Eretz Yisrael Time

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Sunday, August 31, 2008
I was invited, as a blogger, to cover a Netanyahu press conference today, where he will be announcing some sort of revolutionary Education program. I’m more of a Feiglin/Marzel man myself, but I was honored to have been invited. Unfortunately, I can’t go.

But I do have some advice for Netanyahu for improving the education system in Israel.

We were in the park yesterday when one child, perhaps 6 or 7, was wildly swinging one of the toys in the park in a way that was extremely dangerous to anyone else playing or walking nearby.

My wife went over and nicely asked him to stop, explaining that what he was doing was very dangerous to the other children, especially the smaller children.

Instead of stopping, this little kid had the Chutzpah to say (and say it in a way that was extremely Chutzpadik) that the small kids shouldn’t play there, and he will keep doing swinging the toy however he likes. She should go to another other area.

Personally I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine a kid his age talking back to an adult like that. He should have been terrified when an adult came over to him and told him to stop.

My wife, as an Israeli, was used to it, and didn’t let up until the child stopped his very dangerous activity.

I don’t know if he learned that behavior in school, at home, on the street or on TV (I’ll be discussing TV in another post soon), but it is certainly behavior that needs to be corrected.

School starts tomorrow. Every year, teachers report on the increase in insolence they see from students in school. What I saw yesterday was a very bad example as to how young it’s starting.

If Netanyahu wants to fix the education system, one of the first things he needs to fix is the attitude and behavior of the students. A child who isn’t respectful of his elders is not going to learn, and is going to be disruptive to the rest of the class. Where that needs to be taught, I don’t know, but I hope it is something he mentions today in his press conference.
Friday, August 29, 2008
OK people. I want an explanation.

I write amazing (or so I think) posts on important subjects, and I am lucky if I get a single comment. I write a post about pizza, and suddenly the comments are rolling in (so to speak).

Please explain yourselves.

The mic is open.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I’ve discussed pizza stores in Israel in the past. And yes, there are a few that are better than the average Israeli pizza store. But still, if there was one word that I had to use to sum up Israeli pizza, it would probably have to be “unsatisfying”.

No matter how many slices I eat, its missing something.

And I’ve tried variations. I’ve asked for extra cheese, I’ve asked for extra sauce, toppings, etc. It just doesn’t do it.

Another thing I noticed about Israelis is how proud they are of the selection of dairy products in the stores. They’ve got yoghurts and cheeses at 2%, 3%, all the way up to a whopping 32%! Look at that selection!

Ask for Cheddar, Munster, or Swiss, or some other variety, and more than likely they’ll have no idea as to what you are talking about.

Last night, while reheating pizza, my wife made an interesting recommendation. She said, take the 32% “Tal HaEmek” (by Tnuva) with its hint of Swiss, and put it on the pizza.

Five minutes later I am eating the best pizza in Israel. We’re talking texture, taste, satisfaction.

Could it be that simple? Could that have been the problem all along?

Is Israeli Mozzarella (or actually “Pizza” cheese) a light (low fat) cheese in Israel? Is that why it doesn’t look and taste right? Is that why I always walk away with that unsatisfied feeling?

I’m going with “Yes”.

Looking it up on various sources on the internet as well as different “pizza cheeses” and packages sold in the store, it is definitely clear that the fat range is always below 28% and is more often than not, some combination of cheeses with more than half being very low-fat cheeses.

There is no doubt that using this cheese, with a fat content that is somewhat closer to American Pizza Cheese, made all the difference.

Now what to do with this information?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Now that the Jblogger Conference is behind us all, and everyone is finished whining or praising, we can get back to our regularly scheduled business.

That business is of course "Settlement Activity".

"The settlement activity is not conducive to creating an environment for negotiations," Rice told a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

First of all, good to know. We'll keep it up. In fact, the message I got from that is that it's time to ratch it up a notch.

Of course, I'm not quite sure what "settlement activity" is.

I presumed that my actively living here in a Jewish village in Judea was settlement activity, but apparently, it's not enough.

