Friday, June 29, 2007

Kalman Liebskind on Israel's Media

With thanks to Steve Plaut:-

Kalman Libskind is the main "scandal investigation" reporter for Maariv. He is not particularly identified either with the Right or the Left. He is very good at digging out muck. He has long attacked Peres, but less because of Peres' idiotic "ideas" and more because of his corruption.

Here are some excerpts from his column in Maariv today, not online, in print only in Hebrew, my translation:

'Are the Media at Fault? Damned Right!

'....There are two main reasons for the stigma of shame attached to the Israeli media. The first is not related only to the Katsav affair. It has to do with the conversion of journalism into the indentured servant of its sources. A great deal of the sources are leaks from people whom journalists themselves should regard with suspicion, but prefer not to check out deeply, that is, "source" people who are promoting specific personal interests. It is because journalists know that if they check sources the leaks will end. ... The truth? It can wait for better days!

'The second reason for the disrespect that Katsav got from the media is directly related to the points Katsav raised in his press conference. The truth needs to be proclaimed: The Attorney General spilled Kastav's blood, the police coerced witnesses so that testimony would fit its agenda, the media endlessly mocked Katsav and his people. Katsav and his people asked the media again and again to check facts, to ask questions, raise doubts. And time after time the media looked down at them in condescension, like lords looking down upon a few punks in Kiryat Malachi (Katsav's home town)...

'Let's say it clearly even if it is unpleasant to hear. The Israeli media are so unidimensional and monolithic that they are a major threat to democracy itself. There are no real flows of ideas in them and no new faces there of "others". All of the members of the media are almost the exact same, and almost none of them look like Moshe Katsav. The media are composed of white, Ashkenazi, secularist, leftist elitists, who look down upon anyone who is not just like them as an outsider. Anyone who checks how many journalists live in Haim Ramon's neighborhood and how many live in Katsav's neighborhood in Kiryat Malachi will understand the point instantly. In this entire dismal affair, the media serve not as reporters but as self-interested, biased, and self-promoting. Anyone who thinks the media will now conduct a self-evaluation should go get a cold drink and think again. The media only investigate other people, never themselves.'

Temple Mount Prayer

Lo and behold, I opened a book on my shelf and there, stuck under the flap of the cover was this picture:

I had put up a similar one and forgot that this one was somewhere.

Ten Jews during Mincha (afternoon) prayer on the Temple Mount just in front of El Aksa:

(from left to right) Shabtai Zecharia, Dan Beit-Hamikdash (Tzvi Shohami), Yoel Kimchi, Rav Moshe Tzvi Segal, Shimon Barmatz, Gershon Salomon, Yehoshua Duek, Zev Bar-Tov (slightly hidden) and myself, Yisrael Medad.

Previously, I dated this to late 70s-early 80s but on reconsideration, I'm going to date this no later than 1978.

P.S. Just in case you are wondering, Jew #10 is taking the picture but for the life of me I can't remember who it was.

BBS and a Crook, Too

But, despite what much of the media says, this is not a ‘civil war’, and Hamas is not made up of ‘gangs beyond the control of their leaders’. Hamas’s action was conducted with the aim of removing the influence of just one of Fatah’s security forces in Gaza, the militia controlled by Muhammad Dahlan, Abbas’s national security adviser. Hamas has insisted that this has not been a conflict with Fatah in general, and it was notable that neither the Palestinian security forces – effectively the Palestinian ‘army’ – nor the police in Gaza were targets of the recent violence.

Really? Are you nuts, Alastair?

Found here.


British Bull-Sh*t.

This time by one Alastair Crooke.

Alastair Crooke is former Security Advisor to Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative and Head of Foreign and Security Policy. He played a role in the negotiations to end the Siege of the Church of the Nativity in 2002 and helped facilitate the Palestinian cease-fires of 2002 and 2003. He also was a staff member of the Mitchell Committee that enquired into the causes of the Intifada.

and this
Founder of Conflicts Forum – an international movement which engages with Islamist movements broadly; organiser of US and European unofficial dialogues in 2005 with Hezbollah, Hamas and other Islamist movements; former special Mid-East adviser to European Union High Representative, Javier Solana; facilitated various Israeli-Palestinian ceasefires during 2001-2003; instrumental in the negotiations leading to the ending of the siege of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem; mediated in the negotiations leading to the ceasefire declared by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in June 2003; staff member of President Clinton’s Fact Finding Committee, led by Senator Mitchell into the causes of the Intifada; direct experience of conflict over a period of 30 years in Ireland, South Africa, Namibia, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Colombia; co-ordinator in hostage negotiations; author of articles and contributor to television productions on the Palestinian–Israeli conflict and on insurgency and political Islam more generally.

London Bomb - Islamic?

Car bomb found in central London

Police say the area will be closed for some time. Police have disabled a car bomb containing gas cylinders in the heart of central London.

Can't be the IRA as they've made peace.

And While We're On the Subject...

...of peace proposals, here's another IMRA gem:

23 June, 2000

The following is IMRA's translation of the "non-paper" prepared by the Clinton Administration outlining the positions of Israel and the Palestinians before the summit as published in Hebrew in Yediot Ahronot today:


1. Jordan River and bridges: Under Palestinian sovereignty, but an international observer force, that will include a large Israeli unit, will be stationed there. The Palestinians have proposed UN forces instead of the above force.

2. Jordan Valley: Under Palestinian sovereignty, but Israel leases it under a long-term lease (the Palestinians have yet to agree to this). Likewise, it will be agreed in advance that in the case of an Arab attack from the East, Israeli military forces stationed in Beit Shean and Maaleh Adumim can redeploy to three to four areas in the Valley without requiring Palestinian consent.

3. Right of return: We have the apparatus and the programs. The problem is solved for all practical purposes. We have a vague wording that meets Arab demands for the right of return but it will be so limited in numbers and additional limitations that it will not have any real significance such that it will meet the needs of the
Palestinians without causing concern to Israel.

4. Jerusalem: The Prime Minister [Barak] is still torn between the "interim agreement" approach of [Chaim] Ramon and the alternative approach proposed by [Shlomo] Ben Ami and [Oded] Eran. There has however been progress in convincing the Prime Minister that an interim solution of the eastern Jerusalem issue by classifying it as a kind of Area B will not suffice. Barak is beginning to understand that the People of Israel are ripe for a permanent agreement within
which there is the transfer of Arab neighborhoods to Palestinian sovereignty with the annexation of Jewish areas by Israel. This will improve the demographic balance. It should also be understood that it is impossible to call an agreement that leaves the problem of Jerusalem unresolved as "an agreement ending the conflict". Everyone, even [Minister] Yitzchak Levy [NRP], understands that in the end it will be necessary to draw new borders - so why not deal with this reality now. In any case, this matter requires a Knesset vote in accordance with the law ("Kahalani Law" [Golan Law]), that sets that the transfer of territory subject to Israeli law,
jurisprudence and sovereignty requires a 61 MK majority and a national referendum.

5. Land swap: The Prime Minister still virulently opposes this, but Indyk [American Ambassador] believes that Barak will have to reassess his position if he want to reach an agreement. The swapping of territory is difficult to implement in accordance with Israeli law and may open a Pandora's box, but the negotiators understand that without it the chances of reaching an agreement are slim. [Mohamed]
Dahlan [head of Preventive Security in Gaza] says that if there is a land swap the Palestinians would be prepared to accept settlement blocs covering 4% of the area of the [West] Bank.

6. National referendum: The United States receives the internal polls done by the Prime Minister according to which Barak can attain a 72-75% majority for an agreement with three elements: an end to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute; leaving most settlers under Israeli sovereignty; leaving Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. A national referendum will be carried out according to the French example [of 1962], when De Gaulle won a national referendum [on withdrawal from
Algeria] after he declared that "a vote against the national referendum is a vote against me and if I lose I will resign."

7. Financial aid from overseas:

+ Refugees: Over 100 billion dollars will be invested in the rehabilitation of refugees over the course of 10 - 20 years according to the following breakdown: 40 billion for the Palestinians, $40 billion for Jordan, $10 billion for Lebanon and $10 billion for Syria. The funds, of which 25% is American, will go to a new
international body (and not the World Bank or the IMF), that will replace UNWRA [that today deals with the Palestinian refugees]. This body will transfer the funds for collective and individual compensation.

