Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Letter on NILI

In the Jerusalem Post:-

NILI was crucial

Sir, - The successful taking of Beersheba in 1917, now being reconstructed by Australian horsemen and others ("Aussies to reenact the capture of Beersheba," October 31), owed much to the intelligence work done by the NILI spies, foremost Sarah Aaronsohn and her brother, Aharon, together with Avshalom Feinberg. Two of them lost their lives in assuring that British troops under Allenby would provided with maps and other information that allowed them to make the successful round-about Gaza sweep and take the city's Turkish troops by surprise.

Shmuel Katz's new book on the Aaronsohn family details this chapter in the history of the Land of Israel.

Incidentally, the 1988 film The Lighthorsemen, also shown here, authentically recreated the charge across the plain in a most dramatic fashion.


Elyakim HaEtzni is Robust on Condi Rice

His charge sheet includes:

* She ordered the inclusion of the Hamas in the elections that led to a Hamas government and a terror state in the Gaza Strip.

* She forced us to abandon the Rafah crossing point to European supervisors who fled and left the Philadelphi Route as a superhighway for a flow of arms.

* She imposed the opening of checkpoints in Judea and Samaria, and the soldier who was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting near Ariel is her most recent victim.

* She subjugated Israel to the Road Map and the dictates of the Quartet and contemptuously threw out Israel's 14 objections.

* She dictated that the United States, and not we, would determine if the Palestinians disarmed their terror organizations, as a condition for recognition of their state, taking out of our hands the sovereign decision of what is vital for our security.

* She sent General Dayton to train terrorists disguised as policemen, and forced us to permit their arming, even though many of those arms and APCs fell into the hands of the Hamas, snipers who were trained after Oslo sniped and killed Jews, and Palestinian bomb disposal experts, trained in the United States used their new skills to operate explosive charges, murdering hundreds.

* She dictated to us the "revolving door" release of terrorist-murders, while Pollard rots in prison.

* She compelled us to pardon fugitive Fatah terrorists , but their weapons they do not surrender, and their terrorist activity goes on.

* She formulated a horrendous equation: the "crime" of Jewish settlement on the same level as Arab terror.

* She forced Sharon’s emissary, Weissglass, to make a commitment to freeze Jewish settlements and uproot outpost settlements.

* She enslaved us to the Saudi initiative, which means the flooding of our land with "refugees" of 1948.

* Out of her open, one-sided dedication to the Palestinian cause, she forced us to proclaim that the liberation of our homeland is "occupation", to be replaced with a terrorist enemy state.

Film Noire

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American living in El-Bireh/Ramallah (and may be reached at

So what, you ask?

Well, so I found this linked at the Int'l Herald Tribune (here)

... My father and I drove through the last Israeli checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem while heading to the Palestinian National Theatre at the invitation of The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) to attend the premiere of a new documentary on Jerusalem...

...Tonight, the theatre was packed tight. Young and old local Palestinian Jerusalemites, staff from the dozens of international agencies based in Jerusalem, donor representatives, foreign representatives, media, and the crew that produced the film were all present. The audience anxiously awaited the lights to be turned out and the film to start..."The Iron Wall" and tonight's film, "Jerusalem...The east side story," reveal the strategic policies that aim to Judaize [notice that?]the city and control Palestinian demographic growth. The resulting collective punishment is part of a larger scheme to pressure Palestinians into submission or flight.

"Jerusalem...The east side story" is a documentary that squeezes nearly 100 years of history into an hour or so of cinema...The producer of the film, Ms. Terry Boullata, stated at the outset of the evening that the intention of the documentary is to bring the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence to the Western audience who has shown by way of its acquiescence to the ongoing Israeli military occupation that it still needs to be educated.'s globalised generation of Palestinians will not drop the torch of this just cause. Knowing that Palestinian mothers across the occupied territory and throughout refugee camps in Palestine and abroad are explaining our just cause to yet another generation (regretfully I'm sure) somehow makes up for the lack of coherence and leadership today.

There's a lot more but this is just another indication of the persistence of Pal. propaganda and the willingness of manstream media vehicles to pass this along. They did have this blurb:

The views and opinions of other Web sites are not necessarily shared by the IHT.

but still, the exploitation exists.

Be Nice to Us - For Your Own Sake

Fog At Shiloh

At this time of year, the vally of Shiloh fills up with fog and at times, it seems that, looking out from our hilltop vantage-point, we're on the edge of a lake.

This morning, while waiting for the 7AM bus to Jerusalem, I couldn't resist the scene and photographed the entrance to Shiloh down below. You can just make out the row of palm trees as they emerge from the fog:-

Oh, and if you want to Google Earth us, Shiloh's sexagesimal notation is that we're at 35 degrees, 18 minutes and 02.27 seconds East longitude and our latitude is 32 degrees, 03 minutes and 11.86 seconds North.

I just realized that in the fog, many of you wouldn't recognize what is hidden and so, I took another picture this morning, Thursday so that you can see the difference:

Halt to Discrimination! Rightwingers Want Same Conditions

Here's a report on the ruckus at Horfesh (not Homesh) yesterday:

a large force of more than 100 police officers entered the village at 4 a.m. with the intention of arresting five men suspected of having previously vandalized a cellphone antenna installed in the neighboring community of New Pekiin...“The police came under a barrage of rocks, boulders and metal bars thrown by masked youths,” Mr. Rosenfeld said. “Our officers were in a life-threatening situation, and it was necessary for one to open fire with live ammunition to get out of the situation.” He added that the police arrested six who were not connected with the antenna incident, for rioting.

The police left the village at about 7 a.m. and calm was restored, but one Israeli border policewoman was left behind. During the commotion she had been surrounded by rioters. “Luckily,” said Mr. Rosenfeld, “one of the villagers, an ex-policeman, took her into his house for safety.”

A dialogue ensued between police representatives and the village sheik, and about 9 a.m., the policewoman was handed over unharmed, Mr. Rosenfeld said. In return, the six villagers arrested in the riots were released.

Can you imagine this happening, say, in Hebron? in Homesh?

Blatant discrimination, I'd say.

Another Letter Not Published in the NYTimes

Robert Cohen's sympathetic remarks on the destruction of a holy site ("Return to Bamiyan", Oct. 29) as well as his denouncing of "fanatical soldiers of Islam" cannot bring back the carved-in-stone Buddhas. But what the Muslim Waqf is currently destroying in Jerusalem can be halted.

If, as Cohen writes, "absence is presence", can the world aid in preserving the buried Jewish archeological artifacts on Jerusalem's Mount Moriah which are systematically being uncovered and either destroyed or thrown away? Will Western civilization stand by while Islamic fanaticsm continue to first deny and then eradicate the Jewish identity of the Temple Mount? Or will what is now present become absent in the future?

Yisrael Medad,
Mobile Post Efraim 44830

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Progress on Jerusalem's Light Railway

Rail lines being laid.

View from top of Ramat Eshkol, next to Ammunition Hill.

Amazing What Happens in Other Shilohs

Officer injured in early-morning chase ending in Shiloh

A police pursuit that started about 2 a.m. this morning ended in Shiloh at Greenmount Road.

Two people, including a police officer, were taken to a hospital after the chase, according to reports. Neither of the people had life-threatening injuries.

Three suspects who led police on the chase abandoned the car in Shiloh and attempted to flee on foot, but were later arrested.

Shiloh, Illinois, that is.

Academic Conference: Violence in World of Islam

At Bar Ilan this week, a conference was held that would interest all sorts of people including Pam over at Atlas Shrugs.

Here's the Invitation on "Violence in the World Islam".

I hope there'll be a publication of the lectures published.

Best of Intentions and Faith - Misplaced?

Natalie Portman displays, well, not-quite-the-wisdom I thought she would.

The anguish of a friend grieving over a terror victim in Israel led actress Natalie Portman to become an activist.

"When I was at Harvard, a very close friend lost someone to the violence in Israel," the Israeli-born movie star says in a first-person essay that appeared this weekend in Parade magazine. "I felt so helpless watching her pain. I really wanted to do something, but I didn’t know where to begin. Coming from Israel, I know how polarized that part of the world scene can be."

Okay, polarized or not, what did her activism consist of?

Portman called Jordanian Queen Rania, a Palestinian, who told Portman about the Foundation for International Community Assistance. The group, Portman says, "grants loans, mostly to women, to start small businesses..."It’s impossible to know the outcome of anything," she writes. "You have no idea whether the life you impact will go on to bring peace to the Middle East or will go blow up a building. All you can do is act with the best intention and have faith."


