Eretz Yisrael Time

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Friday, August 31, 2007
There’s nothing more dangerous than those settlers that live deep in the West Bank. You know the ones that live far away from everyone and the big cities. The radical settlements. Places like Tekoa and Nokdim.

Small problem.

As of today, those settlements are no longer deep in the West Bank, except in the mind of CNN.

After over 20 years of waiting, the new/old highway finally opened – and JoeSettler was there.

To begin with, the ride from Tekoa to Har Homa (which is in Jerusalem) gate-to-door takes less than 10 minutes. I was driving slow, so it may actually be as little as 8 minutes.

Can you imagine that?

Tekoa, constantly described as a radical settlement deep in the West Bank is less than a 10 minute drive from Jerusalem.

Still, it’s not without its peril.

First you have to drive by Herodian (you can see Herodian’s grave from the highway, it’s covered with a big blue tarp), so don't get distracted.

Then you get to the traffic circle. This is where it gets confusing. To the right is Herodian, Behind you, Tekoa, Nokdim, and all the rest, what remains are 2 other roads with big red warning signs telling you that you are about to enter Area A (which is under enemy occupation) and it is forbidden and dangerous to go this way.

Ignore it. Keep going straight, right past that sign. Drive another 8 minutes on this highway.

Say hello to the soldiers operating the check post, and boom see the Haftziba tower at the edge of Har Homa.

At this point it’s left for Har Homa or right for Derech Hevron.

"Deep" in the West Bank. Feh.

Should I add a few more exclamation points to the title?

The Eastern Gush Etzion Road is opening up this Friday morning at 6AM. That's less than 3 hours from now - and it only took some 20+ years.

For those that live in eastern Gush Etzion, it means that the drive to Jerusalem will take a mere 10 minutes. For those in the west, it means an alternative to the tunnel road for when the police decide to annoy the residents by pointlessly slowing down the traffic.

It's going to be called the Gush Herodian Highway.

If you want to visit Herodian from Jerusalem (and see where King Herod is buried), it will now be a very quick trip.

Till now the road has been closed only because of certain leftist politicians (the road itself was completed a while ago except for the last few meters).

I want to personally thank all the Gush Etzion (and Jerusalem) activists who have been fighting non-stop to get this road open to Jewish traffic.

Read more here.

Monday, August 27, 2007
I wrote about this elsewhere (and so have a number of other people I see).

Nefesh b'Nefesh is running a unique contest. Unique in that it is only open to residents of Israel (so you non-Residents, just make aliyah right now, so it becomes relevant).

The contest is a really nice idea, but I haven't a clue on how to win it.

They want a one-minute video that shows the unique (there's that word again) side of living in Israel.

First prize is $3000 (that's over 12,000 shekels for those of us in Israel).

I'm curious if any of my readers are planning to enter, and if you can perhaps share an idea or two with the rest of us, while you're at it.
After my mother's cooking, my top four favorite American food groups are:

  1. Deli (especially Abeles and Heymann franks and pastrami sandwiches)
  2. Chinese Food (especially Chosen Island/Garden)
  3. Steaks
  4. Pizza

But what is surprising is what makes # 5 on the list.

I love Israeli food in America.

Nothing beats going into a Main Street pizza store and ordering an Israeli salad with watery US style Israeli Tehina (and why can't I do that in Israel?)


Every Israeli-style meal I've eaten in New York (even this whole in the wall borekas shop I once found in the village) has been incredible. And don't get me started on the Galil restaurant in Manhattan, or HaPisgah in Queens.

There is something special about America. Israelis struggle all their lives in Israel to make ends meet, and suddenly they come to America and strike it rich. Israeli-style food is brought to America and suddenly it tastes really good. Israeli women...

I'm being serious.

I know why. I assume that the cooks are using (as in, able to get and afford) higher quality ingredients (or that is what is standardly sold in the stores). It's the only logical explanation. I doubt they cook it differently.