+ Israel's security: Israel will receive less than the $17 billion it asked for for leaving the Golan, but not much less than that. The aid will include the main elements of the Golan package that were not specifically earmarked to the Golan as well as funding for the erection of fences and additional costs directly associated with the agreement in the West Bank and Gaza.

+ Palestinian infrastructure: The amount of aid for the establishment of a new state is not set. The allocation of less than $5 billion for water infrastructure over a 20 year period is not a serious problem.

8. Settlers not in settlement blocs: We are struggling for the rights of the 40,0000 settlers living outside of the settlement blocs to remain in their homes under Palestinian sovereignty - if they so desire. There is still no answer to the question as to if it is possible to get Palestinian agreement on this matter. It is also true that the continued presence of settlers in the area transferred to the Palestinians is likely to be a landmine that will explode the agreement.

9. The paper: The parties developed a joint "nonpaper" in Stockholm but the Palestinians later claimed that it only represents the Israeli position. This paper will be the opening point of the summit.

Yediot Ahronot 23 June 2000

And Just Where is "Palestine", Sari?

I posted previously about Sari Nusseibeh's new book and I just found some old opinions of his over at IMRA (while doing a search for something else).


Sari Nusseibeh: Refugees to replace Israelis in Ramat Eshkol, French Hill and other Jewish neghborhoods in eastern Jerusalem / Nusseibeh: Post-'67 capital neighborhoods an issue

The status of Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem built on land won in the 1967 war is an issue that must be negotiated as part of a final peace agreement, Sari Nusseibeh, the Palestinian Authority's top representative in Jerusalem, said yesterday.

"People living on territory taken by Israel are settlers. What happens [with them] is a matter that needs to be worked out in negotiations," Nusseibeh told The Jerusalem Post.

He said he supports a complete return to the 1967 borders, and the status of
neighborhoods such as Gilo, French Hill, Pisgat Ze'ev, Neveh Ya'acov, Ramot, East Talpiot, and Ramot Eshkol would need to be resolved, since Palestinians view them as settlements.

"My position is that the 1967 line should constitute the border between the two states. The settlers should return to Israel, and the [Palestinian] refugees should be resettled in Palestine," he said.

...the heart of the conflict - Jerusalem - was not, in his words, a "totally inscrutable problem," Nusseibeh said: "We need to deal with these issues head-on, and I believe it is doable if there is enough creativity courage and will."

..."I am not a negotiator and have no specific solution," he replied, when asked if he endorses the proposal for "divine sovereignty" for the Temple Mount. When pressed, he said such a definition is "redundant," since one of the attributes of God is absolute sovereignty.

...He also told Israel Radio "one would have to be blind not to see the Jewish
connection to Jerusalem," refuting Arafat, who alleged at Camp David there is no Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

...Yesterday, he chose his words carefully and cautiously. "One has very often to replace dreams about the past with a vision for the future. Time changes,
reality changes. You cannot go back in time," he said.

Asked if Israel has a moral right to exist after past assertions it "was born in sin," Nusseibeh said existence precedes morality.

"There is a difference between existing and acquiring the moral right of exist. No individual or nation is born with a moral right to exist, but having existed, you acquire the moral right to exist," he said.

"Extemists" All?

Zionist Extremist Plans

Yesha Council plan - The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip and Likud Party extremists are preparing an alternative to Sharon's unilateral plan. The Yesha plan would extend Israeli sovereignty to all of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. No independent Palestinian state would be created west of the Jordan River. Instead, Israel and the territories would be partitioned into cantons, with two cantons created for the Palestinians - one in the Gaza Strip and one in Judea and Samaria. Some settlers consider that this plan is a betrayal of their cause as well.

The Elon Plan - Tourism Minister Benny Elon (National Union) is a follower of the late Rehavam Ze'evi.. He believes in transferring Palestinians out of Israel and declaring Israeli sovereignty over the entire West Bank. Jordan would be recognized as the Palestinian state. Elon doesn't explain how countries would be induced to recognize Jordan as the Palestinian state. More details can be found on the Elon Peace Plan website.

Moshe Feiglin's Plan - Feiglin is a far-right Likud Activist. His 'plan' calls for full Israeli sovereignty over the whole of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the expulsion of Arabs who object. Other Arabs will be encouraged to immigrate, but those who "demonstrate their loyalty to the Jewish State's hospitality and accept the Jewish People's sovereignty over the Jewish People's land will be granted legal residency and issued a legal resident's identification card... [T]hey will have no political right to vote for the Knesset, or any national rights.

Palestinian Extremists

Hamas - The Hamas continues to call for an Islamic Republic in all of Palestine. Jews would be able to live in that republic as second class "dhimmi" citizens. Sheikh Yassin said recently that Jews could have their own state in Europe.

Secular Democratic State - Left wing Palestinian extremist groups still favor the Secular democratic or secular Marxist state of the PLO. Jews would be allowed to live in Palestine following return of the Palestinian refugees, but no further Zionist immigration would be allowed. Jews would have equal rights as citizens, but would constitute a minority in a majority Palestinian State.

Al Awda - The Al-Awda group was founded expressly to block a final settlement that does not allow return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. Their plan insists that refugees will return to Israel, though not necessarily to the homes they abandoned in 1948, as these do not exist for the most part.


An Unkind Cut Or, Medical Progress

Egypt: All Female Cutting Banned

Egypt strengthened its ban on female genital cutting by eliminating a legal loophole that allowed girls to undergo the procedure, the Health Ministry said. The ministry’s step, which came after an 11-year-old girl died last week while undergoing the procedure at a private clinic, canceled a 1996 provision that had permitted the surgery “in situations of illness” should doctors advise it. Female genital cutting, also known as female circumcision, is performed on Muslim and Christian girls in Egypt. A 2005 Unicef report found that 97 percent of Egyptian women between 15 and 49 had had the procedure.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yes, There Were Unsavorable Jews

No one single national group is immune to problems of individuals.

Like this guy:-

Joseph Silver or Joseph Lis, was born in 1868, in the smallish Jewish community of Kielce, in south-eastern Poland. Both Silver’s father and grandfather engaged in various kinds of petty criminality; but young Joseph was not to be confined either to the place of his birth or to the minor misdeeds of his progenitors. Joining the tide of poverty-stricken Jews fleeing westwards, at the turn of the last century, from the systematized exclusions and state-sponsored pogroms of Eastern Europe, he arrived in London at the age of sixteen.

Over the next thirty-five years he was to be repeatedly imprisoned for his crimes in a variety of countries – among them Britain, the United States, the Transvaal Republic, the Cape Colony, the Orange Free State, the former German West Africa, Germany itself, France, Belgium, Brazil (with a sustained sideways excursion to Chile), and then Britain and the United States once again. His chief occupation throughout was that of brothel-keeper and trafficker in women; his stock in trade usually consisted of handfuls of Jewish women recruited for the industry either from the utter destitution of the Pale of Settlement alongside the Russian border, or from the sweatshops of the West.

But he was always ready to turn his hand to auxiliary activities, whenever the opportunity arose: burglary; gambling; brawling; selling friends and enemies down the river; corrupting police and licensing authorities; beating up the women in his power; constantly keeping his eye open for further female “remounts”, either to sell on to other pimps or as substitutes for those who had become too worn out by illness and drink to be of further use to him.

In the midst of the First World War he chose, for unexplained reasons, to return from the United States, via neutral Holland, to his birthplace, Kielce, where he fell foul of the Austrian forces which were then in control of that part of Poland. On this occasion, however, he was unable to get away with a brief sentence, as he had done surprisingly often elsewhere. About a year after his “homecoming”, the Austrians transferred him to the larger garrison town of Przemysl, where he was sentenced to death and executed, either for espionage, or theft, or possibly both.

But was Joseph Silver none other than Jack the Ripper, Britain’s most notorious serial killer?

Read Charles van Onselen
The world of Joseph Silver - racketeer and psychopath
656pp. Cape.

Ken - Kudos!

I received an invitation from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs to attend a special briefing by Dr. Kenneth W. Stein, Director, Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History and Political Science, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia on “The Carter Book Controversy” for today.

Excellent presentation. Good discussion.

Great bunch of people present.

Go here for his web site and here for all his material on the Cater apartheid book.