No, she hasn't appeared at any benefits for the IDF. She hasn't made statements protesting Islamic terror. She hasn't even said who is right and who is wrong.

But, funnily enough, something she said the JTA report left out, probably because its web site editor is a raving left-wing, progressive radical, I found encouraging. In Parade she wrote:

I had always really admired Queen Rania of Jordan. She’s the most high-profile Palestinian woman in the Middle East, and she’s so compassionate and smart.

"Palestinian". Got that?

Not Jordanian.

So, Portman knows that Jordan is a fake country, that it has 70% so called Pals. as a demographic element and that probably the problems of Arabs in Judea and Samaria would and should and could be found within a political framework involving that country. Unless the King does something stupid.

So, maybe her intentions were honorable?

Paula Doesn't Pout - She Pounds Back

Paula R. Stern is a freelance journalist living in Israel. Her personal website is and her blog is

And she has been in the forefront of the anti-Abu El Haj campaign, the academic who denies Israel's archeological-based history. She's been attacked in The Nation, the standard-bearer of progressive thought.

Puala has responded and she asked me to make sure my readers know that she isn't taking this lying down. Here;s her counter-reply, in full:

Editor with a Hatchet: Larry Cohler-Esses' New "McCarthyism"

Larry Cohler-Esses is a man on a mission. He’s an editor with a hatchet, ready to wield it in the noble cause of “gotcha” journalism. Of course, he refuses to focus on the little details, like the voices of experts on the very subject on which he writes nothing about his inability to focus on the forest when the tree beckons. During a recent interview, so fascinated with one petition, Cohler-Esses managed to miss the forest: that Barnard College is about to give tenure to a professor who has written a wholly inferior and highly political book which fails completely when measured against the scales of truth, integrity, academic honesty and simple facts.

Like many newspapers, the Jewish Week was interested in a story about the tenure decision of Barnard professor Nadia Abu El Haj. I became aware of the ongoing controversy more than a year ago and read her book to see if it could possibly be as inaccurate and filled with anti-Israel propaganda as the experts claimed. A quick read suggests this is true; a more in-depth study confirms it. At the time (a year ago), I made notes, highlighted sections, and decided to do what I could to make certain that Barnard and Columbia did not give tenure to a professor who is more of a propagandist than a qualified scholar.

I wrote to the Barnard administration and contacted other Barnard graduates. Barnard doesn’t want their alumnae to mess with the process; we are there for giving donations only, it seems. When the administration was unresponsive, I started an online petition. I was in a hurry, after all, the decision was to be soon and Barnard was refusing to give any details of the time schedule (plus I have a business to run, a daughter was getting married, a son was going into the army, three other children needed my attention, etc.). I did a quick review of my notes, wrote up a petition, and posted it.

I asked dozens of people to sign it. I later noticed a couple of minor errors in my text. Little things like – El Haj is virtually ignorant of the Hebrew language instead of completely ignorant. That her reference to one specific dig was wrong, but named a different dig instead. These minor corrections should have been made, but once a petition is posted at, no corrections to the text are possible.

Historians James Davila and Ralph Harrington concur that the petition was correct in its criticism of El Haj, except that : “I doubt that it is accurate to say that Abu El-Haj did not know Hebrew when she wrote the book. But in it she does make elementary errors that someone with a decent knowledge of the language would not have made, which raises the question whether she knew it well enough to pull off the ambitious project she undertakes in the book.”

The real question here is why attack-journalist Cohler-Esses devoted his time to seeking tiny criticisms in my petition instead of noting that Barnard is considering giving tenure to Abu El Haj on the basis of a single book that is riddled with serious errors of fact and of methodology.

The petition continued to grow, gaining more than 2,500 supporters, many of whom are Barnard and Columbia graduates. It’s a fine showing, a clear message to Columbia University that its graduates are against this latest attempt to add yet another documented Israel hater to its ranks.

During this whole process, I’ve acted as an archive, posting many articles written by experts on the subject of El Haj’s past and current research. It was on the basis of these articles, and not my opinion, that I asked concerned Barnard and Columbia graduates to make a decision. I asked the same of many reporters who contacted me. Most understood that the petition was an expression of concern and condemnation. Only Larry Cohler-Esses gave it the holiness one would normally equate with the Bible. Each word, he studied – more than he probably has ever bothered to study the Torah.

Cohler-Esses’ mission can best be summed up in his own pre-determined prejudice, “This is the modus operandi of the New McCarthyism. It targets a new enemy for our era: Muslims, Arabs and others in the Middle East field who are identified as stepping over an unstated line in criticizing Israel, as radical Islamists, as just plain radical or as in some way sympathetic to terrorists.”

In other words, Cohler-Esses was the most dangerous of hatchet editors – a man with a preconceived conclusion and the power to wield it. Sadly, he wasn’t honest enough to make his opinions known, but hid behind innocuous questions and then minimized El Haj’s 281-page manifesto as merely “criticizing Israel.”

Rather than attack Cohler-Esses (as a response to his attack on me), this reporter will focus on the "facts" he raised and the answers he should have provided:

The four statements about her book that Cohler-Esses claims are false are that Abu El Haj:

· claims the ancient Israelite kingdoms are a "pure political fabrication,"

· denies the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE and instead blames its destruction on the Jews,

· does not speak or read Hebrew yet had the temerity to publish a book on Israeli archaeology that demanded such expertise,

· is so ignorant of her topic that she quotes one archaeologist on how a dig might have damaged the ancient palaces of Solomon--oblivious to the fact that those palaces, if they existed, were far from the site in question.

Let's take these statements point-by-point and demonstrate how wrong Cohler-Esses is:

Nadia Abu El Haj claims the ancient Israelite kingdoms are a "pure political fabrication."
I stand by this statement. El Haj does indeed claim that the story of ancient Israel is a "pure political fabrication." Here is a link to an essay that shows Cohler-Hess was incorrect, despite his almost desperate attempt to find some other meaning in El Haj's words.

Another, by a leading historian, comes to the same conclusion:

Both these scholars agree that El Haj’s characteristically convoluted language does not mask her true intent – to say that the ancient Israelite kingdoms are a “pure political fabrication.”

Nadia Abu El Haj denies the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE and instead blames its destruction on the Jews.

What Abu El Haj actually says is that that Jerusalem in the times of Jesus was not Jewish. "...for most of its history, including the Herodian period, Jerusalem was not a Jewish city, but rather one integrated into larger empires and inhabited, primarily, by 'other' communities." pp 175-6. El Haj is simply wrong, and pretty much everyone except El Haj (and maybe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) knows it. To claim Jerusalem, whose very name is an Anglicized version of its Hebrew name, as anything but the Jewish city it has always been recognized to be, is a mockery of history, revisionism most insidious.

El Haj then makes herself ridiculous by asserting, with regard to the fires that destroyed a particular site in ancient Jerusalem, that there are “several alternative but equally plausible accounts.” Some two thousand years after the destruction of Jerusalem, Nadia Abu El Haj has set herself as the defender of Rome. It is her goal to acquit the ancient Roman Empire and to do so, she must find a culprit. Since there were but Jews and Romans present at the time, she is limited in her choices. Limited but not defeated, she makes her wild and undocumented suggestion, nonetheless, by suggesting that “some of the evidence… could just as convincingly be read as evidence of a class or sectarian conflict within Jewish Society…” pp 145

Here is yet another essay showing how El Haj got this wrong. Cohler-Esses continues his attack on the petition by focusing on the exact wording while missing the main point that El Haj did, in fact, attempt to shift blame for the burning of Jerusalem to the Jews. That she did this for only a section of Jerusalem and not the entire city, as one might interpret from the petition, means nothing to Cohler-Esses. He can take the petition word for word, but cannot manage to do the same with El Haj's book - again, because that might disagree with his own intention.

Two points down, and one can begin to see a pattern to Cohler-Esses writing, but let’s continue.

Nadia Abu El Haj does not speak or read Hebrew yet had the temerity to publish a book on Israeli archaeology that demanded such expertise.

Here one must concede, again, that the petition is correct in its conclusion, but with the added explanation that it seems that El Haj knows some Hebrew, just not enough to read and write intelligently on her chosen topic.

