Friday, August 31, 2012

A Media Lynch?

From Steve Plaut's translation of a Kalman Liebskind blog content (not yet online):

'These days some graffiti on an Arab gravestone is international headline news, while the nonstop vandalizing and desecration of Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives gets nary a mention.   When a Jew strikes an Arab in anger this is a banner headline...Molotov cocktail bombs thrown at Jews by Arabs every day are never mentioned. The excuse is supposed to be that Jews attacking Arabs are news, like a man biting a dog.  But I have two responses to that.

'First, If that is the real reason, then I want to hear it said unambiguously on the news and in the media.  The fact that the Arabs are the violent side of the conflict is a matter about which the media refuse to speak.  Second, the media are supposed to be an intermediary link between reality and the consumer.  So when 1000 attacks against Jews by Arabs are never reported, while one single attack by Jews against Arabs is the focus of the front pages for two weeks, readers will understand that the violent side in the Middle East conflict is the Jews.  One cannot overstate the importance of this bias.  If the media were to report accurately the dimensions of Arab terror, the Israeli public would be demanding immediate military action against Gaza.   When the public is unaware that this terror exists, the public is indifferent.

'Oh and one more thing worth noting.  Even with all the press attention to the Arab victim of street hooliganism in Jerusalem, the simple fact of the matter is that Arabs can walk about freely in the "Jewish areas" of Jerusalem.  Try to ask the cable TV technician who made a wrong turn into Issawiya (Arab neighborhood next to the Hebrew University) how he felt being attacked, and then ask on which page the incident was reported.' ...

Exercising the Right To Vite via Absentee Ballot

My form has been received:

and it has been filled, ready to be sent back:



Rabbi of Bat Ayin settlement condemns attack on Palestinian taxi

Rabbi Daniel Cohen of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin says the alleged hurling of a fire bomb at a Palestinian taxi by boys from his settlement is a 'crime.'

Remind me the last time a PA leader condemned?  I know he did but so much time in-between passes.


Shake, Rattle and...Robed

Four years old but, still.

Chassidim protesting the opening of a coffee shop on Betzalel Street in Jerusalem (k/t+ David Assaf)

Not very respectful but a slice of life.


US Consul General's Visit - That Wasn't and The One That Was

News that wasn't:

On August 28, American Consul General in Jerusalem Michael A. Ratney visited Samaria to meet with local officials, business leaders, and other partners of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem.  Consul General Ratney met with the Mayor of Ariel and the Head of the Samaria Council as well as the Executive Officers of Kedumin and Karnei Shomron Local Councils and other local officials where he commended their work, along with that of Yesha Council Chairperson Dani Dayan to provide economic development and security in the region. 

Consul General Ratney also visited Ariel University and meeting with American citizens among the student population and also local Arab residents who are taking advantage of the educational opportunities at the university. He emphasized the importance of the American Corner in helping students learn about American culture and politics and in fostering mutual understanding.

Later, Consul General Ratney met with well-known Jewish figure Benny Katzover and the two discussed both local and national issues.

Consul General Ratney then held a roundtable with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. Here, he praised local business leaders for their important work in building economic institutions and heard their ideas on how the American Consulate General in Jerusalem can continue to support economic development in Samaria. He also toured the Barkan Industrial Park and met with representatives of the plants and factories there as well as wine-producing vineyards, including the many dozens of Christian volunteers from the United States and other countries assisting Jewish farmers.

To emphasize the importance the U.S. places on Jewish youth, Consul General Ratney also visited the Lehava Ulpana Development Center, where USAID supports a wide array of youth programming.

Lastly, to get a taste for the culture and sights of Samaria, Consul General Ratney visited Joseph's Tomb on the outskirts of Shechem.

Overall, this visit is part of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem’s ongoing engagement with not only the Arab residents of the area but the Jewish residents as well, and institutions throughout Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Jerusalem where the Consul General is able to highlight American policies and projects in addition to hearing directly from Jews and Arabs.

News as actually and really was:

On August 28, American Consul General in Jerusalem Michael A. Ratney visited Nablus to meet with local officials, business leaders, and other partners of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. Consul General Ratney met with the Governor of Nablus, Jibreen Al-Bakri, and other local officials where he commended their work, along with that of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, to provide economic development and security in Nablus.

Consul General Ratney also visited An-Najah University, meeting with President Dr. Rami Hamdallah and touring the American Corner there. He emphasized the importance of the American Corner in helping students learn about American culture and politics and in fostering mutual understanding.

Later, Consul General Ratney met with well-known Palestinian figure Munib al-Masri, where the two discussed both local and national Palestinian issues.

Consul General Ratney then held a roundtable with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. Here, he praised local business leaders for their important work in building economic institutions and heard their ideas on how the American Consulate General in Jerusalem can continue to support economic development in Nablus. He also met with representatives of the furniture industry.

To emphasize the importance the U.S. places on Palestinian youth, Consul General Ratney also visited the Nablus Youth Resource Development Center, where USAID supports a wide array of youth programming. Lastly, to get a taste for the culture and sights of Nablus, Consul General Ratney visited the Al Aqr sweet shop in the Old City and Jacob’s Well.

Overall, this visit is part of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem’s ongoing engagement with the Palestinian people and institutions throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem where the Consul General is able to highlight American policies and projects in addition to hearing directly from Palestinians.

One can hope, no?


Anyone Know Where Pal. Dance Groups Are Appearing?

I'd like to arrange a "return-the-favor" to last night:

Protests disrupt Israeli dance performance in Edinburgh

Protesters have disrupted a performance by an Israeli dance company which was taking place at the Edinburgh International Festival. The show - Hora - by the Batsheva Dance Company, from Tel Aviv, had to be stopped three times after protests inside the Playhouse Theatre.
Earlier about 100 people gathered to sing, demonstrate and burn tickets outside the theatre.
Batsheva is partly funded by the Israeli government.

they disrupted the dance three times but did not cause it to finish early. Up to 12 activists were ejected from the theatre after interrupting the dancers. About 150 people protested outside the venue, brandishing signs that read "don't dance with Israeli apartheid" and burning tickets. A counter-demonstration was held by the Zionist Federation.  The Israel ambassador to Britain and Israeli minister Limor Livnat were in town to see the show.

The campaign.