Only actively building a house is, and I already did that (yes, I admit, I supported local Arab labor, and helped my Arab neighbors put food on their tables, and clothing on their kids. They even sat around my kitchen table with me drinking tea and coffee. I'm so ashamed of this settler's activity. It's just not conducive to peace at all.).

Anyway, apparently that's not enough. Now Rice tells me I have to keep building more.

So here are some thoughts I've been having.

I'm thinking I need to sneak in a caravan into Judea (you can't transport them in anymore, you have to disassemble them and then reassemble them - which makes sense to me, because they are much easier and faster to transport that way) and then using it for something. I haven't decided what yet, perhaps I'll open a Kosher Settler Diner ("Eat at Joe's").

So, I guess that might be considered building. Though technically, it's more like assembling. I'll have to check.

My other thought is to continue to help buy up land from the neighboring Arabs. From my long conversations with them, I've learned which country each one wants to take his family to, if only he could get a visa and money for his house and fields.

But then again, that's not really building either, it's just a just solution that many people on the ground here (Arabs and Jews) would apparently prefer (though not in Tel Aviv or Washington - out there they are really detached from what the people over here prefer).

I am clearly going to have to consider this "settlement activity" a little more in depth, to make sure I am still doing my part.
Friday, August 22, 2008
During the convention, I thought Netanyahu was really interesting, but took away time from the other panelists, and more importantly the Q&A sessions with the panelists. I think more time should have been added to the panels and the convention should have just finished later. I would have stayed as would have a lot of people.

Furthermore, at the time, I also thought there was a bit too much campaigning on Bibi's part.

I just listened again to his speech and you know what, I have to rethink that completely.

Bibi started off talking about blogging, and he only did a little campaigning. The rest of the time he was answering questions (at length).

Some bloggers asked him blogging questions, and some asked him very political questions, and he answered their questions based on what was asked. In fact, he gave very comprehensive and complete answers. Here and there he mentioned being Prime Minister (and pushed his book twice), but most of the time he was really answering the questions asked.

His historical lesson was also incredible - and that was actually half his speech. In fact, what was most interesting, was that I knew many of the historical facts he mentioned, but never put them together as a comprehensive whole. And while it was long, the fact is, he gave the bloggers tremendous ammunition to use to defend Israel with all this information - and as he said "you have to have that deep knowledge and deep conviction".

I understand why those on the Left was upset with his speech. He spoke about truth, justice, rights and history. And he spoke the truth throughout.

I hope next year Webads and Nefesh bNefesh put together multiple tracks, workshops (and put me on the airplane) and give everyone enough time to meet, speak and ask questions.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Let’s talk Left. As I mentioned in a previous post, my father has been sending me all these articles from various papers in NY. One article he sent me was from the Forward.

At this point I forget the whole premise of the piece, but I was astounded at how brilliant the Left really are.

Think about it. They all know how to differentiate the incredibly subtle differences between the different Arab terrorist groups.

In this particular article, the author was saying that Israel must negotiate with Hamas in Gaza, otherwise their citizens will move over to Al Qaida.

Now I can tell you the different strategic methods that each particular terrorist group (from Fatah to Islamic Jihad) prefers to deploy when murdering Jews or trying to destroy the Jewish State, but it is far beyond me to be able to differentiate why Arabs belonging to one terrorist group are worse than those belonging to a different terrorist group. Hell, some of them change groups in a day, more often than some people change their socks.

Ultimately their goals are the same, just their methodologies (usually) and strategy differ.

So I read this article, completely incapable of understanding why he advocated talking to Hamas, but put his limit at Al Qaida.

The funny thing that struck me, is that he probably thinks all Settlers are just like Yigal Amir (not realizing of course that Amir didn't live or grow up in a settlement - he lived in mainland Herzilya).
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Today is JBlogger Convention Day. I'm glad I registered early because I just read that registration is now closed as it's so full. Cool.

After reading all the amazing posts by the flying bloggers, now I am really upset I didn't get to go also.

