Sunday, October 30, 2005

Heard of Havel Hevalim?

Seems there's a weekly round-up of the best (well, almost the best) postings of representative Jewish blogging.

If you go here, you'll fine the latest collection.

Maybe you or your favorite bloggers are there.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oh, So That's What You Call Them

Al-Jazeera, the Arab news service growing by leaps and bounds worldwide and spreading its reach into the western world, has a new name for suicide bombings –"Paradise Operations."

Just so you know.

Getting It Backwards

"Suddenly, the city was reversed somehow."

That's Valentine Vester talking. The owner of the American Colony in Jerusalem was relating the history of the area and her reaction to the fact that in 1967 the Israelis took East Jerusalem and reunited the city, annexing it and placing the hotel under Israeli control was "Suddenly, the city was reversed somehow."

Well, that one way of looking at the fact that the Jewish people's supreme national-political entity, the state of Israel, reentered its 3,000 year old capital, the city where its Temples stood, where its kings ruled, its prophets spoke and where the future redemption will assume it's most physical characteristics.

Hear the Iranian Threat

Here's the recording of the Iranian president's threat to wipe Israel of the face of the map, via MEMRI.

Why Blame the Kid?

CAMERA is proud that it succeeded in having a campus newspaper apologize for pubishing an article that blamed Jews themselves for anti-semitism.

It seems that on Oct. 18, Portland State University’s student newspaper, the Daily Vanguard published a column by staff member Caelan MacTavish. The opinion piece, entitled "Religious disputes over Jerusalem require diplomacy," blamed the Jews themselves for anti-Semitism, disparaged the Jewish people, and included a number of absurd factual errors about Judaism and Israel.

That same day, CAMERA contacted the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper to point out the problems and errors in MacTavish's column and to express grave concern with the piece. We also urged the newspaper to publish an apology for running the column. Portland State students, faculty and others also protested the newspaper's decision to publish the hateful column.

To his credit, the editor listened to our concerns, and readily agreed to consider our points and discuss the matter with his colleagues. This week, the crude and bigoted column was pulled from the Daily Vanguard Web site.

But why blame the kid?

AB Yehoshua, world-famous Israeli author, thinks the same way.

In this report
we learn that, according to Yehoshua

"The Gentiles feel threatened by Jews, because they have a double identity. The Gentile does not grasp that concept and so he might, under some conditions, react to it with violence."

According to Yehoshua, every Jew around the world recognizes himself as such before he assumes any other identity.

Not only do Jews possess a dual identity, but they constantly change from one identity to another. This "chameleon characteristic" as he dubs it, is difficult to accomodate and also makes Gentiles uncomfortable.

"I think a 'defined identity' has more responsibility; it has limits, it is responsible for what it does. Amorphousness is a way to get away from responsibility," he says, adding, "I describe the facts. The Jew changes all the time. He can be assimilated without any visual indications of his identity, or he can distinguish himself, as does an Orthodox Jew. At the same time, he assumes the identity of whichever nation he occupies."

And there's more here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

It's Holy Jerusalem, Not 'Holy Toledo'!

The campaign to prevent the handover of Jewish property and institutions, including a yeshiva and a synagogue, to the Vatican has begun.

Go here for a start.

Updates are being written and formulated.

No Comment Needed (at least, I hope Not)

Although Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments about Israel were extreme, many diplomats point out that they reflected longstanding Iranian policy. "He said it more loudly, more directly, more forcefully and more offensively than anyone has said for a long time," said one Western diplomat. "But he is essentially stating what is known to be Iranian policy."


P.S. What comments?


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said:

''Israel must be wiped off the map.''


October 27, 2005
Iran's New President Says Israel 'Must Be Wiped Off the Map'
TEHRAN, Oct. 26 - Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told a group of students at an anti-Israel event on Wednesday that Israel "must be wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA news agency reported.

He was speaking to about 4,000 students at a program called "The World Without Zionism," in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration held on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

His tone was reminiscent of that of the early days of Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies since then, and anti-Israel slogans have been common at rallies.

Senior officials had avoided provocative language in the last decade, but Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to be taking a more confrontational tone than have recent Iranian leaders.

He said on Wednesday that the issue of a Palestinian state would be resolved only when Palestinians took control of all their lands.

"The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world," the news agency reported him as saying. "The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land."

Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Mr. Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

More on the Satmar Contretemps

Seems they did this Simchat Torah thing before.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

About That Arab American Museum

In a previous post I faulted the NYTimes for not clarifying that when it reported that Jews lived in Arab lands "until the 1940s", that that was a euphemism for the establishment of the state of Israel.

I think I should have emphasized that the NYT itself, in one of the references I noted, had this headline in its May 16, 1948 edition:

"Jews in Grave Danger in all Muslim Lands: Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia face wrath of their foes".

You'd think that the reporter could have checked his own paper to get his background right.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Reminder of the Problem

The recent flurry of articles and interviews relating to the Temple Mount and the right of the Jews to enter and worship is not new.