Here's one group that could be targeted by human rights activists demanding full justice to 'honor-killings' victims, a halt to racial incitement, religious obscurantism, political dictatorship, lack of democratcy, elections, etc.


Al Zaytouna previewed Unto the Breach as a work in progress at Laban in June 2012. The full production will debut in London in November 2012. It is supported by a BBC Performing Arts Grant.


Leila Sukkar from Al Zaytouna has launched Cafe Palestine UK, a forum on Palestinian cuisine, culture and history. You can follow her on twitter @CafePalestineUK or find her on facebook.

And keep a watch out for Danadeesh who were at the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival earlier this year:
The annual Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival officially begins on Thursday night.  The opening performance will be given by the super sassy British troupe Ballet Boyz at the Ramallah Cultural Palace. This is the seventh year of the festival and marks the continued growth of the range and scope of its activities. This year, performances will be held in Nablus, Hebron, Jerusalem and Ramallah. Big names in this year’s program include Nawel Skandrani Dance Company of Tunisia, The Royal Flemish Theater, Suzanne Miller and Allan Paivio Productions and Francesco Scavetta.

Or events as these.

Or this:

Except for the music, this reminds me of Israeli folkdanicng:

Demand Peace, Coexistence, Freedom of Expression, et al.

Be active!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Low-Intensity Conflict Report #42

Low-Intensity Conflict Report #42, August 30, 2012

These reports are translated and publicized by Yehudit Tayar for Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron with the clearance and confirmation of the IDF.  Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron is a voluntary emergency medical organization with over 500 volunteer doctors, paramedics, medics who are on call 24/7 and work along with the IDF, 669 IAF Airborn Rescue, the security officers and personal throughout Yesha and the Jordan Valley, and with MDA.

We, the volunteers of Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron go out to rescue anyone who needs our emergency medical assistance; including civilians, military and Arabs also those within the PA territories. (with IDF presence) To us a life is precious and we go out at risk leaving home and family or stopping on the road to rescue anyone in need.

August 29, 2012

Terrorists in Gaza fired on IDF troops near the security fence between Israel and Gaza in the northern section of Gaza.

Arabs attacked Israeli vehicles with rocks near Betar Illit causing damage.

IDF patrol attacked with Molotov cocktails between Calandia and A'Ram in the Jerusalem region.

August 28, 2012

IDF acknowledges that IAF attacked in the north of the Gaza Strip 2 terror positions that developed and stored explosives and weapons. Confirmed that the targets were hit.

(The sounds of explosives heard in the Ashkelon and that region were the results of IAF attack on terror bases in Gaza retaliating the rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel in the past few days.)

Following further rocket attacks from Gaza 2 missiles landed near the security fence outside of Israel.

Rocket landed from Gaza west of kibbutz in Eshkol Region. For reasons of National Security I will not disclose exact location.

Jerusalem region:

Border policeman injured moderately in his shoulder following attack by Arabs with rocks in A-Turn neighborhood of Jerusalem. Medical treatment administered at location of attack. The attackers were dispersed by the security forces.

2 Israeli policemen injured moderately by Arabs attacking them with rocks in the village Dechiat el Barid near Neve Ya'akov.  During routine patrol and security work the force was attacked by a mob of dozens of Arabs and  2 of the policemen were injured and evacuated to the hospital. During the police action 6 of the attackers were taken into custody.

Israeli injured from rocks in the archeology dig near Ma'ale Levona in Chan Lubun.  The injured was hit in his chest when attacked by Arab holding an axe and treated.  The same attacker is trying to take over the dig by force.

Israeli vehicles were also attacked with rocks in the same region.

Hebron: following repeated theft of water work is being done to lay a new pipe down between Kiryat Arba and Hebron.  Anarchists and Arabs along with B'Zelem tried to prevent and disturb the work.

August 27, 2012

Rocket fire from Gaza rocket landed near the Security Fence in an open area near Sderot.

Arabs attack Israeli vehicles on Gush Etzion-Hebron Highway near El Arub.

Shoafat checkpost attacked by Arabs with 2 Molotov cocktails.  Border policemen searched for the terrorists who attacked the post.

Israeli bus belonging to the Ofakim Development company attacked by Arabs with rocks near Azuz.

Arabs attacked military post near Betuniya Ramallah with 5 Molotov cocktails. Border policemen searched for the terrorists who attacked the post.

August 26, 2012

Rocket fire from Gaza landed in Eshkol Regional Council near a kibbutz. (for reasons of National Security I will not reveal exact location)

Israeli bus attacked by Arabs with rocks in the "Tunnel Road" (Jerusalem- Hebron Road) near the southern part of the tunnel road causing damage.

Israeli bus attacked by Arabs with rocks near Hizma north of Jerusalem.

Gush Etzion-Hebron Highway Israeli bus attacked by Arabs with rocks near El Arub.

Tasteless Rachel Corrie Pancake Breakfast and Meetup

I didn't make that up.

Steve Plaut drew my attention.

Here it is:

Workshop / Training
Rachel Corrie Pancake Breakfast and Meetup

November 1 (Saturday)8-11:00 AM
1535 11th Ave ( Third Floor), Seattle
Sponsored by
The Seattle Stranger

One last chance before the election is stolen! Meet, network, learn how to man the barricades without letting the fascists bulldoze us out of their way! Free organic, vegan breakfast provided courtesy of the staff of The Seattle Stranger.

full description & details:

Following a satisfying breakfast, participants will be able to network, conceptualize, actualize and plot constructive ways to prevent the evil McBush forces from seizing power for a third term. From creative visualization to verbal judo to righteous action, every tactic is fair! No holds are barred! Come learn how to stand firm in the face of the neocolonialist fascist bulldozer!!!1!
Clinics on emergency first aid and revolutionary hygiene will also be provided. Participants willing to undertake direct revolutionary action can sign up to have their bail posted by the staff of The Seattle Stranger.

Contact Person:
Diderot's Dog

BTW, Nov. 1 was a Saturday last in 2008.

But that doesn't alter the crassness of our leftist/progressive activists.



Hebrew on Hinson

Thanks to the Internet, I have been informed that one Jordan Danielle Hinson (born June 4, 1991) is an American actress, best known for her role as Zoe Carter on the Syfy series Eureka.

