Eretz Yisrael Time

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Thursday, June 28, 2007
I received the following in the mail with a significant comment that someone attached to it.

At first glance this is very important flyer and protest. But now, take a second and think why this goes beyond insulting.
If you didn’t catch it, then let me explain.

The catch phrase is “Show the world we have not forgotten and will not forget them”

One little problem.

Off hand, I can think of 5 other kidnapped Israeli soldiers that appear to have been forgotten by the organizers.

So what does this mean?

We only won’t forget the last batch? The others are less important? Less interesting? When Hamas or Hizbollah kidnap the next soldiers, do these current guys get forgotten for who ever is newer and more “in”? Do we not care about the rest anymore?

Did we simply forget them?

I'm sure they had good intentions, but it’s a shame when the leadership of such large (I don’t know if they are important) organizations screw up so seriously.

You can voice your displeasure to them at: and

(Oh, and what about Jonathan Pollard?)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
In my mother’s shul there is a lady there who loves to sing the davening. My mother says she has a beautiful voice, and my mother sits relatively close to her so she can hear and enjoy her davening. To quote my mother, “listening to her makes my davening special and meaningful”.

Last Shabbat a visitor came to the shul, and at some point (though unclear to me when) he respectfully asked her not to sing so loud because it was affecting his kavanah.

The above is not the point of this post, so do not comment on it.

I’m writing about Eliyahu Faizkov, apparently a 20-year old falsetto of the Chareidi persuasion.

Now I’ve never heard the kid sing, so I can’t comment on his voice or capabilities, but he is causing quite a stir in the Chareidi community. His songs were played on the radio. He’s becoming a hit – though his own mother didn’t know that was he and his songs on the air that she was listening to.

Of course, “was” is the key word here because Eliyahu is a radio star no more.

It seems listeners have been getting confused when his voice stirred up something in them and demanded he be taken off the air – he sings like a (shhhhh) girl (which I assume is a step up from hitting like a girl).

Personally, I can’t stand the children’s choirs and backgrounds – a cheap imitation of the female voice (hate the accents too). But I guess for some it works. Though it didn't help us in Eurovision 2 years ago either.

Anyway, this seems kind of unfair.

Would you call the problem “Maaris Ozen”?
"There are Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics."

There are statistics that the public are constantly exposed to that are never held up to serious scrutiny or examination. They are held up at face value, and “defended to the death” by those who have a political interest in those numbers.

The most common “fact” cited is that 10% of the population is gay (or predisposed to it, or whatever). Total nonsense, but I expect the comments will rage here for even suggesting that this number is a complete piece of fiction.

And of course there is questioning Global Warming and how much is actually caused by humans and how much is part of the natural process of this planet. Bring out the skewers.

And more closer to home is there is an issue raging regarding Agunot - women whose recalcitrant husbands won’t give them a Get (Jewish divorce document).

They claim that the (evil) rabbinate is keeping thousands of women agunot and not finding them solutions.

First of all, I won’t minimize how lousy this situation is for someone who is trapped like that.

I know, because a good friend of mine falls into this category, but I doubt you will hear of any women’s groups coming to fight for this case.

You see, my friend is the husband, and his wife refuses to accept a Get for some 2 years now – simply by playing with the procedures and rules of the (civil) courts. (I won’t mention the visitation rights and money games she plays with him).

In response to claims by different groups attacking the Rabbanut, the Rabbanute actually went and counted all the cases before them that have been open for more than 2 years.

A wide enough definition of an Agunah for this arguments sake.

They counted 942 (not thousands of) open cases.

(Unfortunately the A7 article is a bit fuzzy on a few matters, but I will try to make sense of it.)

However, before you begin to say there are 942 chained women at the hands of the Rabbanute it would be best to first hear the breakdown.

(Either of 370 random cases checked, or from a total of 942 – this is where the A7 article begins to break down…)

Of those cases, 190 of them are where the women absolutely refuse to accept the Get from the husband. Only 180 of them are where the husband absolutely refuses to give the wife the Get.