Some of the blogs are saying that Bibi Netanyahu will be speaking too, but that isn't on the NBN site, so I don't know if it's true. And why not Moshe Feiglin? He's very interesting to hear.

Anyway, I'll be there, settling in some chair with a deli sandwich if any of my 5 readers are looking for me.

Oh, and if you didn't register, its not too late to watch the video. It will be shown on the registration page.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My father has been faxing over various articles from the US press (mostly Jewish sources). They’re all very interesting so I’d like to share some of them with you (with alternative online sources where possible).

Last week Obama fired his liaison to the Moslem community (Mazen Ashbahi). It turns out that a deeper background check found that he had high-level ties to various “charities” giving money to known Islamic terrorist groups among other obvious problems.

You can read more here, here and here.

But the problem isn’t Obama’s alone.

Both McCain and Obama are trying to vie for the Moslem communities vote, but keep facing the same impassable hurdle. They can’t take pictures with any of the community leaders or well-known figures.

No, not for religious reasons.

Because, before they allow themselves to be photographed with community supporters they have their staff do a basic background check. After all, you don’t want to give your opponent ammunition to use against you, like being photographed with someone who supports terrorism verbally or financially, or belongs to a Mosque that calls for the destruction of America.

And in nearly every case they are discovering that the leaders of the Moslem communities in America aren’t people they should be photographed with.

Makes you pause for a minute. Doesn’t it?
I’m not an expert at FSU regional politics, but I do have a number of friends originally from Georgia who were updating me regularly with reports from their family members who were suffering under the New Soviet aggression this past week.

There is no question that Russia is trying to regain its former supremacy, and has no qualms or limitations regarding the means or methods they plan to use to return to their glory days.

And besides pure brutality in the field, this includes supplying Iran with advanced weaponry, in what will be a failed attempt to turn Iran into a satellite state.

I was very disappointed with Israel’s diplomatic positions, and while the US’s position was a toothless tiger, at least they verbally took the right moral stand.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Two weeks ago I wrote about the proposed "Big Brother" law that would require citizens to supply the government with their personal biometric data.

Now the police have been caught (again) trying to illegally gain access to cellphone records without a warrant and apparently not even through official channels.

And while we know about this case (apparently because of a whistle blower), how many cases do we not hear about.

While the naive among us trust the police to not abuse their power and have nothing to hide even if they do abuse their power, the rest of us concerned citizens understand the ramifications of this problem and demand that any future "Big Brother" legislation be killed.
Are the illegalities and tax fraud of Peace Now being whitewashed and laundered?

Check it out.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I hope everyone has a meaningful (but easy) fast this Tisha B'Av.

We should be worthy of seeing (and participating) in the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash and of Jerusalem.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
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In just a week's time it will be Tisha b'Av (9th of Av). There will be posts about that this week, but in the meantime, mark down on your calendars to join the traditional Walk around the Walls of the Old City.

Every year on Tisha B'Av, thousands of Jews gather and walk around the walls of the Old City, in a fitting tribute to its destruction, and hope for its complete rebuilding.

This year the evening starts (like always) with the reading of Eichah on Motzei Shabbat (August 9, 2008) at Kikar Safra at 9:30 pm followed by the walk.

Here is a video from Tisha B'Av last year:

The Walk around the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem is a very emotional and inspiring experience. It is relevant way to appreciate this day.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
You all remember the huff and puff that Rice made when Israel refused to allow seven Gaza students to leave on a Fulbright scholarships to the US?

She made a scene and demanded they be let go, and then personally got them their visas.

And so they got their exit visas from Israel and entry visas into the US.

But the US State Department decided to investigate their backgrounds a little deeper than the Rice cake did after they got some more information, and realized that Rice made a big mistake.

Three of the students were allowed to stay in the States, and four had their visas immediately revoked - including one who already landed in the US, who was unceremoniously put on a plane back.

Statements were made that perhaps they should have dug a little deeper in the first place to ensure who they were giving the scholarships and visa to.
Bat-El Gaterer of Kochav Yaakov, a settlement in Binyamin will be representing Israel in the Olympics this year in the Taekwondo category.