Born in El Paso, Texas, she was a gymnast and began acting in plays at the early age of six and, after moving to Los Angeles, appeared in television commercials. Her television movie debut was in 2005 and she also starred in The Good Mother.

All of this does not explain this photo of her (I've cropped it as tzniusdik [modest] as I possibly could) which includes Hebrew script (I am not sure if this is an actual tattoo) by Chris Heads:

The two lines of Hebrew read (as corrected by Jordan [see below]):

"Bless (feminine form) your body, bless your soul.
Pray for peace and self-control".

Weird and odd.

Who composed that?




Jordan replies:

Jordan Hinson

@ymedad It actually says "Bless your body, bless your soul. Pray for peace and self control."


On The Hanging of the Two British Sergeants

From this book by Michael J. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers, 1945–1948 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982). Pp. 417.-



On the Pre-Mandate Days of British-Occupied Palestine

Excerpts from this book, Palestine: a modern history by A.W. Kayyali, London : Third World Centre for Research and Pub., Croom Helm, Limited, 1978 , 243 p. on the period of late 1918 to November 1919.

Note the Southern Syria element and the immediate use of force and violence:-


The first mass demonstration in February 1920:

And another, at Jaffa Gate:


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pure Filth

...all settlers are racist neo-Nazi terrorists and murderers in the last remaining South African-like apartheid state in the world. They are all of Khazari roots who have no right to be anywhere in Palestine.

While the Jews may have an identity wherever they want, and I will not argue with them here, they certainly have no identity in Jerusalem.

Israel’s name is in the gutter, and it has no legitimacy whatsoever. Israel is a terrorist state, and this writer, nay every Israeli like him, is living an illusion, or is in denial. Indeed, the bottom line of the article is that the whole world is wrong, and the state of organized crime is right.

Israel is a mongrel and a despicable state.

Jihad al-Khazen is a writer for Dar al-Hayat where this article was published on August 28, 2012.

Just that you should know what we are facing.


Balfour's 1925 Declaration

Here is Lord Balfour at the opening of the Hebrew Universioty in Jerusalem in 1925:

Part of what he said, here:

On Balfour we learn:
In 1925 Lord Balfour visited Jerusalem to open the Hebrew University there. His attitude had aroused the ire of nationalist Arabs, and his trip to Palestine ended by his being spirited out of Damascus after a furious outburst on the part of an Arabian mob.

Even then.


UK Muslims Ired That Actress Treats Koran, Well...

There's a new comedy series that has aired in England, Citizen Kane. It is created by and stars Adil Ray, a British Muslim, and its first part aired Monday at 10.35pm.


Among the comments on the BBC's message board following the broadcast was one which said: "This is terrible stereotyping, ignorant and just dreadful." Another said: "HIGHLY disappointed especially when her father walks in and she disrespectfully opens the Koran!!" 

Mr Khan - self-appointed community leader, future President of the Sparkhill Pakistani Business Association and esteemed expert on everything you never wanted to know about cricket...Like many of us, Mr Khan is struggling to make ends meet - but he's proud of his thriftiness - witness his 1979 suit and ancient yellow Mercedes. Things would be so much easier if everyone just listened to him and followed his lead, but his obsessively house-proud wife and two feisty daughters have other ideas. Citizen Khan is a warm family comedy set in the capital of British Pakistan - Sparkhill, Birmingham. It follows the trials and tribulations of Mr Khan and his long suffering family, including his house-proud and much put-upon wife Mrs Khan, and feisty daughters Shazia and Alia. Mr Khan loves and loathes affable Mosque manager Dave in equal measure. Plus there's Amjad, Shazia's handsome but dim fiancée.

How long will it last?


How To Present Biased News

A comment of mine that I left here:

In reference to your news item on Israel shelling Gaza: that was a retaliatory act of self-defense, if anyone who would take the time to click on the link would find out for it reads there: “recent short-range rocket salvoes launches from the coastal enclave into the Jewish state.Two such salvoes, on Sunday and Monday, caused no casualties and were claimed by ultra-conservative…”

I checked your yesterday’s news roundup but those salvoes were not mentioned.

This is a biased way to present news. Too bad, also, that this is a blog that champions law and justice.
P.S. And note that Reuters prefers ignoring the state’s name as “Israel” but writes “the Jewish state”.


Boar News That Won't Bore You - Archaeological Find

As reported by Israel's Antiques' Authority:-

Stone Age Figurines Found

In Archaeological Excavations at Tel Moza near Jerusalem 

The two figurines – c. 9,500 year old – in the image of a ram and a wild bovine, point to the existence of a cultic belief in the region in the New Stone Age. They might have been used good-luck statues to ensure a successful hunt

...“The figurines, which are 9,000-9,500 years old, were found near a large round building whose foundations were built of fieldstones and upper parts of the walls were apparently made of mud brick. The first figurine, in the shape of a ram with twisted horns, was fashioned from limestone and is c. 15 cm in size. The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely depicts details of the animal’s image; the head and the horns protrude in front of the body and their proportions are extremely accurate. The body was made smooth and the legs of the figurine were incised in order to distinguish them from the rest of the body. The second figurine, which was fashioned on hard smoothed dolomite, is an abstract design; yet it too seems to depict a large animal with prominent horns that separate the elongated body from the head. The horns emerge from the middle of the head sideward and resemble those of a wild bovine or buffalo”...

...Dr. Khalaily adds, “It is known that hunting was the major activity in this period. Presumably, the figurines served as good-luck statues for ensuring the success of the hunt and might have been the focus of a traditional ceremony the hunters performed before going out into the field to pursue their prey”. Another theory presented by archaeologist Anna Eirikh, his research partner, links the figurines from Moza to the process of animal domestication – such as the wild bovine and different species of wild goat.
The figurines that were discovered in the current excavations at Tel Moza join other unique finds that were previously exposed at this site. We can conclude from these artifacts that the site at Tel Moza was most likely the largest of its kind in the mountainous region around Jerusalem.

