluating different private insurance programs for Israel, I would certainly use them as the base line in terms of comparing coverage.


2. Rosh Hashana shopping. Over the years we discovered that on average Rami Levy generally has the best prices. Last year their prices went up a bit, but he seems to have found his calling again.

We've been hearing a lot about a place called "Osher Ad" (there's one on Beit Hadfus street in Jerusalem). It is supposed to have amazing prices.

So we went there to check it out. It's a large supermarket for Jerusalem. The aisles are extra wide. There's two or three times the length between the shelves and the checkout counters compared to regular Israeli supermarkets so you don't feel crowded in once your done.

They have a wide selection (wider than Rami Levy on many items). And everything is Mehadrin, which I prefer.

In terms of prices, the answer is not so straight forward.

Their prices on chicken's and meats seem to be a little higher. But they have a much wider selection of Mehadrin meats - including American-style cuts.

The main advantage is that they have numerous discounts when you buy items in volume.

Shopping is apparently geared to the Chareidi market with their large families. If you are feeding a family of 10, then no doubt Osher Ad, with all their volume discounts is going to come out cheaper. But if you are buying one of each for a smaller family, and not in bulk, I'm going to stick with Rami Levy which is closer, and I think cheaper.

But when I'm looking for those American-style cuts of meat, it's good to know you can pick up a (good) Mehadrin London Broil and Roast Beef at Osher Ad.
Monday, August 30, 2010
I'm wondering why anyone besides Obama (and perhaps Ehud Barak) needs peace talks?

Right now the IDF is keeping the Palestinians terrorists subdued. Fatah is terrified of Hamas taking over and is keeping them mostly controlled in Judea and Samaria. Gaza is a lost cause, but as long as they don't shoot too much at us, no one is going to bother with them. Everyone is shopping together in Rami Levies everywhere. Everyone is doing their own thing. Settlers are going to start building again soon, and Arabs will once again have lots of work.

I haven't thought this through yet very deeply, but the idea has been in the back of my mind for months now. I figure I might as well present this and see where it goes.

What do we gain from a Peace Treaty?

The Golan Heights is our quietest border and we don't have a treaty with Syria (or need one). Lebanon is an internal (eternal) mess, and a treaty with Syria wouldn't change anything for us there (Hezbollah works for Iran after all).

Perhaps things will reach a boiling point with the PA in a few years, so issues need to be resolved now? Or perhaps, issues will be resolved over time, so why force them now to the forefront?

Even look at the Arab villages. Without the Foreign and Leftist instigators, they're much quieter. I think a concerted effort to expel the ISMer would do more for peace than anything else.

On the other hand, there is that pesky election issue (or lack of election issue) in the PA. How long can they go without elections, and without a legal leadership? And what happens when they finally have elections and Hamas wins again?

So, who exactly are we negotiating with and why? Maybe we should hold off everything until the PA have elections and we see who wins?

Does it really make sense to give away more land and resource only to see them taken over by one terrorist group (Hamas) or another (Fatah)?

And since the PA won't stop attacking Israel in different arenas despite peace talks or a peace treaty, what do we actually gain?

Would a peace treaty derail their attempts to overwrite the State of Israel? I don't think they could ever go far enough to call for an end of the conflict - with all that means - so a peace treaty isn't even possible, and possibly only pushes us closer to a war.

The only gain on Israel's side are brownie points with the local media.

Anyway. It's an initial thought. An idea that I think needs to be explored and developed.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I'm reposting this amazing story from A7.

Dozens Stranded on Highway Before Shabbat Are Hosted in Adam
by Eli Stutz


This Shabbat, dozens of Jewish families were stranded in a traffic jam as Shabbat came in and were hosted in the town of Adam (Geva Binyamin).

The traffic jam was caused by an accident between an Israeli and Palestinian car between the Hizme and Adam junctions, northeast of Jerusalem. Several Jews and Arabs were injured in the accident, which occurred at 6 PM on Friday evening, and police forces arrived on the scene soon afterwards.

By 7 PM, when Shabbat was coming in, traffic was at a near standstill, catching many drivers on their way home before sundown. As driving on the Shabbat is forbidden by Torah law, many Jewish drivers parked their cars on the side of the road, took their belongings, and walked, some of them more than a kilometer, until they reached the Jewish town of Adam. Some even continued to the towns of Pesagot and Kochav Yaakov, which are several kilometers further down the road.

The first small groups arrived on foot as the Jews of Adam were beginning their Friday night prayers in the synagogue. "There was a giant traffic jam on the road," said the walkers, breathless. "The sun was setting. We realized we weren't going to make it," they explained, setting down their backpacks and belongings.

The word spread like wildfire. Once the townspeople understood the situation, they mobilized immediately, sending several runners to help the stragglers enter the town, alerting the security apparatus, and quickly allocating stranded families to the Adam residents for Shabbat meals and places to sleep.

