Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Join in on the discussion, why don't you?

A discussion on ramifications of the Rabbi Yochanan Ben-Zakia model, well, sort of, has developed here.

Join in, why don't you?

Whatever is Zionism coming to?

Look what Zionism is coming to.


What ever happened to Andrew Krucoff?

First, the backstory: Krucoff is, as you may have heard, currently unemployed. He’s also Jewish, but only nominally. He’s currently dating a sexy and sassy jack modern-ortho chick, who has piqued his interest in making his Judaism at least slightly more than just nominal. And he likes to travel.

Mash that all up like a big bowl of chopped liver, and you get your answer? Kruc’s leaving for Israel.

Bat Mitzvah Antics Continue

Read on.

And on.

And this earlier story from South Florida's Sun-Sentinel published November 14th:

Remember when a bar or bat mitzvah used to involve a religious ceremony, a celebration and a lot of Israeli dancing? Well, here in South Florida, the bat mitzvah experience can be oh-so-much more.

"I wanted to have the party of the year," said 13-year-old Amber Ridinger, who celebrated her bat mitzvah with 215 of her closest friends at "Butterflies and Bling," an affair that included celebrity guests such as Mike Piazza, Irv Gotti, Alicia Rickter and Brande Roderick. "A lot of kids are having big parties these days."

Guests entered the party via a pink carpet that led into The Forge restaurant in Miami Beach. The room was decorated with crystals and gemstones. Decorative butterflies swooped down from the ceiling above tables covered in custom crystal-embroidered linens. Edible delights floated in mid-air.

Amber's parents, Internet marketing honchos J.R. and Loren Ridinger, arranged for professional recording artists Ja Rule, Ashanti, Marques Houston and Omarionto perform. But the highlight of the evening was the debut of Amber's clothing line, "Gossip," in a full runway show.

"It's a line for teens and young adults," said Amber.

Amber also introduced the perfume she created especially for the evening, "Amber No. 13."

One only has to wonder what Amber's wedding will be like.

-- Robyn Friedman

Monday, November 28, 2005

So, Lawrence Was Buggered

A new book out, "Lawrence of Arabia: The Selected Letters", edited by Malcolm Brown (Little Books £20, pp590) and its companion volume, "Lawrence of Arabia: The Life, The Legend" (Thames & Hudson and Imperial War Museum £24.95, pp208) finally have, er, closed the chapter on Lawrence of Arabia and what happened to him when captured by the Turks (you all have seen the film, yes? well, the scene can be found here).

His letters home during this period, though still the work of a seriously damaged man, betray a serenity that resulted from his self-imposed removal from the public eye. Still in a state of near-total mental exhaustion, he begins to lay important ghosts to rest.

These are some of the most carefully crafted letters he ever wrote: to great literary figures such as EM Forster, Robert Graves, John Buchan and George Bernard Shaw, but also to his former comrades in arms, his family, his publisher and his lawyer. These are the words of a man putting his life in order, as if readying himself for a new life, or death.

His letter to EM Forster at the end of December 1927, just before leaving for Miranshah, is one of the most significant because it addresses the much-discussed issue of his sexuality. In it, Lawrence faces up to his rape at the hands of Turkish soldiers after his capture at Deraa almost exactly a decade earlier. Forster had sent him a ghost story, 'Dr Woolacott', in which a young squire dies after a sexual encounter with a male employee on his estate and Lawrence appears to find a form of release from his demons in reading it. 'There is a strange cleansing beauty about the whole piece of writing,' he says.

He then discusses his own experience: 'The Turks, as you probably know [or have guessed through the reticences of Seven Pillars] did it to me, by force: and since then I have gone about whimpering to myself, "Unclean, unclean". Now I don't know. Perhaps there is another side, your side, to the story.'

It is a terribly sad letter in which he seems to suggest that he has never had a physical relationship with another human being and believes he never will.

Did I Post This Film Already?

If not, go on, watch it again.

Alms for the Poor

Eric Silver, an old friend, has a report published that charity cash for Palestinian poor was siphoned to suicide bombers.

Oh, really?

Read on:

Millions of pounds donated by British and other European charities to help the Palestinian poor were unwittingly diverted to fund terror and support the families of suicide bombers, Israeli prosecutors claimed yesterday.