Isn't That Called "Repression"?

Dozens of Hamas members have been arrested in the last week, since the
militant Islamic group drove Fatah out of Gaza, the West Bank’s smaller and more
radical sibling. Men with beards — the symbol of religious devotion and, often, of Hamas — say they are sticking close to home. Hamas’s charities, a bedrock of the group’s support, have been attacked, and their workers are lying low.

Not when it's being done by Fatah.

Hagit Knows Best - Does She?

The Peace Now group said on Wednesday that Israel could do without many of its military checkpoints in the West Bank.

Visiting two of more than 500 roadblocks Israel operates in the West Bank, officials of the Peace Now group questioned the efficacy of many of the checkpoints that hamper Palestinians' movement on roads that do not lead into Israel.

"These checkpoints don't prevent terrorists from infiltrating into Israel," Hagit Ofran of Peace Now told reporters at a checkpoint near Jerusalem, where soldiers monitored passing Palestinian vehicles, occasionally stopping a driver to see identification papers.


This is so ridiculous.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Meme Tagged

My wife tagged me.

One of the last times I played "tagged" I lost half of my front tooth (okay, that was in the 5th grade so maybe the game has improved).

Here are The Rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

I mean, like, this is so, well, nochschlepperish.

What's the point? What is unique? What special facts? What unordinary habits?

But, the blogosphere has its own customs and rituals so, I'll give it a stab. Oh, well.

1. At the age of 58, I once again began studying for my MA in Political Science.

2. I first met Eli Weisel in the apartment of Zvi Kolitz in 1968 on the Upper West Side.

3. At the age of about 4 I fought off two Puerto Rican kids who tried to steal my tricycle in the Bronx.

4. I collect too many newspaper clippings in the belief that only I know exactly what's important for future articles, interviews, educational programs, letters-to-the-editor, etc. And that's a true belief.

5. Menachem Begin did not attend the brit millah of our first child despite being invited by us personally in the lobby of the King David Hotel in 1971 because the first born was a girl.

6. My father served in the 100th Bombadier Squadron of the US Army Air Force in the South Pacific in World War II.

7. My mother's stepmother was her aunt having been the youngest sister of her mother and we referred to her a Nanny.

8. My wife is a blog whizz.

Well, that's the best I could do with the instructions. Maybe they could have been more specific or directive or focused.

Ear and Nose Rings

Check out the discussions here and also here.

Tom Friedman's Lunacy

Tom Friedman's otherwise wonderful op-ed, "A Boycott Built on Bias", from the June 17 NYTimes, had this snippet:-

Have no doubt, I have long opposed Israel's post-1967 settlements. They have squandered billions and degraded the Israeli Army by making it an army of occupation to protect the settlers and their roads. And that web of settlements and roads has carved up the West Bank in an ugly and brutal manner — much uglier than Israel's friends abroad ever admit. Indeed, their silence, particularly American Jewish leaders, enabled the settlement lunacy.

Tom, ever since 1948 and indeed previously, Israel's defense forces have spent most of their time, energy and money on protecting the agricultural communities of all political stripe, even that of the Communist party near Hadera, Yad Chana. This is not squander and I don't think your figures are correct.

But, of course, since I believe that no one has a better right and a reason to be the sovereign power in the areas of Judea and Samaria (and Gaza) than Israel and its Jews, no money has been wasted. No an agora.

And not all American Jewish leaders have been silent. Many have openly supported and encouraged and financed the project of settling the Land of Israel. And I thank them.

Too bad I can't thank Tom.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Peretz Passes on "Palestine"

Martin Peretz, the editor of the liberal weekly The New Republic (TNR) asks:-

Last Act


Think back two years. Ariel Sharon was not only alive but healthy and staking his place in history on an idea he had never truly believed: that the Arabs of Palestine might be ready for peace with the Jewish state.

Condoleezza Rice even persuaded a few American Jewish zillionaires to ante up roughly $15 million to buy, as a parting gift from the Jews at once symbolic and practical, for the Gaza Arabs the hothouses that had helped make local agriculture, for the first time in history, so abundant and also valuable.

...I was never taken in by the dream of Palestine, although I realized that Israeli dominion over so many Arabs did somewhat dim the incandescence of the Zionist reality,

...That the Palestinian elites were and are corrupt is a historic reality, a shabby reality. It was the Palestinian aristocracy that sold off its lands for Jewish settlement from the very beginning of the Zionist experiment.

Most of the Arabs of Palestine resented the Jews. But resentment is not a foundation for a nation...One of the harsh truths that we have learned is that terrorism may be the prime expression of a fledgling nationalism, perhaps even its only collective expression...So what is Palestine? It is an improvisation from a series of rude facts...The Palestine Liberation Organization, founded in 1964, was not founded to liberate these territories. It was founded to liberate that part of Palestine held by Israel.

...But the Palestinians' war against the Jews is actually also a war against one another...Hamas had set the terms of the intra-Palestinian conflict as all or nothing. Those are characteristic Hamas conditions, with other Arabs as with the Jews. It is true that Fatah men of com- bat were battling for their lives. But they were not battling for peace with Israel.

The disintegration of Gaza began as soon as the Israelis departed. This was not an issue of what Israel did or did not do. The ur-religious and the ur-nationalist were in psychological control of the strip from the beginning. Hamas did not shoot (many) rockets across the border into enemy territory. But its surrogates did. Hamas did nothing about this, and Fatah really couldn't. They couldn't, although Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the American coordinator in the area, assured they could, especially after supplying arms to Fatah and persuading Olmert to supply more weapons, which, as luck would have it, are now in Hamas's possession.

...There are now three cohorts of Palestinians between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. (Four, if you count the Palestinian majority under Hashemite rule.) [my gosh, has he been reading my blog post?]

...Would that there were a mature national will among the Palestinians. It might even be able to temper the rage of the Arabs against one another. Not until their sense of peoplehood conquers their rage against one another will they be in the psychological position to think of peace with Israel. I doubt this will happen any time soon. This is the end of Palestine, the bitter end.

(Kippah tip: SP and to RJI)

Ah, So That's How It Started

The emergence of the jihadist organization Fatah al-Islam at the Nahr al-Bared camp appears to have resulted from a mix of Syrian plotting and internal factors. Its leader arrived in Lebanon last year, armed with plenty of cash, after being released from a Syrian jail. Most of his several hundred followers came not from the camp but from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Syria, and elsewhere, often via the jihad-field of Iraq, yet another consequence of the Iraq war. Camp residents resented the intrusion and largely disliked the newcomers' rigid puritanism, but according to many accounts, they also admired the fighters for their zeal and experience fighting in Iraq.

It was a matter of time before the mix of Lebanon's own tense internal situation and such pockets of jihadism would explode. At the time of writing it was not clear if the battle would strengthen or weaken the Siniora government. Initially it united Lebanese, including Hezbollah, which may agree with the Salafists' aim of liberating Palestine but knows they regard Shias as heretics, and prefers itself to "own" the Palestinian issue in Lebanon.

More on Lebanon and Hezbollah here.

An Anniversary

As the picture below illustrates, this will be the 39th anniversary of my being unceremoniously tossed out of the Temple Mount compound at the beginning of July 1971.

Hair-Covering? And What About the Ears?

I don't usually deal with matters of Halacha, Jewish ritual law, except, perhaps, when it pertains to 'political' issues that I deal with like the Temple Mount and the sanctity of the Land of Israel.

But, as they say, there's always an exception.

Recently, there have been a spate of postings and discussions on matters of women's modesty, tzni'ut. This includes MailJewish - a few postings are here and also here as well as here among many other entries along that thread there; and DovBear (here, for example or also here); and Hirhurim (here's one), for starters. You can go to forums like this one if the subject has, er, gripped you.

Anyway, I thought to myself if haircovering is a major discussion issue (and my wife has a chapter contribution in this book - Hide and Seek: Jewish Women and Hair Covering) - why not raise another issue of covering/uncovering.

The Shulchan Arukh, the major 16th centruy compilation of everyday law, deals with the matter of carrying on the Shabbat, which, unless certain restrictions are followed, is prohibited.

Chapter 303 deals with women walking about in the public domain with jewelry which is problematic.

For example:-

May one wear jewelry?