The Republican Party Platform on Israel

From the Republican Party Platfrom:

Israel and the United States are part of the great fellowship of democracies who speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. The security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States; our alliance is based not only on shared interests, but also shared values. We affirm our unequivocal commitment to Israel's security and will ensure that it maintains a qualitative edge in military technology over any potential adversaries. We support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states - Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine - living in peace and security. For that to happen, the Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law. We call on Arab governments throughout the region to help advance that goal. Israel should not be expected to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction. We call on the new government in Egypt to fully uphold its peace treaty with Israel. (

The U.S. seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, negotiated between the parties themselves with the assistance of the U.S., without the imposition of an artificial timetable. Essential to that process will be a just, fair, and realistic framework for dealing with the issues that can be settled on the basis of mutually agreed changes reflecting today's realities as well as tomorrow's hopes. (


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From Boaz and Yachin to Pole Dancing

Alerted (k/t=JR), I understand that it is claimed that rigorous physical fitness training has come to Stern College for Women, or better, Stern girls have come to adopt pole dancicng.

I have no pictures, but The Forward has the details. My wife, who studied at Stern, went to a dance studio while we were going out where I waited outside on the sidewalk before going off to dance with Fred Berk at the 92nd Street Y.

The only aspect of this that perhaps is related to any Jewish tradition are the two columns at the entrance of the Temple, Boaz and Yachin.*  But they weren't free-standing (or maybe they were)

so pole dancing would may have been difficult.

That has even developed into Yoga, though.

Of course,  there is also this, from Treatise Succot of the Babylonian Talmud, 53A:

...They said of Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel that when he rejoiced at the [temple ceremony on Sukkot which was called the] 'rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing', he used to take eight lighted torches [and throw them in the air] and catch one and throw one and they did not touch one another; and when he prostrated himself, he used to dig his two thumbs in the ground, bend down, kiss the ground, and draw himself up again, a feat which no other man could do, and this is what is meant by Kidah [bowing to the ground].

My friend Raphael Harris expands on this.

I can't wait until the upcoming holiday to hear about it.

Oh, and ladies, the trick is to keep up the dancing for a few more years. 

Your husbands will appreciate it and the effects on you.



15 Thus he fashioned the two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high each; and a line of twelve cubits did compass it about; [and so] the other pillar. 16 And he made two capitals of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars; the height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17 He also made nets of checker-work, and wreaths of chain-work, for the capitals which were upon the top of the pillars: seven for the one capital, and seven for the other capital. 18 And he made the pillars; and there were two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the capitals that were upon the top of the pomegranates; and so did he for the other capital. 19 And the capitals that were upon the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily-work, four cubits. 20 And there were capitals above also upon the two pillars, close by the belly which was beside the network; and the pomegranates were two hundred, in rows round about upon each capital. 21 And he set up the pillars at the porch of the temple; and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Taken With the Holocaust?

Holocaust obsessed?

Holocaust denial?

Holocaust inconsequentialism?

Holocaust conscious?

Read all about it.


Being Good Being Us

“How good it is to be us,” he would say in his perfect voice.

Christopher Hitchens.

And, by the way, this doesn't make it into his wife's afterword there:

Later in life, Hitchens discovered that he was of Jewish descent on his mother's side.


The Fly-a-Kite Video Clip

I'm at 20 seconds:


From Lady Jane to Bossi Aurelia de la Tour d'Auvergne

Have you ever heard of Lady Jane Ellenborough (1809 - 1881)?

British Lady Jane Ellenborough (Jane Digby) was romantically involved with many men. She married her first husband, Edward Law, 2nd BaronEllenborough (later Earl of Ellenborough), in 1824, at age 15.  Lady Jane was notoriously promiscuous, and her marriage to the Earl did not last. After divorcing him she moved to Munich with Felix, Prince Schwarzenberg, an Austrian diplomat who resigned his position at the London Embassy to be with her. When Prince Felix decided not to marry her, she married Baron Venningen-Ulner, with whom she had a child.

When Lady Jane's husband caught her in an affair with Count Spyridon Theotoky of Greece he challenged the Count to a duel. After winning the duel and wounding Count Theotoky, Baron Venningen released her from the marriage, and their relationship remained friendly. She married Theotoky, moved to Athens, and had a child with him, but divorced him after the accidental death of their 6-year old son. An involvement with an Albanian general ended when he was unfaithful to her...
And to continue,
[In 1855, Lady Jane travelled to the Middle-East to Damascus and] While there, she met Arab nobleman Sheik Abdul Medjuel El Mezrab, who would be her final husband [and who was 17 years her junior. She stayed with him for the rest of her life, before dying of a heart attack in Damascus in the year 1881]. Impressing the Mezrab family with her knowlege of horses, Jane eventually became a leading figure in Arab society, visiting Europe several times in Islamic garb and critiquing Richard Burton's "Arabian Knights." One of her last journal entries reads: "It is now a month and 20 days since Medjuel last slept with me! What can be the reasons?”
Her biography.

I found this, in the Missouri State Journal, June 20, 1873:-

She is buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Damascus

Is her grave unharmed by the recent fighting?

This painting by Joseph Stieler was completed in 1831 when Jane was 22.

But what intrigues me is, who is  Madame de la Tour d'Auvergne and her house on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives?

It took me some time, but this seems to be the answer:

There was the "Church of the Ascension" to mark the spot whereby tradition (contrary to the direct statement of Luke) states that the Ascension occurred; now the site is marked by a small octagonal chapel, built in 1834, which is in the hands of the Moslems. There a "footprint of Christ" is shown in the rock. A large basilica of Helena was built over the place where it was said that Christ taught His disciples. In 1869 the Princess de Latour d'Auvergne, learning that there was a Moslem tradition that this site was at a spot called el Battaniyeh south of the summit, here erected a beautiful church known as the Church of the Pater Noster and around the courtyard she had the Lord's Prayer inscribed in 32 languages. When the church was in course of erection certain fragments of old walls and mosaics were found, but, in 1911, as a result of a careful excavation of the site, the foundations of a more extensive mass of old buildings, with some beautiful mosaic in the baptistry, were revealed in the neighborhood; there is little doubt but that these foundations belonged to the actual Basilica of Helena. It is proposed to rebuild the church.

And her tomb is there:

Aurélie de Bossi [Bossi Aurelia], the Princess de la Tour d’Auvergne, had a particular devotion to the Lord’s Prayer. She erected translations of the prayer in 39 [sic] different languages.  Later she added a convent for Carmelite Sisters [ In 1868 she built a cloister modeled on the Campo Santo at Pisa, Italy and founded a Carmelite convent in 1872]. While the buildings were being constructed, she lived nearby in a wooden cabin brought from France. The princess was also keenly interested in the cave — which she never discovered, although she suggested where it might be.