Ahmed Salatna, 43, a Hamas activist from the West Bank town of Jenin, was remanded in custody by a military court charged with distributing €9m (£6.2m) for such purposes over the past nine years. The recipients are alleged to have included the family of a young man who blew himself up at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001, killing 15 people and wounding 107. Hamas and Islamic Jihad acknowledged responsibility.

The charge sheet names two British charities, Human Appeal International and Interpal. Human Appeal is a broadly based fundraising organisation, currently helping victims of the Pakistani earthquake. Interpal describes itself as "a non-political, non-profit-making charity that focuses solely on the provision of relief and development aid to the poor and needy of Palestine". No one was available for comment at its London office yesterday. Other charities mentioned were the French CBST, the Italian ABSPT and the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which operates in Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.

I Hope the "Zubors" in the IDF Are Under Control Now

Did you know that a criminal investigation is being carried out into bullying in the British Royal Navy?

Seems new recruits were filmed apparently being subjected to violent bullying as part of an initiation ceremony. In Israel, this is called "zubor".

A video has emerged seemingly showing a newly qualified member of the navy's Royal Marines beaten unconscious by someone who is said to be one of the man's senior officers.

The alleged assault was filmed by a fellow marine of 42 Commando unit, who claimed in an interview with the News of the World that initiation rituals involving the sadistic use of violence were commonplace. He said that in this case the wounds inflicted were so severe as to be life-threatening.

The News of the World reported that the video shows 12 new marines, who had recently finished a 32-week training course, being brought to a field. Around 40 other marines, most of whom appear to be naked, encircle the men.

The officer at the centre of the investigation issues instructions for the young men to eat raw eggs and chunks of lard. Then he orders them to strip naked, and to give each other piggy backs around the field, the newspaper claims.

Briefly he disappears from the field of view before returning, dressed in a surgeon's uniform, mask and cap and orders two of the men to wrestle each other. A third man, dressed in a schoolgirl's uniform, oversees the fight.

At first, the two men are provided with rubber padding for their arms, but they are then told to remove it. When one of the alleged victims asks his superior why this is happening, the superior attacks him brutally, rendering the young man unconscious, according to the newspaper. When the man regains consciousness, he vomits.

This is a land of democracy, of civilization?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

David Irving in Jail. Finally

Some of us, before Shabbat, read that revisionist historian and antisemite David Irving was incarcerated in Austria. He's the one who lost handsomely to Deborah Lipstadt.

Here's an elaboration of the details:

David Irving, the discredited British historian of the Nazis, will spend Christmas and New Year in a Viennese jail after yesterday being refused bail and being remanded for four weeks pending trial for allegedly lying about the Holocaust.
Mr Irving is being held in Vienna after being arrested two weeks ago and has been charged with denying there were gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp in speeches he made in Austria 16 years ago.

He is to be tried under a 1947 Austrian law banning Nazi revivalism and criminalising belittling or justifying the crimes of the Third Reich. No trial date has been set. The case should be heard in January. Irving faces a jail term of one to 10 years if found guilty.

"But Irving told me that he has changed his views after researching in the Russian archives in the 1990s. He said, 'I've repented. I've no intention of repeating these views. That would be historically stupid and I'm not a stupid man.'

"He said, 'I fully accept this, it's a fact. The discussion on Auschwitz, the gas chambers and the Holocaust is finished ... it's useless to dispute it'."

Oh, really? read on...

According to Mr Irving and his lawyer, the 67-year-old historian, who lost a major libel case against Penguin Books and the US historian Deborah Lipstadt in the high court in London five years ago, entered Austria this month via Switzerland and drove to Vienna to meet student radicals renowned for their pro-Nazi views.

While driving there he suspected he was being shadowed by plainclothes police and abandoned the meeting. He then drove to Graz in southern Austria and was arrested by motorway police while trying to return to Vienna.

The New York Times and the Jews

A good friend, Ruchie, sent me a great article on the New York Times.

You can find it here and to wet your whistle, here are the first two paragraphs:

The New York Times and the Jews
November 17th, 2005

The New York Times narcissistically regards itself as the patron saint of minorities. The paper shifts into attack mode whenever it sees the slightest and most ephemeral whiff of prejudice against blacks, women, or immigrants especially Muslims. Private golf clubs, college sports teams, corporations, the Patriot Act, all have been tarred by the Times in their quest to abolish prejudice.