In 1930, an international committee was appointed by the League of Nations following the 1929 riots to ascertain exactly that question. Its findings were published in December that year. Consisting of Eliel Lofgren, formerly Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chairman, Charles Barde, Vice-President of the Court of Justice at Geneva, and C.J. Van Kempen, a Dutchman, formerly Governor of the East Coast of Sumatra, the committee concluded that as the Temple Mount is indeed Waqf property. Moreover, it follows from this that "to the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seeing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area". The British prohibition on the blowing of the shofar at the Western Wall stemmed from this conclusion based, in part, upon a 1193 Waqf dedication by Afdal, the son of Saladin.

Yasser Arafat and other PA spokesmen have reiterated this assertion time and again, especially at the 2000 Camp David gathering.

That while we Jews know the absurdity of this claim, it has gained an element of that mythic status of "internationally recognized" hogwash.

We need to do something a little bit more than what Israel's government's have done (or actually, have not done).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bar Mitzvah Album Book

The New York Times carries this story about a new book to be published November 2, a collection from albums of Bar/Bat Miztvot.

Seems it started with a web site (and they have a Catskills site too. I'm going to look for some of my old photos for that as I missed the Bar Mitzva one).

The stories seem to resonate, if in different measures (my BM was in June 1960) so, obviously, elephants were not yet in style then.

I Could But Won't

Barefoot Jewess posted her experiences with a traffic accident and subsequent benching ha-gomel.

Of course, being that the accident was on the Shabbat and the saying of the gomel blessing was done when she received an aliyah at a mixed minyan, I could say something, but I won't.

Pikuach nefesh docheh.


I found this line irresistible and think it most appropriate to many of Israel's diplomatic woes:

With many customers, fawning is key. What a stripper sells is not her ability to dance or take off her clothes, but her ability to suspend the customer's disbelief.

Israeli politicians seem to me to be those customers in the glittery shows of international diplomacy, wanting to be with the big boys. And they move into disbelief-land with such ease.

Oh, and the line was written by a former strip club worker by the name of Elisabeth Eaves. You can find it here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Police are Mistaken

On Friday, Maariv newspaper, relating to the error in Justice Cheshin's decision, reported that a police spokesperson said that they knew it was a mistake because since 1967 no Jew has ever prayed on the Temple Mount nor ever will.

Well, in 1978, 11 Jews assembled in front of the El Aksa Mosque and prayed mincha. In the picture posted here, you can see 9, while the tenth is off to the side and the 11th is taking the picture.

Their identifications:
(left to right)
Shabbtei Zechariah
Danny Har-Habayit (Tzvi Shohami-Finkelstein) z"l
Yoel Kimchi z"l
HaRav Moshe Tzvi Segel zt"l
Shimon Barmatz
Gershon Solomon
Yehoshua Dueive
Yisrael Medad [yours truly]
Zev Bar-Tov
Yosef Elbaum [out of frame]

It also appears in Rav Segel's autobiography "Dor Dorshav" which was published by the Defence Ministry.

How Many Licks?

There's a new Arab-American heritage museum in Dearborn, Michigan called the Arab-American National Museum.

According the the NYT report,

Four Arab-Americans claimed to have invented the ice cream cone

And how many created the falafel?

But, to be fair, here's what one source claims:

The first true edible conical shaped cone for serving ice cream was created at the St. Louis Worlds Fair by Ernest Hamwi in 1904. His waffle booth was next to an ice cream vendor who ran short of dishes. Hamwi rolled a waffle to contain ice cream and the cone was born. Hamwi was of Syrian descent and holds Patent 1,342,045 issued June 1, 1920.

But this site gives a more in-depth historical over-view which points to Italian and English origins even if the four Arabs seem to have the modern patent claim, er, wrapped up.

And as for falafel, see this (no link)
Falafel: A National Icon
Yael Raviv
Gastronomica, Summer 2003, Vol. 3, No. 3, Pages 20-25

and this:

origin is uncertain, it is believed that it originally came from India, where it was made with spiced soured bread. The word "falafel" comes from the Arabic word فلفل (filfil), meaning pepper, and probably ultimately from Sanskrit pippalī. Falafel (at least the Middle Eastern style) is made from field beans, chick peas or any combination of the two. The Egyptian variation exclusively uses fava beans, while other variations may exclusively use chick peas. What makes falafel different from many other bean patties is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked, possibly skinned, then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.


My friend Ilana Brown pointed out to me this sentence in the article on the museum:

"There have been significant populations of Arab Jews in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Morocco," the museum notes. That ancient world (which until the 1940's included more than 900,000 Jews) is represented by a photograph of a Tunisian synagogue - the same one, the exhibit fails to mention, that was bombed by Al Qaeda operatives in 2002.

And what the NYT fails to mention is that the date "the 1940's" is a euphemism for the establishment of the state of Israel which led to a policy of forced emmigration from those countries.

A story which is told here and here

Ellen Horowitz's Vatican't

Ellen's article on the Vatican swap is here.