As I wrote on my site, “Any Israeli reading the book will quickly see that the numerous mistakes she makes are a clear indication...this woman is as uncertain and unskilled in her Hebrew skills as she is in her research, her documentation, her ability to draw logical and intelligent conclusions based on real facts on the ground.” See

When I tried to admit that the petition was correct in its essense, if not phrased as best as could be expected, one can almost hear the glee in Cohler-Esses pathetic attempt to misplace this "admission" to devalue the entire petition. But luckily, the only thing devalued in this process is the integrity of Cohler-Esses and any newspaper that would print his article without further investigation.

Nadia Abu El Haj is so ignorant of her topic that she quotes one archaeologist on how a dig might have damaged the ancient palaces of Solomon--oblivious to the fact that those palaces, if they existed, were far from the site in question.

Abu El Haj’s ignorance of archaeology is monumental. As I mentioned previously, if Cohler-Esses wanted a professional discussion of all facets of El Haj’s work, he should have spoken to the experts and he should have conducted a professional interview, not one with someone at 12:30 a.m. who is sitting in her bed wanting to go to sleep, or someone who was not informed that her notes and a copy of the book would be required to answer his questions. Cohler-Esses did a hatchet job because he wasn’t interested in truth or the facts on Abu El Haj, but because he wanted to put forth his conspiracy theory of a new McCarthyism sweeping American colleges. Do not take my opinion on this. As I asked Cohler-Esses to do, those who wish to be informed, should read the opinions of leading scholars, including these:






What You Can Be Taught at the Hebrew University

Here's how one Jewess, Daphna Golan-Agnon, set out to undermine the Zionist-Jewish state of Israel, in her own words and thanks to Israel Academia Monitor:

"My PhD thesis focused on the reconstruction and use of history in South Africa...The first Intifada was at its peak when I completed my PhD and I became
actively involved in establishing B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, established in February 1989. I was its founding Research Director, in charge of establishing the data collection, research, and publication of the organization. I also researched and wrote some of the reports myself.

"I felt that my contribution to a human rights culture in Israel was more important than my research on South Africa...In 1989 I applied and was accepted for an international intensive program on Human Rights and International Law at the International School for Human Rights in Strasbourg...[later] I received a research grant from the Washington based International Human Rights Internship Program...I returned to Israel with the idea of creating an academic center like the Center for Applied Legal Studies. I envisioned and helped design a Center that would be an academic home for both human rights activists and scholars. This became the Hebrew University Center for Human Rights, later the Minerva Center for Human Rights.

"Shortly after the signing of the Oslo accord in December 1993, I became the Founding Director of the Israeli Center Bat Shalom which, with the Palestinian Jerusalem Center for Women in East Jerusalem, was entitled the Jerusalem Link - A Women's Joint Venture for Peace...On the invitation of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University and supported by a research grant from the Ford Foundation...I focused on Israeli human rights activists protecting Palestinian rights and the relationships of the activists with the legal system. I examined why Israeli human rights activists challenge Israeli policies using universal values and the language of human rights...In 1999-2001 I was appointed by the Minister of Education to design and coordinate a national plan to reduce gaps in the education system. The recommendations of the committee led to a reform in the distribution of
funding in all Israel's schools, the establishment of research groups to change curriculum in history and civil education for Arab schools, and the celebration of International Human Rights Day in all parts of the Israeli education system...

..."Since 1999, I have established and taught two Fellowship Programs at the Hebrew University: The Human Rights Fellows Program of The Minerva Center for Human Rights, at the Law School, and the Fellowship Program for Gender Equality and the Prevention of Violence against Women...I began to examine what the students learn from this experience of being able to contribute to advancing human rights, their use of the universal language of human rights, as well as their motivations and passion to
change...In June 2004, I and Salim Tamari, Director of the Institute of Jerusalem
Studies established an Israeli-Palestinian research group to study models of Reconciliation and Transitional Justice for Israel and Palestine. I hope that this group will now focus its efforts both on publication of a book as well as on the formation of a public process of acknowledgement and reconciliation."

Israeli academia at work.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Dawn Breaking

Bad Policy Guidelines

Cabinet Communique

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 28 October 2007:

...5. The Cabinet discussed the issue of temporary residency permits for residents of Judea and Samaria who have resided in eastern Jerusalem for a prolonged period without a proper permit and decided as follows:

Interior Minister Meir Shetrit will provide for the issuing of Israel residency permits - in accordance with the 1952 Entry into Israel Law - to residents of Judea and Samaria who are in Israel illegally, who request such a permit on the basis of the claim that the center of their lives is in eastern Jerusalem, in areas to which the jurisdiction, law and administration of the State of Israel were applied in June 1967 even though they do not appear in the 1967 census as residents of eastern Jerusalem.

What, no obligatory security check?

Whose Rights?

Human rights groups challenged Israel's reduction of fuel supplies to Gaza and its intention to cut back on electricity, and Palestinians warned the measures could lead to a humanitarian crisis. In their appeal, the 10 human rights groups contended, ''Deliberately obstructing the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is illegal.'' They say Israel controls Gaza land, sea and air corridors and should be considered responsible for the fate of the people there, though Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Er, if they are the enemy, shall we treat them better than how the allies treated their enemies in previous hostile situations?

For ordinary civilians [in Germany] everyday life involved increasing hardship, and from about April 1942 onwards the RAF in particular bombed the civilian population as a matter of policy.


Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The freedom of more than 600,000 Italian-born immigrants in the United States and their families was restricted during World War II by Government measures that branded them "enemy aliens" and included carrying identification cards, travel restrictions, and seizure of personal property.

(2) During World War II more than 10,000 Italian Americans living on the West Coast were forced to leave their homes and prohibited from entering coastal zones. More than 50,000 were subjected to curfews.

(3) During World War II thousands of Italian American immigrants were arrested, and hundreds were interned in military camps.


the evacuation, relocation, and internment of United States citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II;

Don't Israel's citizens have rights, too?

Doing the Math

Do the math

Olmert's Lack of Sensitivity

On Sensitivity
By Arieh Eldad

from Ma'ariv, Oct. 26, 2007

Jerusalem’s Kfar Shiloah, Silwan as it is called by its Arab residents, lies on the southern slope of the Temple Mount. The Arab residents prostrate themselves five times a day when praying towards Mecca and turning their backs to the Temple Mount and the El Aksa Mosque that stands on the mount’s top. All the world’s Moslems, including those in Jerusalem, face Mecca. All the Jews in the world face the Temple Mount when they pray. And yet the Temple Mount is famously holy to Moslems - and a very sensitive place.

Just before the most recent Ramadan, an electric cable leading towards El Aksa shorted. The Wakf, to whom the Temple Mount has been entrusted – perhaps it would be better to say abandoned – announced it intends to dig a five hundred meter long trench in order to replace the cable, which had been laid fifty years ago.

Temple Mount is a sensitive place – the most sensitive place in the world, says the Israeli Government and its Antiquities Authority. So sensitive that Jews are forbidden to ascent the Mount to stand for even a brief moment moving their lips in silent prayer, for fear that this will enrage a billion Moslems who will torch the whole world. The sensitivity about Temple Mount is obviously one-sided: The Arabs are sensitive; the authorities ignore the sensitivity of Jews. Therefore the director of the Antiquities Authority, Shouka Dorfman, hurriedly approved the Wakf’s request and insisted only that he would send an archeologist to watch over the work. The Archeology Law sets the guidelines for archeological excavations in Israel and what needs to be done when other work is done at an archeological site. Of course such a dig is not left in the hands of a construction company. Expert archeologists from the Antiquities Authority dig at the site and only after they have ensured that all finds are preserved against damage, does the director of the Authority allow the work to continue. And Temple Mount is a sensitive site, and therefore the government’s legal advisor ordered that any work on the Mount can be approved only by a special ministerial committee. The Arabs told Shouka Dorfman that the work was urgent and because of the aforementioned sensitivity, he ignored the law and the orders and on his own authorized the Wakf’s tractor to dig across the entire Mount. Can anyone imagine him allowing a tractor to do something similar anywhere else in the country?

Dr. Eilat Mazar, a senior archeologist who has been working in Jerusalem for years, compares the tractor’s work on the Mount to performing open heart surgery with a rake. But no Jewish heart in the Antiquities Authority shuddered when the Wakf was allowed to bring a tractor to the remains of the Temple that stood on Temple Mount. Nor previously did they do anything to stop the Arabs when they built a huge underground mosque in Solomon’s Stables, cutting the Temple’s stones into pavement and dumping thousands of tons of dirt into the Kidron riverbed, destroying the remains of the Temple whose very existence they deny.