You see, we settlers do more more than just eliminate terrorists in Jerusalem.

Bring home the gold, girl.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Once again the Police have been caught in their trail of lies. From top cops with Mafia connections, top cops taking bribes, perjury on the witness stand, police violence, police leaks, and so on in never seems to end, and the stories only get more sordid.

Anyway, in the latest incident, it turns out that the cops purposely watched in hiding, as Arabs (in apparent collaboration with the police) violently attacked a group of settlers. The settlers then defended themselves, at which point the cops jumped out and arrested the settlers and let the Arabs go (who had also set up cameras in advance of their attack).

The cops don't even bother to dispute that that is what happened, those were their orders.

It really is time for a purge from the top to the bottom of this sludge barrel.
Here we go.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza take control from Fatah terrorists. Fatah terrorists in Gaza then try to kill Hamas terrorists. Hamas terrorists in Gaza then starts shooting Fatah terrorists. Fatah terrorists run to pre-67 Israel for sanctuary. Israel tries to turn over Fatah terrorists from Gaza to Fatah terrorists in Judea/Samaria. Fatah terrorists in Judea/Samaria refuse to accept Fatah terrorists from Gaza. Israel sends Fatah terrorists back to Gaza. Human rights group blame Israel for Human Rights Violations.

Got that?
You don't have to be completely paranoid like "Esser Agaroth" to know that the latest government plan to collect fingerprints and photos of all Israeli citizens, as is we were common criminals, is an incredible violation of our civil rights. It is another step to the Israeli government becoming the Big Brother it wants to be.

It isn't even amusing when Ehud Olmert talks about how it will prevent certain types of crimes, as clearly it wouldn't prevent the types of serious crimes he is involved in.

This is something that needs to be fought.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
I remember 14 years ago, when Nadia Matar and Women in Green began/renewed what has become an important Tisha B’Av tradition.

The Oslo accords were in full steam. Nadia was becoming a clear leader in the fight for sanity in Israel (she obviously still hasn’t won, but she hasn’t given up).

She called her group Women in Green, as green represented life, and was the anti-thesis of the Women in Black group, a defeatist, and self-hating leftist movement started by Aliza Olmert, the wife of PM Ehud Olmert (and other radicals), that was beginning to promote their anti/post-Zionist philosophies that have since proven so dangerous and destructive to this country.

Women in Green announced that they were going to protest the attempts (through Oslo) to destroy Israel in front of the US consulate on Agron Street - by sitting there and reading Eichah, and then afterwards walking around the Old City of Jerusalem.

It was an exciting, inspiring and very appropriate idea.

And in reality it was even more exciting, inspiring, and appropriate.

Since that first Tisha b’Av 14 years ago, I’ve walked around the Walls of Jerusalem with them at least 6 or 8 times with them. And thousands (and I mean thousands of people do this walk every year)

This year again, Women in Green are Walking around the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

This Erev Tisha b’Av, August 9, Saturday Night, Megilat Eichah will be read at Kikar Safra at 9:30pm and the walk will begin at 10:30.

For more information, go to the website.

Watch a video of last year’s march:

Join Us!
Friday, August 01, 2008
OK, this is just so inappropriate. This morning I was at a brit mila of a friend (for his child).

I find it so inappropriate that people snap photos and take videos of the brit itself. We're talking zoom shots, close-ups, you know what I mean. And it's always the women that are the taking the photos.

One nearly nudged the Mohel today to set up that perfect frame.

Seriously, how inappropriate is that? What do you even plan to do with the video and the photos? Watch it? Show it to his girlfriends? Play it at the wedding?

Please. Turn the cameras off, or just take pictures of the family - that is just plain wrong.

Oh, and kids don't need front row seats either. The mohel had to also stop - in the middle - when the curious children got to close. Keep them on a leash. Thank God they didn't bump him, he was having enough trouble as it was.

Gee whiz.
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