I remember once working on a Kibbutz and seeing a quality of fruit that I've never seen in Israel (that's the stuff that gets exported).

As for the cars, it is just that its easy for an Israeli to buy a Hummer in America, when it cheaper than buying a Skoda in Israel.

I've been experimenting with making Techina lately. I'm trying for the same taste and texture. No luck yet. Anyone have any suggestions (besides a round trip ticket).

Sunday, August 26, 2007
You may not have caught all the understatements in the press, but Peres is at it again, and they are saying that Olmert will be announcing the demise of Israel new comprehensive Peace Plan within the next few weeks.

It is a rehash of the same old stuff, but now we officially will give away the entire Temple Mount, and take responsibility for the Arabs attacking us in 1948 and the resulting refugees they created.

Hooray for Olmert. Hooray for Peres.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Terrorist infiltration this morning from Gaza.

The wall proved 100% ineffective as the terrorists in Gaza have created a device that allows them to easily get through it.

It was luck that 2 of the 4 terrorists involved in the incident were caught and killed (the other 2 returned safely to Gaza).
I can't stand Naomi Chazan's worldview. In this weekend's paper she saved us from her usual drivel and actually made some insightful comments.

When describing the (lack of) differences between Netanyahu, Barak and Olmert she said, "All told, these minor conceptual readjustments around a hypothetical political center lack both substance and creativity, let alone vision. "

The funny thing is, is that since all are readusting around the political vision that her camp created and stuck us with I find it quite refreshing that she admits that her camps ideas are without substance.

"The need to choose among three tested and disproved leaders is hardly inevitable."


"Highly qualified and responsible people with fresh ideas and the courage to pursue them abound in the country. The quest for such a slate of experienced and untainted candidates must commence without delay."

Yes they do, and the first person that comes to mind that isn't tainted by Oslo and the Left's attempts to create another regional terrorist state is...

Moshe Feiglin.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Ynet (!) has an interesting op-ed on Yuli Tamir (our radical Minister of Education) and her personal war to divest Israel of any traces of Zionism and Judaism. Hily Tropper dissects Yuli Tamir’s actions against teaching Jewish studies in the classroom, and how she (not even thinly) hides it under the guise of “professional” decision-making.

From cutting Jewish studies classes, teaching the Naqba (my addition), and now preventing religious National Service girls from assisting in classrooms (and teaching Zionism and Jewish Identity (gasp)) despite the desire of the school, principals, and parents to have them there.

I have a friend who used to teach in a mixed religious-non religious school.

He used to get phone calls from the non religious parents thanking him that their children know a little more about their history, culture and identity.

He didn’t try to brainwash anybody, but by the end of the year his students knew more than their parents about why they were in Israel, and the history of the modern state. And the parents were proud that their kids were proud Israelis and proud Jews because of it.

Something they weren’t able to teach them at home, despite it apparently being important to them.

Tamir wants to divest Israel of its identity. It’s time Israel was divested from Tamir.

Iran is to the Arab world, like Israel is to the Western World.

If you think about it, this is a very accurate comparison.

Consider all this:

  • Iran is vilified by most of the world.
  • Iranians are not Arabs, yet live smack in the Arab Middle East.
  • Much of Iran practices a variant religion different from those around them.
  • Iran is under economic boycott from multiple nations.
  • Iran is forced to find creative ways to build advanced weapons systems, despite the boycott.
  • Iran has invested highly in developing their technology sector (even if it is all for war).
  • The states in the region all hate Iran, but are afraid of it.
  • Iran has been in wars with its Arab neighbors.
  • One of Iran’s major exports is weapon systems.
  • Iran’s patron is a superpower.
  • Iran is a regional leader.
  • Iran’s allies wouldn’t mind seeing it sacrificed for their own good.

What does this all actually mean?

I don’t know, but I think it is interesting that Iran as a state can really be differentiated from all the Arab states around it, and that in many ways, Iran is similar to Israel.

Perhaps it is part of the national culture, or world outlook.