And thanks for the thanks.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


President George W. Bush had this to say, or rather not to say, about Arab terror directed against innocent Jewish civilians:-

"The way forward must begin by confronting the threat that armed gangs pose to a genuinely democratic Palestine. And those armed gangs must confront the threat that armed gangs pose to lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

Okay, so his syntax isn't the best. But the selection of armed gangs is a wimp-out of Presidential authority and responsibility.

Israel is being sold out.

Jewish blood is cheap.

Let My Palm Fronds (that's Lulavim) Go

Did you know the U.S. Congress got involved with the shortage of lulavim this year.

Here's the story.

And here's the quotation of the chag:-

"I said, 'Let my palm fronds go,' " Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) recounted lightheartedly. "We've been using reason and logic and cajoling and friendly persuasion to get them to agree to this. . . . We're trying to avoid the Egyptians from looking like the grinch that stole Sukkot."

And While We're On the Subject of Gollus...

The Washington Post brings us the story of the U.S. Naval Academy's new Jewish house of worship, or, the chapel. Or a mini-gothic cathedral?

Read on:-

"You just can't compete with all of that, and today you couldn't afford the stone," says architect Joseph A. Boggs, whose Annapolis firm designed the new structure. Thus the Commodore Uriah P. Levy Center and Jewish Chapel, its precast concrete surfaces scored to emulate the rustication of Bancroft Hall's mighty granite blocks, takes a modest place in Flagg's monumental scheme.

There is, however, nothing modest about the chapel interior. It definitely is a look-at-me space. You walk into the building, glance to your right, and there it is -- irresistible.

The biggest surprise, I suppose, is simply how tall the chapel is. From the outside, the horizontal building looks as if it would house nothing more exciting than three floors of offices and maybe a couple of conference rooms. But the chapel, taking up one half of the front portion of the symmetrically divided structure, is all about verticality. Long and rather narrow in basic shape, the room rises 47 feet from Jerusalem stone floor to aluminum-leaf ceiling, and, because of the ways Boggs manipulated the space, it looks and feels a lot taller.

In a sense, it is like a miniature Gothic cathedral -- all light and uplift.

And don't forget the Jerusalem stone.

Oops, on a second reading, I missed this I think you should know:

Interestingly, before setting out to design a synagogue, Boggs, who is not Jewish, decided not to learn much about the history of synagogue architecture. "The traditions are so deep and go back so many millennia, once you start pulling back the layers you just can't get to the center, so I decided not to know anything. I just wanted to make the purest space possible, just kind of use my intuition to create a space for Jews to worship in."

Oy Gollus

A new report to be published has some interesting Gollus demographics.

According to the newspaper linked above,

But the most startling evidence of Palm Beach County's transformation into one of the world's leading centers of Jewish life will come next month, when the county's two Jewish federations — one based in Boca, the other in West Palm — reveal the results of a population study.

It's expected to show that there are 254,300 Jews in the county, representing more than 20 percent of the overall population of about 1.2 million.

That means one out of every five local residents is Jewish.

And that means Palm Beach County tops every metropolitan area in the country by a wide margin. Even the closest rival, metropolitan New York City, has a Jewish population that represents only 9.7 percent of the overall population.

"To find a more densely populated Jewish community, you'd have to go to Israel," says Richard Jacobs, vice president of community planning for the Boca-based Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.

Yes, you'd have to go to Israel. But what did this Jew do?

Yet the frenetic growth of the Jewish population means the county is a place where newcomers, observant or not, can readily establish themselves. Rather than being deeply entrenched, the county's Jewish community is very much about the here and now.

This appeal helped lure Jonathan Marriott, an Orthodox Jew from London, to Boca Raton.

Marriott, his wife and two children moved to Boca a year-and-a-half ago, and in that short time, he has landed on the board of his temple — the Boca Raton Synagogue — and his wife has become PTA president of the Jewish school their children attend.

"You try and do that somewhere else, it would take generations," he says.

Read the entire report (here, click on this to avoid going back to the top. why work?).

Oy, gollus.

P.S. And did you read about Kemp Hill near Washington, DC?

And, Just Like I Said

If you refer back to my comment on the slip-of-the-pen by Justice Misha'el Cheshin in summing up his opinion on the recent Temple Mount case, it turned out just as I thought.

See this report on the final conclusion.

Arutz 7 Carries My Comment

The Arutz 7 story on the Jerusalem Post's edition directed towards a Christian audience includes a comment of mine.

See my previous entry on the topic.

Texas Jew-Boy

Richard (Kinky) Friedman is running for governor of Texas.

Seems The Independent (UK) thinks he may have a chance. Well, at least they devoted an article sympathetic to him.

It appears that

His team has produced a hilarious campaign cartoon making fun of Texas politicians as they speak broken Spanish on the campaign trail and invoke Jesus at every turn.