Excavations by archaeologists in 1911 found the cave exactly where she had predicted it to be. It was partly collapsed when it was discovered.

The princess died in Florence in 1889, but her last wish was for her remains to rest in the Pater Noster Church, in a tomb which she had prepared. Her wish was fulfilled in 1957. On top of her sarcophagus is a life-size effigy

Case closed.


Jerusalem in St. Louis in 1904

I admit, I was astonished at this information of which I was unaware:

The Jerusalem exhibit was one of the [1904] St. Louis Fair’s most expensive and ambitious undertakings. “Gigantic in its conception” and “gigantic in its execution,” as its planners described, it was an enormous replica of the Old City of Jerusalem on a 1:1 scale. The largest model of Jerusalem ever built, it stretched over more than 10 acres and consisted of around three hundred structures (including astonishingly realistic copies of the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Tower of David). The structures were interconnected by twenty-two winding streets and alleys, and were girded by a faithful reproduction of the walls of Jerusalem (fig. 1). Once inside the model, the fair’s visitors could take part in dozens of activities. They could take a tour of the holy sites with a turbaned guide, follow “in the footsteps of Jesus” along the Via Dolorosa, and view a diorama of the scene of the Crucifixion. They could take a bumpy camel or donkey ride and shop for Holy Land souvenirs in an oriental bazaar (figs. 2 and 3). They could also mingle with the hundreds of Jerusalem natives—Moslems, Christians, and Jews— who were imported to St. Louis for the duration of the fair, and who could be seen walking around in oriental garb conducting religious ceremonies or working in their artisan workshops and booths.


Miss North and Her Mule

Americans seem to always get themselves caught up in the most outlandish situations:-

You notice the location - and the date.


The Lynched Jew in the Temple Mount - 140 Years Ago

I have copied above an item from the bi-weekly Ha-Levanon journal, dated February 5, 1873 (140 years ago, almost) that appeared with news about Eretz-Yisrael and enlarged the relevant section.

It translates:-

Yesterday, a terrible incident occurred: a Sefaradi Jew, 56-years old, was found murdered beyond the [Jerusalem] city wall in Emek Yehoshafat [the valley to the eastern side of the city between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives], his arm broken and his head crushed.  And this was what happened: this elderly man was a regular daily participant at the Baalei Batim [laymen] yeshivah studying Psalms and the shamash [beadle] would come and take him to the yeshivah.  On the Wednesday this week, the shamash was late coming and the old man set off by himself and he went the wrong way, and came into the Temple Mount courtyard.  There the cursed Ishmaelites found him and beat him up until he died under their blows.  The Rabbi Giron Effendi hurriedly informed the government in Constantinople.  May it be God's will that we should never hear of such an event of a cry of a victim in our midst, beaten and attacked, and may their be peace upon Israel.


Jewish Orthodox Feminism

That was the cover of Motzash Mag, supplement to Makor Rishon this past week.

And this is an ad for female haberdashery, tichelach, and here, of the Jeans Collection style:-


Low-Intensity Conflict Report #41

Low-Intensity Conflict Report #41, August 26, 2012

These reports are translated and publicized by Yehudit Tayar for Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron with the clearance and confirmation of the IDF.  Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron is a voluntary emergency medical organization with over 500 volunteer doctors, paramedics, medics who are on call 24/7 and work along with the IDF, 669 IAF Airborn Rescue, the security officers and personal throughout Yesha and the Jordan Valley, and with MDA.

August 26, 2012

Attack from Gaza on Sderot:

3 rockets hit Sderot: 2 rockets hit in the industrial area of the city. 2 people were treated for trauma.  1 rocket fallout landed in open field (for reasons of security I will not detail the exact locations.

August 25, 2012

Resident of Mevo Dotan in the Shomron attacked by Arabs with rocks south-west of Jenin.  Damage caused to the vehicle.

Near Karnei Shomron in the Shomron Israeli vehicles attacked by Arabs with rocks causing damage.

August 24, 2012

IDF allows us to release the following information:

Special undercover force of the Border Police arrested a wanted Arab terrorist in Dir Abu Mishal, north-west of Ramallah.  The terrorist was handed over to the Secret Service for questioning.  During the arrest the force was attacked with 2 Molotov cocktails causing damage to the security vehicle.  Further information is not allowed at this time.

Arabs threw rocks on the Bet Hadassah neighborhood in Hevron.

August 23, 2012

Israeli vehicles attacked by Arabs with rocks near Betar Illit.

Near the Security Fence close to Erez, IDF arrested an unarmed Arab who illegally entered from Gaza.  IDF arrested and questioned him.

August 22, 2012

Jerusalem: Soldier from special Border Police undercover unit injured in his face from rocks thrown by Arabs in Issawiya.  He was treated in Border Police clinic.  One of the Arabs who was involved was arrested.


David Harris' Three Missing "I"s

David A. Harris, who is a native of Indiana and current President and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, opines that "Republicans have a major Jewish problem".

His two reasons?

Paul Ryan "has been criticized" for his planssupposedly to end Medicare as we know it and gut the social safety net. And, the Republicans "2012 official party platform took policy stands that are the opposite of those held by most Jews."

He also throws in the Rep. Todd Akin statements on rape and the skinny-dipping of  Rep. Kevin Yoder which Harris calls, being quite silly, as "less-than-kosher".

Harris, of course, does not mention Israel, or Iran, or Islamism.

Now, that is his quite major Jewish problem.


Topless - or Headless - in Tel Aviv

You know that I think that too many of our supposed icons of culture and knowledge and politics are airheads when it comes to issues of national security, the ethos of Zionism and the role of tradition in our current lives.

So when I heard of some "topless" event here in Israel, I assumed either these celebs where going to, once again, demonstrate their ridiculousness or, worse, attempt to topple out governemnt like they did with that "refuse to bomb" ad campaign on Iran.

But I spotted this (after leaving a comment against topless Zehava Gal-On who claimed there's a majority in Israel supporting coexistence with the PA) and found out that there is something called the
and that 2012 marks GoTopless' fifth anniversary and this year GoTopless day will fall exactly on Women's Equality Day, Aug 26.