Yet the New York Times seems to take the opposite approach when dealing with one particular minority: Jews. The Timesmethod of dealing with anti-Semitism ranges across a very narrow and disheartening spectrum: indifference, whitewashing, defense and promotion of its practitioners, and finally, and most repugnantly, the paper itself seems to occasionally engage in anti-Semitism.

A Letter on Jerusalem

On November 25, my favorite New York Times carried an article, "Europeans Rebuke Israeli Jerusalem Policy", dealing with a European Union report on Jerusalem.

As you can guess its tone and content, let's get right to my letter that I sent and probably will not be published.

Prior to the 1967 war and Israel's subsequent administrative control over the entire city of Jerusalem and extending its sovereignty to it, Jewish rights in the eastern neighborhoods, supposedly secured in United Nations' resolutions, were ignored.

No reports were issued, and headlined in the world's press, regarding desecration of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. No reports noted confiscation and destruction of Jewish property. No reports condemned refusal of Jordan to permit free access to the Western Wall. Jerusalem had become forcibly depopulated of its Jews and no European diplomat really cared.

If now is the time to become perturbed and bothered, this EU report not only will "reinforce" Israeli opinion that Europeans are pro-Palestinian but will confirm the woeful lack of morality this type of political posturing poses.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Jewish Blog Article


The Jewish corner of the blogosphere

Rebbitzins, olim, and chassids, oh my!

The Jewish blogosphere is a many-faceted universe expanding at warp-speed and here's what we have to say about it.

by Alli Magidsohn

Friday, November 25, 2005


In modern politics, there are several key terms that, to be "in", one must know and use.

There is decolonisation.

There is deconstruction.

And, now, with Sharon's new moves, we have:




Sharon Centers on What's Left

My op-ed comment in The Forward.

An excerpt:

The ideology that brought Sharon to power has been destroyed, first by Oslo and then by his own hands, with this summer's disengagement from Gaza. The prime minister now appears to have a new agenda. The Land of Israel, he seems to believe, is not a value but a commodity that can be traded. The Jewish communities living beyond the Green Line, he seems to believe, have little of the pioneering quality that has long defined the Zionist ethos.

In place of his discarded ideology, Sharon is now putting his faith in what he believes to be the center of the Israeli electorate. Whereas previously the center was a marginally small segment of the population, comprising dissatisfied and floating voters, Sharon believes that his policies over the last couple of years have created a firm, durable center — one that can be his, in a most personal sense.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Grandfather at his Grandson's Brit Millah

No words needed.

Ah, to be Young, Beautiful and...Black

Here it is, Heidi Singer's LOST TRIBE piece:

In a dark little bar on the outskirts of her neighborhood, "Dini" trades her thick flesh-colored stockings and navy suit for high heels and short skirt. Back home in Hasidic Williamsburg, she's the model of piousness - except for the dark towels covering her windows when she's watching her illicit TV, sneaked into her apartment in a garbage bag. So goes the secret double life of a Hasidic rebel in the ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect, whose members live in a time warp and shun contact with the outside world.

A controversial new book, "Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels," takes a bold look at the handful of Hasids who just don't fit into their close-knit but strictly religious communities. Author Hella Winston spent many months exploring this largely unknown Orthodox underworld for her doctoral thesis at City University of New York, and found stories of Hasids hoping to either cope or escape.

Some of the subjects, like Malkie Schwartz, boldly rip away their fur hats, wigs and prayer shawls and walk away from family, friends and the only community they've ever known, building new lives on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Others, like "Yossi," shave their beards and stop believing in a "Torah life," but struggle to find their way in the outside world, remaining with a foot uncomfortably in each.

And then there are married fathers like Yitzach, who doesn't dare rebel openly - but secretly dreams of getting a tattoo. Others take their fantasies a step farther, watching movies and reading non-religious books, changing into jeans and gelling back their sidelocks on the subway to Manhattan - and blogging about their lives on the Internet.

Although she's been taking heat from the ultra-Orthodox at book readings and Jewish radio shows, Winston insisted she's not attacking Hasidism.