Even if the Antiquities Authority does not have the courage to initiate scientific digs on the Temple Mount because of the sensitivity, it certainly is obligated to perform an emergency excavation on the Mount when the Wakf wants to dig to make repairs; so why didn’t they do so? This week in the Knesset, Shouka Dorfman explained to the Government Oversight Committee that the work was “urgent.” Did he offer the mosque a generator that could provide electricity while the archeologists did their work? No, he did not. Did the Authority consider alternatives - for instance, in order to avoid digging across the entire Mount, bringing a cable up along the southern wall of the Mount, thus rendering the bulldozer unnecessary? No, they did not consider alternatives. Why not?

At this point it was obvious that the director of the Antiquities Authority was fed up with the members of the Government Oversight Committee, these nudniks who were insisting he operate according to the law, while he knows what the prime minister wants from him, so why bother even with the required ministerial committee?

Ehud Olmert, who has decided to divide Jerusalem and give the Arabs sovereignty over Temple Mount, has no interest in the Mount, nor any sensitivity to the holy places of Israel. If the Arabs want to dig up the Mount, let them dig. Olmert has already abandoned the whole Temple Mount, so why should he care about a ditch? Shouka Dorfman, director of the Antiquities Authority, is professionally, legally, and nationally delinquent; he executed Olmert’s will as a marionette, abandoning the most important Jewish site in the world to the Wakf’s tractors. The archeologist who is no more than window dressing saved a single object from the First Temple and let the rest be turned into dust, because such finds may antagonize the Arabs and they are, as we know, sensitive.

About such people as these, it has been said, that a nation that does not honor its past - has no future.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Sheineh Maidel

The March announcement read:-

Hooters, the restaurant chain known for its tasty wings and scantily clad servers, is heading to Israel.

Atlanta-based Hooters of America Inc. said in a statement Monday that it has reached a franchise deal with Ilana and Ofer Ahiraz to open the first Hooters restaurant this year in Israel, with several more locations in Israel to follow.

Debbie Schlussel expressed her negative reaction.

Well, it's open for business, the restaurant, that is.

The Jewess waitresses, in case you're wondering:


Havel Havalim, # 138

My Comment at the TLS

Times Literary Supplement

Another tragic death of an archeologist was of James Leslie Starkey, who was engaged in excavating Lachish in then British mandated Palestine. Returning to Jerusalem in 1938, he was killed by Arab marauders during the period of the Revolt against Britain and the Jewish community at the time.

Yisrael Medad, Shiloh, Israel

Postmodern? Try 1948

Haaretz has a story/interview with some arrogant Army bloke (*) named Shimon Naveh - Dr. Naveh, or, how I learned to stop worrying and walk through walls

Naveh, it seems, was at the forefront of a new conceptual approach that evolved in the IDF at the end of the Oslo period and the start of the second intifada. Together with other officer-intellectuals, he tried to explicate and develop military activity by drawing, among other sources, on terms borrowed from postmodern French philosophy, literary theory, architecture and psychology. Recently he completed a book on his experience as head of the IDF's Operational Theory Research Institute (OTRI), or MALTAM in its Hebrew acronym.

Can Naveh explain his conceptual doctrine in a way the public will understand? He is not optimistic. "It is not easy to understand; my writing is not intended for ordinary mortals," he says in an interview in his home in Hadera.

Questions that irk him get a furious response, and mention of the names of most of the top IDF brass generates something resembling an attack of Tourette's syndrome and a torrent of rage, verbal abuse and death sentences for some of them. "They should be executed," he asserts. The interviewer's look of astonishment does not faze him. "As you see, I shit on most of them, and I don't give a damn," he says. Earlier, when his dog greeted him as he entered the house he said exultantly, "See him? He is smarter than most of the people on the General Staff."

The following is excerpted from an interview Brigadier General Kochavi gave to the architect and researcher Eyal Weizman (who devotes a chapter to Naveh in his new - English-language - book, "Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation"):

"This space that you look at, this room that you look at, is nothing but your interpretation of it. Now, you can stretch the boundaries of your interpretation, but not in an unlimited fashion, after all, it must be bound by physics, as it contains buildings and alleys. The question is, how do you interpret the alley? Do you interpret the alley as a place, like every architect and every town planner does, to walk through, or do you interpret the alley as a place forbidden to walk through? This depends only on interpretation. We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through, and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not want to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps. Not only do I not want to fall into his traps, I want to surprise him! This is the essence of war. I need to win. I need to emerge from an unexpected place ... This is why we opted for the methodology of moving through walls ... Like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing." (From Eyal Weizman, "Lethal Theory," in English)

But in April 1948, under the command of Gidi Paglin, the Irgun, at first thwarted in its operation against Jaffa, proceeded on its third try to dynamite their way through the houses and move through the walls to the sea and cut-off Jaffa from the rear, thus destroying the resistance. It was successful.

Naveh, grow up.



Naveh left the army in 2005, following a harsh report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on OTRI. The report was critical of the fact that all of the institute's work was carried out orally, without the ideas being put into writing. Allegations in the report about administrative irregularities were later refuted.

"I will take apart this critique in seconds," Naveh says jocularly. "It is the critique of an idiot. He comes to examine a certain field and doesn't bother to learn about it, doesn't take the trouble to read a word about the operational art, about what it means, about our status in the world. I tell him, go to blazes, you're an idiot, you don't understand a thing. In the same breath he checks how we report on work hours and what is going on with the administrative side, allegations that were all refuted."

Did you defend yourselves?

"The subject under review is supposed to respond to the first draft of the comptroller's report, and then he takes it to the deputy chief of staff. In our case, even before we managed to respond to the draft, [Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe] Kaplinsky, that idiot, started to get on our case. He should have come out and said he wanted to destroy us. Kaplinsky said more than once that I had to be got rid of because I couldn't be controlled, and so did that idiot from Northern Command [the former GOC, Udi Adam], a command that is a wretched ruin."

And then you left?

"The examining officer was the deputy chief of the Personnel Directorate, and right away I understood that he wanted to remove us, so I said I wanted to leave. Halutz asked me why, and said 'We will talk about it on Friday.' I said, 'We are not going to meet on Friday.' I got up and left. That chapter is over for me. I won't go back there even if they offer me my weight in gold. Maybe if they offer me $40,000-50,000 a month I'll go back, but that would really be to prostitute myself."

There was other criticism, too. Yaakov Amidror - former commander of the IDF National Defense College - said that your unit's work was tainted by "a non-distinction between truth and lie, prattle in the best postmodern tradition."

"He is a person who has not read a word about postmodernism, a pathological liar, a pretender, a person who did nothing in his life in the army, a total idler, a showoff. He did everything by political manipulations. I do not accept acknowledgment of the worth of my theory from nonentities. That idiot was a student with me at the Command and Staff College and was always a blackboard below me."

Participating in a Debate

I have a comment here at the YU The Commentator on the appointment of Dr. David Berger to head their Jewish History Department.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Real Bad News

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has sought the advice of former US presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton ahead of a planned Middle East peace parley scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, in November or December.

That is, unless she's trying to avoid all past mistakes.

A Jewess Midrash

Let's learn a bit of Torah.

In this week's Bar-Ilan Parsha sheet, To"r [Tovah Rivkah?] (+) Rachel Levmor, takes a decidedly unexpected unfeminist feminist postion on the story of Hagar's expulsion from Avraham's family.

Let's start with the basic text
as it is recorded in Genesis, Chapter 21:

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham: 'Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.' 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham: 'Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall seed be called to thee. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.' 14 And Abraham arose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and strayed in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow-shot; for she said: 'Let me not look upon the death of the child.' And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her: 'What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast by thy hand; for I will make him a great nation.' 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

What bothers Ms. Levmor is that a close textual reading reveals that Hagar, the mother, physically distances herself from her child whereas Levmor expects that she would hold the lad and comfort him even as he is dying. A mother is there when the child is born and a mother should be there when he dies, if that is the case. She should be near, not far.

She even points out that whereas it is her voice we read about, And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept, it is the lad's cry which is answered, And God heard the voice of the lad. But nowehere do we read that he cried out. Levmor even suggests that Hagar's cries were those that drowned out those of the child. In fact, she sits so far away, and sat herself down opposite him him a good way off, as it were a bow-shot - and in the Hebrew, there is a doubling of the distance:
הַרְחֵק כִּמְטַחֲוֵי קֶשֶׁת,
that is, two times a bowshot's distance, so that not only couldn't she see him but couldn't even hear him. Levmor insists this is not maternal behavior. Indeed, it is self-centered behavior.