What happens during a Gotopless rally?

Well, "During the protests, women will have the choice of going fully topless or wear red tape or something else to hide their (infamous!) nipples. They are also completely welcome to come and support this cause while being fully dressed if they prefer.  To show their support, men are encouraged to wear a bikini top since we are standing up for topless constitutional equality."

In Tel Aviv, it was to be on the Friday, Aug 24 @ Noon - Rothchild Blvd @ Habima Theater.

I learned from here that
"In Tel Aviv, authorities told GoTopless leader Sharon Aziza this week that although Israeli law is vague about topless rights, female protesters must wear full bikini tops or face arrest," Gary said. "Well, what about the men? Israel passed a Gender Equal Rights law in 1951!"

The reasoning behind this is
"The governments of the United States, Israel, France, the United Kingdom and Australia all supposedly guarantee gender equal rights. But Gotopless women have been clearly told they’re not free to go topless like men can, and that if they do, they will be fined and/or imprisoned.”

This approach has been summed up as:

'free your breasts, free your minds'

Actually, such an appearance usually causes a loss of mind and reason.  In fact, all the Arabs from the area of the Palestinian Authority who flocked to Tel Aviv's beach during the Eid El-Fitr holiday wouldn't have come (well, perhaps the males would have).

I managed to find a picture of Sharon who, with five other people, three of them men, marched:

Seems it's all a Raelian ploy from outer space.

"Off with their heads!"


And What Was The US Doing?

For some, it's the correct thing to do:-

 Pakistan: US drone-fired missiles slam into hideouts, kill 18 suspected militants

ISLAMABAD — U.S. missiles slammed into three compounds close to the Afghan border Friday, killing 18 suspected militants, Pakistani officials said, just a day after the government summoned an American diplomat to protest drone strikes in the country’s northwest tribal region.

The drones struck the North Waziristan tribal area, the main militant sanctuary in the country and the target of a planned Pakistani military operation that the U.S. expects in the near future. Hundreds of militants and their family members streamed out of North Waziristan in the past two days in anticipation of the operation, local residents said.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

How Can You White Out Obama?



They Demanded Palestine Not Be Separated from Syria

Read first the bottom reproduction's lower left-side, and then go up to the right-hand column:

Even non-Muslims didn't think of "Palestine" as an entity separate from Syria.

In 1920.

Of course, they blame the "Russian" Jews, the "other" Jews, not the long-established ones - who they killed in April 1920 in the Old City of Jerusalem and in 1929 in Hebron.


Quotable Words: Occupation

The notion of the "occupation" has become the defining lens through which the Palestinians' self conception is explained and all actions and inactions justified. This is also the myopic view taken by anti-Israel ideologues like Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe and even Peter Beinart who claims to be a lover of Zion – just one who is having a difficult time grappling with the "harsh" Israeli reality of being an occupier.

Palestinians cling to notions of being "stateless," "occupied" and forever refugees, allowing them to never take responsibility or be accountable as a functioning society and "state to be." Believing this is the truth produces Beinart's and other sympathizers' anguish. However, this is not the truth.

The resilience of Jewish-Israeli survival has been overshadowed by the false Arab-Palestinian notion of being "occupied" and "robbed" of their true destiny. Consequently, Israel is the "oppressor "and Palestinian nomenclature demands that the "occupation" remains the root cause of all problems, from social and economic woes to terrorism.

Asaf Romirowsky


And the Real BBC Story Here Is...

The Commentator has this:

Concealed Middle East 'Balen Report'

Today, The Commentator has released a Freedom of Information request showing that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has so far spent at least a third of a million pounds (more than half a million dollars) in order to conceal the infamous 'Balen Report' into the corporation's coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, from the British public...the BBC has spent at least a third of a million pounds to hide the report from the public eye: "The legal costs incurred by the BBC amount to £332,780.47," the BBC said.

The Balen Report was written in 2004 and campaigners say the BBC does not wish to release the document over fears that it will substantiate claims of BBC bias against Israel. Ironically, it is understood that former Director of News for the BBC, Richard Sambrook, commissioned the report in order to belay public fears. The report, however, was never released.

Raheem Kassam, Executive Editor for The Commentator said: "The BBC is guilty of thoroughly indefensible actions in hiding the Balen Report. If there is nothing to be afraid of, the BBC should stop wasting taxpayers' money immediately and hand over the report. Once again they refused to, when we most recently asked for a copy. It smacks of desperation."
If not biased, why spend so much money ?


Walking In Nahal Shiloh

Two of my daughters and my youngest grandchild walking along Nahal Shiloh:


A post by my wife.

How Not To Deal With Iran

Fanaticism, like the terrorism which it generates, needs to be interpreted in a long-term perspective. Short-term analysis of fanaticism commonly arrives at one of two misinterpretations. The fanatic is a rational actor. His (rarely her) aims are rational even if we do not always recognise their underlying logic. The fanatic is a madman. The British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, calls bin Laden 'obviously psychotic and paranoid as well'. Seen in long-term perspective, fanaticism looks rather different. The most dangerous fanatics have always had, and will doubtless continue to have, two distinguishing characteristics. First, all fanatics are necessarily conspiracy theorists. Their extreme hatred of the enemies they have sought to destroy over the last millennium (among them heretics, witches, Jews, Trotskyists and the United States) can only be justified by substituting demonic, conspiratorial myth-images for reality. As Voltaire warned us two and a half centuries ago, 'Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities'. Conspiracy theory is the only ideology which-as in the case of earlier fanatics--all the, otherwise disparate, most dangerous terrorists of the last decade (the first World Trade Center bombers, Aum Shinrikyo, Timothy McVeigh and Al-Qaeda) have in common. Second, however, at an operational level, the most dangerous fanatics, despite their conspiracy theories, are calculating and often dangerously effective-as on 11 September 2001.

The fanaticism which is at the heart of today's transnational terrorism can only be understood if both of these points are taken into account. The historical record shows, however, that analysts have found it very difficult to grasp that those who threaten us have been both at the same time. That has been true of our response to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and-at least initially-Usama bin Laden.