The Rabbanute says that from the 180 women, only 69 have acquired the official Agunah status (see the Rabbanute site in Hebrew for the definition) the rest are in the status of husbands who have refused to divorce them (the difference seems to be that an in the case of an Agunah the location of the husband is unknown or unreachable).

So either the other ~500 are still in extended negotiations as one tries to extort the other, or the ratio above (190 chained men:180 chained women) can logically be extended with a good degree of confidence to the other 60% of the cases.

To put this further into perspective here are more stats. In the years 2005-2006 some 19,000 people got divorced (via the Rabbanute).

In 2006 the Rabbanute closed 76 Agunot cases from all around the world (24 the year before, and 13 so far this year) – remember only 69 remain.

Either way, while the situation is very bad for the person in it (male or female), the attempt to paint the Rabbanute as the epitome of evil when it comes to Agunot is a bit of an exaggeration and based more on politics than facts.

So am I letting the Rabbanute off easy?

I am sure they can do more. It is awful for the husband or wife who is trapped and extorted by their spouse (and surprisingly or not, I know far more men than women that are being extorted for things such as money and child visitation rights).

But now having (and knowing) accurate statistics on the subject it can perhaps stop being a political baseball bat to be swung at the Rabbis and instead the statistics can be used as a tool to help measure and ensure maximum results wherever possible.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
From the JP:

MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) proposed on Tuesday that Knesset members be prohibited from wearing any clothes made from animal skin (leather or fur) while at work on the Knesset premises.

Presumably this will include belts and shoes. Makes you wonder what's going to hold their pants up while they walk barefooted down the corridor.

Of course, it may extend to leather yamulkas and even T'fillin.

What exactly is he thinking?

Monday, June 25, 2007
I had a post over at Muqata, but Jameel asked to take it down after he was getting some unpleasant letters off line about it from some of his regular readers who don’t want to hear controversial facts that strongly go against their predisposed belief system.

As Jameel likes to keep his environment friendly to all I will respect his wishes.

So I will post about it here.

The subject is the Arab Land Grab.

You see there is a Yishuv called Efrat which is made up of seven one hundred 8 hills. The Yishuv is an annoying place to visit as it is all speedbumps and curves.

It is all (poorly implemented) speedbumps because their Moetza and City Engineer must be run by idiots who don’t like drivers – and don’t how to make a proper speedbump.

It is all curves because every piece of land that Efrat sits on was (indisputably) privately acquired (or former state-owned land).

So all around and criss-crossing the town are Arab-owned farms where the owners chose to not sell their land to the city and continue to work them freely (and work in Efrat too – thus supporting their families). Thus Efrat curves like a snake for quite a distance instead of being more circular and centralized.

The seventh hill of Efrat (called Eitam) was never developed (I believe it was supposed to become the town’s cemetery). But alas, the Fence that is being built may be excluding it from Efrat – the residents are currently fighting for it.

But there is another battle going on.

Around the Eitam hill, one of the highest hills in the region, strategically overlooking Jersualem and Gush Etzion are Arab farms (just like the farms that Hizbollah used to hide and launch missiles at Israel from up North).

As the government is making it difficult for Efrat to build on its own property, the Arabs keep seeing this as an opportunity to try to steal it away.

And so they occasionally go up and try to build a structure and create facts on the ground, which are usually removed.

Now to make it clear, there is no dispute or question that Efrat owns this land (parts of it were purchased by Jews some 100 years ago in fact). It is well documented Efrat property.

Yet Rabbis for Human Rights, and other fifth columnists haven’t been seen protesting and protecting the rights of the clear and undisputed owners – the Jewish people.

Not a single left-wing organization that rips out Jewish owned trees at night (or Arab-owned trees to blame the settlers) has come out to say that this is wrong or to try to stop it.

Nope, not a peep.

Though left-wing readers over by Jameel did find it offensive that Jews are trying to protect their own property.