"By no means do I have an agenda to condemn these communities or the religion," says Winston, who's Jewish. "I'm trying to show a side of things that really hasn't been out there - to show there are some serious problems and people are suffering."

The book's main character, Yossi (like most of her subjects, Winston changed his name to protect his identity) was a respected young scholar from the ultra-secretive Bobov sect, trapped in a loveless arranged marriage and a faith that no longer made sense to him.

After getting divorced and shaving his beard, Yossi's father kicked him out of the house and cut him loose. These days, Yossi mostly wanders around the city, looking for free things to do, and dreaming of going to college and becoming a filmmaker. At night, he hangs out in an East Village bar, changing into his religious garb for the subway ride back to Boro Park, where he lives with his grandmother.

"Some people make a religion of leaving - they want nothing more to do with the neighborhood," says the mild-mannered youth, over cheese blintzes in a Boro Park eatery. "But I come to Boro Park, I still schmooze."

Now that he has left, Yossi knows the tell-tale signs of other Hasids in rebellion. Walking down a residential street off bustling 13th Avenue, the heart of Boro Park, he points out suspected double-livers.

"That guy, he had a nice trim beard and short sidelocks," Yossi says, pointing to a young man hurrying down the street. "If someone trims, you know he's up to something."

Yossi still has a Yiddish accent, but in secular clothes, he walks and stands differently. When he's in a bookstore, coffee shop or even a nightclub, he sometimes spots other Hasidic rebels just by their posture. He's been shocked to discover the number of fellow travelers.

"I see it's not such a small community as they tell you - and there's always coming new people," he says. "I thought I might have a hard time adjusting but I found people from all communities are the same. They have the same craziness."

The book brings out some fascinating things about Hasids' reaction to the larger world.

Hasidic men are notorious night owls, accustomed to big gatherings with alcohol and dancing. So it's only natural they gravitate to nightclubs to recreate some semblance of the social life left behind.

And secret male TV watchers love Jennifer Aniston on "Friends," because her hair looks a little like the wigs Hassidic women don to cover their shaved heads. But "Seinfeld," the quintessential TV show about New York Jews isn't so popular, according to Yossi.

But Winston was amazed not by the differences but the similarities as she researched "Unchosen."

"The most striking to me was just how much like everybody else they are," Winston says. "They like the same kinds of things the rest of us do - like the Yankees or "Friends."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Is Eyal Arad an Idiot?

Haaretz reports on an interview Eyal Arad, Ariel Sharon's PR aide and advisor, gave the Guardian.

From the story:

Ariel Sharon will offer the Palestinians independence in exchange for
the guarantee of security for Israelis if he is re-elected prime minister.

Political strategist Eyal Arad told The Guardian newspaper that Sharon would not operate on the principle of land for peace if he wins elections slated for March.
Sharon will follow the road map peace plan, and abandon the principle of land for peace, which failed with the Oslo accords with the Palestinians.

"The road map replaced the falsehood of 'territories for peace' with a much more realistic formula - security for independence.

The root of the conflict is based on the Palestinian quest for independence, Arad said.

I think he's nuts.

But here's what a central PA official had to say:

The Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said: "They have been trying to say borders are not the issue while they use the [West Bank barrier] to build a border. I hope that ... the Israeli people will elect a government that will shoot for the end game, for a peace treaty and they know that to get that they must withdraw to the '67 borders. There is no other way."

Does anybody agree with me?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

How's This For a Negotiating Idea?

Israel never seems to be able to insert in any of the myriad agreements they have signed with the Pals., either with the U.S., EU or anyone else in the general vicinity, a simple codicil that would clarify the possibility of a "fall back" position for Israel.

It works very simply.

All it would state is that if the Pals. don't do so-and-so or such-and-such, then Israel has the full right to withold, to stop, to prevent, to _______ (fill in any punitive measure) or to revert to any pre-exisiting situation and that the Pals., next time around, have to start their negotiating not from where they left off, as they have always managed to do, but they have to go back and make up lost territory (literally, I would hope).

Is this too much to expect from our brilliant and dashing diplomats?

And Gershon Solomon Isn't Radical Enough?