Because Hitler could, when he chose, play the role of a skilful international statesman, pre-Second World War Western assessments of his intentions simply could not credit the fanaticism with which he pursued his ultimate aims of a huge slave empire in Eastern Europe and the 'final solution' of the Jewish question. Though Hitler was obsessed by the preposterous conspiracy theory of a Jewish plot for world mastery, he was none the less shrewd and calculating enough to out-negotiate Western statesmen before WW2 and to drive his generals to achieve during the first two years of the war the most spectacular sequence of rapid military victories since Alexander the Great.

While British intelligence knew an unprecedented amount about Hitler's military operations, caught every one of his spies in Britain and used them as the basis of the stunningly successful Double Cross deception, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) understood very little indeed about how his mind worked-so little that it recruited two astrologers and a water-diviner. As Paul Winter has shown, until 1942 the JIC paid more attention to the astrologers than to the conspiracy theories of Mein Kampf.


What's The Opposite of Zionism?

Well, the subjects of this conference present themselves as the alternative:-

Jewish Internationalism

Collective Politics in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Columbia University, September 9-10, 2012
To attend please RSVP at
View conference poster 

Day I8:45-9:15: Gathering and Breakfast
9:15-9:30: Opening Remarks
9:30-11:45: Session I: Theoretical Reflections 
Chair: Samuel Moyn, Columbia 
David N. Myers, UCLA
International Nationalism? Probing the Bounds of a Fleeting Mid-Century Tradition
Dan Diner, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Leipzig University  
Point and Plain: On the Geometry of Jewish Political Experience
Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Hebrew University
Communities of (Re)Action: Jewish Internationalism, 1840-1989
Malachi Hacohen, Duke
Late Imperial Austria and Jewish European History
11:45-12:00: Coffee Break
12:00-13:30: Session II: Jewish Philanthropy and Transnational Networks
Chair: Tara Zahra, University of Chicago
Adam Teller, Brown University
Trans-Regional Philanthropic Networks in the Early Modern Jewish World: Towards an Economic Analysis
Lisa Leff, American University
The Origins of Jewish Internationalism in 19th Century France
Tobias Brinkmann, Penn State
Protecting Other Jews: Jewish Philanthropic Organizations and Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe, 1890–1950
Rebecca Kobrin, Columbia University
Empire of Charity: Jewish International Philanthropy and Interwar Poland
13:30-14:15: Lunch
14:15-16:15: Session III: Jews and International Law
Chair: Michael Stanislawski, Columbia University
James Loeffler, University of Virginia
International Lawyer, Closet Zionist? The Paradox of Hersch Lauterpacht
Natasha Wheatley, Columbia University
The National Internationalist: Nathan Feinberg between Geneva and Jerusalem
Jacques Picard, University of Basel
‘The Spirit of Geneva’ and Jewish Diplomacy
16:15-17:30: Coffee Break and Gathering
18:00: Dinner  
Day II
8:45-9:15: Gathering and Breakfast
9:15-11:30: Session IV: Jews and Minority Rights
Chair: David N. Myers, UCLA
Carole Fink, Ohio State University
Jewish Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference: 1919
Markus Kirchoff, Saxonian Academcy Leipzig
Between Weimar and Paris: German Jewry and the Minority Question, 1919
David Engel, NYU
The International Community and the Jewish Politics of Alliance
Gil Rubin, Columbia University
The End of Minority Rights: Jacob Robinson and the Minority Question in World War II
11:30-11:45: Coffee Break
11:45-13:15: Session V: The Postwar Jewish Agenda
Chair: Malachi Hacohen, Duke
Ron Zweig, NYU
Nehemiah Robinson, the Institute for Jewish Affairs and the Formulation of the Postwar Jewish Agenda
Nathan Kurz, Yale University
Human Rights and the Jewish Quest for a Supranational Authority
Zohar Segev, University of Haifa
Universalism, International Cooperation and Ethnic Identity: The Jewish Diaspora in the 1940s and 1950s from an American Jewish Perspective
13:15-14:00: Lunch
14:00-16:15: Session VI: Jewish Politics and the European Refugee Crisis    
Chair: TBD
Mira Siegelberg, Harvard University
Lucien Wolf’s “Notes on the ‘Staatenlose Question’: Beyond International Jewish Diplomacy? 1921-1931
Tara Zahra, University of Chicago
Internationalism, Nationalism, and the Rehabilitation of Jewish Children after World War II
Daniel Cohen, Rice University
‘The Eradication of Statelessness’: Jewish legal internationalism and the European refugee crisis, 1945-1950
16:15-16:45: Comments and Closing Remarks  
The conference is sponosred by the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, The Department of History, SIPA huamn [sic] rights program and Judaic Studies, Yale.

And, of course, without Zionism, all this Jewish internationalism would be worthless. ^

A Legal Confrontation Presenting Itself?

I was sent this (k/t=IMRA):

PA considers legal action against Israeli officials, settlers
The Palestinian Authority is considering taking legal action against Israeli leaders and settlers who practice “terrorism” against the Palestinian people, a legal advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday.  Hasan al-Auri told Ma’an that the PA would seek to sue Israeli officials in international courts, and to prosecute settlers in national courts in countries where it is allowed to prosecute foreigners.

...The PA, added Abbas’ legal advisor, avoided suing settlers in Israeli courts because Israel would protect them “using false justifications to their conduct.”...

I would welcome such a challenge.

I cannot see how, given the legal documentation, the surrounding contemporary comments, that they could ever make a case.  To prohibit Jews from constructing homes in the area of the Jewish national homeland would open the PA, its laws against Jews owning property, its pronouncements against permitting Jews to live in the future yet-to-be 'state of Palestine' and its incitement actions, to such counter suits, not to mention endangering the status of Arabs living in Israel, that it would counterproductive.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reserving "Racism" for the Right

The Forward headline JJ Goldberg's recent pied so:

Israel Faces Extremists, U.S. Ignores ThemSikh Rampage and Jerusalem 'Lynching' Both Fueled by Racism

I left this comment:

JJ - do you ever or does anyone else you know from the left side of the political spectrum ever describe Arab/Islamic terror directed at Jews as "racism"?  Their media incitement?  Their educational content?  Their summer camps for kids?

Does any Arab anti-Israel, anti-Jewish activity - pronounced, printed or broadcast  - ever merit that approbation?

Or is racism only a right-wing thing?


Friday, August 24, 2012

Syria: What Was, Will Be?