If it gets you votes, use it.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

So Stupid When You Think About It

I found these comments on a "Palestinian" blog, reporting on a recent action at the Bil'in village:

Shebab (young Palestinian men and boys) piled large rocks on the road to block the jeeps, and then began throwing stones and using slingshots to defensively drive the soldiers out of the village.

So, in a non-violent activity, you can take violent defensive measures? I haven't read about this before and I have read a lot about non-violence.

But, wait, did you hear the one about the new chemical Israeli bullet?

The soldiers fired teargas, rubber-coated bullets, and a new experimental bullet that contains chemicals and explodes on impact to cause a large bruise and internal bleeding.

Wow. Chemical warfare.

But let's get back to that stone-throwing. How "defensive" was this?

Well, let "Joe" tell us:-

While down with the soldiers, another activist and I interfered with the soldiers firing rubber-coated bullets at the shebab...While an Israeli soldier held me from behind and pushed me roughly, a large rock hurled from one of the shebab’s slingshots struck me just below the ribs...The soldier quickly pushed me away and I ran from the area to avoid getting hit by any other rocks. Shebab quickly came over to me and apologized and tried to help me up the hill, but I insisted they stay and continue defending their village. I quickly found the paramedics who treated the flesh wound, and later took me to a hospital in Ramallah.

X-rays determined that my ribs weren’t cracked or broken so I filled the prescription for an anti-inflammatory and went back to the ISM flat to rest. I found myself in an overwhelming amount of pain; I could barely breathe and couldn’t sit or stand up without almost fainting. After about six hours of anguish, I went back to the hospital and demanded they admit me and knock me out. Doped up on plenty of Tramadole and an IV, I slept like a baby. The next morning, an ultra-sound located a rupture in my spleen and internal bleeding. They thought it might heal on its own, but after a day of continued bleeding they had to operate to keep me from bleeding to death.

Well, thanks for let the whole world know that stones can kill.

P.S. Searching around, I found it that "Joe" is Joe Carr.

And this was his comment left out of the blog I quoted from above:

I completely affirm Palestinians right to resist Israeli colonial occupation. Palestinians have the right to do much more than throw rocks at soldiers committing colonial genocide, and they must if they are to survive. Boys with rocks are hardly a match for the Israeli Military heavily stocked with the US’s most deadly weapons, so it is my responsibility to help protect these boys as they symbolically resist.

My only regret, is that right now it isn’t that colonial soldier lying in this hospital bed.

I guess the best I can wish him is continued "Palestinian" medical treatment.

I Disagree

A New York Times' editorial has this to say:-

Mr. Abbas himself must begin to match his words about eschewing violence with actions because that's the only way the Palestinians will ever get the state they so crave.

I disagree.

I think that the Palestinians don't really want a state.

All they want to do is to kill Jews and to deny them a state.

I know that sounds a bit radical. Extremist, even. Alright, a little wacko.

But based on over 80 years of history, I think my viewpoint fits better the actions of the Arabs who wish to be called "Palestinian".

They had all the opportunities to set up a state and even use it t continue to do Israel and its citizens damage, before and after 1948. But, somehow, even if the diplomatic decision to give them statehood was linked to an equal opportunity effort to permit Jews to have a state, it was rejected by the Arabs, all during the Mandate period and afterwards.

Go on, check your history. Try to say I'm wrong.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Venison, Anyone?

Venison appeals to your palate?

Well, you can start here.

And for other game food, incouding bison meat, here's where you can find some New York glatt kosher restaurants that serve the stuff.

La'sova! (The proper Hebrew term for bon appetite. And if you don't believe me, just wait until you say the prayer for rain on Shmini Atzeret or Simchat Torah = "la'sova v'lo l'razon").

Jerusalem Post Goes Christian???

The Guardian (UK) is reporting

Christian leanings at the Jerusalem Post

The strange and uneasy embrace between the Jewish state and America's evangelical right is being tightened. At the beginning of next year Israel's oldest English-language paper, the Jerusalem Post, is to launch a Christian edition. The Post, a widely respected paper until it fell into former owner Conrad Black's clutches, is seeking to bolster its North American circulation by building on the blossoming relationship between the Israeli right and Christian fundamentalists.
The relationship is not an easy one....Israel passed laws against that kind of evangelising decades ago, but these days the Jerusalem Post, like the government, is less concerned with the hereafter than the here and now.

The paper is getting together with the International Christian Embassy (ICE) in Jerusalem - an organisation that says it exists to "comfort Zion" and "declare the purpose of God to the Jewish people" - to publish a monthly Christian edition from January principally aimed at American fundamentalists.

"The content is going to be jointly put together by the Jerusalem Post and the International Christian Embassy," says the Post's editor, British-born David Horowitz. "It'll be things like archaeology and tourism and ideological arguments and dilemmas and so on. Obviously, when your predominant mindset is a Jewish audience there are different stresses that go into providing content, whereas if you're doing it for a Christian audience there are going to be very different emphases and different focuses."

Now, where was that "Upper Room" we've been blogging about?