As reported, Ra’id Salah, head of the radical Islamic movement in Israel, which denies the Jewish state’s right to exist, paid a visit to the mosques on the Temple Mount on Sunday.

Salah heads the Galilee branch of the movement and spent the past two and a half years in jail for a variety of security related offenses. Salah was released last July, on condition he not visit Jerusalem for four months. The ban expired last Thursday.

Fearing an outbreak of violence, police, according to one report, persuaded Salah, not to visit the Temple Mount last Friday. A spokesman said that Salah’s visit was planned for Sunday, due to time constraints.

I can't figure it out.

Gershon Solomon of the Temple Mount Faithful isn't radical enough top be allowed into the Temple Mount?

And what about Yehuda Etzion? He's radical and has been in jail. What, he doesn't qualify either?

Ah, To Be Young, Jewish and Female

One Robyn Friedman reports about a South Florida Bat Mitzvah.

Amber Ridinger celebrated her bat mitzvah with 215 of her closest friends at "Butterflies and Bling," an affair that included celebrity guests such as Mike Piazza, Irv Gotti, Alicia Rickter and Brande Roderick.

Guests entered the party via a pink carpet that led into The Forge restaurant in Miami Beach. The room was decorated with crystals and gemstones. Decorative butterflies swooped down from the ceiling above tables covered in custom crystal-embroidered linens. Edible delights floated in mid-air.

Amber's parents, Internet marketing honchos J.R. and Loren Ridinger, arranged for professional recording artists Ja Rule, Ashanti, Marques Houston and Omarionto perform. But the highlight of the evening was the debut of Amber's clothing line, "Gossip," in a full runway show.

Amber also introduced the perfume she created especially for the evening, "Amber No. 13."

One only has to wonder what Amber's wedding will be like.

Approximate cost: close to one half million dollars.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Does Saul Singer Sound Different?

Does Saul Singer sound different here than here?

Read on:

The U.S. reluctance to replace the "peace process" with a demand for Arab recognition of Jewish national rights is a massive concession to radicalism that undermines the entire American post-9/11 regional agenda.

The Arab demand for Israel's destruction has become so normal that it has lost the power to shock, despite its clearly fascist and genocidal quality. A measure of this normalcy is that we often don't even realize our acceptance of it, and have no idea how we might speak and act differently. Yet it easily done, once a decision is made that is a mistake to broker with a jihad.

The U.S. should say that the Palestinian demand for a "right of return" to Israel is not a legitimate final status issue, but a barely disguised refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist. America should say that the Arab states, if they truly believe in peace and Israel's right to exist, should open diplomatic relations with Israel now, rather than wait for Palestinian statehood.

The U.S. should also make clear that rampant officially sanctioned Arab anti-Semitism and anti-Israel boycotts will produce the same kind of diplomatic isolation as they would if they appeared in a place like Austria.

The U.S. should, in short, put the Arab jihad against Israel on the same plane as the fight against the global jihad on the West.

The Mt. Zion Campaign Collects Kudos

This site grants the Mt. Zion Committee, which I and my wife have been recently active in, much credit.

Here's the opening paragraph:

New York, NY (PRWEB) November 4, 2005 -- The International Society for Sephardic Progress (ISFSP) is pleased to announce that activities of its Committee to Save Mt. Zion have resulted in a tremendous success with a major announcement by Israeli President Moshe Katsav. The president has gone on the record in both the Jerusalem Post and other media outlets formally denying that the Vatican will be given part of the King David’s Tomb Complex on Mt Zion in Jerusalem.

Jewish AND Anti-semitic

This news item really takes the...er, kugel.

THE son of the violinist and humanist Yehudi Menuhin has been ousted as head of the German branch of his father’s foundation because of his extreme right-wing views.

Gerard Menuhin, 57, caused uproar by suggesting that Germany was being blackmailed by an international Jewish conspiracy preying on the country’s war guilt. He was forced to resign as chairman of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation (YMF) in Germany, which was established to encourage the musical talent of young immigrants...

...One of his more vitriolic columns condemned Jewish “souvenir hunters” who gather evidence in Germany to help them to lodge financial claims for wartime persecution.

...Mr Menuhin outed himself as a clear sympathiser with the neo-Nazi cause in two published interviews this month. In Deutsche Stimme, voice of the National Party of Germany, he used classical anti-Semitic language while still staying within the boundaries of German law.