This left-wing run government doesn’t care about Jewish property rights whether it be in Efrat, Neve Daniel, Tekoa, Bat Ayin, or anywhere else in the Gush, despite their occasional claim that the Gush is important to the security of southern Jerusalem (which it is).

So the army is now letting the Arabs get away in Efrat with what they want, just like they do near Neve Daniel and Gvaot Olam.

This Wednesday residents of Efrat will go up to reclaim their property.

It is unclear what the army and government will do – will it respect the rule of law and allow the residents of Efrat to defend their own property or will they continue to defend their lopsided enforcement and let the Arabs steal away what was bought with cold cash and signed documents.

What is for sure is that the Left will be there in full force to help the Arabs steal more land.

For shame on their claim as defenders of Human Rights.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Jameel is an expert at Jewish Geography. Whenever he meets someone he’ll find at least 2 people that are 1 degree apart between them. It’s astounding. It’s incredible. It’s really, really annoying.

But the fact is, as Jews most of us are related to one another by (way) extended family – which is pretty cool.

While anti-Semites like saying Ashkenazi Jews are descendents from Khazars, and the rest of the Jews are the result of intermarriage and assimilation with their local cultures, the facts indicate otherwise.

Research was done on the Y-chromosome DNA of quite a large number of Jewish people and it was found that nearly all Cohanim share some very specific genetic markers, be they Sephardim, Yemenites, or Ashkenazim (indicating a single common ancestor). In fact most Jews share a number of important DNA markers indicating we are almost all related and of Semitic origin.

There’s a very cool conference on all this coming up in Jerusalem. It’s being sponsored by the Cohen-Levy Family Heritage Center.

While I’m from the tribe of Judah, and a descendent of King David (well, who knows, but it certainly sounds good) so some of it isn’t directly applicable to me, the science and the tours look really interesting.

There will be speakers on Genetics, Jewish Genealogy, (of course if they had something on Jewish Geography then Jameel would have to speak), on laws that apply to Cohanim and Leviim in contemporary times, common halachically-created issues such as marriage and divorce (something that unfortunately affects a few friends of mine – and yes I have friends who are Cohanim), and my always favorite - interesting tours of Jerusalem (and other areas related to historical Cohanim).

And best of all, did I mention that (I am pretty sure that) it is FREE.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Has anyone been following what Netanyahu has been saying today?

He wants Jordan to send in their PLO troops to control and manage the West Bank.


But the reality is that it would be no different than the current Palestinian troops doing the same.

In fact, the only difference I can see is that it would bring Jordan into the mess that we refuse to directly clean up.

Sounds to me like Netanyahu is trying to create a back door confederation with Jordan, a weak, but relatively stable dictatorship with an 80% Palestinian majority .

I understand his thinking; after all, if we don't want to keep sovereignty on our own land, at least let’s pick someone else to run it that we are more likely to get along with.

Of course Jordan might look at this and see it as exactly the sort of unstable situation that can topple a dictatorship monarchy – which it is.

And of course, all he is saying is that one group of terrorists should police another group of terrorists – something that Feiglin mentioned too.

Maybe he’ll also want Egyptian troops in Gaza. There’s another great idea.

Just bring me back to the summer of 69 67.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Two years ago, a really messed up kid named Eden Natan-Zada went on a rampage and killed 4 Israeli Arabs. The press likes to describe him as a settler, but he actually was from Rishon L’tzion, and was AWOL from the army (with his weapon).

At one point, the police managed to enter the bus he was on and disarm him. They handcuffed him to a chair, but then, under attack from the local Arab villagers, the police ran away, abandoning him on the bus for the Arab mob to kill him.

Despite videos of the exact people mobbing the bus and other evidence linking 4 specific people to the lynch, the court has decided that all the evidence linking the suspects to not be good enough, and has freed and cleared the men.

Of course this means that the executioners of Natan-Zada are still out there.

The truth be told, no one actually expected any of the Arab villagers to ultimately be found guilty by the courts, but the court did have to go through the motions for appearance’s sake.