Michael, from the town of Maaleh Michmash, and his 14-year-old daughter were among those stranded.

"We were coming back from Jerusalem quite late but we thought we had plenty of time to make it back home," Michael explained to Israel National News, "but suddenly we found ourselves in this huge traffic jam, and at some point it became clear that we were going to have to get out and walk." Michael parked his car on the side of the road, and along with another group of ten Jews, walked with his daughter along the margin until he reached the town on foot.

Not one family was left without a host, meals, or a house in which to lodge. "It was wonderful," said Michael. "the people of Adam were so hospitable. Even though the experience of being stuck on the road was totally new to me, and quite surreal, our hosts soon made us feel right at home."

One of the parked vehicles was reportedly stolen on Friday night. Later that night, police forces towed the rest of the 11 cars into the town of Adam, to prevent further vandalism, theft, or safety risks. According to another report, Druse residents of the town of Adam helped in the towing effort.

Most of the stranded managed to call their families before Shabbat came in, to notify them that they were okay and to prevent unnecessary worry. Adam security officers notified the security teams of other towns, for those who were not able to get the word out in time, to prevent unnecessary searches.

"This was a truly beautiful experience," said one of the Adam hosts. "On the one hand, you have Jews who refused to break the Shabbat and got out and walked, and on the other, you have a great case of 'hachnasat orchim', the Jewish mitzvah of hospitality. It was amazing to watch."
(IsraelNationalNews.com)
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Busy preparing for Shabbat, so not much time to write.

We made chicken soup, Chinese chicken, rice, and a sweet potato dish in the oven.

Smells good.

Can't wait to eat it all.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
There have been a lot of spectacular failures for the allies and successes for the bad guys leading up to upcoming Russian fueling of the Bushehr reactor in Iran.

Once this reactor goes online, there is no bombing it and no stopping it anymore.

Now this doesn't mean that Iran have a finished nuclear weapon by Rosh Hashana, but what it does mean is that Iran will have a guaranteed unrestricted path to creating nuclear weapons at will, even if Israel bombs its other related locations.

I personally will be very surprised if Israel bombs it.

We're going to see some serious strategic restructuring in the Middle East as Iran flexes its new muscles.

5791 will prove to be a very "interesting" year.

But I just wonder how this weekend will pass.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Last week we visited the Israel Museum. They’re rebranding it as the Renewed Israel Museum because of all the changes made to it, both in terms of physical structure and content. It's not quite finished yet, but its getting there.

Overall, I give it two thumbs up.


I like the new layout. I like the tunnel. I like the Judaica and Archeology sections. The Second Temple Model (formerly at the Holy Land Hotel) was great (could use more shade though). And the Shrine of the Book (along with its Aleppo Codex exhibit) is always fascinating.

I think they made the museum less crowded with fewer individual pieces of art and history on display, but they chose the more interesting pieces and organized them better. It’s certainly roomier than I remember.

The (dairy) restaurants were good. No meat restaurants though.

I couldn’t stand their Modern Art exhibits.


I have no patience for what they want to call Modern Art. It’s idiotic. Feel free to disagree, but a mobile of hanging musical instruments, or videos of what could just as easily be fillers on MTV or PBS just doesn’t do it for me.

My kids couldn't stop laughing at the "Modern Art" videos - and that alone tells you the level that stuff is at.


Point of information: Guards do not appreciate it when children try to play the hanging instruments.

What I did like about the Modern Art section is they finally took out that super-annoying audio recording of the guy screaming “Shabbos”. I found it so offensive and annoying to hear that any time you walked near that section.

The classical arts section was fine.

Point of information: Guards do not appreciate it when children are holding cups of water in their hands in this section.

In the archeology section, I kept the kids busy by having them look for the dead bodies. They found them.

Point of information: Guards do not appreciate it when children try to look inside the ossuaries.


If you haven't realized it yet, if you’re going with kids, make sure the Renewed Israel Museum is having activities in the youth wing that day. My kids spent hours there doing art projects. During the summer they also have kid’s art projects outside on certain days.

Overall, well worth the visit - especially with kids. My kids were fascinated with every room we visited, and we hung up the paintings they made on our walls at home.
Friday, August 13, 2010
It's Friday, so let's discuss the wall.

On Sunday the IDF is going to tear down a Security Wall.

No, not the wall that's approaching my house, or the wall that prevents Palestinian Suicide Bombers from entering Jerusalem.

They are tearing down the wall in Gilo that stands between Gilo and Beit Jala.

The wall was put up 8 years ago, when the Arabs of Beit Jala decided to not so randomly start shooting at Jewish residents of Gilo. These shooting resulted in injuries, death, shock, property damage, and the simple fact that people were afraid to go out into a main city street for fear of being hit by a Palestinian sniper.

Over the years, the Gilo wall has been painted with scenery, children's drawings, and other very nice murals.