Background: although jewelry and ornaments are not ‘clothing’ nevertheless they serve a function and wearing them on Shabbos is not considered carrying, provided that they are worn in the regular manner. [2] Chazal however were concerned that one would remove one’s jewelry to show to a friend and carry it in a reshus harabim (a public domain) and transgress the issur of carrying. They therefore prohibited wearing most jewelry.

Most jewelry and ornaments may be worn nowadays because the Rama writes [3] that women do not remove their jewelry to show their friends and therefore the major concern is removed. The explanation being that in former times pieces of jewelry were not common and women would wear them only on Shabbos, thus they would show their trinkets to friends. As jewelry is much more common nowadays and worn all the time, this no longer applies.

[2] Based on many se’ifim in simonim 310 and 303. See also SS”K 18:12.

[3] Simon 303:18.

[4] Bi’ur Halacha simon 303:18 ד"ה כי בזה, Shulchan Aruch HaRav simon 303:23, SS”K 18:12.

If, however, we delve a bit into the sources, we can find something interesting.

Here's the original Hebrew for sub-paragraph 10 of 303:-

שג דיני תכשיטי אשה

לא תצא בנזמי האף שמא תשלפם להראותם אבל יוצאת בנזמי האוזן מפני שאזניה מכוסות בקישוריה וטורח הוא לה לגלותן לשלוף מהן הנזמים להראותן ובמקומות שנוהגין לגלות האזנים אסורה לצאת גם בנזמי האוזן

My translation:-

A woman shall not go out [into the public domain] with nose rings for perhaps she may undo them to show them off; but to go out with earings [is permissable] because her ears are covered [my emphasis] with her ornaments and it would be too much of a bother to uncover them in order to slip them off for display; and in places where the ears [are in any case] uncovered, it would be then prohibited to walk about with earings.

As I am not a Rabbi, well, a diplomaed one, please, if you have any questions, consult your local Orthodox Rabbi but two observations:-

a) Jewish women had nose rings.

b) Jewish women seemingly had to cover not only their hair but their ears as well (only on Shabbat?)


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Health Disaster

Haaretz reports:

21:13 Oxfam Int`l Director: Closure of Gaza crossing could cause health disaster (Reuters)

Here's the quotation from Reuters:-

Oxfam International Director Jeremy Hobbs said Karni's closure could cause a health disaster by preventing companies from bringing in water treatment equipment and chemicals.

Funny, and here I thought that Qassam rockets were a health disaster but was their a similar outcry from the world's charities and human rights groups?

Does "Security" Include Intelligence Gathering?

I found a story (here) which contains a major error.

It reads:

WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Athlone Global Security Inc., a unique investment group that invests in Israeli homeland security companies helping
them establish new markets for their products in the U.S . and Europe, announced today that Israel has named its founder and co-chairman -- Major-General Doron Almog (Res.) -- a "Knight of Quality Government 2007." The title, bestowed on General Almog in the military and security category, is one of Israel's highest honours.

The Israeli government bestowed the prestigious award to Major General
"in recognition and gratitude for his unique contribution, both in his military service and his civil life, to the defense of the weak and the hopeless and to the strength of Israel's quality of government and society" saying he "demonstrated courage, decisiveness and integrity and did not evade tough personal conclusions towards those responsible. He courageously stated his opinions in total honesty, and Israel has graciously valued the General's view." This award is also in acknowledgement of the General's great success in preventing terrorists infiltrating Israel from Gaza during his command.

But the title Knight is bestowed by the Movement for Quality Government.

See their site.


Excerpts from:
Star Search

Over three evenings last month, several dozen writers gathered in the airy sanctuary of Hebrew Union College for a bizarre rite of passage: the Jewish book tour casting call. In a combination of “The Gong Show” and speed-dating, they each had two minutes to pitch their books to the Jewish Book Network, 100 cultural programmers from Jewish community centers, or J.C.C.’s, synagogues and libraries nationwide. An M.C. ruthlessly held up a sign when one minute was up and cheerily announced “on deck” to prepare the next speaker.

Joyce Antler, a professor at Brandeis University, presented “You Never Call! You Never Write!,” her academic history of the Jewish mother, while Dr. Loren Fishman talked up “Sciatica Solutions.” Martin Lemelman pushed his memoir, “Mendel’s Daughter,” with the promise “I could come to your J.C.C. with a PowerPoint presentation to explain how I came to write ... about the well that saved my mother’s life in the forests of Poland.” M. J. Rose explained that her novel “The Reincarnationist” stemmed from her deep belief in reincarnation and marked a departure from her “very sexual nine previous novels.” Two British Jewish novelists, Howard Jacobson and Charlotte Mendelson, riffed on how America “gets” Jews while England doesn’t. Meanwhile, programmers took notes on the authors’ book topics — and sense of humor, stage presence, poise and, probably, hairlines.

With its wild shifts in tone and quality, the annual conference offered a chaotic cross-section of American Jewish life — and of the current state of publishing. Holocaust memoirs vied for time with cookbooks and diet books, books on how to pray and why not to pray, books on motorcycles, punk rock and drug addiction, first novels and graphic novels, nonfiction reportage and novels with soft-porn covers.

The auditions and centralized tours were the brainchild of Carolyn Starman Hessel, who has become a formidable power in the publishing industry in her 13 years as the director of the Jewish Book Council, which runs the Jewish Book Network.

Authors routinely say audience members seem less interested in their books than in marrying them off. “I have been asked, ‘Are you single?’ at nearly every event, and despite answering that I am married, have then sat through the parade of eligible Jewish men in most towns,” said Jennifer Gilmore, who toured with her first novel, “Golden Country.”

And We Know Why They Stalled/Failed, Right?

Immigrant groups on Friday opened the first formal Muslim prayer site here since rule by the Ottoman Empire ended more than 170 years ago.

Plans by Greece to build a mosque for tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants living in Athens have stalled, so businesspeople in Arab countries paid for the downtown cultural center in a former factory.

International human rights reports had criticized Greece for failing to provide an official prayer site for Muslims in Athens.


Feeling "Abandoned" of All Possible Reasons?

This chart

accompanies this article which starts off well

The de facto division of Palestine over the last week into a Hamas-led enclave in Gaza and a Fatah-dominated West Bank marks a new low in the sorry annals of Palestinian affairs. Part of the blame lies with President Mahmoud Abbas, who has proved utterly unable to cope with the challenges of leadership, a fact only underscored by his “firing” of the elected Hamas government that had already in effect fired him. Israel’s wildly unpopular prime minister, Ehud Olmert (a man whose approval rating recently hit 2 percent), played a contributing role by bombing Gaza last summer (in retaliation for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers), a move that further weakened Abbas and his Fatah party.

But then flops

The Bush administration, too, deserves its share of the blame for openly neglecting the Middle East conflict for its first four years in office. As it turned out, feeling abandoned made ordinary Palestinians despondent about the prospects for peace — which enabled them to cast protest votes for Hamas without worrying that its election would effectively scuttle an already moribund peace process.

Havel Havelim 122


(My wife did a good job)

Friday, June 22, 2007

So, They Were Evil

So, they really were evil.