But the question is, what happens next time there is a captured Palestinian terrorist and a Jewish mob lynches him? (And should we even mention the name Popper?)

Will the Jewish mob ultimately be exonerated too, or is this just a one way street?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Always ahead of the curve, a few weeks ago, I wrote about the "Other Settlers" of Beitar Elite and Modiin Elite.

The JP just now did a piece entitled "We are not settlers, we are Jews".

It's an interesting article.

My favorite lines are:

"We are settlers in the same way that the people who live in [the Jerusalem neighborhood of] Ramat Eshkol are settlers," Neckameyer said.

Her [Gur] only hesitation with the label "settler," she said, is that she doesn't feel like she deserves the title. Her life is not at risk as are those of the settlers in Hebron, she said.

"I do feel that I am building Israel and protecting Jerusalem and the road to Hebron," he said. Pindrus added that if that meant he was a settler, "then you can call me one."

"The Green Line is a non-Torah concept invented by British mapmakers and has been adopted as some kind of a theological principle. There is no such thing. There is all of Eretz Israel and we have a right to every part it," said Betar Illit resident Aryeh Zelasko.

"The Torah community doesn't see itself as defined by the political fantasies of the nonreligious community," he said.

"We are not settlers. We are Jews, if anything, reclaiming that which is ours. You do not talk about resettling your home," Zelasko said.

The only quote that bothered me was:
"We are part of the [settlement area] geographically, but politically we are not," Gur said. "We have no connection to [nearby] Efrat or any of the other settlements."

And that bothers me, because it is a mistake on everyone's part that neither of the communities feel they have have connections to one another. That was the mistake we were supposed to have learned from the Expulsion.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I don’t get it.

The foreign ministry slaps some kissing gay models with a yamulka, and sends it out to the world as the new image of Israel – the gay religious Jew.

The only ones complaining in the government are the religious MKs. Everyone else views them as primitives and homophobes.

Now the Israeli Consulate in NY sends out an invitation with an almost naked woman on it (yeah, yeah, you can see her here) and suddenly the not-primitive MKs are in an uproar.

I don’t understand what is wrong.

Sex sells.

You didn’t complain when the sex-based ad insulted the religious community and promoted Israel as the gay sex capital of the world. You only complain when it insults (or so you claim) women (– or is it that it is promoting the IDF as the heterosexual sex capital of the world? I wasn't clear about that).

Anyway, I think that this is a very hypocritical position for these not-primitive MKs to be taking.
I think it’s official, the “Two-State Solution” has been implemented, and now we are moving on to Phase 3.

So far let’s recap the current political situation.

We have the Palestinian state of Jordan, with an 80% “Palestinian” majority, and the other 20% “Jordanian” who almost all have close family ties to the same “Palestinians” they look down on. (That’s one)

We have the Palestinian state of Hamastan in Gaza. (That’s two)

And now fighting is beginning in what will probably end up being Fatahstan in Judea and Samaria (unless Hamas wins, and then it will be Hamastan II). (that’s three)

And of course we have our locally discontented “Palestinian Israelis” calling (generally from the halls of Israeli Universities) for a Palestinian State in place of Israel. (That’s four).

While all this is going on, we have are dedicated leftists that somehow don’t realize that this as our Cuban Missile Crisis.

Somehow they can live with Iran’s proxies at our borders, bringing their weapons in as close as possible, and they are mentally incapable of taking a stand and saying enough is enough.

Worse, some on the Left are using this crisis to promote the transfer of weapons, ideology, and technology from Gaza to the West Bank under guise of helping Gazan refugees looking to escape the Hamas leadership they democratically chose.

Perhaps some are real refugees, but the solution is to let Egypt take in all these refugees, the same Egypt who gave Hamas all the weapons that they didn’t get from Israel by way of Fatah.

Of course, Katyushot were fired at the North from Lebanon, and in typical Arab cultural fashion, everyone else was responsible.

And of course as Lurker pointed out to me, the UN is doing a wonderful job peacekeeping in Lebanon, except, of course, in the places it can’t go into because Hezbollah is there.