Perhaps that is simply the role of a regional superpower.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A few months ago I said Jameel was wrong when he said that we would be at war in the near future. I proved to be right.

But now, I think war is around the corner. Perhaps in as close as a month or two.

If you read a variety of papers, they all have their own little tidbits here or there describing what Syria is doing and responses by the Israeli government. Nothing in one big article (except here), and certainly this is all something being downplayed in Israel.

Russia is giving (has given?) Syria a serious weapons boost with the SA-18 anti-aircraft system.

Not enough to fight a war with, unless you are looking for a local war, say on the Golan Heights.

In that case, the Scuds and Katyushas that Syria (and Hizbollah) have (and they have enough) are enough to seriously cause major damage and disruptions (as Israel has no defense against them) while they send massive troops (and they have enough to throw away there too) to physically take over the Golan, while their very advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank systems (as well as their very low-tech ones too) keep Israeli forces at bay.

Think about this for a second.

1) Israel has no effective defense against the myriad of long-range Scud-D (and Chinese C-802) missiles that Syria can rain down on us. (Our navy has a defense against the C-802 but only if they remember to turn the system on).
2) Israel may have no effective way to retaliate against Syria by air if Syria get their SA-18s in play.
3) Syria could probably hold off our troops with massive targeted artillery shelling.
4) Syria has already stepped up their troops near the Golan, and they have been practicing.
5) Syria wants the Golan.
6) Syria sees our still incompetent leadership and doesn’t expect much more from them this year (no one does actually).

Is this not an invitation to war?

I am worried that our politicians may not make the right choices, may avoid concepts like “total victory” and “preemptive strike”.

I am worried we may lose the Golan. After all, there is only one real issue here: Syria just needs to occupy the Golan long enough for them to get a cease-fire in play, and then we’ve lost it.
Monday, August 20, 2007
It is unfortunate that sometimes politics and bureaucracy can get in the way of so much in Israel.

Two years ago when the residents of Shirat Hayam in Gush Katif (a town I visited at the time) were forced to leave their homes and communities, they were promised by the government that their community would be able to stay together and build anew elsewhere.

The government and the community even agreed on a location, Maskiot in the Jordan Valley. A site founded by the IDF Nachal Brigade.

However, for the past 2 years, this community has been bounced around like ping pong balls, as the bureaucrats and government, well, act like Israeli bureaucrats with the lives of these people.

Rosh Hashana is approaching. This community has been through so much, and now they find yet another obstacle in their way.

They have no shul to pray in on Rosh Hashanah!

Their needs are small and simple.

They need a caravan where they can sit together in and pray.

A caravan costs $33,000. A sum this community no longer has, as their means and livelihoods have been destroyed, and only now are they able to begin to be able to rebuild their shattered lives and community in Maskiot.

Before Rosh Hashana - Double you Mitzva.

As you buy your seat in shul, please ask your shul if they can donate a part to this community of Shirat Hayam-Maskiot.

On these Days of Judgment, as you sit in shul praying for a good year for yourselves, ask yourself, have you helped this shattered Jewish community get the same opportunity?

And you can directly donate to them any sum (tax deductable) you want. That would help them (and you) a lot.

You can find out more here, or contact their representative, Aviva Harbater at 050-874-3484 or 1-516-515-95-92.

Saturday, August 18, 2007
An interesting thing happened at the Primaries last week.

As you know, each candidate had a their followers located at each voting booth to "prevent" the other side from cheating.

So all the votes in Natzrat were discounted after Netanyahu followers removed the box with votes without any supervision. And Michael Fuah, Feiglin's #2 caught the head of one union busing in his union members from his government company to go vote for Bibi (he filed police charges).

But was interesting is what one of Bibi's people at one of the stations said.

She said, "They are all liars", referring to all the candidates. A commonly heard refrain.

But Feiglin's man at the station quickly replied, "Maybe you believe the person you voted for is a liar, but those of us voting Feiglin don't think that of Feiglin for even a second."