Official Vatican Report

Thanks again to Ellen H., we now have the official Vatican Radio report on the swap (see previous blogs 1, 2,):

The Upper Room

(12 Oct 2005 - RV) The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, has lamented the fact that Mass is no longer celebrated in the place where the Eucharist was instituted, the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The room was taken from the Franciscan Friars by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th Century. It is now in the hands of the Israeli Government. Negotiations continue to bring about its return to the Catholic Church.

Someone or some persons may be getting a bit too uppity about the Upper Room.

It reminds me of the story told about Barak, Arafat and Clinton at Camp David II when Arafat claimed there was no Jewish Temple ever on Mount Moriah and it was always Muslim turf. Clinton was taken aback, Dennis Ross recalled. Barak, to his everlasting credit came back with the retort:

"When Jesus came to the place to overturn the moneylenders' tables, he was in a Jewish Temple, not a Mosque."

Let's get our priorities right. This is the Jewish homeland, the Land of Israel, the Land God made a covenant with the Children of Israel. It was we Jews who had places, buidlings and sacred structures taken away from us, destroyed and withheld from us. We do not deny other religions the right to worship or to establish holy sites.

But we need not get too heated. After all, with Christians one never knows. A fight about a few keys over 150 years ago led to the deaths of more than 600,000 people.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

So They Did Pray, Did They? Or Didn't They?

According to IsraelNationalNews (Arutz 7 in English), following up on something I wrote about,

The Al Jazeera Arab site has accused "dozens of Jewish extremists" of storming the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and clashing with Moslem guards. The charge was made after the worshippers won a court appeal allowing them to pray on the Temple Mount between for a short time.

Mosque director Mohamed Hussein was quoted as saying, "...the court’s decision, could lead to dangerous results."

On Monday, the eve of the Sukkot holiday, the High Court of Justice handed down a ruling officially permitting Jews to pray on the Temple Mount but stipulated that prayers must conclude by 9 a.m. in order to prevent a confrontation with Moslems, who usually arrive at that time.

But if you read the Al Jazeera report in its entirety, you'll find this there:-

An Israeli police spokesman in Jerusalem denied there was "any change of policy with regard to the status of mosques at the Temple Mount."

"The status quo remains unchanged, we only allowed these people to enter as tourists from 7.30 to 9.30, and as far as I know they didn't indulge in any religious activity there," said police spokesman Gil Shmueli.

Remember the Church-Previously-A-Synagogue for A-Yeshiva-Previously-A-Mosque-Previously-A-Church Trade-Off?

Ellen Horowitz sent me this link on a Catholic take on the issue which I blogged about here.

Seems some of the comments are just up our alley.

But the point the needs be made is that why should we yield up property in the holy city of Jerusalem for a piece of real estate that is a) "outside the Land of Israel" and therefore, even if a synagogue was once there, it has no real intrinsic religious value any more; and b) even we were awarded it, what could we do with it? There are no Jews there, so who could be engaged in prayer services? Use it as a museum? A tourist center for the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry before they were all put to the auto de fe or expelled or forced to convert?

Doesn't make sense.

Film From Inside and Below-Ground Temple Mount

If you click here, and wait a bit, you'll be seeing a video taken from inside the Muslim construction inside the Temple Mount and below ground.

It's the Yedioth Ahronot web site and don't be unnerved by the Hebrew as the video is self-explanative.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The "Pinteleh" Yid

Many Jews are proud that yet another member of the tribe, well, one of the tribes, was awarded a Nobel Prize. This time for literature.

He is Harold Pinter.

This article though makes some claims that should unnerve us, among them:-

With his typical contempt for the facts, Pinter has also claimed that Israel has used nuclear weapons against the Palestinians. “Israel has these weapons and has used them,” Pinter assures the dwindling population of readers who still take him seriously. Like the United States, Israel for Pinter is not so much a state as a symbol, an all-powerful force that controls events on a global scale. Thus, in November 2002, Pinter blamed Israel for almost all the violence currently plaguing the world when he charged that Israel’s supposed injustice toward the Palestinians was “the central factor in world unrest.”

Oh, well.

Prayer on the Temple Mount Permitted?

In the fifth paragraph of the High Court of Justice's decision of October 16, 2005, Justice Misha'el Cheshin writes that

in order to separate properly between the two camps [the Muslims who are praying and the Jews who are praying - YM], the Jerusalem Police Commander has decided to permit Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount only until 9 AM...and we cannot say that permission for Jews to pray until 9 AM is not unreasonable... [instead of until 10:30 AM as the Temple Mount Faithfull had requested - YM]

Aviad Visouli of Haifa notes that this is a precedent.

I don't want to dampen things, especially as I have been attempting to pray on the Temple Mount since 1970, but my guess is that it is a slip of the pen and will, somehow soon, be corrected.

(Here is a picture of me unceremoniously being removed from the Temple Mount in July 1971.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It Will Be a Kosher Meal, Yes?

Haaretz is reporting that Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul, is selling himself on eBay to raise money for a Jerusalem hi-tech college.