JERUSALEM -- Israeli police underwent special training for an assault on thousands of protesters during the demolition of nine homes in a Jewish community in the West Bank in 2006.
A senior Israeli police officer testified that 1,300 troops were told to club, trample and gas protesters, most of them teenagers, who sought to block the demolition of nine unlicensed Jewish homes in Amona in February 2005. The troops, who trained for up to four days, used clubs and horses to injure 300 protesters, some of them seriously, despite the assessment that resistance would be passive.
"Special emphasis was placed on the population that we were going to confront," Yuval Goldstein, a brigade commander of the Border Police, said.
In testimony to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court on June 18, Goldstein recalled the assault by 6,000 mounted police, anti-riot police and army troops at Amona. The force stormed the 5,000 demonstrators, who stood or sat with arms linked outside the houses slated for demolition.
Goldstein was testifying at the trial of police officer Eyal Fero. Fero was charged with aggravated assault of a reserve army colonel, Mordechai Yogev, who sought to persuade the young protesters to leave the homes.
Two Knesset members were also injured in the police operation -- which took place six months after the Israeli expulsion of 16,000 Jews from Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. Twenty officers were wounded as well, one of them by a brick thrown by protesters from the roof of a home.
At Fero's trial, Goldstein said the eviction force was instructed on methods to subdue the demonstrators. A 14-year police veteran, Goldstein said the methods, instructed by a general, ranged from shoving protesters to the use of clubs, horses, tear gas and water cannons.
"We expected passive resistance but this was different from the Disengagement [Israeli expulsion]," Goldstein said. "There were electric poles, building bars, sharp nails and paint. We had to isolate the area and make it sterile. We were supposed to have arrived when only the people were in the houses.
Yogev testified that he arrived at Amona to prevent youngsters from injury. He said Fero struck him in the stomach with a club and kept hitting him when he fell to the floor.
"I never expected such police brutality," Yogev, who served 23 years in an army commando unit, said.
Prior to the assault, Yogev recalled hearing girls scream "Save us" from a house 10 meters away. He said he wanted to enter the house to ensure that the protesters would be led to safety.
"But before I could speak, I was surrounded by border police," Yogev said. "I didn't manage to finish what I was saying and he [Fero] hit me a number of times in the stomach. Then I asked him why he was doing this and he hit me again.
Fero denied clubbing Yogev. He said he pushed the reserve colonel when he refused to leave.
"I pushed him [Yogev] in the chest," Fero said. "And then I returned to the wall [of policemen]."
Judge Haim Li-Ran asked Fero why he thought Yogev issued the complaint. Fero, who served in the Border Police as part of his compulsory military service, said Yogev represented a Jewish settler who sought to blackmail Israeli society
"This is the kind of perception," Fero said. "They [the settlers] take a ride on our backs. They get some more money and stop more evictions."
In a separate case, another police officer also testified that he was ordered to use his horse to assault Amona protesters. David Edri, charged with aggravated assault, allegedly trampled and injured a protester.
At first, Edri denied that he saw Yehuda Etzion, the injured protester who issued the complaint. Later, the officer, who said he was ordered to gallop into the crowd of protesters, admitted he saw Etzion and tried to steer his horse away from him.
"The officers told me to enter [the crowd of protesters]," Edri told the Jerusalem Magistrates Court on June 10. "We had permission from Zevulun Hadar [officer] to use all the paces [trot, canter and gallop]."

And the "peace camp" incites them to violence!


Interviewee: Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington

Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

There is now a division of the Palestinian territories, with Fatah, which for years ruled the Palestinian world, now in charge of the West Bank, and Hamas, the more Islamic and anti-Israel group, in charge of Gaza. How does this division of Palestinian territories affect Israel’s security?

The effect is somewhat ironic. It certainly puts a hostile force or group in charge of Gaza. But Gaza already was largely isolated. What this does is establish a clear dividing line. There’s going to be much less pressure on Israel to increase economic ties to Gaza, to open up the passageways between Gaza and Israel and between Gaza and the West Bank, or to try to create a dialogue with Hamas.

There will also be less resistance to Israeli incursions into Gaza, and less resistance to any kind of economic measures or security measures. It also, to some extent at least, puts a group in charge of Gaza which Egypt also sees as a threat and it may or may not produce Egyptian efforts to halt smuggling across the Sinai border or the Philadelphia Corridor [the area separating Sinai from Gaza]. Although in fairness to Egypt such efforts have been limited.

There is a problem, of course. It’s not clear that Hamas can be contained inside Gaza. Fatah’s rule has often been corrupt, and ineffective, and it has often been brutal in its security operations.

- - -

Does this essentially mean—it’s too early to say with certainty, I think—at least a long pause in any efforts in bringing about an overall two-state solution between Palestine and Israel?

It may be that you get something closer to a two-state solution, but if you get it, it’s going to be a West Bank state. The problem here is that the West Bank at least has some hope of economic ability—the demographics are less bad, the population growth is less of a problem, and it has more internal economic resources. If that happens, the difficulty is that even before the [second intifada] fighting began in 2000, almost all the projections by the World Bank and other sources indicated that Gaza could never develop a viable economy, that it would be dependent on outside aid.

Now, after nearly seven years of warfare, population growth, and the breakdown of the school system, and virtually cut off from economic cooperation with Israel, Gaza is almost a giant refugee camp, with no economic hope in any serious way. Also, what do you mean by a two-state solution? Because if it’s a solution that only affects the West Bank, without any right of return, without any impact on the Palestinian diaspora, with the world watching the situation in Gaza steadily deteriorate, it’s not a solution at all.

More here




Here are some pictures of Israel's Media Watch's Annual Gneral Meeting.

Eli Pollak

Yoav Yitchak

Edva Naveh

Udi Buch

Oh, Really!!!?

"There is no dialogue with these murderous terrorists."

Mahmoud Abbas

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How UNESCO Money Was (Is?) Distributed

Sometimes, one "falls" on information.

I am researching for a paper on the Temple Mount.

Well, I came across this document entitled:

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
145 EX/17
5 October 1994

and I read this:-


Negotiations are still under way with the Waqf authorities concerning the use of the $150,000 subvention pledged by the Director-General during his visit in 1993. This subvention is intended for an initial phase of restoration of the complex comprising the Suq al-Qattanin (Cotton Market), the most monumental of the approaches to Al-Hardm ash-Sharif, and the two Mamluk hammams (Hammam ash-Shifa' and Hammam al-'Ain). A technical file has been prepared by the architect--engineer of Al-Hardm ash-Sharif, which should make it possible to begin work soon.

7.2 Manuscripts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Al-Aqsa Mosque has a library of highly valuable manuscripts. The curator has compiled an annotated catalogue with illustrations, which will shortly be published with the help of a subvention of $15.000 from UNESCO.

The state of conservation of a number of these manuscripts, including some of the oldest (eighth and ninth centuries) or the most ornate, is giving cause for concern. They should receive urgent attention. However, the appropriate equipment and expertise is not available locally. These volumes should be entrusted to one of the major European institutions specializing in the restoration of old manuscripts and books. Financial assistance from UNESCO is needed for this purpose.

7.3 The restoration of the Turbat Barakat Khan Mausoleum, which contains the celebrated library of the Khalidi family, has been completed, and the installation of the facilities for conservation and consultation of the numerous manuscripts of outstanding value is nearly finished. This work has been carried out in part with the help of a subvention of $60,000 from UNESCO, of which $45,000 has been disbursed. The restoration of the manuscripts and books is being carried out in scientific and technical collaboration with Mr F. Conrad, of the University of London, who has also been asked to compile an annotated catalogue of the 1,200 manuscripts with the financial assistance of the Government of the Netherlands, the Saudi Furgan Foundation and the Khalidi family.

I wonder, how much money has UNESCO expended on the Jewish aspects of Jerusalem?

Maybe a Temple Mount group can achieve funding?

Temple Mount Research

Today was the 17th Annual Conference of Judea and Samaria Research Studies sponsored by the College of Judea & Samaria.

As usual, the collection of articles from the previous year's conference is published for the current conference and I have selected two maps that illustrate the development of the Temple Mount's architecture for they highlight the problems - and the possible solutions - for entrance today into the compound area we today refer to as the Temple Mount.

They are from a presentation made by Ehud Netzer who became (additionally) famous this year for claiming to have discovered Herod's tomb entitled "The Planning of the Temple Mount by Herod".

The first map shows the four-stage physical development of the Temple Mount from the end of the Hasmonean Period (0), to the building of the Antonia Fortress (1), to the reconstruction of the Temple and its precincts (2) and to the final stage of expansion by Herod (3).

On the bottom left, illustration (1), you can see the Antonia fortress, in dark, with a moat-like ditch cutting across from right (north-east) to left (west-south). This is a natural barrier that later was filled in to enable to expand Temple Mount compound in a flat level to the north. This area then is outside the sacred 500 cubit square area. We know it exists from the topographic maps and if we can dig just a bit, we can discover a proof that the sacred portion only went to this point and no further.

The second map illustration shows more clearly how the Temple Mount changed shape.

To help you non-Hebrew readers, on the right, שער הזהב, is where the Gate of Mercy today is and under it, התפר, is the "seam line" some 32 or so meters from the south-east corner which delineates between the Hasmonean Wall and the Herodian Wall continuation southward.