And isn't that the truth.
Last week a major event happened. It was so unusual, that I can't say when was the last time I heard of it happening was. It was even mentioned (in passing) by the media who, of course, ignored its ramification.

And it slipped past the pundits and storymakers (as far as I can tell).

You see. Last week, on the day of the primaries, something extraordinary happened.

Moshe Feiglin went up to the Temple Mount.

No, that in of itself isn't unusual.

What is unusual is that he prayed. He openly prayed. And he prayed unhindered. And he prayed and wasn't arrested.

And you know what?

He prayed and the Arabs didn't riot. He prayed and the Arabs nations didn't attack.

I think it is time we end the this myth of fear of the Arab reaction to Jews praying on the Temple Mount. It is obvious the government can allow and protect us if they wanted to. The problem lies with the government, and their decision to not allow it.

Moshe has shown us the truth on this one.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I always liked Shel Silverstein's story "The Giving Tree", but there are certain aspects of it that are a bit sad.

The Maggid wrote a slightly different version that is quite interesting.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Yeah, sure Bibi Netanyahu got 73% of the vote, but he couldn’t even rally 50% of the Likud party to go out and vote for him.

Netanyahu’s’ people even did everything they could to improve their own advantage at the voting booth (including allegedly some dirty tricks), but in the end, Netanyahu couldn’t get his own people to get out and vote for him.


Because no one can differentiate his positions from Barak. In fact, Barak is making pronouncements far more Right than Netanyahu is doing.

Not only that, but Bibi is backsliding.

Forget about not holding right-wing positions, he has been taking positions that put him Left-of-Center: bringing in Jordanian troops into Israel, complaining about Friedman’s attempts to rehabilitate the Judicial system.

Why would anyone on the right vote for him?

Hell, why will anyone in the (non-existent) “Center” vote for him. They see his position as left. They might as well go for the original.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Everyone is reporting that Syria is accelerating their offensive missile deployments (in preparation for war with Israel). They are preparing missiles that can carry chemical and biological weapons. Something that we already know the Syrians aren't afraid to use.

These missiles can even reach Tel Aviv.

The government is worried that any move they make will trigger the trigger-happy Syrians (either directly or through their Hizbollah agents).

So while Syria openly ramps up for war or at least an offensive against Israel (to capture the Golan?), this Israeli government has decided to not take any overt measures to defend ourselves.

This even extends to Barak's decision today to not distribute Gas Masks, even though, the missiles that Syria is deploying are B/C ready.

Barak is afraid that if Israel takes the minimal steps to protect its citizens in even the most defensive (and inoffensive) manner against the overt and growing Syrian threat, that the Syrians will decide that Israel is being aggressive and will attack.

That's logic for you.

I'm glad I don't live in Tel Aviv (or Sderot - where they are also afraid of defending the citizens in case it will instigate the Gazans to attack).

Anyway, I've still got gas masks for all my family from the last time.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Would Sharon be spinning in his grave if he were dead?

A Kassam rocket just hit his farm (near the sheephouse).

Probably not.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
NYC scales down the checkpoints, after a Debka news post started a scare of a radioactive attack. The Debka report couldn't be independently substantiated by any counter-terrorism/spy agency.

Someone once said something to be about Debka's reports. He said, "Sometimes, they get it right".

I don't think he meant that in a positive manner.

Meanwhile, 10,000 Islamic Fundamentalists protested in the West Bank today. This is the same West Bank where supposedly Fatah rules. Yeah, we'll see for how much longer.

If Hamas didn't have a navy last week, as Ynet reported, then they certainly took Ynet's advice today when they announced their 150 man Navy and coastal defence system.

Oh! And here's a ShoutOut to Tzippi. Good luck on Tuesday. Feel free to put up a comment.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Jameel has a link up to a (fictional) story (by the Maggid of Bergenfield) that in many ways represents what Israel once was.