They might as well have stayed home.

And need I mention Syria and the deep desire of the Left to rid ourselves of the Golan which we fairly acquired with our blood while defending our country against their acts of aggression?

Summer is approaching in another few weeks. I just wonder how many fronts we will actively be fighting on come July.

Sunday, June 17, 2007
That's right!

For all you people that love Israel, like Israel, like visiting Israel, like thinking about Israel, like thinking about living in Israel, like thinking about thinking of living in Israel, then this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday is your big chance (especially if you live in the NY-NJ tri-state area).

The Israeli Real Estate Fair is coming to town. You may not be making Aliyah a pilot trip right now, but you can get certainly check out the market.

If you're one of those Beit Shemesh/Ma'aleh Adumim type people - say hi to Shelly while you're there.

Here's a link for the address and times of the show nearest you.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It’s tough to say what will go on in Hamastan. Will one side win, will they both destroy each other, will they (as the Left love to say) have their Altalena moment, will they find peace?

I’ve been thinking about it all week, and my thoughts on it, just like that of the rest of the world is that I don’t care.

I know I’ve discussed before the truly evil things they do to each other under Palestinian rule, but right now I couldn’t care less if they kill each other – for one reason.

What they are doing to each other, they’d love to do ten times over to us. So like I’ve mentioned in other posts - better them than us.

Furthermore, the world doesn’t care. Not a single country wants to send peacekeeping troops. No one is making UN resolutions.

The reality is that the Jews aren’t involved here, so it really just isn’t interesting to anyone that they are slaughtering each other.

I probably won’t even post about this again, unless it spreads to Judea & Samaria (which is a possibility).

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I was at a wedding last night with Lurker, when he started telling a story. As a side point to the story he mentioned a mutual acquaintance that has two paralyzed fingers after getting beaten by the cops at a protest.

I said that was “funny”, because I was at a protest and the girl next to me also had her hand broken by the cops.

Lurker and his wife then looked at me like I was crazy.

It was back in December 1994. It was a violent protest, or rather I should say, a unilaterally violent protest. We protesters were standing on the sidewalk chanting, screaming, and holding up signs. The cops unilaterally started physically beating the $#!^ stuffing out of us.

I was standing on the sidewalk holding up a sign with both hands, when the cops attacked me. Later a doctor told me I had bruising on my skull.

I’m a little hazy as to the course of events, but at some point we got away and they started to chase us. At which point she tried to get into a store for cover and they broke her hand.

I actually remember Lurker saying they were taking her to the hospital, or to file a complaint with the police, but like I said it was all hazy.

But the one thing I never knew was, who was the girl, and what happened to her in the end.

Not knowing who was my co-victim to this police terror attack continued to bother me at the back of my mind all these years.

It turns out I’ve known her all along (and she is a good friend of JerusalemCop), but I never knew that it was her, and so now I know who it was and what happened to her.

Finishing his story. Lurker told us that when they went to the police to file a complaint, the police laughed at them, and told them they can’t file it and to go away.

I’m sure Lurker will fill in the rest of the details, but personally I am happy that this gap in my life has been filled in.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Gaydamak is an interesting phenomena. Here is a (presumably) secular Jew, who believes in unconstrained free-market capitalism, Jewish pride, and the power of populism.

As someone who doesn’t know Gaydamak (though I will work on trying to meet him to write about it on the blog) I have no clue whether everything he is doing is planned out or part of his philosophy and ideology.

I keep remembering Sharon who used (and eventually abused) the Right in his quest for power.

Gaydamak’s aligning himself with the religious and the right raises some interesting questions. As does his outright alienating of those on the other side.

He clearly believes in free markets and Jewish pride –one can easily assess that from his history, behavior, and statements.

But when did he find God? And not only find him, but become his foot soldier against anti-Jewish practices (i.e. selling pork) in Israel.