On the bottom, you can see in broken-line outline, the two underground passageways from the Hulda Gate and the Triple Gate which end up exactly in line with the Muhgrabi Gate (where there was a fuss a few months ago). I actually walked through there in 1986, starting with the steps that lead under the El-Aksa Mosque all the way to the southern wall and back(*). The east-west line from the Muhgrabi Gate (known also as the Barkley Gate named after Charles Barkley), שער ברקלי, to the "Seam" passes right where the two undergound passages end and enter up into the courtyard! This should help you.

The central part of the map in white is where Netzer fixes the original 500 cubit square area.

As is obvious, it would appear that there is more than enough room outside the entire 500 cubit square area and more, if one takes into consideration certain differences in degrees of holiness between the inner and outer courtyards.

(*) Here's how the Jordanians reported on it to the UN:-

On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to bring to your attention the blatant desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Arab city of Al-Quds committed by some 20 members of the Israeli Knesset on 8 January 1986 while the faithful were engaged in the midday prayer. The members of the Knesset, who belong to the Internal Affairs Committee of the Israeli parliament, entered the interior of the holy place with the intention of desecrating it by establishing a place of prayer there for adherents of the Jewish religion. Immediately upon entering the mosque, the Israeli parliamentarians encountered members of the faithful, who drove them out. The intruders then called the Israeli police. Before long a large number of police officers, led by the commander of the Southern Unit and the Al-Quds Chief of Police, arrived on the scene, entering the mosque with great show, provoking and outraging the faithful and offending the sentiments of the believers by flouting the inviolability of that holy place of Islam. In addition, the Israeli police attacked Muslims who were present and the civilian guards of the mosque, who were shocked by this humiliating treatment. It should be pointed out that this is not the first time that the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been the target of desecration and violation by Israeli extremists. This despicable attack and irresponsible behaviour on the part of members of the Israeli legislature has aroused the indignation, repulsion and anger of the inhabitants of Al-Quds, the West Bank and the entire Muslim world. Sheikh Saad Eddine El-Ilmi, President of the Supreme Muslim Council, has sent a telegram of protest to the Israeli leaders demanding the withdrawal of their occupation troops which have, since yesterday, been blocking the entrance to the mosque.

This act of aggression committed by members of the Israeli Knesset, including Julia Cohen, who has openly advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Al-Quds and the West Bank, constitutes a violation and a desecration of the holy places of Islam and a challenge to hundreds of millions of Moslems, for whom the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the place towards which all the faithful turn at the beginning of their prayers and the third most holy place of Islam. This act of aggression is part and parcel of an Israeli plan directed against Muslim and Christian sacred monuments in Al-Quds and the occupied Arab territories.

We Can Relax

A member of the clan was shot dead on Wednesday by a family affiliated with Hamas, but Mr. Zahar said the issue was blood revenge, not politics.


Did You Catch This?

Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, the American security coordinator for the Palestinians, was pressing ahead with up to $80 million in aid to train and equip Mr. Abbas’s Presidential Guard


O the waste, the foolhardiness.

I, Sort Of, Won

I complained about a caption in the NYTimes and received this response:-

Dear Yisrael,

Thank you for writing. I passed your e-mail to an assistant managing editor at The Times who said that while the caption could have been more precise it was not wrong. The men in the picture were wounded, caught in cross-fire, during a clash between Israeli soldiers and Hamas. It is impossible to tell who shot whom. The caption should have made clear the men were caught in the cross fire and not the Hamas members who fought the soldiers. But, this is not a correctable matter.

I will keep this exchange on file for consideration for future columns on clarity and usage.

Michael McElroy
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

Note: The public editor's opinions are his own and do not represent those of The New York Times

When you encounter a media bias or ethics issue, write and complain.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So Much BS

Gaza is a part of Palestine that had been known for its great men and achievements that have been proudly recorded in history, men such as Imam al Jalil al Shafei from the older generation and the contemporary giant Haidar Abdel Shafi.


Maybe. Maybe Not


Gaza could face food shortages in 2-4 weeks: U.N.

And then again, it could not, no?

That Wouldn't Be A Kippah, Would It?

With Israel or with Hamas?

Here's the caption

Palestinians wounded in a clash with Israeli soldiers awaited medical care yesterday in Gaza.

for this NYTimes' photo:

and I was under the impression that it was the Hamas doing the shooting and that Israel fired back at the Hamas.

They're All..Qassam

the Preventive Security compound, the Qassam Brigades, Gaza’s new security force, patrolled what once was Fatah’s center of power...Now, in post-revolutionary Gaza, the place is trashed and looted, toilets and tiles ripped away, offices emptied of computers, furniture, light fixtures, doors and electric wiring. Bits of plastic plumbing dot the courtyard, mixed with broken glass, burned files, the charred manual to a computer and the melted paper tray of a photocopier.

A green Hamas flag flies over the building, a tourist site for Hamas members and their families. Um Omran came to see where her son had been tortured. She said he was killed in 2003 by Fatah. Her husband’s brother had also been held there. He was Adnan al-Ghul, the man credited with inventing the first Qassam rocket in 2001, a weapon that Hamas has used to terrorize Israeli cities like Sderot. He was killed by the Israelis in 2004.

We’re all Qassam in our family, the women and the men,” Ms. Omran said. “I wanted to see this place where my son was tortured.” Asked if she was ashamed by the bloodletting among Palestinians, she said: “Fatah pushed us toward this.”


My Letter (Today)

I found Ahmed Yousef's piece ("What Hamas Wants", June 20) fascinating as well as frightening in that nowhere did he mention a very important agenda item: peace with Israel. And if not peace, perhaps the cessation of firing Qassam rockets at Israel's civilian population, or, at the very least, the halt in firing at Palestinian refugees caught up at the Erez crossing?

What a great "pull-the-wool-over-their-eyes" piece.

Did the NYT publish it in order that Alan Johnston be released?

Talk about the media as an instrument of terror!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


A few excerpts from Fuad Ajami's op-ed on the Hamas-Fatah struggle, "Brothers to the Bitter End":-

The Palestinian ruin was a long time in coming. No other national movement has had the indulgence granted the Palestinians over the last half-century, and the results can be seen in the bravado and the senseless violence, in the inability of a people to come to terms with their condition and their needs.

The political maxim that people get the leaders they deserve must be reckoned too cruel to apply to the Palestinians. Before Hamas, for four decades, the vainglorious Yasir Arafat refused to tell his people the basic truths of their political life. Amid the debacles, he remained eerily joyous; he circled the globe, offering his people the false sense that they could be spared the consequences of terrible decisions.

For their part, the Arab states have only compounded the Palestinian misery. The Arab cavalry was always on the way, the Arab treasure was always a day away, and there was thus no need for the Palestinians to pay tribute to necessity. In recent years, the choice was starkly posed: it was either statehood or a starring role on Al Jazeera, and the young “boys of the stones” and their leaders opted for the latter.

It is idle to think that Gaza could be written off as a Hamas dominion while Fatah held its own in the towns of the West Bank. The abdication and the anarchy have damaged both Palestinian realms. Nablus in the West Bank is no more amenable to reason than is Gaza; the writ of the pitiless preachers and gunmen is the norm in both places.

There is no magic wand with which this Palestinian world could be healed and taught the virtues of realism and sobriety. No international peacekeeping force can bring order to the deadly streets and alleyways of Gaza. A population armed to the teeth and long in the throes of disorder can’t be pacified by outsiders.

Arab poets used to write reverential verse in praise of the boys of the stones and the suicide bombers. Now the poetry has subsided, replaced by a silent recognition of the malady that afflicts the Palestinians. Except among the most bigoted and willful of Arabs, there is growing acknowledgment of the depth of the Palestinian crisis. And aside from a handful of the most romantic of Israelis, there is a recognition in that society, as well, of the malignancy of the national movement a stone’s throw away.

There was even a current in Israel possessed of a deep curiosity about the Palestinians, a romance of sorts about their ways and folk culture and their connection to the sacred land. All this is stilled. Palestinian society has now gone where no “peace processors” or romantic poets dare tread.

Wow, These are really good Questions

From Condi Rice's press conference today:


QUESTION: Can Mahmoud Abbas really negotiate on behalf of all of his people if he's effectively only representing half of them?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, let's remember that Mahmoud Abbas is the President of all of the Palestinian people through the Palestinian Authority. He is also the head of the PLO. These are the institutions of the Palestinians as a whole. We are focusing today and in the days to come on helping this new government to find its footing and to begin the work, the very difficult work, of making life better for the Palestinian people and that is our focus today.