The details are that Murdoch has set a reserve price of $25,000 per ticket for the lunch date with him, and all profits will go to the Jerusalem College of Technology.

eBay states that the winners of the bid "will enjoy lunch in a private executive dining room at News Corporation's world headquarters in Manhattan with Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation."

The food will be kosher, will it not? After all, JCT maintains a Bet Medrash and considers itself an outstanidng Torah-based educational institutution.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

After 9 They Turn Into Pumpkins?

The High Court of Justice on Sunday rejected a request by the Temple Mount Faithful to place what the organization said was the cornerstone of the Third Temple next to the Western Wall, Israel Radio reported.

The court also rejected a request by the group to visit the Temple Mount after 9 A.M. during the week-long Sukkot holiday, which begins Monday night.

Seems There are other Hareidim Out There

Here's a translation from the Arabic of a religious Islamic text concerning soccer.

Gee, they're tough.

For example:

3. Do not call "foul" and stop the game if someone falls and sprains a hand or foot or the ball touches his hand, and do not give a yellow or red card to whoever was responsible for the injury or tackle. Instead, it should be adjudicated according to Sharia rulings concerning broken bones and injuries. The injured player should exercise his Sharia rights according to the Koran and you must bear witness with him that so-and-so hurt him on purpose.

4. Do not follow the heretics, the Jews, the Christians and especially evil America regarding the number of players. Do not play with 11 people. Instead, add to this number or decrease it.

How Far Down is "Down"?

Steve Erlanger would have us believe that, in an report of his, that unlike Mahmoud Abbas, "Yasir Arafat kept the Islamists down".

But this is incorrect.

In fact, in December 1993, Arafat had already reached an agreement with Hamas, initialed in Egypt. Since that time, the Palestine Authority and Hamas have, with minor disputes, being colluding to pursue a terror campaign against the civilian population of Israel in actions that should be defined as war crimes. The late Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, warned Arafat in a speech in the Knesset plenum on April 18, 1994 that his compromise with Hamas, allowing them to continue the terror acts, would jeopardize the peace.

As Marwan Barghouti, now in an Israeli jail, made clear after the infamous Bet Lid attack in January 1995 in an interview with the BBC, as long as terror was conducted outside the areas of PA control, in other words, in Israel proper, then they were to be permitted.

"Down" would seem to be quite a relative term.

So, how low can the NYT go?

But Who Is the Rabbi?

So they got married.

But who is the officiating Rabbi?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ever Read What One Could Call "Obfuscation"?

Norman Podhoretz quoted, in passem, an attack Isi Liebler made on US outgoing Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer in his article in COMMENTARY.

Kurtzer replied in a letter (COMMENTARY's Letters columns are famous for their content and those who get published therein).

I am going to quote this in full, Kurtzer and Podhoretz, as some of you out there are lazy and don't click on to get to the source. Kurtzer displays diplomatese, that special language used by diplomats, to its fullest. Read on:

In a letter to the editor
in your July-August issue,
commenting on Norman
Podhoretz’s article, “Bush,
Sharon, My Daughter, and
Me” [April], Allan Leibler
asserts: “At the end of
March, the American ambassador
to Israel, Daniel
Kurtzer, stated emphatically
that there was no understanding
with the U.S. regarding
Israel’s retention of
major Jewish population
centers on the West Bank.”

In his response, Mr. Podhoretz
refers to “the Kurtzer
flap.” Both Mr. Leibler’s assertion
and Mr. Podhoretz’s
offhanded response have no
basis in fact.

The reality is that President
Bush made a clear statement
of U.S. policy in his
April 14, 2004 letter to Prime
Minister Sharon (an excerpt
of which Mr. Podhoretz
quotes accurately), and I, as
the United States ambassador
to Israel, have emphasized
repeatedly and publicly
that this letter reflects American
policy. There is no misunderstanding
between Israel
and the United States in
this regard. Unfortunately, a
totally false article in an Israeli
newspaper in late March
2005 got its facts wrong
about statements attributed
to me, apparently leading
Messrs. Leibler and Podhoretz
to draw erroneous

My own public
statements on the day the
false report was published, as
well as statements for the
record by senior U.S. officials
in Washington, clearly
underscore the continued
applicability of the understandings
conveyed by President
Bush to Prime Minister
Daniel C. Kurtzer
United States Ambassador to
Tel Aviv, Israel

Norman Podhoretz
The “flap” to which I referred
did indeed take place,
and it did indeed concern
Ambassador Kurtzer’s reported
denial that the United
States had agreed to Israel’s
retention of the major
Jewish population centers
on the West Bank. Furthermore,
Allan Leibler was—
to put it mildly—far from
the only Israeli who remained
unconvinced by Mr.
Kurtzer’s insistence at the
time that he had never made
the statement attributed to
him by an Israeli newspaper.