In Gaydamak’s quest for power (or acceptance) he obviously holds to the belief that a strong offense is the best defense. He shows that when he makes fools of the politicians in power, or when he sets deadlines for the police to either put up or shut up.

And for some reason, he has also decided that aligning himself with the religious is the right step, certainly if his goal is Mayor of Jerusalem then that would make sense - though I have trouble seeing him “merely” wanting to be Mayor, unless Mayor is just a stepping stone. (others claim he wants to be kingmaker in his party, while someone else does the work).

But on the other hand, all his moves are seemingly populistic.

Trying to force Tiv Taam to be kosher makes the news, and widens it’s clientele - if he plans to take on the big 3 supermarkets which it looks like he might, but are religious people so easily bought (and will he succeed in actually converting it)?

Saying he will fortify Sderot, forces Olmert into action, but in the end Gaydamak didn’t actually fortify Sderot, though he certainly made the news, became even more popular, and forced the government to do something while embarrassing his political opponents.

Gaydamak apparently sees his natural allies in the Amcha (the people) and the Right. It would be easy to say that he sees the vacuum in leadership that exists and sees this as the easiest opening, but as the ultimate free-market capitalist, he doesn’t see socialism in his future, and as someone who apparently seriously believes in Jewish pride (though I don’t know how he would actually define it), he apparently see the concessions and retreats of the Left as failures. And as a (former?) alleged arms dealer he certainly knows a little about war.

So the Right may be his current allies because they share the same nationalistic goals as him as well as generally being in opposition to the Left’s lingering socialism. The Religious are the standard bearers of the Right, so that puts them in the same corner, and the Amcha are looking for a solution everyone knows that a Right wing solution is the only thing this country hasn’t tried.

But, like Sharon, Gaydamak isn’t influenced by Torah or by democratic values.

What happens (to us) when, in his quest he finds conflict between his currently natural allies and what he hopes to attain. Will we find ourselves thrown to the wolves yet again by another power-hungry, all-powerful politician?

If we give him our support now, are we being bought at too cheap a price?

And if we give him our support, what will guarantee that we will remain natural allies as he approaches his goals?

I guess it comes down to what we know about him and his choices.

He likes sports (oh, OK), and specifically chose to buy a team aligned with Jerusalem and the Right. He gives a lot of money to Religious and Jewish charities.

Spending his formative years in Russia, he seems to have the standard right-wing Russian outlook on life (which usually comes with other baggage).

And perhaps his years in France strengthened his Jewish identity.

His credentials seem good (and I am nearly about to say “too good”).

But perhaps he sees Israel as his next Angola?

Perhaps he seeks the position for its influence, power and connections to build up his business? On the other hand, he certainly got Angola what they wanted.

It is impossible to know his motivations.

And whether we like it or not, Gaydamak is likely to play an important role in Israel over the next few years.

Let’s hope his role is as one of the good guys. Time will tell.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
OK. So all us bloggers gave our 12 reasons to make Aliyah. And so far, everyone (except BenBayit) agrees with my reason #12, and I also happened to notice some overlap of other people's lists with mine (I guess they peeked before they wrote theirs – you know who you are).

That's very nice and all, but what is your next step to making Aliyah?

Yeah, yeah, I know, you have your 5 year plan you planned 6 years ago.

Well - how about the next best thing to a NBN pilot trip?

In just over a week, on June 17, 18, and 19 (that's a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for those of you without a calendar in front of you) there is going to be a huge Israeli housing fair in New York and New Jersey.

There will be booths there from contractors, builders, agents, mortgage bankers, and other “interested parties”.

I even know someone who bought their home in Israel from going to the show.

What’s also interesting is that it isn’t just Jerusalem.

Reps are usually there for projects and homes in Modiin, Beit Shemesh, Maaleh Adumim, and other parts of the country.

And usually there is at least one bank there that can answer questions about getting mortgages in Israel and perhaps even get you started on the process.

So, if my list had even the slightest impact on you, then click on this link and go to the show. Tell them JoeSettler sent you (on the other hand, maybe don’t mention JoeSettler – but go to the show anyway).