Furthermore, whereas our text has it that she now strayed in the wilderness of Beer-sheba, previously, she was able to navigate herself fairly well, as it is recorded in Chapter 16, when she was first expelled from Sarai's household, she managed to find a water source:

6 But Abram said unto Sarai: 'Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her that which is good in thine eyes.' And Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her face. 7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

Levmore continues in her exegis but I will stop here and add my own two Torah thoughts.

a) Avraham, for one, actually does exhibit paternal instincts when, in verse 11, we read: And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son. It wasn't Hagar he was concerned about but his son. Therefore, G-d needed to intervene and instruct him to obey his wife's request despite his natural reaction to protect his own progeny no matter what.

b) In the Haftarah reading for this Shabbat, II Kings we read of a woman who couldn't conceive and was aided by the prophet Elisha to bear a son but then:

18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. 19 And he said unto his father: 'My head, my head.' And he said to his servant: 'Carry him to his mother.' 20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.

Note, she held the child on her knees, comforting him as he expired, supposedly. That is the behavior I think Levmor would have understood.

Shavua Tov.


Ruchie informs me "That’s toenet rabbanit = טוענת רבנית which means "pleader before a Rabbinical court".
Rachel Levmore, an old friend, is in charge of the agunot and mesuravot get department in the rabbanut".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hello? Hello?

Remember her?

Yep, Rose Mary Woods.


Chief Minority Counsel Fred Thompson put the question to Butterfield directly in televised hearings: "Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?" The shocking revelation radically transformed the Watergate investigation. The tapes were soon subpoenaed by Cox and then by the Senate, since they might prove whether Nixon or Dean was telling the truth about key meetings. Nixon refused, citing the principle of executive privilege, and ordered Cox, via Attorney General Richardson, to drop his subpoena.

...While Nixon continued to refuse to turn over actual tapes, he did agree to release edited transcripts of a large number of them; Nixon cited the fact that any sensitive national security information could be edited out of the tapes; it was also speculated that the tapes may have contained foul language and racial slurs, which would have worsened Nixon's image.

The tapes largely confirmed Dean's account and caused further embarrassment when a crucial, 18½ minute portion of one tape, which had never been out of White House custody, was found to have been erased. The White House blamed this on Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, who said she had accidentally erased the tape by pushing the wrong foot pedal on her tape player while answering the phone. However, as photos splashed all over the press showed, it was unlikely for Woods to answer the phone and keep her foot on the pedal. Later forensic analysis determined that the gap had been erased in several segments — at least five, and perhaps as many as nine refuting the "accidental erasure" explanation.

Why her?

Read one:

Some of PM's defense talks before last year's war went unrecorded

Some of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's conversations with senior defense officials shortly before last year's war in Lebanon were not recorded due to a "malfunction," and certain others were intentionally unrecorded, Olmert's bureau chief Yoram Turbowicz told the Winograd Committee.

...Turbowicz said that shortly after the incident that sparked the war - Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers - Olmert spoke by phone with then defense minister Amir Peretz and then Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz. When the committee noted that it had no transcripts of these calls, Turbowicz replied: "Not everything is recorded because there are malfunctions, as with everything in this country. So important things are suddenly not recorded."

In addition, he said, some of Olmert's conversations were intentionally not recorded, to facilitate free discussion.

We've come such a long way since 1974.

Not really. Just kidding.

Alan Johnston's Story; Finally

We've been wondering where the lad has been. He was freed on July 4. Almost 4 months have gone by with too much quiet. After all, as a BBC vet, here's easily up to 5 reports a day.

But he is making news out of it. His story was broadcast on Thursday, 25 October, 2007 at 1100 BST on BBC Radio 4 and Panorama broadcast Kidnapped - The Alan Johnston Story on Thursday, 25 October, 2007 at 2100 BST on BBC One.

Here are excerpts from his BBC blog:

But the experience of incarceration does have a way of lingering, of haunting the nights. I dream sometimes that I am in captivity again, and I cannot tell you how good it is to wake and gradually realise that, actually, I am free. Safe, back at home, on the shores of Loch Goil. But the nightmares come less frequently now. And although psychologists might say that these are still quite early days, I very much believe that I am going to be fine.

And the kidnap's legacy is not all bad. With its locks and chains, its solitary confinement and moments of terror, it was a kind of dark education.

I lived through things which before I would have struggled to imagine and maybe, in the end, I will be stronger for that. I have gained too a deeper sense of the value of freedom.

Perhaps only if you have ever been some kind of prisoner, can you truly understand its worth. Even now, more than three months after I was freed, it can still seem faintly magical to do the simplest things, like walk down a street in the sunshine, or sit in a cafe with a newspaper.

And in my captivity in Gaza, I learnt again that oldest of lessons. That in life, all that really, really matters, are the people you love.

A saloon car had suddenly surged past mine, and then pulled up, forcing me to stop. A young man emerged from the passenger side and pointed a pistol at me.

I had reported many times on the kidnapping of foreigners in Gaza. Now, as I always feared it might, my turn had come. The figure with the pistol and another gunman forced me into their car, and as we sped off I was made to lie on the back seat.

In the claustrophobic, intense, violent, sliver of land that is Gaza, there was now a shadowy organisation that thought in terms of waging Jihad on the West

A hood had been shoved over my face, but through it I could see the sun flickering between the tower blocks. I could tell that we were heading south and east, towards the city's rougher neighbourhoods.

Most kidnappings in Gaza used to be carried out by disgruntled militant groups seeking the attention of the authorities in some minor dispute. And always the Westerner was freed within a week or so, shaken but unharmed. But the game had changed last summer.

A much more sinister group had emerged and seized two members of a team from the American Fox News network. They were freed, but only after making a video-taped denunciation of the West, and a public conversion to Islam. Of course this was serious.

I felt that Gaza's story was important.

It is at the centre of the Palestinian drama, which in turn lies at the heart of the rising tensions between the East and the West that have become the defining story of our time.

So, in consultation with senior colleagues, I decided that the risks were worth taking, and I stayed in Gaza.

And I did manage to keep out of the grasp of the kidnappers almost to the end. When the man with the pistol emerged from the white saloon, I had just 16 days left until I was due to leave for good.


NYTimes reports:

New commercial satellite photos show that a Syrian site that Israel bombed last month no longer bears any obvious traces of what analysts said appeared to have been a partly built nuclear reactor. Two photos, taken Wednesday from space by rival companies, show the site near the Euphrates River to have been wiped clean since August, when imagery showed a tall square building there measuring about 150 feet on a side.


the site near the Euphrates River to have been wiped clean since August, when imagery showed a tall square building there measuring about 150 feet on a side.

My Letter in the Int'l Herald Tribune

It's been a dry spell for a while but I have a letter published in the International Herald Tribune:

Henry Kissinger warns: "If either America's Arab or Israeli friends are asked to take on more than they are able to withstand, there's the risk of another, even larger blow-up" ("Bold script, weak actors," Views, Oct. 24). I suggest that the concessions Israel is being asked to make are too bold and will leave Israel too weak.

Kissinger's own experience in Sinai with the Egypt-Israel peace agreement is an example. Currently, Egypt is facilitating deliveries of weapons into the Gaza Strip. Very few, if any, of the smuggling tunnels have been shut down. True, Egypt is not engaged in a major war with Israel. But this isn't peace.

Yisrael Medad, Shiloh, Israel

Here's one that didn't make it, sent on Oct. 17:

Daniel Levy asserts that the world must recognize that anti-American mobilization and support for jihad are facilitated by "the role of Israeli occupation" ("How about a peace lobby?", Oct. 16).

However, the roots of jihad from which we currently suffer are totally disconnected from any such "occupation", which is claimed began in 1967. To highlight but one aspect: Hassan al-Banna, who died in 1949, and who established the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 and Pakistan's Syed Abul Ala Maududi who founded the Jamaat Islami in 1941, sought to restore the Islamic ideal of the union of religion and state. Their enemy was the west which they they blamed for the decline of Muslim societies by separating religion and politics.

Furthermore, prior to 1967, Israel neither "occupied" territory nor had established any Jewish communities in "conquered" areas but still there was Arab terror throughout 1948-1967. I would suggest that Arab hostility and Islamic extremism acts independent of any specific Israeli policy but, if anything, rather rejects Israel existence totally and unequivocally without regard to any geographical dimension.