The IDF thinks that the situation in Beit Jala is currently calm enough to return the view to the residents of Gilo.

If not, they can always rebuild the wall again.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
There you have it. P!=NP.

In cryptology class, one of the first problems discussed is, is P=NP (or P!=NP).

What it means in English is, can a difficult equation that can be verified by a computer in short period of time, also be solved by a computer in a short period of time.
In real world terms for example, one question this problem is asking is, can an encrypted message that can be verified as accurate, also be cracked in a short time.

The answer to this is important. If P=NP then eventually we will be able to find quick solutions to any encrypted message - and many of our current encryption methods would need to be replaced.

If the answer is no, then it is possible to create ciphers, such that deciphering them is guaranteed to take a very, very long time.

Consider a jigsaw puzzle. You can look at it and quickly see that it is solved. But it takes time to actually solve it. But need that be so (metaphorically speaking)?


There are of course other applications to this problem.

The P vs NP problem is considered so difficult that it is one of seven problems that the Clay Mathematics Institute is giving away $1,000,000 to solve.

Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratory researcher Vinay Deolalikar in India (hence the Taj Mahal above) is claiming to have solved the P=NP problem in a 100 page document.

He says P!=NP.

The document is currently undergoing peer review.

You can download it here (PDF) and look for mistakes.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
There’s an idea (and even detailed plans) floating around the Right lately, in some very serious circles, and that is that Israel should accept and push for a “one state solution”.

I’ll admit, certainly if you keep the Palestinian state of Hamastan (Gaza) out of the picture, it does have some points of merit.

Israel still remains a Jewish democratic state because we’re still the majority, and probably will continue to be so (and even with Gaza we still would have a Jewish majority). Israel annexes the whole of Judea and Samaria and gradually and carefully naturalizes the Arab population. It certainly diffuses the absurd claims that the Palestinians don’t have democratic representation (though I will admit that since the PA hasn’t had elections for a while, and the term of their Prime Minister expired over a year ago, there is something to that claim, but they’re just blaming the wrong people for that problem). The US trained PA military can be incorporated into the Police, where they’ll get along fine. And finally, everyone can live and build where they want (I can just see Tel Aviv getting flooded with West Bankers, and I would certainly start my expansion). Jerusalem wouldn’t need to be divided according to anybody, and the path of the light rail wouldn’t need to be changed. And finally, we can tear down that ugly wall heading towards the middle of my house.

After all, if we can all shop and work in Rami Levi together, a single state isn't such a impossible idea.

But unfortunately this idea is seriously flawed.

The superficial flaws include that the “Palestinian Right of Return” is not resolved in a way they want, which includes flooding Israel with “refugees” 3 or 4 generations on. Second, even though the Arabs keep threatening a one-state solution, their leadership doesn’t want it, except as a Trojan horse to destroy the Israeli state; and if it won’t destroy the state of Israel, then what’s the point? Third, the serious Leftists in Israel are a bunch of patronizing racists, and wouldn’t want to be neighbors with the same people they look down on and want to see “over there” and not “over here” (not just the Settlers, but Arabs too). Fourth, this solution doesn’t hurt the religious or the Settlers, so the Leftists won’t like it. Five, it doesn’t solve the problem of lost property of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Six, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are getting pretty tight in Judea and Samaria from what I see, and they’ll never stand for it quietly. And so on…

But honestly, all those are superficial reasons.

The real reason this idea, or any other won’t work, is because it calls for an end to the conflict, and the Arab leadership just doesn’t want that. If they really wanted it, then everything could have been resolved a long time ago (not to my liking of course), but it hasn't. And it won't.

So this plan, just like all the Lefty plans is just another pipe dream that ignores the realities of who we have as neighbors, and that the problem calls for more creative solutions, perhaps solutions that people dismiss and call crazy, though they're no crazier than the same idiotic idea we've repeatedly tried over and over, and that have failed every single time.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Will Ehud Barak go down in history as a(nother) Jewish leader who destroyed a Yeshiva and Synagogue?

It would appear that Barak is on that road to self-destruction.

(I guess its better in his eyes, than going down in history as as the guy who always runs away).
Thursday, July 29, 2010
One of the cornerstones of Israeli law and society is the Law of Return. This is a law that is deeply grounded in the ethos of Israeli citizens.

The law enacted in 1950 gives Jews or anyone with a Jewish spouse or Jewish ancestor the right to move to Israel and acquire citizenship.


The law is not based on who is actually Jewish, but rather based on whoever would have been persecuted under the Nuremberg Laws.

In the 70’s, the question started to came up as to who is a Jew, and the law was amended to exclude people who converted to another religion (even though Judaism would still consider them Jewish – just failed Jews).


But that didn’t resolve the underlying question, and during the large scale immigration from the former USSR, many people moved to Israel who had only the most tenuous connection to the Jewish people, and that has caused some of the problems that the Rotem bill (which the Reform movement has tried to kill) was trying to fix.