(and a few other people too)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I hate memes. But Jameel is pushing this one for Nefesh b’Nefesh and said I should write something too,

"(This coming Shabbat, the Torah portion , Shelach, that recalls the sin of the spies, is read. These were the 12 men that Moshe sent to scout out the Land of Israel before entering. When they returned, their reports were distorted and negative and caused a 40 year delay before the Children of Israel could enter.

Today despite the challenges that come with living in Israel, we are witness to all that is good and special about living here and it is in our ability to tell our family, friends and neighbors abroad what those things are.

Nefesh B'Nefesh is initiating a simple project this week called "12 to 12". We are asking every Oleh to compose a list of 12 great things you appreciate and love about living in Israel and email your message to 12 (or more) friends abroad.

If you send this out to your friends, please CC when you send it out.

Please send out your letter before Friday June 8.)"
so here it is…

The top 12 things I love about Eretz Yisrael to make up for the sin of 10 of the 12 Meraglim (and XGH):

(Please note, this list is not comprehensive, and there is so much more I could write, but I think I'll leave it like this for the moment.)

12. Israeli/Sephardi women are hot (I married one).

11. I get to carry a gun (more than one in fact), and go to really cool (though really difficult) CTU training (and have definitely become as proficient as "Jack Bauer" is supposed to be).

10. One day Yuntiv.

9. The views of Israel from the windows of my home.

8. The ridiculously inexpensive tuition all the way through college.

7. Living in the place where Judaism is dynamically evolving yet returning to its roots, while simply being the real center of religious events and development.

6. Being an active and even influential part of the historical process of returning to our land and building up the nation in Israel.

5. The amazing (and well known) people you bump into everywhere that will freely and happily talk to you (i.e. Nobel Prize winners, Chief Rabbis, Politicians, Authors, Taxi Drivers, Businessmen, Editor-in-Chiefs, Scientists, Bloggers).

4. Shavous morning, 4:00 AM, watching hundreds of thousands of Jews streaming to the Kotel from all directions.

3. Walking around Living in the actual places mentioned in the Torah (not to mention having amazing archeological sites in your own backyard).

2. Davening and then realizing that when the siddur speaks about Jews returning and living in rebuilt Israel and bringing the Karbanos, is that Judaism actually views living in Israel as critical and fundamental to our definition as a nation and I am doing my part.

1. And to blatantly copy esseragaroth: Israel is the Homeland of the Jewish People.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Generally it is true that the winning side writes the history, but in Israel things are never that simple – even though they should be.

For some reason some Israelis don’t like being on the side of right and good. They look for excuses to explain how they are bad, and when that fails they’ll even make things up.

Last year one of Israel’s major historical revisionist (I forgot his name, though I’m sure if Lurker is reading this he can supply it in a second) retracted part his historical revisionism and returned to reality after too much indisputable evidence was presented, but one is hardly enough.

Lately, these historical revisionists have been working hard to say that Israel keeps missing the opportunities to make peace, or worse, keeps unilaterally pushing for war and evil – and I’m not referring to the BBC nonsense reported the other day about Entebbe.

Today, the idiots of Peace Now are down in Hebron protesting the return of our city to Jewish hands (or part of the city at least).

They don’t care that the Arabs slaughtered the Jewish residents there in order to make this city Judenrein, and they don’t even care that their ungrateful peace partners, the Arab residents of Hebron stoned their buses at the end of the protest (the Arabs threw the stones, not the settlers – whom they always claim are the root of all evil).

Michael Oren, as always, manages to show, this time through the Arab’s own documentation, that the latest Israeli revisionism into the 6 Day war is just more of the hallucinatory nonsense of the Left’s deranged mind that wants to be evil.

Today Arutz-7 reports on an IBA News Editors admitting to (and taking pride in) how they slanted the news for their own political goals.

It’s a shame. I really think it is a just a few bad apples ruining it for the rest of us.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
I can only assume there is a gag order going on right now because this afternoon's events should still be on the news.