Whether it is true anymore I can't say. Read the story here and decide for yourself.
How often have you hear someone say that it is legitimate to criticize Israel and Israeli actions vis-à-vis the Arabs. They may be Jewish, they may be non-Jewish, but they always claim that they are not (being) anti-Semitic, but legitimately protesting Israeli policies.

It's time we put that myth to bed.

Dr. Charles Small, director of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism did a study of anti-Semitism, trying to discover its roots and other related issues.

After an extensive study of anti-Israel/anti-Zionist sentiment and anti-Semitism, a(n unsurprising) correlation was uncovered.

56% of those who expressed anti-Israel/Zionist sentiments and beliefs (such as believing that Israel poisons Arab wells) also expressed typical anti-Semitic sentiments or beliefs.

So the next time, someone starts to criticize Israel vis-à-vis the enemy and tells you it's OK and legitimate - flip a coin. Either side it lands on, the person you are talking to is likely to be an anti-Semite.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Everyone is ganging up on the Dati-Leumi these days because we see the issue of expelling Jews from their homes for political reasons to be black and white immoral and evil. Just as those on the left see serving in Judea and Samaria to be immoral.

But with the Right, everyone is talking about the army falling apart, something you really didn’t hear after the Left’s call for refusal.

Yes, there is the issue that one must follow orders in the army, and that is how the system works. That is in part why people go and kill the enemy, put their lives on the line, and take part in other normally socially unacceptable activities. But that is in defense of the country.

But when one receives an order, that is so clearly political, that is so clearly not part of your mandate to defend the country against external enemies; orders that you quite clearly see as immoral and evil, and to be quite blunt, not the reason you have agreed to risk your own life (day in and day out) on the line for everyone else, I think you have every right to refuse such an order.

Ultimately, the army works, because young (and old) people voluntarily agree to potentially give up their lives for society. If the citizens would cease to agree, then there would be no army (and State).

But in return for that potential price, the state, army and society have an obligation to not try to force any soldier to perform an act that is clearly immoral, illegal, and evil (unless that society is immoral, illegal, and evil). The question of doing something immoral, illegal, or evil in defense of the country, is of course situational. "Confirming your kill", might be considered illegal, but it is damn stupid not to do it as it puts your own life at outright risk.

Within the framework, the army has the right, and even obligation to (reasonably) punish the refuser, and expel him from the system. Of course the problem here is that so many people (perhaps even the majority that make up the army) feel this particular order is wrong and illegal that the mass refusal to follow it, so it is claimed, would cause the collapse of the army.

Personally, I think that last summer’s war proved theory that wrong.

The citizens of this country, for the most part, know the difference between right and left and right and wrong.

Despite the brutal treatment at the hands of the State, the leading soldiers in the last war, (unlike the authors of the left-wing “pilot’s letter” which was made up of retired and non-combat pilots who would never even be involved in the operations they were protesting) were those that were the most abused by the state for political reasons.

But as they know how to differentiate between illegal, immoral political orders, and defending the country against an external enemy – they showed up, despite every reason not to, and defended the country through the auspices of the army.

One gets hysterical emotional reactions when one mentions Nazi Germany and that their soldiers that were “just following orders”. In fact, it is impossible to hold a reasonable conversation with nearly anyone and make the analogy.

But the reality is that, that is exactly what happened in Germany, whether soldiers were in the concentration camps, or the “third” outer circle, those soldiers were directly or indirectly just “following orders”.

Demanding the same from Israeli soldiers, who see the issue as unquestionably wrong, places them in the same moral position.

And it is the Jewish soldier that properly refuses – as he should.

As a final thought, for most, one’s service lasts at most a few years. You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t want to live with that on my conscience for the rest of my life.
If you are looking to quickly drive* up North these next few days, even faster than usual, may I suggest Kvish-6?

Kvish-6 is the private toll road that goes North and South and generally has a relatively high speed limit and less traffic.

Of course, these days, if you take the road, you'll be mostly alone and be able to drive even faster.

Of course, you will want to drive faster as that will be a good way of dodging the Arab bullets that are being shot at Kvish-6 drivers.