The Law of Return, as it was originally formulated, was meant to be the legal framework for the state to facilitate the "Ingathering of the Exiles".

It was also supposed to be a response to the Nazis, to the British, and to whomever else banned the entry of Jews into their country when seeking refugee (including even into the Land of Israel) due to their Jewish ancestry (regardless if they were actually Jewish, or thought themselves such).

And that’s the problem.

This law is a combination of a refugee law and a citizenship law. In 1950 they didn’t understand that, because they were dealing with a set of different realities. But today, we are dealing with issues they probably didn’t foresee.

While there are calls from the Post-Zionists (and other Lefty groups) to abolish the Law of Return as they believe it prevents them from causing Israel to lose the “Jewish” in “Jewish Democratic”, those people have removed themselves from the national consensus.


I personally think the Law of Return needs to be amended and split in two (or three).

1. The actual “Law of Return” should state that citizenship can be granted to any Jew - as defined by Halacha.

 2. There should be a second “Law of Refuge” that states that anyone persecuted for their ancestral or familial relationship to Judaism (based on the Nuremberg Laws definition) may be granted refugee and residential status in Israel, but not automatic citizenship.

3. There possibly may be an additional category needed for existing nuclear family units, such as a spouse or children under 18, but not automatic citizenship. Not because we should accept these intermarried situations, but because it recognizes that this unfortunate, preexisting condition already exists.


Does this create a second class citizen in Israel?

No less than a Green Card does to a holder in the US.

In fact, we can call these refugees Yellow Card holders (providing the connection to the Nuremberg Laws).

And a Yellow Card holder could even get priority status in the process of converting properly in a recognized court and gaining full citizenship.

The Rotem Law could assist those refugees who wish to become Jews and gain full citizenship.

 If Israel is to remain a Jewish and Democratic state, then it needs to differentiate between those who have the right as Jews to become automatic citizens, while maintaining the moral ethos to provide refugee for those persecuted for their connection to Jews, while simultaneously providing an entry path into the Jewish nation – that is acceptable to all member of the Jewish people.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I know B'tselem published this video thinking it would make the IDF officer look bad, but finally we see an officer who knows what his job is, and isn't afraid to stand up to enemies of Israel.

Most of the Jewish commenters on YouTube clearly think this officer is great too.

Monday, July 19, 2010
This post was written by an anonymous member of the Muqata Think-Tank with some assistance from the rest of us. The author felt it is an important issue to discuss.

The link to the actual bill that the brouhaha is based on is here: http://www.knesset.gov.il/Laws/Data/BillKnesset/342/342.pdf

There are specific minor modifications to the proposal that we don't have available online at the moment, that are referenced in the post. (Thank you to Rabbi/Dr. Jeffrey Woolf and Yisrael Medad for those documents).



The Rotem Conversion Bill, an important bill, which should have been passed without any problem, has instead has become a political knife that is being used to promote various agendas and attack various people.

Unfortunately, certain people and organizations with very specific religious and political agendas are disingenuously trying to manufacture a storm by upsetting US Jewry with an issue that (a) doesn't affect them, and (b) might actually be better for them - if they moved to Israel and needed to deal with a conversion issue.

The bill was created to resolve some very specific internal Israeli issues – bureaucratic, political, and religious.

As Israel is a Jewish state, issues of Jewish law are important and central to a functioning society, as they are part of our legal system and they also prevent a permanent schism in the nation.

This law is a domestically-applied procedural law that shifts control and certification of who may perform recognized conversions in Israel – and only in Israel.

It does not change the status quo that Israel recognizes non-Orthodox conversions in the Diaspora for the purpose of the Right of Return. It does not have any affect on American Jewry or for that matter have any connection to Diaspora Jewry.

In Israel, two groups are coupled in the conversion process (1) The (State’s) Office of the Chief Rabbinate, and (2) the Religious Courts - the official religious court system in Israel.

The problem arose that due to Israeli domestic politics, the Religious Courts have become mostly populated with Ultra-Orthodox (Chareidi) judges, as opposed to “religious-Zionist” (Orthodox) judges and Rabbis, who better represent the country’s religious needs and character.

Consequently recently there have been cases where the Chareidi-controlled Religious Courts attempted to annul, retroactively annul, or not accept the conversion of some non-Chareidi Rabbis (a halachically questionable act in of itself), and have made it difficult, if not impossible for the non-Chareidi Rabbis to perform conversions if they don’t base it on the various criteria set by the Ultra-Orthodox (a combination of religious philosophy, and strict interpretation and application of certain safeguards - Chumrot - built into halacha).


This bill proposes to decentralize the conversion process and remove direct oversight and control from the Religious Courts, while decentralizing and localizing the process down to the community level.

It places the conversion process into the hands of Chief Rabbinate-appointed community leaders - the officially appointed and recognized local Rabbi of Israel’s towns and cities.