“An international lobby of influential people and organisations is trying to keep the Germans under pressure,” he said. “Some nations — mainly America, but other Europeans, too — are profiting from an obedient Germany.”

...There has, in fact, been a history of family sympathy for German nationalists. Mr Menuhin’s grandfather, Moshe, was a determined anti-Zionist and expounded his views in the National Zeitung; he was arts editor from 1968 to 1970 although he was aware of its extreme German nationalism. He left the job only because the paper was not anti-Zionist enough.

American Jewry's Aggression Against Israel

Here's an extensive quote from a report on the activity of the Israel Policy Forum [I once appeared before a group of their's and mentioned here in a previous blog about ASeymour Reich's letter to the NYTimes on Ehud Olert's "tiredness"]:

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice extended her stay in the Middle East to broker a Gaza border deal. The Rafah border crossing is slated to open November 25, when European inspectors are set to arrive to monitor compliance with the border agreements.

Sources affiliated with the liberal wing of the American Jewish community told Haaretz that New York Jewish leaders had encouraged Rice to intervene aggressively in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the Gaza border crossings, telling her this would gain the support of American Jews, according to sources affiliated with the community's liberal wing.

In particular, the sources said, they urged her to take a tough line against Israel, especially on issues such as a settlement freeze and dismantling illegal settlement outposts. The sources said several leading New York Jews held talks with Rice recently at which these issues, as well as the impasse over the border crossings, were discussed.

However, they also urged her to press the Palestinian Authority to meet its commitment to fight terror.

Among others, Rice met in Washington earlier this month with the heads of the left-wing Israel Policy Forum, who expressed their views on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Following the meeting, the forum also sent her a policy paper in which it urged the U.S. to take "aggressive" action on three issues.

"The U.S. should embark on these steps immediately and vigorously. The three steps are interrelated. The success or failure of one will impact on the success or failure of the others. The program presented will allow the United States to help build and reinforce the first section of the bridge that began with this summer's disengagement and must end with the viable and realistic two-state solution," according to the IPF policy paper entitled "Building a Bridge from Disengagement to Two States."

"The three steps that should be implemented in tandem, rather than in sequence, are as follows: Unambiguous and effective efforts by the PA to control terror and prevent attacks on Israelis; an Israeli freeze on extending existing settlements, including roads and other associated infrastructure, and removal of unauthorized settlement outposts; and efforts to help grow the Palestinian economy so the Palestinian Authority can provide jobs and basic services for Palestinians. This effort would help strengthen the PA's position among the various Palestinian factions, including Hamas."

IPF President Seymour Reich, who participated in the meeting with Rice, told Haaretz, "We don't presume to say that it was because of our conversation with the secretary of state, or the political paper we sent her, that she acted so aggressively to achieve the border crossing

However, he added, "I have no doubt that we bolstered the secretary of state's instinct and strengthened her opinion that aggressive American involvement was needed to achieve practical results."

Advice for Ladies in Jail

Judith Miller, former New York Times reporter who went to the slammer for refusing to reveal her journalistic sources, had this advice for ladies in jail:

"Makeup's forbidden, but jail develops amazing skills. For instance, M&Ms are sold in the canteen. Water the red ones, crush them, make paste with the dye and you get lipstick. Tweeze your eyebrows with a piece of string twirled around. Coloring pencils allowed in one empowerment program got used as eyeliner. In the laundry, there are styrofoam cups. Wet a color pencil, rub it into the styrofoam, break off a small piece and -- a mascara brush. Or use your toothbrush, but then you must rinse it out well."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Our Unique Self-Defeatism

Allow me some excerpts from a report on the showing in Tel Aviv cinema a work which "some Israelis praise suicide-bomber film".

A movie about Palestinian suicide bombers had Tel Aviv viewers on the edge of their seats _ and some even found themselves empathizing with the two West Bank mechanics trying to attack their city.

The award-winning "Paradise Now," which tries to explore the motives of bombers and has been screened in other countries, is now in limited release in Israel, a country struck by 122 bombings that killed hundreds of people in the past five years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

"You don't identify with one side more than another," said Esther Wiener, 50. "I understood the other (Palestinian) side. I saw human beings who are caught up in this quagmire. There is no right side and no wrong side."