True, the police are not sure if it is an Arab sniper shooting Jewish motorists on this Israeli road, or just incidental fire from the Arab shooting "in the air" at weddings (from over the Wall) and they just happen to hit Kvish-6.

Either way, you should have the road to yourself, but don't use that time to think about the obvious questions, such as "What good is the wall?", "What happens when they start shooting even more?", and "Wait! I didn't cross the 'Green Line', why are the Arabs shooting at me?".

Besides the massive amounts of fireworks these past few days (And where do they get them all, anyway? Are they made locally? How do they get to import such massive amounts of explosives?) there's been quite a bit of shooting in the air.

* JoeSettler does not condone or recommend speeding.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
...make lemonade.

The final route of the Wall in front of (or behind) my house is unclear, but I noticed something I found quite amusing.

People from the Yishuv nearby have been taking advantage of the long, smooth strip that has been flattened out near their town.

Groups of settler, dressed up in their finest walking outfits, are using the flattened strips as really long jogging paths.

I wish I had a camera with me. It really was funny to see.
Interesting thing happened today. I was on Ben Yehuda this afternoon where they are setting it up for some sort of major entertainment event, and standing on one of the stages that was finished, were a diverse looking group of young people singing Jewish songs in perfect Hebrew.

After a few songs, they explained that they are non-Jews from around the world that came to show their support for Israel, and let us know that not everyone in the world hates us. He spoke in English with some Hebrew mixed in, and then he made a strange slip, and then caught himself, and I suspect I was the only one who thought he almost heard the word "gospel".

They broke back into song again, and then the next guy introduced himself with a nice speech, and at the end mentioned his messiah Yeshua.

Two people seemed to have understood and they booed, the rest kind of didn't know what he was talking about (as he spoke English). I walked away at that point.

I don't know if these are part of the Messianic groups that have been preying on Jews lately, or if these are genuinely supportive religious people.

I have been wondering if, as Jews, we have an obligation to introduce them to the 7 Mitzvot Beni Noach.
Monday, August 06, 2007
One has to assume that Netanyahu is trying to “carve out the center” as his position. Of course that is no longer possible, as the center simply doesn’t exist. In the last election, instead of fighting Olmert and trying to differentiate his politics, Netanyahu chose to waste his energy fighting Moshe Feiglin, to show why he, Netanyahu wasn’t a real right-winger, but rather a centrist.

Congratulations, you proved you weren’t a right-winger and so therefore there was no reason to vote for the Likud anymore, was there?

Even now Netanyahu continues along the same path.

He toured the Binyamin region the other day, and discussed why Adam should be inside and not outside the fence. Wonderful, so Netanyahu takes a maximalist left-wing position, instead of, at least, a minimalist right-wing position.

The public is tired of this nonsense. If they want a Leftist, they’ll vote Left, but there is no reason to vote for a wishy-washy Right(?)-winger who will go Left anyway– and that is part of the reason why voter turn-out was so low in the last elections.

And that is really why Netanyahu is afraid of Moshe Feiglin.

It is not because the Left will attack Netanyahu as a right-winger, or the Likud as an extremist party, but because Feiglin is doing to Netanyahu, exactly like Feiglin did to Sharon in the Likud internal vote against the Expulsion. He is showing how empty Netanyahu’s position is, how unLikudlike his politics have become, and how Netanyahu is no longer in sync will the will of the Likud and the people.

That is what annoys Netanyahu, and that is why he is using every legal, but anti-democratic method he can to disqualify Feiglin from running against him.

When Feiglin speaks of a Jewish State, everyone jumps and says Taliban. And certainly after watching the Chareidim ban music concerts this week, people are definitely afeaid of what a Halachic state could be (I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a Chareidi Halachic state).

And that is the problem.

People hear sound bites that the media choose to present, but don’t actually hear the message that Feiglin is saying. Feiglin isn’t talking about a Halachic state, but he is talking about basing the Jewish state on Jewish values, not “universal humanistic” values (and we know what those are worth).