These Rabbis will be trained and certified in Conversion law, and will create special local courts trained and certified to handle conversions at the local level.

These local conversions will automatically be recognized by the Chief Rabbinate, the official Rabbinate of the State of Israel, and thus the State of Israel for all relevant matters.

The concept is that local Rabbis are more likely to know and have a relationship with the potential convert living in their community - perhaps even being involved with the conversion studies of the applicant, than a Chareidi Religious Court’s Rabbi in Jerusalem, and will hence be in a better position to assist the potential convert in the Conversion process, as well as better equipped to decide if a potential convert should or should not be accepted into the Jewish nation - it is not, nor should it be an automatic process.

Furthermore, the bill does not limit the certified Rabbis and Courts to their own community members. If any Israeli citizen, permanent resident (similar to a US Green Card holder), and according to one version of the bill, a foreign citizen who gives explicit permission, wants to go to a specific community’s authorized Rabbi and Court for conversion, they will be allowed to.

This decentralization bill should actually make it easier and perhaps faster for more people to convert. It will be particularly helpful to segments of Israel’s large Russian population who are not Jewish, but want to officially join the Jewish nation.

The law also creates a special Conversion Oversight/Appeals Court whose sole responsibility is to oversee and decide on questionable or problematic cases of the local Rabbis, should any such problems arise. It specifically requires that the Oversight/Appeals court make all decisions within 30 days, so that no case will drag on for months or even years – a problem that can exist today.

This is a reform (not Reform) bill that should help improve, smoothen and perhaps even speed up the conversion process in Israel.

The opposition to the bill is coming from two quarters.

The bill was introduced by the Yisrael Beiteinu party. This party primarily represents the secular, Russian, Zionist population in Israel. They would be among the primary beneficiaries of this bill. The bill happened to have been introduced by a religious member of the party, with full support and backing of his party.

On the political side, in the Knesset, a number of MKs and parties want Yisrael Beiteinu out of the coalition or at least knocked down a few notches. This currently includes Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud party who are seriously fighting with their coalition partner over a number of issues. Other parties outside the coalition are involved too, as they want the current coalition government to collapse, which it could as a result.

Furthermore, this bill is a two-prong bill. The second part that Yisrael Beiteinu is working on is a Civil Marriage bill for those who cannot marry under Jewish law. If the first bill falls, the second will certainly never be introduced or passed.

On the religious side, IRAC (an organization which receives funding from the NIF), the activist arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, is leading the fight. The Reform movement does not have much in the way of a significant number of constituents or followers in Israel, just a lot of money from various funds.

Just like the bill will prevent the Religious High Court from interfering with conversion, it will also make it harder for Israel's judicially activist secular Supreme Court to bypass the government, and overturn long-existing laws regarding conversion in Israel. A key project IRAC has been working on for years.

IRAC has been trying for a while to destroy the carefully balanced status quo, ensconced in law, not by convincing the public (which they’ve failed to do over the past 2 decades), but rather by attempting to bypass the government and the people, by going through the Supreme Court, which happens to share a similar world view to them on this matter.

So to reiterate, this bill is primarily being introduced to help resolve the issue of the many non-Jewish Russians in Israel who want to join the Jewish nation, generally ease the conversion process, and resolve the problem of potential intermarriage that could otherwise split the nation.

The bills opponents oppose it due to coalition politics, or because it blocks their attempts to destroy the religious status quo that would otherwise split our one nation in Israel apart.

The opponents are trying (in a very organized fashion) to obfuscate and inflame the discussion to promote very specific agendas (both religious and political) through hysterical polemics, half truths, and false insinuations.

But when it comes to facts on the ground, this is a very good bill that will help resolve some serious issues in Israel.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Jonathan Pollard has already spent more than 9000 days in prison. That's a punishment 10 years longer than that given to any other spy caught in the US spying for a friendly country.

In fact, the median sentence is 2-4 years. Jonathan Pollard has been kept in jail for 25 years.

25 years.

It's long enough

If Obama really wanted to boost his ratings in Israel, he would announce he was freeing Pollard immediately.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
There's on thing I'm sure of.

The freeze may officially be supposed to be over on September 26.

But on September 19, when the Obama opens up his daily briefing, he's going to see satellite photos of Israelis massively construction in Jewish neighborhoods all over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

(Will  Barak give orders to tear it all down?)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Received this update the other day:

Israel sends aid to burn victims in Congo

Following the fuel tanker explosion in the city of Sange, Congo, on July 2, in which more than 250 people were killed and almost 200 injured, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending aid to the disaster area through Israel's National Agency for International Cooperation (MASHAV). A delegation of six doctors from Sheba Medical Center, together with medical equipment, flew to the Democratic Republic of Congo to treat the seriously injured.