In my own response, I
neither endorsed nor rejected
Mr. Leibler’s interpretation
of Mr. Kurtzer’s
disavowal as “damage control.”
I must confess, however,
that Mr. Kurtzer is not
altogether wrong in suspecting
me of having leaned
toward Mr. Leibler’s skepticism.
Even so, I strongly
disagreed with Mr. Leibler’s
idea that the Bush administration
was using its ambassador
to distance itself from
the plain sense of the letter
President Bush wrote to
Prime Minister Sharon on
April 14, 2004. ( Here, yet
again, is the crucial passage:
“In light of new realities on
the ground, including already
existing major Israeli
population centers, it is unrealistic
to expect that the
outcome of final-status negotiations
will be a full and
complete return to the
armistice lines of 1949 [i.e.,
the ’67 borders].”)

Unlike Mr. Leibler, I
thought it more likely that
if Mr. Kurtzer had in fact
denied that these words
meant what they certainly
seemed to mean, he was acting
not as a spokesman for
the President’s policy but as
an opponent. But if so, how
could a sitting ambassador
have dared to come out
openly against the President
he was supposed to be representing?

My guess was that the answer
—if the case were truly
such as to require one—
might lie in Mr. Kurtzer’s
continuing thralldom to the
old policy (according to
which it is axiomatic that law
and justice and peace require
a withdrawal by Israel to the
’67 borders and the removal
of all Jewish settlements
from the West Bank). If this
too were so, he might simply
have been unable to believe
that President Bush had
actually committed the United
States to what could easily
have struck anyone like
himself—anyone, that is,
who had cut his diplomatic
teeth on the old axioms—as
the political equivalent of declaring
that parallel lines will
eventually meet.

And now? Well, persuaded
as I am that (1) President
Bush most definitely did repudiate
the old policy in his
April 14 letter; (2) that he intends
to stick by the assurance
contained in that historic
document; and (3) that
Prime Minister Sharon is
therefore right in claiming
American backing for the inclusion
within Israel’s future
borders of “the already existing
major Jewish population
centers” in Judea and
Samaria—persuaded of all
this, I am more than happy
to drop my initial suspicions
and to take Mr. Kurtzer at
his word when he writes
above that he never questioned
“the continued applicability
of the understandings
conveyed in April
2004 by President Bush to
Prime Minister Sharon.”

Just that you should know, I think Podhoretz is wrong and that no one knows what Bush meant, least of all Bush, but that this was a sop to the State Dept. officials who were traumatized by the slight possibility that Bush actually did agree to an Israeli presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines (referred to eupemisitcally as the "Green Line").

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Just Can't Wait to See How This Ends

A web buddy, JD, sent me this:-

Vatican offers swap deal to regain site of Last Supper

THE Vatican is hoping to regain control of the Room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem, one of the most sacred sites in Christianity.

It will, in exchange, hand over to the Jewish community the historic synagogue at Toledo in Spain, at present a Catholic church.

The Upper Room, where the Last Supper is said to have taken place, is held by Christians to be the place where Jesus broke bread and drank wine with the disciples on the eve of his Crucifixion and also where the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost.

The Room of the Last Supper is the fourth most holy place in Christendom...The present Gothic-arched room is not the original but was built by the Crusaders in the 14th century. Along with the rest of Jerusalem, it fell to the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century and was transformed into a mosque, whose Arabic inscriptions are still visible. Since the foundation of Israel the area has served as the site of Jewish yeshivas, or religious schools, since Jews believe that the Tomb of King David lies beneath the spot.

Well, the Yeshiva involved, I am pretting sure is the Diaspora Yeshiva. It's Rosh Yeshiva and founder, Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, was my 9th grade teache at Yeshivat Chofetz Chaim in Queens.

Rabbi Goldstein, I can assure you all, is not going to let this go through, well, at least not without a fight. And as he was active with the American Friends of the FFI (which stands for Fighters for the Freedom of Israel or, in plain English, the Lechi, that will be interesting to observe.

Missing Book

Following a news item about an exhibit concerning Lawrence of Arabia, I followed a link to see if a book I possess is listed. It wasn't.

The book, "The Murder of Lawrence of Arabia", is a work of fiction and claims that the Irgun (!), of all persons and/or organizations, was interested in his death to prevent him from reorganizing the Arabs against the Zionist project in Mandate Palestine.

Since Lawrence was killed in a traffic accident involving perhaps reckless motorcycling and two boys on bikes, one of which he clipped, and that it happened in 1935, all I can say is that it's a good tale, but still, fiction nevertheless.

"TV is Trash"

Now, who said:-

My kids don't watch TV. We have televisions but they're not hooked up to anything but movies.

TV is trash. I was raised without it. We don't have magazines or newspapers in the house either."

Can't guess?

Okay, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Bit of History

New York's Jewish Press carried this article dealing with the blowing of the shofar after the British banned its blowing in 1930.