He is talking about reversing the lack of proper Jewish education and history that Jewish children in the public school system receive. He doesn’t say force them to think a certain way, but he certainly says they shouldn’t be ignorant of their own heritage and what they are doing in Israel.

He is talking about introducing Checks and Balances into the Court system.

Personally, I think it is time, right before the primaries, for people to hear for themselves what Feiglin has to say, rather than what they hear from the talking heads.
As long as Peace Now only targeted “Dati-Leumi” settlers, and distressed only a "minimal" number of Chareidim, the Chareidi community kept quiet.

Back in the beginning of July I wrote about Peace Now preventing Chareidi residents of the Hefziba projects near Modiin from moving in to their built and paid for homes.

I explicitly mentioned the hardships they are causing the residents and the construction companies.

I further explicitly mentioned that the court determined the land under question was Jewish owned, and how Peace Now was preventing the project from being occupied due to a minor filing technicality (that is overlooked everywhere else in this country) that could be fixed in a few months time.

The Chareidi community is now beginning to wake up and realize that the evil that Peace Now does affects them too. They are blaming Peace Now for preventing them from entering their apartments, and thus preventing Hefziba from getting the remainder of their money and freeing up their bank guarantees and credit lines.

They are blaming Peace Now for causing Hefziba’s collapse by causing cash flow problems on their major project.

Peace Now’s response is typical, “But we at Peace Now do not regret what we did.”

And they followed it up with, “[the IDF, the Civil Administration and the police ] now have a responsibility to those poor families."

Anyone but themselves.

Perhaps this will awaken the Chareidi community and realize that if they don’t stand together and fight together with the Dati-Leumi community they will be hurt again and again by the Erev Rav.

Thursday, August 02, 2007
Hefziba is was among the strongest, oldest, largest and most stable building building companies in Israel. They build all over, I would say they specialize in apartments for Chareidim and Settlers.

Last night they unexpectedly declared bankruptcy after a last ditch attempt to sell the company to Electra seems to have failed (or it failed after they found themselves forced to declare bankruptcy – that is still unclear). Hefziba has debts out in the range of 800 million shekels (around 460 million shekels of that to subcontractors).

All over the country, people are breaking into homes they purchased but had not yet received. People who put down money are breaking in to take ownership of their homes, while subcontracters are breaking in to take out what they installed and didn’t get paid for (sinks, doors, floors, faucets, etc).

This has some serious ramifications as a lot of people are going to be financially hurt here. This is the sort of thing that can snowball to a lot of other companies.

Electra may still bail them out. They are discussing that this afternoon.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but when it is broke, throw it away and get a new one.

Thanks to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein some Xian US charities wanted to donate millions of dollars to fix up the broken shelters up North. Shelters are under the supervision and responsibility of the government.

But after a year of inaction by the government to accept the money and decide how to allocate it, these Xian charities gave up.

But they didn’t give up on Israel. They gave up on the government of Israel.

Instead they approached the army and the local authorities and now things are moving properly.

This government only embarrasses themselves with each day it continues to exist.

From the JP:
Founded in 1983, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has raised nearly $400 million to support projects in Israel, and to assist needy Jewish people throughout the world.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The other day I mentioned that I was going to the Beer Festival I saw mentioned on Streets of Jerusalem.

One slight problem that the Jerusalem Municipality apparently forgot to tell everyone.

No Settlers allowed.

No, not in so many words, but they made it clear who they wanted in, and who not.

I showed up and was told that entry is forbidden to gun carriers (aka Settlers). Can you believe that?! The kid at the gate told me to leave my gun in the car if I wanted to go in (Can you believe that too?!).

Yeah, that's right, everyone at this festival was going driving after drinking, and that is OK as far as the Municipality is concerned.

Anyway, We got our money refunded and promptly turned around (avoiding the drunks), drove to Talpiot and went out to eat for the first time at Pasha’s (Glatt Kosher).