The doctors, all specialists in plastic surgery and burns, arrived this morning (12 July) and will be treating people with serious burn injuries in the towns of Sange and Uvira, located in eastern Congo, near the border with Burundi.

The team was sent in coordination with the Congolese authorities and with the blessing of President Joseph Kabila and the Congolese ministers of foreign affairs and health. A UN task force in the field (MUNISCO) came to the aid of the humanitarian mission and was instructed to facilitate the reception of the delegation and to ensure their security during their stay.
No surprising, Israel is the first foreign country to send doctors to treat the injured.

I would also add that many Arabs from Gaza (not to mention from other enemy states) come to Israel every day for advanced medical care in our local hospitals.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
The Gilad Shalit march took a political turn last week when they announced that the slogan would be "At any price". Subsequently Bnei Akiva pulled out  the march.

Unfortunately, the march is starting to look like a repeat of Vicky Knafo, or worse, "4 Mothers".

Vicky Knafo was a poor person from the South who decided to march to Jerusalem to protest her economic condition. Along the way, her march was taken over by left wing political activists who converted both her and her cause from a cry for help into a political tool which they abused and eventually threw away.

"4 Mothers" were a small group of leftwing activists that pushed the Ehud Barak government into running away (something he's good at) from Lebanon, which as a result ignited the next Intifada a few months later, the empowerment of Hezbollah over Southern Lebanon up to our border, and eventually the Second Lebanon War.

The first problem with the march is there is only one price the Shalit activists are talking about here - releasing terrorists. They are not talking about military actions, tightening sanctions on Gaza, bombing Gaza, or other activities like that. That is not the price they are referring to. They are exclusively talking about having major terrorist released, and releasing them in Judea and Samaria (not even Gaza). Terrorist with a recidivism rate of around 50% in terms of killing Jews once freed again.

The second problem is just as serious.

They are matching to Jerusalem, to the Prime Ministers house - not to Gaza (border).

The Shalit activists are trying to make the claim that the keys to Gilad Shalit's freedom are in the hands of the Israeli government and not in the hands of Hamas who are holding him captive and playing games with his life.

The Shalit activists are playing into the hands of Hamas who are enjoying the show as this turns into a political attack and pressure on the Israeli government.

The Shalit family has every right to personally demand whatever they want to get their son freed, but the country can not, and should not pay "any price" (as they define it) when that price guarantees more terror and many deaths as a result.


The Free Gilad campaign has been hijacked and is being used for political purposes - solely to the benefit of Hamas - not Israel and definitely not to the benefit of Gilad Shalit.

When the march redirects to Gaza, I'll change my mind.
Boycotts, as our enemies are finding out can be a double-edged sword.

Last week, Iran announced a boycott of Coca Cola, Nestle, IBM, and Intel because of their Zionist connections. I can supply them with a much longer list if they really need want to go back to the stone age.

The Canadian Boycott movement has backfired because of Buycott.

And now Turkey needs to decide if they want their economy tied to the first world or the Arab third.

You see, while percentage-wise Israelis weren't the largest group that went to Turkey for vacation, Israeli were the biggest spenders while on vacation in Turkey.

Turkey's annual take from Tourism is around $21 Billions dollars.

In 2008, over 500,000 Israelis visited Turkey.

In just a month's time Turkey, because of their anti-Israeli politics, has lost over $400 million dollars in revenue in just 1 month's time. You do the math.

Besides that it's good that Israelis are beginning to show some self-respect, it's time that the world starts to understand what it is they are giving up when they attack Israel.

Because that means no more Intel based computers, no more cures for various diseases, no more cherry tomatoes, no disks on key, and no more Jewish money that they are always complaining about.

Can you really imagine no Coke? That just so retro USSR.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Years ago when touring an IDF naval base someone in the group asked, “Why doesn’t Israel have an aircraft carrier? The senior officer giving the tour basically laughed at the guy’s question and said that Israel is one big aircraft carrier, so why would it need another one. (I bet they get that question a lot).

We all laughed at the time, but over the years, I’ve come to realize that this was a very serious and important question, and the answer given was simply wrong.

(As an aside, I just heard a related joke. An Israeli helicopter pilot flying over the sea had to crash land. He spotted a US aircraft carrier and quickly landed his crippled chopper on the deck. The Captain ran down to the deck screaming at him for landing without permission. The Israeli pilot responded, “Sorry, I thought it was one of ours.”)

Politically, the State of Israel is not into empire building. It’s not into the expansion or extension of power or influence, and let’s not even talk about power projection. Israel’s political worldview has traditionally been inward, about looking not much beyond its immediate borders (with a few notable exceptions), and looking outwards only to the extent of maintaining a defensive posture and relationship (FM Lieberman is actually trying to change that a bit).

In the military arena, Israel has excused itself from the international playing field. There are arguments both ways why this is good or bad. But outside of joint training exercises (mostly) in the Mediterranean basin, Israel is simply absent.