Yeah, Charlie.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how will you ensure that the money that goes to the
Palestinians in Gaza gets to the people and isn't siphoned off by Hamas since you obviously have no one there to supervise that?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have some experience, of course, working with UN relief agencies and with nongovernmental agencies and we will work through UNRWA in this regard. Obviously, it will be very important and we will do everything that we can to make certain that the monies get to the Palestinian people. But we have a long history of working through agencies of this kind.

It's been some time since we had a presence in Gaza in any case. And so we will use many of the same goals -- I would hope that -- as many of the same means. I would certainly hope that the -- that people in Gaza would understand that it is important for the international community to be able to respond to the humanitarian conditions there.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Fatah leaders have been corrupt in the past. By resuming aid, do you think that there's a danger that you're propping up a system and leaders that have been proved to be corrupt and a system that has been proved in the past not to work?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, we have been very strong advocates of political reform in the Palestinian political space, including Fatah reform. And that needs to proceed and I'm certain that it will, but I think if you look at this government and particularly, if you look at its prime minister, you see someone who has a reputation for integrity, who has a reputation for having accountability.

I remember when he was finance minister even under the old government when Yasser Arafat was still in power. He was the one who went forward to try and publish the budget on the internet so that people could see transparently what was being spent by the Palestinian Authority. So this is someone who has a reputation for integrity, and I think can be relied on with appropriate controls and appropriate authorities to make certain that funding is used for the good of the Palestinian people.

The Tefillin Map of Eretz-Yisrael

This is some ingenious portrayal of the territory of the Land of Israel:-

Entering the Temple Mount 1939

Ffrom a discussion list on Halachic topics:-

Message: 4
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 17:13:22 +0300
From: Dov Bloom
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Har Habayit - (sent by his Roshei Yeshiva in

Last night I met with Aaron Eliyahu ( a brother of the former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu). The father of the Eliyahu family was R. Salman Eliyahu, a well-known kabbalist in the old city of Jerusalem in the early 1900's, and the author of a popular commentary on the "Eitz Hayyim" of the ARIZ"L (see previous post).

Mr A. Eliyahu, who is in his 80's but pretty alert, related the following story (be-dido havey uvda) which relates to the thread on ascending to Har HaBayit. Actually, it is apparent that the story was a case of Pikuach Nefesh D'Rabim so I don't know if it sheds any light on our thread.

Mr. Eliyahu learned at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in the 1930's. The Yeshiva is and was located close to the kotel and Har Habayit. 1936-1939 were years of frequent Arab riots in Eretz Yisrael. 415 Jews were killed during this period [actually over 525]. Mr. Eliyahu, who grew up in the old city , related that every Friday after Moslem prayers in the El-Aksa mosque on Har Habayit the Moslem worshippers would swarm out of Har Habayit in some direction, and look for 'infidels' to hurt or kill C"V [chas v'shalom]. "Sometimes they went to one part of the Jewish quarter in one direction, sometimes to another part of the Jewish Quarter in another direction, sometimes to the Christian quarter, every Friday to a different area" he related. A number of times they came to the Porat Yoseph Yeshiva which was protected by a fence and a gate that could be locked. The Jews had a relatively small number of guards who could not protect all of the possible sites. If the Jews would know where they were heading they could mass all of their guards.

Mr. Eliyahu, who was fluent in Arabic, having grown up in the old city, was sent in 1939 "by the Roshei Yeshiva" to infiltrate the Moslem prayers on Fridays, so that he could overhear the Moslem worshippers discussing and deciding where to go that day to riot. He would then quickly leave and inform the Jewish community which sites to protect. He said "they never knew why whatever site they went to it was guarded". He did this numerous Fridays until the riots petered out.

He was told to dress like an Arab, speak like an Arab and go with the crowd that entered Har HaBayit from the northern side. He took his shoes off like the Arabs. He was taught the Moslem prayers so that he could 'fake it' and was told to "pray aloud just like the Arabs so he wouldn't be suspected". When he asked his Roshei Yeshiva if saying the Moslem prayers wasn't an aveirah, he was told that "he would be forgiven".

I asked him who sent him - was it the Haganah or something, and he said, no the Porat Yosef Yeshiva sent me. I asked (in light of our thread about where on Har Habait one could walk) if he was instructed to avoid certain areas and walk only in others, he answered that he was told to go with all of the Arabs and not to be different, not to raise suspicion. He repeated that he took his shoes off with them. I asked him if he was instructed to go to the mikveh first and he repeated that he was told not to do anything different than all the Arabs (he didn't give direct yes or no and I had no opportunity to question him further.

Dov Bloom

My comments:-

Dov's related revelation is quite interesting.

In 1929, that is exactly how the rioting started, with Arabs pouring out of the TM gates and the Mufti looking on from the Machkemah.

The number of Jews murdered in the three years of the "Disturbances" or "Arab Revolt" was over 525 according to the Sefer HaHaganah.

As an aside, the Yosef family was probably jealous of the Eliyahus since two of RAY's brothers joined up with the Irgun with one participating in the attack on the Schneller Compound (known well to those who visit north Geula) on the Shabbat.

Given that all he told is more or less how it happened, I guess that the washing of the feet done in proper Muslim practice and the fact that the prayers were conducted in the El-Aksa Mosque (the Dome of the Rock is not properly a prayer site), were enough, together with a pikuach nefesh psak, to allow him to act as he did.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Well, Now He's a MK

Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael (or, and Isaac Ben-Israel) is the son of a Lechi fighter, a retired IDF major general, a professor of security studies at Tel Aviv University and chairman of the Israel Space Agency. He will also replace Shimon Peres as a Kadima MK.

He has an op-ed in the Washington Times written together with Louis Rene Beres, a professor of law, called Deterring Iran.

In it he writes:

Thoughtful steps are needed to prevent a regional nuclear war. These will require awareness of how a nuclear war might start in the Middle East, and an informed Israeli identification of the best available strategic doctrine. To protect itself against a still-nuclearizing and recalcitrant Iran, Israel's best course may well be a prompt and law-enforcing conventional pre-emption.

Without pre-emption, if Iran goes nuclear, Israel could feel compelled to end its policy of nuclear ambiguity. Taking the "bomb out of the basement" could allow Israel to enhance its strategic deterrent, but Jerusalem could still never be quite certain of enemy rationality.

Every state has the right to defend against aggression, especially where attacks would involve mass-destruction weapons. Now facing the risk of genocidal war from Iran, Israel would not itself consider the first use of nuclear weapons. But should Iranian nuclear weapons ever be unleashed against Israel's cities, either directly or via terrorist proxies, Tehran should understand fully that Israel would respond with at least proportionate destructiveness.

Well, now that he's a MK, he gets to participate in making the decision.

Another Bore from LeBor

Here's my letter sent in response to a NYTimes op-ed:-

Adam LeBor asks "Why tamper with a beautiful, stirring hymn?" in proposing that words of Israel's national anthem, "The Hope", be altered from "Jewish soul" to "Israeli soul" (June 18). Indeed, why?

The answer is twofold. In the first instance, Israel is defined in its proclamation of establishment as the Jewish state. That is also how the United Nations Partition resolution refers to it: the Jewish state. That's how, too, how Herzl conceived it as did the Jews throughout our 2000 years of exilic striving. Israel's raison d'etre is its Jewishness, not any cosmopolitan humanistic amorphous delineation.

Second, the state of Israel could only have been created by the Jews, vision-driven by the Jewish people for whom it was – and continues to be - "the hope". It can only continue to exist, moreover, if it is specifically the Jewish state and only as a Jewish state can it ever hope to be democratic in the Middle East.

Arabs can do with twenty-three states and those Arabs that refer to themselves as Palestinians seem now to be able to do with two, one in Gaza and one in the area of Judea and Samaria. Jews need only one, but it must be Jewish.

Sleeping Beauty

Peres Falls Asleep.
In the middle of an interview.

This Is Being Nobel

Professor Israel Aumann

Before discussing Gaza we must first enter Israel and mend the deep crises created among the people.

What is happening today in the Gaza Strip is the direct result of Israel's failed and defeatist policies over the past 15 years. Since my opinion has been sought, I say that this is a policy destined to bring about the demise of the State of Israel. It's not just the policies. It's also the defeatist state of mind. All day long people are screaming "Peace, peace, and gestures, gestures!" Concessions and disengagements were made and settlers expelled. All this has ultimately achieved the opposite result.