The film tells the story of two friends, Said (Nashef) and Khaled (Suliman), who are dispatched to carry out a double suicide-bombing and accept it as their fate. They shave their beards to blend into Israeli crowds more easily, pray and prepare farewell videos.

Alon Garbuz, director of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, said the movie is important for Israeli audiences. "This doesn't legitimize the bombers," Barbuz said. "But you can understand them."

Now you all know why Israel is in trouble.

And if you can't figure it out, you're in trouble, too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Cantor Sings "Off-Broadway"

Sent to The New York magazine [corrected] by Orthomom who was upset that the annual sex issue didn't arrive in brown-wrapping, and after finding out that Columbia University's sex columnist grew up Orthodox, I fished around and found Dudu Fisher:

Great news for show-tune-loving Jews: The new semi-regular cantor at the New York Synagogue on East 58th Street (an offshoot of the society-packed— and -backed—Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton) has played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway and the West End and in his native Tel Aviv. In Dudu Fisher’s debut service earlier this month, he performed traditional Jewish choral pieces accented with outtakes from Les Miz and Phantom of the Opera to a packed house of prayer. Of his new star tenor, Rabbi Marc Schneier says, “We’ve raised the bar in terms of what’s available to the Jewish consumer on the Upper East Side.”

Monday, November 14, 2005

How did we lose the Lebanon campaign?

Fear of casualties was paralyzing. "Public pressure against staying in Lebanon influenced the army, and trickled all the way down to the lowest ranks," he writes, deepening the phenomenon of holding fighting units to lower standards. "That phenomenon was devastating in my eyes. When each incident is examined separately, it is hard to recognize the extent of the problem. Stopping a mission for fear of an entanglement involving casualties sometimes appears the right thing to do. In the long run, lack of determination and a crumbling of values are received loud and clear by the enemy."


Brigadier General Moshe Tamir, head of the Central Command headquarters who was in Lebanon throughout most of the conflict; from a deputy company commander in Golani in 1985 up to sector brigade commander on the northern border at the time of the pullout. He later commanded the Golani Brigade at the height of fighting in the territories.

His book, "Milhama Lelo Ot" (published by the IDF's Maarachot), is the first attempt to analyze the army's functioning in this campaign. In fascinating prose and with impressive honesty, Tamir depicts the evolution of the fighting, from the first encounters with an unknown Shi'ite enemy, Hezbollah, through Operation Accountability in July 1993 and Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996, the death of his friend and commander, Brig.-Gen. Erez Gerstein, to the withdrawal.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Vocabulary Addition


Using a blog to broadcast something slanderous, disrespectful, scandalous or embarrassing about someone.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rami Khoury, Get a Life or Forever in Self-Denial

Here's the opening of a report from Jordan:

The Maktoum Mosque was crowded with worshipers for Friday Prayer as the imam sharply criticized the suicide attacks on three hotels in Amman, saying those who committed the crimes were not Muslims, no matter what they called themselves.

Afterward, on the street, people agreed that whoever committed such an act could not be a Muslim. But many meant this literally, that the attack must have been carried out by outsiders, namely Israeli agents.

"Who said it is them?" asked Ahmed al-Zawahrah, referring to claims that members of a radical Islamic group were behind the blasts. "It could be Israel."

Almost as worse is Rami Khoury's comment:

"People don't blame Israel out of a vacuum," said Rami Khoury, a Jordanian political commentator and writer based in Lebanon. "There is a very strong historical reason, because Israel has caused a lot of grief for Arab people one way or another."

Grief, maybe. But suicide bombings?
Come on, get a life!

Israel? Israel Who?

Here's the full text of a letter that appeared in Saturday's New York Times.
[Sorry for all those who aren't subscribed to the NYT and can't open the NYT links - YM]

To the Editor:
Re "Murder in Jordan" (editorial, Nov. 11):

I find it fascinating that in an editorial addressing terrorism, you make mention of acts of terror in New York, Madrid and London, but do not include Israel in your list.
Israeli citizens experience terrorism almost daily, either in the actual dastardly deed itself or in the successful attempt at thwarting this vicious worldwide scourge.
Israelis have learned to live with terrorism. Life goes on. There are security guards at every bank, supermarket, post office, restaurant and office building. Yet Israelis do go out, travel and make the most of life.