This is obviously not true in terms of global assistance (think Haiti, agriculture, water resources, etc.), where Israel is the undisputed world leader (and has shown surprisingly incredible logistical capabilities) but as a military or political power Israel has purposefully kept to its shell.

I am not suggesting that Israel start becoming an aggressive global player, sending forces to UN trouble spots, or getting ourselves involved in other people’s civil wars.

(At this point you could comment on Israeli military sales and training – in which we are among the world leaders, but that is a different type of involvement).

But I am suggesting that this kind of thinking has detrimentally affected our deterrent and military capabilities, by having us look at our situation from only one direction.

While Israel has subs (who knows where and capable of doing who knows what), what Israel does not have are reliable, always available forward airbases from which to carry out major (non-second strike) remote operations – such as what’s needed against Iran.

Aircraft carriers (even little ones) are not cheap things. They require a lot of defense and support vessels as well as supporting infrastructure and friendly foreign ports. They’re juicy targets, and a major expense that perhaps the State of Israel could not (or can not) afford. But they are one way a military can extend its arm.

And it’s unlikely that we’ll find many friends in the region willing to let us set up forward IAF bases on their territory (but that could eventually change if we were to start supporting Kurd rights in the region).

On the other hand, we see our situation right now.

America is essentially blocking any action we might want to take against Iran by air. Turkey is now blocking all IAF air traffic. Our targets in Iran are very far off and we'd have to go over a lot of enemy territory to get there, significantly increasing the risk of any long-range operation.

Israel is simply finding its access routes to its desired targets blocked, which means we have minimal effective force projection against Iran.

Now it might simply be politically or fiscally impossible for Israel to maintain an aircraft carrier or a remote airfield. And if that’s the case, then that should have been the answer the officer gave. And those are at least acceptable answers (that need to be worked on).

But to dismiss the question as a joke, indicates to me that (at least back then) our military and political thinkers unquestionably relied on the US to provide us the support we would need (something we repeatedly see has not been the best of ideas), but more importantly, their primary thinking was limited to immediate border issues and not how to deal with larger regional or global threats.

Having said all that, I do think that a typical (even small) aircraft carrier couldn’t work for Israel for the reasons I said above.

But that doesn't leave us stuck. Not at all.

That’s what is so interesting about Israel. Our navy vessels employ some of the most unique defensive and offensive home grown weaponry and systems on board. Ships that should be nothing more than Coast Guard vessels are capable of real naval warfare. That’s the result of out-of-the-box thinking.

I can see an Israeli aircraft carrier following that same train of thought.

Imagine small, fast vessels with multiple (armed) UAV/RPV launching capabilities. Instead of an on-deck runway for landings, it could carry a very long inflatable runway which it would deploy only on demand. Perhaps even a UAV designed to be launched from a (modified) submarine, which would provide even more safety to the remote pilot’s vessel.

With a solution like that, Israel would be able to project a reasonable level of remote air power, without the expense and risk of an aircraft carrier. It would be able to carry out remote air missions from multiple directions. It wouldn’t find itself locked out of the battlefield. It could quickly launch multiple sorties against remote enemy targets.

Israel has recently sent a few warships through the Suez these past few months. Imagine if they actually had these capabilities.


I think it’s an interesting concept.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Obama seems to have a thing for Islamic dictators and terrorists.

How else could you explain why Obama has been pushing platforms that strengthen and legitimize Hamas, while one of his senior advisors recommends talking to Hezbollah’s political wing, and his notably understated and belated reaction to the fraudulent Iranian elections and subsequent crackdown on innocent civilians (not to mention his later statements recognizing the legitimacy of the Iranian government).

Meanwhile, Turkey saw that Obama was not only mistreating and insulting America’s closest allies (Britain, Israel, etc.), but was simply becoming an unreliable and weak ally for Turkey, which hence left Turkey no choice but to run full speed into Iran’s open arms.

And here we are, once again, Obama has blown it in the international arena.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, not the strongest of political figures, has been seriously wavering ever since Obama took office. Karzai first took over after the Taliban lost control in 2001. His loyalty to the US has always been wavered and depended on the perceived support he’s gotten from US and any particular time (which hasn’t been exactly steady over the years either).

But the US believes there is no one else to replace him with, so they helped keep him in power.

His recent reelection was questionable (to say the least). His ethics are questionable (but no more so than many other US Middle Eastern allies). His loyalty is weak. But he maintained Afghanistan as a US ally for as long as his hands were being gently held, and he felt that the strength of the US was behind him.

But what seems to have pushed Karzai over the edge was Obama’s public rebuke of him in March regarding the elections (something Obama couldn’t be bothered to do with the Iranian elections – after all, Karzai was an ally, Ahmadinjad isn’t).

So Karzai responded to the rebuke by inviting Iranian President Ahmadinjad over to Afghanistan, to give an anti-American speech.

Obama reacted by flying over for a surprise visit and dinner.