We have to stop the empty slogans such as "Peace is made with enemies and not with friends." In order to achieve peace we must first and foremost be prepared for war. We have to change this state of mind at the core. It wasn't only the Romans who said that those who seek peace should prepare for war. Even in game theory, for which I received the Nobel Prize, says so. We have to be emotionally prepared to bear and to inflict casualties – and not to scream "peace, peace," all day long. Only if we are prepared to kill and be killed – we shall not be killed. This is the paradox of war.

We have to extract ourselves from the bubble in which we are living and to understand that we are under a great existential threat.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

So Clever

Here's the front page of today's Ma'ariv newspaper with the headline "The Katyushas On On The Way".

But they landed in Kiryat Shmona.

Ashkelon can hardly wait.

Neither can the Western Negev kibbtutzim:

22:12 Eshkol Regional Council on high alert due to possible infiltration from Gaza (Haaretz)

Haaretz's Double Standard Double Standard

The violence raging in the Gaza Strip (which is beginning to spill over into the West Bank) is above all the doing of the Palestinians themselves, and it reflects the rules of the game in the Arab world for deciding political disagreements.

but here it comes:-

That said, Israel will find it difficult to argue convincingly that it did not contribute significantly to the deterioration, both in its fundamental attitude toward the Palestinians and in its response to Hamas' victory in the 2006 elections.

Nice Going My Fellow Jews

The JC today identifies the key players in the escalating British campaign to boycott Israel. Our investigation shows that many are Jewish or Israeli, and that they justify their stance as part of the struggle for Palestinian rights and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Anti-boycott figures suggest that the campaign has been fuelled by a well-organised mix of far-left activists and Islamic organisations. In reality, the main proponents are a loosely knit collection of academics and trade unionists linked to groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for the Boycotting of Israeli Goods, and Bricup, the British Committee for Universities of Palestine.

And What Can We Expect?

If this is what they do th "brethren", what can we expect?

Enraged Fatah leaders on Saturday accused Hamas militiamen of looting the home of former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.

"They stole almost everything inside the house, including Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize medal," said Ramallah-based Fatah spokesman Ahmed Abdel Rahman. "Hamas militiamen and gangsters blew up the main entrance to the house before storming it. They stole many of Arafat's documents and files, gifts he had received from world leaders and even his military outfits."

Abdel Rahman said the attackers also raided the second floor of the house and stole the personal belongings of his widow, Suha, and daughter, Zahwa. "They stole all the widow's clothes and shoes," he added. "They also took Arafat's pictures with his daughter."

"Most of the looters were just ordinary citizens," they said. "They stole almost everything, including furniture, tiles, water pipes, closets and beds."

The homes of several other Fatah leaders have also been looted over the past few days, Palestinian reporters in Gaza City said over the weekend. Among them are the homes of Muhammad Dahlan and Intisar al-Wazir (Um Jihad).

Wazir complained that looters stole her jewelry, furniture, clothes and family albums and the personal belongings of her husband, Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), a top PLO leader who was assassinated by Israel in 1988 in Tunis.

She said the looting occurred in broad daylight and under the watchful eye of Hamas militiamen. "We don't feel secure any more," she said. "We fear for our lives and property."

Very Logical

Israel's disengagement from Gaza, completed 22 months ago, has succeeded.

It was a demonstration project of a sort - an experiment in Palestinian self-rule. If the management of Gaza had gone well, there would have been a Palestinian state within three years, tops.

OK, now speak these three words to yourself: a Palestinian state.

Finished? Good. So are the words.

They won't be coming out of anybody's mouth again for a very, very long time - at least not in any meaningful way.


Go Google the Manhattan Eruv

Ritual Fence Set for Jews in Manhattan Is Extended

Jews living in a large area of Manhattan who regularly observe the Sabbath will have a much easier time of it today. An eruv, a line that delineates the concept of domestic space for Orthodox Jews and dictates where they may carry items on the day of rest, has been extended from Midtown to Houston Street.

The change may be most significant for young congregants starting a family. Many are unwilling to push a stroller or carry a diaper bag outside their home on the Sabbath, except within an eruv. Until now, if young couples there wanted to observe Jewish law, the mother had little choice but to stay home with the children.

Jonathan S. Nachmani, a trustee at Magen David of Union Square synagogue, which helped organize the project, said the expansion could help keep the religious community vibrant. “Synagogue is going to be more of a social center for young married couples,” he said.

...Rabbi Sarna is integrating the eruv with Google Maps, and organizing an e-mail list to spread the word.

“What I see as a common religious struggle in the United States,” he said, “is how, on one hand, to be loyal to one’s traditions but also to be fully engaged in modern life.”

Goodbye - and Good Riddance?

What does this imply for the so-called "Palestinian nationalism"?

Israel's security establishment has prepared for the possibility that many Palestinians would arrive at Erez, and bolstered security arrangements at the crossing.

According to witnesses, a number of Palestinians arrived at the crossing carrying suitcases, and one woman waved goodbye and yelled, "Goodbye Gaza."


(I wrote the above and then continued looking for material. Look what I found)

Ramallah residents Thursday dismissed the possibility of Hamas taking over the West Bank. In Gaza, "there are tribes and clans like in the Jahiliyyah [pre-Islam] era," said one, Qassem. "Here, in the West Bank, we're more civilized, educated. It's a different nation, not like in Gaza."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Place to Find Rationality & Logic in the NYTimes

From Letters to the Editor of the New York Times:-

In its brutal, planned coup, Hamas has at once demonstrated its disdain for Fatah, truces, the rule of law and the disregard it has for the welfare of the Palestinian people. Yet you somehow believe that making more positive overtures can be an effective strategy for addressing the current situation.

Negotiate with President Mahmoud Abbas on a final peace settlement? How can any progress come from that when Hamas has proved how powerless Fatah is in Gaza? Freeze settlements as a good-will gesture? Please! I thought evacuating Gaza would have been sufficient for that purpose, yet we see the outcome of that particular initiative.

Release revenues to alleviate suffering? As in the past, much of those funds will easily wind up paying for more arms.

The efforts you advocate will not shore up support for Mr. Abbas, they will not further any aspect of the peace process, and they will not lessen the plight of the Palestinian people. Such a strategy is not “new and wiser.” It is old and foolish.

Daniel Silberman

We got to this very low point in the peace process precisely because the Fatah governments that preceded Hamas were very comfortable with double talk: urging peace and conciliation before the international community, while simultaneously inciting the Palestinian population to violence and hatred.

Joshua I. Schlenger

Amid the Palestinian carnage, you still urge Israel to change its settlement and security policy by restricting the former while relaxing the latter to magically bolster President Mahmoud Abbas.

If anything, it was the very Israeli policy in Gaza, which you now urge the Jewish state to institute in the West Bank, that gave rise to Hamas these last two years.

Israel’s complete withdrawal of its military presence and checkpoints, as well as the total dismantling of the settlements in Gaza, was greeted with a sweeping victory of Hamas in the ensuing elections, a barrage of rocket attacks against Israeli communities within the Green Line, and now, the Hamas-led savagery resulting in its total control of Gaza.

Joel D. Gordon

Being surrounded by Hamas and Hezbollah, both sworn enemies of Israel, and both financed by Iran, does not, to put it mildly, inspire a sense of security for the Israelis. An emboldened jihadist movement could be dangerous to the entire Middle East.

Marvin Waxner

Well, almost:-

The takeover of Gaza by Hamas should come as a surprise to no one. Israel’s reported tolerance of Islamic fundamentalists in the 1970s...

Khaled Galal

Friday, June 15, 2007


Mr Dahlan is one the most hated Fatah figures among Hamas ranks, accused of killing scores of Islamist fighters and activists in clampdowns in recent years.

When asked if he wanted Mr Dahlan - now in the West Bank - to be killed, one 37-year-old pharmacist at the scene told The Times: "What we want is to drag him through the streets behind a donkey until he dies of his injuries." He added that this was not official Hamas policy.

No, not really.


Wait. That Gun Will Be Turned Against Israel Soon

Found here.

"Honey, Please Never Bother Me At the Office"

Found here.


Found here.