Ask me about Turkey, I say Thanksgiving.

I’ve never eaten Turkish food before. I had to ask for an English menu because I couldn’t understand what I was reading. Turns out the wife had to ask for explanations too, as she didn’t know what she was reading either.

Anyway, we ordered a whole bunch of side dishes (our favorite was the Humus with Tatbila – some kind of ground, spiced meat). Most of them were made of ground beef, like some pizza like thing called a Lachma Joun.

The olives were excellent (no meat). I thought I detected a hint of whiskey on them, but the Mrs. said they were simply good quality Syrian olives. And did I mention that the salads and pita were never ending.

We’re going back again. Next time, we'll try the main courses.

And best of all. Armed settlers are welcome in Pasha.
The full title of this post is: "Why are Israelis so afraid of real democracy and letting the people choose for themselves?"

While for some strange reason, Israelis continue to adore Dan Meridor. For years, they’ve continued to ignore what he says, while repeating that he is such a nice person and it is a shame he is no longer a Prince of the Likud.

Personally, I see no loss. What did he really represent?

Let’s look at his latest comments. He is attacking the attempts by different interests to finally put a leash (or checks and balances) on the Judiciary.

Are Checks and Balances in a democracy such a bad thing?

As Lurker once mentioned to me, the next war will be between the Supreme Court and the Legislative branch over an issue neither can back down from, and each will try to see who ultimately has control over the army. It’s a good thing that when that coup happens, more than 50% of the officers in the army are religious Jews.

Yet Meridor wants more power for this branch that has already extended its reach beyond that of any Judicial branch in any other democratic country.

Next on our list of anti-democratic behaviors is the attempts to invalidate Moshe Feiglin’s running for Likud chairman (and thus Prime Minister). Likud insiders are playing dirty and using every means possible to attempt to annul Feiglin’s candidacy before the vote.

One Likud MK said that Bibi is assured to be the winner, and any elections are pointless and a waste of money – so they shouldn’t have them.

I’m sorry, but that is a very scary comment coming from someone who got his job by being voted in. Should we now crown this individual for life too, to save on voting costs?

It’s about time that someone slapped these Israelis upside the head and shipped them all to the USA for a few years. Let them learn what democracy is first hand, and how it actually should work. Only then should they be allowed to come back and have a government position or vote.

That might really be the only way to get some change for the positive here.

Now for some good news.

The Left had been trying to block the transformation of the Academic College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel from a College into a University. After all, it’s bad enough there is Bar-Ilan, but another University that isn’t stridently Left would be unbearable. (I believe that Bar-Ilan University was assisting the Ariel College with obtaining their University status over the years).

But the Left failed in their attempt to block academic freedom.

(By the way, if this College-University thing makes no sense to you, don’t worry. In Israel they make a big deal if you went to a University as opposed to a College. Go figure.)

You see, the Left left an inadvertent loophole in the law.

As it was decided that the “Council of Higher Education” (the group that decides on University status) was not allowed to operate in post-67 Israel the “Council of Higher Education – Judea/Samaria” was created. So while the “CHE” constantly blocked the Ariel College from gaining university status, they never thought that their own political invention (the CHE-JS) could be used despite them.

Left wing ministers getting involved in this academic issue have called it a “trick” even though it is 100% legal.

Of course you need to ask, why does the government need to be involved in every aspect of one’s life in Israel – even institutions that should be free of government intervention.

Haaretz made a point to note that the committee appointed to review the decision was made up of Rightwing professors (as opposed to the Leftwing professors in the CHE who kept blocking it).
Again, another item emailed to me (creator unknown). But this is a pretty cool piece of graphic design.

If you aren't sure what you are looking at, it is pictures of the (Ashuri) Hebrew Alephbet embedded in a Jewish Star.

Man, my friends are emailing me the strangest stuff lately.

Here's a picture of the actual 72 Virgins waiting for Islamic Suicide Murderers (ISM) upon their arrival in Hell. (I don't know who made this).

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