Now as readers of JoeSettler already know, the only thing that kept Karzai from going completely over to the other side has been General McChrystal,

With the firing of McChrystal, and perhaps more importantly, with the public reiteration that US troops will be out of Afghanistan by July 2011 by his replacement General Patraeus (and by Obama), Karzai has determined that the US is no longer a reliable ally and certainly won’t be around for the long haul to protect his regime.

So as a result he has made serious overtures to the Taliban. The same Taliban that he replaced in 2001. The same Taliban that the US is fighting and trying to defeat (with one hand tied behind its back - sound familiar?). The same Taliban that had Al Qaeda links.

Karzai has officially offered the Taliban to essentially join his government via a power-sharing arrangement.

And why shouldn’t he?

The Taliban don’t think much of General Patraeus. Obama (see the JoeSettler post mentioned above) doesn’t think much of Patraeus. Biden doesn’t think much of Patraeus. (Despite Patraeus successfully architecting the Iraqi Surge). Under Bush they didn't like him at all.

So apparently Karzai doesn’t think too much of US reliability, nor the message the US is sending him by replacing McChrystal with Patraeus (despite his actually being a very good general)

He sees the one person in the US military who he feels he can trust (and who kept him in line) unceremoniously kicked out. 

And the US has made it clear they are abandoning (exiting) Afghanistan by July 2011.

Perhaps this is just another strong message to Obama by Karzai (as the CIA is wishfully saying), but more likely this is an actual attempt at realignment. After all, without the US, does Karzai actually have any other options?

What this means is that the US is losing another front in the war on terror.

The head of “Im Tirtzu” made an interesting observation. His organization kept fighting against the political/media attacks by an ever increasing number of organizations: Machsom Watch, Yesh Gvul, Gisha, etc. There seemed to be no end to the number of organizations that kept popping up.

After some investigation he discovered that they all received funding and assistance from the New Israel Fund. It appeared that all these little groups were just tentacles of the NIF octopus head. He uncovered some other interesting doodads which I’ll save for another post.

Out in the wider world, Iran is like the NIF octopus head, financing terror around the world.

Obama has a chance to redeem himself and his presidency - if he acts against the octopus head in Iran. But alas, even with moving more ships into the Gulf, it seems his heart isn’t into it, and the only way he may act, is if he is forced to react – just like he was forced to go to dinner with Karzai.

Some have tried to explain the recent waning of American power and influence, not as a result of a weakening America, but resulting from a strengthening of other countries around the world.

But I disagree. We are witnessing the weakening of America as a direct result of the statements, actions and inactions of Obama and his administration.

One question is, how irreparable and irreversible is the damage he is causing to the US?

But before that can be answered, a more worrisome questions is, what country will Obama lose next?
Friday, June 25, 2010
Hamas has now been holding Gilad Shalit for 4 years.

4 years without visitors.

4 years without communications

4 years without human rights.

The power to release him is in the hands of Hamas (and not Bibi's as some claim).

But it is in the power of the world to maintain and increase pressure on Hamas to release him.

Unfortunately, the world has not chosen that path. Instead the world has chosen the path of Antisemitism, appeasement, and false values.

I do not want to be writing this post next year.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The whole McChrystal-Obama thing is very interesting on so many levels, I can't even begin to touch on most of them there are so many.

I read the Rolling Stone article. I read an interview with the author of the article.

The impression I got out of it is that many if not most of the “best” quotes came from when McChrystal and his friends were out plastered in a bar.

Regardless of when/how it was gotten, it’s clear that many in top military leadership positions don’t think much of Obama.

It’s also clear that Obama doesn’t think much of his military men.

He and Biden certainly didn’t think much of General Petraeus before they came into White House power when Obama publicly lambasted him in typical Obama fashion - telling him he did a great job while simultaneously telling him he (and everyone else) failed.  Biden also didn't think to highly of Petraeus either.

But now Obama has appointed General Patraeus to replace McChrystal, also leaving a hole in the job Patraeus was previously doing, but more importantly, giving Patraeus the same mission that Obama had called a failure just a few years before (when Bush was president).

Everyone seems to be intent on building intentions onto the article. The leftwing Rolling Stone wanted to attack the war in Afghanistan. McChrystal didn’t have confidence in the White House to properly support them, or in the new Rules of Engagement his soldiers had to follow and political suicide was the only way he saw to get the problems the attention they needed.

What’s interesting is that it was the Petraeus-McChrystal partnership that came up with and implemented the successful surge in Iraq. And with McChrystal’s resignation/dismissal it isn’t clear that half a team will be successful this time in Afghanistan.

McChrystal is the kind of general that soldiers like. The kind that goes out into the field and fights alongside his men. A true leader. He also is not a political animal, which worked to his detriment, but you don’t find the two mixing that often.

Conclusions? How is this related to Israel?

Perhaps another time.
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