Fashion Length - 1922



Two-tiered is a Double Standard

People, like Jeffrey Goldberg, complain of

a two-tiered justice system on the West Bank

What "two-tiered"?

Let's get this straight: the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are not citizens of Israel.  So, they can't vote.  Just like an Israeli living in the United States but who is not a citizen cannot vote.  Arabs of the new Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, if they opted for an Israeli ID, can vote in the city's municipal elections.

Otherwise, they have a democratic system in place.  And they can enjoy justice.

They can appeal, still, to the High Court of Justice.  The police, firemen and Hadassah Hospital are their's.

As long as no peace treaty has been fully worked out, and their terror continues, and their incitement continues, and their educational system is hateful, among other negatives, why shouldn't there be a two-tiered system?


A New Testament Mistranslation in a Torah Lecture

I attended recently a Torah lesson.  Instructor shall remain unnamed.

The Midrash was quoted

  "פתחו לי פתח כחודה של מחט  --- ואני אפתח לכם כפתחו של אולם"
the first words of which were translated, unfortunately but I am getting ahead of myself, as

"Open for Me the opening of the eye of the needle..." 

I insist that the Hebrew there should more properly be the point of the needle.

At Aish, they also mistranslate:

The Midrash on Song of Songs (5:2) says: “Open up for me an opening like the eye of a needle and in turn I will enlarge it to be an opening through which wagons can enter.” God just needs an opening as big as an eye of the needle. If you take the initiative and allow God to enter in to your life through a tiny hole, you'll see exponentially greater results....The Kotzker Rebbe explains that the Almighty will expand your tiny hole only if it is as permanently opened as an eye of a needle. It can't close up after a few days. We can't fool God – or ourselves – by making a temporary change and finding ourselves back where we started a few months later. Preparing for Rosh Hashana means making a lasting change.

The source of the phrase in its wrongful use as "eye of the needle" is found in Brachot 55b and it appears as

קופא דמחטא

which is the "point" of a needle" which makes a hole even smaller than its eye.

I wrote to the person and received this:

Thanks for your feedback. I understand your point, but in the context of this midrash, the translation is the eye of the needle. The midrash states, "Open for Me the opening of the eye of the needle..." The word opening cannot be refering to the point of the needle which has no opening.

I quickly responded

B'mchila [please excuse me but], the context is irrelevant.  The translation stems from the Hebrew.  And the Hebrew is quite forthright:

"אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל:
God said to Israel
בני, פתחו לי פתח אחד של תשובה כחודה של מחט,
My children open for me just one opening (so I can get in and make contact and communicate with you in the matter) of Teshuva even as tiny as that of the point of pin
ואני פותח לכם פתחים שיהיו עגלות וקרוניות נכנסות בו"
and I will open for you (via that tiny opening) doorways through which wagons and carriages could pass through."

I suggest that you presume the opening God requests is part of the needle. I think that the opening God asks for is one even smaller than the eye of a needle, one that the even the point makes when it enters cloth.
And since there is another word (actually two) for the "eye of the needle", I am convinced my reading is the correct one.

And the reaction to that was:

It's a nice interpretation you are offering.

Well, I persisted and found what I think is the origin for the mistranslated English phrase.

And it here

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

In the New Testament, Matthew 19:24.

A Christain site explains:

...What we have instead then, I believe, is a beautiful Hebrew hyperbole!...Indeed, Jewish Talmudic literature uses a similar aphorism about an elephant passing through the eye of a needle as a figure of speech implying the unlikely or impossible:

    "They do not show a man a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle."4

This first instance concerned dreams and their interpretation and suggested that men only dream that which is natural or possible, not that which is unlikely ever to have occurred to them.

    "… who can make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle."5

In this case, the illustration concerns a dispute between two rabbis, one of whom suggests that the other is speaking "things which are impossible".

The camel was the largest animal seen regularly in Israel, whereas in regions where the Babylonian Talmud was written, the elephant was the biggest animal. Thus the aphorism is culturally translated from a camel to an elephant in regions outside of Israel.

The aim is not, then, to explain away the paradox and make the needle a huge carpet needle for, elsewhere, the Jewish writings use the "eye of the needle" as a picture of a very small place, "A needle's eye is not too narrow for two friends, but the world is not wide enough for two enemies."6 . The ludicrous contrast between the small size of the needle's eye and the largest indigenous animal is to be preserved for its very improbability.

Jesus' hearers believed that wealth and prosperity were a sign of God's blessing (cf. Leviticus and Deuteronomy). So their incredulity is more along the lines that, "if the rich, who must be seen as righteous by God by dint of their evident blessing, can't be saved, who can be?". Later Christians have turned this around to portray wealth as a hindrance to salvation, which it can be – but no more so than many other things, when the message is that salvation is impossible for all men for it comes from God alone.

But beyond impossibility is possibility with God for, elsewhere, a Jewish midrash records:

    "The Holy One said, open for me a door as big as a needle's eye and I will open for you a door through which may enter tents and [camels?]"7

In other words God only needs the sinner to open up just a crack for him and God will come pouring in and set up room for an oasis. God only needs a 'foot in the door', so to speak.

This is similar to the Talmudic use of two Hebrew letters, one which represents God holiness ('Q' Qoph, as in qadôsh 'holy') and another representing evil ('R' Resh, as in ra' 'evil'), in a story told for the purpose of teaching the Hebrew alphabet and Jewish morals. It is said that 'q' has a separated opening in order that should 'r' repent he may enter into God's holiness through the small opening.

I enlarge on the footnotes:

4. Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth, 55b - Note:- the word for 'eye' is: בקופא דמחטא
5. Babylonian Talmud, Baba Mezi'a, 38b and the same term:-  בקופא דמחטא
6. Source not traced but cf. Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 1.3
7. Midrash Rabbah, The Song of Songs, 5.3; cf. Pesiqta R., 15, ed. Friedmann, p.70a; Soncino Zohar, Vayikra 3, p95a

Note, though that the Aramaic in the Zohar there at note 7 in Vayikra 95a is:

פתחי לי פתחא כחדודא דמחטא ואנא אפתח לך תרעין עלאין.

which is:- 

"Open for me an opening [even] as [small] as the sharp point of the needle" - חדודא דמחטא

So, was a Torah lecture based on the misreading of the New Testament?