And another, from Oct. 4:

No one knows how many are the "many Jews" for whom Jacob Bender claims to speak in his opposition (letter, Oct. 3) to the Jewish communities established in the disputed territories Israel controls since 1967. I write as one of over 400,000 Jews in these areas, including Jerusalem's eastern neighborhoods.

We need recall that no Jew lived in a "settlement" nor was there any "occupation" during the years 1948-1967 in these areas of Judea and Samaria but Arab fedayeen terror existed and peace was the furthest goal of any Arab entity. The PLO was founded in 1964, three years before the war. Any further retreat through disengagement will result in many of Israel's towns facing the security threat of Qassam rockets and, at Ben-Gurion Airport, even worse.

The term "illegality" can not be applied to places, like my home of Shiloh, for it was here that the Jewish people created its culture, history and religion and became a nation, where our kings, priests and prophets walked, deliberated and acted. Bender is misrepresenting Judaism and the Jewish people.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Condi Robustly Confronted

Do you know who this lady is?

No, this lady isn't a Pal. celebrating her terror acts gainst Israelis, like that fellow in Ramallah who participated in the lynching and butchering of two soldiers who got lost driving into the town.

This fella

She's Desiree Farooz.

America is such a democracy that a demonstrator could get so close.

Off On a Jewess/Feminist Tangent

Jewess sent me over to a story in The Jewish Week on a feminist issue. And that is the worth of the new ArtScroll woman's siddur.

I will not debate that matter although I admit that my sympathies are not at all with ArtScroll due to my incapability of fathoming their Hareidi orientation as in no prayer for the state of Israel (when every Russian and Austrian siddur had a prayer for either the Czar of Emperor respectively) or for soldiers of the IDF.

What interested me is a bit more obsure:

...Ellen Frankel, CEO and editor in chief of the Jewish Publication
Society...“I admire ArtScroll greatly,” she said. But the company has created a model that shapes the work of others in the field. Every ArtScroll religious text has letters of endorsement from leading Orthodox rabbis reproduced in the first pages. Frankel said that she approached someone to support JPS’s new translation of “Mikraot Gedolot: The Commentators’ Bible.” Even before opening a newly published volume, the Orthodox donor asked which rabbis endorsed it, how observant the editor was and what rabbis he had studied with. “This donor wouldn’t even consider funding something unless he knew it was approved” by rabbis, said Frankel. “That was an interesting eye opener for me. It’s somewhat regrettable that Orthodox readers now
require a hechsher (stamp of kosher approval), and it doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality of the scholarship or writing. There are many good books being published that would not be objectionable to a traditional reader, but they won’t open them.”

Dr. Frankel is the author of many books, including The Classic Tales: Four Thousand Years of Jewish Lore and The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols, and is also an accomplished story teller. Dr. Frankel received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University. But she is doing Jewish feminism no favor inexpressing her above opinion.

Jewish books for centuries have carried approbations, haskamot, from Rabbis and some have even been forged as they were that important to the author and the book's sales. They are a mine of bibliographical and historical information about persons, places and dates. And here's a nice haskama story: approbation (הסכמה) written for R. Judah Leib Zirelsohn's collection of responsa, Gevul Yehudah (1906). The writer of the approbation was R. Eliyahu Hazan, who was then the Chief Rabbi of Alexandria, Egypt. R. Hazan apparently was not only very impressed with R. Zirelsohn, but was also quite disappointed with the quality of many books that had been written. Regarding Gevul Yehudah he wrote,

"The gentleman asked to send him an approbation for his book of responsa Gevul Yehudah which is soon to be published. He also sent me copies of the responsa which had already been published in order that I see them. Since then I have seen many books published which are not worth the damage done to the paper and printing, and they are not helpful or useful. On the other hand they contain that which will cause damage to religion and knowledge, and to my disappointment I saw in some of them the approbations of well-known rabbis. Maybe it is that they didn't know what was written in the book, or because of their great humility they weren't able to turn the authors away empty-handed. After this no person is able to judge a book and his author on the basis of the approbations that are in the beginning of the book. It is only after an examination of the contents of the book that one will know the worth of the book and the level of the author. Therefore I restrained myself as much as possible from writing an approbation for the book".

Now, back to Dr. Frankel. If she displays what I consider this little knowledge in the field of Jewish books, where is the JPS going and of what use is she to Jewish feminism?

Is Olmert "Insane"?

We are going to Annapolis because even after these 14 years we still believe we have a partner, and that the majority of the Palestinians want to live in peace.

- Ehud Olmert, 2007 (*)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

- Albert Einstein

And there's this:-

The United States security coordinator in the Palestinian Authority said he does not believe Palestinian security forces in the West Bank are capable of enforcing security needs in cities there, according to statements made recently in private talks.

General Keith Dayton's views are seconded by the PA, which recently informed Israel that it lacks the necessary infrastructure to deploy police officers in Nablus.

(*) The rest of Olmert's tripe:-

A month from now, in Annapolis, an international meeting will take place under the auspices of which we will try to find a way that will lead, I hope, to an end to the conflict between us and the Palestinians. We will attend the meeting having learned from experience and with no illusions.

I do not know if the time for peace is ripe, but I do know that as Prime Minister it is my duty to take every action in order to reach that moment or at least to bring it closer, as Yitzhak Rabin believed and desired. That is why we will be there, in Annapolis. We will be alert, prudent, and cautious - but ready for any chance of deliberations between us and the Palestinians.

We already know: peace is not made at international conferences - peace is not made on a piece of paper, elegant as it might be - peace is built from good will and genuine readiness to accept the existence of another, while understanding his needs and fears.

Here, I would like to say clearly: the 60 years of this state are filled with our painful afflictions that continue to weigh us down and shape our opinions day by day. The Jewish people, citizens of this state, tens of thousands of families live a constant agony that cannot be imagined, and memories and yearning over those lost. Never will we forget the pain and suffering with which we had to live, they will always be an inseparable part of our lives, and will always accompany the decision making process related to the effort to end the conflict.

In all fairness I feel an obligation to say that those whom we are facing also dealt with the pain of separation, of loss, and hardship.

We are sure and strong enough in our righteousness to recognize the pain of the Palestinians and say to them: "We are not indifferent to the feelings of indignity and hardship that a great many of you feel. There is only one way to solve this problem - to make peace."

Peace is not made with a magical act and shortcuts.

This is why we will conduct this negotiation with the Palestinians cautiously and responsibly - but also with determination. A two-fold determination: a determination to carry on, to exhaust every possibility of reaching an agreement, but also a determination to guard the vital interests of the State of Israel, and to ensure the well-being and safety of its citizens.

We are going to Annapolis because even after these 14 years - filled with hopes, disappointments, and frustration - we still believe we have a partner, and that the majority of the Palestinians want to live in peace; just as a majority of the Israeli people wish to change the reality that has formed and solidified these past 40 years, a reality that casts a threatening shadow over the State of Israel being a Jewish democratic state.

We know that the forces opposed to the way of peace in Palestinian society are stronger than we thought, and that those on the other side desiring peace are not always ready to take the necessary steps against the enemies of peace.

We know this, but the old Jewish dictum says: "Love peace, and pursue it." Don't just love, but pursue peace - because peace must be pursued, not idly waited for.

Tractate of Middot Translation

From Alfred Edersheim's translation of Massecheth Middoth Being the Mishnic Tractate Descriptive of the Measurements of the Temple [and its Courtyard]

...Perek II.

1. The Temple inclosure (the Temple Mount) was 500 cubits by 500 cubits; it was largest on the south; next largest on the east; then on the north; smallest on the west. The place where there was most measurement there was also most service.

2. All who entered the Temple inclosure entered by the right, and turned and went out by the left, except those whom something had befallen, who turned to the left. "What ails thee that thou turnest to the left?" "Because I am a mourner." "He that dwelleth in this house comfort thee!" "Because I am under the bann." "He that dwelleth in this house put it in their hearts, that they restore thee!" So Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Jose says to him, "This would make it, as if they had transgressed against him in judgment; but rather: 'He that dwelleth in this house put it in thy heart, that thou hearken to the words of thy brethren, and they restore thee.'"

3. Farther on was the Sorag, ten handbreadths high. And thirteen breaches were in it, which the Kings of Javan had made. They restored and strengthened it, and they decreed towards them thirteen obeisances [in remembrance]. Again farther on the Chel, ten cubits; and twelve steps were there; the step half a cubit high, and half a cubit in extension. All the steps which were there, each step was half a cubit high, and the extension half a cubit, except those which were at the porch. All the doorways and gates which were there, were twenty cubits high, and ten cubits wide, except that in the porch. All the doorways which were there, had doors, except that in the porch. All the gates which were there, had lintels, except that in the gate Tadi, which had two stones resting, this on the back of that. All the gates which were there, were renewed to be with gold, except the gate of Nicanor, because there was wrought upon them a miracle, and some say, because the brass sparkled.