This, indeed, is the way to effectively battle terrorism and overcome the objective of the terrorists.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel

a) Kudos to Stuart
b) Israel, I guess, just doesn't fit into the NYTimes.
c) write too: letters@nytimes.com

The Biased BBC Blog

The Biased BBC blog, run by Natalie Solent, placed my BBC-Gaza comment up and there are loads of comments.

Go here. (Nov. 11 th entry)

Go on, Make A Difference

Go here and make a difference.

You can help the Governors of the BBC understand what is wrong with elements of their broadcasting and coverage of Israel.

I had an opportunity this past week to meet and discuss matters with a most senior BBC official and I am sure that if the Independent Review is presented with reasoned complaints with solid examples, a difference can be made.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind."

The line "I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind" was penned by Ernest Dowson back in 1896.

So what, you say?

So read this:

It is not yet known whether Peres, 82, who has become accustomed to losing elections, will retire from politics, or whether he will continue with "business as usual." His daughter said this morning that in her opinion, her father will not quit. "He is like the wind; he can't be stopped or closed up," she said.

And talking about wind, shall we be a little wicked or a bit gross or even yech.

If any of my readers are upset, now you know how I feel about Shimon Peres, his policies and the danger he presents to Israel.

Peres is Out; And Sharon?

With Shimon Peres' loss to Amir Peretz as chairman of Israel's Labour Party, Ariel Sharon is bereft of a major partner for his planned break from Likud.

Israeli politics are so much fun.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

BBC Blackout

The BBC outdid itself a while ago, on October 22 to be exact.

In a broadcast, put up on its web site,it purports to retell the archeological history of Gaza without mentioning any Jewish find or presence.

No Biblical, ancient, Middle Ages nor modern period is mentioned when Jews lived in Gaza. Nothing from the Bible. Nothing from the Roman period. Nothing from the 15th and 16th centuries.

If you go here, and and here you'll read what the BBC couldn't inform you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Intifada Comes to France

It has arrived.

The Intifada style of Muslim protets has come to sweet Paris.

Eleven vehicles were burned out and a policeman lightly injured in the latest overnight disturbances in the northeastern Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where passions were raised a day earlier when a tear gas grenade was fired into a mosque.

Here, watch.

A Matter of Lopping Off

Lopping off seems to be problematic with the Vatican.

Likewise, lopping off Mt. Zion's Jewish presence would be just as horrific.

Is Jerusalem for Sale?

(title reference here)

Here's an update on the Vatican-Mt. Zion real estate deal:


after two years of work, the yeshiva was supposed to meet with government/municipality/ministry (?) to review the leases and make sure they were air tight. That meeting that was to be held after Sukkot was abruptly cancelled and NOT rescheduled.


there's a letter of THREAT written very "nicely" written by a guy named DAVID BARTHOLDY. tried getting Bartholdy on the internet and wasn't able to do so.

Finally, having read the letter again and again, noticed for the first time that on top of the fax, it said, "Kertesz-Groag Arch," and realized, this guy must be working for an architectural firm. haven't found the firm yet, but found that:

In 1970, Architects Gabriel KERTESZ and Shmuel GROAG were put in charge of the urban renewal of YEMIN MOSHE by the East Jerusalem Development Company and the Jerusalem Foundation.

This jives with the story that Arabs from the East Jerusalem Development Company were seen touring the mountain.

Gabriel Kertesz, specialises in revitalisation of historical urban sites. Among his projects: Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha¹ananim, Jerusalem, and Zichron Ya¹akov KERTESZ and GROAG are also named as the architects who were supposed to completely redesign LIFTA.

So these are very big heavy hitters, and obviously, their plan is NOT just for a little room above KING DAVID'S TOMB, but more likely, an ENTIRE Christendom

Remote Control Security

From the NYTimes today:

Israel wants to be able to monitor Rafah traffic via closed-circuit television, a demand the Palestinians reject.

''The third party is there for a reason, to monitor that we carry out our obligations,'' said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. ''The Israelis have left ... There should be no camera linkage to Israel.''