And actually it was on the internet news, but is now gone.

I spent some 3 hours today stuck on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway as police closed it down while searching for a terrorist.

I called traffic information (*955) and they announced the police were looking for a suspicious car – which explained the low flying helicopters overhead.

I called Jameel for more info which he found out on the internet that the police were looking for a taxi from Beit Lechem which may have had a bomb or suicide bomber in it.

Eventually the news site announced that 2 Arabs were arrested.

JerusalemCop called me to inform me that unusually heavily armed police were pulling over cars with Arabs inside at the entrance to Jerusalem, and then having them strip down in the street and lie on the ground while their cars underwent a search.

Since everyone saw all this, it was announced publicly at some point, and the news reported it for at least 1 hour, I ask, what is the point of shutting the barn door after the horses escaped.
Friday, June 01, 2007
I originally considered calling this post “Strength in Numbers”.

The family took a trip today to look at some other settlements – specifically settlements we never visited before in the Judea region.

There was one that surprised us and I don’t yet know what conclusions to draw from my visit, but there is definitely a lot to think about.

We settlers have a public image or stereotype that most of us don’t fit into. But after today, I’d even go so far as to say that most settlers don’t even come close to the stereotype.

Today we visited the settlement of Beitar Elite – home to 35,000 people (5200 families), of which 14,500 are school-aged children – and growing rapidly (10% annually).

What makes Beitar, as a settlement, different is that Beitar is an ultra-orthodox community.

To begin with, I don’t think the residents see themselves as “settlers”. I think they see themselves simply as Jews living in Eretz Yisrael. (By the way, I was also surprised to learn that Kiryat Sefer is also a settlement – known also as Modiin Elite – again an ultra-orthodox community).

There is no doubt there is strength in numbers, but also in philosophy.

As chareidim, due to both necessity and desire, I would describe Beitar as a high density, but inexpensively built city (though it has it expensive housing sections too).

What makes it unlike other settlements is that these residents know what they want from their community and municipality and they demand it and get it.

This is not a community that overly relies on private transportation, so there are shops and stores everywhere within walking distance, public transportation appears to be excellent, which chopperim filling in the holes left by Egged. And there are an abundance of shuls and shopping malls (yes, that’s right – shopping malls - plural).

Perhaps some settlers like having to rely on their cars to go everywhere. I know I don’t, and while I wouldn’t want to live in such a high density city (and it is a city) I don’t understand why the rest of us settlements (or even groups of settlements) don’t have any malls or shopping strips that come close to what I saw today (except for the city of Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim).

Driving around I did not get the feeling I was in a settlement. I could have been in Har Shlomo, Elad, Pisgat Ze’ev, or Rechesh Shuafat.

True the city had a decent fence around it, and an outside security company at the gates (and an army base next door) as well as the neighboring requisite Arab villages, but it is the atmosphere that was different.

It felt and looked like any of the typical new chareidi neighborhoods in Israel (and that's how the residents appeared to see themselves).

And that brings me to my next point.

I cannot imagine that if we settlers had more communities like Beitar scattered around in key positions that anyone could even begin to think about another expulsion.

To begin with, Beitar, all by itself, has 4 time the population that Gush Katif had. A goal that is shared by Tel Zion – a similar community in the Binyamin region, next to the settlement of Kochav Yaacov.

But more than that, can you imagine the uproar the Chareidim would have if one of their own communities were to be uprooted? They would tear the country apart with no mercy.

Gush Katif did not have the active support of the Chareidi community because there were no (to my knowledge) Chareidi communities in Gush Katif. Gush Etzion has Beitar at the edge. Binyamin has Tel Zion.

Shas and Aguda would actually fight before thousands of their own (voters) would be thrown to the dogs.

Unfortunately, like everyone, each community seems to worry first and foremost about their own.

Chareidim know what they want from their community and community services and they get it. Standard issue settlers are happy to get anything at all.

This trip presented a lot of food for thought, and I am still digesting it.
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