4. All the walls which were there were high, except the wall in the east, so that the priest who burned the heifer, standing on the top of the Mount of Olives, and directing himself to look, saw through the gateway of the sanctuary, at the time when he sprinkled the blood.

5. The Court of the women was 135 cubits long by 135 cubits broad, and four chambers were in the four angles, each 40 cubits square, and they were not roofed in. And so they are intended to be, as it is said: "And he brought me forth into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court, and behold, in every corner of the court a court. In the four corners of the court courts smoking" ...It is said, they were "smoking," and that because they were not roofed. And for what did they serve? That on the south-east was the chamber of the Nazarites, where the Nazarites washed their peace-offerings, and polled their hair, and threw it under the pot. That on the north-east was the wood chamber, where the priests who were disqualified picked the wood, and every stick in which a worm was found, it was unfitted for the altar. That on the north-west was the chamber of the lepers. That on the south-west Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: "I have forgotten for what it served." Abba Shaul said: "There they put the wine and the oil; it was called the chamber of the house of Schamanyah." And it [the wall] was at first flush, and they surrounded it with a gallery, so that the women looked from above and the men from beneath, for the purpose that they might not be mixed together. And fifteen steps went up from there to the Court of Israel, like the fifteen degrees in the Psalms [Songs of Degrees in the Psalms]. Upon these the Levites stood singing the songs. They were not rectangular but rounded, like the arc of a rounded substance.

6. And there were chambers beneath the Court of Israel, and they opened upon the Court of the Women. There the Levites placed their harps, and their psalteries, and their cymbals, and all the musical instruments. The Court of Israel was 135 cubits long by 11 broad, and similarly, the Court of the Priests was 135 long by 11 broad, and the heads of the beams divided between the Court of Israel and the Court of the Priests. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: There was a step, a cubit high, and upon it the Duchan was placed, and on it were three steps, each half a cubit. It results, that the Court of the Priests was 2 1/2 cubits higher than that of Israel. The entire court was 187 cubits long and 135 cubits broad. Thirteen obeisances took place there. Abba Jose, the son of Chanan, said: "Towards the thirteen gates." The southern were: nearest to the west, the upper gate, then the gate of burning, the gate of the first-born, and the water-gate. And why was its name called the water-gate? Because through it they brought the pitcher of water for pouring out for the "Feast of Tabernacles." Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: "And by it the waters were flowing down, with the direction of coming out below the threshold of the Temple." And opposite to them to the north were: (nearest to the west) the gate of Jeconiah, the gate of offering, the gate of the women, and the gate of the song. And why was it called the gate of Jeconiah? Because by it Jeconiah went out into captivity. That on the east was the gate of Nicanor, and it had two wickets, one on its right and the other on its left. And there were two [gates] to the west; they had no name.

Perek III.

1. The altar was 32 by 32 [cubits]. Upwards 1 cubit, and contract 1 cubit: that was the base. Remain 30 by 30. Upwards 5, and contract 1 cubit: that was the circuit. Remain 28 by 28. The place of the horns, a cubit on this side and a cubit on that side. Remain 26 by 26. The place for the tread of the priests, a cubit on this side and a cubit on that side. Remain 24 by 24: the place where the sacrifice was laid out. Rabbi Jose said: "At the first it was only 28 by 28; though it contracted and went up, according to this measurement, until there remained the place for laying the sacrifices: 20 by 20. But when the children of the Captivity came up, they added to it 4 cubits on the south and 4 on the west like a gamma, because it is said, 'And Ariel shall be 12 cubits long by 12 broad, square.' * That does not mean that it was only 12 by 12, since it is added: 'In the four corners thereof,' to teach that it measured from the middle 12 cubits in every direction."

* Ezekiel 43:16, "Ariel" = the lion of God = the altar.

And a scarlet line girdled it in the middle to separate between the upper and the lower blood-sprinklings. And the base ran round all the north and all the west side, but was shortened a cubit on the south and on the east.

2. In the south-western angle were two apertures, like small nostrils, and the blood, poured on the base to the west, and on the base to the south, descended through them, and co-mingled in the canal, and flowed out into the brook Kedron.

3. Below in the pavement, in that angle, there was a place, a cubit by a cubit, with a tablet of marble, and a ring was fastened in it, and here they went down into the sewer to cleanse it. And there was a sloping ascent to the south of the altar, 32 cubits long by 16 broad, and it had a pit at its west side, into which they put sin-offerings of birds that were defiled.

4. Both the stones of the sloping ascent and those of the altar were from the valley of Beth Cherem. And they dug beneath the virgin soil, and brought out from it undamaged (whole) stones, upon which iron had not been lifted, because iron defiles everything by contact, and by scratching. One of these stones was scratched: it was defiled; but the rest were lawful for use. And they whitened them twice in the year, once at the Passover, and once at the Feast of Tabernacles; and the Sanctuary once at the Passover. Rabbi * says: "On the eve of every Sabbath they whitened it with a cloth, on account of the blood-sprinklings." They did not plaster it with an iron trowel, lest it might touch, and defile. For the iron is created to shorten the days of man, and the altar is created to lengthen the days of man, therefore it is not right that that which shortens should be lifted upon that which lengthens.

* The Rabbi, i.e. R. Jehudah the Holy.

5. And rings were to the north of the altar: six rows, each of four; but some say, four rows, each of six; and in these they slaughtered the holy sacrifices. The house (place) of slaughtering was to the north of the altar. And there were eight short pillars and squares of cedar upon the top of them, and hooks of iron were fastened in them, and three rows were upon each of them, upon which they hung up, and they skinned upon marble tables which were between the pillars.

6. And the laver was between the porch and the altar, and inclined nearer towards the south. Between the porch and the altar were 22 cubits, and 12 steps were there, each step half a cubit high, and its extension a cubit— cubit, a cubit, and then an extension of three (cubits); and a cubit, a cubit, and an extension of three; and the topmost, a cubit, a cubit, and an extension of four (cubits). Rabbi Jehudah said: "The topmost a cubit, a cubit, and an extension of five (cubits)."

7. The doorway to the porch was 40 cubits high and 20 broad, and five beams of ash were upon the top of it; the lowest protruded over the doorway a cubit on this and a cubit on that side; that above it protruded over it a cubit on this and a cubit on that side; it results, that the topmost [was] 30 cubits, and a buttress of stones was between each one of them.

8. And supports of cedar were fixed from the wall of the Sanctuary to the wall of the porch, lest they should bulge; and chains of gold were fixed in the roof of the porch, and by them the young priests mounted, to look at the crowns, as it is written: "And crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord." A vine of gold was standing over the entrance to the Sanctuary, and was suspended on the top of beams. Every one who vowed a leaf, or a berry, or a bunch, brought it, and hung it up there. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Rabbi Zadok, said: "It happened (that they had to remove it) and there were numbered for it 300 priests." *

* To remove or to cleanse it.

Perek IV.

1. The entrance to the Sanctuary was 20 cubits high, and 10 cubits broad; and it had four doors [two folding-doors]: two within and two without, as it is said: "And the Sanctuary and the Holy Place had two doors." The outer doors opened to the inside of the doorway, to cover the thickness of the wall, and the inner doors opened inwards into the house, to cover behind the doors. For, the whole house was covered with gold, except behind the doors. Rabbi Jehudah said: "They [both pairs of doors] stood within the entrance, and were like Azteramita, * and they folded backwards— 2 1/2 cubits, and those 2 1/2 cubits. Half a cubit the door-post from this [corner], and half a cubit the doorpost from that, and so it is said: 'And the doors had two leaves alike, two turning-leaves; two for the one door, and two leaves for the other.'"

* The term, which seems not to have been quite understood even in Talmudical times, is rendered by Jost: twisted leaf, and derived from strepho.

...6. And the Sanctuary was 100 by 100, by 100 high; the solid foundation 6 cubits, and the height upon it 40 cubits; 1 cubit, decorated scroll; 2 cubits, the place for the water-droppings; 1 cubit covering, and 1 cubit pavement, and the height of the Alijah 40 cubits, and 1 cubit scroll-work, and 2 cubits the place for the dropping, and 1 cubit covering, and 1 cubit pavement, and 3 cubits balustrade, and 1 cubit scare-raven. Rabbi Jehudah said: "The scare-raven was not counted from the measurement, but the balustrade was 4 cubits."