Now, this matter may seem arcane but its background is important because Arafat always kept bringing up that commissions conclusions, that the Temple Mount belongs to Muslims as does the Western Wall. The Jews have only certain religious practices that must be guarded and even the Western Wall Plaza is Waqf property. Here's a concise summary:-

1- The Muslims are the sole owners of the West Wall of Al Aqsa Mosque.
2- The Muslims are the owners of the pavement beside the Wall.
3- Worship-related instruments used by the Jews near the Wall do not give the Jews any right in the Wall or the pavement.

And if you don't believe me, here's the report itself.

Anyway, back to the Jewish Press article. It presents a problem so I wrote them this letter:-

The article by Larry Domnitch, "The Shofar of Hope and Courage", (Oct. 3) telling the story of Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Segel HaLevi zt"l who first blew the shofar in protest against the prohibition declared by the British Mandatory authorities in then Palestine in 1930 lacks one crucial fact.

Domnitch writes that "In the following years, others, inspired by Rabbi Segal, followed his example and shofars were sounded at the Western Wall as Yom Kippur ended. Each year, the inevitable arrests followed". Actually, every single year until 1948, the shofar was blown and it was done so not by some anonymous "others" but exclusively by members of the Betar Zionist youth movement and Irgun fighters.
One who did so, Dov Gruner, was later hanged by the British after raiding a police arms depot.

None of those shofar blowers were members of any of the other religious Zionist youth movements. It seems that religious motivation was insufficient. Proud nationalism was essential.

Another One That Didn't Get Published

This was a letter of mine sent in to The London Jewish Chronicle. It didn't appear, so, for your benefit, here it is. It's self-explanatory.

Robi Damelin, on a visit to England together with an Arab woman whose sister was killed, stated that the sniper who killed her son David, shot at a roadside checkpoint, did so because he was a symbol of the occupation but "didn't kill the right person." (Bereaved families peace project, Sept. 23).

Who was the "right person" one wonders. Was it a female teacher returning home? A Rabbi traveling to his Yeshiva?

Was it the 5 month old baby whose head was crushed by a rock? The bride blown up one day before her wedding? The teenager cut down in a fussilade of bullets on the basketball court of his school? Or any of the hundreds of other Israelis, foreign workers, tourists and other Arabs killed by Arab terrorists who rejected a more-than-generous peace offer in 2000?

Indeed, is Ms. Damelin the right person to be talking about peace?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

In the Not-Too-Distant-Future?

This picture is a photo-montage of the Kotel Plaza with a conceived construction of the Third Temple taking place.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I Didn't Make This List

Oh, well, I didn't make Jason Maoz's list this year.

But since the Jewish Press is Brooklyn-based, we can always say "wait 'til next year!", no?

Really HIGH Holidays

I know it's not fair and it's not in the true spirit of the holiday season and that if it had been someone from another denomination, well, what the heck - here it is:

What's the modern explanation of the Aramaic phrase l'eila ul'eila לעילא ולעילא?

And the answer?


You don't believe the story?

Try again.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rosh Hashana Greetings are getting so much more creative

Click on to this one.

And What Do You Call This - @ ?

One of the advantages I seem to have gained by being networked with many people from the community of Jewish revenants in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza), Israeli politicians, foreign diplomats, journalists and other media elite, the literati, and now, the bloggers' world is being able to link up with all sorts of people. People who are interesting, fascinating, odd, famous, about-to-be famous and, of course,

One of them, Nancy Szokan, from the Washington Post, was looking for someone to write a personal piece following the expulsion operation of the Jewish civilian populatuion from Gaza, euphemistically termed disengagement.

In giving her my e mail address over the phone, I used the Hebrew expression 'shtrudle' (that's my phonetic pronounciation of the word which, I presume, is German in origin) for the @ sign. That nonplussed her. So, I had to explain why we Hebrew-speakers call @ 'shtrudle', that tasty folded-in unto itself pastry, and what is the correct Hebrew Language Academy term (it's 'krocheet', for those that don't know).

Anyway, seems an article grew out of that misunderstanding. Very intersting, actually, because now I understand better.

Here are the article's opening paragraphs:

Where It's At -- and Where It's Not

By Nancy Szokan
Sunday, October 2, 2005; B02

I'm talking on the phone to an Israeli writer who goes by the nickname Winkie, and I want to send him some information. "What's your e-mail?" I ask.

"Winkie M, Strudel, Yahoo dot com," he says.

"Strudel?" I said. "As in the pastry?" (I'm thinking: Maybe he has a little bakery on the side?) "You mean WinkieM, then s-t-r-u-d- . . . "

"No, no -- it's strudel , that little A sign," he says. "I think you call it 'at'?"

Of course. With a little imagination, I could see that a slice of strudel resembles the @ sign that separates user name from host in e-mail addresses. "Strudel!" I hoot. Winkie, agreeing that it's funny, later sends me a list of words that people in other countries have used for the @ symbol -- most of them a lot more entertaining (if less efficient) than our simple "at."

Enjoy reading all of it.

And thanks to Nancy for putting me in the pages of the Washington Post. And maybe I'll get someday to some other pages.