7. From the east to the west 100 cubits— wall of the porch 5, and the porch 11; the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and its interior space 40 cubits, 1 cubit intermediate wall, and 20 cubits the Most Holy Place, the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and the little chamber 6, and the wall of the little chamber 5. From the north to the south 70 cubits— wall of the winding-stair 5, and the winding-stair 3, the wall of the little chamber 5, and the little chamber 6, the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and its interior space 20 cubits, the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and the little chamber 6, and the wall of the little chamber 5, and the place for the going down of the water 3 cubits, and the wall 5 cubits. The porch protruded beyond it, 15 cubits from the north and 15 cubits from the south, and it was called the house of the sacrificial knives, because there they deposited the knives. And the Sanctuary was narrow behind and wide in front, and like to a lion, as it is said: "O Ariel, the lion of God, the city where David dwelt." As the lion is narrow behind and wide in front, so is the Sanctuary narrow behind and wide in its front.

Perek V.

1. The whole court was 187 cubits long by 135 cubits broad. From the east to the west 187: the place for the tread of Israel 11 cubits; the place for the tread of the priests 11 cubits; the altar 32; between the porch and the altar 22 cubits; the Sanctuary 100 cubits; and 11 cubits behind the house of Atonement.

2. From the north to the south 135 cubits: the altar and the circuit 62; from the altar to the rings 8 cubits; the place of the rings 24 cubits; from the rings to the tables 4; from the tables to the pillars 4; from the pillars to the wall of the court 8 cubits; and the rest between the circuit and the wall, and the place of the pillars.

Silly Professor

Martin van Creveld of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem thinks Iran with a nuclear capability is fine.

After all, Iran is not that tough.

Olmert's Plan is Heartless

Ehud Olmert wants to avoid the issue of the Temple Mount but at the same time weasel out of exerting Israel sovereignty over the holy site.

But can he and will that attitude help?

this poll also found that 94 percent of Palestinians oppose any Israeli authority over the Temple Mount. In other words, they refuse to accept any Jewish rights in Judaism's holiest site - and if Jews have no rights there, then by implication, they have no rights anywhere in Israel. This denial of any Jewish right to this land is incompatible with acceptance of a Jewish state.

- writes Evelyn Gordon

And even an AP report notes:

The site represents the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Well, Whaddya Know? A Picture is Worth a Lot

Independent experts have pinpointed what they believe to be the Euphrates River site in Syria that was bombed by Israel last month, and satellite imagery of the area shows buildings under construction roughly similar in design to a North Korean reactor capable of producing nuclear material for one bomb a year, the experts say.

Photographs of the site taken before the secret Sept. 6 airstrike depict an isolated compound that includes a tall, boxy structure similar to the type of building used to house a gas-graphite reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, say experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

U.S. and international experts and officials familiar with the site, who were shown the photographs yesterday, said there was a strong and credible possibility that they depict the remote compound that was attacked. Israeli officials and the White House declined to comment.

If the facility is confirmed as the site of the attack, the photos provide a potential explanation for Israel's middle-of-the-night bombing raid.

The facility is located seven miles north of the desert village of At Tibnah, in the Dayr az Zawr region, and about 90 miles from the Iraqi border, according to the ISIS report to be released today. Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, said the size of the structures suggested that Syria might have been building a gas-graphite reactor of about 20 to 25 megawatts of heat, similar to the reactor North Korea built at Yongbyon.

"I'm pretty convinced that Syria was trying to build a nuclear reactor," Albright said in an interview. He said the project would represent a significant departure from past policies. ISIS, a nonprofit research group, tracks nuclear weapons and stockpiles around the world.


"Apartheid" Your Bullet Hole

Read this news report carefully:-

Arab terrorists opened fire at Israeli hitch-hikers outside the Shomron city of Ariel shortly before 11:30 AM, wounding a 20-year-old soldier in his stomach. The attack occurred shortly before noon when a long round of shots rang out from a west-bound car that passed by the hitch-hiking post along the moderately busy Tapuach-Ariel-Raanana highway. The terrorists' vehicle then made a quick U-turn, and sped back towards the central Shomron. The terrorists also shot at Israeli cars on the highway, wounding a second man lightly in his leg. The car had Palestinian Authority license plates.

I don't know what you are thinking, but I am thinking that if the Left-wing and Arab anti-Israel propaganda about Israel being an apartheid state if true and that the roads of Judea and Samaria are for Jews only, then how come Arab cars are riding the roads and Arabs are shooting Jews from within them?

Not Quite The Jewess

The action takes place in the Land of israel and the lady is Queen to a Jewish King.

But, she's no Jewess.


And the book is subtitled: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen.

It's by Lesley Hazleton and here's an excerpt from the Washington Post review:-

Although this volume sports a deliciously seductive cover, it is, in fact, a work both academic and speculative, taking as its underlying material the war between paganism and the God Yahweh, and how Yahweh won.

"Jezebel" consists of a close reading of the Book of Kings in the Old Testament, which, among other things, tells the story of how King Ahab of Israel (as opposed to its poorer southern neighbor, Judea) took it upon himself to marry the 15-year-old Princess Jezebel from the city-state of Tyre, just a stone's throw away in geography (an island off the shore of what is Lebanon today) but a universe apart in terms of belief systems...When Ahab married Jezebel and when he later spared an enemy army in battle, Elijah became filled with rage, accusing Ahab, and particularly Jezebel, of harlotry, which meant not physical adultery but "selling out," much as we say that talented writers "prostitute" their art to Hollywood today. "Israel was selling its soul, not its body," Hazleton writes. "This was abomination. This was treason. This was harlotry." And Ahab's God was jealous. [???]

Because of Ahab's misdeeds and the bad influence of Jezebel, who had brought with her a retinue of priests devoted to Baal and Astarte, Elijah prophesied three years of drought. But prophesying drought in Israel is like doing so in Southern California. The odds are certainly with you. Chaos and high drama ensued.

...Hazleton pours common-sense feminine scorn on Elijah, who -- as she sees it -- engineered the destruction of Israel, plotting the deaths of Ahab and his sons and managing it so that Jezebel was murdered, too, and thrown to the dogs, unburied, her reputation so bruised that even now she stands for "bad girls" everywhere. Elijah, at least in Kings, does seem like a nut job, but in the years since he's -- ironically -- been seen as a caring soul in each of the three "one, true" religions. The overall impression left by "Jezebel" is disheartening. They're still at it, over there at the far end of the Mediterranean, and this volume helps explain why those warring factions can't seem to ever find peace.

All I can add to this is that back in 1977, Ms. Hazleton published a book, Israeli Women: The Reality Behind the Myths in which she suggested that the Hebrew slang word for penis, i.e., zayin, is akin to Zion and therefore Zionism is a form of feminist subjugation. Nice try, Lesley, but Zion is English. The Hebrew is Tziyon.

Plausible or Improbable?

Henry Kissinger knows what Israel must agree to:-

The process is being driven by the assumption that the parties can be led to accept by the end of November - or have already tacitly accepted - the so-called Taba Plan of 2000, developed in the wake of the abortive Camp David meeting by technically non-official negotiators.

It provides for Israeli withdrawal to essentially the 1967 borders (with minor rectifications), retaining only the settlements around Jerusalem but narrowing the corridor between two principal Israeli cities, Haifa and Tel Aviv, to about 20 miles. The to-be-created Palestinian state would be compensated by some equivalent Israeli territory, probably in the underpopulated Negev.

Israel seems prepared to agree to an unrestricted return of refugees to the Palestinian state but adamantly refuses any return to Israel. Plausible reports have the Israeli government willing to cede the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem (as yet undefined) as the capital of a Palestinian state.

But, he is aware of a problem:-

Will diplomacy be able to deliver on these expectations?

The interlocutors on both sides have extremely shaky domestic positions. The governing coalition in Israel has collapsed, and the approval ratings of the Cabinet are at a historic low.

The definition of a Palestinian partner has so far proved elusive. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which is unwilling to recognize the legitimacy of Israel, not to speak of the specific terms under negotiation. Who then takes responsibility for Gaza? And it is unclear how much of the West Bank population Abbas can speak for.

And warns:-

If either America's Arab or Israeli friends are asked to take on more than they are able to withstand, there's the risk of another, even larger blow-up.

So, he can still come up with a bit of wisdom - when it stares him in the face.